Archive for 2008

Visions of Sugarplums

Christmas is a happy time.  One of our night-time rituals is reading books at bedtime.  I’ll tell the kids to pick one or two books each for me to read to them.  The other night, what “book” am I brought?  The most recent Lego catalog.  So we read each page, skipping the detailed descriptions but hitting all the names of sets and minifigures.  I am sure the kids dreamt well that night.

Then today we got a new Lego catalog in the mail. There is a new series in the Lego world: Power Miners. This series has the premise that geological disturbances are being caused by some new form of mineral, and the Power Miners must thwart this threat! It seems to have taken a while, but the concept of Tiberium has crept into places other than Command and Conquer. There is even a harvester set. Rogue crystals are headed to a toy near you.

Many will seek the favor of a generous man, And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

Proverbs 19:6

Obligatory Lions Loss Blog Entry

Congratulations to the Detroit Lions for their perfect season.  Yes, they went all season without winning a game.  Enough people have given their theories as to what the problem is and what needs to change that I won’t go into that here.

But I will say that the Lions are doing their part for the league.  In order for teams to win, other teams must lose.  The Lions, by going 0-and-16, are selflessly helping the other teams in the NFL by making more wins available.  The Lions already had good draft choices in previous years, so I doubt they were going for that.  So it must be that they just wanted to help.

Contrast that with my college: Cedarville University.  They have not lost a football game since 1953.  I even recall seeing T-shirts with that fact: “Undefeated since 1953”.  As you may have guessed, 1952 was the last time they played a football game.

In case you thought the Lions looked bad, you should look at Cedarville’s 1932 season.  Of particular note are two losses: 89-0 and 137-0.

“I know his fury,” declares the LORD, “But it is futile; His idle boasts have accomplished nothing.”
– Jeremiah 48:30

Family Conversations

Here are some recent conversations with our kids:

Three-year-old, holding a piece of paper that was cut out to be a person: “I can’t talk!
Me: “If you can’t talk, how’d you say that?”
Him: “I don’t know!

The best part about that conversation was that he had this fake voice, pretending to be the paper guy the whole time.  And he was moving it in front of his face.

On another evening, I was reading a book of farmyard animals to our 3-year-old.  I asked “Do you know what baby pigs are called?”  He answered “No“, so I replied “Piglets.”
The next page had puppies.  I asked “Do you know what baby dogs are called?”  He answered “Doglets“.  He catches on quickly.

Try talking to a 5-year-old when you have the hiccups:
“Pick that up, off the fl-HHHK-oor”
Daddy, you said ‘fl-HK-oor!‘”
“Please hand me that pa-HHHK-per.”
Ha-ha, you said ‘pa-HK-per!‘”

Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate.

Proverbs 31:8

What Do You Want Me To Do? Part 2

It’s Christmas time, and although some things change on radio stations, some things remain the same – like advertisements.

There are plenty of stores and businesses advertising their wares.  But I heard one ad recently that had me wondering why that company was running that ad.

It was for the company that owns the electrical transmission lines – the big wires on the tall metal structures.  This is not the electric company.  I, as a normal consumer, can’t buy their services.  But they are advertising over the airwaves to thousands of people who are meaningless to them.  When I heard their ad, I was curious to know why they were spending money to tell me that it is they who own the high-voltage wires.

At least they improved on the JLTV ads – this company told me what they wanted me to do.  When I see the Christmas lights on their towers, I am to remember them.  That’s what the ad said.  I am to think of them, think of them fondly, when I see their towers.  Maybe not those exact words, but that’s the concept.

I have noticed one tower that had Christmas lights on it, and I did remember who it was who told me it is their tower.  But what effect did my thought at that moment have on their bottom line?

I can imagine that meeting: “Boss, I have a great idea: we’ll run ads and tell people to think of us.  If we get enough people, even though they have nothing to do with our business, that will improve our cash flow and profits through the power of positive thinking!”

I’m sure there is some reason, such as an unfinished quote or a bid on some new business.  But since I don’t know what that is, I will just make fun of the ad.  Or maybe they want you to buy their stock. If so, that’s a very subliminal way to do that.

“Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”
– Genesis 40:23

Which Reindeer Games?

One of the aspects of marriage is learning about differences in how the other was raised.  For instance, one thing I learned early in the marriage is that you don’t need to refrigerate ketchup.  Everybody I know puts his ketchup in his fridge.  But think about it: no restaurants do.  And nowhere on the bottle does it say “Refrigerate after opening”.  But we keep ours in the fridge because we don’t go through it as fast as restaurants do, and better safe than sorry.

Another item involves the words to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Not the real words, but the extra, unofficial words that you learned as a child in school: “like a lightbulb”, “like Pinocchio”, “like hoofball”, “yippee”, and “like George Washington”.  It’s the part that follows “join in any reindeer games” on which my wife and I disagree.  She insists the words are “like Monopoly” instead of “like hoofball”.

I don’t know what part of Monopoly has to do with reindeer, but it is a common enough phrase in the US.  It seems that “George Washington” isn’t that popular either.  According to my informal survey of websites, more people claim “Columbus” than “George Washington” for the part following “you’ll go down in history”, and most people claim “Monopoly”.  “Hoofball” is obscure.

But how can a reindeer play Monopoly?  They can’t hold the cards!  And the names that Rudolph is called, either Dumbo or Pinocchio?  Why are they always Disney characters?  I sense a lot of stealth marketing, which might be why I prefer hoofball – there’s no one to benefit by promoting hoofball.

If you need more evidence, just look at the letter that Rudolph writes (it’s in section E).  When he discusses the reindeer games that he plays, do you see Monopoly listed there?  No, but you do see hoofball.

“So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the sons of Israel.”
– Deuteronomy 31:22

Fishing Pole Craft

I decided to make a craft with/for the kids. Here are the details.

  • Magnets: 12 for $1 = 8.3c per pole
  • Poles: 2 for $1 = 50c per pole
  • Washers: 30 for $1 = 3c per fish
  • String: free from the garage
  • Paper: free from just about anywhere

Total per fishing pole: about $0.60
Time spent occupying the kids’ attention: 1.5 hours (includes helping with construction and also playing time)
Not a bad deal when compared to any commercial ventures intended for entertaining kids for that amount of time…

The pole was a dowel from the local big-box hardware-type store.  They come in 4-foot lengths, so I bought one, cut it in half, and had two 2-foot poles for the kids.  I then stapled (using my construction-type stapler, not a standard paper stapler) a 3-foot length of string to the end of each pole.

materials used to make the fishing-pole craft

I took the magnets that we bought and drilled a hole in the middle of two of them (one per pole).  The magnets were the soft (plastic) type, not the hard (ceramic) type.  The ceramic type are going to be more powerful, but also more brittle and I wouldn’t want to drill a hole in one of them.  I used a small drill bit, the type used for wood, for the magnet.  The size was just slightly larger than the string, so that I could thread the string through the hole.  I did not put the bit into a drill – I just twisted it by hand.  Yes, the magnets are that soft.  After threading the string through the hole, I tied a knot in the end to keep the string from unthreading itself.

pole and string assembled

While I was doing that, the kids were coloring fish that I had cut out of paper.  The fish were between two and three inches long.  Once the children were finished coloring the fish, I taped the washers to them.

completed fish

And then?  We tested everything – put the fish on a chair and have each child try to pick up a fish using the magnet on the end of the pole.  They worked adequately, although I would have liked stronger magnets because the magnets we got don’t have much of a grip.  They pick up the fish most of the time but they fall off easily.

The kids slightly enjoyed fishing with the poles.  What they really like doing with the poles is pretending they are bows, as in bows and arrows.  There are no arrows, but that doesn’t stop them.  Since I made the strings longer than the poles, the children started having fun wrapping the string around the pole.  Then they noticed if they wrapped only the end of the string around the other end of the pole, that left some extra string in the middle.  That extra string resembled a bow, so they started pointing it at things and shooting “arrows”.

Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?

Luke 11:11

All-Haiku Bowl Predictions

Editor’s note: today’s contribution is from guest writer Craigg Westerstream.

Since they are gaining in popularity, the all-haiku predictions are now making an appearance on Some Blog Site – still America’s only all-haiku college football BCS bowl predictions.

This is with apologies to TMQ, whom I can reference but not link to for cheerleader-based reasons.  He has his pre-season NFL predictions in haiku form.  During this year’s all-haiku predictions, TMQ mentioned that his used to be the only haiku predictions, but someone else began copying him.  I thought, “If someone else can copy him, why can’t I?”  I am now empowered!

These are listed in order of date (earliest first).  Some picks are whom I think will win, and some picks are whom I want to win.  I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide which is which.  Remember: all predictions wrong or … okay, I’ll stop there as I don’t want to plagiarize TMQ, just slightly imitate him.

Dec. 20th
EagleBank Bowl
Bank takes bailout funds.
Is this the taxpayer bowl?
Rematch: same result.

Navy over Wake Forest

Las Vegas Bowl
Based on common foes,
my guess is that BYU
has the advantage.

BYU over Arizona

St. Petersburg Bowl
Which team is better?
4 wins in C-U-S-A
or 2 in Big East?

South Florida over Memphis

New Mexico Bowl
Recent new bowl game
A new coach for CSU
Hill’s still at Fresno?

Fresno State over Colorado State

Dec. 21st
New Orleans Bowl
What used to be the
first bowl game of the season
is now the fifth one.

Troy over Southern Miss

Dec. 23rd
Poinsettia Bowl
At 13 and O,
Boise will wonder what they
have to do next year.

Boise State over Texas Christian

Dec. 24th
Hawaii Bowl
Long plane flight over –
Irish forget that they are
not on vacation.

Hawaii over Notre Dame

Dec. 26th
Motor City Bowl
Chippies spend Christmas
at home, welcome Owls to the
cold of Michigan.

Central Michigan over Florida Atlantic

Dec. 27th
Emerald Bowl
Each team has a streak
of three in a row to end
the ’08 season.

California over Miami

Champs Sports Bowl
Wisconsin Bagers:
Yes the ‘D’ is missing.  It’s
been like that all year.

Florida State over Wisconsin

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Can West Virginia
go O for 3 in this bowl?
The Tar Heels hope so.

West Virginia over North Carolina

Dec. 28th
Independence Bowl
How fitting that the
Independence Bowl gets a
day all to itself.

Northern Illinois over Louisiana Tech

Dec. 29th
Alamo Bowl
Wildcats and Tigers
Both Willie and Truman look
like friendly mascots.

Northwestern over Missouri Bowl
NC State, Rutgers
both on decent winning streaks,
but they can’t both win.

Rutgers over North Carolina State

Dec. 30th
Holiday Bowl
PAC-10 and Big 12
This one should be fun to watch.
Big 12 wins again.

Oklahoma State over Oregon

Texas Bowl
Rice is close to home,
but they can’t hold opponents
to single digits.

Western Michigan over Rice

Humanitarian Bowl
Does the bright blue turf
make the yellow first-down line
appear to be green?

Maryland over Nevada

Dec. 31st
Chick-fil-A Bowl
Les Miles is still glad
that he’s not at Michigan.
They’re not in a bowl.

Georgia Tech over LSU

Insight Bowl
Minnesota has
a losing conference record.
At least Kansas tied.

Kansas over Minnesota

Music City Bowl
A 5 and O start
helps break the long bowl-game drought
Expect rustiness

Boston College over Vanderbilt

Pitt has a better
record, but Oregon State
has Coach of the Year

Oregon State over Pittsburgh

Armed Forces Bowl
You would think that the
military-based team would
have to win this bowl.

Air Force over Houston

Jan. 1st
Gator Bowl
Who is the coach now?
Too many coaching changes
for Clemson to win.

Nebraska over Clemson

Capital One Bowl
These teams fell from their
high rankings.  At least they still
play on New Year’s Day.

Georgia over Michigan State

Outback Bowl
Penn State not a fluke,
Hawkeyes spoil another team’s
hopes for victory

Iowa over South Carolina

Orange Bowl
Winners of the two
small BCS conferences
Don’t get a big game

Virginia Tech over Cincinnati

Rose Bowl
Penn State represents
Big 10 in the BCS
Win one for JoePa

Penn State over USC

Liberty Bowl
Now it is time for
a fun, self-aware haiku:
This is the last line.

East Carolina over Kentucky

Jan. 2nd
Cotton Bowl
Red Raiders are set,
deep in the heart of Texas,
to avenge their loss

Texas Tech over Mississippi

Sugar Bowl
Utah helps to pave
the way for non-BCS
schools to get good bowls

Utah over Alabama

Jan. 3rd
International Bowl
Buffalo players
don’t have to go very far
to reach Canada

Buffalo over Connecticut

Jan. 5th
Fiesta Bowl
Teams have traded wins.
It’s the Longhorn’s turn this time.
They’re better this year.

Texas over Ohio State

Jan. 6th
Ball State and Tulsa:
They’re both on a losing streak
of only one game

Ball State over Tulsa

Jan. 8th
Cleverly-named BCS Title Game Bowl
Both teams ran up scores.
Team with better record wins.
Same record? Home wins!

Florida over Oklahoma

“Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.”
– 1 Corinthians 4:16