Thursday, December 16, 2010

A new twist on the Nativity story.

OK, it's not a new story, just a new way of telling it. I like these view-historical-events-through-today's-techno-doohickies videos. Enjoy! Hat tip to Mark Shea.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Aggie Catholics: An Open Letter To Politicians

So yeah, what he said...

Marcel is a good guy. I didn't know him as well as I should have when we were at A&M together. He puts together a really cool blog and he has this to offer today.

Aggie Catholics: An Open Letter To Politicians:

"We are Catholic and we are American. You will be in our prayers and we promise to pray for you as you serve us."

I especially like his first bullet point:

We are Catholics first. We may be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, etc. Many of us do not claim a political party. Regardless, we will never abandon our faith for the purposes of politics. Being Catholic is not defined by political party affiliation.

As Mark Shea would point out, we won't support the Party of Evil and we won't support the Party of 30% Less Evil. So quit being all Evil and give us someone we can vote for.

I also enjoyed

We will look past the rhetoric, the slogans, and the ads. We will look for integrity, character, ethical behavior, and honesty.

I'm sick of the standard rhetoric on both sides. It's tired. They all repeat the same crap that they are told to say by their respective party. Unfortunately, with only two parties, they only way to get elected is to "motivate the base." This is done by demonizing the opponent and demanding that the electorate vote to keep the other guy/gal out of office. It's all about being 30% Less Evil than the your opponent (Sorry Mark if you have a copyright on that).

Marcel added some other points that are important. Go check it out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Big Families and the Small Questions that folks ask

This reminds me of this.

Actually, it was harder to go through the grocery store with 5. With 7, folks are moved beyond pity and curiosity to shock and awe. Plus our oldest is about six feet tall now.

Feel free to discuss. My favorite response to "Are you going to have more?" - I'm not afraid.

And no, we don't have another bun in the oven.

Update: I forgot that I had written about how a number can be judged in other ways here. Of course, that was three years ago. Did they have blogs back then?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Icebreaker Review

OK, so the other day I get an email from Icebreaker. They're an outfit from New Zealand that makes high end clothing out of Merino wool. If you haven't worn anything made with Merino you really should give it a try. This is not your father's wool. It isn't itchy. It's super soft and very comfy. It still retains heat like just about nothing else, even when wet. Best of all, it breathes, and even better than best of all, get this, it doesn't take on odor. So real merino wool socks don't stink when you take them off. Seriously. In fact, I have a few sets of wool socks (from another maker) that I think have a bunch of other material in them. They do stink when I take them off. But the high-wool versions I have I prize highly. They ain't cheap. Awesome doesn't come cheap.

So back to Icebreaker. Their stuff is high priced. Obsequiously good looking models grace their webpage showing off how active sporty their active sportswear is. I will never look that good, even while wearing that $110 wool long sleeve base layer. Did I mention that Merino wool tends to run expensive? But I had seen their stuff advertised somewhere and probably signed up for a promotional giveaway a year or two ago. Even after I discovered that I wasn't a winner, I still got emails from time to time and just deleted them. Then I got this one. It started off with "Ewe are a winner!" (funny!) and said that the prizes ranged from free shipping to free socks to $50 off. OK, I wouldn't mind winning a free pair of socks. So I clicked on the link and got an email saying $50 off. I figured it would be $50 off of a $200 purchase. But no, it was $50 off of a $50 purchase. Free stuff? Was I finally a winner?

Then I discovered that I really had ascended to that mythical realm inhabited by "the winners." The "Sheepstakes" had an option to post a link on Twitter. Anyone who clicked on it got their own code and, of course, you got another. I posted it on twitter and boom! I got another code for free 2-day shipping. Meh. You can't combine coupons so it was only going to be a discount if I actually bought something. Then another shipping coupon, then a free shirt coupon worth, in my case, $110. Yes, a free $110 shirt. So there's two parts to that statement that just scream "winner!' Someone actually sells a shirt for $110*. And someone came up with a contest to give a free $110 shirt to yours truly. You can now refer to me as "Your Winnerness." (not to be confused with what the other 3rd graders used to call me, "Your Weinerness." Fortunately I'm not still bitter about that.) More coupons for free socks, free $20 off purchase, and free $50 off purchase followed. I've reached nine out of the ten codes they allow, but it looks like I'm having Christmas early. If you still want to get in on this, feel free to click here. I can't guarantee that you get what you want, and in fact, I can't guarantee that it will actually work for you. But, you don't have to forward any email to 500 of your co-workers to see if you really are a winner.

Oh, yeah, review? I guess us "winners," have to show off how winner-y we are to do some reviews of how active and sporty we are in active sportswear from time to time. So I've received one BodyFit 150 Short Sleeve Atlas base layer and one BodyFit 260 Long Sleeve Tech Top. I've only worn the Tech Top long enough to judge the sizing and it fits OK on my freakishly huge frame. It sports extra long sleeves with loops for your thumbs. I'm looking forward to real winter before I get to wear this for a while. It's not at all thick but I can tell that it's really warm. I can see it will be a necessity on cold-weather bike rides. I've worn the base layer a couple of times now and it's pretty nice. It's a bit short on me, which isn't so surprising as they list the height for their XXL sizes as 6' 2" and at a bit over 6'5" and with a healthy case of Dunlop's Disease it rides up a bit. I haven't worn it while riding but I think it will be fine with bibshorts on. As a base layer on the relatively warm October we've had so far? It's warm, really warm. And it's soft. And it doesn't stink after I take it off. All in all, I'm stoked. And I'm a winner.

Please note that nobody sent me anything with the understanding that I'd review them nicely. I don't do that. I did pay just $8.25 each for shipping which is paltry compared to what I got, but that's their "sheepstakes." I doubt they even know I or this blog exist.
* Please note also that $110 is about the going rate for a merino wool cycling jersey.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

No rest from parenting

Lots of parenting activities this week. Every night. Monday night it was an event for Band. Tuesday night was a parent's meeting for Gymnastics. Wednesday night was Religious Ed at our church. Tonight is Choir Concert, and tomorrow night is a HS Football game.

Oh, and in case someone's saying "that's what you get with seven kids," please note that all of this is for two kids. All but Friday is for one kid. This parenting business can make one, well, busy. But oh how it's worth it. My oldest (not the one that almost all this is for) has really shown a great streak of gratitude lately, recognizing when we are going an extra mile for him and thanking us for the effort. That one "Thanks Dad" text message can go a long way.

On the other hand, it's not the constant go-go-go nature of this that's so tiring, it's the moving-of-the-herd when different members of the herd get out of school at different times and some members of the herd have to stay in their car seats for all-to-long.

Coming up this weekend --> State Road Race, and a party for a fifth birthday at McDonalds!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Yesterday, I entered middle age. I am now 40. I am also no longer a "Fred," (a bike rider who buys way more bike than they need or a racer wanna-be entranced with the latest and greatest bike stuff) but a "MAMIL," a Middle-Aged Man in Lycra.

You should now pause to breathe deeply and ponder the difference and the Earth-shaking consequences.

The birthday was fun and was accompanied by several distinct highlights.

1) I took the day off. In fact, I bugged out an hour and a half early the day before.

2) I still did Father-type things, taking my oldest to school to wrap up some scheduling difficulties. So I'm still feeling like I'm an asset to my family. I'm thankful that they humor me so.

3) We all went to the water park. There was splashing, sliding, and screaming (water park necessities). My 11 year old and 13 year old daughters can seriously scream. I heard this blood-curdling (is there any other type?) scream from one of the slides and wondered what who could utter such noises only to see Emily ejected out of the black tube. She was trying to be loud but it sounded like someone falling off of a cliff.

4) Water Park frolic was followed by late afternoon McDonald's, meaning no cooking or dishes for anyone. And they got me a "Share the Road Y'all" Texas license plate for a gift. Perfect for the guy who's driving and wishes he was on his bike.

5) I went to the weekly Wednesday nighter and raced my bicycle. Why? Well someone has to come in last. I lasted about a lap and a half of a 5 lap race (or was it 6?). I dunno. By the time they finished I was in a stretcher with an IV of Shiner. OK, not really. I went out and did some intervals trying to catch B racers going over the center line.

6) I came home to the above "Over the Hill" themed cake. The bike, interestingly enough has no down tube or gears. But it does have a headlight, and a little mirror. So it's obviously a commuter bike. Maybe an oversized folding bike. And the mirror is to make sure you can keep your hair looking good under your helmet.

Fun times for the old man.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ninja News is back!

And this is a nice ninja news story. Basically it's the old bad-guys-are-mugging-kid-for-ipod-in-alley-and-look-up-to-see-ninjas-bearing-down-on-them. Kind of old school storyline, but it worked. Muggers pull kid into alley to get phone and ipod, muggers start to beat kid up, muggers picked wrong alley (right next to Ninja Senshi Ryu, a school for Aussies to become even more badass), ninja students pour out of ninja school and proceed to unleash ninjaness and ninjadom upon muggers, muggers flee, and end scene. You can see the particulars, along with a video here. It kind of takes the edge off to see an Aussie ninja talking on screen, with no hood, and no voice disguising, but it's a nice ending. Apparently Ninja Senshi Ryu doesn't teach students how to run down opponents though. The muggers got away but "arrests were made in connection" with the incident. That could mean anything though, that they caught the muggers or arrested someone who tried to fence the ipod or that one of the ninja students had an outstanding warrant for traffic tickets. Still, I'd give it four our of five throwing stars.

New Design

Just thought I'd try a new design here. One of the things I'm always picky about is embedded pictures or Youtube videos that end up being oversized compared to the default blogger content width. I may have to try to do it myself to get it right though.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You might leave ministry, but you never really leave ministry

Today, I was picking up some gluten-free stuff at Sprouts, a gentleman approached me and said "You must be Bull." I didn't recognize him but he pointed out that he used to be a parishioner at St. John's, where I was the Youth Minister. Just in case anyone is keeping track, that was almost TEN YEARS AGO. Did I mention that I've grown a goatee and long shaggy hair since then? After exchanging pleasantries and names and current situations, he mentions that he had seen me somewhere else but hadn't come up to greet me then, and that essentially he was looking for me since then, that he had an eye out for me. I was last a YM ten years next month. And I was only there for two years. I don't think I set the world on fire in that time. In fact, I was forced out because some of the staff didn't think I was doing my job well enough, and they probably had a valid point.
But ten years later, a parishioner still recognized me in a grocery store. And remembered my name. And was still interested in my life. I'm not sure if he was a parent of one of the youth there, or in K of C, or just a man in the pew.
You never really do leave. And for some reason, I'm OK with that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I was in Daddy Heaven

So it was a week after Father's Day, and I had to drag them up at dark-30 in the morning to get them there on time, but I was able to follow this all morning long.

Yeah, my younger son is a bit slower than my older son, but he worked so hard. 25 miles and nary a whimper or whine. On the way home, he even said "I need to work on hills. I mean, I don't want to work on hills, but I need to."

My older son never complained, never moaned about riding too slow. He even helped the younger one up some of the steeper hills.

Daddy Heaven.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I fell for this one

I haven't been here for a while, I might as well make a big re-entrance...

Pearls Before Swine

Hat Tip to Marcel.