Monday, April 30, 2007

If I'd Been Picking for the Titans

First, I admit that I lack the credibility and expertise to criticize any NFL team's draft-day decisions, but I nonetheless must question the home team's use of its second- and third-round picks. I know that we desperately need help in the backfield, but I can't understand why we picked an average running back (Chris Henry) on a below-average college team (Arizona) in the second round. After losing top running back Travis Henry in free agency, were Jeff Fisher and Mike Reinfeldt looking for a replacement back or just a replacement named Henry?

(I don't mean to insult Chris Henry. I'm sure he's a fine person and a solid football player. I'm just not convinced that he was worthy of the #50 overall pick.)

Anyway, here's what I would have done: The Titans were clearly looking for running backs and wide receivers. No premier backs were left when the Titans picked in the second round, but at least one very promising receiver—Steve Smith of USC—was still available. I would've taken Smith at #50. (Smith excites me much more than Paul Williams, the Fresno State wide receiver the Titans took in the third round.) Then, in the third round (#80 overall), I would have taken a chance on Louisville running back Michael Bush. Durability is certainly a question for Bush, who sat out the entire 2006 season after breaking his leg in the opening game against Kentucky. Still, if Bush can get healthy and stay healthy, I think he'll be the second best running back in this draft class. At any rate, I'd rather take a chance on Bush than on Chris Henry.

Alas, what's done is done, and no one asked me.

Meyer Washing Dishes

Friday, April 27, 2007

Barry O'Bomber and the Rat-Ballers

ABC News has the scoop on Barack Obama's high school athletic career:

Sometimes called "Barry O'bomber" for his jump shot, that player is better known today as presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. At least, that's how he's known everywhere else.

Obama's teammates Alan Lum and Dan Hale say those years with the kid they called "Barry" are some of their most memorable. The three friends were part of a basketball-obsessed group of students known as the "Rat-ballers."

Image from Daily Kos

Elmo's Dad

Play Elmo's Potty Time and check out Elmo's dad. I get the impression that he was a late-in-life father—he has a certain grandpa quality. According to Muppet Wiki, Elmo's dad is named Louie and first appeared in the Sesame Beginnings DVD series. In Sesame Beginnings Louie is "a stay-at-home dad and the primary caregiver to his infant son." In a 2006 DVD for children of parents in the military, Louie has joined the military and been shipped overseas.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday Evening Links

Can Titans Get LJ?


The Kansas City Chiefs are dangling Johnson out there, seeing if they can entice teams to trade for the 27-year-old running back that has run for 3,539 yards and 37 touchdowns the past two seasons.

The Chiefs have spoken with the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and possibly others, but have not found anything close to a taker.

Take the Titans' roster and cross off Vince Young's name. What do you have? A list of players we should be willing to trade for Larry Johnson.

Pacers Fire Carlisle

The Pacers fired Rick Carlisle today. Actually, they didn't "fire" him—Carlisle and the Pacers "agreed that he'd step down as coach." The Pacers offered their recently ousted coach a job in the front office.

I think that Rick Carlisle is probably one of the ten best coaches in the NBA, but I agree that he needed to go. In his first year, Carlisle's Pacers won a league-best 61 games; in his second year, Carlisle took a team that had been depleted by suspensions to the second round of the playoffs. But Carlisle couldn't hold the team together after Reggie Miller retired. He didn't know what to do with Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest—granted, very few people do—and the team has underachieved ever since. The Pacers lost 23 of their last 29 games this year, but they failed to lose enough games to keep their first-round draft pick.

(The Pacers' first pick this year goes to Atlanta as part of the Al Harrington trade unless the Pacers pick in the top ten. If they don't win one of the top three picks in the lottery, which is extrememly unlikely, the Pacers—rather the Hawks—will pick eleventh. By contrast, the Minnesota Timberwolves successfully tanked their season and will not have to trade their top-ten pick to the Clippers.)

On the other hand, Rick Carlisle only deserves a little of the blame for the Pacers' woes. Most of the blame goes to Ben Wallace and the Pistons fan who threw his drink at Ron Artest on November 19, 2004. Most of the rest of the blame goes to the front office for including Al Harrington and Sarunas Jasikevicius in the get-rid-of-Stephen Jackson trade and not getting enough in return. After the trade, the Warriors went 23-19 (with a former Pacer leading the team in scoring in 11 of those 23 games) and made the playoffs for the first time since Bill Clinton's first term. The Pacers went 15-28 and missed the playoffs for the first time in ten years.

I'm not sure who the best replacement for Carlisle might be, but I find this rumor intriguing.

Bill to Ban "Girls Gone Wild" Ads Dies in Committee

From the Tennessean:

Lawmakers sponsoring a bill to ban late-night TV ads showing half-naked young women say their fight is not over despite failure of the measure in a legislative subcommittee on Tuesday.

The so-called "Girls Gone Wild" bill died in the House Civil Practice Subcommittee after it got a motion, but failed to get a second by a committee member, which is needed for the bill to be considered.

I'm all for first amendment rights and everything, but I'd be happy to see the Girls Gone Wild commercials disappear. I have a habit of flipping on the television whenever I'm trying to get one of the kids back to sleep*, and I really don't want either of my children to see those ads. They are so demeaning and destructive and give kids such a warped view of human sexuality and body-image.

* I understand that my habit of turning on the TV in the middle of the night is part of the problem. I must also confess that my wife, Ashlee, shoulders the burden of getting the kids back to sleep far more often than I do.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Was the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery Fixed?

Did David Stern rig the lottery so that sure-fire star Patrick Ewing would end up in the league's biggest market? Now you can watch the 1985 lottery on You Tube and decide for yourself! Better yet, read what Page 2's Bill Simmons has to say about this storied conspiracy theory.

Death Penalty Moratorium Ends Next Week

The latest TCASK Action Alert reminded me of this fact:

On May 2nd, the Governor’s 90-day moratorium to study the lethal injection protocol is scheduled to end. On May 9th, Phillip Workman is scheduled to be executed. But Tennessee’s death penalty is still fraught with deadly error: racial and geographic disparities in death sentencing persist, people with serious mental illness are disproportionately sentenced to death, and we run the terrifying risk of executing an
innocent person. Resuming executions under such a broken system would be unconscionable.

What has the Governor learned during this moratorium and what effect, if any, will it have on executions and capital cases in Tennessee? What studies have been done and what conversations have been had to assess the fairness and efficacy of capital punishment in Tennessee? Governor Bredesen needs to tell us how he's been using this moratorium and where we go from here. One week after the moratorium ends, Phillip Workman (pictured) is scheduled to die. Questions still remain about whether Workman was given a fair trial.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Possibly the Greatest Blog Ever

Check out Strange Maps and allow yourself to be fascinated. The latest entry shows a map of Maine's disputed boundaries in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but my favorite map is the "If Planets Were Countries" map posted on April 11 (below). The maps shows a proportional relationship between the sizes of planets and the areas of countries. Jupiter is Russia, Saturn is Canada, and so on. (The dwarf planets are all small island nations.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

When Bad Theology Meets National Tragedy

The American Family Association has brought together bad theology and a blasphemous underestimation of God's providence to produce a video that blames the Virginia Tech shootings (and every other school shooting in recent memory) on the disappearance of organized prayer in public schools, public school administrators in general, Hollywood, a lack of restrictions on abortion, and much more! The gist of the video is: We have abandoned God; God has abandoned us; and now our young people are shooting one another.

Disclosure: The American Family Association once attacked me personally, so I'm not really a huge fan of what they do.

Friday Links

I've been too serious and too negative lately, so I'm gonna keep it light today. These are fun:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I Don't Understand Why the International Community Doesn't Care About Darfur

From the Washington Times:

WASHINGTON -- President Bush yesterday delivered a strong rebuke of the Sudanese government -- and backhanded criticism of the United Nations -- over a lack of progress in halting the genocide in Darfur, and he promised sanctions if action is not taken.

"The status quo must not continue," Mr. Bush said, threatening economic sanctions and a new resolution to the U.N. Security Council that would restrict arms sales to Sudan and limit the Sudanese government's use of its own military.

I don't understand why, after four years of genocide, we are just now threatening sanctions and a Security Council resolution. That should have happened long ago, and it certainly shouldn't be conditional now. The Sudanese government has had plenty of opportunities to take action; they don't deserve more chances.

Even worse is the attitude of fellow Security Council members Russia and China:

But China and Russia, which hold two of the five permanent seats on the 15-member Security Council and could each veto any action, yesterday both objected to Mr. Bush's strong language and to the idea of further sanctions or a new resolution.

"We don't think it's the right time. It would be very strange," said Vitaly Churkin, Russia's U.N. ambassador. "Why do we have to be so negative?"

What?! We have to be negative because 450,000 people have died. I just can't understand how, after what happened in Rwanda 11 years ago, the international community can be so apathetic about Darfur.

Questioning the Courage of Virginia Tech Students Is Unacceptable

National Review contributors John Derbyshire and Mark Steyn, along with Fox News contributor and popular blogger Michelle Malkin, among others, have responded to this week's tragedy at Virginia Tech by blaming the victims. They have accused those students who were present when Cho Seung-Hui opened fire, including those who were killed or injured, of cowardice and have questioned the male students' manhood. These pundits have also blamed academia and the liberal establishment for failing to equip our young people to know how to take down a mad gunman.

Apparently Derbyshire, Steyn, Malkin, and know exactly what to do when someone is shooting at them and their friends and peers. They obviously possess the bravery and resolve to subdue a would-be killer who is pointing a gun at them. For these reasons Derbyshire, Steyn, and Malkin need to serve their country by enlisting in the armed forces and heading off to Iraq. We need courageous Americans such as these to help us win the war. Then, when they return, they can teach the youth of America how not to be sissies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Elsewhere in the World

At least 178 people died in four bombings in Baghdad this afternoon.

Blaming the Victim: From Blacksburg, VA to Selmer, TN

I was appalled to run across this post by the National Review's John Derbyshire, in which the author chides the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre for not doing more to stop the gunman who was shooting at them. (Two weeks ago, Derbyshire also called the British soldiers taken hostage in Iran wimps. Nice.)

As much as I would like to take Mr. Derbyshire to task for blaming the victims in this tragedy, I discovered this morning that I myself am not above victim-blaming. Consider Matthew Winkler, the Selmer, Tennessee Church of Christ pastor murdered last year by his wife. While Mary Winkler was obviously wrong to kill her husband, I can't help but think that Matthew Winkler's woman-do-my-bidding theology and abusive tendencies put Mary in a desperate situation. Mrs. Winkler says that her huband "nailed her to the ground" and that she "took it like a mouse" for a long time.

Throughout history, the church has wrongly given many women the impression that putting up with (or even accepting) their hubands' abuse is the godly thing to do. Scriptures on husband-wife (and more generally man-woman) relationships written by and/or attributed to Paul, such as 1 Corinthians 11:9 and Colossians 3:18, have long been used to justify this dangerous point of view. (Elsewhere in Paul's letters, I should note, he suggests that hubands and wives equally belong to each other. See for instance 1 Corinthians 7:4.) Entire books have been written on these texts and how they should apply to a modern, industrial society, so I'll spare you the exegesis. But I will say this: While Paul was a brilliant writer and theologian, he was never married. I'm just sayin'.

Again, I will not excuse what Mary Winkler did, and I do not want to suggest in any way that Matthew Winkler deserved to die a violent death. On the other hand, when women are forced to submit to their husbands to the extent that they have no mode of self-defense or airing grievances, they can only bottle up their frustration, desperation, sadness, and rage. If any of these things is bottled up for too long, an explosion is inevitable.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday Notes

Monday, April 16, 2007

ESPN's Tacky Coverage of the Virginia Tech Incident

I listened to the tragedy in Blacksburg, Virginia unfold today on ESPN Radio. I feel that ESPN generally does an excellent job of reporting sensitive news stories, but today the Worldwide Leader made the mistake of trying too hard to find a sports angle to the story. SportsCenter updates appended the story with comments such as "No word yet on whether any of the victims were members of the football team" and "We're still awaiting a statement from football coach Frank Beamer and basketball coach Seth Greenberg."

ESPN, this story is significant enough that you can report on it even if there is no connection to sports. And in the hours immediately following the incident, you really shouldn't worry about how this massacre will affect the Hokies on the football field. In the days and weeks to come, you will learn whether any of the victims were athletes and whether any spring sports are cancelled. When this news surfaces, go ahead and mention it on SportsCenter. But don't force it. Sports can wait.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vanderbilt Wins National Championship . . .

. . . in women's bowling. The title is Vandy's first in any sport ever. The Commodores pulled out a victory in the final frames of the seventh game of a seven game series against Maryland Eastern Shore. God bless ESPN2 for its live coverage of the title game.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

April 15 is normally Tax Day, but since the 15th falls on a Sunday this year, the government gives everyone an extra day to file. So don't spend Sunday fretting about getting your paperwork to the IRS; instead, celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of what may have been one of the most significant events in the United States in the twentieth century.

On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first non-white player in the Major Leagues. At the time, the military, public schools, and many other American institutions were still segregated and would be for several more years. Major League Baseball is celebrating this hallowed anniversary by allowing dozens of players, including every player on the Dodgers, to wear Jackie's #42, the only number retired by the entire league, thus proving that uniform numbers in baseball are entirely unecessary. Some have suggested that too many 42s will cheapen the significance of the number, but you can't do too much to draw attention to what happened 60 years ago.

More on Jackie Robinson:

Friday, April 13, 2007

This Isn't About You, Al

Looking back on the Don Imus debacle, I'm struck by how Al Sharpton managed to place himself at the center of the controversy. Sharpton became the unofficial representative of everyone offended by Imus's comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. As such, he many have been partially responsible for MSNBC, CBS, and several sponsors dropping the Imus show (though I think these companies would have taken action with or without Al Sharpton). But along the way, he became a distraction and an easy target for those wishing to defend Imus. More than one commentator stood up for Imus by questioning Sharpton's consistency and integrity and bringing up Sharpton's past mistakes. Of course, nothing Sharpton said or did excuses Imus's comments, but by placing himself at the center of the controversy, Al gave people an opportunity to focus on him instead of the Rutgers basketball team.

(An aside: Many people have criticized Sharpton for attacking Imus while ignoring rap artists whose lyrics use similarly offensive language. To be fair, Sharpton has consistently spoken out against misogyny in hip hop.)

Sharpton isn't the only Al who has these problems. I've long been frustrated about Al Gore putting himself at the center of the global warming debate. In the past year, "Gore" has become almost synonymous with "global warming," making the former Vice President a punching bag for climate change skeptics. Pointing out Gore's lack of scientific credentials and seeming reluctance to practice what he preaches is a lot easier than debunking the work of climate scientists. I suppose that An Inconvenient Truth has helped people better understand the causes of global warming and what is at stake if something isn't done, but most people were well aware of the problem of climate change before Al Gore told them about it.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with celebrity activism. Every person has the right and should be encouraged to use the resources available to him or her to take stand for what he or she believes in. But when the activist becomes as big of a story as the cause, the cause is necessarily compromised.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pacman Going Back to School?

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Pacman Jones is considering returning to the University of West Virginia during his suspension from the NFL to finish his degree. Unfortunately, I can't find any news articles that confirm this rumor.

Pacman's major in college was athletic coaching education. Degree or no degree, I can't imagine that Pacman will be coaching anywhere if he ends up banned from the NFL. More interesting is his minor, special education. In this 2005 Sporting News interview, Pacman said:

I want to get my own little seminar for special-ed kids, where people can drop their kids off for a weekend, a couple of days. It should be at a big facility with a pool, a couple of games, just a lot of stuff they can do while they're there. I think I can touch people like that. I did it when I was at school not too long ago.... I went bowling with them two, three days of the week and did it a whole semester. So I enjoy doing it.

Pacman's ambition is admirable, and I wish him the best in pursuing it. But it could be a while before any parents trust Pac with their mentally or physically disabled children.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut Dies at 84

Irreverent novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. died tonight. So it goes. He was 84.

I read about a dozen Vonnegut novels during the 1999–2000 academic year, the year between my college graduation and my first year of divinity school—a year I spent doing a host of part-time jobs and trying to figure out what I'd do with my life. That year, I checked out just about every Vonnegut book that I could find in the Evansville, Indiana Public Library system. Vonnegut's prose made me want to be a writer (and, as an editor-by-profession who gets the occasional freelance writing gig, I suppose I haven't entirely missed out on that dream), and I still break out a battered Vonnegut paperback now and then.

I maintain that Kurt Vonnegut didn't write a good novel after 1973's Breakfast of Champions, but his earlier work was outstanding. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater completely changed how I looked at the haves and have-nots in the United States; Slaughterhouse-Five shaped my views on war; and Cat's Cradle challenged how I thought about God. All three of these novels rank among my all-time favorites. (And Kilgore Trout may be the best fictional character in all of American literature.)

For what it's worth, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a high school classmate of my grandmother, making the two of them part of a granfalloon. Vonnegut said of the former Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, "It's my dream of America with great public schools. I thought we should be the envy of the world with our public schools. And I went to such a public school."

I'll wrap up this post with one of my favorite passages from Slaughterhouse-Five:

The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

Is There Any Hope for Pacman Jones?

I don't know. But I think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has acted wisely in setting out the terms and conditions of Pacman's suspension. Over the past two years Pacman has given no indication that he will change his lifestyle and stay out of trouble, but I believe that punishment should always been accompanied by an opportunity for rehabilitation. With that in mind, two conditions of Pacman's punishment stick out to me:

1) He must comply with all required counseling, education and treatment assigned by the NFL or the judicial system.

I still fault the NBA for not requiring Ron Artest to undergo anger management classes or other psychological treatment in conjunction with his suspension following the incident at the Palace of Auburn Hills. I'm glad that Goodell has the foresight to make "counseling, education and treatment" a condition of Pacman's punishment.

2) He may not be at the Titans' facility through May 31 and may not participate in any practices or workouts during his suspension. Starting June 1, he must visit the team facility once per week to meet with the team's player development director. Also, beginning June 1, he is permitted to spend one day a week at the team facility for conditioning, film study and other activities.

I'm glad that Pacman will be required to have regular contact with the team and will have the opportunity to participate in the life of the team through conditioning and film study. Dan Patrick yesterday on his radio show questioned the wisdom of giving Pacman a year off to spend with "his boys"; but Pacman isn't being completely cut off from the Titans. If Pacman has any hope of rehabilitating his life and his career, he'll need to maintain a connection to his team, even if he can't participate in practices or play on Sunday (or get paid).

The Tennessean has more.

Image from The Tennessean.

Refusing Help

I read 1 John 3:17 this morning, and it really struck me:

How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

In recent months I have been haunted by the number of homeless persons I pass on my way to and from work. More to the point, I have been haunted by the number of times I've driven by these persons without doing anything. (Jesus' words in Matthew 25:31-46 suggest that such neglect will land me in hell.)

My excuse is simple: I don't know what to do. Giving a few dollars or a sandwich might be a nice gesture, but it would also be nothing more than a Band-Aid. Such a gift would give that person a few hours of relief but would have little effect on that person's overall situation.

Moreover, many of these persons carry signs that suggest that they aren't looking for gifts. They want to earn food or money, because working for a living gives them a sense of dignity where dignity is hard to come by. And, honestly, I could use some help doing yardwork or simple home improvement projects. The question is, If I hire a homeless person for the day, what happens when the day is done? I could feed him a meal, but then what? Do I just drop him off where I found him with a few extra dollars in his pocket?

But being perfectly honest, even if I had answers to these questions, I'm still not sure I'd have the courage to act.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday Night Links

Easter Pictures

Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus Suspended, but Only for Two Weeks

NEW YORK (CNN) -- MSNBC and CBS Radio are suspending Don Imus for two weeks after the host described the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos," the networks announced Monday.

A suspension was certainly in order; I'm just not sure that two weeks is enough. The entire conversation about the Rutgers women's basketball team was not only racist, it was sexist. More importantly, it was hardly an isolated incident. Imus and his crew have a history of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia. They've likened the Williams sisters to animals, called the "Jewish management" at CBS "money-grubbing bastards," and have consistently used slurs to refer to African Americans, Arabs, gays, and lesbians, among others. Dan Patrick today on his radio show asked if future guests on the Imus show would face guilt by association; I would ask the same question about past guests.

Making a fuss about the Rutgers basketball incident without looking at the Imus show's entire body of work may be a mistake. On the other hand, I would argue that Imus's comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team are even more offensive than his usual fare. As I've already mentioned, what Imus said was both racist and sexist. But what bothers me the most about his remarks is that they were directed toward a group of amateur athletes who worked extremely hard to reach the championship in their sport and did nothing to provoke such an attack.

Bush Gives Border-Security Numbers a Fabulous Spin

Today in Arizona our President, citing a decrease in the number of unauthorized immigrants apprehended at the border, said, "When you apprehended fewer people [crossing the border illegally], that means fewer were trying to come across. And fewer were trying to come across because we’re deterring people from attempting illegal border crossings in the first place." Think Progress has the video.

OK. Fewer apprehensions could mean fewer people illegally entering the country; it could also mean that the same number of people are crossing the border illegally but fewer are being caught. It could even mean that more people are getting in. Logically, you cannot get from point A (the number of people apprehended at the border) to point B (the conclusion that fewer people are attempting to enter the U.S. illegally) without picking up a bunch of additional evidence along the way. I'm not saying that the President is necessarily wrong on border security; I'm just saying that his logic is flawed.

Think Progress also points out that, in November 2005, the President cited an increase in border apprehensions as a sign of success. Kudos to the President and his people for getting the numbers to work for them.

Meyer's Active Imagination

Click here to read Meyer's explanation of this video.

Click here if you're not familiar with Naomi and the Naomi song.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I'm Getting Ready to Move

OK. I've been building a new Josh at, where my former "God blog," Save Yourselves From This Corrupt Generation, once lived. I think I'm finally ready to move over to the new site. For the next few days (or weeks), I'll try to post things in both locations; then I'll make the switch. If you access this site with the URL, you will be automatically taken to the new site; if you use the URL, you'll still end up here, but there won't be any new content (aside from reminders to update your links).

Also, a Baby Kate website is in the works and should be ready before Kate's birthday, May 14.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nickelodeon Guilty of Mac Discrimination

I just went to the Nick Arcade to download the new SpongeBob video game, and I learned the hard way that Nick Arcade games are not Mac-compatible. Not cool. I was looking forward to playing SpongeBob SquarePants Obstacle Odessey 2 after the kids fell asleep; so much for that. I guess I'll just have to read a book or go to bed at a decent hour or something.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Misc. Sports: Billy Gillispie and Eddie George

  • I know that Billy Gillispie wasn't Kentucky's first choice to replace Tubby Smith, but UK fans should be extremely happy with the hire. Gillispie brought in a top 25 recruiting class at UTEP and made Texas A&M, which has rarely been good in men's basketball and failed to win a conference game the season before Gillispie got there, into a top 10 team. Gillispie is definitely a better pick than UK's second choice, Rick Barnes.

  • Former Titan Brad Hopkins said today on his radio show that the Titans could improve their running back situation by bringing Eddie George out of retirement. (Actually, from what I understand, Eddie isn't technically retired, but he hasn't played for two full seasons.) Eddie wasn't exactly a finesse back and his body took a lot of abuse during his nine seasons. I'm not sure that he could still contribute on the field, but I wouldn't mind bringing him in to babysit Lendale White.

Good Friday Links

Celebrating Good Friday the Right Way

Since I work for a church agency, I get Good Friday off. But Good Friday is all about sacrifice and suffering, so I've decided that the only proper way to celebrate Good Friday would be to go to work anyway. (That, and I get more done when no one else is around.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

2007 State Easter Eggs (Plus One)

Drop by the White House website and check out the official state Easter Eggs. Our Elvis Egg is one of the better looking eggs in the carton, especially if you exclude the states that cheated by placing props inside their eggs. (That's you, Arkansas and Minnesota.) Wonkette has more commentary.

As an aside, I noticed that the White House recognizes an egg from Washington, D.C. (Of course, the egg features a picture of the White House.) Curiously, the President accepts D.C.'s egg even though he's vowed to veto any legislation that would give the district a congressional representative. I say, no egg-decoration without representation.

Holy Week: Christmas for Fake Blood Retailers

From the Tennessean:

At Performance Studios costuming shop, high season for fake blood is right now, and the biggest buyers are churches.

"At Halloween, we sell blood by the ounce. At Easter, we sell blood by the gallon," says Gary Broadrick, owner of Performance Studios.

The churches that do Passion plays depicting Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection come in search of biblical attire and stage makeup, including plenty of stage blood.

This is fascinating to me. Mainline congregations (at least the ones I've been a part of) tend to find less bloody ways to tell the Passion story. I understand wanting to vividly illustrate Jesus' suffering and sacrifice, but the idea of a pastor or worship leader purchasing "gallons" of fake blood is funny to me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

This Is It—I've Begun Reading the Harry Potter Saga in It's Entirety

I prepare for each new Harry Potter book by reading all of the preceding books in order. In the past I've been able to zip through the series, but now that I have two children, I don't have as much time to read as I used to. So I've gotten an early start preparing for the final Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yesterday, as I read the opening pages of The Sorcerer's Stone, I realized that, this time, I wouldn't be finished until I read the final page of the seventh book. The very thought gives me chills.

On a related note, if you're United Methodist and a teenager, you can attend my Harry Potter "Splatshop" at Youth 2007.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Scientists Want to Assimilate Your Blood

Some of us are proud of our blood type. We are type B and type A and type AB. We live in community with like-blooded people, giving our platelets and plasma so that others in our blood communities can live and thrive. But pride in one's blood type is lost on scientists, who have no respect for what makes us unique and would prefer we all be type O negative. From the BBC:

Scientists have developed a way of converting one blood group into another.

The technique potentially enables blood from groups A, B and AB to be converted into group O negative, which can be safely transplanted into any patient.

The method, which makes use of newly discovered enzymes, may help relieve shortages of blood for transfusions.

As if type O negative people weren't already haughty enough, with their universally compatible blood and their cheesy nineties metal band. Now we have scientists telling us that we should all be O negative—that our bloods aren't quite good enough.

Meyer Wazowski

Meyer re-eacts his favorite scene from Monsters, Inc.:

Monday, April 02, 2007

Forget Spitz's Olympic Record: Phelps Is Best Ever . . . By Far

Michael Phelps may be best remembered as the swimming phenom who failed to break Mark Spitz's gold medal record at the Athens Olympics. (Spitz famously won seven golds at the 1972 games in Munich. Phelps won a mere six golds and two bronze in Athens.) But Phelps's performance at this year's swimming world championships may be the most impressive performance by any athlete in a single competition ever.

This past weekend in Sydney, Phelps won seven gold medals (he may have won eight if a relay teammate hadn't gotten the team disqualified) and set five world records. That's five world records in the span of a couple days. One person. Five world records. That just doesn't happen. Regardless of what happens next summer in Beijing, Phelps should be remembered as the greatest swimmer of all time.

Are You a Victim of Graffiti? Pay Up

From The Tennessean:

A proposed Metro ordinance would require the property owner to clean up the graffiti within 10 days of being notified by the police or the Metro codes department. The penalty for not doing so would be a $50 fine and $50 a day after that until the graffiti is removed.

Bill sponsor Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite "says the bill is aimed at absentee landlords who don't respond to city notification about graffiti on their property."

OK. I'm all for putting pressure on absentee landlords, but no matter how you look at it, this bill would punish the victims, not the vandals. Sure, insurance should cover the clean-up effort, but I would rather have a building covered in graffiti than have to deal with an insurance company to get it cleaned up.

I'd also argue that graffiti isn't always bad. Sometimes it livens up an otherwise dull urban environment. Someone tagged the new Costco in West Nashville within weeks of its opening; frankly the unsolicited artwork is an improvement to an otherwise cold and lifeless building.

Image from the University of Illinois, Chicago's Hip Hop website