Monday Morning Press 10.31

[Ed. Yes I know MMP is a day early, because today isn’t actually, you know, Monday. But this is a special Reformation Day assortment, and tomorrow isn’t Reformation Day anymore.]

Of course you knew that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses upon the door of the church in Wittenberg. And of course you knew that was exactly 493 years ago today. So we’ll celebrate in the most appropriate way know to the internets: YouTube.

YouTubes the first.

The Reformation Polka. Skip to 1:03 for the real stuff. Notice John Calvin on the piano.

YouTubes the second.

“Shout out to Johann Gutenberg, I see you baby.”

Diet of Worms reading. Get your free audio recording of Luther’s “Here I Stand” speech from Listener’s Bible, read by the superb Max McLean. I just downloaded it again before realizing that I downloaded it last year. Offer is only good until tomorrow; get it now.

Martin Luther, according to Qui-Gon Jinn. Here’s a cool PBS documentary, narrated by the forever awesome Liam Neeson. Alistar McGrath is a commentator. If you have a free hour… [HT: JT]

N.T. Wright vs. John Calvin. Over at Reformation21, Liam Goligher offers a special Reformation Day shot across the bow at the New Perspective on Paul, especially Wright’s denial of imputation.


Monday Morning Press: 10/18

Streams of Evangelicalism. The Gospel Coalition has been producing some really great round-table videos recently, and this discussion about evangelicalism is among the latest. I enjoyed hearing the perspectives of a historian (Owen Strachan), a blogger (Justin Taylor) and a journalist (Collin Hansen). It brings a refreshingly different dynamic to a discussion we’ve often heard conducted by scholars and pastors. I’ve embedded it below:


Kindle and iPad: Together taking over the world. When we talk about the two dominant e-book devices, we typically refer to the competition between them (e.g. the “which is better?” argument). HOWEVA, a recent article in Wired says that e-book sales have almost doubled in the last year. According to the study, for the month of August, hardcover sales decreased 25 percent while e-book sales went up 172 percent. Yikes. The reading apocalypse is upon us!

One of my profs brought this to my attention, so I suppose I should hat tip Adventures in Professorship, his blog.

Obligatory monday morning college football thoughts. So Ohio State lost over the weekend, which is always nice. But the way they did it is kind of unsettling, by all accounts getting manhandled on the road against Wisconsin. Apart from making me think Michigan now has the slimmest of slim chances to beat Ohio State now (a notch above “absolutely no chance”), the loss had a pretty substantial impact on the rest of the country.

For the second week in a row, the No. 1 team lost (last week it was Alabama), meaning that Oklahoma and Oregon are now the top dogs, respectively. Boise State is now third, and unlikely to make it to the national title game unless everybody loses (probably twice). This is good.

Obligatory Michigan football thoughts. At one point during Michigan’s 38-28 loss to Iowa on Saturday, Michigan had 400 yards of offense and 7 points. As someone said on Twitter, that’s hard to do. I was streaming the game online at a friend’s house (a house filled with people who couldn’t care less about football, I might add) but turned it off when it was 35-14 because we were eating dinner. As we finished, I got a text from an Iowa fan which said something to the effect of “you guys are making it a game, but we still have control.” Of course I turned the game back on to see that it was now 35-28. Unsurprisingly, a string of bad things happened once I started watching and they lost.

As for Rich Rodriguez’s job security, yeah he’s in trouble. A 4-15 conference record is downright inexcusable. I like the guy and hope he stays, but if they don’t beat Penn State after the bye week, it’s red alert time. If they lose to PSU, lose to Illinois or Purdue or both, and don’t upset one of Wisconsin or Ohio State, it’s curtains for RichRod.

My prediction, you ask? Based on available evidence we can project the rest of the season to go as follows:

And it’s over

If I were the kind of person to define my life by the success of my sports teams, then 2006 was very close to the greatest year ever. Michigan used the nation’s top run defense to crush mediocre Big Ten offenses en route to an 11-0 record and #2 ranking going into the Ohio State game. The New York Mets won 97 games that year, had three legitimate MVP candidates (David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes) to go with a deep and experienced bullpen and a power-hitting first baseman Carlos Delgado who would go .351/.442/.757 with four homers in the playoffs. In the middle of October that year, I was a senior in high school everything with my teams was awesome.

Of course, this happened to Carlos Beltran, Michigan lost to Ohio State and both teams have gone splat since. But I’ll always have that awesome beginning of October 2006, when for once everything was *all good*.

The recent firing of Jerry Manuel and the nominal firing of Omar Minaya (he could still come back in “another capacity” I guess, but he’s gone) reminded me how far the Mets have fallen since then. A quick pictoral rundown of what has happened since Carlos Beltran’s knee-bending failure:







 2007: The Collapse. Mets lose a 7-game division lead with 17 games left in the season. Tom Glavine gives up seven runs in the first inning without recording an out in the deciding game, and afterward tells the media he’s “not devastated.” He was not invited back.



 2008. GM Omar Minaya fires manager Willie Randolph in the middle of the night during a west coast road trip, the Mets become a national media laughingstock, then for good measure go ahead and blow a playoff spot during the last week of the season for the second year in a row. These were painful times.

2009. The worst team of the Minaya era. David Wright suddenly couldn’t hit homeruns, and Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana all spent significant time on the disabled list. Wright was hit in the head with a Matt Cain fastball near the end of the season and had to wear an obnoxious big helment and everybody laughed at him. This was your 2009 Mets. Ridiculous.

Then this happened:

The 2010 Mets were only slightly less embarrassing than the 2009 Mets, and Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya were fired just like everybody thought they would be. Meanwhile, Michigan lost to Appalachian State in 2007 to start off a disappointing year, head coach Lloyd Carr retired and Michigan hired former West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez, who installed his offense and has won a spectacular three conference games in three years.

Who knows: The Wilpons (owners of the Mets) might hire some brilliant GM named Alderson or Hahn or Ryan, who will consequently hire an effective manager who figures out how to get a collection of highly-paid pretty boys to actually care about playing baseball. And Michigan might roll with their crazy-ninja offense and figure out how to play some defense in order to magically win a few Big Ten games and save Rich Rod’s job.

But for now, it’s just sad panda. And if the last 20 years are any indication,  it will probably stay like that.