Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Resolutions

-sing the National Anthem at a taping of A Guiding Light

-hear "the phrase that pays" and pretend that I didn't

-arm wrestle cajun style

-go back to bar soap

-bring back the show "who's the boss?" and answer that question once and for all

-start with the nicotine patch, then the gum, then cigars, pipes, then just smoke at parties when it feels like it would help me to look cool, and finally I'd like to be addicted

-watch Tango and Cash with no sound while playing The Beatles White Album. (it will freak you out)

-start the Buddy's Carpet Barn bowl (I actually have a buddy in the carpet business, so I think this should be fairly easy)

-more rock

-less talk

-dance, dance, dance

-only speak through a megaphone on Thursdays

-reenact the "What's Up!" commercials whenever someone asks me for the time

-I'd like to learn to ride a unicycle

-tap dance at a bar mitzvah for tips

-box some one's ears

-wear a tuxedo to a swim meet

-start a Christmas tradition where people hang socks from their chimney and pray to a fat guy to come down and fill the socks with candy

-thumb wrestle Corbin Benson

-develop Chuck like fearlessness

-start an online pay per view pac man tournament

-start each Friday with a simple prayer thanking God that it is indeed Friday

Friday, December 28, 2007

the power of story

We haven't made our New Year's plans yet.

There's a lot of pressure to do something fun on this last night/first day of the year. I remember trying to go out to a restaurant a couple of times on New Year's Eve and it's insane. People will sit and wait for three hours to get into an Olive Garden.

I decided a while ago that it's just not that big of a deal to be out doing something awesome during the last minute and first minute of the year. Ultimately I think we really want to do something great because we know people are going to ask.

"So what are your New Year's plans?"
"So what did you do for New Year's Eve?

and we need a story...
We need to prove that we have the ability to go out and have fun. We can stay up past midnight and we don't have a curfew any more!

It's all about the story.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

poppin' and lockin'

I saw the world's second best pop a shot player play last night.

Alton Alexander is possibly the second greatest pop a shot player of all time. I can't say for sure, because I've only really seen the one contest...but he was clearly the second best player last night.

If indeed Annie Michael Murphy is the greatest pop a shot player in the world - then Alton is clearly #2 in the world....or so.

All I really know is that if the two of them were to have a competition - Annie would most likely win. In fact, last night they had a competition - three in fact...and Annie won three of those match ups.

So if you just go on percentages, Annie would win 100% of the time.

I'll just to do the math for you really quickly:

If they were to play seven games - Annie would win seven of those.

If they were to play 111 games - Annie would win 111 of those.

If the world was going to blow up unless someone could make a heck of a lot of short range basketball shots in a relatively small period of time - you'd pick Annie to save the world.

If the world was going to blow up unless you had a guy who could get to the seventeenth level of Galaga - well then you'd take Alton.

Athletic endeavor - you'd take Annie.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

not the point

We're actually one day closer today to the day that Jesus was born - than we were yesterday.

That's not really the point though.

When He was born - what day we celebrate it - that doesn't really matter.

I've heard people say when He died -that's more important. Living your life as a thank you - each day - that's the important thing.

That's not really the point though.

If God really did visit the planet and bring the Kingdom of Heaven with Him - well that's something worth looking into. Maybe that will be my December 26th focus...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Today I start my Christmas shopping. I figure I have a few hours after I go to the CrossRoads Christmas play at 10 AM. I don't have to be at work until 2 today (which is a funny thing to write while I'm on vacation) and that gives me a couple of hours.

I'm in charge of stockings and a few other gifts.

I'm thinking of a theme:
a stocking full of stockings...or socks?
Maybe a stocking full of stock tips?
I could fill the stocking with the true meaning of Christmas for me growing up - gift receipts
I could do one of those Russian doll deals and just put a smaller stocking inside of the stocking...and just keep doing that?
Maybe a bunch of stalks of celery....I'm pushing this "stock" thing too much, huh?

One of the great things will be waking up and watching the kids open presents. They each get to open one gift on Christmas eve, and for six years in a row Griffin has opened a pair of pajamas. He still hasn't caught on yet.

We'll be making cookies for Santa and setting our reindeer food on the porch. Should be a great couple of days.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Method

The whole family is nuts. I'm visiting them this evening at Phil's house.
I can barely imagine what he's done to his living room this year. Two years ago he put in paneling...PANELING...and I can only pray that it's no longer a part of the "decor" Seriously? Wood on the wall?

This group is quite the bunch. There's the senior citizens traipsing around the room like a much younger couple of say...70. They spend their time drinking what they refer to as "wine" out of a box. A cardboard box. It's like visiting the Bundys.

Phil will spend most of the night avoiding us, and I don't blame him. He's got his little fort out in the garage where he can pretend to sweep or do whatever one does in a garage, meanwhile I'm stuck talking about American Idol with some girl that's of some relationship to me...of which I have no idea.

My sister really is the saving grace of the whole group. She has the patience to put up with all of them. That's why I go - to be her rock in a sea of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I'll slip quietly upstairs with a blend of Viognier and Marsanne, and try to remember the south of France.
If only it were true. Someday...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I've done this web log for awhile now. It's always nice when I hear from an old friend and they say, "Yeah, I've been reading your blog". I've met a few people for the first time who say the same thing.

It's fun to write and sometimes it's a chore, but it's a nice discipline to say that I've consistently done some writing for a couple of years now.

I've wavered a bit on the whole theme thing
how serious or deep do I want to go?
Should I bring up politics and get people really mad, but maybe get a conversation going?
Should I just go fun and enjoy myself without much to add to any real dialogue?
Should I point out the gross injustices, hypocrisy or silly arguments that I see all around me?
Should I take risks?

I've decided not to decide. I'm going to write to write...and see where it takes me.

The next time someone ask me why I blog - I'll tell them, "Because it's there"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Michael Westbrook just became one of my favorite players.

They say Wilt Chamberlain sometimes came into the locker room late because he was at the scorers table challenging them on his stats. There was a guy last year that actually shot at his own basket just so he could get another rebound (they didn’t count it).

In a world of ME-first, the team second, Westbook’s smart little slide was a refreshing change of pace, and I loved it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

my debut

It's go time. I'll be rehearsing for A Cat Named Bruce two more times...and then we're on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

I'll be playing Arist, the wine snob brother in law. I'm still not sure what Arist would wear, but I do know that for one scene I need roller blading gear...knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet...and I'm not sure I've got any of that in the closet.

So...if anyone out there in the tri-state area has some hockey/broomball/rollerblading stuff - wouldn't it be fun to have it appear in front of 8,000 people?

I'd better go memorize some lines...

Friday, December 14, 2007

two phone pics in a row

Thanks to young Steven J. Fuller, I know have the ability to put pictures from my cellular telephone on my web log. I had a whole phone full of these pics and nowhere to put them...well, no more!

and now...I'd like to share with you the greatest gift I was given in 2007:

I'd tell you about my role in the business, but I'd rather remain SILENT (if you know what I mean, partner)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The greatest

One day I'll tell Griffin's kids about the time I spent with this man.
I'm not sure it's possible to make Elvis Aaron Presley any sexier, but if anyone can do it....
well, see for yourself

This will forever be the greatest phone picture I ever take. With my phone (which is as sharp as a razor, and keeps cutting holes in my pockets) that you actually have to hit the button minute about a minute before it actually takes the picture....

So I was so lucky/blessed/awesome that I timed this phone pic up with possibly the greatest Elvis karate picture ever taken...with a phone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Procrastination seems like a word that on the surface would be more about action.

Pro - like you're for something, you're pro-active, you're pro-ductive, pro-lific.

Cras - like you're the guy who makes the fart jokes

Tin - like the guy with no heart

ation - just some random letters they put on the end of some words

I would be a really bad dictionary

I've had a chance to write for a friend of mind over the past year or so. He's written a bunch of books, and for the last year or so his publisher has asked him to include "talks" with his books. That's where I come in. He asked me to write one for one of his chapters...and then a couple....and then a book's worth, and then a second book, and a third.

It's fun and it's exhausting.

The last time was more exhausting than fun. I was under a big deadline in the midst of taking over another department (sounds more important than it actually is...but that's what was happening) at a crazy busy time of the year...and I had 12 chapters to read and write for....

Fast forward a few months and he sends me an e-mail asking about another book...and another 12 chapters. I said yes. My schedule was light. I wasn't in a play. I wasn't thinking through my overall scheduling.

And now here I am - with 12 talks to write. I've written a few...but the last bunch will be the battle.

Procrastination is not my middle name - that's Michael. They gave me that name before they knew me...

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Cat named Bruce...

I'll be on stage with three actors that have their own agent.

I clearly don't need an agent.

should be fun...

click here for a couple of sneak peaks

Friday, December 07, 2007


This is something worth checking out if you're looking for something to do this weekend. I'm just sayin'

Thursday, December 06, 2007


There used to be this funny law on the books. It was basically a tax on your time and energy and it was imposed on people caught standing around.

The law was that at any time a Roman soldier could force you to carry his pack anywhere for one mile. If you ran into a soldier, you were just doing what was expected of you by carrying his pack and going two miles out of your way (one in his direction and one just to get back to where you started). It was what I would equate to picking up some one's pencil or holding the door open for someone. It was just a normal kind of thing - certainly not extraordinary.

Here's where following Jesus gets tough. Jesus told his followers to go the extra (or second) miles. He was telling folks not to just go 2 miles out of their way, but to go 4. He said this in a number of ways - He told us to not just love the lovable people....but to even love people who like the D.H....sorry...the enemies. Basically we are called to more. Above and beyond is considered a starting point.

Mercy is the cop giving you a warning when you were driving 75 in a 55. Grace is the cop giving you a warning (for your safety) and then handing you twenty bucks. It doesn't make sense. It's certainly not deserved. That's grace.

We had some friends treat us to a second mile night on Sunday. They called us and told us they were bringing over dinner. They brought over enough food to feed the cast of the Sopranos. It was awesome. And that was just the second mile. Then they handed us a gas card and some cash and told us they were going to hang out with our kids while we went out and watched the Steelers beat up on the Bengals.

We were kicked out of our a good way.

We have some pretty great friends.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

cinco de dicienbre

My brother is a year and a half older than me. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. Oh sure we could all stand to lose a few, but apparently if you’re a brother…you technically can’t be considered heavy….that’s just science.

We probably couldn’t be that much different. Often we were asked if we were twins, because we were only a year and a half apart and I was as muscular as a 6 year old, even at the age of 4. He’s plans and details and I’m not so much. He has a big screen tv and watches his team, the Bengals on high def. I have to settle for watching a much better team play on a dinky little tv while being excited about this new thing that allows you to control the buttons on your tv in a remote location.

He’s a great dad and makes a silly amount of money doing a job that I couldn’t do even if you paid me a silly amount of money.

We fight argue and disagree as much as not, but I love him…he’s my brother.

Happy birthday Bri-

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

picking up your pencil

Most Christians I know struggle with what I call - pencil picking up Christianity (and I'm definitely lumping myself in with these folks). In fact, I'll go one further, I'll say that most people I know struggle in this area.

Here's what I mean. If you see a news story about someone going to jail or being convicted of a crime in court, often you'll hear an interview of a wife, mom or neighbor who talks about the murderer/thief/criminal and they'll often say something like, "deep down he's a good person" or "he really does have a good heart". And I'm guessing that those people really do believe this. They believe it because the person going to jail was probably decent at loving their mom/wife/neighbor. Maybe they helped them out every once in a while...or protected them in some way.

We all love some people...and aren't as proactive about loving others.

Often the exact same action will elicit entirely different responses depending upon who initiated the action. Huh? Here's what I mean - someone makes a borderline joke about your hair...and if it's the annoying guy that drives you nuts, you'll probably get mad. If it's your best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/potential boyfriend or'll probably laugh along with the joke.

We all choose to extend grace sometimes and to do the exact opposite other times.

As Christians we're called to proactively love people.

We all pick up the pencil that someone drops in front of us. We all hold the door open for the person behind us. We all have moments of loving people when the situation jumps right out in front of us...and is fairly doable.

As Christians we're called to proactively look for moments...and to not just wait for a situation to present itself.

We've done ok with feeding the poor. We've done well with building a silly amount of hospitals, orphanages, shelters and nursing homes.

I'm just not sure how long we can point to all the stuff that proactive people in the past have done and claim it as our own...simply because we have the same faith as Mother Teresa, or wear the same cross jewelry as the person building the Habitat house.

We're called to actively wage grace. I'm guessing that doesn't have a picture of me holding the door open for an old lady at Pondersosa next to the description.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Steelers think they gonna beat dem Bengals

24-10 and life is still great/awful/normal/fun/boring/life. The Buckeyes are playing for the national championship, the Steeler's are having a playoff bound year, and I have a bunch of friends that really don’t like either of them.

The Steelers dominate the Bengals. Life goes on. It doesn’t really affect anything – really.
I was in a Steeler’s Bar/Restaurant last night with some friends. If there were 150 people there, 80 of them had Steeler’s jerseys, 30 had Steeler’s shirts, 35 of them were just hoping they’d win while not wearing the ‘ol black and gold….and you know….there were five other people just chillin. At one point two Bengals fans walked through the place and I got a quick glimpse at how annoying Steeler’s fans can be towards Bengals fans. I’ve experienced the reverse countless times. Apparently we’re all annoying, I just don’t get to see that side of Steelers fans living in this city too often.

I remember talking in my neighbor’s yard this summer as he told me that the AFC North would be the toughest division, “even though the Steelers are going to be awful”. I remember people laughing at the Steeler’s win over the Browns – it was a joke win over a joke team…that later ended up beating up on their team.

One of the comments on Annie’s blog “The Bengals will finish with a better record than the Steelers...”

And after all of this, the Steelers have clinched another winning season - they're 2-0 against the Bengals, and a lot of people went nuts at the Steeler’s bar tonight.

And really that doesn’t affect that much in my life or yours. (unless you’re reading this Big Ben?) We worship sports. We pour our time, money and energy into watching grown men play playground games. It’s actually a lot of fun, so I get it…but it’s just a child’s game.

I can say this because my team won – it doesn’t ultimately matter. If I say this after my favorite team loses, it sounds like the guy that pretends not to care just because my team is awful.
So today I’ll think about, and maybe even pursue, some of the things that do matter… Anybody up for a game of euchre?