Winners this week, October 11 through 16 – Volleyball and Football

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The usual disclaimer. There is no science involved in this. These are just my picks, subject to being incorrect. This week looks like there are plenty of opportunities for me to be wrong.

Last week was not bad as far as picking was concerned. I picked every local football game correctly, and 4 of 6 soccer champions.

This week is going to be more challenging. There are a lot of different volleyball sectional champion variables, and a couple of sectionals where 3 or 4 different outcomes would not surprise me.

Here they are.
Football – last week I picked 4 to win, which they did. This week I have 6, and the 2 that lose are facing another local team.

Providence over North Harrison
New Albany over Floyd Central
Jeffersonville over Jennings County
Silver Creek over Corydon
Charlestown over Eastern (Pekin)
Clarksville over Rock Creek

Volleyball

1A at Rock Creek.
It is difficult to pick against Rock Creek, which has won the last 4 sectional titles, so I will not.
Thursday – Rock Creek over Borden; New Washington over South Central
Saturday morning – Rock Creek over Shawe Memorial; Lanesville over New Washington
Saturday championship – Rock Creek over Lanesville

2A at Christian Academy of Indiana
Tuesday – Paoli over CAI
Thursday – Henryville over Eastern (Pekin); Mitchell over Crawford County
Saturday morning – Paoli over Clarksville; Mitchell over Henryville
Saturday championship – Mitchell over Paoli

3A at Scottsburg
This one was very difficult to pick. Many teams had good seasons. I changed my mind numerous time, and by the time this sectional is finished, I likely will have wished I had stuck with some earlier picks.
Tuesday – Silver Creek over North Harrison
Thursday – Scottsburg over Salem; Corydon over Charlestown
Saturday morning – Silver Creek over Madison; Corydon over Scottsburg
Saturday championship – Silver Creek over Corydon

4A at Providence
Thursday – Floyd Central over Jeffersonville; Providence over Seymour
Saturday morning – Floyd Central over Jennings County; Providence over New Albany
Saturday championship – Providence over Floyd Central

Photo Blog

July 5, 2021

I just recently purchased a good camera for the first time in my life. With the help of a couple of friends, I have also started to learn to process them. Here are some early results.

Various flowers surrounding lavender
Ground cover in a raised bed
A day lily absorbing the evening sun

They Don’t Want Me, But I’ll Stay

She had turned her head away,
Now she turned it slowly back again.
It was crimson
And there were tears in her eyes.

She spoke now with all the childishness
Back in her voice:

“Why should I go away?
And be made to go away?
They don’t want me,
But I’ll stay.
I’ll stay and make everyone sorry.
I’ll make them all sorry.
Hateful pigs!”

Found poem from The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

Cool Evenings in Spring

Evenings this time of year,
Blowing their cool breaths,
Infusing the mind with hope and joy,
Providing comfort and rest at the conclusion of day.

The sky, blushing with pride at producing such magnificence,
Inspiring birds to warble their last before nightfall,

The moon, the planets, and the stars,
Popping out in the twilight and from behind dissipating clouds,

Making me wish every night a repeat performance.

The cool of the evening.
Perhaps like in the Garden?
Perhaps like heaven will be.

Road construction everywhere?

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Where is our state getting all this money for road repairs? 

To hear the state leaders tell it, we do not have enough money to pave a gravel road, let alone seemingly shut down a large percentage of roads for repair. 

However, whenever I have driven in the state for the last few years, I always run into construction. The interstate that runs past my town, maybe at most a half mile from my house, has been under construction for a number of years.  

Prior to that, a large segment just a few miles south of here was under construction for years. 

The section that runs through the state capital was closed recently. Right through the heart of downtown, and it was not just for a day or two. 

Seriously, where is this money coming from, since we have been told numerous times that we do not have the money for road repairs. 

It is not just interstates, either. It is all kinds of roads. 

A couple of years ago, the state road that I usually travel when I visit one of my daughters was closed because of bridge repairs. No big deal. No one wants to drive over a dangerous bridge. 

But earlier this summer the same road was closed again, and this time for a longer stretch. I could neither take that road or the usual alternate U.S. road to get to my daughter’s house. A map could not have helped, either. Fortunately, my son-in-law gave me clear directions using county roads. 

I took my son on a day trip a couple of weeks ago. We came home on a U.S. highway. There was major construction, with detours, in two places. One of the construction sites delayed us nearly an hour as we waited in non-moving traffic. 

Our state gas tax went up this year. Its purpose is road repair. If I heard the report correctly, it is going to rise every summer for the next decade. All for roads. 

To say I do not get it is an understatement, but it is probably not what you think. 

My problem is not roads being repaired. I rejoice when we have good roads. What upsets me is that there apparently is little or no coordination between agencies about when roads are going to be under construction. 

I understand road repair has to be completed while the weather permits, but if something is going to be closed for just a couple of weeks, or even a month, cannot that repair be done at a different time than a road in the same area? 

Why close down more than 1 artery at a time? 

The amount of road work being done does amaze me. For some of the roads, like my local interstate, someone is going to have to convince me that this particular road, which traverses the state completely from south to north, will ever be completely open. I do not think that travelers on this road will ever be able to make it through our state without a delay of some kind. 

I think that leaves a bad taste in passerby’s mouths. 

I am ready for a road construction holiday. 

The joy of being healthy; the anguish of not

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Who would not want to feel well? Who does not want to be healthy? 

Living a healthy life is a pleasure. Rather, I want to say it is a joy. 

Who in their right mind would enjoy a headache, a cough, a fever, congestion, arthritis, unrelenting pain, sickness, or anything other than that would make him or her feel less than his or her best? 

Some people who have lived generally healthy lives seem to have little or no tolerance for those who suffer, especially those who suffer chronically. At least until something debilitating strikes them as well, and then they become experts on the affliction. 

I have been like that at times in my life. In my youth, the concept of sickness or pain somehow did not register with me. At least not in a prolonged sense, or from an aspect that I could not see it as anything more than a very temporary setback. 

Nowadays when I walk up or down stairs or for longer distances on a flat surface, and I am free from pain or discomfort, it makes me happy. I think about (no kidding, I actually think about it) how much freedom I am experiencing to be able to do that. Sometimes I give a little skip, but I am always joyful about it and give thanks. 

For the past 25 years I have been afflicted on occasion with gout. It struck me at a time that it strikes most men who have it—in my mid to late 30s. 

It actually took quite a while to understand what was happening. The first time it happened I just thought it was a case of tendonitis in my Achilles tendon. After it did not go away for 9 weeks, I went to the doctor. He told me it was likely gout. 

I ignored it generally, and every once in a while, it would flare up in some degree or another. However, I have had ugly, horrible cases that have confined me to bed or to the couch, being nearly incapable of walking. 

The last huge, debilitating case I had was 3 years ago this coming Thanksgiving. My knee swelled up huge. I went to immediate care, which misdiagnosed it, had an MRI completed, was told I had torn my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and then I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon, who correctly told me what it was. 

This was the worst case I ever experienced. It took me nearly 3 months to recover completely. I walked with a cane for weeks. 

Since that time, however, I have changed many things. I have lost 40-45 pounds and kept it off, I have changed some eating habits, and I am fully aware at all times of what goes into my mouth, especially for sugar and protein content. I also drink water all the time, something I have not done most of my life. I flush my system intentionally to keep those toxic buildups at bay. 

It has worked, and I plan on keeping it that way. 

For me, pleasure and joy come when I can walk without pain, which is most of the time nowadays. 

Now I can nearly always walk freer and without pain, excluding the pains that simply come with age. I have had a couple of minor flare-ups in my heels, and I have always been able to trace it to something I overindulged myself.  

At the time of this writing I am experiencing a minor flare up, and it was too much cherry cider that has caused it in my left Achilles. It is near its end, and it has not prevented me from doing whatever I want to do. 

Now, I can empathize much better with people who suffer regularly from some disease or condition. Pain and sickness affect us mentally and emotionally in a much worse way than many people realize. At some point, most people who have a prolonged pain or illness ask, “Am I going to be like this forever?”  

There have been times I felt so hopeless that I cried. 

I feel people’s needs greater the longer I live. Like everyone, I have known people who have battled cancer. My father suffered for 2 months before he passed. Others have endured prolonged illnesses that involved a considerable amount of pain. Still others have suffered through incurable diseases, some of them fatal, others not. Some have had terrible, painful accidents. 

These are sad conditions, but I say that I truly understand, and I feel for them, and it upsets me.  

I remember the severe gout attack a number of years ago that gave me what is I discovered is called arthritic insomnia. I accumulated a grand total of 8 hours of sleep during a 5-day period. Eight hours, that was it. I lay on the couch and stared at the ceiling. I did not want to watch television, I did not want to read (something that never happens normally), and my mind could not clear itself of trying to get rid of the pain, which it could not do. The pills I normally took to relieve me of the pain and swelling had no effect. 

So again I ask, who would not want to live well? 

Being healthy—without pain and without illness—is truly a pleasure. It is a joy. 

I hope today finds you healthy. If not, I hope you will be very soon. 

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Huck and Jim – where is our adventure?

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Last week my son and I took a day trip from southern Indiana to Newport, Kentucky. Our destination was the Newport Aquarium. Newport is directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio.  

It is a trip we make nearly yearly, and we make our way by traveling to Louisville, Kentucky (a trip of 9 miles from our home), along US 42 all the way to Newport.  

US 42, or River Road, as it is called at the beginning, follows the Ohio River in the length of our trip. 

At one particular place during the trip, I looked out upon the Ohio River, and I thought of Huckleberry Finn and Miss Watson’s slave Jim. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck escapes from his pap, and Jim escapes from his owner, Miss Watson. Together, they travel by raft down the Mississippi River, having numerous adventures. Jim’s purpose is to escape to the North and gain his freedom. 

The numerous times I have read the book, I have marveled at the interesting times, the danger, the excitement not only of Jim’s promised land of liberty, but of each of the character’s freedom on board the raft. 

Of course, that part of the story is a metaphor about America, its youthfulness at that time, discovering itself, encountering danger, surviving, having misfortunes, and keeping pursuance of its dreams. 

I then thought about my early teen years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I remembered some of the ways I discovered adulthood, some of the really idiotic things I did, and how through it all, it remained an adventure, complete with victories and defeats, and learning how to navigate through life as an adult.  

Most of us, as we grow older, look back on the period of time when we transitioned from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, and not only do we wonder how we survived, but we also cherish certain parts of it. We also bury things we never want to remember again. 

Then I thought of today, and the things young people have to do. Floating on a raft down the Mississippi River certainly was fraught with certain dangers, but those were of a different kind than dangers youth face today. You know the litany: drugs, sex, violence, abuse, alcohol, etc. 

I also believe I understand that sailing down the Internet River for young people today is as close as they are going to get to Huck and Jim’s grand adventure. This trip has many more dangers than the trip down the Mississippi carried. 

The Mississippi was ever-changing in its routes and paths and currents, and people had to be wary of where they were sailing, floating, or steam boating. The rise or fall of the river added to the complexity of the trip as well. 

The internet is also changing by the minute, but in many different ways. There is no current to follow, and many dark coves, such as pornography, exist in remote places. People can get into these coves and get lost. 

Of course, the days of floating down the Mississippi are the past, never to return, as are the days of the 1960s and early 70s.  

I think the childishness, the discovery of life, like Huck and Jim experienced, is gone from our society for a long time, if not forever. The children of America are exposed to a horrible amount of “reality” from an early age, and it steals their childhood and innocence way too soon. Much of this “reality” comes from computer simulation and games, but also from dysfunctional homes and from society as a whole. 

We herd the youth of our nation to become adults and to become serious at a much earlier age. Perhaps that is a permanent change to our culture.

Huck and Jim are classic characters from American literature. Sadly, not many of our young teens – the age Huck was –  would even consider reading about them. It would be too tame and “boring.” Many of them have bypassed the stage where they are allowed to have fun and to daydream past the time they enter school. 

Danger, danger, everywhere!

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In Mark Twain’s essay The Danger of Lying in Bed, Twain took to task the people of his time who saw danger where relatively no danger existed. In his day, many people were afraid of traveling by train because of some train wrecks. Using extreme extrapolation, these people concluded that everyone who rode a train was putting themselves in grave danger. 

To combat this overactive imagine and logic, Twain simply pointed out that more people died in their beds than by any other method. Therefore, according to Twain, beds were putting more people in danger than anything else in the world, and if everyone wanted to avoid dying, simply stay out of beds. 

Naturally, that was a ridiculous prescription, but he made his point. 

We need to take his point today as well. 

Social media has had an abundance of well-meaning but rather ridiculous things posted regularly. People want to warn their friends and neighbors to avoid doing something commonplace because there is a dangerous dark side to that event. You might want to get up-to-date on the following:  

Don’t use file folders. Some unnamed man in Folemont, Pennsylvania, got a paper cut when using a file folder. He later got an infection and lost a hand. 

Beware of fruit-based juices. Everybody loves fruit juices, right? A woman in South Dakota poured orange juice in a glass. Apparently, there was a live venomous spider that had survived for months in the lid of the bottle of orange juice. She did not know she was drinking it, and it bit her. She nearly died. 

Never let your child jump rope. The repetitive action of jumping in a single place made a 6-year-old girl blow out both her knees. Do not let this happen to your child. 

Remember the hand sanitizer scare? Children will ingest it and become inebriated because it has a high alcohol content. Keep that stuff under lock and key. Supervise hand sanitizer use with children. 

The list goes on and on. You will probably see a warning on social media this week. A friend is looking out for you. 

Are people simply that gullible? Sadly, it appears so. 

In non-dangerous stuff, how many times have you read on social media that a famous person, such as Morgan Freeman, has died? 

How old are John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, and Adolf Hitler now that we have been told they are still living? You know, they have really been in hiding from the world. 

Miracle foods and drinks, magic hair restorers, all the products of overnight infomercials. The pitchmen guarantee they all work, and they do even better than what we were originally told. 

A television show of the 1970s titled Fernwood 2 Night had a segment once about the dangers of wearing leisure suits. On the show, a local college professor dressed hundreds of lab rats in leisure suits, and many or most of these rats developed cancer. Of course, this was farce, but poignant nonetheless. Nor was it mentioned that as part of the project the lab rats smoked multiple packs of cigarettes per day. But the leisure suit was the problem. 

What is on the cancer list today? Bacon again? Nearly all food not vegetable in content? Cellphones, wireless devices, wearing clothes that are too tightly fitting? 

The mine for coming up with new dangers has barely been explored. There will be something soon, though. Very soon. 

There are some things in life we should have a healthy fear of. We should pull our hands away from the hot stove. We should never play with a gun, even if we know “the safety is on and it’s not even loaded.” Things like this are common sense. 

Increasingly becoming more afraid to live our lives because of incessant (and often unverified and ridiculous) warnings is mindless. A worse consequence is that we become desensitized to actual, verifiable red flags. We stop heeding good advice. We increase our chances of becoming a victim of something we genuinely could have prevented. 

I think I will continue sleeping in bed, even though most people still die there. My father died in bed, as did his brothers, my grandmothers, a grandfather, and 3 aunts.