What the Duck?

Yesterday in Facebook trending topics I found articles about the guy from Duck Dynasty speaking at an event. During the speech, he told a story which was basically the plot of a snuff film about an atheist family being raped and murdered. I’m not even sure what point he was trying to make with the story. Non-Christians don’t know that murder and rape is wrong? Non-Christians deserve to be murdered and raped? Christians are safe from murder and rape? If anyone has a clue what exactly his “snuff parable” means, please let me know.

What I do know is that this is not the person Christians should be holding up as an example. We spend so much time talking about doing what Jesus would do. Jesus loved. Jesus healed. Jesus taught us to love our enemies. To do unto others as we would have them do unto us. He ate with sinners. He spread his message without spreading hate. It seems these days that many Christians would prefer to laud the loud and the hateful and/or the modern day Pharisees who care more about rules than people. We won’t reach the world by telling the world stories about murder and rape. We won’t reach the world by telling them what they have to change before we will love them. We will reach the world through love.

Want to do what Jesus did? Love.

The Worst Thing About Sports

There are many things written about what is wrong with sports. I think the worst thing about sports(except maybe people who write about what’s wrong with sports) is  the fans. Most normal people like me(ha) enjoy watching the games and then go on with our lives. We may scream at the TV and the officials when the game is being played. We might post random stuff on Facebook during the game expressing pleasure or displeasure about the results. We might even have players, coaches and officials we don’t like for whatever reason(although I don’t still hate Christian Laettner). What we don’t do, however, is go to the insane level some people do. Below are a few examples:

Ashley Judd(I love her) posted on Twitter after the SEC championship game that she thought Arkansas played dirty. I’m not sure I agree with that, but she has a right to express her opinion. What followed was a stream of replies on Twitter calling her names and threatening her. She has vowed to press charges against these people and I hope she does.

Saturday UK played Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a player with anger management issues stemming from a childhood tragedy. He was ejected from the previous game and many people felt he should not have been allowed to play in the UK game. There were some instance during the UK game when it looked like he might be heading toward another ejection. Some people in the UK fan base couldn’t just let it go after the win. They tweeted insults to the player after the game. I’m embarrassed that they are associated with my school.

It’s not just casual fans either. During the Maryland/WVU game, the WVU coach’s daughters tweeted negative things about Dez Wells and the accusations against him at Xavier. He was accused of sexual assault, kicked out of school, later acquitted and settled out of court in a lawsuit against the school.

Fans have always been fanatical, hence the name, but social media has unfortunately made it easier for fans to directly target players, coaches and other fans. Here are some rules to live by:

1. Remember these players are people. In the above cases they are college kids. They are someone’s kid. Would you want people to say those things to your kid? No? Then don’t say it to others.

2. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on Twitter. Too many people have internet courage. They feel free to do stuff like this because they are somewhat anonymous and don’t expect consequences.

3. Remember it is just a game. It’s supposed to be fun. If you care so much that you are doing the above, re-evaluate your  life priorities.

4. If you do stuff like this in real life and your internet life is just reflecting you seek help.

My Bracket Projections 2015

Here are my projections for March Madness this year:

Upsets: Buffalo  over WVU, BYU over Xavier, UC Irvine over Louisville, SF Austin over Utah, Eastern Washington over Georgetown.

Second round upsets: Wichita St over Kansas, Arkanas over UNC, BYU over Baylor, NC state over Villanova, Michigan State over Virginia.

Final eight: UK, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arizona, Northern Iowa, Michigan State, Duke, Gonzaga

Final Four: UK, Arizona, Northern Iowa, Gonzaga

Championship: UK over Gonzaga

I Have an Author “Type”

There is a study out there that says men like to read male authors and women prefer to read female authors. I have never analyzed my reading habits and author gender. I do know a lot of my favorite authors are male. I do, however, have quite a few female authors I read regularly. I like to joke that I sometimes have the reading habits of a teenage girl. I’m too lazy to do a count, but I could see my total skewing more toward the male authors. I don’t think this study says more than that people like to read what they know and that people feel more comfortable with the voice of someone with whom they relate. That’s why the push for more diverse titles is important, especially for kids. All kids need to be able to find books about someone like them.

I was thinking about this last night after I was working on a list of books for a class I will be leading at work. It is a list of good adult fiction for teens. I took many of the books of the Alex Awards list and added a bunch from my personal experience. As I was asking coworkers for some titles to add to the list, I mentioned that I needed to add some diversity, because although I didn’t know what most of the authors looked like I was pretty sure they were a little too similar. I googled the names of the authors and discovered that they were more alike than I realized. If I just looked at the author photos, I could assume that they were all related. Apparently, I don’t just have a thing for British and Irish authors, I I have thing for British, Irish and ginger authors. It was really weird. I can now add diversity to the list of my reading goals for 2015.

A Defining Moment

Or, if I do what I claim I will do in this post, an undefining moment.

I’ve always been someone who said I did not want to be defined by my job. I’m a librarian and I enjoy being a librarian, but I don’t want my life to be defined by my libriarianness and/or my success in the field. Lately, however, I have started to worry too much about my success in the field. I’ve applied for many promotions, transfers, jobs in other library systems over the past few years and have heard nothing but a resounding no. I know that I am good at my job and that I would be good at these new jobs, but the constant rejection is getting me down. I think that I am not exactly letting my job define me as much as letting the people making these decisions define me. I’m letting myself be defined as someone who reached the peak of their professional life 20 years ago. There is nowhere to go from here. That wouldn’t be a problem if I had continued in my belief that I am not defined by my job. So, what changed?

It was easy when the kids were little. I was defined by my job as dad. I didn’t worry so much about job advancement because my job gave me the flexibility to be home most nights and every weekend with the kids. This was especially important because Dawn traveled a lot with her job. Once Bradley got older, I was defined some by my job as Coach Alan. I spent a lot of nights and weekends on the baseball field and the gym helping coach baseball and basketball. Jessica was also still young enough for me to be kept busy just being dad there as well. I was also defined by my job as Mr Alan, youth worker at the church. I started my work with the youth group right before Bradley was born and was there until right when he went to high school. I did youth camps in the summer, youth retreats in the winter, mid week Bible study, middle school Sunday school, and various other events. Again, my job allowed me the flexibility to do this, so I was happy.

Now, Bradley is away at college. Jessica is in high school. While dad is still needed, it is not the same as when they were little and needed me for everything. I haven’t been Coach Alan since the group I coached went to high school. Now they are all in college. The main group of kids I worked with at Severn Run are all married with kids these days. I leave work and realize I have no where to go and nothing really to do. I guess I decided to put all of that excess time and energy into advancing at work and now realize that is not likely to happen.

I guess maybe this is my midlife crisis. Who am I now that I’m not these people? I need to make sure I find how to define myself and not let others define me as a failure.

Let’s Talk About Cheaters and Their Balls

Unless you have been living under a rock the past week you have likely heard the controversy surrounding the New England Patriots and their deflated balls. At this point, it seems like there is enough evidence to prove that the balls were deflated and that the New England Patriots have cheated once again. Bill Bellichek can claim all he wants that he knows nothing about the issues with his balls, but we all know that isn’t true. We have to assume that since Tom Brady and the rest of the offense spends their entire career handling balls that they had to know as well. My personal opinion is that Bill Belichek needs to be suspended since this is his second time being caught cheating. If the NFL had any guts they would suspend him for the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, what will likely happen is that they will be so mad at New England that they will fine Marshawn Lynch more money for grabbing his crotch(maybe we was making sure his balls were properly inflated?) and not talking to the media.

This is not a sore loser complaint. I’m not saying the Ravens lost to NE because of their balls(I do blame GB’s loss on the lack of balls). I’m saying that I don’t like cheaters and that we seem to be to willing to forgive the cheaters of the world. There are plenty of people out there who think nothing should be done because they assume NE would have won anyway. These are probably the same people who think the steroid users from baseball deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. These are probably people who would and possibly have cheated to get ahead in life.  We use the excuse that “everyone else is doing it” so it’s OK for us to do it as well. Do I think that there is a good chance that every team in sports cheats in some way? Yes, I think bending and violating rules is common place. Do I think that’s OK? No, I don’t. I would like to think that my team’s ownership, coaches and players are honest, but I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that they aren’t. I also wouldn’t argue that it’s no big deal. If John Harbaugh was caught cheating I would wnat him suspended by the NFL and fired by the team. Same goes for John Calipari at UK. I would rather be an honest loser than a cheating winner.

My Year in Reading 2014

Top ten books read in no particular order

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Winger by Andrew Smith
The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
Revival by Stephen King
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrsen
Seven for a Secret by Lindsay Faye

Honorable Mention

Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Trouble by Non Pratt
The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce
Parasite by Mira Grant

Worst book I finished

Someone Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Book I Dustbunnied

Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra

Number of books read: 106

Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 37067

I have to say that this was not a banner year in reading for me. Too many mediocre books. It was hard to come up with the 15 best. I need to be more selective with my reading next year.