From the Vault

I was going through my iPhoto library the other day and came across the logo for my first ultimate frisbee team, the Fighting Crackers. It is hard for me to believe that it was a little over five years ago that the team was founded…

It was at a time when a lot of schools and professional teams were getting in trouble for having mascots that were supposedly derogatory towards Native Americans, and since we were a bunch of white guys, I came up with the name “Fighting Crackers” as a parody. And I liked the idea of a scowling, pugilistic Saltine.

As a bunch of freshmen, the Fighting Crackers shocked everyone by winning the first ever intra-school ultimate tournament at Harding, and the following fall semester, we became more ethnically diverse with the addition of a half-Asian, half-Italian defensive specialist.

Overall, we were a pretty dominant team, winning two of the four tournaments we played in and finishing second in the other two, with a combined record of something like 16-3.

Some people were jealous, and others resented us (cough, Justin Bland, cough), but playing for the Fighting Crackers was my first real experience of ultimate as a team sport, and was instrumental in the later foundation of Harding’s official ultimate team.

I’m sure if I went back now and watched us play, I’d be embarrassed at how bad we were, but I miss those days.

We did wear some pretty hideous socks though.

Pictured above (L-R): Ty Gentry, Will Dockery, Mike McCubbin, Jonathan Towell, Sam Travaglini. Bent over in exhaustion (L-R): Luke Dockery, Colby Blaisdell. Not pictured: Jason Crawford, Michael Graves, Dave Pritchett, Patrick Williams.


Say It Ain’t So…

The University of Arkansas fired Stan Heath today.

Heath took over a reeling Arkansas basketball program in 2002 and brought about gradual improvements, winning 20 or more games and qualifying for the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons.

Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

I don’t have the stomach or heart to write about this in detail, and my brother already wrote an excellent post on Heath’s dismissal which mirrors my own sentiments.

By all accounts, Heath is a gracious and classy guy, and I’m ashamed of the way he was treated by the U of A.

That being said, I’m still a Hog fan, and I will still cheer for the team, even when it is coached by someone else.

I’ll also cheer for Heath, wherever he ends up coaching.

And I hope that someday, he’ll get a chance to coach against Arkansas in a crucial game, and that his team humiliates the Razorbacks.

Because that’s what Arkansas deserves.


Justice Is Served

One thing you may or may not know about me is that occasionally, I lapse into periods of severe idiocy where I disengage my brain and make terrible decisions.

This happened about a month and a half ago when I bought a new digital camera from YellowBeePhoto.com. Yellow Bee was selling the camera I wanted for about $30 less than anyone else, and their website looked legit enough, so I placed the order.

The next day, I received an email telling me that I needed to call them to verify some billing information. When I called them, they basically pulled a bait and switch on me and told me that while they didn’t have the camera I had ordered, they did have a very similar “Pro Kit” version for about $35 more that was supposedly the same camera model but with a few upgrades (such as the composition of the shell, the quality of the lens, etc.).

Because (as I mentioned above) I am sometimes an idiot, I reluctantly agreed to this, and ordered the upgraded version. Of course, when I received it, there were no upgrades (there was no mention of a “Pro Kit” on the box or any of the documentation); I had received the camera that I wanted, but had paid $35 more than the price on the website.

Had I not been an idiot, I would’ve done a little research ahead of time and discovered that Yellow Bee is notorious for this sort of thing, and sometimes does even worse. I actually got off pretty easy because I got the camera I originally wanted and for about the same price I could have gotten it elsewhere, but I was still pretty annoyed that I had been played.

One of the good things about the internet though is that it allows ripped-off customers to band together and actually do something about it.

Apparently, Yellow Bee Photo is just one of many semi-fraud store fronts in Brooklyn, NY that rip people off with unscrupulous business practices, who have now been caught thanks to the vigilance of the Web. One guy even went out and took photographs of all these bogus stores (the picture above is of Yellow Bee; it is in the “B West End Ave” suite).

And then yesterday I received the best news. My buddies at Yellow Bee sent me this email:

“To make your shopping at Yellow Bee Photo a much greater experience our website will be off until further notice. We do apologize for any inconvenience caused. You will be notified as soon as possible as to when the website will be re-opened for your shopping needs.”

I don’t think the words came out quite how they meant, but they were certainly right: shopping at Yellow Bee Photo is a much better experience if their website doesn’t work at all.

The Final Score: Western Civilization 1, Yellow Bee Photo 0.


A Less Significant Sacrifice

Every six months or so, we have a blood drive at our church, and since I am the type of person who is willing to give blood if it is exceptionally convenient, I donated at our blood drive yesterday afternoon.

If you’re lucky, you get a free t-shirt when you give blood, and yesterday, I was lucky (or so I thought). I didn’t really look at it until I got home. It said, “He gave His. I gave mine,” and then had a Jesus fish underneath it.

I dunno, there’s something about comparing my convenient gift of a superfluous pint of blood to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all mankind that just irks me.

Design a new t-shirt.


A Good Weekend

This past weekend was a busy one for me, but it was good.

Friday evening we journeyed to the middle of nowhere in Southwest Missouri for our annual youth lock-in at the Ark (I took the picture of the sunset during the drive). Despite its name, the Ark doesn’t really resemble a ginormous wooden boat at all, but it is a very nice place to have retreats and activities.

We filled the place up with 60 people from four main congregations, and had a good time playing basketball, ping pong, foosball, volleyball and watching movies. My favorite might have actually been playing shuffleboard, even though it made me feel like I was in my 70s, and my wife completely owned me.

I had never been before, but overall, I was pretty impressed with the place. Aside from a gym, kitchen and movie area in the Ark building itself, there was also a dormitory with motel-style rooms, and best of all, there was this cool chapel built in the woods where we had our devos.

It was pretty neat architecturally, and kind of reminded me of Fay Jones’ famous chapels. Inside, there were these large scrolls on the wall with the Ten Commandments written on them, which was interesting, and it had really good acoustics for singing.

• • •

The weekend was also a good one because it was the last weekend of the college basketball season before the NCAA tournament. Starting Wednesday with the opening rounds of the Big East Tournament, I got to watch a ton of games.

Best of all was the Arkansas Razorbacks playing their way into the NCAA tournament by going 3-1 in the SEC tourney, with wins over South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State.

The Hogs got demolished by Florida in the championship game, but they played that game without Charles Thomas, who had 18 points and 18 rebounds in the semis and went down in the first minutes of the championship game with a sprained ankle.

Thomas should be back for the Razorbacks’ first round game against fifth-seeded USC Friday night. Being the loyal fan that I am, I’m predicting an upset and actually have the Hogs making it to the Sweet 16 in my brackets.

Speaking of brackets and Florida, I have them going really far in the tourney, despite the fact that Joakim Noah is a big dork. He actually looked like a retarded person when he started breaking it down after the Gators won the SEC championship, and what’s up with the way he talks? Is he trying to establish his street cred or something? Give me a break: Noah’s father was a European tennis player and his mother is a former Swedish model.

Vanilla Ice had more street cred than that.


Blast From The Past

Kendrick Davis was Stan Heath’s first recruit as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Davis was not heavily recruited, but he was a capable scorer who had a couple of big games and, along with Jonathan Modica and Eric Ferguson, was one of the three freshmen who accounted for the bulk of the Razorback offense during the 2002-2003 season.

In 2003-2004, Stan Heath made the woeful decision that Ferguson would develop into a useful SEC player (hindsight is 20/20; at one point I thought E-Fergie would be good too). That, along with the arrival of big-time recruits Ronnie Brewer and Olu Famutimi, led to a drastic reduction in Davis’ minutes and consequently, in his point production (10.3 to 5.4).

Davis saw the handwriting on the wall, and transferred after the 2003-2004 season to North Texas, where he had to sit out a season. Davis has been a star for the Mean Green, averaging 16.8 points per game last season, and 13.8 per game this year despite battling through a hand injury early in the season.

Tonight, North Texas beat Arkansas State 83-75 in the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, giving the Mean Green an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their first since 1988.

I was never a huge fan of Kendrick Davis when he played for Arkansas. He was pretty one-dimensional, and even as a scorer, was fairly inconsistent. But he was willing to take a risk and be the first player to sign on to a UA program that was reeling after the stormy departure of Nolan Richardson, and I always thought it wasn’t fair that he was cut out of the picture for other players who were perceived to be better.

Who would’ve thought when Kendrick transferred after the 2003-2004 season that he would end up appearing in the same number of NCAA Tournaments as Brewer and Ferguson, and would win at least as many tournament games?

I guess things worked out pretty fairly after all.


A Titanic Joke

There has been a big uproar over the last few days about an upcoming documentary by filmmaker James Cameron which airs on the Discovery Channel this Sunday night and chronicles the discovery of the supposed tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

Cameron is famous for directing the highest-grossing film of all time, Titanic, which told the story of a big boat that sunk after a collision with an iceberg tore a gaping hole in it.

His new film, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, is somewhat similar, but this time, it’s Cameron’s unfounded theory that’s filled with holes.

Self-billed as the “Archaeological Discovery of the Millennium,” the documentary focuses on the 1980 discovery of a tomb in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem. This tomb contained ten ossuaries, which are basically limestone boxes that contain skeletal remains. Six of the ten ossuaries are inscribed with significant New Testament names, and according to the documentary, this supposedly proves it to be the family tomb of the Jesus of the New Testament.

I’m not really interested in going into great detail debunking the Cameron crew’s ridiculous claims in The Lost Tomb; that has already been done by people who are much more knowledgeable than I am, and there will be even more debunking after the documentary appears on TV.

I do, however, want to make a few quick observations that I’ve had about the Talpiot Tomb issue:

1. The “evidence” supporting Cameron’s claim is laughable.

Once again, I don’t want to go into great detail on this, but here is an example of the type of scientific reasoning used to back this theory:

One of the ossuaries has the name “Matthew” on it. The problem with this is that we don’t know of any person related to Jesus named Matthew. Rather than come to the explanation that a Matthew has no place in the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, and maybe this tomb belongs to some other Jesus, the Cameron bunch instead use this as evidence that the tomb must be authentic, because after all, Jesus of Nazareth did know a guy named Matthew! That must prove it!

Similarly, one of the boxes has a variation of the name “Mary” on it. DNA evidence has shown that this person was not related to the person in the “Jesus” ossuary. So what conclusion does the documentary make? This “Mary” must be Mary Magdalene, who we now plainly see must have been Jesus’ wife! Nevermind the fact that, outside of fictional novels, there is no evidence that Jesus was ever married!

According to the circular logic of the Lost Tomb theorists, the presence of an unrelated Mary in the tomb proves that she is the wife of Jesus, and the fact that the now-proven wife of Jesus is found in the tomb proves that it really is the authentic tomb.

Don’t worry; it’s not just you. It really doesn’t make any sense.

2. This is too big to just ignore.

The implications of the “discovery” are massive: if the skeletal remains of the Jesus of the New Testament were to be found, it would show the Resurrection to be a sham. And as the Apostle Paul pointed out, if Christ was not raised from the dead, then our faith (and, consequently, Christianity) is worthless.

I’ve heard some people say that this isn’t really an issue, because people who really believe aren’t going to be shaken by such pseudo-science and will reject the claims, while people who don’t believe are just going to use it as another reason for why they don’t.

I agree, but what about people who haven’t made up their minds yet? There are undoubtedly some people who won’t give Christianity an honest hearing because they have been turned off by “scientific proof.” I mean, just look at the repercussions of The DaVinci Code—and it even claimed to be a work of fiction!

As Christians, we can’t just completely ignore this. Just because we recognize it as foolishness, doesn’t mean that other well-meaning people won’t be deceived by it.

3. James Cameron’s ability to annoy me has reached new heights.
I accounted for about $7.50 of the $600,000,000+ that Titanic roped in, and honestly, I didn’t regret it at the time. Sure, the first half of the movie was painful, dominated by a cheesy love story, and yes, I did cheer when the Leonardo DiCaprio character finally froze to death, but the whole sinking ship part was pretty cool.

Of course, then the movie received a bazillion awards, James Cameron was all over TV being full of himself, Earth’s female population under the age of 16 became Leonardo-obsessed, and I got really tired of the movie.

But none of that compares to my annoyance with the man now.

See, if James Cameron was actually seeking truth, or even if he hated Christianity and really wanted to disprove it somehow, I could accept him making the documentary. I still wouldn’t like it, but I could accept his motives.

But I don’t think he’s doing it for either of those reasons; it’s all about recognition and money. If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t be releasing a Resurrection-denying documentary in the middle of Lent, a month before Easter.

And we would be hearing more about the actual archaeologists who worked on the project rather than just the man who made the movie about them.

Making a documentary that denies the Resurrection and unleashing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On on an unsuspecting world. Yep, this guy is going to have a lot to answer for.

The Doc File © 2006-2012 by Luke Dockery

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