Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September Reading List

The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. Started this third Robert Langdon installment last night, and I already can’t put it down.

Act of Treason, by Vince Flynn. I’ve read another of Flynn’s Clancy-like novels before.

Map of Bones: A Sigma Force Novel, by James Rollins. Recommended by a lady at the library, who wouldn’t shut up.

Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House, by Emmitt Tyrrell and Mark Davis. Published in February 2004, I’m afraid most of the information in this book is quite dated.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DWTS

DWTS…saw a USA Today, which had full coverage. There was a buzz about Chaz Bono here at work, but I can’t look it up on the internet. David Arquette, Ron Artest, and some I’ve never heard of. I knew of the Team USA goalie, and George Clooney’s ex…just not their name. I’m always interested in who’s on the show, though I rarely watch.

Now that the four majors have been played, I finally got the “Golf Plus” feature added back on my Sports Illustrated subscription. Unfortunately, I missed out on the four preview issues. Perhaps now I’ll get back in the know, when it comes to golf.

Perhaps I’ll rent Lincoln Lawyer. I like Matthew M. It’s about a lawyer who drives a Lincoln. Interesting that it came out around the same time as The Conspirator, the 1860’s period piece about the trial after the Lincoln assassination.

Practice went ok Monday night. M hit the ball hard both times…right at people. Had hot dogs, per my suggestion. Also cole slaw, Bush’s baked beans, and Trader Joe’s organic chili. C, A, and M watched “Tangled”…I finished my Rosenberg book, then retired early.

Willis Norman would be a great youth/children’s director, or his big brother Spencer. Both have experience. Willis is great with children, they love him. At 6’9”, he’s like a white Dikembe Mutombo.

Ceil usually makes homemade peach ice cream, but she made some creamy strawberry a few weeks ago.

Follow Me on Twitter

If you can’t get enough of me here at Sac Fly or on Facebook, you need to get a life. But if want more of me on the go, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @iDavidMurphy.

Truth to tell, most of my tweets are text message Facebook updates that I also sent to Twitter. At work I can update my Facebook status via email, which is much easier and faster than sending a text. Were I more tech savvy, I’d figure out a way to tweet via email as well. Then I’d REALLY be dangerous.

So I only text updates to Twitter AND Facebook when I’m out and about. But those are often the best ones, the ones you don’t want to miss, and you want to get them quickly.

I have abandoned my original Twitter account: DCM2210. This may have not been the smartest thing to do, because hardly any of my original followers followed my to iDavidMurphy. But some of those people weren’t the type to have my tweets sent to their phone, or they were people I don’t know.

Young Matthew should soon be a trending topic on Twitter. His tweets are actually pretty good, if you can figure out what they mean. Follow him at @mattmurphy95.

Currently I follow @louiegiglio, @AndyStanley, @Htimesthree, and @mlbbowman for Braves updates. AJC beat-writer Dave O’Brien tweeted too much for my taste.

Follow me…please!

Daily Devotions...on Twitter

Many preachers publish daily devotionals. Readers often forward these devotionals along. Sometimes to everyone they know, via email or Facebook. Others selectively send the devotional to someone they think needs this “word from God.”

Twitter is an interesting medium. The user has 140 characters to make a statement. This means the writer has to make his point both quickly and clearly (neither are my strong points). People can “follow” someone else on Twitter, so the follower can read whatever the “twitter-er” has to say. Theoretically, this gives you a closer look inside the life of someone famous that you’d like to get to know. Some (like athletes) make un-wise, foolish statements on Twitter.

Many follow famous preachers. For a while I followed Rick Warren, author of “A Purpose Driven Life”, pastor of a church in California. His tweets didn’t knock me off my feet, so I “un-followed” him.

Unlike a non-Christian walking into a church and listening to a sermon, following a preacher on Twitter means you might receive even deeper messages. Like sitting in on a Bible Study led by the pastor. Unlike a church service, since you weren’t specifically invited. You just listen in.

Louie Giglio has embraced Twitter, and his outgoing, infectious personality comes across well in 140 character chunks. He tweets what he loves: NASA and outer space, bicycling, tennis, people…and God. Louie tweets both before and after services not with details, but boldly proclaiming how God moved in the services. During the week he might hit followers with a Biblical insight, or a quote. “Tozer Tuesday” is a regular example.

Likewise, Andy Stanley’s tweets follow his more efficient, detail-oriented personality. He tweets much more infrequently, but always with a message. Since hundreds of church leaders follow Andy, he plays follow-the-leader / learn-from-my-example. He proclaims his love for his family and church with detailed tweets. Andy gently reminds parishioner followers across metro Atlanta of special church events. Like his friend Louie, Andy sometimes tweets a meaningful verse or thought. Usually it has to do with a sermon he recently delivered.

In the past I have “re-tweeted” some of Louie’s better tweets as short posts on my blog…mainly as a reminder to me. Monday Andy sent a tweet I decided to keep. Something I always need to remember.

@AndyStanley: When something about you bothers me,

I need to take a long hard look at me before bothering you.

Matthew 7:3

Monday, August 29, 2011

Amazing Thrift Store Find

Super busy weekend for me. Friday evening I ran by Kroger, exercised, and did laundry.

Saturday I got out early. Had Will’s transmission serviced. Swung by a thrift store. They had an old Revelation album, with John & Susan Condra and Don Head in front of the Governor’s Mansion.

Next was a 10 am baseball meeting in Woodstock, for Will’s team. MC’s parents were there, so we had a short visit. Went home, ate lunch, did more laundry, then headed out again for Matthew’s practice. Hit Kroger and QT on the way home. Then I worked outside until dark, cleaning the garage doors and that side of the house.

Sunday I cleaned upstairs for several hours, then did laundry the rest of the day. Took Ceil to Trader Joes, then cooked waffles.

Watched several good movies:

1. Unknown, with Liam Neeson, was the best. Unexpected ending.

2. Country Strong, the country music movie with Gwyneth Paltrow. Another unexpected ending.

3. The Conspiritor, the Robert Redford film about the trial resulting from the Lincoln Assassination. Filmed in Savannah and nearby Fort Pulaski. Very good. Also watched Angel & Demons, National Treasure, and Toy Story 2.

MP 13U Tigers: First Glance

After two practices, the Tigers are beginning to settle into their positions. Soon I’ll learn all their names. Were the season to start today, here’s my batting order and depth chart:

SS. Jalen: SS, P: Needs to be on the field all the time, at a key position.

C. Nate: C, P, SS: Experienced, but small. Team’s best catcher, may be more valuable at other positions.

CF. Red: any position: wants to play first, but may be more valuable at other positions.

RF. Pittman: 3B, P, C, 1B. Big guy. Experienced player.

3B. Thomas: 3B, P, SS. Experienced. May be team’s most consistent pitcher.

P. Plom (lefty): P, 2B, CF. little lefty. Experienced.

1B. Alex: P, C, 1B. Big guy with good arm and glove.

2B. Jessica: 2B, P, 1B, CF. Athletic. Will embarrass some boys this fall.

LF. Marlon (lefty): CF, 1B, 2B. Inexperienced. Will move up in order once he gets his hitting down.

Matthew: OF, 2B. Can get the bat on the ball as good as most of these guys.

“Gilbert” (lefty): 2B, P, OF. Little lefty, inexperienced. Decent glove.


Depth Chart

P…Thomas, Jalen, Red, Plom, Nate, Alex, Jessica, Pittman, Gilbert

C…Nate, Alex, Pittman, Red, Jessica

1B…Alex, Pittman, Marlon, Red, Jessica

2B…Plom, Jessica, Gilbert, Matthew

3B…Thomas, Pittman, Alex, Red

SS…Jalen, Red, Thomas, Nate
CF…Marlon, Plom, Nate, Red

OF… Matthew, Gilbert, Jessica

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekday Afternoon Ballgames

I don’t think afternoon games on weekday travel days is a written rule, but you never know with the players union. I’m sure the TV networks have some say in it. Most teams hate the Sunday night ESPN game, which not only lasts longer than usual, but makes traveling to the next city an all night trip. Here’s a quick study of the Braves 2011 Wed/Thur games…

HOME: 10 night and 4 day games. The Braves traveled after 2 night games (to NY & Phil), but after 3 of the 4 day games (to SD, Philly, and Arizona).

ROAD: 8 day and 5 night games.

Sounds to me like the Braves determine the game time. Times are probably based on weather, travel distance, whether school is in session, etc. Interestingly, on Memorial Day weekend the Braves played the dreaded 8 pm Sunday ESPN game, then a 1 pm Monday game, then a 7 pm Tuesday game. I’m sure the Padres were thrilled, arriving Sunday night, then flying out even later Tuesday night.

With the comfortable wild card lead I think Fredi is trying to not pitch the same reliever every day, resting them for the stretch run. I thought he had given up on the Tuesday game. When he won it meant he could rest players in the Wednesday game.

Mark Bowman said at least two of those young minor league pitchers would be called up Sept 1st. Good chance Linebrink won’t be on the playoff roster. That was a good play by Chipper. Couldn’t believe he made that earlier error…he obviously lost the high chopper in the lights. That’s what happened to the Cubs rightfielder, when Barney made that great over the shoulder catch.

At least Lowe was upset with his performance, though he had the just one bad inning. Freeman’s deep fly just missed going out, otherwise the Braves would’ve tied it up.

I missed Chipper giving the foul ball to the lady…sounded hilarious. Saw that man last night catch a ball, and hand it to a kid. Everyone applauded. Will says that’s what he would do, and I guess I would too (but Matthew would want it).

See Chip Carey sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game Wednesday night? Tuesday night they played a replay of a past performance, then last night he donned huge glasses for the feat. Looked like he would’ve rather not had all the attention.

Might’ve mentioned the girl on M’s baseball team. The other Mt. Paran team also has a girl…Gracie, the younger brother of Will’s former teammate John Fulton. JF’s tall dad George manages a ChickFilA, and is always ready to talk baseball. This summer Gracie was part of an all-girl 12U team that competed in Cooperstown.

Wednesday night I pitched BP to M. He hates to practice, but every time he goes he improves.

Traded two unused baseball gloves at Play It Again Sports. I’ve got some youth golf clubs I’ll try to sell them next. Saw a bunch of GT basketball stuff in a thrift store. Only 2 or 3 jerseys, with names I’d never heard of.

"Casual" Friday

On today’s “casual” America: Some people wear shorts to NP, which I just can’t do. NP keeps the AC low to keep people from dressing too casually, but it doesn’t always work. Some people do have the Bible on their phones.

Not long ago I saw a story on the national news about people dressing too casually at work. Flip flips, etc. One “lady” in our office walks around barefoot, or in fluffy houseshoes. Takes naps on the couch in the women’s restroom (she has a pillow and blanket at her desk). When we had the final weigh-in for the weight loss contest, she practically disrobed. She did win.

Others don’t wear socks, even when it’s not casual Friday. On casual Friday you can pay to wear jeans and tennis shoes. The money goes to charity. I never do…not just because I’m cheap, but I don’t consider any of my jeans to be nice enough for work. Some wear their sneakers un-tied. The VP’s rarely wear jeans, and never sneakers. I eat lunch at my desk, though I shouldn’t.

While coaching Matthew’s team this fall, I’m leaving my phone in my car. It’s one thing to be in the stands, another on the field. I never see the “good” coaches checking their phone on the field. I dislike using the phone in stores or restaurants. When I pass a poor driver, usually they’re on the phone. Happens every day. tennis matches are another place where decorum has gone out the window. Students today are constantly distracted by their phones.

This summer Will’s classmate Alyssa completed Basic Training, and entered West Point. She’s on the Army tennis team. They’re headed to Flushing to help out at the US Open, particularly the Arthur Ashe kid’s day. It’s been interesting to see photos of her shooting machine guns and marching in rank.

I’m discovering that Will wastes no time making decisions (like in baseball). He quit his job at the golf course. Had he kept it, he would’ve had hardly any time to study. Still don’t know if they couldn’t work with him, or let him work two days a week. David Norman does work the heavy schedule. This fall DJ’s yard business is counting on Will to be a major player, and I think that also pays well.

Joel Norman is auditioning for a play, a musical.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

GT / UGA: Who Has the Best Uniforms?

Last week’s Nike Combat reveal generated internet debate over Tech / Georgia uniform superiority. Since uniforms are something I think, read, and research daily, I consider myself an expert on the subject (perhaps NERD would be a better word). What follows is a detailed comparison, and a clear winner.

HELMETS: Both teams wear long-time, traditional helmets. The difference is the add-ons.

Georgia’s white facemask trumps Tech’s black mask, which is the overall deciding factor. UGA ugly-ups the back of their helmet with too many stickers: black and white bones, an American flag, numbers, the required warning label, and BULLDOGS on lower white helmet bumper. UGA helmet grade: B plus.

In comparison, Tech’s helmet is relatively clean. But the black facemask is a killer. Tech helmet grade: B minus.

SUGGESTIONS: UGA should move the flag down to the helmet bumper, and use smaller numbers. Tech would look great in the white striped helmet worn in the early 70’s. For both teams, a grey facemask would look better.

JERSEYS: Georgia’s simpler jersey trumps Tech’s garish garment.

TECH: Russell Athletics changes Tech’s jersey style (and shade of gold!) every year, meaning most fans are wearing out-of-date jerseys. I love gold numbers with black trim, but the font (which also changes every year) is rarely traditional, much less good-looking or even readable. In the rugged sport of football, the font should be simple and clean. Names on the back are too small to be laid out in a fancy font; they should be simple block letters (like UGA’s). Instead the name font doesn’t even match the number font.

The front is cluttered with at least FOUR patches: Russell’s “R”, YELLOW JACKETS, the ACC patch, and the GT patch on the collar. This drops the front numbers down around the belly-button. Better to drop the patches and raise the numbers. Then there’s the various “stripes” everywhere except the sleeves, where they should be. Tech’s jersey grade: F.

SUGGESTIONS: Return to the classic black-gold-black shoulder striped jersey, with simple, untrimmed, black block numbers.

UGA: Though simple, Nike has slowly tweaked Georgia’s jersey over the years. Gone are the sleeve stripes (because the sleeves are gone!). Instead of the simple, classic, untrimmed white block numbers of Hershel’s era, Nike’s numbers are slimmer and black-trimmed. OK, but not great. The black neck collar and sleeve band don’t stand out on the red jersey, but red would be better. They haven’t changed much in many years. Grade: B.

SUGGESTIONS: Beside those above, add the sleeve stripes back. If Auburn can keep their stripes, Georgia can too.

PANTS: Besides slight variations in the shade of grey, UGA’s signature silver britches have remained unchanged for 30 years. The stripes are simple, bold, and the perfect width. The distinctive red-white-black stripe is unique look in college football. Georgia’s grade: A minus.

One narrow black “stripe” meanders around Tech’s pants, rarely in a straight line. How this constitutes a football uniform is beyond me. Without thick stripes, Tech’s players look thick-legged, short, slow, and dumpy. Like UGA, the Jackets should return to three thick stripes. Tech’s grade: D minus.

MISC: For the most part, UGA wears red at home and white on the road, and silver britches all year. The much discussed black-out jerseys are a thing of the past, along with the ugly black helmets worn once against Florida. Simple and bold, UGA’s unis are consistently ranked in the top ten, nationally.

Thankfully, Georgia’s all red Nike Combat uniforms are a one time deal. I would’ve loved the silver helmet, except the red stripe is too wide and the “G” too large. No team has ever worn a two-tone face mask, which is cool, though ugly. Some Nike Combat unis have looked good (Ohio State), but most are too much. NO ONE has mentioned what weird shoes UGA will wear. I predict silver with red accents.

Across the state, Tech tries way too hard. Thanks to small-time Russell Athletics, Tech’s once-classic uniforms are a thing of the past. The Jackets don’t even wear white at home (that may be a Paul Johnson thing). Jerseys and pants are mixed & matched every week, lending to white over gold, white over white, gold over white, even navy over white (or gold). No consistent look. When Auburn wore Russell uniforms, they were the same classic striped unis as always. Even Under Armor isn’t allowed to tweak the classic look. Like perennial powerhouses Alabama, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Penn State, and Southern Cal, Tech needs to go back to the basics.

In summary, UGA’s uniforms are much more traditional and good-looking than Tech’s. Save the helmet shell, nothing about Tech’s uniforms is good-looking (or traditional). Sunday’s sermon centered on the “first take the plank out of your eye” verse. This can often be applied to college football rivals as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dallas Foster: My Memories

With the passing of Dallas Foster, we have lost the friendliest, most outgoing personality in our high school graduating class. He was the glue that bonded us together, a friend to all regardless of race, creed, sex, income-level, social class, or ability. While Dallas and I rarely ran in the same circles outside of school, and others were certainly closer to him, my memories of Dallas were many…

In high school Dallas had one of the biggest afros around. He also had an uncharacteristic patch of grey, right in front. That’s the way I always remember him. In later years when I would see Dallas, in person or a photo, I could never get used to him with little or no hair. Blue jeans, sneakers, a T-shirt or polo, and a huge smile on his face. Always so full of life. Over the years he hardly changed.

We were both members of the legendary, undefeated 9th grade football team, the city champions. The team that won 96-0 in Milledgeville (this can’t be mentioned too much!). Dallas was one of The Five Blocks of Granite, the offensive line that looked so menacing in the impressive yearbook photo. Greg “Bull” Williams, Ken Lee, Paul Connor, Dallas, and skinny (but mean) Edward Bussey. Prototypical tight end Tracey Curtis. Graceful Stan Putnal. Bruising running backs Ray Patterson and Randy Rutherford. Playboy quarterback George DuBose. With his personality, good looks, and excellent academic record, Dallas really didn’t need football. I’m sure he had a great time in the stands.

Coach McWilliams’s German class was something else we shared. For some reason “Coach Roy” attracted an interesting lot: David Cape, John Toole, Steve Fuerness. Girls from Lanier B. Another famous yearbook photo showed what we did to pass time when Coach was out of the room: a variation of volleyball/ping pong, played with a ball of rolled up tape. The net was Coach McWilliams’ desk. Later Dallas helped ease young replacement German teacher Miss Otto into the Central fold.

Fuerness and Foster formed the nucleus of Central’s vaunted varsity tennis team. They were an unlikely pair: Steve was tall, slim, mild-mannered, suburban, and pale. Dallas, not so much. They shared three unlikely commonalities: tennis, curly hair, and those god-ugly “Bata Bullet” tennis shoes. I never could understand why a cool guy like Dallas would be caught dead in those monstrosities. Must be a tennis thing.

Last week when Donna Harper posted Dallas’ fantastic Senior Superlative yearbook photo on Facebook, it brought back even more memories. Two stories: In the spring of 1977 I spent one class period working in the school office (kinda weird, because I’d never done anything like that before). As I recall, the senior guys voted for the male Senior Superlatives. I didn’t count the votes, but was told details of the results. Not surprisingly, Dallas was the top vote-getter among the guys. Secondly, he looked great in his Senior Superlative photo, as usual…super sharp in a dark suit. Dallas had told me he wanted to pose with his knee propped up and hand on his chin, with a “Hey! Pick up that piece of paper and put it in the trash can!” look on his face. As usual, he pulled it off perfectly.

For ten years after graduation we were out of touch, until our first class reunion. Dallas had graduated from Vanderbilt and moved to Texas, where he was in medical sales, as I recall. Hadn’t changed much. I wasn’t surprised. He was into music, even playing with his band at our second reunion in Tattnall Square Park.

Years passed. One day my dad called to tell me Dallas was in St. Joseph’s Hospital, awaiting a heart transplant. I went to visit, unannounced. Though weak, he greeted me warmly. We had a wonderful visit, reliving old times. Over the months I would stop in for an occasional visit, though I felt guilty for not visiting nearly enough. Once I took my son. Always great times. His personality was unchanged. To him his medical condition was just a temporary obstacle that he would overcome with time. And of course, he did.

Dallas returned to Houston after his transplant, and seemed to live a blessed life. Participated in the Transplant Olympics and did volunteer work. Had his likeness displayed on a Houston billboard. And time to pursue a love of his life, music.

Facebook came along, allowing us all a most convenient way to reunite and express ourselves (sorry if I express myself TOO much!). We learn amazing things on Facebook, like how Dallas and lifetime friend/classmate Elaine were born on the same day. I so enjoyed having Dallas share my rantings on the Braves, college football, or life in general. So did Cathy Slappey Lenderman. It was like old times.

As a sports fan Dallas was a lot like me. Always a Braves fan, though when he moved to Houston he rightfully adopted the woeful Astros as his own. Vanderbilt is a kindred football spirit of Georgia Tech, my alma mater. Both annually suffer at the hands of their larger in-state football powerhouse “institutions.” As a Tech fan, Dallas shared my pain. As a native Georgian, he rightfully rooted for the Dawgs.

Out of my daily addiction, I checked Facebook Sunday afternoon, August 14th. Noticed a post from Dallas, out late Saturday night with friends. Nothing out of the ordinary. Hours later he was gone. Decades too early, in my book.

I miss you, dear friend.

Resting the Relievers

With a “comfortable” lead in the wild card, and the Phillies virtually impossible to catch, Fredi is trying to give players periodic rest. Tuesday night it was Freeman and Venters. Monday it was Kimbrel. The Cubs scored four to cut the lead to one run, at least in part when Hinske couldn’t handle a throw in the dirt. Freeman would’ve probably had it. Later the rookie came into the game for defense.

It’s great to rest the three overworked relievers, giving the others needed experience. If the others don’t perform, it’s better to know it now, so alternative plans can be made before the playoffs. It’s also good to get Hinske work at first base, and more at bats, in case he has to fill in due to an injury. Would be good to let Conrad get similar work (he might be a better backup first-baseman than Hinske).

Do you agree with Fredi’s strategy? I sure hated watching the Cubs come back last night.

Nice to see Heyward get three hits, a sure boost to his confidence. One was just a hard hit ball just out of the first-baseman’s reach. But just before his grand slam, he swung at the first pitch (low) immediately after the pitcher had walked the previous batter. OK to be aggressive, but in that situation I would’ve only swung at a perfect pitch (though I’m sure hitting ANY 95 MPH pitch is rather difficult). Another indicator there’s not much COACHING going on over at East Cobb Baseball. Yes, I'm becoming a crotchedy old man.

Still concerned about the Rookie of the Year balloting. Washington’s Espinosa will get the northeastern media/Braves hater vote. Freeman’s season has topped Espinosa’s, but I think Kimbrel’s numbers beat Freeman. But some won’t vote for Kimbrel because he’s a pitcher. I have a bad feeling about this.

Not much going on with me. Had homemade burritos Tuesday, with chicken cooked in El Porton salsa (the Mexican place next to the stinky Kroger). Monday’s chili is one of the few things Matthew will eat, so I often encourage Ceil to make it. She’s always asking what she should fix.

Didn’t feel earthquake. Did those who felt it say so before hearing about it?

I don’t plan those FB sagas in advance. I rarely check FB at work (on my phone), but it’s easy to type a quick email. Tuesday it just started. I never plan ahead, instead making it up as I go along. Sometimes I’ll write 3 or 4 posts at one time, and space them out.

Tried new repair shop, recommended by the owner I bought Will’s car from. I may have him replace the timing belt, though his quote was high. My brakes lasted 90,000 miles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homeschooling Misconceptions

It’s often frustrating to hear people talk about something they obviously know little about. Home-schooling is one of those topics. Those who’ve spent their entire educational lifetime in public school classrooms shouldn’t be spouting opinions about the experiences of homeschoolers.

Some actually think Will is entering a classroom full of other students for the first time in his life. Myth! Will (and most home-schoolers) have attended regular classes for over six years (usually weekly or bi-weekly).

Some think homeschoolers lack the “socialization” needed to function in the real world. Myth! In fact, home-schoolers spend much more time interacting with mature adults than public school students…and less down-time hanging around immature schoolchildren. Do these thoughtless people think home-school parents also keep their kids out of Sunday School, youth groups, and the overwhelming selection of extracurricular activities available to children today?

There has already been so much written about the numerous advantages of homeschooling, that I can add little to. Research shows the many positive advantages of homeschooling. Research also shows numerous negative aspects of today’s public schools. When elementary aged students board buses before the sun comes up (without returning home until after dark), no one would say they’re spending those entire 10-11 hours productively.

Public schools do have many resources and opportunities unavailable to homeschoolers (some unfairly, considering homeschoolers pay the same school taxes), but for our family, the negatives of public schooling far outweigh these positives. We’re blessed to have the opportunity, though we sacrifice quite a bit for this chance. This too is an often overlooked detail.

Q&A: LLWS

Question:

How do all these kids playing in the Little League World Series get out of school to play? It’s hard for me to believe the educators would go along with something like this.

Answer:

Georgia is one of a few states that go back to school so early. Most wait until after Labor Day. When we were in Virginia, our friend’s kids were still in school on June ninth.

Many communities seem to rally behind their team’s success, and the schools would appear to be spoiled sports if they don’t fall in line. Since many of the teams are from smaller towns (Warner Robbins, Kentucky, Ohio, etc) it’s probably not as big of a deal. ESPN would never report level-headed opposition to such an “all-American” event.

This country puts athletics far ahead of education. ESPN lets the nation know what each player’s favorite program is (usually SportsCenter). Their favorite athlete is invariably whoever the most popular player is. This year it will be Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, and Shawn Kemp.

Most of the teams in Williamsport practice 5-6 days per week, year ’round. For these players school has always taken a back seat to sports! But if the LLWS conflicted with school, ESPN could always move it up a week or two.

This overemphasis shows up when many of the baseball dads I know (even homeschool dads) can’t believe Will isn’t playing baseball all year, gunning for a (partial) college scholarship, where he’ll have to spend 40-plus hours per week on baseball, squeezing in his studies whenever he can.

Family Values have taken a back seat in the United States. How often do you think these kids sit down for supper at night with their entire family? The LLWS is big business for ESPN and the Little League Baseball Corporation. Why else would Cal Ripken Baseball and the Perfect Game Corporation create these competing, made for TV championships?

Our country places SPORTS over education. Look at three local families: the Heywards, McCanns, and Francoeurs. Both of Frenchy’s parents teach, yet they drove their son all over the southeast to play ball. To be fair, there are many families who aren’t into sports at all.

The family summer vacations of old would never work these days. Baseball (or basketball, soccer, tennis, dance, or even football and cheerleading) take up almost every weekend of the summer. So “vacations” are spent traveling to distant “sports complexes” (often to face the same teams they played back home). Even on the coast, not much beach time is built in. Pity the brothers and sisters and mothers. Fortunately, there are so many tournaments around Atlanta that a local team doesn’t HAVE to travel (but they do). But their summer calendar is still full. Families love it, or drop out.

Many working parents hate the way public school systems add all these teacher work days, and week-long fall breaks and winter breaks. Churches build choir and mission trips into these weeks, forcing private school and homeschool families to either miss class or the trip.

I’ve been drinking lots of flavored water lately as well. C fixed chili Monday night…spicier than usual.

M had his first baseball practice, and didn’t do too bad. From right field he threw out the fastest runner on the team at first base, a kid who’d played at East Cobb. Also threw out a lefthanded batter, who wasn’t a slowpoke. Reached base on his at bat, on a grounder up the middle. He enjoyed seeing three old teammates, plus another longtime player he knew. Typical rec team, but having the coach’s 14-year-old fast-pitch softball playing daughter will be interesting. She will embarrass a few boys this fall. I pitched BP to half the team, and helped with infield/outfield practice.

When Venters put two runners on in the ninth, I stayed up to make sure he got out of the jam.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Will's First Car

Friday was almost as busy as my Thursday. Will had a Wilson baseball glove he didn’t like, and the manager of Play It Again Sports gave me big money for it. I was going to buy an old Mizuno first-baseman’s mitt, but instead opted for a NICE Rawlings fastback mitt.

Ceil took Anna to the movies at NP (with Caroline Hargreaves, etc). I took M to practice baseball. Then Ceil went to pick up Will, and I went to NP to get Anna.

Woke up early Saturday and started trolling for cars. Drove to downtown Marietta to look at one, then cruised south on Cobb Parkway to Windy Hill. Stopped at Fuddruckers for a burger…my favorite. Went home and found two more cars to look at. The first was back in downtown Marietta. Nothing great. Stopped at Quicktrip for a 32 oz Diet Mountain Dew.

Next stop was way over in Johns Creek, near Bonefish. I agonized, but finally bought the white 1998 Accord. Talked the owner down $300.00, justifying several of the car’s defects. Lots of miles on it, but after researching all the records, it appears that three owners drove it about 12000 miles a year, but a fourth owner piled on three 24000 mile years. The most recent owner maintained it pretty good, but needs a minivan for his young family. It does have new tires.

I drove the Accord home, cleaned it out, washed it, and gassed it up…to better get to know it. Studied the CarFax and other records left in the car. It had been decently maintained. We’ll see if it proves to be a good deal. It was perhaps an average deal, all things considered. Some 93s and 94s were selling higher. Some other 98s were selling much higher, perhaps with lower miles. No car that old is perfect, they all have their issues. A more expensive car would’ve required higher insurance. I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. At first Will didn’t notice his new car, but he loves it. He’s not yet looking at the imperfections.

Later I sorted through all the old golf clubs we’ve accumulated. I have three sets to sell: one adult and two kids. MC stayed for dinner…Ceil cooked roast beef and scalloped potatoes. Later Ceil and I went to get my car. After all that running around, I was exhausted. For some reason Saturday night I couldn’t sleep…probably the Mtn Dew.

NP Sunday am. Ceil stayed home and cook baked chicken, slaw, and homemade mac & cheese, but Will and MC had already eaten. W went to work, and Ceil and I ran errands: Target, Home Depot, Office Depot, Whole Foods. The lack of sleep was taking it’s toll, so C, A, and M went down to passion without me. I watched the Braves, Dick Van Dyke, and Bob Newhart. and ate peach ice cream and popcorn.

Work neighbor Brad took his boys to that Friday game, sitting in the front row of the Pavilion. McCann’s homer went over his head. He signed up for the Bouliva watch at the 680 tent…and won. I never sign up for that, but I didn’t know they give away a watch a game. His son got a softball from the pregame derby.

The Brewers appear to be hot, and the Braves always struggle in Milwaukee. Hopefully Atlanta can continue this hot streak. Need to get the hitting and pitching both going at the same time.

Will enjoyed his first day of work. On the way home he was calculating how much he made. He cleans out the carts after they’re used. People leave so many balls that they’re thrown in a bucket. He brought home two Titleist Pro V1’s and a golf glove. Earlier in the day he cleaned out all our golf stuff, so “his” bag with the best clubs would be ready to go. Now Will doesn’t know about his new job at the golf course. Good money but long hours. He’s worked every day since he started. That’s ok, but school starts this week. Saturday he worked 5:30am – 12:30 pm. He came home and ran with MC.

I’d been wondering about Uncle Julio’s, but I think I’ll stick to all my regular Mexican places. Once Ceil had a waiter spill water on her, and she felt it! I’m trying not to eat so much, but often fail.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Great Wallenda

Busy Thursday. At lunch I ran to the cleaners, returned an extra pair of baseball pants at Sports Authority, looked for a pair of shoes for Will, and ran through the Taco Bell drive-through. Lots to do at work as well.

Left work at 3:15 and headed down Peachtree Industrial toward 285. The on ramp was jammed, so I stayed on PIB down to Brookhaven, then cut over to 85 on North Druid Hills. Made it down to my usual parking space by 4:05 pm.

The dollar line already stretched to the big baseballs in Monument Grove, but I was still early enough to get a ticket. John Parkes was once again at the front of the line. I fell into conversation with four other “bobbleheads”…fans there to collect the Dan Uggla bobblehead. Two were Turner Field employees who wanted a ticket to collect the giveaway. One had three regular tickets and needed a place to “stash” each bobblehead while she exited the stadium and re-entered. Another lady said she’d help, if she’d get an extra one for her.

Another guy used to work as an usher at the old stadium, and knew the famous elderly usher Walter Banks. This guy said he had to hold one of the guide wires supporting The Great Wallenda when he walked the tightrope over Atlanta Stadium. I’d forgotten that Wallenda had stood on his head halfway through the walk. He also dropped a ball that catcher Earl Williams caught. As my new usher friend spoke, a lady fan in a red Braves jersey approached and handed him two tickets in section 101. She had wanted to give them to a father and son.

Once inside I tracked down my two “Ministers of Batting Practice” friends Johnny and Marshal. Marshal had his young grandson with him. Then I chatted with the designated driver lady, who was still fuming over the previous night’s loss. This would be a great pitcher’s duel between Lincecum and Minor/O’Flanery/Venters/Kimbrel, with Chipper’s homer the game’s only run.

Great game, but I missed it. Since it was Anna’s birthday, I headed home after spending ten minutes in the park. To escape rush hour traffic I took 20 West and 285 North to Cobb Parkway. Since Ceil and Anna were still out shopping, I stopped by a used car dealership and two thrift stores. A quick thundershower meant we all couldn’t take Matthew out to practice, so I made another trip to get party favors: Blockbusters to rent Leap Year, PaPa Johns for a pizza, and Kroger for ice cream.

Back home I started to tidy up. C and A returned at 8:30. Next I had to pick up Will from his first day at work. Indian Hills is a nearby maze of neighborhood streets. In the last 15 years I’ve been past the clubhouse once. In the dark it took me 15 minutes of driving down every street to find the parking lot. I could see the clubhouse, but finding the street was a different matter. Will said he’s had a good day. Back home Anna had laid out all the clothes she’d gotten. Leap Year didn’t finish until 11:20. Friday morning I slept an hour late.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Air Jordan 9



These were always my favorite Air Jordans. So it was a no-brainer when I finally found a pair in a store across from the Big Chicken today. They're quite broken in, but they'll be perfect on cold winter days with warmup pants (or jeans).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Hunger Games

I’m always getting hungry. I eat breakfast on the way to work (6:30-7). By 11:30 am I am famished. Trying to eat mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks (oatmeal and grapefruit). But by the time I get home (6 pm) I’m hungry again. Ceil eats lunch between one and two, and often serves dinner after seven.

Anna had her first class Tuesday, and also some school function Wednesday. I think both Matthew and Will start next week.

Went home Tuesday and took C and M shopping. Traded baseball gloves at Play It Again Sports, dropped Ceil off at JoAnn Fabrics, and got him some baseball pants at Dicks Sporting Goods. I’m not super crazy about the LONG pants worn by today’s pros, but short baseball pants look dorky on twelve year-olds, and that’s almost all that’s available. Hopeful Matthew will look decent in the pants we got, and not too skinny.

Then M and I went to the nearby field again for more practice. We got a late start, but I pitched him a bucket of balls, hit him a bucket of grounders, and threw him fly balls. In the past he wouldn’t have lasted so long. so he’s improving. I think he sees how well he’s hitting, which will improve once he gets a decent bat. Right now he’s using a little wood bat. Hopefully he’ll stand in there and hit the kids pitches…we’ll see.

So it was well after eight before we got home. Ceil’s homemade lasagna was well worth the wait. She and Anna were watching “What Not to Wear.” I didn’t turn on the game until the bottom of the 11th…perfect timing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Six Man Rotation?

It’s hard to turn these “soft” pitchers of today into a workhorse like yesteryear. A six man rotation might help Hanson (sore shoulder) or Jurrigans (coming back off the DL). We really don’t know about Hudson and Lowe’s health. Beachy and Minor are only needed if the four main guys can’t go on three (or four) days rest. Friday the Braves started a stretch of 17 straight games.

Unlike Cox, Fredi has been unafraid to shake things up. Batting Constanza ninth. Stealing bases. Hit and Runs. Suicide squeezes. Seems like his success rate is under 50%. But the players seem to like him. He stuck by Uggla during his slump, giving him more days off than Uggla would’ve liked. Now Heyward rides the bench while Constanza has the hot hand. Heyward doesn’t like it, but he understands.

Just read an SI article on the #3 pick in the MLB draft, a pitcher named Trevor Bauer from UCLA. Father is an engineer in Oregon. Bauer has been taking pitching lessons since he was ten, and studying what’s the best form to use. Throws six days a week, including the day after he pitches. Long toss up to 380 feet. Most current pitching “experts” say no longer than 120 feet. Bauer constantly stretches his arm, using exercises designed for pitchers rehabbing from Tommy John arm surgery. He was throwing like the Giants Tim Lincecum before he first saw Lincecum pitch in college.

He opted for college to prove himself, knowing the pros would immediately want to change the habits of a high-school draftee. This spring Bauer threw complete games in his last nine outings, throwing over 130 pitches per game in all but one. If the Bruins had a big (long) inning at the plate, he’ll go back and warm up more in the bullpen. Bauer has ten different pitches.

He told the MLB teams not to draft him if he couldn’t continue his heavy regimen. He feels like all the work both stretches and strengthens his arm, and he’ll be able to pitch like this for 20 more years. The Diamondbacks drafted him, and may use him in the bullpen next month.

The article said complete games have increased for the fourth year in a row. Some of the “experts” are beginning to admit that limiting a pitcher’s throwing has resulted in an epidemic of injuries and pitchers who tire after five innings. So maybe there’s hope. The Braves weren’t mentioned in the article.

Several years ago Don Sutton said the best thing a kid wanting to be a pitcher could do is throw, then throw some more. As a kid, Will threw a lot. He’s never had a hurt arm, though it’s occasionally been sore. But his team changes pitchers every two innings no matter what.

Braves.com beat writer Mark Bowman was saying how last Tuesday’s game was influenced by Proctor’s bad game Monday, when they had to bring in a tired Kimbrel to close out the game. When the tired Beachy walked the two batters in the 7th they brought in the rookie to get one out, so a pinch-hitter could bat and O’Flanery pitch the 8th. Beachy blamed himself for the two walks, but the game-tying homer meant Kimbrel had to pitch again. Something like that. At some point all relievers gotta take a day off.

Pretty productive Monday for me. With Matthew signed up for baseball, he needed equipment. At lunch and on the way home I looked for cleats, finally buying some at a place where I had a half off coupon. Luckily, they fit. Got home late, and took W and M up to the nearby school to practice.

At dark we rode over to Wal-Mart to get him batting gloves. Needs them mainly for practice. He’s catching it ok in his old glove…don’t know if we’ll eventually need to upgrade.

Did lots of research and looking for cars. Trying to shy away from Volvos due to the high repair costs, though they look good.

Ceil had a Veritas meeting, where she picked up Anna. Will had a fishing show on TV, so I went upstairs to read. Later I heard Will shouting at the TV, so I went down to see the game-winner replayed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brave Twin Burritos

Claire somehow posted her big news on Facebook around 3:30 am. I didn’t miss it by much…I stayed up past 2 am working on a recap of the Braves game while it was fresh in my mind.

Saturday I came downstairs earlier than normal, and posted the recap on line. That’s when I saw Claire’s announcement. I jokingly congratulated Anna’s friend Caroline for having “our niece” named after her. She hadn’t heard the news yet (I forgot to tell everyone at the hospital about this). Later in the day 16 year-old Hannah sent me another update.

Thanks to Constanza’s home run Friday night during “Moe’s Home Run Inning” (caught by Will’s friend Kevin’s dad), the Murphys all ate free burritos at Moe’s Saturday night. Afterward we headed over to Northside. We were in the elevator riding upstairs when the door opened…Claire, Andrew, Edie, the Johnsons, and the twins were coming on board. A really fun visit, but I was starting to feel worn out from my lack of sleep.

At the Braves game Friday night Matthew announced that he wanted to play baseball this fall. After the game I learned that tryouts were Saturday morning. Will had practice as well. We made it just in time. Amazingly, Matthew hit every ball pitched to him. He didn’t do as good on the fielding, but they didn’t tell him where to stand, and he had this huge glove. Sunday afternoon Will and I took him out to practice. His reflexes are good, and he knows how to get his bat on the ball. Should be interesting.

Heard Zambrano had a smile on his face, in the dugout after he’d been tossed. Looked like a few Cubs came out on the warning track, just outside the dugout…probably only after the Braves came out into the foul territory. Also, a few pitchers came out from both bullpens, but stopped just a few steps out of the gate. The Cubs manager said Zambrano embarrassed the organization on Bobby Cox night.

Read an OLD Sports Illustrated article about the Yankees new manager Joe Giraldi. He said he was modeling his managerial career on Tony LaRussa.

Started looking hard for Will a car. The good ones go fast! Will and Joel went out for Kara’s last night at home…she headed off to UAB.

Veggie Tales. High quality biblical themed stories, sometimes based on entertaining old movies or TV shows. Great original songs. Matthew still hoards them.

I’ve read a few Grisham books, and plan on reading them all. Last night I started the last Rosenberg book in his first series…Dead Heat. The main character is like a Christian Jack Ryan, the Tom Clancy character. Speaking of Jack Ryan, I hadn’t realized there were more books featuring him that I haven’t written. I’ll put those on my list as well.

At work we celebrated August birthdays. One month a year everyone has to bring goodies. One girl made a fruit pizza, another lady a hummingbird cake. Ceil made brownies and a monkey bread cake. A salesman brought cathead biscuits from Martins.

Played Augusta National again on the Wii. Toward the end I finally started getting the hang of it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Recap: Bobby Cox Night

“Greatest Braves game I’ve ever been to” was how Matthew described it. Bobby Cox Night was a pretty decent evening, all the way around.

Picked up Will and Matthew at 3:30 in Roswell. Took 50 minutes to make it to the parking lot. The line for dollar tickets wasn’t as ling as I thought it would be, so Will had no problem. We certainly weren’t the first in line, but we were virtually the first ones into the leftfield stands for BP. We grabbed front row seats. Since it was a 7:30 start, BP hadn’t even started yet. Eric Hinske trotted out to left field, smiling broadly at the fans. He returned my greeting, stretching out his arms to the crowd. “Who wants a ball?” he hollered.

Will decided catching BP home runs with a glove wasn’t challenging enough, so he fought for balls with his bare hands. He came close several times. Once my acquaintance Marshal Kerlin robbed Will of a ball. Marshal is the season ticket holder/former GT BSU student/campus minister/friend of BP maven Johnny Pierce.


Soon Tom arrived, and we caught up on the past 20 years during BP. He had roomed with me at Tech, in the Greenwood Avenue Hubcap, and my grandfather’s house. I was in his wedding, but then we lost touch. We recently reacquainted on Facebook, and he came down from Louisville for the game. Tom wondered if there would be a fight, since Zambrano was pitching.

Matthew and I walked him to his seat in aisle 106, then circled the stadium clockwise, checking out the numerous ex-Braves giving autographs. Steve Avery looked great. Todd Pratt had put on the pounds. Denny Neagle looked the same, to put it nicely.


Next to the big drum, legends Dale Murphy, Ron Reed, Phil Niekro, Ralph Garr, and Rick Camp sat in a row. A LONG line stretched past Buck Belue, winding underneath the stands. The 1991 Braves wore white jerseys, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the worst to first team. The rest of the ex-players wore red.

Another crowd gathered in the center of the fan plaza to see Dave Justice, Jim Nash, Brian Hunter, Clarence Jones, and Johnny Estrada (and his ponytail!). Tommy Gregg looked old. Upstairs, Smoltz was tying his tie. Greg Olson followed dutifully behind. Jimy Williams looked OLD…he had a hard time following his group as they exited.


Interestingly, while Glavine signed, Maddux did not. The Braves Hall of Famers took their places on the stage, with Terry McGuirk. Besides Chipper, scout Paul Snyder and Garr were the only ones in casual clothes. Maddux wore a crewneck shirt with his suitcoat, slightly plumper than his playing days.

As they were introduced, the current Braves lined up along the dugout fence to watch. As the battery warmed up in the outfield, both Minor and Ross stopped to applaud the HOFers. The empty Cubs dugout suddenly swarmed with attentive, applauding opponents. Don Sutton MC'd, introducing speakers Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Chipper, and Schuerholz. Hank Aaron was nowhere to be found, perhaps not wanting to take any attention from Bobby.


Just after the meeting at home plate, Cox threw out the first pitch…to Chipper. An umpire signaled strike (it was), then the entire crew walked out to greet Cox. They exchanged pleasantries, and then one ump playfully tossed Cox out of the game. Smiling, Cox threw up his hands in a familiar gesture.


Beyond first base the Braves starters were stretching and sprinting. I’ve noticed that at this same time the relievers begin their journey out to the bullpen. The players exchange elaborate handshakes, signifying a team more close-knit than I can ever remember. Venters and Kimbrel also greeting two security guards along the way.


Thanks to my friend Rob, we had great seats in the section behind the Braves dugout. He rarely misses a Friday home game, but had to sacrifice the game for his family vacation. This time he missed a memorable night.

The game started late. Uggla homered in the second, breaking Rico Carty’s Atlanta record. Uggla has raised his average to .227. After his streak ended, Carty's average was .417. Constanza’s sac bunt plated Chipper, who earlier had to turn on the jets to go first to third after first letting Ross’s hard-hit single go thru to right field.


Uggla was hit in his next at bat, and I thought back to what Tom had said. The umpire warned Zambrano (and both benches). Chipper homered to center. Later Freeman and Uggla homered on consecutive pitches…to the same spot in left-center. Zambrano promptly buzzed two pitches at Chipper’s midsection, and the fiery pitcher was immediately tossed. Both teams (and bullpens) charged out of their dugouts, but quickly stopped. Fredi was the first one out, and he quickly turned around and stopped the players. The plate umpire had the situation under control: Zambrano went quickly, and quietly. This is when Matthew uttered his “greatest game ever” line.


The next inning was sponsored by Moes. Should a Brave homer, the entire crowd would feast on free Homewreckers the next day. I checked the on-deck circle: Ross, Constanza, and Minor. Not exactly Murder’s Row. But lefty Constanza reached out and poked a line drive just inside the left field foul pole for his second big league homer. Burritos for everyone! Later I learned Kevin’s dad grabbed the ball, right next to Kevin and Will. Joel captured the moment off the TV.


I noticed the Braves had eight hits, with five of them being home runs. It was the most homers for the Braves all year. Thrice they’d hit four in a game, all B.C. (before Constanza, tweeted Bowman).


Anna came to visit, with friends Brittany and Jack. I introduced Anna to Tom, and then the youngsters took off for the Coke Sky Field. Drew Kelly facebooked that Ernie Johnson Sr had passed away, and later Mark Bowman confirmed the Braves would wear a memorial patch the rest of the season.


After the game Will, Matthew, and I made our way to Anna's group sitting in section 231, near the right field foul pole. On the way we looked for Coke caps and extra tickets, to fuel a second Moes expedition. During the fireworks I enjoyed chatting with Jack's dad, who’s quite the baseball fan. He rocked a red jersey and official cap, and talked of coming out early for BP. Though quite wealthy, he still collected several souvenir schedule cups on the way out. So we do have some things in common.


As I suspected, the ushers handed out Bobby Cox posters on the way out. Traffic was heavy, but we made it home in 40 minutes…including the $6.00 RaceTrac / Taco Bell stop.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Taking the Road MORE Traveled

This fall will be the first time since 2002 our kids won’t be taking classes at Living Science. We’ve been praying and considering this decision for almost a year.

Will graduated. Most all of Anna’s friends in her class are moving on to other schools. We’re working to simplify Matthew’s class load, given his struggles in school. Ceil has been running herself ragged these past few years trying to help Matthew keep his schoolwork current, while working two days a week at the schools to help with tuition. Even then it’s been a financial struggle.

Anna would’ve been encouraged to enter the wonderful (but time-consuming) Servant Leader program. The experience Will gained as a SL was great, though it often conflicted with other activities, particularly baseball. Servant Leaders are expected to place the numerous Living Science commitments ahead of all others. Over the years this has been a continuous source of frustration for many students and their parents. Will had invested so much love and sweat to the program that he never considered leaving, despite several senior year frustrations.

Since Anna is just starting out, her decision is easier. She’s interested in a wide variety of activities, like ballet, tap, art, reading, baby-sitting, pet-sitting, and cross-country. In past years Anna’s been so busy she’s struggled to finish schoolwork. She’s not neglecting her spiritual development, being active in her small group at North Point and the East Cobb Presbyterian youth group. This year she’s teaching Sunday School for the first time, and she was the first our children to be baptized (on her own initiative). Since Margaret and Emily are a year older, they are unfortunately involved in different activities than Anna.

Living Science may still be the best long-term option for Matthew. He has a few friends there, though some of his have also moved away. He wants to play the guitar…eventually he could join Josiah in Living Sound. For now Matthew needs to make progress in his schoolwork.

Next spring we’ll again consider what our best education options are. Our decision to take this school year off has everything to do with our own unique family situation, and very little to do with what’s gone on at Living Science over the past year. We had pretty much made this decision last fall. We certainly haven’t closed the door on Living Science. The mountain of LS T-shirts we’ve accumulated over the years are still taking up space in our house. We still have many good friends there. I’ve loved chaperoning the expeditions and retreats, and helping write and produce the expedition skit. Mrs. D rarely seeds control of valuable retreat time blocks to others (especially for non-serious activities), but I’ve earned a place within sight of her inner circle. For that I am grateful.

The D’s seem to take it personally when a family leaves. They want to know why, and find it hard to understand that others have different priorities than them. Part of is surely their deep involvement and love for Living Science, and their desire to minister to the hearts and minds of the students. As the founders and directors they are certainly entitled to make whatever decisions they wish. Most of the directions they take are certainly understandable, however unpopular they seem (or how unfortunate they may turn out).

It’s been comforting to know we’re not alone in this conundrum. Over the years many active Living Science families have faced the same decisions. Several have moved on, though several other families have stuck it out, considering the benefits to outweigh the disadvantages. We see and appreciate the Godly focus at Living Science. It’s a road less traveled, certainly worthwhile, unique in north Atlanta.

For some reason I often feel compelled to explain decisions I make. More often than not, most are between me and God. Perhaps writing it out helps me work things out in my mind, though I feel my writing does not fully convey the whole story. Sharing invites others to offer their opinions. In the end, Ceil and I must ourselves decide. It's been a great ride.

Unbreakable Records

DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak is a great record. Sunday Chip and Joe correctly pointed out that after DiMaggio’s streak was broken, he promptly reeled off another 17 game streak. They also mentioned how these days a batter has to face so many more fresh pitchers every game. In the 40’s a batter would face at the most two pitchers per game.

Cy Young’s 511 career wins record will never be broken. Since starters only go 6 or 7 innings these days, it’s harder for them to earn wins. Greg Maddux won 355, which is 8th all-time. Roy Halladay has led the league in complete games in 7 of the last 9 seasons, but he was such a late bloomer it’s doubtful he’ll reach 300 wins. CC Sabathia is most likely to reach 300 wins since he started young…unless his huge body wears out.

Last week Chip and Joe were talking about an old usher at Turner Field. The usher had told Joe that July’s five Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only happens once every 800-900 years. Joe said this on air, and he discussed it with Chip. The July thing is a hoax email that keeps resurfacing on the internet. Every 5 or 6 years July has 5 Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I sent a message to Chip on Facebook about it…and he responded.

Sunday the Braves radio producer “Grandma” Giffin sent me birthday wishes on Facebook.

Proctor won’t be on the postseason roster. Heard the Braves will be calling up several pitchers from AAA, in September at the latest. They can be placed on the postseason roster should another reliever be hurt, and they all are injured to one degree or another.

Cheap that the ump threw Freeman out. The only reason he threw his bat and helmet were because it was the third out. Freeman had already turned around and was headed back on the field. I think it was the camera angle that made it look like Freeman was throwing the bat at the ump. Looked to me like he was tossing them in the direction of the on-deck circle / batboy. Umps today try to be the show. Once they’re replaced with computers they will be quickly be forgotten. Nice that Gonzo hit that homer…he’s got a little hit streak going.

Speaking of umpires, this weekend did the Braves/Mets umps retreat under the stands to review a replay? I had the sound down, and only saw the come back out of the dugout.

One of the worst laws passed by Congress was the benefits. I don’t know the details, but once a congressman serves one term, they get almost that same salary for life. Guess its not just a fake email. I can see doing that for ex-presidents, I think Congress did that to entice the smartest people to go into government, instead of making lots of money in the real world. These days smart people still go into politics for the power trip. And Congress’ health benefits are better than everyone else’s…they aren’t forced to accept Obamacare.

Quiet night last night, though it took a while to get home. Baskin Robbins, library, Kroger, and Moes.