Saturday, February 25, 2006

Jesse Donald Knotts

I just read that Don Knotts has passed on. Like most of you, I will always remember him in the role of Deputy Barney Fife and as Mr Furley. Recently, my girls came to know him from "The Incredbile Mr. Limpett" and "The Apple Dumpling Gang." The last film that we "heard" him in was the forgettable "Chicken Little" voicing the role of the Mayor.

The report in the LA Times stated that Knotts died of lung cancer. I was touched that "life-long" friend Andy Griffith was one of the last visitors that he saw.

Science Makes New Discovery

Saw this story entitled Furry Remains Shake Up Jurassic Thinking about the role of mammals during the jurassic time.

The discovery of the remains of a furry, beaver-like animal that lived at the time of dinosaurs has overturned more than a century of scientific thinking about Jurassic mammals.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Coffe Mugs: fine!

Here is the final posting of coffee mug series. Trivial Pursuit was the game that got the most play time with my High School pals. Julie L. gave each of us this mug for Christmas, and somehow, it has remained unbroken for twenty years. Perhaps I have unknowingly taken better care of this mug, because like the stone pile near the Jordon, this mug is a memorial of the friends that God gave to me when I needed them the most.

Cindy and I pray about friendships. I have come to discover that in order for friendships to grow, you have to spend time in that garden: working it, watering it and weeding it. These are skills that I have, but I like so many people, I just don’t know where the time can come from. You know the chorus to this song: I work, I have kids, I’m tired (and so it goes). So I look for those “couple friends.” We have a “couple” friends that God has literally moved back into our lives and our neighborhood. We don’t seem to have the time to invest in the friendship because I know they are singing the same song! Sometimes, I am the arrogant one who only half wants to be there and half wants to be somewhere else. How stinky is that?

I have lost my friendship building skillz. I am not talking about work friendships. Those are easy to maintain because so much of my day is spent with them. Not virtual, online relationships that I have with other BF2 Gamers. We have a common interest and we enjoy sharing in that interest. But, people that I know casually through Church or in the neighborhood, that’s a different story. Those are the ones that are ripe for growing into something much more meaningful than just a friendly wave and a nice smile.

P.S. Just saw todays Dilbert. Oh, how I relate.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


What I am going to write about is a bit different from usual, because tonight I am a bit melancholy. I think that I am coming to a parting of ways with a group of guys that I have hung out with online for several years. We got to know each other because of an online game (Battlefield 1942) and have been playing on thursday nights for a couple of years. One of the guys I know from a previous job, and everyone else somehow knew someone else in the group.

I realize that meloncholy is a bit dramatic. Ok, use bummed then. No matter. Part of the realization is that, beyond the game, I have little or nothing in common anymore with these guys. I don't really enjoy the game anymore. I really don't have relationships with other people outside of work. I admit that I am a home body, and so these online friendships have been really "convenient."

Things will look better in the morning over a hot cup of Joe. I've taken the day off and will take the girls out and about. Myabe take them out to a flick and give mom some much needed "Cindy Time."

Also, tommorrow I will post the last of my coffee mugs. This one will be a "nostalgia" mug that I have had since my senior year (1986).


Coffee Mugs Part Deux

Ok, so the mug I posted yesterday is my favorite all around. I like the shape and size. It holds enough coffee, but not too much. Too much coffee tends to turn into cold coffee. I use to "heat it up" with fresh from the pot coffee, but, isn't that simply diluting the good stuff from the pot (man, there is a sermon in there somewhere).

Anyways, I got these two mugs last year at the Magic Kingdom. The Coffee itself was not that great, but, I am a sucker for cool marketing and this can was cool. The "Mickey's Coffee" is too tall, but it has a nice concave shape to it that makes it interesting. The Character mug was cool because it contained most of the "new" Disney classics.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Post Your Favorite Coffee Mug!

Ok, I must admit my addiction to coffee. So, to celebrate, I will post one of my favorite coffee mugs.

This mug was given to me by Cindy for father's day.

Comon, show me yours!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

American Idol

Cindy and I like the television show American Idol. The current series has reached the final 24 contestant milestone. This year they did something different: typically, after “Hollywood week” the show has its final 24 contestants. However, to increase the drama, this year they left 20 extra contestants that needed to be cut. They did this by bringing each contestant, one by one, up an elevator and down a long hall to stand in front of the judges. There is a brief pause before the contestant’s fate is realized. That pause must last for an eternity, as they listen with heart racing and palms sweating for the words that will propel them to stardom. But, what they are told does not mesh with those hopes and dreams: “I’m sorry, it’s a no. You are not going on.” The contestant has this look of utter confusion: “What has just happened here?”

A good friend recently opened up and shared past encounters with various Christians. This got me to thinking about how many people go to a Christian church and even label themselves a Christian, but are indeed lost. How many Christian’s use the Grace of God as a license to sin? Do I ever do this? How many in that moment of judgment before Christ will hear something worse than “I’m sorry, it’s a no,” but will hear “Who are you? Leave.”

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Rest in Peace Phil Brown

If you know me, then you know that I love Star Wars. Not Episode IV, not "A New Hope" but the 1977 edit of Star Wars. It really sparked my nine year old imagination. This film cemented my future geekdom and was "my first step into a larger world" of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

So, I was a bit saddened to see that Phil Brown, aka Uncle Owen, has passed on. Harry Knowles over at Aint It Cool News has written a fitting obituary, and I shall send you there. Just, watch where you step over there.

Uncle Owen joins Aunt Beru...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Earthworm Week!

This week was Earthworm Week at the Chesapeake Campus of the Bryan Academy. Everything that a child could possibly learn about a worm was unconvered. Did you know that a worm is both male and female? That a worm has five hearts? As Cindy was preparing her lesson plans this week, she included going to a bait shop so that the girls could get some hands on experience with really big-n-fat worms.

The grand finale of Worm Week was going to be a dissection. One of the lucky critters was going to be sacrificed in the name of science. So, Cindy was excited about this, the girls were excited, but something did not quiet sit right with me. It took me a while to figure it out, but it came to me at dinner tuesday night.

"Cindy, how are you going to kill the worm?"

She gave me that "thousand yard" stare that indicated to me that this was the one part of Worm Week that had not been thought through. And, at that moment, the girls realized that by dissecting the worm, they would be killing the worm.

The dissection activity was cancelled and replaced with a cooking activity: Gummy Worms and Dirt. Yummy.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Friday Night Pizza

Does your family have any weekly traditions that will one day become a part of your children's memories? A weekly tradition that we have that is really dear to me is Family Movie and Pizza Night.

FM&P Night has it roots from my Mom and Dad. As a kid, nearly every friday night, we had take out from Shakey's Pizza Parlor. It use to be located across from the Toyota center on Airport Blvd in West Columbia. I think an auto-parts store is there now.

Shakey's was great. I can testify that, if not for Shakey's, I would not have the video game habit that I now have. They had a line up of pinball machines, a jukebox and video games (Space Invaders, Pac Man, Galaga...the classics). Rumor has it, that my dad would have become a millionaire if the quarters he invested in those machines had been invested in Wall Street. "Can I have a quarter" was essentially my catch phrase.

They had this common room with big long tables for dining in. On Friday nights, a piano and banjo musician would entertain the commons. They showed silent B&W shorts (Three Stooges, Little Rascals, Laurel and Hardy) on a movie screen. In 1977, the owner had a B&W short of Star Wars: it was the first of many times that I would see Star Wars.

My Dad had, at some point, been employed there. He seemed to know everyone back there and all of the guys where really friendly to me. Men with colorful names like Hatcher and Parthemus (at least, that's how I remember them). We went there so much, that they had a pizza named after my dad, "The Dirty Dave." I believe anchovies were included.

The biggest thrill of the evening was "Who got to ride home in the front seat holding the pizza?" Near my house was a hill that my Dad would always goose the gas peddle on his Beetle so that we would experience the thrill of taking flight. These were days before VCRs and we had something better: we had the Rockford Files!

So, today, I look forward to FM&P Night. A co-worker ribs me when I call up the local CiCi's pizza and order a larger peperoni pizza because I am so predictable. We no longer have Jim Rockford and his dad, but, we have a wealth of Classic DVDs available to us on Netflix.

FM&P Night is more to me than just eating pizza, drinking pepsi and watching "The Swiss Family Robinson:" It is a part of my childhood that I am giving away to my children.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chariots of Fire

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure." - Eric Liddell

The first time that I saw "Chariots of Fire" was early in January. I watched the majority of it while exercising on the treadmill. Never has a movie so inspired me while running, and I really like period pieces. Maybe its the clothing, or maybe the romance of a time gone by.

I almost stumbled at the end, when Eric Liddell said the quote above. It pretty much brought me to tears: the kind of tears that you experience when God opens something up to you, that you might not have ever thought about before. God had a purpose for Eric Liddell's life: he would bring Gods word to China where, ultimately, he would be killed. However, God also gave Eric a gift: Speed. And that gift was not squandard or wasted. But rather, recognized for the gift that it was; recognizing that using this gift ultimately gives pleasure back to the gift giver.

Do you use your gifts?