Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Time for my yearly post on this blog.  I really should be more conscientious about posting.  Anyway, I played in the Snoopy senior hockey tournament again this summer as part of the Michigan alumni contingent.  We had two teams:  65s and 55s.  My team played in 55A.  It was a fun week as always, with some good hockey, good friends, golf (maybe not so good), and good food.

Both our teams were victorious this year take the gold in both divisions.  This was particularly gratifying for us because we haven't beaten our nemesis--the United Nations All Stars for some time.  We usually end up with the silver, but this year, we are the champs.

Me with the trophy

The gold medal team

Our boys with the United Nations team after the game

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Snoopy Tournament comes and goes

The 2012 version of the Snoopy Senior hockey tournament was held this month.  I played once again for the Michigan 50s, although this year it wasn't really a U of M team.  None of the regular UM hockey alums could make it this year, so this edition was a group of friends, friends of friends, etc.  Nice fellows all, and despite missing our core players, we did pretty well, taking the silver again.  We only had 9 guys for the most of the final game, and the UN guys had 15.  They wore us down.

It was a fun week overall with some golf, guitar playing/singing, wine tasting, hot tubbing, and socializing augmenting the hockey.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Anti-Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the Other Contrivances

While the gullible and sheep-like were out shopping after Thanksgiving, Heike and I went for a hike in the Morgan Territory. Much better option than battling the hoards of crazed, consumer-obsessed people. Beautiful day in nature wins out every time. I also got in a nice game of pickup hockey in the morning.

In addition, we had a nice 'widows and orphans Thanksgiving this year hosted by Cheryl and Scott Hayes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Canoeing in Michigan

I've been returning to Michigan in the autumn for the past few years. One of the highlights of the trip is what has become an annual tradition: a short paddle with my friend George Laetz on the Huron River. We usually take a short day trip, followed by a meal at the Dexter pub.

Every year there are some surprises, particularly in terms of wildlife. We've seen a variety of deer, wild turkeys, great blue herrons, osprey, hawk, ducks, trout, pike, turtles, and many others. This year we even saw a beaver lodge, though didn't see the builders.

Photos by, and courtesy of George Laetz.

Snoopy Hockey Tournaments

Ok, it has been a really long time since I've posted, but I've decided to start doing this regularly again, so prepare for a flood of posts.

First let's start with the Snoopy Senior Hockey Tournament. I played with the Michigan 50s for the past two sessions. We took silver both times, losing the gold in overtime in 2010, and losing another close one in 2011. Already looking forward to 2012. Here are pics of the 2010 and 2011 teams.

First, the 2010 team in blue, 2011 in white.

Here is a pic of me with Snoopy.

Finally, the 2011 tourney was great time, but it was also sad because we lost one of our guys during the year. Gerry Andal died unexpectedly, and we missed him greatly during the week. He was a great guy, and a prime mover of our guitar sing-alongs around the pool and at the BBQ.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Witch Doctor

It is tragic that the Pope is in Africa telling people not to use condoms. When are people going to wake up and stop listening to witch doctors and charlatans? I count the Pope and all such religious leaders among those groups of con men.

Let's see, the Pope feels his opinion on this is valid, yet he knows nothing about biology, public health, genetics, disease prevention and control, CONDOMS, or even sex. Where does he get the nerve to spout this drivel? Why do people defer to him and even consider his opinion valid on this point? It's as if he were to say you should smoke 10 packs of cigarettes a day because the church recommends it and claims there is no link to disease. Never mind what the medical community says. Never mind what research and reason indicates.

This isn't just wrong, it's outright dangerous and will cause the death of many more people and increase the misery and suffering in a part of the world that certainly doesn't need any more of that.

It's time for people to stop granting respect where it isn't earned or deserved. Africans should be telling him to pack up his medieval attitudes and opinions and get the hell out.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bill Maher

I don't generally agree with anyone 100%.  I think if you do, you've probably stopped thinking for yourself.  I've found, however, that I do tend to agree with Bill Maher on most things.  I also appreciate the boldness and fearlessness with which he states his positions.  No couching an opinion in sugar-coated terms so as not to offend.  Say it straight up. 

Bill was recently on Larry King and he covered, however briefly, many of the topics of the day.  It's worth a listen even if the 'interviewer' is Larry King.

This calls for side comment.  Larry King has to be the worst interviewer in the history of American media.  He basically just takes a topic from the newspaper and says, "what do you think about X?"  A trained monkey could do that.  Furthermore, he asks no insightful follow up questions, nor does he challenge any assertions of his guests.  Maybe that's why people like to be guests on his show: he does nothing but lob softballs to them.  

Compare his style with that of Terry Gross on NPR.  She may be the best interviewer I've ever heard.  She has a rare talent for drawing interesting material out of even the most recalcitrant or mundane guest.  She asks insightful questions, and although she isn't exactly confrontational, she isn't shy about challenging an assertion.  She also seems quite knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics.

Anyway, back to Bill.  Have seen him do some standup.  Very good.  Always liked his shows Politically Incorrect and Real Time too, though I don't get HBO, so I haven't seen either in a long time (PI is no longer on the air).  Keep up the good work Bill.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Darwin

February marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. I regard the formulation of the theories of evolution among the most important scientific discoveries in history. It ranks right up there with those of Galileo and Newton. Evolution gave us so many insights into our origins and our place in the ecosystem of earth.

I've read a lot about evolution over the years, from Darwin's original work to that of contemporary scientists like Richard Dawkins. (Anyone who knows me or follows my blog knows how much I admire RD.) It is an eternally fascinating subject.

Darwin is the more famous, of course, but on his birthday we should not forget the contributions of Alfred Russel Wallace, who conceived the theory of natural selection concurrently with, but independently of, Charles Darwin.

Being more of a wannabe physicist than a wannabe biologist, I've also been fascinated by the writing of Eric Chaisson. He takes a look at evolution much before biological evolution was possible--from the big bang forward. How did matter coalesce from energy? How did matter form structures that enabled life to exist? After all, for biological evolution to even be possible, the structures that enable it had to come from somewhere. (And since I don't believe they sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus, Odin, Yahweh, Allah, Shiva, or GOD, I think Chaisson makes a pretty compelling argument in his book, The Life Era.)

I'll also use this time as an opportunity to plug the recent publication of my friend Eric's book, Darwin Slept Here. This is not so much an account of the science of Darwin as the adventures he took that led to his scientific discoveries. Let's not forget that Darwin was not cooped up in a lab conceiving of natural selection through Aristotle's notion of discovery through pure reason. Charles was out in the field, exploring the world, living and breathing nature and adventure.

But back to my original subject. For those interested in things Darwinian, there are lots of activities celebrating this bicentennial. You can find events in your area here.

This anniversary sadly reveals the decline in science and general intellect in this country.  When more people believe in angels (for which there is precisely zero evidence) than evolution, you know we are doomed.

And here's another reason NOT to be a republican: they are dumb-asses.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Worst Ever

Many people (myself included) have long been saying that George W. Bush was the worst president in U.S. history.  George and his apologists keep saying that history will be the ultimate judge and that he will be vindicated.  Possibly, but there is little evidence to support that theory.  Every aspect of his presidency has been an utter failure from the economy, to the wars, to foreign policy and relations, denial of human rights, flouting the Constitution and Bill of Rights, torturing prisoners, hindering science and suppressing it in favor of superstition, increasing the income disparity between rich and middle class, etc.  The list is almost endless.  Some will say well, he deposed Saddam Hussein.  The problem with that argument is that it assumes that invading the country and occupying it interminably was the only solution to the problem.  

The Onion has a great recap of George's final hours.  Surveying the damage of his presidency.

Doonesbury piles on as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Many years ago, when I lived in Atlanta, a colleague--Leighton--taught me how to play badminton. Well, he did his best. I'm not a great student perhaps. There was a regular group that used to play at a college gym in downtown Atlanta. After moving to Dallas I stopped playing.

In '97 I moved to the Bay Area and began playing again occasionally. There are a lot of badminton players in this area, and I found a good place to play at a local school near my office. I also discovered that my old friend Leighton had moved to the area, though he and I live some distance apart, unfortunately, so we aren't able to play together regularly.

Once again, though, for no particular reason, I let things slip and stopped playing for about 3 years.

Recently, however, I decided to start playing again, and after a bit of research, discovered two new dedicated badminton clubs in the East Bay: one near my office in Dublin, the other in Emeryville, not too far from my home in Oakland. I've been out twice now, and plan to start playing regularly again.

Those that don't play badminton or are not familiar with the competitive version of the sport think it's just a casual backyard activity. At a competitive level, however, it is an astonishingly fast game. In fact the shuttle travels faster than any object in any other sport (when stuck by the top players). It is a fast-paced and enjoyable game to play, even at the club pickup level. Now I have another activity in addition to ice hockey to keep me from getting too fat.

Badminton is most popular throughout Asia, though there are a few countries in Europe in which it is popular, notably Denmark and Great Britain.

Here are a few links to some badminton sites for those that might be interested in learning more about the sport:




See you at the gym. Smash!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


My friend Fred visited San Francisco this past week, and we were able to get together at Ozumo in San Francisco.  Ozumo is an exceedingly hip Japanese restaurant.  Very nice place with excellent food and a extra-modern decor and atmosphere.  The only negative (in my view) was the relentless and loud techno-disco permeating the place.  It made conversation challenging. I'm not so hip.

Enough about the location.  The point was to meet up with a friend. I hadn't seen Fred in about 4 years, but it was nice to catch up, talk a bit about politics, our jobs, the economy, current events, etc.  Other friends of Fred also attended, and it was pleasant seeing them too.  Wes and Reg I'd met before, Matt and Wes's friend Jackie were new to me.  Good folks all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is it 1929?

During the great depression, it was famously reported that stock brokers were leaping to their deaths from skyscrapers in New York. The scale of this was overblown, but it did happen.

Now it seems the latest financial collapse is reviving the practice of suicide.

German tycoon kills himself
Investor suicide from Madoff affair
General report on the trend

"We are in the throes of the worst recession since the early 1980s," said Kevin Flanagan, fixed income strategist for global wealth management at Morgan Stanley. "Factory orders are getting hit again. The economy is really not receiving any support from any cylinders of the engine."

Wait, the early 80s, wasn’t that the time of the “Reagan Miracle”. You remember, when Ron spent more than the Dems, cut taxes anyway, just ran up huge deficits. Who was the VP during that administration? Oh yeah, George Bush senior. Now junior’s administration, following in the footsteps of his father and mentor and helping create another disaster.

These neo-con policies fail over and over again, but they just keep regurgitating them anyway, to the detriment of us all. If at first you don’t succeed, fail fail again.