Monday, November 16, 2009

Pats' Belichick defends decision to go for it - Yahoo! News:
"Bill Belichick defended his decision to go for it on fourth down as criticism mounted Monday of the call that led to the New England Patriots stunning loss. The coach hailed as one of the NFL's best was a target of columnists, talk radio callers and two of his former players. Why, they all wondered, did he gamble with a six-point lead and just over two minutes to go against the Indianapolis Colts? The gamble failed and the Patriots lost 35-34 after leading by 17 points in the fourth quarter Sunday night."

Nice to have some other successful coach second guessed by 'experts' instead of Mike Martz for a change. There are so many things wrong with this. First of all, the whole premise that the entire game came down to this one play is ludicrous. What about the Patriots' fumble in the end zone? Why wasn't THAT the one play of the game? And statistically speaking, the odds were in his favor to go for it on 4th and 2 and not punt, particularly with an elite QB on the other team.

No, I did not question the decision to go for it, but I sure questioned the play calls the entire last series. Why keep going to Welker for minimal yardage when you have one of the best deep threats in all of football, Randy Moss? And if you ARE going to Welker repeatedly, why not send him a few yards BEYOND the barest minimum you need? Or even throw in a run if you insist on getting only the 2 yards necessary. At least the clock would have kept running.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Case for God by Karen Armstrong - Hardcover - Random House
"We have become used to thinking that religion should provide us with information. Is there a God? How did the world come into being? But this is a modern preoccupation. Religion was never supposed to provide answers to questions that lay within the reach of human reason. That was the role of logos. Religion's task, closely allied to that of art, was to help us to live creatively, peacefully, and even joyously with realities for which there were no easy explanations and problems that we could not solve: mortality, pain, grief, despair, and outrage at the injustice and cruelty of life."

Throughout most of the book, Ms. Armstrong gives a wonderful summation of human history with an emphasis on human religious understanding. Full of insights, connections, perspectives, it is a tour de force and well done. But her point, that to deride religion is to misunderstand it, fails to convince. For sure, the "real" religion Ms. Armstrong describes is indeed a wonderful thing. The only problem is that for 99% of religious practitioners in the world today, their religious understanding bears only a fleeting resemblance to that. And their priests and rabbis and imams like it that way. THAT is the problem.