Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Scrapper (finale)

Patrick had waited long enough. He knew if he waited any longer he would be too dizzy and sick to fight. Tiger was enraged by what he thought to be a wink.

It was like someone had rung a bell. Tiger and Patrick lunged. They started trading punches. It was all out. Not fancy tricks, no upper hand. It was like a couple of country boy gladiators who had reached the end of their match, expending all their weapons until only the speed of their fists remained in their battle arsenal.

At first, both were immovable pillars. There was no interest in blocking or dodging. It was a slug-fest. Whoever went down first would have the victory.

In the midst of the slugging Patrick saw an opening when Tiger dropped his right. Patrick quickly landed two punches straight to Tigers chin. Tiger stumbled back. It looked as though he had lost. He blinked as if was going to black out. Patrick only needed to finish the job.

Tiger realized he could not win this fight by boxing. The Scrapper was too fast and hit just as hard as he.

Tiger stumbled again and Patrick saw his chance. He lowered his head and barreled into Tiger’s torso to bring him to the ground.

In the rush of the battle Patrick had forgotten his Alcohol induced state. He didn’t have the strength, or balance to bring this seasoned 215 pound, 6’2 football player to his back. Tiger seized the opportunity and slung the dizzy Patrick around to the ground and in a frenzied second, he had him pinned. Tiger could tackle and divert tackles like a pro. He did it every day in football practice for hours. He didn’t get the nickname Tiger for being a pushover. For Pat, the alcohol had finally had its turn in trading punches in the fight. In the moment Patrick needed his last bit of strength to finish the job, the liquor had sucker-punched and robbed him of it.

Now with one skilled turn and throw Tiger had him trapped under his weight and on the ground. Tiger shoved his knees into Patrick’s shoulders rendering him immobile. Gluing the Scrapper to the ground, Tiger began to relentlessly pound Patrick in the face.

Every three punches Tiger would pause and say, “YOU GIVE??!

“PISS ON YA!” Patrick would defiantly reply.

Three more slugs. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! “YOU GIVE??”

“I AIN’T GIVIN UP NUTHIN!!” Patrick said; His face getting bloodier by the punch.

Patrick could no longer feel the punches. There was something unbreakable in his spirit. Every punch only made him more resolve. Every punch was like hammer on a hot piece of iron, sharpening the blade when it should destroy or break it. His whole life, his whole spirit, had been sharpened this way. This time the fire for this sharpening was especially hot and the blacksmith on this occasion was especially mean. Still, every time Tiger asked if Patrick wanted to give up, it only made Patrick’s answers more defiant.

Pathetically, Jack regained his consciousness and crawled over to the knarly scene of perpetual violence. Tiger paid no attention to the crawling, sniveling, still-bloody Jack.

“PAAAAT” Jack said, still unintentionally yodeling.

“Just give up Pat…”

Tiger heard the plea and paused for an answer. He was holding his fist up and breathing short fast breaths through his gritting, bloody teeth.

Patrick looked at Jack and stared straight back in to the face of Tiger…


Patrick spit a wad of dirty bloody right into Tiger’s face. Tiger punched Pat three more times and then caught a glimpse of a rock 6 inches from Patrick’s head. Tiger grabbed it. He lifted it back and hovered it over Patrick’s head and starred at Patrick while pursing his lips and breathing hard though his nose.

He waited for the surrender.

“WELL, YOU GIVE?” Tiger finally yelled.

Patrick focused his eyes and calmed his breathing. He snarled his swollen lip, slowly lifted his head off the ground and looked Tiger directly in the eyes.

“I said… PISS… ON…. YOU…”

Tiger gritted his teeth again and took a few more breaths. He pulled the stone back another inche… and finally, threw the stone aside. He breathed an exasperated curse word and rolled off of Patrick’s shoulders. He wasn’t going to kill him. This was different than the guys that stole his car. He was through fighting today. If he punched any more he would pass out himself.

Then came the silence after the storm. Only the sound of two, hard-breathing boys and a faintly moaning Jack could be heard. Tiger, still breathing hard, looked at Patrick and shook his head.

“Shit man.” Tiger said and spit to the side showering half of it on the sprawled out, moaning Jack.

Tiger looked up at his three dumbfounded and frozen friends.

“Lets go.” He said in a breathy, tired voice.

One of Tiger’s buddies came over and grabbed Tiger by the hand and helped him up. Tiger and his friends made their way quietly back to his car. Patrick sat up slowly and eventually and painfully made it to his feet.

The silence was as if a tornado had barreled though a farm, leaving everything in destruction. Slow and cautious, the family emerges from the cellar to view the damage and stand in awe of what just happened.

“Lets go Jack. Get up.” Patrick finally said.

Both warriors and Jack eventually limped their way back to their cars, doors slamming shut. Silence again. No cars turning their engines. No movement. No screaming, no jeering. Just silence. Patrick was strangely aware of the sound of the cicadas in the woods starting their early-evening songs. He hadn’t noticed them all summer. Patrick sat in the driver’s seat with his window rolled down and spit some more blood and part of a tooth out the window. He was starting to feel his wounds. He looked in the mirror. It was bad. His lower lip was so severely cut that he could almost see his tooth through it. His hair was matted with blood, sweat and dirt. His eyes were both swollen. He was going to need stitches. Lots of stitches.

Patrick heard the car door of Tiger’s Mustang open. It was Tiger.

“Come on Pat, start the car, lets go. I don’t want to fight no more.” Jack said.

Patrick ignored him.

Patrick wasn’t worried. Patrick knew that there was no more fighting today. Tiger knew it too. Tiger had literally worn himself out. He hadn’t the energy for one more punch and knew that if he punched for days, Patrick would never break. He would have to kill him to break him.

Tiger approached Patrick’s window. Jack started to whine again to leave. Jack was silenced when he saw Tiger extend his hand to Patrick through the window.

“Good fight.” Tiger said, his lip now swollen to where his speech was impaired. Tiger spit a glob of tobacco into the dirt with his hand still extended to shake.

“I ain’t shakin’ nothing” Patrick said. “So just get your hand outta my face. When I’m healed up, I’m comin’ after you. And I’m gonna finish the job.”

Tiger put his hand down and on the window and chuckled.

“I figured you’d say that.” Tiger said. “That’s just what I’d say.”

Tiger stepped back, let out another raspy chuckle and walked back to his car.

Patrick watched in his side mirror as Tiger opened the door, revved the engine and sped off towards Claremore.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pretty Tasty

As a brief intermission to my Scapper story I would like to introduce you to Dill Pickle Sunflower Seeds. Pretty darn Tasty. MMMM mmmm. Sunflower seeds are a good alternative to candy-bars and other fat-inducing, rear-enlarging, spare-tire-inflating snacks. It takes about a half an hour to surgically split and eat a whole mouthful of these babies and did I mention that they are tasty. Not Chili's French-fries tasty but good enough to munch. What do you snack on, that is GOOD, or doesn't taste like faintly-flavored air, that is good for the gander?

Warning: (to be read very fast and in a low, nearly-inaudible voice) Side effects may include, memory loss, projectile vommiting, dizziness, nausia, shortness of breath, uncontrolled flagilation, and in some extreme cases...erectile disfunction. Use only as directed. Consult a doctor before eating.

So come on, enjoy these Tasty Treats. Isn't it about time you did?

Snack suggestions?

The Scrapper (part 4)

A rush of excitement burst through Patrick’s veins. He caught the arrogant Tiger off guard, giving Pat the upper-hand.

Everything that he had ever learned in fighting needed to be focused at this point.

Usually in a fight, Patrick would win within 15 seconds. He fought fast and mean. Tiger was just as tough. This time was different and Patrick knew it. He couldn’t let himself get mad. If you get mad then you don’t think. If you stop thinking, then you loose. It was hard not to get mad. Tiger knew this as well. Patrick had landed a couple of left-right combo’s to the jaw and nose and before Tiger could get his balance, Pat had Tiger in a head-lock ready to plant his knee into his teeth. Tiger grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it in Pat’s eyes and face.

“You dirty Sonofa Bitch.” Pat spat out the dirt and tried to keep Tiger in the choke-hold.

Tiger reached up and slapped Patrick a few times with his big calloused paw. The slaps hurt worse than the punches. They felt like big frying-pans smacking him the face. Patrick felt himself getting pissed. He controlled it. Patrick could hear Tiger choke. “I’ve got him” Patrick thought.

Before Patrick could give him a knee to the face, Tiger’s brute strength kicked in, and he picked Patrick up, who was 6 feet of solid lean muscle, and with shear farm boy force he threw him off like a big wet hay bale. This jarred Patrick a bit but even three sheets to the wind, Patrick was still quicker than Tiger. Before Tiger could move another inch Patrick was on him again. Another two, three, four, five hits to his face. Tiger was getting mad. His friends were watching and he never had to fight for this long. Patrick heard the door open to Tiger’s Mustang and then the running feet approach the scene.

“DON’T!” Tiger said. “Stay BACK” “I’m gonna take care of this Hayseed myself.”

Patrick could feel the anger boiling inside of him.

Patrick and Tiger squared off again. Both were breathing heavy and were showing signs of the battle. Pat's face was dirty and had a cut under one eye. Tiger looked sweaty and had a small drop of blood coming from the left nostril. They moved slowly in a circle. Patrick started to feel dizzy.

“Damn it” he thought to himself. “I shouldn’ta drank so much. ” “Damn that Jack”

“Come on Tiger!” one of his friends jeered as they began to lean forward, awaiting the call from their leader to jump at any time.

Tiger wasn’t about to win this fight with the help of his buddies. He was going to win this one right.

Patrick stumbled slightly. He was getting dizzier by the second. The voices of Tiger’s jeering friends started to sound like a crowd. Voices… “the scrapper from Foyl just keeps comin’ at him.” “I’m not sure the Champ knows what to think of him.”

Patrick could hear the announcer yell into the radio microphone. “The Scrapper from Foyl has no skill, He’s just mean…”

“I shoulda won that damn fight.” Patrick mumbled to himself.

Patrick and Tiger were still walking in a slow circle with their fists cocked and ready to go. The stand off was broken when Tiger took a big swing at Patrick. Patrick moved out of the way. On the way by Patrick snuck a punch right to Tiger’s ear, nearly knocking Tiger over. The dizziness was worse now, and Patrick could feel his eye swelling. If Patrick were somewhere else he would have puked his guts up. Tiger’s friends were getting more involved. Patrick’s eye started to throb. He started blinking fast to keep the sweat out of his eye and to keep it focused.

“Come on Tiger. Whip his ass and let’s go.” Another one Tiger’s Letter Jacket gang yelled.

“Shut UP FRANK!” Tiger yelled.

Not a trace of fear could be found in either boy’s eyes. They both just stared. Tiger glared at Patrick. Patrick glared back.

For a second it looked like Patrick was… winking at him. Tiger could feel a hot burning coal of hatred in his soul. He had seen that Hayseed wink that cocky wink before. The only other time they had met.

They had met in a bar in Claremore. Patrick was there playing pool and beating another guy from Claremore, egging him on. Over at the bar sat Tiger, drinking, and watching. Patrick was good at about anything he tried. He was also good at being cocky. Patrick leaned over the pool table, down through the smoke to knock the 8 ball in the side pocket. Right before he hit the ball, he looked up through the dim light and smoke at the girl sitting to Tiger’s right, and winked.

In Oklahoma, if you wanted to fight, you did two things: You insulted a boy's mother, or you looked sweetly at some other fella’s girl.

Tiger quietly put his beer down and got up to go meet Patrick at the pool table. He had already decided that he didn’t like him. He began that same icy, calm stroll over towards Patrick. Patrick had known his course of action before he even winked. “When he gets over here, I’m gonna to knock all his front teeth out with this pool cue. ” Tiger made it half way to the Pool table when his path was blocked by a big shadowy figure, Patrick’s best friend, Bo Bean.

“Tiger, just calm down. He’s been drinkin.” Bo said calmly in a deep barrel voice.

“Its alright Bear” Tiger said. “I just want to chat with your boy here.”

“If you wanna fight him, then your gonna have to get through me.” Bo said calmly.
The bar got quiet. Tiger gave an icy smile to Bo. Tiger’s girl came up to his side, grabbed his arm and whispered something in his ear.

“Alright Bear.” Tiger said. “I’ll let it slide if your vouchin’ for him.”

Tiger backed up and started to leave the bar. He wasn’t used to backing down. Patrick was still standing there watching. Tiger took one last look back as his girlfriend opened the door and light burst into the dark room on Tiger. The last thing he saw in the bar before his girlfriend pulled him out the door was Patrick, just grinning from ear to ear. Their eyes locked and Patrick winked.

Yeah, Tiger had seen that wink before. This time he wasn’t gonna let it slide.

Patrick was far from winking. He was desperately trying to stay focused. While the adrenaline was pumping he had been fine. But the alcohol had taken its toll.

To be continued (the last one, I promise!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Scrapper (pt. 3)

Patrick recognized who it was driving the other car, and he knew it wasn’t to just anyone Jack was flipping the bird and lobbing bottle grenades. In fact, not only was the other car driven by Tiger, but it was also filled with three of Tiger’s teammates, all wearing football letter jackets. Pat and Jack however were only wearing a couple of grody t-shirts and the smell of smoke and liquor.

Pat and Tiger briefly locked eyes and recognized each other. They had met once before and had both heard stories though they had never fought. So when the break lights of Tiger’s Mustang lit up and began to follow Jack to the curb, Patrick knew that status might soon change.

“I mean it Jack,” Pat said. “I ain’t fighting this one.”

Jack ignored him.

The car slowed and pulled off to the side of the road. Every discouragement from Patrick just seemed to make Jack want to prove himself more.

“I’ll show him how tough…” Jack thought to his drunken self.

The gravel and dust started to stir up from both cars and they came to a stop.

“You’re such an asshole, Jack.” Pat said, voice slurred a bit, as he tried to shake off the drunkenness and clear his head.

Jack pulled out his comb and slicked back his hair, pulled his cigarettes out of his rolled up t-shirt sleeve and said,

“Fine, you just sit here and watch my comb and cigarettes. I’ll be back before you can get scared and piss yourself.”

As Jack spouted off his trash-talk Patrick began to assess the situation and formulate a plan (as any seasoned fighter would do). Jack had now put them both in danger. They were outnumbered, and they were drunk. It was a small relief when Patrick noticed that only Tiger was getting out and the rest were just sitting in the car, laughing. The only one not laughing, was Tiger.

Tiger slowly stepped out of the car with his cigarette still hanging from his mouth and began his slow and carefree walk to the car where Jack was still slicking his hair. Pat started to yell at Jack.

“Jack, lets go man.” Pat said getting more irritated. “This isn’t good. Either get out of the car right now and fight or lets go.”

Jack glanced in the rear view mirror and started to reach under the seat and feel around for something.

By the time Tiger had reached the back of the car Jack gave up on whatever he was hunting for to even the odds.

Not wanting to show any sign of fear, Jack gave up the hunt and boldly opened the door, set one foot out of the car, and began to scream a cursing taunt. Before he could get the first f-word out of his mouth Tiger thrust his fist into Jacks face and blood exploded from his nose. Tiger grabbed Jack mercilessly by the hair and jerked him out of the car. Jack began to crawl away from Tiger and cover his face, mumbling and unintentionally yodeling. “Paaat. Help me… Haaaayeeelp.” Tiger, still smoking his dangling cigarette, calmly walked up to Jack and began to angrily and relentlessly kick the drunk idiot in the stomach, ribs, legs, face.

Patrick, knowing the severity of the situation and being a loyal friend, checked for others around the car, and opened door and walked around the car. The scene was grim. Jack had been beaten before he even stepped foot on the dirt.

“Quit kickn’ him” Pat said.

Tiger didn’t flinch an eye. He acted as thought Patrick wasn’t there.

“That’s enough I said. Quit it.”

Patrick didn’t ask a third time. He plunged his fist into the side of Tiger’s face, and the fight was on.

The Scrapper (pt. 2)

Jack was a rough kid. He wasn’t near as tough as Pat, nor as notorious when it came to fighting, but he was definitely known for trying to prove how tough he was, especially to Patrick. Jack wasn’t the brightest star in anything. He was good at fixing cars but that was about it. He wasn’t Pat’s best friend but he was a good drinkin’ buddy and he was the only guy in town that could hold his liquor like Pat could. Jack was a loner and Patrick always felt sorry for him, until that car ride.

Patrick didn’t’ always drink so heavily. It was celebration time. It was 1964, the Beatles were blaring on the radio, and Pat and Jack had just graduated from High School the day before. They were up all night partying and were on their way home from the good times and cute girls. Amazingly, the graduation partying ended without a single fist fight. Most boys knew each other and were getting ready to go off to Vietnam, or off to college. There was no territory to mark or prove, no new blood to break in.

Patrick hadn’t made up his mind yet which he would choose, the War or college. His secret dream was to attend Tulsa University to become a writer. Going to Vietnam was the tough thing to do. His passion for writing was something he didn’t broadcast to his rough and tough buddies, or his teachers for that matter. When he was in the tenth grade he was suspended from school for reading the Grapes Of Wrath. He had the Steinback novel stashed in the back of his Chevy when the shop teacher saw it and turned him in. He was suspended for three days for reading the then-considered obscene novel.

To most people around Foyl, Pat was a strange kid. People just didn’t get him. They liked him, but couldn’t get him. He was high strung and creative. Friendly but hot-tempered. Fun and ornery to his friends but could be tough and mean to his enemies. He would take up for the new kid in school getting picked on (fairness was in his blood); unfortunately, when you got him in a fight, it was bad news for you and fairness was whatever got the job done.

Patrick never picked fights. Fights always picked him. If he did pick one, it was usually over a pretty girl who belonged to someone else. No, Patrick’s propensity and proficiency for fighting came from two things. For starters, he had a pretty face. He also developed early. He had hair on his chest in the 8th grade. Being good-lookin’ in Foyl Oklahoma was no easy thing, especially if you had his second problem...mouthiness. I guess when you know you won’t loose, you’ll say just about anything. He hadn’t lost a fight since the 4th grade and everyone from around town knew it. However, that never stopped the new guys at school from trying, trying to prove their toughness. Every few weeks a new kid would come to town and inevitably Patrick would have to square-off with him. People would try to warn whoever challenged Pat, but he just didn’t look that tough, so they’d give it a go anyways. If they could whip Pat, it would mean instant success with the ladies. That decision was always a bad move on their part. When you fight every day of your life, you get good at it. And like I said, Patrick was good at it.

It was no surprise that Patrick took to the only other sport offered at Foyl High School: boxing. He was so good at boxing, or so mean at boxing, that by his Junior year he had made it to the Golden Glove Boxer Oklahoma State Championship. He had beaten every kid competing in boxing in the entire state of Oklahoma and was on his way to becoming the State and Regional Champ. People from all over the state listened as the radio announcer gave a blow-by-blow account of “the scrapper from Foyl” as he fought the Reigning Regional Champ from Joplin. The fight went all 14 rounds. Sadly the bout went to his rich-kid opponent from Joplin, Missouri, by decision of one point. Everyone knew it was rigged. Even the Missourians knew it was fixed. Patrick had knocked the kid’s mouthpiece out of his mouth no less than four times in the last two rounds. The kid could barley stand up when they announced his fake victory. Patrick was still bouncing from foot to foot when it was announced. From all accounts it was a scandalous decision. People in the crowd booed. The sports casters tried to attribute the loss to Patrick’s lack of refinement. They may have been right about the lack of refinement, (Patrick’s boxing coach was the high school shop teacher), but there was one thing everyone knew after that fight was finished. Patrick especially knew it. When the last bell rang, Pat triumphantly went to his corner and thought:

“I have kicked ass today.” He spit his mouthpiece into the spit bucket. Five minutes later the announcer broke the news to an angry crowd.

It was a hard loss for Pat but it didn’t destroy his spirit. In his heart he never really lost. Regardless of the judge’s decision, Patrick went home to Foyl a local hero. People talked for months about how Pat was robbed. Farmers all over town would talk about it while taking a break hauling hay.

"There should be somthin' done about this crud. Pat Ward beat that kid fair and square" Old Ike down the road would say.

"I know it. I know it." Old man Jeb would reply. "Give it to the rich Kid ever time" (tobacco spit)

Across town at the hair salon ladies would chatter on talking over the giant noisy hair-helmet dryers.

"Did you hear about that Pat Ward on the Radio?" Claire who ran the local hair Salon said to a regular.

"Mmm hmm." The lady under the dryer-helmut nodded and flip the page of her Life magazine.

"I heard the Mayor of Joplin was a Judge" said Claire.

"Mmm hmm" The regular said again and flipped another page.

"Well that Patrick is to handsome to be fightin' anyways"

"Claire!" The regular stopped reading and looked scandalized. "He is half your age!"

"I'm just sayin!..." Clair said defensively and let slide a little smirk.

Foyl (pronounced Foil) was a little farming town in rural Oklahoma, and it had started to grow since Patrick had started high school. It had a fiercly competitive basketball team, and to the town of Foyl, the Foyl High Varsity Basketball team might as well have been the Chicago Bulls. Basketball games in Foyl could get violent. Parents were sent home. Some were banned from the games for life. It was serious business around there, those basketball games. Patrick played varsity for the Foyl Panthers, and their arch-enemies were in Clarmore, Oklahoma. People from Foyl were poor and few, but they were proud. It was no surprise that everyone in Foyl had their radios turned on and up when the local Foyl boy had made it to the state championship in boxing. It wasn’t Varsity Basketball but hey, it was something. At least it wasn’t somebody from Claremore. Foyl was nothing like Claremore. They were proud of that too.

Claremore was about 25 miles away, where the "upidy" kids went to school. The high school was also big and wealthy enough to have a football team, and the people of Claremore never failed to bring it up when they could. They were mostly proud of their Star runningback/linebacker, who everybody just called “Tiger.” Tiger had the same reputation as Patrick for fighting, minus the good looks. He was about 6’2 and 210 pounds of farm boy fighting machine. If you fought Tiger, you lost. He was also notorious for beating you senseless. If you were lucky he would beat you until you gave up. Back then you gave up all dignity and surrendered the fight when you hollered, “I GIVE!” Most times when he was really mad he would just beat you until you didn’t move anymore. He darn near killed a couple of guys when they tried to steal his car his senior year. The fight practically landed him in jail. It would have if he had been one year older. The two guys he thumped nearly to death went to jail because they were grown men in their twenties. There was only one person Tiger ever backed down from in a fight. Patrick’s best friend Bo Bean. Bo Bean had graduated the year before and was out of town. No one ever fought Bo because he was so huge. Bo was a 6’5 300 pound full-blood Cherokee Indian. It would be like fighting a grizzly, which is why everyone that played football with him, including Tiger, just called him… well, “Bear.” Sadly, it wasn’t “Bear” in the car with Patrick. It was dumb, drunk Jack. And Jack had just pitched a bottle at Tiger’s prized possession, his car.

Most days, Patrick usually felt sorry for Jack and took up for him.

Today wasn’t one of those days. This time there was no sympathy coming from Patrick’s heart. There was something bad about this scenario, and Patrick knew it.

(to be continued...)

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Scrapper

Warning: This is a story about my Dad. My Dad, Patrick Ward, had a rough life. So...this story contains a few "colorful" words and I hope they do not offend. I am compiling these stories and self-publishing them for my Dad's 60'th birthday next year. I chose to leave the story as it was told.

“Jack leave em’ alone.” Patrick said as the engine of their muscle car revved and roared between gears.

“Get your hand down,” Pat said as he tried to reach over and grab Jack’s hand, which was waving the middle finger out his window at the neighboring Mustang.

“I don’t want to fight right now.” Pat yelled.

“Awe shut up.” Jack said, arrogant and drunk. “They look like nuthin’ but a bunch of Claremore assholes to me.”

Jack leaned over Pat and tried to wave his hand out Pat’s window. Pat threatened him again.

“Quit it you dumb ass.”

Jack down-shifted to 3rd to try and quickly pass them. The car roared as the gears flew into speeds too high for 3rd year. But the car in the other lane seemed to not care and let them roar ahead.

“Finally,” Jack said. The driver of the other car waved his hand out the window and motioned them to pull over.

“Oh yeah baby, somebody’s gonna get whuped.” Jack said and kept checking the mirror to make sure they were still pulling over.

“I’m not fightn’ this for you Jack,” Patrick warned.

“I DON’T NEED YOU TO FIGHT NOTHIN YOU ASSHOLE,” Jack screamed defiantly.

The liquor always made Jack’s attitude worse. He was a mean drunk. Worse than mean, he was stupid. Jack took a half-empty beer bottle and chunked it out the window at the Mustang.

Pat and his friend Jack had been drinking since 11:00 that morning. It was 4:00 and by now their blood could have been used as a disinfectant. Between the two of them they had polished off 3 bottles of Jack Daniels and about 17 cans of cheap beer.

Now, there are two types of drunk drivers. Those who drive very slow over-cautious, and those who drive fast and reckless. The slow kind, Jack… was not. So these two greasers were taking a joy ride at 90 to nothing in Jack’s 58 Impala on Route 66 between Claremore and Foyl Oklahoma, both of them drunk as a Kentucky wino.

(To be cont...)

Morbid Fixation

I have always had a bit of a morbid fixation. In my younger years when I would hear the symptoms of a new disease or epidemic I was sure that I had it. Thankfully, I am not so bad these days. Every once in a while I will start wondering if my head ache is really just a head ache but most days, I'll just pop a couple of advil and not think twice about it. I have found a good way to overcome any minor psychological disorder is to poke fun at it, to yourself of course. Making fun of someone elses pshycological prob. is pretty much evil and bastardo. I cope with my phobias and fixations sometimes by the "Art Music" I write. I had several other phobias as a child and I wrote a suite for piano called "Nightmares" and it pretty much took care of them. I have a brother-in-law who suffers from a severe axiety disorder. He gets horribly afraid of ... THE MAIL! He is one of the most intelligent people I know but something like the the mail can send him to the edge of looney-cliff. One of the ways that he copes with this disorder is to poke fun of it, or overemphasis the horror of it.

Sometimes, when he knows that the MAILMAN COMMETH and he feels ths anxiety building, he turns on the Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner and dims the lights . "OOOOooo SCARY mailman, gonna bring me something scAAARRRYYYY in the Maillll OOOOOOoooo" When he hears the Mailman outside, he opens the door with a large butcher knife, holds it up. With eyes wide open, looking straight ahead he sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" monotone and loud until the Mailman leaves...

Okay so that last knife/Over the Rainbow-bit was a lie, but it was a funny image and I thought i'd tack it on for dramatic purposes. The rest is true however and It seems to do the trick for him sometimes.

I found the site I think can help me with my morbid fixation, should it return. It writes your obituary for you check it out. This was mine. What's yours?

'What will your obituary say?' at

Negaivity Scene

Negative people. What do you do with them?

You all know what I am talking about. People who are constantly in a bad mood. Always have a scowl on their faces. Nothing is ever going quite the way they want it. What if you are in a situation where you around someone who is constantly in the worst of moods? I am asking you. I have always been of the mind that when you around a negative person, stop being around them. Pray for them, but maybe it is time to cut the ties. Maybe after a while, you realize that you cannot help their negativity and you must move on.

What does that moving on mean? I don't think it means to stop caring about that person, I just think that it means you can't help them by joining them.

Someone once told me, "you rise and fall to the level of your peers." I have always lived by this motto and have included negativity as a level. At times it has made me cold and indifferent. At times it has saved me a lot of grief. I know one thing. There is a line. Where do you draw yours?

I am almost finished with another installment of the Patrick Ward series and in the mean-time I would love to hear your feedback.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday Morning Youtube

Amish Paradise

For your Saturday afternoon veiwing pleausre: a classic staring Weird Al and the music of a ceartain dusgruntled rapper after finding out that his dope gangsta rapping masterpiece had been turned into a greater masterpiece that would be remembered down through the ages through the art form known as "Music Video" and in some countries the ancient Hebrew stroy-telling technique known as "Video Midrash."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I miss Ebert

My favorite Movie critic has been out of commission for the past month. He has recently undergone surgery for cancer and I have this grim feeling that he won't be returning any time soon, if ever. I have come to realize that for me, reading his movie reviews has become like reading a regular paper or one of my favorite blogs. I even have my own personal favorites when it comes to Ebert's reviews. He is such a terrific writer and it is a little known fact that he was the first filmi critic to win a Pulitzer prize. As a tribute to one of my fav. writers and by far my favorite columnist I am posting my favorite review of a movie. The film is quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. It is called "The Ghost And the Darkness" It stared Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. It is wretched. One should watch it just to observe just how crappy a movie can be. Roger Ebert ladies and gentlemen:

The Ghost And The Darkness

BY ROGER EBERT / October 11, 1996

`The Ghost and the Darkness'' is an African adventure that makes the Tarzan movies look subtle and realistic. It lacks even the usual charm of being so bad it's funny. It's just bad. Not funny. No, wait . . . there is one funny moment. A bridge-builder takes leave of his pregnant wife to go to Africa to build a bridge, and she solemnly observes, ``You must go where the rivers are.'' The bridge man, named Patterson, is played by Val Kilmer in a trim modern haircut that never grows an inch during his weeks in the bush. He soon is joined by a great white hunter named Remington (Michael Douglas), whose appearance is that of a homeless man who somehow got his hands on a rifle. If this were a comic strip, there would be flies buzzing around his head.

The men meet up in Uganda, where a big push is on to complete a railroad faster than the Germans or the French. The owner of the rail company is a gruff tycoon who boasts, ``I'm a monster. My only pleasure is tormenting those people who work for me.'' He is too modest. He also torments those who watch this movie.

Work on the railroad bridge is interrupted by a lion attack. Patterson spends the night in a tree and kills a lion. There is much rejoicing. Then another lion attacks. Eventually it becomes clear that two lions are still on the prowl. They are devilishly clever, dragging men from their cots and even invading a hospital to chew on malaria patients. ``Maneaters are always old, and alone, but not these two,'' Remington intones solemnly.

The rest of the movie consists of Patterson and Remington sitting up all night trying to shoot the lions, while the lions continue their attacks. At the end we learn that these two lions killed 135 victims in nine months. The movie only makes it seem like there were more, over a longer period.

Many scenes are so inept as to beggar description. Some of the lion attacks seem to have been staged by telling the actors to scream while a lion rug was waved in front of the camera. Patterson eventually builds a flimsy platform in a clearing, tethers a goat at its base, and waits for the lions. Balanced on a wooden beam, he looks this way. Then that way. Then this. Then that. A competent editor would have known that all this shifting back and forth would become distracting. Then a big bird flies at him and knocks him off the beam, and right into a lion's path. Lesson No. 1 in lion hunting: Don't let a big bird knock you into the path of a lion.

A narrator at the beginning of the film has informed us, ``This is a story of death and mystery.'' The mystery is why these particular lions behaved as they did. I don't see why it's a mystery. They had reasons anyone can identify with: They found something they were good at, and grew to enjoy it. The only mystery is why the screenwriter, William Goldman, has them kill off the two most interesting characters so quickly. (They are Angus, the chatty man on the spot, and an African with a magnificently chiseled and stern face.) In the old days this movie would have starred Stewart Granger and Trevor Howard, and they would have known it was bad but they would have seemed at home in it, cleaning their rifles and chugging their gin like seasoned bwanas.

Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas never for a second look like anything other than thoroughly unhappy movie stars stuck in a humid climate and a doomed production.

I hope someone made a documentary about the making of ``The Ghost and the Darkness.'' Now that would be a movie worth seeing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Call of the Road

We quit our Day Jobs recently. Seth and Amber are no longer employed by Williams Trace Baptist Church. It has been a great experience and we have loved every minute of serving the people and staff there, but it is time to do the thing that we are truly passionate about... full time Professional Movie Watchers. We have saved up enough money to be able to pay our rent, eat at our favorite food-joints twice a day and watch at least one Movie per evening, not including dvd rentals. To our calculations we have figured out that we can keep this up for at least 3 months. YESSSSS.

Actually, we will be going on tour soon; essentially the same thing as above profession but add on a couple of concerts, intensive practicing sessions, hundreds of driving hours and lots of prayer every week for the next few months.

We have been truly blessed by our Church and we will be continually blessed by our Church as we will still be members there. However there will be one less long-haired hippie at the piano and leading the band on Sunday Mornings. It is bitter sweet parting for us but the time is now- NO kids, (yet) and we both like Hotel Rooms. Ready to roll.

Another fun aspect of this troubadourian endeavor will be that we get to tour along with my best bud, Joey Mcfarland. If you guys haven't heard this fellow jam on the Fiddle (he has a fancy 7 string violin that goes into the Double Bass range) you are in for a treat. This chap can jam. He darn near stole the show when he toured with Jeremy Camp this last year. I am proud to say that he will be touring with a less muscular friend and his wife. It's gonna be fun as long as he doesn't accidentally throw me out of any golf carts.

Hopefully we will start our 7 minute episodes on Youtube in a few weeks. Both Joey and I are film Makers and we hope to tickle your eyeballs with some tantalizingly tasty moments from the tour. Also, I hereby promise to never say that corny sentence again. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the fun. Amber, being the only one I know who is blessed with incredible creativity and at the same time NOT plagued with Attention Deficit Disorder will need your prayers as she will be now around not only her scatter-brained Hubby, but the only person more scatter-brained than him.

I often wonder what it is like to be in the mind of someone who is further up the evolutionary chain like Amber. Well, at least I can still beat her in Ping Pong. Barely.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hey Lucy

So we are going on tour in a couple of weeks. This is what I am working on to accompany "Hey Lucy" What say you?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Eve? part 2

Recently, we had a very interesting discussion going at a certain blog entry entitled "Einstein Anyone?" In this discussion we meandered into a riveting conversation about inerrancy. This discussion of inerrancy had much to do with science and how we reconcile science to the Bible or visa versa. Can it be done? Should we do this? Is the Bible scientifically accurate?

I realize that the previous "Eve?" post is difficult to understand and I left it so. I had a purpose for posting this article about the "Mitocondrial Eve". I will attempt to describe this mitochondria Eve in laymans terms. Mitochodrial Eve is the woman in History to which every single human being on earth is linked, "matrilineally" or in other words, through our moms. So if I am looking for Mitochodrial Eve I start with, -my mom, thenmy mom's mom, my grandma's mom, my great grandma's mom, my great great grandma's mom, and so forth until we reach a point in history, far enough back, where everyone on earth RIGHT NOW reaches the SAME great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandma. Give or take a few thousand greats. Believe it or not, this would take us back in history about 50,000-100,000 years. Not that far, "relatively" speaking. (HA!) Before we get too excited and start putting up pictures of google-great grandma Eve, alone in a garden chomping on an apple, we should realize that our friendly Scientists tell us wryly that other homo-sapien women living as well when our google-great grandma Eve was around. (however, this could kinda answers that question of where Cain got his wife huh?)

See, there I go. I am tempted, every time I see something like this to reconcile the Bible and the Genesis Story to these Scientific discoveries. Therein lies my conundrum. I know the bible is not a science book, however, when I hear something in science crop up for example -the fact that there are actually great springs in the ocean. Until 100 years ago we thought there were no such thing and the Bible was false about this observation. Now we know there are, - I say, see, I told you so. The Bible is true. Na na na na na Nahhh.

But oh, it gets better.

Last night I watched "Exodus Decoded" on the History channel. Without going into too many details, this explorer was able to find evidence, scientific evidence that the exodus occurred. He uncovered INCREDIBLE ancient stone carvings that depicted chariots racing through seemingly parted water chasing a man with a staff. Using the descriptions FOUND IN THE BIBLE, he uncovered the place where the REAL mount Sinai should be located. He then trekked to the top and found a natural spring where there used to be water. He also found at the top, a natural cleft where Moses could have talked to thousands and thousands of Israelites because of the natural amphitheater. The most incredible part of this James Cameron-produced special was that the explorer deciphered just who made the ARK OF THE COVENANT. He went to an exhibit and found a small replica, thousands of years old, of the Holiest of Holies. The Ark, right there, plain as day depicted in a small golden miniature. Incredibly, until now, no one has given this little golden sculpture a second thought.

to be continued...

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Taken from the Wikipedia about the current scienctific study pertaining to the "Eve Gene". Some of this is hard to comprehend for the biology-impaired like your truly, but stick with it.

"Naming Mitochondrial Eve after Eve of the Genesis creation story by Wilson, has led to some misunderstandings among the general public. A common misconception is that Mitochondrial Eve was the only living female of her time — she was not (indeed, had she been, humanity would have probably become extinct). Many women alive at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve have descendants alive today. However, only Mitochondrial Eve produced an unbroken line of mitochondria that persists today.

Imagine a family tree of all humans living today. Now imagine a line from each individual to their mother, and continue those lines from each of those mothers to their mothers, and so on. Going back through time their mitochondrial lineages will converge as sisters share the same mother. The further back in time one goes, the fewer mitochondrial ancestors of living humans there will be until only one is left — this is the latest common matrilineal ancestor of all the humans alive today, i.e. Mitochondrial Eve.

Now, going in the opposite direction of the family tree (from ancient times to today), imagine the same line, which now connects mothers to their daughters. Starting with the entire human population alive at some time in the past, lineages will become extinct as women die childless or only have male children. Eventually, only a single lineage remains, which is the same as before.

Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common matrilineal (female-lineage) ancestor for mtDNA, not the MOST COMMON RECENT ANCESTOR (MRCA) of all humans. The MRCA's offspring HAVE LED TO ALL LIVING HUMANS, but Mitochondrial Eve must be traced only through female lineage, so she is estimated to have lived much longer ago than the MRCA. While Mitochondrial Eve is thought to have been living around 150,000 years ago, the MRCA is estimated to have been living ONLY A FEW THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

So, ladies and gentleman, if I am reading this correctly, AND I MAY NOT BE, this article is stating that the MRCA or "Most Common Recent Ancestor" FOR ALL MANIKIND is estimated to have bee living ONLY A FEW THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

Anyone care to speculate? Dare I suggest that using reason, that the Bible..... just ..... might..... line ...... up .... with .......
dare I say it?

(drum roll)

SCIENCE??? (timpani) bom bom bom BOM BOM BOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM.)

To be continued...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Nerds be Proud

I think I'll go see Snakes on a Plane tonight. Looks stupid and fun. Why are those two things so often found in the same sentence? How many times do you go to something really hip and fun? Never. If I were to go to a Radiohead concert, it would be 'really amazing and cool' but if I go to a Def Leppard/Journey concert, it is pretty much stupid (in that no one listens to them anymore...really) but very fun.

Nerds are WWAAAAYYY more interesting than cool people. Take a look at Hollywood stars. ZZZZZZzzzzzz (snore). We think we want to be just like them, sharing the glamour, sharing the fame. Ultimately we want to be just like them in every way. Do we really want that? I think we do. Man I know I do. Anorexia, divorce, illegitimate kids, bulimia, drugs, depression, Kabbalah, Scientology... Load me up baby, double dose! But wait...what was the most popular movie a couple of years ago and has been the most quoted movie since?.... hmmm. I believe it was a movie about a big huge nerd who wore unicorns on his t-shirts and called his goofy brother up to school to bring him some chapstick.

I remember being in high school and FINALLY getting in with the "cool" crowd. It sucked. Then in college I remember working out at the Baylor Student Life Center. To leave the workout room you had to walk in between this huge row of stairmasters. I used to watch as some young Baylor buck would parade by the stairmasters, acting like they didn't notice any of the chicks on the S-masters, and then casually glance down to see if their pecks were bigger than 1 minute ago. There would always be this one girl who would get visited by at least 5 guys in a 20 minute period. I always wondered what these perfectly sculpted people were talking about until one day when I happened to land on the bike right next to the queen bee of the sororities. It was enlightening. It went a little something like this (with NO exagerations).

Cool guy moseys over to Queen bee on stairmaster. Queen bee looks like she just stepped off an operatic stage production, still in makeup, and put on workout clothes.

Cool guy: "Sup" with a slight nod.
Queen bee: "oh ma GOSH! I totally didn't see you! How are you?"
Cool guy: "Cool, just hangin'"

pause for a few seconds as he leans on the bike, they both sort of look around.

Queen bee: "So, you are totally coming to the party tonight, right?"
Cool guy: "oh totally"
Queen bee: "totally, you better" (giggles)
Cool guy: "awesome..." (takes a look at his tricep as he leans on the bike next to him)
Queen bee: "have you seen Chad?"
Cool guy: "I'm Chad"
Queen bee: "OH (big giggles, and they both laugh perfectly) I mean Jeff!"
Cool guy: "totally fine, yeah he'll be there tonight totally too."

Now to the normal onlooker, or, the rest of us nerds in the room, that conversation looked very deep, filled with wit and profound insight on just how one can be cool. It looked like two beautiful people carrying on a conversation in perfect coolness. In actuality, it probably took 3 to 4 brain cells to develop the concepts formed in that discourse.

US Weekly is read mostly by nerds like you and me and what do we find? A bunch of unhappy, bored, drunk, sad, people who have been given, to their detriment, tooooo much money and too many people telling them that they are cool. What do we all want? To be cool because if we are finally cool we will be in a state of complete happiness.

I heard a line from a movie one time and it really connected with me. "The only real currency in this life is what is said between two people when they are being uncool"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Dentist I call Yoda

If there is a purgatory, the Dentist is the closest thing we have to prepare us. In all fariness, the Dentist I saw today is the BEST dentist I have EVER been to. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't no pina coloda on the beach, but I doubt there was a thing that they could have done today to make my visit more comfortable. They put these "movie glasses" on me, (no kiddn') and I watched the entire 1st Harry Potter movie while he filled my NINE cavities on just ONE SIDE of my mouth. That's right people. 9 Cavities. One side. Both sides combined I have a whopping 16 cavities. You'd think that I live in England in the 4th century. Who gets nine cavities? Lets see... Meth addicts, People stranded on desert Islands,...and people who eat Jolly Ranchers for breakfast lunch and dinner. I mean, last time I checked my teeth they didn't look like a litter of Dalmatians?? Come to find out, the reason I never noticed the colony of cavities who invaded my teeth, is because when they are in the first stages, they are invisible. They have a cloaking device. They are like Klingon Birds of Prey. Dammit Jim! So that's what they are doing when they start poking your teeth on your check-ups - feeling for soft spots which tells them if you've got a cavity a' brewin'. The reason for the sheer volume? It is a genetic thing. Cavities run in the fam. Thanks Pop.

To top it all off, Dr. Rayburn (as far as dentists go, he is Yoda) decided that he could just save some time and money and yank that one wisdom tooth that is showing because it has a doosey of a cavity. At first I thought he was joking. So I kind of mumbled a mouth-gaping chuckle. Then I realized the seriousness of the situation from the dead air and the missing reciprocated chuckle.

I reluctantly gave him a fakely confident "thumbs up" sign and then mumbled a fake-calm question that sounded something like "AOR DARRRAAA NAUUUUUU IIIIIII???" I waited for an answer and instead...he began to let out a slow... evil laugh, then the laugh turned into a sinister cackle. "HAHAHAHAHA!!!! NOT THIS TIME POTTER!!!" I then realized it was Lord Voldemort in the movie I was watching through my goggles and not the Doctor answering. However, the damage to my psyche was done.

The Doctor then began to kindly tell me that I "probably won't even notice much when I pull your tooth." Somehow I did not believe him in the slightest and I began the slow ass-walking-in-the-chair-thing that takes place when you begin to get ultra-nervous anticipating great pain. And for some reason the sentence with "pull your tooth" and "you won't notice" sounded like something I heard long ago as a seven-year-old boy right before my dad slammed the door connected to a string connected to my loose tooth. And we wonder why we no longer have the faith of little children...

Not only is Dr. Rayburn Yoda, he is apparently Honest Abe as well. He was right. If he wouldn't have asked me and just yanked it out, I wouldn't have noticed...until later of course when the numbness wore off and I started noticing an abnormal flow of blood coming from my back teeth.

So here I sit people. 9 fillings heavier and one Wisdom tooth lighter. I think I be up for a little reward tonight. Lord of the Rings and some pizza sounds about right.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sleepy Time

I have developed a fail-safe technique for falling asleep. I have had the same mind movie for about 18 years now. Works every time. Before I tell you this intimate little detail about my life, I'll just let you know before hand it is a bit corny. So here goes. I am about 19, I walk out into an old abandoned field and stumble upon an old creaking barn. The stars are shining so brilliant that the sky is a deep, deep blue. I open the barely surviving door and see a large object draped in a dark gray tarp. It is still pretty dark and I can hear the faint sound of rustling in the tall grass and weeds outside the barn and the wind is whistling through some of the holes in the barn. I uncover the object to find an incredible space craft. The design varies from dream to dream but it always has some new about it. Now this is where I usually vary the dream from night to night. Sometimes the ship obeys my very spoken word, sometimes I instinctively know how to fly but the most amazing aspect of this shuttle is that I can go anywhere in the known universe in complete safety. If I want to venture up to a white dwarf star, I can. If I want to fly deep into the 900 mile/hour winds found in the great storm on Jupiter that we know of as the "Great Red Spot", I can do that as well. Sometimes I use this ship solve serious world problems like transporting mass amounts of food or hunting down ole' Bin Laden in his dark cave somewhere and dropping him off at the nearest black hole. Back in my poor, worried college years, the ship also served as a great bank robber. It could literally transport hundreds of thousands of dollars from various banks around the world into my bedroom. (Hey, those were some hungry times people.) Random acts of theft and vengeful murder aside, the dream is mostly about discovery and it ALWAYS works in getting me to sleep.

What's your technique for slipping into R.E.M. sleep?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Some Good Words from Rich

Recently I snagged a copy of an unpublished book called "What Rich Said" The book has every interview, comment, song, essay written by Rich Mullins. It is a must-have for any Rich Mullins fan. After he died, the author who compiled all of these written and unwritten manuscripts tried to get the Mullins estate to let her publish. They told her that they had another book coming out that was a bio and that it would detract from it's sales. Well, not to be critical but that is a real shame. This book is chalked full of so much wisdom that I have yet to open it one time and not be inspired. However, the bio... didn't do to much for me. What is great about THIS little book is that you can see the evolution of his views and ideologies. You see real growth, not in someone talking about a person's growth but watching it happen. Here is an excerpt interview that I thought was pretty thought provoking and it goes along with what we have been discussing about the the current state of the American Church and her attitude towards the poor.

Mullins: I really struggle with American Christianity. I'm not really sure that people with our cultural disabilities are capable of having souls, or being saved.

Tollbooth: Cultural disabilities?

Mullins: "We could call it that. People who grow up in a culture that worships pleasure, leisure, and affluence. I think that's where the church is doubly damned when they use Jesus as a vehicle for achieving all of that."

"When I meet someone who has bought into the prosperity heresy, I want to beat them up. You know, I would have been a good reformer. The only reason I don't is because I know that someday, God will judge me, and I could get into trouble for beating them up. So it's best not to..."

"I think people confuse being comfortable in their churches and society, and feeling good about themselves, as being Christianity. Instead, I see Christianity as calling us OUT of our society - out of our conventions - for the sake of changing them for Him."

"If I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers, but they're just wrong. They're not bad, they're just wrong."

"We try to make Christianity attractive, and that's like saying I'm going to make the Rockies attractive. How are you going to do that? By letting them be what they are. I think nothing is more compelling than to see people who have the Spirit living in the Spirit, and not trying to advertise Christianity."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Scenery Was Great

So my brother-in-law Eric Evans married Shannyn O'Brien on the beach in the SUNSHINE State last week. It was one of those weddings that even people who don't like weddings would have liked to seen. Just beautiful. They knelt and took communion as a part of their ceremony and it was the most moving part of the service for me. I am starting to believe that communion is going to become a greater part of every Church service, everywhere, regardless of denomination, in my generation and the generations to come. It used to be THE thing that Christians did when they got together and had "church" They drank, ate, and remembered. This made the already moving ceremony that much more powerful and meaningful to me.

During Communion they played a great tune by Shuan Groves called "the Narrow." If you don't own the song go download it.

"The Narrow" by Shaun Groves:

This way is paved with tears
Shed for two thousand years
Wrung from the saints sincere
Martyred and mourned
Spirit who scorched their veins
Burn in my bones the same
Bid me to earn their chains
And take the cross of my Lord, my Lord and


Give up the whole wide world
Give up the whole wide world
For my share of blessing and beauty and bloodshed
And wonders and woes
The wonders and woes of the narrow
Of the narrow

This way is eased with song
Sung where we don't belong
Sung till the weak are strong
And home with my Lord, my Lord

Some Things Never Change

There is so much profound and unchanging truth in this picture I just had to show it. What can I say, I am a proud uncle.

Friday, August 11, 2006

God Ain't the Tooth Fairy

You'd think I would have learned by now that the ole' close the eyes, open the Bible and drop the finger thing... has never really worked and ain't gonna start to work. I don't know why I try it from time to time when things start to get scary or change is a brewin', but I still do. It's weird, I don't revert into other habits pertaining to other matters. It would be like being short on cash for rent, so the next time I go to the Dentist to have a crown inserted, I save the tooth shavings then put them under my pillow and hope to find a cashier's check from the tooth fairy underneath my pillow in the morning for the amount of my rent.

Hey sometimes you might get lucky in the blind-finger-drop-bible-thingy, and honestly God can do anything if he wants, but man is it scary when you open the Good Book, drop your finger and the verse you land on and read is "Your wife will become a prostitute in the city and your sons will fall by the sword." AHHHHHHH!!!!!!! "Okay, Okay God, that was funny, now seriously, I am trying to get some answers here. Can't you see I am doing the fail-safe drop-the-finger-speak-to-me-thingy here. Can you get serious??? Now lets try again." Eyes closed, Bible open, finger drops, you read with great anticipation...."I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and birds of the air." - "OKAY, OKAY, FINE, FINE! Have it your way. Now where is that verse about working for the Good, oh yeah, Romans." Engage brain.

All I have to say is that I am glad that little trick isn't the way God wants us to make decisions of believe in His providence. Otherwise I am going to meet an unpleasant and dreadful end and my wife, well, I won't repeat that part.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Trading Chandeliers

The wedding was beautiful. I will talk about it more when I am not so ticked at the Hotel for internet travesty that happened earlier. Geeze Louis. I do have a few minutes here so I am going to share something. God has been smacking me in the face with something lately. The poor and the Church. The beautiful wedding this weekend even served as another huge reminder of Christ and His Church. Now, I don't want to add to the huge pile of blogs, articles, anti-white-American-songs, news-interviews-railing-rich-preachers given by Katie-the-sweetie Couric. I simply just want to ask you, the Church to begin again with me to dream. Ignite the true fire of the Gospel.

I am starting to see that what bothers me and many people about the American Protestant Church. We are coming to the horrible realization that we are rich. We are richer than the Church has ever been. As a matter of fact, we could probably wipe out world hunger with all of our wealth. We seek to build a society, a Kingdom here on earth by building churches that have schools, coffee shops, work-out facilities, racquet ball courts, etc. The ever knawing question remains in our soul. The poor are dying all over the world. The poor are dying blocks away from each of us. I drive by hospitals everyday on my way to Church. Every time I pass by I ask myself this question: What if all the money that went to a big huge Church building program went to pay the medical bills of people who can't afford treatment?

While the Church cannot solve the insurance disgrace that has gone on in this country, and we certainly aren't responsible for it, we are responsible for the poor. So responsible in fact, that our very salvation could depend upon it. So there we sit, every Sunday morning, in a perfectly designed, incredibly expensive building while there are poor people blocks away, and sometimes IN THE CHURCH that can't pay their medical bills. We build multi-zillion dollar buildings, pay pastors 6 figure salaries, and there are people from all walks of life who can't pay their electricity, who are jobless, can't pay their car payment and can't pay for or even GET medical insurance which would put them in the care of good doctors, therefore they die. We don't have to look around the world or wait till Avalon comes to town and send money off to the Mercy Ships. The mercy ships are right down your streets. They are called Hospitals. In those hospitals are some very sick and poor people.

When Katrina hit Houston, the Church shined like a burning Star. What if we acted like there was a Katrina all time.

Let me get a little Church Lady on us here. What if we repented. Repent literally means to "change the way you think." What if we didn't think so highly of ourselves that we build massive, beautiful, extravagant buildings, say they are for the Lord, when the marble floors and chandeliers are so we can feel good about where we come to socialize, in turn hopefully attract some of the wealthy and powerful in the community so they can socialize right along with the best of us. Sure we meet and worship, and in the best of circumstances lives are changed and God uses the praise of his people to heal families, marraiges, and even work medical miracles, but honestly, we can do that in a gymnasium. Christ has called us to more.

We are spending our money in the wrong places people. I am sure of it. 50 million dollar buildings? 10 MIllion Dollar buildings? I am afraid we are suffering a bit of what the Catholic Church exprerienced in the medieval period. The only difference is that Churches hire CEO's for pastors (many very good men, CEO doesn't equal jerk) instead of Shepherds. CEOs do what they do best, rake in the money. Manage huge budgets and build bigger and better buildings. Its a turf war in some cases. Big huge billboards put up, advertising a certain Church across town when the billboard is blocks away from a small un-glamorous Church. In the medieval era, the rich and the aristocracy got the big Bishop and Pope positons, now Churches look for business degrees. That is no jest either.

Let yourself immagine a scenerio. It may be naive, and rough around the edges but I can't help but get excited at the prospect. What if a Church decided to raise 8 million for a new building. The work and pledge and work and pledge. Within the year they raise it. (They are in a wealthy community) Something strange happens. Even though they raised the money, at the beginning of the fund raiser, they decided that all the money, save a few thousand to remodel or build economically, was given totally to pay the medical bills of those in need. Pay for that expensive Cancer treatment that the poor family can't afford. Pay for that heart transplant. Pay for that Bone Marrow Transplant and here is the Kicker... There is no discriminating the person or persons helped. It is done without condition. True Samaritans. Sure beats tracts and chandeliers in my book. It may in fact start to resmeble the Love and compassion of a certain Savior who gave all that he had so that we could be with Him, know Him, and be known by Him. Maybe I am dreaming a little too grand. Maybe God wants to have a big fancy gillion dollar piano instead of the money being spent on an important transplant that some kid needs. Maybe. If you had that money, and you had the choice, which would you choose.

Obviously this opens up a whole city of cans inhabited by worms. But at least it could get us thinking a bit. Right now I am just trying to change the way I think. And right now I think that Chandeliers in a Church kinda suck in Comparison to Compassion.

The Beach, Karma, Hilton, and Tarzan

A masterpiece. Down the tube. Probably my best blog yet. Worked on it for an hour. That is record time for me because I usually spend no more than 30 minutes on a blog unless it is about my dad. It is the only way I can justify blogging when I have so much else to do.

The Hotel we are staying in charges internet by the day. It doesn't matter that they charge a gazillion dollars a night to stay, or that a rinky-dinky shot glass-pathetic-excuse-for-a-water "bottle" costs a blazing 2 DOLLARS AND 50 CENTS. NOR does it matter that the local Motel 6 offers free Wireless, while you, the Hilton, you charge every blasted person a whopping 10 bucks per/day for barely better than dial-up. Nope, the Hilton Monarchy gives you the old screw anyway they can. That includes completely, without warning, shutting your internet off just as you are about to press the "post" button on your blog. What if that was a letter to a family member overseas? What if that was a desperate cry for help from someone who is being held hostage by insane terrorists? What if I had a REALLY dang good blog and I was REALLY proud of it? HUH? HUH?!!!! HUUUUHHHHH!!!!!!.

Okay so now that the tantrum is over. I'll give you Tarzan cliff-notes version.

Tarzan went to beach. The light in bedrooms makes Tarzan look better than really is. The great yellow god in sky does Tarzan's belly no good-looky-looky favors. Tarzan no look at others and want their better-shape-than-Tarzan bodies. Tarzan once had friend who used to dream of Tarzan's hands being slammed in a piano lid. That is bad way friend compared himself to Tarzan. BAD FRIEND! Tarzan hope this story teach you not wish other good-bodied ape-men-or-Janes physical harm. Do not wallow in self boo-hoo. Do not try and feed good-muscle friends extra beer and mashed-tatoes to fatten them up to look more like out-of-shape Tarzan. There was an old man down by the pool in better shape than Tarzan when Tarzan was 18. This inspire Tarzan instead of cause self boo-hoo. Cause Tarzan to beat chest and want to get in shape.

I, Tarzan should be encouraged instead of compare. Will do exercises with Jane (Amber) who exercises daily when get back from beach. The End. Ugh

Cost of Blog: 10$. Double Ugh.

Picture is of Tarzan and Jane before the Wedding.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Florida Meet my White Belly.

Well folks, we are off to a wedding. My bro-in-law is getting hitched to a pretty little lady by the name of Shannon. (Her dad happens to be Dr. O'brien, the Provost at Baylor for all you Truett Seminary guys and Baylorites) We will be soaking it up pretty good on the beach in Florida for a good solid week so pray for me. It's gonna get rough.

On a side note, Five Cent Stand is going to be doing quite a bit of touring this fall. If you go to a Church that would be interested in a few Troubadours coming to your Church please let us know and we can maybe hook your people up with our people and what the heck??? We may be able to come for a visit!!! Keep that in your thoughts, prayers, meditations. Pretty much think about it all the time if you can. Also a point of interest might be our Myspace. It has the schedule of where we will be for most of September.

That being said, for the next week I proabaly won't post at my regular post per/hour rate cause' I don't know if the Hotel we are staying in has internet and I might be busy lassoing some dolphins or witnessing to surfers while they are surfing.

There is a kick-booty discussion going on down at my "Einstein Anyone" post so if you are interested in a good juicy discussion we are going on 110 comments down there!! That'll keep you busy for a while.

See you after.

The Lion Sleeps. What's the Deal with Us?

It is really hard to do the thing you really love. It is darn easy to do the things you are pretty good at. Why is this? I think we are the only animal on the planet who does this. You don't see fish trying to purposefully flop about on the shore, gasp a few breaths of dry air and flop back in. No you see them swimming about, in perfect harmony every part of their existence being used in it's perfect capacity. Until of course, they get chomped up by a bigger fish. What about lions? You don't see them pacing, trying to find things to do all day. Nope they are just out there on the African plane, sleeping their butts off, only to get up for the occasional hunt or to hump. Just chillin', doing what they do best.

No, it is the human being that champions this unique quality. For instance, you might find a lady or chap in city near you saying something like this; "You know what, I love to act. I love it more than anything. It is my passion. I think I'll be an engineer." Why do we do this? I have some ideas, but alas, it is too early in the morning to bring them into something tangible. So...., help me out here. Why are we so chicken?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Story from Teresa

This story moved me today. Sometimes a simple story can bulldoze through the largest walls of hardened indifference. Teresa can always do that to me in her writing.

"One day I visited a house where our sisters shelter the aged. This is one of the nicest houses in England, filled with beautiful and precious things, yet there was not one smile on the faces of these people. All of them were looking toward the door.

I asked the sister in charge, "Why are thy like that? Why can't you see a smile on their faces?" (I am accustomed to seeing smiles on people's faces. I think a smile generates a smile, just as love generates love.)"

The sister answered, "The same thing happens every day. They are always waiting for someone to come and visit them. Loneliness eats them up, and day after day they do not stop looking. Nobody comes."

Abandonment is an awful poverty. There are poor people everywhere, but the deepest poverty is not being loved.

The poor we seek may live near us or far away. They can be materially or spiritually poor. They may be hungry for bread or hungry for friendship. They may need clothing, or they may need the sense of wealth that God's love for them represents. They may need the shelter of a house made of bricks and cement or the shelter of having a place in our hearts."

I sat there in prayer this morning and asked God to once again give me His eyes. How hard would it be for me to take time out of a busy morning and go down to the nursing home and just talk to a few people. Show them that someone loves them. Show them that the world has not abandoned them. That will be me someday. I am barely in my 30's and I already know what it is like to feel abandoned and alone. It is a horrible sadness. If you know someone who is older and even if they have become rather crotchety, (that might make it more fun) just drop by and talk to them. Could be a neighbor, could be your Grandparents. I have a feeling that you will feel something of God that you may not expect; the true nature of God in it's purest form. I am going to do that this week. It's time I start acting like I have some love inside of me. How bout you?

Some of you may be already doing things like this. If you are share the stories!