Houston Texan’s Season

Houston Texans HelmetWe were 12-4 for the season and advanced to the Division round before loosing to a good team this year. That’s nothing to complain about. Sure I’m disappointed in the loss. But this was a year most teams would love to have.

We have some challenges. We have an excellent team and first rate coaches. We have an excellent organization behind the team. If anything our loss to the Patriots twice showed we just have a little bit of maturing to do, getting use to what it takes to win in the NFL.

I’m optimistic. We have a lot of good years ahead of us and I’m looking forward to the 2013 season.

What To Do?

What to do? What to do?

My parents did a lot for me when I was growing up as a young man, but one thing above all made whatever success I had possible. They made me believe that if I set my mind to any task I could accomplish it. It might take a long time. It might mean overcoming challenges I did not expect. But they made me believe, truly believe, that with enough hard work and determination anything was possible.

Success might not come at first. The price may be higher than you want to pay. But never think you can’t do it, because you can. My parents taught me that from the beginning and I could never thank them enough for it.

If you believe you can do anything you want to do, it begs the questions, “what do you want to do?” That to me was always a big question. You might say, that was always THE question.

You’ve been given a life. You’ve been given talents, things you can do well, things you like doing. What do you do with this life? How do you spend your time and your talents?

This last Sunday the Reverend Capri Grimes gave a sermon on service at the Magnolia United Methodist Church. Service in a Christian context means service to God, as it is for many religions. But as Bob Dylan sang, “You gotta serve somebody. It might be the Devil. It might be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody”. But how to figure out what to do to serve, ways in which to serve? She says it’s easy to figure that stuff out, and I believe her.

Ask someone what your talents are. Make sure it’s someone who likes you, but they can tell you. Or deep down you know it yourself. You know, you really know what you are good at. You probably like doing it. What things do you like to do?

You can hear Reverend Grimes sermon HERE.

Years ago I had a short conversation with a friend around the first of the year. He said for the next year he was going to focus on a few things he didn’t do very well and try to improve on them. I told him while that idea sounded good on the surface I didn’t think it was a good idea. I thought he may not do those things very well because he didn’t like doing them. I told him I thought he should find some things he was good at and try to be the very best at those things. I told him I thought I would try to spend my time improving things I was good at, because usually I enjoyed doing those things more. And maybe I could grow to be the best at something.

The end of this year is coming, and with it many will be making New Year’s resolutions. I’m always struck by the resolutions, and I’ve made them, to stop doing something. Wouldn’t it be better to START doing something? Wouldn’t it be better to start doing something you’re good at, that you enjoy doing, and might somehow improve even a corner of your world?

It’s easier for me to not do something I shouldn’t if I’m busy doing things I should. Now back to the original question, what to do?

Faster Than the Speed of Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

You may have been told that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. That’s not true.

I’ve been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be father or step-father to a bunch of amazing gentlemen. One of them recently asked me about his understanding that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. It led to an interesting discussion.

According to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity matter gets heavier as it approaches the speed of light, and time experienced by the matter relative to a ‘fixed’ point slows down. Just looking at the first part of that you see it means as something, say a ball, approaches the speed of light it gets so heavy that pushing on it harder doesn’t speed it up much more than it’s already going. At the speed of light it’s mass would be infinite. It would be heavier than Jupiter.  Time on the ball would slow down until it stood still. You could never get the ball to go faster than the speed of light.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

You know that information can travel on  radio waves.  You listen to a radio and hear what is being broadcast on the high frequency waves of the radio.  You are aware of fiver optics. Information travels on a light beam. The information may be a YouTube video or a conversation between cousins, but is still information.  The light is behaving as a very high frequency radio wave.

It can be shown that the information traveling on a light beam is traveling faster than the beam. That is to say information can travel faster than the speed of light.

If gets more interesting than that. Light is described as both a wave and a set of particles. It behaves as both. Imagine a tennis ball gun shooting tennis balls. Each time it shoots a ball it recoils a little because of the weight of the balls being shot out. When you turn on a flashlight there is an imperceptible “kick” to it as the light particles start shooting out of the flashlight. It’s as if the light is made up of little particles each with mass, at the same time it is behaving as a wave. L:ight is both matter (particles) and information (waves).

According to the Book of Genesis what did God create on the first day? Light. By the first verse of the first chapter of the book of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”.  Before there could be matter; before there could be air and water and plants and animals there had to be a transition from the Word (Information) to physical matter.  Light is that transition.  It is both information and physical matter. That is why God had to create light first.

 

You May Be a Communist

David and Goliath by Robert Temple Ayres

 

You hate big corporations? Why don’t you tweet that on your IPhone. – Anonymous

 

 

 

 

Rooting for the Underdog

We are conditioned to root for the underdog. Consider the ancient story of David and Goliath. It is inspiring to hear a tale where the weak summon their courage and persevere to defeat a better placed opponent. There is nothing wrong with that. But that story line has been hijacked by those that would use your better instincts for political gain.

Karl Marx is Not David

In “The Communist Manifesto” Marx describes a struggle between the powerful Bourgeoisie and the underdogs, the Proletariat. The powerful and greedy are only self-interested, preying on the weaker common man to exploit them. As with David and Goliath, the more virtuous the underdog and more evil the strong, the more appealing the story where the little guy gets to take on the big bad monster. I’ve read of evidence David and Goliath was an actual historical event corroborated outside of Biblical text, unlike the fairy tale of Marx.

Enter the Corporation

In our society the means of production, owned by the Bourgeoisie in the world of Marx, are seen to be in the hands of the powerful corporations. Corporations are described as greedy and bad, taking advantage of people’s needs to make money. What can the little guy do? It’s a popular story line heard said by Republicans and Democrats alike. It’s also the same story told by the Communist. The names have just been changed to advance a political agenda in the middle of the confusion over semantics.

Corporation are Indeed People

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the Citizen’s United case that corporations, being an assemblage of individuals, are entitled to the same protections of their speech as individuals themselves. And in fact corporations as a legal entity are an assemblage of individuals. A public corporation, one selling stock on Wall street, is in fact owned by people. Many of those people have their retirement moneys dependent on the success of that corporation. When a corporation fails, people get hurt. The employees get hurt, including the many people with money invested in that company, many of those without much to lose, such as retired teachers and firemen.

Profit is Not Evil

While they come together for the purpose of their collective gain and profit, that does not make them greedy. It does not make them bad. A group of people may be a church congregation operating a soup kitchen or it may be a lynch mob. Both groups may be operating in what they see as their own self interest, yet we do not hesitate to call one bad and the other good. Wanting to make money does not make an endeavor, a person, or a corporation bad. Otherwise people who get up to go to work in the morning are bad people. Don’t be silly. Yet we are.

Capitalism is Just

For a corporation to survive and prosper it has to provide a product or service in excess of what it consumes. It has to sell something. It may make hamburgers. It may fashion plastic into toothbrushes. If I give you a hamburger or toothbrush without extracting from those who get them enough in exchange to keep providing hamburgers and toothbrushes then I will no longer be able to serve my customers. Taking that money is not greed; in fact if I am greedy and charge too much another will replace me in the marketplace and I will suffer. If I don’t take enough, I will no longer be able to provide hamburgers or toothbrushes. There are winners if I take money. There are losers besides myself if I don’t.

Service is Good

People getting hamburgers and toothbrushes for their money are happy to make the exchange. They feel like they are “getting their money’s worth” or they would not keep buying those things from the people they do. They are being served by the corporation. And didn’t God teach us that serving one another was good? That’s right. I just called corporations an instrument of God’s goodness.

God placed everything we needed on this earth but designed it so that we would have to work together to prosper. Corporations are a mechanism of working together. Remember that next time you feel like engaging in the class warfare of Karl Marx with the “Us vs achat cialis 10mg. Them” rhetoric bad mouthing the big nasty greedy corporations. Without that corporation you might not be able to buy a toothbrush. And that big nasty greedy corporation, by providing toothbrushes, may have served more of God’s people that you have today.

Meet Bradie James – I Am Second

The Texans lost Inside Linebacker DeMeco Ryans during Free Agency and replaced him with Bradie James from the Dallas Cowboys. James, a nine year veteran, is familiar with Wade Phillips defense and is described as a natural leader. Bradie James will start next to Brian Cushing as his role as Inside Linebacker. In this video, “I Am Second”, Bradie James talks about his relationship with God.

Houston Texans and the NFL 2012 Season Starting Soon

Houston Texans Helmet

This morning I was able to get free tickets to the Houston Texans training camp. We went last year and I’m really excited about it this year.

If you remember, last year the training season was shorted by the “lockout” or labor dispute between the players and owners. Also, last year was the first year of our new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, along with a couple of high profile defensive backs we obtained through free agency. Our defense, nicknamed Bulls-on-Parade went from the bottom of the NFL to second in rankings.

You get a different view of things on the practice field. For one thing you are a lot closer to the players than even being in the cheap seats at Reliant Stadium.  From that vantage point you see a lot of things about the players you don’t see on television.

After winning the division championship last year there are a lot of new Texans fans this year. Getting the training camp tickets were easy last year. This year the website was clogged with a digital waiting line.

But wait I did, and the NFL excitement for this year is almost upon us. Come on Houston Texans.

 

 

Ameritopia – by Mark Levin – a Review

Ameritopia by Mark Levin

[rating=5]

Sometimes when you take a bite from a meal you get more wonderful flavors than you expected. As I mentioned I started the year trying to catch up on reading, and with “Ameritopia” I knocked out several pieces I may not have gotten around to. I found it to be an excellent primer on basic political philosophy.

Author Mark Levin spends the first half of the book covering the history of political thought, through an examination of Plato’s “Republic”, Thomas More’s “Utopia”, Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan”, and Karl Marx “Communist Manefesto”. He covers the basic tenets of each of these and contrasts the between them the political and social structure they envision. He focuses on how each approach the rights of the individual based on the political and governmental structure they recommend.

After a treatment of this history, Levin turns to the writings of John Locke and his formidable influence on our Founding Fathers. He illustrates how Locke’s writings were quoted and referenced in the documents that formed the basis for our country and our government. He also examines the writings of Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville for how they described and magnified the reasons for America’s success. He related those writings again to the basis from John Locke for a structure in the rights of an individual for this country and it’s departure from the suppositions of the earlier writings by Plato et. all.

After a exhausting journey through political and social philosophy Levin starts to cover where we are in our own history and the forces at work as well as the choices we have to make for our country. After slogging through the difficult and sometimes tedious subject matter of abstract philosophy you are rewarded with a climax at the end of the book rivaling any page turner of a novel. He draws no conclusions about what future choices we will make. He only describes the forces at work in shaping our decisions to come.

No doubt the coverage of the early philosophers are presented in such a way as to make the political points Mark Levin sets out to make in “Ameritopia”. However, it’s a wonderful journey through several classic writings I had wanted to make time for and a rewarding read. While it is not a light read and requires some dedication and patience to work your way through the more involved concepts, I highly recommend this book, whether you are an American, or not.

A Time to Betray – Review


[rating=5] “A Time to Betray” chronicles the early life of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard member who became a spy for the United States. Writing under a factious name for obvious reasons, Reza Kahili talks of his childhood in Iran with his family, his studies at the University of California, and his induction into the Revolutionary Guard as well as his activities as a spy for the CIA.

The tale is full of the suspense of a spy novel, heightened by the realization that the basis of his stories is actual true events, He was there at the taking of U.S. Embassy hostages at the end of the Shaw’s reign and the beginning of conflict with the United States. He tells of the war with Iraq and the brutal treatment of innocent people of Iran, torturing and killing people suspected of not supporting the Islamic regime. Several of these incidents involved Reza’s childhood friend and led him to oppose the regime in the clandestine and dangerous manner of becoming a spy.

While the account was thrilling, what I found most interesting was the cultural aspects of the story as well as the politics. His view on world events as an Iranian are fascinating. Even more so, his stories of his childhood in Iran filled the first third of the book and for me were the most rewarding. Politics and religion were the subject of many discussions and disagreements among his grandparents and friends. His grandfather was proud to have descended from the empire of Cyrus the Great. His grandmother taught him that Islam was a religion of peace and respect for your fellow man. The book presented the people of the ancient Persian Empire as a rich and proud culture of many different views.

While he was disappointed in the lack of support from the United States for those resisting the Islamic regime of Iran, he made it clear the mullahs in charge there are the real evil ones. I feel sorry for the people of Iran. I hope someday they are free to return to a life befitting the descendants of the rich culture of the Persians.

All in all “A Time to Betray” was a wonderful read, full of poignant history and offering an inside the conflict viewpoint from a soldier deeply involved in the fight for freedom in the Middle East.