Saturday, January 31, 2009

Can I Pick 'Em...Or Can I Pick 'Em?

Actually, no, I can't.

But picking may not be the appropriate word. Rooting is more accurate. Because who one picks to win is not necessarily who one roots for.

After the 2007 World Series, I paused to contemplate in this post how bad my rooting interest had been in the World Series. I always ended up rooting for one team over the other, and yet the team I chose to root for won only 27% of the time in the past 40 years.

In other words...I'm sort of a jinx. If I root for your team, there's a 73% chance they'll lose.

Okay, I know, statistics don't exert influences. But you should get the point. I'm far more likely to root for the eventual loser than the winner.

Perhaps it's that I tend to root for the underdog unless I have some other rooting interest. But I'm here writing this post now in order to tell you, it's just not in baseball.

I have the same problem in football.

The first Super Bowl that I remember was at age 5, the Jets/Colts match up in Super Bowl III. I don't remember even watching the game at all (I was a kindergartener), and I don't remember who I was for (probably nobody), but I remember the hubbub about Joe Namath, who became a larger than life celebrity for a good portion of my early years.

The first Super Bowl that I really remember was the following year, 1970, and I was thoroughly convinced that no AFL team could defeat the mighty Minnesota Vikings. My brother was for the Chiefs. I remember getting all upset (made exponentially worse by the gloating and taunting my brother liked to engage in) when the Chiefs went up 3-0, then 6-0, then I think eventually 16-0 before the Vikings scored later in the game.

Despite the whoopin' they took, I, to this day, believe the Vikings should have won that game.

Fortunately, I did win one the following year, rooting for the Colts over the Cowboys. Then I hit another dry spell.

The next several years I didn't win. I didn't root for another winner until 1977's Oakland Raiders led by the great Madden.

Here's my sad history, for whoever I'm rooting for tomorrow:
1970- Vikings. Lost.
1971- Colts. Won.
1972- Dolphins. Lost.
1973- Redskins. Lost. I went back and forth on this one. I liked both teams, so it was hard to choose between the undefeated Dolphins and George Allen's squad. I chose unwisely.
1974- Vikings. Lost.
1975- Vikings. Lost.
1976- Cowboys. Lost.
1977- Raiders. Won. I liked both teams. But how could I root for the Vikings after 3 previous miserable losses? I'm glad I didn't.
1978- Broncos. Lost.
1979- Steelers. Won.
1980- Rams. Lost.
1981- Raiders. Won.
1982- 49ers. Won.
1983- Redskins. Won.
1984- Redskins. Lost.
1985- 49ers. Won.
1986- Bears. Won.
1987- Broncos. Lost.
1988- Redskin. Won.
1989- 49ers. Won.
1990- 49ers. Won.
1991- Giants. Won.
1992- Redskins. Won.
1993- Bills. Lost.
1994- Bills. Lost.
1995- Chargers. Lost.
1996- Steelers. Lost.
1997- Patriots. Lost.
1998- Broncos. Won.
1999- Falcons. Lost.
2000- Rams. Won.
2001- Giants. Lost.
2002- Rams. Lost.
2003- Raiders. Lost.
2004- Panthers. Lost.
2005- Eagles. Lost.
2006- Steelers. Won.
2007- Bears. Lost.
2008- Giants. Won.

That's a 17-22 record, a .435 winning percentage.
Not near as bad as my World Series rooting, but by no means good.

It's not quite jinx-dom territory, but admit it- you don't want me pulling for your team, do you?

So rejoice, Steelers fans, I'm pulling for the Cardinals.

I'm About To Inspire You

Does this poster give you goose bumps?

Maybe or maybe not, but my leg is starting to tingle a might. Or is that my wallet?

Well, thanks to a new website I learned about yesterday on a local radio show, you can get that tingly feeling every day.

Yes, you can now generate your own Obamicon! Just upload a picture of yourself, make a few adjustments, and, voila!, instant inspiration.

So, this weekend, when you cry into your milk, or the shreds of that piece of paper that used to tell you that you had a lot of money invested somewhere, just think on this:

Don't you feel better now?

Weekend Reading

Numbers 3-10.

Although it is harder to comprehend in some ways, the KJV definitely has a more colorfully descriptive way with the language.

Check out the NIV version of Leviticus 21:18-20:
No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.

I prefer the KJV of the same passage:
18For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

Hath his stones broken? Are you kidding me?!!! I love it! What a great way to get the point across. Is this the Bible or Jim Rome's radio show?

"Damaged testicles", while descriptive I guess, is so clinical. "Hath his stones broken" is not only descriptive but it makes one shudder.

While the manner of speech and some of the words are archaic, the directness of the KJV is awe inspiring. That's just telling it like it is.

There's no attempt to soften the meaning in the KJV. It was a 17th century world and times could be harsh, something my 21st century sensibilities have to struggle to grasp.

By the way, what ever happened to Chris Snyder?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Love Creativity

Since I spent so much time rooting for it, I have to put a plug in for my new favorite piece of sportswear.

The Detroit Lions "Owen 16" jersey. Hat tip to Burn, Monkey, Burn.

Sorry to say it, but you apparently can no longer order one of these custom jerseys. Rumor has it NFL Shop prohibits the order of these jerseys. Which begs the question- WHY?

This could be the single greatest jersey sell of all time. Why would the NFL, a cash loving machine, block such a lucrative sure thing? I'd probably buy one for each member of my family.

The Lions season was unprecedented. It was ineptitude of historic proportions. We're probably never going to see such greatness again in our lifetimes. Why can't we celebrate perfection?

Thursday Reading

Leviticus 23-26.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great Quote

If you're for the economic stimulus package, then consider this word of wisdom from Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio:

"If government spending was going to get us out of this mess, we’d have been out a long time ago, because that’s all we’ve been doing".

Hat tip World Magazine's online site.

Wednesday Reading

Leviticus 19-22.

Yesterday's post's question was answered in the comments. Thank you Anonymous!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday And Tuesday Reading

Leviticus 11-14 was for Monday and Leviticus 15-18 for today.

I have a hard time reading all the leprosy laws. I find myself wondering what the afflictions are they are talking about. What would we call these things today?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Cards' Story

There was quite a post recently over at Viva El Birdos that I just had to respond to.

It's title is "My Cards' story" by chuckb, a Cardinals blogger from Texas, who writes on why he roots for the Cardinals. Despite having never been to St. Louis until 2006.

Some posts generate an awesome response, and this was one of them. So far there are 95 'comments', or should I say, 'stories'.

It's a great read. People from all over the country are responding with their own stories of why they root for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Some were people who grew up in St. Louis.

Some grew up in Missouri or a neighboring state.

Others grew up far away, such as New York or California, but had some connection to the team.

Others grew up that far away, and despite having no connection, somehow chose the Cardinals as their team.

The most common threads? Jack Buck, Harry Caray and the mighty KMOX, of course.

Some follow the team from afar and have only seen them in person when the Cardinals visit a city close by.

Others have never been to St. Louis, let alone Busch Stadium. And yet, they root.

Some are planning to make the trip at some point, as if it were some kind of pilgrimage to aspire to.

But everyone has a story to tell.

Like so many others, I also grew up on what can only be described as the 'front lines' in Central Illinois' baseball war. You either rooted for the Cardinals or the Cubs, and it was as close to a 50-50 distribution as it could probably get. You'd see the occasional White Sox fan, but they were usually just looked upon as a little 'kooky' and ignored.

I received my Cardinals gene from my father, who I think got his from his father. However, my father's mother was a staunch Cubs fan. Most people around here call that a mixed marriage.

My earliest memory of the Cardinals was celebrating the 1967 World Series. I had no idea why I was excited, but I was. From that point on, I liked to pretend to be a Cardinal player for a good part of my childhood.

My mother's side was also a mixture of Cubs and Cardinals. Her father was for the Cubs and one of her brothers is a Cardinals fan.

I just thought of can't spell Cubs without "bs".

Anyway, I think the close proximity of a hated rival makes one's rooting interest exponentially greater at a younger age.

And I needed that edginess in my neighorhood. It was lopsidedly Cub-ly.

My brother, my only brother, went over to the dark side when he was too young to know better. It's a tragic happenstance, for he wound up rooting for the Cubs. He also ended up a Cleveland Browns fan, which to this date I don't quite get. But I digress. I'll save that for another post.

I blame this on my neighborhood. All of our closest friends were Cubs fans. The influence must have been too much for him. Either that or he got too close to somebody one day and caught his Cub fan-ness like one would catch a virus.

Thankfully, the illness never infected me.

As a result, very few holidays go by without some partisan baseball smack. Fortunately for those of us on the right side of the universe, 10 championships always trumps 0 championships in the past 100 years, so we have yet to lose any argument with a Cubs fan.

My wife, Lucy, is fortunately for the Cardinals, as is my oldest son, Angus. The young one is too young to care yet, although he has developed a fondness for Jim Rome Is Burning and "foo-ball", which seems to be his favorite word right now.

There's nothing like peace at home.

In closing, just let me say this regarding my rooting interest. Although I love the Cardinals, there is a line I do draw in regards to how far I'll go in my fanaticism...

I would never, ever, do this, lest I be nominated for "Idiot of the Week."

Weekend Reading

Leviticus 3-10.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday Reading

Exodus 35-38.

I'm amazed at how difficult it is to read the KJV. Yesterday we had the difficulty of the passage from chapter 32:
"14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."

That doesn't sound right to me. So I checked other translations.

The NIV reads differently:
"14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened."

The New KJV:
"14 So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people."

Which one is correct?

There are real problems I'm running into reading this translation I hadn't anticipated. I'm no longer certain that what I'm reading is being processed correctly in my brain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

NFL Hell

Shortly after the Red Sox (2004) and the White Sox (2005) won consecutive World Series titles, the above cartoon became one of my favorites.

But I'd like to turn my attention to the football version. Yesterday's victory by the Cardinals now leaves a very short list of teams that have never gone to THE game.

1. Houston- They've had such a short life, one could hardly fault them for not getting to the Super Bowl.
2. Jacksonville- Ditto.
3. Cleveland- Perhaps a new coach can turn the tide for a truly snake-bitten team. They should have made it years ago...but why dredge up terrifying memories?
4. New Orleans- Arguably they are the team closest to breaking though on this list.
5. Detroit- I don't even know where to begin. The other 4 on this list can truly take heart, for there are obviously degrees of hell that they have not yet sunk.

The list is getting shorter and shorter. Who'll be the next escapee?

Monday Reading

Exodus 23-26.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekend Reading

Exodus 15-22.

The past few days readings have given me scads of new vocabulary words for my upcoming King James version post. I just need to find something worthy of writing about.

NFL Conference Championship Picks

Weirdness abounds in the NFC. A championship game between the supposed "worst playoff team ever" and. the team that needed a cosmically absurd series of events to happen in week 17 to even make the playoffs. And let's not forget that team also lost to the lowly Bengals earlier this year.

But, as history has shown more than once, all a team has to do is make the playoffs. Once in, anything can happen. Last year's Super Bowl victor was a #6 seed.

As 2006 showed us all, it happens in baseball, too. Unless you are the Cubs.

The NFC game also features "the Cardinals". It's been twenty two years since they left St. Louis for Arizona. There are still pockets of Cardinals fans around the area, although their numbers are at endangered species levels now.

Because I didn't like the fact the owner packed up and moved the team, I've always wanted to believe that the franchise would never prosper in Arizona. And I've mostly been right. Even though the Rams swept in and erased the collective memories of most St. Louisans about the Cardinals, I can't help but think most will root for the Eagles, just so they won't have to see Bill Bidwell (owner who moved the team) actually succeed.

The AFC game features the team that just last week I called the favorite- Baltimore. Everyone knows they have a great defense. But that's not the reason I favor them over the Steelers.

I favor them because the Steelers won the first two games. And we've seen from history how hard it is to beat a team a 3rd time in a season, especially when they are so evenly matched.

That said, if Terrell Suggs and Samari Rolle are not going to play tomorrow, then I think the Steelers will triumph.

Regardless, we should see two great games.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Reading

Exodus 3-6.

Not much new in the vocabulary department. However, I'll "keep my eyes peeled"- which is no doubt the strangest expression in the universe.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday And Tuesday Reading And Such

I've had internet connection trouble, so I didn't get to post yesterday.

Genesis 45-48 was yesterday.

Genesis 49-50 and Exodus 1-2 today.

Since I didn't get to post yesterday, I also wanted to note the 50th anniversary of Motown yesterday. I have the Motown Hitsville USA CD collection, which was actually I think the first CD set I ever purchased, and possibly the best.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Last week I was 3-1. ESPN pickers are here and here.

This week, 3 of the 4 games could go either way. That's one thing great about this year's playoffs. There's no bully, no Patriots, steam-rolling to the Super Bowl.

Right now, if I had to pick my two favorites to make the Super Bowl, I'd have to choose New York and Baltimore. Which would be an interesting rematch of 2001.


What A Sad Day

Veith's blog wanted to know the great Christian books. And no one mentioned mine.

I realize it was written less than 4 years ago, and is not explicitly Christian, but it does deal with vocation. I put a lot of time and effort into it not to have one person value its ideals.

I'm feeling very under appreciated. Sniff.

Weekend Reading

Genesis 28-44.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday Reading

Genesis 29-32.

I picked up two new vocabulary words from today- "wroth" and "chode". I shall forever try to find ways to work these two into any conversation.

And I think I'll start making a list of my new words from which to make a post in the future.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuesday Reading

Genesis 21-24.

My vocabulary is growing with the KJV. Yesterday I learned "peradventure." I can't wait to use it. I'm going to sound so smart.

Or stupid. One of those.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday Reading

Genesis 17-20.

That word replenish showed up again in Genesis 9 over the weekend. It made more sense in the context of the the post-flood world than in the creation.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Weekend Reading

Genesis 9-16.

Wildcard Picks

Last week I was 12-4. I finished the regular season 163-89-1. Which means I was able to beat out Wickersham, Schlereth, Allen, and Golic at the ESPN Expert Picks page.

Congratulations to Hoge, who came from behind to overtake Mortensen at the end and win the regular season title at 171-85. Jaworski ended up beating me by a percentage point, which I had to figure out due to the fact he doesn't pick the Monday night games. But due to me forgetting to pick 3 games, I was 2 TEN THOUSANDTHS of a percentage point behind Fleming for fourth place.

As for Sunday Countdown, I was able to best Ditka and Carter but was clipped by Johnson and Jackson.

Now come the Playoffs. I love NFL playoffs, because they're all "Game 7" types of struggles. Every possession, and often every down, are crucial.

For the first time that I can ever remember, all 4 visiting teams this weekend are favored to win. The reason is that there was such a disparity in the quality of the divisions this year. The champions of the weaker divisions are less of a threat than the runners-up of the strong ones.

And of course, last but certainly least, I have to at least acknowledge the accomplishment of the Detroit Lions. I was 9 years old when the Dolphins went undefeated for an entire season and I always wanted to see a team do the opposite. It took until the start of my 46th year on Earth to see an NFL team run the table in reverse for 16 games, so I'm not likely to ever see it happen again.

So thank you Detroit Lions. As the years go by, the significance of your accomplishment can only grow.

My only regret in the whole thing is that it happened under the watch of Rod Marinelli, a real class act on a clueless franchise. It wasn't your fault, Rod. You had to play with the hand you were dealt.

His next stop should be with the Bears. I just hope his pick and shovel didn't get lost in the disaster of 2008.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Reading

Genesis 5-8.

An interesting difference in the KJV vs. NIV is in Genesis 1:28. KJV says "replenish the earth, and subdue it."
The NIV says "fill the earth and subdue it."

The word replenish caught my eye last night reading. Replenish is kind of a weird term here, is it not? It implies restoring something, and in this case something that was just created. I just find that odd.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday Reading

This year, I'm doing something different. I'm reading the entire Bible from cover to cover, instead of reading the Old and New Testaments simultaneously "cover to cover" as I've done in the past.

I also decided to read the King James version, instead of the usual NIV. I'm not sure how this will go. I'll probably need an NIV nearby, or footnotes (no, not the Blago footnotes), to help me understand the older English.

As Clint said at the end of "For A Few Dollars More"-

"NOW we start".

Genesis 1-4.

What's New?

At Scottius Maximus Enterprises, we don't make resolutions. We set goals.

In other words, we don't resolve to exercise more in 2009. We set a goal to perform 25,000 push ups and squats. Then we devise a plan to get there.

We don't resolve to read more. We set a goal to read the Bible cover to cover. Then we devise a plan on how to get there.

We don't resolve to do a landscaping project. We set a goal to build a waterfall and fountain in 2009.

We don't resolve to post more. We set a goal to post more than 450 times in 2009. Yeah, you heard me. So look out!

Last year I didn't set any goals. So I didn't get as much done as I did in 2007. Which is okay, because I think I was tired from 2007 in 2008! I needed a break from some things, including posting. I only posted 116 times in 2008.

But here we are in 2009-...tanned...rested...and ready.

"Yeah, baby!"- Richard Nixon (here in the famous photo by Oliver Atkins).

So join me. Resolve only to have no resolutions. Then set some specific goals. It's amazing what can happen if you let it.

Oh yeah- one more thing- as in all things, the above is predicated on the short expression, Deo Volente, (that means "God Willing" for those of us from Illinois), or D.V. for short.