All Favre, All The Time

It is probably a myth that fierce Nordic explorers of yore would burn their ship once they were ashore in a new land in order to prevent retreat. Today's NFL namesakes, the Vikings, have commenced burning the team ship with a third of the season to play and everyone still on board. Talk about poor clock management!

Just a few plays away from last year's Super Bowl, Minnesota has fired the coach, Brad Childress, as of Monday. What has gone wrong? ESPN.com's Gregg Easterbrook has a thought:

"Surely, the Vikings' problem is that they have not bowed low enough before Brett Favre! Childress only drove to the airport to pick him up. Why didn't he offer to fold Favre's laundry too? If only the Minnesota Vikings would show Favre some respect!

Favre leads the league with 17 interceptions -- and maybe he wouldn't be throwing to the wrong place so often if he'd bothered to attend training camp for the past two seasons. Favre also has lost five fumbles; 22 turnovers in 10 games by the starting quarterback would doom any NFL team. The Vikings are last in the NFL in turnover differential -- and Adrian Peterson hasn't fumbled this season! Yet Childress is scapegoated while Favre floats above it all. The Metrodome crowd chanted, "FIRE CHILDRESS!" They should have chanted, "PROTECT THE FOOTBALL!"

In 2007, Green Bay wanted to be rid of Favre because the team was sick of his attitude, which boils down to: me, me, me and have I mentioned me? Sunday, Green Bay's judgment was vindicated in emphatic fashion.

In 2008, Favre single-handedly blew up the New York Jets, leading to a fired head coach and bitter recriminations all around. In 2010, Favre has blown up the Vikings, with a fired head coach and bitter recriminations all around. This must be some inexplicable coincidence -- it can't have anything to do with Brett Favre."


Raise Your Own Taxes

From Gregg Easterbrook at ESPN.com:

"Last week a group of millionaires, including the musician Moby, urged Barack Obama to raise taxes on the rich. Taxes on the rich should indeed be raised, though that alone would be far from sufficient to fix the national debt -- a combination higher middle-class taxes, Social Security reductions, defense-spending cuts and increased economic growth is required to fix the damage done by a decade of reckless spending by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Last week's group, and rich people such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who say they favor higher taxes on the wealthy, should bear in mind that they can tax themselves immediately. Right now the top rate for federal income taxes in 35 percent; Obama has proposed raising the number to 39.6 percent beginning in 2011. Nothing stops Gates, or Moby, or any other rich person from simply calculating an additional tax of 4.6 percent, and adding it to the check they send to the Treasury. If you're rich and say you believe the rich should be taxed more -- then tax yourself! Otherwise you're just patting yourself on the back for claiming to want to be taxed, but never actually parting with the money.

And if the president is sincere, why hasn't he already taxed himself to the same extent that he wants to tax others? Filing jointly in 2009, Barack and Michelle Obama had an adjusted gross income of $5,505,409, and paid $1,792,414 in federal taxes. Had the top-rate tax that Obama advocates been in effect they would have paid an additional $253,249. Why didn't the president set a leadership example and tax himself by sending an additional $253,249 to the Treasury?"

Well, why not indeed? I'm not persuaded that taxes need to go up on the rich. I am of the opinion that removing more capital from the private sector and dumping into a rathole the size of a galaxy, i.e., the Federal Treasury, is bad for the economy.

But it would be wonderful to see these "higher taxes" nabobs put their money where their mouth is. But I'm not going to hold my breath.


Soup For Me

The best part of Progresso's chicken noodle soup is the noodles and the broth. The vegetables, carrots and some celery, have the flavor of the broth, basically, so getting that down is just a question of texture. You gaggers out there know of what I speak.

The chicken is OK but is often a little bit grainy, if that makes sense. But, if you eat the vegetables and the chicken first, you are left with the golden broth and tender noodles. And those goodies make the unappealing parts worthwhile. And if you've got some Keebler Town House crackers to throw in there, well, son! That's good eatin'!

I had the low sodium version today and noticed no real drop off in taste. Curious as I was to see what sort of sodium savings I was enjoying, I looked at the label. I guess 'low' has different meanings in soup-labeling land than it does in the English-speaking world. One serving of the soup had roughly 450 mg of sodium, if I remember correctly. There were two servings in the can. That means I ate 900 mg of sodium for lunch. Nine hundred mg of sodium does not translate as 'low' to me. I'm aiming for 1500 or so for the day.

I figure the way to combat all that sodium is a Snickers bar.


Crosswalk Pride

I have found that pride is much more subtle, devious, insidious than I had previously thought.

I think we can all spot with ease the person who must always have the spotlight or who constantly talks of themselves in conversations. Not having these particular flaws (I don't think!) I could mistakenly conclude that pride is not a big problem for me.

Or perhaps we've learned to spot a sneakier form of pride. This is the pride that exhibits itself as humility, or maybe false humility. Saying, "Oh, I'm not good at this!" when you really are pretty good at it. Or telling us you don't deserve any credit for some act of service. Repeatedly. The object is to be noticed while saying one doesn't deserve or desire notice.

I have discovered in myself another form of pride. Let's call it Crosswalk Pride. I have discovered that I don't really like rules very much. I have cultivated the appearance of being compliant over the years, I think. I'm a good boy and I don't get into much trouble. But recently a string of events has revealed that my depraved heart rebels against the rules. I'm talking about perfectly good rules for safety or for accomplishing things personally.

The crosswalk is a good example. Frankly, I don't want to wait for the light to change to cross the street. And, as I think about it, it's not about impatience, though, that wouldn't really be a justification. What I like to do is go to the corner and then walk along the street until I spy an opening and then dash across. I'm in control that way. I don't have to stop. Again, I'm not in a hurry - I just don't want to be told I can't go now. You're not the boss of me!

What I'm learning is that waiting for, ye even submitting to, the light is good for my soul. I need rules, boundaries, fences for my protection. Protection from speeding cars and from my own depraved and proud heart. Left to myself, I wouldn't set the borders because, as the pretender to the throne of my world, I want to do as I please.

Waiting for the light at the crosswalk is one way I can practice submission and thereby chasten my rebel's heart.



I have a little book called "The Valley of Vision". It's a collection of prayers written by Puritans and it is one of the most helpful tools for me in my ongoing effort to stoke the furnace of personal devotion.

I've copied here a prayer from it, called Regeneration, that I read yesterday and it fed me on many levels. It seems to me to be a prayer worth camping out on for a while. It strikes many chords that resonate with me in this particular time of my life.

O God of the highest heaven,

Occupy the throne of my heart, take full possession and reign supreme, lay low every rebel lust, let no vile passion resist thy holy war; manifest thy mighty power, and make me thine forever.

Thou art worthy to be praised with my every breath, loved with my every faculty of soul, served with my every act of life.

Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me, purchased, washed, favoured, clothed, adorned me, when I was worthless, vile, soiled, polluted.

I was dead in iniquities, having no eyes to see thee, no ears to hear thee, no taste to relish thy joys, no intelligence to know thee;

But thy Spirit has quickened me, has brought me into a new world as a new creature, has given me spiritual perception, has opened to me thy Word as light, guide, solace, joy.

Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;

No provocation can part me from thy sympathy, for thou hast drawn me with cords of love, and dost forgive me daily, hourly.

O help me then to walk worthy of thy love, of my hopes, and my vocation.

Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;

Protect me that no evil befall me;

Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;

Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm, hold converse with thee,

That henceforth I may be salt of the earth and a blessing to all.

You could order one at Amazon if you want.