I saw an ad for real estate in Florida, or Hawaii, or somewhere. It promises Nothing but sandy beaches and sunshine here! Make Retirement Special.
Therefore choose life! urge the fervent pro-lifers inside this storefront, quoting Deuteronomy 30:19. Their counseling center is called My Choice Medical Clinic a deceptive name, because they're not medical doctors and they're the opposite of pro-choice. They will do anything they can to convince a pregnant woman to bear her child, even if it will be unwanted and unloved.
My Choice has three locations in this area, and according to this article, there are more than 4,000 such fake reproductive health centers in the nation.
What's noteworthy about typing this supplication?
JULY 7, 2018 YOU CAN'T ARGUE TOO MUCH
Inspired by the 2017 New York Times Crossword No. 0802, I imagined that the city was dealing with riots protesting ambiguous clues in recent puzzles.
Please rise for the Anthem.
We open today's Independence Day services with a hymn by Lloyd Stone, to the tune of Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.
I'm proud to be an American citizen. Americans can express pretty much any opinion without having to worry about being taken away by the government. We can criticize ourselves and adapt to a changing world. We are entrepreneurial and optimistic.
On the other hand, as Americans we run the danger of being too full of ourselves.
This country song from the Charlie Daniels Band, "In America," enjoys some popularity in the redneck states. It also gets played here in Pittsburgh because it praises our fierce loyalty to our football team.
Now the people in the Bible Belt may disagree with me, but I don't think that supposedly God-fearing Americans should strut arrogantly around the world, loudly claiming to be better than everyone else.
Are not Christians taught that our neighbors include even the despised Samaritans? And are we not taught the Golden Rule, to love our neighbors as much as ourselves?
I wasn't brought up to be a boastful loudmouth, or an impatient aggressive driver, or a member of a drunken mob of fans eager to avenge any insult. I wasn't brought up to mistrust everyone outside my city or nation or religion or ethnic group.
A blogger with the initials JED wrote:
I guess the moral is that we should be very sure before we Add to dictionary.
Is it possible to Delete from dictionary?
It didn't result in a win, but Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell last night flouted National League tradition by having his pitcher bat eighth in the order instead of ninth.
In the "typical" order, Jack Wilson would be guaranteed a first-inning plate appearance, and Jason Bay would not. Last night, those guarantees were reversed. (Nevertheless, the Pirates failed to score in the first inning; Sanchez, Michaels, and Bay all struck out swinging.)
However, once you get past that point, these two batting orders are, for practical purposes, identical. In later innings, Doug Mientkiewicz bats before the pitcher and Jack Wilson after. It doesn't make a bit of difference whether you call those hitters 8-9-1 (traditional) or 7-8-9 (last night).
Here's another way of looking at it. The nine batting spots are in a rotation. Traditionally, a team begins the first inning at point "A" and proceeds clockwise around the wheel, thereby delaying the appearance of the weak-hitting pitcher as long as possible. However, last night the Pirates began the first inning at point "B." After that, everything proceeded normally.
If you're a traditional "leadoff hitter," you have two roles.
In one, you're the first batter in the game. Last night Sanchez filled that role, and he led off the first inning only.
In the other, you hit after the pitcher; when the pitcher makes the last out of an inning (as he often does), that means you bat first in the next inning. Last night Wilson filled that role, and he led off the third and the seventh innings.
There is precedent in the National League Central. St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has batted his pitcher eighth for the past few years, and at the beginning of this season the Milwaukee Brewers did likewise.
"I can understand why the Cardinals do it," Russell told Paul Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "because they have Albert Pujols batting third and it gets another guy on base in front of him." So why, I wonder, don't they simply move Pujols to fourth?
"There are a lot of different ways to look at it," Russell continued. "Doug [Mientkiewicz] is our most patient, work-the-count, get-on-base guy. . . . We put him in front of our pitcher, and if they want to pitch around him, he'll take the walk. If Doug gets on, Paul [the pitcher] can bunt him over. Or if he gets on with two outs and Paul makes the third out, Jack [Wilson] leads off the next inning; then we have the top of the order coming up. It's mainly just to add a little more offense, maybe get a few more guys on base and help turn the lineup around."
Poppycock. I say again, Mientkiewicz bats before the pitcher and Wilson after, and aside from the first inning, it doesn't matter whether you call them 8-9-1 or 7-8-9. The only purpose is to confuse the rest of us as we fill out our scorecards.
JULY 1, 2018 WHERE'S THE ERASER?
Yes, I watched another old Gene Kelly musical on TV this month. And in it, Van delivered a certain line while verbally sparring with a girl, a quip that puzzled me for half a century. I have therefore been induced to write an article about the way in which Brigadoon Reappears.
JUNE 26, 2018 TRAVEL ON TO AVALON
After my father became a widower, he sometimes accompanied me on my travels to sports telecasts. This month's 100 Moons article describes some of those trips from 1983 to 1990, based on my letters.
We visited Disney World's EPCOT Center during its first year of operation. I didn't write about it at the time, but my father felt more at home in the Canadian pavilion than in the more exotic countries. For my part, I enjoyed seeing one of the recently discovered terra-cotta warriors from China and a 3D film with Michael Jackson.
I quote a memo I submitted to my office on January 15, 1987, detailing the next month's lodging needs for the two of us. Our ten days in the South included three basketball telecasts sandwiched around a week of vacation. We arrived in Hattiesburg on my 40th birthday.
I also describe our day trip to Catalina Island, which my father had visited in 1936 before he even met my mother. Music is included.
JUNE 23, 2018 WAS LIFE SLOWER IN OLDEN TIMES?
Pittsburgh Pirates fans consider the finale of the 1960 World Series to be one of the greatest games ever played. The Pirates captured the title in an all-out Game 7 struggle, using three different relief pitchers before Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run sent the Yankees to defeat by the score of 10-9.
A couple of weeks ago, the Pirates hosted the Dodgers and won by the score of 11-9. There seemed to be much less excitement this time.
Superficially similar though the final scores may appear, let's look deeper into the stats. I'll define Balls in Play as the number of batted balls that result in hits, outs, errors, or sacrifices the essence of baseball action.
Between plays, the NBA shot clock is only 24 seconds, but MLB fans must wait 244 seconds! On average! Often longer!
It's no wonder that attendance is down 61%.
JUNE 20, 2018 BUT WHY?
I often find myself watching an educational program on a cable channel like Science or Smithsonian. The documentary could simply lecture at me. Often, however, the script employs a more effective technique to keep my attention. It asks me questions.
However, instead of simply piling on another fact, the narrator first asks a question to pique my interest. Then, after the commercial, he will reveal how experts have analyzed evidence leading up to the puzzle's solution.
It sometimes becomes comical to hear this but-but-but technique repeated every 90 seconds or so. Fact. But why? Fact. But who? Fact. But what?
Fact. But wouldn't you like to know more?
Why does the church play such a central role as a political institution for blacks? That question was asked of Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor at Princeton, in the August 2008 issue of American History magazine. Her answer: Black ministers, because they're among the few blacks who don't work for white bosses, are autonomous not dependent on a broader power structure for support but accountable only to the African-American community. Therefore they're free to speak out against conditions that they see as wrong.
But she still marvels at the fact that blacks embraced the church when they were yet slaves. How is it possible that African Americans who were enslaved who were unlikely, either themselves or their children, to ever be free, who were living in a context that we almost can't even imagine how is it that they looked around and said, against all empirical evidence, Actually, God loves me?
Somehow, this doesn't surprise me at all. Faith has nothing to do with empirical evidence. On the contrary, it rejects evidence. It flies in the face of evidence. According to Hebrews 11:1 (NIV), faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Those who most despair of happiness in this life are those who most eagerly seize upon the dubious promise of a better life in heaven. They have no evidence to support their hope, and it may all be a fairy tale, but they convince themselves it is true because they fervently want to believe that on the other side of Jordan is a sweet chariot coming for to carry them home.