Monday, October 31, 2011

Iced maybe, but cold?

Ok, I think we all what they mean. This gas station/convenience store probably has started selling iced coffee.

But that's not what it says. For me, the sign conjures up images of a cup of coffee that's been sitting around on my desk for an hour or so. Ughhhh!

So here's a thought...if I want cold coffee, I can let it sit around on my desk all by myself. And it won't be very good.

Here's your sign....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fix You - Glee

Fix You by Coldplay is one of my favorite all time songs.

Glee is a show that I love at times and hate at others. Many episodes deal with questions that Christ-followers like myself need to think about (like in this episode). It can be very heavy handed in promoting a world view that is very much out of sync with mine, but it also can deal with human emotions and struggles in ways that ring true. Not to mention it has good music.

The last scene of the episode "Asian F" created one of the moments that fall on the "love" side. And part of the reason is that it featured Fix You.

What is prayer? Yes, it's communication with God, but I believe Scripture teaches that it springs from total, utter dependence on him. As long as we think we can make it on our own, prayer has a tendency to be something we fit into a compartment of our otherwise self-sufficient lives.

That's why I love this scene. (If you want to watch the episode, it's here.) Here are two people who may not have a clue about a relationship with their Creator. One of them (Will) states that he has no idea. The other (Emma) says that she prays all the time but that God hears her better on her knees. But here they are at their wit's end, and prayer is where Emma turns. And where Will is willing to meet her.

Setting it up briefly, Emma's OCD has returned due to a traumatic experience caused in part by her boyfriend Will. He wants to make it right but doesn't know how. She kneels beside the bed to pray and he says, "I wish I could make things better for you, but I don't know how." Then he kneels beside her saying, "I don't have any idea what I'm doing down here, but I'm willing to try."

That is so where a real relationship with God has to begin - we have to know that we have no idea what we're doing. It's all him, none of us. That, people, is prayer.

At that point, Will breaks into song. (It is, after all, a musical show.) And for this Coldplay fan, it was powerful. Here it is:

Is Will still trying to figure out how to fix things on his own? Sure. But it's very clear he doesn't know how.

I don't know how to fix my life either. I had a very bad day Tuesday, one I am not proud of. I allowed my feelings of pride to overshadow my desire to glorify God. I was looking at me, not him. But the first step to overcoming that is prayer. Real prayer - a dependence on God that starts from a place of helplessness.

It's all through Scripture. And in corners of our culture if we're looking. I have no idea what I'm doing on my own. I can't fix it. But I know Someone who can. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things that make you go hmmm...Oct 2011 edition

Ok, I know what you're thinking. What is so unusual about this sign and why does it rate a blog post. Well, it's not what it says, but where it says it.

So where do you think I saw this? I'll give you a moment to guess, and then you can scroll down to the answer.

Give up? It was on the inside of the door to the men's room in our hotel lobby Monday. Inside. The men's room.

So I see it and experience a moment of panic. Am I in the wrong restroom? Nope. I know New Orleans is a strange town sometimes, but I'm really hoping they don't have a problem with men being pregnant.

I'm still trying to figure out why it was there. Just as you're probably trying to figure out why I would take a picture in the bathroom. Oh well, I guess we're all a little strange.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tennessee Week 2011

Once again it's Tennessee week.

Traditionally the Vols have been the Tide's most fierce rival especially when it comes to for championships, with their 13 conference titles being the second most behind Bama. Amazing memories as a football fan come from this series.
Not much more needs to be said. So, as we countdown to Bama-Tennessee, once again here is the classic youtube video from several years ago:

Roll Tide! Beat Tennessee!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Several years ago I read a book by Michael Lewis called Moneyball. A guy I work with recommended it to me for various reasons: It was about using advanced mathematics to make better decisions - which is my career. It was about applying those decisions to baseball - so it was the perfect book for a person who's both a sports nut and a math geek. And finally, there was a whole chapter devoted to the case of Jeremy Brown, a former Bama baseball player.

Great book! I learned alot of stuff that I have been applying at work ever since. And I've watched while major league baseball has been applying the principles more and more. (The Boston Red Sox are among the biggest users of the approach and they used it to break their 86-year championship drought in 2004.)

But I never - never - thought it could be made into a movie. When I saw the trailers for just that a few months ago, I thought, "What?" Good math, good story, but not one that had action or interpersonal drama to appeal to the big screen.

I was wrong. I went to see the movie Wednesday night and I was spellbound. You know, sometimes movies are criticized for changing the book too much. In case, it was the key. Unlike the movie, the story was built around the baseball season and the question of whether Billy Beane's (Brad Pitt) unconventional methods would succeed. And whether that would allow him to keep his job, including how his daughter was worrying about him. In short, the book was about the math; the movie was about the people.

And it did a masterful job of making the transition. I saw the movie at 10:00 PM on a weeknight - a weeknight of a very stressful week where I was exhausted alot. And yet I was hanging on the edge of my seat the entire time, totally absorbed in the story. Awesome acting performances, a great screenplay, and just the right pacing made for a great 165 minutes of entertainment.

Being a sports nut and math geek, I may be biased. But if you're looking for a movie this weekend, Moneyball would be a pretty good choice.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Best BBQ in the world

I am not kidding about this. Let's fat in the meat. Really, like ever. Homemade sauce that tastes incresdible - none of that SC mustard-based stuff. Thick and ketchup-based. Absolutely amazing!

This may not be the most professional video you've ever seen. Well, it definitely isn't. But the subject matter makes up for it. If you're ever traveling from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa, treat yourself. You won't be sorry.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Yes, I'm just that dumb.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was trying to "double task". I was packing and loading up the car for this weekend's trip to Tuscaloosa. Yes, another football weekend, and as always I was a little excited.

Part of the prep routine is getting the car ready to take my dog Elphie along. I have a protective covering for the back seat that hooks over the car's headrests, and it makes for a comfortable ride (I think; Elphie has never actually told me so) and protects the car. So I folded the back seats down and got ready to hook in the covering. But when I got ready to hang it over the back seat headrests, this is what I saw:

Where is the headrest?? Yes, the headrests were missing. How the heck could that be?

I looked in the floorboards. I looked in the trunk. I tried to figure out how in the world a pair of headrests could disappear. I don't even know how to remove them myself. And why? Did someone break into my car and steal the stinkin' headrests, all while leaving other valuables in the car? Not likely. And yet...where were they? I was almost late to work trying to figure it out.

I called my dad from work and told him and he was as puzzle as I. The word quickly spread amongst the family and the bewilderment was universal. I texted my niece who rode in the back seat on a recent trip, and she had no idea. 

And then, as I was telling a friend at work (I have no shame), it hit me. The picture from the morning entered my mind. and I felt like an idiot.

Here's the deal: The seat cover is designed to protect the seats, not the flat surface that's created when I fold the seats down. The reason the headrests were "missing" is that I had folded the seats down! And in doing so....duh, the headrests got folded down with them.

Yes, I can be just that dense. I're not laughing with me, you're laughing at me. And so am I.

So here are the seats, folded back up where they belong:

The mystery of the "stolen" headrests solved, and all is right with the world.

And Elphie and I are in T-town, ready for tomorrow's game. Roll tide.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post...

I had intended to post something different tonight. But it can wait. Because one of the icons of our generation has passed on, and it is only appropriate to pause...and mourn...and pay our respects.

Some 25 years ago I was thinking of buying a personal computer - a radical idea at the time. I walked into the house of my friends Sam and Steve (twins) and they showed me their computer - a product of the company founded by Steve Jobs. Apple.

It was a cool device with all sorts of graphical capabilities, but I ultimately decided to get a PC. I think it was mostly because of the spreadsheet program, something outdated called Symphony. While PC's served me well over the years, there was something missing; I think was at least partially the "cool" factor.

Over the next few years Apple got its butt kicked by Microsoft, until the early 2000s when Mr. Jobs got involved again and the world has not been the same. When I got my first iPod, I had never - never - owned a device as cool as that. All my music with the time. You know the, videos, downloaded movies, the iPhone, and most recently the iPad.

And yes, after years of owning PCs, I finally got a Macbook, I would not go back for anything.

So as I sit here typing this post on said Macbook, I think back a few hours to when I got the news of Steve Jobs' death...on my iPhone. President Obama said it very well earlier this evening:
And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.
Like I did.

Goodbye Steve Jobs. We are grateful and we will miss you.