Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic, for which it stands,
One Nation, Under God, Indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.
While I recognize that there are many things that are "not right" about our nation, it is still a wonderful place to live. If it were not so, nobody would be talking about the issue of illegal immigration. What is the future of our nation? Nobody knows--not even Barack Obama. A Russian professor has been predicting the fall of the United States for years, and has now fixed the date: 2010 (that's only half way through Obama's term). Igor Panarin, a Russian university professor and former KGB analyst, has even created the map. The 48 continental states become four nations, and according to that map, I will live only 9 miles from Mexico (what is now Oklahoma, according to Panarin's projection, will be part of The Texas Republic, which "will be part of Mexico or under Mexican influence"), even without moving. You can read Andrew Osborn's report of this from the Wall Street Journal by clicking here. According to Panarin, I'll be Canadian, but where I currently live is only 9 miles from Mexico!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Maybe you don't recognize the last word of this blog's title. Quimioterapia is the Spanish equivalent of the word chemotherapy. This morning in our Spanish-speaking Sunday School class we were discussing prayer items. A pretty constant prayer request these days is for Rose, and her progression through chemotherapy. She has been skipping Sunday School, as she needs to be careful not to be around people who might be carrying germs. She has been arriving for the worship service (shortly after it begins), sneaking in to get the benefit of being there, and then sneaks out shortly before it is officially dismissed (not during the prayer time, Randy :-),).
For several weeks, we have been looking forward to the arrival of our daughter, Kimberly, who is a school teacher in Mexico. She arrived Wednesday, so it turned into a "praise item". Kim is our youngest, and so for a long time, she has been known as Kimmy, or, if we are speaking Spanish, we might refer to her as "la Kimmy." (I am aware that it is not correct to use the definite article before a person's name, but it very common in Chilean Spanish, and so we speak that way). If you pronounce her name in Spanish--Kimmy, it is pronounced in exactly the same way as the prefix to the word quimioterapia. So I was expressing thanksgiving to God for the safe arrival of "La Kimmy." My co-teacher, Phil Casey (Felipe) in Spanish, who enjoys words just about as much as I, stated, "That's a good kind of Kimmy-o-terapia, isn't it?"
I couldn't agree more. We have laughed a lot at her stories. It has been good to have her "at home." So Rose now has two types of quimioterapia:
- the kind that pumps poison through her system, designed to kill any lingering cancer cells, and
- The presence of our daughter Kimmy, which is the kind of therapy that is pleasant indeed.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm reading Mike Huckabee's book, Do the Right Thing. I'm not really certain that I had ever heard of Huckabee before the Republican Presidential Primaries. He got my attention when I heard that he was a Baptist minister. He got my attention when I heard that he had lost 100 pounds. He further got my attention when I heard him speak in the debates.I liked him, and thought he made sense as a candidate. I'm intrigued by the concept of the Fair Tax.
At any rate, I'm reading his book, which chronicles his experience as a presidential candidate who was virtually written off as not having a chance. I have not watched his new show (called Huckabee) on Fox News Channel, but I will probably watch it when I get a chance.
We spent about four and a half hours in chemo yesterday. While they were pumping poison into my wife's body, I was reading Huckabee's book. Chapter 8 is titled Let Them Buy Stocks!, and illustrates how the high-dollar candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, are out of touch with the common person's plight. During those early debates, Romney's arrogance bothered me. I don't really think it was an anti-Mormon bias on my part. His stance on the immigration issue bothered me. It might be that I have too many friends who live in fear of what might happen to them. Anyway, when I read these two paragraphs in Huckabee's book (p. 123), it caused me to laugh out loud:
Not long after, during a debate in Iowa, Mitt Romney was asked what we could do to help the economy. I stood there in stunned silence when he went into his well-prepared, programmed answer about how we needed to invest in more high-yield stocks. High-yield stocks! I wanted to scream out, "Let them buy stocks!" but knew that my wife and team and the rest of the country would probably think it a bit over the top. To this day, I regret not shouting because that moment was perhaps the single most revealing of what was wrong with our party. We had people leading us who knew the country club but not Sam's Club. They knew their golf score from last week but not the price of eggs or milk. The only thing worse than not caring about people who were struggling and barely staying above water was not even knowing they were there!
Interestingly, while I was bashed for saying it in October, by January the other candidates were lip-synching virtually the same message. It was almost as if they had been to the Ashlee Simpson School of Voice.
The reference to Ashlee Simpson was what made me laugh out loud. At least one of my readers will not know who Ashlee Simpson is. She is the younger sister of Jessica Simpson (OK, if you want to know, use Google), who was caught lip-synching on Saturday Night Live back in 2004.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
First off, the gasoline prices have kept going down? Is that because Blagojevich was arrested? Over the weekend, Rose prompted me to fill the tank, because 153.9 seemed like such a good price. Knowing when to buy and when to wait is a bit of a funny game, but I decided to wait. This morning I filled up at 144.9. Yoohoo! It doesn't seem that long ago that we were paying close to $4.00 per gallon. My 401(k) has lost so much value I should rename it as my 201(k), but gasoline is cheaper. For that, and for so many other things, I am thankful.
I'm also thankful that not all of the information available on the internet is accurate. I'm thinking of some specific health information having to do with chemotherapy. Rose was zapped full of poison (taxotere and cytoxsan to be specific) on November 24. Since she had contracted a little bit of a cold the week before, we were wondering if they might postpone her chemo treatment, but all of the important levels were within range, so she got the treatment. We went back in for blood work on Dec. 2, and again on Dec. 8. Her white blood cell count was low on both of those dates, making her susceptible to any infection that might come her way. We have been pretty careful about trying to shelter her from anyone who is sick. The lab reports come back with 20 different reports, most of which are unintelligible to uninformed people. So . . . what does an inquisitive sort of a person like me do? I go online to try to figure out what all this stuff means.
Of all the stuff that comes back (20 categories), some are more important than others:
WBC (White Blood Cells)
are among some of the more important categories.
The White Blood Cells are the cells that fight against infections, so a person with a low count of white cells is particularly vulnerable. On November 24, her WBC was within normal range: 5.5 out of a normal range of 4.4-11.3 K/uL. The value on Dec. 2 was 2.4 (below normal range); the value on Dec. 8 was 3.5 (still below normal range, but climbing).
The Platelet Count has not been a problem. On her first day of chemo treatment, we were told that they want the platelet count to be above 100 to receive the treatment. The normal range is 160-400 K/uL. On Nov. 24 her platelet count was 321. The platelet counts on Dec. 2 and Dec. 8 were 392 and 538, respectively.
The takes us to the strange category of Absolute Grans. The real term for this category is Absolute Granulocytes. Sometimes this is reported as ANC or AGC. Granulocytes are a special category of white blood cells. The Absolute Grans is a very important report. Though the normal range is 2.00-6.90 K/uL, we were told on the day of her first chemo treatment that a person has to be above 1.5 to be infused. On Nov. 24, her level was 2.15 (within normal range). This category has been one of the lowest values on her lab reports. On Dec. 2 it was 0.284, and on Dec. 8 it had actually descended to 0.271! There are other categories where her levels had risen considerably, so when they looked at the report, their explanation was that her body is working very hard to get better.
Rose has actually felt much better than her lab reports might indicate. She has been working just about every day (there are only two other people in her office, and they are pretty well spread out--plus they try to disinfect everything for her). In fact, she has felt incredibly better than what she should feel, based on something I found when I tried to figure out what this Absolute Grans category was all about.
Remember, to be infused, she needs to get to 1.5. She's got a ways to go between now and the next infustion date (next Monday). But what happens to a person with a low Absolute Grans level? Read this, and understand why I am thankful:
In some patients percentages might be misleading so absolute values of the types of WBC , i.e., the number of white blood cells multiplied by the percentage seen are valuable in diagnosing illness or following therapy. Persons receiving chemotherapy often have decreased WBC. If a patient’s absolute granulocyte count (ANC or AGC) goes below 2,000 cells, then physicians become concerned about the possibility of infection. A number below 1,000 is cause for greater concern and less than 500 usually lands the patient in the hospital.
Source: Hematology Tests from the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.
Rose has been considerably below that level of 500 (0.500 on the scale used in our reports), which usually lands the patient in the hospital--for the past two weeks, during which the only day she did not go to work was on Thanksgiving Day itself!
That makes me very thankful! We don't really know what the near future holds. We are in uncharted (for us) waters. I'm reminded of the words from an old gospel song, written by Ira Stanphill:
Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand,
But I know Who holds the future,
And I know Who holds my hand.
Thanks be to God!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
The most serious of Rose's surgeries took place on October 1. One week later (October 9), when she was still in recovery-from-surgery mode, ABC Television had a special Nightline episode, which featured Good Morning America host, Robin Roberts, who was chronicling her journey as a breast cancer survivor. I set the DVR to record the program. Rose was already in bed, but I was still up, so I started watching the program live. About 10 minutes into the program, they showed Robin's decision to shave her head. I started sobbing! Rose woke up about then (I wasn't sobbing loudly), and walked out of the bedroom. She knew that Nightline was featuring a breast cancer story that night, so I went back to the start of the program, and we started watching it together. Together we watched; together we sobbed.
Yesterday, Rose started noticing hair easily coming off her head. This morning, it was more pronounced. In fact, she stopped blow drying her hair because of it. She had previously set a date to meet a friend who was a former hair dresser this morning at 10:00 at a local wig shop. We had been in there before, and knew that they gave a 50% discount to breast cancer patients who had lost their hair because of chemotherapy. Rose just called me. The hair loss was sufficient to get the 50% discount, so they picked out a nice wig. The decision was made, however, to go straight to Crystal's house, to buzz off the rest of her remaining hair. As a man, I don't know that it is possible for me to understand what that means to her. I only hope that I can adequately ease her passage through chemo-induced baldness.
I will probably meet her for a bite to eat before she goes to work at noon. She'll have the new wig on her head--her new look. This was something that we knew would happen, but kind of hoped would not. As we face each day, God's grace to us is present, and we are thankful. We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. May God bless you all!
Our church has just finished an excellent 3-week study on the book of Job. You can listen to some excellent messages (especially the last two) on the church website by clicking here. From the front page, click on the link to "listen to sermons."
I met Rose for lunch, expecting to see her new wig on her head. She didn't cut off all her hair, but it is very short. It should dry naturally, within using a blow dryer. We'll see how long it lasts. I brought the wig home.
(Note added at 1:28 PM, Central Standard Time)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Modernism pretends to have the truth, but without humility. Postmodernism pretends to have the humility, but without the truth. Modernism was a bad dream. Postmodernism is the cold sweats right before you wake up. Wake up O sleeper, and Christ will shine upon you.
The reference is taken from Ephesians 5:14.
Friday, November 14, 2008
He uses the terms: marry, cry, rejoice, and buy. You will find them all in the text. The rest of the essay reflects on each one of those concepts, followed by a reflection: "So it is with politics."
The last several sentences are worth quoting directly, though you should read the entire article:
So it is with politics. We deal with the system, the news, the candidates, the issues, the outcomes. But they are not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over His people with perfect supremacy after every election and after the vanishing of every nation.
So we do not revel or retreat. Our reward is in heaven. Our comforts are great. Our task is clear. Make much of Christ, not Caesar.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Sorry, Kim, but this is neither a post about the weather, nor about grammar (no sentence diagrams coming). Unfortunately it is about Biblical Hebrew . . . and about politics.
President-elect Barak Obama was strongly criticized for the radical associations of his earlier life. Was he born in Hawaii? Or was he born in Kenya? What connections does he really have with Raila Odinga, who shares power in Kenya, but allegedly has designs to benefits Muslims (at the expense of Christians). All of this caused some to question how President Obama will deal with the Israel-Arab tensions.
To help him along those lines, Obama has named an Illinois Congressman, Rahm Emanuel, to be his Chief-of-Staff. Emanuel is Jewish, and his father was born in Israel. That should help ease the fears of some who fear that Obama might sell Israel into the hands of Iran.
It is fairly well known that the name Barak in languages having some relation to Arabic means "blessing." Notwithstanding what Obama himself said in his comedy routine at the Alfred E. Smith Foundation Dinner, that Barak in Swahili means "that one", the name Barak in Hebrew means lightning.
The Hebrew word ra'am, similar to Rahm, means thunder.
So, what we will have in the White House next January will be . . . thunder and lightning! To see those two Hebrew words together in one verse, one must look to Psalm 77:18. Below, you can see the text, with annotations from the ESV Reverse Interlinear, and lexical entries from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The Apostle Paul gave a very strong recommendation (is that the same thing as a command?) that seems especially fitting at this time: 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
Let's pray for our President-elect Obama!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I first remember watching Keith Olbermann on ESPN. I don't usually watch MSNBC, so I am not a regular watcher of his Countdown program. I think that Olbermann would rather be seen as cerebral, rather than comedic, but Affleck's spoof was hilarious. Here it is, taken from the NBC Saturday Night Live website:
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Chris Matthews analysis of Obama's 30 minute infomercial looked more like a post orgasmic rant than a professional political commentary---talking about the 'romance' of it all. Why would Obama bother spending any money running ads on MSNBC? Obama's own commercial was less glowing than MSNBC's regular programming.
This video is several minutes long, but is revealing. What do you think?
Serratia Marcescens is the name of the bacterium was growing in her system, before her last surgery. Though it has been noted in some surgical studies, the incidence in very low in breast cancer patients.
The good news is that with the surgery, the infection was largely removed, and she began to feel better immediately. She is taking levaquin, a proper treatment for serratia marcescens.
We will go to chemotherapy education/orientation on Tuesday, and begin the first of four cycles (every three weeks) of chemotherapy on Wednesday (Nov. 5).
We appreciate your continued prayers.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Isn't Senator Obama's question a potentially crushing political blunder?
Absolutely not! What . . . the only person who spread the wealth around has been has been (sic) George Bush and John McCain's tax policy. They have devastated the middle class. We for the first time since the late '20s. 1% of the American people make over 21% of all the income in America. That wasn't the way before George Bush became president.
I feel like I'm the Aflac goose listening to Yogi Berra: Huh?
On a serious note, however, about Obama's candid views on the subject, check out this video with audio from National Public Radio (WBEZ in Chicago), from 2001:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Orson Scott Card is a Mormon and a Democrat (we'll forgive him on both counts), as well as an accomplished author in a number of fields. Earlier this month he wrote an essay about the current economic crisis facing the United States (& the world). I heard part of it today. When I arrived back home, I looked for the original essay (October 5, 2008), and decided to place a link so that you could read it. Notice the names of those he blames for the current crisis.
Monday, October 20, 2008
All of us have seen the video clips of Obama's interaction with Joe the Plumber. It was an edited clip. When Obama responded to his question about raising his taxes, this is the part that circulates in the film clips:
It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance at success, too. . . . And I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.
If you want the greater context, rather than just the edited soundbite, you can find the transcript of the entire exchange here.
Yesterday, in The Caucus which is a blog connected to the New York Times, Kate Phillips related that the Obama campaign had raised a record $150 million dollars in September, shattering their record fund-raising in August. Much of that has been raised on the internet among young people, a demographic the Obama campaign has sought out frequently (based on the number of visits to our home and phone calls asking for our daughter who is teaching school in Mexico).
What does this have to do with Harry Reid or Joe the Plumber? Well, you see, in September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked for Obama to "spread the wealth around", in order to help maintain and hopefully grow the majority in the senate, by giving aid to Democrats running in tight races. Even though Obama had $77 million sitting in the bank, he turned Harry Reid down. Mr. Obama, do you really believe that it is good for everybody when you spread the wealth around?
People on the right have made a big deal out of Obama's slip-up, about spreading the wealth around. It sounds like a socialist idea to me: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." [Karl Marx, Critique of the Gatha Programme, (though not original with him)].
I am not really afraid of a socialist president. During the last years of the Pinochet regime in Chile, I grew increasingly tired of the right-wing dictator. Ask my kids if that is true. We lived on a steady diet of "Cooperativa" on the car radio. (Radio Cooperativa was perhaps the most anti-Pinochet radio station available, and my constant source of information for what was truly happening.) Pinochet's official party line in the free elections held in 1989 promised chaos if his official candidate were not elected. The opposition party won that election, and 3 more since then, and the Chilean economy has pretty much stayed the same course. The first two presidents in the post-Pinochet era were centrists, who were elected with the aid of the left. The last two presidents (including current President, Michelle Bachelet) are openly socialist in their outlook. They have not been able to implement their socialist agenda, because of the balance of power that exists. If Obama is elected, should he really want to implement a socialist agenda, he will likely fail.
My spiritual brothers who locate themselves further to my left are drawn to passages like Acts 2:44-45, and Acts 4:32-35. Yes, we read of such a utopian scheme on the pages of the New Testament! Such a utopian society, however, can only exist on this side of our ultimate redemption, within the context of a community of faith. It is a pipedream to think about implementing something like that within a political nation, particularly one as large and as diverse as ours, without coercion. Am I in favor of social justice? Yes, I am. Am I against the abusive oppression of the poor by the rich? Yes, I am. Historically, it is the church that has taken the lead in such works of social justice. We (the church) abdicated our responsibility in that social arena, preferring that the government take over. I am pleased to be a part of a congregation of faith that gets involved with people on the underside of society. The neighborhood around 14th Street and Pearl is called God's Resort, and the love of Jesus Christ has made a difference there.
I just am not convinced that those on the left really have an option that works. And I don't think that Obama can walk the walk as well as he talks the talk. If he could, he would have shared part of his wealth for some of his needy Democrats running for the U.S. Senate.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
One thing the congregation was asked to do this week, was to read through the book of Proverbs to identify verses that had to do with money, wealth, riches, poverty, etc. Since I teach a Bible School class in Spanish, I decided to do this exercise in Spanish, using the Nueva Biblia de los Hispanos, which is kind of a revision of the Spanish language equivalent of the New American Standard Bible, in Latin American Spanish.
I read through Proverbs in my Logos Bible Software version, and highlighted verses that dealt with the subject. I might have missed some, and some of the verses highlighted may not have as much to do with the subject as others, but I can go back through the text, and see the verses I selected because they are highlighted.
This blog uses RefTagger, so I can list the verses in this blog entry, and the content of each reference will pop-up on the screen when the mouse hovers over the reference. I probably won't keep the highlighting in the text of my Spanish Bible forever, but by listing the references here, I can record them for future use, and use the pop-up of the text to re-read the selected verses. I can also demonstrate how useful RefTagger is. So here goes:
My colleague, Mark Moore, emphasizes the political nature of what Christ came to do. Maybe he is correct. With the international financial markets in free-fall over the last several weeks, the description of Lost seems to fit the world's financial situation. The two principal candidates for president of the United States have widely different views on how to fix the problem. Frankly, I have serious reservations about both of them. I'm glad that I can trust God regardless of the outcome. My hope is built on nothing less . . .
Friday, October 17, 2008
Granted, there are some nutjobs out there--on both sides of this election! Not everyone taking the abortion issue as the litmus test for this election is a nutjob. Obama distorted his position on the issue when it came up in the third debate. Here is a reasoned analysis, by National Right to Life. A reasonable person should give it a read.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.
You can read the article for yourself by clicking here.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Stanley Kurtz of the National Review has spent some extensive time in some Chicago libraries. He has written somewhat extensively about the ties Obama had to ACORN and Rezko. In a piece dated today, he explores the radical philosophy present in the CAC during Obama's days working to improve education in Chicago. It's an interesting read. You can read it for yourself. I wonder if any of this will come up in the debate tomorrow night.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I have written before about Jill Stanek, and her interaction with Senator Obama, dating way back to when he was a state senator from Illinois. This video shows just how radical Senator Obama really is:
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Earlier in the day I got an e-mail from from my sister, Jacque, who told me that Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, a breast cancer survivor, would tell the story of her battle with the cancer on ABC's Nightline last night. Though usually I do not watch Nightline (maybe that's why I never see bright lights when I'm in an elevator), I programmed the DVR to record it. I had mentioned it to Rose, but since it was on so late, she planned to watch it later. She went to bed earlier, but since I was still up, I decided to watch it live.
About ten or twelve minutes into the program, Roberts was talking about her decision to shave her head during chemotherapy. She was obviously fighting back the tears as her hair was being cut and shaved. When the hair was gone, she looked in the mirror and said, "I feel in control at this very moment. I feel good. I feel strong. I feel strong. I feel strong. I am--feel strong--not gonna' shead a tear." At that moment, she had reined in her emotions, but I lost it. At that moment, Rose came out of the bedroom, and I was busted.
I took the program back to the beginning, and we watched it together. Both of us were sobbing.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
It's a terrible disease. And it affects millions. This week, my wife had her second breast cancer surgery in less than a month. She is getting stronger each day, but it's still hard to watch. I've been reading my Breast Cancer Husband book. It is a wealth of information. Each day I hear of more people who have gone through this. Evidently, there was a family history of breast cancer in Rose's family. Just this week we were reminded of Rose's uncle who died in recent years of breast cancer. This morning at church, I spoke with a long-time friend, whose husband had breast cancer. I knew that he had a bout with cancer a few years back, but could not have remembered that it was breast cancer, had I not been reminded. The prognosis for a cancer-free life is generally good when detected early. We'll learn this week about the proper staging, and probably meet with an oncologist the following week. Many people around the world have expressed love for us. We are thankful. Hundreds of people are praying for her. We feel the support. Since returning from the hospital, we have had meals brought in. Our freezer has several meals that we'll get to later. We trust in God, but it's still hard. I had a moment yesterday, shortly before a meal was brought to us, where the tears flowed. Keep us in your prayers. We'll get through this.
Since my last post, we drove our car nearly 4,000 miles, down to Brownsville, TX, and spent time at South Padre Island with our son and his family. From there we entered Mexico, and went across toward the Pacific coast to see Hidalgo del Parral, where our daughter Kim is teaching in a Christian school. She took some time off from her teaching there, and returned home with us, to be present for her mother's second surgery. We are thankful that she could do that. It was difficult for her to wait for news about her mother after the first surgery. Since the second surgery was postponed, she did not have much time afterward to help take care of her mother, before returning to Mexico. Rose got home from the hospital Thursday evening about 8:15 PM. Kim came home a bit earlier, to finish laundering some things and to finish packing for her trip back to Mexico. Our good friends, Ralph and Cindy Shead, picked her up at 4:45 AM for the trip to the Tulsa airport, and on to Mexico (thank you so much!!!). It was difficult for Kim to leave so soon, but she will do well there. We saw her in action on Monday, September 22. She is involved with a great team (3 other U.S. teachers--all graduates of John Brown University). Though she would like to be here, she needs to be there. Pray for her, that she will entrust her mother's care to a klutz like me (for household stuff), and that she will know that she will be all right.
We had quite a few tears (of the three kids, she is the most emotional, I think) Thursday night late. Since the first night at home, Rose didn't sleep all through the night, we were both up to see Kim off for Tulsa/Mexico. There were a few more tears at that time. Both of us went back to bed. Kim called me from the Tulsa airport (and woke me up!) to tell me that she was at her gate, that Ralph had bought her breakfast and had stayed to make certain that she got checked in and through security, and that she was feeling much better. She was no longer crying. What I found out later was that shortly after I talked to her in Tulsa, her older sister, Charissa, talked to her. Rather than talking to her like a man (which she should have done--right! like that's going to happen!), she must have asked her how she was doing (you know, like a woman!), and the floodgates started again. Later that morning, Charissa told me how hard it was on Kim, to which (as a man, I'll have you know) I responded, "She's doing very well. I just talked to her a little after 7 AM." Charissa informed me that she had talked to her a little after I did, and that she had successfully gotten her all worked up (not her exact words, but if you are a man, you might understand my sentiments).
She enjoyed the Passion Conference in Mexico City, which ended last night. She then endured a long bus trip north to Chihuahua (20 hours long). We talked to her just a few minutes ago. She was at home in her apartment, but will resume teaching in the morning. There were 50 people from the church in Parral that attended the Passion conference, so she has already gotten somewhat acclimated to Mexico.
No longer can Cubs fans say, "It's just one bad century." By failing in the playoffs again, the Cubs are doomed to at least one century plus before repeating with a World Series title. Of all the years that I have been watching the Cubs, this was the best team. I'm not sure what happened in the playoffs, but all of a sudden what was arguably the best team in the National League started playing baseball like they were afraid. They were the same players, but they were not playing like they played the regular season. Joe Torre got the Los Angeles Dodgers to play great baseball. They swept the Cubs in 3 games, and were definitely were the best team in that series.
One of the most painful things about the series, however, was listening to the TBS team of broadcasters, Dick Stockton, Ron Darling and Tony Gwynn. Darling was not a bad pitcher in his day, and Gwynn was a great hitter, but in the broadcast booth, they were terrible. The Wikipedia article about Stockton has been edited in the past 24 hours. I checked it early this morning, wondering just how old he was, since he was sooooooo bad. It had a reference to the fact that his performance in the broadcast booth had suffered in recent years, specifically citing many errors he made in the Cubs-Dodgers series. Darling was also bad. When the Dodgers had runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs, Darling stated how Cubs pitcher Rich Harden really needed a double-play ball. I wondered if the Cubs pulled off a double play if the Dodgers would only get 2 outs in the next inning. They were just bad.
It is of little solace that the best team in the American League this season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (that really is the name of the team), are in danger of being swept by the Boston Red Sox. As I write these lines, the game is currently in the 11th inning, and the Angels are threatening to score.
I have taken the Cubs off of the home page on my cell phone, and the song "Go, Cubs, Go!" is no longer my ring tone. Effectively, the baseball season has ended.
US Fiscal Crisis in an Election Year.
The financial crisis in the U.S. appears to be real, but as a taxpaying citizen, I am angered that the government is so free with my money. One party promises to be in favor of social programs designed to help lower-income people. The other party generally is perceived to advocate a smaller government. The mud slinging has been coming and going. We've got less than a month until the election. My wife is tired of it all. Her idea goes well with Rodney King's: "Why can't we all get along?"
Since this is my personal blog, I have the freedom to write what I want to write. I speak for no one but for myself. I have written previously about Barack Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. That issue alone tends to send me toward his opponent. The naming of Sarah Palin as his running mate, a person who has walked the pro-life walk, as well as talking the talk encourages me. I was glad that he passed over other potential VP candidates, who may be more open to abortion (like Joe Lieberman). I like Palin, who has weathered the attacks fairly well. She is the most anti-Washington candidate on the tickets (which is a point in her favor). The comment that Jesus Christ was a community organizer while Pontius Pilate was a governor originated from a partisan spirit. Jesus did indeed organize a community of faith, but His job was quite different from that of the current media Messiah, Barack Obama.
My concern on this matter is precisely the work that Obama did as a community organizer, and the tie that it may have to the present economic crisis facing our country. Allegedly, part of Obama's work as a community organizer involved suing banks who did not offer mortgages to lower-income individuals who normally would not qualify. Much has been written about it. Here are some terms that have to do with it:
- Community Reinvestment Act
- Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
- Housing Enterprise Regulatory Act of 2005
Thursday, September 04, 2008
On May 11 (Mother's Day), the Chicago Cubs moved into first place. They have been there ever since, and currently hold a 5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. On Mother's Day MLB stadiums featured a program called Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer, in which players wore patches with pink ribbons on their sleeves, and certain players used pink bats, to raise awareness about breast cancer and funds to find the cure. This program was done in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation. Daryle Ward, the Cubs' left-handed pinch hitter specialist, had not played very well early in the season, used a pink bat to knock in a game-winning 2 RBI double in the bottom of the 8th inning to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, and move into first place.
Being one of the most avid Chicago Cub fans in
Yesterday she had a cancerous tumor that measured about 2 cm removed. A Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy was done (click on link to see a video animation about the process). 3 lymph nodes were removed for analysis. Right now, we're thankful that she came through the surgery well. We're thankful for many of our friends all around the world that have been lifting us up in prayer. We're thankful for the cards, flowers, e-mails, and meals that have made their way to us.
We are, however, in kind of a waiting mode. We would like to think that this cancer was discovered early, but we really don't know if that is the case. We will go on Wednesday afternoon to meet with the surgeon, and to receive the results of the lab work. At that point, her cancer will be staged, and subsequent treatment will be outlined. At this point, we believe that we are likely facing both radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Your prayers are coveted for her speedy recovery from the surgery, and for a cancer-free future.
We scheduled the surgery quickly, to give Rose time to recover, before a planned trip to South Texas where our son's family lives, and into
I got a book in the mail today. It was actually recommended by one of my students whose mother has battled breast cancer. Written by journalist Marc Silver, it is titled Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Beyond. I've begun reading it, and have appreciated some of the advice. I'm not smart enough to do the right thing without adequate coaching.
Thanks once again for your prayers. We'll let you know how we're doing. It's good to know that our hope lies not in physical, social, economic, or political realities (apologies to McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden), but in our great God.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Since then, I have heard the Democrat Talking Heads run her down, and the Republican Talking Heads (at least some of them) praise her. On Friday, in Dayton, she was articulate, and came off as genuine. Since my single-issue is the right to life issue, I am so glad that he named a running mate that is not only pro-life, but walks the walk as well as talking the talk.
Since the Friday announcement, I ran across this piece, where Jewish columnist Nat Hentoff recommended Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate, back in May (5-21-08). It is titled John McCain, here is your vice president. Among other things, Hentoff said this:
Because of Palin's reputation as a maverick, and her initial reduction of state spending (including pork-barrel spending), life-affirming Palin connects with voters and has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for John McCain.
She would be a decided asset--an independent Republican governor, a woman, a defender of life against the creeping culture of death and a fresh face in national politics.
In a more recent article (7-16-08) about Palin's accomplishments, Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard calls her The Most Popular Governor. Obama's supporters call McCain the continuation of George W. Bush. It is interesting that a campaign that promises change gives us a Washington insider as a running mate, whereas the alleged continuation of the status quo brings in someone who upset the GOP status quo in Alaska.
I don't know Sarah Palin very well, but based on what I've seen so far, I think it may get interesting. I'm looking forward to see how she responds to Biden in a debate. I hope he's smart enough not to say, "I know Hillary Clinton, and believe me, you are no Hillary Clinton!"
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
DNC: Did you know? Last night the Democratic National Convention began. Michelle Obama was a headliner, and the message was different from her February 18, 2008 statement that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country." Last night she made no gaffes.
Did you know? Abortion is a core "moral" value of the DNC. Jesus was not a member of the Republican Party (nor am I), and yet of the two prominent parties on the U.S. political scene, in the years since 1973 (Roe v. Wade), it has been the Democratic Party that has championed the culture of death (they would call it pro-choice). I have written before about Obama's position (tremendously erroneous in my view) on the issue. Something that happened yesterday underscores the DNC commitment to abortion. Nancy Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America may not be a huge player at the DNC, but her thinking permeates the party. Did you see what she said in her short speech (taken from the DNC website)?
On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America and our one million member activists, I am honored to be at this historic convention where delegates will nominate Senator Barack Obama as the next pro-choice president of the United States.As a former elected official from Montana, I am proud to say that my party—the Democratic Party—is a party of many faiths and backgrounds united behind these core moral values [emphasis added]: we support and defend a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion.
One of the incongruities of my life is to observe so many young (college age) students, many of them OCC students and/or graduates who are championing Obama's campaign. I don't understand it.
Beijing and Child Safety: The 2008 Summer Olympics are in the books. I enjoyed what little part of it I watched. Since the days of Nadia Comaneci, my daughters enjoyed gymnastics. I enjoyed watching the women's gymnastics competition. Bob Costas' asides with Bela Karolyi made for fun television. The U.S. took gold and silver in the Women's overall competition: Nastia Liukin with the gold, and Shawn Johnson with silver. Johnson is a 16 year old girl from West Des Moines, IA, so I imagine we'll be seeing more of her in the Olympics. I watched the overall competition, and when I saw Shawn Johnson, I thought, "She is really short!" Next to her, Nastia Liukin looked so tall and slender. I had to look it up. Shawn Johnson is 4'9" short. The taller Liukin is only 5'3", which in a world on normal people makes her short.
Something that I heard on talk radio (as a public service announcement) made me smile, and I think it's a good thing that Johnson is not 4'8 1/2". To paraphrase Maxwell Smart, "She made it by that much!" I believe that law states that children under the age of 9 need to be in a booster seat (buckled in) when traveling in a car, unles they are 4'9" inches tall. The public service announcement I heard on the radio just emphasized the 4'9", much like this video from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Now I heard the radio spot shortly after researching Shawn Johnson's height, and I had to chuckle. Could you imagine an Olympic Gold Medalist (she won silver in the overall, but gold in the balance beam) in a booster seat?
UNL: I'm on sabbatical, working on my dissertation. I have spent very little time on campus, which has been nice for a change. Writing these lines has provided some relief from that arduous labor. Once this is posted, it's back to the grind!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I refused to leave home at the time required to arrive at the wedding on time. Why? Because the Summer Olympic Games from Athens was on TV, and Chile was playing in the Men's Doubles Match for the Gold Medal. Chile had never ever won an Olympic gold medal before, and here they were, playing for the gold. I was riveted. I knew that I needed to leave for Fir Road, but I couldn't. Now, four years later, I would just let the DVR handle it, and I would watch it when I got home. But no, I had to stay!
The fact that the groom was Mexican, and I doubted that the wedding really would start on time was a mitigating factor. We did not leave home unti l Chile had won the gold, and we arrived at the church before the wedding started, so all was well in the world. Actually, in Athens, Chile won 2 gold medals, as Nicolás Massú, one of the members of the Chilean doubles team, also won a gold medal in Men's Singles.
Why is this significant? Because now, 4 years later, Massúʼs doubles partner from Athens, Fernando González, is getting ready to play for the Men's Singles gold medal. For those who might be interested, it should be on around 3 AM tomorrow morning. The tennis events are on the USA Network, not the normal NBC channels. At that hour, I will neither be late for a wedding, nor will I be awake. I do have the DVR set to record the Olympics happenings, after which time I can watch to see if González can repeat. He will be playing against Spain's Rafael Nadal. In the semi-final, González eliminated James Blake (USA). There was a missed call that went in González' favor. Blake complained that he should have 'fessed up, and surrendered the point. He didn't, went on to win the match, and is playing for gold. Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le. ¡Viva Chile!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
It is hot here. We have an atomic clock with an indoor/outdoor thermometer. The reading from this picture was when the outside unit was completely in the shade!
Saturday, August 02, 2008
The Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee, putting a 5 game lead on the board (currently it is 4 games, but the Cubbies are already winning today). After every home win, Steve Goodman's song, "Go, Cubs, Go" is played over the PA system. In Milwaukee, enough Cub fans broke into the song after the Cubs won there, that it was detectable over the radio/TV broadcasts.
WGN radio produced a music video, with some of their radio personnel (and fans outside of Wrigley Field) featured. Here it is:
Sunday, July 27, 2008
- Working on my dissertation project
- Visiting with my son's family (last couple weeks of June)
- Getting ready for Kim to go to Mexico for a year
- Watching the Cubs get past the June Swoon, but suffering through one in July
- Translating for hispanic DWI offenders
- Doing some reading
On that last front, I've discovered a pretty good writer in the Christian fiction genre. I actually bought some of these books for Rose, basically because they were at reduced prices at our local Christian bookstore at the mall. She usually reads much more Christian fiction than I, but prefers Karen Kingsbury, Beverly Lewis, and similar writers. Eric Wilson does not fit that mold. I would describe him as a mix between Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I was probably persuaded to buy the discounted tome because Dekker gave an endorsement (much like I first found Dekker because of a Peretti endorsement.) By the way, Eric Wilson is the novelizer of the Sherwood Baptist Church screenplays, like Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and the upcoming Fireproof.
Another interesting book I've been reading is Jason L. Riley's Let The In: The Case for Open Borders--Six Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They are Wrong. Riley is African American, conservative both economically an politically (he is on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal), but differs drastically from the ultra-right wing radio and television populists, such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and others on the immigration issue. Much of my real life is intertwined with hispanics, both documented and un-documented. What I have read so far makes sense to me.
Several years ago, when my good friend Doug Marks joined our faculty, I remember him commenting that today's students are not readers, but rather skimmers. That resonated with me at the time, because I remember asking students if they had read assigned portions of the textbook, and receiving the strange response, "That depends on what you mean by the word read." It's only gotten worse since then.
I've already admitted to you in this blog entry, that I read books. I also read online. There are a number of blogs that I check semi-frequently. One of them is by Douglas Groothuis, a professor at Denver Seminary. I just happened onto it this morning. He has a post that references an interesting article in today's New York Times: Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?
An article by Nicholas Carr in the current issue of The Atlantic is titled Is Google Making Us Stupid? addresses the same issue. And finally, I just picked up a book that I had requested from the local public library many weeks ago. I got an e-mail message from the library this week, and went by to pick it up. If I don't have time to read it, at least I'll skim through it (I have my moments when I can be very funny!). It is Mark Bauerlein's The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Ages Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.
That's all for right now. It's time to wake Rose up. I spent a couple hours studying Romans 10, checked out the Groothuis blog, which prompted me to write these lines. Now it will be off to worship at College Heights, Sunday dinner with Kimberly at home (her last Sunday in the U.S.), and later on to hope that the Cubbies can begin to turn it around.
Peace to all!