First (Real) Snow of the Winter

Got our first snow of the season here in Norfolk Monday night. Didn’t venture out, just a few shots from the window.

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And Tuesday morning:

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I got to hand it to The Tide maintenance crew. They were out early Tuesday clearing the tracks and platform so commuters wouldn’t skip a beat. Also to the good folks at Harris Teeter on Colonial Ave. They did the amazing feat of opening up all checkout lanes to assist shoppers trying to get home Monday night.

That moment when you over think it, and everything falls apart

It’s been over 36 hours, but I’m still in disbelief.

By now you’ve probably heard that the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX by defeating the Seattle Seahawks, 28 to 24.  Much of the game was pretty ho-hum, until the final 3 minutes.  The Patriots took the lead on a go ahead touchdown, leaving the Seahawks a little over two minutes to orchestrate their own comeback.

Seattle by luck, skill, serendipity, or whatever you want to call it managed to get to the Patriots 1-yard line, with a little over a minute to go, and a time out.  All the Seahawks had to do was travel 3 feet, breaking the plane of the end zone, and the likelihood of them winning a second Superbowl in as many years was all but secured.

But that’s not what happened.

There’s a debate raging about who is to blame for what occurred next.  What is certain is that the worst play call in Super Bowl history (and probably NFL history, given the gravity of the situation)  ensued.  Instead of handing the ball off to their All-Pro “Beast Mode” Running Back (Marshawn Lynch) who was having his way with the Patriots defense, the Seahawks decided to attempt a pass play.

From the 1-yard line.

With less than a minute to go.

In the Super Bowl.

Patriots Corner Back Malcolm Butler jumped the route and intercepted the pass.

Game over.

I was speechless.  Why?  Why would the Seahawks decide to do such a foolish thing?  Anyone familiar with pro football knows as the field get shorter, the difficulty of completing passes increases exponentially.  There was no reason to take such a risk.

Over the past day and half, I’ve tossed this dilemma back and forth in my head.  I’m not a fan of either team (go Giants!) but I was mortified by the events that took place on Sunday.  All the hard work, training, preparation, and luck it takes to make it to the biggest game on the biggest stage, and it evaporated just like that.

I’ve been where the Seahawks were on Sunday Night before.  The obvious solution is staring you in the face, but you think you’re too cleaver.  You’re trying to cover all the angles, attempting to solve “a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma“.  But often times in life, things are as straightforward as they seem.  There are no angles, no catches, no provisions, just action.

It takes a lot of courage and self-awareness to make the obvious choice.  There’s a sense of humility and surrender in doing the logical thing in the moment.  Our hearts may tempt us to do the grandiose, over the top; kind of like an in your face to everyone who ever doubted you.  I know, I’ve been there.  It feels good initially, but then better judgement washes over you.

Wisdom has taught me, keep it simple son.

Our Obsession with Zombies

A few years ago it was Vampires.  That’s not completely out, but today it’s definitely all about the undead.  Everywhere you look, they’re there.  Movies, TV, Video Games, even cartoons for the kiddies (what’s up with Monster’s U though?).  We can’t get enough of Zombies, and there appears to be no sign of it slowing down.

Most people will say it’s harmless fun.  Other’s will simply ignore it and wait for the next societal infatuation to sweep over us.  But wherever you are on the Zombie spectrum, the phenomenon has lead me to think about why it has struck such a cord with so many.

Mankind inherently understands the concepts of good an evil.  No matter where you are from, what culture or society you were raised in, all humans know the difference between what is right, and what is wrong.  It’s what separates us from animals, the ability to reason and make judgments based on our circumstances and surrounding environment.  As we’ve gotten more “civilized” and “enlightened” as a people, the clear cut definitions of right and wrong have become hazy.  Is it right that I have the ability to run my children’s bath water for 5 minutes until it gets to the perfect temperature, or purchase a ridiculously inexpensive toy made by modern day slave labor?  Is it right that Geo-Political forces destabilize the governments of most of the World’s poor and disenfranchised, while the “developed” world lives relative stable and free lives?

But there’s no interpretation or rationalization needed when it comes to Zombies.  They are universally evil creatures with one purpose: predation.  It doesn’t matter who the Zombies were or what walk of life they possessed before they turned.  Once they transformed, anyone who is not like them becomes their enemy.  Zombies are relentless in their pursuit of their prey; anyone still living.  It’s no accident that virtually all Zombie premises take place in a post-apocalyptic world.  It is our presumption that all layers of society will have to break down in order for such a thing to occur.

What if that weren’t the case?  What if the resonance of the Zombie end times is due to society’s realization that things in the World are not right, and have not been right for quite sometime?  Maybe people yearn for a time when things were clear again: this is good, that is bad, and our focus wasn’t comfort, wealth accumulation, or success in our vocation?  What would it take for us to see things as they really are.

01.19.15 Quiet Time

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.

One Man’s Trash…

Sometime ago I was disposing of some rubbish in the trash room of my apartment complex. I was taken aback by what I saw:

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No that isn’t a view of my trash room, but that is what I found: a bike. I was taken aback by the fact it was in there, but also that it was in the condition it was in. Besides loose break lines and a little TLC, it looked to be in great shape. I looked around suspiciously, expecting to see a camera crew or that dude from ABC’s What would you do?, but nope nothing.

I quickly disposed of my refuse and walked the bike out of the trash room towards my building. My wife gave me a perplexed look when I entered our apartment. Knowing her thoughts I said, “I obtained this through legal means.” Kay-Kay came running up and said, “Wow a Bike! Can I ride it?” I smiled. “Maybe when you get a little bigger.”

I took the bike to a shop near my job and had them asses the necessary repairs. The shop worker estimated no more than $75 worth of work. I was pumped. I had been thinking of a way to get some more exercise, and wanted to purchase a bike anyway. I just didn’t know what type of bike or how much I should invest, so what better than a free tester.

Thank you Bike Fairy!