Opening Day

Jeter HBP

Jeter HBP

April 1, 2014 (April Fool’s Day)
Post-game locker room dialogue

Player A: “I’m beat. That was a workout.”

Player B: “Wow, it’s humid in Houston.”

Random Player: “Is there shrimp on the buffet tonight?”

Player B: “Wow, it rocks to be a New York Yankee even when we lose.”

Player A: “That first inning was rough. I thought it would never end. Hope we play better when the season starts.”

The Captain: “The season has started. Today was opening day. That was the first game of my last year in baseball.”

Player B: “Wow, we were bad. I haven’t been on a team this bad since … since … I don’t know when I’ve been on a team that played this bad. But at least we’re the Yankees.”

The Captain: “Can I get some more ice packs over here?”

Random Player: “Can you have a triple-digit ERA?”

Player A: “Funny to start the season with an interleague game.”

The Captain: “Houston is in the American League.”

Player A: “Since when?”

Random Player: “What strip club did A-Rod say was good in this town?”

Player B: “Wow, that was an embarassing first game.”

Player A: “This was a real game?”

The Captain: “Well, it was supposed to be.”

Random Player: “Can you spell ‘ace’ without the letter ‘C’?”

The Captain: “Guys, we came back in the later innings; we’ve got momentum. There are 162 games in a season. We win as a team; we lose as a team. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.”

Player A: “There’s 162 games in a season? Do we have to play them all?”



Record: 0-1  / Ceremonies in the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour: 1

Girl Scout Silhouette

A Girl Scout Cadette from Troop 1094 made this typographic sihouette with a word cloud generated by Tagxedo.  Good job!

A Girl Scout Cadette from Troop 1094 made this typographic sihouette with a word cloud generated by Tagxedo. Good job!

My Girl Scout troop created these for their parents as Christmas gifts. Although This was my idea, I look at lots of examples of typographic art and was certainly influenced by many silhouettes with typographic elements. There are a number of ways to get this effect — and a much more sohpistcated product — using graphic design programs, but this is a project for girls. How much if this is done by the girls and how much by the leader depends on the age of the girls and the meeting time available. You are welcome to use this project for your Girl Scout troop! I think there are a number of applications,  and this technique would be cute to do as Valentine’s and other themes, with or without Girl Scout words. Here’s what we used and what we did.

Digital profile picture of Girl Scouts
Copy paper
Black cardstock (8.5″ x 11″)
Green cardstock (8.5″ x 11″)
Glue stick scissors
Frame from dollar store (certificate size: 8.5″ x 11″)

Troop 1094 in the clubhouse with the typographic silhouettes they made featuring words from the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The silhouettes will be given to their parents as Christmas presents.

Troop 1094 in the clubhouse with the typographic silhouettes they made featuring words from the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The silhouettes will be given to their parents as Christmas presents.

1. Take profile pictures of girls. At next week’s meeting, take profile pictures of girls who were absent.
2. In photo editing program or word processor, enlarge photos to approximately 8″ tall and 6″ wide, or whatever comes close and looks good.
3. Print out pictures (b&w, plain paper is fine).
4. Cut out pictures along outline of image. Use discretion with hairdo’s. Some elements might meed to be eliminated to make girl look human. Higher pony tails are especially cute. You can cut bottom of neck as a straight line of at an angle (higher in the back usually looks better).
5. Trace cut out picture onto black cardstock using pencil.
6. Cut out silhouette in black cardstock. I use little scissors.
7. Create word clouds of words in Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law. Word clouds can be easily created in Tagxedo (pc) or Wordle (mac) Experiment with fonts, emphasis (relative size), and color schemes. Although we printed ours in b&w, different color schemes create altered grey shades.
8. Cut out words from various printed word clouds. Choose specific words, fonts, and sizes to suit yourself!
9. Glue words onto black silhouette using glue stick. Try to cover as much if the silhouette as possible, but even if girls don’t have the patience to so that, the result still looks good.
10. Trim carefully around edge of silhouette, cleaning up any overhanging words.
11. Glue silhouette to green cardstock.
12. Put silhouette on green cardstock into frame.

I love projects that focus on the words — and therfore the concepts behind the words — of the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law.  These simple lines contain everything you’ll ever need to do to be successful and happy. This project is nice because it also allows girls a great deal of individuality and choice in content and design elements.  The result really does represent each individual girl, graphically and intellectually.

Finally, projects that help girls build a Girl scout identity help them stay involved.  I took a cue from the alumni departments of universities.  They want to sell you product not only to make money on sales, but to help you identify as an alum.  The same principle works for Girl Scouts.  Making projects that reflect Girl Scout values helps girls develop a commitment to staying involved in Girl Scouting and make their families more willing to continue supporting that relationship, even in the face of competition on their time, energy, and finances.  For girls to build courage, confidence, and character as Girl Scouts, they need to stay Girl Scouts.

OK, enough philosophy.  Let’s get crafting.  If you decide to do this project with your troop, let me know how it turns out.  We’d love to see the results.

Class links

Here are the links to the blogs class members created for this course.  Reading others’ blogs, following others’ blogs, replying to others’ blog posts, and responding to others’ blog posts on your own blog are worthy pursuits.

Akshondre Smith:

Chris Wolford:

Emma Stephanie Moreno:

Garrett Kyte:

Jaxon Fowler:

Jerico Donovan:

Joe Rozek:

Justin Jensen:

Lexie Reidhead:

Malloree Langston:

Matthew Porrazzo:

Nick Drost:

Robert Skinner:

Shaun Russon: (currently private.  Shaun you need to open this blog for all readers.  Thanks.)

Steve Sinclair:

Wesley Tietjen:


Lance Armstrong throws in the musette bag.  As of this week, Greg LeMond will be the only American to have won the Tour de France.

It was too disturbing for Lance to fight anymore.  Really?  Other than actual fighters in boxing, MMA, combat sports (and even more than some of them), LA is the biggest, best, strongest fighter I have ever seen.  He fought cancer.  End-stage metastacized cancer.  And won.  He fought the battle every year to get into racing shape.  Training, testing, discipline. And won.  He found thousands of talented athletes in the Alps and Pyrenees.  And won.  And won.  And won.  But now, suddenly, he’s got no fight left?

I’ve never claimed Lance, the super-human, long-femured, oversized atria, lactic-acid tolerant god, raced clean.  The Tour de France is the longest, hardest endurance test held annually for 100 years.  Yeah, Martin Strel swam the Mississippi, Yangtze, and Danube rivers. Sure, crazy people run the Badwater (135 miles running through Death Valley and up into the Panamint Mountains, in the summer).  But the Tour de France has been around for 100 years.  Bike racing regularly kills people.  The bikers race each other as well as the terrain.  I have watched LA do amazing things with his bike, his body, and his brains.  But I never said he was clean.

No one who wins in professional stage racing is clean, or at least they haven’t been for the past 30 years.  Actually longer than that, right?  Some guy died in Bordeaux-Paris in the 1880s after drinking caffeine, cocaine, and strychnine to improve performance.   The first ¾ of the 20th century was, um, laced, if you will, with amphetamines.  Since doping was made illegal in bike racing in 1965, the history of doping in modern bike racing is omnipresent:  steroids, hormones, EPO, and blood doping. 

Eddy Merckx, Tom Simpson, Laurent Fignon, Bjarne Riis, Richard Virenque, Marco Pantani, Christophe Moreau, Tyler Hamilton, David Millar, Alexandre Vinokourov, Ivan Basso, Manuel Beltran, Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro (who was handed the 2007 tour victory after Landis was stripped), Alejandro Valverde, Alessandro Pettachi, Jan Ulrich, Alberto Contador, Frank Schleck, Lance Armstrong.  Since Miguel Indurain won, only Carlos Sastre (’08) and the last three Tour winners (Andy Schleck ’10 received the title after Contador was stripped, Cadel Evans ’11, and Bradley Wiggins ’12) have not incurred doping suspensions or expulsions. 

And who is awarded Lance’s 7 wins once they are vacated?  The 2000, the 10th place finisher, Daniele Nardello, is the first rider never implicated in doping.  In 2002 and 2004, Carlos Sastre, who  finished 10th and 6th respectively, is the first.  I’m going to say it straight out:  everybody who was winning stage races was doping.  Everybody. 

I’m not sure what that means for Lance Armstrong’s wins.  I’m not sure what that means for bike racing.  Is it the dirtiest sport?  Maybe, but baseball comes close after it if that’s true.  I am often reminded of Pete Rose (who probably only doped for the fun of it).  Pete Rose is the all-time MLB leader in hits, games played, and at bats.  He has three World Series rings, two Gold Gloves, and both an MVP and Rookie of the Year.  When discussing baseball, SOMEBODY made those 4,256 hits.  We can pretend Charlie Hustle doesn’t hold the record because he was banned, but that awards the most hits to Ty Cobb, one of the most despicable men to ever play baseball.

“I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours,” LA, August 23, 2012

Here’s what I think:  we can’t clean up dirty history.  Tyler shot the arrow that brought him down, and this result was obvious ever since the 60 Minutes interview ( But Lance won seven after cancer while doping in a doped field.  I watched them all, I knew it at the time, and I’m not sure that was cheating.   I knew this was coming.  And I’m surprised it doesn’t bother me more. 

Here’s some of the best writing about Lance.  Reading these articles will help you in with the midterm and final exams.

“The Long Ride” by Michael Specter (The New Yorker, July 2002)

“Lance Armstrong Rides Again” by Douglas Brinkley (Vanity Fair, September 2008)

“Big Fish” by Brian Alexander (Outside Managzine, September 2010)

“The Case Against Lance Armstrong” by Selena Roberts and David Epstein (Sports Illustrated, Januaru 2011)

“It’s Not About the Lab Rats”  by Bill Gifford (Outside Magazine, February 2012)

“Lance Armstrong’s Endgame” by Bill Strickland (Bicycling, August 2012) 

The Sabermetrics of Peaches

A short weekend.  Spent Friday and Saturday at the Girl Scouts of Utah annual meeting, held at a camp four and a half hours north.  Strange to be in the canyon, with leaves already turning, and the air after midnight positively chilly.  Sleeping in a wood-floored, canvas-walled tent brought out the silly giggles far into the night.  Perhaps it’s the moldy canvas that turns us into 10-year old girls again?

On the way back down to this intersection of the Mohave, Great Basin, and Sonoran deserts, I stopped and bought a case of peaches at a fruit stand I used to frequent when I lived in Utah County.  Reflecting on peach selection seems like managing a baseball team.  There was a box of ripe, rich, juicy peaches that looked fantastic.  Perfect.  I could already feel the juice running down my chin.  But no, they were ripe enough that they had to be used immediately, and they wouldn’t survive a 4+ hour car trip through the always under construction I-15 desert freeway, even in 21st century air conditioning.  Peaches that ripe turn to mush if you even breathe on them, and the trip would have ruined them.  I chose a box of firm, perhaps even hard, Elberta peaches that will ripen slowly during the next week.  The downside?  No immediate gratification.  No lovely peach smell wafting through the SUV during the drive, no delectable peaches when I arrive home.  Just haul the box inside, and wait, and hope.   

With what seems like half the Yankees on the DL (notably A-Rod and CC, and with Tex just back), I am concerned about the aging team.  Yes, Jeet’s having a year.  And I’m happy for him.  He seemed to get a second wind about the 3,000 hit mark, and rumor has it that he partied less and stayed in shape more over the winter.  But maybe Tiger was just busy trying to resurrect his life and couldn’t spend as much time in playa pursuits.  We only buy old guys, and we trade away the young talent we do raise.  I get that we’re supposed to win every year.  I understand (well, sort of) the pressure on Cashman to get it done NOW.  But our lineup looks suspiciously like that box of oh-so-good-lookin’ ripe peaches.  They’re wonderful, but they won’t last and they don’t travel well.  The turning leaves up Provo Canyon reminded me that the dog days are almost over.  While I’m never sad for a bit of a temperature downturn (like to 80), I’m nervous.  The White Sox kicked our butts.  The schedule for August and September is turning out to be as tough as it looked on paper. 

The Girl Scout meeting was generally terrible.  There was one highlight, which I’ll get to in a minute, but the overall tendency of the 40+ paid GSU staff to treat the volunteer GS leadership as if we are idiots is disturbing.  The ceaseless dog-and-pony show atmosphere of self-congratulation interspersed with testimony-like tears was inexcusable given the potential for learning based on the combined experience of those present and the number of hours we spent there.   Every year the camp holds a “Never the Same” weekend, which has nothing to do with this meeting but prompts me to proclaim, “Never Again” to attending this particular annual event.  No useful information.  No interesting discussions.  No inspiration.  Nada.  Like a European soccer game that ends 0-0 but without any actual game being played. 

The high point of the weekend was Dr. Susan Madsen (UVU) discussing her research into women and higher education in Utah.  I’ve heard all the stats before, but it was nice to be part of a non-higher ed audience and hear the same thing:  we need to empower people, particularly young females in Utah, to graduate from college.  The numbers are dismal, and that’s in a state where the number of college attendees is plummeting (37% of high school graduates in my county) and where the number of females college graduates is abysmal.  It leads me to think about what I can do on scales both large and small to make an impact, but I have no earth shattering answers.  Yet.  The combination of a terrible meeting and the education stats make me think about how best to get the class moving in the right direction.  I’ve tried to instill some engagement with the class structure, but I’m worried that the class members think that a sports class is easy and fun and not hard work. 

The first week of classes is over, and I have to say I’m frightened.  Yes, the parking situation is horrible on campus (almost enough to make me want to get to work before 8:00 a.m.), but I’m more worried about the 3900 class.  Fewer than 1/3 of the students in a small class finished all assignments /submissions AND attended all three classes thus far.  Really?  I won’t give up hope yet (I’ve seen teams turn around after a horrible April), but the slow start is ominous. 

In the meantime, I’ll finish my next post on the real news of the week.  No, it’s not Melky testing dirty, although that’s sad, but it’s close.

Sunday Bloody Sunday or “I Love LA”?

World War II reprise (German v. England) in World Cup this morning was a great match.  Soccer the way it should be played.  I’m not sure where Rooney is going to hide when he goes home.  Argentina romped, of course.  I have to look at the groups again; will Argentina face Brazil?  That would be the true championship.  I’m waiting to comment on the officiating since, as bad as it’s been, nothing’s as bad as Jim Joyce’s call, and I don’t want to make him feel any worse. 

Listened to Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind today.  Truly a phenomenal song, and Jay-Z is a much more interesting guy than the hip hop, rapper label leads one to believe.  The chorus of that song (featuring Alicia Keys) is the soundtrack for a Rescue Me promo, featuring Jeter.  Rescue Me:  Cradle to Grave —

That led to watching the 15-minute Absolut “documentary” on Jay-Z, which was well done also:  NY-Z —

OK, today’s game.  What to say?  These guys are going to give me a heart attack.  Crappy play throughout, until the top of the 9th.  Had to listen to Joe Morgan, but that’s still better than Tim McCarver.  Joe Buck and Jon Miller are fine (well, Joe does get a little cranky at times on the road), but the two yahoos should be working NASCAR or something.  Can’t stand either of them or their self-aggrandizing blathering.  They make me yearn for a zuzuvella.   

Don’t tell me this one is just another game for Joe Torre.  He has looked like he has agita during all the ballgames, even when the Dodgers are winning.  I understand why he hates the Yankee organization, but hey, just admit it.  He brings in the closer Broxton in a non-close situation (after another relief pitcher got ready when the lead was extended).  Yankees score 4 the hard way to make it a tie game. Good work A-Rod, Robbie (RBI double), and Georgie (who worked an awesome 10 pitch at bat then singled), Curtis walked, Chad Huffman 2 RBI single, Colin Curtis sacrifices.  I BURNED THE DINNER while all this was going on.  I think it was worth it.

Then LA intentionally walks Jeter and Cervelli makes the final out out.  When facing good pitching, these boys just wait to get to the bullpen.  And for the sun to go down, “playa”s that they are. Tie game in the bottom of the ninth.  

Mariano 1-2-3.  Extra innings!  3, 4, and 5 hitters due up.  Let’s go Yankees!!

Mark has a base hit.  He’s fast becoming my new favorite Yankee.  I’ll have to check to see if his taste in entrance music is any better than Jeter’s:  “I’m a Flirt”, “That’s That S***”, and assorted other songs about money, cars, ho’s, and the gangsta lifestyle. 

A-Rod (clap clap) A-Rod (clap clap) A-Rod (clap clap).  My niece knows all the players chants, even if she didn’t know Mark Teixeira was someone’s name.  Great play by Furcal who almost robs A-Rod (lead runner out at 2nd). Pitching change for Robinson.  Uh oh, 0-11 against Sherrill.  Second pitch fastball — HOME RUN!  Earlier I thought the scene out in left field with the sun setting silhouetting the palm trees was quite nice.  Well, it’s really nice since that is where Cano puts the ball.  Yankees up, 8-6.  MVP MVP MVP.

Rivera back out for a second inning.  Not just another game, is it?  Tha Yankees Win!  Interleague play ends … until the World Series.  😉

Of course, Joe Morgan says he always knew Cano had greatness in him.  Yea, right, thanks, Joe.  I call a mulligan on dinner.