A Prodigy

prod·i·gy (noun). 1. A person with exceptional talents or powers. 2. An act or event so extraordinary or rare as to inspire wonder.

Usain Bolt is a sprinting prodigy. I had never really heard of him before the 2008 Olympics, but then I sat back in amazement with everyone else as he blew away the field in the 100m and broke what was thought to be an unbreakable record in the 200m as well.

This week at the World Championships in Berlin, Bolt once again won the 100m and 200m, and shattered his own world records in the process: a 9.58 in the 100m, and a 19.19 in the 200m. These times are so extraordinary that they absolutely inspire wonder.

To me, what’s even more impressive than the numbers Bolt is putting up is the distance between himself and his competitors. He’s not racing against a local high school track team or a bunch of fairly-athletic guys. He’s competing against the very fastest men in the world—athletes who spend all of their time honing their craft and trying to shave hundredths of seconds off their times.

And it’s these men that he’s blowing away in competition, in the case of the 200m, by more than half a second.

That’s a prodigy.


Church Signs

Of my many work-related responsibilities, one of my least favorite ones is being in charge of changing the message on the church sign we have out front. People who go to church where I do could probably guess that this is something I don’t like doing much, because it gets changed very irregularly.

It’s somewhat of a pain to drag the ladder outside, pull down the old letters, come up with something new to put up, make sure we have enough letters for the new message, pick out and arrange the new letters and put them back up on the sign (which is partially broken and therefore makes the process somewhat more difficult).

Really, though, it’s not that hard to do, and I would probably change it on a (more) regular basis if I was convicted at all that it was important—if changing the sign out front actually did any good or was worthwhile.

Instead, I tend to think that church signs do more harm than good—someone driving by is more likely to be turned off by a hokey saying than they are encouraged by a thoughtful one.

For example, one local church that I drive by regularly recently proclaimed the following message on their marquee:
While I agree with this message, I’m not really sure that I would include it in the thoughtful category.

On the other hand, maybe the person who put it up was having trouble coming up with new ideas and decided to embark on an ongoing series. If that’s the case, they may have discovered a gold mine. Just consider the possibilities:



You don’t even have to stay mired in the world of technology, because this is a very versatile theme:



Well, you probably get the idea, and I’ve spent too much time on this anyway. There’s other stuff I need to be doing—like changing our church sign.


The Return Of Michael Vick

The news came out Thursday that the Philadelphia Eagles had signed Michael Vick to a 2-year contract, and little else has been talked about on ESPN since.

Vick became the ultimate athletic taboo when he got in trouble in the summer of 2007 for his involvement in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring. Since that time, Vick has served 23 months in prison, declared bankruptcy, and is now on the verge of re-entering the NFL.

I was never a huge Michael Vick fan in the first place—I thought he was overrated on the field and had somewhat of a “character problem” off it—and like everyone else, I was disgusted by his treatment of the dogs that he fought.

That being said, I really thought the public outcry against Vick was (and, judging by the reaction of many to his signing with the Eagles, still is) excessive. What Vick did was wrong and abhorrent, but at the end of the day, he killed dogs, not people. Meanwhile, Donte Stallworth kills someone while under the influence, and the response of the media and the public is nowhere near as hostile as it was for Vick.

Vick showed a lack of humanity in his treatment of his dogs, and he paid for those actions by serving two years in prison, having to declare bankruptcy, losing two seasons in the prime of his career, and falling far from the summit of the athletic world where he had been.

Now having paid for his crime, he’s been given a second chance, and I wish him nothing but success as he tries to make the most of it.


A Most Unpleasant Way To Start The Day

I am a morning showerer. I have to start off each morning with a shower, or I just don’t feel like I’ve really woken up.

But on rare occasions, I shower at night, and when that happens, I’ll sometimes skip my morning shower so I can sleep in a little bit longer. However, if I don’t shower in the morning, my hair is out of control, so I’ll still go wash my hair in the bathtub (which takes much less time than a shower) to make it more manageable.

Last night, I showered after playing ultimate, which means that this morning, I slept in a little bit and then went to the guest bathroom to wash my hair. I was bending over the bathtub, with my head under the faucet and the water running,when it happened.

A snake came out of the drain, about six inches from my face.

After realizing that I wasn’t hallucinating (I had just woken up after all), I jumped up, shocked and speechless. Unfortunately, I had no snake-killing device in hand, and since I’m not Bear Grylls, I wasn’t about to grab it with my bare hands.

After a few seconds, the snake went back down the drain, and I haven’t seen him since.

We called a plumber, who basically said that it wasn’t all that uncommon, that there was nothing they could do, and that we should keep the drains closed and toilet lids down and eventually the snake would leave.

This seems like a less than ideal solution to the problem—anyone have any better ideas?

I guess the good thing is that I discovered the snake rather than Caroline—if that had happened, I’m pretty sure that we’d be moving.


New Pictures

I’ve been gone a lot this summer, and I finally got some pictures up from some of my travels.

I am cautiously optimistic that my hectic summer will now begin to slow down, and that this post will signal an end to what has truly been a pathetic few months of blogging.

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