Saturday, July 28, 2007

Who's the musical one in this relationship?

As many of you know, Jen plays the piano. Some of you know that she can play it really well and in fact, teaches piano lessons one day a week at the house. Jen can sit down and play a one of Mozart's sonatas. It's beautiful -- even though she rarely does it much now.

But ask Jen who is performing a song on the radio, and you might as well have asked her what Element 78 is on the periodic table! (It's platinum by the way.)

I, on the other hand, can't play any instrument to save my life. Jen tried to teach me to play piano when we were dating in college. Bad move. I couldn't understand why there weren't three simple steps to learning Piano Man. I think the "lesson" lasted about 20 minutes. One of the keys to any successful relationship is figuring out what the two of you can't do together!

As you know, I have posted a playlist to this site. I listen to it a lot when I am on the computer in the office and at home. Jen loves the songs on the playlist. But she is constantly asking me who is singing which songs. It cracks me up every time she does it because she's the musical one. My only remotely musical abilities are setting the presets on the radio and downloading music from iTunes. And apparently the ability to recall which artist is playing which song.

There are 2 particular songs on the playlist that Jen likes, and she always asks me who is playing when they come on. Sometimes, these songs will come on, and Jen will get all excited and say, "Don't tell me. This is . . . oh I can't remember." And I will remind her who the artists are. The 2 songs that give Jen the hardest time are Gary Jules' version of Mad World which was featured in the movie Donnie Darko. The song is actually a Tears for Fears song, but I like the slower tempo of the Jules version. The other song is Ben Kweller's Thirteen off his self-titled CD. Both songs open with just a piano playing, but Kweller's voice is a little bit higher than Jules'.

So this morning, I am browsing the internet at the bar in our kitchen, reading about how great the Florida Gators are going to be again this fall on the gridiron. I am listening to the playlist while I browse. And the Gary Jules song comes up. Jen, who was in the study, jumps up and comes into the room.

"OK, that's the Tears for Fears song, but it's not them singing. It was in that movie."

So far so good.

"It's Jules Kweller!"

I about fell out of the chair!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I don't go to Church anymore.

Recently, the Pope clarified the Catholic Church's position on the "Church." The papacy of John Paul II was peppered with certain gestures of Christian unity. But Pope Benedict has decided to quash any notions that the "Church" can exist outside of apostolic succession. He says:

Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community,” that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.

Not wanting to completely alienate the world's Protestant churches (note the little "c"), the Pope threw an ecumenical bone noting that:

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.

I appreciate the acknowledgment that truth exists beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church, but don't think the Pope is reconsidering his position on the watered-down nature of the post-Reformation faiths.

Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.

So apparently, I don't go to Church anymore, I attend an ecclesial Community. So I can use a capital "C" just not in front of "church." Oh well.

As you can imagine, Protestants were not enamored with the Pope's reaffirmation of this Catholic doctrine. One Southern Baptist seminary president appreciates the Pope's candor on this issue. He cautioned against an emotional reaction to the Pope's statement though and encouraged a theological response. But his theological position -- to me -- is no less dogmatic:

Evangelicals should be equally candid in asserting that any church defined by the claims of the papacy is no true church. This is not a theological game for children, it is the honest recognition of the importance of the question.

In my mind the true Church is not represented by either of these extreme positions.

There is One at the head of the Church. He was; He is; and He is to come. He's not wearing a pointy hat in Rome. He's not running a seminary in Louisville. He's not on television asking you to send in money to get your prayers answered. He's not the latest Christian author on the NY Times bestseller list with the truck load of promotional gimmicks.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." 9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:7-16.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Happy 18 Months!!!

As many of you know, Keegan's birthday is Christmas Eve. We know people with December birthdays, and many of them report a variety of experiences from their childhoods. Some felt like their birthdays were an afterthought because of all the post-Thanksgiving/Christmas goings on. Others thought their parents diligently tried to make a go of a "real" birthday celebration but it was hard to get people involved/interested given all the other holiday preparations. A few reported that their parents, family and friends went all out for the birthdays in addition to going all out for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

As you can imagine, Jen and I went for the unconventional approach. We decided to celebrate half-birthdays. On June 24th, Keegan was 18 months old. So we threw a party! We want him to know that he's special -- because he is. But we don't want him to feel overlooked at Christmas time. So we'll celebrate his birthday but we hope as he grows older he'll appreciate what we're trying to do with the June celebrations as well. Plus the focus of Christmas shouldn't be about the haul of toys a kid gets. Why make it harder to pass on that lesson and add a birthday party to all that?

Jen assembled all of Keegan's toys, 3 kiddie pools, several bubble wands, and a blow-up choo-choo/ball pit for kids to jump in. We set up all of this in the park across the street from our house. Jen sneaked over early on Saturday morning to fill the pools up with water before the clock struck 10:00 a.m. when the "outdoor watering" ban might have technically applied. She was very nervous about that. She's not a fan of getting yelled at or even talked to sternly by police officers. I was in charge of picking up the food and setting up the coolers. We had 2 trays of chicken fingers because what kid doesn't like chicken fingers? And a veggie tray for the adults. Because what kid likes a tray of veggies? I set out a cooler of water, a cooler of Capri Sun, a cooler of soft drinks and a cooler of adult beverages.

At around 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, about 20 kids and their parents descended on the park, and the good times rolled! Jen's vision of having something for every kid came to fruition. Some were enjoying the cool water in the pools. Some had brought bikes or razors and were zipping around the park's sidewalks. Some enjoyed throwing every ball that was in the train out onto the grass. Eventually, we got to the cake. Jen picked out a nice cake from Publix with a monster truck on it in honor of K-Man's fetish for wheels! We had a bowl of Goldfish, a bowl of Nilla Wafers and a bowl of Cherrios as well -- again because what kid doesn't like a fistful of any of those three?!

In the end, I don't think Keegan even knew what the occasion was or that he was the reason everyone was there, but judging by his flush cheeks, he had a great time. And that made it worth it to us!

Here are some shots from the day:

Just before the kids descend.

Keegan likes the bubble wands (that's Jen's dad on the right).

Keegan (and his red cheeks) enjoying a cake break.

And getting some red icing on Jen's shirt.

Keegan liked the blue icing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Let's go to the mall

If you've ever seen a screaming kid at the mall, please know that the parents are as embarassed by the screaming kid as you are annoyed. A little mercy people!

And if you were hoping this post was about the great Robin Sparkles tune of the same name. Sorry. But you can watch the video for that great '80s-sounding tune here. The story on Sparkles is that she's Canadian, so the song actually came out in the early '90s when all the '80s trends finally hit Canada.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What animal are you?

I know other people post this comic sometimes, but it's not like there's a limit as to how many people can post the same type of thing. Is there? If so, I'm going to have to break them rules.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Best Commercials

These are two of the best commercials, and you've probably never seen them because they were made for the U.K./Europe.

This is the original. Great song in the background which you have heard on my "Smile" playlist if you ever left this page up just to listen to the songs on the playlist. (And if you haven't done that yet, I'm hurt because I made that playlist for you as much as for me.)


This is the follow-up commercial the next year.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Mr. Roboto

Just an attempt to assuage any withdrawals you may be having with no new episodes of The Office.

Dog Days