Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sherlock Soon

The excellently written BBC miniseries "Sherlock" will air its second season (series 2, in British parlance) in America starting next Sunday night, May 6, on PBS's "Masterpiece Mystery."  Like the first season, it'll run in three 90-minute episodes, one per week, and then available on PBS's website for a time.

I'm a huge fan of the books, having read most of them over the last two or three years.  Even though "Sherlock" is a modern re-telling set in current day London, in many ways it's truer to the source material than some TV and movie versions. 

I also like the casting in this version.  Benedict Cumberbatch, jokingly referred to as the most British man alive, is an incredible actor and a perfect Sherlock: neurotic, obsessive, and an eccentric genius.  Martin Freeman is one of my very favorite actors, formerly on the British version of "The Office" (the original Jim/Tim character) and now playing Bilbo in The Hobbit movies.  Actually Cumberbatch is in The Hobbit also, playing the voice and motion capture of Smaug the dragon.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/27/12 and a Rant

  • Tomorrow is Elijah's 8th birthday.  Happy birthday, Eli!
  • Do you ever wonder if it's actually legal to wear headphones while driving?  Here's a handy map.
  • There's all kinds of frustration over the Chiefs' first pick in the NFL draft last night.  The highly coveted guys were already gone, they didn't trade down, but instead used their fifth top pick in ten years on a defensive lineman.  And he's a player that underwhelmed in college but looked great at the combine.  Grrrr…  The thinking seems to be that this coach and GM can make something out of him where others failed.  We'll see.
  • Dick Vitale over at ESPN has Kansas ranked 4th for next year, noting Ben McLemore (who sat out last year) as a potential star.  Just six more months until basketball season!
  • Shannon and I like to go the theater to watch plays and musicals a few times each year.  The New Theatre Restaurant has fantastic food and pretty good Broadway-ish shows for a very reasonable amount of money (around $40 per person, meal included).  I just checked the price for tickets for a show at the spectacular new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and the tickets are about $160 per person, no meal, parking not included.  Ouch.  I don't think the Kauffman's had us in mind when they built their pretty new opera house.

And now for something completely different…
  • Hey parents.  How many "good" things do you allow your kids to participate in?  Where's the limit before these good activities begin to crowd each other out, teaching our kids busyness and a hectic lifestyle?  As a minister I've seen a lot of families that wore themselves out on extra-curricular activities beginning in early grade school.  Both parents are running in different directions almost every night so that every child's personal calendar is full and a lot gets lost in the shuffle.  Spouses don't see each other, siblings don't spend time together, meals are eaten on the run, and church gets pushed to the bottom of the list.  What are we gaining from this?  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently wrong with pee-wee soccer, girl scouts, dance class, tae-kwon-do, little league and a hundred other activities.  But at some point the family has too much on its plate and something is going to suffer, usually the family and church.
  • For my family, we're addressing the situation like this: 1) Generally no youth sports before junior high.  We might make exceptions but the benefits are overstated and for the most part it doesn't fit our family.  2) Extra-curricular activities are trumped by church, especially on Sundays.  We're just not going to skip church for soccer practice.  Ever.  Sorry.  The life-lesson learned by standing on this principle is far more important than the one activity could ever be. 3) Quiet evenings at home are valuable.  "Doing nothing," i.e. socializing, playing, conversing, compromising, learning respect, and getting along are valuable skills that must be learned before age ten.  4) Fair means appropriate not equal.  Not all siblings get to do the same activities or have the same level of busyness at the same time.  Some will do more or less or get more or less help based on what Mom and Dad deem to be appropriate for that child at that time.  Get over it and learn to be happy for your sibling (i.e. the world doesn't revolve around you, junior).
  • What's my goal here?  To instill in these short people: …that family and church are more important than self.  …that serving behind the scenes is more valuable than being in the spotlight.  …that developing a quiet spirit is superior to being constantly busy.  …that self-worth is derived from what God sees and not what your audience sees.
  • My job as a father, for which I'll answer to God, is to teach and demonstrate this to my children to the best of my ability.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/25/12

  • Only three Wednesday Family Nights (Wednesday night church) left!
  • NewsRadio 980 KMBZ has hired Jonathan Weir to be their new morning guy before Rush.  He's young and from St. Louis, and though I'm hoping he's a conservative idealogue, I'm guessing that KMBZ's management is trying to get more moderate, as evidenced by moving Glenn Beck to the middle of the night, putting Darla Jaye on in the oft-preempted evenings, and hiring Dana Wright, who seems to be a cast off from "The View."  Rush is still ratings gold but conservative voices in KC, like KMBZ's audience, are getting fewer and fewer.
  • Japan Airlines is flying the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the U.S. on a 13-hour route from, get this, Tokyo to Boston.  Those planes are incredible and that route is something else, flying an Arctic path over Canada and Alaska, it's barely longer than the 11-hour Tokyo to Los Angeles flight.  Fascinating.
  • Oh, yeah, one of the biggest names in Global Warming alarmists partly recanted.  British scientist James Lovelock has admitted to exaggerating, coming to wrong conclusions, and being overly-alarmist.  From the article: "“All right,” he said, “I made a mistake.” He added of his 2006 book, Revenge of Gaia, in which his language was over-the-top, “I would be a little more cautious – but then that would have spoilt the book.”You think?!"  Man-made global warming is a ridiculous scam and foolish scaremongers like Al Gore are being proven wrong point by point.
  • Who will the Chiefs take tomorrow in the first round of the draft?  A defensive player some say.  Others are committed to the guard that played with Andrew Luck.
  • Which TV shows are getting canceled or renewedAlready renewed: "Grimm," "Survivor," "American Idol," "How I Met Your Mother," et al.;  Already Canceled: "House," "Desperate Housewives" (never watched it), "Cops" (after 24 seasons), and several new shows that didn't catch on;  TBA in the next 2 weeks or so: "Two and a Half Men" (also never watched), "the Apprentice", "the Office," "Parks & Recreation," "Community," "Awake" (one of our new favorites but gets low ratings), "Modern Family," "Castle," "Alcatraz," and many others.  By mid-May the networks will announce their fall lineups and indicate which shows have survived.

If you wanted America to Fail…

Monday, April 23, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/23/12

  • Here's a great little article on how to save the earth for Earth Day (which was yesterday).  In a nutshell: 1) homeschool, 2) don't divorce, 3) support small businesses, 4) encourage hunters, 5) shrink government.  Sounds good to me!  Read the article for a full explanation.
  • The construction on our new Sam's Club is progressing quickly.  It's a shame the Best Buy next door is getting closed.  If that Sam's Club had opened a year ago (as rumored), the Best Buy, which otherwise was by itself back there, might have been saved… oh yeah, and if the internet and FedEx hadn't been invented.
  • Does your neighborhood recycling program help the environment?  Probably not.  Most recycling programs lose money (this is why you're paying a fee even though you're giving them raw materials), use more energy than they save, and ultimately pollute more than modern landfills do.  Recycling in principle is still desirable and, for some materials, very worthwhile.  But paying to have a big truck drive all over town is not always the perfect solution.
  • Best word game on the iPhone right now: SpellTower.  I had the word "zither" for 396 points yesterday, along with an occasional seven letter word.
  • The NFL Draft begins this Thursday night.
  • Two Royals were getting ready to play when the National Anthem is played.  The one player turns to the other and says, "Man!  We lose every time they play this song!"
  • KU lost a potential recruit today to UCLA, which apparently is the Kentucky West campus now.  They now have three of the top 30 recruits (according to, including #1 and #3. 
  • The Denver Broncos have become the third team (Bucs and Ravens are the other two) to switch to iPad-based playbooks.  The playbook includes photos and videos, can be constantly updated, and deletes its info if the machine loses connection to the team's servers for too long.  Cool.  The Chiefs are still drawing in the dirt with their fingers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/20/12

  • Our work day/mowing day at the church camp is tomorrow.  Time to go mow!  If you can't go tomorrow, give me a holler because I'm going again before June to re-build the hand-golf course.
  • Here's 50 facts about Kansas City that every Kansas Citian should know.
  • The women at our church had a movie night tonight.  I heard it went well.
  • It looks like US Airways will attempt a hostile takeover of American Airlines.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad or if it'll even happen but it's tough keeping track of where these airlines have all gone.  American took over TWA, United merged with Continental, Delta consumed Northwest and part of Pan Am, and others, like Eastern, just went belly up.
  • I'm getting a new push mower from Shannon's brother tomorrow and I'm really excited.  I've been borrowing a push mower from my dad but this new one will be really nice to have.  That nice John Deere riding mower is still for sale if anyone is interested.
  • The Hunger Games movie has made over $340 million dollars, more than Forrest Gump, Finding Nemo, and Return of the Jedi.  It's at #21 all-time and climbing fast.  I understand how good the books are supposed to be, but c'mon… I saw the movie.  It wasn't very well done.  In my opinion it was on par with an old episode of "Star Gate," i.e. okay acting, decent special effects, lots of minor flaws that can be overlooked, likeable but NOT Oscar-worthy.  I have nothing against the Hunger Games franchise – I'll probably go see future movies in the series – but because this isn't the same caliber of film-making as the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings franchises, I worry that good books are going to be rushed into development and spoiled because millions of fans will gobble up anything with their favorite book title slapped on it.
  • Did you hear that the entire starting-five from Kentucky, all freshmen and sophomores, declared for the NBA draft.  I'm still waiting for their championship to be vacated because of rules violations.
  • The Secret Service, the GSA… apparently government work is a lot spicier than it used to be.
  • Did you see the pictures of George Zimmerman's bleeding head?  That picture alone is going to get him acquitted of the murder charges, which in turn will probably get the poor guy lynched by the race-baited mobs.  This is such a sad story, all around.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/17/12

  • Whew! I've been pretty busy lately but here we go…
  • Happy birthday, Dad!  65!
  • Best Buy is closing their store in our neighborhood.  At first I was shocked and upset… then I couldn't think of anything I'd actually purchased there… and I realized that I could probably buy most stuff cheaper online… and get it delivered… and their location was the worst one at the Legends.  Still, I hate to see businesses close around here.
  • I told Shannon that Ann Romney, a mother of five, was accused of never working a day in her life.  We laughed. 
  • KU freshman Merv Lindsay is transferring away from Kansas.  "Who is he?", you ask.  He was the late addition to a recruiting class that had an inauspicious start last year.  Braeden Anderson didn't qualify and went somewhere with lower admissions standards.  Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor didn't qualify and had to sit out their first year.  Naadir Tharpe was the one of the five that actually saw the court (briefly); he was the scared, skinny kid that tried not to do too much damage while Tyshawn Taylor got a rest.  And then we had Merv Lindsay, a shooting guard way down at the end of the bench.  Merv was not going to move up the line anytime soon, so, after talking to coach Self, he kindly freed up a scholarship for someone else.
  • Andrew White, a blue chip 6-6 shooting guard who some compare to Brandon Rush, officially signed with KU yesterday.  Merv's locker wasn't even cold yet.
  • Everything else you need to know about KU hoops right now
  • After the 100th anniversary this last weekend of the Titanic sinking, the news reported on people who didn't realize the 1997 movie was based on a real event in history.  …these are the people that give me those migraines.
  • The centennial for World War 1 is just two and a half years away.  Time to start "edjumacating" those young skulls full of mush.
  • Remind me sometime and I'll give you a top-20 WW1 movie countdown.  Better yet, go visit the National World War 1 museum, right here in Kansas City at the Liberty Memorial.
  • The NFL will release it's 2012 schedule tonight.  Only four and a half months until pro football!
  • According to Gallup, 72% of black Americans think George Zimmerman is guilty and 85% think it was racially motivated.  The race-baiting has been especially effective in this case; you'd have to wonder if he can even get a fair trial now.  Sadly, a lot of people don't want to see a potential acquittal, they want a lynching.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Raising Your Debt Limit

Random Thoughts 4/11/12

  • Goodbye Rick Santorum; see you in four years.  There go all of those Santorum/Ryan bumper stickers I ordered.
  • Goodbye Thomas Robinson; see you in the NBA.  This is the best I've felt about a player leaving school early in a while (I'm usually totally against it).  Good luck, T-Rob.  By the way, have none of the Kentucky players declared yet?  The deadline to declare early is April 29.
  • The Spring signing-period for college basketball recruits starts tonight (and runs thru mid-May).  I don't expect KU to land any big names – the team already has all of its spots filled for next year – so if they somebody does declare for KU that means somebody will have to redshirt or lose a scholarship.
  • Why are so many people determined to find a racial component in the Trayvon Martin shooting?  Isn't it tragic enough already?
  • It was a beautiful morning to mow the yard this morning.  I'm still getting used to push mowing but it's definitely the right choice for that yard.  I've been discouraging the few friends and neighbors that have asked about our riding mower from buying it.  It's a great mower but I hate selling a vehicle (or anything like it) to someone I know.  As soon as the money changes hands, something will break or fall off.  Then I feel bad.  If my neighbor bought the mower, I'd be a nervous wreck every time I hear it running.
  • KU has hired Niko Roberts' dad, Norm Roberts, to be an assistant to Bill Self.  Roberts has worked under Self for nine years, previously, at four different schools, before heading out on his own as a head coach at St. Johns and an assistant at Florida.  Niko was a sophomore backup guard this year.
  • I'm not a fan of over-sized smart phones.  A few months ago I saw a friend squirm to retrieve one of these monstrosities from his front pocket.  He shot one leg out straight like he had a cramp, then with both hands worked it back and forth to pull this thing from his pocket; it seemed like it was the size of a thin paperback book.  He put it to his face and I immediately thought of what a little kid would look like talking on my iPhone.  Goofy.  These "phablets," part phone, part tablet, prove that bigger is not always better.  I think Apple has zeroed in on the sweet spots, 9 inches for a tablet and <4 inches for a phone.  But rumors persist that the next iPhone will go from 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches.  If it does, I hope they keep the phone small and implement this great solution.

Friday, April 06, 2012


This morning at 7am…

Wide-eyed 3-year-old daughter: "I thur-tee."

Sleepy father:  "Ah, I love you too, sweetheart."

Daughter:  "No,  I thur-tee."

Father:  "…you're fuzzy?"

Daughter:  "I thur-tee!"

Father:  "…you're 30?"

Daughter:  *slowly* "I… thur… tee!"

Father:  "…you're dirty?"

Daughter:  "I want milk."

Father:  "Ohhhhhhhh!"

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/5/12

  • Best headline I saw this week: "Chevy Volt pays for itself in just 27 years."  Wow.
  • A recent poll said that 58% of church goers have had their feelings hurt by a church leader.  I'm hoping the other 42% are willing to go more than just the one time.  Seriously, 44% of the people surveyed said they left the church over the hurt feelings and 22% said they left the faith entirely.
  • Also, 64% of church goers reported being hurt by fellow parishioners.  Interestingly only 33% admit to being guilty of hurting others.
  • I think the likelihood of having your feelings hurt in church are identical to the chances of having your feelings hurt in any family, about 100%.  The same goes for perpetrating the hurt feelings.  We're all guilty at some level at one time or another – so shame on those who fail.  Assuming the hurt feelings aren't over something criminal… then we need to grow a softer heart and thicker skin.
  • I also think that when serious offenses do occur, like child abuse scandals and the preacher running off with the secretary or stealing money from the church, that there are layers of offense.  The first layer is the specific people who were betrayed and directly wounded by the offender.  But then there's a second layer of folks who may be quite a bit removed but even a little bit of distrust in church leadership is more than a delicate, immature faith can handle.  For lack of a Christian mentor or example in their life, they can get derailed by the failure of someone with whom they may not of even known on a first-name basis.
  • Rumors are that Danny Manning's son, Evan, may try to walk-on at KU.  He's a 6-2 guard but still, he's a Manning.
  • From the people who brought you the uniform decisions of the Oregon Ducks, Nike recently redesigned all 32 uniforms in the NFL.  Yikes.  Actually, only the Seahawks look much different.  Most of the teams are virtually the same except for the cut of the uniform or an extra stripe or two.  The Chiefs only real change was moving the smaller "TV numbers" from the sleeve to the shoulder.  Oh, and now every team has those silly gloves that show a logo when you hold your hands together for the TV camera.  Yeah, we needed more of that.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Sweet 16 (2012) Final

Hey, I almost forgot.  We did the math and knew a week ago that Kyle was going to win but I almost forgot to throw the final numbers up on my blog for you.  Here you go:

  • As predicted, Kyle won with a better score than anything we've seen the last few years.
  • All of us had Kentucky at the top, the real question was how highly did we rate schools that dropped out early.  Duke, Mizzou, Vanderbilt, and Florida State were killers.
  • Of course the opposite problem occurred too.  Chad didn't have Kansas at all.  And if I'd rated Ohio State as highly as Kyle did, I would have beat him without any other changes (I had Ohio State as only my 5-pointer).  Instead I was almost 30 points behind.

The Kitchen Knives You Don't Need

Here's a great video review of kitchen knife blocks.  We have a knife block at home with a hodgepodge of old knives and a drawer of overflow knives, many of which are next to worthless.  This video helps clarify what you really need in your kitchen and hopefully saves you some money, too.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Random Thoughts 4/2/12

  • Good luck to the Jayhawks tonight.  It's nice to not have high expectations going into this; this was supposed to be a rebuilding year.  Everyone knows that Kentucky is crazy good and the Jayhawks have been overachieving, so it's not a heart-breaker if Kentucky wins.  Still, it'll be exciting.
  • Jayhawk fans also know that KU has a shot at this almost every year – this isn't a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  That's reassuring, even if Kentucky never lets KU in the game at all this time around.
  • Just to poke a little fun at Kentucky's best player (Kentucky fans tease about this too)…
  • My wife, who is not a televised sports fan, has actually watched a few games.  Not whole games… or the end of games… but bits and pieces and I appreciate that.  She does faithfully wear Kansas clothing on game days!
  • Here's the wiki page for this year's NBA draft, where we routinely see twice as many underclassmen declare for the draft as the draft has available spots.  Sad.  Good players leave the college experience and a free education to pursue a check that may never come.  I wish the NBA's rules required players to be older.
  • My family came by the office today and my sweet little girl asked to stay with me at the office.  Sorry sweetheart, I'm just reading and answering phones today.  Not much fun for three-year-olds.
  • Two KU assistant coaches (Manning and Hinson) have already accepted head coaching jobs elsewhere and we expect to lose three or four players, assuming there aren't any transfers.  With the big recruiting class and the probation players returning, this team will be about half unrecognizable next year.  Time to reload!