Monday, September 26, 2005

Red State, Blue State

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(50% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Thanks Robert Terrell.

Monday, September 12, 2005

America's Teams

By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
September 11, 2005

One team, displaced to the road like nearly everyone else back home, faced a championship contender on their turf and scored four times in the fourth quarter, including twice on special teams and once when, on fourth-and-forget-it, a 39-yard prayer was caught for a touchdown to deliver the comeback, the game and the dream.

One team, displaced to the road like nearly everyone else back home, faced a championship contender on their turf and scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a last-second, 47-yard game-winning field goal to deliver the comeback, the game and the dream.

And so now you begin to wonder.

Louisiana State on Saturday night, New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. Two stunning, last-moment victories.

Do you believe in miracles?

"In the back of our minds, we know we have to give them one tiny bit of hope," quarterback Aaron Brooks told reporters after the Saints' 23-20 victory over Carolina, which came not 24 hours after LSU beat Arizona State 35-31.

"We have complete faith in what we are doing because every time we go out there, it is our job to give them hope that every day will be a better day."

And there can be no minimizing the word "tiny" here. A couple of dramatic football victories don't bring back the dead, lower the floodwaters or rebuild neighborhoods.

A couple of dramatic football victories are a couple of dramatic football victories – a little more than nothing in the great, grand post-Katrina scheme of things.

But if you witnessed New York and its Yankees after September 11, if you can appreciate that having anything to cheer, to distract or to warm the heart can mean so much more than tiny, then these were more than just a couple of dramatic football victories.

If you can understand that for some of the 340,000 former residents of Greater New Orleans, huddled across the country in shelters, hotels and someone else's living room, the chance to pump a fist about something great happening to a couple of teams representing their battered hometown and bruised home state is more than just a couple of dramatic football victories.

Which is why everyone's favorite team to reach the Super Bowl should be the New Orleans Saints.

And everyone's favorite team to reach the Rose Bowl ought to be the LSU Tigers.

Because who doesn't want to believe in miracles?

Before the Saints' game at Super Bowl-favorite Carolina, coach Jim Haslett read a letter he received from New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who understands all of this too well.

"He talked about the things he had seen, babies dying," receiver Joe Horn told reporters.

Horror movie stuff Horn went on to say. Every-day stuff in the Big Easy. It brought the tragedy of New Orleans home for a group of players and coaches who have the spent the last two weeks in San Antonio.

For the LSU players, a letter from the front lines wasn't needed. Their game against Arizona State was moved to Tempe because their campus is full of refugees from New Orleans. Sixty-eight Tigers hail from Louisiana, 14 from the city of New Orleans.

This is their tragedy.

"I'm just so proud," LSU coach Les Miles said afterward.

Everyone should be. These two teams won two games under incredible distraction and distress. And both teams spent their postgame interviews talking about how they have it easy, reminding us that football is nothing and repeating that they would trade all the wins in the world for Katrina to never have happened.

"It's not all about us anymore," Saints offensive lineman Wayne Gandy said.

Humble, big-picture athletes? In today's sports world?

The fortunes of these teams could have broken either way. The hurricane could have cost focus, it could have slowed minds, it could have sucked the fight out of people too tired to fight for something so frivolous.

Or it could raise them up – give them a sense of pride and purpose never before experienced. Having something so powerful and real to rally around – not just silly locker room stuff – could give two teams the little edge that creates big seasons.

It was just football. It was just one weekend.

But for two teams with one dream, it was much more than that

Thursday, September 8, 2005

"No, but could you tell me more about Jackie Robinson, and breaking barriers?"

So - I got this fascinating new device from my cable company for mere pennies per month. It's a DVR. If you don't know what that is, look it up - you need to know. It's like TiVo, or replaytv. It enables me to record, without those cumbersome videotapes, anything I want. In fact, I can even set it to record a certain show any time it comes on on any channel. Which I have done with several shows, including (here comes the point) The West Wing. Since I got it I have watched approximately 453 episodes. In case you didn't know - The West Wing is probably (not possibly) the 100% greatest television show of all time.

It is also the show with the coolest dialogue. Since about 79.8% of the appeal of something is sharing it with others, I thought I would contribute to our conversation (yes, we are having a conversation. Deal with it.) several of my favorite bits of West Wing dialogue, and allow you to do the same with your comments - all culminating in a massive compendium of screenwritten literary gems and fanboy geekiness. I'll go first!

President Bartlet: I could jump you right now.
Abby Bartlet: I could kill you right now.
President Bartlet: My thing's more fun.

Josh Lyman: All I'm saying is, if you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop to get a beer.
Donna Moss: If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for red lights.

President Bartlet: Who's your commander-in-chief?
Abby Bartlet: You are.

(With the cabinet member who stays behind during the State of the Union address, in case someone blows up the Capitol Building)
President Bartlet: Roger, if anything happens, you know what to do, right?
Roger: I honestly hadn't thought about it, sir.
President Bartlet: First thing always is national security. Get your commanders together. Appoint Joint Chiefs, appoint a chairman. Take us to Defcon 4. Have the governors send emergency delegates to Washington. The assistant Attorney General is going to be the Acting A.G. You got a best friend?
Roger: Yes sir.
President Bartlet: Is he smarter than you?
Roger: Yes sir.
President Bartlet: Would you trust him with your life?
Roger: Yes sir.
President Bartlet: That's your Chief of Staff.

C.J. Cregg: The theme of the Egg Hunt is "Learning is delightful and delicious!" As, by the way, am I.

President Bartlet: "We hold these truths to be self-evident," they said, "that all men are created equal." Strange as it may seem, that was the first time in history that anyone had ever bothered to write that down. Decisions are made by those that show up.

Abby Bartlet: I was very young when I had my kids. I was very, very, very, very young. I was barely even born yet when I had my oldest daughter, Elizabeth.

President Bartlet: You're Dr. Jenna Jacobs, right?
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: Yes sir.
President Bartlet: Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D?
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: A PhD.
President Bartlet: A PhD?
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: Yes sir.
President Bartlet: Psychology?
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: No sir.
President Bartlet: Theology?
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: No sir.
President Bartlet: Social work?
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I have a PhD in English Literature.
President Bartlet: I'm asking 'cause on your show, people call in for advice, and you go by the name Dr. Jacobs on your show, and I didn't know if maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced training in psychology, theology, or health care.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't believe they are confused, no sir.
President Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
President Bartlet: Yes, it does. Leviticus.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22
President Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While you're thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands - nobody sits.

C.J. Cregg: The more photo-friendly of the two turkeys gets a presidential pardon, and a full life at a children's petting zoo; the other one gets eaten.
President Bartlet: If the Oscars were like that, I'd watch.

John Van Dyke: When our children can go to any street corner in America and buy pornography for five dollars, don't you think that is too high a price to pay for free speech?
President Bartlet: No. On the other hand, I do think that five dollars is too high a price to pay for pornography.

And last, but not least:

Toby Ziegler: He calls you and me the Batman and Robin of speechwriting.
Sam Seaborn: Well, I don't think he does.
Toby Ziegler: He doesn't, but he should, 'cause that's what we are.
Sam Seaborn: Okay.
Toby Ziegler: We are Batman and Robin.
Sam Seaborn: Which one's which?
Toby Ziegler: Look at me, Sam. Am I Robin?
Sam Seaborn: I'm not Robin.
Toby Ziegler: Yes you are.
Sam Seaborn: Okay, well, let's move off this.
Toby Ziegler: You bet, little friend.
Sam Seaborn: Listen, we're really not Batman and Robin.
Toby Ziegler: No, we'll keep those identities secret. I'm Bruce Wayne, and you're my ward... Dick Something...

I could go on forever.... and it appears I have.

Petra Means Rock

Rules of the Day:
Rule #1 - When aliens talk, they never use contractions.
Rule #2 - Old people always have exact change.
Rule #3 - Do not trust a man who calls the bathroom "the little boys" room.

About 14 years ago, when I was a high-school freshman, I was walking out of a youth group meeting one Wednesday night and into the parking lot where my mother's van waited. A car - an old beater of a car, too - sped right up to me, and stopped. It was my youth minister's brother-in-law. He said nothing, only rolled down his window, and handed me two cassette tapes.

"What the heck is this?" I asked.

He just smiled, rolled up his window, and drove away.

In the movie version of my life, that moment will feature a bright light shining down and angels singing.

The contents of those cassettes changed my little 14-year-old life forever.
One of those tapes had Deliverance's self titled album on one side and Deliverance - Weapons of our Warfare on the other. THAT is a whole other post altogether. The other tape had Whiteheart - Powerhouse on one side, and on the other side? Petra- Beyond Belief.

That day I was thrust into a world unlike any other I had ever known. Until that time, the soundtrack of my life had been The Beach Boys and The Monkees, and more recently Sir Mix-A-Lot and Public Enemy. I was not prepared for it - but switch had been thrown in me, and from that day forward I would be a worshiper at the church of the rock. (Dramatic enough for ya?)


There's no telling how many actual members that band has had over the years. In fact, based on the above "Then" and "Now" pictures, only one man has actually been involved for 33 years - Bob "Eddie Who?" Hartman. Which begs the question - what percentage of actual "Petra" is necessary to continue Petra? 1 out of 5? 20%? Any at all? Or perhaps - obscure Princess Bride reference coming - perhaps, like the Dread Pirate Roberts, it's the name that's the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear/respect. I do find it amazing that a band could survive something so drastic as a lead-singer change, and STILL be as good, if not better, than it was before. When that happens with most bands, people end up choosing one, to the detriment of the band's other stuff. Admit it - you either like Van Halen with Dave, or with Sammy, but not both (and certainly not Gary Cherone). You either like Judas Priest with Rob Halford or with Ripper Owens. The one notable exception is AC/DC - nobody has to choose between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson because they sound almost exactly the same. It's not like that with Petra, either. Don't get me wrong - fans will be debating Grex X. Volz vs. John Schlitt forever - but it's a little bit like arguing about who was the best Bond. It's a win-win. And no - I'm not saying which one is Connery.

Now comes word of Petra's farewell. After 33 years, and very nearly as many members, they are retiring. There have been rumors of a kind of Best Of Petra Concert, with all the former members showing up to play the all the best songs from the albums that they were on. They should literally put a revolving door on the stage. I can't tell you how cool I think that would be - I would pay any amount of money to see it. But I only say that because I know it will never happen. I did have the privilege of seeing them in concert once, though. ETBU brought them in to play for my Freshman class - the last cool thing ETBU actually did.

Anyway - say what you want about Petra, their current place in music, their relevance, and the choices they've made in the past few years, but there's no doubt that they started something, and were the best at it for a long time. I know I sound like everybody's grandfather now, but they just don't write songs like those anymore. For me, Petra will never go out of style, because every time I listen I'll remember what it meant to me growing up. I think it's safe to say that - for better or worse - without them, I wouldn't have ended up the guy I am now. Funny the things we allow to shape us, isn't it? Some people would be ashamed, but not me. Thanks for the memories, Petra - lol.

R.I.P. Petra 1972-2005

Monday, September 5, 2005

"When it came to kissing, Harlow was the best."

Jimmy Stewart
You scored 19% Tough, 19% Roguish, 33% Friendly, and 28% Charming!
You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 27% on Tough
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 53% on Roguish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 57% on Friendly
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 46% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid

I Want This:

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
by Rob Bell

And no - in case you're wondering - this is not the new post I promised you yesterday. But sometimes, covetousness compels us to interrupt whatever we are doing and demand certain material posessions. Stop judging me, and just run out and buy it. But you better hurry... if I get a free minute today, I'm Barnes & Noble bound.

**UPDATE** 3:06 p.m.
Got it! I also got a 2006 Batman Calendar, and a copy of Esquire Magazine's THE RULES for men to live by. And I'll probably be including some of those in future posts, because they either make a lot of sense, or are just plain ridiculous.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Saving The World One Ice Chest At A Time...

Well, well, well... - here I am.
Do I have to talk about that bloody storm? I mean, you all watch the news, and read everybody else's blogs. You don't need me to re-hash it, or tell the J.T. version of the story, do you? Even I wouldn't read that. Okay, fine.

For those of you scoring at home, I believe its:

Katrina - 1
New Orleans - 0

And if you don't believe me, just ask any real estate agent in the greater Baton Rouge area. You can NOT buy property here right now. Not because it's in bad shape, or because it costs too much, but because there isn't any. Seriously, our population has doubled in the past week, and apparently the Red Cross is not only handing out blankets, water, and hot meals, but they're also giving away big piles of cash to anybody who wants to buy a new house just up the road in Baton Rouge. My dad was talking about some guy he was working with out at Exxon, who had been trying to sell his house. He had been having some trouble unloading it on somebody, until along comes Katrina, and some refugees from New Orleans show up at his doorstep. They offer him 500G's in cash (more than 2ce what he was asking) if he'll just get his family's personal items, and get out of there. Leave the appliances, leave the furniture, leave the food in the pantry and the refrigerator. Faster than you can say "fat wallet", that dude and his family are on their way out of town, and do you know where they are going to live now?

Any-where they want.

Okay, seriously, I would rather sandpaper a bobcat's butt in a phone booth than recount the lame details of what I've been up to the last few days - so here, for your reading pleasure, are a few key words that you may hear about over the course of the next few years, as we remember this time in our nation's history: Parking lot security, burned noggin, "buy me 3 ice-chests and some snacks", 2 1/2 foot Batman, one bag per person, chainsaw crew, water brigade, airport shifts, Jesse Jackson, Steve Harvey and the Nation of Islam, Sean Penn's leftovers, stealing from Ted Turner, casual Sunday, Oprah's plane, and on-the-air with Richard Condon.

Also, as you may have guessed from the picture - the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, to which I am currently in bondage, suffered quite a bit of high water. A few days ago I was elated to hear that classes on that campus will, in fact, resume..... in August 2006. HA! I told that joke to everybody I knew for about 6 hours, until I actually looked on the NOBTS website. They expect everybody who's already enrolled in classes to resume their fall schedule October 3rd - on the internet! Are you kidding me? My sister's taking a class called Totall Wellness and the Minister - it's like a Seminary P.E. class. How the heck is she supposed to take that on the internet? Maybe I'm just bitter because I thought I was going to get a pass on this semester - and now most of my assignments will have to be writing assignments submitted electronically, without the benefit of lecture. This Seminary thing just continues to get worse and worse.

Well, I do actually have some thoughts on the sociopolitical situation (no, seriously) down here, but I will save them for a separate post. That way you can be assured that I will post again, and we will all have something to look forward to. Until then, let's keep the "where have you been"'s and "It's about time"'s to a minimum, shall we? Much lub, homies.