Saturday, December 31, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/31/11

  • Here's the last blog (I have another one that I've been working on but may not get it edited today) of 2011.  I hope you've had a merry Christmas and that you'll have a happy New Year.
  • Not that it feels much like winter, with temps in the mid-50's.  I bought a snow shovel in October and set it aside for a few weeks which turned into a few months and counting…
  • I'm looking forward to conference-play in the Big 12.  I'm worried that a very good Mizzou team will walk away with a good win or two over my on-again, off-again Jayhawks; you just hate to see the "leavers" get the last word in.  But who knows.
  • I'm starting a new sermon series on the book of Genesis tomorrow at church.  I'm also beginning a Sunday School class on parenting that will run during January and February.
  • In March I'll be teaching a Sunday School class on Revelation that will run through the end of the year.  So beginning in the spring, I'll be preaching from the beginning of the book and teaching from the end of the book.
  • Which NFL player gave the most money away?  Supposedly "dirty" Ndamukong Suh.  Check out the list here.
  • Graham has been telling me almost daily, "I forgot that you live here."  Thanks, son.  I work some late hours sometimes but I see him every single day.  I don't know what that little goofball is talking about.
  • Brennan and Tanner asked why we don't celebrate New Year's.  First of all, I wasn't aware that we didn't; many years we have a church lock-in or some other get together.  Granted, this year we're not doing anything special and going to bed early for church in the morning.  But instead of a straight answer I told them an elaborate far-fetched story about their mother's drinking problems… which they wouldn't fall for.  I should have said it was Grandma.  That would get a bigger reaction at prayer request time in Sunday School.
  • Confused about Facebook's Timeline feature?  This short article helps a lot.

Book-It Has Been Very Good To Me

I took Brennan and Tanner to Pizza Hut for lunch today so they could both use their Book-It coupons. We started the program late this year but both boys met their December reading goals with time to spare. Good job, boys!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Graham by Candlelight

Here's a shot of my sweet little Graham (5 years old) at our Christmas program.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Christmas Pic 2011

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas

Here's our family at Grandma's on Christmas Eve:  (front row) Graham, Shannon, Anneliese, and Elijah; (back row) Tanner, Jared, and Brennan.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Walk a Mile…

Shannon bought me a pair of used shoes online. Normally I wouldn't want something like that; feet are gross and other people's shoes are worse. But these are Merrell moccasins… …so I couldn't resist the chance… …to literally walk a mile in someone else's moccasins!

Random Thoughts 12/22/11

  • Did anybody else wait up the other night to catch the streaming debut of The Hobbit trailer?  You can see it here.
  • Franklin Graham is getting grief for saying it's okay for evangelical Christians to vote for a Mormon.  I think Graham's position, that you vote for a guy that's qualified for the job even if he doesn't share your faith, is perfectly reasonable.  But some Christians are panicky that we'd "lose God's blessing" by suddenly voting for a non-Christian, i.e. a Mormon.  Yeah, because all of those previous "Christian" presidents were true believers.  Surely when a politician shows up at church, he's definitely always sincere.
  • The same article notes that uneducated and untrained prosperity-gospel-preacher and self-help guru esteemed theologian Joel Osteen says that "…Mormons are Christians."  Oh, well that clears things up.
  • Ah… snow flakes.  If it's going to be cold it may as well snow.
  • The Jayhawks play the late game tonight, airing at 10pm Central.   C'mon Hawks.  Muscle through this.
  • Having a fever, and letting it run its course, might actually help you get through the flu quicker.  We probably over-medicate a lot of things.
  • KU football landed Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist.  He has one year of eligibility and won't have to sit out after transferring because he's already graduated.  Crist picked KU over Wisconsin and will be reunited with Charlie Weis, who coached him in 2009.  Crist has had injury problems and didn't always perform well at Notre Dame but he's still a huge, experienced, pro-style upgrade over anything KU has.
  • Here's an interesting visual history of the iPhone and iPad.  Very informative.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/20/11

  • This is a bad week for my migraines to come back.
  • Poor KU.  It looks like this might be 23-8 or 21-10 season.  That said, KU's off years are still better than some schools can hope for in a good year.
  • KU got a commit from a highly-ranked high school player, Brannen Greene.  KU is looking at huge waves of talent coming in 2012 and 2013.  Hopefully they all hit the books and stay eligible.
  • North Korea's (meager) nuclear arsenal is now in the hands of the youngest-ever leader of a nuclear power.  The late Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Kim Jong-un, is in his late twenties and surprising plump for living in country known for starvation and famine.
  • This is why everyone who wants your dollar hates Apple's iPad.
  • Keeping up with my Shopkick app has earned me $125 in iTunes gift cards over the last year.  That's just enough to keep up with the music my wife and kids keep downloading.  If you start using Shopkick, use my referral code to get more points for both of us, squirrel2482.
  • It's not too late to buy a gift through Gospel for Asia.  Buy a cow or a radio or a rickshaw or a fishing net or a Bible or many other things for people in need around the world.

Monday, December 19, 2011

When the Roll is Called Down Here

This is my favorite sermon about the church.  I first heard it in college and I've often used it while teaching the book of Romans.  The preacher is the great Fred Craddock, who delivered this message sometime in the 1980's (1987 sticks in my head for some reason).  The text is Romans 16:1-16, a "list" of names to which Paul sends his greetings.

Here's the message:

"When the Roll is Called Down Here"
by Fred Craddock

I hope you will not feel guilty if your heart was not all-aflutter during the reading of the text.  It’s not very interesting.  It’s a list, a list of names, a list of strange names.  I always tell my students in preaching class, “When you’re preaching from the biblical text, avoid the lists.  They’re deadly.  Don’t preach from the lists.”
It seems that Paul is calling the roll.  That’s a strange thing in itself.  I have never worshipped in a church in which any one got up and called a roll.  It could be very dull.  Yet, it could be interesting in a way.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday, Tanner

My sweet boy.  My tenderhearted, sensitive, compassionate little boy turns 10 today.  I'm so proud of you, young man!

Happy birthday, Tanner Riley!

P.S.  When you were born ten years ago, the inattentive nurse typed your middle name as "Reilly."  We never fixed it.  We intended it to be spelled like Fort Riley, not like O'Reilly Auto Parts.  Sorry 'bout that!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/15/11

  • Here's a pet peeve I've discovered.  People who don't know me (usually salesmen, repairmen, insurance agents, etc.) who call me "Chief," or "Boss," or my personal least favorite "Big'un."  Stop it.  Now.  I'm not kidding.
  • The late Dan Fambrough will likely have a street in Lawrence named for him.  Anybody driving on it with a Missouri tag should be automatically pulled over and ticketed.
  • When did former Chiefs coach Todd Haley and Chiefs GM Scott Pioli have a falling out?  When they were introduced three years ago, I remember it being presented that they were long-time buddies.  But now that Haley's been fired, all I hear is how the two couldn't get along.
  • And please don't hire Josh McDaniels as the next Chiefs head coach.  Offensive coordinator maybe, but not head coach.  Let's let Romeo Crennel stay in the position for awhile.
  • We're down to just 4,000 troops in Iraq and many of them are on their way out by the end of the year.  God bless our brave troops; Iraq is a different place with a better future than it was ten years ago.  Their sacrifice has historical and tangible significance.
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. hired former KU football coach Turner Gill to coach at Liberty University, a mostly online Christian university in Virginia.  I wonder, can the online students can play on the football team?
  • $2.5 million per year for Charlie Weis to coach the worst team in the Big 12.  It's good work if you can find it.
  • I just finished teaching a study through the harmonized birth narratives on Wednesday nights.  I used a harmony of the gospels to weave together the accounts in Matthew and Luke (with some John) into one narrative from which I taught.  It made for a nice Christmas-y Bible study.
  • So Iran claims they hacked our super secret stealth drone and tricked into landing in Iran instead of Afghanistan.  Then they put it on TV, completely intact, to rub our nose in it.  After a week of silence President Obama says, "we asked for it back."  Words can't describe how humiliating this is; you've got to be kidding.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/14/11

  • This is our church's last regular Wednesday Family Night of the year.  Next week is our Christmas program (the non-Christmas Eve Christmas Eve service on December 21).
  • We're still playing basketball at Wallula at 8:30 on Wednesday nights.  We might even play next week.  Come join us!
  • Is there an inverse correlation between how nice you are and how good a college football coach you are?  It seemed to be true of the likeable Turner Gill.  Let's hope it applies to Charlie Weis.
  • How about taking four or six power naps each day instead of sleeping at night?  That's called a polyphasic sleep cycle and you can read about it here.  As noted in the article, most college students do a version of this by only sleeping half a night and then taking a 90 minute afternoon nap.  I know that's what I did.
  • I've often said that three-quarters of my counseling load is a by-product of alcohol.  Drinking caused the problems, exacerbated the problems, or is just lurking there ominously like a powder keg.  Well, now I've settled on another, much deeper, cause of problems: Daddy-issues.  I don't like that particular term, as such, because it sounds patronizing; the problem is, specifically, poor and/or absent fathering.  The way fathers can mess up their kids has a much more direct connection to today's problems than alcohol; alcohol is often a symptom rather than the problem itself.  Bad fathering is often the real problem.  And firm, consistent, wise fathering is profoundly helpful to people as they deal with life.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars officially have a new owner.  Supposedly, he's going to keep the team in Florida.  But the NFL wants a team in Los Angeles.  If the Vikings don't go, the Jags are extremely likely to transfer no matter what the official line is.
  • No KU basketball until next Monday.  This seems like it's taking forever!
  • Eli snooped in his mother's purse and found some Christmas stocking stuffers.  The little twerp got read the riot act by his mother and now the gifts are going back to the store.   I'm thinking of making him take them back to customer service himself.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/13/11

  • I like the idea of Tim Grunhard as an assistant football coach at KU.  That seems like a good hire.  Now let's see if KU also hires any big names for the coordinator positions and whether they all have to be Notre Dame alumni.
  • I don't like the idea that KU's Ben McLemore, a freshman basketball player who's on suspension already for being academically ineligible, just got arrested for not showing up for court on a drinking charge.  Good grief, where do we find these shining jewels of maturity?
  • The last F-22 that will be likely be built was rolled out of the production facility in Georgia today.  Perhaps the most formidable fighter plane ever built, it's costliness is legendary.  A mere 187 planes will take the place of several hundred 1970's era aircraft like the F-15.
  • American Airlines will fly the first "iPad flight" this Friday in a Boeing 777.  The iPad will be used to replace charts and other reference materials and will be used throughout the flight.
  • I'm not terribly sad to Todd Haley go as the Chiefs' head coach.  Personally, I was never a fan.  I hated his press conferences and interviews where his monotone droning sounded like someone in the recovery room coming out from under anesthesia.
  • Happy 375th birthday to the National Guard.  You read that right, the National Guard (in Massachusetts) can trace its direct lineage back to December 13, 1636.
  • We've watched two-thirds (almost four hours) of Ken Burns' documentary "Prohibition."  Wow.  It's hard to express how complicated, involved, and connected that Prohibition is.  It was lose-lose either way and for every problem it solved it caused five more.  It's amazing how formative the Prohibition era was for Constitutional law, law enforcement, and our culture in general.  Everything from immigration to soda pop, from state's rights to organized crime is tied up in this issue.  Fascinating.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/12/11

  • We watched The Nativity Story (2006) at church last night during a potluck dinner.  I'm not sure what was different but that some of the best food at a church potluck that I can remember and our church eats all the time!
  • Good job, KU, on beating #2 Ohio State last Saturday.  This seems to be a bit of down year for Kansas and a win like that really helps.  By the way, where did Kevin Young come from?!  Wow!
  • Is anybody out there watching "Grimm"? 
  • Tim Tebow in the fourth quarter is a joy to watch.  Buzz off, haters.
  • I lost a fantasy football game on that final kick in the Cowboys-Giants game Sunday night.  The kick is good and I win.  But wait… the Giants called a timeout… re-kick… and it's blocked!  I lose by one point.  Nuts.  Congrats Matt S.
  • Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs" returns on Tuesday.  If you haven't heard Rowe's speech at TED a couple of years ago, where he talked about Greek vocabulary and lamb castration in Colorado… it's 20 minutes well spent.
  • The next season "Sherlock," the excellent BBC modern-rendition of Sherlock Holmes, is airing in the UK in January and here in the United States in April or May on PBS.
  • Are they really still going to call it the Big East?  Boise and San Diego?!  Really?
  • Here's that BCS spelling bee video that everyone likes.   It's so on-the-nose that it's both funny and frustrating.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

How to Give an iPad for Xmas

It's two and half weeks until Christmas and one of the most sought after gifts is Apple's iPad.  I've helped purchase and set up a few iPads for friends and family including mothers-in-law, great-grandmothers and grade school children.  Here are my thoughts on how to buy an iPad for someone you (really, really) love:

What to buy:
The tablet computer market is absolutely dominated by Apple.  It's not that there aren't other tablets, Kindles are popular with avid readers, but if you want to read and email and surf the web and play games, many people won't accept anything but a genuine iPad.  Also, iPhone and iPod Touch users already have some software that will work on the iPad, making it a natural fit.

iPad's come in a few different configurations, currently 16, 32, and 64 GB in storage.  16 GB, the cheapest, is doable, especially if the recipients don't have a lot of music or video hogging space on their device.  32 GB is a bit more roomy; 64 GB is more than most people need.  You also have the option of adding "3G."  This gives access to the internet, via cellular networks, while one is out and about.  It costs per month, but if they're going to regularly travel with it, this is really important.  If it's only going to be used at home on a WiFi network, it's unnecessary.

So for many people a 16 or 32 GB WiFi only Apple iPad 2 is the way to go.  There are rumors of the next generation iPad coming out in February –– consider waiting if your iPad recipient absolutely must have the latest and greatest.

How to buy:
iPads are rarely more than $40 or $50 off the MRSP.  You'll almost always pay the full price at any store whether it's an Apple store or Best Buy.  Because you're looking at limited options and solidly fixed price, buying online might help by saving you sales tax.  Shopping around for free shipping and no sales tax could spare you $50 or more.

If you're wanting to save money, which was our situation, consider going to and looking at refurbished iPads.  You can save over $200 by getting an older, refurbished first generation iPad.  It's marginally slower and doesn't have a camera, but otherwise there's little or no difference in the user experience.  It has been factory repaired with the batteries and the outer shell replaced, with a new box, accessories, and a one year warranty.  This is what our family did.

Before it's wrapped:
If you're not giving this to a geek (or at least someone who actively manages their own iTunes account on their iPhone) you might want to consider preparing the iPad in advance, especially if the iPad is meant for novice users.  A new iPad can be used right out of the box with the basic software included, but our refurbished iPad needed to be upgraded from iOS 4.2 to 5.0.  If you've already wrapped it, consider unwrapping it, getting it ready and re-wrapping it.  Go ahead, I'll wait…

Before I wrapped our iPad, to be opened as an early Christmas present for the whole family, I unboxed it, updated it's software, added some photos, set up an iTunes account and bought some apps.  This could probably be done in less than a few hours, especially if you've done it before and know which iTunes account you want to use.  If you don't know, I recommend getting someone to help.  The point is simply to prevent unwrapping the gift and having the user muddle through "user agreement forms" and registration pages for the first hour.  I like to see a new user's face light up as they just play with it.  The exception would be those geekier users who like that sort of thing.

Your iTunes account is how Apple identifies you and sells you things, both free and for money.  If an iPad is going to be used for a family, I recommend having a "family identity" on iTunes.  We have the iPad and both of our iPhones on this same account, through which we do all of our purchasing (music, apps, etc.).  On my personal iPhone, I used a separate iTunes account (under a different email) that is specific to my iPhone.  This account is for identification, backing up data, Gamecenter, etc.  The family account is for buying things. 

Hopefully Apple will improve this situation in the future, because it's not perfect as it works now.

There are a lot of great free apps to buy in iTunes.  Search the lists in the App store, check the ratings, and READ THE REVIEWS!   Some apps are not worth downloading even if they're free.  Some of my favorite apps for iPad include:  IMDB, NPR,, WebMD, ESPN's ScoreCenter, PBS Kids Video, AllRecipes, Doodle Buddy, USA Today, TuneIn Radio Pro, 2Do, Delivery Status Touch, and Bible.  If you're a DirecTV subscriber, their app for the iPad is incredible.  Games and puzzles we like include titles such as: Zen Bound 2, Geared 2, Battleheart, Where's My Water?, Cut the Rope, Slice It, Marble Mixer, and Tilt to Live.

Because our iPad is primarily for our five kids to use for home school, we're actively looking for educational apps.  We've found a few and Shannon and I will probably blog about that later as we test them out.  Here's a spoiler:  tablets like the iPad are the future of home schooling.

I use AppShopper, both the app and the website, to track apps so that I can buy them on sale or for free.  I'm a very stingy app buyer.

Cases, keyboards and other accessories:
A case is a good idea because iPads get dropped.  Look for something that will protect the corners and the front glass.   I prefer a portfolio-style case that has a front cover to close.  I'm not a fan of Apple's magnetic cover for the iPad 2 because it doesn't add any real protection but lots of other options meet this need.

Keyboards are mostly unnecessary unless the person does a lot of typing, like homework or lengthy emails.  Even then some people surprise themselves at how quickly they adapt to the on-screen keyboard.

Beware of other "necessities."  Most people don't end up wanting or needing external speakers, battery packs, props or easels, styluses or pens, or any of the other goofy, over-priced junk salesmen try to throw at you.  There might be a few cool add-ons out there but credit Apple's design for standing so well on its own.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Random Thoughts 12/5/11

  • You can often gauge how busy I am by how much I blog (or don't blog).  Even on a normal busy day, I can fit in five minutes here and five minutes there and write something.  It's only on really busy days that leave me intellectually exhausted that I can't write anything.
  • This imitation-Apple store must be the sincerest from of flattery.  Way to shamelessly copy your competitor, Microsoft.  I wonder how many shoppers will wander into this store and ask for an iPad or iPhone?
  • It was a sad week in Kansas City after popular meteorologist Don Harman committed suicide.  It's just so tragic when someone is lost to depression this way.  And all the more frustrating when ignorant people make ignorant generalizations about suicide.
  • On a similar note, Chester McGlockton, a former Pro-Bowl defensive lineman with the Raiders and Chiefs, died last week at age 42 from an apparent heart attack.
  • Acknowledging up front that I don't have all the facts yet, I'm really disappointed in Herman Cain.  It looks so damning…  How did he think these things wouldn't be uncovered if he ran for president?!  Now I could just about dump the entire Republican field and start over.
  • The top-3 Republican contenders have a combined age of 208.  Good grief.  I think I'm actually missing Sarah Palin.
  • Please, Alabama, blow up the stupid BCS.  We want some kind of playoffs in college football.
  • Read black conservative Lloyd Marcus, especially his article here on "Conservatism 101."  He says things well, especially when addressing folks who live with very conservative values but don't give themselves permission socially to call themselves "conservative."
  • I thought everyone loved underdogs and unlikely heroes.  So why is there so much venom and mockery directed at Tim Tebow?  Especially now at the height of his success?  How are so many ignoring the best feel-good story in the NFL in years?  Is he a little too Christian?  Is giving away his money to Filipino orphanages a little too noble?  I'm just stunned that so many vultures have gathered, longing for his undoing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Random Xmas Gift Thoughts 11/29/11

  • This is your annual reminder that Xmas is not X-ing out Christ.  The Greek letter chi (X) is the standard abbreviation for Christ.  In my sermon notes I write "X" for Christ, "Xn" for Christian, and "Xnty" for Christianity.
  • I'm already wrapping Christmas presents for the kids.  I wrap them at work and delight to see the kids meet me at the door to carry in a few presents and place them under the tree.  Homeschooling actually limits Shannon's ability to shop for and wrap presents but I sure don't mind.  In fact present-wrapping for my children is making this my favorite time of year.
  • Each present is numbered and I keep the super-secret master list of which numbers go to which child.  Who gets present number 17?  Nobody but Dad knows.  This cuts down on sneaking peeks and comparing numbers or sizes of presents.  It also gives me the flexibility to reassign a present, depending on how the shopping season shakes out.  One of the first presents under the tree this year is a generic boy's gift which will be assigned sometime later.
  • Yes, I keep the list in a spreadsheet so I can sort the list by both number and recipient. 
  • This year, since Christmas is on a Sunday, we probably won't open presents in our pajamas like usual.  Instead, we'll stuff stockings and open presents after lunch, when we get home from church.
  • Thank goodness for Google, Amazon, UPS, and online shopping.  With five kids, I can't imagine doing Christmas shopping without these money and time-savers.  As far as the internet is concerned, my shipping address is the church.
  • How do you keep Christmas shopping fair among multiple children?  Same number of presents?  Same amount of money spent on each child?  Same amount spent from year to year on that age of child?  Do you factor in inflation?  We try hard in our house to teach that "fair doesn't mean equal, fair means appropriate."  Teenagers don't want or need the same things as toddlers and girls certainly differ from boys.  Special needs are, of course, special.  So Mom and Dad have the responsibility to "do right" by each child, regardless of whether that meets the children's expectations or desires.  If their judgment was always right, they wouldn't need parents.
  • Another factor I try to weigh when buying gifts is the "splash" of each gift.  When I buy my oldest son a video game or book, that gift makes a pretty big "splash" in the sense that the rest of the children will enjoy that gift also as it's shared and handed down.  But the gifts I buy for my little girl, the only girl and youngest of five, have very little "splash" because the grade school aged boys probably won't touch a baby doll with a 10-foot poll.  In our house we're expected to share, so shopping for big splash items gets more of my attention.
  • This year I wrapped a present in a box with a hole in it, left open so the kids can see inside.  The box was a tall box that had an oval-shaped opening for a handle.  I carefully wrapped around the opening, leaving it as a little window into the big box.  Inside are two more separately wrapped presents.  Watching my little ones strain with glee to peek inside warms the cockles of heart.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Anticlimactic End

Today the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi, between Kansas and Missouri, comes to an end.  It's a shame as this year is unlikely to produce much of a game: KU is bad in historical proportions and Mizzou is a pretty solid team this year.  It shouldn't be much of a game.

But Missouri wants out.  They (understandably) hated Texas' control over the conference and longed to go to the BigTen.  The BigTen picked Nebraska instead but Missouri had already left the Big 12 emotionally.  Even after the Big 12 stabilized, addressing almost every issue held by the schools that were complaining, Missouri had already made up her mind leave and was now looking south to the SEC.  The SEC took some convincing but Missouri's not really a bad fit there and eventually the deal was done.

So now a century-old rivalry, born in actual warfare, dies at the hands of Missouri's discontent.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Missouri suffers here too by entering the strongest football conference in the country.  I know the Tiger fans think they'll compete but the reality is that even a good team like Mizzou is going to struggle to go .500 in a conference like that.
  • Missouri is why I learned the word "schadenfreude."
  • Kansas City is hurt worst by this breakup.  It was the halfway point between two bitter rivals, now it risks losing any tournaments, football games, or anything else related to the Big 12.
  • Upsetting Mizzou today would not save Turner Gill's job.  He's a nice guy but it's that bad.
  • A lot of Jayhawk fans are feeling jilted.  Missouri's departure feels capricious and unnecessary.  This generation of KU fans doesn't want to see Missouri again, like someone left at the altar.
  • My kids aren't even going to remember this rivalry.
  • I'm going to smack the next college football fan that tries to justify the Bowl system based on tradition.  Nonsense.  These teams that have left decades-long rivalries have proven that "tradition" has nothing to do with how college football operates.  Give us playoffs already.
  • K-State is not the same.  K-State feels too brotherly.  It's too lighthearted.  The same goes for basketball rivalries like North Carolina or Kentucky.  There's no actual heritage of hard feelings.  They're just friendly competitors.  The Missouri rivalry had a history of violence. 
  • Don Fambrough and Norm Stewart wouldn't have let this end so easily.
  • Missouri has the best chance in years to beat KU in both football and basketball this year.

So long, Mizzou.  As a KU fan, I think you've made a terrible mistake leaving the Big 12.  Perhaps things will change and we'll find ourselves together again in a mega-conference some day.  Good luck.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Have You Read My Text?

Have you ever sent a text message and then wondered whether or not the recipient has read it yet?

If you're running iOS 5 on your iPhone then you now have that option… sort of.  More specifically, you have the ability to tell others if you've read their text messages.  But if you tell your spouse or best friend to return the favor then the option is pretty handy, especially if the message is urgent and you're debating whether to place a call.

It's simple.  Here's how:

Go to settings and click on "Messages."

Then slide the option to "send read receipts."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Random Thoughts 11/23/11

  • No services tonight at church due to Thanksgiving.  No worship practice either; we have a guest worship leader this Sunday: Kelley Bowker.
  • I know it's silly to complain about a guy who consistently gets a double-double, but Thomas Robinson kinda disappoints me so far this season.  Up until the second half of the UCLA game, he seemed to be making a lot of mental mistakes for a guy who's supposed to be lottery-pick.  Hopefully, he improves as the season progresses.  Tonight would be a great time to start.
  • Late every night, I make the rounds and check on all my kids; they all get re-tucked in about midnight.  Last night, Anneliese's little blanket was riding high, exposing her feet, so I gave it a little tug.  It didn't budge.  By the light of my phone I looked at where it was bunched up near her face and discovered that she was biting it.  I tugged again.  She was clamped down on that little pink blanket and it wasn't going anywhere.  One more quick tug… nothing.  So I got a second blanket and covered her feet.
  • What's up with NBC bailing on "Community"?  The show isn't officially canceled but it's not on the spring schedule either.
  • I got a five-minute cussing out from an angry shopper in a parking lot yesterday.  I was utterly impressed with her ability to blast someone who didn't harm her and wasn't fighting back – in fact, I probably stood there and took it longer than I would have otherwise out of a morbid fascination with this woman's rage.  I told her "God bless you" twice and both times she went nearly apoplectic.  Fascinating. 
  • We are playing basketball tonight at 8:30 at Wallula.  Be there.
  • It looks like Tanner may have scoliosis.  We'll be checking into it here in the next several days and hopefully learning a lot more.  Some encouragement sure would be nice from anyone with firsthand experience.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

There was a Young Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

There was a old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Sounds to me like she knew exactly what to do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

They Shoot Horses for this…

Believe it or not, I actually went to the doctor.

I realize that that probably revokes my "man card," but I had to go.  Three weeks ago I badly sprained my ankle. I was playing basketball, jumped in the air, hit my foot on another player, rolling it, and landed hard on the bone of the outside of my ankle.  Ouch.  I collapsed like a sack of potatoes. 

Even after ice and elevation and crutches and everything, that foot was swollen for weeks and, here on day 23, it's still a bit discolored and puffy.  But the pain I'm having after three weeks was really starting to worry me.  I broke that ankle twenty years ago and I've sprained them both multiple times over the years but this one seemed especially bad. Was it actually fractured?  Did I tear something?  Or am I just getting old? 

I needed the peace of mind of having an expert look at it so I went to the doctor.  He said there were no signs of nerve or vascular damage; it only appeared to be a bad sprain and, if he could give me some medicine to reduce the swelling, he expected the pain to disappear in the next 10 days.  If it doesn't, he'd do an MRI and check for soft tissue damage after Thanksgiving.

So that's the plan. 

One side note:  10 days of anti-inflammatory pills was $130, even after a special discount card I was given.  So I went back and asked for something different and the new price for a bottle of similar pills was only $5.  That's good but I'm not sure if plain old Ibuprofen is that cheap.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Random Thoughts 11/14/11

  • Easy come, easy go.  I was really excited about playing in a basketball league this winter but I just got word this morning that our team was the only team to sign up.  Nuts!  
  • I'm still using Shopkick on my iPhone and I'm closing in on my seventh or eighth $15 iTunes gift card.  Granted: I click away at that stupid thing everyday and I've been doing it months and months… but still, free money!  If you try it, enter my code to get free points: squirrel2482.
  • The poor Chiefs can't catch a break.  I've lost track of how many starters have been lost this season.  Now Matt Cassel looks like he may be out for the year. Great.
  • We're going to keep playing basketball on Wednesday nights, as often as can.  We play up at Wallula Christian Church at about 8:20 or 8:30pm.  Be there!
  • I have so many books that are about half-read.  Like twenty of them.  Commentaries, histories, novels, devotionals… it's like it's impossible for me to finish one of these things.  I NEED to finish some of these books!
  • It's also about time to start reading the Chronicles of Narnia with Eli and Graham.  I did this probably three years ago with Brennan and Tanner.  Now I need to go through the seven books again.  Brennan however, will start on The Hobbit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Get It?

My apologies to those of you who had managed to go the last 25 years without thinking of Culture Club.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Random Thoughts 11/11/11

  • Happy Veteran's Day.  May God bless those who have served and sacrificed for our freedom.  Remember that today marked the anniversary of the end of World War 1 and just so happen to have the National World War 1 museum right here in Kansas City at Liberty Memorial!
  • 11/11/11  Palindrome dates are cool and we've had two this month with the 8-digit 11/02/2011.  Here's a list of seven and eight-digit palindrome dates this century.
  • KU plays it's first "real" game tonight!  Rock Chalk!
  • If you like architecture, check out this gallery of all 357 Apple stores in the world.  You can sort by country and China's and the UK's Apple stores are particularly stunning, especially contrasted to many of the smaller American storefronts tucked away in malls.  My two Apple stores here in KC are #86 and #218.
  • Normally we don't decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving night, but Shannon and I decorated a tree in our yard today, one of the first outdoor decorations we've ever done.  Anneliese cooed at it, saying it was "sooo pretty" and "Daddy made a Christmas tree just for me!"  This might have to be a new tradition.
  • It looks like I'll be playing in a men's basketball league on Friday nights in December and January.  I'm really excited about it.
  • It appears that the President has announced a new permanent military base in Australia.  We'll have Marines stationed in Darwin.  Interesting.  I wonder what China thinks of that?  I wonder what Marine Corps families that like living in exotic places think?
  • My kids want to see the new Muppets movie.  I hope it's good.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Random Thoughts 11/9/11

  • Stupidly obscure auto-correct.  I typed in "schedule" on my phone and got "scrofula."  Seriously.  Have you ever been typing on your phone and intended to type the name of some medieval disease?  Ever?  Hey, iPhone, MacBeth called and wants its disease back.  I want to know the stats; of the billions of words that have been text messaged in recent years, how many of them have been "scrofula"?
  • Rock Chalk Jayhawk.  T-Rob had 22 points and 12 rebounds in the exhibition game last night and Conner Teahan was perfect from the floor and the line for 14 points.  Newcomer Naadir Tharpe had 19 points and 7 assists and 5 steals.
  • So Steve Jobs was right (again) about Flash on mobile devices.  It's a dead end.  Adobe just announced that they are ceasing development on mobile Flash because, even though it runs on an Android, Flash hates your phone's battery with a vengeance.  The whole web is going to transition to HTML5, just like Jobs said.
  • If you have to lose a volleyball tournament, do it the way we did last night.  My team lost 2-1 last night against our friends from our other church team.  They were the better team all season and it was good competition.  But the winner has to play next Tuesday during the KU-Kentucky game… so who are the real winners, really?
  • I blew up my ankle two weeks ago.  I sprained(?) it pretty bad or at least it seems bad.  I've sprained a lot of ankles, I've even broken an ankle, but I've never done it at 35 years old.  Two weeks on, the swelling and bruising is going away but the pain is about the same, even though it seems mostly functional.
  • My children love to hang out in our bed watching TV.  Yesterday Shannon made chocolate chip cookies.  Last night I found chocolate slobber all over my favorite blanket.  The suspect is short, pink, adorable.
  • Did anyone else hear K-State coach Frank Martin on the radio this week?  I swear I heard him interviewed about Mizzou and the Big 12 saying something to the effect of, "Now all the complainers are gone."  Wow!  I can't find this quote anywhere but I'm pretty sure I heard it.  Regardless, what an interesting take on the likes of Mizzou, Texas A&M, and Nebraska.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Random Thoughts 11/4/11

  • "The ice cream of the future," Dippin' Dots, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  
  • I know it was just an exhibition game, but the Jayhawks' new-and-improved Jeff Withey had a triple double: 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks.  I'm hoping he develops into a true front line player because Kansas is going to be real thin on the bench this year.
  • This weekend I have both a wedding and funeral.  You can't hardly feel more bipolar than to go from a happy young Christian couple starting their lives together to a family that's just lost a loved one.
  • Is there any way the lawyers can get West Virginia in the Big 12 without paying an exorbitant fee while still making Mizzou pay out the nose to leave the conference?
  • We're settling into our new home.  It's crazy how we ended up there but I sure feel blessed that we did.  God is good.
  • Get used to the idea of the Los Angeles Vikings.  The stadium deal in Minnesota is ending soon and negotiations have been rough, to say the least.  The NFL wants a team in LA, which I've always thought would be Jaguars, but now the tables are tipping toward a relocated Vikings team.  That would make two purple and yellow professional sports franchises from Minnesota in LA with very un-California-like names:  the Vikings and the Lakers.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Look Ma, No Hooks!

I get a clever idea about once a year, and this one isn't even original.  It's a magnetic key hook built into the switch plate cover next to the door going out to the garage.  I've been using it for a few weeks and it's the best key hook I've used.

1.  Buy two powerful rare earth magnets online.  I found these on Amazon which were perfectly sized and more powerful than anything Radio Shack had.
2.  Remove the switch plate cover and measure the space between the switch and the inside of the box.  This is where your magnet will live.
3.  Adhere the magnet to the backside of the switch plate.  I found that clear plastic packing tape worked really well to hold them in place.
4.  Replace the switch plate.  This might be a tight fit depending on how much tape you used.
5.  Throw your keys at the light switch and voila!

Tips and comments:
•  I found that the magnets 1/2 inch wide fit perfectly between the switch and the box.
•  I used two powerful N45 magnets.  Cheap little refrigerator magnets are not strong enough!
•  Powerful magnets are just a little scary.  Use gloves to avoid getting a nasty pinch.
•  In most cases, keys aren't magnetic.  But key rings are.  More key rings and fewer, heavy dangling things makes this trick work better.
•  Packing tape is a better solution than glue, I believe.
•  Screws, screwdrivers, and rare earth magnets = comedy.
•  This is just a cheap plastic switch plate.   I'd be interested in how a metal switch plate would work.
•  This setup can holds two sets of keys easily.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Random Thoughts 10/25/11

  • Missouri appears to be all but gone from the Big 12.  It appears they'll be here for another year and start in the SEC in 2013/14.  What a truly stupid move for Mizzou.  Here's why: 1) It throws away over 100 years of tradition.  2) It really hurts the KC area.  3) Mizzou sports will struggle more, both in competition and recruiting.  4) Missouri has sided with the South before; how'd that work for ya?  5) Missouri just fits better as a Midwest school.  Oh well, the divorce is on and we're not changing her mind.  It's just a crying shame.
  • I've been having crazy bad migraines about once a week, including this morning.  I'm going to the chiropractor tomorrow.  This one only lasted about two or three hours, compared to 8 or 10 hours most times.
  • And if Mizzou leaves, I'd rather Kansas NEVER schedule them again.  Ever.
  • How is the Big 12 improving?  West Virginia announces leaks today and announces tomorrow that they are joining the Big 12.  Also Notre Dame sounds like they might be affiliated with the Big 12, allowing non-revenue sports to play in our league.  Notre Dame's football would schedule a few non-conference football games with us.  Notre Dame football's official absence would open the door for BYU's football team to join the conference, which makes a lot of sense but is only speculation right now.
  • I hate to admit my Belgian comic book ignorance, but before the movie trailers I had no idea who "Tintin" was.  I'm still not sure I care…
  • Announced today: Kemper Arena is getting torn down and replaced with a small rodeo arena.
  • It looks like it'll be Sharia law in Libya.  So much for freedom and such.
  • Andrew Luck may be out of the question, but it sure is nice to the Chiefs smack the Raiders around!
  • Kansas City made the top-10 destinations to visit in the world.  Seriously.  I love KC, but I'm a little surprised.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cute but Not Helpful

This is my daughter helping me help the electrician wire the new oven:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Random Thoughts 10/19/11

  • The best news I've heard today:  Keith Olbermann's new show on Al Gore's television network is down to a mere 46,000 viewers.  Olbermann's national numbers are less than what some cable affiliates get in mid-sized cities.  That's catastrophically bad!  And it's costing Al Gore $10 million per year.  Times are good.
  • I did not know you could buy stamps at QT.  Is there anything they can't do?
  • My little girl has a terrible habit of running into my arms yelling, "My Dadda!"
  • I had piranhas for about five years, but I didn't know that they bark at each other.  I guess I wasn't listening.
  • I've done some more reading on youth football.  As the father of four boys, I'm going to seriously consider keeping them away from contact sports until puberty.  The risks of brain injuries is a lot higher than you'd think.
  • The "99%" can't do math.  That's their problem on so many levels.  Go get a job, pay your bills, and shut your trap.  Stop playing Xbox, smoking pot, and complaining about how rough your life is after six-plus years of college.  Spoiled brats.
  • So was Rush Limbaugh right about Donovan McNabb being over-rated?
  • Who thinks Mizzou going to the SEC is a good idea?  Missouri fans.  Personally, I think they'll be cannon fodder there, which might be what the SEC schools are thinking too.  Regardless, if Mizzou leaves, Kansas City loses, unless…
  • …What if the loss of the Big 12 tournament and college football games in Arrowhead frees enough sports dollars to entice an NBA franchise to relocate to KC…  It's unlikely, but who knows.
  • Basketball tonight at Wallula.  8:15-ish.  Be there!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Thoughts 10/18/11

  • Sorry for the lack of blogging lately.  I've been consumed with upgrading our phones to iOS 5 and moving and weddings and all sorts of other stuff.  Busy, busy, busy!
  • Speaking of iOS 5, most of the problems I was having were fixed by doing a complete "restore," reloading everything from scratch.  I wish it had gone smoother but I'm a loyal Apple customer and I'm not going anywhere soon…
  • Holy cow, Missouri.  Stop beating around the bush, if you're going to leave, just leave already!  I can get over that bad news in about five minutes because, like most KU fans, I see rivals in teams like Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina instead of team we're beating 19-5 in the last decade.  That said, I hope they don't.  Mizzou's departure from the conference will be devastating to the Big 12's presence in Kansas City.
  • Do you have an iTunes account for your family through which you purchase apps but you don't want to share the iCloud with your wife and kids?  Then don't!  Have one "family account" for purchasing purposes and then separate iCloud accounts for each family member and their own devices and data.  Read more here.
  • The Jayhawks lost their second and third freshman this week.  Three incoming freshmen, Braeden Anderson, Jamari Traylor, and Ben McLemore are all ineligible to play this year.  Anderson won't be coming to KU at all, while the other two will practice in the second semester and play next year.  All three had unidentified eligibility issues largely stemming from attending multiple high schools and prep academies. 
  • Harold Camping still says the world will end on October 21st.  For real this time.  I'm making plans for this weekend anyhow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Thoughts 10/13/11

  • Happy 236th Birthday, Navy.
  • Basketball officially begins tomorrow night.  For KU fans, it can't happen soon enough.
  • Speaking of Jayhawks, your computer needs this.
  • We started a new study last night at Wednesday Family Night.  It's a harmonized study of the birth narratives, specifically the first two chapters of Mathew and Luke and well as John chapter one.  This will take us through December, appropriately enough.
  • Here's a rant about the Wall Street protestors and the failure of the American Educational system.
  • I finally got iCloud working (mostly) between my MacBook Pro and my iPhone 4.  Very cool.
  • I also finally got into my Game Center account, but it's under an old email, which complicates things…
  • I've got a wedding rehearsal tonight and a wedding tomorrow.  With another wedding to do in a few weeks.  Funny, this doesn't feel like wedding season.
  • My fantasy football team is 3-2.  I feel like my team is solid but they're just not putting up the points I need.

iOS 5 Upgrade Wows and Woes

I was ready to upgrade my iPhone to iOS 5 and iCloud yesterday afternoon…

…24-hours later, I'm still not completely there but what I do have is really cool.

  • Notifications.  This is how notifications should work.  I have a lot of apps and get a lot of text messages and this centralized list is absolutely awesome!  It's perfect!
  • Customized alert sounds.  Finally!  I've had custom alert tones sitting among my ringtones for over a year and now I can finally use them.  When you my mother-in-law leaves me a voice mail, I hear Yoda say, "Hmmm… message from the Dark Side there is."
  • iMessage.  Very slick.  Text messaging on the iPhone is even better now.

  • Installation.  It took me multiple attempts and a few hours to verify my update with Apple's servers.  I know there were 100 million of us trying to do that at the same time, but still, very frustrating.
  • Account management.  I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning trying to verify how my family can share the apps we've bought but have different iCloud accounts.  I think I have the answer but I still don't know because…
  • iCloud verification.  Like the installation, iCloud will NOT send me the verification email I need to get started.  Grrrr…

As soon as I'm fully up and running, I'll get Shannon's iPhone set up and we'll be in business.  I just wish the process had gone smoother…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Random Thoughts 10/11/11

  • Have you ever played Portal?  It's a game where you're like a lab rat in a maze, trying to escape from an evil computer named GlaDOSThis video shows what the iPhone's new computerized personal assistant would sound like if it were a manipulative, computerized sociopath.
  • Glad to hear it's official, welcome TCU to the Big 12-ish.
  • Missouri is burning its bridges before they even have a secure second option.  They're going to ensure that by the time you eventually leave, they'll never be missed.
  • How did Herman Cain become such a politically attractive front-runner?  I'm liking his consistent conservative message more and more.
  • For those protestors on Wall Street, here's a sign for you.
  • I'm upgrading my iPhone 4 to iOS 5.  Yay!  But I am having a few issues getting it going…

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Thank You

Here's a big thank you to everyone who helped us move last week.  Lots of other good friends have helped us in the days since on projects ranging from installing appliances to gardening to hauling rocks.  But I wanted to take a moment to list the folks that gave up part of a week day to make our move happen:

Dale D.
Richard & Anita A.
Kennie G.
Leonard & Bertha H.
Harrison H.
Mike B.
Chris & Cindy C.
Jenny H.
Alanna A.

Thank you!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Woz Remembers Jobs

Random Thoughts 10/6/11

  • What is wrong with you, Missouri?  The Big Ten didn't want you; they have "no interest."  The SEC doesn't want you right now and can't get a majority of presidents to accept you.  And now you're burning bridges with the Big 12?  If you stay with the Big 12, which is one of your best options, you're going to do it with double the egg on your face.  Why can't you stay put and play nice?  Do you have to throw a fit?
  • Welcome, Texas Christian University to the Big 12!!!  Hopefully you'll be on the schedule as soon as next fall!
  • Steve Jobs died yesterday at 56 years old.  I got the news on my iPhone.
  • The SEC isn't anymore "stable" than the Big 12 is now with its new developments.  But if Missouri goes, they'll make less money from revenue sharing, pay a $28 million penalty to the Big 12, lose a 104 year conference relationship, all for the privilege of gettin their heads beat in by the SEC football powerhouses.  Mizzou has to stay, for their own good.
  • We've been working like crazy to set up our new home.  We are so blessed.  We're finally getting set up.  The WiFi is working.  The television is working.  Most of our appliances are installed.  And the cardboard boxes are getter fewer and fewer…
  • Bill Self says that if Mizzou leaves the conference that Kansas won't schedule them in basketball.  And why should they?  Missouri's departure from the Big 12 would be a critical blow to the Kansas City area.  In fact, KC might suffer worse from it than the Big 12 would.
  • The British Army has come under scrutiny because they have more generals than tanks and three times more generals than Apache attack helicopters.  Oops.  An overabundance of 55-year old bureaucrats doesn't win many wars.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Random Birthday Thoughts, 10/4/11

  • Today I turn 35.  That's cool.
  • We still don't have internet at home (maybe tomorrow) but a big thank you needs to go out to whoever "Crimmy" and "Zanatta" are for leaving open Wifi networks in the neighborhood.
  • I've hardly blogged at all the last several days or been on Facebook either.  With the move and work and spotty internet access, I've been way too busy to sit down and collect my thoughts.
  • Robin Hood Tanner just gave Eli another dollar for losing a tooth.  I asked Tanner, "You don't have a job.  Where are you getting money?"  Tanner, paused… "You know Mom's purse?"
  • Apple announced the new iOS and iPhones will be coming out in the next week or so.  Though I'm not looking to upgrade phones right now, it all looks very cool but I haven't had the time to sit down and absorb it all.
  • Facebook on your birthday is awesome.  For everyone who secretly wants a parade in their honor for their birthday, this is the next best thing.  Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!
  • I just saw a prototype for the new design of next year's camp t-shirts.  Awesome!!!
  • I'm completely head-over-heals in love with my wife.
  • We're talking about taking the kids to the zoo today but nixed that idea.  We're all so exhausted… walking around the Kansas City Zoo when you're already worn out is NOT a good idea.  Besides, it costs almost $90 just to get a family our size in the gate.
  • Instead, we're cleaning out the garage, unpacking boxes and organizing.  It's not as fun but it's ten times more satisfying.  I'm having a great day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We're Moving!

Finally, we're moving!

It's still just two miles down the road, just two miles in a different direction.  We're moving small stuff tonight and big stuff tomorrow (Wednesday).  If you can help Wednesday, let us know!

Thank you for all your prayers!

Jared & Shannon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving On


We couldn't come to a mutual agreement with our sellers.  Though we are bitterly disappointed, we are actively planning our next step.

1.  As of right now, we should be able to stay in our home on Russell through the weekend, perhaps a little longer.
2.  We'll find a storage unit to store our stuff on early next week and we'll need help when that happens.
3.  We'll take our family to Platte City to live with my folks until we find a home in Basehor/Piper/Bonner.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.  The Lord is good and he'll take care of us.

Things are changing by the hour; we'll keep you informed as best we can.

Jared & Shannon

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Perry Ellis Commits to Kansas

Perry Ellis, a 6-8 forward and one of the most highly touted high schools players from the state of Kansas in years, picked KU this afternoon.

This isn't a huge surprise but he was actively recruited by K-State, Kentucky, and his hometown Wichita State.

Random Thoughts 9/21/11

  • You might see this on your doorstep in about six weeks: angry bird costumes!
  • KCMO schools lost their accreditation and now other schools in the metro are fretting over whether those students will begin to flood their districts.  It's a good day to be homeschooled in KC.
  • The Pac-12 says no for now, sorry Oklahoma.  But this may be excellent news for Big 12… maybe…
  • Do Oklahoma State fans care that they are don't appear to have any say in what happens to their school?  The national discussion is if the Sooners decide to stay or go, Oklahoma State is following them.  That seems kind of humiliating that the Cowboys don't have a noticeable voice.
  • If you're in our Pick-a-Loser contest, you can change your pick during the week.  If you send me a pick on Tuesday and then change it Saturday night, that's okay.
  • I'll say it again, if Mizzou can leave and go to the SEC, then go.  I'd rather the Big 12 stay together and expand, but…
  • We looked at some other houses again for comparison-sake last night.  Meh…  I'm still eager for the house on Hubbard Road to work out.  I'm sure it will eventually.
  • There were two more airshow accidents this last week, adding to a tragic summer.  First the Reno Air Races had a brutal crash of a modified P-51 that hit the crowd of spectators, killing 11 and injuring dozens.  Then a 1950's T-28 crashed at a West Virginia airshow killing the pilot in a fiery explosion.
  • Today is the 74th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.  My older two boys are definitely reading that book this year before the first movie comes out a year from this Christmas.
  • You hate to kick someone out of the church, but… when he's a groundhog the size of a large cat living under the church sidewalk, we have to do what we have to do.  This guy got relocated to the country this afternoon:

Hey, Texas…

I was saving this until yet another team left the Big 12 because they'd rather be anywhere than in the same conference as Texas.  But since the Pac-12 slapped down the Longhorns, et al., last night, this seems as good a time as any…

Sorry Texas, it's not us, it's you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Random Thoughts 9/20/11

  • The local sports radio guys have mostly abandoned the Chiefs for this season, instead hoping that Kansas City will get a top pick in the draft and take Andrew Luck.  I think they're right.  Some of the other poor teams, such as St. Louis and Carolina, have already drafted franchise quarterbacks, so if KC can land one of the top two or three spots, they should be in position to take a potential franchise quarterback like Luck.
  • It's about impossible to track the daily rise and fall of the Big 12.  I've been hoping that OU is bluffing in an effort to put Texas in its place, which I'm all for.  There were more rumors of Mizzou leaving for the SEC again today but my primary beef with that is that I don't like change.  Maybe the Big 12 and Big East remnants will merge…
  • It's almost as hard to figure out when we'll move.  We thought is was last week for sure and then we thought it was Monday for sure… to the point of packing our dishes and moving stuff out onto the porch and front yard…  But here we are still waiting.  It's okay, though, God is taking care of us and life is still good.  We're just easily frustrated sometimes.
  • My fantasy football team is 2-0, which sounds great considering how I'd struggled last year.  But my big draft-day move was to trade two picks to move up and draft Arian Foster from Houston.  That has been a huge mistake so far since Foster hasn't even played for me yet.  Stupid hamstring!
  • Oklahoma wants the conference commissioner gone along with the Longhorn network to preserve the Big 12.  I'm okay with that.
  • I think we have a great theme for church camp next year… more on that later.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In My Seat

From Dustin:  "…there are times when I see something that I think epitomizes who I am or what I believe, and I feel compelled to share it.  For me, this is one of those rare videos."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alphapointe and iPads

Here's a video showing Alphapointe's Tech Camp for blind kids.  This is where Dustin works and one of his friends and coworkers, Tommy Herron, is in this video.  The kids use iPads to read, surf the internet, play games, and enjoy themselves.  It's a heartwarming video.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Poor Chiefs

The world seems a aflutter that the Chiefs look horrible again.  Locals, though frustrated, are not shocked.

ESPN writer Gregg Easterbrook writes, "Stretching back to last season, Kansas City has lost three straight home games, by a combined 102-24," and "Since going a combined 23-9 in the 2010 regular season and earning home playoffs berths, the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs are a combined 0-4 and have been outscored 149-47."

Thanks for rubbing it in.

At least something looked good.
The experts in sports fashion point out however that the game last Sunday was perhaps the best looking contest, uniform-wise.  The Chiefs have a classic uniform that is regularly ranked as one of the best looking uniforms in the league.  The Bills on the other hand have had one of the ugliest uniforms but this season introduced a throwback uniform which is much simpler and better looking.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Random Thoughts 9/12/11

  • Chiefs safety Eric Berry is out for the year.  Nuts.  Add that to Moeaki's injury and the brutal schedule and this is ruining the year that I was going to try to make my boys into football fans.
  • The Big 12 is still falling apart.  It got quiet for a few days but the buzz today is all about Oklahoma threatening to apply to the Pac-12 and take Oklahoma State with them.  If this threat is for real, then thanks a lot for being part of the solution, Oklahoma.  Hopefully, it's just a negotiating tactic against Texas.
  • We finally started home school with all four boys this morning.  I helped Graham with his handwriting a little and Shannon said the older boys worked until early afternoon.  I'm sure they're not thrilled to be back with the old routine.
  • I'm glad I missed most of the Chiefs game.  I smartly scheduled a counseling session after lunch, otherwise I would have needed the counseling.  By the time I got home the game was out of hand so I took advantage of my one free afternoon of DirecTV's Sunday Ticket to peruse the other games.
  • Perverts Academics on a "pedophilia-friendly" scientific symposium from distinguished schools like Johns Hopkins and Harvard were recently advocating the normalization of adult sex with children.  You'd think this wouldn't get anywhere but pedophiles are following the path blazed by homosexuals to achieve "normal" status in our culture.  There's already a humorous pedophile character on the show "Family Guy."  I'm sure there's more of this moral filth yet to come.
  • Someone asked so let me clarify:  I'm generally for the peace-thru-strength philosophy for foreign affairs.  Appeasement and signs of weakness are a recipe for disaster historically and ignore what the Bible teaches about a fallen human nature.  But that doesn't make me pro-war.  As a Christian, I hate to see death and destruction even when it's justifiable.  I'm for a strong American military but will always be reluctant to see them use force and saddened by it even when it's absolutely necessary to support it politically.  Being pro-military doesn't mean you delight in death and destruction.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flight 77 Simulation

Here's one for the conspiracy theorists to chew on.  Of course if hundreds of witnesses can't convince these people that a plane hit the Pentagon then these details won't make a difference.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cleaning Out The Junk

We had help Monday from friends (Teri and George) cleaning out our garage. We'll be moving soon and we don't want to leave behind junk for the new family to deal with. Thanks for the help, guys!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Random Thoughts 9/3/11

  • I'm bothered by how many people think they can order up a version of Christianity that suits them.  Not too offensive, not too demanding, not too time-consuming or bothersome, open-ended, all-inclusive, non-threatening, permissive and watered-down.  If it's not very Biblical, then ditch the Bible!  Well I've got news for you.  That thing you're doing… it's not really Christianity anymore.  So be honest with yourself.  You're not a Christ-follower and you don't care to be; you'd rather call the shots as you see them.  So go ahead and call yourself something else; I know that I would rather avoid the public confusion between us.
  • Poor Tony Moeaki, the Chiefs' tight end, is out for the year with an injured knee.  A couple of people in our fantasy drafts this year drafted him, probably just for sentimental reasons rather than actual value.  It's too bad; the Chiefs could have used him and his name is fun to say. 
  • Yet more evidence here that global temperature is mostly determined by the sun and not by human activity.  Of course, man-made global warming fits the preconceived notions of anti-capitalists and radical environmentalists.  Sorry guys, but those crazy old communists are STILL wrong.
  • The Big 12 is unraveling fast, now Oklahoma sounds like they would consider leaving.  Add to that the wandering eyes of Missouri and the three schools that have already left or are leaving…  Ugh.  This could get ugly with no major Midwest conference.  I'm surprised that the distances involved don't play a larger factor.  Do these schools really want to send their teams on 3000-mile round trips for every away game in every sport?
  • Finally the heat is gone.  I'm so ready for fall weather, jackets, bonfires, pumpkins, and football.
  • Here's a nice brief guide to OS X Lion, the latest version of Mac's operating software.  Mac users should at least glance at this.
  • My perfect fantasy football league would have an auction draft and a limited keeper system.  Neither of those traits are good for the league where I'm commissioner but I like them both.  The auction-style draft rewards a deep knowledge of the players and your scoring system.   A limited keeper provides a little continuity but still gives everybody a chance each year.  The system I used to employ gave each team one true keeper from the previous year and two "restricted free-agents."  Anybody could draft these two RFA's, but they came with a penalty, i.e. the new owner had to pay a draft pick to the old owner two rounds later.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Barbecue Potluck & Watch Party

Barbecue Potluck & Watch Party, 9/18:

We are having a barbecue potluck lunch after Sunday School at noon Sunday on September 18, when the Chiefs play at Detroit.  We'll have the game on our 180-inch (15-ft) screen and lots of food.  Bring something barbecue or something that goes with barbecue.

The members of our fantasy football league are invited to church that day and to this potluck.

Random Thoughts 9/1/11

How many women actually saw this sign?
  • Can't believe it's already September.
  • We had our fantasy football draft Tuesday night and went great.  We take a big conference room at the local Dave & Busters and have thirty teams divided between three simultaneous drafts.  There's food and draft boards and trophies and door prizes.  We had a lot of fun.
  • The NFL will once again be promoting breast cancer awareness in October by having it's players where pink shoes and gloves and other pink equipment.  I'm absolutely anti-cancer, but the pink on the uniforms has got to go; it's an eyesore.  A full month of pink accessories also seems like it's pandering to the elusive female audience for football.  Breast cancer kills about the same or fewer people than colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, or prostate cancer but breast cancer awareness is conspicuously front-and-center in a sport trying to improve its female audience.  There comes a point where that kind of pandering starts to look bad and actually detracts from a good cause.
  • We sold our house.  It's all but done.  Now we're getting the details finished on the house a couple of miles up the street.  It's crazy to think that in a few weeks I won't live here anymore; we love this house.
  • But the new house has four bathrooms.
  • Sciatica.  Yeah that's fun.  I skipped basketball last night because of that.
  • Goodbye, Texas A&M.  I don't like Texas either but you didn't have to take your ball and go home.  And on that note, if the Big 12 doesn't announce some huge move toward expansion, then the conference is toast.  C'mon Notre Dame and BYU.
  • I made a comment in Bible study last night about having voted for theologically-liberal Christians for public office (in the context of whether I'd vote for a Mormon, in the larger context of caring about Biblical truth).  Let me clarify by way of being even more cynical:  I've voted for politicians who've at least attended theologically-liberal churches.  I have no idea if these politicians knew Christ or believed in the Resurrection or just know what Christ-followers want to hear.  I only wish that every politician who called himself "Christian" was actually a Bible-believing follower of Jesus.
  • And to answer the question, if I'm choosing between a Mormon and a secular humanist, I'll take the Mormon every time.  The same goes for the self-acclaimed "Christians" who seek public office.  Even a politician who is a shallow and/or inconsistent believer is better than one who's philosophically against Christianity.