Archive for November, 2006|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2006 at 8:44 pm

unsolicited baseball opinions

signing alfonso soriano for 17 million per is ridiculous. offering him 8 years when nobody else would probably offer him seven and so ensuring that he’ll be on the payroll as a 38 year old arthritic man is re-damn-diculous. i have heard many rational explanations why this is a horrible signing and a few irrational cub fans argue in support.

the best argument i’ve heard against the Soriano signing is from espn insider’s keith law who opened his most recent article with:

“The team that finished last in the National League in OBP in 2006 (and, not coincidentally, second-to-last in runs scored) with a .319 team mark just signed a left fielder with a .320 career OBP and a .337 OBP in 2006 (both figures exclude intentional walks) to replace a guy with a .365 OBP in 2006. And they’re paying $17 million per year for the privilege — until the new player turns 38.

I’m sure this will work out swimmingly.”

the best argument i’ve heard for the Soriano signing is…, um, likely to be muttered by some frat boy in naperville after he’s had six bucks worth of old style.*

the mets just declined to exercise their $14 mil option on tom glavine for 2007 and, due to the current state of their starting rotation and the cost of starting pitching, i’m fairly certain minaya will look back on this decision as a mistake.

go back and read that latter assertion again. i’m afraid it pretty much summarizes the 2006-2007 hot stove season.

the miserly middle-class cardinals and their faithful middle-class fans debated whether jock should pick up jim edmonds’ $10 mil, 2007 option for the better part of two months. then, when the cardinals re-signed “jed” to a 2 year, $18 mil deal most of us considered it excessive. now the reports that the dodgers are signing juan pierre to a 5 yr/45 mil contract have us dancing in the streets.

did i mention that jim hendry is trying to shore up his outfield defense with cliff floyd and is attempting to sign julio lugo

when he already has de rosa at second and izturis at short? something tells me hendry is screaming at his subordinates to get julio franco on the phone and gammons and rosenthal are reconsidering their measured support of the soriano move.

doling out 51.1 million just to negotiate with scott boras for daisuke matsuzaka seemed absolutely absurd until i realized that the cubs could have signed “d-mat” and probably a second tier starter like ted lilly for the same money they spent on sori.

ladies and gentlemen, i present to you the cubs’ brand-new #2 starter:

after the jed re-up and the signing of our super-sub jocketty and the cardinal’s camp has been strangely quiet. there are moments when i fear that this silence is evidence of ownership’s reticence to spend serious cash on off-season acquisitions. but, as often as not, i realize that jock is to michael as hendry is to sonny and both haugen and purpura are slick but inconsequential.

* i realize that rosenthal and gammons have provided measured support as well, but i assume that is because they savor the idea of hendry hanging himself.


In Uncategorized on November 21, 2006 at 5:29 pm

unanxious daze: an exodus from under-employment

today i am celebrating my ninth month at Silvestri.* and, in even better news, yesterday i got laid off!

as sick as it sounds, for the last 24 hours i have been in a jubilant mood. as of tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. i never have to explain to the good folks at hotflash america that we do not return items from 2004, serve as my manager’s fashion adviser and will never have to say put your big girl panties on and deal with it or you’ve got boobs! ever again. can you believe that they are actually paying me to leave this company that will soon cease to exist? me neither.

of course i feel bad for my coworkers, some of whom are afraid of re-entering the job market after a thirty year hiatus and others who are loathe to leave an industry that – for some godforsaken reason – they love. but make no mistake, tomorrow after i’ve given one last hug, muttered one final encouraging cliche and logged off my computer i will once again be a free man.

i am ready to offer one long, last goodbye to silvestri and say hello to a non-profit job that i can actually enjoy (or at least endure). by God’s grace, i hope that i never have to settle for a job like this again.

during this time of transition, i would appreciate it if those of you who know and suffer me would be willing to challenge me when i set my occupational sights too low, know of any leads you stumble across and perhaps even whisper a prayer for kellie and i from time to time.

now, if you’ll excuse me, i am going to pour a cup of tea and head over to Viva El Birdos. much love, much peace.

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2006 at 2:46 am

In this Theological Discussion, God is Considered Optional

When a local theological group gathers Tuesday in a Kenmore Square office, its members won’t be talking about God. They’ll be talking about not talking about God.

The Boston Emergent Cohort hosts Peter Rollins, author of “How (Not) to Speak of God,” for a 7 p.m. discussion at 655 Beacon St., Suite 301. The Cohort is part of a progressive Christian movement known as the Emerging Church, which seeks to encourage conversations among believers about Christianity’s role in the modern world.

Rollins, who heads a church in Ireland, is a leading voice in the movement. A reviewer recently described his book as “powerful but frustratingly opaque.”

Both qualities are likely to be on display at the event. Rollins is expected to discuss his proposal for “heretical orthodoxy,” according to Jeff Gentry, a facilitator with the Cohort and pastor to a small home-based church in Beverly. Heretical orthodoxy means moving theology away from “a study of God as object, or a theology that seeks to believe the right things” and toward an idea of “Christianity as trying to live in the right way,” Gentry says.

Anna Gerdeen, studying for a master’s at Harvard Divinity School, became involved in the Emerging Church in her native Minnesota before moving to the area three years ago and connecting with the Cohort. Gerdee says she’s seen increased interest in nontraditional religion.

“With the large number of students and young people in the area, people come into here from different backgrounds from all over the country, and different Christian traditions,” she says, creating fertile ground for new ideas.~J.M. BERGER

this brief piece was included in the metro section of sunday’s boston globe. props to anna for drawing my attention to the article. i appreciate mr. berger’s interest in emergent and his unexpected inquiry. however, i would like to affirm that God will likely be a primary subject of, and hopefully participant in, our conversation on tuesday. moreover, i appreciate the fact that the writer quoted me correctly and wish the latter spelling of anna’s last name was correct.

i hope that a number of you are joining us on tuesday for a beerworks dinner at 5:30 and a stimulating conversation with peter at 7 pm. if you’re interested in picking up a copy of how (not) to speak of God we’ll have copies available for $12 thanks to the generous folks at paraclete press.

for an interesting introduction to peter’s thought, check out nick and josh’s most recent podcast.*

* i haven’t had the time to listen to the podcast myself, so i’m acting on complete faith here. nick and josh, don’t let me down.

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2006 at 3:57 pm


during my years at soybean bible the writings of henri nouwen were essential to my spiritual health. however, in the years since i left soybean and, later, l’arche daybreak behind, i have only revisited his writings rarely.

i am starting to suspect that my indifference is a mistake.

a couple of nights ago, after receiving news that yet another friend is mired in the midst of crisis, i took can you drink the cup off the shelf. i can’t remember reading this little work before, but i confess that it has served as a remarkable sacrament in my life this week.

i must confess that much like james and john, i often lust for influence and recognition in the Kingdom of God. as a fully equipped servant of Jesus, i consider myself a significant member of Jesus’ mission and expect to be included in noteworthy, if not successful, incarnations of God’s beauty, truth and goodness in this world. in short, i want to build a successful and meaningful career on the back of the one who humbled himself and made himself obedient to death on a cross. fortunately, in response to my foolishness Jesus neither rejects me nor reviles me as “satan,” but simply asks: “can you drink the cup?”

henri has helped me to see that responding to this question requires me to pause and consider whether i have the courage to hold the cup of our great suffering and great joy in my hands; in full knowledge of the cup’s bittersweet contents, i can lift the cup and offer a blessing in the midst of curse and whisper rumors of life in the midst of death; and, ultimately, drink the cup of suffering and joy to the dregs.

in the midst of my longing for success, Jesus is calling me to become fully human. as much as it pains me to admit it, he could care less whether i have a successful career or whether i continue to wander through occupational hell for the rest of my days. Jesus has not promised me an honored position, but he has called me to be a parable of his grace and truth. further, Jesus has not sent me forth to construct a respectable curriculum vitae, but he has given me the mission of weeping with those who weep and mourning with those who mourn.

leave it to Jesus to deconstruct my delusions and unravel my expectations with a single question: “can you drink the cup.”

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2006 at 3:16 pm

five minute movie review: borat

i was initially reluctant to pay $10 to see this film, but after hearing a number of reviewers describe it as a form of provocative cultural commentary and hearing kidpositive and cade’s enthusiasm for this film, i decided to take a chance.

although i did not think that the film provided particularly insightful cultural commentary – i’m sure that with a little editing and enough “gotcha” set-ups you can make any country look like it is full of racist, ignorant fools – i have to admit that the movie was incredibly funny. there were scenes that made me really uncomfortable such as when the “throw the Jew down the well” singing borat and his companion found themselves shacked up at a Jewish owned bed and breakfast, but there were also hysterical scenes, especially the one in which borat sings the kazakh national anthem to the tune of the star spangled banner at a virginia rodeo, that were completely worth the price of admission.

if you don’t mind a little controversial humor and can stand the sight of a male on male sixty-nine,* then you might want to give borat a shot. please note, i am not recommending the film as such, but i think a number of you would find it hysterical.

one side note: over the past couple of weeks there have been reports that the south carolina fraternity boys who made asses of themselves in the film, the romanian extras who stood in as extras in borat’s “kazakh” village and any number of others are planning to sue sacha cohen for their portrayal in the film. i think such lawsuits are ridiculous and are likely built upon legal sand. in the midst of a satirical situation, decent, upright people such as the humor coach, the newscasters and, as much as i hate to admit it, the southern baptist people on secession drive proved their decency, while sketchy folk such as the frat boys and the rodeo manager showed their asses.

if you’ve caught the flick, i’d love to hear your thoughts.

* the pixie covered my eyes during that part.

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2006 at 8:24 pm

UPDATE! boston’s emergent cohort presents peter rollins

due to unexpected publicity and the possibility of a higher than expected turnout we have decided to move the main cohort gathering to the offices of Reunion Church (665 beacon st, Suite 301, Boston, MA 02215). moreover, since a number of us would also like to gather at the fenway beerworks (61 brookline ave, boston, ma 02215) for dinner we’re going to do that as well.

so if you want to join us for dinner, meet us at the fenway beerworks around 5:30 pm. the regular meeting will start at 7 pm at the offices of Reunion church. got it? if not, feel free to comment or send queries to jeff gentry at

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2006 at 9:12 pm

“All my friends became Cardinal fans and grew up happy and liberal. I became a Cub fan and grew up imbittered and conservative.” – George Will

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2006 at 3:20 pm

now that it is far less likely to be perceived as piling on…

i would like to draw your attention to jeff sharet’s piece entitled Soldiers of Christ that focuses upon ted haggard and new life church. in this article, which was published in harper’s over a year ago, mr. sharet skillfully reveals the triumphalism and alludes to the docetism which plagues american evangelicalism. moreover, he also records the musings of a royal ranger leader which now seem eerily prophetic. if you take the time to peruse this article, or any number of pieces on killing the buddha you will not be disappointed.

of course, after you read the article i’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.


update: KTB has also posted these reflections by patton dodd, who is the author of the well-regarded my faith so far, beliefnet columnist, alumnae of oral roberts university*, attender of new life church and close friend of ted haggard. patton’s intimate reflections focus on the power of repentance and the hope reconciliation. this article pierced my soul.**

* the campus of which looks so much like walt disney world’s tomorrowland (circa 1986) that it skeeves me out)

** i realize the latter statement probably sounds cheesy as hell, but…

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2006 at 2:48 am

some sacraments are unexpected

a few moments ago, while talking with cade about N&MBL@* and surfing i ran across a puff piece titled worst jobs ever. i found the first few entries, which focused on a subservient cocktail waitress and driving range ball bitch, rather innocuous. but then, but then, i ran across a winner:

“While in college (down south where there’s very few jobs), I worked in a factory that made the plastic covers for Die Hard car batteries. The covers would come sliding down the conveyor belt after being stamped by an automated machine with the words DIE HARD. My job, was to stand there (not allowed to sit) and look at each plastic cover as it passed and make sure the words DIE HARD were stamped on perfectly straight. If it was crooked (AND THEY NEVER WERE) I had to throw it out. To make matters worse they were 12 hour shifts. 5 minutes literally felt like an hour. It was so loud you had to wear ear plugs, so you couldn’t even use a radio to pass the time. Not the worst or grossest job in the world, but DEFINITELY one of the most boring and mind-numbing.” -townclose

have you ever had a job that is as monotonous or hilarious as this one? if so, please tell. as for me, this little story is a sacrament that has set me free to sail into tomorrow (relatively) unencumbered.

* if you ask nicely, mr. sajak might let you buy a vowel.

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2006 at 8:13 pm

university of virginia sociologists study “what women want…”

and are shocked to find that they aren’t infatuated with drunken australian anti-semites.

but seriously, this afternoon is featuring an interview with sociologists steven l. nock and w. bradford wilcox that i found quite interesting. after reading any number of arguments that were provoked by mark driscoll’s comments* concerning the weight of minister’s wives, i found this article on how husbands can serve their wives quite refreshing. i have posted an excerpt of the article below, but i hope you can take the time to read the article in its entirety.

What makes married women happy?

“The biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife, this is the most important factor in predicting the wife’s happiness. This basically drowns out every other factor in our models.”

read more…

* NB: bullet point 2.

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