137. Very Thankful

Both my kids were born around Thanksgiving and this week we celebrated their birthdays. Our daughter's is the 25th and number one son has his on the 28th.

My lovely bride has written her thanksgiving for them both over at her blog, Everything Is Significant. I don't think I could say it any better than she does.

Sarah and Jacob, God favored your mother and me when He gave us you two. Speaking for myself, I don't deserve such goodness. I hope I haven't damaged you. I trust our Heavenly Father will make up for any lack in your earthly dad.

When I was a new Christian the Bible verse that was my favorite was Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." This verse says what to do first, what is of first import. I need to be reminded of what's first, what's important. So I commend this verse to you two kids and urge you to submit yourself to it's order of business. May as well commend it to my son-in-law as well, though he stubbornly refuses to have his birthday during this week.

I love you guys!


136. Prince Albert Is King

The best baseball player on Earth just might be the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Obviously, it's debatable. And debatable just means it's possible. How good is Albert Pujols, just named MVP of the National League for this past season? Let Jayson Stark of ESPN tell you -

Meanwhile, you'll be hearing lots of talk about how the winner of this election (NL MVP voting), Albert Pujols, has now won two MVP awards. Which is great, of course. But what blows us away is that he very easily could have won SEVEN of them.

Pujols has now played eight major league seasons. He has finished in the top 5 in MVP voting in seven of those seasons. Seven.

If you are a baseball fan, you owe it to yourself to watch Pujols when you can. We are witnessing a once in a generation kind of player.

At least.


135. Rejoice With Me!

I am very happily trying to remember how to walk normally.

In the early nineties, when we lived in Ft. Worth, TX, I injured my knee. I was going to run and I was stretching my right quad with my right foot tucked under my rear as I was seated on the floor. I leaned back to stretch the quad and I heard a loud POP from my knee. I felt it too. Not pain surprisingly, but I certainly felt it.

You may not believe me when I tell you that I went ahead and ran, but I did. There was not the pain which you would have expected if I had really torn something up. Later, however, there was swelling and stiffness and the joint did not feel stable. In fact, it hasn't felt stable since then and any over-exertion would make it stiff and achy.

We didn't have insurance at the time, I was just a poor seminary student. I have often thought I would have to have surgery eventually to fix it. I like to run and I like to hike and a balky, unstable knee which is prone to stiffness and pain puts a real damper on those activities. Someday, I thought, I'll get it scoped or whatever.

Recently, a friend and I were talking and I discovered he had hiked a week's worth of the Appalachian Trail. The AT, if you do not know, is the Holy Grail of hiking here in the states. The trail extends unbroken from northern Georgia to central Maine. It's been something I wanted to do since I heard of it, though my responsibilities would prevent me from taking the six months out of my life to do it all at once. I thought it would remain only a dream.

My friend, also with a desire to hike the AT, had hit on the idea of doing it a week at a time and eventually covering the whole thing. And he asked if I wanted to go the next time. Of course I did. We talked about training and the demands the trail puts on a person. Like, periodically walking uphill for half a day.

Enthused, I began exercising the next day. I got up early and went to run. And as I ran, my unstable knee began to complain. Loudly. And I began to think. If I couldn't trust my knee, I wouldn't be able to commit to a week of 12-15 hours a day on a very demanding trail. Well, I thought, maybe now's the time for surgery. But then I thought, what about the recovery time? Could I be ready?

I prayed. I don't remember what I said exactly, but I asked God to help me with my knee in light of the opportunity of the hike and the possibility of failure. I finished the run and my knee was hurting. I went to work that day, came home that evening and was going about my routine. I was seated at the table and turned to speak to my wife. My knee went POP.

I didn't think too much of it at the time because it has popped every now and then since Ft. Worth. But the next day my knee did not hurt. Not only did it not hurt, it felt NORMAL. I stretched my leg very tight like when you have "growing pains", which would typically be slightly painful. No pain. It felt stable. I began to try to move without favoring it, which I have unconsciously done for over 10 or 12 years. No pain. Stable.

It has been a week now and my knee still feels fine, and not a day has passed without my giving thanks to God. I believe He heard me and answered me about my knee. I did not ever know the severity of my injury and so I don't know what was involved to fix it. All I know is, I used to have a bad knee and I asked God to help me and it's fine now. At least as good as a 50 year old knee is supposed to be, anyway.

Rejoice with me, for this knee I had lost has been found!


134. Dumping the Inbox

A number of things have been stacking up in the Inbox, so let's dump it out and do a sort.

Did you see this about Brit Hume? One of the few anchors I actually enjoy listening to on the TV, except we don't get his channel - too bad. Anyway, it appears he knows the Lord and it could be that is why he seems like a decent fellow on the tube.

On Veteran's Day, pastor John Piper observed, "The tensions between being a follower of Jesus as a soldier are essentially the same as the tensions of being a follower of Jesus in all the other authority structures of society that God ordains for the stability of the world (like business, education, government, and family). "

He concludes with gratitude to God for the risk so many are willing to take for the sake of peace. Amen.

Piper's son Abraham blogs at 22 Words and he offered some blogging advice a few days ago. Here's a sample:

- Keep paragraphs 5 lines or shorter. (If this post were a list of one, this would be it.)

- Put either your main point or a story in the first paragraph of posts.

- Interact with readers in your comment section.

And, of course, his list is 22 items long.

Finally, I read an interesting article the other day at the Pyromaniacs web site. It had to do with judgement of God described in the passage from Malachi 3 regarding the fuller. Now, if you are like me, the only thing you know about the fuller is he had a bunch of brushes once upon a time. However, I learned a thing or two about the fuller. Thought you might like this.

The passage:

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord."

One observation from Team Pyro:

So when God says that the Messiah is coming with "fuller's soap", He's not saying, "Jesus will make you wash your hands." he's saying, "you are disgusting and useless unless you are cleaned up by the Messiah."

The whole article is here.


133. Stand-Up Guy Paul Ryan

I love it when I find these kind of stories.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I don't have any idea what it means to be a man. And if you are female, this is no big deal, but for the rest of us, it's kind of important to get a handle on it. A lot of times I just feel like a big kid, clueless about what my responsibilities are. I think most of the time I do OK, but still, it would be great to be confident all the time, like John Wayne or something.

This article tells about the actions of one congressman during the recent so-called mortgage crisis. The whole thing is good but here's a choice tidbit -

House Republicans spent this week justifying their positions on the failed bill, invoking taxpayers or credit markets or electoral pressures. Here's a better way to analyze votes: There were a few conservatives who for years took unpopular positions against the government-inspired credit mania, yet this week had the guts to act to calm the markets. And there were many Republicans who for years aided and abetted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, yet this week ran for political cover.

Mr. Ryan is among the former. As early as 2000 he was warning in House hearings that Fan and Fred were rushing into subprime loans and mortgage-backed securities, growing and concentrating their risk, and putting taxpayers on the hook. He's so vociferously called for more supervision that he was once stalked by a Fannie Mae lobbyist.

No matter whether you think the bailout was needed or not (and I still don't think it's clear), Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan is a stand-up guy.


132. Obama, Obama, Obama, Part Two

I posted some congratulatory comments offered to our new president last week. Yesterday, I began looking at more critical reaction. That survey concludes today.

To be clear, the point is not to be crabby for the sake of being crabby. The fact is, 48 percent of the country voted for the other guy, and a goodly number of them will have real differences with Obama's Administration.

I figure if he can start talking about Executive Orders before Veteran's Day, we can start stiffening our necks.

Have a good one!

John Derbyshire of National Review Online admits being sour - What won this election was the packaging skills of David Axelrod, the swooning complicity of the media, the ruthless opportunism of Barack Obama, and the unprincipled thuggishness of his supporters. What lost this election was the cloth-eared cluelessness of George W. Bush, the timid squeamishness of John McCain, and the deep lack of interest in conservative principles among Republican primary voters.

Sour? You bet I’m sour. Where was conservatism in this election? Where was restraint in government? Where was national sovereignty? Where was liberty? Where was self-support? And where are those things now? Where are they headed this next four years? Down the toilet, that’s where. Pah!

David Kahane, by way of Kathryn Jean Lopez of NRO - We got this the old-fashioned way: we earned it. The other side took the fight to us, and we never took the fight to the other side, except coyly and obliquely. That's not a mistake we should make the next time. "Honorable campaigns" are for losers. Next time, call 'em as they really are, not as you wish to see 'em.

Where was Bush? Once again, and right to the bitter end, he let his passion for "loyalty" supersede what was strategically right for the party, not to mention what was best for the country. I think his reputation has nowhere to go but down; yes, he got one big thing right, but he got everything else wrong. Enough of this family in our country's politics!

Peter Kirsanow, also from NRO, and also the whole thing is worth reading - Obama will get the most lavish and extended honeymoon in history. Every time he walks to the podium without falling down will be trumpeted as the greatest accomplishment since MacArthur returned to the Philippines. It will be the natural tendency of Republicans to join in the praise, and worse, to try to be "bipartisan" when it comes to legislation that is manifestly bad for the country and abhorrent to conservative principles. This tendency will be magnified by the Republicans' fear that any opposition to Obama's policies will be portrayed as motivated by racism rather than principle.

Senator McCain is an American hero, a remarkable man. I can think of few I respect more. But he's likely to be the first to be leading the charge toward bipartisanship. This would be a mistake of galactic proportions. This must be resisted.

It's all well and good for Republicans to congratulate Obama today, and on Inauguration Day. The GOP shouldn't oppose merely for the sake of opposition. But if they were paying any attention to what Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Rangel, Schumer, etc, have been saying over the last year, they should realize that on the major issues of the day, liberals are determined to take the nation down a hard left path that will, in the words of Obama, "fundamentally transform" America.

Let the buyer beware.

131. Obama, Obama, Obama, Part One

I can't help it.

The president-elect's name reminds me of Mufasa, the name of the dad lion from The Lion King. And I always think of the part where the hyenas are scaring each other by saying Mufasa's name. The one says, "Do it again!" And the reply is, "Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa!"

That story had a happy ending. After a lot of pain and death and stuff.

Here's some more observations from the election's aftermath -

Scott Johnson, Powerline - Despite his thoroughgoing liberalism, Obama did not run as a liberal. Liberals can run successfully for president under camouflage donned for the occasion. The camouflage will be accorded respect and deference by the press like that accorded the Emperor's new clothes.

Bill Dyer writing at Hugh Hewitt wrote a great article which should be read in it's entirety. A portion - I pray that you may acquire wisdom — wisdom beyond your tender years, your thin experience, and your inconsequential legislative achievements — wisdom as a public servant in office, rather, that is at least commensurate with the skill you've shown as a campaigner, which has been a genuine marvel. I pray for your health, because, with due respect, I regard the prospect of your Vice President-elect having to step into your shoes with genuine panic. Let's hope that he can continue to be Crazy Uncle Joe, less of a danger to the nation as Vice President than as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mary Katharine Ham, Weekly Standard Blog - I do not know who he is. I do not know which Obama will show up in Washington, D.C. to govern. My good feelings for him have diminished considerably throughout the campaign, as I've become increasingly convinced that his post-partisan, post-racial pitch was naught but a political pose.

I'll close for now. There will be a concluding wrap-up tomorrow.

Sweet dreams.


130. Election Coverage, Dave Barry Style

Well, I read this the other day and I laughed for over a minute non-stop. I showed it to my son, who was home this weekend, and I cracked up again while he did the same. Maybe it's just me, but I think this is hilarious.

It is written by the brilliantly funny Dave Barry and if you are not reading him, you should be. When I grow up I want to be Dave Barry. Or James Lileks.

Anyway, enjoy -

In analyzing the results of Tuesday's historic election, the question we must ask ourselves, first and foremost, is: what the heck were the results of Tuesday's historic election?

I personally don't know. The Miami Herald made me send in this analysis before the election was actually over, so that it could be printed in a timely manner. This is part of the newspaper industry's crafty plan to defeat this ''Internet'' thing that has the youngsters so excited.

Anyway, my election analysis, based on weeks of reading political blogs, listening to talk radio and watching campaign ads on television, is that one of the following things is true:

• Barack Obama is our next president, which is very bad because he is a naive untested wealth-spreading terrorist-befriending ultraliberal socialist communist who will suddenly reveal his secret Muslim identity by riding to his inauguration on a camel shouting ''Death to Israel!'' (I mean Obama will be shouting this, not the camel) after which he will wreck the economy by sending Joe the Plumber to Guantánamo and taxing away all the income of anybody who makes over $137.50 per year and giving it to bloated government agencies that will deliberately set it on fire.

• Or, John McCain is our next president, which is very bad because he is a 287-year-old out-of-touch multiple-house-owning fascist who will rape the environment and build nuclear power plants inside elementary schools and reinstate slavery and create tax loopholes that benefit only people who own three or more personal helicopters, after which he will declare war on the entire United Nations and then keel over dead and leave us with commander-in-chief Sarah ''Flash Card'' Palin.

• Or, Ralph Nader is our next president, which is very bad because it means there has been a successful Klingon invasion.

Read the whole article.


129. Obama On The Mountain

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963.

I was nine years old when King was killed in Memphis, April 1968. Anyone who remembers those years remembers the turbulence that bedeviled our country because of tension over the war in Vietnam and over issues of equality and justice for black Americans.

I think it was easier for those my age to lay down prejudice than it was for our elders. Indeed, some of us were so young we had not fully taken it up. However it must be said, prejudice or racism, is sin. It's a heart problem and anyone of any national origin is perfectly capable of despising anyone else for the most petty issue, including the color of one's skin. We must constantly guard our hearts against this kind of hatred and ask God for grace to offer others.

And though the USA is not perfect by any stretch, she has come a long way. The ground upon which we find ourselves standing today was probably unimaginable when I was a boy, though, King's Dream may have conjured it. We have elected a black man president of the United States. It is no small feat for Barack Obama, a man with whom I have many honest disagreements, as far as I can tell, and he is to be sincerely congratulated.

There will be time to review the election (in another post) and to cast a critical eye toward a thoroughly liberal government. For now, however, consider what has been accomplished.

Obama's race was an asset to his candidacy at every step of the way. Americans want to prove their racial good will. A black candidate whose race is incidental to his campaign and whose political skills are manifest is able to take advantage of a great moral yearning that lies deep within the American psyche. Shelby Steele, who has eloquently explored this theme in reference to Obama, refers to it as "the idealism that race is but a negligible human difference." - Scott Johnson of Powerline

It is an extraordinary thing, an achievement that will be recognized a hundred years hence, that Barack Obama has won the White House. Even those of us who opposed him, and who will no doubt be opposed to many of his policy objectives over the next four years, must pause and say congratulations on an improbable, amazing rise. Every American ought to pray for wisdom and judgment for President-elect Obama, for his safety and the safety of his country, and for the continued prosperity and greatness of America. - Hugh Hewitt of Townhall

You will be my president too, and while I am filled with trepidation, I congratulate you as sincerely as I am able, and I wish the very best for you and our great country. - Bill Dyer of Townhall

His race and his middle name, long touted as obstacles to Obama's ascendence, were not obstacles to the American people. Racism and xenophobia were background buzz in a clean campaign, existing largely in liberals' nightmares rather than in real life. It is a testament to both candidates and the American electorate that, even if the wrong man was elected, he was elected for right reasons. - Mary Katharine Ham of Weekly Standard Blog

Do you find it as interesting as I do that, come this January, we will celebrate King on one day and inagurate Obama on the next?


128. Returns Still Coming In

Sometimes I think of things to write about when I'm at work. When that happens I open a Word document on the computer and make a note and add to it if more ideas occur. At the end of the day I attach that document to an email and send it home. Then when I'm ready to write something here, I've got notes and ideas ready to go.

Provided I remember one thing, of course.

Some weeks ago the computers at work were updated to the latest Microsoft Office versions. And the new Word documents are not compatible with the old programs UNLESS you remember to save it AS the older version. If you don't, the plain English you wrote will be displayed as gobbledygook.

So all the brilliance that I was set to display for you tonight looks like this in my document: PK!0É(.

OK, so there you go. Let me know what you think. Your opinion matters.

And, naturally, what I was going to write about tonight was the election. I don't want to dull anything I wished to say, so I'll just re-send my document and post tomorrow.

I think it'll be worth reading.

But if it's not, there's always PK!0É(.