Saturday, December 31, 2005
The guys of Liberty are committed Christians as well as excellent musicians. I'm excited about this new avenue for ministry. I begin traveling with the group in February.
I will be stepping down from the pastoral staff at Grace Bible Church in February. This was a difficult decision to make. Lori and I have been blessed to minister to one of the finest church congregations in the world. We love our church family and have appreciated all that they have done for us. The beauty of this transition is that we are still going to be able to stay connected with Grace. Lori will still be working for Grace Christian Academy and I will, for at least the time being, remain as the youth pastor. Liberty travels primarily on the weekends, so that leaves Wednesday evening (Grace Teens night) open for me. I will be able to be at church at least one Sunday a month, as well.
Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support as we walk through this open door, continuing to follow God on this great adventure of life.
Be sure to stay in touch. I love hearing about what’s going on in your world. I’m finding out that it’s easy to become disconnected from friends (especially in the wilderness of the northwest!), if you don’t intentionally make contact.
We love you guys! Continue to check back here for more pictures and info about what's going on in our lives.
Keith, Lori, Trey, and Kassady
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Hopefully, I will have pics up on Monday. Stay tuned.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Kevin and I have patched up our fractured friendship. We are back to the days of yore when the amiable interaction between Kevin and I included the production of award-winning multimedia presentations. Well, actually Kevin produced them, I just stood around and attempted to offer insightful commentary such as, "Stand here and make sure you talk directly into the mic".
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
As this hug of Jesse would suggest, Cindy Sheehan has finally gone over the cliff of sanity, free-falling into the cavernous depths of the Democratic Party's madness. She joins fellow radicals Harry Reid, Michael Moore, Charles Schumer, and Joe Biden in the desolate desert of insignificance and irrelevance.
This is one news story that the media is running into the ground.
Keith Waggoner in a post uploaded yesterday to the wildly popular blog site www.keithinside.blogspot.com said "Kevin Moser, who is one of the most gifted graphic designers that I know, usually hit a home run when it came to designing posters for the groups. He struck out on this one. Not that we gave him much to work with."
Mr. Moser found this post to be blatantly disrespectful of his creation and responded by posting a defense of his former work (this article can be found in its entirety by visiting www.keithinside.blogspot.com or you can simply scroll down) which implicates Mr. Waggoner in a scheme to undermine his reputation.
In Mr. Waggoner's press release, he said:
"After evaluating my hasty comments concerning my dear friend Mr. Moser, I have decided to publicly apologize for my poor choice of words. While Mr. Moser clearly overlooked my compliment in which I stated that he 'is one of the most gifted graphic designers I know', I can see how he could have taken offense at my posted statement. I wish to say that Kevin can make more of nothing than anyone else that I know of. Mr. Moser has been and continues to be the foremost graphic arts expert in the Ohio Valley. While I will not withdraw my opinion that the poster was less than perfect, I acknowledge that Kevin produced a work far superior to anything else being produced during that era. It is my hope that Mr. Moser will bury the hatchet and continue to collaborate with me in creating inspiration for the masses. Thank you."
Immediately following the press conference, Mr. Waggoner was escorted to a waiting motorcade. Mr. Moser was unavailable for further comment.
Hey, Keith. Before you publicly criticize your humble former graphic designer, you should first walk a mile in his computer! (Thank you, Charlotte Frederick, for tipping me off to this blatant disrespect!)
When I inherited the graphic design position at GBS circa 1994, it was with the title "interim" because I had no experience and no training, other than two weeks of crash-course instruction from departing designer Rob Scott.
My computer was an Apple IIci. Let me refresh your memory as to its incredible power and versatility.
Its original price was $8800! Its computing speed was a lightning-fast 25 MHz! It came with a 40 MB hard drive, which we upgraded to the maximum 80 MB! It came with 1 MB of RAM, which we upgraded to 4 or 8 MB!
Now let's remember the awesome software of that day. Jon was correct that Photoshop did not yet have multiple levels of undo. I could only go back ONE action. Not only that, but my version of Photoshop did not even have LAYERS!! All edits were destructive. I had to plan ahead and know exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. I had to save multiple copies of the project at different stages in its creation in order to be able to go back to a given point and rework it. But I was limited to how many copies I could save because of the 80 MB limit of the hard drive! Practically every project had to be erased before the next one could commence. Don't forget, the only option for saving a file apart from the internal drive was the massive (ha!ha!ha!) 1.4 MB three-and-a-half inch floppy disk!! There were no recordable CD's and certainly no DVD's.
My Microtek scanner could easily take 45 MINUTES to scan a single color picture! We had no internet. iStock photography was not even imagined and we did not have digital cameras. Any art came from a very limited selection of CD's costing hundreds of dollars or from our Dynamic Graphics Clipper files, which were paper copies that had to be scanned!!
I'm looking at that poster (which you described as a "strike out") and wondering how on earth I was ever able to produce it at all! All of those bevels, embosses, and drop shadows had to be created from scratch! They did not exist as an effect you could choose from a menu.
OK, buddy Keith? Got the picture?!! I'd REALLY like to see what YOU would have produced under the circumstances!!
Still your Friend,
(even while smarting with humiliation from your published abuse)
P.S. You're right. That poster was awful!
North Dakota and southwestern Montana got hit with the first blizzard of the season a couple of weeks ago. This after the storm update is from a County Emergency Manager in western North Dakota.
WEATHER BULLETIN UPDATE
Up here in the Northern Plains, we just recovered from a historic event, may I say a weather event of biblical proportions? This historic blizzard arrived with up to 24 inches of snow and winds up to 50 mph. Trees broke in half, hundreds of motorists were stranded in lethal snow banks, all roads were closed, scores of communities were isolated, and power was cut off to tens of thousands. I want you all to know that:
1. President George Bush did not come and was not expected to come.
2. President George Bush did not cause the storm.
3. Global warming did not cause the storm.
4. FEMA staged nothing.
5. No one howled for the government to do something.
6. No one uttered expletives on TV.
7. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.
8. No one asked for a FEMA trailer house.
9. No one looted. No one!
10. Phil Cantori of the Weather Channel did not come.
11. Geraldo Rivera did not move in here to be on camera.
No, we just melted snow for water, sent out caravans to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars and trucks, checked on our neighbors, fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Aladdin lamps, and put on an extra layer of clothes. You see, up here, you take care of yourself and others and work or you die. We did not wait for some affirmative action government bureaucrat to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for sit at home checks. Even though a category 5 blizzard of this scale had never occurred this early, we knew it could happen. We also knew how to deal with it ourselves.
In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 45.25 degrees north latitude, 90% of the country's and world's social problems evaporate. Why do you suppose that is?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
It's Tuesday and time for a trip back to yesteryear. Today, I have chosen a promotional poster for the Harvest Quartet of GBS (circa, 1995) as our highlighted archival photo. Kevin Moser, who is one of the most gifted graphic designers that I know, usually hit a home run when it came to designing posters for the groups. He struck out on this one. Not that we gave him much to work with.
Harvest featured (L-R) Phil Bishop on the piano, Keith Waggoner singing the tenor (yes, that's me hiding behind that hair), Mark Burley on the low end (the picture does him an injustice; he's actually 6'7"), Dave Bittinger as baritone, and Mike Dickinson as lead.
I literally laughed until I cried every time this quartet traveled. Mike Dickinson is probably the funniest guy I have ever been around. His sarcastic comments were hysterical. I would be angry at the guy because he was making fun of me, but still couldn't help laughing.
Mark was probably the best guy for PR GBS ever had on the road. The guy was awesome! He makes friends faster than anyone I know of. He was a fantastic basketball player.
Dave Bittinger, who is exactly 4 hours younger than I am, possessed a fantastic solo voice. One time he made the mistake of telling Mike that he didn't like the way his shoulders were formed, and he never heard the end of it. Every time we would pass a sign that said "Shoulder Work Ahead" Mike had some comment for Dave.
Phil was and is a great pianist. He was also the biggest pest in the world. The guy wouldn't give it up. I remember one trip that we took to Kansas. I was sick before I ever got in the van. We were stopping every few miles for me to throw up. I remember laying in the back seat trying to sleep the flu off, and Phil pestering me. He stopped at a convenience store and got some Cool Ranch Doritos. After eating them, he would turn and blow his awful breath in my face, as I lay there helpless. He bought an ice-cold can of Sprite and instead of drinking it, kept pressing it on my face. It was miserable! And then we would get to the camp or church and the pastor and people would think that he was a little angel. I guess it was because of his cherub face.
This quartet was also known for something else. I'll let you figure it out. But I will say that if you smacked the seat of the van we traveled in up to a couple of years after our tours, the dust that was raised brought with it a dinstintive aroma.
We weren't the best quartet of all time, but I guarantee you we laughed more than any other quartet. Here's to Harvest.
I found Calvin's snowman sculptures to be hilarious, so when I received an e-mail from Diane with a number of his most popular creations I decided to share it with you. If you click on each individual strip it will enlarge for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
As promised, here are some of the pictures from our snowfall. Believe it or not, we still have snow in the yard. While the picture would insinuate that I built the snowman with Trey, it was actually Lori who did the work. The eyes were olives, the nose was the traditional carrot, and the crooked grin was made up of raisins. This was a snowman with character. By the time I got home from work, the snowman was beginning to melt and lacked some of his original stature.
Trey eventually beheaded the snowman, enjoying the grim task while the olive eyes looked up at him asking , "Why? Why me?" The executioner just raised his head toward the sky and laughed diabolically. OK, I made that part up, but Trey did enjoy knocking his head off.
Trey enjoyed pelting me with snowballs. In fact, we had nearly an hour-long snowball fight. It was great! I have never got to the point where I'm too mature to pick up snow and test it for "packing" quality. As soon as it snows, I have to check it out. There are few activities that produce a more satisfying result that the resulting "thwack" of a thrown snowball.
We used to have some great snowball battles at Frankfort Covenant Academy back in the day. We had loosely affiliated teams, but it usually resulted in the traitorous act of deluging your teammate with snow. It turned into a survival of the fittest.
One of my favorite memories of an FCA snowball fight included my good friend, Jonathan. Usually, Jonathan and I were on the same team, which didn't always sit well with some of the others, particularly Stacy Griffin. Well, in this battle (which was conducted to the side of the school which didn't have windows; we weren't allowed to have snowball fights) accusations began to fly from the Griffin twins that Jonathan was throwing "iceballs", a blatant violation of the rules of engagement. When a person on one team is accused of cheating, the other team justifies the fact that they should be able to cheat, and it just snowballs from there (I know, that was pretty bad).
Well, Tracy distracted Jon from the front while Stacy came up behind him. I was watching this whole thing play out and for the life of me can't remember why I didn't warn Jonathan. Stacy had a two-foot wide section of ice in her hand that had to be an inch or more thick. She brought that down over the top of Jonathan's head as hard as she could. The sound was sickening. Kids 20 yards away stopped what they were doing, having heard the crack. To his credit, Jonathan handled it well. After screaming violently at Stacy and attempting to plant her face in the blacktop, he ran off to the nearest mirror to see if his head was bleeding.
It ended that snowball fight. As I remember, Stacy was pretty proud of herself. "Well, that'll teach him not to throw iceballs. I'm sick and tired of him always cheating." She threw back her head and marched into the school, as self-justified as you can be.
Is there anything more nostalgic than laying down in the snow and making a snow angel? I did after Trey made his and was instantly transported back to the white-covered regions of Frankfort, specifically 2107 W. Green St., where I made my first snow angel.
I was dressed appropriately. My moon boots leaked (yes, I did wear moon boots) so my mom made me wrap my feet in the plastic bags that bread come in. You never can be too careful was Mom's philosophy. She would always say "this is good pneumonia weather", even though she, nor I, nor any distant relative had ever endured this acute or chronic disease marked by inflammation of the lungs and caused by viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms and sometimes by physical and chemical irritants. So, I would wrap myself in Aldi's Foods bread bags (we didn't buy the expensive brands), pull on my leaky boots, tug on my wool gloves that were soggy about 3 seconds after stepping outside, and adjust my ski mask that was pulled down firmly over my glasses making me appear as some mutant aquatic alien creature. Every time I exhaled inside the ski mask it would make my glasses fog up. As a result of that and the bread bags I spent much of my time lumbering awkwardly around the yard and then falling on the ground.
So, when I discovered the snow angel idea, I was like, cool, an activity that starts out with you laying on your back in the snow. It was the beginning of an improving self-esteem. Anytime I fell down, I immediately began waving my arms and legs back and forth, shouting, "Yeah, snow angels. I loooove making snow angels!" I was cool.
I really don't know where all that came from.
Monday, December 05, 2005
This guy has produced one of the most forwarded video clips of the 2005 Christmas season. This is one of the most impressive light shows I have witnessed. I was just over at somebody's house this past weekend and we were debating whether or not this was for real. Come to find out, the guy is from Cincinnati. He broadcasts a few different songs using a low-frequency FM transmitter, that way people driving past can listen to the music along with the lightshow (thanks, Carlton, for the newsclip). I just wonder what his neighbors think about it. I'm sure it was cool the first night, but after that it's time to bring out the shotgun.
Be sure to watch this clip with your speakers on.
1- Go to the Google home page at < <http://www.google.com/
2- Type in "french military victories", without the quotes
3- Instead of hitting "Search" hit "I'm feeling Lucky"
4. click on the link for more regarding the French military
Friday, December 02, 2005
Trey didn't remember the snow that we used to have in Cincinnati, so he had a ball. We had a snowball fight for nearly an hour (that's no exaggeration) and he built a snowman with Lori. I haven't had that much fun in a long time. I took pics, but forgot my camera at home, so I'll try to upload them tomorrow.
Trey's in that stage where it's cool to do everything Dad does, and I'm enjoying it. I know it's not going to last long! If I wear my knit hat, he has to put on his. If I wear gloves, he runs to find his pair. Whatever I say, he echoes it. I love it!
I have this weird habit of wearing my socks to bed every night, including the summer. If I don't I get a cold. I don't know why or how, it just happens. Well, the other night Lori went into Trey's room to check on him and he was laying in bed wide awake with sweat dripping down his face. He noticed that I had put socks on when I got in bed and he wanted to be like me. The only problem is that Trey gets warm very easily and so it was killing him. Lori said, "Trey! Get those socks off. You're burning up!" He said, "But Mom! I want to be like Dad!" Lori finally convinced him that there were other ways to be like me. It's a lot of fun!
With that, though, I'm realizing more and more the responsibility I have as a dad. I love my kids and want more than anything for them to have an awesome relationship with Christ. My prayer is that they see Jesus in me. In the way I talk, act, react, and in my interaction with other people. More than ever, I'm praying that Phillips, Craig, and Dean song with the lyrics that say, "Lord, I want to be just like You, 'cause he wants to be like me."
I think yesterday was one of the best vacation days I ever enjoyed.
My Christmas CDs of choice right now are part of a collection prepared for me by a great friend (thanksbestbrains). Check out the listing on the incomparable collection "expecting 3 to 4 inches":
- White Christmas - The Drifters
- Silver Bells - Andy Williams
- Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - The Boston Pops
- Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
- Jingle Bells - The Ventures
- Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
- Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney & Wings
- A Mad Russian's Christmas - The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- Joy to the World - Neil Diamond
- The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
- The First Noel - John Tesh
- Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
- Winter Wonderland - Aretha Franklin
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Mannheim Steamroller
- Let It Snow - Bing Crosby
- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
- O Come, All Ye Faithful - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- What Child Is This? - Harry Connick, Jr.
- Happy Holidays - Andy Williams
- Carol of the Bells - The Boston Pops (featuring John Williams)
- Happy Christmas (the War Is Over) - John Lennon
- Frosty the Snowman - Ella Fitzgerald
- Snoopy vs. The Red Baron - The Royal Guardsmen
- Please Come Home for Christmas - The Eagles
- O Little Town of Bethlehem - Nat King Cole
- Winter Wonderland - Harry Connick, Jr.
- Home for the Holidays - Perry Como
- It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Bing Crosby
- Christmas Eve Sarajevo - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- The Chipmunk Christmas Song - Alvin & The Chipmunks
- Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
- Silver Bells - Kenny G
- The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
- I'll Be Home for Christmas - Fats Domino
- Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
- Sleigh Ride - The Boston Pops
- Mary's Boy Child - Harry Belefonte
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Frank Sinatra
- The Christmas Song - The Vince Guaraldi Trio
- O Holy Night - Nat King Cole
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
- Boughs of Holly - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- What Christmas Means to Me - Stevie Wonder
- The Little Drummer Boy - Anne Murray
- What Child Is This? - The Ventures
- The First Noel - Bing Crosby
Admittedly, there were a few classics left off, but who's complaining? This is a fantastic 2 CD-set. I rarely listen to anything else these days. I haven't found a collection more well-rounded or that includes more of my Christmas favorites.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
I will say, win or lose, IU is definitely playing better than they did last year. I'm hoping for a big game tonight.
(btw, are there still Boilermaker fans around anymore? It seems that they have gone the way of the dinosaur)
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
All of this discussion about Christmas songs reminds me of the classic "Carol of the Bells". This song has been performed and recorded by some of the most prestigious vocalists in the world including a touching rendition by barking dogs. However, no presentation has matched that of the Frankford High School (Philadelphia, PA) Choir, which featured my brother-in-law, Dave, as a tenor.
Today's blast from the past features Dave in choir uniform vocalizing while the photographer snaps away. I just wish I had an MP3 of the choir's performance to offer. I do believe, though, that this picture says more than I ever could about young Dave's potential.
Dave, while a member of this distinguished choir, traveled abroad, touring Ireland. His highlight of the trip was kissing the famous Blarney Rock.
Dave, thanks for the memories.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Now I usually begin to spin the holiday tunes sometime in early November. My good friend, and able poster, Carlton put together what I believe to be the quintessential Christmas collection. I don't have the CDs here with me, but I will soon post the album listing.
Mom always listened to the classics: Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Andy Williams, Perry Como, and Johnny Mathis. I still enjoy hearing Bing sing "White Christmas" and Perry sing "Silver Bells". There is a nostalgic feeling that washes over me each time I hear those enduring renditions.
But I have learned to appreciate and love the newer sounds like Mannheim Steamroller, the Transiberian Orchestra, Harry Connick, Jr. and even the album put out by Mariah Carey.
I've heard so many variations on the different carols that it's hard to pick my favorite. I think my favorite secular Christmas song would have to be "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as sung by Andy Williams.
From a traditional sacred carol, I think I'm going to go with "Joy to the World". Let me hear what your faves are.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
“At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remark’d that the inconveniences they suffer’d, and concerning which they had so often weary’d heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthen’d; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence; that their seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and above all, they were in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious.
“He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they ow’d to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observ’d circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.”
"The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving," as told by Franklin himself (below), is just one of the many topics covered in The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin.
Read full story at: http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=10447
Sam is no longer with us. He went on to doggie heaven where he is now cavorting with Snoopy, Ol' Yeller, and Lassie along with countless other canines who have gone on before. He has gone to a place where tears will never dim the eye. A place where (hopefully) he received a new body and a new moniker. Anything beats being known as Sam, world's ugliest dog.
If Sam could look down and communicate with us, I'm sure he would say: This truly is heaven. No more Donald Trump.
So long, Sam.
Now, I don't know what you think about this, but when a dog looking as bad as Sam can get through to a rich guy like Trump, we're in trouble. The dog should be a matter of national security.
It disturbs me even more that a wealthy TV star/entrepreneur like Mr. Trump would take the time to converse with a dog. If Sam does lunch with Shirley McLaine, it's time to put him to sleep.
All of a sudden, my world slowed down, and I begin to tune into the conversations going on around me. I heard two military wives discussing what is was going to be like to have their husbands home. One was remarking that her boy was a year and a half when his daddy left for Iraq and his only concept of a father was a photograph in the living room. She said the little guy often touches the picture, "trying to feel what his father is like". The other mom remarked that her 5 year-old was almost 3 when his father left for service. As I listened to the women talked, the little boy kept interrupting, asking "Is Daddy going to have the same brown shirt and pants he had on when he left?" As I looked around the room, I began to feel the excitement that was in the air, the anticipation expressed on the faces around me. Their loved ones were coming home!
I looked down at Trey and as he looked up at me had one of those sentimental "what-if" moments. What if I was called to serve my country? What if I had to be separated from this little guy who I love with everything in me? What if I wasn't able to see my family for months, years at a time?
All of a sudden I was struck by the sacrifice of these men and women who willingly serve our country all over the world. I'm sure they don't want to be away from their families any more than I would want to be separated from mine. But they do it because they believe in what the US represents. They do it to bring a better life to others around the globe.
If you're like me, you are sick of hearing all of the arguements about what's going on in Iraq. Whether we should be there or not, whether or not we should have gone in the first place. It's been negativity overload recently as both sides fire potshots at the other. All the while, over on the other side of the world far away from the political posturing, the protests, the soundbites, men and women perform their duties (many times in harm's way) to ensure that we are safe and free.
I'm grateful. I'm indebted to the men and women that walked into the airport Monday night. I'm not a crying type of guy, but I felt my eyes getting a little misty as I witnessed the hugs, the laughter, and the kisses. The kids screaming joyously, running toward daddy, while the little children hid shyly behind mommy trying to figure out who this guy was. The Moms and Dads, many with tears running down their face, welcoming their kids home. It all painted a picture that I won't be forgetting this Thanksgiving. It doesn't get much better than this.
Thanks! May God bless and protect our servicemen and servicewomen wherever they may be. You and your families, you guys are my heroes. You also reminded me to be thankful for every moment I have with the family God has blessed me with.
OK, I promise, I'm not going to turn this blog into a site that posts pictures that we all have forwarded to us. But, I did have to post this pic e-mailed to me by Becca. This is messed up. This is what happened to the cat that disappeared in Dale Bailey's garage. I told Carrie she better watch out for that cat, but did she listen? No!
Now, I have to let you know that I have turned into a person who isn't fond of the feline line of the animal kingdom. I did have a cat when I was a kid, but Shad acted like a dog. Very sensible and matter-of-fact. Cats as a whole are snooty, arrogant, and downright cruel. There are 3 cats in my neighborhood who have all decided that my front yard slightly resembles a Port-A-Potty. They take full advantage of what they perceive to be it's primary use. Much to my chagrin.
However, if I ever see a cat that even slightly resembles the above in our immediate vincinity (read, Idaho), I'm handing it the keys and moving to Florida. I'll take a hurricane any day over the cat from Dante's Inferno.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Once upon a time there was a brown-haired chap who had the name Keithie bequeathed on him by his mother who had to put an "e" on the end of every name so that when she called the name, the "e" would ring and carry throughout the neighborhood (other examples of "e" names include Raydie, Lynnie, etc.). This young man was proud of his hair-spray encrusted locks, so much so that he would spend 45 minutes or more getting it right (which, as you can tell from the picture, never happened). God, seeing his obsession, blessed him with baldness. Yes, that's right. Blessed. Today, I spend approximately 20 seconds in front of the mirror, if that, and abstain from all hair-care products.
When I look at the picture, my first reaction is "Thank You, Lord, for baldness."
This picture first appeared on a recording released by the Waggoner family. The recording still exists in cassette tape form. Order one today.
Friday, November 18, 2005
The gnomes were found around 5:30am AEDT, lined up at a pedestrian crossing on Pertobe Road in Warrnambool.
Senior Constable Jason Pushenjack says it looks like an end of school-year prank.
"Right on the crossing, there was some on one side and some on the other side patiently waiting for the traffic to stop," he said.
"At this stage we believe it's just a school prank but obviously the owners of the garden gnomes wouldn't appreciate their property being stolen from their gardens. They're just gn-one (gone)."
Constable Mark Kirby says a number of the gnomes have been returned to their owner, who reported them stolen yesterday.
He says nine remain at the station, waiting to be claimed.
"They are all happy, I have given them a cup of tea and they are minding their business at the moment," he said.
"Obviously it is still classed as a theft and we are treating it seriously so if anyone has any information if they can come forward and speak to us that would be great."
Sen Con Pushenjack says police want anyone who may be missing gnomes form their gardens to contact them.
"Well we've got the gnomes back here at the police station at the moment - unfortunately we were unable to fingerprint them," he said.
"They were all placed nice and neatly on Pertobe Road near the pedestrian crossings.
"We believe that they've been taken yesterday and last night from various houses around the Warrnambool area."
I'm glad to see that Australian authorities do have a sense of humor. This reminds me of some of the weird things that took place back in the day at FCA. Chris, remember the widespread power outage? That was my personal favorite.
The Year 11 pupils were asked to come up with a way of boosting Trowbridge's image, and the skipping event and a plan to create a scarf around the town, depicting Trowbridge's history as a wool town, were chosen as the best ideas to go forward to the regional finals in Taunton.
Students have been taking part in a variety of activities during the week, including an enterprise challenge with NatWest Bank.
Marketing and promotion has never been a strong suit of Great Britain.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
From an IM transcript dated 4/06/2004:
boldly i appear before your throne
Yes, I hold out the scepter, but it is withdrawn.
I kick your scepter out of your hand and gaffaw loudly
The king leaves the courtroom.
The guards enter gleefully, eager to do their duty.
Jplank1807 cowers in fear as they draw nigh.
They quickly exit offstage where a soundtrack plays Scream clip2.
a hand in the crowd reaches forward to adjust a spotlight that does not want to stay in position on its own.
the awkward silence is broken by a smattering of applause
a large angel steps out of the fog, surrounded by smaller, less-important, female angels crowned in garland.
snickers scatter through the crowd
a cough breaks the silence
the garland slips on the head of the African-American angel
just beyond the lattice work lies an icy-cold horse trough, awaiting it's scene
Restless stagehands whisper hoarsely in the dark
a flashlight is inadvertantly turned on while an actor makes his way through the crowd to change the tape on his camcorder
202 sets of eyes follow him, while 7 sets of eyes remain riveted on the stage
Scores of concertgoers head for the exits
1 child exits the auditorium, feeling the need to use restroom.
201 adults follow, vowing never to return
the large angel looks in shock, while the smaller angels drop their hands from their slightly upraised position
Keith Waggoner gets up from his chair
This fascinating show has come to an end
He packs for home
unconcerned about the 10 minutes he will not give to his employer
thinking about the meal he will enjoy at the new cheesecake factory
Jplank1807 obviously unaware of Spring Break work hours blunders once again
Go in piece...
*the preceding was nothing more than a work of satire and any resemblance to an actual person, persons, or location is nothing more than an amazing coincidence
I am currently reading "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell (pictured above). While the title may sound pretty boring to some of you, the book is a insightful overview of the study of economics. It has been a fascinating read so far. Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. He writes on economics, history, social policy, ethnicity, and the history of ideas. He also contributes to news magazines and newspapers (I've seen his editorials in the Wall Street Journal).
This past Sunday evening, we were sitting around the table with Rob Hartman and a few other people, and I was commenting on a friend of mine who owns several cash advance establishments in Cincinnati. I was advancing my opinion that it's morally wrong to advance a loan to a customer without credit, charging exorbitant interest rates which puts the person even further into debt. In my opinion, it creates a vicious circle which eventually overtakes the person.
Now, I understand and agree that it is the person's responsibility to never put themselves in that type of situation. Personal responsibility is never promoted by social activists; it's always the greedy business. However, I wouldn't make money off of someone else bad choices or misfortune.
He called me on my comments and we debated the topic for a couple of minutes, then he said, "Hold on a minute. I have a book that you need to read." He ran upstairs and returned with "Basic Economics" and said, "Here, take it. It's yours."
It is one of the best books I've read this year. The book begins with an intro to economics, the roles of prices and so on. Using many illustrations from history and the present, Thomas Sowell examines the economic systems of various countries, contrasting their philosophies. So far, I can't put the book down! I highly recommend it.
He has already changed my thinking about pricing. You know when Hurricane Rita was bearing down on Texas, the hotels, gas stations and everyone else were raising their prices dramatically. At the time, my social activist side came up for air, saying why are they doing this to these poor people. They ought to be dropping the price, if anything. Well, Sowell explains that in the US economy, scarcity determines price. So, for instance, if there is a scarcity of hotel rooms, the price should go up. The reason being, a family of four, who could fit in one room, at a lower price will take two rooms, just so they can be "comfortable". That family, however, will stick with one room if the prices go up considerably due to the scarcity of rooms. Scarcity causes us to distinguish between being "comfortable" and what we really need. In fact, scarcity fosters sharing, though we don't realize it. Very interesting!
To read a portion of the book (48 pages) visit http://www.altfeldinc.com/pdfs/BASICECONOMICS.pdf. If you can, read the whole book. You will enjoy it! Thanks, Rob, for the book.
Alert reader Chuck sent in this photo of me eating at an undisclosed Skyline Chili restaurant. I always wear a bib. If not I have what I call raycomplex, a disorder that results in much food being dropped on your nice clothes. The reason my head is cocked to the side is because I'm trying to figure out the right angle at which to start on my regular 3-way chili (dry). That's code understood only by Skyline customers.
I am a little worried, however, that the fans of my blog are now stalking me.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
We're in the middle of revival this week with Rob Hartman. Man, if you've never heard him preach, you have missed it! When I was a kid, he was one of the few evangelists around who could hold my attention. He still does!
On Wednesday evening, Rob preached to us about how astonishing prayer produces astonishing results. His message was built around the story of how Peter was released from prison by an angel. The point was that we pray for God's will to be done and when it happens it many times blows away our idea of how it will and should happen.
Last night he took us through the story of Paul and Silas in the jail. He asked, "What took place in that cell before midnight?" You know, there is time unaccounted for in the story. His unauthorized version is fascinating.
Rob Hartman was the evangelist at Holiness Heritage Youth Camp in 1991 when I gave my heart to Christ. He still impacts the lives of young people. My teens have thoroughly enjoyed his ministry.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I don't have pics yet, but additional congratulations go out to Joe and Peggy on the birth of little Shiloh. She's a cutie. Also, congrats to Markus and Johanna on the birth of Kelesa (I probably just mutilated the spelling of the name).
All of the babies have been born in the last 2 weeks. I told the church last Sunday that we are initiating an agressive church growth plan. We still have 2 or 3 on the way! There's more than one way to grow a church.
Fall is my favorite time of the year. The falling leaves, college football games, and crisp air all indicate that the year is drawing to a close. I love it! I get out my corduroy pants, the sweaters, the jackets, the rake, and live it up!
Lori and I have encountered a puzzling conundrum (I know; I said it twice) in raising our children. We come from different backgrounds when it comes to the celebration of Halloween. She was taught that it was the devil's holiday and that you shouldn't do anything to glorify the devil, while I was brought up to innocently believe that it was a great way to get a bunch of free candy.
Now, while I think that people go overboard on the whole evil component of Halloween and try to interpret the trick-or-treating thing as devilish and sinful, I also realize that more and more culture has used the holiday as a time to glorify hellishness and malice. So, as a result, what do we do for our kids? Various wholesome alternatives to Halloween have sprung up, giving families a chance to celebrate the gifts and joys God has provided in fall and that's all well and good. But, I gotta admit, there's a lot of fun involved in dressing up like a Mexican vaquero (which I did one year) with panty hose stuck over my face which contributed to my not being able to see very well and running pell-mell into a guide line for a telephone pole, causing a bruise which did not leave until I was well into my 20s. I want my kids to enjoy that part of it (not the bruise; the dress-up thing).
Well, when Lori and I ever encounter an issue that we might possibly disagree abput, we talk it through, discuss the implications, our convictions, and of course view the issue through the lens of the Bible. However, if after it is all said and done, one of us still holds a strong conviction, we don't push it. This is what we've done with Halloween. We have decided not to allow Trey to go trick-or-treating, but we do allow him to have a party for dress-up (this year was his birthday party, which I will be putting up shortly). So, it has turned out good for all involved.
I don't know why I went into all of that but anyway, this year, we were in the Queen City for Halloween, and Lori decided to take Trey, Kassady, Alicia, and Christy to a local farm to pick out some pumpkins for carving. We had early on agreed that this was something that our kids could do. Before we moved to Idaho, pumpkin-carving was an October ritual for the Frederick kids and us.
We had a blast this year! The whole family got involved. First the kids picked out the pumpkins (as you can see Trey got a little bored with this part), and then we spent the evening carving. It was great fun as you can see from the pics below.
Trey and Alicia fly down the inflated slide. This was the only thing Trey remembered when telling me about his trip to the pumpkin farm. I have to admit that does look like a lot of fun. At what point do we stop having fun like this because it's "immature"? It's too bad, really.
I don't take a lot of time in front of the mirror in the morning (for obvious reasons) so it was rather disconcerting to view the above picture. I used to have small little hairs that grew on top of my head like some type of wispy moss, but those days are long gone. My glabrous scalp now remotely resembles the top of those little glass Christmas snow things. You know, the kind that you shake and the snow falls over the little Santa and reindeer figurines. Very smooth and shiny. Kids, enjoy your hair while you have it.
Trey and I had a lot of fun carving his pumpkin. I worked on the design while Trey focused on the grunt work of scooping out the pumpkin "goop" and seeds. Together, we came up with an award-winning creation that sensitively conveyed the message that cried "please help me; my creators have no idea how to carve a pumpkin, but I have to smile anyway".
Christy and Lori slaved away, trying their best to outdo the rest of us. Kassady kept trying to help by grabbing pumpkin seeds and scattering them all over the kitchen floor.
Lori, in this picture, features the new hair-do that is taking Bible college campuses by storm. It's up, but it's down. Can't beat that one! "But, (fill in the name of your local dean of women), my hair is up..."
Trey was quite proud of our work of art. I should have used that grin as a model for our jack o' lantern. Can't you just see a flame flickering behind those gams? He was proud. However, his favorite part was attempting to light the candle inside. I already have a budding pyromaniac on my hands. What is it about the male fascination with fire?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. "Look out!" we cry, "it's alive." And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back--I would have done so myself if I could--and proceed no further with Christianity. An "impersonal God"--well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth, and goodness, inside our own heads--better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap--best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband--that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing in the burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion ("Man's search for God!") suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Robbie and Rachel England talked about a subject that is unfortunately taboo in a lot of churces: Sex. You know, I've never been able to figure out why we don't openly address the problem. I have worked with teens all over the country for the last 10 years and I'm telling you that pre-marital sex is a massive problem in the church. And yes, you have teens in your church struggling with this problem if you have a youth group. The scary thing is that the problem is beginning to reach teens who are 13, 14, 15 years of age. It kills me that there's this massive problem out there, but because of church political correctness we talk about it using vague generalities. Wake up, people! This isn't going away. I faced the temptation when I was in a church youth group, and I can guarantee you your kids are going to be there some day. We have to challenge our teens to live pure lives, living by biblical principles, instead of talking about fornication and using weird illustrations like Jacob and his daughter-in-law Tamar (yes, this has happened) and throwing out the conservative F-word (fornication). Let's be appropriate, sensitive to our audience, but most of all real about this sin.
Robbie and Rachel did an outstanding job on handling the subject. They weren't off-color, nor said anything that would have been inappropriate for a mixed audience. But they did get across the point, that purity is a gift and it's something that is to be treasured. If you buy any session of Youth Challenge (buy the DVDs at www.youthchallenge.net), I recommend this one. Great job!
Mike Avery, president of God's Bible School and College, spoke on the topic of living a life of conviction and principle. He was asked to speak primarily upon the "standards" of the CHM. He handled it extremely well. He also followed his session up with a Q&A segment. All I have to say is that I empathize with anyone answering the questions he was asked. Many of the questions were leading (at best) and dealt with areas of personal conviction, areas that aren't necessarily biblical in nature. He did a great job!
After lunch, this time at Penn Station subs, the best subs in the US, we closed with an afternoon session featuring Jeff Keaton. He tore it up, as usual, and challenged the crowd to live lives of faith, putting everything in the hands of God. Great stuff. We closed out YC with a balloon launch. Hopefully, I will have pics by the end of the week. It was a great convention!
Special thanks go out to "Smiley" Plank, Jonathan Bender, Vincent Dubbeld, Vision (and Sam), Celebration (I liked Troy's intro for them, "the only group here who has a promotional picture older than you"), Singing Friends (Trivia Question: Name their only drummer), DC Praise (Go Matt!), the Collingsworth Family (please buy their CD; it's in my top ten CDs right now; I'll do a review later), Soundkings extraordinaire Dale, Wes, and Allen, Wesley Whitaker (have him at your church for a concert; the boy can tear up the trumpet), Troy and A&W, the YC Boyz (Dan, Dan, John, Jonathan, and Troy), Eric Guntrum, Steve Shipman, Dwight Rine, Sufjan Stevens (OK, just kidding), Wesleyan Publishing House, visiting guests of super-group N'1 Accord, GBS, HSBC, PVBI, UBC, and the lady at Skyline Chili who was so sweet. Peace and love.
Monday, November 07, 2005
This was our 11th convention as well as our 10 year celebration. I know, I know, it sounds really confusing, but it's our 10th full year.
Anyway, we kicked things off with a Thursday evening concert featuring DC Praise, The Singing Friends, Vision, Wesley Whitaker, Celebration, and the Collingsworth Family. Hosted by Troy Keaton and Anthony Webb, the program was full of great music and fun-filled entertainment (most of the time). I personally enjoyed the Troy Keaton and Anthony Webb impersonation of Brent Vernon and Sam. Most of the time, their jokes hit the mark, but every once in a while...
Hey, I know what it's like to try to be funny while standing up in front of a dead, unimpressed crowd (e.g. AYC 2003, ARK extravaganza/Keith's most humiliating moments/whole 'nother story). Overall, the concert went well.
Friday morning featured the YC 3-on-3 basketball tournament. This year the team that one featured players all well over 6'2". The tallest guy was like 6'7" or 6'8". Congrats Jordan, Drew, Jamie, and Kyle!
I had to speak in the Friday afternoon session. Just a word of advice here: if you are asked to be the special speaker at an event in the Cincinnati area do not, I repeat, DO NOT, go to Skyline shortly before. I thought, man, surely a small 3-way dry and 2 chili dogs won't hurt! That's how giving into temptation starts. After Jon Plank, Jonathan Bender, and I downed our lunch I got back to YC with about an hour to spare before the 2:00 PM service. About 10-15 minutes before 2:00 I got extremely sick. I was feeling a little shaky by the time I finally got backstage. Scary!
God truly helped me to speak. I have rarely preached with that much freedom. My sermon topic was taking a life-check. It was exciting to see several teens come forward to give their lives to Christ!
In the evening service, Dan Stetler was the featured speaker. He, too, went to Skyline shortly before the service. I didn't notice the ill-effects that I was plagued with (thankfully; didn't want to notice). The service also featured music from the YC Orchestra (conducted by Lori). I have never heard 30 violins, 2 trumpets, and a drum sound so good! Fantastic! The Youth Challenge Choir also sang in the service. There are very few things more enjoyable to me than conducting a choir. They did an outstanding job while singing the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir song "Total Praise". We rehearsed for 30 minutes and pulled it off. Beautiful! The evening service closed with hundreds of teens coming forward and answering in the affirmative the question "Will you keep the holiness heritage alive?".
The afterglow that night was a massive birthday bash for Youth Challenge featuring noisemakers, balloons, audience games, and much more. The host for the event was Sam (and Brent, the ventriloquist). Lots of fun!
OK, I have to run, but I'll be back with YC Update Part II.
Friday, November 04, 2005
We had a great time and I will be sure to fill you in on all the details. However, I have a little bit of catch-up to take care of around the office, so I might not get to it until later. Stay tuned...
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki are excited about the addition of Trey Waggoner to the animation team. Trey brings a wealth of knowledge to Big Idea, having memorized every question and multiple choice answer on the VeggieTales trivia found on feature DVDs. Trey has formerly drawn for Mom and Dad Enterprises as well as Emme Inc. He will be bringing the character Charlie the Cauliflower (shown above) to the Big Idea roster.