Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why Make the Kids Suffer For Momma's Sin?

We've all been hearing how Mississippi is the fattest state in the Union. Big surprise. However, if Houston were a state, it would pass the Mississippi like Mario Andredi to an elderly Chinese Lady driving a 72 Honda civic.

So what does the Mississippi State gov. do to solve their straining zipper epidemic? They increase the physical activity of the kids to 150 minutes PER DAY and basically starve them. So now, the kids will go from burgers to a celery sandwich, followed by a billion sit-ups in less than a week. Uh huh. I predict mass chaos and extreme mood swings. Why? Why? you ask... "But Seth, won't a celery sandwich followed by a ton of crunches lead to a much healthier life?"

And I reply, "Yeah, my friend, if it weren't for the grand mound of robed mamma cooking them a pound of fried everything upon their arrival at home."

After the kids finsh their day of total starvation and passing out from excessive situps, they come home to be suddenly be filled with a solid 2 hours of perfect concentration after eating mounds of starch and carbs and fats, which will aid them in their quest to play every video game invented. This will be followed by a huge crash and a comatose sleep, their Twinkie-crusted game controller clutched and nestled to their bosom while they dream of taking baths, nibbling away at their giant half-Twinkie tub.

So what should Mississippi really do, if they really wanted to fix the problem? They should visit every home that cannot afford nutrition and offer them a subsidy. Even though I don't understand the whole "can't afford healthy food" bit; you can grow a garden and save thousands per year on veggies. We did it my whole younger life, in the poor suburbs, during a drought, and bought only the things we couldn't grow or make. Granted, the clothing part sucked. I did wear a few pairs of pants that were less than stylish - try homemade neon blue polyester pants with a white stripe down the side, the left knee oddly tighter than the right- but we were poor and didn't balloon to enormous proportions.

Then, the state government should fine Wal-mart a hundred trillion dollars, running them out of business forever. The government would follow suit with every other food joint that sells nothing but pure sugar and fat for 1 penny per pound.

Unrealistic, I know but hey, maybe in situations like this it's time to coin the phrase, "What would China do?"

All I'm sayin' is when studies show that your state is the king of the junk-in-the-trunk mountain, maybe point your porker gun at someone besides your kids and the school system. To be scriptural, "Before you take the french-fry out of thy kids mouth, remove the Quarter Pounder from your own."

I wonder if the people passing this bill to blame the kids ever stop to think how bizarre it was that where signing the bill, using their stomach as a table?

Look down at thine own belly and take responsibility for yourself and your family. Helpful hint: If you haven't seen where your pee pee comes from in a while, maybe its time to lay off blaming the kids, put down the frying pan and plant a carrot.

Don't forget to eat it. (The carrot, not the frying pan.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Moving Spiders

It is amazing how much crap one can accumulate in one year. I hauled 12 bags of the heaviest garbage in the universe down 3 flights of stairs tonight, dodging the gigantic spider making a web directly above forehead-line on flight 2. I couldn't bring myself to kill the booger since he had been toiling much longer than me, spinning away for his food.

Usually I kill spiders out of principal. There are some creatures on God's earth that will forever be enemies- Hyenas/Lions, Sea-lions/Great white Sharks, cats/dogs, Rikki Tikki Tavi/king cobra, Rick Warren/Joel Olsteen, Benny Hinn/Dateline, and Seth Ward/any-and-all-spiders.

I am quite Old Testament when it comes to annihilating the arachnid tribe and quite gentle-worship-leader-in-designer-jeans when unexpectedly assailed by one.

Just the other evening my face passed through a spider web the size of tennis net and a big black spider frantically tried to escape the mountain known as my nose. I flailed like an epileptic break-dancer who had just won the lotto. Amber nearly passed out from laughing. It was enjoyable.

Other than avoiding Shelob on the second flight of stairs, I am looking forward to simplifying my life and ousting most of my possessions in order to fit in the very, very small apartment we will soon be calling home in NYC.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Billiosovic Gatesorovitz

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A wealthy Russian tried to buy a U.S. B-52 bomber from a group of shocked American pilots at an air show near Moscow, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday.

The unidentified Russian, wearing sunglasses and surrounded by bodyguards, approached the U.S. delegation and asked to buy the bomber, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper said.

An astounded member of the U.S. delegation said the bomber was not for sale but that it would cost at least $500 million (249.5 million pounds) if it were to be sold on the spot.

"That is no problem. It is such a cool machine," the Russian was quoted as saying by the newspaper, which said its reporter overheard the conversation. The bomber was not sold.

Russia's new rich, who built fantastic fortunes trading commodities and contacts after the fall of the Soviet Union, have made a name for themselves as ostentatious purchasers of everything from British football clubs to Faberge eggs.

How the conversation would have went down if I were the pilot approached by the Rich Russian Billiosovic Gatesorovitz.

Russian: "Good afternoon. That plane is very nica."

Me wearing Top Gun Shades and sounding a bit like George W.: "Not bad, it could bomb the crap outta you guys if you don't do as your told and conform to American ideals and sell us all your oil and lay off the South Pole. We saw it first."

Rich Russian: "Please, please... I don't vant to battle wiz you. I just want to buy the bomber for 500 millions, I think my son might like it for birthday present."

Me: "How old is he and is he a threat to the Country where Jesus is Lord?"

Rich Russian: "No, he is only 2 years old but he is bored destroying deserted town wiz big tank."

Me: (I motion for a large solider to enter the conversation.) "Private... kill him... Scratch that. Read him the 4 Spirit'chl Laws, then kill em."

The End.

White House, here I come.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Too Old for Spicy Numba Tree

We went to our favorite Thai food joint yesterday and my stomach is showing signs of the great battle to come. It has that little constant state of "cramp-rumble" that tells me there will be some rocking and praying going on in the near future. Come on fellas, you know what I'm talking about.

It is a little upsetting because I used to be able to eat Spicy number 7. (Basically pure fire. One could power a small town of Irish immigrants on the nuclear fusion going on in a plate of Chicken Fried Rice, spicy number 7. Or line the highway with sever hundreds of these glowing plates in the dead of night to signal a landing runway for some airplane needing an emergency landing. You get the picture.)

Now I can't even handle number 3. My stomach protests. A storm's a brewin'. I feel like a girl, or a young gentle worship leader in designer jeans.

I saw signs of this weakening of my appetite the last time Amber left town to NYC. It was late and I thought I would order a large pepperoni and sausage pizza from Pizza Hut, sit down and watch myself the Godfather. Because that's what men do that are all-alone and missing their wife. They remind themselves that they are not pathetic piles of primordial putty, pining away for affection. How do we remind ourselves? By watching the Godfather and eating a whole friggin pizza. "Harrumph! *Belch-fart*"

I made it halfway through the Godfather and I dozed off with a piece of pizza crust dangling from my lips. I went to bed and woke up 2 hours later, 4:00 a.m., with a raging heartburn that could rival the grumpiest old man, cursing a dust bowl in June.

I tried to drink Soymilk, take a Rolaids, drink water... nothing could cool the embers flickering in my chest. Finally I made a visit to the local Krusty Mart at 4:30 a.m. and bought a pile of those individually packed Zantacs. It took 4 to cool the raging flame that was my chest.

So now I await the forces of Spicy number three and will beg for mercy when the time comes. So humiliating. It's like being taken over by Canada. Or worse, France.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Something for Trish

I didn't know what it was like to be in your mind. I only saw you drift away.

I scraped a prayer on a bed post for you one night.

I never thought it was right that you suffered and lived through terrors
that woke you in the sweaty night
only to find shadows standing by your bed.

Your laugh disappeared for a while.
Those damned shadows took it.
Like a dark cloth just swallows up light.
But I always new it was there. I hoped it was there.
Sometimes I thought I lost mine too.
I wanted to go there with you I guess.
But it turns out that I coudn't .

I did leave the ball glove out and some tea in the fridge for you.
I'm real sorry that I forgot what you looked like or how you could whip any guy on the ball court.
I didn't even remember what that sounded like anymore.

We sat at the dinner table one night and sombody said something funny.
You rose from the dead like a sleeping princess.

That laugh broke every heart a mile from it.

Something got in my eye and I had to leave the room.

Then you married a fella who is afraid of the mail and loves birds and cats and you the most.

He paints too.
I don't know a book he hasn't read and I guess
you've always had something interesting and funny to say
like a great big library.

Good to see you again Sister.

Yeah, the tea is still good.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Just face it. We want more Harry.

Dear J.K.

I demand another Harry Potter novel. What are you thinking with all this detective nonsense? I know you are British and all and you guys really dig mystery and everything but... more Harry please. I could give a rat's patookey about reading a detective novel if the hero isn't Harry and he isn't a wizard detective.

Besides, I found the ending to the last Harry Potter sentimental and fluffy. We all knew he was going to get together with Jennay and make a bunch of babies. For crying out loud, you did everything but paint a happy tree in the middle of the canvas. And did Harry really need to name his son… Albus Severus Potter? That sounds like some kind of medieval psychotropic drug or... some sort of English rash you might get from using a public toilet in London. Plus the kid is destined to grow up to be a gargantuan nerd with sore ears from all the flicking.

I suppose you will find a way to make your name resemble Sir Arthur Conan Doyle now instead of J.R.R. Tolkien while you're at it.

Possible endings for you Harry Potter book 7 re-write:

1. Harry brandishes his wand and starts killing everyone in sight and becomes the new villain for your next set of books, where his is redeemed by the love of his son not yet born. YEAH!. Then like, Harry doesn't know his unborn kids are twins and accidentally kills Jennay when she doesn't join him. In a dramatic moment later in book 9, after he has been forced to wear a large black suit because of a bad burn, he tells his son that HE is in fact, his father.

2. As young Albus waves goodbye on the Hogwarts express he looks into his father Harry’s eyes. When their loving eyes meet, Harry’s scar burns like never before. The last sentence is maybe something about a set of fangs slightly visible on his son as the train rolled away.

3. Harry dies and Voldemort wins.

4. Dumbledore comes back and tells Harry the he is his Grandfather and they go about the world robbing banks and tipping cows... maybe they take an orangutan with them that gets them out of trouble and end up in a big nation-wide car race.

5. Harry hooks up with Hermione and takes over the Wizarding world, ruling with an iron fist and forcing everyone to become U.S. Citizens.

6. Harry is still sacrificially killed but screams "FREEDOM!!!!" when asked by Voldemort if he wishes to confess to treason.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seth and Amber Moving to NYC!!!

Well my friends, after many months, days and hours of prayer, Amber and I have decided to take the plunge and move to the big apple. It is a complete move of faith. There is no job for us there, yet we have never been so stinking excited in our whole lives.

We had thought about waiting until it seemed rational to move, like say... a job, but nothing seemed to suffice in our hearts except the blind leap. There have already been so many affirmations that my head is spinning.

For instance...

A year ago, we were visiting a friend in NYC while Amber was auditioning and they live in this particularily beautiful part of NYC around 83rd street, close to central park in Manhattan. We finished our visit and I looked around at the street where so many great films have been shot and prayed, "My gosh Lord... if we ever move here... this street sure would be nice," knowing that it would be near impossible to live there as poor musicians. Its not just the nostalgia, something else just "feeeels" right about it.

A few months later, Amber goes to a church called Redeemer Presbyterian on another visit and tells me about it. Something stirs in me. I "feel" like we are supposed to be there. I ignore it and move on living safe.

Months fly by and the idea of moving to NYC grows and grows. It won't go away. I try to blame a move on NYC on Amber's passion. It doesn't fly with Amber as she could be happy anywhere singing musicals, feeling fullfilled and obedient. After a few days I realize that it's really me that feels we are supposed to be there. So, we pray, and decide to move. The ever-reluctant leader.

Amber goes to NYC and begins the long and arduous task of finding an apartment. We find some on in Brooklyn and Estoria, two perfectly good apartments in perfectly good places and we are ready to sign. Something still isn't right but I let it go. Then Amber tells me what I've been thinking but too afraid to say... "We shouldn't limit where God wants to put us. Lets tell the realator to look in Manhattan since I get the feeling you think we should live there although it is too expensive..."

She says this and I feel that "thing" that one feels when you KNOW its the right attitude. The realator looks and something turns up. They send me pictures of a place that is only a few hundred more a month in Manhattan and much nicer, brand new in fact. It just happens to be on the very street where I uttered the flippant prayer the previous year. Our friend that lives on that street tells us that is a miracle that we found something there at that price.

I do a google earth of the area, located a block from central park and 3 blocks from the Museum of Natural History and find a first Baptist Church. I tell her excited that there is a church near us that is in walking distance. She tells me that is the very place where Redeemer Presbyterian meets. I am sufficiently boggled.

If that wasn't enough, the next day we find out that Redeemer has bought the building accross the street from us and will be building in December.

Accross the street. The church that I couldn't get off my mind, and the street that I prayed for and area that I felt we should be, but couldn't afford.

Now, I'm not a "name it claim it" fellow, but I am a "God knows where you need to be and puts the desire to be there fellow."

I think its time to let go of fear and leap forward, then stand back and watch God work. Pray for us.

Les Adieux

It is an unfortunate fact that when someone decides to move, friends pull away. I have moved around my whole life so I guess you could say the routine is old hat. For me, it is the worst part of moving. When I moved in the 9th grade, I had thought that I wouldn't be moving again. I put my roots down and made the best friends I could. Unfortunately, we had moved to a church that was secretly filled with KKK members and we were out as soon as my dad could get us out.

Being young, and knowing nothing of the pointy-hats in our church, the move was excruciatingly painful for me and I couldn't bear the thought of my friends at school pulling away again. The thought was so painful that I decided not to tell anyone about it. If my homeroom teacher had stayed quiet, no one in my class would have known I was moving.

The worst was when my best friend Jason found out. He had NO idea that I was moving. Needless to say, he was pissed, then he was fine, then he was sad. After I saw how much I hurt my friend, and friends, I decided that if I moved again, I would rather be hurt by their pulling away, then my lack of telling. It still sucked but at least my conscious was clear.

So after many, many months, days, and hours of prayer, Amber and I have decided to move to NYC. I think the move snuck up and bit me on the butt. I am feeling a little bit like I surprised my church family and friends but I can't help but attribute the brevity to God's working it out. Some might call that a cop-out but all I can say is, don't judge a man until you've walked a yard let-alone a mile in his shoes.

The worst part about it all is that friends still pull away. I understand really. It is a protection mechanism. They are hurt and don't want to feel hurt. They shut the origin of the pain out, "you" and try to forget "you" ever really meant that much to them. This is sad to me. I think they will regret it later. Maybe not with me, but later when they realize they are too afraid of being hurt to risk love.

I know I did.

Friends should embrace the sadness and be honest. It sucks, but that's the price of loving someone. What parent would choose to NOT love their child because they knew that someday they would grow up and leave?

When David left Jonathan, they wept, bitterly. Parting sucks because you are leaving a friend, but being ignored by your friends because you are leaving, when you need the most sucks much, much worse.

Friendship is a precious, precious thing to me. I am excited as can be over the move, but heartbroken for leaving people that I love and have grown close to. Like my students. I didn't realize how I had fallen in love with my students. They have impacted me more than anyone since my time here in Houston.

Charlie, John Jr., Brenna, Ashley, Christopher, Mer, Jack, Richie, Matthew, Sarah, Rachel, Lauren, Clay, Rahim, Sohail... thanks for teaching me that God uses me more in the ways and places I don't expect, rather than in my big dreams. I love you guys and I'll miss the heck out of you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fun Diversion

Joey and I got a little bored and frustrated with recording so we invented a couple of characters based on both our past history of experiencing evangelical husband/wife "teams" and behold...

The very Reverend Mr. and Mrs Hal Porter, accompanied by Seth Ward.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Poem Excerpt

Gerard Manley Hopkins "As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame"

"I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Christ—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Artist, Repent.

What I SAY I'm afraid of:

I'm afraid that if I do what I want, I'll be guilty of not denying myself. But wait... What if denying myself means something different than that? What if God wants us to deny things that are sinful like obsession, porn, greed, guilt, vanity, jealousy, hatred, lust... not necessarily the things that are good and that He has planted in your soul, music, poetry, painting, singing, hiking, swimming, drawing buildings, riding a motorcycle, running a marathon, teaching English, writing stories, making films... Why would I think He wants those things to go? I mean, does He want me to stop eating too? Or does He only want me to eat food in the Church so that people know that I am eating for the Lord? Will starving or eating at Church show God that I love Him?

What I am REALLY afraid of:

I am afraid that if I do what I am passionate about, I will fail and God will abandon me because maybe I secretly wonder sometimes if God is really there and stepping outside the Christian Subcultural Bubble might show me that I isn’t really there. I am afriad that I'll disappoint other Christians who think they know what God's will is for me because of their own fear or needs. Also, doing the thing that I really love would mean that I would have to give up worrying about money, or comparison, at least for a while. But I love to worry about money cause I like to think that somehow, this other thing that I do and call "surrendering to the Lord" pays the bills and its safe. I like to think that I've played major hand in acquiring the cool things in my apartment. Pshaw.

Well maybe God requires more out of me. Maybe he requires that I trust in the basic passions for good and creative things that He has set afire in me and that I am not worry if there are other people doing the same thing that are as good or much better. Maybe He desires that I trust that He is that good. Maybe He is the kind of God that would plant the love to create and want me to delight in the creating of it. Maybe He isn't the cosmic Carrot Dangler that I have grown up to know. Maybe I have thought that because I have been too busy worshiping what and how I am saying it instead of the God that gave me the voice to say it.

And maybe, if I saw it that way, I could be paralyzed from the neck down tomorrow and still be left with Joy inextinguishable and let everything go without regret because I did what I was suppose to do with what I was given.

What if I took Jesus at his word and didn’t worry about tomorrow or what I will eat, or how the bills get paid. (I’m not talking about being a bum here; I know there are a billion things that come to mind when asking this.) I’m talking about being like the Lilies or the Birds. They don’t toil, they aren’t busy trying to be something else because they are afraid that “being a Lilly” or “being a bird” won’t cut the mustard thank you very much God.

Maybe following and doing what you are really passionate about is real faith, and all that other stuff is blaming my lack of faith on God and calling it "sacrifice," or "taking up my cross" or "denying myself."

I have a hunch that I may be a little more thankful for what He has done in me if I actually do what He has set me free to do rather than trying to be thankful for being too afraid to do it.

I think if more Christians would do what they are truly passionate about, the world might actually believe them when they say that they are so thankful for a God who has set them free.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogging Sabbatical

I've been away a while but quite productive. I will tell everybody about the projects underway eventually but just know that they would have to be mucho time-consuming for me not to drop by daily and say howdy-doody to you fine folks.

Other than the two humongosarus projects that are consuming my time, I am extremely happy. Probably happier than I have ever been.

Darn tootin happy. Jump-around-in-the pool-with-a-nerf-bat happy.

Here is a picture of my buddy Joey helping me on one of the projects, the project that is paying me.

Blogging may be quite sporadic for next month, but I PROMISE there will be much to tell when September hits. MUCH to tell my precious... Probably 2 blogs a day, old-school-Sethro-style.

I'm gonna blog like you actually want to read what I have to say. I'm gonna blog like a momma yields her nipple to her thirsty babe. I'm gonna blog like a bad rash needs a stout lotion. I'm gonna blog like a lodged boogie needs a good pinkie finger.

I'm gonna blog like it's 1999 (bam bam... bam bam bam)