Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reflections on Daniel with Z

Me: And the king said, throw the wicked advisors into the lion's den. And do you know what happened? The lions ripped them to pieces!

Z: And blood got all over everything!

Me: I guess.

Z: And then the lions licked up the blood, right?

Me: I suppose they probably did.

Z: And the lions were happy to finally get their lunch. Because the angel closed their mouths the day before and they missed dinner.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pet Steps


We saw "pet steps" at the store today. The tag line said, "No more straining" for your pets to get on the couch or bed. I thought that was funny. I thought of some other tag lines for it. K said I can't put them on my blog because they are condescending. But I am laughing right now as I am thinking about them. Hey... why don't you think of a slogan for "pet steps" and put it in the comment section?

My kids see their first movie

Mom and Dad took K, the girls and I to the movies today. It was the kids' first movie theatre movie. It was really funny to watch them laugh, hide behind the seats and literally jump to their feet as Curious George capered about on the silver screen. Having the big screen definitely makes a bigger emotional impact than television. And, of course, I am planning to take them to lots of movies in the future, so it was fun to go with them to their first cinematic experience. They loved it. We told them there might be another movie they could see this summer. So, do something right for once, Hollywood! Make another kids' movie I can take my kids to see!

A visit to the dentist


I have to get a splint. As you can see from the picture on the left, a splint goes into your mouth and then, well, I'm not sure but it appears that it sends "happy waves" to the brain. Hooray!

So the dentist was pointing out to me that my jaw clicks every time I open it.

Dentist: Have you ever noticed this?
Me: No.
Dentist: Does it hurt?
Me: No.
Dentist: Does it do this all the time?
Me: No.
Dentist: Is it sore?
Me: No.
Dentist: Do you get headaches?
Me: No.

But when I went home I thought about it and realized that I *do* get headaches (I typically ignore them). I also have this habit of massaging my jaws because the muscles there feel knotted. And I noticed that my jaw pops all the time. I just never paid any attention. I decided this is because I have a high pain tolerance. K says it's because I just don't pay attention to my body.

On another note, I would like someone to make a handbook that explains what the dentist and nurses are talking about to each other while they work on your teeth. Like this, "Number one is a 3-2-2." It makes me nervous. So much math. What if they are adding it up wrong?

P.S. I am apparently the last human being on earth to have wisdom teeth. The dentist and nurses all liked to look at them and then say, "Hey! You have wisdom teeth." I wanted to say, "Take a picture, it will last longer" but they had already done that.

Too tired to blog

You may have noticed that I have not been writing much lately. This is because I am so tired that my body is falling apart like a rag dog being torn to shreds by dogs. My left eye has a weird swelling thing under it. My myalgia is acting up (this is a disease generally reserved for middle-aged women, but I am not sexist). Oh yeah, and the dentist says I need "a splint." In fact, I think I'll write about my trip to the dentist, because that's the sort of quality writing that you all are coming to BHR to experience.

But I'm not complaining when I talk about all these health things... I'm just making excuses.

Curious George: The Movie

While watching "Curious George" I was mostly struck by the exact parallels between CG and "King Kong."

In both movies, a somewhat goofy dreamer heads off into the jungle, finds a monkey, brings it back to the Big City where the monkey creats havoc, a girl falls in love, and then the monkey is killed with airplanes. Identical!

The movie was pretty cute, fun for taking the kids to see. The colors in the animation were nice, pretty to look at, though the human beings did not move very convincingly. The soundtrack was mellow and soothing. There were no bad guys, no cursing, no anything but a relaxing, fun kid's movie. Okay, there's an idol. But it's purely presented as an archaeoligcal curiousity.

Overall, a really good time with the family. But then again, it was probably the company that made it good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grisham

I just finished reading The Broker by John Grisham. I keep thinking I don't like John Grisham. I don't like lawyer books. I don't usually care so much for plot-driven thrillers. But the reality is, he writes well and smoothly. I'm not distracted by his prose, which is more than I can say for most plot-driven thrillers. And, well, I guess I read all of his books eventually. It helps that they are strewn across every beach house and laundromat in America, because I can read them for free. Also, that Krista and her mom buy them.

I will say this, though. John Grisham clearly wrote this one just so he could have a tax-deductible vacation to Italy. His heart wasn't really in the book.

Best Grisham book (so far): A Painted House. No lawyers. Character driven. Still has smooth writing.

I also just finished another, better, greater book. I will fill you in on it sometime in the next couple of days.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

You need to spend some time on Dog Island

For a good time, go check out Dog Island. Be sure to read the FAQs! Or if you're one of those people who is going to keep your dog chained up forever, here is a product for you!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The first reader to get a Burning Hearts Tattoo

And this anonymous reader receives a complimentary copy of our home game!

And then there were no more Curious George stories

I was reading "Curious George and the Toy Store" to my kids tonight. In the end the toy store owner gives George a small "surprise," a little wrapped present that he doesn't open before the story ends.

Me: What do you think the surprise is in George's box?

Z: I think it's a ball.

Me: What do you think, A?

A: I think it's a TIGER!

Me: Yeah. I guess that *would* be a surprise for George.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why did the T-rex cross the road?


Here's a conversation with my daughter tonight.

Z: Dad, did you know that the animal that, um, the animal that lives closest to the... the closest animal living close to the T-rex is the chicken?

Me: You mean, the tyrannasaurus and the chicken are neighbors?

Z (shrugging): I guess.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Slave to Chocolate

Oh boy. This is picking up in the news, but has been an issue on the Ivory Coast for years (Cadbury chocolates stopped doing business in the Ivory Coast because of this about 50 years ago).

Here's a site that can give you an overview (warning: there are a few graphic images tucked away in places on the site). Also, just know going in that this guy is pretty angry and some of his comments are a little over the top. I will say, though, that this is not a political issue, as far as I'm concerned. It's a spiritual one. Perhaps the corporations involved are well-meaning but ignorant (I doubt it). I have no doubt, however, that the American chocolate-buying public has been unaware of it, and that together we can bring freedom to the slaves in this industry.

Here are some slavery-free chocolate companies.

For Pete Z

Pete Z asked me why I have not been blogging as much lately. Well, mostly because I have felt overly serious. Not that it can't make good blogging, but do you really want to come every day to find deep, weighty issues being expounded on? Well, do you?

Now. While I ponder whether you want to ponder my ponderances, you may think and reflect on the following quote from Mother Theresa:

"The world today is hungry not only for bread, but hungry for love, to be wanted, to be loved."

Pray for our Croatia team

Hey-- pray for our Croatia team. Why, you ask?

Well, off you go to some other blog to find out.

Another Very Nice Rejection

Hey friends-- I'm pleased to announce that I've received a second very nice rejection note (see below). It's not quite as nice as "rewrite it and send it back" but it is very close to that... "send us some more." I told my good friend the Omnivore that things have really started looking up since I started doing more than one draft of my work.

Hi Matt:

We kicked your fine article around the Editorial Board meeting a few times and -- reluctantly -- decided to pass. Not because of any lack of merit of the piece, but we've covered a lot of that ground in recent issues.The good news is that we all like the way you think/write and would welcome submissions of this caliber any time! Thanks again for thinking of us.

from the Senior Editor of the Wittenburg Door.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

HA HA HA HA!

My friend Andy's site had one of those quizzes. His was "find out what theologian you are." As it turns out I am JURGEN MOLTMAN! Yes, that's right! Now that's funny. It was a tie-breaker with him and Augustine.

You scored as Jurgen Moltmann. The problem of evil is central to your thought, and only a crucified God can show that God is not indifferent to human suffering. Christian discipleship means identifying with suffering but also anticipating the new creation of all things that God will bring about.

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

northwest women

I'm driving my daughter to school yesterday, and as we drive I am telling her a story. The story is about a lion, the king of the jungle, and how some antelope escape being eaten by telling him he's not really the king because he can't fly. The lion goes and steals some wings from an eagle, jumps off a cliff and is smashed to bits.

Then Z says, "It's a good thing that was a boy lion. Because if it was a girl lion, she would have been smarter than that."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday is Social Justice Day

I went to the grocery store early this morning. It's raisin bread day there, which means buy one loaf of raisin bread and you get a second one FREE.

Well, here at the Burning Hearts Revolution, Thursday is Social Justice Day, where the BHR tries to provide you with some outlets for your thirst for justice in this unjust world.

So, join the Revolution!

Write letters to free slaves. There are more slaves in the world today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Join the iAbolish FAN club and send some e-mails to world leaders. I did!

Pray for the elimination of porn shops in Portland. There are more "adult businesses" per capita in Portland, OR than anywhere else in the U.S.

Bust a meth lab.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

KING OF DRUNK MONKEY ISLAND!

Yes! At last I rule all! If you do a search for drunk monkey award on MSN, the Burning Hearts Revolution comes up first! Ahhhhh haha ahah ahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!

In other, sadder news, I no longer come up at all for "monkey he got drunk and sat on the elephant's trunk."

You cannot get the same quality results on google unless you put quotes around "drunk monkey award."

You may now refer to me as King of Drunk Monkey Island. If you want.

Luchadores!

If you like luchadores and/or Jack Black, or if you like silly comedy movies, it is going to be important that you watch this movie preview, so that you can lovingly anticipate what is yet to come.

Note to Krista: I think since you would not go to King Kong with me, this movie is in your near future. It is coming to a theatre near you on June 2nd. We should probably get our place in line this week!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sweaters

I was looking at this sweater that Krista and I got from lost and found about seven years ago. It's from Banana Republic. I used to go the lost and found for the high school youth group we worked with, then wear the clothes around until some kid said, "Hey, that's mine!"

So, I was looking at this sweater and thinking it hadn't really changed much other than the fact that it had faded and maybe shrunk a little. And I thought, well, that's not much improvement for seven years worth of ownership.

Then I started thinking about my kids. In about half the amount of time that I have had the sweater they have grown from the size of a few molecules to being large creatures. They have learned how to walk, talk, brush their own teeth, use the bathroom, help make mac and cheese, ride bikes. They're getting better all the time.

So. Sweaters are stupid. That's all I really wanted to say.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Evil in the Land

I'm reading Jeremiah. God keeps saying to take care of the aliens and not to abuse them. I started thinking about aliens and what exactly that meant. I figure the best parallel for me as an American would be "illegal immigrants."

Check this out.

The McFarm

Okay. My website is eating posts. It's eating my posts and your comments.

Which reminds me that when I was in Budapest I did get one meal at McDonald's. Since it was a foreign country, I decided that I would have to buy something unique to Hungary McDonald's... so I got "The McFarm" a specialty sandwich (as if the name didn't just scream "SPECIAL").

So, here's what you can expect if you get the McFarm: Two sausage patties on a hamburger bun with all the hamburger trimmings. Plus, dijon mustard. Lots and lots of dijon mustard dripping everywhere in a sickly yellow deluge. It was good!

Friday, February 03, 2006

"Does whatever a spider can"...changes clothes and everything


As many of you know (it's not a secret, okay?) I used to work at a comic book shop. For a long time. In fact, I would still be there if I hadn't been so keen to marry Krista.

Anyway, as if you care, I wanted you to know that Spider-Man is getting a new costume. Yeah, that's right. And if there's anything guaranteed to get everyone all worked up in the comic book fanboy world it's a new costume. There's just something about super-heroes actually changing their fashion sense that drives everyone crazy. So, anyway. Consider yourself a geek now that you read this whole post.

The drunk monkey award for excellence in blogging

If you go to this site, you will see that if you type in "monkey he got drunk and sat on the elephant's trunk" the Burning Hearts Revolution comes in as the fourth most relevant website. Unfortunately you cannot get the same quality results by typing in, say, "drunk monkey" or "elephant sneezed". No doubt this is because I just do not type "drunk monkey" quite often enough to bring the drunk monkey crowd into the site.

I will say, however, that one of our loyal readers has a wife who has possibly the best and funniest real-life monkey stories I have ever heard. (Hi, Joy!)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Three)

This episode is dedicated to the two businessmen at "Muchas Gracias" Mexican restaurant and to the lovely woman working the register, who clearly did not speak english. It is also dedicated to mariachi bands everywhere.

Businessman: Hey, what comes on those burritos?
Cashier: Ehhh, the cheeken y the salsa.
Businessman: Could I get sour cream, beans and guacamole added on to that burrito?
Cashier (after a long pause): Ehhh. Okay.
Businessman (sitting down with his co-worker): Why are they playing that Mexican music in here?

Meditation #2: The rival shore

Krista suggested I take a Day With The Lord today, and as she said it I realized it had been a while... ironic since I preach its goodness to my stinters, my staff, my everybody. So, deeply thankful that she had suggested it, I set off this morning to find God.

Toward the end of my time I was walking along the Washington side of the Columbia River, able to clearly see the far side, although it was a long way off. I suddenly realized that God was across the river, at the other side and that although I felt close to him, although I had good time in the word and praying I still felt a huge dividing chasm of water between us.

It started raining. Big, drenching raindrops, not our usual mist. I felt helpless, really, to be so far away from him, and pictured him reaching his enormous arms over the water and lifting me up and over and into him. Then I noticed some Canadian geese enjoying the river and the rain, and I thought how amazing that he made them to be like that, to scarcely notice the difference between raining and not raining.

Then one of them leapt into the sky and flew, just as a man on a kayak came around the corner. Then I noticed the bridge ahead of me. And I realized that I could get to the other side, that I could enter God's presence if I wanted to do so. There were many ways to get to him. I watched the goose fly and said to myself, "If it flies all the way across the river, then all of this must be true."

I realized that God might be on the other side of the river, but he made me with wings. And so what if I wasn't quite sure how to use them yet? There was always the kayak, always the bridge in the distance, always airplanes for that matter. I think the distance between us has too often been because I'm standing on the far shore, staring, instead of swimming, flying, kayaking, walking, praying.

The goose flew to the other side, now just a dot with two flapping lines for wings. He kept flying, up over the rival shore and into the rain-drenched mist. I stood and watched and let the rain rest on me. I felt good and clean and cold and revived and I didn't notice the rain anymore at all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Open Thread

Okay. Here's an experiment. I will say this is an "open thread." If you don't know, that means you can comment on anything you like. The weather, ancient Roman aqueducts, how to tell the future by looking at bird entrails, sports, how George Lucas is feeling since Star Wars only got nominated for a makeup Oscar, favorite movies from the 80's. Whatever.

You better write a comment or this is the last open thread, people. It will just be me talking and talking otherwise.

Advertisements on Christian radio

You can always tell who the expected demographic of a radio or television show is by the commercials. For instance, when Krista and I watch late night television, it is targeted at insomniacs, old people in so much pain they can't sleep, and people who like to play pool, talk on "date lines" and eat enough hot peppers to get on the "Wall of Fire" at the local bar (open all night).

So I've been listening to the ads on Christian radio. Weight loss centers, 1% mortgages, get rich quick schemes (but we're Christians, you can trust us!). Apparently they are targeting fat, gullible people with little or no cash who want to make a lot of money without spending any or doing any work. Whoa! Man. I can't believe they pegged me so easily.

Open theism

Krista and I have been talking a lot about open theism over the last few months, mostly because we are theological geniuses. We just sit around in our bathrobes in the morning (well, I actually wear a silk smoking jacket over my pajamas), drinking our mimosas and debating the latest theological fads. I smoke a pipe, and Krista has one of those long, girly cigarette holders. The children play in their nursery with the nanny to give us time to reflect on the weightier matters of the universe.

[A Note from our Lawyers: Matt does not have a pipe, nor Krista a long, girly cigarette holder. The children have neither nursery nor nanny. The Mikalatii do not sit around drinking mimosas. We suspect that Matt does not know what a mimosa is. He says, "Some sort of orange juice." They do not spend all morning in their bathrobes. Matt does not have a smoking jacket. He does not, in fact, have pajamas.]

So, open theism says that an infinite, omniscient God would know all future possibilities. I have no problem with this, because, you know, I read science fiction. I know all about traveling back in time to kill your own parents and time paradoxes and mulitverses and so on. Open theism goes on to say that God chooses not to be completely omniscient in the sense that he leaves us with free will, allowing us to make choices that will take us on different paths (although he would have foreseen all of them).

In some sense this boils down to God not knowing the future. And I've been prattling on in this post just so I could come to this point: I am reading Isaiah right now, and it is very clear that God knows the future. Not just his own actions that he has decided to take, but the whole shebang. He keeps saying things like, "I told you these things long ago, before they happened I announced them to you." And he mocks false gods and idols because they cannot tell the future. It seems that the ability to know the future is, according to God, a defining characteristic of deity. I don't think that eliminates free will. I just think he knows what we're going to choose.

So. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while.

Genre, immortals, human nature

I just finished reading Chasm City. I bought it for 50 cents at a library sale. Don't bother if you don't like sci-fi. If you do, well, it's decent. But Vernor Vinge is better, I think.

So, there are two things that interest me from this book. One is a discussion about genre, and the other is a discussion on human nature and our understandings and misunderstandings about it.

So, first we go to genre. Chasm City is science fiction. That much is obvious. But then we break into sub-genres. It's also space opera (Star Wars, by the way, is space opera, not science fiction). It's also a sort of noir. It's weird that we tell these stories often enough to have names for them. And sci-fi noir space opera is not uncommon. Go figure.

Okay, so a common meme in these sort of books is the "immortal" humans... people who have elongated their lifespans into the hundreds or thousands of years using robotics, genetics, wheat bran, whatever.

Here's the interesting thing. Every single book about the immortals deals with themes of BOREDOM. How boring it is to be immortal, century after century with nothing to do. Interesting, isn't it, that we immediately think of living forever as being immensely drab. Christians say this, too, with pictures of the saints having a thousand year harp concert in heaven. Yeeha! I think that boredom, though, is a sign of two things: immaturity and a life without purpose. When you're young, boredom just means "there's nothing I want to do." As you get older it's a sign of not knowing what you should be doing. I don't think, for instance, that Bono is going to get bored in the next hundred years or so... he's trying to eliminate AIDS and world poverty.

The next thing that happens to the poor, poor immortals is that they start dabbling in completely corrupt pasttimes to alleviate the boredom. Here's where I think the insights into human nature are right on. We default to evil. A bizarre sidenote to this... there just don't seem to be any ancient, wise humans. They might get smarter. They get more corrupt. But they don't get better. Aliens, on the other hand, can be these benevolent, wise, beautiful creatures if they have these long lifespans. I guess they don't have a sin nature. Like Yoda.

Lyrics by Z and A

My kids are clustered behind a rocking chair right now playing with empty rubber dresses from those little tiny dolls you can get nowadays. Yessiree, didn't have anything like them in my day.

Anyway, they are singing a lot of songs. Songs that they have made up (of course) like:

"Santa is going to jail next Christmas" (repeat phrase 20x)
and
"The goldfish is swimming away from us" (repeat phrase 20x)
and
"Holy night to you! Holy night to you!" (repeat)

These kids are geniuses I am telling you! I wish I had written songs like that when I was a little kid.

I asked the kids why Santa was going to jail, incidentally, and they just laughed at me. "It's just pretend!" they said. As if Santa would really be going to jail.... ha ha ha.

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