1) This is a video I produced for last Sunday's service. A big "thank you" to the Hollenbacher family for their cooperation, and for a very nice dinner (we had steak!). Keep Tim in your prayers as he looks to leave for boot camp this summer, and given the current geopolitical situation, may be looking at deployment earlier than expected (you just never know).
2) Great Op-Ed piece in the NY Times by Thomas Friedman about the effect the declining economy will have on the fall elections. As the auto industry continues to go into the crapper while gas prices stay stuck at $4 a gallon and credit continues to be locked up tighter than a drum, things seem to be grinding to a halt. Was driving down Beeler Road yesterday and noticed that a new development that went in last summer is still totally undeveloped. Just a big empty field with a road down the middle of it. It isn't like local builders are backed up or anything. There's just no available money right now. Why somebody hasn't made making America the world's leader in renewable energy a major campaign promise yet is beyond me. You'd think that'd be a winner because of the emphasis on education and the promise of long-term jobs.
3) But right now, nothing is happening on any front - election, economy, job creation, new energy - that would help us get out of the current rut, and there is no better reminder of the current state of things than the big concrete hole in the ground at the old locomotive works. Ten years ago, the local mayor of Lima, Dave Berger, touted a new $900 million coal-gasification electric plant as the key to area's economic future. Outside of the occasional news story talking about how difficult its been for the company behind the project - Global Energy- to get financial backing, the only indication that a new plant is supposedly being built is a big concrete hole that was dug out at the old locomotive works (curiously enough) right around the last mayoral election (when Dave ran against Neb Bushong, whose claim to fame during that election was a commercial that featured him - I am not making this up - riding around in a go-cart to bluegrass music.) The opponent, who was an inept campaigning politician (see note about commercial) was hammering Berger's continued promise that the new electric plant was coming, when at the time it had been six years and no action. Global then dug out their concrete hole, and done nothing since.
By the way, you can follow the "progress" of Global's construction effort on the "Global Energy Cam" which is linked to the home page of the City of Lima's website under the tag line "Lima On The Grow". Who keeps broadcasting non-action for three years as evidence of economic health? Maybe it would be better to link to Global Energy's website, and see what eventually (we hope) will be a major local employer. Just a thought.
4) Looks like we only got to enjoy one year of fireworks that could be viewed from our front yard. With the relocation of the Lima Locos from Shawnee High School's baseball field (to Simmons Field, the former Lima Senior High School baseball field now owned by the City of Lima so that alcohol can be sold at games... ugh) there was no reason for the fireworks to be displayed. With the lack of a central event to help draw a crowd, no title sponsor could be enticed to put up the funds to keep the annual Shawnee fireworks going. Thus ends the dream of my youth to be able to view fireworks sans a traffic jam.
Maybe the church needs to get behind a family-friendly Freedom Celebration festival next year?
5) Went back to the storage closet in the Solid Rock Cafe to buy a small bag of Doritos from the youth group to go with my sub, and low behold, on the same shelf was their own ample supply of "Tang". I didn't even know they still sold Tang. Do astronauts even still drink Tang? Do teenagers even know what Tang is?
What else do they serve the kids? Tab? Shasta Cola? A Burger Chef Funmeal? Jiffy Pop popcorn? Handfuls of Pop Rocks? Cookie Crisp cereal?
6) Went to see Wall-E last night, and even saw most of it (while I wasn't chasing Eli all over the theater). Undeniably one of the most creative movies I've seen in a while. Most of it doesn't have dialog, so the movie is totally dependent on visuals to tell the story. I thought it was great. The wife, not so much. I think the idea of a future where overweight humans fly around in space on big ships owned by a huge corporation ("Buy N'Large", a thinly veiled swipe at WalMart and large multi-nationals in general) kind of turned her off. It's a good one though, and if you're in the area, head on down to the Wapa Theater, where you can get in for $3 and the popcorn is cheap. It's turned into the official theater of the Bucher Family.
7) Did you know that a missionary from Tanzania is spreading the gospel in Ottawa, Ohio? Neither did I until I read this morning's Lima News. One of the unexpected outcomes of the lack of Catholic priests is the rising number of "imported" priests who are being brought to the US to serve local parishes. I had heard a Catholic seminary professor talk about how this was creating tensions in underdeveloped countries who are losing their limited number of priests to a better life in North America and Europe. Just one more strange turn of events as the Christian world continues to change.
8) Saw "The Two Coreys" last night. Man, talk about night and day from last season. Seems that the concept of two lovable friends - one a slob and one a married neatnik - didn't pan out so well in terms of ratings. Instead, taking a flier from the Danny Bonnaduce file, each week is now like watching a car wreck in slow motion as Corey Haim continues to spiral out of control, while Corey Feldman is torn between getting on with his life (which is going well) or trying to save his friend. Strangely compelling, but given the fact I grew up during the 80's, you can't help but wonder when these guys need to just call it quits in terms of the entertainment industry, and make their way in the world separately. Feldman, to give him credit, has already caught on and seems to have moved forward, but Haim is about as messed up as a former child star could be. Here's hoping he lives to see another day.
9) Am kinda struggling to come with Ten Things today, and I think the problem is that I'm tired. June, which is normally kinda slow, was anything but. I haven't taken too many days off in the last month, and the upshot is that my creative engine is kinda fried. The strange thing about my job is that at its heart its about me being a communicator To keep doing this well and creatively takes a lot imagination. I need to spend some time not doing much of anything except reading and study in order to stay fresh, or otherwise I'll lock up and not be able to produce anything. But there just hasn't been much time for that, so for more than a couple of months I've been operating on the equivalent of creative fumes. I'm hoping a week with the fam, and another week of study will help me out of this hole.
10) So, on that note, Happy July 4th all! Hope you have nice holiday weekend.