Thursday, September 27, 2007

wearing a flak vest and my khakis

There's a guy (look at me assuming it's a guy - I'm sort of a sexist that way) driving around the mean streets of West Chester shooting up houses.

There was a news crew across the street from our house two days ago and we couldn't figure out why. It turns out that someone drove down a street near hear and fired a couple of shots into a house with a high powered rifle. I immediately wondered if there was any such thing as a low powered rifle?

Anyhow, the next day he drove down Steeplechase Way (home of the Murphy's, and the letter Y) and shot into the house across the street from us - and two know, the one next to the park where our kids play.

I have this huge bulls eye that I used for a work event about a month ago and wondered aloud about putting it on the side of my house. I thought that maybe that would comfort the neighbors knowing that we'd take one for the team, but nobody so far has thought that was a very good idea.

It's hard to describe what it's like living on the mean streets of the Dub C - this is just a way of life for us. Drive by's and corn hole games - it's just how we do yo...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have a friend who killed his lawn on purpose. It was just easier. When people asked him why there was this perfectly straight line of dead grass that marked the beginning of his lawn and the edge of his neighbor's - he could tell them he did that on purpose.

The problem is the hundreds of neighbors and passer byes who just looked over and shook their heads. They'd never know he did it on purpose. They wouldn't know that he was actually killing the lawn so that he could start fresh. He killed his lawn and then replanted.

He read it in a book and had the guts to try it. It looked bad - and then it looked ridiculously bad - and now it looks great.

So what if you struggle with some pretty large issues. Because of these issues, you compensate in other areas of your life. Because you're over compensating - you let some things slide. Soon your life is out of balance, you're making excuses or lying to cover them up...and your life starts to look pretty bad.

So you can confess - kill it at it's root - and make it look worse. This way the people closest to you can see that you're putting it all out there and working on a long term solution. The problem is - the drive by folks. The people in your life who just sort of hear about your confession. To them, they only see this big thing you've been involved in. They don't see your plan. They don't see your reasoning for putting it out there. They only see the ridiculously bad situation.

That's why we hide stuff. That's why we cover up and overcompensate in other areas.

We don't want to go through looking ridiculously bad to get to the great. We want the fresh new start without the pain of letting things die - or even more proactively - killing them. (wow, that sounds sort of violent when I really just wanted to convey the image of killing your lawn or killing a habit or lifestyle that's killing your soul - through confession)

I think the 12 step folks are probably onto something. There's something about putting your junk out there and admitting, "I'm a __________" Saying it aloud does something that merely working through a problem doesn't. It gets it out there. It's ugly and sometimes we need to see just how ugly that is.

just a thought I had while I sat down to write this...

Monday, September 24, 2007

looks like somebody's got a case of the mondays

Hangin with my homies today. Just chillin. Livin large.

I've cracked the code. I can sound a lot more street if I remove the "g" at the end of my words. I then replace everyone's name with the letter "g", and this way I don't have to remember their names.

"what up g?"

You see how this works? You can try it too with your boys. This is how we do all up in the Dub C.


Friday, September 21, 2007

this blog was written under the influence...

I just got stabbed - right in the head.
It's true.

Sure, it was a doctor who did it - but still. He took a scalpel and cut into my head and removed what we're hoping is a non-cancerous tumor. I've had this little bump on my head for years and there's pretty much no chance it's anything bad - but you've got to remove stuff like that apparently.

So I'm all hopped up on happy juice (and no, I don't have any extra).

Surgery is always an interesting/scary/long series of two nurses, and anesthesiologist or two and a couple of doctors asking you, "and what procedure are we doing today Mr. Murphy?" I'd always ask, "shouldn't you know that?" The nurse didn't really laugh when I told her I was having one of my feet worked on.

So I'm back. I have a hole in my scalp. All is well. It's time for beddy bye.

night night

Thursday, September 20, 2007

didn't really happen

So a friend of mine, Craig, owns one of those sports complexes. It's "Sports World!" and has every kind of game or sport you'd ever want to play. Craig is incredibly kind, runs it as a non-profit and he just wants to provide a great place for people to come and play.

Because he's so excited about families and individuals coming and having a blast at his place, he figured out that he'd have to have some guidelines for his place to make sure things run smoothly.
-You can't throw balls, pucks, or any other object at anyone else in the complex.
-In order for everyone to get to play any game they'd like, you can't play a game two times in a row.
-You can cheer all you want, but there should be no "booing"
-Absolutely no fighting
-Let's just play together and have a blast

and he had a few other guidelines that all lead towards making the most use of the place.

So Billy walks in and immediately wonders - what's the catch? It seems like a nice place, but there's gotta be some major problems with the set up. If he had done it, he would have moved the gym over to the front because "everybody loves basketball better than skating" He saw quite a few design flaws that he's sure everyone would agree with.

Overall though, Billy likes the place. At one point he's so excited that he came within 5 points of the pop-a-shot that he tries a second time. When Craig walks by and reminds him that he can't play two games in a row - he erupts. "What kind of crappy place is this?!"

He walks by the field hockey game and sees his friend Sarah playing. Her team isn't doing so great and he starts watching more intently. Someone from the other team takes a shot and he's whistling and booing. And then he moves on...

He pushes someone out of the way when he's trying to get to the front of a line. He yells at a bunch of people and they yell back. At some point he's stirred up a small crowd playing volleyball so much that a fight erupts.

Meanwhile there are a few people wandering around just trying to have a good time. They jump into a field hockey game and get booed. They try to get a game of volleyball game together and all of a sudden they're in a fight - on their nice little family trip out.

What kind of place is this!?

Craig must hate us! This guy has screwed this place so bad that there is fighting, yelling, profanity, and too many jerks to count. Doesn't Craig care at all about any of this? It's all his fault...

I hear this kind of argument all the time. Why would Craig do this to us? Doesn't Craig care?
It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm just not sure...

I've read several times about the PGA golfers being frustrated with the end of the year playoffs - and the prize money. I don't totally understand the new system, but I'm pretty sure they play in four tournaments at the end of the year - all of them optional.

If they win, or make the cut in those tournaments....they win money. Real money they get to spend on planes, cars, houses, trendy sunglases, etc. If they win a couple of those tournaments and get enough points, they win the whole things - and 10 million dollars in twenty years.

That's part of what they're complaining about. There were several big names complaining that the money wouldn't come to them for twenty years.

Last year there was only the money you won from the tournaments. This year if you win two of the last four tournaments of the year (which Tiger did) you'll take home several million dollars....just like he would have last year. The only difference is that he gets an extra trophy - and a surprise check for ten million dollars when he's 50.

So the only real thing the PGA has done is given out an extra trophy this year, along with a promise of a ridiculous amount of money they're giving out on top of all the money they've already twenty years.

They're giving them more. More is better. At worst - if the PGA goes bankrupt and never gives them the money - they still won all the money they would have won from the tournaments - just like always. Tiger won $1.26 million for the last tournament alone. NOTHING CHANGES EXCEPT YOU GET MORE LATER!

Do I have this wrong? I actually haven't really kept up on it - so there's a great chance I'm missing something...but I don't think so.


In a related story - that fantasy football draft that I missed because I was off working....remember, they gave me a painfully bad team? Well, I'm 2-0.

I don't get that either.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

alpha 1.0 from the department of redundancy department

Alpha begins tonight. We launch. We set sail. We have a lot to do...

Dave Workman will speak from the stage - Joe Boyd will entertain from the stage. The next week we'll flip it around - only Dave won't probably do any comedy prior to Joe's talk.

We have 100+ signed up, and 30+ leaders ready to greet them. It will be a sea of red t-shirts...

I'll just be glad to get one under my belt.

Some of you know our week 8 speaker. (yes, I begged him to come back...because it'd be silly not to - plus he's one of the best) He was the guy who-de left the same comment in my blog three days last week, and I think he left a similar comment in Annie's blog...and then it abruptly stopped. I think we all know the answer to his question. Well at least they held them to 51 - so it's sort of a moral victory.

(I couldn't help myself - I stayed away on Sunday and Monday...I figured I'd give you a day before I piled on....sorry, but the Browns?)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm tired

I'm tired. I'm not sick and tired - I'm just tired.

Two months ago we had five staff folks on our team. Fast forward a month and we have three. The problem is that we just inherited a department of two...without the people. We also inherited part of another department.

Basically, if you're doing the math at home, there were 8 different people doing the work that three people are now doing. Throw on top of that - two major donations that needed retrieving - and a major initiative that starts in two days.

This all added up to a 70 hour work week and not a lot of family time. That's tough.

Getting hassled because I didn't get all of my lower priority stuff done yet - that's a lot tougher.

Some times it's not worth it - I'm just saying...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

roller coastin'

The worst - working 75+ and not seeing your family. Flushing the toilet and sensing that the water is rising instead of swirling downward. That noise that an old rusty chair makes when it squeaks on linoleum. Rocky V. Arrogance. The cancellation of Ed. Walking downstairs to get your book - stumbling around because you forgot why you went downstairs...and then coming back up and getting into bed...only to realize that you forgot the book. a tooth ache. Indecision. Boiled beans of any sort. A car chase scene in a movie. That first ten seconds when you sit down in a car that's fourteen below. Opera. Who-Day, a pebble in your shoe, any dancing competition show, an empty stapler, snow down your shirt, pulling weeds.

The best - The Office. Cooper's running to hug my legs when I come home. Annie's laugh. a full tank of gas. Dennis Miller's Off White Album. a Gillespie phone call. a great story. a sweatshirt that's too big. Saget. Moving forward. Humility. the Bumper story. gadgets. Steak. A great football game. friends. a subtle remark in a meeting from Paul. obscure references. great dialogue in a movie. freedom. a Jeff Goldblum impersonation. expediency. Peg and Suzer in town. Chipotle. hanging out with the Sublets. getting something fixed. good news. a great book. garlic bread. a mandolin playing in a band. Ed. a well placed sound effect...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the front door

There is something about a front door that is either scary, bland or welcoming. There is a big beautiful house a couple of blocks from here that someone spent close to three hundred thousands dollars on, and then they painted their front door lavender.

It makes an impression.

There are churches out there that spend 70-85% of their resources - time, money, staff - on their front doors. For some churches their front door is how they get people into the building on the weekends. It's the first impression. It's the show.

The front door is listening to music with hundreds or even thousands of other people. It's listening to a talk from someone you'll probably never have a conversation with. It's an interesting/funny/poignant video/drama/song that might stir the emotions...and then what?

Well then you have next steps. There are small groups/ministries/classes/serving roles. There are ways to go deeper with your relationship with God.

If you want to...

That might be the secret. We know that many people aren't that interested in that - or at least aren't making the effort - they're just showing up at church. They're consumers. They're checking the box. "I went to church today" (check) Life moves on...

So to "connect" with people - we put incredible effort into the front door. It's too difficult to move them towards next steps. It's pretty easy to work towards a bigger or better show. If we pour more time and energy into the front door, we'll get more and more people. More = better, right?

So you can tell our "ministry" flourishing because it's growing. We're giving the people what they want - a big pretty front door...

Maybe it's time the American church started working on the hallway?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Picture this
A world without borders. East meets West - North meets South. I guess that world would be really small...never mind.

How about this - a place where rivals can come together and embrace their differences, in fact - they cancelebrate their differences and gain each other's strengths. What if we had the best of everything?

I'm thinking you show up and the seating is lounge massage chairs (a la I forget the name of that store in the mall) you sit down to a meal of Chipotle burrito, Penn Station fries, and a UDF fountin Diet Dr. Pepper. You should probably follow that with a piece of Bill Knapps chocolate cake.

You sit up and enjoy the comedic stylings of Mr. Bob Saget - all the while, a wall of NFL games are playing off to the side. "Want to join us for a game of Euchre?" someone asks...
"sure - Let me just stick my feet in this hot tub and play a quick game of pop a shot first"

I'd then spend the night in my bed-because it's the best - and wake up to Waffle shop hash browns and Emilie's breakfast casserole (Annie brings me all of this)

At some point I'm going to watch the big 10 wrestling championships and hear Dave's bumper story. Griffin will tell me about his day in school and Cooper will show me his muscles. Parker strangely just giggles a lot and hugs my legs.

Everyone goes to bed and Annie and I watch the Office.

All is well...

Monday, September 10, 2007

chasing after the wind

Every conversation I expect to have for the next couple of least on Sundays.

"So what's the deal with you liking Pittsburgh...and your family too?"

"We're just big fans of the Super Bowls, so we've seen them play a bunch"

"But they're awful"

"well again to the earlier Super Bowl point - they've won a bunch of 'em"

"'re living in the past"

I actually heard that I was living in the past by a friend of mine the day after the Steelers won the Super Bowl (they're fifth, if you're keeping score at home). There was one guy I work with that was always a good sport about the whole deal. He'd actually congratulate me after each Steeler's victory - as though I played. If I did play, I'd wear a jersey...but why would I ever wear a football jersey of a team I'm not on? My kids do that, but they also wear super hero costumes. "you never know, if the coach needs someone for special teams...I'm here....and I've already got the jersey on"

Back to my point - it's just sports. People get all fired up - people who don't understand the sport, but get mad because you don't like the team that they like. Then there are the ones who memorize stats and records as though they were memorizing scripture... In fact a friend of mine was talking at church about how he knew it bugged me that so many people in our fantasy league knew the backup left guard for the Seahawks, but had no idea where the great commission was located - to which one of the guys in the league said, "Matthew 25"

I get that people watch sports, and pick up little facts and figures. Ultimately if your team wins the big one though....what are you left with? (I know this is only a hypothetical question if you're a Bengals fan)

I remember Ohio State winning the national championship. I remember all the Super Bowl trophies - and the Pirates winning it all in '79 - and my life really isn't that different.

It's a momentary pleasure that quickly passes - until someone decides to revolve their life and their conversations about it...and somehow I've offended the reason for their living by choosing to follow a different team.

It's folly I tell you...

Friday, September 07, 2007


I had the #1 pick in the draft this year. I was given that randomly...and I "picked" Edgerin James. He would have been an obvious #1 pick to anyone - four years ago.

I then went on to pick 5 Steelers and a couple of former Steelers. Now keep in mind - the Steelers have won five more Super Bowl Trophies than any other team within 30 minutes of my house...but they're a ground it out and play defense kind of team. They're not a put up huge stats and end up with a mediocre to awful record year after year kind of team.

Sadly, I had to speak at an event on Friday night when they had the draft.

Some leagues take a list of players in the order they're ranked and just take the next available player for someone who misses the draft. That's not what my league did.

So it looks like I'll be starting:
Big Ben
oh no...they didn't pick Willie for me, so I'll start Deuce McAlister and Edge

life goes on...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

just a moment in time...

I'm not psychic/prophetic/supernaturally intuitive. I'm just not...

Having said that - I had a moment where I'm pretty sure I knew exactly what the person driving ahead of me was thinking yesterday. I pulled right up behind a red car (that's about as descriptive as I get with cars) as we both pulled up to a four way light that was red, with a green turn lane arrow. I was hoping to turn right, and judging by the right turn signal of the red car, and their eventual right turn, so were they.

I could hear their words. I knew their thoughts. It was as though I had a little microphone in their brain.

"I should stop - I see that this light is red" ..... "Hmmmm I wonder what that green arrow pointing to the right means?" ..... "I sure wish I could turn right, but that red light is indicating that I'm stuck here until it turns green. Green means go." ...



"why is that really good looking guy in the Honda staring at me? It's almost as though he can read my thoughts..."
"I wonder why they cancelled Matlock?"

"Oh, hey the light is finally green. Green means go. That means I can go now!"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

today is the day

I've decided to start a diamond scheme. Now I know that people are getting wary of pyramid schemes, but they keep doing them. They just don't call them that any more.
As a rule of thumb anything that ends with "scheme" is probably going to attract some negative attention.

Having said that, I'm going to just call mine the baseball plan. I'll lay out the org chart with a diamond shaped grid - you make the most money at first and third base. When you start selling our products (I'm thinking adorable stuffed penguins) you get to first base. Everyone ahead of you at second base then gives you 35% of the profits they're making. Eventually you'll make so much money that you'll attract the people who aren't on our "team" and you'll move on to second base.

This is where the real movers and shakers have a decision to make. Do you want to be a second baseman all your life? The power hitters are at first and third...the middle infielder with real skills plays you gonna move to third or what?

I see myself as a third base coach. I'll just sort of camp out there and haul in all of that stuffed penguin money.

Sadly if you sell enough penguins, and the people below you do the same, and the people below them....then you have to go home. Once home, you have to give half your net earnings to the third base coach, as a way of saying "thank you for getting me here".

I'm also thinking we should sell metal lunchboxes - it's time we brought those back.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

why can't we all just get along?

I know speakerphones are annoying, but I just love the heck out of 'em. If they were a tv sitcom dad, they'd be Saget. If they were a lovable cousin that eventually dooms your show to eventual cancellation, followed years later by campish movies about two families become much more than a bunch...they'd be Oliver.

Because I love using the speakerphone so much, I try to look past others using them on me. I fight the urge to ask in that annoying, "did I do that" - Urkel voice, "am I on speakerphone?"
I just move on and try to understand what they're saying.
I've never been that great at empathy. I tried to walk a mile in their shoes, but I'm not really in good enough shape to walk a mile in my own shoes. I get these pains in my calves and I....never mind.

So today I will continue to honor the people who put me on speakerphone. I love it on my end, so why not allow them the same pleasure. It just makes sense...

Monday, September 03, 2007

labor day

This is my favorite ironic holiday. We celebrate the working men and women of this country by doing the American thing - we declare a holiday and take the day off. I've said several times before that this day would be more appropriately aimed at women in labor - but I guess Mother's Day kind of covers that one...sort of.

Oh sure there are other ironic holidays - we celebrate a Scottish missionary to Ireland who was first a slave, and later went back to serve, and his life by drinking green beer - You can see the obvious connection there.

We celebrate Jesus being born in a simple barn - the God of the Universe coming humbly to give us a glimpse of His love for we go out and buy a bunch of crap in malls filled with toys made by kids in sweat shops.

The #1 day for collect calls each year is Father's day...that's kind of funny.

We celebrate the beginning of the Christian liturgical calendar of lent with Mardi Gras...

We celebrate Thanksgiving by giving guess that one kind of makes sense.

We spend Easter celebrating Jesus resurrection with chocolate eggs and pastel shirts...

We should really put together a holiday to irony. We'd spend each hour talking about the origins of each holiday and how we've slowly moved them towards excess and a celebration of ourselves...and then we'd give out presents and get drunk.

just a thought...