Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Rocks into Town

Once again, Santa came. Amazing. Sometimes I wonder if he really pays attention throughout the year, or if he is just very forgiving.

Grandson got a "Guitar Hero" game. He is really quite good at that game. Late in the afternoon, my bride, my daughter, grandson, and I were huddled around the game -- each with a different part to play -- yes a regular rock "band." Grandson was good. The rest of us were very marginal, but he was very patient with us as we tried to learn. For those of us of a mature age, there is nothing easy about that game

Our renditions of "Hotel California," "Beat It," and "Eye of the Tiger" were just barely recognizable -- at the "easy" level. We actually made it all the way through the last one without getting cut off by the game.

But, we had a good time.

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Enjoyable Evening

Last night, our high school freshmen had their end-of-season football banquet. Grandson was among those joining in the celebration.

Eating was done. Some awards were given. A song was sung. An appropriate speech was given. Videos were played. A good time was had by all. But, the best thing in my opinion was seeing the relationship that had developed between the coach and his players. It was pretty good. The kids liked him, respected him, and enjoyed playing for him. The team also won two-thirds of their games.

I am very appreciative of the work that the coaches and players did and the way they conducted themselves.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good lesson here if only we could see it.

I will refrain from adding to this. I got it from a friend of mine via email.

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
'That laundry is not very clean', she said. 'She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.
Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:'Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?'
The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.'

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Do I hear what you say?

So, this past Wednesday, I missed a lunch date with a couple of my buddies. I was real sure that the guy who called me said that we were eating at Eatery A on the river. I heard Eatery B on the river. I missed the date.

A few years ago at an out-of-town track meet, we coaches were cleaning up our site after the meet --picking up stuff that our kids (yes, high schoolers) had left behind.

I picked up a shoe box (this piece of information is real important) full of CDs and was carrying it back to the bus. One of our runners came running down the sidewalk and stopped me to say. "Those are my CDs." That's not what I heard. I heard, "Those are my shoes." So, I responded, "No, these are compact disks."

The boy just stared at me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You Prayin' or Exercising?

First, you have to read this.

It occurs to me that folks can get exercised (no pun intended) about some of the most interesting things. There seems to be no shortage of opinions about anything.

I am sure that there are some folks who really can pray and exercise, work and/or meditate under any conditions. I am not one of those. A priest at the church that I attend once told us that if we didn't believe that Satan existed, that we should try to pray. I can't even make it through a full sermon at church. The shortest prayers challenge my attention span. I guess that I am just too easily distracted to pray well. So, how would I do it during exercise?

It is real difficult for me to view exercise as a religious experience. I gotta tell you. When I exercise, the only thing that I am likely to pray about is that I don't hurt myself during the next repetition.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pigskin Season

The freshmen football season is over for my 9th grade grandson. I have already congratulated him on a good season -- and it was. All his teammates played well, and they seemed to have a good time.

Grandson has played two years -- beginning last year as an 8th grader. Last year when he began, I'm not sure that he really knew which end of the field was his. This year, he had a bunch of tackles, a bunch of pass knock-downs, a couple of interceptions, a good punt return, a wisely chosen fair catch, and four touchdowns. This last one needs a little more explaining. I did notice that after every TD and reasonably long runs, he always thanked his teammates for their blocks. This is a real good sign.

Now, none of these qualify him for All-America status, and it's much too early to be counting college scholarships. If he is willing to work at the game (and do all that's required), he is now in a position where he may be ready to start learning how to play -- if that's what HE wants.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Is we or is we ain’t – educated?

Everyone has an opinion or two about the emphasis that should be put on education—especially during an election year. Things like standards, goals, metrics, ranking systems, and test scores--not to mention vouchers and charter schools--are all part of the education debate.

I’m not sure, however, if any debaters even mention that the 2008 meaning of the word, “educated,” may be somewhat different from what it was in 1950 and even different from what it was in 1900, etc. Things do change – really.

To think that we can continue to teach and evaluate today’s students in the same way that students were taught and evaluated in 1950 or whenever may be unrealistic. And, there seems to be special concern over whether or not students have “gained” from one year to the next. How this can be accomplished with a paper/pencil multiple-guess-type test has never been clear to me. Whether or not students have learned anything may not be apparent for a while. Students do not really learn according to someone’s time-table as might be inferred in the very familiar saying. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Or, as my daddy used to tell me, “Boy, one day you will understand.”

Kinda makes you wonder why sometimes students who struggled through and hated high school wind up doing very well in college.

And speaking of testing, the other nugget comes to mind. “You can’t fatten a pig by weighing it over and over.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Looking for the Elusive X

Apparently, algebra is a gift to us from the Babylonians. Now, that was a long, long time ago. Pretty good math stuff. I even passed the courses when I was a young pup. I still remember how to do some of the stuff.

However, it is amazing that after all this time students are still looking for X. You know: given such and such, find X. X=?

We need to remember what it was like when we old folks were 14 and how we were taught algebra. This must be difficult to do, however, because many adults go on and on about how much more difficult their schooling was. Please. I was there.

One of the joys of grand-parenting is that I get to help my 14 year-old grandson with algebra. Lots of fun -- really. Now, to you in reader-land who think American public school children are not working, may I suggest that you sit down with your children (or grandchildren) and regularly help them with their homework -- especially math (algebra). Let's see how many of you are driven to your knees in tears.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To Market, To Market....

Let's see if a mere mortal can understand this. I am certainly not a financial wizard.

This week the US stock markets seem to be in free-fall. Things have been going south for a while now. Big swings up and down -- mostly down.
Investors sell. The more selling that goes on, the more the people sell, and the more the markets sink. Folks are being hurt by this.

Last week, gas was in short supply (we are told). Folks panicked and bought gas. The price rose. The more people bought, the less gas there was, and the more the price rose. Folks are being hurt by this.

The economy is the subject of a lot of conversation. And, I know of at least one person who has asked another (not me) if his personal position was on the brink of danger.

I think that all of us should be concerned about our personal positions. However, a more major question to me is what kind of mess are we leaving for our children and grandchildren and more?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Passing Gas

Those of us old enough to remember the "energy crisis" of 1973 might look at the current "gas shortage" situation somewhat cynically -- probably an understatement.

I don't think we learned anything from 1973, and I don't think we will learn anything from this situation. Looking at things with an historical perspective does not seem to be our strong suit.

Blaming different groups, political parties, etc is probably not helpful either. So, who is responsible? The first three words in the Preamble of our constitution seem appropriate here. "We the People...."

As we all know, people actually have to go to work, to school, etc. Whether or not to drive may not be much of an option. Car-pooling seems to be "so yesterday."

I filled up last Saturday at $3.75 per gallon--just before the price of gas went into the stratosphere. Sadly, we will now think of $3.75 as a bargain. As for me, I will try not to drive much, and I will pass gas stations until absolutely necessary before I buy gas at these current prices.

To learn more about this, go to your favorite search engine and search: energy crisis+1973. Read to your heart's content. See for yourself if there are any similarities -- and differences.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

English Only Golf?

In an Associated Press news story, I read that the LPGA Tour has 121 international players from 26 countries, and starting in 2009 the association will require players to either speak English or face suspension. The tour includes 45 players from South Korea. Apparently, the PGA tour does not have a similar rule.

According to the LPGA website (, and if I have counted correctly, the 2008 tour has 28 tournaments, and seven of those are not in the US. Also, the top 30 rookies of 2008 include 22 international players.

So, I’m trying to figure out why this English-only rule bothers me. If you follow golf at all, you gotta wonder about this.

So, what's up? Does this rule mean that golf is evolving into an English-only sport? If the LPGA is a global tour, why is the new rulo designed to have the language of the PGA English-only? How does this affect those players that have hearing or speech disabilities? But, I'm sure all of these questions have been thoroughly discussed.

It's hard for me to believe that a player must speak English before she can hit a golf ball.

What am I missing here?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another New High School

This past Monday evening (August 25), I had the delightful experience of visiting the campus of the new Hardin Valley Academy as the Oak Ridge High School freshman football team opened its season with the freshmen of HVA. It was an historic evening for HVA. It is a new school, and that was their very first football game at their new stadium.

The game was very well attended, spirits were high, and there appeared to be a lot of pride and community support for the new school.

ORHS won the freshman game, and HVA won the junior varsity game against Jefferson County.

But, aside from the win/loss thing, what was clear was that everyone was having a lot of fun -- especially the kids. Congratulations to the HVA administrators, staff, and entire community for pulling this together. And, a thank you for their cordial welcome to all who attended and participated. Best wishes to all.

If you have not seen HVA, I encourage you to go have a look. It is a very comfortable and beautiful setting. One day I would like to tour the place inside.

A Tentative Step into the Blogosphere

Well, let me give this a try -- a toe in this blogging thing that is going around.