Sunday, December 24, 2006


As a retail dawg, Christmas becomes nothing more than customer service, get the book in the customers' hands, get their wallets open, get their money and get them out the door, and then repeat the process about a thousand times over the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Add overdone Christmas songs and you get the picture. It is a very tiring time of year. Its tiring for those who don't work retail, too, but for those of us in retail it can be especially trying when it comes to something as simple as buying Christmas presents for loved ones. Just the thought of going into a mall or a store is enough to make me just stay in my room and huddle in a corner.

But at the same time, there is something that I have that keeps me going. The fact that this is a celebration of Christ's birth. I watched a program about the history of Christmas a few weeks ago. And they said that many scholars believe that Christ was actually born sometime in the spring. Tonight while listening to Christmas story being read from the book of Luke I noticed that Luke wrote that "in the sixth month" was the census that took Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. So, I pulled out my faithful ten fingers and did some math. Sixth month equals June. Nine months from June is April. Okay, I can dig that. Now, if I remember correctly, the calendar of Jesus' time was different than the one we use now. So the months might be screwed up, but that's okay, I don't think it makes that much of a deal.

I had to work until 630 this evening. So, I had to race to get to church on time, I probably broke a few speed laws, but I got there and it felt good to sit and participate in the service. All the songs were there, the scriptures, too. It felt good, like a glove. I sat along the edge of the church because I got there a bit late. My pastor made a point that I hadn't realy thought of before when he said that Jesus was wrapped in clothe twice: once at his birth and once at his death. That was circular to me and to my English major mind it was great symbolism and foreshadowing and all that good stuff.

Its lonely driving around on Christmas Eve night. Everything is closed. There is no place to eat and even most stores have their signs turned off. A few years ago, I was driving home from work and it was very cold. I mean really cold. I was hungry and I was on my way to church. I knew I needed something to eat, but I couldn't find anything until I came upon a Subway sandwich shop that was still open. It was next to a Chinese food restaraunt, that was open, but I didn't feel like I could that much of a holiday cliche at the time.

Merry Christmas everyone and may you all have a blessed and safe holiday.

Peace to all of you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A New Hymnal-- a Semantic Rant, Sort of

The other day we got the new hymnal that has just been published by the Missouri Synod. I haven't really had an opportunity to look at it, but I did flip through the other day. I would really like to find a church that uses the new hymnal to see how it works "in action," if you will.

With the new hymnal, though, there is a bit of semantic problem and the only people that would understand this are fellow LCMS'ers. What do we call the new hymnal in shorthand? For the last twentysome years, yes I said the last twentysome years, the "newhymnal" was the "blue hymnal, the "oldhymnal" was the "red hymnal." This new New Hymnal is a funky burgandy color. So what do we call it? The New-new Hymnal, or the bestandbrightest Hymnal? What of the original "newhymnal?" Is it now the "Old-new hymnal?" We can stick with the "blue hymnal," though its not always blue. The "oldhymnal" the "redhymnal" or as I like to call it "the 5-15 hymnal" (again, that is a reference any self-respecting LCMS'er will get, is it to be called the "oldhymnal," "the original old hymnal" (which in fact that would be wrong because there were other hymnals before that one. I suppose we could call it "1941," the new hymnal could be the "1982" and the "newnew hymnal" could be the "aught-six."

Of course we could still just refer to the red hymnal as the "TLH" (aka The Lutheran Hymnal) the blue hymnal as LW (Lutheran Worship) and the burgandy, aught-six hymnal as the LSB (Lutheran Service Book)...

Sheesh... maybe we need a committee to find out the necessity for a committee to decided if we need a committee to figure out what to call it... we could just send the question to the CTCR and let them decide.

Yeah, that it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Beginning of my Biography-- If I Were to Write One

"If you think you will find drunken escapades, drug fuel sex and out of body experiences you are sadly mistaken. Please, stop reading this book now. There is nothing of the sort. I will state here, right now, that I have been drunk more than a few times. I have had more than a few hangovers, but that is it. If you are planning on reading about me hitting bottom because of drink or drugs, please stop reading. It's not going to happen. It never did. Yes, I did hit the bottom of the barrel, but it wasn't because of addiction. My bottom-of-the-barrel was of the spiritual kind.

I have had a rather boring and vanilla life. My life has been and could probably be labeled 'boring.'"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Emma, the newest member of the family

Emma smiles happy to be here.

The newest entry into the great traveling circus that is my life has done a great job of setting up shop. As most cats are want to do, she has made me her human and she is no longer my cat.

She likes to sleep, but she wakes up slow. When she does wake up, she tends to sit in the middle of the floor with her eyes closed and sways back and forth for a few minutes before she finally gets herself booted up all the way. She likes to sleep under the couch. She better enjoy that while she can, I'm sure she'll get to big for that eventually.

Most importantly, she seems to have been accepted by my other cat, four year old Woody. They've been running around and playing this evening. That's a good thing because Woody can certainly use the excercise. He's turned into a bit of tub.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

PornGuy in my Bookstore

There is a guy who comes to our store regularly. I suppose I could call him a customer, but it would only be in the lightest terms possible. I call him PornGuy. PornGuy is an older guy, probably in his seventies or so. He looks older than 65, but younger than 85, so I guesstimate him to be 70 or so. He is shorter than me, probably about 5'8" maybe 150 lbs soaking wet.

He used to come in and open our "sophisticates" (that's a fancy bookselling term for "adult magazines") and flip through them. There were two problems with this. First was if the sophisticate magazine is opened, that is out of outs plastic bag, we can't sell it, that's not that big a deal. We just throw magazines that don't sell into a box, slap a label on the box and ship 'em out and get credit for the unsold ones. So, in that regard, no big whoop. (We probably lose fifty percent, or more of our sophisticates through that means).

The second problem was much more severe. He started bugging our female employees and showing them the pictures in the magazines. We had to ask him to leave and finally my store manager kicked him out of the store and telling him not to return. That was a Sunday afternoon. I was there for that. It was actually kind of funny. My store manager is probably 6'1" close to 300 lbs. He's a big guy. This little PornGuy threatened to punch him in the nose... I think I'da paid to see that; well, the guy left and wasn't seen or heard from for a couple months.

PornGuy is back, but he doesn't look at our sophisticates any more. Now, he looks at the sexuality books (i.e. Joy of Sex, Kama Sutra, Penthouse Letters, etc) and the Gay and Lesbian books. That's all he looks at, he's usually there for a few hours reading. He slinks in and then kind of slinks out.

He's knows I watch him. I make it a point to walk by every-now-and-again and I let the management know when he has "graced us with his presence."

For a while, I wanted to punch the guy. He made me so angry that he was in my store, bugging our employees, and just being sleazy; my feelings have changed a bit. Now, instead of wanting to beat the living crap out of the guy, I feel almost pity. I feel kind of sad for the guy. He must be lonely. I don't know anything about the guy.

I've been thinking about him the last couple days when I've been driving home from work. I've found myself praying for him at night when I go to bed. He is a guy that is in the clutches of something. It is my fervant prayer that the Lord work in him and show him His Grace.

I'm not sure what I can say to him, particularly when I'm on the clock. I don't think my mental and emotional revulsion will allow me to say anything (that's my own Old Adam, I'm sure). So, I will continue to pray for him and watch him to make sure he doesn't bother anyone.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Its Cold...

The snow storm that we Indianapolis were waiting for with baited breath seems to have passed us by. I'm not complaing. I don't mind snow, so much, but I'm just not in the mood for it right now. Later on this month, maybe, but not right now. It was bitter cold today. I mean bitter cold. And the wind was blowing something fierce. I haven't experienced wind and wind gusts like I dealt with today. I literally had to lean into the wind to keep from being blown over by it. I'm not sure why the wind so vicious, I have a feeling it has something to do with the way the buildings on campus are situated. Maybe they form a wind tunnel of sorts, either way it was cold. When I got to the stairs I was pushed by the wind. That made for some interesting stepping. Then I got inside and it was and, as the phrase goes, "close." So my low-grade asthma kicked in and I was gasping for breath while my heart banged away in my chest. It was a little "touch and go" for about 15 minutes or so.

The wind its insane how hard the wind was blowing this morning. It whistled and buffeted the house all night.

THe little weather doo-hickey in the lower right hand corner tells me that it is 25 degrees outside and 11 degrees in the wind chill. I don't care what you say, that's cold. It's days like this that make me think, ever so quickly, fondly of Texas, but then I rethink that... *chuckles*

Emma, the princess cat, seems to be fitting well into the household. As I looked out the window this morning I reminded her how lucky she was that I had brought her in, she just blinked at me and sashaed over to her little food bowl and munched on her breakfast of kittenchow.

Ah, well,so be it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

emma pics

emma asleep. she can do no harm here... i hope.

emma comparing her fur color to the wall... cammoflage?

Monday, November 27, 2006


She's cute. At least I think she's a she. She's all white except for a small light beige coloring on her head. She introduced herself last night through plaintive cries under my window, cliched, I know, but that's how it happened. And this morning she I found her huddled in a corner by the stairs under my bedroom window. After that, all bets were off. She commenced to come onto the porch and climbed the screen door she knocked on the window and demanded entrance.

So let her in. My other cat, Woody, isn't too sure about this whole arrangement, but he seems to like the other cat. There has been little, if any spitting or hissing, some low-level growling, but that's about it.

We have decided to call her Emma. I'll post some pics as soon as she stops running around exploring the house and she'll still long enough for a proper portrait.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oliver Winery

This picture was taken at the
Oliver Winery just outside of Bloomington. I took my parents and my mom's cousins down there for a wine tasting. From left to right: mom, me, dad, ellen, and loise. We were having some wine and enjoying ourselves immensely. Oh, and my mom and I ended up buying 60 bucks worth of wine. Her cousins probably that much, if not more. Oliver Winery makes some good wine.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Relatives Came

We have had some relatives visiting us this weekend. My mother's cousins (first cousins for her, second for me, once removed, I think is how it goes). Yesterday, I took them around the city. It was a nice day, a bit chilly, perhaps, but nice. The Colts were out of town yesterday, they were set to beat the New Englad Patriots in Foxboro, Mass. So, the streets were pretty much empty and we were able to park easily and roam around a little bit. Indy is a nice city. It really is. Our main objective was the World War I memorial. It is a large, temple-like structure that stands prominently in the skyline. Its pyramided top
is easily seen from many vantage points in the city. As you walk up the stairs and it gets larger and larger a certain feeling of smallness begins to infiltrate your being. It is just so large and sturdy. You can get some great views of the Indianapolis skyline from the memorial. As you walk inside the feeling of history stopping kind of hits you in the face. The memorial was started in the 1920's, or so, and it has the art-deco feel to it. There is a large theatre inside that is named after Gen. "Black Jack" Pershing, and two smaller theateres in the wings of the monument named after Eisenhower and McArthur.
There is a flight of stairs that leads from the lobby up to the second floor. It is worth the trip. That walk, though, is not without some sadness. On either side of the stairs, on the wall, is poster after poster of soldiers killed in one or another. I find myself trying not to look at them, but I can't help it. The fact each name represents one man, or woman, who lost their life for me can get a bit overwhelming, so I do not dwell on it too much, I just trudge up the stairs.

Awe waits for you atop the stairs. The first time I went to the memorial I was struck dumb by what I saw. Talk about a temple. Sadly, the pictures I have of the inside don't come close to capturing it. The room is dark and cavernous. On the walls are six portraits of the generals of the allies, lit by single light bulbs that hang above the portraits. In the center is this huge raised marble square, it comes up to my waist. On the top is beautiful rendition of the Seal of the United States. Standing by the corners of the marble square are four large (and I mean over six feet tall) marble pillars that look like they could be massive torches. One can't help but be silent.

After that we toured the museum that is located there. Very well done.

We went to lunch at Rock Bottom Restaraunt. Nice place, good food, and a good beer.

From there we went to Crown Hill Cemetery so that they could see the skyline of Indianapolis from hill where James Whitcomb Riley is buried (that is the picture at the top of this post). Then we went home.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yes, I Admit It... I Miss Project Runway!

I snagged this from
these guys... I hope they don't mind.

I'll miss Project Runway. I've watched it every season. I'm really not sure why, but for some reason I find the show fascinating. I wish I could explain it. I don't usually get sucked into reality television shows, but for some reason PR gets me. Though, I'm afraid they may have jumped the shark a couple times this season. The show as a bit "gimmicky" this season, but at the same time I understand why... they have to be "fresh" to keep the audience.

I'm not sure how I got so involved with Project runway, I know that I started watching because of Heidi Klum, however, I seem to have gotten sucked in.

I'm bummed that Jeffery won. I was rooting for either Michael, or Uli. Actually, let me rephrase that. I was indeed rooting for Uli and Michael, in that order. Uli just made me laugh. Michael seemed to have "it" together. Uli, though, was kind of the "earth mother" to me. She just had a vibe that I could dig on. As strange as that might sound.

I'll freely admit this: I rooted against Laura. I couldn't stand her! She was the Amarosa (I know I spelled that wrong, but I'm sure you know who I mean) of the show. Her red headed, big toothed, square jawed, irksome self... grrr!

An admission: I didn't actually watch the final show. Well, I did, but I didn't. I had to make a decision. My Mets were trying to beat the St. Louis Cardinals (who, by the way, I'm sort of rooting for in the Series-- I have my reasons). So, I had PR in the pictureinpicture function of my tv. I saw it, but I didn't watch it, per se.

Sadly,my Mets lost and Jeffery won.

Oh, as for the Cardinals: I feel like I should root for them for the following reasons: 1. I am a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod 2. The National League hasn't won a Series since 2001, I think. However, I am sort of rooting for Tigers because I am a Jim Leyland fan. He's an amazing manager. Its because he and Tony Larussa are managing against each other that this Series has turned into more than a baseball game and into a intellectual chess game.

Wait, how did I get from Project Runway to the World Series? Ah, who cares. Let's call it stream of consciousness and leave it be.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A few pics

The Disgruntled World Citizen

DWC pt 2

The DWC's mum

DWC's fadda

The Barron von Woodster

flag w/ Joker

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tripping Over the Stones of Mind

In a fit of literary mania the other day, I got a bee in my proverbial bonnet and submitted a poem to the New Yorker. I don't know why. I just did. I've been threatening to submit poetry to magazines for awhile now and I decided I might as well at least take a shot at the biggest name there is. I have every expectation that I will get a nice little email saying "Thankssomuchsosooryneversendagain." Which would be about right. I also submitted five poems to IUPUI's literary magazine. That one, I am hoping for better things. I shall see about that, too, I suppose.

I should probably try and keep this mania going by sending to the Columbia Poetry Review and the Borderlands Poetry Review (the former is from Chicago and the latter is located in Texas).

I realized today that I am, in the great scheme of things, almost done with my masters degree. I have four classes left. I'm amazed at this. Shocked, actually. I was talking with a classmate (or is collegue at this level?) about this and it really sank in: four more classes... four more...

then what?

Good question, that. I'm not really sure. Lately, I've thought about looking into continuing on... but I need to get a real job, eventually, right? I don't know. I guess we'll see where the Good Lord leads me.

I wish was more verbose here, but alas, I'm not. I start to type and suddenly words I might have lined up scurry to the bleak, dark, recesses of my brain and I don't feel like taking the time necessary to round them all up again. That takes too much time and my brain is awfully dusty and cluttered.

Well, then. I suppose I should shove off.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


woody 0001 You know, its almost too easy to write about the foibles of one's cat. For some reason, cats just lend themselves to writing. If for no other reason that sheer comedy of their actions and the being. Cats are funny critters.

Most cats like clean. Mine, not so much. He cleans cleans himself incessantly, but he doesn't like it when I change the litter in his boxes... yes, he has two boxes. Long story, but it is an experiment that seems to be working at least some of the time. I clean it regularly, but not the litter. Just what he leaves behind.

My cat, who I call the Barron von Woodster, or Woody, for short, sleeps on his back all the time. His four feet stick straight up in the air his white belly fur is points this way and that. He is a medium haired cat, he looks like he has some persian in his past somewhere. His face is a bit flat, he has very large eyes, as can be seen by his picture above.

He is a funny critter. We know when He's used his box because he when he uses his box he runs like his ass is on fire. He sounds like he has concret boots on his feet. Any one or thing in his way will be run over.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I find myself in the basement of the library, again. It just as bright as it was the last time I was here and that's a good thing. Really, it is. This is Tuesday, I think, today is my day off from work. So, I came to campus to get some school work done. I am in the basement because it is quiet here, its a nice big study room, there are ten other here, that I can see (two more just strolled in and sat down, both were knit ski caps).

I have Miles Davis on my Ipod. I listen to Miles alot. He seems to make things okay. A nice rythm to life. In this case it is Kind of Blue that is blowin into my ears via my earbuds.

Last night I had an IM conversation with Brandon. I should always brace myself when his salutation is "Hey man" instead of "Hey karl," or "Hey Pnut." The "Hey man" is usually a harbinger of bad news. This was no exception. It is my opinion that Brandon has the most incredible tests in his early ministry. God has certain given him some big things to tackle. He lives in a suburb of Nawlins. His church was severely damaged in Katrina. Last night he told me one of his elders had commited suicide that weekend.

I have homework that needs to be finished.



Friday, October 13, 2006

Don't Edit Me I'm Ranting

fat tire 20003I am having one of those "why am I doing this" moments. I don't mean "why am I blogging, right now" moments, but one something a bit more, dare I say, existential. Its more a "why am I doing this" life moments. This semester for me has been a drag. My two classes haven't been all the thrilling and I've just kind of plateaued in the care-department. Why am I doing this? Why am I working 35-40 hours a week, taking two grad classes, working in a law library (four hours a week, on Friday night)? Why am I burning my candle, such that it is, at both ends. Maybe not both ends, but at close to it. I'm lucky I'm able to keep myself as focused as I am. I'm ready for a break. I seriously thought about just taking a semester off, or just quitting my job and running away and becoming, like Jules said in Pulp Fiction "like Kane in Kung Fu and just wander the Earth." To which Vincent replies, "You mean be a bum..." Okay, I don't want to be a bum. I just need some time to think and clean out my head. I've been doing this whole school thing for a year straight. In that time, I've moved stores, helped open a new one. Work hard to make powers that be think that I'm worthy of moving up in the company, but I'm not sure they see that, care, or even look at me as being a potential candidate for such a thing. I'm tired, can you tell? Today, I got a short paper back from a professor with this written in green on the bottom: "Please go to the Writing Center and get help. You need to improve this important skill." I looked at her and said "Huh, that's the first time anyone has ever told me that." Okay, I'll admit, I threw it together, I cobbled something together, put my name on it and handed it in. Actually, I even put the wrong professor's name on the paper. Either she didn't notice or just didn't care. See, right there is my problem. I'm finding it harder and harder to really care and give a damn. I'm itching to throw in the towel and say to hell with it all, I'm taking a powder, be back next year sometime, probably May. Today, as I sat in class and listened to my professor drone on about something dealing with research I kept repeating the words "make me care. make me care." It didn't work. I didn't. I kept looking at the clock. The hands moved, slowly. I looked at my watch, slower, still. Is a Master's Degree really worth this? I'm not even sure I want to be a librarian, but I'm half-way through so I might as continue on, fighting the good fight, as they say-- whoever they might be. Maybe its this room I'm in that is causing me rant like a friggin lunatic. I'm sitting in the basement of the library. Its over lit, with too many florescent lights. Thre are two Coke Machines, a vending machine that spits out chips if you give correct change, and another small vending machine that has pain killers: Tylenol and such. There are long brown table with six brown chairs with green cushions. The carpet is the color of that old '70's beig. There is a small clock on the wall that says five til four and a rectangular sign that reads Food and drinks are not to be removed from this room-- signed the Gestapo (okay, I made that last part up, my attempt at humor, black though it may be). So here I sit, all broken hearted... oh, wait, that' somthing for the bathroom wall in a seedy establishment. No, I sit here somewhat bemused at it all. I write and rant about this, but yet, I have chosen this. In fact I love everything that's going on in my life. On my fifteen minute break yesterday, I read a couple Psalms from my little leather covered Bible I carry with me in my blue bag. I read Psalm 13 and the last verse, which I think was the nexus for this rant, really stuck with me: "I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me." Indeed, he has. I have been blessed in many ways. I'm just tired and I'm ready for a break. I need to turn off for a while and maybe just rest.

Monday, October 09, 2006

FAiTH from FATHer

My church designates October to be "Pastor Appreciation Month." That's cool. They usually do something nice for the pastors there. This year, though, they have made a big deal about all the pastors that are in their midst. There are three or four. These include at least two retired pastors, of which my father is one of those. My father was in the active ministry from 1962-2002. He was in the parish ministry for 34 of those 40 years. He retired from Bethesda Homes and Services. He had been a chaplin for six years to mentally handicapped adults. It was an amazing ministry. You can read a little about what I wrote about him at the time of his retirement here. I wrote this about his residents and his retirement service.

What brings this up? This stuff about my father. Well, about two weeks ago they had this little presentation at church for the pastors. One of the pastors of my church is, at present, down in Antartica conducting services, he is an Air Force chaplin.

Well, anyway, my dad was called up to the front of the church. And let me tell you, my dad doesn't like that kind of thing to happen, he doesn't like it at all. Then Pastor A's son came up and did a little presentation celebrating his father's ministry, etc. My dad was included in this, too. He got a "small gift" of appreciation. I could see the expression on his face: "I don't want to be doing this," he was afraid they were going to ask him to say something and he doesn't do very well off-the-cuff, sometimes.

I was worried they were going to drag me up there, too. They saw me, I know they did. I was sitting next to my dad when they called him. I was sitting in the pew thinking about what I might say if I got called up there.

The last few weeks they have been doing a sermon series on James (which is fantastic, because I love the book of James). The text for that evening service came from James 2 where James wrote about faith and deeds, etc.

As I sat there, sweating a bit, worried, I started to think about that. Faith. And then I thought about something that I have written about here a few times: "FA TH." What's missing? The "i," one can't have faith with out a personal involvement. Then I thought about this "FATH" what's missing there? "ER."

I am a christian today and Lutheran because of the FAiTH because of my FATHER (my mom, too) but in this case because of my dad. He has been my pastor and my father. Because of his FAiTH I have FAiTH. A direct example of James 2.

I told him that if I had been called up there I was going to say something a like that and he seemed quite pleased about that. Luckily, or maybe sadly, they didn't so my little schpeal was all for naught. But it has been something that has been on my mind for the last few weeks and I just needed to get it out. You know, to air it out and let it fly.

FAiTH from FATHer.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

untitled as yet, perhaps irony

a girl tries to draw me
into a deep metahysical
conversation about john dunne &

my thoughs are elsehere--

contemplating the broken
plasic clock that has
been thrown into the
black rubber garbage can
at me feet the hands stopped
at an angle

she was heavy into
deep thought
& i was contemplating
the end of time--

in this case:
quarter to ten

Friday, October 06, 2006

an old poem for your consideration

hoppeR comes to life on a weD. night
(written on the back of a used book of checks
while waiting in my car for a pizza)


conviencE laundry

a fish bowl of

the pilgrims come
together for the ritual cleaning

the lights blinding
the room

less than sterile
the machines

spin & hum
to themselves

(like monks
at prayer)

as for those in the
fish bowl they

try their best
not to make

eye contact with
their fellow communicants

it is better
that way


a dirty man
walks up to

my car after
a moment’s hesitation

& asks for some change

.75 cents
is all

i have
i hand

it over

he puts
the change

in his pocket
&moves on


in the fish
bowl a student

reads a paper
covered book

his back towards
me & his

head down

looking for

grasping for it
& not knowing

if he has found it
or not

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I did something today that I've never done before. I was an usher in church. I pinch-hit for an usher that had forgotten he was supposed to do readings and help with communion, so, shortly after I sat down I got tapped on the shoulder and was asked if I could fill in. I said "sure." And I got a crash trained-- that is I was given a quick "here's how it goes," it came with a quick diagram and everything. The first task was to take the collection. I muddled my way through that, it looks so much easier to do than it really is. We go every other row and we have to count the people, I was just glad I got through that. Then I had to usher for communion. That entailed being the "gatekeeper." They take 11-14 people at a setting so my partner usher would send em down and I'd keep a running tally, trying to keep families together and not over-fill. I guess it went as smoothly as it can considering I've done anything like that before.

Did I like the experience? Not especially, part of that is because I was unfamiliar with how it goes, but the biggest reason was I was not engaged in the worship service, I was more worried about making sure I was where I needed. I go to churc to worship, not to "work" as it were.

I'll probably do it again, if there is one thing I've noticed that once you get asked and agree to something, its awfully difficult to get out of it. That sounded horrible...

It was alright, a learning experience and certainly was a different view of the worship service. In hind-sight, I think I am glad I did it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Grey Day

Its a grey, wet day. I wonder if this is what's its like England all the time. Grey and wet and humid and raining. The sun hasn't broken the clouds this morning, as a result the crickets still chirp and whir in the yard.

I have to go to work today and I'd rather just stay home. Its just one of those days that demands a couch and a movie, or a couch and a book, maybe a cup of tea and soft jazz blowing quietly from nearby speakers. I don't feel like sleeping, but I feel like curling up and kind of uppping a white flag for the day. I could use a little sun today, just a bit to brighten up the world.

I've been working on school work this morning. I have be dilligent with that or it will get away from me and I'll have to play catch up and I will never win. With that said, it is amazing to me how much of my course work is done on the computer. My professors post their powerpoint presentations on a secure website, the post extra readings and even have an electronic gradebook they can post our grades in. Its an amazing world we live in. I can't even imagine what it must of been like to go to grad school just a few short years ago without this crazy-funky technology we have now. This is an example of the benefits of technology. I've done whole assignments without leaving the comfort of my living room, which if you saw the parking at IUPUI you'd know was blessing of blessings.

So, I sit here in the kichen, with a spent coffee cup, a small white plate with a smattering of left over sesame seeds from my bagel and empty yogurt cup with a metal spoon sticking out listening the rain patter away on the windows and the musician J. Ralph chill out on the radio. Its peaceful and I need that, its good to be in this place right now. To be quiet and contemplative and mentally curled up on a couch reading.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why is There a Beer Semi Next Door?

You know its going to be a cool thing when you see a semi-truck pulled into Military Park across the street from the Law Library and there beer taps sticking out of the side all along the side. Thank God for Irish Fest! With that said the guy who walked up to the beer truck and asked "do you have anything domestic" and then was pleased when he received a Coors Light is, in my humble opinion, out of the club. He has given up his right to call himself a beer drinker.

My quarter Irish blood screamed as I listened to Irish music, drank a Harp (or two) "Ireland for the Irish!"

It was a little weird, though, the day for the Irish is in the middle of March, not September.

But there was a beer semi next door so that made it all better.

Monday, September 11, 2006

smattering nyc pics

We took a
tour of New York City. It cost 50 bucks a person but it was well worth it. We took tours of uptown, downtown and then we took an "evening" tour that went through Brooklyn.

These two pics are taken of
Times Square.

Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.

Just a random downtown picture. That double decker bus is the kind that we were on. I was amazed at how the driver was able to slide that big thing into the smallest itty bitty spaces! Amazing!

The Dakota, where John Lennon was killed. The carvings and craftsmanship on this building was something to behold.

Columbia University. Beautiful campus. I've always heard of Columbia, but I'd never seen it. It was very cool. Very, cool.

My favorite building the
Flatiron Building

I'll post some more soon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


My bed with still life.

My dresser with posters.

My writing desk festooned with detris, flotsum and jetsum. In short, a mess.

A conglomeration of cups, water bottle, and crumb- filled plate on my computer desk.

found poems (moleskin poem)

n/w burgen 1 block
left schuyler ave-->
1/2 mi
left harrison ave
(508)--> 1 mi
merge 280 east-->
1 1/4 mi
3 3/4 mi
rt 3 exit (16w) 3/4 mi
service rd EBound-->
south service

Advisor Playback


rt 3-->

MEADOW lands pkwy-->

The Beginning of Slumber

There is a fat brown spider on the corner of our house. There is small "T," or maybe a cross on its back and underneath a small black patch with two little white dots. I haven't been able to figure out what kind of spider it is, though, I'll admit I haven't done a whole lot of searching, save for flipping through of a couple Audubon-esque guide books. I'm pretty sure it's not a Brown Recluse. Those have little fiddle-like markings on their back. This spide is also very "furry." I must find out what kind of spider it is. If I can I'll try and take a picture of it and post it here.

Speaking of posting, I shall post NYC pics this weekend.

This time of year is probably my favorite. I can already feel the slowing down of nature, the deliberate preperation for winter's great hybernation. The leaves and grass are still green, but the sky has started to turn that dull, gun-metal grey color that signifies the first vestiges of autumn. Within the next few weeks the trees will start to sprout their oranges and reds and yellows. I'll probably have two more good lawn mows before its all over and I'll have to rearrange the storage shed and put the lawn mower further to the back and make the snow shovels more accessable.

This fall I have commenced my 21st and 24th graduate credits. There is a light at the end of this graduate degree tunnel. I'm not a hundred percent sure I really want to do what I'm training to do, but I love the idea of having a Master's Degree-- it was a promise to myself about 16 years ago when I had my first "real job" as a dishwasher whilst I was high school. It feels good to have accomplished what I have so far.

I am continually amazed at how many blessings I have received over the last few years, but I am also very much thankful each one.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


how do you write a
poem about new york city

they have all been written

how do you write about the
ebb & flow of unhumanity
when there isn't ebb

just flow

or the cacophony that echoes
through man-made caverns & canyons
made of steel, concrete,
& glass

how do you quantify the
feeling of your smallness to
its biggness without sounding childish, awe-
filled, & overly-romantic (i fear
i am all three)

there must be a way, but it is
lost to me
i can't begin to grasp it,
though i try

kicking and screaming

I watched Kicking and Screaming the other day. Its about these friends who are in the netherworld of "just graduated from college and trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives" (I should of put hyphens between each of those words, but I I just didn't feel like taking the effort... so, I just typed out that sad digression). They have this existence that kind of floats from one thing to another with the social lubrication of alcoholic libation. They know the should be doing something, but for some reason, what ever that thing is they are not so sure about.

Kicking & Screaming is a movie that is ripe with one liners, they just escape me at the present. For some reason this movie went below my radar when it came out. I don't remember ever hearing about it, I'm sure part of that reason is it was probably an "art house" film or something like that or had a limited distribution. Either way it never crossed my movie going tableau. I bought it sight unseen a few weeks back, after reading about it and reading some reviews, it sounded like a movie I might like because I tend to like those movies that depict wayward college students in the death/life throes of after college angst and hand wringing (Lord knows, I've done more than my fair share of that!)

Is it a good movie? Its not bad, its actually quite enjoyable. It does hit to home that, particularly for anyone who has the "misfortune" of having a "humanities degree" i.e. English, philosophy, history, and the like. We humanitist have to do one of a couple things: learn how to run a drive-through, or get more degrees.

For that reason it is a bit painful to watch.

The acting is okay, but not stellar. Though, Elliott Gould and Eric Stoltz do some fine work in the film. Gould playing the neurotic, Manhattanite, who is seperated from his wife, father type and Stoltz playing the all "knowing" somewhat sarcastic bartender in the local college town divebar. Even Parker Posey of "Wipe that face off your head" fame (from Dazed and Confused shows up-- she plays her typical dumbish, bitchy role that she seems typecast for.

It may not be the deepest of movies, and that's okay but I do think it will lend itself to repeated viewings.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fit like a glove, it did

I went to church for the first time in roughly four weeks, I think. Between going on vacation and working on the weekends (retail's a bitch when you're a church goer) it has been hard to get church. I too advantage today and went. It was the "contemporary" service, which means there were jams more than hymns, but a begger can't be a chooser and the thirsty must drink. It felt good to be in a corporate worship. To hear the Word read as opposed to reading silently.

Hopefully, I'll have next Sunday off so I can have communion (something else I'm in need of).

Monday, August 28, 2006

vishnu-ginsberg & krishna-miles

“howl” still rings in my ears
after a late night drive home
through darkened streets & green
traffic lights

vishnu-ginsberg howls from my
car speakers; i howl with him
gripping the steering wheel
feeling my eyes bug & my knuckles

i feel like shaking my fist at a passerby
thrust it at them & demand a duel
ginsberg this is your fault, you bastard!
peaceful, my ass!

i have the need for whiskey & miles

i have miles, but my whiskey is long gone
consumed long ago my hangover

(half of the poet’s dream:

sleep is not possible
his words (reason unknown)
do this to me i am high
on wordcoke powered
by a zeal

& miles plays on-- fueling my

my hands tremble with

Friday, August 25, 2006


I'm going to admit here, and only here. I've told my friends and my family knows, but none of you know and I suppose, if I'm to be perfectly honest with the world I must confess it here. I'm not ashamed. Really, I'm not, nothing to be ashamed of-- a lot of people did it. I'm not special, I'm just honest.

I paid good American money to see the best marketed film (even if wasn't necessarily marketed by the studio, per se) this year. Yes, I went and paid six hard earned dollar bills to see Snakes on Plane. With that admission, I'm sure I probably lost the only friend I had in the blogosphere. Either that or she'll be jealous and wish she had seen it, too.

The most asked question I get when I tell someone that I saw the movie is this: "So, how was it?" My standard answer is: "It was what it was, I knew exactly what I was gonna get when I got there. It is nothing more than a turn-off-your-brain-leave-your-problems-at-the-door escapism." Its overacted as only the great Samuel L. can overact. Its cheesy in the good Swiss Cheese kind of way and it has just enough pop, violence, contrived sex scene, and punny dialogue to make it a great dorm building movie (much like Showgirls and Twister were when I was kicking back beers with the boys in Behnken Hall at Con-You Austin).

This movie will probably not help you understand the theory of Pi, or even the deeper meaning of the lint in your belly button, but it will do a pretty good job of giving your a brain a much needed mental-lube job.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

if the thirdworstpoet can do it, so can i

I figure that if the thirdworstpoet-- which is in fact totally untrue, she is an amazing poet, writer, and friend-- can write the everyonce and while haiku, so can yours truly.

Both of these were in part inspired by my recent trip to NYC.

Two Haiku-- Nature & Man

tree: man-made nature
broom-like trunk perfect green leaves
stunted bushes, too

steel concrete caverns
exhaust spewed horns bleet lights flash
humanity flows

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Big City

I have been on vacation for the few days. My family and I left Indianapols on the eighth of August. That is my parent's wedding anniversary (35 years married). Our goal was New York City. Our first stop as a small town in Maryland in western Maryland, where I grew up.

We left MD and headed to Secaucus, New Jersey. That is where we are now. We have been in Seacaucus since the tenth. We have been in New York City, Brooklyn, and Bayonne, New Jersey.

I am using my laptop right now. The connection is slow so I'm not going able to add any pics, but I will, when I get home.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me
And on his shoulder gently laid
And home rejoicing brought me.

-- The King of Love My Shepherd Is
(Lutheran Worship 412)

We sang that hymn tonight. That is the third verse, but it is the verse that struck me the most.

Lately, I have been thinking about the word "adoption." I was reading the Bible the recently and read the word "adoption." It was probably in Romans chapter 9, verse 4:

I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

That word "adoption" is key. Adotion means that I was picked. That I was taken. I am an adopted son in the family of God, through Christ, through my Baptism. I am in the family of "grace." I should, by rights, be in the family of "sin." But I was adopted and taken into the loving fold of God's grace.

I am blessed by this adoption. And yet, I disparage it. I do often stray. I do get lost, but for some reason, my shepherd drops everything and comes finds me over and over again. And for that I am thankful.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"I want to get washed up"-- Godspell

253. What great things, then does Baptism give or work?
It works forgiveness of sins;
b. It delivers from death and the devil;
c. It gives eternal salvation.
-- Luther's Small Catechism
I went to church tonight. The last few weeks I have been going to church on Saturday nights as opposed to Sunday mornings. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is I have a class on Saturday that meets all day, so I have to have Saturdays off, the second reason is that the Saturday service is always a traditional service, the Sunday service I usually go to alternates between traditional and contemporary and I can never remember which week is which. So, to keep the confusion down I've been going to the Saturday night service and I have really enjoyed it. Its a bit more intimate than the big Sunday service and I find myself paying attention a bit more closely.

Tonight we had two of my favorite things: a baptism and communion. Both sacraments in one service. It doesn't get much better than that, really. Seeing God's grace in full view, tangible. It was exciting. One of the things I enjoy about worshiping is watching others around me worship, I get much stregnth and pleasure from that. Seeing someone being truly moved gets my light fired up. As I listened to the Baptism liturgy I watched the mother and the father of the little boy being Baptized. The baby's Godparents were holding him over the faunt as Pastor Y poured the water from a silver shell. The baby's parents were a little to the side. Both smiling and the mother kept wiping her eyes and covering her mouth as she cried happily. I don't think I've ever seen that before-- such subtle happiness and faith burning bright like I did tonight.

That subtle display turned my Faith "pilot light" on. In the back of my mind I thought boo-yah, another one for the winning team. And then I thought of the Parable of the lost sheep from Luke 15.
4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Tonight was a good night. Grace was given, received and thanks given.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Survey

Last month, in a fit of hubris, I went bought a new car. Brand new, 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Wonderful car, love it. Runs well, gets decent gas milage, has heated leather seats, power tinted windows-- in short a bit loaded. I'm not bragging, really, I'm not... I got my first monthly bill for it the other day and suddenly a paid off 2000 two door, White Cavalier suddenly looks a wonderful, but the piper must be paid and the bed that hath been made must be laid in. So, I'll reconoiter my finances (again) and commence to pay the sum of approximately 324 dollars a month for the next 70 months of my life.

Now, a few weeks ago I got a survey from Chevy asking me to rate the dealership. And I have been sitting on the survey because I just wasn't very happy with the treatment I got. I almost walked out three times. By the time I was done I was exhausted. I'm not going to get into it, but lets just say it was 6 hours of dickering....

I have the survey filled out, but I'm not sure I'm going to send it. Its not a good report card for them. The survey basically has these choices: completely satisfied, somewhat satisfied, satisfied, not at all satisfied... talk about splitting hairs. I would of rather a 1-10 scale or something. My answers range somewhere between Satisfied and Somewhat Satisfied. The reason I haven't sent the survey back is this: I'm not happy with the choices they give me. Maybe it would be better if I wrote them a letter and told them what it was I didn't like, but I'm too lazy for that and I don't want them bugging me trying to make me like them.

So, the survey sits on my desk, in an envelope waiting to be mailed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Indiana Weather

There is something about a thunderstorm that swoops down on you. Those dark clouds, loud crashes of thunder, bright flashses of lightening and the sheet of rain that comes with it. Then, there is the small pebble sized hail that bounces off the windows and the skylights in the kitchen. Its then that the whole "man, I'm but a little cog in this great unkown" kind of starts to kick in. Of course its really a lot of fun when the special "weather radio" we got from H.H. Gregg starts to sqwak and then the computer generated voice tells us that "the world will end in ten minutes" and then "hurry up, please... its time" and then the world descends upon you with thunder, lightening, rain, and hail. Yes, that's just a lot of fun... have I mentioned how much I enjoy Indiana weather? Tis a blast.

Friday, July 14, 2006

American Gods

The last couple days I have been reading the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Its a rather thick book somewhere around 500 pages, or so. I'm about halfway through it. I'm not exactly sure what it is all about, it has something to do with "forgotten gods," that is mythical gods of various peoples such as Native Americans, but also immigrant groups and the like. In the book it seems that these gods are personified. The main character, Shadow, interacts with them. There seems to be a war or verybad conflict brewing, but I'm not sure between who and over what. Hopefully that wee dilemna will be cleared up with the next 250 pages.

There is another aspect of the book that I do find quite fascinating. In Europe there are sacred places, you know, churches and cathedrals. These things have a certain religious quality to them. According to Mr. Wednesday, the other character in the book, in America holy and sacred places are roadside attractions and tourist attractions-- maybe better said "kitschy power," or something along those lines, though according Mr. Wednesday Disney World has none of this sacred power, Walt Disney Land might, but Mount Rushmore is lousy with it. So I assume a place like Graceland might be the motherload or something.

Its a good book, I suppose, but I think Mr. Gaiman is a bit wordy. I've been chugging through the book for a couple days. I'm not sure if I like it or not, and I think part of that is from the fact that I'm not sure I understand all of it. My knowledge of "gods" isn't what I would call "vast," but I shall endevour to march on through, perhaps the ending punch will all be worth it.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Thoughts on a Rubiks Cube

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
-- James 2: 8-11

The other day my dad and I went to an Indaianapolis Indians baseball game. It was
Rubiks Cube night. The first umpteen-thousand people got a Cube. We sat down and I looked at the Cube, thinking about how much I didn't want to start spinning it because I'd never get it back together again. I've never been able to fix the Rubiks Cube once its been screwed up, so I left it in its shrink wrapped state.

A few minutes later a man and his little boy were climbing the stairs to get a hotdog or something and the little kid, probably no more than four or five, was walking carefully up the stairs and trying to solve the Cube. I chuckled as he walked by and his dad said "I told him not mess with it."

I didn't think anything of it until last night.

I must admit, here, that I have been remiss. I haven't taken time for personal Bible study in weeks. Absolute weeks. Sure, I'll even give you the usual excuses, ready? I've been too busy: work, school, sleeping and eating. I just couldn't fit it in. A day or two ago, it hit me that I hadn't had any personal one on one God-time in awhile, aside from Sunday mornings. So, before I went to bed I read a little bit of the book of James. I read James when I need a pickmeup, if you will. There is alot in there that really "speaks" to me.

I read the verses above last night and had a mini-epiphany. The Law is like a Rubiks Cube. In one way we do our best to keep it. We try and say "I follow the Ten Commandments to the letter..." etc, etc. And yet, somehow or another we fall. We each have our, as Paul called them, "thorns." There is that one thing that gets us, time and time again-- a part of the Cube is messed up. So, we try and fix that Cube and what happens... we mess it up worse.

I remember when I was a kid and the Rubiks Cube was the hottest toy on the planet, save for the Gabbage Patch Doll; there were competitions to see who could fix the Cube the fastest. I was amazed at the speed and agility those people had. Amazing.

This Rubiks Cube website has a neat fixture on it: there is a "solve" function. After you scramble that cube up and work on it for a few minutes trying to put it back together again, you can just give up, click "solve" and boom... the cube solves itself... isn't that kind of what Grace does? Isn't that kind of what Grace is all about? After we've mucked up God's great "cube," if you will we can be confident that through Jesus Christ that "cube" is solved and made perfect. We don't have to worry about the discombobulated cube.

Thinking back to that little boy's dad who said to me "I told him not to mess with it" I find myself wondering does God think that, too? I told them not to mess with it." Then His Son says: "It's okay, dad, I fixed it." And our Cube is solved.

Perfect-- just like us through Grace.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A non-rant directed towards the Goosesteppers and the Petters

I had this big rant in my head that I was going unleash here in this blog. It was all about the Goosestepping, my-way-or-the-highway "conservative" and the flighty, where-doth-the-wind-me-this-day "liberal" elements of this here LCMS. And how the center-of-the-road, leave-me-alone-and-let-me-worship guy that I am has grown tired of both.

I was going let loose a barrel or two of invective on those who are whining and pouting because their guy, whoever that might of been lost the last election for Synodical President and how much I wish they should shut their collective yaps, put their respective noses back into joint and hope they don't burn them on the ceiling lights and get back to the business of saving souls.

And after I got done with them, I was going to reload and let fly with some rhetorical buckshot on those that have worked dilligently to waterdown, campify, and P.C.-ify the Lutheran liturgy. I was going to be sarcastic in thanking them for that and asking if they might have a some more "I love Jesus" songs that I can sing so that I might do a good job of "petting" Jesus instead of worshipping him.

But, its late, I just got off of work and the frustration I had evaporated as soon as I got out of the car and got to stretch my legs a bit and I got thinking, "you know, why go there; you'll offend both sides and I just don't feel like dealing with either side."

So, I think I'll just put in my game six of the 1986 World Series DvD and watch as Billy Buckner flubs that ground ball. That's more fun any way.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Music to Rock By

The funny thing about Toccata is that as I listen to it I imagine Bach being very angry when he wrote it. For some reason it comes across as being an angry piece of music, at the very least a very dark piece. I am totally enthralled with it. I've heard it before, but I've never been able to hit repeat again and again. And with my new-car stero system (a Pioneer, six speaker) it goes Boom, or at least Bang.

I'm sure I've gotten some funny looks from folks as they look over at my car and I'm playing air-organ on my steering wheel at a traffic light.

Thethirdworstpoet noted me saying that she prefers Beethoven to Back. I enjoy Beethoven alot, too. The Ninth Symphony is, in my opinion, a God inspired piece. The piece takes me places no other piece of music can. Everytime I listen to it I am uplifted. The Fifth is good, too, isn't that dumb phrase "the Fifth is good, too" (what a rube I am), but it doesn't transport me like the Ninth. The other Beethoven Symphony that gets me is the Pastoral symphony, the Sixth. That one... wow.

Vivaldi's Four Seasons is another piece of music that just grabs ahold and won't let go. I think Winter is my favorite portion of that, its either Winter, or Fall. The whole is amazing, though.

I can't forget the 1812 Overture, either. Nope. That one has a special memory place in my heart. When I was a kid I used to live across the Hudson River from West Point and every summer they had a concert series. Every Labor Day weekend they would have a big 1812 Overture concert that included three or four howitzer batteries firing blanks at the right times... to an nine or ten year old you can't get much better than that.

Monday, June 19, 2006


The other day after work I bought a two cd set of Bach organ music. The first two tracks are, of course, the requisite Toccata & Fugue in D minor. Even if you don't what it is you've all heard it, at least the opening strains of it: think horror movie, or Munsters. I think they used it often. I have to chuckle over the Toccata, though. Every single disk I looked at that dealt with Bach's organ music had at least some form of it recorded be it parts or the whole thing. The other thing about the whole Toccata thing is that Bach wrote them as a way to "test drive" organs. He put the organs through their paces to see what they could do. That is one reason why they are so dare i say it: "fancy."

What's even funnier is this: as I'm driving down the road, my windows are open and I have Bach going... I've gotten some interesting looks from people beside me at traffic lights.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ez. 25:17, or something like that...

I have decided that this man is a much better Christian than I am. His name is Michael Berg. His son,
Nicholas Berg, was decapitated. This decapitation was filmed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a leading figure in the Al Quieda terrorist group.

Zarqawi was killed yesterday by bombs dropped on a safe house. This article on Yahoo talks all about it.

I'm sorry, if someone decapitates my son and tapes it they deserve the wrath of God, or at the very least the wrath of United States military.

I'd say that was a job well done. Nice aim, guys. Thanks.


kyle30003This is my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. I bought it on Tuesday. Circumstances with my old car were such that it was time for a new car. Needless to say, I'm still a bit shocked and dismayed that I am now driving a brand new car, it has 166 miles on it. The car, that I call Kyle, came off the lot with 7 miles on it (the irony is that my first car also only had 7 miles on it when I pull IT off the lot).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

How Does Something Like This Happen?

A few weeks ago there was a terrible accident just outside of Indianapolis. It involved a semi-truck and a school van carrying a group of college kids and a college faculty member. The accident killed three of the students and the faculty member. One of the students, a girl survived. The girl that survived was in a coma. The other students were had funeral services and were buried.

Here is the sad/crazy part. It turns out that one of the girls they thought was dead is actually a live and the coma. The girl they thought was in the coma is dead. In short, the girl that was buried is the wrong girl. The girl they thought was dead is, in fact, alive. I just read about it on Yahoo. Here is what (Indianapolis Star online) has to say about it.

I've been trying to wrap my brain around this one all night. I'm not sure I understand how something like this can happen. If it had been a movie it would never be believable.

Imagine the heartache and pain the families feel. So, if any of my readers can explain this to me in short, simple sentences feel free.

Here Laura VanRyn's family. She is the girl that was misidentifed as being alive.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Me Mets!

I bought the 1986 World Series on DVD the other day from I got it in the mail yesterday and watched game 6 of the NCLS last night while I drank beer and ate pizza. What fun! I had forgotten two things... how ugly the Astros uni's were and 2. How lucky the Mets were that year.

Speaking of the '86 Mets; remember playing baseball on the Old Skool Nintendo? Little block figures singing funky brown lines for bats? You might of already seen this, maybe. Some guy got creative and recreated one of the craziest plays in baseball... Bill Buckner's flub up in game six of the 1986 World Series using the Nintendo baseball game. I haven't the foggiest as to how he did it, but it really is well done and pretty funny, too. Its down below, I got it from youtube. Its about eight minutes long, but alot of fun.

Being a Mets fan is not very easy, particularly here in the middle of the country when I am surronded by Cubs fans... I have a unrational dislike of the Cubs. I can't stand them. The only time I watch the Cubs on WGN is when they are playing the boys from NY!

Well, game one is awaiting.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some Hoosier So'jers Havin Some Fun

This is great. Read about it this morning in the Indiapolis Star. Had to share it. Click on it and enjoy the good laugh.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fears Around, Grace Abounds

image taken from here.
People:We confess to You and before one another that we have fallen short of Your glory and call to us iin Christ. We have broken Your commands, and left undone works of love that please You and serve others. We have neglected Your Word and prayer, nad ahve failed to trust You at all times and places. For the sake of Christ, forgive us and rew or hears by Your Spirit, that we may delight in Your will and walk in YOur ways, to the glory of Your holy name.

Pastor: God sent His innocent Son into our world to be made sin for us. By His death He forgave the world; and by His resurrection He restores us to newness of life. It is my privilege and delight, to assure that all sins are forgiven in teh name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Put your faith in Him, and receive His lifechanging grace.
(from the bulletin of Calvary Lutheran Church, Saturday 5/6/06

I needed those words last night. I did. I needed them badly. After the confession and absolution I found myself thinking about Cheap Grace and I asked myself if I was doing nothing more than practicing Cheap Grace on myself. Do my words, as I speak them before God, sound hollow to him? James hits the nail on the head when he writes "We all stumble in many ways." (James 3:2) I have a black and blue spiritual big toe from all the stumbling I have done.

Bonhoeffer writes this:
Cheap grace means grace as doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian "concept" of God.... In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace there fore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.... Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can reamin as it was before.

I don't know about all of you, but sometimes I find myself reveling in sin. Bathing in it and ingesting it. Speaking sin, watching sin, actively engaging in sin. I find myself doing this with the quiet thought I am forgiven! I doesn't matter! Paul writes this in Romans 2; "But because of your stubornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgement will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done." (vv 5,6). I know the Jesus was not sacraficed so that I would have an eternally punched ticket to do what I wanted when I wanted.

Didn't our own Martin Luther told us to sin boldly, right? Well, your friends and mine over at Purpose Driven Drinking have this to say about that. In this post Walther's 19th Thesis (XIX) from his work The Proper Distinction Between Law & Gospel is highlighted. So, I got my copy of Law and Gospel and read it.

...ask any person who has all the critereia of a true, living Christian whether he has experienced all the things of which he speaks, and he will asnwer in the affirmative, telling you that, after experience the terror which God sends to a sinner whom He wantes to rescue, he had an experience of the sweetness of God's grace in Christ....Again, he will also telly that, spite of the fact that he knows he has obtained grace, he is frequently seized with fright and anguish at the sight of the Law.
(p. 138).

And I was lead to the following Biblical references that I have read before, highlighted, underlined, and starred... but at a time like this have special signifigance. The first comes from Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 5, verses 1-10):
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

and then this, from Psalm 103:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

So, again, I am reminded that I am forgiven. That I should have no fear of sin and feel comfort in Justification I receive from God through Christ.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Subtle Blessings

I mowed the lawn for the first time this season today. I cleaned out the small shed we have next to our house. I got the oil changed and the tires rotated on my car. I finished reading a book that broke my heart. I didn't need to be remined of the horrible 90 loss season the New York Mets had in 1992. In short, I had a great day.

I quite enjoyed not having to worry about work or school. I had the day off from work and I'm in between semesters at school.

As I write this evening has set in. The sun is slowly falling behind the trees and there is a nice gentle breeze blowing through the open window to my right.

This kind of a day is a blessing. Its a subtle, but powerful one. Sometimes just being able to slow down and enjoy everything is a gift. I think that I forget about the little blessings. They get overshadowed by the tests and temptations of every day life. But these quiet blessings are sometimes the most enjoyable and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


So, Concordia Publishing House has started the marketing campaign for the new Lutheran hymnal, but don't get it mixed up with THE Lutheran Hymnal, aka Ye Olde Standby. No, this one as been given the name of The Lutheran Service Bookm hows that for a title!

A few days ago we got a small booklet that highlighted the new Service Book. Looks like it will be a pretty thing. I'm wondering how many congregations will purchase it. I'm particularly curious as to how many congregations actually really still use pew editions of any hymnal (be it TLH or LW). My church has the whole service contained in the bulletin.

This brings up an interesting thought, too. On 26 April 2006 Aardie wrote
"It's Mine! Leave It Alone! He was writing about a little known day called Intellectual Property Day. Since I am studying Library Science I do have an interest in this topic, too. Towards that back of the booklet detailing the Service Book is a whole page dealing with "liscences." It appeas that CPH has got a computer program that allows pastors to point and click portions of the service to put into their bulletins. You have to buy a liscense for that. It all depends on the size of the congregation. The smaller the congregation, the less the cost.

As I was reading through the booklet I found myself becoming slightly irked. I can't put my finger on it, though. I don't know why I was getting upset. I think maybe it was the slickness of the thing. Maybe its the cost. I think what really got my goat was the last page. The "fundraising" page. I quote:
While the purchase of a new hymnal represents significant expense, it is important to remember that this is long-term investment that will serve the people of God for decades to come. Covering the costs of new humnasl can be accomplished in several ways. Some congregations, for example, will include the costs in their annual budget. In other cases, experience shows that people are often very willing to give humnals in memory or in honor of loved ones. In many cases, careful preparation and a little creative thinking will go a long way toward acquiring and introduction this new worship resource.

I'm not really sure why that paragraph bothers me, but there is, I dunno, a certain amount of "salesmanship" there that I don't appreciate.

I'd be curious to read what all of you think.

Blessings to all

I Got This in the Mail Today

A few months back I saw an advertisement on a bilboard that said something about "get a free Koran" and provided a web address,either that, or I was lead the web address through David's blog-- I really don't remember; but being the curious sort that I am and any time I see the word "free" attached to a book of any kind I get all geeked out, I went to the website, filled in the information requested (name and address) and figured no harm done. I promptly forgot about it until today.

When I got home from work there was a large box wating for me on the kitchen table. The return address said the box was from an organization called CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations. I opened the box. Inside was a magnificent copy of the Koran (Quran). The picture of it is on the left, and here is a description of it. Its a pretty heavy book. It weighs a ton. Has beautiful pages and great Arabic calligraphy reporductions.

The presentation is much like you'd find in a self-study bible, or maybe a parallel Bible. The original script is one corner, a transliteration is another and on ther left side of the page is the English "translation." Enclosed was a short type written page giving me some directions as to the care and keeping of my new Quran. These include reading it with clean hands, not reading near a toilet, or near a wet area, and don't put it on the floor. Bibles should come with such directions.

I think what I find so amazing is that beauty of the book. On it goes for 55 bucks. I got it for free! I'll read it, maybe not all of it, but I'll read some of it. And it will go on my bookshelf. I think it is important to have something like this.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

*breath deeply and sigh contentedly*

I went to church last night which was both a good and bad thing. One of the reasons I went to church last night was that this morning is confirmation Sunday and there will be 21 grade A-1 young Loofrins getting their "wings" as it were. I don't necessarily need to sit through that, that's probably very wrong on my part, but oh, well.

A good thing that came out of it was I was able to sleep in this morning. I didn't realize how tired I have been and that 10 hours of sleep I got last night felt absolutely wonderful.

I tried to watch some of the football draft to be cool like Dan the Miz-an over at Necessary Roughness but I discovered that I just don't care that much. Watching the NFL Draft is like watching slow drying paint dry... the second day is worse of all. The big headed sportscasters get too bigheaded and shwaffle... and my eyes roll around in my head. I sat through four picks and turned it off. I'll catch all the picks in the USAToday tomorrow. If you want my honest opinion, though, I think Reggie Bush will flame out in a couple years.

I am unabashedly reading books for fun at present. I have, I think, four books going right now. One of the books I'm reading right now is The Wort Team Money Could Buy. It's all about the 1992 Mets... I'd actually done a pretty good job of forgetting that team and sadness it brought me my senior year of highschool... oh, the horror, the horror... It has been fun reading for pleasure again and not feeling guilty about it and thinking I should be doing some school work right now.

But I don't have to do school work right now because the semester is over! Whoo-hoo... (sorry, I needed to do that).

On a sadder note, though, I must give my condolences to my friend 'Bek on the death of her mother after a long illness. Peace and blessings to you and your family,'Bek.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

be still

The last four weeks have been too busy. My life has been filled with work and school. I have been a part of opening a new bookstore and have been putting in almost 40 hours a week there and then I have also been continuing my grad work and I've been fitting in that work where I can. Between those two things, sleeping, and eating I have had very little time for anything else. Sundays have been my only saving grace and even then I have only really allowed myself an hour to go to church. My faith is strong, but is not as bright as it usually is. To be truthful, I've been so busy that I seem to have relegated God to a little corner.

Easter came and went. I remember going to services, but that's it. I missed Easter. That's too bad. I mean I wrote about, I think, but I can't really remember if I connected with anything. I have been going in twelve different directions. Its amazing how quickly life gets in the way and befoe I realized it my faith had been left behind.

I just finished my last project for the semester-- a collection development plan for a fictitious library. As I finished and saved it my cat jumped on my lap and invaded the space between me and my computer. I had no choice but to lean back in my chair. As I leaned back the words of the Psalms came to mind:

Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God..."


"Be still before the Lord and wait
patiently for him..." Psalm 37:7

I kind of needed to hear those words tonight. The word "still" fits nicely this evening. "The Lord leads me beside quiet (still) waters..." Psalm 23.

It feels good to be stopped and resting. Taking a bit of a Sabbat, as it were. Listening to quiet music on the radio...

The last few weeks have been tough for me here, too. I can't tell you how many times I tried to write something in this blank, white box and sat being thwarted by the cursor. Its not that I didn't have anything to say, I just didn't know how to string the words together.

So, there it is.

I'm tired. My faith needs a good shot in the arm. I need some good quiet, peaceful, contemplative time with me and the Word. I need to re-teach myself how to pray. I need to relax. I need to turn off my brain.

I need to be still for a while, but not silent.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

*Deep breath*

The process is almost over. I work for Barnes & Noble and am presently engaged in the process of opening a new store. The store officially opens on wednesday the 26th of April. It has been quite a process. Imagine, if you will, filling a completely empty store with books, cd, dvds, and other odds and ends that make up a Barnes & Noble. It has been a lot of work, but a heck of a lot of fun.

School is almost over, at least for awhile, I'll be taking two summer courses this summer.

The sun is shining. Baseball is being played. And the celebration of the Resurection continues!

I love Spring.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

the Jesus Noggin

I call this my "Jesus Noggin" necklace. I wear it everyday. It once belong to my father, he got it as a gift from his brother for either Christmas or a birthday, I don't remember which. It is probably close to 50 years old. My dad wore this all the time when I was a kid. Any picture you see of him you can see the little Jesus head shine from his chest. But one night a cat we had chewed through the necklace that the little head was on. The necklace broke and the pendant fell into my dad's lap. He put it in a jewlery box and there it stayed for a long time.

When I went to seminary I asked my dad if I could have it. We went out and bought a new chain, got it all shined up and I started wearing it. I don't usually wear it outside of my shirt. It tends to get in the way with my nametag at work, but the slight weight it gives me on my chest is reassuring. Sometimes, though, I look at it and I think "Hmm, that's only part of the story, there's more to it than just a crown of thorns." (I feel the same way when I see a crucifix. But somewhere in the back of mind a little voice says that remembering that part of the story is just as important as remembering the end of the story (or is it the beginning?)

This little necklace means a lot to me. I almost lost it once. The pendant had fallen off, but luckily I felt it slide down my chest. It is actually quite heavy and I can't wear it at night when I sleep, the edges kind of sharp and cause a bit of pain if I roll over on it.

So, I wear it. Daily to remind me of my faith, but it also reminds me of the faith my parents have and I thank God that the faith my parents have was given to me.


The sounds of Easter hymns still echo in my mind: "Jesus Christ is Risen Today," "Crown Him with Many Crowns," and "Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds." The altar was bedecked with Easter lilies. The organ sounded particularly beautiful today. The choir sang better than normal. The joyful feeling of promise fulfilled was in the air.

Easter! The day of the Resurection of our Lord! The greatest of all blessings.

Friday, April 07, 2006

So Judas wrote a book, a gospel they call it. In this gospel it is said that Judas didn't betray Jesus. You see, you can't betray someone who wants to be given up! No, instead Judas introduced Jesus to the Jewish/Roman mob. I can see it now:

Judas: Hey, guys, I want to introduce you someone.

Mob: Nice to me you...

Jesus: Likewise, I'm sure...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Here's How My Thought Process Works

I've always had a problem with some of the "traditions" attached to Lent. I've never quite been down with the whole "giving something up" thing. Nor, am I totally cool with the "no hallelujah" thing either. It seems to me that if there is any time of the year we SHOULD be singing Hallelujahs is now. I mean, come on, some guy who I don't know, and I've never met, took my place and let himself be NAILED to a piece of wood so that he could die, be buried in a tomb and then three days later be raised from the dead. Yeah, lets talk about that for a minute shall we? Can I get a "whoa, buddy" out there somewhere. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around that; its all about the faith, then, huh?

Let's talk about that crucifiction, shall we? I think its important to note that the word "excruciating" is an indication of the pain, why? That word was coined to describe the pain one experienced. It means, literally, "from the cross." Spikes were nailed just below the wrist. To us today, that is part of the arm, but to the Hebrews the hand went from the elbow to the tips of the fingers.The reason for that was simple: if they put the spike through the hand the muscles would rip and the victim would fall off the cross. The wrist bones were strong enough for the weight of a body. I have seen pictures of a body of a crucifiction victim that was found during an archioligical dig. The nails/spikes were still intact and by the wrist bone.

The scurging Jesus recieved from the Romans would of caused him to lose a lot of blood to begin with along with pieces of flesh and muscle. It wasn't unusual for bone to be exposed after such a scurging. No wonder Roman citizens weren't allowed to be flogged.

The heavy purple robe they put on Jesus would of been sucked into the wounds like a bandaid... when they ripped it off of him as it says in the Scriptures it would of been like ripping off a huge scab. You know how much it hurts when you take a bandage off a cut finger or knee... I can't even begin to imagine how gory this whole process was, I don't want to, though, Mel Gibson did the best he could with his snuff film a few years ago.

Jesus probably, though I don't know for sure, died from blood loss, exhaustion, with some dehydration thrown in for good measure. Most of those who died on the cross didn't die so much from the blood loss, but from the suffication. They legs would buckle (or be broken) and they wouldn't be able to stand up and the dead weight of their body would press down on to their chest cavity, they wouldn't be able to lift themselves and their lungs would be unable to get any air. In short, the victim wouldn't be able to breathe. I have read that some victims of crucifiction would lanquish for days. That's why the criminals legs were broken, to speed up the process. That was a gift.

Generally, victims of crucifiction were left on their cross after death to be picked over by vermin and birds. That was one of the reasons why crucifiction was done outside of the city walls, another reason was to kind of serve as notice to those coming into the city that should do the best they could to behave themselves. Call it a graphic warning of "this, too, could happen to you..."

Today, in church the Old Testement lesson came from Numbers 21 (Moses makes a bronze snake and any one who looks at it was healed from snake bites) and the New Testement lesson came from John 3:14-21. I have read those before and made the connection, but what struck me today was John 3:14 "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up." As a former English major I see symbolism in that, in one way you can read it as being lifted up to heaven, but in another its being lifted up after being nailed to the cross and being put on display. That is what got me. Jesus was put on display for a reason, to be mocked, but it was through that display that something much more important and fascinating happened. As I look at that broken, bloodied body that was nailed to wood I am healed and strengthened. My sin is taken from me and put on Him. I, a guilty man, am made innocent through the blood of an innocent man.

Explain to me again why I shouldn't be singing Hallelujah's during Lent?