The Ramble (Volume 2)

Welcome back to The Ramble! We hope you are enjoying this new feature for Rambling Ever On. (If you missed Volume 1, you can read it here.) There are no guidelines for The Ramble. Some of what is included will be more questions than answers. There will be serious pieces, pondering the deep things of life, and there will be less serious pieces. Today’s Ramble includes a little bit of both. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which. Thanks for reading!


My Five Favorite Home Renovation Shows – Phill Lytle

Late last year, I wrote about creating beauty in the chaos of life. One of the examples I used was my fondness for home renovation television shows. While that previous article dug deeper into the spiritual significance of beauty and order, today’s musings will be a simple ranking of TV shows. No profound implications or anything like that. If you missed that article, click here to read it. Now, to the list!

Fixer Upper

This is the template, the blueprint all other home reno shows have tried to match yet none of them have been able to surpass. Fixer Upper, with Chip and Joanna Gaines is the perfect mix of style, family, and humor. Jo brings the style, together they bring the familial aspects, and Chip brings the laughs. In fact, I would say I laugh more during an episode of Fixer Upper than I do for most modern sitcoms. There is a reason the Gaines have been able to basically build an empire down in Waco, Texas. That’s how good the show is.

Home Town

Ben and Erin Napier have been transforming the town of Laurel, Mississippi for the better part of a decade. If there is any home reno show that has come closest to Fixer Upper it’s Home Town. It blends all the elements you want from a show like this. Heart, humor, and beauty. Add in all the southern charm, and you have yourself a real winner.

This Old House

This is the OG. Speaking personally, this is the show that started my interest in home renovation shows. (Mind you, that has not translated into me being interested in actual home renovation. I would burn the house down somehow.) I love the vibe of this show. It’s laid back, a bit silly, and incredibly patient in its approach. This Old House takes multiple episodes and sometimes an entire season to complete a renovation, which feels more realistic than the almost instantaneous renovations of other television shows.

Unsellable Houses

Leslie and Lyndsay are twins who invest their own money and help people update and renovate their homes in order to get the highest possible offers. I watch this show primarily for the personalities – the twins are ridiculous, and they make me laugh.

Help! I Wrecked My House

I think I am drawn to this one because it feels incredibly realistic to me. If I ever tried to renovate my house, I would absolutely need an expert like Jasmine Roth to come and rescue me. Help! I Wrecked My House also feels a little less scripted than other shows. There is less manufactured drama, which I appreciate.

That’s my list as it stands right now. I would love to know which shows you enjoy the most.


What Happened to Special Effects? by Michael Lytle

In 1980 one of the greatest movies of all time “The Empire Strikes Back” was released. It is the best of the Star Wars films and in my top 5 all-time favorite movies. Not only was it great, but the special effects were light years ahead of anything else coming out at the time.

Fast forward 22 years and another all-time great film was released. “The Two Towers”, the second movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy delighted audiences and critics upon its release in December of 2002. While it is not in my top 5 all time it is still among my favorites. The special effects were cutting edge and were a notch above other movies released in that time frame. In fact, the special effects and CGI were so good they make a movie like Empire look dated by comparison.

This is to be expected. These movies came out 22 years apart so of course technology would advance and allow for much better and more realistic effects.

We are now 22 nearly years removed from “The Two Towers” and it seems like special effects and CGI progress has stalled. This movie, and really the entire LOTR trilogy, still holds up visually. In fact, many current movies and high budget TV shows actually look worse than the LOTR trilogy that came out over 20 years ago. What gives?   

My purpose isn’t to reflect on how “special” the effects of the LOTR trilogy were, although they certainly were great. Rather, I am wondering why things released today don’t make them look incredibly dated.

Maybe we are just so used to computer generated effects that we are hard to impress and even good special effects leave us wanting more. Maybe it is a version of the Uncanny Valley Hypothesis played out in real time in the movies we watch. Maybe it’s just that Marvel is cheap and gives their effects teams unrealistic deadlines that hurt the end product, and this has trickled down to the rest of the industry.

I would love to give a definitive answer, but this is “The Ramble” and we are supposed to keep it short so we will have to revisit this topic at another time.


Faith, Hope, and Pop Music by Phill Lytle

Now here is something that you rarely encounter these days: Personal accountability. It’s so easy to blame society, blame our parents, blame each other, or blame God for all of our problems. Everyone is a victim in some form or fashion. Each of us have been wronged or damaged by someone or something else. It’s a part of living in a broken and messed up world. 

But in case you haven’t noticed, we still have the power to make our own decisions and live our own lives. On some level, we are the masters of our fate and to be honest, that is a very empowering thought. Just because we are dealt a “bad” hand in life doesn’t mean we should wallow in self-pity and give up. Quite the opposite. If there are things in our lives that need changing, then we need to acknowledge that and confront them. We need to come face to face with our distractions, our flaws, our limitations and work to correct those things. 

That’s what I believe, and that is what Michael Jackson sang about in his 1988 classic, Man in the Mirror:

I’m Starting With The Man In the Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change his Ways
And No Message Could Have been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World a Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And then Make A Change

Simple yet direct. The goal: “Make the world a better place”. The plan: Change your ways. Whether or not Michael Jackson lived up to this ideal is not relevant. The substance of the thing is true. You can’t undo the past or fix other people. Start with the man, or woman, in the mirror.

Glimmers of truth in the most unlikely of places. We can find the fingerprints of God and His Truth everywhere we look. We just have to keep our eyes open.


Sports and Patience by Gowdy Cannon

American Sports reflect American culture in countless ways. One of the most obvious ones to me is how impatient we are. A nation obsessed with fast food, high-speed internet and videos that change every 15-20 seconds, does not like to wait for success on the field or court. We fire coaches and trade quarterbacks as fast as we change clothes.

Yet success in sports, and in life for that matter, is essentially always for the patient. Three coaches in supremely popular American sports have all won their first championship in the last year or so. And for all of them, it took a long time to get there.  Jim Harbaugh coached Michigan to his first championship in his 13th year as a college coach. It’s 17 years if you count the NFL. Mike Malone captained the Denver Nuggets to his first ring in his 10th coaching season.  And Dan Hurley won his first and second championships these last two years for UConn Men’s Basketball in his 13th and 14th seasons.

This is not abnormal at all. John Wooden’s first championship was in his 16th season. Nick Saban in his 10th. Mike Krzyzewski in his 11th. Geno Auriemma in his 10th. Dabo Swinney his 8th. Dawn Staley in her 17th season. Don Shula in his 10th. Joe Torre his 15th.

These are the elite of the elite in their respective sports. Multiple champion coaches, whose programs or organizations didn’t give up after a few tough seasons. For nearly all of them, they suffered not just seasons without a title, but many losing seasons, or mediocre seasons.

Good things take time, in life and sports.

“Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.” (Proverbs 20:4)

Final Thoughts for Today’s Ramble

We hope you enjoyed this installment of The Ramble. We’ll be back soon with more random commentary, observations, and pearls of wisdom.

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One thought on “The Ramble (Volume 2)

  • May 24, 2024 at 10:00 am

    Good reading and good variety. The kind of reading I find to be educacional and entertaining.


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