Thursday, April 30, 2009

how to move a 100 year old church

now if only we could figure out how to move a stiff-necked people.

i completely LOVED this.

my most recent baseball article - It's too early to be drastic

i write for,, and this blog. i normally have a forum for all of my other articles by putting them on another of my blogs but i don't have somewhere to post my baseball articles other than the site that i write them for. i'm putting this here and if you're not interested in baseball then maybe you'll just want to move on to another post.

Welcome once again to An Expert’s Audit – baseball edition. In this article we take a look at the fantasy team of a reader to see if there are areas we can improve so that we’re moving down a winning road. If you’re interested in getting your baseball team audited you can begin the procedure by emailing your league and team particulars to

Let me introduce you to Johnny Gregurich or Johnny G as he’s known to me. He’s a San Jose lad, Giants fan and has been a frequent emailer to me about all things hockey and baseball more recently. He plays in a 8 team NL only roto league with a bunch of buddies and relatives and as always he wants to school them all. The league settings are a standard 5x5: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, K, ERA, and WHIP.

One thing everyone should know about me right up front, I’m slow to move at the beginning of the season. There won’t be a trade discussions section of this article and I was pretty up-front with Johnny about this because I don’t want to trade an asset when we don’t know what it is that the team needs. Typically it’s a month into a season before I start suggesting moves, that way we have a picture about team needs. Sometimes it’s obvious what a team needs … but this isn’t one of those times.

Let’s take a look at Boys Named Sue as they were drafted. That team name has something to do with Johnny’s cat that disappeared and then showed up at home some days later. I don’t know man, it’s your team.

C Bengie Molina SF – I wait on catchers anyway, unless we’re talking about a guy who’s eligible at C but getting AB’s everyday somewhere else. I always seem to end up with lower end C’s and I’m not bothered by that since I can supplement somewhere else and get as many AB’s as guys selecting Russell Martin or someone.

1b Joey Votto CIN – whenever I say his name in my head I hear it in Otto the bus driver’s voice. “His name is Joey Vot-to, he likes to get blot-to. Whoaaaaaa.” Actually I love this Canadian kid in any league format.

2b Brandon Phillips CIN – he’s started off really slowly but he’ll definitely bounce back for some huge numbers this season. This guy needs to be locked into your lineup and there are few guys that I’d be trading him for simply because he’ll provide elite stats at a very shallow position.

3b David Wright NYM – I LOVE your infield. Your team has other issues but I LOVE your infield. Obviously Wright is a monster, nuff said.

SS Rafael Furcal LAD – I like SB’s at SS and people really underestimate what Raffy can do for a fantasy squad. Outside of the big 3 in the NL there are few who can contribute as well as Furcal in runs and SB’s.

OF Jay Bruce CIN – everybody is expecting big stats out of him this season, particularly playing in that launchpad in Cinncy. They’ll get exactly what they’re wanting from him too.

OF Lastings Milledge WAS – I thought his demotion was weak. If he were given a less prominent spot in the order then maybe he’d still be in the bigs or maybe he’d be producing like some other young sticks with less pressure on them. This was the first major setback for your team.

OF Cameron Maybin FLA – I’m still expecting him to be NL RoY by season’s end. He’ll find a groove and he’ll produce. Even an 8 team NL league is pretty scarce for OF on the wire so definitely keep a guy around who could be elite there.

Util James Loney LAD – he’s pretty valuable actually. He provides doubles and RBI that are very helpful. I suspect that 100 RBI will happen for him this year and I can see 20 dingers too. If he had any speed he could be Derek Lee – lite.

BN Mike Cameron MIL – he’s coming off two seasons in a row of abysmal batting average and I don’t think that his present status in that category is not likely to hold up. I think that if you can get something for him in a trade then I’d be pulling the trigger.

BN Kevin Kouzmanoff SD – he’s a good young 3b backup that’s well worth rostering as a backup.

BN Freddie Sanchez PIT – your 2b backup and I’m just not a fan. It used to be that he had really nice value for AVG but I think those days are long past now.

BN Ryan Church NYM – he’s actually got some very nice skills, he produces and he was on pace for about 25 HR and 100 RBI before getting derailed by injury. This year he’s already fended off Sheffield for AB’s and the playing time issue is wide open for him.

SP Cole Hamels PHI – I’m not worried. Much. Well ok, maybe a little but not enough to stop me from running him out there everytime I can.

SP Matt Cain SF - I really like the Giants starting pitching actually. They have no offense but I really like their pitching. Cain has been awful for wins and that may not change this year but he’ll still provide 200 IP, era around 3.50 and he may eventually get to 200 K. I’ll take that, even if it’s only 10 wins.

RP Johnathan Broxton LAD – he’s elite in the NL for saves. In a league like this there are fewer better options to roster.

RP Francisco Cordero CIN – upper 2nd tier closer who won’t be losing his job (most likely) and should easily provide 30 saves for your team.

P Ted Lilly CHC – in 3 seasons in Toronto he never broke 200 IP, then he signs with the Cubs and he’s now headed for his 3rd season in a row with 200 IP and career best K’s. As a Jays fan, that blows but I’m betting Cubs fans are relatively pleased.

P Johnny Cueto CIN – you have a lot of Reds on this team, that doesn’t bode well actually. This kid has absolute flashes of brilliance mixed in with … less than brilliant flashes. I think that he’ll easily build on last year’s stats and I expect a more than serviceable pitcher out of him for a fairly long career. This year? I could see wins in the low teens, 200 IP, and 175 K’s.

P Hiroki Kuroda LAD – he’s one guy that I have been expecting a huge breakout for this season, obviously his oblique strain this month has put a damper on my high hopes for him. He’ll be at least another couple weeks but if healthy I think he can take the next step and do this year what someone like Edinson Volquez did last year.

BN Todd Wellemeyer STL – the Cards offense is just so good that they’ll provide more wins for any SP that can go 6 innings, Wellemeyer can do that. He’s a solid SP that can be a no-name contributor to any fantasy staff.

Your league doesn’t track games started for any position players, you only have to meet your 1250 IP requirements over the course of the season. With 5 SP’s and 2 RP’s you should easily get your 1250 IP this season so you’re right to load up your bench with sticks that can fill holes on days your starters are off. You’ll need to be sure that you have a backup for every starter if you can.

Potential FA moves

Yunel Escobar – there’s no way he should be on a waiver wire in a NL only league. I figure he’s got a shot at being the 4th best SS in the NL if he can produce better than Tulo, Hardy, Theriot, Furcal and Drew. He’s only hitting .250 as I write this but I very much doubt that he’ll finish under .300 this season. A little bit of power is also on the horizon and he’ll always have plenty of glove to help his team.

Skip Schumaker – I like multi-eligible players and his 2b eligibility makes him a viable consideration for your team. He’ll provide decent stats and the avg will be over .300 which might be all you want from a backup 2b.

Elijah Dukes – he jumped into full time AB’s once Milledge was sent down. He’s always had upside, it’s been the attitude that has been the question. He’s a talent that could explode for some great stats or he could just plain explode.

Bronson Arroyo – the way people are down on him every year they show me they don’t realize that he was top 25 for K’s in the NL last season, got 200 IP and 15 wins for a very bad Reds team last year. If he can keep the ratios at all respectable then I say he’s got a shot at 20 wins. Seriously.

Jordan Zimmerman – I was all over you telling you to go get this kid and with how he’s started the season the window for getting him is closing rapidly. He’ll get K’s and he’s got a good shot at some wins if he can get some run support. I’ve got to think he should be on some squad in every NL only league out there.

Ian Stewart – he’s eligible at 2b and 3b so he’d be a fine choice as a backup for both your starters. He’d also do as good or a better job than who you drafted.

Chris Duncan – it’s helpful that he’s eligible at 1b and he’s fairly important to the Cards offense as some protection. He’s had himself a nice start to the season and he’s a good candidate for a bench slot.

Aaron Rowand – there’s still potential here for 20 dingers and nearly 100 RBI. The Giants offense isn’t exactly … well it’s not good, so there’s some opportunity for guys like Rowand to step up and contribute more than guys in other situations.


After a month of play your team looks to need a bit more power and you could use some more K’s. I have no doubt that your power options are going to improve when your best players start playing like your best players. David Wright only has 1 dinger on the year but that drought won’t continue for long. Jay Bruce and Mike Cameron lead your team in power cats and that won’t continue for long either but both those guys will be valuable to your team for some secondary power. Joey Votto and Elijah Dukes are going to be really important to you. If Dukes keeps his head on straight and stays healthy then I can see 30/100 out of him and I have little doubt that Votto is going to get there any way you look at it.

So, your power should be fine. I’m more worried about your K’s though. Your slow start in that category is centered around the fact that Cole Hamels has been dinged up for too much of the first month. I think the short term solution to your dilemma still sits on your waiver wire, it’s Jordan Zimmerman. I can’t believe he isn’t on a team yet. Guys must be scared of rostering any Nats pitcher knowing that he’ll be less likely to get wins pitching for an offense that scores less. Let me point out though that guys like Dukes, Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman aren’t exactly no-talent hacks who can’t hit the baseball. The Nats may not win a ton of games or get anywhere near the playoffs anytime soon but they’ll come close to .500 and a talented pitcher has a shot at being .500 himself if he’s special. I think Jordan Zimmerman can be special, and you need the K’s anyway. The question for me is who the drop should be and I think it comes down to either Cameron Maybin or Todd Wellemeyer. I still believe in Maybin and I’d resist turfing him just yet so … I guess that tells you my opinion.

Well, the fun’s just beginning for you. You’re solidly positioned for a run and I think you’re a couple key moves away from winning. Right now, I’d watch your power options and your K’s and I wouldn’t do anything drastic (like trading Phillips or something). You need to be a bit patient and when your team’s needs dictate then you should shop harder for what you need.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Shack

i've just finished this book. i bought it for Wendy and me when her birthday came along and then i've slowly been reading it to her at night. it's a wonderful thing to read to your wife, it's certainly an element of intimacy.

the reason i got the book is to get a different picture of who God is. as much as i've changed over my adult life i've got to admit that i still hung on to the masculine images of God. it was good to read something where the Father God character (named Papa) was a big black woman with arms that enfolded you in and a big belly laugh that drew you in further. that was beautiful. the Spirit character is named Sarayu and is a wispy sort that ministers and speaks in ways that are hard to peg down as much as she can be hard to see whenever you're with her. finally, the Jesus character is an outdoorsy, wood-working type who is very human and on a couple occasions is portrayed as clumsy (like all humans).

i definitely enjoyed the picture of Papa in this book. i was enthralled with the idea that he wasn't an old man with a long beard, that there was much more and i could be much more relational with Papa. i was brought to tears as i read on one occasion as Papa spoke with the main character of the book Mack, while Mack bemoaned how confused and lost he was. Papa simply stated, "you're not lost Mack" and those words echoed with me. sometimes i feel completely overwhelmed with where my life is and where it's going but i couldn't help feeling that God was speaking directly to me and saying "you're not lost Ian".

many evangelicals seem to be reading the book lately and the jacket of the book even goes so far as to state that the book may have the same or more affect on it's society as John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" did on his society. i don't know if the book is THAT good but for a picture of who God is and to see how the individual can relate to and see God then i highly recommend it. i should warn you that it does deal with some touchy subject matter, the murder of a child and how Mack deals with that, so bear that in mind as you read.

i want to quote from the last chapter of the book.

"If you ever get a chance to hang out with Mack, you will soon learn that he's hoping for a new revolution, one of love and kindness - and revolution that revolves around Jesus and what he did for us all and what he continues to do in anyone who has a hunger for reconciliation and a place to call home. This in not a revolution that will overthrow anything, or if it does, it does so in ways we could never contrive in advance. Instead it will be the quiet daily powers of dying and serving and loving and laughing, of simple tenderness and unseen kindness, because if anything matters, then everything matters. And one day, when all is revealed, every one of us will bow our knee and confess in the power of Sarayu that Jesus is the Lord of all Creation, to the glory of Papa."

may Papa bless you on your journey my friend.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Red River Flood

i spent my workweek at the Flood Relief Centre here in Winnipeg. i was one of the paper pushers working for the Manitoba Government trying to help the thousands of people who have been displaced by the Red River. the Red has expanded so much that it has covered a massive corridor of water through much of Manitoba anywhere near the Red.

i've heard me some stories though, unfortunately i'm bound by some confidentiality stuff and i can't elaborate. suffice it to say that the currents are wild, the water is deep and many people don't know what to do.

there's lots of stress over this. people literally watch as their house becomes an island and the only thing holding back complete devastation is a whole whack of sandbags.

there are stories of 40 deer standing together on a small patch of land because the entire forest habitat is under 10 feet of water (and i'm not exaggerating) with currents that can knock you off your feet and sweep you away to complete and certain death. there was a news story today about a flock of bison stranded in a field, they're fine and they got "relocated".

it's an interesting debate. flooding in Southern Manitoba has been worse ever SINCE the ditch system was created to preserve the city of Winnipeg. the philosophy is that you have to sacrifice the few in order to preserve the many. thousands have to endure immense stress made worse because hundreds of thousands don't have to endure the stress any longer. those folks can all make claims for some disaster relief down the road and many argue that they should just accept that they live in a flood plain. that very flood plain was made worse so that we who live in Winnipeg wouldn't have to endure what our brothers must endure.

what's the answer? there are certainly some frustrated and angry people out here ... and they have a point.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Colorblind but not colorless

i found this in my search for bloggers i might like to link to and i found this on waving or drowning?. you might want to go check him out and i've already linked to him on the side here. now he didn't do this up (at least i don't think so) although it could be since i don't know him as anything more than a fellow pilgrim on the journey.

thanks to Matthew for a little education on how to embed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

signs and wonders

is the miraculous really done in today's modern world? if you believe, as i do, then are you seeing the miraculous? does all of this "power of Christ, in the world but not of the world" have any substance? or do we just need to concentrate on doing good for fellow humans for the sake of ... for both our sakes?

i've got to be honest, i don't get to see the blind seeing and the lame walking because they believed it could happen and then it did. does that mean that God isn't working though?
is God silent? the Bible does talk about some times when God has been silent, but is this one of those times? one of those eras?
i don't see those things ... but i do see God. i see him in the reaction of someone that i'm trying to help find work. i see him in my wife's face when i tell her i love her and thank her for all the things she does to help me along my journey (i should do that more though). i see it in the smile of someone on the bus as they return my own smile right back at me.
none of that stuff is miraculous and yet they all are.
God is not silent. God can be found. take heart. He hears you. He knows you. there's more for you.
i'm still praying for the miraculous to happen though. i can be pretty obtuse and need to be hit over the head with the obvious.
break in to me Lord. show your signs and i'll try to stay perennially in wonder.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alex and Asperger's

Alex is my nephew. The eldest son of my younger sister. He's a great kid and his mother is a wonderfully strong woman of God whom I love dearly. This article was posted in the newspaper in Niagara Falls Ontario (I believe), sometime last year I think, and I just want to take a few minutes to brag on my nephew.
It's a great read. Go ahead.

My favourite line is "Mom, are you being sarcastic?". I can see that happening.

... and a gift

Inside his head, he's got rules. Social rules. He calls them The Seven Easy
Steps to being a Sociable Person.
If someone is looking at you, that means they want to say hi. Look back at
them. Make eye-to-eye contact.
If someone rolls their eyes, they don't want to talk.
If their head is turned away, facing the opposite direction, that also means
they don't want to talk.
And if they start to walk away, don't chase after them hoping they'll listen to you. Just let them walk away.
Then there's personal space. Stand at least two feet away. About arm's length.
If a teacher is busy, wait until she's done to ask a question. Raise your hand to let her know you need help.

These are 16-year-old Alex Seib's rules. Alex is funny. Polite. Articulate.
Effervescent. A genuinely nice kid. He's a Grade 11 student at Stamford
Collegiate in Niagara Falls and has an amazing memory. He's passionate about
God and history. And he could tell you pretty much anything about the War of
His dream is to be a re-enactor at Fort George for the summer.
He gets 80s and 90s in most subjects, but struggles in math.
And he has no fear of speaking in front of people. He was on student council
for two years. Helped organized a Christmas drive at his high school. And
last year, he was nominated in The Search for Great Kids contest.
In his words, "I've been a very prosperous young man since Grade 9." He is confident. Sincere. All this, yet he struggles socially.
He simply cannot pick up all the subtle-yet-important social cues that
govern how we act. Cues like body language, which most of us learn innately,
evade his social radar. He has to be taught. Clearly. Directly. Explicitly. Alex has Asperger's syndrome. It's a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder, yet differs significantly from classic autism. People with Asperger's typically have impaired social interactions and narrow fields of interest and activities. But their language skills are not delayed and they have average to above average intelligence.
Sharon Svob, regional director of Autism Ontario Niagara Region, puts it
this way: "It's a different kind of mind." Alex wants to tell people about Asperger's. And he's not shy about it.
"Asperger's is nothing to be afraid of," he says. "It's not contagious."
Much of his self-esteem blossomed around Grade 9, when many positive factors
merged in his life.
He started at a great school. His principal once told Alex's mother, Tammy,
"If you just allow Alex to be Alex, he'll blow you out of the water."
Tammy liked his attitude.
In Grade 8, Alex joined a group for children with Asperger's. Then, in high
school, a group for teenagers, offered by the Niagara branch of Autism
Ontario. In the Asperger's Teens Group, the teenagers go on social outings together
to develop appropriate social skills while having fun. They've been on
adventures like go-carting, bowling, to the movies and to an Ice-Dogs game.
They are supervised by young adults, who are part of related programs at
Brock University and Niagara College. The students are there to gently guide the teenagers. They give them support. And space to try out their social skills.
After one session, Alex came home and told his mother, "Mom, did you know if
people roll their eyes, they're being sarcastic?"
"Really?" his mom replied.
"Mom," asked Alex, "are you being sarcastic?"
Early on in life, his parents, Mark and Tammy Seib, saw signs that something
was not quite right with Alex. In preschool, Alex seemed extra sensitive to sound. And he was very dependent and insistent on routine.
If his class was going on a field trip first thing in the morning, he
couldn't just walk in the door, then leave like the rest of the kids. He'd
have to complete his regular routine, from taking off his coat, to sitting
down on the carpet for circle. Then he'd get back up, put on his coat, and be ready to go with his classmates.
He liked his picture book. It was filled with pictures of people, places and
things meaningful to his life. The school bus driver in his bus. Alex during
circle time. Alex with his coat on. Alex on a field trip holding his
teacher's hand. It helped him transition from one activity to another. And prepare him for different events during the day.
He didn't talk until he was five. But by then he was able to read and
understand well above his grade level.
In Grade 1, he was reading at a Grade 3-4 level. His first diagnosis was
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It wasn't until he was 10 that he was finally diagnosed with Asperger's. "Some people with Asperger's may think of it as a burden," says Alex. "Other people think of it as a gift." And how does Alex think of it? He pauses for a moment. "It's kind of both," he says.
A burden, because some teens like him would rather "chill out in the library where it's quiet" than hang out in a noisy cafeteria with a bunch of friends. "Other kids may think that's weird," he says.
Sometimes kids with Asperger's avoid making friends because they fear
rejection. They're afraid if they make a mistake, they won't be accepted. So
they don't try at all, he says. "It's like you're in a tight space," he says. "There are no doors, no windows. It's a small space with four walls blocking your way. "That's how a social barrier works. You block out friendships."
Mostly, though, Asperger's is a gift, he says. It gives him creativity. Imagination. In Grade 9 drama, he wrote, acted in and created the costumes for a play that he describes as a Simpson's adaptation of The Shining.
He has a soft spot for animals and plants.
Asperger's affects how he reflects on the world. "You see things in a different perspective," he says.
His mother home-schooled Alex for grades 3-7. In Grade 5, during a unit on
inventions, Alex and his father each chose an invention, wrote a report and
debated its relative importance. His father chose the telephone. Alex chose the table. Says Tammy: "I would have never thought of that. "Alex discussed the historical uses of tables. ("The Mayans used tables for sacrifices," he points out.)
In front of his family, he presented the pros and cons of the table. And won
the debate by a unanimous family vote.
Then one day in Grade 9, he announced to his family that he was running for
student council. The election was the next day. "We're the type of family that if you want to do it, we're going to support you," says Tammy. Everyone spent the night making posters with slogans that reflected his personality. That night, he wrote his own speech. And while he didn't win, he so impressed everyone that he was appointed as the principal's representative on student council.
With generous amounts of work and love, Alex is learning all sorts of social
nuances. He tries not to see everything in black and white. Right and wrong. If
someone has a different point of view, he tries to understand another opinion.
He works on remembering to talk about other people, not just himself, in a
conversation. To engage others. He can easily walk up to someone and strike up a conversation. Usually, it's all about himself. "Now, all I have to do is look at him," says Tammy, "and he'll remember to say, 'Oh, and how are you?' "
He works on turn-taking. Not interrupting conversations.
He has incredible insight into his challenges. A simple question, "How does
Asperger's affect your life?" will cause him to pause, then offer several
thoughtful examples.
"I sometimes lose my temper if someone gets under my skin," he says. "One minute I'm as calm as the sea. The next, I'm raging like a storm."
At night after school, around the kitchen table, they talk about the best
and worst parts of his day. Sometimes they go for walks after dinner. It's part of his social story. They use the time to discuss new social encounters, and how he responded. He learns. And together, they make rules.
One night, Alex explained that someone called him by his friend's name. He
got upset. Yelled at the person. Tammy talked about his reaction. "If you called me 'dad', would you want me to yell at you?" "No," Alex agreed. "He just made a mistake," said Tammy.
Tammy explained that sometimes people make mistakes. And that's OK.
Afterwards, Alex wrote what he learned in his notebook. That time it read: "We do not get angry at someone for making a mistake. We just gently correct them." He uses the notebook as a reference guide of sorts. To remind him how to deal with similar situations that come up in life.
Their journey with Asperger's has been long. There's been frustration. Sadness. Even grief for the child they'll never have, says Tammy.
But ultimately, there is joy. Joy for his accomplishments.
Joy for Alex just being Alex. Says Tammy: "I'm blown away by him every single day."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

take this bread

it's a phenomenal concept that revolutionalizes the world. Jesus uses the elemental to meet the spiritual. the one who called himself the bread of life tells his friends to take this bread and in doing so they are to remember Jesus. so they in turn offer this bread and say remember me ... and the elemental meets the spiritual again.
there is real power and value in the eucharist. the command is too often left at the table though and that is half-measure. we have an abundance of the elemental and yet it doesn't get offered around. the church was the first welfare agency and they have polarized in another completely different direction so that the feast becomes about individual wellness.
when we take this bread, what are we to do with it? it has to be more than personal wellness, more than fire insurance. we often just take our gift of grace, say our little prayer and remember Jesus ... but where is the real action? where are we take this bread? who is to get this bread?
food issues are global issues. we can feed every person on the face of this planet if we can only get away from our own egocentric spiritual myopia.
i heard a story today about Bob Dylan. it has been said that he'd leave a venue after doing one of his concerts and he'd pull his hat over his eyes, lower his head and step into the dark of an alley with his hand stuck out. allegedly he'd do that so that he wouldn't be noticed but just imagine the surprise of anyone who practiced a little random act of kindness to the least of these. here's an autograph for you brother, wanna sit down for a cup of joe? that'd be cool.
where do you take this bread? where does the elemental touch the spiritual for you? it has to be more than "thanks be to God", cross yourself and say a little prayer. there HAS to be more than that.
take this bread. give this bread. live this bread.
today is Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. get out of your upper room and take your bread with you.
where is Holy Week changing your life? what is it doing for you ... today. take this bread my friend and live it out. give it out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

tight chest muscles

my chest is tight ... and not in a good way although i am pretty buff and yeah, i am pretty smoking hot for an over the hill married dude with too many lbs, failing hearing and creaky knees. ok, maybe i'm not so buff after all. last week i woke up several days in a row and my back was really sore. i didn't do anything about it though and now i think my chest muscles are trying to compensate for the sore muscles in my back. then again, i do have a history of anxiety so it occurred to me that it might be a version of a panic attack. i do have some stress in my job and Wendy has been ill and out of work for the last couple months, so maybe it is anxiety and stress.
neither of those options was the first thing that popped into my head over this. i was wondering about angina actually but i'm still a relative kid and i don't think i should be having heart trouble at 42. y'never know though eh? i talked to a nurse friend who advised me to go get checked out and an EKG, not sure that i'll be doing that soon though.
anywho, i'm going with the compensating for the sore back excuse for why my chest feels tight. if my doctor reads this you might not be too surprised to see me sometime soon.
if i'm being an idiot and my days are numbered then know this, Wendy gets everything including the rare coin collection without a single rare coin amongst them.
no, i'm not being morbid, it's just some tight muscles. i hope.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jesus Flickfest 4

it was the season of Jesus Flickfest 1 when my buddy Craig invited me to go check it out with him. we went to see the old classic "Life of Brian" and spent the evening chuckling our way through an old favourite (always look on the bright side of life). it was the last night of Flickfest but i got a gander at the sched and i knew that i had missed a good chunk of something. that was the beginning of an annual lenten culmination every year since that time.
since that time i've enjoyed everything i've seen in the several hours i've spent there. 2 years ago it was the thrill of the John the Baptist character in "Godspell" and last year it was making it all the way through "The Passion of the Christ" and being absolutely enthralled with a South African feature film "Son of Man" that completely blew me out of the water (several times in several different viewings). i've also sat my way through Willem Dafoe as Jesus in "The Last Temptation of Christ" and wondered what all the (we) evangelicals were so put out about back in the day.
it's exciting to me. i post the brochure in my cubicle at work and my co-workers probably get tired of seeing the thing there.
right now my plan is to go see something on Wed and Thurs nights (although Wed might not work since we have our seed group meeting) and i want to spend as much time as i can on Friday and Saturday. if you're in Winnipeg and want to go check it out then it'll be at Knox United Church just north of Ellice at 400 Edmonton St. if you're there then say hey, i might be in the audience with you.

Shortcut to:

seriously, go check it out. you won't be sorry.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Play Ball!!!!!!!

man do i ever LOVE baseball. few people around me have anywhere near the same passion about it that i do. i may be the biggest baseball fan you know. the game is poetic. it's beautiful. it combines individual achievement and team outlook in a wonderful balance.
did you ever see the Al Capone scene in "The Untouchables" where DeNiro waxes poetic on baseball just before he does the Gallagher watermelon trick on some croney's skull with a Louisville Slugger? the purpose of the scene wasn't to wax poetic but that's exactly what happened.
did you ever watch "Bull Durham"? that's a truly classic baseball flick. there are several baseball scenes worth seeing including "you don't F#$@ with a winning streak", "breathe through your eyelids", and "nobody knows what to get Jimmy and Sissy for a wedding present" but one of my all time fave scenes when Costner spends 30 seconds talking about the difference between a good hitter and a GREAT hitter. he points out that a handful of hits in a season can make you a multi-millionaire.

tomorrow is Opening Day. tomorrow is also the start of Holy Week. hmmm, maybe Holy Week carries some extra meaning for me this year. yes i love baseball that much.

may all your ground balls have eyes ... unless you're a pitcher then may all your ground balls have leather attached.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

RRSP or live the life of a sparrow

how do you spend your money? anyone who knows me knows that i'm pretty ... frugal? no, i'm cheap. i don't spend money. right now there's some medical stuff going on for us so i'm continuing in my frugal ways. i have some RRSP's though and we do have a pension plan through work.
we had a discussion in our church community recently about finances and in truth, we don't talk about money much. we really need to though.
some believe that we should use our resources as part of service and we shouldnt worry about how we'll end up when the dying of the light is nearer. their argument is that God cares for the sparrows and He'll care for you too. so a person who believes that way would argue vehemently that a Christian (or at least a person in our church community) should make all funds available for service and one shouldn't concern himself with saving, RRSP's, retirement, insurance. basically don't worry about money, give it away and let God care for you ... grasshopper.
i suppose i agree with some of that in principle. if a Christian were to follow Jesus truly; would he have more than one set of clothes? would he own a house? would he pursue education? would he ... i don't know, would he own a tv? i suppose the answer to some of those questions may be NO but at the same time, my answer for all of those questions has been yes.
the discussion started because it was suggested in our AGM for our church community that perhaps we should provide a RRSP contribution for our servant leaders while they are leading us. we wanted to make the position more "palatable" so that people would WANT to become a servant leader. some in the circle objected to the idea that we'd provide a RRSP for someone. i didn't understand why, until this recent discussion.
i'm a welfare worker so i've seen more than my share of folks at rock bottom in our society. regularly i see, "there but for the grace of God, go i". now i've worked my tail off to get where i am and i freely admit that i'm blessed but i also say that i got some breaks because i was working hard to get where i am. my wife and i have seen some hard times, we still see them, and what happens if medical bills become so big that we can't pay them? we'd rely on others i suppose. but what if the bills got that way because we didn't do anything about them when we had the means to pay them? isn't that irresponsible? am i being a good steward if i don't pay my bills? well, no i don't think i am.
is it right to provide for your future? i say it's more than right, it's mandatory. would you choose not to feed your children if you had the means simply because you wanted to give more to the church? don't be silly. so why wouldn't you fail to plan for your own future? why fail to plan for a time when you might not have the means? yes, you'd be a burden on your family but youre going to be that anyway and families carry one another. isn't it better to lessen the burden when you can?
we in Canada have the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security that we pay into, but at the same time the population is getting older and who's to say that there'll be much of anything to collect by the time the baby-boomers get to an age that they can collect. what would i do if there's a pittance of a CPP and OAS coming in and i had nothing else to supplement it with? go hungry i suppose.
there's an implication here too that i react to. somehow it seems less spiritual to plan for retirement. the statements have been (quite literally) that we should live day to day and trust God to provide but that carries the implication that i'm less spiritual or less faithful because i have a pension and RRSP's for when i retire. i react to that. responsibility isn't a lack of faith. i still believe and i'll trust that we'll all support one another. we'll do what we need to do to help one another along the road, but i still ask why not prepare ahead of time so that the burden isn't quite so burdensome.
maybe i do have less faith. maybe i don't trust God enough. but at the same time, i've seen a LOT in this world and i don't want to be too much of a burden if i don't have to be. if we're "in this thing" called our church community then it'll be your kids who have to help prop up old guys like me along the way. yeah, i get that's exactly what we should be doing as the church but we should at least plan things out a bit so that maybe ALL of us don't have to be propped up.
just one guy's opinion.

if you're reading this...

you may remember that i wrote a fantasy hockey blog and i moved it over to and it continues there. i've decided that i might have more to say though about other things so i'll resurrect my original blog and i just won't call it a fantasy hockey blog. if you want fantasy hockey blog then go ahead to my blog over at or you can see some of my other work at or
yes, i think i'm writing for enough sites. this'll be for me and whoever else wanders upon it. i'm keeping the name though, i like it. the other blog will also have the name but i'll talk a LOT less about hockey and/or sports here. or maybe i won't.

so ... welcome back. there'll be more when i have something to say.