I've received an invitation from Abby Ham to appear on Mornings with FOX 43 at approximately 8:45 a.m. on March 28. I'll be talking about No Right Field for My Son: A Dad Pushes Too Hard. If you get the chance, tune in.

Also, don't forget these upcoming events:

DOUBLE DOGS BOOK SIGNING--March 27, 5-7 p.m.

LINCOLN'S SPORTS GRILLE BOOK SIGNING (Oak Ridge)--April 16, 5-8 p.m.

KARNS MR. GATTI'S BOOK SIGNING--April 17, 5-8 p.m.

OPEN DOOR BOOK REVIEW (Fountain City Library)--April 26, 10 a.m.

I hope to see you at one or more of these events!!!!!


In one week from today, I'll be signing books at Double Dogs Sports Bar and Grill at 10639 Hardin Valley Road from 5-7 p.m.. I need all of you to come on out. Get something to eat and drink, enjoy the fellowship, and get a copy of No Right Field for My Son: A Dad Pushes Too Hard.

I'll have copies of the book ($15 including tax) and a Sharpie ready to personalize them. This is a book every parent with a child who plays a sport needs to read. It comes from someone who made mistakes and wants to let others know WHAT NOT TO DO.

I look forward to seeing friends from across the years and from all around on Tuesday, March 27. If you can, let me know if you are coming via a comment on this post and let's get together!.
Joe Rector Books


I watch plenty of television, not as much as in years past but enough to

take up several hours each week. While many programs are recorded and viewed later, I watch most of them in “real time.” It’s then that the barrage of commercials hits, and to be honest, I’m over them all. We Americans have life too good, or so it would seem. What else can explain why such a large chunk of advertising dollars is spent on things dealing with our bodies? No, I’m not talking about such products as soap and toothpaste. Companies have ratcheted up the pitch for those products that are more of a personal nature, what might be called “below the belt” items.

My wife despises one set of commercials. They feature bear caricatures. Just like the Goldilocks story, there’s a poppa, momma, and baby bear. These creatures tote rolls of toilet paper with them on the way to the bathroom, and when they use the wrong kind, they leave with pieces at the stuff stuck to their furry bottoms. Get real. Let me ask you this. Have you ever seen “bear tracks” in the woods. Yep, I’m talking about bear poop. If you have discovered the stuff or seen it on a nature television show, was any, I mean one single pile, covered with a big wad of toilet paper? I didn’t think so.

Of course, our fascination with the digestive track doesn’t end with the bears. We’ve watched ad nauseum as Jamie Curtis preaches the gut wrenching positives of Activia. Then we see an endless string of women (actresses?) testify with an almost religious fervor about how this product has helped them to regain regularity. The new catch word is “probiotic.” These are microorganisms in foods that are supposed to offer some kind of health benefit. In the case of Activia, they evidently aid folks as they sit on the pot. It sounds a lot like another time period when leeching that was used as a cure.

In addition, we’ve been told about the help that anti-acids give people. I suffer from a rather severe case of acid reflux, but the last thing I want is to talk about it on television in front of millions of viewers. The best of the commercials highlight the product Beano. It’s another disgusting topic for a commercial, but at least the lines are humorous, with such things as “Your son RIP is on line TOOT.” Still, no one is much interested in hearing about something that keeps folks from fouling the air with gas explosions.

For years, we’ve been subjected to ads for feminine products. Pads and sprays and liners and pills are available to make every woman feel better and confident enough to wear white slacks. I’ve been around enough women during those difficult times of the month. The last thing they’re interested in is feeling confident. Most simply want relief, along with the quiet cooperation of those people around them. I remember when Lewis Grizzard discussed this same issue years ago and when Cathy Rigby was the spokesman for these items. He stated that he couldn’t wait for her to reach menopause.

The most disgusting product advertisements deal with ER. Yep, Cialis and Viagra are the cures. Lately, Cialis has aired more commercials. We now know that one possible cause of erectile dysfunction is blood flow. Any teenager who’s taken one course in science could have figured that out. Of course, no one would have expected that this miracle pill would make sure the man could be ready when the time was right. Heck, who wouldn’t want to take a pill that automatically transports him naked to a bathtub overlooking a mountain scene or beach, and right beside him in an identical but is a naked woman?

The side effects of this drug are disconcerting. Men might expect several of them, such as head ache and lower back ache. Hmmm. The more serious effects might be loss of hearing or sight. It seems as if I remember warnings about those losses in conjunction with some other activity. The other thing that needs doctor’s attention after four hours would be an amazing feat for most men.

Yep, Americans have things too good and too easy. If our commercials spend so much of time discussing ways to improve or cure things that occur below the belt, then we don’t have much about which to complain. When those ads come on my television, I punch the fast forward button or take a bathroom break. Luckily, I’m not in the same distress as the users of these products.


At the very bottom of the page, I've added a feed to this blog. All you have to do is put your email in the space, click submit and follow the instructions. It's easy, so if you want to receive email notification when something new is added, here's a way. Of course, I'll still send notification when I add a new column.

The Silence Is Deafening

Most of the time, the passings of famous people have only minimal effects

upon folks. However, every once in a while, the death of a super star feels like a kick in the emotional gut. It happened with the loss of Elvis, Lewis Grizzard, and now, Whitney Houston.

No, I didn’t swoon over Whitney. She was a fair actress and beautiful woman. What made her stand out above most was that incredible voice. She had a knack for taking a song and elevating it to something more than music. Each crystal clear note drove the words deeper into the listener’s life. When she reached for those high notes, no one doubted that she would nail them in a way that sent chill bumps down all of our arms.

Whitney Houston had that rare ability to sing any kind of song. One of her most famous ones came from Dolly Parton. She hit the charts with pop songs like “I Want to Dance with Somebody.” Then she gave us gifts with ballads like “One Moment in Time” and “Greatest Love of All.” She managed to have the number one song on the Billboard Top 100 seven consecutive times, and all of her ten top hits reached the number one position.

Still, nothing defined Whitney Houston more than the hymns that she sang. In “The Preacher’s Wife, her renditions of “I Love the Lord” and “Joy to the World” brought fans just a little closer to their God. Videos of her singing in church as a young girl easily gave proof to the fact that she was a star of the future.

What hurts fans most about Whitney is not her death. Instead, they grieve for her destruction in life. It’s speculated that much of the blame for her downfall can be laid at the feet of her former husband, Bobby Brown. Over the years, reports of abuse and marital discourse surfaced. He was arrested for battery against Whitney, failure to pay child support, brawling in a Disney World nightclub, and substance abuse. Many believe that the man took Whitney’s hand and dragged her down the swirling waters of this kind of life.

That might be true, but in the end, the blame for falling into a life of drug abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of Houston. She surely wasn’t brought up to idolize drugs. It was something in her make up that led her to falling prey to them. Perhaps she wasn’t nearly as confident in herself as others thought. Maybe the demands of the life of a star caused her to look for a crutch. It’s a secret that most likely left with Whitney.

What seems to be the biggest shame of all is the loss of such an angelic voice. God blessed her with a special talent that she shared for several years. Then the drugs and smoking and abuse too their tolls, and she was gone even before she died. It hurt to watch her stumble through performances with that ruined, damaged voice. Fans wanted to shake her out of the stupor and tell her that she needed to value and protect her talents. In the end, Whitney was unable to get rid of her demons, and they defeated her.

Now, fans listen to the old hits that she sang and wonder what might have been. They feel cheated that no more songs will be sung by their favorite singer.

I’m much the same way. Whitney Houston is another sad case of the effects that drugs and abuse have on millions of people. Without her and that precious voice, the silence is deafening.


I attended Ash Wednesday services for the first time the other week. It was a special gathering that marks the beginning of Lent, that time period when folks give things up. That might be a good idea for all of us.

The minister began the service with scripture, song, and explanation of what would be occurring. Then she called the children up front and entertained them, as well as all the adults, with a tale about two monsters, Grump and Pout, shoes, and a cobbler. The children ranged in age from two to about six, and they sat engrossed as the minister changed her voice to give character to the monsters.

In the middle of the story, the spell was momentarily broken when a cell phone rang. I sat without turning around to see who was scrambling to find the thing and turn it off. The ringtone ended abruptly, and Catherine, God bless her composure, continued with the story without missing a beat.
Later in the service the phone went off again. I still managed not to turn toward the sound, and it again stopped quickly. After a couple of seconds, another sound came.

“DROID” filled the air and gave notice to all that the owner was turning off the phone. Of course, the sound of the voice was foreign to the sanctuary setting, and snickers from a row of teenaged girls followed.

I don’t blame the individual for his or her cell phone sounding off. Last summer I went on a mission trip, and during a church service the last night, my phone began playing “Rocky Top” at full volume. I thought I’d earlier turned off the phone but must have hit the wrong button. Those attending turned toward me and laughed. I sat with my head bowed low as my face turned crimson and nervously killed the unwelcomed music.

Part of our realities today is that most everyone has a cell phone stuck in his pocket or her purse. We jabber away on the things while driving, walking down the street, or just relaxing. The thoughts of doing without them send folks, especially those of the younger generations, into shivering fits. Unlike them, we who are older can remember when our homes only had one phone for the entire family. Some of us shared a line with one or more neighbors. Conversations were tethered to the spiraled cord that attached the handset to the base. Yep, we had it rough. However, many of us don’t have to have a phone.

That ringing cell phone made crystal clear the fact that our lives are too busy. More than that, we exist in constant states of noise. Televisions going, iPods blaring, and YouTube clips rolling keep our minds abuzz with auditory stimulation. But at some point, it all becomes nothing more than noise. Overloads of thumbing bass from earphones and racket from lawn mowers and weed eaters are causing some of our hearing losses.

What folks need more than anything else is silence. It’s when we find quiet that our minds and lives take deep breaths and experience that “aah” feeling that accompanies peace. So few places offer it to us. Church is one of them. It’s a place to be “of the world but not in the world. In silence we can reflect and then renew. Then we can go back to the hubbub of daily existence.

I’m going to make a renewed effort to turn my phone off more often, not just in church but at times when silence is the balm that is sorely needed. Sure, I might miss a call, but if it’s that important, the caller will leave a message or call again. Try it sometime. Just tell life to shush and enjoy the quiet.