Tuesday, December 16, 2008

quality entertainment

i’m not really sure who this guy is or what his story is, but it’s proof that quality entertainment can be made from christian perspective (i’m making a huge assumption that this guy is indeed a Christian). anyone know anything about this tim hawkins guy?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

mad about madmen

very rarely do i experience envy. it is one of the seven deadlies that doesn’t really phase me too much. but, on occasion, when i witness the creative genius of folks, i must admit, i get twinges of jealousy. in such moments, i wish and hope and pray for just one given moment sometime in my life when i could be that good at something - anything. whenever i hear night rider’s lament, or my colleague, trevor hunt, play the classical guitar, or witness dr. joyce applegate teach a field biology class, i can’t help but think to myself, “is there, or will there ever be any one thing i’m that good at?”

one of these envious moments creeped into my thoughts as i watched an episode of madmen. it’s a snappy show about a madison advertising agency, sterling cooper, set in the late 50’s early 60’s. john hamm plays don draper, the main character and sterling cooper’s top advertising gun. in an episode called the wheel, a single scene struck me as quite stunning and beautiful in its forceful simplicity. the craft of creating great television is evidenced here. i must admit that i was envious of talent and abilities on display in the writing, the acting, and the directing. enjoy.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

one toke over the line, sweet jesus, one toke over the line *

as a “university” church with a congregation that ranges from degreed professionals to folks off the street and everything in between, you’re liable to hear a spectrum of thoughts during any given bible study. moderate, fundamental, conservative, sometimes just plain nuts. but no one ever seems to stomp out angry or with hurt feelings, which is what i really enjoy about this particular gathering of folks. and you gotta show up week to week, because you just might miss something. you can never quite pin-point when or how god’s going to manifest himself.

last night’s bible study examined the virgin birth narrative presented by only two gospels, matthew and luke. lines of thinking and questioning arose from our crowd in a fairly typical manner for the group: how is jesus of the line of david if joseph is not the biological father? wouldn’t mary probably know how the birds and the bees work, and, if so, why’s she asking the angel about the basics of biology? the ex nihilo idea of genesis manifested in the womb? how does the dirt of adam’s “birth” become dna, and did god, the father, use miraculous means to introduce the y chromosome into mary’s fetus? some good heavy theological lifting going on.

the spirited back and forth was good natured banter and did provoke lots of good thought. and yet a din of sorts, a static created by the conversation, clouded the room.

and that’s when i caught a glimpse of The Sublime.

during a collective breath which provided an opportune pause in our voices, a gentleman in the back said in a calm, sure, steady voice just loud enough for everyone to hear: “if you pray to god and you truly believe that the creator of the universe hears you, you’re already over the line. you already ARE a mystic.”

* brewer and shipley

Thursday, November 20, 2008

what country do you think this is?*

lately, it seems the gop has attempted to have life imitate art. unfortunately, they chose the theater of the absurd to immolate in the last election cycle. and clearly, even after the election, some folks in the party still don’t get it. this is poignantly illustrated by congressman joe knollenberg (republican, michigan) at around the three minute mark of the following clip. note knollenberg’s answer to cavuto’s question, “where do you draw the line with our money?” joe’s answer is not unlike the clock in perandello’s play , the bald soprano, which strikes the hour twenty-nine in one scene and “as many times as it wants” in another. there’s a disconnect here that is becoming more and more bizarre as the calendar turns.

*garage attendant - ferris bueller's day off

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

pic from dia de los muertos

click to enlarge scary skull face

Monday, November 17, 2008

fashion trends in the deep south

as an instructor on a college campus, i see a range of fashion year to year, season to season. every now and again, a fad or trend will surface that piques my curiosity as to how and why said fashion evolved. currently, a bizarre trend grips our deep south campus where the temperatures during the months of october and november average around 85 degrees for highs and about 45 degrees for lows. on any given day, more than half the co-eds are wearing shorts accented by snow boots with fuzzy trim. are these folks hot or cold? when is the last time it snowed on this campus? does the bookstore carry odor-eaters? is the circulation in their extremities poor while their core temperatures remain above average? is this look popular in current pop culture? is this a statement on the alleged global warming? what would mr. blackwell think of this look, god rest his soul? while not as troubling as the billed cap worn cock-eyed or as strange as a toboggan with a bill, i do wonder what these young folks are thinking as they dress for the day. probably the same thing i was thinking during the early 1980’s while sporting argyle patterns suited only for exclusive links courses or pastel tee-shirts and white jackets with the sleeves rolled up a la the set of miami vice. huaraches and mullets, anyone?

Friday, November 07, 2008

the signs are everywhere. . .we just need to see them

“Dagny, the whole world’s in a terrible state right now. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but something’s very wrong. Men have to get together and find a way out. But who’s to decide which way to take, unless it’s the majority? I guess that’s the only fair method of deciding, I don’t see any other. I suppose somebody’s got to be sacrificed. If it turned out to be me, I have no right to complain. The right’s on their side. Men have to get together.”
She made an effort to speak calmly; she was trembling with anger. “If that’s the price of getting together, then I’ll be damned if I want to live on the same earth with any human beings! If the rest of them can survive only by destroying us, then why should we wish them to survive? Nothing can make self-immolation proper. Nothing can give them the right to turn men into sacrificial animals. Nothing can make it moral to destroy the best. One can’t be punished for being good. One can’t be penalized for ability. If that’s right, then we’d better start slaughtering one another, because there isn’t any right at all in the world!”
He did not answer. He looked at her helplessly.
“If it’s that kind of world, how can we live in it?” she asked.
“I don’t know . . .” he whispered.
“Dan, do you really think it’s right? In all truth, deep down, do you think it’s right?”
He closed his eyes. “No,” he said. Then he looked at her and she saw a look of torture for the first time. “That’s what I’ve been sitting here trying to understand. I know that I ought to think it’s right – but I can’t. It’s as if my tongue wouldn’t turn to say it. I keep seeing every tie of track down there, every signal light, every bridge, every night that I spent when . . .” His head dropped down on his arms. “Oh God, it’s so damn unjust!”
“Dan,” she said through her teeth, “fight it.”
He raised his head. His eyes were empty. “No,” he said. “It would be wrong. I’m just selfish.”
“Oh, damn that rotten tripe! You know better than that!”
“I don’t know . . .” His voice was very tired. “I’ve been sitting here, trying to think about it . . . I don’t know what is right anymore. . . .” He added, “I don’t think I care.”
She knew suddenly that all further words were useless and that Dan Conway would never be a man of action again. She did not know what made her certain of it. She said, wondering, “You’ve never given up in the face of a battle before.”
“No, I guess I haven’t. . . .” He spoke with a quiet, indifferent astonishment. “I’ve fought storms and floods and rock slides and rail fissure. . . . I knew how to do it, and I liked doing it. . . . But this kind of battle – it’s one I can’t fight.”
“I don’t know. Who knows why the world is what it is?”

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Thursday, November 06, 2008

more halloween goodness!

here's special K in her wilbur (pronounced "YIL-bur") costume. we went to our halloween party as the cast of charlotte's web. big al was a stunningly beautiful charlotte and i had my own gutter rat take on templeton. a good time was had by all. as soon as ms lundy forwards the digital pics, we'll post more.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

halloween treats!

as always, halloween was a blast! this year was especially memorable since my daughter was able to have BIG fun in all the festivities – halloween party at our house, carnival at the school, trick or treating in the neighborhood. lots of candy and good times. this is one of the early pics we got back from the disco tent at the school carnival. thanks, laura, for snapping it and sending it our way!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

some voting season fodder . . .

Some quotes to ponder as the election hour draws nigh. For more, check out Walter Williams’ list of quotes from
Framers and the Constitution.

"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

"If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?"
-- South Carolina Senator William Draden 1828

"We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute."
-- Thomas Paine

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions." James Madison, "Letter to Edmund Pendleton," -- James Madison, January 21, 1792, in The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, Robert A Rutland et. al., ed (Charlottesvile: University Press of Virginia,1984).

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
-- Mark Twain, 1894

Thursday, October 23, 2008

pay no attention to the heat miser behind the curtain . . .

while cruising the blogosphere, i stumbled upon a thoughtful, humorous, and spot-on blog by lobos motl. motl is a physicist living in the czech republic who takes on the global warming hoax in the reference frame . motl's notion of “the gore effect” is quite funny as are the documents surrounding the arrival of gore at harvard to give a speech on global warming; note the local low temp of 25 degrees which was last seen on October 22, 1883. kudos to motl! preach it, bro, preach it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

politics makes stange bedfellows . . .

not everyone in the democrat party has forgotten their roots. note the echos of jfk in lynn forester de rothschild's comments.

"Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."
– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference

"Our present tax system ... exerts too heavy a drag on growth ... It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking ... The present tax load ... distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

is this what folks want?

is this really what folks want out there?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

along with the obvious joys of being a first time parent come some unexpected pains. one of the least anticipated side effects of becoming a parent, in my experience, is the immediate ability to empathize and be moved by the relationships of other parent/child relationships going on around me. for the past year the lives of three sets of parents and children in particular have moved me in ways i did not believe possible.

in one instance a son discovered the body of his elderly mother who had been brutally murdered with a hammer by a crack addict that, when caught, turned out to be an old high school acquaintance .

in another situation, an expectant mother of naturally occurring quadruplets has battled for almost two years for the lives of her daughters. she lost three of the girls in the delivery process and continues to face challenges with her daughter who fights everyday to recover from being delivered prematurely.

last week, some friends of our family lost their eleven year old son to cancer. he fought the disease in a heroic way.

each of the folks involved taught me things about strength, perseverance, and grace. but the lessons, i think, were heightened for me because of the relationship i have with my own daughter.

since her arrival, one of my favorite hobbies, going to the movies, has been curbed a bit. we tend to see about the same amount of movies as we did before; they are just viewed via netflix about six months to a couple of years behind the curve of the general populous. last night, we saw bella, a film from 2006 written and directed by alejandro gomez monteverde. this quite film portrayed the strength, perseverance, and grace of its central characters in such a powerful way that i spent most of the film watching the screen through a blur of tears. if you missed it on the big screen – take the time to watch it. share it with someone. and hug your kids. squeeze ‘em just a little bit tighter than you might normally do.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ben Franklin famously said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” A big thank you to those in the Senate* who tried to abide by Franklin’s wisdom when they voted “no” for the bail out attempt. God give representatives in the House the same courage and wisdom to thwart this bill tomorrow.

* Allard (R) Barasso (R) Brownback (R) Bunning (R) Cantwell (D)
Cochran (R) Crapo (R) DeMint (R) Dole (R) Dorgan (D)
Enzi (R) Feingold (D) Inhofe (R) Johnson (D) Landrieu (D)
Nelson (FL) (D) Roberts (R) Sanders (I) Sessions (R) Shelby (R)
Stabenow (D) Tester (D) Vitter (R) Wicker (R) Wyden (D)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

economics 101

lots of ideas floating around out there on the financial crisis and what to do about it. we need to get back to the basics. spend less that you make. save for a rainy day. help those who truely need help. we've lost most of these concepts along the way somewhere, from the individual to the nanny state that the us government has become. after lots of reading and careful consideration of which one article to pass on to both of my readers out there, i've settled on martin masse's piece in the national post. in his article
Bailout Marks Karl Marx's Comeback, masse argues correctly, i think, that out of fear we are about to adopt marx's proposal number five which, in effect, puts the government in charge of centralized credit. wow. we are actually considering giving this over to a bunch of yahoos that can't even make a profit in their own cafeteria. short term pain is worth the long term loss of liberty. while this is an uncomfortable choice, it should not be a tough choice.

Friday, September 26, 2008

i love the smell of bacon in the morning (or at any time of day)

one of life’s pleasures for me is football. there’s not really an aspect of it that i don’t like. some of my fondest memories in life revolve around what is a great sport. this year, our college had a faculty/student game of flag football that was quite a blast. there was an all-star sort of quality to it in that there were “celebrity” announcers and refs, so many faculty and students involved that only a few series on each side of the ball was possible for each player, and some good natured ribbing going back and forth between teams. long story short, we all had some fun. an added bonus – the faculty won 20-13.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

never forget

to all the men and women from the president and the military to the police, fire, and emergency personnel on the street who have kept us safe from another attack on our own soil: thank you for being always faithful.

Monday, September 08, 2008

behold - the uncle willie!

at my parent's house there is a tin-type on the wall of a gentleman only known to me as uncle william. he seems to be a somber young man in his late twenties, early thirties. the most striking thing about uncle william is his SWEET handlebar moustache. i saw this picture for the umptieth time this summer and decided to grow what i affectionately refer to as an uncle willie. it's been growing for about three months. today marked pearl river community college's centennial celebration, and several of the faculty dressed in period clothing to mark the day. i also took the opportunity to unveil a severely waxed version of the uncle willie for the first time in public. happy birthday pearl river, and god rest the soul of uncle william.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

more fantasy league politics

the second person i’d draft, on election day for fantasy league politics (right behind the coach: czar of budget) would be the minister of get-off-of-your-behind-and-do-something. this cabinet position would also be know as mr. cause & effect. in this position, i would draft michael phelps. not because he’s a great athlete. not because he’s won 14 gold medals. not because he’s the greatest olympian of the modern games. no sir. he would be my pick because of his diet. this guy eats 12,000 calories a day! check out this sample food list: for breakfast -three fried egg sandwiches; cheese; tomatoes; lettuce; fried onions; mayonnaise; three chocolate-chip pancakes; five-egg omelet; three sugar-coated slices of french toast; bowl of grits; two cups of coffee; for lunch - half-kilogram (one pound) of enriched pasta; two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread; energy drinks; for dinner - half-kilogram of pasta, with sauce; large pizza; energy drinks. doesn’t he realize these foods are unhealthy? these foods cause heart disease and love handles? why does he eat in such an unhealthy manner? because he can. how could he do this and still weigh 187lbs and have 8% body fat? because he got off his behind and did something. every day. cause. effect. you eat this much, you gotta work out hard to avoid the big one and look like a chick magnet. if you spend five hours a day swimming, you can eat this way too. and i bet you’ll approximate the abs of a greek god or goddess within the year. we don’t need health nazis and government regulation of folks’ food consumption. instead, what we need is a shining example of cause & effect, like michael phelps, my first choice for minister of get-off-your-behind-and-do-something!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the perfect storm?

for my money the best ticket in town has got to be wednesday night in denver. barry o’s camp made a tactical error in giving michigan and florida full votes and allowing a roll call vote on the floor. two things we know about the clintons – they are not quitters and they do not like to lose. to paraphrase nuke laloosh: “you know, winning; it’s like, better than losing.” there’s a storm a brewin’ and its name ain’t gustav.

Monday, August 25, 2008

coach's purse-strings

wouldn’t it be fun to put together a “fantasy team” for politics? i’m not sure how you’d do an “election day” or what sort of point system you’d have, what the “positions” would be, or even how long the season would last. but the idea intrigues me. and i know you’ve all put together a fantasy list of who you’d put in charge of what if you were “managing” the “team”. or maybe i’m out standing in my field all alone on this one. but anywho . . . if i were in charge, i would appoint an acquaintance of mine who we’ll call “coach” to the position we’ll call minister of finances. check that. maybe call it czar of budgets. but anyway, coach in real life is a man who is the assistant baseball coach at a university and could really show the collective congress a thing or two about budget control. this is a man who will stop a team bus between two fast food joints and tell the boys to wait in the bus until he gets back from negotiating with the two chains. in one particular instance i know of, the boys all ate taco bell instead of burger king because the taco bell folks would feed the bus drivers AND the coaches free if the team ate there. burger king would only feed the drivers free. now get this. even though coach got a daily meal stipend from the university, he negotiated a free meal for himself. and on top of securing a free meal, he ordered three bean burritos and a drink because that’s all it took to fill him up. the guy could’ve gotten ANYTHING on the menu for FREE! but he didn’t. he got what would fill him up. so, as i sip on the champagne of beers and ponder my ideal political universe, i’d like to toast the coach, the guy i would appoint as czar of the budget on my political fantasy team.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

liberty or death?

with each passing year, it seems that government is more and more interested in limiting individual freedoms and, for the most part, it seems the populous is content to just sit and take it. businesses in my town, for example, can no longer offer smoking sections because the city government has decided that it needs to regulate what goes into our bodies. where will this particular slippery slope end? now that public restaurants and bars are off limits for smokers, our homes will be targeted soon. already the food police are working hard to legislate what foods can and cannot be served/consumed at restaurants. when that battle is won, the health-nazis will again take the battle into our homes. the squeeze upon our freedom of choice in what automobiles we drive is in full swing, and, if we don't pay attention, the nanny state will be regulating our thermostats within the next decade. all of this is to say that i really enjoyed ruminating this past fourth of july on the freedoms we enjoy as well as those which have gone the way of the dinosaur and others that are on the endangered species list. with this in mind, i chose not to fly the stars and stripes this independence day; instead, i proudly hung the flag designed by the minutemen of culpeper, virginia. this flag evolved from ben franklin's political cartoon of a rattle snake chopped into thirteen sections representing the fractured nature of the original thirteen colonies before the revolutionary war. the caption in franklin's cartoon read, "join or die." in these times of political struggle and bipartisan idiocy, it seems that we could take a lesson from this cartoon and this flag. no matter what stripe you are politically, we must not ever forget that at the core of our nation is the belief that we are free and independent and self reliant beings who live best when government leaves us alone.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

old school

i like old school stuff. the time before cell phones. the era of basketball as a non-contact sport. agrarian culture centered around family as opposed to biofuels. one old school thing you still might see from time to time on an old country road every now and again is a basic courtesy that comes in the form of a single finger, or, on occasion, maybe even a whole hand, being raised in salutation to another occupant of the road. a basic acknowledgement of others, it may convey greetings or thanks or even “you’ve got the right of way.” but i’ve never seen it used in a negative way. even when i encounter this gesture from complete strangers on roads i’ve never been on before, i somehow feel connected to the place and to that place’s former time that is inevitably dying. as a kid i’d see this gesture all the time; i saw it again today, but could not tell you the last time i’ve seen it. anyway – if you’re out there reading this blog, just imagine yours truly sitting behind the wheel of a 1969 ford f-100 coming at you down a country back road doing about 50 mph on a bright sunny afternoon. the windows are down and you’ve really got nowhere you’ve got to be in a hurry. as we pass each other, i’ll raise my finger from atop the steering wheel in a knowing way and nod. maybe you’ll even return the favor.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

. . . featuring the great CW

for my money, this is one of the greatest videos of all time featuring one of the greatest actors of all time. would that we all could channel a touch of CW everyday.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhh . . . ahhh . . . well. ahhh. . .

a true conservative voice departed today. william f. buckley, jr.’s conservative voice crying from the wilderness of the current political landscape will be missed. godspeed

Friday, February 08, 2008

the new era of 'shine

this week an out of control republican mississippi senator, john read, attempted to introduce legislation that would ban obese folks from restaurants. yep, those who are for the expanding the nanny state are attempting to regulate YOUR food. this follows closely on the heels of the rights of smokers and business owners being trampled to death by the health nazis. everyone in america should have the right to eat whatever they want whenever they want it. in fact, if i should have the right to walk into a fast food joint, order up 50cc’s of liquefied hog grease and mainline it directly into my fourth valve. when they out-law different types of food (and don’t kid yourself – it’s coming. for doubters go look at the history of how the government took down big tobacco), i’m going to buy a mint 1968 plymouth road runner with a 426 nitrous powered hemi, load that bad boy down with whoppers and shipley’s donuts and camel cigarettes and unfiltered marlboro reds and hit the road to seek my fortune. all this is to say that one of my favorite childhood memories was hearing my southern baptist preacher of a daddy play the guitar and sing a sweet ballad of a song who’s remnants have stuck with me over the years. and thanks to the sheer genius of youtube, i’ve gotten to hear the song again, in it’s entirety, as an adult. ladies and gentlemen – embrace mark collie’s ballad of thunder road as the anthem against the health police. as always - thanks pappa bear!

Friday, February 01, 2008

something that (almost) makes sense!

amidst a world where the fictional “reality” of video games and television and movies predominately shape our views of the world, west virginia has decided to consider “a bill to teach schoolchildren how to handle a gun and hunt safely . . . . ‘Hunting is an economic and cultural thing and we have seen a decline of hunting licenses over the past years.’” Hunting is indeed one of the single most potent activities that can shape america’s future for the better. it leads to family bonding. it teaches personal responsibility and the consequences of actions. it provides instruction on the nature of life cycles. it leads to respect of and for the environment. and, i think, it leads to a reverence and appreciation for something much larger and mysterious than oneself. the only problem here is that parents should be taking the lead in teaching hunting and gun safety to kids, not the government or educational system. this educational movement is indicative of the “nanny state” mentality we’ve become all too comfortable with in america. the government should not have to provide firearms education to kids (or sex education, or social/behavioral skills, or religion, or numerous other facets of life one should learn at home). nor should we be comfortable or willing to turn that education over to strangers in the marketplace. parents need to be the ones out front, leading the charge of developing well rounded kids.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

barry and levon, part duex

the quality of the footage is not the best, but the comedic excellence transcends the technology. AHHHHHHHHYEAHHHHHHH!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

laughter IS the best medicine

i becoming more and more convinced that every single day i need a dose of comedy to combat my glacially inevitable march toward becoming the embodiment of a grumpy old man. so – youtube has become my morning fix of choice. this morning i recalled a hilarious sketch from a forgotten show from comedy central called the state. the sketch features two forgotten comic heroes, barry and levon. the sketch is called “$240.00 worth of pudding.” and for my $240.00, it’s about as funny as it gets. enjoy as you “cook and chill all night long.”

Friday, January 11, 2008


i’ve been fascinated with the straight razor shave since childhood. i grew up watching westerns with my dad, and always thought it was cool when the cowboys shaved in the river with a straight razor. i got my first straight razor shave when i was eighteen in houston. the barber was a woman. it was an existential moment for me. for about thirty minutes there i caught a glimpse, i think, of whitman’s sublime. but that’s another story. shortly thereafter, i began to collect straight razors and barbering paraphernalia. my favorites of the collection are my granddad’s straight razor and a wooden burma shave sign. when i began teaching at pearl river community college, i discovered they had a barbering program. one of the requirements for graduation is proficiency with the straight razor. when klelly ran the program, he had a woman named misty whose specialty was the straight razor shave. and faculty could receive barbering services for free, so about once a week in ’98 and ’99, misty would knock the sandpaper off for me. but misty graduated and most of the students since have made me a bit nervous. however, for christmas this year, my sister and brother-in-law got me one of the coolest gifts i’ve ever received. it was a straight razor shave from a high-end boutique shop called the art of shaving, new york. if you are a man, i highly recommend that you put a straight razor shave on your list of 100 things to do before your die.