Middle/High School Ultimate in San Diego?

Imma shout this question out to the internet: Does anybody know about the Ultimate scene among high and especially middle schools in San Diego county? Any coaches, parents of players, school administrators, etc.?

Ultimate is a small, superior, and too-little-known sport, that I think would be a great match for my kids’ small, superior, and too-little-known school. Just this year they have instituted a fledgling sports program, introducing cross country, basketball, and soccer. I wanted to try to get Ultimate in on the ground floor as well, but the school (understandably) doesn’t want to devote energy to a sport for which there is no local league to participate in. So to try to get a jump on possibilities for next year, I’d like to try to research what else is out there.

Right now the school’s highest grade is 7, next year it will be 8th; so for now I’m looking for other middle schools that have any kind of ultimate program or even club. In the longer term, I would want to connect with other high schools, but for now that doesn’t help me.

For what it’s worth, I bought Essential Ultimate (Baccarini/Booth), and I think it does a great job of laying out fundamental skills and teaching strategies for the pre-college level. (For coaching college, I think you’d probably be better off with the “other” book, Ultimate Techniques and Tactics (Pinarella)). I did have the opportunity last school year to teach ultimate to the 5th-6th graders for about 6 weeks, plus hold a couple after-school games at a park (but I didn’t pull anything together this year) and I think I have a good group of kids to form a team.

H&S: T. David Gordon

A very special H&S has now come and gone. T. David Gordon was his typical incisive self, and gave a very thought-provoking overview of his book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal. A little different format than usual, the main course kind of blended straight into the Q&A, so I left it as just a single .mp3:

  • Download (15mb) (previously corrupt, it should be better now, please drop a comment below if you have problems)

If you want to read some more, there’s a ton of great material on Dr. Gordon’s website, especially the articles on the Media Ecology and Theology tabs (note in particular the articles about Worship). Also, if you want to hear more on Gordon’s views on worship, I highly recommend this four-lecture series: Reformed Worship in the Electronic Age (and of course, you can’t go wrong with either of his popular books, Why Johnny Can’t Preach, and the sequel Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns!)

And some more audio from Dr. Gordon’s same trip. Thursday he lectured at WSCAL, Friday he lectured at the Cambridge School Parent Academy, Saturday he was with us, and Sunday he preached at Christ URC, Santee.

Here is my introduction:

If you were diagnosed with cancer, and a 25% chance of survival, what would you want to say to the world? Tonight’s speaker, T. David Gordon, was faced with just that question, and the result was the remarkable little book Why Johnny Can’t Preach: How the Media have Shaped the Messengers. With clarity and urgency, Gordon diagnoses the cancer that has reduced the landscape of contemporary homiletics to a wasteland, and even offers an effective cure, which if I can oversimplify, boils down to three elements: learn to read (to deeply engage texts of all kinds: sacred and secular), learn to write (to retrain the mind into the habit of composition), and preach Christ (resolve, like Paul, to know nothing but Christ and him crucified). Every preacher should read this book. Moreover, every Christian should read this book, to learn what preaching should be, and to encourage and pray for their pastors to attain to it. (Incidentally, you can’t imagine the pressure I am under, trying to compose a text to introduce a man who wrote a book lamenting the scarcity of the craft of composing text)

(Anyways), thanks to God’s smiling providence, Dr. Gordon survived, to turn his critical attention to the state of worship music in the church today, in the book about which he will speak tonight, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal.

At this point, I could bore you with a litany of Dr. Gordon’s scholarly achievements, publications, and positions; but such biographical data is readily available online, and I would much rather allow more time for Dr. Gordon to speak, than waste anymore myself. So please join me in welcoming Dr. T. David Gordon.

How to Publish a Book in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Wait for Gutenberg to invent the printing press, which kicks off centuries of progress in printing technology, culminating in fast, cheap laser printers.

Step 2: Wait for Donald Knuth to write LaTeX and METAFONT, which allows digital typesetting to be beautiful.

Step 3: Wait for the internet to be invented, allowing easy transfer of information, and the establishment of internet print-on-demand services like lulu.com.

Step 4: Have a friend publish a fantastic book using Lulu, so you can see a little from the outside how it works, and ask for advice.

Step 5: Have another friend with a complete book all typed up, ready to be published (her father’s memoir).

Step 6: Dump the Word docs to plain text; write perl to insert LaTeX formatting codes for chapters, blockquotes, leading verse for each chapter, etc.

Step 7: Follow advice for creating a Lulu-ready PDF (page sizes, embedded fonts, etc.).

Step 8: Upload the PDF to Lulu — boom, now it’s for sale!

Step 9: Use latex2html to generate a HTML version of the book; use Calibre to convert HTML into both .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (all other) e-book formats.

Step 10: Create a WordPress blog to advertise the book and disseminate e-books.

Roy G. B’v visits Narnia

I know, things have been quiet around here lately. Nowadays, I mostly post at The Confessional Outhouse, but this little tidbit I thought was cool enough to share, and not really aligned with the mission of the ‘house:

Young kids are often taught about Roy G. Biv, a hypothetical gentleman who helps them remember the seven colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Even kindergartners tend to rebel at the mysterious ‘I’ in Mr. Biv’s name, however. What the hell is indigo? It has to be explained to them that indigo, halfway between blue and purple, is actually a very different, super-important color, trust us.

In fact, indigo is a bit of a fraud. The other six “colors of the rainbow” are the long-enshrined primary and secondary colors of art theory. Indigo only got shoehorned into the rainbow because Isaac Newton, who originally saw five colors in the spectrum, decided decades later when he wrote his landmark treatise Opticks that seven would be a more elegant number. He believed the seven colors should harmonize somehow with the seven classical “planets” in the night sky and the seven notes on the diatonic scale. So he added orange, along with indigo, an important dark blue dye since ancient times. In reality, most observers have a hard time seeing indigo as a separate band of the spectrum, and it’s not usually included in modern color theory.

If indigo is iffy, how many colors are there really? Well, the human eye can distinguish between about a million different hues, but a real rainbow displays its shades in one continuous spectrum, not the neat stripes of a Care Bears cartoon. In the Iliad, Homer refers to a one-tone purple rainbow, because the ancient Greeks didn’t have words for the full spectrum of color. Later classical and medieval thinkers agreed with Aristotle that the rainbow had three shades; in Islamic thought, there are four, corresponding to the four elements. So it’s largely a cultural call. Many Asian languages, even today, use the same word for “blue” or “green” — someone in China might describe the rainbow very differently from someone in Finland, or Papua New Guinea. Let’s just say there’s a wide spectrum of possibilities.

Although this is cool and neat by itself, what really caught my eye was that we owe our 7-color rainbow to Newton’s dependence on the medieval seven-planets as an organizing principle for other (all?) areas of life.

Have you ever asked yourself why there are seven Narnia books, and what holds them together, though they all seem so very different? It turns out that C.S. Lewis scholars have been trying to answer that question for over 50 years, and after many unconvincing attempts to systematize Narnia (plays of Shakespeare, days of the week, …), Anglican priest and Lewis specialist Michael Ward had an epiphany that Lewis was (just like Newton) using the seven medieval “planets” (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Sun, Moon) to organize his creative vision — and even subversively using the Narnia series to attempt to re-interject awareness of the seven medieval planetary ideals into the modern consciousness.

For more information, you could go read Ward’s book for lay readers, The Narnia Code, or his academic book (Warning! English professors only beyond this point!) Planet Narnia, or listen to him talk about it on Mars Hill Audio Journal #90, or hear the extended discussion from Mars Hill Audio: Conversations. Or you could just go poke around the man’s website.

And while you’re doing so, you can be listening to this cute song from my favorite band, even though it is now obsolete (maybe they’ll write a new song, like they did when this song had to be corrected).

June Recital

Here are 2 pieces played by #2: Promenade, Spanish Caballero.

Here is 1 piece played by #1: Bach C Minor Prelude BWV 999.

#1 on top plus #2 on the bottom = an adorable 4-handed duet!

Paul McCartney, Watch Your Back!

I present, for your enjoyment, a brand new song composed by #3. Not only are the music and the lyrics original, so is the spelling!

This is what it sounds like, and this is what it looks like:

#1 is #1!

High drama at Pinewood Derby last night!

First off, in the Turkey finals, we had to have a race-off between two cadets who had always won (slowest) in each of their heats, except heats in which they were together, which they split 1-1. So we put those two down the middle two tracks, and one car was clearly slower (Turkier). Then we swapped lanes, and the other car was clearly slower (not all lanes of our track drive the same) — BUT, so much slower that this time he didn’t make it to the finish line, thus making that run a DQ and deciding the winner.

Even better though were the speed finals. We winnowed down from our sweet-16 directly to a final-4. There was a clear points-leader (1st place in all his sweet-16 heats), and a tie for 2nd (including our #1), and a 4th. The final-4 consisted of four heats, rotating the cadets through the four lanes of our track (note lane differences above!), and here’s the heat-by-heat:

Heat 1, points-leader first, #1 second.

Heat 2, points-leader first, #1 second. It looks like the points-totals from earlier rounds are bearing out, and #1 is headed for a 2nd place trophy, until…

Heat 3, #1 first, points-leader second!

Coming into the final heat, if points-leader gets first again, he wins. If points-leader gets second again, it’s a 2-way race-off. But what actually happened was:

Heat 4, points-leader derails for fourth! #1 gets first and snatches the trophy!

(#1’s victory was not much tarnished by his decisive loss in the exhibition race-off between fastest cadet car and fastest counselor car)

#2 made a pretty fast car too, he was just out of the finals, tied for 5th in the sweet-16. We’re hoping for a trophy in the all-council derby, where he will be competing only against 1st/2nd graders. That’s coming up Sat Mar 26, 12-4, hosted at our church. If you’re in San Diego, come on out, have lunch at our snack bar, and enjoy the races — it’ll be a blast!

(I’ll post pictures of our awesome cars after the 26th…)