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"