Friday, April 26, 2013

Random Thoughts 4/26/13

  • The poor Chiefs; they finally get the number one pick and there is no clear franchise QB and no other teams interested in trading up.  Oh, well.  I think offensive tackle is always a good pick and I'm very pleased with OT Eric Fisher.  Would I have preferred Andrew Luck or a young Peyton Manning?  Sure, but that wasn't in the cards.
  • Our church's revival starts today!  Our first session in tonight at 7pm (with cookies afterwards!).  Come learn about our lives in Christ!
  • The Chiefs traded their second round pick for QB Alex Smith but they have the first pick of the third round.
  • I sprained my wrist playing basketball Wednesday night.  Basically I slapped someone's knee as they ran by in the opposite direction, bending my right hand back to the elbow (yeah, I know, then I threw my purse at them).  I woke up Thursday morning and could barely turn a doorknob or lift a book with that hand.  I'm getting old.
  • KU will add a 6-10 center who shoots 80% from the free throw line to its roster next year.  Hunter Mickelson will transfer from Arkansas to join the Jayhawks, sit out a season, and then have two years of eligibility left.
  • Just in case you're not sure, Islam caused the Boston Marathon bombing.  Period.  Not all Muslims are fundamentalists but the fundamentals of Islam are undeniably violent and militant.  Christians become more pacifist (or nearly so) as they become more fundamentalist because the fundamentals of Christianity are love and forgiveness.  If a Christian murders an abortion doctor, he has gone against the basic tenets of his religion and has truly "hijacked a peaceful religion."  When a Muslim kills an infidel for Allah, he is following the literal reading of his scriptures; he has NOT "hijacked a peaceful religion." 
  • Cowards who are ignorant of history and naive about the world say that Islam is a peaceful religion.  They'll mock Christians because its safe; if they draw a cartoon of Muhammad they could be murdered.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Non-Critical Thinking

The horrible Boston Marathon bombing is NOT a huge conspiracy.  C'mon people! 

Here's some random clear-minded non-conspiracy thoughts:
  • Read this great short article from Alex Seitz-Wald on  Alex Jones and Infowars is crippling your ability to think straight.  And this can include some who just tend to be cynical and alarmist, like Glenn Beck (who I like otherwise).
  • A few points I want to underline from the article include: Is the media part of the conspiracy or duped by the conspiracy?  Let's make up our mind here.  Or put another way, do the evil overlords control the media or do they have to fool the media?  Conspiracy theories often have it both ways at the same time.
  • To what end?!  What is being accomplished here?  Did the same evil-overlords kill the gun-ban legislation in the Senate this week?  Because that's really bad timing!
  • Wouldn't the current administration blame a Timothy McVeigh kind of character?  How do immigrants from Chechnya help?  Doesn't that help the anti-immigration, anti-Islam folks?
  • So the Navy Seals are in on it, huh?  Do you actually know any active-duty military people?  While most of them are extraordinarily patriotic and principled (and would NEVER do anything like this), some are flaming-libs, a few are right-wing conspiracy nuts, and a lot are really young men and women who probably can't be trusted to keep a big secret for the next 50 years.  The uniforms are the same but the people in them can vary quite a bit.  So how exactly do you secretly attack your own country with those guys, and keep it secret?  It CAN'T happen on this scale.
  • There is a kernel of truth in most conspiracy theories.  Are governments corrupt?  Sure.  Are all civil rights valued equally by everyone?  Of course not.  Are there elitist snobs who think they should run your life?  Yes (they're called politicians).  This doesn't mean the JOOOOOZ are able to begin wars and control nations on a whim.
  • I'm convinced real conspiracies are limited in size and duration.  A few people can keep a secret for a little while.  But it will be leaked (or bragged about) eventually.  Most coups in history never got off the ground because the conspirators trusted too many people or took too long to get the ball rolling.
  • So much of this is racist (but those Jews really threw us off the scent when they killed six million of their own people back in WW2 (and shut-up about the holocaust being fake; my grandfather saw the bodies with his own eyes)).
  • We, as human beings, have a tendency to worship what fascinates us.  Don't get sucked in by these secret conspiracies; your curiosity will turn to fascination, your fascination will turn to obsession and your obsession will border on worship (although you'll swear you're actually against it and just want to expose it).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A New Frontier

…well, new to me, anyway.

For the first time in my life, I actually shopped for and bought a vehicle for myself.  I got a six-speed Nissan Frontier crew-cab pickup.  It's just exactly what I wanted and after looking at dozens of this type of vehicle, we found one online (in North Dakota) for an insanely great deal.

Since my first car was replaced, I've always driven old "beater" cars and, lately, minivans.  It wasn't very cool but it was twenty years of small car payments or no payments at all (thanks, Dave Ramsey).  That investment translates into this truck being almost paid for as well.  It feels like a wonderful reward for my patience.

I imagine I'll be hauling bicycles and fishing poles this summer and a load of mulch for Shannon.  I'm excited to be able to move gas cans and mowers and other dirty things that formerly went into a back seat of a car or van.  I'm also happy that I can take up to four of my kids with me when needed (five if I strap one to the hood).

Friday, April 12, 2013

RIP Jonathan Winters

Great improv comedian Jonathan Winters passed away today at the age of 87.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Random Thoughts 4/9/13

  • Went to the dentist today for the first time in almost four years.  And it will be the first of many visits in the near future. Ugh.  I guess I should be thankful that my teeth aren't worse than they could be.  Compared to some people's dental problems, it's all pretty minor I guess.
  • Does the government (or the community, or the "collective") own your kids?  After MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry outrageous statement, the bigger outrage is that so many people didn't have a problem with her suggestion that the collective owns your kids.  It's sad to think that a chunk of our society would pass the responsibility for their children on to the government.
  • One commentator noted that if the community is responsible for the children (like Communism teaches), then isn't the unborn child also the community's choice?  Can't a pro-lifer then argue that a woman's privacy doesn't count in a socialist utopia?  Of course that logic won't matter.  Socialist utopias are impossible and the vain attempts at them necessarily bring a culture of death.  When the government owns the children we'll be aborting and euthanizing all of the "unproductive" and "undesirable" ones already.
  • Ben McLemore announced today that he will declare for the NBA draft.  No surprise there.  He can't possibly improve his draft stock, considering his potential is so highly regarded.  KU fans shouldn't be too upset at this early departure since McLemore is a uniquely nice kid who made a significant contribution while he was here.  And, frankly, a program like KU brings in more talent each season than it has playing minutes to offer them.  So it's time to reload!  On toward 2014!
  • The Blue Angels, the Navy's flight demonstration team, has cancelled all shows for the 2013 tour, including an airshow in KC.  I hate to see that happen but I'd rather keep a ship at sea for a little longer than guarantee those airshows.

The Gospel According to the History Channel, Review of Part 5

My apologies for posting this a week and a half after the show aired; we had the worst time getting the kids together for two hours to watch it.

Overall, even though it was cheesy and a little inaccurate in places, I really appreciated that the History Channel would air a show that presented Jesus miraculously resurrected, as the Bible teaches.  So overall, "The Bible" gets a thumbs up from me, in spite of its execution.

Here are my Top-10 thoughts and nitpicks for episode 5:

  1. For the last time, I don't like the actor who plays Jesus looking like he wandered off the set of that Vikings show.  Jesus should look more Jewish than Nordic.  I'm also not a fan of Jesus talking like he's delusional or or in the middle of a drug-induced vision.  I've always pictured his words with more authority and less "mystical."
    Jesus?  Nope, just another angry viking.
  2. Probably for the sake of simplicity, the show puts too much emphasis on a few characters.  The High Priest is the ultimate villain, Mary Magdalene is one of the main disciples, and "Lend-me-your-ear" Malchus, the High Priest's servant, appears in almost every scene.
  3. They changed the setting and details of Peter's denials a bit.  Okay, a lot.
  4. They got Jesus' baptism right (by immersion) but apparently they had trouble dunking anybody else for the rest of the series.
  5. There are several elements in the crucifixion scene that are not as historical as they could be.  The two thieves carry just the patibulum, or crossbar, which we think is accurate, but Jesus carries the whole cross, constructed just as we picture it in all the artwork.  Simon of Cyrene, like several other characters, wasn't Jewish (in this case he was African).  Jesus is crucified in a loin cloth (for modesty's sake, obviously), even though the scripture says the soldiers gambled for his undergarment and the Romans usually crucified victims naked.  The nails are driven into the palms here, as is traditionally pictured, but archaeology shows the the soldiers would have nailed the wrists.
  6. Someone help me here, but wasn't the Greek on the titulus missing a dash/bullet between the last two words?  I mean, obviously, right?!
  7. I liked the scene of them washing Jesus' body.  I don't remember seeing this very often.  I would have liked them to use this as a segue to the discovery of the empty tomb.  But I didn't like how they did the empty tomb at all: not the setting or the dialogue or anything.  Where were the guards or the cover-up or the other women or John getting to the tomb first?
  8. I didn't like the ascension scene either.  There needed to be a cloud and an actual ascension rather than just a disappearance. 
  9. The speaking in tongues was presented as speaking in other languages, I know at least one spoke in Latin.  But where was the conversion of the crowds on the Day of Pentecost?  They showed people hearing but not Peter's sermon or the baptisms. 
  10. Saul!  Saul of Tarsus!!!  Get it right!  He's not called Paul until later.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Sweet 16 (2013), Final Rounds

Good job everybody, we had a decently high scoring year considering some of the upsets that happened. 

Chris C. jumped out to an early lead, held on, and never let go.  He scored 358 out of a possible 477, outscoring everybody by 20-60 points.  Matt S. came in second with 342 points and Zach B. had 330.

Both Zach and Bryan C. correctly predicted that Louisville would win the championship and everybody (but me) had Louisville in their Final Four.

Here's the results after the Final Four round:

And here are the final results after the Championship game:

Finally, here's what an ideal lineup would have looked like this year:

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Random Thoughts 4/4/13

  • A few of us from the church went out this morning and delivered more flyers about our revival.  I'm guessing we hit about 200 homes and the weather was beautiful.  A few of the deacons are going out tonight to cover another neighborhood or two.
  • Film critic Roger Ebert died today. 
  • Lions kicker Jason Hanson retired today after 21 seasons with the Detroit Lions, which ought to win him some kind of special place in Heaven.  I had Hanson on my fantasy teams many times with great success.
  • KU freshman Anrio "Rio" Adams is officially transferring away from Kansas.  That will probably put senior-to-be Justin Wesley (Keith Langford's little brother) back on scholarship.  Langford has paid for at least one year already when Wesley was a walk-on instead of a scholarship player.
  • What on earth is North Korea doing?!  I can't help but wonder if they're about to collapse.
  • Our church projector, which gave up the ghost on Easter morning, is now back up and running.  Thanks, Mike.
  • Five cooking mistakes and how to fix them, here at lifehacker.
  • Also, here's a "cheat sheet for meat treats" for those of us who were never in 4H.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Random Thoughts 4/2/13

  • This was a rough year for my NCAA bracket.  I'm of the opinion that you should only fill out one bracket (or have one fantasy team), otherwise you have no right to boast about any prognosticating ability.  Well I won't be boasting, that's for sure.  I only got ten of the sweet 16, four of the elite eight, and zero of the final four.  There's always next year.
  • I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Elijah Johnson deliberately hit that Michigan player.  It may have been impulsive and not a true indicator of his character, but it was deliberate and wrong.  What a terrible note on which to go out in the last game of your career.
  • I will still review the final episode of the History Channel's "The Bible" but I haven't watched it yet.  Look for it later this week.
  • Finding Nemo 2 is now going to be called Finding Dory.  It'll be released in November of 2015, twelve years after the original.  I also saw a trailer for for a Cars spinoff, called, of course, Planes.  Ugh.  I know it'll sell toys but it looks painfully awful.
  • Kansas made the top-10 best states in which to make a living.
  • It looks like we're selling our other minivan.  It's been a blessing that we've had these minivans paid off and now I'm searching the internet looking for a good deal on medium sized truck, like a Ford Sport Trac, or a quad-cab Nissan Frontier or Chevy Colorado.  Any recommendations?

Sweet 16 (2013), Round 4

Sorry for the delay again; things are busy, busy, busy.

Chris has basically run away with it, leading from the beginning, and every break has gone his way.  In this contest early leads are sometimes chipped away in the later rounds.  But Chris is the only team to have two of his final four teams still standing, so he'll likely pull away or at least maintain his lead.  Congratulations, Chris!

Nobody had Wichita St. making it two rounds in, thus nobody has four teams remaining.  About half of us have three teams remaining, half have two teams remaining, and Kristi (sorry!) only has one team remaining.  Both Bryan and Zach can still see their top team win it all.

Here's the spreadsheet: