145. Head's Up! Changes At Central Standard

The year is drawing to a close and many would say, "Good riddance!" It has certainly been a roller coaster ride for a lot of us. Probably most years are, but this one seems more so. I think.

The last few weeks have seen remarkable changes for me. At a routine doctor visit I found I need thyroid medicine. Bummer. Taking medicine is what your parents do. Or your grandparents. Now I do. It's worse, for me, than turning 50. Fifty is on a calendar or a questionnaire, but medicine is a concession.

But at the same time, I feel better, more alert and have more energy now. Perhaps I'll shed this extra lard that seems to be adhered to my bones like an octopus clinging to a deep sea diver.

Also I recently discovered a web site that's been a great encouragement to me. It's called What's Best Next. The blog is about efficiency and getting things done. Anyone who knows me knows that these have been issues I've battled all my life. Hopefully, no more. I've been changing, rearranging and generally trying to improve my efficiency over the past month or so and I think I'm getting somewhere. And it has been fun.

So naturally, I am going to change the look of Central Standard. It's a new year, I'm a new man - let's have a new look. But this is not going to be Change in the Obama sense of the word, that is, just words. No. We are aiming to make substantive changes - More Content! Stronger Writing! Increasingly Interesting Posts! And while we are at it, Better Mileage and Fewer Calories!

I hope the new look is favorable, but whether it is or not, I hope that, most importantly, 2009 sees your happiness in God abound!

144. 2008 As Dave Barry Remembers It

Well, you owe yourself a little chuckle or two, or seven or 23. And probably several laugh out loud moments. I have just the ticket. Read Dave Barry's year in review. Need some convincing? I'll whet your appetite.

"How weird a year was it?
Here's how weird:
• O.J. actually got convicted of something.
• Gasoline hit $4 a gallon -- and those were the good times.
• On several occasions, Saturday Night Live was funny.
• There were a few days there in October when you could not completely rule out the possibility that the next Treasury Secretary would be Joe the Plumber."

He adds this little nugget at the end of January's entry: "Finally, in what some economists see as a troubling sign, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac invest $12.7 billion in Powerball tickets."

He returns to the misadventures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac several times during the review.

You don't want to miss it.


141. Logos: Two Nice, One Lame

A few months ago I lamented the move of the NBA's Seattle Supersonics from the Great Northwest to Oklahoma City. The Sonics were Seattle's first major league team and won the only championship the city's seen in 1979. (Actually, they had a hockey team which won the Stanley Cup in pre-NHL days. Just so you know.)

At the time I not only lamented the move of a long-time and well-supported franchise, I was also disappointed in the location, name and logo that the team would adopt. Oklahoma City is, I am sure, a fine place to be, but when you think of it, 'Major League' is not what pops into you head. I'm not mean, it's just true.
And then, the logo and name are so rinky-dink, how could you get excited? The Thunder. The Oklahoma City Thunder. What is a Thunder, anyway? At the time I said I would not be posting the logo or the uniform.

Why bring this up? Well, because I'm going to post the logo here, but I have a good reason. The reason is the logo at the top right of this blog. THERE is an EXCELLENT logo for an Oklahoma City team. Shoot the whole town ought to adopt some version of this - it's beautiful!
So, the point is to compare the two.

Well, here is the Redhawks logo and I really like it! I'm a sucker for circular logos, apparently, and this one fits the bill. I like the font. It evokes the old West without looking like the 'wanted poster' type. And the colors work for me, too. Red, white and blue are fairly standard, but the buff color just adds a little bit, sort of a nostalgic look.
Overall, I like it a lot. OKC can be proud of this one.
Now, we have to look at the new one for the Thunder. (Thunder?)

I just really don't know what to say about this. The only thing compelling to me is the colors. I do like that combination, but beyond that there's nothing here. One person called it 'clipart'. Here's what another commenter wrote about it:
"Take out the basketball and the OKC, and you've got a solid logo and color palette for a new laundry detergent."
I think that guy is on to something - "New Thunder will flood your wash with lightning bleaching action that will storm stubborn stains and force them to run off. Available in Spring Rain fragrance."
Meanwhile, this one is gone:


140. First In A Series

A few years ago I was made aware of a systematic theology book that was highly recommended. It is called, as many of these are, "Systematic Theology" and was written by Wayne Grudem, now Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary.

His book includes 57 chapters and 6 appendices spanning 1234 pages. It is impressive, yet is accessible, readable for the layman. Some of the concepts are difficult, but Grudem's writing is not a barrier.

This book is being used by our Men's Bible Study at my church and has been well received. And I thought I would like to share definitions of concepts here as we move through the book. Chapter 1 is "Introduction to Systematic Theology", and here is the definition:

"Systematic Theology is any study that answers the question, 'What does the whole Bible teach us today?' about any given topic."

The inclusion of the word 'today' spurred some discussion at our group. Here's what Grudem said about this:

"Defining systematic theology (this way) implies that application to life is a necessary part of the proper pursuit of systematic theology. Thus a doctrine under consideration is seen in terms of its practical value for living the Christian life. Nowhere in Scripture do we find doctrine studied for its own sake or in isolation from life. The biblical writers consistently apply their teaching to life. Therefore, any Christian reading this book should find his or her Christian life enriched and deepened during this study; indeed, if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader."


139. A Verse Today

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17, ESV)

This is the verse that will launch college Sunday School at Boulevard today.

Do not fail to do the right thing today.

138. Friday Night Music

I've been meaning to mention some songs that have caught my attention lately.

I listen to an online radio station at work and you can rate the music or the artist or the album or any combination and when you do, the station is supposed to respond with more selections that you will like. And it works pretty well, I think.

Right now, my favorite song is "How Are Ya' Fixed For Love" by Frank Sinatra and Keely Smith. I don't know why exactly, but it's a very happy tune. I like the orchestra a great deal and the two singers are excellent together. Of course, Smith was the long-time wife and partner of Louis Prima of "I Want To Be Like You" fame.

I think that Chuck Berry's cover of "Route 66" is the best version of that song and I had never heard it until a few months ago. If you follow the link, the player is to the right. It took me a while to find it.

Finally, John Mayer has a song called "Stop This Train" and I really like it a lot. I didn't know much about this guy, but my son has some of his music and I heard it while riding in the car with Jacob. This song is about aging and the rhythm evokes a moving train. The lyrics are great. One verse:

Had a talk with my old man
Said, "Help me understand."
He said, "Turn sixty-eight,
You renegotiate."

Most meaningful though is on my birthday in August, Jacob took me to Panera Bread for an iced mocha and on the trip he cued up this song because he knew I liked it.

Very nice.