Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas 2019

The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2

  1. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David
  2. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
  3. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
  4. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
  5. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  6. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
  7. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
  8. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
  9. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
  10. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
  11. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Press 1 If You'd Like To Speak To A Representative...

You know those calls you get where the warranty on your car is out, or you can lower your credit card interest rate, or whatever? They say "Press '1' if you'd like to speak to a representative" or some such, right? Well, I used to press the number and then when the person came on, play Van McCoy's "The Hustle" into the phone. A family member came up with that idea. Or maybe I did. I don't recall. But, whoever came up with it, I would do that. But no longer.

It's a hassle to pull up a music player to play into the phone. Sometimes, it's easy, but other times, not so much.

Now, I press 1. Or whatever number they say.

I press it. Then I press it again. Then again. Then again. And so on and so on until they hang up.

It's really easy to do. All you have to do is press a number on the phone. Simple.

I may expand on that and play actual tunes. Funkytown, for instance.

5 5 7 5 4 4 5 0 8 5

Maybe Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

1 1 9 9 # # 9 6 6 3 3 2 2 1

I'm sure there's a lot more to play. I'm gonna keep with the single note over and over for now. But I do see Funkytown on my possible playlist.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


One of my favorite things to listen to during this time is Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." Not just The Nutcracker Suite, with which most are familiar, but the entire music from the ballet. I even have a couple of versions of The Nutcracker on video.

One is a movie starring The Pacific Northwest Ballet, narrated by Julie Christie. The other is George Balanchine's version, starring Macaulay Culkin and narrated by Keven Kline.

The Pacific Northwest Ballet version is a creepier version, partly to the performance of Hugh Duncan Bigney Mitchell (known then simply as Hugh Bigney) and his dedication to the role of Drosselmeyer. They used the name "Clara" for the main girl's character, performed as an adult by Patricia Barker. The Balanchine used the name "Marie" for the girl, and included Drosselmeyer's nephew (played by Culkin), a character missing from the PNB version.

Some in the family prefer the Balanchine version, some the PNB version, and some prefer neither. I just love the music.

Here's a little something to get you into the mood. The Vermont Youth Philharmonia performs two movements "The Nutcracker."


By the way, Tchaikovsky premiered "The Nutcracker" on 18 December 1892 in Saint Petersburg, the one in Russia, not the one by Tampa.

Monday, December 9, 2019

College Football Playoff (As It Should Be) 2019

Every year for the last -- oh, I don't know how long, for a while -- I've posted about the college football playoffs. Actually, about how the college football playoffs should be.

Not everybody agrees with with my plan, but it has a few things going for it. First, here's the plan:
  • All conference champions qualify for the tournament. Those are the top ten seeds.
  • The six best teams that didn't win a conference title qualify. That rounds out the field of 16.
  • Higher seeds host the first-round games. Four bowls host the second-round games.
  • First round losers still qualify for bowls.
This deals with the issue that has arisen about non-conference champions. Some feel you must win a conference championship to be in the playoffs. That's a valid concern, and this plan covers it.

Some say that there are teams that didn't win their conference that are better than many conference champs. That's a valid concern, and this plan covers it.

Some say this calls for teams to play too many games. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division 1-AA/FCS teams, which has a 24-team field. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division II, which has a 28-team field. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division III, which has a 32-team field. If those schools can handle extra playoff games, then the bigger schools can.

Here's how the playoffs would line up this year:

1 Louisiana State (Southeastern Conference) #1 (CFP)
2 Ohio State (Big Ten Conference) #2 (CFP)
3 Clemson (Atlantic Coast Conference) #3 (CFP)
4 Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference) #4 (CFP)
5 Oregon (Pac-12 Conference) #6 (CFP)
6 Memphis (American Athletic Conference) #17 (CFP)
7 Boise State (Mountain West Conference) #19 (CFP)
8 Appalachian State (Sun Belt Conference) #20 (CFP)
9 Florida Atlantic (Conference USA) #32 (Coaches)
10 Miami (Ohio) (Mid-American Conference) Unranked
11 Georgia (At-large) #5 (CFP)
12 Baylor (At-large) #7 (CFP)
13 Wisconsin (At-large) #8 (CFP)
14 Florida (At-large) #9 (CFP)
15 Penn State (At-large) #10 (CFP)
16 Utah (At-large) #11 (CFP)

This would make some pretty good match-ups, equal to or better than some of the bowl games involving the teams in the field of 16.

Utah (11-2) at Louisiana State (13-0)
Penn State (10-2) at Ohio State (13-0)
Florida (10-2) at Clemson (13-0)
Wisconsin (10-3) at Oklahoma (12-1)
Baylor (11-2) at Oregon (11-2)
Georgia (11-2) at Memphis (12-1)
Miami (Ohio) (8-5) at Boise State (12-1)
Florida Atlantic (10-3) at Appalachian State (12-1)

The weakest matchup is the Miami (Ohio) vs. Boise State. However, it's no weaker than Boise State's bowl game (vs 7-5 Washington) or Miami (Ohio) bowl (vs 10-3 Louisiana-Lafayette).

You might not be on board with this, but that's okay. You have the right to be wrong.