Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not Supposed to Bend That Way

So last night, playing basketball, I dislocated my finger.  I had a tall guy guarding me who blocked my shot and apparently all the torque went into one joint.  I heard and felt it pop, looked down and my ring finger was pointing 45º out laterally, overlapping my pinkie.

I grabbed the finger with my other fist and popped it back, which sounds just like breaking a similarly-sized stick.  I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off for a few moments, went home, iced it and then put heat on it.

It's the third dislocated finger I've had.  The first one was in college on my left hand and it changed my ring size enough that I had to re-size my wedding band.  The second one was playing basketball with church guys several years ago when a sharp pass hit the middle finger on my right hand and bent it up backwards.  That looked worse and had more witnesses too.  My only regret with this finger is that I didn't show the guys before I popped it back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I'm not a photography expert, but look at this photo.  For an indoor sports photo, how great is this (even with those ugly tone-on-tone Adidas jerseys)?!

Rock Chalk!

If You're Not Going to Fight Like a Man…

Monday, January 28, 2013

Random Thoughts 1/28/13

  • KU is number 1 (in the coaches' poll, #2 in the AP).  Now the target is on their backs.  Oh wait, that's all the time.
  • It's interesting to hear folks talking about Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.  Lewis is more philosophical man now, at the end of his career, than we was a decade or more ago.  In fact, he was a punk back in the day and he readily admits it.  But I've heard a tremendous amount of cynicism about him now, with media-types refusing to let go of his past mistakes, despite Lewis' obvious changes in his character.  But some folks don't believe people can change, perhaps because those cynics have never really repented of anything themselves.
  • Do you want to read something disturbing?  Try this STD infographic.  Yikes!
  • KU is wearing a new uniform tonight, that is tone-on-tone, i.e. blue jersey with blue numbers and nearly illegible from any significant distance. Why do companies like Adidas and Nike think this is a good idea?  Kansas has a classic jersey and font.  Why mess with that?
  • What in the world?  They need instructions in West Virginia?!  Check that.  They read in West Virginia?!
  • We showed the movie October Baby last Sunday afternoon at church for Sanctity of Human Life week.  If you missed it, it's a pretty good movie and very moving.
  • My sister, Sonya, spoke at church on Sunday about her ministry at the pregnancy center.  She did a great job!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My New Shirt

I couldn't help but think of Mom… and also my friend Pat… but not with the silent part so much…

Monday, January 21, 2013

Random Thoughts 1/21/13

  • I was anticipating a Broncos and Falcons Super Bowl… so I got that wrong.
  • The conspiracy theory video that's been floating around facebook regarding the Sandy Hook shooting is ridiculous.  I watched it.  It was unfair, slanted, unnecessarily obtuse and devious.  Snopes does a good job of debunking some of the supposed hoaxes, point by point.  It's worth reviewing.
  • Yes, indeed, you needed a detailed lawyer's analysis of Bilbo's contract with Thorin Oakenshield.  It's hard to get more nerdy than this.
  • What were the top 10 most-read Bible verses of 2012 on Bible Gateway?  Not the ones you might expect.  Check it out here.
  • Big game coming up on Tuesday.  Good luck, Wildcat friends!
  • Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg produced "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" for HBO.  Now they are going to make a third WW2 series, this time about the air war above Europe, focusing on the Eight Air Force's B-17 bombers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dear Anonymous…

I got this comment on my post about Top Ten Favorite TV Couples:

Your choice of shows as a Christian are a little quetionable. "How I Met your Mother" a show that glorifies premarital sex and "Modern Family" that shows that their is nothing wrong with homosexualality

It is a little ironic that "anonymous" criticizes me for being questionable on a post where I'm sifting through the moral decay of our culture looking for specks of gold to celebrate.  It's also ironic that the show that supposedly glorifies premarital sex is one of the only shows where the two most promiscuous characters are getting married to each other, suffering (some) consequences for their immorality, and also regularly pale in comparison to the steadfast happiness and satisfaction of the monogamous couple in that show.  "How I Met Your Mother" is a surprisingly convincing argument for finding the love of your life as soon as possible, which is the very theme of the show.

And, yes, "Modern Family" makes me cringe in disgust sometimes but I started watching the show because I'm acquainted with the parents of one of the main actors on the show.  I also believe that "Modern Family" is on the cutting edge of normalizing homosexuality in our culture and I find it incredibly useful to be familiar with the show and its themes.

I realize when I write about our culture that it's going to make some people uncomfortable.  Perhaps if I pretended to be above it all it would be more reassuring.  But as a Christian I should not be above it all.  I need to seriously have a heart for promiscuous people and homosexuals and shallow potheads and bitter atheists and wounded church-goers.  It's my job to be as expert as I can be on both God's Word and this culture because I'm fighting everyday in a war of ideas.  A war that the Church is losing in this country, by the way.

God has called me to love people who live in this culture and effectively reach them.  I'm a fisherman; I occasionally smell like fish but please believe me that I don't desire to be a fish.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Random Thoughts 1/15/13

  • Did you like the most recent Muppet movie?  The next one, with different humans, is due out in a year, on March 21, 2014.  Just a few weeks later, on April 4th, we get another Captain America movie.  Then there is fourth Jurassic Park movie due in June of '14; not sure if that's worthwhile or not.
  • Best cake ever.
  • Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.  Another number-one seed is extremely likely.  Let's just hope for a good tournament.
  • Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is January 27th at our church, where we'll have a special guest speaker. 
  • The Golden Globes came out and apparently I have been living under a rock.  I can hardly find a single title that I've actually seen among the winners.  That said, more than half of these films are on my to-do list.
  • 45 years and $200 billion later, a new study shows that the Head Start program has little or no effect on the disadvantaged preschool children it was designed to help.  I bet our government throws more money at it because that's how socialism works (or doesn't).
  • Boeing's amazing 787 Dreamliner has had a few notable hiccups in recent weeks and is now "under review" by the FAA.  It seems pretty minor but those aircraft are complicated machines with some advanced technology in place and everything must absolutely be right before you want to trust your life to one.  Frankly, I'd jump at the chance but I don't fly much at this stage in my life.
  • Do the Chiefs draft the best player available?  Do they know a QB worth taking will be there later?  Ugh… thinking about the Chiefs makes me ill.

Sure, Trust Me

[Thanks, Conservatism with Heart]

Top Ten Favorite TV Married Couples

1) The characters must be married, not dating.  This eliminates Sam and Diane from "Cheers," David and Maddie from "Moonlighting," and many, many others.
2) We had to spend time with them as a married couple; last minute or implied weddings don't count (sorry, Ross and Rachel). 
3) Preference is given to couples for whom their relationship is a major focus of the show.  To me, this eliminated Ward and June Cleaver from "Leave it to Beaver,"  Howard and Marion Cunningham from "Happy Days," and a host of supporting characters who served other purposes in the story.
4) It's my list, so I'm limited to shows I think I know well.  I've never watched "Mike & Molly," "The Honeymooners," "Friday Night Lights," or "Gossip Girl" so those often cited examples don't make the cut.

So my Top Ten Favorite TV Married Couples are…

10.  Phil and Claire Dunphy, "Modern Family"
9.   George and Louise Jefferson, "The Jeffersons"
8.   Dan and Roseanne Conner, "Roseanne"
7.   Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, "I Love Lucy"
6.   Cliff and Clair Huxtable, "The Cosby Show"
5.   Paul and Jamie Buchman, "Mad About You"
4.   Andy and April Dwyer, "Parks and Recreation"
3.   Rob and Laura Petrie, The Dick van Dyke Show"
2.   Jim and Pam Halpert, "The Office"

and finally…

1.   Marshall and Lily Eriksen, "How I Met Your Mother"

Honorable Mentions:
Christopher and Carla Turk, "Scrubs"
Tim and Jill Taylor, "Home Improvement"
Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, "Hart to Hart"
Mike and Carol Brady, "The Brady Bunch"
Chuck and Sarah Bartowski, "Chuck"
Monica and Chandler, "Friends"
Al and Peg Bundy, "Married with Children"
…and from the movies, Nick and Nora Charles, The Thin Man series

Notes and Explanations:
• Marshall and Lily are perhaps the only completely monogamous couples on contemporary television (virtually everyone else has intimate exes at minimum).  For me, that's the end of the argument.
• The Dunphy's are a surprise addition to the list because I couldn't stand Phil for the first season or so of "Modern Family."  It took two seasons to redeem him for gawking at Gloria.
• Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser are probably two of the better actors on the list.  That may have improved their ranking a bit.
• I was surprised that half-hour sitcoms absolutely dominated the list.  But dramas very rarely seem to include healthy, commendable marriages.  Or even ones with redeeming qualities.
• Some of these couples seemed to fight a lot or be reluctantly married, most notably Dan & Roseanne and (shock!) the Bundy's.  But loyalty and fidelity were key factors in most cases here, so even flawed, sarcastic characters get some respect from me.  If I had been more familiar with "All in the Family," Archie and Edith would have been included, too.
• Every time I talk about this subject with someone, they say, "You have to include so-and-so!"  And I would consider it, if I had watched that show (more). 
• A few of my favorite shows of all time (I'm looking at you, M*A*S*H) are not represented on this list.  On the other hand, a couple of these shows were not particular favorites but left an impression on me anyway.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Random Thoughts 1/14/13

  • For only the fourth time in recent years, a living soldier will receive the Medal of Honor.  Clinton Romesha will be awarded the medal by the President next month for actions in Afghanistan in 2009.  This will be the seventh MOH from action in Afghanistan and the eleventh since 9/11.
  • I like the direction the Chiefs are going with the hire of Andy Reid as head coach.  I can't imagine that it can possibly get any worse, though.
  • Remember the beginning of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey?  Didn't that obelisk at the beginning look a bit like an iPhone?
  • Disney says they are making a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  Really?
  • How much fun has watching KU basketball been lately?!  Baylor is tonight!
  • I love the comment that Kevin Keitzman made last week about KU player Ben McLemore: normally when a player makes an amazing play you say "wow."  But when McLemore does something jaw-dropping you start laughing; he's so much better than the other players that it seems ridiculously unfair.
  • My favorite thing about McLemore?  He almost went to Missouri but chose Kansas instead.  Awesome.
  • Tomorrow I'll post a list that I've been working on: My Top-10 Favorite TV Married Couples.  You probably won't agree but I've been thinking about it for years and taking notes for months now.  I have my reasons.
  • This comment represents the dozens of political blog posts that I've not posted in the last few months because when rereading them I just sound bitter.  Totally and completely right… but still bitter.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Entertainment 2012

Here are my entertainment highlights for 2012.  As I've mentioned before, this will be the last year I just list movies and books.  Next year, I'll try to write blurbs for each one and publish them more often than just at the end of the year. 

As always, use discretion with your entertainment; if it causes you to stumble, get rid of it.  As a Christian I see antithetical themes, undertones, and objectionable content in almost everything that comes from our world.  Do not mistake my assessment of the quality of a film as an endorsement of all its themes and content, i.e. if I give Gone with the Wind a big thumbs up, I'm not condoning war, death, destruction, deceit, or the word "damn."  I'm saying that this presentation of that story is a remarkable cinematic work.  Period.

My movie of the year is a tie between The Avengers and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Both movies exceeded my already high expectations and both came from the minds of favorite authors:  Joss Whedon, my all-time favorite television writer, and J.R.R. Tolkien, one of my favorite novelists.

Great Movies:  The Awful Truth (1937), The Avengers (2012), Brave (2012), The Descendants (2011), The Hobbit (2012), Iron Lady (2011), Jaws (1975)

Better than I expected:  The Eagle (2011), Hugo (2011), John Carter (2012), Moneyball (2011), My Favorite Year (1982), Unstoppable (2010)

Good:  War Horse (2011), J. Edgar (2011), My Week with Marilyn (2011), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Thor (2011), Apocalypse Now (1979), Miller's Crossing (1990), Hanna (2011)

OverratedHunger Games (2012), Scarface (1983), Troll Hunter (2010), Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (2011), Salt (2010), Red Tails (2012)

This was a funny year for reading, a year for unfinished books.  I have a bigger stack of unfinished books than ever, in spite of the fact that I read for several hours every day.  It was also the first year in a long time that I read almost no fiction whatsoever, something I'll try to remedy in 2013.

Here's a sample of some of the books I read this year:
How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews (2011), The Apocalypse Code by Hank Hanegraaff, The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick (2011), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism by Kevin Williamson (2011), The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk (2008)

If you turn on my TV, it's probably already on this channel:  FOX News - 60%, ESPN - 15%, History Channel - 15%, Other - 10%

Reality and Documentary: "Top Shot," "Mythbusters," "Survivor," "American Pickers"

Comedy and Drama: "Community," "Grimm," "Modern Family," "How I Met Your Mother," "Parks and Recreation," "Go On," "Longmire," "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," "The Big Bang Theory," "Tron: Uprising"

On the Internet: Geek & Sundry's "Tabletop," "Smarter Every Day"

I don't play as many computer games as I did when I was younger but one game in particular dominated our family: Minecraft.  I play it.  All five of my children play it.  My wife doesn't play it but she can't help but know way too much about it.  Graham even got a foam pickaxe for Christmas.

Thanks primarily to episodes of "Tabletop" on the internet, I've also been introduced to some great card games and board games.  My favorites this year include Gloom, Blockus, Fluxx, and the iOS version of Ticket to Ride.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Random Thoughts 1/3/13

  • Ah… 2013.  The first year with four different numerals since 1987.
  • I'm compiling my annual entertainment recap for 2012, which is almost done, but I think I'm going to change the format on the next one.  Although I never posted them to my blog (first mistake), I used to write twitter-length movie reviews on Flixter.  Never mind that I've avoided actually using twitter (second mistake).  But I'm going to restart that habit and post them to my blog, perhaps every six months or every quarter.  The reviews help remind me what the movie was in the first place and might make for more interesting reading than just a list.
  • I'm going to try to blog more.  My blogging has fallen off to a third of what it was five years ago.  I've fallen in the habit of doing these "Random Thoughts" and I also nix a lot of blog ideas because I'm not in a good frame of mind to be writing (the lack of fiscal cliff blogs is NOT because I'm not tracking the issue).  Never blog angry.
  • Andy Reid, new Chiefs head coach.  Good idea.  Andy Reid bringing Michael Vick?  Bad idea.
  • It's just a shame that the Chiefs have the first pick of the draft in a year without any clear-cut top QBs.  That's just bad luck.
  • Good luck tonight, K-State.
  • Don't fret if you missed out on a new iPhone 5 or 4th-gen iPad for Christmas.  The tech-blogs are already abuzz over the fancy new technology that will roll out in the six to twelve months.  So go ahead and tell yourself (and others) that you're skipping this generation of tech on purpose.  Cooler gadgets are on the horizon.
  • Besides finding good quality accessories for the iPhone 5 right now is almost impossible.
  • I know you've wished you were one of Bill Gates' kids but this article says it's not all that great.  Apparently they asked for Apple products (iPads and such) but their parents gave them Microsoft products instead.  Ugh.
  • And here's one for our military friends that spent time in Afghanistan, specifically Kandahar.  Kudos also to the serviceman who wrote this for addressing this subject without a lengthy list of expletives. Now that's discipline.