Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bible boy

We try (and I stress that word) to read scriptures together as a family. I’m not sure much really gets through to the little troops, but it’s the habit that’s important I guess. Because our kids are 2, 4, 6, & 8 we haven’t really encouraged them to read the scriptures themselves just yet. They have enough trouble with their elementary school books, and the younger two haven’t even hit kindergarten. But for some reason, Ethan, the oldest, has decided that reading the full-on Bible is a good idea. I can barely get him to read cartoon books. The other day we were in the mini-van and he was in the back reading away. He proudly threw out this quote that I chuckled at:

"I really like the Bible because it’s really big and I'm reading it right now. I'm on chapter Two.”

Sure didn’t want to burst his bubble by telling him how many chapters were left. But I gave the right response, “That’s great, Ethan. Tell us how it ends, ok?”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Spring Tour!

I got a note the other day about upcoming Spoon shows. Let me know if any of you want me to track down tickets (except for the Kansas City folks, cuz there's just too many . . . sorry!) I've seen 'em a few times now and highly recommend that you go! Tell my brother hi when you do!

Much luv!

United States of America: New spring tour dates for your listening and viewing pleasure. More dates to be added soon.

Date City Venue Buy Tickets
Mon 23rd Feb Lisbon, Portugal Aula Magna Tickets
Mon 25th Feb London, UK Scala SOLD OUT
Wed April 2nd Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater *# Pre-Sale
Fri April 4th Chicago, IL Vic Theatre *# Pre-Sale
Fri April 5th Cincinnati, OH Bogart's *# Pre-Sale
Sun April 6th Detroit, MI Emerald Theatre *# Pre-Sale
Mon April 7th Pittsburgh, PA Carnegie Music Hall *# Pre-Sale
Wed April 9th New York, NY Terminal 5 Pre-Sale
Thu April 10th Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory * Pre-Sale
Sat April 12th Norfolk, VA Norva *# Pre-Sale
Mon April 14th Atlanta, GA Center Stage Theatre of Atlanta *# Pre-Sale
Wed April 16th Fort Lauderdale, FL Revolution *# Pre-Sale
Fri April 18th Nashville, TN Vanderbilt Alumni Lawn On sale soon
Sat April 19th Indianapolis, IN Vogue *# Pre-Sale

* = w/ The Walkmen
# = w/ White Rabbits

Sunday, February 24, 2008

That was easy!

I've been going to church for all 32 of my years now. Some Sundays at church are longer than most days in the office. I'm not complaining, it's what I willingly signed up for. But sometimes I'll fess up to kinda going through the motions. Even though every Sunday is a little different, not much surprises me, but every now and then something happens at church that is most unexpected.

Today our concluding speaker got up and started his talk. He's a great, gregarious guy who I'll call Paul. Paul is new to our congregation, but I've been impressed with him and his family since they got here. He started out talking about dealing with some recent challenges in his new job, and he said he made a great find that week that fixed everything. He then pulled out a real-life "Easy Button" like you've seen in the Staples commercials. You push it and a calming, but confident male voice says, "That was easy." We don't usually use props in our church talks, but this was a marvelous one. His point was that life doesn't come with an "easy button," but that prayer and scripture study are decent substitutes. Great analogy. Then he surprised us by turning around and giving the three of us in the bishopric our very own "easy buttons" because of the stuff that we have to deal with from time to time. I'm all for gifts to the bishopric as part of talks from now on. Anyway, it was refreshing and surprising, and in a simple way it kinda made my day. So tonight when Traci told me to put the kids to bed I just hit the button and said, "Done."

"That was easy." Thanks, Paul!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obamamania . . . it's leaving me asking questions

So I'm sitting here watching Obama give a speech to a massive crowd in Houston. Wow, he can get those words flowing and the crowd yelping. He's been talking for quite a while now. I'll tell ya, I started out duly impressed. He hits all the high notes and has that stump speech down so that it's more like he's performing than giving a speech. He just nails the "change-talk" and has now rattled off almost every significant problem in the country and how he is going to fix them. He says great things like "everyone will have health care" or "college should be much more affordable" or "we will have the respect of the world again." But I have to tell you, I'm now hearing a theme come through. The Barak view of the world is that "the government is here, so don't worry, we're going to fix your problems." (for instance he'll fix the Iraq problem by leaving immediately) Now it's a typical political speech, but he's very, very good at it. I think he's really tapped into the hope that people want to have about what government will do for them. But he's utterly unrealistic and it's clear to me that four years of Obama will be full of disappointment. That's a narrative that applies to almost all politicians, but he's setting himself up for a disastrous fall. To me he sounds an awful lot like a one-term president. I think he gets elected, I do. But those believers become nay-sayers very quickly when you promise to fix every problem in their lives, but can't remotely deliver. I want to be inspired as much as the next guy, I do. But like Public Enemy said, "Don't Believe the Hype."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Interview with Ethan

I decided to do a little interview with Ethan, my 8-year-old son. I had to filter out some of the more controversial responses, so here's what was left:

What's the best sport and why? Soccer, cuz it's my favorite

Why do guys like girls? They're cute and nice

What's the worst part about having braces? The wires poking you

Favorite TV Show? Scooby-Doo

If you could go anywhere, where would it be? DisneyWorld

Why do we get sick sometimes? Because we don't wash our hands

How do dentists fix cavities? They have to drill in your teeth with a special tool

What does daddy do at work? I don't know

How much did our house cost? Somewhere in the hundreds of dollars

What's the biggest country in the world? Asia

How many people live in the United States? 30,823

What's the biggest animal in the world? There's the rhino, the giraffe and the elephant

How long would it take to drive from Kansas City to London, England? 5 hours

How old is daddy? 32

How old is mommy? 34

What's the worst ouchie you've ever had? When the rocking chair rolled on my big toe and it was bleeding and hurting

What's your favorite song? Spoon's "Don't make me a target"

What are you trying to get better at? Soccer and singing

How old will you be when you get married? 18

Where will you live after you get married? Kansas

Why do people fight wars? To keep our country safe

How was school on Thursday? Fine

What's the craziest thing you've ever done? Hit my head on a stone wall, on purpose, I don't know why . . .

What's the best thing you've ever done? Help Allison put on her PJs so I could get XBox Games

Thanks to Ethan for spending a few minutes with us imparting his knowledge.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Graceful Exit

There's almost always at least one person who doesn't win in every election, and typically a lot more than one. Well today was the day we kinda saw coming starting late Tuesday night. I was walking by a TV monitor at work and saw the "breaking news" (I'm really tired of that phrase) that Mitt was suspending his campaign. Not a shocker at all, but I have been surprised all day about how frustrated, mad, and more than anything, sad, I've been since I heard the news. At least a dozen people asked me about it today and the radio and internet were obviously buzzing about it, so it was kinda inescapable. But there was something kinda cathartic in talking/hearing about it. Most outlets say it was a "graceful exit" and he left on good terms with the party and even with some begrudging respect from Johnny and the Huck. So I'm left to ponder about what's next politically for the guy I still believe would be one of our best presidents ever. A few scenarios:
  • Mitt gets offered the VP slot with McCain - I really don't see this. There is genuine loathing there going both directions, not that that's a deal breaker. But I suspect Johnny will need to get someone from the South who all those folks recognize as a "conservative." I must admit I'm not really sure what that word means anymore.
  • Mitt gets offered the VP slot with McCain and says NO. The calculation here would be that Mitt thinks the Dems are gonna win anyway. (the most likely outcome IMO) so why go through the pain. Also, see previous loathing comment along with my next bullet point.
  • Mitt runs against the incumbent dem in 2012. I actually found a bunch of articles on this today, with decent support. I know that's a LONG ways off and a bunch of things will change, but why not dream . . . Also, a big problem for him this time was name recognition, and that won't be as big an issue in four years. Alas, he'll still probably be a Mormon in 4 years, so that'll discount his candidacy yet again.
  • Other ideas I heard today: her runs for the senate replacing Bennett in Utah, he challenges Harry Reid (also a Mormon . . . imagine how the press would handle that one!) for his seat in Nevada, or he gets to be the CEO of a major American car company and turns it around.
But whatever Mitt does, I'm still left with the choice of who to vote for. I said a couple of days ago that if McCain's the guy, I'm going Obama, but not Hilary. My wife called me today to talk about this and she made the marvelous point that we really can't afford to do that because of Iraq. If we just walk away that would be a horrific policy. (don't I have an amazing wife?!) So, I'm recanting, kinda. I may actually vote for McCain. His VP is going to get a lot of scrutiny simply because John is so old. That's fair. If Huck is the guy - McCain WON'T get my vote. (for more background on my lack of Huck luv read my previous election posts) If it's somebody else, I'd probably vote for them. For one, tremendously simple reason - I think they'll keep my family safer than Hilary or Obama. That may be the only reason. I will admit though, I am toying with writing in Mitt's name on the ballot, and I'm also thinking (as mad as this may make some of you) of not voting at all. Something about that feels morally reprehensible. But it would actually express almost exactly what I feel. The jury is still out for what I'll do in November . . .

Anyway, for me the "fun" of the election is gone now. What's left is the serious business of hoping the country doesn't do something stupid. Hopefully people in Iowa and Florida don't get to vote. (totally kidding) Thanks to all of you who have supported Mitt one way or another. B, you won't have Romney and I to kick around anymore, so you win and I lose. I can take it, I just pray that our country can.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sage-like in the locker room

I would normally not post anything I overheard in the locker-room at the gym, for obvious reasons. The gym I usually go to is a corporate gym, so the guys there are a little more "buttoned-up" than I suspect they'd be otherwise. You never know who's listening. But today, that didn't stop a couple of guys that were in there with me . . .

Guy 1 (fairly skinny guy - an obvious runner, addressing Guy 2): "So how are the HGH and the "roids" working out for you?"

For those of you who haven't paid attention to "SteriodGate" in baseball, that's Human Growth Hormone. It's supposed to crank up your muscle mass and speed metabolism. But any way you look at it, it's cheating and there's a nice stigma attached.

Guy 2 (HUGE guy, clearly a weight lifter, and apparently a drug user): "It's good stuff, I need to crank up the dosage so I can get @#$%$'n HUGE."

Guy 1 (not at all shocked by any of this): "Can you still drink like you used to?"

Apparently Guy 1 & Guy 2 must have a long history of drunkenness together.

Guy 2 (proudly): "I'm drinking beer all the time, a whole bunch every night . . . can't understand why I have the big gut though."

Yeah Capericus, so hard to believe that massive beer consumption will give you a gut.

Guy 1: "I just do the hard stuff now. I end up spending most of the weekend passed out somewhere. ha ha ha Maybe that would help with the gut."

Now this is definitely the guy you want your daughter to bring home.

Guy 2 (in all seriousness): "I'm gonna try to switch over to rum and Pepsi to see if that does the trick. Might mix in a little more cardio too."

Clearly this is a fitness guru who knows how to control his weight.

Anyway, at this point the conversation ended, at least the part I had to hear, and they headed off to the showers. I appreciated the silence they left behind. This all made me NOT miss high school locker rooms. It's clear that locker rooms must do something to some guy's conversation filters. And typically when those filters are off, some guys are revealed to be actual . . . well . . . idiots.

On a positive note - I now have two more real-life examples to use when I talk to my kids about what drinking and drugs do to the brain.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Electoral Pessimism

Some of you who have been following the blog for a little while have read a few of my election rants. I almost wrote another post about it after the Florida Primary, but I was worried a bit too much emotion would come through. So here are just a few of my thoughts:
  • If John McCain in the guy, it may well be the end of the Republican Party for years to come. Typical conservatives will have no idea who to vote for.
  • If it's McCain, I will vote for Obama. Not sure what to do if it's McCain/Clinton.
  • I'm convinced that Huckabee made a secret deal with McCain to stay in the race just to siphon votes from Romney. He has no chance and zero national appeal, so he's just out there wasting other people's money and making sure that what's left of the conservative vote gets split up and confused. If the secret deal involved the VP slot on the ticket I might even vote for Hilary.
  • It's not being talked about quite as much as a few weeks ago, but anyone looking at this objective would say that if Romney wasn't a Mormon he'd have the nomination locked up already.
  • So we've been given even more reason to question the collective judgment of people in Iowa and Florida. Look at history - these are not the wisest voters we've ever seen.
  • The media loves McCain. And so do Democrats because they know, correctly, that if he's the guy, the Republicans will be even less excited about voting than they already are . . . which is really saying something (go look at the turnout so far).
  • Romney is going to get a lot of votes on Tuesday, and a bunch of delegates, I sure hope he keeps on fighting. He really is our only hope.
  • Talk radio, which I admit is not exactly home to the clearest minds in the world, is going crazy against McCain and for Romney. I'm talking about Rush, Hannity, Beck . . . all those guys. That's good I guess. For once I agree with them. But it almost comes off sounding like the anti-endorsement that undermines credibility. (such as when McCain was endorsed by the New York Times and, seemingly, Bill Clinton)
  • And in the ultimate sign to how crazy this all is, Ann Coulter (an admitted Romney supporter) said that if it's McCain, she'll even vote for Hilary. That one game me pause. She says, "Hilary's more conservative than he is . . . I will campaign for Hilary." Watch the video.

So I'm not making predictions for Tuesday, but I'm trying to keep my pessimism about what's going on in check a bit. As you can tell, it's getting more and more difficult . . .

Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Night Happiness

I liked High School. I really did. It's a been some years since I roamed the halls of Olathe South and hung out with my always-cool friends on the weekends. I'm realizing tonight that the number of years since then must be really getting up there because it's Friday night and we have nothing to do and couldn't be happier about that. During high school I'd have rather you put a rabid scorpion in my pants than me have a Friday night with nothing to do. (Wouldn't "Rabid Scorpion Pants" be a good name for a rock band?) Remember those days? Back then we ALWAYS had plans, and even if we didn't I remember driving around with friends . . . just driving . . . with no destination or purpose at all. But we were DOING SOMETHING! Hanging out, cruising . . . whatever you wanted to call it. Oh I have plenty of high school stories that I could share about toilet paper, police interrogations, construction barrels, dating disasters, and, ... well, other stuff. But that's for another blog. (some of those are for after my own kids are done with their teenage years)

But I'm lucky enough to have found Traci since then, thank goodness. We can just BE . . . we don't have to DO all the time. So here we are on a Friday night, just chatting about whatever, listening to the kids mull around and enjoying every minute of it. We've got no real plans - and we're darn happy about it.

Peace out!
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