Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Observations - Jan 25

- Not to sound to cliche, but Tuesday's inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President will be one of the defining moments in American history. What a great country we live in. For the first time in history, a country with a white majority has elected a minority candidate to lead the nation.

- I miss football season already. And I am just not excited about this year's Super Bowl. Maybe Bruce at halftime.

- Knights wrestling went 3-0 last week. The highlight was a 36-33 win against rival West Henderson. The Knights were down by 3 going into the last match and won a pin in :27 seconds to claim the victory. With the win, the Knights remain undefeated in the conference and tied with Pisgah for first place. Tuesday's match with Pisgah might be for the Conference Championship.

- Time flies. February is nearly here already.

- Life is hectic... wrestling is heading into the final stretch and there's a lot to do with playoffs and regionals (which we are hosting) coming around. Also, last week was the end of our semester so we had exams. They were made more chaotic by Martin Luther King Day and then an impromptu snow day on Tuesday. This week, we have a workday on Monday and I get new classes on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday I am in Chapel Hill for meetings. In between, we have home wrestling match on Tuesday, away on Thursday and Conference Tournament on Saturday. Yeah... busy week.

Crush of the Week:
Lost is back! The new season premiered this week! Admittingly, I didn't watch it. I never watch anything when it comes on because I am never home to. But I will (Netflix rocks, so does It's one of the greatest shows ever. Every episode is a captivating, well written, suspenseful and features Evangeline Lily as Kate Austen. I'm a season behind, so please don't spoil things for me. So here's Evangeline, this week's crush:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reverse Cow Tipping

I read this bit in the Wednesday, January 21 USA Today. The last sentence is my favorite:

Colorado: Boulder - A woman who was mountain-biking on the South Boulder Creek Trail was knocked down and stepped on by a cow, a city park ranger said. The woman had stopped to let the cow cross the trail. Her name was not released, and she was not seriously hurt. The cow left the area before rangers arrived.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"Barack is selling hope. And I'm buying."
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin
on Barack Obama after winning AFC Championship

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders... For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Observations - Jan 18

- Three day week at school this coming week. Pretty exciting. Much needed too.

- Wrestled at Fandetti Brawl at Science Hill High School in Johnson City yesterday. Love to the tournament because 1) good competition from TN, NC, VA, KY, AL and LA and 2) they serve these great home cooked potato chips in the hospitality room. We'll be back next year.

- Perhaps I am starting to like the cold more. The high on Friday was 28 and I was never really bothered. Or it just means my body is shutting down.

- An old friend living in Oklahoma City had triplets yesterday. It's perhaps the most amazing thing that I have seen in a long time. Congrats to the Leclercqs. This is Sophia, the oldest of the three (Cooper and Isabelle are the other two):

Crush of the Week:
I have to be careful with this one, because I don't want to get too gushing. It really is hard to truly make judgments on the character of a person without really knowing that person. That's why I try not to make judgment on people on TV and in the spotlight. I try to differentiate between judging an action or decision and judging a person's heart.

That being said, I adore this man. Tony Dungy epitomizes so much of what's good about people. Writers like Peter King and Don Banks praise what a great person Tony Dungy is. Great coach, even better person is the concensus. King says that he has "never covered a more decent man in my 29 years in this business." That's high praise for the first black coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship.

When he was at Tampa Bay, the word was that Tony Dungy was a good coach that would never win the Super Bowl. He didn't scream and cuss enough. He wasn't mean enough.

When he interviewed with the Colts, he told the ownership that if they wanted a head coach who was going to live and sleep in the office they should look elsewhere. He wanted to be able to take his kids to school and perform his job of being a father and husband.

When his son, James, committed suicide in 2005, lots of people's hearts broke and sympathy was abound for the Dungy family. Remarkably, Dungy did more consoling to guests at the memorial than he was consoled.

Potential Hall of Famer and former Vikings receiver Cris Carter was contemplating coaching at a high school. He called Coach Dungy for advice on the decision. Dungy told Carter that when he asks NFL prospects about who has influenced them the most, one of the most common responses is their high school coach. Then he told Carter, "maybe I should have been a high school coach". It reminded me of the influence I have as a coach of young men and women and the importance of my role in developing not just athletes, but also individuals.
Dungy is not done. He will continue to serve, just in a different capacity. Maybe you will see him doing commentary on television. Most of his time will be spent with his family and continuing in prison ministry and other community service. He has spoken about his passion for young black men and I could see him working in some inner city program to help blacks get training and stay off the streets.

Whatever he does, the NFL has lost a great man. The NFL's loss is someone else's gain because Dungy will be active in something. And that something will benefit from the patience, love and wisdom of Tony Dungy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


During my wrestler's study hall today, Brant drew all these nice pictures of Dinosaurs on my whiteboard. And I love dinosaurs.

Not to be left out, Avery started drawing a "dinosaur". The following conversation ensues:

Me: "So what's that?"
Avery: "It's a Lumposaurus."
Me: "What the crap is that?"
Avery: "It's a mix between a camel and a dragon."
Me: "Of course it is..."

And now we know.
Yep, these are my kids...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My heart broke when I read this today. I cried and I don't know why. Jessie Cassada was 19 years old, serving his country in Afghanistan, when he died last week. Today, Lance Corporal Cassada is home.

Times-News Article
Times-News Photos

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Observations - Jan 11

- One of my best friends and current North Henderson Asst Principal Jason Joyce went to the hospital and had his appendix taken out on Thursday. He was complaining of pain during the day and finally went to the ER and was soon in surgery. Joyce is doing fine; he swears that the missing organ will take two strokes off his golf game.

- Zimbabwe is putting into currency a $50 Billion dollar note. That's $50,000,000,000.00. That's not a joke. With inflation reaching an about 231 million percent, the $50B will be enough to buy two loaves of bread.

I could not help but think of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer and Burns steal a 1 Trillion dollar bill and take it to Cuba. These lines make me laugh. Matter of fact, the entire scene makes me laugh:
Fidel Castro: "Comrades, we have to abandon communism..." (awws from followers) "... we all knew from day one this mumbo jumbo wouldn't fly."
Homer Simpson: "Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of Cuba."

- Zimbabwe was the example that I gave to my students on why the election of Obama was so great. It just showed that the people have the power to choose. I do agree that many Obama supporters had no clue why they were voting for him except that he was not Bush. But at least they could express their disapproval. Robert Mugabe has run Zimbabwe into the ground since he took power in 1980 and the people of Zimbabwe have been powerless to change.
- Did anyone see the final BCS Coaches Poll? Florida, USC, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma. Florida recieved 60 out 61 first place votes. Why is that odd? Because coaches are contractually obligated to vote the winner of the BCS Game first and someone didn't.

Utah, the only undefeated team in major college football, recieved the rogue first place vote and the voter was none other than Utah coach Kyle Whitttingham, who said he didn't care if he lost his right to vote in future polls. By the way, USC Coach Pete Carroll doesn't vote in the in Coaches Poll because he believes that the way the BCS crowns a national champion is flawed.

- I want to know who let Jake Delhomme go to Canada, get kidnapped, and be replaced by an Canuck imposter who obviously had no idea how American Football was played.
And did Arizona resident Cindy McCain, with her beer fortune, pay all the Carolina defensive players to not show up? How on earth do you let an immoblile quarterback like Kurt Warner behind a mediocre offensive line stay upright all night? And they acted like it was a surprise that Larry Fitzgerald, one of the best receivers in the NFL (if I could take five, they would be Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker, Hines Ward and Andre Johnson), was going to get thrown to.

Crush of the Week:
I was reading the February Outside magazine and there was a article on a new movie about fly fishing called The River Why. The "fishing heroine" is played be Amber Heard, who also had parts in Friday Night Lights and Pineapple Express. Amber caught my eye enough to make me want to read the article. Part of the movie was filmed on the Wilson River in NW Oregon, one of my favorite states! There's a good chance the plot of the movie sucks, but eye candy in the lead actress and eye candy in location give it a good start.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Observations - New Year

- Welcome to 2009. Cheers to a New Year.

- My friend Ruth started her New Year with a torn ACL. She was hiking. MRI next week. Wish her luck.

- I knew it was coming: the football letdown. The Yellow Jackets got thumped in the Chick Fil A Bowl on New Year's Eve and the Dolphins lost their playoff game today. Not a good way to end my football season. I won't be able to eat Chick Fil A for a long time.

- Oh Charles... why do you do what you do? Charles Barkley got picked up for possible DUI. This was after I blogged about him last week and also soon after I finished reading his book "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?". Like I said, I like Charles. He actually said a lot worthy things in the book, especially about the value of education and the importance of accountability. By the way, the premise of the book: a discussion about race. It had interviews of Samuel L Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and others talking about racism, what Barkley calls "the cancer of my lifetime".

- What to do about Gaza. Hamas has no right to volley rockets into Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself. But have we exhausted all diplomatic means? Does the reported 500 dead in the Gaza Strip send the wrong message? I think that history is going to show us that one of the follies of our time is that in our efforts to stop and fight terrorism, we've done an outstanding job of helping it grow.

- A 12-0 Utah team that beat Alabama should get consideration for a National Championship. They won't, but they should. That's why we need a playoff, to give everyone a chance. This is not Hawaii getting pounded by Georgia or Boise St beating a good, but not great Oklahoma team on two great plays. This is a "midmajor" soundly thumping a team that was ranked number 1 for almost 10 weeks.

Crush of the Week:

Emily Bradford is one of my favorite people. She was visiting for the holidays last week. The only bad thing that Emily has ever done to me is move to Alaska. With her went my most consistent biking buddy, a heck of an Ultimate player and a pretty awesome friend.
Emma and I are trying to plan an epic bike ride this summer. It would start in Skagway, Alaska and take the only road out. About 100 miles later, you end up in Whitehorse, Yukon. The loop goes along the Yukon River to Haines Junction before dropping south and back into Alaska. If you are up for some time in Alaska, then let me know. You don't even have to bike. Two people to drive support would be SWEET!

Here's our planned route:

Here is Emily's blog if you want to catch up on her Alaska adventures.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Resolve...

For 2009 I resolve:

- to simplify
- to wander more
- to wonder more

Thursday, January 1, 2009

366 Days

Last New Years, I set a goal to take and post a photo everyday for a year. Well, 2008 has come and gone and "366 Days" is completed. Astonishingly, I only missed one day (I still curse April 9).

It was fun and looking back, it was a neat way to "journal" a year in my life. Here's the link, take a look if you have time:
366 Days - 2008

Here are a few of my favorites among the 365 I took:
2/366 - 2 Jan [my buddy Kate]
4/366 - 4 Jan [Fe Framed]
5/366 - 5 Jan [Alaska pinned]
26/366 - 26 Jan [rock star]
40/366 - 9 Feb [Turkeypen signs]
61/366 - 1 Mar [Jamming at Willow Run]
80/366 - 20 Mar [Caged angel]
126/366 - 5 May [New Canon]
168/366 - 16 Jun [Beeker!]
169/366 - 17 Jun [Jessie and Wiffleball]
181/366 - 29 Jun [Mr. Scottie]
186/366 - 4 Jul [Franceses]
195/366 - 13 Jul [Ultimate]
199/366 - 17 Jul [rearview]
212/366 - 30 Jul [Friends at Deschutes]
215/366 - 2 Aug [Morning Light -Crater Lake]
219/366 - 6 Aug [Bingo Bonanza]
228/366 - 15 Aug [Yummy]
231/366 - Aug 18 [Delayed]
238/366 - 25 Aug [bones]
246/366 - 2 Sept [Coffee Ride]
262/366 - 18 Sept [Jump Off Rock]
283/366 - 9 Oct [Choice]
316/366 - 11 Nov [Boot Camp]
351/366 - 16 Dec [Champion's Pose]
355/366 - 20 Dec [Before the wedding]

For 2009 and I going to try to take and post 365 Portraits.