27
Jul

Omniscience and the Texas Rangers

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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Michael Young taking a cut at an early season game in 2006

Michael Young taking a cut at an early season game in 2006 (Photo by Keith Allison via Flickr)

I’m old enough to remember when the only way to watch a baseball game was as it was being played.  Last night I recorded the Texas Rangers‘ game, then turned on the TV an hour or so after it started.  Before playing the recorded game, I checked on a sports website to catch the score and highlights, then fast-forwarded the recording to the plays I wanted to see. Read the rest of this entry »

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26
Jul

Fortune cookie wisdom

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


my fortune cookie from Panda Express

my fortune cookie from Panda Express

Janet is out of town this week, so I’m cooking dinner for myself.  On Sunday night I cooked Chinese.  Actually, I drove up to the Chinese restaurant, placed my order, took it home, and ate it out of its Styrofoam to-go container.  Janet will be pleased to know that I did the dishes afterwards.

As you can see, my fortune cookie contained this piece of sage wisdom: “Wise men learn more from fools, than fools from the wise.”  Looking back, I realize that nearly every mistake I have made in my life was the result of violating that statement.  God wants me to know his will more than I want to know it.  He is adept at sending people, books, emails, etc. across my path to guide me in his word and wisdom.  His Spirit will speak directly to my spirit if I will listen.  He uses his word and world to lead me in his “good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).  But he can lead only those who will follow.

When last did you learn from a fool?  From the wise?

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25
Jul

Garage Sale lessons

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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garage sale junk

a blast from the past

I was walking in our neighborhood last Saturday morning and came across signs proclaiming: “Garage Sale Today, 7:30 to 1:00.”  It gave the address, but I had no idea where that is.  Janet would know, but I’m directionally challenged.  However, a few minutes later I happened to walk past the very house offering its treasures to the world.  So I turned around, went down the alley, and found the advertised sale.

It was a blast from the past.  Computer monitors larger than a sofa, tennis rackets from the era before they were the size of snowshoes, golf clubs with heads made of actual wood.  The only items they lacked were polyester leisure suits and white patent leather shoes.

Time changes things.  There was a day when everything now cluttering a garage floor was a sophisticated innovation.  The same will be true one day of the technology you and I are using today.  People will be as amazed that we had to type on our computers as we are that our grandparents lived before color television.

But God doesn’t change, nor does human nature.  The Bible is always relevant because it speaks to the unchanging fears we feel and problems we face.  Jesus will be with us always (Matthew 28:20), even when your computer has gone the way of the floppy disc.

 

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23
Jul

The refrigerator is smarter than me

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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new refrigerator at the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture office

My latest technological challenge

Our office got a new refrigerator recently.  It dispenses and crushes ice, filters water, and dispenses that as well.  But there are two problems, both of which have so far proven nearly insurmountable for me.

First, you have to tell it which to do.  If you put your water bottle under the spigot but the “cubed ice” button is dispensed, icebergs began cascading onto the floor.  Second, once you remember to push the “water” button, you have to line up your water bottle where the water will be dispensed.  Since this tube is not visible from the front of the refrigerator, much trial and error is involved, along with mops and wet sleeves.  I’m closer to mastering this new technology than I was a week ago, but more practice is clearly needed. Read the rest of this entry »

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21
Jul

A shark in your boat

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) off South Africa

Great white shark off South Africa (Photo by Hermanus Backpackers via Flickr)

Imagine the scene: You’re counting sharks on South Africa’s Mossell Bay when one decides to count you.  When I read that story on today’s BBC website I had to know more.  It turns out the great white shark was attracted by bait thrown by the research team and jumped into their boat.  Half its body was on board, half in the ocean. Read the rest of this entry »

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20
Jul

Feng Shui and five Sundays

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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Feng shui Luopan compass

Feng shui Luopan compass (Photo by Christian Orellana via Flickr)

Janet just forwarded me an email from a friend, who received it from a friend, and so on.  It points out the fact that this month possesses five Sundays as well as five Fridays and five Saturdays.  The email claims that this happens only once every 823 years and promises that we’ll get rich if we forward the information.   The article cites Chinese Feng Shui, an ancient belief that claims to aid in our happiness.  Since we’re paying for our son’s recent wedding, Janet and I can use all the help we can get.

Alas, it’s not true–at least not the calendar part.  I did some checking and discovered that March 2013 will experience the same phenomenon.  Even if we confine the claim to the month of July, the same thing will happen in five years.  It also occurred in 1983, 1988, 1994, and 2005.  So what appears too good to be true is once again too good to be true.

There’s another way to deal with our needs and problems: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).  James adds: “You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).

If I go to the right Source for the right reason, he will give me what I ask or whatever is best.  No matter how many Sunday there are in July.

 

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19
Jul

Jinxing our heroes

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Home Plate Entrance of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, taken from the kid's ballpark next door, looking up from Nolan Ryan Expressway.

Home Plate Entrance of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington looking up from Nolan Ryan Expressway (Courtesy of user Dopefish at en.wikipedia.org)

I’m doing something right now which has disaster written all over it: Writing a blog about the Texas Rangers. Tonight they play the second-place Angels in California.  Our local heroes have won 11 straight games and take a four-game lead into the series.  If they win tonight, no one will credit me.  If they lose, someone will say I jinxed them.

Which brings me to my question: what is a “jinx”?  Baseball fans hear about them all the time.  A pitcher has a no-hitter in the sixth inning or so, and no one will talk to him or sit beside him lest they “jinx” him.  Many players won’t step on the foul lines when running onto the field, lest they “jinx” themselves.  Some sports writers are afraid to comment on a potential trade lest they “jinx” it. Read the rest of this entry »

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17
Jul

The forest has eyes

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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the trail at Possum Kingdom Lake that I hiked the morning of July 4, 2011

My hiking trail, absent deer and spiders

I was hiking in the woods this weekend and soon discovered that I was not alone.  Four deer scampered into the trees as soon as I arrived.  I counted seven others who did the same at various points along the trail. It occurred to me after a while that since each of the deer saw me before I saw them, it was likely that there were many more of their friends, unseen by me but watching as I walked along.

My face also encountered more than 12 cobwebs constructed across the path, each of which was a delightful experience early in the morning.  I did not meet the owners of these silken feats of engineering, which was good for them and better for me. Since most spiders have eight eyes, that makes a total of at least 118 eyes which watched me in the woods, nearly all of which I never saw.

Just because I cannot see something makes it no less real.  An Eskimo could deny the existence of tropical rain forests while a native of the Amazon wouldn’t understand an iceberg.  The unseen Creator of all the beauty I witnessed this weekend must be as real as his creation and even more amazing.  I cannot see him but he can see my actions, hear my words and read my thoughts.  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

 

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14
Jul

Sopapilla cheesecake

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Sopapilla cheesecake

Lunchtime dessert at our office today

Mom encouraged us to find something for which to be grateful every day.  Today it was easy to obey her maxim: one of our team brought “sopapilla cheesecake” to work.  I had no idea such a culinary concoction existed.  (You can guess which member of our staff created this remarkable gastronomical experience, but it wouldn’t be one of the guys, to be sure.)

At first glance I would never have guessed its true nature.  Some kind of bread casserole, perhaps?  There was no way to know that cheesecake was hiding inside the crust except to eat it.  My faith was soon more than amply rewarded. Read the rest of this entry »

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13
Jul

Good pitching beats good hitting beats good pitching

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Texas Rangers' pitcher C. J. Wilson (Credit: Wikipedia)

Texas Rangers' pitcher C. J. Wilson (Credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a new slant on the “lemons to lemonade” philosophy of life.   I joined the rest of Texas Rangers‘ Nation last night in watching our best pitcher give up the winning home run in the All-Star Game.  I felt more sorry for C. J. Wilson than anyone else on the team.  I’ve long admired his dedication (reporters say he’s a workout animal) and focus.  Making one bad pitch has now gotten him national headlines.

But Wilson had a great response to the entire episode.  He’s long claimed that he would be a great hitter given the chance, but the American League employs the Designated Hitter rule.  Since the National League won the game, their representative will get home-field advantage in this year’s World Series.  Wilson referenced that fact in responding to reporters: “It’s awesome because it means I get to bat if we play in the World Series again.  Maybe it’s all part of an elaborate scheme I have to hit home runs in the World Series.”  One hopes. Read the rest of this entry »

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