Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Whereabouts in America

A good friend, Nate Crimmins, began a biking trek across the US last week. Having hiked the Camino de Santiago w/him and Mark in '07, and also hiking the Appalachian Trail w/Mark and Erich in '03, I have a propensity for long-term adventures - only this time I am doing enjoyable work. So, I live vicariously through his blog, and anxiously await his arrival in Danville, KY in early July.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Death of a Car Salesman

After graduating from Centre, I remember toiling over the classifieds in a last ditch effort to find a job in New Jersey. Personal connections didn’t come through, and my interests didn’t match any jobs that were available. I committed myself to life in New Jersey for one year, and became desperate to find a job.

I ended up working for a car dealership for three months. I sold 34 cars.

At the end of the three month training, the company would pay the difference between what an employee on training pay would have made if on straight commission, and the base training pay. My buddy got a check for six grand. I technically owed the company a couple hundred dollars.

I attributed the difference to my inability to be deceiving.

After the three month mark, I received a company car, health benefits, and began working for commission, at 30%. I put my two weeks notice in two days later. The general manager suggested leaving two days later - he wanted people who wanted to be there, which is understandable.

Looking back on it, the 60 hour work weeks, loud rap music playing in the showroom, and working with 14 very, very interesting salespeople was a whole lot of fun.

I’ll probably blog about some of the stories at some point, but will end this entry with some tips about buying a car…

- Wait until the absolute last day of the month. Managers could care less about commission at this point, and would rather meet their quota of ‘vehicles moved.’ I saw some crazy deals go down at the end of the month where the company lost
some money.

- Always talk with manager near the end of negotiations. Half the time, the salesmen know little behind the numbers they show you.

- Never buy a car at a lot the first time you visit. Their goal is to sell a car every time a person walks through the door. Wait until after your first visit, then you will be in the driver seat during negotiations.

- Pay with cash. A lot of dealerships hate this. They rather finance cars, and like to hide things in the numbers and make customers focus on the payment figure.

- If you have a trade-in, don't bring it up until after you have worked out the numbers. Some dealerships try to 'raise the price of the car' and end up giving you less money for your car, even though on the money line, it looks like they are giving you blue-book value.

- Obviously, do your research before hand. Research your car, prices, and info/dirt about a specific dealership.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4.1 Billion Distractions – Cell Phones Taking Over the World

A UN report revealed that 4.1 billion people in the world have cell phone subscriptions.  That’s 60% of the world.  And since 2004, the number of subscribers has doubled. 

A 2004 report from the U.S Census Bureau showed that 159 million residents were cell phone subscribers.  At the growth rate of worldwide subscribers, every American should have a cell phone, even the 25% who are under the age of 13.

That’s probably not too far-fetched of an idea.  Kids are owning cell phones at younger and younger ages.  I know a 6th grader who just got a cell phone for his birthday (and unrelated - an 11th grader who sent/received over 12,000 texts, and a Sunday School attendee who texts throughout the lesson).

There have been murmurs about the negative effects of cell phones/PDA’s/Smartphones  (and internet use) on the human brain among various news outlets (NY Times, Atlantic, Seed).  Hearty research is usually always cited, and tends to lean toward the conclusion that when used improperly, wireless devices can lead to lack of creativity, increased distraction, and lower work efficiency.

One ‘surface’ article written by Sharon Begley, Will the Blackberry Sink the Presidency? (which really isn’t about Obama), concludes that if used correctly, a Crackberry is a fine piece of technology and the more self confident you are, the less you will have cognitive lapses.

Used correctly?  The user, or the person the user is with?  Maybe said person just needs to be a good multi-tasker with the ability to easily shift focus from one thing to the other.  But, it bothers me when someone pulls out a cell phone to take a call or to text, especially if we are involved in an interesting discussion.   I’ll loose interest, and probably leave.

Maybe this person is a great at multi-focusing, but should they consider the other person, or other people around?  What if the other person isn’t good at multi-tasking?

Is this a personal pride thing for me, personally?  Do I think ‘How dare they interrupt the time that they are spending with ME?’  No, that’s not it.  I just think it’s disrespectful (although, at times warranted).

Now we have the potential for 4.1 billion disrespectful people. 


And that’s just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to this little pet peeve of mine.  I guess I'll have to learn to deal with it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I am ashamed that I missed out on April Fool's Day in the blogosphere.

Gmail's homepage tricked me a few years ago. Never Turn in a Paper in Late Again! was the title of an article. I was definitely suspicious, but my foolery guard was down and I took the bait. They claimed to allow users to manually set the date and time of email messages.

I remember wondering about the feasibility of such a ploy, and being impressed at such a feat. Gmail insisted that users were only allowed a certain number of manual time stamps per month. This was when I realized I was being duped. Good one Google!

Top 4 Favorite April Fool's Day Pranks:

4.) The classic chalk-in-the-eraser trick is worth mentioning - kids love pulling it off and think its some huge deal and teachers are never impressed. I pulled it several times in elementary school. My teachers just shook their heads and politely smirked.

3.) Secure a rubber-band around the hose that is attached to your kitchen sink. I can't count how many times I've used this one. I've given this one up and instead teach the trick to small children.

2.) This year, my foolery guard was at its all time low. Church folk don't seem to get thick into that kind of stuff. At the Wednesday night children's program, a 4-year-old boy came running over to me with a big smile. Then he stopped, and got quiet. "Wob, yoyr shows untied..." At the exact millisecond I started to glance down, my ear felt this excruciating pain of a shouting voice, "APEWIL FOOOLS!"

I smiled, raised both hands in the air, and shrugged, "You got me. You really got me." The rest of the afternoon with the children was a chaotic mix of made-ya-look and there's-something-on-your-shirt moments.

1.) I called my aunt several years ago in distress, explaining to her that I was going to be a father. She didn't freak out as I had hoped she would. She started making plans and organizing things and asking questions.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Undercooked Hot Dogs and St. Baldrick's Day

One of my favorite things to do as a youth director is to support the youth of the church by attending their extra-curricular events/activities. Chomping through sunflower seeds and washing down the salt with a cold soda, all the while cheering at a baseball game, is heaps of fun. Soccer games, dance competitions, wrestling matches, and basketball games are other events I have attended.

There is no personal risk in attending any of these events, other than the whistling foul balls or undercooked hot dogs.

I should have known better than to support Rob, a member of the youth group, at St. Baldrick’s Day the other week. The inherent risk of a shaggy youth director attending an event where 50 people gathered to shave their heads is completely different than the innocent baseball game.

St. Baldrick’s is a fundraising event where people shave their heads to both honor children with cancer and to raise money for research. ‘Shavees’ seek donors, and donors obviously have an interest in raising money for a good cause, but they also pledge so that they can see a friend loose his hair. St. Baldrick’s has raised over $50 million in nine years for the cause.

Rob and his friends were chiding me for not participating, but I responded with, “But I haven’t raised any money!” Then Lydia, a youth leader for the youth group, appeared out of nowhere.

“You’re not doing it?” She was shocked. I gave her my reason, to which she gave a sneaky grin and offered, “I’ll write a check right now if you shave everything…but leave your mustache!”

Oh man. It only took ten minutes for me to cave, but not without amending Lydia’s proposition. I could walk around town without any hair, but I don't think Danville is ready for a bald, mustached Rob Kinzel.

And besides, I needed a haircut anyway.

Females and males alike participated, with a family joining the cause – mom, dad, and boys, ages 4 and 7 lost their hair.

$14,000 and 50 bald heads later, a step forward was made in the name of childhood cancer.

I might have to think twice about supporting the youth at next year’s event...although, it wasn't as bad as an undercooked hot dog.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meeting Her Prom Date

"I took your mommy to the prom," a gentlemen told me with a wry grin and a thin country accent. Not what you expect to hear at your mother's visitation.

"Boy, do I have some questions for you!" I joked back.

The services for my mom were extremely well done. Meeting my mom's middle school and high school classmates and sitting with her best friend, Brenda, helped me capture a truer image of who she really was - a pretty and shy kind of gal. Pastor Johnny, Brenda's husband, married my parents 36 years earlier. It was fitting that he presided over her funeral.

The first thing he did at the service was order everyone to shout "Yea!" because my mom was now with the Lord.

Where did they get this guy? I was contemptuously wondering who decided to let Johnny have the privilege over the ceremony.

Then he asked everyone to shout out "Booo!" because my mom was taken from us so early.

OK. Not bad. Hilarious, in fact. We all shouted, and felt our emotions validated.

Johnny candidly asserted that we all had be cheated. That was the one word that kept coming to him when he thought about the situation. He told us that it is normal to feel angry and cry out to God - many Psalmists did just that, but in the end they rejoiced.

Most funerals I have attended had pastors who seemed to try and get everyone into a better mood. Johnny allowed us to feel the weight of the day and joined us in our grief. Thank you, Johnny.

The cruise was a cruise. Not exactly my type of vacation, but fitting for a dad and his two kids - we didn't have to think about a thing. The sun warmed our souls, and subtle distractions on the boat helped us to move forward. We shared stories and read old letters. We laughed. We threw pillows at Dad to keep him from snoring. It was a good week.

And it is good to be back in Danville, having one foot already in front of the other.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sunny Places

Visitation is tomorrow. Funeral on Saturday. Fly to Miami on Sunday. Leave with cruise to Mexico on Monday. A very odd mix.

"Dad, what do you think others will think?" I wondered about our family decision to get away.

"I thought about it, and I don't care," he told me. And neither do I.

My sister wanted to go to a sunny place after the ceremonies, and that's where we're going, to a sunny place, like mom.

"What about when you have to go back to the cloudy place?" I asked my sister about her proposal.

"That's when we'll have to take it one step at a time."

It will be good family time to connect, get annoyed, tell stories of our mom, and relax.

But most importantly, it will be a moment to redefine a changed family - by remembering our mom and taking a step forward, together.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In the Dark

It is unfortunate that Congress had to take additional action on this issue, but the prospect of leaving millions of consumers in the dark was simply unacceptable. - Rep. Edward Markey.

The House voted today to delay the digital TV transition to June.

Get a radio. Read a newspaper.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Day Before (Part 1)

I am choosing to continue writing about my mom's passing because it has been very therapeutic. I am not wallowing in pain, stuck, or bitter - at least I don't think. I am facing the moment and allowing it to be what is. This is new territory, and, to be true to the blog, these are the happenings of whereabouts, Danville.


I was at Mary Freear Williams memorial service at the Presbyterian Church of Danville when I received the phone call. It was Aunt Lisa, my mom's sister. "She's probably worried about how I'm making out with no electricity," I thought, and then attempted to refocus on the service.

Freear was a wonderful, delightful woman - her love of others goes unmatched. The service was quite unique and celebrated her life creatively. Don Good, Freear's husband of 18 years, had organized a band to play several selections throughout the service, but the shoddy weather prevented their presence (Don was the fellow I visited on the day of).

So, when it was time for loved ones to bring symbols of Freear's life to the front, the band was supposed to be playing Amazing Grace.

Don, slowly walked to the front of the sanctuary and peeled the harmonica out of his pocket. There was a moment before his lips bore down on the piece of metal where heads were shifting from side to side wondering what was about to transpire.

Don wailed away a jazzy, soulful rendition of Amazing Grace that filled the sanctuary with a mournful piece of resolve. It was perfect. No words, just heart - a broken, but resolved heart.


After the service, I checked my messages, called my aunt back, heard sniffling, jumped into the car, and started for the hospital. It was almost time, mom's breath was getting shallower. In transit from Danville to Lexington, which takes about 45 minutes, I called my dad. The conversation consisted of 10 words. "Hey, you hear?"..."Yeah."..."OK."..."Call me."..."Over and out."

I didn't speed too much, ran a couple of yellowish-red stop lights, and called 911. Maybe the cops could take me there faster, I mean, they have done that for me before (late for an ACT test).

"911, what's your emergency?"

"Ummm(sniffle), my mom is kind about to die at a hospital in Lexington and I'm in Nicholasville and there is a lot of traffic and I was wondering if I could get some help getting there quicker, maybe send someone."

"Ok, calm down, where are you headed? Ok, good, do you see [name] street?"

"Yes." Perfect, they have an officer real close. I'll hop in and he'll speed me up there, I thought.

"Well, take a left there, then at the end you'll wanna make a right onto Harrodsburg Road. That will take you straight to St. Joseph's Hospital."

Let's just say, I didn't get lost, and I made it to the hospital in under the typical 45 minutes. Thanks 911.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Day Of

It is hard to go to sleep one night, and know, without a doubt, that by the time you wake up in the morning the person who brought you into this world will have passed on. You try to stave off sleep, flipping through TV channels, rustling in the down comforter of a hotel room - the red numbers on the clock changes from 3:51 to 3:52. To accept death is to accept life. And to accept this is to let go and move on, while remembering, and going to sleep - a wonderful, peaceful sleep.

I woke up groggy and disoriented. I met my cousin and aunt and we sat in the parking lot for ten minutes before deciphering a plan. I was out of it. We left Lexington for Danville, and after eating a hearty lunch, I crept into the church, hoping I wouldn't run into anyone. I slowly made my way down the hall and stopped within hearing distance of the gym. Several kids and adult leaders were laughing and joking around with one another. I smiled. I checked email, made a few phone calls, and then suddenly stopped.

It was one of those moments were time didn't seem to exist. My mind recounted the past 24 hour's events - think John Madden play-by-play recap of a football game. The events sunk in, I blinked, then rustled to the car.

I went to the sanctuary of the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge, 20 minutes outside of town. The ice hadn't melted from the trees, so I was anxious to beat the final flickers of the sun's last rays.

The dripping of the forest and the almost silent chirping of the chickadees mixed together, singing rebirth. Spring is coming, and with it new things.

I decided to drop by a friend's house, his partner having passed on just a while back, thinking it would be good time with an old hippie who spent his glory days in Colorado.

After driving another 10 minutes away from Danville, I noticed that power was still out at his farm. We greeted one another with big smiles and some chicken feed.

We fed the 70 chickens, horses, cats, and dogs - farm chores. I am allergic to horses and cats, but no matter, we paced to his work shed where we were graced with warm wood stove.

We chatted for what seemed a while, and I couldn't really tell you too much of what we talked about. I just know that there was heartfelt laughter, stories told, teary eyes, and loved ones remembered.

A good end to a good day.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Many have tried to muster images of what heaven would be like. Clouds, angels, and unending light. An ever-lasting dance. Complete union with God, questions answered, dreams fulfilled. The song, Amazing Grace seemingly attempts to define heaven.

When we've been there ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

An evangelical writer, John Eldridge disagrees and once said that heaven can't be about singing hymns for eternity. It is a complete reunion. I agree. Well, at least I hope heaven isn't about singing endless hymns.

I think heaven is pain free, painless, the end of pain.

My mother passed on yesterday morning, and the last thing I said to her was, "No more pain, mom, no more pain." I don't know what heaven is like, but, on no justifiable grounds, I'm sure there is no pain.

Diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia/Alzheimer's in 1997, her long journey with the incurable disease began. She lived with my grandparents in Kentucky in the beginning stages, then digressed into a nursing home. They say the disease degenerates the mind to the extent that the person gets younger. By that I mean, they will begin to loose manual dexterity first - the last thing a young child learns - and move backward. Speech skills falter, then use of other extremities wanes. She was bed-ridden by 2004, and used a feeding tube soon thereafter.

This past summer, doctors termed her illness as terminal rather than chronic. This meant that the feeding tube could be removed. I know there are huge ethical questions surrounding the topic, but our family agreed it was the right thing to do.

She was transferred to a Hospice unit in Lexington about two weeks ago, where she received excellent care. Her struggles finally ended, and now she is free to dance painlessly.

There are probably some who would disagree with me posting such personal information on the net, but I strongly disagree. I think it is just to relay to people, by whichever means, that yes, everything will work out just fine (addage from Beau Weston), but that doesn't mean it won't hurt. Life is filled with struggle and pain, and rightly so. Without it, love would not be able to triumph. Somehow we have been shielded from this fact by the pacifiers of culture.

It is good that my mom passed on, but it hurts. I'll be sore for a spell, but it just takes one foot in front of the other. And as I told my sister, "She'll be right, mate, she'll be right."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adult Lock-in

At noon today, over ten thoused people in Boyle county were said to be without power, the National Guard set up a water station and traded guns for chainsaws, and the community continued to eek out of their cold and dark homes to provide helping hands. The Mayor has asked everyone to check on their next door neighbors to help alleviate the Danville Police Department.

In the wake of this State of Emergency, there has been an outpouring of charity and goodwill. Two shelters have been opened around town, volunteer clean-up crews are being assembled, and phone lines are busy with concerned citizens looking out for their friends.

There are several aged couples and myself staying at the Presbyterian Church tonight. Murmurings of this event being an adult lock-in have resonated in the church halls. The middle school youth group has a lock-in each November.

"Now remember, boys need to stay in this room and girls need to stay in that room. Blue and Pink. No Purple. I will be staying up all night on watch," I joked with a couple.

"Didn't you hear? This is a honeymoon sweet! And if you hear any snoring, it isn't me!" a male church member retorted.

We should have more adult church lock-ins. It has been fun seeing everyone filter in and out of the church without any scheduled 'programming.'


The ice downed branches and utility poles alike.

This is Main St. and 3rd, from a similar view as the banner at the top of this website. Darkness consumed the area, minus the atypical wafarer.

A neighbor's car was trounced by half of a tree. It will probably be totaled, with damage to her roof and rear window. The engine must still run just fine - maybe I'll make an offer.

This lonely lamp was the last source of light heading East on Main Street. Having walked back and forth from my apartment to church at night, the environment felt awkwardly similar to the movie, I am Legend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Ice, an inch and a half think, covered branches the size of a pencil. Rain was steady for most of the last day, and upon impact froze to its victims. Trees are bowing to Mother Nature, some falling to the ground completely in adoration. Water was turned off, cell phone towers are still out, and no electricity equaled no heat. A lit candle will increase the temperature inside a tent by a degree or two. I played Risk with some neighbors in a small room with about 50 candles. We were very warm.

I woke up this morning to the sounds of limbs crackling off trees. As they hit the ground, the ice shuddered off with a sound of glass breaking. Silence.

I took a walk down Broadway and awed at the sight of downed electrical lines and demolished trees. I passed a house and saw an 8th graders finish his perfectly formed snowball.

"You having a snowball fight?" I asked.

"Eh, not really," he shrugged. I knew his disappointment.

"Here. You get one shot at me - no, not that close. Ok, have at it," I proposed as I spread my arms out like a winged target. He wound his arm, and heaved it as hard as he could.

Wwwoovvvsshhhh. Good aim. I did a rendition of the matrix and dodged my head out of the snowball's trajectory. It would have walloped me square in the nose. The kid smiled. We walked down the street, exchanging news about the weather and excitement about being out of school.

"Good to meet you," I said, "Maybe if you are here when I get back you can throw another snowball at me."

"No ducking this time, though," he shot back.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Miss Marilyn

This is a short story I wrote last year.

The halls were cold and barren, giving life to nothing, not even pictures or art. Corners felt lonely without the company of plants or fake trees. The lobby produced vintage couches and tables, but a modern area carpet - quite the contradiction. Vintage couches for vintage-aged folks finding themselves in the mess of modern times. The last place they ever imagined spending the last days of their lives was a nursing home.

I walked down those halls that day, noticing the lack of fragrances or colognes filling the air. I guess old people don’t wear them. My grandfather once wore Old Spice, but he wasn’t in a nursing home. I’ve heard that the one thing people who live to be 100 years old have in common is that they all never wore watches. I took of my watch and went in search of Miss Marilyn.

She was never in the same room. I guess the nurses had to keep busy somehow, or at least distract themselves from their urine infested breathing. They liked to play games, I thought to myself as I completed the circle, right back to where I started. It pained me to visit Miss Marilyn, and walking in those circles, clueless, didn’t help.

I took a deep breath, and paced counterclockwise back into the maze. Down the hall, I could hear a man shouting loudly. Upon discovering the culprit, for nursing homes are normally full of whispers and mumblings, tears started to well up in my eyes.

“Iffff…..I haddd……a million…..DAWLERS,” he sung. “I’d buy me…a…new….wife.” The African-American looked to be in his nineties, fragile, but full of spirit. Besides, he’d buy a new wife. He attempted another round of singing, slowly raising himself from the wheelchair, but his strength escaped him as he suddenly hit the seat. No one was in the lobby to hear him. He didn’t care. I couldn’t bare the thought of all the lonely, and seemingly ignored, people.

“Hey Marilyn,” I whispered softly in her ear. She was resting, like always. There was nothing - no response. Her eyes did open, though, but they did nothing after I waved my hands directly in front of them.

Miss Marilyn had a million pictures surrounding her. They were everywhere. On the window sill, tacked to the walls, and laying in piles on the nightstand, where they remained untouched for several years. Reality set in once the feeding tube monitor buzzed.

She was Miss Lewis County back in her youth. A smart, loving woman, she moved to New Jersey after getting married and then gave birth two children. She was a school teacher and horrific photographer, but the multitude of pictures she captured made up for it. The pictures were always of her children.

I’ve heard many stories about Marilyn. She is a corny and stubborn woman with charm to win over the most skeptical. Its probably this charm that draws me to visit her every once in a while. I usually show up unannounced, for Miss Marilyn doesn’t talk anymore. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51. Her son was in high school, and daughter in the 6th grade. Meredith took on many of her mother’s attributes, and that was another reason I went to the nursing home, for Meredith. What a tragedy, I thought.

I told Miss Marilyn what her son had been up to, graduating from college and all, recounting ridiculous stories that would have embarrassed her. No response.

I soon grew tired. Visits usually lasted about fifteen minutes anyway. I took a few steps back, turned to look at her, unaware of the movement wetting my cheeks.

I prayed a quick prayer, retraced my steps, and kissed her on the forehead.

“Goodbye Mom,” I said. “I love you.”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Hobby

I'm not sure if I conjured this mantra, or morphed it from someone else:

"You're not really living if you don't s!*# yourself at least two times a year."

And, hey, I already have some of the necessary gear.

For better graphics, watch it here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Emotional Bank Account

I learned, while working with Eagle Rock School, that everyone has an emotional bank account. I'm hazy on what meaning they were trying to convey to students, but it has formed its own definition in my mind (I'll report on the actual definition later).

There are two new friends - equal bank accounts. When one suffers and leans on the friend for support, his bank account decreases while his friend's account increases. When one friend does something good for the other, his bank account increases. Normally this doesn't apply for acquaintances because they usually don't share intimate details about their life with one another.

People seem to be hiding much of their life-afflicted hurt. With traumatic life circumstances, they feel as if they can't talk to anyone - their bank account becomes severly overdrawn.

People avoid those who are hurting. Avoid them in the hallways, in class, at work. Like Lepers. Often times, this avoiding is subconscious, and the avoided begin to feel isolated.

People feel awkward around hurting people. What do I say? How do I act?

I have, at times, felt both sides of this coin. I have avoided people, and have been avoided. It’s all silly, really. A true, virtuous person closes the bank account and offers a hand whenever possible.

Has anyone encountered this term, emotional bank account?

Friday, January 23, 2009


Death, impossible without life.

Movement fills life's fragrance with joy and laughter,
running child-like through streams and over mountains,
meeting the thrill of the wind
with exuberance and delight.

There are triumphs, there are defeats.
There is love, and there is love lost. Pain.
Small steps. Big ones. Leaps. Running. Falling. Starting over.

Movement slows as the lake becomes still and overwhelmed.
Green film, preventing sunlight and
the company of fishermen.

Stop. Wait. Replay. Again. Silence.
Find. Let go. Remember.

Life, impossible without death.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Hardest Question

I have often wondered which was the hardest question I have ever had to answer.

Ethan, my Little Brother (w/BBBS), and I played basketball and went to see a movie last week. Midway through shooting hoops at the church I asked Ethan if he wanted to go see Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler. His eyes were widened and jaw dropped. Next thing we realize, we were juggling two large popcorns, two large drinks, and a pack of Goobers into the theater. Luckily, Ethan left a popcorn trail from the lobby so we wouldn't get lost after the movie.

Bedtime Stories was a blast, especially watching it with a youngster. They laugh more than adults do, and it’s contagious. I found myself watching the movie as a 5th grader, marveling at what it would be like to have gumballs fall from the sky. I wish it were easier to get back to that child-like wonder.

We left reciting our favorite lines. On the long car ride back to his house it was silent. Ethan was thinking. After about 5 minutes, I was confronted with the hardest question I have ever faced.

"Rob...Do you believe in Aliens?"

Now, I could have gone two ways with this one. Completely deny it, and make sure Ethan didn’t get caught up in any myths, or... tell him what I really thought.

"Um...Yeaaah, kind of, I mean..."


Oh boy, I thought. "Well, I think that there is a possibility that in a universe as huuuge as ours, there is a chance that living things are out there. They’re probably not those weird looking things with big ey-" Ethan cut me off and went into a 20 minute monologue providing definite proof asserting the existence of aliens.

Ethan has actually seen aliens. They had a big ship with exactly 400 windows and invisible doors. He actually got in a fight with one of them. He and his dad fended them off, though. If you need any more proof, check out the TV show Alien Tracker (I think).

I am thankful for imagination and wonder.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Winning Team

When my teams wins, I say, "We won."

When my teams lose, I say, "They lost." Example: When the Eagles lost last weekend, I told many, "They lost, maybe next year."

This may be true for many people.

With the inauguration of Barak Obama, Democrats have once regained the top position in Washington. I am a registered Independent, and like discussing both sides of political arguments. Barak Obama is definitely the change I need. No more hearing Democrats whine and complain, and no more hearing Republicans defend. It's time for the Dems to defend and the Reps to whine and complain. I look forward to hearing each sides reactions to political events in the upcoming years.

We had Presbytery small group session at our church discussing changes to the Book of Order by the General Assembly, specifically regarding homosexuality. Several called the session a Holy Moment because we were able to discuss this hot topic civilly. People had a range of opinions. We'll see how the Transylvania Presbyter votes in March.

Regarding those hot topics. Republicans think they are right. Democrats think they are right. Finding the middle has been messy at best. The problem I see is, over the past 8 years, Democrats and Republicans both think the other is wrong for thinking they are right. Liberal and conservative Presbyterians do the same, but with a little more emotion.

What happened to the old adages of, "Agree to Disagree." and "Respect other's perspectives."
How could I learn if I didn't have an opposing side to challenge my thinking? I am thankful for perspectives on the entire spectrum.

Concerning McCain - I wonder if Republicans said, "They lost."