Monday, September 09, 2013

Free Xbox Live - Free Microsoft Points!

Free Xbox Live - Free Microsoft Points!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ghana Elections

One of my newest friends, Ryan Dowd, is in Ghana as an election observer. He arrived this weekend and provides the, um, details about his $8/night hotel room in Accra.

I met Ryan in Springfield a few weeks ago at the Housing Action Illinois (HAI) annual meeting. He is one of several outstanding people who joined the Board of Directors of HAI. When he mentioned that he would be making this trip I have to admit to a bit of jealousy. After reading about his first night, I am no longer jealous!

Return safely Ryan!

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Making a Return?

I got fed up with my web hosting service last year, and pretty much quit blogging with the plan of dropping them. I'm thinking about a return to blogging, but if I do so, I will likely resurrect this old blog. It may mean the loss of about a year of posts, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make at this point. I'm taking some time to figure out what my options are and what plan I should follow. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Making a Move

It appears that I'm making a move over to WordPress and my own dns. I'm working out some bugs, but from this point forward, you can follow my blog at You can subscribe to the RSS feed there at the url

I've managed to import this blog to that site, so you can still check out the archives there and even search them rather easily. I'm still setting up categories and I'll have to go back through the archives to assign categories appropriately, but, hey, that's part of the fun of having my own site.

If you are interested in blogging, I highly recommend Blogger, which is what I've been using these last 18 months or so. I just decided the time was right to move upward and onward. I'll have quite a bit of work to do before I'll consider it easy, and I'm sure I'll get hit with bugs in the meantime, but I'm looking forward to the change. I recently told folks that I don't blog for the readership (doesn't that show!). Now that I've got a few more folks reading my blog, I go and move it. I guess that's a sign that I really don't do it for the readership, eh?!?

Why Dads are Important

Jeremy lists the top ten fatherhood facts. My kids are currently running through the house as though their pants were on fire (they're not, trust me!). In the midst of the chaos, I read Jeremy's post and can say that I'm glad I'm a father. Modern society seems to have confused the roles of Daddy and sperm donor (ever hear someone say, "Who's your daddy?"). I stood in a gas station near our old house one day and heard a guy walk into the store and see a lady he knew. He turned to the lady's child (about 3 years old) and asked the child if he knew who his daddy was. He started razzing this little toddler over something the child had no control over. The fact is, this little boy didn't have a daddy at all. "Daddy" is a title that a child gives their father because they love their father. Being Daddy is a job that can only be rivaled by "Mommy." If your child doesn't give you the title of Daddy, then you don't have it. Period. You can't give that name to yourself.

Worship Music on Sale at iTMS

The iTunes Music Store has a bunch of worship music on sale through March 20th. If you have iTunes on your computer, go here to check it out. The music is from the Passion 06 Conference, as well as albums by bands that performed there. Every album is $2 off the regular price, so music by Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, David Crowder Band, and the Passion Worship Band is all on sale.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Why the Reformation Movement Needs the Emerging Church

The Internet Monk has posted an outstanding look at the bigger picture of evangelicalism in the US. He examines the critiques of DG Hart's book Deconstructing Evangelicalism and a presentation by Phil Johnson entitled "Is the Reformation Over?" Placing these side by side, he challenges the reformed movement to seriously consider encouraging the good points of the emerging church while continuing to confront the more questionable aspects. The move by DA Carson and others to toss the whole emerging church overboard will mean getting rid of a lot of good stuff. Like anything else, encourage the good, get rid of the bad. After all, we don't allow the reformation movement to literally burn people at the stake just because they disagree on a fine theological point, so even they have changed over the years!

He also discusses the role of Catholicism in a "post-evangelical" world. Consider this:
In all honesty, is the problem ECT, Timothy George and Chuck Colson? How many Peter Kreefts and Scott Hahns jumped ship over ecumenical evangelicalism? Hardly. It is traditional Catholicism that is making converts, and it is making them from largely conservative evangelicals who are looking for something in conservative, fundamentalist post-evangelicalism that isn’t there.
John Paul II and Benedict the XVI are seen as spiritual leaders of substance, in contrast to what evangelicalism these days calls a leader— anyone with two books and a church over 1500 members.

I know this is true of my generation! I have far more respect for John Paul II than the vast majority of evangelical "leaders." Most of the "leaders" that we've been raised on view politics, particularly Republican politics, as the real solution to the world's problems, but I'll get into that in a post later today or tomorrow.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Bank Was Not Scammed

Having the house number 1234 means that we get a lot of odd looks. Today we got our first rejection letter from a bank. It was supposed to go to someone at "1234 Your St." Apparently the Post Office thought it was close enough to our address that we should get it, though it had someone else's name and a different zip code. Sorry Mr. Johnson, you won't be getting a credit card anytime soon!

You Thought Emergent Was Scary?

Jeremy links to an audio piece that has frightening implications for urban mainline congregations. When your denominations are dying out, the leadership has to find a way to raise cash. What better way to do it than sell off church buildings in urban neighborhoods for huge profits? I know our neighborhood has four Lutheran churches, all in the same Lutheran denomination. Any one of them could hold all the folks who attend all four of those churches. Why not sell off three of those buildings? Simple, the neighborhood isn't worth enough yet. Give it another 5-10 years and there will be fewer Lutheran churches in our neighborhood, based on this line of thinking. Calling it "job security" is a bit crass, but in reality, that's what it is. It goes back to that old human tendency to look out for self in spite of the consequences for others.

Autistic Teen Takes Over the Game

HT to Jeremy

The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The New mini

My favorite computer has been upgraded. There is seriously no computer cooler than the mini. Anywhere.

A Day in the Life of...

Had a busy morning, full of meetings. I went to lunch with a board member and we got to talking about a possible state law that we'd like to see written. Got back to the office and fired off an email to an attorney-friend with a passion for that sort of thing. We'll see what happens. We also talked about going to law school over lunch. My attorney-friend encouraged me to do that the last time we were together. I'm not so sure. I've certainly got enough going on right now. She's a bit of a rabble-rouser, and I could definitely see a law degree getting me into trouble someday too! As she puts it, "It's a license to raise hell." She does that pretty well. There'd be some serious stuff coming down the pike if my attorney-friend, board member, and I all had law degrees. We already have the potential of creating mischief if we really want. Speaking of which...

We're looking at getting a group of folks together in Chicago to have a long conversation about affordable housing issues. Should be a great time. The only problem? It probably won't happen until May, when I'm in for a meeting. I'm hoping that the three of us mentioned above, as well as one other would be there. We're thinking a couple hours over lunch, but I could easily see it lasting longer if no one has other appointments to get to. There's too much to talk about. Governments to overthrow, that sort of thing. Yup, its the sort of conversation that could get out of hand and unrealistic, but at the same time, there's some serious potential for good to come out of it.

Speaking of good to come out of it, the local paper is working on a story regarding foreclosures. They're looking for someone who'd be willing to step up and talk about their own experience. Instead they're getting a lot of calls from people with questionable motives. Folks who look for pre-foreclosure sales or who track foreclosures nationwide so shady characters can prey on people who are in a desperate financial situation (I'm sure that's not why they track the foreclosures, but that's the result). The writer got our name from a legitimate source, and has seemed to be impressed with the knowledge that our office has about the situation. We ought to have it, we deal with it every day.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tag! I'm It!

Jeremy tagged me, but I've been too busy of late to even notice. Thanks for the comment, Jeremy, who knows when I would've caught it! Anyway, here's my answers:

Four jobs I’ve had
Siding houses, upper elementary public school teacher, McDonald's, grunt in the Criminal Records Division of the DuPage County States Attorney office

Four movies I can watch over and over
Princess Bride, Fiddler on the Roof, Lord of the Rings (any),

Four TV shows I love to watch
Monday Night Football, M*A*S*H, NASCAR on Fox, NFL on Fox

Four places I’ve been on vacation
Playa del Carmen, Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park, Outer Banks, Boundary Waters

Four favorite dishes
Salmon (Famous Dave's), Vegetarian B at Dos Reales, shrimp fried rice, lefsa (not really a "dish," but pretty darn tasty!)

Four Web sites I visit daily
My Folding@Home Stats Page, My other F@H stats page, Team Mac OS X Forum, and

Four places I’d rather be
Chicago, Colorado, Playa del Carmen, an Apple Store

Four blogs I’d like to see do this quiz
I'm going to wimp out on this one. If you feel like doing this after seeing my answers, leave a comment to let us know!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

God's Politics

I've picked up Jim Wallis' book God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. It's been a while since I had started it, so I restarted (as I'm prone to do). There's so much good stuff in this book, for example, I am always amazed at the debate about poverty, with one side citing the need for changes in personal behaviors and the other for better social programs, as if the two were mutually exclusive. Obviously, both personal and social responsibility are necessary for overcoming poverty. When this absurd bifurcation is offered by ideological partisans on either side, I am quickly convinced that both sides must never have lived or worked anywhere near poverty or poor people.

This book quickly moves to the point of explaining where I come from in my political views. It gets very old listening to conservatives ignore the Bible in their attempt to present an argument for voting for Republicans while liberals ignore the Bible because they are scared to death of religion and God. A very good summary can be found in Wallis' interview with the liberal mag Mother Jones. The interview reminded me of my own take on the election. I desperately wanted the Democrats to put forth a presidential candidate that I could vote for, and they did, but then they relegated him to vice-presidential candidate, and they lost my vote.

Therein lies a huge problem with two party politics. The left nominates a person who's too far left and the right nominates a person who's too far right. Kerry may not have been the worst candidate the Dems could have picked, but he was completely incapable of pulling in moderates and therefore incapable of winning the election. John Edwards was so far ahead of the rest of the Democratic field that he was "put on the shelf" (as Wallis puts it in the interview). Edwards got it. The rest of the party didn't.

It's understandable that Republicans would be uncomfortable with Wallis' book and interviews. He basically gives the Democrats the keys to the White House, if they will take them. Of course, the Republicans could do exactly the same thing, and keep the keys. The problem is that they don't want to. The old formula worked, so why change it? I'll tell you why they should change it. The Democrats probably will change their formula, and then the old Republican formula won't work anymore.

Science and Darwinism

Sven has an interesting piece on the impact that modern scientific research has on Darwinism. The list of signers is pretty impressive. I expected a lot of faith-based schools to be represented, but they actually made up a pretty small number. I wasn't quite sure of the benefit, though, of seeing computer scientists on the list. Again, they didn't seem to be a significant number, but a bit odd. It will be interesting to see how this list grows over time, however. I think someday we'll look back on Darwinism much like we tend to look back on medicine from the middle ages.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Top Cop

Yesterday, the Police and Fire Commission announced a new police chief. I, for one, am grateful to see an outsider coming in. I was disappointed when the last opening in 2003 was not advertised outside of the department. The advantage of searching nationwide is that you can bring in someone with innovative ideas and experience in implementing that. As much as people speak well of our police department, there is a much higher level of distrust in lower income and minority neighborhoods. The sense of frustration grew out of years of being ignored.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Closet

Some teachers are really good...and they get away with it.

Anyone Else See a Tax Increase In Our Future?

This Resolution on the Family sounds very expensive. My view of local politics tells me that the people who support it also oppose Home Rule. Even if it were to pass, its supporters would want it to be an unfunded mandate. For some reason, people seem to forget that vision doesn't amount to anything if no one puts forth the energy, time and resources to make it reality.

Boone County Growth

I attended a meeting in Chicago a couple weeks ago, after which I was asked, by one of the other participants, about downpayment assistance programs in Boone County. Boone County sits just east of Rockford and just west of McHenry County, the suburban Chicago county to the farthest northwest. The person asking me about Boone County was from McHenry County and she was being asked about downpayment assistance programs from people who lived in McHenry and wanted to move to Boone. Another article that I found discusses the massive growth that Boone County has experienced in recent years. I've heard that home values have risen 140% of late. Even with that rise in valuation, McHenry residents see Boone as being an incredible value.

The flip side to that, of course, is that gas prices reduce the value of living so far outside of Chicago. Those who can afford to move from McHenry to Boone are those who actually work in McHenry. Working in Chicago itself makes for a very expensive commute these days. I would guess that the most economical way to commute to Chicago would be to drive to McHenry to catch the Metra into Chicago. Not cheap, but it sure beats our current gas prices.

Illinois Commerce Commission

I came across this article about former Rockford Mayor Charles Box being up for nomination as chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Box is a pretty straight shooter, you get what you see and you see what you get. Very sharp. That doesn't mean I agreed with everything he did as mayor, but I respect him. Here's what I find interesting:

1. Sen. Rickey Hendon either doesn't know when Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was, or he doesn't care. Apparently he was in his office, at his desk, that day. How else would he know that Box missed a meeting with him.

2. Sen. Emil Jones, who has been in the State Senate for over 20 years, didn't even recognize Box's name, even though Box served as the first African-American mayor of the state's second largest city for most of the years that Jones has been in the State Senate. Apparently Jones also fails to read the Chicago Sun-Times, one of the two large newspapers in his own home town, nor does he follow the Illinois Government News Network. It leaves one wondering just what it is that he does with his time. But don't worry, after taking nearly a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions from utilities "he has said such financial support does not steer his decisions."

3. Is the ICC at all concerned with the people who live in Illinois?!? It certainly appears not! The Senate rejected a citizens' advocate out of a concern that he might be too hard on utilities. This after the Senate leadership accepted $400,000 in contributions from the utilities. Given that the previous ICC chair resigned over criticism that he was too cozy with the utilities, I say its time for Senate leadership to follow suit and resign as well.

4. It sounds like Box is exactly the person that the Senate wants in the position...willing to go with the utilities. Why is the Senate leadership delaying a vote on someone who appears, at least from this article, to be exactly what they are looking for? Box doesn't exactly come across as being too hard on the utilities, so what's the delay? Oh yeah, he's not from Chicago. I keep forgetting that Illinois is actually made up of two states, and I'm not in the same state as Hendon or Jones.