Monday, May 31, 2010

The Greatest Generation

Today, on a bright blue cloudless Nevada day, we journeyed to The Boulder City Veteran's Cemetary about an hours drive from our house and gave a loud shout out to the deceased Veterans of the United States of America. Janae, Jake, my mom, my brother Eric and I made the trek and had an incredible experience.

As usual, for Memorial Day, a flag decorates the grave of every serviceman and woman. It is quite a site to see so many flags on display - makes the hair on your neck stand up to see the flags rippling in the wind while listening to Battle Hymn of the Republic and God Bless American rumbling over the loudspeakers. Chills. Are YOU feelin' it?

My father's burial marker like all in this particular cemetary is made out of brass. Years ago, my mother figured out that spraying the marker with WD-40 brought back the luster of the plaque and made it look brand new.

Nerdy I know.

Each time we go to the gravesite, you can bet that we have a can of the stuff in the car, along with flowers, and other decorations mom wants to use to dress up the gravesite. Mom is nothing if not efficient. Dad probably just wants us to pour suds on his grave.

Going on Memorial Day is a treat. The parking lot is always full and cars must park on the adjacent streets. It's almost like a festival and the atmosphere is extremely patriotic - people wearing red, white and blue....bikers in battalion leathers, youth groups in matching t-shirts, serious and stern young ROTC cadets, widows and widowers of every race and faith but Americans to the core.

After spending time at dad's gravesite, saying a family prayer, and my reading the poem, "Freedom Isn't Free," I wandered over toward the memorial area that honors each branch of service and witnessed a moving sight: An aged veteran soluting the granite monument that was erected as a tribute to the branch of service he served in so many, many years ago.

Seeing this old man nattily dressed in a brown suit and red, white and blue tie, proudly wearing a cap that beared his many medals and service pins was a deeply moving experience for me. I went up to him and shook his hand to express my gratitude for him and all of those men and woman of "The Greatest Generation." If not for these men and women we'd be speaking German or Japanese right now.

He was appreciative of my words and kind beyond belief. I was mesmorized by the story he began to tell..... It seems that this old veteran, hearing aids no doubt turned up to their maximum volume, hands shaking, his body weight supported by a cane was THE benefactor of the Boulder City Veteran's Cemetary.

The guy I was speaking to was Ken Brown. The same Ken Brown who bought and gifted the 83 acres of land to be used solely as a cemetary for veterans and their spouses back in the late 1980's. He'd made his money in real estate and when he learned that this piece of land was for sale, he went down the next day and bought it with the sole purpose of providing a Veteran's cemetary for Southern Nevada.

To spend even a minute with this hero would be an honor however he easily granted us some 15 minutes of his life telling stories of how the land purchase came about, the donation process, where his wife was buried in the cemetary (he knew the location by heart), his military service and how great a country America is. He became emotional speaking about the devastation of the recent oil leak in the gulf and how it affected the people living in the coastal region. I admired his compassion, was envious of his bravery, and was grateful for his courage.

By now I was completely in awe of this man - his stories, his bravery, his gift to the people of Southern Nevada, his service to his country and most of all, his honor.

This guy's DNA was made up of loyalty, courage, honor and guts. The marines credo is "Semper Fidelis," which means "Always Faithful." Maybe it's just me, but it seems like such conviction is lacking in the world today.

Where can we find such passion and commitment for our nation today? The republicans and democrats fight like children. Big business is as crooked as my drive on the first tee yesterday, and our government just keeps getting bigger, more complicated and more expensive. What's the solution?

I say we get some WWII vets in a room and let them figure it out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Golf & The Perfect Cart Girl

A modern twist on an old game makes for some interesting golf outings.

For decades now, golfers have become accustomed to seeing a slightly larger version of their own golf cart filled with beverages, snacks, smokes, and food meandering around the golf course. A veritable mini-mart on wheels - The Beverage Cart.

It's never about what's on the cart as much as it's about WHO is driving it. This makes for interesting discussion during a round.

I've determined without any real statistical analysis that the following types of beverage cart attendants exist in the world today:

1. The School Mom Cart Girl (SMCG) is older - maybe late 30's, has kids in school, is efficient, remembers your name and maybe even your member number too. She knows what your favorite beverage is and has it ready when she rolls up to your cart and is generally looping the course until her shift ends - maybe even longer. These types are a rare breed.

2 The Bimbo Cart Girl (BCG) is the exact opposite of the SMCG operator. She's tries to flirt but it always ends up awkward. She can't remember your name, often can't find the door to leave at night, wears her uniform too tight, and overdoes the whole, "Can I get you anything," routine. This type of cart girl NEVER balances her cart at the end of a shift. Fat, old drunk guys (like Ted Kennedy) love this kind of cart girl.

3. The Young Ambitious Cart Girl (YACG)is in her early 20's, putting herself through school and is simply a younger version of the FACG but with a better career path in mind. These types generally don't joke around much and are cold-bloodedly efficient in their work. Frankly, while dependable as the day is long, they are rather boring and we golfers tend to snicker at their uber professionalism.

4. The Male Cart Girl (MCG). An oxymoron if there ever was one, huh? This is the worst possible scenario on a golf course. Scores will skyrocket since all focus on one's game is lost due to the constant question that lingers the entire round long, "What's a guy doing driving the beverage cart?" It's the golf equivalent of a male nurse, or a male hairstylist. It's just wrong man.

5. The Flight Attendant Cart Girl (FACG). This is the matronly cart girl who is past her prime - sort of like all of the flight attendants on Delta and American Airlines. Their personalities were surgically removed years ago, they speed around the course like it's a video game. They like to pretend not to see you if you don't wave them over and have zero personality. The FACG's tend to be older than the SMCG and are protected from being dismissed since they know where all the bones are buried at the club.....and believe me, with all the shenanigans going on behind the cart barn, their jobs are safe until the day they die.

6. The Perfect Cart Girl (PCG). Yesterday we ran into not one but two PCG's. These are rare sitings - they are the golf equivalent of an endangered species. Sleek, young, tan, pretty, flirtatious, funny, touchy/feely (but in an awkward way), makes loop after loop around the course like a plow horse, and has that semi-sluttiness act that earns them triple the tips of #'s 1-5 above. Easily the finest cart girls on the planet but damn hard to find. Our new GM is an Aussie so maybe he imported them from down under but I couldn't detect an accent. I knew we were in for a treat when on the first hole, the heretofore unknown PCG pulled up next to my Brother-in-Law's cart and says, "Hey Love Muffin." My head snapped around so fast my C-4 and C-5 vertebrae are still sore 24 hours later. She had all the lines...but since we don't drink like the other 100 golfers out on the course, she held no power over us. Her tractor beam could not pull us in however we had a hilarious time from that point on just making up stuff. I was going to ask her, "Where do you dance at night?" I mean c'mon, "Love Muffin?" My brother-in-law will NEVER live that one down. We howled with laughter and our games suffered as a consequence.


I've determined that in order to play a good round of golf, the following are required:

1. A good group of guys. A foursome provides enough trash-talking and ribbing AND pace of play that is therapeutic and permits complete relaxation and focus.

2. A good day. For golfers, this is defined usually as "any day" however I must confess that playing in the wind generally sucks. The heat and the cold don't bother us. A little spot of rain isn't a big deal - even the occasional downpour is doable, but the wind is the 'X' factor that often determines if we tee up or not.

3. Cart Attendant #1. Utterly forgettable yet efficient. Keeps us from getting hungry or thirsty and doesn't try and work us. Talks about her kids (and we love kids), and their dreams. A proud momma.....and then she disappears for another 4 or 5 holes. Perfect.

Oh, and hitting 'em straight always helps too.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fire in the Hole

Yesterday Jake, me and some of my fellow gun enthusiasts left the gritty, concrete and crowded confines of city life and drove way out into the Nevada desert to shoot guns. We fired every weapon in our arsenal, sighted scopes, and re-arranged the terrain of the desert with my 50 caliber sniper rifle.

There was a slight wind however we were in a lowland wash area so it wasn't as bad as our other afternoon option: golf. We made the decision to shoot instead of hit the links about 11am once we figured out that most of our clients had high-tailed it out of town to get a jump on the long Memorial Day weekend. We could have been bored at work talking about shooting or just get off our asses and go do it. We chose the latter option.

It would be impossible for us to bring all of our weapons so we took only the Windrunner 50 caliber sniper rifle, the Colt AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, the 45 Colt ACP and the Desert Eagle 44 Magnum along with a plethora of ammo - at least 30 pounds worth. Koner, Mike and Dennis each brought along their weapons so we were armed and completely not dangerous. This is sport shooting folks and we all take safety very seriously.

After driving past the Indian reservation (and wondering why the Indians don't build windmills and sell the power to NV Energy), we left the Interstate 95 for a bumpy dirt road. 10 minutes later we were parked and unloading our gear.

I have never shot guns with Jake or Alec before so this outing had potential for a good teary father-son outing: shooting guns that are illegal in some states but in Nevada, we're more than okay.

I will put this in persective: The Nevada Test Site is about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. It was there that over 900 nuclear bombs were detonated above and below ground for the United States during the cold war heyday. The prospect of some heavily armed middle aged guys shooting guns wasn't such a big deal. In California, Massachusetts and New York we'd be in jail right now - for a long stretch. Nevada? We aren't even a blimp on the radar screen. In fact, we had enough gear and ammo, the A-Team and most South American countries wouldn't stand a chance against us.

After a few hours, several buzzing eardrums (gotta keep the ear plugs in fella's especially when the Windrunner is being launched), we hauled our dusty selves back into the vehicle and sped off for home.

I know Jake enjoyed the outing and I hope to take he and Alec out again soon.

Just living the dream.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Mens Dress Code

I witnessed a distressing fashion trend yesterday. Nightmarish.

Men wearing jean shorts.

With their shirts tucked in.

Wearing sandals.

With socks.

At 2 different locations.

The first guy looked like a "jean short" guy since his shirt was definitely from the early 1990's too and he was busting out of the shorts and his shirt like a sausage link.

The only guy I know that can pull off the wearing-old-clothes-routine is Marv. He's 86 and has been wearing the same wardrobe for at least 40 years....still comes into the office each day to give me the finger and call me an A.H. which is always followed by, "You know what that is." My stock reply is, "Yeah Marv, I'm looking at one now." Then he shakes his head, mutters something under his breath and wanders off. Groundhog day - this happens EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Since Marv still wears clothes from the '60's, I believe the hip phrase is "That was once old is new again," is debatable. In his all brown polyester outfit looks like the UPS man, and the navy slacks and light blue shirt remind me of a garage mechanic. Back in the day gas stations actually repaired cars and just might have a soda machine. Nowadays, when you refuel, you can buy groceries, get a carwash, and in Nevada, play slot machines. The apocalypse must be near.

All this got me to thinking about my own dressing style. I use this phrase since "fashion sense" sounds so gay. In high school we wore levi's and t-shirts. The girls wore ditto's (pants) and halter tops/tube tops or flimsy blousey things. All were easy to take off and get to 2nd base. I digress.

The '70's were just plain bad in terms of dress and the '80's were marginally better. Only in the '90's did things start to shape up.Nowadays the term "metrosexual" has become synonomous with Ryan Seacrest and men who spend just a little too much time primping and getting dressed. I'm not a metro.

Fashions come and go, but style is always, well, in style. Here are a few dress for success tips passed down from my dad that still work today:

1. Always make sure your shoes are shined. This means the leather side soles too. Nothing worse that seeing a man in a suit or dress slacks with shoes that look like he just played soccer in. Cool fact - I have my father's shoe polish brush from when he served in WWII - still has the his name stenciled on it so whenever I'm shining up my shoes, it reminds me of my dad (who died in 1994).
2. Make sure you nails are clean and trimmed. There can be no debate here - nothing worse than seeing anyone with curled talons on their hands or feet. Ick.
3. Make sure your clothes are pressed - don't be sloppy. No one likes a slob.
4. If you wear a blue, gray, or black suit, DO NOT EVER where brown shoes at the same time. Black shoes are the only appropriate footwear here (unless you are a pimp and then go ahead and wear shoes that match your suit color).

5. You can never go wrong wearing a pressed white shirt with any suit.

6. A pocket square is always a classy touch.

7. A men's belt should match the color of his shoes (sort of like the purse/shoe thing women fight with each day). Luckily for us a belt is only like $50 bucks versus a Kate Spade, or Ferragamo purse. Whew.

8. Try and not get too crazy with patterns. The suit, tie and shirt should not all be patterned - if you get to work and look in the mirror, it will look like you dressed in the dark.

9. It's okay to wear interesting socks slightly darker than one's trousers. A light pattern is permissable - even a bit wimsy is okay.

10. 2010 means flat front pants are in and a return to the '60's in terms of a tighter fit.

Guys, better hit the gym.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bubble Kids

I've been watching the NBA conference finals and keep seeing the same lame ad on the TV that emphasizes wearing seatbelts and that the cops are on the lookout to ticket offenders.....then my brain starting comparing the year 2010 with my ja,ja, ja, Generation (BTW that's a song title by The Who....they are a band....still quite popular with middle age folks).

I was reared in the 1960's and '70' had seat belts (they were called lap belts back then since the use of the three point belt [lap and shoulder strap] wasn't mandated until the late '70's early '80's and applied only to front seat passengers - it's true I looked it up) but no one used them. They were usually tucked deep down between the cushions of the large land yachts of the day.... Buick Bonnevilles, Cadillac Coup de Villes, Lincoln Continentals and so forth.

Back then I don't remember car seats either. Kids have car seats today as complex as the first space shuttle. They transform into playpens and carrying beds. They also plug into strollers and chairs to ensure that junior is adequately protected from head to toe and side to side. I think they have airbags too.

We were hauled around by the scruff of our necks, dumped into rickety strollers and when mom had to slam the breaks on, her right arm would shoot out to stop us from plowing into the dashboard. Worked every time. Carseat?

Today, kids are strapped in tight and stare zombie-like at built-in mini-tv's that play their favorite movies or games while parents sit up front and fret about the little tykes safety, they worry about their mortgage, their 401K, their's a shitty deal for young parents.

Back in the glory days, when America was kicking ass and taking names, we boys would play with plastic green soldiers or lego's or Lincoln Logs in the rear end of station wagons with the back window rolled down and we'd toss all sorts of stuff out the opening - especially on the deserted freeways of the American west.

This was part of being kid. If we were stupid enough to fall out of the back of the car, which I never did, mothers would certainly rub some dirt on the wound and kids would suck it up.

Today wearing a seatbelt is mandatory - people can be ticketed for failing to buckle up. I'm all for seatbelt use but to have law enforcement ticket folks for failing to buckle up is ridiculous and a testament to government sticking their nose into another area of our lives.

Some other observations:

When I was a kid,the only suntan lotion I can recall was Coppertone. Back then the Coppertone girl was an advertisement showing a young blond girl in pigtails staring in surprise as a Cocker Spaniel sneaks up behind her and pulls down her swimsuit bottoms, exposing her pale white butt in contrast with her tanned body. This photo is burned into my generation's collective memory. Check it out:

Now we have lotion for dark skin, medium skin, light skin, dry skin, oily skin; 4 SPF, 8 SPF and on up to 100 SPF (for my sister-in-law and nuke blasts). Geez, slap some sunscreen on and get out there. Get a sunburn? Too bad. At least that means you actually played outside.

We didn't use hand sanitizer either. We washed our hands before mealtime. Sort of.

Mom's would holler, "Wash your hands," and then sniff 'em to make sure we did it. Usually, we did such a bad job, the towel used to dry off our hands would get dirty. Usually we never quite dried our hands off completely either.

I also remember the scaulding hot days of football practice where my teammates and I stood in line and gulped water from a hose that I'm pretty sure had been there for years. Hell, it may still be there.

No fancy vitamin water, or gatorade or bottled water for us....or fruit snacks at halftime. I'm not necessarily dogging how kids have it today, I'm just pointing out the differences between generations....and how wimpy kids are today. It's true. Look it up.

When we were in Peru a few years ago we met a wonderful family and spent several evenings in their home playing a simple board game. I playfully asked out loud, "Where is the cord to plug in?" Laughter all around from Janae and the boys - except for the Peruvians who politely just smiled. They didn't get it. Back in the day we played OUTSIDE until the streetlights came on. Today, not so much.

From 1974 to 1976 I rode a bicycle to school, gasp, WITHOUT a helmet. Nowadays, everything from skate boarding to biking to skiing seems to require or strongly advocate wearing a helmet. Again, the idea is well founded I suppose, but what next? Airbags on bikes? I will laugh out loud the day I see kids walking to school with helmets on. Should you see this, it means the apocalypse is near.

Today, alas, kids are raised in a bubble. I wouldn't say our kids were raised that way (they are now 23 and 21 years old respectively), but the current generation sure is. Laughably so.

It's not that we were reckless parents, we just raised our boys up to learn from their own mistakes and to hopefully not make the same mistake twice.

Today's kids need to learn how to lose. They need to learn, by themselves, that the stove is hot....that dogs can bite and that cats have sharp claws. They need to fall off their bikes a few dozen times to learn how to pop a wheelie, hop a curb or fly off a makeshift ramp of plywood. They need to look people in the eyes when they talk to them instead of nodding and texting and grunting, "uh uh."

I mention the above since I'll be a grandfather in 4 months. We'll see if the Gold Bricks I gave to my son will be passed on to the next generation. These bits of wisdom contain the best stuff my mom and dad could offer up and what we could improve upon....yet falls short of complete bubble isolation.

Let's hope Alec was a good listener.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to Back

We've had a 2nd place in Salt Lake City for 6 years and this is the first time I've ever spent back to back weekends there. As always, there are reasons for the things that occur in my life that make it so interesting and comical.

Last weekend was Alec's graduation from college so coming up here was a no brainer.

This weekend was the Utah state tennis championships and Highland High, a team the boys helped coach with my boyhood bro Doc Foote, literally had the title "in the bag" after last weeks performance in Ogden. This event, plus the fact that at home in Las Vegas there was a church activity planned for Saturday at Warm Springs, which to me, is a forgotten outpost 50 miles from civilization and in the middle of nowhere amid some of the most barren land on the planet, was my other option. I picked a heartbeat. I would have walked if I had to.

The road to Warm Springs

I've concluded, with near scientific analysis, that no matter how many stops you make, or how fast you drive, it's a 6+ hour trip from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. It just is - I've done it in a number of cars, at different times of the year, regular hours of the day, strange hours of the day, with and without kids - doesn't matter. It's 6 hours plus - minimum. 6 hours in a car for me is torture.

Flying takes 55 minutes once the wheels go up. For this trip, I chose to fly. In fact I usually opt for the friendly skies since my wife for some inexplicable reason actually enjoys roadtrips. Me? Send the wife up a day or two early while Keith toils away at work (or gets in that extra round of golf) THEN I take the company jet (SWA), listen to some tunes, catch up on emails or snooze for a spell and before you know it, I'm back in my most favorite American city.

Thursday was a day crammed full of things I had to do, things I forgot to schedule and was just plain jacked full of stuff that kept putting back my departure. The golf game at 11:30 was one of those things....the wind in Las Vegas had stopped for the first time in a month and there was no way that me and the fella's were going to let this opportunity pass us by to hit the links. Delay number two was due more to my ineptitude in using my electronic calendar versus the yellow post it notes that frame my computer screen. I had colleagues from Los Angeles coming to meet me at 4:30, then we were going to dinner - I remembered this on about the 4th hole. Flight delay #3.

We managed to complete the round by 3:30 so I had time to shower and make the meeting. I arrived to the office on time only to meet a longtime friend and client in the parking lot who is as long-winded as he his Italian. I got rid of him as fast as I could and I ran inside, out of breath, hair wet, sunburned and was greeted by my LA pals with "How was the golf game?" Laughter all around. Since they had flights that night too, we left early for Flemings and wolfed down a great dinner, conducted some business, talked the usual sports talk, took apart healthcare reform, analyzed the housing and economic crisis, shook hands, and went our separate ways. Guys are easy like that.

Friday was filled with tennis, a nap and some hysterical conversations/movie analysis with Alec and Jake and, of course, a lot of Sportscenter.

By Saturday afternoon Highland High had in fact knocked off Timpview's 7 year stranglehold on the title and were crowned state champs while Doc Foote's son won the #2 state singles title. Elation all around. If there was one thing I learned during the finals it is this: Never tell the coach it's in the bag before the fat lady sings. Of course, one can only look to the 3rd paragraph of this post to see how seriously I take things like this.

I had an inkling that the title was theirs and was simply uttering aloud what the late, great Lenny Snellman would have said. Kathy-from-the-UK and I were extremely postive about Highland's chances although she's 90 years old and still thinks Churchill is running things over there. Super nice lady - splendid in fact. Last week we spent some time with her and she helped us wiff our English accents and considered them to be "Most excellent." And to answer the question that all of your are thinking; "Yes, being from England, her teeth are in bad shape."

Another nap followed the matches and then we celebrated at Cucina Toscana again with Valter and his staff. Said it before and will say it again, it's the best dining experience you will ever have. I'm hooked on Valter.

I gotta be honest - for once I'm looking forward to driving Jake home today from college. We packed up most of his stuff last week in the SUV and today we will set out to break the 6 hour mark heading home.

We have several things in our favor:

1) There ar no girls or dogs in the car

2) We are both built from the same impatient cloth

3) Our wheels are turbocharged

4) We stop for nothing except fuel - one time.

Let you know how long it takes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Alec's Graduation Weekend

Friday was one of those great days in life that I know will stay with me forever.

The family gathered in Salt Lake City to celebrate Alec's graduation from the University of Utah. He studied physics and graduated summa cum laude which is latin for "with highest honors." During his 4 years he earned all "A's." Mind boggling. He starts medical school in August and his wife is expecting their first child in September. Busy and exciting times for them.

When Alec's name was announced at graduation, our group of 10 whooped, hollered and woo-hoo'd VERY loudly and Jake sprang from his seat and hollered, "That's my brother!" We even managed to drown out the applause for the Asian contingent which represented at least 50% of the Department of Science grads. I know this since the crew behind us were Chinese and admittedly told us that we had the loudest cheer. I wanted to start the wave but was pretty sure the science nerds wouldn't get it or better yet, couldn't coordinate it. One guy earned his Phd in something like Elliptical Partial Differential Equations. Jake and I turned our heads toward each other and rolled our eyes as if to say, "Puh-leeeeeeze just make sure satellite TV keeps working."

Afterward, while taking photo's, Alec gave me one of the greatest gifts (and compliments) I have ever received. He presented me with a red sash, identical to one he wore with his honors ropes and medals, and on it was a personal message. The gift of the sash is officially called "A Stole of Gratitude." It's given to the person who motivated and/or inspired them during their education process. The stole had a personal message that Alec had hand wrote that made the big fella weep like a baby.

That night we then dined at Cucina Tuscano.

This place is located on the west side of Salt Lake city in an old tire building - the Firestone logo is still painted on the structure and one can see that better than the Cucina Tuscano sign which is covered in ivy. From the outside you would never think of eating there....or if you did, you could have your tires rotated at the same time. Nope. I've dined around the globe in all sorts of cool restaurants; Paris, London, Honolulu, New York, San Francisco, Tijuana, Chicago, Lima, Fort Worth Stockyards (best BBQ of all time), N'Awlins, name it.... and this little joint tucked away in a quiet little corner of the world was, hands down, the finest dining experience I ever had. The owner is about 70 and has Albert Einstein-like hair only combed a lot better and an excitable and cheerful demeanor. He dresses much better than the deceased physicist too. His natty wardrobe was the perfect mix to greet customers, sprint into the kitched to holler in Italian at the chefs, and roam his restaurant like a panther to ensure that the service staff were all on the ball. All along I was calling this cat Walter while telling him one of my Grandfathers hailed from Trieste in Northern Italy. This simple fact meant that from that minute forth, we were paisan's - which means "friend" in Italian. Walter also loves the ladies. He kisses all of them no matter what they look like. I also found out late in the game that his name is "Valter." So I was misprouncing his name all night but his English wasn't so hot either. When we left, we embraced. Paisan's forever. Call the movers Janae.....we're headed to SLC.

Saturday we trekked north to Ogden to watch high school tennis. The boys helped coach the Highland High tennis team this year and had all of their players competing for state seedings for the state tournament next week. The bottom line is that Highland High opened a HUGE can of whoop ass and beat the snot out of their opponents. Me? I like winners.

Their dominance was so great that I found myself sound asleep on the grass in one of the most beautiful locations I can ever recall - at the foot of Mount Ogden surrounded by green grass, a beautiful golf course and some well behaved dogs. The only other outdoor nap that could compare to this was at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in 2000. Out cold on my back and snoring like Fred Flintstone.

Returning to the hotel we watched in dismay yet another heartbreaking Jazz loss to the hated LA Lakers. The announcers can't contain their love for Kobe. Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.... Me? I like the Shaqobe era much better since Shaq's lovably, goofy personalaity made up for the Black Mamba's surliness and nasty temper. FYI, Kobe was named after a steak house in western's true, look it up.

Sunday was a rare radio/TV double for me.

At the Grand America Sunday Brunch/feast I was interviewed by the local Fox network about Mother's Day whilst stuffing my face with jumbo shrimp cocktail, sage sausage, more bacon than I've ever downed in a single sitting (including Christmas morning) 2 creme brulees, and all sorts of other delicious and tasty morsels. As a precaution against my arteries clogging up and throwing wrench in the trip, I downed a handful of aspirin and 2 chloresterol pills - one before the meal and one after. So far, so good - no chest pains whatsoever.

The drive home.

I hate driving for more than 10 minutes so the six hour drive from SLC to LV was pure torture until Janae located the NFL sirius radio channel that I listened to for most of the drive. Since there was absolutely nothing to do for 6 hours but stare at the road, I called the radio to chat with Jack Arute and Josh Porter about, among other things, the NFL labor contracts; issues with PED's; and about having teams put on garage sales to get rid of their junk and raise money for local charities. I may need to guest host on West Coast Biased.

We stopped in Bunkerville to leave flowers on Janae's mothers grave. When I looked at the date of her death - which seemed like yesterday - I was amazed that it's been nearly a 1 1/2 years since her passing.

The last hour or so of the ride Janae played songs off her iphone and I had to guess the song and the group. My overall score was pathetic - probably around 30%. I knew most of the songs and could sing along, badly, but was clueless about the artist and song title. This confuses me greatly. I can remember all sorts of sports statistics yet am unable sing a single song from memory and get all the words right unless they were Christmas songs. I botch up every song. Even those from my favorite artists. Admittedly, it is the one thing I am bad at.

Of course it's quite possible that my brain is so packed with sports stats, and other useless trivia that there's no room for music. The aforementioned however make me a great trivial pursuit player. Trust me, you want me on your TP team.

We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.

- George Bernard Shaw