Monday, August 29, 2011

New Sherlock Footage

It's not much, maybe 14 seconds, but it's a glimpse from the upcoming Hound of the Baskervilles episode that we may not see for months yet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Random Thoughts 8/26/11

  • Are working-class Americans abandoning churchCompared to 40 years ago, yes.  And at a higher rate than college-educated Americans.  I haven't seen much of change in the last ten years from my perspective; I've always seen about half of the people I'm around never go to church.  A quarter go to church all the time and a quarter go to church sometimes.  People who struggle with church:  single adults looking for a spouse, adolescent boys whose fathers don't attend, young couples before they have kids, men whose fathers didn't attend, people who've been burned by past church experiences, and finally people who are just busy "doing what they want" and don't want to be challenged on it.  I think most of those trends have going on for thousands of years.
  • Steve Jobs retired from Apple this week, sort of…  He's been sick for the last five years and hasn't been running Apple on a daily basis for months.  That said, he's not really walking away either.  He'll remain on the board and "his people" are still running Apple from top to bottom.  Apple likely won't be any different, or any less successful, for years to come.
  • If you get a lot of business cards, this is a great mnemonic device so you remember how to follow up with each individual.
  • Did you hear in the news that struggling computer company, Acer, said that this who iPad/tablet thing is just a fad?  Wow, that sounds like sour grapes.
  • I think we're real close to a deal to sell our house.  It's so nerve-racking!
  • My Kia van has the same problem my brother's van had, corroded lines running to the rear of the vehicle for the rear heater that are leaking coolant.  It turns out that vans need coolant to run properly.

WTC Memorial Timelapse Video

Interesting video…

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Thoughts 8/24/11

  • Bible study at WFN is tonight.  The adult study is on the book of Jude.
  • I just told a friend to get fruit-flavored 1000mg Tums for his upset stomach.  He might laugh, but seriously, those things cure nausea, heartburn, baldness, and cancer.  They're magic!
  • A lot of people these days are doubting the existence of HellMaybe it just needs a re-branding.  This isn't for real, but it's devilishly clever.  It would be downright offensive if it wasn't tongue-in-cheek but the designer even made a mock-up of Hell's corporate lobby and lapel pins!
  • Basketball tonight at 8:30 at Wallula.  Be there, guys!
  • Cool.  The Facebook version of Words with Friends interacts seamlessly with my iPhone version.  Very slick.  Works just like it ought to.
  • So how bad will the Chiefs be this year?  Probably worse than we'd like.  It looks like KC over-achieved last year and the reward is a much tougher schedule this season.  I don't see a huge improvement and the Chiefs could be in for some real hurt… but maybe they'll get lucky again.  You never know what will happen any given Sunday.
  • I'm preaching on Zephaniah this week.  And Habakkuk the week after that.  Now let's see if putting that out there in advance increases sign-ups for nursery duty.
  • Be careful throwing around the term "neo-con."  It has a lot of different meanings, several of them negative.  Some people simply use the term to mean a Republican, pro-military hawk.  A subset of that group specifically intends that term to mean "pro-Israel" and a subset of that group means "Jew-lover" in the most snide, anti-Semitic way imaginable.  You may not be for the War on Terror but be careful that you're not siding with racist, genocidal anti-Semites. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bad Weekend for Airshows

This was an especially bad weekend for airshows, with three deaths in three separate accidents Saturday and Sunday.

First the RAF demonstration team, the Red Arrows, lost a plane and pilot while returning to base after completing a demonstration in England.  Flt. Lt. Jon Egging died in what appeared to be a low-level ejection after calling mayday and was found dead in a river.

Also on Saturday, right here in Kansas City, stunt pilot Bryan Jensen was killed when he crashed his plane in front of a crowd of thousands, including my brother, Dustin, and his family.

Then on Sunday, stuntman Todd Green fell 200 feet to his death while attempting to transfer from a biplane to a helicopter at an airshow near Detroit.  This accident was also at show center, right in front of a crowd of thousands.

What a terrible loss for these families and a difficult shock for all those who witnessed these events.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Property of the Alpha Cat

Every time I go to sleep or even take a nap, I find this on my chest.

Mellie is the most recent alpha cat in our house, since my twelve year old cat, Kala, passed. Kala used to always try to sit on me and Mellie completely ignored me. But the day after Kala was gone, who shows up three inches from my face?

Why am I the perch for the top cat in the house? We need to buy a cat tree.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best Helicopter Commercial This Week

This four minute promo for a little radio-controlled helicopter is super clever.  It has references to movies like Predator, Platoon, and Apocalypse Now and actually has a bit of plot to it.  It's really more of a short film than anything else; very well done.

[Thanks, Dustin, for the heads up]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

Our first class we’ll offer is a verse by verse study of the book of Jude. Join us on Wednesday nights at 7pm in Room 104/106.

After completion of our study of Jude, we’ll have a three-week study on the Jehovah’s Witnesses and then a harmonized study on the birth of Christ.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Random Thoughts 8/16/11

  • Buying and selling houses right now stinks.  It's an emotional roller coaster that's putting my wife through the ringer.  Yuck.  Remember ten years ago when this was relatively easy?
  • I took my day off this week on a Tuesday.  That's unusual for us but it worked alright for today.  It hasn't been very restful but there are seasons like that.
  • We're dog-sitting for friends this week.  It's a little black dachshund named "Vienna" and Anneliese loves her.
  • The church cook-out is tomorrow night at 6:30.  No classes yet; they start next week.  If it rains tomorrow evening, we'll move it inside.
  • I'm trying to get caught up with all the NFL changes since last season but normally you have all spring and summer to keep track of who will play for which team.  Now, due to the lock-out, it's all crammed into August.  Getting on top of this might make the difference in your fantasy football draft.
  • It looks like the Big 12 is still up in the air, with Texas A&M looking like they'll leave whether it's good for them or not.  Missouri on the other hand is saying all the right things but they haven't yet earned back the conference's trust after the whole Big Ten thing.
  • I'm skeptical that the next iPhone will supposedly be a giant leap forward.  The next big step in cell phone technology isn't widely available yet and I wonder if some of the rumors, even if they're accurate, aren't for this next about-to-be-released phone but rather for the one after it, due out sometime in 2012.
  • I'm determined to move on to the next phase in my writing.  For months, I've been taking pages of notes and "doing research" for a couple of book projects but I haven't really written a word yet.  I need to make myself sit down and actually start writing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Big 12 Erodes or Evolves?

So Texas A&M is leaving to go to the SEC.  Okay.  I understand that they wanted to go for awhile now.  If you can't beat Texas, then take your ball and join the SEC.

But Missouri supposedly wants to go too?!  Oh, really?  Let me hold the door for you.  If Missouri wants to leave the KU-MU rivalry after 120 years, fine.  Specifically, in football Missouri has won four of the last five to pull the series to a tie at 55-55-9.  In basketball the record favors Kansas 171-94, including 20 out of the last 25 games.  From a Jayhawk perspective, it looks cowardly to run away like this.

But on the other hand, if Missouri doesn't join the SEC, let's drop them on grounds of disloyalty.  They wanted to go the Big Ten but got turned down.  Now they're flirting with the SEC.  Who needs friends like this?  I don't want Mizzou to go, but it's getting to the point where I don't want them to stay either.

Meanwhile, as long as football-powers Texas and Oklahoma want a conference, they'll get one.  Rumors are floating around about adding two or four new teams, like BYU, Air Force, TCU, Notre Dame, Arkansas, or Houston.

Who knows how it will turn out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Random Thoughts 8/12/11

  • Did you see the Department of Innovation logo?  It had three gears, all touching in such a way that the gears would be unable to turn.  Awesome job there guys!  They've fixed it now, but what a perfect government logo that was for awhile.  [Thanks for the heads up, Dustin]
  • Conspiracy theorists have no room for dumb luck, coincidence, unintended consequences, or passive bystanders.  Everybody has an agenda, every action was planned, every outcome was orchestrated.  Paranoid minds feel compelled to give meaning to everything.  But sometimes bad stuff just happens.
  • Maybe spoilers don't spoil anything.  I always hate it when someone spoils the ending to a movie but I can't say that I actually enjoy it less when I watch it for myself.  Come to think of it some of my favorite movies are based on books I had already read.  And I sure seem to enjoy watching really good movies a second time.  Hmm, maybe spoilers aren't always so bad after all.
  • We are getting really, really close to having this house sold.  That's really cool.
  • We've seen three pretty decent movies this week: Source Code (2011), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and Knight and Day (2010).  It helped that I had relatively low expectations of all three of them, then they each surprised us.  Knight and Day was kinda James Bond/Bourne-ish but funnier and more endearing, Source Code was smart and had a great resolution and The Adjustment Bureau was pretty good, even if it trailed off a bit at the end.

Random GOP Debate Thoughts 8/12/11

I watched the Republican debate in Iowa last night (twice) and, in a nutshell, here's what I thought of the candidates ranked from best to worst:
  • Mitt Romney looked like a president, sounded like a president, and acted like a president.  Right or wrong, this is his race to lose.
  • Michelle Bachmann did great but she's still only a congresswoman.  I like her a lot and she did well but I hesitate to say that she could carry a general election.  Like Sarah Palin, her faith and rock-ribbed conservatism may be more polarizing than her personality is likeable. 
  • Herman Cain also has a problem that Palin shares, his accent works against him and makes him sound less educated/intelligent than he really is.  It's too bad; he's honest, interesting, and capable.
  • Ron Paul doesn't mind a nuclear Iran?!  Oh good grief; I guess we'll just cross our fingers.  The libertarian deep down inside me wants to like this guy, and he says a lot of good things, but c'mon!!!
  • Rick Santorum, a guy I generally like, just looked small and unimportant.  I fear he's losing traction but if he gets out now before it gets ugly, he could make a great VP candidate.
  • Newt Gingrich also seems completely unelectable.  He may be the smartest person in the room but he doesn't come off as trustworthy to me.  Last night he seemed temperamental.
  • Tim Pawlenty looked terrible attacking the other candidates.  Ugh.  Surely, he's about done.
  • Jon Huntsman is the RINO of the group and is running for the moderate John McCain role this time around.  Even when he claims conservative positions, I'm hesitant to believe him.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Top Shot Season 3

After less than a four month break, Top Shot is back for a third season on the History Channel. love this show.  It scratches so many itches: history, guns, Survivor-like competition, guns, explosions, guns.  But even Survivor, which has been a great show at times, spends too much time with vacuous, half-dressed twenty-somethings, flailing about lying to each other.  Top Shot, on the other hand, tends to have older military and law enforcement types, generally more grounded individuals.  Last season the group prayed before every meal and in the first season one of the guys spent his spare time in his bunk reading his Bible.

I've always had a heart for these kind of people and we seem to have a large number, proportionally, in our church.  Watching this show makes me think of some the men (and women) I know.  In fact, some of those people ought to apply to be on this show.  I'm looking at you, Bob!  Or Ryan.  Or David.  Or…

Monday, August 08, 2011

Random Thoughts 8/8/11

  • We had to put my cat, Kala, down a couple of weeks ago.  We had her for twelve years and, although she was an aloof and foul-tempered stinker, she liked me.  She always sat on the side of the tub while I showered and slept on my feet during the night; I was her human.  But she was sick and in pain for years and it was time for her to go.
  • Speaking of dead pets, I'm re-learning the words to the song "Old Shep."  If you don't know the song, it's about the passing of a beloved dog and usually can reduce the toughest tough guy to tears.  It's the Brian's Song of old, country ballads.  Every dad ought to know the words, just so you can make your kids weep giant sentimental teardrops on command.  Here's a tip, though: practice the song in the shower.  It sounds better and the water hides the tears.
  • We have the official draft order for our fantasy football conferences.  I'll email it out soon.
  • Now this guy has a small apartment.  78 square feet to be exact and, in New York City, the glorified walk-in closet with no bathroom or kitchen is still $750/month.
  • Okay, I just tried to sing "Old Shep" again.  Nope.  Still… can't… *sniff sniff* do it.
  • Once every two or three years I'll sing a few bars in a sermon.  You can hear it, if you dare (and your computer can play flash), in my Hosea sermon here.  This is the only sermon that I don't write new each time; I last preached a version of it two years ago.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

10 Years of Fantasy Football

We have all thirty teams locked-in, the websites bought, and the contract signed for our draft party.  It's almost football season!!!

We have seven of our original twelve teams and a combined 127 seasons of experience (just in the WFFL).  There will also be three rookie owners, one in each conference.  Our owners live in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Montana, and Florida, though I expect as many as 28 of the 30 teams will have an owner present at the draft.

This is the 10th Anniversary of the Wyandotte Fantasy Football League, though it's actually a continuation of the Rushville Fantasy Football League that dates back to the mid-90's (those were the pre-internet scoring, pencil and newspaper days).  Four original RFFL owners are now in the WFFL: Bart Hinz, Caleb Champ, Bryan Champ, and Jared Altic.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Random Thoughts 8/3/11

  • Fantasy Football Draft on Tuesday, August 30 at Dave & Busters in KCK.
  • Learn to pick locks for fun and profit!
  • I love my wife.
  • The negative thing about the debt limit budget crisis "solution" is that the cuts aren't happening anytime soon probably not at all, unless things are so critical that the issue stays red hot for years to come.  The positive thing is that it'll stay red hot for another year and be an albatross around President Obama's neck.  In other words, we didn't really solve anything but that failure will hurt the Democrats more than anyone else.
  • We are desperately trying to sell our house so we can move up the street a few miles.  It's such a good deal for us but our house must sell!
  • Blimps of War!
  • I'm thinking the 10-hour migraines are stress induced.  Or heat.  Or allergies.  Or sleeping awkwardly.  Or…
  • If you have an iPad and use Skype, there's now an app for that.  Stop using the iPhone version!  I'm not a Skype user myself, but I know several who are and have been waiting for a native iPad version.
  • And if you have an iPad, buy a fancy case from my friend Alisa.
  • VBS is going great!  We had 100 kids the first day and 113 the second day.  I'm teaching on Thursday.