Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Robertsons are Second

Jesus Christ is first.

Watch this with your family; it's worth it.




For clarification, Jep is the youngest (4th) brother and Reed is the oldest of son of Jase (the 2nd oldest brother).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Random Christmas Thoughts 12/22/13

  • Merry Christmas, everyone!
  • This is your annual reminder that Xmas does mean you're x-ing out Christ from Christmas.  The X is Xmas is not a an "x" at all but the Greek letter "chi" (pronounced sort of like "key") from which we get the "ch" in Christ.  It's simply an abbreviation.  Taking Christ out of Christmas happens on Black Friday.  Speaking of which…
  • As of today, all of the Christmas presents are wrapped and under the tree (a little later than most years) and my Christmas gift spreadsheets are balanced and finalized.  There are times when I'm feeling especially materialistic and shallow in which I feel bad that my kids don't have bigger and better.  But really the Lord has provided wonderfully for them, not just at Christmastime but around the year.
  • That said, my love language is definitely giving, and nothing gives me more joy than to think of my children opening presents.  I wrap all of the presents myself and I never put a present under the tree for me.  First, I don't remember my Dad having presents under the tree.  Second, I don't want to be distracted from seeing a single opening among my five kids.
  • We always open presents first thing Christmas morning.  Unless Christmas falls on a Sunday and then we open after we get home from Church.
  • Our church Christmas program was canceled last night because of the ice and extreme cold.  It was the right call but we sure did miss it.  And this is the first year in quite awhile that we don't have a Christmas eve service.  The weather sure didn't cooperate with our schedule!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Another Hobbit Production Blog

Here's another great little video peeking behind the scenes of The Hobbit production.  Peter Jackson and his crew have that sense of humor you get when you're up too late and everything becomes funny because you're completely exhausted.

The second Hobbit film hits theaters this Friday.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Mandela the Saint?

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died today.  As expected, there is an outpouring of grief for the 20th century icon and an endless parade of commendation for the man.  President Obama said this afternoon that Mandela was one of the most "profoundly good human beings."

Really?

Now, of course Mandela was a profoundly important individual on the world's political landscape.  And to the point that he helped end apartheid, the official policy of racial separation and discrimination in South Africa, Mandela will always be associated with virtue and goodness to some degree.

But let's not gloss over the whole story in the rush to make him a saint.

First of all, I'm not convinced his own family would call him "profoundly good."  He was a serial adulterer and married three times.  Second, he was a communist.  He was tried and found guilty for treason because of his communist connections, which at the time, and afterward, he strongly denied.  But it has since been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mandela and his organizations were trained, supported by, and loyal to Communist leaders in Moscow and elsewhere.  Third, he was a terrorist leader.  The US State Department recognized his organizations as terror groups which murdered/executed people for political reasons.  One of the cruelest murders imaginable, "necklacing," where a victim is beaten into submission, tortured, then has a burning tire placed around their neck or body which cooks them alive, began with Mandela's ANC and was openly endorsed by Mandela's second wife, then head of the ANC while Mandela was in prison.

Is Mandela as bad as Adolf Hitler?  Of course not.  In fact, Mandela might be praised for some parts of his life.  But many other people have been long-suffering political prisoners for good causes without the checkered personal morality of Nelson Mandela.

I'm just saying that someone so closely tied to a lifetime of adultery, communist revolution, murder, and violence shouldn't receive such a one-sided eulogy.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Another Great Smarter Every Day Video

Destin from the youtube series "Smarter Every Day" posted another great video on butterflies.  Since many of you may not be familiar with "Smarter Every Day," I thought this particular video would be a good introduction.  Destin talks a little about his background, shows his goofy personality, includes lots of cool science, and slips in a bit of evangelism too.

And yes, that's a silhouette of Reepicheep at the end.

Psalm 111:2  "Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them."






He's my favorite Christian rocket scientist youtuber.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sophie the Beagle, 2007-2013

We had to put down our beagle today.


Sophie was suffering from what might have been canine spinal calcification.  If we had done spinal surgery, which we would never have spent the money on, there was only a chance she would get better.  The vet thought she could end up paralyzed and likely be incontinent for the rest of her life.  They agreed to put her down this evening, the day before Thanksgiving.

Sophie in 2007
We got Sophie as tiny pup from Bart Hinz's in-laws in the summer of 2007.  Brennan, our oldest, wasn't quite seven years old yet and our fourth, Graham, was only one.  I named her Sophie, from the Greek for wisdom, and five-year-old Tanner gave her the middle name Rose.  From the very beginning she was the breed standard, absolutely perfect in form and appearance.  She was a beautiful animal.

She was also a nutcase.  Sophie proved to always be hyper-anxious.  House guests drove her berserk with excitement, mere eye contact meant she might wet herself.  Her two favorite people in the world, for whom she could never control her blubbering enthusiasm, were my dad and Mike Boczek.  Though she was never allowed on the furniture, it was all we could do to keep her from climbing up in their laps and beyond.  She couldn't get enough of Dad and Mike.

Sophie with Eli, c. 2008
She was also ridiculously submissive, to a fault… to the point of when you called for her, she might lie down and whimper as soon as come running.  Smaller, younger dogs like Maury and Angus would regularly kowtow her, though in the weeks before her death we saw a few signs of her pushing Angus around.

Sophie, for all her qualities was as dumb as a box of rocks.  She had just enough brain power to smell and bark and held nothing in reserve.  She amused us constantly with her inability to perceive basic things that most dogs would figure out in a moment.  I often called her "dum-dum" as a term of endearment and affectionately said she was dimwitted.  But no matter how dense, she was always just as sweet and loyal as a dog could be.

Sophie with Tanner.
Sophie went to church camp with our family a few times.  Inevitably she would get away from my kids and end up walking down the aisle mid-sermon.  She was popular with the campers, though not well-suited to life at camp.  We were a young family and didn't have any other option than to bring her with us.

In her final weeks, we noticed her moving gingerly and there were several signs she was in pain.  As the pain increased we took her to the vet and found our options were limited.  As much as we loved her, we were not going to spend the children's Christmas money on surgeries and procedures that might not improve her quality of life.

The vet agreed that she was in terrible pain.  Whatever caused the degeneration in her back, it was probably only going to worsen with time.  The pain medicine we were giving her barely made a difference.  I've read that beagles can get degenerative disks as young as two years old.  That hardly seems fair; a beagle ought to live 10-15 years.  She could have been injured at some point, but most of her days involved laying around with the kids and basking in the yard, so it's hard to imagine how.

Sophie with Brennan, as much as anyone, she was his dog.
In the end, we thank God for the six and half years we had with this silly dog.  It breaks my heart that she passed as young as she did and I'm devastated that my kids have to endure this.

But before you ask… No.  We don't want another dog.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

One and Done Too Soon

As someone who rarely watches NBA games, I hate to see these "one-and-done" players come and go in only about five months' time.  This benefits the NBA, with tons of free promotion of their new players.  But this system is hurting college basketball, especially if you're not one of the few teams who get these elite but temporary players.

In football, you have to be three years out of high school to be eligible for the NFL draft.  In baseball, if you go to college, you have to be 21 or have completed your junior year.  Baseball also allows high school students to be drafted after graduation if they haven't attended college.

If basketball players had to commit to two or three college seasons, it would spread the wealth of talent and college basketball would see an immediate improvement.  Right now, top schools like Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas can string together a series of similar recruits, one per year, over and over again.  Kansas recruit Kelly Oubre reportedly said he picked Kansas for 2014 so he could replace current freshman Andrew Wiggins.  That's great for Kansas but Oubre would likely have gone elsewhere if Wiggins was required to stay for two years.  Then two schools would have had a great player for two years, instead of one school getting two players for one year each.

This year, 9 of the top 12 recruits (according to Rivals.com) were divided between just three schools and it's shaping up the same way for next year (with three to Duke, two to Kansas, two to Kentucky, etc.).  Only a very small fraction of college basketball is benefiting from this talent as things are organized now.

And the NBA doesn't really benefit immediately either.  Last year, 10 one-and-done freshmen declared for the draft.  Only 8 got drafted, only 6 have played so far this season, and only two have started a game.  It's widely discussed that most NBA teams seem to draft for potential rather than developed skill.  For every NBA star that came right out of high school or one year of college, there are countless dozens who would have benefitted from staying at the college level another year or two.

Bottom line, this guy [see below] should still be playing at Kansas.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Something Better Than the Sinner's Prayer

I've long argued against the sinner's prayer as inconsistent with our theology and a poor tool to use in ministry.  Though I can't imagine someone converting to Christianity without some form of prayer  or cry to God involved, the sinner's prayer, as we use it, has very little Biblical basis.  By that I mean it's NOT in the Bible.

In this video Paul Washer makes an excellent case against its use.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Random Thoughts 11/19/13

Whew!  I've been busy the last few weeks.  Here's a bit of what's been on my mind:

  • My family and I really enjoyed the International Conference on Missions (ICOM) which was in Kansas City last weekend.  We met a several missionaries, heard great preaching and teaching, and reunited with several old friends.  I generally don't travel to conventions and conferences so it's a shame they all aren't in KC!
  • Here are a few Snopes urban legends for you:  it turns out the McDonald's cocaine spoon was real and so was the Aldi horse meat scandal, but it didn't happen in the United States.  In contrast, there is no such thing as Muslim prayer "curtain" and President Obama did not decorate the White House with one.
  • Kansas basketball signed two top-10 recruits this last week.  Everyone assumes we'll lose at least two guys this year (starters Tarik Black to graduation and Andrew Wiggins to the NBA).  The two new talented recruits, forward Cliff Alexander and wing Kelly Oubre, are expected to be able to step right in to those roles as freshmen.  What if more players leave early?  First of all Kansas's roster is deeper than it's been in years.  Second, there are still great top-talent, unsigned recruits, that might consider Kansas if more scholarships open up.
  • So that amazing shrinking unemployment number that magically dropped below 8% just in time for the President's reelection, turned out to be false.  I'm completely shocked that bureaucrats would fudge numbers to help out the pro-big-government candidate.  Who would have thought?  It turns out that more people are out of work than ever before and the only reason that the bad numbers could be viewed as anything less than sky high is because the job force is shrinking as people give up looking for work.  *sigh*
  • Our beagle, Sophie, seems to be pretty sick.  We're not entirely sure what is wrong with her, we've deduced that worms may be a possibility, but she's been in fragile shape for several days now and doesn't seem to be getting better.  As of this writing, Shannon is taking her to the vet to get diagnosed.
  • Christmas gets complicated as your kids get older.  When they're little, relatively cheap and simple toys had huge impact on Christmas morning.  As they reach their teenage years, their tastes and preferences get significantly more expensive; there is not a lot of five dollar Walmart toys to give to a 13-year-old.  The problem is that with five kids, the Christmas budget just doesn't allow for a lot of wish fulfillment.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Random Thoughts 10/28/13

  • Happy half-birthday, Elijah!  Today is Elijah's 9-and-one-half birthday.  What is the significance?  When Brennan was 9 we decided he was getting too old to have an 8pm bedtime.  But instead of making the decision look completely arbitrary, we said he had to wait until he was 9-1/2 before he could stay up until 10pm.  A year later the same rule applied to Tanner and now it's Eli's turn.  Eli has been counting down the days.
  • Shannon offered to bake him half a cake.
  • The men's retreat at Mission Lake Christian Camp is this weekend.  Preregister here.
  • Even if you don't preregister, letting me know in advance is really helpful for planning our meals and such.
  • The Chiefs are 8-0 and #1 in the NFL.  Yeah, I saw that coming. 
  • The NFL trade deadline is tomorrow.  Any chance the Chiefs will trade for an offensive weapon?  There seems to be a lot of buzz for getting Tony Gonzalez back from Atlanta, but I'm not sure that would actually make a difference (other than creating a lot of fan excitement).
  • Funniest thing I've seen on Fox News lately: Greg Gutfeld's name for Obamacare, Obama-apocalypso-care-ageddon…gate!!!
  • It looks like the KU starting lineup is falling into place:  (transfer from Memphis) senior forward Tarik Black, junior point guard Naadir Tharpe, sophomore forward (from Wichita) Perry Ellis, freshman guard (and our best kept secret… shhhhh) Wayne Seldon, and freshman guard (and #1 recruit in the nation) Andrew Wiggins.  Both freshmen are virtually certain one-and-done players; Wiggins could break his leg, miss the season, and still get drafted by the NBA based on his potential alone.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Penguins in KC!

We got up early this morning and went to the zoo for the opening of the penguin exhibit. As Friends of the Zoo members we were allowed in early, found a spot 20 feet from the ribbon cutting ceremony, and were in the first hundred or so to make it in the building.

The exhibit is first class, very similar to the one in Omaha, and it is sure to be a popular destination on a hot summer day.

My kids all loved it.





Friday, October 18, 2013

Random Thoughts 10/18/13

  • I hate being away from blogging for more than a day a two; a week and a half is unacceptable.  But throw in a funeral, some extra counseling, a good book, a migraine or two and other miscellaneous good and/or bad busyness and voila… a week is gone!  But becoming a better writer requires both good reading and practice, practice, practice.
  • November 1 and 2 is the men's retreat at Mission Lake Christian Camp.  Be there!
  • Our national debt jumped over $300 billion in one day and now tops a record $17 trillion.  We are hopelessly addicted to giving ourselves stuff, promising that our grandchildren will pay the bill.  The old quote goes, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."
  • It started the last few years with stores opening late on Thanksgiving evening, to beat the stores that opened at midnight, which were trying to beat the stores that opened at 5am, which were trying to beat normal stores that opened at decent hour.  Now Walmart, Target, JCPenney's, and Macy's, among others, will all be open in the evening on Turkey Day.  Soon enough, Thanksgiving "family get-togethers" will consist of a quick brunch so the dads can watch football alone, the moms can go spend money the family doesn't have, and the teenagers can work their minimum wage retail jobs alone on a holiday.  I guess that's how most of us live most of the year anyway.  Seems we might be doing it wrong.
  • I think my fantasy football team is fairly solid and probably deeper than average.  Drafting and trading for good players isn't too difficult, as closely as I follow the game.  Thus I feel like I ought to be doing better than I am, sitting here at a very mediocre 3-3.  But some years are like that, luck runs against you or you realize too late that your strategies are not going to pan out.
  • KU is ranked #6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.  Oklahoma State is at #12 and Wichita State is at #16.  Baylor, K-State, and Iowa St. also received votes but didn't make the top-25.
  • In the next month or so, I'll no longer be under contract with DirecTV.  I've been a mostly happy customer with DirecTV for almost 14 years in four different homes but it'll save us a little money to bundle our TV and internet together with Google Fiber.  Doing my research in advance I'm finding a few small issues with Google Fiber TV like equipment issues, missing channels, etc.  Have any of you Google Fiber TV customers experienced any issues?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Ender's Game



In case you don't follow the reference, the title character in the book Ender's Game was a gifted child who saved the world named Andrew "Ender" Wiggin.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Random Thoughts 10/08/13

  • My folks got married 46 years ago, yesterday.
  • Potential new names for the Washington Redskins: the Washington Thin-Skins [I heard that one on the radio], The Washington Red-Tape, the Washington Redskin Potatoes [online], the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Nanticokes [from Gregg Easterbrook], and the Washington Braves [the original name back in 1930's Boston].
  • Never mind that a recent poll showed that 90% of American Indians aren't offended by the name.  In fact, there are three majority-Native American high schools (in Washington, Arizona, and Oklahoma) the proudly use the nickname.  It seems that white people have decided to be offended for them, probably, you know, because they know better what is best for "those people."
  • Kelly Oubre, a 6-7 shooting guard, committed today to play basketball at KU in 2014 after the high school star visited KU during the Late Night in the Phog event last Friday.  A five star recruit, Oubre picked Kansas over Kentucky and was recruited by several other schools including Baylor and Missouri.
  • I wrote most of while waiting for the phone call to go to the hospital and sit with friends.  Please pray for them, they are going through a really tough time.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Random Thoughts 10/4/13

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair was green-lighted Tuesday to become the fourth film in the Narnia series.  It's still in pre-production of course, so it's probably two to three years away.
  • I turned 37 today.
  • Best quote I heard yesterday on the radio, "KU will have a 'rebuilding week' the first week of the season."  There will be five new starters after all.  After that, it's on.
  • It's old news but it was new to me, Johnson University (formerly Johnson Bible College) absorbed Florida Christian College in Kissimmee, Florida in a merger that will result in a two-campus scenario for the Tennessee-based Bible college.  Now there is Johnson University Tennessee (in Knoxville) and Johnson University Florida.
  • In other religious news, Cavalry Chapel's Chuck Smith died yesterday.  He was 86.  Smith was influential especially in changing worship styles in American churches, founding Maranatha! Music in the early 1970's.  Many "contemporary" churches are mimicking Smith's California ministry to "hippies" without even realizing it.  For better or worse, he was very influential in evolving American church culture out of the early 20th century.
  • KU's Late Night in the Phog is tonight, though it no longer represents the first practice of the year.  I strongly considered going but made other plans instead; I'm not sure that waiting in line for several hours is the best way to spend a birthday.  But seeing that new KU squad would be worth it.  In addition to the new players, recruits in attendance tonight include three top-20 high school seniors and five ranked juniors.
  • The Chiefs are 4-0, might be 6-0 going into the Houston game, and conceivably could be 7-2 or better at the bye in week 10.  They do have to play Peyton Manning twice in 14 days later this year but still.  Who knew?!
  • And here is KU freshman Andrew Wiggins, already the preseason Big XII freshman of the year, dunking at a camp this summer over KU alum Cole Aldrich.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Air Superiority

Random Pre-Birthday Thoughts, 10/2/13

  • I got an email coupon from Longhorn steakhouse: one free dessert with an entree.  If I go to Longhorn, a restaurant which serves 18, 20, and even 30 oz. steaks, and upon concluding my meal I still have room for dessert…  then I'm doing it wrong.
  • We did take advantage of the annual email birthday coupon to bd's Mongolian BBQ on Monday.  We neeeeeeed one of those at the Legends.
  • Football nerds rejoice.  I found an analysis of NFL scoring trends over the last 80 years.  With neat-o charts!
  • What did President Obama get me for my birthday?  He shut down the government!  I really appreciate the thought that went into getting me something so perfect.
  • Actually, I know quite a few federal employees (and don't blame them for it).  Hopefully their lives aren't disrupted too much.  But most federal employees were not furloughed Tuesday.  And many tens of thousands should be.  Permanently.  The ones I know either work in what I consider more essential government positions (like the military) or are capable enough that they would do just fine in the private sector.
  • It is now time to read the Matt Walsh blog about government bloat.  You don't have to read it all, you have my permission to skim it. [Thanks, Dustin]
  • Gratuitous U.S. Congress joke in 3… 2… 1… I can think of 535 federal employees who should lose their jobs right now!  [It's an oldie but a goodie.]
  • KU football has not beat a Big XII opponent in over 1,000 days.  Ugh.
  • KU basketball, on the other hand, might arguably be the best program in the entire country.
  • ObamaCare is clearly designed to move us toward a single-payer, i.e socialized system of health care.  Which is too bad.  Most government programs have very few consequences for failing.  They just grow and grow and grow… and we already can't afford it.  The rest of our lives we'll be hearing about people who die waiting for treatment.
  • Between the IRS and ObamaCare, the government will have the right to know everything about how you spend your money and what you do with your body.  American government is now more intrusive than the founders could have ever imagined.

More Hobbit

A new Hobbit part 2 trailer.  Ah, yes, this is good.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Random Thoughts 9/24/13

  • My eldest turns 13 on Thursday.  That's just bizarre.  That just five years away from the point at which his mother and I were talking marriage.  Five years!!!
  • So the new iPhones are selling well.  This is probably the generation that I'll skip.  I've had my iPhone 5 for awhile now and I couldn't be happier with it.  Now I just have to sit back and wait for the iPhone 6.
  • I have what looks like a bee sting on my thumb.  I woke up this morning with it itching/hurting.  How did that happen?  Maybe it's some kind of spider bite?  I'll report later if my spidey-sense starts tingling.
  • If you wanted to see a list of the Emmy winners from Sunday night, here you go.  Just a note: if your show or its actors are either gay or really liberal, it sure seems to be an advantage in winning awards.  The liberal thing will probably always be a part of Hollywood and the art-scene in general but when is the heroic homosexual meme going to jump the shark?  Just wondering.
  • Quote of the Week:  Nancy Pelosi, in regard to the $3.7 trillion budget, said, "The cupboard is bare, there's no more cuts to make."  Really?  There are so many politicians that seem to be crooked liars.  I'll never go into any kind of politics for that very reason, i.e. it seems entirely corrupt.
  • There was a story in the news today about a kid that may be suspended from school for a year for playing with an airsoft gun, wait for it… in front of his own house.  The school argued that it has zero tolerance policy on "firearms" (which airsoft isn't) that extends to the home (where the school should have NO authority).  Really?!  Is that even legal?!  Schools don't need to help the government seem creepier and more invasive than it already is.
  • Just to clarify: my kids do NOT belong to the government.  I'll raise them myself and do my best to instill my values.  In the meantime, I'll try to avoid contact with the nanny state.  
  • Note to self: take kids to gun range with uncle Craig and Grandpa.  Every 10-year-old should know "breathe, relax, aim, squeeze…"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Random Thoughts 9/18/13

  • The Democrats excused themselves from the Benghazi hearings before the victim's families testified.  How do you make a bigger insult than that?!  I'm shocked.
  • Board meeting tonight at church.  That's not actually anywhere near as bad as it sounds.
  • The only problem is the Chiefs play at 7pm.  How did the board meeting get scheduled at the same time as something this important?
  • The Pope is on roll.  Last week he said you didn't have to believe in God to get to heaven.  Let that sink in for a minute… okay.  This week he says the church needs to stop "obsessing" over abortion and other social issues in order to make the church more "welcoming."  Here's the problem, the church is in the truth business not the make-you-feel-better business.  I really wanted to like this pope but he's firmly gone off the deep end of orthodoxy into universalism.  Do you know how many previous pontiffs would have excommunicated this guy for things he's saying?
  • Can you impeach a Pope?  Or take a mulligan?
  • Former KU one-and-done star Xavier Henry is circling the NBA career drain.  News is that he's getting a second chance on the Lakers' bench, but some commentators aren't optimistic.  Granted, he has made approx. $5.5 million in three years but if he doesn't play beyond this point how much money has he potentially lost?  How much better could he have been had he stayed in college?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Off They Go

I just sent off my two older boys, Brennan and Tanner, on their first overnight youth group trip (not counting church camp, of course).  The other junior-high kids were milling about in the parking lot, saying goodbye to parents, and all of the advice/admonitions directed their way seemed to be the same:

"Don't act normal!  Be good [instead]!"

The kids didn't even bat an eye.  Junior highers are awesome.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Film Review 2013, part 1

I'm a longtime movie-buff.  I grew up with a diverse appetite for movies and have read extensively about the history of film.  I've completed both versions of the AFI top-100 movie lists and I've seen almost every Oscar winner older than five years.  So I thought I would share some movie reviews.

My plan going into 2013 was to write a two or three line review of every movie I watched.  Please understand that I'm not endorsing all of these movies.  I'm not even giving a blanket endorsement to movie watching in general.  But I watch movies with a view toward history, culture, spiritual worldview, so perhaps I can steer you toward (or away) from certain films based on that point of view.

Part 1 of this list represents the films I watched from January through June, 2013.  My ranking system and special GOC warning follows the list.


5 stars
Man of Steel (2013) - How do you not like Superman in a Jayhawk shirt?  It is so refreshing to have a super-hero who is heroic, noble, and moral instead of broken, dysfunctional, and dark.  In fact, Superman's squeaky-clean image seems to have rubbed wrong some viewers, a bigger indictment of them than of the film, I think.
 
4.5 stars  
Argo (2012) - Even if you know the end result of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, this story is so authentically told that it becomes surprisingly compelling.  Nevertheless, it's still amusing that a film where filmmakers are real-life heroes was given so many awards by other filmmakers.  Also the foul language was like a recurring character in the film and surely wasn't necessary.  GOC
Oz, The Great and Powerful (2013) - I was so impressed with this movie in contrast to what the reviews had said.  My family thoroughly enjoyed it, it had a great message (virtue and goodness is better than self-promotion), and we all agreed that it was the best use of 3D we've yet seen.
Shadowlands (1993) - Based on the true story of C.S. Lewis' relationship with Joy Davidman.  This is the noblest of tearjerkers, warm and well written.  You may hate to watch a movie about love and grief but this one is worth it.
 
4 stars
Looper (2012) - A great sci-fi/crime story, though the time-travel aspect can be confusing, which the characters themselves actually admit to onscreen to avoid an actual explanation.  Nevertheless the story will keep you guessing.  GOC  
October Baby (2011) - Based on its theme and message, this ought to be a five-star movie.  But the film is so heavy handed with its emotional content that you'll feel whiplashed after nearly two hours of tear-jerking.  Nevertheless, this is an emotional roller coaster I endorse.  
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) - One of the all-time best Westerns; this film has dark and complicated sub-plots wrapped around four great characters (none of which are entirely "good guys"). It has great direction and great cinematography but not everyone will appreciate the Spaghetti-Western style, with the long silences, super close-ups, and dripping irony.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) - The latest claymation effort from the creator of Wallace and Gromit, Pirates is in that same eccentric vein of British comedy inhabited by Monty Python and everything Simon Pegg does.  
Rear Window (1954) -  I didn't recall that the movie is a bit risqué at times and perhaps that pulled me out of the story a bit.  I hate to say it but maybe the imitations and knock-offs have robbed this Hitchcock/Jimmy Stewart classic of some of its punch.  
This is What Winning Looks Like (2013) - This is a great documentary on the state of the Afghan police and military before the American-led coalition pulls out.  In a word: corrupt.  Other words would include inept, immoral, backward, incompetent, and failing.
 
3.5 stars
• Bullit (1968) - Here is that Steve McQueen film with THE classic car chase.  Honestly though, in the last 45 years, the filming and choreography of car chases has advanced so much that this one seems a bit pedestrian.  The movie itself is surprisingly slow as we follow McQueen's gut instincts and hunches that don't pay off (or even feel justified) until the final act.  These same themes, characters, and plots have been copied in a dozen police-centered television shows since, where they probably received better development.  
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) - There's nothing wrong with this movie except that we've seen it before (and recently).  This Spider-Man is more snarky and this story hits a few notes differently than its predecessor.   It's a well-executed comic book movie that presumes an appetite for more Spider-Man, which you may or may not have.
 
3 stars  
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - A huge disappointment.  Though it has its moments, weak acting and a weak plot almost ruined this film for me.  It doesn't live up to the reputation of the second film in the trilogy.  
Here Comes the Boom (2012) - Another cute movie from Kevin James, this time he's a teacher that fights MMA to earn money to save the school's music program.  Harmless, kind-hearted comedy here.
Men in Black 3 (2012) - MIB3 has lame humor, a bad time travel plot, and assumes you remember something of the first two movies, which may be asking too much.  That said, it's actually got a bit of heart and Josh Brolin impersonating a younger Tommy Lee Jones as "Agent K" is jaw-droopingly uncanny.  
Rio (2011) - Unremarkable but a perfectly cute movie.  This movie actually caused the cancellation of a very similar Pixar movie about the last male newt of his species paired to a wild female.  Rio came out first, Pixar dropped the project.
• Rock of Ages (2012) - I wouldn't normally like a musical like this much at all, but the star-studded film version of this jukebox musical is genuinely funny.  If you're a child of the 80's, the familiar tunes may carry you happily through the cruder moments, otherwise it may be too much of a turnoff and altogether forgettable.  GOC
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) - Almost epic, almost noteworthy.  This film was actually better than I expected it to be and had a great twist in what would have been an otherwise transparent plot.  The effects were magnificent, the acting was not so much (even Ian McShane lacked his usual fire).  It was also intriguing that the movie had a few distinctly Christian elements bubbling under the surface.
The Three Stooges (2012) - I was surprised to find this movie had an almost-innocent (though very juvenile) quality compared to how raunchy most comedies seem to be these days.  But be warned, like the source material, this film is over-the-top stupid––if that's what you're shopping for, you'll find it here in spades.
Wreck it Ralph (2012) - A cute movie with tons of heart and several clever references to the video game culture of the 80's and 90's, when arcades were still a thing.  Much like Toy Story, it's kind of depressing to consider the idea of your toys dying.  So thanks for that.
 
2.5 stars 
Chronicle (2012) - The "found footage" conceit gets in the way of a story that needed a better treatment than this.  It's not well acted (mostly) and not well put together. Chronicle has a great concept but it is so mediocre that it's almost bad.  
Four Lions (2010)  - I watched this story of an inept British terror-cell in slack-jawed disbelief; is it mocking Muslims and terrorists or half-heartedly praising them?  Is this a comedy or a tragedy?  I haven't been this uncomfortable with (and uncertain of) the message of a movie in a long time. • Wrath of the Titans (2012) - Bleh. Nothing about this sequel to 2010's uninspired Clash of the Titans is particularly good.  It's got a simple plot but very pedestrian acting and writing.  Like its predecessor, the story doesn't adhere strictly to actual Greek mythology, rather it's a cold serving of Greek mythology potpourri. 
 
2 stars
Battleship (2012) - This movie has a bad case of the stupids, something that is normally unforgivable in sci-fi.  But if you figure this movie already knows how silly its premise is, the rest isn't so bad.  It's kinda funny, kinda exciting, kinda entertaining.  Mostly.  Cut out the language and it's perfect for 12-year olds.
Total Recall (2012) - How do you make a classic Sci-fi story from the great and prolific Philip K. Dick into a tedious, emotionless, snore-fest?  Total Recall found a way.  I actually had to rewind multiple times because I kept falling asleep.  If not for the action sequences and the core concept, this would be unwatchable.
 
1 star  
The Raid: Redemption (2011) - I was deeply disappointed in this overly-bloody action film.  The fight choreography doesn't redeem this grisly, foul-mouthed film from it's worst, most glaring flaw: far and away the worst English voice-dubbing since Godzilla.  Horrible.  Horrible with awkward giggles and nervous sideways glances.  GOC



5 stars - A great movie everyone should see.  
4 stars - A great movie with some qualifications.  
3 stars - An okay movie that will appeal to some audiences.
2 stars - Not very good to most audiences but with some redeeming qualities.
1 star - Not a movie worth seeing.

GOC - Warning: Gratuitous Objectionable Content -- Please fast forward or, better yet, watch an edited version of the film.  Used especially in reference to nudity or abusive use of vulgar content.  

I have deliberately watched edited versions of some films and may not be aware of the content of the theatrical release or director's cut.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Interview with Jase Robertson

Here's a great interview with Duck Dynasty's Jase Robertson from a little while back…


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Random Thoughts 9/5/13

  • NFL football begins tonight!  I have no players from my fantasy team playing tonight and no one from the other guy's fantasy team is playing against me either.  And I'm not a huge fan of either team.  But still… NFL football!
  • I love to read my boys' essays they write each day.  It's a glimpse into their interests and creativity and it makes for amazing keepsakes.
  • Bearded Gospel Men.  What else needs to be said?
  • I thought that if you hung up on a call that it was disconnected.  Apparently not.  I got a call at the church today that was some kind of robo-conference call.  It went on and on and on.  I hung up, checked it again a few minutes later, and it was still going.  The infomercial eventually ended but our church land line was tied up for awhile.
  • KU's incoming freshman Andrew Wiggins has been selected as a pre-season All-American.  The only freshman on the list humbly dismissed it, since he's never played a college game.  Personally, I can't wait to see Wiggins and company play.
  • Here's a list of prospects that KU is recruiting, what schools they are considering and when/if they will be visiting Lawrence.
  • How much will the Chiefs improve over their brutal 2-14 record from last season?  I put the over/under at 8-and-a-half wins.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Auto-Tunes?

I may have just figured out why my brother always arrives late everywhere he goes…


Friday, August 30, 2013

Random Thoughts 8/30/13

  • In less than one month, I'll be the parent of a teenager.  Huh.  That escalated quickly.
  • Have you seen this fourth-grade worksheet that says "the government is like your family?"  Actually used in classrooms in Illinois, it teaches kids that "government sets rules and takes care of you," just like your family.  The worksheet even has a cartoon of Uncle Sam holding a star-spangled child.  
  • And that's not creepy at all, especially in light of this story of yet another persecuted German homeschool family.  Armed government officials in Germany raided their home and took away their four children for no other crime than homeschooling their children.  The government cannot tolerate a family that does not turn its children over to the state to mold.
  • Why do we even have preseason NFL games?  I'm not saying that the teams don't need practice.  In fact, I'm sure even the stadium personnel and referees need some "live fire" practice.  But why are they full-on games charging full-priced tickets?  It most certainly is NOT a full NFL experience.  I watched a game last night where many of the "real players," i.e. the guys who will actually play during the regular season, didn't play at all.   And why would anybody in their right mind pay to watch the backup punting unit over and over again?
  • What if the NFL developed a televised, in-stadium preseason scrimmage?  Teams can travel, tickets can be sold (perhaps at discount), but the actual game will be modified.  Give each team 10 plays to score as many times as possible, then switch sides.  Each team can start at the 50 yard line unless that's deemed too hard or too easy – the goal being to produce a few scoring drives each series for the fans to enjoy.  No punting will be allowed.  Field goals may not be tried until the tenth and final play of a team's possession.  If you're out of range, try a Hail Mary; the fans will love it.  No game clock is necessary, just the 35 second play clock, with a time out after scoring plays.  Scratch kickoffs too.  Let the first team take a series of 10 plays, then the backups can have a series of 10 plays.  Give four or five sets of ten to each team and you have something approximating the length of an actual game.  This would be more audience-friendly, more action packed, and frankly might give the coaches a better glimpse of those backups doing something other than lining up in yet-another punt formation.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Random Thoughts 8/29/13

  • So the pan-Arab socialists are fighting the radical Islamists in Syria… and we absolutely MUST pick a side and get involved?  And apparently we favor the side affiliated with Al-Qaeda?!  Seriously?  I just can't get over the hypocrisy of the Americans who were against the Iraq war but are now wanting us to bomb Bashar al-Assad, who in every way is only a fraction as evil as Saddam Hussein was.  Did Assad illegally gas hundreds of his own citizens?  Hussein gassed thousands.  In fact, you'd be hard pressed to name any offense or violation of international law in which Hussein was not orders of magnitude worse than Assad.  There's even a chance that the WMD being used in Syria now might have come from Iraq.  So how could you protest war in Iraq and cheer bombing of Syria?
  • Worse than that, this particular crisis in Syria feels like it prompted because our own President's vague rhetoric.  Why are we against Syria's regime and for the rebels?  Aren't both sides corrupt and murderous?  Where is the national interest?  Why doesn't our president articulate the goal here?  To me the argument feels non-serious, a bit like amateur hour.  I'm worried Russia, China, and Iran look at it the same way.
  • News flash: a job at McDonald's is not supposed to support a family.  They are meant to be low-skill, entry level jobs or second jobs.  If you want $15/hour you need to better yourself and work somewhere else or advance in the company.  Entry-level McDonald's employment should be temporary.  No child's father should work at the bottom rung of a fast food joint as a career.  Raising the minimum wage is the same as paying him to stay there.  If you pay a living wage for entry level work, droves of people will hover at the bottom for a lifetime, unchallenged to better themselves.  How is that good for anybody?
  • If we bomb Syria, do we owe starving and imprisoned North Koreans an apology?
  • We have our fantasy football league up and running.  My intentions were to draft running back early and often.  So naturally, most of my team consists mainly of wide receivers.  So much for having a plan.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Random Thoughts 8/23/13

  • I did not realize that people hated Ben Affleck.  Or at least they hated him once he was announced as the next Batman.  Now they hate him.  I guess I missed the memo.
  • Prolific crime and mystery author Elmore Leonard died this week.  TV watchers know him as the creator of the character Raylan Givens of "Justified."
  • Our fantasy football draft is Monday.  Whoa, I am NOT ready.
  • "Downton Abbey" airs in the U.K. next month but we don't get it in the U.S.A. until January 5th.  How on earth are we supposed to avoid spoilers on this side of the pond?
  • It makes perfect sense but I did not know that you can light a crayon just like a candle.  And it'll burn brightly for several minutes.  Huh.  Of course.
  • Our Wednesday Family Night services have begun again at church.  We serve a meal at 6pm and we have classes and other activities at 7pm.  I don't understand why people skip this part.  The opportunity to serve and learn and fellowship is crucial to their growth.  Yet I know several good folk that just never seem to make it.
  • My kids just finished their first week of homeschool for the year.  We've switched over to a different curriculum and the older boys have already read a handful of books in just a few days.  The reading list they'll conquer over the next few years almost looks impossible but they'll be better-read than 99% of their peers.
  • My favorite part of homeschool so far is that they have to write a paper every day, even in grade school.  Handwriting, composition, grammar, spelling, creative writing, and (when we make them read it out loud) speech gets more attention than I thought you could possibly give those subjects.  And the wit we get to see everyday in those one page essays is irreplaceable. 
  • The new church cleaning crew just left the building a few minutes ago after giving me a tour.  They did the best job I've ever seen (by a paid crew).  Not merely adequate but really thorough.  I sure hope they keep this up!  We've had disappointing results in the past.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Prettier Than Frank Caliendo

I've always had a soft spot for impressionists but I'm especially awed by Christina Bianco's ability to impersonate female singers.  Adele, Cher, Judy Garland, Bette Midler, Julie Andrews,  Christine Aguilera, and Celine Dion are so spot on that, like all really great impressionists, you actually start to see that famous singer emerge from Bianco's face and mannerisms.  It helps to know famous Broadway singers like Patti Lupone (who I had to look up) and Kristin Chenoweth but even if you just recognize a few, the act is still impressive.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Thoughts 8/13/13

  • Wow.  You have to read this apology letter to President Obama by Matt Walsh.  To me it seemed the rodeo clown was in poor taste, but not more so than the years of vicious and vulgar abuse heaped on President Bush. [Thanks, Dustin]
  • I know I should be preparing for football season but I can't help myself, I'm counting the days until college basketball begins.  Rock chalk!
  • I spent over an hour waiting in a government office today.  I accomplished nothing.  I'll have to go back tomorrow.  How every person doesn't walk out of there a limited-government, deregulation libertarian, I'll never know.  I'm normally a law-and-order Republican but being nearly smothered to death by the fat behind of government bureaucracy could make me wish for anarchy.
  • 51º tonight… in mid-August.  Stupid global warming.
  • New "Duck Dynasty" tomorrow night.  We hadn't watched the show at all until a month ago, then we binge-watched the first three seasons.  It's funny and clean; it's a little dumb at times but it is funny.
  • Kris Jenner, of all people, made a great point about the American Dream.  That said, are the Kardashians really a good example of people "working hard?"  As I understand it, Mrs. Jenner married into money and fame, twice.  Her daughter got famous under rather unscrupulous circumstances and, for the most part, none of them have worked in the sense of producing anything or providing any kind of service.  They're just famous for being famous… and apparently that keeps them very busy.  [To be fair, now that they're capitalizing on their fame, they do employ a lot of people.  It's not quite the same thing, but still.]  So, the final score is tied:  President Obama 1 (pop culture icons are usually not good role models = true), Kris Jenner 1 (the "land of opportunity" is absolutely about high aspirations and crazy dreams being achieved through hard work = true).

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Random Thoughts 8/7/13

  • After a month of resting my knee, I'm going back to play basketball late tonight.
  • My wife got a phone call today asking if we would be interested in having our children do a medical study (flu-shot study for children as young as 3 years) for $500 each.  Hmmm…  My gut reaction (and Shannon's) is that loads of bad parents are going to risk side-effects and inflict pain on their children for cash.  Yikes!  First of all, I wouldn't consider even asking my younger two (ages 4 and 7) because I can't picture explaining it to them in a way they could understand.  It would feel so unethical.  Second, though my older boys (9, 11, and almost 13) can understand the benefits, both personally and generally, i.e. even if you get a placebo your involvement helps other people, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I took a single penny of their fee for myself.  I'd like to think that lots of other parents feel the same way.  Somehow I doubt it…
  • KU will play on ESPN on Monday nights four times this year, twice at home.  Games are Jan 13, Jan 20, Feb 10, and Feb 24.  Oklahoma State gets four dates as well; Texas, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia were not included at all.
  • For the second time this summer, KU coach Bill Self has been asked about eventually going to the NBA.  And, for the second time, he hasn't denied interest but apparently hasn't been offered a situation worthwhile enough.  I think KU fans should feel nervous if Self wins another championship and/or his son graduates in three years.
  • I watched King Kong (1933) last night.  It's not a bad movie but, yikes, the special effects are almost comically bad now, 80 years later.  Additionally, the acting was painful to watch at times but that's a harder thing to judge after this much time has passed.  After 80 years there's a bit of a cultural gap that creates distance between the actor and the viewer.  Things like tone, movement, inflection, etc. can be as specific to a time and place as fashion is.  I think if you created a script and sent it back in time to various decades to be filmed the same way with the same costumes and props and technology, that you could still identify the decade in which it was filmed by the average actor's acting style. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Random Thoughts 7/31/13

  • The extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with 13 minutes of extra and extended scenes and gobs of documentaries, will be available on disc November 5th.  Please don't call me that that day; the new running time is 182 minutes of pure awesome.
  • Fantasy football is less than a month away.  Wow, the summer went by fast.
  • So apparently here in KCK soccer is a big deal.
  • Thanks to the public library, we binge-watched the first three seasons of "Downton Abbey."  In a word… wow!  I didn't think I would be that interested in what I assumed was a silly British soap-opera and I kind of avoided it for awhile.  But we finally sat down to watch it and I discovered it was a thoughtful, compelling, riveting show.  Downton has perhaps the best acting and writing on television.  I was also impressed that it was so popular and yet didn't have the vulgar, filthy content that American-made period pieces have, which are usually dripping in four-letter words and partial or full nudity.  I understand that a censored version of "Deadwood" or "Boardwalk Empire" is three minutes long and silent.  If you have any interest in the highest level of drama or WW1-era England, "Downton Abbey" is appointment viewing.
  • Update on my truck: I love driving that Nissan Frontier.  It helps that we got it for a song and it's mostly paid off but it's been 20 years since I had a vehicle that I really enjoyed driving.
  • This has been a year for reading fiction for me.  In 2012, I didn't read a single novel but this year I've read Ben Hur (1880), His Last Bow (1917), Ender's Game (1985), and Heart of Darkness (1899).  I wish I had time to read more fiction (or read it more quickly), but I'm just too busy.
  • Up next?  Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov (1880) and The Idiot (1869), Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920), and others.  Suggestions?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Random Thoughts 7/20/13

  • Can you answer the questions on an American citizenship test?  Most of this stuff is basic high school civics stuff but check out these sample questions here.  I hate to think of how many Americans really have little or no working knowledge of this stuff.  You ought to have to take this test and get at least a passing grade before you can vote.
  • Check out this video of a DIY self-closing screen door.  With cute doggies, too!
  • This is the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Sort through a few conspiracies here.
  • July 20th is also the day in history (1944) when Adolf Hitler was nearly assassinated with Claus von Stauffenberg's bomb.  Sorry, I mean it's the anniversary of Tom Cruise almost killing Hitler.
  • My wife is going to a New Kids* [*average age 43] on the Block concert.  In 2013.  Seriously.  I'll bet everyone really swoons when Joey (I think every boy band in the 90's had a "Joey" or a "Nick") takes a breather mid-dance routine because his 40-year-old knees are killing him.
  • Joss Whedon, aka the-best-television-writer-ever, is coming back to the small screen and he's bringing the Avengers with him.  His new show, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", will air this fall and they showed the first episode yesterday at the San Diego ComicCon.  That loud THUD you heard yesterday was 10,000 nerds fainting simultaneously from sheer euphoria.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Random Thoughts 7/18/13

  • Pro tip for husbands: when your wife is trying to do something creative, you have no right to an "opinion," your sole purpose is to express unconditional love and support. 
  • Do you want to see extensive footage of Wilt Chamberlain playing for Kansas in the 1957 NCAA tourney?  The impressive highlights and a short article are here.
  • Andrew Wiggins is the new top-rated basketball player coming to Kansas University.  Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is the main character of Orson Scott Card's classic sci-fi novel Ender's Game, which is also being made into a movie to be released this November, at the beginning of the basketball season.  Ender's Game is about a genius young boy who is trained to be Earth's strategic leader in a war against aliens.  Ender's genius is that he is virtually unbeatable in war games and simulations.  If KU's "Ender" proves to be anything close to "unbeatable," surely Kansas fans will make the connection.
  • By the way, I finally read Ender's Game this summer.  What an impressive book.  I'm not, however, optimistic the book can be translated into a movie; the author once stated it would be impossible to put on film.  Go read the book.  
  • I hate to sound like a old farmer, but we need rain.
  • Detroit went bankrupt today.  I fear this is going to get worse before it gets better.
  • I sat out playing basketball this week because of my knee.  I hate missing it; but I promised my wife I'd take the week off.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Random Thoughts 7/13/13

  • Why do parents allow toddlers to play with their smart phones?  My iPhone contains contacts, calendars, messages and apps that I don't want deleted or even tampered with.  My iPhone is linked to my bank account and can potentially be used to buy all sorts of stuff in all sorts of places.  My iPhone is the means by which important people intend to contact me for serious things.  If my kid were deleting my apps, monkeying with my info, buying a car on ebay, and hanging up on my boss/clients/customers, I'd put an end to it before real damage is done.  After all, the world assumes that I'm the one using my phone.
  • I'm still trying to get the last few spots filled in our fantasy football league.  Specifically, I need a few people who had teams last year to confirm that they're playing again.  If you haven't played before, there might be an opening…
  • "Sharknado"?  Seriously, sci-fi channel?  This TV movie is surely a sign of the apocalypse.
  • It seems likely that George Zimmerman was jumped, wrestled to the ground, beaten in the face, and was having his head slammed against the concrete.  If Zimmerman can't plead self-defense, can anybody?
  • The liberal-leftist protests of the new abortion-law in Texas this week prove that Pro-Choice in NOT pro-woman.  It this were about women's health they would welcome reform to make abortions safer for women.  But the threat that these restrictions and reforms would lead to less abortions… that's too much.  Pro-Choice means one thing: getting rid of undesirable children.  Whether you don't desire the responsibility or you cringe at the thought of "those people" multiplying, the abortion industry has a the single purpose of eliminating those undesirables.  Period.
  • Some day there will be history books will cover Hitler's Holocaust and the abortion industry in the same chapter.
  • My wife bakes cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc. and has been selling them very successfully.  Everyone thinks that means we're up to eyeballs in extra cake to eat.  Not true.  We smell all of these delicious treats being baked and see them decorated but, most of the time, Shannon makes exactly the amount needed and no more.  I've made several deliveries and wondered if the customer would notice they only received 23 cookies or 11 cupcakes.  Alas…
  • Read Mark Steyn's thoughts on the Zimmerman trial and the state of our justice system here.  He's witty and sharp as a tack; he's one of my favorites.

Friday, July 05, 2013

  • Want to see two great short films?  The first is a short documentary called Spitfire 944 about footage of an American-piloted Spitfire aircraft's emergency landing in World War 2.  The second film is a dramatized true-story set in a World War 1 shell crater and it's an absolute must-see.  It's called Rosso Fango (Red Mud) and, if you don't know the story, it will blow your mind.
  • Former KU center Jeff Withey is now a pelican.  Answers to your questions follow: 1) No, Jeff has not transformed into an actual pelican; any resemblance is purely coincidental.  2) Yes, there is an actual NBA team that calls itself the Pelicans.  On purpose.  In New Orleans.  3) Yes, this post-draft trade is probably good for him with some analysts saying Withey will step right in to a reserve position getting 12-15 minutes per game.  4) No, former KU one-and-done guard Xavier Henry is NOT still playing in New Orleans; he was let go.  Like many early entrants into the NBA, Henry has averaged a few points per game for a few seasons and is quickly fading into obscurity.  5) Yes, Withey whose NBA career is just beginning is actually one year older than Xavier Henry whose NBA career is already on life support.  6) No, I'm not a fan of allowing 19-year-old kids to go to the NBA, even if they are as talented as Xavier Henry or even Ben McLemore.
  • My key fob for my truck is completely dead.  I wonder if a button was being pressed all day yesterday while the keys were in my pocket.
  • There's another Hobbit video blog available here.  Be warned, the cast and crew seem a little slap-happy, get a little goofy, and let slip a few crude comments here and there.  But it's still fascinating to see the behind-the-scenes logistics it takes to make a major film.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Random Thoughts 7/1/13

  • Where do you go to watch fireworks around here?
  • Chris sent me this video of a Baptist preacher absolutely losing it, calling out individuals in his congregation, mid-sermon.  He ridicules people in his congregation, mocks them, betrays confidences, and is generally abusive.  It's awful.  As I was watching it, peeking through my fingers, I thought, "this is so bad, maybe he's having some kind of mental breakdown or dementia or apoplexy or something."  It better be a stroke or because that kind of awkward tirade should get a preacher fired.
  • My second thought while watching that preacher's meltdown: why isn't he just preaching his sermon? Does he normally roam the congregation picking on people instead of preaching from the Bible?
  • What worries me is that this guy kept puffing himself up and expressing ownership/control over the congregation.  How weird was that?  Is that how it works there?  The preacher is the savior for his little kingdom and it finally went to his head?  Weird.
  • What in the wrong is wrong with former KU star Thomas Robinson?  I don't really follow the NBA very closely but Robinson got drafted high last year but didn't seem to work out for his team.  So they traded him.  But he didn't seem to work out with the second team either, so he recently got traded again.  That's three teams in just barely over one season.  Twice now a team paid to get him, had him for a few months and then let him go.  That's not a good sign but perhaps there are mitigating circumstances I just don't know about.
  • I'm not sure how I feel about the new football helmets Kansas unveiled today.  I like the return of the Jayhawk to the helmet and I generally like an alternate or throwback jersey once in a while.  But I really don't think these look combinations look good (as much as it's been revealed so far).  I suppose I'd rather see a fashion train wreck on the field than the type of train wrecks we've witnessed in past years.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

NBA Jayhawks Update

Here's how the NBA reshuffled the Jayhawks who play (and will play) in the pros:

Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey were each drafted slightly lower than predicted.  McLemore went to Sacramento with the 7th pick and Withey went to Portland with the 39th pick.  Sacramento is generally considered a poor team and thus a good place for a dynamic rookie to get immediate playing time.

No other Jayhawks were drafted, but Travis Releford will play two stints in the NBA summer league for two different teams and then go to play in Europe.  If an NBA team makes him an offer he can leave his team in Belgium.  Elijah Johnson will also play a stint in the summer league for the Clippers.

Paul Pierce, who has been a Boston Celtic since 1998, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where Tyshawn Taylor is a reserve player.

Darrell Arthur, was traded from Memphis, where he spent his first five years in the league, to Denver.