Let's thank the real life honest to goodness living, breathing people too!

While everyone is praying and thanking God for the recovery of my niece I thought I'd take a moment to thank all the actual real life human people that have worked their asses off to help her as best they know how.

The awesome ambulance driver and EMT's at the "Gator Pit" (aka Fire Station #3 in Deep Ellum)..
Dr. Scott in Children's Medical ER who resuscitated JayFay upon arrival and was a kind and nurturing rock for my sister Michelle who told me she really needed in her corner that day..

 Dr. Miles and Nurses Kenzie, Nicole, and Mandy at Children's Medical ICU.

And if I missed anyone, THANK YOU TOO!! 

If y'all ever feel like you work in thankless jobs, from the bottom of my heart I'd like to say again THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and one gigantic THANK YOU from all the people who haven't thanked you in the past!!!

God saved the queen but these actual people saved my beautiful niece. 

And for that we're all truly grateful!

What makes Jayden-Faith so special?

If I were an outsider looking in at this whole "little girl in a coma" and seeing the thousands of people praying for her, news stories, hashtags, candlelight vigils, whole schools wearing purple for a day in support of her, etc. I might start to think to myself "what makes THIS little girl so special?"

Well, as her uncle who has watched her grow up over the years and developed a unique bond with her I can tell you it's the love she pours out on everyone she meets. She's never met a stranger and she tries her best to show the world how much she cares for each and every person in her life every day.

I turned 50 recently and one would think a 50-year old man wouldn't need a 12-year old niece to make him feel better when he's feeling down but JayFay does it all the time. And ironically, she does it by being crazy and silly and acting just like her Uncle Nick.

It's hard to describe the joy I feel when I see another Snapchat come in from her mom's phone which JayFay uses to send her Uncle Nick funny snaps since she's not quite old enough to have her own account yet. It's like she just KNOWS when I need a little pick-me-up in my day and sends me a snap to make me feel better.

And I'm not the only one. She does this for everyone. Putting the needs of others before your own is not something most people inherently do but it just comes naturally to Jayden-Faith. Well, naturally as well as having the best parents in the world guiding her.

So there you have it. That's what makes Jayden-Faith the most specialist girl in the whole wide world. Thank you for your continued prayers in her time of need. #pray4jayfay #prayforjayfay :-)

Jayden-Faith is 12 1/2 today! Happy half-birthday, JayFay!

Last year I talked to JayFay about having a half-birthday party for her when she turned 11 1/2. She was excited about it as she is about all things. If you know Jayden-Faith you know it's her birthday EVERY DAY as far as she's concerned.

But when the time rolled around to actually go through with the fun half-birthday party, we both got busy and it just didn't materialize. I could have done more to make it happen but I didn't. :-( Bad uncle!

True to Jayden-Faith form, though, she didn't complain or even mention anything about us not celebrating her half-birthday. Luckily for me, she's a VERY busy girl. Well, okay, she DID mention it once after the fact but it was just in a joking matter and not to make me feel bad.

So here we are, a year later and I invite the whole world to celebrate her 12 1/2 birthday with us. I know she's throwing a big party for herself in her mind. It's a wonderful party outside in the sun with all her family and friends dancing and Katy Perry singing surrounded by a hundred flying unicorns. 

Imagine with me all those unicorns flying in formation to spell out #Pray4JayFay

A letter to my niece in the hospital.

Dear Jayden-Faith,

It's been 113 hours now since I received the worst call of my life from Nana telling me that you were in a terrible car accident and suffered a fractured skull.

I hope that you never have to hear a distraught, worried sick, crying Nana trying her best to relate sad news to you because it's not fun. You are both angels and angels are supposed to always bring constant joy to all those that surround them.

Even in the states you are in now you two are still bringing joy to the world because you are both precious and strong and determined to make it through this. When I talk to Nana now I can still hear the sadness in her voice but at the same time I can also hear strength. It's as if she has spoken to God and he has assured her that you are going to be fine and when she speaks to people to relay this to them in some way. She may not even be aware she is having such a calming effect on all those so concerned about your well being but she is.

After dinner with Marie two nights ago we stopped by a convenience store and bought a $5 lottery scratch off. When we got home we tried to have just a normal night like we usually do but "normal" these days is pretty much thinking about and praying for you to get better. At least it is for me. We even forgot we even bought the lottery ticket.

Yesterday we remembered we had it and Marie wanted to use a special coin with your birthday year on it to scratch it off. She found one, we scratched it off together, and needless to say it was a winner. It wasn't a big winner but if I've learned anything in the recent past it's that small wins are still wins and they add up in time.

The moral to the story is that everything is on your side. The best doctors in the world. The prayers of thousands. A solid endlessly hopeful family unit. Your own fortitude and will. And even some luck.

A beautiful, sweet, gifted, silly, fun, lucky angel. That's the Jayden-Faith Fraser I know and will be joking around with again very soon. I love you.

Uncle Nick

Warning/suggestion to future programmers of URPOs (Unarmed Robotic Police Officers)

Make SURE you don't include in URPO programming the ability and/or propensity to USE the weaponry they seize from criminals against them (or any other human for that matter) because while an URPO is a good thing an ARPO is an extremely dangerous thing potentially. 

In the beginning an uneducated society may blame URPOs that wrestle guns away from perpetrators for then killing said perps but there will never be any video evidence (taken by the URPO themselves) to support such claims. Besides the fact that they have no motivation to kill because A, it's not in their programming and B, guns don't do them any harm. 

Also I would design their outer surface to absorb rather than deflect bullets as much as possible. 

Thoughts on @JohnHMcWhorter's assertion that skepticism is a cornerstone of intelligent thought

I'm listening to a book called "The Language Hoax" by linguistics professor John McWhorter wherein he says "skepticism is a form of intelligence." 

While I agree with McWhorter's assertion in general terms, I believe some take skepticism to a paranoid extreme. This may or may not be due to the aging process and senility creeping in but what I fear is that such assertions may lead people to want to become overly skeptical believing this proves they're "smarter than the average Joe" in some way.

Healthy skepticism is okay but being overly skeptical of every little thing is to bring upon oneself undue stress. Personally I don't feel the need to increase my level of skepticism just to prove I'm smarter than the next guy.

That said, the "skeptic" has never been my favorite personality type but having this new awareness will at least help me to have more respect for skeptical types heretofore.

Why the #Astros CF lost the mental game vs the #Rangers tonight.

Setup: Top of the 9th. 2 outs. Rangers down by one run. Fast runner on 2nd. One more out wins the game for the Astros. 

As a championship amateur baseball center fielder I have some perspective on how to play this. 

What you have to be thinking in this situation is that even if you have a big arm you're probably not going to throw the runner out at the plate on a single up the middle even cheating in some (aka play a little shallower than normal.)

Therefore, your best bet is to play deep because if the batter muscles up and hits one over your head you're *really* screwed. Not only is the tie run going to score (which you were hoping to cut off by playing shallow), but the batter is going to have at LEAST a double and possibly a triple if they're a fast runner. 

This is exactly what happened to the Astros center fielder tonight and led to a Rangers win. Nice. 

But don't fret, Astros center fielder. In my youth I would have optimistically played it the same way. And this is why baseball, more than any other sport, requires extra smarts and makes it > all other sports. 

The whole Katherine Goldschmidt #winewednesday story

If you follow any of my many social media feeds, you may glean only that I like this new (to me) Katherine Goldschmidt Cab. But there's more to the story that didn't fit into 140 characters.

The wine dude at Kroger (yes, they actually have sommeliers at Kroger but you have to go in the middle of a weekday) recommended this wine and said it "blows away Kendall Jackson. Now that's going a little far but I would say it's on par with KJ if not a little better. 

So I took a look at the bottle and saw that it's 14.5% alcohol content. If you don't know, that's at the top end. I said "14.5?!? Are you trying to get me drunk?!?" We had a good laugh and as I write this I'm not completely sober but if you think that deters from the writing process you've never read Moby Dick.

But I digress. 

The point is that Katherine Goldschmidt is an excellent Cabernet and it's no surprise it comes from winemaker Nick Goldschmidt since everyone knows that Nick is the best first name a male person (and even some female persons) can have. 

And that. As Paul Harvey would say. Is the rest of the story. 

(Editors Note: This post was a grammatical train wreck upon first draft. I fixed it for Nick but since I also AM Nick, there's no guarantee my edits improved its clarity. This is what happens when you allow just anyone (in any state) to have a blog.) :-D

Happy Birthday to my BESTEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD, Marie Allen!!!!

Today is Marie's birthday. Here's the "Cliff's Notes" version of the story of the night Nick met Marie. If you don't know what "Cliff's Notes" are, they're these shortened versions of long books we used to read in the 80's to get through assignments at school. I was too lazy to even use *those*, but from what I understand they were pretty invaluable. But anyway, onto our story..

One night a long time ago when I lived at "the orphanage" (as my house in Plano was called because of all the people that came in and out) I had a party (as was the case 24/7).

I made a rule that if you were a male and coming to the orphanage you were not allowed unless you brought at least one female. I was never a fan of the sausage-fest.

One night my friend Gerald called and wanted to come party at the house. I said no problem but you have to remember the rule about having at least one female in tow.

He followed the rule and actually brought TWO females. One of the females he brought was Marie.

Marie made quite an entrance. When she got there she was injured. She had been swimming at some pool previous to arriving and hurt her hand in some way. She was actually bleeding.

I wasn't prepared or in any kind of state to render first aid to someone just arriving at my house to party but my brother was Johnny on the spot with the first aid.

He fixed her up and she proceeded to drink and have a great time. We ended up hitting it off and all I remember is sitting in the bed talking ALL NIGHT. She had a LOT of stories and STILL does to this day.

But that's what I love about her. The stories. And her awesome laugh. She laughs a lot and that's pretty outstanding for a girl who has been through all that she has been through in her life. She's immediately lovable and I'm blessed to have her call me her "best friend". 

She calls me "HB" for Honey Bear and I call her "MB" for Mary Belle. 

Happy Birthday, MB! I love you!

The night I met Susan. A silly story.

Amanda came to get me at my shitty downtown apartment and take me out. She was my sugar mama at the time. She called and said "c'mon, we're going out and I have a surprise for you!" 

Going for drinks with Amanda was a pretty regular deal but the surprise intrigued me. Was she finally gonna give it up? This I doubted. But you know, I'm a red-blooded male so that's where my mind goes pretty much all the time. 

So she takes me to some hole-in-the-wall bar I'd never been to and we order drinks. She's on the phone texting and not paying all that much attention to me which was nothing new. I just sat back and drank my beer and wondered what she was all giddy about. 

Then she excitedly got up and told me to do the same and then like out of nowhere there she was. Magnificent beauty and personality. Susan. I stood in awe. This was THE BEST surprise EVER! 

Amanda starting yapping at her at a speed at which no other human can approach to which she said "stop stop, lemme catch up!" We ordered more drinks which I'm sure included some shots and the night (shall we say) was afoot. 

What followed were drunken shenanigans that took us from bar to bar, one of which we almost got thrown out of because Susan and I played a game called "pretend you got roofied" which ended with Suze writhing around on the floor and me drooling in a chair. At the same time we were doing this Amanda was creeping out a server I knew that worked there by making not-so-subtle advances towards her. The whole scene was surreal. 

After we left that place BEFORE they threw us out we stopped by my shitty apartment so one or both girls could pee. On the way to the bathroom someone leaned on my VERY unstable workstation and the whole thing collapsed. It made a giant thud against the wall and startled my next door neighbor so much she almost called the police. 

So to quickly recap. At this point we've almost been tossed from a bar and almost had the police called on us. What a night!

Luckily the night ended on a calmer note at Susan's home where I ran into ANOTHER crazy awesome woman, Julie! 

We get there and I hadn't been there 2 minutes when Julie comes up to me and goes "OH MY GOD, NICK!!!" I was like "Do I know you?" She goes "YES!! I'M JULIE! YOU KNOW ME!!" I was like "I really don't think I do." But she was insistent. "YES YOU DO!! YOU KNOW ME!!" I was like "okay! It's SO wonderful to see you again for the first time!"

After that I'm pretty sure I drunkenly wandered around talking to this person and that person and probably some fish in Susan's back yard and then I came back inside and PTFO. 

Susan was a gracious hostess and came to check on me and kinda tuck me in and give me water. I'm pretty sure I demanded that Amanda come sleep with me to which Suze just rolled her eyes and said "Goodnight!"

The next thing I remember it was morning and I was in a strange bed in a strange house and not really sure where I was. But what I DID know was that I just had one of the best nights of my life and it was all because of one special woman. My sister from another mother. Susan. 

The end.