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Archive for September, 2012

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever, do not abandon the works of Your hands.

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You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.
~ Psalm 92:4

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Don’t laugh. After all, he is my doppelgänger.

What exactly is a doppelgänger, you may ask?

Well, according to Wikipedia, In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger (German “double walker”) is a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune. In modern vernacular it is simply any double or look-alike of a person. It also describes the sensation of having glimpsed oneself in peripheral vision, in a position where there is no chance that it could have been a reflection. Doppelgängers often are perceived as a sinister form of bilocation and are regarded by some to be harbingers of bad luck.

You see, Sam and I both live in OKC. We both wear glasses, and hair gel. Don’t forget the hair gel. Sam was a Rhodes scholar. OK, maybe I slept thru my interview for that. OK, maybe I went to college. At least I know what a Rhodes scholar is, and I didn’t even have to use Wikipedia. I heard about it on a CBS sports broadcast…

And, Sam, if you sign James, you and I will both work for non profit organizations.

Now that we have that squared away, let’s get down to talking basketball. Sign James Harden, Sam, and sign him quickly. You see, talent like that doesn’t grow on trees, and as evidenced by the picture above, I know a thing or two about basketball. And talent. I might know a thing or two about talent. Not together, necessarily. OK, I might know a thing or two, like the the meaning of doppelgänger, or how to access Wikipedia. Not together, necessarily, but I digress.

But, what about the salary cap and luxury tax, oh doppel double, Sam might say. Well, I think I have that figured out. Take a look at the following spread from the sports page. You know what a spreadsheet is, don’t you, Sam? Of course you do: you wear hair gel.

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Maynor is gone after this year, so play him hard, let Reggie Jackson learn a game other than baseball, and use him next year in place of Eric. Let Lazar move on. And, as much as I may like the kid, you’ve got to trade Cole. It’s just not gonna work out between you guys and the people he needs to play defense against. Come on, Sam, you know I’m right on this one. Draft a couple of rookies to groom and practice against, and you’ve got your 12 man roster. Hey, if the Miami Heat can do it, so can you.

Do all of that, pay James what you’re paying Serge, and I just bet you can stay under the projected 2012-2014 luxury tax level of $74 million. Clay and the boys may not make any money, but we both know you can burn cash and still have a winning team. Non profit, remember?

So, step out there Sam. Get it done. The home team is counting on you.

Trust me. I’m your doppelgänger. Or, maybe you’re mine…..

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Section 8 Discharge

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Who remembers “Corporal Max Klinger” from the TV show M.A.S.H., and his constant efforts to get out of the Army on a “Section 8”? So, what is section 8, anyway?

Let’s look to the Wiki for answers:

The term Section 8 refers to a category of discharge from the United States military when judged mentally unfit for service. It also came to mean any serviceperson given such a discharge or behaving as if deserving such a discharge, as in the expression, “he’s a Section 8”.

Sitting in Section 8 of Memorial Stadium last night (an irony within itself), I can’t help but want to compare the two.

You almost would have had to have been there to see it, and to hear it, to believe it. As the game turned south, so did the actions and attitudes of the liquored up lunatics in front of us.

There was definitely some “discharge” going on. Name calling. Accusations. Profanity. Criticizing and calling out fellow fans that they will most likely have to sit with next week.

Section 8 was an appropriate place for these numbskulls to be sitting. They were crazy. “Unfit for service” is more like it. It’s even crazier that we had to endure them along the way.

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Some day, historians will look back on the generations who occupied the early 2000’s with wonderment, like we do the ancient Aztecs.

What will they see? What will stand out?

We ignored the thought that trans fats were bad for us.

We thought George Michaels, David Lee Roth, and Toby Keith were entertaining.

We strapped football gear on our sons and sent them out to obliterate each other, all the while cheering loudly.

Our daughters were jealous about not getting to play football with our sons.

We all drove SUV’s.

And, my personal favorite: we stood in line every 18 months for hours to pay $200 for a device that functions much like a proverbial ankle location bracelet. It’s never off our person, and is always on.

Not me, personally, mind you, but you get the picture. At least, not the George Michaels, Toby Keith, and standing in line parts. I might have somebody else on my iTunes, but I’ll never admit to it in a court of law, much less an Apple Store line.

Some day, historians may look back at me and simply scratch their heads, kind of like you are doing right now…

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To quote a tune, “I’m finding myself at a loss for words...”

As this Mercy Me song played over the airwaves earlier today, the funny thing was, it didn’t feel OK.

You see, around bedtime last night, the last thing I needed to be heard, and to hear, was the surround sound system coming from a neighbor’s house. It was surreal. I felt it first. Was it an earthquake? Was it thunder? It almost sounded like music. But, how could that be? The house was dark, and all of my (homebound) kids were going to sleep.

Shortly thereafter, one of those kids came into the room. “Do you hear that?”, they asked. “What is it?”. As it continued past the 10:00 PM hour, the same kid headed out into the front yard “to go ask them to turn it down”. That certainly wouldn’t do.

You see, there is protocol for these type of things, I suppose. Memory of decades gone by took me back to the 70’s, and hearing our neighbor in Texas bang on the door and tell my dad to “shut that dog up or he was going to shoot it”. We never really forged a relationship with those people over the 4 years we lived there. Go figure.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been in this house for over 5 years. We know most of my neighbors, and have a mild but modest first name basis relationship with almost all, save one. That one and I have waved a time or two, and engaged in a one sentence conversation a year or so back regarding a sprinkler system question. He probably thinks I should better tend to my yard. I might think he waters too much. Living downhill, I might have half a really green yard to prove out both assumed presumptions.

But, we don’t talk. We don’t have a relationship. And yet, we are right here together. That made the necessitated late night phone conversation all the more awkward. I didn’t want to spoil his fun. I like a good stereo experience almost as much as the next guy, or at least I thought so. But as we lay in our beds, we could feel the earth move under our feet…and our knees, and our elbows, and our pillows…

So, I made the call. Things got quiet. But, will we ever be truly “neighborly”? What can I do to be a better “neighbor”? What does that mean, anyway. And it got me to thinking. We both know, that is not always fun:

Luke 10:25-37:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”. “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”. “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

…even if it means a little more work in the yard, and a lot more tolerance for the surround sound, among other more significant things…like learning how to be a more engaged neighbor.

I’m finding myself at a loss for words. Maybe it will all turn out OK.

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Some days are like that

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The team was prepared. The home team was excited. The coaching staff was experienced and trusted. The playbook was sound. The route was called. The play was run.

Then, it happened. Flag on the play. Illegal procedure on the other team. Unnecessary roughness. Man down. And woman down. Make that three women down.

Oh, wait. Did you think we were discussing football?

Celiac disease is a formidable opponent. Formidable, but not unbeatable.

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Four out of five Bings have it. Celiac, that is. They are one disciplined team. They know the rules of the game. They have a great playbook. But, sometimes things don’t quite turn out like you script them to.

We joined the elder generation parental Bings for Sunday lunch last week at a long trusted establishment. The menu was solid. The historical experience was favorable. But, the other team blew it. Unnecessary roughness.

Cross contamination on the play. Unnecessary croissant on the plate. Illegal croutons on the salad. Man down. And woman down. Make that three women down.

Fast forward a few days. Little Frau and Little Frauline, the eldest, called an audible one day and headed out to try a new little lunch bistro promoting its gluten free goodness. However, their adherence to the rules of the game seem to be no better.

Illegal procedure. Unnecessary cheese on the plate. Illegal wheat pasta in the salad. Two women down.

The point? Celiac disease is a formidable opponent. Formidable, but not unbeatable. But watch your blind side. Those unexpected hits can be the most painful. Just ask poor Wes Lunt.

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“Mommy, what’s a Statin?”  

“Ask your dad.”

” Daddy, what’s a Statin?”

“It’s something I take to appease your Mot …, er, I mean the Doctor.   Yeh, that’s it.

I’ve reached a very special place this week: spiritually, ecumenically…grammatically, to borrow a phrase from Captain Jack.

What can I say?   I’m a progressive kind of Guy.   OK; you can stop laughing now.   I’ve got the lenses to prove it.

After years of holding back father time and his cruel and unusual punishments, I succumbed to less than stellar test results for both my eyes and my LDL, both in the same week.   Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

So, I’ve got my bifocals, and I’ve got my generic Lipitor.   And a good woman: I’ve got a good woman.   What else does a man need?

Yep: I’m a progressive kinda Guy, indeed.   Go ahead: laugh.   I think I’ve earned it.

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