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Monthly Archives: June 2013

I don’t like not knowing something.

It ticks me off.

It frustrates me.

It makes me feel stupid.

I was one of those kids who pretty much refused to ask questions because God forbid I look silly or stupid.

I believe my bluff has now been called.

I’ve spent the past three weeks going to work every single day knowing that I would be handed a file that I would have no idea what to do with. Or I’d be asked to do research and have no idea where to start. I’ve already made a bunch of mistakes, been asked to fix things, and have felt downright stupid on more than a few occasions. But it’s getting a lot easier to just say “No, I don’t know…”

This is pretty big for me. I like certainty. I like knowing everything. And I like being right. All of those qualities are being challenged right now and it’s okay. I’m surviving, I’m learning, and I’m growing anyway.

Luckily, I’m surrounded by a great group of colleagues who understand what it feels like to be in my position and are happy to explain things. Even more than once.

Sure there are still moments when I feel completely out of my element, but I’m a lot more secure in trying new things and giving it my best shot, and I’m getting less and less trepidatious about falling flat on my face…

…for now. Ask me how I feel when I actually have to appear in front of a judge next month.

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Ladies: I found Henry Cavill first.  I realize you’ve all jumped on the bandwagon now, but if you haven’t watched all 4 seasons of The Tudors, well, we have nothing to talk about…

ANYWAY…

If you go here, you can download sermon notes based on the recent Man of Steel Superman movie.

No joke.

Although it’a little late now, there are even notes for Father’s Day.  Isn’t that great?

I’m not going to get into the content of the notes, because I really don’t care and you can download them yourself.  What I care about is why Warner Bros. went to this much trouble to market its movie.

Seems that Hollywood knows a cash cow when it sees one.  In 2007, the Christian entertainment industry was estimated to gross over $3 billion per year, and bookstores over $1 billion.

There’s money to be made, folks!

The problem?  Well…

It’s creating it’s own mainstream Christian culture, where entertainers, writers, etc. are beholden to a certain formula to make money.  If you offend the mainstream, they’re not going to buy the product.  And it’s alllllllll about the money.

Pastors are becoming shills for corporations rather than the Gospel. Glory be!

It’s starting to cost a hell of a lot to ‘be’ a ‘Christian:’ private schools/university, retreats, seminars, books, etc.

But all it really means is that Christians are suckers for capitalism just like everyone else.

For more, check out Jonathan Merritt’s take, which is anti-Hollywood, and Craig Detweiler’s, which is the opposite.

\Photo Credit: Michael Bell, Regina Leader-Post

I will admit that there are few things in life I enjoy more than watching Calgary’s Nik Lewis get smacked by a good, hard, clean hit.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I started my season preview of the Saskatchewan Roughriders with a look at their offensive and defensive lines. Then came news that the Riders have lost right offensive tackle Patrick Neufeld for 6-8 weeks with a broken fibula. Ouch. It makes the ratio situation a little more precarious for the Riders.

Anyway, I said I’d review special teams what I think is two weeks ago now.

Oops.

The good news is that I attended this past week’s pre-season game against the Calgary Stampeders. The bad news is that the Riders looked a little rusty, and the offence was downright offensive.

Today I’m going to preview the rest of the team, with some observations based on last week’s game.

Special Teams

The biggest news in this department is that the Riders lost their special teams coach, Craig Dickenson, to the freaking Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Yeah.

So now Bob Dyce, the Riders’ former offensive coordinator, has moved into that role.

I’m not sure I’m happy with this.

Regardless, the Riders’ special teams need some improvement.

And based in last week’s game, that improvement hasn’t happened yet.

The Riders brought three kickers into camp. One, Brody McKnight, was cut released by the team in its final cuts (he missed a 48 yard field goal in the Calgary game). That leaves American Ricky Schmitt to handle the kickoffs/punting, and veteran Canadian Chris Milo to do the field goals. Milo has been widely inconsistent, and didn’t play a full season last year as he got hurt. The Riders brought in Sandro DeAngelis, and he wasn’t any better. Milo is still very young, so it’s more of a case of the Riders sticking with someone they know, hoping he can become more consistent. His pre-season wasn’t very good, so he’d better get better – fast. I suspect he has a short leash.

As for returns, Jock Sanders and Price Miller handled things the other night. Miller was the more dynamic of the two. Sanders seemed tentative; he’d stutter step rather than trying to just go forward. But they should be good returners. I love Weston Dressler back there, but I’d rather seem him catching passes.

The coverage teams seem about the same as last year.

Defensive Backfield/Linebackers

Dear Coach Chamblin: what the HELL are you doing??

Craig Butler is a SAFETY, not a LINEBACKER. And why is Abraham Kromah not playing linebacker? And why oh why is Tryone Brackenbridge playing safety?

STOP. THE. MADNESS.

*Rant over*

There almost seem to be too many cooks in the kitchen here. We have TWO defensive backs coaches. Why? No clue. Defensive coordinator Richie Hall is a former DB, and Chamblin coached DBs in Calgary, so really, it’s FOUR DB coaches.

They’d better be good.

I’m not too worried about our secondary. It’s gotten bigger and faster, and they made some great plays last week.

Linebacker is another story.

If everyone would go back to their natural positions, the defence would be stronger. Butler is too little to be playing linebacker, and Kromah needs to be in the field. Hopefully the coaches will see the light when they look at the film of Calgary’s Rob Cote running all over us last week.

Quarterbacks/Receivers

What a dreadful first half performance from this group, albeit added by yet another turnstile performance by the offensive offensive line (see what I did there?). Korey Sheets also needs to learn how to block.

Darian Durant was sacked 5 times, and most other times he had no one to throw to. Yes, it’s pre-season, so the offence was really vanilla, but yeesh. It was bascially the the same play every down: three receivers to the left, two to the right, and no one hardly ever threatening the middle. The receivers couldn’t get open, and Sheets had nowhere to run.

Gerry Simon also appears to have re-aggravated a hamstring injury that hobbled him last year. Hopefully he gets over it, ’cause the Riders’ receiving core needs him.

All that being said, I’m excited to see what a true George Cortez offence looks like. It definitely won’t look like it did this week.

And in better news, Rob Bagg looked good, and Chris Getzlaf caught everything thrown his way.

And getting back to the offensive line, the Riders are determined to start second-year Ben Heenan at right tackle, which is unfortunate. He’s a great guard, but doesn’t yet have the technique to,play right tackle effectively. Hopefully the Riders scheme for it, because the Eskimos’ d-line is a lot better than Calgary’s, which is pretty solid itself.

This week’s game

The Riders open the season on the road in Edmonton, where they hardly ever win. I think the Riders will get off to a bit of a slow start this season, so I’m predicting a loss to start 2013.

photo (3)

The rainbow connection…

Links

Faith & Religion

Reclaiming feminist – Sarah Bessey

Why I hate the word ‘inerrancy’ – Ed Cyzewski

Stop telling me what is anti-Christian – Christian Piatt

Who will reclaim this broken-down soil? – Heather Caliri

Culture, Society & Life

I went outside – Becca Rose

Kierkegaard on anxiety and creativity

Faking it: ‘Mad Men’s Don Draper problem – Emily Nussbaum

Politics, Economics & Law

Bob Rae’s exit robs Canada’s Parliament of a rare voice – John Geddes

The PMO, the journalists and the whole off-the-record thing – Susan Delacourt

Random & Weird

The world’s most beautiful spreadsheet

What I’m listening to…

It’s a wet and cloudy Monday morning…

Links

Faith & Religion

The spiritual practice of showing up and telling the truth – Kathy Escobar

In which God has asked too much of us – Sarah Bessey

“You’re not arguing with us, but with God” – Kristen Rosser

Christianity means not knowing all the answers – Kathy Vestal

Consumer Christianity – Stephen Mattson

Stephen Colbert is ruining America – Zach Hunt

10 political things you can’t do while following Jesus\

Culture, Society & Life

The Quebec turban ban: what doesn’t get said – Paul Wells

I’m coming out of this. Eventually. – Jenny Lawson

Australian Prime Minister subject of sexist menu at fundraising dinner

A terrible, terrible photoshop job…

The Dalai Lama says female leaders are more compassionate\\

Politics, Economics & Law

Awaiting the Stephen Harper comeback – Paul Wells

Brent Rathgeber returns politics to normal – Andrew Coyne

Random & Weird

Lego faces are getting angrier – and that worries some scientists

photo (2)

Links

Faith & Religion

Why you need to tell someone how scared you are – Emily at Chatting at the Sky

Read, write, worship – Enuma Okoro

15 things Jesus didn’t say and An 11 step religious guide to sabatoging your life – Jim Palmer

Do not stumble on account of me – Jen Hatmaker

5 main challenges to staying Christian – Peter Enns

30 things I want the church to know about Christian feminism\ – Leigha Cann

Tabitha, Lydia and the menace of female breadwinners – Fred Clark

everyone’s fighting some kind of battle – Kathy Escobar

Beyond either/or – Greg at Disciples’ Fellowship

Top 5 most misused verses in the Bible – Brian Orme

In which you’re a pioneer – Sarah Bessey

Citizenship confusion: Valedictorian prays, but should Christians rejoice? – Alan Noble

Our unhealthy obsession with pastors – Luma Simms

Culture, Society & Life

 All I ever needed to know I learned in a mental hospital – Glennon Doyle Melton

Ben Bernanke to Princeton grads: the world isn’t fair (and you all got lucky)

How to deal with rude people and command respect starring Michelle Obama

The Megyn Kelley effect: the power of women’s voices – Molly Ball

Reclaiming femininity – Megan Gahan

On saying goodbye

10 small ways to make this the happiest summer of your life

Exploring what you’re enthusiastic about

Politics, Economics & Law

Canada’s wasted years – John Hancock

Elections Canada vs. two Tory MPs – John Geddes

The media’s Rob Ford problem – Chris Selley

When basic governance is deemed controversial – Steve Benen

Dangle a buck in front of partisans and they’ll come closer to the truth (yikes!)

Proposed union finances bill passes constitutional muster, ex-Supreme Court justice says

Chocolate fix: three charged in alleged price fixing scheme

John Lewis’ long fight for voting rights might all be undone by SCOTUS this week

Machismo is poisoning politics – Christian Coleman

How do we get more women into politics? – Rachel Zuckerman

Walmart workers speak out at annual meeting: ‘I cannot survive like this’

Random & Weird

Germany drop its longest word (the link includes a handy pronounciation guide): Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

The funniest reactions to Vladimir Putin’s divorce announcement

22 maps that show how Americans speak English totally differently from each other\\\\

What I’m watching…

     

This is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE song with an even worse video, and it’s NFL-based, but the sentiment is what I’m going for here.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?

photo (2)

I sure am. I even spent some time at Rider training camp yesterday just to get my football fix.

This has felt like the longest off-season I’ve ever known. Last fall I wasn’t into watching football for a lot of reasons, but the fact the Riders were predictable and at times downright horrible didn’t help.

This off-season they’ve tried to stack the deck in their favour as much as possible to make a Grey Cup run. While they’re much improved on paper, it remains to be seen whether that translates into more wins and playoff success.

I’m going to start off my Rider season preview with a look at the boys in the trenches: offensive and defensive lines.

OFFENSIVE LINE: These guys were very disappointing last year considering the heralded homecoming of Brendon LaBatte and the addition of Dominic Picard at centre. The Riders were supposed to have one of the best interior offensive lines in the league, and instead they imploded more often than not. LaBatte and Chris Best both had injury issues, which didn’t help the line’s continuity and consistency, and while 1st overall draft pick Ben Heenan greatly impressed in his rookie season, the line still should have been better than it was. Plus, the Riders had the much respected Kris Sweet as offensive line coach, a man who rebuilt the Calgary Stampeders’ o-line on what seemed like a yearly basis and had great success. But it didn’t work out like it was supposed to. The Riders’ last play/chance in the Western semi-final pretty much summed up the o-line’s year when it completely collapsed, leaving quarterback Darian Durant to stumble forward and spike the football in frustration.

I hear ya, buddy.

But there were bright spots. Again, the play of Heenan was a nice surprise. Xavier Fulton also emerged as a one of the better left offensive tackles in the league. Patrick Neufeld had a bit of a rough go on the right outside edge, but he’s young and the experience was no doubt valuable.

The line won’t change a lot going into this season, which is a good thing. These guys need to work together on a more consistent basis in order to gel into a solid unit. The talent is there; hopefully this group can take the next step this year.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Well this is going to be a completely different line than we saw last year. The addition of defensive ends Ricky Foley and John Chick massively upgrade a defensive line that was sorely lacking any sort of a pass rush last year. Poor defensive tackle Keith Shologan was often double-teamed, resulting in next to no push from the line’s interior. Former Rider Odell Willis was pretty much a no-show last year; he was on the field, but that was about it.

Ricky Foley is a ratio-buster; starting a Canadian defensive end gives the Riders a lot more flexibility and the possibility of starting an import at safety, although that’s unlikely to happen. And if John Chick can return to his 2009 form, well hell, things are looking up.

The Riders need another tackle to complement Shologan in the middle, and hopefully Tearrius George is ready to step up. The Riders will no doubt go with a rotation of some kind, so Mick Williams and Kenny Rowe will also probably find roles.

Last year the Riders gave opposing quarterbacks way too much time to throw the ball, resulting in long drives, a tired defence and an offence that didn’t get a lot of time on the field. If the Riders are going to make any kind of playoff run, they will need a disruptive defensive line that not only gets to the quarterback, but forces him to make mistakes.

Next week I’ll take a look at special teams.

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