Bryce Harper’s Broken Ball Isn’t That Impressive

A lot of noise is being made about Bryce Harper “breaking a baseball” on Thursday.

Talk about how “he’s just that strong” and how it “shows off his greatness” are filling the sports columns.

However, it isn’t really that impressive, he did not break the ball, he cut it.

Harper uses a bat with an indent on the top, which gives it edges.

When a ball is hit on that edge, it cuts the baseball.

This happens a few times a season, and most of the time results in a foul ball, as it did for Harper yesterday, or for Wil Myers, last year.

If it doesn’t result in a foul ball, it normally causes the hitter to reach first on an error, as it did for Tony Wolters, earlier this season.

Now, if you want to see someone actually break a baseball, Martin Maldonado really did break the seams on a ball, three years ago.

That takes either a bit more effort or maybe just getting a ball that wasn’t made perfectly.

Either way, it is an actual rare occurrence that looks a lot cooler.

Body In The Road

I’ve been struggling with this piece for a week now, knowing I need to write it, but it was a scary thing and I honestly don’t like thinking about it. But those very emotions are why I do need to share it.

Last Friday evening, as we were driving down the freeway, we found ourselves stuck in traffic that was worse than normal. As we continued on, I noticed that the other side had basically no traffic making me think there must be an accident on the eastbound lanes, while our westbound lanes were simply backed up because people were wanting to get their look at the accident. My thought was confirmed as eastbound traffic became absolutely zero.

As we rounded a curve, I could see two police vehicles parked on the eastbound side. I noticed a bunch of little yellow evidence markers and most of what remained of a motorcycle. And then I saw the sheet covered bump. As I could see the dark red stain spreading in several spots both on the sheet and on the road, it hit me, my 9-year-old daughter is sitting right behind me and about to see this.

Now I’ve seen bodies before. In real life, in classrooms, on TV, on the internet. Most of the worse were some of those I saw while writing about news coverage on the Syrian civil war. Some of those still haunt me. The worst wasn’t just a body, as it still belonged to a living being. What haunts me the most if the face of that guy in Florida who was attacked and his face was eaten off, yet somehow he still lived. They’re all stuff that TV shows and movies don’t quite capture the horror of.

That last paragraph was to express to you, my reader, that my seeing a body wasn’t scary to me. I’ve been there, and I’m a bit numb to it.

However, the thought of my 9-year-old seeing her first body was terrifying to me. I didn’t want it to happen. I honestly panicked a bit. I told her to “Look right, look right!” Luckily, my fear must not have been audible, as to her that meant there must be something cool to see to the right. She was mad at me for tricking her. But because of that, she didn’t see what lay on the other side of the freeway. She didn’t see the body lying in the road, with blood slowly spreading. She didn’t have a chunk of innocence stolen from her.

I don’t know if she would have understood what she saw, but she would have asked what it was. I’m not ready for that conversation. It’s not something I want to have. At some point, they’ll find out what a horrible place this world can be. But for as long as possible, I want to keep protecting my daughters from such things.

Star Wars And The Power of Costume

It’s been a bit over a month since I was able to go the Denver Art Museum and had planned on posting this on May the 4th.

However, there were some issues uploading the pictures, and so I waited until I could present you with all of them, which ended up being today.

For a fan it’s definitely a worth while experience, for non fans it can be interesting to see all of the work that goes in to making a major movie’s costumes come in to reality.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of everything, as some photos just didn’t turn out right, but I do have 150 photos to share with you.

I’ve placed them in the order that I came upon them as I walked through the exhibit, so as to allow you to experience them in the same order I did.

Express Your Passion

I love writing. I never thought I would.

I played around with it as a kid, some short stories, poems, even some lyrics in high school, but for the most part it was a chore. Then Twitter told me I should blog, so I did, and ended up practically leaving Twitter because of how focused on writing I became. It started as a weekly blog and turned into doing as many as 40 articles a day, every day, for a couple of years straight.

Even still there are times when I dread it, I think it’s work. To a degree it is work, but then I start letting the words flow and it’s a joy. The reason it feels like work, and can be, is that sometimes I need to write content for contents sake, rather than the pleasure of writing what I want.

I can tell the difference, in my own writing. Whether I was enjoying myself or pushing myself to fill in space. Both types of writing are important, but one is definitely easier than the other. Even this blog here is fairly easy. I’m just letting the words come out, not forcing anything. It’s expression, and that is something that we all need.

No matter who we are or what we do, we all need a release that allows us to express ourselves. For some it is writing, painting, photography, music, sports, animals, or helping others. That being able to truly express yourself is a source of true joy within us. It is a different kind of important self fulfillment than true relaxation. Both are crucial towards living a healthy life.

Too many people see expression as work, and so avoid it altogether and do nothing, simply watch a screen instead of finding themselves in something else. Worse, some find their expression in knocking down others. That’s not healthy, especially for the one who is acting that way. You can be a critic, but it needs to have a purpose of trying to improve others.

Find something that is positive that you can be passionate about. Some find that passion automatically, while for others it is a search. But however you happen upon it, you need a passion. So go find it, or if you have it already, share it. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. It will help grow yourself and it could be exactly what someone else needs to see, feel, or hear.

Yes, Call Out Failures, But Only to Help Improve

On Friday night, I rewatched The Force Awakens for the first time since seeing it on opening night, around 16 months ago. You can read my extremely unhappy, initial review on oooShinyMovies.

This second viewing was spawned by the disappointment of the underwhelming teaser trailer for The Last Jedi and by happening to spot all the unwatched copies of the movie, at the library.

The second time I watched the movie wasn’t as bad of an experience as the first was. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because I had mistaken some greatness in the movie. It was instead because I didn’t have the shock of such a huge disappointment.

I do understand those whose only reason for liking it was the return of old characters such as Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia. I can respect the nostalgia endorphins.

That said, The Force Awakens remains the worst of the now eight Star Wars movies. It’s dozens of plot holes make it a bad film, no matter what galaxy it happens to be about. It is tragic that such a beloved story was tainted by such poor writing. Even worse are those who still defend it, blinded by the name Star Wars.

Such people are what has become wrong with any fandom. The blind, who refuse to consider that there could ever be a flaw in their beloved escape from reality.

I myself would be considered to belong to many fandoms. However, I will call out their failures, just as I would in something I don’t have feelings towards. I do so in hopes that later installments will be improved and not have such struggles.

That’s how we should be about everything in life. If a friend is doing something wrong, we need to let them know. Not in a way meant to belittle them, but in ways that help them improve and grow.

Too often these days people are too afraid to speak and help others. They often seem to only speak bad about something or someone when they are seeking it’s destruction.

My challenge to myself and to all who read this, is to not be negative in attempts to harm. But also to not be afraid to reprimand in hopes of bettering.

Often, without those challenges from friends and loved ones, we fail to grow.

He Is Risen

He is risen. Words that should echo through our lives daily. Today, the day we remember His resurrection, we repeat them. For a day, or maybe the weekend, we focus on the story of what He gave for us. But it is so much more than simply a man dying on a cross so that all could live their lives better and be nicer to others.

Jesus was the fulfillment of every promise that God gave to the Jews throughout the Old Testament. Prophecy after prophecy was answered by Him. But when His time came, most would not recognize Him, because they looked not for a spiritual Savior, but an earthly warrior. As the fulfillment He was everything they’d taught themselves to look for, but not the packaging they expected.

Even in His death He continued to fulfill prophecies from the prophets of the Bible. Long before crucifixion was even invented prophets of Israel described His death in that way. They also foretold that not a bone would be broken, which breaking knees was common practice for the crucified. Yet Jesus was pierced instead.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever should believe in Him may have everlasting life.” Simple words, that even unbelievers know. Jesus willingly shed His life so that we might actually know the Father. Our impure, sinful selves could not survive contact with God and His pure perfection. So Jesus while perfect Himself, allowed the evils of the world to touch Him, so that after His sacrifice we could have direct contact with perfection. He is the conduit that allows such a place as Heaven to exist.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we no longer need to sacrifice animals or have a priest work as an intermediary on our behalf. We can directly communicate to God, because Jesus took the place of any earthly thing needing to be in our way.

Today is really our spiritual independence day. It marks the day where religion no longer was the focus. O it can be important, and help build your walk with your Creator and your Savior, but it is no longer where you must start. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we became able to have a truly personal relationship with the Father. And that is what is the most important. Spiritual walks are not something you can cookie cut. Everyone is in a different place on their walk. And He wishes for us to follow Him on our walks, all the way to the Father.

What truly is more free than being able to know you walk with God, at the specific pace meant for you? That no matter what is going on in your earthly life, you are able to choose eternal freedom. And all that is possible because, He is risen.

Feeling Helpless, But With Hope

Today was a tough day. I ended up stranded on the side of the freeway, for three hours, with my fourteen month old, when our water pump went out. It was hard on me, and it was hard on her, which made it all the harder for me to deal with. I did my best to keep her happy, even in the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in, but I felt so helpless.

Helpless is not something I enjoy feeling, but it has been something I’ve felt several times. When she was sick and needed to go to the ER, was one of those times. A few years ago when I was homeless and couldn’t get a job, was another. Fifteen years ago when I was sick, missing weeks of school, only to find out about my liver disorder and lost my dream of being in the military was a huge one that still impacts my thinking.

A key thing, that keeps me going, is that I’ve not truly ever been hopeless. There have been times that I’ve given up hope on specific things. I have had to give up my hope in certain relationships, in being in the military, in playing baseball professionally, in many earthly things. But hope was never actually taken from me, I had simply placed it in something that wasn’t to be. I had to look with hope, to the future, to get to the better things. Until I got there, there were times when that hope was all I had.

Hope is what sustains us as people. The hope for something good, something better, something new. Often it seems like life is simply trying to grind us down, and we are in a constant battle against it’s oppression of who we want to be.

Day in and out we see evil around us in the world, and all too often it is winning. Whether it be through a backstabbing person succeeding ahead of us, a young child being taken from the world before they could even take their first external breath, or a government using chemical weapons against it’s own people. It can be hard to keep that hope of good and improvement in our hearts.

My favorite movie tells us that rebellions are based on hope. Living with hope is a rebellion against the darkness trying to overtake our life. Maintaining hope is a rebellion in the face of oppression, of any form. Hope is what makes us who we are. Without hope, we die. Hope is life.

Remember that the next time that you feel helpless. There is always hope.