Sunday, December 31, 2006

Josh Best of 2006


Television Show: Psych, USA Network

Monk may be the best show on television, but its Friday night partner on USA was undoubtedly the best new program of 2006. Strong characters and smart humor make each episode of Psych worthy of several viewings. While the show has few shortcomings, Gus, the uptight sidekick, stands out as the highlight of the program. The new season starts on January 19. Be sure to check it out.

Album: Hello Love, The Be Good Tanyas

I actually just purchased this album for Ashlee for Christmas, but I think I've listened to it more than she has. I don't know whether to describe the Tanyas' music as bluegrass, alt-country, folk, pop, or americana; but whatever one decides to call it, the music on the band's third album, Hello Love, is excellent. Lead singer Frazey Ford's throaty vocals and the band's outstanding musicianship give the group a sound that is distinctive without being over the top. While the Tanyas are also adept songwriters, the highlight of Hello Love may be the final track, a cover of "When Doves Cry" that you'll need to hear for yourself.

Song: "Little Razorblade," The Pink Spiders

I'm annoyed that Nashville's The Pink Spiders became MTV darlings in 2006 while their fellow Middle Tennesseans The Features (who are considerably better and more deserving of success, in my opinion) were booted from Universal. Still, Teenage Graffiti is a decent album, and the Spiders' first major label single, "Little Razorblade," is a gem. I don't know that I'll ever get tired of listening to it.

Movie: Nacho Libre, Paramount

As a father of two small children, I rarely see movies in the theater. When I do, I often lack the emotional and intellectual energy to deal with heavy content. Thus Nacho Libre is my movie of the year. You can read my June 16 review of the film.

Book: Christianity for the Rest of Us, Diana Butler Bass

Bass tests the assumptions underlying the theory of "mainline decline" and finds them lacking. She concedes that many mainline congregations are shrinking and disappearing and that their mother denominations have lost hundreds of thousands of members in recent decades. But Bass locates several mainline congregations that have managed to grow spiritually and numerically without mimicking the Southern Baptist or nondenominational megachurch down the street. Then she identifies what makes these congregations so successful and what struggling congregations can learn from them. This book is a must read for anyone who is tired of hearing that conservative theology and contemporary worship are essential to church growth.

Website: Wonkette

Much like The Daily Show, Wonkette is at its best during the months leading up to an election. 2006 did not disappoint. Though the site specializes in satire, irreverence, and gossip, Wonkette is also an excellent source of political news.


Team: George Mason Men's Basketball

George Mason, a school that many college hoops fans hadn't heard of from an obscure conference that rarely garners more than one NCAA tournament bid, made it to the Final Four, beating perennial powers Michigan State, North Carolina, and Connecticut along the way. To quote the Wall Street Journal's Stefan Fatsis, "Never before has a school with such little name recognition ascended so unexpectedly to the national stage." But what was most impressive about the Patriots' postseason run was how they performed during overtime in their regional final matchup with UConn. George Mason led for much of the second half and seemed to have the game in hand before the Huskies came back to tie in the final minute of regulation. Many (including myself) felt that George Mason didn't stand a chance in OT with momentum on the side of much favored UConn. But the Patriots were resilient and pulled an upset for the ages.

Athlete: Roger Federer, Men's Tennis

Simply put: No one dominated his or her sport in 2006 like Roger Federer dominated men's tennis. Though he is quiet and South African, Federer's success on the court has forced American sports fans to pay attention to men's tennis again.

Coach: Maggie Dixon, Army Women's Basketball

I confess, if not for her untimely passing in April, Maggie Dixon wouldn't have gotten my coach of the year nod. But that doesn't mean that she's not deserving. In her first year as head coach at the U.S. Military Academy, the 28-year-old Dixon took the Black Knights to their first Patriot League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. During the 2005-2006 school year, the women's basketball team was second only to the Army-Navy game in the world of West Point athletics.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Executing Saddam Is Not a Good Idea

If, as some pundits say, the war in Iraq is part of a larger war between cultures, the American side of the culture clash will lose a battle when Saddam is hanged (probably in the next day or so). Yes, Saddam is a horrible person; and, no, I don't feel sorry for him regardless of his fate. (I've had more than one nightmare about the guy.) Still, so-called civilized democracies do not hang people; outside of the United States, such nations do not execute people in any manner. I can't imagine that Hussein's execution will have a positive effect on the ground in Iraq, and by cooperating with the Iraqis to hasten this execution, the administration is making our nation look barbaric and bloodthirsty. Saddam Hussein needs to be tried in an international court and given a life sentence in The Hague, much like fellow genocidal despot Slobodan Milošević.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tinley Family Christmas Video

Set to music from the recent Josh and Meyer Christmas EP. Enjoy.

Note from Josh: I wrote "Baby Don't Go" 8 years ago; I've been happily married for over 4 years, and the song's lyrics do not reflect recent experience.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Josh and Meyer's Christmas EP

Just in time for Christmas! Download While Quirinius Was Governor of Syria by Josh and Meyer Tinley. Includes two original Christmas tunes.

1. The Innkeeper's Song (MP3)
1. The Innkeeper's Song (M4A)

2. Jingle Bells (MP3)
2. Jingle Bells (M4A)

3. Baby Don't Go (It's Christmas) (MP3)
3. Baby Don't Go (It's Christmas) (M4A)

CD insert (PDF)

"Quirinius" directory

Note from Josh: I wrote "Baby Don't Go" 8 years ago; I've been happily married for over 4 years, and the song's lyrics do not reflect recent experience.

Friday, December 22, 2006

NC Congressman Introduces Curious Iraq Strategy

Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC) said in a recent speech to the Concord (NC) Rotary Club that stability in Iraq depends on “spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior.”

I'm all about Jesus, but reading about the congressman's idea to save Iraq (in the political and military sense) by saving Iraqis (in the theological sense) has left my mind boggled and my fingers searching in vain for the appropriate words to type. I'm glad that Hayes has so much faith in the resilience of the Gospel, but my faith in the U.S. House of Representatives is fading fast.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The British Are Prepared . . . for Robots

When you have policies in place regarding the rights and privileges of sentient androids, you're prepared for anything. From Tech.Blorge:

A research paper commissioned by the UK Government has suggested that robots may be self aware and be demanding equal rights by 2056. The paper also predicts that robots will be increasingly used for war and housekeeping, and may even have brains provided by rats.

My Baby's Back

I just got my MacBook back—three business days earlier than expected! And I'm happy to say that no data was lost in the repair process. I'll get back to work on the Josh and Meyer Christmas EP.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wednesday Links

Reminder: Don't X-Ray Your Babies

Last month, as we were preparing for a family trip, I joked about the following piece of advice "Traveling With Children" section of the TSA website:

NEVER leave babies in an infant carrier while it goes through the X-ray machine.

Today I stumbled on this story, which makes me feel bad for having made light of the TSA's warning:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A woman mistakenly put her 1-month-old grandson through an X-ray machine at Los Angeles International Airport, authorities said.

The infant was taken to a local hospital, where doctors determined he did not receive a dangerous dose of radiation.

Picture from the CDC website.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm So Lost Without You

I'm so upset that I'm quoting Air Supply.

My MacBook is in the shop, probably for about a week, and I don't know how I'll get by without her. I can't record music; I can't edit home movies; I can't burn CDs from the comfort of my recliner. Sure, we still have our clunky, old, pieced-together PC—it even has some advantages such as Photoshop and being hooked up directly to the printer/scanner—but it's not the same.

After leaving my baby at the Genius Bar at the Mac Store last night, I sank into depression. I'm still depressed. I'm depressed that strange people are fiddling with my computer, and I'm depressed that I'm so worked up about a machine. What's happened to me?

I know she'll be fine. She most likely just has a small problem with her optical drive. From what I can gather, the hard drive—and thus five-months worth of the Tinley family's creative forays—is fine. Fortunately, she's still under warranty.

The bad news for family, friends, and anyone who frequents Josh or Meyer is that the Josh and Meyer Christmas EP probably won't be finished by Christmas. I still need about two evenings to finish it. Also, expect fewer blog posts this week.

Monday, December 18, 2006

UM Seminary Doesn't Want Dubya's Library at Its University

The faculty at one of our United Methodist seminaries is not happy that the university they are affiliated with has pursued being the home of the George W. Bush library. A letter signed by "Faculty, Administrators & Staff of Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University)" says:

We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.

Ouch. I can't say I disagree with the letter, but hosting anyone's presidential library (even Warren G. Harding's) has to be an honor. Maybe the Perkins faculty will forgive Bush if he accepts his invitation to address the 2008 UM General Conference in nearby Fort Worth.

US Citizen, Whistle Blower Tortured in Iraq

A frightening story from today's New York Times

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two States Place a Moratorium on Executions

I know. I'm late on this one, but it's been a busy weekend.

When the State of Florida killed Angel Diaz (pictured) last week, the cocktail of lethal chemicals took 34 minutes to get the job done, and then only after a second dose was administered. Some say that an execution that lasts more than a half hour constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. I suppose that scheduling the exact date and time of a person's death then, when the time comes, strapping that person down while medical personnel inject fatal chemicals into his body is not by itself cruel and unusual.

Anyway, Florida Governor Jeb Bush personally suspended executions in the state. Meanwhile, California also decided that pumping people with poison is cruel and/or unusual. Enter the activist judge:

Separately, a federal judge in California imposed a moratorium on executions in the nation's most populous state, declaring that the state's method of lethal injection runs the risk of violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled in San Jose that California's "implementation of lethal injection is broken." But he said: "It can be fixed."

Fogel said the case raised the question of whether a three-drug cocktail administered by the San Quentin State Prison is so painful that it "offends" the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Fogel said he was compelled "to answer that question in the affirmative."

How is Judge Fogel so sure that lethal injection is so painful? Has he tried it? (Can one be a federal judge if one is undead?) At any rate, I'm glad that Florida and California have taken these measures. But I fear that this debate over the cruelty and peculiarity of lethal injection will only prompt states to come up with more clever ways to kill people instead of bringing to the surface underlying moral questions about capital punishment.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tigers Reliever Missed Playoff Games Due to Guitar Hero Injury

This is awesome. From MSNBC:

When the Detroit Tigers lost flame-throwing relief pitcher Joel Zumaya for three games of the American League Championship Series this past October, it hurt his team. The reason for the injury, however, is even more painful.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Zumaya was hurt playing a PlayStation 2 video game called "Guitar Hero", in which the player simulates playing an electric guitar for popular rock bands. Zumaya, a 22-year-old rookie, suffered inflammation in his right (throwing) wrist and forearm from playing the game.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Turkish Aviation Techs Go to Extraordinary Lengths to Thank God

You can quetion their practices, but you can't question their faith. From the AP:

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A group of Turkish aviation technicians were so happy to be rid of the last of a batch of troublesome planes that they sacrificed a camel on the tarmac of Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport. . . .

Turks traditionally sacrifice animals as an offering to God for when their wishes come true, in addition to sacrificing animals during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, a ritual commemorating the biblical account of God's provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as he was about to slay his son.

"We are happy to be rid of planes which frequently broke down," the daily Cumhuriyet quoted Can as saying after the sacrificing ceremony.

From the Turkish Daily News:

The camel is dead, but 700 kilos of fresh camel meat were distributed according to religious ritual to deserving airport worker

My question: Where'd they get the camel?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Meyer in the Studio

The fruits of his labor are being mixed and should be available soon.

How Does Our Governor Sleep at Night?

Liz Garrigan asks this question in this week's Scene editorial regarding the unfortunately wasted life of convicted-killer-who-is-obviously-innocent Paul Gregory House. The Scene has been an advocate for House for years, and there is little doubt that House committed no crime. Here's some information on House from TCASK:

In June of 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled that in the case of Paul House “no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack a reasonable doubt.” In other words, no juror in America would find Paul House guilty of the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey. One would think that when the highest court in the land says a person is not guilty, that person would be released from death row. Sadly, in the case of Paul House, that is not the case. House still sits on death row waiting for lower courts, which have ignored the deadlines for their rulings, to act on the mandate of the Supreme Court.

This is not the first time Paul House has had to accept unfair treatment from the Federal Court system. In 2002, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a 7 to 4 decision ruled that House deserved to have new evidence of his innocence examined by Tennessee state courts. Nearly two years later, with 4 new conservative appointments to the Sixth Circuit, the state of Tennessee responded that it would “respectfully decline” to act on the court’s mandate.

House was convicted of the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey, a woman who lived near him in Union County. The state presented rape as the motivation for the murder and as the aggravating factor that called for a sentence of death. While no eyewitnesses were available, two pieces of physical evidence pointed (supposedly) to House: semen from the victim’s body matching House’s blood type, and blood found on the victim’s pants matching House. In recent years, however, all of this evidence has been called into question.

DNA testing has conclusively proved that Paul House did not rape Carolyn Muncey. The semen from the body actually belonged to Muncey’s husband, Hubert. This fact calls into question the state’s entire theory of the crime. Moreover puts suspicion on Hubert Muncey.

What the state is doing to Paul House amounts to torture and needs to be stopped. Write Governor Bredesen and ask him if he's on crack to explain why he hasn't pardoned Paul House.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Give Her a Napkin, and She's Happy

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a GM in the NBA?

Try out's NBA Trade Machine. Try any trade involving any players on two, three, or four teams and see if the trade works under the salary cap. This device was inspired by the recent Allen Iverson story, but I've been using it to see what the Pacers might get for Stephen Jackson. One trade that works and that might actually be realistic is Jackson to Portland for Dan Dickau and Juan Dixon.

This just in: The Pacers are interested in Iverson. The Pacers could get Iverson by trading Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley, David Harrison, and Josh Powell. I say, "Do it."

Tuesday Links

Memphis Woman Dies at 116

From the AP:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden, recognized as the world's oldest person, died Monday in a nursing home, the home's administrator said. She was 116. . . .

Family members said this year that Bolden had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren.

The very thought of living 116 years wears me out. (I'm already breaking down, and I'm only 30.) On the other hand, just think of what this woman has seen in her life. When she was old enough to be truly aware of her surroundings, cars had been invented but hadn't taken to the streets, incandescent lighting was in its infancy, the word radio had yet to be invented, recorded music could be purchased only on phonograph cylinders (and those were rare), and anyone wanting to make a phone call had to go through an operator. Bolden was already 24 when World War I started; during the Great Depression, she was in her late thirties and early forties; when major civil rights legislation was passed in the 1960s, Bolden was in her seventies. She lived through the invention of the airplane, the computer, the ballpoint pen, and the home refrigerator. No matter how much one's joints end up aching, living through so much change has to be an incredible experience.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Those Zany Tinley Kids

Baby Kate, who put stickers all over your face?

Also: Meyer talks about his underpants.


My daughter, Resha Kate, was baptized about one hour before the kickoff of the Titans-Eagles game on November 19. At that point the Titans were 2-7 and had lost two straight. But the Titans got an unlikely blow-out win over the Eagles that day, and they haven't lost since. Is there a correlation?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Friday Links

Don't Hate Me Because I Don't Eat Meat

A heated discussion about the moral and practical implications of being a vegetarian is going on over at Nashville Is Talking. In the seven years that I've been a vegetarian, I've been asked on several occasions to defend my dietary choices. I choose not to eat meat because of sympathy for/solidarity with animals and concerns about how animals are treated on factory farms. I realize that my actions are doing very, very little for the animals I am concerned about it; and I don't insist that others become vegetarians.

For me, not eating meat is a matter of discipline and a reflection of my values. It's a spiritual practice—a way to show reverence for God's creation. I would never suggest that God doesn't want people to eat meat (though God may not approve of how we treat certain food animals). But the Bible isn't entirely silent on the matter. Paul actually writes about vegetarianism in Romans (kind of, if you don't dwell too much on the historical context):

Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them.

—Romans 14:2-3

"Go Vegetarian" by Sue Coe, 1999

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wednesday Links

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Haves, Have Nots

This doesn't really surprise me, but it is nonetheless quite disturbing. From The London Times:

The richest 2 per cent of adults own more than half the world’s wealth, according to the most comprehensive study of personal assets.

The article also says that 85 percent of the world's assets can be accounted for by only 10 percent of the world's population. 90 percent of the world's wealth is concentrated in "North America, Europe and high-income AsiaPacific countries."

I'm no economist, but I would hope that we could all agree that this degree of economic disparity is a big problem. Of course, I think I'm probably belong to that 10 percent that controls 85 percent of the money and therefore am part of the problem.

Want to know whether you're part of the problem? Check out the always fascinating and disheartening Global Rich List. If you're curious about growing economic inequality in the U.S., check out this chart from the Economic Policy Institute.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tuesday Links

Episcopal Churches Consider Splitting, Joining Hardcore Nigerian Communion

From The Washington Post:

Two of the country's largest and most historic Episcopal congregations -- both in Fairfax County -- will vote next week on whether to leave the U.S. church on ideological grounds and affiliate instead with a controversial Nigerian archbishop. The decision could lead to a bitter court battle and the loss of $25 million in property.

As usual, "ideological grounds" means "a problem with gay people." The Nigerian archbishop in question is one Peter J. Akinola, who not only hates gayness but also supports making homosexuality a criminal offense. I suppose Akinola can appeal to Leviticus 20:13 to support his stance, but in much of the world locking people up for being gay is a human rights violation.

Shockers Crack the Top 10

Basketball fans who went to Missouri Valley Conference schools (I went to Evansville) can rejoice: Undefeated Wichita State, after taking down Syracuse (#21) and LSU (#9), is ranked #10 in this week's AP Men's College Basketball Top 25.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

UM General Board of Church & Society Laying the Groundwork for a 2008 Showdown

Friday the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church issued a statement concerning proposed changes to the UM Social Principles. The proposal concerns a subject numbingly familiar to anyone who follows United Methodist politics:

At our Board meeting, the proposed language changes were presented to the plenary by the work areas. After much discussion, the full board voted 21-17 to recommend to the General Conference “While Christians of good faith differ on what Christian teaching reveals regarding gender and homosexuality” be in the Social Principles in place of “The United Methodist Church does not condone homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The board then voted 23-14 to recommend the Social Principles should read: “We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant between two adult persons that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity.”

The board also proposes to remove the sentence in the Social Principles which reads, “We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

I agree with GBCS almost to the letter but am not at all looking forward to the inevitable fight that will take place regarding this proposal at the 2008 General Conference. Challenging the "incompatible with Christian teaching" line is nothing new. It comes up in one form or another every four years; the language is always retained and a lot of people leave the General Conference with emotional wounds that do not heal quickly. I imagine the same thing will happen in 2008.

I could be wrong. Maybe the delegates who meet eighteen months from now will adopt language that is more friendly to our homosexual brothers and sisters. Maybe; but I'm not optimistic. Many people, including myself, feel strongly that the church should eliminate language and policies that alienate or discriminate based on sexual orientation. But I fear that we've pushed too hard and that we're fueling the backlash. We're trying to drag people along, but those people are planting their feet. Personally, I'm getting worn out.

I will not stop talking and asking questions about the church and homosexuality. I hope that congregations who feel strongly about these matters continue to discuss them, study them, and pray about them. I'm thankful that so many United Methodist Churches actively welcome homosexual Christians and their families and can look past sexual orientation when selecting their congregational leadership. But I think that, at least for 2008, The United Methodist Church needs to set aside the homosexuality debate at General Conference. Though questions about sexual orientation and hospitality are important, emotionally charged debates about these subjects have distracted us from other pressing matters and have forced us to focus on what divides us instead of what brings us together.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

People Are Getting Way Too Worked Up About Keith Ellison's Oath of Office

If you don't frequent sites that encourage you to spew hateful rhetoric about people who are different from you, you may not be aware that Rep-Elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) plans to take his oath of office while placing his hand on a Qur'an rather than a Bible. Since Ellison is a Muslim, this seems to make sense. Some, however, seem to think that such an act is a threat to the fabric of American society. This column by Dennis Prager, for instance, is making the rounds on the Web.

Now the American Family Association is getting involved, asking people to "send an email asking your U.S. Representative and Senators to pass a law making the Bible the book used in the swearing-in ceremony of Representatives and Senators." At least they recognize that, without such a law, there is no legal or constitutional reason to force Ellison to take his oath with a Bible (or with something other than a Qur'an).

Prager, by contrast, argues that "America, not [Keith Ellison], decides on what book its public servants take their oath." Not exactly. First, let's look at the Constitution (Article VI, Section III):

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Everyone takes an oath, but no "religious test" shall ever be required. Furthermore, taking an oath by placing one's hand on a text other than a Bible is not unprecedented. In 2002 Hawaii's Republican Governor Linda Lingle took her oath while placing her hand on a Jewish Tanakh. The idea that the moral integrity of the United States is somehow compromised by an elected representative choosing to take his oath of office using the sacred text of the religion he professes is just paranoid silliness.

As a Christian, the very act of swearing an oath is more problematic than the question of which text should be used. Consider Matthew 5:33-37:

‘Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

To be fair to our nation's founders, James Madison and company provided a semantic loophole ("by oath or affirmation") for those whose religious sensibilities are offended by swearing oaths. Richard Nixon, for example, opted to "affirm" rather than "swear." Still, the vast majority of our elected officials stand in opposition to Jesus' teaching by choosing to swear oaths. Maybe the AFA, a Christian organization, should call into question the very practice of swearing oaths instead of bullying the nation's sole Muslim congressman.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Antikythera Mechanism: Greek for "Wicked Awesome!"

Put down your abacus and check this out:

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An ancient astronomical calculator made at the end of the 2nd century BC was amazingly accurate and more complex than any instrument for the next 1,000 years, scientists said on Wednesday.

The Antikythera Mechanism is the earliest known device to contain an intricate set of gear wheels. It was retrieved from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901 but until now what it was used for has been a mystery.

Although the remains are fragmented in 82 brass pieces, scientists from Britain, Greece and the United States have reconstructed a model of it using high-resolution X-ray tomography. . . .

The calculator could add, multiply, divide and subtract. It was also able to align the number of lunar months with years and display where the sun and the moon were in the zodiac.

Chippewas' Defensive Tackle Is an Actual Chippewa

Many of us have reservations about schools and pro franchises whose nicknames, mascots, and paraphernalia invoke Native American tribal names, rituals, and likenesses. My personal opinion: Tribal nicknames (such as Utes, Seminoles, or Blackhawks) are OK unless a surviving tribe asks a school or franchise to stop using its name. In some cases, using a tribal nickname may even be a way to honor or pay homage to a nearby Indian nation. Problems arise, however, when team mascots, paraphernalia, andor rituals mock or stereotype tribes or tribal traditions. (I'm talking to you, Chief Illiniwek.) I also disapprove of nicknames that are blatant racial slurs (such as "Redskins"). I'm on the fence regarding names such as "Braves" or "Indians."

This brings me to the story of Central Michigan University's sophomore defensive tackle Ronnie Ekdahl (pictured). Ekdahl is a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe; Central Michigan's nickname is the Chippewas. Ekdahl is the first actual Chippewa to play for the Chippewas (football, at least; I'm not sure if he is the first Chippewa varisty athlete at CMU). This put Ekdahl in an interesting position when, in 2005, the NCAA passed legislation punishing member schools for Native American nicknames and mascots. For his part, Ekdahl says:

"I understand what the NCAA was trying to do, and in some instances I think it's appropriate, like when the name is used in a disrespectful manner. . . . I have never felt in any way disrespected," Ekdahl said. "There's a very close relationship between the tribe and the school. I have been treated like a football player. Being a Chippewa has just never been an issue.

"And if I ever felt it had become an issue or that something was being done that was disrespectful, I'm pretty confident I could say something and it would be changed right away. The relationship is one of respect."

If you're wondering why I'm bringing up Ekdahl's story today, I should mention that his Chippewas pounded Ohio U. for the MAC title last night. The CMU Chippewas will be playing in the Motor City Bowl on the day after Christmas. (How's that for getting jobbed? "Congratulations, you won 9 games and took your conference title. Now you get to spend Christmas two hours down the road in Detroit.")