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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

20 Bucks - a Tank of Gas - and Almost

I'm headed out for a short weekend trip to the lake. I'll be back blogging Monday with pics of the trip. Hope this post lasts you until then.

I came into work today at 8:30, the regular time. A young lady met me in the reception area needing benevolence help with gasoline. I knew she was there, we talked yesterday. Some brief paperwork formalities and off across the street to Welchers, the gas station across the street, to put $20 gas in her car so she can make her Dr's appointment in Iowa City today.

While coming out, I run into Brad, a good friend of mine, who's just grabbing some Gatorade and a power bar. We chat for a few minutes standing by my morotcycle when my life almost changed forever. Into the parking lot thunder 3 Harley Davidsons, riders dressed leather head to toe, looking like they've lived on the road for the past week. Brad and I exchange glances and both are thinking the same thing, "I want to go with them"

We talk with them for almost 30 minutes about their trip, their experiencs and common things between us. Finally, they get on their bikes and ride out of town to their next stop in Nebraska where they plan on parking their bikes in a "U" shape and straping a tarp over the top of them and sleeping on the ground.

As they rode off, thundering down the road, I looked at Brad... he looked at me and our hearts sank as we both wanted to climb on with them and ride in formation to Nebraska. I said, I got 20 bucks in my pocket and a tank of gas in my bike. I'll even sit on the back for part of it if you want to go, and for a second... we almost went.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

First Audioblog: Listening to and Feeling the Blues

Welcome to my 1st audio blog. Click the icon below to listen.
(Links provided follow the audio blog)

this is an audio post - click to play

Joss Stone
Devon, England

Jamie Lidell

Ray Charles

Scott Hodge

James (a.k.a. Captain Mac)

Acid Pro


Tour de Iowa

Well Lance Armstrong has done it again. 7 wins for the machine. Winning it once - okay. Beating cancer - sure whatever. But beating cancer and winning it 7 times. WOW! Congrats.

Perhaps the greatest athlete of the century?

While Lance finished up his career, the Tour de Iowa, better known as R.A.G.B.R.A.I. was getting underway. The Register's Anual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is a conglomeration of 10,000 plus families / co-workers / partiers / alcoholics and just great people from all over the country that come every July to pedal their bicycles across the state of Iowa. Having done it once all the way across, and a couple of times just a portion of the way, I can attest to the fun and experience that it is.

If you have never experienced Iowa (other than I-80 on your way through) then I encourage you to come next time. Truly a wonderful experience. But get in shape, Iowa isn't as easy as you think.

I'm off to help the chamber alliance distribute coffee and muffins to people willing to park away from the town square and walk to work. Part of the Business Improvement Committee I'm on. Hopefully I can snag a few cups and a muffin for my breakfast. I'm running late and probably won't have time to eat before I go. Hope you have a great day.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Weekly Poll

I now remember why I delayed so long on posting the results of my last poll. No one voted!
Again, no one voted, but I'm posting them anyway.

Is it wrong to recruit someone to go to your church based on their occupation?
60% YES
40% NO

This week's poll?
Check it out and vote! Pretty Please :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Useful online tool

The Department of Justice just launched its National Sex Offender website. Previously if you wanted to check someone's history for purposes of employment or volunteering, you had to go state by state. Now you can make one stop and get 22 states at once and by the end of the year all 50 will be online.

Check it out here.

I used to think it wasn't that big of a deal, but after screening volunteers, it's amazing how sweet, nice people aren't so sweet if you check.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Paranoia Strikes Deep

I've noticed a trend in my parents and am wondering will I end up the same way. Will we all end up the same as we get older?

My parents, like I am now, used to be more laid back about my sister and I. You scraped your knee? Let me kiss it now quit whining and go outside and play. Got a cold? You'll live, just don't wipe snot on your shirt sleve.

Now my parents are almost kind of OCD about the whole thing. My oldest son used to love playing at their shopping mall's play area when he would visit. Now we can't even go near it becasuse two people in the town died from the flu and they might catch it there. Just this weekend they lectured me for 5 minutes on how I should never let my kids in the same county as a body of water without wearing a life jacket because they are going to drown just like that 4 year old kid who died on the East Nishnabotna river did when he was playing on the sand bar. Hello??? While I'm sorry for the family's loss, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out don't let a 4 year old play on the sandbars of the river, but I'm not going to begin some paranoid dilusion about the whole thing.

At what age should I begin to get paranoid about becoming paranoid like my parents?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Too Old to Innovate?

Just to keep up with the "in crowd" I had to go to Tazzabella's, our local coffee shop to post this blog. Aren't I trendy and cool?

I recently read the list of Top 10 Innovative Churches and defined by Terry Storch on his blog. Like most of you I am familiar with a majority of these and without much thought I agree they are innovative.

What I found interesting... maybe even disturbing is that I am older than all of these churches.

Why is it that older churches are unable to be innovative? Is it that younger churches have younger leadership which tend to take more risk which generates more innovation? Is it that older churches have more seasoned leadership which tends to take less risks and hinder innovation? Probably a combination of both.

Working in a somewhat older church (older than the average age of the top 10 list) I get to see this up close and personal. While frustrating, I have learned to understand it and accept it for now, until it can be slowly changed.

Innovation is quite simple, for younger people.
Step 1: Ideate - Think up the idea
Step 2: Actualize - Put the idea to work

Perhaps it's more difficult for older people.
Step 1: Purge- Toss out all the tradition and rules about what's acceptable.
Step 2: Ideate - Think up the idea
Step 3: Eliminate- Realize you probably didn't toss out all the tradition and rules the first time so try again.
Step 4: Freely Ideate - Think up a better idea
Step 5: Evaluate - Dig out all the things just eliminated and get worried about the risk involved with the idea
Step 6: Obliterate - Completely destroy beyond recognition all the tradition and rules.
Step 7: Actualize

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ethics of recruiting

This week's poll results are in:
How excited are you about the end of the NHL strike?
50% Woo Hoo I'm running naked in the streets right now.
13% Yes - I'm pretty excited
13% Either way not a big deal
25% I don't understand it... I don't care
0% What is the NHL

Wow - so 50% are nudists, streaking the town. Interesting. I may have underestimated my readers.

This Week's Poll: the Ethics of Recruiting

I've been thinking a lot lately that our church lacks congregation members with job skills that would benefit us. We are very strong in some areas. For example, if the church needs construction or blue collar work done, we have all the bases covered. But we lack professional white collar people. This is very reflective of our demographics, we are a largely industrial, factory economy with agriculture mixed in.

What the church really needs is an attorney and a CPA. Someone that can be called upon to clarify legal issues, tax issues and general liability issues. For some time now I've been thinking that I need to go and recruit an individual out of our community that has these skills, get them attending our church and then use them as a resource.

Ethically, morally, religiously or otherwise is this a right thing to do?
I'm not going to quit thinking of ways to attract people to our church who don't posess such skills. People all have the same value, none is more worthy than another or deserves God's love and the church's compassion less than others. Yet, if we have a specific need for a specific skill set in a congregation member, at what point do we cross the line from right to wrong?

In my mind it expands the Human Resource roll of recruiting staff to recruiting volunteers. Is it the same in your mind?

Monday, July 18, 2005

2 Things I hate: A thief and a liar

"There are two things I hate: A thief and a liar."

Mr. Padilla, my highschool P.E. teacher, recited this throughout my academic career to various trouble makers. The words stuck with me and I've tried my best to stay off his list of people he hates.

A couple of months ago we brought in to our church an up and coming traveling minister who does the PowerTeam sort of format for youth. Travels to schools, tells his life story, then hypes up a big event at the church.

We had this guy in 2 years ago. He did a great job, so I guess we figured we'd have him back.

He did another great job for us, but I was sadly disappointed by his newsletter I just received. He spoke to the adults on Sunday morning saying that he was a "real" guy and couldn't stand inflated numbers. He made the comment that he'd been on TBN's program and seen how they make it look like they have way more people receiving salvation than they actually do. This made him sick he said. He didn't ever want to be like that, was the impression he left with you.

At the event we had over 1100 people come. It truly was amazing for a town of 8500. We had around 550 salvations / committments to christ made. Even though it was a lot of peer pressure to stand for the decision and I question the accuracy because they were told they would get a free gifts from the church if they did, that is still a lot of people, so it was kind of cool.

However, the newsletter said:
"When I finally arrived - I saw a huge crowd of teenagers and I quickly learned that nearly 1,500 of the 1,70 kids I talked to in the schools had showed up to the church. As I concluded my message with the familiar salvation altar call 'Every head up, evey eye open, everyone staring at you. If you're here tonight and you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, stand to your feet.' There was no hesitation as just over one thousand youth stood unashamedly to accept Christ!"

I'm sadly disappointed, but not all that surprised. Let down again by the evangelist claiming to be more than he really is for who knows what reason. At least he's not a thief.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My life in bullet points

  • I've been preaching the last 2 services and have 2 more to go, this weekend and Wednesday.
  • I like preaching, but can't imagine doing it more than 4 times in a row... what would I say?
  • I found out horrible information about someone I admire.... no used to admire, and I can't tell anyone despite almost legal consequences if I don't.
  • Vacation Bible School is ending tomorrow. My kids are wiped out and I haven't had to do anything regarding the entire VBS week.
  • I leave for my parents today with my oldest son.
  • I'll be playing golf with my favorite golf partner for 3 days & 54 holes
  • My favorite golf partner is my dad
  • I'm fairly competitive in nature, but I've never beat my dad in golf
  • I don't think I ever will
  • I'm preaching on Sampson and his tendency for bad relationships this weekend

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Weekly Poll

It's back (thanks to the encouragment of Betsy)

I won't take the time to review the results of last week... okay month's poll since they are way old.

I will announce my newest poll.

As I went to lunch with my hot and sexy wife today, we sat in Pleasantville's only sports bar and ate a great buffalo chicken sandwich. With ESPN's ticker playing on the TV above, my heart lept for excitement like a little kid who comes down stairs to see presents under the Christmas tree.

The strike is over. The NHL is coming to an agreement with the Player's Association and it looks like there will be hockey this year! (news article)

Now I know I'm way "uber" excited about this whole thing, but how excited are you?
Check out the poll.

Results of Blog Surfing

From time to time I like to waste time.
I click that little "next blog" button at the top of the page and whoosh I'm off to some far away place reading some strangers blog. Some funny, some stupid, some pointless and some trashy. Like any cyber-surfing click with caution.

In my recent wave riding I came across the mention of an organization I had never heard of. The ILCA. Let me just preface this with the statement that it appears to be real, but honestly, I'm such a prude that I only stayed about 60 seconds.

Evidentally the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) employes consultants on the subject of lactation - or brest milk. ARE YOU SERIOUS???

I understand the science and biology of healthy babies and breast feeding, but honestly I don't do the breastfeeding women thing well. I get so uncomfortable when around one. So during the week of August 1-7 I'm hiding in my room with the blinds closed.

Thanks Jan-the-MOB for the inspiration. "Next Blog" brought me to you and then took me away. I think I left a little less uncomfortable, but not real comfortable yet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What does deer, pantyhose, tomatoes and Irish Spring soap have in common?

A deer makes you think of words like cute, innocent and Bambi.
They make me see red and think poach and I'm not talking about my eggs.

For the first time in my life I planted a garden. It's something I've always wanted to do, but because of space / time requirements I never did. Nothing big, a couple of tomato plants and watermelon and cantelope vines. They were doing great until...

Stupid, cute innocent Bambi comes trotting into our yard in the middle of the night and eats every last tomato off my plants and begins to nibble at the blooms on the vines. My thought... too bad deer season doesn't open until December.

My first action was to take a variation off of the racoon control methods a friend of mine is using. He puts some "fly bait" out where the coons come. Basically an insecticide chemical that is so powerful the coons don't get out of his yard before falling over dead. A $4.99 deer block (kind of like a salt lick, only grain for deer) and some insecticide and I'm ready to murder deer. STOP! No I didn't actually do it, I left it out one night then I took it in feeling a little guilty. So instead I decide to look at holistic methods of preserving my garden.

The best advice I get is: Put some Irish Spring soap in some pantyhose and hang them around your tomato plants and it keeps the deer away. So now I'm worried the neighbors are going to think I'm some sicko who has a pantyhose fettish. At least I'll have good tomatoes to eat.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ugliest Dog In the World

U - G - L - Y You ain't got no alibi, your ugly.

Lots of urban legends circulate the web. Many are false, and those that are true you kind of wish were weren't. Unfortunately, this one is true.

This ugly dog - yes it's a dog - is the proud winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest.

Read the proof here

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Who chooses these pictures?

So earlier today, as most of you probably already know, a series of terrorist bombings occured in England. At the time of this post around 45 people are dead, 1000 injured and of those 1000 up to 180 are seriously injured. That according to various sources and stations.

In the midst of all this, I check out MSN and they lead the story with this incredible picture.

What the heck??? The caption might as well read, "Mcculley Culkin recouted, "I was getting my regular Thursday cucumber facial when a loud explosion shook the ground. I got up, and started running. Fortunately for me, Johnathon here was just finishing rolling out a pizza crust, he threw it over my head and we ran arm in arm for safety. I was so distrought I made my Home Alone face and thought, I'll never eat peperoni stuffed crust again without thinking of that tragic day."

If anyone wants a job as a photographer for MSN it evidentally doesn't require much talent. Apply today!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Christians are Stupid

I read this post on a website tonight and found it interesting. I wanted to just link to it, but it's got a few explatives that some of my readers may be offended by, so I edited it (edited words in italics), but left as much as I could for content sake. It's kind of long, but I think it gives good insight to an individual's and possibly a culture's thoughts on Christianity

What do you think?

Christians Are Stupid

Crazy's recent mention of ‘Satan is a Nerd’ t-shirt spawned a story idea that’s been on my mind a long time. I want to make a t-shirt that says ‘Christians are Stupid’. I stopped going to church when I moved out on my own, mostly because of laziness and since I was going to school (Crazy and I are alumni from the same school!) and had to work every Sunday morning, I just plain stopped going. I was a Catholic until I was in 6th grade (the most confusing and dreaded of all Christian religions, this is the only religion that has expanded the 10 commandments into the 10,000 commandments, and has a rating system for sins) The Catholics also believe that they are the only true Christian Church. What? They think that if you’re Lutheran or any of those other Christian religions that most of us can’t spell or pronouce, you are going to the temporary Hell ‘Purgatory’ . Well I switched to the Lutheran church after Catholicism, they teach you everything that is wrong with the Catholic church (like it isn’t all in plain site) and they teach you about a guy who founded the Lutheran church, Martin Luther (no, not the guy who did the ‘I have a dream speech’) Martin Luther is famous for a lot of things, besides telling the Pope to f*#% off (rock on!) he also translated the bible into German and invented the Christmas tree – I think? The Pope had a massive price on old Martin’s head, but ultimately he was never caught and died of natural causes. Since Martin there has never really been any religious hero’s for Christianity. Jesse Jackson maybe, but after he had a similar ‘Clinton incident’ he lost his wings. This is one of the main reasons why I’m agnostic and why I think Christians are stupid:

1. They think being agnostic means atheist. They also believe you are a satanist, socialist, communist and a Muslim. Lets clear some things up. Agnostics do NOT believe in ANY organized religion, but we do believe in God and a higher power. A lot of my own art deals with the difference between spirituality and religion, there is a different.

2. If you don’t go to church or believe in Jesus, you are going straight to Hell. Actually I believe in Jesus, do I think he was the son of God? Well, lets think about it, now days if someone says they are the son of god (please reference interviews with GG Allin and Charlie Manson) they are considered loony, but yet we believe a guy who was born over 2000 years ago and we have annual department store sales dedicated to his birthday, existed as the son of God. Christians really are stupid.

3. War. All wars are fought because of religion, heck in Ireland they fight over the same religion, Christianity. If wars are not fought because of religion, they are usually fought over land that is occupying Holy Land. I’ve always said if we could just agree on a International religion, war would end. God is God, he just has different names in different parts of the world.

4. Faith based charities. These goofs want to take my tax money to ram the bible down ignorant starving children’s throats, lets try feeding them first. There is a reason why we have separation of church and state and churches are tax FREE, you are supposed have the congregation support your goofy charities, not me the tax payer. My tax money already goes to enough stupid programs, such as abstinance education (I’m sure a Christian thought of that one).

5. George Bush Jr. is a Christian.

6. Private Christian schools. Isn’t there enough crap courses they teach you in high school? Now they think learning about Jesus will also help your studies.

7. Protesting no prayer in school. Okay, this one is quite possibly the biggest one that proves Christians are stupid. Isn’t God supposed to hear you all the time, so if you are praying silently at your desk, how’s a teacher supposed to know? Heck, I used to pray all the time in school, that the teacher wouldn’t catch me goofing off.

8. The Promise Keepers are Christians. This nutless organization had a big rally in Minneapolis a few years back, since I wasn’t a Christian, I had not heard about it in advance and drove to Minneapolis for the weekend. I couldn’t find a hotel room and ended up driving back to my crappy town I live in. Man I was pissed. It wasn’t like the Vikings were playing the Bears, it was a bunch of weaklings bonding. I remember yelling at one of them. They just waved and said ‘god be with you’ I had a half a notion to let the air out of their bus tires.

9. Christians still buy the Bibles. Did you know the Holy Bible has been on the bestseller list for years? What’s with this, you can’t find one laying around or for a quarter at Goodwill? Heck, the Gideons give them away for free. Stop Buying them!

10. They hate the Jews. This one boggles me. Not only was Jesus a Jew, they called him the ‘King of Jews’ The Jewish community is responsible for most of our economic structure in America. (I don’t know if this is a good thing or not) and Adam Sandler is a Jew, and he’s pretty damn funny.

Well I’m sure they’re reserving a room for me in Purgatory right now. I wonder what they will have me do to work off my blasphemy. I hope it’s being Martin Luther’s butler or something. Knowing my luck though I may have to be in GGAllin’s Hell band.

Fat Midget

Monday, July 04, 2005

Still killing kittens?

If you don't understand the title, read here
If you do understand the title, don't comment about it. I'm not looking for that topic, just thought it was a clever intro to the rest of this post.

I always look for things of interest to share with my readers, so here is the latest blog I found.

XXXcurch.com now has it's own blog.

I first came across this website about 4 years ago and thought how cute and how novel, but never really found it that great. Evidentally others have because they are still around and are now blogging their experiences. It was kind of fun to catch up on what they are doing and the success they are having.