War

Hans Island is a half square mile rock, essentially, in the Kennedy Channel north of Baffin Bay, just northwest of the Greenland coast.  It lies directly on the border of the territorial waters of Greenland (which technically is still part of the kingdom of Denmark) and Canada.  The two nations have argued for decades about who actually owns the island.  In fact, they have been at “war” over it since 1984.

The nature of the “war” will explain the quotation marks. 

 

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Preconceptions

A wonderful satire website with which I have become acquainted this year beat me to the punch.  They said, in far more witty fashion than I could, how tragic events such as the Las Vegas shooting serve as excellent opportunities for us to blame even more the ones we already blamed for the problems we already were whining about.  Who’s your bogeyman?  Terrorists?  The NRA?  Minorities?  Immigrants?  Trust me, you can find a way to blame them.  And you probably have already.

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Nervous

Coach Gene Stallings (who was a Texas Aggie long before he hooked up with the University of Alabama) likes to tell the story of a young kicker who was struggling in practice.  “Coach, you make me nervous,” he said.

“Son,” Coach Stallings replied, “I’m going to be at every game.  If you’re nervous now, you’re really going to be nervous on Saturday.”

 

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Lifeboats

The RMS Titanic was the largest ocean liner of its day.  It was four times the size of the ships that set the standard when laws regarding lifeboats were written.  So the company provided the legally required number of lifeboats when it set off on its maiden voyage in April 1914.  There was room on the ship for more, and the company fully intended to supply the “extra” lifeboats when the law required it.  But on that fateful day, they knowingly (and legally) set off for New York with one-fourth the lifeboats they knew they needed.

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Obnoxious

My retreat from sports has been well documented.  I didn’t watch nearly as much football last year as in previous years, and I am sure I will watch even less this year.  That’s not a value judgment.  This is the value judgment coming up.  Brace yourselves.

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Walking by faith (or not) with Joel Osteen

As I type, my former hometown of Houston is in extreme flooding situations as a result of Hurricane Harvey. And everyone says things are about to get much worse. As is generally the case, people in pain reach out for a face to put on their dartboard of blame. For many, the "winner" is Joel Osteen, pastor of the Lakewood Church.

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Cool

The tagline was, “25 Dumb Things People Think are Cool.”  I was drawn in.  The caption led me to believe it would be a list of things that are inherently dangerous, or that are based on pseudo-science.  Turns out, as a couple of clicks revealed, it was basically a list of things that many people in our culture like but the one making the list does not like.  I really need to spend less time online.

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Steam

As I left the house this morning, I saw a strange thing.  I saw steam rising up from the roof of two houses across the street from me.  Nowhere else.  Now, I remember enough about high school chemistry to know steam is water in gaseous form; it is normal on hot afternoons after a rain for steam to come up from the asphalt as the heat of the surface essentially boils the water that hits it.  But this was morning time — warm, but not unbearably hot.  And it was just the two houses, as far as I could tell.  (I’m virtually certain the houses were not on fire, in case you were wondering.  The thought did cross my mind, though.)

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Polling

The famous Gallup polling company recently did some research as to why people attend church assemblies.  The biggest two reasons: sermons that teach about Scripture, and sermons that help relate Scripture to everyday life.  The smallest response came with regard to “a good choir, praise band, or other spiritual music.”  Interesting.

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Trolls

Every once in a while I will deviate from my standard policy and read some comments on a YouTube video or other internet post.  I will never cease to be amazed at the willingness of complete strangers to weigh in with the most subjective criticisms imaginable.  I don’t know where the term “trolls” came from, but I like it.  It conveys the image of some semiliterate, untalented nobody lurking in his basement (which is to say, his mom’s basement), lobbing ill-conceived and ill-informed mortar fire at people who are actually doing something with their lives.

Maybe it’s American Idol’s fault.  ...

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Knowledge

Alton Brown is one of my favorite television celebrities, back from when I actually watched television.  I heard him talk one time about he and his young daughter watching the Mythbusters guys blow things up on their show, after which she turned to him and said, with attitude, “So, what did you do on your show today?”  Apparently, “Cutthroat Kitchen” wasn’t quite literal enough for the young lady.

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Walkway

I know it’s a debated position, but I firmly hold to the view that the “moving walkway” would be called a “moving standway” if we were supposed to let the machine do all the work.  Not every visitor to Hollywood Studios agrees with me.  And that’s fine. 

Others, though, “stand” in such a way as to impede my walking.  ...

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