Stayin’ connected

•July 27, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I miss my kid.

Geoff has been out of the country for just a few days.  That should be no big deal.

Geoff & SandyBut here’s the thing. I’ve talked to him every single day from the womb on. Yeah, I used to talk to him in the womb—acoustics are great in there. No, no, I wasn’t in there, he was. For the most part, it was a one way conversation back then except that he’d ocassionally kick when he disagreed.He’s 16 now and doesn’t kick as much. He’s rarely at a loss for words. Don’t know where he gets it but I wouldn’t want it any other way. He’s a great conversationalist and a good listener, even after he came out of the womb. But don’t tell him I said so.

I’m divorced and Geoff and I haven’t been under the same roof, on a regular basis, for the past two and a half years. We spend “in person” time together as much as we can. When we can’t, we rely heavily on cell phones. Thank God for cell phones. Sure, I know they cause traffic accidents (blame the phones, not their users, right?) and people talk on them much too loudly and they are the true reason that the Roman Empire fell, yadda yadda yadda… but cell phones are, on the whole, a very, very good thing. We shouldn’t take them for granted.

Cells give us a sense of connectedness in fast-paced society that we couldn’t get any other way. Let me explain. I’ll usually talk to my kid on his cell phone several times a day, every day. Mostly short conversations, of course. You know what I’m talking about. You’re standing in line at Starbucks, you’re stuck in traffic, you’re waiting for a meeting to start. The phone rings while you are, shall we say, in “dispose” but you pick it up anyway. It’s a Pavlovian response to be sure.

But, I’m praising cell phones.  I didn’t come here to bury them.  Cells are all about real life.  Call someone at home on their land line and you get a machine.  Call their cell and you catch them in the act of living their life and get a slice of who they are.

Geoff called me from a concert last week and I could hear one of his favorite bands kickin’ it in the background. I could hear the excitement in his voice…he called me from O’Hare in Chicago complaining about some bratty kids flying alone who literally got into a physical fight on the plane and no one intervened. He opined that child abuse should be legal, if justified. Geoff knows that dad wants to hear the random slice of life stuff. He obliges. Cell phones bring that to me and bring it to me as it’s happening. What a great invention. What a great way to stay connected.

Geoff doesn’t have a phone that works internationally. For now, I’ll have to wait for him to comment me back on MySpace. Maybe I’ll get an international call at least once this week…or maybe now is the right time to sign up for that Big Brother organization. I could give my “adopted” kid a cell phone too. I think I’ll check into it. I’d be doing it to help a needy kid, of course, not because I’m selfishly trying to get my own needs met. Why are you shaking your head like that? Well, so what if it meets my needs too, I’d still be helping wouldn’t I?

Here’s to cell phones. Here’s to good kids. Miss that boy. Love him lots. But don’t tell him I said so.


Getting’ Potted

•July 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

http://www.jkrowling.comThe last of the Harry Potter books hit the streets at midnight last night. Now maybe everyone can shut up already.

This blog respects most, if not all, things literary so if you’re a Potter fan–fineroo. It’s okay. Really. I’ve never read a Harry Potter book and know next to nothing about the series, despite the hype, hype, hype. I’ve decided to consider my ignorance a point of virtue. But, I won’t judge you for readin’ ’bout, actin’ and dressin’ like Harry. I lied. I’ll judge you for the last two.

I do know one thing about Harry. Apparently he is some sort of amazing magical wizard.

Okay, then. Once you’ve flipped to that last chapter and discovered that Harry takes his own life after a freak “wand” mishap, reward yourself with the most wizardly magical and amazing Martini ever – the Lychee Martini.

Use 1 ounce of premium vodka, 2 ounces of fresh lychee juice, and some ice.Shake and strain into a martini glass.

Drink a toast to poor Harry.


Why I’m Not a Capital L Libertarian

•July 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment ®

I just read Professor Bainbridge’s blog on the Vick prosecution. He rejects Skip Oliva’s pure libertarian view that dogs, like all animals, are nothing more than property and the government should not concern itself with their treatment.

Bainbridge embraces, as I do, Steve Verdon’s contrary viewpoint. Bainbridge quotes Edmond Burke as saying there is a point at which forebearance ceases to be a virtue.

In other words, dog fighting is beyond the pale. In a civilized society, yes it is.

Nick Griffin

•July 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Nick. This guy speaks to me. Really.

Nick Griffin

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People are lazy

•July 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I could have easily ended up becoming a minister. Try to conceal your shock. That’s what I wanted to do throughout most of my childhood. As a teen, I rarely passed up an opportunity to speak or teach. I did those things without ordination or anyone’s stamp of approval. As an adult, I know that ordination ain’t for me. Bein’ God’s sheriff on earth completely misses the point of faith. My understanding of faith, limited though it might be, is that it manifests itself in helping people and teaching them to help themselves–whatever that might mean at the moment. In other words, you give people fish as well as the old cliche’ of teaching them to fish. Learning to fish takes time so, to prevent starvation, you’d better be giving out some fish in the short term.

Being effective often means that you’ve been there yourself. It does not mean that you are perfect or better than anyone else. Any good minister will tell you that but meanwhile said ordained minister is busy wearin’ a special clerical collar and driving a car with clergy plates. Pharisee syndrome. Or said minister won’t be seen hangin’ with the peeps who need the message. Sadducee syndrome.

If I’d followed my boyhood interest and become a minister, I’d have multiple ulcers right now. Backstabbing, pettiness, being judgmental and general dysfunction run pretty rampant in most churches–no matter how small or large. Doesn’t mean that faith is wrong…it means that people are imperfect and that birds of a dysfunctional feather flock together. It’s true.

Most of us don’t choose to be around what we need. Rather, we hang out where we are most comfortable. If you go to church at all, likely that’s how you chose which church to attend. Comfort level. If you don’t go to a church at all, stayin’ away is your comfort level. Most people are too lazy to actualize their God-given potential. Even though it’s not that hard.

That’s it. People are lazy. That’s my message. It’s not as unsettling as hellfire but it is old school brow beating and not at all inspirational. So it has those two things going for it.

Notwithstanding their flashy clergy license plates and clerical collars, most ministers do good work. I’m not disputing that. Not entirely anyway. But consider my main point. Ditch the tax-breaks, the license plates, the collars, and the contributions. You can do lots more good as a layman on the down low without a fancy religious title. There’s a cliche’ that goes, ‘I’d rather see a sermon than hear one anyday.’ And another thing, step out of your comfort zone, why doncha?

I got cred

•July 19, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I am an ordained minister.

Tell the truth. You almost stopped reading when I said I was a minister, didn’t you?

I’m not a real minister and I feel bad for lying about it just now. Last night Google took me to the Universal Life Church Monastery. They’ll ordain you on-line. Never mind that the term “monastery” evokes, in my mind at least, a rigidly disciplined life filled with countless hours of Bible study and quiet reflection, vows of silence, poverty and chastity, Gregorian chants performed by boys’ choirs in cavernous Cathedrals and missionary work attempting to convert the Yanomami tribe of the Southern Venezuelan and Northern Brazilian Rain Forest. No, this ordination is pretty much instant provided you have a broadband internet connection. It’s free. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the suggested contribution is $150. Instead, I suggested that I keep the money. “I will be using this money for outreach, my brothers”, I said to the computer screen.

Outreach, of course, means taking the message where it is needed most. Therefore, happen’ clubs with steep cover charges are a must. Benjamins come in handy when valet parking the new hummer–the one with spinners and “clergy” license plates. Mine is the one with a bumper sticker that says, “My boss is a Jewish carpenter” and another that says, “Rev Run is my co-pilot.” 24/7 my speakers are thumpin’ “JC are ya with me!!!” or something similarly reverent. My message is simple. Mercy & grace are like an American Express Platinum card that can be charged up. No limit!!!

I hope my sacrilege insurance premiums are paid up. I have comprehensive, not just liability.

My chosen profession is the law whereas the one that chose me is the ministry. It amuses me to think that with the lawyer/minister combo I can have a slammin’ revenue stream. I can baptize a baby, handle her teenage criminal indiscretions, perform her marriage ceremony, do her divorce, draft her will, and later probate her estate. Yes, I plan to live forever. Yes, I’ve heard that I can’t take it with me.

The Monastery advertises that many of their ordained have become wealthy performing baptisms, weddings & funerals. I won’t even comment on that. By the way, I don’t want to perform baptisms, weddings and funerals. I want to help people.

All kidding aside, I can’t take this Monastery seriously so I did some more Google searching. Then I did some soul searching.

I have decided that ordination is counter-productive. There’s lots I can say about that and I’ll talk about it in my next blog.

It Is, What It Is

•July 19, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It is, what it is. Have you heard this expression? It works in specific situations but don’t generalize it. What a crappy way to look at life. First, what the hell does it mean? Take life as it comes? Duh. Do we really need this guidance?

I actually think it means, lower your expectations. If so, it’s an extra crappy philosophy. It is patently WRONG. My view is this: everyone has unique talents and qualities that they might not even realize. It’s in your best interest to bring them out or you are not a complete person. Becoming whole is what life is about. Raise your expectations for yourself. You’ll be 100% happier when you do, you’ll feel much more fulfilled and people will be drawn to you.

The secret of your success is to be the most thoroughly true to yourself person you can be–it’s called self-actualization. If you don’t have high expectations for yourself, you don’t respect yourself enough. If you can’t love and respect YOU, you absolutely can’t love and respect the people in your life the way you should. They deserve a better you than you’re giving them. I can say that without even knowing you.

Is life frustrating and hard? Are you depressed? It is because you aren’t living up to your potential as a person. It isn’t because of how your momma raised you or what your circumstances are or how unfair the system is. No. It isn’t even because you might be poorly educated or poverty stricken. It’s because you are unwittingly livin’ by that crappy it is, what it is philosophy.

Don’t settle. Don’t be lazy. See my next blog entry.