Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dancing with the... "Stars"

Why hasn't anyone ever pointed out that the title of this show is a complete fraud? Paul McCartney= Star. Paul McCartney's ex-wife= Star's ex-wife. I mean, Hey, I am a distant cousin of the American composer Aaron Copeland but I am not about to try and star on the show "Dancing with the Composers" am I? AM I??? I think not. (However, that artificial Leg dancing is pretty awesome, as a matter of fact, THAT premise could make for a much BETTER show.)

So, I'll give you Jerry Springer from last season. I MIGHT even give you Emit Smith although I defy someone to please tell me a movie, show, church musical where Emit has been a "star"?

Alas, the show is entertaining. Sure beats Wife-Swap and I think the judges are pretty cool. The one man that keeps me coming back to this show is my best friend Joey's role model: Billy Ray Cyrus. Billy Ray Cyrus is one of those characters that you cannot miss. Whether he is cutting a rug, parting his mullet or answering EVERY SINGLE QUESTION with a reference to Achy Breaky Heart. (He seems like a pretty nice chap. I see why Joey has a pair of Billy Ray's high-top sneakers from this video autographed and on his mantle.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Groves and Harper

Sounds like a Law firm or something huh? Anywho, got to spend a little time with Shaun and Brody this weekend and good times were had.

One thing that we discussed was how meeting people that you met first in the blogosphere is always a bit strange. Your imagination always has a different idea of the person than what exists in reality. I had met Shaun before blogging so it wasn't so weird. And amazingly, Brody was pretty much just like what I had imagined (eccentric with a French accent, eyes darting to and fro as if looking for a spy) so the awkwardness, if there was any, was brief.

The first conversation I had with Shaun was a few years ago while I was on the toilet at my church. He had just sung a small set and I was sneaking out after playing the worship set. We said hello as we entered the bathroom. Well, long story short, I was assuming the normal posture one assumes when... ahem. And Shaun just kept pelting me with questions from the other side of the stall as he washed his hands. I really couldn't do the questions justice because I was busy trying not to make the sounds one makes when in the aforementioned posture. In short, I really just wanted him to hit the road so I could get down to business. In hindsight, I should have just let the symphony play but I usually don't let people have the real me till after they have met my wife and they know that I must be somewhat normal for her to marry me.

Shaun and Brody make a terrific duo and it is apparent that they have a good time at what they do. And Dangit if that guy can write some tunes. The best part about these two fellows is that they are sold-out family men and completely down to earth. I could tell you more of what happened while they were in Sugarland but it might get them arrested.

This Reminded Me of Me

One more whilst I am dueling it out with protools. I dedicate this one to Joey.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Schizophrenia' by Sonic Youth

what in the world.

Shaun and Brody came to town this weekend. Blog coming soon. Until then, someone explain this to me. And why was I not invited to this concert?

(ht: Grant Miller)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I must have it. Own it. Look at it. And last but not least, call people with it. I have resisted for as long as I can. So when my Verizon plan expires, I will own this. Oh yes, I will. I cannot bare the thought of my other Mac friends flashing their shiny new iPhones in my face dancing around me in circles singing, nah nah nah nah naaaah nah. It will not happen I tell you. I have seen the iPhone bathing on the roof and it will be mine. If I have to send my Treo out to the front lines (the toilet) then so be it.

"I am my beloved and my beloved is mine..."

There is no known cure for Mac lust. A frugal wife is the only thing that has been known to treat the symptoms.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Brief, Briefer, Briefestestest

I read the Brief History of Time and it was good. I read "An Even Briefer History of Time" and it was better. (More pictures. For some reason, pictures have always helped me to understand stories better. Sometimes I just look at the pictures and get bored if books like math books don't have them. GENNNAAYYY!)

In following that idea and wanting to capitalize on it in the Christian subculture, I have decided to write: "The Christian View of the Briefestestest History of Time Ever (Triple-Christian-Dog-Dare-Infinity-No-Take-Backs-Briefestestest History that is)"

Here is what I've got in mind. I'll give you a one-time sneak preview. Prepare to marvel at the genius... It will have one page, three words (shrink wrapped of course as not to reveal the mystery to sneaky Barnes and Noble reading thieves)...

"Bang, Jesus, Present.... The End (of this book that is...)"

What do you think? Million dollar baby right there if you ask me...

I like that "of this book that is..." part. Builds suspense and keeps people biting their nails, waiting for the sequel.

I even thought about finding a Christian scientist in a wheel-chair to write a forward to make it more "authentic" but I think I'll just get the eminent Christian Scientist Hal Lindsay. Not as in "won't-take-advil-Christian Scientist" but as in REAL "science" scientist.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Ultimate Gift: a review.

I saw "The Ultimate Gift" tonight, one of the new "Faith-centered" movies coming out of the FOX Faith marketing division lately. Yeah, Fox has decided that it has tasted the waters of Christian commerce and found that it was good. It was soooo yummy and the fish are sooooo hungry that they built a whole wing dedicated to making films for the Christian subculture. I guess the FOX Jesus studios are right next door to "Wife Swap" sets or "The Surreal Life" sets, both of which are living testaments to a truly depraved and self-absorbed culture.

My point: Don't be a sucker. Fox is in it for the cash and cash they will rake. The motivation is no different than the "Surreal Life" motivation to stick Tammy Fay in the same house as a retired porn star, shake up the Jar and watch them fight. It is just that the jar you are in causes much tears and yields much purified Chrisitian cash.

The film- Words cannot express the discomfort this film gave me but I will try. (knuckles cracking)

For starters, I felt like someone had laced my underwear with chili pepper. I squirmed, looked at my watch, and tried desparatedly to hear a faint action sequence to the more realistic "300" going on next door. Honestly, it is almost not worth reviewing. Yes it had a moral. My Lord did it have a moral. I have a black eye from the assault of morals. If you didn't "catch" the morals then you just might be clinically insane or blind and deaf. The writers of this film danced through the gifts of laughter, money, family, friends and love with the subtlety of a Roto-Rooter man on a tractor at a monster truck rally. I truly felt like I was watching a Christian Lifetime movie on my period... and I'm a guy. The acting performances were good but the premise of the movie was PROSPERITY. I don't care how many lessons the guy learned, in the end it was still all about the cash. I felt guilty at the end of the movie when he got the big score because I started fanaticizing about all I could buy with 2 billion dollars he landed. I had the opposite effect with "The Pursuit of Happiness." In that movie I felt the big payoff of big cash at the end left me feeling empty and I just wanted to go home and hug my wife. Here the payoff was supposed to be "go hug your wife" but I was thinking about rolling around on the deck of the new yacht that I would buy with all that cashola from dead grandaddy warbucks.

Moral of the story to filmakers: Don't beat me over the head with the moral of the story or it might have an adverse effect. At a certain point the body will reject too much sugar and cause death by coma. The End.

The plot: Deceased billionaire (James Garner) leaves his party-animal-uber-cool-materialist-hottie grandson "something" that he will get only if he passes a series of tests to build his character. Gee what could that "something" be?... Hmmm could it be ...the rest of his vast fortune??? Anyways, he reluctantly accepts the challenge and much character is built including getting caught by Ecuadorian drug lords while finding the plane his father crashed because his father was trying to convince his grandad that there was oil in them thar Ecuadorian hills when all his Grandfather wanted to do was build a library for these poor Ecuadorians. Somehow he is told that his dad died in the crash trying to deliver medical supplies to a neighboring village. The reason for the lie is still a complete mystery to me. What is so wrong about drilling for oil???

Tired yet? Yeah me too.

Recomendation: It is safe for the whole family but so is a game of monopoly. Play monopoly. At least there you can get better at math and learn that if you risk a lot you might loose it all. A better lesson than: "If you pass the second to the last test that your billionaire grandfather set up for you and build a designer hospital for the leukemia girl that you met as a part of your "test" to get riches then you shall get the ultimate Cash pile.

Grade: D------------- and a barf bag in a pair tree.

Best part of the film: The Sara Groves song at the end. Just beautiful. Seriously. I might own the soundrack for just that song.

P.S. Actually the best part of the film for me was getting to watch it with my dear friends the Holtzmans. Amber is still in Dallas and they took pity on this poor lonely man and treated him to a movie that he just ripped a new one. I am thankful for the time spent with them but wanted to take a tommy gun to the screen.

The Visually Impaired For Wolrd Peas

I saw this headline today and read it as "Israel's Omelet rules peace talks with Palestinians..."

I skimmed it and moved on. Then my mind started to try and piece this story together. I started to imagine the head honchos of Israel and Palestine finally coming to peace over a good omelet unique to the Israeli culture.

"NO!! I tell you. We will NOT give up the Gaza strip"... (*chomp*) ... MY GOD THIS IS A TASTY OMLET!!!... welllll. I guess you can have it. Just give me the recipe and we'll call it quits."

I'm tellin' you. I should run for world leader some day.

Cate In the Next Indy

It is destined to be great. I feel like doing some sort of dance when I think about the new Indy film. No one can make a grown man spill his popcorn while laughing and pumping his fist like the dynamic duo Lucas/Spielberg.

Indy trivia: In which of the three films where the main characters named after dogs and whose dogs where they named after.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Burnt The Gerbil Cookies

Is everyone crazy?

Believe it or not I'm walkin' on air. Fragile, handle with care. "Be ready for anything" said the pink bunny. "My biopsy was GREAT!" Said the barnacle turtle.

I stood on a chair and smacked at a fire alarm that was beeping because the battery was running down last night. It sounded like the beep from a giant space ship of ants.

"Mama, is the mayo still good? I don't believe in Santa anymore. Is my laundry finished?" The guitar collects dust by the closet. It is really irritated at the neglect. Sorry brother, you gotta wait your turn.

My life is an Oreo cookie. Hard on the outside but very soft in the place where only the wind and sun never see.

Cousin Q from Star Trek is coming to dinner. Wonder if we'll have fried chicken or Colored greens said Michael from the Office. Love that show.

Don't wait up said the carrot cake to the fridge.

The Gerbils are planning a takeover tonight and burning the cookies is the first item of business.

(please your own nonsense add fast. Come on you know you want to burp the fantasic world of under arm dirt!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Problem With Jesus

The Da Vinci Code, The new Cameron Movie, the uproar at the Mel Gibson movie... will the controversy ever end????

Get comfy folks. Jesus is just as controversial as he was when the rumor of his birth hit the ears of Herod.

We are in to the 21st century and the world is still as fascinated as ever with the person of Jesus of Nazareth. There are countless books, blogs, magazines, movies and seminars dedicated to discount the truth about him. I have been involved in discussions on several blogs that wish nothing more than to see Jesus join the ranks of fairies and unicorns. There was a seminar in the 70s and 80s put together by “Christian” scholars who tried to strip the gospel of all of its miracles. There have been plays that have portrayed him as a homosexual, paintings of him immersed in urine. The list goes on and on and on.

Why all the hubbub? Well most might say: "Well, the demons tremble at his name and the very nature of man repels this truth because he walks in darkness." I do not disagree with that sentiment but I think there are three main reasons, on the surface, that we will never cease to have this discussion until his return.

1. Jesus was a real man who taught wonderful things. Our whole western civilization is built upon the principles that he taught and lived.

2. He performed miracles. You see, the Gospels have this little problem about them. They have the distinct aroma of the real but they also have those pesky miracles. The man was the greatest teacher that ever lived. The greatest human being that ever lived. Hardly anyone argues that. The Gospels represent his loving and eternally wise character beautifully. They also contain Jesus walking on water, calming storms and bringing people back to life from the dead.

3. He claimed to be God. The big one. Lewis said it best. You know the quote: "Lord, Liar, or lunatic." Here Jesus goes a place that only faith can take you. Even the miracles can be tolerated or humored but not this. If you believe a single word he says then you must believe this as well. The “opt out” clause was never in a single phrase he spoke.

There is God and there is man. Something is dead wrong with man and everyone knows it. Only God could set such a thing right. He started with the Jews. Through them he entered the world and made things right for those who believe it. That concept was even over the heads of the Jews at the time. They wanted a great conquering warrior who would squash the Romans. God’s plan was a tad bigger. He was to squash death itself for mankind.

In my opinion, these are the primary reasons why people keep returning to the person of Jesus for admiration or attack. They want to believe it and they don't. The want to ignore him but they cannot so they attack. The world's view of Jesus is beautifully summed up in a conversation with Einstein about Jesus. (who never converted)

"I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.

Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a clever word"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Finally Fancy!

She finally took the step ladies and gentlemen. She heard the soft music playing "I surrender Blog” The preacher was talking in his low Holy Spirit tone and the heartstrings were pulled at the right velocity to begin animating Fancy's blogging heart. That's right, the illustrious and mysterious "Fancypants" has finally emerged with her own blog. In it she finally reveals her secret identity. Please drop by and greet our newest blogging fanatic at "The FancyPants Factory" Click here to drop by and welcome Fancy to the cul-de-sac.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cow Eats Chickens

(All responsive comments in parenthesis are mine. This is real news that I got from Yahoo...)

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) Yahoo News

"When dozens of chickens went missing from a remote West Bengal village, everyone blamed the neighborhood dogs.

But Ajit Ghosh, the owner of the missing chickens, eventually solved the puzzle when he caught his cow -- a sacred animal for the Hindu family -- gobbling up several of them at night. (Oh my sweet lord.)

"We were shocked to see our calf eating chickens alive," Ghosh told Reuters by phone from Chandpur village. (uhhh yeah. Can you say, "get the shotgun Charlie, the devil's done taken over Bessie)

The family decided to stand guard at night on Monday at the cow shed which also served as a hen coop, after 48 chickens went missing in a month. (Fourty Eight Chickens. That is a 4 and an 8. 12 x 4 chickens met their death by A COW.)

"Instead of the dogs, we watched in horror as the calf, whom we had fondly named Lal, sneak to the coop and grab the little ones with the precision of a jungle cat," Gour Ghosh, his brother, said. (I guess Lai had you seriously duped. Wonder if Lai is responsible for the huge opium market coming out of India as well... prostitute ring.... the Cow Pimp?)

Local television pictures showed the cow grabbing and eating a chicken in seconds and a vet confirmed the case. (Dangit do I wish we lived in India where we could see something so cool on T.V. we just get that Full House guy cracking jokes about the dog who eats its own poop. We don't ever get no Chicken-eating Cow in action.)

"We think lack of vital minerals in the body is causing this behavior. We have taken a look and have asked doctors to look into the case immediately," Mihir Satpathy, a district veterinary officer, said by phone. (Do I hear a Chick Fil A advertisement deal in the future?)

"This strange behavior is possible in some exceptional cases," Satpathy said. (Ummmm yeah like when my hampster opened fire on a fresh litter of kittens with a tiny tommy-gun... no the chicken-eating cow still takes the cake.)

Hundreds of villagers flocked to Chandpur on Wednesday to catch a glimpse of Lal, enjoying his bundle of green grass for a change. (If I were there I would have snuck to the back of the crowd and lobbed a rubber chicken over by the cow to see what she would do)

"The local vets said the cow was probably suffering from a disease but others said Lal was a tiger in his previous birth," Ajit added." (I'm sorry... I am a Christian... but... applying Ockham's Razor here, that reincarnated tiger bit sounds like a good explanation to me.)

The Dealio

If you haven't noticed, the posting here has been scant and skeletal. On top of that i've only made it to one or two other blogs for reading in the past week alone. The reason? One gets tired of hearing old "been busy" adage because sometimes I think it makes other bloggers feel as if they themselves haven't had anything better to do but read and write blogs. Well, fear not. I know that all of those that read this are busy themselves with this beautiful gift that we call living. Besides, there are other reasons for my lack of blogging.

The main reason for my lack of posting and reading is that I was starting to become saturated with Christian subculture. In short, I started caring too much. I started to think CONSTANTLY about what YOU and I think, what is wrong with the Church, what is wrong with Christian radio and what is wrong with the entire Christian pop-culture-trying-to-be-relevant-but-totally-irrelevant-fundamentalist mindset that so divorces itself from the real world where real people live and breath and need "US" and not our opinions/uber-cool B.S. more than ever. "In the world, not of it." That is the command right? So I guess you could say that is where old Sethro and Amberella have been been lately. And let me tell you... it is hard. Maybe I am a wimp. Regardless, it isn’t too rosy sometimes. It is hard to maintain the Pollyanna Christian subculture worldview when you decide to work and spend a lot of time outside of it. It is impossible sit on the judgment seat because you realize that you are on court-room floor the whole time with the rest of the sinners. However, this is where any bit of real love you have inside your-"real"-self engages. To befriend and love people who trade wives and or "partners" or guys who think nothing of watching porn on their computers every night, is the ultimate battleground for truth and your belief in a Savior.

This is where we feel God is calling us. There is a big, big nasty world out behind the safe walls of Christian Subculture. Sometimes I find myself wanting to run back over the walls and suck my thumb and eat stolen animal crackers from the church nursery but I know that is cowardly and childish. Some people are called to be behind those walls and keep the place in order so that the weary Christians in the world can have a place to refresh and be encouraged and filled. Lets be honest, the current church model is more suited for that rather then being designed or organized to infiltrate the world outside its walls. It is a custom-made bible-teaching country club for Christians. I have made my peace with all of that. Now more than ever. After many-a talk with my Wicca friend who wears porno shirts or my Atheist friend who thinks wife-swapping is cool, I really don't have a problem taking a break from that and hitting the racquetball courts at Second Baptist. I'm not saying the church is "right" for having them while another church around the world can't pay its electircity, I am just saying that I have been less... gripy about them since I no longer work so much in that environment. (I was sort of like the teenager that was ticked at his parents and their stunted world view and conservative politics while all the while asking mom what's for dinner in the home that they provided and driving the car that dad bought with his stunted world view job.) As for the people who work and minister there, I consider them lucky. That is the God's-honest truth. (Not that the Church doesn't have its share of "secret sin" but honestly... it is a mere echo of the stuff over the walls.) However, being "safe" behind those walls does not seem to be my pull or "call." So this was the balance or obedience that I missed.

The difference? It takes more prayer and it is harder and harder to pray. It takes more active faith even though the faith you have feels like it could barely spread over a dinner roll 80% of the time. (It is a good thing it only takes the faith of a mustard seed.) This may all sound grim but I feel pretty good about the whole deal right now. I can turn on Christian Radio and remember why it is good. I can go to the workout room once a week at the Church and remember why it is good. Then I can spend the rest of that time rubbing elbows with people living lifestyles that are anti-everything God wants and remember why I am being re-made into something good. Strangely enough, the reality sets in that I may not have been saved just so that "I" can go to heaven. Maybe God had bigger plans than that when he saved my soul.

Here is what I have been up to in the order of time-consumptiveness.

1. Shooting my next film

2. Teaching Class at Rice

3. Writing my dissertation

4. Writing for next album (almost complete)

5. Editing my short stories and a script

6. Teaching Lessons

7. Working at the Church part time.

We covet your friendship and your prayers.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Trunk Monkey

This would be a booming business in Houston. I wanted one of these yesterday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Brain Sqeezer

Time travel. Can't stop thinking about it lately. It first started when I decided that Christ would be returning in the near future. If there is a future I am sure that we would have been able to tackle the time-travel problem, which would mean that eventually anyone can go back into time which would of course mean the end of the world. So basically, my theory is that either the world ends before we can do any damage to ourselves in time travel or Jesus comes back, in the future before we have that technology. More recently, I have been thinking that time travel is truly impossible altogether and here is where I need a few of you science geeks to help me out here. If I traveled back in time and gave myself the winning lotto tickets would it not alter my future which would alter my "future me" and would cause me to NOT go back into time in the first place which would negate the time-travel altogether?

Trivia: Name two famous songs that have "time" as the subject.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Few things That have Always Perplexed Me.

1. Why the word for dyslexia is the easiest word to jack-up and the most difficult word for a dyslexic person to spell. (I have yet to spell it correctly on the first try, including this time.)

2. Why the word for phonics is not spelled foniks.

3. Why a drive-way is called a drive-way and not a park-way.

4. Why people drink Diet Coke.

5. How ones breath can go from toothpaste good at night to "good-morning-dearI-just-ate-a-pile-of-fresh-manure-while-you-slept-BAD?"

6. Why we spend so much time (as men) washing our chest in the shower when it is probably the cleanest part of our bodies. You would think that we fall chest-first into a dirt every day.

7. Yawning. The REAL reason for yawning is still a mystery. There are theories, but it still doens't explain why when one person yawns it inspires all to yawn.

8. Using the bathroom in Heaven. Will we or won't we?

Got any life-long perplexers?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

John Williams, Leitmotif and Empire Strikes Back

Leitmotif was something developed by the German Composer Richard Wagner. In a nutshell it is associating certain characters with certain musical themes or melodies. Most of you have heard the "Kill the Wabbit" theme from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. Well, this is the Valkyrie's theme in one of Wagner's operas. John Williams used this technique of relating melody with people, places, and things ingeniously in his Star Wars trilogy.

One of my favorite examples: In The Empire Strikes back we find Luke hanging upside down in the Ice monster’s cave awaiting his eating. Luke comes-to and sees his light saber. To give the scene the tension and impending terror it needs Williams employs a sort of swirling cluster of strings. The dissonance is felt every time we see hints of the monster getting ready to return to Luke. All seems hopeless to Luke. Then Luke sees it. His light saber. He reaches for it. Over the quiet, swirling string dissonance the brass swells in more dissonance to represent Luke's attempt at moving it with the force. The light saber barely moves. Then, the leitmotif for "the force" is employed and chills are sent up our spine. Over the swirling dissonance, as Luke closes his eyes to use the force we hear that familiar theme. The juxtaposition of the swirling dissonance and the haunting melodic representation of the force gives the scene power, beauty and magic. Genius.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rough Drafts for Jesus Take the Wheel.

"Jesus drive my snowmobile
I'm flying off off the cliff..."

"Jesus steer my boat
I think I see some reef..."

"Jesus take my hand-glider
a bird just ripped my sail..."

"Jesus take my pogostick
it's jumping way to hard..."

"Jesus drive my truck
I've had too much to drink..."