Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vote on Tuesday

Only 2 days left until we vote for the people that can get the abortion-funding Obama-care repealed.

Tell everyone you know to vote, or at least all of the responsible people who aren't looking for a handout from the government which the government can't afford to keep giving in perpetuity.  

Oh, and Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vote in 3 Days

Remember to vote Tuesday.  It's only 3 days away!

By the way, Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Rebecca.

Trick or Treat

Here's Elijah the mutant ninja turtle, Graham the friendly pirate, Brennan (as Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter books), Tanner the football player, and Anneliese the KU cheerleader.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Random Thoughts 10/29/10

  • What is the number one baby name for boys in Great Britain? Mohammad. Seriously. The top 5: 1. Mohammad (and variant spellings) 2. Oliver 3. Jack 4. Harry 5. Alfie. I'm not sure which is more disconcerting, Mohammad or Alfie.
  • All the contentious details have been worked out to produce The Hobbit films in New Zealand. The unions nearly killed it (or forced the movie to move to another country) but they gave in, the New Zealand politicians kissed the appropriate studio backsides, and everything is going forward. It sounds like there is some lingering resentment from all sides including some of the non-striking workers who would have lost their jobs but that's how things work in these cases.
  • Bilbo and Dr. Watson
  • English actor Martin Freeman has been cast in the role of Bilbo Baggins and I can now vouch for his acting chops. Freeman is starring as Dr. Watson in the new Brit television series "Sherlock," which re-imagines Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in modern-day London. I love it! The first episode was on PBS last Sunday (or watch it online) and it was fantastic. I like the current film-version of Sherlock Holmes alright, but this modern version somehow seems closer to the original stories than Robert Downey, Jr.'s version… and every bit as funny/quirky. There are only three episodes so far, but Freeman's Hobbit schedule specifically allows him time to film more Sherlock episodes in the next couple of years.
  • One more note on Martin Freeman: look carefully and you'll recognize the future Hobbit in a few Simon Pegg movies.
  • The Men's Retreat at Mission Lake Christian Camp is one week from tonight. If you're going to be there please make sure you RSVP me ASAP.
  • I got my mom to use Apple's new FaceTime video conferencing on her iMac. I think she likes it!
  • Good news and bad news for all you Battlestar Galactica nerds. A prequel series called "Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome" has been greenlit for production. It'll star a young rookie pilot William Adama as the main character in an action-driven series. The bad news? The prequel series "Caprica" is canceled immediately. "Caprica" was moved from its regular slot to make room for wrestling, of all things, and never recovered in the ratings. Why is wrestling even on the sci-fi channel?!
  • 4 Days to Vote

    Remember to vote in 4 days (next Tuesday).

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    5 Days Until the Election

    Just 5 more days until you get a chance to be part of the democratic process.  Go vote next Tuesday.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/27/10

    • Only six days left until Election Day.  Go VOTE next Tuesday.
    • Steve Wozniak, one of the co-founders of Apple, has the coolest business card.  It's a laser-etched, perforated, stainless steel card.  I'm betting that's not cheap.
    • Here's an interesting article about how not-so-random random numbers are.
    • Beware "Green Theology."  It's becoming increasingly popular for religious folks to move from responsible stewardship of the Earth to radical environmentalism, including political action on things like cap and trade, carbon credits, and the like.  Think about it folks, this world is going to burn some day (think of the carbon emissions!).  Get your priorities right.
    • My older three boys came to the office with me this morning and worked on their school work for almost three hours.  They were very well behaved, though not as efficient as when Mom is hovering over them.
    • I'm still waiting, hoping the MacBook or MacBook Pro lines get upgraded in the next month.  I don't think the MacBook Air is quite right for me (and can't afford the premium for the uber-portability I don't need) and I think the iPad is a generation or two away for my full-time use.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    The "Chinese Professor" Video

    From Citizens Against Government Waste:

    Not That Close Really

    I'm teaching a Greek language class at church (first time, just started six weeks ago) and I left some writing on one of the marker boards at church…

    Which apparently my non-Greek-reading brother found.

    Yeah, let's not have him translate the Bible for us.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Blockbuster New at QT

    The Quik Trip convenience stores in KC are getting Blockbuster Express machines (the bankrupt company's answer to Red Box vending machines). Our QT in Bonner Springs got their machine late Thursday night, which was placed in the back hallway by the restrooms and the mop sink—not the best location.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/22/10

    • How does M. Night Shyamalan keep getting work?  By my count he hasn't made a good movie in 11 years.
    • I used to listen to NPR on my radio through the night, every night, growing up.  I haven't listened to it much as an adult but I'm done for sure now.  Firing the liberal but honest Juan Williams was the worst kind of censorship and attack on free speech that I can think of.  What mindless politically correct fools they are; NPR deserves to be de-funded.
    • Way to go unions!  Apparently, the Hobbit films have a green light (and a $500 million budget) but the stupid strike and black-listing by the actor's union have soured the studios on New Zealand, where the Lord of the Rings movies were made.  For fans, New Zealand is Middle Earth but now the studio heads have all but pulled the plug on making the movie in that country.  Peter Jackson is desperately trying to fix it and went on New Zealand television to call out the head of the union for sticking a finger in the eye of the studio which has other attractive options on the table.  Hope that strike was worth it, when thousands of New Zealand film workers end up unemployed!
    • Some movies I've seen recently:  Mildred Pierce (1945) – This was a great film noir murder mystery revolving around a mother (Joan Crawford) who can't please her spoiled daughter.  Worth watching, for sure.  Cats (1998) – The show was half over before I "got it."  There's barely five minutes of plot in Cats, and the first act is entirely introducing various characters, which–follow me here–is the whole point.  The show is an anthology of observations, giving commentary on both real life cats and us humans.  Cute, a little lot weird, very artsy, but enjoyable as long as you weren't looking for one of those plot-thingies.   Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) – This movie wasn't half as offensive or un-Biblical as I expected it to be.  The movie's dialog is a bit censored compared to the more blasphemous stage version but the show is deliberately unfinished, dodging the answer to its most famous questions:  "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ; Who are you? What have you sacrificed?"  If the movie didn't end before getting to the Resurrection, the song would have its answer.
    • The X-37B is a top-secret military unmanned miniature space shuttle.  It stays in space for months at a time and can change orbits to deploy, fix, or possibly destroy satellites.  There's been one in orbit for about six months now and is proving difficult to track.  Fascinating bit of tech right there.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Water Droplet Ballet

    Here's a stunning little video brought to you by science!

    Thanks for the heads up, Jay-rod.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    MacBook Air Apparent?

    Just a quick note on today's Apple announcements:

    • FaceTime is awesome on a computer!  It's a little buggy on my old laptop but it's only the beta version.  I'm sure they iron it all out.
    • There was no announcement concerning the MacBook or MacBook Pro lines.  The new MacBook Air looks awesome but I don't think that's the way to go for me.  I need a cheap workhorse and uber-portability isn't a premium to me.  Maybe they'll quietly upgrade the plain old MacBook line in the near future.  Then I'll buy.
    • The iPhoto also looks fantastic… as does OS X Lion… and the Mac App store… and taking guitar and piano lessons on Garage Band… and…

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/19/10

    • There's a big announcement from Apple tomorrow that I'm hoping includes upgraded laptops and enough info to help me pull the trigger on buying one.  My poor old MacBook has been going strong for years now but the time is long since past to replace it.  It's wearing out and falling apart; mostly due the heavy, daily use it endures.  This laptop has been on, almost non-stop, for something between 35,000 and 40,000 hours, with a few breaks here and there, getting used for at least a few hours everyday, seven days a week.  I hoping that this line of laptops will see a good upgrade and/or a price drop tomorrow.
    • SpaceShipTwo had its first glide test recently.  This article has some great photos and details about the flight and the near-future of space tourism.
    • If you caught the History Channel's "WWII in HD" last year, which was excellent by the way, then you need to see sequel:  "WWII in HD: The Air War."  The mini-series will air in November and feature previously unseen footage, remastered in high definition, from the air war over Europe in WW2.
    • Is NBC's new comedy, "Outsourced", seems really witty and interesting as it's set in a call center in India.  But having been outside the country a few times and having learned how much I don't know about other cultures, I have to wonder how authentic this is.  Is it mostly right?  Mostly wrong?  Does it scream, "2nd generation American/British Indian immigrants, not actual India!!!" or is it pretty close?  I really don't suppose I'm in the position to tell the difference.  Either way, its ratings have been good enough to be picked up for a full season, while other shows are getting "downsized."
    • "V", the sci-fi remake from the '80's, is one of the shows getting downsized.  Without even airing it's second season yet, ABC reduced it's episodes from 13 to 10.  The suits probably got the word that it was as cheesy and as poorly acted as the original series back in the day.  Too bad; I had high hopes for that one.
    • I'm recording all the episodes of "The Event" but haven't watched any yet.  Is it really as good as people are saying?  I don't know but I have high standards for intelligent, high concept dramas that have not been met by shows like "Heroes" (post 1st season finale) and "V."

    My First Fashion Photo Shoot

    I'm not that great at picking out outfits for my daughter but I had a lot to work with as I was on my own this morning.

    Anneliese approved, grabbed her sunglasses, and began posing immediately.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/16/10

    • Here's a cool video of a band on a train singing and playing instruments… except all of the instruments are iPhone apps.
    • How many times should you flip a hamburger while grilling it? Just once, everyone says? Apparently conventional wisdom is wrong and flipping often cooks faster and more evenly. Hmmm…
    • Speaking of iPhone apps, does anybody out there use a camera/photography app that they particular like and would recommend? I've seen a few that look okay, and several that add silly filters to make your photos look old or whatever. But good, solid crop and edit? I'm not sure… I'm particularly looking for apps that take advantage of the iPhone 4's better camera and screen.
    • I got approached by a stranger at QT today. "What's wrong with your team? They suck, I guess!" I looked down and realized I was wearing a KU shirt. He just stood there in his Harley Davidson costume and gawked at me. Was this unsolicited opinion from a K-State fan relishing their recent intra-state football victory or was this how Missourians start conversations generally? I really don't know. Either way, KU is a great school in my home town. K-State needs to beat KU for the next 30 years straight to break even in football and Missouri hates Kansas because we wanted to free the slaves and they didn't. Like neo-Nazis, flat-Earthers, and people who think bell-bottoms are coming back, you're on the wrong side of history there, buddy. So buzz off, creepy, tactless dude at QT.
    • Ozark Christian College sent me a survey asking about a potential Master's program offered through the school. I enthusiastically filled it out and hope this comes to fruition. I have no idea how I'd pay for it, and it would have to work around my full-time ministry, but I'd love to pursue that. Especially from Ozark!
    • And here's a big dose of coolness: a first-person perspective of a soldier from the 101st Airborne parachuting into a college stadium on game day!

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/12/10

    • I was under the weather with a headache all day yesterday, which fills me with regret over yet another wasted Columbus Day.
    • Here's a noteworthy science project:  a father and son put an iPhone 19 miles into space and recovered the phone.  See the video here.  That's impressive and super cool (but the kid seemed a bit young to have been too deeply involved).
    • Like Best Buy and Target stores, Walmart will now sell the iPad.  When I went into the local Target, the tablet computers were locked away on the bottom shelf in a cabinet below the iPods, the only hint that they were there at all was the abundance of iPad accessories.  Supposedly at Walmart there will be a display unit running a looping video.  A friend of mine recently got an iPad and has been using it at church and Bible study (which totally put the folks with embroidered Bible covers to shame); I'm more and more convinced that an iPad is probably just one generation away from meeting all of my computing needs and be a total home run in our homeschooling.
    • Here's a great commercial from Microsoft.  It's supposed to be about the new Windows phone, but it's really about mobile computing culture and how distracted we all are by that much info at our fingertips.  Actually, I don't think the new Windows phone will deliver on the promise of the commercial, i.e. to get us in and out and back to our life. Nor does Microsoft want that to happen.  The reason we are so distracted by those things is that they do their job well.  Devices like the iPhone are not inefficient, on the contrary, they're a pleasure to use.  We get our information so effortlessly that we get lost in looking for more info… and more… and more… grinning like an idiot the whole time.  Nothing's broken here, in fact it's working too well.

    Saturday, October 09, 2010

    Not the Target Demographic

    I received my second edition of "Black Enterprise" magazine today.  I'm still not sure why… but if this is a practical joke, it's kind of funny.  It costs $15 to subscribe to a magazine that appears to be the magazine of choice for closet-Republicans in the African American community.  The magazine claims to be "your #1 resource for personal finance, small business, and career information" and "your online source for wealth creation," which doesn't sound very socialist, progressive, or Democrat to me.

    In fact this sounds like the type of people that President Obama is overtly trying to punish.  Does he know that some of them are black?  And they have their own magazine?

    But as non-businessman, open conservative, and certified white-guy, I'm still not sure why I'm getting this magazine.

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/08/10

    • Sunday is 10/10/10 and a lot of folks are hurrying to get married on that date, i.e. perfect 10's.  It sounds like a gimmicky reason to me; how about some solid pre-marital counseling instead?
    • Check out this short video about the flight-testing of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner.  That's just a beautiful plane.
    • Unemployment is now 10.1% and those are just the folks who are still trying to get a job. The real number might be something like 17.1%.  Yikes.
    • How are the Chiefs the only undefeated team in the NFL?!  Surely, that's a sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.  That said, the Chiefs game two weeks ago was the most entertaining non-playoff football game I'd seen in two or three years.
    • Our Wii's optical drive died a few weeks ago, probably due to high mileage.  The boys play the Wii a lot and we've taken excellent care of it: our discs are scratch-less, the accessories are cleaned regularly, everything is in its place, etc.  At this point, I'm facing a repair to a heavily-used, three-year old system or paying to replace it.  Helloooo, Craigslist.
    • The Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder play tonight in KC.  The game will feature a number of the NBA's biggest stars, in addition to Jayhawk alums Mario Chalmers, Cole Aldrich, and Nick Collison.  It's too bad… the Thunder, formerly the Seattle SuperSonics, could have moved to the Sprint Center in KC… but no.  I'd like to think the Sprint Center would get a regular, big-league tenet but that seems less and less likely all the time.

    125,000 Hits

    Just a mile marker post, thanking my friends and family for reading my blog.  We passed 125,000 hits; which means my Mom reads this blog a lot!  We're also closing in on 2,400 posts in the last five and half years.


    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/7/10

    • Happy anniversary to Mom and Dad.  They've been married forever (43 years)!  Both sets of my grandparents were married well over 50 years.  My great-grandparents were all similarly married for life, as far as I know.  Shannon and I are working on year 15.
    • Here's a fantastic presentation on the heroic actions of SSgt Robbie Miller at the website.  Miller was posthumously given the Medal of Honor this week for actions in Afghanistan in January 2008.
    • Best photography apps for iPhone according to Lifehacker.
    • Stupid fantasy football!  My team excels at scoring the second most points in our league while playing the highest scoring team.  Grrr…
    • According to this graph, God, common sense, and thousands of years worth of experience, divorce is usually a really rotten deal… especially for women.  Female householders with no husband have the highest rate of poverty (32.5%) while married households have the lowest (7.2%).

    Thanks for the Great Book!

    I got a package in the mail today.  It was a book from, specifically a book from my wish list for my birthday!  Yay!

    The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias was the first book I added to my wish list back in January.  I'm going to start reading it right away!  Thank you so much, Jason and Jenny H.

    Wednesday, October 06, 2010

    Don't Fall For It

    Bill Gates is NOT going to pay you to forward emails and someone on Facebook is NOT going to give you a free iPhone or iPad.  Ever.  It's a scam!  From a web security site:

    Facebook users need to learn to think before they ‘like’ and ‘share’ suspicious pages on Facebook. Just because something appears on a friend’s wall, it doesn’t mean that it is from a reliable source, and by giving unknown applications access to your Facebook page, you could unknowingly continue to help to spread scams and earn cash for the spammers.”

    Be careful.  I almost never "like" or "share" something unless I'm 110% positive what it is and who is responsible for it.

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010

    Random Thoughts 10/05/10

    • I had a good birthday yesterday, turning 34.  My darling wife and I ate at bd's Mongolian Barbeque (sic).  We had a very quiet afternoon, playing with the kids and watching movies.  It was a great day.
    • Famed actor and eccentric Tony Curtis passed away this last week… and was buried with some of his treasured possessions, including his iPhone.  What an odd bird he was – good taste in electronics – but odd.
    • A fire broke out and destroyed one of the only miniature shops in the world that does the work anticipated for the two Hobbit films that are trying to get off the ground.  These films will be big but they are struggling with every kind of difficulty a film can have: the director leaves, the rights are divided between two parties, the studio is going bankrupt, the unions are threatening to strike, etc.  Good grief!  Walking through Mordor would be easier.  The first Hobbit film is due the week before Christmas (2012), eleven years after the first Lord of the Rings Films.
    • Speaking of iPhones, I have to admit that I'm really liking my iPhone 4.  I thought it wasn't that big of a deal but every day I notice little things that I like better than my old 3GS, especially the front-facing camera and the higher resolution screen.  And the longer lasting battery.  And the flash.  And the gyroscopes.  And…
    • My little girl has more precious giggles than the other gigglers' giggles.
    • New Jersey governor Chris Christie is awesome.  Just saying.
    • Way to go Missouri.  The high school mascot of Sparta, Mo is… you guessed it, the Trojans.  The one mascot a town named Sparta should NOT have is the one they do have.  What would have been wrong with Spartans?  Or the sparrows, or the fighting purple people eaters?  But you know that some school superintendent, who probably has a PhD in education, looked at that and said, "The Sparta Trojans… sure!"  Morons.

    Sunday, October 03, 2010

    A Disturbing Sign

    Here is the link to an article about the offensive and outrageously disturbing video I mentioned in class this morning.  In the video, teachers and bosses encourage people to cut their carbon emissions. Those who disagree are exploded in a gruesome shower of blood and guts, while the authority goes on with no sign of remorse whatsoever.

    This is incredibly tasteless and obscene (children exploding?!) but what really bothers me is that this environmental group thought it was funny to pretend to kill people that don't agree with them.  I really think that if we ever see Nazi-style death camps or secret police who make people disappear, it'll be in the name of "saving the planet."

    Friday, October 01, 2010

    A Writer Dies

    One of the great, prolific television writers and producers of all time died yesterday.  Stephen J. Cannell died on September 30; Cannell created, co-created or helped write the A-Team, the Rockford Files, Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Greatest American Hero, Stingray, and many others.  He was the producer or executive producer for over 1,500 television episodes and almost everyone who watched television in the 70's, 80's, and 90's remembers his production company logo, which showed him typing at a typewriter and tossing the page into the air.

    More recently, Cannell made guest appearances, as himself, on "Castle."  Here's a clip of Nathan Fillion interviewing Cannell about the show. 

    Cannell reportedly died of complications due to Melanoma.