Monday, December 30, 2013


It would appear as though about 75% of Nuggets fans are hitting the recreational weed a tad early [it's not legal until January 1]. During the recent embarassing loss to middling Memphis, a real time poll indicated that 75% thought that the Nuggets would end the calendar year above .500.  Well perhaps the 120-99 loss to the Grizzlies shook a few out of their haze.  If they had been paying attention, they would have noted the previous loss to lowly New Orleans as well as the Nuggies 5 [now 6] game losing streak.  They also might have looked to see that the Heat come to town tonight, and if one loses to Memphis by 21, one can only hope that Miami will show a bit of holiday mercy.

I have predicted that the Nuggets would be a sub-500 team this year, and they are right on course.  Last year's Nuggets went 57 and 25, but the sage ownership decided drastic changes were needed.  Idiots.  This year's version could go 25 and 57.  Rocky is more entertaining that the Nuggets. 

And he has a pretty good shot!!

POST-MORTEM Well, Miami's version of holiday mercy was much like a cat playing with the mouse that it has caught, letting it feel like there was a chance, that there was a bit of hope, but knowing full well that when it came time, there would be no doubt as to who would be the winner. With about four minutes to play, the Heat awoke from their sleepwalk and put the game away. And once again, the high point of the evening was Rocky sinking his half-court, backwards, over-head shot on the FIRST try!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Not that I am in a foul mood or anything - just time for a bit of a curmudgeonly rant.  I get quite put off by trendy phrases that are PC code, meaningless inanities, or simply stupid.  Having read several in one issue of the local paper, I cannot hold back!!

Celebrate - Publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.  "They were celebrating their wedding anniversary at a restaurant".   Perform (a religious ceremony) publicly and duly, in particular officiate at (the Eucharist).  "He celebrated holy communion".  Synonyms - commemorate, observe, mark, keep, remember, memorialize.
However, it is often used as code for "you should embrace, or accept, X"  And if you don't, you are a bigot, idiot, close-minded [pick your pejorative] person.  Well, call me what you want, but I will limit my celebrations to birthdays, certain holidays, and very special events.

DiversityThe state of being diverse; variety.  "There was considerable diversity in the style of the reports".  Diverse - Showing a great deal of variety; very different.  "A culturally diverse population"  Synonyms - various, sundry, multiple.
Obviously the word has been around for a long time, but now a primary definition has become the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization. And in this context, it is often joined with 'celebrate'.  Pardon me if I don't feel like partying because we are different.  Basically, we are all different from one another, and some more different than others.  I certainly appreciate many of the difference I see among folks, but I certainly see some differences that are assuredly not a reason for celebrations.  One of my favorite lampoons of the extremes of the diversity-talk is Dilbert's take on 'diversity of opinion' - a guarantee that no one will agree, consensus will not be achieved, and nothing will be accomplished!!

Vulnerable - Susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.  "We were in a vulnerable position".  Synonyms - helpless, defenseless, powerless, impotent, weak, susceptible.
Amazingly, it has become hip to 'celebrate', 'embrace', and even find 'power' in being vulnerable!  Excuse me Ms. Brown, but that sounds a lot like an oxymoron to me.  It seems to me as though the psychobabble has co-opted the simple interpretation of the word to construct an idea that our imperfections equate to our vulnerabilities, that we either try to hide, ignore [or heaven forbid, try to improve on] such weaknesses, and that the way to address our vulnerabilities is to 'embrace' our vulnerabilities in order to ......????  Admittedly, I have no truck with much of psychology, but my take is to either improve on my weaknesses or hire folks who can cover them for me!! :-)

Breakthrough - An act of overcoming or penetrating an obstacle or restriction; a military offensive that penetrates an enemy's lines of defense; a major achievement or success that permits further progress, as in technology.  Synonyms - turn of events, quantum leap, discovery.
My most recent encounter with the annoying use of this word was President Obama - he recently promised that 2014 would be a breakthrough year.  Now, exactly what the H does that mean?  He was referring to the wonders of the AHCA, unemployment, the economy, and maybe his dogs - but breakthrough??  He sounded an awful lot like the prosperity gospel preachers who are always promising a financial breakthrough, the charismatic preachers who always foresee a spiritual breakthrough, the cancer researchers who are always announcing a treatment breakthrough, and so on  For me, real breakthroughs are rare, as in the synonym, quantum leap.  Things like flying machines, Einstein's work, going to the moon, and many other major steps forward in various disciplines.

I could go on for a while, but it is likely not good for my blood pressure!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Conspirare - a Choral Ensemble - you can visit their homepage here.  And, if you click over there, you might note that some of the background photos [they change with each visit to the site] were taken at Sauder Concert Hall on the campus of Goshen College.  The group chose Sauder for a recording session because of the great acoustics of the hall - in the videos, Director Craig Hella describes the project, and the group performs.  {at the time I published this, YouTube was non-responsive - hopefully it will show up soon!}

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I once saw Garrison Keillor in concert at Pepperdine - it was very good, but I thought then that given his affinity for singing, he would enjoy an evening at Goshen College.  Well it happened this fall, and here is what he had to say:

“I think I maybe did the best show of my life Tuesday night and all thanks to the audience, a thousand Mennonites and their neighbors in a small town in Indiana. It was mostly impromptu, fast-paced, jumpy, with a big complicated pontoon-boat story in the middle, and at the beginning and end we sang. They sang beautiful four- and six-part harmony in a fine acoustic hall and I sang a modest bass, no arm waving, no coaxing, and the sound of this impromptu choir made everyone intensely happy. I steered them directly from one verse of a song to a chorus of another, no pausing, and when I did pause once, trying to figure out where to go next, they did not applaud. Marvellous. Because it was not a show. It was for real. Mennonites are quiet, peace-loving, kind-hearted people, salt of the earth, If I knew a church where people sang like that, I’d be there every Sunday, sitting right smack in the middle. Thank you, Goshen College.”
A couple of more lines from the evening:

 “Women look down on men. Women have always looked down on men because men fart so much. So much more than women because women don’t keep their mouths closed long enough to keep the pressure built up.”

But possibly the funniest impromptu moment occurred when a cell phone could be heard ringing from the seats. How did Keillor react?
“Tell them I’m almost done.” 

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Yes, the Mc-Nuggets are tasty morsels that even the lowliest of NBA teams can feast upon them.  I previously wrote about what I saw as a certain decline for the Nuggets, and although they are currently above .500, I stand by my prediction that they won't be there at the end of the season.  Last night's loss to the bottom-of-the-pack Utah Jazz was about as bad as it gets.

The above pics show only one reason for the loss, although it was a major one - Gordon Hayward. He had his way with the Nuggets, and here is a real gem - Hayward and the Jazz back-court scored 53 points, and Denver's back-court scored 0. That's right, zero, zip, nada, the big goose-egg, etc.  And, continuing a very bad trend, the Nuggets shot only 14 for 24 from the free-throw line whilst the Jazz were 19 for 20.  I think that I could shoot 50% at the charity strip with my eyes closed.

Last year, the Nuggets lost three home games the ENTIRE season.  They just lost their third last night, which means 6 and 3 at home, and 13 and 9 over all thus far.  I think that is not indicative of how their record will end because they haven't been playing any good teams - a lot of tough games are coming up soon and it is doubtful that they will win half of them.

I said it previously, but will say it again - the change from a run-them-out-of-the-house style to a walk-it-up-and-watch is disheartening.  Good grief - it's a mile high in Denver and as last year showed, you should be able to wear down any team that comes to town.  Denver still has some fast guys, but I don't see much emphasis on quickly getting the ball up the court.  Everyone tells me what a great coach Brian Shaw is, but I haven't seen it yet.  Last night, the third quarter crew was clicking, getting the lead back after being down by 16.  Shaw substitutes [not unreasonable] but his choices were very dubious, particularly going with Lawson who missed several games because of a hamstring pull, and had a grand total of 0 points for the evening.

Hopeful that the Nuggets will prove me wrong - not holding my breath.  Go Avs!

Friday, December 13, 2013


I posted this song before, but with the death of Nelson Mandela, I thought it would appropriate to put it up again.

You may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies
 you may tread me down in the very dirt and still like the dust I'll rise
 does my happiness upset you why are you beset with gloom
 Cause I laugh like I've got an oil well pumpin' in my living room

 So you may shoot me with your words you may cut me with your eyes and I'll rise I'll rise I'll rise out of the shacks of history's shame up from a past rooted in pain

I'll rise I'll rise I'll rise

Now did you want to see me broken bowed head and lowered eyes
shoulders fallen down like tear drops weakened by my soulful cries
Does my confidence upset you don't you take it awful hard
cause I walk like I've got a diamond mine breakin' up in my front yard

So you may shoot me with your words you may cut me with your eyes and I'll rise I'll rise I'll rise out of the shacks of history's shame up from a past rooted in pain I'll rise I'll rise I'll rise

So you may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies
you may tread me down in the very dirt and still like the dust I'll rise
does my happiness upset you why are you beset with gloom
cause I laugh like I've got a goldmine Diggin' up in my living room

So you may shoot me with your words you may cut me with your eyes and I'll rise I'll rise I'll rise out of the shacks of history's shame up from a past rooted in pain I'll rise I'll rise I'll rise


There's nothing like living with about fifty 18-22 year-olds to catch up a bit with youth culture.  For example, this old fellow had never heard of One Direction, apparently one of the largest stars in an ever-expanding music universe.  One ditty that I enjoyed hearing Sam and other students play and sing is below - again - had never heard of the song or the group, but as you will note, the video has had over 83 million views. 

"Little Talks"

Hey! Hey! Hey!
I don't like walking around this old and empty house
So hold my hand, I'll walk with you, my dear
[Video version:] The stairs creak as you sleep, it's keeping me awake
[Live version:] The stairs creak as I sleep, it's keeping me awake
It's the house telling you to close your eyes

And some days I can't even trust myself
It's killing me to see you this way

'Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Hey! Hey! Hey!

There's an old voice in my head that's holding me back
Well tell her that I miss our little talks
Soon it will be over and buried with our past
We used to play outside when we were young
And full of life and full of love.

[Video version:] Some days I don't know if I am wrong or right
[Live version:] Some days I feel like I'm wrong when I'm right
Your mind is playing tricks on you, my dear

'Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Don't listen to a word I say
The screams all sound the same

Though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore


You're gone, gone, gone away
I watched you disappear
All that's left is the ghost of you.
Now we're torn, torn, torn apart,
There's nothing we can do
Just let me go we'll meet again soon
Now wait, wait, wait for me
Please hang around
I'll see you when I fall asleep

Don't listen to a word I say
The screams all sound the same
Though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Don't listen to a word I say
The screams all sound the same

Though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

h/t  dom

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Last Christmastime in Heidelberg, I learned of Glühwein, and quickly became a fan, finding it particularly enjoyable on a cold, snowy evening.  

Recipe from, and having given it a try, I recommend it highly!


Units: US | Metric

3/4 cup water (or orange juice)
3/4 cup white sugar (or less to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 (750 ml) bottle red wine


1  In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
2  Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
3  Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves.
4  Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses may break.). 

This Year's Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt Mug

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


FACE is a local a capella group that recently spent several hours in the DFW airport due to a weather delay.

This was no regular day at the airport -- much less during one of the busiest travel months of the year. Boulder County's a cappella group, Face, was among the travelers stuck for hours at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, due to ice storms on Saturday.

The six singers were headed back to Denver after performing for the Fort Worth Arts Council's 50th anniversary celebration. And now stuck for six hours.

So they decided to sing Christmas carols.

It was partially out of boredom. Partially, just to pass time. "But that all changed in a hurry," says Mark Megibow, the beatboxer in the band.

A traveler caught this true example of a flash mob on film, uploaded it to YouTube and it quickly went viral. Within 24 hours, the clip had more than 20,000 hits -- more than anything the band had posted online before. It garnered national media attention.

At first, Megibow says some travelers gave them funny looks, but most people's frustration with the delays quickly melted into smiles. Face began walking from gate to gate, trying to lighten the mood and spread holiday cheer, Megibow says. Everywhere they went, he says camera phones followed and people thanked them.

He said they weren't prepared for the outpouring of gratitude.

"Singing to a bunch of people -- that's something we do all the time, and it seemed like such a simple thing to do Saturday at the airport just to pass the time," Megibow says. "It turned out to be so much more than that."

You can listen to more songs here.

Saturday, December 07, 2013



In a previous post, I wrote about the PAC 12 Championship of the CU Mens Cross Country team.  As a follow, the men proceeded to win the National Championship held in Terre Haute.  

TERRA HAUTE, Ind. — Through cold, windy and muddy conditions, the No. 3 ranked University of Colorado men’s cross country team once again proved to be the top team in the land as they claimed the 2013 NCAA Cross Country team title here today at the La Vern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

This marks the fourth team title for the Buffs since 2001 and is their first since 2006. They also won in 2004. The Buffs now have six overall cross country titles along with two women’s titles, all coming under Coach Mark Wetmore. On top of being the fourth men’s cross country national championship and sixth overall cross country title, it’s the 26th in CU history and 460th in Pac-12 history.
The Buffs soundly defeated runner-up and current No. 1 Northern Arizona (149-169) for the team crown after losing to NAU just eight days ago at the regional meet by eight points. Oklahoma State, ranked second overall, was an overwhelming favorite heading into the race and placed third with 230 points. BYU was fourth (267) and Oregon took fifth overall (274).

Full article here.


Movies Are Made To Be Seen!!

Friday, December 06, 2013


In some of the courses that I teach, it is important for students to have a reasonable understanding of scale - how big things are and how small things are - and the Powers of 10 videos below are good tools for introducing the subject and to begin discussions.

I also like this website - you can control the speed of the "tour"

Saturday, November 30, 2013


I suppose that I like this commercial because it involves basketball and the main character is named Doug! Doug is a bit like me, particularly when he disgustingly notes "That was a travel" when a dude goes for an under-the-leg slam dunk. And the closing line always makes me smile - "Grab your umbrellas ladies, Hurricane Doug is gonna make it rain."

Friday, November 29, 2013


One of the daily comics that I regularly read is Sherman's Lagoon.   Sherman is a down-home, happy-go-lucky Great White Shark, and a regular side-kick is Hawthorne the Hermit Crab.  Meet the cast of characters here.  Sherman almost always makes me chuckle, but this one made me LOL.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


A fellow was stranded on a remote desert island for several decades. A ship happened to spot him and sent a team to the island for the rescue. Of course the man was overjoyed, and as the rescuers looked around, they noted that the fellow had built three huts.

Noting the huts, one man asked, "What's this hut?"

The fellow responded proudly, "That's my house!"

Another man asked, "What's this second hut?"

The fellow again responded enthusiastically, "That's my church!"

Then they asked, "Well, what is the third hut?"

Not so enthusiastically, the fellow answered, "Well, that's the church I used to go to."

h/t to Lee K. 

Also, a slightly longer version of this story and some commentary can be found here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I recently noted this article about JHY in the New York Times.  When I was in school, Yoder was on campus at Goshen College because the seminary was still in Goshen.  I remember him as usually looking disheveled and seemingly in another world.  As the article notes, his scholarship is both embraced and criticized, and continues to be analyzed long after his death, but his behavioral misdeeds make understanding his work and the church's response even more complex.  The article link is here.

A Theologian’s Influence, and Stained Past, Live On

Can a bad person be a good theologian? 

All of us fall short of our ideals, of course. But there is a common-sense expectation that religious professionals should try to behave as they counsel others to behave. They may not be perfect, but they should not be louts or jerks.

By that standard, few have failed as egregiously as John Howard Yoder, America’s most influential pacifist theologian. In his teaching at Notre Dame and elsewhere, and in books like “The Politics of Jesus,” published in 1972, Mr. Yoder, a Mennonite Christian, helped thousands formulate their opposition to violence. Yet, as he admitted before his death in 1997, he groped many women or pressured them to have physical contact, although never sexual intercourse.

Mr. Yoder’s scholarly pre-eminence keeps growing, and with it the ambivalence that Mennonites and other Christians feel toward him. In August, Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, which has about 100,000 members, announced the formation of a “discernment group” to guide a process to “contribute to healing for victims” of Mr. Yoder’s abuse. 

In 1992, after eight women pressured the church to take action, Mr. Yoder’s ministerial credentials were suspended and he was ordered into church-supervised rehabilitation. It soon emerged that Mr. Yoder’s 1984 departure from what is now called Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, in Elkhart, Ind., had also been precipitated by allegations against him. He left for Notre Dame, where administrators were not told what had happened at his last job. 

But Mr. Yoder emerged as a hero of repentance. His accusers never spoke publicly, and their anonymity made it easier for some to wish away their allegations. And in December 1997, after about 30 meetings for supervision and counseling, Mr. Yoder and his wife were welcomed back to worship at Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart. To cap a perfect narrative of redemption, he died at 70 at the end of that month
Without denying the wrongness of his acts, his supporters continued to celebrate Mr. Yoder and the Mennonite leaders who had rehabilitated him.

“How John’s community responded to his inappropriate relations with women” was “a testimony to a community that has learned over time that the work of peace is slow, painful, and hard,” wrote Stanley Hauerwas, a retired Duke University professor and Yoder’s heir as the leading pacifist theologian, in his 2010 memoir

Mr. Yoder’s obituary in The New York Times did not mention his sexual misdeeds. None of his victims received monetary settlements. Mr. Yoder apologized, sort of, with a statement that “he was sorry that we had misunderstood his intentions, as he never meant to hurt us,” according to Carolyn Holderread Heggen, one of the eight complainants. 

Ted Koontz, a professor at Mr. Yoder’s old seminary and a member of the church’s discernment group, said the church needed to take stock of what was — or was not — done for Mr. Yoder’s victims.

“There are a lot of different opinions about what was done and wasn’t done to hold him accountable,” Professor Koontz said. 

The committee will probably conclude its work, he added, in time for the Mennonite Church USA’s 2015 convention in Kansas City, Mo., where there may be a ceremony “of confession, repentance, reconciliation.” 

Of course, reconciliation was what the four-year process in the 1990s was supposed to achieve. It obviously failed. And Mr. Yoder remains inescapable for Mennonites, his work read and referenced often and everywhere. 

“Physically he died, but his work and his theological writings live on,” said Linda Gehman Peachey, a freelance writer in Lancaster, Pa., who is also part of the six-member group. “For those who have known this other side — his behavior, particularly toward women — that is really painful.” 

Mr. Yoder’s memory also presents a theological quandary. Mennonites tend to consider behavior more important than belief. For them, to study a man’s writings while ignoring his life is especially un-Mennonite. 

Professor Koontz regularly tells his students reading Mr. Yoder that “his behavior is one thing we ought to take into account when we read his work.” Ms. Peachey noted that Mr. Yoder wrote a good deal about suffering as a Christian virtue, but “if you know this part of the story” — how he made women suffer — “you tend to read it with a different eye.” 

Mr. Yoder seemed very attentive to the notion that theology should align with behavior. It turns out that in unpublished papers, he formulated a bizarre justification of extramarital sexual contact. 

In his memoir, Professor Hauerwas alludes to what Tom Price, a reporter for the newspaper The Elkhart Truth, described in a five-part 1992 series as Mr. Yoder’s defense of “nongenital affective relationships.” Mr. Yoder said that touching a woman could be an act of “familial” love, in which a man helped to heal a traumatized “sister.” 

Mr. Price quoted from “What Is Adultery of the Heart?” a 1975 essay in which Mr. Yoder wrote that a “bodily” embrace “can celebrate and reinforce familial security,” rather than “provoking guilt-producing erotic reactions.”

Ms. Heggen, called Tina in the newspaper articles, told Mr. Price that Mr. Yoder had a grandiose explanation for his advances, which he tried out on multiple women. 

“We are on the cutting edge,” Mr. Yoder would say, according to Ms. Heggen. “We are developing new models for the church. We are part of this grand, noble experiment. The Christian church will be indebted to us for years to come.” 

On Wednesday, Ms. Heggen, agreeing to be identified as a victim for the first time, recalled driving Mr. Yoder to the Albuquerque airport in 1982. He asked her to get out for “a proper goodbye,” Ms. Heggen said. “Then he pulled me into his belly and held me tight for a painfully long time. I realized I couldn’t escape his clutch.”

In 1992, Ms. Heggen, who now lives in Oregon, published a book about sexual abuse. Traveling the world, lecturing about her book, she said she met “significantly” more than 50 women who said that Mr. Yoder had touched them or made advances. 

“Women inevitably come up after these events and tell you their story,” Ms. Heggen said. “The scenario was so familiar to me, and I would interrupt them and say, ‘Are you talking about John Howard Yoder?’ They would say, ‘How did you know?’ ” 

After his advance toward her, Mr. Yoder mailed Ms. Heggen an essay in which he advocated physical contact, including nudity, between unmarried people, so long as “there wasn’t lust.” 

Ms. Heggen had a theory of what Mr. Yoder might have been thinking. “ ‘I have created this great peace theology,’ ” she began, trying to put his thoughts into words. “ ‘And you and I are developing a new Christian theology of sexuality.’ ”

Monday, November 11, 2013


Yeah, I understand that this cartoon can often be beyond edgy, but sometimes cartoonists challenge our beliefs and make us sharpen our thinking about what we consider to be true.  Jesus & Mo is certainly irreverent [I believe that the author is anonymous because the series uses images of Mohammed, a real no-no in the Muslim world].  Jesus and Mo chat about many subjects, but I am fond of their conversations regarding evolution, three of which are shown below.  If you think you can handle more, visit the website.



Friday, November 08, 2013



Follow this link to a very interesting account of Neil Young playing Dylan songs across the decades.  It is an entry from Johanna's Visions - A Music Site.  Hat tip to BIL KenBob.   Go to Johanna's website for some very interesting entries, such as Bruce Springsteen Plays Bob Dylan, birthday wishes to folks like Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell, and videos from Dylan concerts.

Johanna's Visions

Monday, November 04, 2013


Yeah, yeah, I know that the pro basketball season is only two games old, but I know bad, as well as boring, basketball when I see it.  Ever since the organizational debacle at the end of last year's Nuggets season, I have suspected that this year would not be a pretty sight.

Let's start with their first huge [and dumb, but that's implicit in all of my comments] mistake - firing George Karl:

Karl has always been a coach that can get the most out his roster, and last season was no different. Without any superstars [and thankfully with Carmelo gone], the Nuggets had  57 wins, the most in their history, the best home record, 38 and 3, in the entire NBA, and Karl passed the 1000 win mark which only 6 other NBA coaches have achieved.  Karl was named the NBA Coach of the Year, and after 8+ years in Denver, he was rewarded not with a contract extension but with a pink slip.  Sure, the Nuggets lost to a red-hot Golden State team in the first round, but they also lost Danilo Galinari to a torn ACL.  I cannot add too much to what Coach Karl had to say after he was dumped:

“I don’t have a lot of bitterness other than I don’t understand. But not understanding — when you are working in a world of millions, millions, and millions of dollars, there’s a lot of things I don’t understand. 

“There’s a lot of contracts we give players that I don’t understand. There’s a lot of trades that I don’t understand. There are a lot of decisions I don’t understand

“I can’t deny there’s an anger and frustration. But there’s much more celebration in my heart than anything else.”

One of the main reasons that I loved to watch the Nuggets-of-the-past is that they "played basketball" and by that I mean they played a fast-paced, share-the-ball game.  Without the typical NBA "superstar" ball hog, the Nuggets truly played team ball and proved that a team can win doing that.  They also understood that a fast-paced game at 5280 feet would ultimately wear down nearly all opponents.  That strategy produced 38 home wins and only 3 losses - and my prediction is that the new Nuggets style of walk it up, pass to the big guys down low, and let them back it in will result in more home losses than wins this year.

Second blunder:

This is Masai Ujiri, holding his 2012-2013 NBA Executive of the Year Award as the General Manager of the Nuggets.  Gone.  He and Karl seemed to have a solid relationship, and perhaps he saw the writing on the wall and took the GM position with the Toronto Raptors.  Nuggets probably could have kept him for $3M a year - peanuts in the pro sports world.

Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, .......steps backwards, all based around the change from the Karl coaching style to that of the new head coach, Brian Shaw, who came from the Indiana Pacers.  I think that this image sums it up:
Actually the Denver Stiffs and some of their website commentary are right on - like this one "Reality bites - Nuggets lose to Portland - Look like grunge.  The Nuggets got rid of up-tempo players like Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufas, and defensive [and occasionally offensive] - minded Andre Iguodala, and brought in some slow giants who I had never heard of.  They have a couple of the quickest high-energy guards in the NBA in Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson, and they get to walk it up the court and pass into the slow giants and then stand around and watch.  Running is rare and a well-executed pick-and-roll happens only on occasion.  At least the Nuggets still have Andre Miller who knows how the game should be played - unfortunately he's about 100 years old.  Dre and Brian Shaw played in the league at the same time, and Shaw has been a coach for several years.

Enough curmudgeontary for now - perhaps I will be proven wrong, but I sincerely doubt that.  The Nuggets are no longer a good team and are no fun to watch.  My prediction is that they will be lucky to play .500 ball and if they make the playoffs, it will be as a very low seed.  So stay tuned to see how this season plays out.

ps - should give credit where credit is due - thank the Kroenkes for this mess.  At least the Avalanche is winning.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


The University of Colorado cross country team wins the 2013 Pac-12 Championships at Coal Creek Golf Course on Saturday. Cliff Grassmick/ November 2, 2013.

In Men's Cross Country, that is.   And the Colorado Women came is second, surprising quite a few folks and just missing taking the top spot by only a few points.  The 2013 men's championship makes it a three-peat for the team - first place in all three years that CU has been in the PAC 12 Conference.

This past Saturday, my good friend and running colleague Doug Laufer and I attended the Championships.  It could not have been a better day for a cross country event - cool, crisp, cloudless, not a bit of wind, and a beautiful rolling course at the Coal Creek Golf Course.  We got there early enough to stroll the course and check out good vantage points for watching the race develop - since it was a triple loop, the race was very spectator-friendly.  And there were indeed a lot of spectators; not only many CU fans but folks from all of the PAC 12 universities were abundant, sporting their school's hats, shirts and jackets.  Coming into the race, the CU men were ranked #1 in the country, so there was a bit of pressure to live up to their billing.  Here is a pic of the CU men leaving their starting box, running nine and scoring the top five.

The CU mens' team begins the race on Saturday. For more photos of the races, go to
Cliff Grassmick / November 2, 2013

Note that Oregon was in the adjacent box, and Oregon runner Edward Chesereck was the overall winner at 24:36 for the 8K.  But this is a team sport, and Colorado's Blake Theroux was third overall, finishing in 24:47.  The next four CU runners were all on the top 10 -  Connor Winter (fourth place), Ben Saarel (fifth), Pierce Murphy (seventh) and Ammar Moussa (ninth) and all were all within 28 seconds of Theroux.  The scoring ended up with the Buffs having 28 points for the win, with Oregon (54 points) coming in second and Stanford (79) third.  Doug and I knew that things were looking good when you see an abundance of Colorado jerseys in the lead pack, as below.

Morgan Pearson, left, Pierce Murphy (52), and Connor Winter, all of CU, lead early in the 8K race. For more photos of the races, go to
Cliff Grassmick / November 2, 2013

The CU women finished better than expected - they came in ranked 16th in the country, and 4th in the PAC 12.  But they pushed top-ranked Arizona hard, with Arizona scoring just 6 points fewer than Colorado.

2013 PAC 12 Cross Country Championships953.JPG 

All in all, A Great Day for the Race.

Curmudgeon End-Note - CU Football PAC 12 Loss to UCLA, Front Page of Boulder Daily Camera Sports Section; CU PAC 12 Championship, Third Page

Thursday, October 31, 2013


For quite some time now, whenever I have an opportunity, I question Christians on why they call Yeshua Ben Yosef Jesus rather than by his given name.  Not that it particularly matters -  but I find it a bit peculiar  I know that some folks with difficult-to-pronounce [at least for Americans] names choose something simple like Sophie or Michelle, but Yeshua really isn't that hard to say.  I found this interesting discussion from the website the Nazarene Way

"Yeshua is the original Aramaic proper name for Jesus the Nazarene, who lived from about 6 B.C.E. to 27 C.E. (A.D.)  The word "Jesus" is actually a mis-transliteration of a Greek mis-transliteration. It is most proper to call Him Yeshua. It was indeed his proper name, given to him by his parents, and only in Hebrew does this name have any meaning. In Hebrew Yeshua means both "Salvation," and the concatenated form of Yahoshua, is "Lord who is Salvation." The name Jesus has no intrinsic meaning in English whatsoever.  The first letter in the name Yeshua ("Jesus") is the yod. Yod represents the "Y" sound in Hebrew. Many names in the Bible that begin with yod are mispronounced by English speakers because the yod in these names was transliterated in English Bibles with the letter "J" rather than "Y". This came about because in early English the letter "J" was pronounced the way we pronounce "Y" today. 
Today's tradition of pronouncing His completely Hellenized name as "Jesus" has indeed obscured His true name, "Yeshua," and has shifted its perceived meaning much like most of His original teachings.  Even His name, it would seem, became a part of this understanding. The name Jesus or Jesus Christ is often used in everything from idle conversation, to bumper stickers and jewelry, to enforcing false teachings, to justifying wars and political agendas, and is even used as a profanity. The name Yeshua however, has remained pure and holy, known and used only by those who would uphold His name and teachings in the highest regard and thus reserving His holy name for use only in spiritual matters and the most humbled and sincere of prayer and obeisances."

Give the Rabbi his props and call him by his name.

h/t xian

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



As I watched the Rockies this past season, I was amazed at the play of rookie Nolan Arenado at third base.  He seemed to routinely turn in spectacular plays, with particularly quick reactions to hard-hit balls followed up by a strong throw.  Never before has a rookie NL third baseman won a Golden Glove - but Nolan just did, and deservedly so.  Here is a brief write up and a video.  Kudos Nolan!
"Tonight, Nolan Arenado completed a startling transformation, winning a Gold Glove Award as a rookie third baseman just years after he was expected to move across the infield to play first base.  In beating out the Dodgers Juan Uribe and Mets' David Wright, Arenado accomplished something significant.
Before Nolan Arenado, only nine men won a Gold Glove Award as a rookie, and none of them were National League third basemen.   It is very difficult for rookies to gain such an elite reputation in mere months, as Troy Tulowitzki knows all too well.  Arenado, though, had a flair for the dramatic, and despite spending only five months in the big leagues, he kept a steady buzz by making the ridiculous play consistently.

For the first time in the award's history, a sabermetric defensive metric was directly applied to the award's result. A full 25% of a player's score is made up of a "SABR Defensive Index."  This likely helped Arenado clear that rookie hurdle, as Arenado ranked 2nd in the NL in UZR (behind Juan Uribe) and had more Defensive Runs Saved than any two third basemen in the league .
On Monday, Arenado lost out to Manny Machado for the Fielding Bible Award at third base yet came in second place in the voting, tops in the National League."


Sunday, October 27, 2013


The Argyle Sweater

I know we should not make fun of folks who suffer traumatic brain injuries, but IMHO, I think that Gary Busey was pretty whacky even before his motorcycle crash. 


And, if you are not a regular reader of the Argyle Sweater, I recommend it highly :-)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


An original by my colleague and friend Francis Collins - context - Francis is the current head of the National Institutes of Health.

Note the design on the guitar neck - a double helix - Collins formerly was the Director of the Human Genome Project

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Banksy made a monkey out of me. 

On Saturday afternoon, I was taking two out-of-town friends on a tour of Central Park, giving them the insider's view of the city.

One pal idly mentioned that she was hoping to buy a bag — one of the designer knockoffs hawked on every Midtown corner
Moments later, we happened to pass a table filled with white canvases covered in stenciled spray-paint images, near one of those ubiquitous "your-name-in-calligraphy" artists.

"Look at this guy," I said with a note of derision. "Knocking off Banksy."

Banksy, of course, is the world-famous street artist whose original works have sold for more than a million bucks and who is in the middle of a month-long "residency" in New York.

Every day, he completes a new work in the city and posts it on his website. There's been a slaughterhouse truck filled with stuffed animals, a delivery truck housing a trompe l'oeil paradise and a bunch of graffiti that's been instantly defaced.
I've been following his travels through the boroughs. Five years ago, I attended his installation in Greenwich Village. Plus, I studied art history in college.
So, I know a fake Banksy when I see one — I thought.
As counterfeits go, these were pretty good, I had to admit. I noticed there were quite a few pieces with a monkey motif, and my boyfriend really likes monkeys.
But as a street-smart New Yorker, I wasn't about to give my hard-earned cash — they were $60 each — to some con artist trying to capitalize on real art.

On we walked, out of the park and past the Museum of Modern Art, where Banksy once surreptitiously hung his own painting of a can of cream-of-tomato soup.

That guy — such a joker.

This time, however, the joke was on me and countless other New Yorkers and tourists who marched past the unassuming table with the sign "Spray Art."

Because, as I found out when I got to work on Monday and read a story about Banksy's weekend exploits, every single canvas on that table was the genuine article — and signed, to boot.

A video on his website revealed it took hours to make a sale. A woman bought two for her kids, after negotiating a 50% discount. A tourist bought two, and a man from Chicago bought four to decorate the blank walls of his new house.

Each one is worth at least five figures, if past sales are any indication. The bragging rights? Priceless.
All day, I've been replaying my brush with Banksy through my head, trying to figure out if I missed any tip-offs that a pot of art-world gold was right under my nose.


Although, now that I think about it, one of those monkeys I was looking at for my boyfriend was wearing a signboard.

The message: "Keep it real."   DES - be sure to watch the video at the Bansky Link

Monday, October 14, 2013


For a while now, I have been intending to make a pitch for watching Pitch Perfect.  I saw it on a trans-Atlantic flight and found it thoroughly enjoyable.  Visit the link given above and watch some of the videos below - hope you find it as entertaining as I did.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I really enjoy spontaneous, random, anonymous creative projects - for example the cairns that I previously wrote about.  Down the path from our place, next to the teepee where wild things are, someone spent a fair amount of time putting together the beautiful arrangement shown below.  We will probably never learn who did it, but I know that many folks walking, running and biking the trail have enjoyed it very much.  Gracias vecino.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


When I read the article about the latest research for preventing Clostridium difficile, I was both amused and positively impressed.  Just the image of a poop pill induces the potty-humor response, but the initial clinical results are impressive.  C.diff infection is a fairly common problem in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and folks like my uncle Arch not only suffer the direct effects of the infection but also suffer because of the required quarantine and isolation.  So for some folks it won't be 'shut up and eat the vegetables', it will be 'shut up and eat the poop!'

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Muddy Road is one of Rhonda's favorite tunes from Walela.  It begins with "We are walking on a muddy road" and Rhonda thought that would be a fitting addition to the grandkids' teepee that is build along the path near our house.  She had wood-burned a sign that says Where Wild Things Are and then added Walking on a Muddy Road to a branch near the entry to the teepee, both shown below.  Perhaps it is Rhonda's Native American heritage that made her work prescient - during the 1000-year rain, Sunshine Creek roared by the teepee, creating a very muddy road indeed.  The teepee survived and the mud has pretty much dried, but it serves as a reminder of the flood of 2013.

We are walking on a muddy road  
Ain't no one here beside me I don't know  
We're the links in the chain Just passin' thru again  
We are walking down a muddy road  
We are walking thru Galilee  
We are lookin' for a light to see  
We got blood on our feet  
We got some truth to meet  
We are walkin' thru Galilee

 Tla Wo Nv No Os Ta I Sa Wi Di Di Lu Ts A Wo Ha Li I U Sti

We're gonna put on our wings and fly
We got one more river to cross 
We are walkin in the hands of God  
We're the clay, the dust, the sod  
We're the slaves of today  
We are the ones who know The Way
We are walking in the hands of God
We got one more river to cross  
We're gonna walk on through the water and sing  
When we get to the other side  
We're gonna put on our wings and fly
We Got one mroe river to cross
We are walking on a muddy road  
Ain't no one here beside me I don't know  
We're the links in the chain  
Just passin' thru again
We are walkin' on a muddy road
 Tla Wo Nv No Os Ta I Sa Wi Di Di Lu Ts A Wo Ha Li I U Sti

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Been working on sand and debris cleanup around the neighborhood, and also on another post about the floods.  But - recently heard Harry Chapin's Taxi and was reminded that it is among my most favorite story-songs.  You can read about Chapin's life and untimely death here and check out his music here.

Here is a live version:

It was raining hard in 'Frisco,
I needed one more fare to make my night.
A lady up ahead waved to flag me down,
She got in at the light.

Oh, where you going to, my lady blue,
It's a shame you ruined your gown in the rain.
She just looked out the window, and said
"Sixteen Parkside Lane".

Something about her was familiar
I could swear I'd seen her face before,
But she said, "I'm sure you're mistaken"
And she didn't say anything more.

It took a while, but she looked in the mirror,
And she glanced at the license for my name.
A smile seemed to come to her slowly,
It was a sad smile, just the same.
And she said, "How are you Harry?"
I said, "How are you Sue?
Through the too many miles
and the too little smiles
I still remember you."

It was somewhere in a fairy tale,
I used to take her home in my car.
We learned about love in the back of the Dodge,
The lesson hadn't gone too far.
You see, she was gonna be an actress,
And I was gonna learn to fly.
She took off to find the footlights,
And I took off to find the sky. 

 Oh, I've got something inside me,
To drive a princess blind.
There's a wild man, wizard,
He's hiding in me, illuminating my mind.
Oh, I've got something inside me,
Not what my life's about,
Cause I've been letting my outside tide me,
Over 'till my time, runs out.

Baby's so high that she's skying,
Yes she's flying, afraid to fall.
I'll tell you why baby's crying,
Cause she's dying, aren't we all.

There was not much more for us to talk about,
Whatever we had once was gone.
So I turned my cab into the driveway,
Past the gate and the fine trimmed lawns.
And she said we must get together,
But I knew it'd never be arranged.
And she handed me twenty dollars,
For a two fifty fare, she said
"Harry, keep the change."
Well another man might have been angry,
And another man might have been hurt,
But another man never would have let her go...
I stashed the bill in my shirt. 

And she walked away in silence,
It's strange, how you never know,
But we'd both gotten what we'd asked for,
Such a long, long time ago.

You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly.
She took off to find the footlights,
And I took off for the sky.
And here, she's acting happy,
Inside her handsome home.
And me, I'm flying in my taxi,
Taking tips, and getting stoned,
I go flying so high, when I'm stoned.

And here is the studio version: