A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Urban Meyer, on a slow news day

announced that he's been afflicted with an erratic heart and very severe head pain for 20 years, and while he remains selflessly devoted to the Gator nation, the time has come to honor his true priorities of family and faith and resign as head coach at the University of Florida. A day later he announced that he was actually going to take a leave of absence and wouldn't rule out returning to coach the team as early as next season. Speculation as to the causes of this erratic behavior:

a)Not being in contention for a national championship and playing second fiddle to Alabama in the SEC, he had to do something dramatic to elicit a lot of man love from the guys at ESPN.

b)The impending severance of his very close relationship with graduating quarterback Tim Tebow has resulted in a total emotional breakdown, and he simply doesn't know how to face life going forward.

c)One night at home with wife Shelley convinced him maybe the family thing wasn't such a priority after all, especially once she found out the 5 million a year didn't keep coming in if he resigned.

d) In keeping with his long established tradition of lying to recruits, he'll call all the kids comitted to Florida to reassure them he'll be back as head coach, then reannounce his resignation after the kids have signed their letters of intent.

e) all of the above

next day edit:

Entre nous, as my mother used to say, which I think means "between us" and implies a certain confidentiality, I think maybe Urban has been self medicating for these stress "symptoms" for a few years and his wife, a shrink specializing in addiction problems, had a little one on one with the coach. He blamed his habit on the demands of the job, so she told him the job had to go. Certainly they have all the money they could hope to spend in several lifetimes, and sacrificing their family and future happiness to a growing dependency would not be the right thing to do. Hence her announcement that he would definitely not be returning to coaching just a couple hours before he announced that he would. There's something a little dysfunctional going on. If I'm wrong it won't be the first time.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bloging on Facebook

Andy Traynor Janett, Kim, Stephie and I went to Betsy's for a nice family party. Sisters Dean, Ann and Mary were there, Ann's John and Aidan, Brother Bill's whole crew, including 4 beautiful little girls (and special appearance - Katies's fiancee John) NY mogul John, Brother Tim and wife Billy. Betsy's Bill, Christie and little ...Bill with wife Courtney and daughter Sophia. Mary's Tom and Tim. Cousin Dee Dee
See More
about an hour ago

Only Friends · Comment ·LikeUnlike
Molly Traynor likes this.

Andy Traynor . Missing only Dean's Jim due to health problem, Mary's Ann and Tim's Betsy who reportedly preferred the attention of young men and Mike and Molly who were keeping the slopes safe in CO. Never enough time. Janett drove to and back with heavy snow falling. Hoorah for all.
about an hour ago ·

Andy Traynor John let us know son Mike was headed for the duty station today. Best wishes Mike. We'll be missing you.
about an hour ago ·

Andy Traynor And while Stephie was partying, Mark moved the family to new digs in Dundee. See why I still prefer blogging?
about an hour ago ·

Andy Traynor PS Everyone happy and excited for Noah, Lauren, and little three cheeks.
about an hour ago ·

Andy Traynor And where was Ross? After slipping and sliding home from Strphie's last night, our Southern Man decided he'd done enough winter driving for this year, pulled the covers up and put his head under the piilow. I admire a man of conviction.
about a minute ago ·

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Something happened yesterday

Lauren presented Noah with a beautiful son. John Reginald came into the world 22 inches tall and weighing ten and a half pounds with hefty little arms and big hands. His arrival really brightened our Christmas week, and we're so happy for Lauren and Noah.
But now, somehow, Noah's not my baby boy any more. Neither of us changed, nor did our loving relationship. But, it's as though he got a foot taller overnight. I'll still treat him with the same familiarity and affectiom, but with responsibility comes dignity, and respectability. Obviously, Noah's already a grown up and experienced and mature, a married veteran, working and continuing school, but having a son of his own is a pretty big deal. It's late, and I'm sleepy. Maybe I'm over-reacting. We'll see.

Here's a picture of my grandson, John Reginald.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I am so weird.

Haven't posted for a couple of weeks, maybe a little distracted by advent. I would usually be thinking of posting the image of the Infant of Prague with a copy of a little prayer, but spending happy time with Owen, anticipating the birth of grandson J.R. any day now, and Kimmy and Ross's baby in 4 or 5 months has reminded me of how joyful babies are.

So, I found this photo, and invite you to imagine with me Mary's happiness as she went to Jesus' little crib and was greeted by a face like this.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sounds like Brian Kelly is the guy.

I've commented in the last couple weeks about the ND coaching search. I mentioned Brian Kelly and Bob Stoops as candidates. I think Stoops was interested but for any one of a number reasons wouldn't take the plunge. (big money at Oklohoma, family and being in the middle of building a "dream house", less academic demands on players, lower standards for recruits). Most of all, though, ND lately seems like an imperfect opportunity.

I also referred to my annoyance with a lot of posters at Rock's House who insisted that Meyers, Stoops, and Saban were the acceptable candidates and hiring anyone else would represent a failure on the part of the administation. They're still going at it over there. From what little I know of Brian kelly he's a feisty, resourceful coach who works his players hard and adjusts his schemes to give his team the best chance to win with the talent available. His record at smaller schools is extremely impressive. He may be a turn around coach for ND.

If Kelly turns ND down, maybe Allsted, the Conneticut coach, or Lou Holts's son, Skip. They'd be OK, but I hope Kelly accepts the job.

PS Here's a link to an article about Brian Kelly and Notre Dame.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

In case you're interested

Here is a link to a couple of histories of Elgin IL written by the same fellow for the Elgin Historical Society.

The town has a colorful past, and reading the anecdotal writing brings on a nostalgia for the robust America of a cebtury ago.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Naming contest

From a recent NPR feature:

Illinois State Senator Mike Jacobs also wants to expand the market for Asian carp. For one thing, he'd like to see it on the menu in state prisons.

"Some people say that smoked, it's better than salmon," Jacobs says of Asian carp's taste. But the name "carp" is likely putting non-ethnic Americans off trying the fish, he says.

Aside from objections to the possibly offensive "ethnic" reference, and the possibly offensive state prison reference, the State Senator might have found a silver lining in the dark cloud of the Asia carp invasion. From You Tube clips. these things appear easy to catch, and there's a lot of them.

How does Heartland Halibut sound? No? Well, how about Lockport Lox? Hmmm, we'll keep trying.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A historical tid-bit and an interesting villain

Warlord's death evokes CIA's Golden days in the heroin trade

The death of Burmese warlord Khun Sa severs one of the few remaining links between Washington's Central Intelligence Agency and the trafficking of heroin out of Southeast Asia's famed Golden Triangle.

By The Vancouver SunOctober 31, 2007

The death of Burmese warlord Khun Sa severs one of the few remaining links between Washington's Central Intelligence Agency and the trafficking of heroin out of Southeast Asia's famed Golden Triangle.

Khun Sa apparently died last Friday in the Burmese commercial centre and former capital, Rangoon, aged 73 and after a peaceful retirement since he surrendered to the country's ruling junta in 1996.

Many believe he got amnesty in return for handing over to Burma's ruling generals his opium poppy growing and drug production empire that at one time provided 60 per cent of the heroin sold on United States streets.

But Khun Sa never considered himself a drug lord.

He thought himself a liberation fighter for the freedom of his people, the Shan of the forest-covered mountains of northeastern Burma. Poppy growing and drug trafficking were unfortunate necessities, he held, to feed and clothe his people, and buy arms necessary to fight Burma's military regime.

He even wrote directly to several U.S. presidents offering to sell the Golden Triangle's entire crop of heroin to them to keep it off American streets while still sustaining his liberation struggle. He never received a reply.

Khun Sa was a much loved by his people as a great nationalist hero. He was loathed with equal ferocity by successive U.S. administrations and in the late 1980s a $2-million US reward was offered for his capture.

It was not always so. Back in the 1960s and '70s, Khun Sa's empire fitted neatly into a CIA operation to fund Southeast Asian hill tribe militias to attack North Vietnamese supply routes to the war in South Vietnam.

In one of the CIA's more foul operations, its agents used its Air America airline to fly out Golden Triangle heroin. The drug was sold to corrupt South Vietnamese and Thai politicians who then peddled it to GIs in South Vietnam and a booming population of addicts in America.

There are some credible reports that, because of Khun Sa's access to southern China, the CIA continued supporting him well after the war in Southeast Asia had ended and even after the U.S. government had put a price on his head.

Khun Sa, meaning "Prince of Wealth," became the nom de guerre of a boy born in 1934 to a Chinese father and a Shan princess mother. His name was Zhang Qifu and he came of age in the tempestuous years after the Second World War when the Chinese Communists ousted the last troops of the old Kuomintang nationalist government from Yunnan province.

The Kuomintang's 8th and 26th Armies established themselves in northern Burma where they carved out a principality financed by opium production and supplied by regular air drops of arms from American planes.

As a youth Khun Sa joined the Kuomintang military, but then switched sides to Burmese government militias charged with halting the opium trade.

Once he had gathered an army of about 800 followers, Khun Sa declared himself a Shan nationalist and set up his own drug-producing principality. This brought him into collision with and defeat by the Kuomintang, as a result of which he was captured and imprisoned by the Burmese government in 1969.

Khun Sa was released in 1976 when his followers kidnapped two Russian doctors and demanded their leader's freedom in exchange.

He moved to the wilds of northern Thailand where he established his base in the town of Baan Hin Taek where he was protected by his well-armed Shan United Army of about 10,000 men.

This began the glory days of his control of the Golden Triangle drug trade. But in 1982, after a long and arduous campaign, the Thai army and airforce pushed the Shan United Army back into Burma.

Khun Sa simply set up a new headquarters just inside Burma at Ho Mong from where he controlled the world's heroin trade for nearly two decades.

My friend, Bertil Linter, who is the great expert on the Golden Triangle and who interviewed Khun Sa several times, says the warlord was basically an illiterate thug.

But Khun Sa told another friend, Denis Gray of the Associated Press Bangkok bureau, "They say I have horns and fangs. Actually, I am a king without a crown."

Sun International Affairs Columnist

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm getting disoriented

reading about candidates for Notre Dame's head football coaching position over at Rock's House. The board moderators counsel against speculation, at the same time subtly hinting that they have a pretty good idea who the likely candidate is and whether that candidate will accept an offer.

Bob Stoops, currently the head coach at Oklohoma has been issuing more strongly worded denials, but some fans parse his syntax and continue to hope last week's hands down favorite is still in the running. Other fans have turned their attention from the loser of three of the last six national championship games to the winner of two of the last three. That's right Urban Meyer, a coach Irish fan's loved to hate after they felt he left them at the altar when he accepted the Florida job five years ago. And why do they think he might be considering the opportunity? Searching the tea leaves they come up with clues like Athletic Director Swarbrick warning it will be a while before the new head coach is named. They infer this timing would allow the new coach to appear in this year's championship game before announcing his move to ND.

And then today Kent Nix, a top Florida high school defensive tackle announced he was accepting a scholarship to Notre Dame. With all the trouble ND has had recruiting really good defensive tackles why would a top candidate from Florida commit to a team that doesn't even have a head coach, unless he know's something.

Well, this kind of speculation seems as unhealthy as it is inescapable. But why do the fan's short lists have to include the most successful major college coaches of the day and insist noone else will do? Frank Leahy came from Boston College, Lou Holtz from Minnesota and Ara Parseghian from Northwestern; good coaches but not the brightest stars in the coaching firmament until their success at ND. And they found Knute Rockne in the chemistry lab.