Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Story Retold

If all the tales are told, retell them, Brother.
If few attend, let those who listen feel.

- Catherine Drinker Bowen

I have started to read Miracle at Philadelphia the story of the constitutional convention that formed the constitution of the USA.The quote above is from the Author's Preface. It got me thinking about how when I hear the story of the constitution and how I feel about it. Personally I think the constitution was divinely inspired.

The Preamble to the Constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now if you're like me you first heard this from Schoolhouse Rock. The tune is catchy and I'm singing along with it as I write this. These first words of what some consider the greatest document ever written start a feeling of pride, joy, . . . it's not quite explainable in me. The story retold makes me feel and herein lies the power of the document.

I'm looking forward to reading this book. I am only a few pages into it, but can tell that it will be both fascinating and enlightening. Part of the fascination is to understand how this country went from the Articles of Confederation and 13 "sovereign" states acting independently to a national government meant to meet the goals of the Preamble. One of the states (Rhode Island) didn't even send a delegation to the convention. The states were of the opinion that a federal government would gain too much control. The convention had to be couched as an update to the Articles of Confederation just to get permission to convene. It's fascinating to see how some of the greatest minds our country had at the time had such differing opinions on things.

Now the question comes up as to why I am reading this book. Well truthfully this year is a pivotal year in our country's history. This is an historic election. I want to understand how the constitution came to be and the thought processes and arguments behind it. Then I want to compare that to the campaigns of the candidates and see which one (if any) holds to the ideals that this country was founded on. I'm taking the election seriously this year and hope that when the tale of the election of 2008 is retold, those that attend and listen will feel.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Very Superstitious

So yesterday I woke up and knew that the Arizona Diamondbacks were starting a 6 game home stand. I also knew that the DBacks were 8-11 in their last 19 home games and 13-7 in their last 20 road games. I knew that I had to do something to help the team start this home stand on the right foot. But what could I do?

I couldn't go to the game because of other commitments (yes Jeff there is life outside of Baseball sometimes). That meant watching the game on the TV at home. I don't have Bob Melvin's email or phone number so there was no way I could get a message to him to include in the pre-game team meeting. Trying to get a message across on local talk radio when something so important as pre-season football (another topic for another day) was going on would be impossible as well. So what's a fan to do?

Well as I was getting dressed it hit me. I could wear the official road hat for the Arizona Diamondbacks all day to bring them the much needed luck. I put the hat on and instantly felt like I was doing something positive that would result in a win. Little did I know that all the luck I had would be necessary.

The game started well for the DBacks and pitcher Doug Davis. After not giving up a run in the top of the first the DBacks scored 4 in the bottom of the inning. Davis and crew gave up two in the top of the second. The score remained that way until the bottom of the 4th when Adam Dunn hit his first homerun as a DBack to increase the lead to 6-2.

The score stayed that way until the 8th when John Rauch gave up a run to make the score 6-3. In the bottom of the 8th the Diamondbacks got that run back when Connor Jackson singled in Augie Ojeda after a tremendous defensive play by the Padres shortstop that got Chris Burke out at third.

So with a 7-3 lead going into the 9th and closer Brandon Lyon coming in the deal was sealed right? Well maybe not, the Padres loaded the bases with one out and got a two-run single, followed by another single that made the score 7-6. With runners on 1st and 3rd Bob Melvin pulled Lyon for Tony Pena.

Pena got Hundley to hit a grounder just to the left of the mound. Pena fielded the ball and made a great play to get the runner from 3rd into a run-down. Pena threw to Chris Snyder who chased the runner back towards third and threw to Reynolds who tagged the runner out. Reynolds then did the smart thing by holding on to the baseball instead of trying to make another play on the other runners.

Pena then got Luis Rodriguez to fly out to center for the last out of the game. It was Pena's second save of the year and also validated my good luck charm.

I'm not wearing the hat today as it needs to recharge. I guess I will have to find another good luck charm for tonight's game. Hopefully the luck won't be needed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bug Spraying and Life

This morning I got up early to spray the house for bugs. As I was spraying I began to think about the other barriers our family has created to prevent certain things from entering our home.

The idea of bug spraying is to create a defensive barrier around your house so that when bugs come in contact with the barrier they die before they can get in. In a way there are several barriers that we need to put up around our homes to prevent our children and even ourselves from being annoyed and bitten.

So what are the barriers that need to be set up in the home? Well I think for each of us the list differs. For me one of the largest pests has to be pornography. The definition of pornography is different for so many, but for this post I'm using the definition from Dictionary.com.

Books, photographs, magazines, art, or music designed to excite sexual impulses and considered by public authorities or public opinion as in violation of accepted standards of sexual morality. American courts have not yet settled on a satisfactory definition of what constitutes pornographic material.

So what do we do to prevent this from coming into the home? Well our current list involves the following:

  1. Monitoring what the children watch on TV
  2. Monitoring what the children do on the computer especially the internet
  3. Ensure that the books and movies we entertain ourselves with are not necessarily accessible to the children (as a side note we do not watch R or above rated films)
  4. Discuss things with our children they learn outside our home

This is how we have created a preventive barrier to pornography in our home. We have also done similar things for other areas such as:

  • Violence on TV
  • Violence in Video Games
  • Being Disrespectful

I'm sure the list will change as the children get older. Just like you have to spray for bugs on a regular basis, working on other barriers is a never ending process for parents.

However a protective barrier is not enough. Parents also need to teach their children about the good and evil that is out in the world. Parents also need to teach their children about making the right choice even if it is not the popular one.

A good defensive barrier along with good teaching will protect children and help them to be productive members of society.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This I Believe

I have been on Plurk for about a month now and have seen several threads regarding religion and God. I didn't feel I could give justice to the responses for the threads at 140 characters at a time so I'm writing this post to express my beliefs.

First, I believe that the relationship one has with God is personal. However, that doesn't mean that He hasn't set up a way for us to return to him. I believe that there is only one way back to him. I don't believe that there are many roads to get there. Why would a loving Father in Heaven confuse his children about the way to return home?

I want to try and show this by an example. I have five children. Now lets say that I take each of them out to a remote geographic point a certain distance from my house. When I drop them off I give them instructions that they are to return home. However I don't provide the path that will lead them there, I leave that to them. From a father's standpoint I want them home yet I don't give them the way back? It doesn't make sense.

Example two, I take my children out to another spot that has several paths on it. Eventually the paths will lead home. I tell them that they have a certain amount of time to return home before the doors are closed. I also tell them that it doesn't matter which path they take to get home because they are all going to get there eventually. Of course they may not make it back within the time frame I have given them and if they are late they won't get in. Does that make sense as a father? Again no.

What would a loving father do in these examples? A good father would tell his children which path leads directly home and also that the path is safe. It is still up to the children to choose that path. If they choose a wrong path the likelihood of returning home diminishes and could eventually lead them somewhere not safe.

I believe that a loving Father in Heaven who wants us to return home would not abandon us to our own devices. I believe that there is only one path that leads back to him. I believe that we have that path here on earth and that we can find it. I also believe in a merciful God that won't allow us to not return to him if we did not get a chance to find the path leading home. I believe that every opportunity will be given to a person to hear his message and choose to walk the path leading to God.

The Bible states that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Jesus organized God's Church when he walked this earth. That Church exists again today. I believe that those who want to find it will. I believe that God still talks to Prophets today (see Amos 3:7) and that he continues to guide his children along the path that leads to Him.

That said, I do not believe that this has to be forced upon everyone. I believe that everyone has a right to worship in their own way. I also believe that we should respect others beliefs and allow them to share them without criticizing them. I may not agree with what you believe, but I will listen to you explain it and hope that you would do the same for me.

I know God lives. I know He is a caring Father in Heaven. Religion is not just an "opiate for the masses" but rather God's true religion teaches us how to return to him and live with him forever.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Dreams

The Olympics are here and there have been several great moments already (see the men's 4X100M swim relay). As I've watched the games there has been a feeling that some of the events are easier than others and that I too could be an Olympian. Here is a list of all the events:

  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Boxing
  • Canoe/Kayak
  • Cycling
  • Diving
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Judo
  • Modern Pentathlon
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Synchronized Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Trampoline
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Ok, so let's throw out the obvious one. I have no rhythm so Rhythmic Gymnastics is out (btw is there a men's event for this?). Besides me in a gymnastics outfit is just soooo wrong. Going down through the list we can easily throw out Archery, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Canoe/Kayak, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Synchronized Swimming, Taekwondo, Trampoline, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

So what does that leave? A few events I might have had a shot at in my earlier (and more fit years). So here's what I think about the rest:

  • Badminton - Hey I played this growing up in the back yard how hard can it be?

  • Baseball - I also played this one growing up and my best asset was speed. I was good at beating out infield hits and stealing bases. Result? I'd be on the bench as a sub at best.

  • Cycling - Ok I grew up to be better suited for X-Games BMX style than road racing, but I did have endurance (I could bike all day growing up)

  • Field Hockey - I played street hockey when I was younger and watched the girls on the high school team play field hockey, I know I could do that

  • Handball- This is one of those games that takes a while to understand. However, I bet I could do most of that even if I'm only 5'9" tall. I could see myself on the outside recklessly throwing myself towards goal while shooting.

  • Rowing - I've paddled a canoe before and have good timing (even though I lack rhythm). I could be good for a short sprint event or two.

  • Sailing - Steer and move the sail to use the wind, not too tough, I mean there is more than one person in the boat so I could take the easiest of jobs

  • Shooting - Ready Aim Fire, what could be so hard about that? I've shot my share of guns growing up so it shouldn't be that hard.

  • Soccer - OK this one I could do. I averaged a goal a game in high school before breaking my toe my Junior year. This would be the one for me

  • Softball - Why isn't there a men's division here? I've played it as an adult.

  • Swimming - What's so hard about swimming down and back and doing it at top speed? I could do this one with my eyes closed

  • Table Tennis - Ok, I'm pretty good with a paddle, I won a tournament in 6th grade what more do I need for qualifications?

  • Tennis - It's just an extension of Table Tennis, besides how many ball marks did I leave on the house hitting a tennis ball in my driveway? Piece of cake

  • Track & Field - I'm quick, I know I could run some of those events and place well. I jump pretty well too so I could enter those events. Javelin? How hard can it be to throw a spear when you've thrown a baseball?

  • Water Polo - I can swim well, I know how to throw a ball and I know how to score goals. This could be the perfect game for me.


Ok, so none of the list above is as easy as it looks on TV. Some of the list above I have tried and I can tell you there is a reason why the participants train for hours everyday. It's nice to dream, but reality is that I would have had to be a lot better than I was in my prime (not that I'm that far away from my prime) to even sniff a chance at making the Olympic squad. The men and women participating in the Olympics deserve to be there and have worked hard to get there. Any of us that thinks we could do what they are doing without having put in the time is grossly mistaken and needs to have their head examined.

Of course that doesn't mean my children couldn't be Olympians. . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tag You're It Part II

Ok, so I didn't quite understand the game Blog Tag. I was supposed to answer the same set of questions that tagged me in the first place. So to make up for it here are my answers:

What was I doing 10 years ago?

  • I was just starting my Executive MBA at BYU. Two nights a week for two years and a two-week trip to Europe. Not too bad eh?

  • Had recently changed jobs from an Internet application provider to a telecommunications provider

What are five things on my to-do list today?

  1. Code Review

  2. Vet out new idea

  3. Create application architecture(s)

  4. Finish this blog entry

  5. Yardwork

Snacks I enjoy:

  1. Swedish Fish

  2. Potato Chips

  3. Snickers

Places I've lived:

  • Wales, NY

  • Utah

  • Chile

  • Arizona

Things I would do if I was a billionaire:

  • Pay off debt

  • Secure retirement

  • Secure children's futures

  • Retire and do church/charity work while living on or near a lake and golf course

  • Buy my mom and dad a retirement home wherever they wanted and make sure dad was retired comfortably

Sorry for the confusion to those who read my last post thinking I was going to provide this information.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tag You're It!

How many of us have played Tag in our lifetime? You know the game, someone is initially declared it and tries to tag someone else so that he/she is now it. There are many variations on this game. There's freeze tag where you are frozen until someone who is not it touches you. There's TV tag where you have to state the name of a TV character when you've been touched. Finally there is Blog Tag.

What's blog tag you say? Well it's where your blog has been tagged and you need to tag other blogs as well. Recently this blog has been tagged by Po(sey) Sessions (oh yeah thanks Butterflylitgirl). So now I'm it and I get to tag other people.

The first person I'm tagging is AZJazzyJ. This is one of the best sports blogs around. I'm not just saying that because he is my friend. Read a few entries and I know you'll be hooked. He's witty, sarcastic, a straight shooter and someone that people inevitably relate to.

Now who else would I tag? Well there's Butterflylitgirl and perpstu, but they've already been tagged and I'm not sure if Blog Tag has the "No Tag Backs" rule in effect. I'd better keep on searching for more so if you want to be tagged post a comment and I will include you in a follow-up to this post.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Every Now and Then

DISCLAIMER: I am very happy, very satisfied. No way would I ever trade in what I have for something else. These are the happiest days of my life. As Garth Brooks sings:
I love my life and I'd never trade between what you and me had and the life I made. She's here and she's real, but you were too, but every once in a while I think about you.

That said, have you ever wondered what if? I was listening to Garth Brooks yesterday when the song "Every Now and Then" played. It's about a man who is reminded of a love that didn't work out. There are things that remind him of this love such as remembering a walk, a song, a car, etc. The point being that even though he wouldn't trade what he currently has he still thinks about her every now and then.

For me this is a real life situation. I was 18 when I met her. It was the fall of 1988 and I was a sophomore in college. We lived in the same apartment complex and got to know each other through church. The next nine months were unbelievable. We became best friends and shared in a lot of things. I went with her to her parents house several times. It was the first time I saw how a family belonging to my church was supposed to be run. I learned a lot. I also fell deeply in love. It was a great time.

During that time I turned 19 and thoughts of serving a church mission entered my mind. It is something while not mandatory was expected and I had several friends who had already gone. I took some time to think about things and decided that it was the right thing to do. My girlfriend also thought it was the right thing to do and supported me all the way. The night before I left on my mission we sat and talked. I told her I didn't know what would happen during the next two years but that I had enough faith and trust that if were were meant to be together we would be. I left it in the hands of God.

While I was on my mission she met someone else. I know now it was hard on her to let me know this. It took her a long time to write the letter (yes it was a "Dear John") telling me that she was going to marry someone else. I think I was more upset with the fact that she felt she had to lie to me instead of being mad at her for finding someone else. I don't recall exactly what I wrote back, and I got one more letter from her and haven't seen or talked to her since.

I have seen some friends since I've returned home that we both know and I inquired about how she's doing. I have never looked her up, even though I know her last name and husband's name. Worse, I've never been able to thank her for everything she did for me. I learned more about love and family in that 9 months than I had in the previous 18 years of life. I became a better man because of her and was more prepared for the family I now have. So this is my Thank You to her for everything she did for me and for everything that I cannot repay.

Still, there are times where I have been in the same spot as the guy in Garth's song:

I've been laying here all night, listening to the rain,
Talking to my heart and trying to explain,
To why sometimes I catch myself wondering what might have been,
Yes I do think about you,
Every Now and Then.

And so I think about her every now and then.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The thrill of victory . . .

Call them the heart attack kids. The Arizona Diamondbacks are giving their fans all they can handle. The last two nights have provided us with nail-biting excitement with the "good guys" coming through when it counts the most.

Rarely in sports are we treated to games in which defensive plays saved the day let alone two games in a row. The last two Arizona Diamondback games have provided this for us.

Wednesday night Doug Davis went 6 2/3 innings of perfect baseball. He started the eighth inning and with 2 outs gave way to John Rauch with the bases loaded. Rauch was recently acquired from the Washington Nationals in the hope that he could alleviate some of the troubles the DBacks were having in the bullpen. He was in to get one out and lets just say he did it the hard way. The catch by Romero saved the game for Doug Davis and allowed the Diamondbacks to win the series agains the Padres. The catch made ESPN's top play in the daily top ten.

Last night Brandon Webb and Derek Lowe put on pitching clinics. Webb had given up 1 run through 7 innings and had one out with runners on second and third when this happened. The throw by Connor Jackson and tag by Chris Snyder saved the game and allowed the Diamondbacks to take game one of the four game series at Dodger Stadium. The play was ESPN's top Web Gem for the night as well.

This is very rare in baseball where plays like this happen in back-to-back games. It was a treat to see. Hopefully tonight a great defensive play won't be required to save the game. Hopefully Randy Johnson will shut down the Dodgers and that it will be an easy night. Given the recent play of the Diamondbacks, even if RJ doesn't make it easy they will be ready. Of course now that the Dodgers have acquired Manny Ramirez we may just see an implosion at Chavez Ravine, but that is a topic for another time.