Friday, April 30, 2004

Gone Daddy Gone

Well, I'm off to Pine Cove camp for the weekend. I'm taking a bunch of teenagers to go and do some food service work so they can keep their camp costs I won't be blogging until Monday morning...

And, it's a shame, too, because I watched this show on the History Channel last night called something like "Bad Decisions In History" and the one they were highlighting was the decision by this Japanese commander in WWII who kept ordering the Kamikaze suicide bombings and only 1 in 12 hit their target and even then few of those actually did the damage of destroying their targets. The images of those planes just landing in the big old ocean were not at all what I had pictured of those pilots...

I think really all I want is to keep myself from being an episode of "Bad Decisions In History."
Samson-like Feelings of Weakness

As it turns out, the fine folks at Locks of Love need 10 inches of hair to make an 8-inch wig. So, I had my back to the mirror and could feel the stylist putting my hair in a ponytail and all and even felt her cut the hair.

Do you know how loud the "thud" was from the gathered pony-tail when she threw it on her desk?

I mowed the lawn yesterday just to make sure that ALL my strength wasn't in my hair. It wasn't, but I already feel tired today.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

It Might Be Time

I'm not sure yet. It's a little early in the day for me to determine whether or not it will actually happen. Today could be the day that Locks of Love gets 8 inches of my hair.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

He's Out. You're Out, Too. And I Don't Think I'm In, Either. No Gang!

Here are a few things I'm "out" on and believe should be stopped:

Those stickers on the back of SUV's that have the name of the child(ren) and the logo of whatever their sport/activity is. Naturally, any bumper sticker touting a child's achievement.

Talking on cell phones while driving, or picking up a call when you're talking with someone else.

Standardized tests to measure learning. The results seem to affect everything else but learning, and to watch the schools go into "DVD mode" after the administration of the tests is silly.

The lack of adequate public transportation in my town...and surrounding suburbs. Even the bus system stinks.

"Reality" television on the major networks. I'm okay with The Osbourne's and The Newlyweds, but I'm almost tired of them, too.

NBA playoffs...could there be a more boring championship process?

People who don't take personal responsibility.

MegCam300039 and HotGurl494289 who have pictures for me and are virtually constant in their on-line interruptions and I am forced to click "ignore" each and every time they pop up.

Enough for now...can you tell I'm in a heck of a mood this morning?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Why Does Ferris Get To Ditch When I Have To Go?

Today, all across the state of Texas, students in various grades will be taking the TAKS test. It's some state-mandated check-up to make sure no child is left behind or whatever else the politicians want to call it. Headlines in the newspaper are saying it's tougher than ever (insert routine standardized testing diatribe here blah blah blah).

What I'm thinking about, though, is the benefit of the senior class. They've already taken and passed the test. So, they get to sleep in, or go to breakfast with friends, or just take a lazy morning, whatever.

Aren't those the best of all days? Those days when the rest of the world is going full-throttle and you don't have anything. Sure, they do have to be in around 11 or so because our state has revenues tied to attendance, but you gotta love the day you know you can sleep in.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Stirring Up The Pot

The sermon yesterday went least from my perspective (except maybe the 4th service).

Rabbit Trail #1: Many of you have NO IDEA how much tired head you can get from preaching the same sermon 4 times in 12 hours. It makes me wonder how people like professional speakers or stand-up comedians or touring bands play with the same passion and enthusiasm night after night for like, 6 months.

I did what the pony-tailed youth pastor is supposed to do: I stirred up the pot. It's pretty cool to be the one the your congregation expects to be "out there" so you can get away with the more controversial points than the senior pastor.

Rabbit Trail #2: Why is it that Rush Limbaugh listeners can't take a joke? Jeez. Make a crack about Jesus not wanting us to all be clean-cut, Repbulican Rush Limbaugh listeners and spend 15 freaking minutes talking about having unity among diversity and get first thing this morning I get a few e-mails from the Dittoheads defending their hero. Of course, I should probably be more sensitive and celebrate the diversity myself, eh?

Speaking of celebrating the diversity...the music minister at my church, in my honor, had a whole medley of praise songs done in COUNTRY BLUEGRASS fashion. Pretty funny when I think about it.

Anyway, I am not a big fan of pulpit time...and it truly is a stretch for me and I guess it helps me grow, but I don't enjoy it. My congregation is nice and they encourage me, though.

Not that I'm presumptuous enough to think you would like to hear it (some of you might), but you'll be able to get the sermon on-line (I think) sometime this week...usually it's up by noon on Tuesday. Try and then click on "listen to the sermons" if you're interested.
Best T-Shirt For Those Of Us Into This Kind Of Thing

My friend Nathan saw a T-shirt on line somewhere that reads:

"I Am Blogging All Of This"

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Shaving at the Speed of Sound and then some...

Just thought I'd let all of you know that, as of today, I am using the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo razor blades. Previously, I was using the Gillette Mach 3.

So, now, in addition to shaving at virtually 3 times the speed of sound, I'll have that turbo boost for when I really need some giddyup.
13 Going On 30

Due to an incredible amount of rain yesterday, our planned schedules involving an outdoor picnic for our small group from church and a softball game were postponed. We took the opportunity for a family outing and we chose the Jennifer Garner movie in which she plays a teenager who gets their wish and she's a grownup with the mind of a teenager.

Yes, I know. We all liked it when it was called "Big" and starred Tom Hanks. But this was good, too. Predictable...yes. Formulaic...yes.

But if you're a child of the 80's like I was, there was enough fashion and pop culture references to make it worthwhile...and all her dance moves are culled from videos of the day like "Thriller" and "Love Is A Battlefield" which my children didn't laugh at but my wife and I thought were hysterical.

There are worse ways to spend a drizzly afternoon.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Thought Provoking Articles

To get the brain engaged today, try these from the NY Times Op-Ed Page. You won't regret reading either one:

Nicholas Kristoff discusses the hypocrisy of "liberals" who berate "evangelicals."

David Brooks brings up some interesting points that terrorists are not victims, and trying to explain their actions in lieu of their circumstances is dangerous.

Whether you agree or disagree with their views, can there be a better Op-Ed Page than the Times?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Update on The Great Game

The local Texas Rangers are 8-8 so far this season, far surpassing anyone's expectations. They have pitched better than they're supposed to. They do things that they didn't do when they were loaded with stars like A-rod, such as hit and run, steal bases, bunt...while still hitting home runs.

Despite my best efforts to avoid it this season because I'm supposed to be mad at it for a multitude of sins, I'm sucked in by Major League Baseball. I think I'll call it the "Terrance Mann Syndrome" after James Earl Jones' soliloquy in Field of Dreams that began "It's BASEBALL, Ray. It's bigger than all of us..."
Random Thought

Could Jennifer Garner be any more attractive?
Sermon Update

The sermon is completed. I have to edit it some today, but that should only take about an hour. Now, I simply have to deliver it, which is hard enough given that the pastor at our church is an incredible pulpit teacher & pastor, but it's WAY out of my comfort zone.

Why is it that you could put me in front of 10,000 teenagers I don't know and I wouldn't be nearly as nervous as I am in front of 1,500 people who care about me?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Needing A Diversion From A Laser-Like Focus

Preaching on Sunday. Today I'll finish the sermon. Tomorrow I'll put the finishing touches on it. That's what consumes my mind today.

I need a mental I'll get in on the blogging game I saw from Taylor's site, who got it from a whole bunch of other sites.

In the "comments" you can ask me three questions, and only three questions, and I'll answer them. They can be about anything. The only catch is I get to ask you three questions if you do it.


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Turn it off! Make it stop!

Blender Magazine is known for lists about musicians...stuff like "The 50 craziest rockers" and stuff like that, but now they've got one list that's intriguing: The 50 Worst Songs of All-Time.

Their list includes: "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung, "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice, "Party All The Time" by Eddie Murphy, "Rollin'" by Limp Bizkit. I'd even give props to their number one choice: "We Built This City" by Starship.

But how could they have missed: "I Write The Songs" by Barry Manilow? "Killing An Arab" by The Cure? "Dancin' Queen" by Abba? "Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac? Or my all-time worst song, "(Everybody Was) Kung Fu Fighting" by Disco Tex and The Sex-O-Lettes?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I Still Remember

On this date in 1999: Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. You still have the video images of this in your head so I don't have to replay them, but this little reminder of the dark side of human nature always gives me the creeps when I think about it.
The Sounds Of Silence Begone!

My daughter Kelsey got her hearing aid yesterday. She didn't know what she was missing until around 2PM yesterday. Every 10 minutes is a new discovery for her (how loud car engines are, or how clear the music sounds, putting one finger in her "good" ear and still being able to hear, etc.) and I'm beginning to think it's one of the best purchases we've ever made.

And, for those of you who are unaware, in an age where cell phones fit in your palm, hearing aids are practically invisible on pre-teen girls, even with their hair up.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Another Good Idea Nobody Does, Including Me

Some group somehow gets in the news media every year with some idea about the whole nation turning their televisions off for the week. Of course, the television newscasts don't get too involved in this coverage, but it gets in the newspapers.

Anyway, I found this quote:

"I am in the final handful of American novelists who learned to read and write before they learned to eat a daily helping of video bulls_ _ _. This might not be important. On the other could do worse than strip your television's electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea...Reading takes time, and the glass teat takes too much of it." --Stephen King

On the way to church yesterday, my oldest daughter, upon hearing a radio advertisement for 275 channels of satellite dish programming, said, "Yeah, 275 channels of crap for $29.95 a month."

Also, yesterday, a newspaper columnist noted that in well-to-do households, the television wasn't prominent (more likely having it's own room somewhere or hidden within a nice piece of furniture) and in low-income houses he visited that the house may not be that great the the tv's were awesome and often those he interviewed did the talking while watching the television.

I could go on, but you get the point. Maybe this "Great American TV-Out" (or whatever they call it) should get more attention.

I'm going to go read a book.
Pulpit time

I'm preaching the sermon in big church this upcoming Sunday. This reality throws my entire week off kilter.

Sunday, April 18, 2004


There's a little tradition in our student ministry in which the "kids" come over to my house with their dates to show Tracy and I what they're wearing to their Senior Prom. Another tradition is that they wear their prom clothes to church...but I like seeing them a bit more fresh-faced and excited. They'll be a bit tired at 10:45AM and hair/make-up will have been re-done by then.

Anyway, each year, I cannot get past how grown up they look, especially since I've known most of them since their middle school years.

The first two young ladies that got to my house were literally breathtakingly pretty. I'm sure they were all that way, but everybody kind of arrived at once and things got hectic and I didn't get to see all the others individually before the paparazzi-like photo barrage began. A couple of guys came in top hats and great tuxedos (even a Texas A&M inspired white and maroon one) complete with canes, there were pink sneakers, blue flip flops, wraps, etc. Nice little pieces of individual flair.

I really like the little tradition, too. About 30 kids in my front yard, complete with friends & parents checking it all out. It's really pretty cool.
10,000 and change

For some reason, I decided to check the number of "hits" my little website has gotten since I started and I found out that it's been a little over 10,000! It started slow, and now about 1,700 people a month check out The McKinney Diner! Thanks everybody!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Field of Dreams, Part One

After we went to the game (see next entry) Kelsey and I watched the old Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams." I felt I owed it to her. There are just some movies everyone in America should see. That's definitely one of them (feel free to list others in the comments, too, but maybe that's another blog entry).

Anyway, for some strange reason, last night I didn't get sucked in by the baseball sentimentality as I usually do. Nope, this time I got sucked in by the desire to "finish" things with my dad.

We never split on bad terms...we had a great relationship. We just split too fast. He died when I was 13.

And this morning, I'd really like to "have a catch" with my dad.

I'd tell him about graduating from the same college he did...and walking in a lot of the footprints he put there.
I'd introduce him to the absolutely coolest girl I ever met and then married and ask him what he thought of her. I'd really be interested in his opinion, too.
I'd ask him what he thought of my life and career decisions and get some of his thoughts that I never got to get because I was only 13 and some discussions only really matter when you're closer to adulthood.
I'd ask him about what he thought of my sister's "higher order life-living." Not that I'm curious because I truly KNOW what he'd think about her life. Nope, I'd ask because I want to see the gleam in his eye, just one more time, that he always got when he looked at her. And see that gleam through my eyes of fatherhood.
I'd ask him a few things about his relationship with Mom, and then I'd get some dirt on the rest of the family while I was at it, too.

Then, I'd flip the ball to my daughters. I'd introduce them, tell him to tell them the fish story (a previous blog) and then let Kelsey play catch with him while Shelby did cartwheels and other dance maneuvers around the two of them. I'd watch from the wooden bleachers.

That would be my field of dreams today. One more game of catch with my dad.
Field of Dreams, Part Two

Last night, I went with Kelsey to the varsity fast-pitch softball game between two local rival high schools. It couldn't have been more exciting (even though the high school my daughter will attend lost the game) with lead changes throughout the game, diving catches and a finish that involved a two-run double that scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the last inning. An exciting and joyous celebration for the home team and their fans, and no joy in Mudville for the visitors.

Amid the excitement I saw the girl standing on 2nd base after her at-bat. Foot on the bag, eyes waiting for the ump to call time "officially" ending the game so she could join the celebration at home plate. He did, and she did.

There will come a time, probably in 15 or 20 years, when she tells her kid something like, "You know, when I was a junior in high school, I hit a double against the rival high school with two outs in the bottom of the last inning that won the game and sent us to the playoffs. It was a shot, too. Line drive all the way to the fence."

And the kid likely won't believe it. And she won't be embellishing the story, either. If she needs a witness to prove to her kid that it was a shot and it was clutch and how his/her mom delivered when it counted, she can call me. I'll back her up.

It was a lifetime memory for the kid, one that will make her smile a lot in the future. I'm glad I caught her smile when it happened...because it made me remember a few smiles like that of my own. Baseball will do that.
Bad Publicity for Evangelicals, Entering Piece #2,679 As Evidence

When will my tribe realize just how important the little things are? The world is watching, kids.

File sharing is piracy...and yes, for some reason it looks worse when you're pirating Christian freaking music. Ugh.

I don't even want to start my diatribe on the long-term effects of art piracy and how it ultimately squelches art because it can't support itself. Please stop being selfish vandals and theives. You're convenience, in addition to being sin, has consequences beyond your comparatively empty CD collection. Like the front page of the sixth largest newspaper in America.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Wild At Heart?

I had a discussion yesterday with a mom of a young man who has proclivities towards classical music, poetry and other fine arts. Her concern was one that I found interesting: The portrayal of the Christian manhood within Christian circles.

She talked about how a magazine from a nationally known/respected family ministry had some professional athlete on the cover each month. She mentioned how books focused on traits like being a warrior, or being an outdoorsy kind of wild man, or being a knight. She talked about how the guys' small group at our church always played football or basketball in the half hour before the group study took place, and how the "guy nights" involve watching the game on the big screen or going to see some "guy movie." Even how our church's "Real Men's Bible Conference" had a "wild game" cookout and much was made of this during the promotions. She mentioned how our worship ministry had guys on guitars and drums but the brass and woodwinds more or less fell to the women.

In effect, she wanted her son to have a genuine place to belong without changing who he is. And, you know, she's right. True, there were some areas of our church's ministry she was unaware of (such as our film festival for budding directors and student art show coming up next November) but sometimes I think even within the Christian community, we have plenty of room for the Esau's (and admire the warrior side of King David, while ignoring the songwriter/musician side) and just nod politely and pat the Jacob's on the head.

The Kingdom is big enough for the Renaissance Man. In fact, I'm thinking that should be what we strive to encourage and include. We all can't be Maximus from Wild At Heart...nor should we want to be.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

"I didn't know you were that litigious."
"Oh, I can be quite litigious."

First of all, 23 points given to someone who can tell me where that quote comes from. Very obscure, and I don't know why I remember it.

Secondly, on the topic:

Here's the story (Dallas Morning News report):

Local PTA has a fundraiser. Auctions off all sorts of prizes. Biggest fundraiser of the year.

Dad bids on one, a Harry Potter party for six kids that takes place later on school grounds. Dad loses.

Dad files lawsuit saying that the school is promoting Wicca.

I can't imagine this needs any explanation or comment.
Tax Day

Got the tax forms in the mail yesterday. Refund this year!

I read today about how some tax-cut thing actually resulted in the middle class paying more than the upper brackets. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't, but tell me again why a flat-tax rate is a bad idea...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Washed up at 19

Just wanted to let all of you know that Avril Lavigne, pseudo skateboard rocker, will be playing a FREE CONCERT at the local mall at 5PM this Friday.

I'm not an expert, but I think when you start playing free concerts at malls, isn't the next time we see you 20 years later on "Where Are They Now" on VH-1? At least that was the case with Debbie Gibson and Hanson.
Ummm...Mr. President...

I'm still a little fuzzy on how the war in Iraq has a link to terrorism. And, while I appreciate your candor in telling us you'll still be out of there on June 30, I'm still a little unsure (as were you) on exactly WHO you're going to hand the country over TO.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Speech Tonight

Open memo to President George Bush, Jr.:

In your prime time speech tonight, you have an awful lot of explaining to do. It'd better be good.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Fun Party Type Question

If you could have any one superpower of a cartoon superhero or villain, what would it be? (And, like the "three wishes" question qualifier, you cannot have the superpower that absorbs everyone else's superpower)

I think I'd go with Superman's X-ray vision...keeping in mind he used it for seeing behind walls and such (not anything perverse, you clowns). I think that one would be pretty helpful.
Reason #34,252 The '70's Were An Embarrassing Decade:

Last night I was surfing after The Simpsons and ran across about 10 minutes of the Nick & Jessica Variety Hour last night. It is safe to say that this is a television format that does NOT need to be revived. Sonny and Cher were never cool. Neither were The Captain and Tenielle. Not Donny and Marie. None of them. Now that those who were teens in the 70's are looking back fondly on their campy pop-culture and actually have the power positions to make decisions, please use your powers for good and not evil.
So You're Saying There's a Chance!

This ad in the Dallas Morning News today was touting that some real estate dude was ready to Launch 100 Millionaires!. He needs people to sign up. I want a million dollars. I guess I didn't know that was something you were supposed to sign up for.
Coupland Quotes

A couple of quotes from Douglas Coupland...I finished the book, so they'll be the last for a while.

(Advice for a son who had some tough decisions to make):
"Your parents are lost. They can't help you any more. They no longer dream or feel. The only valid viewpoint for any decision is eternity."

(After one character was blaming his parents for his failures):
"Funny how you only realize how deeply events have affected you years and years after they've occurred."

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Simple, Absolute Dichotomy

Jesus Christ of Nazareth rose from His grave on the third day after His execution. This is either fact or didn't "kinda" happen.

If this is false, then I am to be most pitied.

If this is true, it requires a personal response by everyone on the planet.

Both choices have consequences and repercussions.

Frankly, I'm very comfy with my choice. The Son of Man came to bring abundant life, and the only way He can do that is to actually be alive.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Opening Day

Okay, some tickets landed in my lap and I'm part of the 50,000 people who attended the home opener for the woeful Texas Rangers. I still stand by my earlier blog that I will NOT pay for tickets to major league baseball this year, but, like I said, somebody else forked over the in a way I was sticking it to corporate America (who did pay for the tickets) and the Rangers (who did get my $10 for parking, though). I couldn't really pass it up.

And, yesterday was everything good about the bigs. Batting practice gave my kid a chance at chasing down some free souvenirs (close, but no cigar). 75 degrees and sunny. A 40' tall Texas state flag which was later covered by a 40' U.S. flag. The band Cross Canadian Ragweed sang the national anthem. The regiment that arrested Saddam Hussein was honored as the traditional "opening day Texas Hero" and their commander got to throw out the first pitch (which he must've forgotten that the first pitch is ceremonial in nature and he brought the heat) after they marched in to thundering applause. (I don't care what your political thoughts on the current war are, baseball fans support the troops...interrupting the announcer several times with cheers). A B-1 bomber buzzed the stadium right after the anthem...and that is one impressive sensory experience, too. And all that was before the game.

The game itself. The home team won 12-4 by pounding out 18 hits, 3 homers and getting an impressive pitching performance. Our suspect center fielder caught 2 balls that would've been home runs. Our young team outhustled the other team and showed lots of promise.

I know that over the marathon this team will get brutal pitching and the defense will make errors and the youth will learn from all the ups and downs. We'll be better in 2006. I also know that MLB will disgust me at several points during the season. But for one day, it was about as good a MLB experience that one could've had.
Workable Idea

My friend Katherine has a very good idea. It's one that (and I guess this is the key to any good idea), with some careful tinkering and right implementation, can truly have meaningful effects on young women and their spiritual well as the practical outworkings on that. But it's her I'm not at liberty to clue you in.

However, I've been in youth ministry 15 years and seen very good ideas and very bad ideas come an go. She has a very good idea. Of that, I am certain.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Remembering Elna

My friend Elna passed away last Sunday. She was 92. I went to her memorial service yesterday afternoon.

There was way too much singing for my tastes. Too many traditional songs and such. What I couldn't get past was the lives she touched. I'd rather have listened to more of those.

Now, keep in mind that this is a woman who didn't even come to our church until she was 82 years of age. Just from what I heard yesterday, she led teenagers to the Lord. She made afghans for young moms and dispensed wisdom while she did it. She loved to go on rides with her friends. She made baby doll clothes for her friends' grandchildren. She taught moms how to knit. She understood when boys ran roughshod over her apartment, that in order to make men, it takes time and patience. She made time to chat with 10 year olds. She went to lunch with single moms. I could go on. And on. Like I said, not enough stories for my liking.

Personally, I have my own stories. I harassed her each Sunday she came into our church with her walker, telling her to hurry up because she was holding up a line of people trying to get in. She always had a witty retort. Sharp woman, she was. Very sharp.

I would come downstairs to our senior citizens group meetings on Tuesday during lunch and accuse her table drinking margaritas or having a flask on church property to which she was delightfully evasive...and then pull me aside and ask me how my wife and kids were...that pastors need to minister to their family first.

I once had two interns get engaged and asked Elna to give the guy some advice. Elna looked at the girl, and told him, "If you're going to have a long engagement to a girl with a figure like that, you should move to Canada." It was a riotous joke...but she was truly teaching him something.

She was 92. She walked with Christ for 80 years. Walked worthy, too. Is it okay to envy that kind of influence and longevity?

And, just so you all know, at my memorial service, remind Tracy to keep the music to a minimum. I'm more worried that the service will fall short due to a lack of stories...

I really will miss Elna.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Walking Tall Review

Junior & Senior guys Bible study night to just hang out. We plan those about every six weeks or so and this particular night they chose to go see the remake of Walking Tall...starring former professional wrestler called "The Rock."

Stuff blew up, notably a truck, which really pushed The Rock over the edge to get revenge.
There was a girl in lingerie that helped get the PG-13 rating, and no one asked if there was some sort of law against having a strip club inside a casino.
There were lots of one-liners, like: "Inside this casino, the boobs are fake and the a$$holes are real."
Johnny Knoxville of Jacka$$ fame provided the comic relief. I don't think he acted.
There was a courtroom scene in which The Rock fired his small town lawyer, defended himself, and won his case despite the prosecution's objections and being held in contempt of court. He also announced he was running for Sheriff in that moment. Surprisingly, against all odds, he was elected.
Lots of gunplay. The girl stayed in her bra while brandishing a pistol going up against guys with machine guns. She wasn't much help in the battle.
The Rock was able to defeat the evil casino owner who was dabbling on the side as a small town manufacturer of crystal meth. I hope I didn't give too much away.

It was the perfect movie for high school guys, and we all had a blast. Take from that what you will.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Shake It Like A Poloroid Picture?

I'm not sure how I feel about OutKast winning the "Nickelodeon Children's Choice Award" for best song. I mean, how can you not like "Hey Ya" and it's catchy little beat? But shouldn't the children's choice award go to somebody like Avril Lavigne or Hillary Duff or Mandy Moore and NOT a group who has a Parental Advisory label on their double CD?
Do I have any peers?

Apparently, I'm not worthy to serve on a jury of my peers. There were some 300 people to fill 96 jury spots left for the week, and the computer randomly picked 96 people that weren't me, so all my fighting my thought patterns to get hyped for jury duty went for naught. Kind of a bummer.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Civics Lesson I Was Never Taught

I have jury duty today. Why do I view this as a big-time annoyance instead of a chance to be a part of this great democracy?
Opening Day Harbinger

I went to bed last night around 11PM. The Rangers had a 4-3 lead in the 8th. They lost 5-4. Bullpen blew it. Consider this the one entry that should suffice for 95 more similar entries this season.

Monday, April 05, 2004

No, I don't have a gun (7x)

A few lessons learned:

Heroin has REALLY bad effects.
A woman can either help you grow or feed your demons, so choose wisely.
Artistic expression is a good thing, even if others don't get it or like it.
Sometimes, they're just your clothes. They're not a statement.
You only need one pair of shoes, and that pair is Converse Chuck Taylor's.
No matter where you're from or what you're circumstances, you can affect change.
No matter how humble your beginnings, you can rise above.
People are suckers for entertaining myths and/or embellishments.
Substance is more important than style.
So does being true to yourself.
Divorce affects your children.
So does killing yourself.

It was 10 years ago today. Well, give or take 24 hours. Apparently, forensic scientists have trouble determining exact times when your corpse has been lying in a garage apartment 3 days.

Kurt Cobain pulled the trigger.

It makes me sad...but anger is really the primary emotion. The contradictions are polar, much like his life. Now we'll all wonder what else he would've given us artistically.

I really wish he didn't have a gun on April 5, 1994. Give or take 24 hours.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Couple of Quotes

One of my favorite authors, Douglas Coupland, has a fiction book published entitled "All Families Are Psychotic." A couple of quotes that I thought were good:

"The ony family that ever horrifies you is your own."

(After a group discussion in which the mom was offended that no one asked her how she was doing)
"The men erupted into apology. It's not that they're unable to care--it's that it never crosses their mind to do so. They're so unlike women."

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Spring Cleaning

For those of you who've been living under a rock, there's a satirical newspaper called The Onion that makes up articles, but they read exactly like a real newspaper.

One headline they had was: "Clinton Gives Nation Week Off To Get Act Together." Except the original headline used the "s" word (Heads up! The Onion will throw some profanity at you from time to time). The article then talked about how the ex-President had so much stuff in his closets and all that he decided the whole country should shut down for a week and just clean out their garages, closets, get the yard work done, home repairs, etc. Then we could get on with the business at hand.

I feel like I'd really enjoy an executive order like that today. My house and my mind feel cluttered. It might do me some good to putter around.

Friday, April 02, 2004

My Morning Routine

A while back I blogged about how much I enjoyed the solitude of my mornings. The occasion at that time was my kids had spent the night out and the little missus was sleeping in. The problem was that after I had finished my morning ritual of Bible study/prayer/coffee/newspaper reading/blogging that no one was beginning THEIR wake-up ritual...which is actually part of MY morning ritual.

Today was just the opposite. Kids were up earlier than usual. A neighboring kid was over because her mom had to make an airport drop-off. They played with the dog. The older kid was showering, which, for the last month, daily, we've been treated to the tunes of the faux-goth music group Evanescence...and our house isn't big enough to NOT hear it no matter where you are. (Can anyone PLEASE tell me when they're putting out a new CD? They're actually pretty good, but I know all the lyrics to all the songs now). My wife reads aloud the first paragraphs of newspaper articles that interest her. The good thing about that is that we have similar tastes in what grabs our attention so at least we've got that going for us. At some point, she'll turn on the television to some morning news show that will mix graphics, forced banter and crowd shots of tourists. Oh, good...there's Diane Sawyer now.

Chaos ruins my morning routine today. It makes me feel like my whole day will somehow be off balance. I wonder if all our days will somehow be off balance.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

The Play Is The Thing

My ballerina daughter Shelby has had a minor diversion as of late. She and her partner in crime Carly have been hard at work for a couple of weeks. The event?

The Children's Ministry Pinewood Derby at our church.

You know, where you get a kit that has a rectangular block of wood and the parts necessary to make a car. After a month or so to prepare the cars, all the kids in our church get together and they race the art down a specially designed track. There are preliminary heats. There are semi-finals. There are finals. There are ribbons.

So, they've been hard at work. They took two kits, glued them one on top of the other and hollowed it out (to keep it under the prescribed weight limit) in order to create a "Safari Hummer." They painted it in camoflauge and instead of the lead weights, loaded it down with tiny plastic zoo animals. Unfortunately, some of the animals didn't get to ride during the race as they pushed it over the 5 oz. limit.

Only the gorilla was on board during the race...and I don't know why they chose him to drive. He fell out during one heat and, if you've been in Dallas lately (where a gorilla escaped from the zoo, attacked some kids--none fatally--and the police shot him. This story has been big news here lately), it was impossible for people to make references to the escaped gorilla.

The car didn't fare too well in the races... They didn't make the finals. Probably should've gone with the giraffe to drive.

But they did win a 1st Place Blue Ribbon...for something like "Style and Presentation." Shelby wasn't sure of the exact wording.

She had fun. She built a car with a friend and they had a shared experience together. The gorilla is fine (although the giraffe probably has some hurt feelings). The older & more experienced kids won the races.

My daughter wins for "style." Now that I think of it, that's what she usually wins in life for.