Sunday, February 27, 2005
I had some students talking in class recently about Teri Hatcher. A group of boys said that she is quite freaky looking because she has one nostril far bigger than the other. I hit my computer for the internet. The plan was to get a picture of Ms. Hatcher and show the boys that she's actually a fine looking woman, how it's not right to make fun of people for their looks, etc. Well, that didnt' wind up happening, because, by God, check it out...Teri Hatcher has one nostril that is bigger than the other. Far bigger. And now that I know that, I won't ever be able to look at her again.
Now that Adam Duritz has shaved the sides of his head but kept the bigness of the hair on top, he looks a hell of a lot like Sideshow Bob with a dye job.
This gives the interlopers from Granville the guaranteed NCAA Div. III, while the women are hanging in there until tomorrow's announcement of the field of 50. Alas, 39 of the slots are earmarked for 39 conference champions, with 11 set aside for at-large bids...and four of those for conferences not within the 39. So the Ladies' chances of getting one of the seven remaining at-large bids, I'm afraid, aren't that great. There have been enough upsets in conference tournaments that I think the committee, in spite of Kenyon's stellar 22-5 record, will find seven non-champs they'd rather send.
1. I've always hated the nickname "Ladies." "Lords" kicks butt, but shouting "Kick their butts! Kill 'em...Ladies..." never felt right.
2. It's amazing how much I can learn by surfing the net for ten minutes at this site. Like that really good schools like Bowdoin, Bates, Williams, and my beloved alma mater have kick-butt women's hoop teams this year.
3. Unrelated: I still don't have the flu in spite of breathing the same air as my ailing fiancee for 5 days and counting. Teaching children is better for the immunity than any damn shot.
4. A week off messes up my sleep schedule so much that it takes weeks of school to recover.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Of course, with a real movie theater opening up down the road, they probably don't have to invent fun like this anymore. I don't want to sound curmudgeonly, but I think that's a shame...something has been lost. And I probably wouldn't have enjoyed playing Wal-Mart Scavenger Hunt much...would have felt like I was infringing somehow, always looking over my shoulder.
I wonder if Wal-Mart games replace naked parties? (Never went to one. Alas.) I also never went to a frat party. At the time, I felt all smug and holier-than-thou about that. Now, I feel like I should have gone to at least one. I'm 34 now, so it's far too late...I will die without having attended a frat party. Sigh...
Please forgive this aimless ramble. I'm taking care of my baby and waiting to inevitably get her flu. But is it inevitable? Has my 6-year-backlog teacher immunity become so strong that it can even fight off the 102-degree-fever of the woman I'm living in sin with? Stay tuned...
"The game was not called within the rules. We had absolutely no chance to win that game. They (officials) didn't want a basketball game today...I think if we played on a neutral floor or in our building, we would beat this team...The officiating was a disgrace."
--Tom Penders, University of Houston basketball coach, after a 47-point loss, 110-63, to the Washington Huskies on Dec. 24, 2004.
That's 47 points. More than a point a minute. 16 three-pointers.
That's not the worst part.
Here's the worst part:
It's that I, a massive baseball lover and a huge lover of statistics and numbers, obsessed to the point that I keep track of leaders in the stat of Most Wins, Saves, Home Runs, and Stolen Bases attained in games I've attended* (as well as Most Wins, Saves, Home Runs, and Stolen Bases by non-Rockies or non-Mariners in games I've attended**), am about to watch Bonds pass Ruth and Aaron, possibly as soon as this season. And incredibly, I couldn't give a crap.
That's the worst part.
*Jamie Moyer/Freddy Garcia, Mariano Rivera/Kazuhiro Sasaki/Randy Myers, Edgar Martinez, and Alex Rodriguez/Ichiro Suzuki.
**Mike Mussina, Rivera/Myers, Carlos Delgado, and 21-way tie.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
16 rec games of various levels (5th grade through 9th grade)
4 junior high games (felt like more...funny...)
4 freshman games
10 JV games
3 preseason scrimmages (1 JV, 2 Varsity)
8 varsity games
The varsity games were mostly small schools, but not the exclusive diet of blowouts and 8th-place-vs.-9th-place varsity games that a non-varsity official can expect. I had a few small-school games from the middle of the standings, and in what must have been an extreme fluke (or a night we were breathtakingly shorthanded) I had one marvelous 3A game that turned out to be for third place in the conference. At this point, two weeks after their regular season ended, both teams are still alive in the postseason, although one will eliminate the other tomorrow night.
So, how'd I do this year?
Much to my surprise, I am a much better official now than I was when I left off at the end of the 2000-2001 season. I can't pinpoint exactly why this is true. Since I thought my career was over (medical issue), I had been serving as an evaluator of officials, and I think all of those hours watching good officials do good games must have rubbed off on me. Even watching some less-good and less-confident officials must have taught me. I thought I'd have a lot of rust to knock off this year, but I had very little. Within a couple of weeks, I was out doing varsity games and feeling that Zen-like leaving-the-world smoothness of the game. Here is what I did well this year:
--I got myself in good shape. Evaluators said I looked good, hustled hard, and was in position to make calls. I'm not at all an athlete and slower than molasses, so I take particular pride in this.
--I don't feel any games got terribly out of control. I think I did a pretty good job calling off-ball stuff. I am not what's called a "let 'em play" official...at the high school level, they can't be mugging each other. Games mostly settled down nicely with the first calls away from the ball.
--Although I still get nervous before games, I don't get nervous during games anymore, even games where I have to make a big call at the buzzer. And that's refreshing. I'm not lackadaisical...just businesslike.
--I'm very proud of two games in particular this year. One was the aforementioned big varsity game. This one was one of the biggest games I've ever had. My partner was able, but not too experienced, so I wasn't leaning on my partner like I maybe used to do. And we got through the game solidly. The other game was the last day of the season. I had to work a tough JV game alone. Really hard to do. I am confident that there was crap going on I was missing...one coach claimed that the opposition was cussing, elbowing, pulling ponytails, etc., and I don't know why he'd make that up...but still, I felt really good about that game. I was able to catch an off-ball call or two, stayed out of any coach confrontations (although they may have pitied me and gone easy on me), and kept things as controlled as can be expected, I think.
I'm almost definitely going to be on the varsity list for next year, and since we're doing more and more 3-person games, even have a chance of making my playoff debut. So I wanted to make sure to write down what I see as my weaknesses that I can work on for next year.
--I will remember to get my shirts and pants tailored before the year. I lost enough weight that I was struggling to keep the pants up, and as for the top...well, it looked a little like I was wearing a striped poncho.
--I will become more comfortable with 3-person mechanics. I only did 3 games (2 rec, one varsity) in 3-person this year. Never felt fully comfortable. I'm sure this will come with time. But even while I'm getting comfortable in my first few 3-person games, I won't let my discomfort with positioning affect my ability to call the game.
--I will do less poaching of my partners' calls. I didn't do too much of this, but enough that I need to recommit to keeping my eyes in my area, especially on nights where for whatever reason (quality of play, disparity of score) my mind starts to wander. I will especially try not to reach across the lane to get the drive when I'm lead.
--I will learn coach management. I guess you'd have to ask the coaches if I'm good at this or not. I only gave two technicals this year (one to a 6th-grade coach--worst game of the year by far...she was terrible that day, and incited the crowd--and the other to a varsity guy), but never felt like I got the routine conversations to a level I wanted them. Some games I thought I was too brusque with coaches (rarely), some I thought I let them go on too long (fairly often), and others I just kinda said the wrong thing (quite often). Since 3-person mechanics sends the official next to the coach after making a foul call, I need to get this licked. I suspect this will take a long, long time...it'll be one of those ongoing challenges.
So, come mid-November, be sure to remind me that I am working on:
1. Tailoring of uniform
2. 3-person mechanics review
3. Eyes in own area--no more poaching
4. Coach management
Sunday, February 20, 2005
If you were in a high school choir--especially at the beginning or intermediate levels--you sang a song by Kirby Shaw. If you were in a junior high choir, you undoubtedly sang a song by Kirby Shaw. I think it was the law.
Kirby's music, if I recall, all had a little introduction inside the front cover saying something like "This was designed for groups with talented, large female participation and small, elite male sections." In other words, most high school choirs and all junior high choirs...just take out the word "elite" and you've described them. Kirby had singable, simple, fun arrangements of a number of spirituals. I remember singing a piece called "Home On That Rock"--can still sing it after all these years--and several others. The cover of the piece had Kirby's giant mug on it--a giant smile. Checking out his website, the mug has gained a few wrinkles, but he's got the same attitude--the same smile. We'd get the latest Kirby piece and shout "Kirby! Kirby!" We'd sing it in front of the taped accompaniment...one side of the tape had eager, Up-With-People style singing to help you out, the other just had the instrumental backing (we'd perform with that).
We no longer did Kirby in the top HS choir...we had a strong group of kids, a great director, and did more serious stuff--he was into tougher spirituals than Kirby's and Russian pieces. Fun stuff. And on my first day as a freshman in the top choir at a big state university, the director came in and said "Freshmen, you're in the big leagues now. You're not singing Kirby Shaw anymore." And everyone gave a fairly snide laugh at Kirby's expense. I did too...I didn't want to appear less than sophisticated. And yeah, I loved singing all the Beethoven and Brahms I sang in college, but I don't know that this makes Kirby naff (the only word I can think of to describe what I'm thinking is that British slang).
(HS Buddy--sometimes reads this blog under the name of "Brooklyn"--discussed Kirby Shaw with me a couple of years back. We talked about the idea of what makes a Shavian piece. We also talked about how the term "Shavian" shouldn't just be reserved for George Bernard Shaw, but for Kirby too.)
You see, here's the thing about Kirby I can't get past. He's insanely rich from selling all of this music to high school choirs. If you think "junior high music," you think Kirby. He found his perfect niche. He's definitely one of the best in the world at what he does...and I bet that he doesn't care that my college choir director used his name as a punchline.
What must it be like to be one of the best in the world...at ANYTHING? I started to think about this after a music teacher friend saw Kirby speak at a conference for--what else--high school and junior high music teachers. They flocked to see him because he's perfect at meeting their needs. What needs can I meet that well? What am I one of the best 10 in the world at? Best 100? 1000? Poetry? Um...no. Teaching? Can't be measured objectively...it's eliminated. Officiating? Hell, I'm not in the top 50 in the city. My baby suggests I might be in the top 10 in the world for blogs about high school basketball officiating. Hmmmm...a possibility. But that won't make me rich.
I'd like to find my Shavian niche...the one area of the world that only I can fill that will make me insanely rich. I'm never going to be a Brahms or a Beethoven at anything...not talented enough. But if I find exactly the right void that only I can fill, maybe I can be a Kirby Shaw. The only thing preventing me from those riches? Figuring out what that void-to-be-filled-with-my-talent is.
If you searched on "diana taurasi bare feet," as so many have, sorry to disappoint you. All I have is a little review of an Olympic piece from last August where it was my pretend girlfriend Sue Bird, not Ms. Taurasi, who was stomping grapes into wine with what I took to be cute bare feet (although I am not a connoisseur of bare feet as you are if you took the time to search for a noted athlete's bare feet).
If you searched on "diana taurasi girlfriend" or "diana taurasi boyfriend," as an astonishing number of you do, I do not have the information you need. I don't know if she's straight or gay. I don't even care. Have you considered hiring a private investigator to figure that out? It'd be more effective than reading my posts.
If you searched on "diana taurasi shoe size," I implore you to get out of the house as soon as possible.
If you searched on "diana taurasi having sex," then...well...you must have been deeply disappointed to wind up here. Sorry.
Thanks for coming by.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Brian and Greg: Best athletes ever on show. Will make critical, tragic mistake.
Debbie and Bianca: I wish my high school teachers all looked like Bianca.
Lynn and Alex: Bio disturbing. Alex isn't out to parents--and on TV???
Megan and Heidi: Are they for real? Afraid to fly, never traveled before?
Meredith and Gretchen: Meredith's the most athletic old guy in world. Cannon fodder.
Ray and Deana: Ray's the early favorite for guy I'll want to disembowel.
Rob and Amber: Sick and wrong. Your main job should be "reality contestant."
Ron and Kelly: Iraq POW and Miss South Carolina. He'll keep them competitive.
Ryan and Chuck: Combined, they have 5 chins, so I think they're eliminated.
Susan and Patrick: Good to have a mother/son team. Won't last long.
Uchenna and Joyce: He's from Enron, she's from Worldcom. They're owed some karma.
Well, I see this as breaking down to three groups: the no-hopers, the not-good-enoughs, and the in-it-to-the-end. Now there's usually some exceptions to the anticipated order...for instance, last season, Lena and Kristy were a very strong team who were eliminated in an early dumb-luck challenge, and Adam and Rebecca lasted all the way to the finish line in spite of having no apparent skills. But in general, it'll look like this:
GONE IN THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS (if you made me predict the order, this would be it, but I'm mostly just predicting that these will be the first four out):
Lynn and Alex (my baby and I agree on this one...there are SO MANY red flags in this bio...)
Susan and Patrick (parent/child teams usually are too uneasy about who makes decisions)
Megan and Heidi (I can't see their breasts, but from their face shots, I would bet my next paycheck they have implants)
Meredith and Gretchen (he's a stud in spite of his girly name, but still, the geriatric set tend not to make it more than 4/5 episodes)
Then come the middle-of-the-roaders:
Ryan and Chuck (about here is where their lack of athleticism will catch up)
Brian and Greg (could go anytime, actually...it's just a matter of when they'll make their inevitable impulsive, silly, act-first-without-thinking mistake)
Rob and Amber (Not sure their skills are a good match for this game)
Uchenna and Joyce (A few too many issues...strained relationship, just a tad too old...for me to put them in the final three).
This leaves me with the following in the final three:
Rob and Deanna (I think some of the earlier teams might be a little better, but I can't imagine a final three with three teams I think I'll like...so I'll pick one team I suspect I won't like).
Ron and Kelly (I admire them both from their bio, but I just don't think that they'll be able to pull this off...the beauty queen factor still turns me off, even though a couple of beauty-queen-and-boyfriend teams have won now).
Which leaves me with a little bit of an upset at the top: Debbie and Bianca. I think they're young enough to be athletically competitive, cute enough to get help whenever they need it, worldly enough to have a sense of what to do in bizarre situations, and smart enough to avoid the big mistake. They'll avoid last place for the whole trip and will manage to be stronger and faster than the female members of the second-place and third-place teams. They'll win the million.
Two years ago, the team I picked finished dead last. Last season, they were middle of the pack, but ahead of my baby's pick. This season, I've got it baad, got it baad, got it baaaad. I'm hot for teacher! She's going all the way! Oh yeah, and that red-headed friend of hers, too!Man, I love this show, even after the ugliness of last season. If you don't watch it, start next week. It's totally addictive.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
and the Capital City Bombers announced six days ago that they have moved to Greenville to become the Greenville Bombers.
Damn, that sucks. But I'll go see them play in Greenville, I guess. What's an hour and fifteen minute drive for Southern League baseball?
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||High|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Moderate|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Very Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Low|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Moderate|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||Low|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Low|
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
By the way, if this surprises you, you don't know me. I've known this was my home since I read this sucker in AP English in fall 1987.
Thanks, Lemming, for passing this one on.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
"As of the year 2004 scientists have been having trouble just fertilizing an egg inside a woman and when the egg is successfully fertilized there is a major increase in the possibility of mental retardation and other defects."
I know some scientists, and I've always suspected they've had trouble "fertilizing an egg inside a woman." Poor things.
I haven't laughed this hard while grading since I learned that Huck and Jim "share a true friends shit."
--Why is privatizing Social Security a bad idea? Explain to me how the status quo (or some other plan than the President's) is more likely to help me in my later years. I hate economics, but I'm a smart guy who's not afraid of math, so make your case.
--Why is privatizing Social Security a good idea? Explain to me how this is more likely to help me in my later years. I hate economics, but I'm a smart guy who's not afraid of math, so make your case.
But where the first 20 pounds were simply due to finally exercising (basketball season), the last ten are due to my second crack at an elimination diet. So I'm actually a little bit worried rather than proud. I've got so many damn food allergies that I don't even know what I'm allergic to, and when finally I was faced with (this fact is deleted for the sanity of all readers), my doctor and I decided I needed to work this out. She has banished me to eating mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, applesauce, yogurt, bananas, lean meats, and toast. That's difficult to do. I have added wheat bread, lettuce, black olive, and mustard, simply so I can go to Subway and eat in my school's cafeteria if need be. But I eat popped rice with milk in the morning, a ham sandwich with yogurt for lunch, and my absolutely wonderful honey makes me something nice for dinner (last night: a pork chop with yams sliced thin to make them into home-fry-like deliciousness). A few pounds later, and here I am...
The good news is that I haven't been sick in a while now. If we're very, very careful, and I'm not sick for another couple of weeks, we can add on one food every three days. Ideally, I'll figure out why I get so damn sick so damn often.
At least in time for my Florida trip in April. When I'm on the road, there's little I can do. I mean, Subway is okay for one meal a day, but not three.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
He is planning to travel around the world. Sounds impressive, huh? But wait--there's more. He wants to do it all by human power. He'll bicycle across the land and row--by human power, no sails allowed--across the oceans. Oh, and while he's at it, he'll climb the highest mountain on six continents...by human power, of course. It'll take him 7 years. He's already started, biking from Seattle to Alaska to climb Denali, then biking back and all the way to Miami. Now he's back in Seattle preparing for the row that he hopes will take him from Miami past Cuba through the Panama Canal. If the winds don't cooperate, he could hit Cuba and be in a geopolitical mess, or hit Nicaragua instead of Panama, which would necessitate some unplanned bicycling.
Kinda makes my pride at having been to 45 states look silly, no?
I made a point of shaking his hand, as I plan on keeping track of him.
Here's the link to check out his quest.
ME: "Coach, I need a sub for number 11. She's got a bracelet on."
(#11 immediately takes it off.)
PLAYER: "It's off. I can stay."
ME: "Nope. I need a sub for you."
COACH: "It's not a bracelet. It's a hair scrunchy."
ME: "She was wearing it around her wrist. She can't wear a bracelet. She needs to go."
COACH: "The rule says she can't wear a bracelet. It doesn't say anything about hair scrunchies."
ME: "She's got to go, coach."
Never in a million years did I think that I'd get in an argument with a coach over what is and is not a bracelet.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Sorry, fellas. You'll just have to picture Sue stomping the grapes into wine. I don't have a picture. And a quick look at the Google page shows me that that's the best you're going to do.
(By the way, the same page is accessed by people fascinated with Diana Taurasi's sexuality. I get roughly equal searches for Diana Taurasi boyfriend and Diana Taurasi girlfriend.)
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
The article asks some questions and lists some commentary. For instance:
ESPN: "Who was the MVP of Super Bowl V?"
TRP: Chuck Howley, Dallas. He remains the only player from a losing team named MVP.
ESPN: "If you can answer this off the top of your head, by the way, you might need to take a little time away from the game, maybe take a walk in the park with your kids, share a root beer float down at the soda fountain with your best girl, that kind of thing."
TRP: Okay. Sounds fun. The kids will have to wait.
Later in the same article, Eric Neel, the author, asks these about Super Bowl XXVI:
"OK, three questions: 1. Who played in this game? 2. Who won and by what score? 3. How do you spell the last name of the game MVP?"
TRP: Easy. I watched this in the lounge of my senior year dorm, leaving two minutes early to go to a singing rehearsal. Washington 37, Buffalo 24. Fairly dull. Art Monk has a touchdown called back by replay. Buffalo scores some meaningless TDs late to make it look closer. Mark Rypien is MVP...R-Y-P-I-E-N.
Neel continues: "If you're not from either team's home city, [note I am not] and you can answer the first question without looking it up, your family and friends are likely planning an intervention (everybody in a circle with their hands clasped, an Indian raga playing in the background, maybe some incense) on your behalf. "
TRP: Huh. Are you?
Neel: "If you can answer the second question without looking it up, your family and friends talk about you in the past tense, sharing stories with each other about what a cute little boy you once were, how bright and full of promise, and they tear up when they look at you now, whispering, 'May he rest in peace.'"
TRP: I never knew...
Neel: "If you can answer the third question cold ... you don't have any family or friends."
TRP: Now come on! Just because I'm a big Super Bowl fan who's a good speller!
Okay. So if you've made it this far, you'll be interested in this: New England 34, Philadelphia 16. I don't expect it to be close. New England has no weaknesses I have seen--none whatever. Philly has a few...receivers and pass defense. It'll be another dull game...which, alas, is another tough score to memorize.
After the second game, I'm bushed, but ready to watch some of the Varsity game. It's a huge game...first place and state-ranked at second-place and chip-on-shoulder. Fun stuff. I get back to the locker room and one of the officials says this to my partner and me:
"Which one of you is closest to a size 10 shoe?"
We both wear twelves.
"Yeah, because I only brought one shoe. (He points at the shoe. It's the left shoe. No right.) Do either of you want to do the game?"
Hell yes, I do. But I'm exhausted, and a game of this magnitude deserves fresh officials. So he puts on my partner's size 12s. Looks a little funny...a little clown-like, a little like he's well-endowed. But he does the game. Good official, good game, wacky shoes.