Friday, November 30, 2007

48,000 Hits

We passed 48,000 hits yesterday but I was too busy to note it at the time. I'm also three days late on my fantasy football report, but alas, the real world has demands that trump any cyber-responsibilities.

I've been getting home around 9 or 9:30 each night this week and now that I have a day off, I've caught that cold my family has had for two weeks. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

R U Txtin?

I saw a cute little interview at about a 13-year-old girl that won the 2007 National Text Messaging Competition by typing a 151-character message in 42 seconds.

Wired: Do u prefer txtin 2 chattin?
Miss Pozgar: I usually txt b/c its a lot easier than havin 2 b on the phone for 3 hrs if its sum1 that never stops talking!

I'm guessing that a 13-year-old girl could single-handedly keep a phone company in the black, whether talking or texting. It's a neat interview.

The abbreviated slang used in text messaging actually goes back a lot further than cell phones. I first noticed "leet" language in the early nineties with the internet and computer gaming. I had assumed that it was a passing fad among computer nerds, misspelling words on purpose and substituting numbers for letters (e.g. leet is usually spelled 1337); boy was I wrong. Now soccer moms and junior high girls are using words like sum1, lol, o rly, and gr8.

I don't text very often at all – usually just in response to the unstemmed tide of text messages I get from Shannon. That said, some day, when I can get that iPhone I've been wanting, I may text more frequently. But my current phone doesn't lend itself to texting, making it easier to just pick up and call the person rather than hen-peck around on my phone's number pad.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Random Sports Thoughts 11/26/07

  • Kansas' football lost to Missouri Saturday, catapulting MU to the #1 spot. They dropped from #2 in the nation to #5 and losing to the dastardly Mizzou Tigers was unpleasant but things could be worse. KU was 11-1. Who'd of thunk it? Now they wait a month or more (?!) and play in a major bowl game. How cool is that?
  • Kansas won a nail-biter in overtime against Arizona last night. The basketball game was significant because it was the first time that Brennan and Tanner showed interest in the game. They watched for a few minutes, asked which team was which, hooted and hollered when baskets were made and missed, and then jumped around the living room pretending to play the game. KU is now ranked #4 and is 5-0. With Texas and Texas A&M, there are now three Big 12 teams in the top 10.
  • Eventually, I would like to pave my driveway and install a nice basketball goal. With four boys I think we would get a lot of good out of that.
  • Have you voted for the NFL Pro Bowl yet? When you do, don't forget to scroll down the lists for more names. I found it harder than ever to select deserving running backs from either conference, let alone three each. This year's backs are underwhelming, especially contrasted to the amazing wide receiver performances. I selected fewer Chiefs than I have in years – that's no surprise. With a few notable exceptions (Devin Hester), this year's Pro Bowl could be a team of Colts and Patriots verses a team of Cowboys and Packers.
  • If the season ended today, the Chiefs could have as high as the seventh pick in the NFL draft! And they've not been mathematically eliminated from the top pick yet. Hey, you have to root for something!

New Tree-ditions

We put up our Christmas tree last Friday night. For the first time, the boys all helped assemble and decorate the tree.

Last year I wrote:

The way I grew up we decorated the tree and everything for Christmas on the 23rd or 24th of December. When did we take it all down? Well, that's what Valentine's Day is for! But since I have a family of my own now, we've been decorating around the first of the month and we take it down the day after Christmas if possible.

Now that the boys are helping, it makes the experience just that much sweeter. We used to decorate at night after they went to bed, but this year all four boys were in the thick of it, preparing branches, unpacking Christmas lights, etc.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Anderson Gun Club

We spent the afternoon Thursday shooting. We fired shotguns and rifles and pistols, many of which I had never used before. The pistols included a Luger, a Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic, and two .357 Magnum revolvers. The one .357 rung my ears like no gun ever has – it was so intimidating that I was actually cringing as I pulled the trigger, shooting low each time. We also fired several shotguns and rifles including a .30-30 lever action and a 20 gauge double-barreled over-under amongst others.

I particularly enjoyed shooting blue rock (or skeet or clay pigeons depending on where you're from). I was using a pump action 20 gauge and blew through two boxes of shells in short order. For someone who only shoots once every two years, I feel pretty confident. But I wouldn't want to admit how many targets landed in the field unscathed.

I had Brennan (7) and Tanner (nearly 6) join me so they could shoot a gun for the first time. Our hosts had a small bolt-action single shot .22. I repeated my lectures on gun safety to the boys and showed them how the gun was operated. They each took several shots, inserting the bullet, working the bolt, taking aim, firing, and working the bolt again. They each did great and Tanner kept the tiny casings as souvenirs.

Brennan even fired the Luger. It was a small .22 pistol and, with me supporting him from behind, he could handle it easily. At one point he fired several shots in rapid succession and I scolded him in his ear, "You're supposed to be aiming, Brennan!" He replied with glee, "I'm too busy shooting, Dad!"

A Happy Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday thanks to Jay-rod and his family's hospitality. We traveled down to the farm and had a fantastic time. We saw the cows and horses and the boys held a particularly fuzzy kitten. They were able to play with their friends, the Anderson children, and enjoy a relaxing day.

It was awfully cold but we wouldn't have traded it for the world. Thank you so much!

Here's Brennan (the one on the left), our most photogenic child.

Tanner (and Elijah in the background) seemed to have a wonderful time.

Here Elijah and Graham attempt to feed a horse.

Here's Brennan and Tanner posing on the haystack.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let it Snow

We're having our first snow of the year, right now. It's not going to amount to much, but I still love it. What a great time of year when it's cold outside and warm inside! I like warm clothes and cozy blankets – what a treat to for winter to set in.

Random Thoughts 11/21/07

  • KU signed five basketball players (who can all play forward) last week, three big men and two 6-5 swing players, including highly touted local product, Travis Releford. Two of the big guys are twins from Philadelphia, Marcus and Markieff Morris. We'll see how they pan out this time next year.
  • What did Martha Stewart learn while doing time in the slammer? Look at her website and find out. Actually it's not a bad resource for creative ideas for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other occasions.
  • Poor Priest Holmes has retired. It's suspect that they ever let him come back and play football again after a serious neck injury in the first place. God bless him though; Priest was great to watch play the game.
  • Brennan and Tanner and I (occasionally joined by Elijah) are about half way through our sixth Narnia book, the Silver Chair. Tanner is now reading over my shoulder like his big brother. There's just one more book after this but then what? We've been reading almost every night for months; what do we do next? Whatever we read, I figure that in three or four years I'll be rereading the Chronicles of Narnia, this time with Elijah and Graham.
  • Here's the funniest Mac ad I've seen in a while, one that's only on the internet. It made me chuckle.
  • I'm not usually shopping for pocketknives but this one has definitely caught my eye: Leatherman's Skeletool. I keep a small Leatherman tool in my car and a pocketknife in my desk drawer but, as a home owner, I find myself constantly needing a screwdriver or a pair of pliers around the house. The Skeletool is pretty highly regarded and I like lightweight and simple tools, so I'll be saving my pennies for this one.
  • Our dog Sophie is finally growing up. She's not having accidents anymore and every once in a while she's actually calm and submissive. When she does test our patience she curls up next to one of the boys, snuggling them and licking their faces, warming our hearts in the process.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Border Wars

So I hear there's going to be a football game Saturday. The #2 Jayhawks play the #4 Tigers at a neutral site, Arrowhead stadium in Kansas City. KU is 11-0 and Mizzou is 10-1. This final regular season game will determine who represents the Big-12 North in the conference championship game. The winner could easily find themselves in the National championship game.

Kansas and Missouri have a bitter rivalry that extends well beyond college athletics. But in spite of the fact that Missouri is a bunch of murdering, raping, slaving thugs, Kansans have put that behind us and focus more on the ball games. In football KU leads the series 54-52-9, beating Missouri for the first time, 22-10, in an 1891 game held in Kansas City, Mo.

This week should be fun!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Working the Lists

I am methodically working my way through AFI's list of Top 100 movies. It's actually two lists, one compiled in 1998 and another in 2007. When I started five months ago, I had seen fifty-five of the top 100. Now I've seen seventy-six from the 1998 list and seventy-three from the 2007 list.

I'm watching two to four classic movies per week (from AFI's list or from a list of Academy Award winning films). I've skimped on watching the news and watch these films an hour at a time late at night and on my days off. I've even convinced Shannon to watch some of these old movies. At my current pace I believe I'll take the AFI list as far as I can by February or March – there are three or four films I don't intend to watch because of their reputation.

Some of the films on my to-watch list are Raging Bull (1980), Chinatown (1974), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and Some Like It Hot (1959). All four of these films are in the top-35 on both AFI lists.

Since last summer I've seen my first films with Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, and Buster Keaton. I've nearly completed the filmographies of Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg and I've caught almost every major role James Stewart and Humphrey Bogart ever had. My list of Best Picture Oscar-winners is north of fifty (though this is part of that list I don't intend to finish – the Oscar has been awarded to some real trash over the decades).

The wikipedia article for Academy Award winning films has been helpful but I noticed that there were several gaps and mistakes. So, being the nerd that I am, I've done some research in my spare time (while watching the movies, no less) and contributed to the article. I've reached a new level of nerdiness! I've edited and contributed to a wikipedia article!

Doggy Damage

When you get a dog you may have to make certain concessions. We don't want Sophie roaming the neighborhood so we keep her indoors and in the fenced-in back yard. But confining her has its consequences. Above all else, Sophie cannot resist digging. It's her instinct. It's good exercise for her. She's killing and driving away the moles, which is good. And there are worse habits.

But our Beagle has turned our back yard from this:

…into this:

Holes, pits, and trenches with a fine coating of mud everywhere. It's a good thing we love her so much.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yon on Peace in Iraq

I'd recommend that anybody who wants to say anything about Iraq needs to read everything Michael Yon has written. Period.

But you can start with this post about peace breaking out in Iraq.

People forget that in 1941 Germany and Japan looked utterly invincible. But by late '43 we knew it was only a matter of time before the Allies would win. And by late '44 it seemed all but over. The same thing is happening now. What was true about Iraq in 2004 and 2005 is not the case by late 2007. And that's good news.

It's Latin to Me, Part 2

I've already received some feedback about my meager Latin translation skills. The Army Major in charge likes it! If they move forward using my translation, I'll post a picture of it here.

Here's an excerpt from my submission email:

…so Latin is the way to go. The phrase "hearts and minds" is from the Bible, which has been translated into Latin (the Vulgate), so I started there and worked my way through several Latin phrases that say similar things. I came up with:

lucror cor et animo

which translates [roughly] as "to win heart and mind (soul). The word choice here is common in places talking about the allegiance, affections, and loyalties of people. So I'm satisfied that this is the best possible word choice for what you mean. I'm almost certain that this is the correct word forms but running it past a high school Latin teacher or two for verification wouldn't hurt. But be warned, translating Latin is as much an art as it is a science, it seems.

I know from translating Greek to English that everybody has an opinion about how a phrase ought to be translated (have you seen how many Bible translations there are?). But if anybody out there spots an obvious grammatical error, please let me know ASAP so I can pass it on.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

That's so Paseo

Kansas City's Paseo Bridge across the Missouri River is going to be replaced. Here's what it will look like–kind of cool!

The bridge is supposed to be iconic and unique, but it looks almost exactly like a shorter version of the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, SC. Their "signature diamond-tower design" won't be so unique anymore.

It's Latin to Me

One of the guys from church asked me for some nerd help last week. He needed the phrase, "Winning Hearts and Minds" translated into Latin for a unit crest his group is making up at Ft. Leavenworth.

Latin is not my strong suit.

Translating the phrase into Greek wasn't that hard (three lexicons and my Greek grammar book will do the trick). But Greek wasn't really a good fit; it seems that heraldry tends to use English, French, or Latin. Another military unit already has the same phrase in English as their motto and there's no reason to do French, so Latin it is.

I offered up my best effort. If they use it, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

KU Still Ranked

Jayhawk fans everywhere are giddy with excitement. Kansas is still the only team ranked in the top 10 in both football and basketball (though Oregon is close, ranked 2nd and 11th respectively).

The football team is 10-0 and ranked third in the nation, one of only two undefeated teams in the top-25. It now goes well beyond luck or weak opponents, Kansas is a talented, disciplined team that executes week in and week out. Who knew?

The basketball team is 2-0 and ranked fourth in the country. They have a few injuries right now but the team is so deep, it's hard to imagine them having difficulty before they play Arizona (Nov 25).

Bugging Out

We've been invaded by lady bugs in recent weeks. They don't really hurt anything but thousands upon thousands of little bugs in your home is a tad unnerving. The only way to get rid of them is to vacuum them; crushing them leaves a stain.

We've had a tremendous number of lady bugs at the church, congregating on the ceiling of the foyer and other places. Sometimes it's best not to look up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Off to See the Wizard

I took the day off yesterday. It was a cold, cloudy day with nothing going on so we watched some movies.

First off was The Wizard of Oz (1939). I didn't know if the older boys would hang in there or not but, to my surprise, all four(!) watched it start to finish. They were transfixed! Shannon and I hadn't watched Dorothy and Toto since we were kids and it was great fun sharing that with the boys.

Next we watched Sergeant York (1941). Shannon hadn't seen the classic Gary Cooper film before and it's a remarkably touching movie. Based on a true story, it's really a movie more about values and conscience than about war. The boys were in and out during this movie, it just didn't hold on to them like Oz.

I also watched the last hour of Ratatouille (2007), which my boys have watched many times over. We actually went to the theater to see this and I ended up standing in the lobby for an hour while Graham toddled around yelling at nothing in particular. So the whole family had seen the movie and I'd missed it. When we bought the DVD, once again I was interrupted about half an hour in and had to leave the movie unfinished. Finally, last night, I saw that elusive last hour.

Finally, before drifting off to sleep I started the first hour of The Young Lions (1958). A World War 2 film with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin, it looks good and I'm eager to finish it perhaps tonight or tomorrow night.

Eventually I'll post a list of war movies I'd recommend. A lot of war movies follow the fighting men into action, but many use it as a dramatic backdrop, like Mrs. Miniver (1942 - the home front in England) or The Best Years of Our Lives (1946 - the return home of veterans from war).

Back Again

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. The kids were sick off and on last week and now they've passed their colds on to Mom and Dad. It's not that things haven't been going on, but I've not had the energy to on the computer and do anything for the last 72 hours.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Won't Drink It

What is the official soda of the Seattle Seahawks?

Jones Pure Cane Soda

Jones offers flavors such as root beer, cream soda, and grape. It goes down hill from there with soda flavors such as green apple, blue bubble gum, berry lemonade, and fufu berry (whatever a fufu berry is).

For special promotions and holidays they have also offered sodas with the following "flavors:" turkey and gravy, Christmas ham, chocolate fudge, pineapple upside down, green bean casserole, cranberry, mashed potatoes with butter, fruitcake, candy corn, pumpkin pie, brussels sprout, smoked salmon pâté, corn on the cob, broccoli casserole, pecan pie, dinner roll, pea, antacid (non-medicinal), black licorice, perspiration, dirt, apple sauce, jelly doughnut, and happy.

In a bottle.


Big 12

Mom and Dad came over last night to watch Kansas win, which the Jayhawks did 107-78. The team looked great and well-rounded; they can really put on a clinic! The football team plays tonight and the basketball team plays again Sunday evening. It's wall-to-wall Jayhawks around here!

Just as exciting was K-State's pro-in-waiting Michael Beasley. Beasley, who by all accounts will be a top-5 pick in the NBA next year, set a Big 12 record for rebounding, 24, to go along with his 32 points in K-State's game. What a monster!

Just think, Missouri could easily go 0-4 this against Kansas schools this year!

On another Big 12 note: The BCS football standings have Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri are ranked 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively, with Texas at 14th. Now if only the Big 12 could get a little more respect from the pundits.

Friday, November 09, 2007

47,000 Hits

We passed 47,000 hits this afternoon. Thank you for reading.

Due to the wide variety of topics here, you may want to consider searching my blog for key words, by using the field on the top of the page. It's probably the best way to find the things you might want to read about.

I'm a few month away from reaching my blog's third anniversary. I'm north of 1200 posts and really appreciate those that have taken the time to read what I've written.

Burning Desire

I was chomping at the bit to burn up the tree limbs and brush pile in my yard; so yesterday I had me a conflagration.

Actually it was very much under control: I had the garden hose and various tools at the ready and burned the material in a controlled manner, methodically consuming the pile throughout the day. By bedtime I was down to three or four logs and a pile of ashes, which I carefully coaxed through the night.

Today I have a clean, white mound of powdery ash.

I really enjoy burning wood, especially in the fall. First, it smells great! Doing it right is kind of like solving a puzzle: can you get the fire to do exactly what you want it to? It usually means hours of silence and solitude, which is great for thought, prayer and contemplation. Burning sure feels manly. And afterward, when the tools are put away and the embers have died, the yard looks so clean and ready for the ice and snow of winter.

P.S. I almost took King Lear with me to finish while I waited by the fire. The notion appealed to me and the smoke would have made the book smell fantastic but the soot would have ruined it. And I just can't bear to ruin a book.

The Fieldhouse

Here's a quick shot of Allen Fieldhouse.

Basketball Season Begins

The Jayhawks start their basketball season tonight against Louisiana Monroe. Here are some links to this year's roster, the season schedule, Jayhawks in the NBA, or you can shop for my Christmas.

Other Kansas Jayhawk notes:
  • Kansas is an Adidas brand school. The uniforms are by Adidas. The clothing is by Adidas. Even the shoes are Adidas. Yet football coach Mark Mangino keeps wearing Nike tennis shoes. But you get to do that when you're 9-0… and a distractingly large man.
  • Speaking of Adidas, did you know it was a German company? If you look up their history, you read of Adolf "Adi" Dassler making athletic shoes in the 1920's (indluding the 1928 Olympics) and then starting up the company we know today after World War 2. But why can't I find any word on what he did from 1933-1945? Hmm… I guess they don't want to talk about that.
  • KU will wear new uniforms tonight (technically we've already seen the white and red uniforms in the two exhibition games). You'll notice that the distinctive "Old West" style font, known as an curling, arc serif font, is gone, replaced by a plain clean trajan font. The only flourish is in the "KU" where the "K" now has a tail that extends under the "U." I like the new font but I admit it's not as distinctive as the previous one. And the new uniforms sure have worked for the football team!
  • Did you hear the referee at last week's homecoming football game mistakenly say, "Timeout, Kansas State," which induced immediate booing from the Lawrence crowd. Even in a game where we score 76 points, Kansas fans are still paying attention to the details–we don't know when this will come around again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No. 2

Where can I go to find a pics of vintage brand name pencils? Write here.

Now you too can browse through images of hundreds of pencils you may have used in grade school. It's funny how you'll feel when you recognize a certain design and remember how it felt, the smell and feel of sharpening it, and perhaps even the taste of it (for those of you who struggled with that).

I never ate my pencil erasers or chewed on it, though I certainly saw a lot of kids who did. I was the kid who liked to empty the metal pencil sharpener, sometimes grinding down half of a pencil just to generate more shavings. It was a wonderful excuse to get out of my seat, destroy something, make a mess, and then return to my desk without actually doing anything wrong.

Hmm… grade school: hours of mind-numbing boredom, the seconds slowly whittling away waiting for recess, watching glue dry, picking apart pink erasers, and sharpening pencils. Yuck.

Of course, nowadays, instead of no. 2 pencils, you might get a laptop. Over 5000 MacBook laptops are being given to students in KCK publics schools.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Fate Worse Than Death

We have a picture of this sign hanging on the bulletin board in our church.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I had a crew out to cut down some large tree limbs in my back yard this afternoon. Dad, Craig, and Jay-rod were wonderful; thanks so much!

Craig was invaluable with his experience and know-how and Dad was typically out-on-a-limb, dangling a chainsaw like no 60-year-old should. Jay-rod is always such a hard worker and earnest helper, which I especially appreciate on such a cold, windy day.

Thanks again guys!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Turning the Tables

Kansas basketball is beginning but we Jayhawks fans aren't done watching football yet! What has the world come to?

Kansas beat Nebraska like, well… a red-headed stepchild. Kansas scored a touchdown on 11 out of 12 possessions at one point, scoring the most points against a conference opponent ever and the most points allowed by a Nebraska defense ever. KU's quarterback went 30 of 41 for 354 yards and a school record six touchdown passes. Kansas had 34 first downs and no turnovers. One of KU's running backs had four touchdowns and 155 yards.

The final score was 76-39, bringing KU to 9-0 for the first time since 1908. It's only the second time in 34 years that KU entered the Nebraska game with a better record and the second time in over 50 years that KU was ranked when Nebraska wasn't. For thirty years the average score of the Kansas-Nebraska football game was 47-7 Nebraska. Now however, Kansas is the only school in the nation to be ranked in the top-10 in both football (8th before today) and basketball (4th).

What a unique time to be a Jayhawk!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Random Thoughts 11/02/07

  • What is the fastest Windows Vista notebook computer of 2007? A MacBook Pro of course, according to PC World. Apple makes a great computer.
  • Kansas (8-0) is ranked 8th in the BCS, the AP, and USA Today polls. And that's their football team! The men's basketball team is ranked 4th in the nation, though the season hasn't really started yet (KU played an exhibition game last night). K-State is ranked 25th in the AP poll, the first time they've been ranked in years. Texas and Texas A&M also made the top 25 in pre-season polls.
  • Did you see the final play of the Trinity (TX) Division III football game that included 15 laterals and at least that many missed tackles? The play takes a full 60 seconds to develop and goes 60 yards, the long way around. There have been similar plays in football history, but I can't imagine one that lasted longer than this (about 10 times the length of an average play).
  • I went to a Lutheran funeral this morning, which was interesting. In many ways it was not unlike a funeral I would do… at least theologically speaking, but the methodology, well, it unfolded much more like a Catholic funeral than a Protestant one. The liturgy, vestments, responsive readings, candles, tone, atmosphere, and duration were somewhat alien to my Evangelical experiences. I imagine that the family could be comforted by the standardized format of that style of funeral but that's just not how I would approach it. Death is a fascinating mystery that forces us to deal with the most important thing about Jesus Christ (his death and resurrection). It seems right to me that each individual ought to be uniquely contemplated in that light, clearly and plainly talking about who they were whenever it's possible to do so.
  • One other methodology note: If Jay-rod, or worship minister, announced in our church that the congregation was going to sing "all EIGHT verses" of a hymn, he'd be mobbed before the first word was sung. We're definitely of the "first and last verse" tradition of hymn singing.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dawn Patrol

I had an early morning appointment today. So I rose early, got ready in the dark, kissed my sleeping wife, and left the house with only the cat to see me off. I scraped my windshield in the pre-dawn light and coaxed my frigid car down the road, dodging three deer on a hoary Fall morning.

Unfortunately, the party in question didn't show up for another two and half hours. Grrr.

It was a beautiful morning though.