Happy New Year!

I really don't do resolutions. About the only resolution I make is 'to resolve not to resolve.' It's not that I think it's not good to improve one's self, but I don't think New Year's resolutions are the correct method for affecting change.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is that you have to measure yourself to see what needs to change. In some cases that measurement is fairly straightforward. If you want to lose weight, we all know how to measure that change. If you want longer hair, we all know how to measure that change. But what if you want to be a better parent, or spouse? What if you want to improve your spiritual side? How do you measure that? Often we grab at something like, ‘I won’t yell at the kids’ or ‘I’ll read my Bible every day.’ While these things may be measurable, and even a good thing, they don’t really fully measure our goal. That’s a problem. Not necessarily the best way to improve ourselves.

I think the real question is this, how are you measuring yourself? There is no way you can improve yourself without knowing what, and how, you are measuring. Are you measuring yourself by what popular culture says is good or bad? By what a family member or close friend says is good or bad? Are you measuring temporal things or eternal things? The list of possibilities is long. But knowing what you are measuring will tell you what you value.

I hope you are measuring the things that REALLY matter. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Happy New Year and may God bless you in 2008.


Thesis on Gift Wrapping

A friend sent me this. Enjoy! A Merry Christmas!

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper. If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:

1. They were wise.

2. They were men.

Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know.

One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it." The other is Gene, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. "No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Gene said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."

I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never completely wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it in the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.)

If I had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh's body would be covered only by Scotch tape.

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt.

My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting:


Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.

The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack!

If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:

MY WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?

ME: It's a gift! See? It has a bow!

MY WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower.

ME: Gas-powered! Five horsepower!

MY WIFE: I want a divorce.

ME: I also got you some myrrh.

In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it.

The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.


Merry Christmas

I love it when people do something unexpected with music. These guys do the unexpected with this song.

Can you name the 80's song they end with?

[HT MicroExplosion]



The next Pixar movie looks interesting. If it's as good as some of their others, it should be good.


That's potentially the worst commerical ever at the beginning of the clip.

[HT Cries of the Heart]


Ugly with a captial UG

The new Wizards uniform is the worst thing I've EVER seen. When the team walked out onto the court wearing these, I was completely in shock. These are a complete and total disgrace to basketball, sports, and man-kind.


Have you ever seen anything worse?


Dorothy Proctor

It's been a tough week. My Grandmother went missing on Saturday, December 8th, when she missed a luncheon. She left after church to make the trip to her friend's home for lunch (about 4 miles away from her church). She was next seen in Mineral (80 miles away) and then hours later in Chico. She was trying to get back to Paradise where she lived. The last people that she got directions from in Chico said she looked fine. She showed no indication that she had been lost for 8 hours. She seemed fine. They gave my Grandmother directions and she was able to repeat the directions back to them just fine. Unfortunately she was unable to get on the correct road going home. Our theory is that like most elderly people, it was hard for her to see at night and she just couldn't get to where she needed to be, even when she knew where that was.

She got onto a back road and eventually onto a dirt road where she got the car stuck in the mud. That was sometime after 7:30pm on Saturday – probably around 8 or 9.

We searched for her almost non-stop. My brother, Brett, was really instrumental in leading the whole effort. He inolved the media. A relative had access to an airplane and helped search. Several people drove and hiked the local roads where we thought she might be. Basically, we did everything we could do. The police and media and everyone in the town was very helpful. We had a lot leads to track down, so we were busy from early until late every day.

She was found right next to the car on Wednesday by a horseback rider who was out exercising the horse. We got the word Wednesday afternoon that it was my Grandmother. She didn't make it through the first night.

While we all knew that was the most likely outcome. There was still hope of a miraculous ending.

My Grandmother worked for the Adventist Church her entire career. She was an accountant for the New Jersey Conference and the Virginia Conference. Even at 87 years old she was still counting the money for her local Paradise church. I'm quite sure that I will get to see her again in heaven.


Evel Knievel

I grew up when Evel Knievel was in his prime. He was everywhere. It seemed like he was always jumping something - or at least trying to jump something. His impact on my childhood was amazing. I even had an Evel Knievel lunch box. As a boy, my friend and I were always trying to emulate Evel by jumping our bicycles over various objects. We jumped tractor tires, bales of straw, we even jumped my friend's parents car. We often emulated Evel's failed attempts too. I'm not sure how many times we ended up a pile with the bike on top of us. But we'd get up, brush ourselves off and try it again.

The fact that Evel did his jumps on a Harley Davidson street bike still amazes me to no end. He wasn't using some dirt bike with a nearly limitless suspension, it was a street bike. Wow! That's tough.

Like everyone else, I was saddened to learn of Evel's passing. They just don't make them like that anymore. Truthfully, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing - but it's clearly the passing of a legend and an era.


Things I Hate.... (part 2)

Verizon Wireless' ordering system. Apparently no one at Verizon has ever had the thought that they should allow customers to order a phone that is currently out of stock. Could this be because they've never had a phone popular enough to be out of stock?

I just wanted to order a new Voyager and make a change to my plan. Seemed simple enough. But after an hour an half, two managers and one employee, they finally gave up (I had already given up long before this). I ordered the phone today. After the phone arrives at my house, I will have to go back to make changes to my plan.



Things I Hate....

Christmas lights. Actually I don't hate Christmas lights. I kind of like the soft glow that all the icicle lights give around the house. I don't even mind putting up and taking down the lights. I know where the lights go on our house and pretty much have the system down. It's usually pretty simple.

Usually being the operative word. Our lights were getting pretty old last year. Bulbs were burning out at an alarming rate and being out in the elements for several years was taking a toll. So I thought I would just buy some new strings of lights. Simple enough. The problem is, simple usually isn't.

First of all, new icicle lights are a pain in the neck. They are packed with all the icicles bunched up. So you can't just put the lights up, you must staighten out all the wires of each icicle. Even after you straighten the wires, they want to go back to their previous form. Here's an idea for the makers of icicle lights. Package the lights with the icicles pulled nice and straight. Sure the package will be bigger. But I'd pay more for lights packaged that way. I'm sure others would too.

Secondly, after straightening all the little individual icicles, we started hanging the lights and discovered that the new strings of lights were shorter than the old strings. The new strings are 22 feet long, according to the box. The old strings must have been about 25 feet long. Now my carefully planned lighting arrangement no longer works. Ugh.

A few more extension cords and some rearranging and it all worked out. But what should have been a relatively easy task of hanging the lights, turned into a pain in the neck.

Why is it the simple things in life always seem to so hard? Is it because of our expectations? When we expect something to be difficult, do we come at it with a different mental attitude than when we expect it to be simple? Is that why we often don't believe the simple things in life? We say, "That can't be right, it's too easy." We usually expect it to be difficult. I wonder if that's part of the reason why people don't believe in Jesus - it's just too simple. Certainly the creation of the world must have been more difficult than God simply speaking. Certainly salvation must be harder than just believing in Jesus. I wonder how I can tell my friends that it really is that easy...


Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. It’s probably my favorite holiday. It’s certainly the least commercialized holiday. You don’t have to buy presents for somebody, chocolates, cards, or just about anything else. It’s just a great day to hang out with your family and friends, maybe watch a little football, and enjoy each other’s company. I suppose that it may be a great day for turkey farmers and retailers, but overall it’s really not a very commercialized holiday. I like that about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time for us to do nothing other than be thankful. But on holidays like this, I always wonder what might my atheists and agnostic friends are thankful for. Or more correctly, who they are thankful to? It seems like in the never ending battle to move God out of the public’s view, that nothing is sacred; we will remove God from everything. We even are trying to remove God from Christmas! And if we’re gonna remove God from everything, then we have to remove Him from thanksgiving to. And if we do that, then who are we thankful to? Are we just thankful to fate, the odds, or some other nebulous entity?

In all fairness, my atheist and agnostic friends have no problem with this. They believe they feel perfectly thankful and they are grateful for the things they have. They have no issue with today. But for me, it just seems odd. How can you be thankful to no one? I know that I am thankful to God for all blessings over the past year. I can’t begin to list them all.

I am also thankful that long ago, an Indian named Squanto chose to befriend some Europeans who weren’t going to make it through the winter. Squanto could help them, because previously he had been captured and had been a slave. He knew English and he knew how to help. And even though he had plenty of good reason not to help those Europeans, he did it anyway. That amazes me every time I think about it. I’m thankful he did it.

I wonder if I could do the same. Could I offer help to someone at great personal sacrifice to myself? Can I do the right thing, regardless of what has happened to me in my past?

That is worth pondering about…


The Only Way to Play Soccer

I'm not much of a soccer player. But if you're going to play, this looks a lot more fun!


Gibson Robot Guitar

So you like to play guitar, but you hate to tune it. Or you'd love to play some alternative tunings, but it's just too much effort to tune and retune your axe. Well Gibson has a guitar just for you.

Watch the video here

Kind of cool, but there's no price listed anywhere that I can find. I guess I'll be tuning my guitar the old fashioned way.


Fun with Words

Play this word game and supposedly you donate rice to the United Nations. I don't know if that is true, but it was fun to trying a figure out these words.


Man, I need to improve my vocabulary. Some of these words are difficult.

What's the highest Vocab Level you got?


"The Last Supper" Up Close and Personal

An online tool lets you focus in on da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper to an unbelievable level of detail. Use the zoom bar in the bottom center to zoom in and out of the painting. It only took 1677 pictures to get this amount of detail. Wow!

There’s some good info about the painting at Wikipedia if you want to learn more about the painting and the ongoing challenge of preserving it.

[HT Think Christian]


Leaning tower of Pisa loses title

According to Ananova, a German church steeple has knocked the leaning tower of Pisa from the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most lopsided building.

The tower in the village of Suurhusen applied in June for the title and has now officially beaten the famous landmark in Pisa. Guinness Book of Records confirmed the award after officials measured it leaning at a 5.19 degree angle compared to only 3.97 degree angle at which the tower of Pisa leans.

The church was built in middle of the 13th century but a 90ft tower was added in 1450. The tower was built on wooden foundations and the combination of the oak wood foundations and wet soil has caused the tower to slowly lean to one side over the years. Several attempts to stop the tower from leaning any further have been made since 1982, and it was eventually stabilized in 1996.

The church is still in use and also offers guided tours but church officials are appealing for donations to help maintain the building.

I guess if your building is falling down, you might as well make the most of it. But who really wants this record? I'm guessing the tower of Pisa will still be wildly more popular with the tourists. Maybe this church will see a slight rise in visitors, I don't know. But what will that really do? Will they make enough money to fix or replace the tower? It seems doubtful. Are they just using the money raised from tourists maintain the building, since they don't seem to have enough money from the congregation to do so? It just seems there's no real plan here.

I wonder how many things I start out with in my own life with no real plan. No real plan of what happens next. Something seems like a good idea so I set out on a course of action, without fully contemplating what the end-game is. Generally not a good idea... I think sometimes I need to more carefully ponder the entire plan, before I get started.


Wow, that was horrible!

I watched CSI Miami for the first time tonight. All I can say is ouch! That show is horrible! I'm not an expert reviewer or anything close to that, but what stiff acting. Horrible...


Fantasy Football

I'm having a horrible year in Fantasy Football.
I've scored over 130 points, twice, and lost both times.
I've been in the top 3 or 4 scores several times and lost. Which is also what happened this week. I've got the 3rd highest score in the league, but lose again. Man, what a string of bad luck...

It's a good think basketball starts tonight - I need a distraction...

I Hate Halloween

One of things I dread each year is Halloween. What’s a Christian to do with that holiday? Certainly what is being celebrated on that day isn’t very Christian in nature. And one could make the case that not only is not Christian, but it’s down-right anti-Christian. But then there are Christians that say, 'the original meaning has been lost and we really aren’t celebrating the day of the dead, it’s just a fun night for the kids to dress up and have some fun.' No harm in that, is there? Or maybe our churches offer a Harvest festival, that’s so close to Halloween, it’s hard to tell the difference. But it has a different name, so it must be ok. Or so the reasoning goes.

I've got no problem with kids wanting to have a fun night, dress up and get some candy. There's certainly nothing wrong with that. But when I think about celebrating death, monsters, gore, and in general, evil - that's not what I want my kids celebrating.

Each year Halloween seems to get bigger, more commercialized and more popular. The home decoration for Halloween now rival or surpase the home decorations for Christmas. I don't know if I should read too much into that, but it seems to indicate that we value what Halloween stands for more than we value the birth of Christ. That just doesn't seem right to me.

Rest assurred, when the little kids come to my door on Halloween, we've got some candy for them. But I have to wonder, isn't there a way to have some fun, get some candy and not celebrate evil? I think that's worth pondering...


More Necks Equals More Notes?

Here is Steve Vai playing G3 in Denver. This guy is crazy good. I love the tapping toward the end.


Odd Music

A friend emailed this to me. This is an interesting site. Lots of crazy instruments. Some of them are pretty cool. Some of them are, well, just odd. Lots of pics and some sample sounds too.

Odd Music

I hope you've got some time to spare.


David Crowder Guitar Hero

The David Crowder Band rocked Dallas last week at the House of Blues. Here he is playing the guitar from “Guitar Hero” for one of his songs. Only Crowder...

[HT: Church Video Ideas]


LA Metro Bus Passes Are Killing Me

My son takes the LA Metro bus to high school every day. This works pretty well most of the time. There's an occasional late bus. But usually it's not too bad. The only part of the system that is really broken is purchasing the bus passes. This part is unbelievably difficult.

High school students can get a discount card and then purchase a monthly sticker to place on the pass. This is a pretty good system and decent deal if you are riding the bus almost everyday. So far so good. Once a year we have to drive over the nearest Metro outlet (which isn't all that close) and get a new student card. Not super convenient, but not too bad. The monthly sticker part is a major pain.

The local Ralphs is supposed to have monthly stickers. They don't start selling them for the next month until the 28th of the current month. If you don't get your sticker on the 28th or 29th they are sold out. It's crazy. Your only option then is to drive over the Metro outlet and get one there.

You would think Ralphs would purchase more stickers. I'm no businessman, but this seems like common sense. If you sell out every month, you could sell more. If you sell more, you'll make more money. Doesn't this seem like a good deal? But no, every month they are just perfectly happy to sell out of stickers instead of selling more.

The year before my kid started high school, you could purchase stickers online. What a great idea! But LA Metro removed this option, "for your convenience." I don't think they were thinking about my convenience when they removed that option. They were thinking about their own convenience. So now my only option is to drive over to the nearest Metro outlet. You would think a city the size of LA would have a pretty good network of Metro outlets. But no, that would make it far too easy for people to ride the bus. So all of LA has to go to one of four locations. Crazy.

So this month, Ralphs was predictably sold out of stickers and I drove over to the Metro outlet -- only to find out that they are closed on Mondays!!!! I went back on Tuesday to find a huge line that took half an hour to wait through. Argh! Why is it the simplest things are the most difficult?

In the unlikely event that someone from Ralphs is reading this, BUY MORE STICKERS TO SELL! If someone from LA Metro is reading this, BRING BACK PURCHASING THE STICKERS ONLINE.


Bigger May Not Always Be Better

This is one heck of a saw! Assuming it's a saw. I have no idea what this thing is or what it's used for. But it looks like a big saw...

Sometimes we think bigger is better. A bigger SUV must be better than a small one. A bigger home is more desirable than a small one. A bigger engine in the car/boat/truck is better. A supersized meal is better than that regular size meal. A bigger power tool is better (more power... grunt). But at some point, bigger is too big.

Sometimes it seems we can spend too much effort, too much time, too much energy in trying to get the biggest and best of everything. Trying to keep up with neighbors. While we are busy chasing things, we often forget something much more important - people. We will spend too many hours at work. Too much time hanging with our buds. Too much time chasing activities we like to do. And too little time with our families. Why do we sacrifice our relationships with the people we care about to chase money and things? That's worth pondering about...


Holiday Shopping Idea

Yea, I know. For most of us, it's way too early to think about Christmas and what you are going to buy for everyone. But some of you are bound to be getting started early – this is for you.

Do you wonder what to get for that guy who has everything? He loves the gadgets and toys, but he has them all. I’m betting he doesn’t have this – the iRobot® Looj Robot Gutter Cleaning Robot. Yup, that’s right. A robot to clean your gutters. Here's a video of the Looj in action.

What could be cooler than that for the guy who has everything?


Unbelievable Guitar Wizard!

The legendary blues guitar hero, Buddy Guy, invites 8 year old guitar whiz, Quinn Sullivan, on stage for an impromptu jam.

After viewing that, I may never play guitar again. That kid is that good.


Guys you might meet...

My friend Ray sent me this video of the 11 guys you might meet at a pickup basketball game. I think I know some of these guys!

11 Guys At The Playground - Watch more free videos


New Family Member

This is Kaylee (click on the picture to view a larger pic). She's a Jenday Conure. She's still a baby, her birthday is June 1, 2007. She's quite friendly and seemed to be content with her new home.

We also have Sunshine, a.k.a. Scrappy, a Cockatiel. I think owning a full blown parrot is going to be a bit different than owning a cockatiel. But this should be fun.

Any bird owners out there with some tips for me?



We woke up this morning to find this little guy (gal?) swimming in our pool. Not sure how long he had been in there, but he was looking pretty tired. It was obvious he wanted out. It was also obvious he wasn't too thrilled with me. He kept hissing at me. But pretty quickly I figured out he was all bark and no bite. He was too tired and too desperate to complain too much. He needed my help, but he wasn't sure he really wanted my help. As soon as I picked him up and he realized he was safe, he was pretty happy. In fact, I had to struggle to get him out of my hand. He was wet, tired, shaking and worn out. I think the warmth and safety of my hand were reassuring to him.

It made me think of our relationship with God. It's so easy for Him to rescue us. But we aren't sure we want His help, yet how badly we need it. Once we allow Him to help us out, we realize how reassuring His presence is. We realize how much we actually need His assistance.

Tired of swimming all the time and trying to do everything yourself? What's stopping you from allowing God to give you hand?


Best Shadow Puppets Ever!

I was always horrible at shadow puppets. This takes it to a new all time high!


Back to School

Back to School time. Parents love it. Finally, Jr. is going back to school. I'm sure the retailers love Back to School time too. All the stuff that must be purchased is staggering. Clothes and uniforms, new shoes, notebooks, pens, pencils, protractors (Why do kids need a new protractor every single year? It's one of life's greatest mysteries.), locker locks, art supplies and of course the backpack. I'm not sure how I survived all my school years without a backpack, but they are required equipment now. Backpacks can be fairly pricey too. Gone are the days of a cheap backpack with a couple of pockets for supplies. Now they have padding, 758 different pockets, handles, heavy duty zippers, expanding panels and who knows what else. It can be quite the shopping experience to find just the right backpack.

Now in all honesty, my boys are pretty decent with their backpacks. They don't need a new one every year, they manage to go two or three years before needing a new one. So that's good. But this year, we needed a new backpack. So we headed out to an unnamed office supply store to get one (the store name is one word, named after an office supply that holds paper together. Starts with "S" and ends with "s"). After checking out the many options, we settled on just the right one. So we headed to the checkout with our backpack and few other miscellaneous bits.

The clerk began going through every pocket in the backpack. All 758 of them. Unzip each one, look inside, put his hand inside to check for stuff that I guess he couldn't see by looking, and zip it shut. All 758 of them. During this several minute process there's nothing to do but watch. I know good and well he's checking to make sure I'm not trying to steal something by hiding stuff in the backpack. I'm not a thief, but the clerk doesn't know that, so he has to check. Fair enough.

About half way through the process, the clerk looks at me and says, "I have to check to make sure all of the stuff that belongs in the backpack is still in here." What?!?! Did he really just say that? There's no stuff inside a backpack. It's not like a laptop case that has adjustable dividers and what not. And even if it did, how would the clerk know what dividers belonged with what backpack? There's only like 200 different backpacks to choose from. But I stood in there in shock when he said he was checking to make sure everything was there. I knew he was lying. I'm pretty sure he knew he was lying. And while he blamed his lie on store policy, I'm equally as certain the store doesn't want it's employees lying to the customers.
Why lie? Why not just admit the truth that you are checking to make sure all the pockets are empty? Or just saying nothing at all and do your job.

I wonder how often we tell a little white lie to try a make something seem better? Why do it at all? What's stopping you (and me) from just telling the truth, all the time? Of at least just keeping your mouth shut and don't say anything at all.



Only one month until Heroes starts up again! I can't wait.

Is it just me, or does this sound like a parallel to the gospel story too?


Apple Snobbery

No, I'm not talking about those over enthusiastic Apple fans with their iPhones, Macs and whatever else Steve Jobs can sell them. I'm talking about real apples. The kind you eat. Fruit.

It seems I've become an apple snob. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but it did. I think the journey started on the day I realized the Red Delicious Apples are the mealiest, nastiest apples on the planet. Why anyone would call those horrible things "Red Delicious" is beyond me. But the discovery that Red Delicious Apples aren't, is probably Harsh Marketing Lesson #2 (Harsh Marketing Lesson #1 here). But I don't think I was an apple snob, yet. I just didn't like Red Delicious Apples.

I pretty much ate most apples that came my way for years. But recently I started eating apples a lot more regularly. In fact I eat one apple a day as part of my lunch. Since I've been eating more apples, I've notice that I only like one apple - Gala. All the other apples seem inferior to that apple. Last week my wife did the grocery shopping and for some reason she didn't bring home Gala apples, but some other brand. With the first bite I knew it wasn't a Gala apple. It wasn't a bad apple. Still light years better than those nasty Red Delicious Apples (have you figured out I REALLY don't like those Red Delicious Apples yet?). All week long I ate these other apples and I noticed two things. Not only were the apples not quite as good as Gala, but the little stickers they put on them were a pain too. I gave up try to get them off the apples. They simply were too sticky. It was easier just to cut them off. Plus the writing on them was so small I couldn't tell what kind of apples they were anyway. Stupid.

This week we have Gala apples again. I'm happy. I don't know when I became such an apple snob, but I did. I'm happy with my Gala apples.

What are some of your favorite varieties?


Another Guitarist with a version of Pachelbel's Cannon

It seems like there's a million guitarists with a version of Pachelbel's Cannon in D - some have even been featured on this blog. This one is quite a bit different. He wrote some words. Very original. Maybe you can relate to some what he's saying - I did!

In case you are completely unaware of the Pachelbel's Cannon trend among guitarists, check out this video of a compilation of players.

[HT microexplosion]

22 Years Ago Today

22 Years ago today, I married my awesome wife, Linda.

Two boys, 2 houses, 2 Hondas (each), 22 years - and you're still the ONE!


Harsh Marketing Lesson #1

Sea-Monkeys are not monkeys.

We've all seen the cute commercial of these little creatures who live in the sea. For a few bucks you can have your very own colony of them. It's something that every kid has - or wants. And every kid who gets them learns the harsh lesson, sea-monkeys are not monkeys. They aren't cute. They don't have little families with a daddy, mommy and a couple of kids. They are brine shrimp. Definitely not cute. It's cruel lesson in the reality of marketing. The child learns that not all marketing firms tell the truth.

One has to wonder how in this day and age of lawsuits, how has this company not been sued for false advertising. I haven't done the marketing research, but I'm guessing a truthfully labled package of dried brine shrimp won't sell anywhere near as well as "sea-monkeys." Every generation this lesson must be learned again. Every generation there's a new group of kids whose hearts are broken when the much looked forward to sea-monkeys turn out to be ugly brine shrimp.

I guess the real question is, why do parents do this to their kids?


How would you like to get passed by this guy?

Imagine you are out for a nice ride in the mountains, then this goes by.

I wonder how many times you can cross the center line on a mountain road and still live to tell about it?


Explorer the World via Flickr

Microsoft has some technology called PhotoSynth. It allows you to pull many pictures together and experience the subject of those photos in a new way. Very cool. Watch the video and then try the demo.

[ht: MicroExplosion]


Slice and Dice Those Bugs

The good folks over at lifehacker suggest that you could keep a razor blade in your glove box to clean the bugs off your windshield. Hmmmm.... interesting.

I don't know about you, but there's no way I am going to go fumbling through my glove box looking for a razor blade. That's a great way to slice open your fingers. I can see the next traffic stop now.
Officer: Can I see your registration.
Me: (looking at the the glove box in fear) ummmmmm, nnnoooooooo?
Officer: (Suspiciously) You don't have one?
Me: (quickly) Oh I have one, you just can't see it.
Officer: (Incredulously) Why not?
Me: I hate bugs on my windshield.
Officer: What??????
Yup, pretty sure that ends badly - for me.

Secondly, there's no way I could possibly reach half way across the windshield of my Ridgeline to clean the windshield. I need that long handle on the squeegee to reach. Even with the squeegee, I can just barely reach the middle.

Thirdly, I'd probably get busted for having some type of concealed weapon. Will they let you park at the airport with such a devastating weapon? LOL.

Think I'll just use the squeegee. Seems better all around.

A laugh on Friday

We all need a good laugh now and again. I got really tickled at how the news guys started laughing at this video. Enjoy.


Funniest Hockey Brawl EVER

This is the funniest Hockey Brawl ever! Probably because they can barely stand on their skates to begin with. If this is what Pee Wee Hockey is like, I have to find a league around here a go and watch.

Pee Wee Hockey Brawl - Watch more free videos

I can't help but think of the Monte Phyton line "Run Away!" when watching this.


Recognizing Beauty

A recent article in the Washington Post describes a fascinating experiment: what would happen if the world’s greatest violin player set up camp at a Metro station in rush-hour Washington D.C.? Master musician Joshua Bell played anonymously for an hour on a $3.5 million violin in a D.C. subway station as part of an experiment to see how commuters would respond. Would busy commuters notice him? Dismiss him, toss him some spare change, gather to listen? Would anybody even notice that they were being treated to masterful renditions of some of the finest music in human history?

I wonder if I would have noticed? I'm not a classical music fan, but I try to notice craftsmanship when I see it - and Joshua Bell is certainly a craftsman.

I know we are busy on the way to work or our appointments for the day. But can we manage to take just a moment and recognize beauty and still be on time?

That's worth pondering about...

[ht: Think Christian]


Cool Quote...

I love basketball. I could go on and on about all the great things about basketball, but I'll save that for another day. But I saw this quote and because of the basketball analogy it made me stop and think...

"...it seems that God doesn't care about our short lists. He consistently taps the rejects. It's as if he were the captain of a pick-up basketball team, and he picks all the short heavy kids, just to prove that he can beat the other team all by himself. But then he manages to win the game as a team, just to prove he's not a ball-hog." Ryan Wiksell - The Core

I love that imagery. God picks us! The rejects. The people who couldn't win on their own. And then uses those same people to build a winning team.

Are you willing to let God pick you?


Vintage Footage of Indian Motorcycles

Board track racing was popular in the early 1900's. Many accidents and fatalities (to spectators as well as the racers) made this sport short lived. This video is 10 minutes of silent film footage of some motorcycle races of that era. This is the best footage I have EVER seen from this time period.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


Here's the link to the same video


Cheap Gas or Not?

Have you ever wondered whether you should put that 'cheap gas' into your expensive, pride and joy? I know you have. There are the good gas stations with the big name, the shiny building, and the clean floors. Then there are the other places. Not so nice, not so clean, but the gas is noticeably cheaper. Is it the same quality or not? That's the question. I mean, you get what you pay for, right?

I've had this conversation with various people through the years, usually about the time gas hits a new record high in price. I've noticed that motorheads, mechanics and people who are really into their vehicles, NEVER use the cheap gas. They always buy their gas from one of the big companies. People who aren't as obsessive about their cars, or they have an old beater they bang around in, don't seem to care as much and they buy the cheapest gas possible. Yet, both groups are convinced the other ones are crazy and their own method is far superior.

Last night I think I saw what would end this discussion for me... I had to stop and put gas in my bike. There's a Mobile station on my way home I usually use. The quick pay pass key is nice. It's convenient. The price is usually pretty good (not the absolute lowest, but cheaper than some). I'm filling up my bike when a tow truck pulls in to get gas. No biggie. But then I notice it's the Am Pm gas truck. Yea, the one from the Am Pm gas station. The guy is wearing the Am Pm uniform. He's got the Am Pm logo on the side of his truck. Put he doesn't put Am Pm gas in his truck, but Mobile gas. It's a good thing I had my helmet on and he couldn't see me laughing.

For the record, I have NEVER put Am Pm gas in my car. I'm convinced it's some of the worst stuff ever. I've had co-workers who had issues with the gas. I've got friends on motorcycle boards who swear it's caused them problems. I've got mechanic friends that won't even look at Am Pm gas stations. So I stay away. And obviously the Am Pm tow truck operator feels the same way.

That's some thing to ponder next time you need to fill up.

So what gas do you use? Am Pm? Mobile? Something else? What ever is cheapest?


Email Subscription

You can now sign up for an email subscription. You will get an email everytime this blog is updated. If you're not using an RSS reader (which I highly recommend), this might be a good way to keep up with the updates here.

I will NEVER sell your email address. I hate SPAM at least as much as you do.

How Thought Provoking Can You Be Every Day?

Think Before You Blog


Perfection in the Morning Commute

It's early in the morning. Very early. It's just beginning to get light outside. It is that in between time when it’s no longer night, but not yet day.

I step into the garage and push the button for the garage door. I’m annoyed by how the noise of the old garage door opener destroys the stillness of the morning. There’s no music or rhythm to the clatter – it’s just noise.

I began to put on my gear. I’ve done it so many times, it’s simply habit. My hands quickly perform their task, almost with no instruction from my brain. I don my jacket. The snug, comfortable fit is familiar, almost like an old friend. The body armor slides perfectly into place. The act of zipping the jacket and fastening the Velcro around my neck and wrists is so natural, so automatic; I don’t even have to think about it. I pick up my helmet and a quick tug of the straps pulls it on my head. The quick lock strap snaps firmly into place. I pick up my gloves and pull them on. The fit is snug but comfortable. More Velcro straps hold them firmly in place.

I swing my leg over the bike and settle into the seat. Over time the foam of the seat is worn to just the right shape. Comfortable. Familiar. Just right. My hands find their way to the grips. A quick glance shows that the mirrors are perfectly adjusted. A little choke. A quarter blip of the throttle. The key is turned to the on position and my thumb hits the starter. Instantly the bike rumbles to life. The deep sound of the exhaust is sweet. The rhythm of the 4 cylinders… The burble of the exhaust… The mechanical noise of the engine… The slight vibration in the handle bars… All of these individual pieces come together to form a symphony of rhythm and sound. The song is well known by my ears. But like an old favorite that never gets tired, it still brings a smile to lips and it lightens my heart.

I roll the bike backwards down the driveway. Close the garage door. Pull in the clutch and gently push down on the shift lever. The bike drops into first gear. I gently ease out the clutch and slowly roll out of the neighborhood. The cool morning air is refreshing. I gather speed as I make my way to the freeway. I roll up the on-ramp and the bike effortlessly goes around the corner. Up on to the freeway, I readily find a spot to merge. It’s pretty easy at this time of day, not too many cars – yet.

The bike moves with just a thought. Accelerating. Changing lanes. Braking. Merging. It all seems to happen so smoothly, so effortlessly. It is as if the rider and machine are one. I’m focused on the traffic. No radio. No cell phone. Just man, machine and the music they create together. It’s as close to perfection as I can imagine. It’s that feeling. It’s that state of oneness. It’s that state of perfection… that’s why I ride.

Today's ride is simply to work. I'm not fortunate enough to enjoy a ride to the mountians on this day. But even a simple ride to work, can make an otherwise mundane workday perfect.

Happy Independence Day!

God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood.


What's in a Name?

Coming home from work today I passed an old, decrepit bus. It looked like an old school bus that had been painted grey and pushed into service by a company named “Elite Transportation.” Yup, Elite Transportation… An old, beat up school bus… The occupants looked crowded, uncomfortable and hot as they bounced down the freeway. I’m not quite sure what was so elite about that.

Make sure the name of your company matches the product or service you provide. It’s common sense and a courtesy to your customers. You do want those customers to come back, don't you?

What’s Tripping You Up?

I’ve been getting up (or trying to get up) early in the morning and go walking. I clearly need the exercise. But sometimes it’s really hard to get up long before sunrise and exercise. My deepest desire at 4 am is NOT walking! If I don’t give into the temptation for a bit more sleep, I get up, get dressed and don my MP3 player and then hit the road. I have a loop I can do around the local neighborhood that’s 1.5 miles. It’s early, so I don’t have to worry too much about cars - other than the paper delivery guy.

I’ve noticed then when I walk I have a tendency to devote too much attention to the ground right in front of me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to watch where you are going. But I sometimes find all my focus just a few feet in front of me. When I am doing that, I notice every crack in the asphalt, every weed that’s growing, every piece of trash, every fallen leaf and every oil stain left by a parked car. And guess what, there are lots of them. The road takes a lot of abuse between the cars, the weather and the ground shifting. The road looks like it’s quite a mess.

I’ve also noticed that when I lift my eyes and look down the road, to where I’m going – all that mess – all those cracks – all those oil stains, they all disappear. I can’t even see them anymore. The road now looks just fine. It’s smooth, flat and perfectly adequate for the task. My goal is now the next corner, not the next crack or oil stain.

What an enormous difference a change of perspective makes!

Are the cracks and oil stains of life tripping you up? Is that all you can see? Does everything look broken and messed up? If so, may I suggest a change of perspective? Lift up your head. Look to the goal. Don’t let the little cracks and stains of this life trip you up.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)


The Perfect Man Hug

Do you know how to do the perfect man hug?

Now you do.



Now for something completely different

I ran across this and found out my two sons have no idea who Cheech and Chong are! What's the world coming to? The crazy part, is they have some Mexican blood in them. I guess it's time for them to learn a bit of their culture.


Brilliant or ......

I couldn't stop watching this. It's brilliant and strange at the same time. Very creative.

This is the Austrian brass ensemble "Mnozil Brass" performing in Austria.

Does anyone else miss Freddie Mercury?


New Music

Are you the kind who likes to find new music? To discover the new artist before all your friends do? If so, you should check out Amie St. The community rates the music of new artists wanting to be discovered. The higher a song is rated, the more it costs. All the way up to 99 cents. The new undiscovered music can be had for free or very cheaply. No DRM either. Whoo Hooo.

Definately worth checking out - Amie St.


NBA Finals

I'm a huge basketball junkie. I live for this time of year and all the hype and excitment. The only problem is -- this year there is little to no excitment.

Tonight's game between the Cleveland Cavs and the San Antonio Spurs was close. But it tied for the lowest scoring game EVER during the finals. Not exactly exciting. The series is now 3-0 in favor of the Spurs. Are we looking at a sweep? Probably...

It's going to be a long a summer while I wait for football to start.


Cool Words

I have a pen in front of me that says “Liquid Gel Ink” on the side. Liquid Gel? What is that? Gel is kind of half way between liquid and solid. So is Liquid Gel half way between liquid and gel? I have this urge to cut the pen open and see what this mystery ink is, but I’m afraid of the mess I’ll have to clean up. Maybe after I use more of the ink out of the pen. Plus it’s kind of a good pen.

I think marketers reuse existing words to describe new inventions, when in reality they should get a new word. Take for instance gel pens. What is the difference between gel ink and regular ink? I supposed a quick internet search will reveal that answer, but it’s more fun to think about it bit first. When I think of gel, I think of something that is too thick to be used as ink, it wouldn’t flow out of the pen properly. So gel ink must be a very liquidy (there’s a new word for you) gel. Maybe a better description would be a thick liquid.

But there’s the problem. Thick liquid is not cool. In fact when I think of thick liquids most of them are gross. More like gunk than gel. Who wants gunk in their pen? On the other hand, gel is cool. Hair gel makes you look better. The gel in the wrist rest at your keyboard is helpful. Gel is good, maybe even cool. Gunk is decidedly uncool. So the marketer uses the term “liquid gel” – even though it’s probably not an accurate description – it’s a description we understand that might even be cool.

So where does this leave the person who is trying to communicate the truths of a loving God? Are we so busy trying to find cool descriptions that we miscommunicate? Do we use words that are technically accurate, but fail to make a connection or an impact? Maybe that’s why Jesus told so many stories. Stories capture our attention and make an impact. Stories definitely communicate in a way that a technical description never could.

How do you communicate the good news? Do you have great stories about God that you can tell? Not something that happened way back when, but current stories. It’s definitely worth pondering about…


Radical Environmentalism

Global Warming. We’ve all heard about. Is it real? Is it the result of man’s presence on the earth? Is there anything we can do about it? It seems there are more questions than solid answers. Oh, there are lots of theories, but many of them seem to be light on the science. Of course there’s always the question of do we even really understand what’s happening on our planet? Does anyone remember the coming ice age in the late 70’s and early 80’s? What happened with that?

Regardless of your position on Global Warming, most rational people believe we need to take care of the planet. Almost all of us believe this. Were we differ is “how?” How do we take care of the planet? Is it ok to hunt whales? How many can be hunted? Is it ok to cut down trees? How many? Is it ok to go off-roading in the desert? How many vehicles should there be and where should they be allowed to go? The how is tough.

I’ve always considered myself a person who tried to do their part in taking care of the environment. I try not to be wasteful. I recycle. Even before the city provided separate containers for the recyclables we were recycling bottles, cans and newspaper. I try to purchase products that don’t have extra packaging or are made from recycled materials. But I have to ask myself if what I am doing is really making a difference? Sometimes I feel like this "For Better or Worse" cartoon. (click on it to see it bigger)

There are lots of people who are much more active in environmental issues than I am. Some are pretty radical and some are very radical. Some are border line terrorists. I’m usually not a big fan of radical. I prefer balanced. “What’s a balanced approached?” is a question I am more likely to ask. Is there a way to hunt some whales, but not drive them to extinction? Is there a way to cut trees for lumber without destroying all our forests? Theoretically the answer is yes. And as a Christian I believe that God put us here to take care of the planet. Yes, we can use its resources, but we also need to protect and preserve it. So again, the “how” is hard.

Lately, I’ve really be struggling with the environmentalism thing. What should the individual be doing? Should I be doing more? Or is what I am doing enough? Maybe I was too influenced by the best PSA (Public Service Announcement) of all time.
If you listen to the radicals, no I’m not doing enough. But I’m not sure they are recommending a healthy, balanced approach either. This whole thing of carbon credits just seems silly and contrite.

The other day Seth Godin posted a GREAT thought about the current movement to protect the environment. Once again he cuts through junk and comes down the real issue. All our lives we are asked to do more. But all of the sudden they want us to do less to protect the environment. We don’t do less. We only do more. Read the [More] or (Less) article here. He’s nailed it! That’s what is wrong with the current approach. Ask me to do something to help. Don’t ask me to do less. I don’t do less.

As Christians do we have more, or less, responsibility to care for the environment? I tend to think it’s more. God gave the planet to us to take care of (have dominion over). The question is what can I do to make a difference? Is writing letters to congressmen or business leaders saying we need to do something enough? Is recycling enough? Do I need to buy a hybrid car? Is replacing all my lights with low energy fluorescents enough? Do I need to purchase all new energy efficient appliances? If I do need to buy new appliances, isn’t it wasteful to get rid of the old ones when they still work? The “how” is still hard. But basically I think we need to know what “more” can I do AND where is the balance?

Anyone? … Bueller? …


Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day.

Thank you to all the soldiers who have served. Today we honor those who gave all for us.


Why annoy people?

Have you seen the Sonic Drive In ads on TV? Are these the most annoying advertisements ever? Ok, that may be a bit strong. Maybe they are just currently the most annoying ads on TV, not the most annoying of all time. Why would I want to buy food from a place that features idiots? The only thing that I've learned from their ads is that eating Sonic food makes you stupid. Probably not what they had intended. Furthermore, there's not a Sonic within 150 miles of me (the farthest I could search on their website), so why are they even showing me these ads?

Is it ever a good idea to annoy people? What if the matter is important, not just some silly fast food advertisement - is it ok then? What if it has to do with eternal matters, is it ok then? Or is there a better way to reach people besides being annoying?

Just as I am sure there is a better way for Sonic to convince me to eat their food, I am sure that being annoying won't convince non-believers about a God who loves them.

What commercial annoys you the most?


Which Guitar?

If you like to switch between an acoustic and electric guitars during your set, you now have a new option.

The Ovation VXT

Sweet Seymour Duncan '59 humbuckers for that electric crunch and a Fishman Power Bridge for a tasty acoustic sound.

I want one!


Mess with Your Friends

Are you a practical joker? Do you like playing jokes on your friends? I mean the really good jokes. The ones they will talk about for years. Yea, I knew you were like that.

This might be the joke of all jokes. Imagine you are having a party and one of your friends needs to use the facilities. You politely tell them where the restroom is and begin to snicker as they walk away. Little do they know your bathroom has a hidden toilet. Yup, that's right - a hidden toilet. Imagine your friends frustration walking around your bathroom trying to find the toilet. [begin sarcasm] Imagine the hilarity that will ensue when they have to come back sheepishly and tell you they couldn't find the toilet. Oh yeah, you're the man. [end sarcasm]

Seriously, why would someone invent something like this? I might be able to undestand this if you lived in a one room house, but other than that - isn't the toilet hidden enough by being in a separate room? I for one say, "yea - that should be hidden enough." Furthermore, who wants to have to slide the veneer wood cover back and forth everytime you use the bathroom?

Just incase you really want one of these - see more pics here.

I wonder how many Christian's operate in a similar mode. They hide their Christianity and try to blend in. They only slide back the veneer and show what they are in dire circumstances. That can't be a good thing.


10 Divinely Designed Churches

Neatorama (neat name.... sorry...) has an interesting post about 10 cool churches. Not sure I agree with every one on the list, but there are some cool structures here.

10 Divinely Designed Churches

picture: Interior HDR of Notre Dame (Image Credit: mircea tudorache [Flickr])


Interesting Choice

I never thought of comparing the two to each other, but I can see where they would be similar.

Using Wndows Vista is Torture


Back in the day

I didn't write this, but I wish I had. It's just so true. Enjoy.

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking Twenty-five miles to school every morning ... uphill BOTH ways .. yadda, yadda, yadda… And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter ... with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like "Space Invaders" and "asteroids" and the graphics sucked!! Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed!

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Sunday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little brats!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire ... imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid JiffyPop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled.

You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!



This is from Serious Magic's (now Adobe's) DV Rack software. Usually these things are boring to read, but this has to be the most entertaining readme file I've ever seen...

Oh, good.... You're reading this file. You are indeed a wise person who takes direction well. Blessings be upon you!


All the captured video clips in this folder (and any subfolders in it) must remain unmodified and exactly where they are for DV Rack to fully and properly function. You see, DV Rack has an internal Database that puts the clips here and this Database bloody well expects them to still be here the next time it comes around looking for them. Pay attention because this Database has a personality much like the deity figure in some religions (say, Pan or Loki). It is a singularly temperamental, unforgiving, and capricious Database Deity. It knows how to Smite and, trust us, you don't want any smiting going on around your clips. The only way to make the Database Deity cranky is to mess with the clips it puts here in this one folder.

Editing, deleting, or renaming these clips will result in inexplicable, random, and very likely BAD and NAUGHTY behavior on the part of DV Rack. No kidding, this normally elegant and refined software will start acting like a petulant three-year-old who is hours past nappy time and just had its ice cream taken away. No one wants that! So PLEASE do not perform any of these actions on any clips in this folder. However, if DV Rack is not running, you can use Windows to copy of one or more clips in this folder to somewhere else on your hard drive (outside the DV Rack folders). But don't even THINK about ever putting them back here.

The instant, easy, proper (and painless) way to get your clutches on these clips is to first use the magic "Eject" button in the DVR. DV Rack will graciously take the clips from the evil clutches of the Database and put them next door, over in the "Ejected Clips" folder. Life is easy over there. No rules. No consequences. No three-year-olds.

So remember, don't touch the clips unless they're in the "Ejected Clips" folder or the "Garbage Clips" folder. If you do, don't come crying to us like a three-year-old who just had its ice cream taken away. You have been warned...

The DV Rack Team Thanks You For Your Most Benevolent Cooperation

I'd read more readme's if they were like this one.


The Perfect Evening?

Surely none of us have ever used these lines with our significant others. Be sure to listen closely to the words...

[ht The Wonderful Noise]


Kool-Aid in the dishwasher?

Lifehacker had an interesting link today. Apparently you can put lemon Kool-Aid in your dishwasher to clean out the mineral deposits. The red Kool-Aid is not recommended.

Who does this kind of stuff? Who sits around all day wondering what kind of weird things can we do with lemon Kool-Aid? How many small applicances have to be sacrificed in the experiments? Just curious...

I guess the bigger question is "How come lemon Kool-Aid will clean your dishwasher, but not your dishes?"

[ht: Lifehacker]


Does it work?

Something has been bothering me about Easter this year. I have difficult question to ask of other church leaders. Yea, I know, Easter is over - give it rest. This is the last post on Easter - I promise (well, until next year).

Many churches pull out ALL the stops for Easter. They do up it big. Video, drama, music, dance, etc. It's probably the most produced service of the year. Now there is no doubt that Easter is an important event for Christians to remember. But sometimes it seems like we go overboard on this event. It's crazy huge.

The reason I often hear given for such a big event is, "many people come this week and we have capture their attention so they will come back." Ok, I can go with that, but here is where the question comes....

Does it work? How many of these people who only come on Easter come back the following weeks? Really, I want to know.

Suppose someone wanders in to your church on Easter. The service is perfect in every way. They are really touched. They vow to come back next week and they do. What will they see and experience? I'm betting in most of our churches there would be a serious difference between Easter and the next week. Now there's nothing wrong with having a big day or celebration. Chances are the birthdays in our homes are different than the non-birthdays. That's cool. But does the big event work? Will the person feel cheated because the next week's service isn't the same huge event?

A very smart man (Albert Einstien) is quoted as saying "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Yet each Easter we just about kill ourselves, and the other volunteers and staff, to reach all these people who will pack out the church, but it must not work. Because the next week where are all the people? It just seems to me that we are doing something incorrectly here. Our method doesn't seem to be working... Is it working at your church?

Now, just for the record. Our church doesn't do the huge, huge Easter service. We try to have a nice service. Well done. A few extra features, but it's more inline with a 'regular' service - whatever that means. Is the big event working for you at your church? From my local friends at other churches, I'd say not. But I'd like to hear some other opinions. BTW, if it's working for you - then PRAISE GOD! Keep doing what you are doing!!!


What is Easter anyway?

As you are probably well aware, the 15 British sailors and marines were released by the Iranian government today. Naturally, I am very happy to see a peaceful resolution to the situation.

But did you notice what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave as part of the reason for the decision to release them?
"On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet (Muhammad) ... and for the occasion of the passing of Christ ..." he said, referring to the Muslim prophet's birthday last Saturday and Easter, next Sunday.

Easter is not a rememberance of the passing of Christ, it's the resurrection. I wonder if that was a slip of his tongue, an intentional swipe at Christian beliefs or just ignorance of what Christian's believe. I'll probably never know which one it was.

I wonder how many people have no idea what Easter is really about. Is it colored eggs? Freaky bunnies? Strange indestructable candy peeps? That seems to be what the holiday is all about.

I wonder how many people know what Easter is really about?

I guess the real question, is how many people am I going to tell?


Interesting Guitar

Pretty cool work. Hopefully he will use his talent for things other than the Mario Brothers theme song.


91% of Americans believe in God

A recent Newsweek poll reveals some interesting information.
A belief in God and an identification with an organized religion are widespread throughout the country, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion. Christians far outnumber members of any other faith in the country, with 82 percent of the poll’s respondents identifying themselves as such.
Read the entire Newsweek article here.

Wow! 91% of Americans believe in God.
87% identify with a specific religion.

That's great!

But I have a question. When was the last time 91%, or even 87%, of the people in your community were at church during weekend services? I bet most communities average numbers much closer to single digit percentages. What have we done wrong in our churches that cause so many people to say they believe in God, yet so few show that belief?

That's worth pondering about. If you have an idea, I'd like to hear it. I'd like to make sure my church isn't making that mistake.


Bolivia has a Navy???

Who knew? One assumes that countries with coastlines have a Navy and landlocked countries do not. Bolivia, being in the later group, usually would not have a Navy. For those who are geographically challenged, here is a map. That purple area in about the middle of South America is Bolivia. Click on the map for a bigger image.

Since Bolivia does not have coastal access, one would naturally assume there is no need for a Navy. In this case it's not that simple. Bolivia used to have access to the sea. In 1879 Chile "acquired" the land that used to be Bolivia's, removing their coastal access.

Bolivia has not given up hope. They maintain their Navy, even though they have no seaport or ocean going ships, as a way to remember. They continue to hope that some day they will have access to the sea, and once again they will need a Navy.

Read more about the Bolivian Navy here

When my wife stumbled across this story, we shared a couple of good chuckles regarding the Bolivian Navy. Ok, we laughed so hard our eyes watered. It's an easy target. The mental pictures the Bolivian Navy paddling around the lakes and rivers pretending to be out on the ocean, waiting for the day they can grow up and be real sailors are too funny.

After the laughter faded, I was thinking about the Bolivian Navy. Their refusal to give up can be looked at two ways. The first is with laughter or even scorn that they wasting their time. Engaged in a futile endeavor. No hope. The second way is that they are persistent. They have a dream, a desire, and they will not let go. There's a fine line between chasing dreams and being crazy. Which is the Bolivian Navy doing? I don't know..... I guess if they some day get their coastal access back, we will praise their persistence. Until then, we'll probably share a few chuckles at their expense.

How does one know when they are chasing a dream? Or when they've actually gone off the deep end and have no chance? Does it matter? Most would scoff if I announced that I was going to chase a dream to be an NBA player. Not much chance of that for an old, white guy who can't jump. How should good friends react to something like that? Let me proceed in my folly? Or help me understand that I don't have a chance? In this ridiculous example the answer may be easier to determine than some other situations. But the question is worth considering. How do we know when we should intervene or not? It's not always easy.

As Christians, how do we know when we should let our friends know that chasing money, fame and fortune in the life is not the best use of their time and effort? Will they believe us? Will they understand? How do we let them know there are better more productive things they can be doing for God? That's not so easy....


Guitar, Guitar, Guitar

I love great guitar players. This is a clip from the 2001 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Do you recognize the players in the video?
It's Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne do "My Guitar Gently Weeps". Prince has a great solo at the end. I'm not a Prince fan, but I'm just about convinced he is one of the better guitar players of our time. George Harrison's son is playing acoustic guitar.


How Would You Introduce Jesus?

This is how Steve Harvey would introduce Jesus. How would you do it?

[ht the wonderful noise]


Crime Enforcement Services

Passed a car on the way home the other day. It was one of those security company cars that they try to make look as much like a cop car as they can. This one had big yellow letters that said “Crime Enforcement Services.” Now what exactly does the fellow driving the Crime Enforcement Services car do? Does he pull into a neighborhood and say “There’s not enough crime here. I’m here to enforce more crime.”? Does he help convince people that are thinking of committing a crime to go ahead and do it?

What a strange name for a security company. They definitely need to hire a better marketing company.

I know that computer people are famous for doing this too. We use words that people understand and know in ways that don’t make sense to non-computer people. We talk about putting something onto the print queue or starting/stopping a service or some other obscure thing. And the users don’t care about a queue or a service. They just want a piece of paper to spit out of the printer with their data on it. I’m sure that people who hire a security guard from Crime Enforcement Services don’t want to hear about Enforcement Service, they want a security guard to protect them.

I think many Christians are guilty of doing the same thing. Certainly Christians have a whole bunch of words that are difficult to understand. In fact, there’s a whole jargon of Christianese that people would need to learn to understand what we are talking about. Why would we want to do that? Do we think it makes us look intelligent? I don’t think it makes us look intelligent.


Help Desk

I work for a big company. We have lots of facilities in lots of states. We have a lot of different types of people working for the company. Everything from people building hardware (assembly work), to machinists, to engineers, to computer scientists, to accountants, to managers, to…. well you get the idea. We have at least one of just about everything.

In a company this large, it’s probably difficult to do some things. One thing that is apparently very difficult, is managing the computers. Some of the people at the company are quite computer proficient, some think they are proficient and are not, and some have no clue. I’m sure that makes the problem harder.

One of the things the company has done is roll out a Help Desk, a single place where you can get help if you need it. Theoretically, it’s a good idea. In practice, it doesn’t work so well. Unless your problem is the ultra-simple, my computer is not plugged into the electrical outlet, the folks at the help usually can’t help and simply refer you to someone else. Furthermore, they email you a message telling you how to get in touch with them. So unless you print out at the email and save it, when your computer doesn’t work, you have no idea how to reach them anyway. Wouldn’t it make more sense to print out a little laminated card and give it to everyone? Nah, that would be too easy.

But here’s the kicker. A little while back they actually sent out an email that listed the email address of who we should contact when we can’t get online! Yes, I said what you think I said. Think about that for second. How can I send email to someone when I can’t get online?!?! If it had been April Fool’s, that would have been great. A classic even. But since it wasn’t, all I could think about was Dilbert. Surely someone must have realized that wasn’t going to work. And these are the people who are supposed to help me with my computer problem. I’m hosed.

I wonder if sometimes Christians do the same thing. People who aren’t believers think about life a different way than believers do. Does that make it difficult for us to communicate? Do Christians think they are saying helpful things, but those ideas simply don’t make sense to the non-believer? Or are we able to relate with them an effective manner?

That’s worth pondering about for a while….


If only....

I guess we can hope and pray this will happen someday.

What do you think it would take to make this a reality?


Driving the Rain

Yesterday I had to leave the motorcycle at home and drive the truck to work because it was raining. It occurred to me on the way to work that something like 40 bajillion people in Los Angeles and something like 28 of us can drive in the rain.

Today the weather man assurred us it was going to rain again. So I brought the truck. However, now that the sun is up, there isn't a cloud in the sky. Arrrggghhhh......