Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Then you'd better go catch it.

Blogging may be even lighter than usual this week. Seems I'm coming down with something. (Oooh AH-AH-AH-AH.)

Typical Dave-sick. Swollen tonsils, painful swallowing, extreme fatigue, and yes, my nose is running.

See? My titles are clever.

I'm hoping this is just a run-of-the-mill viral muck, instead of the lovely strep throat that my baby sister is recouperating from. Can't afford to burn my off-days, what with the trip in June and all.

Guess that's it. Happy Mardi Gras/Pancake-Tuesday. Happy Lent. Be excellent to each other.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hard to follow up that post...

...so I'll just get my weak filler post out of the way early this week.


I got CUBS tickets! My dad and I will be seeing TWO Cubs games this June in the BLEACHERS of the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

Childhood dream: Check.

Can't wait. Just can't wait.


I only lost half a pound last week. I'm very very disappointed. I'm gonna weigh in again tomorrow, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke.


I've read a lot of articles about snappy comebacks to the "why aren't you married" question. But this one is the best article on the topic. Touching, heartfelt, and inspiring. Well-worth your time to read it.


I'm late to the party, I know, but I deeply love Pandora. Whew boy. Thank you Manders.


Speaking of, read her post today. I'm still trying to formulate an appropriate response. Good heart/brain food.


What's that? You're being entirely too productive at work and/or school? Well, lucky for you, I have just the thing for that.


Don Knotts died. I'm really saddened by this. You know that it's going to happen, of course, but you hate to see it when it does. Like the passing of Mr. Rogers a few years ago. Actors like Don Knotts are iconic in their own way, and you realize that you will never see their like again.

My mom said yesterday that when Andy Griffith finally passes away, she's gonna be so upset she'll have to take the day off work. I'm inclined to agree.

Anyway, here's the USA Today write-up on Knotts' career. My favorites, aside from his genius Barney Fife character, were his performances in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" and "The Incredible Mr. Limpet." He did good work. He'll be missed.


I'm not getting enough sleep. It's having a little bit of an effect on my disposition. As you would imagine.

I need to stop committing to things for a while. I'm all full up at the moment.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cuz it's You and Me and the Drunk-Scamming-for-People-to-Buy-Him-Beer Makes Three Tonight.

I fear that the cruel pincers of the Angry Lobster of Adulthood (TM) have squeezed the youth out of me. After a night of not-drinking and listening to live music, and getting a whole six hours of sleep, I'm still wrecked. Gone are the days when I could stay up until four and five and be mostly awake for my 8:00 American Lit class. Gone, going, gone.

I am a grown-up. I am a grown-up. I am the Walrus, koo koo katchoo.

[Needless to say, I did not play X-Men. I missed them, but I muddled through somehow.]

So, my impressions of the night, in wholly unwarrented point-by-point fashion:

--After dinner, I did a little laundry as I was killing time. The group were meeting at 9:30 or so. At first I thought, "maybe I should go a little early, and hear the Beatles cover band some, before the next band gets up at ten." Then I thought, "No, going places early is for SUCKAS." Then I thought, "Oooh, figure skating is on." Wait, did I say figure-skating? I meant, MONSTER TRUCK RALLY. Yeah, that's it. I watched the very manly coverage of the...monster truck...long program. Man, that...driver from Turkey was a really inspiring story--how her parents scrimped and saved and gave up a comfortable life in their home country, so that she could move to Canada and learn how to...drive.

Okay, FINE, I watched the figure-skating. You know what else? I enjoyed it. So stick that in your myopic little gender-biased pipe and SMOKE it.

--Getting ready for the evening took on more importance for me than i thought it would. I even shaved, and ran a comb through my hair and everything. As I was getting ready, I had the soundtrack from "Swingers" playing in my head. As I left the apartment, I actually said under my breath, "This place is dead, anyway." Because I'm a big dumb dork with no social life.

--Rode the train. A woman got on at the first stop, but there were no seats available. I tried to be chivalrous, so I stood and asked her to take mine. She refused and thanked me, but for some reason, I couldn't sit down. I insisted, trying to turn on the "charm," such as it is. She refused again, so I smiled and said something like, "Well, then I guess we'll both be stubborn." I stood there, hanging onto the handrail as the train swooped through the late evening, and thought, "Wow, Dave, that was the lamest line ever. Now she thinks you're a jerk." Well, at least I'm a chivalrous jerk. Finally, someone else got off, she got a seat across from me, and I got to sit down.

--Arrived at the club. It's just as you would expect for being a pseudo-retro quasi-dive. The old-school flickering neon sign. Music so loud you can hear it half a block away. I walk inside and find that it's darker inside than it is outside with the streetlights. There's neon on the ceiling and signs on the walls. There are hundreds of framed pictures on the wall behind the bar. Tables and chairs. Old theater seats lining the walls. Smoke. Laughter. Lots of people talking. The place is pretty full. I scout for the people I'm meeting and don't see them, so I find a piece of wall by the door and hang back like the natural born wallflower that I am.

I think to myself, "I need to be proactive. Stop hanging back. Be "Swingers Dave." I contemplate mingling amongst the crowd to look for my group. I reconsider. I hesitate. I hang back. Finally, I take a step forward. Go Dave! I stop. I stand there like an idiot. Then I feel someone tapping my arm. It's Coworker! And friend! Coworker gives me a quick side-hug (unexpected...but not unwelcome), and introduces me to Friend #1. Friend #1 is cool. She has glasses like me. That's evidence of coolness. She's like a fun, sidekick best friend of the main girl type.

--We steal a table. It was unintentional. But the mopey, long-haired trio previously occupying the table (the types who would complain about "how, like, vapid and empty society is and how people are, like, sheep, and stuff" if you gave them the chance--so, basically, Smiths fans) walked outside to smoke or something, and hey, what can you do. Deal.

--I'm looking around the club, checking out the decor and the patrons. I see a guy at the bar, who turns and looks at me looking at him. I look away. A few minutes later, I look again, and see him looking. I wonder if he thinks i'm trying to check him out. I make sure not to look back at the bar for the rest of the night.

--More of Coworker's friends show up. This includes Friend #2, who reminds me of a girl from college whose name I can't place. Her third friend is a guy who is about half-drunk and very sociable. I shake his hand. "Hi, I'm Dave." "Hi, Dave, I'm Batman." I learn later that this is apparently his schtick. He goes by Batman, or sometimes, Bruce Wayne. He has Batman as his background on his cell phone. He has the Batman theme as his ringtone. He's Batman. He doesn't look like Batman, mind you. He looks like Al Denson (the guy in the greenish shirt), before his accident. But he's Batman. And tipsy. And likes to dance the white man dance. Which involves lots of goofy hip shaking. At one point, i suggested he jump up on the bench and do his white man dance. He complied. Drunk people are sometimes fun.

Batman is very talkative. Uses lots of hand gestures, which always invade your personal space, like he's trying and failing to poke you in the chest or something. He talks about how another of the group (whom we will creatively name Vet) just got back from Iraq, and was supposed to meet them there that night. How, before Vet shipped out, Batman had given Vet a compass that he had gotten from a Yugoslavian when he himself was stationed in Afghanistan. ("But that's a long story.") And when Batman gave Vet the compass, he bought him a shot of tequila and gave him a Very Important Piece of Advice. Batman wanted to share this Very Important Piece of Advice with us, because it was so Very Important. "Are you ready? Here it is....." We wait with bated breath. He pulls himself together and says, "Keep your head down, and watch your six." He then explains to us civilians that "six" means back. Thank you, Batman.

When Vet and a few other of Coworker's friends finally arrive, Batman buys Vet a shot of tequila, and tells the same story to the group, including the Very Important Piece of Cliche. We all listen attentively.

--I find when you try to engage an outgoing drunk person in conversation, especially when they're telling you a story and you interrupt them, that it confuses them. They get that look, like a dog who just got whapped on the nose and is trying to assess what just happened. Then they continue like they didn't even hear you. This is something I realized, while talking to Batman.

--There was a guy there in a white sweatsuit. Looked to be in his late forties. Sitting near us. At one point in the evening, he steps away from the women he was talking to, and says, "Hey man, the bartender cut off my credit card, can you buy me a beer?" And without thinking, I said, "Sure, what kind?" He wanted a Bud, so I made my way over. Halfway to the bar, it immediately strikes me--wait a minute, what am I doing?!? I stand near the bar, freaking out. I agreed to buy a drink for a stranger? Well, I can't back out now--he could cause a scene. He could get pissed and ruin the evening for everyone else. What on earth possessed me to think 'sure, why not' when some random middle-aged guy in a friggin SWEATSUIT asks me for a beer. I went ahead and bought it, grabbed myself another Diet Coke, and made my way back. He's very grateful, and asks me what he owes me. I told him not to worry about it. He says, "I got some weed, if you want some." No, really, Drunk Guy, that's okay. "No, man, it's cool, I got a whole lot of weed." I say, really, no thanks, and he's taken aback. Through the rest of the night, every time he passes by, he shakes my hand.

Turns out he's basically a bum. He begs drinks off of several people in the bar, who, like myself, didn't realize he was a bum. He gets progressively drunk. He tells various stories about himself, most of which are clearly bull. He's an Italian from New York, new to the city. He's a police officer. He's looking for someone. He's undercover. I wonder about him, wonder if he's going to end up doing anyone harm. He chats up the two women (one was the apotheosis of "barfly," while the other looked like her roommate) nearby, and as the evening progresses, he invades more and more personal space. As he meanders away, I check with the women to make sure he's not becoming a nuisance. It was hard to tell--one minute they looked annoyed, and the next they looked amused. They said they didn't know him but they haven't told him to [eff] off yet. So I let them know I was nearby, if needed.

For the rest of the night, I tried to keep tabs on "my drunk." Somehow, by contributing to his drunkenness, I felt I had bought a share of responsibility into his conduct. I hated that feeling. It almost took away from my enjoyment of the bands. Finally, he disappeared enough for me to enjoy the rest of the show, as well as I could.

--The bands. First, the Beatles cover band (conveniently enough, called "Beetle"). They were actually pretty good. All wearing the suits and skinny ties. The lead singer was in his mid-twenties, with a mop of hair. The rest of the band were all older, with shortcropped 'do's and hairlines of varying recession. At one point, the lead singer ("Paul")** said, "We've got two more songs for you, and then there's two more bands up tonight...which makes four. Tonight's music is being brought to you by the number 4." To which fellow vocalist ("John")*** said, "I've only drunk three beers, though. Does that mean I need one more?" Paul nods. John shrugs and laughs. At the end of the set, they did the final bow in unison, then unplugged and ran off the stage. Good times.

[**Nickname given arbitrarily. He wasn't going for the 'persona' or anything. But he was in the middle of the stage and sang lead. So there you go. ***Ditto, ibid, and likewise.]

Then came The Aqua Velva, "Houston's newest B-52's cover band." They apparently have a MySpace page, though my work comp here has blocked MySpace, so I haven't seen it. They were the real deal. Guys in yacht captain uniforms, the two female vocalists in little black dresses and beehive hairdo's. They were really good. They were in character. Rock on. I never was a huge fan of the B-52's, but I enjoyed their set quite a bit. And I developed a bit of a crush on the blonde vocalist, but that's beside the point. (Here's the blog of one of the guitarists. I know you're dying for more info.)

Next up on the bill was the Duran Duran cover band "Reflexx," but I have a standing objection to any band with more than one "x" in the name. Plus it was midnight and I was tired. Because I'm old now. Anyway, I figured the only Duran Duran song I really wanted to hear ("Hungry Like The Wolf") wouldn't be played until late in the set. (Turns out it was the third song. Jerks.) So I made my way home.

--Waiting for the train, I see the bar-guy walking down the side walk with his friend. I look away again.

--Still waiting for the train. Who should come ambling up the platform but Track Suit Drunk Guy. He walks along, a brown-bag-wrapped "forty" in hand, and he's talking excitedly to a companion, who looks equally derelict (but not Derelicte, mind you--we weren't in River Oaks). As they pass, he stops and says, leaning toward me, "Hey, bub, you got a cigarette?" I say, no, sorry. He shrugs, waves his hand dismissively, and walks past, still talking to his friend.

How do you like that? You buy a drunk a drink, and he doesn't even remember you twenty minutes later.

He got about fifty yards away, and then yells something about "you g--d--- pumpkin man, can't even give a guy a g--d--- cigarette!" I wonder if he's somehow referring to me. This makes me laugh to myself.

--Train ride home. A Hispanic gentleman with armloads of bags stands up to get off at one of the stops, turns to me, and says without smiling, "God bless you, sir!" very earnestly and intently. I'm a bit puzzled. "Thank you. Have a good night," I reply. He nods with grim-faced affirmation, and walks off the train. I look down and see that my cross necklace is visible. I guess that's why. But it still strikes me as odd, and yet, affirming.

--Bone tired and sore-necked, I arrive home. And proceed to do dishes, because the sink is full-to-overflowing. Such is the rock-star-life I lead.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Everything I do, I do it for you.

I was brainstorming for about 17 seconds about what this blog needs. Or rather, why I'm much more interested in what's going on in other people's lives than in my own. Then it hit me--ouch! ("When you want be to get back to work, just ask, Boss." Geez.)

Then realization struck (less painfully than thrown objects from work superiors)--Other people have funny and/or interesting anecdotes from their recent excursions and adventures. They have stories, and funny sayings, and references to people we the readers do not know.

I thought, "BRILLIANT! I'll start blogging humorous and clever anecdotes! I'll reference countless people my lovely readers don't know from Adam! I'll be interesting! BRILLIANT!"

Then, cold, cool, redundant realization clamped down on my enthusiasm like the hand of someone who had been holding a Slurpee for fifteen minutes (except less damp...maybe). "Dave," I thought self-referentially, "you don't have any stories because you don't go out anywhere with anyone and do anything."

"Wow, you're right, Dave," I replied reflexively, belaboring the bad pseudo-pun. "I need to go out and do more stuff, so that I have more stuff to blog about."

At no time did that last sentence seem kind of sad and pathetic to me. Nope, not once.

So, I'm about 67% sure that I'm going to take up my [single] coworker's offer to meet her and her friends from church at the Continental Club tonight. If I do so, tomorrow I will regale you with stories about standing around in a cramped club with strangers, listening to a B-52's cover band and not drinking. Awesome.

I can tell you're shaking with excitement. I can feel it. That's the kind of bond we have.

[For the record, if the 33% contingency wins out, I will go home, eat a chicken fajita salad, do laundry/dishes, play X-Men Legends on the ol' PS2, and maybe read a little. I'll spare you the thrilling details, in that case.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006



I heard her laughing behind me, and turned. "What?"

She smirked. "Frustrated?"

"Who, me? Of course not. What gave you that idea?"

"The page and a half of mashed keys you have there."

"I can't think of anything to write, Sue."

She put her hands on my shoulders and stood behind me. I could feel her lean against me. Even after seven years of marriage, I still get chills from that.

"You'll be fine, baby. Just close your eyes and think."

"C'mon, Susan, I'm trying to--"

Her cool hands reached up and covered my eyes. I smelled her vanilla hand lotion. Sometimes I could just eat her up with a spoon.

She leaned down, her hair brushing against my collar, and she whispered in my ear, "Just take a breath, and write the first words that pop into your head." I felt the puff of air from her words, against my ear. Again, chills.

I started typing.

She laughed and straightened up, slapping the top of my head playfully. "If that's where you're going with this article, you're writing for the wrong magazine."

I looked at the words on the screen: "when she touches me, i feel shockwaves down my spine and fire growing in my--"

"Whoops!" I said, backspacing. "Well, what do you expect, when you're practically laying on me me as I work."

She smiled. "What can I say, I'm your muse!"

"Ain't that the truth. So, you know how the muses gave the poets inspiration, right?"

She walked into the next room, stocking feet making no sound on the hardwood floor. "Yes, I do, in fact. Unfortunately for you, this muse is also the keeper of the household, and there are groceries to be bought." She stuck her head in the doorway and made a "kissy" face. "Looks like you'll have to just go without inspiration for a while longer."

"The writer's life is a cold and lonely one," I announced with a theatrical sigh.

For a moment, I heard the music of her laughter as she walked out the front door.

Monday, February 20, 2006

"That's the way it goes, it'll all work out."

For those of you keeping score at home:

February's lessons are hitting me hard and fast. I'm trying to keep up, trying to make sense, trying to absorb and adapt.

I've learned that I'm plagued by trying, but rarely by accomplishing.

I've learned that I can be blind to the depth of my own emotions; or if not blind, willfully ignorant.

I've learned that I can let selfishness and pettiness drive me to hurt the ones I love, most often by the words I speak. And type. Especially, type.

I've learned that I'm still very far away from being made perfect. Or even good.

I've learned that doing the right thing, whether in finances or relationships, is never fun but always necessary.

I've learned that lapsing in my commitment to change causes greater steps backward than I expected. There is no stasis in such ventures: only moving forward, or moving backward.

I've learned that sometimes, despite our best efforts otherwise, we can still become better than we are, bit by bit.

I've learned that it's easier to act like a child than an adult, and that "easy" is a fool's token.

I've learned that your friends show you so much more grace than you ever deserve.

I've learned that God shows you infinitely more grace than your friends do.

I've learned that I can be hopeful in spite of my own failings.


Well, my hand is cramping and my blue-book is full. Time to grab my backpack and head out the door. I get the feeling that there's nothing but pop-quizzes from now until the end of the term.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"plans i haven't made"

the subject of my non-existent thesis,
which will cap off the imaginary post-graduate
career i share with my collegiate
contemporaries. moving to chicago and becoming
a really really real writer instead of a
talker dreamer schemer imposter
blogger. marriage. or for that matter,
engagement. or dating. or asking.
where i'm going to move when my lease is up.
how i'm going to make ends meet next month.
how i'm going to handle not sharing my
thoughts and feelings with you. what i'm
going to say when i call.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"...cuz flame and moth got a sweetheart deal..."

I had posted earlier. False poetic bravado that suffered from being not only shallow sentiment, but bad poetry, to boot. So I took that one off.

I have a hard time writing about anything emotionally-focused without drifting into a melancholic or self-pitying tone. If you read my work here, you know it well. Well, I'm going to work hard to avoid that today. (I'll try, anyway.) But I feel like some kind of reflection is in order. So brace yourself.


One month after we broke up, one month exactly, was Valentine's Day. I went to Bennigan's and moped over a Kilkenny Country Fried Chicken salad (which is usually delicious). My eyes shot daggers of hatred and envy at the couples at tables around me. Then I went to the movies, hoping for a satisfying diversion. I saw "Daredevil." Kind of capped off the crappy day.


I have told you the story of the last time I had reason to celebrate this fabricated holiday, and what happened. No need to get into it here. Suffice to say, I was 0 for 1. Still am.


I sent my Sunday School class an encouraging email today, with several Bible passages about the matchless love of God. I try to do encouraging things like that. Usually, the times when I try to be most encouraging to people are the times when I need it most. It's funny. I will do my very best to put up my bravest, most "together" face. I don't want to show them that I 'm struggling. Not to be a hypocrite; but to be an example. And to not lose their respect. So, maybe that is a little hypocritical. But hypocrisy for the greater good, I tell myself.


Last year, I made CDs for the people in my class. Mix CDs of encouraging, supportive music. Songs about loving God and loving others. Good stuff. I passed them out in Sunday School, since the day fell on a Sunday.

I was up last night, trying to compile another mix CD. Fighting with my computer. Finally, in frustration and tiredness, I just gave up on the idea. I almost feel bad about this. Almost.

Funny, it's hard to believe that the CD thing is now a full year ago. Doesn't seem so long.


I'm still on this weird kick of reading Christian dating books, gathering all the different theories, techniques, and ideas. At this point, I think it's more curiosity than a real need to know (Lord knows, I'm not finding any need to put these into practice). Last night, I finished the book, "Marriable."

I'm too tired and busy to go into a comprehensive rant right now, but suffice to say, it left me furious. Not recommended.


I received my own copy of the film, "Elizabethtown." As I've mentioned before, I love this film. LOVE. it. It hits all the right buttons for me. I watched it on Sunday, when I was feeling a little down. I think I may pop it in again tonight, after I get back from a class event.


So, I know I've ranted and raved about how much I enjoy the show "How I Met Your Mother" and how great it is. But last week's episode kind of took some of the romantic air out of my tires, as it were. I was excited about Ted seeking out and finding Victoria; that was cool. But last week's ep was all about how, after a first weekend of "passion," they decided to wait "a whole month" before they did the deed again. This was referred to as, "taking it slow."

I was let down. Bigtime. The focus, of course, becomes sex, not love. Not getting to know each other. This should not surprise me at all. But somehow it did. As odd as it sounds, somehow I had higher expectations for Ted (though the previous episodes actually give no basis for this expectation; quite the opposite, actually).

I had to remind myself, as much as I enjoyed watching Ted's "some enchanted evening" moment with Victoria, Ted would not make the right choice. Ted would not have learned from past mistakes. What it comes down to is, Ted is not Dave.

And not just because Ted is getting some action now.


I don't know. A lot of Christian writers (and bloggers) are saying that romance is fake, romance is cheap, romance is not in any way Biblical. And I get that. I understand the arguments. Love that lasts, marriages that last, are not grounded upon romance, but upon God. Upon respect and communication and self-sacrifice. Not ooey-gooey feelings, butterflies, and red ribbon.

But I'm afraid that a lot of Christians will give up on it completely. Write it off as an invention of the world, a counterfeit embraced by our "wicked culture."

I don't want to give up on romance. I don't want to turn a cold shoulder to "enchanted evenings" and corny movie moments. These things need to be tempered with wisdom, absolutely, but I think they are too precious to throw out with the bathwater.

Some would say my perspective is too worldly. That I haven't matured enough as a believer to understand things fully. Maybe so. But I would almost rather experience the highs of romantic love again, and get burned by my own foolishness again, than to stay forever in the safety of its more cerebral, resigned counterpart.

Of course, I write now in abstractions. Ask me again in a year or two from today, when I (hopefully) have reason again to wear red, buy flowers, or make dinner reservations. For now, I play the "what if" scenarios. To steal a quote from the lips of Led Zepplin, "it's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time."


Have a good night. Smile like you mean it. I know I will.

"The moth don't care if the flame ain't real."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Time to buy more Frank Miller...

...because he understands who the real supervillians are.

[h-t: Rob at Say Anything]

Suggested Listening

It may not be your preferred genre, but I would highly recommend listening to at least part of Shawn Mullins' latest album, "9th Ward Pickin' Parlor." Go to the AOL Music page (man, I can't seem to drop that link enough!), scroll until you see his album, with its dark brown cover.

Holy cow, it's good so far. The album is released tomorrow. Dark, brooding folk-country-rock. Just good stuff.


I had a dream last night that I had the uncomfortable task of sitting a friend down and telling her that I "just don't think of her that way." This was followed by tears, storming off, and fallout within our circle of friends.

Oddly, while this friend is someone I know now (and have suspected may harbor feelings), this all took place in a collegiate setting.

So, add a new layer of dread to tomorrow's proceedings. There's a chance I may run into her at Denny's tomorrow night.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Signs That You are Consuming Too Much Entertainment Media

1) An MSN "headline" on the homepage said, "New Jill Carroll Video Released," and my very first thought--no joke--was, "What is she, a singer/songwriter type? An R&B singer?"

Um, neither, Dave. Good job.

2) After making such a mistake, my next thought was, "I should blog this."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Staying until God-knows-when to finish work crap that you should have finished days ago, is pretty much the suck.

What's making it slightly more bearable? Kevin Max's sophomore effort, "The Imposter."

Can't recommend this album enough. You need to check it out.

Yes, *another* lyric post.

Really read them. I listened to the song a minute ago and it really bowled me over.


We got into the car with the true believers
We could tell they were by the words they spoke
They were talking of Jesus and all He was doing
They were sharing their favourites from the Holy Book
And I was with them every step of the way
'Cause I'm a believer saved by grace
And they didn't know in the back seat was my brother Jack

We travelled on the 2-hour journey
Singing along to gospel radio
The my brother Jack quite unexpected said
"Do you mind if I listen to my favourite band?"
And maybe it was when the singer let out a word
Four syllables long and not ever heard
In their church circles
That the believers attacked
How could you play music that evil?

How could you speak of someone's mother like that?
Whatever is pure, whatever is holy
We think on these things "so here's your record back!"
And maybe it was just 'cause we arrived at the place
My fellow believers didn't see his face
But red was the anger all over my brother Jack

Well I pulled them aside just before our performance
And told them the story of my brother Jack
He's not a believer but one who is searching
And I told him that Jesus loves him where he's at
And when I was speaking well suddenly I
Wondered if we, really knew why
Millions of people felt like my brother Jack
They've come to our churches and they're not coming back

Please, God, save our souls
And my sweet brother Jack

("My Brother Jack" by Paul Coleman)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You Don't Know Jack. (Updated)

Similar to the "Chuck Norris Facts" referenced last week--but funnier, IMO--here are some hilarious "facts" about everyone's favorite counter-terrorist, Jack Bauer, from a "24" comment thread (edited for language and to remove one funny but sacreligious "fact"):

1) If you wake up in the morning, it’s because Jack Bauer spared your life.

2) If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he’d shoot Nina twice.

3) Upon hearing that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer killed Sutherland. Jack Bauer gets played by no man.

4) Jack Bauer’s favorite color is severe terror alert red. His second favorite color is violet, but just because it sounds like violent.

5) Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.

6) Jack Bauer got Hellen Keller to talk.

7) Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.

8) Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.

9) 1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.

10) Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

11) Jack Bauer doesn’t miss. If he didn’t hit you it’s because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.

12) Lets get one thing straight, the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

13) When you open a can of whoop-ass, Jack Bauer jumps out.

14) If Jack says “I just want to talk to him/her” and that him/her is you… well amigo, you’re [screwed].

15) Killing Jack Bauer doesn’t make him dead. It just makes him angry.

16) When life gave Jack Bauer lemons, he used them to kill terrorists. Jack Bauer [really] hates lemonade.

17) In grade school, a little boy punched Kimberly Bauer, and Kimberly ran home to tell her dad. That little boy’s name? Stephen Hawking.

18) Jack Bauer does not sleep. The only rest he needs is what he gets when he’s knocked out or temporarily killed.

19) No man has ever used the phrase, “Jack Bauer is a [punk]” in a sentence and lived to tell about it.

20) In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.

21) Jack Bauer literally died for his country, and lived to tell about it.

22) As a child, Jack Bauer’s first words were “There’s no time!”

23) Jack Bauer’s family threw him a surprise birthday party when he was a child. Once.

24) If you are still conscious, it is because Jack Bauer still doesn’t want to carry you.

25) If you get 7 stars on your wanted level on Grand Theft Auto, Jack Bauer comes after you. You don’t want to get 7 stars.

26) Guns dont kill people, Jack Bauer kills people.

27) Everytime Jack Bauer yells “NOW!” at the end of a sentence, a terrorist dies.

29) If you send someone to kill Jack Bauer, the only thing you accomplish is supplying him a fresh set of weapons to kill you with.

30) Jack Bauer could get off the Lost island in 24 hours.

31) If Jack Bauer was gay, his name would be Chuck Norris.

32) After arguing over what was the better show, 24 or Walker Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris went to attack Jack Bauer with his trademark roundhouse kick. Jack Bauer caught it.

(Yeah, a few are copied from Chuck's list. But Jack's list is way better.)

[Hat-tip train: Comment by "The Listkeeper" on a Polipundit thread, pointed out by Peter at the great film and culture blog, Alarm!]

UPDATE: Turns out Jack has a fact page, too!

"Do you like scary movies?"

If you have any desire whatsoever to see a free sneak preview of the laughable "Final Destination 3," go here.

In the words of Kojak, "who loves ya, baby."

p.s. you better have gotten the title reference. otherwise, i may need to pummel you repeatedly.

[h-t: Pop Candy, of course]

Friday, February 03, 2006

Unfinished Business

I'm a reader. I read quite a lot. Not as much as some [ahem], but certainly a lot more than the average joe. I almost always finish the books I start, no matter how painful and frustrating they can be. If I don't finish a book the first time, I'll come back to it later and finish it.

There haven't been many times when I've made a choice to stop reading a book and never pick it up again. It's kind of a rare thing for me. (We're not talking books for school here. Rather, books that I've chosen to read for fun, and have changed my mind about.)

Here are some of the ones I can remember:

Harriet the Spy: Understand, I grew up in a very sheltered household. Conservative Christian, CCM-only. In the fifth chapter of HtS (i believe), it starts off with Harriet being so mad she uses the "d-word." Not just once, mind you--multiple times. I was in fifth grade, and I was scandalized. I put it down and never finished it.

The Adventures of Homer Fink: Another fifth-grade memory. No profanity this time. No, I stopped reading this one because there were too many references to Greek gods, and the protagonist Homer started referring to himself as Pan, or something. It freaked me out a little.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Many years passed since the Harriet and Homer days. My skin thickened, my experience widened, and my language drifted south, sorry to say. So no d-words or ancient deities would offend me. But this book... I don't know. I made it about 2/3 of the way through, and just didn't have the energy to finish. It came highly recommended, too. But I was just annoyed with the characters. None of them, not one that I can remember, had any redeeming value. Just worthless, mean people doing cruel things to each other. I finally got tired of it, so I gave it up. This also precluded my reading of Infinite Jest, because I wasn't ready to invest a thousand pages into another of the writer's works, if it was going to be like this.

Anointed to Be God's Servants... : I used this Blackaby book for background on some Sunday School lessons, and thought about finishing it, but just got utterly bored. Normally, even if I use just a chapter or two of a book specifically for certain lessons I'm teaching, I'll still try to finish it. Not so much with this one.

Geek Love: And now the most recent entry to the list. I started this earlier this week, and made it only three chapters. Ugh. No, it's not about romance between computer programmers--it's about a family of circus freaks who were specifically bred to be deformed. I just don't have the patience or strength for this. More hideous, mean people being abused and abusing. Just depressing. Not really offensive, either. Just sad. From what I can tell, there is no redemptive element in the story, so I decided to pass. There are so many other great, well-written novels that won't make me sad for no reason.


So there you go. My short list. I can't remember any others off the top of my head.

Now, your turn: Are there any books that you've started and stopped reading? Not necessarily because you were bored, but because something about it offended you, repulsed you, made you stop caring? I'd like to hear your stories.

Friday Silliness

Some links for your last hour or so of work:
  • Here's a West Coast response to the SNL Narnia rap. Good times.
  • You know you're ready for real ultimate power. C'mon--who DOESN'T love ninjas?(Warning: Some pages with bad language)
  • Interesting. Wanna know where your favorite comic book superhero (or supervillain) goes to church? (Kelly, if they're wrong, email them, not me!)
  • Not silly, but interesting: An essay on how each book of the Chronicles of Narnia corresponds to one of the seven deadly sins.
  • Addicted to blogging? Not me, no sir. Erm...
  • Kelly already blogged these, but I feel the need to repeat it, because it's beyond awesome. Ladies and gents, vital facts about the real American hero, Chuck Norris. [h-t: Stace] (Warning: Bad language)

Thursday, February 02, 2006


he kept a postcard pinned to the wall next to his desk. "see hawaii," it invited, with letters bold and red. beside the invitation stood a native girl, grass-skirted and dark, her lithe arms raised and bent just so, caught in mid-dance and staring straight at him. he would look at this postcard every day, most often right after lunch. it kept him going on the days when he wanted to walk away and never return. there were times, as he sat eating pastrami in Kahn's Deli, that he fought the temptation to run to the station and take a train going anywhere not here. but the promise of the girl in the picture brought him back. he would tell himself that leaving meant never seeing her again, neither in life nor in print. and every day, at two minutes to one, he would return to his desk and see her, standing, waiting, encouraging him to keep going. work hard, she seemed to say as she smiled. save your pennies. see hawaii. find me.

at night, when he returned to his empty efficiency on the third floor of a dying brownstone, he would think of her right before he fell asleep. he would cling to the promise of hawaii and her.

he never said, she never said.

what's wrong, she asks, knowing full well that i don't intend to answer her directly. but she asks because she feels its her duty to attempt adult discourse, even at a time like this. i shrug, i grunt, i play my part to the hilt, the strong-but-silent-type part, the man-who-doesn't-know-how-to-communicate-his-feelings part, because that's my role. she persists on cue, with how she can't help if i don't open up. of course i want to tell her, but i can't, because that's against the rules. after all, if i started sharing my feelings, and speaking directly about our relationship, it would throw off the delicate gender balance that has given stand-up comedians and marriage counselors so many useful jokes in the last hundred years. he doesn't like to talk, ho ho, and he won't tell her how he feels, har har, and the most important thing in his life is football, hee hee. so i have to play my part. order must be kept. i dutifully pull on my mask, tell her that i'm fine, and walk out into the garage, shutting the door behind me.

each time gets a little easier.

let go of her phantom hand.
let slip her dreamfingers and let
them fall away. close your eyes
and turn your back. breathe in a
deep gasp of future-air and force
a smile to crack your cloudy face.
push away the lost images that creep
along the edges of your thoughts.
step forward into the next day.
step forward into the next new day.