Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sportswriters Get Paid for This, Part III

I have pondered in dumbstruck amazement about the things sportswriters get paid for--but this one might take the cake. Pioneer Press writer Bob Sansevere wrote a column in which he proposed that the Twins trade Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, and Carlos Silva to the Red Sox for Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, and Clay Buchholz.

First of all, Carlos Silva is a FREE AGENT. Evidently even Twin Cities sportswriters are not aware of this.

And secondly, the Red Sox would have to be out of their minds to trade their five greatest young players for anyone.

Bob Sansevere is getting shelled in the comments, as he ought. But shouldn't the Pioneer Press hold him accountable for such shoddy journalism?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

N.T. Wright Interview

Trevin Wax, a student at Southern Baptist Seminary has recorded an interview with Bishop N.T. Wright. The audio is available online as well as a full transcript. I haven't listened yet, but judging from the topics discussed, it will surely prove worth listening to or reading.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Christians and Yoga, Part III

Priscilla Friedlander of Denver Seminary has written an excellent review of Nancy Roth's book titled, An Invitation to Christian Yoga. Friedlander writes that, "the problem with Roth’s book is the lack of a well-integrated Christian worldview behind her theology."

I commend the article.

HT: The Constructive Curmudgeon

Also See: Can Christians Practice Yoga? and More on Yoga.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tired of Your Shaving Routine?

My first foray into shaving was probably just like yours. I had a cheap disposable razor that got the job done. I liked the feel of a good shave but thought of shaving as a chore. My parents gave me an electric razor as a gift which I enjoyed using in college since I could shave in bed and get the job done quickly--but it never gave me a close shave and I eventually began using a Mach III razor in my regular routine.

After college I began shaving every day with my Mach III. I didn't enjoy the shave, but I enjoyed a clean-shaven face. But in the fall of 2004 I began getting razor burn, bumps, and skin irritation. I decided to start shaving three days a week to allow my face to heal. I tried various creams and aftershaves with no effect. I figured that my skin was too irritable to be able to shave every day.

Finally I read a blog about wetshaving--shaving the way our grandfathers did. I read stories about how many men were throwing their disposable cartridge razors away and using the old fashioned safety razor and were able to shave every day without irritation--and even getting a better shave.

I was hooked. I read a great deal about it and finally bought an old safety razor on eBay and found some blades at Walgreens. I started slowly by just switching from my Mach III and Fusion razors to the GEM Micromatic single edge razor. I marvelled at how close my shave was and the skin irritation was greatly reduced.

The next step was to add a shaving brush and real shaving cream--not the standard goop in a can. I went to Crabtree & Evelyn at the mall and bought a badger hair shaving brush and some Nomad shaving cream in a tube.

Just last night I received my first shaving soap and used it this morning. I can tell you in all honesty that I am now disappointed when the morning shave is over. Shaving is now a delight--a routine that I look forward to each morning and that begins my day well. The smell of a good lather, the swirling whisp of the brush on your beard, and the scraping of the razor slicing through your stubble is truly a sublime experience.

If your shaving routine could be enhanced, I highly recommend pursuing the traditional wetshave experience. There is an abundance of material available online to get you started. I chose to write this because I wished that I had known of this years ago and thought it might be a benefit to many of you.

Here are some good places to start:

How to Get That Perfect Shave - An article about switching to wetshaving.

Leisureguy's blog - He has actually written a book on wetshaving which has a great deal of helpful information.

Leisureguy's list of Vendors - Here is a great list of places where you can buy wetshaving gear.

Shaveblog - A blog with a lot of good information about wetshaving.

Videos - Wetshaving on the Today Show.
- Wetshaving Videos on YouTube

For what it is worth, here is a list of what I'm using:

GEM Micromatic single edge razor (Most people prefer a double-edge razor. The Merkur HD is the recommended razor for beginners.)
Crabtree & Evelyn Pure Badger Shaving Brush
Honeybee Shaving Soaps
Crabtree & Evelyn Nomad Shaving Cream

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Are the Red Sox the "New" Yankees?

Yesterday, my friend Tom tried to persuade me that the Boston Red Sox are just as "evil" as the New York Yankees. It is an accusation that has been a trendy recently. I defended my Sox and I believe, rightfully so.

The accusation regarding the Yankees has been prevalent for years now. During and after the Yankee dynasty of the '90's many baseball fans, myself included, began to loathe the big-city, big-spending Yankee organization. With the huge payrolls, superstars, loud and obnoxious fans, and New York media machine on overdrive it was easy to despise them.

The Boston Red Sox in the meantime were everyone's darling because they were perceived as the cursed franchise unable to topple Goliath despite its also deep pockets. These two teams, locked in one of the greatest sports rivalries battled year after year with the Yankees always on top and the poor Red Sox were sent packing each October.

Of course, 2004 came and they were a Cinderella story. Now that the Red Sox have secured another World Series Championship many are calling the Red Sox "the new Yankees." Well, I think that is silly, and I'll tell you why.

The Red Sox 2004 roster had two home-grown talents who made significant contributions to the team--Kevin Youkilis and Trot Nixon (Nomar Garciappara is borderline here, having only played in 38 games).

Most of the team was acquired by trade or free agency. Significant contributors here include Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Mark Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, Pokey Reese, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Gabe Kapler, David Ortiz, Orlando Cabrera, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo, Tim Wakefield, Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, and Alan Embree.

The 2007 roster is very different, and demonstrates the Red Sox organization's move towards building the franchise from the inside. Home-grown talents on the 2007 roster include a much larger contribution by Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, and contributions from two minor leaguers that combined for 10 starts between Clay Buchholz and Kason Gabbard.

Free agent signings and trade acquisitions included Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz, Alex Cora, Eric Hinske, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Julian Tavarez, Hideki Okajima, Javier Lopez, Mike Timlin, and Kyle Snyder.

So home-grown talent on the 2007 increased to 8 from 2 in 2004; and free agent/trade acquisitions remained the same at 18 both seasons. So, what has changed? Well, I suspect the differences are perceptions, not reality. Boston made three big free agent signings in the 2006 off-season that is likely responsible for the mis-perception--Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, and Julio Lugo.

Team payroll increased by a couple million dollars according to what I found at Baseball Reference. Of course the posting fee paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka is not reflected in that number. But payroll really didn't change significantly.

If you are interested further in the Red Sox, I commend the recent three part series written at Baseball Analysts (Part I, Part II, Part III)about the future of the Red Sox. It is clear to me that the key to Boston's success in 2007 and their continuing success will be based upon their ability to scout quality players for their minor league system and leverage their financial flexibility to sign key free agents to fill their needs. In essence, the Red Sox are becoming the kind of organization that every baseball fan hopes their own team to become--smart and savvy.