Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Greatest Men Always Strive For Excellence

Well with the season Notre Dame had, New Year’s certainly doesn’t have any Bowl Game significance to me. So, I am just going to focus on self improvement.

For 2008, I am committing to the following resolutions:

1) This is the year I get off H
2) Stop slapping Gail for little stuff. Just emotionally abuse her for day to day issues. Save the whoopings for big stuff.
3) Finally do the right thing and register so my neighbors can be watching out for me.
4) Take up competitive knitting
5) Become more dedicated to my gambling. This is the year I'm due to finally win big
6) If I can’t stop cheating on Gail…at least stop hitting on the young stuff.
7) Learn some Arabic profanity
8) Do aerobics every day
9) Completely eliminate all vegetables from my diet
10) Stop being a slave to political correctness

Friday, December 28, 2007

When Animals Attack.... or just Count Coup

I wanted to take a moment to address the horrible tragedy of the man killed by the wild animals this week. Given a man lost his life, even PETA would be hard pressed to take the side of the animals. However, looking at the severity of the taunting that went on, I cannot assign full blame to the animals.

I am not referring to the escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo. Instead I refer to the man killed in my kitchen this week by my two dogs. I don’t know if it was a Napoleon Complex that caused that little 6 inch tall man to continually terrorize my yellow labs, but all I know is he would not allow any peace to reign in our home. A couple of times a week a little Chuck Wagon would appear out of the wall in our hallway and with that tiny teamster screaming “HEEYAA!!!! HEEYAA!!!!!!!!” the chuck wagon would blaze through our house. He would target the dogs, and after he had worked them up into a frenzy, he would lead them to the kitchen where he disappeared into the cabinets under the sink.

The dogs would be left panting, barking, and clawing at the cabinet doors. Gail and I would be forced to spend the next two hours trying to calm the dogs. I often thought about getting a Red Ryder and putting an end to this crap. Earlier this year I went as far as to contact several Indian Tribes to see if there were any 6 inch Braves out there stuck in the 1880’s who would be willing to camp out in my kitchen for a few days and turn that little cowboy punk into a pin cushion. (I even told them they could keep his scalp, his little rifle, and any shiny beads or whiskey they found in the wagon). No Luck.

Well, it just so happens that earlier this week when the wagon came unexpectedly busting through the hall, that we heard the sound of splintering wooden spokes and looked up to see the little wagon lurching with a broken wheel. Abby, the older dog, saw the handicap and immediately recognized this opportunity to end the years of abuse.

I wish I could say that Abby just scooped the cowboy off of the wagon and gave him a couple of hard shakes. But the truth is she went completely medieval on him. There was blood all over the kitchen. Between the two dogs they completely devoured the little guy. However, their coats have never looked shinier.

If anyone sees a tiny little red and white checkered Conestoga Wagon with no driver and a busted wheel zipping along somewhere, please let me know. Abby says she is entitled to any shiny beads or whiskey inside.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cannibal Timbers and Those of Us Who Enable Them

I am having the time of my life. I am knee deep into building the Schwarz/Holtzapffel Workbench. Truthfully, I have better things to be doing, but Webkinz is having all kinds of Web server issues (like it never occurred to you guys that we kids would be getting a butt load of new Webkinz for Christmas and needing to set them up online. HELLO????) Anyway, I have a Webkinz that is in desperate need of lunch followed by a nap, but since I can’t log in to do that I figured, "Hey…why not spend my holiday/vacation day in the woodshop."

So, all of that 8/4 Hard Maple from the previous post, is getting milled into parts of my bench. The stretchers for the base are 1 ½ inches thick, and the legs are laminated from two 1 ½ inch thick boards to become 3 inches thick. Creating 1 ½ inch pieces out of 8/4 stock means that I am basically jointing/planing 25% off each board. I know somebody is going to tell me I should spend 40 hours at my bandsaw, resawing ½ inch off the thickness of each board, but you know what…my time and my bandsaw blades are worth more to me than the thrill of having 140 lineal feet of 8 inch wide x ½ inch thick hard maple planks. (Just shoot me for not being the Cheapest guy in the world.) Besides, the boards are kinda cupped, so if I want to use square stock (a recent discovery of mine), I can really only get 1 ½ inch thick boards out of it. (Actually, I can get 1 ¾ thick square stock out of it, so on some level I am guilty of wasting wood. Please don’t send me hate mail. And yes, I do cross cut to relative length, rip to relative width, and THEN go over and joint and plane to thickness. I know how to work with cupped wood. GEEZ!!!!!!!! Get off my back.) So…back to the story.

Two nights ago, when I finished milling all four legs I started cutting the stretchers, and as I looked over at the cyclone I saw chips whirling around in the clear tube that goes from the cyclone to the dust hopper. (That’s not good; it means the hopper is full.) So I went over, unhooked the hopper, and took it outside to do what I always do…I used it for mulch. As I am outside in the snow pouring sawdust around the trees in my front yard, I began to wonder if this was somewhat cannibalistic to use sawdust at the base of my trees. I got the mental picture of the conversation after I went back in side:

Red Twig Dogwood: Oh my God, is this Sugar Maple chips? I’ve got cousins up in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula…it’s a Michigan thing) who are Sugar Maples. Oh boy… this just reminds you how short life is.

River Birch: Yeah, Red, this is Hard Maple alright. Holy Geez, if that carbide cutter on his jointer did this to hard maple I hate to think how fast it would blow through my peely-barked butt.

Red Twig Dogwood: Ya know, Skiver is one sick and twisted *&^$&%$!!! What kind of animal brings freshly milled sawdust out and spreads it around the base of living trees. I pray to God they reserve the hottest part of Hell for sickos like him.

So there I was standing in the snow thinking of talking trees. I held the dust hopper in my hands, my head was cocked about 15 degrees, my eyes stared off into the starry sky, and the drool started to drip from the side of my mouth as I vegged out in the middle of my front yard.

Something about the staring at the starry sky made me realize it was Christmas Eve night, and I looked down at my watch and saw it was exactly midnight. (Folks, when there aren’t any kids around and you are someone who can get by on four hours sleep a night…the wee small hours of the morning are prime time for woodwork.) So, since it was exactly midnight, Santa should be on the roof. I looked up to the snow covered shingles, he wasn’t there. Then, it hit me…he was probably headed in for the landing and he looked down and saw me spreading wood carnage around the base of the trees, and he instantly pulled back the stick, put the balls to the wall, and made it a fly-by at full AB’s…all the while saying, "Trying to turn your trees into cannibals, Skiver? If that aint naughty, I don’t know what naughty is."

So, Gail and I did not get a visit from Santa this year. It didn’t matter to me, though. We had Gail’s family Christmas gathering earlier on Christmas Eve, and since we had to travel to her brother’s house near Grand Rapids for that party, it seemed like the perfect reason to pop in and make sure Gary and Marlene were holding true to their promise to have the Woodcraft of West Michigan open on Christmas Eve.* And even though Gail was with me, I decided to ignore the surprise factor, as I dropped hundreds of bucks on Festool stuff (for her). I figured I would pay cash for her tools, and that 7 stone/4 carat Journey diamond necklace (for me) would have to come from Santa.

Well, maybe next year I’ll be good enough to get MY necklace. Until then I’ll help Gail use all of HER tools. And when my necklace comes, I’ll let her borrow it. A lot of husbands might balk at having to buy their wives such expensive tools that she'll never even lay a finger on, but Gail and I have a wonderful relationship built on our commitment to common goals. Why it’s almost as sugary sweet as that naked little "Love Is…" cartoon couple.

*(A shameless plug bound to be worth another 10% off my next Woodcraft purchase...Power Tools, FESTOOL, LEIGH Jigs, SawStop, Steel City & Gift Cards excluded).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What would people feel when they held the Son of God?

1998 was the "Baby Year" for my wife and me. In 1998 we went from having one niece and one nephew to one niece and four nephews. Also, in1998 we were pregnant twice and neither one of those worked out the way they were supposed to. So when Christmas rolled around, there were lots of babies on the brain and questions for God. With those thoughts playing Pong between my temples, I busted out the following blurb, that I now offer as a Christmas card to anyone who stumbles onto my blog. (Special thanks to Jackson…or is that Harrison…for being the poster child. To you Jack (or Harry), and all of my three nieces and eleven nephews I say that I am thrilled to be a professional uncle.)

Immanu’el, God With Us

by Jeff Skiver

God sent His only son to die for mere humans like us. That’s pretty intimidating isn’t it? When we think of the young messiah, we most often think of the infant Christ in the manger. However, I wonder how many people have taken time to think of the Christ-child as a child. Perhaps the wise men should have also brought some toys.

The New Testament records The Immaculate Conception, The Birth, The Flight to Egypt, and The Visit of the Magi. Then it jumps to a twelve year old Jesus in the Temple. Although the New Testament does not record it, rest assured Jesus had a childhood. The Son of God came to Earth, and He grew up in Nazareth.

For just a moment allow yourself to look past Christ as deity and see Him as Jesus the Baby.

Did Jesus sleep through the night? Did He have any trouble while teething? Did the young Jesus have a healthy appetite? Was He ever stubborn, demanding to feed Himself? Did God ever look down to see His only begotten son with food in His hair?

With your imagination pushing the envelope of what structured religion would classify as blasphemy, take a moment to think about Christ the Toddler.

Did Jesus like to play during bath time? Did He ever walk on water in His tub? At what age did Jesus learn to walk? When He fell, did He cry? If He scraped a knee, did He ever heal Himself?

Did Jesus have any trouble potty training? Did Mary ever say, “The Messiah needs His diaper changed!”

Was Jesus a Mama’s Boy? Was Jesus a Daddy’s Boy? Did the people at His church like Him? I wonder if the older ladies would fight over who got to hold Him. Did the older men bring Him candy? What would people feel when they held the Son of God?

Although the water to wine transformation was the first recorded miracle, was it the first miracle? Is it possible that He healed His grandmother’s arthritis when He was three?

As He grew older, what was He like? Did He get along with His brothers? Did He and His cousin John have deep discussions? How much time did He spend in prayer each day?

There are countless experiences that must have occurred as Jesus grew up. These experiences are all locked away in His memory. These memories help Him relate to people. Although we must recognize Jesus Christ as God the Son, we should keep in mind that for over thirty years, Jesus lived as God the Human. Respect Jesus for who He is, but rest assured He can relate to your situation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Eenie Meenie Mynie Moe…

I have 60 years of woodworking in front of me. 66 years if I buy into all that crap Jiminy Cricket was always sellin’. So each time I look down at my fingers I cannot help but think (and even occasionally say out loud), “Boys, the odds are at least one of you is not going to get to make the entire long journey to the crematorium.”

Within the first few months of my brief 3 ½ years of woodworking, I managed to touch a spinning saw blade twice. That’s it…I’ve used up all the luck I had going into this thing. Somehow I once touched the inside of the blade (sort of close to the arbor nut) on a spinning blade that was raised pretty high. I felt cold steel, and I soiled myself, but there was no harm. Where I touched the blade, it was just a flat, smooth piece of rotating steel. It’s as if I was using my finger to check the run-out on the blade. I truly do not remember how it happened, and there is a slight chance this is just a cloudy memory of a dream.

However, the other “touch” was certainly real, because I still have pictures of the results. (see below) Somehow I managed to jam my thumb into the side of a spinning saw blade…right in the gullet area behind the carbide teeth. The spinning gullets ground off the end of my thumb, just as if I had stuck it into a spinning disk sander. A half inch closer to the front of the saw and I would now have only one sample of the opposable thumb necessary to separate me from lesser beings.

When the Great Gullet Grind occurred, I didn’t know right away that I wasn’t too badly hurt. All I knew is I had touched steel and I was bleeding. I grabbed my thumb with the “good” hand and screamed out my wife’s name as I zoomed up the stairs, from my basement shop. (When injuries occur I use the adrenaline to garner just enough strength to scream like a school girl and make it to my wife’s location, and then I lose all ability to function from there.) I actually made it to the kitchen sink, and I was looking at the ground tip of my thumb as Gail (my lovely wife) moved in to take care of me. No stitches required…just gauze, tape, and telling the story to everyone who asked.

The tip grew back, and there is no visible sign of the injury other than a nice Excalibur Saw Guard and Merlin Splitter that are attached to my Unisaw. This injury happened early enough in my woodworking that I now believe it was serendipitous, because it made me a bona-fide Safety Freak. I personally try to approach every single power tool action with the thought, “If I suffered a seizure and completely blacked out during this operation, would I be safe?” (Just so my insurance agent doesn’t read that and use it as an excuse to charge us more for auto insurance, I want to go on record as stating it’s hypothetical. I’ve never suffered seizures with the exception of one time when I was flipping channels and caught sight of a particularly special pair of pants Earl Anthony was wearing as he bowled in the 1975 Milwaukee Open on ESPN Classic).

Here’s where I’m headed with this. On Thursday, Gail came home from work telling me about stitches she had to remove from a guy’s pinky. When she asked how the injury occurred, the gentleman replied, “Cut it on a Table Saw.” Gail then asked, “Have you put a SawStop on your Christmas list?” Gail says the guy paused, trying to figure out how his friendly nurse would know what a SawStop is, then said this classic line. “Oh no, those SawStops are too expensive. Besides this pinky aint as bad as this one.” And he held up the opposite hand which was missing one half of a finger.

Gail then told the nine and a half fingered fellow about my near miss and the subsequent purchase of my “fancy overarm saw guard” which led to the second great statement of the Doctor’s Office Visit, “Oh I took my guards off a long time ago.”

When Gail relayed this story to me last night, I told her, “Honey, that part about Stumpy Wheeler in my first Popular Woodworking Feature is not all that uncommon in the woodworking community.” I’m doing all I can to stay safe, and I still don’t think all my piggies will resist getting separated from the pack.

So, if anyone close to West Michigan wants to make a really great offer on a 5 hp Unisaw with only about two hours of motor time on it (I don’t actually cut a lot of lumber)… my piggies and I may be ready to move up to a Sawstop.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Stadium Anthem for Judaism

Well, boys and girls, with Chanukah a week behind us and Christmas looming one week in front of us, now is time when we should be knee deep in Egg Nog, Dreidels, Christmas Carols, and Chanukah Songs. However, there just aren’t that many Menorah rocking songs out there. It is kind of weird when Jewish singers record Christmas albums because they don’t have enough marketable songs about Chanukah to fill an album.

This led to a revelation a couple of years ago as I discussed this situation with my friend Mitch, the only Jewish guy in my entire company. (For some reason the Midwest just isn’t like the Sitcoms based in New York; we are mainly ham and bacon eaters in these parts.) So, as one of those Evangelical Christians who still looks upon the Jews as “God’s Chosen People,” I decided to give Israelite men everywhere a holiday gift…I wrote them a song.

The song below is set to the tune of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and it sings a lot better than it reads. So either go fire up Back In Black at 80+ dB on your stereo, or else jump over to a website where you can download it for a dime and use the lyric sheet below to sing along (scream along, actually) with Brian Johnson as I proudly give you Chanukah’s first stadium anthem…


(as inspired by AC/DC and the Talmud)

I was just 8 days old
I wasn’t missing a thing
My gear was intact; it had that little skin ring

I thought I was cool
I thought my life was complete
But Abraham thought that I should change my Pee Pee

My parents called it a Bris
But it was more of a Mess
The Moil treated me like he was Rudolf Hess

Cause the walls started shaking,
The earth was quaking,
My tool was achin’,
It was worse than a spankin’ cause He….

Cut my foreskin off!!!!!!
Yeah He…. Chopped my foreskin off!!!!!!!

There was no Epiderl, There was no novacane
He had a sharp knife, but
There was still intense pain.

I left there bloodied
My guy was starting to swell
But I was now part of God’s Israel

I didn’t ask for this
I didn’t want a Bris
But for God’s chosen people this is just how it is

Cause the walls started shaking,
The earth was quaking,
My tool was achin’,
It was worse than a spankin’ cause He….

Cut my foreskin off!!!!!!
Yeah He…. Chopped my foreskin off!!!!!!!
took a knife and cut it!!!! He………
Cut my foreskin off!!!!!!
I was crying cause He
Cut my foreskin off!!!!!!
Well he cut me,
Well he cut me…

He really cut me and HE!
trimmed my foreskin off,
Aaaaahaaaahaaaah He...
chopped my skin ring off,
Yeah yeah he,
cut my foreskin off,
He really cut me and he,
cut my foreskin off,
Yeah he cut me,
Yeah he cut my,
foreskin off. that wasn't all that painful, was it? Besides if I didn't write a hard rock Chanukah song, then we were going to have to suffer with another one of those Adam Sandler diddies that all sound the same anyway.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Self Haters and the People who Love Them

A couple of weeks ago I bought a plane on Ebay. You may remember; I even wrote a poem about it.

Well, here is the story behind it. I found the auction about 12 hours after it was listed, and it was a best offer auction that also had a $365 BUY IT NOW price. I looked at the price and went, “Wow!! Is it really $365? That’s what they cost when they were new.” I knew a few people had already seen the Ebay auction because there was already at least one question posted to the seller along with an answer.

I quick Googled around and confirmed that they were $350 back in 2002, and I jumped all over the $365 Buy It Now.

It arrived; I wrote the poem; I felt good.

Then, another one showed up on Ebay last week and the buyer’s remorse began.

The bidding started at $99 on 06DEC07 and the auction was to end a week later.

By December 9th, it was around $300, and the price just hovered there. I began to think I had paid too much. The problem with things that don’t show up on Ebay very often is it can be hard to exactly determine the fair market value.

CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!! I paid $365 for a $300 plane. RATS!!!!!!!!!!! They probably didn’t even sell all 500 of these special editions back in 2002. I just paid $365 for a special edition plane that Thomas Lie-Nielsen still has 450 of in his hall closet. I bet he used one of them to tip the Paperboy last Christmas. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lie-Nielsen! Merry Christmas to you, Tommy. Here take a crappy little Special Edition plane that nobody wanted."

But it’s ok. I bought this for me. I don’t care that nobody else knows what they’re worth. I liked it.

Then, on December 12th, the price started climbing, and it plateau’ed at $365. Well, how about that, the fair market value is exactly what I paid using my lightning fast BUY IT NOW. I stopped kicking myself and calling myself profane names. I cancelled my appointment with my therapist and decided to skip that week’s SHA group session (Self Hatred Anonymous).

SHA is a big bunch of self-hating losers where each person tells the group what a miserable failure he is, and the group responds by reminding him of little things he is good at like parallel parking, tying bow ties, or rewinding VHS tapes. During one particularly bad point in my life the only thing that kept me going was my SHA group reminding me that I am diligent about removing that hardened chunk from the nozzle of Kraft Easy Cheese before I put it out for guests. (Thanks, guys. You saved my life that day.) Speaking of that…does anyone know the exact story of how Sugar Bear (the spokesbear for Super Sugar Crisp Cereal) saved Elton John’s life? I’ve always wondered about that. (Sorry. You know how easily I get distracted.)

Well, with the bidding on that Lie-Nielsen 2002 Special Edition #1 at $365, I knew I would avoid a major self-hatred breakdown.

Then, it happened….

A little after midnight, eighteen hours before the auction ended the next evening at 6:00 pm, the bids started to climb. And when I checked it from work late in the day, the price was over $400. And when the gillie suit wearing Auction Snipers showed up at the auction’s end, they drove the final price to $605.

Hot Dog, Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BOOOOOOOOOOO YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

$365 for BUY IT NOW….That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Next thing you know, I’m out on the front porch waving my $365 2002 Lie-Nielsen Special Edition Number One and screaming “WHO’S YOUR DADDY?!?!??!?” at the top of my lungs. (It’s ok…my neighbors began systematically ignoring (they say shunning) me years ago).

One last thought…since the guy who caught a $4 baseball with a market value of over one million dollars was going to be taxed on the larger amount if he kept it…does this mean the government is going to want to tax me on the $240 difference between the one I bought and the one that sold two weeks later?

AHHH CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID?!?!?!?!?!?!

I HATE MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




I HATE MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Workbench to Die For

Everyone who has had an email account at anytime within the last 47 years has seen the photo of the Volkswagen Jetta in a Lowe’s parking lot with 24.65 metric tons of construction lumber piled on the roof. Well, tonight I figured out how that whole situation went terribly wrong. (They put the wood on top of the car instead of putting it inside, and they used a 4th Generation Jetta instead of the MK5.)

Tonight I picked up 150 board feet of 8/4 hard maple and of the four vehicles that my wife and I own (I work in the auto industry… I have to do my part to support my own team)… I decided we would take our diesel Jetta to get it.

Sure I have a trailer…but there was slushy snow and freezing rain… who wants to pull a trailer in that. Yes, we could have taken a Jeep Grand Cherokee with Full Time 4WD and anti-lock brakes, but who wants to get 14 miles per gallon on a 60 mile round trip.

Yes, we have a Jeep Wrangler with a full roll cage, air-locking differentials with 4.56 gears, winches, and skid plates… but we weren’t getting this lumber from the top of School Bus (somewhere there is an old school off-roader reading this who has been to Tellico and knows what that means).

Obviously, our Mercedes Convertible only has two seats, so it isn’t really a good vehicle for hauling lumber…unless (in a voice like Thurston Howell the 3rd) unless it is beautiful burl wood trim on the Benz’s instrument panel (Besides the roadster’s put up for winter.)

So, naturally, the 40+ mpg Diesel Jetta was the vehicle of choice.

QUICK ASIDE: If you are in the market for winter tires… I cannot say enough good things about the Bridgestone Blizzak WS60’s. Honest to God… they turn snow and ice into sandpaper. Bridgestone is messin’ with the laws of Physics with these things. They are Crazy Good.

So here are a couple quick pictures of 150 board feet of Hard Maple loaded into our Jetta. You can see that Gail just tucked into the seat behind the driver and we drove home through the crappy weather contemplating what kind of carnage would occur if we got T-boned by another lumber-laden vehicle. (I started my engineering career doing occupant restraints. I know there is no way to secure lumber against a 30g collision inside a vehicle, but hey… sometimes you gotta put your life on the line if you want to build a great work bench.) Yes, Mr. Schwarz, you talked me into it. I am going to cancel my bench order with Lie-Nielsen and build one myself.... but I'm going to put a tool tray on it just to spite you. HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, but don't do it near the bench... all the shavings in the tool tray will go up like Richard Pryor, Joan of Arc, Michael Jackson's hair, or Ricky Nelson's plane. (Feel free to pick your own simile depending upon your personal tolerance for inappropriate humor.)

So here are the pics. By the way, in case you are wondering about the background in one of those pictures… ”Why yes. That is a life size cardboard cut-out of Mario Cipollini during the time he was the Italian Champion and had Peter Frampton hair.”

Friday, December 7, 2007

Air Supply, Crackers, Fish Nets, and Cat Fights

Sometimes you learn something about somebody and you say, “Huh…I never would have guessed that.” (Hopefully, you say that internally as opposed to flaunting it in their face that you had them pegged as a different type of person.)

This happened to me recently when I learned that the two Russells from Air Supply (Graham Russell & Russell Hitchcock) were each married and each has two children. Something in me just went, “Huh…I never would have guessed that.”

Quick Aside: I was telling this bit of info to a guy at work when I referred to the great song writer of the pair of Air Supply Russells as “the Graham Cracker.” My friend was offended at my choice of language which led to my long explanation that I (as a white guy) can refer to other white guys as “Crackers.” Also, there are a very small number of black guys who understand the white guy culture and have been accepted into the fraternity who can get away with saying “Cracker.” I finalized my explanation by saying that when we white guys use it as a term of endearment (like I did with Graham Russell) it is pronounced with a very soft ending, like “Crack-ah,” but when it is used with the harsh “-er” ending it becomes quite derogatory. I apologize for this aside. It is not my intention to turn my blog into an online guide to white guy culture. I just tend to get easily distracted.

So where was I…right...sometimes you just go “Wow. I never would have guessed.”

That’s exactly what happened to me today. I popped into my local Woodcraft Store (the West Michigan Woodcraft store on 28th St in Grand Rapids, Michigan) and while I was busy talking about moisture meters with store owner Gary Foote, Dr. Sam Lacina (a fellow member of the West Michigan Woodworking Guild) came into the store carrying a tennis racquet badly in need of re-stringing. Gary called Sam over and then asked me if I was aware of how Sam kept busy when he wasn’t doing his day job of being a pediatric cardiologist. That is when I was given the low-down on the fishing nets that Dr. Sam produces. What appeared from 20 feet away to be an old school tennis racquet with slacking catgut was actually a beautiful fly fishing net. Apparently Sam makes the finest fishing nets in the history of mankind.

Sam was incredibly modest, but Gary let me know all about how Sam’s nets are so prized they are sold as Limited Editions through Orvis. So I just thought, “Huh, so Sam here not only can answer Barry Gibb’s question of how one mends a broken heart, but he makes the best fish scoopers on the planet….who knew?”

One last thought about Air Supply…how do I convince my lovely wife Gail that she is “Every Woman in the World to Me” when I just spent 13 minutes in the DVD department of Sam’s Club last night holding a box with all three seasons of Wonder Woman going into great detail as I explained that when Julie Newmar dropped the mantle Lynda Carter came along and picked it up and made me the man I am today…complete with unrealistic expectations of curvaceous comic book hotties in human form. Then again look how well Wonder Woman aged. In season one she was fighting Nazis and the next season she is in post Bicentennial America looking exactly the same as she did 35 years before.

In closing, let’s all join our cosmic energy together in visualizing a nice cat fight between Julie Newmar’s Catwoman and Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman. Have you got the image? Focus. Visualize. Make it happen. I can honestly say I don’t care who comes out on top. In this catfight match up, we’re all winners.