Friday, July 05, 2002

Teddy Ballgame There Goes the Greatest Hitter who ever lived. Ted Williams died today.
More on the greatest hitter.

Still more by Thomas Boswell.

More comments from others.

Captain Williams, USMC

Still More. My father (Col. USMC-ret.) reminds me that Ted Williams was a Marine: "I'm a U.S. Marine, and I'll be one 'til I die." He served in the Marines as a "Flying Leatherneck" for 5 years during WWII and Korea; certainly giving up his shot at 600+ home runs for a career.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Independence Day. I'll take a day or two off for this one. See you this weekend.

[enjoy hated owner's birthday -- George Steinbrenner and Al Davis were both born on the 4th.]
905 John Entwistle's death last week got me looking at some of his old songs again. This one, 905 from the album "Who Are You?" strikes me as very current:

Mother was an incubator
Father was the contents
Of a test tube in the ice box
In the factory of birth

My name is 905,
And I've just become alive
I'm the newest populator
Of the planet we call Earth

In suspended animation
My childhood passed me by
If I speak without emotion
Then you know the reason why

Knowledge of the universe
Was fed into my mind
As my adolescent body
Left its puberty behind

And everything I know is what I need to know
And everything I do's been done before
Every sentence in my head
Someone else has said
At each end of my life is an open door

Automatically defrosted
When manhood came on time
I became a man
I left the "ice school" behind

Now I'm to begin
The life that I'm assigned
A life that's been used before
A thousand times

I have a feeling deep inside
That somethin' is missing
It's a feeling in my soul
And I can't help wishing

That one day I'll discover
That we're living a lie
And I'll tell the whole world
The reason why

Well, until then, everything I know is what I need to know
And everything I do's been done before
Every sentence in my head
Someone else has said
At each end of my life is an open door
Blame the child. The Domenecher has a note up referring to his brother and an ABC news article on Grand Theft Auto III. The ABC article is critical (although does present a counter assertion) of the violence and the "realism" in GTA-3. Ellis Domenech disagrees: "though these video games may seem real they are still just games and all you are really killing is a line of zeros and ones." And brother Ben echos: "If a child can't make a distinction between what they see in media -- video games, movies, and on TV -- and what they do in real life, it's a problem with the child, not the media. Life, after all, has no reset button."

I disagree. I would present my case here, but it has been done much better than I ever could by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his article in Christianity Today or here at his website. Grossman notes that killing does not come naturally and the military conditions it's soldiers to learn to kill other humans.
How the military increases the killing rate of soldiers in combat is instructive, because our culture today is doing the same thing to our children. The training methods militaries use are brutalization, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and role modeling. I will explain these in the military context and show how these same factors are contributing to the phenomenal increase of violence in our culture.
He discusses each item primarily with respect to television and movies; however, with the third method, operant conditioning, he pretty clearly demonstrates the media, in this case, violent video games, does condition the child.

Therefore, I'm in disagreement with the Domenech brothers -- after all, life has no reset button.
Hot Dawg! It's summer -- temperatures touched 100 yesterday in my neighborhood and July 4th a day away, what could be more American than the Hot Dog? Not Mom or Apple Pie. See this article by Paul Lukas in the NY Times mentions his favorite 'dog joints. My own favorite place for enjoying a hot dog is at the ball park -- and my personal favorite is the Fenway Frank (although see this dissenting opinion) smothered in Guldens mustard. A close second is the foot long Dodger Dog. The hot dog I had the Sunday before last in Cincinnati (while enjoying a victory by my beloved Athletics over the Reds) was excellent. The dogs in San Diego and Louisville were pretty good. And, to show you I'm no homer, the dogs served up in the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium are to be avoided.
More on the Pledge ruling. Newsweek has a cover story on the Pledge ruling -- issued so smartly the week before our Independence Day reflections on the unalienable rights we are granted by our Creator.

Stuart Taylor notes the source of this shoddy opinion: ". . . the Supreme Court’s tendency to seed its own rulings with loose rhetoric has certainly tempted adventurous lower-court judges to issue decisions that infuriate most Americans." He further comments: "If judges hope to stop a popular wartime president from robbing them of their power, they’ll need to win the support of the Congress, and the public. Attacking the Pledge of Allegiance probably wasn’t the best way to start."

George Will touches on the controversey noting that while we may not be one nation, under God, we are ". . .one nation under judges."

Next, while not in Newsweek, you should read the important insights that Howard J. Bashman has on this ruling.

Last, modified for the day, here is the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence:

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Alfred T. Goodwin, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our secular honor.
I'm back. Sorry about the long absence -- I thought I would be able to get on-line again last Thursday or Friday. I was in Northern Kentucky for work last week and then went to Texas for my wife's family reunion. My wife took all four kids with her from Dulles early in the morning to fly to Austin, with the eventual destination being the Dixie Dude Ranch, where the reunion was held. Unfortunately, the weather was not with her so she and the kids baked for many hours on the runway at Dulles before returning to the terminal. After my last note on Lavenski Smith, she gave me a call and filled me in. Since I was in a hotel with one phone line and a dial-up modem, I kept the phone free for updates from her. Late in the evening, she and the kids got on a flight to Chicago with the slim possibility of a flight to San Antonio, where her father was staying, and she told me that if she didn't call, it probably meant she managed to get on the flight. When she didn't call by midnight, EDT, I assumed that she was on her way to SA. What it meant, however, was just more delays. She called me about 1:00 am and said that she finally reached Chicago but that there were no connecting flights until the morning. On our earlier calls, we had discussed where to sleep in Chicago at the last minute and I had called her brother (who flies for United, based in Chicago). Well, to cut a long story short, she decided that she and the kids would sleep on the cots offered by the airline (with at least 300 other stranded passengers). So that is where this saint spent the night.

I flew out on Friday morning, also encountering weather delays and re-routing, and we finally met up in Austin at around 2 that afternoon.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time at the family reunion and got back at 1 yesterday.