The next Michael Phelps

Admittedly this is a post that might appeal to but a narrow slice of readership. It is all about NCAA Men’s swimming championships. Last night I was able to watch the first evening finals which consisted of the 200 yard medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. I can babble about the amazing swims, but take my word for it…. amazing. For me the most amazing was the anchor leg of the Arizona State 800 relay: Leon Marchand. Marchand is from France and swims for Bob Bowman, Michael Phelp’s coach, and is the best swimmer in the world. In the Paris 2024 Olympics he will be the next multi-gold winner.

He anchored the 2nd place ASU relay (Texas was the winner with a new NCAA and American record). This might not mean a lot to the average reader of this blog, but his split for a 200 yard freestyle was 1:28.42…. holy guacamole. How fast is that? … it is fast. At the pool where I swim (and remain a legend in my own mind….) the average lap swimmer will cover 25 yards in about 30 seconds – and those are the better ones. That means they will have covered 75 yards in about the same amount of time as Marchand swam 200 yards.

At his Pac-12 conference championships he set an NCAA record in the 200 yard breaststroke and 400 individual medley and he wasn’t fully tapered and rested for that meet. Yikes!

The Richer Story

The previous post “What we know?” was part of my musings initiated by a video on YouTube. I was in the midst of preparing materials for our parish website, a feature called “Bible on the Back Porch.” The page tagline reads: “Reading, pondering and studying God’s Word is sometimes best done “on the back porch.” Each week we will try to offer something for you and your ‘back porch time.’”  People are busy and in my area, have long commutes, families, and sometimes in-person bible studies are just not possible. But they can find 20 minutes at home if something is available online. Hence the back porch project. Continue reading

Vision and Restoration

In today’s first reading we hear from the Prophet Ezekiel. It is from the end of his prophetic writings and there is a lot of “water under bridge” that has led to this amazing vision of a new temple being the source of restorative and living water that is so inevitable, so powerful, that even the Dead Sea valley will be restored. The language used echoes that of the story of creation from the Book of Genesis. Continue reading

The Hidden Life of Interesting Numbers and Sequences

Number patterns (1200x675 px)Here in the shadow of national Pi Day, it is a week in which to explore the world of numbers! What is your favorite number? What numbers are fascinating? What numbers are boring? You can’t tell me that the graphic above isn’t just as interesting as can be. Not only is it fascinating, I am equally intrigued by the person who spotted the sequence. Continue reading

National Pi Day

Today, March 14th, is the annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π. And it is not just because some mathematicians got together and said so, on March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (111 H. Res. 224), recognizing March 14th as National Pi Day. So, its official… in a non-binding kind of way. Continue reading

Living Gratefully

In the first reading, we hear the end of the story of Naaman, a Syrian general, who has just been cured of his leprosy. When Naaman comes to Israel he encounters the prophet Elisha. Naaman has come bearing all manner of riches and gifts, but Elisha wants none of it. He simply instructs Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River. Pretty simple and ordinary, yes? Continue reading

Why confess your sins?

The first reading today is from the Prophet Micah. The words of the prophet are very appropriate for this Lenten Season:

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins (Micah 7:18-19)

Continue reading