Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ernie Hodges Retirement Dinner

Ernie Hodges' Retirement DinnerWith Mary Maloney in town for the weekend, she, Sharon and I went to a dinner for Ernie Hodges' retirement from Farm Credit at the Hilton. I worked for Farm Credit for almost eighteen years, from October of 1980 to summer of 1998. I worked with Ernie in the late 1980's. Sharon has worked with Ernie at Farm Credit West over the last five years.

There were a large number of people that I knew from my Farm Credit days, including Sandy Mansfield, Judy Hill, Tom Croft, Bruce Strickler, Jeana and Larry Hultquist, Ron Carli, Dick Piper and Gary Dwyer. Unfortunately, George Beitzel was not there... Sharon and I sat with Mary, Holly, Gary Olson and the board chairman and his wife at dinner.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

College Research Meeting

Jack spent almost three hours at Future Stars beginning to research the colleges on the list we put together at our last one-on-one meeting. They are working with him to find the college that will be the best match for his interests!

Although he will probably starting cut the list down over the next couple of months, the list currently includes 34 colleges. At this point, he has visited six of the schools.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-79

While we were exploring Charleston, I stopped at a number of South Carolina historical markers, including: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 [#10-65], The Seizure of the Planter [#10-76], Kress Building [#10-79], Jonathan Jasper Wright Law Office [#10-82] and U.S. Courthouse and Post Office/Briggs V. Elliott [#10-85].

Kress Building/Civil Rights Sit-Ins
South Carolina Historical Marker #10-79

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This marker is located at 281 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 32° 46.968 W 079° 56.059.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-79




This three-story Art Deco building, built in 1930-31 was a 5- and 10-cent store owned by S.H. Kress & Co. until 1980. Kress, with about 400 American stores, designed its own buildings. This store features a yellow brick facade with colorful and decorative glazed terracotta details typical of Kress’s Art Deco designs. A 1941 two-story addition faces Wentworth Street. McCrory Stores bought this building in 1980, operating it under the Kress name until 1992.

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-79



On April 1, 1960, the lunch counter here and those at the Woolworth’s and W.T. Grant’s stores on King St. were the targets of the city’s first civil rights “sit-in.” Black students from Burke High School were denied service but refused to leave. Arrested for trespassing, they were later convicted and fined. This youth-led protest was the beginning of a broader civil rights movement in Charleston.

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-79

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-79

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Alabama Shakes - Don't Wanna Fight

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Alabama Shakes - Don't Wanna Fight

Code Expiration: July 14, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

California Historical Landmark #428

Working out of St. Helena in January, February, March and April, I have started exploring California Historical Landmarks in Napa and Lake Counties, including: Site of Stone and Kelsey Home [#426], The Battle of Bloody Island [#427], Sulphur Bank Road [#428], Lower Lake Stone Jail [#429], Stone House [#450], Old Bull Trail Road and St Helena Toll Road [#467], Chiles Grist Mill [#547], Old Lake County Courthouse [#897] and Litto's Hubcap Ranch [#939]. I visited all seven of the California Historical Landmarks in Lake County.

Sulphur Bank Mine
California State Historical Landmark #428

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This landmark is located at the intersection of State Highway 20 and Sulphur Bank Road, 1.5 miles south of Clearlake Oaks, California. There are 6 other California State Historical Landmarks in Lake County. The GPS coordinates for this location are 39°01'12.4"N 122°38'55.7"W.

The plaque is missing.


This sulphur mine also became one of the most noted quicksilver producers in world. First worked for sulphur in 1865, in four years it produced a total of 2,000,000 pounds - reopened and developed for quicksilver in 1873, it is credited with total output of 92,400 flasks, and was an important producer in World Wars I and II.

California Historical Landmark #428

California Historical Landmark #428

Sunday, April 19, 2015

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Vol 2: I Hate Christian Laettner

I watched I Hate Christian Laettner. This is the twenty-eighth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 volume II. An episode guide for Vol II is here.

Laettner is viewed as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. He is one of only four players (including teammates Greg Koubek and Brian Davis) to play in four consecutive Final Fours and the only player to ever start in all four Final Fours. Laettner still holds NCAA tournament records for most points scored: 407, most free throws made: 142, most free throw attempts: 167, and most games played: 23. He is especially known for his last-second, back-to-the-basket, turn-around, game-winning jump shot on March 28, 1992 in Duke's dramatic 104–103 overtime victory over Kentucky in the East regional final of the 1992 NCAA Tournament.

The plot of the documentary is built around looking at five characteristics: privilege; white; bully; greatness and looks. It looked at each of these characteristics separately and used clips from different timeframes to illustrate the attribute. The film kept jumping back and forth along the timeline. As a result, I had a little trouble tracking the sequence of the games over the course of Laettner's college career.

Narrated by Rob Lowe, this is a solid film. Bobby Hurley played on the championship 1991 and 1992 teams with Laettner and Grant Hill. I have never been a Hurley fan and cringed every time I saw him on the screen.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The NBA’s Furious 17: Capturing the Noncontenders’ State of Mind by Bill Simmons

The NBA’s Furious 17: Capturing the Noncontenders’ State of Mind
 Sacramento Kings (27-51)

 Tao of Dom: “I saw Linder about a week later. I had the wrench in my hand. I hit him. I didn’t mean to keep hitting him, but by the time I was done, I couldn’t lift my arm. He’s a janitor at an elementary school. He has to take the bus to work … and they banned me from the tracks for life.”

 The good news for Linder? He belatedly recovered from his head injuries and became Sacramento’s newest VP of personnel. Just kidding. I don’t mind the nucleus here: Boogie Cousins (a borderline first-team All-NBA center who couldn’t get it because his team stunk), Ben McLemore (blossomed in Year 2), Rudy Gay (shockingly solid this season), great and loyal fans, a top-eight lottery pick coming, Boogie a second time, and Boogie a third time. If you want to keep going, we have a great 30 for 30 coming about how Sacramento saved the Kings from going to Seattle. Oh, and the Maloofs are long gone. So it’s not all bad. Even if the Kings just endured the worst 13-year run of any NBA franchise.

The big question: When will the hilariously incompetent Vivek Ranadiv√© conquer New Owner Syndrome? When will he realize that you can’t keep changing coaches and front-office executives every six months like you’re replacing the oil in your car? When will he finally get the whole “You hire the front-office guy first, then HE hires the coach because they have to work together” sequence correct? Part of me hopes Vivek never figures it out; it’s just funnier this way. He’s gone through four coaches and roughly 42 different front-office guys already. He just turned basketball decision-making powers over to the well-liked Vlade Divac — someone who hadn’t been involved in the NBA, in any capacity, for 10 solid years. Who’s next after Vlade doesn’t work out? C-Webb? Bonzi Wells? The Christies? Lawrence Funderburke?

 Still, there’s a certain honor in rooting for the strangest, goofiest, most inexplicably incompetent franchise in basketball. When everything turns around, it makes the whole thing feel even sweeter. Trust me, I’m a Patriots fan. We stunk for the first 30-plus years of my life, then, all of a sudden, we didn’t. Keep your head up, Kings fans. And remember: At least you saved your team. Sure, you saved it and put it in the hands of someone who seems about as stable as Cookie from Empire. But at least you saved your team.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Milo Greene at Harlow's in Sacramento

Stoked to be back in Sacramento in August!
Posted by Andrew Dawson Heringer on Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-85

While we were exploring Charleston, I stopped at a number of South Carolina historical markers, including: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 [#10-65], The Seizure of the Planter [#10-76], Kress Building [#10-79], Jonathan Jasper Wright Law Office [#10-82] and U.S. Courthouse and Post Office/Briggs V. Elliott [#10-85].

U.S. Courthouse and Post Office/Briggs V. Elliott
South Carolina Historical Marker #10-85

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This marker is located at 83 Broad Street, Charleston, South Carolina. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 32° 46.574 W 079° 55.864.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

South Carolina Historical Marker 10-85



This Renaissance Revival building, opened in 1896, is notable for its association with U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring (1880-1968). Waring, a Charleston native who served here 1942 to 1952, issued some of the most important civil rights rulings of the era. Briggs v. Elliott, the first suit to challenge public school segregation in the U.S., was heard here before three judges on May 28-29, 1951.

South Carolina Historical Marker 10-85



Thurgood Marshall and other NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyers represented Harry and Eliza Briggs and 19 other courageous parents from Clarendon County. In a bold and vigorous dissent opposing the prevailing doctrine of separate but equal, Waring declared that segregation “must go and must go now. Segregation is per se inequality.” The U.S. Supreme Court followed his analysis as a central part of its groundbreaking decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

South Carolina Historical Marker 10-85

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

California Historical Landmark #427

Working out of St. Helena in January, February, March and April, I have started exploring California Historical Landmarks in Napa and Lake Counties, including: Site of Stone and Kelsey Home [#426], The Battle of Bloody Island [#427], Lower Lake Stone Jail [#429], Stone House [#450], Old Bull Trail Road and St Helena Toll Road [#467], Chiles Grist Mill [#547], Old Lake County Courthouse [#897] and Litto's Hubcap Ranch [#939].

The Battle of Bloody Island (Bo-no-po-ti)
California State Historical Landmark #427

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This landmark is located at the intersection of State Highway 20 and Reclamation Road, 1.7 miles southeast of Upper Lake, California. There are 6 other California State Historical Landmarks in Lake County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 39° 08.978 W 122° 53.287.

You can log your site to this site at waymarking.com!

California Historical Landmark #427

One-fourth mile west is the island called Bo-no-po-ti (Old Island), now Bloody Island. It was a place for native gatherings until May 15, 1850. On that date, a regiment of the 1st Dragoons of the U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Capt. Nathaniel Lyon and Lt. J.W. Davidson, massacred nearly the entire native population of the island. Most were women and children. This act was in reprisal for the killing of Andrew Kelsey and Charles Stone who had long enslaved, brutalized, and starved indigenous people in the area. The island, now a hill surrounded by reclaimed land, remains a sacred testament to this sacrifice of innocents.

California Historical Landmark #427

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Drift'n'Drive

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Drift'n'Drive

Code Expiration: July 7, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Drop Wizard

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Drop Wizard

Code Expiration: July 7, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2015 College Tours Day 4


Finishing up the Chicago area colleges on Jack's initial list, Sharon and Jack spent the morning at Loyola University Chicago. After sitting through an hour presentation, they took a tour. Sharon noted that this was the least polished of the four presentations of the last couple of days. Loyola is much easier to get into than most of the colleges on Jack's list. It represents one of a number of possible safety schools that we will be touring over the next few months. Like Northwestern, the campus is right on the lake.

They spend the afternoon wandering the Art Institute of Chicago and having a light lunch at the museum. Jack sought out a number of pieces that he has studied in his art appreciation classes.

They returned the rental car back at the airport about 5 pm. After eating dinner, they caught a 7:10 pm United flight to Sacramento. They were on the ground in Sacramento a little ahead of schedule at 9:45 pm. Waiting in the cell phone lot, I picked them up at the curb after they collected their luggage.

All in all, it was a very successful trip. We will be doing a longer college tour on the east coast in early August after Jack finishes up at the Wharton Sport Business Academy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 College Tours Day 3

University of Chicago
Spending the night in downtown Chicago, Sharon and Jack planned two college tours for the day. Their morning stop was Northwestern. Sharon raved about the drive along the lake from the downtown to Northwestern and about the homes in the neighborhood around the campus. They spent a little less than two hours in a presentation and a tour. After spending yesterday at Notre Dame, they noted how much more secular Northwestern seemed.

After the tour, Sharon and I talked that one of the lessons learned for the day was that we need to leave more time at each spot to explore the area around the campus. We need to take this into account when we do a longer east coast tour this summer.

They immediately started back towards downtown Chicago and continued to University of Chicago for the afternoon stop. After lunch at a food truck on campus, they attended another presentation and took another tour. Talking to them on the phone afterwards, Jack noted that the student body seemed more nerdy than Notre Dame or Northwestern. Sharon commented that the tour guide didn't do a very good job.

Talking to them on the cell phone as they passed Soldier Field, Jack expressed surprise at how close to the lake the stadium was. They finished the night having dinner at David Burke's Primehouse.

University of Chicago

Thursday, April 09, 2015

University of Notre Dame [2015 College Tours Day 2]

Sharon and Jack spent the morning on the Notre Dame campus. They had sat through an hour presentation about the school and then went on an hour plus tour. They had lunch in downtown South Bend.

After lunch, they headed back towards Chicago. They made a short stop at St. Josephs Church in Hammonds, Indiana where Sharon's parents were married. Unfortunately, the church was locked.

In spite of some weather and a struggle with the rental car, they were back in Chicago in the late afternoon. They are staying at a hotel on Michigan Ave [Magnificent Mile] not far from where I stayed when I was there last fall. They finished the night shopping in a giant Under Armour store and having some Italian food.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

2015 College Tours Day 1

At Notre DameWorking with our external college counselor, we built a list of 31 potential colleges for Jack. Visiting the colleges on the top of Jack's list is going to be a priority for the next six months.

With Jack off for Easter break, we decided it made sense for Sharon and Jack to make a quick trip to the Midwest. Dropping them at the airport at 5:30 am, they caught a 6:30 am United flight to Chicago. Sharon rented a car and they drove to South Bend. On the way, they stopped for lunch in Hammond, Indiana near where Sharon's parent were raised.

After checking into a hotel across the street from the University of Notre Dame, they wandered around the campus to get their bearings. They will be taking a formal tour on Thursday before heading back to Chicago.

ESPN Films: It's Not Crazy, It's Sports - Chrome

Grant land and ESPN Films have released the fifth short film in their It's Not Crazy, It's Sports series. An episode guide is here.

It's Not Crazy, It's Sports: Chrome.

For Steve Coburn, California Chrome was a literal dream come true. In Errol Morris’s six of six shorts for ESPN Films, we meet the passionate owner of the horse who nearly became the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.


You can find It's Not Crazy, It's Sports: Being Mr. Met on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12409783.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Wilson by Scott Berg

I finished reading Wilson by Scott Berg as an e-book on my iPad. As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite books is Lindberg by Scott Berg. When I saw that Berg had written a book about Woodrow Wilson, I bought it. This is part of my project to read books about all of the presidents.

Wilson was born in the south in the years proceeding the civil war. He was born just over 100 years before I was… Wilson lived through Reconstruction. He saw the results of Sherman's march through the South. These experiences impacted his initial view on how German reparations should be handled after World War I. As the post war treaty negotiations started, Wilson worried that harsh reparations would set the stage for further conflicts. As he worked with France and England negotiating the treaty, his view on German reparations become more severe.

From 1902 to 1910, Wilson served as the President of Princeton University. Most of his life was spent as as a lecturer and a professor at a number of universities. I have read a number of books in the last couple of years about the period from 1880 to 1910. Wilson's life during this period was largely not involved in the outside world, but wrapped in the cocoon of academia. He wrote several political science books.

Wilson burst on the national scene as the Governor of New Jersey at age 54. He served from 1911 to 1913. Running against Teddy Roosevelt and Taft, Wilson was elected President in November of 1912. As governor and in his first presidential term, he had remarkable success enacting a progressive legislative agenda. He was re-elected as President of the United States in 1916.

Keeping the United States out of World War I during his first term, Wilson finally committed United States to the war in 1917. After the end of the war, he spent six months in Europe pushing his peace plan including the League of Nations. Wilson was not able to convince the Republican Senate to ratify the resulting Treaty of Versailles. Much of the rhetoric during Wilson's second term seems similar to the vitriol that takes place between Democrats and Republicans today...

Wilson suffered a major stroke in 1919. It is amazing that he was not removed from office. I don't think that this would be possible in the today's real-time media crazed era. Wilson died just three years after leaving office at age 67.

Although it spends a lot of pages on the post World War I peace conference, I enjoyed the book. At 747 pages, it is a load. Reading some of the comments on Amazon, it also hard to know how the author paints Woodrow Wilson. Many people seem to think that Berg portrays Wilson more positively than he should. At some point, I am going to read a couple of different books that rank all of the presidents.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Rhiannon Giddens - Black is the Color

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Rhiannon Giddens - Black is the Color

Code Expiration: June 30, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Give It Up!

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Give It Up!

Code Expiration: June 30, 2015

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter 2015

Sleeping late, Sharon, Jack and I scrambled to get to the 9:30 am Easter Mass at St. Ignatius. We spent the rest of the day getting the house cleaned up and the Easter Dinner prepared.

Everyone started to show up for Easter dinner about 3:00 pm. This year's group included: Tom, Becky, Kevin, Leah, Eric, Jim Dunn, Erin, Eileen, Sharon, Jack and I. Kathy was supposed to come, but was sick.

Sharon made a great dinner of ham, leg of lamb, green beans, potatoes and jello salad. We had the lamb cake that Tom brought for dessert.

After Jack, Eric, Erin and Eileen, took Tiber down to the park, the group finished the night watching the premiere of Mad Men.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Neighborhood Going Away Party

With Sharon sick with allergies or a bad cold, I spent Friday night around the community pool at a moving away party for one of our neighbors. Marianne threw a moving away for the Burns. The group included Marianne and Scott, Mike and Susanna, Tom and Judy, Mike and Jill, John, Sarah and Anna, Dan and Deborah, Rod and Kathy, and Chuck.

Friday, April 03, 2015

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-76

While we were exploring Charleston, I stopped at a number of South Carolina historical markers, including: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 [#10-65], The Seizure of the Planter [#10-76], Kress Building [#10-79], Jonathan Jasper Wright Law Office [#10-82] and U.S. Courthouse and Post Office/Briggs V. Elliott [#10-85].

The Seizure of the Planter
South Carolina Historical Marker #10-76

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This marker is located near 40 East Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 32° 46.385 W 079° 55.637.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-76


Early on May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls, an enslaved harbor pilot aboard the Planter, seized the 149-ft. Confederate transport from a wharf just east of here. He and six enslaved crewmen took the vessel before dawn, when its captain, pilot, and engineer were ashore. Smalls guided the ship through the channel, past Fort Sumter, and out to sea, delivering it to the Federal fleet which was blockading the harbor.


South Carolina Historical Marker #10-76


Northern and Southern newspapers called this feat “bold” and “daring.” Smalls and his crew, a crewman on another ship, and eight other enslaved persons including Smalls’s wife, Hannah, and three children, won their freedom by it. Smalls (1839-1915) was appointed captain of the U.S.S. Planter by a U.S. Army contract in 1863. A native of Beaufort, he was later a state legislator and then a five-term U.S. Congressman.

South Carolina Historical Marker #10-76