Saturday, June 22, 2013

Football, Movies, and Not-so-stupid Questions.

My buddy Russ was a good football player. About my size, so not a moose, but strong. Sadly, he never really got along with our high school football coach, so his playing time was limited. One Thursday before a Friday game, the coach was going through the game plan: telling the assembled team in some detail general and specific assignments. The team we'd play was bigger, so we'd have to trap-block. The guards would drop back from their man, and run down the line and catch the advancing defensive tackle or linebacker on the opposite side of the line. The running back would take a fake and the fullback would hit the gap between the right-side guard and tackle. Stuff like that. After about 10 minutes, Coach Korn asked the team if we had any questions. Russ, knowing he was not going to be playing the next day- and knowing that the coach knew he knew this- raised his hand. Coach Korn eyed Russ warily: "What is it, Baggett?". "Coach", Russ said as the 80 or so half-padded players looked on. "Coach. If Jesus Christ and Superman got into a fight, who do you think would win?". Through considerable effort, I managed not to laugh. Fast forward thirty-five years: Last night, Lady Di and I saw "Man of Steel" at Walterboro's lone theater, Ivanhoe Cinema 4, and Russ's question popped up again. Confused? Well, yeah. See, in "Man of Steel", Superman is presented as a Jesus figure. Jor-El (played by Russell Crowe), a scientist from Krypton, seeing his planet about to implode, puts his infant son in a ship to a similar planet- Earth- to save his child and maybe to save Earth. Young Kal-El is found in Smallville, Kansas, by the Kent family. Dad (played by Kevin Costner), obviously knows his boy is different, because, you know, he found the kid in a space-ship. Mom and dad also discover his amazing strength, lazar vision, and lightning speed. Over the course of time, mom nurtures him, and Dad tells him he's obviously got a very special reason for being there, and eventually he'll know, but in the meantime, to keep his head down and not to tell anyone about his powers, because he doesn't know his purpose yet, and the world just won't understand him. Not hard to imagine another adoptive father, Joseph, telling young Jesus the same thing. When some bad guys- who, by virtue of their timely banishment managed to survive Krypton's destruction- arrive to conquer and colonize Earth, Superman has to step up to save Earth. Guess how old is at this auspicious moment? How's 33 grab you? There are plenty of other parallels between Superman and Jesus, and I'm quite sure they've been pointed out by lots of folks before (when I excitedly mentioned my theory in my post-mortum of the movie to Lady Di, she was all, "Duh!", so, I'm evidently not breaking any new ground here). Anyway, I thought of Russ, Leto Falcon football, and Coach Korn. And I've finally got an answer: Russ, Jesus wouldn't fight Superman. Jesus is Superman.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now.

A friend of mine asked me a few weeks ago, "What're you doing for fun?". Odd question, that. My concept of fun has changed a bunch over the years. When I was in college, I'd've probably told you that whatever everyone else thought was fun was what I thought was fun. I mean, I wouldn't have actually said that whatever everyone else was fun was what I thought was fun, but I doubt I would have bothered to actually think about what I really liked. I pretty much did what everyone else did: drank a lot, shot pool, "hooked-up" (or tried to). I wasted a lot of years checking off items on an ersatz bucket list that didn't bring any real contentment. Don't get me wrong: I had some genuinely good times, and have gotten to know a lot of wonderful people; it's just that I'd've been a lot happier if I'd spent less time in bars, and more time reading, or walking in the woods, or drawing pictures of stuff. C.S. Lewis described the feeling of a soul tricked into trading the real joy of living in Christ for the decreasing return one gets chasing shadows in The Screwtape Letters: "I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked". So, what am I doing for fun? Today, I went to church, washed windows with Lady Di, did some laundry, and watched an episode of "Downton Abbey" on DVD. And it was fun.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Football, Phones, and A.D.D.

I'm a creature of habit. I'm a creature of habit, and I tend to get lost in my thoughts. If I perform some little act enough times, I'll repeat it, even when the occasion doesn't require it. In Pee Wee League football, I played center on the offensive line. One of the things centers had to do those many years ago was gather the team to the huddle by yelling "Huddle Up!" at the end of a play. Another football behavior that Coach Baggett, and other coaches of yore, taught us was to yell "Fumble!" whenever we saw a loose ball. Sometimes, my body'll be one place, and my mind somewhere else. Any of my coaches could tell you that many times my body'd be on the field, but my mind was God-only-knows where. Sometimes, my mind was on the field when my body wasn't. In my youth, I've yelled both "Huddle up!" and "Fumble!" when answering the telephone. This was, of course, not an appropriate response, as there were no footballs around, nor any teammates, and because it confused the people on the other end of the phone. Now, phone have changed since my youth. Like a lot of newish cars, my Ford Fusion has a "hands-free" phone feature. I use it all the time. I press a button on the steering wheel and tell the car to "call home" or whatever other contact I might have in my phone. The car responds- usually correctly- and after my conversation is done, I press "end" on the steering wheel to end the call. My thoughts and actions are one. In a pretty brief time, the action is as natural and scratching an itch. Okay, now where was I? Oh, yeah. I friend of mine has been having some troubles, of late. I said I'd say a little prayer while I rode to work. And I did. After my prayer, I pressed the "end call" button on my steering wheel. It probably wasn't necessary, but I figure God understood okay. At least I didn't yell "Huddle up!".

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing.

Son Tyler took the S.A.T. today. Where he goes to college, and how much it's going to cost, depend in some measure on how he did. A lot of questions. A little anxiety. One calculater. Two sharpened number two pencils. One of his complaints was having to use said pencils. "Who uses pencils anymore?", he wondered. I know I would have gotten at least one question wrong: What does S.A.T. stand for? If you guessed Scholastic Aptitude Test, like me, you're wrong. The answer is the same as "For what does the "S" in Harry S. Truman stand?" (I'd've asked, "What does the "S" in Harry Truman stand for?", but, well, that whole "don't end your sentence in a preposition" thing's got me spooked). Yep. According to Wikipedia, S.A.T. stands for nothing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

I like beer.

>I'm a mild and content man these days. Downton Abbey, a nice meal, and an occasional glass of pinot noir with Lady Di is a fine evening. It was not always so. I listened to Blues the other day, while I sipped a glass of cold beer. My mind drifted to days of yore. Commander. Russ. Scott and Bob. Betas and Fijis. I don't miss it, but I'm glad I lived it. Thanks, guys.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Boro's Best Bakery.

I mentioned in passing the other day that the Boro got its first Duncan Donut shop, on the outskirts of town. It's right off the Interstate, and I'm sure that lots of folks heading to and from Florida will stop in. I'm glad it's here. Really, I am. I'll probably stop by once in a while, but my first gustatory love (other than the lovely Lady Di, of course) is in the heart of the Boro. I only have to walk a couple of blocks from my office to get a world-class treat in an unlikely-looking venue. Check out the cupcake at left. It's enough to make your smack your granny! Er, what I mean to say is it's really, really good. The cherry icing is fluffy and buttery, and the cake is light and ever so tasty. Her top seller is the red velvet cupcake, but the cinnamon twists and cookies are just as heavenly. The Old Bank Christmas Store and Bakery is tucked away in, well, an old bank building. Cindy's been selling Christmas baubles (ornaments, figurines, and knick-knacks) from a shop in the old Farmer's and Merchant's Bank building for years now, but a few months ago she started baking stuff for the general population (and there's fresh bread most Fridays!). In case you miss the sign on the door, the sandwich board near the corner is unambiguous. Oh, yeah. A lot of time, she'll have sandwiches and soup, too.