Monday, September 24, 2012

How good is the Farmers Almanac at forecasting the weather?

Judging by how they predicted 2012 would go....not very good at all.

Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services compared what actually happened in 2012 against the almanac's forecast.  

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy the Farmers Almanac next time around. Just don't bet your last dime on the weather forecasts.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

On this first day of autumn....

...the weather for once matches the season. It was sunny and pleasant, though the breeze had a bit of bite to it. I was reminded of this clip from NFL Films:

It was the brainchild of Steve Sabol, the legendary mythmaker and son of NFL Films founder Ed Sabol. Steve was the creative genius behind the countless NFL Films products that helped transform football into the most popular sport in America.

Steve died last week at the age of 69. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for a story some years back, and he loved telling stories even to a journalist he'd never heard of out in the middle of America.

Rest in peace, Steve. You changed the sport you loved, as well as the medium with which you chose to do it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This little piggy's a hero

Another example of compassion by an animal for another species. You'll watch this more than once - I guarantee it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A very special touchdown

Years from now, the players at Maize and Maize South won't remember the final score of the middle school football game they played in the suburb of Wichita last Tuesday.

But they'll remember the touchdown they let Brett Loving score late in the game. Brett was born with a muscular disorder that makes something like playing football out of the question. His parents allowed him to join the football team so he could enjoy the camaraderie.

Late in last Tuesday's game, the coaches for both teams agreed to a play that would let Brett score. I get tears in my eyes every time I watch it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Floating, indeed

I had never heard this piece of music before a friend shared it with me. I found it captivating and aptly named......and I'll be looking for more of Dave Eggar's music.....

Daughter introduces father's at-bat

It happened in Saturday's Major League Baseball game between the archrivals San Francisco and Los Angeles (which actually has its roots from when both teams were in New York).

Regardless of your rooting interest, however, this moment can't help but touch your heart.

And the crystal ball says.....

OK, I know the NFL season began Wednesday night when the Cowboys whipped the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

But for all practical purposes, the season gets under way today. And I can't seem to let each year kick off without predicting who will win (and who won't come close).

If you want a chuckle or two, here are my predictions for last season. Nobody saw Denver winning the AFC West, thanks to Tebow Magic. Then again, nobody saw Eli Manning and the Giants winning it all, particularly when they were just a .500 team late in the regular season.

And now Tebow isn't even with Denver anymore. Peyton Manning is, however, and that still is hard for this fervent Bronco fan to believe. If he can stay healthy, it makes the AFC West arguably the most compelling (and wide-open) division in the league. Any of three teams could make compelling arguments that they'll win it - and even Oakland fans can devise a scenario that's not three parts fantasy and one part folly. Keep an eye on Kansas City, which had an awful preseason but still retains one of the deepest rosters in the AFC and has several key skill players coming back from major injuries. I think Denver will be much stronger than it was last year, but faces such a tough schedule it won't make the playoffs.

It's hard not to go with New England again, because Tom Brady is still taking the snaps, but Baltimore was a short, shanked field goal from the Super Bowl last year. Both the Patriots and Ravens have significant questions about their defense, however.

Houston is a trendy pick, but if quarterback Matt Schaub gets hurt...

Over in the NFC, Green Bay's going to have fire in their eyes after going 15-1 in the regular season and then losing their first playoff game to the Giants. Unless the Packers are decimated by injury,however, the NFC goes through Lambeau Field.

Green Bay in winter will challenge the young, hungry 49ers, who are probably the second-best team in the NFC. New Orleans remains mighty strong, but the absence of their head coach through suspension has to have an impact on how far they go this season.

I think Dallas is poised for a big season, along with Philadelphia. The Cowboys have underachieved for a few years now, and Philly's had a year to gel after bringing in a boatload of new players last season.

It'll be interesting to watch all the rookie quarterbacks - with five set to start, that's the most in NFL history. Ironically, most look like they have what it takes to do well.

Although Brandon Weeden in Cleveland is likely to flame out if for no other reason than he plays for the Browns and is likely to take a severe beating.

But I hope I'm wrong, simply because no one should suffer such a fate. The NFL is such a brutal sport it commonly shortens the lives of its players.

Here's to a great season. I hope another Manning is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, only this time it's Eli's older brother.


1.       New England
2.       Buffalo
3.       NY Jets
4.       Miami

1.       Baltimore
2.       Pittsburgh
3. Cincinnati

4.      Cleveland

1.       Houston
2.       Tennessee
3.       Jacksonville
4.       Indianapolis

1.       Kansas City
2.       San Diego
3. Denver
4.       Oakland


1.       Dallas
2.       Philadelphia
3.      New York
4.      Washington

1.       Green Bay
2.       Chicago
3.       Detroit
4.       Minnesota
1.       New Orleans
2.       Atlanta
3.       Carolina
4.       Tampa Bay

1.       San Francisco
2.       Seattle
3.       St.  Louis
4.       Arizona


New England, Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City
Wild cards: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

Dallas, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco
Wild cards: Philadelphia, Chicago

Championship Games:
Baltimore over New England
Green Bay over San Francisco

Super Bowl

Green Bay over Baltimore

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"America needs no words from me...."

So said Mother Teresa of Calcutta in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994, the full text of which you can read here.

But her words in that brief are powerful indeed. And I found this segment of the letter particularly compelling, after watching recent news clips of women criticizing other women for having large families....or simply having children at all.

"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts - a child - as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The little boy on the train

I heard the train whistle as I was walking at Towne West mall late Sunday afternoon, so I moved to the right to let the little choo-choo pass.

The train is usually crammed with kids. But this one was empty - clear to the last car.

A young father sat snugly, his arm curled protectively around a son who couldn't have been more than three years old. The boy was standing so he could have a better view.

He was completely bald. I wondered why a child that age would have no hair on his head, and then our eyes met - and I knew.

His luminous, coal-black eyes had a sadness to them, a wisdom, that comes from deep suffering - both his own and what he has witnessed. I've seen that look numerous times in children who were battling cancer or other grave illnesses.

Such battles make children grow up in a hurry. But this lad still had enough little boy left in him to grin when I smiled at him.

As the end of the train moved past me, he raised his arms above his head so he could feel the air rushing ever so gently past him.

When the train passed the front of a clothing store, he turned and waved at a handful of mannequins in the window, as if it was a crowd standing next to the tracks.

That's when I saw the scar.

It had the shape of a half-moon, perhaps three inches from point to point, and had healed well. I found myself wondering if surgeons had removed a brain tumor, and said a quick prayer for his recovery.

Part of me wanted to run ahead, catch the train and introduce myself. But just then a woman came over the loudspeakers and announced that the mall was closing. I realized I'd never make it to the debarkation point in time, and without my reporter's ID the father would probably question my sanity and motives.

And so I'll be left with memories of that fleeting moment in the mall, and how things we commonly take for granted can mean so much to a little boy.