Saturday, May 31, 2008

KU in the NBA

The NBA finals start this week featuring the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers. That alone makes it worthwhile for us non-NBA fans to watch the series. But Jayhawk fans should note that KU alum Paul Pierce is the team captain of the Celtics and former Jayhawk Scot Pollard is also on the team.

I don't watch much NBA ball but I have left a few games on this year while I blog or read a book. It's actually a little better than I've remembered it (I pretty much quit watching the NBA when Michael Jordan retired - the second time).

Other NBA notes:
  • Mock drafts are still predicting that Kansas underclassman Darrell Arthur may go in the top half of the first round of the NBA Draft, perhaps at no. 9 Charlotte or no. 16 Philly. Either way there's no way he could turn this down and will likely be the first Jayhawk off the board. The Draft is June 26.
  • Brandon Rush, who's hired an agent and is committed to the NBA, is predicted to go anywhere in the bottom half of the first round. A lot of experts expect that he'll find himself buried on the bench of a good team and possibly get traded early in his career. It would be better for his career to get drafted to a poorer team where there's room for him to start.
  • Nobody knows where Mario Chalmers will be drafted but guesses range from the late first round to mid-second round, with six or seven point guards taken before him. Kansas fans are hoping that this sour news brings him back to Lawrence; Chalmers can withdraw from the draft as late as June 16.
  • K-State's Michael Beasley is somehow being ranked second behind Memphis guard Derrick Rose in about half of the mock drafts. How could the Bulls pass up Beasley? He better be first! Bill Walker is landing in the early second round in a lot of mock drafts but I saw one insider put him in Denver (20th overall).
  • Portland Trailblazers' GM Kevin Pritchard, who was KU's starting point guard on the championship team of '88, has four picks in the draft (13, 33, 36, and 55). Would he add any additional Jayhawks to his team (Raef LaFrentz played there this season)?
  • Some mock drafts are predicting that the Celtics will take Chalmers at the end of the first round and Sasha Kaun with the final pick of the second round. It's not likely but you never know.

Any comments from all of you NBA nuts out there?

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Phone Company Hates You

I have a new phone. It looks like a nice phone. It has some pleasant features. I bet most people would love it.

But I'm stuck with Verizon and Verizon hates its customers.

So I can't load my lengthy contact list, my music, my ringtones, or my pictures without paying Verizon. I already own these things and many of them were already on my old phone. Verizon refuses to let my new phone sync via bluetooth with my laptop. I asked the lady at the Verizon store for help but she didn't have the correct cables. I asked the lady at Nebraska Furniture Mart for help transferring my 200+ contacts and she told me "if you have half a brain you'd just do it manually [instead of paying Verizon for it to be done]."

This makes me very angry with Verizon. It also encourages people to hack their phones illegally. I could spend $10 (and probably 10 hours), void my warranty, violate my user agreement and gain control over my phone. But it shouldn't be necessary to learn a computer programming language to use my new phone!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Random Thoughts 5/29/08

  • Read the great Thomas Sowell talk about how liberals use black people as trophies to show that they're good people. Sowell calls it "mascot politics." Read the article here.
  • Graham is certainly two years old. He's beginning to talk clearly and loves to ham it up around his brothers, but he's also a classic two year old. He's showing a temper and gets frustrated easily. He's reached the point where he needs regular and firm correction or he becomes a holy terror. Most of boys come out of that phase by three and a half, so we're just starting down that road.
  • Even if McCain doesn't pick Bobby Jindal as his VP, he's someone you need to know. His experience and qualifications at such a young age is remarkable. At minimum you need to see his interview with Jay Leno.
  • The NFL Network ran a show this week on the Top Ten Motivational Coaches in NFL history. Interestingly three of the ten, Hank Stram, Marty Schottenheimer, and Dick Vermeil, coached with the Chiefs (and current coach Herman Edwards was given an honorable mention). But if they were so motivational why was Stram the only one to win a championship in KC?
  • Did you hear that this May has been the lowest month for U.S. casualties since the beginning of the fighting in the Iraqi theater? Probably not. The U.S. is also pulling several thousand troops who were part of last year's surge. There's actually quite a bit of good news, but a lot of folks just don't want to hear it.
  • You can't claim the Chiefs don't have enough warm bodies. They have well over 90 players signed to the team right now (in-season rosters are limited to 53 players), including hosts of waiver-wire fodder and rookies. There must be 35 guys or more who are getting their last last-chance with the Chiefs this year. This means a good chunk of the roster will be guys no one has ever heard of.
  • It's almost June and that mean it's time to start thinking about Fantasy Football. That's assuming you stopped thinking about fantasy football (which some of us don't).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sean Hannity at His Best

Here's the best thing I've ever seen or heard from Sean Hannity. It's a well-conceived political platform to which I only wish a candidate was attached. As it stands now, I'll probably "cross party lines" and vote for McCain (better a grizzled moderate than a naive socialist).

Hannity's Top 10 Items for Victory

1) To be the Candidate of National security:
a) Victory in Iraq
b) Fully support NSA, Patriot act, tough interrogations, keeping Gitmo open
c) A Candidate that pledges to NOT demean our military while they are fighting for their Country. eg Harry Reid: "the surge has failed", "the war is lost"
d) Candidate that promises to ensure that our veterans can live out their lives in dignity.

2) The Candidate who pledges to oppose Appeasement:
a) The Candidate will oppose any and all efforts to negotiate with dictators of the world in places like Iran, Syria, N.Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela without "pre-conditions"

3) The Candidate Pledges to support Tax CUTS, and fiscal responsibility:
a) The American people are NOT under taxed, Government Spends too much
b) The Candidate who Pledges to ELIMINATE and VOTE AGAINST ALL Earmarks
c) The Candidate pledges to BALANCE the budget

4) The Candidate Pledges to be a supporter of "Energy Independence"
a) supports Immediate drilling in Anwar and the 48 states
b) Building new refineries
c) Begin building and using Nuclear Facilities
d) expand coal mining
e) realistic steward of the environment
While simultaneously working with private industry to develop the new energy technologies for the future, with the goal being that America becomes completely energy independent within the next 15 years.

5) The Candidate pledges to secure our borders completely within 12 months:
a) build all necessary fences
b) use all available technology to help and support agents at the border
c) train and hire agents as needed

6) Healthcare:
The Candidate will look for Free-Market solutions to the problems facing the Healthcare industry, and will vigorously oppose any efforts to "nationalize healthcare".
a) The Candidate will fight for Individual health savings accounts, that includes "catastrophic insurance" for every American, so people can control their own healthcare choices.

7) Education:
a) The Candidate pledges to "save" American children from the failing educational system
b) The Candidate will fight to break the unholy alliance of the Democratic party and teachers unions, which at best has institutionalized mediocrity, and has failed children across the country
c) fight for "CHOICE" in education and let parents decide
d) fight for vouchers for parents

8) Social Security and Medicare:
a) The Candidate will "save" social security and medicare from bankruptcy.
b) Options will include "private retirement" funds so people can "control" their own destiny.

9) Judges
a) The Candidate vows to support ONLY judges who recognize that their job is to interpret the Constitution, and NOT legislate from the bench.

10) American Dream:
The Candidate accepts as their duty and responsibility to educate, inform, and remind people that with the blessings of Freedom comes a Great responsibility. That Government's primary goal is to preserve, protect and defend our God given gift of freedom.

Governments do not have the ability to solve all of our problems, and to take away all of our fears and concerns. We need their pledge that they will be the candidate that promotes Individual Liberty, capitalism, a strong national defense and will support policies that encourage such...

It is our fundamental belief that limited Government, and Greater individual responsibility will insure the continued prosperity and success for future generations.

We the people who believe in the words of Ronald Reagan, that we are "the best last hope for man on this earth," "a shining city on a hill," and that our best days are before us if our Government will simply trust the American people.

[Thanks to Conservatism With Heart for the heads up.]

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Preachers Shouldn't Blaspheme in Bowling Alleys

We watched There Will Be Blood this evening. Seriously? What was that supposed to be?

This was supposedly one of the great films of 2007 and a modern day classic. It was nominated for eight Oscars and won two. And this is what all the hype was about? Really?

I defy someone to tell me why that movie was so great. Why? Because everyone agreed that it was? Because it was so artsy? It may have been avant-garde but it also needed narration. And coherence. And a different musical score (preferably one with actual music). The ending (and the beginning and the middle) was confusing. It's like a movie that had all the essential plot points edited out to save time and we're left needing the five-hour director's cut version on DVD.

And what was up with the preacher character? Was that supposed to be an authentic Pentecostal-type preacher or maybe a dark parallel character steeped in human ambition? Because it looked like an awkwardly miscast child actor pretending to be older than he really was.

Why did the director keep stopping short of explaining the developments in this "epic" thirty year story arc? I guess we're just supposed to fill in the gaps ourselves; it's so "film school" to force the audience to come up with their own plot and motivations and explanations. How post-modern! Give that film an "A" for obscure nebulosity.

And one more note about the ending: huh? Was that supposed to be compelling? Was it supposed to be a gut-wrenching grab at the truths binding two characters together? It should have been. Instead it was the strangest scene in a bowling alley since Woody Harrelson lost his hand in Kingpin.

Since 91% of the world's critics (according to thought this was pure genius, I'm sure someone can set me straight. But I feel like I'm standing in front of that splatter of paint in the art museum over which everyone else is "having a moment" and all I see is a splatter of paint. Maybe I'm not s'phisticated enough.

Random Thoughts 5/26/08

  • God bless you on this Memorial Day. May you have a profound respect and heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifices that are made for our freedoms. Yesterday I gave a meditation on Cicero's idea of civic militarism – that every citizen should understand and appreciate what the military does, even if you don't serve in it yourself. I believe that Christians especially, can understand this John 15:13 kind of sacrifice.
  • I've posted the Sunday Notes from church yesterday on my church blog.
  • We're staying home today. We're watching a few movies, playing in the yard and playing video games with the kids. With gas prices like they are, we just don't have any desire to get out and go anywhere.
  • My neighbors' BBQ team ranked right in the middle of the pack for each of their foods. Again, the barbecued chicken and their baked beans received the highest marks. If those ribs and that brisket are "middle of the pack" then what must the first place food be like? I'm curious if the winners aren't some goofy gourmet recipe that regular folks wouldn't even like.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

War Movies Unveiled

I watch war movies on two levels. On one level, I see the see the sacrifice and bravery and my spirit soars at the thought of these highest ideals. On another level I read the subtext, the intended meaning of the artists behind the film which may justly be anti-war but more often is anti-military, anti-American, or even anti-virtue. Therefore, with some of my favorite movies I also detest the intention behind them.

Andrew Klavan writes about the cultural influences behind war movies and why, for the most part, they don't make 'em like they used to. He writes, "American artists are adopting European-style cosmopolitanism, which leaves them virtually incapable of depicting warriors as heroes."

This article is hands down the best article I have ever read on the history of cinema (specifically war movies). It's so well-versed in both history and cinema that it pops with insight in every paragraph. If you're fascinated with movies or history or culture, this article is a must read. Klavan put words to what I believe and changed my mind on a couple of smaller points. Read the whole article here.

Great American BBQ

Yesterday we visited our neighbors at the Great American BBQ here in KCK. We're not really there for the carnival or the concerts but our neighbors are part of competitive barbecue team (A House Divided) and enter the BBQ contests. They've also invited us to their private party, i.e. feast.

So after walking around for a few hours we had a late dinner of epic proportions. BBQ brisket and pulled pork, the best ribs I've ever had and corn on the cob was just one portion of the vast spread. How do you know the food is good? When you eat a huge meal of barbecue foods and never think to add any extra sauce. It didn't even occur to me.

Here's what I wrote last year, including comments on the barbecue in KC, our 2007 impressions, our neighbor's results, and a few pics.

Here's a few pics from this year.

Not a real chicken – but don't tell Graham.

Easy Listening

As posted on the church blog:

It's a real pleasure to have a musician in the building.

It's not unusual at all to hear hymns and worship music wafting through the church building any day of the week. And since Jay-rod has been playing guitar, there's often live music in the very next office.

For the last hour, while I'm working, I've been listening to him play Pachelbel's Canon. And now he's in the main room working with part of the worship team, playing Open the Eyes of my Heart and Indescribable.

When I get to heaven, I want a room next to a musician.

Can I Get You to Sleep In?

Our church attendance has been moving in the right direction during my time at Wyandotte. When I came, we varied quite a bit, with between 90 and 120 people on Sunday morning; an attendance of 130 was a big deal then. Then for over the next few years, 130 became common and 145 or higher was a big deal. For the last year a half, 145 or even 150 has been typical. Then we went back to two services…

This last three weeks we've been in the 170's. Some of it is a wave of visitors and some of it is more consistent attendance from our regulars. But it feels like such an affirmation of the things we're trying to do and the church we're trying to be.

What's ironic is when the people are showing up. We were sure that our first service, which starts at 8:30am, would not be attended as well as the 11am service. So much for that idea. First service is packed, while second service appears about half empty. We would put out more seats in first service but it would make second service look worse than it is.

Why aren't more people sleeping in and coming late? Sunday School starts at 10am; you could start your day pretty late and still make both. But instead we have young families, middle aged folks, senior citizens, and even teenagers arriving for the 8:30 service. Go figure – maybe we should offer a 7am service and really pack them in!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Countdown Correction


NBC released their fall schedule and the Office isn't starting up again until September 25. That's about 125 days from now - about a week or two later than expected.

Oh, well.

There's still the History Channel.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fifteen Pound Cat on my Chest

My cat has a weird neediness.

At night, I sometimes dream about being crushed under a car, trapped in an avalanche, or pinned under a boulder and wake up to my house cat lying on my chest. Kala weighs a good fifteen pounds and insists on being near me while I sleep. Though suffocating, it's still better to have her sitting or lying on me than standing. Cats walk on their toes and it's excruciating to have an obese feline tip-toe across your ribcage.

She also likes to sit on my lap while I watch television and she's absolutely pathological about sitting on the edge of the tub, between the two shower curtains, while I shower.

Frankly, it's all a bit much.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Fault Accident

Shannon's dog, Maury, ate my wallet. Seriously. The little furball chewed up my wallet and my debit card while I was in bed sick with a headache.

If it had been my dog, Sophie, she would have banished to the doghouse for a month. But no, Shannon's "little poopsie-whoopsie didn't mean to; no he didn't. Mean ol' daddy shouldn't have left his wallet where Mr. Moe-Moe would be tempted by it. Baaad daddy. Want a doggy treat, my little Maury-poo?"

Meanwhile, I'm using a plastic baggy as a wallet.


Big Oil

Are you sure American oil companies are the bad guys? Before you (or Obama) complain again about Big Oil, read this from Pundit Review.

The short version:
• Oil is 7x more expensive since 2002 but gas is only 3x more.
• Oil companies' "windfall profits" are about the same percentage as any other company.
• They already pay an obscene amount of taxes (before Obama punishes them)…
• And so do you: in every gallon of gas you pay 61¢ in taxes and only 10¢ in oil company profits.

Outside the Wire

I thought I'd mention Outside the Wire again. It's a true pro-troop war documentary, out now, that you can buy on DVD. If you do buy it, let me know; I'd like to borrow it (I don't have a buy-DVDs-on-the-internet budget).

I heard a film historian say the other day that before World War 2, films were mostly positive and painted a rosy picture so that people could escape the harsh realities of real life. After WW2, the filmmakers no longer wanted fantasy but realism, and switched the emphasis of most films from escapism to social activism.

Post Vietnam, films (even the good ones) gloried in the vilification of American soldiers. But slowly the cultural tide is changing…

Monday, May 19, 2008

Big Headache

I'm just recovering from a 30-hour headache. What a miserable experience! I had a lot to do today and accomplished only part of it. Ugh.

I know several others have had a flu bug this last week which included all kinds of symptoms including a headache, but I get headaches from allergies and back pain all the time… so who knows. I'm just glad to be back on my feet.

59,000 Hits?

I've apparently jumped up about 11o0 hits overnight. I'm not sure if I had a sudden increase in traffic (I do appear on Google more easily now) or if someone just hit the refresh button about a thousand times. Who knows?

Thanks for reading anyway!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

58,000 Hits

We must have passed 58,000 hits sometime yesterday. It was a busy and stressful day so I completely missed it but thank you for reading and keeping up with my silly musings. And thanks especially for commenting and leaving your thoughts as well.

God bless!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How Bad Is It?

The Chiefs are likely going to completely revamp their offensive line, the foundation of any team's offense. They'll look at three new starters (including a rookie) and one of the two remaining starters will switch from one position to another.

I just didn't realize exactly how bad the Chiefs' line problems were last year.

According to, "…KC struggled to run block last year, averaging a mere 3.3 yards per carry - 31st in the NFL - there is a lot of room for improvement. The Chiefs also allowed the most QB sacks in the NFL last year, with 55 given up, by the way."

Friday, May 16, 2008

They Call Him the Streak

Graham (two years old) is having trouble… keeping his clothes on. It began with him stripping his clothes off while he was in his bed. Then he began to strip naked while playing upstairs. Today he even stripped to his birthday suit while jumping on the trampoline (we have pictures for blackmail purposes fifteen years from now).

He's been disciplined but the boy loves to be naked!

We're just concerned he'll decide to streak at church or at the top of the McDonald's playground thingy. What can you do?


Only 125 days left until the next episode of the Office

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bring Your Sons to Work Day

I brought Brennan and Tanner with me to work today. Mom had some errands to run so the older boys brought books and a movie and entertained themselves at the church while I worked. They read, watched a movie, ate lunch, played outdoors and generally kept to themselves, with minimal supervision from me.

I'm proud of how responsible and well-behaved they were. They even cleaned up after themselves well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Random Thoughts 5/14/08

  • Have you seen the viral advertisement on YouTube with the guys backflipping into a pair of jeans? It's an advertisement for Levi's, though it gives the impression that it's just a bunch of guys performing stunts. Still impressive, though.
  • The National Guard will be receiving its first UH-72A Lakota helicopters. It's a sleek little aircraft and a rare opportunity for the guard to receive brand new technology, even before the regular army.
  • The Mario Kart video game should be banned. If not for that reason, then surely for this. We don't have the newest version of the racing video game but our family has sure enjoyed the earlier iterations. Yes, it can be frustrating but if the game was always easy and un-challenging, it wouldn't be as fun.
  • The History Channel aired a two-hour special about Dogfights of the Future recently. For an aviation nut, it was pure eye candy. F-22s and F-35s, drones and technology of every sort; it's good stuff.
  • Please feel free to respond to the blog, especially when I ask questions. I enjoy the feedback I get and feel that it adds a lot to the site when we talk back and forth. I'd love to hear from many of you that have never chimed in before.
  • I've been using Google maps a lot recently in my ministry. For both planning and calling it's just about indispensable. I've made a map of every church member's home; how interesting it is to see where everyone lives in relation to one another.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Playing With Sharp Objects

How young is too young to use a sharp knife? In some cultures, children are allowed to handle and use dangerous tools from the time they can walk. I received my first pocketknife on my seventh birthday (I cut my thumb but lived). I let Elijah, when he was three, play with a keychain Leatherman tool while he was in the hospital (he pinched himself but also lived). Recently, to much criticism, I let Brennan (7) and Tanner (6) use my pocketknife under my supervision (no injuries to report).

So what do you think? When is it too early to let a child handle dangerous tools (i.e. knives, guns, power tools, lawn mowers, etc.)?

News from Sunday

Again, here's the note on my church blog about Sunday's services. If you have any questions or suggestions let me know.

Stupid TV

Viewership of network television is dropping fast as more adults find alternate activities to do. Video games and the internet compete with cable television and countless alternate activities to steal away viewers from the big three (plus one) networks. The writers strike was tough blow to the industry as viewers found other things to do during the 100-day hiatus.

In any given season, I have a few choice sitcoms and dramas that I watch. And I still have a few that I'm really loyal to, though most just aren't worth the time anymore.

  • American Idol has reached a point that I can't watch it anymore. It's not that the contestants are bad; I've just lost all desire to watch it anymore. I was already fast-forwarding through 90% of the results show, anything Paula Abdul or Ryan Seacrest had to say, and the first 10 seconds of Simon Cowell (the part where the audience boos him no matter what he says). I just don't care anymore. :-(
  • That was the best season of Survivor ever! Survivor Micronesia got better as it went along, peaking just as the ratings dropped off in the second half of the season. There were multiple injuries, multiple blindsides, and great episodes all around. If every season of Survivor was like this one, the show would run forever. But fewer and fewer people are watching each year.
  • Fox hates me. The Fox network has a long history of programming shows that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole and canceling any kind of show that I enjoy (Firefly, Drive, etc.). Not only does the network set new standards for frivolous drivel, but now they've gone and canceled the one show I did like, Back to You. Maybe another network will pick up the Kelsey Grammar sitcom. Speaking of Firefly, Joss Whedon's next drama, the spy-show Dollhouse, is also airing on Fox. So I fully expect it will probably be an edgy and exciting drama that gets canceled in less than one season. Yes, I'm that pessimistic.
  • Scrubs got canceled by NBC, which has always seemed to hate the show. They moved it around and wouldn't promote it, even though Scrubs' ratings were up 17% since the strike. So why can some absolutely worthless reality shows get a chance, season after season, but a clever and popular sitcom must scratch to survive? Oh well, one man's junk is another man's treasure – ABC will air 18 new episodes of Scrubs next season.
  • Jim, just propose to her already! It's killing us (in a good way).
  • Jericho, the story of a post-apocalyptic Kansas town that didn't seem very post-apocalyptic or Kansan, is dead. CBS canceled it. Again. I didn't watch the second season, it was just too brain-dead for me. It became a conspiracy theory soap opera. No thanks.

Friday, May 09, 2008

TV Trivia Challenge

For you Google nuts out there, this should take only a moment or two; for you TV sitcom fans, you may be able to answer this one instantly.

Q. What do Vera Peterson, Maris Crane, and Stanley Walker all have in common?

And you can thank television producer, director, writer and legend James Burrows for all three characters. His current show is Back to You with Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton.

Random Thoughts 5/9/08

  • Graham's favorite word now is "diarrhea." He says it a lot and it's hilarious. The older three boys have been saying, "ah-naw-shus." It's how they say obnoxious and apparently they're authorities on the subject.
  • Did you know that the same guy who created the video game Super Mario Bros. also invented Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and dozens of other popular games? Shigeru Miyamoto has worked for Nintendo for decades, creating some of the best selling video games in history. Mario Kart, Star Fox, Super Smash Bros., F-Zero, Metroid Prime, Wii Sports, and Super Mario Galaxy are just a few of the 84 games Mr. Miyamoto has worked on as either the designer, director, or producer. There's probably never been a game designer so prolific.
  • Speaking of video games, we bought Brennan and Tanner Super Smash Bros. Brawl last week. We traded in some old games and used some in-store credit to get the game for $9 and change ($49 originally). Not bad! It was such a good deal that I'm eyeing all of current games, waiting to pounce on any title that isn't holding it's own. If the kids don't play it, trade it!
  • There may be tens of thousands of dead people (and perhaps a lot more) in Burma and all that Al Gore can see… is political opportunity. Various blogs and news outlets are all over him on this, citing that Gore claims "Global Warming is forcing ocean temperatures to rise, which is causing storms, including cyclones and hurricanes, to intensify." But the actual data shows that the oceans and global temperatures are cooling right now, therefore global warming could not have killed those people in Burma.
  • The Navy will name a new destroyer after Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy. This will be the second destroyer to be named after a recent Medal of Honor recipient, one for a Marine and one for a Navy SEAL.
  • Don't wash your dog and then mow your yard and then put the clean wet dog out in the wet moist grass clippings. All the white parts on the dog turn green. Oops.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Warship By Any Other Name

The Navy is weird.

I've been reading about Navy ships a lot recently (thanks to the History Channel's miniseries Battle 360) and I think the Navy might be too bound to traditional names for things. You see they can't seem to agree on how to classify their ships.

Starting small, some navies have corvettes but Americans don't. Or at least we don't call them that. We're designing the first of a new kind of ship, the Littoral Combat Ship, which will take the place of our frigates but does a lot of the close-in-to-shore work that corvettes and large cutters. A cutter, by the way, is a coast guard ship that ranges from 65' to over 300' in length and sometimes over 2000 tons displacement. So basically any big ship painted orange and white is a cutter.

Which bring to mind the use of the word "ship." Apparently, no large vessel is ever called a boat. Boats are little things that can be launched from a ship. Unless of course you're talking about a submarine, in which case even a ballistic missile sub the size of a WW1 battleship is still called a "boat."

Frigates are popular with some navies but the American Navy was confused for years about whether a frigate should be smallish or huge. In the end, our frigates are to be smallish, though they've grown to twice the size of a WW2 frigate. The Navy obviously needs numerous smaller, cheaper ships, but they seem intent on not calling them "frigates." So in the future we'll have LCS and HSV and all kinds of other small, fast, specialized ships.

The next ships, getting bigger as we go, should be destroyers, cruisers, and battleships. Destroyers have also grown significantly, from something like a coast guard cutter to a monstrosity twice as long and fifteen times as heavy. How can a fifteen thousand ton, $3 billion warship be called a little ol' "destroyer?" Tradition!

The term cruiser is too widely used to unpack here. But cruisers vary from the 300 foot, 6,000 ton Maine (remember the Maine?) to the 800 foot, 30,000 ton battlecruiser Alaska, which was almost indistinguishable from a battleship. Today's guided missile cruisers and guided missile destroyers are almost the same size, but future cruisers may be the size of WW1 Dreadnought battleships so why not just call them that?

To make it easier for us land-lubbers, let's call the small LCS ships "destoyers," the DDX ships "cruisers" (which they are really) and if we can afford to ever build a larger, guided missile DDX-style ship then lets call it a "battleship." It would be simple; it would make sense. The sizes of the ships would even line up historically. But in one word there's a reason why the Navy is highly unlikely to reclassify all of their ships: tradition!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Summer Movies (and Beyond)

Iron Man is taking the theater-going crowds by storm, setting box office records and apparently I'm the one who hasn't seen it. In fact, for all my movie watching, I just don't make it to the theater very often at all – maybe two or three times each year.

That's not to say that I'm not interested; it's just so expensive to take a family to the theater. If I wait six months, I can watch it for a few dollars. If I wait a year or two I can probably watch it for free.

Here's a short list of exciting movies that will be released soon:

  • now - Iron Man
  • 5/16 - Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • 5/22 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • 6/27 - Wall•E
  • 7/18 - Dark Knight
  • 8/15 - Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated)
  • 11/21 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • 2/13 - Valkyrie
Some of these movies I'm really eager for (like Wall•E), while others I'm just eager to support (like the Narnia movies). There are several films that I'm not as excited about but will still make a point to see eventually, like Mongol, Kung Fu Panda, Get Smart, Hancock, and many others.

Our Very Own Tom Brady?


The News
Adam Schefter of the NFL Network is reporting that the Chiefs believe Tyler Thigpen is good enough to challenge Brodie Croyle for the starting job this summer.

Our View
We know Thigpen made some good impressions as a third-string rookie, but it's pretty tough to believe he'll step up to a starting gig before Week 1. We'll see if he actually shows any signs of unseating Croyle once training camp begins.

Thigpen was a rookie free agent last year, but the underwhelming Brodie Croyle is vulnerable. The question is whether the Chiefs could possibly develop their own quarterback, regardless of which one it is. For over a generation now, the Chiefs have almost exclusively relied upon veteran free agents at QB (Croyle and 1983's Todd Blackledge being the main exceptions).

Interesting note #1: all four Chiefs quarterbacks went to college in their home states (Washington, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). It may not mean much, but not one of them (Damon Huard, Thigpen, practice squad vet David Greene, and Croyle) were recruited away from home.

Interesting note #2: Chiefs' QB David Greene (from Georgia) and Brodie Croyle (from Alabama) were both picked 85th overall in consecutive drafts (2005 by the Seahawks and 2006 by the Chiefs). Greene has bounced from practice squad to practice squad, while Croyle has been a part time starter. By the way, Huard was undrafted as a rookie and Thigpen was drafted in the seventh round by the Vikings but cut.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Show Notes?

I've started a new feature on my church blog where I'll make notes about that previous Sunday. I'll report on sermons, attendance, noteworthy events, etc. – whatever seems relevant that week.

It might become a good place to provide links to resource materials on the net and generally provide reporting on what happened. Radio shows who blog like this call it their "show notes." I'll just call them "Sunday notes" until a better name comes along.

By the way, I missed taking a nap Sunday afternoon but slept ten hours that night. That's long for me; I was emotionally exhausted after a six-hour Sunday morning.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Successful Two Services

We had our first Sunday of our new worship schedule yesterday. It went really well! We had more than 90 people in each service, with about 170 total (we had some folks in both services). That's pretty good, because we only average about 140-150.

We didn't have any major hitches at all and we even ended our services right on time (we had to reduce them from 90-95 minutes down to 80 without really cutting anything). Sunday School is slightly shorter, which will complicate things for the classes that have a regular rhythm to what they do, but it's a minor adjustment.

All in all, the transition has been smooth and uneventful. Thanks so much to the people who helped make things work, especially the nursery workers, communion helpers, and worship team, not to mention our folks who do so much behind the scenes.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Kansas City (and south of here) is under a frost advisory for tonight and Sunday morning. South Dakota, I heard, is experiencing blizzard conditions.

Seriously. It's May already, Al. C'mon and give us some global warming!

Actually, scientists were saying this last week that they were worried that people won't take man-made global warming seriously because we may be entering a 10-year global cooling period. Ya think?

Dave Ramsey in KC

Dave Ramsey is in Kansas City today and he gave a short interview to the local news, talking primarily about tax rebate checks and economic stimulus package.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Aviation Eye Candy

Here's a few aviation pics I found interesting:

This is the Army's new recon helicopter, the ARH-70A, that will replace the old OH-58 Kiowa Warriors. Notice the optics are mounted under the chin instead of on a mast above the rotors. I've heard this machine is having a lot of teething problems converting it from a civilian design to military uses. So much for saving money…

Here's a great shot of a World War 2 era P-38 Lightning and the new F-35 Lightning II side by side. I don't think the Lightning is that great of a name, but both planes are great in and of themselves.

And here's a new photo of the lastest version of the F-35, the first production model of the STOVL version of the plane. It can take off and land vertically like a Harrier and will be the primary version that the British will purchase.

I Have TiVo…

…so I can fast-forward through Paula Abdul.

Thank you, TiVo. Thank you.