running mate

Bloged in random by rod Thursday August 31, 2006

Though I am seriously tempted by Suri Cruise, if he were to withdraw his candidacy, running mate of choice would be Walken. In a heart beat.
And my number 1 campaign promise will be…
More Cowbell. I promise.

uncle zod for president

Bloged in worship by rod Wednesday August 30, 2006

I’ve decided a sure fire way to rise above my slump. I’m going to run for President in 2008. Of the United States. My Mom ran for town council and won. The only way I can think of to go further in the next generation is to take one step higher on the political ladder and run for President.
This morning I heard a lot of support for General Zod. Because some of my family members have called me Uncle Zod for many years, I think I could use that as my campaign moniker and cast confusion enough to get elected.
Even if I speak for myself, I think I look a bit more kindly, smile more naturally, and would have a greater appeal with the soccer moms who drive their mini vans into curbs when I pass on my motorcycle.
I really think this is something I could pull off. I’m trying to decide on a running mate. So far, I’m weighing the pros and cons of Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Alice Cooper, and Pat Robertson.
Cast your votes.

a few paragraphs containing today’s thoughts

Bloged in random by rod Tuesday August 29, 2006

When I first started blogging, my purpose was just to toss out a paragraph of whatever random thoughts I might be thinking on any given day. It was very simple and for a couple years, I rarely missed a day of boring my reader with my random thoughts. I just jotted down whatever snipit was on my mind. That was three years ago. Yeah, I know, many of you weren’t even born yet. How quickly time passes.
After a couple years, though, it began to seem as if I wasn’t as random a thinker as I had previously thought. Or at least, my brain began to distill all the random thoughts into a few themes that required much more than a paragraph or two in a blog post.
This is a very frustrating dilemma; it is quite satisfying to empty your brain in a couple paragraphs. It is exasperating to fill a couple paragraphs and realize that you’ve not even begun to explain what you set out to talk about, and that, in fact, you don’t even know how to explain what you set out to talk about. So the couple of completed, incoherent, malformed paragraphs get relegated to the “blogs in process” folder and hang around in your brain, cluttering up any new thoughts you might have and keeping you from concentrating on anything long enough to clarify, explain, and turn any thought into a cohesive understandable idea.
I’ve probably written more this summer than I normally do when I update every day, but nothing is complete, or it is too long before it is finished, or it is too personal, picky, or opinionated to publish. So I’ve got a folder full of half written, brilliant missives, destined to change the world, while my blog, like the world, stands static for weeks.
Nevertheless, some of you continued to stop by even though your aggregators indicated that nothing new had appeared on my blog. Perhaps you stopped in to look at some old thought or a photograph that had been collecting dust. Whatever the case, those faithful few of you who have visited despite my unfaithful blogging as of late, have tipped my visit counter of 40,000, representing 82,135 pages viewed. Not that I’m concerned with numbers – but numbers represent people and I am concerned about people.
It happened at 5:36 this evening while I was teaching. The lucky 40,000th visitor was the inkslinger from Austin, who also sent me an incredibly encouraging email this evening that had nothing to do with my blog or his being the lucky 40,000th visitor. Such humility.
All this is to say, that I am challenging my self to quick thinking new thoughts – they just make me suspect anyway – and to devote a few minutes per day, dusting off the half-baked thoughts and incoherent paragraphs I’ve written over the past few months and try to find something that won’t put readers to sleep, hurt their feelings, and/or get me in trouble.
So… warning: look for actual words to appear on this blog in the near future.

a magyar parable

Bloged in worship by rod Friday August 18, 2006

Ten years ago, I spent a couple days in Budapest on my way back from a mission trip to Chisinau. One afternoon, after we’d spent all morning on a bus tour of the city, my friend and I were browsing around a sort of arts and crafts mall, or gargantuan flea market that was a renovated train station. I spent all the Hungarian money I had with me, which wasn’t much, and we left the market as they were closing at 4:00pm.
As it turns out, most everyplace closed at 4:00pm – most importantly the banks and currency exchanges. So my friend and I found ourselves across the Danube and 10 miles from our hotel in a foreign city without even the 35 cents required to ride the train, and the only Hungarian word we knew was, “dahling”.
So we walked toward the river, crossed and headed in the general direction we believed would lead us to our hotel. We meandered, backtracked, circled, climbed, and eventually found ourselves at our hotel, exhausted, hungry and thankful fairly late at night. We found the concierge, changed dollars to forints and headed back out on foot to find a pizza. When we crashed late that night, we had become fairly familiar with both Buda and Pest and could probably have been dropped off blind folded anywhere in the city and found our way back.

Several years later, I found myself back in Budapest again, for the third time, fairly familiar with the locations of the popular buildings and attractions. This time, we landed late, found the hotel and went back out for a bite and a stroll. The restaurant where we were to eat was quite a distance from the hotel, so we descended a couple levels below the streets a caught a train. After we ate we walked around looking at the beautiful sites and sights and the Danube. I, having spent so much time strolling around a few years before, recognized everything and had a strong sense of direction and location. Soon I began to become confused because it felt that everything I was seeing, I remembered as being on the other side of the river. I commented several times that I couldn’t figure out why I remembered everything backward. The feeling was so strong that it stole some of the enjoyment of the evening.
It wasn’t until we headed back to our hotel and had to cross the river that I realized that we’d gone under the river on the train to get to the restaurant. When we’d surfaced from the subway, I had no idea when crossed to the other side. All those buildings were in fact, on the right side of the river, it was I who was on the opposite side from where I thought I was.
Ok, it’s a boring story, but I know a whole lot of people who don’t realize they’ve crossed the river, but are accusing the buildings of having moved.

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the 14th night of the purple moon

Bloged in love and marriage, poems by rod Tuesday August 8, 2006


Purplemoon

On this night in July, the 14th night of the moon,
the island glowed like the river bottom last September
when the misty air tinted blue, and she
illuminated many dark years.

A sharper light, this –no shadows cast
luminescent objects shone themselves.
“Remember me”, they seemed to say
and glowed themselves onto our hearts.

From within, you outshone the lesser light.
She reflected you on the water.
Salty air, warm sand, cool surf, soft skin
Time stopped as the waves washed our spirits.

Walking back up the bluff in the purple moonlight
your white skirt flowed like a sail in the trade winds,
drawing us on toward the dawn-
fingers and hearts intertwined.

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HVAC

Bloged in life, metaphor, seasons, time by rod Thursday August 3, 2006

No, I’m still here. No chainsaw mishaps. It has been a crazy week though. As I predicted, the saw got its workout and I certainly had my work cut out for me. It has gotten hotter as the week wore on. Temps topped out in the low 100s the past three days. The work has been harder due to mourning for the tree. My favorite room in our house is the back deck, and of course the ceiling is painted a shade of blue that changes drastically with the time of day or night you are looking at it. Sometimes there are splashes of white and others there are sparkly rhinestones that seem to move across the ceiling if you stare long enough. The walls are 3D, textured shades of green and brown. It is the most spectacularly designed and decorated room ever. Even Molly, looking up at where the walls meet the ceiling said, “I wonder how God knew that green and blue would look so good together?” The birds, squirrels, cats, raccoons and opossums come and go as they please and seem just as pleased as I am with this sacred space.
For me, the trees are just as much a part of the house as the kitchen is. Several people, having heard about my tree this week, have mentioned that they have a couple trees in their yards that they want to cut because they’re afraid they’ll fall on the house. I can certainly understand this fear, but to me, it would be like cutting off the living room because it threatens the rest of the house.
So it’s been a sort of funeral or wake, cutting and cleaning up that tree. Spending all that time out here with it, remembering having spent so many hours under its shade and breathing its exhalations in the late night hours. It occurs to me that after keeping me cool all summer long, it will now provide warmth for me as I sit here on the deck late in the evenings through the long winter grading papers, recording my thoughts, planning worship services, visiting with friends and spooning with Allison.
I’m sorry big strong hickory tree. You got sucker punched. Thanks for the cool summer shade and the venue for the tree frog serenades. Thank you in advance for the late evening warmth under the crystal clear, brisk, winter skies.

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