A Good Idea and It's Composition

My son posted at his blog about this idea that inspired him and I am glad he did because it inspires me, too.

I have one of those composition books and I started to do something similar when I bought it. Reading the article just gave me the impetus to go ahead and carry my composition book with me.

I don't know what to do with it, yet, but I'm carrying it with me . . .


Marty Checks In

I had not heard from Marty in a while. He has quite a bit of family, so with the holidays and all, he gets busy. Then, like a lot of us, he's had some weather to contend with. That said, Marty checked in today -

Marty went to work today at the rental place. I'd like to tell you it's Marty's U-Haul, but everyone's so litigious these days, I'd probably owe somebody something if I used the name U-Haul. So, it's not U-Haul. If you know what I mean.

Anyway, it was going to be a slow day because of all the bad weather, there just wouldn't be many folks renting trucks today. They would be busy shoveling and stacking limbs. Well, thought Marty, I'll just pull up my internet music station and do some Sudoku puzzles and keep the lights on. You never know.

Marty is not that interested in Sudoku, but it keeps the mind busy. "For cryin' out loud, it's going to be 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9! It's not THAT hard! Just keep writing, erasing and writing, you'll get there!" And when he got bored, there always were boxes to dust and clear packing tape to arrange on peg board. Yep, a full day.

Marty pulled up his radio station and pulled out the Sudoku book and looked inside it. Where was the pencil? The pencil is gone! Did somebody use the pencil and not put it back? MAN! I leave the pencil in the book so it's always there! That was a good pencil! MAN!

Eddie! I'll bet Eddie took it! Shoot! Marty got up and looked outside to make sure there were no customers on the way in. Satisfied he went to the back and through the door labeled 'Employees Only' and into the garage area. On the other side of the garage, near the supplies was the employee restroom. Marty went in there and took the toilet paper roll off the holder. The spindle had long ago been lost, and there, where the spindle should be, was Marty's good pencil. He was pretty sure he'd find it there.

Marty prides himself on knowing his workers.


It Occurs To Me

Whoever invented the fleece pullover is in line for some sort of award.

I admit I was skeptical of the powers of the fleece when I first began seeing them a few years ago - they were everywhere. See, it's another fad, I thought.

Then I had one given to me and I quickly changed my mind. I'm wearing it now. I wear it constantly.

And I'm not alone. According to this article, "we are a nation ensconced in fleece."

The article lists a company as the developer of fleece, if you are wondering, but not a person's name.


What You Got?

I read this in Calvin's Institutes this morning and it made me sit up and take notice -

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

So, what you got to boast in?


Link, A Dink A Dink

Here's a collection of stuff that's been gathering moss in the Blog Queue. It's time to roll them out so they gather moss no more!

Number One Son and his roommate have started a new blog, Spare Oom, where they display some of their graphic art prowess. It's a nice clean looking blog, as befits a couple of graphic arts students. Jacob's previous blog has been pulled down by Norman invaders, so if you go looking for it, it won't be there.

Herm Edwards is gone as coach of the Chiefs. I remember him from his playing days, a good player on some pretty good Eagles teams. I liked him then and as a coach with the Jets and in KC and I hoped he would do well, but he didn't. He was a good assistant but sometimes that doesn't always translate to the head job and I think that's true for Herm. He's a good guy and I'm sure he'll work in the league again if he wants to.

And a productivity tip from Jerry Seinfeld! I never watched his show when it was on. I still don’t except when my son is home – he’s a fan, but I never really thought it was that great. It’s funny in spots, but by and large Jerry and Elaine whine, George is a train wreck and Kramer is out of his mind. I think Kramer is the only one of the bunch I could stand for more than 3 minutes. Anyway for a long time this clip was all I knew about Seinfeld. Why mention this? Well, I read an interesting productivity tip from Seinfeld and wanted to pass it along. I've been using it and I think it's great!

Koko! Koko! Koko!

It Occurs To Me

Judging by the the first two days of the Obama Administration, it is safer to be an enemy combatant of the USA than a child in utero in the USA.


'24' Observations

1. President Taylor is weak.
2. Jack is caught between a rock a hard place – actually this is the story line most of the time.
3. Is Renee the new woman in Jack’s life? – she should watch her back, there’s a mole at HQ and that’s how Terri Bauer bought it.
4. Is the Secretary of State dirty? The one on the show, that is . . .
5. It’s amazing what Jack knows – he can blow you away without blowing you away.
6. The president’s husband is weak – it’s a matched set.
7. Doesn’t the president of the United States have an obligation to US citizens first?
8. Who is doing Bill Buchanan’s hair?
9. Can you believe Jack shot Curtis? Last season – sorry. I still can’t believe it.
10. After the surprises in the first four episodes, number five sort of settled in to basic story-telling – we’ll get a big surprise in the next 3 shows or so.
11. How WILL Jack save Renee?
12. We got a bad Secret Service agent – is Logan nearby?
13. Renee, the president’s husband and the dead son’s girlfriend are all in danger – how many make it?
14. We are led to believe that Sean is the mole – makes me think he’s not – he’s just a cheater.
15. President Taylor is weak. I know, but it’s worth another mention.
16. Chloe. Like Jack and the heartbeat sound, Chloe is as much ‘24’ as anything. She’s carrying a torch for Jack. – what do you think?
17. Maybe Janis is the mole at the FBI?
18. Maybe Larry? He seems kind of dumb to be a mole.
19. Fox’s new show ‘Lie to Me*’ looks like it’ll be a short run – They see who’s telling a lie by facial features? How many are there – a dozen? Then what’ll you do for shows? Two seasons at the most, I say.
20. How weak is President Taylor? I miss Wayne Palmer - that’s how weak.
21. I don’t like her chief of staff, either. I think he’s connected to the bad guys from the ‘Redemption’ movie.
22. Jack and Tony’s cover gets blown Monday – that’ll be good.
23. I wasn’t sure Tony died two seasons ago – I was right. But will he die this time?
24. President Taylor is so weak the terrorists are using HER persona to cripple the national security firewall.


It Occurs To Me

Judging by what I am seeing on television, the country is behaving as if we've never inaugurated a new president before.

What gives?


My Wife

Busy moms are always in need of encouragement and help as they manage their households and, in many cases, work outside the home. Loving, nurturing and caring for children, not to mention a husband, is an honorable and noble calling - and an exhausting one.

My own wife has been, and continues to be, a champ at this and I am grateful to God for her. Even though our daughter is married and our son is off to college, she still is swingin' away at the mom stuff - she's great at it!

She has always had a heart for this, and not just in her own life, but she wants to encourage other moms as they live out their calling as wife and mother. To this end, she has started a new blog called living in a manner worthy . . . At this new blog my wife leads the interested moms through a book she's reading and pulls out the meaty bits for them. This way the busy ladies can read some encouragement, and be challenged, without feeling like they have to find time to read a whole book. It's a great idea and already is ministering to several moms.

I just wanted to say I'm very proud of my wife!!

Indulging Vain Speculation

I noted earlier that I am attempting to read through The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin this year. This is the 500th anniversary year of Calvin's birth and there are book releases, European study tours, lectures, conferences about the man planned by many groups this year.

No word yet on whether there will be mugs, mouse pads or neckties available.

I ordered a copy of the Institutes but it didn't arrive until January 8 which put me a little behind on the Reading Schedule provided by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals by way of Reformation 21 blog. Today, while reading the entry for January 14, I came across this -

"In saying that some fall away into superstition, I mean not to insinuate that their excessive absurdity frees them from guilt; for the blindness under which they labor is almost invariably accompanied with vain pride and stubbornness. Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised. This abyss standing open, they cannot move one footstep without rushing headlong to destruction. (Institutes, 1.4.1)

I thought this was an apt description of many folks in our day, written over 400 years ago! Isn't he saying, basically, that people, in their pride, try to make God out to be whatever they want him to be and that doing so is damning to their souls? I think that's what he's saying.



Around Town

We are deep in the icy grasp of an Arctic blast but, even now, plans are being polished for the spring and summer highway projects around Springfield.

Not too long ago two new flyovers were finished at I-44 and 65 which eliminated the old and overwhelmed cloverleaf, a design from a bygone era. The same thing will happen at 65 and 60 soon, but the project will be a bit more complicated. Railroad tracks will have to be bridged, plus a walking trail, already bridged, will be cut off during the construction. The end result will be fantastic, but it will be a mess until it is completed.

Also, Glenstone and I-44 will be converted from cloverleaf to diamond and Glenstone north to the next light will become 4-lane.

The project I most anticipate will take place at I-44 and Kansas Expressway on the northwest side of town. It is currently a diamond interchange but it has multiple traffic signals in close proximity to each other on either side of the interstate. The traffic around there is always terrible.

To remedy this, the state will build a 'diverging diamond' interchange which will require the north-south traffic on Kansas Expwy (MO-13) to switch sides of the street on the bridge over 44. This allows for unimpeded left turns onto the interstate which should reduce the congestion. The article from the News-Leader says this is the first of it's kind in the nation, though when I googled it, I saw an animated piece that illustrated highways in the Kansas City area. I wonder if one is planned up there? Perhaps my KC connection will fill me in.

If you wonder what a diverging diamond looks like, here you go.


Rickey With Rice

The National Baseball Hall of Fame has selected two more players for induction into the hallowed hall located in Cooperstown, NY. Joining the elite are Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson.

Rice was, for a time, the most feared batter in the game. He had a decent average and tremendous power. It also helped that the lineup he was in was usually pretty potent. He doesn't have the career numbers that many HOF players do and he was a DH for the bulk of his playing days, factors which hurt his chances for election. Indeed, he made it on his 15th try. I always liked him, but I was undecided over whether he merited election.

There are no such qualms over Henderson's election. He is simply the greatest lead off hitter the game has ever seen. He has more stolen bases that anyone, breaking the career record of my childhood hero, Lou Brock. He had more home runs from the lead off spot and scored more runs than anyone ever. A very deserving choice.

We celebrate Henderson's enshrinement by posting an image of Brock.


Jack Is Back

Our long national nightmare is over.


Tebow And Gators Are Tops

The Florida Gators won college football's National Championship Thursday night by defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14. I watched most of the game and it was good one, close all the way to the end.

I think what interested me the most was the Gators quarterback, Tim Tebow. There have been some comments indicating that he may be one of the greatest college football players ever. What I enjoy most about his playing is that he runs and hits like a tight end. He doesn't just take hits, he dishes them out. Not your typical QB. On the other hand, some think his ability will not translate well to the NFL. We'll just have to see.

But what is very clear is that Tebow has so much going for him other than football. He's a young man who is very confident in his Christianity and puts it into action. Here are some excerpts from an article by Pat Forde of ESPN.com to give you the idea:

"It truly would be a shame to submit to cynicism and not fully appreciate the gift of Tebow -- the way he plays football with an unquenchable passion, and the way he approaches life with even greater ardor. If you think he hits linebackers hard on fourth-and-1, that's nothing compared to the way he tackles his higher calling to spread the word. In this one instance, what looks too good to be true really is true."

The 'too good to be true' label has been applied repeatedly and Tebow skillfully and politely answers the skeptical who wonder if he's a phony. And the good news is - he's no phony.

"Tebow has quarterbacked Florida to its second BCS National Championship Game in his three years at the school. He nearly won the Heisman for a second straight season. If the Gators beat Oklahoma on Thursday and he comes back for his senior year, he has a chance to become the most decorated college football player of all time. Yet none of those are the most important statistics or milestones in Tebow's life. These are: 11 prison visits to preach Christianity to inmates; annual trips to the country of his birth, the Philippines, to assist his father's missionary work there; and seven rubber wrist bands on his arms.

"Two commemorate injured or deceased former teammates. Two are for little girls afflicted by cancer. One says, "Praystrong," a twist on the Lance Armstrong bracelet slogan. Another, "TPS," which stands for Time, Place, Substance, distributed by a Florida coach. And one says, "Semper Fi," which means "always faithful" and is the motto of the Marine Corps, among other things."

Always faithful, which Tebow apparently is to all things that matter to him. Of course he wants to play NFL football. Whether or not he will remains to be seen.

"The reassuring thing about Tim Tebow is this: Even if his goal of playing in the NFL is unrealized, it will not define his adult life. There are so many other lives to touch. "I'll be OK" without the NFL, Tebow said. "Would I be upset? Yeah, absolutely. That's my goal. But it's not going to be like my life is over. There's so many other things that I want to do."

I trust that all will turn out well for Tebow, he appears to have most things in life accurately weighed. It would be nice to see him exert some influence in the pro ranks.

And it would give me one more guy to root for.


It Occurs To Me

- that there should be a very bad place to send the people at Lower My Bills dot com.

These are the folks who place the ads on blogs and my feed reader that have the awkward dancing robots, skeletons, women, and unknown creatures. Quoting the baby that buys a stock online in the TV commercial, somebody "underestimated the creepiness factor."

A pox on them!


Post Dated

Anyone who knows me know that I am an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. And one of the best ways for any Cardinal fan to keep up with the news from Busch Stadium is the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Now comes word that this historic daily paper is in serious trouble.

This from an article that appeared at Real Clear Markets:

The once mighty St. Louis Post-Dispatch, flagship of Joseph Pulitzer’s publishing fleet, announced in a small online posting December 17 a warning from its company’s accountant that it may no longer be, by the year’s end, a “going concern.” The value of stock in the Post-Dispatch’s publisher, Lee Enterprises, Inc., has dropped by about 97 percent since the beginning of the year. The company has lost more than 65 percent of its market value during the past 30 days alone. Lee Enterprises publishes more than 50 daily newspapers and more than 300 weekly newspapers and specialty publications.

If we've been paying attention at all we know that daily newspapers are in trouble all across the land and there are a variety of reasons for it - cable TV, the internet, biased coverage, opinion and propaganda instead of factual reporting, and skimpy stories to name a few.

I have always loved newspapers and I actually worked for a small town weekly for a while. I am sorry to see the newspaper industry in trouble, though a little bit of the trouble is brought on themselves. No outside pressures force a paper to be biased or sloppy, for example. But there are some legitimate market concerns that the papers haven't solved yet and may never do so.

I hope, as a fan of papers and the Cardinals, the Post Dispatch can hang on.

I Was Relieved

The place where I work is often visited by vendors from various publishing houses. Today I sat in four meetings, two of which were vendor related.

The first meeting of the vendor variety took place at 10 am and I prepped for it mostly by drinking a glass of tea and a bottle of water. (Ahem) I don't need to tell you for what room I made a beeline after that meeting broke up.

I found, when I got to that little room, that our vendor had also heard nature's call. While he washed his hands, we got into a discussion. He asked me about my church background, saying that he thought he remembered that I wasn't from the Assemblies of God. I told him I wasn't and that I was a Southern Baptist. And then, without thinking, I added this little nugget.

"Not only am I Baptist, but I'm reformed in my theology." I'm not sure why I said it. I immediately wondered what he would think of me because I knew this fellow was smart enough to know just what I meant. I didn't wonder long. He smiled and said that he, too, was Baptist and Reformed. The things you discover in the restroom!

We had a great conversation there in the relative privacy of the men's room about the sanctifying power of the Doctrines of Grace! Two Calvinists commiserating in the midst of a sea of Free-Willers!

A good time was had by all!


Football Cardinals

There was a brief time in the late 70's when I was interested in the St. Louis football Cardinals. They were generally referred to as the St. Louis football Cardinals because of the historically successful baseball franchise in town with the same nickname. The 'football' part distinguished which Cardinals one was referring to. Sometimes they were also called the Gridbirds which I like.

The Gridbirds of those days were competitive, high-flying and a lot of fun as coached by Don Coryell. Coryell was of the Ernie Zampesi school of aerial offensive attack. There were even a couple of years when they made the playoffs, though they had no success there.

By and large, though, I didn't ever get too attached to them, they were rarely successful and eventually, as we know, they moved to Arizona. The NFL expanded in 1976 and I began following one of the fresh franchises, the Seattle Seahawks, who, unlike the Gridbirds, have actually competed in conference title games and have been to a Super Bowl.

All that windiness aside, I think I'm pulling for the Cardinals today, even though they are division rivals of the Seahawks. I am really pulling for Kurt Warner, their quarterback. Warner, a Christian, is the former QB for the Super Bowl winning Rams team of St. Louis.

The game is on as I write and I have no idea how it will go, but I'd like to see Kurt Warner and that Gridbird helmet advance.

Who'll Stop Iran?

I just finished reading this article from Investor's Business Daily which describes the peril that Israel finds herself in. This is serious business. Iran is behind the attacks which Israel is enduring right now, but of course, we already knew Iran was up to it's eyeballs in exporting terror.

I hope the inexperienced president-elect knows it. And knows who to ask about what to do.

The missiles Hamas is firing may be able to reach Israel's nuclear facilities. Soon, ALL of Israel may be in reach of Hamas' weapons. One has to believe that this is why Israel's response has been swift and relentless. It is getting serious.

Hezbollah, to the north, is also an Iranian proxy and so Israel finds herself pinched between two factions bent on her destruction who are armed, supported and encouraged by Iran. For now, Israel can and will defend herself against these thugs on the border.

But who will stop Iran?

Bible Reading and Prayer

If you are like me, you know that reading your Bible and praying are foundational practices for every born-again believer. And, if you are like me, the actual practice of these things has been spotty.

We are conditioned to view the turning of the calendar to a new year as an ideal time to renew ourselves and commit to new habits, or recommit ourselves to old ones. Like reading your Bible and praying.

I like getting help in these areas and I've found a couple of things that might be helpful to you, as well. The Desiring God blog lists "9 Ways to Pray for Your Soul" and "What to Pray for Our Children" in which there is a link to the meat of the answer, "Texts to Pray for Our Children". I am sure that praying them for grandchildren would be alright, too.

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds has linked to many Bible reading plans from which you may choose, if you need one. And we need one. You might already have one (Good!), but we need to have a plan for getting through our Bibles.

Additionally, I've added another project to my daily routine for this year. Over at Reformation 21 they are encouraging folks to read through Calvin's Institutes in 2009. So I ordered a reading plan from them and a copy of the book from the good folks at CBD. I'm not sure what I'm getting my self into, but I'm looking forward to it.


Twenty Oh Nine

The picture is from our local newspaper of events from celebrating in downtown Springfield.

Happy 2009, everybody!