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I attended the Super Bowl in person twice, in 2007 and 2009. It looks like I won't be doing that again.

In both cases, I purchased tickets for face value directly from the NFL after winning the opportunity in the annual NFL Super Bowl Random Drawing. For years, so long as football fans sent in a certified letter before May, there was a chance they could buy tickets in November for that January's game. Hopefuls could enter only once per physical address, and each year over 30,000 requests were received for approximately 1,000 tickets. Those were long odds. Now they're worse.

This year, the NFL canceled the program.

Why did they do it? Who knows. The NFL didn't explain its thinking when it updated its website to let us know that we couldn't enter this year. The league hinted they've got something else in the works for next year's Super Bowl LII, but still no word on what it might be. Given the league's guiding principle is the same as Gordon Gekko's — "Greed is good" — I'm not expecting great things.

I'm disappointed in this development, but not mad. I did get to go twice, after all. That's two times more than most. Good times.

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Mom dragged me out of bed Sunday to attend the 86th Cotton Pickin' Fair in Gay, Georgia. I was not enthusiastic about this.

Gay's twice-a-year Meriwether County "fair" is very similar to what Coweta County's Powers Crossroads Festival used to be, with arts and crafts vendors vying for attention and dollars. The Cotton Pickin' Fair supplements this with some antique dealers and a touch of history and civic pride. Bully for Gay! However, I wouldn't put it on my list of reasons to wake up early.

I've lived to be 41 years old without ever attending this semi-famous event. I wasn't interested in breaking that streak, but mothers never care about personal-best records. So one hour later, I was standing in front of a stage watching the Sole Momentum Cloggers and Rachel's Line Dancers amid the smells of cotton candy and barbecue.

Guess who's family founded the town?

We strolled through the fair for a few hours in perfect (unseasonably cool) weather. Mom bought a pair of carpenter bee traps, a $3 sausage biscuit, and a collar tag for Audrey's harness. I had a $5 helping of boiled peanuts from the Greenville Lions Club and a good time. Thanks, Mom!

In the end, the Cotton Pickin' Fair turned out to be way more fun than Mom's Saturday surprise: the "opportunity" to help pick-up and deliver two overstuffed sofas that she purchased at an estate sale. (The next person who tells me that I have it easy living in my mother's basement gets a punch in the teeth. Assuming I can raise my arms again by then.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to catch up on some sleep.

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About a zillion posts ago, I posted a pic of my grandmother's newspaper wedding announcement. At the time, Cam asked for a pic of my grandfather to accompany it. Never let it be said that Walter doesn't follow through! (Eventually.)

Down in front!

Okay, I confess. That's not just my grandfather, and this certainly isn't his wedding photo. This is three generations of his family circa 1979. From left to right, that's my grandmother, my mother, Trey, my grandfather, and my aunt Kelley standing in the backyard of my grandparent's house. I still haven't identified the dapper little member of the Lollipop Guild in the front row.

(This reminds me of a true story: not too many years after this, I attended a Georgia State University initiative for "gifted" children on Saturday mornings. A local magazine ran an article on the class. I was mentioned, described as a snaggletoothed youngster who wore a fake watch. I cannot deny that I had snaggleteeth, but my Mickey Mouse watch worked just fine, thank you!)

I'm guessing that my father was the cameraman. He was big into photography back in the day. I have no idea why the family was framed so far to the right. That's bad composition technique. Visual scanning tendency in Western culture leads the eye naturally to the bottom right of an image, so you should balance the composition by keeping focus away from that edge. Sorry, Dad, but not everyone is cut out for art school.

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On January 20, 1993, my high school A.P. American history teacher, Mrs. Pat Tidwell, let us watch the inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton in the school media center (i.e., library) during class. The bell to end class rang before Clinton had actually been sworn in, so I remained behind for a few extra minutes before hustling to my next class, English Literature. I wore a purple pullover and blue jeans with a Miami Dolphins Starter® jacket.

Frankly, I don't remember that day all that well.

(What I do remember was that I was not (and remain not) a fan of Mr. Clinton. I found his campaign, including playing saxophone for Arsenio Hall and telling MTV that he smoked but didn't inhale, to be incredibly pandering. Gennifer Flowers didn't help my impression.)

Anyway, as I was preparing to leave, the band started playing "Hail to the Chief." Turning to the teacher, I quipped, "They should be playing the Beatles 'The Fool on the Hill'." I still think it's a pretty good joke.

I wrote all of that just to say that for Donald John Trump's inauguration on Friday, the band should play "Back in the U.S.S.R."

It's funny because it's true.

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There's only one more week remaining in this godforsaken presidential election, and still no one has answered the single most important question of our times: do the candidates wear boxers or briefs?

I'm of the MTV generation, and I recall when Bill Clinton was asked the question. His answer was "Usually briefs." Bernie Sanders said the same thing when Ellen asked him last year. But what about Trump? Or Hillary?

Personally, I used to wear standard white briefs until one evening in 1993, when an icebreaker at my coed freshman dorm had everyone trade underwear and mingle until we had all recovered our own. While everyone else revealed a pair of boxers or silk panties, my only option was a pair of tighty-whities. My underwear was very, very easy to recover. At least my name wasn't written in them.

You can imagine my humiliation. I spent the rest of the mixer sitting alone on a bench holding some stranger's underwear in the air. Scarred by that experience, I naturally changed my underwear preference. Now I only wear colored briefs. (The pair I'm wearing right now are navy blue.)

Based on my experience, I know that what you wear under your clothes says a lot about you. That's why it's so important to see what our presidential candidates are wearing. Trump, Hillary, it's time to drop your pants. It's a matter of national security.

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This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 MLB players strike. I never talk about baseball here at, and that strike is the reason why.

My family had tickets to several games that were cancelled in 1994 because players and owners were greedy. I actually liked baseball at the time. I was young and didn't know any better. Live and learn.

Maybe I carry a grudge too far, but I haven't attended a single MLB event in the two decades since. That means I will never set foot inside Turner Field, a stadium that the Braves consider obsolete and are abandoning for their boondoggle in Cobb County. And to be clear, I have no interest in attending a baseball games there before they abandon that stadium in 2030.

Fortunately, the NFL hasn't made the same mistake yet. I'm good at walking away from things when given a chance. I stopped buying Batman comics when DC Comics "killed" the character and canceled his series. If I can walk away from Batman, I can walk away from you, too, Football.

The strangest thing to me about this anniversary is that I hadn't even noticed it had been twenty years. My, how time flies when it's not weighed down with the world's most boring sport.

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We had some rough weather in Georgia last week as a front moved through, bringing with it high wind and rain. A tornado was even spotted in nearby Troup County. The next day I found this in the backyard:

Can you hear me now?

It looked like a power line, but my building still had power, phone, and cable. To be on the safe side, I did what they tell you to do: I called the local power company. After listening to a brief automated message recorded by Scott, a county resident who also does voiceover work on the local radio, I was transferred to Customer Service where a man with a gruff voice took my number and promised to investigate. The whole experience took 5 minutes. An hour later, he called to tell me that it wasn't a power line but a phone line. "Call AT&T," he said. So I did.

AT&T is a much, much richer company than my local power company, so of course its automated message had been programmed to speak digitally by someone with a weak grasp of the English language. No big surprise that the system was completely befuddled when I told it I needed to talk to Customer Service. Eventually, it gave up trying to understand me and said, "I'm sorry that I cannot understand you. Let me transfer you to Customer Service."

The very polite woman who eventually answered told me that my problem would be handled by the Technical Support division and promised to transfer me if I would please hold the line. This is when AT&T really started playing dirty. Their hold music isn't even Musak, but some mariachi music played on out-of-tune instruments, all recorded by a drunk session engineer using an Edison wax cylinder at the bottom of a well. This "music" was what I would use if I ever had the opportunity to torture a Guantanamo Bay detainee. After about five minutes even AT&T couldn't take it anymore, and I was transferred me back to Customer Service.

This time I got a different lady who thanked me for calling AT&T and warned my that my call might be monitored. "I live in America. You learn to expect it," I said. I then explained (for the second time) that I had called because a wind storm had knocked an aerial line out of my house. She promised pay more attention to me than the last representative had then asked me to wait while her computer called up my information. While we waited, she casually asked, "so, how's the weather out there in Georgia?" I took this as a bad sign.

Eventually, this woman in the Philippines put me on hold so that she could call Atlanta to set up an appointment with a technician. My call to an 800-number about a downed line in Coweta County, Georgia, had been routed to the Philippines so that someone in the Philippines could call Georgia. Does anybody else remember when long distance used to be expensive?

The next day, the technician came and took a very brief look a the line and said that it was a long disused trunk line. "Someone cut it and just left it attached to the pole," he said. "It must have blown down in the storm." I asked him what he could do about it. "I can tie it back up there." What happens the next time it blows down? "Just call AT&T and we'll come tie it back up." Thanks, but no thanks. Next time that line falls down, I'm leaving it there.

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After 14 years, my father has finally moved to Florida. Dad was born in south Georgia and raised in Miami, but while I was growing up, he always insisted he was going to retire to Alaska. Turns out that old habits die hard.

This picture is the best this house has ever looked

He bought the house as a "fixer upper" with a loan from his father. He never did much fixing-up, other than having me and a few other college friends add a few coats of paint and a new roof. Fortunately for him the property value went up without him having to do much. Back at the turn of the millennium, the closest restaurant was an exit away on I-85. Now there's a Wal-Mart down the street with everything that brings.

Dad raised poodles, cats, chickens, bees, and turkeys in the backyard with varying degrees of success and complaints from the neighbors. He tried sheep once, too, but the less said about that the better.

I lived in the house for six months in 2002. A very long six months, during which time I wired the house with Cat 5 cable just so I could play Everquest online in my room while Dad watched his country music videos. (Does anybody else remember the "good old days" of a wired Internet?) Generally speaking, we get along much better when we don't have to spend too much time in the same room.

We had this truck for 5 hours and in that time it managed to go just 7 miles. That's a pretty good clip for Atlanta rush hour.

The "check engine" light came on in the moving van that mom rented, so we were stuck for a few hours while Penske struggled to diagnose and fix the problem before they threw in the towel and replaced our original truck. I have to say that everyone I spoke to at Penske — Sarah, Bob, Glenn, Amy, Kent, and Jeff — were all very friendly and considerate. I've had U-Hauls break down on me before, but if I'm going to rent a broken truck, I prefer Penske.

I'm not saying I'm going to miss that house, but I will remember it.

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The other night I was working on a painting in the studio. I closed the door to keep the girls out because I didn't want them to get dirty lying on the filthy studio floor.

After about an hour, mom knocks on the door. She had been awoken from sleep by July, who had jumped on her bed and pawed intently at her without stop. Mom became convinced that something was wrong and came downstairs to find out what. The only thing "wrong" was that July had been kept out of the room I was in and wasn't able to turn the doorknob herself.

I'd like to think that July would summon help if I really was in trouble, but probably only once she got hungry. There's a reason Lassie wasn't played by a poodle.

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Back in the 90s, I used to have migraine headaches. Throbbing pain in my temples, sensitivity to light, loss of vision, nausea, numbness in my hands... good times. They came and went, but I'd been fortunate enough to avoid them for the past decade (since I "coincidentally" left my day job). However, this week, they're back.

Why am I having migraine headaches now all of a sudden? suggests that it could what I'm eating, or what I'm not eating. It could be exercise or lack of exercise. It could be drinking caffeine or not drinking enough caffeine.

Obviously, WebMD has no idea.

I like to pretend that I'm a hypochondriac and blame the most far-fetched and deadly things I can think of for my ailments. I've already blamed these headaches on brain tumors, meningitis, or a stroke, but I don't really think those are the culprits. Personally, I'm blaming Daylight Savings Time.

In the past, lack of sleep has been a trigger for me, and I think it may be this time as well. On Sunday, the time change stole an hour of my precious sleep and threw my entire schedule out of whack. It may be saving time, but it's damaging my health.

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To be continued...