Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fair Trade

We send Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to the East Coast and get quarterback Matt Cassel in return. Sounds good to me!

Sebelius will become the secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. Cassel, the former Patriots QB, will become the instant starter in KC.

I wonder what we can get for Congressman Dennis Moore?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Who Should Watch The Watchmen?

Q. What is Watchmen?
A. Watchmen is perhaps the most highly acclaimed comic book series ever. Collected together in one book-length volume (a graphic novel), it's regarded as the very best of that medium and TIME magazine calls it one of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th Century.

Q. Great, but what's Watchmen about?
A. It's a murder mystery, conspiracy theory and a superhero story. It's set in an alternate 1980's where Batman-like or Captain America-like superheroes exist in the real world. They fight crime, help us win wars, and keep the balance between the Soviet Union and the USA. In this reality, we won the Vietnam war, Nixon is in his fourth or fifth term in office and the threat of nuclear war looms.

There were two generations of superheroes: the first batch in the 1940's and a second group in the 1970's. Now (1985) both groups have been retired because masked vigilantes are now outlawed. The mystery is that these former heroes are beginning to disappear, getting murdered and such. But why?

Q. Are these super heroes super-powered?
A. Except for one, none of the masked heroes are super-powered. They are regular people with special training and conditioning but not supernatural. Only the naked blue guy, Dr. Manhattan, has supernatural powers. And his presence is single-handedly preventing nuclear war.

Q. Why is Watchmen so highly regarded?
A. It was psychologically realistic before most comic books every stopped to ask the question, "why is this guy running around in tights?" Every single character has believable, indentifiable issues and baggage. Shouldn't someone like Batman get some counseling? Couldn't a real Superman work full time on solving the world's problems instead of working at a newspaper and changing clothes in phone booths? How weird do you have to be to actually dress up at night and fight crime?

Reviewers like to say "Watchmen deconstructs the genre." What they mean is that it examines all the motives and reactions of the characters as if they were real people with real problems. And it's done really, really well. In fact, the plot and characterization is way, way above average by almost anyone's standards.

Q. Is this kid friendly? Should my kids read the book or see the movie?
A. NO, NO, for goodness sake NO! This is very adult material. The book deals with attempted rape, several murders, a prison riot, and adult relationships. I wouldn't want anyone under 18 to read/watch this for two reasons. 1) It's has too much adult content, i.e. language, violence, and some sexuality. 2) It's going to be over the head of all but the most mature kids. The book deals with accountability, despair, futility, callousness and cruelty (and how much is justifiable); one of the main characters is a bona fide sociopath. It's also the only comic book I'd ever read that dealt with impotence, both literally and figuratively. More than that, the book is going to be more meaningful to those who can remember the fear of nuclear war, like what we felt in the 1980's and earlier. You'd have to almost 30 now to genuinely remember those feelings.

I believe Watchmen is a good novel, maybe one I'd recommend in a college literature class. It's really that good. But my boys won't be reading it anytime soon, as far as I'm concerned. When they each reach a point where they can process and handle adult themes, then we'll see. In my opinion, dark material like this isn't as much entertainment as it is an observation on civics and morality. I'd treat it more like Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan. I'd discuss it, watch it and think about it like Silence of the Lambs or even the more philosophical aspects of a film like Forrest Gump. This isn't really a popcorn-eating kind of story.

It's a good story but it's a very serious one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why Volleyball Makes Me Gain Weight

Volleyball is bad for my health.

Last month I began playing volleyball twice a week. It started as part of a larger plan to reintroduce activity into my schedule and help me lose weight. Little did I know that volleyball unleashes inner demons of low self-esteem and inadequacy.

Half of the problem is that volleyball is a sport invented for senior citizens and played by junior high girls, neither one of which should be able to hold a candle to the athletic prowess of a 32-year-old American male, no matter how out-of-shape he is. The other half of the problem is that at one time (more than 50 pounds ago), I was a slightly above average athlete. At least that's the way I remember it.

So I started playing volleyball with our church team. Our "competition" was harmless-looking gaggles of assorted non-athletic bystanders who wandered into the gym and said, "Sure, I'll play this deceptively simple game of bouncing a big white ball back and forth between two groups of people who just stand there waiting for the ball to gently fall their way." My biggest fear was that they wouldn't provide enough of a challenge for me to break a sweat.

At first I didn't mind not knowing what to do. I openly asked questions, did research, and watched players better than me, expecting to quickly catch up and overtake them, at which point I would begin to give out little coaching tips to gently encourage the non-athletes. I certainly didn't expect to have any lasting difficulty.

Instead, even as my volleyball vocabulary grew, my ability to actually perform what I'd learned remained stubbornly undeveloped. My weight and age dulled my reflexes and interfered with my well-researched intentions. I was slower, weaker, and less coordinated than I had ever known myself to be. I was dismayed at my underperfomance – something you can't easily hide in volleyball – in fact a good opponent is drawn to it like a shark smells blood in the water.

Being a perfectionist with a penchant for self-loathing, I then punished myself after each dismal performance with a milk shake from Dairy Queen. Thus the vicious self-destructive cycle begins. If I continue to not meet the impossible standards I expect of myself then my stress-eating and melancholy will continue, thus hindering my ability to ever play up to my expectations.

What I need is to not take it so seriously, living and dying with every point. I need to look at how I've improved, not what I still lack, finding fault and criticizing my every mistake. I need to not import my feelings about things I can't control into a friendly game of volleyball. And I especially need to lose weight, so my play will improve, so I'll be encouraged to lose more weight.


Just imagine if I'd taken up golf instead; I'd weigh 500 pounds by now…

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Random Thoughts 2/24/09

  • Rock Chalk Jayhawk! KU!
  • The Chiefs are coming back to the KC area for training camp in 2010. St. Joseph, Missouri approved the money to upgrade training facilities at Mo West. The Chiefs have been traveling to River Falls, Wisconsin since 1991 for training camp in August of each year. Now they'll stay in the KC area, and KC area fans will have a better chance to see their team practice. I would never take my boys to Wisconsin to see a football team practice, but I can imagine going to St. Joe.
  • It's National Pancake Day! Get your free pancakes at IHOP. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.
  • I cannot see how we've managed to not have this baby yet. It just goes to show how every pregnancy is different. It doesn't matter what details we've noted or lessons we've learned with the others, this pregnancy is just different. Period.
  • Have you seen those trailers for the Watchmen superheroes movie? I'll give you the lowdown, later, from someone who actually read the book and knows what this is all about.
  • Can President Obama calm everyone down in his speech tonight after he's been scaring everyone for months? I hope he can. In the end, this still isn't as bad as 1929 or even the early 1980's. So surely the President can convince the sheeple not to panic (anymore); he'd hate to have all this bad history on his record.
  • I'm playing basketball today at Noon. We play just about every Tuesday down at the Bonner Springs community center over the Noon hour. Everybody's welcome to join us.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Review

Here's what I wrote a month ago:

…it's time to remind ourselves that the most prestigious awards in cinema are selected largely by the most self-indulgent disconnected saps on the planet.

That's not to say that all Oscar nominations are off the mark. To the contrary most nominations and many winners, even for films that I personally find reprehensible, are usually well made in a technical sense. Many films have won Oscars for skillfully dragging the audience through the sewers… but at least it was admittedly "skillful." I may not consent to go along but I will concede when something is well done.

So last night the Oscars were awarded and Slumdog Millionaire won the night. Here are a few thoughts:

  • Sean Penn was correct in his assessment of the academy.
  • I'm not a huge fan of musicals but I was impressed by Hugh Jackman's singing and dancing.
  • During the In Memoriam section, the Hollywood audience was stone silent at the mention of Charlton Heston but cheered wildly for Sydney Pollack and Paul Newman just seconds later. No surprise there.
  • The show ran over by half an hour and had various live TV problems (curtains that didn't open and a few camera angles that seemed determined to not show you the names of deceased contributors). How does a show like the Academy Awards not get better direction than other Live shows like your nightly news or Sportscenter? Is self-indulgence an issue here, especially regarding length?
  • Snubs and shutouts happen each year with the Oscars. This year Frozen River, Iron Man, Wanted, and the Wrestler went 0-2; Changeling and Revolutionary Road went 0-3 each; and Doubt and Frost/Nixon each went 0-5. Ouch.
  • Only three nominated films grossed over $350 million (Wall-E, Dark Knight, and Iron Man). They went a combined 3 for 16. If you count Benjamin Button and Wanted (bringing the Oscar count to 6 for 31), no other nominated films grossed more than $160 million to date. Seven of the films seem unlikely to even make $50 million domestically.
  • 8 out of the 15 films nominated were released in December '08 (or later). Only Iron Man, which didn't win anything, was released in the first half of 2008 (May). One third of the nominees, Frost/Nixon, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, Revolutionary Road, and The Wrestler, are actually 2009 films that were given an early limited release during the 2008 calendar year in order to be fresh on the minds of the Academy voters.

No Convention for Me

I won't be going to the Preaching & Teaching convention this week; it starts this afternoon. I really wanted to but it's just not realistic when it appears that we'll have a baby any day (hour?) now.

I really like going down to Ozark and felt especially excited about this year as I was going to hang out with Mike K. and Joe S. on their first years at the convention. But we're convinced that that baby girl is coming and coming soon.

My consolation is that while we wait I get to watch the KU-Oklahoma game tonight (if we're not in the hospital) and play basketball Tuesday at noon and volleyball Tuesday night (again, if we're not in the hospital). I'm such a creature of habit that I hated to miss those things by being out of town.

More on that note: we missed church yesterday and that was weird! We got out about 11-ish and headed home amidst that fog you have when you haven't really slept all night–all too late to even go up and make an appearance. All morning long though, I'm looking at the time thinking, "It's time for my sermon… it's time for Sunday School… second service should be having communion about now." It bugs me to no end to not be doing what I normally do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Waterboarding, Labor, and other Torture

I'm blogging from the hospital.

At 2:45am Shannon has been having contractions about two minutes apart for about seven hours now. Technically, it's not labor because she has had very little cervical change – some, but very little. The lack of progress may get us sent back home.

They're keeping us until 6am at least. And now they've drugged Shannon, so maybe she'll sleep a little. Birthing centers contain specially designed furniture to prevent fathers from sleeping. It's some kind of punishment, I think.

If we don't see some kind of progress at 6am, they'll send us home. But this has been outrageously painful for Shannon, so there's no way we could have known to stay home – she ought to know labor pain.

We're all concerned that when it truly hits, the baby may come very quickly, perhaps too quickly to drive here again. I'd feel better if things just started moving along…

Update: It's 7:25am and we're waiting for the doctor to tell us something. Shannon has had contractions for about 12 hours now, but they haven't checked us in hours.

Update: It's 9:55am and we're going to be sent home. After all of that pain and fuss, we finally saw Shannon's doctor a few minutes ago. He could definitively say that we weren't in labor, in spite of all the contractions. In fact he predicted that Shannon would struggle like this for another week or two before the cervix began to change.

Final Update: It's 11:25am and we just got home. We're exhausted, demoralized, and defeated. I'm sending Shannon to bed, the boys outside/upstairs, and Grandma home. I'm going to crash on the couch for the afternoon. Hopefully every evening will not be so rough.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Volleyball Practice

If anyone wants to play volleyball on Saturday mornings, meet me at the church at about 9:50am, and we can drive up to Wallula (you can meet us there if you know where to go).

We practice from 10am to Noon.

We'd love to see you there! The more the merrier.


Shannon and I watched Bill Cosby: Himself (1983) yesterday on my day off. [You can see excerpts here.]

I'd watched this comedy routine several times, years ago, before I had children. Now we have five children (Cosby had five also, four girls and one boy) and Cosby's observations from 26 years ago are funnier than ever. We laughed hysterically. It's so different when you've actually lived in some of those family dynamics.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random Thoughts 2/18/09

  • I'm going to try to get away for 48 hours next week for the Preaching and Teaching Convention at Ozark Christian College. Ultimately it's a trip that could get canceled at any moment, but I'm tentatively making plans.
  • Most fan-made films are horrible, almost-unwatchable, little home movies. However, this LOTR fan film looks like they something with at least a TV-level budget (but they didn't). Lord of the Rings fans are of course still waiting for Hobbit movies in a few years.
  • Here are some drawings of the new Arrowhead stadium. I saw these when the plan was first proposed but they seem to be circulating among the blogosphere again.
  • The Chiefs hired several new assistant coaches including a new defensive coordinator, Gary Gibbs, and retaining the offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. The buzz around town is that the GM Scott Pioli is going to build a team and not just collect talent. That means that talented players that don't fit are expendable but lesser players who do fit will surprise us. This is the recipe for success used by Pioli's former team, the New England Patriots.
  • I'm really enjoying teaching my Wednesday night class on Heaven. But I'm genuinely surprised at how folks are reacting to the information, with disbelief, uncertainty, and skepticism. I'm just teaching basic orthodoxy here but our culture is so tainted by Greek dualism and Biblical ignorance that the Bible's teachings sound foreign to our ears. I've taught classes on baptism, church history, and grace that met with less resistance than this class on Heaven.
  • I'm quickly becoming spoiled with HD television. Now that we have it, its hard to go back to standard definition. For instance the last few KU games have been in HD, where you can read the players names on the back of their jerseys even in some of the wide shots. But tonight's game (which I'm taping) will be in fuzzy, blurry, square SD. I suppose it was the same when people transitioned from black and white to color.

Volleyball Training

Our church volleyball team played last night, and we played really well. Granted the competition wasn't that great, but did really well, winning all three games decisively.

Playing well (and winning) has me really excited about learning more. There are some great beginner's videos from Expert Village on YouTube. Roll shots, pancakes, tipping and tools… volleyball can be complex and interesting!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Old Guys Basketball

If anyone's available on Tuesdays to play basketball over the Noon hour, we'll be playing again in Bonner Springs at the Community Center (where we play volleyball).

We usually start about 12:10 or 12:15 and play until about 1:00 or 1:15pm. We play full court, half court, 21, tip-21, or whatever.

My Poor Wife

If you know, you know. If you don't know, you really, really, really have no idea whatsoever.

My beautiful wife has a severe case of pregnancy. A pregnancy is measured over 40 weeks, yet a woman's patience, endurance, and sanity can only last about 34 to 36 weeks. The last few weeks of suffering is just to make labor and delivery seem merciful somehow.

Each pregnancy is different and each pregnant woman is different but we've been at this point five times now and I'm earnestly wishing that baby girl would just arrive already. Mom can't breathe, she can't sleep, she can't walk or sit or stand.

People ask me how she's doing. The ones that know don't actually want to know. They sense the agony of it all from a mile away and they're actually just expressing sympathy. The ones that don't know are naively curious. They imagine pregnancy to be as beautiful in practice as it is in theory.

If they only knew…

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Random Thoughts 2/14/09

  • Happy Valentine's Day.
  • I'm not any kind of a race fan, but this is neat video explaining the basics of Formula One racing. If technology is even remotely interesting to you, you'll like it too.
  • I guess Microsoft will have retail stores like the Apple Store. The Microsoft stores will be different though. That's funny.
  • Shannon and I were able to eat at a Brazilian restaurant Friday night alongside an actual Brazilian – in fact, she's the only Brazilian we know. Thanks, Chad and Pi, for a great evening.
  • Here are 30 video game records and bits of trivia. The interesting list includes: highest-grossing video game movie, longest prison sentence for playing a video game, and largest cash prize in a game tournament.
  • I'm not sure what happened after our evening Friday, as Shannon and I both came down with horrible sick headaches. We both attempted to sleep until mid-afternoon (getting up occasionally to help the kids) and then moved pretty slow through the rest of the day. I did manage to drag myself out in time to watch KU beat K-State. That actually made me feel a little better.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Making People Happy

Perhaps this is how church is supposed to work?

Maybe not.

[Thanks Sue D. for the heads up!]

Wii to Wii Communication

How do you connect to other Wii owners through the internet with your Wii?

1. You need an internet connection in your home.
2. If you have a wireless router your Wii can connect wirelessly. But you can also connect via a wired connection from your router to the back of the Wii.
3. To connect to someone else's Wii, you need to trade Wii numbers.
4. Find your own Wii number with these easy instructions.
5. Type your friend's Wii number into your address book.
6. When both parties have typed each other's Wii numbers into their address book, you can send messages (like invites to play Mario Kart Wii).

The Altic Wii number is: 3535 7852 6650 1006

Our Mario Kart codes are:
Jared: 3824-2570-1339
Brennan: 1290-2263-1418
Tanner: 3437-7099-6335

We also have Tetris Party, Smash Brothers Brawl, and a few other games that play online.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random Aviation Thoughts 2/11/09

  • Sikorsky is working at improving the helicopter as we know it, with their X2 technology. In a nutshell, they're tweaking helicopter design to get a little more speed and performance out of the platform.
  • Check out the Aeroscraft airship. This is a very cool new take on the dirigible, technically, a buoyancy assisted air vehicle, and more of a luxury yacht of the sky. True, a New York-to-LA trip would take almost 24 hours but the accommodations would make it more than tolerable.
  • Do you want to cruise around, sight-seeing in a traditional lighter-than-air airship? Make your reservations here.
  • Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but on my list of beautiful aircraft you would find the F-22A Raptor, Boeing's 747, the F-16, and the Korean-era F-86 Sabre. There are so many beautiful aircraft, it's hard to name them all.
  • Here's a summary of the research going in to a real flying saucer project, propelled by super-charging the air with electricity. Sure, that sounds safe. There's a lot of excitement for a "helicopter with no moving parts," but we're probably a ways off from flying in plasma-field charged ships.
  • Details here about the first F-35 squadrons to be in place in the next few years.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New NFL Coach Matrix

Here's a great little list for you NFL junkies. It's a list of all the head coaches, offensive coordinators, and defensive coordinators (and the jobs that are still open) from Sports Illustrated.

You need a list like this to keep it straight in a year that is setting records for coaching turnover.

In Just One Circumstance

At KU, there is one, and only one, situation where the fans rush the court after a victory. The last such occurrence happened in April of last year.


Nevertheless, the Jayhawks see opponents' fans rush the court a couple of times every year.

Monday, February 09, 2009

At Mizzou

Mizzou better win tonight when they play KU in a few hours.

MU is ranked in the top-25, favored to win at home against their arch-rival, KU, who is supposedly having a down year (having lost 75-80% of its production to the NBA).

You better win, Tigers. This is your chance to stick it to KU; you can't afford to lose this one.

But if you do lose…

Why So Serious?

Here's an anonymous comment on my review of the New Theatre production of Hats.

Wow... "amused by old women using 4-letter words and talking about sex" “scarred for life” - “I saw several women last night (of the "grandma drinks to forget" variety)” pretty harsh stuff... and kind of sexist.

I think I'll actually go see it with my own two eyes before I form an opinion. I'll probably enjoy it immensely as I do all their productions even though I am under 50 and not a conservative... but then again, I don't find older women to be anything to be ashamed of either.

Wow, indeed. Here's some thoughts:

  • Do you seriously think I'm a sexist, who is ashamed of older women? Really? Do you? If you do, then you don't understand satire or sarcasm at all. And are you really that humorless and oversensitive? Lighten up; laugh a little!
  • I thought "drinks to forget" was one of my funnier lines.
  • Why not sign your name? Do you normally level an accusation like sexism at someone from the shadows of anonymity? That's not very nice (or responsible).
  • Don't worry, I'm not really scarred for life. I hope you're not either.
  • Anyone who forms their opinion based on just one review is a weak-minded person, so good for you. As you know, a review is just one critic's opinion to help steer you toward or away from something. I hope you go and enjoy the puppet and the acting, but now you know that one person didn't.
  • What's "conservative" got to do with it? The theater-scene is no bastion of conservative thought, it's quite the opposite. What are you talking about? I enjoy the New Theatre in spite of my conservative values; have you actually been there?
  • You're too young to be this grumpy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hello, We're the Altics

At least they didn't run away screaming.

Shannon and I were seated at a table for dinner and a show last night with a couple we'd never met before. They happened to be our age and we got along great with them (I think). But it easily could have gone a lot worse.

About the second sentence out of Shannon's mouth included, "he's a preacher." Five minutes after meeting we're talking about weight watchers. Ten minutes in we're talking about the pros and cons of home schooling. Maybe we should have given them pro-life bumper stickers and a GOP lapel pin?

You have to sympathize for their point of view: the other two empty seats at their table had been filled with two dominant, non-stop talkers. Not just that, but two strongly-opinionated evangelical Christians who home school their 5 children and have a professional opinion about whether people are too fat! Can it get any better?

There actually are some people out there who would find this less than delightful.

(Of course those people are self-destructive, liberal pantywaists who hate their own children. Let me tell you… )

Of Red Hats and Older Women

Shoot me now. Put me out of my misery.

Last night I endured the most painful, awkward, and embarrassing theater experience ever. Shannon and I went to see Hats, the musical revue of women over 50, at New Theatre Restaurant.

Dear Lord, make it go away.

The food was fantastic as usual. And we were seated at a table with a nice married couple our age (they were fantastic company; they reminded me a lot of the young, friendly, fun couples we know from church). But the show… oh, my… the show was a nightmare.

Now, I'll concede that I'm obviously not the target audience. If you're a woman over 50, a member of the Red Hat Society, and amused by old women using 4-letter words and talking about sex, this show is for you! The other 95% of us couldn't be more alienated. It was as bad as hearing your parents talk about their intimate affairs. NO! NO! NO!!! Get out of my head!!!!

But beyond that, the show wasn't very good. The acting was sub-par. The singing was hit-and-miss. The dancing… oh, the dancing… well, if eight or nine 60-year-old women shuffling about in negligees counts as a floor show… then I suppose, technically, there was dancing. But when you break the fourth wall, tell stale jokes, swear, and one of the (better) main characters was a puppet (!?!), then you've lost me. Sorry, Hats just wasn't very good.

I can name the few people I know that could see what I saw last night and not be scarred for life. Some of them would even enjoy it. Indeed, I saw several women last night (of the "grandma drinks to forget" variety) who seemed to be moved to tears by the production's finale.

Take my word for it, I was crying on the inside.

Your New Chiefs Head Coach

is Todd Haley.

Haley was the Cardinals offensive coordinator last year. Haley has also been a WR coach for the Cowboys, Bears, and Jets, though he never played football at the NFL or college level.

Overall, Haley is highly regarded as a coach and has important connections (like Scott Pioli) to people like Bill Parcells. Haley's dad was an NFL player and is still a long-time NFL assistant/front office type.

Ultimately, I feel the the Chief's success is more in the hands of the GM, Pioli, than anything else, but it seems like Haley should be a solid choice for the Chiefs.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why I Resigned

I've been asked a lot of questions about why I resigned last night as chairman of the board at our church camp.

Please understand that I'm still involved there, preaching, dean-ing, I'm even still on the board. I'm NOT quitting the camp. I believe in this ministry and fully support it. But I did have my reasons that I've been mulling over the last few weeks:

1. My Priorities demanded it: My family and my home church are both more important and require my full attention right now. The chairman's job, the way I was doing it, was taking emotional energy and time I couldn't spare.

2. The Principle of the matter: If things don't work, if they're flat out broken, someone has to take responsibility for it. I was the chairman of the board for two and a half years; the buck stops here.

3. In Protest: I strongly disagreed with the direction we decided to go. I understand it. I'll support it going forward. But my opposition to the matter at hand, though newly developed, was strongly held. My conscience wouldn't allow me to sign off on it.

There you go; alliterated and everything. I'll be working at camp all summer and I'll be at the next board meeting with enthusiasm and eagerness.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Random Sports Thoughts 2/3/09

  • Former Chiefs player Derrick Thomas will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. Thomas died after a car wreck nine years ago. There will now be 14 Chiefs in the Hall of Fame, though this includes an owner and two coaches, along with players who only briefly played in Kansas City such as Joe Montana and Warren Moon.
  • The 2009 Chiefs, when compared to a few years ago, will have a new owner, new GM, new head coach, and probably a new QB. Hmmm… unrecognizable sounds good right now.
  • The poor Cardinals, I was really rooting for them. I would have liked to see them win their first Super Bowl rather than Pittsburgh win their sixth. Oh, well. Here's hoping Kurt Warner doesn't retire yet.
  • The Jayhawks and the Mizzou Tigers are both 18-4 right now. They play next Monday night. It's in my appointment calendar. Do NOT call me next Monday at 8pm. Short of having a baby, I'm not going anywhere.
  • What will I do with my Sunday afternoons now that football is over? It's something like 30 weeks until the kickoff of the 2009 season and a solid 6 months until next year's fantasy football draft. That's 30 Sunday afternoons to fill. I'll have to talk to family, go on walks, play basketball, socialize… argh!
  • The Jayhawks are hot, hot, hot! They've won 10 of their last 11, are undefeated in the Big 12 and ranked in the top 25 again. And this is supposed to be our "down year!" BTW, this wiki page, specifically for this year's team, is a great resource.

Football (and War) Is What It Is

The NFL, with the best of intentions, will stop using military jargon to describe the game of football.

The NFL means well. Out of respect to military folks who are in actual combat, it seems reasonable to refrain from describing a game as if it were a true life-or-death struggle. I get that.

But football, as much as any sport, is a living metaphor for what war does: one group imposing it's will on another group through use of force. Listen to what how George Carlin describes it (in my favorite Carlin bit of all time):

As long as football is played the way it is, the comparison to war is natural and instructive. The only way to remove the connection is to change the game (no hitting, tackling, blocking, or defending, just make it a punt, pass, & kick competition) or to redefine what people think war is. War can't be redefined in reality but you might convince the public that it's nice, clean, neat, black & white, impersonal, tame and civilized.

It's not. And nothing in history suggests it ever will be.

[Thanks to Uncle Jimbo of Blackfive for the heads up.]

Monday, February 02, 2009

My Little Girl, Part 2

Here's another shot, taken today, of that photogenic little girl of mine.