Thursday, July 30, 2009

Infomercialicious (including all $19.95/$9.95 Commercials)

Back in the neophytic heyday of The Realm of Possibility, one of the authors of this blog -- I'm not sure whether or not it was the talented one -- put up easily one of our Top 100 posts ever, that being Commercialicious. Okay, maybe it just got squeaked out of the Top 100, but it's doubtless in the Top 200 of our all-time posts.

Harkening back to golden days of yore, when we had a following at least seventeen (or sixteen or twelve or for sure at least one) times (or time) as large as the one we have now, I thought it was time to put up its ugly, red-headed, step-cousin (not that I'm an advocate of uglyredheadedstepcousinism -- I'm most emphatically NOT!!!): Infomercialicious.

However, this time, I'm not throwing out a list of 20 infomercials. I'm not giving anything but a couple to start us off and then it's up to all Realm denizens to fill up the comments with record numbers. That's right, this time, I'm actually going to try to engage the audience, especially any of the anonymouses out there. Just name one infomercial that you've seen per comment, and along with infomercials, let's add any of those commercials for product not available in stores that has an actual retail value of $6,749. 50 but you can get it if you call now for two installments of $19.95, and if you call in the next ten minutes, they'll throw in the Swiss Army Knife made in Greece and they'll cut the first payment to $9.95. You know the ones.

Alright all you Kevin Trudeaus out there, get all your Time/Life infomercials ready. Here are my first two:

1) Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special



2) The Perfect Push-up, created by Alden Mills (pictured right)






Let me hear 'em!





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Let's Play: Caption This!

From our sidebar link at Ripley's Believe It or Not!, I give you these two pictures for which to write a caption.



For some reason, the title of that 1996 OMC song keeps coming into my head.



In other news, I thought this picture and caption from Dave Barry's blog, comments included, was hilarious. Apparently, Dave's up in Idaho trying to finish a book. This comment was great:

Maybe Dave is summoning his muse.

Out there, it might be his moose.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Realm of Personality?

No, this is not a post about the late '80's group Living Colour.

Dick and I have long been admirers of Florence Littauer's Personality Plus book. And for just as long, we've had a running debate over whether I'm melancholy or sanguine. (And whether or not he has a personality at all.)

Since some of you seemed to enjoy the Versus post, I thought you might enjoy taking Florence's personality test as well.

An on-line version can be found here.

And if you'd like to have a hardcopy to test a family member or co-worker you can get that here.

There are other versions out there using animals, Star Trek characters, etc. But I've always preferred the Littauer test.

Try it out. It's fun. You may well learn something about yourself. And if you share your results in the comments, I'm sure Richard will oblige you by insisting you're wrong.

BTW, I've included the meanings of the personality types below according to the Greeks, but I highly recommend reading Florence's book for a complete understanding.

Good luck and keep a good humour!!

The sanguine type is cheerful and optimistic, pleasant to be with, comfortable with his or her work. According to the Greeks, the sanguine type has a particularly abundant supply of blood (hence the name sanguine, from sanguis, Latin for blood) and so also is characterized by a healthful look, including rosy cheeks.

The choleric type is characterized by a quick, hot temper, often an aggressive nature. The name refers to bile (a chemical that is excreted by the gall bladder to aid in digestion). Physical features of the choleric person include a yellowish complexion and tense muscles.

The phlegmatic temperament. These people are characterized by their slowness, laziness, and dullness. The name obviously comes from the word phlegm, which is the mucus we bring up from our lungs when we have a cold or lung infection. Physically, these people are thought to be kind of cold, and shaking hands with one is like shaking hands with a fish.

The melancholy temperament. These people tend to be sad, even depressed, and take a pessimistic view of the world. The name has, of course, been adopted as a synonym for sadness, but comes from the Greek words for black bile. Now, since there is no such thing, we don’t quite know what the ancient Greeks were referring to. But the melancholy person was thought to have too much of it!

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More Birthday Fun at L-Squared's Work

Over at Laura Leigh's blog, she had this post of what two of her co-workers did for a another guy at her work's 30th birthday. How supercool is this (see picture on right and/or go to link)?

Those white Styrofoam cups were filled with water, and that guy had to dump out so many of them just to get to his chair in the office. This had to take some hours of work to create, and a lot of time to take down as well.

LL's Useless Info Tuesdays filled with fun trivia are always great, too. Here and here are examples. Buuuuuuuut with the goods, there's always the bads. And these are just plain evil. Mayonaisse 1 and Mayonnaisse 2. How the most abominable substance in this and the forty-seven closest galaxies in the universe of which we're aware, designed to weed out, addict, and ultimately annihilate the majority of humanity and any other unsuspecting lifeforms that are seduced by the noxious atrocity, make it onto a nice blog like Laura Leigh's, I'll never know. As Popeye the Sailor Man puts it so perfectly, "Disgustipating!" I'd much have tasted the fig newtons she wrote about here even if they were dated 24 Nov 1888. Nonetheless, check out her blog. Just run from the mayo parts.

Also, as long as we're jonesing for more birthday festivities (because Brett turned 40!!!), what are some of the biggest and best birthday pranks you've ever seen or of which you've been a part?

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Genesis of the Matrix


The Realm of Possibility contributor, Brett, sent this enlightening article entitled Robot Attacked Swedish Factory Worker. His comment was:

"This is how it starts... Our first step toward the Matrix."

Or, I might add, toward the Terminator series. This is fascinating stuff (bolding is my emphasis):

The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in BĂ„lsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.

But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.

"The man was very lucky. He broke four ribs and came close to losing his life," said Leif Johansson.

Whattayathink?

"I'll be baaaaack!"

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Redemption in Elizabethtown

Most people, it seems, didn't like the movie Elizabethtown. Reviews were not good (27% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), as I recall, and if you go through the blogsphere, you'll probably find more people that hated it than loved it. Bad-script, bad-diaglogue, and stale-performance glutton that I must be, I really enjoyed the movie, and more specifically, I loved the redemption aspect in the movie. For me, it brought to life a lot of the parallels of my own personal Christian journey, and I'd imagine it might resonate with some others (27% of our readership, maybe?) as well... if you can allow that Claire is the Christ-figure in the movie. Obviously, with a movie about a romance between a guy and a girl, this analogy won't be perfect, but it's works for me.


“Claire literally saves his life.” ~ Cameron Crowe, the movie's writer and director. "His life", here, refers to the life of the movie's protagonist, Drew Baylor, played by Orlando Bloom.


The beginning of the movie is where Baylor recognizes his sin. He states later that developing shoes is the only thing he knows how to do. Essentially, that's life for him. To wit, we receive this narrative epiphany by the lead character:



As somebody once said there's a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is simply the non-presence of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco... a fiasco is a folktale told to others that makes other people feel more alive because it didn't happen to them.


A fiasco. In life, if I'm honest, that's what I am. A train wreck. We tell ourselves something else most of the time. Socially, who wants to show the truth? We walk around trying to act as if we have at least some of it together. If I grow up not messing up too many times, have a good career, a respected family, get my retirement in line, graduate my kids from college, go to church on Sundays, help out in the community when I have time, at the end of all this God's gonna invite me in, saying, "Welcome, My good and faithful servant." Another line in the movie, spoken by Claire, penetrates the real truth.


Do you ever just think 'I'm fooling everyone'? Drew Baylor's reply is honest. You have no idea.


The truth for many of us is so much different than the facade we put up. I verbally abuse my kids/my parents all.the.time. I spend every leisure minute playing video games or fishing or on the computer or watching TV, away from everyone else unless it's on my terms. I told one friend that my other friend was a loser, because I always want to make myself look and feel better. I cheated on my wife/husband/significant other. I want to skip church this Sunday... well, every Sunday. I hate my job. I don't have time or will to pray. I scammed the government on my taxes. I'm divorced. I'm a drunk. I physically abused my child. I read/looked at crap on the Internet. I stabbed my best friend in the back. I'm "living in sin." I hate my husband. I don't tithe or give to charity. I like taking drugs. I want a better everything. I want my neighbor's wife. I can't help lying. I can't help cussing. I want to be left alone. Or worse, I'm so much better than all the people who do any of the stuff on this list. We're a fiasco.


And if we can't come to the realization ourselves, at least we have helpful hands to lead us there. Family, friends, co-workers, church members, teammates, enemies, books, movies, the Bible... to get the Law portion of what we've done down. In Elizabethtown, Alec Baldwin, plays shoe guru and corporate exec Phil Devoss, who enlightens his protege on the realization that Drew's already come to:


How do I make the concept of $979 million dollars more real to you? It's the operating budget of a midsize country... a small civilization. It's big! It's so big you could round it off to a billion dollars.


The sin is a gap so big that it could never be made up, never be paid off. You're stuck with that legacy the rest of your life. And really, with a legacy like that, it's not only going to affect you, but it's going to affect your children and your children's children, down to the fourth generation, quite possibly.


The result of this horrifying realization is death, and that's just what Drew Baylor aims to do. Kill himself. However, just before he does exactly this, he's informed of another death, that of his father. When his sister calls him while he begins the act of suicide, Drew's informed, because his mom and sister are in such bad states, that he's the one who needs to carry out his father and family's wishes for cremation. So he avoids killing himself for the time being, but instead walks around like death warmed over.


However, on the way to Elizabethtown, his dad's hometown, he meets his redeemer, Claire Colburn, who happens to be an airline stewardess. At first, little does he know the effect she;ll have in his life, and really, he doesn't want anything to do with her. Nonetheless, she gives him some directions that he has a hard time following - and that seems true-to-life for me, at least for some, with our first encounters with Jesus.


Yet, through the movie, Claire and Drew get to know each other better. However, Drew can't tell her his deep, dark secret. Not until later in the movie after they've been intimate. The next morning, Claire's out the door after trying gently but unsuccessfully to rouse Drew, but he awakes soon afterward and realizes she's gone. He runs after her, and she turns to him with the open and welcoming smile of someone willing to save him, saying:


Just tell me you love me and get it over with.


Finally, though, he comes out with what he's been hiding:


Four days ago, I lost a major shoe company... frankly you could round it off to one billion dollars! And by tomorrow afternoon, everyone will know. Something's gonna be published that pinpoints me as the most spectacular failure in the history of my profession, which is all I know how to do. And I've been here this whole time trying to be responsible and charming and live up to this success that doesn't exist. I have a very dark appointment with destiny. That's my secret. That's who I am.


Drew states what I alluded to previously - we try to be responsible and charming, and we try to live up to a success that doesn't exist. Not to belittle sin, because Christ paid the ultimate price for it, but rather in the relational context, I think Claire's answer is perfect:


That's it?


The next exchange is funny, because here's it's where we think that God can't forgive us for this monumental sin or the monumental sinner we are, while He just wants us to love Him.


Drew: Yes, that's it.
Claire: I guess I just thought a small part of you might be a small bit sad to see me go. But I guess this is all mostly about a shoe.
Drew: Of course, I'm sad about you. But this is just a little bit bigger than you and me. And by the way, I didn't say million. I said billion. A billion dollars! That's a lot of million!
Claire: So you failed.
Drew: No, you don't get it.


It's like God's saying, "Love me, Rich." And I'm saying, "But God, I've done this. How could you ever love me. I did this. I'm a wreck." And God's replying, "Yep, you did that. You surely failed there, Rich. But I'll take your wreck, thank you. Love me anyway." "No God, wait!" I counter, "You still don't seem to get it." As laughable as I sound here, there's a lot of truth in this exchange - and I don't mean just once. This is recurring theater between God and me. So finally, as Claire says, God puts it in perspective:


So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand.


You have the Creator of the Universe, your Creator, right here, Rich, right in front of you, loving you enough to have died for you, knowing every last foible and flaw and all the grandiose, colossal fiascos you've had, have, and will have in your life. I love you, and I'm not going anywhere. Just tell me you love me and get it over with. Ah, grace. That's really the whole story right there.


At the end of the movie, after Drew's dad's ceremony has completed, Claire gives Drew a road map, with cassettes of her voice to help lead him along this time of wilderness and introspection. I love this part of the movie as Drew goes from place to place, seeing it, somewhat, through the eyes of his redeemer, and spreading his father's ashes at special places along the way. And then he comes to a reckoning place:


Here you have reached a fork in the map. You can go to your car and the rest of the directions will take you home. Or... look for a girl in a red hat who's waiting for you with an alternate plan.


Drew decides then and there that he's not going to try it his own way anymore. He'll thankfully go with the one who loves him. Because we're human, we know, even that doesn't make things perfect. Additionally, we also know that even if Drew did go the other way, God would have sought him or waited on him - He's saved him.


What an awesome God we have that loves us despite the fiasco. Loved us enough that He sent Himself, His Son, to the Cross for us. Boyoboy, do I need to remind myself of that over and over. Everything that we couldn't do, can't do, and never could do, He's done. That's a great love story.

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Church Bulletin Humor

Received a list of these "actual" church bulletin or service announcement gaffes in an e-mail from a friend in our writer's critique group not long ago. While I'm never sure how much exactly is true on lists like these over the Net, I did think quite a few of them were funny.

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
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Ladies, don' t forget the rummage sale. It' s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
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The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.
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Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
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Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
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Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
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For those of you who have children and don' t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: 'Break Forth Into Joy.'
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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
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A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ' What Is Hell? ' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
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Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
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Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare' s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
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The Associate Minister unveiled the church' s new tithing campaign slogan: Last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'

Sorry if you've seen these before -- I'm usually the last to know.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Serious Post

With all of our "Cry Wolf" posts that we pretend are serious but we're really joking, I could understand if someone saw this post's title and thought we we're being tongue-in-cheek. Not this time. Caught this one at Milly's blog.

Please pray.

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Comments on the New Poll

If you haven't noticed, or just as likely, you're venturing into The Realm of Possibility for the first time (and if you're reading this post, WHAT A WAY TO START!!! I might add), our own Diabolical Genius, the author of fine, eclectic, and dare, I add, ingenious posts such as Poopy Doopy (post repealed and deleted), the Poopy Doopy Retraction, and Waterless Toilets among several others of similar quality, has laid out a new poll at the bottom of this page.

While these aforementioned posts are just the veritable tip o' the iceberg, as it were, in touching upon his undeniable aptitude, the poll he's constructed below involves just as much sagacity in aiding us build a more creative and engaging environment here at The Realm as those imaginative posts.

Not to intrude upon the brilliance of one such as he, but I did notice a few omissions in the poll I thought at least a trifle notable. Begging his pardon, I wished to use this post space to add those specific lapses:

When I visit the Realm, I'd like to see more...

  • Posts about TV Shows and Movies

  • Discussions/photos about the A-to-Z details of Ken in infancy through his toddler years

  • Discussions/photos telling and illustrating the wonder years of Ken

  • Discussions/photos regarding Ken's adolescent history and high school sports achievements

  • Discussions/photos on Ken's rise to young adulthood including embarrassing collegiate and fanciful nuptial pictures

  • Discussions/photos having to do with Ken's jobs since graduation

  • Discussions/photos of Ken in the writing process, attending literary conferences, speaking at school engagements and other venues, etc.

Due to the poll's oversight, for which both of us apologize in hindsight, if you do wish for The Realm of Possibility to include one or more of the missing bullets listed above, please check "Other" in the poll, and then use the comments under this post to include which of the neglections you'd like to see here in The Realm of Possibility.

As always, we thank you for your patronage.

P.S. If you clicked the box regarding "Recipes", while I cannot speak for my counterpart, please allow me to say that what posts you'll receive there from me shall be 101 Ways to Fry Bacon and to Toast Toast and... that's about it.

All the same, if you have recipes you'd like to share, please e-mail them to realmsubmissions@gmail.com, as you would any post you'd like to extend to The Realm's audience. And perhaps, I don't know this to be true, but the chance exists, that perhaps, Ken has recipes.

Again, many thanks.



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Is It Possible? #1

While we know that all things are possible here in the RoP, we also believe that it is healthy to look outside the Realm periodically and watch the common folk grapple with the question "Is It Possible?"

In this installment, I give you ZeroFlush, the most efficient urinal in the world!

They may not teach spelling at Warren Wilson, but the girls in Pluming sure seem happy about ZeroFlush. And who can blame them?

They can do it just like the boys now. Or at least the girl on the right looks to have mastered it. Kudos ZeroFlush!





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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Brett!!!

Wanted to wish my brother and semi-regular commenter, under Codename: Anonymous but actual name, Brett, an extraordinary and very Happy 40th Birthday this July 27!!! This is a day early, but it's the weekend, and I may not have a chance to get a brotherly loving, heart-touching post out tomorrow, so I wanted to say Happy Birthday today. The Big 4-0!!! How does it feel man?

For your viewing pleasure, I've linked a list of other folks who share July 27th as their birthdays right here. Some of these people are famous and then, to be truthful, some not-so-famous. Ahem, anyway, I see that you share this special day with other notables such as... whoa! Here's a big one:

Alex Rodriguez - almost certainly a HOF MLB shortstop, except there's that one little... errrr, ummm, didn't he date Madonna?

Hey! Here's another:

Gary Gygax!!! Co-creator of the famous Dungeons and Dragons game!

Bobbie Gentry, Irv Cross, Peggy Fleming... it's a virtual who's who of the celebrity A-list. Except, who's Jason Buck, the defensive end for the World League of American Football Scottish Claymores? How does one such as he make such a high-brow list? Go figure.

Would it make you feel better to know that Juliana Hatfield, Pete Yorn, Bill Engvall, Norman Lear, and Shea Hillenbrand also share your birthday. And famous wrestler Triple H not only shares your birthday, but he also shares your July 27, 1969 birthdate! Wow! I know you're proud about that!

And there's no reason to feel old, of course, because 40's the new 13. Check this out!

Within a couple of years, Jennifer Garner will be making a sequel called 13 Going on 40! You know it's on the come.

And, then, as I know you're very well aware, it's never reeeeeeally a happy 40th birthday without some eerie and profoundly disturbing picture of a malevolent and maniacal clown with a meat cleaver buried in a birthday cake. Those kind of pictures just make the day what it is. And that is, very special.


A VERY, VERY HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY, BRETT, with all well wishes and hopes for a solid 40 more from The Realm of Possibility!

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Romance Schromance


{BUMP}

While romance might not be in the top one hundred and ten list of what I'm best at in this life, I have always been a sucker for romantic comedies. One of my favorite magazines out there, Paste, has it's list of the 17 Best Romantic Comedies This Decade.

I'm not sure of this list. No, wait. I am sure. I don't like it so much. Well, I like close to half of it.

Can we do better? How about it? What's your list of top romantic comedies this decade? And for that matter, let's go all the way. It is romance after all. Errr... umm... what I mean to say is...

What are your favorite romantic comedies of all time?


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The Second "A" in SHAZAM! - The Weakest Link

Remember Filmation's Shazam/Isis hour? How the intro for the show Shazam! started? The loud narrator bellowed:

Solomon
Hercules
Atlas
Zeus
Achilles
Mercury

Five legends of Greek myth (well, Hercules was the Roman name for Heracles or Herakles) and one Old Testament king empowered Billy Batson to become Captain Marvel. Even years ago when I watched the show, I wondered about Solomon, Hercules, and Achilles, because they were mere mortals. However, Solomon is the wisest man to ever live, so I can roll with that. Hercules/Heracles was a son of Zeus, basically the strongest mortal to live, conquered the Twelve Labours, and in most mythologies assumed god-hood after his death. Not so, with the petulant son of Peleus, whose greatest feat was the stacked deck slaying of the Trojan hero, Hector, but his overwhelming trait was his all-consuming rage. If you have an extra "A", why not Apollo? Even for Captain Marvel, Achilles would seem to be the chink in his armor. The vulnerable heel certainly played that part for the Greek hero, himself, and as it did for him, it has now for me.

Back in mid-January, I was playing the game I love most to play, basketball. Outmanned and down by a few baskets, our team was down and trying to put on a run. I received a pass on the wing and headed for the goal. A tall fellow that could jump out of the gym had gotten back and stood between me and the goal, so I pulled up for a jump shot from about fifteen feet. Going up, I shot the ball true, but at the height of my jump as the ball rolled off my fingers --

POP!

Coming down, I reached for the back of my right leg and crumbled to the floor. In that split second before I turned, I saw the ball go through the hoop, but that was going to be the smallest of consolations. It felt like someone had kicked me as hard as they could in the lower part of my calf. I looked, but there was no one around behind me... and I knew. Most of the other guys that came running up thought it was an ankle. Oh, how I wish that would have been the case. But like I said, I knew.

A couple of the men that play at the courts had gone through ruptured Achilles surgery before, and they recommended doctors, who after a limp-thru shower, I called. None of the doctors they mentioned were available that Friday afternoon, so, due to immediate need, I took one that was available. As soon as I got to the office and filled out the paperwork, the attending nurse asked me what was wrong. I went through the specifics hoping he had another option than what I figured, but he said, quite memorably, "Male, age 35-50, sports-related, feels like you were kicked in the back of the leg... it's an Achilles tear." Fortunately, the doctor that met with me was very good. We went through my limited options and decided on the course of action.

Just as an aside, I should mention, ruptured Achilles are one of the most painful injuries with which the person/victim will have to deal. As long as I had my leg elevated, the pain was bearable, but once I had to move, and the blood came rushing down -- excruciating. Over and over. For a few weeks - the days before the surgery and then at least a couple of weeks subsequent. Not to mention, being on crutches and having to use one leg for all weight-bearing, especially taking stairs at home or work, all that got old really fast.

After, I had surgery -- the doctor said afterward that my tendon looked like two ends of a mop -- and I was in a hard cast for a few weeks followed by a boot. Once the boot went on, therapy started. While I was going through the proscribed therapy with The Orthopaedic Center, I was good about completing the exercises they gave me at home. The process of coming back from an Achilles tear is slow, but I could tell everything was positive.

Then, baseball season hit, and I coached my younger son's baseball team. I don't know what most of the parents of the kids I drafted must have thought seeing a guy lumbering around in a big, black boot trying to teach baseball skills. Nonetheless, as the season went on, I got through it, and in the middle, my doctor told me I could go without the boot. In the last check up I had, four or five months out, he told me that I could start slowly going back into my activities. While in helping out with baseball, I have begun a little running, a sprint here and there after fly balls or teaching baserunning, but nothing much. However, because of inactivity for the most part other than these little baseball episodes, I'm up in weight, pretty much the most I've ever weighed -- which, I'm sure, fits nicely in with a little borderline high-blood pressure. Then, here and there, not all the time but enough for people to notice, I still walk with a limp, and I'm thinking on bad days, I probably always will.

The huge thing for me is that with everything going on in the Spring, my home therapy basically stopped. Baseball season, with two sons, head coaching one and assistant coaching the other, is pretty consuming. More than that, discipling myself, in any pursuit, and that's probably a separate post if there ever was one, whether it's physical exercise, spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible reading, tithing), house or yard chores, internal struggles, etc., I'd say that's my tragic flaw. With all that, psychologically I run into problems because I feel like if I would have done right, continued my daily therapeutic exercises, my Achilles would be better off. Since I haven't done that, now what?

The thing of it is, well, I'm sort of at a confidence crisis point. Inside, I want to go back and start shooting baskets and working my way into running and then sprinting up and down a court. Physically, I'm certain that I'm at and past a point where I could at least be shooting by myself, doing some slow suicides, and getting myself back into some semblance of playing shape. Tempted I've been, but I haven't done it yet. Back before the injury, I had been having what I thought was a little tendonitis in my left Achilles. It's always surprised me that it was my right Achilles that popped. And when I feel the back of my leg, all the scar tissue in my right Achilles makes it thicker than the other, and it doesn't "feel" right. Probably my biggest issue is that I'm almost 42, and if I'm going to go back and play, I want to be able to go back and play like I've played in the past -- being competitive at any court I play. Because, if the best I can be is a shadow of what I once was on the basketball court just jogging up and down a court, trying unsuccessfully to guard other players, and throwing up the occasional set shot, that sort of defeats the purpose. At the same time, I've been told by different people, if you tear an Achilles twice, you're done. Plus, I can't help thinking, what if I tear my left one. I'll be walking like Quasimodo for the rest of my life. I never, ever want to go through that pain again. Bunches and bunches of mental games I let play in my head. Risk-reward, risk-reward, risk-reward.

This is life, though, right? And it has to be lived. Fears faced. Man meant to overcome, and all that. To be honest, I think I'm a shell of all that right now. As touched upon, all of this probably starts with a little self-discipline, the thing in life I'm worst at. Oh joy. Or perhaps if I just say, "SHAZAM!!!" Hey, here comes the lightning now. Life change time.

Maybe I'll go purchase a basketball today and find some outdoor hoop somewhere... I'll let you know.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Seven Wonders of the U.S.A.

Let me hear your lists for what you think are the "Seven Wonders of the World - American-Styled". Your list can include natural or man-made phenomenons. For instance, as pictured, the Badlands would be representative of a natural wonder, but the Space Needle in Seattle or the Saturn V rocket would be evidences of man-made wonders. If you'd rather not be limited or have to meet a requirement, more or less than seven is fine. I just want to hear about wonders here in the good ol' U. S. of A. Also, lemme know about the wonders you've actually witnessed versus ones you have heard of second-hand. If you have extra time, split your natural wonders from your man-made. I think I'll do that.

My list (* - denotes that I've witnessed) -- not in order:

Natural
1) Grand Canyon *
2) Grand Tetons/Yellowstone National Park *
3) Yosemite National Park
4) The Badlands
5) Niagra Falls
6) Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks (side-by-side, enough to be one)
7) Hawaiian Volcanoes

Honorable mention:
Everglades * (this won't make anyone else's list, but I'm a Florida boy at heart)

Man-made

1) Mount Rushmore
2) The Statue of Liberty * (seen from a distance)
3) Golden Gate Bridge
4) Hoover Dam
5) Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys *
6) Empire State Building *
7) Kennedy Space Center * (for historical significance)

I know that I know that I know that you guys have lists where I'm gonna say d'uoh! And I know someone's gonna say, where's Disney? Maybe, after all is said and done, we can come up with the definitive list of Seven Wonders of the United States of America here for The Realm of Possibility that we can all somewhat agree upon. So shoot.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kudos to Google and Superhero Hype

I thought the Google logo in response to Comic-Con 2009 was pretty neat. Plastic Man being the first "o" and "e"was pretty cool, as was Wonder Woman's invisible jet being the second "o". As big as a comic book fan as I am -- although sadly, I don't purchase them anymore -- going to a comic book convention has never even crossed my mind. It probably should. A lot of celebrities are going these days, especially Hollywood personalities pumping their movies. Not to mention one of my writing projects has includes a superhero character.


Speaking of comic books conventions and news of that ilk, our SuperHero Hype link on the sidebar usually gives the latest regarding the conventions as well as comic movies coming out, and I thought I'd give that site a plug (not that it's needed). For instance, they have this Jonah Hex banner on file, the movie starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox. Also, the latest Iron Man II pix are in, like this one, two, and three. Scarlett Johannson, Don Cheadle, Garry Shandling, and Mickey Rourke add new faces to the movie that will thankfullybe directed by Jon Favreau, who did a superb job on the first feature. The Green Hornet, with Seth Rogen, was also at the Comic-Con showing off the Hornet's Black Beauty.

SuperHero Hype has all kinds of info, like release dates for upcoming Marvel movies, like Iron Man 2, Spider-Man 4, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers. What Christian Bale says on if there will be a follow-up to TDK. Which X-Men movie is next? Lots of stuff there.

Of course, if you like comics for the books themselves, you can always go straight to the source with Marvel or DC or Image or Dark Horse or the scores of other comic book home websites there are. But then, if you're a true believer, you already knew that.

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Mark My Words

Whenever Ken decides it's time for him to condescend back into The Realm of Possibility, you can be absolutely, 100%, can't miss type-of-sure, that he's going to make some sort of remark about how while he steps away from the blog for a mere few days, how the whole kit and kaboodle descends into posts of famine and war, tragic arrests, depressing song lyrics, laments for days going and gone by... dreariness.

He may well be right, the buzzard... but mark my words.

(Ed note: The Diabolical Genius knows all and sees all. And he's watching you Richard, watching you. BWOHAHAHA!!)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Images of the Surreal Past

Over a lifetime, we witness a few events that leave us slackjawed, captivated, astonished. During such times, these occurences take up much of our thoughts, a lot of our time, and most of our focus. Some are immediate, some last hours, some last days, weeks, months or longer. While we all have our personal ordeals, here, for the purposes of this post, I'm talking more regarding historical surreal events that have happened in our lifetimes. As individuals born in different times, different places, we'll have our own angles on what constitutes an "unreal" reality. I suppose it's my nature, but most of my remembrances of such events are the nightmarish ones. It's why news is news, I suppose. The 9-11 image that I placed atop the post is one of the latest ones for me. The tsunami about three or four years back was another event this new millenium. Actually, one of these episodes of which I'm speaking broke the new century. Remember the hanging chads in Florida in the 2000 election? Hard to forget, huh? I remember day after day watching the television for the political spin, and the counts and recounts, wondering what the heck had happened to our system of government.

One has to be a certain age and experience enough of this thing called life, I think, to let these experiences become so meaningful. Maybe I'm wrong. The first one I can remember for myself was the death of Elvis Presley - and this wasn't so much for me as it was for my parents. Older people may well remember the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, and then his brother, probably the Munich Olymics - I'm sure those would be on my list if I was living and old enough back then. However, I certainly remember night after night watching 20/20 and the news cover Elvis and then hearing "Dr. Nick", who had some e'splainin' to do. My parents LOVED E.P., and we had several of his vinyl albums and cassette tapes at that point. For me, with all the Vicki Carr, Paul Anka, and Tom Jones my parents were listening to, Elvis was always a welcome respite. And then he was gone.

The single event that has affected me most - as in, I had nightmares over it when I was a young teen - was the Jim Jones' People Temple massacre in Guyana. After seeing it unfold on the news, hearing people at my church talking about it, and then seeing the horrid pictures in the Time Magazine that I fetched out of the mail, that one kept me on edge for weeks. Despite my fear of everything that had happened, for whatever reason I thirsted for more and more knowledge. I think it was the cult aspect, and it was the first time I had heard of such. It wasn't the last time, obviously, but this was the most indelible image for me.

The next event I remember pretty well was the Son of Sam killings by David Berkowitz. That was followed by the Iran hostage situation, which lasted quite a long time. Maybe I was a little slow on the up and up, maybe I was a bit sheltered, but this was the first time I remember learning about the Middle East and all the dissension there. As a kid, I always thought of America as the greatest country, and then, being naive, figured everyone else in the world did, too. Quite an initiation to the contrary. Ayatollah Khomeini, the takeover of the U.S. Embassy, and the hostages taken mixed in with an America where long lines at the pump, a Cold War, dwindling hope in the country, and with a President that didn't know how to handle any of this chaos. Enter Ronald Reagan.

Supreme Court nominations, especially conservative nominations, have seemed to divide the country. Speaking of Reagan, his nomination of Robert Bork set off a huge political clash and one that went public. Pressure groups, both conservative and liberals, had pumped plenty of funds into the "fight game" rhetoric prior to the confirmation hearings of Judge Bork. Democratic senators took the offense and a few prominent ones had spilled the beans beforehand that they would vote against Bork's nomination for Supreme Court justice. That backlash resonated with many Americans, and while Bork went down swinging, he went down alone, with the White House that had pledged to support him beforehand, now nowhere to be found.

A long time ago, I remember my dad reading Black Sunday, a novel by Thomas Harris (who also wrote the Silence of the Lambs and the Hannibal Lecter series). In that, sort of like the 24 hours at the Munich Olympiad, a blimp runs into the stadium hosting the Super Bowl due to terrorist activity. While no terrorists were involved, a similar event took place in 1989. During the third game of the Major League Baseball World Series -- coined the Battle of the Bay as it featured Oakland and San Francisco teams -- the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, registering 6.9 (7.1 surface-wave magnitude) on the Richter, during warm-ups for the clash. I still remember hearing Al Michaels stuttering about the earthquake. For ten days, the World Series was postponed. In the Iraq crises, NFL football games were postponed, but aside from Munich, I can't remember a more riveting sports stoppage.

Robert Bork's wasn't the only Supreme Court nomination to have its share of calamity. In 1991, George H.W. Bush's nomination of conservative Clarence Thomas, after celebrated liberal Thurgood Marshall retired from the bench, brought another round of pressure groups trying to upend the nomination. And with that, the bizarre circumstance of Anita Hill testifying before the Judicial Committee regarding her personal, as alleged, sexual harrasment by Judge Thomas, and then Thomas' firy counter. The proceedings were a spectacle that brought about one of the funniest SNL skits that was ever acted, but for Thomas and Hill, there was nothing humorous, whatsoever.

The last image I'll post is that of the Iraq conflict, the Shock and Awe offensive. I'm not a veteran, so these were the closest images of war I'd ever seen. I spoke with a parent on one of the baseball teams that I coached, and he had lived and worked over in Saudi Arabia when Saddam Hussein was firing Scud missiles that direction. He talked about the evacuations and how no one could work -- most folks just drank -- and some of the fear involved. I can't even begin to imagine. Personally, I'd prefer to never see anything like that again, but reality being what it is, I most likely will.
Catastrophic events, nightmarish occurences, calamities, bizarre politics... probably not the trip down memory lane you'd want to read about, and certainly not one you'll often find here in The Realm of Possibility. Apologies, I suppose, but lately I've just been thinking of all these types of events, and how they seem to be cyclical every few years. Not that I'm waiting for the boot to drop -- sorry to be so cynical.
What indelible images of the past do you have? I know I've missed a few what with space shuttles exploding and genocides on different continents and volcanoes erupting. Points given for any happy ones. Many, many points. I think I could use a coke and a smile now.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heavenly Bodies

Have you ever thought about what you will look like to other people once you're in Heaven? (to see rest of post, click "Read More" below)

Obviously, the subject isn't really that important, and truly, once one is in Heaven, interests will likely (warning!!! gargantuanormous understatement coming here!) be more Christ-focused. However, as none of us have ever been there, who of us can really say what it's like? Personally, I've felt for awhile that since mankind was created for Earth, that's where we'll be. When the new Heaven and new Earth are created, the latter will sort of be a part of the former. I'm no theologian, so all this in my mind is a house loosely cobbled together with glass panes and silly putty built from shallow scripture reading, which I'm sure could easily be shattered with some theological rocks, and they wouldn't have to be heavy ones.

Nonetheless, my Sunday School class was doing a study on Heaven afew weeks ago based on a book I didn't purchase, and this subject of how one would appear in Heaven came up. Now, as a kid and sometimes growing up, I probably did think that how I looked right then was probably how I'd look in Heaven - just perfected in a Resurrection body. Thing is, I'll be 42 in less than two weeks, and the older I get, the less I'd prefer that to be the case. If I remember correctly, one concept thought up in the book -- or it could have been what someone in the class had read elsewhere -- was that since in Heaven, we're not bound by time and perhaps by our minds, what someone might see is a composite of your whole life - you as a babe, child, youth, teen, young adult, adult, middle-aged, old... all the parts of your life can be seen when looking at you. That was interesting. Maybe some of you ladies and gents have different theories outside the box. I'd love to hear them.

It does strike me that when Christ was resurrected, several times -- in front of Mary Magdelene, on the road to Emmaus with Cleopas and the other disciple, in front of the eleven, themselves -- they did not recognize Him, at least at first, and in the Emmaus case, not at all. Why was that, I wonder? Were there just scales put in front of their eyes? And then, suddenly, they did. Did Jesus' appearance change? Had it changed from the man He looked like before the Cross? Did it change right in front of the disciples eyes? Or were they just blinded by the Father to who He was until He wanted to reveal Himself? That resurrected body, the one they saw then, usually that's what I think I'll see when this life of mine expires, I head to the next, and get to look upon my Lord and my God. John, in Revelation, saw Christ somewhat differently than what I usually think about when I picture my risen Lord. How do you see Him?

Now, going back, what I'll see when I look at you... or myself in the mirrors in Heaven (should there be those)... I'm not so sure. So I'll throw it out into the Realm and see what all the wiser minds than I have to say on our heavenly bodies. Thoughts?

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Bent Notice

Now, see, here we go. My favorite show on TV, and here goes the lead actor, Jeffrey Donovan, getting arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, failing a sobriety test, and taking a mug shot that makes him look like just received his burn notice. Wasn't all too long ago that 24 was my favorite show, and it was Keifer Sutherland with the mug shot. Whew, good thing sports stars, rock musicians, and politicians are my role models rather than Hollywood actors.

Anyhoo, hopefully, it's not going to happen with my other favorite show. I'd hate to have to see the mug shots of these guys half-sloshed:





Anyway, my dad sent me the "Booze Notice" e-mail, and his one-liner was kind of classic:

Spies aren't supposed to get caught.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

MRVSS

You knew it had to be coming. I held out as long as I could. Run for the hills if you must.


Since three years ago, I have a new favorite CD, and it's never far from my car or house radio. Matthew Ryan Vs. The Silver State (MRVSS). This one's gold. If you haven't heard Matthew Ryan, as one reviewer comes close to nailing his rasped voice and incredible music, "Think: Leonard Cohen meets The Clash, Bruce Springsteen meets Nick Drake." For this one, I'm just going to jot down the song titles, a lyric or two from each one, and then perhaps make a note about the song. So, without further ado:


1) Dulce Et Decorum Est

I think

I am

heroic in a failing way

for some of us it goes that way


The title of this song comes from a famous WWI poem by Wilfred Owen. The translated Latin is, for the song's purposes, "it's sweet, it's right". I think I might blog on Owen's poem one day soon.


2) American Dirt

Honey, I swear it's not my fault,

they shut us down, the big door was locked,

the bigger the dream, the bigger the trap,

the bigger the black and disappointment...

---

I've been spitting out American dirt, all that money can buy, all that money can buy

---

I wish I done something with my life,

Something safe and sort of useless...


When I analyze the autos, toys, the Wiis, every new technology that comes along, the furniture... how lavish I live compared to the rest of the world, I get what Matthew Ryan is talking about here.


3) Meet Me by the River

But I recall watching you walk down the aisle,

and I recall the way flower girls made your mother smile.

We used to smile


4) It Could've Been Worse

Your love in a car, you promised her everything

not knowing what everything really was.

She's the first girl you kissed, she's the first girl you miss,

when you're feeling like this

broke and in the dark.

Her blonde hair was a setting sun;

her mascara was born to run.

You got scared when she started to show,

one more thing you'd have to let go.

---

...but i'll never believe, that you jumped and just ended there,

the note you left read "look everywhere", "you'll never bury me"


This song follows a tragic young life to it's tragic end. It's an awesome song. I'd say it's a high point on the CD, except I'd be saying that about so many of these tunes, it would just be pointless.


5) Hold on Firefly

The rotten apple of her eye, talks junk on weekends,

at a dump called the Firefly, he's laughing with his friends

---

Sugar gets bitter, she knows to watch her tongue

that bastard never hit her in front of anyone.

Hold on to me, hold on to me,

you're going to feel better, you're just afraid to leave.


The characters in a lot of Ryan's songs are similar this girl, tragic figures. Here, this one's caught in an abusive relationship that she doesn't know how to end.


6) Jane, I Still Feel the Same

You wore my shirt beside the ocean, your eyes were serious the air was blue,

and I've relived that simple notion when you're young does it make it any less true?

'Cause, Jane i still feel the same.

You were a good thing, you were a good thing, in a world gone wrong.


7) Killing the Ghost

Sleeping like a machine gun,

your bedroom was no fun.

Falling down hard on my head was shooting black stars,

never knew who you were now I know what you are.

I will carve from you my life

I couldn't care less, it feels all right.

I'm cutting it close, I'm cutting it close, I'm cutting it close,

I'm killing the ghost.


Unrepentant and hard-edged, if you've been in a bad relationship for a long time, this is just about the perfect break-up, separation, divorce song. The repetitive and driving lyric "I will carve you from my life, couldn't care less, feels alright. I'm cutting it close, cutting it close, cutting it close, killing the ghost" leaves one wondering whether he's getting it done or not, but there's no doubt what the sentiment is.


8) They Were Wrong

Here's the saddest song you never heard,

these Catholic kids get what they deserve.

We were in the front row at the sad last goodbye,

you were so pissed off you were trembling inside.

Why would you ever live to wish and wait by the front door,

that your daddy never answered and your momma won't any more?

They were wrong, they were wrong, they were wrong, they were wrong,

the day is never too long, when it's gone it's gone.

They were wrong.

My God, they're still wrong.


I haven't totally figured this song out yet, but if I guess, it sounds like a girl at a Catholic school for girls met up with a boy from a parochial school, one thing led to another, and she got prego. Her friends abandoned her as did her parents.


9) I Only Want to be the Man You Want

I only want to be the man you want,

the ring that you twist, the song you hum.

I only want to be the man you want.

Don't say it, don't say it, your thoughts are loud your worry heard.

You'll wave goodbye beside the things you think will get you by,

when you should land my hummingbird.

Maybe you should land my hummingbird.


Beautiful song that fills the mind with pictures.


10) Drunk and Disappointed

He parked his Lincoln underneath the trees,

about a quarter to nine, he walked inside the Applebee's.

And nothing was moving not even the sky,

Johnny wanted a lot of things, but Johnny didn't want to die.

How did you get so drunk and disappointed?

Ain't nothing here to pull you through.

How did you get so drunk and disappointed?

The worst you'd fear is coming true, it's coming true. It's coming true.


Another song about a character who has hit rock bottom, but he doesn't know what to do. He doesn't want to kill himself, but he's not sure how to live either.


11) Closing In

You put your hand in mine as the plane took off,

you said, "You don't know how lucky you are." Now I know I was.

Maybe I'll go for a walk, maybe I'll go to hell.

Maybe it's just that we're the only ones that save us from ourselves.

Step by step now, day by day, from where you been,

the hits come on still, one by one, maybe we'll never win,

but we're closing in, we're closing in, we're closing in.


Just a perfect closing song for a CD like this one - tinged with a little hope after the mess of life that's gone before with a little forgiveness and the feel of redemption mixed in.


*************


I suppose that if your music is all shiny, happy people or pick-up trucks or Marvin Gaye, you may want to steer clear of Matthew Ryan. However, if you enjoy thoughtful, intelligent, rock music with some pop sensibility, you might want to give MRVSS a try. In my car and home, I have quite a few CDs, and many that I love and listen to a lot. None, though, have come close to being played like Matthew Ryan Vs. the Silver State.


Trust me on this one. ;)


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

These Times We Cherish

I picked up Carson from the Regional Airport in Mobile for his Little League State Baseball Tournament last Friday. He had flown from Orlando, after three days at theme parks, on Delta with a layover in ATL, and he had an escort with him. For Car, it was a big deal riding alone for the first time on a plane, and for me, I was just glad to see that he had made the switch at Hartsfield and, more importantly, to see his little body walking from the ramp. When he was smaller, his whole face would have lit up and he would have run to me for a big hug, but now ten years old, he turned a timid smile my direction when he saw me and held up the Fantasy Football magazine that he had read for the flight. I put my arm around him and gave a squeeze. He did grab my hand, and we walked through the airport holding hands, talking about football, because that was what was on his mind, and that went on until after we had driven away and transitioned into lunch.

The week of baseball was a long one with long days of waiting for games. Once the baseball games started, they were full of highs, lows, and weather delays for the team. Nonetheless, Carson had a great time being a part of the baseball. Baseball, though, was just the excuse for me. These days are passing way too fast.

Fortunately, Carson and I still hug, and he still likes when I grab him and kiss him all over. He laughs and giggles when I grab him from behind and wrestle and tickle him. I got my fill of that walking up and down the hotel halls when it was just the two of us. I don't know what the magic age is when you don't hug or kiss your son anymore, and though it's coming like a locomotive, I'm tossing nails on the tracks and throwing sticks, rocks, straw, dirt, anything I can clutch to try and slow it down. When we went to the Gulf Shores beach on a team trip, Carson asked me to build sand castles with him, and later I buried him in the sand. We also played the "make spectacular catches" game, throwing and catching a football diving in the waves. When other kids joined us, Carson accepted them, but this week, he was happy when it was just him and me. Each trip like this we take now, I wonder if it'll be the last one. We'd work sudokus at night before bed - the hard and challenger ones - and when I wanted to start jotting numbers in the corners, Carson would keep holding me back so we could try to do them just using our heads - not seeing the number puzzles worked out on paper. And almost every night before we turned out the lights when we'd be finishing the numbers, he'd say, "I love you, Dad" with no prompting. I'll never get sick of that. The whole week, Car just surprised me with touching moments, sometimes childlike, sometimes mature beyond his years. I didn't want the trip to end.

Neither did Carson. The last night, we were walking to our room together after the game and had been talking about the Harry Potter movie we had seen with the team earlier in the day. Carson was going to be riding home with his mom, who had arrived to watch the final game or two after her Disney and beach trip, the next day. Just before we got to our room, he broke away from the conversation we had been having and told me, "Dad, I think I'm gonna cry." Although it was sort of out of the blue, I thought I knew what he was talking about.

I might've written this before somewhere here (forgive me if you've heard it before), but when I was in sixth grade, I remember we had some kind of assembly for our whole elementary school (1st to 6th grades back then). At the end, a Sesame Street skit finished the program, and the show's theme played over the loudspeakers. And at the time, the thought occurred to me that I had passed the "Sesame Street" part of my youth. I'd never have it again. And I loved that part of my childhood. Overwhelming sadness sort of floored me, then, and I ran to the bathroom, closed the door of a stall, and wept for the days I'd never have back. Silly maybe, but true.

While not exactly the same, I can't help but think Carson's own thoughts were similar. Something like, this time Dad and I are having - it'll never be like this again. The fact that, if that's what he's thinking, he'd be right kills a part of me inside. I'm old enough now to realize every part of life, and I'm speaking of my kid's lives here, are special. They all have their special parts. Holding him the day he was born. Letting go of his hands for his first steps, or letting go of his bike the first time he rode without training wheels. Comforting him beforehand and then watching him get taken away from the dropoff his first day of school. Pulling in a halibut the size of Carson when fishing on our trip to Alaska a few years back. There have always been special heartfelt moments of togetherness in every life stage. Doubtless, Carson and I will have awesome bonding moments when he's a teenager doing whatever it is he'll be doing, graduating from high school or college, and I won't even mention the m-word. And I've had them and I'll have them with my other son, Davis, and my daughter, Mason, too. None of them are the same, though, and they all leave different imprints on the mind. But if you're not careful, they can also slip your mind.

I don't want to take this time, this specific week we just had, for granted. Ever.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Manta!



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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Versus

We make choices everyday. Some of them are big, important conscious decisions, and then there are these.

If faced (and you are) with having to make a choice of one versus the other, which would you pick?


Give us your preferences and the reasons why in the comments, and we'll use your answers and a very scientific formula to draw some interesting conclusions about your personality.


Good luck! And check back to see how you did.


1) Movie theater Junior Mints vs. Movie theater Goobers
2) Trip to the Beach vs. Trip to the Mountains
3) Elliptical Machine vs. Treadmill
4) Spring vs. Autumn
5) Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate
6) Interstate vs. Scenic highway
7) Savage tan vs. SPF50
8) Being sad vs. Being scared
9) 2 ten dollar bills vs. 1 twenty dollar bill
10) Birkenstocks vs. Crocs
11) Bad odor vs. Bad taste
12) Ripped pants vs. Wet shirt
13) Belching vs. Flatulence
14) Chicken salad sandwich vs. Tuna salad sandwich
15) Classic styles vs. Trendy styles
16) Old friend vs. New friend
17) Dolphin vs. Porpoise
18) Water slide vs. Roller coaster
19) Jules Verne vs. Robert Louis Stevenson
20) Goatee vs. Soul Patch
21) Being the recipient of a thoughtful gesture vs. Being the recipient of a compliment
22) Nap on the couch vs. Nap in a hammock
23) Holidays vs. Vacation
24) Aisle vs. Window
25) Slapstick vs. Wit
26) Logic vs. Emotion
27) Whipped cream vs. Cool Whip
28) High School Reunions vs. Family Reunions
29) ALF vs. ET
30) Canadians vs. Australians
31) Gifts vs. Gift Certificates
32) Jet skiing vs. Water skiing
33) Yardwork vs. Housework
34) Ostentatious vs. Precocious
35) Phone call vs. Email
36) Winning the lottery vs. Finding buried treasure
37) Sweating vs. Shivering
38) “Oh no, you di-unt.” vs. “Don’t even go there.”
39) Blue ink vs. Black ink
40) Ukelele vs. Bag pipes
41) Rainbows vs. Sunbeams
42) The sound of your own voice vs. The way you look in photos
43) Extremely firm handshake vs. Extremely weak handshake
44) Runny nose vs. Nagging cough
45) Packing vs. Unpacking
46) A hole in the toe of your sock vs. A hole in the seat of your underwear
47) Zoos vs. Botanical gardens
48) Trip to the dentist vs. Tax day
49) Awkward comment vs. Awkward silence
50) Too much Rich vs. Too little Rich

Wait a minute. Were #49 and #50 redundant?



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Monday, July 13, 2009

Roll Call in the Year of our Lord YYYY

"Paul, formerly Saul, of Tarsus."
"Dead."

"Apollos."
"Dead."

"Simon Peter."
"Dead."

"Augustine of Hippo."
"Dead."

"Quintus Tertullianus."
"Dead."

"Flavius Constantinus."
"Dead."

"Ignatius of Loyola."
"Dead."

"Franciscus Gomarus."
"Dead."

"Hugo Grotius."
"Dead."

"Simon Episcopius."
"Dead."

"Petr Chelcicky."
"Dead."

"Jacobus Arminius."
"Dead."

"Martin Luther."
"Dead."

"Howell Harris."
"Dead."

"Menno Simons."
"Dead."

"John Bunyan."
"Dead."

"Thomas Helwys."
"Dead."

"Philipp Spener."
"Dead."

"Huldrych Zwingli."
"Dead."

"John Calvin."
"Dead."

"Robert Browne."
"Dead."

"Michael Cerularius."
"Dead."

"John Wesley."
"Dead."

"Edward Pusey."
"Dead."

"Bruno von Egisheim-Dagsburg."
"Dead."

"George Whitefield."
"Dead."

"Charles Spurgeon."
"Dead."

"John Smyth."
"Dead."

"Phineas Bresee."
"Dead."

"William Miller."
"Dead."

"Jonathan Edwards."
"Dead."

"Charles Sheldon."
"Dead."

"Alexander Campbell."
"Dead."

"Charles Parham."
"Dead."

"Harold Ockenga."
"Dead."

"William Booth."
"Dead."

"Albert Simpson."
"Dead."

"Andrew Fuller."
"Dead."

"Carl Henry."
"Dead."

"Phoebe Palmer."
"Dead."

"William Seymour."
"Dead."

"Charles Finney."
"Dead."

"Daniel Sommer."
"Dead."

"Barton Stone."
"Dead."

"Charles Mason."
"Dead."

"Clive Lewis."
"Dead."

"David Lipscomb."
"Dead."

"Aimee McPherson."
"Dead."

"John McGee."
"Dead."

"Jean-Luc Marion."
"Dead."

"Charles Jones."
"Dead."

"Herbert Armstrong."
"Dead."

"Jack Hayford."
"Dead."

"Norman Peale."
"Dead."

"Dennis Bennett."
"Dead."

"James Dunn."
"Dead."

"Richard Hays."
"Dead."

"Donald Carson."
"Dead."

"Richard Foster."
"Dead."

"William Graham."
"Dead."

"Michael Riddell."
"Dead."

"Rowan Williams."
"Dead."

"Robert Schuller."
"Dead."

"Charles Stanley."
"Dead."

"Robert Sproul."
"Dead."

"Nicholas Wright."
"Dead."

"John Spong."
"Dead."

"Jerry Falwell."
"Dead."

"Marcus Borg."
"Dead."

"James Dobson."
"Dead."

"Charles Vines."
"Dead."

"Henry Blackaby."
"Dead."

"Brian McLaren."
"Dead."

"John Wimber."
"Dead."

"John Piper."
"Dead."

"Richard Warren."
"Dead."

"Thomas Jakes."
"Dead."

"Joel Osteen."
"Dead."

"Mark Driscoll."
"Dead."

"William Hybels."
"Dead."

"John Eldredge."
"Dead."

"Kay Arthur."
"Dead."

"John MacArthur."
"Dead."

"Bruce Wilkinson."
"Dead."

"John Maxwell."
"Dead."

"Wayne Grudem."
"Dead."

"John Ortberg."
"Dead."

"Beth Moore."
"Dead."

"Andy Stanley."
"Dead."

"Jesus of Nazareth."
"Alive and well. Follow me."

1 Corinthians 3:4-15

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Knock, knock, knock...Rich. Knock, knock, knock...Rich. Knock, knock, knock... Rich. Knock, knock, knock... Rich. Knock, knock, knock... Rich.

(Ed. note: OK, THAT'S TOO COOL!! Sorry for shouting, but thanks to Milly I just found www.sheldonshirts.com. It's very exciting. They have links to all the online retailers for the tshirts worn by Sheldon and Leonard on the show. Merry Christmas to me. BTW, is my geek showing?)

Since we're already two seasons in, this may be a tad gauche. But since I've always been known for my devil-may-care Errol Flynn-type audacity, here goes anyway. I love me some Big Bang Theory.

(And no, in case you're wondering. This is not like Rich's unhealthy obsession with alternative country song lyrics or the the show 24.)

I love me some Sheldon, some Leonard, some Penny, some Raj, and some Howard. But especially some Sheldon.

I think it may be that I just relate more to his character. In all probability either because we're both geniuses or because both of us are tall, suave, Southern boys. At any rate, if you don't know what I'm talking about right now, run don't walk to the Netflix link on the sidebar and move The Big Bang Theory Season 1 to the top of the queue.

I was a late convert myself. There, I admitted it. But don't continue to make the same mistake I did. It wouldn't wear as well on you, trust me. From the show's title to its closing credits, the mirth and mayhem will keep you in stitches no matter which episode you are watching or which character you find most relatable.

Occam's razor suggests that we shouldn't analyze this further. However, if you're a fellow BBT fan, I'll indulge your secret need to share personal thoughts in a public forum using an impersonal technology, and we can discuss what makes this show so great while everyone else is left ostracized and puzzled by our witty banter.

Hey, someone in Kuala Lumpur just made popcorn in my microwave!


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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Goin' Mobile

Or, going to Mobile, rather, as in Mobile, AL, for the Huntsville International Red 9- and 10-year old All-Stars playing in the State Little League Tournament. I'll be leaving (and believing!!!) Friday morning when we head down to Mobile for my son's, Carson's, and his team's (pictured to the right) double-elimination tournament. Their first game is set for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. It's been a loooooooooong baseball season, but all kinds of fun. I'm very happy for our stellar Mayfair Park for having a team win the Huntsville tournament, and it'd be nice to cap it off with a good showing at State.

Carson's been pumped about baseball this year, and just when I thought it might be lasting too long, now he's saying he wants to skip football and play baseball in the Fall or play travel ball. Not sure what to think about that yet. Digressing...

Wish us all kinds of luck and good fortun... errrrrrrrrr... I can't lie. Wish us all kinds of winning!!! That's what we really want. Actually, it's been a great experience for the boys and one they'll remember and cherish a long time, hopefully, the rest of their lives. Carson's played on losing teams before, but last year his team won their league, and this year his team (a different one) did it again and went undefeated. Now, his All-Star team has won all their games, so it's been a while since he's taken in that awful, bitter taste of defeat. Can it be a while longer? Let's hope so. The more we win, the longer I miss work! And I know Carson wants to win, big time.

But just so everyone has fun. Right?

GO BIG RED!!!

Side Note: I'm not sure whether I'll have a computer or not, so we'll see what Ken comes up with while I'm gone. Could get interesting around here. But maybe I'll get a post or two in... and leave one in the can that Ken can publish when the time's right. Maybe I'll go all Nostradamus and throw down a quatraint predicting that the stock market will hover around 8,000 next week. Yeah, I'm that good.


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