Wednesday, December 31, 2003


I don't do New Year's resolutions...or perhaps I just don't do them well. There have been times when I've made life changing decisions, but I've never been able to sync them to this particular day.

I do have some goals for 2004:

There are the traditional ones - lose weight, eat healthier, exercise.
Actually I've narrowed that one down to: Don't die.
I also have a goal to wear my seatbelt all the time, Amy has threatened to kill me if I don't so technically that may still fall under the auspices of goal number one.

My primary goal for 2004 is to live more simply.

I've been giving that a lot of thought lately.

What does it take to simplify your life?

I've come to one conclusion.

All it requires is that I want less.

I want that. I want to want less.

See why I don't do resolutions?

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


One of the features of the commenting system on this blog is that it sends me an email with the specific comment when someone feels compelled to leave one. One thing the system doesn't do, is tell me to which particular bit of my wisdom the commentator in responding.

This afternoon an email sailed into my "Comment" folder from "Anonymous" which read simply, "That was cruel..."

I scoured my thoughts. I've been cynical certainly, perhaps a little sarcastic, but cruel? I started going through all the recent posts to find out which musing that comment was in response to...but I couldn't find it. So, I started going through November....nope. Okay, now I'm a man on a mission, slogging through the archives looking for a cruel post.

Finally, I found it! It was a post from back in August.

The post about McGriddle recipes.

The gag that keeps on giving.

Of course making me search through several months of writing to find that comment was equally cruel, so I consider us even.

P.S. I just noticed that I am again at the top of the hill if you search for McGriddle Recipe on Google.

If you search for Michael Main, I come in second or third. Go figure.

I ran across this article today while mindlessly wandering about the Internet. That in turn led me the book blog gender genie.

In a nutshell, it claims that if you cut and paste about 500 words of someone's writings into the "genie", the website can determine the author's gender.

Suffice it to say I have serious doubts about the accuracy...and I feel bloated.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Be The Ninth Convert

In radio, it's called contesting. You've heard it, "Be the ninth caller and win a pair of tickets"; "The only station giving away a chance to win ten thousand dollars!", etc..

There's no great mystery to's basic bribery. Radio stations hope to lure people into listening by offering them prizes. The more people who listen, the more radio stations charge for ads, and the more money they make.

It must work, since almost every radio station does it.

But not every church.

This is from The Galveston County Daily News

Church finding new ways to attract attendance

By Alicia Gooden
The Daily News

Published December 28, 2003

LA MARQUE ? Lots of people make them every year around this time ? commitments to turn over a new leaf once the new year begins.
Mixed in with all the other New Year?s resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt and stop smoking are usually vows to start going to church.
An October survey conducted by the Harris Poll, an international marketing and research firm, found that 79 percent of Americans believe that there is a god, but only 36 percent attend a religious service once a month or more. Abundant Life Christian Center is taking a step to increase church attendance.
In the sanctuary before the thousands of people who worship there every week are a shiny new Chrysler PT Cruiser and a Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycle.
The church will give the vehicles away Wednesday night at its New Year?s Eve service.
The giveaway is part of a creative method to get people to come to church, but the message has not changed, said Pastor Walter Hallam.
?This is an opportunity for the church to give something to someone that will encourage people to come to the house of the Lord,? he said.
Once there, Hallam said the message of salvation will keep people coming to church.
?We want to be real and effective in serving the community and the Lord,? he said. ?We want to do something to have a positive effect on people?s lives.?
Abundant Life has opened the drawing up to members and visitors. Each time people attend a church service there, they are eligible to enter the free drawing for either the car or the motorcycle.
The church has three services a week. Members bringing visitors are eligible to register twice.
The response has been overwhelming, said Jim Walker, business administrator for the church.
The vehicles weren?t donated. The church purchased them to give away.
?We?re a giving church,? said Hallam.
The Chrysler PT Cruiser is for a woman. The motorcycle is for a man. The winner of each new vehicle must be at the Wednesday service, which will include indoor fireworks, confetti, and a 4,000-balloon drop to usher in the new year.
The church will undertake other innovative programs that reach out to people in 2004, said Hallam.
?As a church, we have to use new methods to help take the old Gospel and give it to the world,? he said.

Has it really come to this?

How about an "Endure the sermon" contest? The last one to nod off during an 18 point sermon on the book of Jeremiah wins.

Or maybe something more blatant like "Commit to Christ for Cash!", "Baptize 'em for Bucks!", or "Lotto for the Lord!".

Am I wrong to think the promise of salvation - everlasting life wrapped in the loving arms of God should be prize enough?

It is for me...thank God.

I don't normally blog anything this early in the morning. I'm up at this hour going through newspapers on line as part of my job, but this quote got me today:

"What I'm saying is I think we're the best and most capable candidate of beating George Bush because we're the only one that is exciting the party" - Howard Dean

I'm always weirded out by politicos, and Dean isn't the only one, who talk about themselves in plural. The Royal "we". What's up with that?

I guess perhaps it sounds less conceded and boastful.

It's one of those political peculiarities. I've seen others. I don't know how many politicians I've watched roll into San Antonio and boast about their winning ways during photo-ops in front of the Alamo. The Alamo was the scene of an historic battle, of course, but it was after all a losing battle.

Sunday, December 28, 2003


Google has a relatively new news alert service which I use for a variety of topics I want to track, most of them work related. I did set one up at the beginning of the holiday season to track stories about baby Jesus figurines being stolen from nativity scenes. By my rough reckoning, I got about 30 reports of swiped statuettes of Jesus.

I mention that only because I saw an article today about this cute website established by someone whose garden Gnome has been highjacked.

That in turn reminded me of the delightful French film Amelie which, if you haven't seen, you should rent. It's truly charming.

Saturday, December 27, 2003


We had a wonderful family conversation around the dinner table last night. I mentioned I had run into some old friends who are now the youth ministers at a nearby church. I happened upon them at WalMart. This couple, whom I care about deeply and don't mean to malign, peppered all of their remarks with caveats of "feeling led" and how God had "laid this on their hearts", etc. The folks standing in line around us might very well have required a translator to understand what we talking about.

We weren't in church...we were at the deli counter each ordering sliced ham.

These friends are full of the spirit, and I adore that about them, but I couldn't help but wonder if they are separating themselves from the very people they're trying to reach by saturating everyday conversation with churchy language.

Last night my stepson, Joey, referred to it as "Christianese".

Can our own words distract us from God's word?

Today I ran across an interesting article on this very subject on the Internet Monk blog site.

It spoke to me.

Does it say anything to you?

A moment of silence please. I drove out to get a newspaper this morning and was struck by the disturbing reality that the previously mentioned Santa and Rudolph display didn't make it through the night.

It's now even more pitiful than before...something akin to North Pole road kill.

Friday, December 26, 2003


One gift I'm giving Amy this year, with major help from our home warranty service, and some significant Christmas shekels from loving relations, is a new oven to replace the aging stove in our kitchen. We've been pricing various models and she's about to make her decision. She's just informed me that the model she's looking at includes what's called "Sabbath Mode."

What a wonderful feature!

Our new oven is going to be able to respect the Sabbath.

I hope it keeps that idea warm within me more too.

Many are cold, but few are frozen.


Interesting article in the Boston Globe about Howard Dean planning to take the wraps off his faith when he campaigns in the South.

Apparently in Vermont he's fared better hiding his Christianity.

I don't find his position all that surprising, I'm somewhat amazed he admits to it though.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003


We are about to leave for church. Amy swears she is feeling well enough to lead music. The kids are planning on singing "Silent Night". As I write they are practicing downstairs. Their presence and the song fill my heart.

Soon we will light candles and tell the Christmas story.

I am ready.

Come Lord Jesus

Merry Christmas my friends.

Like many things, some Christmas decorations seem better in theory than in practice.

This is the spectacle at a home down the street from us.

My imagination has run wild with potential captions.

"I warned you if you flashed that red nose in my eyes one more time...."

The 8 seconds of Christmas-Rudolph Rodeo

Any come to your mind?

"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring...we all were worn out.
The stockings are still somewhere stashed in a box
In a pinch I'll nail up some stretched out sweat socks

The children are grown up and living their lives.
They'll drop by later, and then say their goodbyes.
Mamma is feverish, and battling the flu
I'm bracing myself, fearing I'll get it too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


Statistically today, December 23rd, is the most dangerous to drive in Texas. The folks who keep tabs on things like this, say on this day there are more car wrecks involving serious injury or death than any other day of the year. The statisticians point to the usual factors, holiday travel, drunk driving, wintertime darkness. They overlook a growing threat however; women in SUV's talking on cellphones.

I swear I've almost been killed a dozen times in the past 2 weeks by these lithe yet lethal creatures. I pointed out a number of such incidents today to Amy...she didn't seem to appreciate my astute observational least not after the fifth or sixth time I alerted her to another glaring example.

In any case, we survived the day without adding to the statistics. We also completed the Christmas shopping with time to spare.

We beat the odds again.

Monday, December 22, 2003


Amy's fever has returned. We may be moving our Christmas plans. As always prayers are appreciated....and very much requested.

Okay, lest I offend avid Lord of The Rings fans, let me say first that I loved The Return of the King. However I could have lived with about 30 minutes less winsome looks from Elijah Wood.

Did anyone else feel at times like they paid 6 bucks to observe a staring contest?

This may or may not work.

A crudely edited compilation of music from our Sunday service.

We're off to do some fast Christmas shopping. I took today off with the intent of helping Amy get the bulk of the shopping done. So far we've decided to go see the Lord of the Rings movie, so we're off to our usual proscrastinating start.

There's still plenty of time. Christmas is days away :)

Sunday, December 21, 2003


The Dallas Cowboys are in the playoffs.

Saturday, December 20, 2003


I was asked this week what was the favorite toy I received as a Christmas present when I was a kid. It was an impromptu conversation "on the air" so I thought fast and remembered my "Man From Uncle" toy machine gun that folded up into a radio. I must have enjoyed it...I remembered it.

This morning I was looking through some old pictures and I remembered the Beanie and Cecil dolls I received. Cecil had one of those strings you pulled to make him talk, which had to be one of the first toys that did that.

I loved those dolls when I was very little.

Looking at the Beanie doll though, from this picture off an Ebay auction, I have to say...he looks pretty frightening now.

So what was your favorite Christmas toy?

It's getting close. The day I've been dreading. Soon I'm going to have to start shopping for Christmas.

But not today.

Friday, December 19, 2003


I started writing here nine or ten months ago, vowing to write something every day. I'm now considering taking weekends off, or at least not feeling guilty if I don't write Friday through Sunday. The readership (both of you) tends to drop off over the weekends anyway. I'm not committing to weekends free, but if you see nothing here for a few days, don't freak out.

Thursday, December 18, 2003


We had a little mini-party at the church last night. Joey did caricatures. There was face painting and scrap booking. Wassail and chai tea.

I got out of the car to be greeted by Tiffany. Apparently everyone else knew she was driving down to be with us, except me. It was a wonderful way to start the evening. All three kids were together for the first time in a year.

They spent much of the night ignoring Amy and was just like old times.

I took this grainy shot of my friend Roy and little Jacob, who has quickly won the hearts of the congregation.

Jacob is a joy to watch as he delights in the world around him. Roy, some 65 plus years his senior, is much the same. He's won our hearts too.

Is there someone in your life you haven't reached with the Gospel? Maybe it's time you just hurled it at them.

I don't know, as cheesy as this is, I still sort of like it.

When it comes to outreach, sometimes you have to throw it out there and see where it lands.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


A friend called this afternoon to talk with Amy. She wanted to get something off her chest. She told Amy she had some problems in the past.

Amy told her so has everyone.

She wanted to know now that she was closer to God, that she had a more organized spiritual life, if she should be less reliant on the support systems she had used to overcome some of her problems

Amy told her those support systems were gifts from God..

She wondered if she should be able to rely on God for everything be strong.

Amy told her we should rely on Him, but we shouldn't overlook the tools He gives us to do that.

We're not perfect.

God knows that.

He still loves us.

That's why God is perfect.

Matthew 6:8

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I am covetous of my sleeping hours. But I've never gone to this extreme.

Joey's home. My stepson who schools in Ohio flew in yesterday. The house is gradually becoming messy... it's noisy a lot more often with the sound of people instead of just dogs.

It's all coming back to me now.


It feels very right.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


For I am that way going to temptation, where prayers cross. -Shakespeare

The other night Amy and I were sitting around the house when I decided to walk into the bedroom for something. When I grabbed the door knob it came off in my hand. Amy walked up behind me and immediately stuck her finger in the opening and her finger got stuck.

I can resist everything...except temptation - Oscar Wilde

I had lunch this afternoon at a fancy steak house - the company paid for it as a holiday treat/ratings reward. The waiter who brought me my slab of beef cautioned, "Don't touch the plate, it's very hot!" I immediately touched the plate.

I guess it's our nature.

I will say this, when Amy got her finger stuck, she spent several minutes trying to free it as we both laughed hysterically. She dared me to get the camera and post proof the incident had happened.

I resisted.

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice. - Mark Twain

Capitalism, you gotta love it.

The bearded Saddam dolls are already for sale.

For the little boy in all of us.

Monday, December 15, 2003


There was a time when I really liked to drive. I could drive all day and all night. Back in my young, carefree and single days, I took a "boy and his dog" trip that lasted two weeks. In one day I drove through seven states and would have gone further but I got distracted by the lights of Las Vegas. I loved it.

We used to drive to Ohio each summer in one fell swoop...23 hours.

Maybe it's because all the other cars on the road are SO BIG now. Maybe it's because my car has a funky window and the traffic noise seems louder. Maybe it's the difference between driving for pleasure and just driving.

Maybe there are just more miles on me.

Whatever the reason, a 350 mile trip today took its toll. I am worn out.

Driving did give me time to think though.

Tomorrow - thoughts on the temptation of hot plates, and broken doorknobs.

Tonight my mind is driven towards slumber.

Amy and I are off to lovely Waco today. Time to retrieve the youngest daughter from college. Lisa will be home with us tonight and then will be able to meet Joey at the airport when he flies in tomorrow.

It beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

First the beard the Saddam capture music.

Sunday, December 14, 2003


It's weird the stuff that runs through my mind when I am trying to take a nap. This afternoon I was trying to catch a few zzz's when this odd thought popped into my head.

I had to go on Ebay just to see if my suspicions were true.

Sure enough there's someone else out there with a twisted reality.

ADDENDUM- Ebay pulled the auction of "genuine clippings of Saddam's beard"

It's always nice to open one present before Christmas.

What a pleasant way to start the day.

I pray this is the turning point toward making life much safer for members of the military.

Saturday, December 13, 2003


I deleted a previous post about a blog I found offensive. The blog's author says I, and others, misread his intentions...perhaps so.

I don't think I'll go back though.

We came home last night from the Christmas party to a disturbing message on the answering machine from our friends, John and Denise.

John's sister has been battling cancer and evidently something went awry with the chemo treatments. At one point in the evening they believed she was going to die. At Amy's urging, I drove over to the hospital to be with them for a few minutes. The conversation was a rapid fire litany of incidents of medical chaos and confusion. There was stress, and anger and frustration. It didn't take me long to realize these dear friends, who have been through so much, didn't need counsel as much as convincing.

They went home to get some sleep.

Sometimes that's all we can do.

Nuzzle up to the quiet comfort of night... knowing God is awake.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Tiny Bubbles

I was sitting here trying to think if there's anything else I want to write about before the primary event of the afternoon - my nap - when I started trying to blow bubbles off my tongue.

When I was a kid, I discovered - in some way that kids discover stuff like this - that I could form a bubble on my tongue and gently blow it into the air. I remember for a while I was quite good at it.

I mentioned the other day an old friend from Junior High had found my blog and the emails we exchanged brought back that seemingly repressed memory of bubble blowing. Specifically how our Junior High school music teacher sent me to the principal's office for blowing a bubble at her.

At 13, I considered blowing bubbles off my tongue a unique and praise worthy talent.

She considered it spitting.

Everyone's a critic.

Guess I shouldn't put that nap off much longer.

Friday has arrived, that's always a good thing. The company Christmas party is tonight. I don't think Amy and I have been to an actual Christmas party for my company ever. They're usually on inconvenient nights (read any day during the work week) or we've had a conflict, or it just seemed un-fun. Tonight however we're making an exception to the stick in the mud rules which I enforce far too rigidly. We won't turn the lights out in the joint, but we'll be able to spend a couple of hours in a large saloon the corporate dollars are renting for the evening crowded with some 900 other people.

It's hard to describe my joy at the thought, so I'm not going to think too much about it. I'll hang onto Amy and we'll have fun. We need a night out.

The party planners have envisioned a "Casino night" where you can't win money, but if you don't lose all your chips you can buy a prize. I suspect the best odds will be on the flu bug spreading to everyone.

You have to take this with a grain of salt, but this study out of Canada is likely to have women saying, "Yeah, tell us something we didn't already know."

Hey don't blame me...blame Canada.

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Amy finally broached the subject with the doctor. It was such a delicate matter.

She said she thought he really needs help. He seems confused. He has a hard time getting off a chair if he has go left instead of right. He howls for no reason. He barks when it's dark.

Mercifully, for a change she wasn't talking about me. She was talking about Winston, our special needs dog. Since the dogs were in for their vaccinations anyway, Amy decided to discuss their mental health with the Veterinarian.. The Doc concurred with her diagnosis.

Winston is quite likely one enchilada short of a Mexican plate.

So we're putting him on drugs. Yes, our dog is on antidepressants.

I went to Walgreens yesterday to pick up a prescription of an Elavil generic for "Winston Main". The Pharmacist didn't even blink when she said, "Oh, he's a dog."

I know I heard a small gasp emanating from the woman behind me in line though.

Welcome to the new millennium.

I gave Winston the first pill last night.

I came home from work today to find him frolicking in the destructive aftermath of what was once a red plush football toy.

This is your dog.

This is your dog on drugs.

Oh yeah, so far this is working great.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


That's not paisley.
It's evidently what testosterone looks like under a microscope. The tie is one of many Infectious Awareables you can buy...just in time for Christmas.

Testosterone-The Ultimate Power Tie.

I tried to take a picture of the moon the other night. My little digital camera doesn't have a zoom. It didn't capture the moon's majesty. It looks more like part of the sky is missing.

It did remind me of a story Amy reminds me of when, in her opinion, I periodically need humbling.

Some time back I was driving home from a church function and called Amy from the car. She was driving down a road not too far away. I said something like, "I know this is going to sound silly, but does it look like there's a hole in the sky to you?"

For whatever reason there was a blotch in the cloudless heavens. A gray gash.

To me it looked liked the fabric of the sky had been torn. I kept didn't move. I angled my looked the same. I slowed down. I sped up. It was still there. That's when I picked up my mobile phone and called Amy.

She was silent for a moment or two and then said, "Oh I see it too!

It's a plane."

Her laughter drowned out the rest of the conversation.

Mobile phones should come with a warning label, "If you're living in a world filled with illusions of your own making...use caution before dialing."

Tuesday, December 09, 2003


The title of this post ought to be good for a few blog hits.

I don't know why police might suspect George Clinton of using drugs.

Do you?


This is a hard to believe story.
First off, it's difficult to fathom that someone can actually get 100 thousand dollars to study spirituality when their stated goal is know "enough about how it works to be able to offer the same experience to anybody seeking spiritual growth."


Someone explain it to me.

Will they offer spirituality pills?

"Just add water!"

Baptisms would certainly never be the same.

It does take a certain amount of chutzpah to open God's mail.

The New Year approaches and I am already seeing the inevitable on the horizon. Vows to eat exercise. Perhaps there is another choice though. Maybe I can just find out if this kids' doctor is on my HMO.

Monday, December 08, 2003


I have to admit I haven't quite gotten into the Christmas spirit yet. Maybe it's because all the kids have grown up. Maybe it's because we're still a little unsettled with Amy's health...maybe it's because it's close to 80 degrees outside.

We held our Radiothon over the weekend (raised more than $150,000.00 to buy toys for kids) at a local mall in the same area where hundreds of parents were lined up with their children to get pictures taken with Santa Claus. We've held the Radiothon at this location for years and it always strikes me as odd. Our set up takes up so much space it forces the parents and their kids to line up rather rigidly along one wall.

Then again, maybe the folks in charge of the mall have a certain method to their madness.

We didn't have malls when I was small enough to sit on Santa's lap. I don't remember where this photo was taken. Since I spent my early years in New York, I suspect that's probably a genuine Macy's Santa, but there's no certainty. I know he earned his money...three kids on his lap at once. Getting my brothers and I to sit in a car seat without punching each other was an accomplishment, to get us all on some strangers' lap had to be a true Christmas miracle.

I look at this picture and only one thing comes to mind -- 40-plus years later, and I still have the same haircut.

Stuff that still needs to be filed somewhere in my brain....

I've been Googled and found by an old, old friend from Junior high school. A pleasant surprise. He also made the astute observation that with the power of search engines like Google now...are high school reunions obsolete?
Watch less TV and eat more veggies.

But be gentle about it.
We got around to watching "Bruce Almighty" a week or two ago. Meant to blog about it...but didn't. I loved it. Didn't find it offensive...or at least not too offensive. I liked the fact that the main character, even infused with the power of God, was unhappy and unfulfilled without his girlfriend, Grace.

Grace completes me too.

Sunday, December 07, 2003


Sunday slipped away.

Saturday, December 06, 2003


Today is a good day. Brisk and bright. It's the weekend. Our church Christmas party is tonight and this afternoon I get to help a charity make a few kids smile.
Each year our radio stations work together to raise funds for The Elf Louise Project. It's an example of a simple idea to do good that became contagious.

The simplicity of Elf Louise is a large part of its allure to me. They raise money to buy toys. Elf Louise volunteers give the toys to needy kids. No one gets paid. The only costs are for insurance and the like.

This afternoon I get to be an elf of sorts. Making a very small contribution of time. As is often the case with events like this, I will come away feeling like I have received far more than I have given.

For the record, the radiothon is taking contributions via phone at (210) 979-7700 until 5pm Saturday.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life

Friday, December 05, 2003


Baby Jesus stealing season is officially underway.

Two were stolen from a guy named Wayne.

That's a brave thief.

These are the stories that get publicity.

Too often I feel like Christ is stolen out of Christmas much less blatantly.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


I've mentioned here before that I believe people named Wayne are genetically predisposed to crime. The Houston Chronicle has the ultimate validation of this theory in a story out this afternoon:

A McDonald's customer who flew into a violent rage when she was denied mayonnaise on her cheeseburger got 10 years in prison today for running over the restaurant's manager.

Waynetta Nolan, 37, could have received as much as 20 years in prison for hitting Sherry Allen Jenkins with her car, dragging the employee across the parking lot and breaking her pelvis at the McDonald's in southwest Houston.

Nolan showed little emotion this afternoon when the jury came back with the punishment after four hours of deliberation. Earlier this morning, however, as the jury heard testimony in the punishment phase of Nolan's trial, her 43-year-old victim tearfully said she couldn't pick up her grandchildren because of the injuries she suffered in the incident.

"I put the mayonnaise on her burger," Jenkins told jurors. "I took the onions and the mustard off. What did I do?"

I rest my case.

Dappled Things turned me on to this link to a wonderful on-line snow globe.

NOTE: My brilliant wife pointed this out in the "comments" area, but I thought it was worth mentioning publicly. Don't use the "email a friend" function of the snow globe site. It will collect email addresses for spammers.

If the music gets too annoying, you can go here to have famous rock and pop musicans groups sing your lyrics...sort of.

There was a mailing in my box yesterday, saved by a coworker who thought I might want to add it to my Ignatius file. It doesn't really fit. It's certainly bizarre enough, but it's too hateful to savor. It's also too foul to put a link to here although the writer does have a website.

It's from a "ministry" that believes in all sorts of Zionist conspiracies. There are rantings about the Jewish people and Satan seeded amid dire warnings that the world is being duped. It's also chuck full of offers to buy various books and periodicals touting much the same hatred.

I did find some of it humorous. Like the allegation that televangelists are giving secret signs of the devil.

The purveyor of this brilliance contends these candid shots of televangelists prove their link to Satan because of their hand gestures.

That's not the funny part.

The funny part is that this "ministry" is based in Austin, Texas. Home of the University of Texas Longhorns.

You know, "Hook 'em horns!"

No wonder this guy sees the devil all around him...of course some of my Texas Aggie friends might agree with him there.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003


Some Spurs tickets fell into my lap at the last moment. I'm working on the assumption a friend from church will join me since Amy isn't up to it. I've left messages, but haven't heard back. I'm going to have to assume he'll be available.
I'm also working on the assumption the Spurs will play like an NBA team instead of a girl's softball league - they've lost three in a row.
Of course I'm also praying the game doesn't go into double overtime, since I still have to work in the morning.

I'm living on faith today...not the first time...certainly not the last either.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


If you missed Howard Dean on "Hardball" last night, the Drudge Report has a synopsis of some of the brilliance he espoused. I am not going to debate the idea that we need to break up media conglomerates. It's such a silly proposition, touted by people who don't understand. I love the line that there are not enough radio stations doing news in Vermont, the "rest of it is read and ripped from the AP."

"Earth to Howard...Break up the Associated Press!" That's a monopoly!

I've come up with a slogan: Vote Dean - Make George McGovern look better in the history books.

We're on a precarious perch again. Amy has been running a fever. It's likely caused by her body rebelling against the implanted line in her chest. A line that was put in as part of the "cure" for her other ailments, presuming that diagnosis is correct, something that is still a fairly broad assumption in my mind. Her temperature has been hovering around 100 and her doctor says if it hits 101, it's back to the hospital.

Only one degree of separation...still plenty of room for prayer.

Read a story the other day that the Christmas carol Americans find the most annoying is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer". I probably would agree with that. I mention that for two reasons:
First, this kid will never hear that song like the rest of us.
Second, the same story mentioned that the song most Americans want to hear while eating Christmas dinner is, "Silent Night". That's the song you'll hear in the background of this very cool online Advent calendar.

Monday, December 01, 2003


I was talking with our dogs last night. Our dogs work in shifts, well it's not really work...they bark in day parts. Avery, the smallest, the female, the most dominant dog, barks during the day. She barks if she hears another dog bark. She barks if kids run by out front. She barks if construction machinery is operating down the road. She barks at the neighbors next door, she barks at the neighbors two doors down, she barks at cows behind our house, she barks at the garbage crews, she barks at birds. Avery barks a lot.

Winston, our special needs dog, barks at night. If it's dark, Winston will let out a bark as soon as he goes out the door . I assume he's hoping to scare away things that scare him. Since it remains dark even after he barks, he'll keep barking. I think Winston believes daylight works sort of like the clapper.
He'll also bark and or howl at random moments, and when he's confused.
Winston is confused a lot.

Klondike, the dog who once was considered dumb - then we got two dogs who are certifiably insane - usually barks only if provoked. If there's an unusual noise, someone lurking out front, or another dog passing by, he'll let out a canine bellow that can rattle nerves and windows a half block away. I've never discouraged Klondike from barking. He's big, he sounds ferocious, and he's reserves his best barks for door to door salespeople.

So last night I sat down with the dogs in the backyard and tried to explain it to them. I told the small dogs, they didn't have to bark at all. That Klondike had barking duty. He has the loudest bark. He knows when to use it. I tried to reason with them, mentioning that I sleep odd hours and that if we could negotiate a barking hierarchy we would have a much more peaceful environment. I told the little mutts they could feel free to simply be frolicking dogs. An occasional yelp is fine, but incessant barking really isn't required. I explained their lives should be carefree. They didn't need to worry or try to protect our little asylum.

They stared at me for a while. I patted them on their heads and went back inside.

Winston howled.

I was talking with God last night. I told Him how I was struggling lately. That Amy's ongoing health issues had me worrying too much. That I felt distracted. That I was losing sleep. I mentioned that the dogs barked a lot and Christmas seemed like it was approaching with the threatening tempo of a freight train.

It felt good to pray long and hard. To unburden myself.

After a while I was more at peace. I realized my life could be more carefree. That I didn't have to worry quite so much.

Perhaps there's something to this barking thing...

Psalm 116:5-7

The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.