Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Responding to Katrina

As news of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina continues, you may be asking, "How can I help?"


The Salvation Army and the America Red Cross tell us the best way you can help is with a financial contribution.

To donate through the Red Cross, call 1-800-HELP -NOW, or go to

To donate through the Salvation Army, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or go to

Also, bloggers will be uniting tomorrow for a concerted relief effort.


If you can't give financially, don't underestimate the power of prayer. Include the victims, the rescue workers and the relief workers on your prayer list.

Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco is calling for a day of prayer today for residents of New Orleans. Says Blanco: "That would be the best thing to calm our spirits and thank our Lord that we are survivors." She added, "Slowly, gradually, we will recover; we will survive; we will rebuild."

Southern Baptist relief efforts

Meantime, AP reports that more than one-thousand Baptist volunteers have been mobilized to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in and around New Orleans. However, Joe Conway of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief says workers have had a hard time getting to the hardest-hit areas because of "the devastation of the storm, the rising flood waters, the damage to infrastructure."

Keep track of what's going on...

...through your favorite news sources and remarkable sites like the Slidell Hurricane Damage Blog.

...Word here on how the hurricane is affecting the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary...

Casting Crowns' members praying for friends in New Orleans

This also from AP: "Members of the Christian band
Casting Crowns are praying for their friends in hurricane-ravaged
New Orleans.
Lead singer and songwriter Mark Hall says, 'We have a lot
of friends down in the seminary in New Orleans, youth pastors,
worship leaders.'
He says, 'they're heavy on our heart.'
Casting Crowns performed in Louisiana in the spring and is
scheduled to return this fall."


"In my mind I'm where I belong
As I rest in your arms
And like a child I hold on to you
In my moment of truth, yes I do

We can ride the storm
Endure the pain
You comfort me in my hurricane--"Mind's Eye"

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"All I need is a couple days off..."

...but a really great nap would do, so where is my nap pod?

Darren Marlar had a story today about places where you can pay to take a really good nap. Apparently they're now available at the Mall of America, but I've also heard about "MetroNaps" in New York City. (Granted, at around 42 bucks an hour for the Mall of America nap, that's a pretty pricey 40 winks.)

This from the MetroNaps website: "MetroNaps provides America with mid-day rest facilities: a clean, comfortable place to take a nap. MetroNaps was born from the realization that many employees spend significant amounts of their day dozing at their desk or catching powernaps in odd places. We seek to be the premier provider of professional nap centers in the United States."

"I would come every day, and I wish I had a pod in my apartment because nothing helps me as much as the pod," says Elizabeth Cole, a MetroNap regular, is quoted in this msnbc report.

A listener called and told us she'd taken one of these power naps on a cruise ship. She told us that the "nap pods" zap you into REM sleep so quickly, you end up getting the equivalent of several hours of sleep in a much shorter time. You wake up feeling amazingly refreshed and reinvigorated.

So where do I get mine???

Seriously, don't you just love a nap? Why is the act of sleeping so lovely?...just drifting off into restful oblivion...releasing the cares of the day...floating away on a cloud of tranquil unconsciousness...

Yawn...I'm getting sleepy..

Quote o' The Day

(and why I love fiction!):

"When we pick up a novel, we are not just immersed in a story, we are immersed in a community of new friends, who live out their lives before us, who show us who they are in a transparent manner, who usher us to places we’ve never been. We have a common purpose with these imaginary friends: to get to the end of the story, hopefully in one piece, everybody a little wiser, a little bolder, a little more inspired."--Lisa Samson

Monday, August 29, 2005

Watered-down evangelicalism?

Ran across this story on AP's Religion Roundup today:

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (AP) - The Reverend James MacDonald says
too many churches are trying to "engage the culture" with a
watered-down gospel instead of just presenting the Bible as God's
MacDonald pastors the eight-thousand-member Harvest Bible
outside Chicago, and he says people are saved by the
"gospel of power," not human wisdom or persuasion.

Read the entire story here. (By the way, the last six paragraphs in the story I linked are actually introductions to sound bites from MacDonald. Somehow they mistakenly ended up as part of the article.)

MacDonald made those comments at Cedarville University's Fall Bible Conference (the college my son Jonathan graduated from, and from which my son Justin is trying to graduate from. :))

Religion Roundup is a service I get as part of my Associated Press package here at the radio station. The writer, AP's Steve Coleman, is a Christian himself and does a terrific job writing and editing this feature.

By the way, I happen to agree with MacDonald's comments.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Major Davis' Prayer Campaign Begins Today

Today is the start of Major Danny Davis' 90 day prayer campaign to win the war on terror.

Says Davis on his website: "There is no doubt God is able to work an extraordinary miracle, and the Bible is full of precedent where believers humbled themselves, admitted their inability to get out of a tough jam, prayed to God for His deliverance, and a great work was accomplished on their behalf. The best and brightest minds all over the world are working feverishly trying to contain, quell, or defeat terrorism and have thus far been completely unable to even slow it down. In my opinion, God alone is able to do it."

According to his website, Davis is now stationed in Doha, Qatar.

Want to know more about embryonic stem cell research, from a Christian perspective?

You might want to visit the website of the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

The CMDA's executive director, Dr. David Stevens, says the site offers "medically-reliable biblically-sound information" on stem cell research, cloning,
assisted suicide and other issues so that Christians can contribute knowledgeably to the national debate.

Harvard scientists announced earlier this week that they've found a way to fuse adult skin cells with embryonic stem cells--raising hopes that treatments and cures could someday be developed without destroying human embryos.

Stevens tells AP: "There are other ways to get the cures that we want without destroying human beings."

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm in love with Taylor, the Latte Boy

It all started when my co-host Darren Marlar played Kristin Chenoweth's "Taylor, the Latte Boy" here on 101QFL.

Now, hardly a day goes by that we don't get at least one request for this charming little song. If you love coffee, and especially if you love Starbucks, it's just a natural fit.

Kristin Chenoweth is an actress (apparently she's a regular on West Wing and has also been on Broadway), who happens to be a Christian (read about her Christian CD, "As I Am," here.) "Taylor" is actually just a humorous postscript to the songs on that album, but as Christianity Today comments, "Only in the extremely cute closing track 'Taylor, the Latte Boy' does she display the most range, delightfully putting her gifts as a comedic Broadway actress to use."

Honestly, I have a hard time getting this song out of my head, and every time I meet a boy named Taylor, it pops up unbidden.

Imagine Darren's and my delight when we found out a local videographer, Chris Johnson, has put together a video for the song. (She actually did so as an anniversary gift to her Starbucks-crazy pastor and his wife.)

This video perfectly captures the wistfully comical appeal of the song. Kandice Campbell does a beautiful job as "Kristin"--she's absolutely adorable--and her brother Kasey Campbell as her accompanist and Nick Sanderson as Taylor himself are terrific.

Do go check out this charming video. You may fall in love with the song and probably with Kandice Campbell as well!

The inventor of the synthesizer is dead...

According to AP, Robert Moog died yesterday at the age of 71:
"Robert Moog's (mohgz) invention turned electric currents
into sound and opened the musical wave that became electronica. "

I happen to be sort of a fan of the synthesizer. Two of my favorite songs that contain synthesizer solos: "Eagle Song," by the Imperials (actually, that's one of my favorite Imperials songs ever), and "Spin Your Light," by the Second Chapter of Acts. (Unfortunately, neither of the snippets of the songs I've linked contain the synthesizer interludes.)

Had the most amazing meal Friday night...

As I blogged about earlier, Friday was my 27th wedding anniversary. My husband surprised me with reservations at Maggiano's Little Italy in Schaumburg. He had been there before, but I hadn't. Delectable, delicious and awesome don't begin to describe this place. By the way, we had so much left over that we feasted on it again for lunch at home the next day, along with Justin and Elizabeth!

I don't often indulge in restaurant desserts, but may I say, the tiramisu was exquisite. They have locations in 20 states, so give it a try sometime.

Our dining experience was just one component of a very memorable anniversary; many thanks to everyone who gave us anniversary greetings.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

27 years today! All my love and thanks to my precious husband, who has stuck by me through all these years. You're the BEST!

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it..." Song of Solomon 8:7.

Yes, that's us with our preacher dads--August 19, 1978

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.--Shakepeare's Sonnet 116

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I took the Jane Austen quiz

The Pride and Prejudice type: Truly an Austenite,
this type is a Romantic at heart, but they
always keep their head and are wary of
melodrama. Lively, clever, and independent.
These people are easily amused by their own
foibles and the quirkly foibles of others. They
lament society today, and dream of the time
when guys were gentlemen and girls were ladies.

Jane Austen novel quiz
brought to you by Quizilla

What I have in common with Cindy Sheehan

Now, wait a minute. I'm not saying I agree with Cindy Sheehan. It seems to me that she's being used by liberal groups to push forward their own agendas. (Read Margaret Carlson's The Co-opting of Cindy Sheehan, Grieving Mom).

Even her family members have reportedly said that she's dishonoring the memory of her soldier son, who died in Iraq. And she appears to be pretty inconsistent in her comments about President Bush.

I'm a conservative, pro-Bush, God-fearing, patriotic American woman. But I admit, a small part of my heart grieves every time I hear about another American soldier being killed in Iraq. I'm not about to go out and join the candlelight vigils, although the war is in my prayers every night. I'm not like Cindy Sheehan in a lot of ways.

However, we do share something in common--besides the fact that we have the same first name and we're about the same age.

Cindy Sheehan had someone in Iraq that she loved, and she lost him. I have someone in Iraq that I love, and I don't want to lose him.

I've mentioned here that my brother David is a cop and former Marine (Desert Storm veteran) who is in Iraq voluntarily, training Iraqi police officers. Frankly, I'm terrified for my brother. I lost my dad a year ago, and I don't want to lose my only brother.

I said as much to him in an e-mail the other day. David had sent out a bulk e-mail, letting all of us know about the death of an American man in his unit.

When I responded, expressing my fear and wishes that he would come home, I hit "reply all"--so everyone on David's list saw my stark, raw emotion.

And David also hit "reply all" when he sent me this response. Strong though some of his wording may be (remember, once a Marine, always a Marine,)I think it shows the mindset of people like him who think they are in Iraq for good and necessary reasons,

David's response:

"_______________ [the American man who was killed] risked his life, knowing the risk, in order to train Iraqi Counter Terrorist Special Forces. My intent of passing the news on is to let everyone think about the fact that there are thousands of Iraqis who are putting their lives on the line every day to see democracy flourish in their country.

" So while France, and Germany have stood aside in helping the war on terror, America has found an ally in many of the Iraqi people who like the Americans, brave any risk to fight the war on terror. Let the liberal think of the American and Pro freedom Iraqi blood that still stains the soil of this country before thinking of stopping before success.

"Now is not the time to stop the fight. Let us not walk away from those we have given a taste of freedom, the promise of democracy, and the hope of a better future for their children.

"This is a noble cause. Just as our country's founders didn't shy from the unpleasantry of war to forge freedom in our country, neither should our country back down to the Muslim Extremist that bombed our country, hate our Christ, and our freedom. Let them all come here, all the Jihadist and Mujahadeen, the unholy warriors and suicidal fanatics of Muslim extremism. The haters of Christianity, Judaism, peace and freedom Arabs and Democracy. Come to us O enemies of freedom, come to Iraq and let your rat-like blood spill in the streets on the ground of Iraq so that the seeds of freedom and international security can be watered by it, and the dogs can be made fat by your flesh.

" Let them come one and all here to Iraq, the arena, the field of battle, rather than to my homeland. Let every American warror that loves freedom come and stand alongside the American military, police, security professionals and Iraqi Nationals that are ready shed their blood on this soil fighting terrorism. The Muslim extremist come from countries far and wide to kill the guardians of freedom here. Let us as Americans reach for the indomitable courage and intestinal fortitude that has made our country great, and unlike the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, the Kurdish uprising against Saddam, carry out the mission we began.

"Semper Fi"

David closed with this quote: "Whoever does not have the stomach for this fight, let him depart. Give him money to speed his departure since we wish not to die in that mans company. Whoever lives past today and comes home safely wiil rouse himself every year on this day, show his neighbor his scars, and tell embellished stories of all their great feats of battle. These stories will teach his son, and from this day until the end of the world we shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for who has shed his blood with me shall be my brother. And those men afraid to go will think themselves lesser men as they hear of how we fought and died together." --Shakespeare's Henry V

Will this rhetoric, although eloquent and heartfelt, be any comfort if my brother dies in Iraq? Frankly, probably not. But at least I will know that he believed very strongly in what he was doing there. And I would not dishonor his memory by protesting what he believed in so passionately.

In the meantime, I pray daily for God's shield of protection on his life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Carrie McDonnall is a hero

Missionaries are a special breed.

Yes, I know that as Christians we're all supposed to be missionaries. But I'm talking about people who leave home and kindred and go to places where at the very least they will face sacrifice, and at most they'll be putting themselves in harm's way.

Of course, the best missionaries would deny that there's anything special or heroic about them. They're humble and self-effacing.

But 27-year-old Carrie McDonnall is a young woman that I believe deserves so much more admiration than the Jessicas, Britneys and Parises that garner the world's adulation.

Carrie is still recovering from critical shrapnel wounds she sustained when her husband David and three fellow Baptist missionareis were killed in a 2004 drive-by attack in Iraq.

I haven't yet read Carrie's book, Facing Terror, but I want to. In her book, Carrie says she doesn't regret going to Iraq to, in her words, "share the love of Christ."

And she says she would go back overseas as a missionary if that's what God wants.

Speaking to the Southern Baptists' 2004 gathering, Carrie McDonnall said: "Make no mistake, David and I went to Iraq out of God’s call on our lives to see His name glorified among the nations. That includes the hard and violent places.

"My Jesus bears scars on his body from the violence he endured. How could we sit back and say ‘I can’t go because it’s too hard,’ especially when the world is saying, ‘You just can’t do that’?

"Trust me, for my Jesus, it’s the least I could do."


For more on Carrie McDonnall:

A USA Today article on the incident that claimed her husband's life

Carrie speaks to the SBC in 2004

A Baptist Press article

A review of Carrie's book

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back from God's Country!

Boy, I love Texas! Elizabeth and I just got back last night after over week in the Austin area, spending time with my son and his wife, my mom, my sister and her family.

Most of the time was spent just relaxing and enjoying time with my loved ones. One of my favorite things to do on vacation--since my usual work schedule involves me getting up at 4 AM every weekday--is to stay up late reading and then sleep in the next morning. I got to do plenty of that.

One of my favorite authors, Angela Hunt, sent me a package of books just before I left on vacation, and I have been in hog heaven. First I read Unspoken, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Then I polished off The Pearl. Now I'm well on my way with The Note.

I had already been hooked on Angela's writing, thanks to The Canopy and The Awakening (read my review of that book.)

Angela Hunt's writing is exceptional--intelligent, evocative, absorbing--and she has a distinctive flair for choosing unusual and intriguing storylines. These are wonderful books.

Which reminds me...

The Charis Connection

If you're a writer or have writing aspirations, there's a new blog you need to know about. The Charis Connection combines the wisdom and practical knowledge of Angela Hunt, BJ Hoff, Deborah Raney, Lisa Samson and others.
BJ tells me: "Angie Hunt and I set this up for a group of authors published in Christian fiction who will be contributing two or three posts each on a monthly basis... the entire focus of the blog will be on writing, especially the writing of Christian fiction. We're encouraging posts from our contributing authors that speak to the craft of writing, publishing, the spiritual journeys of Christian authors, and a lot more..."

This blog is destined to be one of my regular visits. Hope you'll check it out as well!

Are you ever the victim of well-meaning but annoying e-mail forwards?

Who isn't? In fact, we here at 101QFL are so often plagued with such urban-myth type e-mails, we've actually created a feauture to try to de-bunk some of them. We call it "Cindy Swanson, Cyber-Snoop," and each week I take a different e-mail and set out to prove or disprove its authenticity.

Well, my son Jonathan sent me this WONDERFUL response to those bothersome forwards--it's tongue-in-cheek, of course, but it kind of says it all!


Thank you everyone.

I must give my thanks to whoever sent me the one about roach eggs
in the glue on envelopes because I
now have to get a wet towel with every envelope that needs
sealing. Also, I scrub the top of every
can I open for the same reason.

I want to thank you who have taken the time and trouble to send
me your chain letters over the past
12 months. Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed,
and wealthy. Because of your
concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make
these products are atheists who >refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could
be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell
like a water buffalo on a hot day.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me
with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are
actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't
support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get aphone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer date the opposite sex because they will take my
kidneys and leave me taking a nap in a bathtub full of ice.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now
have their recipe.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels
looking out for me and St. Theresa's
novena has granted my every wish.

Thanks to you, I have learned that God only answers my prayers if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time).

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I
receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

Yes, I want to thank you so much for looking out for me that I will now return the favor!

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM(CST) this afternoon
and the fleas from 1,000 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I finally watched "Dear Frankie"

I had heard so many good things about this movie (including a hearty endorsement from Dee of ChristianFiction),so I was delighted when I finally snagged an elusive copy at Blockbuster.

The guy at the Blockbuster nearest me ended up calling a Blockbuster further away and having it reserved for us. "I couldn't figure out why everybody wants to watch this movie, until I saw the preview," he told me. "And then I thought, wow, I want to see this movie!"

Let's face it, I was already pre-disposed to like the movie because Gerard Butler is in it. Butler had me at hello when I first saw him in The Phantom of the Opera; I liked him even more when I saw him in Timeline.

Not only ruggedly handsome, Butler is a talented and compelling actor. Whether he's crushing a rose and weeping for the faithless Christine, or being touched by the emotions of a fatherless boy, he makes us feel with him.

But to tell you the truth, Butler isn't the only male competing for our affections in Dear Frankie. Jack McElhone is wonderful as young Frankie. Speaking mostly in voice-over narration, McElhone will win your heart as the boy who writes letters to a father he has never known. From the first phrase he uttered in his enchanting Scottish brogue, my daughter and I were hooked.

A few things you should know if you decide to watch this movie:

~The Scottish accents can be VERY thick at times, and difficult to understand. Liz and I even turned English subtitles on at one point, but we ended up finding it distracting--so if something was said that was indecipherable, we backed up and listened to it with subtitles on. We did find that as the movie went on, we became familiar with the actors' speech rhythms and the dialogue became easier to understand.

~Foreign movies don't always see the need to rush the action along, as we're used to in American movies. There are frequent moments where nothing is really happening on the surface, and you get the chance to observe the characters' actions and emotions at a slow and relaxed pace. Personally, I like that fine. It probably would have driven my husband a little crazy.

~"Dear Frankie" doesn't have as neat, tidy, and all-loose-ends-wrapped up ending as we also tend to expect from American movies. I could have used just a little more closure--but on further thought, it's pretty obvious what's going to happen next in Frankie's life, or at least a bit further down the road.

In my comments section, I'm going to ask a question that will be a spoiler if you haven't seen the movie, so don't read it if you intend to watch the movie. But if you HAVE seen "Dear Frankie," please read it and give me your thoughts!

Overall, this movie is as sweet, charming and heartwarming as I had hoped it would be. My only complaint: Gerard Butler needs to smile more! He has a wonderfully sweet smile that totally changes his countenance, but we just don't see it often enough.

Some follow-ups to yesterday's posts:

Major Danny Davis has gotten such great response to his plea for prayer for the war in Iraq, he's decided to organize a prayer campaign.

Davis, an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, used his own money to buy an ad in the Washington Times asking people to e-mail him if they're willing to pray.

Now he says he'll launch a prayer campaign running from August 24th through November 24th. He's like you to e-mail him at majordavis3(at), if you'd like to take part in this campaign.

Davis says he's asking people to pray for to pray for "forgiveness
of their own and the nation's sins, to ask God to vanquish
terrorist leaders, and to pray for peace and the safe homecoming
of America's troops."

Heavy hitters not on steroids?

Yesterday I asked: "How far do we have to go back in baseball history to find a heavy hitter that did it all on his own, without any question of using anything but his own muscle and skill?"

I got an answer in an e-mail from my son Jonathan: "Here's a good article in response to that question you asked on your blog about a steroid-less heavy hitter:

In Cubs' star Lee we place our trust

"Also, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez are prolific home run hitters that have never been (to my knowledge) implicated in any steroid controversies."

Thanks, Jonny!

REMINDER: "Dear Frankie" viewers, don't forget to answer my spoiler question in my comments section! I really want your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A plea for prayer for the war in Iraq

A US army officer wants Americans to pray for the war in Iraq...and he's shelled out five-thousand dollars of his own money to make that plea.

The Associated Press's Religion Roundup today reports that Major Danny Davis took out an ad in the Washington Times, titled "An Open Letter to American Christians."

Major Davis is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now stationed in Florida. He's urging fellow believers to become prayer warriors in the war on terrorism.

Davis' ad states in part: "While the terrorists have been
driven to murder by a fanaticism for Islamic domination, American
Christians have been absent from the spiritual battlefield..,We will win this battle on our knees or we will not win it."

If you'd like to join Major Davis in this prayer effort, you can contact him at majordavis3(at)

I'm disappointed in Rafael Palmeiro...

I remember not long ago, watching a profile of Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro along with my husband, and thinking, "Finally...a baseball star we can trust. One who's making records on his own power, without the use of performance enhancers. This guy is the real deal!"

Palmeiro in his Cubs days

And since several months of each year in my household include the running soundtrack of a Chicago Cubs game, either on radio or TV, I even remember when Palmeiro played for the Cubs and Harry Caray used to accidentally pronounce his name "Palermo."

My sons have told me not to do two things: talk about sports, or rap. I guess I'm not knowledgeable enough to do either without coming off sounding a little silly.

But the truth is, with a husband and two sons who are avid Cubs fans--and actually my daughter is becoming a pretty big fan herself--it's impossible to not have some of that rub off on me. Although something of a marginal and fair-weather fan, I do follow sports to a certain extent, and I've been disgusted by the fact that several of the major baseball stars have been at least implicated in steroid abuse.

But Palmeiro was different--right? Well, maybe not. Palmeiro has become the first high-profile player to receive a ten-day suspension under baseball's new steroid policy. This comes just comes four and a-half months after Palmeiro testified
before a congressional panel that he had never used steroids.

Now Palmeiro is admitting he ingested steroids, but he claims he did so by accident.

Like Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck, I want to believe him. Says Schmuck: "I want to believe it because Palmeiro doesn't fit the profile. He's not some pumped-up cartoon character like McGwire, and he never exhibited the classic steroid symptoms. He isn't covered with acne or prone to unexplainable fits of rage. He has always been a solid guy and a solid citizen."

I want to believe him, because it makes me sad that one more athlete that is a hero and role model to young fans has been tainted, even if the circumstances are questionable.

How far to we have to go back in baseball history to find a heavy hitter that did it all on his own, without any question of using anything but his own muscle and skill?

I guess we'll have to wait and see if Palmeiro can prove he accidentally took steroids. Till then...I'm just feeling disappointed.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Jessica Simpson: This body's made for baring???

Knowing that Jessica Simpson has at times made a rather big deal about being a Christian, and that her manager-father was a Baptist youth pastor at one time, I have watched with growing amazement as her career becomes increasingly about showing off her body as much as possible.

One expected that with Britney, Christina, et al. Even with those and many other female singers, it's sad to see a fairly wholesome girl take the skankiness route. But there was this thing about Jessica being a Christian, so I hoped she wouldn't go there. Well, as her latest video shows, she has gone that route, in a major way.

Now, the ever-clueless blond is upset with Christians judging her. This from an msnbc article:

"...Simpson, a pastor’s daughter, says that sort of attitude is why she didn’t pursue a career as a Christian singer. 'It didn’t really surprise me because I grew up with a lot of that backlash,' Simpson said, according to World Entertainment News Network. 'That’s why I didn’t end up going into the Christian music industry. I think that if they're really good Christians the judgment wouldn't be there.'”

Sometimes I don't trust myself to be nonjudgmental about such matters, but in this case, I think it's a no-brainer. I saw part of Simpson's "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" video over the weekend. I think I'm pretty fair in saying that it features Jessica showing off as much of her body as possible, doing blatanly sexual and stripper-style moves.

I have a pretty good idea that Jessica has millions of pre-teen girl fans who are closely monitoring and wanting to mimic her every move. The message is clear: baring your body and being sexually enticing are the way to go.

Kristen of Walking Circumspectly has some good comments on this: "In true, Biblical Christianity, the body and spirit are not separate (in the sense of our actions having nothing to do with our life in Christ). On the contrary, what we do says everything about where we are with the Lord. When we sin, we have an advocate with the Father--praise God! But we have to, we are commanded to call a spade a spade. We may NOT wink at sin, pretend not to know what it is when we see it, in the name of tolerance. It's patently unbiblical."

I'd love to see Jessica use her immense popularity to send a message that a girl can be successful and not be sleazy. Think of what a great platform she's been given to present a positive and wholesome image of young womanhood. But obviously that's not going to happen. Jessica and her former-pastor dad have totally bought into the truism that sex sells, and they're making a bundle off of it.

No, Jess, I'm not judging you here. There's just one fact you can't ignore. People who call themselves Christians should try to live by the Word of God.

That said, let me close with this quote from Mei Flower, who also happens to be a Christian and has made some pretty humorous observations about the video: "On the whole, I don't know what Christians are griping about. I realize they think we apparently lost a role model, but unless your daughter wants to be the kind of person who throws laundry in the foyer, thinks buffalo wings are made of buffalo, and tans herself into a mummy, was Jessica Simpson really that great a role model to begin with?"
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