June, 2011 Archives

30
Jun

Fireworks and fingers

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Fireworks on the Charles River in Boston on the 4th of July, 2007.

Fireworks on the Charles River in Boston on the 4th of July, 2007 (Photo by Brandon Cripps via Flickr)

Do you remember your first Fourth of July fireworks experience?  Mine is indelibly imprinted on my memory.

In those days, people could buy and explode fireworks pretty much anywhere they wanted.  (I realize I’m dating myself somewhere between the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras.)  My father’s incendiary decision that particular year was bottle rockets and firecrackers.  He let me light several of each, but not before my mother warned me severely “not to blow off your fingers.”  Since I had no idea how fireworks and fingers were related, her warning fell on deaf ears.  Had I been a little less lucky that night, I wouldn’t have doubted her wisdom for long. Read the rest of this entry »

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30
Jun

Turtles and the national debt

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Nearly 150 turtles crawled up onto the tarmac at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport today in search of a beach to lay their eggs. The odd event caused dozens of flight delays, aviation authorities in New York said.

Terrapins removed from a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday (Credit: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

An American Airlines pilot had to choose yesterday between taking off and saving 150 turtles.  According to today’s Wall Street Journal, the turtles were sauntering across a runway at JFK airport, oblivious to thousands of tons of technology which could squash them or spare them.  The pilot chose nature over an on-time departure.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world armed riot officers fired tear gas into crowds in Athens.  Today’s New York Times reports that protesters rallied outside Parliament while their lawmakers approved an austerity package intended to help Greece avoid an economic default.  The lawmakers’ decision, while widely unpopular with their constituents, boosted our stock market more than 72 points. Read the rest of this entry »

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29
Jun

Cellphone confessions

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Driver in a Mitsubishi Galant using a hand held mobile phone violating New York State law

Driver in a Mitsubishi Galant using a hand held mobile phone violating New York State law (Courtesy of user Ed Poor at en.wikipedia.org)

Driving on the North Dallas Tollway is frequently a near-death experience.  Today was no exception.  Coming home from downtown, I accelerated onto the tollway as I mounted an overpass, only to slam on my brakes while swallowing my heart.  A pickup truck was meandering up the freeway, doing around 50 in a 70 mph zone.  He had a line of angry drivers piled up behind him, myself among them.  When I was finally able to swerve around him, I identified the problem: the driver was talking on his cellphone, apparently oblivious to the mayhem he was causing. Read the rest of this entry »

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29
Jun

Violent video games and morality

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


The U.S. Supreme Court struck down on Monday a California law banning sales or rentals of violent video games to minors as a violation of free-speech rights, its first ruling in a video game case.

as a violation of free-speech rights. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake)

Should violent video games be available to children?  The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the First Amendment protects free speech even when such speech depicts extremely violent images.  One game, for instance, allows players to decapitate girls virtually.  Technology may soon make video game violence even worse, as 3-D images and sensory feedback become a reality.  Nonetheless, the Court ruled by a 7-2 vote that such images are protected free speech.  What’s next—racist, discriminatory, even sexually explicit language and images? Read the rest of this entry »

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28
Jun

Shopping carts and my life of crime

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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A row of parked shopping carts equipped with coin-operated locking mechanisms.

A row of parked shopping carts (Photo by code poet via Flickr)

Today’s local news is reporting that abandoned shopping carts have become a problem in some Dallas neighborhoods.  When I saw the story, I thought immediately of the time such a cart nearly made me a criminal.

During my senior year of college, I sprained my ankle playing tennis and wound up in a cast for several weeks.  Late one night, my roommate and I decided to head over to the Taco Bell adjacent to our apartment complex.  On the way back, we found a shopping cart in the parking lot.  On a whim, I hopped in and my roommate began pushing me along the street. Read the rest of this entry »

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28
Jun

Asteroids, sprouts and flattened frogs

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Asteroid and Earth : meteor impact over europe

Credit: sdecoret

That was a close one.  Asteroid 2011 MD zipped by our planet yesterday, closer to Earth than some satellites.  The bus-sized rock flew over the coast of Antarctica at a height of 7,500 miles.  It was the second space rock to come near us this year, after 2011 CQ1 passed within 3,400 miles of Earth on February 4.

Closer to home, health regulators have announced that alfalfa and spicy sprouts may be linked to a salmonella outbreak in five U.S. states.  Since I’m not a big fan of sprouts, the news is not a significant setback.  If investigators ever connect enchiladas with salmonella, however, I’m in trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

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27
Jun

Sunglasses and my soul

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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With my trusty sunglasses shading my desk, I was forced to go into battle unarmed.  We so often overlook the expected parts of our daily routine until they go awol.

My AWOL sunglasses

You’ve heard the rhyme: For want of a nail the shoe was lost / For want of a shoe the horse was lost / For want of a horse the rider was lost / For want of a rider the battle was lost / For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

Today my “shoe” came in the form of sunglasses.  I have a pair which lives in their own special slot in my car where I can always find them.  Yesterday I removed them to use while driving a rental truck from Houston to Dallas (you can read about that experience here ).  This morning I found them in my study and pledged to return them to my car, but promptly forgot.  Driving on the Tollway in Dallas is a joyful experience any time of the year, and especially so in June.  We’re not expecting rain or even cloud cover in these parts for another eight years, so there’s nothing to protect us from the sun except the pollution.  With my trusty sunglasses shading my desk, I was forced to go into battle unarmed. Read the rest of this entry »

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27
Jun

Lessons from a rental truck

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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rental truck that we used after Ryan's wedding so that Craig could lay claim to everything in Ryan's apartment

Our rental truck

Ryan, our oldest son, got married on Saturday, and is off on his honeymoon.  Now Craig, our youngest son, has laid claim to everything in Ryan’s bachelor apartment which Candice won’t let near their married home.  Not surprisingly, that’s nearly everything Ryan owned before Saturday.

So I found myself in the moving and storage business Sunday.  First stop was the rental truck you see beside this blog.  As it turns out, renting a truck in Waco on a Sunday is no small matter.  Peace treaties have been signed with less negotiation.  Between four Internet searches and eight phone calls, we sealed the deal. Read the rest of this entry »

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27
Jun

Our son’s wedding

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Our family at Ryan's wedding (L-R) Craig, Janet, Ryan, Jim

Our family at Ryan’s wedding (L-R) Craig, Janet, Ryan, Jim

Our oldest son got married on Saturday.  Ryan was born in 1986, while Janet and I were living in the parsonage of New Hope Baptist Church in a rural community outside Fort Worth, Texas.  The ladies of this wonderful congregation gave us a baby shower which included homemade teddy bears and quilts, all of which we still have.  It seems only last week that we brought our newborn baby home from the hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

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24
Jun

Leaving Afghanistan

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


A U.S. Marine from the First Battalion Eighth Marines Alpha Company patrols in the town of Nabuk in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, October 31, 2010.

Marine patrols in the town of Nabuk in southern Afghanistan Helmand province (Credit: Reuters/Finbarr O Reilly)

We have put al-Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.”  With these words, President Obama announced Wednesday night that he is withdrawing 33,000 service members from Afghanistan by next summer, and the rest of our troops by 2014.  Is this decision wise?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “happy about the announcement,” stating that the president’s decision is a sign that his country is ready to take control of its own security.  However, many in his country have apparently reacted negatively, worrying that we will remove too many troops too soon and encourage the Taliban to renew their efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

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