Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Cubemaster, Part 2

I've now solved the Rubik's cube without using my notes (in front of a witness). And it didn't involve disassembling the cube!

I had to memorize eight different algorithms of four to eight moves each, in order to solve the cube in five stages. It takes me about five to ten minutes (competitive cubers can do it in less than a minute).

Now I'll introduce my new service to the public: dig out those old Rubik's cubes that have been exiled to the junk drawer and bring them to me. I'll solve your cube for you so you can proudly display them as the icons of sophistication that they are. Be shamed no longer! It's hip to be a convex regular polyhedron!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Don't Tell Me!

I'll be at church tonight, teaching class, during the first half of the KU game. I usually just let these scheduling conflicts go, but tonight is perhaps the biggest KU/K-State game in twenty years. So I'm TiVo-ing the game to watch it start to finish when I get home tonight.

If anyone thinks they'll be "funny" by spoiling the first half with a half-time score announcement, they'll receive a humorless scolding. For my part, I won't be listening to the radio, answering my phone, or checking the internet until about 11pm.

Good luck Wildcat folks; this should be a fun game!

Coldest Baptism Ever

We had a baptism last night that may as well have been in the 20º temperatures outside. Mike and Kimberly H. were baptized last evening but the baptistery heater failed to work properly. The heater had been on all day but failed to circulate any warm water so we got into very frigid water.

The cold water in a old, cold church building still shouldn't have been any worse than maybe 50º but it felt so much worse. It was breathtaking… in a bad way. In fifteen years or more of baptisms, indoors and out, I can't remember one more shocking than that.

After the ceremony and a little tinkering from Leonard H, the heater appeared to work fine, shooting warm water into the baptistery… too late to do us any good. We won't forget that one anytime soon!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Moved to Tears

Here's another great "Someone You Should Know" episode from Pundit Review. Take a few minutes and listen about the sacrificial bravery of Raphael Peralta, who died almost four years ago in Iraq.

Peralta has been nominated for the Medal of Honor, but the government has taken almost four years and has not yet come to a decision. During World War 2, such medals could be awarded within weeks or months of the action, after careful investigation. Peralta's act of smothering a grenade with his body was known within days so what's the problem? Smothering a grenade ought to be an open and shut case, so why should four years go by?

There are others waiting for such recognition, but the military bureaucracy can give the impression that they don't like to promote heroic actions and stories of valor. Surely that can't be true.


Previous posts about Peralta and the Medal of Honor:
a Touching Documentary
the Issue of Not Being Issued
No Greater Love

Can't Beat That!

I topped my old record the other night and bowled a perfect game! 300! Yahoo! I normally struggle to break 200, but I was on a roll (it helped to bowl 12 consecutive throws without interruption).

That Wii has been so much fun! Our old record was 244, which both Kyle D. and I shared, but no one can beat my new high score.

My next goal: Bowl better than a 150 in real life.

Scratch That

Okay, I thought we weren't getting another dog. My mistake.

It turns out that we do indeed have a new member of the family, and it's about as cute of an addition as one can make. It's a cuddly little havapoo – part havanese, part poodle.

His name is Maury. I name all of our pets in Greek and this seemed appropriate to the occasion. Our first dog is named Sophie, which means "wisdom." So naturally this little critter must be Maury, based on the Greek word, moros, which means "foolishness." He's our little vain conceit, our superfluous little bit of foolishness – but he's easy to love.

Maury is also a Latin name that means "dark skinned."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Froo-froo Dogs

Shannon has been begging me for a "froo-froo" dog. Never mind that we have a beautiful 13-inch-at-the-withers Beagle that's not even a year old. But Mom wants something little and fluffy to carry around.

We're probably not going to act on this right away, but the search has been interesting. We've come across every kind of designer dog imaginable. What do you get when you cross a beagle and a pug? A puggle! What about a Boston Terrier and a Pug? A bugg! Pomeranians and Toy Poodles create pomapoos, of course.

Can you guess the following?
1. Yorkipoo
2. Poogle
3. Labradoodle
4. Boxweiler
5. Border-Jack
6. Chug
7. Cockapoo
8. Pekepoo
9. Shar-Poo
10. Dorgi

We've also considered getting a Ragdoll cat. Soft, mellow, low maintenance. But purebred ragdolls can cost over a thousand dollars… for a cat. A CAT!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Random Thoughts 1/25/07

  • The architect of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, where Super Bowl XLII will be played, is a New York Giants season ticket holder. The Giants will play the Patriots a week from Sunday.
  • What do you do every year for the Super Bowl? Do you go to the same place or watch it with the same people? When I was a youth minister we always had big get-togethers with all of the kids from church to watch the game. Nowadays we sit at home with perhaps a few guests. I really want to see the game but I also want to see the commercials. So I'm zoned out for about four hours on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • There is a character on our Wii Sports game that looks just like our friend Bryan C. If we made an avatar (Nintendo calls it a "Mii") to look like him, we couldn't come any closer. It's perfect! The character pops up while we're playing tennis or bowling and as soon as we spot him we yell, "It's Bryan!"
  • Rumors are that the Raiders want their head coach, Lane Kiffin, to quit after just one season. If he does, that'll make the new guy the fifth head coach in seven seasons. Way to go, Al Davis, you crazy old man. The Chiefs will never be the laughing stock of the NFL as long as you're running the Raiders!
  • The Wii is great but playing video games with three little boys is like… well… like playing video games with three little boys. Infuriating! They don't pay attention, they don't take it seriously, they whine if they lose and they gloat when they win. And they win most of the time. Tanner just now announced, "Prepared to be amazed!" Then he did a pirouette and bowled a perfect strike! He ended up bowling a 225, in spite of his gyrations and jumping jacks.
  • I was watching True Grit (1969) with John Wayne the other day. This is the one for which he won his Academy Award. To which I say, "Really?" Both The Searchers (1956) and Stagecoach (1939) were better movies and, I think, better performances by the Duke. It certainly isn't unusual however for the Academy to give awards for lesser performances because they feel someone has been overlooked and is now due to win an award. If John Wayne had won an Oscar or two earlier in his career, you have to question whether he would have been considered for True Grit. An unfortunate number of awards over the last 80 years might fall into this category and you have to wonder about the domino effect it might have.
  • We saw Cloverfield the other day. What an interesting approach to a movie! Even though the big screen can induce motion sickness, the theater sound is irreplaceable for movies like this. Few home theaters can compete.

Grading the 2007 Draft

I made some notes on the 2006 class after their first season. This is the report after two years.

The 2006 Class (6 of 7 still on the team):
1. Hali, Tamba, DE, Penn State (6-3, 275)
Started every game in his first two years and has 15.5 sacks total but has been overshadowed by Jared Allen who had 15.5 sacks in only 14 games and went to the Pro Bowl.
2. Pollard, Bernard, SS, Purdue (6-2, 223)
Played every game as a rookie and started 15 games in his second year making 90 tackles.
3. Croyle, Brodie, QB, Alabama (6-3, 204)
He only threw seven passes his rookie year, but started 6 games in his second year. He threw 6 TDs and 6 picks for 1227 yards and 69.9 passer rating. Uninspiring but not a disaster.
5. Maxey, Marcus, CB, Miami (Fla.) (6-2, 197)
Cut, re-signed and cut again before his second season.
6. Stallings, Tre', G, Mississippi (6-3, 315)
Eli Manning's left tackle in college, went to NFL Europa, cut before his second season. Re-signed to '07 practice squad, Stallings made the roster for four games and appeared in one.
6 . Webb, Jeff, WR, San Diego State (6-2, 211)
Minimal rookie production but played every game in his second season, starting twice. He had 28 catches for 313 yards and touchdown.
7. Page, Jarrad, SS, UCLA (6-0, 225)
The surprise of his draft class, Page started every game in his second year at Free Safety. He has had three interceptions each season.

Kansas City was the only team in the NFL not to win a game in the second half of the 2007 season. The Chiefs pick 5th overall in the 2008 Draft.

Here's the 2007 Class (6 of 7 still with team):
1. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU (6-2, 217)
Started 15 games as a rookie, catching 70 balls for 995 yards and 5 TDs. Considering the Chiefs' offense, that's a spectacular perfomance.
2. Turk McBride, DT/DE, Tennessee (6-4, 276)
Played in all 16 games as a rookie, starting one.
3. Tank Tyler, DT, North Carolina State (6-2, 306)
Played in 15 games, starting one as a rookie.
5 . Kolby Smith, RB, Louisville (5-11, 215)
More proof that you don't have to pay top dollar for a back, Kolby Smith saw limited action until Week 12 when he started and ran for 150 yards and two TDs. Smith started 6 games, had 555 combined yards and two touchdowns by the end of the year.
5. Justin Medlock, K, UCLA (6-0, 201)
Struggled and was cut after one game. Oops. It turns out that not everyone Carl drafts out of his beloved UCLA is of the Donnie Edwards (or even Jarrad Page) caliber.
6. Herb Taylor, T, TCU (6-3, 295)
Taylor only appeared in three games.
7. Michael Allan, TE, Whitworth (WA) (6-6, 251)
Cut after one game. Re-signed to '07 practice squad. Did not play, but could eventually replace Jason Dunn as a blocking end.

There were several undrafted rookie free agents on the team this year, creating a late season sense of confusion among Chiefs fans, "Who's that guy?"

Tyron Brackenridge, CB, Wash St. (5-11, 189)
Brackenridge played in 13 games and started one as rookie.
Gilbert Harris, FB, Arizona (6-1, 223)
Played in December, getting carries and catching passes in the offense as relief to Smith.
Nate Harris, LB, Louisville (6-0, 230)
Played in 15 games, mostly on special teams.
Tyler Thigpin, QB, Coastal Carolina (6-1, 224)
Thigpin held the clipboard and even played a little as a rookie, throwing six passes.

Chiefs Draft Prospects


The News
The Chiefs own 10 picks in the 2008 draft, and they'll be looking to fill a lot of needs, especially along the offensive line and at cornerback. "Everybody knows we're focusing on the offensive line and the cornerback situations," Chuck Cook, the Chiefs director of college scouting, tells the Kansas City Star. "But we'd like to get another power wide receiver, a guy who can go get it to help (Dwayne) Bowe out. We'd like to get another running back because you always need another one. We'd like to get another young linebacker. And we'd like to get a blocking tight end to replace (Jason) Dunn."

Our View
The Chiefs day begins with the fifth overall pick, and the ideal scenario would be to see Michigan left tackle Jake Long fall into their laps. They may need to trade up a spot or two to secure the stud bookend, though.

As I've said before, I'd like the Chiefs to draft Long, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't work out. It seems all too simple and obvious and you can never remove Carl Peterson's ego from the equation (too clever by half). I'm also not going to be surprised if the Chiefs end up with one or more of the Jayhawks available, taken higher than they deserve. Again, it just seems like a Chiefs-Peterson kind of move.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sight Unseen

The Oscar nominees were announced yesterday and, for the second or third year in a row, I've seen almost none of the nominees. In fact, counting technical awards, I've only seen four of the films nominated (58 total). I haven't seen any of the best picture nominees (again).

Maybe lack of familiar films stands out more this time because I've seen dozens of "best picture" films in just the last six months. It also stands out because I have little or no desire to see most of this dreck. Many of the films popular with the Academy are popular more because of a message or agenda the Academy likes than the film's actual artistic or technical merit. I mean really, Inconvenient Truth? It was a lecture… by Al Gore. C'mon!

Besides, it's hard to get excited about a list that includes such instant classics as Norbit, Surf's Up, Transformers, and the latest Michael Moore documentary. On the other hand, Ratatouille scored five nominations, which I appreciate – more Pixar films in the world would be a good thing.

I'm sure I'll be filling in some of the gaps on this list in coming years. Other films will disappear and be forgotten and I'll have saved two hours by missing them in the first place.

51,000 Hits

We passed 51,000 hits a few days ago but I was in too much of a hurry to notice.

We had a youth retreat that I preached at as well as the funeral of church member on the same weekend. Add in doctor's appointments, car trouble, a full counseling schedule, and a sick family and you miss out on a few things. I didn't blog at all and missed most all the football games on Sunday. That was okay, but missing the news for three and half days nearly killed me. I'm such a hopeless news junkie that now I feel I'm behind on what's going on in the world.


Graham (22 months old) is communicating more and more every day. Just this morning he was watching a DVD on our computer and came to tell us "it stop" when he inadvertently turned the movie off. He's getting better at parroting back almost anything you say and, of course, he'll say all kinds of profane words as he mispronounces the words he's trying to say.

All of his brothers have been down this same road… with one exception. He's been calling everyone "Daddy." Every adult is "Daddy," regardless of gender, including Mom. Graham will call Shannon "Daddy" a hundred times in a day. You ask him to say "mommy" and he will, but if you ask who Shannon is he'll say "Daddy!"

When did "daddy" become the catch-all for anyone over 36 inches tall? The other boys never did this. Just Graham.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Back Again

I'm back now. The last few days has been wall-to-wall activity, no blogging, no news, busy, busy, busy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Talib to Top 10

I had the radio on in the car and Mel Kiper (of NFL Draft analysis fame) said the Kansas junior cornerback Aqib Talib is the highest rated corner on his list and should go in the top 10 overall.

Kansas hasn't had a player this highly touted in a long time (Dana "all-juiced-up" Stubblefield perhaps?) and that's quite an honor. That doesn't mean he'll pan out of course; Mel Kiper is given more latitude for being wrong than any other pundit in America. Every year Kiper's educated guess is wrong most of the time but he's still lauded as the NFL draft expert, primarily because he's the only one willing to memorize all of these guys names.

But this high regard for Talib puts the Chiefs in an interesting place. They will be drafting in a spot where Talib would be a reasonable pick and would address an area of need. Drafting local talent is a typical Chiefs move as they've taken fliers on KU and K-State players regularly with little success. I would rather see them draft a solid offensive lineman but we're still talking about Carl Peterson, so Talib might just be a sure thing.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What About Bob White?

Missouri State Senator Dan Clemens is trying to get a bill passed making the Kansas Jayhawk the official game bird of Missouri. The current game bird of Muh-zirra is the bobwhite quail, which happens to be a real bird that you can actually hunt, versus the imaginary mascot of Kansas University.

But Missouri beat Kansas in football last year so they're feeling their cheerios right now. That'll get fixed tomorrow night. The schools play each other in basketball Saturday; KU leads the series 164-93, including 11 of the last 14.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

King of Stripes

The boys were bowling on the Wii this evening. Brennan will use a realistic bowling movement about half the time, but the younger brothers go through all kinds of gyrations to send the bowling ball down the lane. Elijah, especially, has been known to bowl backwards, spinning, lying down, and from the other room.

As luck would have it, they sometimes get strikes and pick up impossible spares. When Elijah bowls a strike he calls it a "stripe." When he makes more than one he says he's the "King of Stripes." When all three of them bowl a better average than me, we call it "time to switch to a different game."

So Much for Immunity

Okay, maybe I'm not immune to the flu. The whole family was sick last week and I stood alone, impervious to infection… until today.

I missed a doctor's appointment and a board meeting today and will probably have to work tomorrow (my day off) all because of this stupid bug. Hopefully I'll be going full speed after 24 hours – that's been the recent experience everybody else has been having.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I'm growing a collection of unpublished blog posts that I'm just sitting on. Some of them I've been writing for months but I'm waiting on certain information or haven't had the time or inspiration to finish. Some have just grown too long and need to be pared down.

I get writing late at night and seldom publish everything I'm working on. Some articles are me venting and those usually get deleted. Some simply get dated and, since they weren't ready in a timely fashion, I just get rid of them.

Two of the articles, one about war movies and another about the Chiefs' rookies, are almost ready. If I just had some time…

More Air for Apple

I'm such a computer nerd. Gadgets fascinate me and I'm nuts about almost everything Apple does. Here's a few notes on Apple's announcements this week:

  • Apple sells 20,000 iPhones per day. In less than a year, the iPhone is already almost 20% of the smart-phone market, second only to the Blackberry.
  • Over 4 billion songs have been sold digitally through iTunes. A record was set last Christmas with 20 million songs downloaded in one 24 hour period. I've only purchased a handful of songs through iTunes in the last few years, but I can see why people love this approach to buying music.
  • 125 million television shows have been sold through iTunes. Now, that's just not for me. I can't picture myself buying a TV show. Perhaps they should make TV shows rent-able…
  • With iTunes, you can now rent movies to watch on your computer for as little as $3. You just have to watch it within 30 days. I think I would be much more likely to do this than to buy a movie.
  • 20% of Mac users have upgraded to 10.5 (Leopard). I'm not one of them… yet.
  • The new MacBook Air can install software off of a CD running in another computer. That's really pretty cool – a computer designed to be almost completely wireless – but I'm easily impressed. That said, the Air is not the laptop for me. It seems like a step in the right direction that a lot of people will go gaga over but I have a MacBook and it's been fantastic for me, thanks.

I intend to make my current cell phone last as long as possible, as I've had it for 18 months and it's in great shape. But in the next year or so, I'll be forced to do something and I'll strongly consider an iPhone. The cost is still prohibitive (to me) and I'm not an AT&T wireless customer, so we'll have to see what's best for my family's needs. I just want to hold out until the iPhone becomes a more feasible option for me.

As for computers, our eMac at home has been wonderful the last few years. Everybody but Graham uses it and he's not far off. We'll make it last a few more years and replace it with another cheap and simple desktop option (Mac, of course). My laptop belongs to the church and is an essential tool for everything I do. Since the church pays for it, I try to make those laptops last as long as possible (four to six years). So it should be a few years yet before I'll need to worry about a replacement.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MacBook Air

Apple announced a ridiculously thin laptop computer today, the MacBook Air. It's packed with powerful new wireless technologies, including some clever ways to live without an optical drive.

It also demonstrates an ongoing convergence between hand-held devices and the desktop computer. That is, the iPod and iPhone are becoming more capable (like full size computers) and full size computers are getting smaller and more portable. Before too long, I really think that we're going to use small tablets that combine the PDA, cell phone, iPod, and laptop in one device.

The last few times I went to the doctor, they were using laptops and tablets. We live in a world with cell phones and Wi-fi networks and email and text messaging. Half of the old movies I watch (downloaded from a satellite and digitally recorded to a hard drive) have plots that wouldn't work today because of cell phones and the internet.

The question is how big or how small of a device is a person willing to carry with them? Is pocket-sized too small for some purposes? Perhaps the size of a half sheet of paper is a better compromise? Is there a way to make one size fit all or do different kinds of people need to carry different sizes/form factors?

It Worked And That's Okay

Did you catch the article written by John McCain and Joe Lieberman last week? It's worth a quick read, stating that the surge in Iraq has worked, get over it.

So why are the Dems so desperate for bad news? It's embarrassing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Thoughts 1/14/07

  • From, here's 12 Steps for Raising Delinquent Children or, as I see it, 12 Steps for Helping Your Kids Fit In With Everyone Else's Kids. Snopes has become the essential internet resource for email forwards and urban legends. If you don't use it, you're missing out.
  • Shannon cut the boys' hair and absolutely buzzed the heads of Brennan and Graham. It's cute but I can tell she doesn't like it – my first clue was Shannon loudly lamenting, "What have I done?! What happened to my babies' hair?! What have I done?!" It makes me a better husband to be tuned in to these subtle clues.
  • Ratatouille (2007) won the Golden Globe for best animated feature film. That's right, they had the Golden Globes. Didn't you miss them? Wasn't there a gaping hole in your entertainment experience this weekend? Nope, me neither.
  • Almost two-thirds of voters (some 61,000 of them) want to see a Patriots-Packers Superbowl. Not that it matters much, the Patriots seem as unstoppable as any football team in recent history. From the beginning of the season, they've appeared destined to win it all uncontested.
  • Shannon's been awfully sick the last 24 hours. It's such a shame to see people not take care of themselves – just kidding. Actually, I'm wondering if I'm not immune thanks to the flu vaccine I tested this last year. This is twice now that Shannon and/or the kids have been sick and vomiting and I didn't get ill. If I'm not immune, the process of going through the flu study was itself the best possible placebo that could have been given to me.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Throwing Whiskey Bottles

My boys were playing outside this afternoon and soon appeared at the back door with half a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey, the preferred whiskey of 007, Queen Victoria, and Al Capone.

I was a little shocked to see it… but I shouldn't be. My neighbors and their friends sit on their porch and drink most weekends and it's not inconceivable that they would chuck a bottle over the fence. It's also not uncommon to find beer bottles and such thrown in the church yard. So perhaps the thrower was thinking of me. Isn't that sweet? Ahhh!

Either way, I left the whiskey bottle on the counter for Shannon so I could "confront" her with it. We teetotalers have to police the rest of the world, ya' know.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I ordered my knife, a Leatherman Skeletool cx today. It was a Christmas gift that had to wait because the knives weren't available from Leatherman yet. Hopefully it'll arrive soon. I'm eager to see it!

My little keychain Leatherman tool has become popular with the boys. It unfolds into pliers and has a small flashlight. Brennan, Tanner, and Elijah have all "needed to use it" in recent weeks. It is a neat little tool.

Who's Your Candidate?

Here's the rundown on a quiz I took to match my opinions with 2008 Presidential candidates.

82% Mitt Romney
81% John McCain
81% Fred Thompson
75% Mike Huckabee
71% Tom Tancredo
57% Ron Paul
55% Rudy Giuliani
35% Bill Richardson
31% Hillary Clinton
30% Joe Biden
28% John Edwards
27% Barack Obama
23% Chris Dodd
17% Mike Gravel
15% Dennis Kucinich

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

I was surprised at how high McCain matched up with me while I'm exceedingly satisfied with how low Kucinich was. You know you're on the right track if 85% of what you believe about our country differs from Dennis "cut-and-run" Kucinich. The highest Democrat on my list, Richardson, dropped out of the race today. Tancredo, Biden, and Dodd, are also out.

There are a few factors this poll doesn't take into consideration: Leadership ability for starters. I think Giuliani leaps to the front on this factor alone and, frankly, so does Hillary. Executive experience ought to be considered and therefore every Senator and Representative gets knocked down a peg or two while the governors and the mayor go up a bit. Another issue with some of these topics is relevance. For instance, I disagree with Giuliani on several social issues but as President his chief influence on those topics would be in his appointment of judges. Yet I trust Giuliani to appoint the type of judges who would protect my views more than most of the rest of the field. Me voting for the East Coast socially liberal New Yorker – that makes for a counter-intuitive match-up doesn't it?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rereading Gates of Fire

Don't miss the new table of contents over at Michael Yon's blog. For new readers, it's an excellent way to get acquainted with some of the finest combat journalism of our generation. It's also much easier to track down certain posts such as his famous "Gates of Fire" dispatch or the touching picture in "Little Girl."

The title "Gates of Fire" is a reference to the book of the same title by Steven Pressfield. I first read Gates of Fire in 1999 or 2000; it's one of my favorite historical fiction novels of all time. It's also a common book in military circles, on professional reading lists and popular in several military units.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bill Gates Last Day

Here's a great video from the CES convention marking Bill Gates' last full day of work at Microsoft.

Click here to see the youtube video; it's pretty funny.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"Unspoken" Requests

From the church blog:

I had this question posed to me recently: Why do we pass along unspoken prayer requests?

That's an excellent question. I think the question reveals two purposes for asking for prayer requests and announcing them publicly in the first place. First, to share information, bearing burdens together as a Christian community. Second, to prove our confidence in God's ability to answer prayer.

We Christians share some details about our prayer requests, not to gossip, but to share our lives together. Various individuals in the Body are equipped to provide comfort or encouragement in some situations and this kind of ministry can only happen with a certain amount of transparency.

But what about the "unspoken," or more properly, the unrevealed, vague, or confidential prayer requests? Without any details the fellow believers are left wondering what they're praying for, but God certainly knows. In this circumstance the believer prays depending on God's complete knowledge to fill in the gaps. I often pray in very generic terms: that God would bring wisdom and/or comfort to whomever needs it. And that Christians would be prompted by the Holy Spirit to minister where they're needed, even if no one else knows where that may be.

I also use "unspoken" prayer requests when the issue certainly needs prayer but is so explicit or salacious that public mention would be imprudent.

As such, the "unspoken" prayer request can be a great act of faith, that God can provide the help needed without depending on human determination. But the unspoken prayer request can also be misused, held up as a wall of dysfunction to keep out fellow believers and actually prevent help. It cuts both ways.

Kansas Football Wrap Up

  • KU had its best season ever. But what does success do to our expectations next year?
  • Two KU juniors are turning pro. Cornerback Aqib Talib and left tackle Anthony Collins, two of KU's best players, are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL Draft. Talib and Collins are projected to go in the second and third round but that's what lots of young college players are told. Remember Charles Gordon, KU's standout from a few years ago who skipped his senior season to hit the NFL jackpot? Gordon didn't even get drafted. He went to the Viking's practice squad for half a season before being promoted to 3rd string corner, where he still remains. Including Gordon, there are only five Jayhawks active in the NFL. Juniors have to declare for the draft by January 15.
  • The Jayhawks wore their red jerseys in the Orange Bowl, in order to maximize the garishness of the color scheme that night (Virginia Tech contributes a lot in the department wherever they go). The official reason was that the red jerseys were undefeated. But weren't the white ones also? And the blues only lost to MU and only just barely. Looking at the Jayhawks logo, I wonder why the team doesn't wear blue jerseys and red helmets? Yellow facemasks and shoes would maybe be too much though.
  • KU lost one of it's offensive assistants and state of Texas recruiters to Nebraska. That'll hurt some, but hopefully it's offset by all of the great exposure this year.
  • KU's seniors who are leaving include big wide receiver Marcus Henry, defensive lineman James McClinton and both of our kickers. There are several notable red-shirt seniors, such as tight end Derek Fine and tailback Brandon McAnderson, but I'm not clear which of these players have eligibility remaining and intend on returning. If anyone knows, especially in regard to Fine and McAnderson, let me know.
  • So Kansas is ranked seventh in the nation behind six teams, all with with more losses. Hmm… I guess that's about right but it still feels unresolved. Yet another of the college presidents is getting involved. The University of Georgia, who got left out of the BCS championship game, is calling for an 8-team playoff. That sounds like a great start! The BCS runs through 2010 in it's current contract, which will be renegotiated with FOX sometime next Fall. Let's go Playoffs in 2011!
  • In 2008 Kansas plays Florida International, Louisiana Tech, South Florida, Sam Houston State, and 8 conference games including Missouri at Arrowhead in the last game. Sounds fun!

Random Thoughts 1/8/07

  • The writer's strike isn't hurting me at all. In fact, my TV is on as much as ever while I watch classic movies, the NFL playoffs and play Wii with my kids. The latest casualty of the strike is the Golden Globes award ceremony. The Golden Globes will still be awarded but they've canceled the overwrought, self-congratulatory, four hour narcissism extravaganza. Which begs the question: can the writers go ahead and strike through February and get the Oscars canceled too? I'd much rather have a one hour press conference to announce the winners than the nearly unwatchable marathon we usually get.
  • My car died this morning. Just a dead battery, no problem at all, but turning the key and hearing it groan was a horrible precursor to an inevitable fate: someday that Accord will quit running. It's hard to imagine that car's demise, I know, but that Honda has been the perfect car for me. I almost never open the hood and it runs perfectly 99.9% of the time. But it can't last forever.
  • Today is Stephen Hawking's 66th birthday. A genius in mathematics and physics, Hawking has lived with ALS for about forty years, ten times longer than most people. His story is remarkable.
  • Graham is starting to repeat everything we say. Each of our boys starting talking in different ways at different ages, and Graham parrots more than all his brothers put together. And it's hilarious! Also funny is his obsession with sleeves. If you put the kid in a long sleeved shirt, he becomes obsessed with pulling them up past his elbows. He's a funny kid.
  • Have you seen the Heartland Institutes page on global warming? They have several educational resources about Al Gore's movie, including this video. Take their quiz, watch their videos, read their resources; it's good stuff. The long and short of it is this, global warming is probably not man-made, it may not be harmful overall if it did happen long term, and it may have already peaked ten years ago leading to possible global cooling for the next few decades. One other note: does it bother anyone that the "solutions" for global warming aren't substantively different than what the agenda has always been for the radical left: curb all development and progress of mankind, take away personal freedoms, cripple American capitalism and industry first and foremost.
  • I'm checking the Rubik's cube in my office each morning to see if someone has messed it up. I return it solved. It's fun like that.

Monday, January 07, 2008

There Goes the Neighborhood

Michael Vick, the NFL player who was convicted of running a dog-fighting operation, was transferred to Leavenworth to serve the remainder of his sentence. I hope he enjoys his stay in Kansas. We've enjoyed a few days of snow-melting warm weather and Leavenworth is a lovely town any time of the year.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

KU Wins x 2

Kansas' 12-1 football team won the Orange Bowl Thursday night and their basketball team beat Boston College this morning to go 14-0.

I'm not sure that the system should have put Kansas in the Orange Bowl instead of two or three other teams, but at least Kansas proved they had a right to be there. Rock chalk!

If Ohio State's football team loses, Kansas will be the only major school (sorry Hawaii) to have just one loss. And that will make seven major schools with an 11-2 or 12-2 record. What a logjam that would be! Seven really good football programs with two losses and Kansas and Hawaii with one loss – yet another reason we need a playoff system – the BCS doesn't really tell us anything.

Kansas' basketball team is one of only six undefeated schools in the nation. The Jayhawks have nine players that average over 10 minutes per game but no one with more than 13 points per game. It would be cool to see how many different leading scorers they have by the end of the year. They can all score, they all play defense, they're pretty impressive.

It's a good time to be a Jayhawk!

Friday, January 04, 2008

M R Ducks

When I was growing up our family thought M R Ducks was high comedy and it brought us endless amusement. You've probably heard one of the several versions that exist; my favorite is M R Mice which goes something like this:

M R mice.
M R not mice.
O S A R, C M E D B D feet?
L I B, M R mice.

I always imagine a hill-billy couple sitting on the couch saying, "Them are mice." "Them are not mice." "Oh yes they are, see them itty-bitty feet?" "Well I'll be, them are mice." I've always wondered what's actually being disputed, do the one think they might be voles or shrews?

I found a similar joke which was new to me. Let me know in the comments if you can figure this one out.

F U E 10?
F U N E X?
S V F X.
F U N E M?
S V F M.
O K, M N X.
O K N, M N X 4 1.
F U N E T?
V F T. O! V F N N E X.
Y F N U N E X?
L, U C, I F E 10 M.
U 8 D X?
O K, I L F D M N T.

It helps to say it with a Swede-struggling-with-his-English accent.

Listen, My Sons

I'm doing daily Bible reading this month with our church's Bible Reading Group, which is reading Proverbs this month. Each day we read the chapter that corresponds to the calendar date. Today we read Proverbs 4, which begins…

Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.

It's hard to describe why these verses (and many other proverbs like them) ring in my heart. It's mostly that I'm so interested in passing instruction to my own sons. I don't care if they grow up to to have a certain job or reach certain achievements in this world, but I'm desperately concerned that are wise and honest men of faith. I care that they have a deep understanding of justice and truth and mercy and love.

If I can teach this, then I've been a successful minister and father.

50,000 Hits

We passed 50,000 hits early yesterday. I took the day off and ended up away from home (and the computer) for most of the day. But 50,000 hits is a major milestone for a blog like mine. Thank you so much for checking in and reading my rants, keeping up with my family, and sharing some of my interests.

As I've said before, my ultimate audience is four little boys who don't even read my blog yet. If the Lord took me home tomorrow, they'd have almost three years worth of my daily thoughts and a healthy insight into who I am. And that's important to me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Cubemaster

I can now solve a Rubik's cube! I've done it twice. On purpose.

In fact I'm fairly satisfied that a person can't solve it accidentally. It requires a few counter-intuitive moves that I don't think someone would do without knowing that they're necessary. Just playing with the cube will probably only yield solid colors on one or two sides but arranged incorrectly.

I still need my notes to do the second half of the cube, but I'm getting better. A few more times and I should be able to solve a cube, without notes, in a few minutes.

So now I can tick off another of my Life's To Do items:

  • Read The Lord of the Rings? Check.
  • Edit Wikipedia? Check.
  • Watch every episode of Star Trek? Ever? Check.
  • Blog Daily? Check.
  • Solve Rubik's cube? Check!

You don't any get cooler than that.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Random New Year's Thoughts 2008

  • Happy New Year!
  • Do you need someone to explain which draft pick the Chiefs will have? Look here. Probably the fifth pick overall, but maybe the fourth. It's complicated.
  • According the US Census figures, more than 30 percent of Kansans over 25 have a bachelor's degree or higher (12th in the nation). Missouri is under 25 percent (34th in the nation). Missourians also had a higher rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths. I'm just saying.
  • I'm learning the algorithms to solve the Rubik's cube we got for Christmas. And by algorithms I mean insanely abstract-seeming patterns of turning and twisting the crazy thing so that it comes out right. There is a method to this madness but for the uninitiated it just looks like randomness. The key is to think of the cube not as having 54 colored squares but rather as having 26 unique pieces, each with one to three colored sides. I spent a few timeouts last night and left it on my desk about mostly complete (22 pieces out of 26 in place). I tried it again this afternoon and can get the first 13 pieces without any help.
  • Some of the kids last night had cell phones and were making calls as late (early?) as 4am. Who lets their kids talk on the phone at 4am? I can understand reasons for teenagers to have a cell phone but I'm not sure that I'd trust a kid to have unfettered usage of that phone. I'd want to check call logs and minutes and know who my child was talking to and when.
  • Another Kansas/Missouri note: According to the Pitch, the best homegrown product of 2007 on the Missouri side: Boulevard Beer. The best homegrown product of 2007 on the Kansas side: Garmin International, the leading GPS device company. Just saying.
  • The boys started back on their school work today. No more playing Wii around the clock. They didn't think it was remotely fair.