September 29, 2008


I loved the song "Green Onions" when I was a kid. And in my cd collection now is the Greatest Hits of Booker T and the MG's.

That's foreshadowing, folks.

So I'm at the soccer game last Friday. I sit with the families. To many of them I am a blessing (I modestly say) because I give such intense and personal tutoring to their sons who struggle to survive academically at UCB. I have my posse -- I can't handle working so intensely with the whole team. Last year, I got overwhelmed. After a few years of just doing good work with a few soccer players, I had built a reputation. At the first game of the season last Fall, I was approached by two mothers who I had never met. They came up and said "Are you Sherman?" (I'm not hard to miss at 350 lbs, after all). I said yes, and then one of the two said "We've heard that if you want your son to graduate, you should make sure Sherman likes him. So what kind of cookies do you like?" I ended up taking on six freshmen, and my cup definitely runneth over.

Only one of my posse graduated, so I wasn't looking to take on any new students for the academic coaching I do. Jake and Hector and JoshB and Andrew and AJ and Servando and Imaan and Kyle and Scot and Anthony were more than enough. So I purposely avoided the Team Potluck that introduced the frosh parents to the rest of the parents. "You should go" one parent said "because the frosh parents will definitely want to meet you" and as soon as I heard that, I made up an excuse to miss the potluck. I stayed away from meeting the new frosh because I can barely handle any more after work and weekend meetings to help the posse members I already have.

So Friday I'm sitting with the parents, and some new parents joined the crowd in the stands. They sat right in front of me. They were introduced as Nan and Booker Jones -- their son was Teddy. Teddy had taken over #8 uniform for Javi who graduated -- my one posse player to leave. We talked a bit, and I did my usual thing and when I talked about my academic coaching, I mentioned to the new parents that I had heard good things about their son -- that he was being serious about his studying. They were happy to hear that. And it turned out to be a good day for them as Teddy got his first chance to start in the second half of the game when a vet player got injured at the end of the first half.

It was a nice conversation, and what could I say when Nan finally asked "Would it be okay if Teddy came to see you" and Booker chimed in --- 'He's a good worker, but he needs someone to guide him" so I said yes, tell him to come see me -- the other guys can show him where my office is.

So today at lunch, Jake -- the captain of my posse --- was eating in my office and I mentioned that it looks like I'm gonna take on one of the frosh and he laughed about how I just can't stop myself and he asked who and I said it was Teddy and Jake said "Oh you'll like him. He's a sherman kind of kid." I said cool, and then Jake said "You know, I think his dad is someone famous." "Huh?" "Yeah, he's got a grammy or something." And then I spat out the words: "Booker? Booker Jones?" "Yeah, but he didn't use his last name or something. Just his middle initial." "BOOKER T?!!! Teddy's dad is Booker T of the MG'S?!!! That's who I was talking to!!!!???"

Booker T Jones. Wants me to do him a solid and take care of his son.

I do love these brushes with fame.

Watch this clip from the old show Shindig -- that's Teddy's dad at the piano:

Posted by sherman at 08:19 PM

September 28, 2008

Katie, I'd like to use one of my lifelines.

Another Tina Fey as Gov. Palin sketch from Sat Nite Live.

It's interesting that portrayals of this woman are making President Bush seem like an intellectual.

Posted by jackhodgson at 07:32 PM

September 16, 2008

Charlie Bit Me. Again.

One of the speakers at this conference I'm attending used this clip at the beginning of his talk to illustrate the old saying, "doing the same thing, expecting different results."

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:26 PM

September 11, 2008

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

You techie folks might already know this technology, but this amazed me.

It's a virtual 3D tour of the new memorial for 9/11 victims at the Pentagon.

(you may have to cut & paste the link -- I don't know how to make it linkable, but Captain Jack should be able to do that.)

Posted by sherman at 02:02 PM | TrackBack

Social Workers and Community Organizers

Seven years ago when the United States was attacked, it was a strange time on the Berkeley campus. As a country, we were not used to being attacked and not many students or faculty knew how to react. By the time classes started here on the west coast, the towers had already fallen and students were going to class stunned and out of sorts and it was a difficult time. A few days later, I got this email from a Social Welfare student. Itís one of the best emails Iíve ever received and I think it describes the Social Welfare major so well:

"Sherman, I just want to write to tell you how wonderful it is to be a Social Welfare major. On September 11th, I had two classes prior to Professor Grossman's SW 102 lecture. At the first class, no one even spoke about what was happening on the east coast. It was a business class and everyone just acted normal and sane, as if the world wasn't ending. I was frustrated and confused and when I went to my second class that morning, I tried to engage the professor and students in at least acknowledging what was happening. But the professor just said "Yes, it's a sad day for all of us" and then went into the lecture he planned for the day and the other students followed his lead and started taking notes. I couldn't understand how easily they were taking the news when I was very distressed. Then I went Cory Hall for Prof. Grossman's class and I learned why I love being a Social Welfare major. Of all my classes that day, Prof Grossman was the only one to toss away the planned lecture and let us open up and talk. He was the only one to let us acknowledge the pain and confusion we were feeling. Instead of being in a class full of people who did not seem to care what was going on, I was surrounded by other Social Welfare majors who were also upset and hurt and confused. I am so grateful to be in a major that cares so much that it hurts. I am so happy that Social Welfare majors are not afraid to admit that they care and hurt. I love being in a major that knew that day wasn't normal or sane and refused to act like it was. Thank you Sherman for helping me declare this wonderful major. God bless us all and keep us safe."

Posted by sherman at 01:39 PM

September 09, 2008

Maybe next year.

While I was away the football season here in New England started and ended. And I was only gone a week.

Headline: "Brady out for season. Patriots vow to move on" article

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:40 AM

September 08, 2008

Headed home

I'm sitting in the departure lounge for my trip back to Manchester from San Jose. Arriving really late tonight.

One more thing to add about my California adventure: We had an earthquake!

On Thursday evening I was standing in Sherm's apartment when the whole building shook suddenly. It was really only one quick bump, but it was a distinct thump and sway. Cool!

For the last 5 years I lived here I don't think I felt a single quake, so it's quite a coincidence to get one during a 6 day visit.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:44 PM

September 07, 2008

Trip report update

My California trip is nearing its end. It's been a great time. Today's big finish was a day flying with my friends Will and Jason.

We flew Will's Arrow from Watsonville to San Carlos, where we picked up Jason. Then we continued up over San Francisco and up to Napa Airport where we had lunch at the legendary Jonesy's.

Before arriving here in Santa Cruz I spend two days with Sherman in Berkeley. We had dinner with Rick and Jo Ann on Thursday. Then on Friday Rick and I went down to Palo Alto for breakfast at the world famous Peninsula Creamery.

On Friday afternoon I joined Sherm at a Cal soccer game where they pretty much annialated some team in white and red.

On Saturday nite I arrived at Will's in the Santa Cruz mountains. Beautiful area!

It turns out the Mrs. Will, Dawn, is an award-winning gourmet chef, and between the two of them they treated us to an awesome dinner.

I head home tomorrow, arriving in Manchester really late, and it's back to work on Tuesday.

It's been a great trip.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:35 PM

September 04, 2008

Baseball instant replay, first time

The sports news is all filled with stories of how well the first use of instant replay worked. But let me make one simple observation: the umpires got it right! Replay wasn't needed! So what's all the hoopla about?

Basically, instant replay proved that instant replay wasn't needed.

(Also, by the way, this incident involved Yankee's player Alex Rodriguez ending up with a homerun. So what's "right" about that?)

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:49 PM

Good morning from California

I'm on the road this week in California.

For the past three days I've been in meetings at Apple. Now I'm off the clock, and beginning the personal part of my trip.

I've been exploring a lot of my old haunts here in Silicon Valley. I can't decide which is more surprising, the things that have changed dramatically, or the things that haven't changed a bit.

I've been staying in a hotel right next to the building I used to work in at Apple. It's a little sad that "City Center", the pair of office buildings which used to be Apple buildings, is now completely surrounded by condo and hotel buildings. CC used to be a proud landmark on the corner of Steven's Creek and DeAnza Blvds. Now you can barely see it from the street.

One thing that hasn't changed a bit is my old home airport of Palo Alto Municipal. I spent a couple hours there last evening sitting on "the bench" watching the airplanes and talking with other pilots.

Today I'm doing more sightseeing, looking forward to lunch at an old favorite chinese place, and this evening, dinner with Rick and Jo Ann. Then staying with Sherman tonight.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:40 PM

September 01, 2008

Gustav Landfall

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:24 AM

Gustav unintended consequences

It's looking like Hurricane Gustav has veered away from a direct hit on New Orleans, and that it did not strengthen to the level predicted. This is good in the short term for New Orleans and the people of coastal Louisiana. But I predict two unfortunate results of this.

The first, is that the media coverage we're gonna see today and tomorrow will make the actual storm seem worse than it really turned out to be. They've invested so much in covering this "storm of the century" that it will be hard to report that it turned out to be not such a big deal. For example, one reporter is repeatedly making a big deal about a sign that blew down. She's reporting the same sign every time she comes up in the reports rotation.

The second, and far more disturbing, is that this huge mobilization of resources and evacuations, for what many will now feel wasn't necessary, will make it much harder to get people moving when the inevitable, truly big storm hits. The irony here is that this near-miss may actually produce more death and suffering than if Gustav had hit straight on. It's just that the damage will be postponed until a future storm.

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:43 AM