Friday, April 28, 2006

Bill Is Bill, And I Love It

Read An Open Question posted by Bill Roberts (De) at Thinklings. (Related, Bill also wrote Is the Bride Beautiful? back in February.)

Just read it. Then, post your thoughts here or there (at Thinklings).

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Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani

Was Jesus Forsaken by God?

Here's the Gospel of Matthew (ESV) on the context:

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Also, here's Mark (ESV):

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

As a Christian growing up, I was taught and believed (Answer # 1 in the link) that when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me!" on the ninth hour on the cross, he did so because at that exact time, all the sin of the world was laid upon Him, and the Father -- who cannot look upon sin -- turned away in that moment. And, I believe, there are many Christian scholars, many renowned Christian scholars, who still hold to that view.

However, at this point, I think I'm going with Answer # 2, which is that Jesus was pointing His followers to Psalm 22 and everything that Scripture meant.

Here's Psalm 22 (ESV):

22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me;they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb;you made me trust you at my mother's breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me,for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water,and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet —17 I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword,my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! 22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. 30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.

When I think about Jesus, and when I think about His relationship to and with the Father and then also with His disciples, I have to think He was pointing to and showing them this Psalm - both for the prophecy (such as in verses 16 and 17) and then also for the glory that comes at the end of this Psalm. "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you!" How great is that? Jesus, dying for humanity on a Cross, being scorned by those around Him, still showing us the way and telling us why He is doing what He is doing. Not only that but forgiving those killing Him and mocking Him at the same time. And I love the centurion's reaction in Mark 15:39 - "Truly, this man was the Son of God!" Yes!

What do you guys think?

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More Than You Wanted to Tell, But So What?

Another {chime music} "Getting to Know You" {end music} post since there seems to be a few more of us now (maybe it's just an optical illusion). Give your favorites and worsts... and this time I'm not making it multiple choice. It's open-ended. Ha! We'll see who's brave and who's not this time...

1) Favorite TV actor from a sit-com, any sit-com -- ever!
2) Favorite muppet
3) Favorite flavor of ice cream
4) Favorite Bible verse
5) Favorite Olympic moment
6) Favorite dinner entree
7) Favorite interjection (i.e. Ow! Darn! Rats! etc.)
8) Favorite scary movie (or, if you'd rather, favorite cheesy movie)
9) Favorite vacation place
10) Favorite 60s song
11) Favorite mouthwash
12) Favorite type of automobile

13) Worst place gone to or been taken on a date
14) Worst book you've ever read all the way thru
15) Worst college sports team
16) Worst holiday
17) Worst nervous habit you have
18) Worst President of the United States
19) Worst type of candy
20) Worst class you ever took in high school or middle school/junior high
21) Worst characteristic your mom or dad might nag you about yourself
22) Worst 80s pop/rock artist/band
23) Worst TV reality show
24) Worst Brady kid from the Brady Bunch

Of course, you can pass on any question you don't want to answer or don't know an answer to. Heck, most people will just pass on the whole post, so I'll take whatever I can get. But once you do answer, well then, we'll know every possible thing worth knowing about you. Joking!!!

But come on, spill your favs and least favs. Then, once I feel comfortable because enough people have played, maybe I'll answer one or two of the questions -- hm, maybe # 2 and # 22, those seem like good ones for me. But like I said, you go first.

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What's Going on Around Here?

Every couple of weeks or so, I like to link what's going on in the blogs we know and like, so here goes:

Doug's latest is Missionary Impossible, and I think he's found his blogging stride with his Personal Reflection posts - not that the others aren't good, too. But his refective posts are his best, imo, so see them now. Plus, after being swallowed whole by Jeannie in our last post, who knows if he'll still be able to post while down in the depths of Ms. Eden's tum-tum?

Speaking of tum-tums, codepoke has a scientifc post on fermentation that a certain commenter, I won't mention any names but I like him, took straight into the gutter. However, codepoke's predestination piece is one you need to make some time for, because it's that good.

b's been sick and in bed, but not so sick that she didn't do more way-back-type research in her Baptist History update. She's almost codepoke-like in the way she throws out terms I knew nothing of, such as: Novationists (do they novate contracts?) and Montanists (are they from Montana?). You'll have to read her blog to find out. Not to mention she's been reading Milton's Paradise Lost, most likely while bedridden.

This is sort of against my highlighting other blogs policy, but I'll mention one of ours - Ken's IV post that is a riddle no one can figure out. But in the comments he's sure some denizen of The Realm will. A certain prize beyond measure for anyone who can unwind the mystery -- uh, the prize will be from Ken, of course.

Todd R.'s got at least five new posts since the last time I went "Around the Horn." You can find them at Beauty Out of Ugly Things. Check them out. They're always good. If you don't believe me, ask Doug. Oops. you can't. Barbara Eden turned him into a frog and ate him.

Bill's back posting again at Out of the Bloo. I've mentioned it before that he's one of my favorite people in the whole blog universe and certainly one of the nicest, and his "little" devotional blog is always worth checking out when you have a spare moment.

Then, there's Armando Salguero's Dolphins blog at The Miami Herald. Waitaminnit. That one's just for me. Sorry about that. My mistake.

Another recent commenter, Milly (who I think I first corresponded with over at Thinklings), has some great posts at her blog, The Milly Times. One thing I love is honest bloggers, and writing posts on Life After Death basically opens your thoughts to the world. Obviously, people are going to disagree on a topic that none of us totally know what is going to happen, so it takes some courage to put your thoughts out there, or even saying "I don't know," when so many other people think they do. Get to know Milly.

Lastly, Maeghan's commented a few times here (we truly hopes she continues), and it's only appropriate that we highlight her blogs. Her devotional blog is here, and there are a ton of treasures in her posts. Then, she also has her musings which are a little more lighthearted (in fact, they're not only musings but they're amusing), and since we here at The Realm love musing our own good selves (and since we certainly amuse our own good selves), we're only too happy to highlight other blogs that do some of the same stuff we do. It's almost like patting ourselves on the back, but pretending that we're doing it to someone else. What can beat that?

So all you guys and girls keep blogging. As you know, I only highlight blogs that are far superior to ours, so if you're not finding yourself in these lists, then you have some work to do. Am I joking? I just don't know. Happy blogging and happy reading.

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Three Wishes

Mm'kay, go ahead and mock this post if you want, but here's the game -- same as it was when we were kids with just a few groundrules.

You're visiting Tahiti or Fiji or Gilligan's Island and there on the coastline, you find a multi-faceted bottle. Upon uncorking the bottle, a genie pops out in front of you and thrice offers you your heart's desire. That's right, three wishes. Only, the genie warns you not to wish in certain ways, lest you be turned into a warted toad on the spot. The warnings and rules you are told are as follows:

1) No wishing for more wishes or more genies

2) No wishing for intangible ideals that genies cannot possibly deliver (i.e. world peace, eternal salvation - for anyone, eternal youth, living forever, living happily ever ever, and so on)

3) Whatever wish you desire, it has what the genie calls an "effect of one" - that is, should you have regrets you'd like to take back, people from history with whom you'd like to speak, places you yearn to travel, sick persons you wish to make well, etc., the genie can do those things, but only on an individual basis. With one wish, you may take back one regret, travel back in time to one certain date, travel to one country, heal one sick person. That's the "effect of one." One wish - one thing granted.

4) In the same vein, no run-on wishes. A wish such as: I'd like to live on Mars with my family and friends and there would be air and water there and shopping malls and Martian football... those types of wishes will turn you into a warted toad but quick.

5) While genies can take you back in history, they cannot facilitate talking to the supernatural or dead, so no asking for wishes to talk to angels or demons or dead people. To talk to the dead, you'd have to go back in time, and then you'd have to request that person -- and that would constitute two wishes by virtue of the "effect of one."

6) Obviously, material goods are in play as are team championships (subject to the rule of one), but just be careful what you wish for.

7) Lastly, NO WISHING FOR BETTER POSTS FROM THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY AS THAT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE. Wish something like that and you'll be feeling a genie's teeth cutting through your amphibian-like neck.

Because, all people that are turned into warted toads will instantly be eaten by the genie. That's how genies survive.

Okay, Master, what are your three wishes?

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Drunk on the Tears - SQOTW

alibis roll off my tongue
i'm looking for ruins to hide among
i got a soul piled high to excess
with the wonderfully useless and the frivolous

the praise due your name evades my lips
there's no helping hand on my fingertips
i used to be someone now i'm not worth a shit
i've got a truckload of things trying to forget

since back in the garden on the first page
something about the cradle and the grave
the promises broken more promises made
all in the image i've so defaced

played out on the pages of history
dripping in blood that flows from a tree
where the Father and Son part company
come back together for you and me

i don't know why you did it what was your motivation
crucifixion's not a cool sensation
You had something to say and You started to speak
the Cross was a place for Your coronation speech

-- Drunk on the Tears, VOL from the CD Jugular

Not much to say on this one except how much I identify. I'm great at making excuses, and I'm bad at accepting responsibility. Although I'm not big on blaming others, I'm even less big on blaming myself. That sentiment goes with the little things, the bigger things, and THE BIG THING. And then the praise due to God evading my lips... man, does this song have me pegged.

When it all comes down to it, I'm not much of a person but thankful (not nearly thankful enough, though) that Christ died and rose for me. It does and it doesn't end there, of course. I've got to live for Him. Part of that is recognizing my failures and giving those over along with my victories. But I'm a looooooooong way from where I need to be. I'm thankful for the Church, and that God has always seemingly provided Christians in my path, no matter which false trails I run down. Oh, that I can come to the point where, "To live is Christ," and that's it. I'm always trying to add to that or take away, whichever. Mostly, I'm a mess that I'm hoping the Lord will pick up. Nonetheless, I've got to follow and be a disciple. There's no getting out of that one.

Still, it all begins at the Cross and extends from there. And this song states it well. And it states me well.

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Update to: Coming Up Sevens

Update: The seven deadly sins (the quiz was in this post) named in Dante's Purgatorio in order going from closest to Hell to closest to Paradise are:

1) Pride
2) Envy
3) Wrath/Anger
4) Sloth
5) Avarice/Greed
6) Gluttony
7) Lust

Odd that lust would be the closest to Paradise... (hey, maybe I'm better off than I thought, most of my sinning is close to Paradise - uh, just kidding. unfortuately, I also sometimes fall victim to gluttony. and greed, too. i think my wife and parents can attest to the sloth. and the anger. if pressed, i'd say i'm not above envy. then, my archnemesis pride. yep, i got all lucky seven i gotta deal with).

Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." Paul says, "We're no longer slaves to sin." All of which means, I have a choice in this lifelong battle. Just looking at the horizon, I don't see much slackening. Wish me luck, and same to you. Vaya con Dios.

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Spic dog owns dull edges and ants relieve a fortune? nuts. Call me to splot ask stuff. So tour areas to prop on. Is that a brown snake Tom? Hold idly strive pretty risky logs on top. Lo, Ken san.

Problem this wart, bad raisins act duh. If walking alter lofts just until fall ball to bore ears aches. Ash brims from two TVs.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Legitimate Non-Biblical Question # 2

What is the right thing (and I realize it's probably subjective to each person) to do when you see either Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses coming down your street to witness to you?

Am I right to even be asking this question at all? As a Christian, I feel I really don't have much to worry about in talking to people whose flags are flying under a different God than mine. At the same time, since both groups claim the word Christian when describing themselves -- or at least I've heard "Christian" as a description even if the headquarters of either group do not make that claim (I"m not sure whether they do or don't) -- that makes it a different conversation than discussing Christ (who is a figure in both religions) with say, an agnostic, atheist, Muslim, Hindu, etc.

I'll be honest. I cringe when I see them coming - it seems I'm usually mowing the lawn or working outside when they come. With the Jehovah's Witnesses, it usually isn't that big a deal - you accept a track from them and they walk on. With the Mormons, and usually it's younger kids (about 18-22 years old), who come on fire wanting to witness to you about their church, the prophets here in the States, God, etc., those boys'll talk to you. I've still got a Book of Mormon that a pair of suit-cladden bikers gave me.

To make the situation stickier, a lot of times I'll have either worked with or for Mormons (as I do now), been friends with them in the past, or at least have acquaintances that I respect that are Mormon. It's hard for me to just want to send them on their way, but inside, that's probably what I want to do.

Different Christians I know have different responses:

1) Some avoid them like the plague, won't accept anything from them, and shut the door on them if they solicit. Not so ironically, those same tactics are used on Christians as well, sometimes (even more ironically) by other Christians.

2) Some jump right in to argue, counter-witness, prove where they're wrong, and call for the witnessing kids/adults to repent there on site.

3) Some take the subtle witnessing tact. They invite them in, invite their elders to their house, trade scriptures, offer Christ's hope, generally with little success.

4) I've been a member at a church that has invited Mormons to the church under the guise of genuine discussions, and then has basically shown a filmstrip on how Mormonism is a cult and then went to # 2 on the list in calling for them to repent and convert. It was pretty ruthless, and despite what I believe, if the roles were reversed, I'd have been pretty pissed (sorry if that's offensive).

5) The easy way: Just throw out the word "Trinity" and watch them run.

Of course, I'm not denying that we have to talk to people, witness to the Gospel, and show them God's love, but I'm not sure a ten minute conversation while they're trying to solicit you is the best time for that. It seems like that's a time, more than likely, where heated arguments are going to take place and people just get more entrenched in their own beliefs. Then again, you may never see these people again, and if they're willing to talk religion, then why not proclaim the Christ of the Bible and the Gospel that leads to Salvation?

What do you guys think?

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How Was Your Earth Day?

Just wanted to make sure the Earth Day Manatee made it to everyone's home and left them several Earth Day type-gifts on your moss-covered Earth Day-decorated hearths and mantles (with hanging sandals, of course) under your Earth Day flower or Earth Day tree. If you didn't receive anything, it probably never came to your attention that April 22 was Earth Day, which is really too bad.

I got a rock.

Anyone do better?

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Hardest Things To Find

As benificent potentates in The Realm of Possibility, Rich and I have always striven (striven?) to be helpful if nothing else. And it's in this vein that I thought a community project might be in order-- a chance for the entire Realm population to lend a helping hand.

But what endeavor would be worthy of the valuable time and energies of a people already encumbered with trying to read 7000 childrens' books, to come up with song lyrics containing the word "rain", or debating the perfect Wonder Woman candidate?

And this is it: To help each other and all of the billions and billions of Internet users out there find the thing (or things) that they consider the most difficult in life to find. What could be more noble than that? And it'll be like our own world-wide web Scavenger hunt.

So, to get you started, I have scoured cyberspace and compiled a list of what the masses have identified as the hardest things to find. Feel free to provide your own additions to the list, but remember our goal is to help these guys and gals by doing our part to mark things off the list below.

Finding a job you enjoy that pays well
No-melt mylar template plastic and silicone compound
Fresh material for an ezine
Water on Skid Row
Woven or Braided cotton rope
Funding to refine an idea into a practical product
Dedicated IP addresses
Drugs in Singapore
Swimsuit and a pair of jeans that fit right
Information on how to DJ
A comfortable, powerful HTML editor
Accurate trail reports
Someone you feel you can trust
Places on the internet where young people can go and have fun safely
A suitable plot of land to build a house
Collectable doll accessories
Second chances
Good financial advice
A comfortable sofa
True Love
Maternity dresses
Genealogical information on female family members
A group of people where you can just be yourself
People who hate pizza
Short Lines
Meaningful information and useful insight
The pinball version of Spy Hunter by Bally
A full-size luxurious featherbed
80 to 100 year old laces and fabrics in good condition
Someone to sit and talk with without getting into an argument
Originality in today’s music
Old photographs
A plate of good grits and a virgin
A trustworthy automotive shop
Well-formed, large lazulite crystals
Great teachers
Things in plain sight
Trim parts for hearses
Good aquarium needle valves
Good staff and good suppliers
Ethiopian children’s books

Happy hunting and please provide links where appropriate, which will lead us to your find!!!

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Friday, April 21, 2006

There's a What??

Q:"Can you play a musical instrument without actually touching it?"
This was a question posed in 1950, and yet my 21st century mind said, "Nah."

A:"Yes, and it's not a wind instrument."
Let me explain.

In my continuing search for the strange, bizarre, and obscure, I recently purchased a couple of DVDs containing episodes of a 1950's TV show called "You Asked For It".

I'd never heard of it, but the premise was to bring Ripley's Believe It or Not-type entertainment straight into the living room of post-war America. All they had to do was ask for it (and endure the incessant huckstering of Skippy Peanut Butter, the peanut butter that doesn't taste like peanut butter, but real, fresh peanuts).

I bit. And so there I sat watching a little piece of Americana when a young lady from Atlanta, Georgia asked Art Baker, the host, a question very similar to the one above.

Then out marched a woman in a performance gown with a device, which looked like a podium with a couple of antennae sticking out of it, and began waving her arms through mid-air in front of it. And what do you know but a song started playing.

I was very surprised. But I'm not sure whether I was more surprised that such a thing existed or more surprised that a TV show from 1950 could surprise me.

Maybe you guys are intimately familiar with this strange instrument called the Theremin already, but here's some trivia that I've run down on the Internet:

-- It apparently has been around since 1919.
-- Jimmy Page used one in a Zeppelin song "Whole Lotta Love", and Brian Wilson wanted one for the weird sounds in the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" but settled for the similar sounds from a tannerin.
-- The founder of Moog synthesizers got his start building theremins.
-- There was even a movie done about the instrument itself in 1994, Theremin:An Electronic Odyssey.
-- A myth was created about the inventor being kidnapped in New York by Soviet agents
-- There's a blog site run by theremin enthusiasts.

To hear one try this site or join in a discussion with a current theremin musician in the comments section of this post.

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Offshoot to Hypocrisy

Wow! There's an excellent discussion regarding hypocrisy -- more specifically, is most or all sin hypocrisy -- that has evolved in the comments of Quaid's (at Thinklings) post on Ann Coulter. Most of the discussion to which I'm referring is between Debra, Glenn, and nhe. Extremely thoughtful and enlightening comments, but what else would you expect from the Nexus of the Intellectual Universe? Go over there and read it, and then tell me what you think. Or... you can jump in over there.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Inevitable Doom and Gloom Sets In

Last night, in my older son's machine pitch baseball game -- the team upon which I'm an assistant coach -- I had the following discussion with one of our boys as I was coaching first base. He's our fifth batter, and he led off our fifth inning (we were down 7-1 at the time) with a hit. Here's how it went:

"Nice hit, bud! Now, stay alert! As soon as he hits it, you be ready to run."

He gazes at the plate, looks me dead in the eye (from under an oversized batter's helmet), and says, "He's gonna strike out."

I pause for a moment, consider the batter who, granted, is in a slump (but he's still one of out better players), and say, "No. Nah, he's going to get a hit. You just be ready when he does."

Strike one. Strike two.

"He's going to be an out, just like I said." Strike three! "See, told ya."

The batter bangs the bat down and runs for the dugout. Meanwhile, the next batter strides with certainty to the plate. Certainty meaning that he knows that's where he's supposed to go rather than certainty that he may actually make contact with a baseball spraying out of the machine.

"C'mon, John!" I holler and then clap my hands. "Come see me. Alright, get ready to run," I reiterate to our player on first. I hunch over to watch how high the ball's going to go over the plate so I'll know whether the batter should move up or back in the box.

"I think he's going to strike out, too." It's the voice of the kid on first again, sounding like a world-weary cynic that has seen no end to famine and plague.

"Have some faith in our teammates," I tell him, still staring at the batter. "He's going to hit the ball."

"I don't think so. I think he's going to strike out."

Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

"See? I was right."

Straightening up and turning, I glance at my baserunner, and he peers at me with eyes shadowed by the lid of his helmet. "Let's cheer on our team. Not tell ourselves they're all getting out." He shrugs at my comment.

Our next batter, and we're getting closer to the end of our order, which, lemme tell you, strikes fear in the hearts of many a mechanical pitching device.

"He's going to strike out, too. I'm just gonna be standing here for all three outs. We're going to lose, you know?"

I take a deep breath and sigh. "Come on, Clay!" I yell, hoping beyond hope that the little fellow up at the plate that hardly swings the bat at the ball gets a hit just so this player at first has to run to second. And more, I can tell him, "I told you so" instead of having to listen to it come from him. "We're getting a hit. Come on, babe!"

Strike one. "I really do think he's going to strike out."

Clang! A foul, strike two. But at least he made contact. "See there," I said. "He's ready to hit now."

Strike three!

"That's just what I thought. I told you he'd strike out."

"Alright, let's go get our hats and gloves," I tell him.

Boy, did that conversation get old fast. In between my encouraging our batters and my earnest desire to wring this kid's neck, the sad part was that I believed him. The bottom of our batting order is not strong. In fact, it's very weak. Like one strand of a rope trying to hold the line with a locomotive weighing down on it type of weak. And that's with missing our two weakest players who haven't made it for the last two games. We won the game on Monday - in the one game that's at another park where they use coaches to pitch instead of machines (the rest of ours are machine pitch) -- by some miracle of fate (or really good coaching, I'm still debating) , but chances are -- looking up and down our line-up and then at the teams from our park, if we don't improve drastically, dramatically, and miraculously, we won't win another game.

At the same time, winning at this age isn't everything. We have an autistic player on our team who has a difficult time focusing in the batter's box or in the field. And then we have the one kid on our team nobody else wanted because he's both the worst player in the league and a trouble-maker. Then, we didn't know as many of the kids as the other coaches did when drafting. So... while we have four or five guys that are pretty good players, in baseball, that's not enough when you bat twelve. This is a season I'm really going to have to work on my own attitude so I can exemplify Christ while our season swirls down the ol' turlet (to coin a phrase). Not sure that it helps when a cynical seven year old is telling me all his teammates are going to strike out -- and following that, they do. But I've got to try. There are so many more important things in this world, but for some reason, losing stays on my mind longer than those others. In this, I think I'm a lost cause.

Now, I'm playing the real-life role that Steve Martin acted out in Parenthood. Except, I'm fairly sure my wife's not pregnant. She better not be.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How Well Read Are You in Kid's Fiction?

Here is a compiled list of favorite and fiction books (Recommended Books) from The Children's Literature Web Guide:

Alcott, Louise May: Little Women
Alexander, Lloyd: Chronicles of Prydain
Alexander, Lloyd: The Jedera Adventure
Andersen, Hans Christian: The Snow Queen
Andrews, Julie: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Babbitt, Natalie: Tuck Everlasting
Banks, Lynne: The Indian In The Cupboard (and others)
Baum, L. Frank: The Wizard of Oz (and sequels)
Barth, Edna: I'm Nobody; Who are You?
Benary-Isbert, Margot Wicked Enchantment
Brand, Christianna Brand: Nurse Matilda
Brand, Christianna Brand: Nurse Matilda Goes to Town
Burnett, Frances Hodgson: A Little Princess
Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
Burnett, Frances Hodgson: Rackety Packety House
Cameron, Eleanor: Court of the Stone Children
Carroll, Lewis: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking Glass
Charles, N. N.: What Am I?, 1994 (Ages 2-5)
Christopher, John: The City of Gold & Lead
Christopher, John: The Pool of Fire
Christopher, John: The White Mountains
Cooper, Susan: The Dark is Rising
Dahl, Roald: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Dahl, Roald: James and the Giant Peach
Dahl, Roald: The BFG
Danziger, Paula: Amber Brown is Not a Crayon, 1994 (Ages 6-10)
de Sainte-Exupery, Antoine: The Little Prince
Dickinson, Peter: Time and the Clockmice Etcetera, 1994 (Ages 7-10)
Dr. Seuss: Yertle the Turtle
Dr. Seuss: And to Think That I Saw It On Mullberry Street
duBois, William Pene: The Twenty-One Balloons
Eager, Edward: Half Magic and several sequels
Ende, Michael: Momo
Ende, Michael: The Never Ending Story
Enright, Elizabeth: Tatsinda
Enright, Elizabeth: The Four Story Mistake
Enright, Elizabeth: The Saturdays
Enright, Elizabeth: Spiderweb for Two
Farmer, Nancy: The Ear, The Eye and the Arm, 1994 (Ages 14-up)
Fitzhugh, Louise: Harriet the Spy
George, Jean Craighead: My Side of the Mountain
Glassman, Peter: My Working Mom, 1994 (Ages 3-7)
Goldman, William: The Princess Bride
Goudge, Elizabeth: Valley of Song
Goudge, Elizabeth: The Little White Horse
Graham, Kenneth: Wind in the Willows
Harris, Rosemary The Moon in the Cloud (and sequels)
Hoban, Russell: How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen
Isaacs, Anne: Swamp Angel, 1994 (Ages 3-7)
Jansson, Tove: Finn Family Moomintroll
Jansson, Tove: Moominland Midwinter
Jones, Terry: Erik the Viking
Jones, Terry: Fairy Tales
Jones, Terry: Nicobobinus
Juster, Norton: The Phantom Tollbooth
Keats, Ezra Jack: Peter's Chair
Kingsley, Charles: The Water Babies
Kipling, Rudyard: Captains Courageous
Kipling, Rudyard: Jungle Book
Kipling, Rudyard: Just So Stories
Kipling, Rudyard: Kim
Konigsburg, E.L: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Lawson, Robert: Rabbit Hill
Le Guin, Ursula K.: A Wizard of Earthsea
Lester, Julius: John Henry by Julius Lester, 1994 (Ages 4-9)
Lewis, C.S: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (and sequels)
Lewis, Patrick J.: The Frog Princess, 1994 (Ages 4-9)
Linklater, Eric: The Wind on the Moon
Lofting, Hugh: The Dr. Dolittle series
Martin, Ann M.: Sea City Here We Come!
Martin, Bill Jr.: The Maestro Plays, 1994 (Ages 2-7)
Mayer, Marianna: Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, 1994 (Ages 4-up)
Masefield, John: The Midnight Folk
Masefield, John: The Box of Delights
McCaffrey, Anne: Dragon Song
McGuire, Richard: Night Becomes Day, 1994 (Ages 2-8)
McKinley, Robin: Beauty
Milne, A.A.: The House at Pooh Corner
Milne, A.A.: Winnie the Pooh
Montgomery, L.M.: Anne of Green Gables (and sequels)
Montgomery, L.M.: Emily of New Moon
Montgomery, L.M.: Jane of Lantern Hill
Montgomery, L.M.: The Story Girl
Norton, Mary: Are All The Giants Dead?
Nelson, Theresa: Earthshine, 1994 (Ages 10-14)
Nesbit, E.: Harding's Luck
O'Brien, Richard: Mrs. Frisby & Rats of NIMH
Ormondroyd, Edward: David and the Phoenix
Paterson, Katherine: Bridge to Terabithia
Paterson, Katherine: Great GillyHopkins
Paterson, Katherine: Jacob Have I Loved
Paterson, Katherine: Lyddie
Paterson, Katherine: The Master Puppeteer
Pinkwater, Daniel: Snarkout Boys & Baconburg Horror
Pinkwater, Daniel: Snarkout Boys & The Avocado of Death
Pinkwater, Daniel: Alan Mendohlsson, the Boy From Mars
Polacco, Patricia: Pink and Say, 1994 (Ages 4-9)
Pope, Elizabeth: Perilous Gard
Raskin, Ellen: The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel)
Raskin, Ellen: The Westing Game
Ransome, Arthur: Swallows and Amazons series
Rathmann, Peggy: Good Night, Gorilla, 1994 (Ages 3-7)
Richler, Mordechi: Jacob Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang
Sendak, Maurice: Where The Wild Things Are
Salinger, J.D: Catcher In the Rye
Say, Allan: The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice
Scieszka, Jon: The Stinky Cheese Man
Sharp, Margery: Rescuers
Silverstein, Shel: The Giving Tree
Sis, Peter: The Three Golden Keys, 1994 (Ages 4-9)
Smith, Dodie: The Hundred and One Dalmatians
Smith, Dodie: I Capture the Castle
Smith, Lane: Glasses, Who Needs 'em
Snyder, Zilpha Keatley: The Egypt Game
Spence, Eleanor: The Summer in Between
Steig, William: Sylvester And The Magic Pebble
Stolz, Mary: Cezanne Pinto, A Memoir, 1994 (Ages 9-up)
Streatfeild, Noel: White Boots
Streatfeild, Noel: Apple Bough
Streatfeild, Noel: Ballet Shoes
Sutcliff, Rosemary: Warrior Scarlet
Teague, Mark: Pigsty, 1994 (Ages 3-7)
Taylor, Theodore: The Cay
Thurber, James: The Great Quillow
Thurber, James: Many Moons
Thurber, James: The Thirteen Clocks
Thurber, James: The White Deer
Thurber, James: The Wonderful O
Tolkien, J.R.R: Lord Of The Rings
Tolkien, J.R.R: The Hobbit
Van Allsburh, Chris: Jumanji
Van Allsburh, Chris: The Polar Express
Watterson, Bill: The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
Waugh, Sylvia: The Mennyms, 1994 (Ages 9-up)
Wilder, Laura Ingalls: Little House Books
Willians, Feoffrey: How to be Topp
White, E.B.: Charlotte's Web
White, E.B.: The Trumpet of the Swan
White, T.H.: Mistress Masham's Repose
Young, Ella: Unicorn with Silver Shoes
Yolen, Jane: Owl Moon
Folk tales

The Emporer's New Clothes
Peter And The Wolf
Seven Chinese Brothers
Stone Soup
------------------------------------------------------------------------Recommended Series/Collections

Baum, L. Frank: The Oz books
Brooks, Walter R.: The Freddy the Pig series
Burman, Ben Lucien: The Catfish Bend books
Cameron, Eleanor: Mushroom Planet books
Enright, Elizabeth: The Melendy books
Harris, Rosemary: The Moon in the X book
Farley, Walter: The Black Stallion books
Herge: The Tintin books
Hoban, Russell: The Francis books
Jansson, Tove: The Moomim books
Kelly, Walt: The Pogo series
Konigsburg, E.L.: other books
Le Guin, Ursula: The Earthsea tetralogy
Henry, Marguerite: Misty of Chincoteague and sequels
Lewis, C.S: Narnia books
Lovelace, Maud: Betsy/Tacy
Montgomery, L.M.: Anne Books
Nesbit, E.: The Psammead trilogy
Taylor, Sydney: All of a Kind family series
Which of these stories, folktales, and series have you read? And what greats are missing? Right off the bat, I didn't see a couple of Mark Twain classics, and then there are some contemporary books I'd add. I'll list those that I've read in the comments. You do the same.

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My Son's mp3

My son won his school's Math-a-thon by collecting the most money for the math work he completed and, in doing so, was awarded an mp3 player. Now, we have the most noteworthy responsibility of downloading a batch of 30 decent, "mainly" kid-friendly songs. [He has requested U2's Vertigo and a couple of Bill Mallonees -- that's my boy -- but for the most part that's not what I'm looking for].

I'm asking for requests for songs that a seven-year-old (who likes more grown-up music, probably, than most seven-year-olds) might enjoy. Here's a few that I've come up with or that they've played at his school, and this should give you an idea of what song types I'm hunting:

Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, and Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis)
Rockin' Robin (who knows?)
Build Me Up, Buttercup (The Foundations)
When Bull-frogs Croak (Zak Morgan)
Joy to the World (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog) (Three Dog Night)

On the other hand, he's specifically requested NO Father Abraham, London Bridge, Mary Had a Little Lamb type stuff.

That's sort of where I'm going. That said:


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It's been a while since we challenged the audience on cool vocabulary words. In fact, I think the last one was Ms. Wanda's idea, and the post was entitled Thirteenismic. In that one, we were trying to come up with tridecalogisms, or thirteen letter words. Harkening back to the opening days of The Realm of Possibility, there was the Six Pack of Cool Chat post, asking for each person to come up with the best list of six cool-sounding words. That's really the one I want to explore more now that we have a few more folks that come around.

What I'm looking for is cool-sounding words from the English language. Here are examples of some words that have been mentioned already in the Six-Pack post:

my original list: wanderlust, harbinger, subterfuge, effervescence, penultimate, quintessential (I later exchanged quintessential for effigies)
ken's comment: ellipses, chitterling, frisky, pugilist, dipthong, published (which is a cooler idea than word)
codepoke's (I think our first commenter) list: misogyny, prestidigitation, onomatopoeia, kathmandu, defenestration, crackback

Now, to be cool, a word doesn't have to have three jillion syllables. A word like "glade" can be cool. In my opinion, a word worthy of making the Vocabu-Lysteria list should be one that evokes images of what it might mean, even if you have no idea what it truly does. Sort of like the Balderdash game.

Now, I have to say, just from reading over past comments and posts/comments on his own blog, codepoke is predisposed to being very good at this game. Anyone who fires off words like "iconoclast" and "misogyny" in their regular speech patterns probably has a leg up on guys like me. So the challenge, more than anything, is to beat codepoke at this game.

The only rule is that the words are real, which would discount ones such as: "supercallifragilisticexpialidocious." For this post, it doesn't have to be six of them. It can be one word or eighty in the comments, or anything in between. And comment as frequently as you like when you come across a cool word. Nothing like expanding the ol' vocabulary to start off a Wednesday (or any other day).

Good fortune.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Earth Has No Sorrow (Heaven Can't Heal) - SQOTW

johnny says to sarah as he takes her by the hand
"i hear angels 'cross that river in beulahland"
the waters are cold and they're deep my friend
i'm going down down down and coming up again
i'm checking my closets since i don't know when

surely life is more than learning how to live with your skeletons
wind swing low whisper in my ears
wind swing low dry these tears

why is joy something i must steal
starving skeletons looking for a meal
out in the graveyard the church bells peal
earth has no sorrow heaven can't heal

-- Earth Has No Sorrow, VOL from the Killing Floor CD

Bill Mallonee's line, "surely life is more than learning how to live with your skeletons" has to resonate with anyone who has regrets they live with, however "large" or "small." Because if they're truly regrets, does size matter at all? Another Mallonee song called Certain Slant of Light tells in this way, "Tell me your deep dark secret, yeah, and I will tell you mine. Oh, is that your deep dark secret? Oh well, never mind." Isn't that so true? The logs in our eyes reflect down into the burden on our souls, and they need to be dealt with. And with regrets, all of them may as well be the world on your shoulders, which is why we like to hide them in the dark places of the soul. Our closets. "Skeletons in my/your closet" is a running theme through a lot of Mallonee's work, and so much of his lyrics ring out on The Fall and Redemption. Skeletons are a tragedy of the fall. Each of us have our own, and they tear us down.

Added to our regret, grief abounds. Death, disease, paralysis, hurt, abandonment, divorce, abuse, treachery, depression, disfigurement, mental retardation... the list of grief sources is endless, and some of them can be found in every family and home in every place in the world.

But I don't want to dwell on that, because amidst all these tears is a wonderful and glorious Hope. And hope is defined as: a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. Christ has come, and as Easter proclaims, he has defeated sin and death. While on earth we may experience these sources of pain and woe, in the big picture our lifespan is not even a hair's breadth, despite how we feel now as we're trapped in these skins. Our expectation is this: everything has and will be made right by Him who has sacrificed and conquered. And one day, trite as it may sound now, all the tears will be wiped away and our lives shall be restored, which is our hope.

Truly, earth has no sorrow that Heaven can't heal.

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Best Living Songwriters

Paste Magazine has a contest going on their website asking for your favorite 20 living songwriters. To vote, click on the box on the right hand side of the site that reads "Contest: Vote! 100 Best Living Songwriters" (I've already voted and can't get back to the link, so you'll have to find it, but it's not difficult). They have a pretty comprehensive list so you just click your mouse in a box to make a check. You can write-in someone not listed if you'd like, they do give room for that at the end of their list. From everybody who enters Top 20 (or fewer if you mark less), they'll figure the top vote-getter and print it in the June-July edition of their magazine. Which, of course, I'll procure and give the answers on this site.

There's a lot of people on the list you'll know and probably a lot you won't. Dolly Parton, John Mellencamp, Beastie Boys, Alison Krauss, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and a host of other notables are on the ballot, and then there's names like Colin Meloy, Dan Penn/Spooner Olham, Jon Brion, names not as recognizable that are on the list. It's sort of fun just reading over all the names for a songwriter aficionado like myself.

A plug for Paste as well. Each magazine you buy (what is it, like $6.95?) comes with a sampler CD of generally around 21 full songs of various "Paste-y" type artists. The samplers are worth the price of the magazine in nearly every case.

Go on over there and vote. I'll give you my Top 20 if you give me yours.

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A visitor from Heaven
If only for a while
A gift of love to be returned
We think of you and smile

A visitor from Heaven
Accompanied by grace
Reminding of a better love
And of a better place

With aching hearts and empty arms
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we’re so glad you came
We’re so glad you came

A visitor from Heaven
If only for a day
We thank Him for the time He gave
And now it’s time to say
We trust you to the Father’s love
And to His tender care
Held in the everlasting arms
And we’re so glad you’re there
We’re so glad you’re there

With breaking hearts and open hands
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we’re so glad you came
We’re so glad you came
-- Twila Paris, A Visitor From Heaven

Taylor David
He would have been nine today.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Cinematic Side-splitters

What movies, when you first saw them, had parts in them so funny that you laughed so hard you cried (or something close to it)? Here's a short list for me, although I'm sure I'll think of more and list them in the comments if I do?

My Cousin Vinny
The Naked Gun
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Ruthless People

These aren't necessarily my favorite comedies, because if I was asking for that, I'd be listing other stuff like Fletch, Murder By Death (which is probably close to being on this list for me - sometimes, I'm just in a mood), and maybe even some romantic comedies that I'm not brave enough to name in public at this point.

SO!!!!! What are some movies that almost made you wet your pants they had scenes that were so hilarious?

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After the Moaning and Groaning

That's right. After all the riggamarole I wrote about taxes a couple weeks ago (a week and a half? I forget), I just finished them last night. And I'm, like, way tired. In fact, the Steakhouse seasoned Oberto Beef Jerky I'm eating (and it's a gift that keeps on giving, I assure you) to try and maintain my consciousness isn't working as well as I thought it would. I may have to break down and head up the hall for the Coffee IV.

I don't really have a lot of congruent thoughts for a post right now -- but that's par for the course, right? -- however, I thought I ought to try to get something down so The Realm of Possibility doesn't seem so dead. Weekends are pretty dead around here (until Ken gets the flame again), especially holiday weekends. Speaking of which, I hope everyone had a Happy Easter. Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed!

So for my incongruent thoughts, here goes:

-- I didn't notice The Ten Commandments on last night. Wasn't that an Easter television tradition? Maybe the show came on Saturday and I just missed it. Well, I probably would have missed it anyway. Still, it's comforting to know somebody's watching it. I guess nobody was last night.

-- 24. Looking forward to that if I can pry my eyelids open after my son's baseball game tonight. So far, both my son's teams are 0-1, and neither game has been close. Both those teams could use a Jack Bauer.

-- We had a great Easter. Threw a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday. After church on Sunday, which was also great, we had a family get-together with all my in-laws on my wife's side. Feasted, played basketball, another egg hunt... just a joyous day. The night wasn't so hot. Taxes, or have I mentioned...

-- The NFL Draft is two weeks away. That's correct, I'm one of those idiots.

-- My wife mentioned that there's a Five K-run next weekend. Not sure if she meant for me or for her. If for her, I guess she's saying (without saying - communication's our thing, y'know) she needs me to watch the kids. If for me, I'm not sure what she's trying to say. I'm okay with windsprints, even suicides, but anything over a mile straight and I'm just looking to make it to the next house with every step I go. Plus, I've been losing weight - a little at least. She must mean it's for her.

-- I'm going to give that Coming Up Sevens post two more days before posting the correct answers. Everybody's probably looked by now anyway, all two of you. And as long as I'm slipping stuff in about posts, I'll just ask here where I know Ken won't read down to: what did you guys think about his re-run of the Poopy Doopy post and then his Haiku? I'm thinking I need to give him a hard time again. Actually, the Haiku was kind of clever. Running poopy-doopies over again was a cheap way of him telling me he was going to get something up that day (night, as it turned out). Heck, I've got hundreds (literally, now) of crappy posts I could re-run. I just spare the public. Ah, "Ken"... I say the word and just shake my head.

-- The prize my wife received for taking our daughter to church (Sunday School last week) for the first time since baby dedication was a case of Pink Eye. We've had sort of a running disagreement. I've sort of said we should go ahead and take our babies to church after six months (or even less, really) at home, and she likes to keep them away from church for at least a year because of the germ aspect. Well, this latest episode didn't help my case, and it'll probably be 18 months now before my daughter harkens the doors of the church again.

Now, I've gotta go to work, so it's back to the moaning and groaning.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Haiku, Haiku Very Much

They called me the King
Now many think that I’m gone
But the Rock has Rolled!!

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One of the BHT patrons, Wyman Richardson, posted The Harrowing Silence: A Confession at his own blog, Communio Sanctorum.

It's a moving post, and it reminds me of how often I flee from silence. Seems like it's the way of the world to do so. Instead of silence and reflection, I'll crank the stereo, grab the TV remote, pop in an X-Box game, write on our novel, surf the Net, call someone just to talk, and the list goes on. Anything but the silence.

But Wyman's right. It is in silence when you meet God and see yourself for who you are. I write that last sentence, and then think to myself, well, yeah, no wonder I long for the clamor. Courage is needed to face the Almighty and my sin-blotched life in the same silent sitting. But it's in that same time I find out His true love for me as well. I think I've mentioned before that I'm not good at hearing from God. (I'm not good at the listening either.) But it is in the silence where reflection and oddball thoughts come to my mind. I loved how Wyman asked, "When was the last time I've thanked God for the birds?" That's sort of what I mean. It's only in silence that I'd open up my mind for trains of thought like that at all.

All of which means I need to slow down. No, even more, I need to stop. And listen.

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Good Friday

Readings (ESV) for anyone interested:

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

John 19-1-28

1 Corinthians 15:1-3

Mark 15:16-39

Romans 5:6-10

Luke 23

1 Peter 2:24

Matthew 27:33-54

Colossians 1:19-23

And a hymn:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God:
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of Nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

-- Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poopy Doopy

That's right. I've lost my mind and actually titled this post "poopy-doopy".

I had a half-dozen sorta serious, staying with the theme, life ponderable-type posts running around in my head. And when it came time to start typing, suddenly the word (although Webster doesn't seem to back this classification up) poopy-doopy popped, if you will, into my mind. And it wouldn't leave.

How does one work poopy-doopy into a post anyway I thought? (Though many of you may be thinking that "Why?" is a better question.) Then, I had an idea.

Which is exactly why Rich pays me in turnip greens and black-eyed peas from the Popeye's buffet (and occasionally Taco Bell or Captain D's if I'm really earning my keep) to be his co-author.

I'm an idea man, baby! And you can't put a price on that. (Well, that's not exactly true, we did put a price on it once, $1,034.56/yr. But he wanted me to work on Valentine's Day. And I told him there was no way in Hades I was working Valentine's Day without some sort of dental plan. And then, we got hungry, and the rest is history.)

But anyway, back to the idea. I thought hey, why not look and see if anyone has ever walked this mile before. Perhaps someone back in the late 60's (not in their late 60's, but the years 1967, 1968, or 1969 (and you could even include 1966, if you're one of those people)) once blogged and used the "word" poopy-doopy.

So, I went to Technorati, the blog search engine for sexy people, and searched on the use of poopy-doopy. And much to my surprise, not 1 or even 2 posts came back as a match. THERE WERE 18, ONE-EIGHT poopy-doopy hits and not one was even as far back as the early 70's. They were all in the last 365 days.

This, quite frankly, was amazing to me. I was stunned. Amazed. How is this possible, I puzzled. Has Rich been secretly taking someone else across the border? Could it be that... gulp...there were other ideapersons (This politically correct moment brought to you by the "word" poopy-doopy) besides me? People like nimrodpunk4455 and Shizzy Will, the Shizzy superhero of the new generation?

But not to be outdone, I quickly formulated a plan (which is like an idea only you pretend like you're going to do something afterward): I'll pick other strange or nonsensical words out of the dictionary or my own head, and see what happens. Maybe even challenge you guys to try and out-do the the idea man.

And ouila, there's a post. Perhaps, even a Post Of The Two-Thousand-Six Year (POTTY) award winner (requisite really far stretch for a bad joke).

But don't worry, the serious stuff is still coming (maybe with fewer parentheticals).

So, here's some others I tried listed with their results. Let me hear yours.

In my dictionary
penury (1,814)
foppish (1,662)
solecism (502)
dubbin (440)
umiak (80)

Not in my dictionary
frufru (423)
badang (246)
ritzel (156)
skoonch (1)
razzafracking (1)

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Coming Up Sevens, and Then Some

Quiz time. Below I've listed the Seven Deadly Sins in no particular order. In Dante's The Divine Comedy: Purgatorio (the second of the epic poems in his masterpiece), he places each of these sins on a different level, the worst closer to Hell and the least bad closer to Paradise. Your job is to, without Googling or looking it up in any other way, guess the order of the sins, 1 being the closest to Hell and 7 being the nearest to Paradise. Of course if you've read The Divine Comedy then you may well know the order, and that's okay. However, you may have forgotten. If it's too easy for you, then you're probably pretty well read. Along with the sins - for education if nothing else - I've listed the corresponding virtue that goes with it and then given a description of the pairing that I got from

A) Vice: Avarice/Greed Virtue: Generosity
This is about more than money. Generosity means letting others get the credit or praise. It is giving without having expectations of the other person. Greed wants to get its "fair share" or a bit more.

B) Vice: Envy Virtue: Love
"Love is patient, love is kind…" Love actively seeks the good of others for their sake. Envy resents the good others receive or even might receive. Envy is almost indistinguishable from pride at times.

C) Vice: Lust Virtue: Self-control
Self control and self mastery prevent pleasure from killing the soul by suffocation. Legitimate pleasures are controlled in the same way an athlete's muscles are: for maximum efficiency without damage. Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth. Sex, power, or image can be used well, but they tend to go out of control.

D) Vice: Pride Virtue: Humility
Seeing ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility. Pride and vanity are competitive. If someone else's pride really bothers you, you have a lot of pride.

E) Vice: Wrath/Anger Virtue: Kindness
Kindness means taking the tender approach, with patience and compassion. Anger is often our first reaction to the problems of others. Impatience with the faults of others is related to this.

F) Vice: Sloth Virtue: Zeal

Zeal is the energetic response of the heart to God's commands. The other sins work together to deaden the spiritual senses so we first become slow to respond to God and then drift completely into the sleep of complacency.

G) Vice: Gluttony Virtue: Faith and Temperance
Temperance accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance. This does not pertain only to food, but to entertainment and other legitimate goods, and even the company of others.

Now, rank 'em like Dante did. I'll publish an update in a couple days with the correct answers.
Along with those seven, here's a longer list from There's some overlap with a few, but I'm not convinced all these are truly virtues. Which of these would you categorize as true Virtues, and which of these would you say - "Definitely not"?

Acceptance: To consider circumstances, especially those that can not be changed, as satisfactory.
Bravery: A quality of spirit that enables you to face danger of pain without showing fear.
Caution: Avoidance of rashness, attention to safety.
Curiosity: A desire to find out and know things.
Defiance: Bold resistance.
Determination: Firmness of purpose.
Devotion: A great love or loyalty, enthusiastic zeal.
Discretion: Being discrete in ones speech, keeping secrets.
Flexibility: Adaptable, able to be changed to suit circumstances.
Focus: Concentrated awareness and effort.
Forgiveness: To cease to feel angry or bitter towards a person or about an offense.
Generosity: Giving or ready to give freely, free from meanness or prejudice.
Gentleness: Moderate; mild, quite; not rough or severe.
Gratitude: Being thankful.
Honesty: Truthful; sincere; not lieing or cheating.
Humbleness: Modest; not arrogant or boastful.
Humor: The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd.
Impartiality: Fair.
Industry: Diligent, hardworking.
Innocence: Guileless, not guilty.
Justice: Fair, impartial, giving a deserved response.
Kindness: Friendly, helpful, well meaning.
Love: A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
Loyalty: Steadfast in allegiance to one's homeland, government, or sovereign. Faithful to a person, ideal, custom, cause, or duty.
Majesty: Great and impressive dignity.
Moderation: The avoidance of extremes in one’s actions or opinions.
Obedience: Willingness to obey, to be controlled when necessary, to carry out orders.
Openness: Ready and willing to talk candidly.Unsecretive.
Patience: The ability to endure delay, trouble, pain or hardship.
Peace: Freedom from mental agitation; serenity.
Prudence: Wise or careful in conduct. Shrewd or thrifty in planning ahead.
Reliability: Can be trusted to do something.
Responsibility: Having control over and accountability for appropriate events.
Sensitivity: Heightened awareness of oneself and others within the context of social and personal relationships.
Simplicity: Straightforward; not complex or complicated. Unpretentious.
Sincerity: Free from pretense or deceit in manner or actions.
Sobriety: Serious, solemn and calm. Free from intoxication.
Spontaneity: Natural, not planned.
Steadfastness: Firm, resolute; determinedly unwavering.
Strength: Capable of exerting great force.
Toughness: Strong and durable; not easily damaged.
Tranquility: Serenely quite and peaceful; undisturbed.
Trust: Having confidence in others; lacking suspicion.
Trustworthiness: Able to be trusted or depended on; reliable.

Actually, I probably question a great many of these as true virtues - as opposed to nice or polite ideas - and some I seriously question are Strength and Toughness (as defined here), Majesty, Focus, Tranquility, Defiance, Spontaneity, and Curiosity. Not to say these aren't good qualities, but true Virtues? Not how I'd define them.

What do you think? [And don't forget your rankings of the sins!]

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Really Quick Now

A few things:

1) Uh, I think I swung and missed on trying to post yesterday. Well, actually, I probably just stood at the plate and watched three strikes go by. Just a lot going on. Sorry about that.

2) After last night, it sounds like the Dorkman release date is being moved up once again to early August. Since my b-day's in early August, I'll count it as a gift like no other. We should receive edits early in May, and then it should be a pretty whirlwind process. The earlier release date is good on a couple fronts. First, we might beat school openings, which is a good thing. Then, at this point, the sooner the better as to seeing the "Pearce & Story" moniker on a real, live book. Lastly, locally, there's some marketing reasons and potential signings by which we may benefit from with the book coming out at the first of August as opposed to the first of September. So, we're excited to say the very least.

3) I may not be the only person to put up a post today here in The Realm of Possibility. Not naming any names, but maybe we all have something to look forward to. Of course, I make no promises.

4) Penultimately (and I'll always love using that word), harkening back to the Golden Age of the Realm (or was it the Bronze? or was it the Quartz Age? or maybe the Talc Age - oh bother, who cares), I'll be putting out another Top Ten list in the next day or two that no one in the world could possibly care about, so we can all disregard that.

5) Lastly, I think I mentioned my oldest son's team (the Angels) got drilled 16-3 in their first machine pitch baseball game - blame the coaching (the other team's coaches did - nice to hear all their comments on how ridiculous our team was when I was coaching third base late in the game - grrrrrrr! it just makes it so easy to love others... UGH!!! Many thoughts that other historical Christians might have had go thru your head at a time like this, one such being, "I wish they were being fed to the lions." Of course I jest... mostly). Anyway, my younger son's team, the Devil Rays (Angels & Devils, we got it all covered in the Pearce household), have their first tee-ball game tonight, so hopefully we can get back on the winning track.

Okay. That's it. Nothing much else to say, and I've got to run. You're free to stop reading now. Seriously, you can. You don't have to keep reading this trivial nothingness. You aren't still reading are you? Please, your life is more valuable than this. Still reading? Be brave. Walk away. Sigh. One last chance. Sigh (again). Okay, since you can't help yourself, I guess I'll have to be strong for you. Have a great day.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Don't Lose Your Guns - SQOTW

Did I trick ya? With the last post, I mean. Did you think we weren't going to make it to even 251? Well, I told you I had a Bill Mallonee post coming, just like every Tuesday. And getting to that, here's a cool song he wrote early, early, early in his career with VOL about his kids.

tender young flower grown up in my garden
and i pray ever day that your heart will not harden
a cynic's song surrounding you on each and every street
at the altar in the bar in the faces you will greet

don't lose your guns, don't lose your guns, don't lose your guns

a gift of something so profound straining all these words
a gift of something so astounding dying to be heard
bone of my bone you are flesh of my flesh
blood of my blood you are breath of my breath

don't lose your guns, don't lose your guns, don't lose your guns

you are my pride child and yes you are my crown
how to keep the darkness from dragging you down
i feel the weight of what i am and what i am not yet
i'd like to pass on something besides all these deficits

don't lose your guns, don't lose your guns, don't lose your guns

-- Don't Lose Your Guns, Vigilantes of Love from the Driving the Nails CD

The bookends of this song are just so meaningful to me. I guess if you don't have kids, and this really sort of points to having boys more than girls with the "guns" association (although even with girls you get the idea), it may not speak to you, but it does to me.

Yesterday, I went to pick up my seven year old from Kid's Club (after-school care) to take him to his first baseball game. I was pretty excited and trying to get him pumped for the competition as we're walking out to the car. Let's win, win, win baby! We get to the door, and he looks up at me, smiles, and says, "Daddy, I've got three caterpillars in my pocket." I stopped for a moment and just reflected. There I was trying to grow him up, and there he was being that precious child that I love (and, for the most part, wish that he'd stay that way longer). "Can I keep them?" he asked. "We can keep them in a two liter bottle." At first I was going to try to think of a reason not to, but after reflecting, I said, "Why not. We'll find something to put them in." I doubt this gets across, but it was just one of those cool daddy/son moments that I'm not going to have with him much longer. We already are having and have had a lot of dad/son stuff, but the daddy/son times are going the way of the dodos.

Both my boys have such tender hearts. As a parent, I have a chance to try to let them live in their innocence or help grow them out of it. Sure, I'm supposed to teach them as they grow to become fine lads, then teens, then hopefully usher them into adulthood with a love for Christ and others, but sometimes I'm rushing things. Meanwhile, the world around them ain't helping me out any either. Some of the terms they've learned at school and the ideas that have been conveyed to them from other boys aren't so innocent. And that's only gonna get worse. BUt like the song says, I'll pray for their hearts to stay soft... to not harden.

Then, that ending says so much as to what our job is as parents. Trying to pass along the good and teach them to forsake the bad. The bad that I am. The bad that I do and have done. There's a whole pile of "Rich"ness I hope neither of my boys have to lug through life with. Because they're human too, they'll have enough to struggle with on their own. If only I could pass on the good. So that's what I set my heart on, and I'll see what happens.

And speaking of kids, it's time to go pick one up! I'll talk to all of you later.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

1/2 Way to Party-time

This post represents our 250th. Way back at Post # 100, I said:

And what would a 100th Post celebration without a gala to back it up? Party at Ken's place Friday night everybody: 7:00 p.m. and we'll go for 100 hours without sleeping. Get in on the action now cuz there ain't gonna be another celebration until Number 500!

If you don't mind a small wager, what are the odds that we'll make that?

Not sure how many of you guys, and especially any of you girls, I saw at Ken's that Friday. Well, to be more specific, I can't even really remember seeing Ken... or his house... that Friday, but I'm sure it was because I was so dazed and amazed by the end of the bash. But there'll be a bigger and even better one at 500 posts, and you're all invited -- if we make it.

Which brings me to that last question. Now, that Ken has decided to be a troll instead of a poster and contributor here at The Realm, what really are the odds we'll make 500 posts? They can't be good, what with all my excuses for time crunches. Anyone besides Trollmeister Ken want to hazard a guess as to what those odds are? Or better yet, how 'bout just a "Yes" or "No." Will The Realm make it to 500 posts? 1000? How about 251? Or, better, how 'bout 252 because there's another Bill Mallonee post coming tomorrow, and I don't miss those, no matter how much fun Ken makes of me.

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Postcards to Ken

I think you can all now see that I wasn't too far from the truth in this post and in my rebuttal to this awful and inflammatory post. What was the last thing I said to Ken in my Dear, Dear You post? Oh yes:

I guess I'll see you in a couple of weeks or a month from now when you post again.

Very prophetic if nothing else, don't you think? Anyway, what I thought we could do in the comments is all write something down to say how much we miss Ken here in The Realm of Possibility and how much we'd like him back. Well, to be quite precise, you can tell him anything you want (within reason). I mean, if you don't actually miss him, but you do think he's an egg-head, feel free to tell him that. I will. Just nothing over-doing it - you guys know what I mean.

Now, this is one of those feel-good posts that has, sadly, an off-chance to be a feel-bad post. If no one comments to Ken, I'm sure his feelings will be quite hurt, and then, one wonders, how long he might stay away from The Realm after that.

So let's hear it for Ken!!!

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Holy Week

Just wanted to ask if anyone does anything during Holy Week to make it a little more special than the other 51 weeks of the year. I figure different denominations do different things, and those would be good to hear, but also on a personal level, do you do anything? The word "holy" means "to set apart."

I'm looking forward to Easter, but I love, each day of the week, reading through all the Gospels starting with Palm Sunday on what happened during that particular day of the week. Also, I'm bad at memorizing hymns, but I'd like to memorize the classic hymn "Old Rugged Cross" this year. We sang that in church yesterday, and it hit me like it hadn't before.

Anyway, have a great Easter week. Christ is Risen!

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Saturday, April 08, 2006


Last night was rough 'round these parts. We had tornadoes hit down here in the city limits of Huntsville not too far from where I live - a couple miles or so. Apparently, it hit worse in Tennessee where at least eleven people died.

Whenever the weather gets rough, I can always count on calls from my sister-in-law. She's a beautiful and neat person, and although she freaks about the weather, at least she's concerned. She was here in 1989 when tornadoes leveled -- and I do mean leveled -- a part of Huntville right where her in-laws were living. I was dating my not-yet-but-one-day-to-be-wife back then, and we came up from Auburn to Huntsville. Man, the damage was like nothing I'd ever seen. Apartments, grocery stores, houses, shopping centers... all wreckage and ruin. I remember helping a little getting fallen oaks out of people's backyards. The damage then was a lot like the picture I attached, which is of Tennessee yesterday, only worse.

A lot of us make fun of the weathermen here, and sometimes rightly so, I suppose. But mostly not so much. I've been guilty of it, I know. The hysteria that comes because we might see a half inch of snow (here in the South where the city just shuts down except for the run on milk and bread in the grocery stores) or the break-ins to television shows (or worse... football games - can you imagine?) to announce we might be seeing some bad weather that never pans out. However, after times like these or in 1989, I see why a lot of folks are so concerned.

There's a lot of people hurting today simply because a couple hours of weather came through their city or town last night. I need to remember that next time I hear a wisecrack about the weathermen (or weather persons, I should say) or the next time my sister-in-law calls at 1:00 a.m. to make sure we're huddled in the bathtub with blankets and flashlights. For the most part, they do it because they care about other people's welfare.

I should be so caring.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Loved This Quote... (And Then an Aside)

...from the imonk at the BHT today.

Let me be clear: As a Christian, I'm interested in moral values, but I am more interested in the Good News of Jesus for sinners. I want my children to be moral, but I want them to know they are sinners more. I want my children and my students to be good examples and good people. But without the Gospel of Jesus at the core of whatever they are, all the morality in the world is useless.

The context was in that he gave a sermon at the school where he works based on this imonk post, and one of the teachers made it clear that she was offended.

I always enjoyed Sunday School as I grew up. The older I grew, the more we learned to say thank you, say nice things to one another, and the youth leaders clapped me on the back, because they were nice and awesome guys, and made me feel good about myself. We learned that it was wrong to drink and take drugs and smoke and watch dirty movies and have sex with the girls, all of which made me look with extreme skepticism on the people who did such things. Those were the freaks, sleaze-bags, and rockers, and they were all going to Hell. I stayed away from them and strangers just like I was supposed to. I was taught a few manners and etiquette, and the good people appreciated my usage of all things polite. And since I became a member of the church because I consented to be baptized, I had made it with the in-club. I was a good person, thank God, and I was going to Heaven. Since I loved to hear good things about myself, it made me feel good that people nodded in approval when I said or did all the nice things. Mostly, it was always nice that no one told me how much I sucked as a person when what I really needed to hear was how much I sucked as a person.

Oh, regretfully but needfully, I figured it out for myself along the way. Or, it might be better to say that God held out a mirror and what I saw...

I should add that The Church was a part of that, and Godly people helped me start and continue on a journey toward real life, a road that I'm still wandering on and most of the time hardly know where I'm going. I fall more than I walk, and I'm not sure at all how many people see me and think they might want to come along. It's probably more important, though, for me to see them and look for their needs, and then relate Christ to them by administering to those needs. But I'm awful at it, mainly because I'm still so self-involved. Not to mention all the times I'm climbing off the path and leaving bread crumbs in my wake to find my way back to it.

God, save me from myself.

Thank Him, He did. At the Cross. I've got a long way to go, but I'm pressing on until I get there.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Done Too Soon

Looks like I posted Around the Horn about a week too early. Take a look:

Doug hadn't posted in a month, and now he's posted School Days and The Las! in the matter of a couple of days. Both are really good and help you to get to know about the Doug behind the dug-a-lug mask that he wears.

Then there's b. Her family's been moving. She's pregnant. But she's still a-postin'. Her two newest are about Baptists and units. Actually, one's about a TV show and the other is about a Christian denomination, but I won't tell which is which. You'll have to go read them for yourself.

codepoke. Whew. The guy's been a posting madman. Here's his site because he's posted too many times since a week ago for me to say here and here and here and here and here. The last "here" is one of codepoke's tennis posts, and if you like the sport at all, you ought to read some of his tennis writings. The man knows of what he speaks like I know about... well, there's not much I know that well. Since the blog isn't about tennis, those posts come infrequently, but whenever they do, codepoke's serving up aces, I assure you.

Ken may as well go ahead and link Todd R.'s Beauty Out of Ugly Things site, because there's hardly a blog I go to hoping for another post more than his. His two newest since his Lent post, are Snobbery and SCC and Words. Every one of his posts seems to detail his human journey, and they reflect into our own. Seriously good stuff there.

Certainly there's other great stuff out there, but besides Thinklings, BHT, and imonk, these are the ones I go to most often because I like them (and of course the people that write them).

So catch 'em if you can.

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The Business Side of Writing

A couple of posts ago, I joked about looking forward to doing taxes. Truth is, I hate it as I'm sure you're all aware. Not only that, but the whole financial side of living -- keeping the checkbook, where to invest, monthly budgeting, saving, how much to put in the 401K -- well, if someone would offer to do that for me in exchange for the joy of pulling all my teeth out, I'd gladly take the deal. My wife, on the other hand, is much more focused in that area and, in fact, in all the PRACTICAL areas of living. Unfortunately, her bandwidth can only take so much of the things you HAVE TO DO to function in this American world, so the finances have fallen to me. Oh joy. But that's not what this post is about.

Getting to it: it's not tough to extrapolate my "love" for the practical, or business, side of life to the practical, or business, side of writing. I derive all kinds of pleasure from making up stories, writing my way out of troublesome spots (when I have the talent to do so - when I don't, well, I have Ken), tossing ideas back and forth, brainstorming new ideas, and even, to a certain extent, the re-writing of parts of stories that need to be strengthened or cut down for the benefit of the novel or short story. However, when it comes to the business side of it to try to get yourself published (i.e. the query letters, synopses, cover letters, but most of all the actual sending them out and keeping track of the documents), it's like dragging my chin over asphault to try to get myself to want to do it. Of course, it has to be done, or else your work just sits in a drawer never to see the light of day. But boy do I despise it. Why? Because it takes away from the part of writing that gets my juices flowing (just like working on finances at home takes away time you could be spending with your children, etc.). Ten times out of ten, and a thousand times out of a thousand, I'd rather be working on a story than trying to compose a professional-sounding query letter -- a letter that many editors and agents will use to judge your writing right off the bat and if it ain't up to snuff, then they toss you out with no more than a brief rejection letter where they probably spell your name wrong - oh the irony. (Digressing) It's so important, yet I have so much trouble with the want-to. And whereas when in novel-writing when I work myself into a difficult spot, where Ken and I can bounce ideas off each other, Ken's love is also for the story-telling and not for the business side. Now, he's more knowledgeable about that side than I am, but he's no more apt to work that side of our writing than me.

Often, I joke with Ken that we need a Pearce & Story secretary who will work for free and handle the business side for us. Well, we'd still have to do the actual writing of the story content part of the query and cover letters, and also we'd have to write the synopses, but in a perfect world, if we had someone who could just take these and alter them for the different requirements of each publishing house/editor/agent, what a lifted burden that would be. All that said, why joke about it anymore?

Soooooooo... if any of you guys/gals know of a person who loves working lots and lots of hours for free for a couple of hard-arsed guys who give no benefits and only require a ton of work, we're certainly taking applications. Just think, you could get in on the ground level of something that's going to be big... REAL BIG... someday. Special consideration goes to prospective employees who can read minds. Extra special consideration goes to prospects that never make mechanical writing mistakes and can type 120,000,000 words a minute. And think of it, if we did ever get really, really, really big, we might even give a raise up to minimum wage.

Ask yourselves, what other writers out there are offering such an opportunity? That's right. No one but Pearce & Story. That's why we're the best going today.

[Update to that last sentence: Well, it's one of the multitude of reasons, let's just say. But any way you slice it, we're still the best. And working on becoming LEGENDARY. So sign up now!!!]

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Because Something As Important As This Needs to Be Discussed in The Realm of Possibility

I'm sure most of you know that Joss Whedon is writing the script for Wonder Woman. In the link, you'll find several of the actresses rumored to be playing the lovely Amazon Princess Diana.

So, if your job was Casting Director, and you had your pic of any actress in Hollywood, who do you think would or could do the best job of pulling off the Wonder Woman character so that the picture could be taken seriously?

I'm not looking for the "sexiest" Wonder Woman or, necessarily, the young up-and-comer that might make the movie a hit, unless you really think that person could do the job. We all saw how bad having the "sexiest" Catwoman could be -- er, I take that back, almost none of us saw... Of course, a lot of it will be in the story, but you have to have the right actress to play WW.

Who is she?

[Side Note: I don't know why, but it seems like it's harder to do this than to choose a male lead to play, say, Bats or Supes. Of course, they've had a bad Bruce Wayne or two before so nothing's that easy. I still think a lead WW is a harder pick to make. Don't you?]

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