Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Quote for 2/28/06

"I'd rather face a week of Mondays than have to deal with another Tuesday like today."
M+

It was a rough day that should've ended hours ago. I guess I should be happy that it's almost over now.
No further explanation needed.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Please, God, let it be true!

This is has the potential to be great news.
Can you imagine it? Chocolate being good for your blood pressure. Buy stock in Hershey, now, before it's too late.
Of course, I realize that the study is not as conclusive as we might like it to be. But we can dream can't we?

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Quote for 2/26/06

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."
C. S. Lewis

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Allow me just one moment to gloat

I'm going to take a moment (or two) to thoroughly enjoy the new information that I received this afternoon regarding my Eventually-To-Be-EX.
I had the opportunity to spend about a half an hour with her this afternoon. We talked a bit. Here are some of the topics:
She has a sinus and inner-ear infection, which she had to go to the free clinic to have treated. I thought that was odd since she's covered by my insurance. But she didn't have any money for the co-pay to see her sister's doctor. So she had to improvise. Fortunately for her, her sister (which really means my brother-in-law) paid for the prescription.
She told me that she had to let her car insurance lapse because she didn't have the money to pay for it. So I can expect to get a notice from the state asking me to turn in the license plate. No biggie. It'll be her car as soon as I get my tax return. Then she can try to come up with the money to get a new plate and a new insurance policy.
She also told me that she finally has a job, after not having one for 3 months. She's working at a bar that's about a mile from her sister's. Mostly weekends she said. About $100 a week is what she's getting paid. I wonder if that's with or without tips. She was doing better when she was working at The Dress Barn.

But there's more than that. Stuff that she's not telling me, but others are.

She got a letter from a local law firm. It came here to the house. That's how I know. What was in the letter is still a mystery to me. At first, I thought it might be something for our divorce. Maybe she was getting a decent tax return and could finally afford to file the papers. But that wasn't it because she would've said something about it. So it's probably somebody trying to get money from her that she's never paid. I do know that she's got one credit card, and an outstanding balance at the community college. There is a possibility that these could come back and bite me, but I'll deal with that when, or if, I have to.
As for the job, my daughter and my brother-in-law both inform me that she's been working only every other weekend. Apparently she keeps making plans to meet guys that she's been chatting with online. The funny thing is, they keep blowing her off (as opposed to the other way around - oooooooooo that was sooo wrong of me!). She hasn't met any of them. And she's been missing out on work, and thus money, that she could really use right now. Well, at least one of us is getting screwed...

...That was just mean of me, too.

Anyways!
As I see my life starting to fall into place. And as I see the way things are improving for me, on all levels, I can't help feeling a bit smug about all of this. I just can't help feeling that small bit of sadistic satisfaction in knowing that she wanted the divorce, and I didn't. Yet, somehow, everything is turning out right for me, and nothing is going the way she wanted, let alone, planned.
Who can blame me?

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I don't even want to think about this

How this local story made national headlines is beyond me. But, if you've already heard about this incident, please don't judge southwestern PA too harshly by this lunacy.
Besides, it's McKeesport. If you've ever been there, you understand what I'm saying. If you haven't, be thankful. You're not missing anything.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Quote for 2/21/06

"Eventually, we all become martyrs to that which we love most."
JT

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Time to reflect

I have to say, one of things that I really love about the Tuesday Night Service at my church is the interaction that we have. It's less like a church service, and more like a Bible study. Except for the worship, which is the time that our worship team uses to practice for Sundays. Kinda...
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Tonight we had a fairly lively discussion of what it means to love, in the way that Jesus tells us to love. And it was reiterated that quite often, as Christians, we don't allow people to see the love of Jesus in our actions. A great example that P.Dave used was AIDS.
In the early 1980's, as the AIDS epidemic was beginning to grow, the voice of Christianity, at the time, was crying out; "See! This is God's wrath being poured out on the homosexuals for their sin!". And he's right. But how was that showing the world love?
And then there were other questions that he asked. "How many lives might have been changed for eternity if the church had been the ones to set up the clinics and the hospices? How many people might have been affected if the church had been willing to love these hurting people, instead of casting dispersions on them?" Which led to the inevitable questions of "How many of us struggle with our own sins? Are they any less sinful? Are we any more forgivable than anyone else?". And, again, he's right.
Are any of us any less sinful, in our own favorite sins, than anyone who does not believe? Are any of us in any less need of God's grace, now that we believe, than we we're before we believed? What gives us the right to withold that same grace from others, by not showing them the love that Jesus has for them?
This message holds a significant amount of weight with me. For those of you who know me, or who've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I am a fairly vocal opponent of the homosexual lifestyle. But only in as much as it has been translated into a political movement. Otherwise, I will say that I have several acquaintances who are gay. As individuals, I have no problems with them. I work with them. I hang out with them at company, and non-company functions. I enjoy being with them any time we have the opportunity to spend time together. And we've never once had the kind of confrontations that we always seem to see in the news.
In fact, I've had several meaningful discussions about this issue, and many others, with most of these people. We have developed a mutual respect of each others views in the knowledge that we can disagree without being enemies. And I think that is where the love of Jesus begins to show.
We know each other as individuals, not as a part of some larger group which seems to hold some animosity towards the other for their views. And that's what Jesus was concerned with: the individual. Not groups, not nations, not political movements or religious ideologies. Jesus wants us to show His love to people. One on one, person to person. And I'm doing the best I can with those that God has placed in my life. And that's all I can do.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Quote for 2/19/06

"Segregation just means everybody's wait gets shorter."
Julian Davenport

Before everyone gets all upset about this being a racist remark, read the explanation below.

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Some peoples kids

The above "Quote..." was spoken at Denny's today. Which makes it all that much more entertaining. We all went there after our first church service at our newalternative worship site.
Julian is the son of our Assistant Pastor, JD. JD used to play guitar for James Brown. He is also the "whitest" black man I've ever met. He constantly makes jokes about being black, and all that it entails. Currently he's on an "It's Black History Month!" kick. Not that he wants to remind us, he's just having a little fun with it.
Apparently, his sense of humor has rubbed off on his son. Who just happens to be the leader of our youth group.
This new site is going to be an interesting experience...

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Sunday-go-to-meetin' time

Well...
Today was the big day for us. We had our first official church service at our alternative worship site. We had a few "hiccups", but nothing major. Everything went well.
We had a nice turnout from those congregations which had been supporting us in this endeavor. We even saw a few new faces as well. Which is a really good thing.
I was pleased with P.Dave's sermon, too. He made sure to emphasize what we're attempting to do with this site. It's not about traditional church structure. It's not about all of the ceremonial rituals. It's about faith, and the love of God. And how we, as a congregation, can be a better example of that in a world that seldom sees that from the church.
For those of you who care to check it out, our website is:

http://therevolutionchurch.com

Or, if you happen to be in our neck of the woods, feel free to stop in some Sunday morning. We're at the Norwin Cinemas in North Huntington. Time and directions are available at the website.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

What's your poison?

As I sit here surfing the web, munching on my tortilla chips, I stumbled upon this intriguing "news blurb"...
Hmmmmmmmmmm...
I'm not sure how accurate these findings are in my case. However, strangely enough, I also happen to have cheese curls in the cupboard. The only reason why I spared them was because my son happens to like 'em, too. But he's away for the weekend. I wonder why popcorn doesn't show up on the list.
What about you? What's your favorite and is it an accurate representation of your personality?

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Friday, February 17, 2006

I wasn't going to say anything...

But!
I've been avoiding getting too political about too many things lately because I find myself getting too political about too many things lately. And I'm beginning to find my politics taking too much precedent in other areas of my life. And I'm not really like that. But I just can't avoid posting this today.
It amazes me that the Mainstream Propaganda Machine has made such a big deal about the non-story that was Dick Cheney's hunting accident. It's all I've heard about all week long. How is that possible? Do you really mean to tell me that there was nothing else worth reporting all week?
Let us be intellectually honest with ourselves. This wasn't about the VP having a hunting accident that nearly killed a man. The majority of Americans just considered it to be one of those things that happens to people, an unfortunate mishap. This was clearly the biased media's attempt to create a scandal in the hopes of forcing Cheney out of office. Somewhere between the pathetic conspiracy theories of "sending a message to "scooter" Libby.", and their desire to see the victim die so Cheney might face prosecution, the Washington Press Corp, and their liberal allies, showed their true colors. Reporting is not about truth, it's about the agenda.
Why does anybody take these people serious anymore?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Now that it's over

I suppose that we all survived Valentine's Day...
Good!
I have to admit, I don't really hate it as much as I imply by my writing. It's just the whole you-get-one-day-to-show-the-one-you-love-how-much-you-love-him/her-with-a-really-great-gift-holiday thing that it seems to be. Shouldn't we be willing to do such things all year long? I know that this is something that I've thought for some time now, but never really connected with it until I read it at Singledom.
I guess it's the whole "romantic" appeal that Valentine's Day carries with it. And romance is easy. Any moron can do romance. All it takes is a few flowers, some nice music, candlelight, dinner and a little well thought out gift, and Ta-Da! You've scored major points with your Significant Other. And that will probably not be all the scoring you do.
But love - real love - that takes a bit more effort. And it doesn't seem like anyone wants to put the effort into real love. Especially when that effort has to be applied over the long haul. And, yes! I admit that I've had my fair share of failures in this respect.
So I have to ask: is this just another symptom of our "Me" generation, I want it now, instant gratification, perpetually adolescent society? Or is real love really that hard to attain to?
17+ years of marriage, you'd think I wouldn't need to ask these questions. I wish I didn't. But apparently, neither I, nor my eventually-to-be-EX-wife, have the answers. I guess that's why she's hangin'-out in bars and scoping online personals at her sister's, while I'm blogging as I contemplate developing a chocolate scented cologne.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And today still sucks!

That's right. It's Valentine's Day. That hideous, painful reminder to those of us who have no Significant Other (or that no longer have an SO) that life is empty without the romantic attachment to another. I don't really believe that, but that does seem to be the main thrust of all of the advertising that takes place around this time of year.
OK... I'm not going to rehash everything I think about Valentine's Day. I said just about all I had to say last year, you can read that post here. I will, however, ammend it by saying that I no longer have the ring on my finger. Now it's just the empty little groove that constantly reminds me that the ring is no longer there. Otherwise there hasn't been any change worth noting. Instead, today I shall share with all of you some very important lessons that I learned from Valentine's Days past.

1) The thought is not what's important. It's the gift!
If you don't believe this try the following experiment. Give your Significant Other a nice card then tell him/her that you really thought about getting him/her a really nice expensive present, one that would've been just perfect for them. But you realized that your financial situation wasn't conducive to this desire. So you bought the card knowing that it was "the thought that counts". Let me know how that turns out.

2) Lingerie is a gift for the buyer.
Let's face it, if a guy buys lingerie for his lady, it's a clear message as to what he wants. The gift is more for himself than for her. And ladies, if you buy lingerie and try to pass it off as a gift for him, you're only deceiving yourself. Admit that you like the way it looks on you, regardless of how he feels about it. Especially since we all know that he just wants to get you out of it. My advice, stick to jewelery. It's more durable, just as pretty, and - guy's - you'll achieve the same results with more enthusiasm.

3) Chocolate is not the aphrodisiac that it's cracked up to be.
There is a line from the movie The Devils Advocate where Al Pacino/Satan says:
"Love? Bio-chemically, it's the same as eating mass quantities of chocolate."
Now, I know that there was an actual study done in the 90's that proved that chocolate does have an effect on the pleasure center of the female brain. But I have yet to experience the result of that stimulation in a positive fashion. And don't think that during 17 years of marriage I didn't try my best with it. I think that chocolate is merely a substitute for the real thing. This is a gift that is best given in small quantities. Consider it to be a part of foreplay.

4) Valentine's Day is a corporate conspiracy.
It's clear to me that somewhere between the florists, the jewelers, the card companies, the candy makers and even the lingerie producers, they have us all pegged as suckers. Unlike Christmas, which still retains a sufficient amount of its spiritual significance amid it's over commercialization, nobody knows what St. Valentine's Day is about. Thus, in the absence of any clear distinction for the holiday, the greedy corporations seized their opportunity to capitalize on the wanton lusts and passions of us all. We've been tempted with a myriad of trinkets and baubles to use as a means of showing our affections to those whom we ought to be expressing our love to on a daily basis. And in more permanent ways than with gifts that will eventually be lost to time. Then again, being the consumate capitalist that I am, I really don't have that much of a problem with this. It's just another distraction from the more important stuff in life. We just have to deal with it.

That's all I really have to say. If you have somebody, love 'em. If not, better luck next year. Unless, of course, like myself, you're not particularlly looking to hook-up with anyone, anytime soon. In which case, enjoy the life you've chosen for yourself. And God bless us all in whatever situation we find ourselves.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

I love my job

If you don't feel good after reading this post, there's no hope for you.

Anyways...
I love the fact that I work for a medical device manufacturer. It's a satisfying feeling to know that the stuff I work on is helping people to live a better life. Or, in my current situation, to know that they're living at all.
For those of you who don't already know. I test a piece of equipment called the PLV. It's a life-support device. The same one that Christopher Reeves used when he was first paralyzed. But the mainstay of our business is in our sleep therapy devices. They help people with sleep related breathing disorders, like sleep apnea, to actually get a full nights sleep. And that's a good thing.
But we also have a division called our Children's Medical Ventures. And the products that come out of this division are specific to the needs of children. From diagnostic equipment, to moniters while they sleep, and other useful products that help not only the children, but their parents, to sleep easier.
Recently, however, I had the opportunity to see a unique item being made. It's called a Bendy Bumper, and it's made for "preemies". When a "preemy" is born they lack sufficient musculature and bone strength for proper growth. The Bendy Bumper is designed to craddle the baby until it's muscles and bones have had enough time to develope properly. It is so cool.
Making products like these, that actually help people and their quality of life. It's just another reason for me to love my job.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Quote for 2/10/06

"No... "alcohol" is not my answer for everything. Sometimes Jesus is the answer and the rest of the time a bullet and a clear line of sight are the answer."
M+

Read the explanation for this "Quote..."

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Gesundheit!

So I had this brief sneezing jag at work today. When one of my co-workers jokingly said:
"Aawww, you sprayed your germs all over the place. Now we'll all be sick next week."
Without hesitation, I grabbed a spray bottle of alcohol and started to spray into the air.
"How's that?" I asked.
"What about the germs that you missed?" my co-worker replied.
"Go home and take a shot of whiskey. That always works for me." I shot back.
"So, is alcohol, like, your answer for everything?"

hence the above "Quote..."

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

What that means to me

Perhaps you've noticed my last "Quote...". If so, then you might not mind if I explain the significance that it holds for me of late.
My church is on the verge of doing something that is quite unusual. We are an aging, predominantly white congregation in a fairly urban area with a significant minority population. We do our best to serve the community, but quite often our efforts are taken for granted. And we're seeing a great deal of decline in both population and income for the area. So much of the time anyone that we might help, or that we've made any significant connection with, will eventually leave the area, and the congregation, behind. Yet, we are about to embark on a great adventure.
We are going to attempt to plant a church in a suburban community in the hopes of attracting individuals who have a heart for an urban outreach, but who lack any connection with an urban community. But that's not all we're doing. As a church, we recognize the imperative of reaching out to all people no matter where they might be, or what their situation is. So that we find ourselves in the awkward position of not only trying to garner further support for our urban outreach, but we are attempting to also reach out to those who live in the suburban community into which we are setting up our newest church service.
We have looked around at the world and have seen that there are a great many people who have some sense of spirituality, but who have a general disdain, if not an outright contempt for organized religion. We want to get past the religious aspects of church and focus on those things which people can relate to. Those things being faith and spirituality.
We want to have a church that doesn't come across like a church. That's why we'll be meeting at a movie theater. We want to appeal to people who are unchurched, de-churched, or in some other way, uncomfortable in a church. People who have been disillusioned by what religion has to offer. And in it's place we want to offer them faith. We want people to see the love of Jesus, not the judgment of religion. We want people to feel welcome, not rejected. We want them to be comfortable in the knowledge that as a church we recognize our own brokeness and sin, and have no business pointing a finger at anyone else for their shortcomings. And we also want to offer people the opportunity to act upon their desires to do some good in the world by giving them the chance to help us in our endeavors at our home church.
So that's why that particular "Quote..." means so much to me at the moment. And if you don't mind, please keep my church in your prayers. God knows how much we need them.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Quote for 2/7/06

"Religion is the human embellishment of faith, the institution that we create to communicate and house our faith. It is a natural and necesary creation if we are to pass on something of great value. However, we must be careful that the trappings of religion take a back seat to faith."
P. Dave (my pastor, the Reverend David Jones)

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Amen... n'at!

Pittsburgh Steelers: 21
Seattle Seahawks: 10

Finally, the Vince Lombardi Trophy has found it's way back to Pittsburgh. And the Steelers finally have their "One for the thumb.". It's a great day (night) to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Say it with me

The most recent adaptation of the Steelers Super Bowl Prayer. With some of my own modifications.

Our father,
who's Art Rooney in Heaven,
football be thy game.
Thy Dynasty come.
Four Super Bowls won,
for Heinz Field
as it was at Three Rivers.
Give us this day a victory,
and forgive us our penalties,
as we advance toward the end zone.
And lead us not into turnovers,
but deliver us the Vince Lombardi Trophy, again.

Amen... n'at!

Can't wait until tomorrowat 6:30!

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Quote for 2/4/06

"Strength of mind rests in sobriety; for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion."
Pythagoras

That's just in case anybody took me serious with my earlier post. I did, however, enjoy a nice glass of wine before I headed to bed. But trust me when I say that my sobriety remained intact.

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Quotes from 1/2006

Friday, February 03, 2006

This is a good idea

I was reading Singledom (~Moi~) earlier and followed the link in her post to the Silent Poetry Reading as a celebration of Mid-Winter/Groundhog Day. And I decided to join in, even if I am a day late.
However, I'm not going to actually post a poem. Instead, I'll just link to the one that I offered, Broken, which is my personal favorite. But you can always check out any of my other poems in the sidebar. Whatever you like, it's up to you.

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WWJD?

What Would Jesus Do?
Nooooo...
Who Wants Jack Daniels?
I DO!!!
After the last few days that I just went through, I sure could use it.
Starter went on the car after Tuesday Night Family Service at church. Fortunately, I have AAA. Had it towed out to my brother-in-law's. Also fortunate that I bought Aliesha her car last weekend. So I had it to borrow for this week. And she'll be able to bring my car home when she comes down for the weekend.
My brother-in-law also discovered that I needed new brake pads. So I had him take care of that, too. Also fortunate that the rotors were unscathed. Which is unusual for me, but hey! I'll take the small miracle!
Then last night, Aliesha was out with my car and the transmission fluid line blew and all the tranny fluid poured out. The car then refused to move for her. And, once again, my brother-in-law came to the rescue. So the car is up and running again. But I'm still beginning to wonder if God isn't trying to tell me that it's time to get a new car.
OK... let me see if I can turn this post into a MasterCard commercial.

Starter for the Olds: $65

Brake pads without cutting the rotors: $30

Replacing tranny fluid line, etc...: $55

A bottle of Jack to wash it all down... Priceless!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to embrace sweet oblivion 'til tomorrow morning.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Damned rodent!

So... Punxytawny Phil saw his shadow today. Six more weeks of winter, huh? Don't we need to have a little winter before we can have six more weeks of it?
I don't know about the rest of yinz, but this winter hasn't been much to talk about. So I guess what that little rat was trying to tell us is that we're going to get all of the snow in March.
Now, I don't really place much confidence in the meteorologic prognostications of vermin (such as Phil), but I still have to wonder how that bugger manages to see his shadow before the sun even comes up. And don't give me that crap about all of the lights from the news crews, because this tradition goes back way before the invention of the electric light bulb.
I think it's a scam!
Just another reason for all of the college students to get drunk. As if they need another reason. Then again, if you're a college student and you live anywhere near Punxytawny, you probably do need another reason to get drunk.

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