The meme stops here!

…but only because I have no one else to tag. Thanks Will!

 Let the confessing begin… 

1.                  I confess that I have never read or heard any theology that I totally agreed with.

2.                  I confess that, like my brother, I have very little self-confidence. However my defense mechanism is usually to internalize, ignore & try to blend into the wallpaper. (And like Will has pointed out before, I am very hard on myself.)

3.                  I confess that most of my blogging takes place during work hours.

4.                  I confess that I don’t read as much as I want to because of an overwhelming lack of motivation. And when I do read, it’s typically something light & silly.

5.                  I confess that I currently don’t get much of anything out of my local church’s Sunday morning services. I allow my human side to come through & let personal feelings towards certain people get in the way of my worship… not a healthy way to grow or even exist spiritually.

6.                  I confess that I honestly believed that our family was cursed until a few years ago; because for the past 3 or more generations a member of our family in a straight line was pregnant by the time they were 16 years old, including me, my dad, & his mom. (Thank God Beth is now 19 and baby-free!)

7.                  I confess that I actually got to where I enjoyed watching the Gilmore Girls, though I never admitted it to my wife. (Come for the pretty girls, stay for the witty banter.) And was silently upset when it ended.

8.                  I confess that I really enjoy a tall cold bottle of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. (Beer & lemonade… not very manly, but oh so good!)

9.                  I confess that I can’t stand most “Christian” radio – music or talk – it just irritates me.

10.              I confess that I hate the phone (even though part of my job is tech-support), but I absolutely love & don’t know what I did before I had Caller ID!

Random Rhetorical Questions

  • Why, when on a road-trip, are the roads always smooth & straight… until you take a sip of your coffee?
  • Why can you work all week without incident, major or minor, but as soon as you take a day off, everything crashes?
  • Why am I sure that if my dog could talk, it would be with a thick Californian surfer-dude voice?
  • Why does it seem that most NRA supporters are very militant & violent about protecting their right to bear arms – and why does that alone make me nervous?
  • Why Journey for the Soprano’s finale? I don’t watch the Sopranos, I don’t ever have HBO, but I mean… Journey? Really?
  • Speaking of TV, why was Creature Comforts cancelled? Real spontaneous interviews set to claymation animals? Hello!?!?
  • Why are your teenage expectations of how you & your life are going to turn out always wrong?
  • Why do people who want to share their faith with you, never want you to share your faith with them?
  • Why am I craving a slab of Rendezvous dry-rub ribs right now?

What’s on the iPod?

SuitcaseIf you’re ever in the mood for some smooth, basic, mellow, melodic blues – and if you can’t get your hands on Keb’ Mo’s first self-titled album – this is the stuff right here! In fact, Kevin Moore’s 8th & latest release, Suitcase, was produced by John Porter, who also produced his first one – and it shows. The loose, unhurried tone of Keb’s slide is just beautiful. There are no flashy licks – no crazy finger-work – just smooth, patient blues. The only notable difference is the addition of a few more instruments & background/harmony vocals which are still subtle enough to feel like you’re sitting on the front porch with them & their acoustic guitars, jamming as the sun sets over the swamps in the distance.

This is not the kind of album you want to jam-out to in the car, but it’s a great choice for listening to at work, while you’re reading a book, or just relaxing… something I’ve needed lately.

Take me home country roads…

The emotions came flooding back this morning. My daughter, Bethany, called my cell phone at work, “Dad, I’ve been in a wreck.” She’s okay, if not a little shaken – the car’s another story. What makes it worse is that she’s living 200 miles away with a friend for the summer. Outside of my heart leaping into my throat when I heard those words, I’m okay too I guess.

But it did make me think back; She’s two years older now than I was when she was born. I remember standing in the cold hallway outside of the nursery at the hospital 19 years ago. The tile on the floor & walls was some awful combination of pastel blues & greens. It was the night after she was born & all of our families and other visitors had gone home for the night. I had elected to stay with Beth & her mom & sleep in the waiting room. I stood there – a tall dorky 17 year old child – with my hand on the glass that separated me from my newborn baby girl, and I wept. I remember the overwhelming feeling of sorrow & regret when I knew I should be feeling joy, which also made me feel terrible guilt. I vividly remember whispering the words, “I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry that I will probably never be the father you need.
I’m sorry that I will never be able to provide you with the life that you deserve.
I’m sorry for bringing you into this world under such terrible circumstances.
This isn’t your fault – it’s mine.
I’m so sorry…

Not typical new-father emotions I know. I’ve spent the last 19 years trying to overcome those feelings too. I still don’t think I’ve done that great of a job of it, but I’ve done the best I can. Maybe just the fact that I wanted to do better & be better is worth something – I don’t know. But I’m feeling some of that guilt & regret again today. My little girl wrecked her car – and I can’t be there for her. I’m doing what I can from here, and I plan on being down there tomorrow – but I’m not there now. I’ve been upset with her lately for the choices that she’s made. But early this morning on a small country road in Kentucky, she needed her dad.

Bethany, “I’m sorry.”

Friday Rant

You know what burns my butt?
A fire about yay-high…
Okay, bad/old joke. Sorry, it won’t happen again.

Seriously, what’s been bugging me lately around my office & elsewhere are those questions – those debates in which one must choose one side or the other. Option A or Option B. No room for a gray area. All or nothing.

Can you be a Jedi & still follow the dark side of the Force, Anakin? Of course not! But it seems that most people think that the answers to these questions have to be that clear-cut or you have no true convictions. And I don’t think that’s true:

Creation v. Evolution
Conservative v. Liberal
Patriotic v. General dissatisfaction with the government & its leadership
Supporting the troops v. Opposing the war
Pro-life v. Pro-choice
The Bible as the Devine Word of God v. Just another history book written by men
Christianity v. Science
Elvis v. the Beatles

And by seeing both sides of each debate as well as believing the validity of both sides & the fact that each can & must exist in unity with the other; I am NOT riding the fence! I am not being wishy-washy! I believe very strongly in how I view each and every argument. But I don’t believe that each answer has to be absolutely exclusive.

Yes, I can believe that evolution is part of the way that God created & continues to create us & the world. Two sides of the same coin that in my mind have to coincide or they just don’t make sense. I’m not saying that you are wrong if you believe strongly one way or the other. Your opinions & convictions are totally valid, and if they’re right for your life that’s cool! But do not judge me for not agreeing. Part of being a mature, thinking adult is looking at issues from every angle & making up your own mind how to believe, not just buying what someone else has to say about it.

So, why should I have to choose between the White Album & the ’68 Comeback Special? They’re both equally awesome & the world wouldn’t be the same without either of them!

Peace…

Ouch! That hurt!

Okay, so when your pitching staff gives up 15 runs in the first 4 innings of a ballgame one can safely assume that something has gone horribly wrong! Right? Changes must be made! And I stand by my sincere belief that KIP WELLS HAS GOT TO GO! You gave it your best try Dave Duncan, but this time your “take a struggling pitcher & make him a contributor” experiment didn’t work. Admit defeat – get Reyes back up from Memphis – and move forward!

What’s on the iPod?

Countrypolitan FavoritesWith the Western Swing groove of Asleep at the Wheel, the passion of Reverend Horton Heat & the kitsch of TMBG or the B52’s, the North Carolina trio known as Southern Culture on the Skids (or SCOTS for short) romps through some fantastic classic & sometimes obscure country songs so well it makes you think, “this is how it should’ve sounded in the first place!” with a healthy peppering of psychedelic rock like the Who & CCR on their most recent release Countrypolitan Favorites.

I’m fairly new to SCOTS, having only heard a song or two from their older albums, but since I’ve been digging deeper into the Alt Country/Americana (whatever you want to call it) genre of American music I decided to purchase this album via iTunes. I was not disappointed. This is one of those records you can play on “random” all day long and still be grooving & singing along with Funnel of Love at the end of the day.

My brother’s father-in-law said it best when he noted that bands like this can only get away with being that silly and kitschy if they can back it up with some real talent. These guys can. The bass lines are downright funky which compliments the rockin’ guitar & piano solos. The arrangements are faithful enough to the originals, yet somehow inspired and oddly satisfying to non-country fans like myself.

Who would’ve thought I would ever be singing Oh Lonesome Me at the top of my lungs in my little blue Frontier pickup? Certainly not me.

 

Side note: I still refer to it as Alt.Country. I know it’s not the term du jour, but it’s what I know & love it as. I’ve been a Lyle Lovett fan forever, and I was a fan of Wilco & Son Volt back when they were called Uncle Tupelo & the radio stations had no idea how to categorize them. That was back before the genre had a name. I still claim to not really like country music, but I sure have a lot of its alternative counterparts in my cd collection!