Monday, August 21, 2017

Steal my sunshine

That was cool.

Like, legit, a top-5 life experience.

I don't really have anything profound or insightful about today's eclipse. My son is eight and like a lot of kids, he's interested in outer space. He knew the moons of Mars and was able to tell the planetarium director their names when he as five (until then, I didn't know Mars had moons*)

So when I heard several months ago about today's eclipse, I pretty much knew I was going to go. I could have planned to stay in town where the moon was going to eclipse 96% of the sun, but.... but if I drove 100 miles, I could get in the path of totality and experience a total eclipse.

So we decided to go. Unfortunately, last week my wife learned she wasn't going to be able to go with us. Se's usually the planner of our events. All I knew was I wanted to see a total eclipse, but beyond that, I didn't know what places were holding events or anything. She'd mentioned South Carolina State University was hosting an event and I figured what better place to go see this than an institution of higher learning.

I picked up my son from school about 11:15 and we set out on the roughly two-hour trip. My son wasn't all that talkative at the beginning, but as we got closer and closer, he started talking more and more. The eclipse began at 1:08 local time and we pulled in the parking lot about 1:15. We got out and immediately put on our glasses and saw the first traces of the moon moving across the sun.

We walked over to the football stadium where all the festivities were happening. Along the way we saw people grilling out, others in lawn chairs and blankets. There were also lots of amateur astronomers with telescopes set up along the short walk. Once inside the stadium, we saw a balloon being lifted off to get above the clouds to collect data for scientists a lot smarter than I am.

After that, the SCSU marching band started playing and there was also a DJ there playing songs. It was a festive atmosphere with college kids, community members and people from all over the globe there. In addition to people from South Carolina and Georgia, there were people from Maryland, Washington, Jamaica and Germany all in little old Orangeburg, South Carolina for the eclipse.

So for about an hour my son and I sat there, looking up every now and again with our glasses to see the moon slowly move across the sun while we laughed at the college kids around us, enjoyed the music and waited. For the longest time, if you didn't know an eclipse was happening, you wouldn't have noticed anything different.

Finally, at around 2:20 you could tell something was starting to happen. It started to cool off a little and the sky started to get darker. There was someone (I assume an SCSU science professor) explaining things. The sky in the west started to get darker and through our glasses we could see the moon nearly completely in front of the sun.

As it inched its way across, we both left our glasses on, watching and anxiously waiting for what we were all there for. There was yelling and cheering and a palpable excitement as the moment neared.

Finally, at 2:43 p.m., the moon moved entirely across the sun and for two minutes. The cheering and screaming (of which I fully admit I was one) of excitement echoed throughout the stadium. We could take our protective glasses off and were able to see Venus and Jupiter as well as the corona around the sun. With 20 seconds remaining, we were told (ok, encouraged) to put our glasses back on so we didn't look in to the sun when the moon stopped totally blocking the sun.

And just like that, the sun's light started to come back. As soon as it did, the crowd cheered some more. Being there with so many other people made it a better experience. We stuck around for another 15 minutes or so, but my son was ready to go home and I couldn't blame him. We made it back in a little more than two hours.

I'd do a disservice if I didn't mention that SCSU did an outstanding job with the event. From the music to the information to providing eclipse glasses to those who needed them, it was a first-rate 

*The moons are Phobos and Demos.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Jesus Recycles

"Come on Jesus, get up. The crowd will be here soon."

"Bartholomew, it can't be time to get up yet. We had such a long night last night. I knew staying up by the fire telling stories was going to come back to bite us, but noooooo, you wanted to tell that stupid story about the goats again. No one finds that funny. When they write a book about us one day, you're going to get mentioned once or twice and never again."

"Hey now, everyone likes my goat story. But whatever, we have to get up. Have you even prepared a talk for the crowd today?"

"A new talk? Come on, you've got to be kidding me. Where are we today?"

"Come on, dude, how much did you drink last night? We're in Capernum. It's been a few months since we were here last, but rumor has it the crowd is going to be a big one. You're getting quite popular. And if they do write a book, do you think they'll include my awesome sense of humor?"

"Fine, fine. Ugggh. Give me a minute. Ok, what did I talk about when I was here last time? I don't want to repeat myself, even if there is that one guy always in the back wanting me to play the hits."

"You did the Bread of Life part last time you were here, so don't do that."

"Can I just use what I talked about in Tiberias last week? No one would notice, would they? I just really don't want to have to come up with something new today."

"Are you really going to recycle a sermon, Jesus?"

"No one will ever know. Come on Bart. Don't be that guy. I'm just not feeling it today."

"Jesus, dude. Come on. You're better than that."

"What if I'm not, Bart. What if I'm just tired and not in the mood to come up with something new and insightful today and I just tell them the same thing I told the crowds last week. No one would know."

"Come on Jesus. You're not seriously considering this. I thought you were better than this."

"Bart, you try coming up with something new and meaningful every day. It's exhausting. Maybe just this once, we let it slide and recycle. If they haven't heard it before, it's new to them."

"Fine, Jesus, you're in charge. I just hope they don't mention this in whatever book they write."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Horrible bosses?

My boss is awesome, which is not only true, but a good way to garner bonus points for my annual evaluation.  (Unfortunately for me, was just completed. Someone remind me to repost this next year.)

I'm giving the flexibility to do my job the best way I see fit and as long as I get my work done and do it well, she's cool giving me the freedom to spend too much time on Twitter or write blog posts when things are slower than usual. She's even ok with me watching baseball at work, which isn't the actual reason I asked for dual monitors for my office but it doesn't hurt.

So now that I've said all that, it's nice to know this is an option should things ever get really bad.

Court says it's OK to call boss 'nasty mother******' during union battle

Just remember, you actually have to be trying to form a union before you try this.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


In college, ESPN seemed ubiquitous. I would watch SportsCenter for hours, even though it was the same episdoe rerun all morning. It didn't matter. That was the only way to get highlights and if I wanted to see a play again, I had to wait until that highlight came up in the next hour. ESPN was essentially the only way to see highlights, so I watched it all the time.

But times change. I get highlights on my phone mere minutes after they happen now. If Kris Bryant hits a home run or Addison Russel makes a great defensive play, I can be at my son's baseball game and still see the play and even show it to him on the way home. And it's not just official league sites. I can spend the evening watching a baseball game and see highlights of the hockey and basketball playoffs show up on twitter timeline. The idea of waiting for highlights is something my son will never understand.

ESPN has tried to change with the times. It still shows SportsCenter, but it's become more focused on personalities and analysis and less on highlights, which makes sense. But apparently it's not enough.

Today anywhere between 70 and 100 people are losing their job at the Worldwide Leader in Sports. From early indications, it looks like a lot of reporters are being let go. This is disheartening, not only for the people losing their jobs, but for people who appreciate sports news. While it's fun to mock a company that gave itself such a title, but the truth is ESPN does a lot of great reporting on a number of issues. Cutting those reporters means there's fewer people digging in to the issues affecting sports (and make no mistake, sports issues affect you even if you don't like sports.)

It really sucks for the people who lost their jobs. Hopefully they're able to find something else. I can't take joy in people, even people I don't like, losing their livelihoods. It also sucks for those who want to know what's going on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's only a game

My son had a baseball game last night. He and his teammates are all seven and eight years old and from what I can tell, just want to be out there having fun and playing the game. Sure, they want to win the game, but they all seem to realize it's not the end of the world if they don't.

Some of the parents, on the other hand, seem to think this one game on a Monday night is the key to future success and need everything to be perfect. So when, late in the game, the umpire missed a call, these sports parents went a little crazy.

Here's the scene. The umpire (incorrectly) called a ball foul that should have been a fair ball. The call resulted in the kid having to try to hit again and the runners moving back to where they started. This blown call apparently merited scorn and loud, extended complaining from a few fans.

One dad (maybe a granddad, I wasn't paying close attention) took this affront to the rules of the game especially hard. After yelling at the umpire for blowing the call, he told the kid batting to "hit it hard back up the middle" where the umpire was standing since he had to put the balls in to the pitching machine. This adult wanted a kid to injure an umpire because he missed a call in an eight and under baseball game.

I didn't say anything to him or even talk to my son after the game about it. Maybe I should have. It's just interesting to me that adults not playing the game take it far more seriously than the kids actually playing it.