Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Crazy Worship - Close To Home

Thing2 had a dinner at church before confirmation this week. A group of college students taking off on a evanglism tour of the South Eastern US was at church to lead worship for the kids. The wife dropped Thing2 off at church and we met for dinner at the local TacoFryHut.

We went to church at the usual time for confirmation to start and the college students led worship - crazy style. The wife was less than thrilled while the kids were up dancind and singing. They were getting something out of it without even knowing it.

Thats the way it should be.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Round 3

Late with comments on the third debate - I know.

I listened to most of it on the radio as I had to pick up Thing2 at church. W was not on his game for the first 30 - 40 minutes. Kerry seemed disinterested in answering questions. Toward the end W was much more like I expected. Kerry still seemed to not really be answering questions. Or just giving bad answers.

In my opinion W won. Not by much but he won. The comment Kerry made about the Cheney's daughter was the deciding factor for me. She's not part of the race. Totally uncalled for.

It's going to be a interesting couple of weeks...


Thing2 is a true child of God. There is nothing that she won't do for someone if she thinks it'll help them in some way. And she never looks for credit. She just does it.

Today our church youth participated in Crop Walk. Thing2 walked with her confirmation small group. Her leader, one of our assistant pastors, treated her girls to lunch and dinner. Fun was had by a bunch of giggley girls and money was raised for an excellent cause.

My old house - Part 2

My house is on a slab. I'd like a basement but in the area I live we'd end up with another 50 - 100K on the mortgage and its not worth it. Slabs can make for interesting plumbing installations.

The bathtub uses an usual trap. Water flows in a u-shape pipe to a trap at floor level. Then there is a pipe at the top of the trap and leads to the main line. And that pipe likes to clog with hair. Usually Thing2's.

As part of the bathroom project we (royal we) replaced the toilet. I had never done this before but it didn't look to difficult. Took the old one out, removed the tile, cleaned the wax off the flange, and put new tile down. A quick look at the flange and it looked to not be level. Bad news
for a toilet. Put the level on it and it was pretty close. The floor slopes from back to front! After the tile was down things looked pretty good. Set the new bowl in place and carefully tightened it down. Wouldn't want to crack a $250.00 toilet.

Set the tank on. Big thick gasket. This is my only complaint about the toilet. One has to put a decent amount of pressure on the tank to compress the gasket while tightening nuts that are kind of hidden. After a bit of work it was together. Connected the water and turned it on. And it worked! No leaks, no gurgles. Yes!

Finished up the trim. Just gotta seal the new grout.

Just in time to paint Thing2's room.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Blogs vs 'traditional' reporting

The local paper had a editorial about blogs vs traditional reporting. I wrote the following to the writer. No response of any kind at all.
    Dear Jim,

    Regarding your editorial of October 7th, 2004 I think that you need to visit the blogosphere a little more. Bloggers, at least the responsible ones, are quick to correct mistakes, give credit where it is due, and accept responsibility. These characteristics are missing in modern traditional print and television media.

    Traditional media has a editorial direction. So do individual bloggers. However in a blog that allows public comments the author can be challenged. While traditional media can be challenged via a letter or email it is up to the media entity to publish the letter. I would wager that those that are critical of traditional medias postition on any particular issue are quietly swept away. In the blogosphere the comment is out there for the author to rebut or acknowledge. Burt Constable is a classic example of this. I've sent him numerous corrections over the years, with the data to back them up, and never got a response. And if the subject was mentioned in a future article he attacked the position I supported with the same unsupportable arguement. Jack Mabley, on the other hand, always responded to email that I sent him. He was always polite, even when I had shown him to be wrong.

    Personally I'm very close to giving up on papers like the Daily Herald. It gets harder and harder to send that check when the bill comes. The Herald's editorial direction is leaning further and further to the political left and for someone like myself, who leans to the political right, is hard to justify the expense. I used to be able to justify the expense just for the comics but the recent changes to the best page in the paper have made it next to unreadable.

    Something that you may be overlooking in the blogosphere is the difference in what is reported. There are so many things that I would be unaware of if it were not for blogs. A few from memory:

    - Gunfire attacks on Republican campaign headquarters
    - Michael Moore breaking election laws
    - The progress in Iraq and Afghanistan (instead the Herald reports everything that is wrong there)
    - The vandalism of Bush/Cheney advertising all over the country - included the keying of cars with W 04 stickers on them.
    - The Iraq Survey Group stating that Iraq was ready to start WMD production again.
    - John Kerry and John Edwards complete lack of accomplishment in the Senate
    - Kerrys treason after Viet Nam

    For some reason the Herald chooses to ignore these.

    Good luck to the Herald. I have a feeling the future may not be as bright as you think.

Time to tweak it a bit and send it in as a letter to the editor ...

Back to normal

After our visit to Willow Creek last week we were back to our home church today. We attend the 'Mosaic' service. Its a cross between traditional and contemporary praise and worship. Think modern songs sung to a pipe organ at about 2/3 the usual tempo. It just didn't get to me. I missed Willow. What that means - I don't know. Thing2 has just started confirmation and I want her to finish where she started. Time will tell...

My Old House

Built in 1957 it's not really old but it is older than I am. It belonged to my wife's parents (who had bought it new) and Thing1 has hinted that he'd like us to give it to him someday. Give?

Old houses are interesting. In some ways they are built better than most of todays houses. However the quality of work that has been done on them over the years can make for exciting afternoons.

Once I had an electrical outlet in the kitchen that wasn't working right. The toaster wouldn't work. All the other outlets in the kitchen were ok as were the lights. Checked the outlet - ok. A couple of days later a light started acting strange. Ok - bad connection somewhere. Traced the problem to a junction box in the attic. Under 14 inches of insulation. At his time I had not yet turned any power off. So I unscrewed the cover plate and smoke started coming out. Thats a bad sign. Scrambled down the stairs and killed the power. Back in the attic I took the cover off and took a look. The hot line was twisted together and wrapped with friction tape! So I took everything apart and put it together the right way. Wire nuts, electical tape, and lots of care. No problems since!

We've (the royal we, I do all the work) have remodeled every room in the house at least once. The only room we've only done minor work to was the bathroom. It has (had) a pink tub and toilet. Well the tub is white now. The toilet will be soon. New walls and bright white paint as well as ceramic tile on the floor. Which leads to the interesting part. I did the measurements, laid out my reference lines, and put the tile down. As I got closer to the tub I noticed that it was set at a angle. A subtle one but enough that if one looks closely you can see it. Oh well - there is always carpet.

Round 2

And the winner is - W!

While the questions were a tad on the lame side and a bit biased towards
Senator Kerry I really enjoyed the debate. Between Kerry's condescending
attitude, repeatitive mention of war in Afghanistan as the only front in
the Global War on Terror, and out and out lying he was easy to laugh
(and yell) at. W, while a little on the cranky side at times, was really
at ease in front of the crowd.

I don't think anyone who was for either canidate changed their minds. As
far as the undecided, well, are probably still undecided. I'm not sure
how one can be at this point. The two platforms are the opposite of each
other. Either Kerry meets your needs or W does. Maybe Nader does it for
you (sorry). If you're unsure do your own investigation. Don't depend on
the news. They are biased. Read left wing blogs and right wing blogs.
You will find what you're looking for.

Anyways - back to the debate. I loved the W's line about having wood.
Excellent. Kerry seemed to be interested in dropping Republican names.
Bush was positive, Kerry dumped on our allies in the Global War on Terror.

I want to know how raising taxes on 2% of the taxpayers will pay for all
of Kerry's plans?

I want to know how the Goverment creates jobs? It seems to be that
business creates jobs. It's up to the goverment to create an environment
suitable for business. Democrats make a big deal of the millions of jobs
created in the 90's. Somehow Clinton gets the credit. Seems to be that
the dot-com explosion created the jobs. And when it ended the jobs
started disappearing. And Bush got blamed even though the job loss
started before the election.

Presidents should be selected on leadership capabilities. In that role
there is no contest. While Kerry is a war 'hero' his post war
activities, lack of accomplishment in the Senate, and his position on
getting the worlds ok to kill terrorists who threaten the U.S. make him
unsuitable. W is the opposite. Decide, plan, implement. He may not have
perfect look or speech but he is real. And that is what I want.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Semi Famous

Well - not really even close.

One of my favorite blogs is BlackFive. Run by a former AirBorne soldier named Matt and filled with stories about the military and the people in the military that you just don't seem to find anywhere else.

I ran across a story in the Daily Herald about a 55 year old neurosurgeon that joined the Marines to serve in Iraq. I was awed by someone willing to do that so I sent it to Matt. He posted it and even gave me a bit of credit. Class act. Both the Doc and Matt.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Oh Canada!

Thats about all of the Canadian National Anthem that I know.

Maybe I should learn it so I can get my drugs cheaper?

A long time ago I made a decision to stick with a job that provided excellent benefits but maybe not the highest salary. Thats ok - life is full of choices and I made the one that kept me home so I could watch Thing1 and Thing2 grow up. Maybe we would have a bigger house. Maybe I would have gotten wiped out then the dot-coms imploded. Who knows? Who cares.

Our family uses a lot of prescription medication. The drug benefits my employer provides make it very affordable. I'm not sure what we'd do it I had to pay retail for them. Thing1 has medication that would cost over $1500.00 a month. We pay way less.

So now here is the (scummy) state of Illinois the Govener wants to import drugs from Canada for Illinois citizens so that they can save money. The wife brought up a interesting point - what happens if American drug companies stop exporting so much to Canada?

So why do drugs cost so much? There are lots of reasons but a few stick out.

  1. Research. It costs. Alot. So the companies have to recover their investment.
  2. FDA trials. Years and years of trials at the drugmakers expense. Adds up pretty quick.
  3. Advertising. From the Super Bowl to hundreds of free lunches provided to doctors everyday there is tremondous competition to get physicans to prescribe their drugs.

I think the real solution to high drug costs is to address these. Number 1 would be tough but the other two might be do-able.


Since the wife and I were at Bible study I only got to see the last half of the Vice Presidential debate. Much like round 1 of the Presidential debate the Democrats are strong on style and very short on substance. And the Republicans have the facts down but lacked personality.

Senator Edwards seemed to be focused on Senator Kerry rather than himself. He looked to be getting 'schooled'. Been there, had it done to me. Its not pretty and not fun at all. And how does the one getting 'schooled' usually react? By changing the subject. Or at least attempt to. And that was Edwards. Cheney was on message, a little arrogant at times and a couple of minor mistakes, but otherwise right on. How anyone with active grey matter could give the debate to Edwards - I don't know.

Monday, October 04, 2004

If you get any older

You'll die!

That is what Thing1 told his Grandfather right before his 65th birthday.
Thing1 was only three at the time. We just celebrated Grandpas 80th.
Doesn't seem to be slowing down too much.

Grandpa had his daughters there, grandkids, great grandkids, and more. A
good time was had by all.

Surprised myself

I grew up in the Lutheran Church. Baptized, confirmed, married. Both kids baptized. Thing1 confirmed. All in the Lutheran Church. Co-workers would talk about their church - one of these non-denoniational community mega-churches. It always seemed phoney to me.

So when Thing1 had to attend three church services (of faiths not of his own) as part of Theology 101 we decided to go to one. We went to Willow Creek Community Church on Sunday.

It's a huge facility. Thousands of square feet of space. The chapel holds (only) 500 people. (Our current church, after expansion holds 450) The new auditorium holds 7200. But it seems smaller once the service starts.

The service we went to was more along the lines of Praise and Worship than a traditional service. Thing1 liked it but it was a little slower than 'Crazy Worship' at school. After music and prayer we were treated to a talk about raising kids. It was so right on that I hope it made it into the hearts and minds of those in the audience that had not yet decided to have kids. It's a lot of work but worth every bit. You just have to be willing to give up parts of your life.

Both the wife and I enjoyed the service. We'll be going back to see the rest of the series. Are we ready to switch? Not yet but who knows what the future will bring?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Debate - Round 1

The wife and I watched the debate on FNC. I was also reading some bloggers who were live blogging. I was also in a chat at the Command Post. It was fun to see impressions of people all over the country while it was happening.

General impressions

Senator Kerry - The new tan is gone. So were the wrinkles on his forehead. Hmmm. Seemed focused most of the time. The hand gestures were annoying.

Preident Bush - Looked a bit tired. Did his usual stumble that I've come to love. Seemed to hesitate too much at times. Didn't go for the kill shot when he had the opportunity.



He was in Viet Nam
Mentioned several times that he has plans but when pressed for details
they never came out
He was in Viet Nam
Unknowingly insulted the US Special Operations Community (not that they would vote for him anyways - too busy killing bad guys) with the bin Laden/Afghan warload line. Does Kerry know so little about the Afghan theatre to realize that it was a small number of SpecOps warriors that
ran the Taliban out by working with the warlords?
He was in Viet Nam
Lied about the NY City subway being closed during the entire RNC
He was in Viet Nam
Insulted Poland - the lousy b@$%@#d. Polish Special Forces rock!


Seemed bored at times
Brought up the 'love' thing again
Seemed to lose composure at times
Had his first 88 minutes been like his last 2 minutes the race might just be over
Made it clear that being a leader is everything and that you can't insult other countries or your own soldiers


In my opinion Kerry 'won' the debate. But he was factually deficent. I think that the Bush team played this one too safe. Kerry's attacks were not rebutted as strong as they could have been. On the other hand Kerry seemed to go out of his way to insult many of our allies in the Global
War on Terror. The global test Kerry is pushing seems like a bad idea for him.

Round 2 should be interesting.

It's funny (not really) how the media talking heads are declaring this as a grand victory for Kerry. Even stranger how the DNC is bending the rule about debate video. It's not to be used in campaign commercials but they have it on the web... The RNC will probably do the same.