Friday, June 30, 2006

quote of the Day

Last night Conan was discussing the world cup and said:

"It's been reported from Germany that the average World Cup fan is consuming and average of 17.5 pints of beer per day...America now knows it takes 17.5 pints of beer to enjoy watching soccer"

Thursday, June 29, 2006

some people's heroes havn't always been cowboys..

The great anthropologist Jerry Seinfeld once said:

"For men, Superheroes such as batman, superman, spiderman....these aren't fantasies....these are options."

This is why we are obsessed with video games, fantasy sports, and movies. It's not that we play or watch these things to live out supressed and failed desires. No!! we play or watch these things for new ideas. Men will pour into the theatres this weekend to watch superman, not to admire, but to take notes. Because we lie, cheat, and steal all the time; we need solutions to get ourselves out of these jams before your wife finds out. Things like x-ray vision, unlimited strength, and a bullet-proof chest come in handy when you need to bail yourself out. I am long indebted to several heroes growing up that have bailed me out. While actually i've followed the George Costanza approach most often (run as fast as you can plowing through children, or deny everything, adopt the philosophy that 'a lie is not a lie if you believe it' ect...), i like to think there are a few times i did what my hero would have done. Here are a few of the options i've taken over the years that have helped bail me out: (no valued order here)

1.) Han Solo
2.) Marty McFly
3.) Maverick or Pete Mitchell
4.) John McClain
5.) Daniel LaRusso (Karate' kid)
6.) Rocky Balboa
7.) James Bond
8.) Indiana Jones
9.) Batman
10.)William Wallace

Whenever wisdom is needed, i draw from this pool...odly, my wife never thinks it's cool to talk in scottish accent. I guess she just doesn't get it??

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Let's pity the next generation

How many games would he have been suspended?

I was out of town last week (went to game six of the playoffs thank you very much) but am back now and came across an embarrassing article. Apparently the football committee of the Connecticut Athletic Conference has passed a law that suspends any football coach that wins by more than 50 points. What has this country come to? I'm sure its in the name of protecting our children from self-esteem problems, but that is ridiculous. Please, all we are doing is creating future self-esteem problems. How about instead of protecting our children from feeling like a failure, making them learn early that winning takes hard work, and we all fail in life many times.? Character is built in a person whe he has to withstand the embarrassment of a 63 point drumming in football or a 40 point blowout in basketball. I have vivid memories of Drew Cleland and Robert Russ buddy ball team mercy ruling my team by over 20 runs when I was in the first grade. There was no feeling sorry for my was get out there and get better.

I should have seen this coming the day cities and country clubs began removing high dives from the city swimming pools. In the name of being too dangerous, one of the great courage builders was lost. Who can forget vaulting off the high dive in sheer terror for the first time for no other reason than to avoid certain ridicule from fellow peers. That my friends builds character. Now, in the name of protecting children we take down diving boards, punish coaches that run up scores, outlaw dodge ball, and probably will eventually make football a non-contact sport.

Why should the scrubs that have worked their tale off in practice have to play half-speed when they finally get in the game? Those kids should be able to play their hearts out and not have to worry about their coach being suspended if they score a few touchdowns. If I was a high school principle I would give my coach a raise everytime he was suspended for running up the score.

i'm all american!!!...but come on...really

listen, everytime i hear the star spangled banner, i feel like i could open fist knock out Ivan Drago in one punch. If it's a big game, i get goose bumps and get pumped. I love the super bowl, cheeseburgers, TV sitcoms, 4th of July, and tailgating. I always cheer hard for the US in the olympics and every international competition...even if it's a freakin spelling bee. Any defeat may enrage nationalism in me. I have little sympathy for these illegal alien protests, enjoy seeing Mexicans piled up in a Uhaul, and cheered at President Bush's ideas for closing the borders. I like american movies, with american heroes (though i admit, I have a soft spot for James Bond). When watching movies about US war victories, i'm tempted to throw confetti during the bomb explosions. I love football, basketball, and baseball -- all american made sports. But with this american attitude, we have really blown it with a few things lately. One friend put it like this, If we didn't invent it...we don't care (thank you Luke). How true that is of American interest in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the World Cup. Now, for me, i don't even like watching hockey on TV. I like the World Cup, but don't live for it like the rest of the world. But our interst is pathetic!!! Did you know the Stanley Cup was beat out in the ratings one night by the WB's "Pepper Dennis"? Hockey ain't great, but people in our country would rather watch some sitcom about a dinner condiment than men beat the crap out of eachohter on ice. Also, this world cup interest is embarassing. Props to ESPN for their coverage, but you have to pay for that. Other countries are rioting in the streets, bringing out the national pride i spoke of earlier over these soccer matches. Yet, because we didn't invent it and are not any good, we choose not to care. I think Melvin Udahl (Jack Nicholson's character in 'As good as it Gets') properlly sums up the american attitude on the world cup:

"What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good."

...i love that..american heart in a nutshell...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Early Christmas

'Christmas' may come at different times for different people. It came early this past weekend for several. I hope you all followed my recommendations of being glued to the TV this weekend, drama was everywhere. The NBA finals game sunday night was a classic--two words: Dwyane Wade. The Stanley Cup was interesting, MLB provided some great interleague games. But two real highlights (in case you've hibernated for 4 days) were the USA's miracle tie with Italy and the dissaster at Winged Foot. Postively speaking, the US managed to keep itself alive playing a man down with amidst aweful refereeing. Blood was spilt, i cheered at the manliness of McBride who did "WALK IT OFF", and came back to play a great game. Americans think of soccer as something 'lesser' than ourselves, something we are above. We are either a bit self-decieved, which makes us fools, or we are in denial, which makes us idiots. I suppose it's a bit like being a Mississippi State Football fan. When the opinion you hold is laughed at by everyone but yourself.
But Christmas came early for an australlian who fell into the US Open championship. It's been a long time since i've seen anything like what happened in the last 30 minutes of the tournament. Being a Mickelson fan, i was heartbroken. I have seen him faulter down the stretch before (99' at Pinehurst, and 04' at Shinnecock), but even the guy from the golfchannel said he'd never seen anything like that. This was not some guy trying to get over the hump and his nerves got to him. It was like having a 3 point lead with 1:00 minute to go and deciding to throw the ball instead of running the clock out. anyway, i can now understand what some fans have gone through in the past. Like this year's Open, no one will really remeber who won--but everyone will remember the the collapse. Here are a few dissasters that i think measure up (my list of the week, feel free to add or disagree):

1) Bill Buckner and the 86' Boston Red Sox (no comment needed)
2) Steve Bartman and the 03' Chicago Cubs (personally, i loved that one...the Cubs suck)
3) 1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, Gary Anderson had not missed a FG all year, Vikings were incredible, Anderson missed, Falcons drove down tied the game, won in OT)
4)Greg Norman (86' Masters, 96' Masters....7 shot lead going into sunday, and shot 77--it hurt to watch)
5)Jason Williams (Considered one of best NCAA players ever, senior year in sweet sixteen had 2 free throws down by one...missed both, what a way to end career. Oh yeah, and they were defending national champs)
6) Roberto Baggio and the 1994 world cup (Italy and Brazil in penalty kicks, Baggio was one of best players in world, sent his potential tying shot 20 feet over cross bar)
7) Scott Norwood (super bowl on the line, wide right)
8) Jean Van de Velde (3 shot lead on 18th tee at 99' british open, triple bogeyed, lost in playoff)
9)Dan Obrien and 1992 Olympics (remember the Nike commercial: Dan or Dave? Dan was supposed to walk through the Decatholon to the gold medal...he got greedy in the olympic trials and didn't even qualify)
10) Scott Hoch and the 1989 Masters (2 foot putt to win the masters in sudden death, missed and lost on next playoff hole).

For most of those, i can't really remember who won what, but i distinctly remember the dissasters. Worst of all, no one has really heard anything from any of these guys since. It sent them all into the loser closet, and that door hasn't been opened since. I think they might all be living in that condo bought by the Florida Marlins for Steve Bartman?

Friday, June 16, 2006

sports FRENZY

This weekend may secretly be one of the best sports weekends of the year. Now sure, hardly anything can ever beat classic saturdays in college football, but as far as worldwide major sporting events, this weekend finds a mesh of a few of the most prestigous stages in all of the same time. If you not on board, it started yesterday, let me fill you in:
1) US Open at Winged Foot: Phil Mickelson is hot, the course is impossible, despite the Prickliness of Augusta, this is as glorious as it gets in golf
2) NBA Finals: Game 5 is sunday night, What first appeared to be a Dallas cake-walk as given new birth to what could be a 7 game slug-fest. Game 5 will be crucial sunday night after the Mavs poor showing last night
3) World Cup: Despite our American disdain for soccer, the rest of the world sees this as the pinnacle of competition--maybe we should at least watch? U.S. has huge game against power-house Italy (most likely a blowout)
4) Stanley Cup Finals: Again, i am not even a hockey fan. But you have to appreciate the stanley cup and at least acknowledge that it does have prestige. On top of the boredom, it actually is a good series. Game 6 is tonight....i think?
5) MLB interleague play: This is the best part about the regular season, some great series this weekend. I'm byast to the Braves-Red Sox series though

While i'm sure some lacrosse fans, Tennis, horse racing, or even cricket fans may have some huge 'regional qualifier' or some 'Bank of America invitational'---i really don't care. This weekend promises alot, and while the grass needs mowing and the weather will be me, the phone will be next to me on the couch.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Biblical Worldlife View and Financial Management

Since the Bible is the “God-Breathed and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (II Tim. 3:16)” and is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path then it must direct, sustain and guide us in every area of life. Therefore, knowing the Bible is extremely important. But even more important is having the Holy Spirit apply the Word of God to a believers heart so that he lovingly knows and obeys the will of the Father. Christians are to live by the Word of God and pray that God would apply it and work it into our everyday life. Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus, the Son of God, says his food is the Word of God. If Jesus being the Son of God lived on the Word of God then it is safe to say we as Christians must seek to prayerfully apply the Word of God in all areas of life (work, leisure, church, school, family etc.)
However, the Bible does not guide by specific instruction for specific situations. Actually, the genius of the Bible is much more complex than that. The Bible gives revealed principles by which all His people are to live. Therefore, no matter what the setting, the time period, or the culture, the principles of the Bible still apply. Even though the specifics and the how to might change, the principle is unchanged, because our Heavenly Father is unchangeable. As a Christian grows in grace, the Holy Spirit enables us to understand the principles of His Word and we must work at understanding how they apply to our current situations. We must apply and obey.
For example, let’s say I am a financial planner. How am I to be a Christian working in the financial world?
There are three principles to follow within the field of Financial Management. Actually there are probably more, but these are three safe Biblical principles to follow. 1) Christians are always called to be honest (Exodus 20:19). No one ever has the right to do wrong. Therefore, as a financial planner I am to be honest in my dealings with other people’s money. I do not cut corners even when it appears profitable for myself and/or others. Not only is this obeying God’s word, it is one of the many ways that a Christian is a light unto the world. In an area such as financial management where the temptation of dishonesty and thievery is very prevalent, an honest handler of money is quite the witness and honors His Lord and Savior.
2)A Christian cannot exploit the poor to gain wealth (Amos, Matthew). There is nothing inherently good or bad about money. It is simply paper. However, the way men handle money makes its use good or bad. Obviously, Enron would be an example of dishonestly handling money. There could be other ways a financial manager refuses to exploit the poor. My guess is there could be other ways that financial companies could exploit the poor, but I can’t think of any concrete examples
3) Being responsible with money and enabling others to be responsible is good. Men are to take care of their family. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he had denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (I Tim. 5:8). By teaching people to save, and helping them wisely manage their money, a financial planner is doing a very good thing. Financial planners help others understand how to wisely invest, wisely save, and prepare for the future so they can take care of their family in even hard times. Read the latest credit card debt statistics and you will see that many Americans need to be taught the wisdom of saving. Along with this notion, many times God gives Christians lots of money so they can in turn give lots of money away and be a blessing to many. Christians are to always realize that all good gifts come from above (James). Everything we have is a gift of God, therefore we are to be generous with our money and care for the poor (Deut 15:7). As someone once said, “Christians are different from the world, they are promiscuous with their wallets and stingy with their bodies.”
For more on the issue, the positive commands of the 8th commandment in the Larger Catechism (#141) help as well. As Christians we love God, use our gifts, love others, and work faithfully. Some might object to financial management because of the motive of greed so inherent with money making. However, all people are sinful, and even pastors serve with impure motives. Impure motives do not negate our duty to work faithfully in our calling. We repent of our impure motives, ask and seek for pure motives, and continue to work faithfully according to His perfect Word.

Now make me some money.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A story to tell the grandkids

The Rocket

If you haven't heard about Roger Clemens coming out of retirement again, then you haven't been watching the news. Roger Clemens, no surprise, couldn't stay retired again. But the cool thing about it, is now he begins his comeback in the minor leagues. Arguably the greatest active pitcher, Roger Clemens pitched for the Single A Lexington Legends last night. I think it demonstrates one of the cool things about baseball. Major League stars every once in a while come back and play a few games in the minors to rehab. Thus, players and fans alike get to see people like Roger Clemens play baseball. Personally, it reminds me a couple of great nights in the bold new city Jackson, Mississippi. Back in the day when the Astros Double A team was located in Jackson, it was a always a big night when a major leaguer would do a rehab assignment in town. Partly because nothing is ever going on in Jackson anyway, so anything is a big deal, but partly because its just cool. I mean who can forget when Steve Finley or Jeff Bagwell came and played for the might Jackson Generals. Smith Wills was packed.

Anyway, in the first inning, some Single A Indians prospect named Johnny Drennen took Roger Clemens deep. Who knows, maybe this guy will make it to the majors one day, but most don't. The point is, little ole Johnny Drennen gets to tell everyone that he hit a homerun off Roger Clemens. Needless to say, the Rocket fanned him in the 3rd inning, but regardless, it had to be pretty neat.