Archive for July, 2006|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2006 at 5:10 pm

i can’t help but notice that…

clerks II is underperforming at the box office while slightly disappointing movies like pirates of the carribean and worthless trash like john tucker must die are soaring. if you like kevin smith, get off your ass and go see this fantastic flick.*

israel’s current campaign against palestinian fundamentalism fits right into w’s game plan. why attack syria when we can have israel invade for us?**

God seems intent on crucifying my space issues, sound sensitivity and well-developed narcissism bit by bit by bit.

the cardinals just got swept by a team that is 19 games under .500, made one of the most meaningless trades of my lifetime** and are probably not going to improve the team by the 4 p.m. e.s.t. trade deadline.

emergent – with its focus on mission, para-church-esque organization and openness to methodological innovation – is a pure product of evangelicalism.**** can you imagine a similar initiative being launched by the greek orthodox or roman catholic church? i didn’t think so. if you disagree with me take a long, hard look at the leading lights in the emergent conversation. as far as i know each and every one of them has roots in american evangelicalism. not that this is a bad thing. i would actually argue that emergent is a wonderful expression of the evolutionary nature of evangelicalism. i find it funny that the branch of christianity that constantly takes issue with evolutionary theory is also the one that is evolutionary by design. ok, i’m shutting up.*****

i have currently have 31 voice mails and no hope of returning all the calls before 5 pm. buh-bye.

* expect a kevin smith clark review this week.

** this logic is seconded by my elderly, pacifistic, jewish co-worker. please note that before you read any anti-semitism into my comment.

*** luna for belliard?! why didn’t we just trade molina for ausmus, encarnacion for wilkerson or mulder for hudson? if i’ve said it once, i’ve said it a thousand times, these cheap-ass republican owners are simply keeping the bottom line in check so that they can flip the club within the next year. our pre-fabricated baseball heaven is quickly devolving into baseball purgatory.

**** more on this to come. maybe. if i can find the time.

***** and hoping against hope that kid positive continues this argument on my behalf.


In Uncategorized on July 26, 2006 at 4:53 pm

the state of the shit

right now, sentimental somethings is well into its peak season. i currently have more than three score voice mails begging for attention, a stack of faxes on my desk that is rivaled only by the stack that has yet to be removed from the machine and i get the sneaking suspicion that my relative inability to perform magic is frustrating sales reps and slow to pay customers alike.

in years past, such a scenario would: encourage a marathon viewing of falling down, result in a heavily damaged keyboard and force me to seek solace in a cigarette or two during my morning and afternoon breaks.

however, i am happy to report that right now i am completely unfazed by the incessant and often absurd demands of customers, the whiff of smoke is not on my fingers and i frankly do not give a (insert one of george w. bush’s favorite words here: ______) about operational issues i cannot change or sales issues that cannot be solved in due course.

so that’s the state of the shit at present. pimpin’.

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2006 at 7:55 pm

in praise of:

lately i have been sat on, shat on and ratted on simply because i love miller high life. i’ve taken my high life to parties only to have it used to kill slugs, others have openly questioned my honorable devotion to the old high life, and, worst of all, friends have left cracked open, but only partially drunk, cans of the high life on my kitchen table.

in light of these recent events i have only one thing to say: all of you upper-middle class, organic consuming, whole foods cruising sons a bitches can kiss my golden canned ass.

i’ve heard you talking about your desire to identify with the least while you consume your two dollar bottles of samuel smith pale ale! i’ve listened as you’ve hammered corporations like budweiser and coors, companies that honor our flag and provide good paying union jobs to john q. public, while you’ve languished praise on the products (such as newcastle) of socialist states.

you bourgeoisie bastards can have your micro-brews, cask conditioned ales and your incestuous little papist brews. as for me, i’m going to stick with the ole girl on the moon.

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2006 at 5:20 pm


i suppose you could call it the summer of the butterfly.

in late may of that year i floated* haplessly down the illinois river with a few friends, devoured a substance or two that altered the mind, made an unexpected connection or two on the way down and was ultimately cited for yet another alcohol related misdemeanor.** that was the fourth such infraction i had received in an eight month period and for some reason it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. by the time the judge dismissed the charges in lieu of a fine and another finger-crossed promise of good behavior i had long since “rededicated my life to Christ”***, started serving as a “sponsor”**** for the middle school youth group and thinking about attending bible college for a semester***** to clear my head. at the time, i had no idea that the final misdemeanor was the first crack in the chrysalis of a new life, but i suppose God knew what he was doing.

unfortunately, as one butterfly cracked its way into new life, the short life of another was concluding. of course i didn’t know that at the time, but i guess that’s how irony operates.

so it was that ten years ago today the life of one of the most beautiful butterflies, my grandmother dana,****** came to an end. she was a beautiful woman, who eagerly welcomed me – an adopted child – as her first grandbaby, always believed – even when the facts clearly suggested differently – the best about me and was one of the only people on the planet that was able to bend me to her will. she, along with my papa, was one of the most generous and joyous people i have ever had the pleasure of knowing. moreover, she loved butterflies. she had a treasured butterfly charm that always hung around her neck, providing me with something to yank on when i was an infant and to fiddle with during church when i was a toddler, and now a beautiful carving of a butterfly marks her tomb, a place i wish i could visit today to commemorate the tenth anniversary of her death.

ten years ago, just as a butterfly was emerging, another was wilting. i hope that the life of the former would make the latter proud. i also hope, perhaps beyond all reason, that after my days flitting through these fields are no more, we will once again be reunited and free to fly together.

* and i do mean floated. if memory serves, the guys kicked me out of the canoe, citing a complete lack of industry on my part, somewhere around mile 7.

** note to self. when jumping off a thirty foot cliff face into a scant ten feet of water it is probably best not to clutch a bottle of bud light in one’s hand.

*** since i didn’t really know of any other way to express my contrition. in the bible belt there are relatively few ways to legitimately express life change. if you’re a non-Christian, you can surrender to the years of subtle or not-so-subtle gospel assaults of your relatives by converting. if you’re a christian you can recommit your life to Christ by going down to the front of the church and finally confess the sin that everyone in the congregation has known and gossiped about for months. or, if you’re a non-believer or an adherent to another faith you can try and alter your behavior and hope against hope for a climate controlled room in hell.

**** i’m pretty sure that the youth intern ironically expected the middle school students to “sponsor” my stab at sobriety. i’m sure that he knew i had precious little to offer those kids at that time in my life.

***** since it was cheaper than the therapy another county judge had ordered and in illinois i would be well beyond the reach of the okie law.

****** my mother occasionally notes that i rarely write about my family in this space. there’s a couple of reasons for that: 1) i am completely corleone-ish about my family. i always want to protect them at all costs. 2) there are some things that are too meaningful and beautiful to put into words…as i am proving right now.

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2006 at 2:06 pm

rear-entry gentry’s poorly written review of kevin smith’s clerks II

last night i joined a couple of my hetero-lifemates for a screening of clerks II.* if you know anything about me or analize read even a bit of the mental masturbation that i post on this site you know that i’ve been looking forward to this flick for months and desperately afraid that it would disappoint.

fortunately it does not.

clerks II picks up some ten years after we left dante and randal at the quik stop. in the interim the quick stop has burned down, they’ve gone to work at mooby’s,** dante has once again stumbled his way into some of the most beautiful ass east of the mississippi and, well, plot doesn’t really matter in these movies as much as points of disputation and vulgar oration do, so i’ll stop this synopsis here. if you enjoy dick jokes, the subtle aggression and off-color content of male conversation,*** and can handle jokes about samwise gamgee bricking in frodo baggins’ mouth and endure a – thankfully off screen – scene of interspecies erotica then go see this movie. as a particularly poignant scene near the end of the film suggests, clerks II,**** is a story about the absurdities of life, the necessity of work and the essential relationships which enable us to see life through. you’ll revel in the rants about the lord of the rings, be shocked senseless by the profilactic power of “pillow pants” and probably even enjoy the scores of musical scenes. but in the end, if you’re anything like me, you’ll leave the theater just as depressed about your job but all the more thankful for your friends.

so there’s your redundant and poorly written review. i’m going to go spend the afternoon with a few friends.

* the women wisely chose to see the devil wears prada, a movie that apparently featured an hour and a half long facial, instead.
** a horrific, disney down on the farm-esque hamburger joint that was first featured in dogma.
*** which, let the record show, very few expressions of pop culture care to capture. if you want to know how men talk to one another, watch a smith flick or an episode or two of rescue me and ignore the banter that takes place on shows like everyone loves raymond or, God help us, some meaningless soap-opera shit like desperate housewives.
**** as well as the rest of the smith canon for that matter.

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2006 at 8:56 pm


this morning christianity today posted this piece which provides a lebanese pastor’s perspective on the current conflict between lebanon and israel. as i read this article, i agreed with some of the assertions and quibbled with a few others, however by the time i finished the article i was filled with hope for the future of evangelicalism.

i realize that the latter statement makes little sense at first sight, so let me briefly flesh it out. this article was printed on the website of a magazine that was founded by an evangelist who at one time lobbied for a stronger c.i.a., eagerly snuggled into the pocket of political leaders and all but wrapped himself in the american flag. but now, a mere thirty years later, the flagship publication of the neo-evangelical movement that this man inspired and for all practical purposes personally started is listening to and serving as a conduit for people who reside well outside of our western, white box and so encouraging its readers to assess world events through a Kingdom focused, as opposed to a simplistic apocalyptic or nationalistic, lens.

i’ve had, and will continue to have, my share of differences with the sub-cultural assumptions, quasi-certain theological assertions and missiological tendencies of mainstream evangelicalism. however, when i read articles like this i am reminded of randall balmer’s repeated assertions that evangelicalism is the most diverse and readily adaptable forms of Christianity and i am sanguine about our ability to re-embrace the holistic approach to social compassion, biblical proclamation and unfettered hope that characterized the best of our evangelical forbears.

i’ve shared so much of my jaded side with you lately. i hope that those of you who follow Christ with me will share at least a bit of this optimism.

may the peace of Christ, that truly surpasses all understanding, descend upon the holy land. and, as our Lord taught us to pray, let us plead for God’s Kingdom of justice, compassion and righteousness to come.

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2006 at 5:07 pm

rear-entry gentry and kevin smith clark present: patron saints of the view askew universe!

today, in honor of tomorrow’s release of clerks II – remember to tell your friends – i would like to express my devotion to dante hicks and plead with him to intercede on my behalf before the great stan lee of the sky.

rear-entry gentry’s saint:

some twelve years ago, while lazing on the stained peach carpet in front of the old school console television in my parent’s living room i was introduced to dante hicks. since that moment, my life has never been quite the same. at first, i thought dante’s cynicism was quirky, his fear of occupational opportunities outside of the quick stop absurd and his resignation to his apparent lot in life quite pathetic. little did i know that dante was introducing me to the underachieving path i would later embrace.

i would like to tell you about all the lessons dante has taught me, but due to the limitations of my lunch break i can only mention a few. first, dante has taught me that it is far better to remain in a lowly occupation where you are secure* than to risk out and out failure in a job that may pay more money and offer greater satisfaction. in short, it is better to constantly bitch about the blatant ignorance of the milk maids or the fact that “i’m not even supposed to be here today” than to actually find out if you can make the cut in the cold, cruel world. second, dante introduced me to the never-ending humor of cataclysmic relations with the opposite sex. dante acted as if his life would be relatively meaningless without his memory of caitlin’s tryst with amy or the fact that she ultimately left him to fuck an asian design major. much like dante, at more than one point in my life i’ve wondered what life would be like if i didn’t have wonderful stories about dumping a high strung, dumpy assed girlfriend at an airport starbucks or securing a short-term but physically emotionally fulfilling relationship with an eastern european girl by offering her vague promises of american citizenship** to tell time and again at parties or around the water cooler. finally, in his occupational and relational exploits dante reminds us of the seminal truth that life is not ultimately about a great celebration of dancing muppets or the reconciliation of obviously homoerotic friendships in the sky, but rather, life is a series of down endings that we either learn to deal with or we don’t.

pray for me saint dante! ask the great stan lee of the sky to save me from employment at mooby’s, grant me your gift of well-stated cynicism and teach me how to weather these down endings with at least a little bit of hope.

kevin smith clark’s saint: randal the berzerker

randal represents how I’d act (or want to act) if I was conscience-free and did not allow my title to dictate behavior.

saint randall, lover of hermaphrodites, salsa sharks and ever expanding horizons, pray for me!

feel free to lift up your hearts to the stan lee of the sky and share your devotion. we’ll see you at the theater!

* and your intellect and vocabulary constantly illustrate your superiority to co-workers and clients.

** ok, this story is (mostly) untrue, but life would probably be more interesting if it was.

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2006 at 2:27 pm

shit that has been making me laugh

today i made my morning pilgrimage to only to find out that the seattle supersonics may be moving to oklahoma city. i think this move would work out extremely well for the supersonics* and am waiting to hear about microsoft’s impending move to Wichita.

last thursday after work I stumbled out of the elevator, walked through the frosted double doors of the cummings center and almost bumped into a six year old kid subsequently whipped out his dick and began mindlessly pissing on a public sidewalk. his dad immediately reprimanded the child by reminding him that “you can’t just pee wherever you want to”** and i laughed most of the way home as i remembered all of the times i’ve pissed in public places and dealt with the unintended consequences that followed.***

i’ve also been laughing for some years now, about the smart-ass ways people re-appropriate evangelical worship songs. my current favorite evangelical covers include, “hail, hail, i love buddha” and “i want to sleep with your wife as you sleep with your wife” by james’ camp friend as well as “shine jehoshua, shine” by a certain brazilian community that insists on reclaiming the original names of our heroes of faith.****

*right up until the NBA players realize that the beating heart of oklahoma city nightlife is a six block strip of chain restaurants called bricktown and the owner’s daughter’s start to work for the family business (i want to be more specific here, but feel constrained).

**sidenote: if the pixie and i have boys, they will never use mealy mouthed terms like “pee” or “poop,” but will utilize more manly terms like “piss” and “shit.” if we have girls, all bets are off.

***i especially thought about the time i was charged with “destruction of property” for pissing on the side of a little used west virginia highway. this story probably deserves it’s own post, so i won’t elucidate any further except to say that i beat the misdemeanor with a subsequent request for a jury trial and in the minutes after my brush with the law i manically repeated lines from a certain scene in the usual suspects and so reacquainted myself with the wonderful utility of “the f-word” (sorry dad).

****i will allow the person who told me about this cover to remain blissfully anonymous.

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2006 at 9:08 pm


over at killing the buddha jeff sharet has written the most haunting piece about colin powell’s yiddish, the redneck roots of a certain brooklyn poet and the ethical quandaries concerning half-breeds and phylacteries (but not in that particular order). this long piece pierced my heart and is on the verge of provoking me to revisit an old theme i’d rather not talk about. you’d do well to read it.

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2006 at 4:55 pm

variation on a theme*

i really don’t know how to talk about this, nor do i have a clever introduction to the theme. so i suppose i’ll just spit it out: i suspect that it is time for me to apply the practices of deconstruction to my personal life. for the past three and a half years i have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of a community that is constantly seeking to be an incarnation of Christ’s compassion and expression of God’s Kingdom in the world, while also committed to reassessing our unique ecclesiological backgrounds and the ee-vangelical culture of which many of us were once a part. i think both of these emphases of our community are healthy and necessary. however, i also fear that the latter deconstructive emphasis has occasionally led me into a form of (for lack of a better term) analysis paralysis in which i have spent far more time assessing the structure and mission of the church than i have actually practicing the way of Jesus.

i suppose a simpler way of saying that would be to admit that lately i have not invested a whole hell of a lot of energy in prayer, reflection, solitude and so have neglected – shit, i can’t believe i am going to say this – my relationship with Jesus.

i’m beginning to realize that i need to recover the evangelical practices** of personal devotion so that i have the ability to effectively serve as a part of God’s incarnational mission to the world. when i was younger, my practice of spiritual disciplines and personal devotion were focused on my pursuit of emotional happiness and spiritual health. of course, i now realize that such ends were inadequate at best and patently wrong at worst. but just because my sights are now set on God’s Kingdom and i fully understand that grace isn’t all about my personal freedom, doesn’t mean that these practices are unimportant.

i hope that you can untangle my tortured sentences enough to understand what i’m saying and wonder my experiences are unique or shared by a number of you who have stumbled down the deconstruction road.***

shit. i didn’t know how to start this thing and now i don’t know how to conclude it. how about this…a number of years ago i read an interview with rich mullins in some long forgotten ee-vangelical rag. in the midst of the article, the interviewer asks rich what he thinks the key to spiritual growth really is and rich immediately replies, undoubtedly with a bit of a smirk on his face, that the key is to “read your Bible, pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow!” if you know anything about rich you realize that his participation in God’s mission often led him far beyond the boundaries of ee-vangelical Christendom. but apparently, if we take him at his word****, as he taught music to indian children, re-imagined the life of st. frank and even started to make his way towards rome sweet home he found that the devotional practices of ee-vangelicalism still provided him with bread for the journey.

in the end, i’m incredibly glad for the incarnational, Kingdom obsessed, “emergenty” road God has led me down. but in the midst of my journey i’m realizing that if i ignore the practices and practical wisdom of my ee-vangelical and eh-vangelical forbears along the way, i will be all the poorer for it.

*which has nothing to do, unfortunately, with being kicked in the nuts. but if you want to see the second episode of this youtube instant classic, click here.

**yes, i realize that the roots of these practices run deeper than the thin evangelical soil. however, part of this post is an admission that i need to emphasize the strengths of my own tradition at least as adequately as i point out its weaknesses.

***this is about as close as i come to begging for comments. please forgive me.

****and for the record, i do.

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