Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Shot

I'm not normally a fan of reality TV shows (I finally came around to watching "Survivor" but I avoid the voyeuristic and celebrity reality shows like the plague), but I've found one that I like.

On the History Channel, former Survivor contestant Colby Donaldson hosts a contest among marksmen called "Top Shot." In "Top Shot" two teams of marksmen of various disciplines compete in interesting challenges. The show combines a "Survivor" like element to a more typical History Channel show on the history of firearms.

Most of the contestants, including one woman, are military-types or police but not some are civilian experts, enthusiasts, or competitive shooters. It also seems like half the guys are pistol experts, the other half are rifle experts, but one of the early episodes had them all shooting an English Longbow. I've also been impressed with the variety of competitions; they're really creative and seem to surprise the contestants.

"Top Shot" airs on Sunday nights. The first four episodes will be rebroadcast on July 4.

Random Thoughts 6/29/10

  • Well it turns out I am, in fact, eligible for a new iPhone 4 but my wife is not. She won't be eligible until March. For now I'm going to wait; it just seems too tacky to go trade up for a new toy when my wife can't participate.
  • KU's new big man here? I think so.
  • It's ok, I wasn't really watching much of that soccer stuff anyway.
  • The 2010 World Series of Poker is nearing an end. With Phil Ivey and a few other pros winning another bracelet and professionals like John Juanda making multiple final tables.
  • 1.7 million iPhone 4s sold in the first 72 hours. Wow.
  • Here's the wikipedia page on next year's KU basketball team.
  • I watched the classic Al Pacino film, Serpico, last night. Good film and a true story too; I wonder if this ought to be required viewing for police officers? It's all about police corruption and being an honest cop. Serpico (1973) is directed by Sidney Lumet, of whom I'm not really a big fan. I liked Serpico and 12 Angry Men (1957), and thought Network (1976) was okay, but he's had several other films that were just goofy and some I just don't have any interest in seeing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Random Thoughts 6/25/10

  • When I call *639#, AT&T sends me a text that says I can upgrade to a new shiny iPhone 4 for a small $18 fee. When my wife, who is on the same account, does the same thing, she's told to jump off a cliff and don't come back until March 2011. Hmmm…
  • Poor Sherron Collins. He almost left school a year early to go to the NBA. He looked like one of the best players in college basketball last January. Yesterday he goes undrafted by the NBA. Teammates Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry were lottery selections, going 11th and 12th respectively. Now Collins is hoping to catch on with a team during summer league play.
  • Buy an iPhone 4 now, everybody says.
  • Shannon and I have both been sick the last few days. It's too nice outside to be sick. Ugh.
  • My 9 year old son loves The Princess Bride. How awesome is that?
  • Rumors have it that the Hobbit films will be directed by Peter Jackson and that the negotiations are being conducted now with Warner Bros., New Line, and MGM. That's great news as far as I'm concerned.

Conspiracy Theory of the Day

I'm a huge admirer of General David Petraeus. Isn't everybody? The man turned Iraq from an unmitigated disaster to a (near?) victory. He's a modern American hero.

Now that he's in charge of Afghanistan, most people expect similar success. In fact, if he does succeed in making order out of the perpetually ungovernable 'Stan, some have suggested that Petraeus should be given a fifth star, which hasn't happened in 60 years, a la Eisenhower.

Warning: Paranoia starts here.

Which begs the question: Why would the President do this? Is General Petraeus truly the only option to replace Gen. McChrystal? Is it really necessary to remove Petraeus from his job atop CentCom to run Afghanistan? Or does Petraeus work for himself now?

The Army tends to be a conveyor belt of leadership, i.e. the next guy in line is expected to be able to do the same job. Surely the Army has dozens of capable young(er) generals, many of whom have been staff officers and proteges of Petraeus. So if the President needs to fire "loose lips" McChrystal, why couldn't he tap any number of young, eager generals who are waiting in line?

My concern stems from the following five points:
  1. Afghanistan is getting worse. Casualties are up. Fighting is worse. The enemy (militant, fundamentalist Islam) lost in Iraq and is now focusing on Afghanistan. Along the same lines…
  2. History is against us. The US military has done something remarkable since 2001 in Afghanistan, something that the Soviets, the British, and everybody since Alexander the Great couldn't really do. But we haven't exactly turned this into a functional, self-sustaining state yet. And unlike Iraq, which has has a history of a strong, centralized government, it may not be possible here.
  3. I didn't believe President Obama when he said Iraq was the wrong war and Afghanistan is where it's at. First, I believe they are different theaters of the same conflict. Second, I think President (then candidate) Obama was seizing the political opportunity of disagreeing with an unpopular President Bush: Bush was focused on Iraq, therefore Obama was "for" Afghanistan. But now Iraq is cooling down while Afghanistan is heating up. Will Afghanistan now be Bush's war, too?
  4. Senator Obama lectured and scolded General Petraeus before the surge in Iraq. Obama's side called him "General Betray-us." I think people like the President are embarrassed that our military asserts itself around the globe. Since when is the President a fan?
  5. I don't believe President Obama would purposefully launch the political career of Petraeus, making him the next Eisenhower, or Teddy Roosevelt, or Grant, or Washington, or any of the other 30+ Presidents who formerly served in the military, several of whom capitalized on their service to run for office. How could a politically savvy Obama hope for Petraeus to be successful?
Second Warning: Conspiratorial Paranoia is now in full bloom…

Therefore, if President Obama is not really pulling for either General Petraeus or the War on Terror in Afghanistan… does he believe that we are going to lose in Afghanistan? Does he plan to accept failure and pin the blame on Petraeus as a way of knocking him down a peg or two?

Surely those kind of political calculations don't actually happen, do they?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Random Thoughts 6/23/10

  • The Hobbit movies don't have a director, which might be a good thing if Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and producer on these films, gives himself the job. But he might give the job to his protege, Neill Blomkamp, the young director of recent sci-fi hit District 9, but Blomkamp seems to be committed to his own projects right now. I'd rather see Jackson direct the films himself.
  • So General McChrystal got himself fired, but was it on purpose? Why?
  • Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame, will be play the main role in a new version of All Quiet on the Western Front. Make note, World War 1 films will likely make a strong showing in coming years as we near the centennial of that conflict (2014-18). I'm also hoping to see some more Civil War films and documentaries as its 150th anniversary begins next April 12.
  • So if McChrystal is replaced by his boss, General Petraeus, isn't that kind of a demotion for Petraeus?
  • Phil Ivey won another World Series of Poker bracelet (his eighth) and nice guy John Juanda made his fourth final table in this year's tourney. See WSOP results here.
  • I'd like to remind the customer service guy from Verizon whom I talked to in May of 2009 and who said, "Verizon is just about to get the iPhone," that Verizon still doesn't have it and likely won't until 2011 at the earliest.

Worlds of Fun

We got free tickets to Worlds of Fun yesterday (I had to go to minister's luncheon but got four tickets in return).

We had a fantastic day! It was hot and sunny but a nice breeze was blowing. There was virtually no crowd whatsoever and the lines were non-existent. As far as I'm concerned, I'm never going on a weekend or holiday ever again.

Brennan took to the amusement park like a fish to water. Tanner wasn't feeling well most of the day but perked up toward evening. Overall, it was a perfect day and the best possible day you could expect at Worlds of Fun.

Thanks, Mom, for watching the babies! Thanks, Strubs, for the refill cups (only $1)!

My beautiful wife.

Brennan, the destroyer.

Tanner, the nearly destroyed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

iOS 4! Part 2

I've had my iPhone upgraded for a few hours now and here are some thoughts:

  • Every time I get a new computer (or upgrade my iPhone) I'm so excited about the new features and capabilities that I can barely sit still. But I'm really just excited about all the new potential, which you can never realize in the first five minutes. So it always feels a little anti-climactic. The payoff is in the little details, day by day, that make your work and play better.
  • Surprise! I was multitasking and didn't know it. I just closed my apps as usual and didn't realize that I was leaving the old app running, until I double-clicked the home button and saw a long list of apps staring back at me. Hmm… learning curve. I think I'd benefit from a user guide or owner's manual or something.
  • I had to remove and re-load my photo albums. The pictures were all low-res, maybe just thumbnails, and they looked horrible. It's fixed now.
  • Part of the photo problem, is that the phone now supports "Faces" and "Places" Once your albums are reloaded, you can sort your photos by who appears in them or where they were taken. Pretty handy if you want to show off the grand kids or your latest vacation photos.
  • Winne the Pooh rocks. But when I first tried to download iBooks from the App Store, it told me that I couldn't because the app was "only for the iPad."

iOS 4!

My iPhone is now running the latest software from Apple, iOS 4.

Folders, multi-tasking, wallpaper, spell check, iBooks, digital zoom, tap to focus video, etc, etc. Yay!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Cats Are Plotting Against Us

I saw this cartoon the other day, explaining: "How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you."

Kind of funny, especially for cat owners. I didn't know that when my cat is kneading my body that she's checking my internal organs for weaknesses.

Friday's Devotion

"Recycling Your Relationship with God"
By Kent Klundt

Pray! Before you get started, take a few moments to be still and let God speak to your heart. Read: II Cor. 5:17 - This is what being "recycled" is all about. What does it mean to be a new creature?

Devotional Thought:

Roget's College Thesaurus says the synonyms for “recycle” are restart, reuse and re-begin. (I know all of you probably know what it means to recycle. That's a refresher.) Our culture must think recycling is a great idea, because we can recycle virtually everything. From cans to bottles to plastic to glass to newspapers...you name it! Even Starbucks have bags (I don't know where that came from, Starbucks is a little too pricey for me) that say, “REUSE, REUSE, REUSE, REUSE, RECYCLE.” Okay! We get the idea! They want us to use the bag as much as we can, then recycle it. That way it doesn't get wasted.

Keeping material things from waste, I think is a good idea. But, what's even more important is making sure people’s lives are not wasted. That's you and me. It's easier for us to feel "used" over and over again in life. We need some spiritual recycling. There's school (I know, not now.), activities, jobs, sports, relationships, choices, future, etc. In all of this, as Christians, we're expected to stand up for truth, love others, resist temptation and love Jesus. After a while of living in this world (The world, by the way, will one day also be recycled.), we can all feel pretty beaten up… sort of like a crushed can or a crumpled Starbucks bag. God does want to use us to serve Him and show His love to the world.

But, He knows that we get tired, discouraged, corrupted and frustrated with this life. We never want to wait until we're totally used up before we go to God. He actually wants to spend time with us every day; recycling us into the image of Christ seen in the Bible. An image recycled through the Holy Spirit, Christian friends and Mission Lake Camp. We all have a long way to go before we become what God wants us to be. But, don't worry! He's real patient and He's real good at making something new out of something old and beaten up by the world. God's in the recycling, restarting and reusing business. It's called salvation. It's the story of the Bible and the story of your new life...in Christ.

Read the following verses about those who were "recycled" by God. What changes occurred as a result? What would you say are the areas you need to be recycled?

Read: John 3:1-17; 19:38-42; Luke 19:1-10; Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-22
Here are some great "recycle" verses that teach us how to renew our relationship with God;

Read: Psalm 63:1-8; Matt 22:37-40; Luke 10:38-42; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 12:1-2

Reflect: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." II Cor. 4:16

Pray: Thank and praise God that He is willing, despite your mess-ups and failures to remake you into someone new. If it wasn't for His mercy, we would be consumed. Great is His faithfulness. Amen!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday's Devotion

"Recycling Your Relationships"
By Andrew Sampson

We have been talking about how Jesus can change you completely. We have talked about how He can wipe away all the old that has held you down for so long, and He can bring about a new you. One very important way that Jesus can transform you is by changing your relationships with others.

We all have relationships with other people. Some of those relationships might be good, and some of those relationships might be bad. In all areas of our lives we are developing relationships: at school, at home, at work, at camp, at church, and now we can even put them all in one place… Facebook! Facebook is like iTunes for your friends. We are developing relationships with people every day.

So, if Jesus makes us a new person, changes the way we think, the way we serve, and the way we feel, then it only makes sense to me that Jesus is going to change the way we approach relationships.

I was reading my Bible the other day, and I came across this passage, and it completely changed the way I look at relationships. It was important for me to realize who I was in Christ Jesus, and what he did for me. When I realized who I am in Christ, I also realized my relationships with others had to change as well. I could no longer look at my fellow Christians and non-believing friends, the same way ever again.

READ: Ephesians 2
Christ unites all those who belong to Him, into one body. We are no longer individuals, selfishly doing what is best for ourselves. Instead, we are fellow members of the one body designed for a specific purpose.

READ: 1 Corinthians 12
This knowledge of my role in the body, has caused me to re-examine my relationship with non-believers as well. We are not to cut off ties with non-Christians, in fact we should probably desire for more relationships with non believers, but it changes the way I look these relationships. Before I knew Jesus, I would worry so much about what I looked like through the eyes of all my friends. I no longer worry about what they think of me, or if I fit in. I look at these relationships with urgency. I now desire they would come to know Jesus……..before it is too late. Knowing Jesus tends to put things in the right perspective. If we are truly transformed by Jesus, we will love those we come in contact with more, because we will see them through Jesus’ eyes.

We will mourn for those who don’t know Jesus. And we will prioritize what really matters to us in our lives...the one body!

Reflect on your relationships:

How has your relationship with Jesus changed the way you look at your relationships with others?

Pray for at least one person whom you regularly come in contact with, who does not know Jesus. Pray that Jesus will give you the strength to approach that person with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Random Thoughts 6/17/10

  • Take note: the New York Times has an excellent photo essay about an Army medevac helicopter crew in Afghanistan. May God bless them.
  • The new iOS 4 comes out next Monday for the iPhone. I'm needing this update something fierce.
  • I'm really enjoying a new book I picked up, Why We Love the Church, by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. It's really good.
  • The F-35B became the first STOVL (short take-off, vertical landing) aircraft to break the sound barrier last week. The costs of these aircraft are quickly becoming unaffordable but the technology involved is geek-tastic.
  • The military is still especially stingy with the Medal of Honor, says Stars and Stripes.
  • For all the buzz about the World Cup… it's still just soccer. We Americans try to get excited but, well, you know.
  • I'm looking at upgrading this laptop, probably this year. But I'm at the stage now where I'm getting creative in how to lengthen the lifespan of my current machine. I've never been so dedicated to backing-up and controlling climate and watching the wear and tear I would otherwise put on a laptop.
  • The NFL is talking again about increasing the season from 16 games to 18. Why? For more money of course. But those two extra games would also bring more injuries. I hope they don't do it. I'd like to see them keep the games played at 16 but add a bye week, so that those 16 games are played over 18 weeks. An extra bye would help injured players, I'd think.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday's Devotion

"Recycling Your Hands"
By Bart Hinz

What comes to mind when you hear the word “service?” To some it means work and chores. It is a word some people would rather not have in their vocabulary. It leaves a dirty taste in their mouths. To others it is a way of life and something which they cannot get away from because it is as much a part of them as the color of their hair. Service is their lifestyle.

For us as Christians the thought of service should not be something we hate, but something that excites us and look forward to. It is something we should enjoy if, for no other reason, than we are doing something for the Lord. One of the reasons we are not excited by service is because we don’t really understand what it is. The truth is, we don’t get excited about service because we think that it is going to be very time consuming and difficult.

The truth about service is this; anything that we do on behalf of our Lord is service. I remember going on a mission trip in high school to Mexico. I had no idea what I was going to be doing or what was going to happen throughout the week. I knew that the agenda was work or Bible School but I never knew that I was going to serve God in so many ways. I chose to do the Bible School and I had so much fun. I learned that service to God is nothing more than be open and available. I played with the kids, painted on a house, did skits and just acted silly to make the kids laugh, all of which served God. Would you have thought that getting wrapped up in aluminum foil and standing on a chair in a remake of David and Goliath would be serving God? It was!

Matthew chapter 25 tells us a parable about the sheep and the goats. In this parable we see several things listed for both the sheep and the goats, drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, visit the sick and the imprisoned. Whenever I read this particular parable I remember the simple truth that serving God is not about size or amount but the willingness of the heart to do something. It is not hard to give someone who is thirsty a drink so why don’t we do it. I believe we don’t, because we don’t think that it matters. But let me encourage you and tell you it does. Every single thing we do for the Lord makes a difference no matter how big or how small! All it takes to make a difference in someone, is being open and available for God to plug you in.

So what about you? Is serving God something that you look forward to? Or is it something you don’t? It is something we can all do, and are all called to do. Let me encourage you to make service a part of your everyday life so that you can impact others by the things that you do.

Questions to ponder:

  • How do I truly feel about serving God?
  • How willing am I to serve God?
  • What can I do today to serve God?
  • When was the last time that I served God?
  • Do something this week to serve God and tell your leader about it.

Teach Your Children

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

Deut. 4:9

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fair Is Not Always Equal

One of the key distinctions we've had to make as parents is that "fair does not always mean equal." Is it fair for a 12 year old to have the same bedtime as a 3 year old? Is it fair for a child to be given a toy just because she is witness to another child buying a toy with his own money?

We see it all the time, especially on birthdays. The birthday child gets special treatment–gifts and privileges that any child of that age would get on that particular birthday–but the other children cry foul. "I want a special treat!" "I want to open a present!" Some parents try to accommodate this whiny brat but it's not that child's birthday. The same treatment for everyone is not always fair or just. Why? (Now get ready for a shocking truth…)

Not everyone is equal.

Sure, we are all loved equally by God. And as human beings, we are all equally born with intrinsic value. But other than that, we're not equal. We're not equally talented or gifted in the same ways. We don't have perfectly equal opportunities in life, nor do we receive equal treatment from all the people around us. And most importantly, we don't work equally or make good decisions equally.

In parenting, it means teaching a child to cope with losing or being left out. It means helping that child celebrate someone else without needing his or her own selfish desires satisfied. It means teaching a child that "fair doesn't mean equal; fair means appropriate."

This is tough for our bleeding hearts to swallow, but those who work harder generally get rewarded more. Persistence, patience, hard work, talent, dedication and devotion make a world of difference between one person and the next. Understanding human nature in light of work, merit, and justice will change you from a redistributing, commie-liberal daydreamer to a conservative that appreciates and rewards a good work ethic.

Here's a good story of someone maturing from liberalism to conservatism by grasping this very point.

After One Day At Camp

Shannon took the best picture of Graham yesterday. I absolutely love it.

Tuesday's Devotion

"Recycling Your Heart"
By Chris Coker

This week at camp we are asking you to allow Jesus to recycle your head, heart, hands and relationships with others and with Him.

Take just a minute to ask God to begin to recycle you into the person He wants you to be.

Read Psalm 139:23-24

A heart that is open to God is the first step to being recycled by God. David says search me, and know my heart. David wants God in every part of his heart.

When we allow God total access to our heart it might lead us to be a little anxious, because we know that our heart sometimes doesn't focus on the things God wants us to focus on.

A lot of times when we are anxious we close down our heart so that no one will see our uneasiness, our fear, and doubt.

Read Philippians 4:6-7

How does Paul tell us to handle our anxious thoughts? Write them down.

When anxious thoughts come, go to God so that he may help you guard your heart and mind.

If you want your heart recycled, we need to allow God to show us the things that are offensive to Him, so that we can change directions (repent of sins) and allow God to lead us in His way.

Take this time to allow God to show you any offensive ways, in you. Write down in the space provided an offensive way and how you think God wants you to change it to a positive for Him.

The journey to a heart that is recycled for Jesus, starts when you decide to surrender your heart to Him, and allow Him to lead your life.

Prayer Time:

During your time of prayer if you have questions about a relationship with Jesus please see an adult who can help answer your questions.

Long Live the Big 12 (-2)

We got the news by cell phones late yesterday: the Big 12 lives (sans Colorado and Nebraska). Texas and its wards spurned the Pac-10 and the Big 12 will continue to do business.

Some thoughts:

  • Kansas City breathes a huge sigh of relief. Without the Big 12, college ball games and tournaments in KC would have all but disappeared… along with tens of millions of dollars.
  • This is a big win for KU. Everybody else either wanted to leave, got invitations to leave, or had no other options. But KU pushed for unity and its argument ultimately won the day. Score one for Kansas leadership!
  • Nobody else wanted you, Missouri, but the Big 12 will let you stay. You may be undesirable, even when compared to Nebraska, but KU will love to hate you.
  • Texas will get a king's ransom to stay. Yuck. But that's okay if it keeps the conference together.
  • Now that the conference won't dissolve, Colorado and especially Nebraska will have to pay penalties for leaving. Ha ha!
  • Who might the Big 12 add? Perhaps an Arkansas, or Houston or Memphis? Nobody?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday's Devotion

Here's today's devotion from Church camp:

“Recycling Your Mind”
by Jared Altic

In 2003, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock tried a risky experiment. Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s food for thirty days, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and his health began to deteriorate immediately. He gained as much as two pounds per day, began feeling depressed, and developed a long list of health problems. Twenty-one days into the experiment, one of his doctors told him to “stop now” to prevent permanent health problems but Spurlock continued his McDonald’s diet. At the end of the thirty days, the filmmaker had gained about 25 pounds which took him over a year to lose again.

It’s fairly obvious that if Morgan Spurlock had continued such an unhealthy diet he would have eventually killed himself. His “Super Sized” diet of fatty, unhealthy foods was so extreme that he might have done permanent damage to his body in just 30 days of bad behavior. Most remarkable was how it affected him emotionally, creating a drug-addiction kind of depression and dependency.

If unhealthy food can do this, what would an unhealthy diet of entertainment do? How much vulgar language and moral filth can we pipe directly into our brains before it begins to affect us?

Read Philippians 4:8. List the things God’s people should be thinking about.

Morgan Spurlock’s wife put him on a “detox diet” to help him get healthy again. Imagine how our lives would be different if we applied Phil. 4:8 to our thinking.

How would your friendships be different?

How would your attitude change?

Think about your intellectual junk food. What most interferes with your closeness to God?

Read Romans 12:2. Perhaps we don’t understand God and his purposes for our lives because our mind is still patterned after this world. How can God help us change this?

Pray for God’s guidance to renew our mind; to recover from the world’s sinful, rebellious, hurtful thinking.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Best Plan Yet

If the Longhorns and their calves (I'm looking at you Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State) stampede to the Pac-10, then maybe there's hope after all for the Big 12.

According to this plan, what's left of the Big 12 would merge with the Mountain West Conference to form a new Big 12 (Big 15?). That's Kansas, K-State, Iowa State, Missouri, and Baylor (and A&M?) adding the 10 Mountain West teams. The Mountain West includes Utah, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State, Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, New Mexico, Texas Christian, and now includes Boise State. By merging under the Big 12 name, you keep the BCS rights of the Big 12 and get the payouts of those turncoats that left early.

If the Big 12 just dissolves, Nebraska and Colorado pay no penalties because there's no one to pay.

Rumor has it that the new Big 12, which would number between 13 and 16 teams could pursue schools like Houston or SMU, if necessary, to round out a group of 16. Personally, I'd love to see them jump on this and beat the Big Ten to it, claiming the name Big 16 while it's still available. Sixteen seems to be all the rage lately.

I don't know much about Craig Thompson, the commissioner of the Mountain West, but I'd suggest he ought to replace the Big 12's Dan Beebe, since Beebe doesn't like 16-team super conferences.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Blog Design

I decided to lighten up my blog design a little. I tweaked the colors and added a background photo. I realize that with a small audience that reads my blog on Facebook and through RSS feeds that only a tiny audience actually sees my blog design first hand… but I hope you enjoy!

  • New background photo – looks like something I'd be allergic to – and it covers the formerly dark gray sides.
  • I didn't like the black band across the top; it looked like memorial band. Those links are in the sidebar now.
  • I took out the blue colored links and changed everything to green and orange.
  • I kept my same title photo - I like it too much to let it go.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's All So Confusing

So now the the Big Ten has twelve teams and the Big 12 has ten teams. Okay, sure.

The poor Big 12 doesn't stand much of a chance it seems. By all counts, the conference is waiting for Texas and its satellites to defect or stay – and Texas (and Texas A&M too) seems eager to go. Oklahoma has hitched its wagons to Texas, it seems, which is probably smart for them. Missouri was humbled (humiliated?) yesterday but could still fit into the Big Ten before everything is finished. Poor KU, K-State, and Iowa State seem especially unloved right now.

Random Thoughts 6/11/10

  • Panthers' wide receiver Muhsin "Moose" Muhammad is retiring after 14 years in the NFL. And I've been waiting. Moose was the color commentator in an NFL Europe game several years ago. I saw it. He was fantastic; hands down, one of the best, as good as the big-name guys who do it on Sunday afternoons. I know that there's a long line of retired players who think they have second career in broadcasting, but Moose could really, really be good.
  • It's sad to see the Big 12 implode. Grrrr…
  • I'm doing church camp next week. Blogging will be spotty at best from Sunday to Friday.
  • John Juanda, one of the nicest guys in professional poker, has already made two final tables in the first 15 events in this year's World Series of Poker. Just these two great finishes (4th place and 5th place) have earned him half a million dollars. The WSOP runs through mid-July.
  • Are there any Big 12 schools you miss when your team doesn't play them regularly anymore? I'm really apathetic about Colorado and Nebraska. But if Missouri or K-State gets separated from KU, then it'll bother me. I'll miss seeing the Oklahoma schools too.
  • When I go to camp, I'll be leaving Shannon, Graham, and Anneliese at home. That's really going to make me sad.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Beginning of the End, Part 2

Here's some thoughts:

  • Colorado was actually the first domino to fall. The ugly truth is that if Colorado left the Big 12 and that was it… no one would have noticed. Colorado wasn't a significant factor in the Big 12 and could have been easily replaced. But once Nebraska leaked that they are also leaving… that cinched it. At that point, all bets were off with the Big 12.
  • Stupid Nebraska. Yes, the Texas schools were a pain in the rear, but we had a good thing going. That said, Nebraska is the only one who won't be quadrupling their travel budget by realigning. They are honestly a good fit for the Big Ten.
  • Nobody wants Baylor, but Texas politics may save them in the end. Otherwise, they're in real trouble.
  • Poor Mizzou. Ha Ha!!! Missouri started all this talk about going to the Big Ten, but then they got passed over for the Cornhuskers!!! Ha Ha!!! The current rumors have the Big Ten looking in other directions. You were left at the altar, poor Tigers.
  • One of the great tragedies in all of this is the loss of the fantastic Big Ten logo, which reflected the eleven teams that made up the Big Ten for twenty years.
  • K-State and Iowa State may be the real losers here. K-State's best hope is that KU and MU get a good invite on which the Wildcats can tag along. That's really not fair but that's where it's at right now.
  • The Texas and Oklahoma schools are gone to the Pac-10 almost for sure. How are they going to bus their track teams and swimming teams to California every other week? Are they going to pay to fly them there? The logistics are going to be killer.
  • Where will KU go? Somewhere east, along with Missouri? Can the leftovers (KU, MU, K-State, Iowa State, and maybe Baylor?) build a new conference? Maybe merge with the Mountain West and form a new BCS conference to replace the Big 12? Perhaps Memphis or some others back east could join?

The Beginning of the End

Thanks a lot, Nebraska. Nebraska began playing football games with Missouri and Kansas in 1892. I guess that doesn't count for anything against the almighty dollar.


Is Missouri next? Will the Big 12 south go to the Pac-10? What's KU or K-State supposed to do if everyone leaves?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Random Thoughts 6/9/10

  • Helen Thomas, the anti-Semitic "reporter" in the White House press pool has retired. Thank goodness, especially after suggesting the other day that the Jews of Israel should "go back to Germany and Poland." If only she had retired twenty years ago.
  • Get ready for some 80's nostalgia. Both the "Thundercats" and "Voltron" are coming to the Nicktoons network as new animated shows. I've really enjoyed the "Star Wars: Clone Wars" on Cartoon Network with my older boys, so maybe these shows might be worth a try.
  • Go Meg Whitman for California governor! She's not perfect but that state is so close to going "Greece" it's not even funny. Hopefully it's not too late.
  • The iPhone 4 looks fantastic! Wow. I'd love to upgrade at the end of the year, which is probably the earliest we'll be eligible. But fortunately the iOS 4 software update is due out in a week and a half and that will keep us happy with our current phones.
  • I don't think our President is a potty-mouth. I think he is a weak individual trying to feign toughness. It wasn't "saltiness," it was bad acting.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

100 Miles and Counting

As of my ride at 6am yesterday, I have passed 100 miles on my new bike. 100.89 miles to be exact. I know that's not a lot in cycling terms, but I'm really pleased with what I've done in the last three weeks.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Random Thoughts 6/5/10

  • Tomorrow is the 66th anniversary of D-Day, 6/6/1944.
  • The Hobbit movies lost their director, Guillermo del Toro. He's still involved but scheduling conflicts means he can't be the director of the two Lord of the Rings prequels. This isn't a total loss if Peter Jackson, the producer, would become the director. But the wrong director could ruin this project.
  • 87% of Americans would like to make English the nations official language. How in the world do we not make that happen with that kind of support? Our laws and history are written in English; citizens need a command of the language if they're going to preserve their rights. Here's a great map of English speaking countries.
  • Charles Krauthammer does an excellent job of explaining the predicament that Israel finds itself in and what options it has left. For my part, I'm just flabbergasted that the American left can be so overtly anti-Semitic, a la Helen Thomas.
  • John Wooden passed away yesterday at 99 years of age. God bless a great basketball coach and a great Christian man.
  • Only a weak-minded socialist who believes they are dependent on the government for handouts fills out the census "to get my fair share."
  • Everything you need to know about 4G cell phones here.
  • My wife is making 200 homemade cinnamon rolls for church tomorrow. We might set a record attendance.

Best Ride Yet

I got up at 6am yesterday and cycled an 8-mile route that went through Wyandotte County Park.


This is my new standard ride. I really liked the route as well as the time of day. The sun was only just up, it was 70º, and there was virtually no traffic whatsoever. This ride took me about 40 minutes but I think I can get it down to around 30-35 minutes as my conditioning improves.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Wife is Smokin'

My beautiful wife was using her newly restored smoker again today. Today it was ribs and smoked bologna. The first time it was the best tasting smoked turkey ever. The yard smells wonderful, the kitchen smells wonderful, everything smells like delicious, yummy smoke.

Good job, sweetheart! You're smokin'!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Random Thoughts 6/2/10

  • Church camp is coming up fast. I'm the assistant dean and teacher at Junior High week this year as well as the evangelist for the second week of Sr. High (Deeper Life).
  • Google is so fed up with the security issues in Windows 7 that they're dumping Microsoft in favor of Linux machines and Macs. Gotta love that, especially since Google hasn't been too friendly with Apple lately.
  • I know it's too late now, but Memorial Day weekend was a great time for classic war movies. Several channels were showing some of the best historical movies ever made. Fox movies had Patton, while Spike was showing a "Band of Brothers" marathon. Turner Classic Movies had 72 hours of war movies followed by a 24 hour Clint Eastwood marathon. I taped a few shows here and there but in future years my boys will get their classic movie education on weekends like this.
  • Apple has sold 2 million iPads in its first two months. That's an insane amount. Personally, I'm going to stick with a laptop for a few more years but I fully expect tablets like the iPad to start working their way into our lives. The iPad, in particular, is so easy to use that I could see it make huge strides in educating children and personal computing for the elderly. Right now, it can't push my iPhone or my Mac laptop out of my life, and since I can't afford (or justify) three devices for my computing needs, the iPad will have to be on my Christmas list, 2011 or later.
  • For the first time in almost three weeks, I finally saw another cyclist while riding my bike. I saw two cyclists yesterday while commuting to work.
  • One question for Tipper: is Al a true believer or was the whole global warming thing a political means to an end? And either way, who gets the ginormous carbon footprint of the Gore household?
  • The Royal Society is going to "review" its formerly uncritical support of global warming. Oops.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

14 Years Married

I was asked a few questions about my anniversary that I thought were worth sharing:

Q. Does fourteen years feel any different that five or ten?

A. Yes, in subtle ways. Shannon said she thought this was our best year, and I'd have to agree. We are both actively working to be better communicators, better teammates. This is paying off as we work better together and parent better because of the energy we're investing in it.

A lot of people measure a "good year" by the lack of major catastrophes. But in a marriage a good year ought to be measure by how well both good and bad times were handled.

Q. So it's like a fine wine, getting better with age?

A. No. A wine improves as you leave it alone. But marriage is more like a house. If you leave a house alone, it'll fall apart. But if every year you do the regular maintenance along with a few improvement projects, it will increase in value – even greater than the sum of the individual investments.

Too many people treat their marriage with a hands-off attitude, saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But if a marriage isn't actively maintained, you'll get so far behind that you may feel it's too overwhelming to do anything about it.