Harold was the most knowledgeable Christian I knew. Even more so than my own pastor, when it came to the real nitty gritty of the Bible. He died Friday of a heart attack while he was driving to work. I think he was in his mid 40's. I'd known Harold for over 10 years, dating back to my days at KFAX radio in Fremont. I'm really going to miss Harold. He was soft spoken and very caring. And he was a good authority on Christian music that didn't sound like Christian music. We also went to Promise Keepers together in 2004, and I still have that key on my keychain. He had some health issues, but I don't think anyone saw this coming. His viewing is at Fremont Memorial on Tuesday if you knew him and would like to go. Fremont Memorial 3723 Peralta Blvd 510-793-8900
Universal Music forced a woman to take down a 29 second video on youtube of her toddler dancing on a coffee table to a Prince song because 29 seconds of the song was deemed "copyright infringement". Come on, REALLY?!?! What inb the hell is the world coming to???
Here's the nuts and bolts of the article, but if you want the whole thing, go here...
"A 29-second video clip of a toddler dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" is the subject of a new court complaint against Universal Music Publishing Group, which demanded that the clip be removed from YouTube in early June. Apparently, the company believes that a few seconds of music blasting from a background stereo infringes on its copyright, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation disagrees. The EFF filed suit against Universal yesterday, alleging that the music in the clip was "self-evident non-infringing fair use."
All Pro Football 2K8 and the Gary Plummer Conspiracy
First of all, I should have used the word "travesty" instead of "conspiracy", but conspiracy is a more eye catching word. Ok, having said that... I've been playing All Pro Football 2K8 for the better portion of the last 24 hours. At this point I don't see any reason why this game won't be my most favorite football game of all time. However, I am having one major issue with it. And that is the attributes assigned (or lack thereof) to my Uncle, Gary Plummer. His NFL legacy of being the "unsung hero" and under-appreciated have followed him onto the gridiron of video game football as well now. Let me explain. And what's more, let me give 2K Sports a few things to consider for next years version.
First of all I need to briefly explain the attributes assigned to players in this game. Gone are the stats of "tackling - 99, speed - 75, etc etc". In APF2K8, every legend is given specially named skills instead of being rated 1 to 100 for each category. For example, Jerry Rice has "soft hands, breakaway speed, route god" to name a few. I won't go into the explanation of all the abilities, but I will go into what they should have given Gary.
As it stands, unless a patch comes out later, the only ability given to Gary out of the 20 or so that a Linebacker could have been given is "run coverage", meaning he has a knack to get to a running back, and can plug the holes where the running back is supposed to run through. That ability is spot on for Gary. But there are quite a few others that he deserves. First and foremost is the "Leadership Bonus", which means that having a player on the field with that abilitiy makes the other players around him better. Throughout Gary's career, even though he didn't make the Pro Bowl, 3 of the Linebackers that played right beside him, did. And in 1996, 2 out of the 3 starting Linebackers for the 49ers, Ken Norton AND Lee Woodall made the pro-bowl. Throughout his career, Gary was known as a "players coach" and many NLF teams inquired about interest in coaching once he retired.
The second ability Gary deserves is the "Big Hit" ability. This ability gives a player a boost in the tackling department and and the ability to "lay the lumber" on a ball carrier. Gary played in a time of big powerful Running Backs like Christian Okoye, Icky Woods, Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker among others. He stuck it to those guys, and prided himself on being strong and agile. And if you need a little more proof of his "Big Hit" ability, go ask Derrick Holmes formerly of the Buffalo Bills.
The third ability Gary should have been given is the "Signal Stealer" ability. This ability allows the player in the game to "steal" the offenses play before the snap. In real life, this ability requires a tremendous amount of football knowledge, and the discipline to study the game during the off-season. I remember having a conversation with my Uncle one day about how he could tell if the play was going to be a pass or a run because on passing plays, the offensive linemen would put their hands palm down on the turf because in pass blocking they had to "protect" the Quarterback and back up to form a pocket. On running plays, the offensive linemen would dig their fists into the ground so they could get a little more friction and take off to burst out and push the defensive linemen backwards so the Running Back had a hole to run through.
The fourth and final ability Gary should have most definitely been given is the "Durability" ability. Throughout Gary's 12-year career, Gary only missed 8 games. At one point in his career he had played in over 160 straight games. He had a knack for staying healthy. Mostly due to his workout, eating, and training regime. But also in part due to his knowledge of the game and knowing where to be and when to be there, instead of getting blindsided or other careless potential situations. He missed the first three games of the 1996 season because he broke his thumb and wrist, and the coaching staff forced him to sit.
So in conclusion, while this game is an absolutely incredible and almost perfect football game, the missed the mark with good ol' #50, Gary Plummer. I hope in next years installment, they really take the time to research a little more, and hand out more accurate abilities. As I'm sure there plenty of the other 221 NFL Legends in this game that could stand to have a more accurate representation of themselves.
Since I've been reading about Job in my Bible studies recently, it makes sense that my XBOX 360 crashed on me tonight. You see, God allowed Satan to do whatever he wanted to Job (except kill him) because Satan told God that the only reason Job loved God in the first place was because God had blessed him immensely. It was Satan's contention that once all of the things Job had been blessed with were removed from his life, that he would denounce God and curse him. Even though Jobs family members were all killed, his house destroyed, his friends abandoned him, he came down with a disease that almost killed him and his peers telling him to just curse God already, Job never did.
Well, I feel like Job right now. My XBOX 360 died tonight. Not only did it die, but it died tonight. The night I found out that the football game that I've been waiting for over two years to come out had been released early, prompting a trip to the video game store tonight to purchase it. I popped it in, turned it on, and I was literally in heaven. I was picking my dream team which included Steve Young, Gary Plummer and some other guys. As soon as I picked my team and pressed continue, it happened. My XBOX froze. So I turned it off, then back on again and there it was. The 3 red lights of doom. Hardware failure. Unrepairable if you're not a person that works at Microsoft. So I had to send my XBOX in. It's a 5 week turnaround. So, I won't be playing my new football game until late August. I won't curse God. I won't. I'm just going to be like Job and accept this horrible tragedy without giving up on Him.
If $300 isn't going to break your bank account, and you'd like to help, please send a new XBOX360 to me at: (I WOULD REALLY BE GRACIOUS AND APPRECIATE IT)
Ricky Borba 1249 Quarry Lane, Suite 150 Pleasanton, CA 94566
I was speaking at a college some time ago, and after one of the meetings a young man came to talk with me. He was quite upset. He told me he felt that God had given up on him. I asked him why he had come to that conclusion. He said he had grown up in a religious home, but when he came to college he had rebelled against everything he had ever been taught. He had broken his own standards and he had broken God's standards. He had gotten in trouble with the police. It was pretty serious stuff.
What bothered him most, though, was that he had done the same wrong acts over and over again. He knew better, he said, but he continued doing what he knew was wrong. He once thought of himself as a Christian, but no longer. He was convinced that God had given up on him. He felt that he was beyond hope.
Perhaps you can identify with that young man. Perhaps you've done things you're ashamed of. In fact, you may have a dirty little secret that you keep bottled up in your life. You don't want to think about it, and you live in fear that someday somehow somebody will find you out. Deep down inside you are uncomfortable and even afraid. Once, perhaps, you may have been part of a worshipping community, but no longer. What caused you to give up your faith was that you think that God might not tolerate someone like you. You, too, may feel that you are beyond hope.
If you feel that way you are not alone. I'd like to tell you about two men who messed up their lives. In fact, they turned their backs on God completely. You couldn't blame God for giving up on them.
The first of the two was a man called Peter. Peter was one of the best known of Jesus' disciples, and he served as a kind of unofficial spokesman for the group. Although Peter was brash and outspoken, he was intensely loyal to Jesus. Yet, in a way, Peter became a tragic moral failure.
Here's what happened. Jesus was arrested and put on trial. Peter lingered outside the courthouse warming himself by a fire. As he stood there trying not to be noticed, a young woman spotted him and accused him of being a follower of Jesus. Peter was probably frightened by the accusation so he denied it. But the young woman wouldn't back off. She accused Peter a second time. Again Peter denied any association with Jesus. Then as he made his loud denial the crowd picked up on his accent. The accent was a dead giveaway. Peter wasn't from their part of the country. He was from up north. So the crowd joined the young woman in accusing Peter of being a disciple of Jesus. Then Peter cursed and swore and denied that he even knew Jesus. In that hour of crisis, Peter betrayed his good friend.
If you had been there and heard Peter utter a stream of profanity to deny Jesus, would you have written him off? If you were Jesus would you have given up on Peter? If a friend did that to you, would you forgive her?
That was a grim episode in Peter's life. And later, when he realized what he had done, he wept bitterly. Peter must have wondered if there was any hope for him. After all, in a way, he was no better than Judas who had betrayed Jesus. Peter had betrayed a friend, someone he had once sworn to protect.
Yet, after his resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter. You see, Jesus had died for Peter. He died so that Peter's sins could be forgiven and so that your sin and mine could be forgiven. That is why Jesus forgave this man who had vehemently denied him. What is more, Jesus restored Peter and set him free. In a matter of a few weeks Peter preached the first Christian sermon. That sermon was about the forgiveness of sin. Out of his defeat, Peter learned something. He learned that God is the God of a second chance.
Now, look at the second man who turned away from God. His name is Jonah. You may think of Jonah as a man who had a whale in his story. But, believe me, the story of Jonah isn't about a fish. It's about the God of the second chance.
Jonah, a prophet, had been commanded by God to preach to the citizens of Nineveh. Nineveh was the capital of the nation of Assyria. Jonah was to tell the Assyrians that judgment was coming. And he knew that if he did that, they could repent and they might be forgiven. That was hard for Jonah to deal with. You see, Jonah hated the Assyrians
The Assyrians were easy to hate. If you were to wrap up in one package Nazi Germany, and Iraq and Iran at their worst, you can get a feel for Assyria. The Assyrians were arrogant and cruel conquerors, and Jonah despised them. To tell Jonah that he was to preach to the Assyrians was like asking a man whose family had been threatened by terrorists to offer those terrorists complete forgiveness.
Forgiveness? Nothing would have pleased Jonah more than to see the whole bunch of the Assyrians wiped off the earth. Those Assyrians may have mattered to God, but they didn't matter to Jonah.
God had directed Jonah to travel east over land to Nineveh. But Jonah booked passage on a ship headed west toward Spain. During that journey, a tremendous storm arose, and Jonah ended up in the Mediterranean Sea. That's when the fish swallowed him. Within a short time of gulping down the prophet, the fish suffered an attack of indigestion. Wasn't hard to figure out why. Jonah's disposition was enough to make anyone sick! But God allowed Jonah to survive being swallowed by that fish. You might have thought that God would have given up on Jonah and drafted another prophet easier to work with.
But, in the middle of the book of Jonah there is a most interesting phrase. I think it's the most interesting phrase in the book. It says, "The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time." Deliberately, consciously, stubbornly, Jonah had run away from God. Yet, God came to the prophet a second time and allowed him to carry on his ministry. That's one important lesson from the story of Jonah ... God is the God of the second chance.
On New Year's Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played the University of California in the Rose Bowl. During the first half of the game a player by the name of Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California on his own thirty-five yard line. In evading some of the Georgia Tech tacklers, Riegels became confused. He started running sixty-five yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, outran him and tackled him on the one yard line just before Riegels was about to score for Georgia Tech. Then, on the next play, when California attempted to punt out of its end zone, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, which was the ultimate margin of victory.
That strange play came near the end of the first half. Everyone watching the game was asking the same question: "What will coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?" The players filed off the field and trudged into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor. All but Riegels. He pulled his blanket around his shoulders, and sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and wept like a baby.
A coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half-time. That afternoon coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, "Men, the same team that started the first half will start the second."
The players got up and started out. All but Roy Riegels. He didn't budge. The coach looked back and called to him again. Still Riegels didn't move. Coach Price walked over to Riegels and said, "Roy, didn't you hear me? The same team that started the first half will start the second." Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with tears.
"Coach," he said, "I can't do it. I've disgraced you. I've disgraced the University of California. I've disgraced myself. I couldn't face that crowd to save my life."
Then Coach Nibbs Price put his hand on Riegels shoulder and said, "Roy, get up and go on back. The game is only half over." Roy Riegels did go back, and those Tech players testified that they had seldom seen a man play as Roy Riegels did in that second half.
When I read that story, deep inside I said, "What a coach!" When I read the stories of Peter and Jonah and the stories of a thousand men and women like them, I say, "What a God!" We take the ball and we run in the wrong direction. We stumble and fall. We're so ashamed of ourselves that we never want to try again. And God comes and in the person of Jesus Christ puts a nail-printed hand on our shoulder and says, "Get up; go on back. The game is only half over."
That's the good news of the grace of God. That's the good news of the forgiveness of sins. That's the Gospel of the second chance, of a third chance, of the hundredth chance.
I wish every day could be like yesterday. (Lot's of Baseball and Home Run Derby stuff inside)
I don't even know where to begin, but here goes. Steve Masters called me over the weekend and asked if I wanted to cover an event with him for the All-Star game and Home Run Derby. Of course I said yes, so yesterday I went into work for a couple of hours and then left for SF.
The first thing we did was thing with superstar Mets 3rd baseman David Wright. He was scheduled to be at the Children's Hospital in San Francisco from 12 to 1. There were about 20 kids there who had undoubtedly been waiting weeks for this moment. (And by the way, I could write an entire blog on just how lucky I am to have such a healthy baby girl. I'm glad I get reminded of that from time to time. It's hard seeing kids like the ones in the hospital yesterday.) Anyway, time kept ticking away, and David didn't show until about 1:15. He came in with what looked like his agent and a PR person. I am not exaggerating when I say that he was there all of 4 minutes when his PR person shouted "okay kids, David has leave now, he has to get to his 2pm workout". The PR person said David was over an hour late because the press conference he was at ran late. I thought to myself "David is a grown man. He could have left the press conference a little earlier to be at the hospital on time, and he CERTAINLY could miss a 2pm workout". Not only did I feel bad for those kids state of being in the first place, but when David Wright only stayed for less than 5 minutes I wanted to cry for those kids. They were heart-broken. I'll stop here with this subject, as I have plenty more to say about it.
After the Childrens Hospital thing I went with Steve back to his office (which is also a rap music label) and Rappin 4'Tay was there. To make the story of a very awkward encounter short, Rappin 4'Tay asked Steve if he could borrow $50 because he was "a little short on some ends right now, but I got some things comin' up man that are going to pay the billz". Anyway. I felt bad for "Tay", as they called him. The guy had some major hits in the 90's and early 2000's. And now he looked like a bum and was asking to borrow $50. Thing was, he still had a ton of bling on. Go figure.
After Steve's office I ventured over to the Home Run Derby at SBC,Pac Bell, where the Giants play baseball, and watched the first two rounds of the home run derby (which was a LOT of fun )before I had to leave early to make the 2K sports "The Bigs" Home Run Derby at Ruby Skye. Thing was, I took BART into the city, so I had been walking the entire day to get around. I was a smelly little bastard. So I went into Walgreens, bought some baby wipes and deodorant, and gave myself a "whores bath". Do I need to explain?
So then I walked over to Ruby Skye, smelling good and feeling semi-fresh. Twins pitcher and 2006 Cy Young Winner Johan Santana, Twins First Baseman and 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau, Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander, Mets Shortstop Jose Reyes, and Alex Smith of the 49ers were just some of the athletes that were there for "The Bigs" Home Run Derby. Justin Morneau, who had come in 4th in the real home run derby just hours before, won "The Bigs" Home Run Derby, taking home a Nintendo Wii and some games.
I've been around football players my entire life. The past few months has been the first time in my life that I've ever been around baseball players. Compared to football players, baseball players look like skinny little nerds. Not that my physique is anything to boast about, but baseball players aren't that different from you or I. Except that they make millions of dollars and I sit at a desk all day for 6 cents an hour.
MOTHER EFFIN TRANSFORMERS!! I figured that font size was appropriate, considering the sheer enormity of the movie itself, and it's bigger-than-life feel and approach. I can say this next sentence without any hesitation: Transformers is the best action movie ever made. Period. It starts off with a bang, and doesn't let up until the credits start rolling at the end.
I wish I had the time right now to devote to writing an in-depth review of it, but here are a few things I will tell you. 1. If you were a fan of the old cartoon in the 80's, this movie is definitely going to make you happy. So what if Optimus Prime has flames on his paint job, so what if the Transformers themselves don't exactly look like they did 20 years ago. 2. This movie stays true to the familiar storyline from the cartoon, and absolutely delivers on the action and characters that you've known to grow and love from watching the cartoon. 3. The side stories of the human characters fit and work with the plot, and never once do you feel like you're watching an action movie that just happens to have a few robots here and there. This movie is about the robots. 4. If you're a fan of popcorn movies in general, you owe it to yourself to see this on the big screen.
In a year filled with extreme disappointment regarding new albums from my favorite bands, (Linkin Park, Chemical Brothers, Chevelle, Audioslave, and NIN's new albums have more than sucked) it's nice to see that the summer movies of 07' have for the most part, delivered.
This is a newspaper article about my family reunion yesterday...
(that's my Grandpa, Mom, and Grandma)
Family marks 100 years in America
MANTECA - When Constance "Mama Concha" and Rafael "Papa Ralph" Vigallon came to the United States from Spain, they wanted a better life for their young family. One hundred years later, dozens of their 149 descendants gathered at a reunion in Manteca Saturday and toasted their success.
Vigallon descendants from four generations have settled in recent years in Manteca, enjoying more comfortable lives than the couple who brought the family here.
"(Mama and Papa Vigallon) came to the agreement they could make something of themselves in America, where they couldn't in Spain," daughter-in-law Dolores Vigallon said.
The couple loaded themselves and their infant son, the first of 18 children, on a ship bound for Hawaii. The couple paid their passage by agreeing to work for two years at a plantation there.
It was almost two decades later, in 1924, when the family came to California, again seeking opportunity. They found it, though still at a high cost.
"It was survival by prune picking," 79-year-old John Vigallon said. Every year for two months the family would move to the "Coyote Hilton," a shack where they would pick prunes - plums picked to be dried.
Life the rest of the year was also tough for the family, which lived in San Leandro, and then Fremont. John Vigallon recalled getting up at 3 a.m. for his paper route, then working a couple hours at a bakery, all before the school day. After school he would do chores such as feeding the animals that sustained the Vigallon clan.
"Hardworking" is the first description recent generations of Vigallons give their forbearers.
As they celebrated Saturday, Vigallon descendants remarked how happy Mama and Papa Vigallon would be to see their children, their children's children, even a great-great-great granddaughter, all together.
They would be humbled, descendants said, to see their lives still celebrated.