Saturday, December 30, 2006


It's officially been confirmed. Indy 4 has begun. Let the fist pumping ensue. No one can make a grown man laugh, jump around in their theater chair, spill popcorn on their neighbor that they've never met while simultaneously high-fiving them... like the dynamic film duo George Lucas and Stephen Speilberg.

Favorite Scene from Indie Films. Go.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Santa Debut

Hornswaggled. That's what those old western chaps used to call getting into something that you didn't want to get into but you didn't really have a choice. My Catholic friend argues that he was Hornswaggled into "getting Saved" at a Protestant Church.

"Yeah, I was visiting a protestant church with a friend. The invitation rolled around and the preacher asked us to close our eyes and then told us if we wanted to go to Heaven instead of Hell then we had to ask Jesus in our hearts. Then he asked us to 'pray this prayer' with him if you didn't want to burn eternally. So I did. Then he asked us to raise our hand if we prayed it, with every head bowed and every eye closed. So I raised my hand, after I had prayed the get-out-of-hell-free prayer. Then he told us to open our eyes and to seal the deal we had to go down front. Hornswaggled I tell you."

Well something like that story took place and I was 'elected' to be Santa. I knew something was up when Amber's cousin began circling my recliner like an old buzzard. He waited for my mouth to open ever-so-slightly as I began my dozing and went in for the kill.

"Hey, how would you like to make a bunch of kids laugh and be happy this year?"

"I'd love to." Says I, half asleep from the Sedative in the turkey, now coursing through my sleepy veins and caressing my eyelids into a peaceful half-mast. With those three words floating from my mouth like a Sunday morning comic caption, I knew I had signed the papers. Santa had come to my Chimney and there was no closing the flue to prevent his big butt from invasion. Faust was to Devil as Seth was to Cousin of Amber.

It was actually pretty darn cool. I have never been in that position before. A place where a 3 year old boy thought I could actually work a miracle. He kept patting his chest and in an excited voice he kept repeating "Me Spider...Me Spider... Web."

He believed with all of his heart that I could give him the ability to shoot spider webs out of his wrist. I almost said "little fella, if I could do that, do you think I'd be flying down-wind of a bunch of reindeer butts every year? I'd be swinging skyscraper to skyscraper my-tubbybutt-self"

But then I started thinking how I wished I had that kind of faith in God about other things. There was no suspended disbelief, no disbelief, only belief in this little guy. The belief was so great in him that I almost believed that I could do it myself.

No wonder The Lord said we should imitate their faith.

It's weird that I had to be Hornswaggled into dressing up like Santa and be reminded, or rather introduced to that kind of faith by a cute little 3 year old who wanted to be Spider man.

At my best I have a tiny portion of that faith.

Sick as Dog

Sorry. I had fully intended to post through the holidays but Nature it seems, as tamed that valliant notion. I spent the little energy that I had over at Brant's excellent Blogging Manor. Hope you get the time to go over there and check it out. I think he went and got Religion.

In the spirit of Brant's decision to remodel his current... well, you read it. And because of the state of my nose and my bodily aches I would like to post a blog re-run from back when many of you weren't around these parts.

It is called "The Menu."

Waiter: So what’ll you have tonight?

Diner: Well, my stomach’s a little funny tonight from some bad experience with some raw fundie Baptist chicken so what do you have on the lighter side?

Waiter: well, we’ve got some Presbyterian catfish that is light and liberal. Not to jarring, fluffy but with a spice that will tingle your palate as if it has depth, oh and it’s made with REAL wine (wink) not that grape juice that they cook the Baptist chicken in.

Diner: Well, I’m not too sure about that, I mean, yeah my tummy hurts but, I am not really liberal and I am kind of allergic to fish, but I do like me some wine. (winking and Ribbing the waiter)

Both: (subdued laughter and then they both clear their throats and regain composure)

Waiter: (dignified) I tell you what, we can keep the Wine from the Presbyterian catfish and maybe throw on some Methodist tofu. It tastes just like the Baptist chicken but it is not made of Chicken its tofu. So you get the feel of a Baptist chicken but without the fundamental, raw dogmatic meat that goes with it.

Diner: awwwe I’m not so sure, maybe….hey this Nondenominational Philly sandwich sounds pretty yummy. Some fundamental flavor but I can still get a little crazy and go dancing after. Wahoo!! (Hands start to wave around then becomes self-aware and regains composure) *Ahem* Sorry.

Waiter: Quite alright. Well, I have to be honest, the Philly sounds good on the menu but you really never know what your going to get out of one of those non-denom Phillies. When in reality, isn’t non-denominational really a denomination? I mean, come on. It kind of defeats the purpose to call yourself non-denominational if you don’t want to call yourself a denomination… so like what if I said, my name is “I don’t have a name” every one would call me “I don’t have a name" And in the end it just ends up tasting like, well, a regular Philly... and then...

Diner: Okay, okay, …. I get it. Well I guess we will just keep looking here. Do you have anything that’s not so War oriented? I mean, too much of that stuff is hell on my acid reflex.

Waiter: I have just the thing; we are having a special on Anabaptist and Quaker Casserole. It is divine. We grow our Vegatables in the back for that one.

Diner: well I tell you what we are going to do. I think I’ll have the Presbyterian Catfish with the Baptist seasoning, then on my side salad I will have the Methodist tofu but I want it fried like the Nondenominational Philly is fried. And substituting for my Church of Christ raw veggies, I’ll have the Anabaptist Quaker Casserole, but can I still get the wine?

Waiter: (whispers) “sure” Just don’t tell My Boss.

Today’s blog outro should be the music to "The Grapes of Wrath" in the style of a Bach Brandenburg Concerto played by a String Quartet. Quartet players are dressed in 17th century Accoutrement. Powdered wigs and fake moles to boot.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Condoms to Go

I have never understood the marketing behind the name of this store. I mean, "Condoms to Go" as opposed to "Condoms for Here"

"Yes, I would like two condoms, for here please."

Yikes. Every time I pass this store I ponder this question. I can't think of anything that is purchased in a more "To Go" fashion than condoms. Sheesh. There is no clever pun to give. The title is the pun. Can you think of any?

And let's get honest. Most guys who are buying condoms are college students and high-school students who shouldn't be needing them in the first place. So when they do buy them they are usually in a hurry NOT to be seen and that's why they drop by the most remote Krusty-Mart they can find, in the middle of no-where where no one from their school, church or community would stumble upon them to recognize them.

I guess the same discresion could be said of buying Prep-H. Not a purchase you want broadcast. Maybe that pun would work. What if there was a store that said, "Got Rhoids? Rhoid Ointment to Go."

Nah, "Condoms’ to Go" is still worse.

A little something for you to ponder as you sip on your Nog.

No telling what might turn up on this blog people. Sorry.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And So it Begins

The Christmas marathon has begun. We will be loading our SUV to the brim with clothes for an army, gifts for the chillins' and snacks that are healthy. I am particularly looking forward to loading this one bag of my wife's that is about as large as a small Volkswagen. I call it the back-crunchin’ #$%@#$!!!!!. I have thrown my back out hauling that (word that rhymes with sucker) in the truck at least twice.

So yonder it sits, in our bedroom green, huge and evil. Plotting its next move on my vertebrae.

I'm a comin' for you greeny. You and me Baby. I’ve been doing my yoga stretches and I've said my prayers. It's up to you to go easy or hard. You throw my back out this time around and I'm takin' some lighter fluid and a blowtorch to you. I'll dance around your burning polyester corpse like a wild Comanche.

Farwell Hot'n'muggy Houston. See you on the other side of the Wassail.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Finding Christ in Other Religions

I'm sorry. That was just too fun. Posting that title. I love those blog titles that get a person's blood boiling. I believe as Christians we should not fear other religions or converstations about other religions. We are at times so afraid that someone is going to convince us that their religion is true, we cover our ears and miss golden opportunities to share the Ultimate Truth with a searching soul. It is astounding the similarities found in other religions concerning, not only God, but even the Holy Trinity. For instance, take this conversation I had with a Hindu man named Egya (pronounced 'Egg ya') about the God/Goddess Shiva.

Me: Egya, tell me about the God/Goddess Shiva.

Egya: Well Shiva is the supreme God in Hindu. He is formless, timeless and spaceless. The word Shiva means "One who purifies everyone by the utterance of his name" or the Pure One. Some Hindus believe that Shiva is one of three aspects of God. Shiva is the Destroyer, Brahma is the Creator and Vishnu is the Preserver. We believe that Shiva sustains all life with His dance.

I went on to explain to Eggya how similar Christianity is to Hindu in so many ways. This peaked his interest.

Me: Did you know that Christianity also has a Trinity. We do not believe that they are three separate Gods to be separately worshiped but that they are three "persons" in one Nature. The Nicene Creed states that "We believe in One God of Heaven and the earth of all that is both seen and unseen" He is also, formless, timelss and spaceless because he is Spirit. It goes on to say "We believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, true God of True God. He is the Son of God, begotten meaning "of God" like your son has and shares many of your characteristics -but He is not made. He is true Light from True Light. We also believe in One Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life who comes from the Father to Son and Son to Father. He is also completely God because He is also eternal, not made. He is glorified and he testifies about the Son and Father."

The Holy Spirit is sometimes thought of the Love from the Father to the Son and Son to the Father. This would make sense to understand him as also God fully because John says that 'God is Love'

Egya: Wow. That is so interesting. Very similar to Hindu. Hard to get I think.

Me: Yes, Christians regard this as the most profound Mystery of our faith. We do not shy from it though as if it were something we cannot grasp. Instead of an insurmountable wall we think of God as a Gallery of Art that has no ending and no beginning.

Egya: I did not know that about Jesus. I knew you worshiped him as a god and thought of him as a prophet but I did not know you thought of him as transcending time and eternal.

Me: Yes, we believe that he is "The Word" of God as well as the Son of God. The "word" or in the Greek "Logos" is really sort of like "the wisdom" of God. We believe that Jesus, the Logos holds all things together. Check out John 1 says (opportunity to open up the old Bible) that " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. " Then in verse 8 it says "And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory as the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."

Egya; That is very beautiful. I had no Idea that there were so many similarities. I love these verses. How much was this bible?

Me: It was free, take it if you want. I will get another tonight.

Egya: Thank you! I will see you in class.

After a few weeks, Egya began attending a bible study and converted to Christianity after a few months.

This sounds like a cookie cutter circumstance but it is really how these things usually come up. God WILL come up in your conversations, ALWAYS. It is our job and goal to present Him as He is, but letting the Truth speak for Himself. Pretty powerful stuff.

We should approach all religions with a sense of respect. You will usually find a person who is seeking God in some way. There are truths found in each religion and when you find them you can use them to show them the Light that we believe they are looking for. God does the rest of the work for us. We just need to help them understand. The work is not that hard. We just tell. Jesus told us "Go and tell..." Not go and convince or go and judge.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Favorite Sesame Street Moment no. 4

Sesame Street: Forgetful Jones in "Oklahoma"
I am sorry the quality of this video isn't the best but it is the only one of this skit I could find. Still Hilarious. My mom, grandma, dad, sister... pretty much everyone, called me Forgetful Jones when I was a kid. I would do my homework and loose it on the bus. My mom had to resort to pinning my homework to my shirt. It was charachters like Forgetful that made life a little more bearable.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Blog

So I have started a new Blog. It will be for all of you who are interested in Music and Music History. It is essentially a study blog but I will try and make it as readable and non-comatose-inducing as possible. You see, I am a bit of a blogging addict. So I figure, if you can't beat it, make it do your homework. So here it is. "Big-time Music Nerd-fest Blog" Feel free to drop by and harass.


My wife has been gone for about a week and a half and I am a big baby. I have avoided whining and moaning about her absence because there are other guys in this blogosphere who have to be apart from their wives for much longer, but I have reeeeaaaallllly missed her. I am picking her up from the airport tonight and I feel like I am picking her up for a first date.

Man was not meant to be alone. Especially this man.

The Farmer is a Poet

“Agricola est Poeta.” Someone recently asked me what this means. I learned this Phrase in the 9th Grade. It was the first Latin sentence that I ever spoke. It translates “The farmer is a Poet”

In the 9th grade that phrase sounded funny. “Ha! The farmer is a poet. What a stupid sentence…” As the years went on and I found myself reminiscing on what I did NOT learn in high school I was struck with this here phrase and the profound truth hidden in the five simple words.

The word Poet comes from a Greek word, which means, “to create.” We all create. That makes us all poets. That makes us all artists. The farmer, the engineer, the teacher, the baker, and the candlestick maker are all poets. A songwriter or painter should never consider him or herself on a different artistic plane than said farmer or especially someone doing something as simple and trivial as a carpentry (yeah right, lets see you build a chair). In truth the farmer came much later after the fallen sons of Adam had been scribbling on cave walls and chasing down deer and figuring out the wheel. The farmer is a bit up the evolutionary chain. In fact, that should be quite liberating for the poor tortured artist who feels “enslaved” to their art. If you are feeling down in the dumps because you can't express "your art" then go grab a pitchfork or hoe and move on to something less torturous and less primitive. Whenever you get to the place where you think you can't do anything else you are knocking on depression's door.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Listen to Lindsay Fuller

I recently rediscovered an artist that I really like. I had heard Linsdsay Fuller back when I was at Baylor and on a random visit to Common Grounds. I was really blown away by the poetic and lyric beauty. It was a breath of fresh air back when soda pop Britney and In Sync were polluting the waves. Have a listen if you get a chance.

Since it IS his 250th

Since it IS Mozart's 250th,

Misconceptions and Fun Facts about Mozart

Misconception no. 1: Mozart was penniless a poor money-manager. False. Mozart's spent much of his time paying his wife's medical bills and sending money back to his father and sister. His father was constantly giving him guilt-trips telling him things like "well I guess you don't mind that your father is going around with holes in his socks." He was strapped for cash but not penniless. He did this without scoring an important court-position nearly his whole life, all the while avoiding a Church appointment. When he finally nailed a minor court appointment he made the equivalent of 50k a year. He made money other ways. His Operas brought in some good cash-flow. He taught students and all his piano sonatas were written for students. He wrote 27 piano concertos. One piano concerto paid for a years rent. He wrote 27 and didn't make it to 40 years old. At times, he gave his money away freely but that hardly makes him the financial failure he has been made out to be.

Misconception no. 2: Salieri Killed Mozart. False. I loved that movie but that part wasn't true. The reason for his death is still a mystery. Some sort of fever and the bleeding that took place didn't help much. However, Salieri did go to the end of his life denying that he killed him.

Misconception no. 3: Mozart was buried in an unmarked paupers grave. False. Mozart was buried in a common grave according to the laws of the state at the time, not because he was dirt-poor and couldn't afford a crypt or tomb. It was raining so no one saw the actual place of burial. Some DNA testing has been done but it has been to no avail.

Fun Facts:

Mozart was believed to be less than 5 feet tall. Short little booger.

Mozart LOVED billiards and was very competitive.

Mozart was a potty-mouthed. He wrote dirty poop-joke letters to his sister all the time to gross her out. Normal brother stuff.

Mozart wasn't really in love with his wife. His true love was his cousin and they couldn't be married. Jerry Lee Lewis anyone?

Mozart did have a High and extremely audible cackle of a laugh. People could hear it in a crowd of laughter or coming down the hallway.

Mozart used his musical ability to tell a woman that stood him up for a date that he was displeased with her. He sat down at the paino at her home before starting her sister's lesson and improvised a short aria with these words sung at the top of his little lungs. "Any woman who doesn't love me can kiss my ass and its hole as well" (told you he was potty mouthed)

Mozart taught Beethoven a lesson a time or two. At first Mozart was unimpressed. (It took alot to impress him) Beethoven was a crude pianist, very noisy. Beethoven picked up on the yawning, decided to take action if he was to be accepted as a student and asked Mozart if he would give him a theme to improvise upon. Mozart was at first skeptical. It was well known that Mozart could out-improvise any living pianist so the 18-year-old Beethoven asking to impress him by improvisation was a bold move. It would be like a young basketball player asking Micheal Jordan if he could impress him with his slam-dunk. In the end Mozart obliged and was floored at Beethoven's improvisational abilities. He immediately ran into his billiards room to get his friends waiting on him to finsh and made Beethoven play the whole thing over. His famous statement was "Watch out for this one, he will make a great splash in the world" Some think this statement a myth but it is fun to believe nonetheless. Beethoven had to quit lessons because his mother was sick and near death.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Amadeus.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Will of God. Part 1, Total Depravity = Total Confusion

I am convinced that believing in Calvin’s total depravity is the first step into the nebulous wondering state of “God… what is your Will???”

We have been taught since birth, if you have grown up in a non-Eastern Orthodox or Evangelical Church, that we are born totally evil. This is just not true. We are born sinful, but we are not born demons from hell, completely abandoned by God. That total abandonment only happened once to one man and he suffered that eternal moment it so we would not have to.

No, first we must come to terms with the Doctrine of Original Sin and get a better grasp of who we are, how we are made, and what exactly we did inherit and pass on.

The reason the idea of Total Depravity (a doctrine developed by Luther and further by Calvin) is harmful for knowing God’s will is because it sets us up with the premise that every desire we have or thing that we do is totally evil. We attempt to rectify the problem by saying “Well I must always do what contradicts my spontaneous desires or personal interest and then I can’t miss the mark of God’s will.”

Thomas Merton, probably the best Theologian to come out of America wrote in his wonderful book “Life and Holiness” these beautiful words.

“Human nature is not evil. All pleasure is not wrong. All spontaneous desires are not selfish. The doctrine of original sin does not mean that human nature has been completely corrupted and that man’s freedom is always inclined to sin. Man is neither devil nor an angel. He is not a pure spirit, but a being of flesh and spirit, subject to error and malice, but basically inclined to seek truth and goodness. He is, indeed a sinner: but his heart responds to love and grace. It also responds to the goodness and to the need of his fellow man.”

That is why you are very likely to find a non-Christian at times, the first person to help someone in a dire situation. One of the kindest people I know is an Atheist. How can this be? The doctrine of original sin states that all of their goodness comes from God because even though they do not know Christ, they are not totally deprived of the goodness of God. It is a shame that innate goodness so graciously given to them will not fully bloom without the Light of Christ inside of them, but they can still surely do good things and still surely die while doing good things. This is man's punishment for sin. Death, not total depravity. We are faced with death, each one. It isn't whether we do good things that get us to Heaven, it is whether we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Christ died for those sins that determines our destination.

That is why we can find goodness even in the worst of human beings. That is why we are called to love our enemies. There is some remnant of God in there. God did not totally abandon us. For us to know God we must have God in us to recognize Him. For without Him working in us, we could not know Him.

Christ the Savior

How do you adequately speak of something so beautiful? It is better to paint the picture or absorb the best that your imagination can paint for you. For some reason people get depressed this time of year. I know I do. I think it reminds the atheist that people still believe in at least the possibility of a God and his Love for mankind. It reminds the Christian of how much he or she HAS NOT done for others and for their family and how far they have wandered from the realization of God's love for them. When they remember and can see the Love expressed they are either humbled by how little they have done because of it or they become more hardened.

This Christmas will be different. I want to bask in the wonder of the incarnation again. I don't want to hear songs about red shoes, sappy stories about indifference. I don't want to fight stores over "Holyday vs. Christmas," however important this may be. I don't want to shop till I drop at Wal-mart or any other place that is pro Christ-mas. My energy goes elsewhere this Season. I want to be in awe. I want to be humbled by that moment in History. "The dawn of Redeeming Grace." I love that line in Silent Night. Man's walk in darkness had come to an end. His yearning for the Redeemer was to be filled. God The Holy Spirit descended on a young girl and real beauty and Light entered the world.

I believe in every man there lives this faint glimmer of hope. Hope that they are not alone. It is this light that is fanned this time of the year. We give to each other and in those tiny small acts of kindness holiness is born. And holiness of any kind is from God. And the truth of God is that Christ the Savior was born.

This Christmas I want to look in wonder at that moment again. I want to sing with my brothers and sisters and the Heavenly Hosts that Christ the Savior is born. I want to kindle that Hope.

"Man is like a harp unstrung, and the music of his soul's living strings is discordant, his whole nature wails with sorrow; but the son of David, that mighty harper, has come to restore the harmony of humanity, and where his gracious fingers move among the strings, the touch of the fingers of an incarnate God brings forth music sweet as that of the spheres, and melody rich as a seraph's canticle. Would God that all men felt that divine hand." - Spurgeon

Itunes is offering a free download of Sarah McLachlan singing Silent Night. I recommend it.

A Confession,The Wind-Tamer, and Rod Serling

Inspired by the Sesame Street memory-lane and a late-night viewing of Superman, I have decided to confess something.

I am going to confess something that I still do that I have done since I was ... well, since I can remember.

Here goes. This is a bit embarrassing. I still randomly... randomly... well how to say this...

Sometimes I randomly, and without reason, will try and ...USE THE FORCE. That’s right, you heard me. USE THE FORCE. In modern day scientific terms, I try and employ telekinetic power to move certain inanimate objects. I know for certain that it will never work, and Lord help me if it ever does. I would probably freak out. But, I can't help it. There it is. I might have mentioned this but I have been fascinated by this kind of superhuman ability even before I saw Star Wars. When I was 7 years old and before I had seen Luke or Obi Wan in action, I had the neighbor boy scared to death because I convinced him that I could control the wind.

7 Year Old Me: " He O'dell, I can control the wind"

6 Year Old Neighbor Boy, O'dell: "nuh uh."

Me: "Uh huh, watch"

Then I would wait till I heard the wind coming through the trees and move my hands with the swaying trees as they were blown by the wind. This understandably scared the begeebies out of the poor lad and he promptly ran home to his mommy. My mother got a call 20 or so minutes later. That conversation went something like this:

Phone: "riiiiiiinnnnng.... riiiiiiinnnnnng.... riiiiinnn"

My Mom: "Hello... Oh hello Charlotte... yes he is....what? He said he could control what?....

[Muffled noise from the phone and my mother turns her gaze my direction and gives me a dirty/puzzled look]

...Yes, I he will tell him. Just a second...

...Son, you come here right now and tell O’Dell that you cannot control the wind. What in the world..."

And so, I told the neighbor boy my secret. It took a bit of convincing because he was about a 12 on the gullible scale. But he finally came to understand my true humanity and earthbound, slight-of-hand technique.

Sometimes I look back on this and think it is kind of creepy, but then I find myself at 32 years old still, randomly trying to move objects. I have a hunch that the same impulse that inspires me still to randomly try and move things mentally is the same impulse that inspire men to build ships that will fly into space. I imagine if it ever goes away, if we ever get tired of dreaming, then I think I would know what it feels like to be ... well... hopelessly grown up.

Then I also wonder if that impulse, that desire to do things, control things is really a remnant of a missing power that really once was ours. Something inside of man is constantly pushing him to regain his dominion over nature and over himself. I think that impulse can inspire us to reach the most amazing things and then the most horrible things.

Isn't it funny how good something can be is directly proportional to how bad it can be. It took the greatest Angel to bring the greatest and original sin into existence. Then there is man. Man is capable of the most incredible feats. We can fly to the moon and split the atom but we can also bite down on a nut, have an allergic reaction and within minutes, we are dead. We are really in control of darn-near-to-nothing. The very little that we can do or control, we screw-up royally more often than not.

Most of the time we busy ourselves with maintaining the ILLUSION that we can control more things and people than we really do, and somehow, that striving to maintain that illusion can produce some good and inspiring things, but most of the time you just find yourself reaching for a remote control across the room and realize that it isn't about to fling rapturously into your hand, no matter how fancy you flick your wrist. It is going no where and neither are you unless you get up and get it, if you don't faint, fall, hit your head on the coffee table and end up in a coma. All because you got up to quickly and couldn't control the wind ... flowing into your body and into your blood.

Finally, if I could control this blog and the sound from your computer as you read this, I would end this blog with either the soundtrack to the opening credits to the original Star Trek TV show, or the Twilight Zone.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Space Watch

I am and always will be a space geek. When I was 8 years old I would sit in my bed at night and gawk at the pictures in Cosmos by Carl Sagan. When the Cassini Probe entered Titan a few years ago I was like a little kid at Christmas waiting to see the images from that enigmatic moon around Saturn. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out my bro-in-law got a job working for NASA.

He started working for them a few years back and through hard work and favorable circumstances he is already in a position that people have to work twice as long to get. He is an engineer and one of those guys that tells the Astronauts how to work that big arm that is on the Space Shuttle. It is a pretty stinking cool Job if you ask me. For me, NASA is still one of the only things about our country that reminds us to dream and keep dreaming.

My bro-in-law is also one of those lucky few who love their Job. He loves it and does it well. He does is so darn well that one of the Astronauts approached him the other day and told him that they appreciated him. They appreciated his hard work so much that they wanted to take something that he owns into space for him. Pretty stinking cool.

For his choice he is picked his Grandfather's watch, a family heirloom. So tonight, on into space that watch went.

Well done my friend.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bueller... Bueller....?

I am actually posting a forwarded message. The devil must be throwing on a jacket and lobbing huge snowballs at Hitler.

If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

Herewith a few confessions from my beating heart: I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife. Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. If this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But thereare a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

Ben Stein

Chinese Proverb:

"When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Vincent Vega and Huck Finn

Last night I cracked open of my favorite books of ALL times, Huck Finn. Once again I was struck with the memory of the short-lived controversy surrounding this great and hilarious work of literature. Then, once again, my Christian-double-standard-o-meter went off and I asked this here question. "So what is the difference between reading and enjoying, guilt-free, Huck Finn, which happens to be chalked full of the "N" word, and watching and enjoying Pulp Ficton, chalked full of the "F" word?" Both the "N' word and "F" word are considered offensive and we discourage and shun the use of them both but somehow we find ourselves A-Okay with reading Huck Finn and not so "A-Okay" with watching Pulp Fiction. Both works of fiction are true to the vernacular of the environment. I say this because this is how we justify reading Huckleberry Finn and allowing it in the public school curriculum or in the privacy of our homes.- Vernacular and environment. Could we not say the same for Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction is about Gangsters and whatever goes along with being gangster and Huck Finn was written about a time when Black People were considered property. Horrible but true. And if you read Huck Finn, you find that the only really GOOD person in the whole book is Jim, and Twain was doing everything BUT condoning slavery. If you watch Pulp Fiction I think you will find the same kind of "Moral to the Story" In that there is a good and bad. -Being gangster Bad. End up Dead. Be like Cain and walk the earth doing good deeds with a wallet that says Bad ... well, you've seen it.

Personally I love both Huck Finn and Pulp Fiction. I have many Christian friends and family members (*cough* mysister *cough*) who think that Pulp Fiction came from the Devil's back pocket but they love and adore Huck Finn.

So why is one okay and not the other?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Congrats to Kat...s!!!

Ben Folds - Still Fighting It
In honor of Kat's news that she is having a boy, I present a darn good song.

Plus, it gives me another excuse to post another Ben Folds song.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I Can Finish

The hardest thing in the world for me to do is finish something. I love to "do" things but get bored easy and fast, then I'm on to something else. When I used to practice new piano pieces for recitals, if they didn't get learned and memorized in the first 3 days, then there was a good chance that they would never get finished or learned well. Now, there really is something awesome about finishing a project in the heat of the moment, but for the most part, most of us have to do things over a period of time. It's just life. You have to make the muse obey your schedule not visa versa.

So as a reminder, I got out this picture I drew in the 10th grade. I worked on it every day for three weeks. 30 minutes at a time, in class. It reminds me that if I do something in a disciplined fashion, I can finish something. Not only finish it but finish well. I did it in the 10th grade, I can do it now.

So I hung that sucker up by my desk as a kick in the butt.

It is a good thing to do when you are feeling down and unproductive. Remember something that you have accomplished and get yourself going. Feel good about those things and move forward. Set small goals at a time and eventually you'll have a finished product. I have finished things more recently than the 10th grade, thank God, but for some reason, the way I finished and the fact that I finished it at 15 when my A.D.D. was in FULL bloom and working at its maximum capacity just gets me going with a little more... gumption. Lethargy is a nasty drug for one's confidence.

I can pass that test, I can write that piece, I can pass that test, I can write that piece, I can pass that test...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rats in the Cellar

C.S. Lewis calls them "rats in the cellar" Those moments that we really see who we really are or can be.

"If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light."
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Sometimes we have plenty of time to do all the yelling and banging around that we need giving the rats plenty of time to hide, hiding who we really are, and sometimes we don't. It is usually when we haven't taken care of a certain sin that God flicks the light on for you. And, fellow Christian, when He does, it ain't pretty. Don't get me wrong, it isn't like God is warming his hands, waiting for the moment to switch the light on. It is more like He has been trying to deal with something for a while, and finally gives you over to your self by flicking the light on. Its that whole "Pride goeth before the fall" bit. Sometimes I wish I didn't ALWAYS have to learn things the hard way, but that is my nature.

Traffic is the time that my rats show their ugly little scurrying body in my cellar. I have almost waved people over to fist-fight driving in my car several, several times. All kinds of faces, words and fingers have made their debut from the big screen of my car windows. There is one particular finger that is a superstar when it comes to that venue.

Yes, I have made a fool out of myself a zillion times in the car. It is getting better and God is helping me. He is helping me be showing me that I have alot of anger. Its not the traffic that I am really mad about. (well, not all of it) The traffic is merely the light switch.

For Faith Hill it took that Chick who sang that "Jesus will you drive my car" sap-fest-of-a-tune beating her out fo the award to put her over the edge. Before she knew it, someone had flicked on the lights and her rats scurried around gloriously in front of a gazillion veiwers.

Where do yours show up?