Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Week in Review

Good grief. What a long week.

Monday. Bad Memory.

To be honest, I really don't remember anything about Monday.

Tuesday. Signs.

I'm not sure if anyone here really believes this:

God is not a Republican
...or a Democrat

As corny as it is, this one got a chuckle out of me:

Wednesday. Weird Blog Stuff.

I'm a numbers fiend. When I was looking at the stats on my Museum of Pop Culture blog, I noticed something bizarre. On Friday, September 22, four different people found their way to the Museum via an MSN search on the words "pop", "culture", and "breakfast" (or some veriation thereof) all within an hour and a half of each other. The really odd thing is that, according to SiteMeter (the site that tracks the hits on my blogs), they came from four completely different places: Columbia, SC; West Lafayette, IN; Columbus, OH; Boston, MA. I'm still trying to figure this out. Then this past Tuesday, someone else in Memphis, TN did the same thing.


Thursday. Emergency.

Well, Thursday night, Krista couldn't sleep. I woke up at 2 am (I guess that would have been Friday), to her coughing so hard she almost couldn't breathe (she's also pregnant, so add that to the mix). So we dropped Julianna at the house of some good friends (good enough to wake up at 2 am; thanks, Mark and Gena) and went to the ER where they listened to Krista's breathing and gave her a cough supressant.


She's better now, but I think I could have thought of that one.

Thursday night's sunset

Friday. This Is the End.

I was standing in line to buy coffee at Cowboy's on Cox Creek Parkway yesterday. The cashier asked the guy in front of me his birthday because he was buying some Marlboro Reds. He replied with my birthday. I guess statistically, that's not as fascinating as it could be. If there are 23 people in a room together there's about 50% chance that two of them will have the same birthday. If I was a bit more adventurous, and less tired, I could figure out how many people I'd have to meet for there to be a 50% chance for me to share a birthday with one of them. Hey, Mark, there's a math problem for you.

I listened to Sarah Brightman's Deliver Me a lot yesterday. I think it's going to be my new prayer. I wonder if they'll let us sing it at church.

Last night was also Higher Grounds at Crosspoint. It was a nice way to end the week. To sit and relax, with my arm around my girl, eyes closed, listening to some beautiful live music.

The only picture that really came out OK from last night.

Friday night's sunset with a stream of cars going to Brooks High School for a football game

It's been a long week. I'm glad it's over.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Is it football season, again?

Uh oh. Another controversial blog. It's Sunday afternoon, Krista's watching the premier of The Amazing Race, Julianna's playing, and I'm writing. I just don't get into the whole football thing some of the folks do around here. I mostly notice it because I've got to detour around Briley Stadium on my way home. If someone's got a game on, I'll sit down and watch it, and I know enough to be confused about the differences between pro and NCAA ball, but I don't get into this season like 95% of the population does around here. Call me a girl, call me a Yankee, whatever you want, I'm sure I've been through it already.

I get having a hobby; I get being a fan; but a lot of folks take it overboard. I've known grown men who act depressed for a week whenever their team loses. When we first moved here (from Baltimore), I don't know how many times we were asked, Are you Auburn or Alabama? Our usual reply was we have to pick now? Now whenever an SEC discussion comes up, I usually throw in a, Go Wolverines! Being from Michigan and all, you know. But that's about the extent of my knowledge of U of M. Sometimes I ask, What does the Securities Exchange Commission have to do with football? But then, I usually just get blank stares. Maybe I'd understand it a little better if some of the more intense fans actually went to school there.

All of the pictures below were taken on the way home Thursday night (including the church sign at the top). From Huntsville to Florence, from 4:20 to 5:50 pm. Not shown are the ones that I didn't see; the ones that I saw, but didn't snap a picture of; and ones that I did get a picture of, but didn't turn out well enough to post. I guess the flags are out of vogue now; I only saw one that Thursday, and didn't get the camera out quick enough to take a picture.


(if you look hard, you can see the pom poms and other accessories in the rear window above)



Of course, I guess I do live in a college town (sort of).

To be totally fair, these last two below were taken the next day (they are of the same tent): one on the way to work, one of the way home.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Open Skies and Sunsets

Just a few pictures from the last day or two.

Ouch. Rogersville, yesterday morning. No ambulances, and people standing around, so it appears no one was hurt.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blue Skies

Bright, blue skies yesterday morning.

Even brighter skies yesterday afternoon, so I took a picture with my sunglasses to see how it would turn out.

I couldn't tell if this person was trying to block the sun while they were driving, or were just fascinated by this week's coupons. Either way, it looks dangerous (says the man taking pictures). I had to doctor this picture by reversing it since I took it through my rear-view mirror.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

And Now for Something Completely Different...

The Find of the Century - at this very moment, I am drinking a Limited Edition Candy Corn soda. Delicious!

Also, here's an action shot of Julianna playing soccer today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

MP3s, AFR, and WWJD

My wife bought me a cool MP3 player for my birthday - it looks kind of like a jump drive, and you load music on it (and recharge the battery) by plugging it right into a USB port on your computer. I've been listening to it on the way to work using an FM tuner - a handy device that you can plug into your MP3 player (or whatever else) and transmit a signal directly to your radio. I've been using 88.3 as the signal, and as fate would have it, that station is the local American Family Radio station. I had forgotten why I stopped listening to AFR a number of years ago, but as I heard them over the airwaves Thursday morning, I began to remember.

They were so negative. What sticks out in my mind is the constant barrage against Disney, though the specifics escape me now. For a network that considers itself Christian, I was often put off by the negativity that seemed to exude from it. When I turned the car on Thursday, I was immediately assailed by James Dobson taking a stance on what appear to be the only two issue important to Christians this election season. They are, of course, gay marriage and abortion. I recalled an article I read awhile back - an interview with Brian Mclaren - where he talks about the amount of energy spent to discuss the danger of someone like him. And he says, "what about the danger of Jerry Falwell, or...James Dobson or...Pat Robertson." And I remember thinking, What?!? The danger of James Dobson?? But, I think I'm beginning to piece that together. When you take a look at the "religious right" and how they are supposed to represent Christianity, and thereby represent Jesus, it makes me wonder what kind of message is being sent to the world.

I'm reminded of a recent post on Mike Cope's blog about the stewardship of our world. He talks about how the National Association of Evangelicals had taken a stance on the care of God's creation, and how a letter addressed to the NAE, from several leaders of the Religious Right, including Dobson, seemed to imply that they should stick to more core issues - like abortion or gay marriage. (Read that post for a more in-depth discussion.)

Is this the best way to carry out the great commission of Jesus? I have strong feelings on these issues, but I'm not sure that making them the central part of a religiopolitical campaign is how Jesus wants us to share what He's about.

And, are these the only issues Christians should be concerned about? This is why people have the view of Christians that they do, and why they have a view of God as primarily judge, jury, and executioner. This is in direct opposition to John's statement that God is love. I don't think that means we ignore what He wants and how He wants us to live; but when we put that face to the world, that that's what God wants more than anything; I think we're turning people away.

What about love? Compassion? Helping the poor and needy? What about what Jesus said were the most important commands? What about Paul said was of first importance? What about what James said about pure religion? Are the answer to these questions found in politicking against homosexuality and abortion?

Maybe I'm reading my Bible wrong - but I seem to recall that the most important commands have to do with love; that what was of first importance was Jesus; and that pure religion is helping those in need.

There are a lot of bad things in this world - genocide, war, starvation, a global AIDS crisis, widespread prejudice. Are these things even worth campaigning about?

We're worried about the breakdown of the traditional family in America. What about the breakdown of love and compassion over the entire world? I'm worried that we are becoming more concerned with our personal rights and our personal way of life more than we are about sharing Jesus with the world, or about sharing compassion and love.

What would happen if we truly acted like Jesus? As a whole, as a Christian community; what if we truly walked in His footsteps? Would we have more or less impact on society?

But maybe I'm just full of crap. I often soapbox here - it is called Jim's Running Commentary, after all; but I don't tend to get political - I tend to leave that to Krista, who's much smarter than I am; I figure I'll just end up looking stupid. And I don't normally solicit comments, but I think that most of the people that read this are people I know personally. What's your take? I'm really curious to hear.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm late!

Don't have any time this morning except to share a few pictures from yesterday.

Morning Sun

Evening Sun

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wednesday Sunset

Not much to share this morning except for a few pictures of last night's sunset...

Sunset over Highway 72

Sunset behind Crosspoint Church

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Everything in Moderation

We took Julianna (and my Dad) on a picnic to Spring Park in Tuscumbia this weekend. We rode the train, Julianna loved the carousel, and I got slammed around on the roller coaster. Caught a couple of pictures of the creek behind the railroad.

While we were picking up some Subway (so it wasn't a real picnic), I saw this sign across the street. Maybe you understand this if you go to Woodward Avenue Baptist Church, but I have no idea what it means. Can anyone clue me in? Maybe a reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation?


And finally, I about fell out of my chair laughing at what it said on the inside of this Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrapper yesterday. (I laugh at weird things.)

Candy is a treat. Please consume in moderation.

If my Grandma was the Surgeon General, I could see her saying something like that, but it just seemed odd on the inside of that wrapper.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Joys of Traveling

Ah, flying. There's nothing like being cramped in the back of a plane with 200 other people, enjoying the sights and the sounds, to say nothing of the smells. Four hours and fifteen minutes (Orange County, California to Atlanta) is a long time to be stuck with nowhere to go. No wonder people have panic attacks. Any time you have to use the rest room, you have to crawl over 12 people. On the way to Atlanta today, everyone in coach had to use the restrooms in the back; the ones in the front were First Class Only.

Customer service is getting worse and worse. My company normally flies Delta; I think their strategy for attracting customers is to slowly take away every perk. Let's cram the seats closer together; let's cut down the number of attendants; let's take away all the food. Okay, that last one's not completely true. If you have a cross-country flight, you get a snack pack with crackers, shortbread cookie, and a cranberry and raisin mix. Mmmm... Ah, how I miss the soggy turkey sandwich, mushy apple, smashed chips, and warm water you could pick up at the gate door. Those were the days. And now, because of the stupid terrorists, I can't even bring on a coffee or my requisite 20 oz. bottle of Coke.

Of course, as I write this, I'm sitting in Atlanta at 3:35 pm, 47 minutes before my flight leaves, praying they don't delay or, Heaven forbid, cancel it. All I want to do is get back to my beautiful wife and daughter.

I should count my blessings. Up until now, my biggest disappointment this week took place at breakfast. Every day this week, we stopped at Starbucks for coffee on the way in to work. And every day this week, I resisted the temptation to buy a delicious piece of pumpkin bread. My wife had stocked me with Slimfast bars, so I already had breakfast. Plus I didn't need the pumpkin bread, so I thought I'd wait until the last day and splurge. So yesterday morning we stopped again, my head filling with thoughts of moist, delicious pumpkin bread. But this time Starbucks didn't have any. Not a single slice. So I got a donut. It just wasn't the same.

But, that being the low point of my week (besides the flights between California and Atlanta) I think I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm glad I'm going home now.

Update: 4:10 pm (Atlanta). I just headed back to Concourse D. I was already there once but there were no good french fries on the concourse, so I went back to Concourse B to hunt some down. I should've gone to A, because I had to settle for Checkers’s seasoned fries, and what I wanted were those big steak fries with ketchup. Anyway - back to Concourse D. When I came up the escalator, I checked my flight. On time! So I headed down to gate 35. Which didn't have the Huntsville flight. I guess I should have checked for a gate change when I looked to see if it was on time. So I found it back four gates at D31 (which I had just passed). Still on time! So I sat down. But I looked up, and the Huntsville information disappeared. They just changed the gate back to D35.


So now I'm back at D35 where I notice that my 4:22 flight is now scheduled for 4:45. I can handle 20 minutes. I just want to get home.

Update: 4:43 pm. OK, gate change to D33. That's right next door, and the time is the same (according to the loudspeaker). I can deal with that.

Update: 4:48 pm. Alright, they lied. The time did change. Now it's 5:10. No wait, 5:20. Great, it's changing as I'm standing here writing this. But, it says the plane is at the gate, so it shouldn't be long now. One hour. I'll only be an hour late getting home. 7 pm, instead of 6. I can handle one hour.

Update: 5:11 pm. I'm sitting on the plane! It's a small one (about 45 seats), so we should be in the air soon.

Update: 5:23 pm. They haven't closed the door yet, but they just announced that there would be no using the restroom while we are in the air. I've never heard them say that before.

Update: 5:27 pm. Our flight attendant, Thambi, is giving us instructions. I swear she just said, "Make sure your seat backs are up and uncomfortable." Then she told a bald passenger that his head was glowing. She actually compared it to that briefcase in Pulp Fiction! I like it better when the flight attendants have personality.

Update: 5:35 pm. We appear to be 8th in line on the runway. Not long now...

Update: 6:03 pm. In the air! Halfway to Huntsville and I'm reading Batman Unmasked. An interesting, even scholarly book discussing the history of Batman and his impact on culture.

Update: 5:20 pm (Huntsville). Touchdown! Finally landed in Hunstville. Because of the time change, it always feels like I've gone back in time. I should be home by 7.