Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Award ceremony online!

The awards ceremony from World Finals is online here. Select "Watch Award Ceremony online," fast-forward it to 29:00 or thereabouts to hear Sherburne-Earlville's name called, followed by screaming that is probably Anna and Laura in the balcony along with the team and a quick clip of the team's reaction. Fun fun! Here's a screen grab:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Some pictures at last!

Here are just a few. I will post some more when I can get the video into the computer, and I understand that Mr. Sherry has some good ones that will probably show up soon on the school website. The lighting was poor during the skit, so those shots are a bit grainy.

Wandering the Wild West

The better half is besieged with work so I am posting some pics from our jaunt. I'll leave the OM pics to her. As always, click to enlarge. Above are buffalo in the badlands. The one in the middle is wallowing.
Devil's Tower. It's smaller than it appears to be in movies, but is breathtaking in real life.
The Badlands, with a bad guy. This spot was unbelievably quiet. And just plain unbelievable, too.
A lake in Custer National Park. Another bad guy.
Swallows came pouring out of this cliff when we walked by. The Badlands are unique in that people (bad, bad people) are allowed free movement in them. Because they are eroding so fast from natural forces, the erosion caused by people (bad, bad people) is insignificant by comparison.

More later.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Badland Babe

She will think it's terribly unfair of me to post these. But maybe they'll spur the beauty within to post some pictures so we have something else to look at.

Moments of Lead, Moments of Gold

The Murphies have made their last odyssey for Odyssey of the Mind, and what a long, strange trip it's been. I will put up pictures later, both from the team's sensational performance in Ames and from the separate odyssey that Dad and I took through Wyoming, the Badlands, the prairies, and -- yes -- North Platte, Nebraska. Meanwhile, Scott has already posted a link to the scores in the comments, but here is another one, and here is a brief article from today's Syracuse paper online. (Oddly enough, I can't find it in the paper version.) They also ran another short one when the team left for Ames.

Laura and I were talking a few minutes ago about our family's experiences with OM (which I will never learn to abbreviate as OotM -- as acronyms go, that one is just plain dysfunctional.) We added up the kid-years this family has invested, and if we did it right, it works out to 28 years -- 9 each for Caleb and Luke, and 10 for Laura. Maybe now some of us will go on to new experiences with OM -- judging, coaching, or perhaps someday driving a new generation of kids back and forth to team meetings and competitions -- but life with OM as we've known it so far has come to a close. That's making me think about OM memories.

Maybe you'll remember how, back when Dad and I used to coach, we would take a little time in the final meeting of each year, after the tools were put away and the props were dismantled and the last piece of pizza eaten, for each person to remember a leaden moment and a golden moment from the season just passed. This was an end-of-the-season tradition we brought from Wagon Road Camp, where we met. A leaden moment, of course, is a time when something terrible went wrong -- a meeting when everybody fought, or a day when the technical device wouldn't work, or any time when failure seemed inevitable and you may have wondered why you ever got involved with such a frustrating, ridiculous program anyway. And a golden moment is, of course, the opposite -- those rare, transcendent times when it all comes together and everything happens perfectly.

Maybe that's not too corny a thing to do right now. So, think about it, please. Do you have a golden moment or a leaden one from your OM experiences, or several of them? Then please, post a comment or two or three. There's no limit on how many, and this isn't just for Murphies. It's for anybody with OM experience to share, which ought to include nearly everyone who reads this blog.

I could post dozens of these all by myself, from team members attacking one another with staple guns and paint spilled on kitchen floors to successes I never would have believed if somebody had predicted them back when all this began. The problem is which one to choose. And then again, all of my stories are your stories, too -- so I'm not going to tell mine yet. I'll wait and let somebody else go first. Okay? Okay, then. Your turn!

Final AI Results

Well, America voted, and Taylor won. Which means Luke wins a three-way tie with Laura and Aurora. Luke gets no money from those two, but Caleb owes him 10 bucks and Mom and Dad each owe him eight. Luke's on a roll, though I did nearly sweep him in fantasy baseball last week.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Off to Ames

Been quiet at Murphies. Everyone is busy. The Ps are headed to Ames via Denver and Mt Rushmore in a few minutes. Luke flies out with the team Wednesday. Laura is driving out with four friends squeezed into her car and an ex-cargo on top. We'll see if they're still friends when they get there.

We'll write if we find work.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Exit Elliott

Elliott the weeper is voted off by the narrowest of margins. Elliott is a fine guy and can certainly sing, but the quality of his voice does nothing for me. It's down to Taylor and Catherine, who gives new meaning to the word voluptuous.

The standings:

Aurora 11
Luke 12
Laura 13
Cassie 19
Caleb 20
Tom 20

If Taylor wins, Luke wins a three-way tie-breaker. If Catherine wins, the Aurora Monster wins in a two-way tiebreaker. The three who trail badly will owe big money.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Cows Are Upset

I told them we were using a new kind of fencing this year. Invisible fence, like with the dogs. The cows are out in the pasture, walking around sticking their front toes out, swishing them back and forth. I guess they didn't realize I was just kidding.

Friday, May 12, 2006


The totalitarian government decrees that families must keep having children until they have a boy. Once they have a boy, they must stop. What is the average number of children per family, and what is the gender ratio? First correct answer gets to be the person who gave the first correct answer.

Remapping the world

Here are maps of the world redrawn according to various statistics: the number of airline passengers, the percent of the population under 18, anticipated population in 2300 . . . sounds boring but it's unexpectedly fascinating. Don't forget to follow the link to many more. I was particularly struck by toy exports:

and toy imports:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Aurora grabs the lead!

Chris exits. Catherine survives at least another week. Aurora moves into first place.

Aurora 11
Luke 12
Laura 12
Tom 16
Cassie 16
Caleb 18

Alas, A aura's position is not as strong as L aura's position. L aura is guaranteed at least a tie, which would throw the outcome into the labyrinthian tie-breaker system. Should Elliott go home next week, and Taylor wins, it's a three-way tie between L aura, A aura, and Luke. If Elliott goes home next week and Catherine wins, it's a two-way tie between the two auras. Mom, Caleb and I are out of it, and stand to be the biggest losers.

Chris was shocked. Nice guy. He'll have an interesting career.

Aurora also moved up to 290th position on the Jersey Performance Index list. What a cow!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

American Idol Reaction

Elliott came up BIG tonight. I thought the first one was excellent, and then he sang the second one and was really incredible. Makes the voting for this week MUCH more interesting.

Taylor's first song I don't think was anything special at all. Didn't show us anything from him that we haven't seen before, didn't show much range or vocal ability, and the performance was just decent. He lost notes during some of his more difficult dance steps and things like that. The second song was great. The arrangement was weak at the end but his performance was flawless.

Chris did nothing at all tonight. Two performances with nothing new or exciting, no intensity or anything. Again, makes the voting very interesting. But I have to say, I highly doubt he would be voted off based on one bad night. He'd have to do something Pickleresque to pull that off.

Katherine's first song was absolutely incredible, maybe the best of the night. Elliott's were really good but that first one may have been better. The second song had a horrible arrangement, it was much too overtop for that kind of song. Nonetheless, 3/4 of the way through the song I couldn't help falling in lover with her. After the weak ending, I could help it again.

I think Katherine is the favorite to get voted off. If not her, then Chris. Then Elliott and then of course Taylor. Really, I have no clue at all. I think Chris deserves to go though, his act is getting really tiresome.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Murphies (and a Schloen and a Roe and a Bencze) go to a Ball Game

Before the game:

A controversial call:

Scouts at work:

Who are those guys?

Don't they look nice?

This one's better!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

AI Table

Okay here's a table with probabilities of winning the AI pool and the best case scenarios for each person who entered. This way everyone will know who to cheer for. At the top I put each person's name plus how far behind Laura they will be after Taylor leaves. It does not matter when Taylor leaves. The impact will be the same no matter what because no one had him in the top 4. I also put each person's ranks for the 4 remaining contestants EXCEPT for Taylor. I apologize if there are any mistakes.

Laura (0)

3. Chris
2. Elliott
1. Katherine

22/24 chance to win

1/24 to tie and lose to Luke

1/24 to tie and lose to Aurora

Best Scenario is to win 42$ if this happens:

4. Taylor
3. Chris
2. Elliott
1. Katherine

Aurora (2)

4. Chris

3. Elliott
1. Katherine

1/24 to tie and lose to Luke

1/24 to tie and win

Best Scenario is to win 32$ if this happens:

4. Chris
3. Elliott
2. Taylor
1. Katherine

Luke (3)

4. Chris

3. Elliott
2. Katherine

1/24 to tie and win

Best Scenario is to win 26$ if this happens:

4. Chris
3. Elliott
2. Katherine
1. Taylor

Dad (3)

7. Elliott

4. Katherine
2. Chris

no chance to tie or win

Best Scenario is to only lose 2$ if this happens:

4. Elliott or Katherine
3. Elliott or Katherine

2. Chris or Taylor

1. Chris or Taylor

Mom (5)

6. Elliott
2. Chris
1. Katherine

no chance to tie or win

Best Scenario is to only lose 4$ if this happens:

4. Elliott

3. Taylor or Katherine

2. Chris or Katherine or Taylor

1. Chris or Katherine or Taylor

Caleb (7)

5. Elliott
3. Katherine

1. Chris

no chance to tie or win

Best Scenario is to only lose 2$ if this happens:

4. Elliott

3. Katherine

2. Taylor

1. Chris

This will probably come out kind of funky but hopefully it will make sense. I used the Html and it was kind of tricky.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Forget Paris

The two auras are tied for the lead. But the L aura is in the driver's seat as she will gain two points on the A aura when Taylor departs, which may not be until the very end. How do you plan to spend your winnings, Laura?

Laura 11
Auraura 11
Luke 12
Tom 14
Cassie 14
Caleb 15

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

American Idol Reaction

My bet is that Elliott goes home. Two really bad song choices. The first one was just a bad song and the second one just doesn't show off any vocal talent.

Paris just doesn't do much for me anymore. Prince sucks and there's something about the tone of Paris's voice that i'm really starting to dislike. Especially in a ballad. Actually I first noticed it very early in the competition when she did some ballad, but I didn't notice it again until recently just because she stopped doing ballads. The only slower song of her's I've liked a lot this year was the jazzy one that she did.

Chris was pretty great and I think he may be the favorite to win the competition. The second song would've been perfect for him if it was a whole step lower.

Katherine was mediocre in the first song, but the second one was great. She was having genuine fun.

And then if you want to talk about having fun, nobody beats Taylor. I started cracking up when I realized he was doing Play That Funky Music White Boy. Man he's great. He doesn't get nearly as much credit as he deserves for his singing ability. Something in the Way She Moves was awesome too. I don't know why they don't do more Beatles songs. There should be a Beatles week. If you want to find a song that will get a great reaction from people, will make you sound good and is a perfect singer's song, you should do a Beatle's song.

Nothing, of course, is for certain but I'm kind of thinking that Elliott will go home, and then it will come down to Chris and Taylor. Katherine is too inconsistent. I'm sure lots of people love Paris, but my feeling is that the individual personality and character of Chris and Taylor gets more people wanting to call and vote for them than Paris. But don't quote me on any of this stuff.

Red Sox Rumor Mill

Apparently, the RS were so thrilled with the results of their reacquisition of Mirabelli yesterday they have dealt Wily Mo to the Orioles and have reacquired Kevin Millar. He is expected to be in Boston in time to suit up for tonight's game. Millar will play first and Youkilis will move to CF for now. The Boston police are expected to arrive in Baltimore around 2:30 to give Millar an escort right to the park.

They are working on a deal with the Dodgers to reacquire Bill Mueller on Wednesday, for either Alex Cora or Alex Gonzales plus a pitching prospect. Mueller will play third, and Lowell will get moved to short, adding some offense to that position.

Theo Epstein said, "I'm just trying to correct some mistakes that were made in my absence."

NYT: World Ends; Women and Minorities Hardest Hit

Monday, May 01, 2006