Boy’s Baptism

This weekend was a big event in our family. Both of my boys got baptized. If you aren’t a Christian this probably means nothing to you. If you are you know it is probably the most important thing to happen in their lives.

My wife and I grew up in the churches of Christ. One of the core tenants of that faith tradition is that salvation occurs at the moment of baptism. While we’ve come to believe salvation happens when you dedicate your life to following Jesus, we still believe God commanded everyone to be baptized and did it himself. So it is a big deal for us.

Our boys have called themselves Christians for a number of years, but have never decided to get baptized. As a parent you want to encourage your kids to do what you know they should, but in this choice you want to make sure they are doing it on their own. So we’ve mentioned it in passing a few times, but never really got into a discussion of it. Last Saturday night we were at dinner and it came up. It went something like this:

Elijah's Baptism
Me: “So do you think you need to be baptized?”

Elijah: “Yeah. I mean Jesus said you should and he was baptized.”

Me: “So are you going to be baptized?”

Elijah: “Yeah”

Micah: “Yeah”

Me: “When?”

Elijah: “I don’t know. Someday.”

When you kid says “I don’t know” they don’t usually want to know. They think that answer means they don’t have to answer the question. It’s the easy way out. But I wanted them to think about this.

Micah's Baptism
Me: “Someday. Someday in the far future? Someday soon?”

Elijah: “Soon”

Me: “So why wouldn’t you be baptized tomorrow?” (Tomorrow was Sunday.)

Micah: “OK. I’ll be baptized tomorrow.”

Elijah: “I don’t know.”

My wife said something about that Sunday being fathers day and short notice to get her family to come to church with us.

Micah: “Then next Sunday.”

Elijah: “I don’t want to get baptized in front of the whole church.”

Micah: “I do”

Me: “Why not? Are you afraid?”

Elijah: “I’m not afraid, I’m shy.”

Me: “Isn’t that what shy is? Being afraid of something? Anyway, we can do it some other time in front of just family and friends.”

Elijah: “OK”

Micah: “I still want to do it in front of the church.”

And that was it. We decided to do it a week later. Micah went forward during the invitation song and was baptized during church. We invited a bunch of friends to come up to the church at 2 that afternoon and baptized Elijah.

One other thing that happen that was important to me. I performed the baptisms. I was baptized when I was 9 at Garrnet Road church of Christ in Tulsa Oklahoma. I remember going up front during the invitation song and sitting on the front row. Garrnet had over a 1000 members even then – or at least it seems that way to me. The minister, Marvin Phillips, knew why I was there because my father and I had gone and talked to him about it earlier. And he did something I’ll thank him for forever. He asked me if I wanted my father to baptize me. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me, but I’m glad it had to him.

So I wanted to baptized the boys, but when I asked Micah he said he didn’t want me to. Needless to say, I was a little hurt. But it is his big day. I did ask my wife to talk to them. I don’t know what she said but they both wanted me to do it. So I did.

Update: More pictures uploaded to my .Mac account.

Fahrenheit 9/11 vs. The Passion


There has been a lot of hoopla around Fahrenheit 9/11,Michael Moore’s new movie released this weekend. The Monday morning press has consistently touted ” highest grossing documentary of all time”, which is true. But how did it do as a movie in general? Not all that great.

The reason it is doing as well as it is because of the controversy surrounding it. Which immediately made me think of another movie that came out this year and was surrounded with controversy, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ. While the subject of these films is dramatically different, they have many things in common from a movie business perspective.

Both are small budget independent films.The Passion was made for $30 million and F911 for $6 million. Compare that to the last Harry Potter film ($130 million) or Shrek 2 ($70 million), which was animated. Neither were commissioned by a major studio.

Both had trouble finding a distributor because of the subject of the film. Disney wouldn’t let Miramax distribute F911. The Passion struggled to find someone to risk a religious, controversial and violent film.

Both were all over the news before release. In the case of the Passion, the controversy was the portrayal of Jews in the film, with Jewish groups saying Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic. F911 is a direct attack on the President of the United States, making many claims critics say aren’t true.

Both brought out a different crowd than you average movie goer The people who went to see the Passion were not your normal movie going public. Marketing to churches and Christian groups brought in people who never go to the movies. F911 is similar. Many people who don’t normally go see movies will see F911 because they agree ideologically with Moore and hate the President.

Both opened to little competition. The Passion actually opened on Ash Wenesday, but had only 50 First Dates and Twisted as competition. F911 opened against White Chicks and Dodgeball, neither highly anticipated films. If Moore had waited till next weekend he’d have been opening against Spiderman 2, and wouldn’t have even been noticed.

Now that we see the similarities, let’s compare performance and make some predictions.

Per theater gross doesn’t tell the whole story. As Box Office Mojo points out F911 had the highest per theater gross of any film, including the Passion. They also point out this was because it was in so few theaters, the incredibly low 309. Many of these theaters were throughly behind the film and showed it on every screen, helping the per theater average. Few if any of the Passion’s theaters did the same.

$23.9 million isn’t that much. Everyone is making a big point of the $23.9 million. That’s pretty good on 309 screens. Its paltry in comparison to even an cheese ball comedy like Dodgeball, which opened last weekend for $30 million. Nothing compared to the last left-slanted ideologically controversial film Day After Tommorrow, whose opening weekend was $68.7 million.

The Passion opened for $83.8 million its first weekend. And stayed #1 for 3 weeks, every week making more than Moore.
Just as an aside, the Passion made $23,567 last week on 90 screens.

Now for some predictions. When F911 won Cannes I predicted three things, it would open at #1 in the US, it would win an Academy Award for best documentary, and it wouldn’t do as well as the Passion. We’ll have to wait till the end of the year so see what the academy has to say, but the other two have already come true.

Next weekend is one of the biggest movie weekends of the year, and Moore’s movie will be engulfed by Spiderman 2. Will it hold on to #2? Maybe. A quick look at the movies willing to take on Spiderman doesn’t show much competition, and it is a big weekend for movies.

So my prediction is a quick decent out of the theaters for F911. If the number of theaters it is in now is not the result of no one wanting the film. If it was an intentional move to generate buzz before a bigger release, all bets are off on my box office predictions. But I don’t think that’s the plan because Moore has already announced the DVD will be out in September. Which sure means he doesn’t expect his film to be big in theaters then. He’s already said he’s releasing the DVD then because he wants to influence the election. Look for strong sales of the DVD as political groups buy lots of them and give them away.

If Bush wins in November Moore’s film will be quickly forgotten. If he loses, it will be remembered as a foot note in history books. Either way no one will be watching this film in a year.

Lastly a couple of predictions about the Passion. Despite Hollywood’s love for independent films, the Passion won’t be nominated for any Academy Awards. DVD sales of the Passion will be many times F911’s. People will be buying the Passion for decades. While political groups will buy lots of F911 DVDs to give away, Christians will buy more Passion DVDs for the same purpose. In the end Christians care more about people getting saved than Moore ideologues care about defeating Bush and the Christian’s mission will continue long after November. (And who knows some of these two groups may overlap).

Poker Again

106 tonight. I could have folded and probably made a couple more points and beat last night, but I also might have one the hand. Oh well.

I’ll post about the big event tommorrow.

Update: Opps I went back and look at last night entry and I was 109. So I did beat my record.

Written while listening to “Hello”
album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
by Oasis

No posting

You know I wasn’t going to post today. Wasn’t reading blogs so I could get some work done on a software project. Then I got on to read about Apple’s new announcements. The need to add a new RSS feed and that launched my feed readers and poof here I am posting.

Something important happen in our family this weekend and I’m planning on posting that when I get home and have access to the pictures. But now I’m going back to work. Or to read some Apple info on Tiger.

Written while listening to “We Close Our Eyes”
album Boi-ngo
by Oingo Boingo

Elves as cowboys and indians

James over at Hell In A Handbasket commented on a previous post and said on his site that elves can’t be both cowboys and indians.

Sure they can. The problem with D&D is elves, and most of the other non-human races, have become to associate each race with a particular professions/class. Which seems to be what Wizards wants. But when you do your own campaign you can change the races.

For example, I was looking through one of the campaign books – either Forgotten Realms or the new one Eberron – and they have dwarves of different colors.

I was looking through Unearthed Arcana at the book store and they had a set of desert versions of all the races. Desert elves herd cattle. Those are the cowboys. Desert Dwarves don’t have stonecutting as a skill, that’s practically sacrilegious. They specialize in drilling water wells. I’m already planning on have dwarves that specialize in drilling oil wells. Wildcatter dwarves.

It seems to me a very elven to be nomadic people concerned mostly with the horse and the hunt like the Indians of western Texas were. Are those barbarians?

So I’m going to have both. Right now I just discovered King Ranch in South Texas and plan on integrating it into the campaign and am trying to decide if I want it to be an elven kingdom or just a human one.

And I should point out I’m not looking at any one time period to build this fantastic Texas. King Ranch was well after the republic period, but its just too good to pass up a ranch that was bigger than Rhode Island.

Written while listening to “Interstate Love Song”
album Purple
by Stone Temple Pilots

Saturday Gaming

Saturday night I played the first adventure in my new Elves of Tejas campaign and on Sunday I played in a No Limit Hold’m tournament on PokerPages.com.

Actually I’m still in the poker game. This is my best night ever. All the tournaments start with 400 people. The highest I’ve ever made it was 246 and right now there are 192. We just finished the break and I’m playing pretty tight.

One of the books I read prior to going to vegas had a set to rules for what hands to play pre-flop. I’ve got a window open with these rules in it. I pretty much play them, though small pairs seem to hold up pretty well in this tourney, so I’ve played a few of the. Not getting anything now ( 4h Js – limp in, bet after got another jack. Got beat by JQ.)

Here’s the rules:

AA KK QQ AKs AQs – raise and raise
JJ, TT, AJs, KQs, AK – raise
ATs, KJs, QJs, JTs, AQ – see flop unless you have to call 3 or 4 blind
99, 88, KTs, Q10s, J9s, T9s, 98s, AJ, KQ – limp in

86 folded

2K folded

Mostly getting crap still. Had to tighten way up after the beat.

176 players left

6Q fold

AsJc limping in. Flop Jd10d 8d – big raise – folded

Pair of duces – called a raise, nothing on the flop but a big raise, folded

This is kind of distracting my play, so I’ll just come back when it is over.

Finished 109. Drowned on the river. I was low and went all in on a pair of nines. There was a side pot that eventually folded out. My head’s up was an AQ, there was 6446 on the board. The river was an Ace and Ron was out. Oh well it was close and as high as I ever got.

Written while listening to “All My Life”
album One By One
by Foo Fighters
Written while listening to “Where Are You Going”
album Busted Stuff
by Dave Matthews Band

Oatmeal-Chocolate vs. Pumpkin Spice

I think it is another example of how John Kerry and his wife are out of touch with general Americans. Every election Family Circle has a Election Cookie Bake off.

This year Laura Bush put forth her recipe for Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk Cookies. How can you not like chocolate chip cookies, and these are big chocolate chips. And the second best cookie is oatmeal. Put those two together and you got a winner.

Heinz Kerry put forth a recipe for orange colored cookies. Who want’s to eat an orange cookie. Especially one that doesn’t taste like an orange. A pumpkin cookie? Come on.

Maybe you are suppose to eat it with ketchup.

Written while listening to “What Would Happen”
album Blurring The Edges
by Meredith Brooks

More tweaks

Spent some more time with Ruby this evening and wrote a script that parses the prefs file for NetNewsWire and generates and HTML version of the subscription hierarchy. So now my blogroll is hierarchical, like it is in my new reader.

I also added some code to filter out folders or URLs whose name is in parens. So you don’t have to see the feed for this site, or other feeds I read but would like to keep a secret.

And now that I’m showing my feeds to the world, I decided I needed to reorganize them. Which isn’t a big change to you, but mattered to me. Also drop a few and re-added one that was in my site list.

Some other changes happen as well. For some unknown reason when I upgraded Nucleus the site list’s format got screwy. Well I needed to weed it down a bit anyway so I did. Then there were so few links I decided to move it below the blog roll.

So now my blogroll is much more like I want it and I can stop messing with things.

Really I’m going to stop now.

UPDATE: Couldn’t stop myself. I added the date the blogroll was updated on.

I am going to stop now.

Written while listening to “Lucky Day”
album Bad Bad One
by Meredith Brooks
Written while listening to “American Pie”
album The Next Best Thing Soundtrack
by Madonna