12.31.2007

Out With The Old Year…


When I look back on 2007, I don’t think of it as a bad year, but in a lot of ways, it was certainly a stressful one, filled with a number of unexpected events.

The unexpected events began in January, when I decided not to pursue Masters Degree in Spanish. This left me somewhat suddenly without direction in life, which, though not an unfamiliar position for me, is certainly an uncomfortable one. The fact that I reached the decision after the long process of getting into graduate school, buying textbooks and starting the semester didn't really help things.

And that was just the beginning. Soon after, Caroline’s great-grandmother passed away somewhat unexpectedly, and we traveled to Alabama for the funeral. A couple months later, we were all very surprised to learn that my grandmother was very sick, which led to two sudden trips to Colorado (once to see her and once for her funeral).

On top of that, factor in two car accidents (I’m really not a bad driver, I promise), two hospital visits, one of which included surgery, and at times, some fairly significant work-related stress, and you get a pretty decent idea of what my 2007 was like.

A lot of good things happened in 2007 as well, and like I said, it wasn’t exactly a bad year, but at the same time, I’m not really sad to see it go.

12.22.2007

Appalachian State? Did you not watch the Michigan game?

I thought the Arkansas Razorback basketball was going to be good this year. Apparently, I was wrong.

That’s really all I can stand to say about that right now.

Trauma

According to Wikipedia, the speed of the release of particles from the mouth during sneezing is a source of much speculation, but some estimates place it as high as 650 mph.

I can believe it. I have long suspected that sneezing is by far the most traumatic experience of everyday life, and that if sneezes lasted longer than the blink of eye, the strain would probably be too much for the body to take.

This line of thinking was reinforced last night, when I made the mistake of sneezing while still recovering from the appendectomy. I could have sworn that the cut had ruptured, and it definitely goes down as one of the most painful experiences of my life.

I’ll be living in mortal terror of sneezing for the next few weeks.

12.18.2007

Absence


Those of you who read The Doc File may have noticed that there hasn’t been much to read lately, as my posting has been sporadic at best.

Among the many reasons for my absence from blogging (new computer game, busy at work, computer problems) was an unplanned trip to the hospital over the weekend from which I returned without my favorite appendix.

As the stapled-up gash in my side has forced me to take a break from work and other activities that involve me not being at home, I’ll try to get caught up on things that I’ve wanted to blog about over the past several days and haven’t been able to.

12.08.2007

The Best Player In The Country


Tonight on ESPN, the winner of the 2007 Heisman Award will be revealed. Although four finalists were named, everyone knows that this is really a two horse race between Florida QB Tim Tebow and Arkansas RB Darren McFadden.

Make no mistake—Darren McFadden is the best player in the country, but due to the love fest that Tebow has received from the media all season long, I fear that D-Mac, the best player in college football for the last two years, will go home empty-handed again.

My thinking is supported by the results of two other Player of the Year Awards which were handed out on Thursday—the Maxwell Award, voted on by members of the media, went to Tebow while the Walter Camp Award, voted on by coaches (i.e. people who know what they’re talking about) went to McFadden.

Those who favor Tebow largely rely on three arguments to prove that he is superior to McFadden. Let’s examine them more closely.

“McFadden has a lot of talent, but he was inconsistent this year.”

This is the favorite argument of Mark May, ESPN “analyst” and President of the Tim Tebow Fan Club. Proponents of this argument are quick to point out that McFadden had three games this season where he didn’t rush for 100 yards. How can such a player expect to win the Heisman Award?

Against Auburn, the Auburn defense played incredibly well and keyed in on McFadden the whole game, holding him to 43 yards on 17 carries in a 9-7 Arkansas loss. It was a legitimately bad game for McFadden.

Against Florida International, McFadden ran for just 61 yards in a 58-10 Arkansas victory. Another bad game, right? Maybe, until you consider that Florida International turned the ball over so often that Arkansas was often starting possessions in the Red Zone—there just weren’t many yards available. McFadden also ran for 4 touchdowns in that game. 61 yards, 4 touchdowns; those are the kind of numbers that people are hailing as amazing from Tebow.

Against Mississippi State, McFadden ran for just 88 yards. The fact that he had a 57-yard touchdown reception (on a 5-yard pass) and also threw for a touchdown are generally forgotten about.

So while it’s true that McFadden had three games this season where he didn’t rush for 100+ yards, only one of them was actually a bad game. And having good games in 11 out of 12 isn’t inconsistent.

“Tebow has better numbers.”

Much has been made of the fact that Tebow became the first player in NCAA history this season to throw and run for 20+ touchdowns in the same season. A lot of people want to stop the argument right there: Tebow ran for more touchdowns than McFadden and threw 29 more, how can he not be the better player?

Well, if an 80-yard touchdown run and a 5-yard touchdown run are equally impressive, then maybe they have a point. But they’re not. And they don’t.

The vast majority of Tebow’s touchdowns came on short runs and short passes. Tebow broke runs of 20+ yards in four games. McFadden accomplished that feat in 10 games.

And while we’re at it, if we’re going to use statistics to reach bogus conclusions, let’s look at QB ratings: McFadden’s is 268.5 while Tebow’s is 177.8. Does that prove that McFadden is the better QB?

The “better numbers” argument is a bogus one.

“It shouldn’t matter what class the winner belongs to.”

The thinking here is that the Heisman Award should go to the best player in the country, regardless of his age. For what it’s worth, I entirely agree.

The problem is that McFadden was the best player in the country last season, but didn’t win the Heisman in large part due to the fact that he was just a sophomore, while winner Troy Smith was a senior.

My point is this: if McFadden was penalized last year for being a sophomore, Tebow should be penalized this year for being one. It just isn’t fair otherwise.


Tim Tebow will likely win the Heisman tonight, no matter what I say. But he still won’t be the best player in the country.

11.27.2007

A Long Time Coming: The Resignation Of Houston Nutt


There are some other topics I need to write about, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about Houston Nutt, who resigned yesterday as the Arkansas Razorback Head Football Coach.

Nutt has had enemies throughout his 10-year reign at Arkansas, but over the past 12 months or so, the number of fans calling for his head has grown exponentially.

A lot of people outside of Arkansas, and especially outside of Northwest Arkansas, can’t understand this—why would you want to fire a coach who won 10 games last year and just knocked off the number one team in the country last week?

Houston Nutt as a Coach
To start on a positive note, let me say that Nutt is not without some good qualities.

First of all, Nutt is a pretty good recruiter. Although he has missed out (especially recently) on some big prospects, during his years at Arkansas, he has brought in a lot of talent. Cedric Cobbs, Matt Jones, Marcus Monk, Peyton Hillis, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were all Nutt recruits, although they were all pretty much “local” finds—all of these players were from Arkansas except Jones, who came all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Secondly, Nutt has always been able to get his players to play with emotion. This makes Arkansas especially dangerous in big games, as LSU found out on Friday. But it’s hard to play on emotion for an entire season.

When it comes to the Xs and Os on the field, I am certainly not the most qualified to talk, but in my opinion, Houston Nutt is not a terrible coach. In fact, he’s the best football coach Arkansas has had in my memory (although, admittedly, being the best out of three isn’t necessarily a sterling accomplishment). But by no means is he a great coach.

Arkansas is 8-4 this season with a team that has three potential first round running backs including Darren McFadden who, with all due respect to Tim Tebow, is the best player in the country, hands down. This is a team that could be 11-1 and in the National Championship picture were it not for critical coaching mistakes made by Nutt in the first three losses of the season.

My basic feeling is that Nutt is not the guy who will ever get you to a National Championship, but that he is more than capable when it comes to building teams that are a little better than average and are capable of winning (or losing) just about any game.

With Arkansas not having won a national title in 40+ years, that probably would have been good enough for most fans, were it not for Nutt’s actions off the field.

The Springdale Problem

Most people who follow college football are at least vaguely aware that much of Nutt’s trouble stems from the fact that he brought two Northwest Arkansas heroes (I use that term without exaggeration), to the University of Arkansas and then basically ran them off. Mitch Mustain, a highly-recruited quarterback, and Gus Malzahn, a very successful high school football coach, both came to the U of A prior to the 2006 season, only to leave for other schools once it had finished.

In the national media, this was largely blown off–Mustain was written off as a high-maintenance prima donna, while Malzahn was belittled as an arrogant high school coach who should have been more grateful for the opportunity he had been given.

But that was in the national media.

Locally, as I said earlier, both Mustain and Malzahn were basically heroes, and when they committed to the University of Arkansas, everyone was ecstatic.

Mustain was simply the most highly-touted high school prospect to ever come out of the state of Arkansas. The Parade Player of the Year as a senior, Mustain set state passing records while leading Springdale High School to a State Championship and a dominating season in which they outscored opponents 664-118 while playing in the state’s largest classification. Since his junior high years and including his time at Arkansas, Mustain was 61-2 as a starting quarterback.

Malzahn was Mustain’s high school coach. In addition to the 2005 state title, Malzahn won other titles in a smaller classification and was widely regarded around the state as a football genius. He was particularly noted for his offensive ability, and had written a book on his Hurry-Up No Huddle (HUNH) offense which routinely shredded defenses to the point of laughability. Malzahn’s 2005 Springdale team was ranked in the Top 10 nationally, and was generally considered the best high school team in Arkansas history.

It was considered so good in fact, that many people joked that the 2005 Springdale Bulldogs could beat the 2005 Arkansas Razorbacks, who had struggled through a 4-7 season on the heels of a similarly disappointing 5-6 record in 2004.

After amassing a 9-13 cumulative mark in the 2004 and 2005 seasons, Nutt had come under considerable pressure prior to the 2006 season. Two other developments occurred to provide the ingredients for Nutt’s off-field behavior which would turn the stomachs of thousands of Razorback fans and ultimately, turn public opinion within the state against him.

First, Mitch Mustain, who had committed early to the University of Arkansas, backed out on his commitment due in large part to Nutt’s unbalanced run-oriented offensive mindset. Mustain, a passing quarterback, wanted to go somewhere where his skills would be used. After news of Mustain’s wavering surfaced, the pressure on Nutt intensified.

Secondly, Nutt’s play-calling (to this point, Nutt served both as Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach) had come into question to the point that he was strongly encouraged to bring in an Offensive Coordinator.

Gus Malzahn was the Offensive Coordinator that he chose. While people around the country were shocked that Arkansas had hired a high school coach to be the Offensive Coordinator at an SEC school, people in Arkansas, and especially in Northwest Arkansas, were delighted.

The good feelings only increased when Mustain, encouraged by the news of his former coach’s new position at Arkansas, renewed his commitment to the Razorbacks.

Hog fans were euphoric with the vision of the Razorbacks running the HUNH offense with a young Mustain at the helm balanced with the running abilities of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. With Gus Malzahn in charge and such weapons at his disposal, the Arkansas Razorbacks as a perennial SEC power and National Championship contender didn’t seem too far-fetched.

What became clear though, from the events of the 2006 season, much of which came out after the fact, was that Houston Nutt never shared that vision.

You can find a fairly encyclopedic version of what happened, and all the ways that Mustain and Malzahn were mistreated here—from Malzahn being condescendingly referred to as “high school” by other members of the coaching staff to Houston Nutt’s wife talking in an email about how she wished she had taken part in a near-fatal attack on Mustain’s mother that had happened several years earlier—but I’m not going to go into all the details here. What it comes down to is this: Houston Nutt had to bring in Mustain and Malzahn in order to save his job, and he resented and hated them for it as soon as he did.

  • That’s why he pulled Mustain early in the South Carolina game, despite his unblemished record as a starter that season.
  • That’s why Mustain continued to watch from the bench as QB Casey Dick got to starter and played poorly in Arkansas’ three consecutive losses to end the season.
  • That’s why Malzahn’s HUNH offense was dismissed and only used on a handful of downs all season.
  • That’s why Nutt intended to downgrade Malzahn to Co-Offensive Coordinator, despite the fact that Malzahn was named the National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com.
  • That’s why Malzahn and Mustain both ended up leaving.

The Aftermath
Malzahn, ridiculed by some as being in way over his head, is now the Offensive Coordinator at Tulsa (9-3), where he is no longer referred to derisively as a high school coach, and where he has been allowed to implement his offense. An offense which leads the nation at 548.6 yards per game.

Mustain, who Nutt supporters wrote off as an overrated mama’s boy who couldn’t hack it in the SEC, transferred to USC, a school not exactly known for handing out scholarships to talentless players. Because of his transfer, Mustain had to sit out this season, but has been able to practice as the QB for the Scout Team, and has reportedly impressed Head Coach Pete Carroll to the extent that it is widely suggested that he will end up starting next season.

And Nutt stayed at Arkansas, enduring what must have been a trying season, as more and more condemnatory off the field evidence came out, while on the field, Arkansas struggled at the end of games and with inconsistent play from the QB who Nutt picked instead of Mustain.

At the end of a regular season highlighted by last week’s defeat of top-ranked LSU, the overall feeling among the Arkansas fans is one of “what might have been.”

The Future
And now, the man who sacrificed “what might have been” for the sake of own ego is gone too, leaving behind what seems to be a largely depleted 2008 team with no Malzahn, no Mustain, no McFadden and likely no Felix Jones. Certainly a high price to pay to get rid of him, but it’s what needed to happen.

And for those of you who insist on toeing the (uninformed) national media line and feeling bad for Nutt, don’t—he received a $3.5 million going away present and has already found himself another job at Ole Miss, which isn’t surprising, since the Rebels were one of the only SEC teams Nutt could consistently beat.

On second thought, he is now coaching for Ole Miss, so maybe you should feel sorry for him after all.

11.26.2007

Did You Realize…

Just how smart you are?

If you are a regular reader of this blog and you understand what you read, congratulations: you are apparently a genius, or at least, have the reading level of one.

cash advance

I have to admit, when I typed in my URL and the test spat out “Genius”, I was pretty pleased with myself (and shocked).

Unfortunately, I have this sneaking suspicion that perhaps this wasn’t the most scientific of tests…

11.19.2007

Gratitude: The Men of Jabesh-Gilead


Last time we talked about the difference between the concepts of gratitude and appreciation, and that basically, gratitude combines a feeling of appreciation with a sense of debt and a desire to act.

One of my favorite Old Testament stories illustrates gratitude very well, and focuses on the men of Jabesh-Gilead.

Just after Saul has been anointed as the first king of Israel, the Ammonites come and besiege the town of Jabesh-Gilead.

The elders of Jabesh know that they can’t withstand the Ammonites, and they also know that they will be treated harshly if they surrender, so they send messengers throughout Israel, hoping that someone will come to their aid.

When Saul hears the news, he becomes angry and promises to deliver the town in 1 Samuel 11.9,11:
“They said to the messengers who had come, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead, ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.’” So the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad.

The next morning Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.”

Saul’s rescuing of the town of Jabesh-Gilead serves to cement himself as the King of Israel, but if you were to stop reading there, you would be unaware of the debt of gratitude that the men of Jabesh apparently felt toward him.

In fact, you have to go many years into the future, to the very end of Saul’s reign, before Jabesh-Gilead is mentioned again.

This time, Saul has gone to war against the Philistines, and the fighting has gone very badly for the Israelites: three of Saul’s sons are killed, and Saul takes his own life after being badly wounded by an archer.

When the Philistines come upon the body of Saul, they cut off his head and take his weapons. The weapons end up in a temple to a false god, and Saul’s body is hung as a war trophy to the wall of the town of Beth-Shan.

It is at this point, many years after Saul had rescued them from the Ammonites that the men of Jabesh-Gilead make their appearance in 1 Samuel 31.11-13:
“Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men rose and walked all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”
When the men of Jabesh-Gilead hear what has happened to Saul, they remember the debt of gratitude they owe him, walk all night into enemy territory, retrieve his body, and bury it honorably.

This act of gratitude is even more impressive when you realize that this is a debt that they have been waiting to pay for 40 years—the entire length of Saul’s reign. It seems likely that some of the valiant men who made the journey that night weren’t even born yet when Saul had saved their town, and yet they are still willing to risk their lives to protect his honor.

Gratitude compels people to act.

• • •

As a Christian, I believe that Jesus sacrificed Himself to cleanse me of sin and to make reconciliation with God possible.

I very much appreciate that sacrifice, but more than that, I am grateful for it—I wish there was something I could do to repay the debt of gratitude that I feel.

But there isn’t. The best I can do is to try to live each day for Jesus, to live as He Himself did.

I fail often, and sometimes I fail miserably, but I am still compelled to try. Gratitude will allow nothing less.

11.17.2007

A Busy Few Days In The World Of Sports


I am supposed to be working on the second halves of other posts (and I am), but there have been several momentous developments in the world of sports, and I wanted to mention them briefly before they were all old news.

  • Barry Bonds has been indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Apparently, the Federal Government is not convinced that Bonds told the truth when he claimed that he had never knowingly taken steroids. Go figure. Bonds could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts (no matter what, he won’t serve nearly that much time), so he’s facing some pretty serious charges.
  • News reports have confirmed that Houston Nutt will not be back next season as the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. No one knows for sure yet if he is being let go, is stepping down on his own or is off to ruin someone else’s football program, but whatever the specifics, the majority of Arkansans will now have one more thing to be thankful about on Thursday.
  • The Razorback Basketball team lost its first game under new head coach John Pelphrey yesterday, suffering a 16-point defeat at the hands of Providence at an early season tournament in Puerto Rico. The alarming thing is that the Hogs have committed 58 turnovers over the course of the last two games, which, outside of Junior High games, has got to be about the highest total I have ever heard.
  • It looks like A-Rod will be a Yankee next year (and several years after that) after all. Rodriguez swallowed his pride a little and went back to the negotiation table, this time without agent Scott Boras. Analysts have surmised that Boras’ reputation will take a hit from this episode, which might be supported by the fact that Kenny Rogers has already fired him.
  • Oregon QB and Heisman hopeful Dennis Dixon saw his season end Thursday night in the first quarter of his team’s loss to Arizona when he went down with an ACL tear. Dixon is another in a long line of Heisman candidates who have had disappointing seasons due to injury, inconsistent play, or being on a bad team. The injury will help out the chances of Arkansas’ Darren McFadden, but after another mixed performance today (D-Mac had a 50+ yard TD reception and threw for a score as well but ended up with less than 100 yards on the ground), it will probably take a huge game against LSU to give him the Heisman hardware.
There are probably a couple of other developments that I missed. I don’t remember the last time so many big sports stories broke at the same time.

11.13.2007

Gratitude: Enzo The Baker

I’ll be out of town visiting the in-laws next week when Thanksgiving rolls around and probably won’t have time to write anything thoughtful, so I thought I’d get my Thanksgiving thoughts out of the way ahead of time. Here is part one:


One of my all-time favorite movie scenes occurs fairly early in Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic classic, The Godfather (for what it’s worth, as good as it is, I think that The Godfather is slightly overrated, but I love this scene).

Vito Corleone, Don of the Corleone crime family and the “Godfather” of the movie’s title, is in the hospital, having barely survived an attempt on his life. His youngest son, Michael, comes to visit him, but discovers that his father is unguarded and all by himself, and realizes that another attempt is about to be made on his life.

Michael calls his older brother on the phone and tells him to send reinforcements, and then hides his father in another hospital room.

About this time, Enzo the Baker arrives.

Earlier in the movie, the Godfather had used his considerable influence to take care of some immigration issues that Enzo was struggling with, and now the young Sicilian has come to pay his respects to the ailing Don.

Michael tries to warn Enzo of the danger he is in, but Enzo refuses to leave:

“You better get out of here, Enzo, there's gonna be trouble.”

“If there is trouble, I stay here to help you. For your father. For your father.”

The two men go outside and wait on the front steps, posing as bodyguards. A car of would-be assassins pulls up, but confused by the appearance of guards where they weren’t expecting to find any, they drive on.

Scared to death, Enzo begins to shake and struggles to light a cigarette. He is out of place in the world of organized crime, but a debt of gratitude has compelled an ordinary man to act in an extraordinary fashion, risking his life to save someone else.

• • •

We talk a lot about being thankful, or grateful, at this time of year, but I wonder if we don’t often mistake appreciation for gratitude.

Sure, we’re glad that we are able to gather with family, and we appreciate the fact that we have a lot of blessings—we certainly wouldn’t want to try living without those blessings—but often that’s as far as it goes.

But gratitude goes a step further than appreciation. From Wikipedia:
“Gratitude is the substance of a heart ready to show appreciation, or thankfulness; it is not simply an emotion, which involves a pleasant feeling that can occur when we receive a favor or benefit from another person, but rather the combination of a state of being and an emotion; often accompanied by a desire to thank them, or to reciprocate for a favour they have done for you.”
Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation accompanied by a desire to act. It was a deep feeling of gratitude that drove Enzo to disregard his own safety in order to help the man who had helped him.

In the second half of this post, we’ll look at one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament, and then consider the theological implications of gratitude.

11.09.2007

Golden


Major League Baseball’s Gold Gloves, awarded to the best defensive players at each position, were given out this week.

Several of the awards came as no surprise—Greg Maddux set a record by winning his 17th, and Andruw Jones won his 10th in a row—but I was shocked to discover that Atlanta’s Jeff Francoeur was among the recipients.

Francoeur has what is very possibly the best throwing arm in the league, and that certainly helped his defensive reputation, but I never really thought of his glove work as being any better than a little below slightly above average.

Maybe it just goes to show that when you watch guys play game after game after game, you don’t fully appreciate how good they are.

Or maybe it just shows that Gold Gloves don’t always mean a whole lot.

Congratulations Are In Order…

…to my brother, who turned in his dissertation this week.

He’ll still have to make a few revisions and defend it, but he is now one giant step closer to receiving his doctorate in history. Here’s hoping he doesn’t have his future students refer to him as “Dr. Dockery.” That would be highly unfortunate.

I’m already the least educated of the three Dockery children, and now my brother has managed to widen that gap even further.

Oh well. I’ll just have to content myself with the fact that I am younger than him and better at Home Run Derby.

11.06.2007

Fayetteville In Fall

There are some things that I really like about living in Northwest Arkansas and other things that I don’t like as much, but certainly one of my favorite things about living here is how pretty it gets in autumn.

I went out last week and took several pictures around town. I’ll post some of the better ones, and for today, here are some highlights from around our apartment:

Oak trees are some of my favorite fall trees.

This shot was greatly aided by the setting sun.

A view of a pond and fountain through some close-up leaves.

Giant flag with the hills in the background.

10.30.2007

Uncertainty

A key aspect of quantum mechanics is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which basically states that you can’t measure the precise position and momentum of a given object at the same time (Werner Heisenberg, who discovered it in 1927, is pictured to the right).

In fact, the closer you get to determining the exact position of an object, the less accurately you can determine its momentum (and vice versa).

I mention this not because I am about to launch into a discourse on quantum mechanics, or because I am any sort of scientific expert (I am certainly not), but just to introduce the concept that uncertainty is an inherent part of our world and our lives (and because when I think of the word uncertainty, Heisenberg’s principle is the first thing that pops into my head).

We can do our best to try to make plans and to prepare for the future, but ultimately, we just don’t know how things are going to turn out.

Lately, I have been thinking about this quite a bit, as there has been some degree of uncertainty related to my employment.

As many of my readers know, I currently work as a Youth Minister at a church, and have been for over a year. Though there are certain aspects of my job that I enjoy less than others, I generally enjoy it, and for the most part, I’m pretty good at it, so the uncertainty I’m speaking of didn’t stem from any dissatisfaction on my part or from my employers. Instead, the uncertainty was related to my salary—put simply, I couldn’t afford to continue working earning what I had been.

The different options I had—looking for another job, going back to school, etc.—weren’t all that appealing to me, but I wasn’t sure how much more the church would be able to do for me, and thought that my life might be in for a big change in the near future.

Well, the good news is this: yesterday, I met with a couple of the elders, and the result is that, beginning in January, I will begin working in a somewhat expanded role (more hours, a few more responsibilities) for a significantly higher salary. It is certainly an answer to prayers.

I still have a lot of uncertainty regarding different aspects of my future, but at least this is one area I don’t have to worry about anymore.

10.26.2007

An Efficient Diet, But I Wouldn’t Recommend It

I’ve lost seven pounds in less than three days.

My weight loss is a by-product of me being sick, so I don’t really recommend this method, but if you’re desperate to lose a few pounds, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Acquire some sort of bacterial or viral infection. This will be very important later.
  2. Give blood. Not only does giving blood help out people in need in your community, it also removes a pint of liquid from your body and, therefore, decreases your weight.
  3. Go home and lay down for a long time. This will prevent you from doing weight-maintaining activities like hydrating and eating.
  4. If you do eat, eat late, and avoid healthy foods. Maybe something like Doritos and Cookies n’ Cream ice cream.
  5. After eating, spend the next several hours purging absolutely everything from your system. If you followed Step 1 like you were supposed to, you won’t actually have an option on this one.
  6. Replace some fluids. You have to have some fluids to survive, so at this point, you might need to go to the Emergency Room and get hooked up to an IV for several hours.
  7. While in the ER, get rid of even more of your blood. Since you’ve already given blood in Step 2, this might be difficult, and may mean that you have to get stuck over and over again before they can get enough blood from you for tests.
  8. When you finally get to come home, spend most of your time sleeping. If you must eat, 2-3 Saltines a day should be more than enough.
Follow these eight easy steps, and you too can lose weight in just three days. For me, the seven pounds was roughly five percent of my body weight, so if you’re bigger than me, you may be able to lose even more! Good luck!

p.s. Did I mention that I don’t recommend this?

10.22.2007

Blogging The Presidential Debate


A rare political post…

After I got home last night, I watched a replay of the Republican Presidential Debate. I don’t normally spend a lot of time watching Presidential debates, but this year (or, more accurately, next year) I don’t know who to vote for, so I thought I should do a little passive research.

ASIDE: I’m not actually a Republican, but as a social conservative, I am opposed to abortion, which basically leaves me with…Republicans.

A few observations on the debate:

  • If someone can figure out how voting for Rudy Giuliani is any different than voting for Hillary Clinton, they need to let Rudy know so he can quit stumbling over that question every time it is asked.
  • I didn’t know a lot about Tom Tancredo before last night, and I still don’t know much about him other than the fact that he seems to think that illegal immigration is worse than drug trafficking, murder and Paul Byrd’s HGH excuses. Oh well, he doesn’t have a chance to win anyway.
  • Speaking of Tancredo, the thing about him that really drives me nuts is that he reminds me of someone and I can’t figure out who it is. I actually went on YouTube last night after the debate to find clips of him droning on and on about illegal immigration just so I could try to figure out who he reminds me of. Still no success, and it’s starting to drive me crazy. I’d be appreciative of any help you could give me…
  • It’s funny how Ron Paul keeps “winning” the debates according to the follow-up polls. As a libertarian, Paul’s views are considerably different than those of the other candidates on almost all issues, so he argues with them quite a bit, and frankly, gets it handed to him sometimes. Last night, he also drew more boos than all the other candidates combined. Good thing he has some dedicated followers who apparently spend about $50 texting multiple votes for him. Too bad for Mr. Paul they won’t be able to do that in the actual election.
  • The good news I guess is this: while I’m still not thrilled about any of the candidates, I think there’s 3-4 that I could live with. If nothing else, I think it should be interesting to see how the primaries turn out.
Maybe I should watch the next Democratic Presidential Debate. There’s sure to be a good amount of comedy material there as well.

10.16.2007

An Update On The D-Mac-Mobile

Well, I saw that really ugly car again yesterday.

Fayetteville is a town of about 70,000, so seeing an unusual automobile isn’t quite like finding a needle in a haystack, but at the same time, seeing Darren McFadden cruising around in his “car” for the second time in less than a week after having never seen it before was a little surprising.

This time though, I saw him driving down a side road.

After that 17 carry, 43 yard Heisman-hopes-destroying performance he had in Arkansas’ anemic 9-7 loss to Auburn on Saturday, he may be trying to avoid attention.

The Team That Won’t Lose

As a baseball blogger (and I have a button on my sidebar that claims that I am), I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the Colorado Rockies and their improbable run to the World Series.

Barely a month ago, I was in Denver telling my uncle, a rabid Rockies fan, that Colorado, who had no post-season experience to speak of, would crumble down the stretch and not even make the playoffs.

Now, here we are a month later, the Rockies have won an unbelievable 21 of their last 22 games, and I am really starting to get tired of having to eat so much humble pie.

So now, a mere four games away from a World Series title, I am throwing my hat in with the Rockies.

And now that I’ve done so, watch them forget how to win as quickly as they learned.

10.12.2007

Dumb Things People Say 1: “What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You”


Although my other blogging series has stalled a little bit (don’t worry, I haven’t permanently forgotten it), I decided to go ahead and begin a new, semi-regular series: Dumb Things People Say.

One of the good things about a series like this is that I should never run out of examples.

This series is less about making fun of popular catchphrases (Holla!) and more about examining statements that have almost become axioms—things that people say as if they were cosmic truths, but in reality, are at least partially inaccurate and sometimes, woefully stupid.

Today’s Dumb Thing, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you,” is somewhere in between, and it (or some variation thereof) is heard all the time.

I was pretty young the first time I heard this, maybe 8 years old or so, but I distinctly remember the situation. One of my cousins had given my older brother several pairs of blue jeans, and since they didn’t quite conform to his tastes, he decided to turn them into cut-off shorts.

Being a little surprised by this, I asked him what our cousin would think about his drastic plans. He responded by telling me that “what Kevin doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”

Converting hand-me-down blue jeans to cut-off shorts is an example of when this phrase is actually true, but the problem is that sometimes, what you don’t know can very certainly hurt you very badly.

Like if you don’t realize that the person you’re about to marry has an STD. Or if you fail to get the memo that the area where you’ve chosen to go camping is actually in the middle of bear country. Or if you’re a male living in the United States and you don’t know that when you turn 18 you have to register for the draft. Or if…well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea: what you don’t know can hurt you, and sometimes, it can even kill you.

It’s a dumb thing to say.

So…what are some other dumb things that people say?

10.10.2007

Quite Possibly The Ugliest Car I Have Ever Seen

I was stopped at a traffic light with my dad yesterday when he pointed out an unusual car as it passed by.

We agreed that the Razorback red Ford Crown Victoria with 26” rims was hideous, and were wondering who would drive it, when suddenly my dad exclaimed, “Oh, it’s D-Mac’s!”

“D-Mac,” of course, being the nickname of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ superhuman, Heisman Trophy-favorite running back, Darren McFadden.

We then watched in amusement as D-Mac drove on in his Pimp My Ride version of a monster truck.

Darren McFadden is, by far, the best college player in the country, but his taste in automobiles leaves a little bit to be desired.

10.09.2007

Change


Fall has been my favorite season ever since I reached the point where I didn’t dread going back to school.

This morning, as I walked out to my car, there was a chill in the air. Outside, some of the more adventurous trees have begun to transition to autumn colors.

It seems like it has taken a while, but fall is surely approaching: the days are getting shorter, the Major League Baseball Playoffs are underway, and in Northwest Arkansas, our drinking water tastes very much like dirt.

Although I enjoy the the change in seasons that we get to experience here in the Ozarks, I am not a fan of change in general. As time passes, I lose touch with old friends, have to say good-bye to lost loved ones, and become increasingly disconcerted by events and developments that occur throughout the world.

In a time filled with constant changes, some of which are very unpleasant, I am always comforted when I remember Hebrews 13.8 which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

How great it is that in a world where we can’t count on anything to remain constant, the only One who we should count on always will!

Jesus, our Rock and Redeemer, will always be there for us, and His love for us will never change.

10.05.2007

Lifehouse “Everything” Skit

My brother sent me this video the other night.

Watch the whole video. It’s a little bit strange at first and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on, but when it hit me, I thought it was very powerful.



This version adds the passage from Romans 8 at the end, which I thought was very fitting.

10.04.2007

Worth Every Penny

I generally don’t like receiving text messages. It’s not that I have anything against text messages themselves—on the contrary, most of the time I’d rather communicate with someone via text message than actually talk to them on the phone.

No, with me, the problem with text messages is a very economic one: thanks to the lovely people over at Cingul—uh, I mean AT&T Wireless, each text I send or receive now costs me $0.15.

Now $0.15 may not seem like much, but it starts to add up after a while. And when it does, my wife is not happy.

Nevertheless, yesterday I received a text message from one of the guys who used to be in my youth group that was easily worth the $0.15 that it cost me:

What the mullet is up? I haven’t seen you since the Dead Sea was only sick!
It’s rare that I read something that literally makes me laugh out loud. This text message did. I’d pay $0.15 for it any day.

10.01.2007

It’s The Most Wonderful Time…

Okay, so maybe the MLB playoffs aren’t quite the high point of the year—I would still put Christmas and March Madness ahead of them—but it is still a fun time if you are a baseball fan.

Thanks to ending up tied after 162 games, the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres are playing a one game tie-breaker as I type to determine who gets the eighth and final playoff spot. Pretty exciting stuff.


Of course, the excitement would be a lot greater for me if my team—the Atlanta Braves—had bothered to make the playoffs this year. Instead, the Braves underachieved for the majority of the year, finished third in the National League East, and are watching the playoffs from home for the second consecutive year. It’s pretty hard to take.

Okay, I realize I’m spoiled, but you have to realize the position I’m in. From the summer I turned 8 to the summer I turned 22, the Braves made it to the playoffs every single year (except for the strike-shortened season of 1994, when there were no playoffs at all). It’s just hard to adjust.

So here’s the deal. In order to avoid a third consecutive post-season-less season, I have a three step plan for guaranteed success in 2008:

  1. Resign Andruw Jones. I know Andruw had one of the worst seasons ever imagined in 2007, but at the end of the day, even at his worst, he hit 25+ home runs, had 90+ RBI and played unparalleled defense in center field. And there’s no way he won’t do better next year. I’m not saying we should break the bank to resign him, but he’s already publicly said he would sign a deal in the 5-year, $15 million per year deal. At 30 years old, for a guy who plays everyday in a skill position, he’s easily worth that.
  2. Sign Tom Glavine to a one year deal. Glavine’s not a Cy Young Award winner any more, but he would be great as a number three or number four starter. Combined with Tim Hudson and John Smoltz, a (hopefully) healthy Mike Hampton and Chuck James as the number five starter, that would give the Braves arguably the best rotation in baseball (I realize that in order to accomplish steps 1 and 2, we might have to trade Renteria. I hate giving him up, but under those circumstances, I say do it).
  3. Get rid of the AA-caliber players that we have hanging out in the dugout. Chris Woodward and Pete Orr, I’m looking at you. I mean, it amuses me that Woodward looks like Billy Bob Thornton’s down-on-his-luck brother, and I like that Orr wears his socks high, but these guys really have no business playing in the Major Leagues. Put Scott Thorman in that category while you’re at it. I realize the guy is out of options: maybe we can trade him for some new fungo bats or something.
Follow my advice (and assuming Chipper can stay healthy for his usual 130 games), and I think we end up with 105 wins next year.

And a much happier October for yours truly.

9.30.2007

As If You Needed Another Reason To Dislike Memphis…

Former Razorback standout Corey Beck was shot there last week.

Beck and a friend made the mistake of being in Memphis, in a car, and paid for it when two men in masks and a shotgun approached and tried to rob them.

Beck was shot in the face and hands, but managed to drive to a nearby fire station from where he was taken to the hospital.

Originally listed in critical condition, he had been upgraded to fair condition by Wednesday.

Beck was the starting point guard for Arkansas team who won the National Championship in 1994 and finished second in 1995.

He was probably only the third or fourth best player on the team, but that says more about how deep that team was than anything else.

Here’s hoping that Corey has a speedy and full recovery.

9.26.2007

A Near Miss


As I mentioned before, I was in Memphis over the weekend to play in an ultimate tournament and visit family.

The family visiting went well, and the tournament was pretty good too. We ended up finishing fourth out of ten teams, narrowly missing qualifying for Regionals. We should have done it too—we were up 7-3 in the third place game before eventually losing 15-12.

The loss was a little disappointing, but either way, it was our best finish at this tournament, and it was fun to get to see and play with a lot of my old teammates.

My running paid off fairly well too. I certainly don’t have all my speed or endurance back yet, but I played well overall and was definitely in better shape than I was earlier in the summer.

Speaking of near misses, that’s me in the photo above, not quite getting the D against my man. Oh well, I was always more of a threat on offense…

9.24.2007

A Painful Argument

I’m not usually a More Than One Post Per Day kind of guy, but when I heard about San Diego Padres left fielder Milton Bradley on ESPN, I just couldn’t resist.

Bradley is not a Hall of Fame caliber player, but after this episode yesterday, he has earned a place for himself in the Bizarre Injury Hall of Fame.

Basically, Bradley suffered a season-ending ACL tear when he fell to the ground during an argument with an umpire in yesterday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

Losing Bradley is a major blow to the Padres, who are contending for a playoff spot. Bradley was playing the best baseball of his career, and through 42 games with San Diego this season, was hitting .313 with 11 home runs and a 1.004 OPS.

For San Diego, the news gets even worse: Mike Cameron had already left the game on Sunday after being injured in an outfield collision with—interestingly enough—Bradley, so the Padres now find themselves without 2/3 of their starting outfield.

Apparently, the altercation began after a fan heckled first base umpire Mike Winters and Milton Bradley agreed with him. Kind of gives new meaning to the term “adding insult to injury.”

An Astoundingly Bad Idea

There are a lot of poorly-conceived projects and ideas floating around the World Wide Web, but I was still pretty surprised when I stumbled upon the Sexual Relationship Database, developed by World Health Optimization Management, or W.H.O.M.

What exactly is the Sexual Relationship Database? Well, the title is somewhat self-explanatory, but here’s what W.H.O.M. has to say about its project:

In an effort to better understand society's interconnected nature, this database was created to serve as a repository for information regarding the sexual histories of individuals, across the world and throughout time.

Simply enter a name, and all known sexual partners of this person will appear to the right. However, most individuals have yet to be entered into our database. If you have valid information regarding the sexual past of anyone, at any period of time, please enter it now. Your assistance is vital to the success of this project.

I suppose it is theoretically possible that such a database could be useful. If it was both accurate and comprehensive, it might force a degree of accountability on would-be sexually promiscuous individuals, and I guess it would also alert you if someone you were interested in was such a person.

Of course, the following disclaimer on the website pretty much eliminates any chance of accuracy:
To insure accuracy, anyone may edit sexual histories, provided he or she logs in with a valid email address.

So basically, it’s considerably easier to corrupt this information than even Wikipedia.

As evidence of this, just check out President Clinton’s sexual history. While I fully believe that such a list would be extensive, I also doubt that it would include Osama Bin Laden.

So if you have some free time, head on over to the SRD and enter any pertinent information that you may be privy to. Remember: your assistance is vital to the success of this project.

9.21.2007

Weekend Notes

Caroline and I will be heading to Memphis in a little while for the weekend. I’ll be playing in an ultimate tournament with my old team, saying good-bye to a friend who’s heading to Mexico for a year, and staying with my in-laws for a couple of days. I’ll be back sometime late Sunday.

In the meantime, here are a couple of random items that I didn’t think were worthy of entire posts on their own:

  • As I mentioned last week, I’ve been running lately, and last night, in preparation for this weekend, I pushed myself a little bit and managed to shave 1:45 off my previous time on my 3 mile(ish) course. Not too shabby.
  • Although I might be the only person in the entire world that would care about this, I stumbled upon a pretty cool DuckTales website today. The best part is that it had a walk through of Scrooge McDuck’s mansion. The worst part is that the site is in Russian, which is a language I don’t speak. Oh well, you can’t have everything (who knew DT was so popular in Mother Russia?).
  • Tonight, Gus Malzahn and his amazing offense at Tulsa will be put to the test against the Oklahoma Sooners. Tulsa has a terrible defense which gives up even more points than Arkansas’ does, so they should get destroyed, but it will be interesting to see how the Hurry-Up-No-Huddle offense does against OU.
  • The Razorbacks try to even up their SEC record at 1-1 when they play the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. If their aforementioned terrible defense doesn’t step it up a little bit against Andre’ Woodson and the Cats, it will be a difficult thing to do.
Everyone have a good weekend.

9.20.2007

Who Knew?


I possess several nearly useless talents.

For example, I am really good at doubling numbers. If you were to say, “63,” I would reply with, “126, 252, 504, 1008, 2016, 4032…” at a very rapid rate for a long time (in fact, as I was typing those numbers, my typing skills lagged far behind my number-doubling skills). I suppose it’s kind of neat if you’ve never seen me do it before, but like I said, for the most part, it’s useless.

Another talent I have is the ability to recognize actors in movies. I’ll be watching some movie and will just hear a character speak, or catch a glimpse of his face and then I’ll recognize him as the butler in some other movie from 12 years earlier. This is another pretty useless ability, but it impresses people from time to time as well.

Sometimes though, I really drop the ball.

Last night, I was floored by the discovery that John Rhys-Davies, who played Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies, also played Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I might’ve been somewhat thrown off by the fact that Sallah is a big guy who dwarfs Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark while Gimli is, well, just a dwarf.

Probably several of you will chime in and say something to the effect that you immediately realized it was the same actor, and how could I not realize it if I was really as good at identifying actors as I say I am.

Normally, I would tell you to keep your gloating to yourself, but considering that this is an ability that I have been somewhat prideful about in the past, I deserve it—gloat away.

9.17.2007

Alabama 41, Arkansas 38: A Few Observations


This was a tough game to watch if you were a Razorback fan. After falling behind 21-0, Arkansas stormed back to take a 38-31 lead in the fourth quarter before losing on a last second touchdown pass. A few thoughts on the game:

  • It wouldn’t have seemed possible, but Arkansas’ secondary is actually worse than it was last year. How bad? Even Michael Vick could probably light this team up for 300 passing yards.
  • Over the summer, Houston Nutt has apparently not developed the ability to call decent plays on offense. What? You thought the new Offensive Coordinator was going to get to make the calls? Yeah, he probably did too.
  • As amazing as he is, Darren McFadden can’t win games for the Hogs all by himself. Against Alabama, he amassed 195 rushing yards, two touchdowns and a mild concussion, and it wasn’t enough. He can’t give much more than that.
And what about Mitch Mustain and Gus Malzahn, who were basically forced to walk the plank of a sinking ship back in January?

They’re doing okay.

Malzahn has watched his offense at Tulsa churn out 90 points and 1,118 net yards in two victories so far, while Mustain has watched from the sidelines as his top-ranked USC Trojans have ripped through their first two opponents.

Of course, in Mustain’s case, you could argue that he’d rather be playing than watching, but if you have to watch from the sidelines, you’d rather it be because you’re red-shirting, and not because your jerk of a head coach is playing an inferior player in your stead.

9.13.2007

Learning to Run

I’ve been running quite a bit lately. Now, when I say “quite a bit,” I don’t mean that in an absolute sense, i.e., “I’ve been running 50 miles a week,” but more in a relative sense—I used to run not at all, and now I run a few times a week.

This recent development has reminded me of two things I had somehow forgotten about running.

First, running is much, much nicer when it starts to get cooler outside. I ran on and off over the summer, and would generally run at night, but even then, it was hot and I hated it. Now though, as autumn begins to break through summer, things are different. The other night I went outside to run and was actually cold. It was a wonderful feeling.

The other thing I had forgotten is that, at least to an extent, the more you run, the more you enjoy it. In general, I don’t like to run. I appreciate the benefits of running, but usually, I dread it beforehand, suffer through the run itself, and then complain about it afterwards.

This has been noticeably better the last few runs. I actually find myself looking forward to running sometimes, and the runs themselves are more enjoyable. And multiple times throughout the day, when I’m not running, my legs get this restless feeling as if they’re yearning for more exercise. It’s a good feeling.

At this point, I am by no means proclaiming myself to be a convert to running, but who knows? I might could get used to this.

* I don’t want to mislead anyone by the picture. Not only is that not me, but I’m not running anywhere near that quickly. At this point, I’m at more of a Wile E. Coyote pace.

9.11.2007

Six Years


It’s hard for me to believe that 9/11 was six years ago today.

I can still remember the events of that morning clearly. I got up and went to class at 8:00, just like any other day, and it wasn’t until right before chapel that I bumped into a friend who told me what had happened. Incidentally, that friend joined the military after the fall semester, and last I heard, was on his way to Iraq.

His life, and those of many others in similar situations, has changed greatly over the last six years.

But what about regular people? People who aren’t in the military? Has your life changed substantially since 9/11/2001? I know mine hasn’t—not like it should have.

Sure, some things have changed. Flying on an airplane is more of an ordeal these days with security being a lot tighter. I certainly know a lot more about Islam than I did six years ago. And any desire I had to visit the Holy Lands has decreased considerably. But really, my life hasn’t changed so much.

For example, I still read these words of Jesus in Matthew 5.43-44 and know that I don’t live them any better than I did before:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Nor these words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12.17-18:
“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Is your life any different than it was? If not, then maybe you’re like me, and it’s time for a change.

9.06.2007

I won’t be around for the next few days; I’m flying out to Denver in the morning for my grandmother’s funeral and won’t be back until late Sunday night.

For obvious reasons, it’s not a trip I’m looking forward to, but on the way back, we have a 3 1/2 hour layover in Salt Lake City, which is mildly exciting, because I’ve never really been in Utah.

Since I won’t be blogging over the next few days, I’ll point you to this tribute I wrote a year ago today about Steve Irwin. It might be the best post I’ve written to date, and since most of my dozens (okay, handfuls) of readers have come on board since then, you might have missed it.

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been a whole year since he died; Animal Planet has been showing Crocodile Hunter specials all week.

9.05.2007

Something I Don’t Understand

Growing up, Disney’s DuckTales was one of my very favorite TV shows. Every day when I got home from school, I would watch the 30-minute cartoon and enjoyed following the adventures of Uncle Scrooge and his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie while devouring a couple of Soft Batch chocolate chip cookies.

Unlike a lot of other cartoons that I grew up with (ahem, Transformers), DuckTales was cleverly-made, being very entertaining for children while at the same time having a lot of humor and historical allusions that only adults would get.

Because of this, I still enjoy watching a few episodes when I’m in a nostalgic sort of mood, so my wife, being aware of my DuckTales fondness, purchased the first two volumes for me on DVD.

I was watching a pretty good episode—Back Out in the Outback—today when I noticed something highly disturbing: Sundowner, who helps run Uncle Scrooge’s sheep ranch in the Australian Outback, has a pet dog named Dingo.

What is strange about this you ask? Only this: Sundowner himself appears to be some form of canine.

DuckTales, how in the world does this work? Does this bother anyone else?

Here is a screenshot of the speech-capable Sundowner comforting his bark-only-capable friend:

9.03.2007

Too Young

Each year in Japan, the Eiji Sawamua Award is given to the best pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan’s highest baseball league), just like the Cy Young Award is given to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball.

Sawamura vaulted to national stardom in November 1934 when, as a 17-year-old, he pitched against a visiting team of Major League All-Stars and struck out, in succession, Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx—four players who combined for over 11,000 hits, over 7,500 runs scored, and over 1,900 home runs in their Major League careers. Sawamura lost the game 1-0 in a Lou Gehrig home run in the seventh inning, but his heroics made him a national idol.

He went on to pitch in the newly formed Japanese Baseball League and became its star, tossing the first no-hitter in the league’s history and winning the Most Valuable Player Award in 1937 after compiling a record of 24-4 with a 0.81 ERA.

Sawamura continued to dominate throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, but by that time, the world had changed. All-Star teams from the United States on exhibition tours were no longer welcome in Japan.

The fires of World War II had begun.

For its part, Japan was anxious to extend its empire by flexing its military might, and it needed young men to do so.

Having already served three tours of duty, Sawamura was killed in 1944 when the transport ship he was on was sunk by American warships. He was 27, just ten years removed from the November afternoon that made him a hero.

From Hussein to Hitler, to many years before, young men have always had to die in attempts to realize the ambitions of tyrants.

But it never gets easier to accept.


Sources for this post include Baseball-Reference and Wikipedia.

8.30.2007

Rewarded!

For over a year now, I have been saving My Coke Rewards points off of the bottle and boxes of Coke products.

My hoarding of these little gems has been made much easier by having several other people save them for me, but remembering to login to the website and enter the codes on a regular basis isn’t without difficulty.

At first, the rewards were somewhat lame (Blockbuster rentals, a Coke backpack!), but they’ve gotten progressively better.

The rewards I have personally redeemed my points for have gradually improved as well: $10 gift card to Disney.com (which I used to pay for the majority of Finding Nemo), a white Adidas ClimaLite Jersey, and now, for a mere 1,500 points, a brand new pair of Mexican National Team Adidas Sambas.

And the best part: when I ordered them on Monday, I was told that they’d be here in 2-8 weeks. That’s right; I got them today.

I know, I know. I don’t play soccer, and sometimes I even make fun of it. But soccer apparel is way cool.

8.27.2007

Burning A Hole In My Pocket


Of all possible gift ideas in the world, for my recent birthday, my sister-in-law made the excellent choice to get me an iTunes gift card.

I love music and I love iTunes, so gift cards are always greatly appreciated. With the temptation of songs only being $0.99 each, I’ve discovered before how easy it can be to spend more money than you intended, so now, I try to never spend more money than I currently have in my iTunes account.

But now, reveling in my relative riches (after my birthday gift, I have about $30 in my account), I find myself faced with an unfamiliar problem: I can’t think of any songs I want to download.

I’ve suffered from Writer’s Block before, and a friend of mine wrote the other day about having Blogger’s Block, but this current malady that I suffer from—this Downloader’s Block—is something entirely new to me.

So here it is, the purpose of this post: what should I download?

There are certainly some genres of music that I like more than others, but on the whole, I’m pretty much open to anything. Here are the only limitations:

  • I’d prefer something without excessive profanity.
  • I can’t stand polka music in general, and I’m really not a big Weird Al fan specifically (we can thank my cousin Will for that).
That’s it! Give me some ideas. What’s something you like, or something you think I might like?

8.24.2007

True Peace

Wars with no end in sight are unpopular, and currently, the United States finds itself embroiled in such a war.

Because of this, it has become increasingly popular to trumpet the cause of peace, and among Christians (especially those of the blogging variety), I have observed the growing belief that all war is wrong and that it is, inherently and fundamentally, un-Christian.

I disagree with this viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong. I hate war. I think it is a terrible thing which should be avoided whenever possible, and should only be considered as a last resort, but I do believe that sometimes, war is the only option (World War II would be the classic support of this viewpoint).

Christians are called to be peacemakers, and it should always be our goal, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, to reconcile rather than to incite.

But sometimes, I think the peace that Christ came to bring about is misunderstood.

My friend Robb Hadley wrote a very good article on peace the other day that I really appreciated, and he put it better than I could:

When Jesus was born, “Peace on earth” was proclaimed by angels (Luke 2.14). If you define peace as all people on earth holding hands with flowers in their hair singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” Jesus failed completely. If you understand that Jesus came to make peace with God and with each other available, then real peace is possible (Ephesians 2.15–16).
How would things be different if people would strive after the eternal peace of Christ as eagerly as they seek the uncertainty provided by man-made treaties?

8.22.2007

Always Improving

Important announcement: The Doc File has now stepped into the exciting world of mid-1990s technology with the addition of a search feature at the bottom of the sidebar.

Now, if want to go back and re-read a post and don’t know where to find it, or if you’re just curious to see what I have to say about something specific, you’re in luck.

I tested out the search bar myself after installing and it seemed to work pretty well, which was pleasantly surprising to me.

What’s next for The Doc File? There’s no telling, but I’m sure it will be equally mind-blowing.

My Better Half

Happy Birthday to my wife, Caroline, who turns 24 today.

I generally try to avoid being excessively mushy on my blog, but today, I’ll make an exception.

Three and a half years ago, we went out on our first date, and from that night, I knew there was something special about her.

And I was right—after a year of marriage I know how special she is because she is able to put up with Yours Truly day after day and even seems to enjoy it.

The more time I spend with Caroline, the more I realize how blessed I am, and the more it confirms my theory that I expended all of my clutch-ness back in the Spring of 2006 when I both played my best ultimate, and somehow convinced her to marry me.

Caroline reads The Doc File only sporadically (it’s really one of her only downsides), so she may not even read this post, but to her, I just want to say:

I love you. I thank God every day for you, I can’t imagine living without you, and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

Happy Birthday Toots!

8.19.2007

Seriously, I’m Going To Do Better

I’m having a hard time getting back to blogging on a semi-regular basis. After being out of town for quite a while and largely without internet access, I returned home determined to do a better job, only to have my computer die on me.

My iMac is under warranty and should be repaired free of charge, and I also have a laptop (which I am typing this post on right now), so this is not a tragedy, but it is still pretty annoying. After all, I’ve been waiting for a part to arrive from Apple since Wednesday, and my laptop is considerably slower than my iMac, which makes blogging, surfing the Web or anything else much more difficult.

Reading over this post, I realize that it sounds pretty whiny and that as problems go, this one isn’t bad at all.

But it’s still annoying.

8.17.2007

He Never Ceases To Amaze…

As much as I dislike Barry Bonds, I was planning on taking the high road and giving the guy a break for a while, even though he turned the greatest record in all of sports into a travesty.

But that was before I read this article.

Apparently, BALCO Barry is tired of people suggesting that he reached his freakish proportions unnaturally, and is now considering suing those who have accused him of roiding up, including Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

Who knows, since I’ve accused Barry of cheating as well, I might be on his radar as well.

This might be my favorite quote from the article:

Schilling said some things that were inappropriate and potentially defamatory. I know it was upsetting to Barry.

I can believe that it upsets Barry that nobody likes him. After all, that’s what prompted him to begin his steroid regimen in the first place back in ’99.

What I can’t believe is that there is any sort of ground for a defamation of character lawsuit. I mean, after all, don’t you have to have character before it can be defamed?

Hat tip to my cousin Veronica for sending me the article.

The Doc File © 2006-2012 by Luke Dockery

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