Chicago - Dec. 14, 2018
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Army Of Darkness
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A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
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The Weekend Desk Report

Tweets I did not push the button on Saturday night:

"Hey Sister Jean, where's your God now?"

"Sometimes God says No."

"I guess Loyola was actually on a Mission from Dog."

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For example, DePaul's prayers worked too when the mayor built them a sparkling new arena with plenty of room to spread out for the 500 or so fans who actually attend their lousy games. Ain't God good!

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Speaking of God, I guess He was too busy charting Loyola's basketball season to intervene in the affairs at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th.

But He did make his presence known at Marlins Park on Friday night.

Now, the last thing I want to do is bust on Anthony Rizzo. He's a Stoneman alum from Parkland who has thrown himself into the recovery work in an admirable fashion. But really, a God who would somehow make the second Miami Marlins game of the major league baseball season go 17 innings to commemorate 17 deaths in a school shooting is a pretty lousy God in my book. A God who bothers to manipulate the length of baseball games but doesn't prevent cold-blooded, maniacal murders?

Apparently that's what a lot of people believe. Then again, a lot of people believe God blesses their guns.

Rizzo's tweet was liked 31,000 times, with more than 5,000 retweets and 200 replies, including several like this:

Sure, angels all around the ballpark but not at the high school when it counted. Maybe they were at the track.

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I find this kind of religiosity - well, most kinds, but particularly this kind - offensive. Of course I cut Rizzo a huge bunch of slack considering all he's been doing for Parkland. Of course I do. But c'mon.

Similarly, the Sister Jean saga injected the sadly familiar specter of a God who cares about the outcomes of (some, apparently, but not all) basketball games into society's bloodstream once again - lapped up by a media that cannot resist stale narratives of fairy tales and so-called Cinderellas. (Loyola was no Cinderella; they were arguably seeded too low, though the argument could be made that, given the margins of their victories, they were seeded just right - like one of Goldilocks's three bears!)

Then again, maybe it's true. Maybe that's the God we have. I don't find that comforting, though; I find it utterly terrorizing. Worship that? Never. But it would explain the world we live in.

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"When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a 1981 book by Harold Kushner, a Conservative rabbi. Kushner addresses in the book one of the principal problems of theodicy, the conundrum of why, if the universe was created and is governed by a God who is of a good and loving nature, there is nonetheless so much suffering and pain in it - essentially, the evidential problem of evil," Wikipedia notes.

First, I would ask why we assume God, if there is one, is good. Perhaps God is both our omniscient creator and a bastard.There's no reason God has to be nice. That's just wish fulfillment.

Second, how do we define "good people?" Fifty-one percent good? Or even "bad things?" I mean, sometimes people claim a horrible thing turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to them because of the changes that followed.

In the case of Kushner, he was moved to write his book after his 14-year-old son died of an incurable genetic disease. I always wonder why, with all the misery and death in the world from the beginning of time, some folks only start to question their concept of God when one of their own kids, for example, suffers. I get that it's different when it happens to you, but really? You never stopped to wonder about the goodness of God after learning of the countless slaughters the world over? The Holocaust alone didn't do it for you? Are we really that myopic?

Third, my recollection of the Kushner book, which may be wrong but I do own it and I did read it years ago, is that God created the laws of physics, and fairness dictates that God not interfere with those laws. If God did, those laws may as well not exist. And then there would be no free will, and all sorts of implications would flow from that basically ruining the world as God wants it to be. God's approach instead is to let nature take its course and que sera sera. The chill God. Therefore, accidents happen, diseases come into existence and spread, and death is inevitable. Of course, God could've created a different set of laws to prevent all that, but maybe God is a bit of a sadist. Maybe God likes to watch. Or maybe God is an absentee landlord. That's what Al Pacino tells Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate:

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Throughout history, humans have perceived God or gods as imperfect. The Old Testament depicts a God full of human emotion, such as wrath and, um, barbaric pettiness. The Greeks, of course, had a set of gods that were far from All Good. In modern times, we have a God who seems to enjoy the sportsbook. It is one of God's best inventions. But is God cheating or just watching?

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Here's the media when they find a Hallmark storyline so irresistible they just can't exercise any semblance of discipline and show a light touch, instead needing to pound it into the ground to satisfy whatever craven agenda and psychological emptiness that exists inside them:

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Can't wait to find out what God's "bigger plan" is:

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Saturday TV Special
A marathon of Matlock Part 1s, via our very own Tim Willette. Too late now, I know, but maybe the Part 2s will be next Saturday (they aren't today):

matlockpartone.png

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Correction Of The Day
Also via our very own Tim Willette:

"Correction: An earlier version of this article implied that chimpanzees ran the government depicted in 1968's Planet of the Apes and its sequels when in fact political authority was vested in orangutans and chimpanzees served as a kind of scientist and intellectual caste."

C'mon, Vox, that was a central part of the conceit! Sheesh.

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New on the Beachwood since Wednesday . . .

How Does This Keep Happening?
Groupon, Heineken, Walmart . . .

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #194: Chicago Accountant Upstages Loyola, Cubs, White Sox
Scott Foster Is The Emergency Backup Goalie We Need. Plus: Cubs Opener A Perfect Preview Of The Season To Come; White Sox Opener A Perfect Preview Of The Season To Come; and So You're Saying Loyola Has A Chance?

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Weekend ChicagoGram

Crosseyed and painful.

A post shared by Tyler Clark (@localmythologies) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

STOP AIDS, 1988.

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Weekend BeachBook
A sampling.

This Artist Took 4,000 Portraits To Show The Range Of Human Skin Color And The Results Exceeded The Pantone Library.

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Why Are There So Many Online Mattress-In-A-Box Companies?

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How Warehouses For Personal Junk Became A $38 Billion Industry.

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Shazam For Nature.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Some kind of blue.



Permalink

Posted on April 1, 2018


MUSIC - December In Chicago Drill.
TV - Don't Weaken Media Ownership Limits.
POLITICS - Another SRO Crisis.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Mom.

BOOKS - How Stereo Was Sold To A Skeptical Public.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicago Footwork King's Bail Battle.


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