Because life is a series of edits

Archive for October, 2006|Monthly archive page

Greetings from the Most Dangerous City in the U.S.

In Places & Spaces on October 31, 2006 at 2:00 am

If you haven't yet heard, St. Louis is the most dangerous city in the U.S., at least according to this report, out today. In the study, the authors say that St. Louis…

"…has long been in the upper tiers of the annual ranking of the nation's safest and most dangerous cities…violent crime surged nearly 20 percent there from 2004 to last year, when the rate of such crimes rose much faster in the Midwest than in the rest of nation, according to FBI figures released in June."

I'll concur that when someone dies at the hands of another here in St. Louis, it does seem to be reported as particularly violent (though I'm not sure that death at the hands of another could be anything but so). Some of the news reports are disturbing, but since we don't watch the local news all that much, I guess we haven't picked up completely on their apparent frequency.

This may also be part of our not having a complete awareness:

"The study looks at crime only within St. Louis city limits, with a population of about 330,000. It doesn't take into account the suburbs in St. Louis County, which has roughly 980,000 residents."

Being on campus in St. Louis County, we don't exactly live in the rougher parts of town; in fact, we've been told that Creve Coeur is something like the sixth-wealthiest township in the country (even despite our dirt-poor seminary population), so there aren't a lot of drive-bys to contend with or drug deals going down on the corner (though the 'burbs have plenty of other junk going on inside the million dollar houses).

Still, while we go downtown (and know plenty of people who live there), the city as a whole doesn't seem all that bad. But obviously something is wrong (according to the article, St. Louis has been in the top ten of this list for the past ten years), and it reminds us again of Jeremiah's call to pursue good for the city in which we are "exiled" (sometimes seminary can feel that way):

"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7)

This is why we're part of an urban (as opposed to suburban) church that has hopes of planting a church downtown in another three years. Indeed, there's much that needs to be done, so you can pray we'll be part of figuring out what and how for as long as we're here in St. Louis.

Boat Trip on the River Denial?

In Thought on October 28, 2006 at 11:10 am

Just got an email from Learner. Apparently, their trip so far is all they had hoped it would be (quiet, relaxing, enjoyable), but not all is peaches and cream. He writes:

“Not great news from our church – apparently we’re $1,200 in deficit over the past three months in terms of our support raising. In addition, we’re barely a third of the way for November’s paycheck. This is not good.

For the first time in a while, Mrs. Learner and I lamented our financial situation, and for the first time in a very long while, I detected some fear within myself as to how any of this will work out, both in the long- and short-terms. We talked of how we could get out from under the fundraising burden, but there seems little way to do this without quitting school, and doing that cuts off the degree that would seemingly open the doors to what I think/hope I’m actually able to do.

It all suddenly seems to futile, and I wonder if we’ll be able to finish this school year, let alone the M. Div. track I’m on. For the first time, I heard myself say that that was okay, too, which raises all kinds of questions as to how much to fight for this and how much to just let it go, get a paying job of some kind, and finish out life at least being able to pay bills.

As I was relating some of this to a friend here (good visit, by the way), he said that I should try to start something. His suggestion made me wonder what happened to my once-entrepreneurial spirit? Maybe realism set in or I just got lazy, but I haven’t seen that side of me for some time. And even if I had the itch, I’m not sure where to scratch – what can I do that would be both fulfilling and something someone would pay me to do? It seems that most of my life, I’ve never been able to line those two things up very well, if at all.

What does God have for us? How much of this is his problem and how much of it is mine? What am I missing here and how am I to proceed? Is it true that “where God guides, he provides” or not? Is the question one of provision or of guidance? Are we out of his will (whatever that means?), or just not doing it correctly? What is he asking us to do? How are we to respond?”

From the sound of things, he’s more confused than depressed (though it’s never a long trip between the two). I think he knows they’ll come out of this and look back on it with good stories one day, but it’s always more difficult to make sense of things in the midst of trial than on the backside of it. And where they are is in the midst of it.

Unbelievable

In Places & Spaces on October 27, 2006 at 10:43 pm

Though we’re out of town, we just watched the Cardinals beat the Tigers in the fifth (and final) game of the World Series in St. Louis. Having gone to a couple of games this summer and following them all through the post-season, I have to say it’s a little unbelievable that we won. Since when did we get a pitching staff? And what kind of melonhead ever questions La Russa?

Good times, friends. Good times. Now maybe I can get some reading done in the evening again.

In Dire Need of Fall Break

In Thought on October 24, 2006 at 9:51 am

In roughly 24 hours, Learner will be on fall break – namely no classes on Thursday and Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off as well. And, he says, it won’t be too soon.

While it’s not like the professors withhold assignments or promise no quizzes the following week, two days with no classes (even if he only has one each on those two days, both at 8 a.m.) is a good thing. The grind of attending class, trying to pay attention, and actually learn something can take more of a toll than he sometimes realizes. Learner says it will be nice to have four straight days out of a classroom.

The break gives Learner and his family a chance to get away, which they are planning to do with a five-hour trip to a new city they’ve not visited before. Their plan is to stay at a beautiful house that belongs to friends who (unfortunately) are going to be out of town for the weekend. Learner is planning to read during the drivetime, in hopes of being able to really relax when they arrive at their destination. Like Mrs. Learner (who is almost giddy with excitement about getting away), he is very much looking forward to the time…and counting the hours until they depart.

Learner asked if I wanted to accompany the family, but I declined. Sometimes I wonder if Mrs. Learner is a bit weary of me, as I always seem to be wherever Learner is. In an effort to be sensitive to that, I thanked him for the invitation, told him to have a good time, and assured him that I’d just be with him in spirit.

The Blur Is Accurate

In Seminary on October 24, 2006 at 2:00 am

behold.jpg

Fall break starts Thursday, and I'm really looking forward to some time off. Not sure where the past week has gone, but it has (gone, that is), and the picture above of one of my Hebrew vocab cards illustrates my blurry perspective on most things right now.

Our plans for the break aren't too exciting: I have a boatload of grading to do for Jerram and some planning for our second Adullam retreat coming up in ten days. I should probably also work on some Hebrew, as I just tanked a big quiz this morning (by the way, the word above is "behold," as in "Behold the Hebrew quiz I just tanked").

Most importantly, though, I want to make sure to get some time with Megan and the girls, and maybe even with God if we can line up schedules (strangely, mine always seems more occupied than his does). Actually, Tychicus' plans sound good, so maybe we'll do something like that.

Some highlights of the past week include:

  • writing/giving/grading my high schoolers' midterm exam (they did okay)
  • taking my General/Pastoral Epistles exam from 5:30-7:30 a.m. (only time I had)
  • spending a couple of hours with Eagle Lake buddy, Jeff Morrison, who was in town
  • developing a mission statement for Covenant's Student Council and beginning to plan the seminary's annual Christmas banquet (oh boy)
  • going with Megan to see Forest Whittaker's amazing performance as Uganda's Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (wow)
  • helping Jerram move what seemed like 300 plants into his house
  • making S'mores with the girls at a (wet) bonfire for seminary families
  • attending the Friends & Family Concert put on by the St. Louis Children's Choirs (our oldest two are "Music Makers")
  • teaching at Wildwood (we're halfway through 1 Kings now) and at Memorial (it's going to be nice to have a break this Sunday)
  • falling behind in most of the reading for my own classes
  • and watching the Cardinals get into (and win Game 1 of) the World Series

Sorry I'm good for little more than a list or two these past couple of posts, but at least this one came with a picture.

Hope

In Humanity, Pop Culture on October 19, 2006 at 2:00 am

In the midst of midterms, I had the thought today that there were enough things, ideas, projects, opportunities, and pursuits swirling around me for which I have very specific and deep hopes. And, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to record some of them. I'm not sure how interesting this may be, but you're welcome to add your own list of hopes to mine.

By God's grace,

  • I have hope (though there's not much left after tonight's loss) that the Cardinals can pull out the NLCS to get into the World Series. That would be fun and cool for the girls and me, as they are getting into baseball more and more with each game we watch or listen to together.
  • I have hope for Memorial as well as Covenant's Student Council (of which I'm an elected "middler representative"), that my efforts to help others lead will free them from a lack of confidence and conviction in their leadership.
  • I have hope for our family (both immediate and extended), that what I'm learning in my Marriage and Family Counseling class will enable me to be just a little better member of both.
  • I have hope for my girls, that they would somehow grow up with an unbelievable amount of security and a minimal amount of scarring despite the fact that I am their father.
  • I have hope for Megan and me, that we can continue to grow together and let go of any grief we've dealt with in the first almost-ten years of our marriage. It's hardly been tons, but it's been enough.
  • I have hope for another two-and-a-half good years here at Covenant, that we could learn much and apply even more, both now and later.
  • I have hope that we can somehow pay for school (and everything else). I also have hope of somehow paying for four weddings one day, and even more hope that the girls will want to double-up so we'll only have to pay for two.
  • I have hope of a pastoring/teaching role being both available and begging me to fill it. I don't really care where we end up, but I suppose I do secretly hope it's in the Midwest – I like it here.
  • I have hope to keep our family's farm in the family at least through my lifetime.
  • I have hope of graduating from seminary with spunk (and not just a degree).
  • I have hope of one day writing another book…on something.
  • I have hope of being secure if I never do (write another book, that is).
  • I have hope of being in the presence of God forever and not doubting that I belong because of Jesus.
  • I have hope of always having hope.

For those who know me, you know I'm hardly an optimist; I'm more of a pessimistic-idealist.

Enjoy it while you can.

Midterm Time

In Thought on October 18, 2006 at 10:29 am

In case you haven’t figured out by my lack of posts of late reporting on Learner’s seminary experiences, it’s midterm time. When I last asked him for an update, he assured me there’s plenty of good material coming, but it would have to wait due to a few select projects and exams, as well as a stack of papers from others to grade. His semester isn’t particularly overwhelming this fall (3 classes, 10 hours), but he has a few other irons in the fire that seem to have complicated things a bit (more on those later).

In the meantime, I can happily report that in Learner’s rematch with Hebrew, he got the better of his opponent, scoring an 88 on the midterm. Twenty-eight points improvement from the summer did his heart good, and he’s enjoying the language (and working at it as well) much more than he did in the summer. He knows it’s going to get harder and more complex as he goes, but at least he’s got an anchor point of a respectable score to work from now.

(Mid-) October Update from the Dunhams

In Internet on October 17, 2006 at 2:00 am

Last week in Covenant's library, I "supervised" six of my 16 Wildwood high school students researching topics for the five-page paper I assigned them in the Bible class I teach. The paper is rather involved for high school students (you can read the assignment here), and some of them were feeling overwhelmed at the idea of explaining "why Deuteronomy matters."

As I sat in the library watching them struggle to decide which thick books to quote (and why), I remembered being so concerned about doing a good job writing my own first paper last fall. However, as my professors did then (and as I remind my students now), the goal of studying the Bible is not to make good grades, but to love God and live in his grace, helping others do the same. It was a good reminder for them…and for me.

When it comes to balancing the academic work of seminary with the intention of it, I can't say I perfectly practice everything I preach. However, I've done away trying to suppress the tension between the two, as it keeps me honest in pursuing both my studies and my sanctification. I'm reminded of what Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 4:1:

"Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you.
Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you."

This is just one reason (among many, many more) "why Deuteronomy matters" to me.

In other news, though I've had the page updated for a couple of weeks now, I'm a little late in letting folks know about our October update. If you'd be so kind as to click here, you'll find:

  • brief updates on our academic, ministry, and family endeavors
  • an important update on our financial status (it's fine, but not great – please read)
  • our monthly calendar for October (or what's left of it)

And, as always, check out our latest pictures at Flickr (note: if you aren’t a "Flickr friend," email Megan as she handles the invites for that).

Finally, if you get the chance and can take the time, leave a comment and say hello. I always enjoy hearing from you and reading your own updates/links if you'd care to share them.

Put Me in, Coach, I’m Ready to Play

In Sports on October 14, 2006 at 4:18 pm

pitching.jpg

In case you mistook it from Friday night’s television broadcast of the Cards beating the Mets, the picture above is from a trip to the farm back in July (the corn in the background probably gave it away – not much of that at Shea Stadium).

I used to pitch in high school (going 6-3 my freshman year for the varsity Tornadoes), and played shortstop or third base when I wasn’t pitching. I didn’t throw particularly hard (maybe in the upper 60s at best), but I had a good curveball and could throw it for a strike or make hitters chase it out of the strike zone if they were guessing wrong (which I always loved).

In general, I was a decent fielder on the infield, but could sometimes get a little wild throwing across the diamond to first if I was deep in the hole at short or charging a ball up the line from third. Maybe that’s why I always preferred the mound – I felt most in control of things there (even when my pitches may not have been…in control, that is).

Offensively, I always batted second in the line-up as my inside-out swing and (usually) consistent contact made for good hit-and-run success as I hit to right-center a lot. My batting average was in the low .300s, and my on-base average was above .500 (almost .600 my senior year, .598 to be exact).

As a team, we played .500 ball, but not much more. And, if memory serves, we never made it out of the regional. Still, those were good times, and to this day I remember certain games (and even particular at-bats and great plays) that bring a smile to my face.

While I experienced a fair amount of success in my sports days, I always felt like I understood the games (baseball and basketball) better than I played them. I knew what needed to be done in just about any given situation; I just never had the pure, raw ability to get it done myself.

Perhaps this is why I find myself increasingly talking to the television as to which pitches need to be made, when the hit-and-run needs to be on, and why Jeff Weaver should have never been in Game 1 against the Mets long enough to give up that two-run homer to Carlos Beltran. I know I was never good enough for the big leagues, but that’s what makes for a really good armchair coach, right?

Last night, as we were watching the game, our oldest asked if I realized I was talking to myself. Somewhat embarrassed (and with my wife holding back a laugh), I acknowledged that, indeed, I did; I was just waiting to see if anyone was listening.

Marrying (or Divorcing?) for Love

In Humanity, Marriage on October 13, 2006 at 2:00 am

More interesting reading on marriage, this time from Counseling and Therapy for Couples (2nd edition) by Lynn L. Long and Mark E. Young. This textbook was written by two college professors on "couples" counseling, not "marriage" counseling, as "the old standby term, 'marriage counseling,' is fast fading from the therapist's lexicon because, today, many people who are in couples are not legally married." (xix)

So far, the best part about the book has been its comprehensive history, definitions of key terms, premises, problems, and methods and techniques that comprise theories of couples therapy. Those theories (as addressed in chapters two and three) are:

  • behavior therapy
  • object relations therapy and Bowen theory
  • structural and strategic therapy
  • solution-focused therapy
  • narrative therapy and emotionally-focused couples therapy

While more technical than some of my other reading assignments, this book has been a good read, especially as a primer of understanding a basic history of psychology that somehow I never took seriously in college (something about experiments with mice and rats and not knowing why any of this mattered to my then 19-year-old self).

However, with a little more of life under my belt (including almost ten years of marriage), if I ever got kicked out of my Masters of Divinity program for not quite "mastering divinity," I think I'd give some kind of counseling/psychology endeavor a try. In a word, it's fascinating.

More an observation than a hypothesis, this quote from Long and Young was interesting:

"Althought divorce was unusual in the United States in past generations, life expectancy for both sexes was shorter than it is today. ''Til death do us part' was not as big a commitment in early 1900s as it is today. As life expectancy increased and societal expectations shifted, a new mode of marriage emerged based on intimacy, companionship, and cooperation, rather than solely on duty and responsibility."

The authors go on to speak of how "equality and choice are central tenets of modern marriage; with the freedom of choice in mate selection, friendship, love, and passion emerged as powerful ingredients in couple formation." (9) In other words, the idea of "marrying for love" has, in the past 100 years, been the motivation for tying the nuptial knot, and "this change reflects a basic change in society over the century. The women's movement, economic stress, childbearing at a later age, and increased career opportunities have influenced people's choices about when and how to become a couple." (10)

None of this may seem particularly earth-shattering in terms of new thinking about marriage, but I would argue that the emphasis on love and and passion of the past 100 years has certainly informed evangelical Christianity's take on marriage. Granted, we (hopefully) stress the ideas of life-long commitment and loyalty to our spouse, but the "marrying for love" theme sure seems more prevalent in current books, online matching services, and marriage seminars and retreats.

Sadly, the result seems to be the infamously-equal divorce rate (now somewhere between 50% and 65%, depending on who you talk to/read) that we share with the rest of the world.

What a Difference 31 Years Makes

In Young Ones on October 10, 2006 at 9:16 am

From a discussion with my four-year-old this morning:

Daddy: “So what’s on your schedule today?”

Four-year-old (quite happily): “Blah, blah, blah. That’s what’s on my schedule today.”

Ah, to be four again…

What a Difference 31 Years Makes

In Young Ones on October 10, 2006 at 2:00 am

From a discussion with my four-year-old this morning:

Daddy: "So what's on your schedule today?"

Four-year-old (quite happily): "Blah, blah, blah. That's what's on my schedule today."

Ah, to be four again…

Rematch

In Thought on October 9, 2006 at 11:33 am

Today at 12:30, Learner faces his nemesis from the summer: the Hebrew mid-term. He tried to transliterate what payback was, but while sharper than its ever been, his vocab is still limited.

Weekend Links

In Pop Culture, Thought on October 7, 2006 at 2:00 am

Here are a few weekend links you might find engaging:

I'm knee-deep in Hebrew until Monday's mid-term, though I'll probably take a break to watch/listen to the Cardinals at noon today. We've got a marriage dinner at Memorial tonight as well, so it won't just be me, my vocab cards, and my Hebrew grammar all day long (though it needs to be that way for a large part of it). Oh, and I'm teaching on Law tomorrow morning, so I should probably finish that up (if you're interested, class starts at 9:40, with worship at 10:45).

Leaving, Cleaving

In Humanity, Marriage on October 6, 2006 at 2:00 am

I (very) briefly researched the topic of twenty-somethings and whether, when, and how they tend to leave or cleave in marriage, as living at home and marrying later seems all the rage among twenty- and even thirty-somethings in our 21st century American culture.

From my own observation, it seems 30 is the new 20. Traditional expectations that a person will seek and experience an increasing degree of independence (physically, emotionally, financially) from his or her parents and “leave and cleave” to another similarly-aged person in marriage in one’s early-to-mid twenties have greatly shifted to one’s mid-to-late twenties and even beyond.

It’s as if adolescence (defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as “the period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult” ) has been put on hold…or at least stretched a great deal from its normally-thought-of parameters.

Part of this stretching of adolescence (itself a non-existent delineation before the twentieth century) stems from not treating young adults as, well, adults. According to a 2003 study by the National Opinion Research Center, most Americans today don't consider a person an adult until age 26, or until she or he has finished school, landed a full-time job, and begun to raise a family.

This phenomenon leads to (or is it the result of?) what researcher Pamela Paul calls “permaparenting,” the most blatant manifestation of which is the phenomenon of boomerang kids. According to the 2000 census, 4 million people between the ages of 25 and 34 live with their folks. And yet, as Francis K. Goldscheider writes:

“Much of the research literature views nest leaving by young adults primarily as a normal life course transition. In particular, early departure from the parental home long before marriage has been treated as a beneficial response to the long-term growth in economic resources-a response that increases privacy for adjacent generations. The link between being an adult and residential independence has reinforced the sense that anything that speeds the process is beneficial. Even as a response to problematic relationships that result from changes in family structure, young people's early leaving has been interpreted as the result of the earlier development of ‘a sense of self as separate from family, thus making it easier for children to initiate the transition to independence.’”

If twenty- and even thirty-year-olds are still living with their parents, odds are they’re not getting married and learning to leave and cleave in marriage. And if they’re not getting married and learning to leave and cleave in marriage, odds are they’re missing one of the better and effective means of God’s sanctification for them.

Possibly In Need of a Little Persecution?

In Church, Theologians on October 4, 2006 at 9:12 pm

As part of my Pastoral and General Epistles class with Dr. Dan Doriani, I’m studying the book of Hebrews, which essentially means doing some Greek translation, following along in the lecture notes, and reading William Lane’s excellent commentary, Hebrews: A Call to Commitment. Lane does an amazing job of analyzing and understanding the structure and ideas of the author of Hebrews (possibly Luke or Barnabas, or perhaps even Clement, but certainly not Paul – the Greek’s too different), and Dr. D. is top-notch as a New Testament scholar/teacher.

Hebrews was written as a sermon, not as a letter (though it probably was passed around later as such) to a group of Christians in Rome around the time of Nero’s persecution of Christians in 64 A.D.; thus, the particular style and surrounding events give the book a personal, urgent flavor that is fascinating from both a theological and pastoral perspective.

Here are a few choice highlights from Lane:

“The ‘adult’ is the mature Christian who will recognize the moral claim of God upon his life, even if it exposes him to martyrdom. Those who remain infantile and who refuse to exercise their faculties daily by making decisions in a Christian manner will be unable to exercise the proper moral discrimination between good and evil when they stand before the interrogation of a Roman magistrate. In that case, they will be unprepared for the ultimate moral choice between confessing and denying Christ, when the cost of confession and identification with Christ is the loss of one’s life.” (89)

“Pastoral concern for his friends is evident in every line…The writer makes use of biting irony, confident assurance, sharp warning, and warm encouragement to coax the community into recgonizing that they cannot turn back the clock and deny the reality fo the salvation they have experienced.” (100)

“Christ came into the world in order to model committed obedience to the will of God. As the obedient one, he came to do the will of God. The sacrifice of his body on the Cross was the obedient response to the divine will, and this sacrifice secured for his people the benefits of the new covenant…We prove that we are the new people of God precisely as the obedience which Christ displayed when he entered the world becomes the hallmark of our lives.” (143)

“The formulation used by the preacher to express the pilgrim’s disposition is descriptive of an active seeking: ‘we seek after the city which is to come’ (Hebrews 13:14). Here is the litmus test of spirituality: are you actively looking forward to the appeearance of the City of God? What do you care about profoundly? What do you think about when you are caught day-dreaming? Do you display a pilgrim’s dispostion, actively seeking the City of God?” (161)

All that to say, one of the reasons that I (along with most of the American evangelical church) really don’t understand the depth of Hebrews is not because the message is unclear; rather, we have not experienced the kind of hostility Jesus (and those to whom Hebrews was written) did.

To understand the will of God to the same (or at least similar) degree, I wonder if we are possibly in need of a little persecution? I’m not saying I’m asking for it, but I do wonder sometimes: if it came, how would I/we respond? Obviously, this is what the Church in China, North Korea, and other such places of tyranny could teach us, as I bet they understand Hebrews a lot better than I do, not because they choose to, but because they have to as Christians.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:1-4)

Nope. Sure haven’t. How about you?

New Header

In Internet on October 3, 2006 at 11:55 am

Special thanks to friend Kent Needler for customizing a header for Second Drafts. Kent’s original idea included two beer mugs floating around. I had to convince him books were better.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In Places & Spaces, Sports on October 3, 2006 at 7:19 am

I know, I know…too many baseball posts of late. But it’s hard not to get excited, especially since we live in a city that will play host to some of the games later in the month (hopefully way later in the month). Granted, if I were a betting man (which I’m not), I probably wouldn’t put many chips on our chances (same old story: pitching wins the World Series, and we don’t have much), but you never know in baseball’s “second season” – anything can happen.

Maybe it’s because October is my favorite month or it’s just the weather changing, but I love this time of year – with or without the playoffs (and even the World Series). The colors are beginning to appear, another bountiful harvest is taking place on our family farm, and people everywhere tend to enjoy the transition from summer to autumn. It’s just a great time.

The beauty of it all, of course, is it’s just better with baseball. One October several years ago, Megan and I watched nearly every playoff and World Series game Fox broadcasted. She always had some project she was working on; I was recovering from a long day at the Glen. We ate lots of popcorn, drank lots of Coke, and cheered both for and against the Yankees (let’s be honest: you can’t really love baseball and hate the Yanks – just something about those pin stripes…).

As it was last year, this October is going to be tricky for us to watch for a couple of reasons: one, we’re too cheap for cable, so we don’t get ESPN at all, and only get a fuzzy Fox in our basement apartment; and two, it’s not like we don’t have other responsibilities (studying, teaching, parenting) we need to attend to during the afternoons and evenings the games are on.

Still, the joy of baseball in October is that, if and when we have a spare moment (and can actually get the channel to come in), odds are there’s going to be a baseball game on, one that a whole lot of people here in St. Louis (as well as throughout the country) are watching closely. Call us nostalgic, but this takes us back to when such shared experiences through one real-time medium made us feel more in touch with others than we sometimes do now.

So here’s the question: Who are you picking to win the pennants and the World Series? Get your predictions in now. And go Cardinals.

New Header

In Internet on October 3, 2006 at 2:00 am

Special thanks to friend Kent Needler for customizing a header for Second Drafts. Kent's original idea included two beer mugs floating around. I had to convince him books were better.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In Places & Spaces, Sports on October 3, 2006 at 2:00 am

I know, I know…too many baseball posts of late. But it's hard not to get excited, especially since we live in a city that will play host to some of the games later in the month (hopefully way later in the month). Granted, if I were a betting man (which I'm not), I probably wouldn't put many chips on our chances (same old story: pitching wins the World Series, and we don't have much), but you never know in baseball's "second season" – anything can happen.

Maybe it's because October is my favorite month or it's just the weather changing, but I love this time of year – with or without the playoffs (and even the World Series). The colors are beginning to appear, another bountiful harvest is taking place on our family farm, and people everywhere tend to enjoy the transition from summer to autumn. It's just a great time.

The beauty of it all, of course, is it's just better with baseball. One October several years ago, Megan and I watched nearly every playoff and World Series game Fox broadcasted. She always had some project she was working on; I was recovering from a long day at the Glen. We ate lots of popcorn, drank lots of Coke, and cheered both for and against the Yankees (let's be honest: you can't really love baseball and hate the Yanks – just something about those pin stripes…).

As it was last year, this October is going to be tricky for us to watch for a couple of reasons: one, we're too cheap for cable, so we don't get ESPN at all, and only get a fuzzy Fox in our basement apartment; and two, it's not like we don't have other responsibilities (studying, teaching, parenting) we need to attend to during the afternoons and evenings the games are on.

Still, the joy of baseball in October is that, if and when we have a spare moment (and can actually get the channel to come in), odds are there's going to be a baseball game on, one that a whole lot of people here in St. Louis (as well as throughout the country) are watching closely. Call us nostalgic, but this takes us back to when such shared experiences through one real-time medium made us feel more in touch with others than we sometimes do now.

So here's the question: Who are you picking to win the pennants and the World Series? Get your predictions in now. And go Cardinals.