115. Vikings, 'Skins, 'Hawks and Zorn

Number One Son graduated from Parkview High School last spring and during his four years in school he never saw the varsity football team win a game. In fact, the losing steak went all the way back to October 2002. Fifty-eight games in a row. Three senior classes, ’06, ’07, and ’08 never saw their squad win.

And finally the streak ended last Friday night. The victory came against one of the city teams, Hillcrest, in a double-overtime thriller, 39-36. Congrats to the Parkview Vikings.

And in Seahawk-related stories, original Seattle QB and former QB coach Jim Zorn is tearing it up as the newly-minted head coach of the Washington Redskins. This past weekend saw the ‘Skins beat the class of the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys, 26-24.

This from the Seattle Times – “A few weeks ago, there was doubt whether Zorn was the right guy to replace Joe Gibbs. Now, he's off to a great start, including being 1-0 against Washington's biggest rival and ending a 1-for-12 skid at Texas Stadium.”

The Redskins are 3-1 while Zorn’s old team languishes at 1-2. Thankfully, the Seahawks are not out of the race in the mediocre NFC West.

Hey! How about Jim Zorn’s new team hooking up with his old team in the playoffs? At the beginning of the year that seemed impossible. Now? It’s possible.


114. Wherein Marty Appears

It's Friday and it's time for sweetness and light. Bitter Political Rancor, you can have the night off!

Old News.
I saw a bit of a History Channel documentary the other day about the Kennedy Assassination. Did you know there is quite a bit of interest in this topic? No, honest, there is!

Seriously, I have been intrigued by the story like millions of others have. We lived in Ft. Worth for about four years in the early 90's and my daughter and I once made an excursion to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Honestly, I have long been sympathetic to the possibility of multiple gunmen having been involved in JFK's death. In the museum, I stood as close to Lee Harvey Oswald's sniper's nest was as the exhibit will allow. I looked through the window to the street. And to my untrained eye and mind, it seemed impossible for one man with a bolt action rifle to do what was done.

However, after watching the show, I've changed my mind. Someone has taken the famous Zapruder film and matched it up with some animation software. The software is able to "fill in" the spots in the film where the motorcade is blocked by the sign, for example. I can't explain as it deserves to be explained, but it's convincing. It demonstrates, I think, that Oswald was the only shooter. I tried to find it on the History Channel website, but gave up after a few minutes. I didn't remember the name of the program. But it's worth seeing if you can.

Now, does this eliminate all possibility of conspiracy? I don't know. The one man who might have the best knowledge was shot in the gut in the Dallas police station basement by a guy with Mafia connections and who really had no business being there. You tell me. The show did mention this, however, and pointed out an important bit of info. In the years since, hundreds of Mafia have been arrested and, facing life in prision or capital punishment, not one has even hinted at knowing anything about the assassination. If somebody knew something, you figure they would talk to save themselves or to get a better deal.

Which leaves us with this: We may never know.

Or, maybe we do know - it was always, only Oswald.

Quick Hits
Burgers, I get. I used to eat them everyday myself. But not with that goop on them!

I have had a question or two about the Logos posted on the right. The idea is to post graphics that I think are interesting or attractive to me. Sports images dominate right now, but there might be something new from time to time. Have you noticed the new ESV Study Bible image? Is that a nice looking cover, or what?

Do I get them all in one spot? So far, yes. It's called Cris Creamer's Sports Logos Page. He's done a lot of work and it's a great site. If you like art, colors, creativity, graphics, or history you'll enjoy snooping around, even if you are not that interested in sports.

Speaking of logos, the NBA's Seattle Supersonics of North Texas have a new logo and it's hideous. Actually, the team has really moved to Oklahoma City and they are called the Thunder. Oy. Steal Seattle's oldest franchise, the only team to win a championship in the Emerald City, and move them to a minor league town, give them a minor league name and a logo that looks like it came out of a logo generator program. (You provide the Team Name! You provide the Colors!) Double oy.

It will not be posted or linked. (If you dare to look, remember, I warned you.)

I have not made it to the ipod generation, yet. My son has one and I am familiar with the concept. I know about 'Shuffle'. I have also mastered e-mail.

Meanwhile, the other day, I was listening to my radio account at an online service where they play songs based upon my preferences. They use a mind meld. Anyway, here's what happened to me: I heard The Mills Brothers’ “I Don’t Know Enough About You” with their trademark harmonies, upright bass and rhythm guitar, and then went directly into ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” with their trademark guitar and drums pounding out a relentless pace. Jarring! Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou” was next. What a set!

Bob Ryan, one of the nation’s best sports columnists, tackles Major League Baseball's MVP debate. Obviously, I love his conclusion about the NL choice.

Here's a stand-up guy. We could use more of these kind of people. After reading this, I am an Ed Hoculi (hawk-you-lee) fan. I think all decent people should be. Even if you don't care about football, I think you'll appreciate Hoculi.

Once upon a time, I began spinning tales in email correspondance to my cousin. The stories had to do with some rather ordinary folk muddling along through their ordinary lives. Today, we hear from Marty again -

Marty is hardly ever surprised by what he finds in his mailbox. Usually just ads and bills. Ads and bills. He had never thought about that before. Isn't funny that all that is usually in the mailbox is ads to get you to buy stuff and bills for the stuff you bought? Sometimes there's a wrapper from Taco City in there and he hasn't quite figured out why. The wife? The kids? The dog? No! Not the wife! But usually, it's the same stuff all the time.

Except today.

Today there was something from the bank in the mail and it wasn't the monthly statement. Hmm. Marty went to open it. Another mystery. How do they get the information sealed up inside where you can only open it by ripping off the perforated ends? Who does the perforating?This must be important. Maybe it's a check! Marty imagined a little orange card that said, "Bank Error In Your Favor. Collect $200."

It wasn't a check. But Marty, having ripped the perforated ends off, sincerely hoped there had been a Bank Error. It was a message from the bank that they had levied a fee against Marty's account. A fee of $11.17. Wow, he thought, eleven dollars and seventeen cents! Where am I going to get that kind of money?

Marty sat down at the table to think. There was no real explanation for the fee. He knew that he made a deposit last week after he was paid. Since then there had been no big purchases, no grocery store run and the car and the truck both still had half a tank, so no gas. What could it be? He had made a couple of little purchases, but nothing at all significant. Oh, they got the pizza Saturday night. And he bought a Coke and a Hershey bar, also. And on Sunday, too. And Friday. Wait. Friday wasn't Coke, it was Dr. Pepper.

Marty decided he'd better call the bank. He found the number on the bank's envelope. It was a One-800 number. One-800? I could walk there in 10 minutes, he thought. He called it and a recording told him the call might be recorded. "Might be?", thought Marty, "Sounds like it already is!" Then they asked him to punch in his account number. "I don't know my account number! Who memorizes the bank account number?" Then he thought it might be on the notice from the bank and it was. He began to push the number and after 3 digits he heard a voice and he put the phone back to his ear.

"Please enter the account number followed by the pound sign," said the machine. "That's what I'm trying to do!" yelled Marty to no one. He got the account number, followed by the pound sign, entered and the recording began listing all the options and the appropriate number to push for the option.

Since he didn't hear a number for Perforated Envelope In Your Mailbox, Marty had to listen to all the options again. He finally decided to press '0' for a Customer Service Specialist.

He got the recording asking him to punch in his account number. Marty looked for something to throw. From today's mail, he grabbed the flyer from Hammerin' Herb's Hardware Haven and flung it across the room. Immediately he regretting having done that because Hammerin' Herb usually had pretty good prices on things Marty might need some day. "When I get off the phone, I'll go pick that up," thought Marty.

A voice on the phone. ". . . your account number, followed by the pound sign." Aggravated, but throwing nothing, Marty punched in the number. And the pound sign. Here came all the options again. This time Marty chose the number having to do with the checking account. There was a pause.

Then a recorded voice said it wished to verify his account number and proceeded to recite it in a strange, mechanical voice with horrible diction and lousy inflection. If, the voice said, the number was correct, press '1'.

Marty had no idea if it was correct or not. He didn't listen. He was pretty tired of his account number by now. He punched '1' anyway. The voice said, "Would you please enter the last four digits of your Social Security number? Well, thought Marty, here's a new request. Maybe we're getting somewhere. He put in the requested digits. No pound sign required.

The voice started talking about his balance and his last deposit and his next statement. Marty, not one to cry, was beginning to feel desperate. All I want to know," he thought, "is why I owe the bank $11.17. Is this too much to ask?" He was beginning to think he should have walked 10 minutes to the bank after all. He would have been there by now.

The voice ended. Then the voice started. With the options again. The urge to throw something returned. Then Marty thought about walking to the bank to throw something, but then he thought that would probably be a violation of some sort that would make the $11.17 look like a good deal.

"Why can't I just talk to someone, a real person?" Marty pleaded as he looked at the picture of the plastic bins to hold fasteners on the upside down Hammerin' Herb's flyer accross the room. "I might need those," he thought.

Marty heard the phone say "Press 5" and so he did, not knowing what this would do.

"New Accounts, may I help you?" said a real, live person. Marty, not one to cry, thought he might. "Yes, I hope so. I got this notice in the mail that says I have a $11.17 charge against my account and I don't know why. Can you tell me?"

"Well, this is New Accounts, . . " said the real, live person. "I know," said Marty, "but can't you look?" The real, live person decided that it would be alright to help. Just this once.

"I'm sorry," said the real, live person after a minute, "but I don't see any charge or fee against your account."

"What's that?" said Marty.

"There is no fee," said the real, live person.

"Why did I get the notice in my mailbox?" said Marty.

"I don't know, sir."

"So, it was just a mistake?" said Marty.

"Well, the bank doesn't typically make mistakes."

"So, I have a notice of a fee. And you say there is no fee against my account. And this is not a mistake?"

"That's right," said the real, live person.

"Well, what if there really is a fee?" said Marty.

"You would get a notice in the mail."

"But I have a notice right now!" Marty yelled.

"Yes, sir. But you don't have a fee."

Marty took a deep breath. "How can I be sure that, in spite of the fact that I have notice of a fee, that there is no fee as you claim?"

"I don't know. I'm not authorized to answer that," said the real, live person, "I could transfer your call."

Marty cried.


113. 9-11 Plus Seven

We all know what today is and it is certain that you have seen and heard reminders of various kinds throughout the day. I have nothing special to add.

But, let's not forget. Let's not forget What or When or Who. And, remembering, let us fight to preserve our Liberty. Let's fight Tyrants and spread Liberty abroad.

Today's anniversary casts a shadow over some of what I had in mind as I sat to write. But some of it is appropriate. I won't be maudlin nor emotionally manipulative. However, in Remembering, we see the choices we face in November in a different light, just as the Novembers of '02, '04, and '06 were rightly seen differently from elections past.

You must read this article from Powerline. Among other things, it quotes Diana West saying, "'We appear to have decided to remember 9/11 as something akin to a natural disaster that came and went rather than as a part of a diffuse but discernable push to advance the law of Islam." Moreover, Diana contends that one "effect of 9/11 has been, on balance, an accelerated campaign of accommodation of Islam's law in the West.'"

If you are like me, you want to live in a free America, not an Islamic one. If we are to remain free, there is going to have to come a point where we throw the fanatics' tea into the harbor.

Who, you may ask yourself, is more likely to throw the tea into the harbor, should it become necessary? The Democrat or the Republican? This article has an idea and here is a bit of it: "We will listen closely in the debates to what Sens. Obama and McCain say about Islamic terror. To vote for Sen. Obama is to also vote for a Democratic Party that consumed most of the political system's available oxygen for seven years fighting a U.S. president harder than they did the perpetrators of September 11. Political struggle is ever with us, but given the realities that 9/11 revealed (as did the terror bombings in Europe), the relentless scale of the Democratic opposition to the Bush administration's antiterror policies is hard to square."

Any vote for ANY Democrat is a vote to strengthen the party and it positions. And of late, the Donkeys' prevailing attribute is to fight Republicans harder than the terrorists. Would they really rather lose a war than lose an election? This is unconscionable.


112. Talkin' Baseball

OK, this time we mean it. The baseball team that shall remain nameless is in St. Louis this week for three games and the Cardinals really need this series to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Cards have not had much success against the @*!$ this season. But it is time for St. Louis to fish or cut bait. And I had feared that a bait-cutting festival would ensue.

However, results are mixed so far, with St. Louis winning Tuesday night in dramatic fashion, but tonight's Cardinal rally fell short. We gotta win tomorrow, that's all.

Incidentally, there will be no logos from the team that shall not be named posted on this blog. Granted, the logo has a classic look and, under different circumstances, it would be displayed.

But you gotta draw the line some where.

On a baseball related note, one writer is proposing two wild card teams in each league for the playoffs and I actually like the idea.

Basically, I hate the Wild Card. I will not spill a lot a ink over why, but it boils down to a couple of things. Briefly, I think you should actually win something to advance. There's a reason they play 162 games and a season that long usually grinds things pretty fine. You know who the first place teams are and who they are not. The other thing is that any team can win 4 games in 9 days in October and this is borne out by that fact that one third of the World Series Champs since inception of the Wild Card have been, in fact, teams that could not win their division during the year. Wild Cards.

But, get a load of this idea. ". . . there is a way to restore full meaning to the 162-game schedule, and give teams a significant incentive to win their division rather than be happy just to make the playoffs. Tom Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau has suggested that instead of one wild-card team in each league, there should be two – and that these two teams should face each other in a one-game playoff to determine who moves on to the divisional series."

There's more - "Under this new structure, winning your division is of paramount importance. You’ll do anything you can to stay out of that one-game win-or-go-home situation. Late-season games against your division rivals become vital and electric." (emphasis mine)

I like it. I hope it comes about. Write your congressman.

Better yet, call Sarah Palin.

How can you measure the effect of Palin on the election?

The other day my wife, who typically would ask me, "OK, who are we voting for?" on the day before an election day, is all fired up to go pull the lever for McCain/Palin. My wife is very intelligent, but generally uninterested in politics.

But that was then and this is now.

And after watching and hearing the relentless, uninformed, mindless, partisan and biased attacks lobbed Palin's way and enabled by mainstream media that has abandoned all pretense concerning fairness, my bride remarked, "I miss Tim Russert."

We all do.


111. Sunday Afternoon

Here comes McCain-Palin. Polls out today show McCain-Palin leading Obama-Biden by 3 or 4 points depending on the poll, one shows it essentially even. More good news - the data does not include results from the entirety of the RNC.

McCain is the real deal, a man of accomplishment and courage. Obama is a pretender, a man of two memoirs at age 47 and adept at reading a telepromter. John McCain is a classic, old book you love to read over and over. Obama is a Blackberry with your favorite chapter from the story. The Blackberry you carry in your briefcase. The book is carried in your heart.

It's not going to be close.

Incidentally, Democrats, I don't think you'll be too pleased with what happens to your Congress this fall, either. Just sayin'.

Enough politics for today.

I'm reading Ezekiel right now and I am really struck by the language God uses to describe Israel. He says they've been an unfaithful wife and have gone whoring. God says they learned all this in Egypt.

When they got to the promised land, they took up with the Assyrians and the Chaldeans (Babylonians). Israel, north and south, lusted after the gods of these lands and worshipped them, despising the one true God whose mighty acts on their behalf they saw.

And God judges them and look who the instruments of His wrath are. The Assyrians and the Babylonians. Yes, the ones Samaria and Judah desired, betrayed God for, became their conquerors. What a striking image!

Friends, let's always watch our hearts and never esteem any thing or any one above God our Treasure.