Archive for August, 2013

Rough Neighborhood

comic of a police officer trying to pull over Mr. Rogers


Flashing police lights seen in a rearview mirror
Driver: Let’s hear what the nice police officer has to tell us
Police: You, in the Buick, pull over!
Driver: No!
Police: No?! I wasn’t asking. I said pull over!
Driver: No!
Mr. Rogers: It’s a cardigan.

If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets

Exodus 22:26

Football: Down with YPP

A metric that has been gaining attention lately is Yards Per Point (YPP).

What good is a metric if not for ranking things?

And what good are rankings but to tell you who is better?

And how do you truly know which teams are better except for when they play each other?

Thus, I have incorporated YPP into my list of football team rankings. Really, though, it’s not rankings so much as it is an attempt at predicting winners (moneyline. I have yet to incorporate spreads).

We can know how good a metric is by using it to predict winners and then comparing the actual winners.

YPP is not all that impressive.

It’s better than randomly picking a team, but not as good as most of the other metrics.

Go view YPP values and results for the years 2006-present.

Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”

1 Samuel 17:10

Lazy Alumni Associations

My high school class reunion was this past weekend.

I didn’t go, mainly because I wasn’t invited.

I happened to be talking to a classmate’s mom a couple of weeks before the event and that’s how I learned they were having the event.

We already had a busy weekend planned by then, so it wouldn’t have worked.

But I figured out why they couldn’t find me:

I’m not on Facebook.

Never mind that my parents have been in the same house for the last 43 years.

Never mind that my brother is an administrator at our high school and they contacted him about scheduling a tour of the new building.

Never mind that you can type my name into a search engine and get my contact information.

Since my name is not in Facebook, I don’t exist.

I hope I don’t sound bitter, because I’m not – I’m rather amused by it.

I suppose Facebook makes life easier for reunion organizers. But does it also make them lazier?

Of course, I know the various ways to contact me, so it’s easy to rattle them off. And they might not know the connections.

Still, it’s fun to speculate how, in the year 2013, someone can remain uncontactable.

I mean, they could have at least checked my account…

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Berry Farm Policy

We picked some blueberries this past weekend. The older kids were responsible enough, but the youngest did not care for the bucket.

So I am proposing a policy for any of the You-Pick places (all of whom seem to have lost the letters ‘Y’ and ‘O’).

sign for u-pick berry farm to weigh children beforehand

Sure, it might not be the best public relations move, but it would help keep profits up.

You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing

Deuteronomy 25:4

Wonder Pets Save Detroit

photo of Wonder Pets Detroit the phone is ringing


Inventions for Parents

Now that our youngest no longer qualifies as a baby, I’ve thought of some things that would have been nice to have when he was an infant.

Inventions for Parents of Infants

  1. One-Way Pant Legs
    illustration of one-way pant legs for babies
    I can’t even count the number of times that I would get one pant leg on the kicking baby, only to have him work that leg out of the pants while I was trying to get the other leg in. We would go back and forth a few times – this leg in that leg out, that leg in this leg out, etc. – before I could manage to get them both on at the same time.

    If the pants were lined with a directional material, similar to but not as sharp as snakes’ teeth, I would have no problem getting fussy babies dressed.

    The only drawback would be changing them out of the pants. The material would have to be cheap enough to be disposable so that one could cut them off. Single-use, disposable pants. Probably would have to have the diaper built in or something.

  2. Non-Contact Thermometers
    illustration of a non-contact thermometer for babies
    They have these for industrial use. For example, no one is going to stick any probes in a crucible of molten steel to make sure it is hot enough. But that’s overkill for parents. A squirmy baby does not like having thermometers held under his armpit (or anywhere else, for that matter), and those ear thermometers are touchy too.

    Why not adapt the current non-contact thermometers for use on a child? Kid looks or sounds sick? Zap him from across the room. You just need a clear line-of-sight to his forehead.

    Take care when using the optional laser sight though – you don’t want to damage his eyes.

  3. Pacifier Strap
    illustration of a pacifier strap
    The baby cries because he doesn’t have his pacifier. His pacifier doesn’t stay in his mouth because he’s crying.

    Classic Catch-22.

    Solve that dilemma with a strap of elastic attached to the pacifier.

    Make it decorative elastic, and it can double as a baby girl’s headband.

  4. Double-Sided Squeegee Tissue
    illustration of facial tissue with squeegees
    It doesn’t take a baby long to fear the tissue. You see his runny nose and reach for a tissue. He sees the tissue and prepares for his evasive maneuver. As you approach, he waits. Timing is critical. You apply the tissue then he acts – shaking his head from side to side to ensure that all the facial tissue does is smear the contents of his nose across his cheek, making more of a mess instead of less.

    It might be cost-prohibitive for an item as disposable as facial tissue, but we need a tissue with a squeegee on each end. That way, any mess is kept instead of smeared. And a squeegee needs to be on each side, because you never know which way your baby is going to go (“he always turns to the right in the bottom half of the hour”).

  5. Baby Monitor Snooze Button
    illustration of a baby monitor with a snooze button
    With our first child, we learned by accident that he could sleep through the night. He was sleeping 3 or so hours at a stretch, which after a few weeks made for some weary parents (i.e. us). One early morning, around 2:00 or 3:00, he starting crying. I was too tired to get out of bed, so I assumed my wife would get him. She was too tired, so she hoped I would get him. Both of us fell back asleep and neither one got him.

    Then we both woke at 5:00 and panicked – “did you get him?” “No, I thought you did.” “Is he okay?” We rushed to his crib and found that he was sleeping peacefully. After that, we let him cry for 10 minutes or so before we would get him during the night. He rarely made it for all 10 minutes.

    So what I recommend to new parents, after the first month, is to get a baby monitor with a snooze button. The baby starts crying, the monitor wakes you. The baby’s cry sounds normal, so you push the snooze button and the monitor goes silent for the next 10 minutes.

    The baby learns to deal with it, the parents get some more sleep, and everyone is better off.

Then I sent a message to him saying, “Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind.”

Nehemiah 6:8

Manziel’s Press Conference

So Johnny Manziel is facing an investigation by the NCAA that he violated rules by selling autographs. If I were his speechwriter, this is what I would give to him for his press conference.


There are many fine college football programs throughout the country, especially Texas A & M. They operate under the governance of the NCAA, whose rules I recently violated. Because of that, I am facing a suspension from NCAA football.

I have decided not to serve the suspension.

The NCAA was organized to protect the interests of student athletes, but as time has progressed the NCAA has evolved into an entity that makes millions of dollars off student athletes while denying them the opportunity to capitalize on their own status.

In short, NCAA football programs are for-profit, minor-league football teams, despite the NCAA’s pretending otherwise.

It is time for the NCAA to update their archaic, confusing, and irrelevant rules. It is time for them to acknowledge the increased demands of today’s student athletes and compensate them – or let them be compensated – accordingly.

To call the NCAA’s bluff, and because I can afford to do so, I am forfeiting my remaining years of eligibility. I will play Arena Football for a year or two, until I and my agent feel I am ready for the NFL.

I hope to open the NCAA’s eyes to the fact that more and more people are tired of their hypocritical regulations. Maybe if enough of us leave the NCAA and play in the equivalent of minor-league teams, we can effect some positive change.

Oh, and there are way too many bowl games. Reduce the number and keep bowl appearances special and meaningful.

God bless, and gig ’em Aggies.

Manziel already has his name recorded enough in history – Heisman trophy winner and all that. But if he really wants to cement his legacy, really wants to make news, he should do something other than accept the NCAA’s punishment. It might appear that he has a bad attitude – “Nobody can tell me what to do, I’m going to take my ball and go home!” – but if he phrases it the right way it could work. He should not compare his effort directly to the civil rights movement of decades ago, as that would be too presumptious (“I’m the Rosa Parks of NCAA football.”)

If, every year, the NCAA is investigating or suspending more and more players for selling either merchandise or autographs or appearances, at what point do they realize they can’t keep the system the way it is? A better analogy than civil rights might be the repeal of the Prohibition. No basic human rights involved, just can’t keep people from doing what they want.

The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

Proverbs 22:3