Sunday, April 30, 2006


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Over the years I have personally met and, in some cases, talked to the following individuals who are either nationally known or at least recognized by a lot of folks. I have met a number of well known celebrities/individuals while attending a conference or workshop from time to time but the list below includes celebrites I simply bumped into when I least expected it. Following are some of the “close encounters of the celebrity kind” and a breif description of the encounters.

Bill Walton: Bill Walton is the greatest college basketball "I" have ever seen. His passion, intensity, and selflish team first attitude were legendary in the annuals of sports history. A reincarnation of Bill Russell but a Bill Russell who could shoot and score when needed...and...maybe the greatest passing center in history. His performance against Memphis State in the NCAA finals was arguably one of, if not, the greatest single big game college performance of all time. Walton scored 42 points which included making 21 of 22 shots which is still an NCAA record for the college tournament….While attending Oregon State during the early 1980’s I met and talked to Bill Walton for about five minutes. The encounter occurred at the end of the UCLA/Oregon State game. At the time Walton was the broadcaster for the Bruins and I was a student at Oregon State. When the game ended between the Bruins and the Beavers I walked down to floor where Walton was standing by himself. Apparently no one wanted to talk to him since he is a Bruin grad who brought a significant amount of pain and grief to Beaver fans during his three year stint at UCLA. I walked up to him, introduced myself and told him I was from Southern California and admired his game both in college and the pros. I don’t remember anything in particular he said but I do remember him as a gracious person who took the time to entertain/ indulge me and sign an autograph request before we both went on our merry way.

Dan Fouts: Dan Fouts, imo, is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. While he never won the superbowl he was the field general of one of the greatest offenses in NFL history and if his San Diego Chargers hadn’t played in the coldest game in history, in Cincinnati back in the 80's, I am sure they would have won at least one Super Bowl…. Meeting Dan Fouts was probably my most unusual encounter. While camping in a wilderness area in Oregon back in the 80’s a friend and I camped next to a group of guys who appeared to just be hangin out and fishing. As we walked by thier campsite I caught a glance of a guy who looked like Dan Fouts. My buddy got a look as well but didn't think it was him. For the next hour my buddy and I argued back and forth over the bearded plaid shirt camper who was camping in the same campground as us. Dan Fouts is a graduate of the University Oregon I reminded my friend therefore it was possible, if not plausable, that he might just be hangin out in Oregon during the offseason with friends or family. My friend countered by arguing that big time quarterbacks don't hang out in primitive campgrounds, with no showers, and sleep on the ground in tents. They at least rent one of the monstrous RV's with satellite dishes so they can watch ESPN's Sportscenter before they go to bed each night. Back and forth, back and forth, we went. Finally, I got up the courage to walk over to their campsite and settle the feud once and for all. The camper we were acquiring about was not there at the time but a couple of his buddies were so we told them about our little feud. The gentleman we told our story to chuckled and introduced himself as Dan Fouts brother. Dan was off fishing for the day but would be back later. We never came back later for reasons I don't remember and even though I never got to shake Mr. Fouts hand or personally talk to him I was content to win the arguement with my buddy and retell this story more times than I can remember.

John Madden: Ex-coach of the Oakland Raiders and Monday Night Football icon....While visiting Carmel California about ten years ago I walked past an outdoor wedding in progress. Outdoor weddings I suspect are common in Carmel where the weather never gets above 75. On this particular day I just happened to notice a white haired gentleman talking to this huge guy about fifty feet away. The guy looked like John I got as close as I could to this private wedding and as I glanced around I noticed that there were alot of really big guys walking to and fro. Not sure exactly how close I got but I did get close enough to positively I.D. John Madden. I suspect it was the wedding of some football players since many of the attendees were so huge. I was in a hurry and couldn't hang around so I never was able to I.D. any of the players.

Carl Weathers: Rocky fame/Apollo Creed... Years ago I went to a little outdoor cafe in Pasadena Ca. and the waitress sat my friend and I next to Apollo Creed. I am sure it was him because he couldn't have been more three feet away. He was looking buff and wearing a sporty green beret and sitting next to an attractive female I did not recognize. During our lunch I found myself eavesdropping from time to time on their conversation but I don't remember anything they said. In hindsight, I probably should have introduced myself as Rocky Balboa and asked him if he wanted one more rematch.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Had a series of interesting conversations last night while hanging out with some of my colleagues which included an administator at work, two science, one english and social studies teacher and a local journalist. The conversation centered around philosophy, particularly postmodernism and it's relationship to Christianity. I won't go into all of what was said because it would probably take me hours so I'll limit myself to a few comments. For most of the evening I found myself covering the usual ground which means "trying" to explain what Postmoderism is not. Most folks associate Postmodernism with moral relativism/ anti-reason/logic/science/technology and religion. Did my best at trying to explain that postmodernism, as I understand/interpret it, is not against modernity and it's applications, but do concede it raises doubts and is critical to the "supremacy and monopoly" of the Enlightment/Modernism's methodology, assumptions, and applications. In my world, questioning or being critical of something is not the same thing as being against/anti, but, unfortunately alot of folks don't seem to understand or agree with this nuance.....regarding moral relativism.....In my book everyone is a moral relativist if you interpret moral relativism as an attempt to take situations and context into consideration when making ethical decisions which I believe is what everyone does to one degree or another. Also, as I understand postmodernism and ethics, postmodernists are not saying truth, right and wrong, etc. don't exist, but rather, they and I, do question the "foundations" truth claims are based on, which means that rationalists, fundamentalists,existentialists, or any other ists or isms no longer get a free ride...either or/black and white is no longer naturally assumed particularly when it comes to historical,theological,philosophical interpretation and metaphysical certainity. This does not imply that truth with a capital "T" does not exist but my ability to fully understand and assertain the full scope of such intellectual endeavors is limited by my limits as an individual and the limits of science, reason, etc.....thus....."moral assertions" about this or that are generally limited to "acts" of inhumanity/harm to other humans, mother earth, and the creatures that share the planet with us......regarding the relationship between postmodernism and Christianity.....One participant attempted, unsuccessfully, imo, to persuade everyone that the relationship and the effects of postmodernism on Christianity was nothing new under the sun but I did attempt to suggest that I do believe what we are seeing is "qualitatively" different than anything we have seen in the past. For thousands of years Christians and non Christians have argued and attempted to persuade each other about the Bible, the nature of Christ, and the various ethical implications and applications of the Christian tradition and worldview.....but.....during this time, as I understand and interpret it, most of the participants, most of the time, took an either or/black/white approach to such matters which often resulted in a sense of moral supremacy and assurance of certainity for the winners and heretical/pagan status for the is what I see as different in the current postmodern intellectual climate.....either or/blackwhite, is no longer the "only" or even the primary option for alot of folks, especially, when it comes to metaphysical questions, historical interpretations of the Christian tradition, and doctrinal conclusions about this or that....or the put it another way....both/and is now an "acceptable" if not perferable option for alot of folks....The implications....Did Jesus rise from the dead, walk on water, and heal the sick? Was he really born of virgin?....and.....did he pre-exist "before" he was born as John's Gospel asserts? I have my own opinion but "I" am no longer particularly interested in either asserting my own particular perspective nor do I believe it is probable that certainity can "ever" be achieved on such matters....which is why...."I" am willing to "live" and "accept" a both/and approach in the realm of metaphysics and theological interpretations, until or unless, new overwhelming evidence becomes self evident to me and everyone else in the future or a new fool proof Enlightment methology is introduced.....but....don't hold your breath.....things may become "somewhat" clearer in the future but history and the limits of the planet and the human race suggest to me that we will never achieve certainity or perfection. It's just the nature of the beast....anyway......back to my point.....Postmodernism, as I understand it, has effected the way we see and interpret the world and is "qualitatively" different, imo, from anything we have seen up to this point. In the past, Christians fought against each other, heretics, and the infidels, over this or that in an attempt to assert and impose their own interpretation of the Bible and reality and for what end? Not much to show for it from where I stand which is why I think alot of folks are more open to the idea of accepting a both/and approach when it comes to matters of metaphyics, doctrinal interpretation, and our acceptance/tolerance of the various/numerous Christian traditions which are a part of our history.......I hope this makes sense to anyone who might stumble across my attempt to communicate what I have been processing for quite a while now....

Post Easter Report

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Iv'e been a bad, bad, bad boy. In the "ideal" world of blogging it is an unspoken assumption that one updates one's blog, at least, every couple of days. I noticed it has now been two weeks since I posted anything. I don't have any good excuse or reason for neglecting my blog and really have nothing to say other than my blog is my hobby and writing is "not" second nature to me as it is to many folks who regularly blog...besides....I am often a busy, busy, man and I often don't have much to say that I think would be much interest to most folks...which....was the case for the past two weeks. I had ten days off during the Easter/Spring break holidays this year but I really don't have much to report on. This year I split my time between visiting my mom and my girlfriends parents. I spent most of my time sitting around and socializing. Went to mass three times and other than that I didn't get out much. I'ts generally not the kind of vacation I enjoy. I like being outside and moving around doing this or that but my mom is getting up there in age and my girlfriend generally spends the holidays with her family so I sucked it up this year and went with the flow. Don't know how many, if any, Easters my mom has left so I do want to spend as much time with her as I can........... Since I was sitting around so much this year I did get in alot of reading. I read Crossan and Wright's book on the resurrection and polished off Bart Ehrman's books, Misquoting Jesus, and Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. At the present time I have really gotten into the whole early church history and the battles and struggles between the various faith communities. I think it is critical for our understanding, interpretation, and application of faith and I believe it is particularly relevant to the increasingly pluralistic religious society we all live in....and....I find it stimulating and refreshing after spending most of my adult life looking at reality through the lens of a particular religious subculture. I also like Ehrman alot because he appears to know his stuff but doesn't write like he is simply talking to the other ivory tower academics, in other words, his books are understandable ......Not much to report on since I went back to work this week. We spent much of last week talking about and promoting the series of big tests next week which will determine our place as a school on the education food chain. I do what I have to do during these times but I find myself increasingly cynical about the whole No Child Left Behind reform movement, especially, it's emphasis on testing. I hate teaching to tests and each year I find myself spending more and more time preparing students for tests. It's taking all the fun and personal satifaction out of teaching, not to mention, creating a lot more stress for educators across the add insult to injury....the expectations here in California are absolutely ridiculous, IMHO. Give it another three years and if there aren't any changes I won't be surprised to see the vast majority of schools on some kind of academic probation....anyway.....I'll wrap this up and get out of here before my ramblings on education turn into a monologue between me, myself, and I.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Quick Drive-By: Mammoth

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Been pretty busy this week finishing things up at work and getting ready for Easter vacation. Heading up to see my mom in the bay area for the next four days before I head down to L.A. to finish up my vacation. Don't know if I will have excess to a computer for awhile so I thought I would do a quick cyberspace drive-by before I head out of town. Next week is supposed to be another wet and soggy week here in California so I don't expect to get outside much which is a bummer. I prefer to spend my vacation time outdoors but I can't complain too much since most folks don't get any time off at all during the Easter season. Besides, I'll make up for it later. I'ts looking like a banner year here in California with all the rain and snow over the past six weeks with more on the way. Mammoth Mountain, one of my favorite stomping grounds, just recorded they broke their record for most snowfall in one year. They are currently at over 600 inches of snow this year....and.....counting. That's right, over 50 feet of snow!...The ski resort will be open at least until July 4th this year and perhaps as late as the middle of July. I'll probably hang out in California this summer for vacation considering this is such a banner year for percipitation. Can't wait to go to Yosemite as soon as school is out and check out the raging water falls. Well....I better take off before it gets any later. I've got a long drive ahead of me and I do want to get there before too late. ....