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One Shining Moment

We’re in the middle of March Madness, so take a look at the story behind the classic song that is set to a montage of tournament highlights after the title game every year. If you don’t know the song, well, you should. Listen below. If you do know it, it’s everything that’s right about sports and life. From the New York Times sports magazine Play:

The Great Cornball Anthem

One moment, not exactly shining: It’s 1986, and in a bar in East Lansing, Mich., a woman approaches a struggling folk musician named David Barrett. “A waitress,” Barrett recalled last year, “too beautiful for words. What do I say to this woman?” He panics, glances at the TV, sees Larry Bird “using someone like soap.” So he starts talking about Larry Bird, “how amazing he is, blah blah blah.” The woman is unimpressed. Barrett slinks out of the bar, thinking that he might write a song about basketball, and a phrase pops into his head, out of nowhere, and the next morning he sits down for lunch and scribbles on a napkin the great cornball anthem that, two decades later, still makes grown men cry.

“One shining moment, it’s all on the line,” goes the first chorus. “One shining moment, there frozen in time.” Barrett’s song is a kind of “Taps” for the college basketball season, played annually over CBS’s closing montage after the N.C.A.A. championship. Barrett, who now has a successful career writing music for television, calls “One Shining Moment” a “sky song.” He said, “They just drop out of the sky and whoosh right through you.”

A few months ago, Barrett got an e-mail message from a fan of the song: the waitress who had spurned him. She teaches high school now in East Lansing. “She was teaching transcendentalism, and the boys weren’t getting it,” Barrett said this week. “So she started telling them about transcendent moments in athletics.” Naturally, she mentioned the song. Barrett went on, laughing: “I asked my wife if I could ask her out on a date. She said, ‘No, too late.’ “

(Tommy Craggs is a regular contributor to Play.)

The 1998 version of the song, chosen at random*, from YouTube:

And if you don’t think this shot will be included in the year’s version, you’re nuts:

*May or may not be true.

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Sniper Fire is Dangerous … If It’s Really There

This is the woman who wants to be our next president:

 

It’s ok, though. It was all just a misunderstanding. From cnn.com:


“I say a lot of things — millions of words a day — so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement,” she said.

In a radio interview that aired Tuesday, Clinton said she wasn’t worried about the incident hurting her credibility.

“I have been in the public eye for many, many years, and this is something that I think happens to anybody,” she told radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


What she calls “misspeaking,” most of the rest of us call “lying,” or “making things up.”

Slow Motion Water Balloons

This actually a commercial for Schweppes, but it’s pretty cool if you like to see water balloons exploding in slow motion:

(HT: Evangelical Outpost)

Conversations

Scene:

Fade in . . . to a bathroom. A little 3-year old red-haired boy is on the potty and his dad is helping him.

Daddy: Son, you’ve got to stop pee-peeing in your underwear. Why do you do that?

Boy: Because I do.

Daddy: You need to go pee-pee in the potty.

Boy: I just like doing it (in my underwear).

Daddy: That’s three times today. That’s terrible.

Boy: When a car crashes, that’s terrible too.

Daddy: (Shaking head)

Fade out . . .

Scene

3-year old red-haired boy listening to a kid’s song with several verses: “Tractor, tractor, harvesting the wheat . . . Fire truck, fire truck, zooming down the street . . . Backhoe, backhoe, digging up the dirt . . . Rocket, rocket, shooting to the moon.”

Boy: Mommy, I have a song.

Mommy: What is it?

Boy: Cupcake, cupcake, zooming down the highway.

From Robbery to Witnessing

This 92-year old woman is cool. A guy tries to rob her and she ends up witnessing to him:

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq …

Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma.

–Parents-to-be, read this. Be careful naming your kids. Although, according to Bad Baby Names, a new book, kids can turn out okay no matter how bad their name is. Consider some of these monikers:


By scouring census records from 1790 to 1930, Mr. Sherrod and Mr. Rayback discovered Garage Empty, Hysteria Johnson, King Arthur, Infinity Hubbard, Please Cope, Major Slaughter, Helen Troy, several Satans and a host of colleagues to the famed Ima Hogg (including Ima Pigg, Ima Muskrat, Ima Nut and Ima Hooker).
The authors also interviewed adults today who had survived names like Candy Stohr, Cash Guy, Mary Christmas, River Jordan and Rasp Berry. All of them, even Happy Day, seemed untraumatized.


One other piece of trivia from the article: You know the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue“? Guess who wrote it? It’s none other than Shel Silverstein (of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” fame.) Who knew?

–See the world at night, thanks to Google Maps. Pretty cool.

–The chick who won the Best Actress Oscar a few weeks ago? She’s an idiot.

–Calculate the WalkScore for where you live. It takes into account how close you are to the necessities of life and how easy it is to get there.

–How many of these can you do?

–Take this with a grain of salt, but here’s a list of the most powerful Christians in Hollywood.

–Yeah, professional atheletes make more money than we do. Just look at the stakes of their poker games. What’s $30,000 in a hour or so? Chump change.

–Our kids owe us a lot of money by the time they’re 18. On second thought, we owe our parents too, so it all evens out.

–A 360-degree immersive video: click anywhere while it’s playing, drag your mouse and it’ll change your point of view. It’s only a minute long, so try it a couple of times. Technology is cool. (Although sometimes it’s not, since this video doesn’t always seem to be working. You can watch it here if you want.)

And one more video. You might have seen this, but watch as this Lufthansa Airbus tries to land in a deadly crosswind in Hamburg, Germany (one article said the wind was 155 mph). The pilot’s got mad skills. The plane eventually landed safely:

Look Out!

This is great.

The guy’s name is Rob Leth with Global Television Network in Toronto. The flip is good. The way he’s composed enough to grab the microphone (which lands right beside him) and come up with a one-liner to close out the report is better.

They grow their reporters tough up there in Canada, eh Daniel?

(HT: Deadspin)

How the Liberal Media Works

This you have to see to believe.

Last week, conservative talk show host Glenn Beck (If you’ve never heard him, check him out. He’s smart, funny, conservative. Good stuff.) interviewed Rev. John Hagee. He mentioned that some people believe that Barack Obama is the antichrist, and then in a clearly joking, sarcastic manner, asked Hagee what the odds were that Obama actually was the antichrist. He said “No chance,” that was that, and they went on their merry way. It was obvious that Glenn was patently ridiculing those who believed such a thing.

Here’s video of it.

Pretty clear, right? Except maybe not so much. Enter liberal media blog Think Progress, which reported the following, in its entirety, along with the video clip: 


Today on his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck asked

Pastor John Hagee whether Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is the embodiment of evil:There are people — they say this about Bill Clinton — he might be the Antichrist. Odds that Barack Obama is the Antichrist?

No mention of the fact that he was in no way serious. Then comes another liberal group, Media Matters, with the headline: “Beck failed to ask Hagee about controversial statements, instead asked him if Obama might be the Antichrist.” They refer back to Think Progress in the article.

Then Keith Olberman of MSNBC picks it up and names Glenn on one his “Worst Person in the World” segments. He notably does not play the video or make any mention of the joke — he just reads a transcript. His snarky comment at the end: “Why do you ask, Glenn? Worried about somebody giving you competition?”

Media Matters then reports that Olberman named Glenn the “Worst Person in the World.” So they’re getting more mileage out of their own story.

Finally, it shows up in the New York Times. Quote: “The rumors circulate enough that Glenn Beck of CNN asked the Rev. John Hagee, a conservative evangelical, what the odds are that Mr. Obama is the Antichrist.”

Unbelievable. As it says on Glenn Beck’s website (this is the page where I got all this stuff):


So there you have it. By reporting the same story multiple times and using themselves as sources and removing all context the liberal media was able to take a clearly sarcastic comment and turn it into nearly a week of (liberal) news.

Of course, the kicker to the whole endless story is: Glenn had predicted that exactly this would happen. (Free audio)

GLENN: By the way, this is all going to be transcribed by Media Matters today as a completely dead serious conversation.GRAY: I know, I know.GLENN: It’s going to be great. There are going to be media alerts: Glenn Beck announces Obama is the antichrist. You watch. It’s going to be everywhere. (Laughing.)


Google “glenn beck obama antichrist” and you’ll get tons of hits suggesting in all seriousness that Glenn Beck asked if Obama was the antichrist. Yep, this is America.

Crooked Pencils

So read Genesis 29 and 30 sometime. It’s the description of Jacob’s marriage(s) and children. The impression you’ll get at the end is that it’s a pretty messy affair. To start out with, Jacob was in love with Rachel and wanted to marry her. The language the Bible uses is even romantic about it — the seven years he served for her hand “seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.” But his hard work didn’t lead to just Rachel — he also ended up with three other women and two households full of children.

(FYI: In Jewish wedding ceremonies even today, the groom personally veils the bride before the ceremony to make sure he’s marrying the right woman. You can guess why the practice started.)

In those two chapters you’ll read about deception, envy, a childbearing competition (including proxy mothers), jealousy, and even using fruit to bargain for time alone with a husband. Sinclair Ferguson says the whole story is similar to a soap opera, right down to “the mandrake affair.” (Look it up.)

You look at it all and at the rest of Jacob’s life (he was quite the scoundrel for a long time — you could argue that he got what was coming to him) and you wonder how and why God could use horribly sinful people like that for his purposes. Jacob was the father of a nation — his sons (and grandsons) became the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel. Theirs isn’t the kind of family history you’d expect from such a “noble” lineage.

But here’s the thing: as Iain Duguid says, “God delights in writing straight with a crooked pencil.” He uses the twistedness of man to bring about his own purposes. The creation of a nation wasn’t the primary result of this mess — it’s what the nation led to. One of Jacob’s sons was Judah, from whose line came King David and eventually, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Think about that — God brought glory out of madness. He brought beauty from ugliness. He brought eternity from moments best forgotten. You wouldn’t look at this life story and think, “Wow, what a great prelude to the Gospel. This is exactly the kind of heritage Christ deserved.”

But you know what? It’s a perfect introduction to the Gospel. It shows exactly why we need salvation. This story is the sort of thing that happens when we’re left to ourselves. We create a mess that even our best efforts can’t fix.

But despite our sinfulness — we’re all crooked pencils — God uses our failings for his glory. He turns fatally flawed men like Jacob and like us into monuments to his grace. That’s the message of the Gospel — God’s grace is great enough to cover our sin, to work in spite of our failings, to lead us to heaven despite our best efforts towards hell. Duguid calls it “relentless grace” and that’s just what it is. God’s grace was profound in Jacob’s life; it’s profound in our lives.

If you’re not an Old Testament fan, become one. You’ll see the Gospel everywhere. To read about Jacob’s life far better than I can put it, buy Duguid’s book Living in the Grip of Relentless Grace: The Gospel in the Lives of Isaac and Jacob here or here. If listening is more your thing, download Sinclair Ferguson’s series on Jacob here (9.2.07 to 11.25.07). He’s a master at bringing the Gospel out of the life of the “Chief of Twisters.”