Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I had a good talk with my sister Carol today. One of the things that came up was the ease with which we can get gloomy about heavy stuff and our tendency to stay in the gloom...and how counter-productive that can be for ourselves and the people around us. She suggested I write a post about it and lo! I already had one! I searched my drafts and there it was...the very first post I ever wrote, written back in July of 2009 - for some reason, I've never actually posted it. Just waiting for the 'right' time, I guess...hope that means now...

Anyway, here it is:

I was running nice and early one morning back in April. I'd had to drag myself out of bed to make it happen. Not the usual for me - I'm an early riser (note: that's 'early riser,' not 'morning person,' There is a difference....). But today I

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Typing Lessons

Carly just couldn't take it anymore. She just couldn't stand the fact that I can't type. I 'hunt and peck.' And evidently it's disgusting and ridiculous so she decided to take matters into her own hands. And so began my misery.

Before I go on, let me share a really great moment back at Christmas. Since Carly aspires to be a writer one day, we gave her a cool old Smith Corona Mark I electric typewriter. Remember typewriters? (For those of you under the age of 20, typewriters are for getting typed text onto a piece of paper, like your printer does now. Only this machine does it, one letter at a time, without a word processor or even a computer! Wowie!) Anyway, she opened that baby up and that was it for the day; all three kids were completely distracted from the Olympic sized swimming pool, Bugati motorcycles, and bedside churro machines that we'd gotten them. They were all about the old-school typewriter.

Fast forward four months to yesterday. Carly sat me down at the typewriter

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Continuous Camera Move Music Videos

These 3 music videos were all made using only one continuous camera move. How'd they do it? The same way the maestro says you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.(videos are after the jump: click 'Read More' to get there).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hubble Deep Field Image in 3D

You may have seen this amazing image that the Hubble Space Telescope took which showed many, many galaxies all in one image. It's not the most dramatic looking image the Hubble has taken, but to me, its one of the most profound: each one of those galaxies has hundreds of billion stars each. Words fail. We cannot describe the magnitude of even one 500 billion star galaxy, much less billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars....it boggles the little human mind.

Those galaxies are way out near the 'edges' of the known universe. This video (after the jump) shows

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Everything's Amazing And No One Is Happy"

So I'm back from the dentist...just the cleaning by the non-gentle hygenist. I had declined the $10,000 (or thereabouts) x-ray that the hygenist insisted I needed. So she went and tattled to the big cheese, the dentist himself, who came and gave a 2 second poke and prod (one second each) and gravely told her, "put a 'watch' on #18, lower." I'm not worried though. I saw right through their little game: all of it was just a ruse to get me to beg them for an x-ray.

As I lay there with this woman's latex-gloved hands in my space-invaded mouth, I gave in to the thoughts of how much I hate this. I know we all hate the poking and scraping and poking and invasion of the personal space and the poking and the spit-sucking tube...and the poking. I remember thinking, "Ugh, this is so irritating to live in this broken world where Entropy rules and we do our feeble best to stem the tides of tartar, plaque and tooth decay." *grumble, grumble*

Janie and I just watched an episode of the 19th Century British-against-the-French series called Sharpe (with Sean Bean as Major Richard Sharpe, if you know him. Our library has the whole 16 dvd series). This one character, Sharpe's Irish right-hand man named

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wish I Could Play Even One Instrument

Here's an excerpt of Stanley Jordan playing Horace Silver's "Song for my Father." Brain melting skill from the master...there's no one better...and to think he was discovered playing his guitar in a New York subway! (videos are after the jump: click 'Read More' to get there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Carly on Lewis

Carly had this to say about "The Last Battle" on her blog:

Today I finished reading C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle." It was amazing. I loved how he is able to really weave Christianity into his stories. There were some parts taken straight from the Bible. It made me feel like this dumb world was just getting in the way of Heaven, rather like the dust bunnies that we used to have on top of our ceiling fan. They were clogging it up (sort of) so the nice, clean air was prohibited from being dust (or sin) free!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Back on Good Friday, my friend Pete prayed at the close of the Good Friday Chapel at the Christian School.

Even though there was a mix of ages of kids in the room, as well as many parents, he prayed fervently and long. He extolled the greatness of God, shuddered at the crucifixion of Good Friday, and celebrated the empty tomb of Easter Sunday. Christ is Alive!  What Grace!

And I could hear it: there was a beautiful tremble in his voice. So much so, that after he said, "Amen," instead of going back to his seat, he had to leave the room.

I like someone who prays like that.


My current favorite Relient K song. I know it's a cool, more serious song, especially for Relient K, and it's probably Christian powerpop blasphemy to say it...but I can't help wishing that the Muppets still had their show so Relient K could go on and the whole cast could muppet-dance to this song............

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Ok, I take it all back. All of it.

Now that I have experienced for my self - first-hand - the deep and abiding joy that can be found in sniffing a Tahitian Tiare Flower scented Yankee Candle, well, there is no going back, is there? Nate, you are really on to something. My question now is, why did you wait so long to tell me about such a rapturous experience as candle sniffing?

Ahhhh, I just took another whiff of Ocean Blossom. Can't get enough.

Anyone who is willing and able, please send along a nice jar of Summer Rain to him with my thanks and compliments...and get one for yourself while you're at it........

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Splash of Rain

Pastor Nate W is a friend. A really good friend. Which is good because what I am about to do to any reputation he may have would be grounds for a good pummeling...if we weren't such great pals.

Nate is my one really large friend. Large as in muscular. He has 'high muscle definition.' He's jacked. Pumped. Ripped. I tend to hang out with skinny people because I am not exactly of 'Atlasian' proportions myself, so skinny friends make me look

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Janie Update 4-7-10

Ok, this is rather awesome: Janie has slept through the night for two nights in a row now!

Her legs aren't as full of fluid, she thinks. She had an easier time getting around today.

AND, ready for this? She went to the grocery store by herself! And she bought stuff.

We're pleased as punch, though she still is coughing. But oh, what a difference to know that the coughing doesn't seem to be collapsing her lungs!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Janie Update April 5, 2010: "Shock and Awe"

Ok, are you sitting down? Are you ready for some news, some really nice news?

Janie's lungs are not collapsed. Period. That's all! End of story! Good day sir!

We are just thrilled and ecstatic about this news. I'm in shock, really. Janie's cough has been so persistent and she has been so out of breath that we (and I think especially I) have been pretty convinced that her lungs must be at least 70% collapsed. Or 80%. Or 90%. It's been a pretty rough month.

So when Janie went in this morning for her weekly dose of chemo, the nurse who took her vitals and whatnot expressed more than the usual concern over Janie's cough and the fluid buildup in her (Janie's, not the nurse's, heh) legs. So before they did any chemo, it was

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! He Is Risen!

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chagall's Abraham

Marc Chagall's Sacrifice of Isaac is a very affecting painting to me. The composition, the movement, the expression, the colors (including what each color might represent) and the symbolism are all artistically pleasing. Together they are all quite moving.

Abraham, following the direct order of God (Genesis 22:2), is about to kill (and burn!) his own son on an altar of sacrifice, though he was fully expecting his son to be raised somehow from the dead (Genesis 22:5, Hebrews 11:17-19). We see over to the left the ram, miraculously - providentially - provided by God,  to take the place of the one that was about to die. The pure, spotless ram was provided to turn God's wrath away from the guilty. Freedom at another's expense!

But now wait - who is that in the brown, shadowy area in the back? It's the Son of God, carrying his own cross - walking the horror-road up the hill of death. He's there to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. There are people around him, but make no mistake, he is alone. There is no one to take his place...no ram will be provided. In actuality, Jesus himself will be the spotless, innocent lamb to be slain in the place of the guilty. And by laying down his life as a substitutionary atonement, he will gloriously fulfill Abraham and Isaac's early foreshadow.

It is a sober thing, and appropriate to think about on Holy Saturday, the day we remember that Jesus' body lay in the tomb, dead. I feel so humbled and overwhelmed at the thought of Jesus' deep, deep, cross-pursuing love! Freedom at Another's Expense!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Forsaken Friday

I remember when I was a kid laying awake in the quiet of the night and letting myself get really scared, believing that everyone else on earth *might have...could have...probably...definitely* had disappeared and that I was all alone here on earth. It's a terrifying thought, especially for a little 10 year old.

Alone. Completely alone. Not another soul...anywhere.

I once taught a group of 8th graders, and the lessons included a bit on Hell. And it bugged me that the kids didn't seem too bothered by the thought of Hell, since the bible -  most notably Jesus - spoke about Hell as a place of utter despair, where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Now, I'd been around 8th graders enough to know that it's best not to get too far into describing what "gnashing of teeth" might actually look like, because of the inevitable silliness that will result. Goofy "gnashing" facial expressions, etc. So I tried to sober the room up by giving my own imagined view of what Hell might be like. I carefully gave the disclaimer that this isn't what the bible says Hell is like...this is my own imagining of what the despair of Hell might feel like.

And I took them back to my childhood night terror:

Thursday, April 1, 2010


This is from ChristianAnswers.net, and it describes hematohidrosis, the sweating of blood that Jesus experienced in Gethsemane. Here at Easter time, we want to be especially sensitive to Jesus' suffering, and as described here, not all of it was physical. Praise Jesus for "setting his face toward Jerusalem," "sweating great drops of blood" and going to the Cross, "scorning it's shame" in his