Saturday, July 31, 2010

Re: The Giants of Genesis 6

In a letter to a friend about the Nephilim (giants) of Genesis 6:

There's not much to info that exists, just hoards of speculation. Without solid info, people let their imaginations run wild. But context and common sense help keep us from getting crazy (as least some of us).

The Nephilim are "great" or "giant." That's all we know for sure. The context in these early chapters of Genesis is the creation, fall, and the flood. Man is made good, chooses sin, and is destroyed. This isn't about angels or creatures of fantasy, it's about humans and sin. Giant is probably not meant in the mythical sense but as a positive description of character or devotion.

The "Sons of God" could be angels (see the similar reference in Job 1:6) but that's not a forgone conclusion. First, Jesus tells us that angels don't get married (Mt 22:30). Second, angels are not the same kind of critter that humans are, thus we shouldn't be able to pro-create together. Third, angels and Satan don't have the power to create human bodies. This probably isn't a demonic possession either (though that theory is popular in some quarters) because these "great" men seem to be described with words that are favorable. "Men of renown" means men "of the name," i.e. God's name or people of faith. They're "great" or "giant" because of their faith in God.

The Nephilim, heroes of old, men of renown, exist before and after the flood. That would make Noah one of them. The Sons of God that marry the daughters of men, could be righteous men choosing carnal pleasure, in either Cain's line or possibly Seth's line.

My personal theory is that the Nephilim (great men of faith) are the heroes mentioned in the genealogy (Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc). During this time, this group, Seth's line, which should have been faithful, began to marry beautiful women from Cain's line (unequally yoked), i.e. believers marrying non-believers. Just like with Solomon, this drew their hearts away from God. This seems to fit the context best without any goofy, un-Biblical, fantasy tales muddying the waters.

Hope this helps.


Famous Dave's Self Referential Freebie

On Sunday, August 1st, anyone named Dave, David, or some variant thereof, who can prove it with a photo ID gets a free meal at Famous Dave's. It's called "Dave's Day." You get an entree at half price if your middle name is Dave.

Enjoy, Dave. I'll wait for "Jared's Day" which I'm sure is just around the corner.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/30/10

  • American Idol has lost two judges this season, Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. The replacement? Jennifer Lopez. Really. That's too bad. Some wanted Elton John, Justin Timberlake, or Steven Tyler (who might still be a possibility). For me, I would have been interested if they had added someone frank and blunt like Gene Simmons. Another "too nice to judge" judge will make my head explode.
  • What do European socialists and Islamic terrorists have in common? They hate Jews. Next to hating Christians, hating Jews seems to always be in vogue somewhere.
  • White House press secretary Robert Gibbs criticized Rush Limbaugh for attacking "Government Motors." Then Gibbs said, “And then you should ask Mr. Limbaugh — I don’t know what kind of car he drives, but I bet it’s not an F-150.” F-150s are made by Ford, which didn't take any government money. I guess Gibbs doesn't drive an F-150 either.
  • I'm really ready for football to begin again. We're already working on fantasy football, getting ready for the 2010 season.
  • Teachers have very important jobs, but the idea of the underpaid teacheraccording to this graph – seems a bit outdated. My question is if teachers are better paid now, why are so many schools doing so poorly? Could it be the institution itself?
  • CBS was rated as the least gay-friendly network and immediately promised to do better by adding new gay characters to its shows. Way to cave, CBS.
  • Here's a great story about a Marine in Afghanistan who stepped on and was blown up by an IED but walked away, mostly unharmed. Praise God for an inept bomb maker.

Gunny Therapy

Another Geico commercial, this time with Kansas native, R. Lee Ermey. Ermey was born in Emporia and grew up a few miles from where I live now, near Edwardsville, Ks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/29/10

  • My mini-staycation (part 1) was over way to quick. A couple of days at home with the family is nice but now I have a backlog of work and less time to finish it in. Grrr…
  • I guess I could vote for Todd Tiarht next Tuesday and vote for Jerry Moran in November. Oh, well. Both of these guys' radio attack-ads have been an embarrassment.
  • The Pac-10 (12 teams at last count) has developed a new logo to go with their outdated name. What will the Big 12 (10 teams) and Big 10 (12 teams) do?
  • The Chiefs will unveil a new statue of Lamar Hunt tomorrow. I liked Hunt, but I'm always uncomfortable with idolizing (literally or figuratively) public figures.
  • Here's a short video of a guy going to the Liberty Memorial in KC.
  • For $300 you can have your own iPhone-controlled UAV, spying from above for an aerial view.
  • Here's a good reason to have gyroscopes in your camera (like the iPhone 4).
  • The wife and I have started watching season 2 of "Castle." I love good writing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/26/10

  • Basketball at Wallula, 8pm Wednesday. Let me know if you're coming to play.
  • I was hoping that by yesterday I'd have sold my iPhone and replaced it with a new iPhone 4, without it costing me anything. But that hasn't happened yet. I may have to reconsider my strategy here…
  • The Tron sequel is coming out this December. The original movie came out in 1982, and is highly underrated considering when it was done. A lot of younger nerds, who claim to be aficionados of all things sci-fi and geek related are completely ignorant of this movie. But sci-fi movies like The Matrix, any movie about getting pulled into a computer world, or any movie that utilizes computer graphics owes a debt to Tron.
  • I'm really enjoying the History Channel's "Top Shot." Various sharpshooters compete against one another shooting targets with a variety of different weapons, from rifles to six-shooters to bows and arrows. The show has been fairly successful and now they're casting a second season that will tape this fall. Bob H., you've gotta apply now.
  • Every summer, after camp is over and before Wednesday night church begins again, I have a week or two that is not absolutely crazy. Usually. This year, we're not going on vacation or anything, but I'm definitely going to take a couple of days off this week and and a couple of more next week. We'll have a "stay-cation."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/23/10

  • I'm at camp for the fourth or fifth time in six weeks (I'm losing track of how many trips I've made up here). This time for a wedding. Congrats Andrew and Karen!
  • A survey shows that most iPhone users are satisfied with AT&T. Really? 73% are okay with AT&T? AT&T's average customers are only 68% satisfied and other smart phone users are only 69% satisfied with their carriers. Ok, sure. But we'll see what happens when T-Mobile gets the iPhone, maybe as soon as this year.
  • With budgets tight, we've missed both Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me in the theaters. I guess I know what we're watching on DVD this Christmas with the kids. Besides, I'm saving my theater money for Tron Legacy.
  • Seriously, about Tron, all of us old-school nerds need to get together and see this movie. December 17. Save your pennies. Flynn lives!
  • Good job, Chris, on VBS this year. I wish attendance had been higher for you, but you did a really good job. And I can't believe how organized you are (and have been) for CIY. Way to go, dude.
  • Google image search looks like Bing now. I wonder if Google will add a pretty photograph everyday?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

120,000 Hits

We must have passed 120,000 hits a day or two ago. I don't watch it that closely, updating about every 5,000 hits, but I'm flattered that my friends and family have been on my blog that many times. 120,000 hits… that's like 60,000 per reader!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/21/10

  • Avoid eye strain while reading my blog! Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cpl. Dakota Meyer, USMC, may be the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor in more than a generation for heroic actions in Afghanistan last year. Nothing has been decided yet as these things take years to mull over nowadays.
  • I was at the Y the other day and they wouldn't let me shoot baskets in the gym. It was ten minutes until the top of the hour (when basketballs would suddenly become permissible) and nobody was using the gym. It was totally empty. So I had to sit and wait, watching an empty basketball court, for ten minutes before I could go shoot free throws. Wow. Thanks for being slavishly anal with your gym schedule, YMCA. You're awesome!
  • Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever and things seem to be getting worse. I've had several friends and acquaintances go to (and some are currently in) Afghanistan but the news, good or bad, from there seems to be pretty slim.
  • KU football is expected to be in the middle of the pack this season. According to the Big 12 Media Preseason Poll, Nebraska the treasonous scum just north of here, Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri should be the stronger teams in the conference this year. Colorado the treasonous scum a little ways west of here are expected to be horrendous. Again.
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron flew on a commercial British Airways flight to Washington on this last trip. He saved his government hundreds of thousands of dollars and shocked the other passengers on the flight. He's my favorite British PM since Thatcher.
  • What does it really cost you to use that credit card? Check this out:
  • I'm doing a wedding this weekend up at the Church camp. Congrats, Andrew and Karen!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There's Two of Them!

The one on the right is my nephew, Kelby, the other is a random kid from our VBS.

Hmm, separated at birth?

When is Pizza in Season?

Do you eat a lot of fresh food and want to know when blackberries, duck, or lobster is in season?

Yeah, me neither.

But this website,, gives you a list of what food is currently fresh and when various foods are in season. Note: the list of months on the right hand side of that site is not a menu, it's a chart.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/19/10

  • Our VBS (Vacation Bible School) starts tonight: Mega Sports Camp.
  • The Main Event in the World Series of Poker is down to the final table of nine players. They'll take a break now and resume play in November. As hoped, a well known professional, Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi, has made the table, as well as seven other full-time professionals. Only one amateur player sits at the table of nine, proving the point that No-limit Hold 'em isn't a blind game of chance but rather a game where skill and experience pay off.
  • Eddie Kennison signed a one day contract with the Chiefs so that he could retire as a member of the team. Kennison played seven seasons in KC and is in the top-10 for virtually every receiving category with the Chiefs. Since Kennison was never an elite player and only had five "good" years with the Chiefs, his statistical dominance is sad commentary on the team.
  • Getting back and recovering from a week of church camp is a lot like having jet lag. It's so emotionally and physically draining that I don't sleep right for a few days.
  • Shannon and I were watching French-language version of Les Miserables (1935) the last few nights. When it recorded on the DVR, it recorded a 5+ hour segment (?!), but everything I can find says it's only a 1 hour 48 minute movie. We're two hours in and still going strong (maybe midway through). What gives? Did we get a hold of the "long" version? I've even read reviews of how great this "short" version of the story is. What?!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/17/10

  • Happy Anniversary to my all-time favorite sister and her husband. Craig and Sonya have been married for 17 years.
  • Shannon is talking about getting some part-time work at the YMCA… check that, I mean "the Y." "The Y" is now officially the correct way to refer to the YMCA, matching what most people have been calling it for years. It also has new logos and a new brand strategy for the first time in 43 years.
  • Great video here of a flight from Kansas City (MCI) to Chicago. Filmed on an iPhone 4. Hey Dustin, which runway does the plane take off from? I know; do you? In fact, I could guess the destination before I read it.
  • Here is the smartest and coolest jet ever, the increasingly expensive F-35. More here, and here.
  • Looks like Microsoft's version of the iPhone, Windows Phone 7, isn't so great.
  • Have you heard the iPhone Antenna Song?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Devotion

Jesus: Let's get a new life!
By Mike Kirby

We often run into people who just have the wrong priorities or the wrong focus. They invest their time - their whole life - into things that really have no eternal value. We might say to that person, "Get a life!"

Then again, perhaps we have some priorities that are misplaced also. Maybe our focus isn't where it should be, and even though we are Christians, we still lack because we neglect the full potential of the new life in Christ.

Read John 14:6. What does Jesus claim to be?

Read John 11:25-26. What does Jesus promise?

Read John 10:10. What is Satan's (the thief) desire? Why did Jesus come? How does He describe that life?

Read Acts 4:12. Who else beside Jesus can give us new life?

Grace is unmerited favor. It is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
Read Ephesians 2:4-5. Who makes us alive? What can we do to earn that?

Our salvation, that is eternal life, is a free gift from God. We must trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, repent of our sins and confess them, be immersed into Christ and continue to live in obedience to Him. These aren't things we "do" to be saved; they are merely how our saving faith is demonstrated. If we have true faith, these steps are included in that faith.

The bible tells us that we are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37), that if God is for us, no one can be against us (Rom 8:31) and greater is He who is in us (the Holy Spirit) that he who is in the world (Satan) (1 John 4:4). Therefore it seems that the only one who can stop you from having new life is Christ is you.

Pray that God will give you the strength to resist anything that will hinder your new life with Christ. Pray that you leave behind everything that will get in the way of your walk with the Lord. Pray that you don't leave camp with an excitement that will fade in a couple of weeks, but that you are actually changed from the inside out and that you will continue to walk with Jesus and grow in Him. Pray that God will bless the rest of your summer, and will embolden you to stand up for Him as school starts this fall.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Devotion

David: Let's get a new beginning!
By Mike Kirby

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death.

Have you ever done something so bad that you thought God would never forgive you? Maybe you feel that way right now. Maybe you think your decisions have been so rotten that God could never take you back, that He could never use you, that you could never be "clean" again. Maybe you think it is just too late to start over.

If you feel that way, I have good news. God is a God of new beginnings. We are going to look at the life of King David to illustrate.

David is described in the Bible as a man after God's own heart. He wrote many of the psalms. He was God's choice to be the king of Israel after Saul's failure. David was the man! He was God's man!

Then, well, there was this girl. King David saw Bathsheba taking a bath from his roof. She was hot! He got his 'secret service' to find out about her and learned she was Uriah's wife. Uriah was one of David's mighty men, one of his best soldiers and a friend. What did David do? He sent for her and slept with her. She got pregnant. David tried to cover it up. When that didn't work, David had Uriah placed in a very vulnerable place in battle and he was killed. David murdered Bathsheba's husband and then married Bathsheba. By the way, David already had wives when this happened. Adultery, lust, lies and murder. If it is too late for anyone to start over, it is too late for David.

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-13 as the prophet Nathan confronts David over his sin. Now reread verse 13. What is David's reaction? What is God's reaction to David's admission of guilt?

Here is all of Romans 6:23. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We are all like David. If we haven't committed the act, we have thought about it - still sin. We are all in need of a new beginning. That new beginning is a gift that God gives us!

Read 1 John 1:9. Confess your sins to God right now.
Read Acts 17:30. Repent (turn away from) of those sins you confessed.
Pray that God will give you strength to resist the temptation to sin. Remember our theme verse. 2 Corinthians 5:17. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come. Thank God that He is a God of new beginnings!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm 3/5 done with my preaching this week and half done with my teaching assignments. Looking back, I've noticed in me a real insecurity.

I've preached up here for years and I really enjoy preaching to and teaching high school kids. But I think I know what the source of the lack of confidence that I'm feeling is. For most of these kids, this is their second week of camp this summer. The first week, back in June, they heard one of my favorite preachers, a college professor of mine that I consider one of the best preachers I've ever heard. He's really, really good. And they were blown away by him.

And I have to follow that!

I probably shouldn't let that bother me–this isn't a competition–but I'm sure that's why I feel so anxious. It seems petty and small to feel inadequate over something like this. God works in us and through us to accomplish His will; often God uses our weakness to demonstrate his power and glory. I should know this. I should know that the ability to teach or preach is God's working, not mine.

But I'm sitting here, feeling like a cheap imitation. God help me to stop focusing on what others think, good or bad. If I were only thinking of bringing glory to Him, I wouldn't be feeling this at all.

Wednesday Devotion

Moses: Let's get a new obedience!
By Mike Kirby

Some of the first words you ever learned were probably 'mommy' and 'daddy'. Not too far behind them were probably 'mine' and 'no'. How many times have you heard a small child screaming 'NO!' at the top of their lungs? We are born with an inclination toward disobedience.

Obedience doesn't get any easier as we get older. Have you stayed out past curfew (even accidentally)? Have you gone over the speed limit even by 1 mph? Refused to do your chores? Have you ever decided that you really need money badly this month so you didn't put anything in the offering plate at church? How about going to websites that you know you shouldn't go to?

Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the desert. The goal was the Promised Land, but they weren't there yet. There was a detour to a mountain. Read Exodus 19:3-8. Read Exodus 20:1-17.

The Hebrews exclaimed, "Yes, we will obey!" Moses went on the mountain and received the Ten Commandments. Along with that Moses received the rest of the law for the Hebrew people. Read Exodus 24:3, 7, 12-18.

While Moses was on the mountain for those 40 days and nights, the Hebrews apparently forgot their pledge to obey God and built a golden calf as an idol. This just shows us that we cannot obey. In fact, the Ten Commandments show us that we are utterly incapable of being perfectly obedient.

Read Romans 7:7-12. If we can't keep the law, but God requires obedience, what are we to do? That is where Jesus comes in. The law exposes our need for a Savior, Jesus Christ. When we become Christians and are in Christ, we take on the righteousness of Christ in the eyes of God.

Now, here is the rub. God still requires obedience. Not to a long list of rules and regulations, but to Jesus Christ. Our obedience to Jesus is evidence that we are saved. Yes, there is still right and wrong. No, we won't be perfect. No, we cannot sin just because we know Jesus will forgive our sin. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit lives within us and gives us the ability to obey Christ.

Read John 14:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 John 5:3.

Pray that through your obedience to God people will see that you are a Christian. Pray that God will strengthen you to bring every area of your life under obedience to Christ. That you will desire to read His word to know what the Lord wants you to obey and that God will make your obedience a joy and not a burden.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Church Camp vs. Summer Camp

What's the difference between a church camp and a Christian summer camp?

That's a good question. Both camps might have chapel services and staffs filled with youth ministers and kids from Christian colleges. Both camps want to bring kids to Jesus. Both camps might offer recreational activities like swimming and basketball and every kind of game that can be played with water balloons.

In fact, this is where some people draw the distinction: summer camps supposedly have nicer, more varied, more expensive recreation. If you're playing paintball and riding horses, you're at a summer camp, not a church camp. Church camps supposedly wouldn't go to the expense of these "superfluous activities." But I think there's a more subtle difference.

I think that what makes a church camp a "church camp" is the programming. At church camp you may or may not have expensive and elaborate recreational activities, but that's not the focus or even the selling point. The day is filled with opportunities to learn about Christ. You have scripture memory work, classes, service projects, discussion groups and a host of other activities that are purposed toward growing a kid in his or her faith. Chapel is just one more element in this round-the-clock programming, while recreation is a brief aside.

This kind of programming does tend to be less expensive and some church camps are downright primitive compared to the luxurious summer camps I've visited. But any camp facility could be a church camp if the unified direction and purpose was spiritual growth, not entertainment.

Random Thoughts 7/13/10

  • The weather this week at camp hasn't been overly rainy, but it hasn't exactly been dry either. Maybe today things will finally dry out.
  • Silpada got bought out by Avon. So are all of those ladies having jewelry parties now just Avon ladies?
  • I'm surprised at how tired I am at camp this week. We've had two late nights in a row and early morning staff meetings, but I'm napping in the afternoon to compensate. And I'm still dragging. I must be getting old.
  • Speaking of old. There are only three of us on staff that are over 30.
  • The NCAA finally released its new March Madness format. There will be four play-in games (8 teams), the four lowest seeds will play to get in, as well as four at-large teams.
  • Kansas football news, tidbits, and talking points here, in case you needed them.

Tuesday Devotion

Abraham: Let's get a new dependence!
By Mike Kirby

Abraham was rich. Abraham was comfortable. Abraham was settled. Abraham would probably have been happy to live out his days in his hometown of Ur with his friends and family.

Read Genesis 12:1. Whoa! What if God wanted you to leave it all behind and go to a foreign country? Oh, and He won't tell you where your going until after you have left. Could you do it? Now read Genesis 12:2-7.

When God made that promise about Abraham's descendants, Sarah couldn't have children. How was this going to happen? The only way Abraham was going to be successful in what God was calling him to do was to depend on God for everything. That is a complete and total trust that God will provide everything you need to fulfill His purpose for your life.

Abraham does have a son. We read about Isaac in the 21st chapter of Genesis. God has miraculously provided this child of promise to Abraham and Sarah when they are old. Now read Genesis 22:1-2.

How could God ask Abraham to do that? But if you continue to read the chapter, you find out that when God saw that Abraham trusted Him completely and wouldn't even withhold his promised son from Him, God provided a substitute for Isaac. He provided a ram. Again, Abraham depended on God.

How much do you depend on God? When you are depressed, what do you turn to for joy? When you are bored, what do you turn to for fulfillment? When you are angry, who do you depend on to help calm you down? In a culture of independence, we have been conditioned to try to find all the solutions ourselves. We pride ourselves in being a nation of rugged individuals, when we are really designed to depend on our creator.

Read Philippians 4:10-13. What things in your life are you discontented (unhappy) about? How do you handle those things? Do you depend upon God to give you joy and contentment in the middle of uncertainty? When you depend on God for your strength, you will learn contentment in any situation.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. What things would you like for God to remove from your life? What would you like God to add? When God tells us His grace is sufficient, it means that as long as we have a relationship with Christ, we don't need God to add or subtract anything. We just depend on His goodness.

Pray that you will find a newfound dependence on God for all your needs, troubles, joys, relationships, etc. He alone is sufficient!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Devotion

Noah: Let's get a new boldness!
By Mike Kirby

When we recycle something, the plan is to get something new out of something old. This week in our devotions, we will look at the examples of men in the bible and trade in our old attitudes for something new, something they exhibited in their lives.

Begin by praying that God will use this week to change you into the person He wants you to be - that the old will be gone and the new will take its place.

Read Genesis 6:9-14, 22. What does that Bible tell us about Noah? What was the rest of the world like?

The Bible tells us of Noah's character, but it really doesn't tell us what he was like to be around. Was he funny or serious? Was he shy or outgoing? What was his job? What was it like to be his kids?

Read 2 Peter 2:5. How does that describe Noah? Whatever he was, he became a preacher, but think about who he preached to. The rest of the world was wicked. The world didn't want to hear his message.

We don't know exactly how long it took to build the ark. It may have taken as many as 120 years! Imagine Noah building the Ark. Think about him going out each day and building this boat in the middle of a field in a time when it had never rained before. Consider all the people that made fun of him as they walked by 'crazy old Noah.' How would you like to have been his child and been made fun of and called the kid of the 'batty boat man'? They endured this for perhaps 100 years or more! And all the while, Noah preached that this wicked world would repent and turn to God.

Whatever Noah was like before God called him, he now had a boldness from God to preach truth and righteousness to people who were his friends, his relatives and total strangers. His obedience and boldness must have caused loneliness and scorn, yet he followed God anyway. Now ask yourself this question. What happened to everyone who was not on the ark?

What happens to your friends, relatives and even strangers who die without a saving faith in Jesus? Do you feel the same urgency that Noah did to preach truth to a dying generation?

Read 2 Timothy 1:7, Ephesians 6:19, Acts 4:29-31.

Pray for people you know who don't know Jesus as their Savior. Pray that you can follow the example of Noah by living a life of righteousness. Pray for a new boldness so you can speak the truth of God's word to the lost.

Deeper Life, Sr. High

I'm at church camp again, just finishing day one at 12:30am.

I'm doing double duty, preaching and teaching this week. Tonight I preached on Genesis 3, about God's promise and hope in the midst of our bad consequences. All week I'll be preaching messages from different covenants in the Bible; our God is a keeper of promises!

I'm also teaching a class on apologetics this week: "Three Arguments Against Christianity (and answers to them)"

Mike Kirby is our dean and I'll try to post his devotions each morning.

Pray for us and pray for these high school kids.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Go Spain?

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

QT Blue Box?

Around KC, Redbox kiosks have taken over as traditional brick-and-mortar video rental stores are closing. Redbox kiosks don't often have a very wide selection (maybe 150 titles) but there are dozens of locations, and at $1 a night, you can't beat the price.

Now Blockbuster Express is coming to KC. As Blockbuster stores are closing, their kiosks are expanding to 500 QuikTrip convenience stores, including those here in Kansas and Missouri. Currently Redbox kiosks are in almost every McDonald's and Walmart in town, plus several grocery stores. But there are a lot of QTs in Kansas City and, according to reports, Blockbuster seems willing to outbid Redbox for new locations.

I used to be a loyal Blockbuster customer and would be willing to try their vending machine service. But when it comes down to it, I just want cheap prices and convenience.

Friday, July 09, 2010

This Year's Emmy Awards

I don't put a lot of stock in film and television awards (Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, et al.) but I find irresistible the trivia they produce. How many nominations? How many awards by certain directors or actors? Who was snubbed? It gets interesting, even if it is much ado about nothing.

This year's Primetime Emmy nominations are out with a few interesting notes:
  • HBO's war series, "The Pacific" had 24 nominations for virtually every conceivable category, especially in writing, directing, and technical achievements.
  • "The Tonight Show" got four nominations, all for Conan O'Brien and not for Jay Leno.
  • "Glee" had 19 nominations but I don't care. I refuse to watch. I just can't do it. The same goes for "Dancing with the Stars," which had 9 nominations.
  • "Mad Men" leads dramatic series with 17 nominations.
  • Steve Carell has his seventh nomination but hasn't won yet.
  • Piper, Ks native Eric Stonestreet was nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy.
  • Of the twelve series nominated for best comedy or best drama, I only watch two. Both of which I came to late but I was drawn to reports of excellent writing which I believe to be true. The two are "The Office" and "Mad Men."
  • "Castle" has three nominations.
  • "Dirty Jobs," "Deadliest Catch," and "Mythbusters" all got nominations.
  • Every actor on "The Pacific" got snubbed.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

My Scrawny Viking

Here's Brennan… on a normal(?) day.

I stopped asking questions a long time ago.

The Onion: Apple's New Friend Bar

Not true but hilarious… and a little too close to home.

New Apple Friend Bar Gives Customers Someone To Talk At About Mac Products

Whither King James?

This thought actually crossed my mind yesterday:

"I hope [NBA star] LeBron James either stays in Cleveland or goes to Chicago."

What?! I almost never watch the NBA. I only have a passing interest in the success of former college players I liked, especially former Jayhawks and Big 12 players. And why in the world would I care about Chicago? Kirk Hinrich is being traded to the Washington Wizards today. Why should I care about Chicago more than Miami or New York?

Sports have a goofy effect on the mind.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Redistribution R Us

And here we go.

President Obama's new Health Care Czar, Donald Berwick, gave a speech two years ago in the UK advocating the redistribution of wealth and stating that he opposes the free market.

“Any health care funding plan that is just equitable civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional.”

Should we even be surprised? We knew from the beginning that President Obama was for European-style socialism that bordered on Marxism (redistributional, anti-free market, etc.).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/6/10

  • Undrafted former Jayhawk Sherron Collins is playing for the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA's summer league and had a good first game. He has a chance to make the team, especially since the Bobcats' coach is Larry Brown, who, like Collins, won an NCAA championship at Kansas.
  • The NCAA will officially go to a 68 team tournament next year. Expect an announcement next week.
  • The TSA is blocking websites that contain "controversial opinions" as one of five categories that are inappropriate for government employees. These five categories don't include pornographic websites. Hmmm…
  • What happened to those Fantasy Football sleepers and backups from a couple of years ago? They're playing in the UFL, a five-team professional(?) football league that will play its second season from mid-September thru November. Names you might recognize include: Brooks Bollinger, Tatum Bell, Dominic Rhodes, Jermaine Wiggins, Josh McCown, Tim Rattay, Marcel Shipp, Samie Parker, Ahman Green, Craphonso Thorpe, Daunte Culpepper, and possibly former-Raider #1 pick JaMarcus Russell, if he's lucky.
  • What's still missing from iOS 4? Cult of Mac has a good list. I'm most disappointed by the lack of alert sound customization. If someone gets a text in a room full of iPhone users, everyone checks their phone because they all sound the same.
  • Recently deceased Democrat Senator Robert Byrd was a flaming racist for decades, a KKK leader and the voice of segregation. He recruited 150 friends and family to start a new KKK chapter. Why is that now being white-washed?
  • The 44¢ stamp didn't last long. After only about a year, the Post Office wants to raise the cost of first class stamps to 46¢.

A Feel Good Message From NASA

This is for real:

"When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- [Pres. Obama] charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering," Charles Bolden said in the interview.

Wow. You've got to be kidding. Our taxes are going to NASA to help Muslim nations feel better about history. Wow.

Monday, July 05, 2010

WSOP Main Event Begins

The Main Event of the World Series of Poker began today, the $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold'em Championship. The contest will run for 12 days before reaching the final table, which will be played in November.

As a fan of card playing but an opponent to gambling, I have a strong interest in professional card players doing very well in this competition. If the more experienced and more talented players can do better on average than the novices, then that proves that poker, especial Texas Hold'em, is not a game of chance but rather a game of skill.

So far this year's WSOP has seen a several unknown novices win the coveted winner's bracelets, but several professional card playerss have also made good showings in the 57 events of the WSOP, including several repeat winners and a few who made the final table multiple times.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Day at Aunt Sonya's Pool

Saturday, the whole family met at Sonya and Craig's for day of swimming and fun. My grandmother was there; here she's being told a story by Anneliese.

This is Dad, diving into the pool to the enjoyment of his grandkids.

And here's Anneliese again watching her brothers, cousins, and uncles splashing in the pool.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Random Thoughts 7/2/10

  • Go Oklahoma State! OSU is starting an initiative to enhance their classes with Apple iPads. The students will replace a $100 paper textbook with an ePub download and investigate how the tablet computer enhances their learning. Personally, I think the iPad is perfect for college students.
  • July 4th is nearly upon us. My older boys are starting to reach that age when they are eager to blow stuff up. These are the good ol' days.
  • Since Jay Leno's return, "The Tonight Show" is getting its lowest ratings in years and years. Take that NBC.
  • Rankings of U.S. Presidents are usually stupid. Siena College conducts a survey every eight years of which U.S. President is best and manages to put FDR at the top of list every time. Never mind that his policies, many of which were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court during the 30's, and demonstrably deepened and lengthened the Great Depression, making it worse in 1937-38 than it was 1929-30. Read a history book, people! Look at the actual numbers. This "survey" which supposedly measures such presidential qualities as "imagination" and "luck" is nothing more than a silly popularity contest. Which presidents do liberal, progressive college professors like and hate?
  • Fantasy Football is starting soon. I'd like to do an auction-style draft but that's unlikely to be implemented this year.
  • Some video games are even slower than movies to develop and produce. Starcraft II is going to be released later this month, twelve years after the original game was released and three years after the project was announced. I would have really enjoyed a sequel to Starcraft… ten years ago.

Changing Technologies

How many ways do you pay to have information enter your home?

We used to have both a land-line telephone and cellphones. But we've canceled the land-line because it became redundant and unnecessary.

Right now my family has a home computer with a modem (DSL) and a wireless router, which brings the internet into our home. We also have a small satellite dish on our roof, bringing a cable television package to our televisions and DVRs.

But the line between television and internet is getting blurred. In fact, there's a good chance that in coming years your "television program" viewing may arrive via your internet connection and be sent to any number of viewing devices from hand-held devices, phones, and laptops to personal computers and wall mounted "televisions," which already are little more than super-sized computer monitors.

Thanks to, YouTube, wifi networks, DVRs, Slingbox, and and similar technologies, HD television content can be streamed to virtually any device, anywhere in the house. I'd love to think that the days of running a coaxial cable and telephone jack to each room are behind us. That alone will do interesting things to how we build, remodel, and decorate our homes.

Ten or fifteen years ago, everybody had a telephone bill and a cable bill. In a few years we may have neither, replaced by whatever service gets the internet into your home. Assuming I'll still have a separate cell phone bill for a while, I'm not expecting to pay much less, but I'm sure not going to pay extra for redundant services.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Another Convert?

David T. is one of my favorite "Windoze" drones; who is rabidly pro-Windows and, I thought, anti-Mac. But I walk into the deacons' meeting tonight at church and look what I see:

But upon closer inspection:

He's still running Windows on this Mac. So sad.

Is this is kind of like a wolf in sheep's clothing? Or a nerd in geek's clothing? Or something like that.