Thursday, August 28, 2008

Linky Linky

I haven't had much to write about this week, so I thought I'd share a few things I read that caught my eye in the last few days.

  1. Its hard to stop speculating about a cross-town series this October. Chi-Town would go nuts. It would be awesome.
  2. Fleming Rutledge on "Blind Boys of Alabama and the Living Jesus"
  3. Greg Boyd does a Philosophical review of The Dark Knight.
  4. Baby ducks + Danger + Happy ending = "Awwwwwww..."
  5. I suddenly don't feel so bad about my Bacon-Brat a few weeks ago.
Tonight is the Chicago Covenant Softball League Championship. Tuesday night was the divisional championship and the Seminary team beat Ravenswood Covenant in a dramatic contest that ended in a walk-off seventh inning win. Tonight we take on the surging Sojourner Covenant Church who are this year's Cinderella team. Go Sem Scholars!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Zaccheus' Baconfest '08

We went camping last weekend near Tomah with some friends from MN and WI. Towards the end of the trip we titled the outing "1st Annual Baconfest" since we had bacon at almost every meal. The most unholy creation was the bacon-wrapped sausage (pictured). And since we were in Wisconsin, of course Matt and I had to stop at a cheese factory on the way home. We hiked, grilled, took a dip in the lake, got a tan, and just hung out. It was really fun!

Southside Baseball, continued

These are pictures from our baseball outing. Yep, I wore my Twins hat and somehow didn't get killed (just a few jeers)!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Southside Baseball

Nicole and I went down to the Cell last night for the first of a three game series: Sox vs Mariners. Its the first time all season the M's have been in town, thus my first time this year I've had a chance to see the M's live. As is often the case, Seattle lost badly: 13-5. When the M's played the Cubs last year in interleauge, we saw a number of Seattle fans at Wrigley. Not too many at the Cell last night--no doubt the difference being last year we were only a few games out of first, this year we're one of the worst in the league.

Going into the game I had tempered my expectations. With our season long finished, you need to start watching baseball for other reasons than just winning. I was interested in seeing our call-ups from Tacoma, Jeff Clement and Vlad Balentein, who both have notable power swings but are only batting in the low .200s. Both actually did pretty well tonight with Clement going 3-4 and Vlad ripping a double down the right field line to drive in two. Ichiro did his thang, putting down some blooper singles and running out an infield grounder for a single. Beltre went 0-5, continuing to under-impress us with his offense--but making a great leaping grab to rob Paul Konerko of a screaming line drive. I'm still waiting for Beltre to be the offenseive contribution he has the potential to be-- but the guy can play great 3b. The Mariners racked up 15 hits, but the power and the timing was missing leaving us only scoring 5 runs. The lead changed twice in the game, but pitching and infield defense did not come through for us. Yunieski Betancourt let no less than three easy grounders get by him for hits (Jose Lopez looked a little lame at second base also). At one time Yuni was considered one of the best defensive short stops in the league. I don't think its an overstatement to say that he is now among the worst. And Finally, the suckfest of the night was Jarrod Washburn. After pitching way above his talent level in June and July, he's come back down to earth-- giving up seven hits, two homers, and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings. To be fair, the White Sox havethe AL's best offense in a homer-happy park; but Washburn is still one of the least likeable people in the M's organization for his on-the-field hackery and his consistent shifting of blame to other players. We know now that the Twins had claimed him on waivers late last week, but the deal fell through. Congratulations Twins fans-- you dodged a bullet on that one.

Nicole wore her Twins cap and rooted for the Sox to lose-- but surprisingly she got less crap from the southsiders than I did for wearing my Mariner's cap. Though the AL central has remained tight most of the season, I'm putting my money that the Sox will end up on top. Right now Chicago has twice as big a run differential as Minnesota, and although Minnesota has a solid young team, the White Sox have a well built team that leads the league in home runs and slugging percentage while having a solid pitching staff on the other side of the ball. What is most exciting about the AL Central is that there is a very real possibility that if both the Twins and Sox play well-- and if the Rays continue to dominate the AL East-- for the first time in years we might have playoffs without the Yankees and the Red Sox. While it will pain my Minnesotan friends to hear this, I'm rooting for both the White Sox and the Twins to do well in order to put the overpaid/overhyped teams of the NE out of the playoffs. If both teams play well in these last six weeks, one will win the division and the other has a chance to knock Boston out of the wild card spot.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Things I Notice When Grocery Shopping

  • Yesterday at Trader Joe's the woman in front of me in the check out line had a cart that had 5 jars of organic peanut butter, one jar of almond butter, three bags of slivered almonds, one bag of mixed nuts, and a couple of nut granola bars--and that's it. What she was planning to do with those was the question that bugged me all day long.
  • Ever since I could first eat solid foods, Ramen has been a staple in my life. The problem is that it is packed full of nutrionless calories and ungodly amounts of sodium. Behold a new healthy version of Ramen. My arteries are grateful.
  • I love hot dogs. Classic, all beef hotdogs done Chicago style. I also do my best to eat and shop ethically (we white people love this stuff.) Its surprisingly difficult to find socially responsible hot dogs to eat. Hebrew National are made by ConAgra foods (an irresponsible corporate monster), Best Kosher are made by Sara Lee (a slightly less evil but still not entirely ethical corporation), and God knows where Ballpark franks come from. Vienna Beef seems to be a quality local independent operation-- but I'm not sure they taste better than the others. What to do?!? Good thing I don't have real problems like other people.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shut up and Drive!

Don't text message while driving 80mph the wrong way down a street. Talking on your cell while driving is a bad idea. A study a few years ago indicated that for many drivers talking on a cell phone is as much an impairment as drinking is. I'm quite serious about this for two reasons: (1) I've done it and nearly killed someone (2) I've seen someone killed by it.

Years ago when I lived in Gig Harbor I was leaving work one evening, pulling out of the parking lot with a cell phone to my ear. I was going to make a right turn. I looked right and didn't see anyone, I looked left and watched a few cars pass and then planned to turn right. With my hand and phone up to the side of my face I was not able to see that a bicyclist had appeared to my right and as I pulled out he ran into the side of my car. Had he been a few feet further along I could have ran over him. He was alright and I apologized profusely. A couple months later I greeted a visitor at our church who looked familiar, I asked him where I might know him from and he recounted the story of the time I nearly hit him on his bike. It was quite embarrassing, but luckily he didn't hold it against the church community and became an active member there.

The second story doesn't end so well and I'll warn readers right now this is gruesome, but its a point that needs to be made. The most difficult case I ever encountered at my internship at Lutheran General hospital was an accident that took place on a Sunday afternoon. Walking along Dempster Ave a beautiful young family was enjoying a lovely summer day when a woman lost control of her vehicle while talking on her cell phone. Her car careened up onto the sidewalk hitting all three family members; the father had his leg broken in two places as well as broken ribs, the mother sustained a massive head injury putting her in a coma that resulted with weeks in intensive care, and their only son--a four year old-- was scissored in half (traumatic amputation) by the car and bled to death on the sidewalk. It was the most traumatic event I had ever encountered in my hospital ministry. No one ever deserves to have that happen to them.

Nicole and I have written before about how our experience with Evie reinvigorated our understanding of the fragility and the preciousness of life. I'll admit that occasionally I talk on the cell phone when stuck in traffic, but when you are at the wheel of a 2,000lbs weapon like an automobile, the driving task deserves total concentration. Better yet, pedestrians deserve your total concentration. Children on the sidewalk deserve to live. Shut up and drive.