Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Thoughts 5/31/13

  • Earlier I received a breaking news alert over my phone: "Tornado Watch issued for Oklahoma."  That was national news this afternoon?  Of course, "watches" only mean the possibility of a tornado, which here in the Midwest we also call it "every single day from April thru July."  A tornado watch in Oklahoma is not news but it is taking advantage of a real tragedy that links the words "tornado" and "Oklahoma" in the minds of low-information news consumers for a few weeks.
  • Vacation Bible School is next week, Monday thru Friday, 9am to Noon.
  • Disney has released their animation schedule for the next five years, including Pixar films, which you can see listed here.  My little girl will be five years old when Disney releases Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy; I might as well buy tickets now.
  • Is it really any surprise that director M. Night Shyamalan's new film, After Earth, is getting bad reviews? He hasn't done anything great before or after 1999's Sixth Sense and he hasn't had anything with a passably good review for over a decade.  But the blame for this one might go to Will Smith.  This film was his idea for his son Jaden to carry and, by all accounts, the vanity project did not work.  It's the lowest-reviewed film of Will Smith's career.
  • The 2013 World Series of Poker began this week and will run thru July 15.  I keep track of the results at Wikipedia, though there are dedicated poker news sites too.
  • Tomorrow is my 17th wedding anniversary.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me such a wonderful gift with which to share my life.
  • Unfortunately, we don't have any plans for this anniversary.  I'm working, Shannon is working, we have a wedding to go to, and we have responsibilities to tend to.  Oh, well.  For our 20th we need to save up and do something big, maybe a cruise or something.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Random Thoughts 5/27/13

  • May God bless you on this Memorial Day.  And may God bless those who have risked their lives for our freedom and protection.
  • Shannon and I have 39 years of parenting boys under our belts (adding up our boys' ages) and, despite a backyard trampoline, we've experienced neither stitches nor broken bones.  But in just four years of parenting our little girl, we've had both stitches and a broken wrist.  Either she's especially fragile or we're doing something wrong here.
  • Anneliese seems to like here pink, glittery cast.  It extends above her elbow (cumbersome!) but it's water-proof, so she can still go swimming and bathe.
  • We enjoyed going to Manhattan, Kansas, to officiate the ordination of Kelley Bowker into ministry.  Kelley and his wife are leaving as missionaries to Ireland next year.  
  • Shannon and I hadn't been to Manhattan in twenty years and I'd forgotten what the prairie looks like out there.  We stopped at the scenic outlook just south of town and took a picture; I'd drive anywhere with that pretty lady.
  • And, yes, I wore my only purple shirt into K-State territory.  You don't want to antagonize the locals!  But I was wearing Jayhawk basketball shorts under that purple disguise.
  • Almost 6,700 service members have died since 9/11.  Find info on them here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Random Thoughts 5/21/13

  • Thoughts and prayers go to Moore, Oklahoma, after the terrible tornado they endured yesterday. 
  • I have a dear friend that used to live and minister in the area hit by the tornado.  My heart breaks for all the people he knew and ministered to that are now affected by this disaster.
  • Kansas basketball keeps getting good news.  After landing Andrew Wiggins, now they'll have an immediately-eligible graduated senior transfer from Memphis to use his last year of eligibility.  Tarik Black is a strong, 6-9 forward that can contribute during his one year as a Jayhawk.  Here's the breakdown on Black.
  • My wife has recently been baking cakes professionally, almost on a daily basis.  Cakes are great but they don't represent any kind of temptation to me.  But now she has added sugar cookies to her repertoire.  Uh, oh.
  • For those keeping score at home, there has been no evidence of global-warming for 15 years (in fact we've had record-setting winters across the globe recently).  I would argue that there is no evidence for man-made global warming at all.  So stop it already; your pick-up truck does NOT cause tornadoes.  
  • In the 1970's they argued that global-cooling was causing tornado outbreaks.
  • Speaking of trucks, I've been delighted to use my Nissan Frontier when I can.  I see now that the short bed (a little under five feet with the tail gate closed) is a bit of limitation but I still love it.  I haven't moved the proverbial refrigerator yet but we've moved quite a bit of lawn and garden paraphernalia. 

Animated Star Wars

Many Star Wars fans in their 30's and 40's, who grew up with the original movies, were mildly disappointed by the prequel films.  But while those movies didn't capture the spirit of adventure we enjoyed as children, our own kids have been watching a better Star Wars on television 

"The Clone Wars" ran on the Cartoon Network for the last five years.  It was an animated series based between Episodes II and III, focusing mostly on a scarred and increasingly conflicted Anakin Skywalker as he and the other Jedi led the clone army in battle.  Running 108 episodes, this has been some of the best offerings from the Star Wars universe and is very watchable as an adult (though I claimed I was recording it for my kids, of course).

Then Disney bought Star Wars and let the "Clone Wars" contract with Cartoon Network expire and announced that production would be "winding down," basically canceling the series.  New material has been scripted and produced and it seems that this material will be released on the Star Wars website.

Now Disney is announcing that Lucasfilm Animation will launch "Star Wars: Rebels," produced and animated by much of the same team that did "Clone Wars," set to debut Fall 2014.  The series will be set between Episodes III and IV, when Darth Vader is hunting down the remnants of the Jedi.  The show will of course move from the Cartoon Network over to the Disney Channel.

It looks like I'll have to record it for my kids.  I wouldn't want them to miss it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random Thoughts 5/15/13

  • Today is the 25th anniversary of my baptism in a little church in Winchester, Kansas.
  • IRS abuses, phone taps, and Benghazi.  It's a good thing President Obama isn't Republican or he's be getting crucified like the second coming of Richard Nixon.
  • Tanner was helping Mom experiment with a few different baking techniques today.  I think it's suspicious that so many sugar cookies broke and "had to be disposed of" while Tanner assisted.
  • I've had three migraines (including this morning) in the last five or six days.  This is not cool.  They usually come on about 5 or 6 in the morning and by mid-morning are debilitating.  Usually after 10 or 12 hours they fade away, regardless of the number and type of remedies tried.
  • Next week the television networks announce their fall lineups.  But this year, about 99% of the cancellations and pickups have been leaked already.  I'll probably blog on this next week but I'm ticked about the cancellation of a sitcom called "Go On."  The show had a lot of heart and a great sense of humor.  Now it's gone.  Grrr.
  • We took the family to the Kansas City Zoo yesterday.  The weather was beautiful and we saw the new polar bear, the first polar bear's "girl friend."  This was the first of several visits on this year's Friends of the Zoo family pass.  For a family our size one visit pays for the pass, so return trips become a really cheap, educational outing.
  • I was shocked yesterday to see that Kansas landed top basketball recruit Andrew Wiggins.  Wiggins is highly regarded as the best prep player in the last 10 years, which doesn't really guarantee squat but gives hope to a team that loses five starters.  It also rounds out Bill Self's near perfect resume, as one of the only knocks against him was that he supposedly couldn't recruit and handle blue-chip prospects.  With Wiggins signing and McLemore's potential lottery selection, that criticism should be mitigated.  Want to see lots of videos and links about Andrew Wiggins?  Here you go.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Random Thoughts 5/8/13

  • I sprained my wrist three weeks ago today playing basketball and I still can barely lift a book, open a car door, or shake hands with that hand.  Getting old kinda stinks.
  • I used to play basketball with my wedding band on but, when I switched to a slightly thicker ring, I started taking the ring off and attaching it to a D-ring on my duffel bag.  The problem is that after years of never removing it, I forget to put my wedding ring back on… for days.  I take it off on Wednesday night and it might be Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday before I remember to retrieve it from my bag.
  • It sounds like Andrew Wiggins, this year's top basketball prospect coming out of high school, is about to declare which school he'll breeze through on his way to the NBA.  The expectation is that he'll choose his parents' alma mater, Florida State.  There's an outside chance it could be KU or Kentucky.  Even without Wiggins, KU's recruiting class is ranked #2 in the country this year (behind Kentucky).
  • The Benghazi hearings are one of the reasons I can't blog every day without going into the rage.
  • One of my favorite shows returns this month.  The History Channel's "Top Shot" starts another season on May 29.  Guns, explosions, and a Survivor-like competition, how can this get any better?  In fact, I think it's superior to "Survivor" because players advance mostly by merit and only leave the show by losing a head-to-head shooting competition.
  • I had a 35-40 minute conversation with a Foster Brooks clone a few days ago.  He was falling down drunk in the middle of the afternoon, slurring his words and forgetting what he'd told me only moments earlier.  The funny thing was he kept shaking my hand, probably twenty times during the conversation.  He also attempted (but failed) to pray with me three or four times.  The conversation swung from confession to telling his life story and back again.  I wasn't sure if I should laugh or worry about him vomiting on me.  In the end, I felt sympathy for him and gave him a card and invited him to church; hopefully he finds the card in his shirt pocket and forgets his actual behavior.