DENVER BRONCOS SUPER CELEBRATION 50!

For the course of… the entire off season(!) we here at And There Came A Day will continue to celebrate the Denver Broncos.

If you missed this Peyton Manning tribute that appeared before the Super Bowl (on, of all places, A Prairie Home Companion) don’t miss it again.

Charming and heartfelt, Omahallelujah is the best Peyton Manning tribute song you’ll ever hear…

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Filed under Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning, Super Bowl, Super Bowl 50

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Six NEW TELEVISION GROUND

Star Trek Celebrates 50 Years

star_trek_50th_anniversary_logo


To commemorate 50 years of boldly going where no one has gone before, And There Came A Day presents a weekly countdown to September 8, 2016 – 50 years to the day of the premiere of Star Trek.


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Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Five

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Four

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Three

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Two


 

There was significant news this week about the new Star Trek television series. Bryan Fuller, a writer and producer who got his start writing for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager will be a co-executive producer and co-creator of the new Star Trek show premiering in January 2017.

This seems very much like a step in the right direction.

Star Trek belongs on television. Hopefully this new series will underscore that notion.

bryanfuyller

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Filed under Star Trek, Star Trek 50th Anniversary, Star Trek 50th Anniversary Countdown

Teach & Serve No. 26 – Is It Getting Hot in Here?

Teach & Serve 

No. 26 * February 10, 2016


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Is It Getting Hot in Here?

As a learned friend of mine said: “Anyone can call the fire department. Leaders are checking the wiring before the spark ever ignites.”

 

I am not an expert on Peter Senge, the brilliant systems analyst who is currently a senior lecturer at MIT and who is a leading Systems Theory expert, but I am familiar enough with him to say that serious  professionals, educational and otherwise, should know who he is and what he does. In his deeply engrossing book The Fifth Discipline, Senge outlines a concept of how effective and dynamic learning organizations work. He is not talking specifically about schools; Senge is describing organizations that can learn, that can grow and that are dynamic. He is detailing how people can inspired to strive for the common good of the organization – no matter what that organization is or does – and how those organization can exist in a constant and healthy state of reinvention. His conclusions, especially as applied to schools,  are at once exciting and harrowing.

They are exciting because Senge paints a vivid picture of what schools could be if they were built on principles that encouraged educational professionals to consider the school community overall as more important than their individual needs and desires and that supporting the broad vision and work of the school (assuming it is a high performing learning organization) actually has the effect of making their individual lives in it better. Senge’s work is harrowing because of what a tough sell that concept is.

Senge outlines the five disciplines that learning organizations share, hence the title of the book. He also describes what he calls learning disabilities that can hamper learning organizations from reaching their potential. “Learning disabilities” is a bit of an awkward appellation given its current connotation, but Senge published the first edition of The Fifth Discipline in 1990, so he can be forgiven for this.

As I reviewed the book for my work teaching a seminar in Jesuit school leadership this week, I found myself reflecting on Senge’s concept of learning disabilities in general and one of them in particular: The Parable of the Boiling Frog.

boiling-waterSurely, you’ve heard this parable before, yes? If a frog is put in a pot of room temperature water on a stove and the heat is slowly and incrementally increased over a span of time, the frog will not leap from the water even as the temperature approaches the boiling point. It’s not that the frog doesn’t feel the change, the frog does. However, because the change is gradual and incremental, the frog doesn’t sense anything particularly out of the ordinary. He notes the shift in circumstance and moves on. He takes it in stride. He adjusts and adapts. He resets feeling that each rise in temperature is simply the new norm. He doesn’t leave the pot and doesn’t react to the danger until it is far too late.

This isn’t a nice story for the frog, to be sure. It’s kind of disturbing, actually.

But the story is all the more disturbing if we apply it to human systems. Senge says this is one of the learning disabilities that holds human systems back from being truly effective learning organizations. When things get off course in small ways, without major crises or “big” moments or institutional blow ups – when they simply slide downward, slipping inevitably, losing grip and losing focus, people in those systems tend not to notice… until it’s too late.

Can this parable be applied to our academic departments? Does it describe our schools? Have we ever felt as though we were the frog in the boiling water?

I think we would be well served to make a practice of “taking the temperature of the room” and discerning whether our schools, or departments, our PLCs are approaching the boiling point. We would be well served to do this early and to do it often. Looking around the room and asking, “hey, when did it get so hot in here?” may be a necessary thing to do. It may be something that needs to happen at our schools right now. But, if the water is at 210 degrees already, we can’t pat ourselves on the back for turning the burner down now. The closer we get to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the longer it will take the pot to cool. The closer we are to the boiling point, the more likely it is that we’ve done some permanent damage. We might be able to turn down the flame before the water bubbles over, but someone is likely to have already been singed.

Here’s the thing: it’s not particularly insightful, for example, to point out our schools are off track when our students aren’t scoring well on standardized tests they used to ace or that the school is off track when it doesn’t pass its accreditation review with flying colors or that the institution has a problem when enrollment dips 8%. Noting that something needs to change in light of these sorts of problems is kind of like fixing the barn door after the cow has come home… the farmer appreciates the work but isn’t going to get back the hours she spent looking for Bessie.

No, the insight comes in recognition of those problems before they become problems and dealing with them prior to their coming to a head. Leadership is when the potential issues are never allowed to become issues.

As a learned friend of mine said this week: “Anyone can call the fire department. Leaders are checking the wiring before the spark ever ignites.”

Check the wiring. Turn down the flame. Save the frog.

Oh, and read The Fifth Discipline.

 

 

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Filed under Education, Education Blog, Ignatian Education, Jesuit Education, Teach & Serve, Teacher, Teacher, Teacher Blog, Teaching, Teaching Blog

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: February 3 – February 9, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 8 comics last week: Spider-Man #1, Amazing Spider-Man #7, Batgirl #48, Batman: Europra #4, Doctor Strange #5, Detective Comics #49, Invincible Iron Man #6 and Batman and Robin Eternal #18.

The best comic I read last week was Spider-Man #1.

Spider-Man 1

 

I have many, many reservations about how Marvel’s last universe-wide crossover event (Secret Wars) played out. While I selected issues of it as my Best Sequential Art of the Week, it became chronically delayed and stories that featured major ramifications from Secret Wars have appeared before its conclusion. The potential power of the series was significantly undercut by these facts.

However, if the only result of Secret Wars was to relaunch Miles Morales in his own title as a teenage Spider-Man, then all (well, almost all) is forgiven. Much has been written and said about Miles Morales. In fact, many main-stream media outlets ran stories last week declaring the arrival of the new, African American/Hispanic Spider-Man missing the point that Miles doesn’t replace Peter Parker, who is still very much around in the Marvel Universe as Spider-Man, but exists alongside him.

Regardless, the news that Miles is black is not why I love this character (who has been in comics for over five years, by-the-way). I love this character because his creator Brian Michael Bendis knows what he’s doing with Spider-Man. Bendis writes a good Peter Parker. He writes a great Miles Morales and this first issue, with art by frequent Bendis collaborator Sarah Pichelli (who is really talented and has taken it upon herself to refine her style a bit in this book – which is a cool thing to do in its own right), is a great jumping on point to the Miles Morales story.

This issue changes a few things in Miles’ status quo in the wake of Secret Wars, but those changes (most notably resurrecting Miles’ mother) are all to the good.

Bendis writes teenagers very, very well and it’s fun to see a Spider-Man who is in high school, a Spider-Man who struggles in his personal life and a Spider-Man who doesn’t have it all figured out. I like Peter Parker very much and writer Dan Slott is doing a great job with him. But, if I was forced to pick one Spider-Man title to read a month, I think I would go with Spider-Man and the adventures of Miles Morales. That’s how strong this issue was.

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Filed under Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Batgirl, Batman, Batman and Robin Eternal, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Weekly Comic Book Review

EduQuote of the Week: February 8 – February 14, 2016

door quotes

Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. – Pope Francis

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Filed under Education, Education Blog, Ignatian Education, Jesuit Education, Pope Francis, Teach & Serve, Teacher, Teacher, Teacher Blog, Teacher Quote of the Week, Teaching, Teaching Blog, Teaching Quote of the Week

Denver Broncos Super Season 2015 Memories V


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As we anxiously await the kickoff to Super Bowl 50, I wanted to reflect on this crazy year for the Denver Broncos – a year unlike any I can remember – and share a few highlights of the season that was…


Broncos Bits 10 – 1

Hard to know what is going to happen in Super Bowl 50, but I do know this, this football team has provided far, far more excitement and fun than pain over my over 40 year love obsession with the team. Here are some of my favorite memories of the Denver Broncos...

10 – The Broncos Beat the Patriots to Go to 6 – 0 in 2009  Though it’s difficult to remember anything particularly positive from John McDaniels’ 18 month tour as head coach of the Denver Broncos, I fondly recall McDaniels beating his old team (the New England Patriots) to move his new team to 6-0 in the kid’s first season as coach of the Broncos. If we can forget the team would go 2-8 the rest of the way and miss the playoffs, this is a better memory… For one afternoon when the Broncos wore their yellow and brown throwback uniforms and the Kid McDaniels gestured to and pumped up the crowd at Invesco Field at Mile High, it felt like McDaniels and the Broncos had arrived as a top echelon team ahead of schedule.

Broncos Patriots

9 – Manning’s 509th Touchdown Pass  – Sous Chef and I were at the game when Peyton Manning plus Demaryius Thomas equaled an amazing (unreachable?) record. What an incredible offense machine the Broncos were during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. They were a pleasure to watch. “Hurry! Hurry!” indeed.

Kateri Jeff Cropped

8 – Randy Gradishar Steps Away – At the peak of his career, Number 53 stepped away from the game. Perhaps he knew something then that we all know now – that football is incredibly hard on the body – and he wanted to enjoy the rest of his life and more power to him. It shows that character and incredible play sometimes go hand-in-hand. Gradishar is one of the best players and best men the Broncos ever put on the field.

gradishar

7 – Elway. All Things Elway. – There is not much more to say than that. Even in his “down” years in the middle quarter of his career, Elway was always magical. He remains the face of the franchise, continuing to will the Broncos to Super Bowl contention year-after-year. It would be hard to imagine any other player as the poster boy for the Denver Broncos.

elway super bowl

 

6 – Pat Bowlen Buys the Broncos  – I don’t think anyone knew in 1984 when Pat Bowlen purchased the Denver Broncos how important that moment was for the history of the franchise and the destiny of the NFL. Bowlen built a perpetual winner in Denver, helped the NFL continue its ascent as the most popular sport in the country and showed other teams how to be an almost perfect owner – by (primarily) hiring talented and smart football people, giving them free reign to run the club and the financial support with which to do it well. Bowlen will absolutely be missed. How special would it be if the team he constructed could win one more for Pat?

bowlen

5 – “The Revenge Tour”  – Three of my top five Bronco moments deal with the 1997 team, beginning with this one. Denver had famously lost to Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1996 playoffs and had dropped games to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers during the regular season leading up to the 1997 playoffs. After annihilating the Jags in the opening round of the playoffs, they outlasted the Chiefs and the Steelers in successive road games before Super Bowl XXXII.

steelers broncos

 

4 – The Helicopter  – What really needs to be said about this?

3 – Winning Super Bowl XXXIII This win was something of a foregone conclusion… Denver was incredibly good this in 1998 and were heavy favorites to beat the surprising Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. And they did. Handily. John Elway was able to retire as a Super Bowl MVP and Super Bowl Champion. Could history repeat itself for Super Bowl 50?

john-elway-autographed-denver-broncos-super-bowl-33-sports-illustrated-2

 

2 – Winning Super Bowl XXXII – There’s nothing like the first. No matter how many great wins I get to see the Broncos achieve, I will likely never feel the way I did following Super Bowl XXXII. What a feeling!

SI Elway

1 – The Denver Broncos. United in Orange. – No matter what happens during Super Bowl 50, the long off season begins Monday morning and fans like me will step away, ever so slightly, from sports radio and following the team on the internet and will bemoan how much of the calendar doesn’t feature NFL football. Then we will step right back in.

The Denver Broncos have been one of my driving passions for as long as I can remember and, though I tell myself that I need to put away childish things as I get older, anyone who knows me knows that’s not likely to ever happen…

… especially in the case of my love for the Denver Broncos!

 

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Filed under Denver Broncos, Football, NFL, NFL Football, Super Bowl, Super Bowl 50

Denver Broncos Super Season 2015 Memories IV


Related Content from And There Came a Day


As we anxiously await the kickoff to Super Bowl 50, I wanted to reflect on this crazy year for the Denver Broncos – a year unlike any I can remember – and share a few highlights of the season that was…


Broncos Bits 20 – 11

Hard to know what is going to happen in Super Bowl 50, but I do know this, this football team has provided far, far more excitement and fun than pain over my over 40 year love obsession with the team. Here are some of my favorite memories of the Denver Broncos...

Bronco Camp 2015 420 – Training Camp Visits Dove Valley, where Broncos HQ is located, is very close to where we live and some combination of family has gone out to training camp on more than a few late summer days in recent years. I also remember my parents taking me and my sisters to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to watch the team practice in the heyday of the 1980s Elway years.

19 – Thanksgiving and the Broncos  – The Cinnamon Girl and I had a great Thanksgiving afternoon watching the Broncos thrash the Cleveland Browns a few years back.

18 – Peyton Manning Come to the Broncos I was teaching an AP English Literature during the news coverage of Peyton Manning’s landing at Centennial Airport during his free agent tour. As he was being shuttled to Broncos HQ, I was supposed to be talking with the students about literary analysis. That I was in the classroom didn’t mean I wasn’t following events (and keeping my students in the loop). In fact, we suspended the lesson as I let the kids know that Manning was signing with the Broncos. Then we lost our minds.

17 – The 2013 and 2015 AFC Championship Games – I got to attend the last two AFC Championship games (2013 with Stretch and 2015 with Sous Chef) and those being with the kids at these two games will remain treasured memories.

The Drive16 – The Drive – We turned off the tv when the Browns scored to take the lead in the 1987 AFC Championship Game. We turned it back on moments later. We turned it off again when the Broncos muffed the kickoff and got the ball on their 2 yard line. We turned it back on moments later. Then we watched Elway become ELWAY. We didn’t turn off the tv again.

15 – Watching Broncos Football in the Snow – I have seen many, many incredible Bronco games in the bitter cold and the blowing snow. I complain about the preparation, say I am getting too old for this… stuff… and then I love talking about what a great experience I had following the games.

14 – Rod Smith’s First Catch – I was living about 10 blocks from Mile High Stadium when the Broncos were going through a “down” year and were about to lose a game to the Washington team. The tv was on in the background and I wasn’t paying too much attention (I think I was painting my living room at the time) as John Elway did something he’d never done before. He connected on a last play touchdown for a win. The guy who caught the ball? A practice squad-er named Rod Smith. His first catch in the league was a John Elway ball. For a touchdown. To win a game. I opened the front door of my house and I could hear the screams of euphoria from the stadium.

13 – Broncos Comeback Wins Elway or Tebow or Manning (or, this year, Osweiler)… I’ve seen Bronco quarterbacks engineer some exciting come backs in incredible fashion. I’ve seen the defense do amazing things at the end of games. Is there anything more exciting than grabbing victory at the end of a game?

Super Bowl 50 Mantle12 – Decorating the House for Big Games – During the season, during playoffs, during Super Bowl runs, we’ve put decorations all over the house, sometimes with more gusto than others, but always in support of the team. How often they stay up after the conclusion of the season is directly proportional to how sad I am after the end-of-the-year loss…

11 – Madden Simulations! I have purchased the new version of Madden each-and-every year since 1994. I play the Broncos game of the week over-and-over leading up to any given game. I hesitate to think about how many hours I’ve spent playing the game. As of this writing, I’ve played Super Bowl 50 4 times (for the record, I am 3 – 1 in the game). The graphics and the game play get increasingly better every year.

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Filed under Denver Broncos, Football, NFL, NFL Football, Super Bowl, Super Bowl 50, Uncategorized