Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It's no fun being broke. I'd like to buy lunch today, but I'm broke.
I'd like to get our van fixed today...and I'm going to...and I'll charge it on our credit card, something we never had to do before this year, because we weren't broke.
I'd like to buy a nice little funny gift to send to my friend in Ireland (two other friends are going out to visit him today) but I'm broke.
I'd like to surprise Annie with some flowers, but I'm broke.
I'm broke as a joke.
As tall as Manute
As short as Herve
As funny as The Office
as great as Saget
as bad as a Paulie Shore movie
as bad as the Bengals are
as cool as Paul Newman
as stubbly as Brad Wise
as cute as Parker
and short lived as New Coke....
That's how broke I am.

But considering the fact that I'm richer than 97% of the world's population...maybe I should stop whining about what I don't have.

I'm complaining about being broke while I'm typing this out in a heated house on an oak table under a second floor full of bedrooms...and did I mention I'm doing this all on my laptop computer?

Perspective, it's not just what's for dinner

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Get Rich Quickly!!!

You'll thank me later...

Here's what you do. First you pull up a list of every coach you can find. Pull up all the division one football and basketball coaches, and then the list of pro football and basketball coaches, and you put them in order of importance. You put the coaches of the big programs with a history of incredible seasons in the middle. You put the coaches of teams that are consistently at the bottom (the kind with one winning season every ten years) at the bottom of the list. Typically those teams don't have much of a following, so they're not as valuable on this list.

On the very top of the list you'll want to put all of the coaches of teams with a great history, who just happen to be really bad right now. This is a very important group to you for these purposes.

Now, go out to or one of those cheap site name deals and start buying up sites. buy up sites and just wait for the dollars to start pouring in.

The coaches at the top of the list are probably already taken - that's why they're at the top of the list. It's still worth checking, because this is money in your pocket today. Where the real money comes in, the putting your kids through college or paying off your mortgage in 8 years kind of money - is in buying the sites for coaches that are in year one. If you bought one for Charlie Weis a couple of years ago, you're already ahead of the curve. That's the genius of this plan, each site cost $3-$4. Multiply that by hundreds of sites and you've invested a lot of money.

The secret is keeping the money invested. You've got to lose a little up front to make a barrel full in the end. If you keep it in there just like you kept your microsoft stock in there 20 years ago, it'll pay HUGE!!

just be patient....and you can thank me later

you're welcome

Monday, October 29, 2007

so what's for lunch?

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles this way:

“Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.”

When someone asked him which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, “The one I feed the most.”

Friday, October 26, 2007


Big weekend.
Buddha's in town.
Mother in law is in town.
Our big day away for Alpha is tomorrow.
Hanging with friends on Sunday.
Writing 7 talks by Monday.
Griff is on day three of strep
life is busy...

But thanks to some great friends - I now have a light that hangs from my dining room ceiling...and a roof that doesn't leak. Griff also appears to be getting better...

Life is good.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the ears of a 20 year old

They have a new ring tone that you can download now that's only supposed to be heard by young folk. It's called the stealth tone.

It was originally designed as a deterrent for young gang types. They would blare this high pitched sound in areas so that the young hoodlum types would keep their distance and not steal their valuables.

So back to the ring tone. I heard this awful sound that could only be described as a splinter in my mind. It was incredibly annoying and it was driving me nuts. I asked if anyone else had heard it, and sure enough the speaker for the evening - who happens to be a bit older than me - had no idea what I was talking about. Finally a young guy told me that it was his ring tone.

It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about...and then it occurred to me that this was the ring for the youngsters! This was the phone that only the hip kiddos could hear. This is something that was hidden from the man. The po po and all the squares would never catch on. Only people like me....the youthful types....only us kids would hear this ring tone.

It went from incredibly annoying to awesome in that moment of realization.

It was like a little electronic fountain of youth.

I'll take it...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


So I've got a lamp that's not hanging from my dining room ceiling. Tomorrow would be a good day to give that another shot - I'll be home with a sick kid - Griff has that's no good.

The thing is, I can't really hang up a lamp when right above that ceiling is our upstairs ceiling that has a watermark that's growing by the hour. Me thinks we have a leak...

another house problem that we'll eventually fix and no one will notice. It's like when we replaced the air conditioner or the garage door opener. It's nice to have them working again, but it's no fun to get new stuff that's just kind of the same ol 'thing. I don't like putting in new things just to take care of a problem. I'd rather spend my time putting together new things that make a positive difference. I know having a roof that doesn't leak is positive - but I guess I'm saying that I'd rather put some money into something, or some time, or some energy...and have it be the fun new thing.

I'd rather spend a few thousand dollars on a hot tub or a new deck - than on an air conditioner. "Hey, come on over and see my new cold air!" it just doesn't get me that excited.

This is my struggle. I get way more excited about stuff I can show off.

I'm the definition of superficial...or maybe it's just the society that I live in. I read an e-mail from a guy visiting a family in a country where it's a big deal if you have your very own candle. With a candle you can light a room. Light is a big deal.

I'm complaining about a water that's me...

did you really think I'd put this on here?

Cool Myspace Generators

Steve is speaking at Alpha this week - if I put his first chapter online I can't imagine what he'd do or say to me...

I'll let you know when the book comes out and paste a link to the website I'm creating to sell friend's books.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I've been thinking about a post I read recently. Here's a couple of lines from the post: I've decided not to write books at this stage in my life because I'm not ready. It's too much about me; it's too much about my fame; it's too much about getting people to love me. Before I write my first book, it needs to be more about Jesus, and less about my personal goals and career aspirations.

This is a part of a much larger post where he sets up and follows this section.
The thing is, I agree with it and think it was well written. What's got me scratching my head is that it was written on a public blog by a fella that has a job speaking in front of big groups, and a ministry where he stands up and speaks in front of big groups.

People aren't buying books like they used to. Blogs are popping up everywhere. You could make a decent argument that if you wanted to have a lot of people read your stuff, you should put together a decent blog instead of writing a book. If you want to attract a crowd, you should speak at events and work your way up into a leadership position with some organization.

I should mention that I actually have a blog. No, seriously...I do. I call it a Web Log, but the kids have shortened that because who really wants to say six letters and two syllables when you can say 4 and 1? Not only do I have a blog, but I spoke at a couple of events this month, and will be traveling a bit to speak at some events next month.

So maybe I can relate to the same sort of struggle that my friend eluded to. I struggle throughout life with motives and intentions.

I know a few artists, and I've never heard of one of them being asked why they paint. I know some musicians and I've never heard of one of them being asked why they play their music. I know some quilters and...ok, I sort of wonder about that one. (but I loves me some warm quilts) I get asked all the time why I blog. A lot of the people who ask me why I would blog end up creating their own blogs. A bunch of them have their own little creative/artistic/interesting little outlets. For some reason, the blog is constantly called into question.

And that's what I'm doing today.

It's a vent. It's a way to record thoughts. It's fun. It's a way to promote. It's a way to communicate thoughts and ideas. It's just something I do.

So back to the post. The idea of staying out of the spotlight and announcing that in a blog just seems sort of contradictory.

I have a friend that has a bit of a following and he really wants to not become the focus of anything. At one point he started a blog as a way to communicate his ideas, but then felt like it was something that he would struggle with (the spotlight of having some sort of a following) So he stopped....but now he has a weekly podcast, so go figure.

So if not wanting to be the focus, or to step into the spotlight would keep me from writing a book...why would I blog? Why would I be a public speaker or leader?

Maybe a book seems like a much bigger thing? Ultimately it's hard to know. I'd hate for my friend not to write his book, because selfishly I'd love to read it. His blog has been one of my favorites for the past year or so. I'd guess that he could inspire many people to action because of his words. He would probably hope the same thing for his why not finish the book? Why not put himself out there and take the risk? Why not write the book under the name, Michael Scott? That actually would solve a lot of the problem right there.

See what I did? I just started typing and out came the answer...I guess I'm done now?

Friday, October 19, 2007

2 truths and a lie

I once owned a plaid 1974 Super Beetle
The University of Tennessee offered me a partial scholarship in their Ag department
I bungee jumped in Pensacola Florida

you decide...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

an inconvenient post

One estimate I've recently seen has the internet taking over 5% of the World's electricity. Most of our electricity comes from fossil or nuclear fuels - which makes the argument for electric cars interesting.

Having said that - I know people get on Al Gore for touring the globe on a private jet - going from one of his three or four 10,000 square foot houses to another, lecturing on how we're to conserve energy. He rationalizes all that by saying he's putting a lot of money towards things that help offset his using 73 times the energy that an average American uses. It's like the neighbor who waters the lawn even though they're telling everyone to minimize their water use because of the drought - but he rationalizes it because he's also buying bottled water from another county. That argument is getting old. We get the hypocrisy.

I want to suggest another angle.

Over 5% of the World's electricity is from the internet.
Al Gore invented the internet.
I think Al actually created this problem so he could spend his life talking about how bad the problem is, and then travel on private jets and live in 10,000 square foot houses and win a bunch of prizes.

It's like the new Superman movie where Lex Luther builds his own continent and he creates a land shortage in other parts of the world - so he can sell property.

I guess what I'm saying is that Al Gore is Lex Luther.
It's so obvious - it's been staring us all right in the face.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I can't figure out the knuckleball. I became a big fan of it when I started following Tim Wakefield when he was a rookie with the Pirates. Tim was about to get cut from his minor league team as a first basemen when he started messing around one day with a knuckleball. His manager told him he'd never even make it to double A as a first basemen, so he gave pitching a shot.

15 years later he's still doing it.

So why wouldn't you go out and see if you could throw a knuckleball? I've met some pretty solid college athletes and one thing I've noticed is that they often have crazy hand eye coordination. They often can do many sports well and it's because of their balance and speed. Having said that, it's silly how stupid a good knuckleballer can make a professional baseball player, by just throwing a 65 mph baseball.

You might be able to do the exact same thing. What if you discovered that you could weakly toss a ball across the plate in such a way that it darts and dives and occasionally even seems to rise? You could be in the bigs one year from now. If you make it onto an American League team (lesser league with the hated DH) you wouldn't even have to hit...because let's face it, you can't hit.

It's just one little thing. You'll get a free hat, jersey and parking pass to the a bunch of cash. It's actually a pretty good deal.

Just thought I'd mention it...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Zombie Haiku

An old friend of mind recently had a book published. He'll have something to put on his shelves for years and when people pass by, he can answer the question, "Hey Ryan, why do you have an entire bookcase full of 350 copies of the same book?" with "Oh, I forgot those were even there...that's just a book I wrote...that's all....I'm surprised you even noticed it"

I went to a conference once and heard an amazing speaker. I went up to him after his talk and asked him what book I had to read. This guy had a silly amount of info up in the 'ol cabeza, so I figured he'd read a book or two in his time. I wanted to know what was at the top of his list.
He mentioned a few that were big influences and we started talking about different things he'd learned. Then he mentioned another book...and hesitated. He said, "Actually that one is out of print..." and then went looking through his stuff. He pulled out the book and said, "here, you can have this one" This guy was a big deal. It was kind of a big deal that I was even able to sneak up and talk with him at all. Here he was giving me the copy of a great book that was out of print....his personal copy.

I figured out later why - his name was on the book. He probably had a few extra copies.

I heard the author of a pretty well known book do a weekend conference one weekend and he took questions in the end. Someone asked him why he'd devoted his life to writing books - and he said, "think of the greats - think of the folks that have changed the way people thing - think of the people who have had the most influence...and then he listed author after author after author....and he was right.

Sure there are exceptions - I don't know how many books (fill in this blank with a few famous names here) wrote - but you can't argue the point that some of our great movements or shifts in thinking have at least started with someone putting pen to paper.

So I wish my friend luck. I hope his book does well. I'm not sure it'll change a generation, but it'll still be fun to see his book on shelves...

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm not responsible for offending you with this blog

I was about 40 feet behind the truck when I read it's sign. "Warning! Stay 200 feet behind this truck. NOT responsible for broken windshields"

200 feet? the letters of the sign were smaller than the license plate letters. 200 feet is two thirds of a football field. I couldn't possibly read this sign unless I was within 60-70 feet of the sign. In fact, the sign was in bold red letters that called you to pull closer so you could read it.

But apparently that's all you need. A sign fixes everything. I'm printing t-shirts that say, "Beware of me stealing your wallet. NOT responsible for me stealing your stuff"


"Stay 200 feet from me. NOT responsible for me boxing your ears!"

It's sort of a ticket out of any responsibility. Who knew it could be so easy?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I was once a part of a group of people that would get together once a month and talk about leadership. We were all doing our own thing, but we'd get together and talk about the things we did that were similar. We'd also talk about new things people were trying and once a year we'd have a big conference.

What always bothered me about the conference is that we always used the same basic template. We'd have the same general talks, same format, same breakout sessions, etc. Every year I'd get feedback from people about what was great and what wasn't. What bothered me was that we didn't evaluate any of the feedback as a group. I'm sure all of us would get feedback from different people, but we never shared it as a large group. We never learned anything or moved forward as a result of our feedback.

I love evaluations.
I hate evaluations.

I love that they can help us move forward. I love that they can help us to see our blindspots. I love that they can be encouraging and instructive.

I hate that there's never a smooth way to do them. I hate that you have to break up the feel of the meeting to stop what you're doing and fill these out. I hate that we sometimes do them before the end of whatever we're evaluating, so you can't fully evaluate everything. I think that some people use them as their personal soap box to rant about stuff that might not even involve the thing you're evaluating.

I love the idea of evaluating something that I was a part of when I thought I did a decent job.
I hate the idea of evaluating something that I was a part of when I stunk up the joint.

I've decided that ultimately I want to have evaluations when something is really bad and I don't feel like the leader gets it. I want them to know it was bad. It's a very important thing for me. I NEED them to know how bad this is and what better way than to do a big evaluation and show them the overall numbers?

That probably tells you a little about me.
I've got some work to do yet...

Monday, October 08, 2007

risky business

I've heard it said that faith is spelled r-i-s-k, but it's not. It's spelled f-a-i-t-h (There are some really bad spellers out there)

I was asked to speak on a couple of weekend conferences next month. One in Michigan and one in Ohio. So the question for me is always how much I should risk when I'm speaking to these fine folks. Every once in a while I'll stick my neck out there and try something new or something different. You can always see people squirm when you do something different.
There are the:
-"We've always done it this way" folks.
-You have the insecure, look at you like you're an idiot because you're not following the standard format folks.
-There are folks who are just in the moment and might even appreciate the new slant you're putting on whatever it is you're doing.
-And lastly you have the folks who LOVE anything new or different.

I have a friend who says, "if it aint broke, break it". He loves the new angles. He appreciates the blowing up the box that everybody else is thinking inside of....and let's take a fresh approach. He's a risk taker.

I was talking with a friend who is evaluated every 4 months. He's consistently been rated #1 in his department and #1 overall since he's had the job. I mentioned to him yesterday that I had a friend that recently had great reviews from dozens of people on a job he'd recently done, but he had the one comment from the out of touch old person stuck in his brain. You could tell it was what was sticking with him. So my friend said, "Story of my life Murph". He went on to say that if he receives 99% good marks, he spends all of his time stuck on that one negative review.

I don't think he's alone. Maybe that's why he's so good at what he does. Maybe he gets great reviews because he's so focused on the one or two bad ones??? I'm just not sure that's the answer.

Having said that - I don't want to be any body's bad review. I don't want to be the one percent that totally discounts the ninety nine positives. I've been that guy. I am that guy. I don't want to be that guy.

There's an old dusty book out there that tells us to, "...encourage one another daily, as long as it's called today..." which is just a cool way of saying - do this every day. Probably pretty decent advice.

I know that I didn't take the risks I should have this past week. I know that one of the reasons was because of the squeaky wheels in my life. It's hard not to listen to the, "we've always done it this way" or to notice the incredulous looks of the folks who are shocked when you do something different.... but I'll give it a shot.

Friday, October 05, 2007

waiting game

I waited in a doctor’s office yesterday and filled out forms. I filled out the date, my name, address, phone number and the various diseases and afflictions that have tragically been visited upon me. And then I filled out Annie’s name, address and phone number – as she is my emergency contact. There was no option for (same as above). You had to write it all out twice.
That’s kind of annoying.
And then I filled out the second page of information where they asked me to write out the date, my name, address and phone number.
That’s really annoying.
I’d rather I just filled it all out once. Keep in mind that this wasn’t my first visit. I’ve been in the office before and you know they’re not even going to talk with you without having all of that info, along with your insurance info, so they can bill you.
If it’s already in the system, it wouldn’t be that difficult to just copy and paste. I do it all the time and I’m not that clever.

Maybe they’re trying to distract us from the long wait or the magazines from ’05. Part of the way they do this is by taking you from the waiting room to a second room…where you wait some more. It’s sort of like the smaller, less interesting sequel. It has some of the same features as the first room, but more gadgets to distract you from the fact that you’re just looking at basically the same thing you saw in the first one. And then you wait.

I always take my magazine in to the second room. It’s just too much to have me get through 80% of an article on who’s going to win Super Bowl XL and then not find out who they’re picking…

Thursday, October 04, 2007

a couple of links

I haven't referenced this blog in a while because I wasn't really reading blogs for about a month (or seeing my family, or not working, or having fun...) and this young man took some time off for bad behavior...but I'd really recommend reading this post.

It's good stuff.

He's one of the best writers I know and I always feel a little sad for him this time of year. So maybe it will cheer him up knowing that people appreciate his wisdom.

I also tend to turn to this blog when I get a chance. I'm not in marketing. I didn't study marketing. For whatever reason, I just really appreciate what this guy has to say. I don't always agree with his philosophy on life, his politics, or his conclusions...but I really like the way he thinks - which might seem strange. Anyhow, I'd say that this guy thinks outside the box...but clearly if you use that expression, you're showing the world that you don't think outside the box.

This guy doesn't write that often, but this is one of my top 10 posts of the year (and I just say top 10 to leave room for the possibility of Mr Bob Saget starting a blog and writing 9 posts). I want him to write more regularly, but he spends all his time listening to emo and hanging out with his wife while people whisper, "what is SHE doing with HIM?"

So I'll leave you with just a couple. Any more and I'd feel obligated to link you to my friend's new church plant, Annie's awesome blog, my artsy friend that writes poetry that I pretend to understand, and end with a list of blogs that have given up but shouldn't have...(too many to mention, so I won't)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

mr handy

I've installed three toilets and two light fixtures in the last month. The toilets were the big deal for me. They're big. They're heavy. It involved plumbing...this was a big me.

My friends kept telling me just how easy it was to un-install a toilet and put a new one in. I finally broke down and did it. It got old flushing three to five times every time we used one. I'm not sure this is what they had in mind when they changed toilets from 3 gallon to 1.6 gallons.

So I put one toilet in that advertises, "You can flush 36 golf balls in one flush!". That little experiment cost me more in golf balls than the toilet did...

But we love the new toilets. We love our two new light fixtures. I feel like I'm not kind of the incredibly simple, yet to the uninformed outsider - kind of impressive, home repair!

Now if I could just get this hanging lamp installed. It has this old wire box (not really sure what you call it) that I'm trying to hook it up to and it doesn't fit. Not really sure what's next???


Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Tuesday has become a very long day for me. It's good because I get to do a lot of the stuff that I like - and it's bad because I barely see my family. It's good because we just hired a good guy who works part time with me - and Tuesdays is one of those days - but it's so busy it feels like I'm just throwing projects at him all day.

The hardest part of my last job was that there was rarely a point of completion. You never felt like you were done. There was always something going on...and when you work in relational ministry - it's not like you're done once you've cranked out some program.

I think that's the appeal of most student ministries that I've seen. The majority of the churches I've seen are more about the world's biggest pizza party than they are about going to where the students hang out. I'd ask someone working with students how many nights they have kids visit and they'd just look at me blankly, like..."why would they come to my house?" And I'd look at them with my, "seriously? You don't have kids in your home a couple of times a week?" and they'd return their, "what does that have to do with me getting a lot of kids to show up at my events?" and then I'd think, "yup, that's too bad" ...or something like that.

There's a great line from an E.M. Bounds book that I'll paraphrase because I don't have it in front of me right now. "God is far more concerned with people than He ever will be with programs" He doesn't care how many are showing up nearly as much as you do. He doesn't get all that excited about the cool video or creative illustration as you do either.

I believe He's excited about the people quietly showing up at the schools 3 or 4 days a week. Folks that are spending time in the world of a student - they're the one's creating relationships that impact students. It doesn't show up in their stats - but I believe it shows up on internal change-o-meter of these kid's lives. (it's a real thing)

Monday, October 01, 2007

H. Ross Perot - watch out

I've been thinking about this for a while now. I know that we're told all the time that it would be bad to do...popular opinion has always fallen on the idea that you "don't mess with Texas" but I think I'm gonna.

I'm going to do it. I know that they say that everything is big in Texas - but does that mean better? If you said you were from Texas, should I assume that your prostate is bigger than everyone else in the room? You have a bigger ego? Bigger Debt? A bigger tax problem?
And honestly, if you have to keep telling everyone that everything is might as well get a dye job and buy yourself a convertible. It's just silly.

So I declare my intentions to mess with Texas starting today.

I play on making prank calls, selling them parking passes to non-existent events, asking Texas to meet me at a movie theater and then not showing up, I might stick a kick me sign on a few t-shirts...I'm going all out.

It all starts now. I'll unleash messing upon them...