Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I saw these pumpkins online last week, and thought they should be shared. First the Death Star Pumpkin:

And second, the Firefox internet browser Pumpkin:

These may be the best carved pumpkins ever! (from a nerd's point of view).

Combat Training

Sunday afternoon my nephew, Kelby, came to visit. My older three boys and Kelby were playing outside with the dog, plastic swords and water guns while I was working but it was just too tempting not to get involved.

Arming them with plastic guns, I taught them how to lay down suppressive fire. Once they understood, we moved on to maneuvering, specifically bounding overwatch. "Cover me Brennan!" "I'll cover you, Kelby!" The boys would cover each other as they moved from cover to cover. Tanner struggled with the concept though, as he kept throwing down his gun each time it was his turn to run. "Tanner get your weapon!" He'd skid to a stop and run back to retrieve it. After this we practiced offensive maneuvers. I explained enfilade fire and flank attacks and how to avoid friendly fire. But the boys were tiring of all the running and ready to switch to swords at this point.

So I showed them how to stand with a sword and how to hold their swords at middle guard, hanging guard, low guard and high guard. We even practiced parrying a thrust, then spinning to the side and attacking from behind (a very Star Wars-looking move). The boys were giggling with glee.

I doubt the boys retained much of the terminology but I made them repeat some basic rules: We never attack someone unarmed. We never attack women and children. We only fight to protect people from the bad guys. Only bad guys cheat.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This month was Pastor Appreciation month but, to tell the truth, for me, it was kind of a hard month. The ministry can be demoralizing and defeating at times but last night our congregation lavished us with love.

We had a singfest, which for us means an old-fashioned hymn sing with no official responsibilities for the ministers. I was able to sit with my family for the first time this year, sharing a hymnal with Brennan and teaching him how to follow along in it. Members of the congregation spoke during the service about Jay-rod and I and then one of the Elders presented each of us with a substantial gift.

How surprised we were! It was the largest gift I've ever received from a congregation and must represent so many people's love and appreciation. What a wonderful expression of their generosity!

There is no place I'd rather be than at Wyandotte County Christian Church. The people are genuine and loving and have fully accepted my wife and boys as part of their own family. I believe that the Lord called me to this congregation and intends me to grow as a part of it for years to come. There is no offer that could lure me away from this church family.

Thank you!

Random Thoughts 10/29/07

  • I had the radio on in the background this afternoon and heard Bill O'Reilly congratulate my cousin's wife for winning a drawing for one of his books. He gave her first and last name and where she lived, and said, "congratulations Abie." It was cool; I hope she was listening.
  • Sony is releasing a new version of the 7-year-old Playstation 2 for $150. Why? Partly because the Playstation 3 costs over $500 and customers are leaving Sony for Nintendo ($250 for a Wii) and Microsoft ($350 for an Xbox 360). It is also because Sony is dedicated to a 10-year product life cycle, supporting the PS2 until 2010 and the PS3 until 2016. Sony lost almost $2 billion dollars on the video game systems last year.
  • How do you dress your kids for Halloween? It appears that we'll have three ninjas and Eeyore. However, as Graham gets older I can see several possibilities: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a bobsled team, a barbershop quartet, the Beatles, four pro athletes (football, baseball, basketball, and hockey), the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, four servicemen (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines), etc.
  • I'm still pining away to upgrade my computers. I'm just not sure I want to pull the trigger on it yet – it's rarely a wise thing to jump in the front of the line when it comes to technology. I'll save my money and wait a little while… then I'll pounce like a ravenous wolf.
  • We were given a trampoline. Of all the gruesome injuries that can occur on a trampoline, I'm half expecting bloody noses, bit lips, sprained ankles, and (hopefully not) broken limbs. In the end, I'd rather my boys accept some reasonable risks and be boys, than avoid their childhood and be "safe." In the meantime, I'm going to buy safety nets before we set it up next Spring.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I have it on good authority…

Go see this movie.

Bella opens this weekend in most cities. If you want more films like this to be made, please try to see it opening weekend.


Oops, we're coming to the end of the second hurricane season in a row without a large number of catastrophic, Katrina-like hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center predicted an 85% chance of an above normal hurricane season, just like they did in 2006 and, once again, the hurricane season fizzled (Praise the Lord).

It just shows that:

1.) the climate is too complex to predict mere weeks in advance, let alone years or decades.
2.) global warming doesn't necessarily mean bad weather.
3.) climate prediction is too politicized (sorry, but President Bush didn't cause Katrina).
4.) we don't understand half as much as we think we do (the illusion of knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance itself).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Comprehensive 20 Questions

I took an internet quiz to test how conservative or liberal I am. I'm sure that these twenty question fully and accurately capture all the nuances of my positions.

***My Political Profile:***

Overall: 95% Conservative, 5% Liberal
Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

How Liberal Or Conservative Are You?

Basically I've learned that the only thing separating me from the John Birch Society is that I don't carry a gun. Other than that…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fold the Air Force?

If only terrorists used fleets of fighter jets and submarines.

The post-Cold War, post-9/11 world has been rough on the Air Force and the Navy. The Long War is being fought primarily by the infantry in a country-insurgency struggle, while the most expensive weapons programs, multi-billion dollar ships and multi-billion dollar aircraft programs, justify their existence by the threat of high-tech rival countries. But these threats barely exist anymore. The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact are almost 20 years removed. China is a rising superpower but is intertwined economically with America. North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela are minor league players who will never field a fleet of warships or bombers to threaten us. And the biggest threat to world peace are religious terrorists with a medieval mindset but no aircraft carriers.

So how much are you willing to pay, decade after decade, for weapon systems that only meant to intimidate potential enemies?

The Navy may lose a few capital ships in coming decades and discover new cheaper and more practical missions close to shore in the littoral zone. But some folks are openly discussing folding the Air Force back into the Army from which it came sixty years ago. It would save money and bring under control a branch whose wandering leaders seem to be ignoring the current conflict while pining away for a shooting war with China, or even a bombing of Iran, to justify their expensive purchases.

As an aviation nut I love new planes and technology but now that the "cheap" F-35 may cost over $100 million per plane the Air Force may be pricing itself out of existence. Has it finally gotten completely out of control? Wouldn't those billions be better spent on the Army and Marines or perhaps not at all? Perhaps the Air Force should focus more on outer space and cyberspace and leave the transportation and ground support to the Army and Navy?

Random Thoughts 10/25/07

  • Did you catch Senator McCain slapping down Hillary to thunderous applause last weekend? I probably wouldn't vote for McCain but you have to respect him.
  • How interesting! Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady are each only one game away from being the first quarterbacks to beat 31 NFL teams. Manning and Brady can achieve this goal this week as Manning plays the Panthers and Brady plays the Redskins. Favre can finally beat the Chiefs next week. In each of these cases, these QBs only play these opponents once every four years. These three QBs also have the three longest streaks for starting games at their position: 243 games (Favre), 150 games (Manning), and 101 games (Brady).
  • We'll be taking the boys back to Union Station again this Christmas; it's an enormous, intriguing, and historical place to visit. But have you read about the Kansas City Massacre? Supposedly you can see machine gun bullet pock marks on the outside of the building, but I've never seen any convincing evidence.
  • Oh yeah, the Raiders have still not beaten the Chiefs, Broncos, or Chargers since November of 2004. Mmm, that feels good.
  • Rumors abound that Al Gore, Oscar-winner and Nobel laureate, may be selected as the running-mate for Obama. An Obama-Gore ticket? Yeah, Hillary will savage them, chewing them up and spitting them out before they ever get that far.
  • First-class stamps went up to 41¢ this year and again everyone complained. But did you know that, adjusted for inflation, postage has stayed the same for most of the last 120 years? This chart shows how even when stamps were two or three cents a century ago it was equivalent to about 40-45 cents today. In the 1920's and 1950's postage dipped to about half of today's price, but ever since the 1970's the cost of postage has been roughly the same, while the nominal price has risen from 10¢ to 41¢.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winning in Iraq

Let me guess, it's been a few weeks since you've heard anything from Iraq. Right? Well the reason is that there is no bad news to report. So here's the good news:
  • October saw the lowest casualty rate in two years, in spite of increased American activity and risks. Our military fought harder and took the riskier path, and it's been overwhelmingly successful.
  • The "Anbar Awakening" has spread across the country, with former insurgent groups and hostile tribes deciding to work with the Americans against Al Qaeda in Iraq.
  • The Iraqi government is gaining support and getting their act together. The Iraqi military and police are providing security and taking over areas from coalition forces.
  • Al Qaeda has been so utterly devastated that some in the military have discussed "declaring victory."
  • General Petraeus (along with Gen. Odierno and company) has been the most successful American general since World War 2 (not counting Schwarzkopf). Is Petraeus being hailed as a hero? No, Senator Clinton called him a liar and accuses him of treason. Nice.

Like I said, there's no news to report here – nothing bad and scandalous is happening. Just Americans making the world better and safer in a place where the "experts" said it couldn't be done. Our guys are only making history, why should that make the evening news?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


"Buffalo buffalo, Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

Believe it or not, that's a legitimate sentence. Using three different words spelled "buffalo," the city, the animal, and the action, this forms a complete sentence. Stated differently it says, "Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are intimidated by other bison in their community, also happen to intimidate other bison in their community." Or by replacing the animal with the word "people" and the action with the word "intimidate" you get the following: "Buffalo people [that] Buffalo people intimidate [also happen to] intimidate Buffalo people."

Saying it out loud with proper inflections is all kinds of giggle-inducing fun. Grammar nerds can also diagram the sentence for extra credit.

Random Thoughts 10/23/07

  • The NFL Draft will now be less like watching paint dry. The first round will shrink from 15 minutes per pick to only 10 minutes, the second round from 10 minutes to 7. Only two rounds (instead of three) will be completed on Saturday starting at 2pm, with the last five rounds to follow on Sunday.
  • We took the boys to the doctor first thing this morning because they were behind on their vaccinations and such. So in addition to flu shots, they each received multiple shots to both legs. I held down each of them as they winced in pain and began to cry. It was pretty awful. The nurses put three to five band-aids on each boy and gave them a Popsicles. It's so hard to watch your children hurt, even when it's for their own good.
  • Speaking of hurting, I grabbed a sweatshirt this morning and threw both arms in the air to put it on… wrenching my back, right between the shoulder blades. It's the worst I've hurt my back in a long time. In fact the last time was the day I went on a guided walking tour of Ft. Leavenworth with Gordie D. I was in excruciating pain all day that time and this is shaping up to be the same thing. Not much fun.
  • I'm 4-3 in both of my fantasy football leagues, although I'm the point leader in our church league. This week I lost by only ONE point. Ouch. It's always easier to lose by a hundred than by a single point.
  • The new OS for Macintosh comes out Friday. I'm usually pretty cavalier about software updates – I'll get around to it when they have all the bugs worked out. But I'm chomping at the bit this time around. It's been about two years since the last major upgrade and the new version has a lot of great new features.

Monday, October 22, 2007

46,000 Hits

We passed 46,000 hits this morning. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Coincidentally, this is also my 1,200th post.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk Football

This is surely too good to last.

The Jayhawks are one of five ranked football teams in the nation that are 7-0. They are ranked #9 in the BCS standings, #12 in the AP, and #10 in the USA Today poll. They don't play Texas or Oklahoma this year and the toughest looking game yet to come is 6-1 Mizzou at a neutral site (Arrowhead Stadium in KC). Nationally, Kansas is third in points per game (45.9) and ninth in yards per game (501.9). They have a tough defense and are fun to watch (or listen to – I usually listen to the games while at work).

Meanwhile, Bill Self and the men's basketball team are predicted to be a Final-Four caliber team again. It's a good time to be a Jayhawk.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Of One Accord

My '94 Honda Accord is slowly eroding. It runs great but, apart from the engine, the car is falling apart. As the years go by, all kinds of unessential items, or the sensors for them, are breaking. Radio antennae: stuck. Temperature knob: broken and missing. Open door sensors: failed. Blinker level: melted, caught steering column on fire, replaced. You get the idea: it's a faded, cracked, rusting, bucket of bolts – that always runs.

I'm sure that my Honda has been my most reliable vehicle ever. I'm also sure the doors will fall off before the engine quits running. And having a reliable car that's paid for, it's hard not to forgive flaking paint and random dashboard lights. So on the one hand I'd love to drive something nice, but on the other hand I love having a vehicle that I can count on. I've had cars that looked nice but barely ran; I'll take my Honda.

And did I mention the no car payment thing?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Deanna Rose

We took the boys to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead this morning. What a joy. It was educational and entertaining, and better than I was expecting. The boys saw every type of farm animal and rabbits, buffalo, bobcats, eagles, hawks, and prairie dogs to boot. They also played and played until they were completely exhausted.

It's field trips like this that make my day off such a wonderful blessing. All four brothers together with Mom and Dad, learning and growing and playing. You can't beat it.

Not With Cats and Girls

Families with only girls and cats can't understand. But we have little boys and a dog, so we go through every kind of disgusting thing you could possibly imagine.

This evening we came home from an outing and let the dog out back to urinate. Sure enough, Elijah (three and a half) followed her out to do likewise. That's bad enough, except that he peed on the dog! And the dog let him! Why?! Sophie was wet head-to-tail when she came in to shake it off, with Elijah entering behind her, tugging up his pants.

Tanner tattled and Brennan chased down the dog with a towel. Eli was confronted and dealt with. Oh the joys of having boys and a dog.

The Dawn Treader

The boys and I are a few chapters into our fifth Narnia book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This is one of my very favorite Chronicles of Narnia books and one of my favorite book titles ever. However, the lion's share (pun intended) of the plot takes place on a ship. So each night, we review our terminology: port, starboard, bow, stern, mast, galley, forecastle, etc. Brennan and Tanner both are becoming quite the sailing ship experts and we even have a toy viking-style ship for reference while we read.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gideon for Breakfast

I was preaching at 8:30 this morning. My audience was a crowd of kindergartners, first graders, and second graders at Genesis Christian School in Tonganoxie, Kansas. It was really enjoyable to share in their chapel service and the kids were so attentive to my lesson on Gideon.

Mid-sermon, one little boy spontaneously offered that "the British and the Germans were bad guys like the Midianites." Uh, yeah, I guess they were.

One of the ladies in our church is a teacher there and she had invited my to come speak. At least two little girls (her granddaughters) from our church were among the kids to whom I spoke, though I know of at least one other family whose kids are going there this year.

What a fun diversion from the normal routine this was.

Treated and Retreated

We had the Men's Retreat at Misison Lake Christian Camp this last weekend. It was a good time of worship and fellowship but I find myself with two distinct positions towards the event:

First, from the point of view of our particular congregation, the weekend was a success. We had a nice group of guys that spent Friday and Saturday together bonding and growing, becoming better husbands, fathers, man of God. I think our group would continue to do this even if no other church would.

But that leads to my other point. Why is the camp conducting an event that only one church has really attended the last two years? The last two years, we were 95% of the attenders. Are we not busy with demands on our time in Kansas City? Do other churches and ministers not know such an event exists (it's been the same weekend for years)? Many of the ministers and congregations in the area seem apathetic to this event, year in and year out (with a few notable exceptions).

So even though our group gets a lot out of it, other groups seems to be voting with their feet. Perhaps our church could just rent the camp and continue to do what we're doing, without any undue burden on the camp and with more attention to our group's specific needs. We have all sorts of ideas for including high school boys and making the Men's Retreat more comprehensive and involved. It's just a shame that small, local churches repeatedly show little or no interest.

Random Thoughts 10/17/07

  • Jay-rod came in the office today noting that the NBA had already (in the preseason) had a fight. My thought on the matter: If you promote a culture of thuggery, should you be surprised when your players act like thugs? I suppose I'd have more invested in the NBA if Kansas City had a team, but even then I'm not sure. I root for the individual Jayhawks in the Pros, but I quit watching regularly when Jordan retired (the second time).
  • Speaking of sports, there's an actual website that tracks all of the uniform violations in major league sports. I'm sure there's somebody, somewhere that finds that interesting. I actually find the history of sports logos and uniforms kind of intriguing, like a modern day heraldry of sorts. I'm fairly certain it's the only area of "fashion" that I'm remotely interested in.
  • Dave Ramsey is on Fox's new Fox Business Channel. I haven't seen it yet but I'm eager to know how it differs from his radio show. Thanks for the heads up, Jeff.
  • The Singapore Airlines pilot that flew the first double-decker A380 Jumbo airliner was quoted in a French Newspaper saying it was "God's Creation." Some observers quipped, "If God created the world in seven days, then why was the A380 two years late?" Even though some folks think the overweight Airbus should replace the C-5 Galaxy and the 747 Air Force One, I'm still not impressed. The French-made behemoth can't land at our nation's busiest hub in Atlanta because of its size.
  • After re-reading John Eldredges' Wild at Heart, I've had a hankering to read Shakespeare's Henry V. I've seen the movie, the Battle of Agincourt is fascinating, and I'm always up for slapping down the French, but I'm hesitant to start the book when I haven't finished King Lear yet. Isn't one play at a time enough for anyone?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Finally, Another MoH

I was too busy last week to mention that another Medal of Honor is being awarded posthumously to a Navy Seal who died in Afghanistan. Perhaps that's the same reason why no major newspaper or news channel (with the exception of Fox News) bothered to report on the story of Navy Lt. Mike Murphy.

Murphy is the first Medal of Honor recipient from the Navy since Vietnam, though he's not the only Navy nominee. Murphy is the third person to be so recognized for actions since 9/11. There's a concerted effort to investigate each nominee, a process that is taking two years or more (two years, four months for Murphy).

In spite of this thorough review, I believe there will be higher rate of occurrence for the award than in previous years. First, if the fighting stopped today and you take the three Medal of Honor winners and add the handful of men who have jumped on grenades (a sacrificial act common to this award), you already have a higher ratio of Medals of Honor in relation to the number of troops in the combat zone. Today's military (and the number actually fighting) is a lot smaller than in previous wars. Second, this is the first conflict with an all-volunteer professional military. It seems reasonable that volunteers and well-trained professionals would generally conduct themselves better under pressure than conscripts and draftees.

Condolences and respect should go to the family of Mike Murphy and may similar recognition be made of those who have also sacrificed themselves for others. A few of those names include Raphael Peralta, Michael Monsoor, Ross McGinnis, Chris Adlesperger, and many others. Surviving heroes who in earlier wars might have been awarded the Medal of Honor include remarkable individuals like David Bellavia, Brian Chontosh, and Brad Kasal among countless others.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Random Thoughts 10/14/07

  • There's a new Star Trek movie being made; that's number eleven for those of you scoring at home. They are recasting the movie with young, hip actors, which does nothing for me… until now. The role of Scotty the mechanical-miracle working engineer will be played by Simon Pegg. I hate to admit it, but I find Pegg really funny. I'd almost watch this movie just for him, though I'll probably wait a few years until it's on TV (yes, I'm that cheap).
  • Even on his good days, I think Chiefs running back Larry Johnson has 19 million guaranteed reasons to go at half speed. What a miserable mistake it is to invest heavily in a "bad boy" running back when so much of the running game is dependent on the offensive line.
  • Yeah, we know how to win friends and influence people. I put the dog outside this afternoon while everybody took a nap and I watched football and blogged. Sophie proceeded to bark at the neighbors on the other side of the fence for an hour and a half. I think the dog thought she was defending us. But that doesn't mean she won any fans in the neighborhood.
  • I might just have an aneurysm over Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. As if that suddenly made any of that junk propaganda true. *eye roll*
  • I'm 4-1 in my fantasy football league but it looks like I'll be working from behind again tonight and Monday. The cruelest fate is that I've been winning with Tony Romo of the Cowboys, the only team I've never really cared for. I guess I'll have to get over my prejudice and join the rest of the planet in rootin' for the 'boys. Besides, I'm probably due for some bad luck, so we'll see if my team can pull it off.

I'll Fly Coach, Thanks

There's quite some buzz over a new report out by the folks at Popular Mechanics, who ask the question, "Does it matter where you sit in an airplane?"

In spite of everything the FAA has said, it turns out the answer is yes. It's safer to sit in the back.

Popular Mechanics examined every commercial jet crash in the United States, since 1971, that had both fatalities and survivors. The safest seats are consistently in the back and the safest section is the rear cabin, behind the trailing edge of the wings.

Here's a little history, also from PM, on important plane crashes in aviation history.

I'm Back

Sorry I was gone for a few days and busy with the Men's Retreat and church. I'm back now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Inconvenient Judgments

Poor Al Gore.

He's getting ready to win a Nobel Peace Prize (?) for his alarmist global warming movie and the British courts go and slap him down. A truck driver sued the school system over there for showing a movie with partisan political views… and he won. Specifically, the court ruled that the schools had to explain the faults with the movie before they could show it. The nine inaccuracies with which the court had a problem are noted here. For a more comprehensive list of Gore's science fictions by Marlo Lewis, Jr. click here.

Finally, go check out the place where cooler heads prevail for news, blogs, and information concerning the truth about global warming.

Retreating This Weekend

The Men's Retreat starts at 6pm (registration - dinner at 7pm). The registration cost is a $40 donation, so please don't let the cost stop you from coming. The profits from the donations all go to the camp.

We'll be sleeping in the dorm, so bring a bedroll or sleeping bag for the bunks. Hot showers and such will be available.

Contact John F. for carpooling/caravaning up to Mission Lake Christian Camp (it's about an hour and fifteen minute drive from the church). I know of about ten guys going from our church so far; if anyone else is going please contact me.

We'll be done by about 2:30pm Saturday and home by about 4pm.

[Also posted at the Church Blog.]

Diggers on the Wrong Side of the World

I can't claim to be much of a Australian Country Music fan but I thought this song was touching. Beccy Cole lost fan support when she did a Christmas concert for Australian troops ("Diggers") in Iraq, so she wrote a song in response. Cole won several awards for the song this year, which more than made up for the fans that dumped her for going to Iraq.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Family

Here's a shot I thought I'd share of our family from Mom and Dad's 40th Anniversary party.

Those are Shannon's cakes in the foreground; I'm the devilishly handsome one in the background. Thanks everybody for making that a special day!

Sprinting to the New Arena, Part 2

The Day has arrived, Kansas City's new Sprint Center has arrived!

We still don't have an NHL or NBA team to be an anchor tenant. But the list of upcoming concerts seems to be pretty good. Elton John, Rascal Flatts, Van Halen, Garth Brooks, Hannah Montana, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Billy Joel are doing concerts, as well as appearances by the Blue Man Group, WWE wrestling, So You Think You Can Dance, Pro Volleyball, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Add to that some college basketball games and you've certainly got a good start over the next three months.

If only there was more parking to offer. Walking as much as nine blocks through downtown KCMO, strolling by all the bars and strip clubs with my children, isn't exactly a selling point to me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


The KU football team is ranked nationally (#20 in both the AP and Coach's polls).


I'm stunned. And I figured I better make note of it for posterity in case it doesn't happen again.

Cellular Degeneration

I did some checking into the whole iPhone, AT&T, Verizon thing. Long story short: basically all phone companies are evil. Most costumers are willing to pay a lot of money over long term commitments for relatively basic services and almost no recourse if you don't like it. Yuck.

One Verizon customer summed it up as follows:

"Picking a cellular service feels like choosing a presidential candidate... you end up going with the choice which is slightly less nauseating."

I also heard a funny remark concerning crippled phones. Verizon especially likes to take away access to functions your phone could otherwise provide, until you pay for those functions up front or per use (i.e. out the nose). My Motorola e815 has all kinds of bells and whistles, but almost anything beyond talking will cost me 30¢ or more per use. So what would a future half-crippled Verizon iPhone be called? The "iph", as in "you can use this neat gadget iph you can afford to pay for it over and over again."

Random Geeking Out

  • Universities such as Princeton are seeing a large increase in the use of Macintosh computers. 40% of the students and faculty use Macs and as much as 60% of the computers sold on campus were Macintosh. Other universities were cited as seeing increases as well, including Dartmouth, Cornell, and the University of Virginia.
  • Waiting to buy memory for your computer? Your ship has come in. The international price of DRAM has dropped to an all-time low, meaning the prices for memory chips will soon be dropping. Go ahead, you know you wanted to max out your computer!
  • Bungie, the Microsoft video game developer known for the Halo series of games, has become an independent company again. They started out in the early 90's as a Mac game company with classics like Halo-precursor Marathon, which I played constantly in college. Now that they're free of the control of Microsoft, Bungie will be able to develop more great games for the XBox and perhaps for the Mac. The only major game developer that really stands out in my mind as Mac-friendly is Blizzard, the makers of Warcraft.
  • We may have to wait a wee bit longer for a Wii. The family-friendly gaming console by Nintendo has already sold nearly 3 million units so far this year, but the company announced that they expect to be behind demand until next year. I'd love to play video games with my boys, but we're patient and there's lots of other things to do. We're still reading the Chronicles of Narnia which will take us through the end of the year at least.
  • Another gadget I'm eyeing carefully for down the road sometime is the iPhone. I'm a Verizon customer and the iPhone is only available with AT&T. But a Verizon customer support guy told Shannon that the iPhone would be available soon on other carriers, including Verizon! Yeah, right. There doesn't seem to be any truth whatsoever to that rumor, though I'd love to find out differently. My contract is up next year and if the prices drop a bit more, hmmm… my inner-geek is holding on to hope.
  • Here's a neat Easter Egg. Go to and type in "virus" in the website's search field. Funny.
  • Oh yeah, I meant to mention it earlier but October 4, my birthday, is also the anniversary of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik. Sputnik was launched on October 4, 1957, making last Thursday the 50th anniversary of space exploration.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was my folks' 40th wedding anniversary. We surprised them with an afternoon party at the church. Almost everybody we knew came to the party: friends from Winchester and family from out of town, as well as church family and acquaintances from all over. It was wonderful to see these people and have them share in honoring Mom and Dad.

Though my sister, Sonya, was the driving force behind the party, Shannon and I did a lot to prepare for the party too. Shannon made and decorated four cakes (one of which was licked by our dog, Sophie, and had to be thrown out). I made a video slide show and burned it on a DVD. It's not hard to to do (especially on a Mac) but it was a first for me so I had to overcome the learning curve.

Words can't express how thankful we are for our folks. They've touched a lot of lives; they've been good neighbors and citizens and faithful church leaders. The building full of hugs and handshakes yesterday was good evidence for the impact Mom and Dad have had.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Good Luck 'Hawks

KU and K-State play football tomorrow. I found a few t-shirts relevant to the occasion (and yes, these shirts are from the store in Lawrence which KU is suing for selling blue shirts with the word "Kansas").

Good luck tomorrow, K-Staters.

My Other Blog

Don't forget my Church blog. I add updates, reminders, photos, and devotions for and about our church family at Wyandotte County Christian Church. I don't post everyday but I do write a multiple times a week, so check it out frequently.

Red Barn Farm

We took the boys to the Red Barn Farm in Weston, Missouri today. They really seemed to love it! Graham got to pet a pig and Tanner hugged a horse. We saw goats and geese and chickens and turkeys and enjoyed it all.

Here all four boys are shoplifting miniature pumpkins. Actually a tractor was driving by while Dad was trying to get the attention of his boys. The tractor won.

And here Tanner, playing the part of Linus, awaits the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, who delivers toys to good children every Halloween.

Brennan poses for the camera here and… what's that in the background? A red barn! We must be in the right place.

Elijah went skydiving off of hay bails. I have several pictures of the boys playing in the hay and, not having my allergies, they loved it.

The boys couldn't get enough of the animals, even the loud, obnoxious, biting geese. Somehow they managed to get away with forty fingers all intact.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Funny Feeling

I've had a long, quiet day at the office with a few appointments, a lot of reading, and a meeting later this evening. I really appreciate the nice birthday notes and cards I've received via email and snail mail. Thank you so much everybody.

It's funny that I'm so much more conscious of this birthday than last year's. I can hardly remember last year's birthday, when I turned thirty. Yet this year, turning thirty-one, seems momentous for some reason, like it's a significant milestone but I'm not sure why.

I'm glad to be working today–I like what I do. But it has been a bit eerie around here… I can't quite put my finger on it. And I've been in this odd sort of mood–attentive, pensive, and sentimental–for several days now. Hmm…

Tomorrow we're taking the boys to Red Barn Farm in Weston, Missouri. That's a good place for memories to be made and I'm certainly in a memory-making kind of mood.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Conspiratorial Nut Jobs

I got an early birthday present from the loony bin. An unmarked letter warning me about the Jooooz! Seriously, the unsigned letter said that Jews invented slavery and were enslaving us through a complex scheme to raise our taxes and take away our jobs. It called for the removal of all Jewish congressmen and senators and the immediate repayment of $125 trillion from Israel and evil Jewish bankers back to America so we wouldn't have to pay taxes anymore.

Uh… right.

Crazy, mean-spirited, simplistic, racist, backward, nut jobs.

45,000 Hits

We passed 45,000 hits today. Thanks for reading!

I'm also closing in on 1200 posts, which I'll probably pass sometime this month.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Eph 5:18

Drinking alcohol in moderation isn't good for you after all. It turns out that a 21-year study has shown that alcohol consumption has no positive effect on health, contradicting previous studies that said moderate drinking could possibly lower the risk of heart disease. There are multiple studies in recent years that have come to the same conclusion: light to moderate drinking doesn't make you any healthier, while heavy drinking will kill you–one way or another.

So don't drink!

Of course I'm biased as a teetotaler (technically I'm an abstentionist). But even if I wasn't a teetotaler, I'd become one for practical reasons if not theological ones. As a minister/counselor in a city of drinkers, I'm exposed to too much alcohol-induced-grief to take a drink. There so much to lose and so little to gain in our drinking culture. So why bother?

But toughest to convince are the moderate drinkers. Alcoholics know the harm that can come from "just one drink," while teetotalers are already convinced. But moderate, social drinkers sometimes zealously resist any imposed limitations on their drinking. They can be defensive or combative about the subject, desperate to justify their behavior (i.e. "it's for my heart"). And I've experienced moderate drinkers who try to hide their their drinking from me. They'll avoid me, change the subject, and outright fib to the preacher and say they were "sick" when they were actually hungover on a Sunday morning. Is it really "okay" when you have to lie to friends?

I'd like to say that run-ins like this are rare. But in my last ten years of ministry, my experience has proven that every few months I'll be dealing with someone, somewhere with some sort of alcohol problem, with a number of potential alcohol problems lingering on the sidelines.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Day Off

I mowed the yard this morning. I had avoided it for most of September and had begged Shannon not to mow it. I like to mow and I like to do it "my way," particular and meticulously. But I only have one or two chances in a given week to mow the yard and it kept raining on me in September. I'm sure this is the greenest our grass has ever been this time of year, even more so than the very mild summer last year.

So I finally got it mowed and Shannon asked if I could just take the day off. It's my 31st birthday on Thursday and I have appointments and meetings then, so it seemed reasonable to just chill out today. We took the boys for a walk and played in the freshly cut backyard. We watched television and grilled chicken on the deck. It was a nice day off.