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The Samurai's Heart by Walt Mussell

The Samurai's Heart

by Walt Mussell

Giveaway ends January 08, 2018.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

In Memory: Sergeant Major James Ray Crockett

This blog expresses its sympathy at the passing of Sergeant Major James Ray Crockett (retired). Mr. Crockett, who lived in Powder Springs, GA, served 31 years in the U.S. Marines, winning various awards and decorations for his service in Korea and Vietnam. He was also my sister's father-in-law. It is a sad day when we lose someone who gave so much in service to this country. God bless him and his family.


In Memory: Sergeant Major James Ray Crockett

This blog expresses its sympathy at the passing of Sergeant Major James Ray Crockett (retired). Mr. Crockett, who lived in Powder Springs, GA, served 31 years in the U.S. Marines, winning various awards and decorations for his service in Korea and Vietnam. He was also my sister's father-in-law. It is a sad day when we lose someone who gave so much in service to this country. God bless him and his family.


Guest Blogging

Hi. I am guest blogging over at the blog of my good friend, Tami Brothers. Tami is a writer who specializes in the romance genre, so it's definitely not a sports-related site. Tami is running a month-long feature on setting up a website and also discussing whether or not unpublished authors should have one. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

An Erin Andrews Sighting


A friend of mine from work was at University of Florida function in the Atlanta area. Erin Andrews, a UF grad herself, was at the party as well. My friend was kind enough to provide them to me. I posted what I thought was the best one. As my friend got to meet her, he is still on cloud nine.

Yes, I know she's a UF grad, but her picture will always be welcome here.

9/23/08 Note: Another blog or website is driving traffic to this picture. I would appreciate it if a few people would drop me a note and tell me who's kind enough to pass out the reference.

Poker with John Wayne

I apologize for the late post. My weekly goal is to get something up every Friday. Unfortunately, with the holidays, I didn’t get to do that. Instead, with a chance to be lazy and eat seafood, my wife and I took the kids to Myrtle Beach, where we spent a nice Easter weekend with my Dad and his wife.

One of the challenges my wife and I face when dealing with my son Andrew’s disability is metaphors. When Andrew speaks, he talks literally. For example, if I tell Andrew that it’s too cold to go swimming, he understands what I mean. If I say something like “the water’s cold as ice,” then all I’ve done is confuse him. Water is water. Ice is ice. He knows from science class that water can also be either ice (or steam), yet he struggles with a comparison of this nature. “Hard as a rock” and “clear as mud” are other examples that would give him trouble. Despite this, my wife and I do our best to take every opportunity to educate him in the use of metaphors and realize that we may have to explain something a hundred times or more before he gets it (and this statement is not a metaphor).

This past weekend, we had a chance to introduce a new term: poker face. With the early morning temperatures chilly, we slept in late, had a late breakfast, and watched TV until we all went shopping or went out to the beach. (Ok. While the women shopped, the men watched college basketball. I admit it.) One of the things we watched was the John Wayne film “Rio Bravo.” During one scene, Wayne, the sheriff, accosts a cheater at a poker table and takes his winnings, giving it back to the other players. “What happened,” Andrew wanted to know. Grandpa decided that I had missed part of Andrew’s education. It was time to teach him to play poker.

Using grapes for chips, Grandpa and grandson discussed high card and low card, one pair and two pairs, three of a kind, and full houses. The concept of a straights and flushes would have to wait for another day. Raises and calls were even further away. The idea of bluffing was alien. “You have to keep a straight face, Andrew. You can’t let Grandpa know what you have.” However, Andrew, like his Dad, has no poker face. His face is easy to read.

Within an hour, the grapes were gone. I’m not sure if someone won or if the players just ate the chips. I knew Andrew was no closer to understanding the concept of “poker face,” but realized that he had the best face among all three generations. Spending time with Grandpa, Andrew didn’t care what was in his hand. He always had the same expression: a smile.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Repeat of History

In 1985, Auburn won four games in the SEC tourney, becoming the first team to win the SEC tournament by winning four games. The next team to accomplish it would be Arkansas in 2000, who upset #1 seed Auburn to win it all. (Despite the loss, Auburn still received a #1 seed in the Big Dance that year and lost in the third round to #4 seed Ohio State.)

It seems ironic now with Georgia, having the chance to become the next in line to win the SEC tourney by winning four games, faces Arkansas, the last team to do it. If Georgia wins, it'll be like the passing of the torch.

As far as Auburn, our beloved Tigers were both bounced from the SEC tourney by Vandy. The girls still have a chance to go to the NCAA tourney. Auburn, despite its losing record, has an outside chance at a new postseason tournament, called the CBI. The CBI chooses teams after the NCAA and the NIT.

Given that the Lady Tigers have a chance to return to March Madness, it is obvious that Coach Nell Fortner is bringing the Tigers back. It is less obvious with Jeff Lebo's men's team. This year was Lebo's third losing season in four years. I have commented before that this year's team was snakebit with injuries and it definitely showed. However, what also showed was the team that played with more heart than I've seen out of many better Auburn teams. Bring Lebo back for Year Five.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Night of the Oyabaka

A little over a week ago, my wife and I were watching Christopher play his first practice game of this year’s teeball season.
“Wow! Christopher’s good!” I said.
My wife looked at me with that weird smile of disbelief that women reserves for spousal comments before pouncing. “Do you know what oyabaka means?” she asked, sounding a little perturbed, but laughing also.

I didn’t answer right away. First, I ran through a list in my head of the potential translations for that Japanese word. I came up with my best literal option.
“Moronic parent?” I asked.
Oyabaka refers to a parent that says things like, 'Oh, my kid is so great. He’s doing so well.' In reality, he’s just okay.”

I turned to watch Christopher. My son, playing at the pitcher’s mound, made another stop of a ground ball and proceeded to throw it over the head of the kid at first base. “See, Honey. he IS doing well,” I replied. “That was a great throw! It was perfectly on line.” However, my wife shook her head, “If this were a Japanese cartoon, there would be a sign over your head, flashing Oyabaka.”

I laughed at what she said. This is teeball. If Christopher had gotten a hit and then run down the third base line, I still would have still said, “He’s moving real fast.” However, my wife had a point. As another inning rolled around, Christopher continued to get every ground ball that came his way, and then started throwing them underhanded to 1st base. The coaches would correct him, saying “overhanded, overhanded,” but Christopher had decided this was the best way to get the other team out. Finally, before the practice game ended. Christopher resumed throwing overhanded, but bouncing them to 1st.

A week later, Christopher had another practice game. As my older son had a game as well, I watched Christopher while my wife watched Andrew. Christopher had a bad night, missing grounder after grounder. Those he did stop were followed by off-line throws. Tosses back to the mound, which is how time is called in teeball, got by him.

After the game was over, I helped Christopher pack his gear and we walked to a different field to watch the rest of Andrew’s game. As I arrived, my wife asked, “how’d he do?”

I thought for a second: all the missed grounders and missed throws that allowed extra bases. What should I say?

“He got a double,” I replied, smiling. “Hit it over the pitcher’s head, past the second basemen and into center field.”

My wife will have to read here to find out about the rest of the night.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Finishing Where We Started

Auburn men’s b-ball team is 4-11, with a 14-14 overall record. They have played shorthanded all season, sometimes well, sometimes bad. They have lost their last two games to teams they should have beaten: USC and Georgia. They lost by missing shots in the final minute. They lost the same way at home to LSU, a game where they led by five with less than a minute. The difference in those downfalls would have led to 7-8 in the conference and sure NIT berth. That would have been flat amazing for this team.

On Saturday, the Tigers play their final game of the regular season against Arkansas. The Tigers opened the conference season at home against the Hogs, losing by six in a game where they played great, but ran out of gas.

Here’s hoping they finish on a good note. This team can play well. It can even make noise in the SEC tourney. Let’s wish them well.

The women’s b-ball team finished the regular season 19-10 with a 7-7 conference record and expectations of an NCAA tourney berth. The SEC tourney has already started and the Lady Tigers opened with a 73-51 victory over Arkansas. Friday night’s game is against #22 Vandy. With nearly 17 minutes remaining in the second half, Vandy leads 27-17.

Autism News

In case you haven't heard, Federal health officials have ruled that vaccines are responsible for the autism of a 9-year-old girl in Athens. The little girl's name is Hannah Poling. Click here to be taken to a link on the story.

I first blogged about the vaccine debate in October 2007. Click here to be taken to that post.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Moment of Silence

This blog expresses its sympathey for the family of Lauren Burk. The Cobb County (re:Atlanta) native and Auburn freshman died Tuesday evening, the result of a gunshot wound to the head. The police found her car a few hours later. It had been torched. Police are questioning suspects, but have no announced leads at this time.

You can obtain more details of the situation by clicking on the title of this post.