Sunday, April 24, 2016

S7s: Apr 24- Purple Rain

1) Prince. Such an icon. We all jammed to "Purple Rain" and knew all the words to "When Doves Cry" and "Little Red Corvette". The man was such a talent. He wrote his own songs and played all the instruments on several albums when so many artists today are only performers-- all their songs are written for them. He was also an enigma, with a hidden faith and converting to Jehovah's Witness later in his life.

I watched his Super Bowl halftime show again and forgot what a great preformance that was. He jammed in the rain. First time it ever rained at a Super Bowl. He played live music when most acts in the Super Bowl are pre-recorded. He danced on a slippery stage. He played Foo Fighters and Bob Dylan because he could and he was secure enough to not just promote himself.

Here's a clip from NFL Networks recalling that performance. "Can you make it rain harder?"

I love this clip from the Chappelle show also. Apparently, Prince wrote a song about pancakes after this skit.

2) Eric Clapton was asked how if felt to be the greatest guitarist in the world. He replied, "I don't know, ask Prince."

3) Harriett Tubman to replace Jackson on the $20 bill. Great move. I still think we get away from just having people. Let's put Grand Canyon, Arches and El Capitan on our money. Denali and Crater Lake. Statue of Liberty or the Gateway Arch.

Regardless, moving Jackson is a good move. He was a bigot, bad to women and presided through bully tactics and appointing favorites. He was our first populist president, but he'll never be a hero in my books.

4) My favorite play in baseball is a triple play:

5) I got to share my testimony at Watershed this morning. It was special getting to tell the students where I came from and how God has been with me on the entire journey. They've known me for years, but few know the story of my family and how I arrived at who I am today.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

6) Can Golden State win if Curry is hurt? Hornets got their first playoff in in 14 years! 14 years!

7) Track team had two meets last week. We ran at the Falcon Invite on Wednesday and finished 4th out of 7 teams. Had some season bests. Yesterday was the huge Blue Ridge Classic at Reynolds. I'm happy we placed in the 4x200. We ran season bests in the 4x200 and 4x100 as well as the open 200. 

Mallard Creek and Parkland dominated. I watched Parkland's Mckinley McNeil run 54 seconds in the 400. Her mom was actually talking to me when I was was doing 4x200 splits. She was very nice, asking which team was mine so she could cheer. Not knowing her or her daughter at this time, I asked how her daughter was doing so far and she replied, "State indoor champion in the 400 and 3rd best time in the country right now". Yeah, she's doing alright. Sounds like mom and daughter both have good heads on their shoulders. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

S7s: April 17- Feeling clean

1) After almost 6 weeks of being without one, I own a working washing machine! I swung by Best Buy after Nora's birthday party. I've been looking on Craigslist to no avail. I figured I go new and take advantage of Best Buy's no interest financing. On the floor was an open box that they said was used as a display. It was over $200 off retail and they offered me another 20 percent off. So I took it. It's a Whirlpool Cabrio HE top loader. The reviews are mixed on the the High Efficiency washers, but I'm going with the idea that the new ones have evolved for the better. First load in the machine right now, so we'll see. At least I don't have to go to the laundromat or do my wash at school anymore.

2) Governor McCrory has issued an Executive Order clarifying HB2. It's a step in the right direction, but probably the damage has already been done. He wants to change the legislation to allow North Carolinians the right to sue for discrimination in state courts (my biggest gripe) as well as clarify some of the language. It may be too little too late. Many businesses are still not stepping back from calling for a full repeal. He's feeling the heat, though he is getting a lot of love from supporters of the bill. I think he regrets signing a bill that was so hastily written (1 day) and had so many flaws. The bill reminds me of when I would throw together a project at the last minute: sure I got it done and met the criteria, but when you looked closely it was full of errors and mistakes.

3) Some of this stems from "religious liberty". That's what Mississippi passed, that if you have religious convictions you can deny service to a gay couple. I guess I wonder whether I could deny services to someone of a different race or gender based on my religious convictions. I really do have mixed feelings on all of this. I don't want anyone to be discriminated against. But if someone is a bigot or hates homosexuals, they should be allowed to do so happily as long as they are not hurting anyone and they own a private business. They should advertise their position and let the market take care of it. Obviously, a restaurant that did not serve Asians would not welcome me, but I bet most of my friends would also not frequent that business. I sure wouldn't want to go there anyway. And if you really cared, you could take note of friends, neighbors and public officials that did go to those places and decide if you still want to be associated with them.

4)  My favorite news story of the week:

5) Also from NPR, I found this interesting. I have long told my students that writing things down helps you learn. Now, I have science behind me!

6) NBA Playoffs: I'm pulling for the Spurs. I don't know if they can beat Golden State, that team is special. So fun to watch. 

7) Lady Knights Track finished 3rd at the County Meet. The boys won! We had not county champions, but Lauren Francis finished 2nd in the 300 hurdles and our 4x100 and 4x400 finished second. We also celebrated our seniors.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

S7s- Apr 10: Sign of Armageddon

1) I can officially say it because she has told her students, but Dot Case is retiring. I'll blog more about Ms Case in the future, I'm sure I'll blog more about her later, but the fact that she is retiring has hit many of us hard. We knew it was inevitable, but after 47 years, Dot Case is calling it a career. I'm going to enjoy the last few weeks of having her as a colleague. I'll be forever grateful for all she has taught me over the years.

Here's a link to an interview I did of her a few years ago: Ms Case

And here she is, front and center, with her department that, despite many changes, she was the constant.

2) We hosted the WHKP Relays on Thursday. 16 girls teams and 17 boys teams. It was a great event, though we had some trouble with some results getting inputted because of the sheer numbers of field events. Some teams did not bring their full squads as Taco Bell was also this weekend, but we still had a great meet and I'm really proud of the effort of my squad. I was hoping to finish in the top half of the field and we finished 8th, so I met my goal. And who was there volunteering: Dot Case.

3) Bruce Springsteen cancelled a show in NC that was scheduled for today in Greensboro to protest HB2. I feel bad for the fans, because they're the ones that are hurt but I appreciate the stance that he has taken. The Boss has long been political. Keep in mind that his most famous anthem, "Born in the USA" is not meant to be a patriotic song.

Along with Paypal deciding to not follow through with their plans to build a center near Charlotte, HB2 has also made NC into the butt of national jokes. See this video by Funny or Die.

4) Last week was ridiculously busy, so there was no riding for me. I did get up yesterday and get 60 miles in. Started at the house and headed down to Tuxedo via Mine Mountain. Rode old 25 into SC and got on HWY 11. Met my buddies doing the Assault on the Carolinas at the bottom of Ceasar's Head and we rode back to Brevard together. Great day.

Today, I got on the mountain bike and explored in Pisgah. Rode up Cove Creek Trail. Hit the top of Daniel Ridge and went down counterclockwise for the first time. Then finished with Butter and Cat Gap-- a 19 mile day.

5) You should see the numbers we have at Yellowjackets on Mondays. It's fun and there are over 40 elementary kids. We're doing great things over there. And we got awesome shirts.

6) Opening week of baseball. I promise I won't blog much about baseball. But I am impressed with Kershaw's first outing. And I'm more impressed that the only person to hit two homeruns off Kershaw in the last year is Madison Bumgarner. This is also the last season of the Braves in Turner-- and I hate that.

7) Oh the Masters. What an event. I was at Sanctuary Brewing, watching and commenting that no way Spieth would lose. Then came Amen Corner. A quadruple bogey. He looked mortal. I think Jordan Spieth is great and has fantastic ability. He deserves to by the number one player in the world. I hope that this round does not mentally shake him up for the future. I think the kid will bounce back fine. Two best moments, one good one and one bad one:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

S7s: 3 Apr- Bye, Break

1) Spring break is ending. Tomorrow, we're back for nine weeks left of the school year. Family and weather dictated that I stay close but I had a great week that included:

  • My niece, Suelee, was in town for the week. She had her two kids. I hung out with them a bunch. Eva is pretty stinking cute.
  • Went to Jack of the Wood for Trivia with some of the Enka crew. I learned that Charlotte is the second largest city in the Southeast after Jacksonville, FL. Atlanta metro is bigger, but the city itself is smaller. 
  • Had drinks with Michael Hodges. He's an athletic trainer in Buncombe County and he's doing the Great Divide this summer. I'm so excited for him. And jealous. It was fun getting to share advice and reliving the journey.
  • Cleaned the house a little. Got a bunch of stuff delivered to Goodwill and the recycling facility.
  • I learned that I need a new motor for the washing machine. Not going to happen. This one is going trash and I'm shopping for a new one.
  • I went camping in Turkeypen along the South Mills River. Just me and my hammock and some reading stuff. It was great to be solo and disconnected from technology. It was going to be two nights, but weather forced me to do just one. 

2) This is Shawn Evans. Today is is his Birthday. Shawn is a new friend of mine, but a great guy. He hired wrestlers last year when he had to move and paid them well. He's a heck of a biker, he joined me for a few days of the Great Divide last year. We also got a ride in today. And yesterday, he brought me a refrigerator because I had posted on Facebook that I was looking for one. They had an extra. 

3) I learned in my reading last week that the human hand may have evolved for combat. We are the only hominid or primate that can close our hands into a fist. The human jaw may have evolved to better sustain blows. Interesting. Look it up.

4) I've been reading a little more about HB2. I stand by my position that it is not about bathrooms. I learned that in addition to stripping municipal governments of local control it also has moved all discrimination lawsuits out of state courts. That means if I feel like I am being discriminated against because of my ethnicity, I cannot legally sue within the state court system. I must file a federal suit, that can often take longer and be more costly. It's as if the state of North Carolina does not want to protect its citizens from discrimination.

5) I am starting to get into better riding shape from the winter. Rode the Davis-Evans loop on Monday, climbed Elk Mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway on Friday and then hammered 43 miles with Dan and Derek over Jeter Mt and out to Etowah yesterday. Finished that with a ride today and I'm almost at 90 miles this week!

6) Opening Day of baseball today. I'm interested, but not that much. I love Clayton Kershaw. I get bored of baseball though. Shorten the season! I am excited that this is Master's Week!

7) Special congratulations to Josh Blatt. After finishing 7th in Greco in Fargo last summer and winning the State Championship in February at 106, he went to the NHSCA Nationals and placed 2nd! That's amazing. Mitchel Langford placed 4th two years ago, that tells you the depth of these tournaments. Great job on being an All American.

We also had three other kids go to Virginia Beach... all our state placers. Morgan King, Will Baldwin and Paul Searcy all went 2-2. They won against some tough kids and lost some close matches. We were always competitive and hopefully this experience will help us for next season. Knights Wrestling has some high expectations.