Monthly Archives: March 2007

The daughter speaks..(her monthly blogpost has arrived)

The daughter, as a lot of you know, is in Peru. My wife recently returned from a visit with the daughter filled with the luxury of a great visit. The daughter is really an adult, but as you parents know, they’re always your kids, and that emotion you feel may not really be labelled ‘worry’, but the concern is always present, especially when the kid is half a world away living in a house with dirt floors with little running water. Other than the obvious prayers and wishes for her good health and safety, I want her to find meaning and discover her passion.

This excerpt from her all-too-rarely updated blog* gives me great hope…

This is the part that I find amazing. More then half the time the principal cancels the class due to lack of organization. The kids refuse to leave. They tell me to come anyways, and they sit in their desks, in a now empty school waiting for their english class. I love these kids so much. I don’t know what happens but once I enter the classroom, I just feel like I am in my element, like everything in the world makes sense. I love teaching them, and seeing their smiling faces, and trying to talk to the really shy ones. It just feels real.

Read the rest…

erin in cafe

*i’m channeling my inner-jewish-mother

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under friends and family, peace corp

Salem’s Lots Hijacked!

While John is in the bathroom having a naked men party (hey-it’s cool, we’re at the Mothership), the 2 lovliest ladies in Nashville have hijacked Salem’s Lots. No, it’s not Kate O and Brittney, silly! It’s Ginger and Ivy!

John is now listing words we are not allowed to say. Amongst them are the “c” word, the “f” word, and of course, because John is a big, pansy liberal, we can’t say the “n” word. Which is fine with us. What we were surprised to hear we weren’t allowed to say is “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, because it always makes John cry!

We discovered Ginger can tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue in less than 5 seconds. Pretty impressive, eh? We discovered Ivy can put her entire fist into her mouth. No, seriously. We can. A great team, are we not? Aren’t you sorry you didn’t come out to the Mothership today?

Well, now that John is laying on the floor after having a massive coronary because he witnessed these 2 feats, we must go. But keep on the lookout for other blogs we may hijack in the future. You never know what might happen.

6 Comments

Filed under the blog hijackers strike again

Can the RIAA smell the Brylcream*, or, trouble in paradise

I’m sitting here in Centennial Park on an incredibly beautiful, if not perfect day. I’ve got the breeze, the sun, the water fountains, the kids feeding the ducks and broadband courtesy of our city fathers (and mothers). I’m listening to my favorite radio station on the planet – Radio Paradise. You won’t find Radio Paradise on your AM/FM dial..it’s a virtual station located only on the intertubes. The playlist is almost indescribable. You don’t get much hard-core rap or thrash metal, but pretty much everything else is game. At this exact moment they are playing Buddy and Julie Miller…right before the Millers was the Postal Service, preceded by Imogene Heap. Wait a few minutes and you might get Coltrane or Bartok or Corinne Bailey.

But, if the incredibly short-sighted folks at the Recording Industry Arts folks have their way, Radio Paradise will be as lost as John Milton’s sight. Back in the 70s, the RIAA rose up in anger over the potential of the blank cassette. They wanted them banned because, egads, someone could actually RECORD music and play that music. Of course, somebody had to actually BuY the music to record in the first place, but unlike the Ford Motor company they wanted a piece of the re-sale action. My GoD, it could be the end of the recording industry they wailed to congress. And congress listened, and did what they do so well, added a tax/levy on the purchase of a blank cassette tape, so that the industry and the struggling artist could be paid for their work. The actual amount of $$ the struggling artists receive from this booty is laughable and perhaps best left for a post from an actual artist.

The real point here is that RIAA has never embraced new technology. The Phillips and the Steve Jobs of this world get there first, lap the field and the RIAA is still trying to deliver vinyl. Instead of embracing the digital revolution (music distribution via digital), the RIAA concentrated on putting kids in debtors prison for illegally downloading songs.

I don’t think one should download songs for free or without some kind of license (e.g. Napster) , but for the love of the 21st century, music delivery is streaming thru the computer, not the crumbling towers of CDs and tape.

The RIAA has once again lobbied the powers that be to make internet radio stations pay an onerous and HIGHER rate of royalty than over the air radio stations. They appear to be winning the fight. They are so stupid on this issue my head hurts.

Internet radio is doing more to inform listeners of new and varied music than any 10,000 Clear Channel stations. If you want to break out of the American idol chicken pop pablum reeking from mass market radio, there are a few good over the air outlets, but if you want to hear it all, you gotta get to the internet radio stations.

If the RIAA has it’s way, the revised royalty standards will finish off all but the most corporate of internet radio (AOL, Yahoo). When corporations rule the music world, you get corporate rock. They built this city and good grief, did it sound shitty.

If you want to read more from an articulate and obviously biased source, read THIS from the creator of Radio Paradise. Bill ain’t making a bundle, but he’s living his passion and we get to share. It’ll be a shame if the music dies…again.

*reference to a great line from the Sopranos Uncle Junior – ‘that FBI guy has his head so far up my ass he can smell the Brylcream’. I love the Brylcream reference. It fits the mindset of the RIAA when it comes to new musical technology.

3 Comments

Filed under evil greedy bastards, music

What she said..(Ginger)

If you haven’t read Henri Nouwen*, you should. Ginger did. Wow.

*Yeah, Nouwen is a Christian priest and writes about Christianity. I don’t care if you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Buddy Holly or Satre/notmuch, he’s worth reading, esp. the ‘Wounded Healer‘.

1 Comment

Filed under friends and family, journey, self-worth

I’m not all a’twitter, or, it’s just another mundane monday

Jason got his taxes done. Neil is considering shaving his head. Kashlove may be watching television, but I’m not sure considering her entire post consists of the word ‘television’.

I realize I’m probably late to the game here, but something called ‘Twitter‘ has been popping up on blogs and is apparently creating some kind of buzz in hipper parts of the world than I’m allowed to enter.

Twitter is kind of a mini-blog that allows you to post 140 character or less messages from your phone, from IM or from the web, if you didnt already know that. I guess there is some purpose here if you wanna let family or friends know what is going on and don’t want to call all everyone to let them know that you’ve finished your laundry, folded your laundry and are now heading to the Tin Roof for drinks with Melissa who is twittering at that exact moment wondering whenthehell are you ever going to show up.

Is there no thought or demi-thought left not worth communicating to someone? I realize some people I care about are twittering away, but for the life of me, what most of us think between the gems would basically bore the socks off the patron saint of patience, doncha think?

Maybe it’s just me. Oh, btw, if you are reading this in Tucson, Buzzjoy says, ‘Tuscon traffic stinks’. Thanks, B-joy.

Did I ever tell you that my cherry tree looked nice before the blossoms dropped, or that I’m wearing a pair of really really comfortable padded athletic socks….whoops that reminds me..LAUNDRY.

12 Comments

Filed under Huh?

Putting the Salem back into Salem’s Lots

A little over 2 and 1/2 years ago, my wife and I sold our home in the greater Green Hills area (not the posh side, believe me!) and moved into a brand new house in a little-known neighborhood called Salemtown. The way I identified my new environs to my friends was (and still occasionally, but less and less) is that neighborhood directly to the north of Germantown.

We were excited about the move. Our kids had flown and we were ready for something different. We got different: sidewalks, front porches, occasional gun shots (the only gun shot I heard in the old hood was the starter’s pistol at Lipscomb’s track which was directly below my old house). We swallowed hard a few times, but we really never regretted the move.

Suddenly we had a block of neighbors, most of them glad for a renewal of interest. One of those neighbors was doing something called ‘blogging’. I’d heard of blogging of course, but never gave it a second thought. S-townMike was actually writing about the neighborhood and what goes into the development of community.

Michael inspired me. I started to blog and naturally pretty much tried to copy what he was doing. Imitation being flattery, and all that. I soon realized that I was no Michael. He IS the hyper-local blogger for this part of the world, and no one appreciates that fact more than me.

I still make the occasional blog-foray into Salemtown, but if you wanna know about this neighborhood – ENCLAVE.

Our thriving neighborhood association (Salemtown Neighbors) evolved from that blog. Our neighborhood is quickly evolving as well. I don’t hear the gunshots much anymore. New houses are springing up all around….many of which we welcome.

Which finally brings me to the real point. Salemtown is a diverse neighborhood. Our sidewalks, front porches and mostly single-family dwellings are conducive to community. As stated above, developers have noticed the attractiveness of Salemtown. Some of them have contributed beautiful, well-designed homes, relatively affordable considering the prices due south. Others have decided that our part of the world is prime ‘duplex-dump’ territory.

I’ve got nothing against duplexes as long as they are part of the fabric and not the dominant face of the community. Lynn and I moved into Salemtown not for a quick way to make money in a burgeoning neighborhood, but because we wanted to make this place our home for many years. Most of our neighbors, new and old, feel the same way.

Developers who have curried favor with us individually and collectively are short-sighted if they believe our initial support will continue if their view is of $alemtown as a dumping ground for duplex complexes that affords the fast buck, but leaves us with the long-term cost of more transitory sojourners and devalued homes.

Fortunately for us, the Metro Planning Commission agrees with us.  A recent attempt by the developer of Salem Gardens to rezone the property to build all duplexes was rebuffed.  The developer (correctly, imo) was given permission to build a mix of single-family homes and duplexes.

Our neighborhood association has come together and is petitioning the Metro Council to heed the word of the Planning Commission.  A lot of us are writing council members individually.

The small point here is that we are fighting a battle we need to win.  The larger point is that the house amidst a collection of houses we moved into more than 30 months ago is part of something bigger…a NEIGHBORHOOD called Salemtown.

5 Comments

Filed under blogs about blogs, golden rule stuff, salemtown

Just as I am, or, waiting on that Fred Thompson altar call..

First of all, does James Dobson not have anybody in his organization that can take the man behind closed doors and testify:

ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR BONEY-ASS POWER-HUNGRY EAR-BLEEDING MONO-MANIACAL MIND?

I say that based on what I first picked up in Krumm-ville about Dobson claiming that Fred ‘Gasm’ Thompson isn’t a Christian in the particular Christian ghetto currently sheltering the ‘world leader pretend’. Apparently sycophants-r’-us supplies Mr. D with his aides-d-camp.

I kind of like old Fred. He’s an honest plain-spoken man who seems to be enjoying his flirtation with the elephant race that seems like it started about three minutes after the last election. Part of his appeal right now is that he is not the other guys and doesn’t have to stake out any positions or say much of anything other than dispensing judicial folk-medicine on a weekly basis on Law and Order.

All of that is to say I noticed something extremely interesting in the defense proffered by Thompson’s spokesman after Dobson’s dictum.

“Thompson is indeed a Christian,” he said. “He was baptized into the Church of Christ.”

Considering that I am a product of the church of Christ for lo, many many many years, I’ve got insight that all you non-saved heathens* might not understand.

Being baptized in the traditional church of Christ (I think things have changed in many C of C’s.) back in the day was one scary experience for most of us. The culmination of the experience was walking the aisle up to the front of the auditorium with everybody staring and then being immersed after donning a gown suitable for the occasion.

But, this was, as I said, the culmination. The C of C doesn’t believe in infant baptism. Nope…you gotta choose it yourself when you reach the mysterious ‘age of accountability**’. That magical age may be reached at age 9 for the really precocious bible -snappers or as late as age 16 for someone who really really didn’t like being pressured.

After you are deemed to have reached the age of accountability, the older women who gave you candy during the pre-accountible years are suddenly giving you ‘those looks’ during the invitation song that occurs after every freaking sermon. If you were unlucky enough to be trapped after the service by one of these drive-by biddies, you were implored to consider the consequences of not heeding the call***.

As the age of accountibility grew long in the tooth and the call went unanswered, the looks, the stares, the admonishments, and those horrid gospel meetings stretched endlessly until every waking church-related moment seemed to be a movie where the protagonist is trapped in one of those houses where the doors have been hermetically sealed and every creak is as ominous as a scream in the basement.

Needless to say, I caved. I did want to do the ‘right thing’, so I made a pact with several of my teenage-lifeboat crew..we’d all go down the aisle together. Luckily for me, a meteor did not tear into the roof of the church setting me and my fellow procrastinators ablaze before we made the necessary vow.

All of this is to say, that you get a LOT of attention BEFORE you make that committed walk down the aisle. Once you’ve made the leap, you get the smiles and the warmth, but you are no longer a point of focus. The church brigade now has other fish to de-bone.

I don’t know if it’s going to take the 15th verse of ‘Just as I Am’ for Fred to come strolling down the aisle, but I do know that if Fred’s C of C life was anything like mine, the pressure he is feeling now is certainly reminiscent of an earlier day.

You want to do what is right, but you just have to wonder if there’s not a better way to do it….you know what I mean?

One thing that Thompson’s spokesman may not realize is that the C of C doesn’t really believed in the ‘once saved, always saved’ doctrine. You can screw the pooch and drop out of the salvation bucket. Of course, you can always go forward again…but, I think we’ve already covered that one.

*uh, that would be some church of Christ sarcasm. There’s an old chestnut of a joke that when St. Peter is giving the tour of heaven to the newly inducted that he asks them to be quiet and tip-toe when they pass a certain room. When asked why, he explains that the room is for the church of Christ folks, and he doesn’t want to spoil their illusion that they are the only ones who made it.
I suspect that there is a similiar Southern Baptist joke.

**That may be a protected trademark phrase..not sure.. Sorry if I’ve infringed on anything.

***Not heeeding the call could possible mean perishing in an untimely fiery car wreck, the flames of which could be a foreshadowing of the heat to come. Or, God could choose to end the world while you were looking at that copy of Playboy you had stashed under your mattress and THEN where would you be??.

12 Comments

Filed under Huh?, journey, politics, self-referential nonsense