I saw this great story on the news yesterday and I have to share it. It was about the Wounded Warriors, maybe you’ve heard of them; they’re a group (I’m sorry, I don’t know their origins) that serves veterans and other military members who have suffered any type of injury or illness, mental or physical, as a result of their military service since 9/11. The group’s mission statement is simple: To Honor and Empower Wounded Warriors. Pretty great right there, huh? It is, but the story is better.
The Wounded Warriors held a softball camp for kids.
That’s it. That’s the story. I can’t put the right words to it that will give you the feeling I had watching it so you just have to watch the story yourself and see the children and, most important, listen to the children.
Click here and you’ll open a link to the CBS news website where you can watch the video.
It’s sad, but living under the smog of war for the last 23 years (two Iraq wars and a number of years of no fly zone restrictions) we’ve become all to accustomed to seeing stories of wounded soldiers coming home missing limbs. So accustomed to the sight that it’s almost not a shock anymore. But we, or at least I don’t, stop to think that something like this, the loss of a limb, or limbs, could, for any reason, happen to children as well.
I hope you enjoy the story and find it as uplifting as I did.
From WordPress’ Daily Post is this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge.
Curves. I bet you can find curves wherever you are. Show me!
What’s got curves? Where can I look to find curves? How can I see a curve? I drew a blanks.
Tension mounting over my curveless cluelessness I left the house, camera in hand, for a walk. Maybe blue skies and fresh air would clear my head and get me thinking along the (curved?) lined I needed to be thinking along so I could respond to the challenge.
I walked and walked but nothing was happening down the narrow tar-covered path. Tall grasses and trees to my left and right but no curves. No inspiration. My muse was missing. AWOL. I was alone. Despite my high expectations of nature providing me with inspiration, I had been thrown a curve. My cap trapped the sun’s heat and turned the top of my head into an oven. I was sweating and thirsty. My arms felt like they were getting sunburnt. The curve in my lumbar spine was aching. The camera hanging around my neck… honestly, I didn’t even care about the camera. If I couldn’t take even a single picture with the thing then it felt like little more than an anchor weighing me down in the heat. I was done.
I stopped walking; defeated by the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Prompt. I took off my cap and as I wiped down my forehead I heard someone say, “On your right.” Probably bike riders. Feeling a little sad that the world was so lacking in curves (and so teeming with bicycle riders) I moved over to my left to give the biker room to pass.
To my surprise it wasn’t bike riders at all, but joggers.
I watched them pass and then turned to walk back home.
I stopped and turned around.
I grabbed my camera.
Suddenly I was seeing the curves everywhere. And what nice, round curves they were!
The question recently came about as to whether or not zombies could read. The opinion was that zombies are illiterate, notoriously so, but I wonder. Why should a zombie, simply a reanimated corpse, lose the ability to read after reanimation? You probably say because they were dead and when they died they lost their humanity and everything that may have once connected them to the living. But that’s not necessarily true if we use George Romero, the father of modern zombies, as a guide.
In Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, the survivors of the zombie apocalypse made their way to a shopping mall. Inside the mall the survivors discover dozens, if not hundreds, of zombies stumbling around and it was thought the zombies had been drawn to a place that was familiar and comfortable to them when they were alive. Knowledge or instinct? A conscious decision by the zombies or nothing more than rote behavior and not indicative of any human act that would require the use of brainpower like reading? I might agree with that, the instinct part, but then I’d offer Romero’s Land of the Dead where there was no question that the zombies could think, reason and even display compassion.
Either way, whatever the movies tell us, we know that zombies retain their vision after reanimating so I’m thinking if they could read in their previous lives then it’s a pretty good possibility they can read as zombies. A good enough possibility that I’m willing to bet on it. And if I’m right then we don’t need to fear the zombies and we don’t need a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, we only need signs.
Nicely typed and well designed signs.
With proper letter spacing.
Warning signs for the zombies.
Imagine it with me. A swarm of zombies is slowly making its way toward your house and you only have one gun and six bullets and then you kiss your life goodbye and join the ranks of the living dead, but just as you’re saying your final prayers to the Great Maker, the zombies slow down and then suddenly – or as suddenly as zombies can do anything – they change direction and stagger off out of sight.
The herd is gone, you take a deep breath and gather your wits and you walk outside to see why they slowed down and went in another direction and you see a large sign that reads: “Zombies: This Way!”. You walk up the block and see the zombie army has made another turn so you follow and find another sign. “Free Brains Over Here”. You can’t believe what you’re seeing.
You look around and you see your neighbors, or what’s left of your neighbors, come out of their houses and you begin talking about these new signs. You hear a loud pop and feel something warm running down the back of your neck and turn around in time to see Judy Thompson crumble to the ground with three quarters of her head missing. Lucas Burling is holstering his Glock G17 and commenting to Mrs. Daly about young Judy not learning to read well and never being able to follow directions. You turn back to the conversation and a few of you, the daring few, follow the herd to see more signs that have led the zombies into an enormous barbed wire enclosed detainment camp where they’re all stumbling around happily, if not a little upset at the lack of promised brains upon arrival.
You can decide what happens to the zombies once they’re in the detainment camp. They could simply be disposed of and burned, or they could be experimented on and accidentally infect a scientist which creates a new plague of zombies who can’t read, or they could be retrained to learn simple tasks that we’re too lazy to do, like picking up litter and cleaning out the back seats of our cars, or they could be dressed in nice clothes, taught to speak in simple sentences and campaign for political office. Me, I don’t care what happens to them as long as they’re given plenty to read.
I’ve been interested in the weather for I don’t know how long and I’ve never heard of a Derecho before and now all of a sudden Derecho is everywhere.
I think the weather forecasters all got together and made up a word to confuse and astound us and make us think that forecasting weather is something a little more systematic and reliable than simply tossing darts at a map.
“And now to the weather. Bill?”
“Well, Don, forecast for tomorrow, let’s see, it looks like it’s <thwack> hmm, it’s a-gonna rain <thwack> right up there in the northeastern part of the city. Better bring your umbuhrella. It doesn’t look like a complete washout and the rain should clear out about <thwack> 7:00. But don’t worry folks a-cuz sunny skies should return by this up-a-comin’ <thwack> Tuesday. Back to you, uh, <thwack> rain. Uh, Ron…”
Furthering my suspicions about the genuineness of Derecho is the pronunciation. As a weather fan I thought it my obligation to be able to pronounce the word in conversation so I looked it up and couldn’t find the word at either dictionary.com or Meriam-Webster online.
The word Suspicious is listed at both reference sites.
Hmm . . .
Apparently the answer to this weather mystery is not blowin’ in the wind.
The theme for this week’s WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is Pattern.
Self disclosure, I like patterns. Maybe I’ll write about that one day.
The photo challenge is simple:
In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means PATTERN to you!
It was chance, kismet if you will, that brought this photo challenge to me last Friday because just last Thursday I opened up a container of Fage strawberry yogurt to find not only a pattern, but one of the oddest patterns I’ve ever seen in food. It was so odd that I took a picture of it to blog about at some point and then a day later there was an e-mail letting me know about the challenge.
Coincidence? Or as John Wayne in The Sons of Katie Elder might say, “Isn’t that a little coincidental?” Maybe. You decide.
So the yogurt. I open up the Black Cherry yogurt and sometimes yogurt doesn’t look too appetizing when you first pull the cover off. Sometimes it’s all watery and other times it looks like it might be curdled and it’s not until you get it all stirred up good that it starts looking like anything you want to eat. But this container wasn’t like that at all. Nothing was watery and nothing was curdled and nothing looked like it needed to be looked at closer for impurities or anything like that. And the reason for that was because arrayed in a fan pattern along the edge of the yogurt were seven lovely little yogurt breasts. And I’m not talking little bumps or mounds in the yogurt that made me think of breasts, but actual small breasts with nipples.
Check it out:
That’s it. That’s my pattern. Thanks for reading.
If you’re a picture-taker and want to respond to the prompt just go to the WordPress Daily Post website which is right here and enter the link to your blog. Or feel free to post your link in the comments below.
Here’s the theme from The Sons of Katie Elder which, if you’re interested, scores 5 Fishies on Michaelsfishbowl! They don’t much make ‘em like this anymore, movies or movie scores.
It’s Thursday which means it’s Friday. Friday Fictioneers, that is. Hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, you, yes, you, can join in the weekly fun simply by clicking here. All it takes is 100 words.
This week’s photo prompt was submitted by Scott Vanatter with permission from Northwest Photographer Robert Mielke. I hope I’m spelling Robert’s last name correctly, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the blog other than a signature at the bottom of the photographs. And speaking of photographs, forget Fictioneering for a couple of minutes and click the link and check out Robert’s photography. He has some really nice photos and (at least one that I saw) tutorial. Seriously, if you like photography, check him out. I’ll wait.
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Welcome back and now to the prompt. Usually after looking at a picture prompt it takes a little time before an idea comes to me but I got one immedidately after looking at this picture and the words came easy. Sadly, when I stopped before the last couple of sentences, my word count was 347 so what I started with is a lot different than what I ended up with below.
I return every December 1st.
I miss my wife. My beautiful daughter, Adina, only 7
Trees had lost their bloom; air cool, but humid. Grass was faded green, turning to brown. They followed me. Monday morning. Saw them as I left the school. When I reached Meadowood – - three more.
They hit me, hard. I fell. Hands and feet tied I was dragged to the tree. I only voted, I cried. They laughed. Said I had the right, but not the freedom to exercise that right in Mississippi.
The rope tightened . . .
I return every December 1st.
As owners of the Minnesota Twins the Pohlad family takes a lot of heat over not going out and actively pursuing free agent players and putting more money into the team payroll. Some of the arguments I read, like team owners have to spend money to be competitive in today’s game, make sense, and others, like the family is rich and can afford free agents, don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that the players who come with the higher price tags generally do help a team be more than just competitive and I would like nothing more than to see the Pohlad family dump tens of millions more into payroll and go out there and be competitive in free agent signings like the Yankees, Phillies, Angels and Red Sox, but I understand when they don’t. High-priced ballplayers come with no guarantees and do not automatically equal success on the baseball field. Personally, I’m not unhappy when out of 30 professional baseball teams, the Twins total payroll and average salary is right in the middle of the pack. Granted, those numbers might be skewed a bit by Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau’s salaries, but the reality is that in 2012, the Twins team payroll was 12th out of 30 teams and to me that points to ownership that is trying to field a competitive team which I believe is all one can ask for.
Evaluating talent is hit-or-miss, and putting a monetary value on players who are susceptible to failure for any number of reasons based on future/expected performance is a risky gamble at best and the Boston Red Sox proved that with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka (Dice-K) pitched in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan and by all accounts he was a superstar. A Rookie of the Year Award winner, he went on to lead the league in strikeouts, wins and ERA multiple times and in his eight years in the league he was a perennial Gold Glove winner and All Star. At the end of the 2006 season, Dice-K announced that he wanted to play major league baseball in the United States.
A quick aside to the posting system and in a very brief nutshell, the posting system is what allows a Japanese baseball player playing in the NPB to transfer to the US and play for Major League Baseball. The player’s home team “posts” him and then MLB teams bid for the rights to negotiate with the player for one month. If the negotiations are successful, then the NPB team receives the bid amount in compensation. If the month passes and the player and MLB aren’t able to come to contract terms, then the bid is voided and the player returns to his NPB team.
Dice-K entered the posting system at the end of the 2006 baseball season. The silent bids were submitted and the Boston Red Sox were the highest bidders with a bid of $51.1 million. That’s not $51.1 million to sign the guy to a multi-year contract, that’s $51.1 million just to talk to the man and negotiate with him. That’s right, $51.1 million just to talk to him. The negotiations were successful (did anyone think they wouldn’t be?) and Dice-K was signed to a six-year, $52 million contract. If you’re keeping score, that’s $103.1 (actually more with player incentives) for a pitcher. Dice-K helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2007 and despite some arm problems, he had a good 2008. After that it was on and off the disabled list and sub-par seasons until the beginning of the 2011 season when it was announced that he would be having season-ending Tommy John surgery. He returned last year to another sub-par season and at the end of the season the Red Sox granted him free agency. During Dice-K’s six years with Boston he never won 20 games in a season, he never won a Cy Young award, he never won a league ERA title and he never led the league in strikeouts. He was at times wild and would give up a lot of walks and he had a high WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched). Is that a good return on a $103.1 million dollar investment?
Daisuke Matsuzaka is still playing in this country and he will be starting the 2013 season for the Cleveland Indians’ AAA minor league team.
So you’re the owner of the Minnesota Twins now and tell me if Dice-K was worth the money. Was it worth gambling $100+ million on a player for what amounted to two seasons of average play? Sure, his 15 wins helped the team win a World Series in 2007, but so did Josh Beckett’s 20-win season and Tim Wakefield’s 17-win season. Not to mention a respectable .279 team batting average, .362 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage which allowed the team to average over five runs per game.
You’re the owner and you’re running your business with the twin goals of fielding a competitive team and not losing money so would you gamble $103 million on one player? One pitcher? There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just different baseball philosophies and my philosophy is that $100 million dollar players aren’t worth the risk and that’s why I don’t fault the Twins for not taking those types of risks and I respect them for continuing to take a reasonable approach to team ownership which involves developing talent in the farm system, making sensible trades and not pursuing free agent players who come with ridiculously high price tags. Is this philosophy the right way to run a baseball team? I can’t say for certain. For all I know my logic is flawed and I’m way off base here, but I know the Pohlad family kept the team from being sold and relocated to Tampa, brought us two World Series titles (how many do the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild have?) and have given Twins fans an entertaining and competitive baseball team since 2001. Sure, Carl Pohlad was also willing to sell the team and see it leave the state and he was also willing to let the team be contracted and simply disappear from the world of baseball back in 2002 and there’s some grumbling about lying in order to receive public money for a new stadium, but that’s beside the point which is how to spend money to run a business and in that area I have a difficult time finding fault with the team’s owners.
Ask me about this in four months when the Twins are 15 games out of first and struggling to stay above .400 but I think my position will probably be the same.