Friday, April 30, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/30/04

"Bad taste is like a virus that gains strength as it spreads. People want to imitate it and outdo it." Peggy Noonan in her book, Simply Speaking

Fashion Police in Louisiana?

Louisiana May Ban Low-Slung Pants
AP, April 23, 2004

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- People who wear low-slung pants that expose skin or "intimate clothing" would face a fine of up to $500 and possible jail time under a bill filed by a Jefferson Parish lawmaker.

State Rep. Derrick Shepherd said he filed the bill because he was tired of catching glimpses of boxer shorts and G-strings over the lowered belt lines of young adults.

The bill would punish anyone caught wearing low-riding pants with a fine of as much as $500 or as many as six months in jail, or both.

"I'm sick of seeing it," said Shepherd, a first-term legislator. "The community's outraged. And if parents can't do their job, if parents can't regulate what their children wear, then there should be a law."

The bill would be tacked onto the state's obscenity law, which restricts sexual activity in public places and the sale of sexually explicit items.

Joe Cook, head of the American Civil Liberties Union's Louisiana chapter, said the bill probably does not meet the U.S. Supreme Court's standard for the prohibition of obscene behavior under the First Amendment.

"What about a woman who is wearing a bathing suit under her garment or she has something like a sarong wrapped around her and it's below her waist," he said. "I can think of a lot of workers, plumbers, who are working and expose their buttocks ..."

This story was supplied by Bush04.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/29/04

"Most plaintiff lawyers are the most hopeful breed of cat you’ve ever seen." Prof Murchison

Lawsuit and a haircut -- 2 bits

Today, I took an unexpected detour through some of the more "interesting" neighborhoods of Columbus, OH. While I was waiting at a stoplight and wondering which road would lead me back to something familiar, I glanced to my right. On the corner, I saw a law firm with this painted on the window: "Reeves and Westbrook, Attorneys at Law. Walk-ins Welcome." The last time I saw that phrase on a window, I think it was at Super-Cuts in the mall.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/28/04

"There’s a fine line between living it up and losing it all." Pat Green

Maybe so, but you usually know that you've crossed it when the next morning comes around.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Come on Over, Come on Over, Melo

That's right. According to PTI, Denver Nuggets' rookie phenom Carmelo Anthony is now dating Christina Aguilera. I considered myself a fan of Christina during the "Genie in a Bottle" era, but I am not a fan of this match. This relationship seems incredibly dangerious for the young and fabulous Melo. As Tony Kornheiser pointed out, Christina has gone out of her way in recent years to go from the slightly naughty girl next door to a self-proclaimed, skanky whore. Surely Melo can do better.

Quote of the Day 4/27/04

"What does my JD mean? It means I survived three years of law school without a teacher teaching me anything." Prof. Brian Murchison, Yale Law grad.

Okay, that's a bit cynical on my last day of law school, and I don't really believe that was the case at W&L. But Professor Murchison really did say that to my class during my first semester of law school.

On a personal note ...

I have made a point of keeping my personal life off this blog. But, I do want to make one announcement today. Today marks the end of Wild Banshee's uninterrupted, 20-year academic career. At 11:57 EST, I turned in my final law school examination. And with that, it was over. All good things must come to an end, I guess. Fortunately, so do the bad things.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/26/04

"One sword keeps another in the sheath." George Herbert

Welcome, Bush04

I would like to extend an official welcome to Banshee Blog's newest member. Bush04 has officially joined the editorial staff here at Banshee Blog. Bush04 may be the blog's newest member, but she is also her most prestigious. Bush04 is a licensed attorney in the state of Florida. She is currently working for the Judiciary Committee at the Florida House of Representatives. I am sure that all Banshee readers are waiting as expectantly as I am for Bush04's innaugural post.

Once again, a hearty welcome to you, Bush04!

NASCAR Correction

Yestderday, I reported that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had an 84 point lead in the Nextel Cup standings. That was incorrect. Junior's lead over Jimmy Johnson is actually 94 points after Talledega.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/25/04

"Action takes precedence over study." Judah Hanasi

NASCAR update

The Aaron's 499 from the Talledega Motor Speedway was an exciting race -- except for the ending, that is. After a full day of 3-wide racing and a record-setting number of lead changes, the race ended under caution. With 4 laps to go, a spin by Brian Vickers brought out the yellow flag. At the moment of the wreck, Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon were side-by-side, racing for the lead. Under new NASCAR rules, racing back to the flag is now banned. Instead, the field is frozen as of the moment the yellow flag comes out. NASCAR determined that Gordon was the leader when the yellow dropped. Many fans were apparently not thrilled with the yellow flag finish and NASCAR's scoring decision. As Gordon celebrated with a burn-out in front of the front-stretch grandstands, his #24 Chevy was pelted with Budweiser cans and other trash.

Despite the disappointment of being denied a trip to victory lane, it was a strong points day for the Budweiser Chevrolet team. At the end of the day, Earnhardt increased his lead in the championship standings to 84 points. This is the largest lead that anyone has held so far this season. A wreck on lap 82 ended Kurt Busch's day, and engine troubles knocked Matt Kenseth out of the race at lap 59. This dropped both men to fourth and fifth in the standings, respectively. Jimmie Johnson moved into second place, and Jeff Gordon's victory moved him into third.

Next week: California.

Polling Finale

The Final Four got a clean sweep, 100% of the votes as to which collegiate sports championship is the most emotional. As promised, the Final Four will now face off against the World Series to see which sporting event Banshee readers are most enthralled by. And, for those of you who are still holding strong to the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl or the Daytona 500, you still have the chance to cast a dissenting vote.

Bizarre website

This is just weird enough that it had to make a blog appearance: Subservient Chicken. Just type in a command and watch the man in the chicken suit do your bidding.

Website reference courtesy of Erin Violette

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/24/04

"Every society has to deal with the problem of how to deal with those who are unable to pay their debts. …. On one end of the spectrum you have being tied to a corpse in a debtors’ prison. On the other end of the spectrum you have bankruptcy where – poof! – your debts are relieved." Prof. Sam Calhoun, professor of law at Washington and Lee University

Yeah, I have a bankruptcy exam today.

Sports Preview

There two things for sports fans to keep their eyes on this weekend:

#1. The NFL Draft. The draft begins on Saturday at noon. It lasts for two days, and every pick will be televised on ESPN. Some of you may think this sounds incredibly boring. I beg to differ. ESPN's coverage of the draft is fascinating and informative. The highlights packages of the college players are fabulous, and ESPN's commentator's are incredibly knowledgeable about what each NFL team needs and what teams are looking for in young players. This year's draft has even more excitement than usual because the presumptive #1 pick is Ole Miss' quarterback, Eli Manning. Eli has incredible, NFL pedigree. His father Archie had a tremendous NFL career, and his older brother Peyton is the reigning, league MVP. However, Eli and the Manning family have declared that Eli will not sign with the San Diego Chargers even though the Chargers hold the first pick in the draft.

#2. The Aaron's 499 at the Talledega Motor Speedway in Talledega, AL. Talledega is my favorite race track on the NASCAR circuit. It features high banks, drafting and three-wide in the turns. The aging Ricky Rudd qualified on the pole. As usual, the DEI cars also qualified strong for this restrictor plate race. Waltrip will be starting second and Junior will be going off third. FOX's race coverage begins at 1 pm on Sunday.

Notice what is not on the must-see list for this weekend:

1. Yanks/Sox II. It's April, boys and girls. April. But, I understand if Boston fans need to find joy in this early season success.
2. NBA playoffs. Is anybody watching this?
3. NHL playoffs. Call me in a month when they're finally halfway done.

Happy Birthday, Little Princess

Yesterday, the 23rd of April, was Shirley Temple's birthday. Shirley (now known as Shirley Temple Black) turned 76 this year. Although while I was growing up I personally preferred to watch films starring the Duke to those starring the Little Princess, there is no denying Ms. Temple's contribution to American culture. Temple began her film career at the age of three. Her dimples, curls and bubbly smile led her to be the box office champ of 1936, 1937 and 1938. Although her popularity declined after that, unlike many child stars, she was able to make some good films in her teen and early adult years. In fact, at the age of 20, Temple co-starred with John Wayne in John Ford's Fort Apache. Later in life, Shirley Temple Black continued to contribute to America in other ways. She served as an ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. In recent years, Shirley revealed that she is a breast cancer survivor and had undergone a mastectomy. She is one of few celebrities to publicly discuss the procedure and has been an encouragement to many women facing cancer.

So, baby, take a bow for all you've done and have a good birthday weekend.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/23/04

"Thank the Lord at night for scum bags and con artists and idiots. They're what puts the bread on the table." Prof. Brion, W&L Law 1/10/02

Bill Mahrer: Condi Rice = Omarosa?

Last night, supposed comedian Bill Mahrer appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Now, I realize that the Tonight Show is primarily a venue for comedy. So, it is unfair to take much of what is said there too seriously. However, Bill Mahrer also fancies himself a political commentator. While mixing "comedy" and political commentary on the Tonight Show, Mahrer said something that should offend both women and minorities.

Mahrer was commenting on the fact that no one in the Bush administration lost their job as a result of 9/11. Then Mahrer suggested that Dr. Condoleezza Rice should have been fired. He then suggested that she be replaced by Omarosa because "that bitch" would be able handle tough enemies.

Now, I have no problem with Mahrer calling for Dr. Rice's head. But why suggest that her replacement be Omarosa? Because Omarosa is a woman? Because Omarosa is black? Is that all Mahrer sees when he looks at the highly educated and highly accomplished Dr. Rice? Does he see just some token black woman that can be replaced by any other token black woman? I'd also take issue with the use of the word "bitch" in that context -- even in reference to the much-hated Omarosa. That word becomes far more potent than usual when it's thrown into this racist and sexist discussion.

Mahrer also made some offensive comments about Iraq being better off under the Butcher of Baghdad's reign of terror. Mahrer did an impression of Hussein telling his US captors, "See I told you these people are hard to handle." Wow. Say what you will about the wisdom of US strategy in Iraq, but it is extremely offensive to suggest that "those people" were "handled" better under Hussein's brutal dictatorship. I just don't find that funny -- much like I don't find the Holocaust or Pol Pot's regime humorous.

One last comment about that Tonight Show episode. Jay seemed very uncomfortable with the overall tenor of the interview. However, Thursday's guest on the Tonight Show is Janeane Garafalo. Another supposed comedian, turned bitter talk-show host on Air America Radio.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/22/04

"Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity" St. Augustine

Totally Random Post

Have you ever been in a situation where someone tells you some news, and you're not sure whether you are supposed to be happy or not about that news? For example, the summer after I graduated from high school, I ran into a classmate's mother at the post office. The mother told me that her daughter was expecting a baby. Now, I knew this girl wasn't married, and this was a Catholic family. So, I wasn't sure exactly how I was supposed to take that announcement. I think that I probably just took my stamps and scurried away.

I now have a new approach, thanks to my friend Caitlin Mitchel. Caitlin said that she responds by saying, "Wow, that's big news." This is a fabulous response. That comment allows the newsgiver to read anything they want into your response. My post office woman could have answered, "Yeah, it's a shame since my girl had such a bright future." Or, she could have answered, "I know, we can't wait to start turning the guest room into a nursery." It's really her call.

I think this is brilliant.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/21/04

"Looking for a boy in high school is like looking for meaning in a Paulie Shore movie." From the movie Clueless.

Teenaged Chick Flicks are Underrated

Today, I watched most of Clueless on USA. As I watched this film, it occurred to me that teenaged chick flicks are highly underrated films. Especially in comparison to their equally vapid and more melodramatic, "grown-up" counterparts. Unlike sappy Meg Ryan films, Alicia Silverstone and Julia Stiles movies do not leave the viewer with the lagging feeling that life is meaningless until some guy you don't deserve finally falls in love with you. Sure, the teenaged movies have their romantic aspects (such that they are in high school), but they don't have that I'm-almost-thirty-and-about-to-be-an-old-maid theme going on. The sillier, teenaged version of the chick flick is mostly fun. And, after all, fun is one of the prime purposes of watching a movie.

For this reason, I'm looking forward to the upcoming releases of 13 Going On 30 and Mean Girls. Mean Girls should be especially good because it stars Lindsay Lohan and features an appearance by Tim Meadows. It's also written by SNL writer Tina Fey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/20/04

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." Robert Frost

Monday, April 19, 2004

Perspective on the War in Iraq

In recent weeks, Democrats have begun comaring the Iraqi war to Vietnam. According to the press, the American citizens are growing uneasy with the increasing death toll in Iraq. One student at Washington and Lee University School of Law updates a large counter on his carrel every day to keep all students informed of the number of soldiers who have died thus far in the war. All of these things got me thinking about the proper historical perspective that one should take on the war in Iraq. After all, my generation has really never sacrificed anything for any cause and thus has little with which to compare this war. Last night, I watched a documentary on the Battle of Iwo Jima. That documentary gave me some perspective on the sacrifice our nation has made in Iraq and in the past.

After 13 months of fighting in Iraq, 703 American soldiers have been killed. In comparison, in the Battle of Iwo Jima alone, 6,821 American Marines lost their lives in the winter of 1945.

I am by no means trying to make light of the sacrifice that American soldiers and their families have made in Iraq over the past year. However, when politicians, pundits, and especially students talk about the "suffering of Americans" in the desert and whether the cost is worth it, let them remember the high price that preceeding generations paid for freedom on beaches of the Pacific.

Quote of the Day 4/19/04

This is yet another extended Quote of the Day. These are excerpts from Chaplain Roland Gittlesohn's sermon at the dedication of the Fifth Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima. Chaplain Gittlesohn delivered these words on March 14, 1945 while shots were still being fired on the island.

Rabbi Gittlesohn said:

"Somewhere in this plot of ground there may lie the man who could have discovered the cure for cancer. Under one of these Christian crosses, or beneath a Jewish star of David, there may rest now a man who was destined to be a great find the way, perhaps, for all to live in plenty. Now they lie here silently in this sacred soil, and we gather to consecrate this earth in their memory. ....

This war, with all its frightful heartache and suffering is but the beginning of our generation's struggle for democracy. When the last battle has been won, there will be those at home, as there were last time, who will want us to turn our backs in selfish isolation on the rest of organized humanity, and thus to sabotage the very peace for which we fight. We promise you who lie here: We will not do that! ....

Thus do we memorialize those who, having ceased living with us, now live within us. Thus do we consecrate ourselves, the living, to carry on the struggle they began. Too much blood has gone into this soil for us to let it lie barren. Too much pain and heartache have fertilized the earth on which we stand. We here solemnly swear: This shall not be in vain! Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn, this will come--we promise--the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere. Amen."

Click here to read the rest of the address.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/18/04

"It's a scalpel, not a magic wand." Plastic surgeon on FOX's The Swan.

Banshee Blog Polling Battle

This week's Drama in Sports poll turned out to be the most popular poll in Banshee Blog's brief history. In fact, this week's poll received more than twice as many votes as any previous poll.

Banshee Blog voters chose the World Series as the professional sports championship that carries the most emotion. The World Series received 12 votes. The Daytona 500 had a surprisingly strong showing. The Daytona 500 received 11 votes. The Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup each received 2 votes. The NBA Finals and golf's majors were both shut out.

That ends Round 1. Now on to Round 2.

Since there were so many comments about amateur sports being far more dramatic than professional championships, this week's poll allows voters to choose which NCAA championship they believe carries the most emotion. Then, in true sports fashion, the two winners will face each other in next week's poll.

Hopefully the next two weeks' polls will generate as much excitement and activity as this week's poll.

Rough Road in Martinsville

The boys of NASCAR are back from Easter break and took to the track on Sunday afternoon in Martinsville, VA. The race lasted over 5 hours, thanks to approximately 90 minutes under the red flag. On lap 290, the leader, Dale Jr., kicked up a piece of the concrete track and launched it into the right front of then second-place Jeff Gordon. NASCAR repaired the track with epoxy. After a lengthy delay, the epoxy was dry enough to resume racing. In the end it was Rusty Wallace in his Miller Lite Dodge who took home the checkers. This was a popular win with the 90,000+ fans in attendance because it marked the end of a 105-race winless streak for the veteran Wallace. The win moved Rusty Wallace into eighth place in the Nextel Cup standings. Dale Jr. finished in third place. This was good enough to move his Budweiser team back into first place in the series standings. Kurt Busch finished in eleventh place on Sunday and dropped to second in the standings. Matt Kenseth finished in eighth but slipped to third in the championship standings.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/17/04

I heard this quote on a Friday night in Radford, VA.

"What no alcohol? Are all three of you driving? No use all y'all being sober." Anonymous convenience store clerk.

More Apprentice Info

Last night, Apprentice winner, Bill Rancic, appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Runner-up, Kwame Jackson, appeared on the Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Both men were funny and engaging on their television appearances, and both men cleared up some things that Apprentice fans may have been wondering.

During the final task, there was a lot of discussion about Bill micro-managing his team at the celebrity golf match. Bill readily admitted this to Leno. Bill pointed out that he had to rely on three recently fired competitors who were working for free. For this reason, Bill was "not leaving his fate in their hands." In addition, Bill pointed out that the final, three-day task began the morning immediately after Amy and Nick got fired. Bill said that Amy and Nick spent that entire night drinking tequilla until 5 o'clock in the morning. No wonder Nick seemed so lethargic when the task began.

Bill also emphatically denied any romantic relationship with Amy. Apparently Katrina is the one spreading this rumor. It should be pointed out that Katrina has proved to be quite the exhibitionist since the show ended. She entertained thoughts of appearing in Playboy and was a guest on the Howard Stern Show on Thursday morning.

Kwame's interview was equally interesting. Kwame did not have much to say about Omarosa or the final task. However, Kwame did say that he was also a winner on Thursday night. Kwame said that when he got home from an evening of festivities following the show, he found Mark Cuban waiting for him. Mark Cuban is the eccentric, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Kwame said that Cuban offered him a position in the Maverick's organization. Apparently that position will pay more than the Apprentice's $250,000 salary.

So, congratulations are in order to both Kwame and Bill.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/16/04

"It's five o'clock somewhere."

You're Hired!

Last night, Donald Trump said these words to Bill Rancic. Bill, a Chicago native, chose to do his apprenticeship in the Windy City. Rancic will be paid $250,000 next year to oversee the building of a new, downtown skyscraper.

Kwame Jackson, the runner-up, was indeed undone by his terrible supporting staff. Omarosa sabotaged the team's efforts, and Heidi was barely competent. In the final board room, Trump made it very clear that both Kwame and Bill were excellent candidates. In the end, the fact that Kwame allowed Omarosa to lie to him on two separate occassions seemed to be the deciding factor. That appeared to Trump to be a sign of weak leadership.

I think that over the 13-week ordeal, Bill Rancic proved to be the most deserving candidate, and I am sure the Kwame Jackson also has a bright future ahead of him.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/15/04 Tax Day

As a conservative Republican, April 15 is one my least favorite days in each calendar year. I imagine that it is the same for many of you faithful Banshee Blog readers. Therefore, I offer this extended quote of the day in order to lift your spirits. I have typed out the entire lyrics of the Beetle's "Taxman" written by the late George Harrison.

Everyobody, sing along:

Let me tell you how it will be,
There's one for you, nineteen for me.
'Cause I'm the Taxman, yeah I'm the Taxman.

Should five percent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cause I'm the Taxman, yeah, I'm the Taxman.

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street.
If you drive to six, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat.
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

(guitar solo)
'Cause I'm the Taxman, yeah, I'm the Taxman.

Don't ask me what I want it for (ah ah, Mr. Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more (ah ah, Mr. Heath).
'Cause I'm the Taxman, yeah I'm the Taxman.

And my advice for those who die (Taxman!):
"Declare the pennies on your eyes." (Taxman!)
'Cause I'm the Taxman, yeah I'm the Taxman.
And you're working for no one but me.

The Apprentice Finale

Tonight is the final episode of NBC's The Apprentice. In less than three hours, Donald Trump will utter the words, "You're hired!" to either Bill or Kwame. Although the final tasks are already completed and filmed, Trump's announcement of who will be his apprentice for the next year will be aired live.

It is the official, editorial opinion of the Banshee Blog that Bill and Kwame were the two best candidates, so I will be pleased regardless of the final result. Kwame seems to be the nicer person and clearly has superior education to Bill. However Kwame is saddled with managing the evil Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth (a veteran of the Clinton White House) in the final task. In last week's episode, Omarosa followed the model of her political mentor and told several out-and-out lies to Kwame. Omorasa's incompetence and deception could prove to be too great an obstacle for the Harvard MBA to overcome, but I can't feel too sorry for Kwame since he did pick Omarosa to be on this team. Bill, on the other hand, has to contend with Nick's laziness and some territorial resistance from Trump's permanent staff.

For these reasons, tonight's finale is too close to call. Therefore, I am not going to make a prediction as to tonight's outcome. In the immortal words of my father, "We'll just have to watch and see."

Technical difficulty

My apologies to all who logged on yesterday in search of the quote of the day and came up empty. All of April 14th's postings were made in the early afternoon, but for some reason, I do not believe that they actually appeared on the blog until after 8 pm on April 15th. Once again, my apologies.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/14/04

"I gotta admit that I have the heart of a liberal … it’s in the jar on the corner of my desk." Thor Halvorssen

Championship Polling

After only four days, this week's poll is already the most popular poll in Banshee Blog's brief history. However, there has been significant discussion about amateur championships being excluded from the list of choices. I decided to restrict the poll to professional championships because I came up with the idea after watching the Masters and didn't want to have an eternal list. But, there is clearly some passion out there in the Banshee nation about amateur sports. I aim to please, so next week I will conduct a poll about the most emotional amateur championships. Then I will finish off the debate with a poll comparing the professional winner against the amateur winner.

If you haven't done so already, please weigh in by casting your vote in this week's poll.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/13/04

"We will finish the work of the fallen." President George W. Bush during his primetime press conference.

Discussion with a pro-choicer

It is no secret that Wild Banshee is extremely committed to the pro-life position. I believe that life begins at conception and that there really is no logical, medically supportable starting point for life other than conception. However, last night, I had an interesting discussion with a pro-choice friend of mine.

She took the position that there was certainly life at conception but that it was something less than a full human life until "quickening." However, she did not claim that she was able to determine exactly what that meant. My response to that is: When in doubt, protect the life. If I am wrong, extra people get to live. If she is wrong, extra people are killed. It seems to me that it is clearly better to err in my direction.

The most interesting part of the discussion was when my friend offered a comparison between abortion and war. She said that she thinks abortion, like war, is a terrible thing to be avoided at all costs. However, she believed that there were circumstances where both war and abortion might be a necessary evil. For this reason, she believed that abortion should remain a legal choice for women. I think this might be a valid comparison in theory. However, in actual practice, I believe that there really are factual situations where the criteria for a just war are met. In contrast, I cannot come up with a factual situation where "just war" type of circumstances exist that would justify the killing of an unborn child. Nonetheless, it was an interesting line of thought.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/12/04

"The harder you work, the luckier you get." Gary Player

Mickelson is a Master

This Sunday, I had the privilege of watching one of the most moving sporting events that I have ever seen. Phil Mickelson birdied five of the last seven holes at Augusta National to come from three strokes back to win the Masters. The furious charge was capped when Mickelson sank an 18-foot putt to birdie the 72nd and final hole of the tournament. A roar went up from the crowd gathered in the hollow. Mickelson lept in the air. And a tear came to my eye. The dramatic finish gave Mickelson his first major championship. Until Sunday, the left-hander was best known as the greatest golfer never to win a major. Now he will forever be introduced as the 2004 Masters Champion.

The reason why it was so great to see Mickelson win is because of the class with which he has always handled defeat and the sheer joy which he expressed upon finally winning. The first person who greeted Mickelson was Jim MacKay, the caddie who has carried his clubs in every single one of his proffessional tournaments. Mickelson then celebrated by hugging his wife and three beautiful children. The only person missing from this scene was Mickelson's grandfather who passed away in January. Up until this year, Mickelson had given his grandfather the 18th flag from every tournament that he has won. Just before he died, Mickelson's grandfather told Mickelson that he didn't want any more tournament flags that weren't from a major. His grandfather also told him that he was sure that 2004 would finally be Mickelson's year. And, indeed, Mickelson captured the first major tournament of 2004. And, Jim MacKay took the 18th flagstick away from from the green.

Some people ask why sports play such a prominent role in the lives of so many Americans. This is not easy to put into words, but anyone who saw 72nd hole of the Masters certainly felt the answer to that question.

Good Friday is important to Banshee Blog readers

100% of poll respondents said that they attend churches that have Good Friday services. This is not a surprising result since a large portion of this blog's readers are in my family or attend my home church.

I thought of this poll question because of the book I am currently reading. It is called The Defense Never Rests by Craig A. Parton. Parton is an attorney, and the book is about his spiritual journey through different Christian churches. Parton claims that a person can tell a lot about the Christo-centric nature of a church based upon that church's treatment of Good Friday. I will write more about this book once I have finished it.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/11/04 Easter Sunday

Matthew 28:5-7

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

No NASCAR Update

There was no NASCAR race this weekend. Good southern boys don't race on Mother's Day or Easter Sunday. Next week: The Advanced Auto Parts 500 from Martinsville, VA. The race will be on FOX at 1 p.m.

Quote of the Day 4/10/04 Holy Saturday

Matthew 27:62-66

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/9/04 Good Friday

John 19:28-30:

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Grammar Master

I ran across a Quizilla quiz on grammar. Since I fancy myself a bit of a wordsmith, I thought I should check it out and see what they knew. As it turned out, I am not a grammar goddess. I am a mere grammar master. I guess all the time I'm spending here in Dixie is taking its toll on me. Yous all know that only the king's English is spoken in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, so don't even start to arg agin me on that point. Unfortunately, the graphics won't paste into this blog properly. Here is the link if you want to check your own grammar skills.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/8/04 Maundy Thursday

Matthew 26:26-28:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Excerpt from the testimony of Dr. Condoleezza Rice

This morning, Dr. Condoleezza Rice testified before the 9/11 Commission. I did not have the opportunity to watch very much of Dr. Rice's testimony. However, I wanted to post this excerpt. I think it provides an interesting and articulate perspective on the entire War on Terrorism.

Dr. Rice said:

"The terrorist threat to our Nation did not emerge on September 11th, 2001. Long before that day, radical, freedom-hating terrorists declared war on America and on the civilized world....The terrorists were at war with us, but we were not yet at war with them. For more than 20 years, the terrorist threat gathered, and America's response across several administrations of both parties was insufficient. Historically, democratic societies have been slow to react to gathering threats, tending instead to wait to confront threats until they are too dangerous to ignore or until it is too late....

Despite Nazi Germany's repeated violations of the Versailles Treaty and its string of provocations throughout the mid-1930s, the Western democracies did not take action until 1939. The U.S. Government did not act against the growing threat from Imperial Japan until the threat became all too evident at Pearl Harbor. And, tragically, for all the language of war spoken before September 11th, this country simply was not on a war footing. Since then, America has been at war. And under President Bush's leadership, we will remain at war until the terrorist threat to our Nation is ended."

Secular Humanism: The established religion of America's public schools

Wild Banshee has finally re-emerged in the larger blog universe. After a long hiatus, Wild Banshee posted a comment on the World Mag Blog today.

Marvin Olasky posted an excerpt from a recent Francis Beckwith article (the World Mag Blog link to the full article didn't work) on the blog. Francis Beckwith is a professor at Baylor University, and a couple of years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Professor Beckwith speak in person.

In the article, Beckwith discusses the fact that certain publicly funded institutions are offering instructions for how public school teachers should think about the relationship and differences between evolution and religion. This prompted Wild Banshee to post a response. My post isn't exactly on point, but it's a statement that I have wanted to make in a public forum for quite some time.

Click here to read the Olasky post and Wild Banshee's comments.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/7/04

"There is more credit in being abused by fools than praised by rogues." F.E. Smith

Tracking Paul Kengor

Yesterday, Dr. Paul Kengor gave a talk about his book, God and Ronald Reagan, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Dr. Kengor estimated that there were about 60 people at his UVA talk. More importantly, the UVA lecture was taped by C-Span. It is possible that the lecture will air on C-Span2 as soon as this weekend.

Later that same evening, Dr. Kengor spoke about the book at an alumni event at the Courtyard Marriott in Charlottesville. I had the great privilege of attending that event. Dr. Kengor is a wonderful story teller and a passionate speaker. I have not yet had the opportunity to read God and Ronald Reagan, but I do own a copy and am looking forward to reading it. I encourage Banshee Blog readers to purchase a copy. Interestingly enough, Dr. Kengor's book is now linked with Sean Hannity's Deliver Us From Evil as part of a two-book package deal at

Move Over, Hoosier State

Connecticut is officially the basketball capital of the world -- at least for the year 2004. Last night, the Lady Huskies of the University of Connecticut matched their male counterparts and won the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. Congratulations to the Huskies!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/6/04

"We don't give evil its due." Dr. Paul Kengor

Congrats to the Huskies!

Last night, the UConn Huskies defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to claim the 2004 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. It was a truly dominating performance by the Huskies, but the Yellow Jackets can be proud that they fought hard to the very end.

Tonight, the Lady Huskies will play the Lady Volunteers from the University of Tennessee for the women's crown. If the Lady Huskies win the championship this evening, this will be the first time that a men's and women's team have both won the championship from the same school.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/5/04

"Better the enemy you can recognize than the ‘friend’ you can't trust." Gerald Wetzel

And don't I know it ....

"Amazing Grace and The Lord of the Rings" by Dr. James G. Dixon III

This post is not my work. It was written by the Chair of the English Department at Grove City College. It is a bit deeper and a bit longer than the usual Banshee Blog fare, but I thought it was worth posting.

What made J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings an Oscar winner? Strangely enough, in an age that purports to be modern and secular, the Lord of the Rings is a success because its structure and vision focus the viewer on "wonder" and "grace."

True, a common criticism of Tolkien's work is that his Middle Earth lacks any formal religion. But that is to miss a larger truth. Tolkien, a devout Christian, a life-long Catholic, and a spiritual mentor to C. S. Lewis, insisted in a letter that "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work" but that he deliberately cut "all references to anything like religion.... For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."

First, The Lord of the Rings produces a sense of wonder, awe, fear and humility of the individual soul in facing the demands of transcendent reality. The greatest example of this occurs at the council of Rivendell, when Frodo makes the difficult choice to take the Ring – and the quest to destroy it. In facing the "great dread" of an unbearable responsibility, Frodo realizes that he is a very small part of a much larger story whose meaning he cannot begin to fathom. He submits to that awesome mystery "as if some other will was using his small voice." In response he says: "I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way." Something – or Someone – is at work in Middle Earth, drawing its seemingly insignificant characters into His larger plan for good. Tolkien chooses to leave that “presence” nameless, but he continuously refers to it by intentionally using the passive voice. "Why was I chosen?" asks Frodo. Gandalf responds, "You were meant to carry the Ring."

Secondly, The Lord of the Rings teaches viewers about grace – based on Tolkien's belief in the soul – and its potential for salvation and damnation. Frodo exhibits it in his pity for the despicable, clawing Gollum whose consuming passion is to get the Ring – "my precious." But Frodo's pity is profoundly spiritual: he sees in Gollum a portrait of himself. Frodo, too, has been corrupted by the Ring. Both are fallen creatures, so Frodo persists in believing that Gollum is not beyond redemption and that he – like Frodo himself – may have a purpose in the larger scheme of things.

Tolkien coined a new word to explain the kind of "miraculous grace" at work in such stories as his. The word is "eucatastrophe,” which Tolkien defines as the “good catastrophe, the sudden joyous 'turn'... and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur." This amazing grace "denies... universal final defeat... giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief." Tolkien continues: "The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation."

At the conclusion of The Lord of the Rings, the Black Gates of Mordor open, all Hell breaks loose, and Frodo, at the very edge of the Cracks of Doom, finds himself unable to complete his quest. But the grace that kept Gollum alive allows him to make one last appearance. He bites the Ring from Frodo’s finger and, dancing in maniacal glee, plunges into the fiery abyss, destroying the Ring and himself and purging Frodo and all Middle Earth of the evil that would have consumed them. In the face of “universal defeat” comes "sudden, miraculous grace" that emerges brilliantly from the very fabric of the plot and characterizations which Tolkien has woven.

The appeal then of The Lord of the Rings is its ability to reconnect 21st century theater-goers to two spiritual qualities for which their souls long. First, they regain a sense of wonder and awe that in one’s daily existence each person is part of a larger story whose full meaning one cannot know but whose call to sacrificial service to others and to God must be heeded. Second, by identifying with Tolkien’s characters, viewers come to witness approvingly the triumph of goodness, truth and beauty over evil, by means of a profoundly amazing grace.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/4/04

"The minute you stop working on a relationship, you start working against it." Julie Baker

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/3/04

"To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." Theodore Roosevelt

Last weekend of madness

The NCAA Men's Basketball tournament will crown a champion on Monday night. Tonight, there will be two semi-final games. Georgia Tech will play Oklahoma State in the first game at 6:07. Then Duke and UConn will play the nightcap.

The Banshee poll on the tournament ends today (one day earlier than the usual Sunday deadline). After all, it doesn't make sense to allow people to vote after two teams have been eliminated this evening. Banshee Blog voters were evenly split between Duke and UConn. The Yellow Jackets and the Cowboys didn't receive any votes.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/2/04

"There is no education like adversity." Benjamin Disraeli

Those Who Trespass by Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of several best selling books that cover similar topics to his show, has recently tried his hand at writing fiction. The book is called Those Who Trespass. It is a book about murder and mayhem in the television news industry. I finished reading this book earlier this week. I would have to say that the book is mediocre at best. There is sex and language and violence. None of it is necessary and none of it is compelling. As an aspiring novelist myself, I originally felt some frustration that this book is in bookstores while mine lives in my closet. But then I remembered that I am a great believer in the market, and publishers provide what the market demands. I purchased Those Who Trespass because Bill O'Reilly's name is on it, and that is why the book is in print. However, I do not recommend reading it.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/1/01

"Men occassionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." Winston Churchill