I the middle of August I did something I always do.  I took a razor to my face and shaved off my beard.  For about a week I went clean shaven and then I began the process of regrowing my robust old friend.  To encourage me in this,  I reread the Beard Manifesto by the Beard Coach.  I always enjoy the regrowing process, and my beard always surprises me how its personality has changed since last year.

In the middle of this, my family and I have been cramming the Star Trek series Deep Space Nine, trying to get it watched before Christmas.  I have made my family watch all of the Star Trek franchise as a learning annex.  I do the same thing to them with classic films like Casablanca and The Magnificent Seven.

So these two things collided and got me to thinking about the best Star Trek beards.  Here are my five favorite, starting with the all-time best!

1.  Evil Spock in Mirror Mirror and our first look a the bizarro universe

He looks even smarter with the beard

2.  Commander Riker was way cooler with the beard.

I would follow bearded Riker into battle, but not the clean shaven Riker.








3.  Worf’s Beard–In fact, Klingons know how to sport a kicking beard.

His beard says it all









4.  Geordi seemed to enjoy  a beard of some sort.  Here he sports a nice, clean, well groomed goatee and mustache.  In an episode or two he had a great full beard.  But then, so did his friend Data.

Tell me that beard wouldn’t rock out a business suit?


















5.  Sisko grew a great van dyke in the middle of Deep Space Nine’s run.  Coincidentally, that was when they made him a captain and not just a commander.   I see a connection.

Which is higher ranking, Sisko or his outstanding van dyke? You be the judge.


Back in the days, the dark ages, when I was active on MySpace—that’s been a long time now, I commented on my MySpace blog frequently during the election cycle of 2008.  I had great fun analyzing the debates, the elections, and the media coverage.  I haven’t done that yet on this blog because the election cycle hasn’t really gotten under way much.  But tonight I tuned in for a few moments (not the whole thing, but a few moments) to the Republican Debate.  I thought I would offer some advice to the candidates.

(DISCLAIMER—PASTOR GREENBEAN IN NO WAYENDORSES ANY CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL PARTY.  HE IS FAR TOO CYNICAL ABOUT POLITICS.  FOR HIM WATCHING POLITICS IS LIKE WATCHING A SPORTING EVENT.  PASTOR GREENBEAN BELIEVES ONLY JESUS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.)  notice I talk about myself in the third person…that’s called escapism because I wish I was big-time enough to have an editor to write those disclaimers for me.

Now, before I get to the advice, a note on coverage.  CNN did not do a very good job with this one.  So, now for the advice.

  • 1.  Diversity would be a good thing in the candidates.  The field is dominated by graying white guys.  Herman Cain has an outside shot, Bachmann looked like a dear in headlights (not to mention she received very few questions . . . hum?) but we need some real diversity here.  How about someone speaking a little Spanish or maybe two or three other ladies?  It looked like a group of Baptist preachers.
  • 2.  The mainstream-type candidates had better watch out because Ron Paul is fired up.  He got huge applause.  Of the group he is probably the only one I would like to go have lunch with.  True, he is running, I think, for the election cycle of 1912, not 2012 but at least he is exciting.
  • 3.  The ones in the race ought to gang up on Newt Gingrich and get him out.  As long as he is around, he will suck up all the usable oxygen.  I don’t mean to sound divisive, but he really can’t win but he will deflect time away from someone who might be able to (like Pawlenty or a Romney, or maybe Cain).
  • 4.  The GOP needs to stop talking about “Obamacare” in completely reactionary tones.  It is okay not to like it, but it sounds denigrating to use that type of language.  By using the GOP candidates do not separate themselves at all from the talk-show talking head crowd.  Be elegant in your argument—hire some wordsmiths and speechwriters for crying-out-loud.
  • 5.  We voters like to vote for something, not against something.  The overall feeling that we saw tonight was negative and not positive.  It was the positive “change” motif that got President Obama elected and the GOP candidate that wins the nomination and perhaps have a shot at being president (a slim shot, I add) will have to find something positive too.
  • 6.  Someone (apologies to Bachmann) should grow a beard.  I guarantee the candidate that grows a full beard will have a gigantic bump in the polls.  Many of us bearded men would become single-issue voters in favor of the fellowship of the facial follicle.

Okay, that’s enough advice for now.  I wish there were also a Democrat race like last time.  Democrats are far more fun.  Watching Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama was always fun for me.  Tonight’s debate was so boring I turned it off to go get some work done.  Work!  I chose work instead of listening to them, and I like debates.


************Update************It appears I misjudged the performance of Bachmann.  The post-debate media critique seems to think she did very well.  I didn’t see that part of the debate; but maybe she’ll make it interesting.  I hope so.


Now for something I know very little about—the National Football League.  In principal I believe people have an unhealthy obsession with sports in our culture, but, what are you going to do about it?  So, in an attempt at “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” I thought I would make my predictions for this weekends NFL Conference championship games.  The winners of these two games will represent their conference in the Super Bowl. 

            AFC—Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the New York Jets

            Pittsburgh will probably win this game because the officials love Pittsburgh.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Seattle and Phoenix about their encounters with Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.  It is impossible for Pittsburgh to not win once they make the Playoffs.  For that reason, I tend to want to root for New York.  The Jets have not been to a Super Bowl since Joe Namath and the famous guarantee.  But I can’t stand their coach.  He is such the antithesis of good sportsmanship. 

            NFC—Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers

            This old school battle from the heartland of America feels right.  The Bears have a great defense and they are playing on what might be the worst field turf in the NFL.  This will offset the advantage that Green Bay has on offense.  Green Bay has a smell of Cinderella on it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t come up with the victory, even on the road.  Chicago should win, but that doesn’t mean Chicago will win.

Now, there are several X-factors for me as I think about the games.

  •  X-Factor One:  The Cheese element.  My passion for cheese tells me that I can’t root against a team whose fans are called Cheeseheads.
  •  X-Factor Two:  The NFL wants big market teams in the Super Bowl.  This means New York and Chicago will win. 
  •  X-Factor Three:  The Favre.  New York and Green Bay have ties to Brett Favre.  It would be great if both of his former teams made the Super Bowl in the year he finally retired.  This would then be labeled the “Favre Bowl.”
  •   X-Factor Four:  It all comes down to the beards.  Mark Sanchez has a great beard.  It looked kind of trimmed last week, but the week before that against Indianapolis I saw a shot of him and I had instant admiration for a man who could grow such a beard.  In the end the Fellowship of the Follicle is the deciding factor. 


Keep I mind, of course, that I will probably not watch any of it.  I want to finish watching Season Two of the original Star Trek that I got on DVD from my wife for Christmas.  Nevertheless, my Final Prediction—Jets beat Pittsburgh by a hair, Green Bay beats Chicago on a last second field goal that is “Gouda.”

******Update, Monday Morning January 24.  I was 50% accurate with Green Bay beating the Bears, but the Jets did lose to the Steelers.  But, did anyone notice the great beard Roethlisberger was sporting.  I mean, that was pretty amazing.  Let the record reflect that only bearded quarterbacks won yesterday–Aaron Rodgers had a pretty good full beard too.  The Fellowship of the Follicle will always prevail.********


Man-crush is a funny phrase.  I understand it to be descriptive of the way a man can feel about another man in an admiring way that is totally non-sexual.  To have a man-crush is to want to hang out, have a coffee, or go fishing with another guy, but is in no way a sexual attraction.  So, here are some of my man-crushes.  Note, this list is not exhaustive, and do not be surprised to find future updates.

  • Bill Hybels—I’ve always admired Hybels as a great leader of American evangelicalism.  His church, Willow Creek, was the trend setter for reaching unchurched people in an effective way.  So, I admire him as a leader.  But that is not why I have a man-crush.  I am sure he is not perfect, but he has built his church and crafted his life as a Christ-follower being who he is.  He is true to himself and pastors his church that way—and he has a sailing boat and a great tan. 
  • Alton Brown—Alton Brown cooks the way I want to cook.  His program, Good Eats, is one of my favorites.  Alton approaches food the way any real man would—we cook because we want to eat!  What do we want to eat—preferably food that is deep fried and if we can use stuff we bought at the hardware store to do it, even better.
  • Sean Connery—he is, and forever will be, 007.  Pierce Brosnan is an acceptable second, but there is no one like Connery.  But the reason I man-crush on him is because of how he does it.  Connery started going bald in his late 30’s and he has enormous ears.  Yet, somehow, he overcame these physical problems to be the smoothest, coolest, most dangerous man you’d want to share a vodka martini with ever.  Yeah, given my own physical limitations (not the least of which is a whiney voice), he is a true hero.
  • Rand Paul—I do not mean this in a political way.  Pastor Greenbean only observes politics, and generally believes all politicians are dishonest.  But there is something about Rand Paul that I like.  I think it is that there is something attractive about someone who truly believes his or her message and says it over and over again and does not deviate based upon polls or opinion.  I don’t think he’ll make much difference, really, in the corruption of the senate.  But he does have nice curly hair, which might help.  By the way, his voice is kind of high-pitched and whiney too, so, even more hope for me!
  • The Beard Coach (Adam)—I do not know what his full name is, but he has one of the coolest websites.  As a bearded man who loves his beard, the Beard Coach is an inspiration and a digital follicle mentor.  I someday hope to sport the full, strong, masculine beard he has.  Way to go, Beard Coach. 

I would love to hear some of your ‘man-crushes’ and definitely some input from the ladies.