Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Birthday Blog

OK, so I'm now 40. I think it was my sister-in-law who pointed out over a week ago that this is no big deal, as I've been mentally 40 since I was 17. I'm overwhelmed at how great my family and friends have been; my mother-in-law had a treat for me every day this week (40 cookies, 40 doughnut holes, etc.), my sister brought balloons and a cake to my classroom yesterday, probably 20 of my colleagues joined me to celebrate after work yesterday (in an outing arranged entirely by my awesome wife), and about 20 more have expressed good wishes through calls, text messages, emails, and facebook. This morning I awoke to find that my daughter has made a banner and a homemade card. I must say, this is a whole lot better than we did at 39 (and I guess won't be repeated until the half-century mark)!

In keeping with the recent theme of my blogging, I thought I'd peek back across the last 10 years and see what my 30's have looked like.

  1. I've run 5069 miles since turning 30, including several races (but none recently). One of those races (back at 30) was a faster 5k than I ran at the state finals in high school, and will likely be retired as my "PR" (personal record). I hope to approach that level in age-adjusted terms in the next decade.
  2. I have drank approximately 912 gallons of coffee (assuming about a quart each day for 10 years). That means I've gotten 5.6 miles per gallon!
  3. I've read the Bible cover-to-cover 6 times, 7 if you discount the major prophets (sometimes it's just tough to get through Ezekiel).
  4. I've become a father for the third time (and the last).
  5. I've seen both my sons baptized.
  6. I've taught approximately 900 students (150 in my last year at Garrett, 75 a year for 10 years at Porter-Gaud).
  7. My oldest students have themselves turned 30. Many are married and have kids. My first 7th graders will graduate from college this year. I have former students (and athletes I coached) in Ivy-League Schools, in the Navy SEALs, in college athletics, playing professional basketball in Europe, teaching school, coaching, and recently one made a perfect score on the SAT.
  8. I've won a public-school conference track championship and 2 SCISA state titles. I've coached 18 individuals and relay teams to state titles.
  9. I've been to a former team captain's wedding and another's funeral.
  10. I've been to Disney World twice.
  11. I've travelled 7000 miles cross-country in an RV.
  12. I've left the USA for the first (and 2nd) time, taking my first cruise to the Bahamas and spending 2 weeks in Rome.
  13. I have lived in 4 houses (one of which was a rental). I hate moving.
  14. I have owned 4 minivans. I have never sold or traded in a vehicle (they've been given away, wrecked, or towed away, but I've never had a vehicle with a dime's resale value when I was done with it).
  15. I've blogged 226 times, including today.

That's about enough, I guess. I look back with a sense of general satisfaction. If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know I love the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." Now, I'm no George Bailey, but with the perspective of a little hindsight, I can say it really has been a wonderful decade.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Busy Week

Just in case you think I have fallen down on my blogging (or my running) this week, it's a little bit insane right now. Today: meeting in just a minute, basketball games until 10 PM. Tomorrow: Jacob has a game. Thursday: Middle School Play. Friday: More home games, another 10 PM night. Saturday: One or both boys play, and I'm not even sure which one yet. So I'll fit in what I can this week and be happy to get it.

However--Bible reading still 20-for-20 this year.

The good news: this craziness will pass. The bad news: starting next week is the annual time when track season overlaps with basketball season. Nothing I haven't done before, but every year gets a bit tougher.

Monday, January 19, 2009


We get today off for the "observed" birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His 80th birthday would have been the 15th. Yesterday, my daily Bible reading was in Genesis chapter 37, the story of Joseph. There is a quote from that story which is incribed on a plaque at the site of Dr. King's assassination at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis (now the National Civil Rights Museum). It's where Joseph's brothers are planning to kill him. They said "Here cometh that dreamer. Let us slay him..., and we shall see what will become of his dreams." (Gen 37:19-20)

I'm a big fan of Dr. King. Of course, he was not a perfect man, and some of his personal failings have been well-documented. But he is one of the genuine heroes of modern American history. It is serendipitous that this week in class my students will be studying the Civil Rights Movement. How nice that it comes in a week in which we've seen Dr. King's birthday, as well as the inauguration of our first black president. What will become of his dreams, indeed!

"Time Power" for Becky

I've mentioned before my long-time fascination with DayTimers and goal-setting, going back to 1987 when I was a fraternity pledge in good ol' Delta Upsilon and an alumnus introduced the concept. I got a coupon that night for 3 months of free DayTimer refills, and I haven't been without a planner since. That free sample also came with some little cards that referenced the Time Power planning system, based on a book by Charles Hobbs. I read the book, and it remains my favorite book on time management to this day. It's out of print now, but I got a used copy with a B&N gift card this Christmas.

As a parenthetical note--another of my favorite books on time is The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management, by Hyrum Smith. I'm pretty sure that Smith stole his stuff from Hobbs... the books are too similar for it to be coincidence, both authors are from Utah, and Hobbs book was published earlier. Smith went on to found the "Franklin Quest" company, which made a planner that looked suspiciously like a DayTimer, and later merged with Steven Covey's company that produced the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to form the Franklin Covey corporation. But I digress.

Anyway, the key to Hobbs' system is what he calls "Unifying Principles." (Smith called them "Governing Values.") The idea is that you build a successful life like a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is conscious decision-making about what your principles and priorities are. Only when you know what you value (and in what order those principles are arranged) can you set long-term goals. The long-term goals form the next level up on the pyramid, and they, in turn, will spin off intermediate goals. Then, at the top of the pyramid is the daily stuff you write on your DayTimer page. For example, if one of your Unifying Principles is financial security, that may kick out the long-term goal to retire as a millionaire. From that naturally spins off intermediate goals like "set up 401-K" and "retire short-term debt." And from there comes the daily task of "pay $50 extra on visa bill." A real key to this system of thought is looking back at our decisions and asking, "is my walk matching up with my talk?" Anybody can SAY they value God or family or whatever above work or TV. But looking back at your expenditure of time and money will often give a clue as to what the reality is. And when there is "incongruence," as Hobbs puts it, the only two choices are to change what you say or change what you do.

One more aside--one of the things I like best about the "Time Power" model that is not covered as well in the other literature is the recognition that sometimes other people (like our boss) can have legitimate claims on our time and priorities. Although it may be necessary to make changes in our employment to bring our life into congruence, generally speaking, I don't get a chance to make progress toward my personal life goals when I'm on the clock at work. Most of what I'm talking about here is discretionary time.

Anyway, over in the post about my running log, Becky wrote that she's not quite sure what her goals should be. Let me suggest taking some time and working to figure out these "Unifying Principles." I did, probably 20 years ago. And my list has evolved very little over that time. Following is an abbreviated description of who I decided to be a long time ago. One note: these are GOALS. I make no claim as to being consistently successful in being the "me I want to be." I initially used one word for each of my principles, but each word carries some weight.

  1. FAITH. The older I get, the more serious I get about this one. I say I put God first, and I try to mean it. And I believe that doing that makes everything else flow like it should ("seek ye first the kingdom of God, etc.")
  2. FAMILY. After "love God," comes "love your neighbor." And my closest neighbors are my immediate family, followed by my extended family. I tell myself I would rather succeed in these first two areas and fail in all the others. Also, my role as "provider" is wrapped up in this one.
  3. CHARACTER. This includes personal integrity, being a role-model for my kids, etc.
  4. WISDOM. This is where my inner nerd comes in. My reading in everything from the Bible to biographies to track coaching manuals to political blogs is rooted here. But it's a conscious choice that "wisdom" is subordinate to "faith" and "character."
  5. DISCIPLINE. I value this trait in myself and in others. It's what separates good intentions from doing what needs to be done. It's also an area of constant struggle.
  6. SERVICE. I've thought many times that I ought to rename this one "stewardship." But it is a combination of not taking my many blessings for granted and seeking to use them constructively and not just selfishly.

Anyway, that's it. Lots of what I do is held up by these decisions made 20+ years ago. For example, my teaching and coaching is related to family (making a living), wisdom, discipline, and service. I hope my budgets are informed by faith (Biblical principles), family (again, responsibility for their well-being), wisdom, and discipline. My daily Bible reading is related to faith, wisdom, and discipline. And so forth. And when there is a conflict (say, between what looks like "wisdom" and the teachings of scripture), I decided a long time ago what order these items line up in.

One last thought. It's still possible to screw this up, if your principles are not grounded in TRUTH. There are plenty of folks out there who are just zipping along living lives in perfect congruence with faulty principles--materialism, racism, me-first. But that's a topic for another day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Check Out My Awesome Wife!

That is, check out my awesome wife's new blog. I figure most of the people who read my brain-droppings probably know about Ann's blogging, too. But just in case, I thought I'd advertise. She's made a resolution to photo-journal the entire 2009 calendar year. It's called "Project 365" and you can CLICK HERE to see what she's done so far. She's a great photographer. So far, two major themes are showing up--lots of pictures of food, and lots of shots taken in (or from) a speeding minivan.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Tyrannny of the Log

20 minutes. Maybe 21. That's all that separates a good from a bad week. Sometime before the close of business today, I need to run 2.5 miles (or more). That will achieve my goal of 4 runs this week, plus will put me at 12 total miles. A pitifully small number that I used to achieve in only one run. But 12 would be a step forward over last week's 10. The 9.5 I've currently logged this week are OK... I've gotten in one faster run (7:29 pace) and one "longer" run (30 minutes, try not to be too impressed). But if I don't get one more, the week goes down as a failure. Too bad it's so darned cold. But I'll get it. A sucessful year is a succession of successful weeks, and a successful week is a succession of successful days. And successful days are made, sometimes, 20 minutes at a time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama a Major First, In More Ways Than One

I had a thought about Obama while teaching my first-period class today. We're starting the 1960's, and were talking about all the many changes that took place during that tumultuous period. One of the things I mentioned is that the 1960's see the birth of the "modern" Democrat party, in the same way that the 1980's represent the birth of the "modern" GOP. By that I mean that the party of Reagan was very different from the party of Eisenhower (the addition of the social conservatives), which itself was very different than the isolationist GOP pre-Ike. Likewise, the Democrats didn't become the anti-war party until the Vietnam era. Although they didn't nominate their anti-war candidate in 1968 (McCarthy), his wing of the party more or less won out, giving us McGovern and his successors from that point on.

In a sense, Obama is the first modern Democrat to actually win election. LBJ was liberal, but a cold warrior (after all, he's the guy who pulled the trigger on Vietnam). The only two Dems to win in my lifetime were Carter and Clinton, both of whom ran as centrists, explicitly distancing themselves from the liberalism which was unpopular during their times. There have been folks who combined liberalism and the anti-war plank... McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry. All lost. But Obama was, at least on paper, a genuine liberal and a dove, and he won convincingly.

You could do a lot of analysis on this--did Obama "run to the center" and in that way win like Carter or Clinton? Does his election mean America is shifting from a center-right to a center-left nation? Does Obama's election hinge on circumstance, whether the economic crisis or the success of the surge (in the same way that the end of the Cold War made it "safe" to elect Clinton over Bush 41)?

I'll save the analysis for another day. But I will say that I'm absolutely fascinated with watching how it all turns out. Certainly, we all want what's best for the country. But I'm really interested in what my history lessons on this election and its consequences are going to look like many years from now. It'll be a fun ride!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy About Obama

Just for the record--this conservative is quite pleased that Barack Obama will take the oath of office as our 44th president 1 week from today. Don't get me wrong: I voted against him, and I am satisfied with my vote. To date, I have yet to vote for a pro-choice candidate over a pro-life one, and it would take a lot to change that. And I'm not saying I think Obama would make any better decisions that McCain (indeed, I'm pretty sure I would prefer McCain's advisors being the ones doing the heavy lifting over Obama's). But I think it's probably better in many ways for the country that Obama takes office during the current economic crisis. Obviously, there is a big plus to him being our first African-American president. That, in itself, is worth some serious points. But more than that, I think Obama will be better able to do some of the hard stuff that has to be done than McCain could, simply on account of the mood of the people (and the media).

I feel like if McCain were waiting in the wings right now, the sniping would have already begun. We were told for over a year that his policies would be "more of the same." Obama can do "more of the same" and get accolades for it. Either of them would have had to make some very hard decisions, but Obama will be insulated from some of the more vitrolic criticism for longer. For example, Obama has backtracked on exactly when (if at all) Gitmo will be closed. Turns out it's a tougher decision than it looks like when you're slamming Bush for it. But the media has provided cover for him. If McCain (or any other Republican) had the exact same misgivings, we'd just hear over and over that this is "Bush part III."

I think Obama represents a great opportunity for our nation. Those who are old enough may remember "Only Nixon can go to China." Opening relations with mainland (communist) China was necessary, and a long-term positive for the country. But no Democrat would dare do it... they would have been tarred as pinkos. But Nixon, the same guy who nailed Alger Hiss back in '47, couldn't possibly be called soft on communism. Therefore he was free to do the right thing for the country. I think we can't possibly win the war with Islamic radicals until that fight becomes one we all own, as opposed to being Bush's or the Republican's war. Now that Obama, a genuine man of the left, has the responsibility for keeping the country safe, perhaps we can do what is necessary without so many recriminations. I certainly hope so.

Of course, there may be a time later on when I look back and regret this post. But I'd be perfectly happy to say in 4, or even 8 years, "hey, that guy did great!" I may even vote for him, depending upon the choices available. Good luck, President Obama.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Buddy System

God says in Genesis, "It is not good for man to be alone." Shucks, even the Lone Ranger wasn't really alone--he had Tonto. I have found over many years that I'm at my worst when left to my own devices, and at my best when I have friends who can encourage me, hold me accountable, and kick me in the butt. I've been blessed over the years to have had several "best" friends at various times in my life. Sadly, most of them have wound up living far away, and in many cases we have grown apart as we got older (although I'd be there in a minute for any of 'em if there was a need). I don't have a true "best" friend (except, obviously, for my wife) right now, but I've got some pretty good folks in my life who help me be the person I want to be.

As we start off the new year, I'm 12-for-12 on days of getting my Bible reading done. Part of this is because I've made my struggles with it public (here and elsewhere), and I have some folks who I know are going to ask me how I'm doing. My buddy Chad and I have made a pact to talk at least once a week and encourage one another in this area. It also means a lot to me that I have my "Iron Men" (from Proverbs 27:17) at church who pray for each other. Not only do their prayers encourage me, I am confident that the prayers are effective in a way my self-disicpline alone could not be (James 5:17).

On the running front, I'm motivated by both friendship and competition. My friend Hugh coaches with me, and shares my off-season time and motivation struggles. But he'll call me a wuss in a second flat, and I know that if I don't put in the miles, the next time we're together on a run he'll just drill me mercilessly. Same with my brother-in-law, Adam. He's a minister who will drop me an e-mail saying, "here's a little encouragement from a Christian brother: get off your lazy butt and RUN!" Of course, I'd do the same for either of them... and secretly (or not-so-secretly) I fantasize about being the guy who's able to put the hurt on them if the tables ever turn.

Lately I've had another great running "buddy"--my wife, Ann. She is such an inspiration. She HATES to work out, but she does it religiously... her mood doesn't even enter into the equation. She is so self-disciplined, and she's reaping the benefits right now of being early in her running career, when all the breakthroughs come quickly, when races are new and exciting, and when going just 5 minutes more on the treadmill is uncharted territory. Last week, she resolved to do 10 miles, total. And she did, of course. On Friday, I looked at my log and had 7 (in 2 runs, with a couple of days of weak excuse-making thrown in). No way that's going to work, I thought, so I laced 'em up and squeezed in an easy 3 to match her in double-digits. Repeat that every week, and I'll easily get the 500 I failed to log last year.

I'm trying not to look too far ahead... I read recently a great quote that said "A successful life is merely a succession of successful days." I'm just going to keep on eating that elephant, one bite at a time. Gotta go. I'm going to run right now.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gran Torino

I want to go see Clint Eastwood's new movie, Gran Torino. I've seen several reviews, and it looks like it's right up my alley. I guess I can't "review" it myself until after I've seen the movie itself, but everything I read about it makes me nostalgic for a form of manhood that doesn't get much positive air-time anymore. When I was a kid, the perfect dad on TV was Cliff Huxtable. Yes, he was good-hearted and wise, but he was a wuss. His wife and kids ran all over him, and he was forevermore mucking up household projects. Somehow he was smart enough to be a successful Ob-Gyn, but he didn't have what it took to be a leader in his home. There were plenty of good things--he loved his wife and kids, he was honest, he was good. But as an example of manhood, well, he was no Clint Eastwood.

What does it say about our world that Eastwood is 78, and there's no Eastwood waiting in the wings? In Gran Torino, he teaches a fatherless boy the rules of life--among them, that half of all jobs can be done with WD-40, a set of vise-grips, and duct tape. Reminds me of my grandfather. Cliff Huxtable would have gotten the duct tape stuck to the vise-grips.

What are the lessons a father (or grandfather) should teach his boys? I was blessed growing up to have a dad who was a good example of a responsible provider and disciplinarian (my family didn't fall apart until I was out of the house), and also to live next door to my Granddaddy, who was the teacher of major life lessons... how to drive, how to shave, what was the business end of a screwdriver. I watched (and played) sports with dad, and took things apart (and sometimes even put them back together) with Granddaddy. Nobody in my house hunted, but we went fishing a little.

My boys are equally blessed. They have two living grandfathers, my dad, who is teaching the lesson of how to be a gamecock fan, and their Opa, who is the duct-tape guy. Then, as a bonus, they have Uncle Leroy, who is as close to the reincarnation of my Granddaddy as they are going to get (and that's about the highest compliment I can give anybody). I try very hard to be an example of what a man should be to my boys (and to my daughter, who needs to know how to pick a good one someday a LONG time from now). I pray I (we) are doing a good job, and that they will pass on those same lessons to my grandchildren. of course, by then, like the values Eastwood demonstrates in Gran Torino, those values may be as out-dated as a 1972 muscle car. But I call those "classics."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Israel vs. Hamas

I'm sick of hearing about the world's "outrage" at Israel for kicking the crap out of Hamas in Gaza. It's almost insulting to the Palestinians... we expect better behavior from the
"civilized" Israelis, but it's to be expected if those poor dumb brutes in Gaza behave like barbarians. Bull-hockey.

Let's clear this up: Gaza hasn't been an Israeli-occupied territory since 2005. not only did Israel pull out, they forced their own people to leave at gunpoint. Since then, the Palestinians there have not done anything to build a civilized society. Instead, they have launched well over 6000 rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. These attacks have been launched FROM civilian areas (using Mosques, hospitals, schools, and residential areas as cover against reprisal) and directed AT civilians. Now that Israel has finally struck back, of the 400+ killed, well over 300 have been "militants." (I prefer the word, "scumbag cowards.") Israel has even warned civilians in targeted areas in advance of attacks, thereby losing any tactical element of surprise, just to save lives. So what you have is one side that does everything it can to minimize loss of civilian lives (on both sides), and the other which does everything it can to maximize loss of civilian lives (on both sides). Indeed, Hamas likes dead Palestinians almost as much as dead Israelis, for their propaganda value. There is absolutely ZERO moral equivalence between these two sides.

Of course, the "reason" why it's OK for Hamas to engage in outright terrorism is always given that the evil Zionist bloodsuckers stole their land back in 1948. Let's review: "their" land was a UN Mandate, controlled by the United Nations after being given up by the British Empire, who took it by force from the Ottoman Empire during WWI. The UN, the "legal" administrators of the land, offered half to Israel and half to Palestine. Palestine turned down the deal, preferring warfare to compromise. Then they lost the war. Israel defended its territory numerous times (1948, 67, and 73 being the big ones). Therefore they "own" than land two ways: first, legally as granted by the UN, and secondly, by force of arms. I hate to be a barbarian here, but face it--force of arms is pretty much how every country on the planet got their land. The Franks got France, the Normans took over England, the Rus got Russia, and even we Americans got the land formerly occupied by American Indians by being the strongest tribe a long time ago. After 60 years, it's time to accept reality--Israel is not going to disappear.

Unfortunately, there is little room for compromise. All Israel wants is peace. They have demonstrated time and again that they will make almost any concession in exchange for just being left alone. But Hamas (and their allies) will not be satisfied with half a loaf. They want Israel wiped off the map, and there is no partial way of achieving that.

Let's also remember a couple of other little cultural notes: Israel was, until quite recently in Iraq, the only place in the world where Arabs could vote. Women have equal rights there. Although technically a "Jewish" state, they do not force their religion on others. Those who would replace them deny human rights, oppress women, stone homosexuals to death, and danced for joy in the street after the 9/11 attacks. This is not a clash of two civilizations--it is a clash between a civilized people and medieval barbarians.

Hamas knows this, and they count on that to work to their advantage. It is only Israel's civilized restraint that allows Hamas to keep on doing what they do. If ever Israel decides, "well, the rest of the world is never going to approve of us anyway, to hell with them," and takes the gloves off, they are capable of making their problem go away. I'm not just talking about their nuclear capability--if they were to say, "from now on, you attack population centers, so do we," they could extract such a high cost in innocent Palestinian lives that they could make the terrorists' position untenable. Of course, they have been unwilling to do that... unlike Hamas.

We in the west ought to support Israel. They are the canary in the coal mine for all of western civilization. It is a sad commentary on our own societal decline that so many of us would apparently prefer the barbarians win for the sake of our own peace and quiet. Peace, that is, until the barbarians come to our gates.

George W. Bush is Probably Smarter Than You

Ok--depending upon which of my (few) readers is doing the reading, that may not be true. If you're my cousin Cyndi or my best-ever former student Matthew, NOBODY is much smarter than you. But as the end of Bush's term winds down, I, for one, am getting a little tired of being told over and over that he is (a) stupid; (b) the WORST PRESIDENT EVER!

Let's address the "stupid" business. The guy graduated from Yale undergrad and got an MBA from Harvard. He could fly jet planes. He somehow got himself elected to two terms as governor of Texas and two terms as president of the United States. Only 16 men have EVER been elected twice as president (there are other 2-termers who succeeded to a term and then were re-elected to one more, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, and LBJ). Look, I've got "Bush fatigue" as bad as anybody. I won't even attempt to defend all of his policies (although some have been good, and I have never once wished that we had president Gore or Kerry instead). But there have been lots of presidents who had numerous failures, and we don't call them stupid (think Carter, for example). Yet it is a common deal in the media to assume any Republican, especially one who admits to evangelical Christian faith, is a blithering idiot. They did it with Reagan. Dan Quayle was savaged. and of course, what was done to Sarah Palin during this past year was just awful. What gets me is that the liberal is ALWAYS assumed to be an intellectual. Gore got the same family nudge into school Bush did, and flunked out of divinity school... but he was OBVIOUSLY smarter than Bush. Same thing with Kerry, even after it was revealed that he made worse grades at Yale than Bush did. JFK, who got into Harvard the same way Bush got into Yale and won the Pulitzer prize for a book ghost-written by Ted Sorenson, was considered much smarter than Eisenhower, who "only" went to West Point and commanded allied troops in WWII. After a while, you start to see the pattern.

Now, of course, Barack Obama is the intellectual. And he may be. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, which is far more than was ever given to Bush. But just imagine the media played the same game with Obama. He hasn't released his transcripts from his undergrad days at Columbia... do you suppose that's because his grades were too high? We know he was the editor of the Harvard Law Review, but there's not a single example of his legal scholarship out there. Why is it OK to say out loud that Bush would have never gotten into Yale without family connections, but inconceivable to think that a guy with the most interesting pedigree this side of Tiger Woods didn't get a few "diversity" points when he applied to Harvard? And of course, if he were a conservative, the fact that he says "um" and "uh" every time he's off the teleprompter, or that he claimed to have been to all 57 states would be "proof" that he's just as dumb as Reagan/Quayle/Bush/Palin. And that would be unfair.

How about this, for a change. Let's stipulate that if you got to be president, you're NOT STUPID. (Okay, maybe Warren G. Harding was no scholar. But that leaves 42 out of 43 occupants of the oval office who aren't dumb.) Not everybody can be a super-genius like Teddy Roosevelt or Thomas Jefferson. And some of our "best" presidents were not necessarily the ones with highest IQ's (I'll take Truman over Wilson every time). That doesn't mean we have to like the guy. Dislike Bush all you want. But enough with attacks on his intelligence--especially if you haven't accomplished a tenth of what he has.

As for the "WORST EVER" deal, that may be more than I want to write about for now. But even if you assume every bad thing ever attributed to Bush is true (which I don't, but this is for argument's sake), let me give you just a couple of folks worse: NOBODY is as incompetent as Jimmy Carter. Even if Bush "shredded the Constitution," he at least seems to have done it because he thought, even wrongly, that it was in the interest of saving American lives. But Richard Nixon did worse, and only for personal gain. And finally, two words: James Buchanan. Look him up.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Losers and Loyalty

I got a USC Gamecocks sticker for my van this Christmas. I think I'll put it on next to my McCain-Palin '08 sticker. If I get one for my non-playoff-bound Cowboys, I can score the loser trifecta.

At least I'm loyal. Since I was a small child, it's been the Gamecocks, the Braves, the Cowboys, and the Celtics. I disowned the Cowboys for a while after they fired Tom Landry (and was therefore not part of the 1990's good times). But there was never a chance of me picking another team. I pulled for the Braves back when all they had was Dale Murphy. Then I got to enjoy the good times of the 1990's, and now they stink again. My Celtics have gone from peak to valley to peak again. Of course, the Gamecocks have NEVER been to the mountaintop, but that's not the point. They are my team. Sadly, it's an intergenerational curse--yesterday, my father, myself, and my son all watched the Outback Bowl debacle, knowing that this is our lot in life... probably forever. Some people's parents leave them sticks, bonds, or real estate. My father's legacy is football disappointment.

Of course, it's a new year. That means there will be a 2009 USC season, so I can start getting my hopes up (too high) all over again. Until then, at least the Celtics are winning.