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

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.