Archive for October, 2004|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2004 at 5:01 pm

failed reality show pilots

on the border: cameras record the pitfalls and pratfalls of mexican immigrants as they struggle to make it to america. the show’s host is chuck norris, fresh from walker, texas ranger and the tagline is “america the beautiful! are you in or are you out?”

the emergent makeover: viewers watch as graduates from evangelical seminaries try to establish emergent ministries in traditional churches. segments include:

  • fashion: contestants decide what color to dye their hair, struggle to grow goatees and agonize over which body part to pierce
  • theology: contestants try to find the one t.v. show, movie or music artist that will serve as a perfect illustration of the gospel. by the end of the show each contestant must publish a relevant book that is entitled: the gospel according to _______. as viewers quickly realize, filling in the blank is more difficult than it looks.
  • liturgy: contestants struggle to develop the most creative worship experience. will they rent laser tag equipment and turn the gymnasium of generic community church into an arena for a lesson on spiritual warfare? will a skydiving adventure take ‘trust falls’ to an entirely new level? in order to teach compassion will the members of the community live on the front lawn of generic community church for a whole week with nothing but refrigerator boxes to call home?

have you heard of any intriguing, reality show pilots that didn’t make the cut? if so, feel free to share.


In Uncategorized on October 29, 2004 at 1:53 pm

happy haiku friday!

burnt orange autumn sky

pie chart speaks of time gone by

what is the result?

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2004 at 3:16 am

the cardinals are done. i can see it in their eyes. well done, boys, well done. not too bad for a team that had third place written all over them.

and congratulations to the red sox. i love being a sojourner in their nation and am glad that they are finally hurtling towards destiny. i only have one request for the sox: have buckner throw out the first pitch of the year next season. it would be a nice touch.

also, i would encourage you to read the sports guy as often as possible over the next couple of days. no one can explain the passion of red sox nation, or the measurements of lindsay lohan for that matter, quite like him.

i have reached catharsis. now, it’s time for another cigarette.

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2004 at 7:32 pm

alex just called to tell me that last night he saw a church marquee that read:

“Jesus reversed the curse. against sin!”

that is my favorite marquee of the year. last year’s best:

“warning: weapon of mass salvation found inside.”

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2004 at 3:39 am

the deconstruction of a cardinals fan

10:26 p.m.: calero just walked pedro martinez. first, he loses game one for us. second, he walks a freaking american league pitcher. kiko, you stupid bitch.

10:48 p.m.: at this point, i am so glad that i did not have enough money to go out to st. louis. i would probably be kicked out of a good, clean midwestern park on a night like tonight. i am such a hard hearted bastard. at this point, i’m just glad that the sox won’t have the opportunity to clinch in boston.

10:58 p.m.: as rick just noted, the red sox feel so confident that they just dropped ortiz in favor of mienal;skjq3w4ei. that’s just depressing. it was good to commiserate with a fellow cardinals fan though. we moped together for 45 minutes. come on reggie! can’t you give us a meaningless homer here?

11:06 p.m.: if larussa leaves the cardinals i would like jocketty to interview the following candidates: larry dierker, jim leyland, terry pendelton and sweet lou.

11:09 p.m.: least favorite product placements in the world series. tom hanks pitching polar express, jimmy fallon pitching fever pitch (which promises to be the worst nick hornby adaptation yet), thousands of unwitting fans popularizing ‘slama-lama-ding-dong,’ and a farcical ‘interview’ with ‘leon’ of budweiser fame.

11:32 p.m.: at least we won’t be shut out. thank you mr. walker.

11:35 p.m.: i would like to thank the red sox for the beating and wilco for the theme song. my heart is broken.

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2004 at 2:28 am

yet another narcissistic running diary

a number of you have emailed or called me, wondering about my thoughts concerning this god-awful world series. well, tonight i hope to provide some answers along with a side dish of sarcasm and other unconstructive thoughts.

before i start, please note that i fully realize that: (a) running diaries are even more narcissistic than blogs (if you think the latter aren’t an example of narcissism, at least to some degree, you’re kidding yourself and (b) that this format is a complete rip-off of the sports guy’s work (i, along with Jesus, consider imitation to be the supreme form of flattery).

8:08 p.m.: i realize that equality requires that we have women sportscasters. i even appreciate the work of, um…thinking, at least one such sportswriter (jackie macmullen of the boston globe) i can’t think of one female sportscaster who’s even remotely watchable. in short, i think hannah storm is awful. not only does she spout out meaningless drivel, she isn’t even that hot. note to the networks: if you’re going to sell us on the idea of female sportscasters, select ones that look like reese witherspoon, keira knightley, or, if they’re a little older, frances mcdormand.

8:14 p.m.: for everyone who’s tried to encourage me by speaking of this situation as a “win/win” for me. let me provide one point of clarification: you’re off your freaking rocker. i was literally raised at busch stadium. at different points in my life i have had extended conversations with enos slaughter (whose 1946 mojo we could use a lot of tonight) and lou brock and have met almost every living cardinal great you can think of. i will never, ever root against the cardinals nor will i delight in their demise. whether by curse, scratch hits or, god-forbid, adequate pitching performances, i hope that the cardinals crush the collective heart of red sox nation.

8:22 p.m.: hearing the anheiser-busch anthem played at a world series game reminds me of the pre-game in the 1987 series when one of the budweiser clydesdale’s took a giant dump on the artificial turf. instead of dispatching one of the groundskeepers to go clean it up with a shovel and a bucket, they sent out the artificial turf vacuum cleaner to clean it up. bad decision. as a result there was a 15 foot shit stain in right field for the rest of the evening.

8:32 p.m.–it’s funny. due to their cardinal credentials, mccarver was a member of the 1967 cardinals who bested the red sox in 7 games, and buck is the son of the cardinals legend, you would think that i would love this broadcasting team. but nothing could be further from the truth. when mccarver isn’t kissing yankee ass, he’s making some kind of insightful comment that i made 30 seconds earlier and buck has been completely co-opted by the fox mission of providing less substance and more style. announcers i would rather hear this evening: jon miller, uecker, vin scully, al leiter, mike shannon, hell, i’d even take the understandably biased rem-dawg over these guys.

8:43 p.m.: i think i just threw up. somebody woke up manny ramirez.

8:46 p.m.: while i’m nervously trying avoid the t.v. let me offer one thought. as a former pitcher and a fan of pitching duels i think the armadillo size elbow pads that hitters (i.e. bonds, ortiz, varitek and pujols) are wearing need to be illegal. these pads are basically another offensive weapon that encourages hitters to dive out over the plate and drive the ball. it also makes them less vulnerable to the inside pitch. so, that’s commissioner gentry’s decision. elbow pads are verboten! either that or we raise the pitcher’s mound back to its pre-gibson height of 16 inches. hitters, you decide!

8:55 p.m.: there is one out, walker is on first, pujols is down 0-2 and i am rocking back and forth like an autistic child.

whew, runners on first and second. one out. please, please, please stay out of the double play!

9:00 p.m.: pedro walked the bases loaded. now, edmonds, our one lefty who loves high fastballs is coming to the plate. please, please, please make a mistake. unfortunately, or fortunately considering your perspective, the world series came smack dab in the middle of one of my holidays from alcohol. on the dark side, it’s also leading me to pick up smoking again. of course, i could buy a pack of chewlie’s gum.

9:02 p.m.: when did jose oquendo turn into dale sveum? i cannot believe we ran ourselves out of that f*cking inning.

what are the odds of us winning if we go down 3-0? how about 1-237.

9:16 p.m.: you know you are idolatrizing baseball when:

1. you snap at your coworkers. i left an anonymous note on a double pahhked ford expedition today in the cbd lot today. the note read: “learn to park your suburban assault vehicle.” i also almost killed an employee earlier in the week when he called me a “traitor” for supporting the cardinals. i have had to avoid other co-workers all week in order to stave off an outburst.

2. you begin to think your team is cursed. i can empathize with the pain of elderly or middle aged red sox fans, i really can. but when i hear red sox fans my age, especially those who are non-natives, talk with pathos about red sox woes it makes me want to wretch. yeah, they had ’86. but i’ve dealt with a blown call in ’85 that ruined a series, two game seven blow-outs and three flame outs in the NLCS. you want to see my scars? i’ll show ’em to ya! on the bright side, i’ve been thinking about spinning the tarp incident into the genesis of a “cardinal curse.” i could write a book about it, build a career as a post-dispatch sportswriter and send my kids to college on the royalties.

3. your wife threatens to leave you. fortunately that hasn’t happened, yet.

9:36: at least suppan didn’t spike himself. 2 outs between third and home before the fourth inning. we’re going to give this game away. this is the worst fundamental baseball the cardinals have played all year.

9:59 p.m.: wow, where did the last inning and a half go? answer: a smashed fist against our faux wood paneling followed by a trip to the Hess for cigarettes and a trip to the bathroom that saved my pants.

10:03 p.m.: first and third and no outs. can we say 4-0? this has all the makings of a blow-out. time for another cigarette.

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2004 at 5:23 pm

the mad mission of patty griffin

it started out simple enough. after our saturday morning guy’s group had finished a greasy breakfast and spent some time in prayer we headed over to the thrift store that is located in the musty basement of the episcopal church. after we descended the stairs and turned the corner into the small, cinder block room that houses the thrift store, i was immediately startled, for right there in front of me was an ex-girlfriend who i often refer to as “o’hare.” as she alternately glared and ignored me, i tried to find something, anything, that would attract my undivided attention.

i found just what i was looking for on the cluttered south wall, which boasted one of the most eclectic music sections i have ever seen. on the cd shelf a brand new, unwrapped copy of r.e.m.’s out of time was located right beneath a worn copy of please hammer don’t hurt ’em. on the other end of the shelf was an album by the artist who sexually stimulated millions of evangelical boys with her breathy hit “baby, baby,” and an album by two dread-locked men who shuffled their way to an undeserved grammy. however, since my not-so-secret infatuation has moved from a Christian pop singer to a certain, unnamed middle-aged actress and if i want to celebrate lip syncing i can always watch ashlee simpson, i was more interested in the cassette tape section. it was there that i found, underneath a copy of the breakfast club soundtrack, a number of mix tapes that were worth purchasing. so it was that for seventy-five cents i picked up unauthorized copies of shawn colvin’s cover girl, albums mark cohn and bruce cockburn that i have yet to digest and living with ghosts, an album by one of the first ladies of contemporary americana, patty griffin.

i was so excited about finding the patty griffin tape that i wasn’t even bothered when i had to squeeze by “o’hare,” whose vibe was unsurprisingly dissonant, to drop my 75 cents on the counter and make my merry way out of the store. later on saturday afternoon, while cleaning the toilet that the recently departed bastard defiled, i heard “mad mission” for the first time. this song rent my heart as quickly as the tracks on hiatt’s meet the family. this song spoke, simply and eloquently, about the beating heart of the missional life and the ever-allusive beauty that is often found therein. when i realized that the song clarified the deepest intentions of my heart, i felt a lump in my throat. furthermore, as i listened to it time and again i was reminded of one mission (read: my relationship with o’hare) that i am glad i aborted.

all of this by way of introduction…here are the lyrics:

mad mission

We were drinking like the Irish

But we were drinking scotch

Bartender turned on a movie

Everybody turned to watch

And every single eye was gleaming

As he reached the final scene

Well, at least mine did

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid

It’s a mad mission

Under difficult conditions

not everybody makes it

To the loving cup

It’s a mad mission

But I got the ambition

Mad, mad mission

sign me up

I think I’ve seen the look before,yes,

it’s kind of non-commital

It says come hither, baby, but then he’s hard wood to whittle

it says it don’t mean a thing, but still, somebody does

He’d like you to join the club that likes to say

there’s no such thing as love and

It’s a mad mission

Under difficult conditions

not everybody makes it

To the loving cup

It’s a mad mission

But I got the ambition

Mad, mad mission

sign me up

Sometimes you find yourself

flying low at night

Flying blind and looking for

Any sign of light

You’re cold and scared, and all alone

You’d do anything just to make it home

It’s a mad mission

Under difficult conditions

not everybody makes it

To the loving cup

It’s a mad mission

But I got the ambition

Mad, mad mission

sign me up

Sign me up

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2004 at 6:11 pm

happy haiku friday!

sitting in my cube

cracking jokes about calvin

cute cat, what’s its name?

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2004 at 5:15 pm

a love letter

when telling a story, establishing the setting is essential. although i often forget the content or ‘message’ of a story, i can always remember details about the setting. for instance, i can still see the immense, riverbed rocks that Henri collected for the abbey of genesee’s new chapel. likewise i can see the misshapen roof in ted cole’s squash court and can hear the wind rustling through the corn fields that framed the ball fields of the iowa baseball confederacy. all of this to say that i love our current setting. if you’ll indulge me for a moment, i would like to share a few things i love about our setting.

  • i love living in the little, unfinished condo at the top of the hill that is judson street. i love that i cannot look around the house without seeing the handiwork of the defranza’s and my father. i love that when i look out my screen door i see the ancient brick of the majestic, marquee laden cabot cinema. i love that most of my friends live within walking distance (i also love making fun of my friends when they are too lazy to walk).
  • i love that when a plane touches down at logan international, i feel like i’m at home. if i land at any other airport, including manchester, new hampshire but excluding tulsa, ok, i do not feel as comfortable, nor exhale a sigh of relief. there is nothing better than landing at logan in the summer. coming over the harbor, which is accented by little white sails, looking over at our unique clock tower and the pru, straining to catch a glimpse of the citgo sign…there’s nothing like it.
  • i love that massachusetts is a book lover’s paradise. from the palatial boston public library, which has a reading room that takes your breath away, to the independent booksellers like jabberwocky’s in newburyport, the boston area does books right.
  • i love the gravity and solemnity that characterizes the new england shoreline. our beaches are the perfect setting for long walks, writing poor, melancholic poetry and engaging in trenchant, uncensored prayer. even on the hottest summer days you don’t get the dirty, MTV spring break feeling when you go to the beach. there are no hordes of multi-colored beach balls, drunken, half-naked coeds of half-hearted volleyball games to be seen. our beaches are too serene, and almost too serious, to invite such trifling pursuits
  • i love that i live in the best baseball town in america. i’m a cardinal fan, so for a long time that truth was hard to admit, but there is nothing like following the red sox in the boston area. for instance, these fans are so passionate that while they’re uncontrollably ecstatic about the sox vanquishing the yankees (which prompted a gentle edict from our management, reminding us that work is a good thing), they’re still level-headed enough to realize that after the seventh-inning pedro debacle francona should be fired. i’ve never been surrounded by more intelligent, passionate and critical baseball fans in my life. i absolutely love it!

i am beginning to realize that if i did not live in this setting, i might have trouble understanding who i am. that’s enough romantic sentiment for now. ignoring work because of blogging will not be taken as lightly as ignoring it on account of the sox.

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2004 at 3:45 pm


“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and the pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

~Frederick Buechner, Now and Then

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