Posts filed under 'general'
It made me giggle when I stumbled across this article in the Wall Street Journal, beating down the New York Times; mostly this phenomenon is related to my glee when anyone pokes fun at the New York Times and their editors:
“Science Trumps Ideology, Except When It Doesn’t
On Tuesday the Times surprised no one by editorializing in favor of President Obama’s order liberalizing the regulations for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research:
Mr. Obama also pledged on Monday to base his administration’s policy decisions on sound science, undistorted by politics or ideology. He ordered his science office to develop a plan for all government agencies to achieve that goal. Such a pledge should be unnecessary. Unfortunately, for eight years, former President George W. Bush did just the opposite. He chose scientific advisory committees based on ideology rather than expertise. His political appointees aggressively ignored, distorted or suppressed scientific findings to promote a political agenda or curry favor with big business.
The characterization of the stem-cell restrictions as a bow to “ideology” over science is inaccurate. The objections to the use of embryonic stem cells - agree with them or not - are ethical, not ideological, in character.
In any case, today, in an editorial on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the Times shows just how seriously it takes the commitment to science over ideology. The Times urges Salazar “not to forget the wolf”:
The Interior Department’s scientists say that wolf populations are healthy enough, and state protections strong enough, to take the animal off the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho. We do not share their confidence in the states. De-listing allows for some hunting, and hunters in both places are itching to start firing away. Mr. Salazar should be ready to restore protections the instant the long-term survival of the species seems at risk.
The Times view, then, is that science should trump ideology when the Times disagrees with the ideology, but ideology should trump science when the Times agrees with the ideology.”
- Wall Street Journal Online, March 12th, 2009
March 15th, 2009
See above. I’ve been busy, but we’ve got lots to talk about.
September 5th, 2008
I had to
delete temporarily remove my “About” page, as it got messed up by a hacker who messed with my site for reasons I can’t quite follow. So, I want to make sure I save the Martin Lloyd Jones quote I had stored there to keep me oriented rightly:
“The glory of the gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first. That is how revival comes. That must also be true of us as individuals. It should not be our ambition to be as much like everybody else as we can, though we happen to be Christian, but rather to be as different from everybody who is not a Christian as we can possibly be. Our ambition should be to be like Christ, the more like Him the better, and the more like Him we become, the more we shall be unlike everybody who is not a Christian”
- Martin Lloyd-Jones, Introduction to the Beatitudes
I love that quote, so I wanted to save it here. As “savable” as things are on a medium such as this one, I suppose.
UPDATE: Josh Hawkins, techie par excellence, restored my “About” page in all of it’s simple glory. I’m still saving this quote here, though, ’cause I like it so much.
February 24th, 2008
This one was sent by my wife earlier in the week, straight from IHOP’s “Malachi 4:6″ prayer meeting (led by IHOP kids):
I have been reminding him over and over again today that we are here to pray and worship. He is trying really hard to not play. So he was starting to climb under some chairs. So I got him up and asked him ,”Remember we are here to pray and worship. ” So he nods gets this focused look, almost a scowl on his face and gets right back on the floor to crawl under the chairs again. So then I get him up again and I ask him, “so how does that have to do with prayer or worship?” he says, “I was getting in my prayer cave. “
February 8th, 2008
A few of you, and really, it was only a few - maybe even one of you - that’s how unpopular my random sports posts were a few weeks back - asked about my thoughts on the Super Bowl. What you didn’t know is that I wrote that post, under the pseudonym “Joe Posnanski”. You can find my thoughts on that epic final minute (the other 59 minutes weren’t that epic or engaging) here.
February 7th, 2008
It was the little guy’s birthday this past weekend and we celebrated by having an “army party”. Basically, we invited some cool 5 and 6 year olds over to the house, bought a bunch of nerf guns, and went crazy for a few hours.
In honor of his birthday, here’s a quick story. His kindergarten teacher was presenting the concept of liquid measurements to his class, and asked the kids to give her examples of liquids that they drink. She then asked the class to give examples of ones that their parents drink. The answers were the same - juice, and lots of it. The teacher kept pressing, trying to get someone to say “coffee”. Understanding that the teacher was looking for a different answer, Daniel’s hand shot up. He was confident that he had it.
“Beer.” Daniel said, straight-faced. “My Daddy drinks lots of beer.”
The teacher was caught off guard, and tried to suppress her laughter. “Are you sure Daniel?” She asked.
“Yep,” he said, nodding emphatically. “My Daddy drinks beer all of the time.”
She called me to tell me the story. I was stunned - I’ve had one beer over my whole life. I hated it. I made it to the bottom of the neck before giving it away in disgust. At this stage of my life as a leader, there are other many other factors that play into my decision to abstain from alcohol (my IHOP-KC staff commitment being one of them). But the original reason for abstaining from alcohol was simply because I hate how it tastes. So, confused, I talked to Daniel later that night.
“Hey buddy,” I said warmly, “tell me what you said in class to your teacher…I drink beer?”
“Yep,” he insisted, happily. “You love beer.”
This went on for a bit until I realized that he was talking about root beer. Which we don’t drink very often either. So, however you slice it, I have no clue what formed his thinking on this issue, but I thought it would be fun to tell the story nonetheless.
For the curious, here’s a shot of the little dude at the Call in Kansas City a month ago, in all of its thumbnail-sized glory:
February 4th, 2008
In Atlanta this weekend, teaching and preaching for the third year in a row at the IHOP-ATL Leadership Summit for those who have a heart to lead a house of prayer. You may remember last year’s post, “So You Want to Lead a House of Prayer” that I wrote before last year’s conference. This year I’m speaking about practical leadership strategies before connecting with IHOP-ATL as a whole on Sunday night. I’ll make sure to post the notes early next week.
For now, I’m with Billy Humphrey, Kirk Bennett, and Allen Hood (who flew down with us). We’re having a blast together.
January 26th, 2008
We’re in the process of trying a few of the suggestions - we’re particularly intrigued by Anita Hensley’s Heinz-in-a-can suggestion. If that works out, it’s dinner for the Hensley’s on me! I know a particularly good Heinz-in-a-can recipe that I could whip up for the occasion…
January 23rd, 2008
Just a couple of side notes for the folks reading this - a “behind the scenes” addendum as it were:
These asides were little two-minute notations related to things I was thinking while watching the game. It was an experiment in writing and analysis that I did for fun while hanging out with my kids. They like football.
I’m writing this aside because someone asked my wife after last week about me writing about a playoff game while being home on our day off. It’s totally doable (once a year) to watch a game, type a few thoughts randomly, and hang out with the kids on a cold day. It’s not part of our normal family routine. It’s not even part of our abnormal family routine. This is a one-off writing exercise that blows off steam for my active mind. So there you have it - a quick, behind the scenes look at how I pulled this off.
This aside only took one minute, forty seven seconds to do, for the curious.
See you this week, it’s been fun.
January 20th, 2008
One of the interesting things about this little experiment is noticing that some of you magically know when I post as I post. Watching the hour-by-hour stats spike a bit after these little articles went online made me shake my head - modern communication is really impressive, even for a relative neanderthal like me. There are guys out there that are really sophisticated and thus have a pretty impressive following. It’s quite different than my “write about whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it” strategy that, all things considered, seems to have the same payoff as the sophisticated, time-consuming, labor-intensive strategy. But as I said, I’m kind of a neanderthal when it comes to these things. There are late adopters, and then there is me - long after everyone has moved on (hence the slew of “is blogging dead?” articles that came out last summer), I’m just getting started.
Back to the game.
So much for what I said earlier about the Packers being the better disciplined team. Two killer penalties (albiet controversial ones) on third down gave the Giants new life on offense twice. And everyone in football knows that you don’t give an assassin like Eli Manning two second-chances. I’m just kidding, of course - anyone who follows football read that last sentence and wondered privately if I’m indulging a bit too much of Emiril’s Vodka Cream Pasta sauce. But Manning is making my earlier comment about his skills versus Favre’s more of a non-issue than I expressed.
His passing after those two penalties led to a huge play by the “Boss” (offensive lineman Bruce Springsteen, apparently. Or “Kevin Boss,” as he’s known by these days) to pick up a Brandon Jacob’s fumble just past the first down marker for the Giants. This key moment was then followed by, of course, a few more Packers penalties. They are determined to make me look like a neophyte relating to my earlier assessment about discipline, coaching, and patience. Showing their superior patience, the Packers jump off-sides before the snap to help the Giants score a go-ahead touchdown.
I told you Manning was a cold-blooded assassin. Of course, I could have been talking about Peyton Manning and his award-winning performances in the “Priceless Pep Talks” commercials for some company whose ad agency made semi-clever spots that semi-entertained me all season long. They worked so well that I couldn’t even tell you what company is sponsoring the ads. Oh well, another day, another multi-million dollar ad-campaign down the drain. Much more effective are Michael Jordan’s final attempts at cultural relevance before fading away altogether.
I greatly appreciate character studies - and if you do too, I strongly recommend David Halberstam’s Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made as well as Michael Leahy’s When Nothing Else Matters: Michael Jordan’s Last Comeback. While Jordan and his will to win are an interesting subject, the flip side of that ego is an interesting examination on human nature and how badly we need the inward transformation of the Holy Spirit - regardless of personal success. No matter how successful you are in life, it all has to end someday. No one beats the system - and Jordan is no exception.
Back to the game, again.
Penalties, penalties, penalties. Of course, the key here is that these penalties are the kind that often follow the aggressive, hard hitting play of the first half. Even the off-sides earlier by the Packers is the kind of mistake that follows the “overly eager to hit somebody” mentality that both sides are employing. Both teams need to reign it in a bit - and the sideline reporter for FOX Sports just reported that the coaches are saying the same thing as I am typing this. The players are jumpy, angry, and hyped-up. In some ways we’re approaching the phase of the game where the cooler heads tend to prevail - the Tom Brady types.
The two candidates for “coolest heads” (again, forgive the pun) happen to be the quarterbacks in this game. Favre looked like a guy that has been here before on his great touchdown pass to the Packers tight end, Donald Lee. Lee has been a key outlet guy for Favre all season, and his development is the least-talked about reason for the emergence of the Packers offense. Yes, Ryan Grant, their running back, is important to their success, but they were on the rise well before they settled on Grant at the position at mid-season. The reason is simple: Lee and Greg Jennings, their young wide receiver, both gave Favre dependable targets that he has been lacking over the past five years. Is Favre a better quarterback than he has been over the last decade, or have the Packers draft picks finally developed? I think the answer is simple, but you don’t hear many people talk about it for some reason.
Eli Manning, cold-blooded assassin that he is, has grown tired of me talking about “Favre, Favre, Favre”. The Lambeau crowd seems nervous - and deathly silent - as he throws a nice touchdown pass to their rookie running back, Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants skill at drafting running backs (Green Bay’s young star, Ryan Grant, was a fifth-stringer with the Giants earlier this summer) has to impress anyone that cares about that kind of thing. In fact, I’m impressed in general with how many of the Giants picks hit more than they miss. As a Chief’s fan, I’m slightly envious of their ability to find solid, cheap young running backs while fielding a punishing offensive line. Football isn’t rocket science in that sense - the teams with the more powerful offensive and defensive lines tend to win championships. Yet the Chiefs can’t seem to draft a helpful offensive lineman - nor have the inclination to.
That’s probably going to change this offseason, thankfully. It already has changed when it comes to defensive lineman - since the Chiefs hired their new coach, Herm Edwards, they have turned things around slightly related to drafting defensive lineman. Mysteriously, the defense improved markedly this year - despite the horrid record. Why so bad? I defy Tom Brady to complete a single pass behind that Chiefs offensive line - it’s one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Ugh. Somebody forgot to tell the Chiefs that there are three phases to this game. Being terrible at two (I don’t even want to talk about the Special Teams unit) is, well, less than helpful.
No really, let’s get back to this game.
Play of the Game Award Nominee: Ryan Grant and Mark Taucher, Green Bay Packers. They could have possibly saved the season for Favre after his awful interception (the kind that he has generally avoided this year). Grant caused the fumble that Taucher jumped on, keeping the Packers moving forward rather than getting on their heels after a possibly game-turning turnover. Of course, the much hyped-by-me-Donald Lee may have swung momentum back the other way by throwing the worst block on a screen in the playoffs, letting a cornerback (!) blow him out of the water for a seven-yard loss, ending the drive.
We’re tied, late in the fourth quarter. This is a great, great game.
Before we do, however, I want to point out that the normally clever “I’m a Mac” commercials have run their course. The last few have been beyond bland toast and have entered the realm of the Taco Bell commercial. Now that I have found a forum to register that, we can move on.
Boy, Manning is looking surprisingly sharp. The secondary reason for writing that last line was a lame attempt at juxtaposing “boy” and “Manning” to be clever and witty. Instead, I think I achieved “Taco Bell” commercial status. Meanwhile, continuing the discussion on “aggression penalties” versus “sloppy penalties”, we’ve seen both in rapid-fire succession here in the fourth quarter. The Giants’ wide receiver, Amani Toomer, had a sloppy offensive pass interference penalty followed by, on a gutsy “go-for-it on fourth down” call by the Giants, an aggression penalty (an iffy, so-so call) by Charles Woodson of the Packers.
Thus the sloppy penalty ends up being negated by the aggression penalty. Go figure.
So, after the Packers defense recovers and holds, the Giants are forced to…MISS A 43-YARD FIELD GOAL. Manning is playing the game of his life, and his kicker just handed control of the game back to one of the most clutch, big-game quarterbacks of the last 25 years.
Why was the last throw by Favre off? Because Osi Umenyiora, one of those great defensive lineman I was talking about earlier, made a Pro-Bowl caliber tackle look slow and dumb. Umenyiora went around Chad Clifton like he was standing still, and Clifton is one of the better tackles you’ll see in pro football. Back to Manning as the clock winds down to see who can get the winning score.
The Packers have an answer to Osi Umenyiora: their own “difficult name to pronounce super fast defensive end”, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. I never want to type that name again - which is why some have come up with the not so clever “KGB” nickname that therefore portrays him as a shady, corrupt, covert murderer versus the “difficult name to pronounce super fast defensive end” identity that seems to be a better fit. Maybe it’s just me. Nevertheless, he beat the entire Giants offensive line off the ball after the snap to get to Eli (The Assassin) Manning and stop the Giants scoring drive. I mean, he went as the ball was snapped before the rest of the Giants had even begun to move. Um, nice play.
A few minutes later, the Packers forgot everything they learned in training camp about falling on a loose ball.
9:05 (and 9:15) PM
Twice the Giants put their fate in the hands of ex-Chief kicker Lawrence Tynes. Remember what I said earlier about the Chiefs? Yet, inexplicably, after missing twice earlier (critically at the end of regulation), Tynes connects on a 47-yard field goal to send the Giants to the Super Bowl.
It’s been fun - but no more typing side points for me. I’m retiring as a wanna-be sports writer for quite a while. For now, I’m off to snuggle our kids.
January 20th, 2008