Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wanting to Hear “Well Done!”

The final leg along the outfield track, with hundreds of people shouting their congratulations.

The final leg of the Fort4Fitness races on Sept 30 was in Tin Caps Stadium. You entered onto left field, took the track all the way along the outfield fence, then came down the first base line and finished at home plate.

The highlight, for me, was finally walking into Tin Caps Stadium. Hundreds of people lined the fences above the track. They were clapping for us, cheering, shouting congratulations–“You did it!” It was an amazing feeling.

The Apostle Paul said he wanted to run the race well, so that at the end, he would be told, “Well done!” I thought of that as we walked along the outfield track. Imagine when a faithful Christian arrives in heaven. All the angels gather to welcome him, applauding and saying, “You did it! Well done! Welcome home!”

I have a couple people in mind who were lowly in the eyes of the world, receiving no accolades. Yet they were faithful servants of their Lord. And when they arrive in heaven, the angels are going to tell each other, “Hey, So-and-So is arriving! Hurry! We need to go welcome him!” And the cheering as they enter Heaven’s Gate will be resounding and overwhelming.

At least that’s how I imagine it. It won’t be anything like that. It’ll be infinitely better. But that’s the best my human mind can imagine for now.

And I want to be cheered.

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Fort4Fitness, and Completing THE Race

Fort4Fitness participants from Anchor Community Church.

Pam and I, with our medals for completing the race.

The 2012 Fort4Fitness races were held September 29, 2012. Last year, Pam and I did the 4-mile walk (which she also did in 2010). This year we upgraded to the 10K walk (6.2 miles). We’d walked this distance several times before during the summer. I think our best time was around 18 minutes per mile. But on The Big Day, we managed 17:32 per mile. Total time: 1:48:39.

Lots of people from Anchor participated.

Our race was last, at 9 am. But we were there at 6 am to get a good parking place, and to cheer on the Anchorites who were doing the 4-mile walk at 7:30. Pastor Tim Hallman did the 13-mile (half-marathon) run at 8:30.

It was a fun morning. The Fort4Fitness people do a great job with the race. Along the route are gobs of people cheering you on–“Good job!” “You can do it!” About a mile into the walk we passed a large group of blacks singing a song with an African flavor–they were GREAT! Huntington University manned one of the refreshment stations along the route, giving out Gatorade and water.

It was especially fun walking through some of the neighborhoods. In some, the residents really got into it, scrawling encouraging words in chalk into the street and cheering us from their porches.

It’s an incredible event for the city. In just five years, it has grown from 3000 people to 10,000 people. They make it fun, with all kinds of things happening along the route. And at the end–all kinds of goodies await.

Yep, definitely–we’ll be back next year.

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Polluting My Mind

On Wednesday I did some running around town, and, bored with the NFL ref talk on ESPN, I switched over to WOWO. It was the Rush Limbaugh show. I listened to about 15 minutes of his indignation schtick.

Rush said a few things which I knew were either factually wrong or misleading, and made other statements which cried out for factchecking. Which is easy to do; I occasionally factcheck things pundits say. Rush’s track record for untruthfulness is well established (see here, for instance).

What a miserable life Rush leads. For three hours a day, he criticizes people with sarcasm and indignation. That’s what he does. Three hours a day, for several decades now. He makes up stuff when it suits his agenda, with no interest in accurately educating or informing his rapt audience. He has no compunctions about slandering people, about tearing down reputations. His purpose in life is to convince millions of people to despise the same people he despises. And, sadly, he succeeds in spades.

I would not take pride in a career like that.

Rush wants to get people riled up, to feed their anger, and to lay the blame for everything bad in the world at the feet of Obama and all things Democrat.

In real life, I hate being around negative people. They pollute my mind, bring me down, put a dark cloud over my world. So why would I listen to Rush on the radio? (Or to Sean Hannity, or Ed Schultz, or Michael Savage…on and on.)

So I just turned the radio off and contented myself with silence.

That night, my Scripture reading included Ephesians 4, which told me:

“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And don’t sin by letting anger control you…for anger gives a foothold to the devil….Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them….Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander….”

It applies to what I say and write, and it applies to what I allow to enter my head.

[Here’s a previous post I wrote about Rush.]

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Legends of Officiating

The NFL referee strike has finally ended. It was short–but probably longer than expected–run for the replacement refs. Now they can sink back into obscurity.

But at least two refs achieved a certain degree of immortality.

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The Green Thing

I came across this piece, titled “The Green Thing,” on Facebook. It’s apparently been circulating for a while, and I have no idea who originally wrote it.

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

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Jay Pharoah as Obama: I’m Not Impressed

Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama

For several years, I have griped about Fred Armisen’s impersonation of Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live. In the 2012 season opener, Jay Pharoah (my choice for a replacement) finally assumed that role.

And I was not impressed.

Disappointed, in fact. I’m becoming a hard-to-please, cranky old man.

(But maybe he’ll get better. Fred Armisen definitely wasn’t getting better.)


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Female Icons in Advertising

Advertising Age magazine picked the Top 10 Female Ad Icons of all time. Chronologically, they include:

  • The Morton Salt Umbrella Girl (1914).
  • Betty Crocker (1921).
  • Miss Chiquita (Chiquita bananas, 1914).
  • Rosie the Riveter (1943).
  • Josephine the Plumber (Comet Cleanser, 1963).
  • Mrs. Olson (Folgers, 1963).
  • Madge the Manicurist (Palmolive, 1966).
  • Rosie the Waitress (Bounty, 1970s).
  • The incomparable Clara Peller (Wendy’s, 1984).

But I am most excited to see, on this prestigious Top Ten list, one of my personal all-time favorites: Flo the Progressive girl.

Are they missing anyone? All I can think of is Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Buttersworth. I think Aunt Jemima deserves to be in the Top Ten.

Back in 1999, Advertising Age did a list of the Top Ten Advertising Icons of the Century--man, woman, or animal. Aunt Jemima DID make that list. So she definitely should have been among the top women. That list was:

  • The Marlboro Man
  • Ronald McDonald
  • Green Giant
  • Betty Crocker
  • Energizer Bunny
  • Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Aunt Jemima
  • Michelin Man
  • Tony the Tiger
  • Elsie (Borden dairy products)
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Still Pondering the Roberts Ruling

From the Old News Department: I’m still shaking my head over the Supreme Court ruling regarding Obamacare. Why? Because I still don’t understand John Roberts’ rationale for upholding the mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

I’m in favor of universal healthcare, but the reasoning doesn’t compute for me. All this hairsplitting about tax and penalty, with Obama insisting it’s a penalty when it needs to be a tax for Roberts to uphold it, but if it’s a tax, then….we’ve got an infinite loop.

Now, most people, according to an informal poll, contend that John Roberts is smarter than I am. Close, but he has the edge. True, I possess a prestigious degree from Huntington University in the rigorous discipline of Communications. Nevertheless, the pedestrian Law degree Roberts obtained from Harvard is considered to be superior. Go figure.

Nevertheless, intellectual peon that I allegedly am, I continue to be a bit baffled. I’m glad, at least, that the ruling makes sense to Justice Roberts.

I just got around to reading, from the July 16 edition of Time magazine, reactions from four previous solicitors general. The first one, by Ted Olson, was brilliant and funny. He has fun with all the mental twists and turns, and I just had to admire the creativity of his writing. Read it here.

(Actually, I’ve read quite a bit about the ruling. While Roberts’ rationale eludes me to an extent, I’m fascinated by what he was trying to prevent from happening, and the role he sees for the Supreme Court. But I’m not going to go into that.)

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WASP Prevention

I found this interesting when I heard it. For the first time in American history, there are no WASPS–white Anglo-Saxon Protestants–on the presidential ballot. We have a black Protestant, a white Mormon, and two white Catholics.

Interesting. I have no conclusions to draw.

Well, maybe one. We celebrate being a melting pot country. The fact that we’re tasting more than one spice seems positive.

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Categorizing Attitudes Toward Christianity

Faith Today, a Canadian magazine, ran an article about the state of Christianity in Canada. It categorized people in an interesting way.

  • Engagers (23 percent): Have a positive view of Christianity and still regularly engage with a church.
  • Fence Sitters (36 percent): Have generally positive views of the faith, but they have made choices inconsistant with church teachings and therefore remain at a distance.
  • Wanderers (26 percent): May think the church has a positive role in society, but it’s not for them. They do not agree with the church’s views on moral and social issues.
  • Rejecters (15 percent): Although half say they were raised in the church, they now reject religion and identify as atheists.

The percentages apply only to Canada, which is more progressive and secular than America. I would guess we have more engagers, but I’m not sure which of the other categories would be smaller. The “Rejecters,” by all accounts, are rapidly increasing in number in the US.

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