Monday Night Football

Monday Night Football

Even though tonight is Thursday, it marked the first installment of Monday Night Football.

It is probably ABC’s most consistently popular program. Unfortunately, it ends so late that most people have long since gone to bed. To make matters worse, a few years ago, ABC added an extra segment, with commercials, after the game, which extends it another 5-10 minutes.

In a fair and just world, Monday Night Football would start at 8:00 PM, a more civilized time. But, there would be no early local news on the West Coast, and that seems to be the stumbling block.

O.K. – I know – This is all very selfish on my part, since I have to stay until 35 minutes after Monday night Football ends. So, sue me.

Tonight, to open the season, ABC ran a musical special at 8:00 PM. With it, we established again that Britney Spears, as adorable as she is, can’t sing, nor can she dance, nor can she even lip synch with conviction.

Did I mention she’s adorable?

Is That a Dinar In Your Pocket…

I drink entirely too much coffee, and I’ll be the first to admit it. Two mediums a day… it’s probably the equivalent of 4 or 5 regular cups. But, I can’t do without it it, and why should I?

Tonight, on my way back to work after dinner, I stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts near home (by the way – what a disappointment while in Southern California this year to find no Dunkin’ Donuts). They know me well enough that often, my coffee is poured and ready by the time I’m at the counter.

As is often the case, especially after being on TV for over 19 years on the same station, I was recognized. It was a young black man. He was wearing flashy ‘bling’ and an elastic type head covering on this awful, drippy, day.

When he spoke, it was obvious that he was well educated and a man, not a child. He had the confidence that comes with maturity.

His name is Aaron Hawkins and he grew up here in town. Now, he’s in the Army, repairing tanks. His home base is in Georgia, but he’s just back from Iraq.

We talked a little about the war (I worry about this Vietnam wannabe war, fought mostly by men of color, without a draft). There are too many historical analogs.

Then, as I was about to leave, he reached in his pocket, pulled out his wallet and started to thumb through the bills. He pulled one out, smiled, and gave it to me… a 250 Dinar note with Saddam Hussein’s picture. Current value, around $.20.

I’m sure Saddam saw the proofs, asked to have his hair darkened and a little taken off the jowel… or maybe the artist knew for his own safety that flattery was the best policy.

Whatever the case, it was a great gift from Aaron. I’m glad I got to meet him.

More On Ivy

I so want the drugs to help Ivy, but so far they are not.

Helaine sat on the sofa in the family room, with the laptop, watching and stroking Ivy. Ivy’s breaths were short. Her chest pulsing rapidly.

A quiet dog to being with, Ivy is calm, her motions measured.

It’s sad.

My Life in Edumacation

I have just begun my second year at Mississippi State University (These are the Bulldogs, it’s not Ole Miss), studying meteorology.

You might ask, why would someone who has performed the job of meteorologist for the past 20 some odd years now go to school for it… and isn’t the commute to Starkville going to kill me?

It started at my last contract negotiation. Though my boss has a slightly different memory of it that I, the facts are pretty much the same. Our collective boss (The Big WASP Kahuna) thought it would be better, and more promotable if I had the American Meteorological Society Broadcasting Seal of Approval (aka the seal).

At one time, the AMS handed these out like candy on Halloween. That ended about 20 minutes after I entered the weather field when the seal program became the Meteorologists Full Employment Act of 1983. In order to get a seal you would need a core meteorological college level curriculum and then pass a screening.

The station’s offer was, if you invest the time to take the courses (3 years, 17 courses), we will pay your way. So, I’m on a LIN Television scholarship. Interestingly, I will have the seal a few months after the expiration of my current contract.

Mississippi State University developed this distance learning course (what used to be called “correspondence school” ) to scratch an itch. I have recently seen estimates that nearly 30% of all TV meteorologists went through the MSU program.

The lectures are on DVD and videocassette. The textbooks are standard, overpriced, and professor written. Tests and quizzes are given online and are all multiple choice. I guess this opens the program up to cheating, though I have never heard a hint of it.

So far, I’m a straight “A” student. I only mention that because my previous college career (which began in 1968 and is on my permanent record at Mississippi State – and is the reason for the name of this weblog) was a disaster.

I was to college as Gigli was to movies.

This semester my courses are Statistical Climatology and Severe Weather. I actually have enjoyed most of the courses I’ve taken so far, though it is obvious that not every course has the right amount of material for exactly one semester, and not every professor has a flair for lecturing on DVD (It was like chalk on a blackboard to hear one lecturer mispronounce Greenwich, England).

It has been interesting to watch Mississippi State operate. I get lots of emails that are written for students on campus. I found out that cowbells were banned from football games. Who knew? I was invited to seminars to grill perspective administrator candidates.

MSU’s computer system, which is my link to the school, seems rickety. It is constantly down for varying lengths of time. A few semesters ago, during finals, it ran out of space and lost a load of final exams (though not mine). There was no backed up data!

I just went to get an MSU logo to put with this entry… it’s down right now.

A while ago my wife asked, “Have you learned anything?”

The answer is yes.

“But,” she continued, “how important could it be if you haven’t needed it in the last 20 years?”

Good point.

Ivy Comes Home

Ivy is home. I picked her up at the vet early this afternoon. But, she is still not well.

Earlier, on the phone, the vet had run down a laundry list of things that were wrong or could be wrong with Ivy. Heart problems, fluid in her lungs, possible emphysema, possible cancer. It’s too much to fathom. Yet watching Ivy in the hospital cage was cruel and unusual punishment for her and us.

She is not panting like she was when we brought her to the emergency clinic last Thursday. Her breathing is still shallow. She’s now taking three sepearate pills a total of 7 times a day. The pills could help.

We continue to hope and pray.

Visiting Ivy

Poor Ivy is still at the hospital. I went over around 7:00 PM tonight. Everyone was busy, and treatment was taking place in proximity to Ivy, so I was asked to come back.

Fine. Enough time to run over and try and help my friend Harold, who had crashed Windows 98 while installing the latest DirectX. I couldn’t help.

I got to Ivy about 8:00 PM. It was a good visit. Ivy came out wearing one of those cones they put over dog’s heads so they won’t touch sutures or IV tubes. She wasn’t panting. Her breathing seemed normal. This is a very good sign.

Ivy ate 1.5 pieces of American Cheese before turning away. That’s her norm when she’s full.

She has heart troubles. The ultrasound tonight showed that… and it had been expected earlier. But, more than likely, medication will control her problems.

We will all be happier when Ivy returns. Maybe tomorrow.