Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tomorrow is Promised to No One

I'm overdue. I write today, of course, about Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and the crazy-good salesguy Billy Mays. All of whom died last week.

My son Jake reminded me that Billy Mays could sell you putty to fix a leaky faucet even if you didn't have a leaky faucet. That's how good this guy was. He could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. To me, with that unbelievably full and robust beard he looked a bit like Brutus from the old Popeye cartoons. He'd sell you a set of vice grips at 2am that you know you wouldn't use, but because of his fiercely manic delivery and sincere belief in the products he hawked, you were compelled to buy one (and get one free) and you better do it fast too or else they might sell out. It's one reason why I stopped watching TV in the middle of the night. Too much stuff.

And Farrah.

Farrah, Farrah, Farrah.

I was a teenager when "The Poster" was unveiled to the world and yes folks - of course I had one tacked to my wall. I want another one. She was beyond hot back in the day.

Alas, aside from her playing Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels for one stinkin' year, and a few made-for-tv movies that no one watched, I really can't think of anything she did artistically or otherwise for, oh, the past 33 years. But Farrah didn't need to do anything. She was Farrah. We all loved Farrah. Part of my boyhood died last week.

Lastly, I think we were all shocked to learn that The King of Pop died. Michael Jackson was the Elvis of my generation. Amazing talent, a recluse, and larger than life.

I was in the airport when the news broke that MJ had suffered a heart attack and in humankind's attempt to get the scoop, the internet nearly crashed. That's big. I landed in Salt Lake and caught the news that he did in fact pass away.

The next day, I'm watching TV and Jesse Jackson has marched into this circus rhyming all his words together like he does (how does he do that?). And why does Jesse always show up whenever a black person or black family is in the media crosshairs? This begs the question: Do all black people know each other?

The MJ my generation knew was long gone by the time my sons were born. MJ was his best with Off the Wall and Thriller. He got strange post-Thriller when he began hanging out with midgets, monkeys, little kids, and wearing marching band or military uniforms....with a glove on one hand. His once magnificent afro became all jeri-curled and stringy while sticking to his face. Later on came the operating room face masks. Then all the weird cosmetic surgeries that became a staple of the late night humor mill and presto, he'd become Wacko Jacko.

Here's where the comparison with Elvis ends. Even though Elvis was always drunk, bloated and full of pills for the last 10 years of his life, he never carved up his face or was accused of questionable behavior. Raucous and hedonistic behavior? Yes, of course. He WAS Elvis. He died trying to live the dream all gassed up and rarin' to go. Mike? Not so much. He went out with a wimper. Baby needed more pills.

Didn't anyone in his family notice how odd he had become? Didn't anyone have the guts to tell him what how stupid his nose looked? And having kids spend the night at his house? The bad hair? The baby voice?

So a little bit of our collective history left their earthly bounds last week. Fame, fortune or notoriety - Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Sort of makes me want to live a little better each day. To remember to love those around me alittle more. To perhaps not worry so much about the little stuff - or even the big stuff.

Oh yeah, and laugh.

A lot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Oneness of Sickness

Middle of the night....groggy.

Janae whispers, "Put your mask back on." She was referring of course to the mask I wear each night when I go to bed that is hooked up via hose to the Magic Sleep Machine. When the machine is on and the mask isn't sealed to my face it makes a noisy continuous whooshing sound that is loud and annoying.

I turned the machine off and sat on the edge of the bed.

Uh. Oh.

It is precisely at this point, in the wee hours of the morn, when ones hand's suddendly go clammy, your stomach won't stop churning and your noggin' has that swimming feeling and everyone who has ever lived on this planet knows.... without a doubt.... that a trip to the bathroom is imminent.

There is also a sense of focus that one has at this critical time that is unusual. Probably something programmed into our DNA and NOTHING, not even a naked woman, will derail a mans oneness and sense of purpose at this time.

Deep breath. Silent prayer.

Sitting on the can, holding onto a wastebasket for dear life and waiting for the inevitable badness that was headed my way is something we all must face by ourselves. At this moment, we are all utterly alone. It's better this way too. Janae popped her head in the bathroom and said the universally apparent rhetorical question, "You okay."


Deep, heavy breathing. I say to myself, "Don't lose your focus dude."

When the big moment finally arrives, there is, all at once, a sense of deep relief and, for me, a concern "Is this it? Is the the start of something that will kill me?"

I won't go into any detail here, but suffice it to say that once my business was complete and I had taken the time to shower and freshen up, I contemplated what just took place.

I came to the conclusion - and I think deep down we all know this - that men are generally wimps when it comes to sickness/illness.

I'm no different.

It's a funny and ironic truth that women usually suck it up when they're sick and go about their business because if they don't do it, nobody will.

Even if women are sick it wouldln't matter to them anyway. Husbands are not prone to excessive bouts of sympathetic behavior anyway and just exactly who is going to take care of the kids all day, fix dinner, clean the house, pay the bills, answer the phone and take care of The King?

For reasons noted above, women just can't afford to be sick. Men, on the otherhand, lay in bed and milk being sick for all its worth. We're shameless when it comes to this sort of behavior. SHAMELESS.

Whenever a man get sick, its the equivalent of the earth coming to a stop. We want everyone to know how sick we are. We demand our illness be acknowledged and that we be given the care and respect we deserve - as masters of our own universe. After all, this could be the one illness that ends our life. It's that bad. Always is.

We also demand that every single resident of the home submit to a funeral wake-like demeanor in our presence. Ask ANY wife, this boorish behavior can go on FOR DAYS.

Finally, when the illness runs its course, or a good ballgame is on the TV, we'll emerge from our den but demand that we be treated as if we were still sick. This means we don't get up to get ANYTHING for ourselves and overuse the phrase,

"Honey, will you please bring me a_________________"

It's not a question so much as a statement.

Our best friend during all this is the remote control for the television. We can live without our cell phones, emails and internet access but there's no way we survive without TV during this crisis.

And so the beat goes on. Life beckons. My stomach muscles are sore and I'm a little achey, but thankfully it appears that I just had a 12 hour bug. Probably something I ate.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why I Am Not a Camper

Late June already.

Without young kids, the whole end of school/summer break thing is irrelevant to me. School letting out is no longer an important date on the calendar in the Runyon home.

I do however miss the energy that the end of the school year brings and the anticipation of those long, lazy days of summer.

But that was my world. Old School.

Nowadays, kids are shipped off to a variety of summer camps. They go on church history tours lasting several weeks. They attend volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, dance, and music camps. A lot of kids attend more than one camp and some have parents that don't want to do the parenting thing at all and have their kids go to all of them - and demand they like it.

And then there is scout camp.

For the boys, scout camp is generally held at one of several Boy Scouts of America run facilities that are located all over the country. The ones that our scouts use are generally located in California, Utah or Nevada although on some occasions, our boys will make the trek to Philmont which is in New Mexico. Philmont would be considered the Mecca of the scouting universe. If you are a serious scouter, you go to Philmont to drink the koolaid. You will be instructed by Golden and Silver Beavers. Your goal is to become a Beaver yourself one day.

For the boys, scout camp's emphasis is to earn merit badges.

Along the way, all sorts of shenanigans take place. Canoes tip over. Tents are rigged to collapse. Every year there are universal complaints about the food but in my opinion since someone else cooks AND cleans up you eat what they serve and keep your mouth shut. In summary: Quit complaining. I hate whiners.

There are also middle of the night sneak attacks on other scouts. There are all night story telling sessions (with much embellishment to be sure) and all sorts of memorable experiences that will help turn boys into men. Scout camp is rite of summer and signals the passing of yet another stage in a boys life. Next up for them is usually a drivers license. Then dating. Graduation. College. Mission. Marriage. Taxes. Death. Generally in that order.

My own experience with scout camp - perhaps a decade ago - was something I will never forget. I'm not a camper. I don't like sleeping on anything less than thousand count bed sheets. As far as I know, there aren't any sleeping bags that would meet this standard. Plus I like room service. I may not use room service, but I like to know it's there - just in case.

I don't understand why people want to camp - it's like saying, "I'm not driving my car today - I'll hitch up the horse and buggy." A quaint gesture at best.

Me and camping don't jive. I want an internet connection, ESPN, a robe, a shower with a loofa, and the aforementioned in-room dining option - in case I need it.

Anyway, I've been coaxed into camping a few times in my life. With the exception of Father/Son outings, scout overnighters and my lone experience (to be chronicled briefly here) at scout camp, I VOLUNTARILY went camping ONE TIME.

Wade convinced me it would be a good idea to do it.

He said, "Let's take our boys - it'll be great."

That was the hook - my sons. I would do anything for them and the prospect of sleeping in a tent under the stars DID seem like a good idea (at the time - I was idealistic).

We (Wade) picked the Duck Creek area in Southern Utah for this outing. The boys were thrilled to be going with their cousins. Wade brought Dixon and also invited TL's son Kahre to join us. We loaded up groceries (massive amounts of junk food) at Lin's in Cedar City, and sped off to the mountains located due east. A half-hour later we arrived at our destination and picked a place to set up camp- a flat spot underneath some gigantic trees. On dirt.

The tent was easy to set up. It was one of those things that is wound so tightly in its sack that someone like me with no patience could never get it back in there. I considered it to be a "disposable tent" for this reason alone. It became more disposable later on.

The boys were young - 4 and 2 respectively. Jake was at the end stage of potty training too....you can see where this is headed.

When the rains came in the middle of the night, our lack of camping experience was brutally exposed. Since we set up camp on dirt and didn't put down a liner underneath the tent, water had begun creeping into our abode and the mud wasn't far behind.

Jake started crying.

The lightning and a diaper full of #1 and #2 will do that to any 2 year old. I cried out for MY mommy.

I was clearly overmatched and utterly overwhelmed and we were less than 12 hours into our little excursion. Right then I decided that our two-nighter Father/Son campout would be cut in half.

Changing a diaper is usually a breeze. I could do it in my sleep. Changing a diaper confined as it were in the middle of the night while rain pelted us, a screaming 2 year old, an agitated, wide-eyed 4 year old, a soaked tent, and the feeling that I was rapidly losing control of the situation all contributed to me making a pledge right then and there that I would never again go camping. Somehow we managed to survive that night in the wilderness.

And left for home the next day.

10 years later I was guilted into what has turned out to be my last campout. Our scout leaders picked a campsite in the high Sierra's. Camp Kern was located in the middle of nowhere about 4 hours from Las Vegas. All fathers were asked if they wanted to spend a few nights with the boys who would be in attendance for the entire week. I opted to take the last shift so I'd be able to help tear down the camp and give kids a ride back home. The last shift was also only a two night commitment.

Chris Figgins was my co-pilot on the ride up there. This was pre-nav system so we were forced to use maps and a compass - real scout stuff. Since we were the last fathers to reach the camp, we had the shittiest tent. Not only was the tent sagging, it had holes in it, and worst of all it stood alone in the middle of an opening. This meant we had no shade. This became apparent to us on day #1 when the temperature crept toward the century mark, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The beauty and serenity of this pristine camp was shattered. Tents, as I soon found out, have no fans or AC. Brother Slade, who is an expert camper/handyman by the way, was kind enough to help out two pitiful city boys repair our tent with gigantic knots so the top didn't sag. He also rounded up some pads for our cots to enhance our nightime sleeping accomodations. The pads were filthy and stinky so mentally, I was fighting that issue. Really, the least of my concerns.

The latrine was horrific. A huge hole in the ground with a crude toilet if you were brave enought to sit down. The shower was cold and with hundreds of sweaty, dirty, stinky, filthy scouts using it, there was no way on earth I would even go inside that shed. Not in a million years.

My solution to all of this: Avoid the latrine. Only go #1. Use massive amounts of purell hand sanitizer. I had a lot of bottled water and I preferred to rinse off with that...alone in the woods. For sustenance I had the always delicious cheetos cheese puffs and the versatile Jack Links Smokehouse Original Beef Jerky. I could make it for 2 days on that diet easy - heck, I did it in Peru years later and it worked just as good then. Perhaps I should let NASA in on my little dietary secret so they can keep the astronauts refueled?

When the boys and I packed up camp I bid farewell to that lifestyle. I know that some people love to commune with nature by sleeping under the stars, cooking up meals in a little tin pot over an itty bitty fire and then doing it all over again for a week or more.

That life just isn't for me.

For obvious reasons.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

NBA Finals

I arose from a long Sunday afternoon nap that (oops) had crept into the evening and witnessed the very end of the Laker-Magic series. Yawn.

I had long ago come to grips that the Lakers would win another NBA title this year -they are just too deep. I was however not prepared for the awkwardness that would accompany such a victory.

On the makeshift podium erected at center court, NBA Commissioner Stern presented the Larry O'Brien Trophy to the 2009 equivalent of Beavis and Butthead. These guys were the owners sons. I think Dr. Buss was pheasant hunting in Argentina or something and couldn't make the series so he sent his boys. I half expected the word "dude" to come of son #1's mouth during his acceptance speech. ABC had the good sense to not allow the 2nd son to speak at all and cut right to interviewing the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson. That the trophy would be presented to people the sporting world knew nothing of was creepy. For all we knew, these guys could have tied Dr. Buss up in the back, SAID they were his sons, and orchestrated the whole thing. Great gag if it turns out to be true.

I also found Kobe Bryant's postgame enthusiasm and playfulness to be somewhat contrived. I mean it's not like he has EVER been known as a good teammate. On the contrary, he has been universally disliked due to his surliness, selfishness and aloofness. Then again, he quit going to school after the 12th grade and quit taking classes years before that. Simply, people don't love Kobe because he writes poetry or does complex ordinary differential equations.

Another annoyance is that he has to foolishly compare himself to the Diesel all the time. Everyone knows that Shaq was the glue that held those first 3 title-teams together and it killed, killed, killed Kobe that Shaq picked up #4 in Miami without him. That Kobe has now won #4, in his own teeny weeny little pea brain he justified his greatness to himself. Sure Kobe is a great ballplayer, and has a great nickname, The Black Mamba, but bottom line, he's just a shitty teammate. In fact, I'd rather lose with Dwight Howard than win with Kobe. Ouch.

As in all good fairy tales, Kobe's season-long scowl had turned into a smile by the end of the game. He jumped into the air when the buzzer went off and was giddy like a 7 year old at Toys 'R Us. He was a hugging, high-fiving, knucklebumping machine. Teammates hugged by Bryant weren't sure what to make of this new Kobe - but it's not like they are deep thinkers anyway. They hugged back.

And what is the deal with all the suits having to hug the sweaty players? If I'm a coach, no way I'm going to hug anybody with that much sweat dripping off them (task repeated a dozen times). It's just gross man. No one likes the smell of wet wool let alone sweaty wet wool. Or am I the only person that thinks of this?

The US Open is this week. When that wraps up we officially enter the dead zone. We'll be in sports limbo until the NFL kicks off in early September - sure there will be a few Grand Slams littered throughout the summer in golf and tennis, a few thousand baseball games, but the meat and potatoes of sports will disappear for a few months. Time for us sports fans to take a breather - restock the fridge, do laundry, pull weeds, change the oil in the car....all things on the to-do list that never quite got finished.

The Lakers? Yeah I know we'll have to hear all about their greatness for the next year - maybe longer.

It's okay - I just tune 'em out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time Travel

4:30am? What the.....?

This hour is always, 100%,reserved for sleep. That is of course unless one's body clock is out of sorts like mine is and will be for a few days.

I marvel at the fact I can wake up in Paris, hop on a plane and be seated at my desk in the office before the end of the same day. Granted, the 9 time zone difference helped me be Superman yesterday. Today, I'm more like Clark Kent. Human. Vulnerable. Hungry. Tired.

So what does one do at 4:30am? For one, I took my time unpacking. No way I could have unpacked last night - my body ached all over and my eyeballs were spinning around while I tried to convince myself, "Stay up until 10, stay up until 10," - repeated 100 times.

It didn't work.

I flopped in bed at 9 and was asleep by the time my magic sleep machine even revved up.

As I sifted through my things this morning, I found the dirt. Over the years I've made it a point to collect sand from all of the beaches I've traveled to around the globe. Pink sand from Bermuda? Check. Volcanic sand from Hawaii's Big Island? Check. The list goes on. While at Roland Garros I was able to scoop up some of the famous terre battue (red clay). I am still angry with myself for not getting sand from Augusta National a few years ago. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. My collection grows. Still, there are many more places to go before the last capsule of dirt will ever be filled. Some moon rocks would be nice one day.

As always, my mom watched the house while we were gone and as usual, I came home to a place that was better then I left it (except for the pool problem-more on this later).

Mom re-plants flower beds that have withered in the heat. She organizes drawers or closets that we've overlooked and that have turned into Fred Flintstone's closet - in otherwords open at your own risk. Mom, you're the best. But you forgot to clean out the garage. I'm cutting your allowance this month.

Best of all though was that I realized that since the nest is empty, more short hops around the planet are in order.

The world is a neat place and I have always enjoyed going to far off lands and muddling through the language barriers with serviceable Spanish, and less serviceable French. I do however AWAYS use the accent of the country I travel to and talk louder if they don't understand me - a universal and moronic gesture to be sure, but I do it to be funny. Janae rolls her eyes but inside I KNOW she is laughing. Sure it's juvenile. Big deal. It produces hilarity on a grand scale and makes for great dinner conversation. If nothing else, I'm charming when I travel.

I have a wicked-good English accent and have perfected it over the years by discourse with Jake and in his absence Davey. One day while I was standing in the checkout line at Von's I overheard the lady in front of me speaking with an English accent. I couldn't resist. I stepped up to the plate.

I said, "Iz you from the U.K.?"

She turned, smiled and said, "Yes. Which part are you from?"

"Uh....London...Westminster Abbey. Cheers." And walked away.

I don't even know if that is really a place. It took everything I could not to just bust out laughing in her face but the accent was good. Clean.

One year in Barcelona I volunteered my leadership to the group despite, at that time, some questionable foreign language skills. We embarked on an aggressive tour of the city by ourselves. While I managed to lead us to the Gaudi catherdral with little or no trouble (it's the origin of tacky....as in gaudi - it's true, look it up), I did however make a lot of Spaniards laugh out loud. Perhaps I will do a comedy gig there one day?

As for leaving, usually anything more than a week and I'll generally get anxious to be back home - to survey the compound, check the mail, and sit at my desk in the office. All of these worries are archiac and are remants of my father's world. His generation worked at their office, conducted meetings there and lived and died by this old school work ethic credo: Spend long hours at the office.

Our world today is far different. Hours do not measure performance. I can have my bills sent to me electronically. I can do my banking over the web. Anywhere there is cell and internet service I can stay in touch with clients and handle things just as if I was sitting in my office in Las Vegas. As much as I am a slave to the old world, I need to adapt better to the new one AND do things electronically. Heck, I still write checks by hand.

As for business, my biggest client doesn't even live here nor does he necessarily need to see me. Like all clients, they simply need to talk to me. To be able to communicate with me. Jumbo client was on vacation last week just as I was and we both managed to handle various issues without sitting down face to face. My job doesn't require me, for example, to be in an operating room like a surgeon in order to make a living. I don't manufacture anything or swing a hammer so being at a specific place at a specific time isn't relevant. I'm in the relationship business. I just need to have fully charged batteries, an up-to-date rolodex...er....the electronic version, and the guts to trust my instincts.

Okay, so the pool story I referred to earlier remains a mind-numbing experience that can only be fully understood by those souls who have dealt with contractors. As emails testify, our journey began on February 28th of this year. I even blogged about this back in March when the pool guy couldn't muster up the courage, not that I blame him, to jump in 45 degree water to replace 4 pool lights. 4 months later however I am happy to report that 3 of the 4 lights are working. It's the one that sits rusting on the pool deck like unexploded WWII military ordinance that is cause for concern.

I mean, it's June in Las Vegas and people come over all the time to swim and the light just sits there. Sure it's in a protective canister but it's the still-plugged-into-the-electrical-grid part that worries me - aside from the general annoyance of the thing just sitting there week in and week out.

You know what though? Just this morning I made a decision. I decided, just call someone else and get the damn thing fixed. My to-do list just got longer but my mind will rest easy knowing that my grandnieces and nephews who sojourn here to cool off in the pool will do so in safety.

As I sit here in the early morning of a rather cool and overcast Las Vegas day, I contemplate my world - life is extraordinarily good.

I am grateful for this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How Rare is Greatness?

Judging from what we saw today, it's pretty damn rare.

We were at Roland Garros in Paris for the French Open men's final today and saw Roger Federer complete the career grand slam and tie Pete Sampras' record of 14 total grand slams. Federer got to 14 in 40 tournaments, it took Pete more than 50.

It was a cold and rainy day in Paris, but the nice thing about playing on the red clay is that it is the one slam that can be played in damp conditions. Hard courts and grass get too slippery even if it just sprinkles, but not the red clay at Roland Garros. So, just like the Super Bowl in Miami 18 months ago, I got to sit in the rain and watch history. It was incredible.

Each generation has "the greatest of all time" (GOAT for short) and we've been blessed to witness Roger Federer and Tiger Woods ascend to the pinnacle of their respective sports at pretty much the same time (they each have 14 majors by the way). Woods is a few years older but will play far longer than RF since mens singles at any level puts enormous pressure on elbows, knees, shoulders, and backs and it would not surprise me to see King Federer quit playing in a few years once the slam record is safely out of Rafa's reach. Time will tell.

There are so many talented people around the world and in all walks of life, but true greatness? It's pretty rare and if you ever get a chance to see it up close you'll know it.

We saw it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Paris 2009

Okay, so the blog didn't quite die out completely. I realized I didn't have a whole lot of new material to post so on Sunday night, while watching French Open highlights, I looked at Janae and said, "Wanna go to Paris and catch the French Open finals?" Since we have done this trip 3 other times it took about 1 second for my wife to shout, "yeah!" Within 2 hours flights and hotel arrangements were made, and by the next morning tickets to the semis and finals were ordered. Ah, the life of emty nesters.

We left on Tuesday, a scant 36 hours after decided to go. The flight over was easy; LV-SLC-Paris. Delta Biz class seats allowed us to lie down and sleep, watch movies and sleep some more. The Air France flight that went down 2 days prior to our Atlantic crossing didn't worry me (no way 2 planes go down in 2 days - no one is that unlucky), but I did think of those poor folks and the horror they surely experienced.

Wednesday produced some of the best hilarity in months. Usually the day of arrival in far off lands promotes a "sleep of the dead" which is exactly like it sounds. Deep, deep, drool-inducing sleep and when you wake up, you have no idea where you are and if it's 6am or 6pm. Plus, there aren't 4 cats, 2 dogs, phones ringing, iphones pinging, landscapers and pool people wandering around making all sorts of racket - IT. IS. QUIET. HERE.

When we travel we bring A LOT of electronic doohickeys. Since you can NEVER find a plug in a convenient place at a hotel. Janae has a travel cord with 1/2 dozen outlets that always does the trick. Well here at the Marriott Paris Champs-Elysees they will remember us for knocking the power out not once, but twice.

The first incidence where we used our own power converter blew all the power in our room. After the fuses were reset, we used the hotel's converter AND Janae's "Clark W. Griswold" 6 in 1 adapter. Attempting to plug this apparatus in gave Janae the jolt of her life, sent smoke billowing into the air and knocked out all the power - again. But this time when we called the operator, she had to put us on hold since apparently, many hotel guests were calling to say that the power in their rooms went out. Janae and the operator were giggling over this mishap. I heard that the lights of the Eiffel Tower even blinked - The Griswolds got nothin' on us. After re-wiring the room with French approved power converters not only do our iphones and computers charge up, but my Magic Sleep Machine works splendidly. The flux capacitor is now working properly.

Day 2 took us to Roland Garros where we watched tennis in glorious sunshine for 7+ hours. The first order of business was to go pay my respects to Court #2. This is the court we first went to a decade ago on our first trip to RG. We spent a 1/2 hour watching the boys juniors quarterfinals, then it was off to the show courts to watch a myriad of doubles, mixed doubles and womens singles competition.

Thankfully smoking is permitted in public places here and since it drowns out the body odor and too-heavy-on-the-cologne guys, I don't mind it one bit. There were 2 people sitting next to us who apparently fell into their cologne and perfume bottles respectively, before venturing outside to the tennis matches. That bad.

All of Paris would like to see Roger Federer win his 14th grand slam title to tie Pete Sampras and to complete the career grand slam which only a few other men have achieved. Since Pete Sampras was and is so utterly boring, I would like RF to hold the grand slam record. The guy has made it to 20 straight slam semifinals beating the next best streak by 10 yet pundits continue to write about his demise.

Love Paris, love the French - Runyon is French by the way. It was spelled Rongnion back in the day. I'm home.

Stay tuned for more escapades from across the pond.

Au revoir.