Showing posts from 2009

Sports: Monday Sports Roundup

Without question, the biggest sports story has to be the Urban Meyer situation.

Aside from being a sports story of a coach at a highly successful football program at U of Florida, it is a human story of what matters in life.

What would you do?

Would you keep a job you really love but it subtracts from the total number of years you will live and impose health risks during the years you are alive?

Would you choose a high level of success but burn both ends of the candle or less success but have a life closer to "normal?"

In more routine sports stories, last year's Super Bowl champion Steelers still alive in playoff hunt.

Lakers bounce back from being embarrassed by the Cavs on Christmas day.

The PAC10 is 1-2 in bowl games so far. Tomorrow, this Bruin fan will be hoping they come out strong and salvage some pride for UCLA and the Pac10.

Howland's Bruin basketballers took care of business.

Of the seven losses, four (Kansas, Butler, Notre Dame and Mississippi State) were probab…

Devotional Thoughts: foreigners here in reverent fear

Continuing on ...

Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

What jumps out at you?

For me ...

"foreigners here in reverent fear"


"chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times."

I think one of the struggles of living out the Christian faith is finding the healthy tension between recognizing a higher calling (we belong to God) which leads us to be foreigners yet not become isolated from this pres…

Devotional Thoughts: Set your hope fully on the grace to be given

Its Christmas!

Can we get an Advent perspective on this reading from 1 Peter?

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.

When is "when Jesus Christ is revealed?"

At one level, when Jesus came to be born in a manger, he was revealed!

Most didn't notice.

But Jesus will come again ...

Some think this passage describes Jesus return, At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. If so, there will be no missing it!

And so Peter appears to be encouraging us to set our hope on that future event. But suffice to…

Non-profit of the month: December 2009 - The Saban (Los Angeles) Free Clinic

There are 300 million Americans.

If each gave $10 to a local Community Health Clinic that would be ...

$3 billion.

If the Saban (LA) Free Clinic ( which runs on $13.5 million a year is typical...

$3 billion = 222 Community Health Clinics can be funded for 1 year.

While the politicians in Washington DC pick "winners" and "losers" in 2000+ pages of health legislation, we, taking the initiative, could do something to help out that will make a difference.

Please consider giving to your local community health clinic!

Politics: Improving Health Care Delivery

The "trinity" of health care discussion is cost, access and quality.

The hard reality is that you can't have all three to the degree that people want.

So the best we can do is try to maximize each element without breaking the bank and so that is the premise I use to look at the issue before the nation right now.

We should be honest about the size of the problem.

If indeed 46 million are uninsured, we do have a problem. But looked at another way, that means 254 million do have insurance!

Do we tear up the whole system to address the problem?


(1) As much as the MDs might not like it but the bottom line is that more of health care needs to be delivered by well trained non-MD medical professionals.

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As research pushes more medical conditions into the upper right side of this chart, more medical care can be delivered by non-MD medical professionals.

Thus, health care reform must include re-writi…

Politics: Some head shaking details of health care "reform"

The idea of extending health insurance to more folks has some merit.

But as the saying goes, "the devil is in the details;" far more than can be discussed in 59 seconds.

I don't have time to read 2000+ pages of legislation and I doubt any Senator or House member has done so either. Instead, they rely on staff to do the reading and writing of legislation and that is when things get slipped in.

And, inevitably, when some items are brought to the light of day, there may be outrage.

I suppose there are web pages that post some of the little "gems" buried in that legislation that if widely known should spark head shaking wonder at what the heck these people on the Hill are thinking?

Here are a few things I have heard that I wonder, if true, who the dickens put that into the bill and confirms the worst suspicions I have about the legislative process.

* the botox tax - There are actual medical reasons why some neurologists use the stuff on patients and indeed, if someone i…

Devotional Thoughts: Angels long to look

Continuing in I Peter ...

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Jesus changed everything.

The prophets of old pointing were pointing to that change. But they didn't get to see it in their lifetimes.

The angels "long to look ..." I wonder what does that really mean?

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Imagine if you will, angels in the presence of God and God speaks to them of His plans to initiate a salvation plan through Jesus. The angels wo…

Politics: When not nationalizing health insurance is nationalizing health insurance

It appears the "public option" is dead.

It appears the expansion of Medicare to 55 year olds is dead.

But is the current bill still going to result in a defacto national health insurance system?

This is the argument in this analysis piece over at a project of the Heritage Foundation.

Of particular concern to patients should be that the detailed benefits in their health insurance coverage will soon be determined by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, Americans got a foretaste of what Federal health benefit regulation means when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed its recommendation for breast cancer screening (mammography) for women aged 40 to 50 from “B” (recommended) to “C” (not recommended).
Thus, a decision by a, heretofore, obscure HHS Task Force to recommend a specific medical service would in the future carry the force of law, and would impose additional costs on insurers and employer health plans.…

Politics: Health Care Reform in 59 Seconds?

The debate is framed: health insurance = health care.

How does health insurance happen?
(1) payed by employer as a benefit + employee kicks in some premium payments
(2) self-bought if your employer doesn't offer or
(3) Medicare (provides insurance for age 65+) taxes

There is a sizable segment of the population that doesn't fall into categories 1-3.

Proposed solution: force people to buy insurance
(A) some can afford but opt not to buy so penalize them
(B) some can't afford - so they need subsidies; therefore, tax items #1 and #2 in some cases, tax wealthy (define wealthy?) and shift funds from #3.

Of course I've simplified matters greatly and there are all kinds of problems with this proposed solution but I've used up my 59 seconds as my goal was just to attempt to define the state of play.

Was this a fair and balanced description of the situation?

UPDATE: The thing is 2000+ pages so there are lot of "devil in the details" type analysis that can't be done in 59…

Sports: Bruins in ruins?

That was quick ... we knew year 1 would be tough and it was. Year 2 got the Bruins back in the NCAA.

Years 3-4-5 were magic carpet rides to the Final Four.

Year 6 showed some slippage as the Bruins were eliminated in round 2 of the NCAA which wasn't unexpected given the talent level of that team.

Year 7 ... the team has fallen off the edge of the world. 8-(

The fans are getting restless.

How long before there is a just like there was a Fire Karl Dorrell blogspot?

Howland has earned some wiggle room because of years 1-5.

And as far as we can tell, he is running a clean program on and off the court.

But there are concerns about recent recruiting and starting/bench rotations.

Hopefully, Howland can make some adjustments on the floor and in recruiting and that this group of players will realize they just can't put on the jersey with U - C - L - A on it and expect to win.

Go Bruins!

UPDATE: Well, maybe Howland got the player's attention as they finally pull…

Politics: Doc in a box and community health clinics as part of health reform?

Had mentioned previously the notion of "doc in a box" as part of dealing with reforming health care.

Was listening to an interview with Clayton M. Christensen, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School who wrote the book Innovators Prescription. He mentioned the innovation of Take Care Clinic of Walgreens and Minute Clinic of CVS.

If this were to become a bigger part of our health care delivery system, would we make a bigger dent in the uninsured problem?

Would it help reduce some costs?

Also interviewed by Hugh Hewitt was Children’s Health Fund founder, pediatrician, Dr. Irwin Redlener.

He too supported a greater role for nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

Additionally, he stressed a team concept with these mid-level health care personnel with doctors which can often be found at community health clinics.

Hewitt asked, might we get more bang for the buck by committing $100 billion to community health clinics versus $1000 billion in the current …

Movies: Fiddler on the Roof

Some musicals become a part of the cultural landscape when we know the songs without having ever seen the movie.

Such a film is Fiddler on the Roof.

Finally saw it a couple weeks back through my Netflix subscription.

Here is a playlist of the well known musical numbers from the film.

Here are a couple of my favorites ...

Devotional Thoughts: For a little while

1 Peter 1:3-9 launches into a uplifting reflection of the end of our stories and how that helps us in the day-to-day.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

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2000 years separate us in the USA from the recipients of this letter from St. Peter. In some ways, we are quite different from those people. I think that the shadow of death hung over them much more than it does today. In a time with no medicine or hospitals, death was probably something the average person saw quite often. A trauma on the city street with no ER to rush them too, an infection with no antibiotic…

Politics: Ideas on health care in the USA

Wonder if any of the people on the Hill are reading these articles?

The Problem is Cost of Care by Michael Munger who is a professor of economics, and the chair of the political science department, at Duke University.

The problem is that health care costs have increased at an annual rate double, or more than double, the rate of inflation for the last two decades. Right now, our attempts at reform are doomed by a law of accounting physics: Insurance can’t cost less than the health care it insures. That means that subsidizing insurance likely makes the problem worse.

Cato's What Is the Free-Market Approach to Health Care Reform? is another that goes beyond the usual mantras of "public option" and "mandated insurance."

We also need to rethink medical licensing laws to encourage greater competition among providers. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, and other non-physician practitioners should have far greater ability to treat pati…

Devotional Thoughts: God's elect, strangers in the world

As far as I can tell, there is no other Bible book that deals with suffering as directly as Job. But I think 1 Peter and 2 Peter do touch on the subject a bit more than many other writings of Scripture. These two books discuss many other topics as well.

So let's take a look ...

Let's get to the introduction.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

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I hope someday to visit St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

I would venture to say that Peter was probably the most famous of the 12 disciples as he was the most outspoken of the bunch sometimes to his detriment!

It is generally believed by scholars that the Gospel of Mark was influenced strongly by Peter's preaching. The Book of Acts which chronicles the growth of the early church has much material about Peter (Chapters 1-12). The Book of Acts eventually followed the role of Paul in the advancement of the church (Chapters 13-28).

Some scho…

Science: Climategate and questions I would want to have answered

Yes, Drudge can add sensationalized headlines to items and highlight odd stories.

But most of the time, he just links to articles that he thinks are interesting.

And so he links to an item that says Al Gore was confused on the emails regarding the "Climategate" scandal.

From that item, there are links to various web pages that highlight why some people are skeptical of man-caused global warming.

The daisy-chain as Dennis Prager points out is as follows:
(1) human activity produces CO2
(2) there are temperature increases
(3) CO2 increases lead to temperature increases
(4) temperature increases will result in calamity.

This is what I would want to know:
Statement #1 is probably true. But in the history of the planet has there been times when CO2 were higher than the are today which would have occurred without human activity?

Is statement #2 actually true? Modern technology gives us good temperature data from many locations. But that is using current technology. How good is the data …

Life: Adrenaline junkies with invisible capes and angel wings

Be sure to check out this profile on the ER nurses of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.


ER nurses don’t give long-term care. They don’t get to know you, and they don’t even know what happens to you after you leave the ER. They are a platoon of adrenaline junkies with invisible capes and angel wings, there to take care of you at your worst moments. And it never ends. “Patients are like waves of ocean hitting the beach,” Shari says. “New ones just replace the old ones.”

As someone who has been on a gurney at the CSMC ER, I can only say, where do we find such people? Thank God for each one of them!

Non-profit of the month: November 2009 - For the Troops and Reagan Library

Went to the Ronald Reagan Library on Veteran's Day.

While there, there were some folks taking contributions to support For the Troops.

President Obama has asked the military and their families for more sacrifice with his plan to send 30,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan. He and they need our support in for this difficult, dangerous and important mission.

Of course, many tens of thousands are already there and will have spent Thanksgiving and will spend Christmas away from home. Thus, I felt the desire to support For the Troops.

There are many other like-minded groups and I hope you will consider giving what you can.

I am also supporting the Ronald Reagan Foundation because I cast my first presidential vote for Reagan in 1984 and for many today what he did is ancient history.

2009 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

None will ever forget that JFK stood there in solidarity with the people of Berlin.

RR stood there in solidarity with the people of Berlin too and…

Faith: A Kinder and Gentler Jonathan Edwards

When you hear the name Jonathan Edwards, what do you think of?

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

The other day I was web surfing and came across the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University.

Apparently, Yale has become the repository of the written materials of Jonathan Edwards.

One very interesting part of the web site is an online exhibit of Billy Graham preaching a variation on Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God during the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade.

One wonders could a sermon like that be preached today and how different would it sound and read?

As you might expect the web site also has information about Edwards beyond his religious writings.

Perhaps most moving was his reflections about his wife in On Sarah Pierpont.


She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after those times in which this great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about, singing sweetly, from place to [place]; and seems to be always ful…

Life: Thanksgiving 2009 & Small Bowel Obstruction, episode IV

Thanksgiving day is coming to a close.

There is much to be thankful for.

I am thankful that God has "shown up."

God demonstrated his love for us while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Words like sin don't go over so well these days. But looking in our lives and around the world, there is the sense that things are not the way they should be. We can call those things by many names: injustice, unfairness, suffering, crime, racism, alienation, etc.

Bottom line: sin.

Ugly three letter word.

But Jesus came to give us life and began the process of restoration. Thanks be to God!

Am thankful for God's gracious gift of my beloved bride! She has been a source of joy, encouragement, strength, humor, faith and simple day-to-day partnership. The aforementioned have especially been true during my latest hospitalization.

Am thankful for the nurses, doctors and staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

On Saturday morning, October 31, my father-in-law and wife drove me to …

Sports: Bowl pecking order for Pac-10

#1 Pac10 team goes to ROSE Bowl
#2 Pac10 team goes to HOLIDAY Bowl, 12/30
#3 Pac10 team goes to SUN Bowl, 12/31
#4 Pac10 team goes to Las Vegas Bowl, 12/22
#5 Pac10 team goes to Emerald Bowl, 12/26

Looks like the Poinsettia Bowl will take the #6 Pac10 team if it is bowl eligible and Arizona is currently #6 and bowl eligible.

UCLA is currently the #7 Pac10 team and is bowl eligible so it could get an invitation from a bowl that has an at-large open slot.

Certainly, an upset win on Saturday over USC would help UCLA's bowling chances.

Go Bruins!

Devotional Thoughts: And so he died, old and full of years ...

The Epilogue to Job ...

After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver an…

Sports: UCLA vs. ASU this Saturday

There are no national championship implications.

There are no BCS implications.

They aren't vying for the Pac10 title.

Both teams are clawing at the chance to be bowl eligible with 6 wins.

For UCLA a win gets them their sixth.

For ASU a win gets them their fifth which allows them a shot at six on their final game of the regular season.

So in the grand scheme of College Football, the game is an after thought.

But for Bruins fans who have seen the program fall on hard times, this is a big moment.

After last season's 4-8 finish, the goal this year was six wins and a shot at a bowl game.

They are on the verge.

Wall-to-wall coverage can be found at the "blog of the Bruins, by the Bruins, for the Bruins."


UPDATE: Bruins 23 ASU 13! The Bruins now have a shot at going bowling. Next week, it is the showdown with dreaded cross-town rival, USC. They have won 9 of the last 10 faceoffs. I would anticipate USC would be favored despite the struggles they have had this year. No…

Non-profit of the month: September 2009 - TeachOverseas.Org

In these monthly posts about organizations I support, some have re-appeared from time-to-time. I'm a supporter of TeachOverseas.Org.

This wonderful organization is marking its 20th Anniversary:

The autumn of 1989 was an exciting time in world history. The Berlin wall came down with a bang that sounded an era of hope to people living in the Eastern and Soviet Blocs. At the same time, in Alhambra, California a small non-profit with a bold vision to change the world was born.

How could ordinary Christians from North America make a strategic impact in these newly declared republics? TeachOverseas co-founder and President Ron Nicholas had an idea: train and send Christian English teachers to serve local people in the spirit of Christ’s love.

The first teachers went to Hungary and were hugely successful in building bridges of friendship and trust. New doors opened in Ukraine and Russia. TeachOverseas’ reputation for quality English teachers with high moral standards grew. Soon, schoo…

Non-profit of the month: October 2009 - National Parks Foundation and Joshua Tree National Park Association

Very much enjoyed the segments I saw of Ken Burn's National Parks that recently aired on PBS.

Thus, I am donating to National Park Foundation.

While I was at it, I figured, I'll donate to the closest National Park I know of to where I live which is Joshua Tree National Park.

The non-profit connected to the park is, of course, the Joshua Tree National Park Association.

Devotional Thoughts: My ears had heard of you

And so we reach the end of the story ...

Then Job replied to the LORD :
I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.

When confronted with God, what is there to say?

God is holy. But what does Holy mean?

One simple answer I heard was that holy is all that makes God God and not us!

Though we are made in the image of God, that image is now marred. That is why we look at the world with a sense of unease and a sense that things are not the way they should be. Thus, in many ways God is so completely different than us. He is so "other" (holy) compared to us.

When Isaiah met God, h…

Life: Pastor Timothy Lin, 1911-2009

LA Times Obituary October 20, 2009
Lin, Timothy
January 18, 1911 - October 11, 2009

Pastor Emeritus of the First Chinese Baptist Church, Los Angeles, passed away peacefully at the age of 99 on Sunday, October 11, 2009.

Dr. Timothy Lin was born to a minister's family in Chekiang, China. In 1940 he came to the United States to study Hebrew and Greek at Concordia Theological Seminary and Washington University.

Dr. Lin was a member of one of the Old Testament translation committees for the New American Standard Bible. He was a professor in the graduate school of Bob Jones University, where he taught Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Old Testament Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Classic Arabic, and Peshitta Syriac. He was also a professor at Talbot Seminary, Los Angeles, and Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Chicago.
In 1962 he became pastor of the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles. When he retired as Senior Pastor a few years ago, the church had eight pastors, more than 2,200 in regul…

Business: 2001-2003 RAV4 Toyota Automatic Tranmission Problems

Love the car. But ...

It started to act up ...

Rough shifting between gears on a couple of occasions ...

When going up an incline, the car didn't seem to know it should downshift for more power so instead the car limped up the hill ...

Check engine light came on ...

That lead us to do some searchs on Google which brought up many web sites describing the problem.

Here is one on which refers to a bootlegged copy of the Technical Service Bulletin issued by Toyota describing the problem.

Even the New York Times is blogging about the problem.

The car is now in the shop and we are hoping that the transmission isn't torn up.

Devotional Thoughts: Behemoth and Leviathan

Continuing toward the end of Job ...

Usually don't cover two chapters in one bite. But I figured addressing the "behemoth" and "leviathan" in one shot might be the way to go.

The LORD said to Job:
"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!"

Job had pretty strong words in lamenting his situation to God through the many chapters.

And God went face-to-face with Job in return.

I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that when Job went toe-to-toe with God that Job didn't become a smoking hole in the ground.

Now, before we get too comfortable, God can turn cities full of people into ashes as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19.

Why the difference?

Sodom and Gomorrah was truly wicked ... Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous ... but Abraham begged God to spare the cities if 10 were found righteous. God said yes. Alas, not even 10 were …

Sports: A tale of two baseball games

Attended Game 1 and heard the dramatic finish to Game 2 on the radio during the commute home.

In game 1, both starting pitchers were struggling and the Dodger bullpen held onto the lead the Dodgers scratched out.

In game 2, both starting pitchers were on top of their game and the Cardinal bullpen (and left fielder) couldn't hold on.

Getting to Dodger's stadium in the heart of rush hour was a long slog on Wednesday. While waiting in line for food, the Dodgers fell behind 1-0 in the top of the 1st. As we walked to our seats, the crowd went crazy as Kemp gave the Dodgers the lead with a 2-run homer.

As we watched Wolf do a tightrope walk, during the 2nd inning I texted a friend who was also at the game saying, Wolf isn't getting out of the fourth. Indeed, Wolf would go only 3 2/3. But as he has done all year, he kept the Dodgers in the game, giving up 2 runs when he could have easily given up 4 or more. Weaver came into the game for Wolf and got the third out with the bases …

Sports: LAD vs. STL, Game 1 NLDS 6:37PM PDT

Its time for Dodger Baseball!

I'll be in the rafters taking it all in!

3 of 4 Yahoo! Sports analysts are picking the Cards.

7 of 8 ESPN experts are predicting the Cardinals will advance.

11 of 12 on CNN/SI's panel are voting for St. Louis to take the NLDS.

Seem to recall that last year, not many were giving the Dodgers much of a chance against the Cubs.

Go Blue!

LA Scene: L.A. Philharmonic Conductor Gustavo Dudamel Dog

The new LA Phil music director has a hot dog named after him at Pinks.

Contains: Stretch hot dog, guacamole, American & Swiss cheese, fajitasmix, jalapeno slice, topped with tortilla chips

Price: $6.95

For non-LA folks, Pinks is an LA institution.

Paul Pink started his hot dog stand in 1939. It was only a large-wheeled pushcart in those days. The depression was on and money was scarce. Pink's chili dogs, complete with a large warm bun, oversized hot dog, mustard, onions and thick chili sold for 10 cents each.

LA Scene: Dodgers vs. St. Louis in NLDS!

Am guessing the Dodgers are the underdogs against St. Louis.

The 25-man roster hasn't been announced yet...

I wonder how many pitchers will they select for the NLDS. Shorter series probably eleven.

My guess for the 25-man roster...

1. Broxton, Closer
2. Sherrill, 8th inning
3. Kuo, 7th inning
4. Belisario, relief
5. Elbert, relief
6. Weaver, long relief
7. Garland, emergency starter, long relief
8. Wolf, #1 starter
9. Kershaw, #2 starter
10. Padilla, #3 starter
11. Billingsley, #4 starter

12. Martin
13. Ausmus

14. Loney
15. Hudson
16. Blake
17. Furcal
18. Belliard
19. Loretta
20. Castro
21. Thome

22. Ramierez
23. Kemp
24. Ethier
25. Pierre

Go Blue!

UPDATE: The Dodger 25-man roster has been announced. I incorrectly thought they would go with Elbert over Troncoso.

Science: CCD & Fiber Optics researchers honored with Nobel Prize

2009 Physics Nobel Prize has been announced today.

We use the technology recognized by the committee every day!

Fiber optics are the backbone of telecommunications and CCD chips are what make digital cameras work to capture the moments of our lives. Thanks go to Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith for their work that help us "stay in touch" and "keep our memories" in photos!

The day before, the Nobel Prize for medicine was given for work on telomeres which are on the ends of chromosomes. These telomeres in most cells degrade over time so cells age and eventually don't divide. Not surprisingly, this system is altered in cancer cells opening up another avenue for investigation. Congratulations to Elizabeth Blackburn, Jack Szostak and Carol Greider for their work!

Politics: Rio gets Olympics while Chicago lost in round one

When I had heard that the President and First Lady were making a trip to support Chicago's bid for the Olympic games, I was surprised. I don't recall any other President doing so. But I figured that Chicago's organizers must have been pretty confident they would win because you wouldn't want to bring the President in on something that might go down to defeat.

So when I heard they lost the vote quite badly, I figured the Chicago people may have taken advantage of their connections to the President and overplayed their hand which reflects badly on them. Of course, one could say that President Obama should have been more shrewd and recognized that his Chicago friends didn't have the cards to win. In this scenario, team Obama probably royally chewed out the Chicago people for getting the President involved in a losing effort.

This morning while listening to the Prager radio show, an alternative explanation was offered.

Prager said, the alternative to the President bei…

LA Scene: Dudamel Era about to begin

Dudamel, the new LA Philharmonic music director arrived for his first rehearsal.

Cameras -- still, video and really huge -- jammed the area; Philharmonic President Deborah Borda and Philharmonic board Chairman David Bohnett hovered in anticipation while Borda exulted that the Phil just gotten word that the NBC Nightly News was planning a Dudamel feature for Thursday.

There's really no such thing as a formal greeting when it comes to Dudamel -- as he stepped from the vehicle, he waved to the cheering musicians; but the wave gesture soon turned into a Dudamel-style fist, thrust exultantly into the air. He obediently posed for photos with Borda and Bohnett at the foot of the stairs, but was soon charging upward to distribute a generous round of hugs, especially to the musicians who played a welcome fanfare on the steps.

The reception by the musicians remains very positive.

He added that the musicians see Dudamel not as their leader but as another member of the band -- jus…

Life: Happiness is a Moral Obligation

Prager offers his thoughts on happiness.

For instance, acting happy is beneficial to those around us!

Technology: Got to tip your hat to those MIT students!

image source:

Balloon + digital camera + GPS cell phone + beer cooler + handwarmers = pictures of the Earth from high up.

Go here for their project web page. They hope to have a Youtube video of photos the camera took which was set to take pictures every 5 seconds.

Devotional Thoughts: What is spirituality?

Have you heard this self-description: non-religious but spiritual?

Being religious has gotten a lot of bad press, i.e. religious fanatic bombs cafe full of people. Religious also as in a clergyman involved in child abuse scandal. Or religious broadcaster involved in financial misdeeds.

Totally indefensible.

No wonder people run away from the label religious.

But what is spirituality?

Images: crystal power and harmonic convergences, meditation with incense and aroma candles, being out in nature and solitude ...

What is spirituality if I call Jesus Lord and Savior?

My guts tell me that the word spiritual has gotten diluted in the pluralism of our society and so many images get conjured up.

Also, in our American society, the term has become highly personal and individualized. The self-claimed spirituality of one person will be a salad bowl of items and the spirituality of another will be a salad bowl of different ingredients.

So when then is spirituality if I call Jesus Lord and Savior?


Sports: Gutty Little Bruins Beat Tennessee Again!

Last year was a tough year for UCLA football fans. But the highlight was the upset win over Tennessee in the Rose Bowl.

Well, this year, the Gutty Little Bruins went to Tennessee and pulled off the upset again, 19-15!

Streeter at the LA Times put it this way:

Blood streamed in a river from Kevin Prince's mouth -- the painful aftermath of a shot to the jaw he'll remember the rest of his life, a shot that may help propel UCLA through this still-young season and possibly many more to come.
The game could have turned here, could have been lost. What a painful sting that would have been. But from that heap, a place he'd been much of this warm Southern Saturday, up popped Prince, giving his team belief. He was hunched over in pain. His mouth was open wide and full of red. But he never looked afraid or tentative. He looked like the winner he was about to be.

UCLA learned much in this game. It now knows, for certain, that its defense can apply the brakes, which is what happened …