Friday, October 31, 2008

PBB VIDEO(S) OF THE DAY: Don't Vote...At Least Not Because We Told You To

You may have seen this condescending voting video put together by a bunch of actors and musicians. The smug literally emanates off the screen:


Dirty Harry has linked to a response video, which I'm declaring the PBB VIDEO OF THE DAY! (DAAAAY DAAAY DAAAAY DAAAY DAAAAY...):

"They read *lines* for a living!"


(Yes, I will post a couple more times about the election. Once, over the weekend, and once on next Wednesday. Then we can leave this whole political process behind us for a while.)


Okay, the RUNNER-UP for PBB VIDEO OF THE DAY! (DAAAAY DAAAY DAAAAY DAAAY DAAAAY...) is a follow-up to the McCain Campaign commercials bit I posted a few days ago. This time, Diablo Cody, David Lynch, and M. Night Shyamalan take a stab at creating a John McCain spot. These vids may be my favorite part of this election season, for rizzle:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I tried writing a Brown-bag Poetry post here...

...but i had to scrap it. Every phrase came out rusty and false. There was no art to it, no deftness. It was all very obvious, very plain, and I was trying to address subjects best left obscured. I couldn't publish the blatant confessions I had written. And I was embarrassed by my bald attempts at topicality and cleverness.

So no, no poetry until I write something worth putting my name on.


...Second attempt at meaningful blogging: also failed. My lines stumble along like Frankenstein's monster, all stiff-legged and groaning.

I'm leaving before I do any damage or throw any villagers down a well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Your Monday Moment of "Cool...Wait--Wha???"

I need to drink more juice. This looks like it could be pretty healthy, let's try this one... Wow, cool, this tastes really good. I wonder how many calories are in this. Lemme look at the label. Wait--only 10% juice? Then what are the ingredients? ...High fructose Corn Syrup--WHAAA???

[This has been your Monday moment of "Cool...Wait--Wha???"]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Okay, this is brilliant.

(one swear about halfway through, fyi.)

New Random Blog Feature

Today, we introduce a new sporadic feature here at PBB:

Your Moment of "Cool..Wait--wha???"


And now, for your Thursday Moment of "Cool...Wait--Wha???"

"Hmmm. I'm waking up fully rested. Haven't done that in a while. And according to the clock, it's only 4:30--that's cool. I may actually get up at five, hit the bus by six, and have a good day today... Wait, is that sunlight? The sun doesn't come up until after seven--WHA?????"

This has been your Thursday Moment of "Cool...Wait--Wha???"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday/Thursday Listening

Need a pick-me-up for your workday?

Here's a Johnny Cash tribute album--by a wide variety of artists, including several punk and punk-influenced bands.

Here's a new album by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals (but it's only available for 48 hours).


[h-t: Pop Candy, the best pop culture blog on the interwebs.]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quick Hits

Jab, jab, jab, body blow, right cross. (That's the joke.)

---Okay, Trev, I'm sorry, but "Dune" is probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Like, "Manos Hands Of Fate"-bad. I will admit I didn't finish watching it, and I'm sure the book is probably a lot better. But, DANG, dude. So horrible. The acting. The dialogue. The way it was shot. The plodding self-importance. I really wish I could hear an MST3K-ing of the film. Because that would be the greatest thing since sliced water.

---Signs you need to pray more: When you're cycling through your friends' status updates and profile pics on Facebook, and more than once you have the fleeting thought, "It'd be pretty cool to make out with her." It's a dangerous time for a heart on a wire, my friends.

---Even though I know it's not as much of a foregone conclusion as most media types would lead you to believe, I still can't shake the feeling that Obama is going to win the election--maybe not a landslide but by at least 5 points. And (big shock) I'm not pleased with this. But that's what democracy is about; to paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson (i think), ya buys yer ticket and takes yer ride. And the thing about democracy is, the people get the leader they deserve. You can take that to mean whatever you want it to. I guess I'm just tired of politics and politicking. Let's just get back to life as soon as we can, yeah?

---Brown Bag Poetry comes back this week, if for nothing else than to please that lanky kid up in the Pacific NW.

---My coworkers all left to go vote early. I want to go home early to vote, too. But only if I can "vote" for pizza and sleeping.

---It's already the back half of October. Where's the time gone? I had plans for the last four months of the year, and all a' none of them have been begun. (How about that sentence construction?) Silly Dave and his unfinished plans.

---Capsule Video Review time!

The Lookout: Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels (Rated R for language, violence, brief nudity, implied sexuality)
Plot: Chris was a kid with a bright future until a stupid choice left deadly consequences, including the death of a friend and his surviving with a brain injury. The injury, while not totally debilitating, limits his advanced mental functions and makes daily life difficult for him. He's left working as an overnight janitor in a smalltown bank, and most of the time he feels angry, like he lost his chance at a normal "life." Much to the concern of his blind roommate (Daniels), Chris befriends Gary, a former classmate of Chris' sister. Gary draws Chris into a dangerous circle of friends and a criminal plot that ultimately turns deadly.
Review: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a criminally-underrated young actor. You probably know him from the TV show "3rd Rock from the Sun" or the film "Ten Things I Hate About You." But he's grown into an impressive dramatic lead. I've mentioned his movie "Brick" before (seriously, go rent Brick!), and he continues that vein with "The Lookout." I liked the film, overall; it frustrated me, but in a way that kept me dialed in. Meaning, I got frustrated at the characters and their choices. The theme of the movie seems to be about facing consequences, which is why, in retrospect, the film's denoument pulls its punches. But it's a good suspenseful drama with pretty solid performances. Daniels was a scene-stealer. Check it out if you like crime dramas or darker character studies.

[Unrelated side note: JGL is going to be Cobra Commander in the GIJoe movie?!? What the crap?!?]

Run, Fatboy, Run: Starring Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, that mumbling book thief from "Notting Hill" (Rated PG-13 for language, sexual innuendo, nudity (dudity!), and gross/rude humor)
Plot: Dennis panicked and left his pregnant fiancee at the altar, and ever since has been kind of a pathetic man. While his love for Libby never died, it also never motivated him enough to change. When he finds out that his ex is dating Whit, a wealthy financier, he decides he's got to do something to show that he's just as good as his new competition. Whit runs marathons, so Dennis decides he'll do the same. Couldn't be that hard, right?
Review: I watched this because it had Simon Pegg. That's pretty much it. If you like Simon Pegg, that may be enough justification. For everyone else, I'd say it's a mixed bag. It's funny at times, and seems to have its heart in the right place. But ultimately, it's a rude, slapstick-y, gross-out comedy. It tends to push the boundary of its rating, but the gross/rude stuff is all on the boys' side. (Meaning, any sex is implied/discussed instead of shown.) But there is dude-ity, including at least 3 naked male backsides. Overall, I like the fact that the story is about a guy deciding to grow up, keep trying to be a good dad, commit to something, and try to earn the respect of the woman he loved but had done wrong. The rest of the stuff in the movie just brings it down. Meh.


Okay, that's the bell. Back to your corners.

Friday, October 17, 2008


If you don't know what this is...I'm too sick to explain it. Sorry.

(Why am I doing this when I'm tired, sick, and need to go home? Who knows where thoughts come from--they just appear.)


1. "A Message to You, Rudy" by The Specials
"Stop your messing around/Better think of your future." Hahaha. I know, I know. ...I told someone recently that I felt like I've been in a holding pattern. I mentioned this before. In the last few days, I've gotten some odd impulses. Impulses of the "i wanna leave my job and do this" variety. Random, sudden, major changes. And I don't know if I really want to do these things, or if I'm just so desparate to break the stagnation that I'm willing to do something drastic. Bad decisions are often made that way, so I need to be careful.

2. "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime" by Beck
"Change your heart, look around you..." The last time I got my heart really good and broken, I made the colossal mistake of not setting the bone properly. I didn't do the right things to get it put back together. I turned inward. I ate too much. I fed my depression with books and movies and music that let me wallow in my selfishness and misery. And while I'm not in the sorry state I was all those years ago, I'm still dealing with the effects of those decisions. I never learned how to trust. I never relearned how to see myself properly, instead of in terms of others' approval. As a result, I've been scared of stepping out, scared of risking my feelings or pride or reputation. I've only asked out one girl in the last six plus years. And that attempt was so weak and half-hearted that the poor girl probably didn't realize what I was getting on about. And while part of me is really ready to stop being so scared and childish, I still feel like I need to rebreak and reset my heart before I can be strong enough for the next big thing.

3. "Come Clean" by Harrod & Funck
"You don't really know me/The watery muck flowing through my veins..." I think it's a fair thing to say I've been afraid for the last several years. Afraid of making mistakes. Afraid of letting people down. Afraid of not living up to my own expectations. Afraid of losing weight because it gave me an excuse for why women aren't attracted to me. Afraid of telling people about my faith because I'm so often corrupted and easily swayed by the crowd around me. Afraid of doing something different than I have been doing. Afraid of writing a book and finding out it's garbage and I'm a hack. Afraid of saying no to people who ask things of me. Unfortunately, the realization isn't enough.

4. "Turpentine" by Elvis Costello and the Imposters
"...with a song in my heart that is longing to break..." You know, some of my favorite songs are sad ones. Full of longing and fury and heartbreak. Songs of people wronged or people who have wronged others. Songs full of self-pity, self-loathing, nostalgia, and cruel remembrance. This is music I seem to connect to: music that stirs me in ways that many shiny happy tracks never do. This may be a flaw in my character, my Achilles heel. I know, this is common knowledge. But earlier this afternoon, I was nearly moved to tears by a Jeff Buckley song with this kind of keening lament. And it frustrates me that other things in my life don't connect with me on such a raw, emotional level. I don't know. Some folks just ain't happy without a lost love to mourn--even if they have to borrow someone else's to do so.

5. "Beat It" by Richard Cheese
The best version ever of this Michael Jackson classic begins with a somber piano intro, and ends with a lounge-style singalong. Who knew.


Okay, enough confession. Time to rest and wait out this inevitable "crud" that's settling in my head/chest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What They Should Have Said: Second Debate Edition

The Question: "...I know both candidates, both of you, expressed support for Israel. If, despite your best diplomatic efforts, Iran attacks Israel, would you be willing to commit US troops in support and defense of Israel, or would you wait on approval from the U.N. Security Council?"

What They Should Have Said:

"Yes, we stand with Israel.

...Oh, you want me to elaborate? Okay.

When our best and most loyal allies are ruthlessly attacked by foreign dictatorships who have publicly and repeatedly stated they want to destroy and stamp out our ally's existence, yes, we will unequivocally support and defend our allies against aggression. That includes Israel. This isn't rocket science. This isn't a grey area. It's what's right. America is loyal to her friends.

The best way to defend our friend Israel is to prevent that scenario from ever happening, and we will use diplomacy if realistically possible, sanctions if needed, and force if threatened, to make sure that the madman at the helm of Iran's arsenal doesn't carry out his murderous dreams."

Yeah. Would've been cool to hear something that clear and direct, rather than non-answers. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Time for a milestone, time to begin again..."

So. It's one of those nights where I look backward and then forward, I guess. A good activity to do after 1500 posts.

(For those of you hitting the "panic" button already, no, I'm not stopping the blog. We're not breaking up, don't worry. Heh.)


Last month, less than a week after Ike hit, a minor milestone was passed.

A little website called turned six years old. Woot, as the kids say.

Six years.

What's happened in six years?

On the global front, two continuing American wars, countless terrorist attacks, one killer tsunami, several devastating earthquakes, a handful of terrible hurricanes, ongoing African genocide, the fall of Enron, the fall(-ish) of Wall Street, three congressional elections, one presidential election, all manner of technological advances, some really great TV, and three disappointing Cubs playoff runs.

(I'm sure there was other good stuff--that list is overwhelmingly negative. But we hang on to the bad things, don't we?)

On the personal front, a job lost, a relationship ended, a period in the wilderness of soul, a new job, three different apartments, four work trips, three-plus years of serving as a Sunday-School/"Life Group" leader, multiple family crises, around 100 pounds of weight gained, a vast array of worldly possessions acquired, more than 100 books read, and a great deal learned.

A lot. Six years seems long and short at the same time. But either way, it's full.


So what's on the horizon? Here's what I'm hoping for the next 6 years.

I'm going to keep blogging for the time being. I like it, you like it, it works. What may change is the tone. I want to be less negative. (Off to a great start, right?) Or at least, less hurtful. Maybe that doesn't always come through in my writing, but the negativity is certainly in my heart. Better start there. And I'm going to try to do some longer pieces from time to time, because i've gotten lazy as a writer. You don't mind the occassional editorial essay or theological exegesis, do you?

I'm going to keep serving at my church, as long as I'm asked to. I love it. It gives me a good sense of who I am and where I fit in the world. That role may change, things may shift, but that is where I belong--in God's house with God's people.

I'm going to get healthy. I am. Seriously. I haven't taken care of myself. Unchanged, this will serve to shorten my life. That will keep me from fulfilling the calling I've been given, so that has to change. I've talked a lot about getting healthy. I'm done talking.

I'm going to write. Another topic of much discussion and little action. Thanks to the inspiration and example of friends, I'm getting back to this love of mine. I will return to finish telling the Taylor House saga, but right now, the inspiration is with a collection of short stories I've been kicking around in my head. Genre fiction. I'm getting some new ideas, and continuations of old ones. I can't ignore this, it's too cool to pass by.

I'm going to heal. There are things in my mind and heart and soul that are broken and out of balance. I've let these issues go without dealing with them, and have gotten used to feeling afraid, ashamed, and unworthy. But I won't be able to be the man I'm called to be if I live my life feeling like a failure or an imposition on the world. So I'm going to get with God, with trusted friends, and possibly others, and work some of this stuff out.

I'm going to, Lord-willing, get a family of my own. Remember, we're talking six years here. Once I get some healing and deal with some things, I'm going to get serious about finding a wife. I believe that's God's will for me--some are called to singleness, I am not. So I have to be prepared for sharing the path with someone else. My finances, health, career, and personal habits need tweaking before that can happen, but I'm willing to do what it takes to get there. My second-deepest desire (after glorifying my Savior) is to be a husband and father. I want to see that through.

I'm going to pursue my calling. God has started pulling me in a new and unexpected direction, the last few months. I resisted it for a while, but I'm finally starting to surrender to it. I'll fill you in when the time comes, if it comes. I've got to lay out a few more fleeces and get a little more clarification, if possible, because I'm a second-guesser, especially when it comes to my own thought-processes. But I know that my life in less than 6 years may likely look very different than my life now. And that's a good thing.

So there you go.


I turn 28 in six days. When I started blogging, I was 21. By the time I'm 33-almost-34, who knows what the world will have gone through, or what I personally will have experienced? Who knows what the future holds?

...That's not a rhetorical question, by the way. I know the answer, and if you don't, let me know and I'll tell you.


This song has been in my head for a while. It pretty much sums up where I'm at right now. Enjoy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Okay, one more political post...

...because I told Trevor I would.

This isn't about the current candidates as much as the parties in power for the last fifteen years.

The subject of these two videos is the mortgage crisis, possible causes, and reasons why it wasn't stopped earlier. The first video provides pretty clear indication of which party was against further regulation. Don't believe the hype shovelled out there now; let history (and video) speak for itself:

The second video is more detailed, but also takes some side-swipes i'm not down with. The Obama namedrop is meant to get your attention, I guess. But he had little if anything to do with the current crisis (poor dear didn't have much to do with anything during his term). Not to say he hasn't benefitted, but the real villains? People like Barney Frank.

There's lots of info there, so take some time and check it out:

Okay, that's enough of that. Another post this afternoon, and it will have nothing to do with politics, I promise.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Flying the blue "L" tonight.

[title explanation here]

I was going to post something more personal, a little more introspective, in honor of PBB's 1500th post.

But I want to take a moment to acknowledge the end of the Cubs' 2008 season.

All season (or at least since July), I've been calling it the Year of Destiny.

The reality is, it's just another year. The results are the same, even if the expectations and emotions are higher and deeper.


I still love my team. Heck, I'm getting a replica jersey (my first!) for my birthday in a week and a half.

But nights like this, God reminds me that some things, while disappointing, don't matter. They don't last. My life's allegiance is not to a silly baseball team.

As i've said before, if I reach the end of my road and I'm known more as a Cubs fan than a lover and servant of Jesus, I am a failure and my life was wasted.

So even now, as I'm disappointed by a lost playoff series, I say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord." Because what matters, what lasts, isn't done on a baseball diamond--it was accomplished on a cross.

Peace to you, friends. As Frank Turk says, spend tomorrow in the Lord's house with the Lord's people.

I'll be back tomorrow or Monday with a post about other stuff going on in my life.