Start heavy, finish light.

It's a little odd in my mind how I've become much more well, I guess there's no better word for this, liberal since I got out here to Colorado Springs. It's kind of the evangelical Christian mecca, and I was a little concerned that I would get swept to sea in a tide of conservativeness. So imagine my surprise when after a year and a half here my interests in social justice and human rights far outweigh my interest in the war of the week.

This hit home a little bit, though, at church last night, in a sermon that danced around Luke 3. It's a chapter about John the Baptist, and there's about four verses that rocked me. Stuff in brackets is my paraphrasing.

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance [as a sign that you have repented and changed your ways]. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' [Don't even try to count on your religiosity to save you.] For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. [If you claim to be religious, start pulling your weight or else.]"

And the people around were all, "Dang, we're in a tight spot. What do we do?" And what does John the Baptist say back to them? Join up with Focus on the Family to fight inferior political and moral ideologies? Attend church as much as you can, but especially on Easter and Christmas? Join up with a Bible study and volunteer with the high school youth group?

John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."


His idea of "proof that you've been saved" is that you give to the needy?

Crap crap crap crap crap crap.

But the needy smell bad, and I'm kind of afraid that some of them are insane. Isn't there another way? Something like signing petitions or giving a little money to a faceless charity? Do I really have to take a direct, active role in helping the people who I claim to love but in truth get nervous every time I see one of them?

So you can see my pickle. I feel like I need to get involved and stop being so indifferent but it's not something I'm excited about, even though I subconsciously see myself as a "man of the people" type. Grrr.

On the lighter side: I own fantasy baseball. PCs are stupid stupid stupid. Wireless routers (and particularly their setup) are also. August 7th is too early to start a school year. I own a Kylie Minogue album, and I listen to it a lot.



Derivative? You bet!

Yesterday's post from Ken Jennings' blog about iconoclasm got me thinking. Reading his message board about iconoclasm got me thinking in high gear. So now, without further ado, my list of major iconoclasms:

Weezer's blue album is better than Pinkerton. Ain't even close. The Tori episodes of Saved by the Bell are the best ones. Static Prevails remains Jimmy Eat World's best album. The original Austin Powers movie is the only one that merits. Give me canned vegetables over fresh anyday. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the best movie of 2005. U2? Most overrated band EVER. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Velvet Revolver close on their heels. Bono is not God. France isn't so bad. The Beatles only got worse as they went along. Fleetwood Mac is the worst band of all time.

That should do it for now. Dispute these or add your own list in the comments. I love this topic.


Sports, sports, sports.

It's a great day to be a Minnesota sports fan. And even though I know the majority of my 3-reader audience doesn't care, I'm going to talk a good sports rant today.

First, the Twins. Oh yes. Eight games under .500 in early June? Not a problem. Nine games out of the wild card race a month ago? No sweat. It's kind of irritating that there are three (almost four or five) divisions that the Twins could be leading, but since they're in the AL central, it's impossible. But sweeping the team that up until a couple weeks ago was considered the best team in the majors is rather satisfying. (In their house, no less.) Am I worried about the Yankees being a half game in the lead for the wild card? Hecks no. Hecks no at all. Bring it, you overspending, east coast-centric, underachieving such-and-suches.

And now, the Vikings. Rookies report to training camp today, so I declare that the Sports Abyss is officially over for another year. And since I'm one of the masterminds behind footballprophets.com, I thought it would be appropriate for me to do a preseason preview. I feel like John Clayton. Quick, where's Sean Salisbury? I need to kick him in the crotch.

Brad Johnson is ready to go. He's not the best quarterback, but he's smart and he fits perfectly into the offensive scheme. His numbers won't be gaudy, but he's exactly what we need in the QB slot. If he goes down, though, we're screwed. I don't trust our backups, even though I do think Tarvaris Jackson is the future face of the Vikings.

Running Backs
Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore got that $&!@ on lockdown. Joe Echimandu and Ciatrick Fason reprezent as well. Honestly, even I could rush for a thousand yards in this scheme, which brings us to...

Offensive Line
Words don't describe my excitement for this line. Honestly, we got four Pro Bowl-caliber players here. They should never allow a sack all season. With McKinnie, Hutchinson, Birk, and Hicks, (not to mention Richardson and Kleinsasser at fullback) there should be no game that the Vikings don't rush for 100 yards at least. Even against the Bears.

Wide Receivers
Similar to running back, it shouldn't really matter who's here. As long as they can run clean routes and hold on to the ball, we're golden. This whole offensive scheme won't light anyone up, but it will be dominating if all the pieces stay healthy.

Defensive Line
As long as the ends stay healthy, it's going to be a long season for opposing rushing schemes. I can't say how much I enjoy watching Pat Williams do his thing.

Defensive Backs
I love the recent addition of Dwight Smith. With him and Sharper as the ball-hawking safeties in the newly-installed Tampa Two defense, we should do well. Smoot has yet to impress me, but this could be his year.

This, as everyone will tell you, is our problem. Every year Mike Tice would talk up the LBs, and every year they underperformed. We haven't had a good linebacker corps since Eddie McDaniel left. Maybe the drought goes back to Scott Studwell. But this year, Brad Childress is talking up the linebackers. So for now, I'm drinking the kool aid. Maybe this will be the year the whole defense pushes itself into the upper tier.

Special Teams
I like Ryan Longwell. It's about time he started making kicks to win us games. I'm worried about the return game as KRob won't be on the case anymore, but maybe Moore will step in nicely. Kluwe is the man.

I think Childress has done a masterful job of assembling a contender. If they stay healthy and get a couple breaks, I'm not going to count the Vikes out of the NFC championship game. Especially from a weak division.


My hero.

The first story.

The second story.

The commentary:

1. I loved this guy when he was on Jeopardy, because you could tell that not only was he infinitely more well-versed in trivia, but he was one of those guys that used to hate the jocks and popular kids in high school. Cynical, geeky, and very funny.

2. Jokes about Alex Trebek's moustache: always funny. In fact, I'd call what he said the funniest jokes about Alex Trebek ever. What does that say about Trebek when the funniest jokes ever about him come from a Mormon know-it-all?

3. I can't believe this actually made news. That's the New York Post for you.

4. Those categories for middle America are hilarious. I would pee myself if they actually showed up on Jeopardy, especially "Skanks from Reality TV Who Got Naked in Men's Magazines".

5. This guy has a website?! Hot crackers!

Oh, and a follow-up on yesterday. I didn't do anything last night. I went and saw "The Break-Up" at the cheap seats. I want my fifty cents back.


Foray into fine art?

A little technique I'm working on. It occured to me lately that I have become very concrete in my creating methods and, more important, my thinking. I'd like to get out into the etherial realm of the theoretical, the abstract, the shapeless. And since the woman is having her Bible study over tonight, I'm headed to Panera to get my think on. Good results to follow? Stay tuned yo.

Anyhow, I read Nick Hornby's latest book, "A Long Way Down". I gotta say, not all that impressed. I mean, it has a decent shot of becoming a movie, and I guess I enjoyed reading it as it had its moments, but overall I'm not going to remember this book two weeks from now. I guess I was expecting too much out of him. Whatevs.


Surveys are lame.

In lieu of posting anything of interest, it's a survey day! Yay filler!

50 Questions I Guarantee You've Never Answered:

1. Do you watch the Gilmore Girls? No
2. Have you ever enjoyed listening to Jack Johnson? Yes
3. Have you ever seen or enjoyed watching the O.C.? No
4. Do you have one or more Britney Spears C.D.s? No
5. Which radio stations are your favorites? AM 1240, Sports talk
6. Are you a Lost fanatic? No
7. Do you have a song by Ozzy Osbourne in your library? No
8. Queen? No
9. Do you watch Family Guy regularly? No
10. The Simpsons? No
11. King of the Hill? No
12. Do you read trashy romance novels often? No
13. Do you really work out every day? No
14. Have you ever eaten an entire pint, or more of ice cream? Yes
15. Do you shower every single day? Yes
16. Do you ever forget to give a Christmas/birthday present & instead keep it for yourself? No
17. Do you sing obnoxiously in the car when you're driving alone? Yes
18. Have you ever watched a little kid's show when you were over 12? Yes
19. Have you ever looked forward to going to school? Yes
20. Did you draw pictures for your first crush back in elementary school? No
21. Have you ever liked a girl/boy but didnt ask her/him out because you were afraid? Yes
22. Have you ever written a poem/story about your love life? Yes
23. An autobiography? No
24. Have you ever spent over an hour thinking about nothing but your crush? Yes
25. Do you reread meaningless AIM conversations just because theyre with your crush? No
26. Have you ever liked someone for their appearance? Yes
27. Do you eat all the servings in the food groups on a daily basis? No
28. Are you ever a freak about cleanliness or organization? No
29. Have you ever been to South America or Africa? No
30. Have you ever owned a Klutz book or kit? No
31. Do you have a cell phone or iPod with a patterned cover? No
32. Have you ever written love song lyrics yourself and put them in your profile? No
33. Do you keep a diary or journal (online or on paper)? Yes
34. How often do you take a bubble bath? Never
35. When you open your closet, what is the dominant color of your closet? Earth tones
36. Baskin Robbins or Coldstone? Coldstone
37. America or Canada? United States
38. Physics or chemistry? Science is dumb
39. Earphones or headphones? Headphones
40. Chocolate, brown, or teal? Brown
41. Earrings or a ring? Ring
42. Commitment or casual dating? Commitment
43. Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? LOTR
44. Fly or road trip? Road trip
45. Starbucks or Carribou coffee? [whimpering over lack of Caribou in Colorado]
46. What is your favorite Disney movie? A Bug's Life
47. How much jewelry do you own? Wedding ring
48. Have you ever bought clothes at Sears? Yes
49. Do you own any Care Bears memorabilia? No
50. Are you cool enough to do this repost it as... 50 Questions I Guarantee You've Never Answered? No

I think this was geared for girls on myspace... Oh well, at least I wasted your time.


Oh forget it.

I did it anyway.

English lessons necessary.

The Minnesota Twins need some English lessons.

"There is no doubt that I'll probably be in pain the remainder of the year." -Nick Punto

"We're just trying to keep him from not killing himself too awful bad." -Ron Gardenhire

I thought about starting a photo blog, but instead I think I'll just try to post pictures here everyday. That'll be less to keep track of, and I don't have to personally take every picture I put up. So here's today's picture.

I took this one on Nov 1 2005 at dusk. It's on the border of Palmer Park and my apartment complex, and you can see Pike's Peak in the background. There's a lot more foliage on the flora than most of spring and summer, ironically.


Politics make my brain hurt.

Woopsie. It seems it's been another proud moment for America as GW forgot to turn off his microphone during a break at the G8 summit. I'm sure you've heard all about it by now, but I really enjoy how we get a candid look at the relationships between world leaders. From reading the transcript, it seems like Bush would throw down with Kofi Annan if the two were out drinking one night. And all these super-evangelicals who hold up Bush as such a truly devout man are probably already coming up with excuses why an expletive just happened to slip out. Oh wait, that happened during the 2000 campaign too, didn't it? I guess even strong Christian leaders are allowed to be jerks with potty mouths.

And while we're on politics, I have something that I found flabergasting. We're coming up on mid-term elections and here in Colorado a man named Jeff Crank is running for congress. [Insert crank joke here.] A television commercial for him appeared on my TV the other day and left me almost speechless. It was him voicing over while a montage of super-patriotic clips of wartime footage rolled. His monologue began:

"In the war on terror, I stand with America."

Holy crap.

He's so going to win against his opponent, Assim Mohammed Hezbollah al Ikillyou. I always knew we had to choose sides in the war on terror, but how refreshing is it to see a public official who sides AGAINST the terrorists? Very refreshing, that's how much. Calling this empty rhetoric is an understatement the same way saying "Packers fans get under your skin" is a vast understatement. You can ask my wife, this commercial was so dumbfounding that I couldn't let it go for like ten minutes. This kind of crap is exactly what's wrong with America. It's the same garbage that makes fans vote for AJ Pierzynski over Francisco Liriano. Mass media and the abuse of advertising is rotting this country from the inside. Yes, I realize the irony that I'm using the most mass form of media around to say this.

So sue me.


Ooh la la.

A picture from Sunday's Twins victory over Cleveland. My question is: is Rondell White being congratulated, fondled, or pickpocketed? Interesting. Here's some footage that'll make you glad the cold war is over.



Ok first things first, because we hate breaking with our completely contrived concept of sequence. Links!

Don Miller is a pretty good writer. I read Blue Like Jazz, and found it a moderately entertaining and enlightening read. It wasn't quite as good as Velvet Elvis, but it did take longer to read. Anyway, some people feel about Don Miller the way that Jon Madden feels about Brett Favre. I'm not one of them. However, this article of his is pretty funny and gets you thinking about the nature of literature genres. Because I know you pine for that sort of thing.

I resisted Zefrank pretty hard for a while. Too trendy. It's like suddenly he's everywhere and whenever that happens I just can't give in. I eventually do give in, but well after the fact. I miss the initial trendiness and can bring about a secondary trendiness if the timing is right. But Zefrank is pretty funny. Not overly random, but the way he disects things makes you think. Or rather, he's "thinking so you don't have to". Convenient. Some of my faves are Minneapolis and Where the #&!@ Do Ideas Come From?

Second things second. Chicken tacos own, but can be unforgiving. 'Sbout it.


My trip to the ICRS.

Here are some depressing and shocking things that I saw yesterday at the International Christian Retail Show. I wrote a nice long post about these, but I lost it and I don't feel like ranting again.

Kerusso. DATOmana. Red Letter 9. Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood. The Chasid Cup. Left Behind video game.

Anybody got some new name I can call myself besides Christian?


8 names.

Props to Tiffany for this myspace bulletin. Here are my 8 names. Some of them are cool and I might use them.

ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, street you live on):
Pepper Knoll

MOVIE STAR NAME (father's father/mother, favorite candy):
Melvin Dots

"FLY GUY/GIRL" NAME (first initial, first 3 letter of middle name):
N. Jam

DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color, favorite animal):
Green Duck

SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city you were born):
James St. Louis Park

STAR WARS NAME (first 3 letters of last name, first 2 letters of first name, first 2 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of city you grew up in):

TERRORIST NAME (middle name backwards, mother's maiden name backwards):
Samej Nosgdoh

SUPERHERO NAME ("The", favorite color, favorite drink):
The Green Frappuccino

I think that Melvin Dots and Pepper Knoll are winners. Maybe N Jam too.

In follow up, thanks a lot guys. Not enough people voted for Francisco Liriano and now AJ Pierzynski is an all-star. Include the most dominant pitcher in baseball over the past two months? No, let's invite a mediocre catcher instead. Most people think it was because AJ's current team, the White Sox, had a campaign with the slogan "Punch AJ". Which is exactly what many many people want to do, on account of he's a big fat jerk. This once again shows that marketing trumps all. I hate America sometimes.



Oh, I have so much to tell about from the last twelve days. Let's get to it:

1. Nacho Libre is hands down the funniest movie I've seen this year. It isn't even close. Jack Black has perfected his craft to a whole new level with this role. Even Marcia enjoyed it. She hates dumb comedy, but somehow she loved this. Either she's morphing or this movie just plain owns. I'm guessing more of the latter. Do yourself a favor and see it today.

2. Jesus of the Week is a hilarious site that mirrors my JC wall at work. Speaking of which, I just added a postcard of this little beauty onto my wall. It's funny how many (Christian) people puke when they see something like this. On a related note, CBA conference is coming up next week in Denver. It's the Christian Booksellers Association, and it's awful. Well, some of it is really good, but most of it is awful. I'm bringing a digital camera this year so I'll have lots of fodder next week.

3. If you ever come to Colorado Springs, make sure you check out the money museum. I went there yesterday and I was blown away. Essentially money is graphic design and some countries have some really killer bills. There's a special section up now about Gilroy Roberts, who was an engraver and artist for the US Treasury. He's awsome. I came away totally inspired. And numismatists have such a cool title. I'm in the market for a different word for "graphic designer" that ends in "-ist". Suggestions?

4. A summation of my trip: Montana is beautiful and hot. High school kids are annoying and selfish. Sleeping in a tent is not for old people. Native Americans have it rough.

5. One last thing. While you're online and everything, take a minute to vote for Francisco Liriano. He needs it. Go Twinkies!