Thursday, April 26, 2007

Classically Martin: Vitamin Z - Burning Flame

This song is among my top favorites. So much so that I made a poet's faux pas over it. You see... I used to listen to the radio at night as I slept. Songs would take my dreams every which way they could. One night, I woke up from a dream and thought that I had a new poem in my head. At this point in my life, I wrote poetry constantly. This one, I called "Embers." I kept the poem in my portfolio through high school. Yes, it was the lyrics to the song "Burning Flame" minus the chorus. Essentially, I heard it while I slept or recalled the powerful lyrics during my slumber. So I'll always feel a close relationship to this song. The lyrics really are a perfect description of sandpaper being rubbed over the open wound that is a former relationship. If anything, this reinforces one of my life mottos: listening to depressing music will make you feel better because you know at least the songwriter (or song's main character) is worse off than you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Accent-u-ate The Positive

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Western. Like Midland, Western is another accent that people consider neutral. So, you might not actually be from the Western half of the country, but you definitely sound like it.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

Found this little test out there. I've always thought that I was accentless. (Most people do unless it's pointed out to them otherwise repeatedly.) This pretty much confirmed my feelings.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Madden NFL Covers

Yes, this is a sign that pro football is coming back... well, after the draft. But, I'd like to point at something. John Madden (former Raider coach, game commenter and analyst) has had his name on football softwared since 1985. He started working on the games with the NFL (becoming John Madden NFL) in 1994.

In 2000, the Madden games started highlighting athletes on the cover of the game. There has been a lot of talk about a jinx with injuries that have happened to the players on cover that year. The 2000 cover had Barry Sanders on it. They replaced him with Dorsey Levens when Sanders retired at the start of that year. I'm not going to go through the whole list of injured players and try to get you to believe in the jinx. I'd like to pay attention to the covers themselves. Here's a list of who they've had:

2000 - Barry Sanders (later Dorsey Levens)
2001 - Eddie George
2002 - Daunte Culpepper
2003 - Marshall Faulk
2004 - Michael Vick
2005 - Ray Lewis
2006 - Donovan McNabb
2007 - Shaun Alexander
2008 - Vince Young

So essentially, they've had 5 running backs, 4 quarterbacks and a middle linebacker on the cover. Notice anything missing here? Sure, there aren't wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs, offensive linemen, kickers or punters. The Associated Press MVP for the year prior to each of these would have some merit in their decisions one would think. Here's their list:

1999 - Kurt Warner
2000 - Rich Gannon
2001 - Marshall Faulk
2002 - Rich Gannon
2003 - Peyton Manning/Steve McNair
2004 - Peyton Manning
2005 - Shaun Alexander
2006 - LaDainian Tomlinson

So, essentially they got two of them right (well... 3, word is that Tomlinson turned down the cover this year.) Then there are the Super Bowl MVPs... and to save you a long list, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks John Elway (2), Tom Brady (3), Warner and Manning could have been on covers as well as a few wide receivers too. Now, Ray Lewis is the only one of that bunch that made a cover. Going back to that original list of those that have been on the cover, I wonder what the criteria is. I don't think I have to say that I see a trend. It does make me wonder if there is purpose in it and if there's a definite market they are trying to go after.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Latest Grandpa Sighting

After my last update, I wasn't very optimistic. In fact, I first thought that I would be able to add to the previous post for a few days and everything would be ok. I gave in after a few updates. I'm not saying that pessimism and lack of faith were part of me at that time but I was ready for the worst.

Before the weekend, they took out his ventilator again in an attempt to get him breathing on his own. And sometime this morning he fell out of bed. The last part, I didn't know about before we went to see him today. I asked the desk if he was in the same ICU room and the lady shook her head and gave me another room number. I gave her a quick 'thumbs-up' and left smiling. That had to be good news, right? So we get up to the room (after passing by it on accident) and the bed was empty...

Grandma and Shawna (my aunt) were on the other side of the room talking. I looked to my left and there was Grandpa with a nurse. He was sitting in a chair, looking at the dumbfounded people that just walked in. I retrieved my jaw off the floor and joined him by his side, giving him a slight hug. He turned to me as if little had happened and said, "Hi Mort." (I never really understood why he started calling me that as a child but figure that it's to separate me from my dad and just continued on.) We talked for awhile and visited until some friends of his from Idaho came to visit.

Essentially, his hearing is worse than it has been. Hearing aids will not help. But, if he focuses, he can understand you. I welled up seeing him like that and the shock on my face was evident to Grandma, Shawna and Kerry. He was laughing like normal and my worst fears were dismissed. They will continue watching him but things are looking better. Thank you for any and all your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Took a short little IQ test. I've always wanted to take a real one but as far as I know, I never have. Maybe someday.
Testriffic IQ test

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I guess that some people have a really close relationship with their grandparents. For my siblings and I, we lived far enough that it would take over a day to drive to any of them. The Hennessys were in Sacramento, the Boltons in Idaho and Grandpa McGillis in North Dakota. We only went to North Dakota a few times (one was a quick visit, the other for the town's 100th birthday and the last for Grandpa McGillis' funeral.) For awhile, the Hennessys would come and stay in town on a regular basis but it became a little less regular when Grandpa Hennessy died. Then we had a run of trips to see Grandma there on her birthday instead. Idaho was different, though. Sometimes Grandma and Grandpa Bolton would come here and we'd head there on Thanksgiving (lot of snow there when we'd visit sometimes.) There were a few years where we'd go there for some of our summer vacation. Sometime, I'll have to talk about "working on the farm." You could say that we spent more time with the Boltons than any other family members combined. I would say it is just shy of a decade since they relocated to nearby Boulder City and we haven't spent many holidays or birthdays apart.

I know, you are wondering when I'm getting to the point of all this. You see, Grandpa Bolton was found on the driveway in front of his house yesterday and at this moment lies in a coma in the hospital. I found out about it as I finished working on the newsletter yesterday afternoon, finished working on it, called work to let them know that I wouldn't be there and went to the hospital. Kerry met me there as did my brother, his wife, my aunt, my mom and Grandma. I spread a few hugs and listened to what they'd heard and seen so far. When he was airlifted from Boulder City to Vegas, they believed that his brain had been without oxygen for 5 minutes or more. He broke his nose, damaged his leg and hurt his arm in the fall (which they believed he tried to protect himself before he hit the ground.) It could have been a stroke or caused a stroke. Many are afraid to be too optimistic at this point. However, they also said he was responsive to the people around him and apparently tried to follow some direction. I went in to his room shortly after.

Grandpa served in the Airforce during World War II. Not the glorified fighter pilot-type division... he worked on the planes. They really didn't protect their hearing back then, nor did they have the knowledge about the longterm damage that comes from sustained noise levels. So, oddly enough, my brother and my voice are low enough to be heard clearly by him through his hearing aids. I walked into the room and told him it looked like Romanowski tackled him (he's a Broncos fan.) I felt his hand tighten. I told him that the waiting room was full of his family and named them individually. I could see he tried to move his lips that were around a breathing tube. I then told him that I'll watch after Grandma for a little while but he has to come back to take over the job as they've been through too much together. I made him a promise that when he gets better we'll go see a Broncos/Raiders game but he has to get better first. I stayed for a little while longer and made sure to tell him to relax and recover as we'll be here for him. They had to sedate him a little more after I had left. It made me think that if he is trying to get better, going in and talking to him would only keep him tired, drugged and awake -- which I don't think aids recovery.

I believe that he is going to be alright. I can't give any credible evidence as to why other than his reactions to particular things that I had said. I have faith that his recovery has started and I will be making a call in a moment to get an update. There are a lot of mixed thoughts running through my head at this time but right now, I worry about Grandma. You remember my mentioning my mother having surgery a few days ago? Well, Grandma has been at Mom's house taking care of her since (heck, I think she was also waiting at the hospital for her also.) Grandpa wasn't happy that she wasn't there with him but understood. She even mentioned her call to him that morning where he sounded a little unusual even in ending their conversation saying, "I just missed the sound of your voice." So, she was feeling torn and now a bit shaken and guilty. She shouldn't. As I told Grandma and Grandpa separately yesterday, Hennessys come together in times of need... as do all families.

I'll update this post as we know more and I want to thank you for your thoughts or prayers at this time.

Update: According to doctors, his condition has slightly improved as he 'seems stronger.' Otherwise, there is really no change and still no word on if it was an aneurism, stroke or heart attack.

Latest Update: It is Easter morning and I stopped in to see Grandpa at the hospital. The good news is he woke up. I was given good reports during the last few days. Today I received the clearest description of his condition from a nurse that has been with him for the last 3 days. He had kidney problems a little while back. Right now, his kidneys, heart and lungs are among his problems. He is on life support. His fever has come and gone. They tried to remove him from the breathing tubes but that only raised his blood pressure. In truth, things do not look good as all 3 of the organs that I mentioned earlier are not in good shape.

Even Later Update: Grandpa is awake a little longer. They sedate him every time he gets over-excited. I know that even with a chance of recovery that this will take quite some time. So, I'll add a post if there is any major news. But right now, I believe that he will continue to fight to get better. I also have faith that somone is looking out for him.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sad Kermit - Hurt

Loved the original, loved the Johnny Cash cover and this... well... it's not for kids. Saw it and I had to put it up here. Yes, I've sung "Rainbow Connection" at karaoke before.