Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fullness of Time...

So we are entering into the Advent season here, friends, and last year I started (but did not finish) a series called "The Fullness of Time." Not to terribly original of a title, however, it is a subject that greatly interests me, and I should probably do a theological blog here soon lest I turn totally heathen. I just haven't been in the mood lately. Maybe that's because I'm really not going through a strong period of doubt. I find that I am most interested in theology when I'm experiencing some serious doubt. But that's just me...

However abbreviated some of the history in this series may be, I'm going for the third, babies.

I'll re-post the first two on the first of the first two weeks of December and post the third on the first of the third week before Christmas Eve. Whoo! That was a fun sentence!

Last year I had fully intended on finishing but the project turned out to be GI- ENORMOUS in scope. It really is too big for a blog and it was too much for a man that had so many irons in the fire at the time I could have.... ironed... a thousand Ironman... things.

I mean, my little short stories are pushing it. Btw, I am a horrendous hypocrite when it comes to long blogs. I usually gripe if I see a blog longer than a page-scroll and then I turn around and write a bazillion words about a walk in the park, or something about poopin, or my disdain for boner-pill commercials during ball games. (viagra moniker courtesy of Cach.)

Anywho... For you theology/history/Jesus lovers, and for those of you skeptical of Christianity, (Yeah Aaron McD., and John Forkner, I'm talking to you,) I think you'll enjoy it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Leftover-Turkey-and-Dressing's Road to Salvation.

I was five years old and strapped tightly in between two unbuckled men. Both men smelled like work. Not that smelly, b.o. kind of work, but the kind of work that smells like fall, earth, coffee and tractors.

We were just getting ready for an evening of thanksgiving leftovers (a night that had grown to be just as treasured as Thanksgiving itself) when my dad remembered that he needed to put a couple extra bales of hay out for a few of the milking cows on our farm which was located a few miles away from my grandparent’s house. My grandpa volunteered to go with him. They quickly asked if I wanted to go and though the smell of the reheated stuffing, turkey and mashed potatoes were making my stomach roar, I nodded enthusiastically.

I loved riding in that truck with my dad and grandpa. It clunked and bounced indestructibly through even the biggest holes in the road or field. Its engine roared and rattled everything in the car when shifting between first and third gears, and if you had coffee sitting in the cup-holder between the shifting of first and second gear, it was going to be spilled.

We had just soared over my favorite hill on the way back to my grandpa’s house and my stomach was still wheeling from the joy of that thrill, when my Grandfather and my Dad stopped talking. My dad downshifted and my grandfather’s hand stopped me from lunging forward as the truck slowed to a stationary idle in the middle of the gravel road at the bottom of the hill. I stretched my neck to see why we had stopped. I thought a stray cow or a deer might be the culprit since that sort of thing happened a lot where we lived. I couldn’t see anything at first and my dad didn’t honk like he usually did. The truck idled unevenly and my dad shifted to neutral and pressed the parking brake.

“Oh, what is this?” My dad said, annoyed.
“Awe, they’ll get out of the road in a second,” my grandpa Wayne responded and spit a stream of tobacco into a Styrofoam cup.
“I don’t know, Wayne. Maybe I better do something. That one old boy’s got a crowbar and he looks like he’s about to..."
“Hooo!” grandpa said and winced as if he himself had been hit.
“Yeah, he whacked him pretty good,” my dad sighed. "I'll be back in a second."
“Patrick…” said my Grandfather, preparing to warn my dad.

But before my grandpa could say, “be careful” it was too late; my dad was out of the truck and slamming the door behind him. I squirmed out of the seatbelt and peeked as far as I could over the dashboard.

My dad casually walked towards the two men in the middle of the road. Both men were bearded and looked about the same age as my Dad (in his thirties). One was small and skinny and was crawling on the ground while the bigger one was hitting him with a crowbar as he crawled.

Then came my Dad. I asked my Grandpa who they were and what my dad was going to do but my Grandpa simply spit again into his cup and said nothing. His eyes were glued to my dad as he approached the two men.

The headlights shone on the scene with a harsh and unapologetic light and I was suddenly scared for my dad. My dad started to talk to the man with the crowbar and the man yelled something at my dad and pointed towards our truck. I couldn’t hear anything else because the truck was idling so loud. While my dad continued to motion for the men to just let us pass, the man with the crowbar saw the other man on the ground trying to crawl away, and the man with the crowbar kicked the crawling man and reared his crowbar back for another whack.

My dad intervened. His hand caught the crowbar before it struck the crawling man and the larger man yanked it back. Then the big man took several wild swipes at my dad with the crowbar. I was surprised at how quick my dad was. It seemed like something he had done before.

“Well, sheeit,” my grandpa said and put his spit-cup on the dashboard. Just when my Grandfather put his other hand on the door handle to get out, my dad caught the swinging crowbar again, and for a few seconds it was a crowbar-tug-of war. Finally my dad gave a good yank and and the man lunged forward, spreading his legs as he struggled. Without pause, my dad kicked the man in the groin with his dirty, steel-toed work-boot. The man wailed, released his grip on the crowbar and crouched slowly to the ground.

My dad shook his head and threw the crowbar as hard as he could into the dark field that stretched to the left of us. Then, as if it was another chore on the farm, my dad grabbed the crouching man by the coat collar and the back of his jeans. He hoisted the man like a big sack of potatoes, drug him (somewhat gently) to the curb, and softly lobbed him out of the dirt road and into the shallow, grassy ditch, where the other man had crawled while my dad fought his assailant.

The beaten man took a last kick at my dad as he walked away from the grassy ditch, and my dad turned and pointed towards the house where the two men had probably started their fight. People where coming from the house and my dad motioned the approaching people to where the two men lay.

My dad opened the truck door and sat down in the driver’s seat.

My grandpa grabbed his spit-cup and shook his head in amazement.
“Well I’ll be durned, Patrick. Lord help the man who comes between you and your dinner,” he laughed and spit.

My Dad grinned and winked at my Grandpa and me. He revved the engine a few times, crammed the gear shifter into first gear, said, “Let’s eat,” and let off the clutch.

The next day, with a bible in his hand, my dad went and saw the two men. Within the hour, my dad knelt with the two men in the front yard, not 30 feet from where they had all been fighting over a crowbar the night before.

Both burly men were saved. The two burly brothers hugged and wept. Their anger gone, their souls saved. All thanks to God's saving grace woking through a leftover Thanksgiving dinner and an ex-marine-turned-Baptist-minister's hunger for it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Poem For Ya

This is one of my favorite Cummings poems. I set this to music in an E. E. Cummings art song set a few years ago on my doctoral recital.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of allnothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Growing On Me...

"CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, said their young daughters will still have to do chores in the White House and won't get out of doing homework just because they're the president's children. In an interview with Barbara Walters, the Obamas said Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, will have lives as normal as possible. That means helping out around the house.
"That was the first thing I said to some of the staff when I did my visit," Michelle Obama said. "I said, 'You know, we're going to have to set up some boundaries,' because they're going to need to be able to make their beds, and clean up."

Right on.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." -Charles Haddon Spurgeon


We are going to the Macy's Thanksgiving parade this year, dadgummit. Last year, we were both so tired that - get this - we turned on the TV and watched the parade from our apartment... sitting on a couch that was not ONE block from where the parade was marching. Granted, we had just been unlawfully evicted and we were as tired and ticked as we could be, but still, not happening this year. No sir. I shall not be a couch potato humbug this year. Just call me Mr. Festive. Or Sexy Beast. Whichever one, all the same to me.

However, I've never been much of a parade man. I get bored mighty easy and parades have never been my tingling bliss. I am convinced that I will like this parade. If I am ever going to like a parade, this will be the tester, for sure. Tomorrow, while Amber is knee deep in her final rehearsals for Oliver, I will be accompanying my good friends to watch the balloons get blown-up (inflated, not destroyed grenade-style, unfortunately) over by the Museum of Natural History.

I do like balloons. Not so much this kind, more like this kind, or this kind.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I always feel a little uncomfortable talking about this subject because it can get kinda "hocus pocus" and people think I've got tarot cards in my back pocket when I do. But, what the heck.

Since I was a kid... for as long as I can remember, I've been able to do a pretty good job interpreting dreams. Dreams can yield some pretty amazing stuff. Your subconscious is an awesomely powerful thing and your dreams can really do a number on you if you are prone to worry or anxiety. When I was a kid and up into the teenager years, I was plagued with horrible dreams. I know now (from a recent and thorough psych evaluation,) that I have general anxiety disorder, among other things. In a nutshell, I am prone to catastrophic thoughts.

And since I was a lad, I have always had horrible fears and phobias. Most of the fears were about people that I love dying or that I was going to die - suffering the most recent disease that I learned about. I still have a problem watching shows like House or Grey's Anatomy because of all the emotional catastrophic things that happen to people. (Not to mention wiping the Velveeta off the screen after Grey's.) My hands start to sweat somewhere in the first five minutes of the episode and it usually takes a couple of hours to get over the show. Weird, huh?

Anyways, when people tell me their dreams or post their dreams, I usually know immediately or close to immediately what the dream means. I'm not sure if it is a gift or whatever, I'm not sure I even like it. But the fact remains, I'm usually pretty accurate. The thing is, most people know what their dreams mean anyways, but they have built a subconscious or conscious wall so as not to see what the dreams are trying to say. That's why the dream expresses your fear or whatever in such a weird way. They usually use symbols or some other random thing you saw or heard during the day to express the emotions. Essentially, the mind is using code to express what you won't say. Pretty natural as most times people do not really want to whine about their feelings.

The whole subject of dreams is pretty interesting to me as many disturbing dreams have common motifs. Running around in the buck and trying to find clothes is the most common. What surprises me is how much bunk their is posted on the subject. It is as if these "experts" have never read a sentence of Jung or Freud, though to Freud everything is always about momma and sex. Jungian psychology is the most prevalent school of thought in most psychology circles these days. The oddest thing about the whole thing to me is that when I have strange dreams, I really have a hard time interpreting them.

I had a composition professor once who was subbing adjunct for a professor who was on sabbatical. This subbing professor was also a very successful and licensed psychologist. Our professor/grad-assistant sessions usually turned into some kind of therapy session and in that particular semester, (the semester I was studying for my comps, teaching a huge load of private students, teaching two ear training classes at Rice, making a record and working 30 hours a week at the church) some things were made known to me about myself that I hadn't been able to see. Fear, mostly. Stuff I was afraid of and what I was doing to cover the fear. The COOLEST thing was that he showed me most of this stuff through interpreting a whole series of odd dreams.

Dreams are strange and powerful things because you really aren't in control of them. However, I believe that you can even pray about your dreams and ask the Good Lord to reveal stuff to you or even to help you make decisions for the future. You can also pray, and should pray, for protection in your dreams as they can bring things to the forefront that should not be, or that aren't really there, but take the form of "the real" because of some fear you have.

That's all I'll say about the subject at this point. What do you guys think? Any strange dreams lately? Think there is anything to the whole dream-subconscious thing?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I don't know about you guys, but...

If I saw something like this, I'd probably start saying a few quick prayers. Other than that, one of the coolest things I've seen all year. I did see the space shuttle come in one time over Waco. That was pretty awesome. As I drove up to the music school at Baylor everyone was outside of their cars pointing up. Rule of thumb: When everyone is outside of their cars pointing at the sky, stop your car immediately and get out and look.

One of those Pointless Journal Posts...

It’s beginning to look a lot like ... Thanksgiiiiving...

Brisk cool air. Christmas lights turned on and ablaze, lining the busy streets. People out in their new winter fashions: Black, black and more black. I bought some of those cool little clamp earmuffs tonight from a neighborhood street vendor for 5 bucks. I'm not sure if I like them.

Well, let's see... I've just been toiling away here on my dissertation. Busy-work stuff at this point. Are the clarinets too high? Have I given the oboes a chance to breath? Are the dynamics in the right place? Do those two instruments really sound good together? Can the flutes be heard in that register? The trombones will spend 4 hours practicing that one measure. Is there a better way to write that for them without them cursing my name? The string bass is going to get awfully bored sitting there that long playing nothing and counting measures, picking his nose, and butt... maybe even time for his belly-button. Violins can't play that double stop. (Two notes at once.) Fix it. Fix it. Fix it.

That sort of stuff.

I've also started working my children's story. Fun stuff. I took a short nap today and dreamed I was carrying my baby son around in one of those baby holder-front-pack things. I woke up screaming and drenched in sweat. Nah, honestly I woke up with the warm and fuzzies. Uh oh. I suppose it's getting about that time... Amber, you and your mom's prayers are working. How bout you guys pray that I find a vast fortune in one of my boots while you are at it.

Subject change: Amber and our neighbor Verlie have been planning Thanksgiving supper for the past week. It is going to be YUM. Amber is at tech rehearsals for Oliver and will be gone till after midnight for the next week or so. Every day this fall I've been taking a walk in central park. I missed most of the fall last year. I was either sick or in Houston finishing school. And I'll be dadgumed if this year I don't say goodbye to every leaf before it hits the ground in the park. Right now I'm taking a break from the dissertation drinking a caramel apple spice from the Starbucks down the street and watching a bit of a Harry Potter movie.

So, that's me lately, folks. What are you guys doing for Thanksgiving? Do you have some Thanksgiving must's? Things if you didn't have you would feel like crying big salty tears, crossing your arms and wanting to be held? Mine is a thanksgiving holiday movie and bloads of leftovers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Airport Author I Ain't, and Other Bad Alliterations

(Two weeks ago... or somewhere around that time.)

For some reason, I've never been able to read (or write much - we'll see how it goes here) in an airport. I'm too easily distracted. When I write, most times, I put on studio headphones to drown-out all sounds... Just in writing these last three sentences, I was hopelessly distracted no less than 6 times.

There is a man sitting across from me talking on his phone, yet because of the position of the charger plug, it looks like he is talking on it upside down. Distracting. There is an older couple with a thick northern accent talking about Obama and hoping that he will do a good job. They voted for him. Another man to the left of me is sitting in a position that, from my peripheral, looks like he is constantly staring at me.

So how's that for a high school writing project? "Describe your surroundings."

Ned Horner (the best man at my wedding) and I shared a freshman-year creative writing class at MSU, formerly SMSU. We were give just such an assignment and when called upon to read his "Describe 5 minutes of your day," Ned proceeded to stand and read about his experience "using the can" in someone else's home and how there was a large mirror where he could see his reflection.

A little excerpt, word for word, I shoot you not. It will forever be burned into my brain. (Turn away if you have a weak stomach...)

"As I got up to look at my load before I flushed, I noticed a large mirror in front of me. As I studied my farmer's-tanned naked thigh, I thought, 'Dang, I'm good lookin'! Then, I flushed. The end."

"Proustian Ned, just exquisitely crafted" the teacher responded, dryly. She then sarcastically asked the class if they had any criticism. It was an uncomfortable moment because the class was full of cheerleaders and sorority girls. So, being the good friend, I spoke up. "I personally like the alliteration, 'looked at my load.'"

No laughs. She asked me to read mine next as a punishment...

Okay, gotta stop typing. A man has just planted his large frame smack dab beside me, and has already claimed the armrest, even though there are thirteen other empty chairs on this row. I hope he is reading this.

P.S., No that is not a picture of me. I can't sit Indian style for more than two minutes. Plus I'm not that old. I do have that hat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prayer for ... ?

(1 week ago)

Dear Lord, Most Gracious Heavenly Father... Sweet Lord of Hosts...

Today, I finally understand. You will always win. There is nothing that you cannot do. No sunset that you cannot cease. No hurricane that you cannot calm. No Pharaoh whose heart that you cannot harden. No sea that you cannot part with a simple blast from your nostrils. And no assembly that you cannot assemble to teach your son, Seth, a missing virtue.

Today I confess that I fought something like a starving lion. I fought it early this morning in front of the microwave as I watched the timer tick down from a single minute. I fought it today as I printed out my boarding pass and noticed that I was way back in the B's. I fought again as my bag toppled over and spilled my laptop onto the busy floor of Hobby airport, my only crime? I was taking a first swig of my OJ when I barely pushed the balancing tower with my leg.

I fought it on the train with the young toddler intent upon kicking my chair as if each kick was as vital has his very own heartbeat. I fought the urge to grab him by the arm, in front of his indifferent excuse for a filthy-mouthed parent, and tan his little bratty hide.

I fought it when the cab driver purposefully took twice as long to deliver me to the airport. I fought it again as my license seemed to be desperately trying to flee my grip during security check.

However, I obviously have not fought it hard enough. So, I surrender. There is no doubt that I am missing a vital chapter in the book of Christian... something. The miraculous handwriting is on the airport-terminal wall. The assembly of wheelchairs before me, delaying my flight can only be You and You alone. This is obviously a miracle. You are reaching down into creation and making the impossible possible. I am obviously not getting something important.

Let it be said: I surrender. I am listening. You win. Show me thine ways. Whatever it is you are trying to teach, please, can ya hurry it up?


Die kleine Meerjungfrau

Tonight after her rehearsal, Amber is meeting a friend of hers who is singing in the Little Mermaid on Broadway. When she told me that, it re-ignited my curiosity about just how those ladies pull off being mermaids on roller-skates. The skates have always been a problem for my imagination. I've only been able to picture little Mermaids carrying trays laden with burgers and fries to little aquatic cars. Anyways, I decided to Youtube it but instead found this, and for some reason, (you tell me, please) I couldn't turn the durn thing off. I think the French and Italian are the prettiest. German and Thai are butt-ugly. Russia version is bugly too. I won't be insulted if you find this preposterously boring and curse my name for wasting your god given brain cells. Could be an OCD thing: just got to hear... the next... language... just a few more... K-mart sucks...

Monday, November 17, 2008


I have to admit... I've been less than motivated to blog lately. During my travels in the past few weeks, I wrote quite a few entries but didn't publish them. So, while I'm experiencing blog-drought, would anyone be interested in reading those? I know that's of a cop-out, but they are posts that I never got the chance to slap up on the internet.

If just one person comes says, "Aye" I won't keep posting endless 80's work out gurus while I work out my writer's blogck... or bloredome, or whatever it is that is just making me want to drink carmel apple cider from starbucks and stare out the window every time I sit down at the computer.

Btw, tonight, while I was standing on my awesome deck minding my own business, I did see (and hear) two people doing the shig-nasty in the apartment across the way. That was interesting. Get some curtains for crying out loud. No, I didn't linger. Well, maybe a little. But wouldn't you???? How many times do you see something like that? Don't answer that.

That was a new one for me.

Now that you are distracted by that last story, don't forget my question lest you get a couple weeks worth of that lady with glam-rock hair who looks like she is taking a tooty in her workout jumpsuit.

Another 80s Aerobic Wonder

I Tried It... For some reason I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the exercise.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Jeanna Bryner
Senior Writer – Sat Nov 15, 1:34 pm ET

Unhappy people glue themselves to the television 30 percent more than happy people.

The finding, announced on Thursday, comes from a survey of nearly 30,000 American adults conducted between 1975 and 2006
[Wow, I'm trying to imagine the scientists who finally got the results from this very important test after thirty years. Hopefully they lived to see this blessed day.] as part of the General Social Survey.

While happy people reported watching an average of 19 hours of television per week, unhappy people reported 25 hours a week. The results held even after taking into account education, income, age and marital status.

In addition, happy individuals were more socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read a newspaper more often than their less-chipper counterparts.

The researchers are not sure, though, whether unhappiness leads to more television-watching or more viewing leads to unhappiness.

I'm wonder though... could it be that these so called, "happy people" are happy not because they watch less television, but because they read, go to church, and ... um, vote. (vote??? Okay, I'll go with it. Although I don't tend to vote on a daily basis. I do however eat well and take a daily walk.) I think the egg comes first in this scenario.

Yet Another Funny Find From Vitamin Z

Move your boogie body. Come on! Let's go! Umchicka Umchicka Umchicka Um!

All I can say is that I feel sorry for that lady's husband on Friday nights. Hot dog!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Back... Barely

Sorry for the lag here folks. Been pretty darn busy. The weather has been nice here since I made it back to the Apple. It was so fun to get to see everyone, well... almost everyone. My lessons were great and Dr. Lavenda showered me with much Genius and the dissertation is better than it was.

The weather was beautiful in Houston as well. Yes, don't faint. I just complimented Houston's weather. I definitely picked the right time to go back. However, there was one day that it poured pitchforks and El Caminos. That happened to be the day that I got lost... in Houston... lost in the town where I spent 6 good years of my life.

It is no secret for those that know me: me no homing pigeon. I get lost in large homes trying to find the flusher. It took me the whole week to find my way to the guest bedroom on the first try in the Holtzman's new home. I have zero sense of direction and if it weren't for Amber, I'd probably be lost somewhere right now.

So what should have been an 8 minute drive from my friend Tan's to the Holtzman's, turned out to be nearly a two hour detour. Don't ask me how I did it. If I knew then I wouldn't have this problem, now would I? I have a hunch though. See, major highways in Houston and surrounding Houston are shaped like a expressionist dart board made by a drunken toddler. So, it is easy for one to think that you are driving parallel to the road that you are eventually trying to get to (after you made a wrong turn) and then end up in Timbuktu.

Plus, something happens to you when you are endlessly driving to your destination in that town. You go into this kind of Sanskrit trance. You think you are going the right way and then... " Ommmmmmm Ommmmmmm .... OmmmmwWaaa hay hay haaait a second. I've never heard of that tollway before... What the?" What follows is a kind of nightmare. You know the kind that you are trying to get somewhere and no matter what, you fail?

Well, it probably wouldn't have been so bad if the sky hadn't been dumping half the Atlantic Ocean upon my econo-rental, creating small ponds and lakes in the interstate in my path. I thought several times of checking my iPhone GPS but see, I sorta opted out of the old car-rental insurance/wallet-rape/scam, and was too worried about hydroplaning underneath some random giant truck driven by a sleep-deprived man who probably fantasizes about crushing small cars in his terrible wake to keep himself from going brain-wall.

Oh well. You can't have everything in life. So, that's about it for now. Here are some pictures I took this morning with my iPhone on my morning walk in CP.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Full Transcript of Barack Obama's First Press Conference as President Elect.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President Elect... Barack Obama!

In the front row, a young reporter faints as Barack Obama enters the room. No one cares about the man. The press jumps up and down raising their hands, screaming, "Oh me, me, me, me, me! Pick me first!"

Barack notices that several red and pink apples have been placed on his podium near the microphones.

"First of all, let me just say, thank you for the nice, shiny apples. They look delicious. I do enjoy a good Fuji apple. (Several giggles reverberate through the room; the hands seem to rise higher than ever. Some are propping their raised arms with their other arm.)

Okay, you in the front, Rachel, from MSNBC, I believe?

"Yes, yes... I... I... I... .... BARACK... I... I.... I LOVE YOU!" She covers her mouth. "OH MY GOD OH MY GOOOOOD,” she sits down and sobs inconsolably. Several people dab their own tears at her show of emotion.

"I'm sorry, Rachel, I'll have to return to you in a moment." Barack motions to the wings. Two young individuals rush to the woman wearing badges that say, "Barack Press-Emotional-Overload Patrol..."

They escort Rachel out the back of the room.

"Okay, you in the front, Jeff."

"Yes... first, let me just say what an honor it is for you to point your finger at me to call on me. I mean, I have dreamed of this moment since the first time you waved your finger at a press conference. I mean, even if someday you accidentally give me the bird... I wouldn't mind. I do ask tough questions, though." (Wink.)

"Well, let's go ahead and get to one of those, shall we?" Barack says, gracious and politely impatient.

"Yes, yes. Of course. Well, see, many of us wonder what you will do to solve the current financial crisis. And there have even been rumors of you being able to turn regular paper into money... also, we were wondering what kind of puppy you are going to get, what is your favorite color and my partner was wondering... have you ever sat down to go number 1? I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist!"

"No, no." Barack chuckles. "And I'll try to remember all of those important questions so I can answer them thoroughly. And before I answer, Jeff, it looks like you may have had a little accident... "

Jeff covers the tinkle spot with his pad of paper, crosses his legs and blushes.

"Anyways, that money question is just a rumor. I was at a wedding and someone didn't have enough money to buy chocolate truffles, which are my favorite. So, I offered to pay for them. Somehow, the rumor spread that I turned all the napkins into 20-dollar bills to pay for them. But I assure you; I don't need magic to get the money I need. I just say the word 'money' and people start throwing it at me. It's really amazing. About the puppy, we haven't decided, but we think maybe an animal shelter puppy. Favorite color? Red White and Blue, brother. And about the potty question, you can tell your "partner"... only once, when I was young."

A murmur flows through the room and Barack raises his hand to calm them.

"Yes, it's true. I sat down, once to tinkle. HOWEVER..."
He raises his long finger into the air and glares at them sternly.
"I sat, but I did NOT tinkle." (A sigh of relief resounds.)
"Next question... Yes, you in the front."

"Yes, Mr. President erect... I MEAN... elect, Oh my gosh. I am soooo sorry."

"Don't sweat it. Move on with your question, Freud, I mean... Mr. Floyd."

"Yes, we were all wondering... when you met with George Bush for the first time in the White house, did you say, 'HA! FART FACE! YOU ARE SOOOO OUTA HERE. YOU ARE SOOOOO SLEEPING IN MY BED, SO TAKE A HIKE YOSIMMITEE!' And then every time he tried to talk did you just make a farting noise with your mouth? Did you do anything like that?"

"Well, no. Actually the President was quite helpful." (Gasp) Don't get me wrong, we still disagree on many things. I still believe he is the devil and he should be hung by his Texas testis, and I believe that he and John McCain were the first set of Genetic clones tested by the government in the early 40's... but no, I didn't want to yell at him or make farting noises while he talked, though a certain pleasure is stirs in me at the thought of it."

"Well if you change your mind, maybe you could just spit in his Coke or something next time and video him drinking it with your phone for us."

"Um, I'll think about it."

A paper airplane hits Barack in the neck.

"What the?"

He opens it. It is a crudely written letter that says, "Will you pick me next, yes or No." Two boxes are below the words yes or no. It is decorated with various hearts. In large print at the bottom it reads, "Love, Chris Matthews, MSNBC news."

"Okay, okay, Chris, you're next. What's your question.”?

Several press members quickly sit down and begin folding their own paper airplanes.

"Listen, folks. No more airplanes. I'll get to you when I get to you. And please, let's get to the serious questions about the economy and healthcare. Okay, Chris, fire away. "

"Yes, Mr. President Elect, I'm sorry I have to ask this, but you know me. I play hardball. So... here goes. Do you spoon or sprawl, Yes or no? Just a simple question. I play hard. My questions are hard. Get used to it."

"Listen people. I'm going to have to go. I just think these questions aren't really relevant. I'm flattered that you are so interested in how my wife and I cuddle, but why don't we meet at another time when we are all a little less wound up."

The press cries out and suddenly several Airplanes are thrown at Barrack. He flinches. Secret service men appear and block the remaining airplanes. As Barrack gathers his apples, a pair of underwear hits one of his secret service men in the face. It dangles from his dark glasses. The underwear is decorated with Barrack cartoon faces.

Barrack makes his way to the door and the press screams in desperation their unanswered questions as Barrack leaves.

"Please Mr. President, do you like to be tickled?!!!"
"Please, Mr. President, do you ever just look in the mirror for hours and maybe even kiss your reflection???!!!! We have to know!"

Suddenly Rachel Maddox appears again from the back room, but Obama has left. She drops to her knees with tears in her eyes and cries, "Baaaaaaaarrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Don't Care Who You Are...

Or who you voted for... what an amazing moment in American history.

I Voted

It was a momentous occasion, people. On the way to the booth I was accosted by several young teenagers who were screaming that they wanted "change." I stopped and offered them a few shiny quarters and a very dull penny. They were amused and confused by my offer. I told them to give the change to their parents, since they all looked like private-school rich-kids.

We parted company and as I turned towards the street where I would cast my vote, I screamed, "I'm coming, John! Just hold on!" Surprisingly, people thought it was funny. Amber covered her ears and raced ahead of me.

As I turned the corner of the street, I was ready for a large Orgy with men and women dancing around a golden statue of Barry O., but surprisingly, there was nary a line. Once inside, I only had to wait a few minutes to cast my ballot. Evidently, people had been lined-up since 5 a.m. and the place had been dead for the past 2 hours. Conclusion: Either the McCain voters are smarter, or they were too frightened to brave the mob.

Anyways, it felt really good - exciting even - to vote in this election. It was even more exciting to vote in an area where people have "B.O." burned on their foreheads. (Snicker snicker... B.O.)

Anywho, I have to be honest. It really did pain me to not vote for the first African American presidential candidate. Yes, I went ahead and voted my conscience. (By the way, this is America. Everyone should feel safe and free to express who they are voting for. Just don't get all fired up and start sinning over it, slinging terms like "liberal" and "non-Christian," or "baby-killer" or "racist." Chill! This is America! Sing with me now! "This land is yooour land, this land is myyyyy laaaaaand....")

Before I voted, I did as much research and as much thinking about all this as I could. Despite all that, everything in me wanted to vote for the African American. Everything in me wanted to buy into the "change" that he so loquaciously sells. Everything in me wanted to get caught up in the moment. However, I was given a brain, and after computing all the info the best I could, ... I stared at that Obama Biden puncher for a good 2 seconds... (an eternity for my logic-controlled ganglia) and I just couldn't do it. I will have a hard time forgiving Powell for never running in my lifetime.

In the end, whatever happens, it is pretty exciting times, friends. Yes, a little tiny part of me wants to see Obama elected. I'm only human, after all.

Powell/Palin: 2012.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Little Word From Piper Before You Vote: If you haven't already...

The only one that I disagree with is his first point. I see his point, but I don't see how being Governor wouldn't fall under that edict of his... The rest, he really hits some very important things. Especially for Christians. Listen up! I particularly needed to hear that last bit...

Htt: Vitamin Z

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"W" Flashback Attack.

Saw it. Said I wouldn't but I couldn't resist. Plus there wasn't anything else worth 12 bucks at the theater around my birthday. So here goes, W, a review.

This film has proved a difficult one as far as reviewing goes. First off, there are many emotional factors swelling around inside of me that are clouding my ability to be objective about the filmmaking. And unlike Stone, I would really like to give something a fair shake on its own merits. But I'm finding that I just can't. So, as a result, I won't be. He's really made it impossible.

Historically, "W" sorta sucked. Yeah, he got some things right on most issues and events, but film is unique in its ability to provide psychological motives for actions, and here it falls flat. Stone gave us caricatures of the players that were responsible for initiating America's only preemptive war. Most times this wouldn't bother me, but since we are so close to an election, and since the person that the movie profiles IS STILL IN OFFICE, I believe that Stone took a shotgun approach to a very complicated and complex Presidential regime. Yes, too soon. We have the real one right in front of us. Every day. And if you are going to do this right now, after all we've been through, the issue is too important to be sloppy.

Sadly, the problem was in the filmmaking. The film lacked all the emotional virtuosity that we are used to in Stone films. The movie didn't know what to be about. Was it about the war? Was it about Bush Jr.'s relationship with his father? Was it about Bush Sr.'s failures? Was it about Bush's Christianity? Was it about the way in which the people surrounding Bush were too great of an influence? I don't know. And what about the election? What about 9/11?

In classic Stone-style, we got little vignettes in the form of flashback. However, flashbacks are only effective if they serve to amplify the present tense situation or the overall POV the director is trying to emphasize. They sorta did, but the the flashbacks were entirely too long and too self-conscious and as a result we soon forgot about the main plot, whatever it was, altogether. You can get away with much using flashback in film. In writing, you can't. There are cardinal rules you must follow and most times they are summarized and without dialogue. It's okay in film if they are short and emphasize a point- again, a point that supports the greater point of the film. They were just the opposite here. The film would have worked better linearly.

But again, and I don't think Stone knew exactly what he was going for, so he threw them altogether in a pot, shook it up, and called it art. Consequently, the film lacked center, reality, and a sense of real truth. I just didn't buy it.

The best thing about "W" was Josh Brolin. He did a very good job portraying Bush amidst a culture that is filled with people who are long-standing established masters of the Bush impersonation. Somehow, Brolin was able to bring some authenticity to the character without shooting for laughs. He took the character serious and in doing so, he brought a few shades of character to Stone's caricature.

Other than that the film just misfired on many, many levels. Thandie Newton, who does Condi Rice was the worst offender in the whole film. She portrayed her as a dumb, brainless twit who said yes and "amen" to everything Bush said or suggested. Not true. Condi was much craftier, and even admitted to spying on Cheney and Rumsfeld because they left the whole staff out of the loop. It portrayed Cheney much too kindly. It didn't even scratch the surface of Rumsfeld and his completely war-mongering ways, not to mention the coalition that existed between he and Cheney. Rumsfeld had the whole country duped into thinking the war was going well. That takes a charismatic and brilliant diplomat, floks. However, I felt the portrayals of Bush Sr. and Laura were terrific.

I left the theater feeling less enlightened on "W" and the Iraq war than I entered. It just surprised me that with all the info that we have after the 9/11 commission, Stone chose such a hodgepodge, historically sloppy outline to support whatever it was he was trying to say.

A surprise: It blew my mind that Stone took Bush's religion seriously and didn't force a Moore-esque slant on evangelical Christianity. I think most were surprised that the film didn't paint Bush in a more evil light. But guess what? He's not evil. Most historians know this. Most historians agree that Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rumsfeld (and GeorgeTenet in the end) were the true axis of evil in his administration and they were 90% responsible for cooking up all the fake evidence for WMD.

Where did Bush go wrong? He ignored his instincts. When presented with the initial WWD (weapons of mass destruction) information Bush's first response was, "Is this it? Is this all we got?" But he trusted too deeply in those that were fixated on Iraq. He turned a blind eye to Powell's reasoning and furthermore, he ignored the way in which Powell was hamstringed by Cheney and Rumsfeld. He didn't lead into those convictions with confidence until we were already knee-deep into an unending war. Everyone was eventually fired, except Condi (the unlikely victor) and Cheney who suddenly started hunting, a lot.

All of this Bush knows, and he has admitted to it in his own way. "I am disappointed in our intelligence." In a way, he was lied to, as were we all. But, that's why we have a president, to make those kinds of judgement calls and see through the lies to the motives. To say, "not enough to invade, fellas. Sorry," or "Torture? No, not going to happen, I don't care how 'humane' you call it, Dick."

In closing, I would say this: If you want to see a really great report on what happened, a report with 10 times the suspense, information and actual interviews from people who were there - Rice, Powell... etc, watch the FRONTLINE two part special, "Bush's War." Go download it on iTunes. It is well worth it, more accurate than Stone's rendition, and more entertaining.

"W" by Oliver Stone, Grade: C-

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Radical Birthday Bash

Well, it was a fine month, my friends. Last night we were invited to the neighboring street to observe the trick or treating festivities that goes on every year on 69th street. I hadn't a clue what I would be stepping into. The first thing I saw was Spiderman and Batman scaling down the wall of a Manhattan Brownstone. There were THOUSANDS of parents and kids on this one street. So cool. Joining the festivities for the night down in our neck of the woods was Conan O'brien and Robert DeNiro with their kids, just being parents. (No pictures. Sorry. Just don't do that around here. DeNiro might whack ya. Isn't that right, J? Ha!)

The kids were unbelievably cute. It was really magical. It was most definitely the best trick-or-treating extravaganza I've ever seen. Amazing. The best costumes of the night go to the Sarah Palin dog, (you thought I was exaggerating about the Obama-crazies up here... nay, people. Nay.) and John Forkner dressed up as a "Zombie" or an Obama-horny New Yorker.

Overall, it has been a pretty fantastic month. I've just darn near finished my dissertation! Wahoo! (just detail work now.) And I had one heck of a birthday. My friend Kathy Lineberger (daughter of Phil) made me a sock-hat that is just the coolest, and our friends Jeff and Verlie Payne got me the widescreen Star Wars Episode 3 DVD. Verlie Payne also owns a budding cookie business and made some stomp-my-foot-delicious cupcakes to celebrate. Yum. My parents on both sides sent gifts and there will be much deliberating about what goodies Sethro will buy in the next few days... I've got a few ideas.

Tonight, the wife and I will be feasting at Taboon and watching "W" to top off the festivities. Much Coke and Popcorn will be consumed. And Milk duds. And gummy bears. And Maalox. A review of "W" will follow shortly.

Life is grand. Soak it up.