Wednesday, October 28, 2009

That's why I love mankind (revisited)*

[REMINDER: You must get over to He Read/She Read immediately - to see the special Halloween Horror post by Captain Dumbass and the Middle-Aged Woman.]

Yesterday Kat (from 3 Bedroom Bungalow to Let in Crazytown - which is just a kick-@$$ name for I blog, I might add) left a cool comment about my RTT post, that said:

I think God should send everyone a letter that says.

Dear (insert name here),

I love you, even when you screw up.

I like Kat's idea - but after thinking about it for awhile, I remembered...

God did send a letter like that - it just got hidden in the WRONG VERSION of the Bible.

As I remember it, the letter read something like this...

I do love you - even when you screw up.
You can see that it's true - because when the time came for someone to be punished for the things you messed up, I came myself -
and let a part of me be sacrificed on your behalf.
And not just you - for everyone who ever screwed up.
So if I loved you that much, shouldn't you try to love each other?
Remember: I loved you before you loved me.
[If you object to my free translation/interpretation of Romans 5:8, I John 4:10-11 & I John 4:19, send me an email and I will gladly discuss it further.]

Take care.

Now get over to He Read/She Read! Quickly!!
I hear that the Middle-Aged Woman is even giving away a prize to some lucky winner at Unmitigated.
Why are you even still here reading?!?!

*I was going to say "Apologies to Randy Newman" - but I ain't apologizing. (I love Randy BTW - but not that song particularly.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

RTT: ...all sorts of ideas about religion
and pinup girls


- Saturday night, my lovely wife (the Middle-Aged Woman) and I, The Girl and her Fi-ance, and The Boy, went out to the International House of Pancakes for Ms. Partly Cloudy's 20th Birthday dinner. (Hey, I'm not cheap! IHOP was her choice.) In the midst of our dinner conversation, it was revealed that, as a child, the Fi-ance had mistaken some of the lyrics to the old children's song, Kookaburra - and granted Christ-figure status to the bird. See for yourself:

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Merry merry king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gave your life for me
It took a long time for the MAW to stop giggling about that one. I, for one, respect a young man who's willing to make this sort of (hilarious) admission in front of his likely future parents-in-law.

- My uncle and I got on the road early Sunday morning and drove 200 miles to visit my Grandma (his mother) for the day. While we were there, the extremely nice neighbor-lady that looks after my Grandma gave me this:

That's right, folks! At the age of 98, my grandmother has become...A PINUP GIRL.

And if the pinup weren't enough, she has also brazenly appeared in a brochure promoting charitable giving for the United Way.

During our visit, I was able to convince the Pinup Girl to go out for lunch (quite an unexpected development - my Grandma has been extremely reticent about eating in public since she had a stroke several years ago) - and it was no surprise that the restaurant quickly filled up with other patrons. The casual observer might have thought it was just the usual influx of business after Sunday church services. But I know better. Though the hordes were clearly being attracted like moths to the Pinup Girl's flame, thankfully, they were all well-mannered enough not to bother her with autograph requests during our meal.

- Yesterday, the MAW posted about some people of an unusually zealous religious persuasion* who apparently burn different translations of the Bible which they believe do not represent the true Word of God. The MAW referred to these as "the WRONG VERSIONS of the bible." I found this "wrong versions" idea so striking, that I began to imagine God herself doing a commercial for "the RIGHT VERSION" of the Bible...

Hi, I'm God.

You know - Jehovah, I-Am-Who-Am. Allah, The Creator, The Big Guy Upstairs...

Well, whatever name you call me, I've got the whole world in my hands. And let me tell you - sometimes I look down at what I've got in my hands and it can be mighty disappointing. People say I don't exist -or that, even if I do, I don't care about what's going on down there. But the truth is: it's not easy to watch the stuff you created get trashed every day. Or hear people misquoting, misinterpreting or downright lying about you. And sometimes the biggest lies come from the ones who make the grandest claims to be representing your interests!

But I've come up with something I hope will clear up all the confusion.

I call it: God's RIGHT VERSION of the Bible. Some of you who are big fans of your current version of the Bible may be a little disappointed in the brevity of this new version - and I admit, it does leave out a lot of the beauty and majesty of the original. But what it lacks in pomp and pageantry, I think it makes up for in clarity and readability.

For those of you who'd like to sneak a peek at the new and improved
God's RIGHT VERSION of the Bible, you should check out any of the following passages in your current Bible:
Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:27; or John 13:34.

So look for God's RIGHT VERSION - and accept no substitutes.
Remember: I've got my eye on you.
- DON'T FORGET: Captain Dumbass and the Middle-Aged Woman review Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at He Read/She Read tomorrow. So get in the Halloween spirit and go there without fail. If you don't...well, have you ever seen the damage a p*ssed-off zombie can do?

Take care.

PS: Did I mention that you are supposed to visit Keely at the Un-Mom immediately.

The Un Mom

If not sooner.

*I try to avoid referring to people with whom I disagree as crazy-@$$ MoFos - no matter how crazy they seem to be

Thursday, October 22, 2009

(Still) My Masterpieces

(Jim Styro's Greatest Hits)

[I am reposting this in honor of The Boy's 18th (this past Sunday) and The Girl's 20th (today) birthdays. I haven't figured out any better way to say it since June - so sue me.]

Yesterday was The Boy's graduation party. I took the day off on Friday to relax and work on party preparation; so my son and I were home together for most of the day. In the early part of the afternoon, we had a conversation (OK, it's true - I did most of the talking) and I told The Boy this:

When I was growing up - a teenager like The Boy is now, and even earlier - I wanted to be rich and famous. I figured that I would be an actor, an author, a singer/songwriter - or at least a disc jockey (I assumed ascending to that low rung of the celebrity ladder would be the worst I could do!). I would make my way in the world with my creativity - and people would know my name.

But I also wanted marriage and a family. I didn't think of these desires for fame and starting a family as being at cross purposes - but, of course, they are. And as I matured, it became an easy decision to set aside my dreams of glory in order to give my best to the reality of my wife and children. I didn't view it as a sacrifice. Just a decision - that what was most important in my life was the people I loved, the people around me - not the opportunity to be loved anonymously by the thousands (or the millions) I would never know.

Out of that decision, of course, many more arose. Some out of practical necessity, others of opportunity, others of convenience or habit. How could I best provide for my family? What sort of work could I do that would suit my personal preferences while being lucrative enough, stable enough to plan for the future. Who would hire me? How could I best ensure a steady stream of income for myself and my family?

And in this process, I began to learn my lines as husband and father, I composed emails rather than songs, wrote project plans instead of story outlines, did my DJ-ing by creating mix tapes rather spinning records during the afternoon drive-time shift. These were not sacrifices - I made decisions based on what was most important to me.

The reward for my decisions is greater, I believe, than any film I might have made, or book that I might have written, or album that I might have released.
My children are my masterpieces.
They are bright and beautiful and loving. They're not perfect - they're still works in progress - but they are good. And even God herself, when She created the world, didn't claim much more than that.

When I compare myself at seventeen to my son, he seems quite young. Much younger than I was at that age. I think my children have been blessed to be able BE KIDS for longer than seems the norm these days. And I'm grateful for that. I told The Boy that he might not appreciate that fact now - but later in life, he may better understand and appreciate it.

I wanted my son (and my daughter) to know all that. The Boy's graduation from high school is like a sign post on The Highway; my children's lives have moved into a new construction zone. Most (if not all) of the basic work is complete. The road has been paved, the cement is nearly dry. There may be occasional lane closures from time to time for repair - but my work on the project is all but over.

Oh, I may be able to offer a suggestion on where to place the street lights - or establishing the speed limit...if I'm asked. But I'll try not to feel badly if I'm not consulted. I know there will be times when my input will not be desired - or needed. If I've done my work well, they won't need me much anyway - and they'll know when they do - and they won't be afraid to ask.

Anyway, that's what I shared with The Boy on Friday. Where the road goes from here is mostly up to him. I told my son that I didn't think he ought to do (or not do) things in his life to make his parents proud of him. Making a parent proud seems to me to be an undue burden to place on a child. I told him he should find out what makes him happy, what will allow him to be self-sufficient, how he can be a responsible member of the community in which he lives - and do those things.

That would be more than enough, I think, to make any parent proud. Don't you?

Take care.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Even more about breasts
and how great they are

I apologize right off the bat for lying in today's post title - but I really wanted to get your attention so that you'd go over to

He Read/She Read!

I promise not to lie

Take care.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RTT: Quick and dirty


- DON'T FORGET: You can read all about The Powwow Highway at He Read/She Read tomorrow. You must go there without fail. Send all your friends, your enemies and your casual acquaintances.

- The female breast is a near-perfect creation. I can't think of anything bad to say about them.

- I finished reading "Life of Pi" yesterday. For all you Twin Peaks fans out there: "The owls are not what they seem."

- I would rather have sex than eat. Of course, I'm not hungry right now.

- Did I mention how great I think breasts are?

Take care.

PS: Did I mention that you are supposed to visit Keely at the Un-Mom immediately.

The Un Mom

If not sooner.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Breaking news

You can get the full story HERE

But, in the interest of not being a complete tease, here's the abbreviated lowdown on He Read/She Read:

Wed., October 21.....The Powwow Highway.....reviewed by Rebekah (from Waffles Waffles All Day Long) and me

Wed., October 28.....Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.....reviewed by the Middle-Aged Woman from Unmitigated and Captain Dumbass from Us and Them

and, tentatively, on

Wed., November 4.....Life of Pi.....reviewed by Pamela (from the dayton time) and me

It just quicken the pulse, doesn't it?

Take care.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There are no winners - only survivors

Everybody has certain times at work when you just have to grin and bear it, right? There are certain days (of the week, of the month, each year) when you just know it's going to be rough - and you've got to tough it out.

Today was one of those days.

The annual budget planning meeting started today at 4 pm. And it ran until a little after 9 pm. So (that's right, you guessed it) everybody worked nearly a full day - and then had to sit through a five-hour meeting. Now, a five-hour meeting would be difficult enough if you were fresh - but after working all day, the prospect of sitting in a meeting for five hours is more than most people can bear.

I'd like to say, before going any further, that: I'm not sure there is necessarily a better way to handle the thing. It's easy enough for me to say that they should start the meeting in the morning, meet until we get through the entire agenda, and then have everyone go back to their normal duties for whatever time remains. But the truth is: we'd probably all get pulled in a million different directions during the course of the meeting if it were taking place during "normal business hours" - so it's not clear that starting earlier would be much of an improvement.

At least, by meeting into the night, there's a kind of natural process which eventually brings the meeting to a close. That is, when everyone is too punchy to go on, you know the meeting is over.

In such an undertaking, there are no winners...only survivors. And I survived - for another year. Here's hoping you make it over the next hurdle, wherever it is that you toil.

Take care.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RTT: "Oh what a tangled web we weave..."


When first we write so randomly.*
Or something.

- I don't get why I'm having what amounts to a writer's block whenever I sit down to write a post here lately. I don't seem to have any problem writing in general - I just seem to have a problem writing what's on my mind.

- Maybe it's time for me to work on that post idea I've had lying around for awhile - tentatively titled "The limitations of transparency" - about the decisions we all make concerning how much we want to reveal of ourselves. Not just on blogs, in life! And do the boundaries we establish make us dishonest in our dealings with other people? When does choosing not reveal something about yourself become dishonesty? (I get a few more good ideas together on that one and I'll have a new "Meaning Of Life" post...)

- This weekend, I edited down about the first half-hour of what I expect to be a great new instructional video on Chi Sao demonstrated by my good friend and teacher, Sibok Rocco Ambrose. If you live in the metropolitan Detroit area and are interested in the finest training in self-defense and martial arts around, for yourself or your children, you need to check out Ambrose Academy.

- Later this month, The Girl and The Boy will celebrate their 20th and 18th birthdays, respectively. Good God, I am old.

- So Pamela (from the dayton time) emails me today. She started reading Life of Pi on Friday - and finished the d*mn book in a day. Who the h*ll has time to read a whole 400-page book in ONE DAY? Doesn't she realize the kind of pressure that puts on me?!?!
(Pamela, it's just a joke, sweetie. I don't want to cause trouble again just because I don't know how to write stuff so that it's funny...)

- I don't feel old.

- Did I mention that it's really cool when your kids get older and they're not home all the time and you don't have to wait until they're asleep to have sex?

- I'm not advocating that anyone has to wait until their kids are asleep to have sex (but that is pretty much how the Middle-Aged Woman rolls, if you know what mean). But when one of the parties whose cooperation is essential in these pursuits generally has difficulty staying up much beyond 9 pm... I'm just sayin' - absence makes the heart grow fonder.

- Other things may grow as well.

- Have you ever noticed how underused the word "engorged" is?

- Since becoming a freelance writer, the Middle-Aged Woman has been making a lunch for me to take to work every day and preparing many fine evening meals. Tonight, she had a little mishap with some pork chops (I'm not a big pork chop fan anyway - she likes them though) - and so I had to leap into the breach and salvage dinner tonight. And, though I don't like to brag, I think it's fair to say - that I buy make a mean Crispy Strip**.

Bon app├ętit!

Take care.

PS: Did I mention that you are supposed to visit Keely at the Un-Mom immediately.

The Un Mom

If not sooner.

* Apologies to Sir Walter Scott.
** "Crispy Strip" is a registered trademark of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's not HERE

Go look over HERE!

That's where the action is...will be...soon.

Take care.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Did you ever...?

Login to your computer with the intention of writing a post - and then spend all your time reading and commenting on other people's blogs. (Happened to me.)

I'm sure it's all for the best.

I suggest reading Pamela, Stacy, Chief, The Middle-Aged Woman, and Ellie.

Take care.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

RTT: The "Not Dead Yet" Edition


So, two weeks ago (you remember - the last time I posted) work really s*cked.

Then last week, work didn't s*ck quite as bad - but it was still pretty bad. I found out the previous Friday that I needed to be in New York on Monday morning. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind traveling and I like Manhattan. But I always end up working long hours and don't get to enjoy the trip; this trip was no exception*. And, to close out the week right, I worked a couple extra hours Friday evening and didn't leave the office until 7:30 at night.

I'm hoping that work s*cks even less this week. Hope springs eternal.

Being called out of town last week resulted in my missing the first "Odd Couple" read-through. Although not the end of the world, it was rather awkward to be cast in a lead role one week - and the following week have to make excuses why I would miss the first rehearsal. Last night, I attended my first rehearsal and had fun, though. But, man-o-man! - I've got a lot of memorizing to do!!

Yesterday was the three-week anniversary of my wisdom teeth removal. And I can't wait till the "traumatized" areas of my mouth stop being so sensitive to hot and cold items placed therein. My teeth have never before been sensitive to temperature - and I can't wait for them to regain their brute indifference. That is going to happen - right, Leslie?

I finished a couple of books since my last post. First was The Powwow Highway (in preparation for a He Read/She Read post - unless Rebekah has dumped me) and, more recently, I completed (at long last) Vincent Bugliosi's massive work (1500+ pages) on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy called Reclaiming History. It took me months to finally reach the finish line of Bugliosi's magnum opus**, not because the book is poorly written or boring - but because the factual information regarding the assassination and, in particular, debunking of many conspiracy myths that have cropped up over the years (including a complete demolition of the Oliver Stone film, JFK) are covered in such great detail and with great authority. If you are like I was - having never read a book on the Kennedy assassination - or believing in a vague way (without knowing quite why) that there must have been a shadowy conspiracy behind Kennedy's death - you owe it to yourself to read at least part of Reclaiming History.

I'm getting sleepy now, so I'd better get this baby posted before I run out of steam. With any luck, I'll spend less time working and more time writing this week.

Hey! Stop laughing at me like that. It's impolite to ridicule the deluded.

Take care.

PS: If you need more randomness in your life (and who doesn't?), I would be remiss not to strongly urge you to visit Keely at the Un-Mom immediately. The Un MomIf not sooner.

* Get this: I took my little voice recorder and microphone with me to NYC thinking I might...{giggle} do a post or two in my...{guffaw} spare time. I wasn't kidding about the whole "deluded" thing.

** I apologize for mispronouncing Mr. Bu-li-o-si's name twice. I never realized the "G" was silent.