Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bowling Bowling Bowling..... Keep Those Balls A Rolling.....

So, I joined up with a Bowling league a few weeks ago, and the season just ended. I use to bowl in Leagues quite a bit, and yes, I have my own shoes, ball and bag, the whole nine yards. I guess I went ahead and got the shoes, just so I wouldn't have to wear those funky colored rental ones, because who knows what kind of toe funk is in there. OK, I admit it, I bought the shoes because they are cool looking.

So anyway, the adventure Club that I belong to made some deal with the Bowling Alley, to let us create a 6 week league. That's unusual, because most leagues, if I remember correctly, were ~ 14-16 weeks long for summer, and 32 weeks long for winter. Now, I like to bowl, but not THAT much. 6 weeks in a row, is about right.

The thing I like, is that it is a "Handicap League", in which bowlers have extra pins added to their scores, based on their teams average, vs. the avg. of the team you bowl against. It sort of levels the playing field between the good bowlers, and the not so good. Anyway, it's not supposed to be about the winning, it's all for fun of course, but like one of my old coaches use to say, "It's more fun..... to win".

So, we had 4 teams of 3 players each, and if you are not familiar with League Play, you bowl 3 games once per week, and a possible 4 "points" can be won at each meeting. 1 point awarded for which team wins each game, and one point awarded for "Total Wood", which is the total number of pins knocked down, including the handicap pins. This week, was the final week, and my team was in second place..... by 1 point. So there was a chance.

We were not bowling the 1st place team this week, we were bowling the 3rd place team, so in order for us to win, we would need to bowl very well, and we needed the first place team to stink. Unfortunately for us, the first place team included a 175 average bowler. Let's just say, my team was going to need some luck. Basically, if everyone on the team bowls at least their average score, you have a good chance to win. So of course, that didn't happen.

My first game, I threw a 122. Not a bad score, unless your average happens to be 144, that is. The other 2 bowlers on my team threw their average, so basically we lost the first game because of me. Fun huh? Wait. I don't know if it was the beer I started drinking about 1/2 way through the first game, but in the second game, I threw a 182, with 5 strikes and a "turkey" ( 3 strikes in a row), so not only did we win the second game..... because of me, but we pulled 12 pins ahead of the other team, in total wood, at that point. In the third game, I threw a 154, and the other 2 members also threw above their averages, so we won the third game, and total wood, for a final last night point win of 3-1, which technically put our team from 1 point behind, to 2 points ahead in the league. It all depended then, on how the first place team was doing, so afterwards, I went over to the other lane.....

The first place team was 1/3 of the way through their 3rd game, at the start of the 4th frame. They had already won the first game by 95 pins, AND, the second game, by 1 pin. So, that meant that they had already won 2 of the 4 points, and were therefore at that point, tied with us for 1st place. The best I could hope for then, was a tie, but the ONLY way, for us to finish the League in a tie, was IF, the 4th place team, beat the first place team in the last game, by MORE THAN 96 pins. Fat chance huh? Oh ye of little faith.

The automated scoring system keeps a running total of the scores, including handicaps, but unless the timing of the 2 teams bowlers throwing their balls is equal, it can be difficult to determine who is winning, while the game is going on. As best I could tell in the 4th frame, the team I needed to win, was behind by 25 pins (sigh). Of course, that was before I began applying my powers of "Mental Assistance". What I do, is force the pins to fall over by sheer force of will. I direct all my "Bowling Karma", at the pins down the alley, to MAKE THEM fall over, or stand up, as the particular moment, and bowler requires.

Hey, don't laugh, "Tom's Bowling Karma", has certainly been a running joke among my "friends" in the league, but even the most hard core bowlers will agree, that Tom all too frequently, "gets lucky", when a wobbly pin is standing, and he jumps up and down, and "makes it fall over", or using his "leaning body language", to "cause" the ball to stay straight for long enough, to graze, and knock over, that last pin. People often say, "Oh that was just luck". My response? "So what, I take luck, it works for me" :-)

So it actually comes down to the 10th and final frame, the 4th place team is ahead, but I can't tell by how much, but it's close to the 96 I need, and so I give the 4th place team, my "Be The Ball", naa-naa-naa-naa-naa-naa-naaa Karma, like in that movie Caddy Shack? And I'll be damned, if they then proceeded to throw what must have been the best frame of their entire league, and the final score of their 3rd game....... A 4th place team win, by 112 pins!!!!!!

YEAH YEAH YEAH BABY BABY, HAPPY DANCE, HAPPY DANCE, Boogie Woogie, Boogie Woogie, Shuffle Shuffle Shuffle Shufle, Kick, Turn, Spin". If you've never seen me do it, think about if you've seen "Snoopy" dancing. It's very similar :-) Even Mr. "Super Bowler" on the other team wasn't too disappointed, since by his calculation, his team had blown it, and dropped to second place. When I informed him that actually, the league ended in a tie, he was so happy, that he then bought a round of drinks for all 12 of us.

That shows me good sportsmanship, which in my opinion, is SORELY lacking, in most of today's "Trash Talking" sports environment. Maybe there is hope for humankind after all :-)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Remembering Peter Jennings

In case you haven't heard, Peter Jennings, the ABC Anchor lost his battle with Lung Cancer last week. I felt sort of worse then most about this, because you see, I knew him, and I even worked with him once..... sort of.

You see, I'm signed up with this local company, that does "Focus Groups" and "Market Research". Apparently, I must fall smack dab in the middle of many manufacturers target audience, because these guys call me up all the time, to come down and..... taste their new breakfast cereal, watch there new commercials, yada yada yada, then afterwards, There's a recorded round table discussion. Why do I bother to do it? Well, the place is only a 10 minute drive from my house, they usually feed you a deli plate, and they pay you. $25.00/hr, for usually 2 hours..... cash, if you get my drift :-)

So anyway (I'm getting to it, patience) I was also doing this stuff when I was in CA, and a bunch of years ago, just before the Clinton/Bush Senior Debates, they call me up, ask me a bunch of political questions, and then say "We're having a political round table discussion at Stanford University with Peter Jennings of ABC News, do you want to participate?"


Do I want to participate? shoot, who the heck, doing this type of marketing "work", wouldn't want to meet the top ABC Newsman. So I say..... "Ummmmm sure, That would be OK". HA! WAS I MR. COOL AND COLLECTED, OR WHAT! So then she says, OK, OH, and "By The Way", they're going to be taping it for showing Nationally on ABC News!

I dropped the phone.

Mr Cool, huh? Anyway, I go up there, and there's like 10 of us plus Peter, we do the 1 hour roundtable discussion, which gets shown on Nightline, blah blah blah, I'd be more specific about it all, but this is not about me, or the real Peter Jennings Story I'm telling. Bear with me, it's worth it.

After the "Show was in the can", so to speak, ABC News served us a deli spread, and you figure that ole Peter would run off to converse with world leaders or some such thing, but instead, ole Peter came over and joined us for the food. I kid you not, then he spent his time, telling us stories about his Canadian origins, his early days in the news business, and things in general, to a starry eyed 10 person fan club, and it was during that conversation that I think I got to see the man beyond the "News Face" that most people get to see.

Afterwards, the Market Research Person comes up to me, and says "We think you had some great opinions tonight". "Thanks", says I. "And Peter Jennings thinks that you had some good opinions too". "He DOES?", says I. WOW, tell I'm I said thanks. "Well, you can tell him yourself, because Peter and ABC want you to come up to SFO , watch the upcoming Presidential debates, and give Peter your opinions again". CAN.... YOU..... BELIEVE..... IT? Wait, there's more.

I say (Mr Cool) SURE, and, so, are they going to tape it again? Because of course, I was hoping for "More 15 seconds of fame", and she says, "Ummmmm, no, they want to do a live Nationwide Satellite Hookup. You watch the Debate, then give your opinions to Peter..... and the Nation".

WHAT? Millions Of People Watching Me? Probably. :-)

So I go up there, and they treat myself and the other lady selected, like royalty. I ALMOST actually asked them to physically kiss my butt (just kidding), Peter remembers my name, tells me he likes my tie, and everybody remains cool, clam, and collected, when my microphone dies ~ 15 seconds before going on air. Peter ad libs over to the people set up in Atlanta, and the local crew races around to fix it before they come back to us. (WHEW) and bottom line, it all turned out to be a big success. But the thing I remember most, is that once again, it felt like Peter went the extra step, to make us TV "Newbies" feel comfortable, and self assured.

I have to say, the whole experience, the back slapping and high fiving of my friends, the admiration of millions of TV viewers, (smirk), and the congratulatory love fest, that went around my family, served to really show me, how stars can get "Big Heads". It was easier then I thought. Plus, because I did The First, and The Third debates, my "15 seconds of fame" actually lasted 2 weeks, and looking back, I have to say, that it was, all in all one of the GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE, and I figure I owe it all, to Peter Jennings. The best thing of all, I still have The Video Tape :-)

So Peter, wherever you are, up there, Anchoring that Great Anchor Desk up above, I have to tell ya, Thanks very very very much, for what you did for me. I'm gonna miss ya man. RIP

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

No, We'll Never Know...... What Might Have Been

This week, I've been thinking about alternate paths of reality. You know, had someone done this, instead of that, how different would things be today?

I guess it's because there's been so much in the news this weekend about the London bombings, The 9/11 WTC, and terrorism in general, and who's "fault" it is. Do you want to know something? A good portion of it didn't have to happen. That's where the alternate path comes in. As incredible as it seems, it's actually the Saudi Arabian Government, and/or The Bush Administration, that could have sent us down that "other path". See, I found out a little detail this weekend, that sent my brain off on this alternate reality thing.

Turns out, when Saddam invaded Kuwait (remember that?), Osama Bin Laden, originally wanted to battle Saddam Hussein, who he considered a "Bad Muslim", and push him out of Kuwait. The Saudi Arabian Govt turned him down, and decided to take George Bush up on his "offer" instead. That was probably the moment, when OBL began to believe that there was some sort of Saudi/USA conspiracy to "Destroy Islam". Yup, we could have stayed out of it completly, believe it or not. I know that hindsight is always 20/20, but consider this alternate "reality"..........

Alternate Reality
The Saudi Arabian Govt says "Sure OBL, go get that bastard SH away from our Saudi/Kuwait Border, yes, go, go and kick his ass". So OBL gets his Mujadeen (sp?) buddies, and declares a "Holy War", not against the USA, but instead, against the "Islamic Infidel who has invaded his Kuwait neighbor". If OBL doesn't manage to defeat and push SH back to Iraq, he should at least hurt him enough, so that Saudi Arabia can send those F15 Tomcats they got from us, over there to wipe out the remains of "The Republican Guard". SH is defeated, Kuwait returns to their Islamic Monarchy, the US still gets the desired recovered Kuwaiti oil, and OBL gets to do "The Work Of Allah", all without any US involvement at all.

Then, later on, IF we DO decide there is a need to invade Iraq, we might have had, not only the support of OBL, and Saudi Arabia, but possibly some support, from a good portion of the Islamic Middle East. Get rid of the War Monger in their midst, and we're just finishing what the Holy Warriors started. Upon the inevitable eventual defeat and disgrace of SH, and with the support of Iraq's neighbors, the situation in Iraq stabilizes more quickly then it otherwise would have, and the country adopts a Constitution, based on some sort of Islamic/Monarcy/Democracy. The US "Holy Libration Force", leaves.

Yes, of course, I realize that in this alternate reality, The US does not get to establish the "Republican Democracy" that GWB, and the current US Administration, appears to be attempting to establish, in several areas of the Middle East, and certainly, there is no guarantee that a stable government would have evolved in Iraq under my hypothetical scenario, but as far as I can tell, it sure hasn't seemed to stabilize yet, or evolved much, in our current reality either.

So, Despite the Controversial Topic, or the potential for pissing off the Wildly Diverging Social and/or Political opinions of my potential reader "Fan Base" (cough)......... there is a MORE IMPORTANT bigger picture point, that I'm trying to make. I know this SOL is a little long winded, but I am trying to get to the point, so please Humor me for 1 more second, and consider this.......

Regardless of your individual political and/or social point of view, of the US "War On Terrorism", It's no secret, whether it is true or not, that there is a good majority of the Islamic world today, that considers the USA to be some sort of Imperialistic Bastard, that is bent on wiping out the Islamic Faith, but IF..... IF..... Instead of what DID happen, instead, the Saudi Gov't, way back when, had accepted OBL's offer, then the current attitude of a good majority of the Islamic world, might be very different, and possibly directly opposite, from what it is today. True, we may not have been able to establish the "US Type Gov'ts" in the Middle Eastern World, that we seem so determined to do, but consider the Bigger Picture..........

If.... Saudi Arabia had done differently, or IF..... the US had refused the Saudi request, then face it, with Billions in oil revenue at stake, and with SH's troops at their border, Saudi Arabia might have been forced to accept OBL's offer. Then OBL would have his victory against an infidel, the Islamic World would have mostly taken care of their own problem, and Osama Bin Laden, and a good portion of the Islamic World, might not be in philispohical conflict with the US, and in fact, it's not impossible, that their attitude toward the USA might today even have been catagorized as "friendly".

My point..... IF..... That were the case, then, in this hypothetical alternate "reality", while granted, we wouldn't have been able to "spread" our US type democracy in the Middle East, and GWB's buddies wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to get their hands on all that Iraq oil, but there also, might have then been no reason, for a good portion of the current worldwide terrorist bombings, or the War In Iraq......... or even....... the 9/11 bombings of The World Trade Center.

Relinquising Political Power, and giving up billions in oil revenue, in exchange for thousands of lives. I don't know about you, but it sure sounds like that would have been a good trade, to me. I guess instead I'll just have to accept that we'll never know, what might have been........

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