Monday, November 25, 2002

You Know You're A Lions Fan When ...

... you turn on the game in the third quarter, see that the Lions are up by ten, and know -- with complete certainty -- that the Lions are going to lose the game. There has never existed an NFL team with greater skill at finding ways to lose football games than the Lions. If M&M (the GM and the Coach) didn't already deserve the axe at the end of the season based on the team's performance under their tenure, this game certainly changed that. It is impossible to understand Mornhinweg's end of game decisions. First, after winning the coin toss, he decides to elect to defend the endzone with favorable wind rather than to receive the football. Even I know that the key to winning football is to control the clock and that you do that with ball possession (read: offense). Mornhinweg felt he was taking advantage of the wind and that the Bears would take a bad punt or miss a tough field goal, giving the Lions the ball in good field possession. The realists among us see a few problems with this: (1) momentum -- the Bears had reestablished their offensive rhythm; and (2) no secondary -- the Lions defense couldn't stop my Grandma from scoring a touchdown (and had, in fact, just let the Bears score 10 points in the last minutes of the 4th quarter to force overtime). Then to top things off, when the Bears face a fourth and nine, and the choice of punting or trying a 53 yard field goal into the wind, Mornhinweg then decides that the wind wasn't all that much of an advantage and accepts (rather than declining) a Bears penalty, pushing the Bears even further out of field goal range but giving them another down to try and make something happen. I could forgive this decision if: (1) it didn't contradict the only possible (albeit weak) justification for not electing to receive the ball at the beginning of OT, and (2) if it weren't the Lions he was sending onto the field to prevent the Bears from taking advantage of that extra down. But, hey, I'm a Lions fan. If I'm not used to this yet ......

Saturday, November 16, 2002

8 Mile

I just got back from the movies. Yes, I went to see 8 Mile. I know, some of you won't approve and may frown at my love for rap music. (My music tastes are very ecclectic and run the gamut.) Eminem's lyrics may be horrid at times, but there is no denying his skills. But I didn't go to see the film because of Eminem. I went because it was filmed in Detroit. Movies haven't been kind to Detroit, taking advantage of its woes and mythologizing it as hell on Earth. 8 Mile is far kinder, without denying the reality of Detroit's past and present. I wonder how many people who see the film won't understand the 313 and 810 references. (City and suburb area codes.) I've lived in both. Most won't recognize the lobby of the Penobscot (the WJLB scene), Intermezzo in Harmonie Park, or the Michigan Theater parking structure, which was the site of an impromptu battle. That was particularly cool to see in the film. I used to live right across the street from there! If you are interested in some of the archictecture and history of Detroit, check out the DetroitYES website. Go ahead, take one of DetroitYES's tours. You just might find yourself doubting what you ever knew about Detroit.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Michigan Reflections

For the first time in my life I feel some relief that I don't live in Michigan. Strange feeling given that it is my birthplace and beloved home. For those who don't know anything about Michigan politics, Granholm's election was no surprise. She led in polls from start to finish. Frankly, most expected her to win by more. And Michigan has never been a Republican state. Engler was somewhat unique, but his base was never thought to be transferable. And the timing couldn't have been better for Granholm. She was elected to a statewide office several years ago and was able to run for an open governor seat. Everyone knew she ran for State AG for the purpose of having a state-wide office from which to launch a campaign for governor in a state democratic party starving for leadership. (After all, they ran Feiger last time.)

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Granholm shortly after she was elected to State AG. Partly because of our shared HLS connection. It was patently obvious within seconds that she was going to be a force in Michigan politics and knew it. She's smart, engaging, enthusiastic, and personable. Pretty, young, and female. Truly dedicated to the idea of public service. (And don't discount the importance of her husband.) Too bad she is wrong on the issues. But it is going to take a similar suited candidate to defeat her. The Republicans need to understand that. All said, though, she doesn't walk into the greatest of situations. Michigan (like all shrinking population, industrial Midwest states) has some serious problems.

P.S. She's not eligible to run for President. I would predict a grooming to take Levin's Senate seat should he decide to retire someday.

P.P.S. In other news -- and unimportant to probably all who read this site --, my one-time college student government foe, Richard Bernstein, won his campaign for a seat on the Wayne State University's Board of Governors. Rick's an intriguing character. Oh the stories I could tell.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Some Thoughts

I recently heard someone say a quote attributed to the late Bishop Sheen: "Christ spent thirty years obeying, three years teaching, and three hours redeeming." I have found the quote utterly fascinating. I've begun to wonder whether too often we see these events of Christ's life as disconnected, or that the first two for some reason should be discounted. I say this in no way to diminish the importance of Christ's work on the Cross. Instead, I mean to suggest that Christ's work didn't begin on the Cross and that it was no doubt a part of his life from the start. Moreso, I think the quote offers us a view into the reality of all of our lives. There is a large portion of it spent living out the vocation to holiness in the ordinariness of life. Then there is a period of a more specific vocation, with a shorter period (or maybe just a moment) with a vocation of unique particularity. Too many of us live our lives as if we are in a holding pattern waiting for that big moment in which we will live out that great mission that is ours. When we think like that we need to remind ourselves that Christ spent thirty years of his life as a child, a neighbor, a carpenter. Surely we can draw from that something about the importance of ordinary life! Similarly, when we discount the life of Christ prior to his ministry or his redemption of us on the Cross, we tend to lose sight of the fact that our vocation of unique particularity, as I have dubbed it, may not have the explicit drama or "bigness" as that of Christ's. (Although the disciples didn't understand the nature of Christ's mission until after the risen him explained it to them.) It may be far more subtle by earthly measures, but no doubt has eternal significance. Maybe it's a conversation that only you might be in a position to have with another. Okay, no more to say on this. Again, still pondering the quote.

Making A Surprise Reappearance

Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. I have returned to St. Blog's to make a few more posts (and then to slip back into hiatus for a while). First, let me say a thank you to the twenty or so loyal readers who visit Integrity each day. It is uplifting to know that, for whatever reason, a number of you in St. Blog's find enough value in what is posted here to keep checking in despite the lack of recent posts.

All that said, I'm making no promises that posts will now come with any greater frequency. Truth is, work is extremely busy right now (which is a good thing!) and I'm trying to become more involved in Chicago, which also means less time for blogging. Besides, a fair share of the appeal of St. Blog's has vanished; similar to realizing that a magazine you once read cover to cover upon its arrival no longer contains anything more than articles that you skim.

But Steve Mattson's recent practice homilies sparked a thought. (And Steve's homilies are good, by the way.) Reading them is a treat, both for their content and the unique opportunity to witness the development of a (future) priest's preaching skills. It occurred to me that future generations will be blessed by solid preaching on what the Church teaches. However, I have a challenge to all priests (present and future): take some time to read CFL and reflect on its message. I've begun to think that it may be more important for priests than laity to read CFL. In the end, I think, the priest's view of the vocation of the laity -- as expressed by his preaching, the way he treats his parishioners and the expression of the Gospel message he encourages -- may be the most significant determining factor for how the laity come to view themselves. There is no doubt that the whole Church will benefit from better preaching on what the Church teaches and why. But the problem of the laity isn't so much a lack of knowing what the Church teaches (although that is a problem); More, the problem with the laity is that they do not know who they are. Something to think about.