Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Maybe It Isn't Such A Great Honor After All

The Sex Pistols were elected to the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame today. They should've been. They were highly influential, innovative and everything that a member of the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame should be. Granted, if longevity had anything to do with it, then they wouldn't have been elected...but that one album is easily one of the top 10 greatest rock albums ever made. And they should've gone in AFTER the Ramones. That much is fitting.

What seems odd is the fact that on the same ballot, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Miles Davis and Black Sabbath. Sabbath is an "iffy" choice but I get it. Miles Davis plays, ahem, jazz--but sure, he's a musical genius. Lynyrd Skynyrd...okay.

But Blondie?
Anything To Get Out Of Work

My friends Nathan & Kim are having a baby today at 7:30AM. So, around 8AM, there should be a bouncing baby girl in their family.

He said he'd update his blog with photos and a name by 5PM or so (hmmmm...I dunno, maybe?) with photos and their choice of name. Frankly, I'm pretty excited for them.

But don't think I didn't notice that they scheduled the birth for a time when he'll be missing his 6AM Bible study and the better part of a week at work.

Discussion Starter

Over on my other blog, Peripatetics: The Art of Walking, I started my discussion on George Barna's book Revolution about the future of the church.

I don't want to double up efforts, so if you're so inclined to join in a pretty cerebral discussion, head on over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wild Horses Couldn't Get Me To Pay...

...the $500 ticket brokers are wanting for tickets to see the Rolling Stones here in Dallas. One guy interviewed in the paper paid $800 for U2 and $250 for Paul McCartney and is paying half a grand to see the Stones.

That's $1,550 for three concerts in one month...not counting T-shirts or concessions.

Whatever, man.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Last Day of Vacation

"To Do" list for my last day of vacation:

...trim tree with family.
...finish one last book.
...get old Christmas stuff to charity.
...hammock time.
...maybe see a movie. mom before her chemo treatment.

I was actually getting pretty good at this "rest" thing. Which is a shame because I'll have a pile of work to catch up on AND a sermon to write this week.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Nutcracker Review

I like community in whatever form it takes. And the Lake Cities Ballet Theatre's annual presentation of The Nutcracker is one of those things that makes it cool to live in our area.

First of all, it's been around 15 years. It packs the house at the local high school's auditorium. Twice.

Secondly, it actually has the community's volunteer orchestra playing the score. At most community productions, it's done by CD. But this one has a full-blown live orchestra and they're pretty good. Sure, the mayor said last night that he'd put them up against any orchestra anywhere in the world, but you can't blame a mayor for hyperbole. I'd put 'em up against any city of comparable size in Texas, however.

Thirdly, they have these big-shot dancers from New York to dance the respective leads. I'm no expert, but it's pretty darn impressive to watch them do their thing. There's also one local dancer that seems to be a cut above, too. But the dancers from the professional companies in NY entered to serious applause by the patrons...and got a standing ovation that the crowd MEANT, too.

Fourth, it's pretty cool for our young people to get a shot to be on stage in a serious production. Dads and moms of the conservatory dancers play roles in the opening party scene and it shows how good something can be when local folks get in on the act and take it seriously. One odd thing was that the local high school wouldn't let them use dry ice or smoke machines this year (after several years of allowing both) which used to enhance the pretty good sets. The company poked fun at it by having a flag come out after the cannon shot during the battle scene which read "insert smoke here."

Fifth, it's pretty nifty to see the kids my daughter has grown up with "progess" to various roles. They all started at cherubs and moved to angels then bakers then party girls and now they're involved in more demanding parts. It's also cool to see the parents of the younger ones going through what we went through: Hours of involvement to see two minutes of your child on stage--and having your chest burst with a mixture of nervousness and pride watching those two minutes.

Finally, watching my daughter Shelby erase my nervousness is amazing. She's very good at what she does and takes it very seriously and works very hard. And it pays off, too. Her "junior company" is demanding, but when you watch them now it's with more of a "let's see how good they've gotten" instead of the "I hope they don't trip" you said when they were little.

But, there was one soldier during the battle scene and one polichinelle at Mother Ginger's entrance that stole the show and made the rest of the cast around her better. Everyone in attendance could see that, even if they weren't her father.

So, Shelby, thanks again for another great performance. Even if I don't really "get" ballet, I know a good show when I see it...and it was certainly a good show. I'm so proud of you that my chest might burst just thinking about it. You rock my whole face off infinity-plus-one times.
On-Line Update

For friends and family not in Dallas: Yesterday we told you that Shelby's dance company was on the front page of the neighborhood insert in the Dallas Morning News. Yes, we've procured "hard" copies for you.

But, if you want to see it online, you can get that issue here:Dallas Morning News Lewisville Neighbors Insert, Nov. 26.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"It's This Kind Of Spontaneous Publicity--Your Name In Print--That MAKES People."

First of all, 32 points to whoever can tell me the movie that line came from.

Secondly, in the "local" section in today's Dallas Morning News, my daughter Shelby is on the front page! Well, her and the other company members are...they're promoting the performance of The Nutcracker, which is actually a pretty big deal in our community. I mean, there's about 750 tickets sold for each of the two performances--and they're somewhat pricey, too. It ain't a school play, if you know what I mean.

(I checked the on-line version and it hasn't been updated yet. I'll let you know when/if it is)

Anyway, you could do me a big favor: We need some of those special sections to give to various aunts & grandparents and such. So, faithful readers, if you have the DMN delivered and don't mind parting with today's "Neighbors" section, it would be greatly appreciated by our extended family.

I'm reading a book right now that puts into words the way I have felt about the church, and the Church, for quite some time now. That feeling has left me with two primary feelings:

The first feeling: "Why do I see this so clearly and no one else seems to be terribly bothered by it?"

The second: "The future of the church is going to require those of us in leadership (both in office and practice) to be proactive and begin doing something NOW to serve our church, and our Church, for the future generations."

The book is titled "Revolution." It's by George Barna--the research expert on the church. It's nice to know that I'm officially not alone in these feelings--even though in my own circles I get raised eyebrows a good deal--and it's equally nice to know that the book actually develops truly constructive criticism rather than the deconstructionist notions about church, and Church, so prevalent in books these days.

I'll fill you in with greater detail once I have some time to process it, and I'll load quotes on my CBC Student Ministry web page soon, too.

The book really is an easy read, but insightful and provocative.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Huge Tupperware and Turkey With Strangers

Yesterday started with daughters sleeping late (having teenagers in your home is good for that sort of thing) and I listened to sermons while getting all of our Christmas stuff down from the attic. I'm responsible for that sort of thing since we store it in these large plastic containers.

Outside of the house decor: Complete. With the exception of 4 bulbs that burned out about 7 seconds after we turned the whole set on after we checked each and every bulb before putting the strands up. Dangit.

Strategy to complete the inside by Sunday: In process. My plan to expedite the process was to put the big blue tupperware in the middle of the den and let the fam go through and place objects in the correct places at their leisure. The plan seems to be working thus far.

Then we had Thanksgiving Dinner with some friends...who, naturally, introduced us to some of their other friends. Whoever organized the shindig did a great job as everybody had too much to eat (everybody brought two dishes, from what I could figure out) and cleanup was lightning fast...we even took home clean dishes and we watched sports while the dishwasher was going.

One of the couples I met for the first time (Tracy had taken some photos for their family previous to this) was our age and had several kids running around...and then I found out that the husband has surprised all the doctors by living as long as he has. Apparently, they didn't think he'd make it past last Christmas. He enjoys the life moments.

At it reminded me that a few burnt out bulbs and some slowly emptying tupperware are blips on life's radar. And it was one of my favorite all-time Thanksgivings...maybe because it deepened the feeling that I had earlier that day: I am blessed. I lead a charmed life. But yesterday ran a highlighter over those sentences.
Hey Becca...

I know it's your holiday and all, but if you could do anything to push the Razorbacks past L.S.U. today, thereby sending my beloved Auburn Tigers to the S.E.C. Championship game, I'd really appreciate it.
Sometimes, You Just Gotta Take A Quiz...

Your Personality Profile
You are dependable, popular, and observant.Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.
You are unique, creative, and expressive.You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Predictably, Part 2: I'm Truly Thankful For...

...The person and work (both finished and continuing) of Jesus Christ, which revolutionized the fabric of my life.
...My wife, who after 17 years of putting up with me, inspires me, encourages me and excites me beyond my expectations--which were pretty high to begin with.
...My girls, who have made parenting fun and enjoyable and rewarding--even in the pre-teen and teen years--and people tell me I'm a good parent when the reality is they're good kids.
...the health of our family. The worst we've dealt with is hearing loss and a sporadic breathing problem that's easily treatable.
...a sister who seems happier than ever, and a brother-in-law who enhanced that reality., which stark realities only highlight my thankfulness, and the great job she did under extreme duress in the 80's. who I liked, and now love and like--and, from what I can gather, they seem to reciprocate those feelings.
...a nephew who is the All-American boy and a neice who is really an easy-to-love mess, and their parents who don't seem to mind rogue influences of Uncle Brent the subversive hippie.
...a church family that loves me and cares for me and trusts me with the most precious of cargo, even though they've seen almost a decade of warts--and gives my family a chance to "do life" together (and after over 9 years together, we've done some life: funerals, weddings, baptisms, graduations, daily warps & woofs, etc.)
...that same church that lets me live life the only way I know how and they actually pay me for it. I still kinda chuckle when they hand me my paycheck because I feel like I've pulled a fast one on the world.
...a Senior Pastor who is the most spiritual man I know, and a Lead Pastor (read: boss) who gives the senior pastor a photo finish.
...a "team" under our lead pastor that makes going to work every single day fun, not to mention the stark reality that they're all brilliant at what they do--it's like playing on Michael Jordan's team: You've got to get better at what you do every minute to keep up with him.
...Nathan and Steve-O, who are putting the coolest fingerprints on what Dave started and I continued--and the prominent women in their lives, Kim (and baby chica) and Mish.
...the various friendships that have been cultivated and maintained throughout that "job" and how much I've learned about life from the students I serve(d).
...students who are continuing to allow the subversive hippie youth pastor into their world, even though he's pushing 40.
...and I'm thankful that most of the people mentioned above read this blog consistently and make comments--which allows for continuing "community" life together.
...the educational opportunities I've gotten over the years--even if they pretty much served to show me how valuable those opportunities are since I didn't take advantage of them early on.
...the recent stretch of days off and the rest I'm getting. I didn't know how much I needed the break.

And I guess I should stop now. Everything else seems trivial...even though I'm thankful for that stuff, too. I lead a charmed life, and I'm blessed beyond what I can comprehend.
Predictably, Part 1.

Well, it's official. Nick and Jessica are divorcing. Who had November 24 in the office pool?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

R & R

Mom's mid-chemo treatment staph infection has been treated by the doctors and it's possible she'll go home from the hospital in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Very cool. That eases my mind a bit.

And, apparently, I've gotten plenty of sleep as I've been sleeping in the last few days and my body woke up at 5 AM today raring to go.

Also, apparently, I'm mentally rested as well. I've been reading (without nodding off in the middle of it) a lot and that has been pushing lots of "creative" thoughts into my brain over the last day or two.

And one of those books I've been reading is called "Practitioners." It's a series of essays by some fresh voices (read: young & creative & innovative & rabble-rousers) of current leadership in the Church and how they personally walk with Christ right here right now. It's very practical and encouraging and thoughtful.

At any rate, here's a section from an essay by Craig Detweiler entitled "Movies and Missiology." The overarching chapter is on how Christians should engage with the culture as well as what to do once you're engaged.

I know it's long, but stay with it and think through it, faithful readers. I'd enjoy hearing your insights!

"Neibuhr went through all of Christian history and basically said, 'You know what? There are at least five biblical strands of faith. All of them have their basis in the Bible, their own heritage and their different takes on how we should respond to God.'

Each of the five strands of faith can be categorized by how it interacts with the culture around us:

1. "Christ versus Culture" is just basic avoidance of culture. This is rooted in the distinct and passionate Anabaptist tradition. If you believe this is the best option, you certainly won't go see The Matrix. Why? Because it's a movie.
2. "Christ and Culture in Paradox" says essentially that you've got to be in the world but not of the world, so you gotta be cautious. What would this tradition arising from Lutheran roots do with a movie like The Matrix? That's where the R-rating comes up. What kind of content does it have? you ask yourself. It may be okay to watch, but I need to do some research first.
3. "Christ Transforms Culture" says that you want to be in dialogue with the culture. Why would you go see The Matrix? In order to evangelize, to join the cultural converstaion. You watch movies because other people are watching movies, and you want to be able to talk to other people about those movies in order to talk about your faith. This approach treats art simply as a means of communication.
These three options comprise most of the Protestant, evangelical response to the world and pop culture thus far. For teh most part, our churches rotate among these three poles, moving from avoidance to skepticism to engagement (but only for the sake of evangelism). But Neibuhr observes two more options for Christians.
4. "Christ Of Culture" is more like the Episcopal Church tradition that says, 'Well, we'll just roll with whatever is going on in pop culture. We will appropriate whatever's going on in the culture and make it our own.' I'm not sure this is the best option, even though I'm currently Episcopalian.
5. The Catholic sacramental tradition is "Christ Above Culture," which says that God created the earth and all its little details, so I'm not going to worry about those. God is in charge of everything. I think this approach has an opportunity to say, 'I go to the movies because God might be there, because God can genuinely be a part of the creative process.
I don't go to the movie theatre because somebody else needs me to tell him or her what a particular film meant. I go to the movies because I need to go to the movies because God might be there, because God is a creative God. I think that difference in theology is what allows Catholics to make strong visual movies and Protestants to make talky, obvious movies, because we Protestants too often use movies as a means to an end."

I gotta say I think there's something to that last paragraph...what do you think?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


...I saw a child-care business in our community advertising on their sign that they were "Now Open 24 Hours!" I couldn't understand why they'd have an exclamation point after that or what our society is coming to that they could actually increase their business in providing a needed service of that ilk.

...I talked to my mom, who diffused much of my concern about her recent unexpected hospitilazation with humor. I'm still wrestling with whether or not to go. She SAYS she wants me to stay here and that everything's under control there. And that was the deal we made when she first was undergoing chemo, too. If she wants me there, all she has to do is say it. That was the deal...but now I'm wondering if moms would ever say they wanted their children to come see them. I don't think that moms can make deals that don't force their kids to read between the lines.

...I listened to the Birmingham radio station talk about the game. Technology can be fun that way, because when I was a kid you could only get music/news/sports broadcast in your city and now you can do all that wherever you are from thousands of miles away. On the other hand, the Auburn Tigers website that used to let you listen to games and watch highlights and get photos for free now charges. I can't blame them, but it's akin to a drug dealer: They give it to you free at first to get you hooked and then charge you later knowing you want it.

...I laughed at all the grownups in line at 7:30PM last night at Target waiting for the release of the Xbox 360 because they had heard they were having a special store opening at midnight. No such luck: Normal store hours beginning at 8AM today. Worked out for Target though as a couple of dudes bought some folding chairs and blankets.

...I discovered there's a ton of Mp3 sermons and Biblical teaching availabe on-line (now including our own church). Another good thing about the internet is that there is a lot of solid spiritual growth possibilities available (hopefully, they won't go the way of the Auburn Tigers website, either).

...My daughter's iPod playlist booming while she was getting ready sounded very retro, including Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones and AC/DC and even some Motorhead. We might not be doing a lot right as parents, but I think musicially we aren't doing too bad.

...My daughter's choice of a night with dad (after I gave lots of 'going out' options): Dinner at Pazzo's--a wood fired pizza place--and watching The Breakfast Club and Zoolander on DVD at home with me. Again, movie wise I think we're doing something right. She also asked me what time South Park came on. Cool.

...I realized it takes me two or three days to get "unwound" and begin to rest on my vacation. I'm almost there, so I should get four or five really restful days. We'll see.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Smiles can fade pretty quickly...

I have my mobile phone rigged to play "Sweet Home Alabama" whenever friends and family from my home state call it.

Lately, it's had ups and downs when it rings. Such is the nature when your mom is fighting cancer again. Good days & bad days seem to run about 50/50.

Today is a bad day. During round 2 of chemotherapy, of which she's in the exact middle, her immune system is pretty waylaid.

Phone rings.
Hospital admission.
Staph infection...which will be treated for a couple of days as an in-patient.
Which ruins her Thanksgiving trip to the Bay Area which she was looking forward to. (yes I know that's not a horrible thing, but it still would've been fun for her and her husband)

And I'm in Dallas.

I may drive in later today or tomorrow. We'll see.

But I gotta admit, even though I didn't say it out loud, I thought the "f-word."

I hope you don't think less of me for it.
Smiling Even More!

You can now download the sermons from Pastor Tim Stevenson onto your iPod or other Mpe players! Simply go to Crossroads Bible Sermons Online, choose the sermon series you'd like to listen to, click on the Mp3 icon of the sermon you'd like to hear and then follow whatever steps you use to import to your Mp3 software! (it's really simply on iTunes, so I can actually do it)

Kudos to Barry and Andy for making it happen so quickly, too! I suspect it'll have a great deal of Kingdom benefit for my teenagers. I really do savor when people use their gifts and talents to help the Body of Christ grow...
Still Smiling!

This will give Auburn fans a reason to as well, and might explain to those not from Alabama why this is such a big deal every year.

And this is what it looked like for Alabama's offense on Saturday...

It happened 9 more times other than those, too.

And this is the only photo of the scoreboard I could find on the internet...if you look over his shoulders (while noticing the four fingers signifying four in a row over Bama) you can see it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sorry about the late posting today, but... an effort to use my vacation days this year I'm actually off work for two straight Sundays, and today...

...I had to read the articles about Auburn's 28-18 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide yesterday. All 42 of them.


The traditional 'Tiger Walk', pre-game, 20,000 Auburn fans encourage the team as they walk to Jordan-Hare Stadium


The post-game celebrating of the Iron Bowl win over Alabama in what might be the strangest tradition in college football: TP-ing Toomer's Corner after victories


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Game Day

Iron Bowl.
2:37 P.M.
Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn University.
Auburn, Alabama.

Win or lose...

...the Auburn Tigers are on the short list of things I truly, deeply savor & enjoy.


War Eagle, everybody!
I Lead A Charmed Life

From a letter that I got yesterday evening:

Lewisville Independent School District ("Committed To Excellence")
Lamar Middle School
4000 Timbercreek Road
Flower Mound, TX 75028

Mike Fields, Principal


Your daughter has been selected as one of our Lamar Leaders for the 2005-2006 school year.

Every six weeks two students per grade are chosen to be nominated for this award. Eligibility standards include: good academic standing, demonstration of outstanding leadership, classroom cooperation and participation, being a positive role model and willingness to help others.

With this honor comes many exclusive privileges, Lamar leaders have free access to all home games and dances. Special favors and treats will be provided on a routine basis. Also, this elite group will be taken to lunch at a restaurant of their choice.

I appreciate all their hard work and dedication to being all they can be. Parents should be commended for all their support as well. Once again--Congratulations to you and your daughter.


D.M. Fields

So, yeah. I'm Shelby's proud dad. I'm not sure I can really help it...nor if I want to.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I was asked to comment on the nature of "Christian boycotts." Apparently, some fundamentalist group has made Starbucks the target of their political action. I'm not sure of all the details (although I'm sure it has to do with combating a homosexual agenda of some sort) so I'll speak generally:

First, boycotts don't "work" as far as hindering businesses...especially those boycotts of fundamentalists. The highly-publicized Disney boycotts a few years back came and went and plenty of Christians hauled off to the Magic Kingdom anyway. In fact, Disney's corporate profits were never higher than during the organization's boycotts.

Second, boycotts do have a place. They're well within their rights of free speech and all that. I'm a big fan of the first amendment, so let them kick around and make their voice heard. Good for them. So, go ahead, AFA, and exercise your rights. It is America after all.

Third, boycotts certainly don't change hearts and minds. They tend to polarize oppostions. So, if the goal is winning souls for the Kingdom, that organization is sadly misguided and wasting their breath. However, I don't think that's their goal...

...which, frankly, should the organization's goal. Hence, I'm not sure I can empathize with them or join in their concern.

So, I'll enjoy the new line of holiday drinks at the local Starbucks guilt-free. Egg Nog Chai Latte. Grande. I simply hope they don't judge my choice as evidence of lack of spirituality, and I'll do the same for them.
Late-Night Guy vs. Morning Guy

Jerry Seinfeld did a comedy bit about how "late night guy" makes a decision to stay out late and have a good time, and then "morning guy" wakes up and has to deal with being tired and crabby because of "late night guy's" decisions.

Well, we're experiencing that this morning in my place:

We allowed Kelsey to see a midnight screening of the new Harry Potter movie last night, largely because it'd be fun, but also knowing that she only had to get through a day of school before the Thanksgiving holiday begins for her. So, she strolled in around 3AM this morning. Part of the deal was that we'd be watching her crabby levels and if she didn't choose to be a shiny happy person then we'd forbid any future late nighters.

Suffice to say that Kelsey's "morning girl" is being awfully quiet as of 7:30AM. She did say the movie was worth it, though, and she had a blast with friends. Other than that, hands are in the pocket of the hooded sweatshirt and she's rubbing her eyes a lot. And she's got a camp-out with the youth group tonight.

I think today she's okay with "late night girl," but she may not be so enthralled tomorrow with "late night girl."
Iron Bowl Prediction

The Dallas Morning News predicted Auburn 21, Alabama 10.

The Birmingham News predicted Auburn 20, Alabama 15.

The McKinney Diner, despite the possibility that this might jinx the Tigers, predicts...

Auburn 21, Alabama 17.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Penetrating The Great Wall

I've got some very close friends headed off to China first-thing tomorrow morning. Mission trip...mildly clandestine in nature and full of intrigue. I had the chance to go, too. I kinda wish I was.

But, Godspeed Brian, Cristina, Marky Mark, Kristie, Bonnie, Heather the "Showstoppah" & Rebekah, and...

...thanks. I'll be praying for all of you.
The Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Innocent

There's a town about 10 miles from where we live formerly named Clark, Texas. It has about 150 residents.

They officially changed their name to DISH, Texas yesterday. All capital letters, and in return, the fine folks at DISH Network are giving all residents, current and future, free full-blown satellite television service for a decade.

Since this seems like a good way to get some free stuff, I'd like to offer the following availabilities:

I'll rename my front yard "Jerry Jones Land" for the remainder of 2005 for free Cowboys tickets for Sunday or next Thursday's home game.

I'll refer to my refrigerator's ice maker as "Modanoville" forever for free tickets to the Stars game on Friday night.

I'll post a sign in my living room letting the world know that "this couch is brought to you by the fine folks at iTunes" for a year for unlimited downloads until I fill up my iPod.

I'll put Starbucks logo stickers all over my coffee pot for a year's worth of free coffee.

I'll leave IKEA tags visible for one year for every piece of furniture they give me.

I could go on and on...

...but I assure you that The Diner will listen to any and all adverstising propositions for free stuff.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Strange Things Are Afoot At The Chick-Fil-A

So I'm going to grab some lunch and decided to get CFA, and I almost decided not to get in the drive-thru lane because it seemed abnormally backed up. But then I looked ahead of me and it was only three cars:

Two stretch limousines and one "Hummer" stretch limousine.

It's not every day you're about 100 feet from ordering and only behind three cars, so I stuck around and got my food there. I didn't see anybody famous as only the drivers ordered and I still don't know how they made the tight turn around the curbed lane...but they did.

I have no idea why I was so excited about all this...

Many of you know that I also keep a blog that I used to use to go a bit more in-depth on my Sunday School teachings. It can still be found at Peripatetics: The Art of Walking.

Frankly, I got tired of the upkeep. While it was probably a good thing that I tried to creatively enhance my half-hour Sunday School lessons, it became a chore rather than a joy.

So, I re-evaluated what I wanted to do there.

And, since many of you seem to want me to comment on stuff I'm reading (or have read), I think it might be a good use of that site to throw out stuff that appeals to me through all the reading I do "for work."

There's a new entry over there today if you're interested...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Party Schools

I work in a world in which the people I'm with are in the process of choosing colleges. It never fails that some teenager will begin a sentence with a phrase similar to this, "Well, I was thinking of going to Joe Schmoe State but I heard it's the #1 party school in the country."

Or, "Man, I hear that Joe Schmoe State was voted #1 in the Maxim magazine girl-watcher's poll."

Those rumors were rampant when I was in college. Things like, "I heard the Playboy voted us the #3 party school in the nation." This was the same school that, allegedly, Billy Graham said that if he were to send his kids to a state university, it would be ours.

In fact, I never found out if those things were true or not. No one ever produced a magazine or article as proof.

Until today!

From, here are the top 20 party schools based on a survey regarding drug/alcohol use, hours of study per day & popularity of the Greek system:

20) Maryland
19) LSU
18) Florida
17) U of New Hampshire
16) Tennessee
15) Texas
14) West Virginia
13) Penn State
12) Georgia
11) Tulane
10) Loyola-New Orleans
9) U of Massachusetts-Amherst
8) Iowa
7) Ole Miss
6) Indiana
5) State Univ. of New York-Albany
4) California-Santa Barbara
3) Lehigh
2) Ohio U.
1) Wisconsin

Notice the SEC has 5, the Big 12 only one. Maybe it has something to do with football...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Proud Dad Alert

Okay, well, here's Kelsey's latest painting...she did it on Saturday. I gotta say it: I think she's pretty good.

"Self Portrait"

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Things That Don't Suck, Part 2

LSU 16, Alabama 13 (OT)
Auburn 31, Georgia 30 on a last second field goal.

AU kicker John Vaughn beats UGA!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Things That Don't Suck...

...Gameday in the Southeastern Conference (only rivaled by the Big 10, but even that isn't as passionate). (and/or fastpitch softball).
...the footlong chili-cheese coney from Sonic loaded with mustard & onions.
...disc golf.
...mild, breezy weather, my dog, a good book and my hammock.
...San Francisco, Manhattan, & Amsterdam. sister and brother-in-law.
...cancer cures.
...cable television.
...the Sex Pistols (happy 30th anniversary of their first show!), the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Social Distortion, the Clash and R.E.M.
...Beavis & Butt-head, South Park and King of the Hill.
...mindless comedies like Zoolander, Dumb & Dumber, Raising Arizona or Royal Tennenbaums.
...inexpensive classic novels at Barnes & Noble.
...finding a great CD in a bargain bin.
...all-you-can-eat buffets.
...the reality that my wife gets more beautiful and talented with age.
...feeling better as you push 40 than you did when you pushed 30.
...finding gasoline closer to 2 bucks a gallon. car smell (especially when it eminates from your own driveway). church.
...watching teenagers you discipled grow after they leave your ministry and make wise choices with careers, marriages and ministries.
...toddlers belly laughing.
...teenagers belly laughing (especially when it eminates from your own living room). wife's lemon chicken (which has become quite a theme in the blog these days). coeds showing off their engagement rings.
...peanut M&M's.
...Anne Lamott, Donald Miller & Rob Bell. fraternity days. made in my coffee pot, the Dallas Morning News, and my chair before anyone else is up.
...lazy Saturdays that were a complete surprise.

Things That Do Suck...

...overrated Big 12 and Pac 10 football (don't tell me the Colorado-Iowa State game competes with even Florida-South Carolina, much less the nationally ranked teams going at it today). tennis.
...bean burritos from Taco Bell. (on TV or anyone playing...I don't know if there's a more colossal waste of time accepted by the masses)., stagnant weather that lasts for 7 months, cats, lousy literature & having to stay in air conditioned rooms.
...Juarez, Port-Au-Prince & 3 Texas cities. of my cousins who has really gone off the deep end.
...being in a place with no cable television.
...Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Oingo Boingo, Tommy Tutone, Men at Work & Flock of Seagulls.
...Rugrats, Fairly Odd Parents & any anime.
..."biopic movies" like Ray, Walk the Line, Elvis & Priscilla, and Helter Skelter.
...overpriced new releases at Barnes & Noble.
...seeing a CD you want at the used store and not that great of a discount.
...overpriced restaurants. wife being so busy so much of the time.
...realizing that you have so much to do in the next 20 years of your life.
...not having public transportation that works in our region. that you have to put water in every 20 minutes or that don't have air conditioning in Texas.
...the Christian church at-large.
...watching current teenagers make terribly unwise choices and not caring, even though they know the Truth.
...cell phones.
...toddlers crying in pain.
...teenagers crying in your living room over poor choices or dire circumstances.
...eating food on the go too much instead of sitting around the table as a family.
...drunk college coeds talking about anything.
...Almond Joy.
...Nelly & 50-Cent.
...almost anything you might find on the best-seller list at a Christian bookstore. 8th grade year.
...when my morning routine is changed for almost any reason.
...getting a lazy Saturday because your daughter's teammates changed their minds at the last minute and decided to do something else instead of playing in the important tournament (and their parents that let them).

Friday, November 11, 2005

The "New Deal" Was Neither "New" Nor A "Deal"...DISCUSS!

Writer's block. Big time.

So, maybe you should give me a topic...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

So, Today I'm Thinking...

...that I'm not exercising enough.
...that despite the Indian Summer we're having in Texas, I haven't had nearly enough hammock time.
...that I'd give a lot of money if I could to make life slow down a bit.
...that teenagers don't drop by nearly as much as they used to.
...that my wife is really good at pretty much everything she tries to be good at.
...that my daugthers are the same way my wife is.
...that my dog could not be more spoiled or sorry.
...that I'm having an extreme case of writer's block.
...that I'm still on a Social Distortion concert high--still listening to their CD's more than a week after the show.
...that this cold will not go away.
...that I'll miss a big weekend of college football (Alabama vs. LSU & Auburn vs. Georgia) because of my daughter's softball tournament, but it'll be well worth it.
...that you can schedule a softball tournament in Texas in mid-November doesn't seem odd to anyone.
...that I'm pretty pumped that we're having lemon chicken for dinner tonight.
...that when it comes to world events these days, for some reason, I'm calloused.
...that when it comes to local elections, the things put up for vote didn't stir much passion in me, either.
...that I'm pretty darn proud of my former students who are heading off to China on a mission trip in a week or so.
...that I still haven't made out my Christmas list, which is usually a November 1 tradition.
...that it's pretty cool that there really isn't much I want to put on the Christmas list (life must be pretty darn good if that's the case).
...that I really ought to go to work right now instead of doing this to try to get out of my writer's block.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You Say It's Your Birthday...

One of my best friends from high school (and frequent blog commenter), Hal, turns 40 today. Let's all celebrate by nodding our chins at people to say hello, making the Los Angeles Dodgers our favorite baseball team, and knocking off work early to go play two rounds of disc golf!

Happy 40th, Hal!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Still One Mile From The Sun

It's November 8.

The temperature today is going up to 86 degrees...we have a shot at the record for this date, which is 88.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Engage Your Brain

This got my thoughts running a mile-a-minute this morning from The Dallas Morning News and I'd enjoy hearing what you think.

Here's the lead paragraph from the article titled "Whatever Happened To Childhood?" in the features section. It's by Bill Marvel:

"It can't be easy to be a kid these days. Unfortunately, kids don't know that. They've never experienced any other kind of childhood. But if you're under, say, 35, take my word: It wasn't always like this.What I mean by "this" is the kind of obsessive over-parented, anxiety-ridden, schedule-driven way we have of raising our children. Of seeing to it that they never get a chance to waste their time, to pick their own friends, to disappear for an hour or two, to play games without adult supervision. To – God forbid – get into minor scrapes, bang up their knees and elbows."

Check out the entire article here (may require sign-in).

What I'd like from you is your reaction to this article...teenagers, is this true in your experience? Parents, do you agree or disagree and why?

Man...this was better than that first cup o' joe...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Blog Break

Hey...just wanted to let everybody know I'm taking the day off from blogging! (except for this one)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Lazy Saturday?

Got a softball tournament where we'll be gone all day.

Dance practice until 9PM tonight for another daughter.

Tracy's shooting a wedding for a portion of the day.

I still have to finish the Sunday School class for tomorrow night.

And all I want to do is sit around in my flannel pants and watch meaningless college football games all day.

Whatever happened to lazy Saturdays?

Friday, November 04, 2005


So, this medicine I'm taking for my sinus infection makes me feel like I'm having a minor out-of-body experience...

...all day.

All in all, it's pretty cool.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I went to the doctor for the first time since 2002 yesterday. Sinus infection was the diagnosis...but the staff there was more amused by the reality that I hadn't been in the office in so long. Each staffer made cracks about having to re-open closed files or asking what brought me in this year or telling me that they'd see me in 2008.

One of the drawbacks to good health is that when you do get something, you spend a good amount of time with your palms upraised asking yourself, "How could my body betray me like this? How could you be so weak as to let infectious bacteria invade? What were you thinking?"

It's much like an infielder who looks at his glove after making an error on a ground ball...

Mood: Annoyed & bewildered.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Only Wish The Good Times Could Last A Little Longer...

The Social Distortion show on Monday night was everything I expected and then some. There's something really great about a rock band that lets the music do the talking. Just the bare minimum on stage & they crank it up and let it rip. Social D is a highly underrated band, both in sales and influence.

Anyway, some observations:

The crowd was eclectic. There were plenty of guys with receding hairlines (not unlike the lead singer) who brought their kids and there were plenty of fraternity boys and their dates looking for something to do on Halloween.

There were some pretty nice vehicles in the parking lot. Ex-punks apparently have done pretty well for themselves if Hummer 2's and flashy sports cars are in the lot.

Props to the guy behind me who came to the show with his oxygen cannister. He's gotta be serious about his rock and roll to do that.

The leather jackets with all the metal hoops & studs with the punk band buttons on them looked more like Halloween costumes than serious fashion. The punk look didn't hold up too well, I don't think. Besides, Social Distortion's look was always Dickies, loafers and black t-shirts...more Californian, not British.

When a girl sat on a guy's shoulders and lifted her shirt, the lead singer laughed and said, "Honey, you're at the wrong place to be doing that. This ain't no Motley Crue show." Nice punk sensibilities. He also encouraged everyone not to go in to work on Tuesday, "Just call your boss on your Razor phone and tell him you saw Social D. He'll understand."

The Granada made a bundle on alcohol. We were in the first row of the balcony (best seats in the house, if you ask me) above one of the bars...and the bartenders were hitting the touch screens for three solid hours ringing up $3.50 as fast as they could sell it. T-shirts and parking also did well financially, too...I'm sure of it.

Watching your daughter go to great pains to save the "Under 21" bracelet they put on her and not washing off the big, black "x" on each hand to have the story to tell to her friends reminded me of my middle school days. Half the fun was being able to tell your friends the story the next day and those are some pretty nice conversation starters.

The cop wouldn't let me bring my camera in...which seems like a silly rule these days with the proliferation of cell phones that have camera/video capability.

I could've stayed another hour because there were about 10 songs I wished they'd played, but their set list was pretty well dispersed over the entire career.

Anyway, here's a couple of photos to highlight the night:

Kelsey and I before the show

The best way possible to spend Halloween

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Five On The First

I stole this pretty good blog idea from somewhere, where you ask your readership to list five things on various topics on the first of the month. So, today's topic (based loosely on my concert-going last night, of which I should have photos and a full review for tomorrow's entry):

What five bands would you like to see in concert (or would've liked to have seen)?

My top five:

1) The Ramones at CBGB's, circa 1975.
2) The Sex Pistols on July 4, 1976 (when they got arrested for playing "God Save the Queen")
3) Moby and/or The Crystal Method.
4) Eminem.
5) Robert Johnson, somewhere on Highway 61.
Books I Read In October

Sorry to bother you...record keeping purposes for me.

"Living Inside-Out" by Tim Stevenson.
"Burning Desire" by S.J. Hill.
"Too Busy To Live" by Dr. Rick Fowler and Cassie Findley.
"Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith" by Rob Bell.
"Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest For A Passionate Church" by Kenda Creasy Dean.