Targeting and Common Sense

29 09 2017

I have a strange way of looking at everything from a safety perspective. What can I say…I’m a forty-year veteran of professional safety? Well, this may be contrary to my creed but, I’ll go on record as saying I hate the targeting rule. Actually, it isn’t the rule I hate so much as it is its uncompromising, inflexible application. I would bet there are football officials who hate, under some circumstances, calling the penalty and ejecting a player. Case in point.  

 

C’mom, give me a break!

I was watching the NC State/Florida State game last Saturday, and NC State ran a reverse pass play. Just as the NC State player released the ball, a Florida State defender charged toward him with his arms reaching upward in an effort to block the pass. As he came down, his right arm hit the passer on the helmet. Play was stopped. Police were called. The K-9 units descended on the scene. The NCIS squad began shooting photos and gathering evidence in an effort to determine if, in fact, this Seminole bully was guilty of a crime. By the time the boys in the booth got through running and re-running the video evidence, the answer came down from that mysterious referee in the sky- that one we never get to see- and, suddenly, there was another victim of the targeting rule on his way to an early shower.

 

Now, ordinarily, I might stand and cheer over the fact that one of the opposition had been removed from the game; but, instead, I found myself thinking what a lousy turn of events. The guy’s arm accidentally hit the helmet of the opposing player. He didn’t swing at him. He didn’t take any violent action in an attempt to injure the player. In fact, he would be the one most likely to sustain an injury. A forearm against a football helmet is usually going to come out on the short end of that stick. But, because of the way the play transpired, it fell within the description of the rule and, according to rules, the player was thrown out of the game.

 

In a similar incident last week (I forget the game), one player dove in to tackle the ball carrier. His trajectory was taking him toward a collision with the thighs of the ball carrier but the ball carrier was hit from behind by another defender. As the ball carrier went to the ground, instead of hitting him in the legs, the defender’s helmet, through no fault of his own, hit the ball carrier’s helmet. Everything happened so quickly, there was no way the defender had time to stop, or alter his direction, to avoid the helmet-to-helmet contact. But the rule doesn’t allow for that, so again, officials followed the rule and the player was ejected.

 

Whatever happened to good ‘ole common sense?

The rule is good. It is necessary. The game has gotten more violent as players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. But, it’s like the 6-year-old first grader who points his finger at a classmate and then is suspended from school for three days because of the school’s no-tolerance gun policy. Those in charge need to have the ability to use a little common sense and apply the rule when neededsay, when a child actually brings his mom’s gun to school for show-and-tell. Yes, I realize there are a few libtards out there who would be so anti-gun they would forego common sense in favor of personal politics and find this child’s suspension to be warranted. But it would still, in most cases, give the child a fighting chance.

 

Football gear is a perfect example of the Peltzman Effect in action.

 

A University of Chicago economics professor by the name of Sam Peltzman, theorized back in 1975 that people would be more likely to increase risky behavior if required to follow a safety rule or, in this case, wear protective equipment. A chemist, for example, would be much more cautious while pouring hydrofluoric acid if they had no eye or skin protection. However, if wearing gloves, chemical goggles, face shield, and an apron, they may be a little less cautious.

 

The Fearless Gladiator

You put 200 pounds of testosterone in full football gear and he’s afraid of nothing. I remember when I was issued my first football uniform. I was about 10 years old and playing for the Maplewood Midgets. Don’t get your butt on your shoulders. The term simply referred to a football league comprised of little boys. Anyway, I got home and put on my shoulder pads and helmet and started running into everything in the house. I don’t believe we ever did fix that hole in the wall-just moved a chair in front of it. Well, I remember, too, a game in which I was called for spearing. Spearing is when a defensive player leads with the crown of the helmet to make a tackle. I just dove into the pile of little guys head-first and unafraid. I never would have done that without a helmet.

 

I’m not saying let’s go back to leather helmets and the game will be safer. What I am saying is, let’s be a little more flexible and use a little common sense when it comes to applying the targeting rule. If the playback shows no intention then lay off. No harm-no foul.

 

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Hell: The Real Eternal Flame

24 09 2017

Have you ever loved someone with such deep passion that when you try to express your love, you feel “I love you” simply isn’t enough? You search the data banks storing your vocabulary and feel exasperated because you can’t come up with any words adequate to convey the level of your love. It seems the words just don’t exist.

 

Or, you go on a trip to Pago-Pago and shoot a picture of a big orange sun setting between two palm trees-the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen. Then, upon returning home, you share the picture with friends and feel disappointment because you realize the picture comes nowhere near your real life experience that you wanted to share.

 

This is the best way I know to describe hell-that is, there are no words that can accurately describe the reality or the horror of hell.

 

First, we must realize that hell is a real place. Hell isn’t like the planet Krypton, the Land of Oz, or any other fictitious location. It’s as real as New York City or Davenport, Iowa. It isn’t some New Age notion that exists only in the cosmos or the mind of the progressive thinker. It is a real and living geographic location with a very wide gate. It’s the future home of Satan and all non-believers.

 

Scripture tells us hell is in the earth. Psalm 55:15 says, Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. Ezekiel 31:16 says, I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. And, finally, at Matthew 12:40, Jesus said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

 

Villarrica

In 1990, I was blessed to be a part of a six-man team that spent two weeks in Pucon, Chile building a church. The church was within about five miles of Villarrica, an active volcano. At night, we could clearly see the red glow from the molten lava lake inside. The temperature of the lava was probably in the range of 2,000 to 2,400 degrees. If one were to fall into the lava, they would probably die before ever hitting the surface, and then be immediately consumed. But, imagine falling into lava and not dying-just feeling the burn. Forever. And ever.

 

In Luke 16, Jesus spoke of the horrors of Hell. Hell is a place of torment in which its inhabitants, those who reject Christ, will burn forever in a fiery furnace. It is estimated the temperature at the center of the earth is around 12,000˚F. Imagine living in such an environment without death; with no relief from the pain.  It is worse than anything you and I can imagine. Relentless suffering. In other words, there are no words I can find to give accurate description of the horror millions of non-believers will experience for all eternity.

The Lake of Fire: Future Home to Non-Believers

It‘s easy to go through life-giving little, if any, thought to the reality of heaven or hell. Sadly, millions will do just that. Life is about choices. Don’t make the wrong choice and reject the Savior. I promise, you will regret it.





Felix the Mouse

8 07 2017

My employer leases the entire second floor of our building. According to the building management’s janitorial staff, our downstairs neighbors are slobs who have so much food lying around the office it looks like the aftermath of a dormitory food fight. So, it was just a matter of time before we began to see signs of mice infestation.

 

Way back on March 29th, while working at my desk, I had a sudden hankering for something sweet-a piece of chocolate would be perfect. So, I walked to the kitchen at my office to see what was in the community snack basket. Only the day before, it had been filled with miniature Kit Kats, miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Tootsie Rolls. To my dismay, I looked inside and saw all the way to the bottom. But, I was in luck-there were two miniature peanut butter cups left. But then, I noticed the peanut butter cups weren’t the only prizes inside the basket. Whoa! There were more mouse droppings than peanut butter cups down there. I suddenly lost my craving for sugar and decided to take a pass on the peanut butter cups.

 

The very next day, I came into the office, opened my desk drawer and saw the unmistakable evidence of a mouse. I had a pack of Toasty crackers with peanut butter in my desk and the little varmint had chewed into the package and eaten half a cracker. He had also pulled about half the tissues out of a new box of Kleenex. There was also about a half-pound of mouse poop inside my desk drawer-he must have been eating someone else’s crackers, too. And he hadn’t been in only the one drawer; he had been in every drawer-he left a trail of black “rice” in every drawer. There was enough poop to fertilize a corn field. How on earth can something so small put out so much crap?

 

So, they called the exterminator, who came in and left several traps scattered around the building-6 in my office alone. But in spite of all the traps, he continued to frequent my office. He would come in, crap on top of the traps and make the rounds. And although mine isn’t the only office he would visit, it did seem to be his favorite.

 

This cat and mouse game-no pun intended-went on for several weeks so I finally decided to give him a name.

Such a neat-nik

At first, I named him Jerome (Jerry for short), but after considerable thought and studying one of the pictures, I decided Felix (of Odd Couple fame) would be more appropriate. In one picture, he had opened and eaten half a chocolate chip cookie. I noticed he moved all the wrappings to one side, away from where he was chowing down.

 

Well, I got tired of coming into the office only to find empty traps. I especially got tired of having to dump my desk drawers so I could wipe everything down with Clorox wipes. I decided to take matters in my own hands.

 

I took one of the traps set out by the exterminator, baited it with crackers and Chips Ahoy cookies and then placed it in his favorite drawer. The first morning after setting the trap- nothing. But the cookies were too much for him to resist. On day three, I came into my office, opened the drawer and tally ho! I got the little critter!

 

So, they called the exterminator to come and get their trap along with its contents. Thank goodness for the long holiday weekend. It’s given me time to adjust to life without Felix. The adventure ends.

Got ’em!!

 

He’s much larger when I tell the story





Boys: Precious Little Demons

2 07 2017

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of!”

 

Many people have tried, over the years, to explain the meaning of the opening lines of this nursery rhyme. After all, what the heck is a snip? Well, suffice it to say, without any attempt at detailed explanations, it simply refers to the rambunctious nature of the typical little boy. He’s always into something. If not climbing on top of the stove, he’s putting butter on the dog. If not filling his pockets with worms and rocks to take home, he’s flushing toys down the toilet. He’s positively lovable but far from sugar and spice.

 

Now, that said, let me introduce you to my grandson, Cody. Cody just turned two this week so, of course, he’s going through the terrible twos. No, he isn’t just going through the terrible twos; he got a jump on the terrible twos and has been practicing for 6 months now. I think it’s fair to say, he has perfected the terrible twos.

 

But, Cody is the quintessential little boy. He is the kind of child whom you cannot, in fact, you had better not, turn your back on because he spends each waking moment practicing his craft of being a boy.

 

So, when Cody began making routine, unescorted trips up the stairs, my son and daughter-in-law put a child gate across the opening to the stairs. The other day, my son heard Cody call out for him. So, he went to see what mischief Cody had gotten into. It seems Cody was having a hard time negotiating the stair landing from outside the rails. As for me, granddaddy expected no less.

 

God called David a man after His own heart. Well, Cody, like all three of my sons, is my David.

So, pops, how much did you pay for that gate?





Char-Broil: The Bonnie and Clyde of Grilldom

28 06 2017

Okay. You’re shopping for a new grill and after an hour of checking out what’s available, you have it narrowed down to two. Then you notice a huge sticker glued to the top of one of your two finalists.

“MANUFACTUR’S WARRANTY:

Ø  99 YEARS-STAINLESS STEEL PARTS REPLACEMENT

Ø  FREE BURNER REPLACEMENT FOR AS LONG AS YOU OWN YOUR GRILL

Ø  10 YEARS-ELECTRONIC IGNITION

Ø  2 YEARS-ALL REMAINING COMPONENTS

MODEL 463242304”

I don’t know about you, but I interpret that to mean if I buy this grill, Char-Broil will replace stainless steel parts for 99 years and burners for as long as I own the grill. Now, that’s a great warranty. In fact, it was the warranty that made the choice an easy one.

 

Now, you get your new grill home, get out your tools and remove everything from its huge cardboard

Char-Broil Customer Support

container, including the manual which is still sealed inside a plastic bag. Finally, having completed the assembly of your new toy, you can relax and read the warranty. No. Of course you don’t read the warranty. Heck, you barely read the assembly instructions. Besides, why read the warranty? You already read it. What more could it say that wasn’t plastered all over the grill top on that sticker?

 

That was back in 2003. Every two or three years since, as my burners and stainless steel flame tamers needed replacing, I contacted Char-Broil, told them what I needed and paid them for shipping.

 

Recently, I called Char-Broil Customer Support to order replacement burners and flame tamers. I was told they would not be covered under warranty because I had exceeded the original price of the grill in free replacement parts. Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. After a brief, but calm protest, I was directed to the warranty printed inside the owner’s manual, which I still have…you know, the one that was sealed up inside the plastic bag and hiding inside the grill neatly packed in the large cardboard box that took two men and a Towmotor to get to the deck.

 

Char-Broil Director of Marketing

I took my protest to a higher level and spoke with a supervisor. He told me to send pictures of the grill, both inside and out, the burners and flame tamers and the sticker with the fake warranty. A few days later, I got their response. Char-Broil had denied my request but would offer me a discount on the parts. Well, I don’t see that happening because I’ll spend a thousand dollars on a new grill before I’ll spend another dime at Char-Broil.

 

The marketing gurus and legal team at Char-Broil know that few people will read the warranty, especially after they have plastered fake warranty information on a 12 by 17 inch sticker on the top of the display model. I believe there’s a name for that. It’s called bait and switch and I believe that’s illegal.  At best, it’s deceptive advertising. No, let me rephrase that…it’s lying. Of course, they blamed me for not reading the warranty inside the manual which was not available to me when I made the purchase. But any way you cut it, Char-Broil lied.

 

So, what’s the point of this minor diatribe? Just to warn anyone who reads it to be very careful when considering a made-in-China Char-Broil product. You may not get what you think.

 

 





Finally- April Gives Birth!

23 04 2017

Will this kid ever come?!

I got up last Saturday, turned on Fox News, and they were talking about April, the eternally pregnant giraffe, going into labor. I knew, for some strange reason, my wife would want to see this since she, like so many other women, had been glued to her iPad in anticipation of seeing the little booger hit the ground. So, I woke her up. Now before you call me sexist, I know men have been watching it too; but, polls show the female watchers outnumber males by 1500-1.

 

By the time she got up and got tuned in, a foot was sticking out. Then April paced around for another couple of hours or so before, PLOP, there it is.

 

“Oh, look at this!” she said with the excitement of scratching off the winning numbers on a lottery ticket. One would have thought we had just had another grandchild. “There’s the placenta,” she went on.

 

I looked at this little guy, a slime-covered, gangly legged, pile of giraffe sitting in the sand, his head bobbing around like a bobble head on the dashboard as if to be thinking, what the heck just happened? Then something occurred to me.

 

Now, as I understand, this wasn’t April’s first trip down baby lane. But what was it like the first time? I mean, when those two feet popped out from her backside, she probably thought, oh well, here I go again. But what went through her mind the first time she got pregnant and wasn’t familiar with the experience?

 

With baby number one, in similar fashion, when that first foot popped out, her first thought was probably, Not now, Oliver. I have a headache. Then, upon realizing Oliver was nowhere around, she probably looked rearward and saw that foot sticking out and thought, Whoa! What the heck is that?

 

Mama’s baby

It’s amazing how God gave mothers of any ilk the instinct to know what to do when they have babies. When his

face hit the sand, April jumped right in there and began cleaning up her baby. What was really cool was later, watching an extremely agitated April in the adjacent stall, when one of the zoo workers went in to do whatever zoo workers do to newborn giraffes. She wanted desperately to get to her baby to protect him from the intruder.  Maybe that’s it. I don’t care if you are a woman, a dachshund, or a long-neck giraffe; all mothers have one thing in common-a nurturing and protective instinct. That same instinct goes back to mama one. It was something she was born with and not something that evolved. That’s the common bond women share and what draws millions of women to computer screens to watch even a four-legged animal join the bonds of motherhood.

 





Dying to Lose Weight

28 02 2017

Have you seen the ad on TV for Contrave? This is a prescription weight loss medication which, according to the Contrave web site, is “Believed to work on 2 areas of the brain to reduce hunger and help control cravings.” Wait a minute you mean you aren’t sure? Supposedly, taking this medication helps to reduce hunger and cravings so one eats less. Hey, I can pop a couple of Tootsie Rolls just before dinner and accomplish the same thing.

 

I usually tune these types of commercials out, or run through them on my DVR; but, this one caught my attention and made me wonder just how desperate one might need to be to take this medication.

 

According to the ad, possible side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Risk of opioid overdose
  • Sudden opioid withdrawal
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Increase in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Liver damage or hepatitis
  • Manic  episodes
  • Visual problems

Most common side effects include:

o   nausea

o   constipation

o   headache

o   vomiting

o   dizziness

o   trouble sleeping

o   dry mouth

o   diarrhea

And, if that isn’t enough, it goes on to say, “These are not all the possible side effects of CONTRAVE.” My goodness, what’s left that could happen to a body?

 

This ad gives me pause to question both the competency and integrity of the FDA. I can just see a user of Contrave standing around after church speaking with friends.

 

“Oh, girl, I haven’t slept in two weeks, can’t keep anything down, this rash is driving me crazy and my doctor tells me I need a new liver. But, have you noticed how much thinner I am?”

 

I understand that many people desire to lose weight; and, also, a good many people need, for medical reasons, to lose weight; but, my heart goes out to anyone whose desire, or need, to be smaller is so great they would resort to a medication such as Contrave. Sounds a lot to me like Russian Roulette. Pull the trigger and see what happens.