Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sweet 16 (2013), Round 3

Well, that stinks.

But our contest continues and it's end result is only beginning to take shape.

Chris is still in the lead but Matt has surged into second place.  In fact, Matt is excellent shape with seven teams still active, including five of his top eight.

At this point we should have eight teams still alive.  No one had Wichita State getting this far, so no one has more than seven teams still active (Matt & Zach), though everyone has at least four teams still in it.  Nobody has their top four teams intact.

At this stage, we're calculating the difference in points between one team and

Friday, March 29, 2013

Random Thoughts 3/29/13

  • Our second "Shoe Leather Outreach Day" is tomorrow.  Meet at the church at 9am and we'll go to some surrounding neighborhoods to distribute flyers for our revival/conference in April.
  • In my opinion, Pope Francis seems to act more like Jesus than I expected from a pope.  He shuns a lot of the pomp and special privileges; and he's in trouble right now for washing the feet of women and prisoners and not acting regal enough.  Some Catholics fear he'll abandon all the traditions but I feel like he's just exceedingly humble.  I like a Pope that makes people think of Jesus instead of all the gold and wealth of the Catholic Church.
  • This game against Michigan may be KU's hardest game of the tournament, even if they make it to the championship game.
  • Here's a great little article and video about the introduction of iPads in airline cockpits to replace heavy bags full of books, checklists, and manuals.
  • I think that North Korea really believes its own lies.  After 60 years of lies and oppression they just don't know reality anymore… which makes them kind of dangerous to their neighbors.  I'm not losing any sleep, however, over a Nork ICBM aimed at Washington.  I doubt they could hit Tokyo, though I do hope they don't try.
  • How does this POW situation not make more news?  Did we get bored?

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Gospel According to the HIstory Channel, Review of Part 4

Today my family and I watched the fourth episode of the History Channel's miniseries "The Bible."  Now that the show is focused on Jesus, I'm vacillating between being moved and being put off.  It's so difficult to portray Jesus dramatically to the satisfaction of the faithful.  At the same time, there's no story more dear to our hearts.

So here are my Top-10 thoughts and nitpicks for episode 4:

  1. Best healing of a leper on film that I've seen.
  2. I thought they did a good job showing the threat Jesus represented to the authority of both the Romans and the Pharisees.
  3. The Disciple John = Admiral Ackbar
  4. Are there twelve disciples or just six or seven?  And apparently Mary Magdalene was a full-fledged member who had several crucial lines.
  5. Movies can't resist the story of the woman caught in adultery from John 8; it's so dramatic.  Though this event may have happened, it almost certainly wasn't part of the Gospel of John.  In fact, I don't teach that passage in church (though I gladly explain the reason why).
  6. Poor Thomas.  In this show he gets every doubting line in the script.  Thomas doesn't have many lines recorded in scripture but the few he has are not always filled with doubt (John 11:16).
  7. Poor Nicodemus, one of the only "good" Pharisees, gets several bad lines that are not actually his.  And when the High Priest challenges him on whether Jesus had fulfilled any scriptures, an expert like Nicodemus should have been able to answer.
  8. I wish they had developed the pharisees and the priests a little more.  I'm guessing that many viewers didn't grasp the difference between Nicodemus and Caiaphas, and the groups they represented.
  9. I just don't care for how the actor portrays Jesus, as if he's having a never-ending epiphany, surprised, confused-looking, and a little melodramatic.  I've liked much better examples where Jesus (and C.S. Lewis' Aslan) is knowing, patient and strong.  I think the all-knowing God in the flesh should be lovingly condescending not confused.
  10. Context is important.  Because the narrative here is so condensed, Jesus keeps giving partial quotes to the wrong people at the wrong places.  It's not getting it completely wrong but it's not really right either.

Sweet 16 (2013), Round 2

So here are the results of the second round of our Sweet 16 contest.

It's still pretty close, with everyone within 35 points of each other and everyone taking some serious blows to their lineup.  Chris is leading with 225 points and has eight of his top nine teams remaining.

Zach and Richard lead the group, having only lost five teams.  That sounds pretty rough, only correctly picking 11 out of 16 of the teams at this point in the tournament, but it's as good or better than we've done in recent years.  Mike has lost nine of his sixteen teams.

We had our first player lose their 16-point team (thanks a lot, Gonzaga!).  Kristi and Jared have lost their bottom five teams; Mike has lost his bottom six teams.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sweet 16 (2013) Round 1

Here are the results of Round 1 (sorry for the delay) and, yes, I know that the NCAA is calling this Round 2 but like a lot of people I'm completely ignoring those play-in games.

After the first two day of play, it's pretty close with everyone within 15 points of each other (105-120 points out of 136).  New Mexico, Georgetown, and Wisconsin are the goats so far, not winning a single game when many of us had them in the Elite 8 or better.  Local favorites K-State and Oklahoma State were also disappointments.

Trivia:  Did you know the University of Missouri has a team and made the tourney?  And their fans got on KC sports radio en masse Friday and claimed they were glad they had lost early… again.  Strange place, Missouri.

Speaking of losses, Richard lost his 14-point team and four teams lost their 13-point teams.  Matt, Dustin, and Kristi each lost five teams in the first round.  Everyone else lost at least three teams.

Here are the results:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sweet 16 (2013) Prelim

We have nine participants in this year's contest, the most we've ever had.

It took me awhile to put the spreadsheet together, but here you go.  The top team will get 16 points with each win, the second team will get 15 points, and so on…

I'll update after each round (sometimes the next morning).

Good luck!

[click to embiggen]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sweet 16 Contest (2013)

The NCAA tourney starts Thursday (play-in games won't count for this contest) and we're all looking at our brackets trying to determine who'll lose to Kansas.  [Isn't that what we all do this time of year?]

But in addition to filling out a bracket, try my "Sweet 16" contest we've been playing the last few years. Instead of predicting almost 70 games, we pick the best sixteen teams in the tournament and rank them best to worst. The best team will get 16 points for each win, the second team will get 15 points and so on until you get to the 16th team which gets one point per win. If you put them in the correct order, your maximum score would be 477 points.

Last year was a high scoring year for all of us, but Kyle ran away with it with a stellar 385 points.

If you want to play along, just post your list of of sixteen, in order, in the comments section (or email me) and I'll keep a running tally as we go along. The cutoff is Thursday morning.

Oh, and what does the winner get? As always, the satisfaction of a job well done.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Gospel According to the History Channel, Review of Part 3

The History Channel's mini-series "The Bible" is shaping up much better than I expected it would and getting excellent, record-breaking ratings.  It's not perfect but, with lowered expectations, it's watchable and you might even learn a thing or two.  Episode 3 completed the telling of the Old Testament and brought us to Jesus, which enters dangerous territory.  It is incredible hard to portray the Son of God in drama without offending someone.  I can't imagine being a writer and inventing dialogue for him or being the actor and second-guessing every tone and subtle gesture.

But I liked episode 3, much better in fact than I liked episode 2, although every episode has had a ton of little nit-picky mistakes.  Some of these mistakes and distractions are just a part of film-making, others are matter of prop-masters not being up to speed on their archaeology or not having the budget to show that they are.

So here's my Top-10 nitpicks and random thoughts on episode 3:

  1. Even though everyone else was upset that Satan looked like President Obama, which even my kids recognized, Tanner thought the prophet Jeremiah looked like the Three Stooges' Larry Fine.  I thought he looked like Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
  2. I didn't like how they portrayed the fiery furnace.  It wasn't so much a furnace as it was a room they sort of set fire to.   It should have already been so hot that the guards died throwing them into it.  I also thought that Nebuchadnezzar's later insanity wasn't very clear to anyone who didn't know the story.
  3. Ancient people used A LOT of eye shadow.  Especially bad guys.
  4. "Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!"  Did you see the two scenes showing them writing on and using cylinder seals?  Awesome.  I think that's the first time I've ever seen it in a movie.
  5. I liked the portrayal of Daniel and the lion's den.  A lot.  It just clicked with me.
  6. I thought the representations of Roman oppression, Herod the Great, and the history of crucifixions was spot on.  I've always pictured Jesus, living under Roman oppression, seeing crucifixions on the roadside.
  7. Like almost every nativity scene, church play, and movie, they get the wise men a bit wrong.  We don't know how many wise men there are or their names.  And we can be pretty sure that the wise men didn't get to Jesus at the manger, but rather a year or two later.  Also, they learned of Bethlehem from Herod's people and Herod killed all the children under two years old, not just the infants.  Oh, well.
  8. The location (Morocco) looks very Middle-East-ish, but it's not Judea (or Babylon, or Egypt).  So sometimes there are mountains and deserts in the wrong places and the poor little Sea of Galilee looked like a pond instead of a body of water eight miles across.
  9. I liked that they showed baptism as full immersion although they left out a few important lines from the story of Jesus' baptism.
  10. To condense the story they skipped Solomon's reign, the Divided Kingdom, Isaiah, Elijah, Ahab & Jezebel, Ezekiel, Jonah and almost all of the prophets, the writing on the wall, Nehemiah, Esther, Elizabeth, and young Jesus at the temple, et al.