Wednesday, February 28, 2007

is there a lightbulb over my head?

I just figured out how to make the Academy Awards not so incredibly boring.

You give all of the nominees two weeks to turn in their list of "thank yous" and then tell them to think up (or hire someone to think up) a great acceptance speech. So as they walk up to the stage, the screen will put up a list of all the people that the award winner is thankful for. They can make their spouses name bold, or a bigger font...they can thank their dog, their psychic, whatever - they just know that the more names they put on there, the smaller the font will have to be.

This way the winner will either just say, "thank you, this is quite an honor" and walk away...and the show will be two hours shorter - or they'll actually think up creative, funny acceptance speeches.


And then, they can show all of the nominees' thank you lists at the after show parties, the show recaps...whatever. Everyone is happy. There's no controversy because someone forgot to thank their director, husband, mortgage's all taken care of.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Excellence in Sports Redundancy Excellence

slow day in sports? it was a slow day for the Murphy household...

I saw about a half dozen tv sports guys show Thad Matta spit out his gum accidentally and then pick it up and put it back in his mouth. I was home with a sick kid and a beautiful wife...and a couple of cute kids, for a big chunk of the day and couldn't believe how much they repeat stories from one espn show to the next. It's basically the same stuff with different guys (mostly) saying it.

They dissected the gum incident like it was the Zapruder film. I kept expecting Kevin Costner to come out and show the trajectory of the flight of Wrigleys and throw out a couple of opinions as to why he had to put it back in his mouth.

One of my arguments against early retirement is how much money can you really spend traveling the world before you run out, and much tv and laying around the house could you handle?

Monday, February 26, 2007

it's all about the art...and the trophies

I thought the song with Will Farrel, Jack Black and John C. Reilly was pretty much the highlight of a fairly boring show last night. They made the same old great point that you'll never win an Oscar for doing a comic role.

The interesting thing is when you see an Oscar winner try and do a comedy. It's often pretty bad. You take a great comedian and put them in a dramatic role - and you've got Robin Williams winning an Oscar for Good Will Hunting.

I was watching when Ellen started talking about the great diversity of this year's Oscars - and there were a ton of foreign films, actors, etc. nominated this year. What threw me was when they would do the wide shots of the audience. It was a sea of white faces. I've heard for years that the most segregated places in America are in the churches on Sunday - white churches are 95% white, black churches are 95% black...and there's no denying that. I'd say that it's also true in a lot of work places, neighborhoods, sitcoms, and now it's become fairly evident that it's true at the Academy Awards.

I thought James Taylor followed by Melissa Etheridge were the musical highlights - and they both sounded great. You see Randy Newman at the show every year, but he always sounds like your friend's uncle that likes to make up songs and sing them at parties.

I missed the best picture category, but I'd heard nothing but bad things about the Departed....although I never saw it. I don't remember an Oscars night when there wasn't a speech that stood out as particularly funny...well, except for last night. You'd think they'd hire someone to write them a funny speech just in case.
It was nice to hear that the celebrities coming from their third homes, off their jets, being driven in limos to the show, were a part of making this year's Oscar's "green". I thought it was kind of funny when Gwyneth Paltrow admited to owning an SUV at an environmental rally a couple of years ago - she rationalized it by saying, "it's really hard to pull into the driveway at my home out west". Her mom who brought her to the rally later admitted she owned one too, "but this isn't about me".

I thought Ellen was solid. She did an awards show years ago - I can't remember what show, but she was the best I'd ever seen hosting a show. Last night she wasn't as good as her previous show, but I thought handing the script to Scorsese was pretty funny.

I talk to artists and they say it's "about the art", not the money, fame, awards or anything else but the purity of the art. I'm not sure the Academy Awards is really on their side with this one. It clearly is a competition. I think that's's just an interesting spin on the usual party line.

On kind of a fun note - both my mother (for the second year running) and brother were selected by the Columbus Dispatch to take place in their annual Columbus Academy of Motion Picture Pickers critiques . I have no idea how well they did on their picks - but I don't know anybody that goes to more movies than my mom...except for my brother...and Quinten Tarrantino.

that's my take on a subject that I have no real working knowledge of...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

it's been far too long

Haven't made a reference to Mr. Bob Saget in far too long.

Talented? sure, goes without saying.

Funny? Um...are you serious? Is Manute Bol tall? Is he even alive? Seriously, I have no he still around?
back to Bob...little known fact about Bob: lived in Lexington, Va. and went to High School at Rockbridge County H.S. - it's true.

Why is this important, you ask...I'll tell you.
I spent three or four months there (one month at a time). I spent 2 and a half months there (one week at a time). I spent four weeks there (one three day weekend at a time). I've spent a significant time in the land of Saget. I love that little piece of Americana. I went on staff with Young Life after a month spent at a camp called Rockbridge (in Lexington, Va. - yes, the one and the same)

Why would you not go to the land that young Robert spent his formative years. I know, I know, he was born in Philly and graduated H.S. and college in Philly...but he started dating, learned to drive, and started shaving in Rockbridge County.

I don't want to talk about fate, destiny, kismet...I'm just saying that I feel a special bond with Sags because of our common bond of Rockbridge. I just wonder what else we have in common?
I'll always love that bridge.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

the old sod

I've been hanging out with my new friend Jason for the past couple of days. Jason is from Northern Ireland and says stuff like, "Me foot fell asleep" and "have ye eve' had the gates chasin' ya down the street?" I understand most of what he says - but when he starts talking fast...and using expressions about inanimate objects running after me...I get a little lost.

I say to him about every ten minutes, "Huh?" and he either explains his colorful colloquialism or just says it a little slower. He calls Garry, Gahree. He says "it" when he means "eat". It's the little things.

What I've noticed is that he never stops me to say, "huh?". I'm guessing he'd say, "Pardon?". Either way, he understands every word I say....the words...the expressions, even the slang. I think part of it is that he's been to America far more than I've been to Ireland. He watches American television because Irish TV is "crap" and listens to a lot of stuff on web sites that originate from America.

I, on the other hand, have seen a lot of Lucky Charms commercials and listen to U2.

He's steeped in our culture and can speak it fluently. I have a passing knowledge of his and can crawl through a conversation about Irish culture.

My favorite scene from Good Will Hunting is the bench scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon talk about the difference between intelligence and wisdom. It's life some degree. I find myself getting into philosophical arguments often with folks a bit younger than me with a bit less history in a given arena, and I get frustrated because it's hard to win an argument based on wisdom. You can't explain it. I imagine there are plenty of wise souls out there that get incredibly frustrated with me when I throw out my facts and opinions and they're just shaking their head because I can't just quickly understand their wisdom in the situation.

It's a tough one - but I think it comes down often to life experience and trying to learn, as much as we can, from the wisdom of others.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

5 X 6 = good stuff

Five talks in the next six days. Four of them are different talks. Three of them are talks I haven't ever delivered. Two of's the same talk to two different groups. One of them will probably be pretty bad.

Guess which one I'll remember?

Tonight I get to do a repeat talk of something that's been planned for years. It's one of my favorites and I was ready to give it two weeks ago...but it was snowy...and cancelled. The same thing happened last week. It just happens to kick off my week of different talks to different groups. It's nice to start with one that I like...and am comfortable with.

I used to speak so often that I'd play little games to keep it fresh. I had a friend who would whisper a word to me, "fluoride" or whatever, and I'd have to include it in my talk. It kept it fun for me, and I think him.

Now it's a little different. I haven't spoken anywhere in a couple of weeks. That time I didn't have anyone give me a word, I just had them introduce me with 9 minutes left in the meeting...and had prepared about 30 minutes of genius. When that happens, you don't really need the added fun of trying to squeeze in a secret word. In fact I spent the whole time trying to squeeze out about half my talk (which I did...including my big

So I don't speak a couple of times a week...or even every week. Now it's just once or twice a month...but not this week.

This week is five. To be honest, I'm stretching it a big. It's actually 4 talks and one group's just that five sounds more impressive. You see I'm getting ready to speak and I'm already figuring out how to make things sound more impressive...

Monday, February 19, 2007


I was on the receiving end of some righteous anger the other day. Griffin and I went sledding on this great hill next to an apartment complex and when we got back to the car...there was a note. A not so happy note.

Turns out we had parked in somebodies spot. When we pulled in, all the spots were covered in snow and we didn't see any signs. After we pulled in and parked, the heat of the car melted enough of the snow that when we got back, we saw part of a "reserved" sign painted onto the ground.


It's funny that the first thing I thought was what a jerk the person was who put the note on my windshield. It wasn't regret, shame or was that they were a jerk...and there were plenty of other spots...and um....they're just a big dummy!

Defensiveness is pretty weak. They were right and I was wrong. It's ok that I was wrong. Their obvious anger was a righteous anger...and I probably shouldn't immediately turn that back around on them.

I was wrong. I was the big dummy.

The sledding was pretty sweet though...

yeah, I said sweet

Friday, February 16, 2007


I've had two votes - one in an e-mail "I love the new format"

one in a comment "I don't like your new format"

what do you think?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

it's just a theory

I have a theory that soon there will be one social network for every one human on the planet. This will most certainly be true in America within the next couple of weeks. I'm not saying that everyone will be in some sort of cyber social network...I'm saying that everyone will soon own one.

Once MySpace sold for 63 Billion (or something like that) they started popping up You'll soon have the option of filling in your surveys, applications and drivers license with - "and what is the social network that you run?"

My parents generation are still figuring out how to use spell check on their war protest flyers. I'm trying to figure out how to make Griffin's gameboy guys jump up in the air and kick a snowball out of the bad guy's hands. Griffin will soon be cyber wrestling and playing t-ball virtually...

At some point he's going to own some sort of software company. It's just inevitable. It'll be a part of his 4th grade homework. "Turn in your software development deals and stop making those fart noises with your armpit Billly"

it's just a theory...but I think it's pretty solid...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

what to do?

So every school in between my house and my work has been closed. (before you go nuts, Anonymous...I'm ok with this)

My question is about my workplace. We have an all staff voice mail service. We have a staff only web site. We all have staff e-mail addresses. None of these services are used to let us know if we should come in an hour late, on time, or not at all.

What to do? What to do?

I'm leaning towards a snowball fight in the back yard with Griff. I brought my computer home last night so I could work at home my bases are covered. I'm slated to speak at some deal tonight, but once the schools are is that deal. I sent notes out yesterday to the folks I'm supposed to meet today letting them know the backup plans.

So I'm thinking I should probably just call the office at 8:30 and see if anybody answers...and they did...and they're open. I'm off to work.
and now I'm at work. Took about 2 minutes longer than usual. My street was bad, but all the other ones were empty and clear. Got to work 23 minutes late and was one of the first ones no harm no foul.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dave 2.0 (Griff DAVID Harrison Murphy)

There was a time where you could stick Dave and I in a room and we'd come up with some sort of competition/game. We'd see who could take a paper plate and make it fly up to the door and then slide under it...or who could make it flip over the most...or who could bounce a quarter the highest. It didn't matter.

Dave and I turned out pursuit to a glorious game we know as Cheerios Ball. We pulled a softball sized inflatable ball out of Dave's cereal box and played a version of golf throughout the house...and this became a running game between us. Dave used to be the guy that I'd regularly make up games with.

Time moves on. Dan and I were waiting to hear Ravi Zacharias speak when he came up with Stick Figure it Out (available at a Target near you....soon). Shawn (spells his name wrong) and I would see who could get their wedding ring to spin the longest. I'll pick up little games with people at work during boring meetings or when we're sitting around at someones house hanging out.

It's a new era though. Yesterday Griff and I came up with one of the truly great home games. We don't have a name yet (and we're looking for suggestions...although it'll be hard to beat Stick Figure it Out). This game involves a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle staff, complete with three flying nerf "darts" that we aim at a hand drawn dart board on our back door.

So far you're thinking, "what's the big deal?" Well, I'll tell you. The big deal my friend, is the time element. You have exactly 30 seconds to see how many darts you can fire off in the direction of the target. This means that you have to scramble to pick up rebounds and get back to the tee box. We also give you a bonus point for every shot that hits the target.

The record is 10.

Dave, you have been replaced...but I'm guessing that in 5 years you'll be able to teach Cecilia a thing or two about random games around the house.

Friday, February 09, 2007

one or two good things

yesterday I wrote something along the lines of taking the extra fifteen minutes and making something good a little better (you can read Fuller's plagiarism here)

Today I don't feel so good. I've had a few bad days in a row and today would probably qualify for a day to stay home and be sick. I'd do that, but I have a few things that I have to do. Not only do I have to do them, I want to do them.

I should mention here - a couple of people that I talked with about projects (2 in person, 1 on the phone, and 1 via e-mail all thought I was writing about them yesterday...and 3 of them were wrong...but that wasn't the point, the point was that most of us struggle with just getting by - especially me) For the folks who thought I was writing about them yesterday, I'd like you to instead assume I'm writing about you today.

Today if I'm going to meet with you, I'll call you, write you or send a singing telegram to're the reason I'm not calling in sick. You're the reason I'm stepping up to the plate.

I need more meetings that I'm excited about. I need more reasons to keep going when I'm not feeling 100%. I need to focus on those great things - and not on the possibility of passing out on Jay George.

Today is about those good things...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

15 minutes

I have a theory that often the difference between good and extraordinary is about fifteen minutes. I was working on a solution to a problem with a friend yesterday and again and again the great answers were met with, "yeah, but that'd take too long"

I probably would. We can get by with just doing this...

But what if we took those extra fifteen minutes and made something great? Two weeks from now, when this project sees the light of'd be worth it.

I'll spend fifteen minutes doing nothing today that could probably be better spent pursuing something extraordinary. I regularly turn in articles that I write in less than ten minutes that would certainly be much better if I ran them by a few people...probably take me about fifteen minutes to forward and then read their thoughts...

I've done this in newspapers, a bunch of magazines, web sites and a couple of books. I do it a couple of times a month with little sketches of skit scripts. I do it because I figure they won't use it if it sucks (part of what can be great about having someone else ultimately responsible for your stuff). I don't have that luxury in blogs...but I still just crank out whatever hits me when I sit down.

I know it would help me.

We took fifteen extra minutes and figured out a way to get a bunch of hats, scarves and socks for folks living on the street....and to fit it in our budget. We took an extra fifteen minutes to stick around after the talk and let the guy know that we really appreciated what he had to say. We took the extra fifteen minutes to clean out the junk drawer and closet - so that we'd save a couple of hours this month not looking for stuff.

I know the warm clothes were huge - I know how great it is to be encouraged about something you've said in a talk by folks who took the time to say thanks - I know how much time I waste and how frustrated I get by not being able to find stuff...

It ends up being worth maybe it's worth a shot?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I can't imagine

Last week when we took food to folks living on the street, there were some guys with ice on their faces.

The worst five minutes of my day are when I walk out to my car and then sit in it and wait for it to warm up. You just sit're not moving around so it feels even colder than it can't turn on the fan because then you're just blowing cold air into the's miserable. All I have is the radio and the hope of the heat kicking on in a few.

I'm guessing that still beats sleeping outside. It probably even beats sleeping inside in a shelter and then walking around outside all day with nothing to do.

Last week we took them winter hats with their sandwiches. The week before that we took them thermal socks. This week I'd like to take some scarves, but we're quickly running out of money to bring the extra stuff.

So...if you want to donate socks, hats, gloves, scarves, blankets, or anything else that you think might help....let me know.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

the good old days?

I remember when you had to get off the couch to turn on the tv or change the channel. In fact, if you wanted to turn the channel you actually turned a dial for one of the three networks. There was a second dial that you could turn for UHF...and you had to actually tune in the station like you did with the radio.

I remember when you had to tune in the radio by turning a dial and not just hitting a button.

I remember when the microwaves started to become a common thing. Before that we had to wait up to 9 or 10 minutes for a meal.

We'd have to buy these special little plastic roundish inserts that you'd place in your 45 so you could listen to a single. You had to take it off the record player and flip it over to hear the B side. If you had an 8 track, you'd hit a "next" button and it'd play the next song somewhere in the didn't have any control over whether or not it started at the beginning.

I also remember when it had to snow out for them to cancel school. We'd wait and complain because we still had to go to school when there was three or four inches of snow....and now it just has to be cold outside?

Monday, February 05, 2007


The NFL tried to take a stance. They didn't take a stance on the guy who was arrested for having more guns in his garage than a Branch Davidian. Their stance wasn't against players putting on a 30 second interpretive dance after every tackle for a four yard gain. It wasn't even against Urlacher for ripping a guys helmet off his head and throwing it down the field...

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl.

Because they wouldn't want a lot of people to watch their game?

Because they wouldn't want a large group to enjoy their product all in the same room?

Because they don't want people putting together parties where you attract people to watch the game and the commercials that might not otherwise watch at all?

They said that it's ok to watch the game on a TV bigger than 55 inches if you're at a sports bar...but against the rules at your own home, your church, Synagogue, or Temple.

This seems like the all time worst PR move of all time (or second behind New Coke)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

one last day

Today is the last day for at least a year that I can call the Pittsburgh Steelers the World Champs.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

why I'm not running the schools

So last night we had a meeting at our house...right?


I sent out an e-mail around noonish that said, "Hey, of the 17 folks who come to this thing - 3 are out of town and at least 3 (that I know of) are going to be running late to get here. Also, I hear it's going to keep snowing all day and it just doesn't make sense to have this meeting with half of the folks(ish) either missing it or scrambling to get here....especially if the roads are going to be bad. So - no meeting tonight. You're welcome to brave the roads and still hang out here, just don't rush on over so you won't be late...and don't worry if you can't make it, we'll reschedule.

Five hours snow on the ground.


So we had 9 people come over anyway....played some Blokus...Becky sold us on Pampered Chef....the girls read some internet dating guide....and a good night was had by most (I'm guessing)

so thus lies my eternal I cancel the meeting in plenty of time for folks to reschedule their lives...or just roll the dice and hope it stops snowing?

ah well...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My pick for Sunday

Da Colts

you see what I did there...

marketing vs. evangelism

I'm speaking to a group today that wants to know how to market their church.
I'm not sure I know the answer to that question. I know I've been a part of some pretty big churches and I've seen some ministries triple and quadruple because of some changes we've made...but marketing?

One of the problems I think I'm going to have is the difference in how we look at things. If my church has a bunch of people who go to a church because their parents went there...and that's just how things work, it's hard for me to understand any sort of conversion experience....if that's not what I know. When you talk to someone who can point to a particular time where the light bulb went on, or they started looking at faith in a completely different way - then there's just a natural excitement that goes along with that.

You could call that excitement - evangelism.

It's natural that the teachers that got free cars from Oprah would want to tell their friends about the day that Oprah came out with the keys. It's natural for the Steeler's fan to talk about the five Super Bowl Championships. It's not even that weird when people try to convince you to watch a tv show or vote for a particular political candidate. These things happen because people get excited about something...

But to be excited about your faith? If that's out of your realm of experience, then it just seems silly to be excited about something that's meaningless to you. To keep showing up at a church week after week because that's what you're supposed to do...that's one thing...but to talk about how it might be changing your life...well now you're a fanatic.

It's ok to be fanatical about sports, politics or a tv show...but that's where it stops.

So you can talk to me about marketing a church, but don't try to talk to me about sharing your faith because of the incredible things it's done in your life. Then you're just being a fanatic.