Thursday, February 12, 2015

Now this is interesting: Vincent van Gogh

From the Article:
Most of us know the sordid story of the lovelorn Van Gogh sending a nasty Valentine (his ear) to a floozy he hopelessly pursued.

Yet Van Gogh’s original heartbreak didn’t come from a French prostitute, but from the church.

The frayed narrative of Van Gogh’s crummy love life and repeated rejection at the hands of les femmes, ignores his original great passion in life – the ministry of Jesus Christ (or Jezus Christus in Dutch).

Vincent was a socially progressive and idealistic young pastor who clashed with the rigid respectability of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1878. Ministering to starving miners and roughnecks, he suffered along in complete solidarity – ill-fed, dirty, cold and ugly. The church at the time didn’t much care for his scandalous empathy and abruptly cut off all support. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Uttering Sacrilege in the land of Sparty

So here is that which is sacrilege to even think around here:  Has Tom Izzo lost his touch?

It used to be he would find diamonds in the rough and coach the crap out of them and they would respond and win conference championships and go to Final Fours with regularity. But over the last few years he seems to find head cases that won't listen to him, and his teams have been more disappointing than anything else.  They might make a tournament run and get through the first couple rounds against flawed or outclassed teams, but when the competition gets better, they wilt.

We see this pattern far too often, as in the home loss to Illinois this weekend.  Spartans play bad, guys don't perform, and at the presser afterwards Izzo tells us all how mad he is and how he's taking full responsibility and is going to coach those guys like never before.  They come out and whack their next opponent, think everything is OK now, and then lose to a team they should beat by 15.  Izzo rants at his presser again.

It used to be he might do that once a season.  Now, it seems like it's every other game.

I'm just asking the question.  Has Izzo lost his passion?  Has the game passed him by?  Or, does today's player not respond to him like his National Championship team did 15 years ago?  Is it time for new blood at the Breslin?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Late word today - Former Tigers 1B Dave Bergman dead at age 61

One of my favorite players on the 84 World Champs, first baseman Dave Bergman died today after a long battle with cancer.

I still remember the game at Tiger Stadium that year against Toronto (who also had a really great team) when Bergman came up with 2 on in the 10th inning and commenced an epic battle with Toronto reliever Roy Lee Jackson.  Bergman fouled off pitch after pitch until finally, on a 3-2 pitch, he golfed one into the right-field seats to win the game for the Tigers.  Here is that memorable at-bat:

I was managing the women's softball team at my Church that year, and a couple of my friends and I went to Houlihans at the Lansing Mall after our game to have a little dinner and watch the Tigers game.  I still remember that at-bat after all these years.  The whole place erupted when that ball went out.

Bergman wasn't the big star of the team, and he didn't have big stats, but he knew his role on the team and played it very well.  Rest in peace, Dave.  You gave us some great memories.


We have had our first big snowstorm of the year since yesterday morning, which has dumped about a foot here.  I blew 8 inches out of my driveway last night, and another 4 inches this morning.  Fortunately, I had enough gas to mix up a batch for my snowblower so I'm set for this one and probably the next one too!

My daughter got her first experience driving in a big snow dump, and got stuck before she went 50 feet!  We dug her out and got her going again (with an assist from a neighbor and her snowblower.  She apparently made it to work, as I didn't get any other help calls from her - probably the main roads had been plowed by the time she left at 10:00.

There is enough firewood inside to last through the day, but I'll have to shovel a path to the woodpile to bring in more.  I do love my woodstove!

Now I know that anyone from the UP or Wisconsin or Minnesota would probably laugh at a 12-inch snowfall, but here in central Michigan, that's a lot.  School closings, snow emergency declarations, cancelled events - everything.