Thursday, October 20, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Quick hits to make someone crazy

- I saw the movie Crash this week after much talk and encouragement that it was pretty good and would change my life. first thought when it ended was, "And?" Leasons learned: (1) People in L.A. are really (really) racist...more than almost every human I know. (2) Bad people can do good things. (3) Good people can do horrible things. The last two I already knew. So, in conclusion, people in L.A. are really racist.

- I saw this the other day. It's a letter from al-Zawahiri to bin Laden, supposedly. In it, among other things, he says,"... I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. And that we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma."

If that's the case, we're screwed, because I think we all know who the media's rooting for.

- More on that sorry Tom Hicks and his propaganda campaign from an article by Dan McGraw:
The Rangers ranked 21st in payroll — in the bottom third. And at the press conference announcing Hart’s resignation, Hicks trotted out his usual misinformation. He talked about how teams like Cleveland and Oakland were models for the success of low-payroll teams and said that spending on players wasn’t a critical part of winning. He never mentioned that the low payroll A’s and Indians didn’t make the playoffs, but the ones that spent did.

The Rangers player payroll was about $55 million this year. Here’s what the team brought in: $46 million for local and national media rights, $42.5 million in ticket sales, $14.4 million in luxury suites, and about $5 million for parking. That’s close to $108 million in revenue, even before you add stadium naming rights, sponsorships, sales of team gear, and the pricey beers and hot dogs, which provide maybe another $20 million or $30 million.

Hicks has said the team was “marginally profitable” this year. Uh-oh — more misinformation. I don’t have the Rangers books in front of me — and I’m not an accountant — but it doesn’t take a ledger expert to come to the conclusion that the Rangers made a lot of money this past year.

We know I'm crazy, are you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Are you sure you want to stick with that?

Ok, this is not something I'm proud of; it's just the way it is. First, I quit going to my scripturally ordained Sunday school class over a year ago. There was no "real" reason other than as I stood there and looked around the room I was overcome with this feeling that it was the last place in the world that I wanted to be at that moment. Much to even my own surprise, since I'm sure others who know me will attest that I am one to stick it out through almost any circumstance, I just walked out.

Let me add that one of the first things I disliked about my class was the painstaking enumeration of prayer requests. And then the follow-up where we "lift those concerns to God." I'm not saying I don't believe in prayer, or even a time where people have an opportunity to share, I'm just not sure spending 20-30 minutes talking about "my co-worker's great-aunt and her gall bladder problem" is really best for my spiritual (and mental) well being. So now that everyone (including God) thinks I'm the biggest jackass the world has ever known (I'll put that next to my trophy as world's most disliked man), I will now dig the hole a little deeper...

My class (that I no longer attend) has a Yahoo! email group, which for reasons I can't fully explain I have yet to unsubscribe. Each week a list of "Prayer Requests" is sent out, presumably culled from the class and any special petitions via email. Many times I just delete it, but this week I thought I'd give it a look just to see what was going on. The list had eleven entries that spanned the range of the expected; death, sickness, and natural disaster. Except for one. Number one on the list stopped me dead in my tracks; I re-read it 4 times just to make sure. Here's what is said:
1. Pray for Julie. She is having trouble potty training her dog.
-names have been changed to protect the privacy or pet owners

Now a prayer:
Dear God,
I'm sorry I made fun of the prayer list from a Sunday school class I don't even attend. But a man can only fight so much temptation. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.


Monday, October 10, 2005

The Greatest Sports Weekend Ever?

It's really nice to be right. It's even better when for three days practically any team that you have even a marginal rooting interest steps on the field and wins. On Friday, my high school alma mater won, staying undefeated. On Saturday, whoa nellie. First and foremost: What is up!

My college alma mater won while their biggest competitor lost. Teams that I had less of a rooting interest in won. Baylor ends a 37 game road losing streak, winning their first Big 12 road game...ever. SMU, a 24 point underdog wins on a psuedo hail mary. TCU, my SUP (Stupid Underdog Pick of the week) won. Oh and Texas A&M went to Boulder and lost by 3 touchdowns just as I predicted. Got a joke for ya...stop me if you've heard it...ready... Dennis Franchione. Then Sunday, I sit on the couch and I find that I had a nice present waiting. Full scale Dallas Cowboy domination. Over the Eagles! Too, delicious.
Also, the Astros advance in 18 innings. What a weekend! It was so very sportsy!

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Big Game

I'm here to make my annual prediction that probably will doom my team. Nonetheless, Texas wins! Wins big. 34-10....Hook 'em!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Putting it up on a tee

So I go into the restroom here at work yesterday (don't you love it when someone starts a story that way?) and guess who I run into. No really. You know...come on! No, not the ghost of Elvis. I ran into this guy. Like you’re surprised. Maybe you are, maybe you didn't believe in the "pee buddy". Well, it's true. So anyway, there he is waiting for me at the urinal. So I sidle up beside him to do my business. As I mentioned previously, it's not just the fact that I always see this guy that annoys me; it's the conversations in which he forces me to take part.

So on this day, instead of going over the trivialities of my job or the possible change in the weather, he decides to go on a far more perilous route. On this day, he had come up with the mother of all statements that will not only goad me into a conversation in the one place I wish to least have a conversation, but might have me following him back to his cube to finish. Here's what he said:
It's Wednesday.

You are so jealous of my life right now.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Response

Oddly enough, someone at Relevant actually read my email and replied. And whoever did is some sort of diabolical genius. The email:
>>> "Relevant Feedback" 10/05/05 11:03 AM >>>
Hey Jason,

I appreciate your thoughts, and it's never easy when we attempt to cover something that is so sensitive as politics and other similar agendas.

You seem to be well-educated on these issues and a good writer as well. If you ever want to write an article for the website discussing politics and Christianity that would be great. It has to be more journalistic than rant, but okay to have a personal emotion linked to it.

Check our guidelines page at and send the article to


Note only does he/she (not sure) heap compliments on me, he suggests that my email showed such talent that I should submit something to the publication. By that point I'm too busy thinking of my new career in print media to stay mad at that little 'ole magazine. That part about the rant is troubling, though. That's like asking me to come play ball but not to bring my glove, but anyway. Of course, they probably ask everyone to write an article...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oh God, there he goes again

In it's latest issue, Relevant magazine produces a list of "12 Visionaries Who Are Impacting Culture Through Faith - Whether it's in the Church, the music industry or Hollywood, these 12 are all playing a unique role of affecting our worldview." Well, one of the those was Jim Wallis, remember him? No? Go here, here, or most likely here. Anyway here's my letter to Relevant:
I'm writing to express my disappointment with the inclusion of Jim Wallis on such a list. Having been a subscriber since day one (actually I think I subscribed about 9 months before the first issue was released), I've seen this publication bend over backwards to the point of absurdity not to support a political party or point of view. The preview to last year's presidential election comes immediately to mind. Since my attempts to read between the lines tell me we probably disagree on such topics, I was ok with such an attempt. Then, you go and do this.
I think most would agree that by dubbing someone a "visionary", your magazine grants him or her implicit support of their "movement". Your quick synopsis of Wallis stays conveniently vague. What most don't realize is that Mr. Wallis, through his organization and book, seeks to move our government to a dangerous place. That place would probably have a name with the word socialist in it somewhere. He also has no qualms with vilifying the sitting President and other political leaders with some fairly offensive comparisons.
All that to say...I really appreciate your magazine and it's mission. I appreciated it a lot more when it stayed out of politics.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Dangers of Going with God

And I mean dangers. The LA Times reports on a "study" that 'looks at the correlation between levels of "popular religiosity" and various "quantifiable societal health" indicators in 18 prosperous democracies'. And it entitles it, "The dark side of faith." The problem it seems, though, is faith itself.
He found that the most religious democracies exhibited substantially higher degrees of social dysfunction than societies with larger percentages of atheists and agnostics.

Indeed. Go read the whole thing to get the full vomitous effect. But here's what the editor's (not the study's, the newspaper's) conclusion comes down to:
My prediction is that right-wing evangelicals will do their best to discredit Paul's substantive findings. But when they fail, they'll just shrug: So what if highly religious societies have more murders and disease than less religious societies? Remember the trials of Job? God likes to test the faithful.
To the truly nonrational, even evidence that on its face undermines your beliefs can be twisted to support them. Absolutism means never having to say you're sorry.

Red-stater Christians love to murder and spread disease. Got it.

Luckily for my sanity, today I also ran across this story about a man who might have earned the title "great".
Rutherford Aris is a scientist of dazzling brilliance -- a chemical engineer whose mathematical models revolutionized his field -- and a deeply devout Christian.

..."He prayed with me, opened his home to me and showed me the compatibility of faith and reason," Lauffenburger said. Aris' ideal was the servant leader of 1 Corinthians 9:19: "So though I am not the slave of any man, I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could."

..."He left his mark on us and cast his shadow on us in an almost haunting way."

Go read the whole thing to get the full restored-faith-in-humanity effect.