Oh baby! It’s my favorite day of the month (OK..Paczki Day is actually my fave this month, but FF is a close second!) it’s the day when I hand out free blogging advice to every single person who leaves a comment. Just tell me your URL and I’ll respond with one tip to make your blog even better. How easy is that??
Here’s how it works…
Between 8AM and 5PM EST (ending a little earlier then usual, I have to teach tonight) post your blog/website link in the comments and I’ll reply with one tip for improvement. I’ll do my best to give each person a different suggestion so you can come back and use all of my tips to make your blog look shiny and new.
I’m also happy to answer short questions like “Is the font I used for my post titles too difficult to read?” or “Should I make my photos bigger?” Questions that will take a longer explanation will be saved for coding & design posts.
Alright – have at it!
With Michigan looming as a now key Senate race, Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is locked in a tight battle with Republican Terri Lynn Land, has replaced his campaign manager.
Paul Tencher, who ran now-Sen. Joe Donnelly’s winning campaign for the Democrats in Indiana last cycle, will take over as the head of Peters’s campaign operation. Tencher will replace Julie Petrick, who is stepping aside for personal reasons, Peters said in a statement.
“Paul is a seasoned campaign manager with an impressive record of winning races,” Peters said. “He will work closely with all of our Michigan supporters and allies to build an unprecedented grass-roots campaign that is focused on turning out voters and on the issues that matter most to middle-class families in Michigan.”
March 6, 2014 by Joshua Henschke
Filed under Uncategorized
Mark Messner, Rob Lytle and Jumbo Elliott saw their names listed on the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot.
The National Football Foundation announced the list of candidates for the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. Three former Michigan football players saw their names featured on the ballot.
Former defense end Mark Messner, running back Rob Lytle and former offensive lineman Jumbo Elliott are featured in a list with the likes of "Rocket" Ismail, Keyshawn Johnson and Randall Cunningham.
Messner, a two-time All-American at Michigan was a dominant defensive end from 1985-1988. He earned All-Big Ten honors in each of his four seasons playing. He and Steve Hutchinson are the only two Michigan players to do so in their careers. Messner also currently holds the Michigan record for tackles for loss (376) and sacks (36) in a career.
Messner was inducted into the Michigan hall of honor earlier this year.
Lytle, who is making an appearance on the ballot for the third consecutive year, was a consensus All-American his senior year at Michigan in 1976. He also finished third in the Heisman balloting that year behind Tony Dorsett and Ricky Bell. At one time, Lytle held the Michigan record for most rushing yards in a career with 3,307 yards -- which was broken five years later by Butch Woolfolk -- and now currently sits seventh on the all-time rushing leader list.
Also having a lengthy career with the Denver Broncos, he holds the honor of being the first player to score a touchdown in the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl. Lytle passed away in 2010.
Elliott, who is also appearing on the ballot for the third consecutive year, is known for more than a dramatic touchdown -- his only reception of his career -- in a Monday Night Football game during his professional days.
A two-time All-American and a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award, he was a pivotal member of the offensive line that lead the way for former running back Jamie Morris to set the Michigan rushing record that went on to stand for 14 years. The 1986 Michigan offense was explosive, putting up school records in yardage in a single season (5,396) and first downs in a single season (286.) Elliott was also a two-time All-Big Ten honoree.
He left Michigan as the school record holder for consecutive starts for an offensive lineman.
Often regarded as the first franchise player in New York Giants history, Elliott had a career which included 13 seasons in New York and eventually becoming a Super Bowl Champion in 1990.
To be eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame, players must be at least 10 years removed from their final collegiate game and earned at least one First Team All-American honor by a major NCAA-recognized outlet. The player cannot be playing professional football currently.
Follow Maize N Brew's Joshua Henschke on Twitter, @JoshuaHenschke.
March 6, 2014 by Zach Travis
Filed under Uncategorized
Not a major shift, but handy if you forget mid-game what Michigan's mascot is.
If we are slotting this announcement in the hierarchy of Grievous Affronts to Good Taste and Tradition, these probably don't make it past (dis)Honorable Mention.
This is rebranding for rebranding's sake. A subtle switch that allows Adidas to sell more merchandise after making an announcement across its social media platforms to create buzz.
On the bright side, the uni's don't have sleeves.
Relationships are funny things. They come and they go. They are filled with joy and pain. Relationships can be acquaintances, friends, or lovers. We have family that we would rather not talk about and we have friends we wish were family. Relationships are definitely funny things.
When someone becomes a follower of Jesus they become part of a family. In a previous post we explored the importance of covenant theology in our emerging generations. This covenantal experience is not purely an abstract reality of God keeping his promises, it is also the very real experience of us keeping our promises. We do this primarily through relationships.
Throughout the Scriptures we see the twin ideas of covenant and kingdom which play out as relationship and authority 1. God interacts with us in relationship through his covenant. His promises are kept and they hold true. Through his covenant we are drawn into relationship with him.
We model this as followers of Jesus. We are in relationship with one another and covenantally so. What does this mean? This means that when we commit ourselves to being a follower of Jesus we are also committing ourselves to being a part of his body. Whether we like it or not we are now in a family relationship with people who also call themselves Christian.
To be in community with people we need to realize that conflict is inherent in relationship. If there is no conflict then we cannot move deeper into relationship with one another. Conflict forces us to make a decision: “Do I withdraw and stay where I am?” or “Do I engage and go deeper?” Covenantal relationships require the latter. To be the church demands that we enter in covenantally with our family, the Church, and go deeper. We can be confident in doing this because we are bound through the promise of covenant.
Does this mean that we might get hurt? Yes. Because none of us live this our perfectly. However, if we are following Jesus then we must follow him into relationship with those he calls his own and who are our brothers and sisters.
Relationships are indeed funny things.
- I am indebted to the work of Mike Breen and 3DM for their help in developing my thoughts here. Check out his book, Covenant and Kingdom. ↩
March 5, 2014 by Zach Travis
Filed under Uncategorized
Michigan loses one of its top receivers in program history, but returns on of its biggest as the offense shifts under Doug Nussmeier.
Jeremy Gallon may be the physically smallest player that MIchigan lost this offseason, but the hole he leaves in his place is huge. Gallon was Michigan's do-everything receiving option. Capable on jet sweeps and deep routes, a master of route running and finding the soft spot in a zone defense, Gallon was perhaps the only player that could still fly under the defenses radar on his way to setting a Big Ten single game receiving yard record.
Michigan also loses Drew Dileo, who lacked the overall production of Gallon but spent the last few years playing the security blanket role. He was who Michigan threw to when it absolutely needed a catch, and his work in the small windows of underneath coverage was exceptional.
These two short receivers have burned their names into Michigan lore and provided fans with a number of great moments. Now it is up to an entirely different looking group of players to push Michigan's passing offense into the future.
What will all of this end up looking like.
Michigan's new coordinator has been discussed ad nauseum when it comes to his impact on the offensive line and the run game, but Michgian's passing attack stands to change a bit as well. Namely, where players fit and how Michigan can best allocate its resources.
Tight End is still thin. Devin Funchess is clearly not a tight end — at least in the traditional sense where he is the type of player you want to line up on the line — and Jake Butt will likely miss substantial time this season because of an ACL injury. AJ Williams is still around, Keith Heitzman is now on defense, and Michigan has a number of H- and U-back options to experiment with. But does Michigan have the slot receivers to spread things out? DaMario Jones is coming off a redshirt, Freddy Canteen enrolled early, and Dennis Norfleet is now fully a slot receiver (for the love of god somebody give him the damn ball in space already), but that depth chart is about as proven and confidence inspiring as the tight end
Michigan has a lot of big bodies on the outside, and Devin Funchess is versatile enough to move around, but Michigan's spring practice is going to be about figuring out just what types of offensive calls this roster is able to support. The Wolverines don't have the roster (and thankfully, the inclination) to go heavy, and the same can be said for going ultra-spread. What is the right balance? It will depend on what players announce themselves this spring and in the fall.
Who Do We Know
Devin Funchess. He goes from being nominally a tight end last year to Michigan's number one receiving threat, and a damn effective one at that. Funchess looked good in his shift outside last year, showcasing the kind of route running that combined with his size and speed made him a matchup nightmare for even corners, much less safeties and linebackers.
Can he be that effective as the clear number one option? Did the threat of Gallon across from him open up things that otherwise might not have been there? Can he avoid the drops this time around? Michigan needs him to step up and thrive even as the focal point of opposing defensive game plans. He has the physical talent to do so. He just needs to work on his consistency.
The Next Big Thing
Congrats to Amara Darboh for winning this honor two years running. The big-bodied receiver was turning heads in practice a year ago before a broken foot sidelined him for the year. After having a redshirt year to recover, Darboh should have every opportunity to step in and compete for one of the starting outside receiver roles. Michigan used a combination of Jehu Chesson, Jeremy Jackson, and Funchess outside opposite Gallon a year ago, and getting Darboh back will certainly help MIchigan deal with the loss of Gallon. Darboh looks to be the full package at receiver, a bigger kid capable of making an impact blocking and threatening over the top.
Of course there is a wildcard. Drake Harris enrolled early this winter and will be getting his first run with the team this spring. At 6'4 180lbs, Harris has the kind of length and athleticism to be a home run threat for Michigan's offense. If he can bounce back from the injury that sidelined him for his senior year of high school, he could work his way into the rotation this spring.
Other Names To Watch
Jehu Chesson - A bowling ball of a blocker, Chesson struggled at times with the finer points of being a receiver. However, the athleticism is certainly there and with some additional maturation as a player Chesson could be a monster.
Dennis Norfleet - Criminally under-utilized in his first two years on campus. Let's hope Nussmeier is more comfortable using the pocket-sized, pinball slot receiver than Al Borges was.
Khalid Hill/Wyatt Shallman/Sione Houma - Michigan has a handful of not-quite-fullbacks and not-quite-tight-ends at its disposal. How do they fit in the passing offense and can any of them paper over the deficiencies at tight end?
Jaron Dukes/Csont'e York - Can either make a move at playing time after a redshirt year in the program?
Freddy Canteen/DaMario Jones - Does Michigan have an old-school Michigan sized slot receiver on the roster that can play right now?
What Does It Mean
Despite losing one of the best receivers in program history, Michigan looks to be okay on the outside. Funchess is still around and should be ready for the increased pressure that comes along with being the number one guy. Getting Darboh back in the lineup next to an older Chesson should keep Michigan in good shape on the outside.
The issue comes in just what Michigan has and just what it is able to do inside at the tight end and slot receiver position. The Wolverines need to figure out what they have and how best to structure the offense with a diverse range of players that don't have much in the way of proven production. This spring is about figuring out which of those guys are ready to contribute so that Michigan can go full speed ahead with a plan this fall. The talent is likely there. Michigan has to find out if it is ready.
Back right before I fled Jackson, the county prosecutor was in the middle of taking a lot of flak for his decision to prosecute someone who'd eaten grapes while grocery shopping and not paid for them. This was an incident I recalled a few years ago, when Isabella County's prosecutor went after a guy for stealing $20 in slot credits from an elderly couple. This was an incident I recalled the other day reading about how Michigan's finest legal mind was defending the state's same sex marriage ban with all the acument and competence of Lionel Hutz. It reminds Jack Lessenberry of a different case.
The county spent thousands bringing in expert witnesses at taxpayers’ expense. Fieger brought in others. Everyone grandstanded. Juries listened, deliberated…and acquitted Kevorkian, every time.
Then, when the next primary election rolled around, Prosecutor Thompson was challenged by a young unknown named Dave Gorcyca. Gorcyca had one simple slogan: If elected, he would stop wasting taxpayer money on the fruitless prosecutions. When the votes were counted, he won easily.
I’ve been thinking about those Kevorkian trials, ever since the current same-sex marriage and adoption trial got underway in federal district court in Detroit. In a time of scarcity, when other prosecutors lack basic resources, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has been mounting a highly-expensive, full-court press in an effort to try and prevent the court from finding two things: That same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children, and marry if they please.
The difference also is that the expert witnesses Bill Schuette has paid a lot of tax dollars to bring in aren't actually experts. One was a philosopher and another is discredited in his own profession. It's a cosmic joke.
The joke is also on you, because you get to pay the tab. How much is it costing you? Good question. Someone should ask.
When I was a kid my dad liked to teach me lessons about business. One of those lessons was about multiplication. He asked me one day, “Would you rather have $2,000 per day or would you rather be paid $.01 and the amount doubles everyday?” Being an impetuous young man I of course stated immediately that I would take the $2,000. Then he informed me that I made the wrong decision.
$.01, $.02, $.04, $.08, $.16, $.32, $.64, $1.28…you do the math. I will spoil it for you, that number is going to get really big, really fast.
This is the exponential curve. When multiplication happens it explodes. It starts slow, but then begins a meteoric rise to infinity.
This is how Jesus began the movement of the church. When you read the gospels you see how he moves from masses to disciples. As his ministry went on the masses received less and less of his attention and his disciples more and more. He spent most of his time with 12 men and a group of women. They lived together and traveled together. He modeled life for them and taught them. Jesus gave to them all of himself. They in turn did the same for the next generation.
The church in the West has lost our sense of discipleship. We have become much more interested in addition. We are satisfied with $2,000 per day. We don’t want to wait for that $.01 to become millions. Why? Because we despise the day of small things. When we’r pouring out our lives in 4 or 5 people it doesn’t look successful. When we have 300 people at a worship gathering we do look successful.
The thing is, if we would follow the path of Jesus we would see explosive growth. The visible Church in the developing world is multiplying. They don’t have the resources to put on the show and market to the masses. They have to begin with their neighbors. They have to pour out their lives into just a handful of people and help those folks do the same. Is it really any surprise that the center of the “Christian World” has shifted? The Church is growing the fastest in the places where they must follow the model of Jesus.
This is the model of multiplication, also known as discipleship.
After transferring all of my blog content to XO Sarah, I spent some time updating photos and categories. I went through probably 75 percent of my content, deleted a lot of stuff, and unexpectedly ended up with a really clear picture of what I want my blog to be.
When I look back I want to see more photos me and friends/family doing stuff and less posts with random photos from the internet. I’ll be ditching product round-ups and image heavy tutorials and focusing more on writing longer, more thoughtful (and helpful!) pieces with descriptive titles. And from my early years of blogging, no more mindless posts about nothing just for the sake of posting. (there were so many of those >_<)
Having the past six years of my life heavily documented is pretty awesome, but since most of my posts are now blogging and business-related I think it’s time for me to get back to writing in a journal on a regular basis.
If you’ve hit a blogging rut I highly recommend checking out your blogging past to help you envision the future. If you were to turn your blog into a book, which types of posts would make the cut and which would be headed for the trash?
March 4, 2014 by Zach Travis
Filed under Uncategorized
Michigan went to Champaign needing a win to clinch its first outright Big Ten title since the 80s. The Wolverines left no doubt, winning big thanks to a big night from behind the arc.
Michigan's last outright Big Ten title came in 1986. For historical context, at that time I was a few months past my first birthday. Every player on Michigan's roster was years away from being born — yes, even Jordan Morgan.
Plenty of ink has been spilled between then and now to put this in context. Michigan won a share of the title two years ago, just missed grabbing a piece last season and made up for that by adding a Final Four banner to the rafters. The last few seasons have been a steady flow of Michigan breaking down barriers to show that it is "back". There isn't any doubt now.
(I'll spare you all the misty-eyed column on this championship for now. It is coming shortly. I've waited too long not to write it).
But even before tonight's tip-off, Michigan still had plenty of season left. Two games, in fact, in which Michigan had an opportunity to close out this regular season title. Michigan only needed one.
It started fast. Michigan came out firing and Illinois' tight defense only seemed to open up extra passes to open Michigan players on the perimeter. Given the wealth of open looks, Michigan slammed the door on Illinois early. The Wolverines finished the game 16-23 from behind the arc. On those 48 points alone Michigan could have kept the game competitive.
There may be more climactic ways to wrap up an outright Big Ten title, but for my money, getting a second half victory lap in the second-to-last conference game is a pretty satisfying way to lock it up. Especially for a Michigan team that was expected to be on the outside looking in on the conference title race when the conference season started.
Michigan gets one more regular season game — this time against Indiana, the only Big Ten team Michigan has yet to beat this season. Just one more bit of unfinished business before tournament time.