Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Pray Before a Sports Event

I get the feeling that people out there want to know how to pray before a sports activity or event; seems that sports performance can be quite impaired if prayers are not properly said. My idea of a what kind of prayer we should say before and/or during the time we are practicing or playing or watching a sport:


If it be amenable to thy will, let it be that somehow myself and others are drawn closer to thee through this sports activity.

If it be amenable to thy will, let it be that somehow thy name is hallowed through this sports activity.

Notes Re this Prayer:

How should we pray prior to playing in a sports event, practicing for sports, watching sports events? Especially since people nowadays have such an enthusiasm for participating and watching sports, the matter becomes of importance.

I found that coming up with a prayer to say before I practice sports, or before a team I am involved with in some way plays in a game, was not as uncomplicated as one might expect.

Early on in the prayer-invention process, I conceptually came across a stumbling block that impaired my ability to pray well in the circumstances: what if, unbeknownst to me, it is not God's will that I engage in the sports activity I am about to engage in after saying the prayer?

I am able to tell by looking into my conscience, if my conscience is for, or against or neutral re a given activity. But I often am not able to tell if God is for, or against, or neutral re, a given activity; thus my ability to pray can be impaired when I am engaged in some activity regarding which I don't know what the will of God is.

As of now my cure for the impairment of prayer produced by such mental travail is as follows:

If I do not know or believe that God is opposed to me practicing basketball for a couple of hours, this indicates that practicing basketball for a couple of hours is not a sin for me; and it indicates that I should be able to pray unimpaired prayers before or during practicing basketball.

It could be, that God is neither for or against with regards to me spending a couple of hours practicing basketball. One of the inspired men who wrote the New Testament, Paul, wrote of how there is kind of liberty and freedom rooted in belief in Christ, which points towards the idea that a Christian whose conscience does not condemn him practicing basketball for a couple of hours, does nothing unclean by practicing basketball for a couple of hours.

New Testament writer Paul's advice was,"whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord" (Col 3:17); Paul's advice was to basically at all times give thanks and pray--this would include times when I am practicing basketball without knowing that it is God's will that I practice basketball. Along these lines I can rest assured that there is nothing unseemly about me praying before or during my basketball practice, even if I do not know what God's will is re him and basketball.

Still, there remains the fact that we should maintain a certain humility in our prayers, remembering that the idea is that God is our boss, not that we are God's boss* (see note at end). This is why the prayer meekly and humbly uses the word "if" in the line "if it be thy will", and the word "somehow", in the line "let it be that somehow".

The prayer uses the word "hallow", in part because the line "hallowed be thy name", is perhaps the most notable line in the "Lord's prayer" which starts, "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name". "hallowed be thy name", implies that our actions should result in the name of the God we proclaim, being "hallowed". It is not inconceivable that the name of our God could be "hallowed" through our sports activities.

The prayer speaks of ourselves and others being drawn closer to God, because the basic ambition of our lives should be that we and others draw closer to God. By "closer to God", I mean more spirited, spending more time being spirited, being more spirited when spirited. It is not inconceivable, that sports activities could bring us and others closer to God.

The prayer does not pray for victory. Are not the people we are competing agaisnt human beings also? I believe that those who avoid praying for victory, but rather pray along the lines I have suggested, will perform better than those who pray for victory.

Some out there might scoff on the grounds that the writer Paul said that "Exercise for the body is not useless, but godliness is useful in every respect" (1 Tim 4:8). My response: Paul is not saying exercise is useless; we live sedentary lives compared to the hard-working folks of Turkey of 2000 years ago Paul was preaching to; exercise can help us our immune systems deal with the many environmental pollutants present today that were not present in ancient days; we have an opportunity to consume nutritionally valuable substances that the folks of ancient Turkey lacked and we need to work off the calories we consume in the process of consuming such substances; the modern environment is filled with stresses not present in ancient days and exercise helps us to negate such stress so as to be able to enter into 'godly' states of mind.

Paul wrote, "to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some".

Interpretation: we now live in a society that is very enthusiastic about sports; it could be that we should conform ourselves to such enthusiasm and 'hallow' God's name through sports.

Yet we should face the facts that contradict fanatical jockiness. It is foolish to say that if someone is confined to bed after a car crash, that such a person will not be able to draw close to God simply because he can't go jogging. All kinds of thoughts words and actions can help to draw people closer to God and sports is just one of them. The broken body responds to exercise differently compared to the uninjured body.

I estimate it is reasonable to say that God helps those who cannot jog to improve without jogging; at the same time God expects those who are able to improve themselves by way of various activities they are capable of and have opportunity to engage in, to improve themselves through those activities that they are capable of. As far as I can tell it is not God's nature, to provide persons with new methods of self-improvement when they fail to avail themselves of the methods that are available to them.

* Sarah Palin, judging from her words, basically speaking seemed interested in forcing God to change his mind so as to approve of what she and others had done, as opposed to being interested in learning God's will for herself and others so as to be able to perform God's will. I consider this reversal of the God bosses manking principle to be a serious misdemeanor. Even if the impression of misdemeanor resulted from carelessly inaccurate language on Palin's part, careless inaccurate words tend to indicate careless inaccuracy in the mind producing said words. But this is a separate topic.

@2008 David Virgil Hobbs


Monday, December 15, 2008

Chant for Improving Everyday Life

I estimate that my rate of improvement in terms of speed over a six mile course involving alternating between walking a mile and running a mile, has been excellent; I estimate that a major factor in this has been that I have been while running and walking the course been chanting my running chant ( Today I invented a chant for every day life which I estimate will improve my performance in every-day life just as the running chant has improved my performance in running. The new every-day life chant is:

Every-day Life Chant

We never miss our fitness workouts
Nobody can say that we're a lout

Chaste are we in our bodies and minds

At least we're not the perverted kind

We don't smoke cigarettes

We aim to be the best

Early to bed early to rise

Makes us happy healthy and wise

We don't smoke too much pot

or we just smoke it not

I'm an economic superstar

A social superstar who'll go far

The running chant as of now is:

Running Chant

Long are our strides as we streamline the sky
Many are our steps per unit of time

Lord of roads of magnificence am I

Lord of roads of painlessness am I

For the past twenty days, every day I did the six mile jog-walk; this involves me non-stop, jogging the first mile, walking the second, jogging the third, walking the fourth, jogging the fifth, and walking the sixth mile. On about day 10 I started jogging on the sidewalk instead of on the rubber outdoors circular track. Some day near the first day I did this I counted myself at 101 minutes after the fifth mile; then for about a week I was slower than this on the sidewalk course; then finally yesterday on the 20th day I was down to 98 minutes after the fifth mile.

The running on the sidewalk instead of the rubber outdoors track was a shock to my body, I estimate the major reason for the regression in terms of speed; after about the third day of this I bought some insoles from CVS to put into my sneakers to soften the shock. Thus now after ten days on the outside track I have improved my time by 3 minutes. We won't know until I go back to the rubber track how much the rubber track time has improved but I estimate there has been very significant improvement.

Compared to my improvement rate of 0.3 minutes per day on the outdoors course, my investigation of the subject re what is a good rate of improvement in the 10k (10000 meters, 6.2 miles race) shows that an improvement rate of 0.04 minutes per day only, is considered excellent in the track and field world ( True, a one minute improvement for those serious track guys out there who have been running the 10k for years and run it fast is a bigger percentage improvement than a one minute improvement for me; but even accounting for this difference one could say that my rate of improvement is much higher than what the track and field world considers to be excellent; and I am sure such will still be the case after I have measured my times when I return to the rubber track.

I attribute my high rate of improvement to the (recently revised) running chant that I invented ( This chant IMHO produces a speed that is high taking into account my current level of fitness and muscular strength in terms of muscles used for running.

At first I chanted the chant only during the miles that I ran, not during the miles that I walked; for a long time my walked miles were slow. Then I started to chant the chant during the walked miles and noticed an immediate increase in speed over the first five miles of the five mile course (I time after five miles because I end up doing things like buying groceries and snacks while walking the sixth mile).

Noticing how the chant seemed to be effective for running, I got to thinking, could a similar chant be effective for every-day life?...I sat down at my desk and wrote out the chant for every-day life. My estimate is that memorizing this chant and reciting it during the day, combined with humble prayers (to balance the pomp of the chants), will produce improvement in every-day life just as the running chant has produced improvement over the running/walking course.

@2008 David Virgil Hobbs

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Controlling HTML Tables Using CSS--yes CSS can control cellpadding and cellspacing

I encountered some difficulty, trying to figure out how to instill certain characteristics into tables that I copied and pasted into my eml, HTML format email pages in Outlook Express, which in turn I sometimes convert into HTML pages. I got sick of having to go into the source code in the email I was working on, in order to add borders to tables that I copied and pasted into the eml, when the borders would not show up in the copied and pasted emails, due to reasons such as the borders being connected with CSS in the page that was copied and pasted from. I wanted to be able to control the way the copied and pasted tables would look in the eml and in any html page made from the eml, without burrowing into the source code and painstakingly changing each table. I had become aware of distortions and legibility problems that can be caused due to the way copy from an html page and paste into Outlook Express works menchanically speaking. I wanted to be able to control and transform the appearance of tables copied and pasted into the emails I was working on in Outlook Express. I was aware of how tables without lines separating the table cells, are harder to annotate with comments inside the table cells. I was aware of how cellpadding (space between text in table cell and borders of table cell) and cellspacing (space between table cells) can be important. I was aware of how weird colors for links and background of links in the process of copy and paste can render the colors illegible.

I came up with the following code (not copied from anywhere but influenced by others) that I can put into eml format templates; the presence of this code in the head section of the html transforms the tables I copy and paste into the eml, into tables formatted the way I want; the code forces horizontal and vertical table cell division lines into the tables (such lines often do not show up when I copy and paste the table even if they are present in the source I am copying from). The code uses CSS to control cellpadding and cellspacing even when IE6 and IE7 browsers, (the world's most commongly used browsers) are being used.



/* dec 5 2008 css set up for copy and paste tables problem elimination */

TABLE { BORDER-RIGHT:rgb(128,128,256) 9px solid; BORDER-TOP:rgb(000,000,000) 9px solid; BORDER-LEFT:rgb(128,128,256) 9px solid; BORDER-BOTTOM:rgb(000,000,000) 9px solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: rgb(192,192,192); border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:55px; color: rgb(128,000,000); font: normal normal 900 16px 1.2em Arial;

TD { border: solid black thin; padding:7px 7px 7px 7px; BORDER-RIGHT:rgb(000,000,128) 1px solid;; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(256,000,256) 0px solid; BORDER-top: rgb(128,000,000) 3px solid;;BORDER-bottom: rgb(128,000,000) 3px solid;}

a:link {color: rgb(000,000,255); font: normal normal 900 14px arial; background-color: rgb(192,192,192)}
a:visited {color: rgb(127,000,127); font: normal normal 900 14px arial; background-color: rgb(192,192,192);}
a:active {color: #00FF00; background-color: rgb(192,192,192)}
a:hover {background-color:rgb(255,000,000);font: italic normal 900 15px arial;color: rgb(255,255,255)}
a {text-decoration: underline;}


In HTML, Cellpadding effects the amount of space between text in a table cell and the borders of the table cell. Cellspacing effects the amount of space between table cells.

I found that there is alot of confusion out there re whether cellpadding and cellspacing, which are easily manipulated in html, can also be manipulated using CSS. Many of the coders discussing the problem out there in internet land, have wrongly concluded that such is impossible using CSS, at least when the IE6 and IE7 browsers are in use.

I found that controlling the cell-padding using CSS is simple, the trick is that the padding command is put into the CSS declaration for the TD or table cell, not the CSS declaration for TABLE.

I found that cellspacing can be controlled by manipulating the border sizes of the table cells in the CSS declarations for the TDs. By now I have developed an instinct that if Microsoft does not support some new thing in the latest version of CSS, this is probably because Microsoft common-sensically realizes that the task that the new thing accomplishes can be accomplished some other way.

Thus I am able to manipulate cellpadding and cellspacing in tables copied and pasted into the email, simply through the CSS declarations at the top of the email source code, without burrowing into the source code of the email every time a table is copied and pasted into the email.

The code allows me to specify both the background color of a link and also the text color of a link; this provides insurance against problems such as the color of a link being legible against the background in the page copied from but not in the page pasted to.

A problem remains that email services such as Yahoo still do not properly interpret the CSS inside of HTML emails. People with Yahoo type email accounts, need to be sent an emaill that has CSS in it, in the form of an html page sent as an attachment to the email. But hey it's easy to convert an eml into an html just save the eml as html.

The appearance of tables may not be of earth-shaking importance, however one important thing this issue of table manipulation with CSS brings to light, is this: the reference materials re subjects such as CSS tell what attributes in an HTML page or HTML format email can be manipulated and how such manipulations are accomplished; but they do not clearly show which elements in a page can have a given attribute manipulated, and this leads to confusion. For example, they will say that cell-padding can be manipulated using CSS and they tell you how to do this, but they leave you in the dark re whether cellpadding of TABLES can be manipulated (they cannot), and re whether cellpadding of cells in tables (TDs) can be manipulated (they can). The reference works should list which elements of a page can be manipulated and controlled in a given way but do not. This leads to the point that such annoying ambiguity is probably also a problem in areas of science more important that mere art of HTML table presentation.

Relevant links:
(verbose breathless geegosh panicky assertions that there is nothing in IE6 or IE7 CSS to replace cell padding and cellspacing.)