Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Was Your Best Day?

     What was your best day?  This question was asked of me recently, and its one of those queries that you have to think about for a moment or two.  Could it be sitting on a river bank in the cool shade on a mid summers day? Maybe.  Could it be the day that the miracle of life blessed your family?  Maybe.  Could it be the day you said, "I do" to your soul mate?  Maybe.  How about the very day that you entered this world, and set into motion the events that would be a life.  Could be?  It's different for everyone, and it's hard to settle on just one.  In fact once I really began to do some deep thinking on this question I couldn't narrow it down to one day.  I decided to break it down into three days, and that was difficult.  Three days chosen from a life that has been lived to the fullest.  Tough, huh?  I have been extremely fortunate in my life to have experienced different stages of happiness with different people that I care about.  Some of these people have left this plane of existence, but are forever in my heart.  My best day?  Well, here's three.  One from my youth, one from my early days of marriage, and one with my little miracles involved.  It was actually a very fulfilling exercise to look back at happiness and good days.  I would recommend it, highly.
     When I was growing up my family was not your run of the mill bunch.  We were a little different than the rest.  It surely wasn't "Leave it to Beaver" or "Ozzie and Harriet" at Frank and Patsy's place.  My parents were, quite possibly, two of the greatest influences on my life, and that is as it should be.  It was extremely rare for all of us to get together, extended family and all, but it happened normally on some type of holiday.  Funny thing about this day, I know it was a holiday, but I can't remember which one it was.  Probably Thanksgiving, but I'm not positive on that.  I remember that my mother had given me control of her camera on this day.  I was probably 10, maybe 11, and I was running around the house with this antique camera with one of those flashes on top that was disposable.  You had to actually put film in the camera.  The horror!  I remember very well all the men went outside to talk about football, politics, or that new fangled microwave oven.  "That thing can cook a hot dog in under a minute!?!?!"  While the men were outside, the women were inside doing what it is that women do, "Take care of absolutely everything.....food, dishes, seating arrangements, entertainment,...Heck, you name it.  They did it."  Let me tell you one thing, I've had my run as a Mr. Mom and I don't know how they did it.  That's a fact.  They took care of everything and everyone, and did it all with a smile on their face.  The smell coming from inside was absolutely intoxicating.  Turkey and Dressing, casseroles from everywhere in the world it seemed, and desserts....Oh my goodness!  The eating alone was worth attendance.  However, that is not why this day made my list.  This day made my list, because of who was there.  Many of these fine people are no longer with us, and the world is just not the same without them in it.  This is life, but it still is one of those bittersweet things that has some serious nostalgia attached to it.  My mother, my father, my dear "Granny," aunts, uncles, and friends of the family are no longer with us in the flesh, but just the fact that I'm writing this proves that the spirit is eternal.  I picked this day, because I would like to see it again.  I look back at all those pictures I took that day, and I can feel the love, taste the food, and reminisce about the way it was, and dream that it can be that way again.  That was a good day.  To quote Bruce Springsteen, "Nothing feels better than blood on blood."
     If you're picking a "best day" it should include your better half, and it better include her if you know what's good for you!  I've had plenty of awesome days over my nearly 16 years of marriage, and to narrow it down is difficult to say the least.  I went back to a time when it was just the two of us.  Before car pool lines at elementary schools, day cares, diapers, baseball practice, dentists, gymnastics, birthday parties, and all that stuff that comes along with children.  It was just us.  We were sitting on a beach in Florida.  Ft. Walton Beach, Florida to be exact.  The day was perfect, and the company wasn't too bad either!  I remember distinctly how lucky I felt as I was sitting in my free beach chair (I used my skills as a master of rhetoric to obtain a free beach chair for the day.  The Beach Chair guy was really cool.  I've often wanted a job like that....another story for another time.)  I sat on my gifted chair, and watched my lovely wife attempting to feed seagulls.  She walked up and down the beautiful shore of white sand with emerald green water crashing over it, and right in front of her was a seagull walking with legs all aflutter.  It was a beautiful sight.  Not much excitement, not much activity.  Just happiness, and an absolute contentment with where I was in life and who I was with.  It feels good, really good when you're with the one you love.  Heck, we could have been on the surface of Mars it wouldn't have mattered.  Well, maybe the atmospheric pressure and the poisonous gases that would have killed us may have cramped our style, but the point is....I'm a lucky guy.  Lady Luck was on my side when I met that doctoral student from Wisconsin in Fultondale City Court way back when.  I've never considered myself too terribly lucky when it came to mundane stuff like money, status, and stuff of the like, but when it comes to the things that really matter, I've done pretty good.
     Two dates changed everything.  The first was May 12, 2003, and the second October 31, 2008.  Destiny happened on these days.  My children were born on those two days respectively.  The entire script was flipped when the children came into the mix.  Almost 11 years ago I was a Police Sergeant doing my thing, and Cheryl told me she was pregnant.  Not a surprise, since I do know where babies come from, but a game changer to be sure.  Flash Forward to present day, and the world has been turned upside down.  I'm the "Uber Dad" in addition to being a soon to be 42 year old Graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  You know what?  I wouldn't change a thing.  I love those kids more than anything I've ever loved in my life.  I would willingly give my last breath to see them happy and safe.  What was the best day I ever spent with my wife and kids?  Every single day.  I count them all.  Good and Bad.  Hard and Easy.  Happy and Sad.  I get to be a dad to the two most wonderful kids on God's green earth, and husband to the best gal around.  Every day should be a party!  It's not, but it should be.  I did say in the paragraphs above that I picked a day, so I will.  It was Labor Day I think a few years ago.  It was hot.  Really hot.  The natives were growing restless around the house, and we decided to go up to the Mount Olive Community Center to play kick ball.  Yep, kick ball.  We went up there and sweated our butts off, and played kick ball...on Labor Day.  Most folks would have thought we were absolutely crazy, and we probably were.  The moral to this whole story is:  It just doesn't matter what we do.  As long as we're together all is well in the world.  These wonderful human beings that I share my life with are without a doubt the reason that I'm here.  No question about it.  I don't care what my job is.  I don't care how much money I make.  I don't care what I look like....well that's not 100 percent accurate, because I like to look good.....sorry, I digress.  I am truly amazed that I have been fortunate enough to do what I do everyday, and the people I get to spend time with are the best around.  That my friend, is a fact.  Write it down.  I'm the luckiest man alive.  Sorry Lou Gehrig, but I got this.



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

15 Baseball Quotes To Live By

     I love baseball.  Baseball is the only game that you can fail at 70% of the time, and still be an all star.  What's not to love?  Personally, I was always more of a football guy, but watching my son Jesse play the game has reminded me of just how special baseball really can be.  Sure, you can't beat the sweet sting of battle on the good old gridiron, but that baseball diamond has a nostalgia all its own.  I've always said that one of the best feelings you can get in sports is coming off the edge (of the line of scrimmage) and seeing nothing but the quarterback in front of you.  However, that's normally when you get ear holed by that pesky pulling guard.  So, in comparison, taking a fast ball downtown has its benefits.  That perfect swing, the crack of the bat (or the "ping" if it's aluminum)- Feeling and knowing you hit the ball just right on the sweet spot, and then watching it go and go and go...travelling on and on.  That, my friend, is pretty special.  To transition into the upcoming baseball season here are 15 Baseball Quotes to live by.  My exhaustive research has produced these results.  Your list may be different, but this is mine!  Keep swinging for the fences.

#1- "Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." -Yogi Berra (can't have a baseball quote list without Yogi, now can we?)

#2- "There's no crying in baseball." -Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) "A League of Their Own"

#3- Going somewhere meat?  "About 90 feet." -Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) "Major League"

#4- "Dammit boy!  You should have put your glove on that!  Go over there and lay on the equipment bag." -Frank Perry Sr. after hitting yours truly in the nether regions with a baseball at A.T. Holt Park in the early 80s on the old dirt lot behind Byrd Field.

#5- "That's gonna hurt!  Gurgle....Gurgle." -Me, see above

#6- "Never make predictions, especially about the future." -Casey Stengel

#7- "Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." -Yogi Berra..again

#8- "Little League baseball is a very good thing, because it keeps the parents off the streets." -Yogi Berra...one more time while we're at it.

#9- "Dad...You wanna have a catch?" -Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) "Field of Dreams"  I just cried a little. 

#10- "You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains." -Bull Durham

#11- "There are three types of baseball players:  Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens." -Tommy Lasorda

#12- "Poets are like baseball pitchers.  Both have their moments.  The intervals are the tough things."-Robert Frost (My favorite poet, by the way)

#13- "So I want everybody to think here for a second, how much does this game mean to you?  'Cause if it means something to ya, you can't stand still.  You understand?  You play fast!  You play strong!  You go out there and dominate the man you're playing against, and you make his ass quit!  That's our trademark!  That's our MO as a team!  That's what people know us as!" -Nick Saban...wait we're talking about baseball right?  Doesn't matter.  It's a great quote, and it fits any competitive sport.  As you were.

#14- "Ok." -Jesse Perry aka J-Jam Sixkiller after being told before his at bat in the bottom of the 7th with two outs while trailing by a run... "You're our last chance.  This is kind of a big deal.  Hit a homerun."  He then proceeded to tattoo a walk off, game winning home run.  Pretty cool "Proud Dad" moment, to be sure.

#15- "It ain't over, till it's over." -Yogi Berra...It's over Yogi.

     There they are.  15 Baseball Quotes to live by.  I am of the belief that if more folks got out and watched some baseball the world would be a better place.  It is the National Pastime after all.  Life lessons aplenty are to be found at your local baseball park.  There is always a next play, and a next at  bat, and another chance to play.  So without any further delay, lets get the National Anthem going, and Play Ball!



Monday, January 13, 2014

The Philosophy of a 10 year old

     Why?  That is the question.  The word "Philosophy" literally means:  love of wisdom.  I don't know about you, but I love me some wisdom.  Wish I had more of it, to be completely honest.  However, my 10 year old son has created a philosophy of life all his own.  You would think that his young philosophy would be modeled after my years of success, and commitment to excellence, but that would be an incorrect assumption.  I'm like the Rodney Dangerfield of Mount Olive, Alabama.  No respect.  Even my darling bride has questioned my philosophy.  She asked a few "Why?" questions herself.  Why does it take you so long to wash dishes and do laundry?  She performed her own research, and discovered that in addition to being Mr. Excitement around here, I like to dance.  In fact, I like to dance while doing the dishes and the laundry.  She caught me.  Prince was playing, I think.  Might have been Madonna.  Nonetheless, that's just how I roll.  I'll cut a rug and channel my inner Fred Astaire at the drop of a hat.  Anyway, back to the main point of this post.  Jesse and his 10 year old boy philosophy.  You see, Jesse knows everything.  Heck, he'll even tell you how much he knows about everything.  He's a very lucky young man, because it took me till I was 16 years old before I knew everything.  Of course, Frank Perry Sr. let me know just exactly how much I didn't know on several occasions.  Einstein, I wasn't.  So it is my duty as a father to keep good ole J-Jam the genius in check.  In addition to discussing the "Philosophy of Jesse," I'm also going to share a story with Maddie in it, just to keep things fair and balanced.  Maddie and the smell of snacks.  Now, on to my rational argument about the philosophy of a ten year old.  If there is a such thing.
     What is the Philosophy of Jesse?  I like to call it the "But Dad" philosophy, because no matter what I tell the boy, he says "but, dad..."  Like I said, he's a genius.  Actually, he is very smart.  He's in the advanced classes at school, and he solves problems really well, reads at a very high level, and is almost as skilled at the ancient art of rhetoric as dear old dad.  However, and let me be crystal clear on this.....He's 10.  A little over ten years ago he didn't exist.  I'm of the belief that true wisdom comes with the passage of time, and not enough time has passed for young Jesse to claim his desired level of wisdom.  That being said he has plenty of theories on things.  For example, he asked me once, "Dad, do you know why Death Valley is so hot?"  My normal response was, "What? Did you say something."  Then after a slap from the wife I said, "No son I sure don't.  Could you please tell me, why."  He went on to say, "It is a unique set of environmental factors, and the differences in elevation.  Plus,  it's right under the sun."  Sounded good to me.  Never thought about it before, but obviously Jesse had.  He also has a knack of trying to call offensive plays while watching football, and he's pretty good at it.  In fact, when he was 7 he constructed an entire playbook of offense and tried to get his coach (me) to implement his system.  Maybe one day he will revolutionize the game, but I figured at 7 he needed to learn how to tackle first.  He did, and he's pretty dang good at that too.  When I was 7, I was trying to play hooky to stay home and watch Bozo the Clown and the Grand Prize Game, and he's all of a sudden Bill Walsh or something.  Definitely an improvement on the original.  He can be quite argumentative at times, and that draws the ire of the original.  He may make a great lawyer one day, because he appears to have well thought out, organized, and concise arguments.  There have been times where he made valid enough points where a reversal in the original ruling was in order.  This is the same boy that's not much of a grass cutter, and in fact avoids manual labor at all costs.  He also is deathly afraid of wasps and bees, and literally runs like a bat out of hades when threatened by these creatures.  He doesn't do scary movies very well either, and is not crazy about roller coasters.  He can be tricked too, and I got him good once a couple years ago.  Maddie, was still in an toddler car seat, and I always brought her with me to pick him up from school.  However, on this particular day Maddie stayed at home with Cheryl (who had come home from work early.)  When I picked Jesse up, and he got in the car he immediately noticed that Maddie wasn't there.  He said, "Dad, where is Maddie?"  I sprang the trap, and I did my best scared as heck/shocked by her absence look.  I turned around and said, "Jesse!!  I must have left her at home!!  Oh no!"  He believed me, and kinda freaked out.  Of course, not to be too bad of a parent I told him I was having a little fun with him.  He was pretty ticked, but it was a bit amusing.  I'm sure Jesse's "But Dad" philosophy will evolve into something even better as he gets older, and I get the feeling he's gonna be all-right.  President Perry does have a ring to it.
     We can't leave the lovely Madison Leigh Perry out of this post now can we....No, of course not.  Maddie has plenty of talents of her own.  One in particular is an uncanny sixth snack sense.  She knows when you open up that bag of Doritos.  She can smell the sugar from a mile away when it comes to Whoppers brand malted milk balls.  It's like a cat when you open a can of cat food or a dog when you shake the treat jar.  I'm not comparing Maddie to a domesticated animal, but she does seem to have the nose of a well bred canine and the stealth of a Siamese cat.  I spent the entire day Sunday working on Math homework (I've got three classes left, and I will be a 42 year old college senior no more!  I'll probably be a 42 year old grad student!), and I actually have an A in math so far this semester.  I just thought I would share that, because chances are that will change.  I took a break for lunch, and I was sitting at the dining room table.  Maddie was at the other end of the house in her room with her mother.  I opened a bag of chips to eat with my lunch salad, and I was totally unaware the events that I had set into motion.  In the back of the house Maddie immediately sensed the presence of the Nacho Cheese goodness.  Cheryl said that Maddie instantly sprang to her feet away from the dollhouse that she was playing with, and looked curiously around the room.  She appeared like a lioness that just got the scent of her prey.  She took several steps toward the door of her room and turned around facing her mother and said, "I smell chips.  I have to go."  Go she did, right into my peaceful lunch, and just like a lioness with her prey identified....she retrieved the desired Doritos.  Chalk one up for the little girl with the strong nose, and a sixth sense for snacks.
     Philosophy and snacks.  That's a pretty good combination.  My philosophy is to work every day to dominate whatever opponent you have in life, and don't forget to find some sunshine and put it on your face.  Just living life, loving my family, learning stuff, and writing about it.  My favorite snacks include the above mentioned Doritos, SweetTarts, Skittles, and Lays dip style chips with Barbers French Onion dip.  Too much information, but sharing is caring.  That's all I got.
 
 
 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hot Wheels on the Soles of her Shoes

     This is a story about Jury Duty.  The return of the Runaway Juror (me) in yet another Jury Duty adventure.  I could not escape the dreaded Civic Duty that separates us from fascists and tyrants.  It's true Democracy instead of the alternative.  Our chosen form of government is a well-oiled machine that civilizations have been trying to perfect since the Ancient Greeks.  The Greeks had thousands of people show up for their assembly, and I can't imagine how that worked.  These days you can't get anyone to agree or as an old cop buddy of mine used to say, "Those 12 skulls in a box can't agree on anything, but I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6."  I don't know what he was trying to say, but it sounded good.  I spent three days in the hellishly boring Jury room with no hope of a trial.  However, interesting things occur when you put a hundred or so folks in a room together.  All of what follows is true.
     Day one.  The normal introductions of the presiding judge, and how happy they are to have us all there.  This was a replay of the last time I was here a couple of weeks ago (see blog post "The Curious Story of the Runaway Juror Who Loved Indian Food") - However this time there were new Judges there taking the "excuses" for dismissal.  Now you are supposed to have something really wrong with you or earth shatteringly important going on to be excused, but folks (including me) try to get out of it.  Last time I ran into a brick wall of a Judge who just wasn't having my "Mr. Mom/my kids have nowhere to go" argument, even though I really am a Mr. Mom and my kids really did have nowhere to go.  She had a bit of evil about her, and my vote she will not receive if I ever see her on a ballot.  True Dat!  As the young people say these days.  These judges seemed like Diet Judges or Judges Light, because it sure seemed like they were letting a lot of folks loose.  This time I didn't have an excuse so I figured I would stick it out and do my duty, and it would be my luck that ole Dr. Evil Judge Juris Prudence would show up at any second and say, "You'll have to serve, and your little dog too." (In my best Wicked Witch of the West voice.)   I opted to stay and tough it out, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I've been called for Jury Duty regularly over the years, but have never once served on a Jury.  This is mainly due to my history in Law Enforcement, and the defense believes that I will say guilty no matter what.....which is probably true, because very rarely do people end up on trial if they haven't done something wrong.  I'm sure it happens, just not that often.  Day one came and went, and my main accomplishment was a quest for lunch that turned into a horrible fight with bone chilling wind, and a line at a hamburger place that had to rival the "Star Wars" premiere.
     Day two.  Have you ever watched paint dry?  How bout grass grow?  Better yet, have you ever watched Larry King interview Marlon Brando?  That's what Day #2 was like.  I was literally bored to tears, but two events saved this unbelievably boring day.  The first was Ed Gein.  You know the guy who ate people and made human skin suits in Wisconsin, and inspired the Buffalo Bill character in "Silence of the Lambs."  He was at Jury Duty.  Or at least a guy that looked like him, and acted just a bit squirrely.  This guy had a stocking cap, leather jacket, gloves, and huge boots and he never took any of it off.  Left those bad boys on the entire three days I knew him.  Not to mention that he liked to walk around and stare into space while holding his hands out in front of him while making a squeezing gesture (like squeezing an orange or something.)  He was a traveler too.  I had to keep my eye on this fruit loop, because you never knew if he was around somewhere watching.  Never spoke or uttered any communication  that I heard.  Just looked around the Jury Room squeezing his hands with his winter apparel on all wild eyed and stuff.  It got so boring in the Jury Room that this guy was my only source of entertainment.  I know folks thought I was crazy too when I laughed out loud at presumably nothing, but it wasn't nothing I was just laughing at Ed Gein.  The second event actually was so memorable that it made the entire 3 days of boredom worth it.  There was this young lady, who I found out later was an attorney, who was walking toward the bathroom.  The guy that was sitting in the front row began to say, "Miss!  Miss!" trying to get her attention.  Finally, she stopped and looked at this guy in a puzzled manner.  He was pointing toward her shoes, and he said, "I believe you have something on your shoes."  She looked skeptical, (I would be too with Ed Gein walking around), but she bit and looked down at her shoes.  Her expression immediately turned into a combination of embarrassment and uncontrolled humor.  She reached down and discovered that lodged in the heel of her shoe was a Hot Wheels car.  This brought laughter from everyone around, except Ed Gein, and the lady said, "I suppose I should make him clean up his room a little better."  I feel your pain!
     Day three.  Still in the Jury Room with Ed Gein and the Hot Wheels lady.  Still watching for changes in the wallpaper, but finding none.  I even resorted to tracking Ed Gein on foot, and trying to discover what made this old coot tick.  Good things would come this day, however.  An early release for lunch and a date with my lovely wife.  This post is a sequel of sorts to my first "Runaway Juror" story, and any sequel normally pays homage to the first installment by revisiting some of the same story elements that were present in the first one.  Here we have Jury Duty itself, the evil judge, boredom, and now Indian food!  We were able to grab a quick lunch at the bestest restaurant in the whole Southside of Birmingham, Taj India!  Can I get an AMEN!!  After lunch I saw an omen.  Native American legends tell of such things, and I have to say I've seen these things first hand.  Back in the day, I was a young police officer, and a Native American man went missing.  While looking for this man we found a Hawk's feather (which is rare) and then saw a red-tailed hawk in a tree looking at us mysteriously.  According to Native American Legend this was a sign that, "A Brave was coming home."  We found the man within the hour, after at least two days of searching.  True Story.  My omen was a Red Tailed Hawk on the Southside.  That's rare too.  He flew down by Doodles restaurant and caught a mouse or something.  Then he looked at me really funny as if he was trying to say something all while tearing this poor mouse apart and eating it.  Huge wing span on this thing.  I even snapped a picture.  What did this mean?  I didn't know, but I would soon find out.  Once I returned to the Jury Room me and 31 others were sent to a courtroom. We were warned by the Jury Room staff to be on our best behavior for this Judge. I thought, this guy must be hardcore. They even said he'd been known to confiscate cell phones and other devices. Hold up now, nobody comes between me and Steve Jobs' greatest idea, nobody!  We went through security and arrived at the court room. They lined us up and marched us into the court room. When I walked into the room I looked toward the bench and I saw....that evil woman judge who gave me such a hard time previously!  My goose was cooked! How would our hero respond?  What devilish plans did the evil Ms. Juris Prudence have in store?  Would I lose my beloved iPhone?  All these questions and more will be answered in the next and final paragraph.
     Well, what happened?  I was struck from the Jury (as usual) and sent home.   An anti-climatic end to an anti-climatic three days.  I did get to stand up in the court room and give my bio for the judge and attorneys in the case which is always fun, and I almost mentioned being a close personal friend of Ed Gein but thought better of it.  As for the Hawk omen- I've got a theory.  I believe the Hawk symbolized the freedom that I was about to experience by being released from Jury Duty, but the fact that the giant bird was devouring his prey left open the possibility for pain and suffering.  Pain and suffering at the hands of the evil Judge, who really probably wasn't that evil after all.  Well, that's all from Downtown Birmingham Jury Room for this episode, but if the past is any indicator I'll be back- probably sooner than I want to be.  Good day.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What Your Birthday Says About You: Researching Jan 2, 1972

      January 2, 1972.  The mold was broken on this date.  They say that great men are either born great or have greatness thrust upon them, and greatness was definitely thrust onto the scene in the winter of 1972.  The man born on this date would go on to have an outstanding High School Football career (and I'll tell you all about it if you give me half a chance); 10 years of Law Enforcement service that, let's be honest, rivals that of NYPD Blue's Andy Sipcowicz with a little James Bond thrown in for good measure; then the Coup de gras that changed everything, the famous Uber Dad turn, which led to an unquenchable (if that's a word) thirst for knowledge that had our hero ending up on the lovely campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a 42 year old college senior.  Who would have thunk it.  The second day of January in the year of our lord 19 hundred and 72.  How did all this happen?  Well it's not to hard to figure out when you look closely at the day and the year that good old Perrydawg was born into.  All kidding aside, I have often wondered how in the world I ended up where I am today and why I made some of the decisions that I made.  Some may say fate, some may say kismet, maybe even karma?  Nope.  It all boils down to the day and year you were born.  This became clear when I began to research January 2, 1972. 
     First off some very interesting things happened on the day of my birth, besides the obvious awesome event of being born in the first place.  The Dallas Cowboys defeated the San Francisco 49ers 14-3 in the NFC Championship game the day I was born, and this explains my fascination with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in my youth.  Also, I was an outspoken Cowboy fan probably up until they fired Tom Landry.  Then I began a bromance with Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, and that actually led, indirectly, to my marriage to an actual cheesehead from Wisconsin...but I digress.  Another very interesting thing that happened on January 2, 1972 involved the spaceship Mariner 9.  It seems that Mariner 9 began mapping the planet Mars on this day, and that really explains quite a bit.  I'm a huge fan of the "Ancient Aliens" TV series, heck anything to do with aliens at all will bring my viewership.  For the love of Giorgio Tsoukolous it all makes sense!  The most popular movies from 1972 were #1- The Godfather (that's totally why I always use the quote, "Luca Brazi sleeps with the fishes") #2-Last Tango in Paris (I've always wanted to Tango in Paris, this is getting eerie) #3- Deliverance ( I should have stopped at 2, "Squeal like a pig!"  shuddering as we speak)- Hmmmm.  This whole idea is getting more interesting, I think I'll dig a little deeper.
     What was the weather like the day I was born?  Well, I'll tell you what it was like.  It was 63 degrees on January 2, 1972 in Birmingham, Alabama.  No precipitation, and the wind was blowing about nine miles per hour.  Now, I'm going to really freak you out.  I made a 63 on a Physical Science test once in the Ninth grade, and the first number I had in my first ever year of playing football was....you guessed it...number 9.  Goodness, gracious.  You know what else?  I'm gonna tell you what else.... One of the most popular songs of 1972 was "Candy Man" by Sammy Davis Jr.  I love me some candy, especially sweet tarts.  Coincidence?  I think not.  A couple of other big hits from the year of my birth were, "American Pie" by Don Mclean, and you guessed it, I love pie!  Then there was "Popcorn" by a band called Hot Butter, and you know what?  I'm kind of a popcorn nut!  I love the stuff.  This is the kicker, one of the Best Selling books for the day of January 2, 1972 was "The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty.  I've had quite a few people think that I had the Devil in me in my life.  Mainly, my wife, but also my saint of a Mother who tried really hard to keep the devil at bay.  My Mother in Law Arlene even contemplated placing devil figurines (to represent her son in laws beside the angels (that represented her daughters)- This was a joke, not sure which- the angels or devils?  However, do you see the connection, here!  Amazing stuff!  But, I'm not done yet.
     The Zodiac sign that corresponds with January 2nd is Capricorn.  I'm a goat, or so I've been told.  Jackass wasn't an option I guess.  Capricorn is the sign of stability, calmness, and maturity.  I'm nothing if not stable, calm, and mature.....Ok they missed on those, but they didn't miss on the disciplined nature of Capricorns or that they are some kinda stubborn.  Capricorns believe that their way is always right, and everyone else should just deal with it.  Sounds about right.  However, they also say that Capricorns are supposed to be shy and reserved.  Now my whole argument is blown out of the water.  Let me look at who I, as a Capricorn, would be most compatible with.  FYI, Cheryl is a Cancer or "Moon Child" as she likes to call it.  She's a vegetarian hippie, let us not forget.  Drumroll please......the best match for a Capricorn (me) is a Taurus (not Cheryl.)  However, in a really weird turn of events in this research idea, Jesse is a Taurus.  I'm not really sure what that says.  May need some more research.  However, I believe I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt here today on my blog, The Uber Dad Chronicles, that Astrological signs and the information contained therein are bogus and a waste of time.  I don't want to upset all you Star Children out there, heck I love Aliens and space and stuff, but Zodiac information, like you read in the National Enquirer, is bunk.  That is all.
     You say it's your birthday, nah, nah, nah, nah...It's my birthday too yea!!  Today I will turn 42 years of age, and I'm pretty happy that I made it this far.  There was a time in the not so distant past that I believed I wouldn't make it to thirty.  The whole live fast, die young (with your boots on) and leave a good looking corpse idea.  It was a bad idea, and extremely flawed.  These days, I'm just happy to wake up every day and be a husband and father.  I'm happy that I get to see my kids grow up, and getting older never looked so good!  I may have found the fountain of youth, and you know what it is?  Happiness and Love.  It's all good for this middle aged fellow, but if you want to really know what makes you tick- do some of your own research and you will be amazed with the results!  I should probably patent this process.