Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Lock-in Live Blog (08-09)

5:51pm - Final preparations are being made. Joe and Cherie and Jay-rod have been working hard all day. The kids will arrive in just over two hours. I'll blog as things happen!

7:10pm - Pick up is at 6am. Scary, huh? It's worse if you haven't slept at all!

7:37pm - Kids are starting to arrive. The charge at the door is $5 per student, but it's not like we'd turn anyone away!

8:11pm - People are still showing up. The band has been warming up–which is fun to listen to. We're going to play some ice breakers here in a bit, then it's worship at 9pm.

8:30pm - On the one hand, we have a great adult-to-student ratio. On the other hand, we have a much smaller crowd than in years past. We've often had upwards of 80 or 100 students and we're looking at less than half of that number tonight. That said, we have huge number of adults that are ready to have fun!

8:37pm - Zach B., the youth minister from Wallula, is starting some big ice-breaker-type group games. He's a lot of fun.

9:24pm - The kids are having a lot of fun. So much so, that we're starting worship late. But we are starting with Jarod, Cory, and Eric on guitar, Phil on bass, Jake on drums and Becky singing.

10:09pm - I just finished a devotion on authenticity from Luke 21:34. Jarod is continuing worship as I type this, then we'll eat and play more games.

10:29pm - Tacos!

11:54pm - The kids are playing ultimate frisbee, video games, ping pong, and just hanging out.

12:00am - Happy New Year! January 1, 2009 May God bless all of you.

12:01am - Okay, back to frisbee and basketball and lots and lots of Mt. Dew!

1:28am - We've been playing dodge ball for awhile now. It's so much fun! The adults are involved and holding up well against these young kids. I've also learned to play Sequence, which I've never played before.

2:15am - Dodge ball is over and the basketball tourney has started in earnest. A few people are getting a little sleepy eyed, but the kids playing Guitar Hero and Mario Kart are going strong.

3:49am - The kids (and adults) are holding up surprisingly well. I've been playing marathon games of Sequence and there seems to be a diverse assortment of activities still buzzing along. I think ending at 6am makes the night seem much shorter.

4:30am - One of the last places in the world where it's still 2008? American Samoa! It's only 11:30pm there; that seems cool this time of morning. Jarod and Zach are organizing a game of "human foosball." You sit in chairs set in a pattern like a foosball table. You can't leave your chair while you play a game of soccer. It's silly fun at this hour of the morning especially.

5:08am - We're winding down, just fifty minutes left (officially). I'm at the end of my rope, not feeling too well at all (my family is home sick; I hope I don't have anything). The evening went really fast thanks to Jarod Anderson's good schedule. Thanks go to all the adults that stuck it out through the night and those who helped behind the scenes. Finally, thanks to all the parents that let us have their kids through the night. God bless.

Random Thoughts 12/31/08

  • Check out who stole the website from the leftist hippies. It's hard not to laugh at that one.
  • Here's that video about Penn Jillette that I used in church Sunday morning.
  • There's a real increase in the number of open global warming doubters, who are usually not received well by the dogmatists. It'll be interesting to see if these brave souls in the mainstream media get strung up for their heresy.
  • I guess this means the war is over… [thanks]
  • Did you know the last company to make VHS tapes has ceased production. Hmmm… That said, did you notice the (lack of) quality the last time you actually watched a VHS tape? It's scary compared to a digital format.
  • The Israeli Army has its own Youtube channel. Seriously.
  • Victor Davis Hanson talks change and Obama.
  • The crazy Russian prof who has been predicting the break up of the United States is still at it. He says we'll have a civil war next year and the U.S. will break into six pieces in 2010, with Alaska going back to the Russians. Sure. Whatever. He says his info comes from classified data (he's a former KGB analyst). I think this shows just how poorly the Russians have understood the U.S. and Western Civilization in general. They don't get democracy, our Constitution, capitalism and the Protestant work ethic, American liberalism (the good kind) or anything about what makes us us.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Entertainment in 2008

  • The best recent film I saw in 2008: this was a good year for animated films, with WALL-E and Kung Fu Panda, but the Batman movie, The Dark Knight, might be the most stunning film of the few I saw in 2008. I also enjoyed Iron Man, Leatherheads and Cloverfield, for completely different reasons.
  • The best classic film I saw in 2008: perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Double Indemnity (1944), The Searchers (1956), or Where Eagles Dare (1968). There are so many really good films out there, it's hard to choose.
  • The worst film I saw in 2008: it's a close call between Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), Tom Jones (1963), and All That Jazz (1979). All of these are award-winning films but were painfully unwatchable. It just shows that there's no accounting for taste, mine or the experts. I should also note that I'm decidedly picky when it comes to new films, in order to bypass a lot of the time-wasting cinematic dross. So the worst stuff I see is the boys' movies and classic films that didn't stand the test of time.
  • Recent films I wanted to see in 2008 but will have to rent in 2009: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Speed Racer, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Incredible Hulk, Hellboy II, Tropic Thunder, An American Carol, Madagascar 2, Slumdog Millionaire, and Valkyrie.
  • Films I had no intention of seeing in 2008 and may never bother with (and why): The Day the Earth Stood Still (Al Gore does sci-fi, again), W. (Oliver Stone never lets the truth get in the way of a good story, even when he's trying to be sympathetic), Milk (all gay activists are persecuted and noble, don't you know), and any movie with "saw," "high school musical," "traveling pants" or "chihuahua" in the title.
  • Films I didn't expect to see or like in 2008 but did: Hairspray (2007), The Good Earth (1937), and Kagemusha (1980). Hairspray completely blind-sided me; I never saw that one coming. The other two, the former about Chinese peasants and the latter about a Japanese warlord, I reluctantly watched based on recommendations and thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Best supporting hamster in a film: Rhino from Disney's Bolt.
  • Best television show in 2008: NFL Films Presents. This has been their best season but they make you work to find when it airs each week (middle of the night or middle of the day requires a TiVo). Chuck, Mythbusters, and the last two seasons of Survivor ("Fans/Favorites" and "Gabon") were also great.
  • Most disappointing television show in 2008: The dismal wanderings of Heroes, which has struggled going all the way back to the finale of season one. I really wanted to like that show but at least it is undergoing a major overhaul this spring.
  • Best non-fiction book I read in 2008: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.
  • Books I wanted to read in 2008 but will have to read in 2009: The Shack, Arden's annotated Macbeth, How Football Exlpains America, and The Forgotten Man. That and the growing stack of 25 or 30 books that have begun to tower over me while I've been watching those classic movies.
  • Best Game I played in 2008: With Mario Galaxy, Boom Blox, World of Goo, and Mario Kart Wii, the competition is pretty stiff. But the game I most enjoyed was the Gamecube's Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which I played on the Wii. Seriously, Wind Waker was really that good.
  • Best Game that made me think: Even after teaching my boys to play Tetris on the Wii, World of Goo was the best puzzle game I played in 2008.
  • Best live performance I saw in 2008: Once again, there's no competing with the first class productions and five-star gourmet food of the New Theatre in Overland Park. We go a few times per year every year if we can. It's hard to beat an evening at the "theatre" like this.
  • Nerdiest entertainment of 2008: My newly acquired Rubik's cube skills. Other than Battlestar Galactica, nothing says "hopeless geek" like solving the cube!
  • My best entertainment experience: Watching the Kansas Jayhawks win the Orange Bowl and win the NCAA basketball Championship within three months of each other. That was awesome (and probably won't happen again anytime soon).

Football Fantasies and Nightmares

  • The Chiefs finished 2-14. Wow, that's really, really bad. Most years that's bad enough for the first pick in the NFL draft the following April. But this year the Chiefs were outdone in their ineptitude by the 0-16 Detroit Lions and the 2-14 St. Louis Rams, who faced worse competition and still did that poorly. So the Lions pick first, then the Rams second, and the Chiefs pick third.
  • Chiefs Trivia: Who was the Assistant Head Coach of the Chiefs this season? Dick Curl. Really.
  • The Chiefs are 6-26 in the last two seasons, and 8-30 since winning on Thanksgiving Day 2006, one of the last times Kansas City was on national television. Here in KC, they haven't blacked out the games so we're still stuck watching the Chiefs flail about helplessly.
  • I won my fantasy football auction league. I drafted Michael Turner, Calvin Johnson, and Greg Jennings, along with a diverse supporting cast to win the league. The secret to my success? I kept forgetting about it. The auction league was my "second" league, so I kept forgetting to change my lineup, i.e. second-guess myself. I ended the season on a nine-game winning streak during which I made perhaps two or three lineup adjustments.
  • In my other league, my main fantasy football league, I finished 11-6 and made the playoffs on the strength of Jay Cutler, Calvin Johnson, TJ Houshmanzadeh, Matt Forte, and Brian Westbrook.
  • It looks like next year the NFL is moving the Pro Bowl to Miami and playing it the week before the Super Bowl. What?! I can't see how any of the players on those Super Bowl teams would dare to play in even a pretend football game just days before the biggest game of their lives. The NFL wants the Pro Bowl to be less anticlimactic. I'm not sure that's possible.
  • Chiefs Trivia: Which '08 Chiefs assistant coach severely broke his leg in one of the most famously gruesome Super Bowl injuries ever? Tim Krumrie, Bengals, Super Bowl XXIII.
  • KU plays in a Bowl Game for the second straight year… and I'll miss it. The game is on NFL network New Year's Eve. I'll be at the church at a lock-in and the church doesn't get that channel.
  • The NFL is finally talking about limiting rookie salaries. That's a good thing. Let that money go to proven veterans instead. The only drawback: a glut of underclassmen who will leave school early before the rule goes into effect a year or two from now.
  • Local talk radio callers are dreaming of Bill Cower or Bob Stoops being the next Chiefs coach. Sure. Why not hold out for Vince Lombardi to come back from the dead and be our coach. Then we'll get Johnny Unitas to throw to Don Hutson, with Jim Brown in the backfield. Somehow I doubt the Chiefs' new GM will pull off anything so grand. It's possible there could be a big splash but it's not likely.
  • There are rumors that Marty Schottenheimer may go back to the Cleveland Browns to coach. I'm still trying to figure out how San Diego ever fired him.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Random Boxing Day Thoughts 2008

  • Happy British class system reinforcement day. Go to and get the scoop on Boxing Day. While there you can check out the veracity of those last few email forwards you received.
  • Iraq has declared Christmas an official state holiday. Why does it feel like Iraq is going in the right direction and the U.S. is going in the wrong direction?
  • Speaking of Iraq, did you know that the number of Americans killed by hostile fire has been LESS than the non-hostile deaths (accidents and disease) for the last six months? All deaths in Iraq are counted as casualties of war, but for several months now there have been more car accidents and heart attacks killing Americans in Iraq than IEDs. And overall, that's a good trend!
  • KU is struggling a bit this season but they still look good to Jeff Withey. The 7-foot freshman will transfer from Arizona, begin classes, and be eligible to play for the Jayhawks in December '09 as a redshirt freshman. See, the trip to Arizona wasn't a complete waste after all.
  • Everybody needs Fred Thompson to set them straight about the economy. Funny, sarcastic, and snarky.
  • My kids are now armed and dangerous; they each received a nerf gun for Christmas. Within 10 minutes, I'd already been shot in the eye and most of the boys had cried foul at being stung by the high speed little darts. I'm seriously considering buying them safety goggles.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Scroogery

I recently saw a video of Garth Brooks' "Belleau Wood" (1998), a stirring Christmas-y song based on a true story about soldiers in World War One singing "Silent Night" on Christmas. The song is right up my alley, combining military history and religion; very moving, very sentimental.

And totally wrong.

1. The real Christmas truces of World War 1 were between the Germans and the French/British.
2. These truces occurred before the Americans arrived, in the early years of the war.
3. There were no snowflakes at the Battle of Belleau Wood. The Germans and Americans fought there in the month of June.
4. The theology of the song is worse than its history. "Heaven's not beyond the clouds/It's just beyond the fear/No, heaven's not beyond the clouds/It's for us to find it here." Really? What is that even supposed to mean?

There you go: another wipe-a-tear-away song ruined by the facts. My work here is done.

Merry Christmas and Happy Incarnation.

From Brit to Bret

This is the end of an era.

I was discouraged to hear that Brit Hume is retiring from his show, Special Report, on Fox News. Hume has been my favorite anchorman by a country mile and I have especially enjoyed his show's political analysis (the serious side) and humor. I regularly Tivo Special Report to watch later because it's that good.

Hume will be replaced by Bret Baier and will serve as Fox's senior political analyst.

The Recession Killed Narnia

According to reports, evil Disney is backing out of the third Narnia film, which was already in pre-production.

Walden Media will try to get another studio, perhaps Fox, to spend the money on Voyage of the Dawn Treader, easily the most visually appealing of the films (and potentially most expensive–ships and dragons aren't cheap).

If Fox won't put up the $200+ million for the film, the whole franchise could go under with only two of the seven films completed.

We get five "Saw" slasher films and the big-screen version of every lame sitcom in the last forty years, but somehow we can only muster two Narnia films? Life isn't fair.

Wii Online

Tanner received Mario Kart Wii for his birthday last week, and we've been enjoying it.

You can play Mario Kart online with your friends if you have their ID code. Our codes are:
Jared: 3824-2570-1339
Brennan: 1290-2263-1418
Tanner: 3437-7099-6335

You can also send messages and trade Mii characters online with your Wii. If you want to have our Wiis communicate with each other, we need to trade Wii numbers; the Altic Wii number is: 3535 7852 6650 1006

I think having our Wii connected to the internet makes a big difference. I get the local weather, the news, info-videos on new video games, etc., etc. on my Wii and friends have sent me Miis that they've made. Today I bought a new wireless router, which we hope will be more dependable than the old one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome to Football, Son

And just like that… they like football!

I had borrowed the Wii version of the Madden '09 video game from Jay-rod to try it out. [As long as you can trust your friends (and their kids?) to take care of your stuff, borrowing video games is a good way to see if you want to buy these games and possibly save yourself a lot of money.]

Well, to my surprise, Brennan and Tanner wanted to play. They don't even watch football! At times, I wonder if they can even identify football vs other sports. But the Wii version of this game has a feature called "All-Play" that simplifies the controls and a game mode which is a simple, backyard-style 5-on-5.

Brennan and Tanner ate it up. Sacks, interceptions, touchdowns, and fumbles rained down; they hooted and hollered, got mad and frustrated and did victory dances, all the while asking me for clarification on terms and rules. They learned more football in one hour than they did in seven years of me trying to get them interested in my favorite sport.

This begs the question: which sports/games have you learned solely by playing them virtually?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Church Christmas Schedule

I just thought I'd better give a reminder to everyone about the church schedule over the next few days:

Xmas Party - 10am in my Sunday School class (upstairs). Bring a $5-10 wrapped gift that you would want for yourself.
Ordination for Collin R.- We'll give Collin our blessing for ministry at the beginning of second service. Collin's family will host an open house in his honor in their home from 2-4pm.
Xmas Program - this year's Christmas program is on Sunday night. Please join us beginning at 6pm.

Caroling - leave from the church at 6:15pm. Bring cookies for fellowship before and/or after.

No WFN - there will be no services on Christmas eve this year.

Office Closed - I'll be in town and on-call all week, but out of the office on Thursday. Call me if you need anything.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Smart Christmas

This chapel sermon at Bible college shows why Bible college training is so important for ministers.

This same sermon is also reason #4279 why I love Ozark Christian College and the training it provides.

Listen carefully. Listen twice. And…

Happy Incarnation!

…and Go Santa!

Random Thoughts 12/19/08

  • Were you wondering what films were being praised by professional film critics? Me neither. But here's a good collection of year end film lists. Most of these films are pretty depressing fare, or so I've heard, but there are a few good words for films like WALL-E and Ironman.
  • You've also been asking for a short history lesson on Muslim piracy (like today's Somali pirates) from the U.S. Naval Institute… well, here you go.
  • Thanks, David T., for pointing out the obvious with my stereo input, 3.5mm jack issue. It worked like a charm and I can't believe I didn't think of the obvious solution, especially when I did the exact same thing a couple of years ago with my office stereo. Oh, yeah… now I remember.
  • Did you see the X-47B? It's a robot jet fighter, or more technically, a UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle) for the Navy. It's stealthy, can take off and land from aircraft carriers, can refuel mid-air, and fight on its own. Wow. Very Sci-fi.
  • Tanner's birthday was yesterday; what a good day we had! One of his gifts was Mario Kart Wii, which has already turned out to be an even better game then I expected. Besides that, four-player games go over well in our house with dad and the older three boys playing together–lots of fun on days when it's 10º outside!
  • We're losing daylight! Call Al Gore!
  • Global warming, er… I mean Climate Change logic explained.
  • Chad Meyers probably won't have a job at CNN after uttering sacrilege and blasphemies on air. RECANT YOU HERETIC!!!
  • Let's see a helicopter do that! If you like aviation, the CV-22 Osprey is beyond cool.
  • …and they'll keep counting until Al Franken (D-SNL) wins.
  • Component video cables for the Wii at the store: $20-50. Component video cables for the Wii (off-brand) on eBay: $6.27 with free shipping.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ding, Dong Meanies

Leave it to the nice people to suddenly come out of the woodwork and make the rest of us feel bad.

I waited two whole days before planting my foot triumphantly on the rotting corpse of Carl Peterson's tenure as Chiefs' GM/President/CEO/Saboteur and merely asking for tears not to be shed as justice had indeed been done.

But then nice people, draped in the flag of nostalgia, start saying nice things about Carl Peterson, reminding everyone that Peterson is largely responsible for everything good about the Chiefs in the last twenty years.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What We Still Don't Know

It's been said that the path to wisdom is to admit you don't know everything.

That's hard to do… especially if you're a scientist and it's your job to answer the mysteries of life.

But the truth is there's a lot of stuff we just don't know. We don't know why the climate changes. We don't know why the dinosaurs died or how stars work. We just don't. We have theories; and some of those theories will turn out to be true. But a lot of them won't. It is amusing to see scientists and other folks who are supposed to have answers, (refuse to) admit that they don't know. For example:

  • An AP story this week claimed that Obama had little time left to curb global warming. It turns out that's not the case, rather it's hysterical propaganda. More here.
  • The sun's effects on the Earth's atmosphere are still mysterious and relatively unknown. But from the same source, check out the close-minded dogmatism that the sun cannot possibly cause global warming.
  • For thirty years, we've been told that an asteroid, six-miles across, hit the Yucatan peninsula and killed the dinosaurs. Maybe not. Perhaps it was volcanoes. We don't know.

Ding, Dong… Chiefs Edition

In the words of my mother-in-law (a huge Chiefs fan):

"Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead."

Carl Peterson resigned after Sunday's loss (the Chiefs are second worst in the NFL at 2-12; the 0-14 Lions also fired their GM). The reign of King Carl is over! This is exactly what I'd been wanting for years now: it appears that Carl Peterson will be gone but Herm Edwards may get one more chance. Perfect!

Why is Carl Peterson such a big deal? Gunther Cunningham found out he was fired as head coach by surfing the internet and seeing that Peterson had hired Dick Vermeil. Peterson personally ran off talented players like John Tait and Jared Allen, bumbled the exit of Trent Green, invested in the wrong players at the wrong times like Larry Johnson, Bam Morris, and Tamarick Vanover, and drafted horribly in recent years.

How poor a draft selector could Carl Peterson be when he selected the likes of Derrick Thomas and Tony Gonzalez? Of the six drafts between 2000 and 2005, which should be the veteran core of the team right now, there are precisely three players remaining. Larry Johnson, Derrick Johnson and the punter Dustin Colquitt. That's it. Larry is overpaid and oft-suspended, Derrick is under-achieving, and Colquitt is a punter!

In the end, no matter how well the Chiefs fared in the 90's (with no Super Bowls, mind you), the Chiefs are one of the worst teams in the NFL for two years running and have been seriously flawed for the better part of a decade. Someone has to be responsible for this. And the Hunt family has not held Carl Peterson to the same standards that every other GM in the NFL has been held to.

Yes, let the joyous news be spread, The wicked Old Witch at last is dead!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Looking Deeper Than Qualifications

I received two more resumés today for our open youth minister position.


What I'm realizing is that the hiring process, at this point, isn't very satisfying. A few of these guys might be fantastic assets to the ministry here and wonderful additions to our church family… but I can't tell from most of their resumés.

How disappointing this whole process seems.

The reality is that we're not just hiring an employee. This is something more like taking applications for a new family member. How do you interview for a brother or a friend? There is necessarily an emotional aspect to this because this isn't just a job, it's an invitation to a set of relationships.

And more specifically, it's a an invitation to a partnership with me personally. I wonder how small business owners find a new partner to invest 50/50 in the family business? Not a mere employee but someone who is going to significantly contribute to the tone and atmosphere of everything I do. There's no resumé that tells me how much I can trust a guy.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Random Thoughts 12/15/08

  • It's just three more days until Tanner's 7th birthday and I'm so excited for him. Of all our kids, he's most likely to step aside for others. He'll defer on what show they watch or what game they play and he's so quick to share anything he has. So I'm eager to give Tanner gifts and make a big fuss over him; that sweet boy deserves it.
  • Speaking of presents: I've completed not only my Christmas shopping but also my "Christmas gift distribution and tracking spreadsheet." I did the wrapping this year and instead of to/from labels, I marked each present with a number. The numbers are then entered into my spreadsheet where I can sort by number, recipient's name or type of gift. It's organized and the kids leave the presents alone because they don't which presents belong to which kid.
  • Brennan has begun writing in the Matoran alphabet. That's the language of his toy Bionicles. He wrote his name in Matoran on his Sunday School worksheets this week. The kid is a little different.
  • Great little article here on the Church of Al Gore. Speaking of which, the high temperature today was 9ºF. That's cold. And my new KU beanie doesn't even begin prevent frozen earlobes.
  • Speaking of KU, it's tough to see the Jayhawks lose games largely due to inexperience and youth. But that's okay, they're still an exciting team to watch, especially while the Chiefs and Royals are awful.
  • Bill O'Reilly is quitting radio. His show, the Radio Factor, ends in couple of months so O'Reilly can focus on his TV show. I've never liked his radio show at all, though it's been a top-10 rated show, but it came on after Rush Limbaugh so I often had him bloviating in my office while I work. O'Reilly is much better on television anyway, where he's one my all-time favorite Libertarians, including: John Stossel, Dennis Miller, Thomas Sowell, Penn Jillette and Matt Drudge.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I'm trying to catch up on the backlog of sermons that need to be edited, adjusted, converted to MP3 and posted on the church's sermon blog.

One of the sermons I've posted is a favorite of mine. It's not a particularly well-preached sermon, you can hear a bit of my stuttering and speech impediments, but as a father who's about to have a daughter this sermon touches my heart.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Watch Party

We'll have a football watch party at the church this Sunday (12/14) at 7pm. Everyone is invited.

The game is the Giants @ the Cowboys, 7pm this Sunday. There's no charge; please bring snacks and/or drinks. We may provide some food but that's not been decided yet. Please contact us Sunday afternoon to find out for sure.

We will have Wi-Fi access, our Fantasy Football Trophy on display, a 15-ft screen with huge speakers, and lots of fun and fellowship.

This is our trial run for the Super Bowl Party, which can now (legally) be held in churches!

Boeing, Boeing, Gone

We went to the New Theatre last night and, for the first time, we were less than impressed.

The food was fantastic, perhaps the best we've ever had. And there's not a bad seat in the house, though I prefer the middle to the sides. But the show was just so-so.

Boeing Boeing
is the longest running French play in the world. It's a hit on Broadway right now. It's made into a movie three times, once starring Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis. But it's just not that funny. It was embarrassingly racy and not that compelling. I kept thinking that they needed a lot less groping and kissing and little more plot.

The Kansas Star said, "The Broadway revival of "Boeing Boeing" earned two Tonys in NYC this year, but good timing won the New Theatre a lucky break with the licensing. The show is bawdy but not dirty, raucous but not raunchy, and incredibly enjoyable." We didn't enjoy it as much as the Star.

In fact, it was the first time we have ever left New Theatre unexcited and most of the guests seemed equally unenthusiastic. We'll go back for other productions, but we'll not recommend Boeing, Boeing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Like Clockwork?

Apparently, youth ministers only apply for new jobs on Wednesdays.

Last week, about this time, I received three applications for the ministry position at our church and this morning I discovered two more. I was little disappointed not to receive anything at all last Friday and over the weekend and Monday and Tuesday – I was starting to wonder what was wrong – but obviously these things come in bunches in the middle of the week.

It's also been interesting to note that these applicants (and other interested parties) represent seven different states, from the Midwest to the East Coast. But none of them yet are from Kansas… hmm. I figured a percentage would be local but that hasn't shown itself yet.

I can't say that I'm very excited yet. None of them have looked like a home run at first blush (though that may be for lack of really knowing them; a couple do look pretty good) and that disappoints me because I want to be really excited. I guess that may still happen in time.

One hurdle that nearly every candidate will need to overcome is explaining their job history. If they were out of the ministry for any length of time – why? If they have served short tenures at previous churches – why? Two otherwise equally qualified ministers could be differentiated by their candid and transparent assessment of why their ministry didn't last in another location.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Random Thoughts 12/10/08

  • I voted for the Pro Bowl yesterday, the last day to vote. Here's some thoughts: 1) There aren't enough slots for NFC quarterbacks. 2) The RBs and the WRs in the AFC who deserve it probably aren't popular or established enough to actually make it. 3) Defensive players would be easier to pick if not for injuries and suspensions. 4) Kick returners were harder to select without a standout like Devin Hester. 5) Why in the world does the Pro Bowl voting start in the first half of the season and end with almost a month yet to be played? They could conduct the vote in January and tabulate the results with, oh I don't know, COMPUTERS and know the next day.
  • Must have iPod accessary: Giant earbuds. Others here but not cheap.
  • The Army-Navy game last week was another lopsided victory by Navy. But the game also was a showcase for two new uniforms (both teams normally wear a dark blue and gold uniform almost inditinguishable from Notre Dame). Navy's new uniform looked very contemporary while Army's camouflaged duds were a little more gimicky.
  • Advantage of a short haircut: the consequence-free wearing of stocking caps.
  • I'm eager to get a new home computer. We've saved the money and now I'm waiting for the January release of new iMacs. There are rumors of a new low-powered quad-core processor from Intel that I'm very interested in.
  • The Arena Football League has suspended play for 2009, including the poorly-named Kansas City Brigade, hoping to restructure and resume play in 2010. I've been to a handful of Brigade games and, in my opinion, arena football just isn't very compelling though I wish it was. What's too bad is that the Sprint Center will now lose its only regular tenant.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

That's Suite

What's the difference between a suit and suite?

A suit is something that a person or a playing card wears. A suite (always pronounced "sweet") is a set of rooms or or a set of furniture (among other things). Really, look it up in a dictionary.

Will people ever stop saying "bedroom suit"? Probably not. But that doesn't mean we have to surrender to the hoi polloi of English-speaking mediocrity.

So do you have any abuse-of-English pet peeves? Some of mine are as follows (including ones I occasionally commit):
  • suit and suite, mentioned above
  • bumbling the pronunciation of statistics, athlete, dilate, nuclear, sherbet, and zoology as sastistics, athelete, dialate, nucular, sherbert, and zoo-ology.
  • turning the three-syllable word mischievous into a four-syllable word
  • mistaking moot for mute, or tack for tact
  • saying irregardless
  • saying "biased against" or "prejudiced for"
  • stumbling over cavalry and Calvary
  • saying "ATM machine," "HIV virus," "LCD display," etc.

Check out the Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words here.

The Day the Music Died

My home stereo went kaput last weekend.

It's just a cheap little Sharp shelf stereo system but we used it everyday. An internal component seems to have failed, which is likely too expensive to diagnose and fix – probably more than the whole thing cost in the first place. So I pulled the system, not sure what its final fate will be.

In addition to all of our entertainment system running through that system, it was also our main radio in the house. Now we're relegated to the television's internal speakers, which will have to do, but we're still out of a radio, and we're a radio family. Shannon listens to Christian music and I'm a talk radio addict.

My intention was to buy a similar cheap shelf unit to replace the broken one. But all the new stereo systems (within a reasonable price range) have replaced the stereo L/R inputs with a 3.5mm audio jack. So I can't run a stereo signal from my television through these systems. The 3.5mm jack is for computers and iPods, which would be great, but if you want to listen to the TV through these new stereos, you're out of luck.

I have no intention of spending multiple hundreds of dollars on this; it's not that important. But if money was no object, I'd get a surround sound audio receiver for the entertainment system and a separate Bose radio for the rest of the house. Cost: over $1000 easy. Make it all high-end Bose systems and you're talking upward of $5000.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hours of Entertainment

I told my older three boys this afternoon that the first one to lick his elbow could open a Christmas present early.

They're still working on it (and getting disturbingly close – the long-tongued contortionists).

Update: Elijah was so close to licking his elbow that we allowed him to open a present – a movie, which we all enjoyed tonight together as a family.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Smells Like Trouble

I know exactly where I lost control…

I was helping the little kids learn Christmas songs Wednesday night at church. You can imagine how the kids still don't know the melody or correct key or anything, but perhaps I helped them with the words a little. Well, the kids were pretty restless and I had some trouble keeping them on task. We were midway through Hark the Herald Angels Sing when I noticed that Tanner (my second eldest) wasn't singing but was making faces at his cousin, Kelby, who was sitting with him.

"Tanner, why aren't you singing, son?"

"Kelby keeps farting and it's hurting my nose!"


I didn't have an answer for any of it. Kelby just shrugged with a big, mischievous smile.

And that's how I lost control of thirty grade school kids.

Go Big or Stay Home

This isn't my usual schedule, but yesterday I worked a 13 hour day, went home and slept 11 hours uninterrupted.

Normally, I sleep 6-8 hours and at the 8 hour mark I begin to get restless and fidgety. Once in a while, when I'm sick, I'll sleep a long stretch like that. But I'm not sick at all – my boys are getting sick and have run fevers off and on this week – I'm feeling fine, especially after sleeping that long.

I have been emotionally tired of late, so maybe that caught up to me.

Random Aviation Thoughts 12/05/08

  • Here's some video of Singapore Air Force F-16s taking off and landing on a public highway during a military exercise.
  • Don't miss this video the Quest Kodiak at Oshkosh in 2007. It's a good walk-thru of an aircraft that will be supporting missionary aviation for the next generation. Here's an infomercial on the Kodiak.
  • It looks like Airbus has been spying on Boeing. They managed the most complete analysis of a competitor's aircraft that's never flown (the 787 Dreamliner) that anyone has ever seen. Airbus examined and published every mistake and flaw that Boeing ever made with this design and Boeing's not too happy about it. Meanwhile, the sleek new 787 will likely be delayed yet again.
  • How about a real-life flying laser cannon? Boeing announced another successful ground test of its Airborne Laser prototype, a laser cannon installed on a 747. The point is to shoot down enemy missiles and such.
  • Why didn't the automaker CEOs fly commercial instead of driving to Washington in hybrid cars (after flying private jets the first time)? Supposedly for security reasons. If the CEO flies commercial that plane could be hijacked, they say. Right. I'm sure that's the real reason.
  • Some experts want the F-35 to become an electronic attack/jamming aircraft. Hmmm… maybe.
  • Top 50 NASA photos of all time. Wow.

Neck and Neck

How interesting!

The total votes cast for Democrats and Republicans is remarkably close. The Democrats, in this time period, have won 11 out of 20 elections but lead by only 109,959 votes (out of 1.5 billion). That's only 7 thousandths of a percentage point! That's crazy!

If you figure in the third party candidates, that's 47.8815% to 47.8745%.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Random Thoughts 12/3/08

  • Here's a great video about how you could spend Christmas. [Thanks Becca.]
  • The 109th Army-Navy game is this Saturday. Go Army!
  • Here's my annual reminder that Xmas is not an underhanded attempt to "x" out Christ from Christmas. The Greek letter chi, which is why "Christ" starts with a ch that sounds like a k, looks like an English x. From the beginning of Christianity, "X" has been a proper Greek abbreviation for Christ. Hence, X, Xian, Xnty, and Xmas are shorthand for Christ, Christian, Christianity, and Christmas.
  • Global Warming has gone missing! The planet has been cooling for the last 11+ years but that hasn't stopped the alarmists. There is a subtle shift from "warming" to "climate change" so that if we are in the first decade of a global cooling epoch, it's still the fault of SUVs and carbon emissions. So don't worry, the government will still require more regulation and control over the private sector to save us from catastrophic "climate change" no matter which way the thermometer reads.
  • Economist Peter Schiff is a genius and perhaps a prophet… but no one was listening. Watch this video of the other experts laughing at him and mocking him as he made predictions that turned out to be very accurate. His position is that this economic problem is driven by borrowing and spending and won't be fixed until we become a nation that saves and produces.
  • Fantasy football is a pain in the behind. I'm the leading scorer in my conference (10 teams) but because of matchups and a lot of bad luck, I'm in 5th place (7-6 record) and out of the playoffs for now. Grrr…

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sorting Thru Resumés

I'm beginning to receive resumés for the Associate Minister position at our church. It's kind of weird, frankly, and a little sad. I think there's a part of me that wants each one of these guys to be a home run but that's unlikely, and some of them wouldn't be a good fit at all.

We've joked that part of being a good fit will be avoiding a minister with the same name as me. Along those lines we ought to avoid the names Matt, Jason, and Mike as well, as we have several of those in our church family. Of the two resumés I received today, one guy was named Matt and the other had a wife named Shannon.

We're doomed.

My Little Girl

I know I'm biased, but this may be the most beautiful little girl I've seen…

Make sure you check out Shannon's blog for more details.

Canned In Kansas City?

What are the chances that Herm Edwards gets canned in Kansas City? Don Banks from Sports Illustrated says it as well as anyone could:

5. Herm Edwards, Kansas City -- That win at Oakland on Sunday was only Kansas City's second in its past 21 games, and there's not many coaches who could survive a 2-19 run in the NFL. But Edwards could be one of them, if -- and it's a big if -- Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson returns. I just don't know how owner Clark Hunt sells another season of Peterson and Edwards to the frustrated fans of Kansas City.
• Pink slip potential: 55 percent.

As someone partial to Herm Edwards, I could live with him as coach next year if Carl Peterson was fired instead. But if Peterson returns, again, then I don't see how a new coach makes much of a difference. In January, I'll post an end of season review of the Chiefs draft picks over the last several years… and, let me tell you, coaching is not the primary problem here in Kansas City.

Easily Entertained

Because I know some of you won't have a merry Christmas until you've made dancing elves of your friends and family, here you go.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Random Thoughts 12/1/08

  • The Chiefs went and won a game! What were they thinking, lowering their draft position for next year? They had the second pick behind the Lions but are now half a game behind the Bengals and tied with the Seahawks and the awful Rams. Now the Chiefs will probably draft no higher than fourth and another couple of wins could drop them to the eighth or tenth position (there are currently 11 teams with four or fewer wins).
  • It's official; economists have declared us to be in a recession since December of last year. I know what they mean, but it strikes me as funny that we had to be told we were in a bad economy 11 or 12 months ago. I can't imagine economists telling us in the 1930's that, "yes, we are indeed in the Great Depression since 1929!" Shouldn't a real crisis be more obvious than this? By the way, Black Friday sales were up quite a bit over last year. Hmmm… maybe some of this economic panic is hysteria.
  • Speaking of the NFL draft, what do the Chiefs do with their fragile starting QB, Brodie Croyle, and the up-and-coming Tyler Thigpen? And how does this QB problem look if underclassmen Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Nate Davis or Colt McCoy flood the market by declaring for the draft? My answer: draft an offensive lineman. You can't have too many top offensive linemen.
  • Today is Cyber Monday, the Internet equivalent to the Black Friday retail sales. I didn't buy anything today but there were some good deals in my email inbox this morning.
  • This is the 40th anniversary of the computer mouse. 40 years. Really. Actually trackballs and mice go back to the 1950's in one form or another. I use an infrared Logitech cordless mouse myself.
  • If Bill Clinton takes Hillary's Senate seat when she becomes Secretary of State, I'm going to vomit.
  • How disappointed was I to learn that my fairly robust DirecTV package does not include ESPNU, which is the exclusive outlet of five KU basketball games this season? Nuts.