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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Well-Armed Lamb: Re, The Economy: Big Mike "Breaks It ALL Down For You!"

The Well-Armed Lamb: Re, The Economy: Big Mike "Breaks It ALL Down For You!"

My daughter Ann posted this on her blog. It makes you think. Of course my friends who argue with me regularly about democratic socialist programs that are nothing more than entitlements for lazy Americans will not agree with it. But that's okay. They only listen to Rush or go to Fox for their fair and balanced information. Listen and tell me what you think.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March, Spring Training, Basketball, and High School Forensic Students

I love the month of March. It is a month of uncertain weather... usually at least two last wintry blasts of cold weather and snow. It is a month that suggests good things to come and creates tumultuous times as well. This blog is about those days. It is a fairly tricky thirty-one days. Lots of exciting things are happening. Spring training has been in session for at least a week. It is the time for the familiar sounds of wood popping against the "seamed orbs" of summer, the smell of freshly cut grass and  the predictions of who will be on the final rosters. It is the time for all baseball fans to gather together and proclaim that this really is the year. Except for the Royals. But that is okay, because we've been told that 2012 actually is the year that it finally happens. Those amazing rookies will start to filter in next season and find their spots on the roster and our dreams will finally come true.

March is also the time for the culmination of the most exciting of all sporting events, college basketball.. The NAIA is playing their national tournament again in Kansas City. Five days of excitement where one can carry in a sack lunchin the morning, find a seat with a perfect vantage point, and camp out all day watching basketball played by men with names that won't grace the rosters of the NBA next year. Then there is the event called "March Madness" for 64, no, make that 68 NCAA division one teams who all share the same dream. Win it all.

March has created new words like "bracketology". B-R-A-C-K-E-T-O-L-O-G-Y,(noun, where people choose winners of basketball games, record those winners on a personal bracket with one common dream). Win it all. Some make their choices based on statistical analysis, others check the newspaper for the favorites and others actually choose their winners based on the school colors, school nickname or other creative methods.

March also lets me know that golf is just around the corner...because of some of those March days where the "spring like" weather pushes up the bulbs in the flower beds and tricks the Magnolia trees into blooming too soon. Days like those get me to thinking again about the swing.  It's time to polish the clubs, clean out the bag, inventory my Pro-V-1s, read the latest golf magazine and construct a plan to finally lower my handicap down to where it used to be. I haven't been there in about ten years, but this is the year, I know it.

March is also the month when High School Speech and Debate students make their final push to qualify for those season ending state and national tournaments. The past two weekends students from Savannah High School exhibited and demonstrated their abilities as they attempted to qualify for the NFL National Tournament in Dallas Texas this coming June. They competed against young people from other schools in the "Heart of America" district (the largest district in the nation). They were led by winners and qualifiers  Theo Tushaus, Gabe Riekhof, Luke Bishop and Forrest Richardson who qualified in two events. But the real leaders were those other students who sacrificed their weekends and afternoons in preparation but came up short. Some were trying for the first time and others the second and third, but some were making the attempt for the fourth and final time. Savannah Jones had committed and dedicated herself to qualifying to Nationals. It was her fourth year, and she didn't make it. Her preparation and performance was outstanding. None of her peers matched the rigors that she set for herself. I want all of my students to succeed, but after judges had ranked her on eighteen ballots over six rounds, the numbers came up short by one rank. It was difficult for me as her coach. It is easy to compliment and praise the winners but not everyone is a winner. These moments are the most difficult part of coaching young people. It isn't easy to know the correct words to use when consoling and reassuring someone who is heart broken. Savannah, I couldn't be prouder of your accomplishments. You have been dependable, supportive, committed, dedicated and I have enjoyed being your coach. Good luck next week at State quals and next year at Bradley.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"I remember"

"I remember when I cried in front of my wife and children".
"I remember how much I used to stutter".
"I remember how surprised I was when I discovered Red Skelton wasn't a scary show, but a comedy".
"I remember my aunt Mary Catherine, who gave me socks for Christmas...every year".
"I remember how much I wanted to be the center fielder for the New York Yankees".
"I remember my first 'F' on a written paper. College english 101. I was devastated".
"I remember waking up one morning on an overnight campout and there was a horse staring at me".
"I remember saying 'thank you' in reply to 'thank you' and then the other person didn't know what to say".
"I remember my first kiss, Jackie Meyers in sixth grade".
" I remember one very hot summer day I put ice cubes in my aquarium and all the fish died".
" I remember when I first met a gawky Luke Bishop at freshman registration. He was carrying a book on economics".
"I remember how my grandmas house always smelled funny".
" I remember when refrigerators were called ice boxes".
" I remember wishing my father would play catch with me".

                                                               The "I Remember" assignment
                                                                      Blog assignment #2

Okay, do you get the picture. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to brainstorm about some of your memories...big or small...important or completely meaningless...humorous or dreadful. Make a few notes on your memories until the point of your writing becomes clear to you. Once you have determined the direction your blog will take, create an outline of what you want to include. Then put your thoughts together in a rough draft of what you want to say. Now blog it. Be sure to polish and revise it. Consider the words you use. Sometimes the simplest words can create beautiful images. Please check spelling and grammar.

A few other requirements:
Use an effective AGD.
Include at least one quote. Please use it appropriately.
The length should be at least 400 words and no more than 500-600 words.
When finished, visit another classmate's blog. Read it and leave a comment.
Make it no more than five paragraphs, but don't consider it a five paragraph essay. That wouldn't be any fun.

Assignment is worth 50 points.

Grammar and spelling 10 points.
Following directions 10 points.
Use of quote 5 points.
Use of AGD 5 points.
Appropriate length 5 points.
Quality and style of writing 15 points (Be sure to stay consistent with point of view and tense)

Assignment is due on Tuesday, March 1st.
Please print a copy of  blog.

After getting this assignment, please leave a comment. 2 bonus points.

Good luck, have fun and write with style!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

...being different.

On this my first blog I may ramble a bit, but my thoughts are that it isn't bad being different. My students would grade me down for not creating an outline from which this blog would develop. But that's okay. It's my first time.

Several years ago it became clear to me that I was diferent than others who were like me socially, chronologically, politically or even spiritually. For a while this was a frustration for me. My wife, Carol would sometimes just look at me, as if to say, "who are you or what do you mean". My daughters, Ann, Amy and Emily have each acknowledged in their own way that sometimes it is better to just talk to their mother, my wife... the "boss". That's okay. I understand. It's who I am and I'd go to Carol too. She is special.

I'm capable of being normal. I think. Yet, it isn't the norm for me.

My friends have "handy around the house" skills. They know how to fix things and better yet, they usually know whats wrong with things. Often, they are more than willing to tell me what's wrong with things. Not just my things, like my ten year old Saturn with 170,000 miles, but they are usually willing to tell me what's wrong with education, government, our local hospital, music, St. Joseph (my chosen city to live in for the last 43 years), religion, people whom they classify as "illegal" and, well the list goes on and on and on. For some reason I nearly always disagree with them. Sometimes I speak up, but usually I take the easier route of keeping my mouth shut.

At work, people look at me differently. I'm not sure if it is my age, larger waist size, style of dress, that I'm "old school"...did I say that I am old? or what. I don't think they dislike me. But they treat me as if I am different. Maybe I am. Sometimes there I think I need to keep my mouth shut.

I love attending my church. I particularly enjoy my Sunday morning Bible Study class. But guess what. As much as I love my Church friends and the enrichment they offer me I am painfully aware that I am different from the majority of them in many ways.

Today I marveled at my pastor, Josh. Most sermons are 20 minutes in length. Josh's sermons are usually 30-35 minutes in length. Today he read to us from his prepared script with hardly a peek at his faithful congregation. That's okay. It always begins that way. Then it happened. He looked up, stepped out away from the security and comfort of his prepared sermon and podium. He looked at us and POW! It happened. It always does. The words began to flow with a beauty of language that seemed at times poetic and at other times the experience seemed almost surreal. It wasn't memorized, but it was powerful. I sometimes think that he dooesn't know what he is going to say at these times, but it happens, and it is awesome. I find it inspiring and motivational...or at least the first twenty minutes. Josh is definitely different and I am thankful and blessed that he doesn't keep his mouth shut.