ornament 29 February 2008 ornament

[Link] Elusive Knuckleball Gives Pitcher Chance at Majors

Elusive Knuckleball Gives Pitcher Chance at Majors: Fascinating NPR interview with Seattle Mariner (former Vol) R.A. Dickey, who was withdrawn his major league signing bonus after the discovery that he was missing a ligament in his pitching arm.

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ornament 19 February 2008 ornament

[Link] Interviews 50 Cents

The allure of the ordinary: Slate V’s vodcast series – “Interviews 50 Cents” beats any celebrity interview I’ve seen in a long time. The “beer hat” guy is especially hilarious.

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ornament 5 February 2008 ornament

The lesser of two evils?

“I’m just gonna vote for the lesser of two evils.”

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that phrase from evangelical Christians in recent weeks. Usually this has been in the context of Mitt Romney and John McCain. There’s a great problem in the statement, and it has little to do with McCain or Romney. Compare this ethic of adopting the “lesser of two evils” with the ethic presented us by the Apostle Paul:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. [Romans 12:9, ESV]

Abstain from every form of evil. [1 Thessalonians 5:22, ESV]

Christians are not called to do evil, but good. How then does this work out in such seemingly impossible situations as the voting booth? The simple answer is to do good by your vote. If at any point a Christian determines he is doing evil, he should refrain.

In the midst of difficult dilemmas, there may indeed be a “good” choice after all. It would be, for example, a good action to use deadly violence against a terrorist who is about to shoot up a shopping mall. The same thinking can be applied to Just War Theory, choosing from a cholesterol-laden menu, and yes, even the voting booth.

So, if you’re voting, don’t do evil.

If you’ve already voted, don’t vote again.

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104 – 82!

MMMMMM, Gator tastes gooood!

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ornament 4 February 2008 ornament

Super Tuesday Predictions

Since I missed my Super Bowl predictions, why not try something a little more safe, like Super Tuesday? I predict:

  • My trash will be picked up
  • D.C. traffic will be bad
  • I will have at least two meetings at work
  • Catholics everywhere will get fat

And you thought I was going to say that John McCain would win the bulk of Republican delegates and Hillary Clinton would upset Barack Obama in the Democratic race…

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Novels of Night and Shadow

Even the most robust readers in the world take the time to do some reading that is more recreational in nature. While I do not count myself within the realm of the world’s most robust readers, I do frequently engage in recreational reading.

In the past year or so, I’ve found myself drawn to the novels of Alan Furst, whose novels fall not-so-neatly into the genre of the spy thriller. Set in the period preceding and during the Second World War, Furst’s novels follow the exploits of ordinary Europeans who find themselves in circumstances which put upon them the extraordinary.

Furst’s characters are everymen from nowhere. They are from oft-forgotten places and hold unlikely jobs. For Americans who know little of the eastern front of WWII, the novels can also serve as a good historical primer for the happenings of pre-war Europe.

I’ve always been a sucker for great beginnings, and Furst doesn’t disappoint in setting the stage. Take this opening line from the premiere novel in his series, Night Soldiers:

In Bulgaria, in 1934, on a muddy street in the river town of Vidin, Khristo Stoianev saw his brother kicked to death by fascist militia.

It draws you in, doesn’t it? Furst’s slavish attention to detail draws the reader into a setting where uncertainty is unavoidable, yet his plots seem to work themselves out. His protagonists walk tightropes that could land them in the vicious hands of the ruthless Nazi Gestapo — or possibly worse, the Soviet NKVD. His characters are never islands, and realize that in a deadly world, heroic individualism always ends up in failure. And failure, more often than not, means death.

The volumes I have read so far include:

For recreational reading with just enough heft so you won’t feel guilty, you might want to give them a look. You’ll also be in good company. I came across one noteworthy Amazon reviewer who loves all of Furst’s books: former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who has a great review of Night Soldiers.

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[Link] All the Super Bowl ads, in one place

All the Super Bowl ads, in one place.

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ornament 3 February 2008 ornament

Surfacing

In case you didn’t notice — and it’s highly likely you didn’t — I more or less took the month of January off from blogging. Sure, there were a few links distributed here and there on the side, but it was a nice rest — especially for you, the erstwhile reader. Just think of all the presidential primary analysis from which you were spared (I’m sure you were able to find some somewhere).

You can thank me later, because I’m back starting tomorrow.

As they say, stay tuned…

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