Monday, February 26, 2007

Speaking of Calvin

Just in case you ever needed a search utility for Calvin and Hobbes comic strips.

(H/T to

The Big Question for Georgia Tech Fans

Where will Calvin Johnson start his professional football career?

Johnson is definitely putting on quite a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. Don Banks ( argues that Johnson is hands-down the best player in this year's NFL draft. The day after Banks' report, Calvin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds -- in a pair of borrowed shoes! Anything below 4.4 is considered "elite" for a wide receiver. Especially one who is 6'5" and weighs 239 lbs. Sadly, it doesn't look like Calvin will go first in the draft, since the first few teams don't need receivers. But it seems pretty much settled that Johnson will wind up in the top five. We'll have to wait until April 28 to find out.

Monergism Update has gotten a facelift, courtesy of Tim Challies. The website has always been a great theology resource, and the new layout looks pretty good. Be sure to check it out

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mrs. Redd's Last Day

Part of me wants to shout "Freedom!!!!!" Braveheart-style, but I know it's really not about that. I'm going to have a whole lot more responsibility on my shoulders very soon.

Still, I do feel like a huge burden has been lifted this evening (though the weight of my baby belly is still hanging around!).

Today was my last day teaching students this semester. Bittersweet, because I will miss the busyness and bustle and the "aha!" lightbulbs that go off every once in a while. (Today, I was rewarded with an "aha" moment from one of my students when she "got" the meaning of a poem she had been struggling to understand. Yay!)

I wish I had a camera with me today, if only to capture one particular moment. Two students who had been struggling with their grades (we have grade reports every 3 weeks--they had failed the first one) finally brought their grades up to passing-- one girl in particular brought her grade up almost 30 points in 3 weeks! One boy, a slight, blond-haired young man with a wicked sense of humor, had been particularly frustrated over Romeo and Juliet. Well, when he saw his grade was a C, he jumped up and did this crazy silent victory dance around the bookshelves (we were in the school library, after all). His redhead friend joined him when she saw her B average, and I doubled over with laughter at the sight of these two freshman kids, gyrating and raising their hands in the air, boogeying to their own imaginary music through the stacks in the non-fiction section.

So, even though I begin my maternity leave with the relief of knowing that there is absolutely nothing I have to worry about concerning my classroom--there is a competent long-term substitute English teacher in my place who actually has an M.A. in the subject, I actually completed preparing ALL my lesson plans and assignments for the entire rest of the semester (which, alas, never happened before now), and I graded my last set of assessment tests for a long, long, LONG time to come-- there are still days when I will miss snapping fingers after a poem recital a la the Beat Poets, discussing the sexual orientation of Shakespearean actors ("You mean Juliet was played by a BOY?!") and creating Langston Hughes/MLK Jr. conspiracy theories ("He totally stole that Mrs. Redd. Hughes had the dream first!"). I will miss my many-windowed classroom with a view of the courtyard, with the turtles that somehow manage to remove themselves from the lily pond before it freezes over in winter and the chorus of frogs you can hear on a spring day with the windows open. I'll miss the new program that came with our new textbooks which formats and scrambles original tests for you and prints out multiple versions at the click of a mouse. I'll actually miss the cafeteria food (they served my favorite meal today-- real chicken fingers, homemade vegetable soup, a baked potato, steamed broccoli, pears, and chocolate pudding for dessert) and especially the cute little lunchroom ladies that always served me extra "for the baby." I'll miss the wonderful folks I got to work with, teachers who are so dedicated that they work late hours even on weekends without overtime and support staff that go the extra mile. I'll even miss the students.

But there is one thing I will never, ever miss-- waking up before dawn with the dreaded hope that there could be some sort of snowstorm or natural disaster or electricity outage or gas shortage making it possible for me to stay home from work because I just don't want to go to school today.

For my new job, I won't have to leave the house or worry about being late. I have a feeling it won't matter much if I never get a day off because of a freak lightning accident or a rat infestation or an Atlanta version of an ice storm. I won't mind the poopy diapers and spit-up and other bodily fluids (at least the odor can't be worse than smelly gym feet mixed with an illegal stink bomb and a heavy dose of cheap perfume) because they will be the product of someone I love more than any other kid in the world. I think I'm going to enjoy my new occupation as a concierge/chauffeur/deliverer of milk/custodian/chef/launderer/diaper service employee/finder of lost things and reader of children's books. I think I'm going to enjoy just being a mom. Hooray for parenthood.


An interesting article on Sid Meier, the video game designer who brought the world "Civilization" (a personal favorite!) and other fine games. He is apparently a Christian, too, which is pretty neat.

(H/T: BHT)

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Not much time for in-depth blogging these days, but I did have a few appropriate links for the start of the Lenten season. We went to the Ash Wednesday service at our new church last night, and it was very encouraging. Our pastor emphasized the fact that Lent is a season of remembrance, not just of Christ's death and resurrection, but also of his life and ministry. The service was short but edifying, with a few hymns, corporate Scripture readings of confession and repentance (including Psalm 51), a brief sermon, and the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

Anyway, here are those links:

Alastair is featuring posts by different guest bloggers throughout Lent, all reflections on various facets of Jesus' public ministry.

Doug Wilson encourages us to break the habit of seeing the Lord's Supper as a time for introspection.

And finally, here are some rambling Lenten reflections I cobbled together at this time last year.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"You Ever Wish You Could Go Back In Time?"

Our VCR allegedly has the ability to use XDS data (received via cable) to automatically set the clock and calendar. I say "allegedly," because it has worked exactly zero times in the 4+ years that we've had it.

Until last night.

I was watching the 11 PM News when, suddenly, the clock changed.

To 8:11 PM.

In 1992.

I love technology.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Funny things happened on the way...

As I get closer to maternity leave, I've been reflecting on my past two years as a teacher. I work in a public high school, which at times can be frustrating, rewarding, challenging, hilarious, heartwarming, surprising, and usually all of those and more all at once. I thought I'd share some of my favorite "lighter moments," mostly because I was thinking of them this morning while laying in bed unable to go back to sleep. I apologize if I appear to be making fun of any of my students. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

  • Last year, I had a new student, a short, wiry kid who was new to the school. He liked to wear basketball jerseys of famous players. One day, as he was walking in front of me in the hall, I noticed he had a large, very expensive price tag sticking out of the back of his Michael Jordan jersey. My first thought was that perhaps his parents never told him to take off the tags before you wear something, and I said "You might want to stick that tag back in your shirt." He replied, "But I want everyone to know how much it costs!"
  • While reading Homer's Odyssey last semester, we came across the description of Odysseus pouring out a libation to summon the departed as he enters the Land of the Dead. My students, unable to understand the concept of "libation," asked me to explain it a little further. So I used an illustration I thought they'd connect with-- pouring a 40 out on a street corner for a friend who had been shot, like in Tupac's song. THEN they got it.
  • Recently, while watching the Zepherelli film version of Romeo and Juliet, we came to the scene in Act III where Romeo and Juliet wake up after their first night together as a married couple. I fully expected them to giggle at the partially unclothed scenes, but I didn't expect what one female student exclaimed: "It's too early in the morning for this!" "Too early for what?" I asked. "For the kissing and stuff! It's gross!" At first, in my confusion, I thought she was meaning it was too early in the morning to WATCH such a display of affection (it wasn't even 9:30 yet), but then she added, "What about morning breath? Ewww." Ah, ha. "Just wait until you're married," I told her, "You'll understand one day."

  • One of my ninth grade classes can be, how shall I put this, a bit "unruly" at times. On one such occasion, we were attempting to have a class discussion when a silly argument broke out among the students and they began behaving more like 3 year-olds than teenagers, with some yelling and "nya-nyas" thrown in for good measure. A bit frustrated after it continued despite my efforts to steer the conversation back to whatever topic we were supposed to be discussing, I sighed and noted that "Sometimes, some of you make me think that the phrase 'mature ninth grader' will always be an oxymoron." One young lady immediately raised her hand in disgust. (I have to mention here that her mother is a former English teacher.) "Mrs. Redd, you can't call us that!" "Excuse me?" I replied. "Mrs. Redd, I'm going to tell--you just called us all morons!"

    Other students actually had to explain it to her repeatedly before she got it. Now, everytime we bring up "oxymoron" in class as an actual literary term, that same student haughtily exclaims, "Remember when you called us morons?" I suppose students these days like to remind others of their ignorance?! (Actually, that's probably true. They don't care if they get called on and don't know the answer. In fact, sadly, they are often proud of not knowing something. Sigh.)

  • Earlier in my pregnancy, at about 7 months, the topic of my huge ice-water-filled QT mug somehow came up in my World Lit class (I should post a picture someday--the 1-inch thick insulated plastic mug really is bigger than my head). One young lady asked, "Is that filled with coffee? Mrs. Redd, can you drink coffee or hot tea when you're pregnant?" Another student, a new father himself recently wise in the ways of pregnant women , answered for me: "Well, you're not supposed to have caffeine but you can drink decaf and I think you can have like one cup a day..." "No!" the first student exclaimed, "I mean, like hot soup. If you eat hot soup, won't it burn the baby?" Amid our laughter (I couldn't help myself), another girl answered her: "Of course not! The baby's in a protective sac in her stomach!"

    I think we exhausted a good ten minutes that day at those poor girls' expense explaining concepts they should've grasped in their mandatory health class the year before. I remember distinctly pointing to my abdomen saying, "Your stomach is up here, while your uterus is lower down, here. Although on me, it's encroaching upon my rib cage at the moment!"

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Hearts & Minds Best Books of 2006

    Hearts & Minds Bookstore has released their list of Best Books for 2006:

    Part One
    Part Two

    Hearts & Minds is run by some pretty cool folks, and I definitely appreciate the fact that they read pretty much everything that they sell through the store. That fact puts considerable weight behind their book recommendations.

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    N.T. Wright on the Sacraments

    N.T. Wright spoke at Calvin College back in January on the topic of "Space, Time and Sacraments." The audio for each session can be downloaded from here.

    Barb linked to these talks back when they came out, but I finally found time to listen. Wish I hadn't waited -- they're really good! I especially like the way that Wright grounds his discussion of the sacraments within the larger framework of creation and new creation, rather than discussing them as an isolated topic. Obviously, the material has far more depth than can be addressed in a day-long seminar, but Wright gives a compelling overview with much food for thought (pun intended).

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Coming Soon: Attack of the Bears!

    (and gorillas, and lambs, and rabbits, and puppies, and sock monkeys!)

    We finally set up Baby Redd's "crib" on Saturday night. As you can see, he already has lots of friends waiting for him! (Don't worry, safety-mongers, those critters won't be hanging around the changing table once he arrives...they probably need their own zoo anyway...)

    We're waiting too, somewhat patiently. I still have 10 more days of school to teach and there are lots of things to wash and clean and sort and organize, but if he arrives tomorrow, at least he'll have a place to sleep in mommy and daddy's room!

    Hey Man, Nice Shot

    Javaris Crittenton at the end of the first half against N.C. State last night.

    The Jackets went on to win, 74-65.

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Book Review -- How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth

    How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth (3rd Ed.)The notion of reading the Bible can sometimes be trickier than it seems: on the one hand, the Bible itself admonishes all Christians, regardless of background, to take seriously the study of the Scriptures; on the other hand, the study of Scripture can often seem daunting, requiring a great deal of specialized training inaccessible to the average layperson. How can the everyday Christian learn to carry out informed personal study of the Scriptures without being utterly dependent on technical experts (or being forced to become one)? Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart attempt to tackle this very issue in How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth (3rd Ed.), a handy and easy-to-read primer for reading and understanding the Scriptures.

    To many Christians, the idea of reading the Bible seems like an incredibly simple one. "Of course I can read the Bible -- I know how to read, don't I?" But Fee and Stuart give plenty of examples of ways in which people read the Bible that they would never apply to any other reading material. The authors set out to provide guidelines which any Christian can use to more beneficially read the Scriptures. In fact, reading is the operative word, as Fee and Stuart stress the fact that detailed study of specific passages, although important, is no substitute for reading the whole of Scripture in context.

    The book's major strength is the arrangement of its chapters into discussion of specific genres within the canon. As the authors stress, the Bible is comprised of several literary genres, with certain "rules" inherent to each; in fact, failing to read a given passage according to its genre is the root cause of no small number of interpretative mistakes. Fee and Stuart give specific attention to the Epistles, narrative (both Old Testament and the Book of Acts), the Gospels, Parables, the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, Wisdom Literature and the Revelation. With a strong background in Biblical scholarship (Fee for New Testament and Stuart for Old Testament), the authors provide extremely helpful explanations of the different genres, as well as guidelines for reading each. As mentioned above, Fee and Stuart stress the importance of reading the Bible, and they provide many useful examples of the conventions of the various genres with an aim towards stimulating further study.

    Additionally, Fee and Stuart give helpful thoughts on selecting appropriate Bible translations and commentaries, with recommended commentaries for each book of the Bible. One of the major benefits of the book is that it provides a wealth of bibliographical material. Those looking for a primer will find the book very useful in its own right, but the authors also provide plenty of additional information for further study (including their own follow-up How To Read the Bible Book by Book).

    Overall, this book is a useful addition to any Christian's library. Highly recommended.

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    Tech Turnaround

    Yellow Jackets Crush No. 25 Clemson 80-62

    After 4 straight losses, this is exactly the big win that we needed!