Tuesday, June 21, 2005


As my wife keeps telling me, bloggers have WAY too much time on their hands. As usual, she is right - as I'm just now finding out. I began writing this mess days before my really busy season hit. Now, if I've got ten minutes to spare I like to spend it curled in a fetal position chewing on my pillow and weeping softly.

But fear not (all two of you who stumble on this) as soon as I can get out from under this thing they call WORK, I'll be back with a vengeance.

For those of you (yes, both of you) who know what I do for a living, let me leave you with this: there are a lot of well-meaning people out there trying to raise children who are wrapped too tightly for the effort. If you are one of those people I encourage you strongly to relax. Children are amazingly resilient creatures (if you don't believe me, take a gander at the tots surviving incredibly difficult circumstances in various parts of the worlds - first, second and third). Your child, with all the advantages you have been able to provide, will survive most of the things you fear they won't - if you let them.

It's been a pleasure. See you soon. Maybe sooner than you think.

Oh, one more thing. I can't let it pass unremarked that today, Summer Solstice, featured a full moon. I'm not sure exactly how rare an occasion this is/was but it certainly seems like it should be auspicious (where's spell-check when you need it?)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bride Guide

Hey Ladies, I'm real sorry for being so late with this but maybe it will be useful for those of you gettin' hitched in September.

Uncle Peyote's Guide to Preparing the Perfect Wedding Announcement

If you've checked the rates our newspaper is charging to publish your wedding announcement you shouldn't waste valuable space on useless detail that the general public (i.e. me) doesn't care about. If you follow these guidelines, you'll be aces.

  1. Picture. Your picture is the most important thing in the announcement. Chances are you're hiring a professional photographer who is going to shoot you in one of three or four tried and true poses which ALL SUCK. For your announcement picture find a friend with a good camera (and reasonable skills) put on your wedding dress and knock back a couple of tequila shots and enjoy yourself. The more interesting the pose the better we'll remember you. But be ladylike, OK? Caveat: be sure to wait until the next morning to decide which picture to publish and go BIG with it. Use the most real estate possible for the picture - eliminate everything else but your name (and maybe the groom's name) if you have to. On a personal note, only you know whether you should be wearing that strapless gown. (Think hard, OK?)
  2. Body Text. This is what we want to know about you:
    1. Where you got married. There is a hierarchy of churches starting with First Pres at the top and working down to Oak Grove Church O' Carpet Samples hovering near the bottom. There is also a sub-hierarchy for the various denominations so be sure that, whatever your religion, you're getting married in one of the top three churches of that denomination (or we will look down on you). If you're not getting married in a church or synogogue it had better be someplace cool like the top of Victoria Falls or Bill Gates' backyard. Naming the minister/priest/rabbi is optional.
    2. Who are your parents? M.D.s trump PhDs by the way. If grammy and grandpa have been dead for any longer than three years (unless they're famous) don't list them.
    3. Where you went to school (and don't think we won't notice the difference between "attended" and "graduated".) List every degree you've got and if you're a doctor, make sure everybody knows it. We're split on whether you should list your high school if you're a college grad but generally it helps us to place you if your name sounds familiar.
    4. Where are you working, plan to be working, or "formerly" working if you're marrying a doctor.
    5. If you are a Deb, by all means rub our noses in it. If you are a Double Deb and your picture is not upper left-hand corner of "Celebrations", sue the bastards
    6. Tell us where you're going on your honeymoon ONLY if it's someplace we'll have to look up on the world map. If you're going to Disneyworld you have our sympathies.
    7. List as many bridesmaids and groomsmen as you please but remember this is about YOU and not your mangy cousin from south Louisiana who you hate anyway.
  3. Stuff to leave out.
    1. Anything or anybody you had to pay for with your daddy's money. These are called VENDORS. Caterers, DJs, Bands of Oz, photographers etc. are already compensated and don't need to be mentioned. Exceptions to this rule: if daddy hired U2 to play for the reception, the caterer is Bobby Flay or if Annie Leibowitz is your photographer. On those rare occasions when the vendor will take a mention in lieu of payment (unlikely) it is still gauche to mention them but acceptable.
    2. WE DON'T CARE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR DRESS OR BOUQUET. Don't even mention that your wore a dress. We'll assume it was the same one as in the picture.
    3. If you hold your rehearsal dinner or reception at someplace ordinary, we'd leave it out. If, on the other hand you're hosting a bridesmaid luncheon at K&W Cafeteria, put it in. Out of town weddings are the most difficult because most people aren't going to know what you're talking about (but the upside is that people will presume it's classier than it really is.)
Remember hundreds of strangers are reading your wedding announcement and making snap judgments about you. If you can't impress us, at least mystify us. None of us uninvited types are going to care if skimp a little on the reception as long as you spend the big bucks for the announcement. Your wedding annoucement should run in the paper no later than two weeks after the actual wedding - preferably the DAY after. Hope you have a great wedding.

Next up: Writing the perfect Obit

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Smack my hand!

I take it back. This is one beautiful town full of beautiful people. As my new friend, Margaret, pointed out: there but for the grace o' God go I. So, we all friends now, no hard feelings? That's good.

Unfortunately with no one to criticize for their outward appearance I must turn my wayward fingers to yet another burning topic plaguing our fair city - banks. Actually, I could give a rat's rectum about banks but with all the mergers and acquisitions going on these days it's hard to tell whose on first. My current confusion centers around Sun Trust and Southtrust and which one is about to be part of Wachovia and which one is taking over CCB or BB&T or whatever. Wachovia must understand my confusion because they are buying full-page ads in the newspaper reminding me which is which. Except, of course, I have the attention span of a flea and couldn't tell you what I read ten minutes ago.

As a long-time Wachovia customer I feel the same pride Red Sox fans must have experienced, knowing that my bank is crushing the competition and that no matter where I go, there they are. In fact there they are right next door to where they are. Decisions, decisions. And look, another Wachovia is going up - right over there!

Why are banks even bothering to build more buildings? As long as I can find an ATM and can check my balance and do practically every other transaction on line why would I need a building? But I suppose banks can't spend ALL their excess cash supporting political candidates.

And speaking of which, I wonder where RBC Centura is spending their excess cash. Hey, y'all you're not fooling anybody you know. We all know that the "RBC" stands for Royal Bank of CANADA! Yes, that's right, Canada, our nefarious neighbor to the north. Don't think they've forgotten about the recent unpleasantness we refer to as the War of 1812. More like the war of Canadian aggression! Don't think for a minute that Canada isn't eyeing our border towns like a hyena checking out a wounded gazelle. We're patrolling our border with Mexico with a vengeance but Canada? Longest undefended border in the world. HA! Just something to chew on.

Monday, June 13, 2005


If First Horizon Park's goal for last Saturday night was to collect Greensboro's least attractive citizenry into one space in order to sell them beer, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. As we stood in the queue waiting for the park to open we were treated to a parade of some of nature's greatest mistakes. I'm not talking about just the tattooed mutants who were there in their numbers but rather a general profusion of the Piedmont's genetic and sartorial oddities-lured, I'm presuming, by Willie Nelson, easily obtainable (but certainly not inexpensive) alcohol and the prospect of lighting up their cigarettes in the great outdoors.

Once inside the park, my wife and I ran our own little contest to pick the evening's worst-looking individual, most ghastly couple and the most likely result of generations of interbreeding. After selecting a number of runners-up, the winners in all three categories (they tied for worst-looking individual) sat down (where else?) right in front of us! I won't go into the specifics of their loathsomeness but let me just say, if our local movie industry ever wants to make "Dawn of the Dead II" they need not look far for extras. This lovely couple, who, I gather, were already drunk before they made it inside shared cigarettes, 24 oz. Budweisers and (shudder) open-mouthed kisses. Just as my wife, whose initial enthusiasm for seeing Bob Dylan again was cooling off rapidly, was about to suggest we give this evening up as a lost cause, the mutant couple in front of us decided they weren't close enough to Willie and headed for the infield. (Thank you, Jesus!)

Maybe we lead too sheltered a life but I swear, I wasn't aware that there were that many ugly people within commuting distance of Greensboro. I don't see them on a daily basis so I'm guessing that they live in special enclaves with their mother/sisters, father/brothers and cousins not-nearly-removed-enough and allowed out only for special occasions like this one.

As the evening wore on and the Willie fans were eventually replaced by the much younger, much more attractive Dylan fans, I had to wonder whose brilliant idea it was to combine these two acts with their wildly diverse fan bases into the same evening's entertainment. If you're one of the people who stood in line waiting to get into the show Saturday, please know that I'm not talking about you. But, you do know who I am talking about right? You saw them. You probably thought to yourself "what in the world was he/she thinking when they decided to wear that (fill in the blank.)" Or wondered how the truly grusome amoung us manage to find each other. (I'm thinking "Love Lines")

Note to Greensboro Beautiful: believe me, it aint.

Friday, June 10, 2005

What was he thinking?

Sometimes President Bush can be so dense. He's pictured on the NY Times site touring the new National Counterterrorism Center and announcing his candidate to head the organization: some old admiral or another. Dude, haven't you been watching "24"? The perfect candidate for the job is obviously (duh) Kiefer Sutherland! With Kiefer in charge terrorism would dry up like a slug in a Morton Salt factory. Kiefer has a way of getting things done in one 24 hour day that would take an army (or rather, navy) of old admirals to do in months or even years. OK, we admit that his decision to personally invade the Chinese embassy last season should have been re-thought but you can blame his writers for that. Now that he's gotten that annoying Audrey off his back (and questioning his every move, we hate her soooo much) he's free to track down terrorists throughout the-world and without any help from the FBI, CIA, NSA or other inept intelligence agency.

I encourage the senate to quickly reject the president's current appointment and confirm Kiefer Sutherland to the post. Osama would turn himself in tomorrow if he thought Kiefer was on his trail.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I read something yesterday that said it is erroneous to refer to outer space as cold because without molecules, the concepts of hot or cold doesn't exist. Outer space, which is a big vacuum, is best described as a heat sink. It sucks heat.

OK, that explanation doesn't make much sense to me either. But I'm not really concerned about heat or cold or outer space as much as I am about vacuums. Specifically, the difficulty of creating something in a vacuum. Take for example the process my work group has devised for our current project. There are currently about 20 of us on this project so, in order to facillitate communication, someone came up with the idea of creating a Blog. To ensure that everyone knows there is a new posting to the Blog, everyone automatically gets an e-mail with the entire text of the current post and a link to the Blog for comments. Should work great, right? Nope.

The trouble is that nobody ever reads the message, or if they do, they never post comments, never give any feedback, never even acknowledge that they're even aware that the post is there. I ask people: "Did you read my latest posting"? Blank stares. Or, "no man, I've been slammed, I'll get to it." Of course, they don't. One of the team leaders admitted to me that she tried once to get to the Blog but couldn't so she gave up trying. O...K... In the interim, while I'm waiting for someone to tell me "yes, this is a good idea, develop it, OR no, this is not a good idea, discard it" the project limps along directionless.

Now you may be smiling at my naivete. Thousands of people post Blogs but only nine people ever read them and comment - you nine people know who you are. You're the ones who are perpetuating the myth that Blogs are changing the way we communicate. In truth, Blogs are changing the way we fail to communicate. Nobody is really interested in what another person has to say - they're only interested in what they have to say and I guess now that includes yours truly.

I am willing to admit that maybe it's just me, that I'm too needy. But I tell you what, this is getting old.

Sorry for the rant. Not particularly clever today - must be the weather.