Now Playing at Life in Mordor: Two Ways to Celebrate Christmas

Because I am all about shameless self-promotion, I will not hesitate to avail myself of the opportunity to promote (read: pimp) my latest post over at Life in Mordor, the blog of Mike F. where I have the opportunity to appear periodically as a guest contributor.

The post is entitled “Two Ways to Celebrate Christmas“.  You can celebrate Christmas the world’s way, which usually involves lots of lights, decorations, shopping, parties, gifts, outlandish credit card bills, stress, and regret.  Or you can celebrate Christmas the way the Church has historically celebrated it, through the season of Advent.

I won’t tell you any more about it.  You really need to go and read it for yourself.

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Advent Week 1: Egypt

Welcome back to those of you who may have tuned out when the anti-Richt diatribes started up a couple of months back.

Welcome to Advent.  For those of you who need a refresher, Advent is the season that starts on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas.  Four Sundays; three full weeks plus whatever fraction of a week is necessary to take us to Christmas.  This is a season of waiting; we remember the Jews who waited for two thousand plus years for Christ to come as we wait for Christ to come again.

To kick things off, let me take you back to where it all began.  Egypt.

Some scholars argue that the Bible actually begins with Exodus.  They may have a point.  Genesis gives us some backstory; it tells us how men came to dwell in the region known as the Promised Land and how one man, Abraham, grew into a large family.

Where is Israel at this point?  They are in Egypt.

Egypt is the reigning superpower of the day.  Israel is merely a slave state, supplying free labor for all of Egypt’s grandiose building projects.

They came to Egypt initially because one of their children, Joseph, got himself sold into slavery there and through a bizarre series of circumstances wound up as the prime minister.  There he headed up a massive building campaign; when famine later wracked the Middle East, Egypt had more than enough grain for themselves and all the other Middle Eastern nations thanks to Joseph’s efforts.  Jacob, the reigning patriarch at that time, heard that there was grain in Egypt and after much agonizing left his home in the Promised Land with his family and traveled to Egypt.

While in Egypt, the Israelites grew from a family into a nation.  A new Pharaoh came to power who did not know anything about Joseph and did not care to learn.  He felt threatened by Israel’s incessant growth and so he enslaved them and took great pains to make their lives as miserable as possible.

So the Israelites did nothing all day except make bricks.  And when things got bad enough, Pharaoh gave the order that they were to make just as many bricks as before but they had to go out and fetch their own straw.  Just to make their lives miserable.

How did we get here?

It all started with Adam and Eve.  They ate some fruit they weren’t supposed to eat.

Just one generation later, Cain killed his brother Abel.

From there, it was all downhill.  Just a few generations after Cain came Lamech, who famously declared that “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”  (Genesis 4:24) Already things have gotten ten times worse than they ever were in Cain’s day.

In Noah’s day the world had gotten so bad that God wanted to destroy the whole thing.  But he saved Noah and his family.

A couple of generations later some men went east and found a spot and started building a city with a tower.  They sought to build a tower that would reach the heavens.  Why?  To make a name for themselves.  So their own name would reach the heavens.  They wanted to raise their own name up in opposition to the name of God.

All of civilization was now opposed to God.

And what was this tower made of?  Bricks.

If there is one thing the Israelites knew all about at this point, it was bricks.  They were making them all day long.

So what happened?  The Israelites cried out to God.

And God heard.

More than that, He did something.

What?  You’ll see.  Next time.

Skye Jethani: Has the Bible Become an Idol?

In many circles of evangelicalism, it has.  Much of evangelicalism views the Bible as nothing more than a repository of God-given principles for life.  According to this view, the problem with people is that they don’t have the right principles.  Instead of living on principles derived from science or political leaders or Oprah Winfrey, people need to be living on God’s principles.  Which of course come directly from the Bible.  Right?

Wrong, people.

This view of the Bible is patently un-Christian, Skye Jethani argues.  If the Bible is a book of godly principles for godly living, then what do we possibly need God or Jesus Christ for?  It’s all there in the Bible.  We just go to the Bible, and we have everything we need.  Thus the Bible has replaced Jesus Christ as the end-all, be-all of our faith.  And that sounds an awful lot like an idol.

Read Skye Jethani at the Huffington Post:  Has the Bible Become an Idol?

A Word From Our Executive Director of Sports Information

Aloysius, our Executive Director of Sports Information here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, has a few words to say about the sports story that everyone has been talking about this week.  If you don’t know what story that is, then what rock have you been hiding out under?

There are some pretty sick stories out there in the world of college football.  Georgia players toking up before the Florida game.  North Carolina players cheating in their classes.  Miami taking money from a known thug to fund their athletic programs.  Ohio State players selling memorabilia for tattoos and the coach pretending like he didn’t know a damn thing and the president going all Henny Youngman on us.  Southern Cal players accepting obscene amounts of riches from agents.  Agents throwing massively huge crunkfests for players.

But what happened this past week up at Penn State takes it all to a completely and totally different level.

Joe Paterno is out as head coach at Penn State.  Good.  This couldn’t have happened soon enough.  Why hasn’t Joe said anything about this already?  I guess he’s been too busy thinking about that hottie over in Athens he’s been seeing.  So I guess it falls to me to speak out about this one.

Now some of you are running around out there talking about how we shouldn’t rush to judgment on Joe Paterno.  After all, he did what he was supposed to do.  Right?

Uh…no.  Yeah, he told some people that some crazy stuff was happening.  But those people sat on the information and didn’t do anything with it.  When he saw that nobody was going to do anything with it, he should have gone to the police himself.  He didn’t.

People have likened this thing to the sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church back in the early 00’s.  As well they should.  There are definite parallels here.

A program that made a living out of portraying itself as above all the craziness and dirtiness of big-time college football now turns out to have been harboring a sexual predator.  For a very.  Long.  Time.  And Joe Paterno was in on it.  All the way up to his eyeballs.

There were signs of trouble all the way back in 1998.  Penn State investigated an incident of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky showering with an underage male.  Shortly after that, Paterno informed Sandusky that he would not be taking over as head coach after him and Sandusky retired, at the not-so-ripe old age of 55.

Yet Penn State continued to allow this guy access to the program.  They gave him emeritus status, which entitled him to an office on campus and a whole bunch of other perks.  From there, Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant and now the recruiting coordinator, caught Sandusky doing crazy things in the shower and reported it to Joe Paterno who reported it to his superiors–in 2002!!!!!

Penn State should have known something wasn’t right here.  If they didn’t know, it is because they didn’t want to know.

Jerry Sandusky belongs in my tummy.  He deserves to be hunted down and eaten alive, to remain alive while experiencing the full agony of having his insides ripped out and eaten by a bear.  So does Joe Paterno, and anyone else who was involved in allowing this creep to stay on at Penn State for as long as he did.

Aloysius’s Take on New Mexico State

Our Executive Director of Sports Information here at Everyone's Entitled to Joe's Opinion: Smarter than the average bear

Today I am going to let Aloysius, our Executive Director of Sports Information here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, weigh in with his thoughts on this week’s Georgia game.  Take it away, Aloysius.

OK, so once again Joe wants me to write about the Georgia game this week.  He goes away to Athens and won’t take me with him.  Something about not letting teddy bears into the stadium at Georgia.  Yeah right.  They don’t let alcohol into the stadium either, but that doesn’t stop fans from bringing it in.  If he wanted to bring me, he’d have found a way to get me in there.  And what’s more, this time he stays gone for the entire weekend.  What’s up with that?  Maybe I’ll start a rumor about him seeing some chick over in Athens.  We’ll see how well that plays over at his church.

College Square in downtown Athens

By the way Joe, if you’re wondering where all the honey went, it’s all in my tummy.  Burp.

It’s been a while since I did one of these.  I thought Joe was going to let me do this every week.  Guess the bit about eating Scott Howard alive kinda scared him off from that.  Tough.  He can deal.  And Scott Howard can deal too.  What a doofus.  I don’t care what he thinks.

The tailgating scene on the Myers quad. A little light this week.

So I was all alone here in the Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion compound for the whole weekend, and I didn’t have a TV to watch the game because Joe’s too cheap to spring for a widescreen plasma TV.  But I sure as hell wasn’t going to sit there and listen to that doofus Scott Howard for four hours, so I hacked into ESPN.com and watched the game online.  They had it blacked out here in Atlanta, but I hacked in through Kamchatka, Siberia, and watched it that way.  Heh heh heh.  What can I say?  I’m smarter than the average bear.

One thing about New Mexico State: They sure travel well.

I believe Joe is going to post some pictures here to give you an idea of what it was like over in Athens this weekend.  These better be good.

Okay, so about the game.  Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, and Ken Malcome all decided to get their ganja on.  Dude!  In the middle of football season?  What were they thinking?  Offer a toke and a brownie to the next person who attempts to tackle them?  (“Come on, Gator man, it’s all good!”)

The old-school cheerleaders: Always a hit at homecoming

So anyway, they all went for their drug test, and their urine specimens blew up the lab.  So they all had to sit out this week.  Mark Richt found a couple of walk-ons to play running back, Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempolis.  Harton rushed for 98 yards on 15 carries and Karempolis rushed for 63 yards on 13 carries.  This was one of the worst defenses in all of Division 1-A; Richt could have pulled a Georgette to play running back and she would have rushed for 98 yards against this defense.

The Redcoats performing their halftime show

Harton did make it interesting though; on Georgia’s first possession he got loose and then fumbled into the end zone and New Mexico State recovered for a touchback.  But he redeemed himself in the second quarter; he scored the game’s second touchdown and put Georgia up 14-3.  That second quarter was a laugher; Georgia scored 42 points in one quarter.  How do you do that?  (By the way, that is the second most points ever scored in a single quarter according to NCAA records; the most is 49.)

Hairy Dawg conducts the Redcoats during the postgame concert

If anything, this was a game to inspire confidence in the nether regions of Georgia’s depth chart.  That was done this week.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading up to Penn State to dispense some ursine justice to Joe Paterno and all those crazies up there.  Having sex with boys in the showers?  So not cool.

Georgia Players Behaving Badly: Coach Richt, You SO Did Not Need This

Coach Richt, you SO did not need to have a whole bunch of your players start acting like knuckleheads. Not now.

After starting the season 0-2, Georgia rallied to win the next six straight.  Georgia is now back in the top 25 and moving up, and has an outside shot at winning the SEC East.  Along the way they beat nemesis Florida for only the fourth time in 19 years.

But that’s not what we’re talking about this week.

Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, and Ken Malcome are out this week.  Their urine specimens blew up the laboratory when they went for a drug test.  With Richard Samuel out for the rest of the season due to injuries sustained during the Florida game, this leaves Georgia without a running back this week.  I think Richt is planning to pull a Georgette to play the position.

This does not pose any worries; Georgia plays New Mexico State.  The line is Georgia by 33.  They would probably have to have half the team flunk a drug test to change that.  That’s just reality when a major BCS team takes on a team from the lower echelons of Division 1-A.  But there could be a hangover next week when Auburn comes to town; that would be a huge problem.

The blogosphere and Twittersphere have been rife with all sorts of conspiracy theories about who knew what and when.  Isn’t it convenient, they say, that the players in question were tested before the Florida game and not suspended until the New Mexico State game?  To which I say:  Not true.  Laboratories are not always immediately forthcoming with confirmation of test results.  It is entirely possible that the test was administered before the Florida game and confirmation of the results did not come in until after the Florida game.

Still, the whole thing is not a good situation and it is definitely not what Coach Richt needs to be dealing with right now.  Georgia is coming off its biggest win in the last few years and has a realistic shot to play for the SEC championship, but the story this week is all about the knuckleheaded actions of a few Georgia players.

Isaiah Crowell is one of the players who was suspended.  He is by far the most prized recruit of the 2011 recruiting class, and he has been instrumental to Georgia’s success this year.  But this incident brings up fresh questions about his character.  Sure, he’s a freshman.  Freshmen do stupid things; that’s why they’re called freshmen.  But this isn’t the first time he has broken the rules and lost playing time as a result.  (Against Vanderbilt, he was held out the entire first quarter.  Richt later revealed that this was a suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.)

Is Crowell capable of straightening up and getting his head together?  Or will he become yet another paragraph in the ongoing tale of Georgia running back infamy?  Caleb King and Washaun Ealey, the last two incumbents at the running back position, were kicked off the team this summer because they couldn’t follow the rules.  Washaun Ealey transferred to Jacksonville State; Caleb King entered the NFL draft but went undrafted until he signed with the Minnesota Vikings practice squad.

There was a similar situation at the tail end of the Jim Donnan era.  During the 2000 season, running back Jasper Sanks missed parts of several key games and quarterback Quincy Carter missed the last four games of the season with a thumb injury and Athens was nuclear with suggestions that the team was rife with drug use and the players were being suspended but the coaches were reporting injuries to cover it up.  College football is rife with urban legends and conspiracy theories of a similar nature but this one had at least a grain of truth to it.  When Mark Richt started in 2001, one of the first things he did was overhaul the policies concerning injuries and player suspensions.  Jasper Sanks got in trouble for drugs in the summer of 2001, and Quincy Carter was cut from the Dallas Cowboys after failing a drug test in 2004.

Coach Richt, you SO did not need this.  At a time when your team is finally starting to win and get some positive momentum going, the last thing you needed was to have a bunch of your players start acting like knuckleheads.