Happy December! Here is today’s Blog Soup (r).
- Yesterday’s elementary school shooting hit much closer to home than other recent mass shootings in colleges, high schools, malls, and movie theaters. My oldest son will start kindergarten next fall. Yes, the odds that a similar tragedy will occur at my sons’ schools are tiny, but yesterday served as a harsh reminder that no place can be completely safe, not even a kindergarten classroom. I ache for the families and friends of the fallen. In case you’re wondering, we’re not telling the boys what happened. They won’t hear about it from the news (we don’t watch it) and probably won’t hear anything from their friends, so we didn’t think it would help in any way to tell them. We don’t think they are old enough to process something like that well.
- Speaking of my oldest son, Brenden is a ninja. The house can be quiet and still, perhaps late at night once we’ve put the boys to bed or early in the morning as I’m coming home from work. When he wants to see us, he can often creep from his room, descend the stairs, and suddenly appear in the living room or dining room virtually undetected. It can scare you at first. Then you smile and admire his ninja skills.
- Speaking of being terrified by surprise appearances, have you seen the elevator prank video? Sweet Holy Moly. I’d like to think the rational side of my brain would prevail and I’d quickly figure out that I was being punked, but in reality I might just lose my business instead.
- I just finished a fascinating book by Bart Ehrman called Misquoting Jesus that discusses the process of copying and distributing the early New Testament manuscripts. We have no original manuscripts left, only copies of copies of copies. In the copying process, the text of the manuscripts changed a bit in numerous places. Some changes were simple and harmless, such as an accidental misspelling. Others were intentional, perhaps to clarify a point of confusion, correct a perceived error by a previous scribe, or even to advance the scribe’s theological agenda. Textual criticism scholars study the various manuscripts like detectives and try to determine what the original text probably said, what changes were made in the manuscripts over time, and why.
- Spielberg’s Lincoln deserves to take home a mountain of awards on Oscar night – acting, directing, set design, music, screenwriting, you name it. The story – Lincoln’s fight to pass the 13th Amendment to ban slavery – made a fascinating framework that focused on the man and his relationships rather than being a typical war movie. Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones particularly stood out as Lincoln and sharp-tongued liberal Republican (yep, they used to exist!) Thaddeus Stevens, respectively. Watching the political battle to get the votes reminded me a bit of the modern-day question of gay rights. We’ve made some progress, and I expect a similarly heated battle within the next decade or two to finally grant gay Americans all the rights that straight ones already enjoy.
- I am mostly glad to see Josh Hamilton go. Too much drama off the field, too many injuries, too much money. It’s amazing to me that in a sport where it’s considered great to get a hit one third of the time, we still think some players are worth $20 million a year or even more.
- The financial realities of college are setting in. Four-year public schools are significantly more expensive than community colleges. Tuition at UTA in 2012 isn’t too much less than tuition at Baylor during my freshman year (1997). We still think the switch to UTA is worth the extra cost thanks to better job prospects after Jenny finishes her degree, though. But it was eye-opening when she started registering for classes.
- Some woman stole our credit card number, used it to buy $1000 worth of high-end car headlight bulbs and other auto parts, and accidentally listed the billing address (ours) as the shipping address (also ours). So the stolen goods arrived at our house this week. Oops. Chase waived the charges, and we are returning the parts to the shipper. The woman’s phone number was listed on the shipping label, so I gave her a call. She identified herself as Jenny Box. I told her my wife had the exact same name. She hung up immediately and refused to answer when I called back. So I left a message telling her we had received the parts she ordered. Heh heh.
- I am tired of the Christmas wars. Some Christians don’t seem to realize that some people celebrate other holidays in December, or that Jesus probably wasn’t actually born on December 25. It’s okay – no, good – to respect other people’s beliefs and not to demand that everyone celebrate the same holidays you do. You can wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, or whatever floats your boat. I will wish you the same in return.