Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday Reading

1 Chronicles 26 and 27. Acts 20.

Random Thoughts

- Are there any hymns that include the mighty words "ahoy" or "avast"? If there are, they are now my all-time favorite hymns.

- Speaking of hymns, what causes people to look up when they finish the last line of a stanza? Check it out the next time when you're in church. At least 50% of the people lift their heads and look around at that moment before looking down to start the next stanza. When you see it, try not to crack up.

- I like to recite and sing the liturgy from memory while looking toward the altar, without looking at the book/bulletin.


- I defy you to find a black guy named Robin.

- I defy you to find a sadder sports story than this- my grandmother lived a strong 95 1/2 years. But as a Cubs fan, she never saw her team win it all. She was born 4 months after their last title in 1908 and lived the rest of her long life rooting for something that was never going to happen. I hate the Cubs, but I did feel bad for her when they imploded (yet again) in 2003, less than a year before she died. So close, and yet, so far.

- "When it rains, it pours" is not an accurate statement. "When it pours, it rains" is 100% truthful. So stop using the former and just use the latter.

- How come we refer to the book of Acts instead of the book of The Acts?

- The whole Bible could be renamed, actually, based on different 'acts'. Genesis could be Act 1, Exodus Act 2, etc..., all the way to Act 66.

- If men had their way, we would have no stores called "Bath and Body Works". It'd just be "The Soap Store" or some other generic thing. No "Old Navy" or "The Gap". Just "Clothes Store 1 and Clothes Store 2." The one exception to this rule would be "Victoria's Secret". I think men did name that one.

- Something I believe to be true in the music world- if someone is a big fan of Led Zeppelin, they're not so big a fan of the Who. And vice-versa. I don't have an explanation for this phenomenon. It's not that the fans of one group don't like the other band. I think it's that they are devotees of their particular brand of rock and roll. Therefore, with all there is to explore in their favorites' music portfolio, they don't have the time to devote to becoming a fanatic of the other group.

- I might have used this illustration before, I don't remember, but here's proof of creation rather than evolution. Ready? It's the eyebrow. They eyes are located recessed under not only a skeletal protective canopy, but there is even a patch of hair on it which successfully keeps sweat and shampoo from the scalp out of the eye. What possible evolutionary advantage could the eyebrow have? Keeping sweat and shampoo out of the eye really doesn't give a natural selection type survival advantage, in my humble opinion. It's just a nice comfort option to have to keep shampoo out of the eye. Eyebrows also keep us from looking like monsters.

- When I fold the socks that have come out of the dryer, I try my best to match them up with the right partner. Then I think to myself, do the socks know if I'm doing it right? What if I have four socks of the same color and make, and I mix up the two that originally came together and give them each a new partner, otherwise identical to the original. Can they tell if I've made a switch? Is this sock adultery?

- And what about the socks "Left Behind"? By that I mean the socks that never made it out of the drawer to get in this load of laundry. Do the socks that made it out look down on these other socks? Do they laugh at those left behind, the ones who rarely get picked? Is there conflict in the drawer? Is there shuffling going on once the drawer is shut, trying to get to the top in order to be chosen? Isn't life full of wonder?

- Why is it, with all the pecking and stabbing that bird's do with their beaks, that you never hear a bird sneezing? Robins stick their noses in the dirt and mud all the time, hummingbirds dip their schnozzes in nectar, chickens peck the ground for food in dust and dirt. And yet I defy you to tell me you've heard one sneeze.

- I don't know if they've invented it yet, but I'd like to see a button invented that looks like a doorbell, only when you push it, instead of chimes, it lets out a blood-curdling scream.

- For many words in our language, putting an 'a' at the beginning of a word usually makes it mean the opposite of the root word. For instance 'acellular' means the opposite of 'cellular', 'agenesis' means the opposite of 'genesis'. So how come we say 'asleep' when we are sleeping and 'awake' when we are waking?

- Something I pondered while picking out cards recently. There are a lot of cards that start 'For My Wife'. Since divorce rates are so high, how come there are no cards that say 'For My First Wife' or 'For My Second Wife'? You'd think Hallmark would recognize the potential market here.

- How come air conditioners and furnaces that work more efficiently cost more money? The opposite should be true, shouldn't it? Why pay more for something that is going to provide less work? Does anyone else see the logical problem here? Pretty soon some poor sap is going to go in to buy an air conditioner and get stuck with one for $20,000. "That's our most expensive model- it doesn't work at all."

- Only one explanation- efficient furnaces and air conditioners must have unions. More money for less work.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weekend Reading

1 Chronicles 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22. Acts 18.

Memorial Day-
1 Chronicles 23, 24 and 25. Acts 19.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Reading Assignment

1 Chronicles 14, 15 and 16. Acts 17.

Only 7 months until Christmas! Get shopping.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

Why I Yam What I Yam And That's All That I Yam

With apologies to Popeye.




"No problem, mate."



Many of you have wondered publicly and privately why I turned out like I did.

This video clip provides the answer.

Any more questions?

NZR was on my before-school TV agenda every day in the 3rd grade. I always wanted to live like Freddy the Frog.



Thanks, YouTube.

Monday Reading Assignment

1 Chronicles 3, 4 and 5. Acts 13.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend Reading

2 Kings 23, 24, 25. 1 Chronicles 1 and 2. Acts 12.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Scottius Maximus Celebrity Of The Month For May

For May, I've chosen Terrence Howard.

Now, I have no idea whether he's a Cardinals fan, a Lutheran, or both. My suspicion is that he's neither, which makes him a curious choice for a celebrity of the month. But out of all celebrities of the month, I found out I have the most in common with him.

He's also a curious pick for the honor because, until about 30 minutes ago, I had no idea who Terrence Howard was.


You see, I just found out Terrence Howard is my twin.

At least he is according to the Celebrity Face Recognizer at My Heritage.


The idea is to upload a photo of your face, where it does some kind of cyber-hocus-pocus and spits out, based on its analysis of your facial features, which celebrities you resemble with a % of how closely you look like that person.


I first saw this a couple years ago on the Bunnie Blog (RIP). I thought I'd give it a try again this year with 3 pictures of myself I have on my computer.

Only two celebrities showed up more than once on the facial recognition list for the 3 photos. Terrence Howard, who was listed on 2 of the 3 lists, as was George Clooney. But Terrence Howard averaged a 56% score, while George Clooney averaged only 52.5%.

Next time you see Terrence Howard, just remember that he's Scottius Maximus' twin.


The first photo I used I got the following results:
Pierce Brosnan 70%
Nikita Mikhalkov 67%
Tim Roth 59%
Bae Yong-jun 58%
Jason Priestley 56%
Martin Sheen 54%
George Clooney 53%
Maria Montessori 52%
Zsolt Baumgardner 50%
Julian McMahon 49%

http://www.myheritage.com



So I did it again and got:

Arnold Schwarzenegger 55%
Luis Figo 54%
Terrence Howard 52%
Robert Plant 51%
Kristen Bell 46%
Nick Cave 45%



http://www.myheritage.com



So, I thought, best 2 out of 3. So I tried one more picture. And got the following results:
Steve McQueen 63%
Terrence Howard 59%
Gerry Adams 58%
Kevin Smith 58%
Tsui Hark 55%
George Clooney 52%
Yossi Beilin 48%
Chris Evan 47%
John Travolta 47&
Freeman Dyson 47%



http://www.myheritage.com


What celebrities do you most resemble? Try the Celebrity Face Recognizer.




I'm going to try it with photos from my past next time. I can't wait to see who I used to look like.

Friday Reading

2 Kings 20, 21 and 22. Acts 11.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Miscellany


I never thought I'd type these words- I'm glad to see Juan Encarnacion back in the lineup. But that's how bad the offense has been so far.


Every time I hear John Mellencamp's song "Our Country", I am immediately reminded of the 2006 MLB Playoffs and World Series. Remember how they played it so many times during all those games between innings to adverstise the Chevy Silverado? I will forever associate this song with that time and those great moments. Kind of like the songs "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang and "You Can Do Magic" by America are associated in my mind with the 1982 World Series Championship.


Seems like the world is taking its cues from me again. Here are a couple of good articles on the Cardinals problems. I could cry about it, but what would it get me? Just remember, you read it here first. First is Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports. John Heyman at SI.com. Viva El Birdos discussion.

Readings For Monday And Tuesday

For 5/14 you should have read 2 Kings 8, 9 and 10, as well as Acts 7. But I guess you already knew that, didn't you?

Today you should read 2 Kings 11, 12 and 13 and also Acts 8. That is not going to hurt you, is it?

Friday, May 11, 2007

If You've Got The Time, I've Got The...Stuff Or Something

If you were alive in the 1970s, enjoy these videos. Thanks to YouTube.


"Just click a link and hold on! And a 1 and a 2 and a 3..."


Link 1.
Link 2.
Link 3.
Link 4.

Link 5.
Link 6.
Link 7.
Link 8.
Link 9.


And for a little old humor:
Link 10.
Link 11.
Link 12.
Link 13.
Link 14.
Link 15.

Friday And Weekend Reading

Friday-
2 Kings 1 and 2. Acts 5.

Weekend-
2 Kings 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Acts 6.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Subpar Year Seems To Be The Theme

Not only in baseball, but also in the garden.

A warm late March caused a lot of plants to show early, only to be devastated by the 20 degree temps in early April.

But it all wasn't a loss. Let's take a quick stroll to see some things that did make it.


We'll start with the poor old lilac. I've never seen so many buds on it as I saw this year. Just before they were reaching maturity, the thermometer dipped down to 20 for a couple of nights in early April. I thought all was lost, but some of them did manage to bloom.







Close up, you can see the ones that made it and the ones that didn't. Although the fragrance was not nearly as strong as I had hoped for, and it only lasted a couple of days, it was far more than I thought was going to happen after the cold spell. Honestly, I didn't think we'd get anything out of it. You can also kind of see the blackening of some of the leaf tips here. After it was done blooming, I pruned this bush back a couple of feet this spring to try to make it less caney and more bushy. You can see how thin it had gotten in the middle on the first picture.




The 'Triumph Red' tulips, being the hardy species that they are, had no trouble. They just closed up for several days before coming around again when the warm weather came back.


This shot from a slightly different angle shows a couple of daffodils and behind that is the start of the newest bed I am working on, but there's not much there yet.



In another bed are my favorite tulips, which reach almost 2 feet tall. They are called 'Big Smile'. As you can see, a couple of them are still bent over in a wilted position from the cold, although I think they all recovered.


Although they did not start blooming before last week, at the bottom center and bottom left are "Tiny Rubies" Dianthus. And at the bottom right is an interesting specimen, "Samsonus Maximus Cephalic", not in bloom, of course.






I like to call these Daffydils, after my favorite Looney Tune. Cultivar Bell Song. The groundcover which I started here is 'Snow In Summer', also called "Yo-yo". It has attractive silvery green foliage and I am anxious for the white blooms to form all summer. I hope it performs as it is supposed to do, but even if it doesn't I already like it.







Finally, we move indoors, to a couple of nice houseplants. The first one is "G. Vanhalenimus", cultivar 'Angus'.




This last one is called Lucykis winkykus, a lighthearted cultivar of Lucykis insanicus.


My Sky Jacket Hyacinths also made it, but I seem to have misplaced the pictures somewhere. So, until next time, happy digging.

Tuesday Readings

1 Kings 16, 17 and 18. Acts 2.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Nice Knowing You


I think the time has come to say 'so long'. It's been a nice ride.

Circumstances being what they are, I don't see this team recovering from all that has happened to it.

I know it's only May, and that usually we wait until June to make a conclusion on what we've got, but this team just looks old and broken. Once again one must accept that nothing lasts forever in this world.

It's been a nice run since 2000, and it culminated last year into one World Series champion. But the magic and energy now seem drained.

Then, today, we have a funeral for Josh Hancock. And because of it I don't think too many care that this team is 10-16 and has lost 5 straight games. Or that this is just not a very good team. On paper or on the field. But in a figurative way, we could just as well have been having a funeral for the Cardinals as we have known them.

I miss the feeling of seeing the first pitch and knowing, most assuredly, we were going to win. I miss the feeling that, if we were down 3 or 4 runs in the 5th, we were still going to come back and win. It was just a matter of guessing when it would happen. Now a 3 run deficit equals a sure loss.

I miss the swagger of those teams stepping on the field. Of the MV3 years. Of balls flying out of the park. This team is a shadow of its former self. Pujols has been off. Rolen also. Edmonds should have retired after the WS. Where Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker used to patrol left and right field, we're now subjected to a steady diet of So Taguchi, Preston Wilson and Skip Schumaker. Molina can't hit or run. And Eckstein, though I can't say anything bad about him as a player, is having a bad year also.

Then there is the pitching. Carpenter has pitched in one game this year. Mark Mulder, if he ever returns to his former self, is not available until at least July. Anthony Reyes problems are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Amazingly Jason Isringhausen has not been bad.

And Jason Marquis, now a Cub pitcher, is bewilderingly unhittable.

Almost every part of our machine has been broken this year.

What to make of it all?

Things happen in cycles. We've been on a downward cycle the past 2 seasons. Thank God this team won last year, because it was obviously their last chance as a group. And our last chance to see a championship for the forseeable future.

I know it is still early, and there's still time to make up ground. But let's face facts. That isn't going to happen. This is a mediocre team. At best. Even if this team lucks out and goes on a winning streak, who in their right mind believes they can win it all again this year? No one except the crazy folk.

I'm not whining. Heck, we just won. According to Bartlett's Fan Etiquette, there's no right to whine until your team hasn't won a championship for at least a decade. (And it gives me more fodder to write about. Rush Limbaugh always said liberals winning elections made his job easier. I now know what he is talking about).
I'm just a little sad to see it all end. When it's been eight years since your team has stunk, losing is depressing. It's been so much fun the past eight years, ten if you count the McGwire home run years. And this team is the farthest thing from entertaining you can get. Dare I use the b-word? Boring?

Predictions?
-We're about to get much younger. I mean infielders and outfielders, not pitchers. (If that happened we'd have guys who still had voice crackings).
-Rolen will be traded before the deadline for some youngin's. I don't believe LaRussa will ever let last fall's feud be erased from his memory bank.
-Pujols and Carpenter stay.
-Edmonds will retire honorably with one year remaining on his contract after this dreadful last year.
-Isringhausen will be allowed to become a free agent.
-Eckstein will be allowed to become a free agent. It's just an age thing, man.
-With all that salary gone, at least one or two big trades or big free agent signings this winter. I'll let Walt Jocketty worry about who and where.

But, as my distant cousin, Bon Scott, used to sing- "It's A Long Way To The Top". (Gratuitous plug for my favorite AC/DC song- enjoy!)

And not just if you wanna rock 'n' roll. It's a long way to the top in baseball, too.

One last thing. Thank God we did win last year. Watching this team this year makes me conclude- it really was a miracle.

Thursday Readings

1 Kings 6 and 7. John 19.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007