Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rock Chalk Those Wildcats

The "Octagon of Doom"?


This year's K-State basketball team is really good. Scary good. Beat you at Allen Field House good. But the Jayhawks were successful last night in Manhattan, in overtime.

Go Jayhawks!

Here's some thoughts:
  • I was surprised at how classy players from both teams were acting toward one another.
  • Did I mention that K-State is a good team?
  • Lose the "Octagon of Doom" stuff. That sounds really dumb, even if you win.
  • Ditto with the little old ladies wearing fake beards. Uh, what?!
  • K-State's purple just almost looks blue in certain light.
  • KU has won something like 47 out of the last 51 matchups with K-State. Ouch.
  • I'm not impressed with Xavier Henry. In big, tough games he disappears for long stretches, including long stretches on the bench.
  • I'm more NBA-ready than Tyshawn Taylor. Stay in school buddy; if you don't like this program, transfer somewhere else.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random Thoughts 1/28/10

  • Longest… State of the Union… Speech… in 45 years. *snore* It's said that the camel is a horse designed by committee. Likewise, a State of the Union speech that long is probably written by committee, which explains the rambling, disjointed feel a lot of it had.
  • I was playing basketball last night, rolled both ankles and hurt my knee. The ankles are fine, I've sprained and broken my ankles enough times over the years that they have quite a bit of play in them… but my knee… I've never had a knee injury before and today I've got a pretty good limp going on. I don't think it's serious but if it's still hurting like this after a few days, I'm going to the doctor.
  • Since when are all banks automatically evil and in need of our President to punish them? "Everyone hated helping the banks," our President said. Really? I thought the banks provided a way for regular folks to access large sums of money for buying homes and starting businesses. Private banks are one of the key elements of a free and growing economy. But I guess the local banker makes a good bogeyman for everyone to hate. When the government owns all of our banks, and some government bureaucrat has to sign off on your next business venture, we'll have finally killed off entrepreneurship in America.
  • People for whom Apple's iPad might be a good tool: students (especially to replace those heavy textbooks), doctors, traveling sales people, etc. Anywhere where you don't quite need a full-blown laptop, the iPad could replace a whole backpack full of books, notes, forms and presentation material with added internet connectivity.
  • American Idol winners apparently are really good at singing the national anthem at big NFL games. Now that Carrie Underwood is singing at the Super Bowl, that makes three-for-three for the last (and most important) three NFL games of the year.
  • Our President really needs to stop blaming everything on the evil George W. Bush.
  • I thought I'd seen that before! The new ebook reader for Apple's iPad shows the book covers arranged on virtual shelves. It turns out that is almost identical to library program called Delicious Library (which is a great program; I've always wanted it).
  • Elder's meeting tonight. I'm so glad for the type of Elders we've had here at Wyandotte. Even when the Elders and ministers deal with the most difficult of subjects, it's done with such love and consideration and wisdom.
  • I don't think the President likes the Supreme Court much. I wonder if he realizes that the Court doesn't answer to him? FDR had issues with SCOTUS, too; Roosevelt kicked around the idea of changing the number justices so that he could "pack the court" sooner. I wonder… if the President's popularity stays low, would Obama do the same? Would he pressure some to retire during his first term or call for impeachment? Surely not.
  • Note: the number of justices on the SCOTUS is not specified in the U.S. Constitution.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple's New Tablet Not For Me?

Apple announced it's new iPad tablet computer. I haven't watched the video yet, but following keynote live I was really underwhelmed. Is it an iPhone that can't make phone calls and has no camera? Is it a laptop with less muscle than my almost-four year-old MacBook? How is this device magical or special? After reading the keynote and looking at the pictures, I don't get it yet.

I'll read more about it, watch the videos, go to the Apple store and play with one… but I have a sinking feeling that this device won't do me any good at all. I have a phone. I have a laptop. The iPad won't combine the two, it will just be a third device to carry around.

A tablet doesn't do me any good unless it (at least) replaces my laptop.

This is shaping up to be a disappointment for me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Thoughts 1/25/10

  • The Colts and Saints are in the Super Bowl! I'm a huge Peyton Manning fan and the best part about the Saints is that I don't have to hear about Brett Favre for two weeks non-stop!
  • Boeing has redesigned the 747. With new wings and engines, the updated 747-8 is mostly intended for cargo carriers, but it's nice to see the highly-thought-of 747 get a new lease on life. The first 747 took flight in 1969. The new 747-8 may become the next Air Force One, replacing older, heavily modified 747-200's. But the Air Force and Boeing may instead use the 787 Dreamliner as the next Air Force One.
  • If AT&T loses its iPhone exclusivity, expect a mass defection. We had yet another billing/customer service snafu with AT&T today and the bitter truth is that when my iPhone didn't work, I assumed it was AT&T's network not their billing department. It appears that AT&T was completely unsuited to handle the popularity of the iPhone.
  • The Hobbit movie may be delayed another year, until 2012, mostly due to boring organizational issues with the studios.
  • Fox seems poised to snatch up the newly-unemployed Conan O'Brien. Rumors are that they begin negotiations next week. One article I read claimed that NBC pulls in something on the order of $800 million per year on a show like the Tonight Show. Suddenly, O'Brien's $33 million severance doesn't seem quite so large.
  • I'm dying to see what Apple does with their tablet announcement on Wednesday. Is this the kind of device that would replace a laptop for someone like me? Or is it something else entirely? Steve Jobs is rumored to be calling it "the most important thing I've ever done."
  • KU destroys Mizzou tonight at 8. (I hope!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thanks for the Help

With the recent illness and passing of Shannon's grandfather, I've been left home with the kids two weekends in a row. Both times my sister, Sonya, stepped in and took the younger ones (Eli and Graham last week and Anneliese this week).

This is such a tremendous help for me. Both times I've gotten a lot of reading and computer work accomplished while the older boys did school or played games. By taking the younger ones, Sonya (and Grandma!) have made it possible for me to function at a level I never could have otherwise. I can't imagine how Shannon gets anything done!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pray for Shannon

Please pray for my wife at the time of her grandfather's passing. She will be making another trip to Oklahoma for the funeral.

Random Thoughts 1/21/10

  • We do not need more government to make things better. This path is unsustainable and you have to think that the politicians know that…
  • This is the funniest version I've seen. It's been a popular meme this last year to insert new subtitles into the scene from the movie Downfall where Adolf Hitler goes on a tirade. Because the scene is spoken in German, YouTube is full of scenes with Hitler having a furious outburst about dozens of different topics, from politics to pop culture. This one, about the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, seemed like a good fit. [Warning, there's a small amount of profanity in the subtitles.].
  • How long should a wallet last? I prefer leather single-fold wallets, and I've really liked the last two that I've had, but the they only seem to last maybe two years before they start falling apart. Doesn't that seem short? Is two years in your back pocket (while relatively empty) all the longer a wallet should last? I'm trying not to resort to duct tape, here…
  • Here I am watching every episode of American Idol again. What's wrong with me? I don't really like that show do I?
  • Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk. KU.
  • Speaking of basketball, Roy Williams' North Carolina has lost three in a row now. On the one hand, there's a lot of schadenfreude on the part of Kansas fans toward Roy and the Tarheels. On the other hand, you really want your rivals to do well… until you play them. But you can't beat your rival in the big tournament if they never make it there. For KU fans, programs like North Carolina, Kentucky, and Duke are considered arch-rivals, so long as all the teams involved are good enough to be in the running in March/April. Right now, only Kentucky looks like it may be Final Four worthy.
  • This line of thinking, i.e. that your rival is only really your rival if they are on the same level as you, is why K-State hasn't been a worthy rival for over 20 years. K-State has only won 4 of the last 50 games, since 1990 (Mizzou beat Kansas 14 times during that same period). Fortunately, K-State has one of their best teams in years, so they should do much better; the rivalry will be better for it. Missouri's rivalry has the added benefit of a neck-and-neck football rivalry and actual murder and bloodletting in its history with Kansas.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Last Three Conans

I'm getting ready to watch the last three Tonight Shows with Conan O'Brien. After Leno takes over, it'll be too easy to never watch that show again (as long as Leno is still there).

NBC, which has several decent shows on in prime time, has made a colossally stupid move. They've hurt Jay Leno's reputation with the ill-fated prime time show and all this bad press, which makes Leno look like he was pushing Conan out of Conan's dream job. So (as noted in Gregg Easterbrook's article Tuesday), NBC essentially traded Conan and Conan's $40 million buyout in exchange for Jimmy Fallon, while damaging Leno to boot.

Not smart.

Perhaps someday, O'Brien would end up back on the Tonight Show. The NBC execs would almost certainly have to be replaced (or publicly beg for forgiveness). But right now, what's the plan for Leno's eventual retirement? Jimmy Fallon? Leno is almost 60, about the same age as Carson when Leno became the regular guest host (Carson retired at 66).

I would love to see O'Brien visit with Letterman (the two now have a lot in common in regard to their dealings with NBC/Leno) on the same night as Leno's return to the Tonight Show. That would actually bring me back to Letterman (I used to be a regular Letterman viewer in the 90's).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

108,000 Hits

Just another milestone post. 108,000 hits.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Baby Containment

I thought this was cute… and it was keeping Anneliese out of trouble for a few moments.

Graham 2.0

I sent my little snotty-nosed, dirt covered, holes-in-the-knees three-year-old to my sister's house to spend the night.

He came back like this:

What happened?! Who's this kid?

*sniff* *sniff* Is that soap?!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Conan is Gone?!

Conan O'Brien has been hosed by NBC and the evil CEO Jeff Zucker.

It's reported that Jay Leno has renegotiated his contract to go back to the tonight show at 10:35pm; O'Brien is out.

I will never watch Leno again. Period. For any reason. Ever.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You're Not Helping

Pat Robertson has declared that Haiti is suffering because it swore a pact with the devil. [Video here.]

Way to be remarkably unhelpful, Pat.

Two hundred years ago, the Haitians supposedly made a deal with Satan to get rid of the French. Never mind the French Revolution, interference from Great Britain and Spain, sugar plantations, the diminishing slave trade, violent gangs of runaway slaves and the mixing of Roman Catholicism with African traditional religions. You can overlook all the different international, historical factors involved because (according to Pat Robertson) the Haitians (as a group?) made a deal with the devil!

Robertson may not realize that this kind of easily-dismissed rhetoric undermines Christian efforts to free Haitian people from their animistic, occult superstitions and traditions. By connecting the dots between a devastating earthquake and events in history, he makes Christians look like simpletons batting at bogeymen, when there is actually a serious spiritual obstacle here. Did God tell Robertson these two events were connected?

Natural disasters happen to everyone, good and bad. Many good Christians are suffering or have been killed because of this disaster. My suggestion is that Pat Robertson should stop trying to rationalize random tragedy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Thoughts 1/12/10

  • It's Rush Limbaugh's birthday today. I just thought you'd want to know.
  • For the first time in a long time, there are several movies out on DVD that I'm wanting to see and at the top of that list are Moon (2009) and The Hurt Locker (2009), both of which are released today.
  • It would seem impossible, but if Scott Brown (R) wins the seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy (the special election is next Tuesday)… that would be incredible! The thing is, I can't imagine the Democratic Machine allowing it and he's a tremendous underdog.
  • I'm not complaining, but you put a couple of kids into orthodontics and that's pretty easy to notice at the end of the month. It's still worth it though.
  • I still can't believe that Shannon and I watch American Idol every year (it starts again tonight). But this is reportedly the last year with Simon, and Paula is already gone. Maybe this show has run its course.
  • Conan O'Brien has royally gotten the end short end of the stick here, with the Tonight Show. Way to go, NBC. This is the statement released by O'Brien today:
People of Earth:

In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.



A P-51 Pilot, Reunited with His Plane

Here the short documentary by Chris Woods, Gray Eagles. It's about the restoration of a P-51 Mustang and saying thank you to its ace pilot, Jim Brooks. The 25 minute video also explores response of the pilot's adult grandchildren as they fly in Mustangs for the first time.

Here's the link. It's worth a viewing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Death by Cowboy Boot?

I don't normally post email forwards that I receive, but as the father of five children… well, you'll see:

Did you hear about the Texas teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots?

He asked for help and she could see why..

Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.

She almost cried when the little boy said, 'Teacher, they're on the wrong feet.' She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet..

He then announced, 'These aren't my boots.'

She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, 'Why didn't you say so?' like she wanted to. Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, 'They're my brother's boots. My mom made me wear 'em.'

Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. But, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his little feet again.

Helping him into his coat, she asked, 'Now, where are your mittens?'

He said, 'I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.'

She will be eligible for parole in three years!

How Very Binary

Today's date is 01/10/10.

That seems very computer code-ish to me. I didn't notice it on New year's, and October 1st and 10th of this year will be the same. Hmmm…


Especially cool will be ten seconds after 10:10am on October 10th, i.e. 10:10:10 10/10/10

We nerds are counting down the days!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Problem with Avatar, Part 2

[mild spoiler alert]

I am as free as nature first made man,

Ere the base laws of servitude began,
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.
John Dryden, 1672

As noted before, the chief problem with James Cameron's Avatar is the writing, and all kinds of derision should be heaped upon Cameron for his unoriginality and also upon the cinema-going audience for lapping it up like groundlings.

The writing especially pales in comparison to the outstanding movie-making done here, the special effects, the cinematography, the pacing, etc. So much is done well that the artificial dialog, the jarring plot conceits, and the crude caricatures really stand out.

The plot is unabashedly similar to Dances with Wolves, FernGully, or Pocahontus. So similar, in fact, that some call the movie "Dances with Thunder-Smurfs." The plot and its resolution is terribly familiar, well-worn, and simplistic. We've all seen this movie before… except here the two sides have even less nuance. The evil side is shamelessly sinister, an army of sociopaths. Yet the noble savages are universally angelic, incapable of corruption.

In fact, this is where we stumble upon the real problem. Cameron is blinded to his bad writing by his philosophical position, i.e. that civilization is inherently evil, especially compared to the "Noble Savage."

For 300 years or more Western culture has seen its liberals, who are embarrassed by their advantages and prosperity, decry evil civilization (of which the liberals still enjoy the benefits) in favor of the "Noble Savage" who supposedly lives a life of peace and harmony with nature. What a bunch of hooey.

There have never been noble savages. Like Charles Dickens wrote in 1851, "[The Noble Savage's] virtues are a fable; his happiness is a delusion; his nobility, nonsense." People everywhere are sinful and corrupt, they lie, cheat, and murder, without the need for technology or civilization to corrupt them.

But Cameron must believe in the Noble Savage, as Avatar presents the primitive people of "Pandora" as incorruptible. Indeed, the movie could be seen as a type of conversion story, the ignorant killer reborn as noble enviro-saint. Perhaps this reveals Cameron's own longing, or Al Gore's. [Note that both of these men are rich white guys with huge houses and private jets, but don't worry, they're deeply conflicted about it.]

If Cameron had wanted to write a better movie, he would have included natives that were traitors to their own people. They could have been giant, blue, cigarette-smoking, alcohol drinking scouts for the soldiers. The evil humans would still be evil, perhaps all the more so, but at least the blue people wouldn't be so one-dimensional. Cameron also missed a chance for the character Tsu'tey (the younger male tribal leader) to become truly jealous and driven by that jealousy to do something terrible. Nope, Tsu'tey gets over the fact that an evil, lying, alien stole his girlfriend and destroyed his home and becomes the alien's "brother" because that alien flies a bigger pterodactyl. How noble.

And totally unbelievable.

Friday, January 08, 2010

What an Insensitive Dork

So I'm at a visitation in the funeral home, standing near the family and maybe three paces from their dear, departed loved one. People are speaking in hushed voices, emotion is roiling near the surface.

Suddenly the somber silence is broken by Weird Al Yankovic's rap song, "White and Nerdy." In shocked horror I realize it's my cell phone buried deep in one of my coat pockets. Normally, when I'm "on duty" I turn my phone off; that's my routine. But this night, I'm simply visiting the bereaved family as a friend… a friend who's phone ringer is set to "max volume."

So somewhere in the second verse of the song, and with everyone's full and undivided attention, I finally get my hands on the phone and shut it up. Ugh. Some people just don't know how to act around a grieving family!

I'm so sorry.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Problem with Avatar, Part 1

I listed James Cameron's Avatar as one of my top movies on 2009. And it was. It was an exciting movie, with mind-blowing special effects (did you notice actor Sam Worthington's atrophied legs?) and placed in an incredibly creative setting.

My grades for Avatar would look something like this:

Fun: 8.5/10
Creativity: 10/10
Special Effects: 10/10
Use of 3D: the best I've ever seen…


…the Story: 1/10

This writing, from major flaws in the premise to huge plot conceits to cringe-worthy dialog, is awful in epic proportions.

In part one, I point you to Gregg Easterbrook's commentary on the subject: (Spoiler alert)

Outer-Space Cartoon Says Americans Are the Bad Guys:

"Millions for defense, not a sixpence for tribute," Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, once a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, said in 1796. "Millions for special effects, not a Starbucks gift card for writing," might be the motto of modern Hollywood, at least if "Avatar" is the exemplar. "Avatar" should have been marketed as a cartoon and best animated feature of 2009. The special effects were great -- though yours truly increasingly finds computer-drawn special effects boring, since they are so obviously fake. The script was as dull and predictable as the special effects were flashy. Maybe the dialogue sounded better in Na'vi.

Hardly anything was explained -- so let's start with why the whole plot was set in motion in the first place. Sinister humans are bent on removing peace-loving blue aliens from a point on Pandora above some minerals the sinister humans want to strip-mine; the peace-loving natives won't move because the place is sacred ground. Reader Bryan Law of Independence, Ohio, notes: "Even today, horizontal drilling means you don't have to destroy the surface above a resource to obtain it. So why wasn't the problem on Pandora solved by horizontal drilling? Don't tell me that 150 years from now, humanity has become capable of interstellar travel, yet forgotten a basic mining technique."

The mineral is an anti-gravity substance that floats. Midway through the movie, we learn there are entire mountains of it floating above Pandora. So why not mine the floating mountains, where no Pandorans live, rather than go to war with the natives? The clichéd super-heartless corporation that wants the mineral is depicted as obsessed by profit. War is a lot more expensive than mining! If profit is what motivates the corporation, war is the last thing it would want.

Because hardly anything in the movie is explained, we never find out what nation or organization has built a huge base on Pandora, then brought along an armada of combat aircraft. The Earth characters all look, act and talk like Americans -- in fact, slang hasn't changed in 150 years! But does this project have some kind of government approval, or is it an interplanetary criminal enterprise? It's hard to believe that 150 years from now, humanity's first interaction with another sentient species would be conducted without any public officials present, but that's what is depicted.

And who are the gun-toting fatigue-clad personnel commanded by the ultra-evil Colonel Quaritch -- are they regular military, mercenaries, private security contractors? Audiences never find out. They're just a bunch of trigger-happy killers who want to slaughter intelligent beings, and all of them but one do exactly what Colonel Quaritch says, even once it's clear Quaritch is insane. The colonel must work for somebody -- for the Pentagon, some government agency, for the corporation. So why isn't he subject to supervision? No organization would entrust a project costing trillions of dollars -- a town-sized facility has been built five light-years away -- to a single individual with unchecked power. You'd worry that the single individual would commit some huge blunder that wiped out your trillion-dollar investment, which ends up being exactly what happens. I found the colonel with absolute authority a lot more unrealistic than the floating mountains.

Then there's director James Cameron's view of military personnel. If I were a military man or woman, I would find "Avatar" insulting. With one exception, the helicopter pilot played by Michelle Rodriguez -- her character is twice referred to as a Marine, suggesting the military personnel are regular military, not mercenaries -- all the people in fatigues are brainless sadists. They want to kill, kill, kill the innocent. They can't wait to begin the next atrocity. It's true that the U.S. military has conducted atrocities, in Vietnam and during the Plains Indians wars. But slaughter of the innocent is rare in U.S. military annals. In "Avatar," it's the norm. The bloodthirsty military personnel readily comply with the colonel's orders to gun down natives. No one questions him -- though in martial law, a soldier not only may but must refuse an illegal order. Plus the military personnel are depicted as such utter morons -- not a brain in any of their heads -- that none notice the TOTALLY OBVIOUS detail that Pandora's unusual biology will be worth more than its minerals. Yes, movies traffic in absurd super-simplifications. But we're supposed to accept that of the deployment of several hundred, every soldier save one is a low-IQ cold-blooded murderer.

What does "Avatar" build up to? Watching the invading soldiers -- most of whom happen to be former American military personnel -- die is the big cathartic ending of the flick. Extended sequences show Americans being graphically slaughtered in the natives' counterattack. The deaths of aliens are depicted as heartbreaking tragedies, while the deaths of American security forces are depicted as a whooping good time. In Cameron's "Aliens," "The Abyss" and his television show "Dark Angel," U.S. military personnel are either the bad guys or complete idiots, often shown graphically slaughtered. Cameron is hardly the only commercial-film director to present watching evil U.S. soldiers slaughtered as popcorn-chomping suburban shopping mall fun: in the second "X-Men" flick, U.S. soldiers are the bad guys and graphically killed off. Films that criticize the military for its faults are one thing: When did watching depictions of U.S. soldiers dying become a form of fun?


Part of my daily routine now is shoveling some global warming off my sidewalks and driveway. We not only have quite a bit of snow on the ground, but it's been here for weeks and will likely stay for weeks. In fact, for the next few days Kansas City have near-zero temperatures and wind-chills at 20 or 30 degrees below zero. This is the coldest winter we've had in 25 years (and Europe and China are getting the same kind of weather).

Where's my global warming, Al? I thought we were quickly reaching the point of no return? I thought everything was going to melt and the oceans would rise–what happened?



Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Random Thoughts 1/5/10

  • Vacation time! I had a busy spell hit me right at the holidays, so I ended up working Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. I even had to leave my the Altic Christmas party to go officiate a funeral. That's all okay, but now I'm taking two or three days off to just stay at home with the family. Ahhh… that's nice.
  • I went 12-5 in my Fantasy Football League, which puts me in the playoffs re-draft again. I don't have anybody worthwhile to keep, but oh, well, at least I made it! I finished with a six-game winning streak, getting very lucky late in the season.
  • The sun eats a comet. Wow.
  • The Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper man-made structure ever built. The super-skyscraper, at 2,717 feet tall, is twice the height of the Empire State and a thousand feet taller than the former World Trade Center towers. That's insanely tall.
  • This is what winter football should look like!
  • Perhaps we should consider the Israelification of our airport security, i.e. better results, but less hassle.
  • We had movie day today, watching both Night at the Museum 2, and Ice Age 3. Both are cute movies that we watched with the older three boys. I really like watching movies with my family. As the boys get older, they'll go through the "Altic Film School," watching a wide range of classic films.

107,000 Hits

We passed 105,000 hits, 106,000 hits, and 107,000 hits… without me noticing until now. Oops.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Price Check on Aisle 9

Wrong Rod

Here's that other stained glass window at the hospital. Sure, enough, it's the twin-snake, winged staff of Caduceus, not the single snake, Rod of Asclepius. Actually, the staff seems to have become a torch. Who knows what they were thinking?

This didn't originally have anything to do with medicine, but if you use it wrong, long enough, you start to influence it's meaning.

A Lovely Brood

Christmas '09 (January 2, 2010) at Grandma's:

Top row: Brennan, Kelby, Eli, Clara Jean, and Graham.

Front row: Hannah (holding Anneliese), Cora, Tanner, and Kennedy (held by Grace).