Sad but true

First, I congratulate all of you who read the title of this post and immediately thought of the Black Album....  we're on the same wave length (you can decide if that's a good thing).

I was reading this post on Jason's blog and he was essentially saying that the video below really saddened him (don't go by my summary, read the post yourself).  Though I see his point, I found it to be quite funny insomuch as it seems to be purposely misstating the beliefs a several religions in an attempt at slightly edgy comedy.  Watch it and tell us what you think....

Change back

Tammi commented on the last post regarding the changed format of my comments box.  I had switched from the standard full page to a newly-available embedded type.  I thought it was pretty slick but she pointed out that it no longer gave to option to have follow-up comments emailed to you.  I find this to be a great time-saving feature so I reverted back to the old format.  

So for those of you who never comment and didn't really notice....  there you go - more information than you needed.


Early Voting

I actually went and voted this morning.  I had planned on it yesterday but I was diverted to go play xbox over my lunch break.  It wasn't so much that I value Halo (1 or 2) over my civic duties, but when you have a week to cast an early ballot and only one lunch to blow your friends up with video rocket launchers, well......

Some of my observations about elections and voting today:

Random person in line with me:  I took up my spot in line and realized I was directly behind a guy - whose name I couldn't remember at the time - who I helped guide on an antelope hunt last fall with Pack String Ranch Outfitters.  Now I have recalled that his name was John something-or-other but since that eluded me I just stood behind him quietly.

Most bizarre aspect of polling locations:  A faux ballot the size of sleeping bag (for us to review while in line) when in reality I will be voting on a computer.  Why not a more usable multi-page pamphlet?  If it was just a blown-up version of the real ballot it would be reasonable but I'm tapping a touch-screen so what's the point?

Second most bizarre:  After talking to folks at the entrance and standing in line for 10-15 minutes, the poll worker who checks your ID is still required to ask, "Are you here to vote?"  A half-dozen smart alec remarks came to mind but I decided (being in a battle ground state) I better not jeopardize my vote.

Question I can't answer:  On my ballot every Dem candidate was on top (presumably alphabetically, listed by party) except for president in which McCain-Palin had top billing.  Why?

Best voting booth quote:  Mark, delivered dead-pan upon learning that they were out of 'I Voted' stickers - "If you don't give me a sticker, how will I know not to vote again?"

Get in, vote and then give me your stories.......


Poll Results and Thoughts

The final results are in...  because I'm tired of it and we have plenty of votes.

  • 34 total voters (in my poll) of which 31 plan to actually vote for president  in the upcoming election.
  • From that number, 23 are going McCain and 4 for Obama....  This is about the breakdown I expected.
  • 4 are either undecided or voting 3rd party.

My unabridged thoughts about this are:

If, like in my poll, only 8% abstained from voting (either on principle or from laziness) we would be having a record turn-out this year.  In reality, you would have to add all those who visited the site and didn't bother to vote, whereby my mock election would be even less popular than the actual election.

Not making any correlations, but the percent voting Obama (11%) in my poll is coincidentally almost the exact same portion of the US population that believes Elvis is still alive (hehehe).  No commentary there....

And the fact that 2/3 of my readership are McCainites may indicate that I'm a far right fascist.

Reverse Christianification of Secular Junk

I am going into this post assuming that most of the readers are familiar with we Christians' propensity for taking popular secular stuff and Christianizing it in an attempt to be.... maybe funny, maybe relevant, maybe holier than thou.  Some of the obvious highlights are:
  • Our local Christian station refusing to play a secular song unless it is recorded - completely unchanged - by a Christian artist.
  • T-shirts like Lord's Gym which take a known phrase or brand and give it a clever (?) twist.
  • Church signs like this one: 

(please feel free to comment on your favorites which I've neglected to mention)

We all know that this is a strange phenomenon but I think we ought to acknowledge that is goes both ways.

You have the WWJD; "what would Jesus DRIVE" campaign and the WTFWJD (if you don't recognize that one right off, don't Google it - just trust me that it's a very secular version of that acronym).

Or how about the Darwinized ichthus (AKA Christian fish), followed by the chomping Christian fish, followed by another posed Darwin fish....?  Sure it's a slightly more clever knock-off than most Christian ones but a knock-off nonetheless.

Or the "Jesus was a community organizer" tag-line.  I've seen it used by Christian and secular Obamatons alike but it seems to have a whiff of knock-offism to it.

Then you have those that are hybrids like the "Jesus is my homeboy" shirts.  I still can't figure out whether that one was designed as an uber-cheesy Christian thing in the vein of the photo above or a secular shirt trying to co-opt the image of Christ.  If you think about it, it works either way.

So what do you say?  What's your favorite/least favorite knock-off from either direction?


The Story of Ken

I just read this short autobiographical story on my buddy Ernesto's blog this morning and I was truly humbled and inspired.  In it he explains how when he was 13 he got to know a small kid named Ken and what an impact that boy's Christ-likeness had on him.

When I was thirteen years old, I was not a Christian.  I had heard about Him from a little Baptist Church in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  But I didn’t get it.  True, i raised my hand five weeks in a row, and went into some back room where I prayed a prayer I don’t remember and didn’t understand.  Maybe God heard that scared little boy cry for help....

    ...well, fast forward, and that prayer didn’t hold.  I went to that little church five times, and then was asked to never come back because I got in some kind of fight.  I think I fought the pastor’s kid.  I guess some things never change.  As I grew, going to school, surviving divorces and new schools and more bullies, I stayed afraid.  That fear turned into anger, and I became a bully.  I was mean and dumb, and “swore alot.”  Eighth grade for me was like it is for most boys.  Akward, scary, painful, full of changes and growth.  And I was a punk.  I was a wounded punk who so wanted to be liked by anyone.  

    Well, one of the kids I picked on was named Ken Morgan.  In eighth grade, he was smaller than small.  He was an easy target for this fake predator.  I picked on this kid something fierce.  And he never took an easy shot back at me.  When I was taken to task, he wasn’t there to gloat over my great fall.  I thought he was just afraid of me, but soon I noticed it was something more.  He was genuinely kind to me.  He repaid my evil with good.  I didn’t get it.  So I began to walk home with him from school.  I followed him to church.  I studied his family.  I wanted to know where his kindness and contentment came from.  And every road led to Jesus.  He wore the silly shirts and carried his Bible.  And over time, I started wondering if it was true.  If Jesus would love Ken and give him the strength to love, maybe I could learn too.  Maybe I could be loved enough to get pass all my wounds and selfishness and pride and lust and hate and hurt and anger and fear and loneliness.  So, i ended up following Ken into the kingdom.  During my freshman year, I finally was lost enough to be found.  I cried out to God a simple prayer.  I said, “God, if you are there, and if you will love me, I will follow you forever.”  I prayed out of desperation.  And God showed up....

Well, here it is, more than fifteen years later, and I showed up on Ken’s doorstep to say hello.  Ken married his high school sweetheart, Erin, he works a great job doing super smart stuff, and has a brand new baby named Finnegan.  He lives up in Seattle, and Angie and I decided to drop in on my old friend.  And it was good....so good.

Ken is part of an awesome small group up there in Seattle.  He and his wife are good parents, showering their little boy with all the love a baby can withstand.  God has blessed their life, and they are making a home for themselves.  Together, we laughed, prayed, studied, cleaned, remembered, counseled, shared, and dreamed.  it was good.  

    Ken brought us to his small group, and these brothers and sisters we had never met before welcomed us in with open arms.  They loved us, and listened to our silly vision, and asked real questions out of a heart of compassion.  Some of those people even jumped on and became a part of our support network.  

God gave me a memorial stone, and gave us more partners on this crazy vision he put in our hearts.  It was awesome.  

For those of you who are praying for us....thank you.  God is keeping us safe, giving us favor, and helping us rest.  We love you all, and look forward to the day when we will meet again.

-ernesto alaniz

The Lord worked through Ken and changed a life.  Now Ernesto and his wife Angie are on their way to India as missionaries.


Breaking News!!!!!! Childhood shots of Joe the Plumber (and how he became a media figure)

Early fashion sense

In his first work truck

With the tools of his trade

Election Satire: Part 3

I just listened to this audio clip on Slick's blog and I was amazed.  It certainly shakes my confidence in the American electorate but what's truly amazing is that in an election where the candidates (not in equal amounts) are spending money like water on advertising, people are still unclear on what the candidate's actual positions are.

Of course this is the very definition of anecdotal, but even in it's humor it's a bit disturbing.

Thanks Slicky for finding this one....

Don't forget to vote in my poll on the right!


Election Curiosity

I have known for quite some time about the poll feature that Blogger provides but I never really had something for which reader results might prove interesting; even to those who would bother to vote.

Obviously I wasn't thinking hard enough because I think I have enough readers to make an election poll vaguely interesting.  No commentary, just a reading on your anticipated voting tendencies.  I know I have a mostly conservative group that reads but to be honest, my most interesting discussions lately have been with thoughtful folks who are, well.....  in the bag for Obama.

It's anonymous and everyone is required to vote (at least in my poll at right).  I have 17 followers so if it doesn't get that many, I'm going to start visiting houses.

Which way are you leaning (comments not necessary)?


Blog Reader Conclusion

I have decided that I have given my Bloglines v. Google Reader contest long enough to make a call as to the winner...

Here's what I learned:

1.  Bloglines is perpetually NOT showing the latest feed on a variety of sites.  The upside is that if there appears to be a feed problem, it displays a disturbing little red exclamation point next to the site's name.  This is only of marginal use since a few of my sites have had this icon for 6 weeks or so.

2.  Google Reader takes a little getting used to since it's functionality is a bit different than Bloglines Classic (though very similar to the new Bloglines Beta).

3.  If you use your Google account for a variety of applications (Blogger, gmail, Reader, etc), it can be very easy.... unless multiple people use separate Google accounts on your computer.  If I sit down to my Reader page to refresh the feeds and Sarah has logged in with gmail on another tab, it will show an error message, forcing me to log out of hers and re-login on mine.  It's not a major deal but can be an annoyance if you can't figure out what went wrong.

I have decided to switch to Google Reader for now - while still keeping my Bloglines active - in an attempt to get more timely feed alerts.  I know this isn't conclusive so if you are looking at one or the other, I would recommend trying them both on a few feeds before deciding which you prefer.


Election Satire: Part 2

In keeping with my vow to not deal any longer with election debate and stick only to the benign humorous stuff.  I would never have guessed until I came across this video on Powerline that it would have come from McCain himself.  There are 2 clips and I recommend you watch at least the first 3/4 of the speech.  Midway through the second clip he puts the jokes in context with a classy and complimentary tribute to Barack the man and colleague.

If you support Obama, check this out and let me know if you think it's funny and if you saw it as one of the only non-partisan(ish) type events during this crazy season.

So what do you think?

Update:  I think this may be the first time that I have updated a post prior to actually posting it... and yet still counting it as an update.  I found Obama's portion of the event and thought he was pretty funny too.  My mom was a little put off by all the "I, me, my" statements that he used and I would point out how at the end, Barack graciously accepts McCain into the elite group of Americans as great as himself, but I think that was a misspeak.  All in all a good speech but not as good as McCain's.  

Again, what did you think?


Bloglines hates blogs

For the past year in my efforts to encourage people to read this and other good blogs I have been hawking online aggregator/blog readers such as Bloglines and Google reader.  This method gives you the ability to follow and read dozens of blogs without taking the hours out of your day to go to each site.  It really is a nice convenience.

As if to prove that my endorsement is a death knell, this week Bloglines decided to undergo a massive brain fart.  It coincided with my upgrade to the new beta version but even classic Bloglines is junk.  

I follow a few very popular blogs (Powerline blog, Little Green Footballs, Iowahawk, etc) which according to Bloglines have stopped posting.  If I go to these sites I can see quite a few new posts from the past few days which my blog reader has seen fit not to update for me.  I have tried to re-subscribe and gotten minimal positive results.

At this point, my blog reader has been relegated to telling me the posts from a week ago which I've already read due to its own inability to keep me updated.

Any other Bloglines users having this problem?  Oh wait.... if you are, you won't be reading this post until next Wednesday....   I guess I can wait.

Update: I am doing a side-by-side test with Google Reader and Bloglines to see if I can determine a clearly superior reader.  Everyone post to your sites to give me a steady stream of content for this test.

Update #2:  Google reader is currently the unquestioned leader in this contest.  Not only is it getting posts from Powerline and LGF (Bloglines 2 major problems from my blogroll) but the Bloglines Beta version wouldn't let me subscribe to Sam Bhatt's site.

A voice in the desert

When I argue with people regarding evil oil companies and their admittedly ridiculous profit numbers, typically I am told that the price of gas will shoot up almost overnight when supply is interrupted or lessened but that when the flow is resumed the price doesn't change appreciably.  I have always thought that this might be a case of people fixating on their gas woes while forgetting when things are ok.

Today I am going to officially mark the fact that in keeping with massive drops in price per barrel of crude worldwide, the price of gas is plummeting.  Almost daily there are 10 cent drops and I think it has gone down between 50 and 60 cents in last week.  Granted, when fuel is pushing $4/gallon this is not as drastic as when it would jump from $2 to $2.50 at random but I thought it was important to state this moment for posterity.  Any of you are welcome to jump in and berate me for backing big oil and attack their methodology, business paradigm and executive compensation packages but to be honest, it really isn't that big a deal.  Remember, corporations are inanimate and thus amoral (not immoral).

Will we ever see $0.69/gallon gas again (my personal record in Oklahoma in 1996)?  Nope, but if no one points out when it goes down then we will always be prone to dwelling on the bad.  I will update this post if the cost drops continue.


KOR Kast around the world (Updated: download KOR Kast)

Update:  The KOR Kast can't be accessed from their website yet but you can download it from the RSS feed page

That's right, I am broadcasting to the world now.  Between Facebook, this blog and Ryan Dobson's KOR Kast, I am like a king of all media... at least the forms of media which require no talent and can be engaged in from one's parent's basement (sans pants).

Today (we recorded on the morning of Thursday, October 2nd, the day I am also writing this post) I was at Ryan's place in Colorado Springs to record the KOR Kast, the podcast from KOR Ministries.  I was on to talk about our work in Ukraine, our goals for raising funding to send orphans to camp and to increase awareness of the plight of orphans in Ukraine.

This comes at a time when Ryan is preparing to transition from a once or twice a month, 30 minute podcast to a weekly, 1 hour internet radio program.  His podcast currently has about 10,000 subscribers but on Castle Rock Radio he'll have an even larger audience and he will respond with an even more impressive guest list.

I am writing this in advance of the KOR Kast going live, but when you read this it will be available on iTunes or at the KOR website (but probably not until the new site is finished).  

Please listen to it and then come back and let me know how you think I did.

I thought I'd throw in this great pic of Ryan with his boy Linc that I stole from his Facebook site.


We've been fund-raising too long

This event just occurred less than 3 minutes ago.

I am sitting on the couch with Cam like this...

My dad (aka Pops) just walked up and told Cam how good he was tonight with visitors and that he loved him.  Being a good son, I prompted Campbell to tell his Pops that he loved him too.  He was coloring but he obliged and then followed by thoughtfully looking up at my dad and saying, "Ummm, you got some money?"

I just wet my pants and I don't care who knows it.


Ministries in and around Kerch

Here is the latest addition of the "News from the Hope Center" emails that Andrey sends out monthly.  Unfortuntely I don't have any pictures of the specific programs that are mentioned but since it's about friends and neighbors in the villages I'll put in my favorite picture I've taken - this one in Prezaornia (?... I'm bad at transliteration).  This report shows yet another way in which the HopeCenter ministers holistically and uniquely in the Kerch area.

Last October we mentioned our program "Around Kerch" which includes activities conducted by Hope Center staff and volunteers but takes place outside of the camp territory.  We highlighted five surrounding villages and on-going projects such as distribution of clothes and shoes, wheelchairs and walkers for the handicapped, feeding programs for hungry children and humanitarian aid to the needy.  We also provided informational presentations on drugs, alcohol, smoking, human trafficking and HIV/AIDS in the village schools.  This fall we are expanding this program by taking the next step to talk to parents and adults.

In early June we distributed 200 questionnaires in the village of Bagerava to learn what that community saw as its most serious social problems.  94% of the residents responded that alcohol was a major problem, followed by drugs (42%) and HIV/AIDS (7%).  Global Action used this information to create a specialized presentation for that village.  We first talked with 60 students over the age of 12 on alcohol abuse and provided a booklet which outlines the dangers of alcoholism.  The students then invited their friends, families and neighbors to a larger meeting on October 9th which drew 100 people.  The presentation was followed by a forum in which attendees could voice concerns, ask questions and suggest solutions.  This year we will do the same in four other villages around Kerch in an effort to have greater reach and effectiveness in the communities where we work.

First Meeting for the Hope Center

Yesterday was the first official dessert meeting for HopeCenter funding since I had been assigned that task.  It was at Sarah's brother Brian's house and his wife Kerry invited more than 50 people - well more than their modest house could actually hold.  Despite her being a dynamo with invitations, we only had one family by the time the dessert was to start.  I was a little disappointed but nonetheless began a more personal version of our presentation (which was designed for a group).

As it turned out, the Krause family were wonderful guests, lovely people and great contacts.  John and Catherine were engaged in what we were presenting and, despite their oldest son nearly breaking his nose in the middle of the meeting, were very interested in presenting the HopeCenter program to their friends and acquaintances.  Their entrepreneurial mindset was very helpful.

Just goes to show you that God knows more than me.


Good deal? I need your input!

For those of you who don't care a whit about firearms, their recreational and serious purposes and the tendency for males of our species to fixate on them, you can tune out now.... 3...2....1....

Ok, I need the help of the hunters/shooting enthusiasts out there.  I have this pistol....

It is the Beretta 92FS, better known as the M9 (more or less) to military folks.  It's one of the most successful handgun designs of all time and a quality piece of engineering by anyone's standards.  It is the make and model that I bought on my 21st birthday in 1999 and have owned in 2 incantations (my first was stolen in 2003 but soon replaced) ever since.  It's a lovely gun to shoot, easy to control and as reliable as any I have ever fired.  With a aircraft aluminum frame, it will last darn near forever.

That said, it is bulky, extremely heavy, underpowered (9mm) and somewhat dated.  For hunting I have been thinking about making the change to a .40 in one of the newer polymer-framed tactical designs but am obviously limited by price (missions work doesn't pay all that well).

That is until tonight when a buddy who is in the market for a 92 asked if I'd like to trade straight up for this....
This is a Smith and Wesson Sigma series 40 (SW40VE).  On it's face it is exactly the type I am looking for.  The Sigma is Smith's version of the popular (and very expensive) Glock pistols.  It is so close in design that they were forced to pay Glock for trademark violations.  It fits my hand very nicely, is lighter fully loaded than my Beretta is empty and seems to fit both my paddle and my tactical holsters.  The stainless slide and polymer frame make it a better all-weather weapon than my Beretta which is a huge plus when hunting.

The downsides....
Though it's newer, it retails at least $200 cheaper than my Beretta, which is still in very good if not excellent condition.  The reviews vary wildly from 'POS' (that's a quote) to 'best gun I've ever owned' and everywhere in between.  On police forums there are a lot of guys that have put thousands of rounds through them without a jam and another that said, and I quote, "It would only be good for an anchor but it's not even heavy enough for that."  The consensus is that whatever you think about the quality, it has a ridiculously heavy trigger (12 lbs) to compensate for its near total lack of a safety.

I am borrowing it for a few weeks (my buddy doesn't need it - he got it in a straight trade for a pop-up camper) and I plan to put in some quality range time 2 Fridays from today in Greeley but I was hoping to get some opinions from my resident gun nuts.  Ask around with any law enforcement friends or family members.  Anyone shot this weapon?

I'm counting on you guys.

Election Satire

I think I've decided to put a moratorium on serious election-related posts barring some massive unforeseen event (I get the arguing out of my system over at my Uncle's blog).  I will instead try for satirical pieces that are hopefully more readable and better for everyone's blood pressure.

This clip is from righty blogger Iowahawk who does some great satirical news posts.  There's a good chance that some of you won't agree with the sentiment but you have to admit that it's funny.  The best line is where he talks about not excluding voters based on their "existential status." It's in bold as my line of the day. I repeat, this is satire.  Some of the numbers and concepts come from actual stories but most is rubbish.

ST. LOUIS - Attorneys for the voting registration organizations ACORN and Project Vote filed an anti-discrimination voting rights suit in the U.S. Federal District court this morning, alleging the United States government is involved in "a widespread, systematic effort to disenfranchise Imaginary-Americans and deprive them of access to polls."

"Participation in our electoral process is a fundamental right, and the foundation of our democracy," said ASDF ASDFG, a spokesperson for the National Association for the Advancement of Imaginary People, one of the groups named as plaintiffs in the class action. "We will not be silent when government denies people access to the polls on the basis of color, or sex, or existential status."

The new suit was prompted by on a series of law enforcement raids of ACORN offices in 10 states over the past week, as well as a reported Justice Department investigation. Federal and state officials say they were acting on tips of fraudulent voter registration forms, after election officials reported a flood of unusual applications submitted by ACORN canvassers. In Las Vegas the Clarke County election commission reported thousands of registrations signed by the Dallas Cowboys, while in St. Louis officials discovered thousands of others signed by Power Rangers, Menudo, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In Cleveland, Ohio Republican officials complained to the Federal Election Commission after early-voting sites barred observers when thousands of Invisible-Ohioans arrived at the polls aboard hundreds of invisible ACORN buses. In Ida Grove, Iowa, Ida County Registrar Debby Ballard expressed concern when a convoy of Chicago ACORN semis submitted 4,000,000 provisional ballots, 17 seconds before a 5 pm deadline.

"I'm proud that Ida County can boast of a 114,312% voter registration rate, but I'm not sure if I can get all of them processed by Monday," said Ballard. "I've got a pilates class in Sioux City."

After the raids, ACORN officials initially blamed the problems on rogue volunteers.

"We are in the midst of our most successful signup ever, registering over 7 trillion new voters in the last week alone," said ACORN spokesman Charles Jackson. "It's impossible to have 100% quality control, and a few misspellings might have fallen through the cracks."

On Tuesday, ACORN said it would dismiss any workers suspected of fraud, and would outsource 40% of voter registration jobs to Banglore Registration Industries.

"The quality control is better in India, and we can save over $35 per metric ton," noted Jackson.

After consultation with attorneys, however, ACORN -- which has received $800,000 from the Obama campaign for registration efforts -- filed a suit claiming the increased legal scrutiny was driven by a political agenda. Amicus briefs were added from several Imaginary Rights groups, adding civil rights violations to the list of complaints.

"Whether we are obituary notices, hallucinatory giant rabbits, or strings of random keyboard strokes, it's time for the chimera community to stand up and claim our rights as citizens," said ASDFG. "We will no longer be silent and invisible. Okay, maybe invisible."

In addition to $3.2 jubajillion in damages and free federal mortgages for homeless spectres, the suit also seeks enforcement of the Americans with Dimensional Disabilities Act. The Act requires voting places to make accommodations for existentially-challenged voters who have trouble completing ballots written in standard 3-dimensional reality. The accommodations include multiple site registration, time travel, and allowances for alcoholics to cast ballots for dependent D.T. phantasms.

"Many of our community inhabit the Tapioca subluster of the 11th Dimension, and it's hard for them to find a convenient spacehole to make it to the local elementary school," explained ASDFG.

A ruling in the suit is expected later this week from St. Louis federal appelate judge Fwinklezorg the Hydragoat.


What a weird coincidence

A few days back I heard that my lovely sister and her super-cool husband had started a blog.  Yesterday I figured I would see if I could find these guys in cyberspace:
Yeah, that was a shameless plug for my new nephew Padraig and I don't care who knows it.

Anyway, with a name like Orf I figured a blog search should turn up their site pretty easily.  I searched "Orf family" thinking it should be a straight forward operation.  When Google, in it's infinite wisdom (there should be a punctuation marks that indicate sarcasm), returned this site, "The Orf Family,"  I figured I'd hit the nail on the head.  

I started reading (there were no pictures) and noticed that there was no update on the birth itself, which isn't odd due to the busyness of the first few days.  I was then shocked to discover that the expectant Orf mama had gestational diabetes.  I had heard nothing of this so I scrolled down to the next post.  It began speaking of situations I hadn't heard about with people I didn't know in places I didn't think Bobby and Joy had been.  I was a little slow in realizing that though the name and pregnancy were the same, this was not actually my sister's blog.  Weird, huh?

Our Orf family can be found here complete with photos and excellent writing.

I also must pass on the fact that Tammi also has a blog but it is invitation-only.  It's every bit was witty and snarky as my lovely older sister is in real life.  If you have Facebook you can contact her (Tammi Gaw) and she may send you an invitation to view her top-secret blog.

And finally, for you political junkies, my Uncle Walt has jumped into the blogging arena with both feet.  He is literally the exact person for whom the blog medium was designed.  He is a lefty - 100% in the bag for Obama - but he's thoughtful, civil, informed and he's no hippie.  I know you're all sick of wall-to-wall election coverage but give it a look anyway.


HopeCenter Profiles: Roman and family

I just learned recently that we have hired Roman full time at the HopeCenter.  I actually don't know as much about him as I should but I do have a great picture of him and his family (courtesy of camp team member David Hyttsten of David's Photography).
Actually Roman had been volunteering at camp for quite some time prior to be being hired.  He is a proud graduate of our GLOMOS pastoral training program, utilizing that information as a Bible teacher for our vocational school last year.  He's an amazingly talented craftsman who can handle welding, carpentry, masonry, forestry (which he also does in sandals) and anything in between.

I seem to recall that his wife used to work at the HopeCenter before my time and she frequently comes by with their daughter to use the camp as a safe playground.  She and Campbell haven't yet figured out how to play nicely together but we are hoping to work on that in the up-coming year.

We are all excited to have them officially on-board with us and I will try to remember to return and re-post with more specific information when I learn it.

Talking with my pocket book... DOWN WITH JACK QUINN'S!

By way of a round-about social commentary I am going to explain how Sarah's and my date night was last night....

I have always said that I don't like government intervention in things that don't concern them.  One of my biggest pet peeves is smoking bans.  If a person owns an establishment and he/she prefers for WHATEVER reason to allow smoking (even if it is designed to DECREASE the family atmosphere), that is their right.  It is, after all, their private property.  Conversely if another person owns a similar establishment and decides for health, economic or astrological reasons that they don't want smoking... even better.  They have also made a choice in how to administer their property.

Now as consumers/customers we all have a choice.  Do we want to keep the status quo and go to a place that is more open to whatever it's patrons would like to do there or do we want to frequent a location that has been proactive in eliminating what most people see as a disgusting habit?  You can even lobby the smoking establishment to change it's rules to make itself more friendly to health conscious patrons.  Those are acceptable choices.  To go run to mommy (aka big government) and tattle on establishment #1 is a 5 year old's mentality.  The bottom line is this....

Talk with your pocket book!

Support places that have the environment that you like and refuse to give another dime to those who you don't.  I don't want a pedicure, so guess what?  I don't frequent nail salons!

That bring me to our date.  We went downtown CS for a little Josh and John's followed by a stroll.  As we walked I recalled that I had been looking for a pub or tavern that shows Premiership football early on weekends.  I figured that the first check should be with Jack Quinn's, the most popular/trendy place in CS of supposed Irish extraction.

We walked in the door to ask the hostess if they showed the games and if they had a schedule of  those they would be airing.  She looked at us and before I could ask my very simple and reasonable question, she abrasively told me that we would have to throw our ice cream away.  Not "we don't allow outside food here" or even more informative "the health code says that you can't bring in food from outside," which I later learned is the case.

Understanding that servers sometimes are very busy and tempers can get short, I explained that I just had a quick question and we'd be on our way.  Before I could continue, yet ANOTHER person (I think the manager) proceeded to jump into our conversation and told me that I wasn't allowed in with outside food (not the food wasn't allowed... I wasn't allowed) in an equally obnoxious tone - still never explaining that there was a health code issue involved.

To add insult to injury, this employee (the first one) of a purportedly Irish-style pub looked at me like I was syphilitic when I DARED ask about something so boorish and uncultured as sport... even one beloved by Irish people.

So.....  I am voting with my pocketbook.  JACK QUINNS will not get a cent of my money... ever.

The nice hostess outside JOSE MULDOON'S kindly explained that bringing  in outside food is indeed a violation of the health code and for that nicety, they will be getting my mealtime business when I am downtown.

Despite this, Sarah and I had a nice walk in the beautiful Colorado evening.  It turned out to be a nice affordable date night with only a touch of "aggro."


I'm missing Ukraine

Yesterday I cut my fingernails.  Interesting... not really.  Important... only if I plan to look like a civilized person.  Profound....  a little more today than other days.  Here is my right thumb nail:
That black mark represents a tough day of work in storage building 1 at the Hope Center, or more specifically, the bed frame which dropped on my unsuspecting hand.

Unfortunately it also represents that I have been away from Kerch long enough for this battle wound to have almost grown out.  Within a week or so I will no longer have a reminder of the Hope Center prominently placed on an extremity.  From an esthetic point of view, this may be a good thing but emotionally it will be a sad moment, once again reminding me that I am being kept away from the people I love over there and ministry that I enjoy.  

I just talked to Tanya on Skype and learned that the Ranger will clear customs in another 2-3 weeks, that my friend Roman (a HopeCenter profile on him will be forthcoming) has been employed at the camp full-time (a huge answer to prayer) and that my other buddy Igor is getting married to his sweetheart Natasha at the Hope Center itself.  It is killing us to be away while all these great things are happening but we are trusting that the Lord will get us back at exactly the time he wants us there.

Please don't take offense if you're a reader on this side of the world.  I can simultaneously be glad to be here with you and saddened by our absence from Ukraine.


I'm an Uncle again

Posted from the hospital's WiFi, here is (as far as I know) the first cyber presence of my new nephew Padraig Gibson Orf.  Joy gave birth early this morning (Saturday) after a relatively uneventful labor.  I am beginning to realize how few of Joy and Bobby's friends I actually know.  That's a sad situation since we have only been 1.5 hours south of them for the better part of 3 years.  Anyway, we came up to Boulder this morning to see the happy little family.  He is a cute fella and we are excited to be able to share some time with them.
Congrats Bobby and Joy!


Casual Friday

Not that I'm conceding the point, but I think an argument could be made that a green shirt and orange shoes were an unwise color combination - even on casual Friday.
What do you guys think?


Don't let the man get you down

Yesterday I was in meetings all day which were interesting but frequently had nothing to do with me or my job.  This was particularly unfortunate since Liverpool was playing PSV in the Champions League at 12:45.  In an effort to stay abreast of the game situation and to not let a meeting get in the way of enjoying the game result real-time (or as close to that as possible), I enlisted my faithful buddy Paul.  He stayed up on the game at UEFA.com and promised to let me know when goals were scored.  My main concern was the scoreline and I assumed he would let me know about goals by a show fingers and some pantomime.  However, Paul went above and beyond and you can imagine my stifled excitement when he showed me this sign....
Robbie Keane was playing his 11th game for the Reds this season and was scoreless until yesterday....a huge goal that I hope will open the flood gates for the rest of the season.

I was pretty confident on the outcome but was still glad to see this sign flash at me as I was estimating the game was winding down.
A good day and a victory for football.


Yet another theft

I must be in a klepto state of mind cause this is 2 in a row that I have proudly stolen.  

I got this one from Chernigov blog, a fellow American in Ukraine (after a 2 full days of meetings in Colorado, I am seriously jealous).  Below is a new ad campaign in Ukraine in which they use the familiar yet elusive Euro in an attempt to counter rampant human trafficking.  The text says something like "this is how much you'll make in Europe" but notice the street-walker in the bottom right.  An excellent example of creative advertising and public service announcement.  If you want a little background on the problem I covered it in this earlier post.