Nine Is Enough

A challenge issued by Soul Pancake, which I heard of through a tweet from Rainn Wilson (no laughing!):

Write a five-item list of things you’d actually be willing to chop off your pinkie-toe for.

Sure there are lots of things I want, probably many of the same things everyone else wants; like for every meal to include some form of bacon, for baseball season to last twelve months a year, or for someone to invent a car that burns stupid people for fuel. But what sorts of things would I be willing to send my littlest digit crying “wee-wee-wee” all the way home for?

  1. The assurance that my wife & daughter would forever be happy
  2. The end of the world’s reliance on energy sources that aren’t naturally renewable
  3. A cure for cancer
  4. World Peace
  5. An UNDO button for real life situations

bye-toe

Come on people – join in & share your lists!

The Random Letter Meme: “Mm”

My blog buddy Jennifer, the Dust Bunny Hostage, dealt me in on this fun little meme.

Here are the rules:

“If you would like to play, here’s how: tell me by leaving a comment on this post {SAYING THAT YOU WANT TO PLAY} and I will assign you a letter. Then post ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter on your blog. Explain the rules with your ten things and when others comment requesting a letter, assign one to them; thus, the chain continues.”

the_letter_m

I was assigned the not-so-easy, but still kinda fun letter “M”:

  1. M is for Michele. It’s my beautiful wife’s middle name and generally what her father calls her. Except that he pronounces it mee-shell, like Paul McCartney’s pseudo French Michelle, ma Belle, which for some reason gets under her skin. (I guess I could’ve gone with “Marriage” or “Matrimony” there, but Michele is more specific to me.)
  2. M is for Memphis Tennessee. The home of the Redbirds, Elvis & the blues, the birthplace of rock & roll, and the only place to go for the absolute best barbeque in the world.
  3. M is for Music. I love music – all kinds. It can sweep me away into a myriad of emotions. It can remind me of past events. It’s a huge part of my life… even thought I can’t play an instrument to save my life.
  4. M is for Merlot. My favorite semi-dry red wine. Pair that with a nice cheese and some crusty Italian bread and I’m a happy boy.
  5. M is for Microsoft. Okay, so it’s more like a love/hate relationship, but you just can’t deny what they’ve done in the areas of technology for the common consumer. I’m sorry to all the other geeks out there, but “I’m a PC”.
  6. M is for Mug. Because mugs hold lovely hot beverages like coffee, hot tea, hot cocoa, mulled cider and such.
  7. M is for Monet, Manet, Morisot, and all of the other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists whose works hang in any given number of Museums around the world. (I love art.)
  8. M is for Mutt. My big, chuckle-headed dog is a mixed-breed, Heinz 57, anti-designer, rescued stray MUTT. And I love him.
  9. M is for Movies. I will freely admit that I’m not quite the movie geek that I used to be, but I still love them.
  10. M is for Metamorphosis. The phenomenon of changing from one form into another. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, a tadpole into a frog, or a lost soul into a believer through the grace of God.

Music Meme Answers

Following Art’s lead today, here are the Answers to last Monday’s Random Music Meme. Some of them may have been tricky since they were covers of classics, like Eric Clapton, Keb’ Mo’, etc.

  1. Steve McQueen Steve McQueen; when I was a little boy I wanted to grow up to be… (Steve McQueen, Drive-By Truckers)
  2. Sweeter than honey can be to your tongue tongue (She’s A Yum Yum – Charlie Rich)
  3. Up in the morning and out to school, teacher is teaching the golden rule (School Days – Chuck Berry)
  4. Long distance information give me Memphis Tennessee (Memphis – Johnny rivers)
  5. Just walking in the rain, getting soaking wet (Just Walkin’ In The Rain – Eric Clapton & The Impressions)
  6. How come I end up where I started? (15 Step – Radiohead)
  7. Grandma’s hands clapped in church on Sunday mornings (Grandma’s Hands – Keb’ Mo’)
  8. Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight (Only The Lonely – Chris Isaak)
  9. You sing a song while sitting at a red light (Red Light – Jonny Lang)
  10. A key in the door, a step on the floor, a note on the table, and a meal in the micro (Shoe Box – Barenaked Ladies)
  11. When I was a child my family would travel down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born (Paradise – John Prine)
  12. Don’t ask her how she knows, but she knows It’s gonna be great (Flyaway – Joan Osborne)
  13. Mothers hands were lined with dirt from long days in the field (Too Bad – Nickelback)
  14. Trouble going round, trouble going down (Heart Shaped World – Chris Isaak)
  15. First I rise, then I fall (Fanny [Be Tender With My Love] – The BeeGees… ah the beauty of Randomness! LOL.)
  16. Oh I’m on my way, I know I am, somewhere not so far from here (Sitting – Cat Stevens)
  17. There’s a story in our town of the prettiest girl around (Ballad Of A Teenage Queen – Johnny Cash)
  18. I see your money on the floor, I felt the pocket change (Gardening At Night – R.E.M.)
  19. You wait, wanting this world to let you in (Let Love In – GooGoo Dolls)
  20. She walked by the ocean and waited for a star to carry her away (Rosie’s Lullaby – Norah Jones)
  21. Last night I said to her I didn’t want to live inside a lie (She’ll Come Back To Me – Cake)
  22. If you want to make the weather, then you have to take the blame (I Keep Faith – Billy Bragg)
  23. Only a tramp was Lazarus sad fate, he who lay down at the rich man’s gate (A Tramp On the Street – Charlie Haden & Rachel Haden)
  24. We are the roses in the garden, beauty with thorns among our leaves (Eden – 10,000 Maniacs)
  25. Little ditty about Jack & Diane… (Jack & Diane – John Mellencamp)

Yet Another Music Meme

Thanks to ART for this one. Here are the rules;

Put your music library on shuffle.

Post the first lines of the first 25 songs that come up.

Readers guess which songs the first lines are from.

“Googling” is cheating!

I went ahead and included those songs with the title in the first line. It would’ve eliminated some good stuff, and I’m not sure it even helps sometimes; except in the case of #25. I did however skip an instrumental or two.

  1. Steve McQueen Steve McQueen; when I was a little boy I wanted to grow up to be…
  2. Sweeter than honey can be to your tongue tongue
  3. Up in the morning and out to school, teacher is teaching the golden rule
  4. Long distance information give me Memphis Tennessee
  5. Just walking in the rain, getting soaking wet
  6. How come I end up where I started?
  7. Grandma’s hands clapped in church on Sunday mornings
  8. Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight
  9. You sing a song while sitting at a red light
  10. A key in the door, a step on the floor, a note on the table, and a meal in the micro
  11. When I was a child my family would travel down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
  12. Don’t ask her how she knows, but she knows It’s gonna be great
  13. Mothers hands were lined with dirt from long days in the field
  14. Trouble going round, trouble going down
  15. First I rise, then I fall
  16. Oh I’m on my way, I know I am, somewhere not so far from here
  17. There’s a story in our town of the prettiest girl around
  18. I see your money on the floor, I felt the pocket change
  19. You wait, wanting this world to let you in
  20. She walked by the ocean and waited for a star to carry her away
  21. Last night I said to her I didn’t want to live inside a lie
  22. If you want to make the weather, then you have to take the blame
  23. Only a tramp was Lazarus sad fate, he who lay down at the rich man’s gate
  24. We are the roses in the garden, beauty with thorns among our leaves
  25. Little ditty about Jack & Diane…

Christmas Meme

christmas-holly-756624Okay, I got this in an email from Linda and Art blogged it, so I guess I should really participate too! What can I say, I’m a lemming.

The Christmas Meme

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I wrap & the missus makes bows. It’s a system
  2. Real tree or Artificial? Both, but I prefer real ones.
  3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the week after Thanksgiving.
  4. When do you take the tree down? After the New Year begins. No specific time though.
  5. Do you like eggnog? Yup. Love the stuff. Plus it disgusts my wife, which makes it that much better.
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? an AT-AT (All-Terrain Armored Transport, aka Imperial Walker) Not the real thing, but the one for my Star Wars action figures. I loved that thing.
  7. Hardest person to buy for? My parents.
  8. Easiest person to buy for? My daughter. In fact, she’s a little too easy to buy for to the extent that I end up buying her entirely too much.
  9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. We put out three. Living room, Bedroom, and one in the front yard.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I hardly ever email cards. It just can’t match the personal touch or intimacy of a hand written note or card in the mail.
  11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I remember specifically opening one, holding it up, and then being told it wasn’t for me. It was a gift for Will that my parents had tagged incorrectly.
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It’s A Wonderful Life.
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Early to Mid-November.
  14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies, Candy, Fudge, Chex Mix, Gingerbread… what’s not to love?
  15. Lights on the tree? Mostly white/clear with very few twinklers.
  16. Favorite Christmas song? I love Christmas music of all kinds, but as far as the message goes, I would have to say Stevie Wonder’s Someday At Christmas.
  17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Mostly stay at home. This year we will be going to Will’s for Christmas Eve, but that’s only travelling about 75 miles, so it doesn’t count as travelling.
  18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yep. I just don’t want to and you can’t make me.
  19. Angel on the tree top or a star? I prefer a star, though two of our bigger trees have angels and one has a Santa Hat.
  20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We get all of our gift giving done by the end of the day on Christmas Eve, so that we can focus on spending time with each other on Christmas Day.
  21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Shoppers – hands down.
  22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I find myself drawn to anything non-traditional.
  23. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Homemade yeast rolls. In our family they’re referred to as “Tootie Rolls”. Tootie is Grandma’s nickname and she always made the best rolls in the world!
  24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace. And maybe that Amazon exclusive special edition U2 box set of their first 3 albums with bonus tracks and stuff… that would be good. But Peace first, definitely Peace. And if that’s not possible, then the box set.

Monday Miscellany

Doodlebug Mom posted a little time-waster meme on her blog today, so I thought I would join in since I’m too busy to write anything that requires much thought.

pencil_color

Stuff ya Didn’t Know about Me or Wish you Never Knew!

1. Number of pets you have adopted or rescued over your lifetime: Too many to count. My childhood home was a prime pet dumping location for some reason.

2. Most embarrassing childhood memory: In Junior High, I had to wear a headband for a few months because of a surgical procedure on my forehead which was a direct result of a car wreck I was in. Except that my classmates didn’t know that; they just thought I was a big Loverboy fan or something.

3. Name a quirk: I am so obsessed with the embarrassment of having food on my face while eating in public; I can destroy a huge stack of napkins during a meal.

4. Favorite lunch: Whether it’s a sandwich or a bowl of chili, I just want it to be alone, engrossed in an online episode of the Daily Show or an interesting Podcast.

5. How you like your coffee: as agent Cooper said on Twin Peaks, “black as midnight on a moonless night.”

6. Name an interesting family “secret”: We are direct descendants of Sioux holy man, Sitting Bull.

7. Give us another one: That last “secret” was a total lie.

8. Current wish: For me & my whole family to be healthy & happy.

9. What I wanted to be when I grew up: My dad likes to tell the story that I once answered, “either a doctor or a shoe-shine boy”.

10. Most painful medical procedure: I would have to say that some of the dental procedures I have had done were far more painful than any medical procedure so far.

11. An insult that has been given to me: A piece of advice, never address a fat guy as “Big’un” or “Tiny”. They don’t think it’s funny or cute. Trust me.

12. Favorite color of clothing: Black.

13. How many trees in your yard? 9 or 10, there used to be more, but we’ve had several die in the last 5 years.

14. If I had 10 million dollars, I would: Open my own business that I loved doing whether it was profitable or not.

15. Meanest or craziest thing you’ve ever said: After being examined very thoroughly in a private place by an attractive female P.A. in an emergency room while passing a kidney stone (& whacked out on morphine), I turned to my wife and said, “I think I just got past 2nd base with her.”

Music Meme for Monday Miscellany

Now that’s a lot of Ms! In lieu of the usual Monday fare, I am following Art’s lead today by participating in a Music Meme. It took some thought, but it was kind of fun to think about for a few minutes.

Just so you know – I ripped the questions and answered them before I read anyone else’s responses. It’s pretty funny to see if there were any similarities that way – which there were!

1.       Of all the bands/artists in your record collection, which one do you own the most albums by? Without actually counting, I would say it is a close race between U2, REM, and Tori Amos. (I was w-a-a-a-y into her several years ago and she put out tons of albums.)

2.       What was the last song you listened to? Well, I haven’t listened to anything so far today. I think John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” was playing on the radio when we got home last night if I’m not mistaken.

3.       What’s in your record/CD player right now? Cowboy Junkies “Trinity Revisited”.

4.       What song would you say sums you up? Uh, Weird Al “White & Nerdy”

5.       What’s your favorite local band? Depends on your definition of “local” I guess. I don’t frequent the local music scene, but I’m hoping to catch Lou Jetton & 61 South next weekend at a BBQ festival in Paducah, mostly because he used to be my favorite weather man on one of our local news channels. But the best to come out of these parts, in my opinion, would be Uncle Tupelo.

6.       What was the last show you attended? I wish I went to more shows – I love live music. I’m just getting too old for it. I think the last one was The Wallflowers and that was a few years ago.

7.       What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to? Hands down, the best show was U2’s Pop-Mart tour in St. Louis!

8.       What’s the worst band you’ve ever seen in concert? I saw some pretty pathetic Christian bands back in high school, but all I can think of right now was Red Red Meat, who opened for Smashing Pumpkins. That was pretty painful.

9.       What band do you love musically but hate the members of? To paraphrase author Sarah Vowell, most of the musicians that I enjoy seem like pretentious, arrogant a-holes. But I don’t really hate anyone – just wouldn’t want to hang-out with them.

10.   What show are you looking forward to? I would like to go see John Prine next month, but I doubt if I will be able to.

11.   What is your favorite band shirt? I think the only band shirt I still have that almost fits is a reprint of a Rattle & Hum shirt. But back in the day I loved my Mellencamp Scarecrow Tour shirt! It was a play on the FFA logo on a baseball jersey style shirt. I rocked that one a lot!

12.   What musician would you like to hang out with for a day? Probably Jack Johnson. That would be a very mellow experience filled with tropical beaches & ukulele playing.

13.   What musician would you like to be in love with for a day? “In love” is kinda strong, but uh… Norah Jones.

14.   Commodores or solo Lionel Ritchie? Is this a trick question?

15.   Punk rock, hip hop or heavy metal? If those are my only three choices, I would have to pick Punk.

16.   Name 4 flawless albums: Wow. That’s a tough one! I don’t think flawless is even possible, but four that mean something to me & that I can listen to from beginning to end, over & over, are;

U2 – Achtung Baby
Counting Crows – August & Everything After (defined the 90’s for me!)
Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley
Lyle Lovett – Pontiac

17.   Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek? I knew that long before I started filling out this meme!

18.   What was the greatest decade for music? Every decade has its ups and downs. I would have to say late 50’s early 60’s when much of what we call rock & roll and R&B were born.

19.   How many music-related videos/dvds do you own? Again, without counting, I’m going to say in the neighborhood of 25-30. Maybe more.

20.   What is your favorite movie soundtrack? That would be Christopher Guest’s “A Mighty Wind” – I can sing along with every song, laugh out-loud, and get cheered up every single time I listen to it!

21.   What was your last musical ‘phase’ before you wised up? (Have I actually wised up? Really?) The one when I was too scared to listen to anything not labeled “Christian” for fear of accidentally worshipping Satan was particularly bad. But I guess my last actual phase was Grunge, though I hesitate to admit, I still like some of the music from that scene.

22.   What’s the crappiest CD/record/etc. you’ve ever bought? Ooooh, I’ve bought some doozies in my time. I once bought a cassette in a bargain bin that I thought was an Elvis Christmas Album, but when I got home I realized it was a Christmas album by just the Jordanaires. That was just awful.

23.   Do you prefer vinyl or CDs? I prefer CDs I guess – but I still love the vinyl too! The feeling of playing those old records on a turntable just can’t be matched! Sound quality be damned!

The End…

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the obligatory meme “tag”: anyone who reads this is hereby officially tagged! So there!

4444444444…

Willie tagged me for this interesting little 4×10 Meme – and not being the kind of guy to back down from a challenge, here goes;

4 Jobs I’ve had:

Wal-Mart Associate – or as we called it, “Wal-Martian”. I was a register jockey & eventually a third shift customer service manager – which always got real interesting after 2:00am, when the nearby strip clubs closed… ah, stories for another time.
Local Pastor – that’s right, I had a license to preach & was given a student appointment at the same place my brother would eventually serve. Unfortunately after a year, I realized that my calling had been a fabrication based on what other people wanted for me – which for the record, hardly ever works out.
CAD Operator / Drafter – Probably my favorite of any job I’ve ever held. I love drawing large complex diagrams of mechanical parts & assemblies, and I really felt like I had a knack for it. Though a friend of mine told me once that I didn’t fit into the engineering team because it was obvious that I owned both a razor & an iron.
Systems Administrator – basically getting paid to be a computer geek.

4 Places I’ve lived:

Carrier Mills, Illinois (born & raised)
Evansville, Indiana (for college)
Belleville, Illinois (commuted to a job in St. Louis, Missouri)
and back to Carrier Mills, Illinois (where I always told myself I wouldn’t move back to – now I wouldn’t have it any other way)

4 Movies I watch repeatedly:

Any of the Star Wars movies, especially the original trilogy (because as Will says, I have a Boba Fettish)
Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil – one of those movies like Shawshank Redemption, the Green Mile or Edward Scissorhands; if I see it playing on any channel – even if it’s basic cable & heavily edited – I will stop & watch it like it’s some kind of a drug.
High Fidelity – Wow, 2 John Cusack movies… how bizarre!
The Jerk – Thanks Dad!

4 Shows I watch:

The Late Show with David Letterman – it’s an addiction.
Chuck – one of the surprises for me last season. It’s fun, fast & full of geek humor.
The Morning News – on WPSD TV channel 6, as I get ready for work every morning.
Any televised St. Louis Cardinals baseball game – Not really a “show” but if there’s a game, it’s on somewhere in our house.

I would watch the Daily Show / Colbert Report every day too, but my wife can hardly stand them, so I only catch them when I can.

4 Places I have been:

Jupiter Florida – for Cardinals Spring Training
The Bahamas – an all-inclusive resort in Freeport
Savannah Georgia – I love old-fashioned southern culture & Savannah has oodles of it
Chicago Illinois – Not much of a vacation for most people I guess, but I love all the museums, the Art Institute, and the Pizza!

4 people who Email me regularly:

My brother Willie
My lovely wife Leah
My 1 Friend Chris
My friend & ex-coworker Delores, though most of her subject lines begin with “FWD:

4 things I eat:

Oatmeal & Yogurt – not like mixed together or anything – usually about 2 hours apart – but that’s how I get nearly every morning going – at least on weekdays.
Hot Wings – one of the few foods I crave.
Just about anything Italian – especially anything Carbonara or the Chicken Spiedini at Zia’s on the Hill in St. Louis.
Donuts – my great weakness. I’m not much on candy or ice cream, but I do love a donut – Damn you Krispy Kreme!

4 places I’d rather be:

Hawaii – never been there, but I lust over all things Hawaiian
Anywhere tropical – sandy beaches, palm trees, ocean breezes, a tall drink with a paper umbrella…
Busch Stadium for a St. Louis Cardinal Ballgame – even if they’re losing, I just love that atmosphere
Savannah Georgia – see above!

4 things that I look forward to this year:

Our first real vacation in several years – I’m campaigning for San Antonio Texas, never been west except for Colorado when I was too young to really remember.
The Presidential Election – finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, if you know what I mean.
The end of the Writer’s Strike
– Not because I’m looking forward to new TV shows, just because I’m sick of hearing about it.
Baseball Season – oh wait, I look forward to that every year!

4 people to tag:

I’m terrible at this kind of thing, so like Art, I’m going to cheat: Anyone who wants to participate is encouraged to.

A Christmas Meme

Okay – I’ll play along. A 3X3 Christmas Meme, for my third consecutive Christmas themed entry this week. (3 questions / 3 answers each.) Thanks Willie!

X-Mas Pin-up

What are your three favorite Christmas songs and who sings them?

Though listed first, this is actually the last question I am answering because it’s actually the one I had to think about the most. I love music & love Christmas music but here are the 3 that come to mind first.

1. Elvis – it ain’t Christmas without Elvis, I love nearly all of his holiday tracks, but I picked “On a Snowy Christmas Night” because I like the sentiment, “give thanks for all you’ve been blessed with & hold your loved ones tight…

2. Charles Brown – “Please Come Home for Christmas”: It’s been covered tons of times, but none hold a candle the original.

3. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s cover of “Mr. Heatmiser” from the 1978 classic Rankin/Bass stop-action special, “A Year Without a Santa Claus” just for the fun-factor.

Honorable mention: “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” by Darlene Love or U2 either one, “Santa on the Roof” by Rev. Horton Heat, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by Gayla Peevey, and “River” by Joni Mitchell (kind of depressing, but beautiful).

What are your three favorite Christmas foods?

1. I’m going to go ahead & follow suit here because I really love eggnog. I don’t care if it’s technically a food or not, it’s one of the few edible things I really look forward to during the Christmas season.

2. Warm gingerbread with fresh whipped cream. Not a house or a cookie – just a pan of fresh gingerbread right out of the oven. The smell is as good as the taste.

3. When we were younger, the main Christmas food I looked forward to was an annual gift from my Mom’s cousin-in-law, Melinda. She baked fresh tea-rings that were like a little slice of heaven wrapped in tin foil; braided yeast dough with cinnamon & pecans & drizzled with icing – holy crap!

What are your three Christmas secrets?

1. I couldn’t care less if I ever received another present; as long as I could watch the kids in my family open theirs.

2. I absolutely love the trappings of Christmas; the movies (no matter how cheesy), the music (no matter what genre) and the decorations (the gaudier the better)!

3. Probably not a secret to my family but Christmas Eve candlelight communion is my absolute favorite moment of the entire Christmas season. Our lives are so stressful & busy, not to mention that I let outside influences make the season less enjoyable than it should be. Communion is a brief moment in time that I can kneel at the altar with my family, thank God for them & for everything else, and feel His presence. It really is the highlight of Christmas for me.

I’m going to go out on a limb & tag my new coworker Neal, even though I don’t know his blog address; mostly because I’m interested to hear his choice of songs!