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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

WC 070721



 


I've been on a blogging vacation for a month, but I kept up with WC posts. I decided to contribute this time.


My best autobiography is the Autobiography of Malcolm X, As Told to Alex Haley.

This book had tremendous impact on me while I was in college. It affected lots of white, middle class Americans. It was a brazen window into the life of an African American and the troubles he faced, his conversion to the Black Muslims, becoming a spokesperson for them and after his Haj to Mecca the change in his faith, which caused his assassination.

Alex Haley did a masterful job of presenting his words and ideas in a relatable manner. 

The movie did not do it justice, but then they never do.


Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Blog Vacation

 I'm taking a vacation from blogging to focus on my writing, don't know when I'll be back.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Friday Five 060421

 




Today is a twofor. Life got in the way last week so I'm doing both weeks in one post.


Resource, food, extinct, address, tumor

Image, bar, express, redeem, privilege

 

Shanika put her return address on the letter she was writing home. Word came to her that the doctor found a tumor in Mom’s breast, and she was going to have a lumpectomy. They’d talked over the phone for over an hour last night, but she wanted to express her deepest thoughts, things that couldn’t be said over the phone. The mental image of losing her mom kept her crying all night.

Placing the letter in the out box in the dorm mail room she headed to the dining hall. The food was normally tasteless, but today it was like sawdust. Trying to get her mind off this she went to the library looking for resources for the term paper due in two weeks.

The term paper was on how different varieties in a species fail to adapt and go extinct and others adapt and survive. Looking through the biology books the librarian came to her, “Is there anything I can help you find?”

Normally she tells the kind lady she prefers to do research on her own, but today she needed it. “If you don’t mind?” she said.

With a smile, “It would be my pleasure, why I’m here.”

She told her, “I need to find information on the Saber Tooth Cats and modern cats.”

“Doctor Moser’s biology 101,” she nodded. Going over to a cart off to the side, "You’ll find everything you need right here, but they’re restricted to the library for the other classes.”

“Thanks, you’ve saved me a lot of time,” Shanika said.

Two hours of taking notes later she left for the snack bar in the SUB, she had a coupon to redeem that was in the last Traveler, the school’s newspaper.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

WC 060221

 



Casca is the Roman soldier cursed by Christ in AD 32. He can't die. He goes through the centuries traveling all over the world as a mercenary. 

This is a series of books now numbering over 50. It would make a great TV series where every season could cover one book. History Channel or SciFi Channel would work. Might be good for CW or TNT.

It would take a young and upcoming actor to start w current young actor comes comes to mind. It would actually be best to have an unknown. Supporting cast would change from season to season as they'd be in different times and locations.

I don't think they'd make good movies over the long term. Think Conan movies. One or two and then they stop. A series would be better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WC 052621

 



My fantasy vacation

This is a package offered to teachers over summer vacation a few years ago. Not in my budget then, but I would still like to take it. Still not in my budget.




Fly from New York to Rome, spend two days in Rome, bus to Venice, Florence, Genoa and down to Naples, two days at each stop.

Get on cruise ship and sail to Syracuse then to Athens and a week visiting different Greek Islands. Fly back to NY from Athens.

2nd fantasy vacation. A month seeing the sights in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

3rd fantasy vacation visit the Louvre, Versailles, Fountaine Bleau.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday Five 052121

 


Publish, loss, dragon, result, pest


It was a long bus ride home. It was their first loss of the season. Karen expected it, but it still stung. They kept the game close and were only down five points with a minute to go in the game when Shanika fouled out and the result was Tennessee scored six points and put the game out of reach.

They beat UNM by ten points in the consolation game, but it was little comfort to know they were that close to the top ranked women's team in the country and fell short.

Shanika was in the back brooding. She fowled out on a bad call. It was a clear charge and the ref called her for blocking. She needed consoling.

Going back and sitting next to her she said, "You played two great games, why so glum?"

Shanika spat it out, "That ref called me for blocking three times and I established my position every time. We was robbed."

"That's the dragon you'll have to slay during every game," Coach said. "No ref ever decides who wins or loses. Bad calls are a part of the game and you have to find a way to win regardless."

"What should I have done differently?"

Sighing, "It's partly my fault. We've had so little real competition I haven't focused on avoiding fouls. On that last one you had a choice, gamble on getting a charging call or fouling out of the game. What was more important?"

"You mean I should have let her score?"

"Yes, it was only two points. The ref already called you twice why risk your last foul like that? You're no good out of the game. You were hitting three pointers and so was the rest of the team. We could have traded two pointers for threes and won the game."

She hung her head, Coach hugged her. "We went toe to toe with the best of the best and held our ground. Sometimes you learn more from a loss than a victory. Hold your head high and don't be ashamed of losing."

The rest of the team was gathered around so Coach Karen decided to do some teaching.

"You all know about the Flying Queens of the 1950's. They won a hundred and thirty one straight games, seventy-six of them under coach Harley Redin. Of everything published about those teams it's what Coach Redin said on the night of their first loss after that run. 

"Calling a time out shortly before the game was over and they were going to lose, he said, 'You held your heads high for four years with grace and dignity and you are to do the same after losing as you've done winning.'"

Going back to the front of the bus, Karen thought, now what do I have to do to get that pest of a ref fired?

My freshman year at Wayland was the last year the Harley Redin coached. He was a truly great man and coach.




Wednesday, May 19, 2021

WC 051921

 


Recent topics I've googled.



I'm currently writing the autobiography of Matthew Fontaine Maury. This is one of the five biographies I've purchased as well as the many sites I've googled on this man's life.

It's been an experience channeling this extraordinary man's life and writing about him in the first person. I cite Robert Grave's I Claudius and Margret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII as the vehicle to make an historical figure come to life.



There is more to this man's life than the fact he sided with Virginia in the Civil War.






Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday Five 051421

 


Ban, Cane, Angle, Firm, Mind


This was the first real test of the Flying Queens. They play in the NAIA and this weekend they're going to be playing NCAA powerhouses. Their first team on tonight is Tennessee and if they win that they'll play either Texas Tech or New Mexico.

Tennessee won the championship before UCON became the perennial powerhouse.

Tech won the championship under Marsha Sharp, a former Flying Queen and assistant coach. UNM hasn't won the championship, but always fields a competitive team.

Coach Spain spent sleepless nights getting her game plan ready for all three teams. She was leaving nothing to chance. Tennessee and Tech had a center two inches taller than Shanika and more experienced. UNM didn't have a tall center, but three power forwards made up for it.

She sat in a cane chair in the motel visualizing Shanika against Janet McClusky. Shanika would use her hook shot a time or two and when the forwards moved in to stop her she'd pass to Sasha for a three pointer. When she went under the basket if she was blocked another pass to Vicky and when they closed in to stop that she'd move out for a three pointer. There was always an angle open for a clear shot.

It was time to get on the bus and face the music. She banished any negative thoughts. Today Wayland would reach the heights of women's basketball that they had in 1978 when they made the final four of the NCAA tournament.

The buzzer sounded for the opening tip off. The team gathered around her. They linked hands, "Be alert, be firm, be sure and kick their butts."

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

WC: My favorite indulgence

 


Today's topic is: My Favorite Indulgence.


I'm a chocoholic. Diabetes be damned I'm going to have my chocolate.

I try to get as high a cocoa count as possible. 70% to 80% and I limit myself to one level a day when I'm being good. I tried 100% one time, like eating saw dust.

It's easier now I'm on a medicine that's only one shot a week. It gives me a mild case of sea sickness (how I describe it) my stomach is queasy all the time. 

When I was on insulin I craved sweets like a ravenous dog. Mounds bars, Almond Joy, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, chocolate covered raisins, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, ice cream with chocolate syrup, chocolate milk shakes.... Need I go on?

With this new medication I've lost thirty pounds in six months. I can finally bend down and pick up what I've dropped without busting a gut. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

First Friday 050721

 


Exchange, first-hand, friendly, jump, trick

 

Coach Spain was worried. They had a Thanksgiving tournament in Houston in two weeks. The team got by the mid-terms with everyone having a 2.5 GPA or better. She had first-hand knowledge that this tournament could make or break the season. Going into it undefeated was a liability. So far none of the teams they’d played put up a real challenge. They would be walking into a buzz saw against the three other teams in the tournament.

She had scrimmages with the men’s JV team three times the previous week to get them in shape. Shanika was turning into a first-class center and the other six players had perfected their jump shots getting lots of three pointers. It kept the other players from crowding Shanika on the inside.

Tony Adams was impressed by their play. His players upped their game the past few weeks. They were much better defensively against three-point shots. Ray picked up the jump hook after getting burned by Shanika with it. At first the scrimmages were friendly, but as the girls got better his guys realized they needed to take them seriously. It was turning into a good exchange of training for both teams. Next year when this group of freshmen and sophomores replaced his seniors, he’d be much more competitive.

Karen purposely kept Shanika from shooting three pointers to this point in the season. After regular workouts the tall woman kept practicing her outside shots, but it was important to perfect her inside game. The last scrimmage against the men she turned Shanika loose and let her rain down three pointers. They beat the men by ten points.

“That was a dirty trick,” Tony said shaking his head after the game.

“I know,” she said. “I hope it works well in Houston. Shanika won’t be the tallest player against those teams.”


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

WC Fictional Characters

 


Fictional characters I'd like to meet.

I decided to narrow this to ten female characters I'd like to meet. Can you figure out in what story they're from?


1. Cassandra, to ask her about always knowing what's going to happen and not being taken seriously.

2. Penelope, was Odysseus worth waiting for twenty years? 

3. Shahrazad, ask her to tell me more stories. 

4. Dulcinea del Taboso, what it's like to be loved by a lunatic?

5. Lessa, what's it like to talk to dragons?

6. Mina, now you're not a vampire, what's next?

7. Katerina, where you really tamed?

8. Ophelia, was suicide really your only option?

9. Lisa Kelly, can I be your slave?

10. Peggy Olsen, was it worth it to succeed in a man's world?


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

TTT My Last Ten Reads

 





I'm currently writing a novel about the life of Matthew Fontaine Maury and am researching through five different biographies. I've decided to re-read some of my favorited authors to catch up for the next book in their series due to come out this year. They're like curling up on a couch in front of a fire and having a chat with old friends.


I just finished the 54th book, The Killer, in the Casca Eternal Mercenary series. Tony's written now 30 of them. In this one he's fighting in the Algerian Civil War during the 1950's for the French Foreign Legion. I'm not re-reading the other thirty books, they're stand alone.


There are currently five books in the Dark Elvin series: Dark Blade, Heir of Gorridan, Okra's Tower,Faerown's War, The Mountains of Butchock. A new one is due out this year. The last few books Roberts has unleashed Faerowen's sensual side.


The Kastania Chronicles are by far the best fantasy series I've ever read, even better than Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. They now comprise Prince of Wrath, House of Lust, Patch of Pride, Throne of Envy, and God's of Gluttony. I can't wait for the next one coming out this fall.
All told there's many more than ten books here, but I count each series as one extended book.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Five 043021

 



Today’s words are: proper, brand, husband, pigeon, offend

 

Coo coo coo, Shanika felt like throwing a shoe and knocking that irritating pigeon off the tree limb outside her window. If she did that she was sure it would offend some bird lover and catch holy hell for being mean to a poor bird. Coo coo coo. She buried her head in the pillow and tried to go back to sleep.

It was Thursday and that meant chapel. Getting into her seat next to little miss prim and proper Martha Smith, there was still a few minutes before they dimmed the lights and the proctors with clipboards counting heads were walking the aisle. Three of them came up to Martha and congratulated her on getting engaged.

It's not even midterm and she’s engaged?

The mousy gal was beaming and showing off a ring with a miniscule diamond chip. The lights dimmed and she took a needed nap after that damn bird woke her up at the crack of dawn.

In the locker room Martha’s finding a husband was the topic of conversation. On a small campus with just over a thousand students anything was fodder for gossip.

Beth Shumacher, the point guard griped, “She’s the reason why freshmen women can’t get an A. The professors think we’re only here to find a husband.”

The lone senior on the team, Candice Clark, shook her head. “Pity the poor girl, she’ll drop out find a job and start on her PHT degree.”

Shanika was curious, “What’s that?”

Candy gave her a look, “Putting Hubby Through. She’ll see him through college and graduate school. Then when he starts earning real money, he’ll trade her in on someone more intellectually stimulating leaving her to raise two or three kids.”

“Just because that’s what your Daddy did to your Momma, doesn’t mean that’ll happen to Martha,” Beth said.

It was time to go out on the court. They looked on the ball rack and low and behold there were ten brand new practice balls. Shanika grabbed one and felt the fresh nibs as she shot a three pointer, nothing but net.

 

 


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

WC 042821 Favorite outdoor activities


 Today's topic is: You're favorite outdoor/nature activities.



Golf. At least it used to be. My broken hand and strained back have put an end to the most expensive pleasurable activity I've ever know. The picture is of PAAKO Ridge on the eat side of Sandia Mountain. The shot is of a par three hole going down to a par four hole and then a par five on the dogleg left. The most spectacular golf course in New Mexico.


Isotopes/Dukes. I grew up watching Albuquerque's AAA baseball team. They were the Dukes for decades. I watched Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Oral Hershiser, Pedro Martinez, and todays Joc Petersen play in our city. Kirk Gibson was in town the year after the Dodgers won the World Series. He was rehabilitating and only playing a couple of innings  a game, but I witnessed him hit a home run that was thirty feet over the scoreboard. They measured it at over 500 feet and the ball was flat on one side. The old Duke stadium had a drive up area beyond the outfield. I had a truck at the time and we could sit on the tailgate and hope for a home run to get a souvenir.


Alas, the team was sold and lost the name Dukes. It was renamed the Isotopes (credit the Simpsons here). Grrr. The stadium was rebuilt and prices went up, even having to pay for parking and no bringing in snacks. They have retro days where the play in the Dukes uniforms and those are the game we attend. They also have the Mariachi's uniforms for special days. The first picture is of the Dukes uniforms. The second picture is of the new mascot called, Orbit.


I also like taking my dog for a tug.

 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Friday Five 042221

 


Today’s words are: Increase, retire, dairy, hiccup, verdict.

 

The alarm sounded. Shanika hit the snooze button and moaned. She hated chapel. It was only twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, but she didn’t have a morning class those days and having to get up for chapel interrupted her sleep.

Going into the auditorium she found her assigned seat sitting next to Martha Smith and Alex Baumgartner. Martha is a PK (preacher’s kid) and Alex is a preacher boy. She usually, once whoever was giving the lecture or sermon started, scrunched down and went back to sleep. Martha and Alex stayed alert and attentive the whole hour.

Today the president of the school was giving the lecture. She remembered the freshman welcome he gave at indoctrination. She never heard anyone say so much without it meaning anything. A nice jumble of words and that was about it. This guy should retire and maybe the next guy would increase the attention span of the student body!

Dr. Slaughter began his mouthing of verbal inanity and she went promptly to sleep. For some reason half-way through she started to hiccup. She sat up and had another and another. “Crap,” she said starting to get up and bothered the line of sleeping students for the aisle and a water fountain. Even Martha and Alex were passed out.

A couple of gulps and the spasms stopped. Going back to her seat she heard Dr. Slaughter say, “There was no doubt in Pilate’s mind that the verdict on Jesus should be not guilty, but the crowd wouldn’t let him…”

After waking up the slumbering students again she was pissed off that she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep and had to listed to this guy droning in monotone for another fifteen minutes.

If had to pay to attend here, I’d go back to my parent’s dairy farm.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Creative Outlets


 Creating Outlets I Enjoy:

Reading: there is nothing more creative than nurturing your imagination by escaping to another time, place, or universe in the written word. By becoming another person and living through that person in their world.

Writing: To look at a blank piece of paper or computer screen and create another world, time, place, and populate it with other people, monsters, aliens, mythical beings takes imagination and a sense of wonder. 

Plastic Canvas: While watching TV my wife and I make tissue box covers, place mats, coasters, office inboxes, note pad holders, legal pad folders, book marks and other items using yarn and plastic canvas. It keeps us from adding calories by eating in front of the idiot box. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Friday Five 041621

 

Today's words are: Long, tin, party, witch, earthquake

  

It felt good to get the brace off her finger. It was still a little sensitive, but before long it would be good as new.

Shanika got out of the shower, sprayed on some perfume and dressed in T-shirt, jeans, sandals and put in earrings. It was a Friday night and there wasn’t a game on Saturday. For the tall woman it was the first time since the semester began it was time to party.

The men’s JV team invited the Queens to a bonfire. They’d practiced with them for three weeks now on Tuesdays. It wouldn’t hurt to socialize.

It was behind the gym and on school grounds, which meant no booze. Small Baptist universities have a tendency to expel anyone caught drinking on campus; also, no weed. They like locating 40 miles from the nearest known sin.  

The real bummer about coming here. She had her stash wrapped in tin foil hidden in her closet. It would have to stay there.

Ray Spradling was the six-foot-eight center she practiced against. The first time she tried driving on him she bounced off and landed on her bottom. It felt like an earthquake had hit while trying to get up. She swayed too and fro, never feeling like that before. 

She learned how to drive around him and hit a jump hook, or swing under the basket and do a backwards Bankshot. It added a new dimension to her game.

Walking to the gym she could see others heading there too. Her spirits deflated, the Dean of Women, Mrs. Carpenter was walking that way too. “Witch is going to take all the joy out of tonight!”

Finding Ray by the fire she made him bend down to whisper in his ear, “Not a party if there’s a chaperone, is there some place we can go for some fun?”

He picked her up to eye level, something she wasn’t used to, and said, “My car awaits. There’s miles of farm land perfect for fun.”

 

 

 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

WC If I won the lottery

 


Today's topic: If I won the lottery I would...

I will never win the lottery because I don't throw my money away that way. The first episode of Numbers explained that if you bought 20 lottery tickets a day your chance of winning would be one in 20,000 years.

Okay I'll play along. Say I win a hundred million dollars. Great. Federal Taxes are 50% off the top. State and local taxes depend on where you live, but they take a bite.

A million bucks just became around 400,000.00. Great I can spend all that. Guess again, that is income for this year which places you into a higher income bracket and come recording time you're socked by federal and state taxes again. This is how those who win the lottery wind up bankrupt within two or three years. They go wild spending everything the first year and then the tax man cometh.

The only intelligent option if you win big on the lottery is take the yearly payments, put them in savings, cd's, bonds and live off the interest. 

Say after the tax man I net a million dollars. In a saving account that will generate around (depending on interest rate) $10,000.00 to 12,000.00 per month.

 With that I could upgrade my house and cars maybe add a summer home perhaps even a boat. There would still be money for travel and other living expenses without stretching your budget.

Finance, do not buy. Use each years' installment as income for the financing. Don't exceed your income and you'll do well.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Pathfinder of the Seas

 I've started writing a new novel. What has never happened to me before is that when I started researching the subject of my novel I was wondering how to write the life of a exceptional human being as fictionalized history. 

On a Friday night as I was trying to go to sleep and it hit me. Make it his autobiography, like Robert Graves did with I Claudius and Margaret George did with the The Autobiography of Henry VIII.

Then I started writing the story in my head. I couldn't stop it. All night I was telling his story. Saturday night the same, Sunday night it was driving me nuts. Monday I finally got to the office and am ready to write down everything I've thought about for three nights.

Reality hit. As I started writing I found that I needed names, dates, and the little details. I went in thinking that I would just magically get it all down in one day. I would up buying four biographies of the man, in book form, only one was available as an e-book. Then I had to wait for them to come in.

I've written the first ten pages and have the man finally getting ready to leave to be a midshipman in the navy in 1825.

 

This is the statue on Matthew Fontaine Maury as it looked in Richmond, Virginia.

On July 2nd of 2020, Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia ordered the removal of the statue of Matthew Fontaine Maury. The statue names Maury as “The Pathfinder of the Seas.” It was erected in 1929 on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.  Governor Stoney used his emergency powers to bypass a state-mandated review process, calling the statue a “Severe, immediate, and growing threat to public safety.”


The statue had been vandalized with various colors of paint calling Maury a racist. When the Civil War broke out, he sided with Virginia, his home state and resigned his commission in the Navy as Commander of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
I understand the Black Lives Matters movement to remove statues of Confederate generals and statesmen. As an historian I regret the removal of any historical figure, but I understand why some would want this, but Maury was a scientist, not a general or politician. His contribution to the world is still felt today. It makes no sense to deem the memory of this man "an immediate threat." 

He became a midshipman at age 19 and never owned a slave. His entire life was devoted to the sea and making sailing faster, safer and understanding the world's oceans.

Judge for yourself if this man's statue should have been removed.

Here are the life’s works of a man today considered to be threat to public safety:

1.   The father of Oceanography.

2.   Father of meteorology.

3.   Father of Physical Geography.

4.   Compiled the first comprehensive study of the ocean currents, wind, weather, temperature, animal and plant life, depths; the Gulf Stream; the effects of currents on land weather.

5.   Created the first scientifically detailed charts of all the world’s oceans and wind currents used by all military and merchant shipping from their introduction in 1848.

6.   His study of the Atlantic Ocean’s depth made the telegraph cable connecting the United States with Europe possible.

7.   In the 1830’s his articles in magazines criticizing certain problems in the Navy led to Congress creating the Naval Academy.

8.   He published The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855). A textbook translated into numerous languages and used by most navies of the world in the 19th century. It was used at Annapolis into the 1920’s.

9.   By 1858 Maury had over 137,540 vessels from most maritime countries gathering data to record the weather. This created the largest fleet to act in concert in history. It was the first time for the United States to lead in a branch of science.

10.      He revolutionized naval defenses by perfecting floating mines and electric torpedo.


In September 26, 1927 in a forward to the book Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas by Charles Lee Lewis, Admiral Richard E. Byrd wrote: Because I am soon to start my own expedition to the South Pole I am particularly interested in a letter (Matthew Fontaine) Maury wrote under the date of August 20, 1860, in which he said, “I have reason to believe that there is about the South Pole, a comparatively mild climate. The unexplored regions there embrace an area equal in extent to about one-sixth of all known land on the surface of the earth. I am quietly seeking to create in the minds of some an interest upon the subject, hoping thereby to foster a desire in the right quarters for an Antarctic expedition.”

 

Sixty-seven years after Maury wrote that letter and fifty-four years after his death his dream came true. Admiral Byrd reached the South Pole. 

He wasn't infallible. You could hardly describe the climate of Antarctica mild, or that the continent was that large. He had no idea how much of the area was ice shelf.

The only scientist to have more impact on world knowledge in the 19th century was Charles Darwin.

Why have I decided to write his life story? I married a Maury.

The first time I met my soon to be Father-in-law and we were getting to know one another he mentioned MFM, and said "No one has heard of him because he was a rebel."

Shortly after Linda and I were married I found a biography of MFM at a used book store. I gave it to Ed and he enjoyed reading about his ancestor. He gave it back and I read it. What an eye opener and I felt at the time that his life would make a great novel. 

I started writing Optimus: Praetorian Guard and it took me ten years, then when I retired I started writing other stories. MFM was always on the back burner until they removed his statue. I feel his story needs to be told to the world now more than ever. He was a man of his time and sided with his native state when the country split apart, but that should not negate all that he did and what he learned still has impact today.


The USNS Maury launched in 2013. It's an oceanographic survey ship. There have been other naval ships that bore his name. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Friday Five 040921


 Todays words are: hell, railroad, chief, abridge, past.

Shanika had to abridge her workouts. She could dribble with her right hand and throw two handed. She was very careful when catching it. She told me, “The slightest hit hurts like hell.”

I could sympathize. I suffered the same injury on my right hand while playing. The more she used the hand, the sooner it would heal.

Saturday, we had a home game against a junior college. They can be some of our toughest opponents or a cake walk. This team had two women that I was interested in recruiting. They were iffy academically in high school and I passed on them. I’m hoping they’re getting their grades up and I can have them to replace seniors on the team.

When they walked on the court, I recognized their new coach. He played for Texas Tech the last four years and was an outstanding power forward. He wasn’t quite good enough for the pros, and he most likely passed on junior high and high school wanting to coach at the college level.

From the tip off, Chief Lawson was yelling at his players. They scored the first point on a free throw and then the railroad hit them.

I didn’t play Shanika and when we were up thirty to one, I pulled first string. It was a massacre. He kept his first string in the whole game and yelled his head off the whole time. The more he yelled the worse they played. Final score 101-01.

I told the team to go over and hug every one of the other team and give them what encouragement they could. “Cry with them in sympathy, not pity.”

When Coach Lawson came to shake my hand, I refused and told him to follow me to my office. I’ve never been so angry in my life.

Behind my desk I could tell he was about to give me a piece of his mind about me running up the score. I beat him to the punch.

“I don’t care about how good a player you were in the past. You are an abomination as coach. I’m filing a complaint to the athletic director at your school. You are a bully, and have no business coaching a women’s team.”

I expected him to get angry and leave, even cuss me out. Instead, he hung his head in shame. That I could work with.

“You’re not married, are you?”

 “No,” he shook his head.

“Spent all your life with Mommy cleaning up after you and in the locker room.” He nodded his head. “You have no idea what women are like. Now either listen to my advice or quit. You are doing too much damage to good players. I was interested in Jolly James and Heather Smith, but after today I’ve a feeling they’ll drop out and go back to the inner city of Houston and wind up being single mothers working three jobs to put food on the table.”

Shaking his head, “This is the only way I know how to coach”

Listen up, Chief. “In a game even men and especially women need the coach to cheer them on. Everyone needs encouragement in competition.”

I took a breath, he nodded.

“The time for criticism is looking at the game tapes. Women need praise to keep them going. Negative reinforcement works for men. Women need positive reinforcement. Are you understanding what I’ve said?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he said.

“Good. I’m calling every coach you’re playing for the next three weeks and if they tell me, you’re still yelling at your players, we’ll all write a letter to your athletic director.”


Wednesday, April 07, 2021




 Todays topic is books I've chosen based on cover or title.



The first of many James Clavell books. I'd seen the cover in bookstores and news stands and it looked interesting. When it was announced that there was a min-series of it I bought it and read it before the mini-series started. I've read everything by Clavell since then and loved all of his books.




Fellow member of Writers2writers here in Albuquerque wrote this special book after seven women's bodies and one fetus were discovered buried on the West Mesa of Albuquerque. It's a tribute to the families of those who lost their daughters.





The first book in this series has the most eye catching cover and I just had to read the book. I've read every book in the series to date and eagerly awaiting the next.




Tony Roberts has the franchise on the Casca series and I've read all of the 25+ that he's written. He came out with a elf fantasy series, Dark Blade, and the covers caught my eye. They're not the usual type of covers. They are painting done in expressionist style. I really like them. I've read and re-read these books three times. They are fantastic.




Thursday, April 01, 2021

 



Todays words are: index, opposed, mark, suggest, depend

The game was well in hand. They were up by ten points against a worthy team with five minutes left. 

Coach Spain was happy with the team's performance and that they were pushed for the whole game. She called a time out and debated pulling Shanika out to see if the team could maintain the lead without her. If the score got under six points she'd send her back in.

Sure enough Delta State hit two three pointers and Shanika was back in the game. She posted up and the ball was passed to her. The defender deflected it and Shanika screamed. It hit full force on her index finger and bent it in half.

The ref called an injury time-out and the trainer took the injured player to the locker room.

Delta State inbounded and with another three pointer brought the score to within a point. Using her last time-out she told the team it was time to suck it up and win against adversity. "I depend on this team to win with or without Shanika. They're going to oppose the inbounds pass. Lisa break for the basket. Joyce throw it to her. I want a quick bucket and clamp down on number 4. Don't let her get the ball she's killing us. Now go get them."

Lisa caught the ball and was fouled on the lay-up. She took her mark for the free throw and it bounced off the rim. The ball bounced right back to her and was in her hand. She bounced it to Joyce who banked it in. Now they were up by four with twenty seconds left.

Delta State called a time-out. Karen told them to protect the three point line and let them get a two pointer. "Make them foul to stop the clock." She looked at Lisa, "I suggest you hit your shots, they're free after all."

Shanika was sitting on the bench with her finger in a brace and wrapped in tape.  They bumped her right hand before taking the floor.

The buzzer sounded to resume play.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

WC: TV Shows I've binge watched.


 The shows I've binge watched.

When I get home from the office and do my writing the wife wants to watch TV. There's not much on the networks we watch anymore.

With HULU, IMDB, Amazon Prime, Stars, Showtime, HBO Max, Encore, Epix and others there's always something to watch.

From the most recent to as far as I can remember.

Just watched all of WandaVison last night also two episodes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. 

Downton Abbey

Knight Rider (1980's)

JAG

Star Trek

Next Generation

Voyager

Enterprise

Discovery

Outlander

Black Sails

La Reina del Sur

Queen of the South

Billions

Ray Donovan

Spartacus

Game of Thrones





Friday, March 26, 2021


 Todays words are;  ego, pier, freight, pace, solo

Shanika was a needed boost to the team. In scrimmage she was hard to defend and on defense she was hard to shoot over or go around. 
There was a problem. She knew many of the teams they'd play against would be outmatched and they'd build a big lead quickly. If he sent in second string half way through the first half then varsity would lose conditioning when it would be needed against better opponents.
This led to the snide remark the there were three things that should be done in the dark: sex, kick the can, and women's basketball.
Their first game was a prize example. They were ahead thirty to five after seven minutes. She purposely made them slow the pace down, but kept the first team in for the rest of the half.
In the second half she put Shanika in with the second team and let her play solo offence for five minutes. The others only blocked and passed, Shanika scored. Then played only defense for the next five minutes. When the score was sixty to twenty and the other coached yelled, "Call the dogs off!" She pulled her and put the rest of the first team back in.
The next day she went out on the small pier on the lake in the middle of campus to think. She needed someone to challenge the team and the only solution bothered her. Making up her mind she went to the gym and cornered Coach Adams, the men's basketball coach.
"Tony," she asked would it bother you if your JV team would play a pick-up game with my girls once a week?"
Tony smiled, "That Shanika's like a freight train isn't she?" 
"Think you're guys are up to stopping her?"
"How's Wednesday sound?" Tony said.
"Meet you then," adding, "hope she doesn't beat up on George too badly. I'd hate to damage his ego."

Friday, March 19, 2021




 Todays words are: rebel, bank, salon, project, net

The tall dark complected girl walked onto the court and all eyes were on her. At six foot and one inch tall and a well formed one hundred and thirty pounds she was a giant compared to the other players who averaged five-ten.

Karen's first thought was that the gal had never been inside a hair salon. It was obvious with her wild hair that girl was a rebel

All the other members of the basketball team watched as the incoming freshman strolled over to the ball rack and grabbed one. She dribbled to the middle of the court did a half turn at the three point line and hit nothing but net. She ran to the ball, dribbled back to the three point line off to the left side and hit a perfect bank shot. She looked at the rest of the team with with a smirk that said, "I'm good."

A shrill whistle sounded and all eyes were on the coach standing at half court.  Coach could project her voice so that people in the next county could hear her. "Gather around," she said. They all formed a circle.

"Last year we lost in the title game because we lacked an inside game and poor rebounding. That's not going to happen this year."

She put her arm around the tall girl. "Meet Shanika,  our new post player."


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

WC My theme song

 


Today's topic: My theme song.


Secular: Memories from Cats and Do You Hear the People Sing from  Les Misérables. 


Religious theme songs: Christmas is O' Holy Night and What Child is this?

Easter is The Old Rugged Cross and He Lives.

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

Simple Writing

 

Berthold on his blog wrote a piece about the admonition that a writer should write as simply as possible. My response could not be condensed into a simple reply. I've had to think about it.

One of the greatest tools I used as a 7th-10th grade English teacher was this book. If You Can Talk, You Can Write. I was dealing with students reluctant to write their spelling words into a sentence. This book was a way to get students writing and overcome a reluctance to put pencil or pen to paper. It's baby food. It's a start and hopefully from there they will become capable of writing on their own. It's writing in it's simplest form. It should not be the norm!

Does that mean we should all still want to write like Shakespeare or Dickens? That would be silly and today's audience whose eyes and ears have been captivated by TV and movies wouldn't read it. This was a can of worms to me. How complex is too complex and how simple is too simple?

I equate the keep it simple tripe to "Dumb it down."

I think the wrong word here is simple. My definition would be to make your writing understandable


A lot of people bought Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, but wouldn't or couldn't understand one word out of ten of what he's saying. It was a way to impress guests at a party by having it on table or bookcase. Isaac Asimov, on the other hand, was a brilliant scientist, but he was gifted with the ability to take the most complex scientific and technological concepts and make them understandable. In Beginnings, he took life from the modern age to the big bang and made most of it is understandable. That is what we should strive for as writers.

If you strive for simplicity you face the horror I did as a teacher with textbook adoptions. History texts expressly. The problem here is what they called readability. If students are only reading at 3rd grade level then a high school textbook should be written at the third grade level. Pure bullshit. You could not believe the garbage they tried to pass off for developmental students. No wonder they can't read, what they're offering is unreadable. Think Donald Trump trying to explain the Declaration of Independence.

When I first taught 7th grade English I found girls were reading Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, Daniel Steel. Boys were looking at the pictures in Playboy and Penthouse. Not in my classroom, but you get the drift, If they had a National Geographic it was for naked Pygmies.

Growing up, in 7th grade we read Edgar Allen Poe, and I loved his stories. I got a classroom set of Poe's books and had to read it aloud and explain every other word. I tried Mickey Spillane's murder mysteries. The boys yawned. Then I had them read Barry Sadler's Casca books. They are simple, straight to the point, but the history was sound and they could identify with a soldier going through all the major battles of the world since the first century ACE. I found books for boys in their formative reading years that they were interested in and wanted to read. The vocabulary wasn't difficult, but it wasn't dumbed down. It was understandable.