See other templatesSee other templates

2

This Is Your Brain; This Is Your Brain On Social Media

If you got into a time machine and went back to the 1980s, you’d see a number of public service announcements that television stations would run dealing with drug use.

The most famous one, which has been mocked and meme’d to death, was the one where some guy holds up an egg, says “this is your brain,” then points to a very hot cast iron skillet and says that’s drugs. He then cracks the egg into the pan, it sizzles and pops as it instantly becomes a sunny side up egg, and he says “this is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”

While that one got most of the attention, there was another dealing with marijuana. A Dad has just found some paraphernalia in his son’s room indicating he’d been smoking pot, and he’s confronting him with it. In the course of the conversation, he asks “who taught you to do this?”

The son looks right into his Dad’s eyes and says “you did, Dad,” strongly implying the Dad also smoked pot, and the son learned only from watching his example.

Fast forward to this weekend, when a video went viral involving a young man heckling Cam Newton at a football camp, where Cam was volunteering his time. The youngster kept yelling “you’re a free agent,” at Newton, who just smiled and responded “I’m rich.” The young man kept on, eventually saying “you about to be poor.”

There’s no doubt it was rude, the kid was looking for attention, and if it was my kid, we’d be having what we call in the South a “Come To Jesus” meeting immediately. Athletes, parents and other observers around the country quickly and rightfully denounced the young man’s behavior, and it seems just about everyone called it a failure of the parents.

That may be true, although if you’ve been a parent, you know you can work hard and long on teaching your children the difference between right and wrong, and still have something like that happen. So, until I know more, I’m not dumping all this exclusively on the parents. The kid knew what was going on, he had teammates and coaches around him, and nobody tried to stop him. Plus, someone had a phone capturing it all, as if there was some anticipation of getting this out on social media and making the young man a star.

5
Continue reading
2

Two Weeks To Go, And I Still Have No Idea Who Wins

I think it is pretty safe to say this season is not turning out the way ACC media folks thought it would in looking back at their preseason predictions.

Also pretty safe to say it’s not turning out the way anyone thought it would, for that matter.

Back in early November, the ACC scribes liked Virginia and Florida State to be in the top 3, with Virginia the solid No. 1, Duke second and the Seminoles No. 3. As Meatloaf used to sing back in the day, two out of three ain’t bad.

That’s because there are only 13 days left in the ACC regular season and here is the top 3: Florida State is first with a 9-2 league record, Virginia is second at 11-3 and third is not Duke, but an 8-3 Virginia Tech team, which the pundits picked to finish 11th. Three weeks from today when the NCAA hands out bids to the Big Dance, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Florida State look like the only teams in the league with a relative lock at getting in. The rest of the teams appear to be on the bubble or worse.

Yesterday’s games just added data points to the field known as “I really don’t know how this is all going to turn out.” North Carolina and Louisville were preseason picks to finish 4th and 5th, and a month ago the Cardinals were 9-1 and ranked No. 16 in the nation. North Carolina, conversely, hasn’t been ranked in 2021, and dropped to 12-7 a week ago while only scoring 48 points in a loss to Virginia.

3
Continue reading
3

In Search Of The Perfect Flavor Of Popcorn

We all have our areas of expertise, and one of mine involves food.

I have talents related to eating it, cooking it, and talking about it. I was even once at a dinner with company executives, and the president turned to me and said “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen someone as talented with a knife and fork as you.”

I think that was a compliment.

But when it comes to the lowly popcorn kernel, I have to say I have not been a fan. Unless it’s drowning in butter or coated with some other flavor, the popcorn itself does little to nothing for me. It’s not as worthless as, say, a rice cake, but it’s in the same neighborhood.

My opinions are now changing thanks to Virginia Tech basketball coach Mike Young.

Young has made popcorn regal. Brain food. The poor man’s caviar of the New River Valley. The key ingredient that has allowed Young to be such a successful coach with the Hokies. Heck, as you can see from the picture above, he’s even got Doug Doughty eating it.

I’ve always been a peanut man, myself. Salted, in a shell, accompanied by a cold beverage and maybe a baseball game in front of me, on a warm night, and I’m good. Popcorn, I’ve always believed, breaks teeth. Peanuts build character.

But Young is causing me to change. I’ve written that I’d run through a brick wall for him because I’m so impressed with the job he’s done for the Hokies, so I guess I’m going to have to eat a bag of popcorn every time the team plays too.

At least there is variety I can consider. Plain old popcorn is the brussel sprouts of the snack world, and I don’t see that ever changing for me. But I did look up some other varieties, and some are appealing. Kettle Corn will do, with its sweet and salty flavor. Caramel Corn is another. There is a cheese popcorn, but I’m not sure about that. It looks like they took one of those dried packets of powder you see in the mac and cheese boxes at the grocery store they sell 3 for a dollar and just dusted it over regular popcorn.

Anything that sells 3 for a dollar in the grocery store can’t be but so good.

5
Continue reading
2

All You Have To Do Is Listen. And Care.

I know it’s snowy, icy and bleak outside right now. So to make your day, let me share with you what a good week I had last week.

The story really starts two years ago when I decided I didn’t need to work like a maniac any more. Instead, I dialed things back a bunch, doing occasional projects for my own company, thinking I’d sleep more, play more golf, and generally relax.

As the old expression says, “we plan, God laughs.” My life instead seemed to keep intersecting with young people who needed help. It usually involved a job, where either the person didn’t have one, or they did have one in a terrible environment. Being a marketing guy, I’d sit down with them and go over their resumes, help them rewrite both that and cover letters, and even redesign both to make them stand out a little more.

In the course of this, I realized there’s an epidemic going on with a lot of younger people. Inept managers are killing the self-confidence of the next generation. This pandemic is making it worse.

I learned this because my personal style when trying to help someone has been to at first, go through someone’s background and focus on what they CAN do well; then I’d come back to the weaknesses that needed work. In virtually all of the people I’ve now met and worked with, it seemed all they heard was the negative part.

It was so bad, in fact, that the first part of the project ended up not working on preparing the person for an interview, but instead focused on getting the person to believe as much as I did that they were really good at certain things and several companies out there would be lucky to have them.

All of them got to hear this story (which my daughter will tell you she’s heard hundreds of times): The moment my career took off didn’t involve a big sale, a promotion or an advanced degree. Instead, it was the moment I got up, looked in the mirror at a rather haggard Italian man, and decided “you know, I like this guy.” I got comfortable with who I was and stopped trying to be another version of a successful person I admired; I instead focused on just being an original Dave.

4
Continue reading
0

Twenty Years Ago Today: The Day The NASCAR Music Died

Don McLean once wrote a masterpiece of a song called “American Pie,” where it spoke of “the day the music died.”

For NASCAR fans, the day the music died was 20 years ago today, when Dale Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap wreck at the Daytona 500. Fans didn’t know how bad the wreck was at first, but I immediately noticed a fear in the voice of broadcaster Darrell Waltrip, as veteran racers know when a wreck is really bad.

A few hours later, Mike Helton stood in front of a podium and emotionally announced that No. 3 was gone.

Twenty years later I’m not sure what I find harder to believe: That he’s been gone for two decades, or that two entire generations of fans have grown up never seeing him race. As is the case with all famous people once they pass away, anecdotal memories tend to make that person larger than life, almost mythical by comparison to ordinary people.

That’s certainly been done with Earnhardt, but he was never an easy one to label. He was at times a simple man that was easy to understand, at times quite complex. He WAS an intimidator, both on and off the track, and at least during the 5 years I covered racing in the early 1980s, could be either the nicest guy you’d ever meet, or one tough customer, depending on his mood.

One guy who had a front row seat for all this was Dave Fulton, who was the Manager for Wrangler NASCAR Special Events. I met Dave through Twitter, we’re both story tellers, and over the years it seemed like our stories overlayed each other’s to the point I’m now of the opinion we were in the same place something like 117 times, yet never met. We knew the same people, watched the same events, arrived at the same conclusions. We just weren’t aware of each other.

2
Continue reading
0

Florida State Game Postponed, Hokies Still Waiting To Play

Earlier this week, I wrote a story about all the cancellations in the Virginia Tech basketball program, saying the Hokies would go 10 days between games. I did, however, add this disclaimer: “There is no guarantee 10 days will be all the delay there is, as the next opponent is North Carolina, which has had issues of its own. Then the next game is against Florida State, which started the string of postponements."

You may now call me Nostradamus.

Sure enough, the North Carolina game was postponed, and now today, the ACC has announced the postponement of Saturday’s game with Florida State. Since the team hasn’t played since Feb. 6, this means there will be at least a 17-day break, as the next scheduled game is a home game with Georgia Tech on Feb. 23.

Saturday’s Clemson-Pittsburgh game has also been postponed, so instead of these two games, Florida State will now play at Pitt at 4 PM Saturday. Additionally, the North Carolina at Boston College game for next Tuesday has also been postponed.

The ACC said in a statement on its website that “The postponements follow positive tests, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Virginia Tech, Clemson and Boston College men’s basketball programs. The teams are adhering to the outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.”

So once again it’s hurry up and wait for the Hokies. I doubt any of these postponed games will be played, meaning Virginia Tech won’t face Florida State at all this season unless it’s in the ACC Tournament.

 

2
Continue reading
4

With Maggie The WonderBeagle, You Snooze, You Lose

There is a game that goes on every day in my house.

It involves wherever you are sitting. And Maggie the WonderBeagle.

Most dogs I’ve had are quick to jump up on furniture, so that’s nothing new. Previous dogs in my house weren’t even allowed to do that, as a wonderful Black Lab I had for 12 years named Butch used to make it an art form to sneak up on a sofa when no one was looking. It was his few minutes of heaven until Dad came into the room and asked “what do you think you’re doing?”

Just as we spoil our grandchildren and let them get away with things we never let our children do, the same happens with dogs as we grow older. Maggie has never given it a second thought about whether it’s OK to get up on furniture. She just assumes it comes with her ownership of the house.

But even that’s not enough.

To Maggie, she doesn’t just want to sit on the sofa. She wants to sit in YOUR seat on the sofa.

4
Continue reading
0

Baltimore Apparently Has No Chance; You Hate To See It :)

It’s been a busy day, as I’ve been running around to grocery stores to stock up, since the local weather people are saying Thursday we could have anywhere between 2 and 103 inches of snow and ice.

Nice job of nailing that forecast down with precision, guys.

So as I'm catching up on what I’ve missed this afternoon, I came across a graphic from the good people at Fangraphs rating every Major League Baseball team’s postseason odds. At this time of the year, common wisdom has said, everyone has a chance. Everyone’s 0-0. Hope springs eternal.

Except if you’re a fan of the Baltimore Orioles.

Their chances are listed at 0.0 percent. Senator John Blutarsky’s GPA in Animal House. The membership fees on a Discover Card. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. You know that meme that says “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” They’re not. They are saying you have NO chance.

This may have brought a smile to my face. You see, if you don’t live up here in the Northern Virginia/DC/Maryland area, you may not be aware of the “special” relationship between fans of Washington and Baltimore professional teams. It’s a nice way of saying Baltimore fans can be one colossal pain in the backside to Washington fans, never just being happy with their own success. They’ve got to make sure you know about it, whether you want to or not.

Over the years if I post something good about how the artists formerly know as the Washington Redskins are doing, I can count on at least two fans from Baltimore telling me how much better the Ravens are doing. When the Nationals won the World Series, they jumped in my feeds to make sure you knew that all Nationals fans were at one time Orioles fans and were just front runners without any real character who abandoned the O’s for the Nats.

2
Continue reading
2

Everyone Always Seems To Forget The Value Of The Stage

Yesterday, Jalen Johnson decided to opt out from playing the rest of the season at Duke, and with the decision came the predictable firestorm on social media.

Every time a player decides to do something in his or her own best interests, you see this. On one side are the people demanding players get paid. Words like “exploited” are thrown around like snowballs in Texas these days, as they almost froth at the mouth insisting the school is making millions while not giving the player a single red cent.

On the other side are those who proclaim that the player is indeed getting just compensation, documenting the value of the tuition, room and board, books, etc., usually adding how big a burden they are experiencing providing that same benefit for their own child.

Both sides have points that deserve merit, both sides make points that don’t.

I’m somewhere in the middle because I think both sides miss the point of where the true value is in this equation.

2
Continue reading
0

I Like The Hiring Of Jon Tenuta. I Like It A Lot.

I like the hire today of Jon Tenuta as Virginia Tech’s senior defensive analyst.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I really like it.

It fills a need Justin Fuente has had on the defensive side of the ball, and Tenuta has all the skills and experience necessary. Fuente has hired quite a few young, up and coming former players to defensive coaching positions, but they were missing that old soul, Charley Wiles-type of coach who had been doing it for a long time and always had a hidden trick up his sleeve.

Tenuta is that and more. He’s 63, been coaching for over 40 years, and has held positions at enough schools you could put them all together and have a super conference. He played at Virginia, but he’s held every defensive coaching position there is, been at places like Ohio State, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and was even the interim head coach at Georgia Tech.

He’s been there and done that.

He looks like he has the potential to add the same sort of flavor to the mix that Jerry Kill did during his time as a consultant to the Hokies. He also has a special factor going for him that really makes me bullish on this hire, and has nothing to do with his experience.

It's that he already knows this team, as his son, Luke, is a rising redshirt junior who has started the last two years at right tackle for the Hokies.

Coaching a team or managing an organization where you child is involved, I’ve found, tends to add an interesting wrinkle to the job. You don’t want father managing son, because that’s a no-win situation where favoritism is suspected even when you tell the son “good morning.”

But in an arms-length situation like this, it’s a bonus. Tenuta has probably already watched every Virginia Tech game of the last two years because of Luke. Probably more than once, in fact, because that’s what Dads do. He is coming into this situation from Cincinnati probably already knowing as much about how the Hokies play as he did with the Bearcats.

3
Continue reading
2

Happy For McDowell, But Not Happy For Racing's Priorities

Yesterday’s Daytona 500 certainly had some exciting moments, and if you’re a long-time fan of the sport, you can’t help but be happy for journeyman Michael McDowell winning the event.

But if you took a moment and compared memories of a Daytona 500 25 years ago to last night’s race, you’d probably have to ask a certain question.

Something along the lines of “what are these guys doing?”

Twenty-five years ago, you’d remember an exciting race run in bright sunshine that came down to a dramatic finish. You’d know most of the drivers in the field and the race would start at a convenient time and end at one. You’d know what was going on, and know what to expect.

Sunday, it was run in a window almost guaranteed for a rain delay, with a field of drivers many casual fans were unfamiliar with, then delayed (without any real updates) until after 9 PM, before finishing at 12:20 AM where the winner did not race back to the start-finish line on the final lap.

Not exactly similar.

I’m not a motorhead like many of my other racing friends, but after being introduced to the sport 40 years ago, I have viewed the Daytona 500 the way NASCAR wants everybody to look at it: it is the sport’s Super Bowl. Because of the sport’s Southern roots, for years we’d always go get a bucket of chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and biscuits, eat lunch while they were doing the flyovers and other festivities a little after noon, then watch the race when it went green flag at 1 PM.

You’d then spend the afternoon watching familiar faces with several intriguing story lines, and because of the nature of superspeedways, there would always be a tight finish filled with emotions. Like Earnhardt finally winning the race after 20 tries. Or Ned Jarrett, urging his son Dale on from the broadcast booth to win his first.

You’d turn off the television and think “man, what a race.”

3
Continue reading
scattered clouds

76.9°F

Ashburn

Scattered Clouds

Humidity: 39%

Wind: 1.99 m/h

Tue

scattered clouds

50/77°F

Wed

broken clouds

54/81°F

Thu

overcast clouds

58/82°F

Go to top