Sunday, January 28, 2007

Blast From the Past 2

Below are a few pictures from years ago and are added to those I posted Friday evening. There will be more posted over the coming weeks. With each I have used software to correct some color and light matters, remove stratches, dust and other minor matters.

I felt a little mischievous this morning so I combined two pictures. The one is side of the first was posted in my Jan 3 blog. I came across the left picture yesterday. Interestingly the basic posture, including somewhat how the legs turn, and side of the sofa have remained after all these years. What is a little scarry is that we have a picture of me in a strickingly similar pose.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Blast From the Past

Here are three blast from the past pics. Some of the youngest of the next generation may find these to be amusing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bears or Colts?

In two Sundays we will have a religious like event taking place, the Super Bowl. Hundreds of thousands who give little attention to football, will end up watching the event. Family rituals will be altered for the day so that all can take in the whole game. Not only will the game be watched with great interest, but so will be the commercials, many of which will air for the first time during the game.

For whom am I pulling? Simple....the Colts. I view Payton Manning is a great quarterback and a class act both on and off the field. His stats speak to his quality as a quarterback. I like that the Colts have Bob Sanders and Dallas Clark, two Hawkeyes, on the team. And I also like the Colts coach, Dungy.

It will be an interesting game. The Colts high power offense up against the excellent Chicago defense. Ball protection and pass protection will be crucial for the Colts to win.

Who are you hoping will win and why do you like them?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Setting of an Example

Whenever I hear from any person charged with prosecuting people, “We are going to make an example” or “We are sending a message”, I cringe. When I hear people of the community or the newspaper editors using these phrases regarding a pending case I cringe.

Under the best of circumstances weighing the evidence and determining a just response to a crime is troublesome under the best of circumstances. It takes wisdom to wade through all the stories to determine the facts, understand the dynamics and the heart of the offender, and then for flawed individuals to arrive at an appropriate response. The picture is complicated further by the games police officers, defendants, and lawyers on both sides play.

Whenever I hear the above phrases, or variations thereof, I not only cringe but the first thing I think is that an injustice is set in motion. The prosecutor has moved from wrestling with the facts and putting forward his/her argument to the court to twisting the evidence and seeking a punishment that surpasses the crime. They are out to use the case to send a message to others or to advance their own political agenda (Duke Lacrosse case prime example) and in the process are creating an injustice.

Justice is not about sending a message. Justice properly defined has three elements: the giving of judicious punishment for the crime, correction of improper conduct, and restoration of the offender. Blood lust and rage pushes the first of the three as is noted in the case at this link,

Here we also have an outdated law being applied and used to send a message. In the process the have just opened the door for some who are going through a divorce process to in their pain charge and prosecute their ex for a crime. I suspect that the Michigan law will not be changed and it will be again used, and more frequently at that, to bring injustice into action.

Justice is difficult as it demands wisdom and the holding of emotions in check. I fear that more often than we recognize the law courts are vehicles of injustice.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What Are the Crossmen?

As you would know from the prior blog Josh has made the Crossmen, a marching band now headquartered in San Antonio Texas. The Crossmen are one of the two Corps sponsored by Youth Education in the Arts ( The Crossmen along with the Cadets, their sister Corps, are part over fifty Corps that are in the Drum Corps International (

For seven weeks in the summer 26 Division I Corps travel the country competing against each other. The demands are high. Over the seven weeks they will be in 30 competitions prior to the International Championship series being held in mid August at the Rose Bowl. The bands are made up of 135 members divided into three captions/elements…the drum line (and pit), the guard/auxillary, and the brass. The brass section has four different instruments…trumpets, mellophones, baritones/euphoniums and contrabases.

There are eight Division II Corps that are junior versions and are normally smaller in number than Division I groups. Nor do Division IIs travel or rehearse as extensively as Division I Corps. Most Division II Corps are associated with a Division I Corps and act as feeders for their Division I counterparts. There are twenty Division III Corps which travel even less (four of which are based in Ontario).

This summer Josh will be traveling over 11,000 miles with the Crossmen. The Crossmen are somewhat of a second tier group….normally finishing between 8th and 14th place where as their sister Corps, the Cadets, is a first tier Corps that finishes most years in the top six.

Below is the Crossmen’s schedule. As you see it is extensive. They spend most of their time on buses, drilling and performing. They all sleep on the buses or in gymnasium floors (men and women together). There are times they will perform in the evening, change, board the bus and travel 10 to 14 hours to the next performance the next evening. The tour and the performances are demanding and exhausting. At times they are marching at a rate of 120 steps per minute.

We are going to be taking in several performances, on of which may be Erie PA where Evie's brother is stationed. We will be going to the major event in eastern regional championship in Allentown.

June 23 – Toledo
June 24 – Belding MI
June 25 – Erie PA
June 28 – Elizabeth PA
June 29 – Westminster MD
June 30 – East Rutherford NJ – Giant Stadium
July 2 – Glens Fall NY
July 3 – Bristol RI
July 4 – Beverly MA
July 6 – Lawrence MA
July 7 – Massillon OH
July 8 – Allentown PA
July 9 – Hershey PA
July 11 – Chesapeake VA
July 12 – Hilton Head SC
July 14 – Atlanta, GA - Georgia Dome
July 16 – Sevierville TN
July 17 – Memphis TN
July 19 – Dallas TX
July 21 – San Antonio TX – Alamo Dome
July 22 – Denton TX
July 23 – Midland TX
July 24 – Wichita Falls TX
July 26 – Hutchinson KS
July 28 – Denver CO – Mile High Stadium
July 30 – Ogden UT
July 31 – Boise ID
Aug 2 – Portland OR
Aug 4 – Stanford CA
Aug 5 – Clovis CA
Aug 9–11 – Pasadena, CA – Rose Bowl (International Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

We Have a Crossman

As you will see from the title, “We Have a Crossman”, Josh in his first year of eligibility made the Crossmen which is a drum corps based out of San Antonio. Though in the final round of cuts there were 26 baritones going after 20 positions, 12 of the positions were filled by Crossmen veterans.

As I post this Sunday evening Joshua is sitting at the Dallas airport on his return trip from San Antonia. His return trip has had two glitches. The original flight was cancelled and he was put on a later flight bound for Dallas. Then the connecting flight left Denver for Dallas an hour and half late and with another delay the flight departed nearly two and half hours late. Hence, Josh's flight will get into Washington a little before 2 AM and home around 2:30 AM. Fortunately, he does not have school tomorrow.

When he returned in December Josh felt he was on the bubble. The first few days back he considered not attending the January final audition. Three days later he reasoned that if he did not see it through to the end, he would forever wonder if he would have made it.

With the Crossmen, as with other areas with life choices we give Josh latitude in making decisions. As our children have grown, Evie and I have encouraged them to examine options, openly weigh the pros and cons, and put forward their position in a cogent manner. Though we hope that they will note Mom and Dad’s thoughts and experience, they often do not do so. There are times when they have ignored Mom and Dad’s perspectives. In such moments we remind ourselves that disregarding parents from time to time is part of the process of them expressing independence, and particularly from Dad, as they are males.

With the Crossmen, I am proud of Josh for deciding to go to the January rehearsal and seeing it to the end. Even if had not made it, I am proud of the balanced approach and work ethic he has taken. With courage, he moved forward knowing that he may fall short of his goals. I am proud that he made the Corps, but I have greater pride in giving it the effort. My kudos go to Josh.

When one’s child comes up against a disappointment, whether it is a grade in class or not making a group or falling short on something else, there is sadness in the souls of the child and parents. The question I ask Josh, whether it was with the Crossmen, his school class or after his district band audition, “Did you give your best?” Whether it is Jonathan or Joshua, I want them to give their best with their entire being and to have made judicious decisions and preparation leading up to the moment.

Disappointments are part of life. Not everyone can make the team or has the skills/knowledge sets to achieve the desired goal. Though part of me has always hoped that my children will always make the group, achieve the straight “A”s, be in the top chairs, etc., such hopes are unrealistic. I want them to give their best.

Failures and disappointments are part of life. I appreciate such opportunities for my children to experience them. Handling disappointments as well as successes positively helps prepare our children for adulthood. Skill and knowledge is relatively easy to learn. Developing analytical ability, quality character, compassionate love and faith is at the heart of a parent’s primary responsibility. In these matters, Josh, just like his brother is making Evie and me proud.

Congratulations Josh. Your parents are proud not only for making the Crossmen but for the decisions you have made along the way.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Whitewater Kayaking

I came across this on the web of a guy kayaking down a steep river channel. This would be a wild ride, but only with years of experience building up to this level.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I Am Ill

It appears from recent test results that I have caught one of our society’s modern diseases. I have come to understand that the affliction takes on many different forms and is not often easily detected by the casual observer…and that is good I suppose as in some circles one could be shunned by friends and families.

Fortunately for most who catch the malady it is mild. For others it becomes a full blown fever which can ravish the body and soul to the point where even the outside observer could notice that something is wrong. Unfortunately the first onset is not immediately evidenced and its early symptoms are interpreted as either nothing serious or as those belonging to a variety of other mild and short term diseases.

For most the symptoms become more and more evidences as the weeks and months pass. Yet, for a few the onset is sudden and fully consuming. And what makes detection particularly difficult is that the combination of symptoms varies from person to person. I wish it was detected long ago for I could have taken steps earlier and limited it from progressing toward a more severe form. I am encouraged and hopeful because my disease is not full-blown when compared to some others.

As mentioned this modern disease has a range of symptoms. The symptoms include, blurred vision, soreness and even pain in the joints of the hand, pain in the wrists and even in the shoulders. Fingers twitching is not uncommon. Pains in the lower back and the back of the upper legs can happen as well. For some the heart can become irregular or palpitate from time to time because of the increase stress the disease puts upon the mind and body. Insomnia is not uncommon. I understand that some find their hands sweating because of it. Sweating from the torso and face has been known when the ailment becomes all controlling.

I know one of the first questions after questions of prognosis are questions about medical treatment and insurance coverage. I already know the answer to the questions about coverage….there is little coverage in our medical plan. Hence, any treatment will have to be carried by myself.

I have elected to use this forum to inform the family and friends of disease. Calling everyone, explaining it and answering questions can be emotionally laden. This way you can read all about it and let this speak for itself.

Months ago Evie started to believe that I was ill. While I fear that she too is afflicted, I am comforted that we will are leaning upon each other through our time of ailment. I wish I did not catch this disease but that is what happens when you do not take the proper steps to ensure that one has proper protection.

Fortunately I am at a more moderate stage of this disease that was unknown to our foreparents. What I have is caputiuspiniblogitintarious. Or in layman’s terms blogispheritis. Who would have thought I would have thought I would have come down with this disease, but as I gaze at the number that says this is my one hundredth blog is less than a year, in less than nine-months, the evidence is clear….I have caught that modern disease, caputiuspiniblogitintarious.

Before Evie started blogging I read Barb’s blog once every week or so. When Evie started blogging I followed her postings at first twice or three times a week. This led me to reading my siblings blogs more often. When Evie encouraged me to do my own I shunned the idea, after all what would I have to say. I started to blog with the goal of only doing one or two a month. Lacking the proper protection for this high risk activity, I became infected and was soon posting a blog a week, then two, and then sometimes three a week. Now I am checking the blogs daily to see who has posted what comments to my blogs, what my family members have posted on their blogs and the comments on the same, and getting frustrated when some members who go weeks or months without a posting. Family news and pictures have become a fix I have come to crave. A couple times a week while watching TV, I find myself also seeing out blogs on other subjects ranging from politics to sports to RVs.

Yes, I have caputiuspiniblogitintarious. Woe is me!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Music Auditions for District Bands

In October I posted a blog about competitions for concert bands and within the three bands seating placement. As I noted then, students can challenge the person ahead of them for their seat. The big competition that the top players look toward is competing for the two district bands. Freshman (9th grade) compete against Seniors. Each school in the district is allowed to send a certain portion of their students the auditions, which took Saturday morning and into this afternoon.

Josh’s school encourages each band student to audition. It is expected that each student in the Symphonic band (their players) and the top two chairs of the other two concert bands to go through the ranking process. Most schools have similar expectations of their best students.

Josh went to the auditions as a freshman for the experience even though he knew he would not make either of the two district bands. Last year he was ranked 11th in the district, falling just short of making into the second district band.

Today Josh made second chair in the top district band. Two other trombones from his school have also made it into the top eleven (top band has 3 trombones including a base trombone, the other has 7 including a base trombone). Being ranked second also allows Josh to audition for the all-state band (top three tenor trombones and the top base go to the state auditions). Five Oakton students made it into the top band.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Last night Evie and I went out clubbing until close to midnight at our favorite night club. I can just see Mom's head shaking in disappointment now. Washington DC is known for several well known clubs. Well Mom, it gets worse....we were out at a family...Jonathan and Joshua joined with us at Blues Alley.

Blues Alley is a night club in Georgetown and one has to literally walk off one of the main trendy streets (Wisconsin Ave) and 50 ft or so down an alley to get to the club. It is cozy and dark and is one that you need reservations even on most weeknights to get into. A good time was held by all last evening. The entertainment was top notch with the group playing several excellent items writen by members of the group. Our table was down front...with Josh and I sitting within 5 ft of one of the performers.

This was a historic night for Blues Alley and the performing group. Blues Alley is one of the major jazz night clubs in the nation and it was the US Army jazz band's first performance in a major night club. Over the last 30 years they have performed in concert halls, parks, schools, but never in a night club as a group (there have been individuals who have performed in Blues Alley and other locations while off duty). The group is seventeen players strong and each is an outstanding muscian. They were a joy to hear in such an intimate environment as we sat drinking our sodas while consuming fries, chicken fingers, chips and pretzels. And best of all, for this historic ocassion the normal heafty cover charge was not applied...but you had to have reservations.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Title the Picture - I

Taking a page from Jenn, I am going into my family pics and inviting family members to name the picture. Here is the first.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Living In Washington DC - III

Today is the last day of a four day weekend. That’s right, this New Years has been a four day weekend….its part of what can happen when you live in Washington DC. From time to time we get an extra holiday or two. For example four of the five years while living here I have also had the “IMF Holiday” (IMF = International Monetary Fund).

Like all businesses we can close for inclement weather. When the Federal Government closes due to whether, we close. Here, three or four inches of snow overnight has been known to close the Feds down, but not always. Five inches overnight, closure is almost guaranteed….eight or nine inches we could be closed for two days. We are far enough north to have snow handling capabilities but far enough south that abilities to drive in more than three inches the snow and clear it is not honed. A hurricane could close the Feds and our office down for a day or two, but in that situation many of us are still working when the office is closed. Yet these are not the holidays to which I am referring.

Another reason we could close is if the Federal Government closed due to security issues. Those issues tend not to be wide spread and tend to be in pockets and rare. Still once a year our office reviews its evacuation plans. If something happened you have to be aware of alternate routes home because sections of the city or several bridges could be closed. If we are ordered by the government to have a quick evocation, even those in our building from Maryland and NE DC are required to head out towards the beltway via VA routes of I 66, Lee Hwy or north on George Washington Parkway. If you live in Maryland or south along I 95, you are to go out to the beltway and then swing around the city from there…of course the beltway would move at a crawl but the goal is to get the people who work in the heart of the city out from the core, not to get them home. Even schools have evacuation plans, some of which entails where children go in worse case situations when their parents are heading away from their homes and children’s homes. Of course this is not a holiday.

IMF holiday and today are of a different order. These come about because of major events and road closures. For several years large protests were taking place just down the block from us when the IMF directors were meeting at the IMF/World Bank building that is three blocks from us. As the protests cause the closures of roads and our Metro (Subway) station, our office closes.

Today we are closed because of the funeral of President Ford. The Federal Government is closed. Pomp and ceremony takes place in the morning on the Hill and National Cathedral…and our building stands between the two. Hence, road closures brings about an extra day off and a four day weekend. We also are closed when there is a Presidential Inauguration. It is all part of working in and near the heart of Washington DC.

That said, it is not as much fun as it sounds since the work just piles up as everyone else in the division is open.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Years

To each member of our family, wherever you may be and in whatever time zone, Happy New Years. It is my prayer that 2007 is be a joyous and blessed year, that what challenges are ahead that you will have the quiet peace knowing that God’s grace is more than sufficient.

Yesterday Josh and I had a lovely service at the Arlington Corps. Jonathan enjoyed the service at the Fairfax Corps. Following the service at Arlington Josh and I joined Evie at the ARC for lunch (she has working due to it being the last day of the year and expected increase in donation drop-offs).

At nine all four of us grabbed out bowling balls and headed to the local lanes where from 9 until closing (1 AM) you can bowl all you want for $10. Evie had the high score of the evening (159) and Josh was pleased to finally have a higher score than his brother for once, even if it was by one pin. After four games with our arms and wrists having had enough, we arrived home just in time to see the New Years in and wish each other a Happy New Years.

Today, we will spend a relaxing day, watch the Rose Parade and then various bowl games….a quiet day. It is nice knowing Josh will be taking himself to his music lesson tonight and that Evie and I can just put our feet up.

On this first day of 2007 here are some pictures from the past. Any family who wants copies of their own, email me.

Happy New Years to all.