Tuesday, January 30, 2007

one great sitcom

So this is what I'm thinking...

A situation comedy based on a bunch of folks who work together at a water park.

You have the old, grizzly boss that was around when wet suits were for wimps and every once in a while you lost a finger to the sting rays.

There's the guy who thinks he's awesome and is always walking around shirtless, with barb wire tats around his biceps and a mustache.

There is the young guy just out of college where he got his Marine Biology degree and can't believe he's feeding fish to Shamu (the seventh one) and the girl of his dreams who he can't get to go out with him...because she's dating mustache.

The shows revolve around back stage banter, the conflict between annoying customers and the performers who don't really care about the fish...just the money, and the young fella that just wants the world to know how important our sea friends are to this planet...and to make out with the hot girl.

Each episode ends with the shirtless guy jumping a caged shark.

That's right...the name of the show: Jump the Shark


I just saw part of a cover of sports illustrated and they had a little preview of the "lost Muhammad Ali pics". I guess nothing happened in sports that week.

The NHL is mid-season, football was mid-playoffs, basketball is mid-season...but they're using part of the magazine to show 35 year old pictures of a boxer.

I've never quite understood the big deal with Muhammad Ali. I get that he was a great boxer. He is probably one of the top 2 or 3 heavyweights of all time...but the best boxers are the lighter guys anyhow. And I can't say that he was a better athlete than Jordan, Harris, Gretzky, Dan Gable, or even Tiger Woods (if we're counting golfers as athletes)

This country is obsessed with Ali. This is the guy who supposedly threw his Olympic medal away...and we had him light the torch for the US at the last summer Olympics held here. This is the guy who made T.O. seem like the nice, quiet little fella that respects others and doesn't shove his every accomplishment in your face.

Great fighter - bad poet = all time great?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Familiarity breeds contempt

I have some friends that work a lot with the written word. I tell them all the time that Times New Roman is the best thing since sliced bagels. They just roll their eyes in much the same way that Dan looks at me when I tell him that I love Dave Matthews because of Ants Marching.

If it's popular - it's bad. I would argue that Times New Roman is popular because it's the easiest to read (but what do I know?) I just tried to change the font on an article I wrote and anything different that I picked just made it harder to read...

Dane Cook is a comedian that’s become incredibly popular in the last couple of years. He’s selling out arenas like Eddie Murphy in his prime. Because of this, he’s starting to get ripped on shows like Mad TV and SNL. They say he doesn’t really tell jokes.

Comedians haven’t told traditional man walks in a bar kind of jokes in a couple of decades (outside of the occasional Mitch Hedberg or Steven Wright with their one liners)…they all tell funny stories with some really funny moments that bleed into the next funny story. Anyhow, he’s selling out arenas, so he’s no longer hip. He’s Times New Roman.

Ricky Martin quickly became Times New Roman. I wonder if the Beatles were like that in their prime…so popular that they weren’t cool??

I have a friend that rips on anything conventional. He wears the tight t-shirts that are in style. The kind that have weird graphics that don’t make sense… You ask him what the heck it means and he has no idea. The irony is that these clothes are becoming increasingly “in”…so eventually he’ll hate them.

He hates what’s normal.

In every high school there is a group that rebels by wearing the opposite of fashion. They’ll wear all black, with black eye liner and big black, heavy boots. I always thought it was interesting that they were bucking traditional garb by all dressing alike. “We’re going to be individuals and not buy into the everyone shops at Abercrombie crowd! Yes, and we’ll do it by buying into the everyone shops at Goth n’ Go crowd!”

We all yearn for community (to some degree) at least I think we do. With community there tends to be inside jokes, cliques, and a sort of dress code (not always…but you certainly see trends). It just happens…and that’s probably ok.

So leave Times New Roman alone – it’s served us well.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

silly that we argue about...

College Week

It's college week....sortta.

Today I'm speaking to a group from Anderson University. They came down last year and I had a chance to talk with them about outreach and our philosophy behind what we do. It was fun and apparently not a total train wreck because they're coming back.

I'll be on the campus of the University of Cincinnati (sortta) talking with some folks from my favorite church plant in Clifton. It's not really a college - and it's not necessarily students...but for the purpose of this post, I'm counting it.

The new one for me will be visiting the prestigious campus of Xavier University (once home to the Hon. Rev. Min. Drew Gillespie). This is the one that has me intrigued. I've never really been on their campus and I'm not sure I totally agree with the professor who asked me to come and speak to his students. It's certainly not a debate, because I think he thinks we agree...it's just that when I read his writings, I always think that he's a little off. That should be interesting.

Anyhow, I'm breaking out my sweatshirts and painting my face this week.

If only I could figure out what I'm supposed to talk about at D'Vine.

So far I only have my title, "Why I lost to Fuller in Ping Pong - and why I also let me six year old beat me"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

workin' and I miss my little girl...


"God never push starts us"

I wonder about that. A friend of mine said it to me once. He was saying that we shouldn't sit around and wait for word on high for every single decision. We should start moving in a direction that we think He might be leading us toward...and see if God calls us to stop, shift directions or turn around completely.

If we believe that - then we should get started.

I wonder how many people think to themselves, "I should really start sponsoring a child"
"Maybe I could go start volunteering at the shelter"
"um....maybe I should start looking into that 'loving your neighbor' 'Good Samaritan' thing?"

I'm not sure of the theology behind "God never push starts us" - but I do think we ought to be a little more proactive about seeking ways to help the world around us.....and if God tells us to stop, then we should ask Him what's next.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


documentaries - "life as it is"

I've never been a huge fan of documentaries because I like a little commentary to go along with my news.

That's why I like the new style of documentaries. I know that Ken Burns just signed a huge contract to crank out a bunch of commentaries, but for the most part it seems like documentaries are turning into "commentaries".

I'll throw out a premise that I believe, "PBS is a silly waste of government funding" that I know will tick people off...and then I'll build a straw man case for why we should keep it...and then I'll destroy the straw man.

This is the new format of the "documentary"

You no longer have to be objective - you just have to film things the way that you believe them to be... leave out any really strong case that would argue in the other direction.

It's like being the Harlem Globetrotters. You have another team out there...but really you're just there to show off your stuff.

I'd like to make a film called "March of the film makers" and discuss the art of "documenting" real life and show the disparity of just that and what is now become exactly what this blog post is - a rant against something that's just sort of silly...

Monday, January 22, 2007

A good weekend

Box Score:
Friday night was spent with a dozen great people talking about life and then soaking in Graeters.

Saturday was hanging out with some friends, taking a ton of food downtown and helping to give out steak dinners to folks living on the streets. That's pretty great and it was topped off by going out with my beautiful wife to see Jim Gaffigan.

Sunday was a snow day. I was hanging out with some cool little kids in diapers while Griff, Kendrick, Brianna and aunt Peg built the foundation to what I'm sure will be a sweet igloo.

This was all followed by a house full of fun people watching the game (the guys at least) and laughing while eating stuff...and watching Tom Brady throw a pick.

How great is that?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Keep on Truckin'

I used to take the little wrestlers off of my trophies and mount them onto my Plymouth Oldsmobile as the hood ornament. I'd drive "the grappler" down the street with a little man in a wrestling stance guiding my way.
I also had my share of bumperstickers.

That's kind of where it stopped. I just don't see myself putting bumper stickers on my car anytime in the future.

I don't care enough about any one single product (even rain x - which is the greatest single product) to put their sticker on my bumper. I saw a ski manufacturer's sticker on a nice car today and wondered why.

I can't see anybody pulling over and having a God moment because someone has a "Jesus Saves" sticker showing them the way. I'd wonder about someone who was going to vote one way, "but then as I was driving to the polls I saw a McMillin for City Council sticker and that's what swayed me".

I'm convinced that a number of accidents happen every day because some squinting driver pulled up a little too close to read the "beam me up Scotty" stickers that keep us all rolling on the highways.

At the same time - I get it. I remember being so excited about something that I wanted t-shirts, stickers, posters...you name it - that all showed off my new favorite thing.

I try to remember when I see someone in a cheesy Christian t-shirt that they're just excited about their faith. That can't be bad. I guess they could be cheesy political bumperstickers, or ski slogans...if that's what gets you most excited in life - I guess you should go for it.

That'd be my line of bumper stickers - I'd call them "Cheese"
first one:
Go for it dude!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

my list o' five

Five people I'm pretty sure you can beat up:
Kiefer Sutherland
Clint Eastwood
Any 12 year old that just won a karate tournament
Ralph Machio

Five people I'm pretty sure you can't beat up:
Carrot Top
Ben Stiller
Michael Bolton
Steve Bragg
Danny Bonaduce

but why would you want to beat anybody up? What are you, a sadist?
The day after Martin Luther King, Jr day? That's just embarrassing...

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the cross we wear. To be a Christian one must take up his cross, with all it's difficulties and agonizing and tension-packed content, and carry it until that very cross leaves its mark upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way which comes only through suffering."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 12, 2007

love that C.S. Lewis

"And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others."
That's a line from my favorite chapter in the book Mere Christianity. I love it because it's so true.

I believe that God gives us convictions about areas of our life where we consistently struggle. Because of this snapshot into one particular area - we tend to lean in one direction or the other.

We'll either get callous to that struggle and end up not noticing it at all...
We'll become so aware of it that we'll start seeing it all around us.

In this chapter the author is talking about pride. The more we struggle with pride, the more it bugs us to be around other people who are proud. If we were living in humility, it wouldn't bother us nearly as much if people were seen as higher/smarter/better than us. That's one of the characteristics of humility. But because I struggle with pride - it drives me nuts when I see it in other people.

I'm guessing this is true with many struggles. You'll hear about the ex-alcoholic yelling at anyone who picks up a bottle of cough syrup. If you're around someone who's on a diet, they'll often make remarks about the stuff that you're eating.

And it just goes on and on and on...

that's probably something I ought to remember

Thursday, January 11, 2007

my vision

I'd like to see a 10 team playoff (and I thought this before last Monday's debacle).

I'd also like to see some games in cold temperature cities. I guarantee that if you put the National Championship in Michigan's stadium, you'd sell more tickets. It's not like people are only going to the game because it's in some warm stadium. People would drive to Michigan or Ohio State or Penn State to watch a Bowl game...they just would.

So you take the top ten teams and have numbers 9 and 10 play each other to get into the 8 team bracket. The 8 team bracket plays on one weekend, then 4 teams then the championship.

There were 51 days in between Ohio State's last game and the title game. You'd only be taking three weeks for this tournament...or four for the two wild card teams.

I'd argue that there'd be great interest in all of the games and still great interest in the non-playoff bowl games. We already get which bowl games matter and which don't. We already know who the tenth best team is and which team was 6-6 but still made a Bowl game.

We could call is December Drama (you heard it here first)

just a thought

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I've been stuck on this ABC News program I watched a couple of weeks ago.

They talked about wealth, charity, greed and generosity. They talked about the philosophy of charitible giving and then the hard, cold statistics of who gives.

Turns out that 24 of the 25 most generous states (in giving to charity) are red states. I wasn't shocked by this, but they pointed out that the general perception is that the more liberal you are, the more likely it is that you'll give to charity...and that just isn't statistically true.

They pointed to the average head of household that was liberal and compared them to the average head of household that was conservative. They both made about the same amount of money (the liberal's made slightly more) yet the conservatives gave, on average, 30% more to charity. I wasn't shocked by this - but the reason this was newsworthy is there's the very real misperception that all republicans are hoarding their money so they can buy racist t-shirts that 4 year old children in Mongolia are making.

The facts are that in America - if you're a conservative - statistically it's more likely that you'll give more to charity than your neighbor that's liberal.

Some of you might shocked by this. "How could this be!!???" It must have been skewed somehow! I just know we're more concerned with problems than they are!"

Some of you might be thinking, "Sure, conservatives are more likely involved in a church and are just giving it to them"

They answered this by saying that obviously a lot of money was going to churches but that didn't change the numbers. The conservatives were still giving more of their income.

In fact, they gave more of their time and resources as well. If they voted for a Republican in the last election, there was over a 30% greater chance that they'd donated blood in the last year. It's not just money they're throwing at problems...they literally bled for the cause.

They came to the conclusion that these charities were seen as way more efficient than the government in meeting problems...so the conservatives gave to them, while the liberals believe the government is better at solving problems, so they didn't give nearly as much to charities (or necessarily give more in their taxes)

I just thought it was interesting...

Monday, January 08, 2007

pot calling the kettle

Happy Anniversary to the lucky fella with his gal on his right and the lucky lady swathed in pink shinyness with her bow tie wearing fella on her left.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Remember, your smile is contagious!

I'm starting to see how Howie Mandel came to be a germ fearing, knuckle bumping, bald little bundle of cautiousness.

I'm living in paranoia of getting pink eye. Cooper has it, Annie had it, Parker has it...again. So I'm checking my eye and then pull up to get a large diet coke at my favorite Scottish fast food restaurant. As I pull out my dollar and give it to the nice fella I wonder, "now if I do have it...he probably will get it...and then everyone who goes through McDonald's will get it...and give it to the people they work with...and so on...and so on...and so on...

So if you live in Ohio and get pink eye in the next two months...you're welcome.

That Diet Coke sure was delicious

Thursday, January 04, 2007

the bad news bears

I was at a conference with some pretty sharp folks recently and I noticed something...they weren't that sharp.

The folks I knew fairly well had some major league insecurities, faults, bad habits or some quirky social awkwardness. It was though a light came on and I couldn't help but think of the Bad News Bears (a truly awful movie). These folks that all had these little or big faults were pulling together as a group and doing some pretty terrific things.

It wasn't even about these people either...I realized that we're all the Bad News Bears. I used to hear people have debates about who had the most screwed up family and they would always end with, "Yeah, that's pretty bad, but..." We all have faults. We all have family, friends and c0-workers with faults...and sometimes we actually accomplish stuff that's pretty cool.

Because of our deal, I think we naturally root for the underdog. We want Rocky to beat up the other guy because he's supposed to lose. We root for Boise State because they're not really supposed to be that good. We love the underdog because we all feel, to some degree, like the underdog.

We're Rocky. We're Boise State. We're the Bad News Bears...and that's ok, because we can still get some pretty great results despite ourselves.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

in control

Being out of control is the scariest thing for me. That could mean that I'm not in charge, have to submit to someone else's decisions, or am stuck somewhere because my car broke down...

When I woke up Parker was coughing again. Ever since we've moved here it seems like she or Cooper or both of them have been sick. We've thrown antibiotics at them like they were candy...and nothing. They just keep getting sick.

I can't fix them, and it's killing me. I'm literally powerless to make them get better. I'll buy air purifiers, medicine, take them to the doctor...and still they get sick.

I hate that.

I hate having things be out of my control. It's paralyzing.

That's why it's hard for me to submit to others - because that means giving up control. I think that's why people pick and choose what they want to believe about God...because that means that they're still in charge.

We all struggle to some extent with pride and control. It hurts our relationships with each other...and I believe with God.

It's going to be something I struggle with for the rest of my life.

I just wish Parker would stop coughing and get better.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

it's no big deal...everyone does it

All star teams are a decent indicator of some of the better teams... but it's also a popularity contest. You also have to take into account that John Elway wouldn't have been as good had he been stuck on a really awful team with no offensive line and poor coaching. A lot of the great players are seen as great because they're part of a great system...like every running back for Denver.

There are always going to be more players from bigger market clubs because there are more fans that will vote for them. They're also surrounded by great players that will help them to look great. They're not going to chance walking a great hitter if they know that the next guy up has a decent chance of driving him in. Because of this, the great hitter will see more fast balls down the middle...and he'll look even better. You look better than you are because the people around you make you look better.

Friends are a lot like this. Most groups have a certain morality that's acceptable. You can be the nice guy in your group if you occasionally share your drugs with your friends. You can be the good roommate if you don't rat people out when they shank another prisoner. You can be the really trustworthy friend in the group if you're the one who won't steal everyone's stuff when they step out for a smoke.

If everyone is involved in crap - then there's a certain comfort level in that. People base their morality largely on how the people around them are doing...and where they stack up next to them.

I've seen people base their morality around their surroundings...and the gradual acceptance of more deviant or wrong behavior, then I've seen people base it on their religion. I've seen it more than I've seen them base it on their upbringing. I've seen it affect people's decision making more than I've seen any other factor.

People bring you up...or they bring you down.

Misery loves company.

Joy loves company.

So the question has to be - are they bringing you up...or pulling you down?

Monday, January 01, 2007

some great things in '06

couldn't find some pics...I was using a program that pulled pics from web sites...and not everybody
has pics online...