Friday, April 30, 2010

More Hobbits in 2012

So it seems that the folks at MGM are not believers in the 2012 Dooms Day predictions (though the company may not survive 2010)…

The Hobbit, which is being made into two movies by Peter Jackson (directed by the talented Guillermo del Toro), has an official release date: December 2012 for the first movie and December 2013 for part two.

So that's a little more than 18 months until we get more Tolkien on the big screen. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Random Thoughts 4/29/10

  • Our sweet Elijah turned six yesterday. If that kid controls his anger, his charm and magnetism will be dangerous.
  • Jon Stewart jokes about Apple and the missing iPhone prototype, here. Warning: Stewart is a smug, crude, potty-mouth that gets bleeped a lot.
  • Two Comedy Central videos in one day? Yup; here's Gregg Easterbrook not getting to finish a single sentence while being interviewed by Stephen Colbert.
  • Planned Parenthood is about the most disgusting organization on the planet. You have to wonder when an organization with a racist, eugenic background encourages sexual liberty among the HIV infected, if there isn't a sinister motive here.
  • I didn't get to buy that bicycle I was wanting as the contest I was in didn't pay out near like I expected. But I am saving my money, hoping to buy a bike sometime later this summer perhaps.
  • According to this study, watching R-rated movies as a child leads to increased rates of alcohol use, early smoking, sex at a young age, and violent behavior.
  • I'm currently reading (among other things) Robert Leckie's book A Helmet for my Pillow about WW2. This is one of the book's that the HBO series "The Pacific" is based on. Next up: Eugene Sledge's With the Old Breed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dilbert and iPhone Prototype

Cartoonist Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, drew a few cartoons about that lost iPhone prototype in the news.

Funny stuff!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Thoughts 4/26/10

  • Failed Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell has reportedly ballooned up to 300 pounds and will soon be released. Here it comes: I told you so.
  • Our son, "brown bear" Elijah, turns 6 on Wednesday. He's getting the Nintendo DS for which he's been asking for six months.
  • Jay Leno is not doing any better than Conan O'Brien and this chart proves it. Personally, I'm still boycotting the Tonight Show.
  • Get old Bible commentaries from College Press for free. Available as PDFs here.
  • Great quote on Limbaugh's show today: "The problem with socialism is socialism. The problem with capitalism is capitalists."
  • I'm having trouble getting into American Idol. We watch it each season but I just don't seem to care about this season. We've watched a few episodes this year on fast forward, especially the results shows, watching an hour episode in about five minutes.
  • The Chiefs picked up eleven rookie free agents yesterday. Nobody very noteworthy but you never know. At least there will be more warm bodies to take reps in training camp.
  • The evil Wall Street types like Goldman Sachs give way more money to the Democrats than they do the Republicans and they always have.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random Thoughts 4/23/10

  • Shannon went to the women's retreat at Ozark Christian College. You can see her updates at her blog.
  • Drew Brees is the next potential victim of the Madden Curse. Good luck, buddy.
  • The Chiefs took the highly touted safety, Eric Berry, instead of an offensive lineman in the first round of the draft. Hmmm… I hope Berry's a probowler but I'm not sure if that will have the same impact as a solid offensive line.
  • Here's a great article about the space robot that the Air Force launched yesterday.
  • Pixar's upcoming films schedule has been updated to include a Monsters, Inc. sequel in 2012.
  • Nine of the 32 players drafted in the first round of the NFL draft were from the Big XII, including four from Oklahoma.
  • Have you seen the new $100 bill? More here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Yummy, yummy Earth Day.

Go celebrate by exercising some dominion over the Earth. Shoot or burn something. I have wonderful steak-flavored smoke wafting over my house as I type this.

Your dirt-worshipping, tree-hugging commie friends will thank you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kansas City and TWA

I found this great art print online of Kansas City's old airport with a TWA DC-3 featured. I would so frame this and hang it my office or my home. Or better yet, hang it at my dad's place since he was a Kansas City-based TWA employee for most of his adult life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Sermon Slide

Though two weeks late, I was really pleased with this sermon slide I made for the church website. I took the picture with my iPhone, added some effects in iPhoto and then used a second program to crop and add the annotation. The picture is of my Greek New Testament, opened to James chapter 2, which I'm preaching on this week.

Random Thoughts 4/19/10

  • Seen on a t-shirt: "A cat will blink when struck by a hammer."
  • The NFL draft is this week, starting Thursday night. The Chiefs pick 5th overall, with eight picks in the first five rounds (and none in rounds six and seven). Hopefully the Chiefs draft an offensive lineman in the first round but, honestly, any position on the team could stand to be improved.
  • I'm shopping for a mountain bike. After doing a bunch of research, I'm pretty sure I know what I want that's in my price range but I'm also sure that cycling snobs will laugh at my budget. Some hardcore cyclists spend more their bikes than their cars.
  • KU announced yesterday that 6-2, 5-star point guard Josh Selby has signed to play basketball for Bill Self. And don't forget 6-3 guard Royce Woolridge. Even with three departures (Collins, Aldrich, and Henry), the Kansas team will be a crowded place to find playing time next season.
  • Still listening to Ozark Christian College sermons on my iPhone. What a encouragement these sermons are. By the way, the direct link to my sermon from this last Sunday (4/18) is here.

The NBA Pipe Dream

Each year I watch the list of underclassmen heading to the NBA draft. With the deadline coming up next Sunday, 58 underclassmen have declared, many of them permanently forfeiting their college eligibility.

Note that there are only 60 spots to be shared among all of the graduating seniors, international players and these underclassmen. But the numbers game is actually worse than it first appears: Of the 60 drafted each year, only a portion of those will achieve their dream of financial security in the NBA. Some will be sent to developmental leagues, traded, cut, injured or otherwise forgotten. After you factor in taxes, agents, and the brevity of the average NBA career, many will barely sniff the millions of dollars they've longed for.

So far two Jayhawks (Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry), four Kentucky Wildcats, and eight total from the Big XII are among those who have declared early. I understand Aldrich (and Wall and Cousins from Kentucky) but I just don't see what Henry gains by jumping now versus a year or two from now.

Hopefully a good chunk of the 58 underclassmen will pull out without hiring an agent and return to college basketball where they belong. But that's not likely.

Dates to watch:
April 25 - Deadline to declare
May 8 - Deadline to un-declare, as long as you haven't hired an agent
June 24 - NBA draft

Friday, April 16, 2010

Basket Cat

The "basement cat" was looking to break the monotony and try something new…

Basement cat says, "Don't judge me."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party On

I made it over, briefly, to Community America Ballpark for the first hour of the Tea Party events. I saw a few friends, got a handful of fliers, and heard a few speakers but I was more interested by what I didn't see.

I did NOT see:
  • Counter-protesters
  • Ugly, racist, gun-toting rednecks
  • A monochrome crowd (but it was probably 90% white, middle-class when I was there)
  • A big crowd (but people were still streaming in when I left at 4:15)

The main show started after I left, but here's a few pics of the first hour:

Random Thoughts 4/15/10

  • I'm very tempted to go to the Tea Party rally over at the T-Bones ballpark. I'm trying to finish up as much work as possible here in the office; I'd love to go over there for a few hours…
  • Why would the Navy and Air Force be looking to buy prop planes? Because the Super Tucano is a highly-regarded observational platform. As information becomes almost as more important than speed and firepower, slow flying drones and observation aircraft that can fire a missile or two are more valuable than the costly, high-speed super fighters.
  • One of television's greatest writers, Joss Whedon, is being hired to polish the script of Marvel's Captain America movie and to direct their Avengers movie. These two movies just got instantly better.
  • The president of the Royal Statistical Society says the global warming "hockey stick" graph is exaggerated. Really? I'm shocked.
  • The iPad's major design elements have been out in the open for a couple of years now, according to this article. Hmmm… interesting.
  • Of all the large, public gatherings you could go to, the Tea Party rallies sure seem like safe places to go.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Wishlist

I was walking through the house the other day and spied a stack of books. Nice books. Books I recognized but haven't read. Books from my wish list! Jackpot!!!

"What are these?" I asked as I eagerly scooped them up, checking their condition and imagining a spot on my office bookshelves for them.

Shannon replied, "Oh, those are mine. Jane gave them to us. I'm going to read them; you can't have them yet."

That's what she thinks.

I'm a hopeless bibliophile. I love to collect books even more than I love to read them… and I love reading. Apart from the floor to ceiling bookshelves, I keep a stack of books in my office that I'm reading or re-reading. I have a similar stack at home and usually a book or two in my vehicle (warning: books left in cars tend to fall apart).

I've been keeping an Amazon wish list of (mostly) books that I update all the time (even from my phone). The new stack of books from our friend included three books from this list, which I gladly amended to reflect the new arrivals.

I enjoy seeing people's reading lists. Books are so formative and then they reflect back so much of who we are. I have books for work, books for fun, books to improve me, and books to inform me.

I'm desperate for my children to learn to love to read. I think Brennan and Tanner are slowly getting there.

Freedom Starts at 9 and a Half

We realized a few months back that it didn't make sense anymore for our nine year old, Brennan, to have a bedtime at 8:30 along with his younger siblings. As he gets older he should get to stay up later and, Brennan especially, seems to need less sleep than some of our other children.

As big believers in consistency and predictability in our parenting, we glanced at the calendar and found that we were nearer to the halfway point between Brennan's birthdays than anything else, so we made our call. Starting with Brennan, when the kids reach 9 and a half years old they can stay up until 10pm*. Brennan is now three weeks into his new late night independence.

Tanner is already counting down the days until June 18, 2011, just as Elijah is eying October 28, 2013. Graham's emancipation isn't until September of 2015 and Anneliese won't see anything past 8:30 until September 12, 2018, when Brennan is nearly 18 years old.

I also heard of a rule from another family whereby a child can obtain an extra 30 minutes before bed, as long as they are reading. Hmmm…

*We always reserve the right to tell the kids to go to bed as early as necessary depending on the next day's schedule.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday's Sermon 4/11/10

Here's yesterday's sermon, starting a new series in the book of James. And, yes, that's my brother on the piano and singing at the end.

Can you stand the test? Can you persevere?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random Thoughts 4/10/10

  • A 500-sheet ream of 20-pound paper weighs how much? Five pounds. Naturally.
  • I go to Bing just to see the pretty pictures.
  • I subscribed to the sermon podcasts of Ozark Christian College. Mmmm… that's good preaching. Search for Ozark in iTunes or go here.
  • Xavier Henry's unremarkable freshmen year was the same or a little less, statistically, than Brandon Rush's first year at KU. Good luck in the NBA, kid. It's just a shame I can't remember a single clutch game-winning performance while you were here. Oh, well.
  • The first CV-22 Osprey crashed this week in Afghanistan killing four people.
  • I don't know if anyone is a fan of graphic novels (i.e. long, serious comic books) or if anyone is a history buff, like me, but Jacques Tardi's World War 1 graphic novel It Was War in the Trenches has a 10 page free preview available dripping in mud, blood, and jaded cynicism.
  • The Polish President, First Lady, several generals, senators, and various other significant leaders and dignitaries from Poland all died in a plane crash this morning. How are that many important people all on the same plane?

Illustrating Big Numbers

Here's a video that puts into perspective the kinds of numbers our national budget is dealing with. It's hard to picture millions, billions, and trillions of dollars… but this helps.

[Thanks, Chad]

Thursday, April 08, 2010

iPad First Impressions

I dropped by the Apple Store in Leawood today and played with an iPad tablet computer for a few minutes.

My first impressions, hands-on:

  • Off-the-charts coolness.
  • Zippy fast and responsive.
  • Bright and loud, even in the bright light and noise of the busy Apple Store.
  • The reading app, iBooks, was jaw-dropping. It made me want to sit down and read; the best reading experience on a computer ever.
  • Web browsing looked fantastic.
  • I tried a few games (like Flight Control HD) and the productivity apps (Pages and Numbers) and they look better than I had anticipated.

Not so Good:
  • First thought: "this feels drop-able". My iPhone is saved from my clumsiness because I can wrap my fingers over the edge of more than one side, but the iPad is too big for that. I wouldn't want to walk around while using it (like a doctor or a salesperson might) but this could be fixed with the right case or skin.
  • Just a little too heavy, especially for a child or an older person with arthritis. A case would make this worse. Instructions should read: Sit down before using. Hence…
  • No comfortable way to use it while standing. This would rock if it were resting on your lap or on a table in front of you… but standing, chin tucked to my chest, holding it with one hand while tapping with the other just felt awkward to me.
  • Typing with one finger: ugh; the keyboard is too big. Typing with two hands: cramped but doable; the keyboard is too small. I would definitely want one of the physical keyboards if I had to do any significant amount of typing to do. but you could probably get fast with a two-index-finger henpecking technique.

I'll be looking to replace my laptop this summer… with another laptop. This first version of the iPad gets 85% of the way there toward replacing my laptop; almost but not quite. Maybe the second or third generation will be right for me.

On the other hand, I could see this being the ultimate home-school student device. Mom has a computer with an iTunes account while the children each have an iPad for reading, research, tests, homework, etc. The versatile iPad ($499) is cheaper than a laptop ($600-1,200) and could also replace handheld gaming devices (Nintendo DSi, $170; Sony PSP, $250).

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sweet 16 (2010) Rounds 5 and 6

  • Congrats, Bryan, on winning this year's competition with 354 out of 477 points. He had all four of the Final Four teams in his list.
  • Dad, Mike, and Dustin finished within four points of each other, with Mike winning second place in the competition.
  • Dustin had Duke ranked the highest (his 15-point team). Duke alone supplied over 27% of Dustin's points. Most of us only got 21-23% out of our best team.
  • Nobody had Butler ranked better than a 4-pointer.
  • Kyle had neither Duke nor Butler in his Sweet 16.
  • This was an especially tough year, with two 5-seeds making the final four. If you play strictly the favorites, you'd have no 5-seeds in your Sweet 16 at all.
Here's the final spreadsheet:

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Wow, That Was Horrible

I'm just getting back on my feet from a 36-hour bug… or was it food poisoning? I walked home (2 miles) on a beautiful Thursday evening, ate a wonderful dinner, and then promptly got violently ill. Over and over again. For almost two days.

No one else got sick, and I'm getting back to normal this afternoon, but what in the world?!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Random Thoughts 4/1/10

  • This is the furthest I've gotten into April Fool's Day without hearing some goofball news story or seeing some practical joke gone wrong. Hmmm…
  • "The A-Team" movie? Really? That can't possibly be good, could it?
  • Actor Neal McDonough (of Band of Brothers fame) just lost a major part (he was actually cast, fired, and then the part was re-cast) because he wouldn't compromise his Christian values. McDonough was canned because he wouldn't participate in a sex scene. At least someone in Hollywood has at least a little bit of integrity left.
  • The latest NBA fad: lowtops.
  • The Apple iPad is almost here. I'm just almost sold on the concept of a tablet replacing your laptop. I could even see using it while teaching a class or counseling. I may not be a first generation adopter but I'm keenly interested.
  • …nevermind about that April Fool's Day goofiness: