Monday, October 16, 2017

On this day...and MM#01

From my Xanga of Friday, October 5, 2007
"2.  MONDAY MELODIES.  Starting next week, I'll be blogging on a song of my choice.  Recommendations may be accepted or ignored at my choosing.  Like my twin, I also did a musical bracket.  Once.  Based solely on music I had on my computer that day.  Took me two weeks, but I found the winning song, so it gets first billing. "

It would be fitting for me to go back to MM#89, since today marks 19 years since the Phil Driscoll concert at Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, MO - the church I attended for 12 years.  (The church I got married in.  The church my children were dedicated in.  The church my children were baptized in.)

Or we could go back to MM#01...
Yeah.
We're going back to MM#01.

From Word of Life's album "There With Me" in 2005

Beautiful Savior

Draw us near, Holy Lord
Do to us thy grace accord
True faith and love to us impart
That we might hold these in our hearts

    Beautiful Savior of wondrous love,
    Beautiful Savior, no other name above
    And I give my all to thee, completely,
    And follow you with all of me.

Jesus, name of wondrous love
Human name of God above
Leading only, this we plea
Helpless oh, our God to thee

    Beautiful Savior of wondrous love,
    Beautiful Savior, no other name above
    And I give my all to thee, completely,
    And follow you with all of me.

        Holy Jesus, every day
        Keep us in your narrow way
        Until at last we too proclaim
        With all the saints thy glorious name
        In paradise our songs renew
        And we'll praise you like the angels do
        Yes we will praise you like the angels do
        Yes we will praise you like the angels do
               
    Beautiful Savior of wondrous love,
    Beautiful Savior, no other name above
    And I give my all to thee, completely,
    And follow you with all of me.

    Beautiful Savior of wondrous love,
    Beautiful Savior, no other name above
    And I give my all to thee, completely,
    And follow you with all of me.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tango Whiskey Charlie

The one constant in the universe...is change.

Someone once asked...where do you see yourself in 5 years.  When I think about that question, I laugh a painful laugh.

I have no idea what things will be like in 5 years.

Going back, there has always been something changing.  The only rather stable 5-year span in my life was April 2004 to October 2010 - same job, same family size, same church, same address... and that had its own amount of chaos.

I haven't had the same job on back-to-back 4th of July since 2009-2010 working as a programmer for an Army contractor.  Since then...'11 & '12 unemployed. '13 call center from home. '14 Wal-Mart. '15 call center for a bank. '16 Home Depot. '17 unemployed.  (Now with Hallmark since the day of the eclipse)

I can argue that the two most tumultuous years in my life were 1986 (new brother, new school, new church, moved back to Leavenworth) and 2013 (new job, changed churches 3 times, moved back to Leavenworth, and other things).  Don't remember much about 1986.  But 2013...that year was...I ended that year with this on Facebook

"I started this year quoting a conversation between two characters about to go over a waterfall. And I thought things were challenging then...
This has to go down as the worst year in my life, so far. Good riddance to '13.
And yet, despite everything, more than most of y'all know, I cannot escape the truth of Romans 8:37-39."


So...where will I be in five years?  God only knows.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Every Monday Melody



10/08/07Beautiful SaviorWord of Life Church
10/15/07
* 08/15/16
Someday Out Of The BlueElton John
10/22/07Chicken Dance(n/a)
10/29/07Dear Mr. JesusRichard Klender
10/29/07Concrete AngelMartina McBride
10/29/07Alyssa LiesJason Michael Carroll
11/05/07The Houseplant SongAudio Adrenaline
11/12/07
* 09/26/16
If You're Going Through HellRodney Atkins
11/19/07Wild HorsesStephanie Glenn
11/26/07
* 08/21/17
Total Eclipse of the HeartBonnie Tyler
12/03/07Cleaning This GunRodney Atkins
12/10/07No DoubtPetra
12/17/07Same Auld Lang SyneDan Fogelberg
01/14/08It's All About The PentiumsWeird Al Yankovic
Sa 02/02/08Missing PersonMichael Smith
03/10/08Leave A LegacyAaron Jeoffrey
03/17/08Watch The LambRay Boltz
03/24/08When God RanPhillips, Craig, & Dean
Tu 04/29/08
* 10/03/16
Like We Never Loved At AllTim McGraw
Tu 04/29/08Whiskey LullabyBrad Paisley
05/12/08Still the OneShania Twain
05/26/08ArlingtonTrace Adkins
05/26/08If You're Reading ThisTim McGraw
06/02/08I Don't Want To Miss A ThingAerosmith
06/09/08Cat's In The CradleHarry Chapin
06/09/08
* 10/10/16
BounceBon Jovi
06/09/08Because of YouKelly Clarkson
Tu 08/26/08Everything is Gonna Be All RightGreg Long
09/08/08White & NerdyWeird Al Yankovic
09/29/08Livin' On A PrayerBon Jovi
Tu 10/07/08Move AlongAll-American Rejects
12/08/08HurtJohnny Cash
12/15/08Away In A Manger(traditional)
12/29/08Auld Lang Syne(traditional)
01/05/09What A Friend We Have in Jesus(traditional)
01/12/09Alter BridgeMetalingus
01/12/09KyrieMr. Mister
01/26/09When You Come Back To Me AgainGarth Brooks
02/02/09Wherever We GoNewsboys
02/09/09It's A Small WorldDisney
03/02/09It's My LifeBon Jovi
Tu 03/17/09Bad DayDaniel Powter
03/30/09Grown Men Don't CryTim McGraw
We 04/01/09Faith is the Victory(traditional)
04/20/09
* 10/17/16
I Dreamed A DreamLes Mis
05/11/09It's A Great Day To Be AliveTravis Tritt
We 05/20/09Summer of 69Bryan Adams
06/29/09Battle Hymn of the Republic(traditional)
07/13/09Viva la VidaColdplay
08/10/09The StormGarth Brooks
08/17/09
* 08/22/16
Second ChanceShinedown
09/28/09You Found MeThe Fray
10/26/09The Sound of SilenceP. Simon
03/08/10Mercy NowMary Gauthier
05/17/10In Christ AloneMichael English
Su 01/09/11ParadiseColdplay
01/10/11FancyReba McIntire
02/28/11A Different WorldBucky Covington
03/07/11
* 10/24/16
A Father's LoveBucky Covington
03/14/11When She Loved MeSarah McLachlan
03/21/11I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking ForU2
03/28/11Silent RunningMike & The Mechanics
04/04/11You Belong to the CityGlenn Frey
04/11/11Counting Flowers on the WallStatler Brothers
04/18/11Thicker Than BloodGarth Brooks
04/25/11All By MyselfCeline Dion
05/02/11I Go BackKenny Chesney
05/09/11Never Gonna Give You UpRick Astley
05/16/11Peace of GodHillsong
05/16/11The CallMatt Kennon
05/23/11The Power of the DreamCeline Dion
Su 05/29/11Highway to the Danger ZoneKenny Loggins
05/30/118th of NovemberBig & Rich
09/05/11
* 08/08/16
I Hope You DanceLee Ann Womack
09/05/11Independence DayMartina McBride
09/12/11Where Were YouAlan Jackson
09/19/11Baby I'll Come Back to YouJoey + Rory
09/19/11That's Important to MeJoey + Rory
09/26/11
* 08/01/16
The Boys of FallKenny Chesney
10/03/11OpportunitiesPet Shop Boys
10/31/11ParadiseColdplay
01/02/12The Boys Are BackHSM3
01/09/12
* 10/31/16
My TownMontgomery Gentry
Sa 08/31/13
* 07/04/16
Born This WayLady Gaga
Sa 04/26/14
* 07/04/16
Life HappenedTammy Cochran
Sa 07/25/15This Is The Good LifeAudio Adrenaline
Sa 02/27/16Even So ComeKristian Stanfill
07/18/16LadyKenny Rogers
07/25/16Covenant ChildrenPhil Driscoll
08/29/16Dancing in the MinefieldsAndrew Peterson
09/05/16He Didn't Have To BeBrad Paisley
09/12/16Severance DayDaysend
09/19/16Leavin On A Jet PlaneJohn Denver
06/05/17Temporary HomeCarrie Underwood
06/12/17The Boys Are Back In TownThin Lizzy
06/19/17This Is Amazing GracePhil Wickham
09/11/17Something To Be Proud OfMontgomery Gentry
10/02/17I Need Thee Every HourAnnie Hawks
10/02/17Jesus, Take The WheelCarrie Underwood
10/09/1710,000 ReasonsMatt Redman


Monday Melody #100

I told my wife that I was about to post Monday Melody #100.  I thought about doing Big Green Tractor (Jason Aldean, #Vegas)...and I would've done it for a Monday Melody, if it wasn't MM#100, if it wasn't 10 years since MM#1.

She immediately suggested MM#96, This Is Amazing Grace.  Uh, already did it.

So she suggested another one.  And after a few minutes of googling it, we found it.

Happy 16½th anniversary, Ivy.


Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons

    Bless the Lord O my soul
    O my soul
    Worship His holy name
    Sing like never before
    O my soul
    oh
    I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

You're rich in love and You're slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more

Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
oh
I'll worship Your holy name



Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Decade of Monday Melodies


The Decade Collection

2007MM#02Someday Out Of The BlueElton John
2008MM#26BounceBon Jovi
2009MM#51Second ChanceShinedown
2010MM#54Mercy NowMary Gauthier
2011MM#59A Father's LoveBucky Covington
2012MM#83My TownMontgomery Gentry
2013MM#84Born This WayLady Gaga
2014MM#85Life HappenedTammy Cochran
2015MM#86This Is The Good LifeAudio Adrenaline
2016MM#90Dancing in the MinefieldsAndrew Peterson
2017MM#96This Is Amazing GracePhil Wickham

So, yeah, I picked my favorite/the best/the only Monday Melody from each song this decade, since I've been doing Monday Melodies since 10/8/2007. 

And, except for MM#54, there's a Saturdays blog in which I referenced each of these songs in my "I Go Back" feature, or introduced it.

In bold are my top three Monday Melodies all-time, Bounce; Second Chance; and This Is Amazing Grace.

Monday, I release MM#100.

Expected Trophies in Soccer

Like last week's blog, we're looking at expected trophies.  This time, instead of Kansas City, we're looking at Major League Soccer.

Each year, we assign 1/league + 1/league + 1/country as xT - expected trophies.  (For Canada, 2008-2010, 3; 2011-current 4).  So at the start of the league, for 10 US teams, xT is 0.3/yr.  At current, xT for an American team is 0.159; and a Canadian team's xT is 0.350

Then, for each trophy (MLS Cup, Supporter's Shield, Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Canadian Championship), if the team won one, add 1 to Trophies.  (Also adding 1 for the continental and the intercontinental for DC United in 1998, because being the best team in the Americas is worth something)

Chart 1 shows how the 10 original MLS teams fared.

  DC and LA are on top.  DC sits at 7.15 T>xT, and LA is right behind at 6.15.  SKC is 3rd among the originals at 1.15, and Columbus Crew sits just above 0 at 0.15.
  Below 0 are San Jose (on hiatus for two years), at -0.36.  FCD has jumped with a great 2016, but is still at -1.85.  Red Bull New York had the longest run without silverware, but now sits at -2.85.  New England and Colorado, each with only 1 trophy, are at the bottom, right about -3.85.
  The Tampa Bay Mutiny won 1 Supporters' Shield in their six years, but the team ceased to exist after the 2001 season.



Chart 2 shows how the best 6 teams by T>xT.

  Again, DC and LA are 1-2.
  Seattle Sounders opened with three straight Open Cup wins, and won three more trophies to put them at a very respectable 4.61.
  Chicago Fire had a great first decade, peaking at +3.6 ten years ago, but haven't won a title since.  They're still 1.75 T>xT
  The best team in Canada is Toronto FC.  They will have a higher xT due to a 1/4 chance of winning the Canadian Championship.  Their five Canadian championships put them at 1.32 T>xT.
  Sporting KC is 6th on the chart, and the only team in the top 6 to ever fall to -1 T>xT (the year before the 2000 MLS Cup/Shield double; and the year before their 2012 US Open Cup)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Only by the grace of God

I keep having to remember the same lesson.
Once upon a time, I knew that God knew better,
and that He cared about me.
And once upon a time, I walked on my porch
and knew that I hadn't gotten myself in the good place I was
- and it was a good place.

And I'm often frustrated
That I need divine assistance
Divine grace
Divine wisdom
And that the brains He gave me in '80
and the brawn
and the guts
and the good looks (ha!)
aren't enough to get me through,
that I need His help, almost daily.

And then I remember the times when I moved without Him
When I took control
and made choices
and screwed everything up so badly
(almost everything bad about my personal great tribulation
is entirely my fault
and the deliverance
I can take no credit for.)

And I'm in the best place in my life
and I wouldn't trade it for any other position so far
although I think I'd do better if I had another chance
except some things I couldn't fix

----------------

MM#98
"I Need Thee Every Hour", Annie Hawks

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou bless├Ęd Son.

    I need Thee, O I need Thee;
    Every hour I need Thee;
    O bless me now, my Savior,
    I come to Thee.

-----------------
 MM#99
"Jesus, Take The Wheel", Carrie Underwood

She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati
On a snow white Christmas Eve
Going home to see her Mama and her Daddy
With the baby in the backseat

Fifty miles to go and she was running low
On faith and gasoline
It'd been a long hard year

She had a lot on her mind and she didn't pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning
On a thin black sheet of glass

She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn't even have time to cry
She was so scared
She threw her hands up in the air

    Jesus, take the wheel
    Take it from my hands
    Cause I can't do this on my own
  
    I'm letting go
    So give me one more chance
    To save me from this road I'm on
    Jesus, take the wheel

It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat
Sleeping like a rock

And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life

I know I've got to change
So from now on tonight

    Jesus, take the wheel
    Take it from my hands
    Cause I can't do this on my own

    I'm letting go
    So give me one more chance
    To save me from this road I'm on

    Oh Jesus, take the wheel
    Oh, I'm letting go

    So give me one more chance
    Save me from this road I'm on
    From this road I'm on
    Jesus, take the wheel
    Oh, take it, take it from me
    Oh, why, ooh

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Trophies in the City of Fountains

In this decade, Kansas City has seen its fair share of trophies and dominance.

Royals:  2014 AL Pennant; 2015 AL Central, AL Pennant, World Series
Chiefs: 2010 AFC West; 2016 AFC West
Sporting KC: 2012 US Open Cup, 2013 MLS Cup, 2015 US Open Cup, 2017 US Open Cup

But...for their entire existence, which team is bringing in the most trophies, relative to size of league?


For baseball/football
  • A division is worth as many points as there are teams in the division, and is given if a team wins the division (regular season standings)
  • A conference/pennant is worth as many points as there are teams in the conference/league, and is given if a team wins the conference championship/pennant. (Playoffs)
  • A championship is worth as many points as there are teams in the league, and is given if a team wins the end-of-season tournament.
  • Each team loses three points per year (two points for Chiefs 1960-1965 since there was no Super Bowl.  Dallas Texans 1962 win is scored as Division + Conference)
For soccer
  • A Supporters' Shield is worth as many points as there are teams in the league, and is given if a team finishes at the top of the league (regular season standings)
  • A MLS Cup is worth as many points as there are teams in the league, and is given if a team wins the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • A US Open Cup is worth as many points as there are US-based teams in the league, and is given if a team wins the US Open Cup.
[For all sports, no points for wild card or just making the playoffs]

Chart as of March 1, 2017



Chiefs (Dallas Texans 1960-1962) are dominant team from 1960-1979.
  Super Bowl, 2 AFL Championships, 3 Division Wins
Royals are dominant team from 1980-1999.
  WS, 2 AL Pennants, 3 Division Wins.
Sporting KC (fka Wizards) are dominant team from 2000-current.
  As of end of 2016 season
  2 MLS Cup, 1 Supporters' Shield, 3 US Open Cups

Years with two teams above zero
  1980-1981 - Royals win first pennant in 1980; Chiefs still coasting from SB IV win.
  2015-2016 - Royals win WS in 2015, bringing KCR back above 0.  SKC has been above 0 since winning MLS Cup 2013.

Years with all KC teams below zero (not counting KC Kings)
  1982-1983 - Royals and Chiefs just below zero.
  2007-2012 - Ouch. 

All time highest score:
  SKC: 26, after 2015 season, winning US Open Cup
  KCC: 33, after 1969 season, winning SB IV
  KCR: 44, after 1985 season, winning World Series

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The best sports in town...revisited

Quoting from my post four years ago or so...

There were 21 metro areas in the USA that have 3 or more major league sports teams.
Anaheim-LA, the NYC area, the "Bay Area", and the DC-Baltimore area.
Also, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas
Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis
Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa.

Well, now that the Rams moved, St Louis no longer has 3 major league sports teams...

Now there's 20 metro areas.

Points:  So, for each city in this list
    for each sports club in the metro area
        for each of the last five metro seasons
            award points based on finish
            10 for a league title
            6 for runner up
            3 for making conference finals
            1 for making final 8.

Then, for each city, find out which club has the highest score, and declare them "King of the City."

AND...I'm making a rule that a team must have at least 3 points (either a final four appearance, or three final eight appearances).



The four best "Kings of the City"
Boston's Patriots 29 - stealing from the Bruins
Bay Area's Warriors 27 - stealing from the two-time champion Giants
Pittsburgh's Penguins 24 - stealing from the Steelers
Chicago Blackhawks 23 - two titles in last five years puts them ahead of the Cubs

The next six best teams
LA Galaxy 22
Cleveland with Lebron James, 22 points
Seattle Seahawks 19 - stealing by a point from MLS Champion Seattle Sounders
Denver Broncos 18 (steal)
Miami with Lebron James, 17 points (LBJ there for 16)
KC Royals 16 (steal)

The rest of the kings of the city
NY Rangers 11 (steal)
Baltimore Ravens 11
Detroit Tigers 10 (steal)
Atlanta Falcons 9
Houston Dynamo 9
Tampa Lightning 9 (steal)
FC Dallas 5 (steal)
Arizona Cardinals 3

Minnesota didn't have a team that reached three points
Philadelphia didn't have a team that reached even one point.



Of the 18 teams, six of them are NFL teams, four of them are NHL teams, three of them are MLS teams, two of them are MLB teams, one of them is an NBA team, and the other two are Lebron James.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Four years gone...


My father's parents are buried at the VA cemetery in southeast Leavenworth.  I visited them a month ago, on the anniversary of Grandpa's passing.

My father had requested for his ashes to be scattered at his favorite campsite, and places along the Current River in southeast Missouri.
So there's no marker, no gravestone for me to sit down beside.
..and even if there was, it would be three hundred miles away.
So there's no way for me to do like the lines in MM#43 - Grown Men Don't Cry
...
So many things I want to say to him
I just placed a rose on his grave and I talked to the wind

...


Today marks four years since his passing. 

And there was a conversation we never had.  Several, actually.

Quoting from Monday's MM#97...Something To Be Proud Of...
...
Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down
If you're ashamed how I turned out
...

* the one where he would ask me how things got so ****ed up.  I didn't know that he knew how bad it had gotten...
* the one where he would tell me that he was going to do something *huge* to fix it.  It passed on to my brother to tell me the details.
* the one where I would've had the opportunity to thank him.  For everything.  Not only the huge thing, but for the good things he'd done, the years of working so damn hard so we had a good start.
* the one where I could tell him that everything was alright.  (When it happened, I said "now my father can finally rest in peace.")

* the one where we could talk about the Chiefs FINALLY winning a playoff game for the first time in over 20 years; the one where we could talk about the Royals going to World Series in back-to-back years after over 20 years without.
* the one where I would've introduced my grandson to him.
* the one where I'd talk about the new/old overcrowding issues in the state prisons and say I'm glad you're not working there.
* the one where I would've thanked him for telling me NOT to get in the family business.

I don't know what he would've said.

I miss you, Dad.

Monday, September 11, 2017

As the tears fall down...

I wasn't planning on doing a Monday Melody.  (Even though I had two good excuses to - my wife's birthday and 9/11).

Then I saw the terrible news about Troy Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash on Friday.

I already did MM#83 - My Town, and re-highlighted it about a year ago...

And...well, I might write more on Saturday.

So...MM#97

Something To Be Proud Of
Montgomery Gentry

There's a story that my daddy tells religiously
Like clockwork every time he sees an opening
In a conversation about the way things used to be
Well I'd just roll my eyes and make a bee-line for the door
But I'd always wind up starry-eyed, cross-legged on the floor
Hanging on to every word
Man, the things I heard

It was harder times and longer days
Five miles to school, uphill both ways
We were cane switch raised, and dirt floor poor
'Course that was back before the war
Yeah, your uncle and I made quite a pair
Flying F-15's through hostile air
He went down but they missed me by a hair
He'd always stop right there and say...

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
That's a chin held high as the tears fall down
A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out
Like a small town flag a-flyin'
Or a newborn baby cryin'
In the arms of the woman that you love
That's something to be proud of

So I'm graduatin' college, that was mama's dream
But I was on my way to anywhere else when I turned 18
'cause when you gotta fast car you think you've got everything
I learned quick those gto's don't run on faith
I ended up broken down in some town north of L. A.
Working maximum hours for minimum wage
Well, I fell in love, next thing I know
The babies came, the car got slow
I sure do miss that old hot rod
But you sure save gas in them foreign jobs
Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down
If you're ashamed how I turned out
Well, he lowered his voice, then he raised his brow
Said, lemme tell ya right now

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
You don't need to make a million
Just be thankful to be workin'
If you're doing what you're able
And putting food there on the table
And providing for the family that you love
That's something to be proud of

And if all you ever really do is the best you can
Well, you did it man

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
That's a chin held high as the tears fall down
A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out
Like a small town flag a-flyin'
Or a newborn baby cryin'
In the arms of the woman that you love
That's something to be proud of
That's something to be proud of
Yeah, that's something to be proud of
That's something to be proud of
Now that's something to be proud of

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Streaking to the World Cup

4 years ago, I posted a blog talking about the 8 teams who've made each of the last 5 World Cups (94 98 02 06 10) and how they were doing.  All 8 of them would advance to Brazil '14, although Mexico needed San Zusi and a trip to New Zealand to get there.

So, how are they now?

Sorted by length of streak

BrazilSince 1930IN, Clinched 1st Continent
GermanySince 19542 matches left in round; On pace to Qualify
ItalySince 19622 matches left in round; On pace to Reach Playoff
ArgentinaSince 19742 matches left in round; On pace to Reach Playoff
SpainSince 19782 matches left in round; On pace to Qualify
South KoreaSince 1986IN, Clinched 2nd Group A Asia
USASince 19902 matches left in round; On pace to Reach Playoff
MexicoSince 1994IN, Clinched Top 3 Continent


Brazil and Mexico took care of business, getting their tickets to Russia with at least three games left to play.

Defending World Cup Champion Germany leads their group and should qualify.

Italy and Spain are top two in the same European group.  The winner qualifies, the 2nd place team in the group goes to a playoff.

Argentina is in a 7 team traffic jam of close teams holding places 2-8.   5th place overall in South America (where Argentina is) means a playoff against the Oceania Team, now known to be New Zealand.

South Korea survived a close scare, and would've been forced to win two playoff pairings if Syria had won their final match.  But, since Syria got a draw and didn't overtake South Korea, South Korea has extended their streak to 9 straight World Cups.

The USA is in 4th place by a thread (goal difference), and is still in this position after getting a critical draw in a road match against the 4th place team, Honduras.  We got leapfrogged by Panama, sitting in temporary possession of the last automatic ticket to Russia.

In CONCACAF (region with USA, rest of North & Central America & Caribbean...
  • The 3rd place team gets in. (currently Panama)
  • The 4th place team plays either Syria or Australia to advance. (currently USA)
  • The 5th place team is OUT. (currently Honduras)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Agents of Wrath

There is only one county in the United States in which there are two death chambers, that is, two places where a prisoner condemned to death may meet his fate.  And since I'm blogging about it, my readers would correctly assume that I'm referring to the county I currently reside in, Leavenworth County, Kansas.

Surprisingly, USP Leavenworth (the famous one) isn't one of those places.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons conducts executions in Indiana, most notably the Oklahoma City bomber.  However, military executions and state executions would take place within 10 miles of my house.

Military executions take place at Fort Leavenworth's US Disciplinary Barracks.  Although there hasn't been an execution at Fort Leavenworth since 1961, 6 men are on death row, including the soldier responsible for the Fort Hood attack.

If the state of Kansas chooses to actually execute any of the 9 or 10 men on death row, they'd be transported to Lansing - the prison that my father worked at for 25 years.  The "new" death chamber has never been used.  Also, it's been since the 1960s since Kansas carried out an execution.

Earlier this year, there was conversation that one of the military prisoners, convicted of rape and murder in the late 80s, might finally have his sentence carried out.  It gave me a chance to contemplate the issue of capital punishment.  Another pause for thought occurred when the Charleston shooter unsuccessfully tried to avoid a death sentence earlier this year.

Unfortunately, it can be agreed that the death penalty is not consistently applied in a fair, just, timely manner.  And although I've used the phrase "Needle of Justice™" in regard to lethal injection...justice and the death penalty have a strained relationship in our country.

The problem of crime in our country, the value of human life (used in arguments for and against the death penalty), the inconsistencies, and the delay..,

Even if I remain in favor of the death penalty, I don't have to like it, and I don't have to be comfortable about it.

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. - Rom 13:4

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Happy birthday Elijah

09/2016
10/2016
10/2016
12/2016
12/2016
Xmas 2016
Xmas 2016
12/2016
02/2017
02/2017
03/2017
03/2017
04/2017
05/2017
05/2017
05/2017
06/2017
07/2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Least Imaginative Post Ever.

MM#10
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler

Only appropriate, given the circumstances.  :) 
90 seconds of totality in Leavenworth, which doesn't even get you halfway through this song.


Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely
And you're never coming round
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit tired
Of listening to the sound of my tears
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit nervous
That the best of all the years have gone by
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit terrified
And then I see the look in your eyes
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
'Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time)
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
And there's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight (and I need you now)
And I need you more than ever
And if you only hold me tight (and if you only)
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right ('cause we'll never be wrong)
'Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time)
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
And there's nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart
A total eclipse of the heart
A total eclipse of the heart
Turn around bright eyes

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Latin for Pratt Brothers.™



ad astra per aspera
-- To The Stars Through Difficulties
---- Kansas State Motto
auribus teneo lupum
-- I hold a wolf by the ears
---- Best wolf-related Latin phrase I could find


commitant ludi
-- Let the Games Begin
---- Latin phrase found on the splash screen for the war game I worked on for eight years



quid est veritas
-- What is Truth
---- John 18:38


sed in his omnibus superamus propter eum qui dilexit nos
--Romans 8:37 in the Latin Vulgate
----My verse



Random thoughts

I go from mega-blogging, to not blogging at all, back to mega-blogging, to just bits here and there.  Such is my life.

Next Saturday is a very important day to me, and I'll post another blog then.

The last time I had "a full-time job that wasn't a temp job and didn't have announced layoffs in the future" was January 2015.  And the last time I had the same job on the 4th of July in consecutive years...was 2009-2010.  Growl.

Monday, June 19, 2017

I'd pay $40 to hear that song live. Oh wait, I did.

Thank you, Leah Rose.

After a few weeks back in Leavenworth, my s-i-l asked us to attend her oldest son's dedication.  (Now that I think about it, at the time that was her only son.  They now have three.)  And, by asked, I mean stated something to the effect of "you'll be there, right?  Right."
We were late to the new church.  Ivy said to the kids, "sit down, shut up, behave, and we'll never have to see them again."  She was quite nervous about a new church, seeing my side of the family, and the situation in general.
As we walked in for the first time, on November 3, 2013, the second verse of "This Is Amazing Grace" was being sung.  And Ivy thought, "not even You can turn this chaos into order."

It took time.  It took hard work.  It took humility.  It took listening to people wiser than us.  It took persistence.  And, above all, it took a lot of grace from God.

We had our pastor sing this song at our wedding-vow renewal-15th anniversary-thing.  My wife was in tears.  But that's kind of normal for her.  ;)

Two months ago, on the day before my 16th wedding anniversary, Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin, and a few other folks were at a concert at Kansas City.  Once I figured out that Phil was going to be in KC the day before my anniversary...it was a no-brainer that we would go.
And as we drove to Sprint Center, my wife and I were wondering whether Phil would play "our song."  Yeah, it's one of my top three.  (Along with MM#26 Bounce and MM#51 Second Chance).
If you follow me on FB/Instagram, you might remember how it went...
"Came to #WorshipNightInAmerica to hear one song... And they opened with it!! This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham!"



Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy, worthy, worthy

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me
All that You've done for me

Monday, June 12, 2017

Guess who just got back today

In fall 2013, and with a lot of help from my Dad, we moved back to Leavenworth.  It was a needed move, and it was changed my life.
I was born in Leavenworth, I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in Leavenworth, and I worked for 9 years in Leavenworth even after I lived up in Troy & Severance.  So, like I've said before, Leavenworth is kind of my town.
Shortly after we moved, my mother mentioned this song, and so, here's "The Boys Are Back In Town."

Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

They were askin' if you were around
How you was, where you could be found
Told 'em you were livin' downtown
Drivin' all the old men crazy

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town again)

You know that chick that used to dance a lot
Every night she'd be on the floor, shakin' what she got
When I say she was cool she was red hot
I mean, she was steamin'

And that time over at Johnny's place,
Well, this chick got up and she slapped Johnny's face
Man, we just fell about the place
If that chick don't want to know, forget her

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)
The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town again)

Spread the word around
Guess who's back in town

Just spread the word around

Friday night they'll be dressed to kill
Down at Dino's Bar 'n' Grill
The drink will flow and the blood will spill
And if the boys want to fight, you better let 'em

That jukebox in the corner blastin' out my favorite song
The nights are getting warmer, it won't be long
Won't be long till the summer comes
Now that the boys are here again

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)

The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)
Spread the word around
The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town again)

The boys are back in town again
Been hangin' down at Dino's
The boys are back in town again

Saturday, June 10, 2017

In Zuck We Don't Trust

I've always had trouble trusting the world of people who read social profiles and blogs.  It's not the people I know that go on my blog that I worry about (although I feel a need to keep my blog self-controlled so that if certain people read it, they wouldn't be freaked out or offended that I was throwing them under the bus.)
It's the concept of a random person, whether a future employer, or some other random person.  Or if I was ever interested in running for office again (not on the 2017 ballot), I don't want today's wild ravings to endanger my future prospects.
There are a few things I do not blog about.  (I miss Xanga's option of protected posting.  Big time.)  Under certain circumstances, I may talk about them with someone I see face-to-face.  (Heck, I'm more likely to discuss life with in-person acquaintances vs FB or this blog).  And one of my unblogged facets of my life is all over everyone else's Facebook and Instagram.

But silence is golden.
And duct tape is silver.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Darkest Hour

Even before we moved out of Severance in 2013, my oldest daughter loved this song.  I hated it.

And ...

It was the darkest hour of my Great Tribulation.  And my closest friends know what happened. And my family knows what happened.  And I'm not ready to blog about it.

Yeah.  Without any other comment, I'm posting the lyrics.  See you next Monday.



Little boy, six years old
A little too used to bein' alone
Another new mom and dad, another school
Another house that'll never be home
When people ask him how he likes this place
He looks up and says with a smile upon his face

"This is my temporary home
It's not where I belong
Windows in rooms that I'm passin' through
This is just a stop, on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know this is my
Temporary home."

Young mom on her own
She needs a little help got nowhere to go
She's lookin' for a job, lookin' for a way out
'Cause a half-way house will never be a home
At night she whispers to her baby girl
Someday we'll find a place here in this world

"This is our temporary home
It's not where we belong
Windows in rooms that we're passin' through
This is just a stop, on the way to where we're going
I'm not afraid because I know this is our
Temporary Home."

Old man, hospital bed
The room is filled with people he loves
And he whispers don't cry for me
I'll see you all someday
He looks up and says "I can see God's face"

"This is my temporary Home
It's not where I belong
Windows in rooms that I'm passin' through
This was just a stop, on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know this was
My temporary home."

This is our temporary home