Wednesday, August 31, 2005

This week's column: Prayer in Schools

Ok -- everyone take a deep breath. We’re about to touch on another very fun topic -- prayer in schools.
I’ve been reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle.
While reading about prayer, which most of the book is about, a section struck me straight to the heart.
“What does it say about our churches today that God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct?
“Am I the only one who gets embarrassed when religious leaders in America talk about having prayer in public schools? We don’t have even that much prayer in many churches! Out of humility, you would think we would keep quiet on that particular subject until we practice what we preach in our own congregations.
“I am sure the Roman emperors didn’t have prayer to God in their schools. But then, the early Christians didn’t seem to care what Caligula or Claudius or Nero did. How could any emperor stop God? How, in fact, could the demons of hell make headway when God’s people prayed and called upon his name? Impossible!
“In the New Testament we don’t see Peter or John wringing their hands and saying, “Oh, what are we going to do? Caligula’s bisexual... he wants to appoint his horse to the Roman Senate... what a terrible model of leadership! How are we going to respond to this outrage?”
The lesson continues, but I’ll let you get your own copy of the book and read it for yourselves.
I’ve never been a fan of prayer in schools -- not because I’m not a fan of prayer or don’t believe in it. I just don’t think it belongs in schools.
If Christians are allowed to have prayer in school, so are Islamics, Buddhists, and Wiccans.
Personally I don’t want a Wiccan teacher telling my future children how to pray.
They will learn to pray at home, and it won’t be up to a principal or teacher to tell them when they can or can’t pray.
They’ll know, just like I did growing up, that when you feel the need to pray - do it.
Don’t wait on a teacher or principal to give you permission or set aside a time to do so.

Monday, August 29, 2005

dang - midnight again

Everybody sing:
"After midnight - we're gonna let it all hang out..."
Or not. I was catching up on my blogs and Scoble sent me to Wikipedia in one of his entries and I spent a couple hours there just reading random entries. It's like when I was younger and I used to go to my grandparents and just sit and read the encylcopedia cause there was nothing else to do.
Bad habits fade slowly. But needless to say, Jamie Cullum still rocks and I think I'm starting his DVD over for the third time now. It's just on ALL REPEAT. Wonderful.
Oh and BTW, I made an awesome tuna/crab salad tonight for my lunch tomorrow.
Yes, I am impressed. No recipe in front of me - of course that's where most of my favorite dishes come from anyways.
Lets see if I can remember the recipe.
1 Cup of Pecans
1 Apple (sliced with core and stem removed - naturally)
1/2 Can of White Crap Meet *EDIT* 1/2 Can of White Crab Meat *EDIT*
1 Can of Tuna
2 Boiled Egg Whites
1/4 Cup of Fat Free Ranch Dressing
Put all of the above in your local food processor, slice, dice and chomp and there you go.
I estimate the whole bit has around 250-300 calories.
Not too shabby. Sounds like a good lunch.
My doctor told me today I need to lose 48 pounds over the next two years. That's only two pounds a month, but I'm gonna shoot for 48 pounds in a year. We'll see how that goes. Four pounds a month can't be too bad - except that the only time I've ever been successful at weight loss is when I was sick and not actually trying.
But then again - I've never really tried.
Here's to a September 2006 211 weight class.
And with that - I'm off like.... well nevermind.

Tim Storm the Champ

Despite what the rest of the PCW website might tell ya, Tim Storm is the new PCW World Champion! Don't believe me? Check out the Rob Moore column in the bottom left corner of the site. At least that gets updated regularly - unlike the rest of the site.

Jericho out... for now has a letter/press release from Chris Jericho on his break from the WWE. He had a "You're Fired" match with WWE Champ John Cena last week and was well - fired. Or so they say. Actually word is his contract with WWE was up at Summerslam and he had it extended to last Monday to finish with the "You're Fired" match.
Anyways, its an interesting read. Basically boils down to Y2J needing to recharge his batteries. He doesn't give any type of timeline for his return, but you can bet it will be big when he does come back.
And for those wondering, here's a list of his favorite matches:
July 16, 1993-w/Ultimo Dragon vs Negro Casas and El Dandy-Mexico City, MX
July 7, 1995-Ultimo Dragon-Tokyo, Japan-IJ Championship
June 22, 1996-Pitbull #2-Philadelphia, PA-ECW TV Title
Feb 22, 1998-Juventud Guerrera-San Francisco, CA-Cruiserweight Title vs Mask
April 17, 2000-HHH-State College, PA-WWF Championship
July 23, 2000-HHH-Dallas, TX-Last Man Standing
Jan 21, 2001-Chris Benoit-New Orleans, LA-Ladder Match For The IC Championship
May 21, 2001-w/Chris Benoit vs HHH and Stone Cold Steve Austin-WWF Tag Team Championship
May 22, 2001-w/Chris Benoit vs The Dudley Boys vs The Hardy Boys vs Edge and Christian-TLC Match
Oct 21, 2001-The Rock-St Louis, MO-WCW Championship
March 1, 2002-The Rock-Yokohama, Japan-WWE Championship
June 15, 2002-The Rock-Honolulu, HI
Oct 7, 2002-w/Christian vs Kane vs Bubba and Spike Dudley vs Jeff Hardy and RVD-Las Vegas, NV-TLC Match
Mar 30, 2003-Shawn Michaels-Seattle, WA-Wrestlemania 19
Feb 7. 2004-Chris Benoit-Tokyo, Japan
Oct 19, 2004-Shelton Benjamin-Milwaukee, WI-IC Championship
Jan 9, 2005-Edge vs Chris Benoit vs HHH vs Randy Orton vs Batista-San Juan, Puerto Rico-Elimination Chamber For The WWE Championship
April 3, 2005-Edge vs Christian vs Chris Benoit vs Kane vs Shelton Benjamin-Money In The Bank Ladder Match At Wrestlemania 21
July 2, 2005-Shawn Michaels-Tokyo, Japan
Aug 21, 2005 John Cena Washington DC WWE Championship

For the record, my favorite opponents in no particular order are Ultimo Dragon, Chris Benoit, The Rock, Christian and Shawn Michaels (my personal best friend - or so I say).

New Religion

How bout you? Would you jump on the chance to join this religion or avoid it like the plague?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

No to Go

Communication Nation writes we need to change our default manager settings from No to Go.
I've found personally that its much easier to delegate and get things done when I can trust people to make decisions and not come to me for every single decision they make. I hate micro-management. I don't want to have to sit over people and tell them what to do every step of the way. I like to assume that if you got the job, your capable and can manage to get a job done.
Unfortunatly, one thing I've seen is that some people who don't know how to do something, just shut down and avoid asking questions. That's not the right direction either. I'd rather have someone ask me how to do something than not do it at all.

How to win a deal after it's already been lost

Communication Nation has intrigued me today. It's written by XPLANE CEO Dave Gray. I'm sure I'll report more later on this blog. Lots of good reading here.
"Tony is in charge of 'closed lost' analysis at a company that sells complex solutions in a crowded market. In a recent interview, Tony told me that he converts about 50 percent of the 'closed lost' deals he investigates to 'closed won' using the following approach."

Dave gives a list of pointers for sales people and those involved in sales in moving from a closed sale/business to a new open sale and relationship.

Update on comments

For those of you who actually leave comments, you'll notice an additional step when you go to leave comments. You'll be asked to verify a random set of characters. I hope this isn't too much of a nuisance, but it's to help deter Spam commentary, which I've started getting a lot of lately. I think I've deleted them all, but they end up leaving comments that are nothing more than ads to their websites. And since the majority of them are done automatically with software, the added step helps deter them. So, hope you all don't mind too much. And I appreciate your feedback.

Another lazy Sunday

Well it's been another lazy Sunday at Casa de Blundell Museum. We've had no visitors today, that we know of and its been a nice cool 78-degrees inside. The museum curator overslept this morning, because he forgot to reset his alarm after sleeping-in yesterday.
Wow - two days in a row. That's wonderful! Does anyone want to supplement my income so I can do this on a more regular basis. With enough regular donations I could quit my job and update my blog and work on my book all day long. And with a little more income, I could renew my membership in the Belton Lion's club so I can remain a functioning member of society. Could it get any better?
Anyways, on to the entry at hand.
I've been reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle. I'm not sure where I got the book from. I know it was bought at Mardels, but don't remember if I bought it or someone bought it for me. If you bought it for me. Thanks. It's a great read.
While reading about prayer, which most of the book is about, a section struck me straight to the heart.
What does it say about our churches today that God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct?
Am I the only one who gets embarrassed when religious leaders in America talk about having prayer in public schools? We don't have even that much prayer in many churches! Out of humility, you would think we would keep quiet on that particular subject until we practice what we preach in our own congregations.
I am sure the Roman emperors didn't have prayer to God in their schools. But then, the early Christians didn't seem to care what Caligula or Claudius or Nero did. How could any emperor stop God? How, in fact, could the demons of hell make headway when God's people prayed and called upon his name? Impossible!
In the New Testament we don't see Peter or John wringing their hands and saying, "Oh, what are we going to do? Caligula's bisexual... he wants to appoint his horse to the Roman Senate... what a terrible model of leadership! How are we going to respond to this outrage?"
Let's not play games with ourselves. Let's not divert attention away from the weak prayer life of our own churches. In Acts 4, when the apostles were unjustly arrested, imprisoned, and threatened, they didn't call for a protest; they didn't reach for some political leverage. Instead, they headed to a prayer meeting. Soon the place was vibrating with the power of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles had this instinct: When in trouble, pray. When intimated, pray. When challenged, pray. When persecuted, pray.

The lesson continues, but I'll let you get your own copy of the book and read it for yourselves. I've never been a fan of prayer in schools, simply because America is home to freedom of religion and free speech. If Christians are allowed to have prayer in school, so are Islamics, Buddhists, and Wicans. Personally I don't want a Wican teacher telling my future children how to pray. They will learn to pray at home, and it won't be up to a principal or teacher to tell them when they can or can't pray. They'll know, just like I did growing up, that when you feel the need to pray - do it. Don't wait on a teacher or principal to give you permission or set aside a time to do so.
Well, back to my reading and hopefully writing. I need to update my book or everyone will just stop reading it - and that's no good at all.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What to do while you're single

Seriously. Why did I decide to "grow up" so fast and get a real job, mortgage and chains around my ankles that keep me from doing all the fun things I enjoy? I'm a twentysomething and I want to enjoy it.
Enjoy your space and your schedule. You are the ruler of your own domain. You have complete control over your alarm clock, your bed and your bathroom. Let your snooze alarm run for two hours with no fear of being yelled at. Enjoy sleeping without being kicked or having the covers stolen. Stay up late and sleep in—not every day, but enjoy living like a rock star when you can.
Do what you want, when you want, without explanation. Spend the weekend watching an entire series on DVD without leaving the house. Cancel your plans and don’t answer your phone. The rest of the world can wait. Eat popcorn and jelly beans for dinner. Just because you can.

Mongo Stamped Concrete Patio Deck

Bored? You can watch Concrete Cam from golden Colorado.
Thanks to Scoble for the link.

Is it that hard to find a church?

I've been trying to visit new churches in my area since I resigned as singles intern at IBC Temple.
And can I tell you, it's almost impossible to find a church to visit come Saturday afternoon. I would imagine that only 10-percent of the local churches have a website. And several of those churches don't post their service times on the website.
Of those who don't have a website, I've called several churches that don't even have their worship or service times on their answering machine. What kind of world do we plan to reach if people can't find out what time they should visit our church unless its between the hours of 8-5 Mon - Fri?
Is this only a Temple/Belton dilemma or are others seeing it as well?

If I were the devil

If I were the devil
By Paul Harvey

I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;
I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;
I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;
I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;
I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;
I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;
I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;
I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them;
I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda;
I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.
I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation;
I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;
I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled;
I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;
I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;
I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;
I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

JESUS Podcast

Jesus has His own podcast now.
The Jesus movie is now available to be downloaded to your computer or iPod or Mp3 player. How cool is that? That's great thinking on the part of Campus Crusade.
I've really enjoyed my copy of The Message on Mp3. It's a great picker upper anytime I need it.

GPS Bible

Michael Robinson has an interesting comparison between a GPS device and the Bible. It makes a great illustration.
Instead of immediately turning the channel, I watched and listened to this animated salesperson, but I found myself listening spiritually. You see, I discovered that in many ways, a good GPS device is like the Holy Bible.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What a way 2 end 2day


Oh and I'm spent. Just finished the 2005 Sports Guide. As you can see - great question on the front page, but do you think we tried to answer it - hardly.
There's maybe 3 paragraphs of copy in the 12 page guide -- and those are cutlines for pictures.
I think other than 3 or 4 ads, the entire tab was built between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m today (an hour late to press).
But that's what happens when things get bumped up a week at the very last minute.
Oh well. What's done is done - and I'm done.
I've been working on sticking to a 2000 calorie diet - but I think I'm about to go blow that all on a huge what-a-burger value meal. Don't you get a midnight snack on every diet?
Ok - off to the races.

Green Day Gets 'Best Band on Planet' Award - Yahoo! News

Green Day Gets 'Best Band on Planet' Award - Yahoo! News
yadi yadi yadi I'm showing Mike the blogger button on the Google toolbar.
It's neato. Just push the blogger button and POP goes the window so you can write a blog about whatever page you're viewing.

Pat Robertson: An embarrassment to the church

Pat Robertson: An embarrassment to the church
by Jim Wallis - Sojourners
Pat Robertson is an embarrassment to the church and a danger to American politics.
Robertson is known for his completely irresponsible statements - that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were due to American feminists and liberals, that true Christians could vote only for George W. Bush, that the federal judiciary is a greater threat to America than those who flew the planes into the World Trade Center Towers, and the list goes on. Robertson even took credit once for diverting a hurricane. But his latest outburst may take the cake.
On Monday, Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Robertson is worried about Chavez's critiques of American power and behavior in the world, especially because Venezuela is sitting on all that oil. We simply can't have an anti-American political leader who could raise the price of gas. So let's just kill him, the famous television preacher seriously suggested. After all, having some of our "covert operatives" take out the troublesome Venezuelan leader would be cheaper than another $200 billion war, he said.
It's clear Robertson must not have first asked himself "What would Jesus do?" But the teachings of Jesus have never been very popular with Robertson. He gets his religion elsewhere, from the twisted ideologies of an American brand of right-wing fundamentalism that has always been more nationalist than Christian. Apparently, Robertson didn't even remember what the Ten Commandments say, though he has championed their display on the walls of every American courthouse. That irritating one about "Thou shalt not kill" seems to rule out the killing of foreign leaders. But this week, simply putting biblical ethics aside, Robertson virtually issued an American religious fatwah for the murder of a foreign leader - on national television no less. That may be a first.
Yesterday Robertson "apologized." First he denied saying what he had said, but it was on the videotape (it's tough when they record you breaking the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus). Then he said that "taking out" Chavez might not require killing him, and perhaps kidnapping a duly elected leader would do. But Robertson does now say that using the word "assassination" was wrong and that he had been frustrated by Chavez - the old "my frustration made me say that somebody should be killed" argument. But the worst thing about Robertson's apology was that he compared himself to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German church leader and martyr who ultimately joined in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler.
Robertson's political and theological reasoning is simply unbelievable. Chavez, a democratically elected leader in no less than three internationally certified votes, has been an irritant to the Bush administration, but has yet to commit any holocausts. Nor does his human rights record even approach that of the Latin American dictators who have been responsible for massive violations of human rights and the deaths of tens of thousands of people (think of the military regimes of Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala). Robertson never criticized them, perhaps because many of them were supported by U.S. military aid and training.
This incident reveals that Robertson does not believe in democracy; he believes in theocracy. And he would like governments, including our own, to implement his theological agenda, perhaps legislate Leviticus, and "take out" those who disagree.
Robertson's American fundamentalist ideology gives a lot of good people a bad name. World evangelical leaders have already responded with alarm and disbelief. Robertson's words will taint and smear other evangelical Christians and put some in actual jeopardy, such as Venezuelan evangelicals. Most conservative evangelical Christians are appalled by Robertson's hateful and literally murderous words, and it's time for them to say so. To their credit, the World Evangelical Alliance and the National Association of Evangelicals have already denounced Robertson's words. When will we hear from some of the groups from the "Religious Right," such as the Family Research Council, Southern Baptists, and other leaders like James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Chuck Colson?
Robertson's words fuel both anti-Christian and anti-American sentiments around the world. It's difficult for an American government that has historically plotted against leaders in Cuba, Chile, the Congo, South Vietnam, and elsewhere to be easily believed when it disavows Robertson's call to assassinate Chavez. But George Bush must do so anyway, in the strongest terms possible.
It's time to name Robertson for what he is: an American fundamentalist whose theocratic views are not much different from the "Muslim extremists" he continually assails. It's time for conservative evangelical Christians in America, who are not like Islamic fundamentalists or Robertson, to distance themselves from his embarrassing and dangerous religion.
And it's time for Christian leaders of all stripes to call on Robertson not just to apologize, but to retire.

That's just like You

It's just like You to bring light into darkness
It's just like You, Lord its just like You
It's just like You to bring beauty to ashes
It's just like You, Lord its just like You

I've been trying my whole life to be good without the cross
When all that I have gained is this emptiness and loss

It's just like You to bring life to these dry bones
It's just like You, Lord its just like You
It's just like You to bring beauty to ashes
It's just like You, Lord its just like You
It's just like You to bring light into darkness
It's just like You, Lord its just like You
I felt a bit like a goof today. I was listening to the radio and started thinking about Amy and how much I missed her and just started weaping as I drove into Harker Heights. Thank goodness for sunglasses. I was heading to the post office and had to sit and pull myself together before I walked in. Oh well. Let them see me cry -- and if they laugh, I'll punch em in the face. Ha. As of last Sunday (the 21st), it's been five months since Amy's homegoing. It seems a lot longer than that somedays and other days it feels like it was just yesterday we laid her to rest.
But God is good, faithful and will continue to bring light into darkness, beauty to ashes and life to dry bones.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Quiet please

As most of you probably know, my weekly newspaper columns come from my journal writings and blog writings, so after a bit of deliberation, here is the final column... I think all of it has shown up in a blog entry at some point this past week. This might give you the best example of how my column comes together each week.

In the third century, St. Cyprian wrote to a friend named Donatus: This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden... But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out... you know very well what I would see; brigands on the high road, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds...
Yet in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people... They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians...
What a compliment! A quiet and holy people. Quiet. Not obnoxious. Not boastful. Not demanding. Just quiet. Holy. Set apart. Pure. Decent. Honest. Wholesome.
On Monday, Pat Robertson, 75, and president of the Christiann Broadcasting Network told a Monday broadcast of “The 700 Club” that U.S. operatives should consider killing Venezuelian President Hugo Chavez by “taking him out,” saying it would be “cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.’’
“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,’’ Robertson told the broadcast.
Robertson, a one-time candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, also blasted U.S. authorities for failing to provide enough support for opposition leaders when Chavez was briefly overthrown in a failed coup in 2002.
In Caracas, Venezuelian legislator Desire Santos Amaral said Robertson’s comments outraged her, adding: “This man cannot be a true Christian.”
When did we move from our third-century mindset to our current mindset that we have to have everything the way we want it?
This may upset some people, but I wish James Dobson, Pat Robertson and others would quit using their pulpit to condemn and instead use it to show the world the love of God instead.
Maybe we could all take a lesson from third century Christians. Instead of standing up and demanding our ways be met, protesting every little thing we don’t like, maybe we should take a Christlike attitude towards politics and the like. What would that look like?
Instead of yelling at the lost, why don’t we calm down and show them how we were once lost as well and now found.

Set Apart

The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. - Gal 5:22-23
In the third century, St. Cyprian wrote to a friend named Donatus:
This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden... But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out... you know very well what I would see; brigands on the high road, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds...
Yet in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people... They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians...

What a compliment! A quiet and holy people
Quiet... Not obnoxious. Not boastful. Not demanding. Just quiet...
Holy... Set apart. Pure. Decent. Honest. Wholesome...
From The Inspirational Study Bible - Max Lucado
Maybe we could all take a lesson from third century Christians. Instead of standing up and demanding our ways be met, protesting every little thing we don't like, maybe we should take a Christlike attitude towards politics and the like.
Instead of yelling at the lost, why don't we calm down and show them how we were once found.


In the mid 50's scientists looked at all the upcoming technology and did a study to see how it would impact our lives.
They predicted that by the year 2000 technology would be so great that people would be more effecient and would be working way less. By the year 2000, they predicted that the average American would only work 22 hours a week. They were so concerned that they began to wonder what in the world Americans would do with all their free time.
Boy - wish they were right. I think just the opposite has happened. More technology means we get things done more efficiently, but that just means were stuck doing more work.


Can someone tell me why I'm still here at 2:11 a.m.?
I think I'm so used to a noon deadline that I feel I have to have almost everything wrapped up before I leave Tuesday night.
When in actuality I have till 6 p.m. to get the paper to press. Geeze.
Maybe its a subconsious fear that I still have a sports tab to finish before Thursday night that is pushing me to get the paper done earlier.
Who knows. But I think I want to eat a sandwhich and then go home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Where's the difference?

Why do we condemn Islamic fundamentalists for saying Americans should die - yet Pat Robertson can say whatever he wants without condemnation from the governement?
Robertson, a one-time candidate for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, also blasted U.S. authorities for failing to provide enough support for opposition leaders when Chavez was briefly overthrown in a failed coup in 2002.
Chavez has said he believes the United States is trying to assassinate him. The United States has denied such allegations.
In Caracas, legislator Desire Santos Amaral said Robertson's comments outraged her, adding: "This man cannot be a true Christian."
Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said Venezuela would be watching how Washington responds to Robertson's comments.
"The ball is in the U.S. court, after this criminal statement by a citizen of that country," Rangel told reporters. "It's huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those."
The State Department quickly distanced itself from Robertson's comments.
"We do not share his view, and his comments are inappropriate," spokesman Sean McCormack said.
"Our department doesn't do that kind of thing. It's against the law. He's a private citizen," U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday of Robertson. "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."

Oh yes, we are the United States of America - and his right to say whatever he feels is right, also gives me the right to say "Shut up Robertson and quit making us look like idiots."


I covered my second volleyball match tonight - the first one in Heights.
Think Lady Knights junior Ann McLeod might be a little scared of the ball here?

Quit beating yourself up...

I think whenever I finish my "first official book," I'm gonna write another one called, "Quit beating yourself up."
I keep seeing over and over again how Satan continues to persuade us that we're not good enough for God. That God can't use us, cause we're just a screw up. And we listen to Him. And we beat ourselves up over it. Over and over and over and over again.
STOP. Seriously. God didn't intend for us to be legalistic about things so that we could mope around in missery all day because we're not good enough for Him. No He gives us the law so we can know right from wrong. So we can strive to be perfect. But He knows, we never will. Otherwise - why did Jesus come and die on the cross? What was the point? It's because Jesus was perfect. Jesus was the man that none of us can ever be.
And Satan dangles that in front of our faces and says, "You can't live up to perfection. You might as well quit now. Just let the Pastor and Missionaries do God's work. Cause you're not worthy. You'd be a hypocrite if you tried to tell someone about God."
Here's what I read this morning that really goes along with this...
"Their sins and the evil things they do - I will not remember anymore." - Hebrews 10:17
"With one sacrifice he made perfect forever those who are being made hold" - Hebrews 10:14
Underline the word perfect. Not that the word is not better. Not improving. Not on the upswing. God doesn't improve; He perfects. He doesn't enhance; He completes.
Now I realize that there's a sense in which we're imperfect. We still err. We still stumble. We still do exactly what we don't want to do. And that part of us is, according to the verse, "being made holy."
But when it comes to our position before God, we're perfect. When He sees each of us, He sees one who has been made perfect through the One who is perfect - Jesus Christ.
From The Eye of the Storm - Max Lucado

You know why we always feel horrible when we mess up and screw up?
For one, its our conscience, but two - Satan loves to dangle those mistakes in front of us. All the time. When I screw up I just beat myself up - and from reading Xanga sites, everyone else does ALL THE TIME. But it's not God beating us up. It's Satan saying, "God can't use you. You're pathetic. You can't control yourself. You'll never amount to nothing."
And then we're defeated and don't let God use us.
But you know what God says, "I leave 99 for you (Luke 15:3-7). I will stop everything and clean every inch of my house till I have you back (Luke 15:8-10). He will prepare the fatted calf for us when we go our own way (Luke 15:11-32), and the angels will rejoice!"
He says, "I have removed your sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)."
He says, "I forgive all your sins and heal your diseases (Psalm 103:3)."
He says, "Because of my great love for you, you are not consumed, for My compassions never fail. They come new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)."
He reminds us in Joshua 10, that even though we break our commitment with Him - like the Israelites, He will still chose to use us and perform mighty, mighty amazing works.
Don't let Satan deceive you. God chooses you. God loves you. And God wants to use you.
Audio A puts it like this:
The Mistakes I've made
That cause pain
I could have done without
All my selfish thought
All my pride
The things I hide
You have forgot about
"They’re all behind you
They’ll never find you
There on the ocean floor
You sins are forgotten
They’re on the bottom
Of the ocean floor"
My misdeeds
All my greed
All the things that haunt me now
They’re not a pretty sight to see
But they're wiped away
By a mighty, mighty wave
A mighty, mighty wave
"Your sins are erased
And they are no more
They’re out on the ocean floor
Take them away
To return no more
Take them away
To the ocean floor
To the ocean floor
To the ocean floor"

And in another song like this:

I'm lost and broken all alone on this road
The wheels keep turning but the feeling is gone
when I fear I'm on my own
But you remind me i am not alone
You say..
"I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you"
It's dark and lonely and the path is unclear
Can't move my feet because I'm frozen with fear
And you say, my child, my child
I am always here, i'm at your side
"I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you"
"You're never too far down
I promise you'll be found,
I'll reach into the mud,
Miry clay
Pursue you to the end,
Like a faithful friend,
Nothing in this world,
Will keep me away,
I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you...
To find you.."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Robertson called for the assassination of Venez ...

Now here's one for ya. This convinces me that God must be Republican... or not.
Commen Sense reports (via Media Matters) that Pat Robertson Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president.
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.

I sure wish folks like Robertson and Dobson would quit making the rest of the Christians in America look like fools.
Why don't they focus on ministry and leave the politics and politicizing of Christianity up to the politicians?

Liberty Bell and 10 Commandments

The Waco Trib reports on a display in Crawford with the liberty bell and the ten commandments. Nothing says liberty like forcing your religion down someone else's throat.

The message: God is cool links to a USA Today article that reports on various church marketing campaigns.
It's a decent read, but I really like what the church in Centreville, Va is doing - a free ice cream truck.
You don't have to be poor to get a handout from New Life Christian Church in Centreville, Va. You just need to watch for the church's new ice cream truck, a $10,000 investment in public relations.

Kevin points out that not only is the church giving away free ice cream - but surprisingly, the person answering the phone at the church knows whats going on as well.

Outta here

I think I'm gonna head home at 5 today. Wow. What a concept.
I've been going non-stop all day - just sitting at my desk and I'm starting to feel it.
I thought I would go home and work on my book, but the Cowboys play tonight on Monday Night Football - so that may not be happening at all.
But I'll keep you posted I'm sure.


The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English
will be the official language of the European Union rather than German,
which was the other very strong possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that
English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a
5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will
make the sivil servants jump with joy.
The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up
konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the
troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like
fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted
to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have
always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag
is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th"
with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining
"ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl
riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu
understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in
ze forst plas.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dancing till the break of dawn

So I just returned from the UMHB Welcome Week Dance. It was a lot of fun. I would estimate there were nearly 600 people at the dance, which is a lot for UMHB. I was there DJing and got in a dance with Kelly "belly" Mitchell, my good friend Bobby's fiance'. Good thing he lives and works in Oklahoma.
Some were calling it the best dance they remember at UMHB. I doubt that, but I'll take the compliment. I haven't DJ'ed there since 2003 (when I graduated) so I don't have any idea what the dances have been like since then. And I also never went to a dance there unless I was DJing. So - we'll have to check the blogosphere tomorrow and see what the word is on the net.
I also just found out that the light board on my rear left hand side is out. I replaced the right one a while back. I've had the break light out for a while now and finally stopped on the way home to buy a new bulb - which by the way, the Wal-Mart bulb selector for a 98 Chevy truck is wrong. And when I came home I took the cover off, only to discover that all three bulbs were fine - so looks like I have to replace another board. Whew - another $40 down the tube.
I need to find a job and house where I don't have to own a vehicle, don't have to pay electric bills or water bills or cell-phone bills.
Sounds like either the mission field or bumming off my parents.
I'll go with the first - but avoid the second.
Well, time to shower and hit the hay. I've got a long week ahead of me.
Oh one more thing - I got reamed at 8 a.m. this morning by my boss because he "just found out" something I told him the first of August.
Oh well - made church that much more enjoyable once I got there.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Toobing the Lampassas River

Well my sister Kara just left town. She came down for the night and day before heading back to school tomorrow. I gave her a couple tours of UMHB so she'd realize how much better it was once she got back to Ouchita.
We spent about an hour-and-a-half hiking along the Lampassas river this morning. It was a fun hike, and I'm glad we finished it when we did. I was almost blown up by the time we got back.
I wish I could trace our exact route, but the best I could find was satellite imagery of the area.
If you look around the center of the map, you can see the river rushing out of the dam from Stillhouse Hollow Lake. I estimate we travelled down the river (the dark green line) around the bend of the river and about half-way to I-35 (in the lower right hand corner of the image.
It was a great trip. I really had no idea what we'd find - even though I've lived in the area since 2000.
There was the beautiful chalk Falls and a number of improvements the Corps of Engineers had made in the area, including a fun suspension bridge.
I think I've convinced Allman we need to tube or kayak or something down the river, from the dam to I-35.
I think we'll do it Labor Day weekend - so if anyone is interested in joining us - holla.

Here's a better view of the area.
I think we ended up about in the center of this map.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A work in progress

I've started it.
After debating and thinking, I finally decided "forget it..." I'm going to start a book.
I'll post updates online as I go. Check it out, give you input.
And remember it's a work in progress.


Sweet - my alma mater, UMHB calls about once a semester when a DJ falls through for various dances and I'm usually not able to do the jobs, but they have a dance going on Sunday night that I can actually work - and I'll be in town. Rock on.
Yesterday I wasn't sure how my bills would be taken care of after my alternator incident - but God will provide.
And I'll let him handle the details.


High school and jr high girls are just weird...

No seriously... weird

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Well I've been a little bummed today.
I got a crazy ticket in some super small East Texas town Saturday.
I saw the Reduced Speed Ahead sign, but never saw a sign indicating the reduced speed.
Apparently the local cop did and was stationed right behind it.
Sucks for me.
Then last night on my way to Bryan to pick up our papers, my headlights starting acting up and my battery indicator was coming up - and before I knew it, I was putting my way into the Wal-Mart parking lot.
This morning I had the privaledge of lightening my wallet by $400.
Sucks for me.
But on the upside I got several good comments on my way back to Harker Heights.
So while my wallet has decreased drastically in size, my ego has doubled.
Well - probably not, but its nice to hear nice things about yourself when you're having a crappy day.

The Blogs of War writes The Blogs of War: "'In World War II, letters basically didn't arrive for months,' says Michael Bautista, an Idaho National Guard corporal based in Kirkuk whose grandfather served in World War II and who blogs as Ma Deuce Gunner (named for the trusty M2 machine gun he calls Mama). 'What I'm doing and what my fellow bloggers are doing is groundbreaking.'"

Assignment: Crawford, Texas

Common Sense points to an article on life as a member of the White House Press Corps in Crawford.
Assignment: Crawford, Texas
"CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush has spent nearly a year of his presidency at his ranch in Crawford - and wherever he goes, the White House press corps follows."
Personally I prefer the article Dallas Morning News did several weeks ago in their Sunday paper.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Walking alone

I’ve been reading lots of books lately. I’m not sure why, maybe its the loss of my t.v. satellite or just an odd desire to make up for all the books I didn’t read as a kid.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve finished, “Jesus CEO,” “This Present Darkness,” and “Prince Caspian.”
I’ve been intrigued by all of them, but I was struck this week by “Prince Caspian,” part of C.S. Lewis’ epic Chronicles of Narnia.
I’ve been trying to catch up on the books slowly this year before the “Lion, Witch and Wardrobe” comes to the big screen later this year.
As you may remember, the story is based on four children who find a secret passage to the secret world of Narnia.
They become high kings and queens of the land and are led by Aslan the Lion.
In this fourth book in the series, the children find themselves swept back to Narnia, called by an ancient horn that was passed from generation to generation to be used in the upmost of emergencies.
As the children wander the land, the youngest child, Lucy swears she sees Aslan looking down upon them, across a great river. The other three children scoff at her and carry on their way, ignoring her pleas to turn and head towards Aslan.
Later that evening, they realize in fact they had continued the wrong way and should have followed Lucy’s advice -- regardless of her seeing Aslan or not.
That night Lucy spots Aslan again and he questions her not following him earlier in the day.
“But no one else would come,” Lucy said. “I couldn’t travel alone.”
Aslan continues to look upon her as her guilt overcomes her. She knows the answer Aslan is looking for.
“I’m sorry,” she continues. “I should have followed you no matter what anyone else does or did. It doesn’t matter if they can see you or not. I could and I didn’t follow you.”
How true is that to life?
How often do we know the right direction and right way to head in life and yet we continue on our same dead-end path, because we’re afraid no one else will follow us.
I remember singing often as a child, “I have decided to follow Jesus... no turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow...”
How bold will you be when no one else goes with you?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

No lie... it's hot..

Our AC in the office went out sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning, and it is dang hot in here right now.
I think the heat level has just continued to rise and the AC has done absolutely nothing about it.
So I'm going home. I'm not working late here, unless I get some crazy whim to come back with two or three fans after the sun goes down.

Sidebar: I'm watching a couple teachers in the High School parking lot. It appears one has a bad battery and the other teacher is walking 100-yards to bring her jumper cables. But there is no other vehicle within 100-yards to jump the stalled car from. UPDATE: the second teacher is now walking back to his truck and has apparently realized his 10-foot jumper cables will not reach 100 yards. Looks like he'll do the smart thing and move his truck closer.

CWF Brings Entertainment,Testimony To Tyler

KLTV 7 Tyle covered our event in Tyler this weekend. You can read the story as well as watch the video from the page.

And sorry, I haven't posted this earlier, but here are the results from our show.

Chris Idol v Jonah - no contest after interferance from Tim Storm and Apoc
Eagle def. Cub
Tim Storm def. The Bishop
The Bishop, Jonah and Chris Idol def. Tim Storm, Apoc and Eagle - Bishop made the pin

We didn't do an alter call at the end of the show, so we don't know how many decisions were made, but there were 450 people there and we know God was at work.


Here's an interesting connection...
Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan.
Should we play the 6-degrees of Michael Moore now?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Carter comes to visit

Regardless of the pay and the long hours I might complain about, it's always fun to work in a position where congressmen stop in just to say hello.
Just spent 20-30 minutes chatting with Rep. John Carter and two staff members. He's doing one of his normal tours of the district to keep in touch with media and local leaders. I think this is the fourth or fifth time I've talked with him on a tour of the district since he took office in Jan 2005.
I have to respect a congressman like that. I was in Belton for a full year while Chet Edwards was in office and he never stopped by our office and I don't know of anytime he stopped in Belton other than the 4th of July parade or a special ceremony at the Bell County Museum. The only time I met him was the day he announced he would not run for re-election in our newly aligned district, but run in Waco instead.
Granted I think he did some great things for this area, but I never once talked to the man, either after all my phone calls or in person.
I think that's smart marketing and working.
As a representative in the U.S. Congress you need to make yourself as available as possible to the media. If you're not, you can't get your name out there and winning re-election is rough.
Well, now that I've met my "celebrity" for the day - back to the salt mines.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

CWF Highlight Video

This is posted on the CWF Website, but I thought I'd give yall a video link to see what we're all about. It's a fairly large file, so be patient.

iPod vending machine

Now this is just nuts. Robert Scobble, Microsoft evangelist found a vending machine in his hotel lobby that sold iPods.
Nuts. What's funny though, is the machine was running Windows software. HA.
Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger writes: "Maryam, Patrick and I were just having breakfast at the Sunnyvale Four Points Sheraton and when we came out we saw a huge vending machine. OK, that alone might be notable, but Patrick instantly recognized that it sells iPods and other Apple stuff, along with the typical junk food and other items you might expect in a hotel lobby."

Im actually waitin in line 4 gas in waco. Its only 1.28 a gallon

CORRECTION: Typo - it was 2.28 a gallon. But at the rate of 2.45 or higher (which I saw all weekend and filled up for on Saturday), that's a steal.

Friday, August 12, 2005

George Eads

CSI actor George Eads just gave props to Belton on the Late Late Show.
Except he said all he did in Belton was cruise the Sonic - which may still be the case.
But he did give some big props to Texas women. Don't blame him.
For those who don't know, Eads was born in Fort Worth and grew up in Belton, son of a local judge and step-son of the Belton ISD superintendent.
Read the local papers and there'll be a feature or mention of him once or twice a year.


Charis are you mad at me? I mean seriously. Are you mad at me? Why won't you answer. I'm typing on my blog and you're not responding. Geeze.

Observations of a traveling Editor

Well here are some things I learned today running errands around Harker Heights and Killeen..

JB & Sandy in Austin are doing a radiothon to raise money for the Dell Children's Hospital and the family center in the Cancer Ward. They're trying to raise $200,000 between now and Sunday. If they make their goal the Lance Armstong Foundation will add an additional $100,000 towards the project.
You can donate online or make bids on their auction items at
I don't normally give a lot to charity, but cancer research and work has a special place in my heart because it effects everyone everywhere. I challenge you to make a donation. Then everytime you're in Austin and you see the Children's Hospital you can say, "Hey - I helped build part of that."
$10 a month is only 120 a year. But think about what $10 a month is - that's less than it costs me to eat at Snuffers nomrally. That's it. If you drink 2 sodas a day - that's a week of sodas you could give up.
So go online or call 1-877-832-6947.
Sears is not a good place to park by if you're going to Chick-Fil-A in the Killeen mall.
Since I was being generous and giving to the Dell Children's Hospital, I thought I'd save some money and use some Chick-Fil-A coupons I won at the Chamber Mixer yesterday.
Not knowing the Killeen mall very well (cause who shops there anyways?) I parked at the furthest part of the mall I think from Chick-Fil-A. But by the time I walked it and walked back, I'm sure I was able to walk off at least a couple fries.
War is Real.
Being so close to Fort Hood I constantly come in contact with soldiers serving in the Army or other branches of the military.
I remember growing up and seeing WWII Vets and Vietnam Vets and others who had lost limbs in war. But today I saw two soldiers who had lost limbs (I would assume in Iraq or Afghanistan). They weren't old vets in the twilight of their years, but these were kids my age, probably younger. Who felt a call to serve and did.
It made me proud to think of the guys my age, like Jay Allman who have joined up, despite the reality that they'll likely go fight overseas and come home missing limbs or possibly like Cindy Sheehan's son. And I don't want to get into that - but boy what a mess. Should the ruler of the Free World be expected to meet every mother or father of someone killed in war? Why does Sheenan think she deserves a second chance to meet with the president? But if the president signs orders to send men and women to war, shouldn't he be willing to face the families who lose loved ones following his orders?
I don't know. If I was a political advisor I'm not sure what I'd tell the president.
My instinct tells me no. You don't meet with her. And quite frankly I can't believe one protestor is getting such attention. People protest outside the Whitehouse and elsewhere ALL THE TIME. It's because of bloggers that have spread this thing everywhere. The Waco Tribune, KDH and TDT only started covering the story a day or two ago.
If you meet with one woman who protests, what would keep you from meeting with every other protestor?
Just because you're upset doesn't give you the right to meet with the president. Go through the proper channels. Don't get upset and expect a meeting with the president just because you stand outside his ranch. There are proper ways to do things, and I don't think protesting at a ranch is going to get you anywhere - and shouldn't.
Any wacko with a cause could make the President stop everything and have to take time, away from running the country, to meet with him if you start allowing protestors to get time with the President.
OK - I went off a little there. Just a little upset. Calm down. Breathe - OK. We're better now.
Well that wraps up this edition of traveling editor. Join us next time, same blog, same editor, different rants.

Why read a newspaper?

So I'm having a little bit of trouble understanding a couple of the local newspapers right now.
Maybe I'm just "in the know," but everyday I pick up a Killeen paper or Temple paper I feel like I'm reading last week's news.
They are full of AP news stories that I read the day before on the web, either from another news organization or from someone's blog.
Why waste precious time re-reading what I've already read?
It's just a vital point for me, as a newspaper editor, that I have to keep up to date on local news and make that my ultra-focus.
I can get everything else in the KDH or TDT on the web. And believe me, I think they know that.
While I was in Belton, they slammed us every chance they got with Belton stories on the front page. Belton's city council would be on the front page, while Temple's city council would be in D section.
I don't recall but 2 or 3 Temple ISD school board stories in the 2 years I was there.
Now I see a continued increase in KDH's news coverage in Heights.
So between the two of us, I guess we've realized that people want local news - or so it would appear.
I wonder what would happen if instead of printing our Friday paper on Wednesday night, we waited and printed it on Thursday.
The news would be more timely and up to date. But how would that effect distribution and time in publishing?

iPod my baby - and shirt and photo and whatever else

James posted on this link - check it:, which linked to this:
Too bad they don't actually play music - it might get some parents to play with their kids more.
Yes - sad. I know.

New Keyboard

Here's an interesting idea:
A company in Austin has developed an entirely blank keyboard. There are no letters, characters or anything on the keys.
The developer theorized that without the aid of characters on the keys, people would eventually memorize the key locations better and type better. He says it works. I wouldn't know. It's only $80, but I'm sure you can do the same with your keyboard and a bottle of whiteout.
Only For The Best
If you are an elite programmer who can write sophisticated code under tight deadlines, someone who makes impossible projects possible; or a Silver Web Surfer your colleagues turn to when they need IT advice: this keyboard is for you.
Shouldn't your keyboard reflect your status as one of the elite? We think so!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Astronauts point of view

The astronauts' point of view
"Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It's very widespread in some parts of the world. We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used."

- Commander Eileen Collins, from the space shuttle Discovery

CWF Update

Well, it's been a while since I've posted any CWF updates (i think).
But to let everyone know - we'll be in Tyler this weekend on Saturday.
So those of you in the East Texas areas, come on out and join us.
Currently scheduled to appear:
Rob "Jesus Freak" Vaughn
Tim Storm
Chris Idol
El Tiberon
The Bishop
and yours truly - as commissioner of course.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And the rains came down

Well I think we finally got our wish, and prayers, the rains have come and washed the itsy bitsy spider and everything else down the waterspout.
And now after a few days of heavy rains, everyone’s begging for the sun to come and dry the spider out.
But not me - at least not yet.
I happen to love the rain and all the free water it puts on my not-so-green lawn.
And as I sit here, watching the rain come and the storm advisories, wishing I was out playing and not sitting in my office, I’ve begun to think of all the things I could be doing, besides sitting in my office.
So here’s a Top 10 list of things to do when the rains come down.
10. Create random,
“highly important scientific experiments”. How many drops of rain does it take to extinguish a match? How many drops of rain does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? Record your data and then send it to all the major science journals. And don’t forget about your favorite hometown paper either.
9. Visit a waterpark. For some reason, people are afraid of waterparks when it rains. I’ve seen people make mad dashes to cover at waterparks when the rain starts to fall. I think they’re afraid they might get wet. So rainy days are great days to visit your local waterpark - as long as there’s no lightening around.
8. Buy a shop vac. With all the rain we’re getting suddenly, it’s very likely you may have a roof leak or other flooding in your house. Don’t let the rush to buy shop vacs leave you in a lurch. Be prepared and ready to suck all the water away.
7. Stand guard by roads closed due to high waters. Find your nearest low water crossing and stand by Road Closed signs and make sure no one drives around or continues down the road. For added fun, write down the license plate numbers of those who continue to ignore the warnings and the call them at home and let them know you were worried about their safety.
6. Make random Top 10 lists. I mean seriously what else is there to do? And if you don’t have anything to do, or anything to write about in your column, just ask Allman -- Top 10 lists are great fillers.
5. Tube the river. Why travel all the way to New Braunfels to catch a tube ride. Grab an inner tube from Wal-Mart and hit Nolan Creek. You should be able to make it from Harker Heights to my backyard in Belton in roughly 5 minutes. PUBLISHERS NOTE: After hearing the horror stories from fellow employees, this paper does not condone or sanction this event. In fact, we ask that you ignore number 5 and consider this a Top 9 list instead.
4. Sing in the rain. This ones pretty self explanatory. Try and do your best impression of Gene Kelly in the classic musical.
3. Build a sand castle. Hold a competition with your friend and test the Biblical parable about the wise man building his house upon the rock and the foolish man building on sand. One of you can build your sand castle on the driveway and one can build it in the sandbox. Answer the question, “If both houses are built of sand, does it really matter what they’re built upon?”
2. Ride a bike. You’re gonna get soaked and you’re feet will likely slip off the pedals -- numerous times, but it’s loads of fun. And if you go with a friend you can both take turns laughing at all the mud and water your tires splashed up and down your back.
1. Sleep. There is nothing I like more than sleeping and napping during a thunderstorm or rainy day. Speaking of which, now that my column is all done, isn’t it nap time.
Whatever you chose to do, be sure and take lots of pictures and send them in.

Close call

The rains came... and they've gone for a while. Good thing!
I've had a big gapping hole on the front of my sports page, waiting to get a photo or two of the Harker Heights football two-a-days and the rain has kept them off the field most of the week.
And luckily I finally got a call from the coach to find out their remaining schedule today so I can go get some pictures of the team working out.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cheap Commitment

I've been debating the issue of commitment vs. spending money lately with several people and this tends to back my theory. (yeah - for me... now hopefully no one will find the other side of the theory). Anyways, I've been thinking and theorizing that people need to be committed to your cause. It doesn't matter how much money you spend, you need people committed. Check out Creating Passionate Users for a whole list of reasons why.
You can have the cheapest equipment and put out a dang quality product or have a dang high quality organization.
Or you can spend hundreds if not thousands on equipment and software and gadgets, but if no ones committed, you won't see any increase in productivity or the output of your group/cause. If there's no commitment, why would anyone take time to learn to use your gadgets better?
DISD has given my mom a Palm Pilot and a laptop in the last few years to help increase her productivity. But my mom doesn't care. I think she's probably used the laptop once or twice. She doesn't see any need for it anywhere.
Having a laptop or Palm Pilot doesn't make my mom a great teacher. It doesn't help her students get higher test scores. My mom's a great teacher because she's committed to excellence and bringing her students to a point of excellence.
My dad's a great electrician, not because he has the lastest tools and equipment, but because he will wait and work and stay at any project until its completed and works right.
Saturday night before heading to bed I showed him the damaged cord on my laptop charger. He said it could possibly be soldered, but since it was midnight, I dismissed it and went to bed, knowing I'd have to find another way to run Powerpoint the next morning at church.
But instead of giving up like I did, my dad woke up at 5 in the morning and came and got my charger.
He used a simple knife, some plyers and knot know-how and fixed the tear in my charger.
By 6:30 a.m. my computer was plugged in and charging again.
It didn't take any fancy equipment to fix, just a commitment to be better.
The City of Belton is overflowing with a large revenue bucket. They run a super tight budget every year, but you know how?
Each of the employees has made commitments to make the city better. Sure they're not getting super raises each year, and they could be making more money elsewhere, but they are committed to a city they love and enjoy working for. They stay and make Belton a great place to live and work.
Brian Bailey a staff member at Fellowship Church Dallas writes this about his church's new commitment and mission statement, COFFEE.
"I would much rather invest resources in first-class staff. Hire the right people with the right skills, and they will allow you to accomplish more than you could imagine, for less."
That sounds right up my alley.
Get people who know what they're doing and are committed to their cause. Reward them for their hardwork and watch your productivity and output skyrocket.

Just a perfect day

How is it that you can be having an absolutly perfect day and then have it ruined by 2 or 3 e-mails at the end of the day?
Even with a dounpour of 3-4 inches today, I was having a great, wonderful, perfect day.
Then I get a few e-mails and I can't think straight ever since. I left work in such frustration that I left my cell phone on my desk and several notes I'll need to finish my stories tonight.
And who wants to drive 15 minutes to get a cell phone (which doubles as an alarm clock)? Well don't guess it really matters - I'm just going to continue trying to refocus and finish my otherwise perfect day.


Someones made a newsmap from Google's newspage. Awesome.
Basically its a graphic representation of Google's News Page.
Google scours the net constantly looking for news stories and then combines all their searches and runs the stories that are highly linked to on their news page. So rather than getting one newspaper or television station telling you "what's important" you get a broad spectrum of media outlets telling you "what's important."
If 25 newspapers report on Peter Jennings then it is bumped above a story 2 newspapers reported about a plane crash in Alabama. The newsmap is like a pie chart, made of squares, giving larger boxes to stories with more links or "importance."
"Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. "

Kinky action figure

No, its not a sex toy. It's the
Kinky Friedman Action Figure. The Texas Governor candidate is giving the dolls away to people who contribute $100 or more to his campaign. So far it's help raise $49,555.

"It's time to start the real action! As we prepare to battle the millions of bucks the parties are going to throw at us, we need a hero, and here he is: the 'Kinky Friedman Talking Action Figure.' He's all we need to combat the dark forces! It looks like Kinky, it talks like Kinky, it IS Kinky - our hero! It has Kinky's actual voice, spouting the mots and witticisms for which he is so known and loved. And, of course, he is adorable."

Sick of the Texas Legislature Day

The Lone Star Iconoclast, the only paper in Texas to endorse Kerry president writes, "It is time for a job action. Texas teachers should declare, 'I'm Sick Of The Texas Legislature' Day on Sept. 12.
Call in sick.
Stay home.
No strike, no protest."
I don't agree with the entire editorial, but seriously, the house has wasted time debating cheerleaders dance moves and has brought a telecommunications bill to the table numerous times, that would give phone companies a statewide franchise and would steal money from cities and allow them to provide whatever service wherever they wanted and deny service wherever they wanted anywhere in the state.
Pete Sessions is trying to pass a country-wide bill in the U.S. House.
What if we all called in sick on the 12th?
I think someone might get a hint that we're fed up.


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Oh - and a home on the range would be nice too.

Peter Jennings Aftermath

The NY Times has an interesting piece on the vacancy left by Jennings at ABC News.
If Charles Gibson is left in his place on Good Morning America, does that signify a shift in the network belief that the morning news program is their most valuable news program? Or is it a move to place a younger anchor in Jennings place who can have a long lustrious career like Jennings?

Random survey

Found this while researching something on the web - totally random - but so am I.
Ok, so I usually think stuff like this is annoying, but Hey, I was bored....

1. Pick a band and answer only using the band's song titles: U2 (as if there is another band)
2. Are you male or female: Stories for Boys
3. Describe how you feel about yourself: Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of or Staring at the Sun
4. Your best piece of advice: Walk On
5. Describe your last relationship: Lady With the Spinning Head or Salome
6. Describe your current crush: Babyface or The Sweetest Thing or Hallelujah Here She Comes
7. Say something to someone you have a crush on: All I Want is You or I Will Follow
8. Say something to an ex: Exit or So Cruel
9. Say something to someone who you hurt severely: Is That All?
10. How do you feel right now: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Aight, your turn. Send me a link to the answers on your blog or in my comment section.

Seriously... read this book

Seriously... you have to read this book: This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti.
I finally finished it last night. It took me a couple weeks because I never had/took the time to actually sit down and read, it was more of a chapter or two here and a chapter or two there.
But last night I read from around 9 to midnight and finished it all up. Wow. Good stuff.
It's fiction of course, but I think based a lot on reality. I don't think we really have any idea of the things going on around us in the spiritual realm. It's opened my eyes and I tend to be a lot more aware of things going on around me now.
I can't really put a finger on it or describe it - but there is a battle going on over souls all around us.
Well time to head back to the salt mines.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Reporting death

I'm never a huge fan of writing stories about death, but yet at the same time I'm intrigued by them.
I've written several in my short journalism career and it's never been easy to do, but I don't shy away from them either.
My first story was about two students murdered from my University. It was an odd story, because like most murders there wasn't much information about it. And as a reporter for a college newspaper it was difficult to get local authorities to give me much information. But I was out to get every ounce I could and probably annoyed some people along the way.
The second story was about the first soldier from Belton killed in Iraq.
I also wrote a brief story about a soldier who named Belton as home, but lived in Kentucky with his family at the time of his death.
Today I discovered a former Harker Heights resident and Fort Hood soldier was killed in a plane crash Saturday.
I debated on telling the story. It ran on the AP wire, but neither of the local papers apparently noticed or cared to run it.
But I felt differently. Here is a man who served his country and likely died of a mechanical failure in his plane.
I was sure he had some sort of ties to Harker Heights and I'm sure people would appreciate knowing. So I write...

Former Heights resident killed in Georgia plane accident
Jonathan Blundell

Former Harker Heights resident and Fort Hood officer, Col. William Powell (Ret. US Army) was killed Saturday afternoon at approximately 3:39, when his single-engine, Beechcraft 35 Bonanza went down in a field outside Trinity, Ala.
Powell was killed on impact, while the passenger on-board was seriously injured and rushed to Huntsville Hospital by helicopter.
According to witnesses, the plan was coasting at a low altitude and no engine noise was heard shortly before the accident.
“You could tell something was wrong,” witness Danny Moore of Prattville, Al told The Decatur Daily News. “The plane rolled over and went nose down, tail up. It went straight to the ground.”
Powell’s wife, Patricia, who lived with Powell in Harker Heights between 1990 and 1992, while Powell was stationed at Fort Hood, said she wasn’t sure where William may have been headed, but assumed he was taking the plane for a test flight.
“Each year he takes the plane to Decatur for its annual inspection,” Patricia said. “When he went to pick it up earlier in the week, they had found something wrong with it and he waited till Saturday morning to pick up the plane. I believe something went wrong mechanically during the test flight and that caused the accident.”
Patricia did not know the passenger, but said she was sure he was a mechanic who may have worked on the plane.
Patricia also said she believed William found something wrong after take off and turned it around to head back to the airport.
According to initial reports by the Federal Aviation Administration, the plan crashed shortly after takeoff but no cause of the accident has been released.
Butch Wilson, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board told The Decatur Daily News that the plan was still in good condition after the crash.
“The cockpit and engine area are crushed. But there was no fire and it didn’t hit any trees coming in.”
Wilson was unaware of any flight plan and also noted that the plane’s fule tanks were empty.
Investigation into the crash by the FAA and NTSB could take six months before a final report is complete.
The accident was one of eight fatal airplane related accidents in the U.S. over the weekend, including one accident Sunday in Houston.
I'm waiting to hear more from the NTSB and FAA hopefully, but the little information I pulled off the web is likely all I'll get.
I also hope I can find Powell's obit to give more of the human side of the tragedy.
What do you think? Should newspapers report death and accidents? Should local papers who normally focus on happy chearful tea parties give the same coverage to death and accidents? What do you think makes news and who should decide?

Flickr posts

I've posted some new photos on my Flickr Stream
I just realized, after I deleated a number of photos, that I'm limited by how much I upload each month, not how much I have saved on their system. So I guess I can't upload again until next month, or I pay $24 a year for an upgraded membership.
Well anyways, there's a few more CWF pictures from Oak Cliff there, and a few less pictures of everything else.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's 1 a.m.....

It's 1 a.m. I pulled into my driveway after a rushed trip to Dallas at midnight.
And I'm still up. Not totally sure why, but I did catch up on all my blog reading - after a week and a half of ignoring most of them - and I'm about .032-percent smarter. Or is that my blood alchohol level? Just kidding mom.
So reading is done. Off to bed time.
See you on the flip side.

NASA TV Landing Page

For those interested, you can watch the latest info from NASA online. I'm sure they'll have coverage of the space shuttle landing as it happens.

Peter Jennings is dead

As reported by AP and ABC News and countless other news organizations, Peter Jennings died Sunday night at his home in New York City.
He was 67.
I've always been a fan of Jennings. He's been my favorite anchor of the three major networks for a long time. He always had a way about him that didn't seem to politicized the news. He lived a full life in 67 years and will be missed from our television screens.
In announcing Jennings' death to his ABC colleagues, News President David Westin wrote:
For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him.
As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not.
We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or captured in words alone. But for the moment, the finest tribute we can give is to continue to do the work he loved so much and inspired us to do.

On Dec. 31, 1999, Jennings anchored ABC's Peabody-award winning coverage of Millennium Eve, "ABC 2000." Some 175 million Americans watched the telecast, making it the biggest live global television event ever. "The day belonged to ABC News," wrote The Washington Post, "...with Peter Jennings doing a nearly superhuman job of anchoring." Jennings was the only anchor to appear live for 25 consecutive hours.
Jennings also led ABC's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks and America's subsequent war on terrorism. He anchored more than 60 hours that week during the network's longest continuous period of news coverage, and was widely praised for providing a reassuring voice during the time of crisis. TV Guide called him "the center of gravity," while the Washington Post wrote, "Jennings, in his shirt sleeves, did a Herculean job of coverage." The coverage earned ABC News Peabody and duPont awards.
He did everything after dropping out of high school as a sophomore.
As a reporter, Jennings had reported from the front lines of many of the past half-century's most significant events, including:
  • The conflict in Vietnam, which he was one of the first reporters to visit in the 1960s.
  • The construction of the Berlin Wall that same decade and its destruction in the 1990s.
  • The civil rights movement in the southern United States during the 1960s.
  • The struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The flowering of the Solidarity movement in Poland.
  • The repression of communism and its demise in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Romania.
    "I'm fascinatedd by everything, there's just too much going on in too many places and I don't dare miss it," Jennings' said as he began his 40-year career.
    ABC News has posted a tribute/news video on Jennings' career. Be sure you see it.
  • Matt at chipotle

    My sisters at chipotle

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Some problems I'm having...

    I've been working in Harker Heights for about a month now and while this may upset some people here or there, here's a short list of some things that bug me about the town
    - On the city website ( you can click to get directions to Harker Heights, but first you have to search the webpage to find the city's address. Boy that's annoying.
    Need Directions to Harker Heights? Click here. .Just type in your address then our address (see above) and your computer will do the rest.

    - According to a random website, it is illegal to "disturb a church service by swearing." Now, I'm not a big swearer, but that's somewhat restricting isn't it?
    - According to the same site, "Drivers of city vehicles must respect all traffic rules just like the rest of us." Isn't that common knowledge? Did we really need to waste time writing a law about it.
    - City council members must have a workshop every week they don't have a meeting, to discuss what their next meeting will be about. Now I don't think that's required. It's just been habit or what I've seen so far.
    - It's next door to Killeen.
    - Everyone has to ask someone else or think about buying ads. Its never a yes or no. It's let me ask or think about it.
    - And well... that's about it. That's all I can come up with for now.

    No more web updates?

    So I got a call from our Belton Editor today, apparently he's updating the Belton website.
    What a relief. I don't have time to mess with my own, let alone his.

    Imagine where you want to be

    My mom said I need to update my blog, so here is my first entry for the day - at 3:07 p.m. has a link to an interview with Brian Houston, senior pastor at Hillsong Church Australia.
    Brian says some intersting things about imagining where you want to be and where you want to go.
    Before our church had any influence really, I sat down one day and imagined the church that I would I’d love to pastor. So I called it The Church That I See. And in that I describe the church, I talk about its worship, I talk about its mission, I talk about its people. And I would have to say that at that time, our church didn’t look like that, but I read it now, and it sounds like I’ve just sat down, and in some ways, described what, what the church has become. Which to me is quite an amazing thing.
    I think that my sole purpose in wanting the church to be influential, is I believe in the message and I believe in the church. And you sit back and you watch a church in a country just declining, and if we do nothing, I mean it’ll eventually decline into oblivion. And I just believe that we do have answers and that we can help people, and I want to make sure that the church is strong and positioned to do exactly what it’s called to do.

    Where do you want to be? What kind of goals have you set or should you set?
    At my immediate position, I want to see our paper running 24 pages a week (or 12 pages twice a week). With full color ads on the front and back page. I want to see quality customer service. On time billing and collections. A paper that people are proud to call their own.
    How about you?

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Never saw this b4. Pumpin gas on the far side

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Fiscal department

    Do fiscal departments get excited when they hear Olivia Newton's song, "Let's get Fiscal?"

    Oh wait.... it's "Let's get Physical."


    Housekeeping Monthly

    This is wonderful. Someone found a copy of Housekeeping Monthly from 1955.
    Wanna guess what the first rule of a good housewife was?

    Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know you have been thinking about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

    Another great one:
    Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

    Mr Penguin comes for a visit

    Driving home Tuesday night, I looked down the road and was sure there was a small penguin standing in the road.
    No I hadn’t been drinking and I don’t think it was a Billy Maddison Flashback, but I was certain I was about to run over a small penguin, a block from my house, on the second night of a Texas August.
    But as I drove closer to the penguin, my eyes cleared and Mr. Penguin spotted me as well. It plopped back down on all fours and the black and white cat, skitted off across my neighbors lawn.
    Mr Penguin reminded me of how easily deceived we can be sometimes. We trust clients, friends or family members, when they know all along they’re not being upfront and honest with us.
    Many times we put our trust in men of God, only to discover they’re actually men of gods.
    But why should we be surprised? Scripture tells us that Satan is the king of deception. He will use people and everything he can to deceive us.
    He’ll even do his best to tell you, “You’re not good enough. God doesn’t want you. You’re full of sin and mistakes and failures. You’ll never measure up. God can’t use you and doesn’t want anything to do with you.”
    But scripture also reminds us that God doesn’t care about what we’ve done in the past. God cares about today and the present. He cares about right now. What are you doing right now to get yourself on the right track.
    Because when you ask, He forgives and forgets what you did instantly. He doesn’t write your mistakes down, He erases His records and puts them down at the deepest point of the sea, and moves them as far away as the East is from the West.
    I was reminded this Sunday of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites, even after they forgot their commitment with Him.
    Joshua 10 tells the story of how despite the Isrealites lack of commitment, God stopped the earth from spinning to keep His commitment to them.
    “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

    treasure hunt

    K-LOVE radio is hosting a Treasure Hunt Contest to give trips away to Orlando and Disney World. Each day there's a particular item you find and take a picture with and send it in. Wednesday's item was a bird.
    I had a little down time waiting on callbacks, so I threw this together:

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Front Page Update

    Made some slight changes to the front page. Notice any difference?
    Well, back to listening to my Jamie Cullum DVD and booking out the rest of the paper.

    Xanga is Spanish for...

    I think I've finally figured out what Xanga means. It's Spanish for "Why I stopped myself from jumping off the bridge" - or something like that.
    All but one Xanga site I've read in the last few days is depressing as heck.
    I don't know what it is. But man - depressing. Every talks about how their life sucks, is lame and pathetic so on and so on.
    Maybe I'm reading the wrong ones, but please, someone with a happy Xanga point me in your direction. Give me some hope.
    Is my generation doomed to gloom and writing about it on Xanga? I feel like I'm listening to an Avril Lavigne record played over and over again in my head, while someone scratches their nails down a chalkboard or rubs styrophoam against itself.
    Help us all.
    Post Script: Boy - that was one depressing post. Maybe I should move my blog to Xanga.

    Friday's Front Page Preview

    Here's a preview of Friday's Front Page. It's still a work in progress and may end up entirely different. But we'll see.
    Any suggestions?

    Fridays Front Page

    Which of these photos would you put on Friday's front page - and why?
    Vote now before it goes to press ---

    I'm a freakin genius

    I'm a freakin genius.
    In high school I took an art class and we had to design a package and make a commercial for the product.
    I designed a box, approximately 6"x6"x6" with a speaker in the side, a play control and a disk drive to insert the music into and play.
    It was called a Digi-Cube.
    Now look what Wal-Mart's selling for $99
    Granted there's is a little smaller and I'm sure it uses new USB technology and not 3.5" disks - but dang. If only I pursued it.
    I wonder if Steve Jobs saw my commercial somehow.
    I also used to try and sell singles for my band, All Natural on 3.5" disks. They were in low quality WAV files, before MP3's were big. And my band thought I was a nut. Granted we only sold 3, but people thought they were cool. I wonder if I can find them somewhere?
    Maybe they're in the stack of disks I found in my office the other day.

    Slave to the Routine

    Hope I'm not gonna get some fancy lawyer jumping on me for using this cartoon. But it's funny that it came to me today in e-mail. It goes along with several things I've been thinking about and learning recently.
    And this cartoon made me think, am I a slave to the routine - and if so - is that a bad or good thing.
    I've told numerous people that I've gotten into a morning routine each day in my new office.
    I walk in, turn off the alarm, turn on the lights, open my curtains/blinds, start my coffee, fill my water jug, read my devotional, pray, scan the Killeen paper, check e-mail and voice mail and begin my day.
    I've found that a similar routine every day gets me going on the right foot.
    And those days I miss my routine, I get flustered later on.
    But what if everytime I went to sell a new ad to someone I used the same old routine? "Hi. Wanna buy an ad? Ok great - talk to you later." That's not going to sell anybody. I have to adjust to every situation. I think that's why the CWF is so successful. It's not routine. It's different and it catches your eye. People can get their news anywhere - we have to find a way to set ourselves apart. We can't be part of the same ole' routine.
    We've been calling our new focus in the office a regime change.
    The old is out, the new is in. Sure there's reminants of the old regime. Things that need to be worked on and fixed - but a new day has dawned and we're moving forward.
    On the spirtual side of things, David writes, "He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
    God doesn't reform, he restores. He doesn't camouflage, He restores. He restores the vigor. He restores the energy. He restores the hope and restores the soul.
    And we need that restoration, because nothing on this earth will satisfy us fully. "We brought nothing into the world so we can take nothing out. But, if we have food and clothes, we will be satisfied with that."
    We long to see God. And that longing leaves us searching for more, but we won't find it in anything here on earth.
    And God is so big, He'll lead us, restore us, and protect us along our entire journey.