Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wanna have fun with George?

Click here to have fun with George. This is especially good if you have no other way to deal with your frustration with him.

To move him, hold down your left mouse button and drag, throw, and otherwise watch him do his thing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Now Here's a Brilliant Idea

Someone is working on developing a $100 computer for kids. Using older technology, the inventer hopes to create a laptop for school children. The computer even has a handcrank to charge the battery cells for use. His idea sprang up when he worked for an overseas company giving laptop computers to children in poor villages.

You can read the entire article here.

What a great idea!

I found this sad posting this morning

The writer of this email was lamenting his church's refusal to accept him.

"I have been abandoned at many times in my life. By friends who didn't want to associate with a "fag." By family members who couldn't deal with having a gay relative. By coworkers and associates who wondered every time I had a cold or took a sick day, if I finally had that "gay disease." Through it all I've always had faith in my church and the old saying that everything happens for a reason. I would often lie in my parents' backyard at night, looking up at the stars knowing there was a higher power and someday the answers would all be revealed to us. But now, the abandonment I feel from my church is almost too much to handle. What do I have left? The stars didn't look real to me last night. My church has told me the stars are not for me, they are for straight people only."

No, Georgie, No!

I found this silly children's book over on The summary of the books says,

This is a book about a President named George who has a dream. In this dream, George becomes a little boy, and he meets a Truth Fairy who is trying to teach him lessons about How to not manipulate the Media, How to treat Veterans, How to be honest, How to be respectful with families who have lost soldiers in war, How to go to War only when necessary, How not to label people as Boogeymen, How not to invade countries, How to control greed, How to hold fair elections, and How to behave as a leader. Though there are political lessons and footnotes for people to learn more, the ultimate lesson in the 32 paged hard cover children's style 81/2" x 11" book is that we are all connected; we are all one. On his journey while playing the game of "Let's Imagine" with the Truth Fairy, the young boy George learns many other lessons, including the fact that it is up to each of us to create the person we are becoming.

Monday, September 26, 2005

March for Peace, Washington DC

On Saturday, several members of the church and I went by bus to Washington, DC for the March for Peace. It was an incredible opportunity to see how many people are truly against our president's imperialism and flagrant misuse of power and authority--and most of everyone's angst was directed to the War in Iraq.

There was so much energy and inspiration at the rally. Men and women, young and old, turned out to protest. A few of the protesters were veteran protesters, looking all hippied up and probably still smoking pot and living in their vans (which is cool in a whole different kind of way). Many of the young protesters were part of much larger crowds, some may have know exactly why they were there, others seemed to be glad to just be there.

One interesting and noticable element that was missed were people of color. I did notice a much larger contingent of Hispanic Americans that was represented by other minorities. However, the ratio of caucasions to persons of color was unmistakingly noticeable. I do not know why this was so- and I can only speculate, which I'll do in another post.

Still, the Saturday event was wonderful. I had hoped to blog by phone while I was there but a glitch in the mechanics prevented that from happening. I will further explore that glitch, because I still don't know how it happened.

You can read more about what happened by people a lot more vehemently opposed (and more articulate) than I am by pointing your browser here over to

Friday, September 23, 2005

It's fixed! Woo-hoo!

My bathroom ceiling has been fixed and the whole thing repainted. And, I have a new bathroom light fixture (which looks really nice).

Of course, there is paint everywhere (on the tiles, mirrors, and floors), the super wasn't as careful as I'd've liked; but hey, it's fixed!! Woo-hoo!

Calling for Free

I found this interesting website that lets you make free online phone calls. All you gotta do is download the software, load it, and then talk with other users using the same program. Simple enough, right? I haven't done it yet but if you do, then I'll have someone to call.

When Panic Sets In

Wow, what a crazy morning I have had. Lat night, my email client, Mozilla Thunderbird, began to act like a schizophrenic doing many things all at once and yet getting nothing accomplished. I tried to fix it last night; thinking it was just some internal glitch. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I went to bed hoping everything would be right in the morning. Well, it wasn't and I've been working on it since 7am (it's not just past noon).

Relieved that I have finally fixed the problem as well as losing the last 6 months worth of email has me thinking how dependant I've become on email and the inherent stress involved with such dependancy. I won't go into a diatribe about how good the good old days were without email because that would simply be silly and, it'd be something that I truly wouldn't believe. Email and the internet has changed what I do for the better and there is no argument that can convince me otherwise.

So my concern isn't over email, its really just about what happens to the body and mind when dependancy is involved. Take this morning for instance, when I couldn't access my email. Sure, I could go online to access it but I have many emails I needed to respond to this morning from this past week. And the horror associated with losing all those emails really took about a year off my life (turning 40 has me concerned about turning 80).

Stress and anxiety seem to rob my comfortablility; and when things don't go just the way they are supposed to go, I become unraveled. I unraveled this morning and am just now beginning to restring my sense of self back together again. As I pull the strings tight, I am wondering how I might restring myself so I don't freak when such unraveling occurs.

The Bible reminds me to, "Trust in the Lord with all your might and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge God and God will make your pathway sure." I think of this verse and wonder exactly how to carry out such a mindset. Do I adopt a willy-nilly "It's all in the Lord's hands" attitude when confronted by stress? Or, do I treat it as a reminder to just calm down and realize when things seem out of control, to simply turn to God and say, "HHhhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeellllllllppppp!!!"? Perhaps I could use lower-case letters in my plea for divine intervention.

I know a lot of people who take expensive psychotic drugs to help them control their anxiety. Sure, they have out of control anxiety about everything, not just a once-in-a-while email problem. They need their medication; I wonder what I can do to help myself not freak out with those once-in-a-while problems. I guess I need to do more thinking about this- do you have any ideas?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I thought this was kind of pretty, in a ghetto kind of way

It's here!

It's finally out: the movie trailer for the upcoming movie release of the hit Broadway musical Rent. I have seen the Broadway show about 7 times and seeing it (for the first time) is one of those few life experiences that I consider as something that changed my life. It really is a powerful experience. Part of me worries that the movie might lose some of the magic- however, the movie version is using most of the original case members, so hopefully the magical spark will remain.

The story line is a take off from the opera Le Boheme. The movie, like the Broadway show, is set in the East Village of New York City in the early 1990s. The story features a group of friends battling AIDS (some are gay, but most are not) and others whose lives are affected by their friend's struggle.

I hope you'll get a chance to see the movie; honestly not everyone I know was affected by it like I was. I have friends who saw the Broadway show and hated it. But I sure loved it, maybe you will too. If you want a more detailed analysis and some nifty downloads, go to

Now THIS is interesting...

I found a way to drive a brand new free car. Now, I doubt I'll actually do this but it is interesting. You pay for insurance and gas, and they give you a free car to drive. And the car is brand new. What's the catch? There is one, you know.

Go here to find out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Now wouldn't THIS be the coolest thing ever to own?!

It's a school bus converted into a camper, complete with roof deck and funky fish painted on it. It makes me want to grow long hair and a beard, wear peace crosses and tye dye shirts. Check it out by going here. (Scroll down to see pictures of the bus.) And, it's only $5000. It sounds like a steal especially if you're even a wee bit nerdy.

Another Funny Joke

A man, his wife, and his mother-in-law went on vacation to the Holy Land. While they were there, the mother-in-law passed away.

The undertaker told them, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150.00."

The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.

The undertaker asked, "Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your mother-in-law home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and spend only $150.00?"

The man replied, "A man died here 2000 years ago, was buried here,and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can't take that chance."

Dylan's Lectionary Blog

There is this lady who puts her sermons online. Like many of us in the mainstream Protestant tradition, we follow the lectionary. Her sermons are always based on them and the way she looks at the readings is always refreshing and thoughtful.

Here is this week's sermon. I hope you enjoy it.

Recommend Books Update

I finished reading the wonderful book, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. It was such a wonderful read! The story is set in South Africa and it is about a woman who opens up a detective agency in the town of Botswana. Mma Ramotswe is a detective in a way that blends Agatha Christie with Aunt Bea from Mayberry. It is charming, wholesome, and funny.

To Kill a Mockingbird is just a wonderful classic of American literature. The style in which it is written, both folksy and yet 'bright eyed' as retold through the voice of a young woman, is simply the best storytelling ever put on paper. Has it been awhile since you read it? Do you think of the movie more than the words in the book? (Honestly, I had to fight off those images as I read the story again.) If you're looking for a book to read on a stormy Saturday afternoon, then this book might just be what you're looking for.

I now have two new books to read. One, that I started on yesterday is Splintered Icon. It tells the story of a bookseller who has to appraise a valued manuscript only to discover that hidden in its pages is a terrible secret conspiracy that is still unraveling after centuries, and "processing the unimaginable power to literally change history and splinter it forever." I love a good book like this (in the Dan Brown vein) but unfortunately the writing isn't that good. Hopefully it'll pick up here soon.

My other book that I bought on Monday is called The Boys in the Brownstone. According to the book jacket, it is the story of "a hilarious comedy of manners about a group of gay men who don't fit in anywhere except a bar they call home." Also, the book's author is a friend of a friend of mine, and I was told that the book was really good. So, I bought it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

When Some People Require a Push

Okay, so it's almost 11am in the morning. I've been up since about 6:30am but I haven't been coherant since about 9am when the super knocked on the door and said, "I am here to fix your ceiling." You see, the ceiling in my bathroom has partially caved in. And, its been leaking water for the past 4 months. So, today, unannounced, he shows up to say, "I am here to fix your ceiling."

I called my boss and he said that it was okay that I stay home today. I will need to call him back though, the super found another leak (and showed it to me) and he thinks it'll take another day to repair everything (today to fix the leak, tomorrow to fix my ceiling).

I had asked my super to fix my leaky ceiling 4 months ago. And, I've asked him to fix it over a dozen times since then. Each time, he says, "I'll get to it on Monday." When Monday rolls around, he is no where to be found. I see him on Tuesday and ask, "Where were you and when are you going to fix my leaky ceiling?" Each time he says, "Monday, I'll fix it next Monday." But he never shows up!

So, I've called the management company who manages the apartment building, they never return my call. I've written letters to them and the company that handles my rent payments. I've heard nothing. So, I gave deadlines and partial irritated threats like, "If you don't fix my ceiling, I am going to call the City's Housing Department." And still that didn't work either.

So finally, I called the City's Housing Department. They came and inspected the ceiling and were aghast that it hasn't been fixed yet. So, a week later, my super shows up and says, "I am here to fix your ceiling."

It's amazing how some people operate and what it takes to get them to do their job. I mean, I am sympathetic to my super (he is always busy running this way and that; working on apartment leaks all day). But still, he could give me a day he's going to fix it and then fix it. Rather than having to go through the whole mess of writing and calling and finally having the city come out.

I guess some people just operate that way. I know several people, like my super, who you have to push them to do something rather than expect them to be more professional, take the initiative, and do what is required. I don't know if its a lack of resolve, laziness, or unorganization? It might be a combination of all three, but who knows.

Still, my bathroom ceiling is getting fixed. Yayyy!! At least, I hope it's getting fixed. :/

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monday, September 19

Woo-hoo!! I am celebrating my birthday today!

Uhmm... and I am 40 today.


My mom sent me a birthday present and a card that pretty much sums up turning 40. In it she said that when you turn 40, you no longer get electronic or stereo equipment presents, you get toothbrushes and dishtowels and potholders (which I is what I got, although the toothbrush I got happened to be a Sonicare toothbrush, and let me tell you it is SOOOOOOOOOO cool).

I think the fact that I am all excited about that toothbrush illustrates my mother's point exactly. And, I sure did need those potholders (I was using a washcloth).

Moving from Entitlement to Compassion

I preached this sermon on this past Sunday. It was based on the lectionary readings of Jonah 3:10-4:11, Philippians 1:27-2:4, and Matthew 20:1-16. The last Scripture reading is the parable of the generous landowner.

Here is a portion of what I said:

Living in the reign of God means that we live in harmony with one another: not just with those who make us feel comfortable, but even with those who make us feel uncomfortable. In this way, we learn to be empathetic towards the needs and concerns of others—realizing that the needs of others are often tied to our own.

In other words, when we can find the way to look past our own needs towards the needs of others, we’ll discover that in fulfilling our neighbor’s needs, we will be fulfilling our own. And this realization can sum up much of Jesus’ consternation with his disciples as it can be applied to Jonah as he sat lamenting over the death of the leafy bush. Simply put: The nature of entitlement is contrary to the life we have in Christ. When we can move past such thinking, we will discover that when compassion and empathy towards others fills our heart, we will find the fulfillment that we’ve been searching for all along.

You can read the entire sermon by pointing your brower to:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Martin Luther, Diet Coke, and Canned Soup

There is a blog called Real Live Preacher and its written by a pastor of a church in Texas. The blog is wildly cool and amazingly insightful. I encourage you to read it often, most of the time, you'll be glad you did. ;)

He wrote a new blog entry about a daydream he's had (or maybe that's just 'creative license', who knows) and it's a good story. At the end, it's more of a commentary of his interpretation of modernity (and he's probably not off by very much). I encourage you to have a 'look see.' Also, his daughter wrote a blog entry summarizing Martin Luther, it is funny too.

Bill Maher's Open Letter to the President

September 9, 2005

All right, it is time for New Rules, everybody. New Rules.

Okay, New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking up the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule: Don't drag kids into adult fights. Everybody knows you don't exploit children as pawns during a strike. You exploit children as pawns during a divorce! Let's limit kids to their one true airline responsibility: kicking the back of my seat.

New Rule, and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your webcam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.

And finally, New Rule: America must recall the president. That's what this country needs. A good, old-fashioned, California-style recall election! Complete with Gary Coleman, porno actresses and action film stars. And just like Schwarzenegger's predecessor here in California, George Bush is now so unpopular, he must defend his jog against...Russell Crowe. Because at this point, I want a leader who will throw a phone at somebody. In fact, let's have only phone throwers. Naomi Campbell can be the vice-president!

Now, I kid, but seriously, Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!

Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in...Please don't. I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.

Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky!

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."

-- Bill Maher

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Conversation with God

I received this today from someone who felt he had to send it along to others, if he really loved the Lord. Usually I immediately delete such emails because I either don’t like to be threatened or find such superstition corrupting my concept of God.

However, all that billowing aside, the contents looked good and I wanted to share it with you. And, this is the good thing, you don’t have to forward this on to anyone.


I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away,
but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole,
his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own!,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life,
so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me love others,
as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

"Woo-hoo, lookee what I caught!"

Monday, September 12, 2005

When the City Stops By

I had an interesting thing happen on Sunday. Around 11am, a man from the city's housing authority stopped by to inspect my bathroom ceiling. I had called the City on Thursday to let them know that my landlord has yet to fix my ceiling (part of which collapsed over 3 months ago).

You can probably imagine my surprise, when I opened the door. "You all work on Sundays?" I asked. "Yup, sure do. With a city this large, we work every day of the week," he responded.

As he walked through the door, I apologized for the mess in my apartment. I hadn't washed the dishes from my morning breakfast, my rug needed vacuuming and I haven't washed the stain off my bathroom shower curtain, the stain that is caused by the leaking water from the hole in my ceiling. He laughed. "Why are you laughing," I asked. He said, "This is the cleanest apartment I think I have ever seen," he said.

He went on to say that he inspects a lot of housing complaints. He said that often he finds trash scattered throughout the apartment, boxes of junk all over the place, and usually there is a stench that makes him nautious. He told me that not only did he find my apartment very clean and orderly but that he liked what I had done with the place.

The man was in his late 50s to early 60s, probably not born in the US because of his thick accent (I couldn't place it).

Needless to say, I was flattered. And, after he left, I began to worry that perhaps I stress too much over the little things. Still, I need to vacuum my rugs. I can't have that go undone.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Another Viewpoint on Perspective

Lately, I've been wanting to redecorate my apartment. I've been thinking about purchasing a new chair to replace my recliner (that I sleep in far too often) and a new dining room table. But, I really cannot afford to purchase something brand new so I've taken to browsing Craigslist's For Sale furniture listings. Craigslist is sort of like Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaraunt. "You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaraunt, 'cepting Alice..." Craigslist sells furniture, homes, has apartments for rent, personals (hang on to your knickers there, it gets mighty specific sometimes), and a host of other items and services.

My point though is not in the variety of what Craigslist has to offer but the pictures of the particular items that posters put online to sell. In those pictures, and this is so amazing and unbelievable to me, some of those pictures show to all who view them, completely messy and horrific apartments themselves. I am not kidding. Say you're looking for a new table or headboard for your bed, in the picture there are clothes scattered all over the place, crap piled up in the corners and in the middle of the room, and the interior design is so appalling (read: messy and disorganized) that I often hear myself either laughing or shrieking!

And then, I look at my apartment and go, "You know, what you have is pretty nice; my apartment is clean and tidy; and almost everything has it's own place." And once I start thinking that way, I am less inclined to want to buy a new chair or a new table. And then I am satisfied until once again I get the desire to redecorate. Crazy, right?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

"Football Season is Over"

Yes, I know, football season is just beginning. But the note below are the final words Hunter S. Thompson wrote just days before committing suicide. Rolling Stone magazine is set to print these last words in its next issue. You can read more about this story by pointing your browser to

Here is the note:

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt."


Hunter S. Thompson was one of my favorite authors. My eldest brother Joe, turned me on to Thompson with the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And my highschool lit teacher recommended I read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail of '72. Both books are fun reads and the latter really tells about politics in a way that a bewildered highschool student can understand. Thompson also wrote Hell's Angels about his time traveling with the famous renegade motorcycle gang. I also recommend The Great Shark Hunt arguably his finest work and The Curse of Lono, although that latter recommendation wasn't as good as the others.

I will miss Thompson's writing- he was truly a literary genius albeit a rather crazy one.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An Angry Mother's Letter

The Valley News
P.O. Box 877
White River Junction VT 05001

Sharon Underwood of Hartford, Vermont

Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough from you good people. I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs fromyour moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a
life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won't get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don't know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part.

It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for "true Vermonters."

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their lives so that the "homosexual agenda" could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage. You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks: "What ever happened to the idea of striving . . . to be better human beings than we are?"

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?

A Survivor's Story

I found this today and it is a story of how one man survived the ordeal in New Orleans. He's a college professor and what he writes is both shocking as well as sad. Fortunately he has a happy ending. Here is his story.

Monday, September 05, 2005

When our Influence is Bigger than We Know

I was reading a post from a blogger-friend (he's a friend from all the way back in highschool too) who was using initials of friends he had just met over the weekend. Explaining that he hadn't seen these friends in awhile and implying that two of the three friends were women, I was thinking I knew who they were and so opened up my old highschool yearbook to see if my hunch was right. While I couldn't confirm my hunch, I did run into something else.

As I opened the back of my yearbook, I found an inscription from an old friend. It startled me because I hadn't actually opened my yearbook in ages. And, the friend who wrote what he did has since passed away. Here is a piece of what he wrote:

To a special friend and person, I am glad we met are are friends. Remember me in your preaching, who knows maybe one day you may be talking to someone who is into drugs and you can tell them about me....Remember me always, for I am sure I will always remember you. Your friend forever. [I want to withhold his name to honor his memory and his secrets].

P.S., May God watch over you and protect you. Thanks for making life bearable when times were rough.

My friend died about 5 to 6 years after graduation. While I actually haven't looked at his inscription in a long time, I have thought about him from time to time. He was a really great guy who's life was full of heartache and abuse. And still, he managed to keep his head above the water as best he could.

Interestingly, while he and I friends, we weren't really that close. I knew him because we went to church together and lived about 2 blocks from each other. We had spoken from time to time, especially when he had experienced one particular abuse or another. We'd talk and pray about it. But then, I wouldn't see him for a few months until a time would happen when he'd want to talk about "stuff" and we'd find ourselves talking and praying together again.

I had little idea then that what I had said really meant anything until, when we were graduating seniors, he wrote his inscription in my yearbook. It was kind of odd but I remember when he wrote it, he made me promise I wouldn't look at it until I got home. I guess he was embarrassed for me to read what he wrote in front of him.

After highschool, we lost touch. I moved to Texas and then later, joined the Air Force and didn't come back to Oklahoma for about 5 years. When I did finally make it back home, my brother had told me that my friend had died of a mysterious illness [later I learned it was AIDS]. My heart ached at that moment. It was so sad and remains so because of my memories of all the sadness and pain he endured.

Upon rereading my friend's inscription, I find myself thinking about him again. Part of me remains bewildered by how much influence and hope I was able to be a part of with him- and part of me remains sad because I don't know how he eventually coped or dealt with his tragedies. It is hard to imagine that its been almost 20 years since he passed away.

I do realize that life is full of heartache and disappointment and lots of sadness. I wonder if I had known how much influence and help I had provided beforehand, if that could have encouraged me to stay in better touch with him and if that would have made his life more bearable after highschool. I wonder if I had paid more attention and not lost touch, how we might have become better friends. I wonder if, in his life, he was able to find reconciliation for all his woes. So many questions now... questions that have no answers, only a reminder that we all touch lives as we live and how important it is for us to be there for those who surround us and who look to us in their times of need.

If he could only hear me now, I would say, "I wish life wasn't so short or so unpredictable. However in the short time we spent, thanks for touching my life in the way you did- and thanks for allowing me to touch yours. We are indeed friends forever."

Marathon Law & Order

Labor Day, what a great day to relax and putter around the apartment! Today has been surprisingly productive: I cleaned the apartment, ran the sweeper, cleaned the stove, swept, dusted, and generally have my place cleaner than it was. I still need to do some serious mopping, scrubbing in the bathroom, and make my bed. I'll do that latter thing in just a few minutes.

All I really need to do is go grocery shopping, which I'll do later.

Interestingly, I probably would have been done with all my cleaning had Law & Order not done a marathon thing on TNT. Beginning at 9am this morning, the station ran back-to-back episodes of the show until, well.. heck, it still might be on but I finally turned off the tv at 3pm. Sure, I watched the show while I was cleaning but every once in awhile, I just had to stop what I was doing and watch whatever climatic moment was happening.

Ever since I got basic cable about 2 months ago, I've found myself watching that darn television without even realizing I've watched 4 hours of it and it's time for bed. It's a good thing I only have basic cable (which I knew would be a problem to begin with) or I'd just sit and watch whatever the heck was on.

Have you really watched Law & Order before? What an incredible show! Now I know my brain is melting and yet... it could melt on far worse programming. ;)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Comment Spam

I guess it was bound to happen eventually; I received my first comment spam advertising a product. I have a couple of friends who have activated word verification that prevents computer programs from automatically putting comment spam on my blog. You will notice that the next time you want to leave a comment, you'll be asked to verify a word before your comments will be posted. It's a simple step that prevents other knuckheads from using my blog to post their wares and merchandise without my permission (not that I'd give it, right?).

Anyways, I just thought I'd let you know.

Celtic Blessings

These blessings are from John O'Donohue's book, Eternal Echoes. I found these blessings posted on a blog called Pomomusings. They are some wonderful blessings for sure, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter
the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gifts and find the
courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may
anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles
that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret sympathy of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

Blessed be the longing that brought you here and that
quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to befriend your eternal longing.
May you enjoy the critical and creative companionship of
the question "Who am I?" and may it brighten your longing.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and shelter your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the same sureness
with which your body belongs to the world.
May the sense of something absent enlarge your life.
May your soul be as free as the ever-new waves of the sea.
May you succumb to the danger of growth.
May you live in the neighbourhood of wonder.
May you belong to love with the wildness of Dance.
May you know that you are ever embraced in the kind circle of God.


May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough
for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing
whispering in your heart that something good is going
to happen to you.
May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing which lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May your angel free you from the prisons of guilt,
fear, disappointment, and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to
gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging...


May you be blessed in the Holy Names of those who carry
our pain up the mountain of transfiguration.
May you know tender shelther and healing blessing when
you are called to stand in the place of pain.
May the places of darkness within you be turned towards the light.
May you be granted the wisdom to avoid false resistance
and when suffering knocks on the door of your life,
may you be able to glimpse its hidden gift.
May you be able to see the fruits of suffering.
May memory bless and shelter you with the hard-earned
light of past travail, may this give you confidence and trust.
May a window of light always surprise you.
May the grace of transfiguration heal your wounds.
May you know that even though the storm might rage yet
not a hair of your head will be harmed.


May you know that absence is full of tender presence and
that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.
May the absences in your life be full of eternal echo.
May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere which
holds the presence that have left your life.
May you be generous in your embrace of loss.
May the sore well of grief turn into a well of seamless presence.
May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear
from and may you have the courage to speak out for the excluded ones.
May you become the gracious and passionate
subject of your own life.
May you not disrespect your mystery through brittle words
or false belonging.
May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight
are one, and may your belonging inhabit its deepest
dreams within the shelter of the Great Belonging.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Falwell Supports Basic Rights for LGBT folk

A friend emailed me this link about a conversation in which Falwell articulates that gay and lesbian folk who seek basic legal protections are indeed seeking basic rights and not "special rights". This distinction may not sound like much but its definately a start. And its nice to see his thinking change in this regard.

You can read the entire story by going to the New York Blade Online.

Are you listening, Pat?

Church Telemarketers

Working in a church, I get to do a lot of ministry. I also get to dive into all sorts of church business, which is where a good part of my heart resides. I love church meetings, budgets, planning, heck, I even enjoy working on the monthly newsletter and updating the church website.

One thing however, that I don't enjoy is all the telemarketers that call the church throughout the day. I've taught the church secretary how to screen calls from telemarketers, by asking all sorts of annoying questions- sometimes they just leave a message, a few times they make it through and I actually have to talk with them.

If you're like me and these telemarketers really set your teeth to edge, read this story from Real Live Preacher, who gives a pretty good rant about just such an experience.