Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Drive Safely

I police officer friend of mine mentioned that he'd been pulling people over, left and right, because of unbuckled seat belts. Remember that you can be pulled over for that now; before you had to be stopped for something else and the seat belt issue was secondary. Well, that's no more.

So buckle up.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fantasy Draft Tonight

Good luck, everybody. Not that I mean that. You should definitely draft a kicker first.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/27/10

  • This is the season of new Bible studies (for me anyway). I'm teaching a new class on Sunday mornings (1, 2, & 3 John), a new class on Wednesdays (parenting from John Rosemond's book), and a new home Bible study (Directions for Christian Living) on Sunday nights.
  • Hey, James Cameron, you're a talented film maker (entertaining anyway – I thought Avatar was grossly overrated) but you're also a total loon. And a cowardly one at that. Don't call out global warming "deniers" and then run away from a debate that you had total control of. Chicken.
  • Only three days left until our Fantasy Football Draft!
  • President Obama has taken as many vacations in 18 months as I've taken in the last 10 years. Like David Letterman said, "plenty of time for vacations after your one term."
  • My wife left this morning for a quick trip to Florida for a couple of days. I'm leaving this morning for a dean's meeting at the church camp. NOT the same. Come home safe, Honey!
  • Here's my logo for my Fantasy Football team. My team for the last 14 or 15 years is the Warhawks. This is also the name of Navy Fighter Squadron 97 (VFA-97).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Snobby Plaza Shoppers Appeased?

Whew, catastrophe averted!

A Kansas City business was almost free to build the building they wanted, where they wanted (shown at right), right here in KC, instead of moving elsewhere. But a ground swell of protests stopped them from tearing down a small part of the Country Club Plaza called the "Balcony building." Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and the business in question, a successful law firm, quickly redesigned their new office building to include the local architecture on site.

The protests seemed like a gamble to me. I like the Plaza (especially the Apple store there) but I recognize the risk of Kansas City businesses choosing to relocate to another city rather than deal with local restrictions and taxes. Fortunately, the law firm stayed at the Plaza and probably made everyone happy-ish (see second pic). But the unintended consequence is that the Plaza will probably be made development-unfriendly by protecting it as an "historic landmark."

I hope that Kansas City isn't so nit-picky that we drive away businesses and the jobs they offer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New WFN Schedule

Remember that tonight's Wednesday Family Night has an adjusted schedule:

Meal -> 6:15 to about 6:40pm
Worship -> 6:45 to 6:55pm
Class -> 7:00 to 8:00pm

Kids will be dismissed to class from our brief worship time.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing on the Wall Wrong This Time

I was walking down the main hallway at Truman Medical Center, where there is a lengthy historical time line on the wall. I was there to visit a church member in the hospital but as I walked along the way, I did a double take, stopped, and went back to this section.

Excuse me? How exactly did the U.S. enter World War 1 in 1916? In 1916, we were still neutral and President Woodrow Wilson was campaigning for a second term on the promise that he'd keep us out of the war. He got re-elected in November of that year, immediately reversed course, pushing hard for American involvement in the war and a seat at the negotiating table after the war. We broke off official relations with Germany in February, 1917 and declared war in April of 1917. The first American troops got to France in June, 1917, and didn't go to the front lines until October of that year.

Best Tasting Panda Ever

My wife totally made this cake, fake bamboo and everything. How creative was that?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/22/10

  • Antonio Cromartie, an excellent NFL football player by the way, did not just struggle to name his eight(?) children. This video should not be as funny as it is. The NFL is going to have an unlimited supply of hypenated-Cromarties in coming years (there are three Cromartie cousins in the NFL now, including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith).
  • Get your coupons and find your sales on these websites.
  • And buy cheap computer cables here.
  • The last combat brigade leaves Iraq and some pundits are actually trying to give President Obama the credit for something. Excuse me? If there's some credit to be given, then shouldn't it be the surge that Senator Obama opposed?
  • We finally have the fantasy football league set. Draft day is a little over a week away and now we know our draft positions. I'm drafting ninth out of ten.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Celebrating Dad's Years with TWA

Dad, Dustin, five of our nine kids, and I went to the Downtown Airport in KC this morning to commemorate the end of an era. TWA (now American Airlines) is ending its maintenance work in Kansas City and retiring employees like my dad.

To celebrate they had a fly-in at the Airline History Museum with lots of static displays and TWA memorabilia. I was so happy to see Dad greeting dozens of his old friends and co-workers (emphasis on "old"). We're so proud of him and his 43 years of service, keeping those planes flying.

Dustin made a short video from our pictures:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Most Racist Thing I've Seen This Week

From what I understand, the two most popular pastimes in the Muslim world are 1) anti-Semitism and 2) conspiracy theories based in anti-Semitism.

Well this Muslim website has it all figured out. It turns that the Holocaust in World War 2 is just a big lie! The Jews made it up in order to occupy Palestine. Those tricky, Joooz!

  • Supposedly, there were not enough Jews in Europe for six million to be killed. The conspiracy refuses to acknowledge the excepted number (about 9 million pre-war) and claims an oddly specific 5.4 million.
  • The conspiracy also claims that the death camps, gas chambers, and ovens were built after the war by "devoted Jewish artists" (movie producers?).
  • The entire slideshow is animated with the most inflammatory, racist drawings of Jews that I've seen since the Third Reich.
  • There's lots of baseless accusations and false information, i.e. Germans at the "fake" gas chambers "never used gas masks." Wha?! And "the Allies found no traces [of the bodies]."
  • The whole cartoon is insufferably snarky. I was several frames into the slide show before I realized the text was over-the-top sarcastic.
Here's my question: Were American soldiers like my grandfather (who was a farm boy from Kansas) in on this "Zionist Plot" and did they all lie about the death camps they found? Why?

By the way, this is all brought to you by the racist crazies in Iran.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reagan vs. Today's Morons

Dunk the Preacher

The dunk tank is filling up as we speak…

Come enjoy our Wednesday Family Night kick-off tonight at 6:30. We'll cookout, play games, and enjoy evening in the shade. See you there!

Our Annual Wednesday family night cookout is THIS Wednesday at 6:30pm.

We are asking each family to bring at least 1 side dish and a second side dish or dessert if you are able. The church will provide the hamburgers and hot dogs.

I do need help setting up tables and running the grill. My plan is to light the grills around 5:15-5:30 and any/all help would be greatly appreciated.

Weather permitting, there will be water play for the kids. Modest swimwear is encouraged.

Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Go Away, Brett Favre

Seriously. Just retire and go away. For real this time. You seem determined to finish your career on a really bad note. Just stop it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/16/10

  • Today is National Airborne Day. God bless all of you that jump out of perfectly good airplanes.
  • Our fantasy football draft is two weeks from tonight! We almost have everybody in place, only lacking final word from the last two people. I'm chomping at the bit to get going on this; I love me some football.
  • Some experts are putting a the odds of a double-dip recession at better than 50-50. Oh, great.
  • I've been to Ciudad Juarez four or five times on missions trips. I always knew it was a little dangerous, but I can't believe how violent it is now: over 6,000 killed in two years. Almost as bad was the Fox news anchor today who was murdering Spanish pronunciation, repeatedly saying "Sigh-you-dad."
  • Democrat is increasingly meaning socialist. Seventy Democrat members of Congress are also part of the Socialist Party of America. They don't even seem to care if anyone knows. Amazing.
  • The average government employee makes twice as much as the average private employee: $123K vs. $61K.
  • My older three boys are enthusiastically watching the History Channel's mini-series "America: the Story of Us." It's a nice little overview of American history and they love it.

That's How I Roll

The first bike, not the pink and yellow one.


Brennan and I got up to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower early Friday morning. We drove out toward Tonganoxie and put a blanket on the ground next to Dean and Cathy B.'s driveway. There we laid and watched the meteorites streak through the sky for an hour.

It wasn't as spectacular as Brennan had hoped. Maybe one or two per minute at best, and you had to be looking in the right place. During our hour we saw probably three or four huge, eye-catching ones and a few dozen short, little streaks.

In the end, I think it was pretty memorable for both us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/12/10

  • Nintendo has sold 30 million Wii video game consoles in the U.S. and well over 70 million worldwide. But the Wii is underpowered and technologically unimpressive compared to its rivals, especially now. As this article explains, the Wii appeals to a broad base of average users with its clean and simple design and ease of use.
  • It looks like Apple is making Verizon-compatible iPhones to be sold by the end of the year. Even if you're planning to stay with AT&T, the competition ought to be good for everyone.
  • Our Fantasy Football draft will be at Dave & Buster's again this year. Please plan on eating there (it's part of our agreement with them).
  • I'm trying to decide if I want to get Brennan up at 2am to watch the Perseid meteor show which peaks in the early hours Friday. The meteor shower happens every year, but this year there's no moon to interfere with the show. There will be a new moon (more or less) three years from now but you never know if a junior high kid will get out of bed or not.
  • Here's a video showing how to coil a laptop's power cord. Not rocket science, but some folks don't know this:

There's an App For That

Here's a good article from lifehacker.com about the great free or cheap apps for the iPhone. I can vouch for several of these apps, including some that I use daily, like the Facebook app. Here's a list of some of the apps I like; almost all of which I got for free or when they were on sale for free.

Apps I use every day:
Maps finds things fast and gives directions using Google maps. I've noticed that when I'm out calling on people that the maps in Bing seem more accurate for residential addresses.
iBooks is a great way to read books but now I use it to store all the PDFs I get via email. I also download the PDF version of Ozark Christian College's "Compass" magazine and read it here.
Dictionary from Dictionary.com is the best dictionary and thesaurus in my opinion.
Bible by LifeChurch.tv is so useful that I've actually used it in church services before.

Apps I highly recommend:
• The IMDB app is a must have if you want to know what actor was in what movie.
TV Forecast gives you the next showing of your favorite TV shows.
Dragon Dictation
types what you speak and emails or texts it for you.
is hands down the best internet radio station, tailored to your tastes.
Cyclemeter (pictured) is the best GPS bike computer I could ask for.
BlogPress; every time I blog a picture from my phone, this is the app for me.
Star Walk is the best night sky astronomy app by far. I use this app a lot more than I thought I would.
Convertbot is a great unit conversion tool for almost any measurement.

Apps I intend to use more in the future:
Evernote stores notes and pics online with optical character recognition. I intend to use this to store sermon notes and ideas.
sounds fantastic as a way to share files online between computers but I haven't had the need to use it a lot. I do the same thing with Google Docs everywhere but on my phone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Down With Hypocrites

I received a letter from a young Christian expressing frustration with the hypocritical Christians everywhere. The fake attitudes, the judgmental arguments, and everything else. This young person believes in the Faith but thanks to "Christian people" they're nearly exasperated with the whole shooting match. So they asked, "is this normal?"

I replied,

Is it normal [to be frustrated with hypocrites]?

Yes. Or at least it ought to be.

You need to go through all the phases: shock, anger, disgust, malaise, etc. You haven't really thought seriously about your faith until you've wanted to take all the Christian t-shirt wearing, thee-and-thou praying, judgmental hypocrites and throw them into the sea. Only dimwitted, shallow dullards have never been disgusted at the empty lip service paid to what ought to be the most important part of their lives.

The problem is that once you separate yourself from the supposed "Christians" who don't love Jesus as much as they should, you find yourself standing with the mockers and cynics who openly hate Him. Oops.

Another problem is that young adults who get real fired up about this haven't lived long enough to catch themselves in the same hypocrisy they claim to detest. When this happens, you realize that you didn't mean to get so caught up in the world and put your own selfish needs above Christ, but thank goodness He can forgive someone like Peter who denies him three times. We are still a work in progress and we haven't arrived yet. In a sense, we're all hypocrites because God has given us a gift that we don't deserve.

Yet another angle is that there is a fine line between genuine holiness and fake, hypocritical legalism. In some cases the only difference is inside the heart. A lot of people feign outrage at the hypocrites as an excuse not to exercise the discipline it takes to live holy lives like God wants us to.

So be offended and outraged, so much so that you guard yourself against hypocrisy and shallowness. But don't let it creep in and tell you that you can check out, quit trying, berate the Bride of Christ, and then pat yourself on the back for being so much more enlightened than everyone else.

Because snobby young Christians are really just hypocrites and make me want to throw them into the sea.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Random Thought 8/10/10

  • Star Trek invented the iPad, like 23 years ago. Great article here, interviewing the prop designers for "Star Trek: the Next Generation" about the iPad.
  • If you want to enjoy your hobbies, try having fewer of them. My philosophy has always been that you can only be good at just so many things. If you decide to become really good at golf, be prepared to either give up your other hobbies or be disappointed. But if you invest yourself (and your time and money) into to just a few hobbies, you will eventually become really good at them… and enjoy them more.
  • Thanks to Google, you can search satellite images for meteor craters. That's kind of cool.
  • I need to nail down the final details for fantasy football. I'm getting close but not quite there. Remember, Draft Day is August 30.
  • The Ground Zero Mosque should go somewhere else (or nowhere else would be fine too). It's an unnecessary provocation. But I hate the idea of the government telling us where we can or can't place buildings for religious use. That's a dangerous road to go down.
  • Redbox is coming to over 6,000 CVS pharmacies in the next 18 months. I have 10 CVS/pharmacy locations withing 20 minutes of me and a great third-party app on my phone, "Inside Redbox," that tells me the current inventory of every machine. Now if only Redbox machines would just carry some decent movies!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Good Kids

Shannon was home sick with two of the kids Sunday morning, which meant that I had the middle three. After services I told them to stay together while I finished up and later found them like this:

What well behaved little squirts!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Speed Slapping

Two of my cats, Kala and Mellie are shown here speed slapping each other around. Mellie doesn't seem to mind but this is what Kala does to passers by in the living room. Innocent children and ankles get rapped at about a thousand rpm.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/7/10

  • Make your own microwave popcorn for about one-seventh the cost of what you buy in the store. I'm so trying this. Find more frugal tips at SquawkFox.com.
  • You missed the prayer meeting with our Missions team this morning! Where were you? The missions team prays the first Saturday of every month at 8am. Anyone and everyone is welcome.
  • Why in the world would anyone my age think that the government will take care of us? Social Security is in the red this year, paying out more money than it takes in. That means in less than 20 years, a decade or more before I might retire, the fund will be completely depleted. Our stupid people believing the impossible promises of our corrupt politicians is a bigger threat long term than any terrorist.
  • Speaking of how the government is incompetent, the Post Office reported that it lost $3.5 billion in the last quarter. The USPS is facing a cash shortfall going into next year. Why? Because they can't pay the pensions and retiree health benefits. More promises made that can't possibly be kept. In fact, congress will have to restructure these payments, i.e. break promises. I'm sure that will be blamed on former President Bush somehow.
  • Tonight is one of the most predictable Hall of Fame inductions in years with seven great players to be enshrined in Canton. Leading the pack is Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, both of whom were known to be Hall of Fame caliber early in their careers.
  • The NFL preseason begins tomorrow night (Cowboys v. Bengals), and begins in earnest next Thursday.
  • Sherron Collins signed a non-guaranteed contract with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. That means he has a spot in preseason camp to compete for a roster spot and make the league minimum (up to $473K). Cole Aldrich signed at Oklahoma and will make between $1.4 and 2.1 million with two years guaranteed. K-State's Denis Clemente signed to play ball in Israel and KU's Russell Robinson signed to play in Spain after a year in the NBA's developmental league.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/5/10

  • Ouch, here's a scathing rebuke of the COIN strategy in Afghanistan that worked so well in Iraq. I do have to concede this one point: although President Obama called this the "good" war, I have no earthly idea what victory would look like in Afghanistan. I just don't think that place can become what Iraq was/is, i.e. a functioning and relatively stable nation state.
  • Sikorsky's X2 helicopter set a speed record recently of 259 miles per hour (225 knots). The goal of the program is a 250 knot (288 mph) helicopter for both the military and civilian markets. Of special interest would be rescue and medical evacuation aircraft, where a speed boost of about 100 mph could mean the difference between life and death.
  • New multi-layer football helmet design here. And speaking of sporting head gear…
  • Here's a great article by Paul Lukas on the ubiquitous baseball cap, which is found absolutely everywhere, in every culture and in every sport.
  • Happy birthday, Irvin. You too Kyle.
  • NFL training camps have opened as does it seem like there are more injuries this year than usual? Assuming the teams can field eleven healthy players, I'm really looking forward to this season.
  • Chiefs' coach Todd Haley is the worst radio interview… ever.

Best Pen Ever

I was pleased to find a new pen in my office, waiting for me this morning. It was a brand new B3 Aviator, an all metal pen triple function pen, the model that is my absolute favorite pen. I virtually always have one on me. The pen is supposedly popular with pilots and is designed to fit in flight suits; it's the thinnest pen I've seen with black ink, red ink, and a mechanical pencil.

The pen is assembled here in Kansas City by Alphapointe Association of the Blind, where my brother works. The pen is about $20 or so online.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Random Thoughts 8/3/10

  • Check out the iPad instrument panel in this Piper Cub, the iCub, seen recently at Oshkosh.
  • I voted in the primary today. I figure if I voted Tiarht this time, I could still vote Moran in November.
  • I've been noticing that some addresses which don't show up correctly in Google maps are shown correctly in Bing.
  • I'd like to sell my iPhone 3Gs and buy an iPhone 4. But the new phones are still hard to get your hands on. It turns out, according to this graph, that lots of smartphone users want to stay with or switch to the iPhone.
  • Our Fantasy Football draft will be at Monday night, August 30th. We don't know the location for sure yet, maybe at Dave & Buster's, maybe at the church.
  • I voted for Sam Brownback for the Republican candidate for Kansas governor, just as I had voted for Brownback for U.S. senator and U.S. representative (my first vote just after I turned 18). The poor guy can't seem to hold a job.

Did You Vote?

Kansans For Life Voter's Guides

Don't forget to vote, early and often!

(just kidding about the often part).

Here's a link to to the Kansans For Life Voter's guides, arranged by county.