Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On a personal note...

A new decade begins in just over 28 hours from the time I'm writing this. If I were to summarize my personal experiences of the past 10 years in a single word, it would be: shock. And that's all I care to offer on the subject.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just for the record

I saw "The Hangover" for the first time the other night and found it to be the most overrated movie since "The Royal Tenenbaums." And apparently I'm the only one who feels this way because everyone else seems to think it's the funniest flick they've watched in years. Either way, watch at your own risk because there's more male nudity than anyone (in their right mind) could ever want to see.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday's Quote: The extra mile

The Associated Press did a story last Sunday about the Boy Scouts of America. Having trained an estimated 112 million in the virtues of God and country over the past 100 years, the BSA is currently at a crossroads with declining membership (that still tops 2.8 million) and demands from numerous pressure groups to include atheists and homosexuals.

Because this bastion of Americana promotes some of the attributes of what makes our nation great, I thought a quote from a former member of the BSA board of directors would be in order...

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work."
-- William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), Christian author and longtime columnist of
Pertinent Proverbs

Friday, December 25, 2009

What part of CHRISTmas do you not understand?

I could bloviate about those who seek to eliminate any trace of Christianity -- or at least, the authentic criterion thereof -- from the national landscape, just as I could reference any number of acts committed by the secular Left in the name of "separation of church and state" as if the phrase was pulled from the Constitution itself. But I will resist.

I could foil the pugilist with a comprehensive assessment, almost pretentious in length, regarding "separation of church..." (among other things) from Supreme Court decisions that were taken from their originally intended context to endorse a "progressive" disposition that concedes to practically anything but Christendom. Yet I will abstain.

Eschatology of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant creeds warn the Believer about agreeable-sounding pontificators who employ abstract reasoning fused with arguments that take aim (in the seemingly nicest possible way) at the very axioms they hold most sacred; a ploy most commonly achieved by admonishing the born-again, yet inattentive adherent to yield to every outlandish form of pluralism for the sake, and in the name of, tolerance.

Even more, far too many Christians have become more consumed with what's "cool" instead of keeping their focus upon what is right (something to which I can truly relate), essentially abandoning the substance of their beliefs -- and thus, depreciating the sacrifices made by those who came before us -- because they became fearful of false characterizations by a faction that unabashedly hates the Truth for which we are called to give our lives if necessary.

I'm beating this war drum because of a slowly growing entente that abates the less passionate into submission with half-truths, platitudes, and double standards while laboring to dilute, or redefine, our long-established values that are almost entirely based upon the Holy Scriptures. And thus it may not be much longer before opposing the coalition of enlightened, altruistic, open-minded sojourners of egalitarianism will be deemed a "hate crime."

So say Merry Christmas while you still can. The clock is ticking.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: Memphis, Tennessee

I love you, and I don't love you. You're good for me, but you drain me. You're home, and you are foreign. But I just can't quit you. Not yet.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday's Quote: The South

I promised myself that I would keep defensive admonitions on the Southland's behalf to a minimum when I recommitted to this blog (seven weeks ago today, as a matter of fact). Although yesterday's post was the first since I re-upped, I find myself drawn to the topic once more in light of a few stories that were recently brought to my attention.

"They have some qualities which I cannot even presume to claim in an equal degree for the people among whom I, myself, dwell. They have an aptness for command which makes the Southern gentleman, wherever he goes, not a peer only, but a prince. They have a love for home; they have, the best of them, and the most of them, inherited from the great race from which they come, the sense of duty and the instinct of honor as no other people on the face of the earth."
-- Senator George F. Hoar (R-Massachusetts) on the floor of the U.S. Senate; February 23, 1889

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The root of Southern hospitality

I've heard it questioned many times: What's the big deal about the South? Why is it Southern hospitality? Aren't people from other regions nice, too?

The short answer only adds to the fuel of this rather patronizing debate, especially in regard to those who view the South as a mere breeding ground for the most undesirable members of our ever changing society.

But then a more comprehensive rebuttal evokes accusations of abiding by a "neo-Confederate fantasy" rife with Lost Cause folklore that's ordinarily commingled with charges of endorsing every imaginable position of hate.

So what's a Southern boy to do?

Yours truly all but looks for a fight when it comes to defending my defenders -- warts and all -- especially in this age of political correctness and social hypersensitivity. And why? Because it's necessary. Further, I do not concern myself with falsified labels from those who are filled with more animus than I could ever be. Call me a bigot, or anything of the sort, and I'll laugh in your face.

Although I've deviated from what was originally intended to be written, I must confess that going on a tangent about the War Between the States is always tempting because the fact that such an event actually occurred lies at the very heart of my treatise.

To the point, there is something about this thing called "Southern hospitality." Cynics can say what they want, but there is a shared predilection among the descendants of the former Confederate nation that appears to be lacking among the other regions of our blessed Republic.

Take, for instance, a recent piece from managing editor Jeanna Bryner. Entitled "Happiest U.S. States Pinned Down," Bryner referenced a study that listed the 50 States (and the District of Columbia) in order of their well-being.

And coming in at #1 is, surprisingly enough, Louisiana. In fact there were six Southern States -- Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama included -- in the top 10, and no portion of the Southern Commonwealth finished lower than 28th.

Imagine that -- the most backwards and financially deficient States with the highest cholesterol levels and the lowest SAT scores are generally happier, and thus, more hospitable than their affluent rivals. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The epitome of "extravagantly pretentious and overexposed"

A few days ago I wrote somewhat disparagingly about my girl Kim Kardashian, referring to her as the above-subject title indicates. The picture to the right, however, is a before-and-after of a woman who, despite their similarities, is tragically becoming the anti-Kim in every way.

You probably know about Amy Winehouse (for all the wrong reasons), even if you're not familiar with her retro brand of music. However difficult it is to believe that the picture you undoubtedly stared at for more than a few moments is the same person, this human bong receptacle serves as a prime example -- perhaps warning is the more proper term -- of why one is better off avoiding alcohol and drugs altogether.

And why that statement still requires such an overabundance of repetition after all these years is beyond me.

Calamitous eccentricities notwithstanding, Winehouse is both an iconoclast and a walking contradiction. According to a recent piece on, her backstage demands for a single performance include two bottles of red wine, a case of Lager, a bottle of vodka, champagne and Courvoisier, 40 Marlboro cigarettes, and amazingly enough, access to the nearest gym.

"They tried to make me go to rehab, I said 'No, no, no.'"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: Heisman screw job

I need to make sure that I'm clear on this issue: The running back that led the nation in yards and touchdowns with 10 games over the century mark, including three games of at least 200 yards, and who led his school to its first winning season in eight years despite a freshman quarterback and an overall lack of talent and depth, lost the Heisman Trophy to another running back who, despite being surrounded by a slew of NFL prospects, was twice held to less than three yards per carry.
During any other time, such an oversight might seem strange.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Against overwhelming odds

I was enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon drive through Collierville -- one of my favorite things to do -- when I began pondering a recent blog post about war, which in turn reminded me of something I read a few days ago in regard to the heroic exploits of Charles Martel.

Greatly outnumbered, Martel led the Carolingian Franks to victories over the invading Umayyad Caliphate amid the Islamic Expansion Era -- most notably at the Battle of Tours (or Poitiers) in central France -- which prevented Muslim forces from advancing further into Europe, likely saving Christendom at that point in history from the same aggressor that America (among others) are essentially facing today.

Though some modern scholars now question the importance of Martel's defeat of Europe's would-be conquerors -- courageously creating elements of doubt over 1,200 years after the fact -- it's clear that the Italian poet Dante Alighieri had numerous reasons to write of Martel as one of the "Defenders of the Faith," not the least of which centered upon his bravery in the face of a hostile and potentially vanquishing adversary.

This brings me to the selected quote, which I pulled from the 2006 movie, 300. Reportedly "90% accurate," the story of Spartan King Leonidas and his men standing in defense of their people and their land speaks of a kind of valor that scarcely exists any longer, which was undoubtedly epitomized by Martel and his men some 1,200 years after the Battle of Thermopylae.

Although this particular exchange is largely fictional, there is no question that Leonidas's resistance to even the most seemingly generous peace offering was key to the survival of his people. Instead of saving himself, as most would have, the Spartan King stood his ground:

Leonidas: Let me guess. You must be, Xerxes?

Xerxes: Come Leonidas, let us reason together. It would be a regrettable waste, it would be nothing short of madness, were you, brave King, and your valiant troops to perish all because of a simple misunderstanding. There is much our cultures could share.

Leonidas: Oh, haven't you noticed? We've been sharing our culture with you all morning.

Xerxes: Yours is a fascinating tribe. Even now, you are defiant in the face of annihilation and the presence of a god. It isn't wise to stand against me, Leonidas. Imagine what horrible fate awaits my enemies when I would gladly kill any of my own men for victory.

Leonidas: And I would die for any one of mine.

Xerxes: You Greeks take great pride in your logic. I suggest you employ it. Consider the beautiful land you so vigorously defend. Picture it reduced to ash at my whim. Consider the fate of your women.

Leonidas: Clearly you don't know our women. I might as well have marched them up here, judging by what I've seen. You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won't be long before they fear my spears more than your whip.

Xerxes: It is not the lash they fear. It is my divine power. But I am a generous god. I can make you rich beyond measure. I will make you warlord over all Greece. You will carry my battle standard to the heart of Europa. Your Athenian rivals will kneel at your feet if you will but kneel at mine.

Leonidas: You are as generous as you are divine, O King of Kings. Such an offer only a madman would refuse. But the, uh, the idea of kneeling, it's... You see, slaughtering all those men of yours has, uh, well, it's left a nasty cramp in my leg, so kneeling will be hard for me.

Xerxes: There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories. Every piece of Greek parchment shall be burned, and every Greek historian and every scribe shall have their eyes put out and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name of Sparta or Leonidas will be punishable by death. The world will never know you existed at all!

Leonidas: The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle is over, that even a god-king can bleed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: Kim Kardashian

I don't care about your promiscuity, or that you're extravagantly pretentious and overexposed. I'd marry you tomorrow.

Of course, I would have the nuptials annulled a few days later, and getting checked for some insidious disease that you might've transmitted to me is a given. But still...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tebow, religion, and the Heisman

It's odd -- we lionize our athletic paragons for the slightest feat of accomplishment, but we are just as likely to deride these men for even attempting to hold themselves to a "higher standard," which is possibly why we celebrate their mistakes as much as their achievements.

While the number of athletes who are known for endorsing various measures of ethics and morality is seemingly endless, perhaps none other is noted for the specific demonstrations of his Faith as University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

You almost certainly know who this guy is, even if you don't follow college football, and that's somewhat difficult for a lifelong fan of the University of Tennessee to admit (because he always beats us). But however much I scorn Tebow on game day, I laud him every bit as much for his consistent and effortless Christian witness, which is tragically lacking in most of those who claim redemption in the Cross.

Although Tebow caught some flack from ESPN Radio's Freddie Coleman and Sirius XM's Scott Ferrall (among others) after last Saturday's 32-13 loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game
when comparisons were drawn to the Bible verse written on his eye black {John 16:33 in this case} and the loss itself -- implying "Where was God? -- one might've forgotten what Tebow has done in his four years at the University of Florida.

So here's a refresher:

Tim Tebow has won three Southeastern Conference division titles, two conference championships, and two BCS national championships. A former Associated Press Player of the Year, Tebow is also a two-time All-American and has been selected All-Southeastern Conference three times, along with being honored as both the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and its Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Additionally, Timothy Richard Tebow is a recipient of the Maxwell Award (twice), the O'Brien Award, the Harley Award, the Sullivan Award, the Manning Award, the Campbell Trophy, and of course, he was the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He's also the first quarterback to both pass and rush for at least 20 touchdowns in a single season.

Tebow's on-field accomplishments do not necessarily legitimize Christendom (I'm an adherent myself), but nobody ever says "Where was God?" when a Believer is victorious. The antagonist only says such a thing if a Christian happens to lose, as if one is "born again" just to win everything. And no position of deliberate skepticism could be more superficial.

With the Heisman Trophy -- the most prestigious award in college football -- about to be given, and with the field of potential recipients still wide open, your humble correspondent has compiled his very own list in the name of clarity. Take a gander...

Winner: Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford) -- 311 rushes, 1,736 yards, 26 TDs
-- Not only did Gerhart lead the nation in both rushing yards and touchdowns, but he's also the predominant force behind Stanford's first winning season in eight years.

2. C.J. Spiller (RB/KR/PR, Clemson) -- 201 rushes, 1,145 yards, 11 TDs; 34 receptions, 436 yards, 3 TDs; 918 kick/punt return yards, 5 TDs
-- The one I chose to replace Tim Tebow on the official list of nominees who will be in New York City on Saturday night, Spiller's triple threat talent as runner, receiver, and return specialist is the biggest reason for Clemson's spot the ACC title game.

3. Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama) -- 249 rushes, 1,542 yards, 15 TDs; 30 receptions, 322 yards, 3 TDs
-- The primary offensive catalyst for the top ranked and SEC champion Crimson Tide, Ingram would have been higher on the list had both Arkansas and Auburn not held him to under three yards per carry.

4. Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) -- 82 tackles, 12 QB sacks
-- Having managed statistics in a single season that most defensive tackles would love to have in two seasons combined, he also made life miserable in the Big 12 title game for the guy I placed fifth.

5. Daniel "Colt" McCoy (QB, Texas) -- 330 completions, 70.5 completion %, 3,512 yards, 30 total TDs
-- A sentimental favorite, last year's runner-up will probably rank higher in the final tally by voters who will take his career stats into account (over 14,000 total yards and 130+ combined touchdowns) more than they should.

Honorable Mention
(ranked #6-15)
Case Keenum (QB, Houston) -- 468 completions, 71.0 completion %, 5,449 yards, 47 total TDs

Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, Oregon State) -- 255 rushes, 1,377 yards, 20 TDs; 74 receptions, 509 yards, 1 TD

Tim Tebow (QB, Florida) -- 182 completions, 65.2 completion %, 3,272 total yards, 31 total TDs

Greg Jones (LB, Michigan State) -- 140 tackles, 9 QB sacks

Kellen Moore (QB, Boise State) -- 254 completions, 64.8 completion %, 3,325 yards, 39 TDs

Denario Alexander (WR, Missouri) -- 107 receptions, 1,644 yards, 13 TDs

Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame) -- 289 completions, 68.0 completion %, 3,722 yards, 31 total TDs

Von Miller (DE, Texas A&M) -- 43 tackles, 17 QB sacks

Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech) -- 268 rushes, 1,538 yards, 19 TDs

Rahim Moore (S, UCLA) -- 43 tackles, 9 INTs

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday's Quote: War

I have a cousin who joined the Marines four years ago. A soldier in the 2nd Division {3rd Battalion, 6th Regiment: "Devil Dogs"}, Griff did two tours in Iraq and would have been deployed a third time, probably to Afghanistan, had he initially enlisted just four days earlier.

Knowing that a mere 96 hours was the difference between a return to civilian life and being sent into the "Graveyard of Empires"
must be tremendously relieving for my cousin, who returned home for good just 10 days ago.

I thought recently about the Brigadier General who told my aunt and uncle (Griff's parents) that American forces were fighting a "politically correct war," and that our military possessed the capacity to "clean house" if our warriors of the ground, sea, and air were fully allowed to take matters to such a hardcore level.

It's a confounding shame to realize that our military personnel are blocked from doing all that they're trained to do because of political correctness; that our troops are stymied by those who are more concerned about the welfare of those who hate us than those who defend us is yet another mind-numbing commentary on our present state of affairs.

As a result, and in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day (tomorrow), I reached back to a voice from the past -- among the most politically incorrect of all-time -- to perhaps re-establish a sense of valor in the face of hypersensitivity, and on behalf of those who personify our core qualities as well as anyone:

"When we land against the enemy, do not forget to hit him and hit him hard. When we meet the enemy, we will kill him. We will show him no mercy. He has killed thousands of your comrades and he must die. If your company officers in leading your men against the enemy find him shooting at you and when you get within two hundred yards and him and he wishes to surrender -- oh no! That bastard will die."
-- Lt. General George S. Patton, United States Army, prior to the July 9, 1943 invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) during World War II. Initially outnumbered by over 100,000 soldiers, the American, British and Canadian forces overcame their Axis rivals in just six weeks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Before Sunrise

I awoke the other day, earlier than usual, after a long night of getting beat down at the FedEx World Hub (every night is a beating). Unable to return to a state of much-needed slumber, I flipped through an assortment of about 300 stations until I found myself drawn to the familiarity of a movie I couldn't quite recall. A few minutes of giving it a chance to entertain me, however, jogged my memory enough to remember this flick as one I had originally shunned.

I dredged through a few minutes of "Before Sunrise" at least 10 years ago before asking the girl I was with to change the channel. I was bored, and perhaps a bit confused, by the cerebral dialog mixed with a minimalist plot that appeared to beg for something (like gratuitous explosions) to break the monotony of watching two people talk about what seemed to be the usual Gen X crap.

Having given this little piece of cinema another go at the ripe old age of 33, I now understand its appeal. Ornamented by two wandering souls who seem destined to live happily ever after despite being separated by an ocean and six time zones, the movie depicts a deeply personal, almost spiritual, intercourse that everyone fantasizes about, but rarely get to experience for themselves.

The movie is worth your time if you get a chance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: Tiger

Only in America is it not enough to be married to a Swedish bikini model.  Way to go, Eldrick.