Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Thoughts 3/31/10

  • I'm playing basketball at Wallula Christian Church on Wednesday nights at 8pm. It's mostly for adults (read: slow, old guys) but we'd love to have more people playing with us.
  • Jayhawk Cole Aldrich is going Pro a year early. That's as expected. Basketball bench-warmer Conner Teahan is trying out for the football team. That's not as expected.
  • "24" is getting canceled. Unfortunately, "Chuck" is probably right behind it. Go figure that after 10 years and 20 seasons, "Survivor" is going strong in the ratings.
  • Aldrich is joined by at least three other Big12 underclassmen in the NBA draft: James Anderson, OK State; Craig Brackins, Iowa State; and Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma. Players who haven't hired an agent have until May 8 to withdraw. The draft is June 24. Follow the growing list here.
  • "Deadliest Catch" is back on in April.
  • We took the boys to the zoo in Omaha thanks to an anonymous gift giver. That was really nice!
  • Pew Research created a word cloud that shows the responses when Americans were polled on: "One word that best describes your impression of Congress."

Pics of Me and Mine

Here's me with #4 at the zoo on Monday.

And here I am with the lady that cuts my hair.

Sweet 16 (2010) Round 4

  • Well, congratulations Bryan, you've run away with it again this year. Everyone else is mathematically eliminated from first place but that happens in a game like this.
  • Bryan is leading with only 322 points out of a possible 430 points.
  • Both Dad and Bryan had all four Final Four teams in their Sweet 16.
  • Kyle and Mike only had two of the four in their top 16.
  • Four out of seven of us have our second ranked team still active.
  • Two of us have our 16th ranked still active.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sweet 16 (2010) Round 3

  • Bryan is still in the lead with 289 points out of a possible 372. With all of the upsets our top teams are all about 80-100 points off the perfect mark.
  • Chad, Mike, and Kyle only have five of the Elite Eight teams while my dad has all eight.
  • Dad, Mike, and Bryan have five of their top eight teams still active. In other words, all five of Mike's remaining teams were ones he expected to make the Elite Eight.
  • If you start doing the math, some of us are already out of the running. For instance, Kyle gains five points on Bryan with every West Virginia win but that won't be enough to pull ahead. In this competition, you need to start strong.
  • Between our two leaders, Mike and Bryan, Mike gains points with West Virginia and K-State while Bryan has the advantage with wins from Kentucky, Baylor, Michigan St., and Butler.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Random Thoughts 3/26/10

  • Board Meeting last night at church. That's actually not anywhere near as bad as it sounds. We all really enjoy each other and we had lots of positive things to talk about.
  • I guess there will be more basketball this weekend. Bleh.
  • Chris C. put together a great little Easter mailing for some of the neighborhoods around church. Good job, Chris!
  • Stop saying that Teddy Roosevelt was a champion of socialized health care. Yes, that was a small part of the only election the former president ever lost. The Progressive "Bull Moose" Party was a train wreck of political loose ends that undermined the incumbent Republican president and handed the election to the daft, naive (and racist) Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who not only left us unprepared for WW1 but paved the way for WW2. There was another candidate in 1912, communist Eugene Debs, who was really promoting socialized health care and he came in fourth, well behind Wilson, Roosevelt, and then President Taft.
  • Day off today with the family. I intend to sleep, play with the kids, take a nap, play with the kids some more, then probably sleep a little… you get the idea.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Random Thoughts 3/24/10

  • We just took a hard-left turn toward European Socialism that will probably bankrupt us and no one here seems to care. At all.
  • The NFL just passed a new rule for overtime in playoff games: instead of sudden death, the second team is allowed a possession if the first team only scores a field goal. So no more one-sided, "two first downs and field goal" victories in the playoffs.
  • SpaceShipTwo made its first "captive carry" flight the other day. Everyone who's crying about NASA's budget cuts needs to embrace the private companies that are continuing good work in aerospace.
  • I filled out the census form for my family the other day. It takes awhile for a family our size.
  • Were you looking for a blog that updates you on KU players as they go pro and play in the NBA? Yeah, me too.
  • If you didn't read Amity Shlaes' book The Forgotten Man (a history about the Great Depression), then you could read this article instead. President Obama has a lot in common with FDR.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Drawn to Him

From the Daily Spurgeon:

Brethren, there is an abiding fullness of truth in Christ; after you have heard it for fifty years, you see more of its fullness than you did at first. Other truths weary the ear. I will defy any man to hold together a large congregation, year after year, with any other subject but Christ Jesus. He might do it for a time; he might charm the ear with the discoveries of science, or with the beauties of poetry, and his oratory might be of so high an order that he might attract the multitudes who have itching ears, but they would in time turn away and say, “This is no longer to be endured. We know it all.”

All music becomes wearisome but that of heaven; but oh! if the minstrel doth but strike this celestial harp, though he keepeth his fingers always among its golden strings, and be but poor and unskilled upon an instrument so divine, yet the melody of Jesus’ name, and the sweet harmony of all his acts and attributes, will hold his listeners by the ears and thrill their hearts as nought beside can do. The theme of Jesus’ love is inexhaustible, though preachers may have dwelt upon it century after century, a freshness and fullness still remain.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Feb 28, 1869

[Thanks, Eric]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sweet 16 (2010) Round 2

After two rounds…

This is brutal.

  • Out of 272 points possible, our leader, Bryan, only has 218.
  • All seven of us have lost between 7 and 9 of our teams, when it could be possible to have all sixteen still alive.
  • Of the 26 teams we chose, only 12 are still active among the sixteen teams in the actual tourney.
  • All of us lost our number one team, top-rated Kansas.
  • Bryan is the only one with seven of his top-8 teams still active.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Sewer Slime and Alien Brains

This is how we do macaroni and cheese in a house with four boys:

Quoting President Lincoln 3/21/10

From The Portable Abraham Lincoln (you'll recognize this from when it was read in the movie Saving Private Ryan):

To Mrs. Lydia Bixby

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov 21, 1864

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

It's like poetry; Lincoln's command of the language is something we just don't see much anymore.

[Go homeschooler!]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Random Thoughts 3/20/10

  • Here's a scathing rebuke of atheist God-hater Bill Maher using a lot of his own words.
  • Here's some great aerial video of my favorite city.
  • Are atheists more evolved than conservatives? Nah, IQ is not a reliable indicator of faith, morality, political views, wisdom or anything else other than how well one can learn the three R's in grade school.
  • I picked up The Portable Abraham Lincoln by Penguin Books at a used book store this week. I'll post an excerpt tomorrow.
  • I just heard a radio commercial of a nerdy sounding guy talking to a girl, "Hey, you can probably tell: I'm a blogger. I get like three, four hits a day… mostly from my Mom telling me to turn down my radio…"
  • This is why you shouldn't pick tournament teams that start with the letter "V." Thanks a lot Villanova and Vanderbilt!
  • We have five or six inches of snow on the ground today, maybe more. It's almost April for Pete's sake!
  • Go Jayhawks! You'd better win today!!

Sweet 16 (2010) Round 1 Update

  • We had seven guys enter the Sweet 16 this year: Chad W., Dustin A., Richard A., Mike K., Bryan C., Kyle D., and me.
  • Dustin and my Dad, Richard, are leading after one round with 129 out of 136 possible points.
  • Dad and Mike each lost only one team, Georgetown. Kyle lost four teams.
  • The seven of us picked twenty-six different teams. Six were knocked out without winning once.
  • Toughest loss so far: Georgetown was an 11-pointer for Kyle, a 9-pointer for Mike and me.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Thoughts 3/19/10

  • I guess I'm wavering between sympathy and annoyance with people who abuse alcohol on days like St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo. I don't want to hear on Facebook about how drunk you got or what you can't remember. As a minister, my heart breaks for the damage you might be doing to your health and relationships, especially the example you set for those watching you.
  • ESPN had 4.8 million brackets entered online by fans of college basketball. After the first day, only 56 brackets were still perfect (.0013%).
  • Thanks a lot Georgetown.
  • The Chiefs signed former Colt and Kansas City native Ryan Lilja six years too late. Seriously, this is still good move.
  • Jon Arbuckle never seemed so suicidal before. Here's a website (and book) that revolves around erasing the character Garfield from the cartoon strip Garfield, leaving only his owner, Jon, talking to himself. It's called Garfield minus Garfield.
  • Steve Jobs buys an old mansion built by a famous architect. The place has become so rundown that Jobs decides to demolish it. What's the problem? There's a group of do-gooders that won't let him tear it down. Look at the mansion here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Please Don't Enjoy St Patrick's Day Too Much

It's unnecessary. It's pathetic. And you're not even Irish.

This is supposed to be a holiday celebrating a famed missionary. Somehow that message got lost.

For My Mother-in-Law

She's actually crazier for KU than she is for things Irish, believe it or not! But we love our crazy, Jayhawk Grandma.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Random Thoughts 3/16/10

  • Today is the fourth birthday of my Grahama-lama-ding-dong. That funny little squirt is already four years old! It's hard to believe. Happy birthday, Graham.
  • At least Kansas City schools are famous for something.
  • It's killing me that HBO's miniseries, "The Pacific," is airing and I won't likely see it until the end of the year or later. Erghhhh…
  • 10% of Microsoft employees use an iPhone, recent reports say. I wonder how many Apple employees, at their own expense, use a Windows-powered smart phone? One percent? Less?
  • I'm really enjoying "Eliminate" co-op on the iPhone. I play the game with my brother almost daily, usually late at night, just before bed. I'm not normally a fan of first-person shooters but, for the iPhone, I think this is the best one.
  • Get your Sweet 16 picks in by Thursday morning. The games start early!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sweet 16 (2010)

The NCAA tourney starts Thursday (play-in games don't count) and people everywhere are filling out their brackets.

But instead of filling out a bracket, try my "Sweet 16" game we've been playing the last few years. Instead of predicting sixty-some games, we pick the best sixteen teams in the tournament and rank them best to worst. The best team will get 16 points for each win, the second team will get 15 points and so on until you get to the 16th team which gets one point per win. If you put them in the correct order, your maximum score would be 477 points.

Last year I finished in the middle of the pack, but still enjoyed rooting for my higher ranked teams or against teams that someone else ranked higher than I did.

If you want to play along, just post your list of of sixteen, in order, in the comments section and I'll keep a running tally as we go along. The cutoff is Thursday morning.

Oh, and what does the winner get? The satisfaction of a job well done.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Church Mice Around Here

I walked into the sanctuary before church this morning and found my (almost) 4-year old here:

Random Thoughts 3/14/10

  • Today will be our first combined birthday party, Anneliese's birthday was March 12 and Graham's is March 16. It will probably be the first combined celebration of many. The challenge is to balance the virtue of sharing the spotlight with letting each kid get the basic affirmation they need, and not going too far either way. The month from mid-February to mid-March is chock full of birthdays in our extended family with almost a dozen between Shannon's family and mine.
  • Here's a video of the F-35B landing at a mere 40 knots (about 46 mph); it looks like it's standing still. Some gliders can't even fly that slow. This version of the F-35 will replace the AV-8B Harrier jump jet.
  • Yes, nerds and geeks, rejoice! The 137-year archive of Popular Science is now online. Be careful, you could lose days getting lost in there.
  • Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Again.
  • I'll add a note tonight or Monday about the Sweet 16 competition I do each year. Be ready to pick your 16 NCAA teams, in order. More details to follow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bad Mizzou

Nebraska?! Really, Mizzou, you lost to Nebraska? The Cornhuskers were the worst team in the Big 12; they were 2-14 in conference play! How do you get handled in the first round by Nebraska?!

Good grief.

Missouri could have met Kansas in tournament play on Friday but now that's out the window, perhaps along with MU's invite to the NCAA tourney. Way to be a bubble team, Tigers.

Random Thoughts 3/10/10

  • I received a first-class envelope in the mail from the Census Bureau telling me that they would be sending me something next week from the Census Bureau (probably first class again). I'm holding this worthless note in my hands thinking that it represents probably $100 million of taxpayer money down the tubes for this single letter telling me another letter is coming soon. Wow. This is the collapse of civilization.
  • Speaking of the Census, what right does the government have to gather information on me beyond counting us (as required every 10 years in the Constitution). Doesn't the Fourth Amendment protect us from unreasonable searches of our "persons, houses, papers, and effects"? I should leave a post-it on my front door for the census taker: "2 adults, 5 children, have a nice day."
  • So how dominant are the Kansas Jayhawks! KU has won yet another year in the Big 12, that's six in a row. I realize it's a long shot to win another NCAA championship but it is a possibility!
  • One out of six Americans have genital herpes?! Wha?! That should keep people faithful to their marriage vows.
  • I agree with Glenn Beck, we Americans are not promised "Life, Liberty, and the guarantee of Happiness." Rather it's the freedom to pursue happiness. But for the last 70 years or more we've been forfeiting the freedom for the promise of mediocrity.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Random Oscar Thoughts, 2010

  • From my Facebook status Sunday night: "The Oscars saved money on joke writers this year… must have hired junior high boys." How on earth does Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin come off that canned and stiff?
  • I watched the Oscars on tape delay (thanks to my DVR) after I got home from Bible study. I was able to skip a lot of the acceptance speeches, the commercials (except for the Apple iPad commercial–watched that one twice!), and a lot of the music.
  • The producers main goal was to come in on time… they missed by about an hour.
  • I thought this year's show was a huge letdown. It was over time, had lots of mistakes, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were horrible, the humor was unusually crude, and the show was slow.
  • What was up with the uncomfortable silence directed at George Clooney in the opening? If that was an inside joke, I missed it.
  • When Tom Hanks hurriedly read the best picture winner, I almost missed it. Has anyone heard of a drum roll?
  • Thank goodness Avatar got put in its place. It won three technical Oscars but lost Best Picture and Director, which in my opinion it just doesn't deserve. If it had won, Avatar would have one of the weakest stories of the 80+ Best Picture winners.
  • I was a fan of The Hurt Locker, and I'm eager to see The Blind Side.
  • Here's a rundown of the winners from Sunday night.

Sick Family

My family has been awfully sick the few days. When a fever, cough, and such hit a family of seven, it works its way through the parents and kids like dominoes falling one after another. I just hate seeing my children so sick that they can only lay there, half asleep, moaning. But it's worse to see my wife that sick.

We had to move our home Bible study to another location Sunday night (thanks Tom & Vicki). Yesterday afternoon I just tried my best to tend to them all, thankful that I have a job where I can do part of my work from home.

Today the ones who were first sick are starting to get better. Hopefully, everyone will be back on their feet in the next day or so.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Friday, March 05, 2010

Another Pet Lost

Shannon's little black dog, Maury, was struck by a car and killed yesterday on Shannon's birthday. We got the bad news today in response to our missing dog notice on Craigslist.

We had Maury for a little more than two years. He was a smart little dog but had a tendency to dig under our fence and roam the neighborhood. Shannon and the boys are devastated and poor Sophie, our not-too-bright beagle, just seems confused. The poor dog seems to be looking for her little friend.

This is the second pet to die tragically in about two months; we lost a kitty at Christmas.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Beautiful Redhead Is With Me

My darling wife turns thirty-three Thursday (March 4).

My beautiful wife, the mother of my five children, is the strongest person I know. I couldn't be married to a shrinking violet or a high-maintenance, prissy princess. Shannon is so capable; she is so valuable to our family in a Proverbs 31 kind of way.

Shannon homeschools five children. In the past year or so she's changed a tire, researched and purchased a van, taken apart and repaired half of the major appliances in our house, developed and maintained a blog, learned to make from scratch (and sell on her own online store) purses, learned to knit, and taken up crosswords and scrabble, among other endeavors.

My largest gift to her this last year was a new iMac computer and after that, her iPhone. On the back of her van, she applied seven Apple stickers in a row, two big ones and five little ones; I'm telling you, she's my soul mate!

Best of all, she is authentic. She's not a pious, over-stuffed church lady. She's honest and transparent; you see her good days and her bad days. So many preacher's wives are such prudes and Pharisees but Shannon is as down to earth as a Christian can get. I'd bet other ministers only wish their wives were as energetic and helpful, as dependable and sexy as my wife is. Other women wish they could accomplish what Shannon accomplishes on a daily basis.

I am married to the real Joan Holloway.

To say that she is utterly irreplaceable to me is an understatement. No one can do what she does. She has become my dream come true… and more so every year.

No one will ever have my love as she does.

Rube Goldberg Would Be Proud

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Uriah the Hittite

Here's a link to last Sunday's sermon on Uriah the Hittite (the husband of Bathsheba). It went about like I wanted it to, except that I couldn't spit out the word "incredulity."

That's my brother, Dustin, on the piano at the end. It's too bad you can't hear the congregation singing at the end with him, we have some good singers (and my microphone is muted!).

Of Course Eugenics is Practiced Today

As this article points out, "Eugenics" is often thought of as a racist notion of years gone by. It was racist (and still is) but it's not gone. People are still actively trying to weed the undesirables out of the genetic garden, mostly through abortion.

Abortion is actively promoted to minorities, betraying the racist background of Planned Parenthood. Almost 1,800 black babies are aborted in the United States every day and a black woman is five times more likely to have an abortion than a white woman.

Today, abortion is encouraged for any number of genetic defects and abnormalities, regardless of race. If a child is screened as "defective" the mother is told that the humane thing to do is kill the child now, you know, to prevent suffering.

This is Eugenics, plain and simple. Our doctors and policy makers and eagerly shaping future generations along lines that are acceptable to them: perfect, healthy, and productive citizens that aren't a burden to the state. These are the same good intentions the Nazis had.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Random Thoughts 3/1/10

  • I will NOT be watching Leno tonight. I probably won't watch Letterman either, but I'm REALLY not watching Leno.
  • Concerning Apple's upcoming iPad: "In other words, the iPad is no different than any other Apple product: a fusion of existing hardware, perfectly realized software and world-class design. Getting hung up on the [unremarkable] CPU is beside the point."
  • Chuck returns tonight.
  • I'm not going to subscribe to HBO, but the sequel/companion series to "Band of Brothers," "The Pacific," begins this month. I just need to hold out until the end of the year when it makes it to DVD. Books to read before then: With the Old Breed (Eugene Sledge, 1981) and Helmet for My Pillow (Robert Leckie, 1957).
  • Have you tried the Brand Quiz? Two colors, one visual clue and one verbal clue, then you name the corporate brand. I missed three on my first pass but eventually figured them all out.
  • I'm not in any kind of hurry to see the new Alice in Wonderland movie, but I am reading both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. But don't read these stories before bed; it'll mess with your dreams. Actually dreams don't get that weird.