Friday, July 29, 2022

Contempt For The Masses

Like many movies I have viewed, "The American President" provides me with a real love / hate dilemma. I really enjoy the historical reverence for the White House, the melodic and emotionally riveting soundtrack, the spot-on acting, and the witty dialogue. But one of the reasons I have a bitter aftertaste with this piece of art, is the continual reminder throughout the script that the American voter cannot be trusted to make an informed decision. 

The movie stars a chief executive (Michael Douglas) who is progressive yet practical: he says that gun control is hard to pass because people do not understand the link between guns and gun-related crime. The predictable turn occurs after he falls in love with an environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening), and he has to face an evil senator (Richard Dreyfuss) who is turning the unthinking masses against him by making nasty comments about his new lady friend.

The president’s approval ratings tumble, and the White House staff bemoans the people’s willingness to believe anyone with a microphone. At a climactic moment, the domestic policy adviser (Michael J. Fox) compares Americans to nomads who need a drink of water but get a glass of sand. The president bitterly replies: “They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.” Unbelievably, the American voter is depicted as unable to distinguish between the truth and fiction!

Friday, July 22, 2022

"The Krystal"

If you’re not familiar with the beginnings of Krystal restaurants, they opened their first restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Krystal, like the hundreds of other clones of the day, emulated everything about the White Castle restaurant system. White Castle would make their name in the Midwest and Northeast while Krystal stuck to the South. In the long run, it was a great move which built strong regional loyalty to the Krystal brand.

The Krystal (the original name of Krystal restaurants) was founded in 1932 in Chattanooga. An interesting fact, the first Krystal restaurant was actually built in Chicago and transported to Chattanooga and its new location resided at the corner of 7th and Cherry Street. Their original slogan was, "Take Along A Sack Full". 

Krystal’s first customer was French Jenkins, who spent thirty-five cents on six Krystals (their signature slider) and a cup of coffee. Company lore says that founder Richard Davenport’s wife suggested the name of crystal with a ‘K’ after having seen a crystal ball lawn ornament. Some Krystal’s restaurants still sport a crystal ball on the rooftop.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Reasons I Love Baseball

Based on "The Green Fields of the Mind " by A. Bartlett Giamatti

Baseball breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. 

Somehow, the summer seems to slip by faster with each passing year. (Though this summer of extreme heat may prove to be an anomaly to this trend) Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game's deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio--not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television--and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. (Click HERE to listen to a small sample from Vin Scully, the greatest announcer, in my opinion, in baseball history).

Yet, once again, baseball, our best invention to stay change, initiates change in a major way.

Friday, July 08, 2022

The Power of the Spirit of God

Have you ever asked yourself this question, "How can I experience lasting victory from bad habits?" I know that I have. Sometimes it seems like my habits rule my life instead of the other way around. But I've come to understand that the only way to obtain victory over my sinful choices is a Spirit-filled life, allowing the Spirit of the glorious, triumphant Christ to rule over my submitted will. 

This is a simple truth, but like most things, can become a complicated reality -  understanding the imperative of God's Spirit guiding us and empowering us to live the Christian life. But how do we make this truth a reality in our lives? 

Friday, July 01, 2022

A Boy, His Glove, And His First Game

Is there anything that better illustrates the power of hope than a boy, his glove, and his first baseball game? After his first impression of the diamond, the manicured outfield, the smell of hot dogs, and the ambient sound of the greatest game ever invented, he carefully starts scouting out his environment, his position as related to home plate, the height of those around him, and the direction of the rays of the sun. 

Satisfied that he has processed all of the external variables, he shifts to his own preparation. Tugging on his cap, he wipes the sweat off his palms, and starts mentally building the moment when the ball is heading his way, void of any interference, almost laser-like in its journey to his waiting glove. He hears the sound of the ball landing in his glove, he feels the recoil of his glove as he tightens his hand around his new treasure, scuffed but fresh off the diamond of a real baseball game, with real players, and his dreams start to assemble in clarity like nothing he has experienced before.