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5:11 am EDT        63°F (17°C) in South Rockwood, MI

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As you may have guessed, I have been far too damn busy to make an update here in the last 18 days. Even now, I’m kinda forcing this one in without having a ton of time to make it, but what the hell, I’ve got to do one.

I did take a long weekend a couple weeks ago, taking Saturday and Sunday (the last two days of my regular work week), September 8 and 9 off from work. I went to the debacle in the Big House that Saturday, watching Lloyd Carr even further implode the Michigan football team with a 39-7 thrashing administered by the Oregon Ducks. This was actually the second-worst ass-kicking (in terms of margin of victory) ever put on Michigan by a visiting opponent, coming in behind only a 34-0 loss to Moo U in 1967, and it could very well be Michigan’s third-biggest defeat ever (that 34-point loss to the Sparties, and the 50-14 loss to Ohio State in Columbus in 1968).

(What should Michigan fans be noticing about the years in which those huge defeats occurred? That’s right, those were Bump Elliott’s last two seasons on the Blue sideline. Elliott is today considered the worst coach in Michigan football history, who took the proud tradition of Yost, Crisler, and Oosterbaan and let it slide into the toilet in his 10 years as coach. That Lloyd Carr is keeping company with Bump Elliott, at least in terms of the results on the field, tells you everything you really need to know about Lloyd. Just as Don Canham did in 1969 when he cleaned house and brought in Bo Schembechler, Bill Martin is going to have to bring in the best person for the job, without regard to whether he is a “Michigan man,” in order to restore any kind of pride in Ann Arbor.)

Having packed for the trip the night before, I immediately set off after the game for Yooperland, to go visit my friend Eric. Making a minimum of stops, I took seven hours and 45 minutes to get there, arriving just before 4:00 am EDT that Sunday. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a ton of time up there, and about all we managed to do was take a drive up to the town of Big Bay and back and visit his family for a bit.

I took a very roundabout route back here from Eric’s place in Marquette, eschewing the most optimal route of M-28, M-77, and U.S. 2 back over to Interstate 75. Instead, I took M-28 east all the way to I-75, roughly eight miles (13 km) south of Sault Ste. Marie, and then took I-75 north into the Soo. Since I wanted to finish off the rest of the Yooper portion of I-75 (see the “Length I’ve traveled” bit here), I proceeded across the International Bridge into Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and drove around on the Canadian side for a bit. I got no hassle at all at Canadian Customs, and only a minimal hassle re-entering the U.S..

Delirious from almost 200 miles (322 km) of two-lane Yooper roads, I decided to skip a planned excursion down a whole bunch of state highways in the northeastern Lower Peninsula; I intended to grab six more counties up that way, but left them for another time. I did, however, exit I-75 at Bay City and follow M-25 east and north just far enough to grab Tuscola and Huron counties, in the Thumb, before proceeding south on M-24. This was in an almost-blinding rain, which had started much farther north (around Grayling), and the ponding on the roads made it a lot of fun.

Finally, at Lapeer, I went east on Interstate 69 to grab the one remaining segment I had previously been missing — roughly 23 miles (38 km) between Capac and Port Huron, in Saint Clair County. From Port Huron, I simply followed I-94 back to Detroit and then I-75 back home, finishing off a 590-mile (950 km) day of driving that took me 12 hours. At this point, I’m up to 70 of Michigan’s 83 counties on my visited list, and I have driven all but three miles of the Interstate system in the state; only Interstate 194 in Battle Creek remains to be driven.

I went to a Detroit Tigers baseball game last Tuesday night, September 11, against the Texas Rangers, with my mother. The local cable monopoly here, Comcast, had sent me two free tickets for signing up with them during one of their recent promotions; I left it to my parents to decide which one of them wanted to go with me, and it was my mother who jumped on it first. The Tigers won 4-1, although as we’ve seen in the last week and a half, it didn’t do a damn bit of good for their (now dead) playoff hopes. I’ll have more to say about that, specifically Tigers closer Todd Jones and the song played when he entered the game, in a bit.

Another week of work ensued, after which I spent most of this past “weekend” (my usual days off of Monday and Tuesday) working on my car. Specifically, I needed to get it polished and waxed before winter’s arrival in a couple months, and I took a good bit of both afternoons to do that. I had washed the car after work last Saturday morning; that’s always fun, with absolutely not a soul in sight at 4:30 am.

As I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago, Todd Jones came into that Tiger game to pitch the ninth inning and get the save. Many baseball teams, including the Tigers, have taken to playing some kind of personalized song for each player as he comes to bat or enters from the bullpen, and Jones’ selection for this season is “Last One Standing” by the so-called “Christian” rock group Mercy Me. This should come as no surprise to longtime readers of this blog, seeing as I exposed Jones as the Christofascist he is way back in 2004 when he was with the Colorado Rockies. I’m not making mention of this to condemn Todd Jones; rather, I’m going to point out how “Last One Standing” shows that Jones and the vast majority of other so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” have everything backwards.

One of the lines in the song, if I recall it right, goes something like, “One who is worthy of all my praise” (speaking of God, of course). Given the definition of the word praise, I see a huge logical disconnect here that shows what “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” really think of their God. Praise is the kind of thing you would give to a small child or a dog when he/she/it does what you ask; examples would be a pat on the head or some kind of treat, which may or may not take the form of food. To “praise” God implies that the one doing the praising views God along the lines of a four-year-old or a shih tzu, not the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator and Lord of the universe.

Instead of “praising” God in the same way we might praise a child, we ought to thank Him — profusely — for the great bounty He has given us, and for His past, present, and future providence for us. So-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” really need to re-evaluate their relationship with God, and realize that they are not the ones who are in the position to be doing any praising. If and when they do this, they will start to realize that they cannot dictate for God what He supposedly “hates” — and they will start following His commands to love His gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children unconditionally.

That’s all the time I have for tonight. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, mid-“week” (Wednesday-Sunday) updates have been almost non-existent since I started on this shift, and I don’t know if I’m ever really going to get a whole lot of time on those five days of the week. In any event, though, I’m not going to let this totally die.