Tag Archives: auburn

A great turnout for our open house

We had a very full and exhausting Saturday a week ago.

We and all of our campus partners sponsored our annual open house event. Although three other organizations are involved in the project, it falls on my shoulders to organize, coordinate, publicize and trouble-shoot the event.  I have a ton of help so I don’t want it to sound like I’m a one-man-band. But the day of the event, it is very full, busy and tiring.

We had over 2,000 visitors throughout the afternoon. Here are some sample-pictures.

For the past six years, I have wanted to do nothing more the evening of our open house, than to go home, fix a drink, turn on some football and maybe order some wings or pizza. This year, we had two invitations to parties.  We had to pass on one of Mrs. Poolman’s friend’s 50th birthday party in favor of a dinner party at Writer Princess’s and Son-in-Law’s. This was their first event since moving into their house. Fortunately, they didn’t mind me watching the UF-Auburn game, although why I bothered, I don’t know. Ugly.

We went home and “crashed” early. We spent Sunday hanging around the house, doing laundry, yard work, etc.

Such an exciting life we live.

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A day at the Louvre

After a fairly late start, we decided to put off touring the Cathedral of Notre Dame until tomorrow, and concentrated our touring day on the Louvre. It was a good choice.

We started off with a quick breakfast at a sandwich shop around the corner from the hotel. The hot ham and cheese on a baguette was very good.

Our friend Cindy came into town from their hotel near the airport and met us in front of the museum.

The Louvre is every bit as impressive as it is said to be.

A view from an upstairs window, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

I was a little concerned I would push Birdie and Ron a little too far, but that was not the case. We arrived at noon and didn’t walk out until 6:30 pm. They were as interested at the end as they were at the beginning.

We started with the ancient Greeks

Hall of greek sculpture

Aphrodite???

Cindy (on the left) assuming a classic pose.

and then moved to the Italian Renaissance section. Before we were done, we managed to hit many, many of the highlights.

A special exhibit hall

Birdie -- posing for a Peter-Paul Rubens portrait. Sorry, Birdie, you may have a Rubenesque figure, but it's not going to work.

Way back in high school, I took a two-semester course as a senior on Humanities. It covered art, music and architecture. The music part is still pretty-much lost on me, but some of the other material stuck. More than 40 years later, it paid off. Thanks, Mrs. Bailey!

Birdie has been a never-ending source of material for these postings. Today, as usual, he was wearing his University of Alabama ball cap. Some other guy, apparently an Auburn fan came up to him and got face to face. The exchange went like this.

Other guy: “War Eagle!”

Birdie: “Excuse me?”

Other guy: “You red elephants are all the same.”

Birdie: “Pardon me, sir, but you really need to take your comments to someone else.”

You go all the way to the Louvre in Paris, and you can’t escape!

As we were wandering through the section with the Dutch and Flemish masters, Birdie asked me if we could find the original painting of the poker playing dogs. I told him I believe that was located — along with all the portraits of Elvis Presley painted on black velvet — in the “Red Neck Museum of Tacky Modern Art” in Talladega, Ala.

Both Ron and Birdie has special interest in any of the art that related to hunting or already-dead animals. This bronze of a hunter slaying a stag was their favorite.

Ron & Birdie with the stag hunter

We took the crowded Metro back to our hotel.

The rush hour Metro

I let myself get distracted by a very cute little girl of about 9 months of age. She was very interested in making faces at the strange guy standing next to her mother. (Mrs. Poolman will tell you that is an occupational hazard of traveling with me.) We got off at the right stop, but in my distraction, I forgot that wasn’t our final destination. We were outside the ticket gates before we realized we had to get back on another train to reach our hotel. Of course, neither of the other guys picked up on it either, so I didn’t feel too bad. It amounted to just one wasted Metro ticket, so no serious harm done.

When we got back to the hotel, Birdie and Ron started wondering about the strange towel in their bathroom. It is a towel-heater. They turned it on just to see how it would work. Apparently it heated up just fine, because Birdie commented, “Damn, Ron, you could cook a chicken on this thing.”

On the issue of hotels, ours is quite nice. It is a small city hotel. The rooms are not all that large, but they are very nice.

My hotel room.

The view out my window.

The two young ladies who have run the front desk this week have been super helpful.  (I do think they are amused by our efforts to communicate in French. They both speak English quite well. ) I’d come back to the Holiday Inn Paris Elysees in a heartbeat.

We had a nice dinner at a café right down the street.

Tomorrow, we will head out to the airport hotel early to drop off our bags for the next night and pick up my bother, Dan. If the weather holds, we will tour Notre Dame and the Musee d’ Orsay (Impressionist art).

It’s been two good days so far. We’re looking forward to hooking up with the tour group and the rest of the trip.

Pets, snow and the BCS

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Two of our pets, Casey the Lab and Penny the Fearless, underwent surgery on Friday. Casey had a growth removed from his right-front paw, and Penny was spayed and declawed (front only.) Casey came home shortly after the surgery on Friday, but Penny was held overnight, so we picked her up on Saturday.

Both did very well. With the help of pain medication, the two of them spent most of Saturday curled up together on a pallet in front of the fireplace.

And people still ask us if our dogs and cats get along. Ya think?

*     *    *     *

I had originally planned to be in Atlanta for three days this week for the governor’s inauguration, the opening of the legislature and a Board of Regents meeting. Five to eight inches of snow sure changed those plans. It’s just as well. Now I have three open days I hadn’t planned on to get some things done.

We are cold and rainy here, but, fortunately, no signs of snowfall. Just as well — an inch of snow in coastal Georgia would shut the region down until spring.

*     *     *     *

The college football season ends tonight. Then we face a seven and a half month drought until the next kickoff. We’ll have the NFL to hang on to for a few more weeks. We’ll be rooting for the Auburn against the “fighting ducklings” in the BCS championship game tonight. As much as I have trouble believing that Auburn’s QB Cam Newton is really as naïve and innocent as his family tries to make out, we’ll pull for the SEC standard bearer – for better or worse. Let’s make it five SEC national champs in a row!

Don’t ya love college football?

It’s November, and in the college football world, fans are starting to get riled up over the BCS rankings. I read an article on FOX.com yesterday  that projected LSU getting to the national championship game without even winning its division, let alone winning its conference. As much of a travesty that would be (It seems like almost anything involving Les Miles is a travesty.), I am even more amused over the debate regarding the “mid majors.”

As anyone who reads me knows, I am a big University of Florida football fan. It follows that I am also an SEC fan. Almost every year, we watch the SEC beat itself up.

This year is a good example. The three top teams in the SEC are probably Auburn, Alabama and LSU. So…

Auburn beat LSU.

LSU beat Alabama.

Alabama will play Auburn on Thanksgiving weekend, and may beat them.

So who is the best of that trio?

Of one thing you can be certain – when you play a schedule year-in and year-out that includes teams like Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, etc., and you come out ahead, you know you have a good team. To one degree or another, the same could be said about the rest of the major conferences.

Outside of those conferences, the “mid-majors” are another question. Schools like TCU, Boise State and, until last weekend, Utah, are portrayed as the raggedy urchins, left standing out in the cold; noses pressed to the window; and waiting for the BCS schools to throw them some table scraps.

I’ll concede that it is possible TCU or Boise State MAY be the best team in the country. The problem is – how will we ever know? They run up impressive records and statistics, while playing schedules consisting of Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind.

Utah was another school that was considered a top contender.

Donna McMillan - AP

They were undefeated and had accumulated impressive stats while playing a bunch of weak sisters. They were ranked in the top ten of all polls. Then they played TCU. They not only lost; they were blown out of the stadium by 40 points!

Oops! Maybe we were wrong.

The pseudo-logic that supported Utah’s claim to a ranking is also the same logic that supports Boise State and TCU.

So what is the answer? Since it doesn’t look like a playoff is going to happen anytime soon, I put the burden back on those “mid-major” schools.

If you want to be considered one of the “big boys,” then act like one. Improve your schedule. Join a stronger conference. Improve your own conference. If you can run a gauntlet like an SEC schedule, then someone may take you seriously.

PS to Boise State: Paint your field the right color!

Normally, I'm a big fan of orange and blue...but really!

You may think the blue field makes you special, but the rest of us just laugh and point to it as another example of you being a minor league player.