Saturday, March 19, 2005

Danger in the Big City

The "Quad-Cities" area of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia in North Alabama, or The Shoals, as it's commonly referred to, boasts about 150,000 people. It doesn't have the peril of a major city, like Birmingham or Memphis, but living in a city like Florence has it's own kinds of dangers.

I attended a movie tonight with Krista, along with my brother Joe, and his wife Cortnie, in the run-down Hickory Hills movie theater in Florence. When they recently put a new theater in town, Carmike finally changed the Hickory Hills theater to the $1.50 theater that it has deserved to be ever since I've lived in Florence. While we were getting our tickets and finding seats, I had been commenting to my wife on the scant clothing many of the women were wearing. As we were sitting, waiting for the previews to start, a man stood up a few rows in front of us - he had a desperate need for a belt. As he pulled up his pants, I leaned over to my wife and said,

That's the third time I've seen cleavage tonight, but I didn't need to see that kind.

I thought I had whispered it, but, apparently, based on the way he half-turned toward us and whispered to his wife, I think he heard me.

Yup - I'm turning into those old people who think they're whispering, but really, they're talking loud enough for the whole theater to hear. I think I'll be more careful in the future.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman

Now that Marvel Comics has shown that superheroes can be done right with the X-Men and Spiderman movies, DC has hopefully finally learned their lesson and has enlisted some serious talent to make some serious comic book films. First of all, Christopher Nolan (Memento) wrote and directed Batman Begins (opening June 17). Second, Bryan Singer (X-Men) has been hired to do Superman Returns (slated for June 30, 2006). And finally, announced the day before yesterday (though rumors had been flying long before that), we find out that Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will be writing and directing Wonder Woman.

Ever since X-Men came out in 2000, I've been wondering when DC was going to turn around their Batman failings and come up with something good. Well, it appears to be on the horizon.

Quote of the Day
Most of the things "everybody knows" are wrong; the rest are merely unreliable.
-Batman, Black Orchid

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Isn't that the moral of the Hare and the Tortoise fable?

Does it sound weird to say that God is telling me to be healthier?

No, not in the I'm-hearing-His-voice-in-my-head kind of sense, but in the gentle guiding kind of sense. This is weird for me, coming from a background believing that God only talks to us through his revealed Word, The Bible; but lately, I've come to believe that He also guides us in our day-to-day life. This comes less in the form of God appeared to me or God told me, but more in the form of I believe God is guiding me or God has impressed it on my heart. Less a vocal directive, but more a subtle leading - something which I have never been open to before. I believe this kind of guidance comes with prayer, and with study.

Now of course, I understand that many would say, It's right there in The Bible; he's already told you: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." (Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians)

I, however, think this is more personal, more guidance that I need to hear now in my life. I've never heard it before, but that may be because I've never been listening. And I've heard the moral of the Aesop's Fable over and over in my head. Recently, I checked out a library book of Aesop's Fables to read to my 2-(almost 3)-year-old daughter. There was a picture on the cover of the hare and the tortoise. Oddly enough, that particular fable does not exist within the book, which probably made me make more consideration of the moral than I would have otherwise.

So I think now, it's time to embark on a healthier lifestyle, understanding that it's going to be a slow process; that I'm not going to drop 50 pounds in the first 3 months; that it's something that I'll need to stick with, rather than something I approach as a temporary thing so that I can look better and feel better as soon as possible.

And the thing that makes me think that I will actually stick with it this time, is that it's really the first time I'm not doing it for myself.

Quote of the Day
Slow but steady wins the race.
-Aesop, The Hare and the Tortoise

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Quote of the Day (2)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
-James (James' letter to the scattered churches, NIV)

Tonight's sunset.

Quote of the Day
We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it.
-Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I don't think I want to eat one of those

I don't comprehend people's minds sometimes.

It's a sandwich. A sandwich made of pie crust and folded in half. And called a "Wedgie". I don't want to associate my food with the uncomfortableness of...well, I won't be vulgar, but you see where I'm going.

I called to find out what they were, and they actually sound good. But I won't be eating one.

I thought it must be a local thing, but no - it's a chain, and they all have 'em.

A couple pictures taken this morning on the way to work.

Quote of the Day
Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.
-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkein

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Evils of Advertising

She's not even 3 and TV advertising has already gotten ahold of my daughter. We try not to let her watch too much TV, and when she does, we try commercial-free, (somewhat) educational Noggin, or at least Nick, Jr. Well, commercials still creep in and take hold. We got her some Zoo Pals plates (they have animal faces on them) and at breakfast this morning when I gave her food on one, she walked away singing "Ribbit! Ribbit! Zoo Pals! Woof! Woof! Zoo Pals!" Which, if you're interested enough to follow the link above, you'll see that's right out of the commercial. Advertising is all about pushing the right buttons, even this early...there's even a subtle message in there to parents - one child, in his eagerness to "clear his plate" and "see their face" eats all his fruits and vegetables. What more could you ask for - mere plates that make children excited about eating vegetables. What will they think of next? I guess as she grows, she'll be getting all kinds of messages from everywhere; I guess I need to be in her life enough to counteract the messages she doesn't need to receive - I'm not going to be able to block them all.

I suppose it's time to go practice what I preach and save her from the clutches of Dora...

Begone evil Lady Bug!

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Last Hedonistic Pleasure

Picture taken last night on the way home.

Ever look in the mirror and think, I'm getting old?

And fat?

Ever look at an attractive person younger than you and think, You're cute?

Then get depressed because you realize that they're probably thinking, You're old and fat?

At least Krista put it in perspective for me. When I told her this she said, "They're not thinking that; they're not thinking anything; you're not even on their radar."

Great. That makes me feel better.

Maybe the reason that a lot of people of faith are overweight is that, for those that are trying to live a godly life, there is only one hedonistic pleasure left: food.

I was driving home the other night, and wasn't hungry at all; but for some reason I was thinking about how good something would taste. I can't even remember what it was now. But it got me to thinking - there's nothing else that we allow ourselves to completely lust after and indulge in. I don't know if it's our culture, or the specific church tradition I identify with, but gluttony isn't even a sin any more. Nobody hardly even talks about fasting. Jesus talked about it on more than one occasion, but while we hold fast to certain things he said, we ignore others.

Every time I try to lose weight I think about looking better; I guess it's about time I tried to get healthy for a higher reason.

Of course, now I have to bring up the recent NFL study which indicates that more than half of the players in the NFL are obese.

I don't know...from the beginning, this seems suspect. The first thing I noticed was that they used the BMI (Body Mass Index) - which says I'm 10 pounds from being morbidly obese. Now it looks like from the article on Web MD that the "severely" and "morbidly" categories might be replaced by the better-sounding "Type 2" and "Type 3". Even so...I look in the mirror, and I'm overweight, but morbidly obese?

Morbid, maybe, but not morbidly obese.

An article in the National Review of Medicine suggests that "Bariatric surgery is the best option for the morbidly obese." They cite the case of Patrick Deuel who lost nearly 500 pounds (from his original 750). At a little more than 1/3 his original weight, I don't care for any adjective that describes my weight as "morbid." Good grief, according to the BMI, if I do my math right, after losing all that weight, he still weighs more than me and he's still morbidly obese.

Enough of that soap box...upon further research I found that the study was based on information found on the internet (player rosters at, and although it was printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but wasn't even a research article - it was a letter to the editor.

While I'm not a serious football fan, but I'd have to side with the NFL in that this was hardly a serious medical study. I'm sure that there are players in the NFL who have serious health problems, but it'd be nice if it was a more scientific study that decided to report it to the world. I wasn't going to spend $12 to read the entire article, so I'll have to go by the first 150 words, but that looks like enough to indicate the study probably isn't the most sound.

Picture taken tonight.

Another picture taken tonight.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Some days are harder than others...

Days where you don't feel like typing...
Your job is getting more difficult on a daily basis...
You're worried because your wife thinks she may still have a kidney stone...
There are days when you do things out of obligation rather than desire.

I was going to pen this long essay about doing things - doing the right things - not because of "having to" but because of "wanting to". I think that's true, and that it's important. In a walk with God, I think He teaches us that ultimately, he wants us to desire to do His will; not do it because it's "necessary".

But that desire has to be strong to pull you through the days where you don't actually feel the want; those days that you remember that you wanted something badly yesterday, and you know you'll want the same thing badly tomorrow, so you'll push through today even though you don't have the same feeling.

Days where you don't feel the presence of God, but you just have to know he's there...

Took this picture today on the way to work in Decatur.


Have you ever heard the saying, Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift; that's why it's called "the present"? Probably not something I'd ever come up with, but I see point. Apparently, though, The First Missionary Baptist Church in Town Creek, AL, thinks it's not the future that's a mystery, but that today is what we don't know much about...

Taken today in Town Creek.


And apparently, there's a group out there that thinks going to church on Sunday is...

...the work of the Devil?

Taken today on the way into Decatur

I don't tend to read our local classified paper, but I happened across this ad today.

Ok, "the work of the Devil" may be an oversimplificiation, but according to Seven Day Adventists Believe... (A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines) (Copyright 1988 by the Ministerial AssociationGeneral Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), the Bible teaches that worship takes place on Saturday, and those choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God's appointed day of worship, will receive the "mark of the beast" (p. 167).


Quote of the Day
I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I'm never alone.
-Barlow Girl, Never Alone