Archive for April, 2006

Mr. Automatic

The Red Sox (temporarily?) broke out of their slump last night.  I was pretty disgusted up until then.  I don't want to waste the precious few games I get to see with miserable loses.  The wife was, "you're not enjoying this are you?".  But the boys, led by Manny (except for the long sequence in which he struck out with the bases loaded), came from behind to take the lead in the 9th.  In came Mr. Automatic- Jonathan Papelbon.  Now 10 saves in 10 opportunities.  They have returned to first, where we hope they will stay.

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Golden Gopher Laurence Maroney, a running back was picked by the Patriots in the first round.  With their backs getting older, they felt the need to grab only the 2nd back taken in the draft.  Belichek compared his style to the Edge.  If he's 2/3 the back of James, he should help the Patriots long-term.  Although they had tried him out, talked to him and given him the tour of Gillette, he was surprised to be picked by them.  So surprised, he was actually in the bathroom when they called, rather than waiting patiently as their turn drew neigh. 

In 3 years as a Gopher, he split time in the backfield the first 2.  Still, with only one season as a starter, he racked up over 3,900 yards.  He's had some long runs for TDs too.  In his 3rd season, he also caught 17 passes.

Florida Gator wide receiver Chad Johnson (the Jollyblogger should be smiling) was taking in the 2nd round.  The Patriots moved up to grab him by trading their 2nd and 3rd round picks.

The highlight reel showed some great catches.  The guy has good hands, and some speed.  He adapted well in the coaching change they had in Gainesville.

In the 3rd round the Patriots added (another) tight end, David Thomas from Texas.  A 3-year starter, he was captain last year.  He's used to winning, and was the most productive TE in their history.  He grabbed 10 catches for 88 yards in the Rose Bowl.  His nickname was DT (Deep Threat).  As a Senior, 10 of his 40 receptions were for more than 20 yards.

They also took Memphis kicker Steve Gostkowski in the 4th round.  He was 9-9 beyond 40 yards. 

Also taken in the 4th round was another tight end, Garrett Mills from Tulsa.  He could find himself lining up as an full or H-back and in motion.

It all looks good on paper  thus far.  But, the real deal won't be known until they take the field.

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O Sweet Mercy

I don't usually listen to Mercy Me, so I have nothing to say of much substance aside from this: where's the cross?  Of course, my knowledge of their songs is quite limited, so forgive me if this is inaccurate. 

I reviewed the Newsboys Love, Liberty, Disco for a magazine in the late 90's.  That was my complaint.  They apparently read it, and more of their songs address this very essential, and distinctive truth.

The NYT piece on Mercy Me points out what happens when you neglect this- love songs to Jesus that are no different from love songs to my wife/husband/lover etc.  Between Two Worlds has excerpts from the piece for those who don't subscribe (now if Justin can only open links in new windows).  Here is Dick Straub's take on all this cultural inferiority & the big business mind-set.

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Medical Practice

I had a mole removed this week.  I hadn't noticed the bumps on it before.  I actually don't mind, because I get to pick the brain of my doctor.  This will come to a sad end, since he will soon be moving to Wyoming to run clinics on the Reservation.  My family will miss him and his unique style of practicing medicine.

But we talked about why it is so difficult to practice medicine in Florida.  He said that for a family practice, malpractice was not too bad (unlike some of the specialties).  But he is weary of defensive medicine.  This is having to run lots of test to CYB so you won't get sued.  This drives up the cost of health insurance (as if the lawsuits didn't create enough problems and drive up the cost enough).

The point is, a good doctor, can accurately diagnose your problem without many tests much of the time.  Obviously, bad doctors still can't seem to diagnose you regardless.  But, to prevent a lawsuit in the event you weren't perfect, you now have to run lots of unnecessary tests.  This costs $ people, and it is passed on to all with health insurance.

I mentioned a possible ER-effect (much like how CSI has affected juries).  On ER they are ordering tests like they're going out of style- and free.  I suspect that people now think that's what doctors do- order tests.  Actually, younger doctors are becoming more dependent on the test rather than actually listening to their patients (novel concept).

The hypocondriachs don't help either.  They go from doctor to doctor racking up tests.  And health insurance fosters the test-taking mentality.  The doctor isn't paid for his diagnosis (based on lots of education and experience)- only for the tests he runs or procedures he performs.  This is a vicious cycle folks.

And don't get him started on universal health care.  "People don't need health insurance.  People need food.  Soon the government will start trying to provide filet mignon to everybody."  With health insurance, the many cover the few.  That's great if you choose to do that.  But, once again, the government wants to force you to (and that works so well with welfare).

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Sports Slump

Ho-hum.  For me the NBA is over until we gear up for the draft.  The Celtics didn't make the playoffs, so I'm not too interested right now (much to my wife's delight).  There are no teams that excite me.  About the most exciting part would be waiting for Rasheed or Artest to draw T's and Flagrant Fouls.

The Sox are slumping- which is unfortunate since I'm actually able to watch some of these games on ESPN or local TV when they play the Rays.  I will say the umps have not helped.  Horrible calls have plagued the last few games.  Most have gone against the Sox, but some have gone the other way.  But to hear the Rays announcers whine when one finally goes against them….. please.  Oh, and I'm really not liking the Bronson Arroyo-Wily Mo Pena trade right about now.  We could actually use another consistent pitcher (Clement gives me fits, I tell you).  That may change in the future- but so far the Reds got the better part of the deal.  Like the rest of us, Theo isn't perfect.

The Pats…… the NFL draft is a snoozer.  It is nearly impossible to keep track of college players.  I don't know who 97% of these guys are.  I trust Bill & Scott to bring in players who will thrive in New England.  Why should this year be any different?

Hockey……. maybe I should rent Slap Shot and listen to the commentary by the Hanson Brothers.  The Bruins… well… really stink.  The GM got canned (finally).  The Duke lacrosse scandal is more interesting at this point- and that is a pathetic state of affairs all around.

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Sorry, but I just can't seem to get into attending all the big conferences.  Part of it is personal.  Before being a pastor- they were GREAT!  As a pastor, I find my greatest need during study leave it to get away with a few books, some peace & quiet, and not increase the pace of life with another conference.

Part of it is financial.  As a small church pastor, there aren't the resources to fly hither and yon, and staying at hotels, meals etc.

This is not meant to be critical of conferences.  I just wish I could benefit from more of them than I currently do (and there are more of them all the time- Westminster Today, Twin Lakes, etc).

Adrian Warnock wants T4G to put out the messages on DVD.  I'd be all for that.  Spread the word, let Adrian, or T4G know, and maybe they will be overwhelmed with inquiries such that this good stuff will be available, particularly for those of us who can't get to these things.  I could view, and process, a few on study leave.

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I finally finished Vertigo: Live in Chicago the other morning while I made breakfast for the family.  My daughter & I were dancing to the last third of the concert.  They really picked it up for the encore.

The material from Achtung Baby seems less cynical, which is nice.  The performance was great.

Except for Bono’s extended speeches.  My thoughts on one of the earlier ones in in the archive.  Before One he got excited about ending world hunger- the task of this generation in his mind.  He compared it to putting a man on the moon.

It sure rallies some folks up- but there is no comparison here.  One has to do with conquering physical limitations and mastering scientific realities.  The other is mastering the human heart.

What Bono hasn’t figured out in the 20 years since Live Aid is that the main problem driving world hunger is not the leaders of the West.  It is largely the greed of the 3rd World leaders.

A friend returned from a trip to Africa recently.  One of the things she was going to do was help Samaritan’s Purse distribute packs of food to the poor.  Ah, guess again.  The local officials wanted many thousands of dollars in brides to allow this to take place.  So, the food and other items sat, and sat, and probably still sit.  Greed is the problem- and the only cure is Jesus.  Calling the White House on the cell (I remember he used to call Bush 41 on the Zooropa Tour) won’t end world hunger.  Unfortunately, because of greed, and the curse (Gen. 3) which makes our agricultural efforts more difficult, the poor will be with us until the end.

It doesn’t mean we should not have compassion.  But it does mean that we have to be realitic about the effect of our efforts, and wise in the efforts we make.  To paraphrase the late Frank Zappa, “Bono, shut up and sing!”  Really, that is what Bono does best.

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