Thursday, November 30, 2006

it's just basic

I think we would all agree that all women like to shop. That's just a given.

Obviously all guys like sports.

Clearly all of my fellow Irish love the beer.

There are just some things that everyone knows. All games are basically the same. You round the board and get to the end. All houses are basically the same - some combination of rooms. All neighborhoods are basically the same - a bunch of people living in their dwellings.

We just know these things....

don't we?


I'm around enough people that are sensitive - really sensitive - that I know that they'll flip if you ever try and lump two people into the same category. Doesn't matter if you can throw facts or statistics at them....they just don't like that. That's ok. There aren't really any "all of ______ are the same" because we've all got our individuality.


So having agreed with the sensitive people (and aren't we all sensitive? assumming Mike isn't reading this)

I hear this often - All religions are the same
All religions are basically the same
All religions teach the same thing
you could boil all religions down to one thing

I think we make broad or sweeping statements about things (games) or people (men...women...those fighting Irish) largely because of one or two instances...or because we haven't seen the other side. I'd say it's because, to some degree, we're limited by our experience or knowledge.

I've seen people with a passing (I go to church every once in a while) tell me that the Bible is full of contradictions -
"really, why don't you show me three" - Tony Campolo (Clinton's pastor)
I've heard people say that all religions are basically the same...and when pressed to show me how four are the same - we usually end up talking about sports.

just something I think is kind of interesting....that's all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

a few good things

Here are a few things I'd recommend:

1. Rent 'The Big Chill'

2. Read the best chapter C.S. Lewis ever wrote

3. Watch 'The Office'

4. Babysit Griffin and take him to the pool

5. Eat U.D.F.'s Peanut Butter n' Chip ice cream

6. Listen to Dennis Miller's 'Off White Album'

7. Play a round of Frisbee Golf

8. Get Dave Wolfenberger to tell you the Bumper story

9. Resist the urge to buy a hammock

10. Spend $10 on someone you barely know

11. Take a day and only refer to people as "Pal" or "Big Red"

12. Fight apartheid and then kick the crap out of cancer

13. Re-enact the fight scenes from It's a wonderful life in front of your co-workers

14. Ask Jana what's her favorite movie of all time, and then stare up at the top of her head like she's got something horribly wrong with her hair - but keep insisting that you're just listening

15. Ask Dan Z. if he'll play William Tell with you, but you wanna go first

16. Sit next to Steve Fuller at sensitivity training and repeatedly stage whisper, "I told you you shouldn't say that in class" to him throughout the day.

17. Tell everyone that you're great great grandfather invented carpet and ask them if they'd like you to sign theirs.

18. Dress up like Kriss Kross for the day and jump jump

19. Take a sign that says, "Smith" on it to the airport - and give the first person you can find a ride home.

20. House a Festivus room at your church's Christmas party and see who wins the feats of strength.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

all are good

We wrap presents for people at the mall.

a lot of presents....

People ask why we do it - and we're doing it as a practical way to serve/help people. We give away tons of food, clothes, even cars to folks in need....and we happen to believe that helping folks who have some money (and don't necessarily need help with food, clothes or cars) could probably use a nice gesture thrown their way every once in a while too.

I've noticed that the folks who are really invested in giving to the poor (not people who rant about the rich getting richer while people are starving, but don't really give their own time or money to the poor - I'm talking about people who weekly give time/energy/money to helping) have a hard time with folks who spend their time serving others. I've heard people say, "why are we helping those rich people?" It makes sense that their passion is helping the poor, so it's sort of hard for people who are passionate about something to understand why other people aren't as passionate about it.

What I mean by that is I've seen some frustration coming from folks helping out the poor when they see others helping out people who aren't outwardly poor.

I should mention here that I think both are good.

The bottom line is that I know people living in the upper middle class that struggle with self image issues, not feeling loved, being hopeless to the extent that things are really getting bleak....people are hurting all over the place.

Having said that - I don't have to wait until I run into someone who's homeless to help someone out. I can love/serve someone right in my neighborhood or workplace that might be hurting in another way. I can help people out by wrapping a couple of their presents, helping them move, giving them a ride or delivering them a Thanksgiving meal.

all are good

Monday, November 27, 2006

five days 'til the Festivus party

David Letterman to Jerry Seinfeld, "If you're going to fail, do it while you're doing something you love"

That was his advice when Jerry told him he was going to try doing a sitcom.

A friend of mine often quotes Frederick Buechner, “The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

I'm not sure I completely believe either of these - but they sure sound good.

So the next question is - what do you love? or what is your great passion?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I've decided that I have it pretty good in the friends department (right in between sporting goods and the men's shoes departments).

I used to meet once a month with these guys that are three of the smartest/wisest guys I've ever met. We'd sit around and debate things that I often thought were silly...and then someone would take the "silly" side and show me why it wasn't so silly. These guys genuinely cared for me and it was great just hanging out with them -even when we weren't solving the world's problems. One of these guys now lives in North Carolina, one in Kentucky, one in Dayton...and now I'm back from Pennsylvania.

So today our southern friend is in town and we're all having a 2 1/2 hour lunch together. I'm meeting them in four hours and I feel a little like Griffin does the day before his birthday party...I'm just sitting around waiting.

I've made some good friends since I've moved back to Ohio - I made some good friends in Pennsylvania - I have some good friends that live here in Cincinnati - some in Columbus - you get the point...

One of the the greatest things to happen since I've moved to Cinci is one of my best friends started working with me. I used to see him about once a month because we live a half hour away from each other, both have three kids - and both are bad at making time to see each other. Now I walk into his office and interrupt one of his meetings about 7 times a day (and just plain walk into his office another dozen or so). I get to have lunch with one of my favorite people a couple of times a's really pretty awesome. Another bonus is that one of my other all time favorites works about ten minutes away so we get to have lunch with him about once a week or so.

My cup runneth over (the friends cup that I keep in my dishwasher because I'm always either drinking it or cleaning it...because it's always running over).

It's great that I get to see good friends today. It's great that I get to work with new friends and old. It's great that I have friends so close. None of it compares to the fact that I get to live with my all time best friend.

Life gets busy and our lives get messy - but the bottom line is that she's the best and I couldn't find a better gal to make me laugh and share my life with....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

this is about you...and you know who you are

Every couple of days I'll write something that will result in a phone call and four e-mails saying, "I know I'm being paranoid, but was that about me?"

Here's the secret - it was.

That one thing I wrote about you clubbing baby seals, and that being bad...that was about you Feve Stuller.

The person who steals from the Red Cross - you know who you are -you lawyer in Dayton.

You're ok with punching old ladies and stealing their socks? I'm not so sure - girl who teaches in Tallawanda.

Struggle with stealing from the rich and giving to the even know who you are - wanna be pilot in training ex-wrestler guy.

If you wondered if the thing I wrote about the guy who carves out pumpkins into sadistic mask like configurations, burns a candle and sticks it into the skull like container he's just fashioned....I'm talking about you Mr. poet/artist in State College fella

Several people inspired my blog about howI think it's wrong to speak in pig latin and convince people that pigs actually spoke latin throughout the 19th century. I'd rather not say who did that, let's just call them the nameless heads of a cult that houses a compound of devotees in Clifton.

Follow Chuck Norris around with a group of friends armed with beard clippers and a jar of ether? It's time to fess up - mono-browed bass-playing, father of two in Columbus...

The bottom line is that most of my blogs were inspired by you - the person now reading this blog (and I think we both know who I'm talking about here...)

Monday, November 20, 2006

makes sense on paper

I see things as black and white, right and wrong, logical and non-logical. That's just how I roll.

So it bugs me when I see something that makes so much sense on paper, but it doesn't work. I tend to make quick decisions because that's how my brain works, I'm incredibly impatient, or I like to get cranking on solutions before the problem gets worse.

It drives me nuts when decisions are made that are politically motivated, not very logical or just plain wrong. Some people focus on superficial issues that shouldn't even be a part of the decision. Some ignore major issues that should drive the decision. Some just argue the other side so they can either "win" or stir things up.

All of these drive me crazy.

Having said that - I get hung up on things that I'm so sure are right...and turn out to be wrong. I'm not sure how to get over the fact that occasionally I make bad decisions. Most of the time it's a snap decision that didn't play out the way I thought it would. I'd like to turn on the "patient" switch and think things through for hours and hours...but I can't find it.

I hear that love is patient, kind....and a bunch of other things. I always have wondered if it was listed first as being patient for a reason???

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cuckoo for cocoa puffs

how ridiculous is this?

I get into a situation where I can just predict what the person is going to say. I know based on how well I know this person that they'll react to something a certain way, I'll have a whole list of reasons about why they're either wrong or just being a hypocrite...

and I'll stew in that

and I'll get mad at them

because I just know how they'll react

I literally get mad at them for how I THINK they'll react

and I'll just let it burn....

Some poor soul comes into an interaction with me and can't figure out why I'm mad at them.

It's because of something they didn't say to me...that's why.

How insane is it to get mad at someone because I think they'll say or do something....because I've already had the conversation in my mind and I'm mad at what they said in my imagination?

somebody needs a mental vacation...

Thursday, November 16, 2006



take Griffin to wrestling practice

The Office

That's my typical recipe for a Thursday. Work is good, but sometimes kind of annoying. I love wrestling, but these guys are really new to the sport...and the wrestling room smells kind of like a drawer full of used socks. It's just more noticeable when you're not wrestling or coaching. When you're in the room dressed like a dad who's just there to observe, you really notice that smell...and the heat.

Jim comes back to the Office tonight. I've missed Jim. Oh sure he's had little clips from the other office, but it's not the same. We need him to roll his eyes and smile when Dwight says something awesome. You can't get that from an office in another state. Tonight starts the love triangle on the Office. Jim can't just date Pam because they're both single. He's gotta start dating the new girl that comes over from the other office.

He'll break up with her during the last episode of this season...and you'll thin he's going to finally date Pam (see Friends, Cheers, Ed, BJ & The Bear, American Idol...).

It takes a little of the fun out when you know what's going to happen.

I wonder how this Thursday will surprise me?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Taking it for granted

Sometimes I forget how great I have it. I get frustrated by silly things at work and forget how much I missed this church when I was away from it for awhile. I forget that they feed over 1,000 families a month, help prisoners coming home, help build wheel chair ramps, fix houses, sent a ton of people, supplies and money to New Orleans for hurricane relief, counsel folks thinking of getting married or thinking of getting a divorce.

We get folks who have been abused coming to us for help...and we're set up to help them. We give tens of thousands of dollars of stuff away to people around the city because we're sick of saying, "it's better to give than to receive" followed by nothing...

A Vineyard pastor stopped on the highway to help someone who was stranded. He ended up going to the gas station to see if he could borrow a gas can. They told him he'd have to buy it, and when he pulled out his wallet they saw his Vineyard card. "I knew you went to the Vineyard, they're always helping people out around here"

I get to work for that place.

Over 1,000 people have applied for jobs there just since I've started a little over a year ago. I've met over a dozen people that applied for my job. How silly is it for me to forget how great I've got it?

That's what I do...I forget. I focus on the stupid stuff. I get wrapped up in the tediousness of the everyday grind.

I forget.

I'll try and not do that today...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The comparison game

Aren't comparisons grand?

I love it when I hear that someone was arrested for something like shop lifting and they yell out, "you're going to arrest me for stealing a shirt while there are rapists and murderers out there?!". You hear people grumble the same thing when they're pulled over for speeding. Can you imagine the cop saying, "you're right, go ahead and take the sweater...keep on driving 80 in a school zone...I'm going to go capture me some murderers!"?

You hear it all the time. People get in trouble for something and they'll say, "but what about the person who did this awful thing....that's so much worse". Yes it you've both done something wrong.

In sports they'll complain when caught doing something bad about someone else who got away with doing the same thing. They don't claim to be innocent, they're just mad that someone else was allowed to be bad.

We compare everything good and bad. We love it. It gives us a point of reference. It allows us to figure out how we're comparison.

We compare everything good and bad. We hate it. It forces us to live up to other's expectations based on unrealistic standards set in a different era with slightly different circumstances.

There's just no winning for losing...

Monday, November 13, 2006


This is Ohio State Michigan week. This is a game so big that I might not be able to watch it around other people. I care too much about it to have idle chit chat happening all around me. I'll walk, pace and throw things in the general direction of the tv.

Here's the thing though...I might not watch it. I get to be a part of something we do at my church called Turkeyfest. We take 400 Turkey dinners to people's homes that might not otherwise be able to afford it.
We don't make them come to us. We don't line them up and ladel food onto their plates. We give them the food so that they, in turn, can provide a meal for their friends and family.
It's really a great thing - and as big as the OSU-Michigan game is - this is way better.

So if I miss the game...I miss the game. ...

Friday, November 10, 2006


going to work in a couple of minutes....14 hours later I'll leave work. That's my day today.

Tomorrow is better. I get to see some family, go to Griff's birthday party and then hang out until 5:30...and then head back to work for three more hours.

Sunday shakes out a little differently. I'll get there at 8 and leave at 12:30...and then work that night from 5 - 8:30ish.

It's just hours piled up right now. Hopefully I'll fully engage once I get there. I have six different projects or things to focus on, so that'll keep it fresh. It's hard not to look at it as another weekend where I'll barely be home.

It's hard not to focus on the hours.

I don't want to just work a job.

I don't want to count hours.

I want to live out a calling. I want to focus on what I'm passionate about.

I want to live these next 72 hours and not keep a checklist of things I have to do and things I'm done doing...

I'm going to try and live these out with expectancy, a sense of urgency and lock in on the reasons why I believe in the things I'm doing.

And then I'm going to dance, dance, dance!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


It's funny how much I take electricity for granted. Not like laugh out loud, wait until I tell everyone at work about how hilarious that was funny... I guess it's just more interesting than funny.

Our power went our a little before 7 this morning. No tv. No computer. Be careful opening the fridge. No phone. No digital clocks, microwaves or lamps.

Our kid's breakfasts are very toaster or microwave friendly. My morning usually starts with a quick post on the 'ol blog. I like to have light on in the bathroom when I shower.

I thought I was escaping into the electric world when I left for work. That quickly became an obstacle when I realized that my garage door opener wouldn't allow me to get out without power.

Today I learned that I love electricity. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. That's why I love the show Ed now more than I probably obsessed over it when it was on. That's why it's so easy to focus on the things I loved about Pennsylvania and my last job - even though it was so hard to focus on those things when I was there.

I take things for granted. I just do. I probably need to stop and smell the sweet sweet smell of coffee (a much better smell than roses).

I'm going to appreciate my electricity filled office today. I'll enjoy the fact that I get to choose what I'm going to eat for lunch, projects I'll work on, and objectives I get to strive towards that I really do care about.

Oh sweet sweet I so love you.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I gotta be honest here...

In this season of scandal, politics, and war I've had a chance to think through some things and I've come to some pretty hard conclusions. I definitely don't want to start a battle with any major corporation and I hesitate to say this....but the McDonaldland figures kind of freak me out.

Clowns freak me out to start with, so Ronald is just a Whopper hating freak in my way of thinking. The Hamburgler is a thieving malcontent that steals from the rich and poor alike with no thought to the potential repercussions. And that we don't know who you are, you dolt!

And what's with Mayor McCheese and his superior attitude? Who really wears a sash everyday? I know this, I didn't vote for you.

The fry guys are a bunch of carnie side show attractions and the only redeeming character I can point to is Grimace. It's a perfect description of what I do whenever I see these guys prancing around their precious McDonalds.

There. I said it. It's time I moved on...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I wonder...

I wonder why guys wearing tuxedo's tend to walk around with both hands in their pockets so much? Watch a guy in jeans and a t-shirt walk down the street sometime. He'll just be walking with his hands to his side. If he's wearing a tux, he'll have the front of his jacket off to the sides and both hands in his pockets. What's that all about?

I wonder if Diddy will remember to vote today?

I wonder if the winner of the New York City Marathon had to compete in the Tour De France, if they'd say it was the toughest thing they've ever done?

I wonder when Stomp moved into my neighborhood and decided to have their on the street rehearsals at 5 AM?

I wonder if Studio 60 will get cancelled?

I wonder what's in my house that causes my kids to get so sick so often?

I wonder why Ohio State always plays so poorly against Penn State and Illinois?

I wonder how ridiculous it would be if someone put together a white entertainment television (WET) station? Or a white coaches of America association? NAAWP?

I wonder why my back hurts so much right now?

I wonder why Fox catches so much slack when every survey taken since 1962 has shown that the vast majority of journalists have taken the side of the Democrats in every election (even Mondale). I wonder if the same people were up in arms over the New York Times and their balanced views? NBC? CBS? ABC? It's interesting to see they know the political leanings of every newspaper and network - but now there's a network that leans the other way...and people freak out (just watch the comments).

I wonder why the Pirates can't put together a winning season?

I wonder why my lawn looks like there was some sort of rugby scrum that took place in the back yard.

I wonder where bagpipe players practice?

I wonder what I'll have for lunch?

These are the things I seem to be wondering about about you?

Monday, November 06, 2006

the round mound of rebound

In one interview Charles Barkley said:
I've joked about running for Governor before, but I'm really going to do it now.

I've lost around $10 million gambling. I bring about $50 million with me, so it's ok.

We need to stop this divide between the rich and the poor.

How could I screw up Alabama any worse than it already is?

I honestly believe that people will still vote for him...

I just read an interview with a famous local athlete who was talking about his kids being a top priority. One of his kids lives in Florida and one in California.
He sees them "every once in a while".
He's playing to "secure their future".
He owns 5 cars and lives by himself.

My best guess is that he's driving these cars around to make sure they're in ten years he can drive one to California and one to Florida and secure his kid's future by giving them cars.

Who says athletes aren't role models?

also in the world of sports, Fuller beat me in ping pong...repeatedly

Friday, November 03, 2006

Brian Regan

I'm forced to consider the question - should a great stand up comedian tour with a really bad one...and end up looking that much better in the process?

That's sort of what I saw last night. The night started with the single greatest comedic act since Gallagher discovered the sledge hammer. This man was to comedy was Hasselhoff is to half buttoned shirts. He was the thinking man's answer to Dan Rather. He was clever, witty and just when you thought he was all about the verbals...he'd do a little side step, shuffle and make turkey fingers appear on top of his head.

You read that last line right. People paid a bunch of money to see the first comedian of the night (name escapes me....because God loves me) take his hand and put it on top of his head and stick up four fingers to make it look like a goofy hat or turkey feathers. And then he'd make a little "peep" kind of noise.

He was flown in for this performance.

He performed in front of a crowd of thousands.

For 20 spirit crushing minutes he had the general attention of all these people...and was probably paid four figures.

Brian Regan came out and you would have thought you were watching the single greatest comedian of all time. It was like watching the newly re-formed Culture Club open up for U2 when B.B. King is making a special appearance singing "when loves comes to town" with Bono.

It was like eating a baked peanut butter and ketchup sandwich before they brought out the Beef Wellington.

It was like playing putt putt in some parking lot that has worn out green carpeting right before you play 18 at Winged Foot.

You get the point....I'm just thrown a little by how this guy ever saw the stage.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Save Darfur

I'm good thanks

quick note to Ted Strickland:

Ted, I get it. You're running for Governor. I saw your commercials, ads and got your e-mail....and then I started getting 3 a day for the last few weeks. I know that you really want the job. I know you've raised a crazy amount of campaign money. I know you've been in Congress since the early 90's. Apparently you love kids, God, people and the good 'ol U.S. of A.

You really don't have to send me any more e-mails. Nobody else is, so you're winning 73-0 on the e-mail race.

I sort of thought I was good after one.

thanks though - I don't get nearly enough unsolicited e-mail. I should mention that there's a rich prince in a far off land that has millions of dollars that he'd like to deposit in my account if I'd be so good as to send him my bank account number. If I get those millions, I promise to give you $10,000 for every e-mail and spend the rest on male enhancement pills, hair growth pills, online gambling, and all the people who would like me to verify my ebay and paypal accounts.

thanks for the notes,
your buddy,