Saturday, August 30, 2008

This is just plain Sick

Politics is a subject the interests me a great deal, but I don't generally talk about it too much on my blog. This, however, I could not pass up as it is perhaps one of the sickest things I've ever seen in my life. Watch if you can as Michael Moore, appearing on Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC calls the fact that Hurricane Gustav may hit New Orleans as the Republican National Convention starts "proof that there is a God in Heaven."

That was just a short clip. The entire segment featuring Moore's appearance can be found online as well, in which Olbermann even goes further to point out how ironic it is this is happening after one of the gang over at Focus on the Family called for people to pray for rain during Obama's speech at Invesco Field a few days ago. Now that story, I'll give you, was stupid, childish, and, quite frankly, Dr. Dobson should be ashamed. But with this hurricane, we're dealing with lives at stake. This is not a political issue. I don't care who you align yourself with or you plan do vote for...if you believe there is a God in Heaven, pray for the people of the Gulf Coast region.

Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise has called on Moore to apologize and I second that. Olbermann too, for that matter. I guess the Democrats can be thankful that nobody actually watches MSNBC.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The DNC comes to Denver

I flew back to Denver from our Puppet Ministry Summerfest in San Antonio this morning (I'll try to post some stuff about the festival later). I was anticipating that DIA might be a zoo today, what with the Democratic National Convention starting in town early this week. Even on Thursday when I headed out there were volunteers all over the airport with signs that said "Ask me for help." The TSA people even had shiny new blue uniforms on. Today there was a lot more people there representing the convention, and I even encountered two celebrities.

As I got onto the train to go from Concourse B to the baggage claim area I noticed someone who looked familiar getting onto the next car over. Turns out it was none other than the "reverend" Al Sharpton. I snapped the above picture from my part of the train. He had a full entourage, as you can see. He spotted me taking the picture and smiled and waved. I agree without almost nothing the man says, but I smiled and waved back.

He posed for photos with a bunch of orange-shirted convention helpers. There were plenty of news photographers all over the main terminal.

As I came up the escalator from the train I saw many people looking for convention travelers. Most of them held "Obama 08" signs, which for the life of me I can't figure out how that would assist in finding the people they are looking for. Right in the center someone held a large sign that said "Fox News Channel." It caught my eye, and then I saw someone walk up to that was Alan Colmes from "Hannity and Colmes." Now if it had been his partner, Mr. Hannity I probably would've run up, shook his hand and said "you're a great American." I settled for just snapping a pic of Mr. Colmes.

This was probably the only brushes with celebrity I'll have during this whole convention thing. I am just so glad I don't work downtown!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Vader?

The kids were off school today and I ended up staying home with them. So I did what any good Dad does on a day like that, we went to McDonalds!
I was thrilled to see that there were "Star Wars" toys in the Happy Meals. A kindly Mc-employee even gave me one which will soon take up residence in my office. I was struck though when I looked at one of the Happy Meal boxes my kids got. It featured the head of Darth Vader and in big letters the words "Happy Meal." It just seemed a bit strange seeing Vader and the word "Happy" in such close proximity. I mean, Darth Vader just isn't a happy guy. But I suppose the folks in the Mc-marketing department figured that calling it the "Burned to a crisp and stuffed into a walking iron lung meal" just didn't have the same ring to it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics Mania!

I'm sitting here watching the Olympics as I mess around on the computer and you can officially count me in the ranks of those really having a hard time believing these Chinese girls in the gymnastics competition are 16. My kids go to school with girls that look older than these tumblers!

I don't usually get into the Olympics that much, but I am enjoying watching some of the competitions this year. However, catching this video today has me itching for the Winter Olympics. Just two years to go!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I-Fest 2008

I'm really behind on updating everyone on this year's I-Fest, The International Festival of Christian Puppetry and Ventriloquism. One Way Street sponsors this conference every year and it takes a lot of work. Every year is a challenge, but this year we knew going in there were going to be some big issues to deal with. So I'm really feeling bad I haven't updated the blog world on how well the conference went. Mainly I'm feeling bad because the awesome week we had was result of the fact that God came through big time. He's faithful 100% and we want to give Him all the glory for a great week!

Our theme this year was "Fully Committed," and God displayed that He was fully committed to his children throughout this incredible week. Between construction on the college campus which eliminated the normal cafeteria from use, and the challenges of the economy and the impact of gas prices...we wondered at times how we would pull off this year's festival. Fact is, we didn't...God did!

At the One Way Street website you can check out the "Virtual I-Fest" reports that we sent out to our customers a few weeks after the event. It gives you a chance to check out some of the highlights, see some of the new products that were introduced, and download some free workshop audio as well as the audio for the morning devotionals. Here are the links:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

I wanted to share a few photos of my own as well. It was a great week!

Ventriloquist Tony Borders with his buddy Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear (read that one again, always loved that name) opened up the festival on Monday night.

Here's Dave Privett and his buddy Milo from PlaySoup teaching one of the many puppet manipulation workshops.

Carrie Murphy was a One Way Street intern with me waaaaay back in 1993. Here she is teaching some advanced choreography. She also directed this year's Puppetry Dream Team.

Ella Havell from the UK and her team, Smile Puppet Ministry, shared during the International Night program on Wednesday.

Philip Haught is co-directing our One Way Street Ministry Team this summer. He picked up a new character at I-Fest, Sammy the Shark.

Brian Cockerham was a Louisiana State Trooper until a few years ago when he felt the call to go into full-time ministry at I-Fest. Now he travels all over with his ventriloquist partners. He was a featured performer on Tuesday night.

David Hellyer from the UK was another one of our international guests. David is an amazing puppeteer and puppet builder. We were thrilled to have him share in some of the workshops this year.

The one and only Amy Harder teaches on the finer points of Stretch-a-Belly puppet choreography. She ought to know how to do it, she invented the things.

The One Way Street Ministry Team performed once in the evening program, once in a showcase without curtains, and served as conference assistants throughout the week.

This team came all the way from Puerto Rico, and shared a performance on International night.

An I-Fest tradition is the Mystery Puppet Building Challenge. Teams are given a mystery ingredient they must build a puppet out of by the end of the day. This year's ingredient...Duct Tape!

Evangelist Mel LaMar is not only an accomplished ventriloquist, but also an amazing juggler. This year his daughter Ali joined in the act.

Friday night featured a performance by the P.O.W.E.R. Company puppet team, which is the team I grew up on. It was actually the final performance for the team under the direction of Christy Watkins. I got to present a special award to Christy for over 25 years of commitment not just to her team, but to helping train many other teams around the world. I cried like a baby.

This is the final moment from the Puppetry Dream Team's performance. This year's performance was based on a Christian children's book called The Squire and the Scroll. The author's husband and daughter were even able to attend.

The whole festival was fantastic...and like I said, God deserves all the glory. I've many more photos posted over at my Facebook page. In fact, I'm adding new ones all the time. So if you're a facebook user, send me a note, I'll be your big woop. Speaking of Facebook, we've also created an I-Fest fan page over there, so you can join all the other I-Fest fans and see videos, take part in discussions, and experience a whole bunch of puppet ministry coolness.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

"The Dark Knight" with Kids

All I can say is you gotta love Youtube...

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Long Time Ago at an Olympics Far Far Away

Olympics - Opening Ceremony

This evening I've been watching the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics. First a side note, there is something seriously wrong with the world when BMX biking is an Olympic event but not baseball. OK, off the soap box.

I always find the creativity of the opening presentation to be interesting, if not a little weird, and this year was no exception. But as I was watching tonight I started to feel like something looked familiar. I saw this giant glowing ball with people floating and swirling around it and suddenly I'm picturing Star Wars Episode III. Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Pagueis the Wise?

I suppose my Star Wars geek brain has cooked in the Tatooine suns too much, but this year's opening ceremonies had me picturing Episode III's "opera." That scene had me scratching my head a bit. I mean it looked a bit like they were watching some sort of soap bubble performance artist being accompanied by the chants of Tibetan monks. Turns out it may have been the opening ceremonies of the Coruscant Olympics.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Puppet Ministry at TheWayWeSeeIt Blog

Ryan Frank is the man behind Kidz Matter which publishes the awesome new children's ministry resource K! Magazine. He blogs about children's ministry along with Jim Wideman and Evan Doyle over at He's also the children's pastor at his church in Sweetser, IN and our One Way Street Ministry Team had the opportunity to minister at his church last Sunday night. Ryan wrote a great post about their visit which also talks about how to have an effective puppet team in your church. Go check out the post here.