Thursday, September 13, 2012

Small Sips Is a Lesser Baldwin

Get well soon, King. While observing my usual ritual of watching WWE Monday Night RAW, I noticed at one point that commentator Michael Cole was the only one talking; partner Jerry "the King" Lawler had fallen silent for some reason. I ended up turning off the show before it was explained that Lawler had suffered an apparent heart attack at ringside and was rushed to an area hospital. provides an update:
LATEST UPDATE: 9/11/12, 12:20 p.m. 
As of this morning, Jerry "The King" Lawler is in a cardiac care unit and all his vital signs are stable. WWE will provide additional information as it becomes available. We continue to wish Jerry all the best for a full recovery. 
Last night, WWE released an official statement on the events in Montreal: 
Jerry “The King” Lawler suffered a heart attack while commentating during last night’s broadcast of Monday Night Raw in Montreal. We are hopeful Jerry makes a full recovery and returns to WWE in the near future. Our thoughts are with Jerry and his family. 
During the tag team match between Kane & Daniel Bryan and The Prime Time Players on Raw, viewers may have noticed members of the audience and WWE production team staring toward the commentary booth, as well as the absence of Jerry “The King” Lawler’s voice. learned that the WWE Hall of Famer collapsed at the announcers' table and was tended to in the locker room area by WWE medical staff. Lawler was then taken from the arena to a medical facility in Montreal. 
We will have updates on Lawler’s condition as this story progresses. 
My brother and I met Lawler last year before an Akron Aeros game, which was a pretty cool wrestling fandom moment for me. He was very personable and took some time to talk to each fan who was at the event. I add my own well-wishes and prayers to all the others that he must be receiving at this time, and I'm glad to hear that he seems to be recovering well.

Hey! I know that guy! My brother and I went to the Michigan-Air Force game and saw something we both thought was hilarious and sad. My brother snapped a picture and sent it to MGoBlog, and it made the front page the other day as part of a reader mailbag post:
A thousand words on branding. 
Attached - taken in section 25 before yesterday's Air Force game.

I'm a staunch believer in Brandon but had to admit that this looked ridiculous. Correct me if I'm wrong, but L to R: 2010-11 away, [some woman], 2012 Sugar Bowl, 2011 UTL, 2012 Cowboys Classic. 
"Chief marketing officers and Hunter [Lochmann]’s job description would include building the brand, which is very much about the presentation and the image of the 'Block-M.' How do we enhance it, how do we expand it, how do we make sure that the image of that brand is consistent with what we want that image to be, how do we present that brand in the most positive light possible? And this has everything to do with how the brand appears when it's being used — from the uniforms we wear, the branding of our facilities, the branding of our materials, a lot of classic brand management kinds of responsibilities." - D. Brandon, 4/5/11 (link) 
Keep up the good work and Go Blue,  
North Olmsted, OH  
At least they're making a tiny amount of extra revenue from those—under a million from the UTL jerseys and who knows how much of that was cannibalized from regular sales—that they're spending on people in the athletic department who plan ways to get incremental revenue so they can hire more people to acquire incremental revenue. Also, the man Michigan hired to build the brand has the twitter handle "Lochdog715." Lochdog should use some of that incremental revenue to polish up his personal brand. 
Lochdog. Holy pickles.
You probably don't get the context. See, there's a certain segment of the Michigan fan base--probably most of whom read MGoBlog--who aren't big fans of the one-off jerseys that the program has been rolling out the past few years. They believe that sticking to the classic look should be good enough, and please let's not become Oregon where our identity is our lack of identity. Ironically enough, these alternative jerseys are part of Athletic Director Dave Brandon's effort to give Michigan a distinct brand. How a half-dozen different uniforms does that, I don't know.

But I really wanted to highlight this because I was standing right there when this picture was taken, followed by the statement, "I'm gonna send this to Brian at MGoBlog." And he made the big time of Michigan blogdom. Does this make me Billy to his Alec? Just not Stephen.

At any rate, we both had a laugh when we saw the lineup of jerseys. It was a clear picture of what some Michigan fans don't want to happen.

Search and search and search and call. Jan at A Church for Starving Artists notes that the situation for first-time pastors has changed:
I was reading Thomas Friedman’s article here about “working hard and playing by the rules” or – what it takes to land a good job today. It moved me to think about what it takes to get a call to a church today. Believe me, it takes more than working hard and playing by the rules. 
It’s – first of all – of course, about God’s call. 
God moves us and God moves search committees towards each other. But there are many good candidates for ordination to professional ministry who work hard and play by the (seemingly countless) rules. 
It used to be true that seminarians had a call waiting for them upon graduation, but those were the days when churches were large enough to have associate pastors or even “assistant pastors.” Some of us will remember those days.  
Today it takes an average of 2-3 years to find that first call out of seminary. Why?
2-3 years. Holy crap. Thankfully, my first search only took 4-5 months. Some will argue that I'm of a particular demographic that tends not to have to search as long, and I acknowledge that. I have incredibly talented colleagues who have been stuck in searches for ridiculously long periods of time, and while it's not their first search it's still amazing that no church is willing to call them. Some of that is probably demographic-related, but some of it is also related to what a church wants or thinks it needs, whether someone who "works hard and plays by the rules" or someone who'll bring in a bunch of new members who look just like them (by themselves, of course), etc.

A friend and I have been talking about this phenomenon off and on lately, particularly as it relates to younger pastors and the cultural issues that they/we are up against nowadays. As the culture changes, churches seem more and more to be going into a bunker mentality. The old joke about churches is that most of them say, "We want to change, just as long as we don't have to change," but most really seem to be freaking out about their current reality, and some of that ends up being aimed at pastors who want to lead them down new paths. And some of those pastors, as Jan observes, have to wait quite a while even to get started.

Misc. Pat Robertson says another stupid awful thing. Mark Driscoll also says a stupid thing, and Rachel Held Evans responds to it.