Friday, January 30, 2009

Seth Childs, I am proud

Today, as I made all important work phone calls, I meanered over to Seth Childs Theater's page to see what movies were showing. Gran Torino is still out, which I need to see. Taken looks interesting, I will probably check it out, especially if anybody else is going. The third Underworld is showing, and having loved the first and tolerated the second, I will probably see it against my better judgement. And I should see Benjamin Button because of the Oscar prowess.

But the most exciting news is that SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is showing at Seth Childs now! I know, we are all excited. If you haven't seen it, and you live in Manhattan, let's go see it. Tonight. Maybe even this afternoon. (This is a test to see if my boss ever reads my blog)

So, now you know what I need to see. If one of these is beckoning you in for some hours of entertainment, call me, let's all go to the movies.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'd Rather Be....

It is currently 33 degrees Fahrenheit in my fair city. The wind chill makes it feel like 27...according to

Yesterday it was colder than today, and the day before that, even colder.

And yet, I have been carrying in my truck since last weekend a tool which aids me in my pursuit of my absolute favorite way to spend my calculator.

Just kidding. I hate math. I know some say it is great, that it has been the lynch-pin of civilization and that I could not be typing this without it. I still say the bad outweighs the good in the math world. Case and point, my sophomore year pre-calc teacher. Only something based in pure evil could produce such a man.....

But I digress.

I have been carrying around my fishing pole.

Yes, many say it is too cold. And they are probably right. But that is not going to stop me. The first chance I get, that line is going in the water.

I love to fish. When I was a kid, I used to dream about being a professional fisherman. Then I learned that they have to be super competitive and work hard to catch fish all of the time. That dream was destroyed. Because for me, fishing is not about catching fish.

And at times that is a good thing.

No, while catching fish is important, for me it is all about the act of fishing.

It is about choosing the spot.
Right over there is a tree hanging over the water. The fish will believe my lure came from the tree. No, maybe there where the land juts out, and I can get the most access to the water. No, there, where I can see an old submerged tree, that is where the bass will be hanging out. No, I am fishing for catfish, I need to find where the water is moving. Wait, there is a shady spot with plenty of space to sit, lay back, spread out, take a nap....if I were a fish, I would be there.

It is about choosing a lure.
Maybe because this one is your favorite spinner. Maybe because this water looks murky and the coloring might show up better. Or topwater is going to work better. Or because you dad loves rubber worms and you feel that you should actually learn how to use one some day. Or you believe that this lure is your lucky lure that you always catch fish with and actually once dove into the water to recover it from a tree it was snagged on.

It is about the casting.
Choosing the spot you want. Factoring for wind. Getting the right grip on the line. Releasing at just the moment. Deciding the lure is just as good where it landed, perhaps better than where you planned.

It is about the retrieval.
Bring it in slow. Bring it in fast. Let all the circles disappear before bringing it in. Reel for a moment and then let it rise. Then get mad/bored/loose sight of it and just bring it on quick to cast it back where you *#$%ing wanted it in the first place.

It is about the strike.
My dad has this ability to walk a rubber worm along the bottom of a pond and talk the fish into taking it. He starts with whispering. He becomes friends with fish, earns their trust. Then he urges. He encourages them to try the tasty morsel he has placed before them. Then he orders. Then he begs. I have seen this work dozens of times. Me, I like to make the fish think I am not expecting in any way for them to strike. "What, is that a lure I put in the water? Huh. Did not even notice. I was just looking at that beautiful cloud up in the sk- HA! Got ya! You thought I wasn't really fishing and that was not my bait, but it was! Haha! I wi- oh, nevermind...just a stick...."

But really, it is about the time spent disengaging. When you are sitting on the water, everything and nothing rushes through your mind at the same time. You can solve all of the world's problems, or try to decide if you like turkey or ham the most. You can wrestle with God, or you can think about Mickey Rourke in his acting comeback The Wrestler. You can contemplate the beauty of the world around you, or you can contemplate the beauty of the girl you wish was around you. And if you actually catch a fish, you can tell it what you have decided. It will be so desperate to get back where it can breathe, it will agree with whatever you say.

I can stay out fishing for hours, get lost in the day. Many a time have I headed out some sunny afternoon, or even morning, and had my papa or my brother come looking for me at dinner time. For me, it is a timeless activity that only has the constraints of others' schedules.

So why this post about fishing? I donno, I just really, really want to go.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love 146

This past weekend I went to a benefit concert for Love146. Besides discovering that I am actually a fan of Waterdeep and getting to see some friends play and sing worship on the stage, I learned about an amazing group of people who are fighting for God to change the world.

Two children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Let that sink in.

There is a lot of evil in the world. There is a lot that needs to be fought and destroyed.

However, nothing, for me, is of greater need of obliteration than the fact practice of selling children for sex.

When I was eleven I remember riding my bike up and down the street, learning to fish, and playing with my cousin safe and sound at my grandmother's house. At The Apocalypse Bar in Cambodia a couple sold children as young as eleven to pedophiles.

Many people have heard of IJM, a fantastic organization that uses legal methods for freeing children all over the world, as well as aiding those wronged by corruption. They fill a need in this world.

Love146 does as well. They have a bit of a different area that they cover. They looked at the problem of child exploitation and decided that the needs they were called to answer were two-fold.

1. Prevention

The traffickers in every country (including the U.S.) are clever. They prey on desperate people, promising improved lives for impoverished children. They use lies, threats, anything they can to separate children from their homes. They will tell a family that the child will work for a major company, or be put into a government home and given education. The parents will gladly send their children off, believing they have done something wonderful for them.

Love146 works to educate the parents of children against these tricks. They know the stories used, and fight to stay one step ahead of traffickers. There have even been stories of villages chasing traffickers out of town, because they could recognize the danger!

What an awesome thought. If people are able to see the evil coming, they can fight it. They can hold back children, they can save innocence. Simply by ensuring that information is widespread and helpful.

2. Aftercare

Children will slip through the cracks. Brothels will have their victims. And then they must be recovered. Fought for. IJM fights to have the abusers jailed and the children freed. There is a fabled group of bikers who just bust in and take the children out. There are many, many fighting to retrieve the innocent from the hands of evil.

But when they are out, then what? Their lives have been crushed. What should have never happened has happened. Love 146 Co-Founder Rob Morris describes them as robots, with all humanity driven from them.

Love146 is working to provide safehomes for these victims. These homes provide:

Housing, nutrition, clean water, clothing
Medical care, hygiene training
Psychological development, trauma counseling
Education, vocational training
Spiritual development
Art, play and music therapy
Recreation, cultural social experiences
Life planning and reintegration to society

Amazing huh? And what a brilliant plan. My heart screams out to attack their attackers, to destroy those who destroy, to take the children and run them far away. But that is as far as my mind runs. Because hatred can only take you so far. It drives to more evil, not less.

These people have instead chosen love. They love these kids. In a pure, Godly, truthful way. They teach these children what love is by loving them. They provide for their needs. They fight to show them that they are something beautiful, unique, beloved. Evil may have tried to convince them that they were trash, useful only for carnal abuse, then destined to be discarded and forgotten. It may have almost had success. Except that love, God's love, the true love that is pouring out from this community, completely trumps the lies of evil.

In the safehouses children do recover. They discover that they are people, not objects. They learn to play, to socialize, to LOVE, and to be loved.

This is just the tip of what these amazing people and this amazing organization is about. I urge you to check them out yourself. They are changing the world. They are trusting God to use them in ways that seem impossible. They are challenging you and me to do the same.

I say let's do it.

A Contest Follow Up

Well, this contest did not get the response I was hoping for. However, those who participated, your entries were awesome. And now without further ado.....

The Winner is j wright with

1)Miles Davis "Birth of the Cool"
2)"Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
3)Michael Jackson's "Thriller", not b/c I like it, but it was representative of the era
4)Pearl Jam's "Ten"
5)"Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison", 'cause I felt like I needed a country album

I struggled with accepting Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at first, it nearly took him out of the running. But the judges panel helped me decide that the Beatles did directly influence a large part of American music. Therefore, the list could stand. And, with Miles Davis at the head and Johnny Cash rounding it off, this a a very excellent list.

5 albums is very difficult to do, and I am proud of those who tried. Thanks for playing. Oh, and j, if you want your prize, you will have to give me your address.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Contest

Today we are going to have a contest. There will be a prize for the winner*. If this goes well, there may be more.

If you had to choose five music albums that encapsulated American Music, both old and new, which would they be?

I will leave this for a week. Winner will be decided and announced next Saturday. Good luck.

*Winner will be determined by panel of judges that may include as many as three and as few as one persons.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

Follows a list of things I may be when I grow up. Feel free to join me in any and all vocations.

1. A Pirate Pirate.

Pirates are no longer cool. Modern day pirates are jerks. So were historical ones, but time and romance have made them cool. New coolness, just jerks. Therefore, I wish to hunt the pirates. I will dress in old school pirate garb, perhaps even have an eye-patch and definitely have a monkey. And on my ship, only pirate talk will be allowed. I will provide the Pirate Dictionary for those who need it. And we will capture will be great fun.

2. Child Advocate Lawyer abroad and/or at home

I love kids. Not necessarily up close and personal, but everything a child is I love. And that innocence and delight that I experienced as a kid should not be taken away by adults and scumbags. So I want to help stop it. There is IJM, and there are also guys who ride in on motorcycles and steal the kids out of brothels. I would like to find the happy medium.

3. Bookstore AND Bar/Barbecue Joint Owner

Two stores. One, a used book store. It will have fantastic books and a well read staff. Like the Dusty, for you Manhattanites. The other, a great place to eat barbecue in the day and drink with friends at night. I could run both. I just need a good night manager/bartender. Any takers?

4. Secret Agent

I can't actually say any more on this subject.

5. An Eccentric Collegiate Professor

I want to be the guy that has been everywhere, done everything, and is now teaching to try and save the next generation. I want to give assignments that drive people crazy, but then add to who my students are as a whole. In short, I want to be Dr. Robert Linder.

6. A Treasure Hunter

When I was a kid, I always dreamed of tracking down a major treasure. I knew it would be dangerous, that I might be killed trying to recover the lost City of Gold or the Dutchman's Mine, but that was the life for me. I could do it too. Did you know that out in the middle of Kansas somewhere there are gopher holes filled with pennies from a botched bank robbery in the 1800s? Yeah, I might find them someday, who knows.

7. A Dad

This could go with any of the above jobs, even the Secret Agent...don't ask how, I already told you I can't say more. I would love to someday be a poppa. Have some rugrats and be challenged with raising them to be the people God wants them to be. It would be an honor and terrifying, but it would be nice. Now I just need to find a wife. I am told this is the best order of things....

Well, that is what I want to be. There will always be more to add. luckily, I don't have to grow up for a few years.....or decades.....or ever, so for now I am safe.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Something in the Air

Do you ever feel trouble on the wind? Ever smell disaster before it strikes? Ever stand outside and get that edgy sensation that something in the world if off kilter?

I do.

Today, for whatever reason, everytime I have stepped outside it has smelled like something dangerous is looking around every corner. At first, I shook it off, figured it had something to do with the dampness and my own head.

But then the North Wind started to blow. Now I usually love the North Wind. It brings a biting, head-clearing cold that I treasure. But today it felt as if something evil was riding the wind. That with every cutting blast of air the land was being filled with something more sinister.

Tonight, as I took my dog out back to go to the bathroom (the dog....not me), I could not shake the feeling that whatever the wind was bringing, it had arrived.

Sound odd? Yeah, to me too. But you, dear readers, will just have to put up with me. I feel what I feel, and who better to tell than you?

It is probably nothing, but I will say, check it out for yourself. Listen and feel what the wind is bringing. Be aware of your world, not just what it shows you, but also what it doesn't.

And pray for your world.

Enough strangeness for one night. Sleep.