Dad continues his steady march of improvement. We’ll be taking the kids to see him later this morning which we’re hoping will be a nice pick-me-up, since he’s seen neither Jonah nor Elisha since he got sick back in October. That’s a long time to go with out your grandchild fix.

Earlier in the week, the kids and I spent a couple hours over at Matt and Ginger’s visiting with Ginger, Laura and Emily. Elisha was in good form until the end, though Jonah, while not unruly, has been a bit better behaved in the past. On the whole, Elisha and Emily did their baby things as well as ever, and Jonah and Laura were very good playmates. (For example, watching them do yoga together proved highly amusing.) Another get-together is definitely in the offing.

The soccer seasons have concluded, which is just fine by me. The outdoor season about which I had such expectation was a bust. Circumstance (specifically everything with Dad) and injury kept me from playing and, on those occasions when I did play, playing well.

I’ve had better success with indoor soccer since the games are exclusively in Salem, though it’s been a hit-or-miss affair what with my injuries and lack of conditioning. I’ve had several games fall into the “not very good” category, but most lie squarely in the “mediocre with flashes of brilliance” realm. Last Thursday was a case in point. After a marginal first half, I opened the second by dribbling the kickoff down and rocketing one of the best shots I’ve hit in years into the top right corner. I followed up with a second goal within the next two minutes. Then I subbed out and returned to mediocrity for the rest of the game. Were I in better shape, I could play against these teams at very high level for the entirety of the game. I’m not so I can’t. As they say, maybe next year.

Which I’d have to add also sums up my feelings about my Pittsburgh Steelers, who at 7-5 have had a far worse year than expected. Certainly Big Ben’s repeated injuries have hurt us, but if not for back Charlie Batch also going down injured, we probably would have been OK. (An aside: Charlie Batch played for years in Detroit without ever having a solid offensive line, much the in the way that today’s Lions QBs suffer the same fate. With a solid O-line, he can win you ball games.) Former starting QB Tommy Maddox’ utterly inept play has been the low-light of the year, and he’s cost us a couple of games that we should have won.

So by rights we should be 9-3. We’re not, and last week’s loss to the Bengals means that a pretty solid Steeler team, just one year after going 15-1, is in danger of missing the playoffs. I still believe that if we get hot we can take down anybody—even high flying Indy—but we haven’t been hot for a while. After today’s game against the Chicago Bears, we’ll know if it matters.

Football was one of many topics at last night’s party, which also included extended conversations about Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Supreme Court, education (naturally), Darwin, and more.

The two bits that struck me were these: First, somebody needs to dramatically overhaul the school district’s Diversity CIM. How does one grade diversity? I’d love to see the rubric for this. I’ve not examined it, but this just sounds like the PC Thought Police are alive and well in Salem-Keizer.

[Harry Potter spoiler ahead; skip to next paragraph if necessary.]
The second item of interest to me was the wide consensus that Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series is a good guy not a bad guy. I’d always thought that the Unbreakable Vow (or whatever it was called) to kill Dumbledore that Snape made at the beginning of book 6 pretty much precluded that possibility. Of course, I also thought that Snape in the movies should have been played by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia instead of Alan Rickman, so what do I know? Clearly, I need to re-think things.

Anyway, the party—attended by Phillip, Sarah, Marcus, Matt, Ginger, Laura, Emily, David, Heather, Liam, Leif, Kathy—fulfilled all hopes and expectations on our part. The kids had fun, the adults had fun, and nobody died. We’d do it again gladly.