Wednesday, December 30, 2015
I remember listening to his comedy albums when I was a kid. I remember when he was a very cool secret agent in the mid 60’s television series “I Spy”. I remember that he was black, but white folks didn’t care. He was a hip, cool, funny, good-looking guy. I remember how different he was from Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor; both of whom were much funnier but , man oh man, they could get dirty. He was always above it. I remember his long-running show where a black family lived like an upper-class, professional white family and made it seem possible. I remember as he got older, he became a voice of reason speaking out against the “rap”/gang culture that was attracting so many young blacks. He preached responsibility and accountability to black parents, institutions and communities.
I remember “that” Bill Cosby and I don’t want to think about “the other “ Bill Cosby. That good and evil can work so well in the same person is a great mystery and the most frightening.
“Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.” – C.S. Lewis
Monday, December 28, 2015
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”- William Arthur Ward
Every year around this time I review and grade the predictions I made in the previous December. Then I make my predictions for the coming year. Each year my predictions get worse. Be it sports, politics, world events or financial markets; my crystal ball is broken. Last year, I got a few predictions partially correct. The New England Patriots did win the Super Bowl. Lower energy prices kept the economy from going totally in the tank. A big logistics company bought a big trucking company, but not exactly as I predicted. Most everything else I got wrong.
I’ve noticed that a lot of magazines, newspapers and bloggers have now taken to making annual predictions. Most of them don’t look back a year later. And if they do, they only point out the predictions they got right or close to right. Predictions, especially off-the-wall predictions, tend to get “clicks” (no pun intended.) Readers are more likely to “click” on a headline that reads: “Hillary Won’t Be On The Ballot In November” than they are one that reads: “Clinton A Lock For the Democratic Nomination”.
So this year, I thought seriously about making some crazy predictions, just on the off chance one might be right. But, ended up deciding to take the more serious approach, knowing full well that I will likely be wrong again on most of them. So here we go with the 2016 predictions:
1. Hillary Clinton wins the election. (I’m not sure any Republican could win a national election these days.)
2. The U.S. economy muddles along. The second half of the year is better than the first half.
3. Oil prices stay below $50 barrel.
4. The Arizona Cardinals beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
5. The Chicago Cubs win the World Series over the Houston Astros
6. Jordan Spieth does not win a major this year.
7. “Spotlight” wins the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.
8. The Supreme Court will rule against the University of Texas’ affirmative action admissions policy (Fisher v. University of Texas)
9. Terrorists attacks against Western targets will escalate in 2016.
10. Federal Debt will remain at levels above 100% of GDP.
In other words, 2016 looks like more of the same. God help us.
Monday, December 21, 2015
If you’ve read some of my previous Christmas season posts, you know that I’m not really into Christmas. At least not what Christmas has become in 21st Century America. As a Christian, I’ve tried to hang on to the religious significance of Christmas. This even though I know that Christ wasn’t born on December 25 and the Wise Men did not visit the Baby Jesus in that manger in Bethlehem, but quite some time later. And we’re not sure where or even how many of them showed up. Questionable traditions notwithstanding, I remain persuaded that Jesus is who He says He is and the message of the Gospels is true.
So I am a believer. But this Christmas there does not seem to be much “Joy To The World”. It’s not just the recent events in Paris and San Bernardino. They are part of it, but enough has been said about all of that. Such events are representative of the fallen, broken world in which we live. A world that leaves us with hard questions and numerous doubts. For those of us living in a place and time that provides the highest standard of living in the history of the world, we look for answers that do not rock the status quo boat. Most of us are more interested in our bank account, our time off or our waistline than we are in life’s big questions. We turn Christmas into a Holiday Season for family, fun and gift-giving. And that’s ok, up to a point. It doesn’t get any better than watching the little ones on Christmas morning as they discover what Santa Claus left under the tree. But grown-ups will spend far more time discussing which team will “win it all” than they will discussing what does “it all” mean.
We are told that the most important thing is to be happy, to feel good about ourselves and the world around us. And the “Holiday Season” does its best to make us feel that way. But, if you read the rest of the gospel story you know that Jesus did not define joy and happiness on the world’s terms. In fact, He turned the world upside down. Which is why most of what we do during the “Holiday Season” doesn’t have much to do with why He really came or what He really did.
"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Luke 12:51
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Well it was bound to happen. Actually had a prospective candidate tell me that after reading my last blog post he did not want to be represented by our firm. That it was “Quite offensive to generalize an entire group of people with that post.”
Well, I thought it was clearly directed at those people who take certain verses from the Quran out of context and use them to justify violent behavior. I have said as much about people who misuse and abuse verses from the Bible. It’s just that for the past few weeks, we have witnessed a particular group of people, Radicalized Muslims, committing horrible acts of violence for what they deem to be a higher calling from God himself. And as directed by the words of His prophet as they have chosen to interpret their sacred scriptures. So, I suppose I am generalizing when I say that those Muslims who believe in a radicalized, perverted version of Islam are dangerous people. Even those who may not “pull the trigger” are part of the problem. Scorpions are scorpions whether they sting you or not.
To be clear. I do not have a problem with Muslims, or any group as long as their beliefs do not conflict with my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. But we have a self-identified group of people out there who share a very specific ideology that instructs them to kill people in order to further their religious goals and objectives. It just so happens that this is a sub-group of the Muslim faith. Are all Muslims terrorists? Of course not. Are all terrorists Muslims? Maybe not all, but these days, for the most part the answer is a resounding yes. Just don’t let the PC Police hear you say that.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"
Replies the scorpion: "It’s my nature..."
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them" Quran 8:12