Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Wisdom of Einstein. . .

I really don't intend to turn this into a Xavierian clearing-house of humorous pictures and sayings, but this stuff is too good to pass up. . .



(Hat tip to The TOF Spot)

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Often, when I leave a comment on another blog that I particularly like, I'll just save it, and turn it into its own post at a later date.  This seems to happen particularly often with comments I leave at Suldog's place; his mind and mine seem to resonate in some very, um, fertile ways.  Just recently, I left some particularly, shall we say colorful comments to a post of his, which I probably won't be posting here; a man's got his standards (and his wife reads this sometimes).  So, if you really wanna read 'em, you can find 'em here (scroll down to read the comments) (or, you know, read Suldog's post, and then, there you'll be). . .  You can thank me later.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Belated Happy Presidents Day to You All. . .

When I was a kid, we didn't have Presidents Day; we had separate observances for Lincoln's (Feb12) and Washington's (Feb22) birthdays.  It seemed like a bit of a ripoff (and honestly, kinda disrespectful) when they folded them together into a single holiday, lumping the two great men together with Chester A. Arthur and Warren G. Harding (among, you know, others). . .

Anyway, I know that Presidents Day was last week, but I just found this:




(Hat tip to The TOF Spot)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It Be Like That, Sometimes. . .


Wishing a spiritually prosperous Lent to all my friends. . .

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Something Borrowed. . .

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm borrowing this from something my friend Skip posted a few weeks ago; it's Number 8 on a list of Nine Important Facts to Remember as You Get Older, and it's just way too good for me to pass up. . .

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Life is sexually transmitted.

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Yup, that fits with our experience, fersure. . .

But seriously. . . way more there than meets the eye, and on so many levels. . .

Or at least, so it seems to me. . .

Thanks, Skip

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In other news, Jenn and I are spending the weekend in a city an hour-and-a-half away from Our Town, helping to put on a marriage retreat.  Which seems suitably apropos of St. Valentine's feast day, in its own way. . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tales From The Blizzard of '78 (Michigan version)

Given the recent winter weather, both here in OurTown, and (more prominently in the news) elsewhere, it seems a fitting moment to recall some winter-weather stories.  My friend Suldog has, on a couple of occasions,including just recently, posted about a massive snowstorm that whacked the New England area in February of 1978.

Well, we had a Blizzard of '78 here in Michigan, too, but ours was a week or two earlier, in mid/late January.  We got 18 inches of snow, and it pretty much shut down the southern half of the State of Michigan for a couple days.  The following October, the local birthrate was 30% higher than normal ('cuz, you know, you can only play so many games of Monopoly, right?).  And so, I offer you a few stories from the Blizzard of '78, mainly kluged together from comments I've left on other people's blogs (mainly Suldog's). . .

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The massive snowfall forced my mega-university to close for only the second time in its history. And one should never underestimate the capacity of college students, whose classes have been cancelled, for some monumental feats of stupidity.

A group of guys on the top floor of our four-story dorm decided (with plenty of, uh, ‘lubrication’, you can be sure) that it would be really cool to jump out of their windows into the 8-10-foot-high snow drifts that had piled up against the wall. So, for an hour or so, guys were lining up to jump out of 4th-floor windows into the huge snow drift. They would let out a yell while they fell, and then they’d land with a muffled ‘WHUMP’ as they belly-flopped into the snow. And, wondrously to behold (heck, maybe miraculously; that whole bit about how God protects drunks and fools, and all that), the snow absorbed the energy of their fall quite nicely. The drift extended all along the outside wall of the dorm, so, as the drift got beaten down in one location, the jumpers just moved progressively down to the other rooms on the 4th floor. After a while, the supply of willing jumpers began to dwindle, and they started to grab guys out of the shower, to throw them, wet and naked, into the snow drift below. It was the very picture of drunken college hijinks.

Until one of the jumpers inadvertently discovered the bike rack concealed beneath the snow drift, which left him with a few broken bones. After that, the mood was kinda killed. . .

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Being college students with a couple of serendipitously unscheduled days off, my roommate and I decided to go off in search of suitable convivial beverages (and in sufficient quantities). . .

We first headed to the small 7-11-type store across from our dorm, but there was a line out the door, snaking back-and-forth across the parking lot, then through all the aisles in the store, back to the beer fridge, and up to the registers.  The store was rationing beer to one 6-pack per customer, so everyone could get some, and even at that, it was likely that they would be sold out before we made our way back to the fridge.

So we decided to start hoofing it thru the 18-inch deep snow (drifted considerably deeper in spots, you can be sure), toward the larger town to the west of the college town (known to all my blog-friends as OurTown; the college town, being to the east of the larger town to the west, is East OurTown), having nothing particularly better to do for the next couple hours, anyway (walking into a raging blizzard, through thigh-deep snow with no particular plan beyond knowing we wanted to procure beer; good thinking, right?)


About 3/4 of a mile from our dorm, a stone's throw past the freeway underpass that loosely marks the boundary between OurTown and East OurTown, we found another, even smaller, hole-in-the-wall party store that managed to open that day, so we went in and asked the clerk how much beer he'd let us buy. Well, he was far enough from campus that he felt no need to ration his beer sales, and he told us he'd sell us whatever we could pay for. So we pooled our pocket cash, and managed to scrape together enough to buy two cases, and we started hoofing it back to the dorm, only now we each had a case of beer to lug thru the snowdrifts (a thumbnail calculation reveals that we were each carrying about 18 pounds of beer alone, saying nothing of the weight of the cans or the packaging; so it was a not-inconsiderable load, even if we weren't trudging through waist-deep snow) (But, you know, the beer must get through!). After a while, a guy with a 4-wheel-drive Jeep came along, and seeing how we were struggling through the snow with our barley-malt burden, graciously offered to drive us back to the dorm, if each of us gave him one can of beer.  Hmmmmm (rubbing our snow-encrusted chins as we weighed his offer). . . OK!

So, that night, we were the hosts of the floor blizzard party, since between us, we had almost eight times as much beer as anyone else. . .

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

At least, for those of us denizens of Spartan Nation, it was (my apologies to those of my friends who are sports-disinclined; this will be my last sporting post for a while; I promise).

Against all odds, we won our Cotton Bowl game against the Battling Baptists of Baylor University.  The final score was 42-41, but going into the fourth quarter we were behind 41-21, and we hadn't looked very good getting there.  For that matter, even given the 21-0 differential in our favor for the final quarter, we didn't look all that good, even then.  So many things had to tilt our way, even just to keep us in the game long enough not to lose it.  Baylor had to miss a field goal (off the upright!) early in the quarter, which would have put the game out of reach.  So when we drove the field to pull within 41-28 with 12 minutes remaining, we still had hopes of winning.

We recovered an onside kick, but then a couple plays later, our quarterback threw the most gawd-awful interception I think I've ever seen (this was far beyond the realms of 'what the hell was he thinking?', WAY past 'what the hell was THAT?'; it was just. . . gawd-awful. . .), which was duly returned 85 yards for the clinching touchdown against us.  But wait, the referee is speaking on-camera - "illegal block in the back".  So, no touchdown against us, just yet; we're still only down 13.  Still and all, we failed to score, we lost the ball, and Baylor's offense, which we never really stopped all day, had the ball again.  But Baylor turned the ball back over to us on downs, failing on a 4th-and-2 at our 40-yard line, and this time, we drove the field and scored again, with about 5 minutes left, cutting the margin to 41-35.

Once again, Baylor began marching up the field, eventually lining up for a field goal attempt with just over a minute left, which, if they made it, would put them up nine points, and make it all but impossible for us to score twice with a minute left to play (Just before the field-goal attempt, ESPN's Win Probability Tracker gave the Spartans a 0.4% chance of winning - 1 in 250).  But we blocked the field goal, and returned the block to the Baylor 45-yard line.  Our QB continued his erratic play, badly missing a couple wide-open receivers, but completing just enough passes to keep the drive alive (converting once on 4th-and-10).  We finally scored the tying touchdown with 17 seconds left, and the extra point gave us our only lead of the second half.  Baylor got the ball back, but we sacked their quarterback twice, and intercepted his 3rd-down pass to seal the victory.

Looking back at the game, I still don't quite know how we won it.  Baylor threw for over 600 passing yards, completing over 70% of their passes.  Bryce Petty, their quarterback, was amazing all night long, threading passes through tiny openings to incredibly fast receivers.  Our defense, which has been the hallmark of our excellence in recent years, seemed to have no answers for him.  But late in the game, we found ways to stop them, or at least, slow them down, just enough to get lucky and win the game.  Unbelievable.  One of the most incredible never-say-die games I've ever seen, even if I didn't care who won.  Which, however, I did.  Go Green!

And then, in the evening's playoff games, Oregon beat Florida State, and Ohio State upset Alabama.  So, the only two teams to beat us all year will be playing each other for the national championship.  Does that make us Number Three?

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Here we are in 2015, and we still don't have any snow to speak of in OurTown.  I've been able to ride outdoors right up to the present, even getting in 10 miles on December 30th, before the sub-freezing temperatures just made my toes hurt.  I ended with 74 miles in December (I've never even had half that before), and 1110 for the year 2014.  Funny to think that I was sweating getting to four digits a month ago, and ended up going over 100 miles past that.  Heck, this afternoon, I'm going out for my first 10 miles of the New Year, so 2015 is already well-begun.