Monday, March 29, 2010

How was it that Duke beat Baylor?

Yesterday's basketball game between Duke and Baylor in Houston was a great contest. At the end of the first half, the Bears were ahead, and I thought they very well might win. They seemed to be more energetic and committed than what I seemed to observe with the Duke players. Kyle Singler, one of Duke's stars, was either terribly cold or effectively shut down by Baylor's great defense (or both) that first half, a situation that continued on the offensive side with him until the end of the game.

But Duke had a sort of intrepid, mature approach about them that I began to appreciate during the second half. They simply moved ahead without appearing to get too passionate about the situation. And their outside shooting and offensive rebounding were simply fantastic. During the last five minutes, Baylor seemed to lose their focus; they seemed almost frantic with their being so close to victory but not quite there yet. The technical foul committed by one of Baylor's fine players spoke to the loss of poise that finally did them in.

I think that's what did it. The Baylor players were every bit as good as Duke's. But Duke had been there before. Duke had a coach who, although he may be no more gifted than Baylor's, had many more years of tournament experience. Those things finally made the difference.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Biden: What an Embarrassment

Teen calls him out for his foul language. But the young man needs to understand that the Vice-President is working with a very limited vocabulary.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chad Henne Dissing Tebow? You're kidding, right?

From Yahoo Sports:

"My judgment is he's not an NFL quarterback. I'll leave it at that."

—Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne on former Gator quarterback Tim Tebow. However, Henne didn't leave it at that, later backtracking with, "I didn't really say he wasn't able to be (an NFL quarterback). We're all in this process of learning how to be an NFL quarterback. Obviously he's taking the right steps to improve his game. His throwing motion actually looks a lot better with his release and everything. I think his Pro Day went really well and he was happy with it."

Mr. Tebow has a Heisman, Mr. Henne does not.

Mr. Tebow was twice a first-team All-American. Mr. Henne was never a first-team all American

Mr. Tebow was once a second-team All-American. Mr. Henne was never a second-team All-American.

Mr. Tebow won the Maxwell Award twice. Mr. Henne was once a Maxwell Award finalist.

Mr. Tebow was three times First Team All-SEC. Mr. Henne was once All-Big Ten Conference Honorable Mention and once All-Big Ten Conference Second Team.

Mr. Tebow was on a National Champtionship team. Michigan has had no national championship football team in many years.

He's a great person [Tebow] and a heck of a quarterback. He's a courageous, competitive, playmaking, indestructible force, and I think he's going to be a great success.

-John Gruden.

"As a coach, I always like winners," [former Indianapolis Head Coach Tony] Dungy said. "Tim Tebow doesn't have the classic throwing motion, he doesn't have the accuracy, maybe, right now that some people are looking for, but I think when he gets into a pro system that really stresses throwing the ball accurately, the big thing is he makes the people around him better. And he's won. ... I think he's going to be a great player in the NFL."

Dungy said that if he were running a team with a Top 10 pick, he'd take Tebow. Patrick then asked Dungy who he'd pick for his team if he could have any of the top college quarterbacks, including Washington's Jake Locker, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Texas's Colt McCoy. Dungy didn't hesitate and said, "I'm taking Tebow."

-NBC Sports Interview here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not Happy with Mr. Stupak

Stupak's Competition

Right to Life. I believe in the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Paramount is life. From conception to death, all human life must be considered sacred and must be protected.

-Dan Benisheck, running against Stupak.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fess Parker Dies

I was nine years old when Walt Disney introduced Fess Parker as Davy Crockett on Disney's Sunday night TV show, Disneyland. Within weeks, we were all running around in ersatz coonskin caps, toy flintlock rifles, and singing all umtillion verses of "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier." One of the first 45RPM records I bought with my allowance was that song. I'm sure I drove my parents nuts.

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
Greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so he knew every tree
Killed him a Bar when he was only three!

Davy, Davy Crockett,
King of the Wild Frontier
Davy, Davy Crockett,
King of the Wild Frontier!

He was an actor whose personal life seemed to be as sound as the values Davy Crockett stood for, at least as Walt Disney presented them. I just hated it when he died in the Alamo, but my mom told me that we were related to Col. Travis, and that helped some. Davy's motto was "Be sure you're right; then go ahead." His flintlock's name was "Betsy" and she had her own song, "Bang, Went Ol' Betsy."

Bang Went Ol' Betsy
I owe my life to Betsy
I can travel far and wide
With Betsy by my side!

A few years later John Wayne starred in another telling of the Alamo, and as Davy Crockett. He was good, but it should have been Fess Parker. Only the fact that it was John Wayne prevented me from walking right out.

Frontierland at Disneyland, the amusement park, and at Disney World in Orlando were based on the Davy Crockett series.

Fess Parker was a University of Texas grad. That sounds only right.

And, no, Carol is not related to Davy Crockett. At least not that we know of.

Home Improvement

The next upgrade at Dove Avenue: a garage door cover.

More here. (Thanks, Juan!)

The Basketball Battle of the Century

It looks like Pine Bluff!

Go, Duke!

The Grove Struggles

Today's Herald. A victim, in part, of the bursting of the real estate bubble: The rents got too high; Cocowalk's new owner paid to much; and now stores are half-empty. The article mentions commercial cannibalism by other, newer developments.

I would note that the nearest MetroRail station is not within walking distance of the Grove. Mary Brickell Village, on the other hand, is quite close to both MetroRail and the PeopleMover. Brickell's overbuilding was mainly residential, although there is some new retail. Now the condo and apartment prices for new residences in the off-but-not-too-off-Brickell area are fairly reasonable. The South Miami retail district, which has had its own struggles, is doing fairly well, as the article notes: it is also near a MetrolRail station, the U, and has a new Whole Foods.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maybe we'll move . . .

Killing Buzz

I'm a little late getting around to this, but I went on my Gmail account, scrolled down to the bottom, pressed "Turn off Buzz," and then followed through on killing the connection.

Speaking of "Arrogance Quotients", there seems to be no limit in the Google home office. (Although I will give them credit for pushing back on Communist China.)

Mr. Obama's Problem is Not a Failure to Communicate

In Marvin Olasky's excellent column in the March 13, 2010, issue of World Magazine, entitled "A Better Path," he writes:

Now the big question is whether President Obama will think that his problem is merely a failure to communicate. He should read the work of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto Polar, who describes [in his book, The Other Path: the Economic Answer to Terrorism]the "tremendous conceptual error" of his country's leaders in words that should make the Obama administration tremble: "the assumption that, in an urban society swamped by migration, a ruler can know everything that is going on in the country and that a new social order can be built on this presumed knowledge."

As de Soto notes, "In such a society, with millions of people whose specialization makes them interdependent, with complex systems of communication between producers and buyers, creditors and debtors, employers and employees, with a constantly evolving technology, with competition and a daily flow of information from other countries, it is physically impossible to be familiar with and directly run even a small fraction of national activities."

Anyone without a high AQ—arrogance quotient—knows this.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Robotic Surgery

I have two friends with prostate cancer. For one of them, the recommendation is surgery, the other radiation. The surgery recommended for the one is robotic surgery at South Miami Hospital. The Herald has a good article this morning on the subject of robotic surgery. Be sure to read the article to the very end, if you are interested, as it quotes critics of the surgery, including Michael J. Barry of Massachusetts General.

Keller's "The Importance of Hell"

I had apparently given one of the newer men in our Friday breakfast group the impression that I was weak-in-the-knees about hell. I don’t know exactly what I said that may have given him that impression, but I do recall that I referred to the “lake of fire” as a “metaphor,” and it seemed to concern him that I didn't see it "literally."

The next Friday he brought me a copy of an article by Tim Keller, entitled The Importance of Hell, as a corrective, I think. (The article is well worth reading, and can be found in its entirely at the link.)

In the article, Keller writes in part:

Virtually all commentators and theologians believe that the Biblical images of fire and outer darkness are metaphorical . . . Even Jonathan Edwards pointed out that the Biblical language for hell was symbolic, but, he added “when metaphors are used in Scripture about spiritual things . . . they fall short of the literal truth.”

Keller makes it plain that separation from God is such an awful state that it is beyond description. Metaphors, then, are the only thing Jesus could resort to in order to explain how awful it is.

Dealing with the metaphor of fire and darkness and the like has significance in terms of our personal evangelism. Keller states later in the article:

I’ve found that only stressing the symbols of hell (fire and darkness) in preaching rather than going into what the symbols refer to (eternal, spiritual decomposition) actually prevents modern people from finding hell a deterrent. Some years ago I remember a man who said that talk about the fires of hell simply didn’t scare him. It seemed too far-fetched, even silly. So I read him lines from C.S. Lewis:

“Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of Gold ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell until it is nipped in the bud.”

To my surprise he got very quiet and said, “Now that scares me to death.”

As a “modern person,” I can tell you that this scares me to death too. Sometimes I think that I am mostly grumble already! But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Lars and the Real Girl"

Carol read the review of this movie at the Christianity Today website, we ordered the film from Netflix, and saw it last night. Despite the unusual premise (very shy young man orders a life-size sex doll over the internet and then has a chaste relationship with "her"), it will grab your heart and not quite break it.

Furthermore, it makes Christians look good. That's probably even more unusual than the premise.

Anatomy & Physiology Camp

This sounds like fun!

The purpose of these camps is to enable 9th - 12th grade students to better understand human anatomy and physiology by engaging in a variety of unique, in-depth, hands-on experiments, labs, and assessments . . . and have fun doing it! There are no prerequisites for attending this camp.

Anatomy and Physiology Camp is appropriate for all high school age students but is especially geared toward students interested in careers such as medicine, physical therapy, physician's assistant, dentistry, nursing, biology, exercise science, sports medicine, chiropractic, athletic training, nutrition, forensics, etc

And all from a Christian worldview.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Goths, Spain, and Bibles

When Carol and I visited Spain with Mary in April of 2008, one of the highlights was Toledo. As our guidebook reported: "In a landscape of abrasive desolation, Toledo sits on a rocky mound isolated on three sides by a looping gorge of the Rio Tajo. Every available inch of this outcrop has been built upon: churches, synagogues, mosques and houses are heaped upon one another in a haphazard spiral which the cobbled lanes infiltrate as best they can." We had a very nice hotel, located a vegetarian restaurant with tasty food, and saw terrific sights, about which we posted a little here.

Among the sights was Toledo Cathedral. There at the cathedral we learned a little more about the Visigoths, because a mass in the "Gothic rite" continues to be celebrated there. In Cordova, we had first learned about the Goths at one of the museums. This Germanic tribe had ruled Spain before they were driven from power by the Moors. They were Christian, and their sect persisted during Islam's rule, to emerge on the other side of history when Isabella drove the Muslims from Spain. After some tension between those who followed the Gothic Rite and the Catholics, they made their peace. On Thursdays one could go to the Toledo Cathedral and celebrate the Gothic mass.

I am reading Metzger and Ehrman's The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Fourth Edition), and today I read there an account of the Gothic Version of the Bible:

Shortly after the middle of the fourth century, Ulfilas, often called the "apostle to the Goths," translated the Bible from Greek into Gothic. For this purpose, he created the Gothic alphabet and reduced the spoken language to written form. The Gothic version is the earliest known literary monument in a Germanic dialect.

As I read this fascinating book, it becomes evident that the development of literacy in the Western world was propelled by the Bible. That is, there was such a thirst for the Gospel, the Acts, the Pauline and Catholic epistles, that there developed profound advances in the technology of books (moving from scrolls to codices, that is to books), the adoption of a cursive form of writing Greek to replace the block form that made copying so slow, even to the invention of written languages (such as that which was a precursor of German), and the rise of a class of educated people who were not necessarily among the nobility. All of this a thousand years before the printing press, itself an invention the crucial market for which was the production of Bibles.


With the exception of St. Jerome, more is known of the life and work of SS. Cyril and Methodius, the apostles to the Slavs, than of any other translators of an ancient version of the Bible. Sons of a wealthy official in Slavonica, they are credited with the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet, as well as the so-called Cyrillic alphabet. Soon after the middle of the ninth century, they began translating the Gospels (probably in the form of a Greek lectionary) into Old Bulgarian, commonly called Old Slavonic. - Metzger and Ehrman, op cit., at p. 121

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Change: Removing the Shoe, Shooting the Foot

One reason that so many of our jobs have "moved overseas" is because of the way we tax the US corporations who create those jobs. If a US corporation has its operations division here in the US, the corporation is subject to income tax on the profit the people in those jobs produce. However, if the corporation moves those operations overseas, then it can escape the US corporate income tax on those earnings, at least until it decides to "repatriate" those earnings, which may be never.

There is double taxation on corporate earnings, as you may know. (This applies to "C Corporations" not to "S Corporations" which small businesses use.) The income is taxed at the corporate level first. Then, when what is left over of a corporation's earnings is distributed to the shareholders as dividends, the shareholder is taxed. The corporation gets no deduction for what it distributes to the owners. So an earnings dollar is taxed twice, once at the corporate level and once at the shareholder level. By putting operations overseas, however, the US corporation defers indefinitely the tax at the corporate level.

There is change in the air! You might think that the change is to reduce the negative impact of double taxation and encourage US corporations to bring their offshore operations back to the Homeland. Such a thing would surely help the US economy, no?

It would help the economy, but that's not the change that Washington has in mind. For one thing, the tax on dividends will go back up next year. And, for another, and this is big change, there is a movement to tax US corporations on their "worldwide" income, whether or not the US corporation chooses to bring the overseas income back home. Will that bring the jobs back home? Not so much, I think.

How may the tax on a US corporation's worldwide earnings be avoided? Here's an idea, let's not be a US corporation anymore. There's change for you. This is exactly what Rupert Murdock seem to be contemplating with News Corporation. He is moving News Corporation to Dubai. There is nothing in the article at the link about this motive, but my bet is that the prospective change in the US corporate tax system is behind it.

Hardly a great American, one might say of Murdock. But America was built on entrepreneurial spirit and a distaste for taxes. I would say, then, that he is a great American.

Monday, March 08, 2010

"[A] huge, wealth destroying, regulatory machine . . ."

There is one of those in Ottowa, according to David Warren. (Thanks, Macon.)

There is one of those in Sacramento, but not in Austin, according to Michael Barone. (Thanks, Glenn Reynolds.)

There is at least one of those in Miami-Dade County, but you would have to add the word "corruption" somewhere in the tag line.

Tallahassee is trying very hard to grow one.

The common denominator in all of these is the public sector union.