Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I was talking with a guy last night and we started talking about our miniature vans.

Now I've never been a car guy. I figure if a car can get you from your house to the movie theater or frisbee golf course...then that's about all you need.

I never had a stigma about the miniature vans. I get no sense of pride/shame/envy out of my car or other's cars. They're just utilitarian to me.

So I was more just interested in how his vehicle was exactly like mine. It wasn't like finding my evil twin or another show as good as Man vs. Wild, but it was just something that was mildly interesting to me.

And that's when he said, "so after we filed bankruptcy we were excited to be able to get this van at such a great price"


I would have never guessed it. This is a great guy with a great family that's working hard to support folks outside of his immediate family...and he'd filed bankruptcy.

I'm not sure why that shocked me - maybe it was because he said it so matter-of-factually???

like, "right after I survived the avalanche we all went skiing" it's just something that happened...la di da...

So that got me wondering - what are the things in my life that are just matter of fact to me, but are somewhat surprising, or even shocking, to the people I meet?

Monday, July 30, 2007

We are...

One of my favorite urban legends was actually a rural legend. Actually it was land grant institution legend.

There’s a semi-famous ice cream parlor in State College Pennsylvania that’s smack dab in the middle of the Pennsylvania State University. The Creamery. Maybe you’ve heard of it? (I hadn’t either)

Anyhow – the legend was that you could only buy ice cream made in the creamery (side note: Ben and Jerry learned all they know of Ice Cream through this Penn State institution). You could buy it in the Creamery or at football or basketball games…but that was it.

The reason? Well, it was because the fat content was too darn high. It was actually illegal to sell it off campus!

I’d forgotten about this legend until a couple of our friends from those parts came and visited last weekend. (it was a warm up for the Sublet appearance this coming weekend – Griffin could tell you the number of seconds and minutes until they get here). I was talking to my friend and somehow we got on the subject of the local ice cream in Cincinnati. There’s a cult like zeal for Graeters – which has good ice cream…and it tastes like the ice cream at the local place in your town…and in most towns…but it’s the favorite here. Anyhow, I mentioned how I always thought it was funny that people bought into the “it’s illegal outside of Penn State” legend that had been circulating for years.

And my educated friend…not just educated, he’s downright smart…said, “no, that’s true. It’s butter fat content is 14%. It’s illegal”

Not you too ….they’ve gotten to you too?

Did you know that they sell lard…vegetable oil….olive oil….Big Macs….but Penn State’s ice cream is so full of fat that it’s illegal? It’s against the law?

So they can ignore FDA regulations on college campuses? You can’t buy and eat it across the street, but here the FDA has no power?

So I’m here to put this to rest: It’s legal to sell ice cream from the Creamery any ‘ol place that they’d like to sell it. They just don’t.

Did you know if you eat pop rocks with a Mr. Pibb, you’re jaw will double in size?

Friday, July 27, 2007

25-30 hours of bliss

So we're looking for an administratively gifted person to come on aboard here at the 'ol Vineyard Community Church.

The pay is mediocre. The hours are somewhat flexible. The benefits are non-existent.

So who's in?

If you're the type to send notes via excel spread sheets...you're who we're looking for.

If you love to organize meetings and alphabetize the items in your refrigerator...you're who we're looking for.

If it bugs you when meetings start late...well this place will drive you nuts...and that's why you're the person we're looking for.

If you like flow charts and free t-shirts - this place is where you should come to work.

I'm just saying - we're looking for an admin person for the outreach department.

Anyone interested?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I kind of don't really care that Barry Bonds took steroids. I kind of don't really care that Floyd and Lance probably did too. I'm just not that concerned.

The reality is that if I was that worked up about it, I could get really mad...maybe make a sardonic t-shirt mocking them....start an angry web site that could generate lots of money...

and um...

now that I think about it, maybe I should get more involved in this.

So the question for me is - how many things can you really care about?

If you really cared about people living on the streets - you'd do something about it.

If you really cared about cancer, aids, or irritable bowel disorder...you'd probably kick in some money to the irritable bowel bowling for dollars event.

If you really cared about the people in New Orleans, you'd probably use your vacation to go down and help.

Keep in mind - I'm saying "really". Not just, "if I could snap my fingers and make these things go away I would" but - "I don't care what's in my way, I'm going down to help"

So what are the things you really care about?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

frisbee golf

I know that the real die-hards call it disc golf...but I'm going to call it frisbee golf. I call ping pong ping pong and not table tennis. I know that billiards is actually a different game than pool....so I just call pool...pool.

Anyhow, I went down -18 to -16 today. I hit two of the best shots of my life, followed by three holes in a row where I hit every tree on the course. It wasn't a good stretch.

Here's my plug. There's nothing less relational than going to a movie with someone. You sit in the dark and stare at a screen. It's hard to have little side conversations like you might when you're watching tv together because there aren't commercials (unless you count the 23 minutes of previews and subtle and not so subtle use of brand name products in scenes) and you don't want to disturb the people behind you that just spent $43 to go see the movie.

Movies aren't a great relationship builder.

Frisbee golf on the other hand...that's a sport built for getting to know someone. You just walk, talk, and occasionally throw a frisbee.

And it's free....it's really the perfect activity (not a sport...it's an activity...like golf....and NASCAR...and billiards)

Monday, July 23, 2007

off target

We bought a $20 game from target and ended up not playing it. We bought travel blokus and took it on a trip to Pennsylvania, but never opened it up. The problem is that we lost the receipt.

Our fault. It was on us.

So we go back to Target knowing full well that we'll only get a refund for the lowest price that that game had sold for in the past 2 months. Otherwise, you could just buy stuff on sale...and then return it and tell them you bought it for the full price...and make a bunch of money by ripping them off. So we knew the drill.

Apparently the drill has changed. Now you can only return one item for another item of equal or greater value at Target. No gift card. No store credit. You have to return it and replace it all at once. Not just in the same store either. Now you have to return it and get an item from the same department. And you can't return a $20 toy for 7 decks of cards from the toy section (because you can always use an extra deck of playing cards). You can't exchange a $20 toy for a $15 stuffed animal and a $5 toy. Nope - their new policy is you have to exchange one item for exactly one item.

So if you buy the $459 electronic gadget and there isn't anything else in that department that costs that much....well, enjoy your $459 set of headphones...because Target isn't having it.

I've heard of a few people that say not to register for your wedding anymore at Target because they put a yearly limit on returned items...and you could really get stuck if you have to return a bunch of things you might get in duplicates.

it's sad really...it's just so sad.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

stepping up

It's time to step up.

I'm sick of complaining about the view down here. There are great things above and beyond.

Why would I waste my time complaining about how dirty and dingy the stairwell is when I have the ability to walk out onto the viewing tower at the Empire State Building? Seems silly really.

There are great things just waiting for me to notice them. I'm choosing to focus on whatever is good, right, true, noble, pure, hilarious, and worthy of praise.

The garbage of life has enough admirers.

It's time to step up and notice...want to join me?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

bias - we all have it

I wrote a post a while ago about today's documentaries. They've long since become commentaries or one sided rants that no longer document the facts as they are, but instead document the facts that the filmmaker wishes to focus on...and "let's not include that piece there because I don't agree with it."

CNN recently took on Michael Moore. Actually, they wouldn't say they took him on. They were just doing a piece on his new movie Sicko and pointed out that, "No matter how much Moore fudged the facts — and he did fudge some facts..." and this didn't sit well with Mr. Moore. CNN even agreed with his premise that our health care system needs help. Moore apparently didn't like a network that generally is on his side questioning him on his methods.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought blogs, conversations with friends, debates - these were the things that were largely supposed to be based on opinions...and documentaries just documented what was actually happening.

CNN accused Moore of "cherry-picking" numbers from different academic studies to make his arguments stronger. CNN said it believes in essentially comparing apples with apples. Moore said he tried to use the most recent data available. (yahoo news)

Obviously Michael Moore has an opinion. Someone hurt him deeply when he was younger. He's starving for attention. He's mad as heck and he wants the world to know... I don't really know. (right now if you're a conservative you might love that he's getting called out because you disagree with what he has to say...even if CNN is wrong - and if you're a liberal, you might just be getting defensive right now) I just wonder if we should create a new category of films and not lump these rant films in with true documentaries.

Michael Moore has made a career out of chasing down big business and demanding their time. It drives him nuts when they won't take the time to answer his questions.

CNN, in its statement, noted that it has given Moore multiple opportunities to discuss his concerns about the report on the air.

"It's ironic that someone who has made a career out of holding powerful interests accountable is so sensitive to having his own work held up to the light by impartial journalists, as we did in our examination of `Sicko,'" CNN said.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I've discovered two shows recently that I've put on the 'ol DVR to tape all new episodes.

Burn Notice is a mix of Bourne Identity, Macgyver and a third show that doesn't exist, but is pretty funny in a smarmy, sarcastic way. The first episode was worth $6.50 at a movie theater...and was as long as a movie. The second one was a bit of a let down, but then the third one was great. I'm on board....which means it'll be canceled soon.

The other show is Man vs. Wild. In this show there's a guy who was in the British special forces who purposely puts himself in harms way so he can show the viewers, who will never ever be anywhere near where the guy is, how to survive in a particular situation. So he helicopters into remote parts of the world with only his knife, clothes and a canteen for water...that he has to get on his own.

It's part fear factor - except when he eats gross stuff...and boy does he, he does it to survive....and part fear factor - except when he jumps off of a 60 foot cliff into white water, he's not strapped to anything...and he's doing it to survive.

Two great shows....might be worth setting the 'ol tivo.

Monday, July 16, 2007

step by steps

If you're wondering how many Murphy's know how to walk...well I'm not sure. I do know this. There are five in this house that have taken some steps.

Parker took her first step this weekend. Then she took a second...and a third. I'm thinking of teaching her to swim and catch a baseball this week.

It's funny how funny we can get about our kids walking. There's this not quite under the surface pride/defensiveness that comes out with when your kid starts walking/talking/getting accepted into colleges.
"My child was running around the house at 9 months!"
"Oh wow, that must have been nice. Our son was mowing the lawn at 8 months and he sure was a hand full"
"my goodness, to be able to relax for 8 months must have been nice. We were chasing little Suzy around the city as she competed in one 5k after another at 6 months. She set a few age group records. We're very proud."

They say that girls walk later and talk earlier than boys. I'm not really sure who they are...but I guess you could include me in the "they" since I just said it and it was true of our kids...at least the walking part.

I remember having about a dozen friends over who were chanting "roll Griffin roll!" when he was just a little fella and was trying to roll over for the first time. There's this athletic competition like zeal that comes with each baby accomplishment. We're in such a hurry to see the kid roll/crawl/walk/talk not thinking through how much trouble they can get into once they start crawling towards the staircase, walking away from mommy, or asking "how many minutes until we get there?" a thousand times on a six minute drive.

Impatience is a funny thing. We all want things to go quicker so that eventually we can complain about how quickly those kids grew up. When we're kids we can't wait until we can get our own job so we can buy whatever we want....not really thinking about how nice it is to have your parents pay for everything. We see things that we can't do when we're younger and are chomping at the bit to someday do those things. I can't wait for marriage for sex...because that'd be way better right now. I can't wait until I'm old enough to drink that stuff...smoke that stuff....go to those places....because then I'll be an adult and be able to do WHATEVER I WANT!!!

It's a strong pull.

Impatience might be my greatest vice.

Well that or bragging about my kids.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

kind of fun

I remember seeing those hollow rocks that you could hide your keys in and thinking they were kind of clever. Pretty soon everyone knew that they were just hollow rocks that you could find people's keys in though...

About a decade ago I bought a fake Pepsi that looked and felt exactly like a real Pepsi (probably tasted like the swill too) but it was hollow and could be used to hide money, jewelry, false teeth or severed fingers in. It was great. I'm guessing the bad guys know to look in refrigerators now though...
I just saw this and thought it was pretty clever.

This too...

I guess I'm part of the problem with letting folks know about these clever hiding places...so...um, sorry about that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

the best

I have the best wife.

Beautiful, smart, funny, great mom (check, check, check, check)

When we were engaged and going around registering for stuff for our wedding...we didn't register for china. She agreed that it'd be silly to have someone spend a big chunk of change for dishes that we'd maybe use once a year.

I have a theory that basically people are going to spend a certain amount of money on your wedding gift. If you took all those people and figured out how much money they were going to spend and added it up...then you'd know how much money, in gifts, that you were getting for your wedding.

The thing is - if you wouldn't normally take that money and go buy fancy, easily broken, dishes that you'd rarely buy...then why would you register for fancy, easily broken china?

It's the same thing.

We also don't have any towels in the house that you're not allowed to use. We don't have decorator soap that's just there to look at. If it's in our house, it's going to get used (excluding most of my tools).

I have the best wife.

I win.

Monday, July 09, 2007

you're #1

Roger Federer just won more Wimbledon’s in a row as anyone not named Bjorn Borg. He’s the #1 tennis player in the world. He’s arguably the greatest tennis player of all time…and un-arguably one of the 4 best players of all time.

At his funeral they’ll say, “he was a great tennis player and an even greater person”

At various points in his life he’ll say, “the greatest moment of my life wasn’t on a tennis court…it was watching the birth of my child” or “my wedding day” or “when my sister came out of surgery” – because even though he’ll be on TV, make a ton of money, meet a lot of famous people….it’s just tennis. Being a great friend/person/son/father is a far greater title than #1 player in the world.

some things are more important…

and the cool thing is that we all get a chance to live out those things that are more important…

Friday, July 06, 2007


I think ultimately what people are looking for is peace.

People lean towards the idea that if they just had enough _______ then these ________ problems would just go away...and not give them any new problems.

If the problems go away - then we have a peace. To be able to live through some really tough times and to still have peace...that's huge.

It's not passive - you can wage peace - it's just contentment, despite the circumstances.

no crappy thoughts creeping into, and taking over, your thought life...that's got to be peaceful.

That really would iron out a lot of life's wrinkles...

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I've decided that I can't root for a tennis player that yells or grunts or screams every time they hit a shot...and especially if it's a drop shot.

I watched a show about the all time great athletes that were over 40 years old and 3 of the top 20 were race car drivers. I definitely think race car driving is a competition - and I definitely think they're not athletes. It takes skill. I'm sure they sweat in their little fireproof suits. They turn left better than most...but there are men competing against women, there are 50 year old drivers, there are guys that couldn't run a lap around a high school track...it's just a stretch to call them athletes.

I had someone trying to convince me that Marvin Lewis is the best coach ever....and he's had one winning season ever. One. Seems kind of like a stretch.

I just watched a rerun of "Stump the Schwab" and can't help but wonder what the Schwab would have accomplished had he spent his time studying cancer research instead of ESPN - where we'd be in the whole fight against cancer. And when he tries to talk smack - it makes me think of David Hasselhoff.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I was really excited when I stumbled across this link. I was told that they had every episode of every show from every year.

They don't. That'd probably be more trouble than it's worth.

I was excited about the possibility of watching Ed again. I haven't ever seen a rerun or a season one of Ed video at Blockbuster. They did have Northern Exposure...but no Ten Speed and Brownshoe. I was surprised to see Entourage because that's a show you have to have HBO to get (I think).

I'm sort of wondering when they'll stop selling tv's altogether and just start selling more and more computers that you hook up like tv's. I'm guessing that'll happen sometime in the next 15 years.

I've been wrong before - although I was right when I took the "over" in the over/under bet on today being above or below 60 degrees...and now I'm exactly $1 richer...

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm getting old

There was a time when I was sold on the spork.

What’s not to like?

It’s a fork – it’s a spoon – who really needs a knife?

Sadly I’ve become more consumeristic…or picky….or have just moved on.

I was excited to use a spork the other day. I hadn’t used one in years. I’ve talked them up – mentioned that the only reason I’d go to a KFC is because of the spork…but I just didn’t like it.

I blame myself…

back to work

I defy you to find anyone more off the charts awesome than Mr. David Hasselhoff.

He buttons his shirts about half way up on his $150 silk shirts.

He does the double-gun-pointed finger smile thing when he sees a camera.

When he walks into a room he doesn't walk...he jogs, as though entering an arena prepared for battle....the battle for the hearts and minds of Joe bored America who crave entertainment.

He still talks into his watch just to remind people that he once talked to his car through his watch on tv - and let's see Mr. Brad Pitt beat that.
Try and catch him out in public not waving to adoring fans. Try to catch him wearing a baggy t-shirt or not wearing a gold necklace. Try to catch him without perfect hair and a copy of his resume on him.
We'll be able to tell our great grandchildren that we lived to see one of the greats.
Just something to soak in today...