Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I See You Nashville



Oh I see you. Yes, you. Yes, I see YOU. See that little map up at the top right? Yes. Busted.
I can see that in spite of my total and complete lack of promotion of this blog - other than a few mentions on my Myspace - some people (OK, or person) are/is actually coming back to read this on a semi-regular basis. The map is tough to pinpoint, but I'd guess it's Nashville. This is likely considering I have many a friend in Nashvegas, my former home.


Truth is, I'm flattered. You love me. You really love me.


Don't be afraid to say hello.


I feel so vulnerable. Hold me.

It Seems I'm a Motivational Speaker

WARNING: The following blog is a freakin' joke. Do not be offended. If you feel you may be offended, please click HERE immediately and leave my blog. Comedy begins below.

I created these on THIS website a few weeks ago. So do you think I could make a million by slapping these on posters and selling them in the mall?

































































































UPDATE: Thanks to Tina for recommending THIS site.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The "Norm" Principle

"Norm!"


For you kids of both the '80's and current re-runs, I hope this stirs up memories of a cozy little nook in Boston. Home to Sam, Woody, Diane, Rebekah, Cliff, Norm, Frazier, Carla and the rest of the gang at Cheers.


My point? People feel special when they're enthusiastically and sincerely greeted. A place "where everybody knows your name-and they're always glad ya came" (go ahead, sing along with me) is a place where we want to be. Well, I can think of exceptions, but go with me here.

So here's the scenario tonight at Crispers, a typical counter service restaurant here in town:

SCENE: in line waiting for the girl behind the counter to take our order

GIRL: "Is this your first time here?"
ME: "No."
GIRL: "..................."
ME: "What would you have done differently if I answered yes to your question?"
GIRL: "I would have said 'welcome.'"
ME: "Oh."
GIRL: "I have to ask or I'll get in trouble."

I'd have been pleased with "welcome." I wonder how much time the manager, or worse yet, corporate, put into this little ditty of a policy.

May the places where you're a "Norm" continue to increase.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Theology in Microsoft Paint, Episode 1



















eShopping eList



The following are items I will (more than likely) NOT purchase from eBay and other sources in the coming days. Again, I said, more than likely. Who knows?


1. Genuine Unicorn Stool (not a chair of sorts)


"Produced by free range unicorns fed a healthy, high fibre diet. Simply press buy it now and your very own packet of enchanted turd will be stuffed through your letterbox before you can say horse laxative!" Buy it Now: 3 quid See it HERE


2. Toothbrush - Only Two Months Used


"While I am cleaning out my closet I figured I would clean out my bathroom as well. I change toothbrushes quite often and figured it was time to change again.. What better thing to do with my old one than sell it on eBay... " Starting Bid: $.99 See it HERE

3. Real Raisin Earrings


"These earrings are made of REAL raisins, glazed, then hung from good quality earring hooks using really thin wire. They are no longer edible, but instead make a really unique style statement! Who needs beads?!" Starting Bid: $3.91 See it HERE


4. Britney Spears' Sinead O'Conner Starter Kit


"This is the Ultimate Britney Spears Experience! It is a piece of history that can not be duplicated! A portion of the proceeds will be donated to various charities. The winner will have the choice to remain anonymous or to use this for publicity purposes." Starting Bid: $1,000,000.00 I'll take two! See it HERE


There you have it. What's your list look like?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

No Man's Land



I'm an avid reader of Andrew Osenga's blog. He was with a band called The Normals a few years back. He ended up playing and writing with Caedmon's Call and is now a full-time member of the group. He also does session work around Nashville. Great guy. Smart guy.


If you're a follower of Jesus Christ and a musician, this blog entry of his will have some significance for you. I should say, if you're a follower of Jesus Christ and a musician AND not stuck in the vacuum of the popular christian music scene as your only source for righteous entertainment. I thought it was enlightening and heart-felt. It's a struggle I feel all too often. I hope it's a catalyst in your mind.


So here's his blog entry from today. I've cut and pasted below, but I'd encourage you to check out his site sometime. Thoughts?

-------------------------------------------------------------

"Once again, let me say how much I love you people. I love that an actual discussion is being had, and that you don't all agree! If you haven't been around in a while I'm talking about my previous post and the comments that have followed.


In the meantime, the interview I mentioned last post has been put up, as has a review of my latest record The Morning. Here is the interview and here is the review.


I want to expound on a couple points brought in the above articles, as well as stuff I said last night. In no particular order, here are my thoughts, as always, open for discussion…


- Thanks to the bulk of you who advised and encouraged me to keep on doing what I'm doing. I appreciate that more than you know, and it's what I'll be doing.


- My big concern, however, is that people who might really like my music are turned off if they hear about me as a "christian artist". This is what the interviewer, A.L. Harper says, and it's why she wouldn't have done the interview had I been brought to her attention that way.


And she's right. Completely. I'm exactly the same way. I don't really listen to "christian" music, and if you give me some music to check out and you call it that, I probably won't listen to it. It carries with it a connotation of not being good, and of being music I won't like. That's a stereotype, but stereotypes don't spring up at random. They're hasty judgments based on previous experience, and while some are terribly wrong, they are also often accurate.


Most "christian" music I have heard, and believe me, I've heard more than most of you, will tend to be simplistic, preachy, poorly made and shallow. There are wonderful, incredible exceptions, but that's just what they are: exceptions. I've had enough experience to know that, as a genre, "christian" music rarely affects me and often offends me.


There are two major problems with a genre defined not even by lyrical content but by the religious belief of the artist. One is that the content has to be very surface-y to cover a wide variety of actual beliefs. Secondly, it makes great assumptions on the artist's purpose and allegiances.


Most people assume that "christian" music is evangelistic, meaning its a means to an end to convert people. And most people would, historically, be right. Until very recently that was the main goal of the genre.
Most people then also assume that the artist is pro-life, voted for the Bush family, has perfect kids (who will soon rebel) and that they don't drink, smoke or watch R movies. And again, they may be right. Sometimes. But not all the time. Just like any other group in any situation, people are people, and they are all incredibly unique and will continue to surprise you with what they think.


This broad canvas over every artist who professes this certain faith implies so much, and I don't want that, and that's what I want to know how to be rid of.


Hear me now: I am not ashamed to believe in Jesus. I am ashamed of Pat Robertson hijacking my faith for his crazy political agenda. I am ashamed of a President who confuses good vs. evil with "they have oil and I want it". I am ashamed of Jerry Falwell and Benny Hinn. I called Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez, a liar and a crook to his face. I would do it again today. Because he, like these other guys, is taking what I believe and twisting it for money and for power and, in their headline-grabbing foolishness, making the truly faithful and honest believers look like idiots.


This is the main reason I am scared of "christian" music. I don't want to listen to it, because I assume it will be shallow, preachy and offensive to those who don't agree. I don't want to be called it, because I like my music and I want others to hear it, without the Left Behind-reading, Harry Potter-burning stigma.


BUT I'm here, so what do I do?


ALSO there is a great need for the Church to overcome this negative image. The links I posted last night to Dalit Freedom, Compassion, Blood:Water are what we should be seeing. I wish that the image people thought of when they thought of Christianity was feeding the poor and freeing the oppressed instead of picketing gay-rights parades.


That is the main reason I play for Caedmon's Call. They are a "christian" band, without a doubt. And they're doing amazing things for the people in India, and they're getting the Church involved, using music to get in the door. That, to me, is incredibly worthwhile.


So I'm left with this: I don't want to play "christian" music if it means I'm expected to believe and act one way and only that one way. I don't want to NOT play "christian" music if it means I have to do the same thing with an opposite set of rules. I guess I stay where I am and make the best music I'm able.


But I don't want to just "let the chips fall where they may". Again, I have a wife and two very adorable little girls to care for. And I would like my music to have a bigger, wider audience. Suggestions? Opinions? Further discussion?"


Currently reading : Soul Cravings By Erwin Raphael McManus Release date: By 14 November, 2006

Friday, February 16, 2007

Word-isms




WORD:

1. A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. Typically a word will consist of a root or stem and zero or more affixes. Words can be combined to create phrases, clauses, and sentences. A word consisting of two or more stems joined together is called a compound.


2. "Yo"


3. "'Sup"


I was reading THIS Wikipedia entry as I studied a few things this morning. My thoughts began to center around words that I love and/or hate (well, hate is a strong word, just ask Tim Hardaway). Rather, words I love and/or strongly dislike. I don't mean their meaning or usage, i simply mean the way these words make me feel when I speak them audibly.


Words I Would Remove From the English Language:


1. Lozenge


Go ahead, say it. You'll hate it too. Did you know that "lozenge" is actually a rhombus shape?


2. Broth


Smells cold and salty. Gross. Least favorite food group: broth-flavored lozenge.

3. Nuptials


Sounds like something that grows on a pier in muggy climates.
"Them nuptials are great bait for catchin' flounder." -old man at the pier

4. Lackadaisical


Artistically speaking, this word has bad flow and general.....badness. I also submit that at least 50% of the time I hear people say "lax-adaisical." This is incorrect gross word pronunciation.


5. Juxtaposition

This word makes me feel as if reading a thesaurus is daily activity. Reminds me of a famous quote: "Never use a short word where a long one will do." Yes, you read it correctly.


Words That Deserve the Equivalent of the Grammy Award:


1. Melancholy


Now that's just ironic.


2. Beaujolais


It's a light, fruity wine, and rolls off the tongue doesn't it? The word, not the wine. Some of you have no freakin' clue how to even pronounce this word. We're all laughing and pointing at you right now. By "we're all" I mean just me. And the guy from the pier. He came over. We're eating nuptials and pointing at you.


3. Cumulonimbus


This word has such sonic authority considering it's merely a cloud. This word could also double as the name of a super-hero i.e., "I am Cumulonimbus! Smiting evil dryness with my sword of humidity!"


4. Desalinization


"De-sal" plants remove salt from seawater to produce drinkable water. It also takes away my salty blues.

5. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious


Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious. You take it from here...


There you have it. Please, do enlighten us with your favorite/least favorite units of language that carry meaning and consist of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together and have phonetic value. or words.


". . . I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels."

-John Calvin

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What's His Name?



Here's a random thought:


I don't think America is ready to trust anyone named "Obama," regardless of race or religion.
UPDATE: Barrack Hussein Obama. And I thought Obama was bad. Something tells me we'll always see an "H." in place of the complete spelling.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lyrics - a Study in Context



The lyrics below are not mine. They are, however, the source of a great debate that once ensued among a Nashville record label and a large distribution company. The potentially problematic lyric(s) are fairly obvious to see.


I recently heard this song sung live. Its tenderness and truth shot though my heart like a flaming arrow - seering a painfully simple truth in my mind.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Let me encourage to listen to the song HERE. The song is called "Jesus."

When we love the least
When we love the weak
When we love all these
we love Jesus

Jesus trying hard to quit
Jesus turns another trick
Jesus raising two alone
Jesus drives a heavy load

When we love the least
When we love the weak
When we love all these
we love Jesus

Jesus with worn wrinkled hands
Jesus sows a patch of land
Jesus hides a tattooed arm
Jesus keeping dinner warm

When we love the least
When we love the weak
When we love all these
we love Jesus

Jesus waves a foreign flag
Jesus wrings a washing rag
Jesus leans on prison bars
Jesus swinging in my yard

When we love the least
When we love the weak
When we love all these
we love Jesus

May we learn to love all these.

It was on my heart...

-Mike

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Recipe for an Above Average Day

Take 1 part sleep late and add to 1 part 10:30AM gym appointment for 6-year-old. Set aside. Take 1 8-month-old and intermittently add puking and other grody actions. Combine all ingredients with severely over-stressed wife/mother. Throw in SUV and add to Shaun Groves concert. Relax. Enjoy. Offer cup of water for Neal Diamond-esque hoarseness in voice. Enjoy regardless.

Optional side dishes: SNL, Remember that SNL isn't funny anymore, Blog, Sleep.

Zzzzzz...