Thursday, January 29, 2009
For the latest from the First Base Coach you can go here:
Thank you loyal readers. Hope to see you in my new diggs.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
As I finished getting ready to go I was listening to the ABC World News Tonight broadcast. They closed with numerous staff members from every department wishing everyone "happy holidays" or "season's greetings." It struck me as odd that not a single person in such a large group would be willing to do the un-PC thing of wishing everyone a merry Christmas.
That, after all, is the holiday we celebrate tomorrow. As usual, I plan to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special when I get home this evening. Once again I will look in on Charlie Brown as he tries to discover what the real meaning of Christmas is.
As I was reading about the special earlier today I found a story where the child who voiced Linus was interviewed.
For many viewers, it is the speech by Linus from Luke near the end that packs the biggest emotional wallop.
Christopher Shea was just 7 when he did the part and credits Melendez's coaching and his mom's doctorate in 17th-century British literature for Linus' lilting eloquence with a Biblical text.
Shea, who now lives in Eureka, Calif., with two daughters, 11 and 16, answers quickly when asked why the special has proved so enduring. "It's the words," he says.
Shea says that for years, in his teens and 20s, he didn't quite understand his soliloquy's impact.
"People kept coming up to me and saying, 'Every time I watch that, I cry,' " he says. "But as I got older, I understood the words more, and I understood the power of what was going on. Now I cry, too."
So do I. Tears of joy of course.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'".
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
1. Pick 20 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDB, find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them in a note for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDB search functions. That's cheating and it ruins the fun.
(Just so you know these aren't in order as my favorite movies!!)
1. Well, Don, I was at home in Tonawanda, but then Hitler started this whole thing, so now I'm here. Band of Brother -- Mandy
2. My ma urged me to get out of this game. When I was a kid, she pleaded with me. And I meant to, you know what I mean? But she died.
3. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come. Field of Dreams--Kayme
4. He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up! The Wrath of Kahn (Star Trek II) -- Jim
5. Alright, boys, this is the last shot we got! We're gonna run the picket fence at 'em! Jimmy, you're solo right! Everett, Merle should be open on the other side of that fence! Now, boys, don't get caught watchin' the paint dry! Hoosiers -- Mandy
6. Then one day I hear "Reach for it, mister." I spun around, and there I was, standing face to face with a six-year-old kid. Well, I just laid down my guns and walked away... Little bastard shot me in the ass! Blazing Saddles -- Amanda
7. Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. Star Wars: Episode IV -- Jim
8. The Ark. If it is there, at Tanis, then it is something that man was not meant to disturb. Death has always surrounded it. It is not of this earth. Raiders of the Lost Ark -- Josh
9. There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. ‘t would be a pit to damage yours. The Princess Bride -- Kayme
10. What’s the matter Colonel Sandurz, chicken? Spaceballes -- Jim
11. Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless. The Empire Strike Back -- Kayme
12. Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em. Bull Durham -- Shannon
13. I say hurl. If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours. But if you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be. Wayne's World -- Molly
14. Hey! Look kids! There’s Big Ben, Parliament. European Vacation -- Molly
15. Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.
16. C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin. Stripes -- Amanda
17. I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? Dirty Harry -- Jim
18. Out here, due process is a bullet.
19. Fireproof doesn't mean the fire will never come. It means when the fire comes that you will be able to withstand it.
20. Hell of a situation we got here. Two on, two out, your team down a run and you've got the chance to be the hero on national television... if you don't blow it. Saw your wife last night. Great little dancer. That guy she was with? I'm sure he's a close personal friend, but tell me, what was he doing with her panties on his head? Major League -- Amanda
Friday, December 12, 2008
For example, I’m sitting in a very dark classroom as I am typing this. I’ll have to post it on the internet later because right now there is no power in the school building. Something tripped the power about 10 minutes ago.
I arrived to school at my usual time, 6:50. This morning’s fun started off with the writing of my annual vocabulary test for comparative government. It is five matching sections of twenty terms. That’s one hundred points and it took most of my free time over two hours to write. My kids are testing today so I’m using the opportunity to multi-task a little.
Undisciplined and irresponsible are not usually words people use to describe me. To those people this next statement might come as a surprise. I did not save the vocabulary test the entire time I was working on it.
I printed a copy at the conclusion of second period. I then left, document still unsaved, to attend the holiday reception at central office. Sufficiently fed (for a week), I returned to my classroom and prepared for my fourth period class. After passing out the test I sat down and finally realized that I hadn’t saved my vocabulary test. Giving it the filename “First Semester Vocab” I stored the test on the server and placed a back-up copy on my super, top-secret flash drive.
Less than sixty seconds after I closed the document the power went out.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The theme of this post is, “Life isn’t fair.”
So, I’m reading about the sit-down strike the Republic Window in Chicago. Actually, I’ve been reading about it for a couple of days. This thing is getting far more attention than it deserves and some of the comments coming out of people are quite troubling.
Of course the most entertaining and least sane comments came from the mouth of perpetual windbag Jessie Jackson.
"These workers must be congratulated for having the courage in the great tradition of Dr. King ... and in the tradition of Cesar Chavez, in the tradition of Rosa Parks.” Your sitting down, in many ways, allows America to stand up. Workers all around the nation who are now facing massive layoffs. It's your job, it's your plant. Stay there and fight for it until justice comes and justice will come."
More concerning to me are the comments of President-Elect Obama who make some scary implications with his assessment of the situation.
"Number one, I think that these workers, if they have earned these benefits and their pay, then these companies need to follow through on those commitments," Obama said during an appearance. "And number two, I think it is important for us to make sure that moving forward, any economic plan that we put in place helps businesses to meet payroll so that we're not seeing these kinds of circumstances again."
Not all of the President-Elect’s comments have been as scary.
"The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned, I think they're absolutely right and understand that what's happening to them is reflective of what's happening across this economy,"
First of all, we should look at what we do know. Republic Window decided to close. Most stories imply that the decision to close was reached after Bank of America closed its line of credit. It told its employees that they would be out of work at the end of the week. Told they would not get proper notice, severance pay, and pay for unused vacation the employees are conducting a sit-in at the plant and demanding the compensation they were promised in their union contract.
That’s pretty much it for the facts.
Based on these facts we have Jessie Jackson showing up and claiming that a great injustice is taking place. He’s comparing these factory workers to Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and Hugo Chavez? Every article I read has a quote from people discussing how they are making history? You’ve got to be kidding me.
First of all, the company is closing. It’s laying off everyone. The implication is that the company is broke. If the company is insolvent then you can’t expect a bank to keep loaning them money. Banks are supposed to loan money to people who have a plan to pay it back. They aren’t just supposed to loan money to people who need it. As I recall, loaning money to people who didn’t have a very good plan to pay it back is one of the things that got us into this mess. Anyone remember the sub-prime loan disaster?
Bank of America shouldn’t loan any more money to a company that can’t pay it back.
Jackson implies in his statements that the bank should loan money to the company to pay its employees even though the company is closing and will not make the money to pay the loan off. This is my justification for calling him insane.
To my fellow Americans who are sitting-in: It’s not your job. Your job has been lost. It’s not your factory. You’d be making better use of your time if you were out looking for a new job.
Now, while I’ve been concerned with the president-elects constant proclamations that the economy is doomed and won’t get better soon, he is not completely off his rocker. The employees have a contract that entitles them to a certain amount of notice before being laid off, severance pay, and compensation for unused vacation days.
However, both the president-elect and Jackson seem to be implying that it’s the bank’s and/or the government’s responsibility to be sure the employees get their money. How can the bank or government be responsible for meeting obligations the company agreed to?
Now, what should really happen?
If the company’s owners want to close then that is their option. No one should make the government or banks pay the money the company owes its employees. However, there is no way that the company should be able to close with any profits on the books until its employees are paid what they are owed. Any cash the company has, any assets it has (including equipment and real estate) need to be liquidated and the funds need to go to the employees first. The money owed to the employees are debts and all debts must be satisfied if possible. If the money runs out then the employees may only get a percentage of what they are owed. The owners shouldn’t walk away with a penny unless all of their debt is paid.
Now, if Obama or Jackson would state the argument this way, I wouldn’t have a problem. Instead they seem to imply that life is fair and everyone gets what they’ve earned. What planet have they been living on?
Bank of America is smart for not loaning money to a failing company. I suspect though that the company was hoping to close its doors and skip out on its obligations to the employees. That is the real issue here. That is dishonorable and the company should not be allowed to do so.
We can hold the company accountable as much as possible but lets not make the implication that the government should step in and keep it open or supply wages to people who lose their jobs.
And please, don’t compare what these employees are doing to what Dr. King did. It’s not even close.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
This year saw my grandmother pass away after a very long battle with cancer. I'm thankful to her for over 30 years of wisdom, advice, and genuine love. Grandparents are a blessing like no other. My grandfather is doing well after his third heart bypass surgery and found his healthy appetite just in time for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday. It looks like I may have to be defeated at golf again, several times, and by a man in his 70's.
For the third time in my life MY team is the national champion. I'm a believer in lifetime commitments to those teams you root for because it builds character (well, unless you happen to be a fan of the Colorado Buffaloes). I thought life would be easy when the Royals won the World Series in 1985 followed shortly thereafter by my beloved Jayhawks winning the NCAA Basketball Tournament in 1988. Little did I know it would be 20 years before winning the big game again. What an amazing night.
For Dave Ramsey. One year of living the Dave way has me oh so close to being debt free and living in financial peace. With the economy still trying to get a little bounce it seems like I'm surrounded by people in crisis. It's quite strange to think that living on a budget and within my means, saving for emergencies, and staying debt free can help someone sleep at night. It does though my friends. If you ever get the chance to go through Financial Peace University, take it.
For snow because it's so peaceful.
For Cali and Neal who entertain and inform a few times a week (and because I don't have time to keep up on the hip new geek gadgets anymore). And for new blog friends (Unfinished Business, Get Rich Slowly) who entertain and inform in ways that make it so easy to get by without cable news.
For the JoeBlog where Joe Posnanski gives me my fill of baseball and sports ramblings in a format a long-winded guy like me can appreciate. And on a similar topic for the newest star sportswriter at the Leavenworth Times. You can read Scooter's new column online every Wednesday.
For apple pie. And peach pie.
And you could probably guess that I've been most thankful this past year for Lindsay. I like to think that I'm pretty good with words but I could stare at this screen for hours and not come up with words to describe what it's like to meet someone so amazing. In an associated item, I'm thankful for roll-over minutes and unlimited nights and weekends (although I could also complain about the lack of coverage between St. Joseph and Council Bluffs as well as Freemont and Norfolk).
Remember that the passing of Thanksgiving doesn't herald do or die time for the world's retailers and it doesn't usher in the season of getting that is advertised all around us and permeates the thinking of the world. It is a season of giving and of remembering and sharing about our Lord who gave us His Son whose sacrifice allows us to be washed of our sins and to one day join the Lord in Heaven. It is only fitting that we kick that season off by remembering all of the things we have to be thankful for.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Friday, November 21, 2008
I just can't. I'm done working for the week. I need a break. I'm on my planning period so I've got the chance to relax a little. I'm on my favorite brain game site:
Click on math games and be distracted. Join the fun!
Lunar Lander is my favorite.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Isn't this a wonderful time of year.
After a wonderful weekend in Norfolk I took my first personal day in my nine year teaching career. It was simply wonderful to gain a few extra hours with Lindsay and I loved not having to drag into work on Monday after arriving home late on Sunday evening. It was also nice to have an evening to get ready for the workweek instead of eating up the entire time on the highway.
I still think the decision to take the personal day was worth the embarrassment of having to ask for help from our secretary to fill out the personal day form. It took me several minutes to identify the thing since I had never laid eyes on it.
Still, the prospect of an impromptu four day week has not been equaled by the week itself. Today is Thursday and I feel just as worn out by the week as I usually do. It may be the 6am basketball practices but I think it's just force of habit. Fridays come along at a regular pace and I think that most people can tell a Friday by the way it and they feel even if they don't have access to a calendar.
I wonder if it was like this before they had calendars.
This year I'll be traveling a lot over the holidays. Please pray for a nice, dry winter. That's unusual as well. I typically feel robbed if we don't have at least three snow days. If I were staying in the area the snow would be no big deal as a foot of snow falling on a Thursday is going to melt by Friday. I've heard that the snow in Nebraska can stick around for weeks though. I suppose it's even worse up north. My friend Rachel said they already have snow on the ground.
Here's a random thought. This morning I had orange flavored gum. I haven't had sugared gum since I was in junior high when I used to buy grape and orange gum regularly. They used to advertise it for flavor and softness. My other favorites were the gum that had two flavors with one in the center wrapped in the other, the gum with the liquid core (basically sugary syrup), and who can ever forget Big League Chew. I preferred the grape flavor there too.
How did I ever chew those things for all those years. This sugary orange wad was so sweet that it hurt my teeth to chew. I could almost hear my dental enamel cry out in pain! The gum I chew today is ADA approved to make my teeth stronger and whiter. It is sugar free and hard as a rock. And yet, that is what my mouth now desires.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
When I bought my new Macbook this summer I struggled to decide what to do with the old PowerBook. It was too old to be of any use to anyone but it still worked (as long as the duct tape didn't come off the case).
My solution? A 15" widescreen digital picture frame. They sell in this size for $600 at Walmart. I figured I could make one for free (or almost free).
It took a while to get the screen off thanks to Apple's proprietary hinge screws but a little careful drilling got around that. I mounted it in a shadow box frame, removed the battery for increased ventilation, and set the screen saver to start as soon as you booted the computer.
It looks pretty good. I figure it'll take dad a while to fill the 80 GB of hard drive space with all the photos he takes.
This may be the most fun gift I've ever given. Now I just have to go sweep up all the sawdust.
Monday, November 10, 2008
SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 movies, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 253 movies on this list. Copy this list mail, go to your own facebook account, paste this as a note. Then, put x's next to the movies you've seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun!
(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
() Pirates of the Caribbean
() Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
() Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End
() Boondock Saints
() Fight Club
() Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
5 so far....not as many as I expected. Half of those movies sucked though. Seriously, I think it's a crime to put Blazing Saddles and Airplane in a group with any crap Johnny Depp or Matt Damon movie. I'd rather watch Ishtar.
(x) The Princess Bride
(x) AnchorMan....You'd have to know the guy but every time I see a clip from this movie I hear coach Graham.....Peeeeewwwww.
(x) Napoleon Dynamite....There's two hours I'll never get back
() Saw II
() White Noise
() White Oleander
() Anger Management
() 50 First Dates
() The Princess Diaries
() The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Up to 8. I may not hit 85 but only because whoever put this list together has horrible taste.
(x) Scream 2
() Scream 3
(x) Scary Movie
() Scary Movie 2
() Scary Movie 3
() Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
() American Pie 2
() American Wedding
() American Pie Band Camp
12....Um, what a really creative list. NOT.
(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Harry Potter 5....Yeah, the books are better.
() Resident Evil 1
() Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
() Little Black Book
() The Village
() Lilo & Stitch
18....Some good movies don't have sequels or didn't ya know!
(x) Finding Nemo
() Finding Neverland
() The Grinch
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
() White Chicks
() Butterfly Effect
() 13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot....Seriously, is this the first science-fiction movie on the list?
(x) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
() Universal Soldier
() Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
() Along Came Polly
() Deep Impact
(x) Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
() Meet the Fockers
() Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
() KING KONG
() A Cinderella Story
() The Terminal
() The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
() Dumb & Dumber
() Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
(x) The Ring
() The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
() Flubber....I assume the original "Absent Minded Professor" doesn't count since it didn't suck. I think you need a better reason to remake a classic than "Robin Williams needs a job."
() Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
() Practical Magic
() Ghost Ship
() From Hell
() Secret Window
() I Am Sam
() The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
() The Day After Tomorrow
() Child's Play
() Seed of Chucky
() Bride of Chucky
(x) Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
() Nightmare on Elm Street
() Sixteen Candles
(x) The Breakfast Club....Darn you free Friday night movies in WC Morris!
(x) Remember the Titans
() Coach Carter
() The Grudge
() The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
() Son Of The Mask
28. No one can say I watch too many movies again.
() Bad Boys
() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Seven
() Ocean's Eleven
() Ocean's Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
(x) Bourne Ultimatum....Imagine this though, the books are still better.
() Lone Star
() Predator I
() Predator II
() The Fog
(x) Ice Age
() Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
() Curious George
(x) Independence Day
() A Bronx Tale
() Darkness Falls
() Children of the Corn
() My Boss's Daughter
() Maid in Manhattan
() War of the Worlds....Again I assume you mean the Tom Cruise (didn't need to be a) remake.
(x) Rush Hour
(x) Rush Hour 2
37....I may have a life after all!
() Best Bet
() How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
(x) She's All That
() Calendar Girls
() Mars Attacks
() Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz....It's amazing how many people outside of the midwest think this is every native Kansan's favorite movie.
(x) Forrest Gump....and to think, without Forrest Gump there would be no Watergate.
(x) Big Trouble in Little China....Now we're talking.
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
() The Terminator 3
() Spider-Man....That Kursten Dunst, can't say she does anything for me.
() Spider-Man 2
(x) Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
() Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can....New Year's Eve in Omaha. I think I was the only one in the group other than Rachel that actually liked the movie.
() The Little Mermaid
() Freaky Friday
() Reign of Fire
() The Skulls
(x) Cruel Intentions
() Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek 2
52...I don't think I'm going to make it.
(x) Miracle on 34th street
(x) Old School
() The Notebook
() Krippendorf's Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
() Ice Castles
() The 40-year-old-virgin
55.....Is this the third time it's been a multiple of 11? Weird.
(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
() Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
(x) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
() Waiting for Guffman
() House of 1000 Corpses
() Devils Rejects
() Mothman Prophecies
() American History X
() The Jacket
() Kung Fu Hustle
() Shaolin Soccer
() Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail....Don't like her? What's wrong with her?! She's beautiful, she's rich, she's got huge [Gestures to his chest] tracts of land.
() Shaun Of the Dead
() High Tension
() Club Dread
() Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
() 28 days later
66....There's that multiple of 11 again!
(x) Kill Bill vol 1
(x) Kill Bill vol 2....Just yesterday actually. Does anyone else always watch these two movies together?
() Mortal Kombat
() Wolf Creek
() Kingdom of Heaven
() the Hills Have Eyes
() I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
() The Last House on the Left
() Army of Darkness
(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
() Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor....If you could kill off either Jar Jar Binks or all the Ewoks, which would you choose? That'd be a toughie.
(x) The Matrix
() The Matrix Reloaded
() The Matrix Revolutions
() Evil Dead
() Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
() Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
Total: 77.... Fitting.