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Preview: Give Me A Bouncy "C"

Give Me A Bouncy "C"

I'm a musician, a dad, a writer, a marketing consultant, a husband, a believer, a son and a PR guy. I'm a transplanted Scarlett & Gray fan in the land of Big Yellow and the Orange Crush. And I'm a used-to-be blogger (PeoriaDad) who couldn't stay away.

Updated: 2014-10-06T21:50:36.026-07:00


Books For The Journey


(image) I'm reading two powerful books right now. The first is called, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, by Brennan Manning. These pages are full of deeply cutting words, ideas that slice to the marrow of our desperate need for Jesus. It offers powerful glimpses of His remarkable love for us, His children, and what we are meant to become when His love has been given sovereignty in our lives.

I confess, I can only handle a page or two at a time. I have to digest, apply and reapply these concepts. In the forward, Larry Crabb says he read the book in two hours. I simply can't imagine how. That's like being proud of eating a seven course meal in eight or ten minutes. (NOTE: I'm not picking on Larry. His name on the front is what led me to buy the book in the first place.)

(image) The second book I'm reading is The Irresistible Revolution : Living as an Ordinary Radical, by Shane Claiborne. You can read a sample here (PDF). Lovin' it. Shane's a...well, an individual. He spent time in Calcutta working in Mother Teresa's ministry (or Momma T, as he calls her), he's interned at Willow Creek, visited Iraq (during the bombings), and founded a social action Christian community in the dark heart of Philadelphia. In short, the guy's been there and done that. In what is my favorite quote of the book so far, Shane's recalls a statement Rich Mullins made in a Chapel address at Wheaton College:
"You guys are all into that born-again thing, and that’s awesome; we’ve got to be born again. You know Jesus said that to Nicodemus. But if you tell me that I got to be born again, I can tell you that you’ve got to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy, too. But I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can we highlight the verses that we like and ignore the other ones."

Oh, The Shame


(image) Well, my beloved Buckeyes were brutalized in the national championship.

It was like watching a biker gang pound on a 120-lb Floyd the Barber. For the first time in my life, I actually turned the game off before it ended. I was yelling at the TV, jumping and screaming and creating a very, very dark cloud in my home. Not acceptable, that. So...I turned to my new vice instead: World of WarCraft. Talk about your addicting games! I spent the fourth quarter glued to a monitor instead of my TV.

Over the holidays I ordered a new iMac for my family -- and we're having a ball with it. Every member of the family has their own login, desktop and (restricted, of course) access to all of the seriously easy-to-use programs and features.

The options are amazing on this thing. I've been a PC guy for 20 years, but I may never go back. The difference is incredible.

All of that, though, and I find myself spending all my home computer time playing a stupid game.

Let it be known that I've never claimed to be bright...

One last bit of post-game news, this one an e-mail from a friendly Notre Dame alum:
"Hey, who dotted the "i" in Ohio last night? Oh, that is right -- Florida did!! (I have no room to throw stones as ND got whupped by LSU a few nights earlier.) Welcome to the losers lounge. Drinks are free."
Only if Charlie Weiss is buying.

Florida Gator-Aid for Drunk Drivers


(image) So my beloved Buckeyes are set to play the Florida Gators for the BCS College Football Championship. So I'm stoked, right? Reading everything I can get my hands on. (Buckeyes's a sickness, really.)

Well, I'm on Yahoo! Sports reading articles listed on the OSU page, and then I click over to read articles on the Florida page. While reading one of the articles (from the Independent Florida Alligator...whatever that is), I notice the ads at the bottom of the article are all for Florida DUI attorneys. What?

Similar ad placements for OSU articles on Yahoo! Sports are for OSU-related merchandise. Similar ads are placed for just about every school I've looked at.

So what's up in Gainesville? Is it THAT much of a party school? Maybe it comes from being the only people in the state not on the AARP mailing list.

The Bittersweet Passing of Traditions


Christmas Eve has always been a special time for my family.

As far back as my foggy memory reveals, my family has gathered at my parent's home each December 24th, eaten a wonderful meal, lapsed into a colossal (but never ugly) discussion about politics or religion, ignored the grandkids as they washed the dishes, and then retired to the family room to open our presents in a controlled frenzy of flying paper, Styrofoam, batteries, neckties and bath gels.

A lot of wonderful, difficult, glorious, painful years have gone by for our family.

When we started celebrating Christmas Eve, I was the baby of the family, always clambering to get the "old people" to shut-up after dinner, already, and get on to the good stuff! Then came the cool teen years. While my clambering continued, I usually managed to keep it internalized. After all, feined indifference was so mature, right? Then, more years passed and the pestering was handed off to my nephews and nieces, who soon moved on to cool teen years of their own. Then, out of no where, the babies in the room were my own.

Now, our family is scattered like dust across the cities and townships of Ohio, Illinois, Florida and even Montana. Worse yet, I'm a Great Uncle. I have a son that's younger than this largely unknown Great Nephew of mine, but the fact he exists still makes me feel old.

Here's the point of my post (at last!): all of my family's traditions are dying. Like my parent's generation, they're fading away before our eyes, one by precious one. And I can't begin to express my sadness at the loss of them.

Where are the spring work parties to clean out and fill up the swimming pool (and the steaming stacks of well-earned pizzas at the end of those long, hard days)? Where are the annual family reunions at the old wooden shelter houses...and the parties we had at our home afterward, with countless cousins scurrying about like ants on a hill? Where are the Thanksgiving weekends that seemed to last three weeks, stretching out into lazy days of gorging and game playing and couch-lounging movie watching? Where are my nephews and nieces, those precocious, screaming, running, singing, laughing little kids that I loved like they were my own...until I found out what that kind of love really meant?

I'll tell you where they all are...and I'll tell you what happened to our Christmas Eves, too. They're memories now, chemical cocktails in the synapses of my mind. And I miss them terribly. But here's the sweet for the bitter: each of those traditions and memories and relationships and families are being replaced, year by year, with new traditions and memories and relationships and families. My wife and I are now forging together the new traditions my kids will remember. And they're good ones, too, even if they aren't quite my own.


On The Road Again


Long dry spell. Just doesn't seem to be time to blog these days.

Lemme see...
  • I spent four days playing at the Terribles Casino in Osceola, IA. Two one-hour shows per day for four days. It was remarkable. Great place. Wonderful crowds. Treated us like rock stars. No kidding. My buddy Isaac talks about it here.

  • Just played Paradice Casino in East Peoria, IL.

  • (image) And I just got back from Columbus, OH (or Buckeye City, as my three-year old calls it) for Thanksgiving with the family. We rushed back in our new van (okay, it's a 2003) so I could play Saturday night in Galesburg with our groups alterego, and I'm not making this up, Pajamas. Our boy Al is a bit of a promotional genius. Think PT Barnum. We play a huge mix of party-type dance music and people get a discount at the door if they come wearing their pajamas. After all, we do! We also wear wigs, costumes and the works.

    (The pic is of me in the dressing room.)
Anyway, all for now...

One of my brighter moments...


A couple of weeks ago, I was in New York for the US Open. For work, no less. After sixteen years shooting film and video in landfills and chicken farms, my stars, it seems, finally aligned.

Well, my moment of brilliance occurred when we decided we wanted to get a shot of what it looks like to enter the city...through...the Midtown Tunnel. That's right campers. We filmed ourselves driving through the tunnel.

When we emerged on the other side of the river, one of New York's Finest was waiting for us. He pointed right at us pointed to the side of the road, and we spent the next half and hour or so explaining our complete idiocy. No, we didn't know it was illegal. Yes, you can watch us erase the footage. Yes, we actually found the tunnel interesting. "Whatchoo wanna shoot that for?" he says in his thick Bronx accent. "It's bowring."

Once they realized we were just a couple of harmless, Midwestern morons (trust me, I've never been more thankful my name isn't Mohammed), they let us go.

So God bless the men in blue. They're still kicking it hard in NY. Keep at it guys, you're the line in the sand. And God bless the poor G-man that's stuck monitoring my calls for the next forever. He's got the dullest job in government by far. And that says a lot.

Moral Dilemma


This Saturday, Michigan plays Notre Dame.

I hate 'em both. Like, bad.

Is it possible to wish for both teams to lose?

If I had to chose, it would be for a Irish victory. It will make for a better National Championship match against the Bucks come January. And I'd still get the satisfaction of Lloyd Carr losing another big one.

Still, though...

The Long Dry Season Comes To An End


(image) Have you seen Hidalgo? It's the story of a former Pony Express rider who takes his horse to Arabia and wins a mega-mile race through the desert. Again and again, you see him and his horse wandering slowly through the shifting sand, staring numbly at another thousand miles of nothing in front of them, no different than the nothing they've already passed.

Another scene, this time from the movie Alive. The premise: a plane full of soccer players crashes in the middle of the Andes. Besides eating a couple of their frozen buddies (can you say Donner donors?), they end up trekking their way out of the mountains. The scene: a few of them struggle painfully up the side of what they are sure is the last mountain in their path, only to reach the peak, gaze out beyond and discover more mountains as far as they can see.

The point in both of these scenes, or at least what they represent to me, is bleak, never-ending suffering. Hopelessness. Long, lonesome days and nights sprinkled with a smidge of despair. And, of course, the Major League Baseball Season.

Day after day, night after night. Nothing but meaningless game after game after game.

Come Saturday, though, they're be a new sheriff in town -- and he's a lot more exciting than his overpaid, steroid-laden, jock-scratching, sunflower-seed-spittin' brethren. His name: College Football. And each week, literally millions of rabid fans will cram into our nation's stadiums with beer and brats on their breath to watch him play.

(image) Personally, I'm a Buckeye -- and there aren't many who are more rabid than our lot. Especially this year, with a preseason #1 ranking, two Heisman candidates and a genuine shot at another national title. But it doesn't really matter which team you follow. College Football is still the best game in town, bar none. Case in point: it doesn't need a silly fantasy league to make it more interesting, like the pros. This game is best played on the field -- not in the chatrooms.

So Go Bucks! And best of luck to Eyebrows' Irish (as long as they aren't playing us...even though we've owned them lately). ;-)

Mom Story 01


My parents are in town for a visit. Way overdue.

At dinner tonight, Mom told us yet another story. She has a million. She gets herself into more embarrassing situations than any five other people. Easily past her legal limit, anyway.

This parents took my daughter to the movies this week. Mom was getting popcorn or something while the others took their seats in the middle of an aisle.

Mom approached the aisle with movie foodstuffs in one hand and a suitcase-like purse in the other. In her path: a nice young couple at the end of the aisle.

As she approaches to pass, she turns sideways, glances down and says (all true, I swear it), "I'm sorry...but I don't want to bang you."

Oh, the power of a missing word.

The guy looks up and says, "We don't want you to bang us, either."

I told my daughter the story this evening (Mom was too embarrassed to tell her) and she said, "So that's why that couple was laughing."

Like I said, a million stories. And most funnier than this. I'll start passing 'em along.

The Importance Of Little Things


Bad news, campers. The mouse died...and just four days after my daughter carried it into our home.Unfortunately, she was also the one to discover its passing. She had spent the night with a friend -- it was the first time in three days (and nights) that she had stopped caring for it personally. In her absence, my wife took over the mouse baby chores. We spent time online, we spoke with experts, we did everything we could. And the little guy really was making progress. Or, at least, he appeared to be.Well, my wife and I layed down for a nice (and rare) weekend nap. While we were sleeping, my daughter came home, checked on her mouse and found him dead. It had to have just happened and the pain of it crushed her heart. She began sobbing. My wife joined in. My older son took it like a stoic (though he told me later he cried). And I got to be the guy. While they were dealing with the tough emotional stuff, my Dad duty involved taking the mouse into the other room, wrapping it in one of my son's orphaned socks, and then quietly burying it in the backyard. My kids said they didn't want a funeral. They just wanted the pain to go away.So how do you explain to a child why God enables us to care for such tiny, innocent creatures only to have them die?Weirdly, I thought of Mother Theresa. Honestly, I did.In the worst slums of Calcutta, the poor, sick and shunned are abandoned to die in great heaping piles of garbage. They are human detritus, les misérables, if you will. And they live and exist under the societal radars of most or our world's great cities.In Calcutta, though, one tiny Albanian woman abandoned everything she knew to live among and serve those wretched people. And she did so for fifty or more years. Agnes (her birth name) believed her greatest calling was simply to help such people -- persons she considered more important than herself in the eyes of God -- to find peace in their final days. She assisted them in leaving their lives with the dignity they deserve as God's children, regardless of faith, skin color or class.Pope John Paul II had this to say about Agnes:"She served all human beings by promoting their dignity and respect, and made those who had been defeated by life feel the tenderness of God.''In its last days on Earth, our mouse found an Agnes in my little girl. She fed it. She made it warm. And she loved it. And when it finally passed -- much later, I imagine, than it would have without my daughter's intervention -- the mouse died with food in its belly and a warm home over its head.That's the Jesus stuff Agnes lived out loud. And while I wish like crazy my kids wouldn't have to hurt like they did, I can't help but be proud that they're already putting their hearts out there on the edge, right where they most count. In fact, I wonder why I'm not doing more of the same. The Kingdom of God is more than mice, after all.I guess all good things have to start somewhere."Little things are indeed little," said Agnes. "But to be faithful in little things is a great thing. (God) will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."Amen to you Agnes. The world misses you. And Godspeed to you little mouse. May your life have mattered. And may our lives matter more for having touched yours.[...]

Heebie Jeebies


Pammy at Lollygaggin asked a great question: what gives you the heebie jeebies.

A lot of folks mention mice -- and since we now have a pet mouse that's too small to chew, it's pretty obvious they don't bug me (no pun intended). Nor do spiders...snakes...sharks...allegators or anything else I've heard.

Wanna know what absolutely wiggifies me? Or as Pammy put it...what makes my butt pinch?

(image) These things. They're uber-naturally fast, scary flitting little turds. They come at you quicker than you can squeal like a girl and leap for tall furniture. They also cling to walls -- so tall furniture is only a psychological comfort at best.

I hate them, hate them, hate them. God, in his infinite wisdom, must have a purpose and a plan for having created them. But I can't help but wondering if it was a dare.

If you see one in your basement or garage, do me a favor. Climb back down from on top of whatever tall object you find yourself perched...and squish it good. Squish it good for me.

NEWSFLASH: Blogger Called Odd


What's with all the hooplah over Polly's pics? She has an ASSUMED identity. Of course it's fake. I have to think she's laughing at how seriously people are taking all this.

As a general rule, though...aren't we all a little off-kilter to be blogging, anyway? We're honestly shocked about this issue? C'mon, really?

Cast yours if you want, but I'll be keeping my "first stone" in my pocket where it belongs.

Besides, I still like her -- whatever/whoever she is.

Mini Mouse


(image) You know you're in trouble when your thirteen year old daughter walks into the house with a weird look on her face, is holding something in her fist against her tummy, and says to you, "Mom, Dad...don't be mad."

In point-five seconds, your brain plays a rapid-fire slideshow of a million different reasons you might be mad. And I usually come up with a few pretty good ones. This time, though, they were all wrong.

While at church for a youth group meeting, my daughter found a baby mouse inside a little-used piece of furniture that was being stored. Yep, she brought it home. And it's teeny. Itty bitty teeny. So small it looks like a fleshy kidney bean. (Note: this picture is not the actual mouse. Ours is a bit darker.)

So we did a little research to see how to keep it alive and she ended up staying up all night taking care of it. A mouse. All night. Good to know she has strong maternal instincts, I guess. I would like well-cared for grandkids some day, after all.

The name is still up for grabs.


Mouse and mousey mommy are both doing fine. The name: "Moose A. Moose". Did I mention my daughter is on the creative side?

The little guy is in a little carrying case on my desk. Right now. It's not-quite-national take your daughter and her pet rodent to work day.

Posting A Pic


(image) It appears you have to create a post, attach a picture and then point to that picture in order to put a picture in your profile (on the top right). So here I am with my two boys. Missing are my lovely wife and teen daughter. Only so much room in a profile pic...

What's a Bouncy "C"?


Remember when Martin Short was on SNL?

(image) He had a cheesy character named Irving Cohen who would sing and make up horrible songs on the spot. He abused his keyboardist and would always start his songs by saying, "Give me a C...a bouncy C."

That's me. Not Cohen. The guy on the keys. Out of the limelight but making the limelight possible. See the guy in picture (click on it for full size)? No, the one playing keyboard at the back of the stage. That's me.

I don't's all I could think of at the time.