Adios, Big 12

The Big 12 Conference is not long for this world.

I don't see how any other conclusion can be reached. The Board of Regents at Texas A & M has given the school president authority to take any action he deems necessary in terms of conference realignment. There was a time last summer when it seemed A & M might be headed to the Southeastern Conference, but they remained in the Big 12, even as Nebraska and Colorado bolted for the Big 10 and the Pac 10 (now Pac 12) respectively. It was thought, after the shuffling of last summer that there would be some peace for a while. An uneasy peace to be sure. No one was really confident that the forced marriage of the old Big 8 and refugees from the defunct Southwest Conference could survive long term, especially after last summer's defections. I suspect most thought it would be several seasons before the dominoes started to fall again, however.

But that would be wrong.

Now, there is no timetable for anything to happen and no invitations have be formally extended to A & M, at least as I write this. But it seems clear that A & M wants to move and when the SEC decides to invite them, and they probably will, then the Aggies will go. And the SEC will have 13 teams and the Big 12 will have 9. The Big 12 can live with 9, but might not. The SEC cannot live with 13 and will not. And you know what that means boys and girls? Some other team is going to join the SEC.

Who will it be?

We don't know, but there are some suspects. They are, in no particular order: Florida State, Clemson, and our beloved Missouri Tigers. Yes, some are suggesting that Mizzou could go to the SEC. I don't know what to make of that. On the one hand, it would be flattering to belong to the country's best college football conference. You want to be the best, you have to beat the best and why not be in the best league? On the other hand, Mizzou is not really a cultural fit in the Southeastern Conference. If we were to switch, the Big 10 is a better fit.

Obviously, it's out of my hands but for what it's worth - say "Yes" if the SEC comes calling, but in the meantime, hope for the Big 10 to send an invite.

In any event, if A & M leaves (or 'when A & M leaves'), I don't think the Big 12 survives. They can, but the Big 10 and the Pac 12 will not stand pat if the conference jumping starts up again. Mizzou will start to look like a nice piece to add somewhere and maybe the Big 10 decides they want them before somebody else takes them. Kansas will look good to somebody and for heaven's sake, so will Oklahoma. And I've heard there's another school in Texas that's pretty competitive. Maybe they go somewhere.

How ever it shakes out, the Big 12 is on its last legs.


Dad, Louie, Ferlin, a Bucket, and Music

I like my parents' music. I like it more every day.

I don't know exactly how to explain it, I am no musical scholar. I can only say that the rumbling bass and incessant riffs of my youth have receded into the background and the melodies, rhythms, and the voices (oh, the voices!) of the 1930's and 1940's are more front and center.

I got a Louis Prima CD for my birthday and am having a blast listening to this crazy guy. I was introduced to Prima by my dad. Not formally, of course, but because Dad had one of his albums. I don't remember ever hearing it, but I'm sure the folks listened at one time or another. Lately I've been hearing more of Prima as I listen to a station here that is devoted to this kind of music. Prima is compared to Louis Armstrong and for good reason, I suppose. Prima was a New Orleans guy and you can hear it in the music. Prima was Italian, which I did not know, and when I hear him, sometimes I hear Dean Martin coming out.

Prima's style could be described as frenetic, the album's liner notes say he and his band essentially invented the lounge act. Here, from the Tube of You, is Prima, Keely Smith (at one time married to him), and saxophonist Sam Butera, in all of their glory:

Keely Smith's job, besides her great voice, was to provide a stoic contrast to the antics of Prima and his orchestra - it was all part of the act.

Dad also liked country music and while I dip into that less liberally, there's a quite a bit of it that is growing on me, particularly the sounds of country swing and the rockabilly stuff. Dad went to school with country singer Ferlin Husky, who passed away just a few months ago. During the years when Ferlin was singing in Branson, Mom and Dad would try to go once or twice a year. Ferlin would be talking and ask if anybody there was from home and Dad would raise his hand and Ferlin would say, "Hello, Paul!" and then they'd have a conversation right in front of everybody. Here's Ferlin and Paul a few years earlier:

Ferlin is #20 and Dad is #22. This past July was the 12th anniversary of Dad's home-going and that caused me think about those two guys again.

One time during my childhood, I was in the back yard and for some reason I was talking to Dad about a bucket - either I was looking for one or lost one, or something. Dad grinned and said, "Does it have a hole in it?" I didn't get the reference and tried to explain what I needed and that I hadn't said anything about a hole. He just explained that there was a song about a bucket with a hole in it.

Well sure there was, a Hank Williams song to be exact. A lot of people (Robert Plant and Jimmy Page!) have covered it, but I'll give you Van Morrison, which might be my favorite version.


The Valley of Vision

Here is a remarkable prayer from the book "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions."

O Heavenly Father,

Teach me to see
that if Christ has pacified thee and
has satisfied divine justice
he can also deliver me from my sins;

that Christ does not desire me, now justified,
to live in self-confidence in my own strength,
but gives me the law of the Spirit of life
to enable me to obey thee;

that the Spirit and his power are mine
by resting on Christ's death;

that the Spirit of life within answers to
the law without;

that if I sin not I should thank thee for it;

that if I sin I should be humbled daily under it;

that I should mourn for sin more than other
men do,
for when I see I shall die because of sin,
that makes me mourn;

when I see how sin strikes at thee,
that makes me mourn;

when I see that sin caused Christ's death
that makes me mourn;

that sanctification is the evidence of reconciliation,
proving that faith has truly apprehended Christ;

Thou has taught me
that faith is nothing else than receiving thy

that it is an adherence to Christ, a resting on him,
love clinging to him as a branch to the tree
to seek life and vigour from him.

I thank thee for showing me the vast difference
between knowing things by reason,
and knowing them by the spirit of faith.

By reason I see a thing is so;
by faith I know it as it is.

I have seen thee by reason and have not
been amazed,
I have seen thee as thou art in thy Son and have
been ravished to behold thee.

I bless thee that I am thine in my Saviour,