I am sore this morning. Why???? Just a quick back story summary. In my life I can proudly say that in my younger years I was a playground “legend”. I mean that at 6’3″ and, in my early 20’s, weighing in at under 200lbs, I was known to be a good basketball player in the area I was born and raised. I worked full-time at a recreation center (still do part-time to this day) and life was great. Physically in great shape and living life to the fullest (at least I thought). Daytime lifeguard, nighttime basketball star. Life seemed so good. Fast forward to age 41, a little overweight, a little softer, but the same desire to win. Last week I was asked to join a team of younger guys that needed a “big” guy to help them out. Of course I obliged and let them know that I would play with them at the next game. Last night was the next game. We lost to a team that was basically the Emory and Henry college basketball team. Not bad for a team that had never played together, I believe that we started playing better towards the end of the game as we got used to each other. Personally, I had a very good game. I do believe it surprised the rest of the team as the “old man” showed that he had a few tricks left up his sleeve. Now you know why I’m sore, but this story is only leading up to what I feel is the real reason I’m writing this post. After I finished playing the 7:00pm game, it was my turn to keep score for the 8:00pm game. Picture two games played simultaneously on a divided full court. I’m keeping the right side score, a co-worker named Gavin was keeping the left side score. During both of our games, we have a conversation discussing whats going on in our lives, jobs, etc…A quick side note on Gavin, he has been known to party, going out on the weekends and meeting girls and drinking it up. I’m not condoning his lifestyle, there was a time when I was known to drink it up as well. Thank goodness those days ended years ago, but back to the story at hand…When discussing our jobs, Gavin caught me off guard. He told me that he was possibly looking to get out his management position with a very good company and going into another line of work. Here is where it got interesting, he told me that he his life has been going through a change. Little did I know, Gavin had been going to church and trying to follow a light that would lead him off his darkened path. He told me of his desire to have something more in life and be spiritually fulfilled. Gavin also told me how over the past few months he had been asked to give sermons on Wednesday nights regularly and last Sunday he preached the Sunday message to the entire church. Gavin told me that his life, changing for the better, was being challenged in new ways. He described more temptations were being tossed his direction. He described the inspiration from the congregation was overwhelming and his church was offering to assist him in going to a seminary school to focus on religious studies. I told him that it seemed cleared that God had indeed opened up his door and turned on the light to lead Gavin to a better place. I told him that I was proud of him and discussed some of my changes in life as well. We both spoke of admiration of Dr. Charles Stanley and the message he brings to this world of troubling times. Gavin also let me know that he was going to Atlanta to meet with Dr. Stanley and tour his church. I told him that I wish I could go as well as that would be a life changing experience. Unfortunately my work schedule at this time doesn’t permit me to go to service on Sunday’s as I work Saturday through Tuesday for the time being. Prior to last tonight, I believed that Gavin was on a path to destruction and now his words and story inspired me. Gavin you have re-kindled my desire to learn and understand the message of God and his plan for me. My prayers nightly for understanding my place in His world became a little clearer last night. Thank you for the hidden message in the most unusual place.
As I wake up and get my daily routine started…Coffee, help get my daughter ready for school and onto the school bus, and a few minutes of headline reading across the web. As it has become daily news with either terrorism, ISIS or ISIL, there is a brief pause of fear and sadness that is hard to explain. I will never understand why middle eastern religious zealots find no way to leave western culture and religion out of their agenda of destruction. Could it be jealously? Angry that the western world has become independent and acceptable to almost everything you can think of? Probably. Why is it that they can’t leave us and the rest of the civilized world alone? I’m sure I’ll never know. As a matter of fact I find it completely unusual that for a religious group so focused on their God that they can kill innocents so inhumanely and without remorse. This is one of the things I pray for daily. To protect our country and most importantly my family. I often ask God to expose his plan for me. I want to be a better person, a prepared person and also an understanding person. Am I supposed to do something different with my life? Is there a difference I can make? I want my kids to feel the safety that I did as a child. Never a care, never a worry throughout childhood. That is the true goal. With so many terrible things going on, I fear that neither of my kids will every have the freedom that I did as a child. Knowing that there are so many terrible people in this world and also knowing that these same types of people are closer than what most Americans want to realize scares me. I have no solutions and only seek guidance in the tough times that we may face in the future. This is a truly random thought of the day and part of my never ending prayer.
This week in the NFL has been insane. First, Ray Rice has a video that appears and is absolutely brutal to witness. The NFL clearly did not make his initial punishment based on what we, the general public saw this past Monday. Do I agree with the next step in Ray Rices next step in the punishment prices? Yes. Hands down. Ask the Ray Rice was prior to the release of that video has been torn down and now an image of domestic abuse has appeared. From what I saw, his them girlfriend now wife looks lucky to be alive. Should Ray Rice be allowed to play on the NFL again? I really don’t know. Maybe when the news does down and time has gone by. My stance right now is simply to ban him from the NFL for life. A statement needs to be made to prevent ant future larger than life athletes from repeating this incident in the future.
Now on to my second and final topic today. Adrian Peterson beating his son. I just saw the pictures for the first time this morning and will admit that they look terrible. I have no idea what his son did to warrant this “whipping” but the bruises and whelps are tough to look at. Before I go further let me state that I was born in the early 70’s. I was raised with spankings. Actually I was raised with beatings. My parents wanted me to become something other than a street thug or someone rotting in jail for life. Did I have bruises and whelps? Yes I did. I have memories of these life lessons buried in my mind that still make me remember why I got the spanking to begin with. My parents cared. I reviewed Proverbs 13:24- He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Written long ago in the greatest Book of all time. I try to raise both of my kids to do the right things. I admit that i have spanked them. Nothing like the spankings i received written was younger but i have spanked them. I also find myself going to my room one I finished, tearing up, not because of what i just did, because of not knowing what the future brings for my kids and what lessons they will take to heart as they grow older. I will go out on a limb and say maybe Adrian Peterson took it a little to far. Those photos are disturbing. I wish I knew whole story. Who knows? Maybe AP is a monster. I would find it hard to believe but it is possible. I have always thought of AP as a roll model athlete. No there is a cloud of disbelief that surrounds him. I hope to see him bounce back but this will haunt him for the rest of his playing days.
It’s really sad that in this week two of the NFL, these are the discussions that are most popular.
As a highlight I want to briefly touch on something great that did happen in the NFL this week. The Cincinnati Bengals web store crashed. Why is this great or important? The reason the team web store crashed was because of the story line of defensive player Devon Still and the life struggle of his daughter. The Bengals announced that all proceeds from the sales of Stills jersey will benefit pediatric cancer research. As of Friday the jersey has made $400,000. This story brings tears to my eyes as I type it. It is a feel good story that is being over shadowed by the events in the NFL that I described above. The whole Devon Still story is amazing in itself and what the Cincinnati Bengals did for him is nothing less than amazing. As a diehard Steelers fan, this story makes me respect, appreciate, and pull for the Bengals. I will buy Devon Stills jersey and wear it proudly. I will also pray for his daughter in these tough times. I recommend that you do the same. Please take the time to search and read about Devon Still. It will change the way you look at things in your life.
Before heading off to work on Saturday mornings I always spend a couple of minutes browsing the big NCAA football games of the day. NCAA Saturdays are something I miss when I have to work on the weekends but thanks to the internet I can at least keep up.
What about the Tennessee vs. Oklahoma game? I may be smelling an upset if the Sooners have over looked the surprising Volunteers this week.
Georgia vs South Carolina? Georgia. Big time. Spurrier’s team won’t be able to stop the Bulldog running game.
West Virginia vs Maryland? Terps in new jerseys win. Close game.
Kentucky vs. Florida? Everyone thinks Gators win big. Watch out Big Blue Nation will make this a game. Closer than what you may think.
Those are the games that I will be paying attention to this weekend. My gambling days are long behind me but if I was still dropping bills I might come out nice this weekend. We’ll see. Have a great Saturday. Go Wildcats!
If you are awake and are paying attention to the technology world today there is no doubt that you realize that tomorrow, September 9th, 2014, Apple has a big announcement concerning the new iPhone and possible an i-wearable. As a tech junkie that has been a user of both the iPhone (3GS, 4) and Android devices (Nexus 5, Galaxy S-III) I must admit that this is the year that Apple needs to come up with something that makes me desire the need to come back to the iPhone. The sad part is that I really want to go back to the iPhone but with the size of the current version being such a slender device that has been one of the major turn offs for me. We have all read the the rumors with the projected sizes of the iPhone 6 being 4.7″ and 5.5″ screens and I am hoping that to be the truth. Size is important to me in a hand held device and with my current Nexus 5 I will admit that the size of the phone is nearly perfect and of course being a Google phone all updates to Android go through the Nexus first. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. Now for the practicality of my needs. I am a Macbook Pro user and an iTunes user. The iPhone will only complete my circle of “the world of Mac”. I would be able to carry one device that stores my music for on the go and synchronization would be seems with my laptop. Currently I carry my phone, my iPod and sometimes my laptop. That can be a little overbearing but it is a fact that I have lived with for over two years now. What will tomorrows news bring? Beyond long lines of fanboys waiting for the device to be released in a few weeks, no one is 100% sure other than the circle of trust the is the beast known as Apple. I will be anxiously waiting for the announcement and listening intently to the announcements tomorrow to see if the is iPhone 6 will be the game changer that I am hoping for. What are you thoughts? Will you be one of the many that go back to iPhone if you have already left? Will you be one that leaves iPhone because of the new design? Technology announcements like this come once a year from Apple and it’s been a long wait for some of who have been waiting on that “game-changer”.
As I prepare to go to work this morning, trying to enjoy a cup of coffee and a few minutes with the kids, I am frantically trying to get my fantasy teams ready and finalized and also deciding what I’m going to wear today. Am I talking fashion? Not exactly. It’s NFL’s first Sunday and as a die hard Steelers fan, I have to pick out the jersey that I’m going to wear in support of my favorite team. Unfortunately this season may not look too promising according to the “pros” on ESPN and many other sports analysts, but I’m a believer. The Steelers have a history of defying the odds and turning some rough pieces of coal into diamonds. On that note, Steeler Nation, let’s get ready to rumble! Go Steelers!!!
Let me start by saying that this album is not what I was expecting. Or was it? What I mean is that I should have seen this coming with Heritage. I absolutely love Opeth, I mean they have put out some of the greatest metal albums in the history of metal. Blackwater Park is in my top 5 metal releases of all time and Still Life is yet another masterpiece. What makes this musical genius of a band turn away from the core sound that they mastered? Boredom? I have no idea. Creatively speaking, musicians go through changes, loose fans, gain fans, etc…I can’t say this is a bad album. Because it’s not. Just not what I wanted from Opeth, that’s all. I have given Pale Communion many, many spins and yes there are songs that are very memorable. Album flow is smooth and the music is really good. I wish that Mikael would have considered putting Opeth on the back burner and let it simmer for a few years and taken this journey under a different moniker. Vocally I enjoy Mikaels harder tones much more than his softer tone but once again he has hinted to this stylistic change for a long time. Little did I know Damnation would be the root to this tree that has grown Heritage and Pale Communion. Who knows? Maybe this album will grow on me. The one thing I will admit is that I wanted the Akerfeldt growls so badly that I finally broke down and purchased Brave Murder Day from Katatonia. I can’t believe that I had not purchased that album in the years past. That album has given me the vocal style from Mikael that I had wanted to be on Pale Communion. Overall, Pale Communion is a great album, just not the album my heart was desiring from the once untouchable Opeth. You really need to listen to this album with an open mind and give it a chance. You also need to realize that Opeth has gone far away from the original wastelands they once roamed and ruled. Opeth future is purely retro-prog and I can honestly say that it is also the end of a great chapter in big metal book of history.