Monday, November 12

Today's reading on the Petraeus resignation

1. A Tale of Two Victories and Two Falls

Friend Mark Safranski's take. He surmises deeper and more nefarious things going on. I'm not convinced, yet, but I respect him greatly.

2. Former aides wonder: Did Petraeus stumble in unfamiliar terrain?

John Nagl shared this on Facebook, saying 'Greg Jaffe with the best analysis yet of how this likely happened.'

3. As Details Emerge on Petraeus Affair, Fallout May Echo Far Beyond Resignation
John himself spoke on PBS tonight (shared on Facebook). Here's the transcript of his part:

GWEN IFILL: John Nagl, you have known General Petraeus for some time. Have you been in communication with him since this all broke?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL (RET.), President, Center for a New American Security: I have.
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: He is devastated, deeply contrite, very, very sorry about the harm he has caused to Holly in particular, his wife of 38 years, who has been really stalwart through his many deployments.
And he really feels that he's let the team down.
GWEN IFILL: How much of a surprise was this for you, having worked with him?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: It was absolutely a kick in the gut. I was astounded. I was shocked. I was very hurt and very surprised.
He has been a role model to me for literally decades, for nearly 25 years, a man I have admired and looked up to, a man I still think very highly of in many ways, but who clearly made a grievous, unforgivable error.
GWEN IFILL: Because there are so many people who have said that -- just what you just said, that they are great admirers of General Petraeus, what does this do to his reputation as a military man and also as a civilian leader?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: My hope is that, although it obviously and should damage his personal reputation -- his long reputation of personal integrity and good character, I think that reputation will never fully recover.
But I don't think it eliminates the fact or we should ignore as we look at the totality of the man the fact that two different presidents called on him in their hour of need.
And in both cases, he went to the sound of the guns and performed admirably under two very difficult conflicts.
GWEN IFILL: Do you have any reason -- have you had any reason to meet Paula Broadwell or know anything of her work?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: I do know Paula.
She's a very smart, very attractive, very driven woman, a fellow West Point graduate who has been very present in the Washington policy community and the national security debate.
And I am also sickened by the damage this will obviously do to her, to her husband, Scott, who I have met, to their children. And this is a very sad story for all concerned.

4. A General Lesson: David Petraeus was a decorated leader and strategic thinker. Why did he risk everything on an affair?

Shared by friend Patrick O'Connor. Interesting backgrounder on West Point.

Saturday, November 10

A few thoughts on Petraeus' resignation

1. Had a very good discussion by my excellent Facebook friends on a post over there.

2. The first report I saw giving a deeper reason for the events was this one:
Official tells me sevrl people who knew Petraeus got anonymous harassing emails. So investigation started. Emails then traced to Broadwell. -- @MarthaRaddatz via Bryan Jones
3. In some ways, the whole thing is just all so depressingly cliche. It was obviously a serious relationship (v. a passing fling), if Paula Broadwell had his Gmail password. That she would write anonymous emails from that account shows more shockingly bad judgement on her part.

4. I wanted to find out more about Broadwell. Her personal website is down, but that's why we have Google cache.

This quote, particularly, about the biography she wrote hits the wrong note in retrospect:
While conducting research over the past three years, Broadwell was afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends. Over the course of Petraeus's command of ISAF-Afghanistan from July 2010 through July 2011, Broadwell embedded with the general, his headquarters staff, and his soldiers on the front lines of fighting across Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they are brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war. All In draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers and on Broadwell's frontline reporting experience to tell the inside story of this commander's development and leadership in war from every vantage point.
5. What about the children? Each had two, and Broadwell's are comparatively young.

All in all, this is a big disappointment. We really could have continued to use Petraeus' excellent public service.

Wednesday, November 7

Thoughts on the election

+ Nothing has changed -- President, House, Senate -- so I think we can reasonably expect nothing much to continue happening in the next 4 years. I happen to think this is preferable to a Romney presidency and a Republican mandate.

+ Wow, did Nate Silver ever nail it. He was one of the big stories of this election. I've read a lot about him lately.

This was the first video I watched of him, and my first, unfiltered thought was something like 'He's got a face for radio.' Not good, I know, I think I'd just built him up into sort of a rock star in my mind. I was taken aback a little at first that he wasn't dripping with charisma and good looks.

Triumph of the Nerds: Nate Silver Wins in 50 States

Hmm: can't find the best article I read about Silver today...

+ Interesting post about the changes that had begun and will now go into effect because Romney would lead a repeal: Obama’s second term: Change you can really believe in

Thought I had more to say, but I guess that's it.

Sunday, October 21

Abraham Lincoln

I just finished reading Carl Sandburg's one volume Abraham Lincoln biography. Sandburg's work was fine. It's not how we would do biography nowadays. Lincoln was very impressive. I decided part-way through to keep a running list of some of his virtues.

  • sense of humor
  • humility -- including humble origins, being a man of the people, and being able to admit when he was wrong
    • he even sometimes took blame that wasn't his
  • didn't take things personally
  • confident
  • had one, chief goal
  • was guided by what seemed practicable given the situation
  • persistent
  • pushed the war despite failures and against contrary special interests
  • great communicator -- plain-spoken, logical, connected with his audience, storyteller
  • deliberate -- made plans and drafted letters that he didn't always act on or send
  • not vengeful -- let bygones be bygone, both big and small
  • willing to 'sit on the fence' and not be drawn into vicious partisan politics
  • basically had dictatorial powers, but did not abuse them
    • ike Washington (and Cincinnatus), he could walk away
  • moved slowly on slavery
  • built bridges -- for example, with Congress
    • curried favor with important influencers, including giving political favors, in pursuit of his one goal
And a few other reflections:
  • I can't conceive doing so well as Lincoln, nor even having agreed with all of his policies if I had lived in that time.
  • I wonder, though, if maintaining the union justified that terrible war. Could we have got away with no more slavery in new states and territories?
  • The sympathizers in England among the cotton industry, etc., were appalling.

Thursday, September 20

'Meade' etymology

Well, I know 'Meade' comes from 'Meath' (reminder: pronounced the same, with a 'd' sound), but where does 'Meath' come from? Any chance it has a Proto-Indo-European root (since I'm back into PIE these days)?

Meath (/ˈmð/Old IrishMide IPA: [ˈmʲiðʲe]; spelt Midhe in Modern Irish) was a medieval kingdom in Ireland for over 1,000 years. Its name means "middle", denoting the fact that it lay in the middle of the island. Kingdom of Meath

mid (prep., adj.) Look up mid at
O.E. mid "with, in conjunction with, in company with, together with, among," from P.Gmc. *medjaz (cf. O.N. miðr, O.S. middi, O.Fris. midde, O.H.G. mitti, Goth. midjis"mid, middle"), from PIE *medhyo- "middle" (see medial (adj.)). Online Etymology Dictionary

Sure enough: from PIE (*medhyo-) down through the Celtic side of the Indo-European family to Old Irish


Sunday, August 19

The Aeneid Rap

I wrote this when I was a sophomore in high school after Mr Anthony's lecture. First trimester of History of Europe, so I must have been 15 -- fall of 1987. Kyle even recorded it with me :-)

I have made a few changes from the original, but nothing major. In fact, this version includes some of the stuff I didn't get entirely right the first time. Never mind that 'The Aeneid Rap' only covers the first half of the Aeneid ;-)

Let's talk about Aeneas, he's a dude from Troy
those poor saps who fell for the Greeks' ploy
Odysseus had an idea about a wooden horse
inside it they hid with a mighty Greek force
And so the Greeks destroyed Ilion and took back Helen
They squashed those Trojans like a ripened melon!

Aeneas and the boys turned tail in a ship
If they'd stayed they would have died and that's not hip
Our Trojan heroes fled from shocking disaster
Then the gods said 'Now hear your future:
We want you to sail to a place on the Boot
In times to come, lands will send their loot
to this awesome-type city on seven hills
the center of an empire that the known earth fills!'

Aeneas sailed the sea in a wooden boat
'cuz that's the only kind they had then that would ever float
But his ship was wrecked and he was almost a goner
'til he washed up in Carthage, near a place called Zama
Then Dido came down and said 'Have no fear.
I'll rebuild your ships while you stay here.'
Well Dido liked Aeneas, she thought he was neat
We gotta censor this ... No, we don't, she was in heat
She said 'Yo, big guy, why don't you stay here with me.
I'll give you some land and I'll give you the key
To this awesome-type city near the sea of salt
You'll be my king and you'll have no fault!

Then Aeneas said 'Hey, I like you, too.
But, listen here, queen, I got a job to do.
The gods have charged me with a major fate.
I gotta' found a city and it just won't wait.'

But Dido took this hard, you know she had another plan
She said 'Ok, chump, since you won't be my man,
I'm gonna curse your darn city, so important to you
You'll find fighting Carthage is all that they will do!'

Our hero sailed to Italy and settled down
30 miles inland, and on a strip of ground
that was near the Tiber river and some hills, too
He had some cool descendants. I'll mention just two:
Romulus and Remus lived with wolves, without a home
But that's another story, how they founded Rome
Aeneas' city shaped our culture and we owe him that
That's all the storytelling done by the Aeneid Rap!

Thursday, April 5

Walking through Holy Week

Matthew 26-28 (New Living Translation)
(from Bible Gateway)

The Resurrection

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”


The Burial of Jesus

As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

The Guard at the Tomb

The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”

Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.


The Death of Jesus

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

Judas Hangs Himself

Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”

Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.

The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says,

“They took the thirty pieces of silver—
the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel,
and purchased the potter’s field,
as the Lord directed.”

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.

Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”

The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”

So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,

‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”

Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

“No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus before the Council

Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”

Peter Denies Jesus

Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

The Last Supper

26:17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.

When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”

And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”

And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said,“Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Saturday, March 31

Leo (Messi) the Great

Jason Kottke has a couple of Lionel Messi posts lately that I loved.

First one: All of Lionel Messi's 234 goals

It begins with a YouTube video reflective of the title. My thoughts:

Fascinating video.

The first thing that stands out to me is how quick Leo is on the ball. All things being equal, he can put a great touch on the ball more quickly than you can. If you're the goalie, he can beat you one on one before you can react, the ball passing right beside you or even under your legs.

Second, I would love to see sabermetric-style stats on how many of these he made (some quite difficult) when he had an open teammate. And how many he missed taking difficult shots when he could have passed. I love Messi, but he comes off a little selfish here. Of course, we're not watching a video of his assists, which he's also very adept at.

There's a second, almost throwaway, link at the bottom of this post that I like really well, too: Barcelona's secret to soccer success

(And not just because Pep looks positively cuddly in the accompanying photo ;-)

After reading the article, I requested the author's book, Soccernomics. Looking forward to reading it.

Kottke's second post: Lionel Messi documentary

Most of this stuff I'd already read or seen somewhere. But it gets me thinking: To me, the Champions League is the highest level of soccer right now in the world, better than the World Cup. I understand the argument that Messi hasn't won a World Cup yet. He's played twice and his coaches weren't too smart. I'm not saying you have to cater to him, but you'd be wise to make better use of him.

Further, how does the World Cup of the past compare to today? When Pele and Maradona faced England, Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands, were they teams full of superstars the way they are today? I don't know. But how can Messi beat one of those teams by himself. Sure, you've also got Gonzalo Higuaín and some other guys who aren't bad, but it's just not the same, is it?

Furthermore, you better believe Pele's and Maradona's World Cup teams revolved around them, from coach to the last man on the roster. Maradona, I'm sure, and probably Pele, took control. That's not Messi's personality. He's a much humbler guy when it comes to demanding from his teammates (he's obviously not humble in how he performs on the pitch ;-)

Monday, February 27

Extreme Literary Snobbery!

Two quotes I saw recently used for popular purposes, taken completely out of context:

1. On a mug for sale in the Barnes & Noble cafe: 'I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.'

No: this is not a cute little quote about how much we love coffee. It's from 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock', the subject of which epitome of a useless, wasted, ineffectual, small, little life. Is that how you want to 'measure' yourself?

2. Positive Valentine's Day quote: 'You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.'

Yes, it's from the 'dreamy' Mr Darcy in proposing marriage to Elizabeth (we're talking Pride and Prejudice here). But it's his first proposal, when he is intolerably proud (albeit, she is completely prejudiced). Doesn't the quote conjure the whole scene for you and make it unacceptable as a V-Day sentiment?

Flame off ;-)

Monday, February 20

Can't stop the Linsanity!

It's crazy. All of a sudden, I'm practically a Knicks fan and know something about Tyson, Landry, Steve and Mike.

Even the entire Knicks entry splash page is Linsane!

A lot of these links are coming from my friend, DJ Chuang.

[video] 23-minute interview with Jeremy Lin on MSG
DJ has embedded all 4 parts on one page

I've got it so bad, I also watched the recommended press conference videos of Jeremy and Mike from the last two games!

Liking Jeremy on Facebook (which seems to be mostly just his Twitter feed. But you have this from about a month before he blew up:
Everytime i try to get into Madison Square Garden, the security guards ask me if im a trainer LOL
A couple articles:
Faith, sin and Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin’s bold humility
Jeremy Lin challenges stereotypes, as well as defenses

Saturday, February 11

Jeremy Linsanity!

Wow, it's been fun watching Jeremy Lin this week! A few clips and links:

Tyson Chandler: Jeremy Lin's new best friend ;-)

'I'm riding him like freakin' Secretariat' -- Mike D'Antoni

Lin’s Appeal: Faith, Pride and Points

The Jeremy Lin Show at MSG

At 3:31 the Lakers need a timeout because of Jeremy Lin! :-)

Lin Keeps His Cool; Around Him, Heads Spin

Jeremy Lin Is No Fluke (note: Nate Silver, noted stats guru, wrote this one)

No kidding: I just added a Jeremy Lin section to my Google News :-)

Eric Metaxas Omnibus

Kurt Graves sent me Eric Metaxas' speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. It was a revelation.

Metaxas is actually not new to me. I first heard his name when my kids were still watching VeggieTales. Yep, he worked for them. I guess the name just stuck. Because when I heard it again later in relation to his Wilberforce biography, I perked up. Not sure what the order was on Socrates in the City or the Bonhoeffer biography, but I tracked them.

You're going to think I'm exaggerating, but I say this advisedly: I don't think I've ever watched a better speech. The combination of humor, challenging truth in the face of disagreement, and humility (Metaxas seemed genuinely honored to address Obama) is just stunning. I've watched it twice and I may watch it again.

Denny Burk nails it (quoted by Justin Taylor):
He had some serious and prophetic words about the humanity of the unborn. He even spoke about having a biblical view of sexuality. All of this with the President sitting just a few feet away. This was a courageous talk delivered with winsomeness and joy.
I sincerely hope that you can find the time to watch this speech. It begins below right where Eric's speech starts.

In the video, Eric tells a little of his conversion story and then points to more on his website. Here's the additional video:

Eric Metaxas Conversion Story

Some highlights from Eric's biography: son of European immigrants, went to Yale.

Interesting factoid: his popular children's book It’s Time to Sleep, My Love is the unacknowledged basis for the much-more-popular book Go the F*** to Sleep.

And does anyone else think he uncannily resembles Al Franken?

Thursday, January 19

2012 Annual Loot List

Here are most (all?) of the gifts I got for Christmas and my birthday this year. Christine, as always, is the MVP for buying and liaising with other buyers ;-). My mom and sister also do a very nice job. No men are MVPs ;-)

Ministries of Mercy, Tim Keller
The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas
The Daily Message (audiobook), Eugene Peterson
The Cross and the Prodigal, Kenneth Bailey
Droid X bedside dock/charging station
Coupon books from the twins
New basketball (a little early)
Wartburg soccer shirt (a little early ;-)
New shin guards
Adidas 'slide' sandals
1 package of York Peppermint Patties
Armband case for Droid X
Amazon gift cards

Wednesday, January 18

Foreign aid analysis from the Center for American Progress

Interactive Map: Foreign Aid Analysis Made Easy
Saw this linked on Facebook by Cody Postier.

Liberal think tank, so I'm guessing they're against all of the >$1B foreign military aid and for most of the other kinds of aid :-)

What are the big dollar items?
  • $2.62B total funding to Afghanistan
  • $2.22B military funding to Israel
  • $1.45B total funding to Pakistan (I include all funding here since most of this aid is a product of the war in Afghanistan)
  • $1.04B military funding to Egypt
Total of these items: $7.29B

How would you change this? Go back in your time machine and never attack Afghanistan? Cut all military foreign aid? If we did something like that, some American jobs would be lost at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins et al. Some Congresspeople would go berserk.

Stipulated: Adequate defense prevents aggression.

But we're way beyond that. And to what degree are the industrial  nations of the world arming the other nations of the world against one another in a proliferating way?

There are no easy answers, of course.

Monday, January 16

Will the real Margaret Thatcher please stand up?

Oddly enough, one of my biggest windows into Thatcher's Britain has been liberal English comic book authors. Warren Ellis and Alan Moore, neither of them particularly 'balanced', portray Thatcher as unhinged. In Moore's  'V for Vendetta' we get his obvious projection: Britain is on the slippery slope to fascism. (My take: 'V' was often artistically excellent but not prophetic at all.)

So I'm interested in some of the commentary emerging around the new Thatcher movie with Meryl Streep. That's why I clicked through to this post: If the real Margaret Thatcher had been like Meryl Streep's Iron Lady, I wouldn't have supported her.

Then I skimmed the Wikipedia article.

How about you? What do you think of Margaret Thatcher?

Opinions from Brits who lived through her administration will be particularly valued :-)