Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Observations - Dec 28

Sunday Observations took a week off last week. Between the Myers wedding and leaving for a wrestling tournament on Monday, it was just too much. But here are my observations over the last two weeks:

- Christmas is here and gone. Great to see family. Glad it's over. Best presents? A Where's Waldo book and a nice, fluffy pillow.

- I read O. Henry's Gift of the Magi on Christmas Day because it was printed in the Citizen-Times. I'd forgotten what a great story that is. Worth reading every Christmas. As far as secular stuff for Christmas, I would read Gift of the Magi, listen to the Chipmunk's Christmas song and watch Charlie Brown Christmas every year.

She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

- Have you seen the Charles Barkley/Yao Ming commercial for T-Mobile? I love Charles Barkley. I don't always agree with Chuck, but he makes me laugh and he says what's on his mind. Good stuff.
"Eat the head!"

- How about them Dolphins? 1-15 a year ago, 11-5 and AFC East Champs this year. Lots of kudos go to Bill Parcels, Tony Sporano, and Dan Henning. Also Jake Long, Ronnie Brown and Joey Porter. But the best thing to happen to Miami was Brett Favre coming out of retirement. His signing with the Jets allowed Chad Pennington to come to Miami and Chad has been the difference. How he's not a Pro Bowler is beyond me.

Crush of the Week:
Jeff Myers was one of my college roommates and one of my favorite people. He finally got married last weekend and I was fortunate enough to be part of the wedding. We've shared a lot of laughs, camping trips and bike rides. Now, Jennifer gets to share some of the adventures with us. Congratulations to two wonderful people. Best wishes and much happiness in your new life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Child Is This?

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

William Dix, 1865

"Adoration of a King" - Rembrandt

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

O Holy Night

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Placide Cappeau, 1847

Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
O captive Daughter of Zion
Isaiah 52:2

Monday, December 15, 2008

O Come, All Ye Faithful,

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest

John Wade, 1743

Light Echoes from Red Supergiant V838 Monocerotis
Hubble Image - December 2002

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Angels We Have Heard on High

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King
James Chadwick, 1862

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
translated from Latin: "Glory to God in the Highest"

Botticelli, “Adoration of the Magi

"Adoration of the Magi", Sandro Botticelli

Sunday Observations - Dec 14

1) Knights wrestling split this past week. Won our home opener against Hendersonville (47-26), but lost 42-24 at Mitchell. We did finish the wall of fame in our auxilary gymnasium. Ed Lewis, our art teacher did an amazing job designing it.

2) Yesterday was very strange for me. I didn't have an college scores to check on. It was quite sad. On several occasions, I have found myself wondering if heaven has college football. Am I strange?

3) Sam Bradford was a good choice for the Heisman. Tim Tebow would have gotten my vote, but Bradford makes a great argument (as does Colt McCoy). Perhaps Bradford's going airborne against Oklahoma State was what put him over. It will be one of the defining moments of his college career and this football season.

4) I don't know Rod Blagojevich. From the what I see on the news, I have come to these conclusions:- He is angry.
- He is greedy.
- He is arrogant.
- He has bad hair.

5) The art department at North Henderson sponsored "Empty Bowls". Students and staff created their own clay bowls and they were sold Thursday night in a banquet. The proceeds go to our Backpak program that feeds hungry students at North. Great stuff. You should have seen some of the bowls, we have some neat and creative people at the school.
Here's the article in Hendersonville News.

Crush of the Week:
I was listening to Pandora and there was a cover of the Cure's classic "Just Like Heaven". I liked the sound of it and looked to see who it was. Her name was Katie Melua, a British singer/songwriter born in the Georgia (the former Soviet Republic, not the Peach State). I listened to some of her other stuff on itunes and youtube. Some of it was okay, nothing really stood out. But "Just Like Heaven" sounded great and Katie's really cute, so she's this week's crush.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fe's first college meet

I meant to blog about this yesterday in my Sunday Observations. Felisha Garren, the NC 2A State Champion in the 400 meters last season kicked off her college career at Western Carolina without missing a beat.

At the ASU Invitational, she ran a solid 58.14 to place 8th overall in the 400m. She called me and humbly, yet excitedly, told me she finished second in her heat and still had the 4x400 to race. Fe was the third leg on Western's 4x400 team that ran 3:48.16 to set a new Holmes Center track record.

Here's Fe's bio at

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Observations - Dec 7

1. Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Kinda overshadowed with the economy, Christmas season and various other distractions, but please don't forget what happened 67 years ago today.

2. Knights Wrestling had a tough week. Took a beating at Madison (46-27) and didn't meet expectations at Falcon Frenzy. After some early success, maybe the rough week was what we needed.

3. With OJ Simpson now going to jail, does that mean he will "go away"? If I had gone through what he went through with the murder trial, I would have avoided the spotlight.

4. Why do musicians feel like it's okay to hijack Christmas music? I was driving to church and there was this version of "Joy to the World" that I just abhorred. It's like they think, "Oh, I have no more creative energy, let me ruin this great hymn." I bet everyone can think of examples of otherwise good Christmas songs ruined by some artist looking for a paycheck.

However, one of my favorites is Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan's version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings".

5) Please don't bailout the Detroit Big Three. I know that an estimated 3 million jobs lost if Detroit fails, but I believe that bailing out inefficient and bloated corporations is not the answer. The minimum 15 billion that the GM, Chrysler and Ford are asking for can be better used to help the people displaced by jobs lost if the industry shutters rather than assist companies that have thumbed their noses at fuel efficiency, ignored the futures market and offers too many okay and good cars but not enough great cars.

6) I haven't done any Christmas shopping. I resolve not to. I am going to sit at the computer and bring everything to my house.

7) I am at the age where the Holidays have changed for me. I don't look forward to presents. Matter of fact, I would be fine if I didn't receive any; I am blessed beyond what I deserve already. I do look forward to the Holidays and not just for the break from school (as the wrestling coach, I don't really get much of one anyway). But I do get to see friends who, though close in heart, are not close in proximity. I am looking forward to visiting with Emily, Paul, Ryan, Jeff, Karen and the rest of my friends from out of town. See you soon guys!

Crush of the Week:
I read a nice article by ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski on Greg Maddux's retirement. I barely remember this week's announcement of one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history. Granted, I am not much of a baseball fan anymore, but I am a SPORTS fan. When one of the all-time greats leaves a sport, it's a big deal. And there was barely a commotion when Maddux retired outside of a small press release. Maddux wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

He wasn't built like a tank, he was dorky and skinny. Despite 355 wins (8th all-time), 10th on the career strikeout list, 4 Cy Young awards as the best pitcher and a record 18 Gold Gloves for fielding, Maddux never quite got the press of Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez or even his teammates in Atlanta, John Smoltz or Tom Glavine. And he was okay with it. This SI cover was printed 13 years ago (in 1995) and the article by the great Tom Verducci basically is a preview for the retirement commentary by Wojciechowski. Maddux hasn't changed, he's still unassuming, job oriented, blue collar.
In an age of "LOOK AT ME", Maddux is a refreshing change of pace. There will be no one else like him who can pitch, field, hit garner all sorts of awards and go around unnoticed. Greg Maddux: one of my favorite baseball players of all time (with Nolan Ryan and Cal Ripken, Jr) and this week's crush.

Monday, December 1, 2008


The SEC has won the last two National Championships in college football. They are a powerhouse of a football conference. The ACC has been mediocre. They are a basketball conference. When SEC teams beat up on each other, their supporters say it's because the teams are so good. When ACC teams beat up on each other, their detractors say it's because the teams are so awful. That being said, I believe that the ACC is a better football conference than the SEC this year.

The ACC has no elite teams, but it has at least 10 good or decent teams. The SEC has two elite teams and a bunch of okay to dismal teams. Here are the schools, their records in parenthesis and the grade I give them:

Boston College (9-3) B+
Florida State (8-4) B
Maryland (7-5) B-
Wake Forest (7-5) B-
Clemson (7-5) C+
NC State (6-6) C+

Georgia Tech (9-3) B+
Virginia Tech (8-4) B
North Carolina (8-4) B-
Miami (7-5) B-
Virginia (5-7) C
Duke (4-8) D+

Florida (11-1) A
Georgia (9-3) B
South Carolina (7-5) C-
Vanderbilt (6-6) C-
Kentucky (6-6) C-
Tennesse (5-7) D-

Alabama (12-0) A
Mississippi (8-4) B-
LSU (7-5) C-
Arkansas (5-7) D+
Auburn (5-7) D
Mississippi St (4-8) D-

Average Grade ACC = B-
Average Grade SEC = C
On the Season, ACC is 6-4 against the SEC (including 3-1 this past weekend) and is the conference with the highest winning percentage against BCS conferences.
The Sagarin Index has the ACC rated as the top conference in the nation this week, followed by the Big 12 and the SEC.
The Sagarin team rankings has two SEC teams (FL and AL) ranked higher than the highest ACC team (BC). It has 6 SEC teams ranked lower than the lowest ACC team (Dook).
Also, the ACC has 7 teams in the top ten, including 3 in the top five (FSU 1, GT 3 and UNC 5), of schools that have the highest percentage of non-conference games against BCS Conference foes over the last ten years. The SEC has no teams in the top ten.

Look, the SEC is a great conference in a down year. It does have two great teams. The ACC is just better top to bottom this year. Will it be the better conference next year? I don't know. I do know that the ACC is on the rise. Look out for Georgia Tech, UNC, NC State, FSU, Miami and even Duke next year.