Meditations of a christizen (christian-citizen)upon today's topics.
|I, Brother James, cultivated through my imagination and birthed via writing instruments (pen, laptop, etc) 'The Word Courier's Journal'. It is one of several literary efforts so conceived to include the "word", the mind altering, eye opening, life saving gospel of Jesus Christ into the every day conversation on those things deemed relevant to those readers who stumble upon this column. I and all other followers of the Lord are called to witness this message across the globe or at the very least to those around us. Jesus did say "Go therefore and teach all nations..." (see Matthew 28:19 KJV Holy Bible) Here lies a modest attempt to introduce the unknowing people to the Lord and immerse they who know Him in discussion with respect to His outlook on all that matters.|
|I look forward to another "meeting" of our local writers’ group this Thursday. It will involve an at least a partial live element to it. Some among us (but not I) will meet live social distancing and masked as required. I’ll tune in on the zoom end.
A recent ‘Word Courier’ entry, “Magical Moment”, (Oct 16,2020) spoke of how I shined as the better half of a sousaphone playing duo opening my high school band’s performance at Disneyland. That moment doesn’t happen if not for a decision made while still a junior high student. It was then that I accepted my middle school music director’s invite to switch from trombone to tuba.
The second item on my writing group’s recent “10 Things People May Not Know About Me” assignment is about my junior high experience. It reads as follows:
“I reminisce about junior high days with much more affection than I do with high school. We had school dances, annual movie musicals and sports. A social studies class broadened my horizons by introducing me to “Current Events” magazine. The Patty Hearst drama, Vietnam and Watergate made their way to my mid “70s adolescent consciousness. Also, a favorite language arts teacher, MS McEwen assigned a term paper of sorts to my eighth-grade class. This awakened the writer in me.”
Unfortunately, for whatever reason the writer in me went into hibernation. I’m not sure exactly when. The burning to write is back with me now but oh how I wish that flame never extinguished
|Who matters. That’s not a question. It’s a statement. And, a statement of fact at that. We instinctively know that who is chosen to do anything of consequence is important. We understand this fact of life early on.
Youth at the local parks’ basketball courts get this. They choose teams among themselves based upon who can play best. When unfamiliar with other hoopsters’ abilities they select based upon who they expect to play the best. Once the games begin, they soon learn who helps them win (succeed) and who doesn’t.
As the young grow older the choice as to who grows in importance. For adults who is chosen for what can have life altering outcomes. Last week’s election demonstrated what kids in sandlots playgrounds and other play settings have already learned. Who matters.
The incumbent Republican , Donald Trump led a wearying spectacle of bizarre antics during his chaotic reign as P.O.T.U.S. (President of the United States) The most recent disaster was/is his mishandling of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. Voters turned out in record numbers to change course.
The congressional races fared better for the Republican party. Though still a minority, they actually gained seats in the House of Representatives. This implies that Donald Trump did not lose because of his republicaness for lack of a better word but rather due to his Trumpness. This was personnel. Voters rejected him not his party.
The Trump bluster succeeded in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. The same bravado failed versus Sen. Joe Biden. She stood on facts whereas “sleepy Joe” expressed his faith. Hillary crunched numbers whereas slow Joe communicated values. And most important, Hillary Clinton projected clever whereas Joe Biden promised contrast.
America’s national Democratic party is oft slow to apply the lesson that they should’ve learned as children. Winning elections is like winning on the playground. Who is selected for your team matters.
|The University of Wisconsin will host the University of Illinois later today to kick off the Big 10 Conference football season. The remaining schools begin play tomorrow. So, the fourteen Big 10 schools scattered across eleven states begin navigating the public health minefield that is crowds in the thousands watching a full contact sport during an outbreak of a deadly highly contagious virus. What can possibly go wrong?
I as an Illinois native/resident and University of Iowa alum usually look forward to this. But not this year. For the good of everyone, I steeped in black and gold allure would rather forego the pleasures Iowa football brings to me. Three Big 10 schools, Illinois, Ohio State and my alma mater have experienced some of the nation’s largest Covid outbreaks. These places made it to the top ten in the wrong category.
I get it other sports are playing. I watched the first game of the World Series. I viewed a sampling of Jimmy “buckets” and King James in the NBA finals. I also enjoyed some playoff hockey and Sunday night NFL games among other things. College football however is a different beast.
Collegiate football can’t exist in a bubble. A football game between two schools without fans in the stands and tailgating in the parking lot aint college football. For that matter, my school’s Iowa Wave tradition demands a people presence too. Also, travel is a must. And last but not least, the athletes unlike professional sports participants aren’t missing a paycheck if they don’t play.
Speaking of payments, this brings up the elephant in the locker room. That elephant by the way is not the ubiquitous elephant associated with college football powerhouse University of Alabama’s logo. The elephant is the revenue that would be missed by not playing the games. This may be a matter of desperation, a statement of values or both.
I do not and never have prayed for my team to win. That just feels like a misplacing of priorities. However, I will pray for their (along with everyone else) survival.
The Iowa Wave is my school's recently begun celebration where fans in the stands turn around and wave at patients at the UI Stead Family Children's Hospital following the first quarter at Hawkeye home games. In lieu of games so far staff have taken to do this on game day Saturdays.
I belong to a local offline writing group. We met and shared our creative outputs in a real-world setting before the pandemic era. Now, when we meet it’s virtual. We still share our individual works but now we’re dispersed physically even as yet connected by technology.
The local writers often include a theme based assignment. A recent virtual get together spawned a ‘10 things people don’t know about me’ subject for that evening's gathering. I included my Hollywood breakout performance as number 5 on my list of 10. (okay it wasn’t Hollywood but close to it)
I wrote the following:
“I performed at Disneyland. Yes, I along with the rest of my high school marching band. I played a special part. The band played “Love Will Keep Us Together “, the 1975 smash hit by The Captain and Tennille. The introduction was played by the sousaphone (tuba) players comprised of myself and the other guy.”
The year was 1978. I would visit the Los Angeles area again some three years later but wouldn’t step foot in L.A. for a third time until 2014. I haven’t been back to Disneyland since my memorable moment in the magic kingdom sun. Oh, but I still recall it.
|I have engaged in conversations lately, both virtual and old fashioned direct personal talk, about two recent disturbing incidents on the national scene. The first episode that I speak of involved the so-called Wolverine Watchmen militia presumably named this to allude to their Michigan roots. They hatched a plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer Michigan’s governor because they’re upset about restrictions she’s imposed in response to this pandemic.
I spoke among a group about the Aldi’s trip from hell in yesterday’s virtual conversation. Gisele Barreto Fetterman the wife of Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman was subjected to verbal abuse from another shopper both within and outside of the store. She is of Brazilian origin but is an American citizen. The crazed lady yelled the N-word at her.
Words such as ignorant, dumb and such other terms that indicate a lack of intelligence were bandied about to describe the people and their actions. To a degree, I agree. But my Navy veteran buddy's questioning the militias mindset (while we talked outside socially distanced and both wearing mask) and those who moan the ignorance of Aldi’s latest phone videoed shopper sensation miss the real issue.
Yes, the actions were stupid. But the issue is not one of intelligence or lack thereof. In short, the behavior displayed dumbness, but it’s born out of malice. So, what these people done is more evil than ignorant. Theirs is not a head problem it’s a heart problem. To her credit the 2nd Lady suggested the infuriated bargain hunter should teach love. But you can’t teach what you don’t know. You can’t share what you don’t have.
To teach love first you must have it. And therein lies the problem. The Word tells us that “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness blasphemies.” Matthew 15:19 Once the heart is right and only until their hearts are right will they put an end to the foolishness that they do.
|Sports provided the central theme in approximately one of every ten Word Courier Journal entries in this blog’s initial run from June 2012- September 2014. Athletic contest made their way into additional journal blogs by reference. Baseball far and away have received most of the journal’s sports attention.
I recently revived this blog along with my writing.com membership. Baseball (surprise) is the sport getting my two cents today. Let us start with the bad news. The St. Louis Cardinals, my National League favorite and raised and reared fandom Chi-Sox have already been bounced from the playoffs. Furthermore, the Houston Astros are still in. They are on their way to the American League Championship Series to play for the A.L. pennant.
Fans of major league baseball are familiar with how the Astros cheated their way to and through the World Series title in 2017. We also know that they were not sufficiently punished (title stripped) for their cheating. Nonfans may not be aware that this team used cameras as part of an elaborate ruse to steal signals at home games.
An investigation concluded that the cheating happened both regular and post season. This was most apparent in the A.L.C.S. versus the historic New York Yankees. The Yankees averaged over six runs per game in three contests played at Yankee Stadium but only totaled three runs in four games at Houston’s Minute Maid Field. Talk about your home field advantage.
It is often suggested in baseball that certain records should come with an asterisk next to them. That is to denote the inauthentic nature of the accomplishment. Mark McGwire’s single season home run record, Sammy Sosa’s sudden light to linebacker frame change and explosion in home run numbers and of course Barry Bonds 762 homerun career total should have asterisks next to them.
When it comes to anything sports included those that cheat should not be rewarded. The players are not in the Hall of Fame and should never be allowed membership. As for the 2017 Houston Astros franchise, I say this: put an astroisk by their name. Oh, the good news: There is always next year.