Archive for the ‘Discussions’ Category

Good Article

Posted: November 8, 2009 in Discussions

Thanks to my friend, Brad, who posted this article from Preacher Mike, who posted it from his friend, Richard.

Here is a link to the original.

Using Your Head

Posted: October 28, 2009 in Discussions

Well, the World Series is starting. And with all due respect, I really don’t care.

As a sports aficionado, I like to rank things a lot. I’d now say that baseball is my second favorite sport. I love the strategy, the statistics, and the history. It’s a bit slow, but all in all, I appreciate baseball. But the Phillies and the Yankees? I couldn’t care less. I want to be a National League guy, but I grew up disliking the Phillies in the old NL East. And I don’t hate the Yankees as much as the average guy, but I just can’t root for them either. So I am indifferent.

Let’s talk football instead. Over time, football has become my favorite sport. It used to be basketball, but something about both the college and professional game has just lost my interest over the years. At the same time, both the college and professional football game has captured my attention. I love me a good football game.

Football was in the news today. Congress called a hearing about some very real concerns over the game of football. No, not the salaries. And no, not the steroids. Instead, there are some very real studies concerned with brain injuries coming from the game. Commissioner Goodell was taking heat in front of Congress today, doing his best to field the hard questions. You can read about it HERE.

I am interested in seeing what develops in this regard. I’m going to have a hard time loving a game if it gives people brain injuries. And it doesn’t take that many brain cells to wonder if a sport where human skulls violently crash into a variety of things may have a tendency to do so.

I do have a question myself that I haven’t heard addressed just yet, so if all you in Blog Land will tell me if it is ever addressed, I would greatly appreciate it. Well, let’s say I have two questions:

(1) Are helmets flying off football players’ heads much more frequently these days? (They sure seem to be to me. I’m saying a LOT more than ever before. The few friends I’ve asked about this haven’t really considered it before, but once I mention it, they tend to agree.)

(2) If so, what’s up with that?

I am obviously not an expert on much anything, definitely not helmet design. But I do think that the possibility of playing football without your helmet on your head – even in brief intervals – has got to do bunches to increase the possibility of brain injuries.


The Christian and War

Posted: April 21, 2009 in Discussions

Look, I am an old man masquerading as a law student, and I’m trying to stay afloat. Therefore, for those of you who read my daily entries, I’m afraid you can’t depend on me for much anything of substance. I’m spending my brain cells trying to understand concepts like land-use regulations, contract remedies, and the federal appeals process. Even if those things were interesting to talk about, I never understand them well enough to share.

But, every once in a while I just might stumble across something that might stimulate your thinking muscles in worthwhile ways, too. Like, maybe today.

I’ve caught enough of the headlines to know that there’s something going on with the Obama administration and the CIA techniques used with prisoners in recent years (aka America’s version of torture). There are all sorts of levels on which to discuss that topic, but I’ll use it as a springboard for the Christian level of discussion.

Preacher Ken has just completed a series of sermons on all sorts of controversial topics, one of which sniffed around this sort of issue. This past Sunday, he made available a bibliography handout with many of the resources he has used throughout the series. One of them – the focus of this post – is from a Pepperdine professor titled, “The Christian and War.”

It appears to me that the OVERWHELMING evangelical Christian position is that it is perfectly acceptable to kill in certain situations. I find this a bit baffling, but I’m not even going to go so far as to say that there can’t be philosophical underpinnings for that concept (though I will say that practically everyone I’ve talked to about this idea doesn’t seem to have worked out this concept philosophically). But I do find it baffling – and rather sad – that there is little interest in hearing a different viewpoint.

So, here it is. A different viewpoint. It’s worth reading, considering, and wrestling with for just about all of us. Read it HERE.

Two Pepperdine law professors are featured in a new Time Magazine article offering a new way of thinking about the gay marriage issue.

Check it out HERE.

Arbitrating Sports

Posted: February 28, 2009 in Discussions

Yesterday’s symposium was very interesting, and not what we non-academics would have expected. When I think of arbitrating sports, I think of mega-contracts with major stars, but in reality the discussion involved athletes on the poor side – think Olympians in sports like women’s field hockey. There was lots and lots of talk about “doping” accusations, along with a myriad of references to the Floyd Landis (cycling, if you’ve forgotten) public arbitration that Pepperdine hosted a couple of years ago.

There was a “poor athlete” versus mean ol’ WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) vibe that ran throughout the day, partly because it seems WADA is a screwed-up organization, but mostly because there were lots of folks on the athletes’ side in attendance (read: their lawyers).

One of the major arguments is that testing labs are presumed correct in arbitrations over doping. In the Landis case, two labs came to diametrically opposite results (the Paris lab said “dirty,” and the UCLA lab would have said “clean”), and overcoming this scientific presumption is fairly impossible for an athlete – especially for athletes w/o funds to fight it.

It really should make us all think when we hear of someone testing positive for doping. We might ought to start with that crazy notion of jurisprudence that says “innocent until proven guilty,” and then go one step further and consider that several might be innocent even after being proven guilty.

Attorney Howard Jacobs mentioned a couple of prime examples:
#1: Zach Lund (skeleton), who was denied the opportuntiy to compete in the 2006 Olympics because of his positive doping test that came from taking Propecia for male-pattern baldness.
#2: Alain Baxter (alpine skiing), who was stripped of a bronze medal from the 2006 Games in Salt Lake City after picking up a Vick’s inhaler from a local convenience store and testing positive for methamphetamine.

But I especially enjoyed hearing Michael Lenard’s panel at the end of the day. Lenard is a board member of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, and a straight-shooter. Without attempting to exonerate WADA (and its American version, USADA), he basically said What did you expect? Everyone wanted an independent agency to deal with these matters, created an international one, told them doping was bad, and set them loose on the world of sport. As he pointed out, the world doesn’t have an effective international body to deal with war crimes yet – do we expect a beautiful one to deal with doping issues in sport?

Then, after all was (practically) said and done, I found it most interesting when Lenard said that doping isn’t really the big issue on the horizon of sport. In his presentation on “The Future of Sports Dispute Resolution,” he said that “citizenship” is the biggie. He spoke briefly of countries buying athletes’ citizenship, and I remembered high school – moving the stud into town so he can play for your team. Lenard argued that “integrity of the outcome” is the most important value to protect because, if we think the game is rigged, we’ll quit watching.

All in all, it was in interesting day. I’m not really interested in pursuing a career in sports arbitration, but it was fun to take a break from studying law for grades, and engage in a study of law just for the sake of learning something – which is a novel idea all by itself.

Where We Are. Or Aren’t.

Posted: April 8, 2008 in Discussions

So Gerald Locklin has to write this “where we are” poem and bug me with it. Here’s how it goes:

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.

Now don’t get hung up on the two homes bit. I mean everybody needs one home before any of us deserve two, but as the penetrating last line intimates, this is not the point. Locklin’s topic is hope.

Or is it?

I really don’t know.

I’m infected with the matter under discussion. It permeates Christianity, what with the “this world is not my home” sort of thinking. It sells in American capitalism, too: we are always looking for something else. There are some great words for this, hope notwithstanding. Words like quest and journey and anticipation and Chicago Cubs.

But there’s the negative end of it, too. Oddly enough, in Christianity the same Bible author dude who talks about “pressing on to take hold” writes about learning the secret of being content in all situations. Yes, words like contentment and fulfillment and presence, and for lovers of all things French, c’est la vie, seem to fly in the face of Locklin’s anticipation.

So which is it? Or, better, where is the balance between the two?

I suspect someone might be tempted to offer the Serenity Prayer in response – God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I’ll give you that one if you’ll allow my addendum to the Serenity Prayer – And, Lord, please give one of those people you gave the wisdom to know the difference enough writing ability to expound on the Serenity Prayer just a tad.

I’m infected with Locklin’s hope. I guess I’m just wondering today if I should exult, or request some antibiotics.

Posted: August 26, 2007 in Discussions

Mother Teresa has long been a life hero of mine.

You may or may not have noticed the story about her in the news this past week, but it is definitely worth noticing (I’m contemplating a thoughtful Hippo post involving it). It turns out she may have been less superhuman than the world had been able to see – maybe a bit more like the rest of us.

My initial response was that I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed or glad to learn this.

But I’m leaning hard toward glad.

You can read about it HERE.

Posted: August 20, 2007 in Discussions


I have a request for all of you!

I’ve had a group blog for a while now called “Desperate Houseflies,” and it has been a lot of fun. Several friends from over the years have been a part of the conversations, and I have learned a lot from it. It is sometimes funny, sometimes controversial, and sometimes deep. It has always been important to me.

But, after two-and-a-half years, it sort of grew to a point where we needed a fresh start, so we’ve converted this group blog to another server, renamed it, and are ready to unveil it today.

I’ve written a special post for today’s grand opening titled, “Can We All Get Along?” And I’m somewhat nervous about it. Nervous because the conversation there is free-flowing, and you might not like what some people have to say from time to time, including me, and nervous because of my kickoff post today.

Yet, given perspective, what I have written is so very important to me.

Here’s my request:

(1) Please go to and read my article

(2) Please add your comment on the website (instead of emailing me personally). You may have to get a free WordPress account to comment, but I’m not sure. If so, just jot down your password somewhere.

(3) Please consider dropping back by regularly (bookmark the site) and become involved in the regular conversations. Once you read my article, you’ll understand why this request is so important to me.

(4) Oh, and one more: then tell all your friends about the Hungry, Hungry Hippos blog, too! The more the merrier.

Thanks for being some of the people that are so important to my life. I hope you enjoy the land of the hippos!

Yours to count on,