"Mike is my homeboy..."

Jesse has been my personal trainer for four years. He was, and is, a big supporter of Mike Huckabee. Back in September of 2007, Jesse and his father, Dan, were at a Huckabee function in Gwinnett County and were filmed by the local Fox News station. After all this time, I finally managed to get the video from my PVR into my laptop. I had to use my son’s digitizer; the video obtained via FireWire was unwatchable. Jesse appears about 19 seconds into the first clip.



In this next clip, Jesse’s shirt (“Mike is my homeboy”) is about 33 seconds in.



Jesse is also an aspiring musician who, IMO, has a real talent for lyrics. Some tracks from his debut album, “Year of You”, can be found
here. I particularly like “Inside your love”.
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Leopard Love

The problem with success is, first, in achieving it and, second, in repeating it. Hole 10 at Lenora Park is 372 feet. The tee shot with my light Valkyrie wasn’t too bad. The second throw with my Leopard managed to sail into the basket with a satisfying clang! A lucky eagle on a par 4 hole. But success was fleeting as I finished up 8 over for the day. My consistency leaves much to be desired; several days ago I threw five practice tosses at the first hole. Three of the five ended up under the basket. Today -- a double bogie. Threw out of bounds on holes 4 and 8. Having a pulled muscle in my back contributed to my performance... but still. At this stage I should be consistently under par. On the bright side, my wife played the first nine and did a better job on her initial outing than I did back in September.
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Videos

A hilarious Christmas medley:
Straight No Chaser - 12 Days of Christmas


A touching story of one man’s attempt to evangelize. Penn Jillette is a famous magician (cf. the team of “Penn and Teller”) and an avowed atheist.


An interesting take on the relationship between oil and several wars. I wasn’t able to find much counterpoint after a few minutes with Google. Run time: 47:13.




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Christmas 2008

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” [Luke 2:10-14, NRSV]


Heard most often around the Christmas tree today: “Here’s something from me to you. I wonder what I got you?”

This is the first Christmas where Johnny wasn’t with us. He’s somewhere in New York spending the holiday with his girlfriend and her family.

As usual, Becky put on an incredible dinner. However, this time she bought a Perdue bird instead of a Butterball. I think next time she’ll switch back.

Played a solo round of disc golf that afternoon. Couldn’t get anyone to go with me. Managed 6 under par; but that was with cherry picking my shots. I have quite a ways to go before I can do that consistently; but at least I know I can do it. I drove the hole on #14 -- about a 300 yard drive with my heavier Valkyrie. However, it was way off course and landed next to the pad for #15!

Memory of Christmas past. In 1996 the boys, but especially David, had been asking for a dog. Mom and I kept saying no: it’s too much work for her; Johnny has allergies; and so on. But our neighbors had bred their Golden Retrievers. The mom had delivered on December 10 so we couldn’t bring a puppy home until the middle of January. I hatched a nefarious scheme: I bought a box of dog biscuits and cheeze whiz, put them in plain sight on top of the refrigerator, and told the boys that no, they weren’t getting a dog for Christmas, the goodies were going to be a gag appetizer for an office Christmas party. And they truly were! I took them to the party and everyone had a good laugh.

Later, we wrapped the dog biscuits and put them under the tree. When David opened it, he instantly figured out what was going on and flew across the room to give me a hug. If I hadn’t been sitting on the floor with my back to the sofa he would have bowled me over. I believe it was later that day that we went to our neighbors and he picked out the runt female of the litter. She was everything we could have asked for in a dog.


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Bethlehem

So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem), and Jacob set up a pillar at her grave; it is the pillar of Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day. [Genesis 35:19-20]

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. ... So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. [Ruth 1:1-2, 22]

Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. [1 Sam 17:12]

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. [Micah 5:2]

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” [Mt 2:1-2]


In Hebrew, Bethlehem (Beit Lehem) means “House of Bread”. A fitting birthplace for the Bread of Life. In Arabic, Bethlehem (Bayt Lahm) means “House of Lamb”. Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

For a discussion of where Jesus was born, see Interpreting Luke 2:6-7.
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Disc Golf Update

I have managed to play three rounds since my last post on disc golf on December 3. Today I managed 2 over par, but three holes have asterisks. Hole 17 was particularly disappointing. A short putt was almost in the basket when the wind gusted and lifted the putter up and to the left. The disc from my second throw was still on the ground, so I picked it up and tossed it in. On 13, my initial shot nicely cleared the trees. I used a new Leopard for my second attempt and was disappointed with it. I then threw my new Buzz disk and laid it at the base of the basket. On 8, I threw a Valkyrie a mile, but out of bounds. The second hole continues to be my nemesis -- it is the only hole that I haven’t parred once.

I continue to throw my heavy Valkyrie farther than a Wraith or Monarch. I bought a lighter Valkyrie today hoping to be able to do even better, but the heavier disk still performs better for me. Mike says that it’s basic physics that the heaver disk travels farther since p=mv. I had thought that K=1/2mv2 would have been more important. Gerrit says that the pro’s throw lighter discs farther. I’ll ask my son who is in graduate engineering school.

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Christmas Quiz

I became a Christian in November 1978 (it was Saturday, probably the 25th). I got married in August of 1980 and by June of ‘81 my wife and I had moved to Georgia. Sometime during this interval in the College and Career group at Cherrydale Baptist Church I had the opportunity to take the following quiz. I mention this timeframe because I find it interesting that instances of this quiz on the web don’t appear to be copyrighted earlier than circa 1995. This one is (c) 2004; this is (c) 2003; this has no copyright notice; this was printed in 2000, and this appeared in 1995. Enough sleuthing.

When you press the “Check Answers...” button, your score will be computed and any wrong answers will be highlighted in red. I note that there is disagreement between these quizzes on some of the answers. I’ll research these later. For now, this is a chance for me to play with JavaScript. Question 19 is tricky. A question mark can be used if you don’t know the answer.



1. As long as Christmas has been celebrated, it has been on December 25?
True
False

2. Joseph was from:
Bethlehem
Jerusalem
Nazareth
Egypt
Minnesota

3. How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
Camel
Donkey
Walked
Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey.
Who knows?

4. Mary and Joseph were married when Jesus was born:
True
False

5. Mary was a virgin when she delivered Jesus:
True
False

6. What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?
    (check all that apply)

"There is no room in the inn."
"I have a stable you can use."
"Come back after the Christmas rush and I should have some vacancies."
None of the above

7. Jesus was delivered in a
Stable
Manger
Cave
Barn
Unknown

8. A "manger" is a:
Stable for domestic animals
Wooden hay storage bin
Feeding trough
Barn

9. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus' birth?
Cows, sheep, goats
Cows, donkeys, sheep
Sheep and goats only
Miscellaneous barnyard animals
Lions, tigers, elephants
None of the above

10. Who saw the "star in the East"?
     (check all that apply)

Shepherds
Mary and Joseph
Three Kings
None of the above

11. How many angels spoke to the shepherds?
One
Three
A Multitude
None of the above

12. What "sign" did the angels tell the shepherds to look for?
"This way to baby Jesus"
A star over Bethlehem
A baby that doesn't cry
A house with a Christmas tree
A baby in a stable
None of the above

13. What did the angels sing?
"Joy to the World"
"Alleluia"
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given"
"Glory to God in the highest, etc..."
None of the above

14. What is a "Heavenly Host"?
The angel at the gate of heaven
The angel who invites people to heaven
The angel who serves drinks in heaven
An angel choir
An angel army
None of the above

15. There was snow that first Christmas:
Only in Bethlehem
All over Israel
Nowhere in Israel
Somewhere in Israel
Mary and Joseph only "dreamed" of a white Christmas

16. The baby Jesus cried:
When the doctor slapped him on his behind
When the little drummer boy started banging on his drum
Just like other babies
He never cried

17. What is frankincense?
An precious metal
A precious fabric
A precious perfume
An eastern monster story
None of the above

18. What is myrrh?
An easily shaped metal
A spice used for burying people
A drink
After-shave lotion
None of the above

19. How many wise men came to see Jesus?
     (write in the correct number):


20. What does "wise men" refer to?
Men of the educated class
They were eastern Kings
They were astrologers
They were smart enough to follow the star
They were "sages"

21. The wise men found Jesus in a:
Manger
Stable
House
Holiday Inn
Good mood

22. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem:
To inform Herod about Jesus
To find out where Jesus was
To ask about the star they saw
For gas
To buy presents for Jesus

23. Where do we find the Christmas story in order to check up on all these ridiculous questions?
     (check all that apply)

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Aesop's Fables

24. When Joseph and Mark found out that Mary was pregnant with Jesus, what happened?
     (check all that apply)

They got married
Joseph wanted to break the engagement
Mary left town for three months
An angel told them to go to Bethlehem

25. Who told Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem?
The angel
Mary's mother
Herod
Caesar Augustus
Alexander the Great

26. Joseph took the baby Jesus to Egypt:
To show him the pyramids
To teach him the wisdom of the pharaohs
To put him in a basket in the reeds by the river
Because he dreamed about it
To be taxed

Your score: --



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Experts and Novices

What distinguishes experts from novices is not that they make [...] choices, but that their choices will provoke fewer questions and their choices will tend to stand up better to those questions that do come along afterward.

--Kent Pittman

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This Is Christianity?

This was on a church sign as I drove to disc golf today:



Those of the Reform persuasion might want to argue the correctness of the first two statements; certainly, those who hold to Limited Atonement would disagree with the universality of the second line.

But the egregious egotism of the last line is simply shameful. Jesus said to His disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” [Mt 16:24].

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Par, With An Asterisk

In early October, I published an article about my trials and tribulations with disc golf, a sport I had just taken up. When I started, my score was around 24 over par for 18 holes.

Today, I shot par. Sort of. I cheated on two holes and took the better of two throws in order to make par. Without the asterisks, I was 2 over par.

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Murder Trial, Finale

On the morning of Monday, December 1, the attorneys presented their closing arguments. As reported by the Athens Banner-Herald, the jury took just 3.5 hours to return a “guilty” verdict on the charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Richard Gear was sentenced to life plus five years.
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