Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Evangelicals Behaving Badly

My friend, Christian Smith, has finally published what he and I have talked about on occasion. The misuse of stats by evangelicals -- particularly those involved in youth ministry -- is appalling and needs to be called what it is: devious and deceptive.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Various Surrealities at MonsterJam

In order for Tanner to earn a "Group Activity" badge for Cub Scouts, we joined his den at MonsterJam a week ago. Yes, that's the "sport" where monster trucks race each other around in circles and run over smaller cars. I had a few surreal moments therein:

-The Metrodome was nearly full -- probably 50,000 people -- leading me to seriously reconsider my contention that Minnesotans are generally more intelligent than the rest of the American population. (No, the election of Jesse Ventura had not caused me to reconsider this.)

-As Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to Be an American" was playing at massive decibel levels, an enormous American flag was carried into the middle of the stadium by about two dozen people. Tanner (6), fresh off of a week of public education, said, "Dad, are they singing about Martin Luther King, cuz he wanted freedom?"

"Not exactly," I told him.

-About halfway in to the evening, I realized that every event was rigged so that Grave Digger would win. A quick Wikipedia check later that night explains that "Digger," was purchased from driver Dennis Anderson by Clear Channel Communications in 1998. Of course it was.

-The emcee, a rotund man who ran around the track and cajoled us through our earplugs into cheering, had obviously failed to watch the ESPN report on the 25th anniversary of "The Wave." The Wave is over, dude. It's passé. No one does it anymore.

-The thought occurred to me that I'm very likely the only Red-Letter Christian who's ever been to MonsterJam.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Winter in Minnesota...

60 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Minnesota plant gardens.

50 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Duluth sunbathe.

40 above zero:
Italian & English cars won't start.
People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.

32 above zero:
Distilled water freezes.
The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero:
Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
People in Minnesota throw on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.

People in Miami all die.
Minnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero:
Californians fly away to Mexico
People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

25 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Minnesotans get upset because they can't start the Mini-Van.

460 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.)
People in Minnesota start saying..."Cold 'nuff fer ya?"

500 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Minnesota public schools will open 2 hours late.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Change in Policy

I began this long, slow war of words in May. In that time, I've made some important progress. I nailed the introduction, and the acknowledgements. I wrote the dedication and the Table of Contents. Some look past those accomplishments, but we must not lose sight of these important footholds in the writing of a manuscript.

About 50,000 words have been cycled in and then out of the theatre of the book -- they now reside stateside in the "First Draft" and "Second Draft" files. Some expect to be rotated back into the manuscript soon.

We (the words and I) keep slogging away -- this book won't be done in a day -- but some words are deleted every day. Other words have lost a prefix or a suffix. It's an unfortunate but unavoidable aspect of writing. I've visited many of the words in the recycle bin, told the rest of their sentences that I'm sorry for their loss.

So, we've been hovering at around 45,000 words. That's not acceptable! The contract clearly calls for 70,000 words! And, it was due on January 8 -- I had really hoped that this manuscript would be done by that deadline, but we've gotten bogged down in circumstances that we didn't foresee.

So, I have no choice. I'm sending in a surge of 20,000 words in the next two weeks.

We will finish this manuscript! We will not back down!

Failure is not an option!

But Will They Serve Lutefisk...

...when I'm in Norway?

[UPDATE: Oops, I meant Sweden. Yeah, I know the difference. Really, I do.]

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another Ken Silva Post

Did you know that Ken was a radio DJ? Yeah, that's pretty cool. He has a good radio voice.

More on Ken Silva

I found it refreshing to hear some of Ken's story: his past as a rock musician -- he's written dozens of original songs -- and high school football coach. We also shared some fondness for the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont, where he lives and where I went to college.

A Big Week for my Brother

First, my brother, Ted, presented a case before the Minnesota Supreme Court, then the StarTribune printed a feature on his very popular blog.

Way to go, Ted!

[UPDATE: Ted's oral arguments in streaming video.]

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ken Silva

I talked to Pastor Ken on the phone today. Called up his church and he answered. We chatted for about half-an-hour and agreed to hang on to each other's phone numbers. Of course, we disagreed on some things, but agreed that friendship is possible and desirous. He seemed like a good guy, and I got to hear part of his story, which was quite interesting.

I'm hobbling around like a drunkard with my knee in bandages. The surgery was a success.

Today is the day that the Edina Police Chaplains have a chili feed for the cops. The Rabbi's is usually the hottest chili, but mine beat his this year.

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Going Under

I've been able to avoid surgery for 38 years, a streak that will be broken tomorrow. (I'm no Tim Conder, who hasn't puked since 1983!) It seems I'm in good enough health to go under general anesthesia. According to my physical yesterday: my blood pressure is 92 over 70 and I have a small hernia, but other than that, I'm ready to go.

And, yes, I did become faint when the doc was describing my hernia to me!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christmas Greetings

The Joneses were a little late getting our card out this year, and we didn't send it to as many friends as we would have liked (including anyone overseas). So, here it is for mass consumption.

Happy New Year!