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Putting It All Together


Lego logo

Many children and maybe even more grown-up children enjoy playing with Lego. Lego is a contraction of two Danish words - leg and godt or "play well." Later, someone realized that in Latin lego means "I put together," which seems to be as appropriate as the Danish name.

Recently I was reading an interesting article about Denmark (the homeland of Lego) and was reminded of some interesting Lego lore I had come across - a Lego OSU stadium, a Lego church, a Lego tower, and a Lego artist.

Lego stadium

A scale model of the Ohio State Stadium took 2+ years of work (July 2002-October 2004 - over 2000 man hours). It is a 1:275 (approximate) scale, built entirely with Legos, and weighs around 38 pounds, not including the plywood base. Jim Stricker, the person who built it, had certain "rules" to help guide the project: no modifying of pieces, no glue, and no paint. This model is held together entirely by the interlocking features of the Lego bricks and gravity. Because of problems of space and expense, Stricker had to make certain compromises - notice the absence of yard lines, for example. One challenge was obtaining a horseshoe shape with square Lego pieces. Up close, the appearance seems rough, but everything blends together well when viewed at a distance. The builder lives over 200 miles from the stadium (in Michigan, of all places!) and had to rely on pictures and very infrequent visits to the real stadium.

picture of Lego stadium

picture of Lego stadium

Lego Church

I received an e-mail a while back with amazing pictures of the Lego church. It features a balcony, a Narthex, stairs to the balcony, restrooms, coat rooms, several mosaics, a nave, a baptistry, an altar, a pulpit, and an elaborate pipe organ. You can visit the site of the woman who built it by clicking here

Here are a few pictures of the Lego church:

picture of Lego church

picture of Lego church

picture of Lego church

picture of Lego church

Lego tower

At Legoland in Windsor the Lego brick tower stands nearly 100 feet tall and is shaped to resemble a Viking longboat mast. This tower, composed of nearly 500,000 bricks, was put up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lego bricks in May of this year.

Click here to read an article about the Lego tower. Here are a couple of pictures of the tower.

picture of Lego tower

picture of Lego tower

Lego artist

One of my former students has a hobby/sideline of making portraits with Legos.

Here's a picture of his son Christopher with his portrait.

picture of Lego portrait

You should check out his website - http://www.duckingham.com

If you're interested in learning about the history of Lego, you can click here or for a more detailed history, click here

Did you grow up with Legos and love playing with them? Do you enjoy playing with Legos as an adult? What did/do you like best about Legos?

quotation...

"Prayer and pride are enemies." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Rob

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

What’s a Billion?


picture comparing numbers
It's hard enough for me to get my mind around one million, but to try to understand the concepts of a billion or a trillion is beyond my finite mind. (You math teachers out there, please be patient with me and thank the Lord that He wanted me to be a French professor instead!)

A million is a hard concept to grasp. Did you know that a stack of a million one dollar bills is about 358 feet tall?! I read somewhere that for a person to count out loud from 1 to 1,000,000 it would take 23 days, counting day and night, without breakfast, lunch or dinner, without sleep, television, a phone call or a bathroom break!

Here are several more concrete comparisons of a million, a billion, and a trillion:

A million seconds is 12 days.
A billion seconds is 31 years.
A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.

A million minutes ago was 1 year, 329 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes ago
A billion minutes ago it was the year 107 AD.
A trillion minutes ago was over 1,900,000 years ago!

[added the evening of October 2 - for a really clear comparison of a million and a billion, take a look at Andrew's comment to this post]

Between World War I and World War II, Germans had to deal with astronomic numbers daily because inflation was so high and their currency was so devalued. It cost 200 billion Marks to buy one loaf of bread! Imagine having to deal with numbers like that! You can read a very good article about it by clicking here. Here's a picture of a German one billion Mark bill from 1923:

Whatever you want to say

Evolutionists throw the words million and billion around pretty freely. Here's a story I love that highlights that:

Tourists in the Chicago Museum of Natural History were amazed at the dinosaur bones. One of them asked the guard, "Can you tell me how old the dinosaur bones are?"

The guard replied, "They are three million four years and six months old."

"That's an awfully exact number," said the tourist. "How do you know their age so precisely?"

The guard answered, "Well, I was told that the dinosaur bones were three million years old when I started working here, and that was four and a half years ago."

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Lately politicians are throwing the word billion around like it's chump change. The following article is from the website of one of our local TV stations WYFF 4:

If the $700 billion price tag attached to the bailout plan that failed sounds like a lot, well, it is.

You can spend $700 billion in a lot of different ways. For instance, you could buy a war — the U.S. has spent $648 billion on the war in Iraq so far.

That much money could ensure universal health care coverage for six years or upgrade the country's most deficient bridges four times over. Or you could build 1,750 bridges to nowhere. Surely all of those would eventually take you somewhere.

With $700 billion you could easily run Denmark, which had a paltry gross domestic product of $312 billion last year.

That much money could also pay back every single outstanding student loan, fund the national intelligence budget beyond 2020, or help the Gulf Coast recover from five Hurricane Katrinas.

The next time you hear a politician use the word billion in a glib, casual manner, you might want to think about how wisely politicians are spending your tax money. I guess if you can be glib about a billion, what's a measly $700 billion bailout?! It's just 700 of those billion-thingies....

Several people have expressed their thoughts about the bailout in their comments to my post the blame game. I'd be interested in reading what my readers think about the prospect of our government bailing out these failing businesses.

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"The certainty that Messiah reigns produces calm in the face of current affairs, patience with the events of one's own life, satisfaction with the Lord's management of all things, expectancy that a glorious future is coming, and confidence in the One who sits upon the throne." - Walter Chantry

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Rob

"The god of the 'American Dream' doesn't seem to be coming through right now." - Dr. Drew Conley

New Survivor Series


a cartoon about reality TV
Are you a fan of "reality TV" and so-called reality shows? I have viewed very little of them because many of them don't seem to be reality in my way of thinking. Take Fear Factor, for example. I could never figure out how getting people to do something they would never consider doing on their own - like eating horrific bugs or suspending themselves over a deep precipice - is "reality." Maybe some of my readers coud enlighten me on what I seem to be missing here.

Recently I received an e-mail with a great idea for a new Survivor series that I thought had some possibilities. See what you think.

new Survivor series

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids, keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money. In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time--no emailing.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment, and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside, and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will have access to television only when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn themselves with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed. He must also work out daily and ensure that his body looks like it did when he was twenty.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

They must clean up after their sick children at 2:00 a.m. and then spend the remainder of the day tending to that child and waiting on them hand and foot until they are better.

They must have a loving, age appropriate reply to, "You're not the boss of me".

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.

The last man left on the island wins, and he gets to play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years, eventually earning the right to be called Mom!

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"The fact is that we pray about what we care about most. If your prayer isn't God-focused it's because your life isn't God-focused." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Rob

Just remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

The Blame Game


picture of hands of elderly couple
An elderly man was struck by a car as he was walking across the road. The impact to his head caused him to be comatose for two days before finally regaining consciousness. When he opened his eyes, his wife was there beside him. He held her hand and said meaningfully, "Edna, no matter what, you have always been by my side. When I was a struggling university student, I failed again and again. You were always there beside me, encouraging me to keep on trying."

Edna squeezed his hands as he continued. "When I went for all the major interviews and failed to clinch any of the jobs, you were there beside me, cutting out yet more job ads for me to pursue." He continued, "Then I started to work at a little firm where I finally got to handle a big contract. I blew it because of one little mistake. And there you were, beside me. Then after being laid off for a long time, I finally got another job, but I was never promoted and my hard work was not recognized. Therefore, I've remained in the same position from the day I joined the company till now. And through it all, you've been there beside me." Her eyes brimmed with tears as she listened to her husband.

"And now I've had an accident and almost died, and when I woke up, there you were, right beside me. There's something I'd really like to say to you after all these years." Sobbing with emotion, she was ready to bask in his praise. Her husband proclaimed, "Edna, I think you really bring me bad luck!"

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While we might find that story humorous, it also reveals an aspect of our human nature that isn't so funny - our tendency to blame others for our failures and misdeeds. Edna's husband was blaming his poor, faithful wife for his own ineptitude and failures. We inherited our uncanny ability to shift blame from Adam and Eve. I was just reading in the book of Genesis the other day and noticed in Genesis 3:11-13 that after God asked, "Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" Adam replied "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then when God questioned Eve about this, she answered, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

We all have descended from these two people who immediately after the original sin started to blame others for what they had done. In blaming Eve for his disobedience to God's simple, clear command, Adam implied that ultimately it was God's fault since He had given him Eve. Then Eve blamed the serpent. And the blame game has been played now for millennia with no signs of going out of vogue as other fads in games come and go.

It's been fascinating to watch the blame game being played out on a national scale with our current economic debacle. Just this morning I ran across an excellent article by Chris Bixby, a former student of mine, who has explained things simply enough for even me to understand. After explaining how we got to this point, he talks about the blame game going on and draws some apt conclusions and applications. If you'd like to read his article, The Anatomy of a Bailout, click here.

I'm interested in any comments my readers might have about the current economic situation or the blame game.

quotation...

"The sins of our land are really our own sins." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Rob

A person who can smile when things go wrong has maybe just thought of someone to blame it on.

Restroom Trip Policy


picture of restroom problem

As much as it is supposed to simplify our lives, technology seems to make them more complicated as more is expected of us and controls us far more than it frees us. Today's blog post highlights an area of control that most of us never thought we would have to face in the workplace! Here's a note to employees that you would hate to receive from the personnel office:

Re: Restroom Trip Policy

In the past, employees were permitted to make trips to the restrooms under informal guidelines. Effective Oct. 6, 2008, a Restroom Trip Policy (RTP) will be established to provide a more consistent method of accounting for each employee's restroom time, thereby ensuring equal treatment to all employees. Until all necessary equipment is finally put in place on October 6, adherence to the new RTP will be on the honor system.

Under the new RTP, a "Restroom Trip Bank" will be established for each employee. The first day of each month employees will be given twenty (20) Restroom Trip Credits. These credits may be accumulated.

In the next two weeks the entrances to all restrooms will be equipped with personnel identification stations, computer-linked voice print recognition devices, and all the other equipment described below. Before the effective date of the new RTP, each employee must provide two copies of voice prints (one normal and one under stress) to Human Resources. The voice print recognition stations will be optional and not restrictive for this month. Please acquaint yourself with the stations during that period.

Once that equipment is in place and it's possible to monitor the restrooms electronically, if the employee's Restroom Trip Bank balance reaches zero, the doors to the restroom will not unlock for that employee's voice until the first working day of the following month. In addition, all restroom stalls are being equipped with timed paper roll retractors. If the stall is being occupied for more than three minutes, an alarm tone will sound throughout each building's intercom. Immediately afterward our new advanced voice synthesis system will announce the name of the delinquent employee and his or her department. Ten seconds after the alarm sounds, the roll of paper will retract into the wall, the toilet will flush, and the stall door will spring open. If the stall remains occupied, your picture will be taken.

The picture will then be posted on the bulletin board in the respective departments and on our intranet home page. Anyone's picture showing up three times will immediately be terminated. If you have any questions about this new RTP, please contact HR. They have all received advanced instructions.

We know you will want to co-operate so that this new policy can be expedited smoothly.

Human Resources,
Employee Benefits

BUM:mer

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Aren't you glad that the preceding is totally made up? But isn't it scary that it's true enough to life to be almost believable?!

The memorial service for my friend Paul Long was at 10:00 a.m. today. His siblings - two sisters and a brother - and several nephews were able to make the cross-country trip to be with Paul's wife and son. You can read several nice tributes - the first an article about him and his family and the second a tribute his school put out on their website about Paul - by clicking here and here.

Back to the topic of today's blog post... I'd love to your comments about how technology has changed your life, both for better and for worse.

quotation...

"Technology has just enabled us to commit the same old sins in a more hi-tech fashion." - Dr. Bob Jones Jr.

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Rob

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3.