The Bus Moves On…

“Hey, you wanna go to a party in Baltimore at an old abandoned silo? The invite says dress to impress.”
“yes”, was my reply. 
the bar

Once we got there it became obvious the Silo was no longer abandoned, or even existent.  Where the silo once stood are high-end high rises.  The party was on the 19th floor.

Jim and Bowtie Bob

 I sampled the cheese, enjoyed the view, and enjoyed tales told by bowtie Bob.  Jim was here to buy a book.  In this book were photos of the silos that once stood where we were standing, and numerous other places that were once something but are no longer.  At least they are no longer what they once were.

Jin and the author of Dan Haga

 The book is filled with photos of places I know.  A power plant that once gave light to my house, a school I drive past almost daily, and many other places the authors weren’t allowed to enter.  It is a book about buildings and places that were once useful or beautiful, were abandoned and fell into disrepair, and therefore became cool.

El Debarge Jr. and date... I told you two I would forget her name. Email me and I will repent.

 Bob told me about the Philly of his youth,  El Debarge Jr.  and I talked about what was on his iPod, and I think Jim made plans with the author to do something illegal.

in the lobby

Admiral Cod, are you racist? Let’s Talk

There are on these interwebs, all sorts of folks.  A free and open forum for which I advocate.  You are free to say as you please, as am I.  Because I am free to speak, I would like to bring up my good buddy Admiral Cod.

Once upon a time he would leave pleasant comments on my posts.  He saw my site fit enough to list me on his blogroll.  I would comment on his site from time to time, if I felt I had something to offer.

Then one day it stopped.  It’s hard to pinpoint when or why.  Let me forward some guesses.

Was it when I mentioned the taint of slavery on American historical locations?

Was it perhaps when I posted a picture of my wife?

Possibly it was my exposing myself as a teetotaler, or was it that one post you did.  You know, the one where you stopped “approving” or posting my comments?  You remember the post right?  The one where you posted a video clip of an old movie where the English stave off a final attack by the savage Africans.  You approved a comment by some chap who lamented that we cannot treat our modern “brown menace” in like fashion.  I pointed out that letting such racially negative comments to go unanswered was bad form.  To which your response was… nothing.  You would not post my comment nor respond to my email.

I let it go.  Some times things are best left alone.  But yesterday you were at it again.  I have looked around and find your site listed on other sites blogrolls, you list some fine ones yourself, and the extent to which your rants go unanswered, or even defended, concerns me.  Hats off to the young man at Sartorially Inclined.  You posted his concern, but again not mine.  Who’s else do you delete?

Here is what you wrote

Here is what I wrote:

Racial acceptance is not a zero sum game.  Perhaps the “others” are not welcome to you, but to assume your opinions are held by all is more than presumptuous.

You infer, and this is by no means the first time, that the decline of society as you see it, is hastened by the presence and or acceptance of minorities.  You claim superiority in your Anglophile ways that is obviously tied to whiteness as you see it.

How sad.

You may think the proper order of the world, right side up as you put it, has whites at the top and others below, how do you propose this to happen?

What are you advocating or predicting?

Why, and this is more important, do you think this is the way it should be?

You portray yourself as cultured and learned, but this is simple ignorance.

No… I was wrong.  You are neither simple nor ignorant, perhaps something worse.

Maybe it was I who was out of line. 

So… was I?

A Proper Send-Off, Larry Gelwix

It was some years ago when I heard word that a rugby team from England was coming to Utah to play against the famed squad at Highland.  I had played with some Highland alumni in college, they always seemed deeply disappointed no matter how well we did, or how hard we tried, but I had never seen them play.

We drove down from college, found a seat in the stadium, and doubted they could ever be half as good as advertised.  We were wrong.

Highland opened with the haka.  I’m sure these boys from across the pond thought it quite silly to see this Polynesian war dance done amid the snow-capped mountains of American Rockies.  I doubt these young men from the game’s home land would have travelled so far to play if they did not think they would win.  How badly were they mistaken.

The youth from Utah ran over, through, and past the visitors with surprising force.  They were both fast and relentless.  I was in awe.  I had never seen anything like this.  Dressed all in black, Highland ended the day winning by more than 40 points.  One player stood out.  He was a giant.

This teenager stood taller, was thicker, and ran faster than all the rest.  I watched as he carried crowds of kids on his back, deflected tacklers like pesky flies, then posed for pictures with the defeated after the game.

That was a long time ago.  It is my understanding that this behemoth of a boy never played rugby again after high school.  I do still watch him play something; his name is Haloti Ngata and he plays football for the Baltimore Ravens.

A lot of people have played for Highland including Stewart Bradley of the Philadelphia Eagles. Over the past 30 years, Highland Rugby has amassed a 404-10 record. Saturday they claimed their 20th national championship.

20 is a lot.

In thirty years  a lot has changed.  The boys change, the styles change, even the rules change, but the one constant has been the coach, Larry Gelwix.

Gelwix wins games.  There is no way to deny it.  I have read countless articles trying to explain why or how, some complaining, but none can deny, they win.

They win more than just games.

In a country where most have never heard of rugby, fewer understand it, even less have played, Highland Rugby had a movie made about it.  The movie is a teenage tale of rebellion and redemption painted over a rugby backdrop.  Some have said it smells of cheese, I may have said that myself.  The funny thing of such a descritption is I’m sure coach Gelwix is proud of that.  He likes cheese.  He likes it not in the way that I do, I eat it, but in that he cares much, MUCH, more about the boys than he does the score.  A cynic would scoff that one with so many wins would not be victory obsessed, but such skeptisicm would be only slightly missplaced.  He is obsessed with the boys winning in life.

I have heard practices at Highland described as sweaty sunday school.  This may amuse those from somewhere else, but for those who are familiar with Gelwix, it seams normal.

After the victory this last Saturday Gelwix was carried off the field a retired man.  He has recently answered a call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to serve as the President over missionaries in part of California.  He will spend the next three years serving more than full time, with no vacations, and for no pay.  He will supervise hundreds of 19-21 year old boys and all that entails.  He will be responsible for their welfare, religious education, and their success.

It would appear to be a daunting task, but I would say Gelwix has been doing just that for the past 30 years.

Hats-off to you coach.

Screaming at Children or the Lion’s Roar

Coach Birch was a towering man. He loomed over us, all-powerful and all-knowing. His word was final.


As a junior I was the smallest offensive lineman to take the field on any varsity team in our division, 175 lbs. The second week of practice I looked up at the depth chart taped to the wall of the locker room and saw my name, starting at weak side tackle. I was happy. I looked closer and saw my name was also listed as second string at every other position on the line. This made me nervous. It was a hard year.


That was Coach Birch’s first losing season, the school’s first in two decades. I and a few other underclassmen took the blame and we deserved it. Every week a senior, or some super sophomore, would try to take my spot. They never did, I was better. I was better than them, but rarely better than the other team. Long live competition!


Mid season, during practice, Birch exploded.


“D@#$! Brohammas! Pull your head out of your @$$ and play football. I swear you would do a better job for this team if you went and stood in the corner somewhere.”


Half the team stood still in fearful shock, while the other half snickered. I silently seethed as the only acceptable response would be improved play. It wouldn’t happen that day. That was one of those many days where body and mind could not agree. Practice ended and we all just went home.


Birch called that night. I had never heard him apologize to anyone before, in my mind he never needed too. He told me his words were out of line and he regretted them. He explained he had a bad temper, which we all knew, but he continued.


“I will continue to yell at you till you begin to play better. We need you to play better. I wish I knew a better way but I don’t. The problem is I know you are better than you are playing. You can do a lot better. Son, just know that I only yell because I still believe in you. If I ever stop yelling at you, it’s time to worry because that means I have given up on you.”


For all I know Coach had read this line in a Vince Lombardi quote book, but it worked. I gained more confidence from that phone call than anything before it. I was too young and hopeful to be properly skeptical. Cynicism takes years to develop. I believed every word of it.


That was roughly sixteen years ago. I have done many things, been many places, and known great people, but few had the impact he did. I still think about that call. I still think about those years. The older I get the less I speak of them, but their memory hasn’t dimmed. For good or bad, those years and that man are one of the cornerstones of who I am, part of the foundation I am built on.

Because Sometimes Things Must be Shot

Jim came walking through the Italian market, visibly uncomfortable. “I have no idea why I thought walking two blocks carrying a shotgun would be O.K.” he said and we quickly went inside.

Sawed off

Once up stairs he began unloading his duffel. Custom grip revolver, nine millimeter semi automatic pistol, and many boxes of ammunition went up on the counter.  I clipped the target to the mount, hit a button and watched the bullseye zoom 50 yards down range.

this is the point when I realized I forgot my glasses.

By the time Stephen and Gage arrived, Jim and I had been well warmed up.  Stephen, the Ivy educated anthropologist currently making a change to medicine, walked right in and emptied an entire clip into the small thumbnail image on the upper left hand side of the target that I had previously been unaware existed.

Of all the places in the city to dine, we ended up at the airport Marriott.

Around the table were three Penn men, a post-graduate degreed architect, a high-powered attorney, and it took twenty minutes plus the waitress to help us do the math on the bill.