A Meaningful Game

The difference between baseball and just about any other sport is that with other sports, almost every game has meaning. Case in point: NFL teams play 16 regular season games. Every game counts, because just one game is worth 6.25% of the season.

But with Major League Baseball? They play 162 games. That’s ten times as much. So if an NFL team has an 0-7 record, it’s pretty much impossible for them to make it to the playoffs, but if a MLB team starts out with an 0-7 record, it is totally possible for them to make it to the postseason.

That’s why tonight’s game is fun to watch: It’s the first baseball game of the year that actually determines something based on the outcome of this one game. I know if the Cubs had won one more game, they would have gotten home field advantage, but that wasn’t one game where you could watch and think “If they win THIS game….”

But tonight’s game? The team that loses is done until spring training, their quest for a trophy is over. The team that wins gets to move on and play the Royals. This is what makes tonight’s game exciting.

But I confess, as a Cubs fan, I am mostly looking forward to the game tomorrow night that means something, the one where (hopefully) the Cubs beat the Pirates to get the opportunity to go up against the MLB team with the best record in baseball:  the St Louis Cardinals.

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Another Shooting

So there’s been another shooting. Another person with a gun decided to break the law and shoot people that didn’t deserve to be shot.

I want you to use your imaginations for a minute.

Let’s set the stage. Imagine you’re in a large, gymnasium-sized room. There is one door. There are a bunch of people standing around. There is a table on your right that has some guns on it. There is a bunch of chairs on the left with a sign that says that guns aren’t allowed in the chair area.

Suddenly a person walks into the room and starts shooting people. People scream and try to run. He guns them down. All of a sudden, a loudspeaker starts blaring instructions, “Everyone, there is a shooter in the room. Proceed to the gun-free chair area for your safety. Do not pick up a gun. Just remain calm and have a seat in the gun free zone.”

What do you do?

I submit that anyone with a lick of sense would defend their own life, and the lives of those around them against someone so evil as to take lives without cause or legal right. Those who would sit in the chairs, placing their trust in the “no guns” sign are fools. The shooter BY DEFINITION is not following the law, and therefore hiding behind a law is not only foolish, it’s deadly.

The answer to people who break the law is not “more law.” The answer is “more guns.” Deterrence. If every teacher and student in a college had a pistol and had been taught how to use it (perhaps a required class in freshman orientation), anybody (including one of the teachers or students I just mentioned) who tries to shoot a bunch of people will only succeed in shooting the first couple before being shot in return.

How long will we let this madness continue?

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This is ridiculous sensationalism of the worst sort. It’s practically lying on the part of WTHR (the Indianapolis NBC affiliate).

The title reads “Northern Indiana Pizza Shop Unknowingly Caters Gay Wedding, Despite Christian Beliefs.”

Someone at WTHR has a funny idea of what exactly constitutes “catering.” I worked as a caterer in college. There is a process in catering where the customer asks the restaurant to deliver the food, set it up, serve it, and take everything back down, cleaning up afterward. That’s catering.

What happened here was that someone from the wedding decided they wanted to go get a couple pizzas, walked in to Memories Pizza, ordered a few pizzas, paid for them, and walked out. That’s not catering by any stretch.

WTHR, after you get done looking up the definition of “catering”, perhaps you could look up “yellow journalism.”

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No New Phone for Me

I took my son in to get his new phone last month. He got the Galaxy S6. I was so impressed by it that I started investigating the differences between the iPhone and the Samsung phones. From what I can gather, the Samsung S6 is a better phone than the iPhone 6 (and quite possibly, the 6s which comes out later this month). Verizon just changed their plan structure, so I asked them, “When can I get a new phone?” They said, “you can get one now if you switch to our new plan.”

That sounded good, so I waited until we had enough money for me to cover the taxes on the new phone (they divide the cost of the phone over 24 months interest free while they cut your monthly plan payment in half from $40 to $20). While I was waiting, I did some research and finally settled on getting the Galaxy Note 5. I really like the multitasking abilities of the android system that I’ve seen my son use. The ability to have my note taking app open at the same time as my Bible really appeals to me.

I went into Verizon this morning to get my first ever purchased android phone. After waiting about ten minutes, a lady came over and got my phone number and checked my ID. When I told her what I wanted to do, she said, “Well, it says here your current contract doesn’t run out until November.” I said, “I know, but they said I could come in and get a new phone on the payment plan with no contract.” She said, “Well, that’s true, but if you do that, you have to trade in your iPhone, and we’ll give you nothing for it.”

Just so the reader understands, this is a 32gb iPhone 5s, which is going for between $300-$400 right now on eBay.

My options are:

  1. Go back to Verizon, hand them my $350 phone, and get my new phone.
  2. Wait two months, go back to Verizon, get my new phone, and make $300 (ish) dollars on my old phone.

So while it was true that I could have walked out of there with a new phone today, I still feel lied to, because the implication was that I was free of the old contract because of the new plan. I will now wait until November (only two more months) and then get my new phone.

Who knows, maybe the iPhone 6s will come out and have better specs and have true multitasking. I doubt it, but Verizon may have just done me a favor. We’ll see.

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Iowa State Fair

As part of my annual trip to Iowa for family camp and visiting relatives and friends, I make a point of going to go to the Iowa State Fair.  I enjoy wandering around, looking at the cows, the horses, etc.   The first stop was to get a funnel cake.  We bought two from a concession right on the Main Concourse in front of the Varied Industries building.  Unfortunately, we picked the concession stand run by three 14 year olds who didn’t know how to make funnel cakes.  Mine was thick, doughy, and undercooked.  The funnel cake is supposed to resemble lace.  This one resembled a thick rope. I took it back after a few bites and got my money back.

We go through the Varied Industries building and usually find interesting things.  Not so much this year.  There seemed to be about six hot tub displays in the building, which seemed excessive to us.  Usually there’s a piano store booth with several pianos where my son can play for a few minutes, but this booth was gone.  We said hi to the people at the booth for the Iowa Association of Regular Baptists, and even ran into one of the missionaries from our previous week at family camp.  Other than this booth (and the two right to life booths), there really wasn’t much that interested me.  I thought maybe one or more of the presidential candidates might have a booth set up, but I couldn’t find one.

Then we went to find more food.  We found another funnel cake booth and got a replacement one (and an elephant ear), and I went to get my annual “Guinea Grinder.”  This is a hoagie bun with hot sausage and mozzarella cheese and I look forward to it every year.  It’s the only thing I really eat that is spicy.  I approached the location of the stand (right by the public restrooms….coincidence?)  and saw that they had changed the name to “Jenny Grinder”.  What?   I asked the guy, “When did you change the name?”  He said, “We didn’t. One person complained, and now we can’t call it that anymore. But that’s still what it is.”

Evidently the word “Guinea” is a racial slur against Italians.  I’m guessing because Italian sausage is used in the sandwich, but I’m not sure.  I looked up the word “Guinea” and found out that the basis of the insult is that it implies the Italian person is too dark skinned to be a white person, and may in fact come from the Guinea region of Africa (West Africa).  So the whole reason the term is offensive is that it compares a white person to a black person?  In the post-civil rights, racial equality world in which we live, why is it still offensive to be compared to a black person.  I am offended that someone would be offended by this. I’m sorry, but are we going to change the name of the country of Guinea? Guinea-Bissau? Equatoreal Guinea? Papua New Guinea?  Guinea pigs? No?  Then leave my guinea grinder alone.

I said, “one please” and handed him my money. He handed me the sandwich with a knowing look, and I said, “Thanks for the guinea grinder.”  He smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”    I ate quickly, because we needed to get out of there since it was “Eastsider Night” and we didn’t want to get stabbed.

Look, people, leave the names of things alone. If there’s a really good reason for changing the name of something, then by all means do so. If you own the thing named, go ahead and call it whatever you want.  But don’t walk around insisting that other people change the names of things because your sensibilities are offended.

My guinea grinder was delicious.

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My Son

I was not a father until he existed.  He was born five and a half weeks early 18 years ago.  We had signed up to take a one-day lamaze class, but the class was on Saturday. He was born two days before that.  We weren’t ready for him yet.  The crib wasn’t set up. We hadn’t bought the stuff he needed (diapers, etc).  And yet he came.  He was supposed to be born a month after my college graduation, but he came a week before.  We were not ready.

That phrase was so true then, and it’s true now as well.  We aren’t ready for him to leave.  I think back on the last 18 years, and he has always been there.  Playing with his legos.  Making a mess.  Asking questions. Playing on the computer.  Eating all the food. Being weird.  Playing with his sisters.  Building snowmen. Being stubborn.  Being a boy.

And now he’s about to go off to college.  I know he’s coming home at Christmas. I know he’s coming home next summer.  But it won’t be the same.  For the next four months, he won’t be here. He’s going to start meeting a whole bunch of people and having a whole bunch of experiences that I won’t be a part of. I’m happy for him. But I will miss him. We will say goodbye to him next Sunday, and leave him behind.

And we’re not ready.

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I am a fan of the Star Trek universe.  I have enjoyed most of the shows and movies in the Star Trek universe.  I don’t own a Starfleet uniform, but I wouldn’t make fun of you if you wore one.

Today I was watching the Star Trek movie from 2009 (the reboot) for probably the 10th time, when I noticed something.  Obviously there are spoilers so if you haven’t seen this movie, don’t read any farther.  You’ve been warned.

There’s a scene in the movie where Spock is in the captain’s chair, and Nero has just dropped some red matter into the core of Vulcan.  Chekov points out that Nero is creating a singularity (i.e. “black hole”) in the center of Vulcan.  Spock asks how long Vulcan has before it is destroyed.  Chekov replies, “Minutes, Sir.  Minutes.”

Spock then says he is going to beam down to the surface.  He briefly discusses this with Uhura, and then leaves the bridge, giving Chekov the conn at 59 minutes 47 seconds.

Kirk and Sulu fall off the platform, and the transporter crewperson can’t beam them up because they are falling. Chekov realizes that he CAN beam them up, so he is needed in the transporter room. He gives the conn to someone else at 1 hour and 44 seconds. He runs to the transporter room, arriving at 1 hour and 55 seconds.  He successfully beamed Kirk and Sulu back to the Enterprise. Then, at 1 hour, 1 minute and 32 seconds, Spock calmly walks into the transporter room, ordering, “Clear the pad.”  This is so Spock can beam down to the surface of his rapidly dying planet and rescue his parents and the other Vulcan elders.

If we look at the order of events chronologically (leaving out the extra details), it looks like this:

59:47 Spock leaves the bridge heading for the transporter room
1:00:44 Chekov leaves the bridge heading for the transporter room
1:00:55 Chekov reaches the transporter room
1:01:32 Spock reaches the transporter room.

Anybody else see the problem here?  Why did it take Chekov only 11 seconds to get to the transporter room and yet it took Spock (who was in a bigger hurry) 1 minute and 45 seconds? What was Spock doing for that minute and 34 seconds?  Going to the bathroom? Eating a donut?

In any case, this just shows that even though you experience something over and over, there’s always something new to learn.

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