Archive for October, 2006
For those who enjoy Halloween, weâ€™re doing a fun Halloween show on The Abel Hour today. Our guest will be Scott Johnson of Extra Life Radio. The show is broadcast live from 11 a.m. to noon MST (1-2 p.m. EDT) and you can listen to the show during that time by clicking here. If you want to be part of the show, the phone number is 1-800-331-4301.
The family carved Jack-Oâ€™-Lanterns the other night. Aidan thinks they’re the best part of Halloween.
The kids’ Jack-O-Lanterns
Aidan tries to see if The Great Pumpkin has a brain
Aidan talks to The Great Pumpkin
Steven is in awe of The Great Pumpkin
October 31st, 2006
Aside from two Detroit Tiger hats, the only other major league baseball hat I own is a St. Louis Cardinals hat. It was a gift from the in-laws two years ago when a vacation took them through St. Louis. Itâ€™s a nice hat but Iâ€™ve only worn it a handful of times because, well, Iâ€™m a Tiger fan. But after the Tigerâ€™s disappointing, error-filled performance in the World Series this last week, itâ€™s hard to wear any of my Tiger hats in public again. I might just have to jump on the Cardinalâ€™s bandwagon to fit in with the sea of red out there. ~sighs~
Aidan loves having Marathon Girl and I read to him. However, his two year old brain has developed a strange love for poetry. And weâ€™re not talking nursery rhymes. He enjoys major poets and some of their best known works. Poems that Aidan particularly likes having read to him are Robert Frostâ€™s The Road Not Taken, Mary Oliverâ€™s Maybe, Phillip Boothâ€™s First Lesson, Rudyard Kiplingâ€™s If, Alison Funkâ€™s The Moons of Uranus and Stephen Craneâ€™s God Lay Dead in Heaven.
Iâ€™m not complaining. I think itâ€™s wonderful he enjoys these. But he really floored me and Marathon Girl last week when he started repeating most of Edna St.Vincent Millayâ€™s famous poem First Fig for no apparent reason. He going to be a construction worker for Halloween but Iâ€™m wondering if a tweed jacket and bow tie wouldnâ€™t be a better fit. I think a two-year-old poet would scare just about anyone.
October 30th, 2006
The Tigers should have beat the Cardinals last night. Their bats came alive and pitching was solid. What killed them were mistakes and a couple of slips and falls. That the way things go, I suppose. Still it was very disheartening to see the game slip through their fingers like that. Theyâ€™re in a must win situation now. Weâ€™ll see how they fight when their back are up against the well.
Did I mention Iâ€™m glad itâ€™s Friday? Lot of fall/Halloween activities planned with the boys this weekend. Going to carve the pumpkins from our garden and have a Fall Fest church activity tonight. Aidanâ€™s been looking forward to the pumpkin carving all week. Every day heâ€™s been asking me if weâ€™re going to make faces on the pumpkins. It should be lots of fun.
October 27th, 2006
Iâ€™m actually glad game four of the World Series was rained out last night. First, I think the Tigers could use the break to regroup and come out fighting. The rain delayed game during their series with the Yankees turned out to be just what they needed.
Second, thanks to an early winter storm, we have several inches of snow on the ground. Thereâ€™s something about wrong about watching baseball and having snow on the ground. Football I can watch with snow. It at least needs to be somewhat warm for me to enjoy baseball.
Third, I could watch LOST without having to worry about missing anything exciting on the game. And nice to see that last weekâ€™s episode was just a fluke as far as being a snoozer. This weekâ€™s episode was very strong. My thoughts about it are as follows (stop reading if you donâ€™t want to be surprised):
- Like I asserted at the beginning of the season, the Others are masters of interrogation techniques. Ben may have told Sawyer he was merely conning him, but they really know what theyâ€™re doing when theyâ€™re trying to get info from Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. Ben accurately told Sawyer is wasnâ€™t the (phony) pacemaker that kept him in line but his concern and feelings for Kate. And the used the blaring horns so Jack didnâ€™t know that Kate and Sawyer were alright. And having Ben pretending to kill the rabbit to scare Sawyer into thinking the pacemaker was great.
- I really enjoyed the Sawyer flashback. As many problems as the guy has, we see that he still cares deeply for others (especially Kate), even if he has a hard time admitting it or expressing it publicly.
- Iâ€™m not sure what to make of the second island thing. Wondering if itâ€™s real or theyâ€™re just tricking Sawyer again.
Looking forward to next week’s episode.
October 26th, 2006
Boy did the Tigers look bad last night. I think Iâ€™ll follow my grandmotherâ€™s advice and choose to remain silent on this subject since I have nothing good to say about them.
There was an interesting article in the October 16 issue of The New Yorker about how some people have come up with a computer program that can predict whether or not a movie will be a box office hit. (Yeah, that issue came out awhile ago, but if youâ€™re on my mailing list, read the email I sent out today and youâ€™ll know why Iâ€™m behind.) So what did these guys who developed this computer program conclude?
That stars didnâ€™t matter, that the director didnâ€™t matter, and that all that mattered was storyâ€”and, by the way, that you understood story the way the people on the inside, people who had spent a lifetime in the motion-picture business, didnâ€™t.
Basically, their argument is that if you have a good story that people can relate to, a lot of the other details donâ€™t matter. Though I donâ€™t fully agree with this, it goes to show how important the story is. Too often Hollywood bigwigs think that a big name star or special effects can compensate for a bad screenplay.
The truth is storytelling and the ability to write matters and is a big reason why many of the movies (and television shows such as LOST) are successful. Unfortunately, itâ€™s often the part of the whole movie making process that is often overlooked or rushed. Why spend decent time and money on a story when you can have Brad Pitt or Uma Thurman make the money instead. If only studios paid more attention to their writers, they might end up with more hits.
October 25th, 2006
I was relieved that the Tigers cleaned up their act and tie the series with St. Louis with a 3-1 victory last night. The Tigers looked a lot better than their game Saturday. Still, they had plenty of chances to blow the second game wide open and were unable to capitalize on the. Iâ€™m hoping the Tigers can put their act together a little better and take two out of three in St. Louis. (Iâ€™d rather them finish the series in Detroit and win it in front of the hometown fans.)
It appears Iâ€™m not the only person getting old.
One of my favorite snack foods is Doritos. Marathon Girl, who does an excellent job of keeping my snack cupboard well-stocked, is always buying me new flavors of Doritos when they come out. So, when I noticed there was some Fiery Habanero Doritos in the cupboard a few weeks ago, I couldnâ€™t wait to try them. I love hot and spicy things. Unfortunately Fiery Habanero proved to be a bit too much for me. It was hard to eat more than a handful without drinking copious amounts of water or feeling a tinge of heartburn.
Ten to 15 years ago, I donâ€™t think I would have had a problem eating a whole bag of those spicy chips. Today my body rebels against the anything past medium on the hot and spicy scale â€“ just a further reminder that no matter how good of shape I try to keep my body in, thereâ€™s some parts of getting older that I canâ€™t keep stop.
Fortunately, the good people at the Frito Lay also came out with Blazinâ€™ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos. These have a nice bite to them but nothing guys in their early 30s like me canâ€™t handle. Theyâ€™re quickly becoming one of my favorite chips.
October 23rd, 2006
There was some major mojo in Motown Saturday night. Twenty-two years to the day the Detroit Tigers were last crowned the best team in baseball, the Tigers completed a four game sweep of the Oakland Athletics and advanced to the World Series.
Even the way the Tigers won their final games against the Athletics was magical. Down 3-0 early in the game, the Tigers clawed their way back and won the game with a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The victory set off a night of parting in a town that hasnâ€™t seen the Tigers team finish with a winning record since 1993.
The Tigers’ accomplishments this year have been nothing short of remarkable. Three years ago they lost an American League record 119 games and were the laughing stock of the baseball world.
Not many people are laughing now.
Before the season began, no one expected the Tigers to rise higher than fourth place in their division. As their early season victory total began to add up and had the best record in baseball, sports writers and broadcasters didnâ€™t give them much credit. The Tigers’ success was a fluke, they said, built upon beating teams with losing records. Even when the Tigers were 40 games over .500, baseball experts all said the Tigers werenâ€™t strong enough to win the division with teams like the White Sox or last long in the playoffs against far superior teams like the Yankees.
The Tigers almost provided their critics right. They struggled at seasonâ€™s end â€“ winning only 19 of their last 52 games â€“ and backed into the playoffs as a wildcard team. Their late season floundering earned them a series against the New York Yankees who field what is arguably one of the best lineups ever assembled. Not one baseball expert picked the Tigers to advance to the next round.
They were drubbed by the Yankees 7-4 in their first post-season game since 1987. But the Tigers didnâ€™t give up. They kept working, determined to achieve success. They roared back and demolished the Yankees and their $198 million payroll with three straight victories. Money can buy a lot of things in New York, but it apparently canâ€™t purchase a World Series ring.
Then the Tigers took on the Athletics and a country full of still naysayers convinced the Tigers’ success was nothing more than an aberration. And once again the Tigers proved their critics wrong.
The 2006 Tigers are the quintessential America success story. Theyâ€™ve shown that expert opinion means little and well-financed opposition can be defeated. Like a Horatio Alger novel, the Tigers have proved that hard work, determination, and the willingness to keep their eye on the prize is what it takes to make dreams reality.
On Saturday the World Series begins and the Tigers will have a chance to rise from years of futility and prove themselves the best team in baseball. With their work ethic and willpower, thereâ€™s still plenty of Motown mojo to go around.
Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to the Abel Keogh email list. Be the first to learn about new essays, book updates, and other exclusive information.
This essay was originally published on FreeCapitalist.com. You can read all of Abelâ€™s FreeCapitalist essays here.
October 20th, 2006
My radio show co-host Jon posted a short movie on YouTube titled Massacre on West Capitol thatâ€™s pretty much typifies his sense of humor. (Jonâ€™s the guy wearing the bathrobe that is killed in the bathtub. And, no, Iâ€™m not giving anything away by saying that.) You can watch it here.
Some thoughts on last nightâ€™s episode of LOST (donâ€™t read unless you want to know what happened):
- Finally! Instead of just eluding to the second polar bear, we finally get to see it (albeit for a few seconds). What was up with the skeleton wearing the Dharma Initiative t-shirt in the polar bearâ€™s cave? Maybe their animal experiments got the best of them. And weâ€™ve seen brief flashes that thereâ€™s some other strange animal life on the island.
- Had mixed reaction to Lockeâ€™s flashback. Most of his past life seems to involve him being used to further the agenda of other people that gain his confidence.Â Okay, we get it already. Locke feels like a sucker. I already knew that! Are we building to one big decision Locke is going to have to make based on his past experiences? There better be a good payoff to this because last night his flashbacks bored me. I find it interesting, however, that heâ€™s never shown doing the same job twice. (Heâ€™s worked in a toy store, as a home inspector, a gun runner, etc.)
- Iâ€™m glad the writerâ€™s are brining in the island as a character again. Iâ€™ve always thought it was the more intriguing than just about anyone else on the island.
- I found it kind of creepy that Desmond knew about Lockeâ€™s speech before he gave it. It made me think he was traveling backwards in time ala Merlyn in T.H.Whiteâ€™s The Once and Future King. Of course thatâ€™s not possible but thatâ€™s what crossed my mind as he was throwing rocks in the ocean at the end of the episode.
- Poor Hurley. Once again heâ€™s the character no one else on the island cares much about.
Looking forward to next weekâ€™s episode as they head back to Kate, Sawyer, Jack, and the Others.
October 19th, 2006
It happened in a one-room school house in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Ten Amish girls, ages six to 13, were tied-up and shot execution style. Five girls died. The five survivors are in critical condition at local hospitals. Only one is expected to make a full recovery.
Their killer was Charles Carl Roberts IV, a milk truck driver who, in a letter to his wife, said he was “filled with so much hate” and “unimaginable emptiness.” According to the authorities, Roberts was prepared for a long siege, but as police moved in he shot the girls before turning the gun on himself.
The school shooting in Nickel Mines made headlines not only because it was a horrible tragedy, but because it affected a community known for it’s slow, quiet lifestyle and pacifist beliefs. Of all people, the Amish seemed the least likely to be effected by this type of sad event.
The Amish are often a source of bemusement to those of us who live in the modern world. We smile when they ramble past in their buggies. We stare at their white shirts, black suspenders, and pants without zippers and wonder how one could live without electricity and the conveniences that come with it.
There is, however, something to be learned from the Amish’s reaction to the shooting in Nickel Mines. They are a people that believe strongly in forgiveness. The conviction of their belief in this principle became apparent as the media descended on their rural Pennsylvania community. The Amish who spoke to the press expressed the desire that they did not want a message of revenge to get out and said they forgave Roberts for what he did. Elmer Fisher, whose 7-year-old cousin was one of the murdered girls, said that Robert’s wife would be welcome in the community. Andrew Troyer, a rope maker, said “Forgiveness is a choice, but not an option if we want to be saved.”
Forgiving others is sometimes a difficult decision. When we’ve been wronged, it’s easy to justify taking the road of resentment and revenge. Getting even has become, sadly, the accepted way to deal with our problems.
Usually the need to forgive our enemies isn’t over an unexpected, horrific event like what occurred in Nickel Mines but smaller, more trivial things. One is more likely to forgive a neighbor for their gossip or deception and lies by a friend or loved one. But whether the offense is big or small, the need to forgive and move on is still vital for us to find joy in one’s life.
When forgiveness has not place in one’s heart, the feelings of resentment and bitterness build until it cankers our souls. Grudges can last years and divide families, businesses, and communities. And like Roberts, those who refuse to forgive their enemies often find themselves filed with hate and emptiness.
The Amish’s willingness to forgive the shooter and embrace his family shouldn’t be misinterpreted to think the Amish aren’t grieving for their slain sisters and daughters. No doubt the pain in their community is great. But their pain and suffering won’t be as hard to bear as they embrace Roberts’ family and refuse to allow anger a place in their hearts.
Myron Stoltzfus, a butcher in the local village of Intercourse, said his Amish neighbors are quick to forgive because “[t]hey don’t want to be trapped by bitterness.”
It’s a trap we would all do well to avoid.
Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to the Abel Keogh email list. Be the first to learn about new essays, book updates, and other exclusive information.
This essay was originally published on FreeCapitalist.com. You can read all of Abel’s FreeCapitalist essays here.
October 16th, 2006
There was something poetic about the Tigers 6-3 win over the Aâ€™s on Saturday. First, it was 22 years to the day that the Tigers last won the World Series. Second, they won the game with a walk off home run. There somethingÂ special about this Tiger team. I can see them winning it all this year. There’s magic in the cold Detroit air.
October 15th, 2006
Can you believe the affect global warming has on baseball? See, all that carbon dioxide we pump in the atmosphere causes the Earth to heat up. That means fans attending game three of the Tigers â€“ Aâ€™s game today should be wearing shorts, t-shirts, and getting second degree burns from the heat. What happens instead? They move the game to an afternoon time because of cold and snow. If anything it sounds like we need to be pumping more of those greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Did I mention Iâ€™m glad I donâ€™t live in Michigan right now? At least in Utah we try to keep winter at bay until late November.
Well the last episode of LOST blew a lot of theories I came up with last week out of the water.
(If you read beyond this point, you might read some spoilers and plot details. Stop now if you donâ€™t want to know anything about the episode. Youâ€™ve been warned.)
- Apparently the Others are better connected to the outside world than I thought. Maybe they do know everything (or a lot, anyway) about the islandâ€™s passengers Adding that little tidbit about the 2004 Red Sox wining the series was a nice touch.
- Itâ€™s about time someone gave Kate a big kiss. I mean 60 some-odd days on an island and no one does it until now? Personally I think Kate and Sawyer would be a better match than Kate and Jack.
- I really enjoy watching the flashbacks Sun and Jinâ€™s relationship. Even though theyâ€™re sometimes more minor characters on the show, they writers have gone to great lengths to add great depth to them. I also admire their commitment and determination to make their marriage work despite mistakes theyâ€™ve both made earlier in their marriage.
- For being a former Republican Guard, Sayid sure made a stupid decision by setting up an ambush on the beach. (Thereâ€™s more than one way to get to the boat Sayid.) Even I saw that the others would come by water before Sayid came up with his master plan. Couldnâ€™t the writers have at least made Sayid have a plan that might have had a tiny chance at succeeding?
- Anyone have any thoughts as if to thereâ€™s going to be an long-term ramifications from Sun shooting one of the others?
- Found it interesting that Ben said heâ€™d been on the island his entire life. Not sure really what to make of this other than maybe they really are the good guys in some way. Iâ€™ll have to think about this more.
October 13th, 2006
Steven turns one today.
A year ago Marathon Girl and I were preparing to go to the hospital and telling Aidan he was going to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa. Nerves kept us from sleeping much that night and by the time we arrived at the hospital we were already tired.
Steven arrived early that evening. He had a piercing cry could be heard all over post-partum wing of the hospital.Â One nurse said she was glad she didnâ€™t have to take him home. Fortunately, the piercing nature of his cry slowly faded and his real personality began to emerge. Turns out heâ€™s quite the daredevil and has no qualms about trying new things.
Yesterday, for example, we took him to the park and Iâ€™d put him up at the top of the slide and hold his hand as he went down. After going down the slide twice with my help, Steven didnâ€™t want me to hold his hand any more. He was content to go down by himself. Once he reached the bottom of the slide heâ€™d laugh, then hold his arms out to indicate he was ready to do it again. This went on for a good 20 minutes.
He also loves books. If I place a book in the floor he slides it over to where Iâ€™m at and looks at me expectantly. If I donâ€™t pick up the book and start reading, heâ€™ll pick it up and give it to me. And when I do read to him, heâ€™ll sit there patiently and listen. What a great kid.
Happy Birthday, Steven. Weâ€™re so glad youâ€™re part of our family.
October 12th, 2006
I watch the last five innings of theÂ Tiger’s 5-1 victory lastÂ night. What can I say other thanÂ the Tigers are playing some of the best baseball I’ve ever seen. They’re on fire. They keep playing like this and the ALCS is going to over in four games.
October 11th, 2006
Should this incredible season by the Detroit Tigers turn out to be a fluke and they lose, say, 100 games next year, I no longer have to be ashamed of supporting them in public. Yesterday I received a cool Tiger hat from my friend Brent. Itâ€™s a replica of the hat the Tigers wore from 1901-02. I love it.
Now I can be a Tiger fan without the traditional shame that goes with it. Hopefully after this season it will be awhile before I feel bad about being a Tiger’s fan.
And I also put myself in the World Series ticket lottery should the Tigers advance that far. I have no idea if Iâ€™d actually be able to attend a game should I be offered the chance to buy tickets but I could always resell them on E-bay or Craigslist. Thank goodness for the free market.
October 10th, 2006
Marathon Girl finished the boyâ€™s new bedroom last week. Walls are painted, new beds are assembled and ready, new sheets and other things for their room are all done.
Aidan loves it. Heâ€™s excited to go to bed and doesnâ€™t put up a fuss when bedtime rolls around. He likes his new bed and room so much that we actually have a hard time getting him going some mornings. Saturday I was up early writing when I heard Aidanâ€™s voice about 7:30. Instead of getting out of bed and waking one or both of us up for breakfast, he lay in bed and sang his favorite songs for 20 minutes before deciding that he was hungry.
We think his excitement will only last a week before things return to normal but weâ€™re happy he likes the changes. Maybe with all these changes he wonâ€™t be too jealous or upset when the new baby arrives in two months.
October 9th, 2006