I have done this probably a hundred times before, and I am still waiting for the one person who will stop me one afternoon and say, "Hey, something has been bothering me from earlier this morning. Remember when you were walking in front of me and all of a sudden you were a lot further in front of me than you were before you turned the corner? Was that magic or something?" And then I'll say, "Look, don't tell anyone about it or we'll both get screwed." And then I'll walk away really fast like I just robbed a bank.
It hasn't happened yet, but I can't wait until it does. It's so much fun blowing people's minds.
the preceding was exhibit #439 in the ongoing proof that I am an idiot.
Here are some notes on the new issue:
- We have a bunch of reviews ready, but they're not showing up on the main page. We'll fix this tomorrow.
- We have a VERY good issue for you this week. I'm particularly proud, and partly because I spent a lot of time on the main article, which is based on the Frank Pastore piece we mentioned on this blog. If you doubt my effort, I'll tell you this: I cut my finger open because I was typing so hard.
Okay, so I was actually slicing a tomato to make a sandwich while I was typing the article, but I quickly put a band-aid on and went back to work. I hope it has some things you can laugh at.
(The picture above is not my finger. Photo courtesy of whoever's finger that is.)
EXCELLENT articles in the sports and social justice sections, too. I know the sports section on our site doesn't get a whole lot of love, but Jon works his butt off over there and came up with a gem this week.
I'm totally cereal.
Please take some time to pray for Penny, Dave and Quinn and, most importantly, for Penny's father. We're glad we have a community of readers and writers who we can come to with requests like this, and thank you for your support.
(Update: Penny's father did not suffer a heart attack! They don't know exactly what's wrong, but it wasn't nearly as bad as first thought. Thank you everyone for your prayers!)
There's a guy I work with named August who's a vegan and thin and he's got red hair...not a guy you'd be afraid of in a dark alley. He's odd, like many of us, but I love working with him because our conversations always steer toward the metaphysical. He seemed like he knew the girl, maybe just from coming into the store, and he asked her how she was doing.
"I'm doing okay," she sighed.
"Really? It doesn't sound like you're doing okay," August asked.
I was standing right there, but I was sure I'd misheard, because who would say they are bulimic?
She briefly told August that she hadn't purged in 7 months, but she was relapsing. She told him it was her third time coming into the store that day.
She looked at me, embarrassed, and I smiled back, but I'm thanking God it wasn't a smile of pity. She paid for her things, and turned to leave.
"Let me shake your hand," August told her.
"It's got vomit all over it," she told him back.
"Then let me pat you on the back," August replied, and he did.
It was a strange exchange, but August is a strange guy.
I talked to him about it after, and I told him we shouldn't have let her buy that stuff, that maybe we should have sat outside and talked to her, which would be more important than working. He said those things might have helped, but it was important not to treat her like she had a problem (even though she does), and that we all have problems (because we all do).
The main thing I wanted to say is that August, this strange little fellow, knew almost exactly what to do, and I just stood there.
In the wake of the dog-fighting/dog-torturing/dog-killing that Mikey-Mike has been up to lately, an analyst on Sportscenter suggested that not only would Vick likely not play for the Falcons again, but there's a chance Vick wouldn't have a football career beyond a stint in the CFL.
The CFL!? Did I hear that right? Look, I am not a bad guy. I like dogs a lot. And I do think that Vick's actions are heinous. So, after Mike serves a well-earned stint in the big house I think he should make his way up here to the North.
Everyone knows the Canadian Football League is an inferior league. Also, football pundits will be quick to point out that they style of play is drastically different from the game below the border (mostly because of the 3 downs). Sometimes NFL players (Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia) have a great deal of success in the CFL, while other times (Ricky Williams, Mike McMahon) it leads to extreme frustration, much to the surprise of everyone involved.
Vick though, could be a different case. Poor judgement aside, no one can deny the man has obscene talent and I would love to see how that looks on the field in the CFL. While some might consider it a shame that Vick has sabotaged his NFL career, and it surely is a waste of talent, I feel that Vick has made his bed and now must lie in football purgatory; the CFL (actually, the AFL might be football purgatory, but indulge me). Plus it'd be a great story line in Canada. He'd get heckled and booed (but not too drastically-- we're very polite) but he'd still put fans in the seats. Hey, just give him to the Hamilton Tiger Cats, they haven't won a game in about 4 seasons.
The only sure thing in this process is that Mike Vick will have a long time to weigh his decision.
As the July 31 MLB trade deadline approaches, baseball teams around the league are looking to make moves to put their organization in a better position. For some it's mortgaging the future for a chance to win this year. For others, it's the exact opposite. Then there's other entities, for whom the trading deadline could be something completely different. Here's five trades I'd like to see happen before the calendar flips over to August.
Grey's Anatomy trades away Dr. McDreamy to the New York Yankees for Alex Rodriguez. This trade works because I'm sure A-Rod has called himself 'McDreamy' in the mirror hundreds of times before. They could even revolve a whole episode of Grey's Anatomy around his purple lips. Meanwhile, chances are good that Patrick Dempsey would have a higher batting average than A-Rod in September and October anyway, so it's a win-win for everyone.
Michigan trades away the Upper Peninsula to Canada for some of those pink Canada mints. Remember Canada mints? I loved those things. I mean, I know they're still around, I just haven't had them in a while. Not too hard, not too soft, just the right amount of mint.
Barry Bonds trades 250 of his career home runs to Ken Griffey Jr. in return for half of Griffey's personality. Bonds would never do it, of course, but it would probably make the world a better place.
Britney Spears' trades away her fame, fortune, hair, and Justin Timberlake for an ex-husband named K-Fed, a rehab stint, and a terrible album to be named later. Oh wait, this has basically already happened.
The Burnside Writer's Collective trades away Chad Gibbs to The Onion for front-page advertising on The Onion for three months. I can see the fallout from this. The spike in visitors to the Burnside website as a result of the advertising launches the Collective into the forefront of mainstream culture. The BWC is then bought out by Rupert Murdoch for seven figures, allowing each of the Burnside Writers to retire and live off of the interest their Swiss bank accounts are making. Unfortunately for Chad, The Onion has done their research and knows of his past experience as a janitor. He is immediately put to work scrubbing toilets and spends the rest of his life muttering "Jordan Green stole my soul" under his Lysol-tainted breath.
There's a magazine rack across from me, and the new issue of Portland Monthly sat on the second shelf. On the cover was Greg Oden, Norse God of Big Men, or, as I call him, "Sky Father".
(Feel free to chalk that up as his official nickname...it's an ancient name for Odin.)
I know I wanted Durant, and I know the next MJ killed during the Vegas Summer League while Oden notched 19 fouls in two games, but I'm content with Greg, and it cheered my day to see his kindly, grandfatherly grin gazing back at me whenever I looked up. How can you not like him?
I didn't say anything to that, just sort of nodded my head. After all, she's been there right? She's seen the Iraqi people up close.
But I also couldn't possibly agree, and I hoped other soldiers don't feel the same, because looking down on another culture is rarely an effective method of "liberation".
And then I saw this article in The Onion. I love when The Onion is funny, but I also love when their satire feels like a punch in the face.
Why Al Qaeda Supports the Emergent Church
I can't believe we didn't break this story first.
"But an America where the church is strong, resolute, and courageous? That’s a different thing altogether.
Which is why al Qaeda supports the emergent church."Never in a million years could I dream this up.
There's even a sweet photo of emergent churchers (or, as I call them E-l Chaedas) with AK-47s keeping watch over a soon-to-be-martyred Conservative. That'll teach you, Evangelical Pig!!!
Many thanks to the immortal Bob Hyatt's blog for the link. It's times like these that make me glad not to be an emergent.
Time to head for your Appalachian Mountain lair, Brian McLaren. Delta Force is coming, and they're going to have the last word, and the word after that.
Using technology that i've procured through secret government channels (a pirated version of photoshop) i was able to zoom in on the onesie being worn by the baby and it soon became evident why the baby was in a state of shock.
So I called today, and Lisa wasn't looking to buy advertising space. In fact, she's the head of a vanity press called "The Writer's Collec..." (you get the picture). They have a website which I won't link to here. Lisa basically told me Burnside is infringing on her copyright. It wasn't a lawyer calling, or a cease and desist letter.
If she's right, this isn't a good thing. We'll have to change the name of our site and I have no idea how painstaking or costly that process would be. Considering we don't really make much money, it could be disastrous.
Does anyone have any insight about this? I mean, you don't hear about the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times battling it out for name rights...what gives?
A quick Google search brought up all these other collectives
The Canadian Writers Collective
Women Writers Collective
Chicago Writers Collective
California Writers Collective
Millrock Writers Collective
Aw, just look at the results...
If you know anything about this or can provide some insight, let me know in the comments, or email us.
Strangely, not 30 minutes earlier I'd read about the folks over at the awesome Kissing Suzy Kolber going through similar stuff (Note: KSK contains plenty of profanity...just to let you know).
Or maybe because so much humor goes to the basest level: poop jokes. But there is a famous poop joke in the Bible! Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal because they couldn't get their pyre to ignite. "Call louder, maybe your god is with his advisors, or maybe he is at war with an enemy; maybe he is asleep. Maybe your god is in the bathroom!" You won't see it translated that way in your NIV. But if you consult the Jewish scholars, "going on a journey" is a euphemism for "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl."
It's a shame we try to clean up our spiritual fathers' language. St. Paul vented at the Galatians, "Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves?!" When Job's 'friends' acted like they had all the answers for his suffering, Job replied: "Oh I see! So the book of knowledge ends with you!" As in, "Who died and left you in charge?" It's a miracle that the Song of Songs ended up in the canon.
I thought I'd share a few Christian websites -- Besides Burnside Writers -- that have elicited snickers out of me.
Lark News is a great Christian version of The Onion.
Ship Of Fools is a UK-based humor site, so it's mercifully free from the ravages of American Churchianity.
I love their Caption Contest. Check out some of these winners:
(My brother James was responsible for the winning "Priest" caption)
The Holy Observer posts photos of church signs. While some of them are silly, I did appreciate the following, not in the least because I was raised Lutheran, and we're known for not being particularly sharp-witted. At least, not the Norwegian-Lutherans. (Then again, maybe these Lutherans didn't mean their sign to be funny. Ah, I can prentend, can't I?)
I DO NOT mean that we should make fun of Jesus. Ever. I hated "Life of Brian." But I've been reading essays and parts of my upcoming book at various Hollywood venues, and I've found that a healthy dose of sarcasm and self-deprecating humor helps loosen up an audience that isn't used to hearing "Jesus" as a noun.
Lastly, here's one more poop joke -- not at the expense of Jesus: but at Thomas Kincade, whose artistry and personal life helped to drag "Christian' through the dookie. As if it needed help going there.
Enjoy your week. And remember, "Isaac" means laughter. Hey, I'm just honoring my namesake ...
I think it's terrific that any book, not to mention a book series, has so captured the public's imagination that the publishing date creates queues around the block.
However, my husband and I stepped into Barnes & Noble today, just to see if the books were sold out. There were plenty on display right in the front.
Like Harry Burns in "When Harry Met Sally," I turned to the last page to see if Mr. P was alive. I won't tell you what I read. But I guess I better pony up and get the books. And the movies. Maybe I'll check them out at the library. Wow, I've got some work to do this summer.
Hold on, my People magazine just showed up at the door. Gotta run.
P.S. I don't really buy People. I just read the headlines in the grocery check out. Like this week's report that "Katie Holmes is finally happy!" Now there's news.
We're running a new ad on Burnside, purchased by the good folks at the International Bible Society. They've got a new presentation of the Scriptures entitled "Books of the Bible", and it honestly looks like a great endeavor. I'm not in the habit of shamelessly plugging the ads we have up on the site, but I was impressed by the look and idea. It never hurts to read your Bible (unless you run your fingers wildly down the sides in search of papercuts). Plus, I get a free copy, which is always great. You can view it here.
Oh, that Potter boy is having one last adventure, and I don't know about all you lovely, highly literate folks--but I'm anxiously counting down the hours until midnight. Yes, I'm 24. Yes, I was an English major with a profound devotion to Dostoevsky and Salinger and 20th century French lit [blah blah blah], but I am not ashamed to admit my love for J.K. Rowling's series. And I'm not alone. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has taken the record for largest first-run book printing at 12 million copies; over 86 million copies of the first six books in the series have already been sold in the U.S. That being said, I realize that not everybody is as excited about this event as I am. Some of you may scoff at the notion, raising your big snooty snoots in the air and [citing]siding with bastion of windbaggery Harold Bloom.* Well. Some of you are wrong. Or maybe not. Does it matter?
Just don't spoil anything, you frowzy muggles.
If you need me, I'll be locked in my room
from book-receiving until book-ending.
*Mr. Bloom is actually quite a very brilliant man.
Who puts an anchor on a golf course?
It doesn't matter that the course in question is a mini golf course. Just because it's a smaller version of a golf course doesn't mean they needed to add props to it. They don't put windmills on the first base line in tee-ball games, do they? And the last time I checked the local Pop Warner Football games didn't include a plastic grizzly bear on the 50-yard line, either.
But there it was, on the 12th hole of the Water's Edge Miniature Golf Course in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. A huge freaking anchor. And my yellow ball got wedged right under it. It took me 2 shots just to get out from under the thing. At the time I had a 3-stroke lead over my lovely wife Erica, and I was well on my way to extending my streak of domination to 150 straight wins. Or was it 4…I can't remember.
As a result of the anchor debacle, we approached the fabled 16th hole (think the 17th at Sawgrass only more famous) with identical scores. That's when it really fell apart for me. Unable to hit the ball through the barrel of one of three cannons (CANNONS!?!) blocking entrance to the flagstick, I suddenly found myself trailing by 3 shots.
On the next hole, still flustered by my inability to maneuver a little ball through centuries-old wartime weaponry, I lost another shot, increasing my deficit to four strokes as we headed to the final hole.
Only wouldn't you know it, the 18th hole is the "Hit it into the clown's mouth so we can get our balls back" hole. What?! I was planning a 4-shot comeback on this hole! I was going to hurl taunts and insults at my wife just like the late Earl Woods used to do to his son Tiger when he was a wee lad of six. I was going to win by sinking an ace and insulting her into a quadruple bogey. The clown's mouth is supposed to be AFTER you've played 18, not a part of it.
I was incredulous. Erica just laughed. Four strokes. She beat me by four strokes.
Before the round began, I told her that if she beat me I would let everyone know about it in a blog entry. Great idea Bry!
Hey, how was I supposed to know there were going to be old maritime relics strewn about the course? Next time maybe I'll bring a bayonet and a periscope and I'll actually have a chance to win.
An anchor. A freaking anchor. Geesh. Congrats honey, nice win.
This is a picture of Alex Dupree from last Summer. He and his friend Seth Woods were traveling around the country in a Volvo stationwagon. They swung through Portland early in the trip, and we jumped at the chance to put on a concert. It was held in Mindy's backyard, and it was strangely cool that night. It was a stunning show.
Alex just sent me his second album, Las Meridanzas. It is simply amazing. Right up there with Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Menomena's Friend and Foe, and Feist's The Reminder. Alex's last album was excellent, too, but it was partly impressive because it was a first shot, and Alex was only 19 when he recorded it. Las Meridanzas is just flat out great. I need more listens, but this may be the best album of the year.
I'll be writing a full review for Burnside in the next two weeks, but I wanted to give you guys a heads up. You can buy the album here. I suggest you do, because you will not regret it. Sweet fancy moses, it's just so damn good.
Anyone else out there work at a small church and end up doing stuff like this? lol.
It did not dawn on me until yesterday that this also meant I would have no sure way to get my wife to the hospital next month when she goes into labor.
We're running a poll this week on Burnside asking readers to vote for their favorite Republican candidate (Dems will be next week). I've been surprised at the feedback: 32% of respondents support the "One of the Candidates That Doesn't Have a Chance" choice. John McCain, money woes and all, is second with 17.9%.
I was disappointed by these numbers, wondering if I'd worded the question improperly, and if Democrat supporters were just voting that way as a statement.
But then I saw this article on CNN, which seems to indicate that Burnside respondents are just a snapshot of Republicans overall!
I'm curious to see how next weeks Democratic primary works. I'm guessing there will be a lot less apathy with Barak Obama and a polarizing Hillary Clinton involved.
Tonight on HBO's Real Sports you'll be able to catch Gary Sheffield saying that Joe Torre treated black players differently than white players. In the same interview he later stated that he does not think Joe Torre is a racist.
Since the definition of "racist" is essentially "someone who discriminates based on race", it got me wondering what Gary Sheffield's thoughts were on some of life's other issues.
Did you know...
+ Gary Sheffield regularly eats meat, but is also a strict vegan.
+ Gary Sheffield has never voted for a democrat, but he voted for Al Gore and John Kerry in the past two elections.
+ Gary Sheffield thinks Thom Yorke's band is great, but he's not a fan of Radiohead.
+ Gary Sheffield loves the liquid that you get when you squeeze oranges, but he hates orange juice.
+ Gary Sheffield was born 38 years ago, but he's not 38 years old.
+ Gary Sheffield claims he is not very passionate about anything, and that he'd die for the right to remain passionless.
+ Gary Sheffield's favorite color is orange, but hates the color you get when you mix red with yellow.
+ Gary Sheffield prides himself on being the most humble player in the Major Leagues.
+ Gary Sheffield said he has never turned the media away and is always available to provide a quote, but when asked for further clarification he declined to comment.
+ Gary Sheffield thinks the earth is only 5000 years old, but is convinced that Dinosaurs were wiped off the earth by a giant meteor 4 million years ago.
+ Gary Sheffield's uncle is former pitcher Dwight Gooden, but he insists that he is not related to Dwight Gooden.
+ Gary Sheffield said that contrary to what he said last week, he has never contradicted himself.
I managed to read quite a few books this past week, and while it's only a bit more than I average any other week (and no real outstanding feat), I realized that I didn't allow myself any time to fully appreciate and deconstruct any of the books because as soon as one was finished, I became antsy for yet another world and picked up another one and then another, etc. [I have the Multnomah Co. library to thank for this.]
So this week I've made it my goal to not behave so gluttonously...
To take one sweet spoonful at a time, to fully taste the words and ideas.
Starting with Breakfast of Champions. Apropos, no?
by Aaron Donley
So, I'm sitting on the couch this morning, eating Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch and watching SportsCenter, when my wife informs me that her toilet is clogged. In days past I would have told her I was sorry, and that she could use my toilet until we moved in a few years. But because I spent a couple of months training for just an emergency, I sprang into action, and had the toilet functioning properly before my cereal turned soggy. I tell you this, not because you care, but because I didn't want Jordan to have all the posts on here.
You can read about my time as a janitor here.
You can read about Benjamin Disraeli here.
If you watch, you'll hear about one team that has won the last two years, and that team was my team: the Lair Hill Home Community (formerly the Burlingame Home Community, which met at my fiancee, Mindy's house).
We've never had the most talented athletes, but if Jay Bilas were to analyze us he'd say we just win. This year, everyone was gunning for us, and it showed. With one inning to go in the first round, we were down two runs to the upstarts from Red Sea Church. We alternated putting runners on base and getting outs, and soon there were two down, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, and the bottom of the 9th (or 3rd. Games were short).
My best friend Steve stepped to the plate and crushed the ball into left center. One run came in, then two, and Steve flew around the bases as the ball was relayed in. In a stunning play at the plate, Steve slid under the throw, tearing his knee to shreds in the process (I learned the lesson last year that you don't slide no matter what), but we won.
The rest of the games came and went easily, and we were named champions for the third time in three years. We are now the Wooden-lead UCLA of church kickball. We are a dynasty.
(Note: We've now decided to pursue a kickball-based ministry through the home community, which will include a book called, "5 Steps to Becoming a Dynasty Through Jesus". Look for it on Christian bookshelves next January.)
Here are some photos of the event, taken by Kevin Rogers.
Burlingame/Lair Hill Home Community before the tournament began. Our captain, Rick Meyer, is wearing the McKinley Cup, which was crafted by Jon Fulk out of a pair of antlers and a bicycle helmet. The official history of the trophy is that I won it during a White Elephant gift party, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, who believes White Elephant parties are about getting sweet gifts. It accompanied us on two bachelor parties, just as a sort of mascot, and then I donated it to Imago for use as the McKinley Cup last year. (That's me striking a rather provocative pose in the lower left. The sun was in my eyes. Our MVP Steve is standing next to me with a stupid hat, and James, the guy who designs our Burnside shirts, is standing behind the two of us.)
Many teams use the event to dress up in odd costumes (maybe they should concentrate on winning). Here, my friend Dave Price prances with some Red Bulls. His team was sponsored by Red Bull, which caused them to have a whole lot of frantic energy during the opening ceremonies. We were sponsored by Clif Bar, which caused us to have red shirts that said "Clif Bar" on them. And also to win.
Burlingame/Lair Hill Home Community after winning their third championship. I'm not on this photo, because I had to leave early for work. That lady with the pink shirt on the right is Steve's wife, Kathryn, who appears to have her arm around another man. Kathryn kept me updated via text messaging, and I am eternally grateful.
Here's me pitching. I love how this pic captures my coiled athleticism. I'm like a tightly-wound ball of pure power out there. The amazing thing is that ball is moving at 94 miles per hour. Top notch camera, Kev!
Three entries already! I'm like the Ryan Adams of blogging!
So, I've been working a few hours at a fancy-schmancy grocery store. It's been a lot of fun, especially the customer service part.
A customer came in today and bought some lamb bones for his dog. He said he has the dog on a raw food diet, and this was the ensuing conversation.
"Isn't that expensive?" I asked, "And hard to find food?"
"Sure, but wouldn't you do anything for your kids?"
"Well, I guess that's the difference between you and me," he responded curtly.
But then I told him I watch "The Dog Whisperer" and we liked each other again. I'm the king of customer service.
Not sure if you've heard, but Iraq hasn't been going well for some time. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have been regaining strength primarily because that's not our primary mission.
But that's okay, little Billy and Sue, because at least we're winning the War on Terror!
What's that you say? We're not? WHAAAAA!?!?!
We got to thinking: we've already conquered the world of irreverent weekly Christian webmagazines...what's next?
Blogging, my friends. Blogging.
We envision this space as more personal, where maybe Bob and John talk about their impending children, or Penny talks about her new daughter, and maybe we have pictures from the times we get together and pretend to work. Maybe we'll link to hilarious news stories, or post videos of adorable kittens. It'll be pretty low key, and we hope you'll enjoy our mundane musings. It'll give you something to do during the slow doldrums of the week.
(Note: The above picture is not of any members of the Collective. It's just some guy.)
“Hey,” you say. “My mom cannot pick me up this afternoon, can I have a ride home?”
“Sure,” Jason says. “What is your mom doing?”
“She had a business meeting in Capital City.”
“Ok, just meet me in the parking lot after school.”
After placing your lunch inside your locker, you go to your first class and wait for the bell to ring. Students are sitting in their desks, talking about their weekends, until the teacher appears and the room falls silent. Today the teacher lectures on Ancient Egypt, and you listen intently, soaking in the fascinating history.
All too soon the bell rings and you are off to your next class. In the hall you are stopped by Robby, a senior who is known as a trouble maker.
“Hey kid,” Robby says. “Follow me.”
Scared of the upperclassman, you follow him into the boys bathroom where you are confronted by Robby, and his two friend Zeke and Pepe`.
“We hear that you are cool,” Zeke says.
“Yeah, I guess I’m pretty cool,” you say.
“Well if you are cool,” says Robby. “Then you will smoke this.”
Robby then shoves a lit cigarette towards you, and laughs like an evil clown. You take a step back. Your mind is racing. What should you do?
If you decide to take a drag off the cigarette, turn to page 102. If you decide that smoking is unhealthy, and not for you, turn to page 223.
Back in Sandy’s dorm room, one thing leads to another, and then another, and then some others.
Weeks later Sandy calls to tell you she’s late. Being the stand up man you are, you agree to marry Sandy and father her baby. However, Sandy has six babies, explaining later that she once did some drug testing for a fertility company.
TLC cancels Moe and Sandy Plus Six after two episodes, and you start to think maybe you shouldn’t have went to her dorm room.