Researchers are trying to figure out who gets bored - and why - and what it means for ourselves and the economy. But maybe there's an upside to boredom?
Step 1: Hire a Harvard psych professor as the pitchman. Step 2: Have him help write the script ...
Tuesday, we gave you a roundup of March Madness tournaments that you can participate in online that have nothing to do with basketball. There are quite a few more that might be right up your alley. You can be a part of crowning a new king, queen, or thing through bracket elimination!
1. The Ultimate Action Movie Death Scene
Vote for your favorite movie death scene in another tournament bracket from Uproxx Sports: The Ultimate Death Scene. Personally, I can’t imagine any scene beating the one from Scanners—you know the scene I’m talking about. Or maybe that’s because it traumatized me in a theater when I was of a tender age. Competitors are divided into divisions by decade, from the ‘80s to the ’10s. First round voting will conclude this evening, and second round voting will begin Friday. Check here to find subsequent voting posts.
2. UW Book Madness
The University of Wisconsin invites you to vote in their Book Madness 2015 tournament. Books are classified in eight divisions by genre, subject, or some other category the books fit into. Voting is open now in the first round. May I put in a plug for former mental_floss author Ransom Riggs’ book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? It’s in contention in the “Home is Where the Heart is” division. And you might want to cast a vote for flosser John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars in the division titled “The Real Deal,” although it’s up against a tough competitor, The Dairy of Anne Frank.
3. March Book Madness
You might need input from your children to vote in this tournament. March Book Madness is a series of book tournaments focused on young readers. Voting has been going on since March 4 in three brackets: the Picture Book Bracket, the Middle Grade Novel Bracket, and the YA Bracket. The brackets have books from 2014 in one half, and older books on the other half. Third round voting continues through Tuesday, March 24. The final winners in all brackets will be announced the night of April 7th. The bracket above shows the 2014 half of the Middle Grade Novel Bracket.
4. March Money Madness
March Money Madness is a tournament you can participate in, but winners are not selected by votes, but by your skill in predicting stock performance. Rounds begin on Friday, and you must be registered to play before the round begins. You make your predictions on which stock will perform better than its bracket competitor, and the most accurate player wins that round. Will Twitter outperform Gamestop? Will Aeropostale beat Papa John’s? We won’t know until the first round results are announced.
5. Fandom Madness
E! Online presents Fandom Madness, a tournament to decide who has the most rabid fans. The voting is now down to eight contestants to see who advances to the Final Four: We have Tom Hiddleston fans vs. Trekkies, Once Upon a Time vs. Friends, Britney Spears vs. the Doctor Who Whovians, and Beyonce’s fans the Beyhive vs. Sherlock’s Sherlockians. Voting in this round will continue through Sunday, then check here for updates on the winners.
6. MLB Hot Dog Madness
MLB Hot Dog Madness is presented by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “The Battle Between the Buns” aims to find out what your favorite ballpark hot dog is. The voting is conducted on Facebook, and today’s matchup is between the Yankees Nathans Dog and the Brewers Klements Bratwurst. See the full bracket here.
7. Beer Madness 2015
The Washington Post is conducting its own tournament of beer. Beer Madness has completed the third round, and only eight beers remain of the original 32. Voting in the next round will begin Monday.
8. Star Wars: This is Madness
For the third year in a row, Star Wars.com presents This is Madness, the Star Wars character tournament. Voting is continuing today in the first round elimination, with two matchups today: Han Solo vs. Lando Calrissian in the Light Side competition, and Emperor Palpatine vs. Darth Maul on the Dark Side. Princess Leia, Yoda, General Grievous, and Jango Fett have already advanced to the second round. The final round will see if Light can conquer the Dark Side, but it all depends on the votes of the fans!
9. Teen Heartthrob Madness
Forever Young Adult had a tournament about teen movies, then teen TV series, and this year they're looking for your vote to select the best teen heartthrob! Voting is open in the Sweet Sixteen Seventeen Bracket, with heavyweights like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, Zac Efron, and Devon Sawa in contention. So apparently they are catering to a variety of age groups, none of them mine.
10. The Worst Internet Things
What is the worst thing on the internet? There are plenty of contenders, from bacon worship to wedding Kickstarters, from new parents on Facebook to atheists who want to argue. Believe it or not, the trope of posting tournament brackets for something other than basketball in March is one of them in this tournament bracket! SB Nation selected 64 awful things for their tournament. As far as I can tell, there’s no voting in this tournament; you can decide for yourself which things are worse than others.
Bonus: Here are some March Madness tournaments we’ve covered in previous years that are happening again this year:
For more current non-basketball online tournaments, see 11 Other March Madness Tournaments 2015 (part one).
Choosing songs to sing in corporate worship is tricky business. Everyone in the church seems to have an opinion. How then should a pastor or team of elders select music that glorifies God and serves the body?
The style and quality of the music matters, of course. (For some helpful thoughts on church music that touch more on music, see Ed Stetzer’s post here.) Yet I’d suggest that the lyrics are a primary concern—so here are ten questions to ask about the words of any song that you’re considering including in corporate worship.
1. Are the lyrics true? Each song is like a sermon. A preacher should be committed to speaking only those words which accurately reflect biblical truth. Likewise, lyrics must be read carefully before they are selected to be sure they also communicate biblical truth.
2. Are the lyrics true but misleading? Lyrics that are technically true can still be misleading. So it is not enough to affirm the truthfulness of the lyrics; their clarity is important as well. I believe the Brian Doerksen song, “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” falls into this camp. First, to say that now is the time to worship is true, yet does it lead people to think they were not worshipping during the drive to church? Second, to say “Come, just as you are” is technically true, but does it run the risk of ignoring the important truth that we should come to God with clean hands and a pure heart?
3. Are the lyrics rich? Most of our songs should be not just a theological appetizer, but a feast. Thankfully, there is a growing demand for rich lyrics, which explains the renaissance of older hymns, sometimes set to new music, and even new lyrics with greater theological depth.
4. Are the lyrics God-centered or man-centered? This is a complicated idea. Some man-centered lyrics tend to focus on our response to the Lord’s character or work—and they can be very appropriate. But an abundance of man-centered lyrics can give the congregation a heavy dose of moralism and even discouragement.
Other man-centered lyrics tend to focus upon how we are feeling, how we are doing, or how excited we are about what God has done. Though this may be appropriate, an abundance of this kind of song can lead to shallowness (I’m singing that I feel great when really, I don’t) or pride (it’s all about me). But if the lyrics focus on who God is and what God has done, then we are drawn out of our moralism and our pride and the lyrics begin to preach truth to our hearts, leading us to think and feel the right things.
5. Do the lyrics praise God for who he is and not merely for what he has done? We should be content to sing often about God’s character and not merely about his work. God is honored when we sing his attributes as well as his actions. To sing only about his work is to imply, even unintentionally, that God is good because he saved me. And though this is true, it is also true that God is good because he is good—and we should recognize that truth in song.
6. Do the lyrics explicitly address the atoning work of Christ on the cross? Though not every song will explicitly mention the cross, the majority of our singing must be cross-centered since that is what makes it Christian. Though it is wonderful to sing the psalms, and we should sing them, we should be aware that a good Jew could sing them, if not always embracing their fullest meaning. The lyrics of our songs should specifically teach the congregation about the atonement.
7. Are the lyrics beautiful? Some writing is better than others. What makes one set of lyrics more beautiful than another is a topic for another day. But several factors should be considered: 1) the use of rhyme and assonance; 2) the use of imagery; 3) the use of elegant versus inflated or florid language; and 4) the use of repetition.
8. Are the lyrics understandable? Some of the older hymns are wonderful for theology students who spend hours reading the Puritans, yet they leave many others scratching their head thinking, “I know I should like this but I just don’t know what it means.” This is where a good service leader makes all the difference. Lines that are hard to understand can be explained beforehand. Or, simple changes can be made to the text so long as the integrity of the hymn is preserved.
9. Are the lyrics familiar? While it is important to introduce new lyrics, every congregation should have a canon of well-worn lyrics that they can return to regularly. Just as good writing rewards re-reading, repeating singing of good lyrics can drive their meaning more deeply into the heart.
10. Do the lyrics fit the theme of the day? Most good song lyrics are appropriate for any service. Can you find any sermon text in the Bible where it would not be appropriate to sing that day of God’s holiness, love, mercy, grace, or the hope we have in heaven? Of course not!
And yet every set of lyrics has one or two clear emphases. And we should choose lyrics that will underscore the meaning of the text we are about to hear preached. This should not be done by simply finding songs with the “love” in the title if the theme of the day is God’s love (though titles may be a good way to start). It is better to ask some more questions. What aspect of God’s love are we considering that day? His love as Creator? His love as Redeemer?
Aaron Menikoff is the senior pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.