Roy's Blog

As can be seen in other parts of the web site, I like to write about things I find interesting/important. All of those things that interest me are not all significant enough to warrant a full essay; therefore, I've decided to create a Blog for myself. It will not be like most blogs in that I'm not using any blog software. If you want to comment/argue/disagree with anything in the blog (or anywhere else in my web site) just send me an email and if I deem it appropriate, I will post it. Be aware, I do not believe commercials are appropriate, nor language that isn't PG. (Okay, I'm a prude - but I'm an old prude!) That being said, I'd love to hear your comments especially if you disagree. By understanding why you disagree, perhaps I will see the errors in my thinking.

A word of warning before going on regarding proof reading: if you read any of the following you will soon be asking, “Doesn’t he proof read this stuff?” The answer is yes I do proof read it and that is why there are so many errors. You see when I proof read my own work, I see what I meant not necessarily what shows up. Sometimes when I reread things weeks later, I will catch some of the errors and correct them. Until then, my apologies!

Date Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2019

General Area: General Thoughts

Title: Do It

Why is it so much easier to say “I’m going to do …” than it is “I’m doing …”?

Date Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019

General Area: Major League Baseball

Title: Who’s to Blame?

According to the rumors it appears Joe Maddon will not be the manager of the Cubs in 2020. Now, I like Joe! What Cub fan wouldn’t like the manager who brought the first world championship to the team in 100 years? Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t agreed with all of his decisions throughout his tenure. At times, I think he has played “his” favorites instead of those who would have provided more positive results, but every baseball fan feels that way about his/her team’s manager. It appears Joe has gone from the toast of the city in 2016 to not being adequate to manage in 2020.

I have a hard time buying that. I can understand players’ skills diminishing once they pass a certain age and playing them would be detrimental to the team. I suppose there is a time when a manager’s mental acuity diminishes to the point where they are no longer as sharp as they once were and a replacement is needed. Is that the case with Joe and why the Cubs didn’t do well in 2019? I do remember one of the prognosticators picking the Cubs to be in 4th or 5th place at the end of the season before the season started. Since it looks like they’ll end up in 3rd, Joe got them in a better place than expected.

One of the things I feel is the problem is the “help” we have been getting from the trades and free agents we’ve been bringing in, particularly in the pitching area. In 2019, after struggling in 2018, we had a number of changes in the pitching area – a new pitching coach and numerous new relievers. Yet, towards the end of the season, if we weren’t leading by double digits by the late inning we fans knew we were in trouble. Did Joe make the decisions as to who was being brought in? Obviously he was in each particular game, but was he responsible for who was available to select from? If not, perhaps one should look at how those decisions were being made.

I understand the frustration with having one of the highest payrolls and not making the playoffs; however, instead of focusing the attention on the manager dealing with all that high priced help, perhaps some attention should be given as to how it is decided where all that money is being spent!

Date Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019

General Area: Education   

Title: Tell ‘em why!

Because of my son and his wife being out-of-town, Pam and I went to our grandson’s “back-to-school night”. He’s in middle school and it was one of those things where you followed the student’s schedule. In each class period the teacher then told you about what was going on in their class and the expectations for the students.

As I had a recent conversation with someone who was expounding about the waste of time learning algebra was, I noted the complete absence of any mention by the teacher of explaining why they were learning algebra. I use algebra all the time and had told the person questioning about the need for algebra. He hadn’t seen the connection of when he was using algebra to its being algebra.

This morning I mentioned this to my grandson, and he agreed with me. He had no problem seeing the value of algebra, but struggled with the value of geometry. I wasn’t too much help on that matter as I had struggled with the same questions of the value of memorizing theorems postulates and axioms, but I did point out some of the values of learning analytical geometry.

He then went on to question the value of some of the things he was being required to learn in English. Again, I must confess I never saw much value in learning how to dissect sentences and some things like that. That might explain why I don’t think I could dissect a sentence properly if I had to. And don’t get me started on poetry. I know there are those people who really love it, but I’m definitely not in that group.

I guess my point is there are many of us in the world who struggle learning concepts that we don’t understand why we are learning them. So, if you’re teaching something, you might want to include “WHY” in your lesson plans. It might give your students more of a reason to apply themselves than just a grade.

Date Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2019

General Area: Sports

Title: Football Celebrations

I am an old curmudgeon but I am growing to hate athletes’ celebrations. In particular the football celebrations.  

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand a team celebrating like mad when they win a game! If it’s the first win in 20 tries, it’s certainly something to celebrate. If a win brings a team into a better position, again, certainly something to celebrate.

What drives me up the wall are the celebrations of individual plays by the players. The guy that celebrates a tackle when his team is losing by a bunch, to me is ridiculous. More so the latest trend for defenses having choreographed celebrations of turnovers even when they’re losing. Maybe if they worked as hard on their defense as their celebrations they wouldn’t be losing.

I guess my problem is I grew up when the response to a good play was “act like you’ve been there before.” After all celebrations are usually saved for special occasions. Aren’t these celebrations saying, “Hey, look at me, I finally did what I was supposed to have been doing all along!”?

Date Posted:Friday, August 30, 2019

General Area: College Costs

Title: Why do colleges cost so much?

I graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1961 as a metallurgical engineer. I was immediately hired and started my career working for $7200 a year. It was at the time a very good salary.

Lately I’ve been hearing about engineers coming out of college getting $50-60,000 to start. My experience with these graduates has been they aren’t worth much at all and yet they get that much. In fairness, as I look back on my career, I wasn’t worth much when I started, either. I decided to see if those numbers were true and did some searching on the web. I found the average starting salary for a University of Missouri metallurgical engineer to be $60,437[i].

Of course, in 1961 I was paying about $.25 for a gallon of gas. To be fair, I should look at the effect of inflation plays in this “outrageous” salary. I found a web site[ii] to calculate that kind of thing and was embarrassed to find by $7200 is the same as $61,782.98 today. Maybe those young guys aren’t as overpaid as I thought.

That led my weird mind to wonder if all the complaints I’ve heard about the cost of college were just a matter of inflation. I remember my first year at IIT the tuition was somewhere between $800 and $900. (I didn’t worry room and board because I was a “cruddy street car student” – I lived at home.) Since that was 1957, using the inflation calculator in today’s money it’s between $7,304.51 and $8,217.58. I then checked to see what IIT’s tuition is today. According to their web site[iii] it is $47,480. I guess the complaints about the high cost of colleges are factual.

I wonder where all that money is going?






Date Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019

General Area: Sports

Title: The electronic strike zone can’t come soon enough for me.

 I suppose I won’t live long enough to see it, but I can’t wait for until the calling of balls and strikes are done electronically in the major leagues.

I’ve heard some say it’s a bad idea, because it takes the “human element” out of the game. To that I ask, are the umpires the important part of the human element or should it be the baseball players? I’ve just watched a ball game where the umpire called strike one on a 3-0 count that was further outside than one of the previous pitches. It seems if the count is 3-0 the next pitch is a strike as long as it’s in the county. Conversely, on a 0-2 count, the next pitch is a ball unless the batter swings and misses. Why? Because that’s what usually happens.

The arbitrariness of the umpires diminishes the capabilities of the hitters who are good at discerning strikes and similarly they diminish the skills of the pitchers who can “paint the edges.” The only baseball skill I’ve heard that would be diminished by the electronic strike zone is the catcher’s ability to “frame the pitch” – in other words, the skill of being able to fool the umpire.

Below is a link to an interesting article on how poorly the umpires did in 2018.