Friday, December 29, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

I'm very much against making New Year's resolutions. The way I see, there's no need to wait until January 1 to make one, but then again, I'm a boring guy with no sense of adventure. Even that's besides the point, the bottom line is that most of us, myself included, rarely keep them. So, this year I decided to accept the fact I never keep my resolutions and embrace failure. Here you go:

1. Gain weight. This whole eating healthy and getting exercise thing is completely over-rated. I figure with a lot of hard work and strict accountability, I could be pushing 4 bills by Thanksgiving and make a good stretch run into 2008. Ben & Jerry's, here I come.

2. Start drinking, smoking and swearing. I know most of you look at my life and think, "you know, I've never seen Danny stumble around in a drunken stupor- that could be fun", or "he could really use black lungs" or"what Danny needs is a little more vulgarity." Well, let me say, "I hear you." Maybe I'll even step it up and get a tatoo that I'll regret for years to come.

3. Vote democrat. Tax & spend, that's my new motto.

4. Get fired from my job. The way I see it, if we all work, the folks at the unemployment office will be out of jobs. So, I'll take one for the team and keep them busy. That's just the kind of guy I am.

5. Watch more NASCAR. There's nothing better than sitting on your butt for 4 hours watching a bunch of rednecks turning left.

6. Become a Calvinist. Hey, it's predestined.

Well, there you have it, a few resolutions for 2007. I hope you take the time to celebrate my failure with me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Is it a compliment? Episode II

Welcome back to "Is it a compliment?" where we give you a statement that someone has recently said to Danny and you try to tell if it's a compliment. We'd like to give special mention to this week's runner-up, one of Danny's coworkers who said to him "You're only 27! I didn't think it was possible to get that ugly in only 27 years!"

This episode's potential compliment will probably reveal more about your take on a certain popular Christian book than anything else. Without further ado, let's play!

"You're so wild at heart."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Grammatical Poetry

To an infinitive split, some say it's debatable
I find it to still be an offense berate-able

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hymn of the Week: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Ah, the return of my favorite part of blogging, the Hymn of the Week. It's been a while, and it seems like I always promise this will happen more regularly, so this time I won't even promise that. Anyway, this week's hymn is a great one, a personal favorite of one of my readers (maybe more than one, actually). It's written by Robert Robinson, here are the lyrics.

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

We sang this song in church this past Sunday, but there were some differences in lyrics. The version we sang had "Name" instead of "Mount" at the end of the first verse, it changed the first couple lines of the second verse and used a different word for "interposed." I presume these changes were intentional on the part of whoever rewrote it. The first change may have happened because of our poor understanding of metonymy, which is a figure of speech that takes a noun and uses it in place of a related noun (such as "The White House issued a statement", whereas "The White House" issued no statement, rather the President or his officials did). The second change was probably meant to avoid using the confusing (to us) "Ebenezer", but I think it's an opportunity to do some teaching on the meaning of the word (I'll let you look it up). I'm sure the third change was to avoid the word "interpose", which is hardly everyday language.

Anyway, this is a great song, I love some of the imagery: our hearts being tuned to sing of God's grace (you musicians should understand this even better than I), the pervasive theme of our wandering and God's rescue, and our hearts being fettered by God's grace. This is a song that deserves to be contemplated as much as sung, in my opinion. And I hope you do just that, I look forward to your thoughts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rebirth & Birth

You may have already noticed, but I've made a couple more changes to the blog of danny. I switched to Blogger Beta, which is a better version of blogger. It allows me to spruce up the old blog without having to learn html, which I appreciate. So, you'll notice a few changes to the right. First, I added a picture with my profile. I'm not necessarily trying to make any statements about myself with that picture, although I'm sure one of you pop psychologists will begin to dig deep into my psyche and find out the truth. I think it's a funny little deal, so I put it up here for your amusement.

Second, the archives list has a new feature, it allows you to see how many posts I throw out every month. Mind you, this is completely useless information, which makes it right up my alley. You'll noticed I popped out only 1 in June. I think this was for two reasons: I was out of the country for part of that month, and my one post that month was fairly involved. I can't be expected to go crazy like that too much.

Third, you'll notice I have added a "What I've Been Reading" section, complete with pictures of the books for you visual folks. At some point I'll get around to commenting on these books, and I could probably add some more, but this will give you the idea. You'll also notice I have added a "What I've Been Hearing" section, complete with pictures of the cds for you visual folks. Again, I could add more, but this is good enough for now.

My hope is that I can make this blog more attractive without having to up the quality of posting. That would be far too much work for me, so I'll settle for appearances instead. Newer is better, right?

Speaking of newer, this rebirth of the blog comes on the heals of making a new friend, Elijah. I had an interesting phone conversation with him on Thursday morning at about 6:20am. It went somethng like this:

me: Hi, Elijah.

Elijah: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I guess I can't blame him; after 9 months of floating around in a sac of fluid with plugs up his nose, you can't expect him to be too happy or comfortable in only 1 hour and 20 minutes. Blessings to Bruce & Morgan upon the birth of their first child, who came in screaming on December 14 at 4:59am, a healthy 7lbs 8oz and 21 inches long. May the Lord continue to bless your family.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Greater than the Great One: Bobby Orr

John Buccigross of ESPN has a quick interview with an author of a new book about Bobby Orr, in which he talks a bit about the Gretzky-Orr debate. Many, especially those with little to no knowledge of hockey history, assume Gretzky is the best hockey player ever, after all, he is called "The Great One." But there are numerous reasons to doubt this, #1 being Bobby Orr. That isn't to say that if you know enough about hockey you'll suddenly become enlightened and think Gretzky is nothing compared to Orr, men who have forgotten more hockey than I know will disagree with me.

Mind you, hockey is the sport I know least about of the 4 major sports (for non-Americans, that's baseball, football, basketball and hockey, though many wouldn't include hockey and keep the list to 3), though I still know more than probably 95% of the population. I suppose it's because I never played it. I know baseball the best, probably because I played baseball for years. And I know quite a bit about football and a decent amount about basketball, both sports I played a lot when I was younger. But hockey I never really played. I blame my father (who is probably reading this) since he never taught me how to ice skate despite being a fine young hockey player himself. He'll probably blame the US Navy for keeping him away from home so much. And the Navy will probably blame the now-defunct Soviet Union for forcing our government's hand into the Cold War, causing them to beef up the military, especially submarines, which in turn caused men like my father to go out to sea and partake in international underwater espionage (which he will neither confirm nor deny, he takes that oath very seriously, which is a shame, because I bet he's got some good stories). The point is this: I don't know hockey as well as I would like because of the Russians. Stinkin' Communists. The Iron Curtain falls and we still feel the effects almost 2 decades later.

Anyway, here's the deal about Bobby Orr: he changed the way hockey was played. He was one of the first, if not the first, great scoring defenseman. There have been other great scorers who played defense, but almost all of them give up some defense for the sake of offense. Those who watched Bobby Orr play, and even more importantly, those who played with and against him, insist that Orr was one of those rare players who played both sides with equal greatness. And his numbers bear that out, but I'll spare you. Wait, allow me just one stat. There is a stat in hockey that attempts to calculate how well your team scores when you are on the ice compared to how much the other team scores when you are on the ice. This stat is known as "Plus/Minus." If your team scores when you are on the ice, you add one to your total. If the other team scores, you take off one. Orr has the single season record at +124! That means his team scored 124 more goals than they gave up when he was on the ice (I believe this stat counts only when the teams are at even strength, someone may be able to verify). His career +/- per game is .91, the next closest guy is Larry Robinson at .53.

I remember back in college when ESPN came out with their 50 Greatest Athletes list and the shock that Orr was listed somewhere in the 30's (if I remember correctly). I chalk that up to a tendency to downplay hockey within the American sports scene, and I can understand that. But in the 30's! This is the man who singlehandedly changed the game! That has to count for something.

I'm not just saying that flippantly, either. In my opinion, if you want to compare athletes from different sports and list the greatest you should use to basic criteria: how they dominated their sport and how the sport was different after they left. The first one is included for obvious reasons. The second is included because it helps bridge the gap between sports. It's hard to look at Chamberlain's single season scoring record and Peyton Manning's record for touchdown passes and compare the two. But you can compare how they stacked up against those around them (the domination factor) and how they each changed their respective sport. Chamberlain paved the way for great big men (though still second fiddle to the great Bill Russell) and Manning, well, hasn't changed much of anything- advantage Chamberlain. I think it also helps those in sports where individual domination is more difficult (football, for example).

This is why I thought Babe Ruth should have been listed over Michael Jordan as #1. Ruth dominated his sport like no one else (at times hitting more homeruns than any other team in the league) and the sport of baseball changed forever after him. Jordan was certainly dominant (6 championships), but I can't honestly say he changed the sport. Sure, basketball is more marketable, and he's still the most well known basketball player in the world. But the sport itself hasn't changed. There were players who played his style before him (Dr J, for example) and plenty after, and even though none approach his greatness, it doesn't exactly make him unique.

All this to say, Bobby Orr 1) dominated his sport and 2) changed it forever. Gretzky may have him beat on #1, but not #2. Gretzky is like Jordan, he basically perfected an existing style of play. There were others like him before he came along and some more after. Granted, none are as good, but they're still a lot like him. There is only one Bobby Orr. Many have tried, all have failed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is it a compliment?

I've decided to add a little game to the blog to spice things up a little bit. If I could get sound, I'd even give it a theme song, but alas, we'll each have to write our own. I was inspired last night by talking with Andrew and Matt for a few minutes. Somehow the topic of our blogs came up (as if it's not dorky enough that we have them, now we talk about them with each other) and Matt said something to me that I'm not sure whether or not it is a compliment. So you tell me, here it is:

"Reading your blog is like drinking whipped egg."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Larry Legend: at 50

Hey, just wanted to let all 2 of you know that Bill Simmons has posted an older column of his in honor of Larry Bird's 50th birthday. It's a great read from a good sports writer who grew up watching Bird in person. Read it quick, it's probably only going to be available for a few days unless you have one of those stupid ESPN subscriptions. Check it out.