Sunday, April 30, 2006

Chiefs' Picks

Here's the rundown of the Chiefs' draft picks this weekend:

1 20 Hali, Tamba DE 6-3 275 Penn State
2 54 Pollard, Bernard SS 6-2 223 Purdue
3 85 Croyle, Brodie QB 6-3 204 Alabama
5 154 Maxey, Marcus CB 6-2 197 Miami (Fla.)
6 186 Stallings, Tre' G 6-3 315 Mississippi
6 190 Webb, Jeff WR 6-2 201 San Diego State
7 228 Page, Jarrad SS 6-0 220 UCLA

I'm hoping that Herm Edwards knows what he's doing with the defensive players and I actually like QB Brodie Croyle.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mocking the Draft

It's amazing to me that "Draft Experts" like Mel Kiper get paychecks. The experts' mock draft is almost never right and has little chance of being so. So why try to make a definitive list? I'd rather see a team by team list of options and exceptions.

Below are two examples of Mock drafts by high profile experts from just a few days ago. The correct picks are in bold; wrong picks have the correction in parentheses.

1 HOU Reggie Bush, RB (2)
2 NO A.J. Hawk, LB (5)
3 TEN Vince Young, QB
4 NYJ D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T
5 GB Mario Williams, DE (1)
6 SF Michael Huff, DB (7)
7 OAK Matt Leinart, QB (10)

1. HOU Reggie Bush, RB (2)
2. NO D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T (4)
3. TEN Matt Leinart, QB (10)
4. NYJ Mario Williams, DE (1)
5. GB A.J. Hawk, LB
6. SF Vernon Davis, TE
7. OAK Vince Young, QB (3)


It looks like the Chiefs have just picked the human interest story of the draft, Tamba Hali, a defensive end from Liberia by way of Penn St. More on him later.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I Will Survive, Episode 11

**Spoiler Warning**
Do not read this post if you haven't yet seen this week's episode of Survivor.

…you've been warned!

Courtney… hmmm… I don't get her. Which is ok because she's gone now. But unlike everyone else Courtney's interviews online have been less than revealing. It's just kind of hard to know what she's trying to say. Oh well.

Cirie, on the other hand, skillfully controlled the tribe, manipulating three different groups while keeping them each isolated. The question is whether or not she targeted the right person. I'm not sure that Courtney was the biggest threat or that this was the best time to knock her out. It's pretty easy to imagine this same maneuver used against Shane or Aras, but who knows.

I hate to say it, but things are just kind of falling into place. I still think that Shane is next, followed by one of the girls, then Terry (probably to the final three because of immunity), leaving Aras and the other female in the final two. If it's Danielle, then Aras might easily get the vote, which makes me think Cirie will be betrayed by Aras sooner rather than later.

Shane seems to have completely lost it. Courtney believes that he was sincere in thinking that piece of wood was an actual blackberry device. Yikes.

Terry is unstoppable, at least at the tactical level. But he did win the "cursed car;" every season so far has shown that the car winner won't win the million dollars. And that's probably the case this season also.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Elijah Polka

We went to the Legends Shopping center to walk around for a few hours. It's like a great outdoor mall. The boys love to run around and to look at the fountains and we all enjoy the exercise. But Elijah found something else to enjoy – polka music.

There was a live band playing in one of the courtyards, the Alpen Spielers, a German Oompah band. With tuba, accordian, alphorn, and other assorted instruments, they began playing the "Pennsylvania Polka" while we were admiring the main fountain's hourly display and Elijah just couldn't help himself. The oompah-pah reached something buried deep in his Bavarian genes and he began to dance and groove. He really liked it.

I blame Elmo and the Chicken Dance.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

God's Love

Here's a poem written by a member in our church, Dewey Bond:

As I stood at the mirror
Preparing to dress
for church Sunday morning,
I felt so much stress.

How can I face
Other Christians I seek?
When I've been such a hypocrite
so much the whole week?

With a smile on my face
And an outstretched hand,
I greet those in church
Like I am so grand.

Little do they know
There's another side of me,
A whole other person
I don't want to be.

I don't feel I'm worthy
To even be there
And I feel, of them all,
I'm the one needing prayer.

And I think, "How can I
the Lord when I die,
When my life is so sinful
No matter how hard I try?"

But I dressed and I went
To the church that fine day.
I sang all the songs
bowed my head when we prayed.

Then the minister spoke
With a smile on his face
And reminded us all
we're all saved by grace.

The sacrifice was made
By God's own precious Son.
He was nailed to the cross
So forgiveness is done.

So, though we're unworthy,
We're blessed from above,
With eternal salvation
through God's precious love.

Dewey Bond, 2006

Post No. 500

This is my 500th post in 14 months. That's about 10 posts every 9 days (not counting multi-topic posts like my "random thoughts").

Thanks for reading.

Random NFL Thoughts 4/26/06

  • It looks like Brett Favre will be back next year. However Favre, one of the greatest QBs of all time, may be hemorrhaging fans. Not only has his play fallen off in recent years (his '05 stats included 20 TDs to 29 INTs with a poor 70.9 rating), but he strung out the decision of his retirement for months, delaying four times and holding press conferences just to say that he hasn't decided yet. Lots of folks are glad he's playing but still feel jerked around by his moody indecisiveness.
  • Runningbacks Ricky Williams (Dolphins) and Onterrio Smith (Vikings) will probably not be back thanks to drug problems. Ricky was suspended for another year due to drug use and Onterrio just isn't going to be reinstated (that happens when you're non-compliant). Both careers are probably over.
  • Los Angeles is trying to get an NFL team back at the Coliseum and Anaheim is willing to give 50 acres away next to where the Angels play for a new stadium. Paul Tagliabue says that it's time NOW for a decision and there are teams that are already lined up to go to California. Some of those teams may include: the Bills, Vikings, Jaguars, Saints, and Chargers (someone please tell Marcus Allen that the Chiefs are not on this list and never have been). If the Vikings, Jags, or Saints move, I'd like to see them switch divisions with the Rams. Any of these moves would make more geographical sense, putting Los Angeles in the NFC West and putting the St. Louis Rams a thousand miles closer to its new division rivals. If the Bills move, there's no such simple solution; if the Chargers move, there's no need to switch at all.
  • The NFL Network will broadcast live games for the first time this year including two Chiefs games, Thanksgiving night and December 23. The games will be called by Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth with Rich Eisen hosting pre- and post-game shows.
  • This year's Draft seems to be deep but not elite. While there may not be even 20 true first-rounders, there are easily 60 solid second-rounders. So there's poor value early on but great value (read "starters") in the second, third, and even fourth round. In other words: trade down!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Grab a Whole Box of Tissues

Just in case you needed a tidal wave of emotion to overwhelm you…

Here's an article you absolutely must read about the Marine who first tells the families that their loved one has been killed and continues to care for them over the following days and weeks and months.

Monday, April 24, 2006

NFL Draft Thoughts

  • The NFL Draft is this Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30.
  • I'd like to see the Texans NOT take Reggie Bush. Since they already have a good running back in Dominick Davis, why not take DE Mario Williams or OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson? Both players significantly improve the Texans on every play, where Bush only improves the team on about 15 plays, and some of those will be as a decoy. Yuck. For all the hype, Bush could go to the Saints and fade away into obscurity (or he could be the next Gale Sayers – who knows).
  • The Chiefs have the following picks: 1st round (#20 - 20 overall), 2nd (#22- 54), 3rd (#21 - 85), 5th (#22 - 154), two 6th (#17 from Dallas & #21 - 186 & 190), and 7th (#20 - 228).
  • Chiefs probably need to take a cornerback in the first round. The good news is that there are several corners that all have great potential and several of may be available at the Chiefs' pick. Some of the best are:
    Jimmy Williams, Va. Tech, 6-2 (Two-time All-ACC)
    Jonathan Joseph, S. Car., 5-11 (4.31 40)
    Antonio Cromartie, Fla. St., 6-2 (Missed '05 w/ knee injury)
    Tye Hill, Clemson, 5-9 (4.30 40)
    Richard Marshall, Fresno St., 5-11
    Cedric Griffin, Texas, 6-0
    Ashton Youboty, Ohio St, 5-11 QB?
  • Will the Raiders take Vince Young at number 7? I hope so! Though reports have surfaced of Young's improved mechanics, I'm always doubtful of the Mike Vick-style QBs (I'm still not sure about Mike Vick). I'd love to see the Raiders directed on the field by an Aaron Brooks/Vince Young QB combo. Good luck with that, Al.

The Older Boys

Brennan and Tanner are just a joy (most of the time). We went out to "The Legends" last night trying to get a picture of our four boys but only the older two were willing to go along. That said, we got some great pictures of Brennan and Tanner.

Here's a sample, taken outside of their favorite spot, the new Dinosaur restaurant that's under construction.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Devil's Beatitudes

A few people emailed this to me. This had to be written by a minister, I'm sure of it.

"The Devil's Beatitudes"

Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend
an hour once a week with their fellow Christians -- they are my best

Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be
thanked -- I can use them.

Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church -- they are my

Blessed are the trouble makers -- they shall be called my children.

Blessed are the complainers -- I'm all ears to them.

Blessed are those who are bored with the minister's mannerisms and
mistakes -- for they get nothing out of his sermons.

Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church
-- for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution.

Blessed are those who gossip -- for they shall cause strife and
divisions that please me.

Blessed are those who are easily offended -- for they will soon get
angry and quit.

Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on God's work
for they are my helpers.

Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister
for he shall be with me forever.

Blessed are you who, when you read this, think it is about other people
and not yourself -- I've got you too!

Angels Sent By God

Aric Catron, a 25-year-old soldier serving his second tour in Iraq, wrote this letter, which has been reprinted in various newspapers. I thought it was worth posting here as well.

A soldier sees and feels a wider variety of sights and emotions in a year than most people will experience in a lifetime.

In my short time in the military I have experienced more suffering than I could have imagined before joining up. I have held the hand of a dying Marine who had only one last wish: that someone would be with him and hold his hand as he passed on. So I sat there with a strange man, holding his hand, not saying a word, until he died.

I have watched grown men cry, and cried with them, as we stood in front of the traditional memorial of a rifle thrust bayonet-first into the ground with the fallen soldier's helmet and dog tags draped on the weapon. His empty boots stand at attention in the fore of this tableau.

My heart broke when I gazed upon a little girl, no older than my own 5-year-old, crying and begging in broken English for food and water. I have awoken from sleep in shock as it finally dawned on me how close I came to death on a recent patrol. I have lived in fear that I would never see my family again, or that my daughter would grow up without her daddy.

On one of those days in Iraq where I wasn't sure if I'd see my daughter again, I was working at a checkpoint near a small camp in the desert. ... The locals would gather around our checkpoints to try to sell us things, beg for food or water, or just hang around the soldiers.

On this particular day one of the locals had his little girl with him. She was shyly watching me from behind his legs. When I smiled and waved at her, she brazenly ran up to me with a big smile and held out her arms, expecting to be picked up. At first I was shocked at her sudden bravery, and it took me a second to reach down and pick her up. When I did, she immediately kissed me on my cheek and then nestled in as if she meant to stay a while.

I looked toward her father and he immediately began talking rapidly in Arabic and gesturing at me. Our translator quickly explained that he, the father, had been locked in a prison for most of the child's life. He had been sentenced to death for being a Shiite dissident traitor. The man went on to say that soldiers wearing the same patch on the shoulder as I was (the 101st Airborne Division) had freed him shortly after we began the liberation of Iraq. His daughter from then on believed that the famous Screaming Eagle patch of the 101st meant that we were angels sent to protect her family.

I sat in a little folding chair with that girl in my arms for well over 30 minutes. She trusted me so completely that she had fallen asleep with her head on my shoulder. All of my fears and worries faded as I held that little miracle. It had been so long since I had held my own daughter that this episode was even more healing for me than it was for her.

I have often wondered if, on that day when I missed my family so much, it wasn't a coincidence that she found me, of all soldiers. Maybe it was that innocent girl, and not me, that was the angel sent by God.

God bless those angels who protect the innocent and defend the freedom of others.

12,000 Hits

Hey, thanks for reading. I really appreciate your feedback on the things I write about, so keep those comments coming; it really helps me gauge where I'm at as a writer.

Eventually, I'd like to start writing professionally (in conjunction with my ministry, of course). I just don't feel I'm quite there yet (Philip Yancey, I'm not). But I don't turn 30 for another six months, so I probably have time on my side.

By the way, after 14 months of blogging almost every day, I'm nearing my 500th post. Just a few more to go.

Oh, and thanks for tolerating the eclectic topics on this blog. Some days I'm into politics or philosophy, some days I'm dialed in to church stuff or sports, most days I'm just appreciating life with my family. Thanks for hanging with me through all of it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I Will Survive, Episode 10

**Spoiler Warning**
Do not read this post if you haven't yet seen this week's episode of Survivor.

…you've been warned!

You hate to see Bruce go that way, but at least they had to carry him off the island.

Why didn't Bruce flop after the merge? He noted in his interviews that the La Mina tribe was just "too athletic" to keep around. It's the tribe he would have chosen to join, as he figured them win it all, but neither of those things happened. So Bruce remained loyal to the people he was more familiar with, knowing that a switch didn't get him any higher up the pecking order.

The only interesting thing this week was the reward challenge with its survey. Ask a few pointed questions, give incentive to be brutally honest, The choice to eliminate Bruce second may have turned him to Terry if he'd stayed in the game. Bruce said he always felt like an outsider who was being manipulated. This challenge is meant to reveal the pecking order and stir the pot. It may still have lasting effects on Shane and Courtney.

Random Observations:
  • If Shane and Courtney flip out any more than they already have, and it looks like they will, then most people think they will go sooner rather than later, maybe even ahead of Terry. That makes Aras, Danielle, Cirie, & Terry the final four.
  • If Terry makes the final four, I just don't see how he doesn't face a 3-1 vote or a 2-1 vote to prevent him from going to the final two. And if he does, why would the Casaya group vote for him (especially if they are already determined to vote as a block)?
  • Aras has been a target largely because of his athletic ability, according to Bruce. That being said, every week I'm surprised to learn more about Aras' manipulations. Did you catch Cirie's promises to Aras that she felt bound to? I'd rank him in the same class as Terry and Cirie as the best players this year, but each for completely different reasons.
  • Aras also had a rare classy, non-Machievellian moment this week. He lost the challenge on purpose to Cirie by answering "Terry" to the question of who couldn't survive on his own. Terry is the worst possible choice but it gave Cirie the win. But as it turns out, Cirie's win backfired when she was forced to pick two others to join her, leaving the rest behind.

An Honest Communist?

Sorry, this is no longer available to non-subscribers. Nevertheless, it was side-splitting hilarious. "We will bury you!"

Here is a transcript of Rush Limbaugh "translating" for Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech the other day. If there wasn't so much truth in it, it wouldn't be so funny.

You can also listen to the MP3 by following the link on the website.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fencing Operation

Jerry Agar, local radio talk show host and currently my favorite Canadian, is talking about border security on his show today. He linked to a site about building a security fence on the Mexican border, which has a very well-worded FAQ. It turns out you don't need to be racist or jingoistic to want a fence.

We are indeed a nation of immigrants, by and large legal immigrants, and if we want to remain one, we need to stop illegal immigration and increase legal immigration.

Sounds reasonable to me.

Quarantine, Part 2

Elijah and I are home alone again. I think he's slowly improving a little – he's certainly not worse. I'm not too bad off, just a sore throat and a general malaise. Everyone else is healthy and doing great.

I've been able to work at home some this week and I did teach Bible Study last night, but I'm itching to get into the office and actually accomplish something. There's something about being home several days in a row that makes me antsy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


UPDATE: Shannon took Elijah to Children's Mercy last night because his condition worsened. They didn't get home until 2:30am. Tanner is doing better and Brennan and Graham are fine. My throat is killing me.

Shannon took Brennan and Graham to Platte City in order to keep them away from Tanner and Elijah who both woke up sick this morning. Tanner and Elijah (and myself to a lesser degree) have sore throats and a horrible cough – the last thing that baby Graham needs.

So half of the family is going to stay away today.

Your Turn Tanner

Tanner returned to the card table today with a flourish. He could tell the difference between Kings and Jacks and knew what to do when he saw one. He even won a few hands.

The problem is that he is so passive. You have to remind him constantly to participate and not just watch. And once Tanner faces the least bit of resistence (which Brennan will supply in spades - pun intended), you almost have to beg him to keep playing. When Brennan faces a setback, he only gets more competitive. This in turn only drives Tanner away. Such is the plight of the younger brother.

I don't mind so much that Tanner is not cutthroat, especially considering his other fine traits, but there's a fine line between being laid back and being a doormat.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Brennan played his first game of cards today. I taught him to play "slapjack" and he won (mostly on his own) two games!

It was a little suspicious that he knew which cards were Kings and Queens without being told. And he had one of those little green plastic visors too… hmmm…

Next up: teach Tanner "I don't have a competitive bone in my body" Riley to play.

Monday, April 17, 2006

God Doesn't Believe in Atheists

I met an atheist for supper and had him for lunch.

A mutual friend arranged for us to meet at IHOP for dinner and philosophical debates. It was a little lopsided – I study this stuff for a living and he was just working off the top of his head – but I wasn't mean to him. The conversation did get a little passionate at times but this guy was all over the map and a little confused about where he stood. That was frustrating. He was an intelligent young man but completely aimless.

In fact, I'm not sure if he's really an atheist/agnostic at all. It seems he might really be searching for the truth but is just too sardonic, snide, and snarky (thank you, Roget's) to admit it.

Since this guy claimed to be existentialist, my main point was that this universe is ordered and rational and objective truth can be known. I asked him to explain where this information and consistency came from. His answer? We live in the "Matrix." You can imagine how it went from there; we talked for about 2 and half hours.

I tried to convince him that I don't need him to think like me but rather just to think for himself by pursuing truth. As long as there is nothing rational or absolute in the universe, then there is no purpose to our experience and I wanted better for him than that. I wanted him to know that I cared. He might have understood, but I'm not sure.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tanner's Easter Egg Substitute

The family got together tonight at Grandma's for Easter. Every year we hide Easter eggs for the grandkids and they overdose on sugar. But this year, Tanner got sick. He was running a fever last night/early this morning and we didn't feel right about exposing him to other kids later the same day. Even if those other kids are finding Easter eggs.

So Tanner and Daddy found other activities. We went to the fire station and looked at the fire trucks and talked to the firefighters (I needed a burn permit). Then we went to Wal-Mart. We read a Veggietales book, looked at the fish and bought a little toy truck. Then we went to McDonald's for chicken nuggets and a hot fudge sundae. After eating, we went home and I tucked Tanner into my recliner and turned on a new cartoon movie we had rented from Blockbuster.

It may not be Easter eggs but I think Tanner appreciated the time alone with Dad's undivided attention. He's a sweet little boy.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Apocalypse Now

That guy in Iran is really off his rocker. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (say that 5 times fast), Iran's President, said today that "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm." Last October he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

Iran says that it should now be considered a nuclear power (and they're getting close) and that hating Iran will lead to your destruction.

A lot of people I know are just uninformed or disinterested, "We've already got a war, thanks." Sen. Joe Biden thinks it would be against our interests to confront Iran right now and calls it a "stupid mistake."

But I've been doing some reading about Iran and how they've acted in the last 27 years. It's scary. It's unreasonable and unpredictable. It's often against their own best interest, working under the assumption that Allah will intervene to bring success and that failures are just part of the Zionist conspiracy. Most startling is that some of the religious leaders in Iran believe that the world needs to end in order for Allah's plan to unfold further.

I'm personally hoping and praying that nothing happens, that cooler heads prevail, and we see relative peace with Iran for another 30 years. But if something terrible happens, I think a lot of uninformed Americans will wake up and say, "Iran? I didn't even know they were sore at us!" (a near quote from sailors in Pearl Harbor about Japan).

Let's pray this coming crisis is averted peacefully.

I Will Survive, Episode 9

**Spoiler Warning**
Do not read this post if you haven't yet seen this week's episode of Survivor.

…you've been warned!

Bye Sally, we were just starting to like you.

I noted last week that I was surprised how loyal Sally was. But in her interview she revealed that she was constantly trying to make different alliances but, in her words, "Nobody wanted to play with me!" She freely advertised that she wasn't linked to the La Mina guys but it was to no avail. She even suggested an alliance of girls to vote for Terry, knocking out Aras and eliminating the immunity idol - but there were no takers. Maybe it was the knee socks.

After several weeks of saying that Casaya would crack, their continued solidarity is baffling me. Sally said in interviews that she would have bet her left leg that they would fracture, but instead they have this strange Mafioso kind of thing where Shane and Aras tell everyone, "We're not going to flop, right?" Sally asked Aras to come over to her and Terry in Aras' own best interest, but he said, "I won't flop; if I go home, I go home." I think they made a pact to vote as a block in the jury, thus anyone who betrays the group has no chance of winning the money.

Terry made the right choice to not help Sally, though I didn't like it at the time. If he had used the idol to save her, she would have turned on him the next week.

Random Observations:
  • Danielle and Courtney have never voted for someone who didn't get eliminated. They are five for five.
  • What's with Aras spelling Sally's name in big balloon letters? Is this junior high?
  • If Bruce leaves the game due to illness, doesn't that strengthen the girls' position, especially Danielle?
  • In two previous shows (Vanuatu and Guatemala), 6 to 4 merges saw the group of six eliminate all but one of the small group, only to see that one person win it all. Chris overcame a 6-1 deficit and Danni was down 5-1. But neither one had to deal with the crazies that Terry is facing.
  • How many times have people been targeted? So far it looks like this (votes/tribal councils): Terry 0/6; Danielle 0/5; Cirie 1/6; Courtney 1/5; Bruce 2/4; Shane 6/5; Aras 6/5; Sally 8/5. Danielle and Cirie are flying under the radar here (Cirie's only vote came the first week from Tina). But things change fast.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Random Thoughts 4/13/06

  • I'm feeling political today. That usually goes over like a lead balloon.
  • Many are joking that Hillary has already been impeached as President, now that the tv show starring Geena Davis as the first woman (and very Clinton-like) president is going to be cancelled. Does this demonstrate that Americans don't want a woman as president? No, it reveals that that show wasn't very good and this may or may not indicate that people don't want a president like Hillary Clinton. But it's certainly not chauvinism, a lot of folks who don't want Hillary wouldn't mind voting for Condoleezza Rice…
  • I thought I found the deal of a lifetime on ebay the other day. A $300 item for only $15! I thought it had just slipped through the cracks and there was only six minutes left! But something told me to check the shipping charges and, sure enough, the extra charges in the fine print made the "great deal" not so great.
  • I think I found a politician who feels the same way about immigration that I do: Sen. George Allen of Virginia. Allen has said in recent interviews that we need to protect the borders, not reward illegal behavior, and not continue to take advantage of these people either. If you catch anything by President Teddy Roosevelt about assimilating immigrants into our society as fast and unbiased a way as possible, it's worth reading more. Roosevelt made several famous speeches on the subject that are floating around in emails now.
  • Kansas City's Arena League football team, the Brigade, is 2-9 now, the worst team in the league. Yuck. The Royals are 2-6, the worst team in the American League. That's how they say, "Thanks for the cash, Jackson County!"
  • According to some sources, Iran wants to buy a large American made commercial aircraft. Why? To fly a crude nuclear weapon to the US by way of Venezuela. A 747 carrying a simple low yield nuke could fly from Iran to South America and take the place of a commerical flight heading to the United States, exploding over any one of several cities. Is this likely? No. Is it possible? Yes. And that ought to keep us up at night.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Le'go my Laptop

Here a great link to a new piece of software to prevent your laptop from getting stolen. It mimics a car alarm on your laptop computer with chirps, flashing lights, and a shrieking alarm that's motion sensitive. Pretty clever.

In other news…

Are one of those people that carry a cell phone, a pager, an iPod, and other assorted gadgets? If you are, you have to figure out how to carry them all at the same time and this author suggests a bandolier! Forget belt clips, purses, or backpacks, go Poncho Villa with your wardrobe! Hey, if it's good enough for Chewbacca…

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What Really Goes on at Home

Seen here expressing his displeasure by viciously attacking his mother's arm, baby Graham sets the pace around home like a petty dictator. A man of few words, he nevertheless communicates his exact needs to Mom with perfect clarity. The little bully has us waiting on him hand and foot and all he does is lay around the house. Fortunately his mutiny hasn't spread to the others… yet.

In fact, we have buckled down on the older boys. Below, you can see how we punish the children when they act out: they are forced to pull Elijah around the yard (Elijah is punished by being forced to walk under his own power).

Though some may consider it cruel and unusual, we do have other means to bend their will to ours: we call it re-education. The boys, when they have shown signs of thinking for themselves, are forced to listen to lectures illuminating the role of private ownership in the formation of western culture, the debate over transubstantiation between the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and the Protestant Reformation of 1517, and the significance of symbiotic relationships between the flora and fauna of various environments.

When Brennan is finished speaking, Tanner and Elijah are expected to pass a written (or finger-painted) exam.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Random Thoughts 4/10/06

  • Tanner often puts his shoes on the wrong feet. When Shannon asked him why he gets so confused, he protested, "They're the same color! They look the same!" Obviously we need mismatched shoes for Mr. Tanner.
  • Kansas ranks 32nd in taxes per person ($2039.60) while Missouri ranks 46th ($1645.49). That's great for Kansas but it almost makes me yearn for the days when I lived in the "Great State of Misery."
  • Speaking of Missouri, I ran across a list of Mizzou alumni and found both Kenneth Lay (of Enron infamy) and Randy "Duke" Cunningham (recently sent from Congress to prison). So… who exactly is teaching ethics at MU?
  • Our neighbor to the North has moved and is selling her house. It's an old, needy house like ours but smaller. They wanted $130,000 but have quickly come down to $99,000. They might have to go even lower (ours was less than that) because anyone who moves in is going to have to do a lot of work. On top of that, the house is so close to the main road, I'd worry that if the road is ever widened (which could happen) that imminent domain would claim the house and all your work would be for naught.
  • Apple has added a new feature to their computers that may seduce the reluctant Windows user to try a Mac for the first time. What is it? The ability to run Windows. Yes, this is akin to being able to listen to 8-tracks on your iPod but still, it just may work as a draw to those people who have Windows applications that they just can't live without. And if you're a skeptical IT person, read this little article.
  • The movie Basic Instinct 2 is doing terribly at the theater. Ice Age 2 has earned some $116 million in two weekends, in contrast to Instinct's $5 million with only 15-25 people per showing (Ice Age is averaging hundreds per show). Even Larry the Cable Guy's movie is doing better than this trashy thriller, begging the question: why do they even make movies like that in the first place?
  • I've been feeling melancholy lately but Sunday afternoon I did some yard work, listening to Christian music like Third Day and Rich Mullins on my iPod. I mowed, trimmed, cut branches, and got some sun, worshipping while I worked. I feel a lot better.

Global False Warning

The biggest problem with global warming may be that it ended in 1998. But don't worry, the climate was also heating up from 1918 to 1940 but cooled off again between 1940 and 1965. The last eight years, though, the global temps have been steady (actually dropping just slightly). And yet we still drive SUVs and burn coal! We didn't even sign the Kyoto treaty to punish American companies for ruining the climate.

Of course nothing we do has a great effect on this natural process of heating and cooling. And political alarmists don't want you to read this article, written by a UK scientist, that says these very things. As it turns out science is heavily affected by politics, peer pressure, and money. Who'd of thunk it?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

I've been working on the observation lately that two desires seem to draw us away from integrity and honesty: material gain and personal favor. To gain in one area or the other seems like enough of an excuse for most folks to lie, cheat, and steal. Interestingly, one goal can also be traded for the other: profits can be forfeited to gain influence, or friendships betrayed to gain money.

Anyway, if forced to write this on a fortune cookie slip (10 words or less), here it is:

Love justice more than either prosperity or popularity.

Hmm… deep…

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ancient Dentists

It appears that archaeologists have found evidence of sophisticated dentistry as long ago as 7000 BC. That's 4000 years before historians thought dentistry was invented. Shows what they know.

Assuming these dates are correct (being uncalibrated carbon-14 estimates), we apparently had dentists before we had civilization! Man was squirming in the dentist's chair before the known domestication of cattle or chickens, the building of the pyramids or Stonehenge, or the invention of the plough, irrigation, cloth, beer, roads, writing, the horse cart, glass, money, or waiting rooms. Before all of these things, people were getting their teeth drilled by strangely talkative torturers. And according to the article, these holes were precise and well performed on difficult to reach teeth.

So often we want to dismiss ancient man as primitive. But our knowledge of ancient history is so limited, how can we say what they didn't have? We can only claim to lack evidence of these people's knowledge and technology. And the absence of evidence is not evidence for absence.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I Will Survive, Episode 8

**Spoiler Warning**
Do not read this post if you haven't yet seen this week's episode of Survivor.

…you've been warned!

Poor Austin, we really liked him. As it turns out, Shane refered to Austin as the "Creepy Christian," to which Austin said "Hey, at least he recognized I was a Christian." He did try to play it with integrity and he just barely made the jury. I'm almost convinced that you have to buy into the "it's just a game" concept, at least a little, or you'll never be able to compete with the soulless Machiavellian ne'er-do-wells who "stab you in the back right to your face." If you're not willing to make that compromise don't expect to sail right through.

The former Casaya tribe is rock solid! How?! Why? I'm convinced that up to this point everyone in Casaya thought they could beat most of their own tribemates easier than they could beat the La Nina tribe members. All six must think they can make the top two or three and Casaya's dysfunction might just allow that.

I think that's the key to why Danielle didn't flop. She couldn't have received a better offer, but she may feel she can come back to that later. That said, I'm glad that Terry didn't have to give away his immunity idol yet.

Bruce, after saying "I won't betray you" and declaring his undying respect and devotion to Terry, betrayed them. Yet Austin revealed in interviews that Bruce and Danielle were close and Bruce allowed her to make the call. Danielle thought better of it and Bruce stayed loyal to his original pact.

Bunch of loons.

Random Observations:
  • As shown in other seasons, Survivor is not a game for younger men and older women. This season, 3/4 of the young men and older women are gone, while the 3/4 of the older men and the younger women are still in. I think it's a matter of being perceived as too much of a threat or too much of a liability.
  • Sally has been completely loyal after the merge; most of us had her pegged to jump ship and figured it was a mistake to pick her over Ruth Marie. Well… nevermind.
  • Aras is in a good position. He appears to have total control over Casaya and certainly could make a move in coming weeks to reach out to Terry and Sally (assuming they're still there). I was shocked that he came that close to leaving this week and I agree with Terry, he's the biggest threat.
  • Terry might make the final four by never using but just holding that immunity idol. It's not the most interesting strategy ever but your enemies do have to sacrifice someone of your choosing to get you in this case.

You Will Be Assimilated

Victor Davis Hanson again has a grip on the historical and cultural ramifications of the current immigration crisis. If you believe the U.S. provides the best opportunities in the world but you're confused by all of the protesters waving Mexican flags, then read this brief article on the one decent option we have left.

Random Thoughts 4/7/06

  • The other night, for one second, the time read 01:02:03, 04/05/06. That's kind of cool.
  • The Chiefs' schedule for this Fall has no Monday night games, only two games in the month of September (usually 4), and a Thanksgiving night game against Denver. Four of the last seven games are against division rivals and the Chiefs play the Super Bowl Champs at Pittsburgh. Any good news? The coldest games may be at home (Jags on New Year's Eve maybe?), playing at Denver in balmy September and at warm Miami and San Diego in the last two months.
  • Our indoor cat, Kala, got outside and I'm not sure how. But as I was letting her back in, I thought I heard Shannon mumbling something about bird flu and good hunting. Hmmm…
  • Elijah is really struggling, the poor guy. He's just old enough to know that something's wrong (Mom's busy with this new little person!) but he's too young to cope with it at all. He doesn't seem to direct any angst toward Graham, rather he's just really moody and frustrated. Combine that with the "terrible 2's" and he's been pretty much unreasonable.
  • Are some folks forgetting that the President has the legal authority to de-classify information? I'll not commit yet as to whether it was the right decision but it is completely permissible for him to do this, as per his own judgment. It's not like he's some staffer or some rogue senator telling someone else's secret, he's the President – and that matters in this case. But that's not getting explained in most news stories I've heard so far. I think too many people smell blood and haven't thought this through yet.
  • KU is ranked 6th in the preseason poll for next year's college basketball season. Brandon Rush is coming back and they'll have a freshman, Sherron Collins, who may be the best point guard in the country. By the way, Wichita State is the preseason #20 and there's talk of K-State being in the NCAA tourney! How much is all this speculation worth? Not a lot.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

No Christians at the Party

From US News & World Report:

Pollster Frank Luntz has just returned from New Hampshire and Iowa with his 2008 review of Democratic presidential candidates, and he has advice for the hopefuls: Stop talking about God. "If voters really cared," he says, "they'd be Republicans."

Yikes! Luntz is conservative himself so I'm not sure if this "advice" is genuine, but if this is the case then I hope Christians really understand the big picture. It's true that many moral conservatives are Republican but not every Republican is morally or socially conservative. Republican does not equal Christian, nor should it. When you see a politician with an "R" next to their name, it does NOT automatically mean "religious."

I was listening to the radio today and heard a caller who was a classic "Country-Club Republican," not remotely religious but a fiscal conservative. This woman was calling to defend an economic position that had moral questions surrounding it, but that didn't seem to bother her at all. Unfortunately, many people ask themselves "Does this work (for me)?" before they ever ask "Is this right?"

Christians need to understand that this type of person represents a big chunk of the Republican Party and, as long as we have a two party system, moral and social conservatives will be lumped in with fiscal conservatives and other groups that don't share our values. Democrat Christians from the pre-McGovern era have long-since found themselves abandoned by their party's platform, Republican Christians could easily be in the same boat some day.

Let the voter beware.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Split Decision

The vote yesterday, which came in two parts, resulted in a split decision. The fear mongering worked and people voted to "keep the teams" with stadium renovations, a new 25 year lease, and a sales tax to pay for it. The rolling roof however was rejected.

With these renovations, however, there is no guarantee that we won't have a multi-season construction mess, no guarantee that the teams and Jackson County will honor this lease unlike the last one, and no guarantee that we won't be talking about new stadiums in ten years. We also don't know if "Kauffman" and "Arrowhead" will remain the stadium names as we gave away the naming rights in this rotten deal (which gives the Chiefs all of the money for naming a stadium they don't own).

And without that awful rolling roof there will be no Superbowl or Final Four for those who wanted them so badly.

I think KC just took one of the worst deals ever. Oh well.

Meanwhile, the Royals are winless, outscored 17-4 in two games, while the Chiefs are sitting through the early weeks of free agency doing almost nothing to improve the team. Hmmm.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Random Thoughts 4/4/06

  • There's an interesting article floating around that says you'll live 2-3 years longer if you attend religious services regularly. The truth is that attending church adds 10 years but the potluck dinners and board meetings take 7 or 8 years back off.
  • The vote for the stadiums is going on now in Jackson County with reports of a good turnout. We'll see. And by the way, the teams aren't leaving. It's an empty threat.
  • Last month our troops in Iraq suffered the fewest deaths in over two years, about half of an average month. Wounds are also dramatically down in recent months. Why doesn't this make the news?
  • Whenever we see a soldier in uniform I have my boys go up and say thank you, especially if I spot one with a unit patch on his right arm (indicating he's served in combat with that unit – increasingly common these days). Living near Ft. Leavenworth gives us some regular opportunity to thank these men and women and I hope it makes an impression on my boys.
  • How awesome is the leadership at our church? Both of the ministers got a call Sunday from the Board Chairman saying, "Hey, you've got a meeting Monday night and Wednesday night church, why don't you give me your stuff for the Tuesday Night Deacon's meeting and you stay home with your families." That really means a lot to our wives.
  • Haven't you heard? Jesus didn't actually walk on water, he walked on ice! Rare, invisible, one-in-a-thousand, small patches of ice that only happen once every ten thousand years. Yeah, that's it.
  • A new squadron of RQ-4A Global Hawks has been activated. These are truly robotic planes and not merely remote controlled. They takeoff, fly a 24 hour mission and land without human intervention. The Global Hawk just takes pictures but it boggles the mind that this robot flies missions for our Air Force. Fascinating.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sweet 16

Here's the rundown on our Sweet 16 game.

Jeff won with 347 points beating me by 10. If KU had won a few games, I would have gained 11 points on Jeff for every win. But Jeff established his lead in the first two rounds, while I took the last four (lower scoring) rounds. Oh well. Congrats Jeff. I had Florida ranked the highest (a 12-pointer or 5th place) while Bryan C., Chad W., and Matt D. didn't have them ranked in the top 16 at all.

Hopefully next year is a little more predictable. Thanks for playing.

Pts Jared Richard Bryan Rebecca Dustin
16 UConn-3 KU-0 BC-2 Duke-2 Duke-2
15 KU-0 Duke-2 UConn-3 UConn-3 UNC-1
14 Nova-3 BC-2 Duke-2 Memphis-3 BC-2
13 Duke-2 UConn-3 KU-0 Nova-3 Gonzaga-2
12 Florida-6UNC-1 Texas-3 Iowa-0UConn-3
11 UNC-1 Memphis-3 UNC-1 Florida-6KU-0
10 Texas-3 Ohio St-1 Nova-3 UNC-1 Ohio St-1
9 Gonzaga-2 Iowa-0 Ohio St-1 Gonzaga-2 Texas-3
8 Memphis-3 UCLA-5 Memphis-3 KU-0 Florida-6
7 UCLA-5 Florida-6 UCLA-5 Texas-3 Memphis-3
6 Iowa-0 Nova-3 Gonzaga-2 UCLA-5 UCLA-5
5 LSU-4 Ill-1 OU-0 Ohio St-1 Wash-2
4 Ohio St-1 LSU-4 Ill-1 Tenn-1 Tex A&M-1
3 Tenn-1 Texas-3 WV-2 Ill-1 Iowa-0
2 Ill-1 Mich St-0 Wich St-2 BC-2 Wisconsin-0
1 BC-2 Wich St-2 Tex A&M-1 Syracuse-0 Tenn-1
Rd1 115 109 118 115 120
Rd2 95 82 93 93 90
Rd3 72 52 52 66 42
Rd4 24 19 7 17 14
Rd5 19 15 7 17 14
Rd6 12 7 0 11 8
Tot 337 284 277 319 288

Pts Chad Matt D. Jarod Matt G. Jeff
16 Ohio St-1 Nova-3 Nova-3 UConn-3 UConn-3
15 Duke-2 UNC-1 Duke-2 Duke-2 Texas-3
14 UConn-3 Duke-2UConn-3 Nova-3 BC-2
13 Gonzaga-2 UCLA-5 UCLA-5 KU-0 Duke-2
12 BC-2 KU-0 UNC-1 Texas-3 Nova-3
11 Mich St-0 Texas-3 Iowa-0 Ohio St-1 UNC-1
10 Iowa-0 BC-2 Ohio St-1 UCLA-5 UCLA-5
9 Memphis-3 Gonzaga-2 KU-0 BC-2 Florida-6
8 KU-0 UConn-3 Memphis-3 UNC-1 Wich St-2
7 UCLA-5 Memphis-3 Tenn-1 Iowa-0 Iona-0
6 Texas-3 LSU-4 Texas-3 Gonzaga-2 WV-2
5 Tenn-1 Ill-1 LSU-4 Ill-1 Memphis-3
4 Nova-3 Ohio St-1 Ill-1 Memphis-3 KU-0
3 Ill-1 GW-1 BC-2 Florida-6 Indiana-1
2 Syracuse-0 Alabama-0 Florida-6 Syracuse-0 Ohio St-1
1 OU-0 WV-2 Gonzaga-2 S Hall-0 Ill-1
Rd1 104 124 116 113 125
Rd2 80 95 83 89 108
Rd3 40 61 64 59 67
Rd4 7 19 20 13 19
Rd5 7 13 15 13 19
Rd6 0 0 2 3 9
Tot 238 312 300 290 347

Suggestions for the Rolling Roof

The vote to spend $800 million for stadium renovations and a new rolling roof is tomorrow. If we get the rolling roof, the NFL has promised a Super Bowl will come to Kansas City. Nevermind that Kansas Citians will be watching it from home like every other year. It was also announced last week that Kansas City will be considered if they apply for a Final Four. Yippee!

Other "possibilities" include:
1 Tour de France
2 Wimbledon
3 Republican National Convention
4 Masters Tournament
5 America’s Cup
6 The Iditarod
7 World’s Fair
8 Mardi Gras
9 Westminster Dog Show
10 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
11 World Cup Soccer
12 Winter Olympics
13 Rolling Stones Farewell Tour
14 Kansas State Fair
15 Iowa State Fair
16 The March of the Penguins
17 Detroit Auto Show
18 Summer Olympics
19 Rose Bowl & Rose Parade
20 Gladitorial Games
21 Space Shuttle Launch
22 Big 12 Tournament
23 The Academy Awards
24 The Grammy Awards
25 Overland Park Gun Show
26 Canadian Parliament
27 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
28 Arrowhead-palooza
29 Presidential Inaugurations
30 The United Nations
31 American Idol
32 Pac-10 Tournament
33 Survivor: Blue Ridge Cutoff


I just don't get this. If you're going to spend that much money can't you get a better deal? Like maybe NEW stadiums?

And if this project is so worthwhile, can't the owners pay for more of it themselves? If a bunch of thieves wearing ski masks came to your neighborhood and went from house to house until they had gathered $800 million, wouldn't that bother you? Apparently it's different if you give it away in the form of a sales tax and the thieves are already billionaires and their politician friends.

Like I said, I just don't get this.

11,000 Hits

We passed 11,000 hits this morning.

Thank you for reading my blog and thanks for posting comments to the articles I write. I really appreciate hearing from you and getting your feedback on things.

I'm probably in danger of giving the impression that my mind is always made up and that I wouldn't listen to opposing views. Not true! I'm eager to hear how your're wrong and what fallacious arguments you're using!

Just kidding.

United 93

Is it too soon for a movie about 9/11?

I worry it might be too late. I saw the trailer for the movie United 93 about a week ago and it certainly evokes an emotional response. But a lot of people don't want to revisit the emotion of 9/11 and have objected the the trailer playing in movie theaters. They don't seem to want to confront real fear and vulnerability; movies are to escape, right? It's certainly not to confront difficult and challenging subjects.

But during World War 2 we had movies about the war released during the war years and some movies were released barely a year after the battles they depict. These movies, some of which were accurate and well done and some that were not, nevertheless served the purpose of uniting the American people to face the challenge at hand.

This link takes you to the page for both the tailer and a behind the scenes trailer. Both are worth viewing.