Lincoln Blogs

Give Me a Break
May 30, 2008, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


The Scripps National Spelling Bee is fast approaching and bettors can get in on the action. The odds makers at BetUS have posted odds on the event, allowing you to have predictions on nearly every single possible scenario….

The Spelling Bee has grown quite a bit in both intellectual and parental circles over the past couple of years and in 2008 the hype has really mounted. People are just mesmerized by the spectacle that allows for nerds everywhere to become stars. Users at the sportsbook can now wager on the world’s largest educational challenge, betting on nearly any possible scenario….

[T]he odds include whether the winner will be wearing a stereotypical studious costume of spectacular spectacles.

Oddsmakers at posted the following odds on all things Scripps National Spelling Bee:

Gender of winner
Male 5/7
Female 1/1

Winner to wear glasses
Yes 1/1
No 5/7

Length of winning word
Over 8.5 2/3
Under 8.5 11/10

Shot at and Missed
May 26, 2008, 10:22 am
Filed under: Books

In May 2006, I interviewed Jack R. Myers, the author of Shot at and MIssed, a book recollecting his time as a World War II bombardier. His story is a good one for Memorial Day.

In 1942, Myers signed up for a cadet testing program in Peoria, Illinois. After that and further testing in Texas, he was trained as a bombardier in San Angelo, where he became a 2nd Lieutenant. He was shipped to the 15th Air Force base in Italy, and became a member of the 20th squadron. As a bombardier he flew 52 missions (including the required 35 over target), which included bomb runs over Vienna, Debreczen, and Blechhammer. On February 24, 1943, he finished his missions and flew home. Once back in the States, he trained in Texas to become a pilot until the end of the war.

Myers remembers a mission he flew over Debreczen, Hungary. He called this mission the scariest he flew, and wrote a chapter about it called “Shot at and Hit.” His assignment was to bomb the marshalling yards in Debreczen. “[My crew and I] assumed this was a milk run,” Myers wrote in his book. “Oh what a mistake that was.” His 20th squadron flew with the 429th, the 96th and the 49th squadrons. They thought it would be a “milk run” (an easy mission) because there were only about 45 anti-aircraft guns in Debreczen, compared to more than 600 he had faced in Vienna. What they didn’t know was that more guns had been shipped in to the marshalling yards. Anti-aircraft guns could shoot exploding flak at altitudes higher than 30,000 feet – approximately ten times a minute. “It was unbelievable,” Myers told me in a recent interview. “They just filled the sky with explosions.” Amazingly, every plane returned to the base. One of the planes in the Debreczen mission was Sweet Pea. It was called the most damaged B-17 to make it back to base during the entire war.

Myers’ book, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, is now in its third printing. Myers decided to write his book when his granddaughter interviewed him for a National History Book Contest. She won the school contest and went on to the state competition, which she also won. He recalled, “[People] said, ‘Jack, why don’t you write your story?’” It took him seven years to write the book, which he constructed by reading his diaries from the war and detailed letters that he had written to his brother back home.

Shot at and Missed gives readers an amazing glimpse of the war from a bombardier’s point of view, and is an excellent read for all.

Me Being Proud of Jack Henry
May 14, 2008, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Life

I told you about his ground-rule double the other night. Well, last night he turned an unassisted triple play. Playing left-center field for the Royals in the bottom of the final inning, he caught a fly ball, ran to the infield and tagged a runner heading to second base, then stepped on second, retiring the runner who had run to third. Ballgame.

In a previous inning, he had also made all three outs for the Royals, though in different plays.

Justice for All
May 4, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: School Papers
Under the Athenian system of ostracism, every free man could specify who he wished to see ostracized by writing the name on a and dropping it into an urn. An illiterate Athenian, not recognizing Aristides, once asked him to write on his potsherd on his behalf. Asked what name the man wanted written, he replied, “Aristides.” Surprised, the statesman inquired whether Aristides had ever injured him that he should wish to see him banished. “No,” replied the man, “I don’t even know him, but I am sick of hearing him called, ‘The Just.’” Aristides, in silence, wrote his own name and handed it back to the man.

Aristides was an Athenian statesman, general, and founder of the Delian League, which developed into the Athenian Empire. Plato once called Aristides, who was nicknamed “the Just,” the only man in Athens worth admiring. He lived up to his nickname in this anecdote, and was just even though he knew it would hurt him.

Consider also Regulus, a Roman who was taken prisoner by the Carthaginians. The Carthaginians were trying to make peace with Rome, so they sent Regulus along with several ambassadors to try to make terms. Regulus made a promise to Carthage that, if the terms were not accepted, he would return. When he reached Rome and was asked for his opinion, he gave what he thought was a just answer, namely that the Romans should decline the terms because they were bad for Rome. He was taken back to Carthage and tortured for his answer. The reply of Regulus was the right and just one, even though it cost him his freedom and his life.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.”

Whether serving as a statesman or a general, or founding the Delian League, Aristides was a just man. We should strive to follow his example, and obey Deuteronomy 16:20 by “follow[ing] justice and justice alone.”