Sunday, December 25, 2005

beginnings abound

A merry Christmas to all. We got our Christmas miracle this morning by Max having his first solid night's sleep in days, combined with Sydney sleeping in really late - she came in to our room and woke us up at 9:40 AM! She was filled with wonder as she discovered the gifts brought by Santa, for whom she toiled last night making gingerbread cookies. It was a joy to watch how she relished each moment with each gift, not merely wondering what was coming next, but savoring the present (no pun intended).

Our friend Marie came over with waffle iron and batter and we had a relaxing bruch, with the new JBL iPod dock that Michele gave me providing the audio output for the morning.

After a leisurely day I had intended to take Syd out to visit a friend of ours from church who just this week went into hospice care. As I made calls to find the best time to visit I learned that PJ passed away this morning at 11:40. Phyllis-Jean Flowers led a wonderful and full life, and was a lay-leader present when Sydney was baptized. And while I know that hospice care means that someone can pass at any time, this came as a shock. Our pastor was withher just 2 days ago and didn't think that she would go so quickly. I'm still shocked.

At the same time, our faith community rejoices in and prays for our newest arrival, Shane Ragan-Plowman, who was born 3 months early (yes, early) at 1 lb. 14.5 oz. We hear that the prognosis is good, but details are tough to come by, and we all stand by ready to help however we can. Shane's big brother, Trenton, has been spending a good amount of time with friends while Shiela spends time at the hospital with Lisa. Birth is still such a miracle and a mystery.

My folks will be here soon for a few days which we hope will bring more rest and stability. Peace to all...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Real wrestling fans still cry

It's still real to him, dammit!
click here

Aslan fans go gangsta!

This is a link to a hilarious clip from SNL this past weekend.
click here

Sunday, December 18, 2005

More Holiday Music

A friend's daughter has a bitchin' holiday take-off of the White Stripes, plus a cooler than cool tribute to The Dead Milkmen. Kris is one of the people who, though I rarely talk with or see, makes my life better. That and he and his family gave my little girl her own copy of "Where The Wild Things Are". What more can I ask? Our Syds rock!

click here

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

runt's rant riles righteously

My buddy Marko has been posting a series called, "a rant by a runt about the american church". It's great reading and food for thought. One of the things I really like about Marko's writing is the way he embraces the things that we so often villify (mystery, doubt, etc... as wonderful gifts from God.

Examle: "our faith should be chock-full of mystery! we see through a glass dimly. we strive to understand (we should) and we strive to see (we should), but we’ll only understand and see a percentage of the grand mysteries of god and the universe. this is not only a biological limitation of being human — it’s a great and loving gift from god! if overly-simplified answers rob us the opportunity for growth and faith, overly-simplified systems (filled with simplified answers) are like a band of robbers."

For more of Marko's series click here

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Is this real?

Much as it feels like I'm reading The Onion, it is, in fact, The Washington Post. This kind of "controversy" reminds me of the words of an acquaintence here in Nashville who advised me to "always watch the local news thinking it's a sitcom."
click here

Monday, December 05, 2005

National Beard Registry

Got tipped off to this by my friends Davy & Pete, who are the first two you get when you search for Nashville, TN.
click here
With a goatee I can't really participate - can't go all the way like may of these fellows. I wonder how long it will take until this is co-opted for women who will beard for their gay friends. Til then, enjoy!

I think I need another new CD

Just heard the podcast from kcrw of a british soul singer named Lewis Taylor - fantastic stuff!
click here
Most likely I'll have to stop by Grimey's New And Pre-Loved Music, Nashville's greatest record store, and get a copy. Sign up for the email list and get a reminder of what enthusiastic record store peope can do for your discovery of new music. Started barely 5 years ago when Mike, "Grimey" Grimes basically put his own record collection on sale, Grimey's was recently listed in Rolling Stone as one of the Top 10 record stores in the nation.

Hairy, bug and honey-eating wild man in non-accessible location seeks felllow freaks

Yesterday my pastor began our study of the book of Mark, and as usual did a quick profile of everyone's favorite crazy prophet, John the Baptizer. She made the point that there is generally one major difference between the original nutty "repent for the kingdom is near" guy and most self-appointed prophets we're used to seeing on street corners, TBN or myriad other high-profile, easy access outlets: John was in the wilderness! People had to go out of their way to hear him. No, "let's get the word on the airwaves, into cyberspace and pro-actively go after people to preach at / to."

No, the Baptizer set up shop in an inconvenient spot (though likely in proximity to locuss and wild honey) and defied the real estate maxim that importance rests in location, location, location. He did his thing and one by one, poeple noticed. I hesitate to use this example, but I will. He was like the gourmet Mexican popsicle shop around the corner from my house in Nashvillle, where tomorrow (they're closed Sunday and Monday), a couple hundred people will disregard the 30 degree temperature, find a small shop in an odd building with no sign, and drop $2.25 + tax for a popsicle. It may chocolate wasabi or rice. It may be creamy lime or tamarind. It may be avocado or cucumber-chili. If it's my daughter it will likely be either green tea or chai tea (nice tastes for a 3 year old!).

The couple hundred people are determined to get these popsicles. My family in Chicago comes to visit almost exclusively for the popsicles (that and seeing my kids - my wife and I are like chopped liver). Same with my in-laws who live in southern California - home to Mexican popsicles, but can't find anything like these.

But I digress. The Baptizer offered a unique and bone-shakingly honest, direct message of God's movement. While the convenient, accessible religious leaders of the day were at the established churches, John attracted those who just knew that there was another way. Who knew how wrecked they were and how in need of grace and mercy they were, and who were willing to pack up for a few days, find someone to take care of the house and anmals and go hear a wild guy in the wild.

My friend Mark Oestricher has been blogging about the quirks of the American "pop-church". For info
click here
Anyway, I'm thankful to have found my own versions of JOhn The Baptizer in my life and hope to find more.

O'Reilly & AFA made me agree with the Puritans (!?)

Interesting piece about the commercialization of Christmas and the way it's morphed to the consumer season it is today. I still believe there's middle ground for a more sacred acknowledgement of the holiday, but the way that O'Reilly, the American Family Association (please!), etc... have made the retail industry the center of the "battle for Christmas" is disgusting. What a chance there is for Christian people to make the celebration of the incarnation an opportunity to be a blessing to all the world: to make Christmas about serving the least among us, to offer mercy, compassion, grace, medicine, food, companionship and comfort. And where does the emphasis go? Target said "happy holidays, waahhh!!"

click here

On a different note, somehow this alll reminds me of the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update years ago, where Dennis Miller announced, "Kenny G has released a brand new Christmas album. Happpy birthday Jesus. I hope you like crap."

Friday, December 02, 2005

If Jacob knew it could lead to this ...

click here
... perhaps he would have rethought taking on God. Particularly puzzling are the following:
- first image where the wrestlers seem to be wearing half costumes - one is halvsies across and other up and down.
- confederate flag butt tights
- lavender tights with hearts on the butt and matching knee pads

Future music for "now" kids

So I'll have to wait until February, but this looks like a welcome addition to the increasingly cool world of kids / family music.

Sufjan, Broken Social Scene to Appear on Kiddie Comp
Kati Llewellyn reports:
Watch out, Kidz Bop, you've got some serious competition. The Canadian record label Paper Bag (home of Deadly Snakes, Controller.Controller, etc.) has put together a compilation entitled See You on the Moon!: Songs for Kids of All Ages, designed to bring children and parents together in the name of good music. Big kids contributing brand new tracks include Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, Mark Kozelek, Alan Sparhawk, and Junior Boys. Finally, something to replace that creepy "Float On" cover!

All of the songs are originals written exclusively for the project, except for the Sufjan and Broken Social Scene tracks, which are both covers. Mr. Illinoise tackles the Christian ditty "Friendly Beasts" (hey, it's never too early to get ‘em hooked on Bible study), while BSS do "Puff the Magic Dragon". We were going to make a joke about Dave Newfeld's pot possession arrest here, but that's just mean.

See You on the Moon! is scheduled for a North American release in Februrary of next year, and possibly in Europe soon after. A second album with another set of artists is already in the works, hopefully forcing VeggieTales out of business. We'll see you on the light side of the moon!


01 Alan Sparhawk: "Be Nice to People With Lice"
02 Great Lake Swimmers: "See You on the Moon!"
03 Sufjan Stevens: "The Friendly Beasts"
04 Apostle of Hustle (feat. The Husky's): "24 Robbers"
05 Junior Boys: "Max"
06 Broken Social Scene: "Puff the Magic Dragon"
07 FemBots: "Under the Bed"
08 Glissandro 70: "Voices Are Your Best Friend"
09 Mark Kozelek: "Leo and Luna"
10 Detective Kalita: "Baby Brother"
11 Hot Chip: "I Can't Wake Up"
12 Kid Koala (feat. Lederhosen Lucil): "Fruit Belt"
13 Montag: "Bonne Nuit Etienne"
14 Rosie Thomas: "Faith's Silver Elephant"

* Paper Bag Records:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cyborg Name Generator

Since I was posting about printing out appliances yesterday I thought this went right along with the theme.

D.A.V.E.P.A.L.M.E.R.: Digital Artificial Variant Engineered for Potential Assassination, Logical Mathematics and Efficient Repair

Cyborg Name Generator