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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.

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