Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Scrubs" Rant of the Week

Once again, the illustrious Dr. Cox:

"I suppose I could riff a list of things that I care as little about as our last week. Let's see... low carb diets, Michael Moore, the Republican National Convention, Kabbalah & all Kabbalah-related products, Hi-Def TV, the Bush daughters, wireless hotspots, the OC, the UN, recycling, getting Punk'd, Danny Gans, the Latin Grammys, the real Grammys, Jeff that Wiggle that sleeps too darn much, the Yankees payroll, all the red states, all the blue states, every hybrid car, every talk show, everything on the planet, everything in the solar system, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything every-everyt-h-i-n-g that exists past present & future, in discovered and undiscovered dimensions!"

[turns away, then turns back]

"Oh, and Hugh Jackman."


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Meme of the Day: 4 Things

Four movies I have watched over and over again
1. Clue
2. The Princess Bride
3. Office Space
4. Monty Python's Life of Brian

Four Places I have lived:
1. Blytheville, Arkansas
2. K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan
3. Bellevue, Nebraska
4. Kirksville, Missouri

Four TV shows I love to watch (In no order)
1. Scrubs
2. The Wonder Years
3. Mystery Science Theater 3000
4. Quantum Leap

Four places I have been on vacation
1. Massachusetts
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Missouri

Four of my favorite foods
1. Steak
2. cheesecake
3. Sweetie's green bean casserole
4. cheesy potato casserole

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. behind a contestant stand on the Jeopardy! set in beautiful Burbank, California
2. in the front row at a Taylor Hicks concert
3. on the beach in Wailea, Maui
4. up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful ballooooooon


Monday, January 29, 2007

"Built on a Rock, the Church Shall Stand..."

"...even when floors and ceilings are being torn up, and doors torn down, and a general mess is being made..."

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the original hymn, does it?

This past weekend, my church began the process of tearing up the Sunday School wing so that it could later begin the process of making it MUCH nicer. With the entire wing unusable, we had classes scattered all over the place. The Pre-K/Kindergarten class met where the high school kids usually are, the high schoolers were sent to the Parish Hall, the 1st-2nd graders met in my office, the 3rd graders were in the nursery, the 4th-5th graders took over the adult Sunday School room, the 6th-7th graders occupied a room that looks like a classroom but has been used mostly for storage, and the adults were banished to the pastor's office. I think we may end up switching the 4th-5th graders and the adults around (more adults showed up than anyone anticipated, and the 4th-5th grade class is kind of small), but other than that, things seemed to go relatively smoothly.

They're hoping to have things done in time for the big April 1st 75th Anniversary celebration (yes, that's right, April Fool's Day)'s gonna be nice. New carpet replacing the very old tile floor, drywall instead of painted cinder block walls, a new heating/AC unit that will allow the kids to not have to wear their coats to class in the winter, and new doors and workstations in the classrooms with more storage space.

And the best part--unless it goes WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY over's already paid for.

Now, to get back to the whole April Fools Day thing. Apparently, 75 years ago, this congregation's very first worship service was held on Palm Sunday. Well, thanks to the wonders of the movable church calendar, this year Palm Sunday falls on April 1st. So there you are, a bunch of what St. Paul described as "fools for Christ" throwing a big party the Sunday before Easter.

Personally, I"m looking forward to 2018, when Easter falls on April 1st. Talk about the best freakin' April Fools joke on sin and death:

Jesus: I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack...

Sin: What the...

Death: #(*%&%!!!

Jesus: April fool!!!

Sin: What the...

Death: #(%&%!!!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baptized and Set Free

3 years ago today, Kiddo was baptized. Sweetie and I are trying our best to "raise him wet," teaching him about the God who created him, the Savior who redeemed him, and the Spirit who is active in his life.

That's a lot for a 32 year-old brain to process, nevermind a 3 year-old.

For now, we're content knowing these things:
  • that he loves to sing Jesus Loves Me.

  • That anything T-shaped he sees he'll point to and say "look, a cross! Just like in church!"

  • That he'll reprimand me if my hands aren't folded when he says his bedtime prayers.

  • That he thinks every picture of a bearded man in his Childrens Bible is Jesus.
All the other stuff will come in time.

But as for today, here's the lyrics to one of my new favorite songs about baptism (it's to the tune of When In Our Music God Is Glorified, if you happen to know that hymn)...and a picture of Kiddo from the big day 3 years ago:

We Know That Christ Is Raised

by John Geyer

We know that Christ is raised and dies no more.

Embraced by death, he broke its fearful hold,

and our despair he turned to blazing joy.


We share by water in his saving death.

Reborn, we share with him an Easter life,

As living members of our Savior Christ.


The Father's splendor clothes the Son with life.

The Spirit's fission shakes the church of God.

Baptized, we live with God the Three in One.


A new creation comes to life and grows

as Christ's new body takes on flesh and blood.

The universe restored and whole will sing:



Campus Ministry

Before doing what I do now (Director of Christian Education and Music for a congregation), I was a full-time lay minister for an ELCA campus ministry. As part of the application process, I had to write a "ministry statement..." one of the hoops the larger church makes you jump through in the campus ministry application process. It's really a good idea--it allows both the applicant and the ministry to gain valuable insight that might not ordinarily be breached in an interview.

I ran across my ministry statement the other day. There were sections at the end where I had to answer some specific questions that aren't all that interesting, but I found the first part both interesting and applicable not only to campus ministry, but to any sort of congregational setting. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts and responses:

My interest in campus ministry goes back to when I was in college myself. I attended a public university in a small town about five hours away from where my parents lived. My parents had brought me up in the Lutheran church--I had been baptized as a baby, confirmed as a teenager and had regularly attended worship services and Sunday School. The church we belonged to, however, did not have much of a youth program outside of high school Sunday School classes, and I consequently had a hunger for God’s Word that had not been completely fed. College, I knew, was going to be a time of growth and learning, and I looked forward to growing in and learning more about my faith as well.

When I arrived on campus as a freshman, I was excited to find out that there was a Lutheran church just a few blocks away from the dorms. It was a Missouri Synod congregation, but they used the green Lutheran Book of Worship that I had grown up with, so I felt at home with the liturgy. The problem was that I did not feel totally at home with the congregation. There was only one service on Sundays which was at 9:30, so there were not many college students that were there Sunday mornings. The pastor was also a professor on campus, but was much more comfortable with New Testament Greek and Christian History 101 than with relational ministry. I’m sure there were many more Lutheran students on campus like me, who were hungering for a church home-away-from-home, but this congregation did not seem very interested in the ministry opportunity so close to them.

Gradually, I stopped going to church altogether during the school year, and began to take a more academic approach to my faith life. Whenever I could, I signed up for religion courses as electives--in fact, by the time I graduated, I was one course shy of having a minor in Philosophy and Religion. It wasn’t until my junior year, when a friend invited me to a worship service led by a group called Campus Christian Fellowship, that I began to get involved in church again. CCF was a nondenominational group that held services every Wednesday night and Sunday morning in a gym on campus. They averaged about 300 students for Wednesday nights, and about 450 for Sunday mornings--this was at a public university with only 6,000 total students! While the style of worship was one that I wasn’t used to--there was a band up front and an overhead projector displayed the words to the praise songs we sang--there was a sense of community and of the Spirit that I immediately latched on to. It wasn’t long before I was invited to join a small-group Bible Study that met once a week in the dorm next to mine, and before long I was leading a Bible Study of my own. At the end of the year, I was asked if I was interested in being an intern minister for the following year. CCF had two full-time paid pastors, but they also had between 10 and 15 students--usually seniors--who served as interns and helped run the ministry.

We had an ongoing joke my senior year that I was the “token mainline Protestant” on the internship staff. Sure enough, my beliefs were often in opposition to the other interns, as well as the students I was ministering to. Despite these huge differences in doctrine, that internship year made a huge difference in my life because I belonged, and I was making a difference with my peers. I played keyboard in the Wednesday night worship band, led three different Bible Study groups, and delivered the sermon both at the on-campus services and at a couple of local churches that supported the ministry. I also had some fascinating discussions with my fellow interns, who in challenging me and my beliefs, strengthened my faith.

Looking back, it pains me to think of the opportunities that the Lutheran church in my college town missed, and that CCF was able to take advantage of, all because of a difference in ministry philosophy. First and foremost, campus ministry should be relational. College, for many people, is a time when one questions, searches, and tries to define who they are and what their place is in the world. Students want to belong, to be a part of a community, to have opportunities to interact and grow with their peers. That’s why, in my own experience, even though I had much more doctrinally in common with the local Lutheran church, I ended up clinging to my experience with CCF. There were a number of ways in which they excelled at this type of ministry. First of all, I was invited. I was invited over and over--to services, to the Bible Study, and finally to be an intern. With the local church, I had to look them up in the phone book, and was never invited to anything outside of Sunday morning. Secondly, CCF came to me where I was. The services were on campus. Wednesday nights were at 9:00, Sunday mornings were at 11:00. They recognized I was a college student and didn’t try to fight my natural schedule. It was convenient--Bible studies were in the dorms, worship was on campus, and the CCF “house” (the center of the ministry) was exactly one block off campus. Third, CCF had a variety of groups that I could be involved in. I was interested in music and Bible Study, but also could have done drama, helped with prison ministry, or gone on mission trips. I could have been a leader of any of these or just part of the group. The ministry as a whole was large, but they always found ways to break things into small groups. That was key–no matter what I did, I was part of a small community. Each of those people in those many small communities got to know me well, and I was able to get to know them too.

There are many para-church groups on campuses today who understand the student psyche like CCF. Unless there is an alternative, students will flock to them, even if they disagree or aren’t sure about their doctrine, much like my experience. I am lucky enough to now live in a city where there is an ELCA campus ministry that invites students, comes to them where they are, challenges them and gives them varied opportunities to minister and grow in small communities. It’s exactly what I had been looking for when I was a student myself, and I am excited at the possibility of helping that ministry continue to develop and thrive.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kiddo Unveiled

I've talked about Kiddo enough...and I know he'd think it was way cool that he showed up on Daddy's blog. So, without further ado, I give you the internet debut of Kiddo LutheranHusker!

Christmas Eve...all ready for church...and he's very happy to meet you!

Cookies and milk for Santa and Rudolph. Kiddo helped Sweetie make them and was very insistent that Santa got 4, and Rudolph got 2. Not sure what the reindeer union thought of that...

"This is where Santa is going to come down the chimney when I'm asleep...then he's going to go eat his cookies and drink his milk...then he's gonna bring me PRESENTS!"

As you may remember, he turned 3 back in December, and Sweetie and I just love the kid to pieces. Of course we do. That's what parents do, right? Every parent thinks their kid is the smartest, funniest, cutest, most wonderful and amazing child in the whole universe.

The difference is, Kiddo really is. =)

Okay, one more thing and then I'm done with the "proud-Daddy-showing-off" moment. Here's a video from November of him "reading" the Sandra Boynton classic Pajama Time to his stuffed animals before bed:

Good night. Sleep tight.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Two things

Thing Number One: This morning, Kiddo turned to me while eating breakfast and said, "hey Daddy, it's really quiet in here. Maybe that's because Mommy's gone."

(slight pause)

"Hey Daddy, why are you laughing?"

Thing Number Two: I ran across a really great piece of writing that I had saved from right after the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2004 American League playoffs. I wish I could say I had written it...actually I suppose I could say I had written it, but I'd be lying. At any rate, it's an incredibly well-written "average die-hard Red Sox fan" viewpoint of that series, especially the final game. It's almost as if this guy had crawled into my brain and listened to my thoughts as I watched The Red Sox come back from the brink of being swept to complete the greatest series comeback in modern sports history. ( watch the Yankees complete the greatest series choke-job in modern sports history...that sounds almost as nice.) Whether or not you're a Sox fan, if you've ever rooted for an underdog, you may be able to empathize with some of these emotions. Here you go:

The Nation's Independence Day by Bill Simmons

Honestly, I don't know what to do.

I just watched my beloved Red Sox win the American League pennant. That's only happened twice in my lifetime. I watched them rally back from three games down in a playoff series. That's never happened before, not in the history of baseball. I also just watched the Sox beat the Yankees in a deciding playoff game. Not only has that never happened before, it's a possible sign of the apocalypse.

Now get this ... all three things happened at the same time.

So what happens now? Where do I go from here? Should I throw myself into politics? Backpack across Europe? Take up gourmet cooking? Learn how to fly airplanes? Should I take the bus to Fort Hancock, cross the border and wander the beaches of Zihuatanejo looking for Andy and Red? You tell me. What should I do?

As recently as 75 hours ago, they were dead. Cooked. I can still remember standing in Fenway Park with my father, ready to hustle out of there as soon as the Yankees completed the sweep in the ninth. Then Millar drew a walk from Rivera. Signs of life. The crowd just wouldn't give up on this team -- everyone was standing and cheering like it was the seventh game of the World Series. Roberts ran onto the field as a pinch-runner, rattled Rivera into a few pickoff throws, swiped second and scooted home on a single from Mueller. Tie game. And the series was never the same.

I started thinking about a comeback that night, about 0.00000003 seconds after Ortiz's walkoff home run landed in the Yankees' bullpen a little before 1:30 a.m. So did everyone else. We had Pedro going in Game 5, then Schilling in Game 6. That's a puncher's chance. We also had a little momentum. Not much. But a little. Then Game 5 happened, moving us into the "Regardless of what happens, I love this team" stage of things. Then the Schilling Game happened and everyone believed.

To stage the greatest comeback in sports history against the most successful franchise in sports history, some Renee Zellweger-level crazy things need to happen. Like Rivera blowing consecutive saves. Like Wakefield getting out of a crucial inning despite three passed balls. Like Torre pitching to Ortiz instead of loading the bases for Mientktxdwdsdz at the end of Game 5. Like Schilling pitching with the sutures and the Roy Hobbs bloodstain on his sock. Like Foulke somehow recording 15 grueling outs over the course of 48 hours, including an impossible ninth inning in the Bronx in Game 6. The list goes on and on.

Miracles don't just happen. You need a bunch of mini-miracles along the way. Eventually they add up. So do the heroes.

And that's when it gets interesting.

By the time Game 7 rolled around, October 20th felt like a combination of New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July in Boston. This was bigger than all of us. Everyone was headed somewhere, or planning on heading somewhere. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. You couldn't walk five feet without seeing a Sox hat or hearing a conversation about the series. It was physically impossible.

I ended up watching the game in the Financial District, thanks to my buddy Sully's connections at a bar called The Office. We were able to invite about 20 guys -- closed-off room upstairs, projection TV, pizza and wings, the whole shebang -- operating under house rules (only Sox fans) and old-school country club rules (no chicks). Sometimes, guys just need to be around other guys. This was one of those times. We were 27 outs away from toppling the Yankees.

The beers started flowing. Fox kicked off the telecast by using the music from the Rocky-Drago training montage in "Rocky 4." You can imagine how I felt about that one. “When Nomar died, a part of me died, too. But now you're the one.” Everyone seemed optimistic ... right up until Damon was thrown out at home in the first inning, thanks to yet another bone-headed decision from the immortal Dale Sveum. If this guy was a school crossing guard, little kids would be getting pancaked by SUVs like Tony Mandarich in his prime.

We didn't even have 10 seconds to bitch about this before Ortiz crushed a two-run homer to right, and we were rolling. Derek Lowe pitched the biggest six innings of his life -- on two days' rest, no less -- and salvaged his dreadful regular season. The Struggling Johnny Damon (his extended name all week) smacked an astounding grand slam, my personal favorite moment of the night, only because it came from nowhere and sparked a two-minute long celebration of high-fiving, chest-bumping and general idiocy. Two innings later, Damon came up again and crushed another home run, a two-run job into the upper deck. So much for The Struggling Johnny Damon.

8-1, Red Sox. Fifteen outs to go.

We would have felt more confident with that cushion, but the announcers were determined to avoid any Yankees talk and concentrate solely on how the Sox could blow the game. They dragged out every disturbing statistic, every Babe Ruth sign, every negative Boston playoff memory they could find. I'm not positive on this, but I think McCarver and Buck started a "1918!" chant at one point. So yeah, we were a little uneasy.

But the Sox kept racking up those outs. The announcers didn't know what to do -- they had geared their entire broadcast around the inevitable Boston collapse. Forget about the fact that the Yankees had choked in the last two games in Boston, or that they lost at home to a 40-year-old guy whose ankle tendon was stapled to his ankle bone, or that they had a $180 million payroll, or that a Yankee collapse to Boston would be the most devastating moment in franchise history. Forget about showing more shots of the stunned fans, or Yankee players sitting listlessly in the dugout. None of this stuff mattered early. As the game dragged on, they started coming around.

"If they hold on to this lead, I'll tell you how big this would be," McCarver said at one point. "This could very well be the biggest win in Red Sox history."

Of course, that's like saying, "If John Kerry wins the election next month, that could very well be the biggest moment of his political career." But it was better than nothing. At least they weren't bringing up the Boston baggage as much. At least I wasn't thinking about it.

When Francona lifted Lowe in the seventh for Pedro Martinez, and Pedro allowed those two rockets to Matsui and Williams ... I mean, all those old demons came roaring back. It was the ultimate test. Like a recovering alcoholic opening that hotel mini-bar and seeing those tiny liquor bottles. Our room went silent, save for a few expletives and the echoes of the "Who's your Daddy?" chants. Poor Francona had unwittingly plugged Yankee Stadium back into its socket; I kept waiting for him to pull off the Paul Shaffer mask and reveal he was actually Grady Little.

I can't even describe the things I was thinking about. Terrible, horrible things. Dark things. I just kept remembering the words of my magazine editor, Neil, who called the series "Shakespearean" Wednesday afternoon. Well, if you were Shakespeare, how could you top last year's collapse if your ultimate goal was for an entire base of fans to kill themselves? Wouldn't you have their team roar back from a 3-0 series deficit, then blow an 8-1 lead in the deciding game? Wouldn't that do the trick?

I have never counted down the remaining outs in a game before. Never. Not until last night.

12 ... 11 ... 10 ...

(Pedro comes in.)


(Good God.) (Come on.) (Don't do this to me.) (I will hang myself.)

8 ... 7.



Just when the Yanks had some momentum, Bellhorn slammed an insurance home run off Gordon. Can you have insurance homers when the score is 8-3? Apparently so. Timlin made it through the eighth unscathed, with a major boost from Mientkiciwzwzz's outrageous scoop on an errant Mueller throw. (Defense, baby!)

5 ... 4 ... 3.

The top of the ninth yielded another insurance run off Gordon, who will be covered in blankets, duct-taped and thrown off one of Steinbrenner's yachts some time this winter. Now Fox was showing the obligatory reaction shots -- Yankee fans ready to start sobbing; Cashman frozen in his luxury box; A-Rod's eyes darting around the stadium, trying to figure out a way to cheat to get on base -- and that's when it felt real.

That used to be us. Not anymore.

"I almost started crying that inning," Sully said after it was over. "Is this what it feels like to be a girl?"

Seven-run lead. Three outs to go. Timlin got the first two and gave way to Embree, who retired Sierra on a routine grounder to end the game.


Let the record show that the Yanks went out with a whimper -- especially A-Rod (the anti-Babe), Sheffield (disappeared) and Matsui (never the same after Pedro dusted him in Game 4), not to mention Brown, Vazquez and Gordon, and even Torre (not his finest series). Only Jeter seemed to care that the Yankees were getting smoked -- there was one replay earlier in the game, after his RBI single, when he pumped his fist and shouted at his dugout, "Come on!" He seemed desperate. The Yankees never seem desperate. Now they were headed home for the winter, headed for the No. 1 slot on ESPN50's "Biggest Chokes" show in 2029.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox were celebrating at Yankee Stadium. Have I mentioned that yet? Meanwhile, we were doing our own celebrating at The Office—between exchanging high-fives and heterosexual man-hugs, I couldn't stop glancing at the TV. It's official, right? We definitely beat them, right?

"What's wrong with you?" Sully asked.

"Honestly? I keep waiting for them to announce that there's a Game 8."

Well, there wasn't. I said my goodbyes, headed out the door and walked around Faneuil Hall and Beacon Hill for the next 45 minutes, soaking in a scene I never thought I would see. Fans wearing Sox hats and T-shirts, everyone whooping and hollering. Car horns honking. A steady rumble of distant cheers coming from every direction -- Kenmore, Copley, B.C., B.U., Charlestown, you name it. If there's a better sound in life, I haven't heard one yet. Even greater than I imagined. Looking back, I probably had that same dumb smile walking around that Andy Dufresne gets in The Shawshank Redemption when they're working on the roof and everyone is drinking his beer.

To recap: Greatest comeback in sports history. First trip to the World Series in 18 years. First meaningful victory over the Yankees. All at the same time.

You have to be from here to understand. You just do. It wasn't just that the Yankees always win. It was everything else that came with it -- the petty barbs, the condescending remarks, the general sense of superiority from a fan base that derives a disproportionate amount of self-esteem from the success of their baseball team. I didn't care that they kept winning as much as they were jerks about it. Not all of them. Most of them. In 96 hours, everything was erased. Everything. It was like pressing the re-start button on a video game.

And yeah, I know. We need to win the World Series to complete the dream. But you can win the World Series every year. You only have one chance to destroy the Yanks. As my friend Mike (a Tigers fan) wrote me last night, "Everyone outside of Yankee brats are celebrating quietly with you guys. It's like you killed Michael Myers, Jason, Freddie Kreueger and Hannibal Lecter in one night."

It was the choke of chokes, an unprecedented gag job. For once, finally, the Yankees have some baggage. Just like every other baseball team.

One last story: I rolled into my dad's house at 1:30, only to find him in the living room, sound asleep, holding the TV remote in his hand like he'd been cryogenically frozen. On the television in front of him, Fox25 was showing live footage from Kenmore Square, as thousands and thousands of Boston fans were celebrating the impossible. After I muttered "Dad!" a few times, he finally jolted awake, glanced at me, then glanced at the TV.

"I can't believe it," he mumbled. "We beat the Yankees."

And it wasn't a dream.


Monday, January 22, 2007


Okay, confession time here. About 4 or 5 times a year, I get my eyebrows waxed. Actually, I should qualify that. I get the middle of my eyebrow waxed to help provide the illusion that I actually have two eyebrows for at least some short span of time. It's a reality born out of necessity more than vanity. My unibrow is like Jerry Rice was in his prime. You can't stop it, you can only hope to contain it.

This past Friday, I had it done again. Usually, I just have them do that space in the middle...however, this time I had noticed my eyebrow(s) was (were) growing vertically, as well as horizontally. Downward, mostly, so that if nothing was done soon I'd be like that sheepdog in the old Looney Tunes cartoons who clocks in and out to guard the sheep each day from the coyote. "G'mornin', Sam." "G'mornin', Ralph."

So I had the bottoms of both eyebrows done too.

Holy. Crap.

When the girl was done she looked at me with a pained expression and said "wow, your skin turns really red!" Frankly, I was surprised there was actually any skin there...I just figured my eyebrows, with the Roots of Steel they apparently have, ripped off everything right down to...well, whatever is under the bit of skin betwen your eye socket and eyebrow.

It's Monday now, and it's finally gotten to the point where it only hurts if I touch it. Or if water makes contact with my face in the shower. Or if I do my patented Fire Marshall Bill Jim Carrey impersonation. Luckily, the redness went away, so I don't look like a circus clown.

And I don't look like a sheepdog, either.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

I always suspected...

Knowing my Red Sox fanaticism, someone pointed me to a website the other day where one can buy the following t-shirt:

Unlike much other Christian apparel, this shirt is actually theologically sound! As much as I appreciate the message though, I may not be adding it to my birthday wishlist anytime soon. The world may not yet be ready for the radical truth of this prophetic proclamation...


Friday, January 19, 2007

Were these written by Jack Handey?

A friend of mine just forwarded this to me in an email. I haven't had a chance to check out the truthfulness of the source, but no matter where it came from, the bottom line is that these similies are freakin' hilarious, especially if you're a former English major. Enjoy:

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners.....

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse, without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegratedbecause of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either,but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells,as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Friday Ramblings

  • Yesterday, when I got home from work, there was an instrument case sitting on our driveway. Upon further inspection, turned out to be holding a saxophone...and a pretty nice, new-looking one at that. We live a few blocks away from a Catholic elementary school as well as a public elementary school, and I figured a kid from one of those schools probably stopped to have a snowball fight or something, then completely forgot they were carrying their sax home and went the rest of the way home without it. There wasn't any identification on it at all, so I couldn't call we decided to leave it out front until it got dark (which was about a half-hour later), then bring it in and call both the schools this morning. Well, I got a call back from the Catholic school about an hour ago. They made the kid call and apologize for leaving it in my driveway, and make arrangements to pick it up. Well, today's my day off so I told him no problem, I'd just drop it off at the school. You know, the apology was completely unnecessary, but it was very cool that they had him make the call himself. I just got back from bringing the wayward sax to the school...the head nun thanked me and said the child in question owed me some extra prayers. I wish I could have come up with some kind of witty answer about the theology of "prayer payment," but all I could think of was "no problem." Ah well. It's probably for the best anyway that I didn't create some kind of ecumenical crisis. =)

  • Last night, Kiddo woke up not once but twice with poopy diapers. And, as always, when he wakes up with them, he makes sure Daddy also wakes up with cries of "I'm poopy! I'm poooooooooooopy!" I had to laugh out loud the second time, though. I had him lay on the floor, and as I started cleaning him up he looked at me with the most serious expression on his face and said "I HAVE to stop DOING this!"

  • Last night was also the long-awaited musical Scrubs episode. That one's going in my top-5 episodes of any show in any short, it was amazing. The music was actually very good, with a bunch of different song styles, alternately hilarious and touching, and more than one nod to some well-known Broadway musicals (42nd Street, Grease, and Les Miserables, as well as Pirates of Penzance, a rock-opera and those big-production movie musicals of the 1950's). A lyric sample from one of the group numbers (modeled on "We Go Together" from Grease): "We’re as close as the vena cava and the aorta, we go together like diverticulitis and a barium enema." haven't lived until you've seen Dr. Cox do one of his patented rants in the style of A Modern Major General! The music and lyrics were written by the folks who did the current Broadway hit Avenue Q, and they brought the same smart yet off-the-wall sensibility to what they did here. I wish I had a way to post the whole episode here...I'm telling ya, if you missed it last night and EVER get the chance to see it, don't miss it again. =) I did find two clips that don't even begin to do the show justice, but are better than nothing. The first is another song from the episode (I posted Everything Comes Down To Poo below). This one's called Guy Love, where Turk and J.D., best friends since college, profess their mostly-hetero best-friend love for each other. The song is exactly what was in the episode last night, though NBC chose to release this clip in the style of a music video...the "flashbacks" while they're singing (as well as the shots of them singing in the studio) weren't part of the episode. Funny stuff though:

The other clip is a general overview of the entire get to hear at least little pieces of a couple of the other songs here as well as snippets of interviews with the cast:

Enjoy, and happy Friday!!!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

93%...not bad...

An interesting little quiz...though I would have loved to have answered more questions about beliefs and less about which Lutheran body uses which hymnal. =) Guess I'll have to make up my own quiz one of these days in all the spare time I have!

You are 93% Lutheran! This is most certainly true.

Nicely done! Martin would be proud of you! You may or may not have room for growth in understanding Lutheran terminology and culture. Good thing Salvation is by Grace and not by merit. We can add nothing to what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. But it never hurts to learn a little more about the church on earth. Thanks for taking the quiz!

How Lutheran Are You?
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Friday, January 12, 2007

Random Friday tidbits

Two tidbits, to be precise:

1. As much as I loved watching Boise State's improbable win in the Fiesta Bowl, I had written that they had pretty much eliminated me from my family's bowl pool picture. In fact, after that loss I had to win the remainder of the bowl games just to tie for first, then I needed to win a tiebreaker. Will wonders never cease...I WON the thing!

A little background here. For probably 20 years, my family has had a pick'em bowl pool. No point spreads, no confidence points, just straight wins and losses. And no money involved, just family bragging rights for the year. It started with just my immediate we had 2 German exchange students live with us, it expanded to include them. Later, as my sister and I got married it grew to also include our spouses, and eventually when our kids are old enough they will be included too. About 6 or 7 years ago my dad bought a little "traveling trophy" that now goes to the winner each year, as well as a plaque that hangs in my parents' house with the names of each year's winner engraved. Sometime in the last 5 years, the female German exchange student who had lived with my family back in 1992, emailing her picks in from Germany, actually won (talk about embarrassing!). But sure enough, we mailed her the trophy, and the next year she mailed it back after someone else won (thank goodness she didn't win it twice in a row!!!).

So this year, it came down to Sweetie and me for all the marbles. Sweetie had won 2 out of the last 3 years. Coming into the BCS Championship between Ohio State and Florida, she was ahead by one game. She had picked Ohio St. and I had picked Florida. So if Florida won, we'd have the same record, bringing it down to the tiebreaker. We were under the impression that the tiebreaker was picking the total number of points scored in the championship game. She had picked 52, I had picked 47. So she either wanted an Ohio State win, or a Florida win in a high scoring game. I needed a Florida win in a low scoring game. Florida took the lead early, and both teams were scoring often. Our allegiances quickly changed as I started rooting AGAINST Florida because they were scoring too much, and Sweetie kept cheering as Florida marched the ball down the field. By the third quarter, the score was 34-14. 48 total points. One more score of any kind by either team would give Sweetie the bowl pool win. When Florida scored a touchdown to make it 41-14, Sweetie celebrated her 3rd win in 4 years and we went to bed.

In the morning I checked my email, and saw one from my dad with the subject, "AND THE UNOFFICIAL WINNER IS..." When I opened the email, I saw MY name! Turns out total points scored was the SECOND tiebreaker. First tiebreaker was correctly picking the winner of the championship game, which I did. And Sweetie didn't. Not that I'm rubbing it in, because I'm not that kind of guy...maybe. =)

Actually, it would be awfully hypocritical of me to rub it in, seeing as I hadn't won the bowl pool since at least 1999, and maybe even further back. We don't have a record of the winners from before my dad bought the plaque, and I honestly don't remember. But it's been a helluva drought.

2. Tidbit #2 is that I saw a promo last night for something I've been waiting on for a LOOOOOOOONG time...the Scrubs all-musical episode! That's right, next Thursday on NBC at 8PM Central time they'll do the whole episode as a musical. We got a "foretaste of the feast to come" a couple of seasons ago, with this clip. If next week is ANYTHING like this, it's gonna be freakin' AWESOME. Actually, this clip is really heavy for Scrubs...I love it when they do stuff like this. The blonde in the red dress is a patient of JD's and Dr. Cox. They've really grown attached to her, but they also know she's dying. Earlier in the episode, JD asks her what she thinks death is like. Her answer: "I really hope it's like a big Broadway musical. Everyone's all dressed up and singing to the rafters, and you go out with a real flourish." Also, earlier in the episode, Turk has asked Carla to marry him, and she's leaving for a few days to think about it. There's more to the story, but just suffice it to say that there's valid reasons for hesitancy. So here, the cast joins the patient in a GORGEOUS version of Colin Hay's Waiting for My Real Life to Begin, which brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it in the context of the entire episode. Here it is:

I also ran across a clip from next week's episode, entitled Everything Comes Down to Poo...OMG, I am sitting here literally CACKLING. If the clip above was a little heavy, be sure to watch this for catharsis:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Whaddya know? I'm a chowdahead!

Hmmm...I never thought of myself as having a Bostonian accent. I've never lived in Massachusetts, even though that's where my parents are from. I suppose a piece of my heart forever resides in New England...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Boston

You definitely have a Boston accent, even if you think you don't. Of course, that doesn't mean you are from the Boston area, you may also be from New Hampshire or Maine.

The West
The Midland
North Central
The Northeast
The Inland North
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, January 08, 2007

"Scrubs" Rant of the Week

(From the episode My Dirty Secret)

To set the scene, J.D. has noticed Dr. Cox and his ex-wife (who he lives with and has a child with, and who he is, for all intents and purposes, married to, even though they never really got re-married after the divorce) are having problems. He tells Dr. Cox, "let me help you."

Dr. Cox: Fine, Newbie! Let me--let me tell you a little story. It starts every day at 5 in the morning -- which is just about the time that you're setting your hair for work -- when I am awakened by a sound: Is that a cat being gutted by a fishing knife? Nooo! That's my son. He's hungry and he's got a load in his pants so big that I'm actually considering hiring a stable boy. But, I go ahead and dig in; because I do love the lad and, well gosh, you know me, I'm a giver. And [whistles] I'm off to the hospital, where my cup runneth over with both quality colleagues, such as yourself, and a proverbial clown-car full of sick people. But, what the hey, my pay is about the same as guys who break rocks with other rocks and I only have to work three or four hundred hours a week, so, so far I'm a pretty happy camper! And then I head back home where I'm greeted by the faint musk of baby vomit in a house that used to smell like, well...nothing! Nothing! Nothing! I-i-in fact it used to smell like nothing at all. And all I want to do before I restart this whole glorious cycle is, you know, maybe lay on the couch and have a beer and watch some SportsCenter and, if I'm not too sweaty from the day's labors, stick my hand right down my pants, buuuuut apparently that's not in Jordan's definition of "pulling your weight." So, uh, there you are, superstar. Fix that.

Cox starts to walk away. J.D. chases after him.

J.D.: Well, that's easy! Just tell her about it. Tell her everything you feel.

Dr. Cox: Should I give her every reason to accept that I'm for real?

J.D.: First of all, no one understands relationships like Billy Joel, okay? "Uptown Girl" got me through high school -- long story for another day. Secondly, you don't want to end up like the Randolphs back there, just not saying a word to each other, do you?

Cox thinks about that, J.D. starts to get it.

J.D.: You wish...we...were more like the Randolphs, don't you?

Dr. Cox: [smiling blissfully] God save me, I do. I reeeeally do!

He whimpers and walks off.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Today's Moment of Irony

  • Gerald Ford was one of the most athletically inclined presidents the U.S. has ever had.
  • He had a few well-publicized moments of clumsiness.
  • These moments were parodied on Saturday Night Live by Chevy Chase with dramatic pratfalls.
  • Triggered by the frequency and severity of some of these pratfalls, Chevy Chase developed chronic pain from a degenerative disc disease.
  • He was prescribed painkillers to help with the pain, and eventually became addicted to them.
  • To overcome his addiction, he checked himself into the...that's right, you guessed it:

The Betty Ford Clinic.

True story.

One Child's Honesty

For Christmas, I received (among other things) the new, self-titled Taylor Hicks album. For those of you who may be rolling your eyes, I encourage you to at least give the album (as well as its predecessor, Under the Radar, which was released independently before he ever set foot on American Idol) a listen. There's 12 tracks--generally, on any given album, I can identify 3 or 4 "keepers" with 8 or 9 additional filler songs to round things out. Here, there's a couple of songs I could do without, but in general it's a GREAT album. Especially when one takes into account the fact that The Powers That Be at American Idol most likely foisted some songs on Taylor that they felt would be "radio-friendly" (in other words, crap for the faceless hordes). All in all, a really SOLID debut. Listen for the What'd I Say keyboard sample in Heaven Knows and a song originally written for Ray Charles that he didn't get to record before he passed away (The Right Place). There's also 2 songs on there that Taylor wrote and had originally sung on his independent Under the Radar album (Soul Thing and The Deal)...very interesting to hear different takes on them.

But I digress.

Rewind a few weeks with me, if you will.

It's now the middle of December. The Taylor Hicks album had been on my Amazon wishlist pretty much ever since Amazon pre-orders for it were available. I was home with Kiddo, and had promised him that he could play a computer game on So he was sitting on my lap at the computer. I wanted to do two things before going to the pbskids site--check my email and doublecheck my Amazon wishlist to make sure there weren't any out-of-date items on there. I scanned my email quickly, then surfed over to Amazon, and began scrolling down my wishlist.

As the picture of the Taylor Hicks album scrolled up, Kiddo stopped me. "Daddy," he said, "that's what you want for Christmas!"

Since I had never informed him of this, I was immediately interested in what he had to say. "Oh, really?" I replied.

"Yes. That's just like what I saw in the store with Mommy, and she said you wanted it for Christmas," he told me, pointing to the picture of the album cover.

I started laughing. "What's funny?" he asked me.

I don't remember exactly what my answer was, but I think I made something up about remembering something funny Kiddo had done earlier in the day.

And like that, the cat was out of the bag. The secret was out. Well, not completely, I suppose, he never did actually say that they had bought it, but I knew.

Ya gotta love a child's honesty.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Of Trust and the Red Sox

He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:3-11 (NRSV)

Who do you trust?

As I've mentioned before, I’m a Boston Red Sox fan. Big-time. I’ve been a fan since I was born, because my parents are fans. That meant I grew up knowing who to like (the Red Sox) and who to not to like (the Yankees). Mrs. LH and I Have been working hard at instilling the same sense of right and wrong in Kiddo--this is an important issue we're dealing with after all, the importance of learning right (Red Sox) from wrong (Yankees), of clinging to the good (Red Sox...sense a pattern here?) and shunning what is evil (Yankees). For some reason, lately I've been thinking back to the magical postseason of 2004. Maybe it's because I was given a copy of Fever Pitch for Christmas...who knows. That year, the Red Sox played AGAINST the Yankees in a best of 7 series to see who would go to the World Series. The Yankees had won the first 3 games, and things didn’t look good. In fact, they looked downright awful. In order to keep from being eliminated, the Red Sox would have to win 4 games in a row, with the final 2 games being played at Yankee Stadium. No team had EVER (that's right, EVER) come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best of 7 series. But, for the first time in major league baseball history, in the greatest comeback of all time, the Red Sox did exactly that, winning game 7 10-3.

There was much rejoicing in the LutheranHusker household. You see, the Red Sox have a history of being on the OTHER side of those types of situations. They’re always the ones who choke. They’re always the ones who get oh so close, then don’t quite make it to the end. They’re the ones getting their hearts broken. I always used to think of us Red Sox fans as Charlie Brown, and of the Red Sox as Lucy. Every year, she holds out that football for Charlie Brown to kick, and every year he runs toward the ball, determined that THIS is the year he’s going to kick it, and every year, just at the last second, she pulls the ball away and he flies through the air, landing in a heap and a cloud of dust. Ever since 1918, the last time the Sox won the World Series, we Red Sox fans have put our trust in the Red Sox, and they kept letting us down.

Until 2004.

Who do you trust?

Peter, James and John were out fishing. They hadn’t caught anything all night, and were frustrated. This was their profession—they were supposed to be good at it. Suddenly, this stranger comes up and tells them what to do, and amazingly, they do it. Even more amazingly, it works! These guys, who had put so much trust in their own expertise, had no idea at first who they were talking to or dealing with. But suddenly, their nets were filled with fish and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had come to them, and for no good reason at all other than the authority in his voice, they trusted him. They trusted what he had to say, and because of it they experienced a miracle.

People let us down. Institutions let us down. Our friends, our family, even ourselves, all let us down. The Church lets us down. As Peter confessed in the gospel, we are all sinful people. But God does NOT let us down. When we listen to him, when we follow him, when we put our trust in him, miracles happen.

Who do you trust?

Think about it. Where is your trust? Have you put your trust in money, in friends, in your abilities? Have you put your trust in your family, in your bosses, in your government? Now don’t get me wrong. We can’t go through life being distrustful of everyone and everything. But when it comes down to it, the big question is, who do you trust more? Who do you trust most? Where is your source of ultimate trust? If you’re like me, when you honestly ask yourself those questions, the answer may not be what you’d like it to be.

Like my Red Sox, all those other things will let you down, sooner or later.

We say God is our source of ultimate trust. That’s easy to say in church on Sunday morning. But when we leave our comfortable pew, when we go back out into the real world, is that really what we believe?

Andrew and Peter experienced the results of that trust firsthand with their great catch of fish. And they responded by following Jesus’ call to them. What would happen to us if we quit putting our ultimate trust in all that other stuff and started putting our ultimate trust in God? Where would he call us? What wonderful miracles would he have in store for us?

You know what, there’s only one way to find out.

Who do YOU trust?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Last Night's Fiesta Bowl...wowza!

I'm going to set aside for a moment all of the extra baggage that (for me, at least) went with watching last night's game...the coulda/woulda/shoulda of the Huskers almost beating OU in the Big XII title game, the national perception of the Big XII after OU's loss, the question of BSU's needing a chance at a title shot, Boise State all but eliminating me in my family's bowl pool, all that stuff.

Was that NOT the most FUN game EVER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Boise State comes in as million point underdogs with fire and fight and spunk. They play toe to toe with OU for almost 4 quarters, saving the trick plays for the very end of the game, then GO FOR 2 IN OVERTIME!!! And MAKE IT on another TRICK PLAY!!! A freakin' STATUE OF LIBERTY!!!!!!

The hook and ladder earlier on 4th and 18, the wacky formation change in OT on 4th and 2, the crazy play on the 2 point conversion...OU falling way behind, then coming back to tie, needing 3 tries at a 2 point conversion...then going ahead on a "little team falling apart on a big stage" mistake by BSU with the interception for a TD...then BSU's march down the field...

Whenever anyone asks me why I follow college football so much more closely than the NFL, it's games like this that I point to. The emotion, the Cinderella story, the momemtum shifts, the amazing endings...

Wow. Just, wow. It's a shame someone had to lose last night. I haven't had that much fun watching a game in a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time. Maybe ever.

"Scrubs" Rant of the Day

Okay, so this isn't technically one of the patented "Dr. Cox rants," but it's funny and involves Dr. Cox and makes a point, so I wanted to post it. It comes from the Scrubs episode "My Roommates." Dr. Cox's friend from college is visiting. The two of them have competed with each other for everything ever since they met, and now that they're both parents, that competition has carried down to their sons.

Dr. Cox has his friend and his friend's son over for supper. While his friend is changing his son's diaper, Dr. Cox says this to his son, Jack, in the style of a football coach's halftime speech.

(Note...Jack is two years old.)

"All right, Jack, listen to me. Ron's in the bathroom diapering his kid. When he gets out, it's playtime. And, son, lately your coloring's been sloppy and your Elmo song -- well, unfortunately, it's lacked heart. Now you and I, we both know that your super-secret go-to toy are your building blocks. Well, it's time to shine, Jackie Cox. It is time to shine. Earn daddy's love on three. One, two, three -- earn daddy's love!" [Beats chest and kisses fingers.]