Saturday, December 05, 2009

US and England in same World Cup Group! Yes!

What an exciting World Cup Draw yesterday on ESPN 2 for the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa!

Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare yourself now and mark your calendars for Saturday, June 12, 2010 for the match of the ages---USA versus England at 1:30 pm CST in the World Cup!

England. The birthplace of soccer. The center of the soccer world. Across the pond. The home of the best soccer conference in all the land, The English Premier Soccer League (EPL).  Of course they have the right and the cockiness to be confident and over confident about a wipeout victory.

America. The home of football. The other kind of football. The Yanks. After an impressive run in the CONCACAF this past year, the US Team is poised for a great World Cup. Of course we will be underdogs against the Brits. We have an excellent team and we very well may pull off the upset of the century. What a match up, what a game ! I cannot wait for this special special once in a lifetime event.
Who would of thought that England and USA would have been picked (out of the hat no less) to be in the same group!

Okay, let's be real for a moment. After the loss of Charlie Davies and Oguchi Onyewu, we may not be deep enough to go extremely far. Landon Donovon however is probably finally ready for prime time on the international stage! And if we lose to England, we are going to have to win, and not tie, against Slovenia and Algeria, the other 2 countries in our group!

It's setting up to be a first class 2010 World Cup!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Frank Batten, Founder of The Weather Channel RIP

Somehow I missed the news last September on the passing of the great Frank Batten. He was Chairman of Landmark Communications and was responsible for the creation of one of the greatest cable channels of all times, The Weather Channel. He was ahead of his time in relation to technology, having grown up in the newspaper industry and originally wishing to launch an all news cable channel, but Ted Turner beat him to the punch. He was a great businessman obviously, and here are two quotes worth mentioning;

"I think that most accomplishments in organizations are officially the result of teamwork rather than a brilliant performance by one person," Batten said in a 2005 Associated Press oral history interview.

"Accomplishing teamwork is another matter," he added. "That's not easy, I think. And again it gets down to creating an environment in which people work successfully in teams, and are recognized for it." 

Here's what Mr. Batten said about The Weather Channel recently before he died:

" I felt strongly that the new channel must include local forecasts--about one minute in 10. Technicians working for me made that happen. Still the Weather Channel flirted with bankruptcy until we hit on the idea to supplement traditional advertising with subscriber fees from cable companies. That made the difference".  Said Howard Stevenson, a Harvard business professor where Batten earned his MBA, " Frank was a newsman at heart, he wasn't in the Weather Channel for the breathless "oh we just avoided the storm of the century coverage". He always said that people turned to the Weather Channel for the quality of the forecasting. And that's what he gave them". 

Laugh all you want about me respecting this guy more than any other big time cable business person. Frank Batten created his own niche market and executed his idea beautifully well. What was really cool is that Landmark kept The Weather Channel independent for all those years, only recently selling it to NBC Universal right before his death.

Here is a link to his fascinating life in his obituary:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Houston Oldham named to A-10 All Rookie Team

Shameless self promotion, or shall we say, promotion of my son, Houston.

Here is the link to the article

Here is quote from the coach:
"Houston was a wonderful surprise for us this season," Peay said. "Physically, technically, and mentally Houston was able to step in right away without any difficulty. As a starting center back he showed a knack of scoring goals at clutch moments in games. We believe he is going to make a big impact in our conference over the next several of years."

Friday, November 27, 2009

What a Great Holiday

Thanksgiving. Totally relaxing. No muss, No fuss. Just family, friends, a little food, wine, and what have you. Top that off with a good run @ The Bolt on Thanksgiving morning, a good outdoor soak in the hot tub, followed by a mid morning nap. What other holiday (or regular day for that matter) can ONE enjoy such a menu of slovenly activities? Notice on occasion I'll use the more grammatically correct "one" instead of the pronoun-centric "you" when talking or writing about the first tense, just depends on the mood. I've given up trying to completely self edit my posts which led me to stop posting and blogging a couple of years ago. Back then, I started writing for you, the reader, and not for me, the writer. So if you see something, ahem, if one seems something grammatically incorrect, too bad, so sad, me don't care anymore. Just want to express some thoughts before I go to sleep and forget what they were. Anyway, just wanted to say how thankful I am for a really great family, and for a great Thanksgiving holiday. I'm especially thankful for the life of my father, who passed away on February 26th of this year. He was incredibly kind, and very influential on my life. Giving thanks for your family is pretty much a cliche on Thanksgiving day if it's your turn to give thanks for something during family prayer time. But in my case it's so true. I have a great wife who coordinated dinner for 16 family members last evening and still had time for me. She's the real deal! It's great to have our college aged son Houston home and our daughter Rachel who is 14 going on 21 hanging around the household but wanting to be taken hither and yonder to meet up with her friends. Add to that my great brothers who were here last night, and our Mom, and I'm just telling you, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of all.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Brotherly Three Hour Cruise up and down I-40

So my brothers Peter, Danny, and I set off to attend the Tennessee/ Vandy game in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon. We left around 2 pm for the 6 pm kick off. Normally, I can make it to Knoxville in under 3 hours, even on game day. That would give us plenty of time to park, and hit a tailgate party, possibly quaff a brew, and get to our seats in plenty of time. We intended to drive back that night and be home by midnight.

Everything was on target as we headed out of Nashville . We sped through Lebanon, Carthage, Cookeville, all was okay.

Then, we hit a wreck on this side of Crossville, that slowed us down for 15-20 minutes. Nothing too bad. We were just slowed to a crawl for a while. Then we sped right back up (to my normal 80 mph).

No more than 8-10 miles later, we come across another more complete stoppage of traffic. The friendly truckers (the best source of information if you just roll down your window and ask for it) told us that there was a really bad wreck that had completely stopped the west bound traffic. The east bound traffic was being subjected to rubber necking and was stopped for a helicopter landing for Life Flight according to our traveling compatriot. Thoughts for the injured aside, we were starting to get a little worried that we might miss kick off.

After about 20 minutes of stop and go traffic, we slowed to a crawl. We were starting to have some major second thoughts about the game. Why get to the game late, and more than likely leave early, and sit in traffic again on the way back?

Mind you, I had done this three times already this year, Up and Back on the same day, with no issues, major or minor. I guess my number had come up for having traffic issues. That's what usually happens when flying. You have a few great flights with no delays, and then , bam, you get hit with an outright cancellation or a major delay. Nothing good lasts forever.

After another few minutes, we came up on one of those paved cross roads between the East and West bound interstate lanes..HMM...It looked tempting to turn around....We could get back by kick off, or stop off at a restaurant and watch from the Lounge, and then head home. But we were 2/3 of the way to Knoxville.....what to do?

Then I looked up and traffic was stopped completely. I took a vote in the car. My brother Danny casted the deciding vote---"Turn around, and let's head back" , he said.

And so we did! We made it back to Mt Juliet for kick off, stopped in a local Do Drop In, and then proceeded to my house. Sharon had a big fire waiting, plenty of food, and the game was barely in the 2nd quarter!

In my 40 plus years, that is the only time I have ever turned around heading to a UT Game because of traffic! I hope whoever had the wreck was okay by the way.

FDA Attempts to Ban Raw Oysters During Summer months

For the past 7 years, we've been vacationing on St. George Island, Florida, which is close to Apalachicola, Florida, and for the past 3 years, we've owned a home on St. George Island, with our good friends, The Chip and Mary Loch Smith family. I subscribe to the Apalachicola Times, the weekly newspaper to try to keep up with local news and events. It's interesting to observe, contrast, and compare what makes news down there and what makes news up here in Nashville. We have become big fans of eating raw oysters, and subsequently, have become aware of how large and how potent the seafood industry is to the local economies in North Florida.

One news item that didn't even make a blurb up here was the recent attempt by the FDA to completely shut down the harvesting and selling of oysters during the summer months. Apparently, there are about 30 people per year that lose their life to eating a raw oyster and ingesting a bacteria by the name of Vibrio Vulnicifus. This bacteria is found between April and October in warm waters off the Gulf of Mexico. Never mind that most of these deaths occur by people who shouldn't be eating raw shell fish anyway, to wit, people with weak immune systems, or with weak kidneys or livers.

The FDA actually announced the ban about 3 weeks ago, to take affect starting with the harvesting season commencing in April of 2011. There was a HUGE outcry from the local seafood industries all up and down the coast, all the way to New Orleans and beyond. The only option according to the FDA at that time was for post harvesting irridation controls. Such processing, done through pasteurization and irridation techniques, destroys the bacteria, but can as much as double the cost to consumers, and alters the taste and texture of freshly shucked shellfish. I've tasted an irridated oyster right next to a raw oyster, and the tastes are comparing cardboard to a good piece of bread. Butter makes no difference with cardboard, hence no matter how one dresses the oyster that has been irridated, the quality is horrible.

So anyway, after an outrcy by a unified chorus of Gulf Coast lawmakers and oyster industry executives in the past few weeks, the FDA has officially put the plan "on ice" (with horseradish and hot sauce too), and will hopefully back off altogether.

Here's a quote from the US Senator from Florida, Sen Bill Nelson--"While it's a victory that the FDA has stepped back from implementing this new policy, we still have to be careful because they have yet to altogether rule out a ban on raw oysters up and down the Gulf Coast". So stay tuned, the Government knows what's best for us consumers, don't you see.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MBA -Ensworth Football Playoffs

So, our daughter Rachel attends Ensworth, and is a 9th grader. As such, we have become big Ensworth football fans this year behind the bruising running of Orleans Darkwa, who I might add, was not recruited. Ensworth is undefeated, and has home field advantage during the playoffs. The team seems to be healthy heading into the 2nd game this year against MBA. Ensworth pummeled MBA during the regular season, so no doubt the Big Red will be out for revenge.

Who woulda thought that Ricky Bowers could build a powerhouse team in less than 7 years, beat MBA and Brentwood Academy during the regular season match ups, and challenge for the conference title so quickly? Simply amazing stuff.

But our family has a long history with MBA, the 100+ year old institution that is deeply entrenched with folks from west Nashville, particularly with the Belle Meade/ Green Hills Crowd, etc. etc. 3 of my 4 brothers graduated from MBA, not to mention 1 nephew, and my own son as well. My Dad was a life long Board member practically. He loved the school. God rest his soul...

Suffice to say that when Ricky Bowers agreed to take on the Ensworth challenge (after having been hired away from MBA), no one thought he could assemble such a competitive varsity football team in such as short amount of time. According to George Plaster, Ricky Bowers could be a college basketball coach almost anywhere. He is that talented of a guy. Very capable in the head coaching position. That was basketball...not football.

I'm sure many families across town have the same conflicts tomorrow night in terms of figuring out for whom to root.

Personally, I like both schools, Ensworth is just a different environment altogether. Much different than the strictly traditional educational environment at MBA. Both schools have their place in secondary school education. Since my daughter is a current student there....

Tomorrow night, I think I'll be sitting over on the Black and Orange side. Go Tigers!

Jim Cooper Responds (of course this is not a personal letter, it's from a staffer who wrote the note and then Cooper okayed a stack of stuff)

Dear Mr. Oldham:

My vote is not an endorsement of all the provisions of the bill because I find much of the bill to be deeply flawed. Passing legislation is a little like writing a term paper in school. The first draft is usually not very good. The second draft is better - H.R. 3962 is the second draft. The bill that the Senate will vote on will be the third draft, which I expect to show major improvement. The final draft will be written afterward, if we get to that point, when the House and the Senate will vote on the same bill.

I will continue to work hard to make sure that the final legislation helps all of our families get quality, affordable health care.


Jim Cooper
Member of Congress

Why did Cooper vote for Pelosi Health Care Bill?-From Jim Marrerro

The following is excerpted from Ken Marrero's blog---A post about which I happen to agree. I have heard Jim Cooper speak for years about the exploding federal deficit. And yet, he voted for the enormously expensive and completely cumbersome health care bill that was voted on last Saturday night, in the cover of darkness, as introduced by Sneaker Pelosi. I have posted before about the need for healthcare reform in some form or fashion, but not as was ratified last Saturday night in a 220-215 vote. I am absolutely certain that this bill has no chance of progressing beyond debate in the Senate. It is too costly and would add way too much to the federal deficit. Which begs the question for Jim Cooper--WHY?

The Tennessean today reported that Tennessee 5th District Democrat Jim Cooper testified at a Senate hearing and said "... that the country’s huge debt is a “fiscal cancer.”"

The Tennessean goes on to report that Rep. Cooper has authored a bill to address the issue and "... create a bi-partisan commission that would look at entitlement programs that are driving deficit spending and make recommendations that Congress could approve or disapprove but not amend."
This from a Congressman who voted, less than 72 hours before to expand the country's debt and usher in a deficit spending entitlement program the likes of which were contemplated only in the dreams of die-hard Democrats.
The full text of Cooper's remarks are even more astonishing. Again, despite having voted for the health care bill on Saturday in the US House, on Tuesday Cooper told the US Senate, "I believe that the greatest threat to our nation’s economic security is our long-term fiscal imbalance." He is referring to 2008's $56 trillion in unfunded liabilities currently facing our Economy which are likely to grow to $60 trillion in 2009. Those are Cooper's numbers.
Identifying the source of these problems, Cooper says of the cancer he is warning against, "The President and Congress have acknowledged that the bulk of our budget problem is in health care. That’s why both the House and Senate reform proposals make an effort to reduce the deficit now and in the future." He follows that up by stating, in testimony to the Senate Budget Committee, "I am not satisfied that the House bill passed this weekend meets these goals."
He concludes, "So, how can we fix it? The best course is more direct spending cuts, but we all know how likely those are. The second-best solution is a top-level commission to force congressional action."
Only in Washington, DC does this pass for wisdom and responsible governance. Were I to put the Congressman's words into the language of normal Americans it would go like this:
"Senators, our country is in a huge amount of trouble because we have spent money we do not have for years. This behavior is like a cancer that is killing us and it's getting worse. I should know. Just 3 days ago I added over $2 trillion dollars to the $55 to $60 trillion dollars of unfunded mandates in the area of health care alone that threaten to cripple our Economy. The President and Congress all understand that it is precisely that sort of health care spending that has put us in this mess and so we're going to fix it. Yessirree ... we're going to reduce that pesky deficit spending. We all know the best and most effective way to do that would be to reduce deficit spending. So, we're not going to push for that because it might be hard on our chances to get re-elected. What we should, therefore, do as a fall back position is to have another Congressional panel to make non-binding recommendations to Congress telling them they should cut spending while not actually insisting that they do. That way everyone acknowledges the problem, we are all seen as doing something about it and nothing really has to change. And by the time the country implodes, we'll all be out of office. Any questions? Thank you for the opportunity to testify today."
Please - don't believe me when I tell you it is really that bad. Go read the Congressman's words for yourself.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My son had a Drug Test plus Hollywood's top pot heads

Our son, Houston, is an NCAA Division 1 Athlete at the University of Richmond. He is on a full tuition scholarship for soccer.

He was warned or shall we say, informed, that he would be subjected to random drug testing throughout the year during his orientation session last summer. Today, he was told by the trainer that his number had come up, and that he had to pee in a cup at the student health center within the hour.

So, he did. The first ruling was that his urine was too diluted and he needed to do it again. So he did. It came up negative. Whew. That was good news. I was pretty sure he was not doing any drugs, but a parent never knows for sure.

Random drug testing is in our employee manual at my company, Uniguest, as an option that management has --at its disposal. We have never utilized drug testing or forced anyone into a drug test. Apparently, we are in the minority as drug testing is widely utilized at schools and companies all over the country as I've come to find out.

Just last night I was watching a special on CNBC about the agricultural proliferation of marijuana production in the US and how the Denver Post had just hired a "Medical Marijuana" columnist to review the various styles of legal marijuana.

So on the one hand we have the resurgence of legal marijuana and on the other hand, we have the clamp down on drug use via wide spread testing. No conclusion here, just stating some facts.

Here is a good way to end this post

Hollywood's Top Pot heads: From

Sunday, November 01, 2009

VY comes through, more changes coming, Fulmer, I mean, Fisher is gone

Seems to me that the insertion of Vince Young as quarterback today spells the end for Jeff Fisher. It doesn't take a genius to realize that the Titans were headed in the wrong direction, and there was a sense that something had to happen, regardless if the Patriots had won by a much lesser margin than 59-0 two weeks ago. The degree of defeat was not the point. We were lifeless and had no real leadership. Yes, I know we had other key injuries, and yes, it was snowing and slippery up in Foxborough.

However, just like the Tennessee Vols needed fresh leadership at head coach, I think the Titans need it as well. 15 years as head coach in the same organization brings a sense of complacency and a sense of community. I don't know about you, but I don't like my head coaches to get real comfy in a community or feel as if the head coach's job is their's to keep. It's really there's to lose, and Fisher has lost it. Just like what happened in Knoxville, the same thing is happening here in Nashville with Coach Fisher. He's a heck of guy, and has had a great run, but it's time for him to move on.

It's difficult for me to believe that 86 year old Bud Adams had to make the call on VY. Here we have a multi million $$ signee who arguably is a pretty good quarterback, is youthful, energetic, and has not had much playing time in over a year. We also had a TItans team with an 0-6 record, and a 36 year old over the hill quarterback who has seen better days, even if they were less than a year ago. This is professional football. Why did the owner have to step in and make the call to put in Vince Young? Makes no sense to me.

Fisher can count his days down in Nashville. He will be replaced by Bud Adams before the NFL draft in 2010.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From Bear to Bull --Noetic Science

In a recent WSJ article entitled Bull to Bear (article taken down for some reason so I can't point to it), the topic centered around whether or not we are out of the recession and into some sort of recovery. One of the tag lines of the article was "the deeper the slump, the zippier the recovery".

But most fascinating to me was the following quote by an English economist by the name of Arthur C Pigou, that gets right to the point of the article:

" The error of optimism dies in the crisis, but in so dying, it gives birth to an error of pessimism. The new error is born, not an infant, but a giant".

How many times have we heard in this past year that the end of the free world as we know it was at hand? How many times have our leaders in Washington cautioned that our financial system was on the brink of disaster. How scared have you been in the past year? I for one, have never experienced the depths of pessimism (which is uncharacteristic for me in general) that I suffered this past year not just about our country, but my business, my outlook, everything." And so the new error is born, not an infant, but a giant".

Fast forward to Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol". The book introduces a relatively new field of study called Noetic Science which in a nutshell is the study of the affect of human consciousness on the physical world. And get this, Noetic Science also studies the affect of "collective consciousness" . From Cassandra Vieten of the Huffington Post--Noetic experiences are real, they influence our health, our behaviors, and our lives, and they provide important clues about who and what we are and what we may be capable of. So real life noetic scientists are dedicated to their rigorous exploration, and to the potential that it holds for human consciousness.

Okay, I know that sounds heavy. The dots I'm trying to connect in this post are this: Could it be that we, as a collective group of Americans got "so negg'd out" over this recession/depression that collectively, we made things worse? Could we have been so overwhelmed by the negative media and the negatives all 'round us, that we (noetic scientifically speaking of course) affected business and our attitudes in this country? It's very interesting to realize that perhaps we have (as a group of Americans) more impact on our country than we realize. Think about 9/11. Remember how together we were? Remember how we reacted so positively about our country/our President/ and our future after the attack? Our collective consciousness pulled us out of the 9/11 debacle because our country came together. All I'm asking is if the same thing happened on the negative side this past year--??

Wrapping this all up and coming to a close, I don't think in all of my years, I have witnessed such a collective amount of pessimism this past year, born a giant this pessimism, and now, with the enlightenment via Dan Brown of a real term called Noetic Sciences, I will never underestimate the power of positive (and negative) thinking, particularly in the form of collective human consciousness.

On a future post, perhaps I will explore Prayer and a collective effort herewith. I personally believe that "Noetic Science" whatever that really is--validates the existence of God and His powers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back in the HighLife again

Okay, I'm blogging again. Looks like it's been over 2.5 years. Dang. How did that happen? Not sure. Now I have to get used to all of the fancy blogging software that has apparently been greatly enhanced since my last encounter with Blogspot. Looks like Google has fully integrated Blogspot with tons of new features. Anyway, stay tuned for news and commentary on politics, SEC sports, life in the business world, and more.