Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Random Thoughts 2/28/05

  • I walked home from work today, just for the exercise. All kinds of people slowed down with pained looks on their faces but I just smiled and waved them on. It was a two mile walk (about 30 minutes) and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. My knee hurt a little at the end and one arm went numb, but other than that, no problems!
  • I saw an interview with the comedian Drew Carey. He almost convinced me to be a fan of the USA Soccer team. And that's saying something – I know nothing about soccer! But he made an interesting case for the game and the players and how other nations view our team. Hmmm… Oh well, when does the NFL start again?
  • To celebrate Pancake Day (and the end of a pay period) we went to IHOP twice today, for breakfast and supper. Free pancakes and water make for an affordable meal; we even splurged and got the boys chocolate milks! Shannon wasn't with us this evening because of a meeting and again I drew quite a few stares as I navigated my three little guys through the crowded restaurant.
  • We reached 8500 hits. Thanks.
  • Kaitlyn Anderson was born early this morning. Baby and Mom are doing well. It's funny but we've never had a minister at our church before who had a daughter, so Kaitlyn is a bit of a novelty. Between our two families, we have six boys and one girl. Shannon is jealous but we still have another four or five weeks before Graham gets here.

Like I said…

UPDATE: I had a case of mistaken identity. Sorry about the error; I don't mean to put words in the mouth of the wrong person. Nevertheless, I stand by the basic sentiment of what's said, even if it's not applicable to the person who wrote it.

"Anonymous" replied:
...And, the great part about this country is we have the freedom to choose where we go to church and if we go at all. Therefore, if you don't like the Minister, FIND ANOTHER CHURCH!!!
I'm sorry that you don't like me. But that's not a reason, it's a feeling. And it's a poor excuse to leave or avoid a church; your bitterness will only follow you wherever you go. And you'd be happier and healthier if you make amends.

Besides, I'd like to hear your side of the debate on these issues. Instead of running away, come back with facts and reason to support your views. I hope you will. It'll be better for both of us.

Feel free to email me or call me also.

No Idea Where I'm Coming From

Here's what "anonymous" wrote:
This is something you wrote last year:
"With Fred Phelps (the Topeka anti-gay bigot) and the KKK (supposedly still active in rural Missouri if you ask around) this open bigotry is becoming all too common. I thought Christians were supposed to be known for their love. I thought Jesus and his disciples were Jewish. I thought we were supposed to love our enemy. Have I misunderstood the Bible?"
But now you have written about the oscars and the gays, and have even criticized Martin Luther King, Jr. in your blog. I dont think its appropriate to attach your personal blog to a church website. But I am glad you have for one reason, so I will not attend your church. Its ok to have a personal life, but when you attach your personal blog to a church website, you are preaching politics which is actually against the law, you are also mocking grown ups who although may not agree with you, still love the Lord...as if we are too stupid to understand and you have to explain to us what is wrong with the world. Can democrats be a christian?
Now as for your personal life, your choices of television kind of worries me...survivor, a show that pits people against each other for money and glorifies it, and also just the fact you have so much time to write every detail and explore so many other things.

Here's something about me. If you disagree with me on my blog, I don't delete your comments (although I could). In fact, I'll go out of my way to show everyone (mostly my friends and family) what you said, even if you're upset with me.

I also don't take things too personally here. I love people, even when they hate me or oppose everything that I believe. It just doesn't bother me that there are people out there who disagree. What really raises my ire is the debate of ideas, principles, and truth. For example, I don't hate Fred Phelps, but I'm disgusted by his bigotry and I'm not afraid to stand opposed to him. I don't hate George Clooney or Michael Moore, but I'm flabbergasted by their slanderous propaganda and baseless conspiracy theories and I'll gladly hit those softballs out of the park. I don't hate gay people, but the mere thought of two men sodomizing each other is enough to make me vomit and I think it's as unnatural, warped, and harmful as child molestation or beastiality. Don't I have the right to be sickened?

But some people don't understand (and take personally) the distinction between criticism of positions and criticism of people. For me, it's very much a "love the sinner and hate the sin" kind of thing. You might be surprised what kind of people I meet in my job. As a minister, for almost everyone I know, I know their worst secrets. I've met child molestors and rapists. I know homosexuals and transvestites. I know thieves and liars and adulterers and gossips and perverts and convicted felons. And I honestly love these people like everyone else. But I never condone the evil in their lives – I'm able to make that distinction.

And Dr. King is no different. His theology was atrocious and he deserves criticism for that. That doesn't make me racist, anti-civil rights, or even anti-MLK; it just says I have an educated assessment of his theology.

How can I make these stands with such arrogance? Because the truth I believe is not my own. My convictions are based on an authority external to me. I had to change and conform to it, not vice versa, and sometimes against my own selfish desires. If I take a serious stand on something, it's not because of my opinion, it's because of my convictions regarding absolute truth.

And as for preaching politics, it's not illegal. It's only illegal for me to endorse a candidate from the pulpit – so I don't. I don't even preach from a political view point, but I do cover all kinds of political issues. After all, if political overtones reach into issues of ethics, morality, law, civics, family, sexuality, religion and philosophy, then politics has invaded my territory not vice versa. There's no such thing as an issue that is not religious or philosophical and it's my job to apply God's Word to the whole of life. What would I do otherwise – dust pews and change the candles?

And did you know that I made the choice to move to the most Democrat county in my state, even though many Democrats openly deride people like me? And did you know that the church I serve is probably more than a third registered Democrat? And that I don't have a problem with that? I might know and love more Democrats than you do Republicans.

And finally, thank you for your concern for my personal life but I hope that you see by now that my whole life is being a minister of God's Word. I'm never off the clock; it's even how I watch tv. Survivor, more than most shows, is a case study in human behavior. Or do you think that backstabbing and lying only happen on tv? If you knew me, you'd know how big a nerd I am: documentaries and news make up 95% of what I watch. I've lost interest in most sitcoms and tv dramas. And what tv I do watch, I usually watch while I read a book or work on the computer. That's who I am. Can you love me anyway?

Well, I hope that clarifies things, and I'll be happy to see you Sunday.

A Welcome Call

Normally, when I get a call in the middle of the night, I assume the worst. As a minister, I'm always on call for all kinds crises and emergencies, and many occasions are less than joyous. In this case, however, when the phone rang at 2am, it was for good news.

You can ask Jay-rod and his wife if you want more details. Perhaps they'll comment if they get a chance in the next day or two.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Random Thoughts 2/27/06

  • I posted my 400th article to my blog recently. That's better than once a day, so I'm pleased as far as that goes. Thanks for reading.
  • Here's something to make you feel a little better about your own relatives. A 40-year-old man in Scottsdale was found by the police unconscious in his home with a blood alcohol level of .345! At .35 you go into a coma. Experts said the effect on him was akin to surgical anesthesia. And to top it off, he was watching his 5-year-old daughter while the mom went on vacation in Hawaii. The little girl called the police on him and the man is being charged with child endangerment.
  • Because I know many of you are in the early stages of NFL withdrawal, here's a run down on the NFL offseason calendar:
    March 3: Free agency period begins
    March 18: NFL Europe League begins
    March 26-30: NFL Annual Meeting
    April 21: Signing period ends
    April 29-30: NFL Draft
    Late July: Training camps open
    August 7: Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
    September 7: 2006 Season Begins
  • I added some more quotes to the sidebar on my blog. It now randomly cycles through over 90 quotes that I've selected on the topic of contentment and Godly satisfaction.
  • I'm not sure who's causing more damage to my yard: moles or three little boys.
  • Iran officials believe that Tom and Jerry are part of Jewish conspiracy. Supposedly Jewish-controlled Disney created the cartoon to make mice, i.e. Jews, seem more likeable and clever. But almost everything about that theory is incorrect. Walt Disney wasn't Jewish and had no connections to MGM's Tom and Jerry cartoons which are now owned by Turner. And there are no Jewish connections.
  • Did you know Eminem was born in St. Jo, Missouri and grew up in KC (and Detroit)? Other Kansas Citians, by birth or by residence include: Walt Disney, Casey Stengel, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, Don Cheadle, Ed Asner, Jean Harlow, Walter Cronkite, Count Basie, and many others. In fact, the legendary Yankees manager Casey Stengel's real name is Charles Dillon Stengel, but was nicknamed "KC" because that's where he was from.

Free Pancakes!

Tuesday, February 28, is National Pancake Day!

IHOP, the restaurant formerly known as the International House of Pancakes, is going to help you celebrate by giving you a free short stack of pancakes. Here's the scoop, straight from IHOP's website:

On February 28, 2006 from 7 AM to 2 PM IHOPs across the country will celebrate National Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) by offering our guests a free short stack of pancakes*. This is going to be our biggest one day celebration in our history.

National Pancake Day has a rich history that stretches back centuries and has always been a time of celebration. National Pancake Day always falls on Fat Tuesday and this year it will be a celebration at IHOP.

So gather your friends, family and neighbors and come to your local IHOP and enjoy a short stack of pancakes on us. All we ask is that you consider making a donation to a great charity like First Book or other local, worthy cause. Where else would you celebrate National Pancake Day than IHOP? See you there.

* Limit one free short stack per guest. Valid for dine-in only, no to go orders. Not valid with any other offer, special, coupon, or discount. Valid at participating restaurants only, while supplies last.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympic Gold, Part 2

The Winter Olympics are over and here's the results using my MTMS system:

Germany, 63 points
USA, 52 points
Canada, 48 points
Austria, 48 points
Russia, 44 points
Norway, 31 points

Norway jumps from 13th place to 6th under my point system and Canada jumps from 5th to a tie for 3rd.

The top group of nations stayed the same as 2002 but the USA and Germany were a little less dominant, taking seven and nine fewer medals respectively. Norway dropped off by taking far fewer gold medals than in past Olympics. Take that Norway!

As for medal-less skier Bode Miller, Steven Wright said it best:
  • If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  • If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  • The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.
  • Half the people you know are below average.
  • It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it.
  • The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Ok, not all of those have anything to do with Bode, but they made me laugh.

See you at Vancouver, 2010, ay.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rather Have a Root Canal

I'd rather have a root canal than…

  • listen to Dick Vitale yammering while the Jayhawks get beat by 25 points. Actually, I'm not sure if I want to hear, "IT'S AWESOME, BAAAABY!!!" under any circumstances.
  • hear one more figure skating commentator gush over the contestants like Paula Abdul does on American Idol. Can someone still be "gutsy, fearless, and a champion at heart" if they are only doing a double lutz? And honestly, how many people can Paula really be a "big fan" of anyway?
  • be sick one more day.
  • watch the Oscars next week. Jon Stewart, gay cowboys, George Clooney conspiracy theories, unfettered liberal agendas, and four hours plus of Hollywood's self-congratulating glurge. Where do I sign up! Seriously, I would watch Robert Altman receive his lifetime achievement award from the Academy which has snubbed him for almost 50 years. Altman is a native of Kansas City and is known for being very anti-Hollywood. Maybe he'll give them a piece of his mind.

Out of the Fog

We've been sick in just about every way imaginable over the last few weeks. By my count, at least one of us have been ill everyday since Super Bowl weekend – basically the entire month of February. I had another spell just yesterday, sleeping fourteen hours, up for a few, then back down again. Yikes!

Shannon is taking the brunt of it though. Because a lot of her reserves are going to Graham, she's not been able to fight off anything for any length of time and has been the slowest to recover from each wave of illness that's swept over us.

The boys and I should be fine for church tomorrow but Shannon went to bed just after eight this evening and looks doubtful.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Will Survive, Week 4

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

…you've been warned!

How do you balance the needs you have now against the needs you're going to have later? The alliance of guys in the La Mina tribe had to choose which woman they were going to toss overboard. You've made a deal with the older but more loyal Ruth Marie, so toss the young and capricious Sally, right? Not so fast, you're going to be down five-to-seven in manpower and Ruth Marie is physically weak, likely the weakest link in the chain. Sally ought to be more helpful winning future contests but can you trust her as far as you can throw her? Ruth Marie is low-risk, low-reward; Sally is high-risk, high reward. Pick your poison.

The La Mina men decide to keep Sally with only Dan keeping his promise to Ruth Marie. I'll bet they just missed their best chance to get rid of Sally, who'll probably remain more of a threat than an asset. They should have listened to Dan.

Cirie of the Casaya tribe is in a good place now. The obvious odd-woman-out early on, Cirie has played perfectly the hand dealt to her – and it's all jokers. Because of all the infighting and irrational behavior of her tribe-mates, Cirie might be the only one of the seven without an enemy right now. Not only is she not at high risk of being dumped, she's put herself in the position to decide the fate of the others. Each faction will need her vote and she can just pick sides! With the shattered alliance of Shane, Aras, Danielle, and Courtney fighting each other, I predict that Cirie will sail into the merge, at least making the top eight. Who knew?

Terry has a leg up late in the game now that he has the immunity idol. If he can take that into the merge, he can orchestrate the downfall of his rival, whoever that may be at the time. It's easy to imagine scenarios where he can turn the game on its ear and single-handedly eliminate a powerful opponant. He's the early favorite.

Random observations:
  • This is the first time in Survivor history that the first four eliminations have been of one gender. In this case, the men now outnumber the women 2-to-1.
  • The original Casaya tribe of four older women has been wiped out… except for Cirie.
  • I see Cirie aligning herself with Aras and Shane, and with Bruce and possibly Bobby, they can eliminate Courtney and Danielle. Cirie and Sally could easily be the last two women in the game.
  • I would eliminate Bobby asap. He's coasting now (shame, shame) and could be a threat later because of his physical strength.
  • Only Bruce has not yet cast a vote in tribal council.
  • Ruth Marie, on the other hand, has been a tribal council fixture. She has participated in three of the four and been voted for six times (twice by Sally), more than anyone else to date.

By the Seat of Your Pants

Here is the future in Missionary Aviation:

It's the Quest Kodiak, the lastest and greatest thing for the backcountry flying that missionaries do. A larger airplane than the Cessnas it will replace, it is designed to carry more cargo to the same remote airstrips the smaller planes have been using for years. It can seat 10 with a useful load of almost 3500 pounds. It has a thousand mile range and a takeoff ground roll of only 700 feet.

MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) plans on replacing 12 of their 54 planes with Kodiaks starting early next year. New Tribes Mission and Wycliffe Bible Translators have similar plans.

It's designed by Quest Aircraft Company, a company founded in part by a pilot from MAF, for the purpose of developing this plane for missionaries. For every 10 airplanes sold, the company intends to donate one Kodiak to the organizations that invested in them.

So Sean Cannon, what do you think. Will this plane be everything it's advertised to be? Will you be flying one anytime soon?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Center of Attention

What happens when you go to Google Maps and just zoom in? You find yourself looking at Coffeyville, Kansas. What about the program Google Earth (basically Google maps on steroids)? You find yourself looking at Lawrence, Kansas. But is Google correct to place either of these towns at the center of the country? Read this clever little article about it at Wired.com.

My Mom is from the questionably named Kansas town of Centropolis. It is neither the center of anything nor is it a -polis, i.e. city. But that's ok, none of the Kansas towns of Centralia, Clay Center, Lincoln Center, Rush Center, Smith Center, Valley Center, or Yates Center is either. Not one of these towns is the exact center of the country; that honor goes to a pig farm four miles west of Lebanon, Ks.


Yay, Kansas.


We also have a really big ball of twine.

It's up toward Lebanon.

You can see both the same day.

If you want to.

Oh, nevermind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Of Full Quivers and Foul Constitutions

There's been a lot of sickness lately. Attendance at church has been down the last few weeks (February is usually an "up" month) and we even had to close the church nursery for a week to sanitize and disinfect. The boys and I have had a couple rounds with the flu since New Year's and most families we know have been down the same road.

But Shannon is in a bad way.

Not only is she almost nine months pregnant, she has been sick – a lot. In fact she is sick right now with a virus that the doctor said may be difficult to throw off at this stage in her pregnancy. And this has been the most difficult pregnancy yet, with a myriad of ailments and injuries, some unrelated to pregnancy. With a stress fracture in her foot and inflamation in her hip, she has been hobbling for almost six months. Her emotions have been erratic since before we knew she was pregnant, often leaving her in the position of a passenger on a runaway train – keenly concerned but unable to intervene. And this is only the tip of the physiological iceberg.

At this point, I have a growing apprehensiveness about additional children in our future. Though we're not yet 30, I fear the option of more children has been taken off the table. And though we were not necessarily seeking to go beyond the four boys we have, there's something disquieting about not having the choice – especially for folks who love parenting. But Shannon's health has been so seriously devastated this time around that I cannot prayerfully discern this to be anything other than a "closed door."

Either way, please pray for my dear wife. Mercies from the Lord would be warmly received.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Random Thoughts 2/20/06

  • Sony's in trouble. The highly touted and long-awaited Playstation 3 might cost as much as $800, and that's including an industry standard $100 per unit loss. That's right, when you buy a game console the company actually loses money, but of course they make it back and then some on the individual games. But the processor and high definition DVD player in the Playstation 3 are both so new and so expensive to manufacture that the total cost may near $900, twice as much as the rival Xbox 360 and more than many home computers. And even worse, the whole shooting match may be delayed by as much as a year, putting the debut in early 2007. This article explains more.
  • Osama bin Laden says on a recent tape he'd rather die than be caught alive. Maybe I'm wrong but I was thinking the American military was perfectly willing to accommodate that? Hey Osama, be careful what you wish for.
  • Speaking of tapes, a number of recordings (think Oval Office - Watergate era tapes of Nixon and company incriminating themselves) have Saddam Hussein and his officials talking about having and hiding WMDs during the years between the Iraq wars. My question is this: will all the haters who've claimed Bush lied about WMDs kindly approach hat-in-hand and apologize to him? I'm thinking not.
  • Support Free Speech, Buy More LEGOs! Here's a link to Michelle Malkin's page encouraging just that! The Islamic cartoon controversy has the Danes on the forefront of the battle for Free Speech. Malkin's site also has a list of Danish companies and products (like LEGOs) and other useful links and information. By the way, the LEGO website is really pretty neat; LEGOS were probably my favorite toy growing up.
  • Brennan is by far our most accident-prone child. If someone can find a way to fall down and get hurt, it'll be Brennan. Just moments ago I caught a glimpse of him running with, you guessed it, scissors! He's survived this long only by the Providence of God.
  • Is homosexuality an innate and fixed trait, i.e. something you're born with? If your politics require a "yes" answer, you're going to hate this article. It may turn out that homosexuality is a complex state that depends heavily upon an individual's choices, environment, and conditioning.
  • Finally, here's my "goosebump moment" of the day. I just watched the two commercials available at this location from MidwestHeroes.com. Wow. I think everyone should see these, but the Democratic Party in Minnesota disagrees. They are trying to get these adds removed because they are "un-American, untruthful, and a lie." Watch the ads yourself and see if you agree or not.

Sports Thoughts 2/20/06

  • Are you a new fan of curling? The Winter Olympics tends to generate interest in some obscure sports and curling may be as obscure as it gets. Yet it turns out that there is a Curling Club in Kansas City and for $10 you can learn how to curl! Wear warm clothes and clean shoes, they'll provide the rest if you RSVP.
  • The Jayhawks are on a win streak and are ranked for the second week now. The Sportsline Top 25 has them ranked at 21, the AP at 16, and the Coaches Poll at 18. Not bad for a "rebuilding" year! I wasn't even expecting them to make the tournament this year.
  • Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the this year's gold medals.
  • How long was the Daytona 500 yesterday? Do race fans watch the whole thing or do you pop in a movie and come back for the big finish? When do you take breaks to, uh… er… for when nature calls? It's not like racing has a halftime or even timeouts. Or is this the kind of sport you can watch while reading a book or magazine, like golf?
  • Ricky Williams, the talented NFL running back, has failed another drug test. Way to go. After quitting on his team at the last minute in order to pursue his marijuana habit full time, he was forced back into the game last year (otherwise the Dolphins wanted their millions returned). But now with his fourth failed drug test, he's facing a minimum 1 year suspension. This will probably cost him every penny he has and he may never play again. I hope the dope was worth it, Ricky. And by the way, shame on his "friends" and family for not doing more to prevent this. Good grief – his life may be ruined now.

8000 Hits

We hit 8000 hits today. Thanks for reading!

For the first several months I was getting less than 20 hits per day. Then it bumped up to about 30 daily hits, which was thrilling because I figured I only had family reading this stuff. But the last week or two I've been getting something more like 70+ hits per day. I'll try to have good articles and links for you when you visit.

  • Church Membership: Can you have Dual Citizenship?
  • Church Membership: Free to Belong
  • NFL Draft: Who should the Chiefs pick?
  • Family news and happenings
  • All the latest news in tech, politics, philosophy, sports, etc.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ruffing Up the Ruffians

KU smashed the Missery Tigers 79-46 today, out rebounding Mizzou 23-5 on MU's end and 33-19 overall.

I'm sorry that's so easy to enjoy. I only wish I could have watched the game.

Friday, February 17, 2006

So Blog Already!

Hey Sean and Rebecca Cannon!

C'mon! You've got news. You've got a blog. Let's hear your special announcement!

Read the witty and engaging blog of a Missionary Pilot and his wife (my cousin) at www.jungleaviator.blogspot.com. They are currently in Costa Rica but will soon be in Ecuador.

You can also find this link on my sidebar anytime as "My Favorite Missionaries."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I Will Survive, Week 3

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

…you've been warned!

Well, I didn't expect to see Misty get voted off the island but I guess I can imagine why. If you're not specifically targeting the weakest person, you may want to break up the other alliance, which is exactly what happened. In fact it left the LaMina tribe with a strong 4-person alliance (Terry, Dan, Austin, & Nick) and two nearly helpless outsiders looking in (Ruth Marie & Sally) should they lose again. In fact, you ought to be able to expect those four men to sail on through to "the merge" as long as disaster doesn't strike.

That said, couldn't the young guys, Nick and Austin, have voted for Ruth Marie without actually hurting their alliance with the older guys? I guess I'm not clear on the exact reasoning for getting rid of Misty in the first place. Ruth Marie can barely stand at a whopping 85 pounds, Sally's the one who lost the fishing spear, and I couldn't tell where Misty hurt them during the immunity challenge. The info I need is probably on the cutting room floor.

Which begs the question: wouldn't Survivor benefit from extended scenes on the internet? Obsessive fans could watch a longer version or view deleted scenes or extras online. Extra "confessionals" or even a podcast, perhaps with commentary by Jeff Probst and the booted survivor, would draw a certain amount of attention. Lots of other shows do this but maybe they're saving it for the DVD.

I did find out some interesting tidbits after reading some interviews with the booted players. Why did Tina the Lumberjill get booted off in round one when she was obviously the best survivalist on her tribe? It turns out the quiet but conniving Ruth Marie approached Melinda and Cirie, who had an alliance from day one, about getting rid of the strongest player. Tina never even tried to form an alliance, which is kind of the point of the show, so she took all of her lumberjacking skills and went home. The Cirie-Melinda alliance backfired in round two and got Melinda booted next. Her only way to survive would have been to turn on her friend which she wouldn't do. So she lost. I guess if you're going to form an alliance, don't make your own demise part of the deal.

Now I'm waiting to see why exactly the older men had it out for Misty.

I'm also going to brush up on my knowledge of Machiavelli (the Italian philosopher that described how people deceive and manipulate others for personal gain). Or maybe that's what I'm doing by watching Survivor…

Marine Hero Honored

Read previous posts about Brad Kasal here and here.

Marine Sergeant Major Brad Kasal (recently promoted!) was honored by the State of Iowa for his heroism in Fallujah, Iraq in November, 2004. Kasal is up for the Medal of Honor, a process that takes up to two years. We should know in coming months if he becomes the first living recipient of our nation's highest honor since Vietnam.

Follow this link and click "play video" to see a two minute video interview with him.

Chopped Liver

Each night when Brennan and Tanner go to bed, we pray with them. I kneel by Tanner's bottom bunk and Shannon stands by Brennan's top bunk. Tanner prays first, then Brennan, then Daddy, then Mom.

When the boys pray they often list all the things and people they're thankful for and, meandering all over the place, it's easy to miss someone. After leaving me out a few times, I playfully protested, "What am I? Chopped liver?!"

Brennan and Tanner thought that was hilarious (not that they could tell you what liver is). So now each prayer time, one or the other will deliberately list everyone in our family but leave me out, as they giggle with glee waiting for me to respond, and then burst with laughter when I say the magic words.

The other night Tanner added a new twist. He prayed, "Tanks for Daddy, he's topped libber."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Carrying Water

Here's exactly how I view the life the Lord gave us. I couldn't agree more with what it says about contentment and our purpose in life.
The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.
–Robert Fulghum

Thanks Alanna A. for the heads-up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Baa Baa Humbug

The student senate at the University of Washington rejected a memorial dedicated to Medal of Honor winner "Pappy" Boyington of World War II fame. Why snub this famous UW alum? According to one of the students, "[I don't] believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." Another member of the student government said, "many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."

…?! [That's me going crosseyed in shock and disbelief.]

You've got to be kidding. Please read this short article about the controversy.

Boyington, who was neither white (part Sioux) nor rich, was an excellent example of a hard working, self made man who volunteered to protect others and suffered greatly for it (he was a POW in Japan for 20 months).

A known alcoholic, Boyington was certainly a flawed character, but he doesn't deserve to be slandered by ignorant people. And since these people happen to be students, maybe they could do a little research and learn who this person really was. Or better yet, they can join ROTC or enlist to serve their country like Boyington did. If they knew anything about the military they could never have said such foolish things.

I Know Kung Fu

Ft. Leavenworth includes the Command and General Staff College, the National Simulation Center, and the United States Disciplinary Barracks (the Military Prison, not to be confused with the Federal Penitentiary which is seperate and unrelated).

We've known several folks in the area and at Church that have worked at the Fort and but most of us don't have any clear idea on what's going on there. Well, here's a short article about some of the simulations they use to train Army officers. It's interesting stuff.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympic Gold

The USA officially pulled into the lead in the medal count today with four golds and two silvers. But that's only because those silly Olympic committees don't count the total number of medals but the number of gold medals first, then silver, and then bronze, creating all sorts of confusion. For example, a country with one gold and no other medals is still ahead in the standings compared to a country with ten silvers and ten bronze but no gold. I look at that and see twenty athletes on the podiums compared to one.

In 2002, Norway was supposedly victorious with 13 golds (but only 25 medals overall), Germany had 12 golds (36 overall), and the US came in with 10 golds (34 overall). Looking at this, didn't Germany actually do best?

Personally, I would score the Olympics with a MTMS (Makes Too Much Sense) system: 3 points for gold, 2 for silver and 1 for bronze. This would be fairly simple but then again so would a playoff system for college football.

Using my MTMS system, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics actually looked like this:

Germany 76 points
USA 67 points
Norway 56 points
Canada 34 points
Russia 27 points

So let's put those snobby Norwegians in their place and count the medals properly!

But first let's fix college football.

Weighty Issues

My wife's voice echoes through the house, "I'm so fat I broke my foot!!!"

Shannon came hobbling in the door, just back from the doctor's office. It turns out that she has a stress fracture in her foot – from just walking around. It's not bad, but it'll take a little while to heal. Until then, she won't be winning any races.

And she actually isn't fat at all; she's in great shape. But she is almost nine months pregnant. And that does weird things to your body.

Families United

Check out this website for Families United. This group is essentially the opposite of Cindy Sheehan. They support the efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East to combat terrorism, even though some of them, like Diane Ibbotson, have lost loved ones in combat.

Ibbotson says, "My son gave his life for this cause and so it isn't hard for me then to put my efforts into continuing the battle."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

1st Anniversary

How the time flies.

In mid-February 2005 I began blogging with a few simple goals in mind:
  • Learn more about web publishing and the internet in general.
  • Discipline myself to write regularly.
  • Improve communication to friends and family.
Why? Well, I want to know how the internet can be used for ministry. If there is an opportunity for me as a minister or for the church I want to be web-savvy. I also feel like it redeems the medium a bit. There's so much spiritual polution out there, it feels right to be a counter-weight.

I also want to be in the habit of putting pen to paper on a routine basis. The only way to be a successful writer is to overcome the resistance of procrastination and be diligent. I really feel that the Lord will have me write a book or two during my time here so I better start practicing now.

I also want to communicate with those I love. I detest the phone and it's difficult with a young family to make a roadtrip, but this medium allows us to stay in touch. Surprisingly, writing out my thoughts and feelings has brought me closer to those I see everyday as well as those far away.

After a while I realized that the greatest value of this blog is that my four boys will know what kind of man I am, even if something happened to me. I'll have opportunity to speak to them for decades to come and that means a lot to me. This world doesn't offer a lot of positive guidance for young men.

Since blogging has gone well so far, I'll continue for the foreseeable future. So for whatever reason you come to read this, thanks for dropping by.

And boys, stop fighting and listen to your mother!

Stats for Year 1: 379 posts, 7550 hits, averaging 900 hits/month over the last quarter.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Random Thoughts 2/11/05

  • I noticed that the last four digits of the phone number for the local emergency room are 5050. Fifty-fifty? Shouldn't you have better odds?
  • We're all sick and tired of being sick and tired. Shannon is nearing the "get me out of my own body" phase of pregnancy. The boys and I have been ill off and on for four days now. I've settled in to a pattern of getting ill every night/morning and rebounding in the afternoons, only to repeat the cycle the next day. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
  • Art Shell has been re-hired by the Raiders. Since his firing eleven years ago the Raiders have gone through five other coaches and have had only three winning seasons. Shell, a Hall of Famer who played for the Raiders in two Super Bowls and eight Pro Bowls, had four winning seasons and three playoff appearances in five years as the head coach. He was 9-7 when Al Davis fired him.
  • We flew past 7500 hits yesterday. Thanks for reading my blog.
  • Does anybody notice that the President has a weekly radio address on Saturday mornings? I'm an avid talk radio listener yet I usually don't hear it or anything about it. I wonder if most people know such a thing still exists.
  • Can you get more weird than an Olympic Opening Ceremony? I missed this year's ceremony at the behest of my eye-rolling wife who just wasn't interested.
  • The US has it's first gold medalist. On day one, speed skater Chad Hedrick won the Men's 5000 meter. Yay. See the medal count at NBC's Olympic site.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Quinn Not Essential

Sub-.500 Missouri is now rid of the boyish basketball coach Quinn Snyder, who "resigned" today. A few years ago I would have been lost in schadenfreude about now. But the more I learn about how that school is run (by the Athletic Director, Chancellor, and assorted fat cats) the less Quinn Snyder himself embodied what is Mizzou in my mind.

In fact, I have the same feeling toward Quinn Snyder right now that I have toward Norv Turner, formerly head coach of the Oakland Raiders. It's not the individual coach or player, it's the organization. In Oakland's case, until the Raiders have a true regime change, their head coach will continue to have the worst job in professional football. The Missouri regime that pushed to have Norm Stewart "retired" to make room for "their guy" may need to go as well.

So Quinn's departure may not be that significant. Whether you want to see the Tigers squirm or you want to see them rise like a Phoenix, getting rid of Quinn may have been curing the symptom, not the disease.

Starve a Cold, Feed an Eli

Elijah woke up this morning after a brief fourteen and a half hour nap with a fever and a weary look to him. The poor little guy's appetite (and I use "little" in a purely figurative way) was not diminished however. He drank two cups of juice, ate two large servings of lunch, and is still going strong as I type, eating every snack and side item I can throw at him.

With four boys, our grocery bill is going to get increasingly interesting in coming years.

Due to be Confused

Shannon went to the doctor today and received her fifth different due date. Graham will be here somewhere between late March and late April, leaning more toward March.

Please pray for us. There's no sign that anything is wrong, but this degree of uncertainty about his size and level of development is unusual. And that's a sure fire way to upset Mom.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Will Survive, Week 2

Ok, Episode 2 made a little more sense, from a Survivor-novice point of view.

  • Two tribes made a lot more sense than four. With four tribes it seemed obvious that the short tribe would be at high risk of losing again, basically dooming them. I also like how they split the teams school yard style. That said, I feel the La Mina tribe is significantly stronger than Casaya, both mentally and physically. And if Casaya keeps losing, they'll probably need to reshuffle again.
  • I like how they did the exile island thing this time. In fact, they could do something similar everytime they have an odd number of contestants. Leave one exile behind in order to make the tribes even and then the exile could join the losing tribe after the tribal council and bring that team back up to an even number. It mixes things up a bit because the exile might have to switch tribes and adds some strategy if the exile stands out – for better or worse – or especially if they find the immunity idol.
  • My favorites? I'm rooting for the Terry and Dan alliance. Go old guys! A former astronaut and an F-14 pilot, how cool is that?
  • My least favorite? Cirie. She seems out of place and a total liability. I've heard rumors that she goes far but I can't imagine how. Actually I can. It's the old "faster than the bear" adage. "You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest person running from the bear." Coming in next to last each week, Cirie may be with us for awhile.

Sicky Poo

Sorry for not blogging the last couple of days but, like almost every family with kids at our church, we've been sick this week. Elijah and I have the flu again. Brennan has been having trouble hearing and his doctor said he has fluid on his ear and a "cobbled" throat, so he's on anti-biotics and allergy meds for a month. Shannon's nearly eight months pregnant, so she's never alright, but we're hoping she doesn't get the flu as well.

Also, thanks to everybody for covering my Bible Study class last night. I was going to come anyway, but Jay-rod and Shannon vetoed me.

Al for Oswald and a Cartoon to be Named Later

In case you find the machinations of corporate big wigs interesting, here's one involving my favorite sport, football, and tv's most prized show, Monday Night Football.

The NFL gets billions of dollars from television rights. This money pays salaries and pensions, builds stadiums, and generally makes professional football happen. The networks are glad to pay this money because even bad football gets pretty good ratings, which equals advertising dollars, which is how the studios make money. For years, ESPN has done the Sunday Night game, ABC has done the Monday night game, and NBC has been left out in the cold.

That changes this next year, when ESPN takes Monday night, NBC takes their place on Sunday, and ABC gets left out… sort of. These days, ABC and ESPN are both owned by Disney, so in a way, nothing really changed hands there. But the PTB (powers that be) have plans of their own. So…

Good bye, John Madden. Yes you have more football knowledge than any person alive but you also have a less than average ability to communicate it. Good luck with those video games and good luck with your new job at NBC on Sunday Nights. NBC was frantic to get anything NFL, even the indecipherable Madden.

Good bye, Al Michaels. What? I thought Al said that after 30 years he would never leave Monday night? Well, it turns out he doesn't have the final word. Michaels recently had a sudden change of heart and was traded to NBC for all kinds of benefits for ESPN (and Disney), including "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" cartoons done by some guy named Walter Disney in 1927, but owned by Universal, forcing the young cartoonist to invent a new cartoon mouse named Mickey.

Besides consolidating the Disney archieves, ESPN gets rights to the Kentucky Derby and expanded privileges to various sports such as Notre Dame football, the Olympics, and NBC's own Sunday Night football. And by getting rid of Michaels, ESPN has unloaded a prima donna past his prime.

As punishment for working out such a great deal, ESPN must now keep Joe Theismann in the booth because otherwise Monday Night football would be way too good.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Random Thoughts 2/7/06

  • We had opportunity to see the movie End of the Spear last week. If you're going to see it in the theater, time is running out. After three weekends, it has barely made back its production costs and ticket sales are dropping fast. Many theaters may not run it much longer, so don't miss your chance to see this beautiful film on the big screen. And don't forget the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor, available at video rental stores.
  • Are you interested in seeing that new movie about the Naval Academy, Annapolis? You might want to read this review first. Movies that get all of the details wrong are pretty common, but when they are about the military or something else historical, it's just about unwatchable.
  • Your 0-2 Arena League football team, the Kansas City Brigade, play their first home game this Sunday. Good luck with that.
  • Auctions on eBay are becoming a thing of the past and CEO Meg Whitman likes it that way. More than one third of all purchases on eBay were bought at "buy it now" fixed prices instead of via auction. It turns out people don't want to wait for the auction to end and will pay for the convenience of getting it now. And eBay, as a company, prefers to see you actually buy the stuff you're shopping for, rather than getting sniped, losing your auction, and taking your business elsewhere.
  • According to the bracketologists, KU has a 75% chance of making the NCAA tourney and a one-in-three chance of getting a top-4 seed. Texas and Oklahoma both have better odds and only Colorado is even close (60% chance). Unless something changes, the rest of the Big-12 is looking at the NIT or a big cushy seat in front of the TV.
  • I had to get a new stereo for home this week. The old one, a ten year old Sony, finally gave up the ghost. I was shocked to see how easy it was to spend $2000-4000 on sound for your living room. We spent $90 and it nearly killed me to do it. That said, I'm quite pleased with it. I watched My Fair Lady last night, and "with a little bit o' luck" it sounded great!

Monday, February 06, 2006

McCain Dresses Down Obama

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) just took Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) out behind the wood shed!

The former Navy pilot and POW sent the new young senator a biting letter, apologizing for believing Obama at his word and trusting the Illinois Democrat to do the right thing.
As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.

I don't always agree with McCain, but you can't doubt the man's personal ethics anymore than you can question his ability to verbally dress you down (both lessons he would have learned at the Naval Academy in Annapolis).

Read the entire letter here.

Congrats Steelers

Though not a very exciting game, it was easy to be happy for the Steelers in their win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. It's nice to see Jerome Bettis retire on the high note of a Super Bowl win, to see Ben Roethlisberger become the youngest winning QB in Super Bowl history, to see Bill Cowher solidify his position alongside greats like Chuck Noll, etc, etc.

I didn't make a huge effort to watch the action during the game, though I don't think I missed a commercial (which seemed funnier than previous years). My five-year-old, Brennan, liked the FedEx Caveman commercial where the caveman gets stepped on by a dinosaur.

I was partial to Mastercard's MacGyver commercial, BudLight's "Secret Fridge," and Sprint's "Crime Deterrent" cell phone.

For those of you with the NFL Network, they are showing the Super Bowl commercials in one show tonight.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Super Bowl

I've always been an AFC guy, and it's hard not to root for the Steelers, but I'm thinking that the Seahawks will probably win.

I say it will be a close game for three and half quarters but Shaun Alexander finally puts it out of reach in the end with a tough, clock-eating running game and a final TD.

Seahawks 27, Steeler 17.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Will Survive

Ok, I watched my first episode ever of Survivor.



Ok, I can see why people like this show.

The Babysitter?

Here's the side of my kids I recognize best sometimes…

That's Tanner (4), Brennan (5), and Elijah (2). I think.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Aborting Ethics

Here are a few ethics questions I've been asked concerning the abortion issue. I'll try to keep it concise but here is my earlier article.

To begin, murder, by definition, has three parts. It has to be 1) killing 2) an innocent 3) human being. If you kick an innocent person in the shin, it's not murder. If you kill a person who is trying to choke you to death, it's not murder. If you kill an innocent fly, it's not murder. But if you kill an innocent person, you've murdered.

Does abortion meet these terms? I think so. It is destroying a living thing to the point where it ceases to function. It is done to someone who has made no offense. It is done to the unique, distinct, and growing embodiment of a being with full and complete human DNA.

If you accept my premise, an abortionist murders. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates equated abortion with poisoning people and both actions are forbidden in his Hippocratic Oath.

Q. What if the child is handicapped or has a disease? Or what if they are unwanted, because of rape?

A. What makes a person valuable? If I cut off a finger or a leg am I less human? What if I'm paralyzed from the neck down or debilitated by Parkinson's, has my uselessness forfeited my right to life? What if my wife and kids reject and abandon me, may I still be permitted to go on? And what if a parent decides they don't want their toddler anymore, may they kill him?

Your nature is not determined by the physical state of your body or by the opinions of others. You have intrinsic value which I believe is endowed by God. Regardless, you are a human being and words, politics, theology, and emotion do not change that.

What kind of life would a handicapped person have? Ask Stephen Hawking or Ludwig van Beethoven. We do not have the right to determine which handicapped children will have an impact on this world, even if they only live for mere minutes.

Q. Shouldn't we show compassion to the mother who would be reminded of the rape?

A. Yes we should, and part of that compassion is preventing a second dreadful act. Aborting the child will not undo the rape but it will add the additional burden of guilt; multiplying the anguish of the women. Anyone can see that murder is a greater victimization than rape, so why compound one evil with an even greater one? It becomes a ticking time bomb, gnawing at the heart perhaps for years and decades.

I am not forcing the women to have the baby; the rapist did that. But I hope to prevent her from complicity in an even greater injustice, which leads me to my final point:

What about compassion for the child? Why should the innocent receive the most severe punishment?

Answered Prayers

I'm happy to report that Shannon's health is much improved. She was having blood pressure problems but she's been fine since the weekend and the doctor says she should be ok. Shannon is still having bad headaches but pregnancy can be a tough row to hoe for anyone.

Last week we thought our minivan was dying. But in the last day or so the problem just went away! I'm not going to ask why.

I was also having some health problems this last week, but I started exercising and I feel much better already.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and God bless those of you who've done things for us this last couple weeks. Our hearts are touched by your expression of love.

Random Thoughts 2/1/06

  • Citizen Kane is on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow afternoon if you've never seen it and know how to work your VCR or TiVo. I asked my Sunday School class to watch this movie if they had a chance (we're studying Ecclesiastes) and here's your chance.
  • John Kerry, bless his heart, said this morning that 53% of our kids don't graduate High School. Really? According to the Census Bureau, 85.9% of Americans age 20-24 are High School graduates. According to my public school math skills, that's 14.1 per cent, not 53 per cent, Senator Kerry.
  • Western Union no longer sends telegrams. 145 years continuous service stop sorry for any inconvenience stop use your phone, fax, or email stop pony express and carrier pigeon also discontinued stop
  • Here's a good article about casualties in Iraq and why they are so low.
  • Chiefs President Carl Peterson says he is considering troubled receiver Terrell Owens. All of Kansas City cried out in unison, "Nooooooooo!" The opposite of that would be the signing of Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters to a six year extension announced today.
  • I watched a documentary the other night and it turns out that President Roosevelt had American hero Charles Lindbergh wiretapped because Lindbergh spoke at anti-war rallies. Then I heard that Kennedy wiretapped Martin Luther King, Jr. to catch him in an extra-marital affair and discredit him. This peaks my curiosity. How many times have we illegally wiretapped our own citizens? It puts Bush's wiretapping of Al Qaeda in perspective.