Wednesday, August 31, 2005

You too could be a winner...

This is kind of weird. My little street was chock full of news trucks yesterday. It turns out that my neighbor (my new favorite neighbor) won the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes (you too could be a winner). One Million dollars...and a car. One of those fancy sports cars....did I mention she's 80? Anyhow, kind of strange....seeing that guy who wears the double breasted suit with the flower in the lapel, the van with the magnetic "Prize Patrol" sign on the side. I'm guessing that I'll never see that again.

So this all begs the question, What would you do with a million bucks?
First and foremost, I'd give our government half...because they deserve it just as much as I would (having filled out the Publishers Clearinghouse paperwork and all). And you just know that there's no better money spent than giving it to the government. They'd never waste it. Sure, I could give it to homeless shelters, Food Banks, Charities...but I'm sure that the good people at the I.R.S. would know how to get me more bang for my buck.
So half is gone.
Now what? I've got $500,000
and a car...
Finally...everything in life is perfect! I don't have to worry about money! Maybe just the annoying thing of everybody asking me for some. Come to think of it...nobody likes to say no so that could get really annoying...but it's still fun to have money! Now the love that I know I'll find from buying stuff will finally be quenched!
The new cars with fine Corinthian leather seats will love me!
The jacuzzi will love me!
The $400 shirt will love me!
Life will be perfect! Oh joy!
Sure the chances of suicide go up after someone wins the lottery...but that's just because they didn't realize how awesome it is to win a boatload of cash.
O.K., there is the rumor that there is this impending sense of doom...that you'll lose it all...that everyone is after your money...but I'm sure that's not as bad as they say.
YOU'RE RICH!!! And what else can fill up your life like MONEY!!!
It fixes everything I hear...
what did the Beatles know anyhow?


A friend of mine allegedly put together a video recently entitled "regret". Throughout the video (that I will one day steal, change 15 seconds of...and then claim as my own) he has different college students talk about their regrets from high school.

At first this seems like it could be kind of a downer (and he does top if off with a Coldplay you know it's deep) - but it's aimed at high school when I thought about that - it became a more empowering, uplifting, hope filled idea. I say idea...because I still haven't seen it....even though I keep sending him my address (124 Oakmont Rd. - State College, PA. 16801 if you're reading this Kevin)

The hope for someone watching this is the possibility of learning from others. I think there's real wisdom in this. The expression "you won't know until you try it" is a load of crap. "How do you have an opinion about've never tried it?" - So I should go out and try crack before I take my anti-crack stand??? Maybe I should start lapping up battery acid before I'm so quick to say that that would be dumb???
Anyhow, it got me thinking about my regrets...
-I regret not studying more...the Bible, my friends, my family, my health....I regret not looking into things more - the things that are, or should be, most important to me....why wouldn't I study them?
I regret about 4 things I say a day.
I regret about 400 things I should have said a day (Heb. 3:13 talks about this a bit)
I regret not loving more, serving more, listening more, caring more....and maybe that's as a result of not focusing (or studying...or thinking about) them more.
I regret watching most Adam Sandler movies.
I regret not praying more "Hey Sean, I've got the President on line fact, I've got the God of the Universe - the Fella who built all those mountains around State College - He also made those stars up there....He also made that ocean....anyhow, He'd love to talk to you" " about later? I'm watching Seinfeld"
I regret not water proofing my basement.
I regret not really knowing much about Victor Hugo (I hear he's quite the novelist)
I regret not taking more risks.

So I wonder if I can learn from my own mistakes??? I wonder if I have to look to others... and their regrets, to learn from them? It's sure not a bad way to go. There certainly is some wisdom in that.

Maybe I could do both?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Texas Tea

I just heard that a barrel of oil costs 68 dollars. That's not too bad if you ask me. Sure, it's driving up gas prices...I just paid $58 to fill up the miniature van.
- I think that $2.55 for a gallon of gasoline is still a relative bargain. That's actually cheaper than water. I bought a pint of water for $1.09 at the store yesterday....and there are 8 pints in a gallon (I think?) and that means a gallon of water would cost me around $8.72. So the real question is....should we go to war with France over the price of bottled water?
*quick SMM disclaimer: (I do not, nor have I ever, believed that this Country - God Bless the USA - is, has, or would, go to war for oil - maybe if we were mad that their country tried to beat up...or in this case - kill dub's daddy - we would....but back to the original disclaimer - I don't think that's why we're there)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Built Ford Tough II

So my van breaks down and I ask the other football coaches if they know what's wrong. "It just made this thud noise...the power steering went out...and then the battery light came on." Doug, "no idea" Tree, "got the wrong guy" Josh, "I don't know anything about cars" Denny, "did you check under the hood to see if there was a dead squirrel?" Hos, "I have no idea what that could be...I'm having enough trouble with my car"
So I take it to Pep Boys, where I have yet to find even one employee with the least amount of Pep.
They call me the next day laughing.
That's never good...although, I guess they wouldn't be laughing if they were going to tell you that it's going to cost thousands of dollars. They'd probably laugh, calm down...and then call you.
So the guy tells me that they found a dead squirrel that got caught in a belt under the hood.
So, either Denny is: Psychic
a Prophet (do they prophesy about squirrels?)
or stuck a dead squirrel under my hood...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

that's it still cool to say "cool"?

The Fonz. Do you remember Arthur Fonzarelli? He lived in a little apartment above the garage of the Cunninghams....on Happy Days. Anyhow, the Fonz was cool - that was his thing. It's interesting how many things have been labeled "cool" by myself or others. When the Fonz was cool, he wore the same clothes every day, had his hair in a pompadour, and gave the thumbs up for everything he thought was cool. Is it possible to both be cool,and to also give something the thumbs up? I submit that it is not. If I'm mocking something (oh yeah, I've done it before) one of my go to moves is to give the double thumbs up...making sure my elbows are higher than my shoulders (you're trying it now...aren't you?)
Today if you want to be cool, you'd do well to observe the people that are deemed cool in this day and age (because the Fonz aint cutting it these days). So this begs the question: Who is cool now? Sean Combs, a.k.a. Sean "puffy" Combs, a.k.a. "Puff Daddy" Combs, a.k.a. "P-Diddy", a.k.a. "Diddy" - my friend Kevin recently pointed out that you can't be cool and give yourself a nickname.
If someone calls you "C.Z." because you can live with that...but if you start calling yourself C.Z. - well that's kind of lame.
So Diddy is out.
Is someone cool if they're "cool under pressure" - they don't let things get to them? That's kind of the textbook answer...but there's a fine line between cool and just plain old fashioned apathetic. I think there's gotta be a little Pro-Activeness in being cool. Not a ton...but they've got to do something. Snoop Dog...he's laid back...but he wouldn't be considered as cool if he wasn't also rapping.
Here's one thing I've noticed. No one can be cool while at the sme time raising the roof. I used to see these white guys raise the roof, and think to myself, "man that is the opposite of far as East is from West, that's how far they are from cool. If cool was a P.H.D., they're still in the first grade. If cool was playing football in the Pro-Bowl, they just got cut from their 7th grade team." or something like that. But just like with wrestling, it doesn't matter if you're black or white. I've seen some pretty cool non-Caucasian friends of mine "raise the roof" and they all end up looking like some dad showing up at his son's high school dance nd trying to show the kids that he's still groovy.
So who was amazingly cool under pressure...while also accomplishing something?
I did hear about this one guy who was on a boat full of fishermen. The boat is about to flip....or go under...and the firshermen are crying like they're in the front row of a Clay Aiken concert. So this guy (we'll call him J.C., because anybody with a J initial for their first name can have a nickname with their initials sound pretty cool) is asleep. The guys who are on boats every day are freaking out...and this carpenter who spends more time making boats than being on napping! This is the definition of calm, cool and collected. If it ended there, then he's just the stoner guy who says, "whatever" to anything he doesn't want to get involved in. But this guy gets woken (it's a word) up, snaps his fingers...and the storm that was wrecking their boat just stops. It stops. Little ducks paddle are allowed by their moms to go back in the water....all because this guy STOPPED THE STORM!
that's pretty almost wonder what else this guy could do.

Built Ford Tough

My miniature van just died. Died is probably (hopefully) an exaggeration. It's more just kindda injured. I noticed that it made a noise...and then I noticed the power steering was out. Not a problem for a ridiculously strong man such as myself...but you've got to think of the children. I also noticed that the battery light went on. That's not good. I considered trying to drive it to the shop (car shop...not to go shopping for a new winter blazer) but then I remembered the last time I tried driving a vehicle with a failing battery.
It wasn't pretty...
I drove the car about 1/2 mile or so...and it died on me. So I put my portable battery charger on it...started it up...and drove another 1/4 mile or so. At this point I was on a very busy street, with no room off to the side, and had an incredibly cute 3 year old in the back seat. (still not sure who that kid was and how he got there). So I was a little nervous about stopping in the middle of traffic..but it wasn't up to me. It just stopped. That's when I decided to just hook up the battery charger and try and use that as my battery - just to get me home. The problem was that the battery charger didn't fit under the hood.
So...I just closed the hood as much as I could - started the car - and then drove at 3 or 4 miles an hour. You wanna go slow so the wind doesn't knock the hood up and break your windshield.
Apparently you want to go slower than 3 miles an hour.
So instead of having a bad alternator...I had a bad alternator, bent hood, and a cracked windshield. Oh, and I should mention that then I was driving on that very busy road, with the 3 year old in the back seat...and with a hood covering my broken windshield.
This is never good.
So today I just called AAA. I think it's just a belt...of course I always say that. "Sean, your car just stopped." "Yeah, let me take a looksy under the 'ol hood." "Uh, I think that's your trunk" "Sure...I knew's just that I like to get the complete picture. Sounded to me like it's a belt" "But your gas light has been on for the past 18 miles"
"Nope, it's gotta be a belt"

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bad Movies
a haiku
Movies, so much fun...
but seven dollar popcorn?
oh Adam Sandler

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

the piano man

It's 5 o'clock in the morning...
why would anybody be up at 5 in the morning? It doesn't make sense. Personally I woke up because it felt like someone was sticking a corn shaped corn on the cob holder into the back of my left eye. Normally that's enough to say "ouch" or "man that kinda hurts" but in my case it was only a partial distraction to the sensation I was feeling throughout my head. I had the sense that someone was trying to bend metal into a circle...perhaps to make a wheel, or a decorative lawn statue...and they were using my head as the fulcrum point in which to shape the aforementioned metal. Again, "ow".
Part of me thinks maybe I should take up the ultimate fighting championships. I figure that if I'm going to wake up feeling like this anyway...might as well get a pair of those cool "Tap Out" shorts. And who doesn't want to be in the octagon? There's a, "hey look at that car that flipped over the side of the highway" element for me in watching the U.F.C. I don't really want to watch it...yet I'm compelled to. I see a lot of ex-wrestlers compete on that show, but I think it's more than that. It's just a fight. Boxing is not fighting. Nobody fights like a boxer...they grab, kick, choke, elbow...that's more like a real fight. I've seen a few real fights, and I've seen a few Ultimate fighting matches....they're both brutal...they're both grotesque on some level...but there is also a give and take unlike other physical competitions. You can almost see their brains thinking through the strategy.
Mine would be, "Don't get hit, don't get kicked, he's going to kick you! Duck! Run! Fake pulling a hammy and tap out" - or something like that. I just can't imagine fighting anymore. Defending your family...sure...but these guys always hug afterwards.
There's no hugging in fighting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

football practice

I have football practice in 15 minutes. It's always interesting to me to watch these 70+ guys show up to play football. There are always a few kids that can't run, catch or we'd put them on the offensive line, but they're also weak, have poor balance and don't really know how to block. I always wonder why they'd come out for the team. They usually figure it out by mid-year and then just don't come out the following season. Every once in a while though, we get a kid who isn't that big, fast or coordinated that just out works everybody else. You find yourself just watching this kid and thinking, "if only _______ worked that hard, he'd be all state". It's a shame, because the kids who are much better athletes - who don't work that hard in practice sometimes....they're the ones who get to play in the games. The shame is...they aren't going to realize their true football potential. They're just good enough to coast by.
Sometimes I wonder which guy I am. Am I the guy who takes what gifts I have...and then maximizes them with hard work, determination and focused energies?
Am I the guy who takes advantage of my gifts, and just kind of coasts.
So the questions is: Could I be all state in life? Is it possible that I could be more loving, caring, empathetic, discerning, encouraging? How many opportunities to change a person's day...or even life am I missing? Could I do more?
maybe that'd be worth a shot?

Monday, August 22, 2005

doctor doctor (my early 80's reference for the day)

Sometimes I wonder if they teach a class at medical school, "Bad Penmanship" or "how to convince people that you're a doctor with a few quick strokes of your pen". What's the deal with their handwriting? I had one doctor tell me that it was because they're in such a hurry that they just scribble stuff out...but I've waited in enough waiting rooms to know that most doctors aren't in that big of a hurry. I've seen people write better when they're playing boggle and going against the clock.

I really think it's because they think doctors are supposed to have bad handwriting. They probably had ok handwriting in high school...maybe even in college. I think it's some sort of pride deal. "I'm too important to write like everybody else now...I'm a doctor after all." It's like the freshman football player that wears a certain pair of shoes because the varsity guys wear them.... they just think that that's how it's supposed to be????
The term doctor is also something that's kind of odd to me. If you're in a restaurant and someone has a heart attack, you'll hear, "is there a doctor in the house?" - when what they really mean is, "Is there someone with medical training here?" You really don't want the guy who has his Doctorate in Theology or Agriculture taking care of you at that point. They're doctors's just that you don't generally call them Doc or Bones (that's kind of an old school medical doctor reference) and they also don't have the deep need to show off their horrendous penmanship.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

the excellence is sports programming network

I was just watching a show on E.S.P.N. a few minutes ago, and a couple of things kind of stood out to me.

They were talking about Tiger Woods leaving a golf tournament after he was done. He was behind by 3 strokes, but if the guys in the lead had triple bogeyed, or had a bogey and a double bogey, or been struck by theory, Tiger could have played in the playoff. Actually, if they were struck by lightning, he would just win. Anyhow, what really stood out was how made these guys were at Tiger. He was playing a game. It was on national tv, it's one of the four largest tournaments in the world, it's worth a ton of cash....but it's a game.

I just can't imagine spending my life getting spittin mad at people because of how they play their games. This is what these guys do. They're lives revolve around games. I've seen guys come close to fighting over sports...not playing in them...but just talking about them. I'm from Ohio and when I moved to PA I bought a couple Penn State hats, t-shirts...things. I figure, "I'm in State College now, why not follow the local team." but because I also like the teams that I've followed for the pass 30+ years...people really get mad at me. They'll talk badly about OSU - for them it's important that I know that Penn State is better (unless you look at the wins, championships, overall see what I just did there?). I was even thinking of rooting for Penn State last year when they played Ohio State. I figured that either way it's not a bad thing. It's fun to pick a team and root for them....and I live here...why not?
Until Half-time of the OSU - PSU game
And then they came out. Every obnoxious Penn State fan had to come up and tell me how bad Penn State was beating my team (even though I was somewhere in the middle at the time) and they made me want to hate Penn State. They were so obnoxious that I just had to root for OSU (who ended up winning...again)
it's silly
These are 300 pound men wearing tight pants and throwing a ball around a big grassy field. I love sports...but to revolve your life around them. I know guys who could tell you the backup center for the Rams - but not who their Governor is...I have Christian friends that know far more about the National Football League than they do about the book that we believe to be the Word of God...that's kind of a big book for us Christians.

These guys on E.S.P.N. were actually spitting mad...I'm pretty sure I saw saliva fly...
And it was kind of sad.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The little things...

Pet Peeves is kind of a goofy name for something that bugs you. I guess it's that you "carry around" these things that get you "peeved"...or drag them around as if on a leash. So these peeves become your pets. I think they're more like shirt peeves...hat peeves...backpack peeves....things you wear every day...that you carry around & let bring you down.
Loud eaters drive Annie nuts...and now they kind of bug me too. They actually ruin moments for me. I'll be having a perfectly good meal, enjoying myself...and then all I can think about is, "why the heck are they so loud when they eat salad? Nobody else eats this loud. It's like they have a little amplifier somewhere the back of their throat." Every once in a while I'll ask someone around me if it's bugging them as well & they'll say that they hadn't even noticed it. My lunch is ruined and theirs isn't...because it's not one of their peeves.
Babies crying in church...or movies....cell phones anywhere...people who ask and answer questions (do I hate that? yeah, I do) the expression "I could care less" when the person really means that they care so little that they"couldn't care less".

If I could let these little annoyances go...I'd probably get along with people a lot better...I'd probably be able to relate to people better....I'd probably be a lot less judgmental...
this might just be worth a how should I start?

Maybe it's all about choosing what I'm focusing on...
maybe if I could just think about the things that are "pure, right, lovely...excellent or praiseworthy" in someone....then maybe I'd spend a lot less time looking at the minor annoyances.
who knows?...

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I sometimes wonder what I would be if I had the guts to go for it... I probably would have started a band - Plastic Parts - that was the name of my fake band in middle school - or Batteries Sold separately - that was my fake band name in high school
- The problem is that I can't sing...and I can barely play six chords on a guitar...and don't have much rhythm...and I think you need those things to be in a band. So, in a way, it's probably good that I never had the guts to start a band.
-I wonder though about stuff that I could have accomplished...
Regret can be a great motivator...but it can be kind of heavy. I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to "Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead" to " press on toward the goal to win the prize ..." Seems like I can't dwell on stuff that I haven't accomplished...or even attempted. There have been some pretty cool times...and I'm sure there will be plenty more ahead. So maybe it's more about celebrating the victories, pushing the envelope in future endeavors, and maybe even taking a few more risks...
but Plastic Parts? what the heck was that all about?
The cool thing is....I'm not in a band, but I still have a hot wife...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

why does "stat" mean hurry up in a hospital?

I just found out that 99.5% of all American households own a refrigerator. I also found out that the Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters. This brings up two important questions - 1. Why would 1/2 of 1 percent of the population not have a fridge. If I lived in a city of 100,000 people, that means that 500 People in my city would be fridgeless. How does that happen? I even had a fridge in my dorm room in college. I'm broke as a joke and I have the old dorm fridge, a regular one & a full sized freezer that we bought at a garage sale for thirty bucks. Maybe I'm part of the problem. Now I'm wondering if I should start a refrigerator ministry and give them away. hmmm...
And what's the deal with a Hawaiian alphabet? Aren't they one of our 50 states? It seems like they'd stick with English - kindda like the other 49. I know in Ireland there are about 50 people who speak Gaelic...but that's just kind of a fun little cultural oddity. They basically have joined Ohio, Rhode Island and the rest of us on this English speaking thing.
I just worry about stupid things that I read...
-Did you know there are about 61,000 people flying over the U.S. right now? weird...

you can't go back

Sometimes I think that it'd be awesome to go back in time and have a "do over". I usually think this when I'm watching sports. I think it'd be great to play football or to wrestle again with all that I've learned from coaching for the past decade or so. Wrestling especially is a sport that having experience & knowledge helps incredibly. Today was one of those days. I just came home from football practice. I know that coaches would rather have somebody that works hard and knows his plays, than somebody who can run really fast but doesn't ever know when or where to run. So just when I started thinking that it'd be great to have a "do over", the coach had them all run...and then I realized that there are some things that would be tough to go back to. Cutting weight for wrestling - lifting 6 days a week - running sprints...
I don't really do those things much anymore. I'd lift weights...but they're so dang heavy....and I carry scissors wherever I go...and you know you're not supposed to run with scissors. My mom taught me that. She also taught me how to spell (and you see how well that turned out).
I was talking with some folks the other day about "do overs" (I'm not really sure why I keep putting those in quotes). It seems like we all (or at least the group that was in my living room...which is a pretty good cross sampling of Americans between the ages of 15-21, living in State College, PA.) have regrets. Big regrets and small. Some from years ago that have left some scars...and stupid little things from this past summer. The problem with these regrets is that they just sit there...and fester. Because of the no "do over" policy of this world...we've got some decisions to make. We could sulk, complain & blame others for what's happened to us or because of us (I'm pretty good at all of these)
we can try and create an environment that curtails all future regrets (impossible...but that doesn't necessarily mean we shouldn't give it a shot). So a lot of this is stemming from this new book I've just read "The best question ever" by Andy Stanley. Andy points out that we'd cut out most (if not all) of our major regrets if we'd stop and ask ourselves the greatest question ever...
He lays out a pretty good case. I'd try and sum it up...but that'd take all day. If you're interested, you should just buy the book - or me lunch.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

little Grif

Griffin - cute little, 4 year old, first child of mine, Griffin- has a new favorite song. He's recently discovered our stereo in the basement...and apparently he has poor hearing, because if I think it's too loud - it's too loud. Maybe he inherited my bad, yet perfectly proportioned, ears.
He now asks me, just about every morning, "daddy, do you want to go down in the basement and dance?".
It's like he doesn't know me at all. You live with someone for four plus years and they still asks you something like that. That's like someone saying to me, "hey, do you want to go on a run?" or "M. J., would you babysit for us this week?" "Hey, Kate Hudson - could you give me some marital advice?" (her marriage has about 13 seconds left, by the way - you heard it here first), "hey ________ (fill in your favorite child actor), give me some career advice"
So we haven't gone down to the basement to dance yet. It's a lot easier for me to do the worm upstairs on the hard wood floors anyway.
I did find out what his favorite song is. He listens to music a lot in Annie's miniature van. Apparently she plays a lot of Rich Mullins - and he says his favorite new song is
"Our God is an Awesome Guy"
not a bad re-write...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Pedantic prose

I used to think it was annoying when I heard babies cry at church or in movie fact I still's just that I think it's cute when it's my kid. In a sense, I'm above the law.
It drives me nuts when I hear about people gossiping about me. In fact, it bugs me so much that I'll tell anybody who will listen about those people gossiping about me. It bugs me when people cleverly slip things into conversation - for instance, "hey, that's a nice shirt Sean" "thanks" "speaking of nice things, did I mention that I just got an A on my exam?" I sortta do that desperate search for the approval that I never received from Mr. Cruz (my third grade teacher that everybody thought was having an affair with Mrs. Dwyer - they're together maybe there was something to that)

It bugs me when people go off on tangents that have nothing to do with what they were talking about.
I've always like the word "bubkiss". "Hey Sean, how much did you get for that What 'chu talking 'bout Willis? t-shirt on e-bay?" "I got bubkiss"
It just works for expression the contempt I have for nothing. (or jack squat)
I ask people why they engage in certain activities when they know they're wrong...and they often rationalize their actions by saying, "it's ok this one time" or "you know that it's not a big deal, I can handle this without getting into any real trouble". It all comes down to this... (at least I think it does)
We all think we're above the law. It bugs us when other people do the things that we do.
A friend of mine will periodically speak about relationships to groups - people love to talk about that stuff. He often will ask each person to put together a list of attributes they're looking for in a potential girlfriend (the girls already have a typed out, three page list in their he's basically just asking the guys to make a list)
He follows this by telling folks that they should try to BE the list. The things they're looking for (nice, smart, caring, funny, generous, uses big words, pedantic...) try to live those out. The thing is - the stuff we like in often hard to pull off in ourselves. It's easier to just sit back and criticize others for their inadequacies...then to work on ourselves. We're above the law.
As much as they tell us in school to work on our self-esteem (because clearly people are far too concerned with helping their fellow humans...we need to think about ourselves more often) - maybe we ought to work on our self-lessness. Maybe we ought to see people as thirsty instead of as screwed up. We're all thirsty for's just a matter of how we're trying to quench that thirst.
But what do I know?

Friday, August 12, 2005

a haiku
Poverty and Aids
One Humanitarian
Africa needs One
I feel deep when I write bad haiku...that's just how I roll...


I talked with a friend of mine the other day and he was talking about his folks paying for his college education. I've noticed that folks who are generally fiscally conservative tend to be a little more liberal when it comes to their education. For a while there was a lot of talk about what to name this generation. We had the baby boomers, Generation X (also Billy Idol's first band) and then....Post Moderns? Generation Y? the busters? I'm sure there's a correct label, but if not, I'd suggest the Entitlement Generation. I fit nicely in that category. Certainly people that are my age and younger could be described this way.
I hear things like, "Of course my parents should pay for my college degree!" - "But, how is it their responsibility to pay for you?" "Because they're my parents!" Somehow you don't hear that argument when they're arguing with their parents about how late they can stay out, or how then spend their time...decisions they make. It's more, "I'm an adult now! I can make my own decisions!"
I lived in a community where just about everybody was given a car when they turned 16. It was just kind of normal. You expected it. We felt like somehow we were entitled to them.
We were wrong.

I think the same is true of kids having their parents pay for their college. I'm NOT saying that it's wrong for parents to pay for their kid's college...I'm saying that it's wrong for kids to just sort of expect it. Even a conservative college students would say that parents should pay for their kid's college. They say that, not because it's a core value that they would generally hold to...but because they don't want to pay for school. We all sort of do that in one way or another. We believe things that will be good for us...not because they're right...but because it suits our present needs.
I know folks who complain because their parent don't buy them cars...and folks that complain because they don't like the kind of car their parents bought them. It's amazing to me how ungrateful we we expect things that we certainly never earned nor deserve. We just kind of think we're entitled to them.
Ultimately what are we really entitled to? What have we earned with our lives? It's not always pretty to think in those terms...but it's sobering.
and humbling...
a wise man once said, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." I would think it'd be hard to live that way...while at the same time expecting so much of others..
who knows?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

It's all about the Benjamins...

Today was one of those days. I just found out we're in the red (the Murphy family bank account, if it had a flag - would be red...and probably would have a lion...I like lions) So if I remember my freshman year = negative $ and that's never good...especially when you get paid once a month and it's the 11th. So all spending stops for 19 days.

I'm not really sure how to do that. I can raid the giant coke bottle full of coins for gas money (that's my only thing I have to spend money on) I could go to the driving range and offer to compete against people in a long drive contest for money - but if they can hit it longer than 85 yards -I'll probably lose. I could start mowing lawns, sell some blood...."blood here....we've got some fresh, hot type o positive blood here!" Maybe put some of my clothes from the skit closet together and perform at children's parties??? I guess I'd have to learn how to make those balloon animals and juggle...but clowns kindda freak me out. Maybe I should do singing telegrams. Or become a milk man. I could just try and bring back jobs that nobody does anymore. I'd tell them it was retro or vintage...and was all the rage in Paris this spring. "Lindsay Lohan has gone away from she's sending everything by telegraph's way in...seriously" If you could see me right now, you'd see a large full spectrum light bulb dangling above my head. I think I've just stumbled upon a goldmine. This being broke might just be the best possible thing to happen to me in a long, long time!

21 minutes with my feet on a sticky floor

My boy Wes in Africa...drinking a coke at dawn
(like he's going to go all the way to Africa for a Pepsi???) The movie was supposed to start at 9:30. We sat down at 9:29. At 9:30 the first preview came on....and then there was a second preview...and then a third...a fourth...and a fifth...eventually (at 9:51) our movie started. There were 21 minutes of previews. This has been true of the last few movies I've seen. It makes me want to show up 20 minutes late for my movie, but then I'm sitting in the front row on somebody's lap - and that's kind of awkward. I know a lot of people love previews...but how many movies have you gone to and said, "I'd already seen all the funny parts in the previews."? They're basically just ruining future movies for you...and delaying your current movie by 21 minutes. A typical half hour sitcom is 22 minutes long once you take out the commercials. So if people like previews so much - why don't they fill these half hour slots with 22 minutes of previews and a couple of commercials? (I might have something here...)
By the time a movie starts, I've ingested $13 worth of popcorn and diet coke. It always gets me thinking..."what better use of my time can there be for this 21 minutes?" Honestly, if I only wasted 21 minutes a day - I'd be doing pretty well. It's nothing for me to spend 20 minutes watching tv commercials in a typical day - or waiting in traffic - or staying in bed for another 20 minutes after I wake up because I don't have a morning meeting - or watching the World Series of Poker - or sitting in the waiting room at my doctor's office. It's funny how spending 20 minutes doing nothing is so much more natural for me than spending 20 minutes praying.
Now as far as spending time with God -The more consistently I do it - the more natural it becomes. It's like any relationship I suppose. It's silly to think that I'd spend 20 minutes watching previews of movies that I'll never see - but not spend time talking with the God of the Universe. Which one of these things will change my life in more significant ways? Hmmm...I wonder...
Sometimes my priorities get kind of messed up...but have you seen the new Chronicles of Narnia preview?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dating Via the World Wide Web

Some friends of mine & I recently ranked the #1 - #5 bad ways to break up with someone. We decided that breaking up with someone via the fax was probably the #1 worst way to break up with someone. I hear Sly Stallone did that with his current wife...but obviously they're back maybe that says something for the fax breakup. # 2 would be in a letter. A letter doesn't give the person a chance to write back right away. It creates a safety zone of a couple of days for the person. #3 was breaking up with someone by e-mail. It's a little more personal than a fax because you don't have to worry about someone from the office picking it up and reading it while they're walking to your office to give it to you. It's still not the most personal way to go.
#4 the I.M. is one step up from the e-mail. It's a dialogue... but you'll notice that people generally say much deeper things on I.M. than they do in person. There's a certain wall that keeps people feeling protected...and because they don't have to look at the person as they're saying something - it's a little easier to say stuff on an instant message. So basically, it's a cop out. You can write and rewrite whatever you want to say...the instant message (along with the fax, letter & e-mail) allows you to edit and censor your thoughts. It's less raw. (so more fake) It's less you. It's a lesser way to really connect with people.
So obviously...the #5 worst way to break up with someone is in person. If you gotta do it...might as well man up and do it in person.
Now there were some that were left off the list (asking a friend to break up with someone for you -*this is generally done during recess , and never actually breaking just sort of start seeing someone else) we felt like these didn't deserve much discussion...
This all leads me to internet dating. I guess you could argue that it's a safe first step. The problem that arises with the internet dating is the same problem you have with long distance relationships. People can put their best foot forward in a letter, e-mail, I.M. or even a hour long phone call. We have enough problems with people putting up false fronts in person...but we know that at the end of a long day together - the other person is going to catch at least a glimpse of who you really are.... it just happens - and that's healthy.
A friend of mine asked me to write something about internet here I am...writing about internet dating. And now I'm wondering if they meant the kind of dating where you put a picture and a little something about yourself on some sort of web site???
I probably should have asked before I started typing away...
I'm really pretty impetuous when it comes to these... you'd know that if you spent any time with me.

my don't have to read it.

Sometimes I wonder how people can spend $300 on a purse when there are children starving. I read articles about celebrities...I've seen the show "the fabulous life of..." and they talk about the guy with the $500,000 (literally - half a million) car. I wonder how he can rationalize it. I know it's their just seems like such a waste. I hear people talk about how the rich should pay more than their share - by percentage or by amount...usually both - and just can't agree with that. There's no less efficient way to spend money than to have the government spend it. It's just that it's sad that people are wasting money on $85 T-shirts when you could sponsor a child for three months with that money. A friend of mind helped raise some money so they could buy locks for an orphanage. The reason they needed locks (more than food, clothing, books or other needs) was that their orphans were constantly in danger of being kidnapped and either sold into slavery or sold for body parts by folks who either needed a transplant or were sacrificing to the local witch doctor. So at some point you've got to wonder, "should I buy this 35 million dollar house...or help out these orphans and settle for the 25 million dollar house?".
Some of my friends who think the government solves problems (because socialism always works...except you end up with a higher unemployment rate and a bigger discrepancy between the rich and the poor....but why get wrapped up in logic - it sounds nice) who will spend money on silly things. Thousands of dollars on Christmas folks like me who aren't terribly poor. They drive decent cars, have decent jobs, spend ridiculous money on restaurants and entertainment....thousands of dollars a year in movies, books and entertainment - and yet complain that the rich aren't giving away more to a forced government program. They don't realize that they are part of the richest 5% of the world. I wonder some times how much time they give up. If a rich person that works 60 hours a week isn't giving up enough money...I want to ask, "Well are you giving up 20 hours of your time a week?" Shouldn't the government make you work for them for 20 hours each week? If you have more...isn't the argument that you should give more. Would it be wrong for a rich guy to point at you and be mad (to wage class warfare - or jealously...whatever you want to call it) at them (or you) for not giving more?
Anyhow, that's not the point. I think it's wrong to force people to give away their money to an incredibly inefficient system - and I wish people were more generous with what they had. It sounds like two sides of an argument, but giving away and having something taken away are two entirely different things. When you have a choice - when you actively give to something...I'd argue that you're going to be more cautious about where it goes. You'll care more about the end result. When it's just're just mad that they took it. That's all...just mad.
So I wonder about $3,000 worth of makeup. It sort of bugs me when I hear about the 2 millions dollars worth of jewelry....and last night I gave a movie theater $5.25 to see
the Dukes of Hazzard.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I know a few things...and spelling isn't one of them

There are certain things in life that I'm sure of... I know for sure that once a year my basement will flood. I'm positive that Griffin will ask me today for Candy, to play with his friends, to watch cartoons, to slip n' slide, to go to the pool, for more juice, if he can spend the night at _________'s house, ask when cousin Connor can come over, and for a snack, three toys that he sees in commercials, and if I want to play baseball. You can't convince me that Tom Cruise will be married to Katie Holmes in five years. I won't believe that Trix are made just for kids. I know as much as I know anything that wrestling is the hardest far...and you cross country fans aren't going to convince me otherwise...until you're seen leaving practice with some piece of clothing soaked in blood....every day.
I know that the 1970's Steelers are the best football team of all time. I know that Major League pitching is better today than it's ever been... I'm sure that people believe what they want to believe. I know that our great struggle is Pride. I know that Max Lucado has a gift for making the profound seem simple...and is looked down upon for being "simple".
I know there was a guy who led a faultless life, died, rose again....and appeared before over 500 witnesses....many who died in His name - now why would you die for someone - if you knew the things said about him were a lie? Maybe if you thought this guy was a big some of those kooky cults - but they SAW Him. If you knew He didn't rise again....would you die for Him? You wouldn't. I know that.
I also know that Beverly Hills Ninja is the worst movie of all time.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Ipod, a Haiku

a haiku

Ipod, o' Ipod

Why so gloomy on this day?

must be the music...


There are certain things that should be left unsaid. There are also certain pieces of art, film & literature that should never be "improved upon". They do these remakes and I believe that they're occasionally better than the original. I know that's not a very popular sentiment...but I would argue that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was better than the was Ocean's 11. The problem comes with Ocean's 12 - and Rocky IV - Fletch Lives - and Jaws 3D - (and did you know there was a Jaws IV?)

- Sure, you've got the occasional sequel that's as good or better than the first - Godfather II, that Lord of the Rings one...never saw it, but people seemed to love it...
But did we need a Police Academy 7?

Sure there were still some unresolved plot lines that had yet to be resolved...and that Michael Winslow is a comedic genius (he can make the sound of his career imploding) but seven movies? They had to pay each of the actors (even Tim Kazerinski) at least minimum wage - that's a lot of actors - how did they possible make enough money to keep making those? Maybe it was somebody's tax write off - I'm guessing it was Guttenberg's Uncle's.

I'm sure that Adam Sandler is a great guy...and loyal to his friends....but Deuce Bigalow II? Maybe Rob Schneider saved his life, or got him on Saturday Night Live...but does he have to keep producing this guys stuff? Couldn't he just keep giving him small parts in his equally as bad movies? "We really wanted to explore the full range of this character" "We felt like Deuce really had some things to say to the public, and we wanted to give him that chance" "We felt like this movie was a morality play that showed the plight of man's struggle against a society that ignores men of shortness" These are things that you'll never hear said about a sequel to this fine, fine motion picture. "We thought people were dumb enough to pay another 6 bucks to watch this piece of garbage" "Rob needed the money"
I'm still not sure how I feel about them remaking the Bad News Bears....just as long as they don't remake "The Bad News Bears go to Japan"

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Things change...

The salvation army used to be an outreach ministry...and now they're a thrift store that gives 20% off on anything with a blue tag on Wednesdays.
The Y.M.C.A. used to share the Gospel with people on their turf....and then realized that kids were attracted to they built one...and then they built a basketball court...and now they're a health club that costs $47 a month.
Sometimes I'll be driving somewhere and to pass the time I'll turn on the radio. Now keep in mind, I'm not in my car to listen to the radio - I'm in my car to get somewhere. But often a strange thing happens. I'll get to where I was going, and just sit in my car. I'll be so into whatever is on the radio that I'll forget about where I was going...and focus on the radio.
It's easier for me to get wrapped up in the little things that should be no more than distractions along the way...than to focus on the Way. I'm kind of stupid that way.

Friday, August 05, 2005

the enemy within

Target is the enemy.

I feel strongly about this. Down with Target, their red shirts, Todd Oldham furniture and reasonable prices! Do they still sell Todd Oldham stuff? doesn't matter...
Two days ago I was all bout Target. I enjoyed their products as much as the next blogger. But then I tried to take something back. It was a gift for Cooper - and like all gifts for Cooper, I like to take them back and get something for me. He never complains.
Actually, it was a duplicate item. So my plan was to take back this aforementioned item and purchase a Slip-n-Slide. Seems reasonable so far. Target wouldn't give me the money for the baby thing (I'm still not quite sure what it was). Now this isn't that unusual. Lots of stores will make you take store credit. What separates Target from stores I will not shop at is they said that I would have to exchange my baby thing for something - not just in the store - but in the baby department.
"So if somebody buys me a skateboard and I don't want to're saying that I HAVE to exchange it for something in the kids section!?" I asked. "yup" they mumbled. "You mean that even though my wife came in here earlier today and asked about this exchange...and was told that we'd be given a gift card....that we won't be given a gift card?" "Yup"
You can see why I'd be a little infuriated. Clearly they've missed the mark when it comes to customer service.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

no comment...

I noticed a couple of things about this blog yesterday. I've had this thing for just under a week and hadn't paid much attention to the counter at the bottom. Turns out there have been about 400 hits on this deal in it's first 6 days. I'm guessing that my mom just looks at it 30 or 40 times a day...still, I was kind of surprised. And then...I noticed that someone had left a comment. It was a short, anonymous comment - but a comment nonetheless. I'm still new to this blog thing, and I'm not really sure how it's supposed to work - but I guess I had forgotten that you could leave comments. This could lead to all kinds of insecurities about my Bruce Willis Haiku, my repeated use of the word "pedantic", exhaustive references to Kirby Puckett or my photography skills.
Still, while I'm surprised that there have been as many hits (is that the right word? sure it is, right?) I'm also a little surprised that there are as few comments as there are (the "few" being one). So the question is - should I leave open ended questions? (see what I did there?)
Should I care that people aren't commenting? (I did it again) Can I remove the comment option on my blog? (I am, after all, the king of my blog) Is a blog still a blog without a comment section? You're starting to see my blog ignorance come out now...
but don't dis the king in his own blog.
see - I can be street.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Roll over Beethoven

This was a big day for rolling...
I could see how you'd take that wrong.
Griff rolled over for the first time in a pool. Swimming laps wasn't impressive enough for this four year old - so now he's doing somersaults. While I was watching the Steelers in Latrobe with Rob, Ben, Josh & Bjorn....Chandler, Ali and Rachel were rolling down a very steep and long hill while being ignored by the Bus. Normally that would be enough...but not today.
Today, Cooper Thomas Edward Murphy rolled over for the first time!
Birth (check), Sleep through the night (check), Roll over (check), crawl ( ), Walk ( ), wreck your old man's car ( )
This was a big day in the Murphy household.


Headed to Latrobe, PA today. Going to go see the four time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers at training camp. This is the same Steelers team that won 16 games last year. The same team that had rookie of the year Ben Roethlisberger. And it's free!
I'd argue that this is the best value in sports. Sure, they'll try and sell me a $20 t-shirt...but this Steelers fan aint buying. You see, once you buy...then it ceases to be the best value in sports. Then it moves out of the top ten in my eyes.
Keep in mind that I'll get to see the most famous jaw in all of sports (and I'm not talking about Ron Jaworski), the most dynamic running back to ever play the game - of course they used to say that about the juice. I'll get to see 300 pound men getting yelled at...and not do anything about it. When do you ever get to see that?
Today - if you're like me and go to the Pittsburgh Steeler's training camp.

it's a radical kind of totally

Every time see the word "radical" I think of some '80's surfer saying, "it was totally radical out there. It was a wall of waves dude. Like tubular." I never hear the word tubular without it being attached to someone's impersonation of a surfer dude. Anyhow, I've been thinking about, talking about, hearing about this "radical" love of Jesus. He even mentions to his followers that they're supposed to have the same love. I've asked a lot of people - even groups of hundreds - if they feel like they're basically loving. Most of us feel like we're ok at loving people. But Jesus says that even "tax collectors"the people who at the time were robbing people, bullying them around, and turning their backs on their neighbors - even they felt like they loved people.
But Jesus calls his followers to a radial kind of love. Anybody can love the people they love. We all do that. We love our friends...and maybe even some of our family...because they're lovable. But he tells us to love beyond that. To love the unlovable. Even beyond love the people we can't stand - our enemies. So if our goal is to love our enemies...then loving the unlovable should be easy. In fact - we might even love the lovable people that much more. It's sort of like he's setting the bar a little higher and encouraging us to jump.
...might be worth a shot.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

As seen on tv

I've never bought anything off an infomercial. I take that back. I've never called an 800 number and ordered anything from an infomercial. Something always stops me. I want to. I'll pick up the's just that I know if I order one thing - it's on. I'll be ordering garbage off of infomercials for the rest of my life. Oh I've bought some stuff - just not mail order.
If I see that beautiful red square on a package - the one that says, "As seen on TV", I'm in. That's all the salesmanship you need for me. To know that at one time, this product was good enough to be in an informercial - it's gotta be quality. A knife that can slice through paper, a tomato & a tin can - you'd be silly not to want one of those. A rotiserie that you can set and forget...and still have ribs that fall off the bone!
There was actually a store nearby that sold nothing but "As seen on TV" items. It was almost as though God Himself decided to send down a little slice of Heaven and place it between the Pretzel Plaza and the Sock Sanctuary. This store had special vacuum cleaners that could go under your couch, flashlights that ran without batteries, slidy (it's a word) things that you could put your furniture on...and move around the house. It truly was a SUPER market.
Sadly, that store is no longer with us. If only people had realized how close it was to going out of business. If only I had realized. One more pair of electric scissors might have put them over the top. I could have bought two more stackable hampers....I don't know....something.
...if only I'd done more.

Jesus is my homeboy

I would like to appear spiritual...without all of that messiness of actually changing how I live or what I believe.

I've been trying to figure out how I can work that. I know I can deal with showing up for church every once in a while. That's not really a sacrifice (a big part of my goal here is no sacrifice).

I can wear a cross around my neck - just don't expect me to carry one. I've seen a lot of rich people that talk about Jesus... and I'd like to be one of them.

I know I can wear trendy t-shirts that proclaim my I don't really have to live it. I've heard, "the Bible is open to many interpretations" and "you can't believe everything in the Bible". So if I want to believe that - I've figured out that you can just believe the stuff you read in the Bible that you want to believe...or already believed in the first place. So, in effect, you're just following yourself. You basically just believe in you. You basically are just It just so happens that this book, or this religion, happens to agree with you about a couple of things.

This is a pretty sweet way to go.

Monday, August 01, 2005

dumb guy

I just found out what "blog" stands for...and I have two of them. It's sortta like I found out what Honda means four years after I bought one.

Actually, I don't really know what it means...I'm guessing some guy named Sigurati Honda designed a car and named it after his favorite person. I don't think I could name a car "Murph".

Anyhow, blog stands for web log. I'm not sure that you learn something every day...but I learned that today. I'm still not sure what most abbreviations mean on I.M. (instant message - I know that one)
I get "lol" a lot. It strikes me as something I couldn't, with a good conscience, type very often. I just don't laugh out loud very much. My abbreviation would be "cis" (chuckling inside).
I like "K" for ok. Who has the time to find that "o" on the keyboard? It's all the way over on the right side between I and P.

Even though I have time to write random things here a couple of times a day (my rule of thumb is if I'm waiting for Griffin to get dressed or watching Coop - I'll check my e-mail...and write random stuff while I'm waiting) - I still don't seem to have the time to figure out which keys to type to make a smiley face. Most of the time...when people type one out to me, I have no idea what it even is.

My biggest problem with I.M. is there's no spell check. There probably is, but I have no idea how to use it. I'm pretty spelling insecure. There are a couple of words that I never like to spell - license, biscuit (which is a great it's a crime I don't write it more often), conscience, sense
I also don't like the fact that I have no idea who I'm talking to when "snoopjazzLL458" sends me a message. I'll hit their "buddy info" to try and figure it out - but that rarely works. Sorry Snoopjazz.


So my basement is still flooded (sort of) Coop is constipated, the house smells like Regis Philbin's feet, Griffin has a friend over, and we're having 25 people over tonight.
Should I rip out that sweet sweet brown, shag carpeting in the basement? (knowing that the padding is glued to an even nicer brown and gray tile floor)
spray a couple of cans of Lysol? (knowing that I'd just be masking the problem...and killing some "household bacteria")
play ball in the front yard with the boys?
-obviously, it's time to throw around the 'ol pigskin...
...or in this case, the foam thats been shaped to look like a football.
(have you ever heard a quarterback actually say, "hut one, hut two"?)