Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's Christmas Time in the Suburbs... Part I

Ah, the joy that is Christmas. The cold weather, the icy roads, the early darkness, the over spending, the obnoxious relatives (not mine by the way - really), the tacky light displays (oh, I can't wait to get ours up - the first time in YEARS), the unreasonable expectations for commitments of time and money. Oh the JOY! So, in this post let me cover some Christmas (or any major holiday) type relationship issues.

I have a friend of mine that I caused to go into a major crisis because I would not let them get a gift for me. Thankfully she finally understood that friendship has nothing to do with if I allow her to spend money. Doh! and Yea! Good for her. It was a process, but she actually got the picture in a healthy way.

Another thing that came up with my friend was the "single" thing. And that I understand. I was single for a long time before I got married. And I'm including the time that I was engaged to my previous finance. I'd rather be alone than spend a holiday with her family. Anyway. Being single at the holidays is perfectly OK. The problem is that somehow our spend crazy, post modern society that doesn't really understand the reason why the winter solstice festival was Christianized is not because of FAMILY - it's because the Christ Child was born to be our salvation. Doh! So, because the focus becomes family instead of the family of God - people feel that they are unfulfilled because they don't have a "family." I have one, would you like to rent it? Cheap?

No, it's not because my family is any more dysfunctional than any other family. And I'm not talking about the wife's family here - just mine. I have a policy that I don't talk about the inlaws, I haven't been known an abused by them long enough to really make comments yet. Scary, there are times that still take me seriously. Anyway, having a family is no guarantee of happiness. In fact, in many cases having a family is more a guarantee of having cousins that aren't talking to each other, different sides of the family feuding and people having too much eggnog. Yippie! Just what I always wanted on the holiday. And no, I didn't just become this jaded, I've been this way for a long time. Why? Because I remember all this stuff from when I was a kid too. True silliness. Honestly, I've always been more of a fan of spending the holidays with people I LIKE. I don't need to have a long tradition. I'm not a "tradition" kind of guy. I don't need to have the same folks around me for the next 40 years. I just want to have an enjoyable holiday. And what does that mean? It means that I get to spend any meaningful holiday - especially a "Christian" holiday with people that know Christ - and that I LIKE. Now, I will admit that it is a bit easier being that I'm married. I get to spend the days with my immediate family (wife and kids). Outside of that...I'm pretty flexible. When the kids are gone, out of the house and wherever, then I'll hang with the wife. If something happens and I somehow out live my wife, then I'll hang out with friends from church if that works for them - and if not, maybe I'll just have a nice day with the Lord. Or maybe I'll just watch some campy old movies that geezers like to watch from when they were young - like Star Wars (the original ones!).

So, my point. If you're single, don't lament it. Enjoy it. If you don't want to hang by yourself, then get with a friend and do something. If they've got something to do, then ask if you can tag along. If you've got family that you can stand - then hang with them. Whatever it is - don't stress out. The whole idea is to enjoy yourself. if you don't have friends, then go volunteer someplace that needs you - like shelters or soup kitchens that are feeding those that are less fortunate than we might be. If you are one of the less fortunate and you're reading this at a library - then go work at one of those kitchens and bless the other people around you. And through it all, give thanks that you are who you are, you have what you have. It may not be much - I know this year for us it certainly isn't, but I know that we are healthy and we still have someplace to live. I'm grateful for that. And who knows, as you get good at accepting who you are and where you are, you'll be surprised at what can happen.

OK. So this wasn't a funny post, but I hope it helps someone this season. Really it's true, go with what you've got and enjoy the moment.

Friday, December 01, 2006

James Kim Missing

Hey all.  I just heard this horrible news.  James Kim and his family were reported missing this week.  They had gone away for a family holiday over Thanksgiving.  I'm including the link here to the story on Digg which then links to a story on TWiT TV.


There's also another link on Veronica's blog


PLEASE - If you think you've seen or heard anything, let the authorities know (see V's blog for contact information) immediately and most of all, keep James and his family in your prayers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In Lockdown

I just started a new gig.  Yah, yah, a lot of stuff has happened since voting day, I'll catch up on that another time.  For now, I'm more just posting to update you on something.  Like for example, the place I’m working is locked down tighter than the Iron Curtain used to be. 

Is the company bad?  No, they're great.  People are great, equipment is adequate (I've got to use a Windoze PeeCee - eww!), software tools are fine too.  But because of the industry, they are VERY strict on electronic access policy.  In fact, I can't even check my Gmail account (can you say withdrawal?), or IM with anyone.  Brutal man, totally brutal.  But it's a gig and it looks like it will be a good one - so I'll learn to adapt.  Like posting this way.  Of course, I'd love to be able to include a pic (something I've done quite a bit I think!) but I don't know that I can.  I think I'll put a pic in the email and see what happens… :-)

More to come!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Get Out and Vote! Even if it doesn't make a difference damn-it!

Hey, you can see it in the picture - that's where I am and that's what I'm doing. Exercising my constitutional right to vote. Sure, I know that living in the Commonwealth of MA that it was essentially "vote for the liberal of your choice day" (true - there were only 2 Reps and 1 Indy running for any major office). I knew that my vote was the same as spitting into the wind, yet, I still went out and did it. :-) Oh, and by the way, the Republicans in this state are so liberal they'd be considered liberal Democrats anywhere else in the union!

But, today I went out and voted. I got mad though. Why? Because there were so many people that ran unopposed! Why is that? Have we become so apathetic that we don't run either? So, we have no alternatives to the people in office and then no one comes out to vote. Seems kind of self-defeating, don't you think?

It looks like the Democrats are going to pick up around 30 seats. Actually, it's a pretty amazing number for the US to have that much turn over. I remember reading a stat once that showed that members of the Politburo in Communist USSR had more turnover than our houses of Congress. In this case that 30 seats is almost 7% of the seats available. Thinking about that - it's really pretty pathetic. We've got an unpopular war, an imperial and bullying President, issues with the budget, stem cell research and of course, abortion. With all that, we still only turn over maybe 8-9% of the total houses of Congress (including the Senate). Isn't that wrong?

Listen. I really don't give a Ding-Dong, Ho-Ho or King Don about labels. I care about getting stuff done. I'm a registered Republican, but I don't agree with a lot of the current Neo-con agenda or methodology. I think that the truth runs somewhere between a true conservative (fiscal), progressive (think 1920's progressive) and libertarian. I want fiscal restraint, I want less government pork but I want the government to help where it can and in a way that only the government of a nation this size can do. I'd love to know what you think.

Oh, if you've made it this far... I've got an offer for you. If you can prove to me that you voted, I've got a gift for you. If you like Mac stuff then you can have my book, A Mac Eye for the Windows Guy. If you'd like some great Palm software (PDA Essentials and TuCows say it's great!) then I'll give you any piece of software that you'd like. Just let me know!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Return of the KKK

I'm sitting in my bedroom with the lights out, my wife getting ready for bed and the baby sleeping in the bassinet. I'm blogging here in the dark because something so profoundly disturbing happened this past week that I didn't want to forget to post about it, so, even though I'm exhausted, my eyes are burning and my knee hurts because of the position I have to be in so that I can type this in bed - I'm posting.

Here's what happened. A local church (Methodist) in the town where I attend church (though at a non-denominational congregation) just got a new pastor. Which was actually pretty exciting news. The guy seems really cool, has a hyphenated name, very contemporary dresser (and dresses well) and for a pastor - the most important thing - he really loves God and wants to show his love in the community.

So what's the problem? Well, it seems that the problem has to do with his being black. You know, of African American extraction. At least to this group of people that sent the threatening letter to the church anyway. And yes, they signed it the KKK.

Now, I used to live in the south, and in the south the white folk with red necks and names like Bubba are pretty openly prejudice. These crackers are still fighting the War of Northern Aggression and battling the imposition of desegregation. Thankfully there are fewer now than there were even 40 years ago - but they're still out there. Not to say that all southerner's are like this. That would be a gross injustice. But there are still enough pockets of these ignorant fools to make life potentially dangerous for someone with dark skin in the south.

However, at present, I live in the Commonwealth of MA. The cradle of liberty. The place where blood was first spilled on April 19, 1775 as we resisted the imposition of British tyranny. I live in a state that was one of the most supportive in both the War for Independence AND the Civil War. And in the civil war, and the years leading up to it, MA was a hotbed of abolitionist support.

So tell me, how the ***BLEEEEP*** did some nut job (or jobs) end up in this state sending threatening letters to a black pastor in a town that at one point was considered part of Plymouth - you know, the town the Pilgrims, those seekers of religious freedom - in a state that has been known for it's support of civil rights and it's long standing Democratic leanings?

The answer. I don't know. But I do know that I want them the devil out of MY state and the town where I worship - NOW. There is no place in this world - or any other world - for this horrific behavior, this base defilement of people that were made equal in the eyes of a loving God and redeemer. It makes me sick. It makes me mad. And I'm doing something about it - here and now and also in the community I live and worship in.

Here's my request. Make sure you do something about it where you live too. Let's not ever have anything like this ever happen again anywhere in the US - OR the world.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Knee Surgery is the New Black - Part II

OK, so, where was I? OK. So I'm home now. The knee feels pretty good, but I still have to take it easy. Of course, kids don't get that. Chloe, bless her heart, just wants to be hanging with daddy. Literally. OK, hanging ON daddy. She's climbing on me and trying to hang over my right leg because I've got it propped up on the coffee table on a pillow. This, to a 3 year old, is a swing!

So, you can see there is still some swelling (these were taken on Monday, two days after I took off the original packing) and I still have to treat the knee well. There are only two fairly small puncture wounds (sorry the image quality is so bad, shot with my phone at night in the bathroom's yellow lights) and that's it. But I do have to keep them dressed to prevent any infection - and the one on the inside is giving me a battle trying to go there.

The knee doesn't hurt to bear weight - it's the muscles all around it that took the beating during the surgery, so that is what remains sore.

OK, gotta run. More to come, including why you shouldn't just come home from surgery and immediately try to participate in the family... Ciao!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Knee Surgery is the New Black

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures - yet! Till then, here's a general info picutre. My surgery was to repair the right medial meniscus.

I had the knee surgery last week on Thursday. It was a day surgery thing, I got dropped of at 11:30 and Shanna came to pick me up at around 5:30. Like a short day at work, just more painful - well more painful than my current gig. And really, I've had some jobs that were way more painful.

Anyway, they went in, scoped the knee, cleaned out the torn pieces and didn't make it good as new. But, at least it's cleaned up. I won't loose any mobility, but I do think I'm loosing some stability. I'll know for sure when I get the pictures later this week.

As for pain, it hasn't been that bad. Nothing like the pain from shoulder surgery and way more easy to deal with. The knee is stiff and swollen, but not as bad as I thought. Not nearly. And, the doctor's office called on Friday to tell me to get up and walking. Obviously I didn't go out and try to do anything, I just walked around the house. Of course, I couldn't go into work (I couldn't drive there - and the drugs I was taking were a bit much to drive on), so I stayed home and worked it gingerly. I couldn't get cleaned up either, I had to keep the bandages on until Saturday. MAN! Was I dying for a shower.

Oh. And I SLEPT. I was constantly wiped out. Don't know if it was the healing, the drugs or possibly something else... We'll see and I'll update you more on that next post.

So, to wrap, everything went well. I'm home, medicated (Vicodin - I think it just makes me sleepy) and resting. Ciao!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me (10.10)

I'm not sure if this will be posted east or west coast time, so this might actually go up *after* my birthday. But, I wanted to post it before I went to bed.

You can see the picture above. It was one of the many things that my girls (including my wife) did for the celebration of my birthday. I can't tell you ALL the stuff they did - really, it was amazing! They made cards, made party hats (including a crown for the King of the House), they choreographed two different dance routines (one by Bayley and Chloe - the two middle girls) and one by Halle and Bayley (the two oldest), and Chloe did an impromptu song AND dance. They made presents for me, and at the end of the day, they gave me all the love a daddy could want. It was awesome seeing the different things they did, amazing seeing how much their gifts have grown. Unbeknownst to them, they had no idea that the best gift was THEM. Sure, the other stuff was neat, but nothing (other than the relationship with my wife) beats just having my kids love and honor me (and for that, I have to give my wife lots of credit too) for being dad. Of course now, it's my responsibility to make sure that I'm the best dad I can be in order to ensure that love and that honor is not misplaced.

That, ladies and gents, makes for a great birthday.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Torn Meniscus = The Suck

To be more specific, torn medial meniscus. Here's the link so you can read the technical blather.

Anyway, I actually did this on July 1st, the Saturday of the long weekend. I dislocated my kneecap at the same time, I think. I know that it basically occurred when I was crouching down to get something in the cabinet in the island in my kitchen. (that's a lot of ins...) Anyway, I heard a massive CRRRAAACKKKK! I knew it couldn't be good. But, I just thought it was something else, and my knee wasn't really killing me - so I went out and cut the lawn. I came inside and I did this little plant of my foot and twist and I heard this "pop!" That's when I think I actually dislocated my kneecap. Unfortunately, I had dislocated my kneecap before last year and when I did, I went to the chiro and got it put back in place. I was thinking the same thing this time, but 4th of July weekend - no one around. It never occurred to me to go to the emergency room. Doh. Go figure.

Well, I had to go to Cali the following week, and I just kept getting chiro treatment for it, but I noticed that it wasn't getting better as fast as I remembered. In fact, it stopped getting better. A bunch of symptoms persisted. It still hurt. So, finally, about 10 weeks after the day - I went in to my primary doctor. He bent, asked questions and the like, then told me to get an MRI. Well, the MRI came back and sure enough, I've got it torn. Which, in my humble opinion, really bites.

So, if you've had this happen, let me know. I know that it's possible to fix the tear if it is in the correct spot, but there are few times when it works like that. And, my age is also working against me (46 in less than two weeks!) for a possible repair. The other alternative (if you followed the link) is just remove the tear and contour the meniscus. I'm not sure that helps me long term or returns any stability to the knee - which is a concern as you can imagine. But, like I said, if anyone out there actually reads this blog and has had it happen - let me know!

Till then, I'll be looking forward to meeting the surgeon next Friday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's my Anniversary! Yea!

It's my Anniversary! Yahoo! Yup, today in 1992 my beautiful wife Shanna and I tied the knot. Unbelievable! 14 years and 4 kids later, she looks amazing, gorgeous, vivacious and more. Me? Meh. I look older, have less hair and what I do have is going gray. Such is life ;)

Marriage is everything I never dreamed it would be. It is awesome. It's way more work than I ever thought. It's totally worth it. And, being that I know I've got God's girl for me (looooonnnnggg story), I know it's going to keep getting better.

Has it been perfect? No. Have we had disagreements? Most assuredly, we're bound to because I'm wrong so often :-p There's never been the threat of divorce - we agreed on that from the go. Homicide maybe, divorce - never.

One thing I know, I'm more in love with this incredible woman today than I was the day I married her. I love you Shanna!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So Google - Where was this picture?

Really. I got up before 8:00, went to check my mail and lo and behold NOTHING. Not a sausage! And it stayed that way pretty much until around 5:00 in the afternoon. There went my 26th! Geesh!

By noon at least the notifiers were letting me know that I had mail, but there was no luck in getting it through the web interface. I wanted to blog about it, but Blogger (where you're seeing this) was down too. I couldn't do my normal search - like on Google! - because I couldn't access the homepage either! Finally, I figured out that I could pull down my Gmail using a mail client on my Mac (Mail specifically is what I used) so then I spent the next couple of hours pulling down 6,000 (really, no exaggeration, in truth a shade of understatement) e-mails so I could see the most recent messages.

Anyway, everything is now up again but BOY man was that a scary thing. Hmmm. Maybe I'll consider putting up some of my blog stuff on my own server, and maybe I'll move my business e-mail back to my own server as well. It was just way to scary to have the interface go down like that for a full work day. I hope it never happens again!

Wonder Pets to the Rescue!

Indeed! A kiddie show to the rescue. The rescue from the mind numbing idiocy that is children's television to a large extent. In steps Wonder Pets, the operetta for the kids. No, it's not one of the masterpieces, but it is good fun and music is at the center of the action as the three pets (Linny the guinea pig, Tuck the turtle and Ling Ling the duck) go off to save other animals in distress.

Seriously, I could see this becoming a cult classic with the college age kids in the dorms across America. LOVE IT!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Two New Shows - One Stays on the TiVo

Gee, can you guess which? Yup, Heroes. I watched both Heroes and Studio 60 tonight. Both were good shows, but... I liked Heroes better... for now.

Heroes was good (except the little Ali Larter strip scene at the beginning), had suspense and seemed cool. My only issue was that these heroes just so conveniently kept running into each other, but I'll cut some slack because I know they only have so much time to develop a plot.

Studio 60 was good. Loved Matthew Perry in it. And the other guy from the West Wing. Amanda Peet did OK. Of course I found the Crazy Christian bit interesting. Odd thing is, what they were saying was primarily true. But, you know, as a Jesus Freak, I'm not so sure I would care about someone having at (poking fun of) Christian doctrine on a comedy show, at least nothing quite so ancillary as the Rapture. Sure, if they got rude like Madonna is planning on doing on NBC (I think it's NBC), coming out on a cross and the like - yes, then I get upset. Listen, I think Madonna is a whack job who follows the virtually occult like Kabbalah teachings, yet another teaching that's all for accepting all religions and beliefs - except Christianity of course. That's OK with me, but don't go dissing my belief in a artistic presentation where you can't be touched, if you're going to dis me, do it to my face and lets have a chat. But I digress.

Anyway, both shows were good. Heroes has potential and that's the one I'm going with for now. Studio 60 has good actors, I just don't know if I can hang in with the show premise for that long. Of course, there are a lot of "old friends" in the cast like Timothy Busfield (30 Something), the guy who played the younger brother on Wings and others, but I don't know if that can get me to hang around.

That's my take. What's yours?

Shiver Me Timbers with a Bottle of Rum

Yes, yes. I know speak like a Pirate Day is now long past, but I couldn't resist putting this up anyway.

As for the rest of life... like what I've done most of the month: Went to Houston, taught Photoshop and InDesign, had an AWFUL trip, got a nasty cold (which I'm just finally getting rid of, I think... Lost 5 days of training revenue (which TOTALLY sucks), got an MRI on my wanky knee that I hurt on July 1st and cut the grass which was so long it took 2 1/2 hours.

Other than that... everything else is great! We had a guest speaker in to the church, a dude named Fergus McIntyre. Dude rocks. I was bummed that I had to leave before his last meeting to go to Houston. God has been good too, Halle had a birthday (which I didn't get to celebrate with her because I was in Houston - unfortunately), I got two teeth worked on - I know, most people don't celebrate that but I really needed the work on them! - and I'm prepping for my 14th wedding anniversary on September 27th. Yikes, was that fast!

Have a happy - and don't forget to check out my new podcast! http://biographypodcast.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Like Vista - Not Love - Like

Blasphemy you say? No. I'll say it now, Vista (even Vista Ultimate) will never be OS X Tiger - never mind Leopard. But, having said that, I will say that I do, indeed, like Vista.

Maybe it's because I've been forced to use XP on a daily basis over the past 3-4 weeks, but I really noticed that Vista is a significant upgrade (at least if you've got a 2ghz machine with 2 gig of ram and a sick resolution - like the Dell laptop I get from work does) in elegance from XP. And, even if you don't have a great honking machine, the usability is still an improvement. Of course, you can credit that usability benefit directly to the fact that Vista liberally "borrows" from the Mac for it's interface. Even in elegance, Vista does borrow from OS X, specifically the effect it has when opening and closing windows. But, that isn't all the Vista has going for it.

First, Vista does carry several things that I've always liked about Windows and ALWAYS wished that the Mac had, into this century. Simple things like one click navigation or launching as an option. Honestly, it is the singular biggest thing I miss for the Mac and I've been hoping desperately for 4 years that someone would create a hack for me!!! That and the faithful Alt+Tab is still around - but now provides you with thumbnail images instead of just the logos of the app. Heck, that's better than OSX. And, as someone who is older, stares at a screen all day and wears glasses - I LIKE that feature. In fact, even with an Expose' like feature provided in the OS (and software that does it for me in XP) I think that if Alt+Tab worked like it does in Vista on a Mac - I wouldn't use Expose. So, what do you think of those Apples?

I know, I know. You all think I've taken leave of my senses. Don't worry, I'm only talking about a couple of features here! Regardless of how much I like the new look of Vista (and - I DO - including how customizeable it is PLEASE TAKE NOTE SOMEONE AT APPLE), I still far prefer OS X and Apple hardware.

Props out to where it is due though - Vista takes big steps in making the experience better. It's good at recognizing the hardware (at least on this box) and it works nicely, while also providing a nicer environment - including getting rid of that hideous Start button!

So, after all that, why still on my Mac? Start with the hardware. Gosh, my PowerBook is so much nicer to use. Better track pad, better keyboard, better touch. Screens are now a wash though because this Dell I'm using actually has at least as good a display as my PowerBook (but not as good as a MacBook). Then, procede to the OS. Even with being gussied up and made a bit more friendly, Windows is still Windows. I was trying to fix a partition (which I blew up while trying to adjust it so I could install Vista - that's a 3 day oddesy for you), and I HAD to go out to the command line to do it. I'm still working on that. It's also still Windows when it comes to how and where things work.

Lastly, and importantly, I'm also NOT planning on dropping $400 to get Windows Vista Ultimate. Oh, sure. By the time I get done upgrading to Leopard I will have spent that on Mac OS X - but if I had skipped all the other releases (which many folks do), the upgrade would still be $129 NOT $400. And, if you don't get Ultimate - or close too it - you loose some of the cooler features and connectivity of Vista. That SUCKS doesn't it? And that is why Windows is still Windows, Microsoft is still Microsoft and why I'm going to happily upgrade to Leopard and put it on my MacBook Pro :-) (when I get it that is) Then I'll install my copy of XP to run the one or two apps I need in Windows until all the pricing comes down!

So, there you have it. I like Vista, but I don't love it. It's good, and if you're stuck in a Windows world it at least gets you closer to the Mac. But as for me an my house? We'll take the Mac thanks!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Delicious Irony

So, I'm here working on my super-secret gig here at the Dark Tower and I need to run out from the lab I'm in to grab my glasses which I had accidentially left out in the car. As I'm heading out of the secured area I look up and I see a commercial on CNN. Like to take a guess? Yup, one of the new Mac ads.

More irony next post!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm worried for the Pats!

I know. They blow out the Redskins 41 to ZIP in the pre-season and I'm worried. Yup, you bet. Here's why (in the abreviated form - I've got to sleep!)

* They didn't have a wide receiver other than Troy Brown that could get open (read: create separation) against the 1st string defense.

* When one of the other guys did get open - they dropped the ball. (Rechee Caldwell anyone?)

* The running game was non-existant. AGAIN. At least not till the scrubs were in.

* Thank goodness that Maroney got in the endzone - the rest of the goal line running offense was pathetic.

OK. Now something I'm happy about, even though I'm reluctant to admit it. Junior Seau did well. He was a far sight better than anything I've seen out of Bisell in 2 years. He goes up field, maintains his gap and attacks the ball. I couldn't really see how he did in coverage while watching on TV, but if he can bring what he did tonight for the season to spell the other guys as part of the rotation - we'll end up surviving the year. And that I think is because Tully Banta-Cain is ready to contribute on the outside as well as Rosy Colvin.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm going to Be a Life Coach!

OMG. What a scam. I'm watching 30 Days right now, the edition with the guy doing the 30 days of New Age stuff to try to deal with his stress and angry temperament. The first person he goes to is some life coach. What a deal! This chick gets paid (and life coaches can make from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month from their clients) to spew out both sides of her mouth the New Age clap trap. Listen dude, I can do that and instead of clap trap I can give you straight up truth! Help you find accountibility for your life and actions, then get you plugged in to the Mas Pappi of all life! Man, that's a way better deal! So, I'm going to be a life coach that actually gives life, not just some scam artist. Ha!

Ohhhhh. I've done it! I've insulted the New Age movement. Shame on me. OK. Listen, if you don't want me to offend your sensabilities because I don't respect the New Age then you should stop reading now. BUT, if you think you have the fortitude - or at least the strength of your convictions - then please, continue a bit.

Me and the New Age

First, I love the people that are life coaches and are into yoga, shakra's and every other thing. Really, I do. Most of them are people that are genuine and they are searching to fill a void in their spirit - they recognize they are spiritual and they are trying to find the solution. That's where the love ends. Why? Because the new age (of which most things aren't new at all) is not the spiritual solution that people are looking for. It's a melange of anything and nothing, asian, Indian, Native American and whatever "spirtuality" that does nothing but invite (or open up a soul to) every wicked spirit that can come in. And yes, that's narrow minded! Now, come on, ask me the question... how do I know?

I know because I know the New Age. I was a devote before I was saved AND I actually use some of the same (sane and healthy) principles of stretching and alternative health care as the New Age does. How can I condem it then? Simple. I condem it because from a spiritual perspective it's garbage. There's a difference between knowing that stretching is good for your muscles and your health and claiming that you're "cleansing your spirit." You know, that whole "breathing out negative energy thing." I'm not breathing out negativity, I'm breathing out air and allowing the muscle to stretch more. If I want to get out "negativity" then I submit my mind and my heart to the Holy Spirit and HE then cleanses me of my SIN which allows me to have more intimate fellowship with almighty God.

So what's the Difference between Cleansing Breath and Cleansing from Sin?

So, you may be asking, what's the difffernce - it just sounds like a different way of doing the same thing. Ah, but it isn't. The New Age stuff is all about you. What you do. Or, in some cases what your spirit guides (read: deamons) tell you to do. It's about "moving your energy" and aligning your shakra's and the like.

Quick time out...

Wait... Before I say any more, let me say this. I do believe in accupuncture and accupressure. Why? Because they've proven that the physical manipulation of the body through these practices is the real deal. In fact, energy does flow through your system. You're like a closed loop electrical circuit almost. I don't believe this "energy" is spiritual at all. I think it's functional and part of your body. This isn't the "energy" that you give off - that's (as they say) a spiritual vibe. And, there are only two sources for the spiritual. God (and in you the Holy Spirit) and the enemy of our souls - Satan and his demonic hoard of followers.

Back to the Spiritual Stuff....

With the New Age, they try to tie these physical truths of stretching and the functions of the body to a spiritual practice. That's where they fail. And, if you follow the exercises - including by the way deep breathing which does wonders for you in getting you breating again they way you did as a child, allowing that oxygen to get into your system - you'll see the physical benefits. All of it works completely independant of the other spiritual stuff. That stuff is just ritual to "dead" gods that aren't even really gods. It's superstitions that they associate with good physical practice. Christianity, and specifically relationship with God Almighty, is not that same thing. And that's the difference.

No, Christianity doesn't prohibit you from doing the exercises, like I said, they're good. But instead of doing rituals and pulling tarrot cards (OH WHAT A LOAD OF BULL!), what a Christian does is enter a conversation with a loving God who then takes the old nature of the person and because of a loving sacrifice, exchanges that old nature with a new and loving nature born in the heart of God. That's not breathing out "negative energies" that's being reborn in your spirit man. That's having sin washed away. That is having God impute (or give directly to you as if it was your own) HIS righteousness to you.

More spiritual stuff - What's the difference between Tarot and Prophesy?

Instead of tarot (a bad rip-off of the prophetic voice of God), the true God speaks in and through the gift of prophesy. What's the difference there? Simple. With tarot or mediums they're relying on chance and a "skillfull interpretation of the cards (can you say MANIPULATION OF THE OBJECT with vague enough speech) to direct someone. For a Christian who shares a word of the Lord through the Spirit of Prophesy, word of Knowledge or Widom or by a Prophet - there's no guess work! God isn't into 50/50 prophesy and neither are his servants. The Lord knows the beginning from the end. That's the reason why he is called the Alpha and Omega. When he provides a word through any of his children (those who are Christians), then it should be accurate - not guess work.

Again, how do I know? (a) Because that's the way scripture says it should be. (b) Because I operate in those gifts. Also understand, prophets don't prophesy "on demand." Unlike the false prophets, mediums, and tarot card readers, the person with a gift of prophesy only speaks if the Lord speaks to them. It's different right from the start. And, usually, the Lord will speak to you during a time of intimacy with him - also called PRAYER. And so, there's no guess work on the part of the person that shares a prophetic word. I can tell you honestly, if I'm praying for someone and I have a word from them, I have no idea what to say other than what God tells me. And so far, by grace, I've been accurate and specific. By the way, to be clear that's not tooting my horn. I know other good men and women of God that are also very accurate in their ability to hear the voice of the Lord as well. What I'm really trying to convey is two things. (1) No gimmicks, no guessing. (2) Accuracy. Something the New Age can't lay claim to. One last thing. Have I been perfect? NO. Being that I'm a falalbe human being who isn't perfect, neither is my ability to hear the voice of the Lord. But I know, along with many others, that I'm way more than 80% accurate (which still would not pass the test for Old Testament prophet by the way - that was 100%) and I know I'm way ahead of the New Age practitioners.

Note: There are people that not only have the gift of prophesy, but are actual prophets. Those rare individuals operate in a different level of gifting that in many ways can allow them to "prophesy on demand." Of course, the accuracy of their gift is also dependent upon their relationship with God - so that's no different. But I wanted to note that just in case anyone may have seen someone like that practicing their gifting.

Time to Wrap This

OK. I'm done with this rant that started with the life coach business. I guess I shared this much because I saw the "life coach" pull a tarot to start with the guy (barf) so I wanted to address that and I wanted to point out differences between getting rid of negative energy versus having your sins forgiven. Listen - anything the New Age offers is a hack of true relationship with God. You want peace? Stop trying to chant your way out of it - instead, repent of your sin, trust in God who promises to be your savior, your provider, your strong tower, your peace - and then you'll have peace. It's not about the chanting baby - it's about the relationship and the LOVE of God. Know that, know Jesus and you'll know peace!

Well, I'd like to go on more here but I'm getting cross-eyed and need to sleep, but if you need a life coach, call me! :-)

Pardon Me While I Puke

i just got done watching a lame attempt at humor on the Comedy Channel. It was called a roast. Let me tell you, it wasn't a roast - it was a profane spewing of insults. Sure, roasts are all about poking fun of the roastee, I get that. But this - it was lewd, gross and primarily disgusting. And, after getting done with fast forwarding through a large part of it, I still feel like I need to take a spiritual shower to get the CRUD off me. And yes, it really did make me feel ILL. I did think I was going to throw up. The first time I think I ever felt the grieving of the Holy Spirit so strongly that I felt physically ill. Ewwwww. GROSS.

Do yourself a favor, don't watch this piece of garbage. I know, you maybe wondering "what, did they drop some f-bombs? What's so bad about that. Listen, for a couple f-bombs I don't think I would feel like puking. No, this was a display of referencing to body parts and what orafice they could ever possibly go into, profanity on a grand scale, beyond what I even experienced in college. It was gross.

So, I have one request. Can someone out there please prove to me that you can be funny? Thanks. Until then, pardon me, I'm going to be hanging over a toilet bowl.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My kid keeps telling me I'm Goofy.

Seriously. Every time Chloe (the 3 year old) watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, she says "Daddy, you're Goofy." I don't know why I'm not Mickey or Donald or even Pluto. Nope, always Goofy. Is Chloe tying to tell me something?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ah, to be Home on my Mac

Well, I know I haven't posted anything about the current gig I'm on (but I'm sure it will show up somewhere in one of my podcasts!) so you may not have context for this - but man. Am I SOOOOOOOO glad to be home on my Mac. The short version...I have to work on a Windoze PeeCee all day long right now. So dude, when I get home, I'm ready for the Mac experience.

Sure, I've got a new Dell Latitude D820 with some sick resolution and it's pretty well tricked out on the inside. BUT. It just feels like a cheap piece of crap. The keys are cheap plastic, I'm always catching the edges when I'm typing, the mouse pad (and believe me it is NO Trackpad!) is too small and doesn't scroll like my Trackpad does (though according to the drivers it can be set up that way, but of course like a typical Windoze machine - the drivers don't work!)

But that isn't all. Everything is so damn ugly. Eventhough I've got it skinned with a Vista look and feel (hey, almost anything beats XP), the apps are just ugly. Look at Gaim (for Windows) compared to Adium X or Fire. Ewwww! AIM versus iChat, and on down the line.

I've even got software to make it feel more like a Mac, apps that serve the same functions as Spotlight and QuickSliver and Expose - and they're not bad... but they aren't my Mac.

So, when I finally get home it's nice to take out my Mac, feel the Mac and do some stuff. And I haven't even told you the half of it. So, if you're reading this on a Mac, then go thank whoever it was that got you to buy it!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pecos Phil Makes it on Buzz Out Loud!

HEHE. Check out Friday, August 4th's Buzz Out Loud (http://bol.cnet.com). You have to listen all the way to the end, but our favorite crotchety desert dwelling dude - Pecos Phil makes it as a call in. :-) ALL the way at the end mind you - after Tom and Molly say goodbye. Hehe. :-D

Who's Pecos Phil? Well, he's a character from the "MacNation - One Nation Under Pod" podcast. If you want to know stuff about Macs, then you should check it out! http://macphilly.com/wordpress

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rash Wars - Part II: The Rash Strikes Back

So, against my better judgement and along the lines of the instructions from the ER doctor I started and finished my course of steriods that aleviate the symptoms (but not the cause) of my rash. I won't go into detail on the hows and whys steriods work - or even what the side effects listed were (knarly dude!) - but they don't do anything FOR the rash itself.

So, I finish that, I'm using my prescription cream and BOOM a rash explosion 2 days after the steroids flush from my system. Oh LOVELY. Just what I was hoping?

So, what do I do? Well, being that I'm mostly broke I did the only thing I could do - I went to the doctor in my healthcare system. That isn't what I wanted to do - I wanted to go to a homiopathic doctor. No such luck. So, what does my primary doc say? Well, that the ER doc had it wrong (he was treating for candadiasis - fungal - that's what the cream does) and that the rash was from a food allergy. Then he prescribes the EXACT same steriods, except for at DOUBLE the doseage! E-gads man! I asked him if they actually did anything and he said no, they only treat the symptom of the rash. So I asked him if I removed anything possibly in my diet that had changed and just let the rash flush out normally if that would be OK. He didn't even understand my question! so, I spent the next 5 minutes or so trying to convice him that I didn't want more steriods and I wanted to let the rash go away by itself! And that's what I'm trying.

The thing is, I can't figure out what it is!!!! I've check for symptoms regarding cashew nuts, soy and tahini (pureed sesame seeds) - none really match. But I sure do have the rash! Well, I've already cut out the cashew butter (which I miss dearly) and as of tomorrow no more soy or tahini. I'll see what happens.

In the mean time, I am going to schedule an appointment with an allergist for the scratch test so we can figure this out! I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Why Loving Parents Must Discipline

Being that my last post was about parenting, how much I love parenting and being a dad, I thought this post would be a follow up along the theme. Parenting.

One of the primary responsibilities - hand in hand with LOVE - is discipline. As parents who want to create a loving environment that a child feels safe in, discipline is key. In fact, scripture says that a parent that doesn't discipline his (or her) child doesn't love them! Along with that is also CONSISTENCY, which is crtical! But that's a topic all by itself. For now, I'll stick with my primary thought on discipline and why it's so important for a loving parent to discipline their children.

First of all, we all must have discipline for the purposes of self-governance even at it's most basic level. Discipline to take care of our own hygiene and feeding to say the least, not to mention disciple to clean our environment and take care of all the other things that life requires of us. Without discipline of some type, we would be unable to perform as a functioning member of society around us. This, even if we throw out almost everything else would be enough reason to discipline a child and teach them self-discipline. And yes, they go hand in hand once the child becomes old enough to start to train.

But, especially being a Christian, I believe that I have an even more important function and role in the responsibility of disciplining a child, and that is, we need to train our children so that they know how to properly hear and respond to the voice of God speaking to them. This is our most important job. So how do we do that? And how does discipline come into play?

(By the way, this is the extremely SHORT version of this topic. So, let me say this. Assume that everything that is being done is done in LOVE and in balance. Thanks).

Discipline is tool that is used to teach our children to hear and respond to our voices first. And, again, that alone is critical. My goal is to train my child so that when they hear my voice they immediately stop and listen. Not me screaming or yelling. Just when they hear me say their name. And, as a parent I can only tell you how many times just that alone has been worth the effort. Say, for instance, when I call my child's name just before they're about to chase a ball, or step in the way of someone walking quickly with a shopping cart that might just plow them over. I can only feel that of my three older girls, at least one time serious injury has been avoided because they know they voice of their father (or mother as the case may be) and have learned to respond to it. Discipline is used to teach our children to listen to the voice of authority and respond.

As parents, we have been given the gift of our children. They are not ours. They are on loan from God. Created for his purpose. We are their caretakers, their stewards and they are given into our custody for the purpose of training them as eternal beings. And thus comes the longer term and more significant purpose of discipline that we aim for - training them to hear the voice of God and properly responding to him.

By training our children, in a LOVING environment, by using discipline we teach them that there is a voice of authority that loves them and cares for them. We teach them that the voice they are hearing can be trusted, that is for them and is looking out for their best interest. We let them know that there is someone "bigger" than them (in the physical, at least older and wiser) that they can learn to hear and trust to help them. And, in this way, we are modeling for our children how to listen and to trust the voice of God.

And, this then is how we see that what scripture tells us is true. As I mentioned at that top, scripture says that a parent that doesn't discipline his child doesn't love them. And if I didn't discipline my kids, and teach them how to listen to my voice and hopefully the voice of their REAL father in heaven, then I wouldn't really be loving them. Because in the end, whatever my kids choose to do, they aren't going to have to give an account before me, they have to stand before the Lord. And what kind of parent would I be that wouldn't prepare them for that day? Certainly not one that loves them.

And so, that's why loving parents must discipline their children. Because by discipline, then teaching them self-discipline and proper response to authority, we are teaching them how to respond to the Lord. How to help them listen and get into the best things that an almighty and loving creator and savior has for their lives. And, of course, at the end of it all, we're even teaching them the very thing that may save their life not just here on earth - but for all eternity.

Next time, maybe I'll talk about what discipline really "means" - or in other words - HOW do we discipline our children. And folks that is a topic that I'm big on!


Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Best Part of Being "Dad"

You know, there are probably a lot of "best" parts that I haven't mentioned, but there is one part that can only happen late at night that leaves you with a feeling of love and of responsibility that makes being dad worth being dad.

Tonight, I had one of those moments with daughter number three: Chloe. Was it a big thing? Well, to a three year old it was. She woke up suddenly, scared and calling for me. Not mom, me. Yup, good old dad. So, there, on the stairway, in the dark with the wind whipping all around the house, Chloe found comfort in daddy's arms. With blankie by her side, twiddling her "pony hair" and cuddled up next to me - Chloe found a place of safety, a place of peace. And boys and girls, that's when you know as a parent you've done a good job. When the babies are ready to run to your arms and trust you. Sure, kids always WANT to do that with their parents. They hope for it and yearn for it. The thing that's great is when YOU know that you've really provided it for them.

Thanks Chloe. It's great being your dad.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Burbank Chronicles - Conclusion

Hey all,

OK, it seems I've got a lot of rants off my chest lately, so how about a happy post. That is for the two other people that read this blog anyway ;-)

So, Disney. I made it back after the 4th of July. Finally. I can't recall if I had mentioned that I had subluxated my knee-cap or not, but I was dying out there. Yes, finally after having my knee-cap out for 5 days it finally got put back in (THANK YOU SHADI!), but my leg was still killing me!

Anyway, there's lots more to that story, but the end of it was that I got my leg worked on while I was out there, could walk much more like a normal person, did 5 presentations of the findings for Disney AND I got to go to Disneyland! Unfortunately, I didn't have all the pictures cleared out of my phone so I didn't get a lot of the pictures I should have! But, I have finally gotten the pictures off the phone (yea for AppleCamp - more on that another post or podcast) and YOU my friends finally get to see what I snapped! Enjoy the pics :-)

In Hollywood: Graumans Chinese

A view from the office that I stole for a couple of days.

Hollywood and Highland (around the corner from the Walk of Fame and Kodak Theater)

The WB Studios as I drove Past

What Jenna had for dinner at the OUTRAGEOUS Restaraunt at Disney Land

Not from LA LA Land - but this is what I was missing. No wonder I couldn't wait to get home! Chloe (3) and Sophie (3 1/2 months)

Right - the Founding Fathers Believed NOTHING Like the Liberals do now.

I know you can see the image below my notes already. I felt compelled to add this even though it's a bit past the 4th of July. This topic is one that totally frosts me. When you read below you will clearly see an example carried out by one of the sons of the founders (John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams) that the founding fathers considered Christianity (not just the tenants of Christianity mind you) not separate - but the foundation of our nation. Anyone who says that this was a secular nation and says that the founders were deists or that there should be a wall of separation (which is NEVER said ANYWHERE in the Constitution, Declaration or any of the Bills) is seriously in denial of what the founders of our country WROTE repeatedly!

OK, enough blathering - here you go - read for yourself!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Man Have I got a... well, OK, this is the last one!

So. I finally got home (without completely scratching every part of my body) late (very) Friday night (almost Saturday morning). Alas, my sister had shown up at my mom's house while I was gone for the week and had organized a little family get together (Italian family get together = at least 30 people and food for 60) for that Saturday. And, being that I'm the dutiful brother - or something like that - I was obligated to show up.

Unfortunatly, because I had to show up, I also didn't have time to get my hair cut, my lawn mowed or the damn RASH looked at.

Fast forward. Saturday night (early Sunday morning) and my hands are suddenly covered with bumps, and the rash is now on the inside of my thighs (oh, stop that!) and on my waist. I was freaking. I thought for sure the closest thing I could find to what I had was Scabies. I figured I had gotten it while on one of my recent trips. Really, I was freaking.

So, Sunday morning when I get up, sure enough everything is still really bad. So, off to the emergency room (but hey, this is my emergency room now - not some ER in Burbank!) to have my rash looked at. Do I feel like an idiot? SURE! But damn, I was really concerned.

So, after reading through a chapter or so of my UltraMetabolism book while I was in the waiting room (and listening to a few podcasts), I get called in. The doctor looks me over, thankfully nukes the thought of Scabies (if you don't know what Scabies is by the way, it's a nasty rash that's caused by little mites that infest you and burrow into your dead skin cells. It's a royal pain in the BUTT to get rid of and you can infest your whole family - something very scary to a man with a 4 month old baby that sleeps in the same bed with him) and tells me it's either a reaction to some plant, but more than likely he thinks fungus. Which gets me to thinking.

So, off I go to the pharmacy with my prescriptions for Prednizone and some other steroidal topical ointment. Get the stuff, read the indications (God! Am I sure I really want to take this stuff?) but then, like the good little boy, I pop the pills.

Then I start doing more research. First of all, steroids in this case will inhibit my immune system from responding properly to the allergens in my system. This is why the bumps all over my hands will go away. The bad part of that is that my system was doing what it was SUPPOSED to do. Damn, I'm in a DETOX. So, as a person with diary allergies (mild), wheat allergies (not so mild) and candadiasis (candida albicans) who's detoxed before - I should have realized that the rash was because I had all the yeast in my system that was no longer getting fed being flushed out! And, then I looked at the topical cream and sure enough - it specifically mentions candadiasis!

After this I tracked down the book that I used to detox about 12 years ago. Sure enough, one of the indications/symptoms is a rash. However the book cautions that you shouldn't take any medications to stop the rash because they'll cause the toxins to end up burried in your system. Great. So I'm not really dealing with the toxins, so where the hell are they going?

Well, again, I went back to the warning labels on the steriods and the cream. Based on what I read, it seems like my body will essentiallly funnel out the toxins through my, uhhh, excretions. It's one of the side effects. Still, I'm not completely jazzed about the whole thing. After all, I don't want to detox only to find myself more ill because I kept the toxins in. Sigh.

Finally, Monday morning comes and along with Monday morning do many of the bumps on my hands again. Well, I called the pharmacist, found out how fast I could taper down from the mega-dose I was on. Pretty fast as it turns out. But what to do with the rash. I don't have enough time to track down how to handle it with a more natural method, I don't have a doctor I can go to without a referral from my primary doctor, not to mention I'd have to make an appointment. So, I'd have a rash, not know what to do with it and I was going to an interview in the morning on top of it.

I did what any good pill popper would do. I took the drugs. Of course, even though I'm on steriods I still haven't started lifting weights to take advantage of it. Heck, the way my knee has been I haven't done much at all. Though, I will admit, the steriods have really helped my knee feel better too. Sigh.

So, I'm three days in. I'm taking the last of my large dose this morning. After that, I think I'm going to taper down. I'm hoping that the worst of the detox is over (though I'm in the 3rd week now) and that the rash won't come back with a vengence. At the same time, I'm concerned about the fact that I've prohibited my body from cleansing the way I'm suppposed to. Damn, it's complicated! I'll figure it out sooner or later - but I don't know which yet. I'll let you know on my final decision - but until then, it's great not being covered with a itchy, hivey rash!

Now to bed, then to Apple Camp with my oldest daughter Halle in the AM. I'll have pictures of that :-)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Man, Have I got a rash (continued)

So, having determined that I've got this lovely rash, now I have to see if I can get it dealt with. So far nothing topical is working, including hydrocortizine, triple-antibacterial and some other thing that was prescribed for a different rash.

What do I do? Check with my healthcare. Listen. My healthcare when I'm inside the state is great. However, when I'm not inside the state... not so much. What do they tell me to do? Go to an emergency room! Sure! No worries! I'll just pop down in the middle of the meeting schedule I'm maintaining while I'm out here. You know, into the emergency room then, WAIT. Are you kidding? I've got a rash! Do you know how low on the priority list I'm going to be? Anyone and everyone that comes into the place is going to end up in front of me. Kids with the croup, Susie with her sprained finger, Bobby with is sprained ankle, Betty Boop with her deflated silicon bustline (we're in LA after all). Everyone.

So, can I go to a doctor? No. Not covered. OK, how about if I go to a doctor and pay for it myself and get a prescription. Is the prescription covered? No. The only thing I can do is go to an emergency room. Period, paragraph.

I had only one thing to do. I put some more hydrocortizine cream on it, took some benedril and I'm making an appointment with my doctor when I get home.

Now. To a voicemail message I received on this.

Dear Caller,

You are far over reacting and jumping on the alternative medicine field in blaming them for this rash. The book and plan I'm currently following is written by Dr. Mark Hyman, formerly one of the co-directors of the Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires and a currently practicing medical doctor in the Boston, MA area.

Yes, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was taking something for inflamation support. And, as I mentioned, I stopped taking it. In fact, it's been 5 days since I stopped taking it. And, the rash just popped up in a new place. It's not the herbs for the inflamation at this point. No way I could still be reacting to it this far out.

Now, regarding herbs. Let me ask you, where do you think the find the basis for most pharmacuticals? Herbs. The big pharma companies just do more processing of them, combine them and create all kinds of health risks beyond what would have been a risk as part of the normal consequence of taking the herb itself. This, done by an industry (big pharma) that kills more people yearly (over 780,000) than either heart disease (699,000) or cancer (533,000).

Sorry, and why exactly should I run to that doctor?

Please. Don't misconstrue what I feel on this either. I believe that there is a place for modern western medicine. I believe that we need antibiotics for when we have infections. And I do believe that there are some people that actually have a need for some of the drugs that are created.

Having said that, I also believe that there are more people than not that are unhealthy because they've screwed up their systems with the poision that is sold every day in what we call grocery stores. Highly processed, chemically modified foods that bear no resemblence to the food that my parents ate in the early part of the 20th century. And those foods (and foods are DRUGS mind you, completely and TOTALLY) that people eat are toxic and screw up thier systems. These foods cause problems with our bodies because we don't eat REAL food.

I believe that if more people changed thier diet, we'd have more people that are less dependant on drugs. Say, just for example, someone in my family. My nephew. This darling little child eats CRAP and he acts like crap and they've thrown all kinds of tags on him like ADHD. So, what's the solution? Drug the little bugger till you don't even know it's him. And man, if the drugs wear off you're in trouble! Hey! I've got an idea! Why don't you take all the caffenee, red dye and sugar out of his diet, put him to bed at a normal hour so that he gets the sleep he needs and find out how that works! NAH.

In addition to that, I also believe that many people that deal with health issues, especially mental health issues, are also dealing with a spiritual battle. Yes, spiritual. I know this isn't necessarily a popular view, but then again, I'm not running for office I don't need to be popular.

However, because these spiritual issues require a spiritual solution, and because most people are not willing to go to a place emotionally or mentally where they are willing to take accountability before God to deal with these issues - then they have to deal with them another way. Hey, have another pill.

Further more, I also believe that some people are dealing with specific spiritual beings. These beings don't go anywhere or respond to anything other than the authority of Jesus Christ. So, when dealing with a spiritual being that is causing all kinds of bad behavior, what do we in the modern world do? WE DRUG PEOPLE. Because doctors are scientific and don't believe in spiritual beings, and anyone not a Christian that does believe in spiritual beings is probably inviting the ones that are causing the issues in the first place! Hey, have another PILL!

Lastly, there are some issues that come to even those who believe. These issues may be generational, or may be left over from their pre-Christian days. Some issues of these types may only be worked out by care and love and counseling that enable the believer to recognize the issues exist and take authority by the blood of the lamb. But, again, the medical community doesn't believe such things so they provide their solution. HEY, HAVE ANOTHER PILL!

Having said all that, I again state that I believe there is a place for modern western medicine. I do believe that there are even some cases where some type of medication is required for people (even believers) that have unequal mental and emotional equilibriums. I also believe that those cases are rare, and few and far between. I would even go so far as to say that someone I know that uses these medications (no, not you caller, not to the best of my knowledge) and doesn't NEED to, but really needs to deal with (a) diet, and (b) a spiritual issue. But I will say this caller, I'd love to see God heal and/or deliver you so that you didn't have a need for these things!

So, there you go. Maybe it wasn't the exact end I had planned for what was supposed to be a humorous post starting yesterday, but it's what we've got. Got an opinion? Let me know.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Man, Have I got a rash on the back of my a...

And a bizzare one at that. It started the other day on my butt. No, it ain't pretty.

Of course, my question was, how the heck did I get a rash on my butt? I've got to have one of the cleanest butts on the planet. Listen, one of my buddies calls me Mr. Hygene for a reason you know? I mean how many guys do you know that have stopped in an airport of a third world country and created a sterile zone? Right?

But, none the less, there it was. Now, I know I haven't been sitting in posion ivy, I know I don't have any STDs. So what the heck can this be?

I've been on a great detox as part of the first three weeks of the UltraMetabolism diet (check it out!), so I thought maybe it was something I'm eating. Well, considering that I cut out virtually everything that I was already alergic to, I don't think it's that! Maybe I'm having too much cashew-butter? Nah. I've been known to wipe out an entire can of cashews by myself.

I was taking something for inflamation because I had subluxated my knee-cap (that means that it hurt like all hell - just so you know and can send sympathy cards). It was the only major thing different. So, I stopped taking it.

Still had a rash.

Then, suddenly, for no discernable reason my rash jumps from the cozy warm confines of my little Italian tushie to my ankle. My ANKLE? What's with that?

But wait! Suddenly it's now on my right thumb! HUH? Yes, just my right thumb. Not my hand, not my wrist or anyplace else. My thumb. And then, just as inexplicably, it's on the inside of my left pinky. Two little spots. That's it. Just two.

But wait! Now it's on my right forearm!

What the hell is this thing?

No, it's not real itchy. It doesn't seem to be spreading in any discernable pattern. My ankle is no longer itchy and my forearm never really has been.

Hang on though folks... there's more! Next post you'll find out...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Real Beauty

I was just watching TV, one of the luxuries of being on the road. OK, I watch at home too, but watching on the road always gives me a different perspective.

In this particular case, I was watching a commercial that came on (nope, no Tivo out here!) and it was all about hair color. At the end of this hair color commercial the sponsor company puts up a web site address "campaignforrealbeauty.com"

Am I the only one that finds that wrong?

As with so much else I see around me, it seems like companies much like the people who make them up, miss the real point in things. In this case, they've missed real beauty. No, not just because they had a hair color commercial before the web site address, but because they're missing what real beauty is.

Being in LA for the week, and being out and about town a bit, I get to see all kinds of "beauty." Some natural, some not. And, as a disclaimer, no, I don't think there is anything wrong with being physically attractive. Good thing too, my wife is one hot number and if I thought that was wrong I'd be in real trouble!

But beauty isn't something that's external. Oddly enough I think Hollywood got it right finally (well, kind of) when they released shallow Hal. My favorite scene is when they show Hal going on a trip (I think it's with Gweneth Paltrow's character) and another couple. When they show the other couple in "normal view" the chick is supposed to be a real hottie, but when they show Hal's view they show a shriveled up old hag. And thus, in many cases, is the truth.

Real beauty is something that happens from the inside out. And, it's the reason why this week I've been pining away for my honey. I know I've mentioned my wife at different times, but I'll risk talking about her for a moment again. Besides being muy caliente physically, my wife is also very smart (delivered the speech to the National Honor Society when she was in high school - yah, smart), thrifty, industrious, virtuous, kind, considerate, caring, loving, charming, charismatic, a leader of women, a trust worthy confidant, compassionate and above all else, a woman with a heart after God. My wife has more character in her pinkie than most people hope to have in their life time. And that folks is real beauty.

Real beauty is the thing that makes your heart ache when you're 3000 miles away. Real beauty is what makes you miss someone even when you're 300 feet away. Real beauty is that thing that draws you to someone like a magnet long after the initial infatuation with physical beauty has worn off. Real beauty is what makes you confident you can share your most important dreams, greatest triumphs and worse disappointments - and know that you'll get the best resopnse. Real beauty is what motivates you even when you aren't motivated, it's what keeps you going when you can't even see where you're going, and it gives you strength when you've no strength left.

So. I'd like to start a campaign for real beauty too. I'll start with me. I know what I'm doing. I'm getting in front of the most powerful being in the universe and I'm asking him to give me real beauty. I'm asking him to change me so that I look so much like him - that people actually see him. Because, if I do that, then I'm going to have all those things I told you about my wife. How do I know that? LOL. Where do you think she gets all those great attributes from? Right. It's called Godly character, and it is real beauty.

Galations 5:22-23 says "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness (also meekness which is defined as power with restraint), and self-control. Against such things there is no law." A lot of people talk a lot of smack about the Bible, but here's the crux. Can you find anything wrong with all of us exhibiting more of the above? Would this world be a better or worse place if we did? Exactly.

Here's the deal. Like I said, I'll start with me. You want to help beautify the world? Give it real beauty? Have a go at it too.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I just don't get it, do you?

I was just watching TLC's What Not to Wear. There's a surprise, eh? And, while I think I'm planning a mini-rant on this for the Metro Moment (http://metromoment.blogspot.com) I just thought I'd leave a note here too.

As usual, Stacy and Clinton show up to rescue a dowdy fire plug of a woman from her awful sense of fashion - or lack thereof. In this case, the woman even knows who Stacy and Clinton are because she watches the show.

So, now, here's what I don't get. This chick watches the show. Of course, she knows that everyone around her thinks she doesn't dress worth shite. She AGREES to go on the show. THEN she proceedes to fight everyone, Stacy, Clinton, Nick (the hair guy), and Carmindy (the makeup specialist) regarding her clothes, her hair length (she's determined it's not going to be short because she wants it long - HELLO) and her make up (well, she found how it was applied instructional - GAG).

Tell me. Why did this chick go on the show? She had a face on the entire time she was in hair and makeup. She was crying when Nick was going to show her what her hair looked like, and damn(!) he didn't even cut it that short (as were her wishes). I just don't get why she would go on this show, knowing full well that everyone around her wanted her to help herself, knowing that the fashion experts were there to help her look fabulous - and fight it! Honestly, she totally became completely unsympathetic for me. And I've got to tell you, that takes some work. So why did she go on?

This reminds me of the way so many people (including me, mind you) are with their lives. Everything can be going to puppy droppings around them and still, despite the best efforts of those that love them they still insist upon doing it their own way. In fact, it's often the way we are with God too, even as Christians - which makes the absolutel LEAST sense. But, it's true. And, like you too, I still see this all the time both in and out of the church.

I see it outside the body of Christ because people don't see the true nature of the Spirit of God living in us, so when we tell them that Jesus loves them and God has redeemed them and they can experience true liberty - all they here is "religion" and going to church. FOR SHAME! On all of us! We (those already redeemed by the blood, those of us already with our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life according to scripture) need to carry more of the Lord's presence with us! We (and I'm pointing at myself here too!) all need to spend more time with the Father so that we can become more like him! That's what people will respond to.

I see it inside the body because even though people claim they want to live as Christians (in a Christ like manner), so many of them still want to hold on to their old "stinkin thinkin", bad habits and everything else! You'd figure that these folks that were finally responsive enough to the Spirit of the Lord to get saved, these people that know the liberty of salvation - would want all the freedom and everything that Jesus can give them! And still, it isn't so. Sigh.

Well, at the end of the show, Mrs. Recalcitrant was crying during her reveal and telling Stacy and Clinton that "it" wasn't about the just about the looks, it was an internal thing as well. It was a change in her heart that the experience had made in her. Finally I think she got it. Hopefully, I pray that we all get it, don't you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hi, My Name is Phillip and I've got a Porn Issue

This post is born from an experience I had last Friday night. I was at a men's dinner at church where we had a guest speaker in, a guy who happens to be both an ordained minister AND a local sports talk show host. What was great about Larry was that right from the start he was from the hip and brutally honest. It was a great message that he gave.

Part of that message, and one that I talked about with other guys as well, was his story of how he called the cable company and had Cinimax turned off on his cable TV. Not because all Cinimax movies are bad, but because some of the programming contained pretty women in little or no clothing - and frankly it wasn't doing him any good.

Here, here.

That was a good biblical thing that Larry did. And, I've done it too. Scripture says that we should make a covenant with our eyes to put no unclean thing before them. And, it says that we should flee from evil. Good choice for Larry and me.

But I've got an issue.

23 years ago (almost 24) when I was saved I threw out all of my porn collection. I was actually stunned at the amount of magazines I had. That was 1982. I had no problems with porn until 1992 - the advent of the internet in my life. Still, it wasn't a big issue and it was pretty well laid to rest until 1995 when I finally had to have a computer in my house.

And there in lies the big rub. Unlike magazines, or even movie channels, I can't throw out my computer because the computer and the internet are where and how I make my money.

Yes. I've used proxies. Yes, I've set up firewalls. Here's what I've found. I get ticked off because I have them on - regardless of if I think of looking at someone's boobs or not. And, of course because I'm the resident geek in the house, there's nothing my wife can set up (if she was ever so inclined) that if I wanted to defeat it, I couldn't find a way around anyway. (and by the way, I do THAT just to see if it can be done - regardless of if I was tempted to look at something inappropriate).

My thoughts on the proxy by the way - it didn't ever really deal with the intention of the heart. And that ladies and gents is always the issue.

So what do I do then? Well, thankfully, I've never really gotten into porn. My idea of porn is still that of the 14 year old that looked at his dad's Playboy in the early 70's - boobs. I never got into any of the other stuff that resembled more of a OB-GYN monthly. Ewww. And honestly, that's been a HUGE benefit to me. Frankly, it's almost impossible to find something quite so boring or mundane as a woman without a shirt on without all the nastiest ads around it. And, I just don't go there - so it helps me resist the temptation even more.

But still, what do I do with this issue?

Well, to this date, I'm still not perfect - but I can tell you what God has done with me. Because, as I mentioned, this is a heart issue and it's God that wants my heart. And, if God more prevelantly dwells in my heart and my every thought is taken captive to him, and He in his holiness shines the spotlight on that thought - well, those thoughts don't last long.

And that's what I do. I have to say that this year has been probably the best year since I've required a connection to the net. I've gone long stretches without making a stupid decision - which I then regret almost immediately by the way. And, it's all to God's glory. Whatever the issues are in my heart, in me, about me - God is working those out. And, because of that I find that I'm a much free-er man.

Of course the fact that I have 4 daughters makes it even more necessary that I deal with this. The fact that any picture that I've looked at is of someone elses daughter greives my heart terribly. I hate to even THINK I could be that horrible. And that helps too.

So, am I there yet? Not quite, but I'm getting SOOOOO close. And in the process God is doing some wonderful things in me. One of the biggest things I've learned in the years of dealing with this issue is GRACE. You see, 10 years ago I didn't have much grace. Today, I abound in it. Why? Well silly, because I have an understanding of the NEED for grace so much more. I understand the grace that God extends to me. I understand the love he pours out each time I turn and ask his forgiveness. And in that I've become a better man, a better husband (ironically) and a better dad. I have lots of grace for my family now!

So, there it is, my name it Phillip and I've got a porn issue. No, I'm not an addict. Porn isn't something I'm addicted to. It's not something that causes cravings in my system. It's not a crutch. BUT, it is an issue. It's a distraction. It's sin that I know that God doesn't want in my life, and by his grace - as he promises - he is working to perfect me until I reach the day of completion (when I see him face to face).

And now you know. So, does this make me a hypocrite? Thankfully, no. A hypocrite is someone that sees issues in others but doesn't (or refuses to) recognize his own issues. No, this makes me a sinner saved by grace. In fact, it is almost the perfect example! Made clear mind you by a sin that most everyone understands is sin. Most people don't understand when sins like pride, or over eating or other sins that can really only be known by a loved one or God are discussed. But this? Everyone can understand this. And so, God has redeemed me, and he's working out his process of redemption in my all to human flesh. Thank you Jesus! I truly do appreciate it.

And, if you're someone that has a sin in your life, even if it isn't so easily identifiable as this one, the good news is that God can do the same thing for you. He can save you from your sin. He can expose the sin that is burried or hidden (like porn was with me before the internet), reveal it and then deal with the issues of the heart that cause it. At the end of the process you to can be a free-er man or woman too. Isn't that cool?

Thank you again Jesus - and to God be all the glory. Amen.

What's that show's name?

Can anyone tell me, since Ken Ray and Laura Burstein left, ummmmm you know that other Mac show - geesh I've got to look it up, hang on - oh, Inside Mac (which, by the way I was on at one point and I'm eternally grateful to Scott Shepard for) that's the one. Does anyone still listen to them? Not that Scott isn't good, but without Laura and Ken, it really becomes one note repeating to me - so over time I stopped listening and iTunes doesn't update it anymore. That happen to anyone else?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Tolerant" Governor - not so much.

O-tay. Before you read any of my rant, read this. When you're done come on back.


This is the perfect example of "tolerance" double speak. This governor is tolerant of anyone that doesn't have an opinion, or more importantly a belief. Here's the deal, I'm sure that "Mr. I'm Gay and Just Got a Guy Fired" has made plenty of intolerant statements. In fact, homosexuals in general are famous for casting aspersions.

And what did the guy who got fired do? He simply made a statement. He specifically shared his opinion based on his convictions and beliefs. BOOM. GAME OVER. Dude, that's not tolerant!

But you know what? I'm not tolerant either. I'm really sick of people doing stuff like this. I am not tolerant of two faced irresponsible "politically correct" sycophants that are happy to quickly point their finger at someone and that won't be responsible themselves. Here's my word to them - buy a clue!

I'm going to go on record with the guy that got fired. I don't think that homosexuality is a normal life style either. And, just so you know exactly how consistent I am in sharing that I believe it's deviant - it's the same thing I told my SISTER. Yes, my sister is currently claiming that she's homosexual. Correct. But to show you even more how consistant I am, let me share this. While my sister was still sleeping with guys - I told her that I thought her practice of sleeping with MANY guys was just as damaging and destructive to her and her family as her current poor behavior is.

Let me ask you a question. Because I said this to my sister, does that mean that I don't love her? Don't be an idiot. Of course I do. And, it breaks my heart that she continues to make these decisions that impact her life and the life of her family so dramatically.

In the same way, just because I'm willing to say to any homosexual that according to scripture their life style is not right, it doesn't mean that I don't love or care for them. Au contraire. It's because I want the best for them spiritually AND physically that I want them to know that the God of all creation loves them, died for their sin and wants to set them free to live in the liberty of Jesus rather than the bondage of the life style of sin. And yes, I do believe that homosexuality is sin. It doesn't mean that I hate anyone - except the enemy of our souls! Do I always like how homosexual activists get in our face? No. Do I find the public displays of lewdness associated with "gay" pride parades disgusting? YES!. I would also find that kind of public display of lewdness of heterosexual behavior offensive too. Know why? Because either way, it's still sin. Capice?

And still, through it all, I'm not any less tolerant of these people. Is my life different that theirs? Yes. Do I believe they need a personal relationship with Jesus in order to be saved? Yes. And I belive that for ALL people. And for all people I will unashamedly state, I believe that Jesus is the salvation of the world. So, no matter who you are, no matter what your behavior - sexually (hetero or homosexual promiscuity or sex outside of marriage), socially (hate crimes, anger, public drunkeness, drugs, gang wars, murder, spousal abuse, child abuse and murder) or whatever - Jesus can and has forgiven it all. He can forgive your sin and give you a brilliant life of freedom and joy. All you need to do is ask him.

So, right now, let me ask you, pray with me! Don't worry that you're "not good enough" neither was I, or King David who committed murder and adultery or the Apostle Paul who sought out early Christians and stoned them to death before Jesus appeard to them! Right now ask the Lord to save you and give you new life. Say Lord, I know I haven't done right, I know that I've sinned. But Lord, you said you loved the world so much - including ME - that you died on the cross to cover my sins. Jesus, I accept your sacrifice for my sins. And now, according to your very words Lord, I am a NEW creation. My sin is washed away! I have a NEW start!

And how cool is that! Before you go, let me encourage you to let someone know what you've just done. Send me an email. If you need help finding a church that teaches the whole Bible of Gods truth, justice and love, let me know. And remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life. Jesus has set you free! With that you have new opportunities. Sure, you may have bad days. Hey, you've got a whole life time of habits that the Holy Spirit is working on, if you slip, don't worry. Jesus isn't surprised and he's still there ready to hold your hand and help you into the incredible life he has created for you. Read your Bible and PRAY! Every day talk with God (that means pray, that's what prayer is!) and remember to be still sometimes so that he can talk to you, tell you how much he loves you and direct you on the path to his promises!


Thursday, June 08, 2006

AirTran SUCKS (well, not completely it seems)

I received a phone call from AirTran. They will be refunding the full purchase price - not allegedly do to my rant - but because I hadn't spoken to customer service. Right. Actually, I did speak to customer service and I asked to speak to a supervisor and I got voicemail and no call back. Then I did the post and sent the rant. At any rate, AirTran actually stopped acting like heartless automatons with the sensitivity of toilet seats and provided a full refund due to the "extenuating circumstances." OK. I'm not going to argue. They still claim that nothing was their fault - which still irks me - but I don't think it will do any good or change their policy any futher. And I'll give the props for calling me back. Now, will I willinging choose AirTran againin the future? That remains to be seen.


It's not often that I spend time railing against the machine, but this time I'm going
to. I'm also going to make sure I say this as many times in as many places (like podcasts, blogs, local consumer news teams and the like) that I can.

Who knows, maybe that will get AirTran's attention. And, while I may not get my ticket refunded, I'm betting that it's going to cost AirTran a LOT more than the price of my ticket in the end. And, hopefully, the next time someone calls them that has lost a loved one and wants a refund because the AirTran plane was late - they won't act like TOTAL FRACKING IDIOTS and they'll show some compassion to the person on the other end of the phone.

Monday, May 22, 2006

We Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

At 10:21 life was very normal. At 10:22, life - and death - took on a new meaning.

In that minute, my phone rang and I was told that my nephew was dead. Killed in a car crash. As I was to find out later, he was killed because he had been in an argument and left in anger. And then, I can only hope, was just driving in anger and lost control of his car, hit an abutment head on and had his car burst into flames.

At 10:21 I was making some dessert for my wife and I. At 10:23 that dessert was looked at in a totally different light.

Unfortunately, I can't say that this ending to my nephew's life was wholy unexpected. It was part of the sad story that made up his life, including his stormy relationship with my sybling, and the story of my sybling itself which is so unreal that it couldn't be sold as fiction. No one would believe it. Heck, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is more believable as fiction or real life.

It's not to say that my nephew won't be missed. He will be. Honestly, my wife and I were dazed. He was our favorite nephew. He was the one we all thought was the sweetest, had the most natural charm. He had a great sense of humor and was gentle. But, alas, with everything that happened around him, most people didn't know that about him. Unfortunately including my sybling - his parent.

My nephew's life had become a roller coaster. In therapy, stealing, lighting things on fire. Off to a special school for 6-9 months, back again, admitted to a pysch hospital, then, drugged so that I almost didn't recognize the bright mind with the sharp wit that I had come to know. A couple of years of that, moved to a state and back again in a week with his parent, then sent to a school that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. Let's just say it is safe to assume he had no role models there.

Finally, it all cumulated in a tragic argument and reaction that ended his life. All that flashed through my mind in a minute. Hello 10:23.

Of course, there's still my sybling. This was not their sole responsibility. Did they play a part? Sure, just as parents we all play a part. No, this decision was that of my nephew. His alone. As for my sybling, now they have to deal with the guilt of loosing a child with which they never knew peace. It's not that they didn't try, but alas, their vision to deal with the issues, their capcity to even recognize them was always compromised in some way or another. It wasn't a lack of love, but it was love that, for whatever reason, just never made it through. And now, they will never have the chance again to try and fix it. I hope for my sybling, they will find peace. I know that God waits for them and promises to give them that peace if they only ask. I hope my sybling can get past any and all of the issues they are dealing with and see they can ask. It's never too late. God's arm is never to short. He is there ready and willing to enfold them in his love.

Ah, it's 11:00 now. For me, what remains is sadness. I'm sad that my nephew never got to be what he could have been. He would have been brilliant. I'm sad that my sybling is dealing with what they have to deal with, in regards to my nephew and just their life in general. It's sad because they do have so much to offer as well.

But for now, weeping is for the evening, but joy comes in the morning. No, I don't think my sybling will be filled with joy in the morning. They have to much to do this week to deal with this tragedy. But joy can come. Assuredly, it can. Grace and mercy are there to meet them and help them on the road.

And so, for me, it's off to sleep. Good night nephew. A last good night. I hope that in the moments before you crashed, I pray, that you called out to the God that loved you, the one you knew in your youth, and now you rest in his arms - away from this turmoil, in perfect love and perfect peace, at rest finally in his presence. If that is so, then I know that someday when I at last say my last good night to this present world that you will be there, with the Lord, to greet me. I know that would bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart (yes, I think it would be the frosting on the cake I guess - as if being in the presence of the Lord won't be enough!) You are special, and you will always be in my heart. Good night.