Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hooray the Allen Institute

"Open Science" and the brain. (I posted on the Allen Institute previously.)

Cain May Drop Out. Blue Dog Alternate.

It seems to me that any Republican Presidential contender who thinks that his sexual immorality will escape the avid attention of the media, is really not smart enough for the job anyway.

Speaking of politics, which I don't do much anymore since the near demise of the Blue Dogs (although Heath Shuler hangs in there big time), I liked this post on Ann Althouse' blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tebow Takes Denver within Striking Distance of the Playoffs


He's 5-1 since he started.

Tonight I heard Troy Aikman discuss Tebow on ESPN radio. He gave the credit he must give TT for his record to date, but stated that Tebow's "mechanics" will finally doom his team never to achieve the ultimate championship. Aikman also mentioned how well the Broncos' defense is now playing, a point detractors are lately making in their attempts to understand what has happened to Denver. (All the detractors are careful to say how much they "like" Tebow.)

I haven't heard anyone state that Tebow may have developed a different way to play the game successfully. That's my friend Sam's view, however. Sam is a student of Gator football and, naturally, has followed Tebow from the beginning. I think Sam may be right.

Spending Time with Some Giants.

Today I had the pleasure of spending the greater part of the afternoon with Bill White, pastor of UBC, and our pastor, Van Lahmeyer.

This evening I had dinner with Alec Hill, President of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and with Gary Cameron, Area Director of the Graduate and Faculty Ministries ("GFM") of Intervarsity. Alec is spending the night with us tonight during his trip this week to South Florida.

The Kingdom is in good hands. It was a wonderful day.

Repeat, Reassure, Resume

Juan and I discussed a particularly difficult client yesterday, someone who likes to control any agenda he comes near. The client's strategy of choice is to ask questions about whatever issue pops into his mind, especially if it is not related to the particular issue presented by the lawyer. This kind of a client is a troubling one for Juan and me, because we tend to be "pleasers." Clients don't need us to be pleasers, they need us to be lawyers.

Juan spoke to his father about this kind of client. Juan's father is a very experienced and successful real estate broker. His father described "the Three R's" as his way of dealing with these kinds of situations: Repeat, Reassure, and Resume.

Thus, when one is presenting the matter at hand to the client and the client wants to talk about something else, then the lawyer repeats the point he or she has made. Then the lawyer reassures the client that his question is an important one and that it will be addressed some other time. Finally, the lawyer resumes the discussion of the matter at hand.

This cycle may go on for quite some time and doesn't necessarily get things back on track the first time around. Or the 12th time.

Obviously, this approach would be useful in relationships in addition to the attorney-client or broker-customer relationships where one stands in any sort of fiduciary relationship with another.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Herzlich Starts for the Giants Tonight

Against the Eagles.

He is the rookie cancer survivor.

UPDATE: The Giants lost, but Herzlich had four tackles.

Living Water. Dead Water. Mel Gibson as Bible Authority

Today our Sunday School class addressed John 4:1-15, the first half of the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman that commenced at Jacob's well.

After the class, several of us lingered and discussed the question of whether Jesus spoke Greek (and, by extension, whether John the Apostle spoke and perhaps wrote in Greek). This was important because I had during the class noted that there were two Greek forms of the word “well” (as in Jacob’s well) in the first 15 verses in Chapter 4 of John. (I’m using the 1984 NIV version here, as I do in the class.)

I observed that the Greek word for “fountain” or “spring” is used each time that the word translated “well” in English appears in verse 6. In verse 6, John, the author, is setting the stage for the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

The Greek word for “fountain” or “spring” is used again in verse 14. In that verse we have a direct quotation of Jesus.

On the other hand, the Greek word for “cistern” is translated “well” in verses 11 and 12. Here the word appears when John quotes the woman.

The Scholars that I read in preparation for the lesson note that this distinction is very important. Water from a fountain or spring is healthy, life-giving, and continuous, like the Spirit, like the river of water in Psalm 1. That is what Jesus offers. It is “living water.” It is water that doesn't run out.

Water drawn from a cistern, a closed container where water is collected from another source, rain for example, is often dirty, scummy, unhealthy, unsatisfying. It is dead water.It is also a limited source of water. It will run out, especially in a time when you might need it most, a drought for example.

During our discussion after the class, one of us expressed the view that Jesus spoke in Aramaic and not Greek. He suggested that this distinction may not have been in the original conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well. It might have been introduced by whoever may have translated this into Greek. His source for the idea that Jesus spoke Aramaic was the film, The Passion of the Christ. I replied that I had read that Mel Gibson’s film had been criticized by scholars for having Jesus speak in Aramaic and that it was my understanding that the characters in the NT spoke “market-place Greek” or Koine.

This afternoon I went over my notes and I found the source that discussed Mel Gibson’s film. Craig L. Blomberg, in The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Second Edition) (IVP 2007) writes as follows on page 16:

"In 2004, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Cross, enthralled viewers around the world. The film was based on some serious research but it, too, contained some glaring errors, most notably the exclusive use of either Aramaic or Latin on the lips of Jewish and Roman characters who would have communicated with each other almost entirely in Greek! [italics and exclamation point are Blomberg’s]"

The quote from Blomberg has a footnote: “For a thorough analysis, see Corley and Webb, Passion of the Christ.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Broncos 17, the Jets 13 (Updated w/ Video)


Said Broncos coach John Fox: "He's just a competitive dude. He's super competitive. He never lays his sword down. He's going to fight you to the death."

-On Tebow's 20 yard touchdown run, in the last 50 seconds of the game, to beat New York!

Link to video.

Here's an interesting analysis
of TT from sportswriter Martin Manley of the Kansas City Star.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Children at Risk Because of the Standard American Diet

A new analysis of federal data provides a dismal picture of children's cardiovascular health that suggests the current generation of teenagers could be at risk of increased heart disease.

The study, which examined children between 12 and 19 years old in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the adolescents performed poorly overall on a set of seven criteria set by the American Heart Association for ideal cardiovascular health.

Diet in particular was a problem, with not one of the 5,450 children randomly selected for the survey from the U.S. population meeting the standards for diet. Taking out the diet measure, still just 16.4% of boys and 11.3% of girls were rated ideal on all of the other six criteria, which included smoking, exercise, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.


-From today's WSJ and an article on page A3 entitled "Kids' Heart Health Is Faulted:
Analysis of Federal Data Finds Shortcomings in Diet, Exercise, Cholesterol Levels."


After Carol read the article, she had the following comments:

This goes along exactly with what they said at our Engine 2 Immersion weekend. They said virtually the entire US population – including children – now show signs of heart disease. (They figure this out by doing autopsies of children and young adults who die in accidents or by some kind of trauma.) During WWII when they autopsied young men killed in the war there was a good percentage whose arteries were not diseased, but by the time of the Viet Nam war all the young men were showing signs of heart disease. And now, they said, even children were showing those signs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Carol Makes a Vegan Lasagna!

Uncle Sam as Baal


The November 19, 2011 issue of World Magazine addresses the increasing dependency of Americans on government, especially the federal government. "Trends suggest that half of American children will use food stamps" states the cover, and there is much more inside.

The cover, by the way, is really clever, and worthy of a GlennzTees tee-shirt at least, if not a Despair poster that might say "Hello, I'm from the Government and I'm Here to Help You." (Note the lower left hand corner of the photo.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

"The Screwtape Letters"- the Show

Carol and I saw Max McLean's performance of the Screwtape Letters on Saturday. Thus, I became reacquainted with the classic little book by C.S. Lewis in a very entertaining, even profound way. An added treat is that Mr. McLean comes back on stage after the performance and answers questions from the audience. He is very good with his answers.

The show is coming to Dallas this coming Saturday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Succession Non-Planning

Today at our breakfast, we considered 1 Samuel 8. The NIV section heading that covers chapter 8 is "Israel Asks for a King." Indeed, whenever I have heard a sermon or lesson on chapter 8, the discussion centered on the matter of Israel asking for a king, and God acceding to that request even though God tells his people through Samuel that it won't be good for them.

At the very beginning of that chapter, however, we see that the real problem is "succession planning" on the part of Samuel. Samuel "grew old" as it states in verse one, and appoints his sons as judges. His sons have turned out to be corrupt, just as did the sons of Eli. In fact, Samuel adopted Eli's succession plan and, again, that plan utterly fails.

This made me think of Joe Paterno and the monstrous problem now facing Penn State. The man is 84 years old, for crying out loud. His succession plan was apparently to live forever, and Penn State bought into that.

As alleged, Joe was told of the despicable act that Sandusky committed in the football team's shower room in 2002. His response was to tell an assistant to take care of the problem. That's what you might do if you are 74 years old, it's at the end of the day (or the middle of the afternoon), and the problem is not one that you feel like facing yourself. After all, you're tired and this is messy, so let one of the younger people deal with it, one of your "sons", so to speak.

What would Joe have done had he been 54 or 44? I think he would have gone to Sandusky's office, beat him to a pulp, and thrown him on the street. And then called the police.

That's why, when one gets into middle age and older, one deals with oneself and one's responsibilities differently, with due regard for the passage of time and its effects on one's body and spirit. Every organization, whether business, church, or family, needs to deal with the problem of the father or the father-figure beginning to fade, fading, and disappearing. Penn State failed at that. Israel failed at that. There is nothing new under the sun.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Traffic Jams Jamming Brain Development in Children

According to today's WSJ, "Scientists increasingly link vehicle exhaust with brain-cell damage, higher rates of autism."

Among other things, the article cites a New Jersey study that found that

Premature births, a risk factor for cognitive delays, dropped 11% in areas around highway toll plazas after the introduction of E-ZPass, which eased traffic congestion and reduced exhaust fumes.

Caffeine: the Final Frontier (Updated)

The other thing I ask people to think about is coffee with caffeine. There’s a significant study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that took a group of young adults and half got coffee with caffeine and the other half had coffee without caffeine. The group that drank the coffee with caffeine had injury and impairment to the lining of their arteries and their blood vessels. So, you can still have coffee, but we would prefer that it be without caffeine.

-Dr. Esselstyn, here.

Here is the study to which I think Dr. Esselstyn refers. Here are the conclusions of that study, at least in what I take to be the abstract:

CC [caffeinated coffee as distinguished from decaf] acutely induced unfavorable cardiovascular effects, especially on endothelial function. In the fasting state, insulin secretion is also likely reduced after CC ingestion. Future studies will determine whether CC has detrimental clinically relevant effects, especially in unhealthy subjects.

What is "endothelial function?" Wikipedia describes endothelial dysfunction in part as follows:

Endothelial dysfunction is a systemic pathological state of the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) and can be broadly defined as an imbalance between vasodilating and vasoconstricting substances produced by (or acting on) the endothelium.[1] Normal functions of endothelial cells include mediation of coagulation, platelet adhesion, immune function and control of volume and electrolyte content of the intravascular and extravascular spaces. Endothelial dysfunction can result from and/or contribute to several disease processes, as occurs in septic shock, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, it can also result from environmental factors, such as from smoking tobacco products and exposure to air pollution.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mary Pops Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

Mary makes popcorn in a brown bag. She puts 1/4 cup of loose popcorn kernels in a 5 1/8 x 3 3/8 x 10 5/8 inch brown paper bag, a lunch bag that you buy in a package of 50. After adding the popcorn to the bag, she folds over the top a couple of times, and sticks it in the microwave. If you want oil, you can pour a little into the bag over the corn before you close up the bag and pop it. But I don't pour in the oil anymore.

I used to think that I was fine with the microwave popcorn packages that came in boxes that said "94% Fat Free Butter." But I don't anymore since Carol got back from Austin about 6 weeks ago.

Six weeks or so ago, Carol attended an Engine 3 Immersion program in Austin with Mary Ann. She learned that you shouldn't eat oil at all, whether plant-based or not. She also learned not to trust what's written on the front of boxes containing food. She said you had to read what is on the back of the box or package.

On the back of the Act II 94% Butter-Free box, I learned that it doesn't really say what "94% Fat Free Butter-Free" really means. What is the math all about here? Instead, I looked on that little label on the back, which a Democrat Congress sometime in the dim past probably required the food industry to apply, and it indicates that there is a good deal of fat left in the packages. So now I fix popcorn in the form of loose kernels in a brown bag as Mary does, and I don't use any oil.

(It's probably unfair to say that but for the Democrats, food labels would be a complete pack of lies. What I really think is that it was a compromise. The politicians, both Republican and Democrat, told the food industry that they could say whatever they want to say on the front of the box, provided that they at least approach the truth on the back. There is even trickery on the back of the box, but if you know the tricks, then you can pretty much figure it out, as Carol and Mary Ann learned in Austin.)

As I go through yet another of these food sea-changes in my life (not sea-food changes; I don't eat sea-food anymore. I'm talking about popcorn here.), I thought I would read about how much popcorn cost. Carol would bring home from Publix for Mary's visits Orville Redenbacher's Original Popcorn Kernels, in the 30 oz. Jar, plus the paper bags. One would think that he could certainly trust Orville to be fair on the cost side.

Orville's popcorn on Amazon costs about 21 cents an ounce, if you are a Prime customer and don't have to pay postage.

Amazon also carries, however, Arrowhead Mills Organic Popcorn, sells it in a pack of six 28 oz. packages , and the cost of the corn is about 11 cents an ounce. Plus the popcorn pops into bigger popped kernels, there are significantly fewer unpopped kernels left in the the bag, and it tastes better than Orville's.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Unlikeable Sagal a Bandit

The popular NPR program "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" pokes mean fun at people, mainly those with middle-class values. Their clever creator and host, Peter Sagal, is mostly smart, very fast-witted, irreverent, and, at least to Carol and me, we of middle-class values, thoroughly unlikeable. A couple of years ago I was simply amazed to attend a grand dinner given in Orlando by Bessemer Trust for estate planning lawyers and find him to be the speaker. Unlike his performances on NPR, he was unprepared, unfunny, and boring. (What in the world was Bessemer thinking?)

Today's WSJ reports that Sagal is one of those people who runs in a marathon but will not pay the fee. According to the WSJ article (access to which does not require a subscription), these sorts of people are called "Bandits" in the world of running-event sponsors. I'm surprised he is a runner, but am not surprised that Sagal does this sort of thing if he is. (But, yes, how bourgeois of us to think so.)

Florida Republicans Sell-Out on Gambling

Disgusting.

The[Genting] company must want to accelerate the project, because it has hired a team of lobbyists that includes fundraiser Brian Ballard, who is close to Scott; former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz Balart; and Orlando lawyer and businessman Harkley Thornton, a close friend of House Speaker Dean Cannon.

Last night, Helen Ferre interviewed Lincoln Diaz-Balart on Channel 2. I couldn't believe it. I thought I had been transported to New Jersey. (As soon as the video of the interview is up on the WPBT website, I'll link it.)

Friday, November 04, 2011

"Oversigning": Survival of the Fittest in the SEC

From the perspective of a Buckeye . . . , a Buckeye . . ., uh, a Buckeye person.

The WSJ has an article on it today, entitled LSU-Alabama: the Superbowl of Oversigning, in commemoration of the game of the young century tomorrow night.

Oversigning is a terrible, terrible thing.

Terrible.

But seriously, do you suppose there is a connection between the performance of the top SEC teams and the practice of "oversigning?" People I know who seem to understand college football tell me that the main problem that college football coaches have is of keeping the players motivated from week to week. The Herald wrote this week of Coach Golden's problems with the Hurricanes in this respect. Knowing that there is someone on the sidelines ready to eat my lunch would probably keep me focused.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

"Prayer" by Marie Howe

Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important

calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage

I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here

among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.

The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?

My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.

Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.

(More of and about Marie Howe here.)


But compare:

Romans 8:26: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Glenn Strikes Again!



GlennzTees

"[A]s soon as he knows better the orthography of the language"

So Carlos and Caryn, friends of ours, our family, and our church, a Wycliffe missionary couple in Niger, write of their friend "H," who is helping with the translation:

Last month’s workshop on translation principles was a great help to the team. We recently loaded the translation software in 'H's' computer, so that he can work on translation as well (as soon as he knows better the orthography of his language). Up to now, 'H' has only worked on back translations into the official language, in preparation for meetings with a consultant. However, this would be the first time that he does actual translation. In principle, having two translators working at the same time on different passages will help the work to move along faster. In any case, please be in prayer that 'A' and 'H' would learn the orthography of their language quickly, and that they would work well together as a team.

I will be in prayer. But I am fascinated by the word "orthography." What does it mean?

Ortho, my office Webster's New International Second Edition Unabridged ("WSI") tells me, is from the Greek "orthos meaning straight, upright, right, true, hence, also correct, regular."

Thus, ortho-doxa, orthodox, a right opinion; ortho-dontia, straight teeth; finally, ortho-graphy, writing correctly, or as WSI continues:

"1. The art of writing words with the proper letters, according to standard usage; correct spelling; also, mode of spelling; as vicious orthography. 2. The art of grammar which treats of the letters and the art of spelling. 3. A drawing in correct projection, esp. and elevation."

I know a lot of people who treat spelling viciously. As for my own gifts, I think the "art of spelling" fits nicely.