Saturday, March 29, 2008

Found Poetry: Dinosaur Gift Shop

Fossilized remains found
In a notorious terrorist group.

No other gift will help
express your love
better!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Free Gene Wolfe story


Gene Wolfe's novella, Memorare, is up for a Hugo award. So someone has kindly put it online.

This is a great story, and if you're unfamiliar with Wolfe's work, it's an excellent place to begin your aquaintance. It's about a series of asteroids where people have built memorial/tombs to lost loved ones. Most of the memorials are purposeful death traps, for a reason that becomes clear pretty quickly. The story is about a man, down on his luck, who decides to film a documentary about the memorials, which means he'll need to break into them. And he'll need to break into the most dangerous ones to get the best story.
As you read it, watch for the deft way that Wolfe takes what could have been a story of pure SF action and instead weaves it into a deep reflection on love, marriage, divorce, human relationships and how we remember the dead.
Here's the full list of Hugo nominees for this year, many of which are online.




Thursday, March 27, 2008

You're Invited


This coming weekend, I'm delivering the message at our church.

Here are directions to the church.

They often record the message, so I'll post a link if they do, for those of you who prefer "distance learning."

The Butterbean Stories (part 4-6) by A

Continued from Butterbean parts 1-3 by A. Feel free to leave comments, because A loves to get your feedback on her work.

Chapter 4

Butterbean is purple. Guess what? She got to keep the loopdeloop she used. Now you see that purple bean? It's going to be a game in Butterbean part 6. Butterbean got all the beans out in an earlier part. All Butterbean's friends think Butterbean has no story, but Butterbean really does. Do you know how Butterbean got everyone out? The crayon sucked the beans in ibe day while they were playing on the swing. Butterbean had made a promise that she wouldn't invite the crayon to the park. But instead the crayon sucked all the beans in! The crayon cut the trees down and colored them pink. But Butterbean tried to stop the crayon but she couldn't. That's the end of Part Four, but there will be a lot of other exciting adventures of Butterbean.

Butterbean Part 5

One day Butterbean made an awful mistake. The Queen Butterbean had said, "Butterbean, will you get me some butter?" Instead Butterbean got her some butterbeads. Butterbean had to go into the awful crayon again. The Queen had sent that crayon to suck up everybody. The clock the Queen had was not working, she wished she had not sent Butterbean into the crayon, because she was the only fixer in town. The Queen had not let Butterbean take the swirl she had gotten. The giant crayon did not like the taste of Butterbean, so he spit Butterbean out. Join in for the next Butterbean story in Butterbean Part Six.

Butterbean Part 6

Today we're talking about how Butterbean and his friends discover a new person. Do you know what all the butterbeans discover behind a world? A magnificent world of pegasuses flying in the air.

THE END



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Door

Coming soon from the Wittenburg Door... an interview with science fiction and fantasy author John C. Wright, a former atheist who converted to Christianity after a vision where Jesus and the Virgin Mary came to him and told him to stop being an atheist. No, really.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Creepy Easter Moments

I've never liked people dressed up in animal costumes. Watching a six-foot tall rabbit walk over the links to entice my children to go searching for its eggs just gave me the creeps.

And the children ran after him like jave fiends searching for a Starbucks fix.
Unfortunately, the Big Bunny let the 3-year-olds decimate the eggs before releasing the five to eight year olds, so there were enormous hordes of children racing across the golf course. My daughters would sprint up to me, breathless and shout, "HAVE YOU SEEN ANY EGGS?" Then another kid would say, "I see something sparkling under those trees!" Then they would speed en masse toward the sparkling things.
The rabbit felt so bad for not replenishing the egg supply that he stood in one place and pretended not to notice as the smaller children took candy from his basket.
Actually, we had a great time at the Giant Easter Party, and you can see more pictures (including the impressive face paintings) on Krista's blog.

Fresh Strawberry Milkshake Dress Rehearsal

I've been waiting for months for the return of Burgerville's seasonal fresh strawberry milkshake. Today marked its triumphant return!

So I went down and bought me one tonight. Perhaps there were fewer fresh strawberries than last season, or perhaps the earlier part of the season has lesser strawberries, but the shake's flavor was not strawberrrrryy enough.

I have decided to pretend that tonight was Burgerville's dress rehearsal. I will give them a week and then try again. Watch this space for an update. (Yes, that's the sort of quality post you have come to expect here at BHR.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mikalatos Foils The Drug Dealers

Today, I'm walking along behind this guy in the parking lot, maybe five steps behind him. He stops two cars away from mine, pulls out an enormous wad of cash and slaps it in the hand of a man standing by the car. The second man pulls out a plastic baggie and hands it to the first man.

At this point I swing into action, karate chopping the first guy in the back of the neck. The second guy reaches into his jacket (it was a red Cubs parka for some reason... go figure) for a gun or maybe just to grab his heart because he is so scared but before he reached his pistol (or his heart, whatever) I drove my fist into his nose and my knee into his chest. Three guys jump out of the car, but by then I find a loose bike chain on the ground. They try to run, but it is too late for them. I pile all their bodies up, stand on the top and let loose with a thundering war cry that brings the police skidding into the parking lot. They want to talk to me, but I disappear as mysteriously as I arrived.

Well. Okay, the first paragraph is true. The second one is slightly embellished. I actually walked nonchalantly past the car, quickly memorized the license plate and the model of the car and called 911. They said they would get right on it as soon as an officer was available. So I am sure that Justice has been served. TAKE THAT EVIL-DOERS! They should know better than to tempt me to action. Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh MATT MAN!

QUICK! LIGHT THE MATT SIGNAL! (The police commissioner here often says this.)

On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness



I recently read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson.


I have to admit that I picked up the book, instantly skeptical. The name threw me, I think. On the Edge of the Dark Sea. Of Darkness. I thought, "That's completely unecessary. Not like we're expecting the Dark Sea to be the Dark Sea of Light." The only thing that would have made me more skeptical would have been if there had been a quote on the back proclaiming "BETTER THAN TOLKIEN." But there wasn't one of those.

It didn't take me long to realize that my skepticism was unfounded. I found the sense of humor and fun in the first few pages lifted my expectations immediately, and I kept turning pages thinking, This might actually be good.


The Novel Whose Name Is Too Long For Me To Continue To Type Out (now referred to as OTEOTDSOD) is the story of the three Igiby children, who live with their mother and grandfather in a town oppressed by an occupying lizard-creature army. The nearby woods are full of dangerous creatures (though not too frightening for the kids... the "toothy cows" being an excellent example). Of course the children discover that all is not as it seems, and of course they are key players in the uprising against the forces of evil that have captured their town.

The thing I enjoyed most about this novel would definitely be the relaxed sense of humor. The land of Aerwiar, for instance, received its name because the first resident of the land looked around and said, "Well, here we are." The humor occasionally strayed toward the childish, but this is, after all, a young adult novel. Which means this is a strength, not a weakness.

The plot follows basic fantasy norms, so there aren't any real surprises in that sense. But the style is fun, and the content is appropriate and spiritually valuable without becoming preachy (or really overt at all). So you can feel confident that your kids could read it without worrying about what they'll come away with. In fact, I just put the book in my six-year-old daughter's hands and told her to have at it.

And OF COURSE since it's a fantasy novel it's not complete in and of itself. It's just part one of the story. FYI. So, really solid overall. I would gladly recommend it, especially to people looking for something to read to their kids.

Lots of people have reviewed the book today, and others will continue to do author interviews and so on. So if you want to know more, check out one of these links:

Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Green
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
Deena Peterson
Rachelle
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Make the World a Better Place by supporting the arts

If you're like me, you occasionally thought to yourself during World History class, "I wish I were a Medici." You know, that famous Italian family that sponsored famous artists like Michelangelo. Some of them also had cool names like "Lorenzo the Magnificent."

Now's your chance!

My best friend and occasional guest here at BHR (you would know him as "The Omnivore") has started an ingenious way for you to support artists using your internet presence. It's called Click Patron. Here's a simple explanation: You put a google search engine on your site. You get free art. Artists get free cash.

I've already put up the search box here at BHR.

Here's how you can become a patron:

1. Agree to use the Click Patron search link or box for a year.

2. Send an e-mail requesting the code for the search box to clickpatron@gmail.com All that you need to do is paste the code somewhere in your web presence, and agree to leave it there for a year. They can adjust the code to match your site's colors if requested. Also, if you don't know how to integrate it into your web presence, they should be able to offer some technical assistance.

3. E-mail clickpatron@gmail.com, telling them what work you'd like in return for your hospitality. If you can copy the link pointing to that specific piece and paste it into your e-mail, that would be ideal.

That's it!

And hey, if you're an artist, here are the instructions for becoming a benficiary of the Click Patron cash for artists program.

Signed,

Mikalatos the Magnificent

Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Evil Guest


I just noticed tonight that Gene Wolfe's next novel has been listed for pre-order on Amazon! Yeeeehaaaa! That means come September I will have a new Wolfe novel. This is good news.
It's described so far as "Blade Runner meets Lovecraft."
In other words, weird but GREAT!

New Links

Hello Darlings--

I just added a few links which I should have added before, but I am lazy. And I deleted a couple who hadn't updated in the last SIX MONTHS. I assume your blog is done at that point.

New blogs to enjoy: Pink Couch, with Carolyn Culbertson. Sit in on her pink couch and learn from the desert saints, the dessert saints, and receive deep insights. More fun than a barrel full of monks!

The Official Blog of Dann Stockton. Imagine that Animal from the Muppet Show had a blog, but that instead of saying "Drums" and "Wo-man" he could actually speak and share his thoughts about his time on tour with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Except that his name is Dann and he is on tour with The Autumn Film.

Rocking it Indy Style is the blog of the incomparable Aubrea. She also sends out notes from the Autumn Film's tour. Aubrea also has a secret blog which she has not invited me to join. No doubt it is full of hilarious stories from the road and her deepest thoughts and feelings. But I am not bitter.

Lastly, we have Juli, also of the Autumn Film, with the Rockstar's Life. Included is an excellent post about sharing the stage with 15-year-olds who also have rock bands. I have heard that Dann is re-writing the song "Daddy Sang Bass" with the new lyrics "Juli Plays Bass." Coming to a venue near you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Weird" is just another way to say "Smarter than everyone else"

Driving home before bedtime:

Z: Dad, what are the two stories we are in the middle of at bedtime?

A: Lord of the Beans?

Me: Lord of the Rings.

A: And what was the other one? Mac... Mac...

Me: Macbeth.

Z and A: MACBETH! Yay! We want Lord of the Rings and Macbeth!

Krista: You are turning our kids into weirdoes.

Me: I am not.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jesus and the Easter Bunny

I guess this is Dean's day at BHR. Dean is our worship pastor, and an instrumental part in the profound hour I spent with Christ yesterday. I went on his blog tonight and saw this video about Jesus spending time with the Easter Bunny and I thought, "I must steal this." Because the internet is all about stealing. So, a tip of the hat to Mr. Christensen.

Into The Labyrinth

Leading up to Easter our church does a worship labyrinth. I decided I would be a part of it this year. I've always wanted to do it, but never been able to before. Here's the description of it from the church:


Open your eyes, ears and hearts to an encounter with God. Experience the
Village Worship Labyrinth, an awesome devotional experience that
will help you draw closer to Him. The Worship Labyrinth is a
personal journey with eight stations where you can stop and spend
time with the Lord. This multi-sensory experience will give you time to let
go of the busyness, hurts and distractions that can spoil your relationship
with God.

I have to admit I was a little afraid. The last time I went into a labyrinth was in Oakhurst, California, and it was for a Halloween event. There were big walls built out of black garbage bags hanging on pvc pipe. I had made it most of the way through with minimal frights, but then this one vampire had a cape made out of black garbage bags. He was standing in a corner with his back to us, and when he turned around my stomach tried to crawl out my mouth. Luckily all the screaming got out first, so I had time to fix that.

The only other association I have with Labyrinth (until yesterday) was the strange Jim Henson movie from 1986. So I was a little concerned that I might run into something like this in the maze:














Anyway, those were the thoughts I had going in. Oh, also, when Yoda sends Luke Skywalker into that tree that is strong in the dark side of the Force and he tells him that he won't need his lightsaber. Then Darth Vader comes out of the shadows and attacks him. Creepy.

So, I got to Village for my scheduled appointment for the Labyrinth, and our worship pastor, Dean, was there giving people the talk to prepare them for their experience. He calmed my fears. Since I didn't have a lightsaber, I left my cell phone, wallet and house keys in the truck and my shoes outside the labyrinth.

The labyrinth was set up in the main sanctuary... Dean and his minions had removed all the pews and replaced it with the outline of a labyrinth, with eight different stops along the way.


The way in was all about preparing yourself to meet with and hear from God. I felt Christ beside me the whole way, inviting me to come to the center to meet with him. I put the hood of my sweatshirt up because I am too easily distracted, which made me feel a little bit like a monk.

At the center of the labyrinth stood a table with bread and juice for communion. I sat there and prayed for a long time, and I experienced his presence in a powerful way. I spoke clearly with him, and heard clear responses from him. He prayed a blessing over me. I didn't want to leave, but he told me that I couldn't just stay there in the center of the labyrinth, that the personal transformations we experience at his feet can and must cause transformation in the people and society around us. And the second half of the labyrinth helped drive those points home.

I wish I could write out the precise conversation I had with Christ in the labyrinth, and some of the details of that hour, but I'm not sure this blog is an appropriate place, where I can make it clearly understood without making it seem like some strange, outsized thing. I will settle for saying that this was certainly a moment in my, life where I experienced Christ's presence, one of those moments I could point to and say, "Of course Christ is real, of course he is an actual person."

Inevitably I am disappointed with the way this translates into words. This hour was a deeply profound one for me, and to try to explain it requires a courage I lack, I think. I will have to think more about it and see if I can find the right way to express it.

Anyway, a deep and profound thanks to the pastors, staff and volunteers at Village, who set aside the space and time to let me meet with Christ yesterday. Your spiritual leadership and service is much appreciated.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How I knew it was going to be a good day today

I woke this morning from a pleasant dream in which I could fly.

A simple sort of sweater vest/harness with small wings on it allowed me, with some minimal work, glide for impossibly long distances. I had to jump up and exercise a bit to get into the air initially, but pretty soon I was gently soaring over the bright ocean, and coming in close to shore and sitting for a while in the highest branches of the gnarled trees that grew partly on shore, partly in the waves. A small band of mice came and told me a story about the war they were fighting with some other tribe of mice, and I promised to help them when I had a chance.

Then I remembered that I was supposed to be substitute teaching for my friend, Brian, which could have been nightmarish, but the woman who came to remind me of my duties thought that discovering flight should be a perfectly delightful reason to forget I had promised to teach. Besides, another substitute had also forgotten. So we both rode in the woman's small car back to the school, where the children were delighted I was their substitute. So much so that I never even had a chance to tell them about my flight or the mice.

And I woke up relaxed and happy. And the children got ready easily for school, and my wife seemed especially lovely and loving. It was, all in all, an excellent way to start the day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Revolutionary Advice With Matt

Dear Matt,

My wife, Annie, says that our crystal stemware is full of lead and that we shouldn't drink out of it anymore. This is because lead is bad for you. But I say she is wrong. I need your advice.

Sincerely,

Jim Phule

Matt replies: Annie Phule knows that lead from your crystal stemware can leach into your beverage. In fact, like a good cup of tea, your drink will fill with more and more lead the longer you leave it to steep in the glass. So the secret is to imbibe your drink more rapidly. The faster you drink, the less lead you will take in. My suggestion would be to dump the drink into your stemware and immediately chug it. NOTE: Pregnant women and children should drink theirs even faster!

Perhaps a better question would be why you are using stemware at all. In our home we have a rule... "from the bottle, from the jug, from the pitcher we will chug." Individual glasses were invented in the Middle Ages because the backwards people at that time believed in tiny little men called "Germs." They thought these little men hated us (they were jealous of our size) as well as one another (so My Germs would attack and try to kill Your Germs). This was called Germ Warfare. So, if You and I both drank from the same cup, Your Germs might attack me when I went to take a drink, causing sickness or even death. This sort of silly superstition must be shunned, which is why I make certain my family all drink from the same jug of milk. You would be wise to do the same.

Sincerely,

Matt

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not to sound like a cranky old man

But is it really possible that our house consumes so much toilet paper?

Also, Krista and I played Twister with the kids tonight. Twister is not so easy as I remember.

Lastly--and I'm absolutely certain that none of you care--but there will be a new Ambush Bug miniseries this summer.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ruthless

I was in a meeting recently where we talked about the need to be "ruthless" in determing what would be allowed to be included in a specific event we were planning.

Someone asked, "What does 'ruthless' mean? If I were not ruthless, would I be 'full of ruth'?"

Her question got me to wondering. And here's the answer:

ruthless
c.1327, from reuthe "pity, compassion" (c.1175), formed from reuwen "to rue" (see rue (v.)) on the model of true/truth, etc. Ruthful (c.1225) has fallen from use since late 17c. except as a deliberate archaism.

So, there you have it. I trust you will be ruthful today when appropriate.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mormon Jesus and My Jesus

A slightly streamlined presentation of our discussion about Jesus:

Me: So what would be the main difference between what my church would say about Jesus and what the Mormons would say about Jesus?

Elder M: The only real difference would be that your church probably says that we don't worship Jesus. But we do.

Me: So you believe all the same things about Jesus as my church? The Nicean creed type of thing? Fully God, fully man, born by virgin birth, lived, died, rose again, rules at God's right hand sort of thing?

Elder M: The Nicean creed, now, that's different. That was just a bunch of people getting together and voting about what the Bible would say. And we believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost, but not that they are all one.

Me: So you don't believe in the trinity?

Elder J: We believe in the Godhead.

Me: Okay. Interesting. Wow. I have a lot of questions for you now. True or false: Jesus is God.

Elder M: True.

Me: True or false: there are three gods.

Elder M: True.

Me: Now that's pretty different. Did Jesus exist eternally, into the past as well as the future?

Elder M: We all existed eternally. Matter and energy can't be destroyed. We were all intelligences, and Heavenly Father rearranged things to create us. Jesus is the first being he created.

Me: Wait. God created Jesus?

Elder M: Yes.

Me: So the difference between the intelligence that became Jesus and the intelligence that became me is what exactly?

Elder M: He was chosen to die for us, and became part of the Godhead.

Me: So it was kind of like a promotion?

Elder M (laughing): I guess you could say that.

Me: That's pretty different from what I believe about Jesus.

Elder M: You know, as I think about it, I guess what we teach about Jesus is pretty different than what you believe.

Mormons and Coffee

I took my Mormon friends out to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant today.

Me: Sorry about inviting you to coffee yesterday. That was pretty funny.

Elder M: That was funny.

Me: I don't drink coffee, either. Are you allowed to drink decaf?

Elder M: No. It's not because of the caffeine, it's the tanic acid. Tea also has tanic acid.

Me: You can't drink tea, either?

Elder M: No.

Me: Can you drink soda?

Elder M: There's a story that someone went fishing with the prophet and asked him if he was allowed to drink a Pepsi and the prophet said, "You may drink it, but God prefers that you not."

Me: So it's on your own conscience?

Elder M: Right. But we know that there's something in soda that causes damage to your bones.

Me: So this is all a health thing?

Elder M: Yes. We are supposed to take care of our bodies and be as healthy as possible.

Me: Elder J, how's that chimichanga?

Elder J: It's good.

More Mormon Musings

I took my Elder Buddies out to lunch today, so we could talk some more about my questions from last time.

There is a great wealth of conversations to relate here. I felt sad for these guys, who are very sincere and yet seem unable to really engage with the questions I am asking them. No doubt because they are trying to convert me. Ahem.

Anyway, I had read a brief passage of the Book of Mormon at their urging. It's a part where Jesus reveals himself to the Lost Tribe of Israel and they are all Very Impressed and line up to put their hands in his side (which I thought was weird, but we didn't discuss that today).

Me: You know what really bothered me about this? You have all these Semitic people -- and what language was the Book of Mormon translated from?

Elder J: Hebrew and Egyptian.

Me: Right. So you have these Semitic people, and somehow Jesus introduces himself as Jesus Christ.

(Silence.)

Me: And Christ is a Greek word. We should expect that, at the least, it would say Messiah, and maybe it would be translated "annointed one." But for a Greek word to show up in the middle of a Hebrew text, that's just weird. And then it talks about "baptism" which is a Greek word, too. Both "baptism" and "Christ" are transliterated from Greek, not translated. So how do you explain that?

Elder J: That's a good question.

Elder M: I don't know the answer to that. But I know that God knows the answer.

Me: Okay.

Elder M: And if you pray and ask God to show you the truth of the Book of Mormon, I can guarantee he will do that.

My children comment on Macbeth

On the way to ice skating tonight I told the kids a Cliffs Notes version of Macbeth. Here's my favorite bit:

Me: --and then the three witches told Macbeth that he would be king one day.

Z: Oh no! Never listen to a witch!

A: They have an evil plan!

Z: Didn't Macbeth's dad ever tell him not to listen to a witch?

Me: Uh... I guess not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Faux pas

My mormon friends came by today to try to figure out a good time for us to get together again.

Me: Could you guys get together tomorrow at like 2 o'clock?

Elder: Yes, that would work.

Me: We could meet here and go grab coffee.

(Awkward silence.)

Me: Oh, yeah. You aren't allowed to drink coffee, are you?

Elder: No.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Frequent Flier Perks

I was flying "Ted" yesterday. One of the flight attendants told me that because I was a Premiere Executive I was allowed to call it a "Theodore" flight.

But I decided not to do that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

things I saw on my way to the terminal, and the conclusions I draw from them

Observed: A police vehicle in the center of highway 5 at four in the morning, lights blazing, and an officer standing beside a man with no vehicle.

Conclusion: Neither justice nor crime sleeps.

Observed: A large Latino family with many bags waiting in the "priority" line with all the white business men with their one tiny roller bag each. The family was immediately idenitifed as "economy" and moved to the longer line.

Conclusion: Those who need the least help are often given extra service.

Observed: The economy line moved significantly faster than the shorter and more prestigious priority line.

Conclusion: Sometimes the appearance of superiority or the perceived rights of one's station become more important than the actual service or the speed with which it is received.

Observed: A woman with red-rimmed eyes and a barely contained desire to sob, looking mournfully at the man who waited outside the security line, waving to her and eventually coming alongside the line to kiss her across the security tape, to grasp her hand for an instant before she entered the labyrinth.

Conclusion: Life is full of partings and sorrow.

Observed: A security guard who took his job seriously, and stopped to carefully read each boarding pass, to look into the eyes of even the co-workers he knew and to check it against their security badges, resulting in many grumbling travellers and a painfully slow progress toward the shoe-removing, metal-discarding ritual of the secuity checkpoint.

Conclusion: Those who work hardest to ensure our safety are least appreciated.

Observed: When I get up too early in the morning, I wake up either cranky or philosophical.

Conclusion: Today it's the latter.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

our new pet

There's this stray cat who has been hanging around our house the last couple of days. It's skin, bones and fur. Last night we came home to find it curled up on our front porch. This morning it stood mournfully at our back door.

Krista mentioned that maybe we should start to feed it, because it seems clear that it has been abandoned, and no one else is caring for it. So tonight I went out back and found it curled up next to our house. I gave it some chicken and a bowl of milk. It purred at me and then went back to its spot.

I told the kids tonight that the cat would be our cat now, but that it has to live outside. Tomorrow we'll try to get it a "cat house" or something, but that they would need to name the cat.

They came up with a name in about ten seconds: Lucy Amber Kristina Macy Mikalatos. We'll call her "Lucy Amber" for short.

Favorite Moments with My Mormon Friends, Part One

Elder M: Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?

Me: Parts of it. A long time ago.

Elder M: How did you feel as you read it?

Me: I'm going to be honest, but I don't want to offend you. Is that okay?

Elder M: Yes.

Me: Well, I'm a writer. And I have to say that most of the time I was reading the Book of Mormon I was distracted by the way that it appeared that someone was trying to copy the style of the King James Bible--

D (the woman who hosts the elders in our neighborhood): We read from the King James Bible, you know.

Me: I know. What I'm saying is that I was distracted by the fact that it seemed that the style of the Book of Mormon was like someone trying to copy King James English, but not doing a great job of it.

Elder M: You're getting at how there are errors in grammar, things like that. You know, Joseph Smith only had an eighth grade education at the time he translated the Book of Mormon.

Me: How did he translate it exactly?

Elder M: He had two artifacts --

Me: The urim and thummim or something, right?

Elder M: Right. Then God supernaturally translated it, and Joseph Smith told people what to write down.

Me: So you're saying that God basically dictated the translation to Joseph Smith.

Elder M: That's right.

Me: So all the grammar mistakes, those would be God's grammar mistakes?

(A long silence.)

Elder M: That's right.

(I look to Elder J for help. He looks skeptical that the grammar mistakes could be God's grammar mistakes.)

Elder J: That's a good question.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Holy Spirit, get ready... FIGHT!

I had a great conversation with the neighborhood missionaries for the Latter Day Saints today. Man, I had a good time.

My favorite moment is when one of the poor young elders told me that the reason that the Book of Mormon reads like second-rate King James is that God supernaturally translated it and he just wanted all the bad grammar and poor style included. Ha ha ha. Good one!

More to come later....

p.s. there wasn't really any fighting. Mostly asking questions. I did take a brief moment to explain to them why Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration and then asked why, of all people, Peter, James and John came to bestow the priesthood on Joseph Smith.

delayed reaction

Me: I think I'm sick.

A: Maybe it's because you ate some eggs.

Me: I didn't eat any eggs.

A: Didn't your food on the plane touch some eggs?

Me: That was ten days ago.

A: Aren't you allerigic to eggs?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Questions about ice skating

I took Z to her ice skating lessons tonight, and it left me with many questions.

What is going on with those kids who pull on some sort of nylons over their skates? What is the benefit in that? Or is it just a style thing?

How does a zamboni work exactly? Does it really have to be that big? Who came up with that name and what does it mean? Is that Italian or what?

Is my child destined for greatness? Is it normal that she should fall down so rarely? Should I have enrolled her in ice skating lessons at age 18 months to guarantee her spot in the olympics?

Whose idea was it to have metal bleachers in an ice skating rink? Do they want the parents to freeze their patookies? Is this a scam to sell some sort of seat warmers?

The Butterbean Story (parts 1-3) by A

Once upon a time there was once a little butter bean. It made its way to Lookout Bridge. And there's a huge sunshine beam. Look out for more butter bean in Butter Bean 2.

Butterbean Part Two. Once there was a little brean. And it made lots of trouble. Today we're telling about how all the butterbeans get stuck in a crayon. It was a giant one all of them were in. The queen said, "Butterbean, if you can get us out we can go back to our own world." Look out for more butterbean in Butterbean Part Three.

Butterbean Part Three. Today we're talking about how Butterbean saved all the butterbeans. "Butterbean, use the loopdiloop to get us all out of here," said the queen. Butterbean world is in this big house that all the butterbeans live in. Let me tell you how big the house is. It's 25 butterbeans long and there's 25 butterbeans. Look out for more butterbean in Butterbean Part Four.

To be continued....

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Calvinball (Part Two)

Today we returned to the grade school for a kickball rematch. This time the teams started out as me and the kids versus Krista and Shasta. All was going well at first. I kicked one waaaaay out into the outfield and we scored three runs. But then the outs started piling up. And then it was Krista and Shasta's turn to kick. Krista said, "Let's make Matt run!" and they started kicking the ball ridiculously far. Z soldiered on, but A defected to the Ladies Team.

Fortunately for me, the Ladies Team decided to head home early to make dinner for us (barbecued salmon and mashed potatoes and I'm not sure what other tasty surprises they may be serving up for us).

On the way home we saw our neighbors who had been in the street altercation in September, which had ended with me on the sidewalk while a police officer held an assault rifle pointed in my direction. As we stood there, the neighbors they had been fighting with drove by and she waved to them. I asked if they had become friends and she said, "This is the first time I've seen them since the fight. I'm hoping if I act nice there won't be trouble." I shrugged. "Also, they were so drunk I'm not sure they remember what happened."

Garfield Minus Garfield

A friend sent me this link for "Garfield Minus Garfield"... a website where someone takes the daily Garfield strip and removes the fat cat. Turns out it's funnier that way.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Calvinball



I came home from South Carolina today, and it's great to be back with my family. The kids wanted to ride their bikes to the grade school, so off we went. Z started talking about how much she loves P.E. at school, so Krista started telling A all about kickball. So we decided to give it a try.


Although I gave a valiant effort at teaching the children kickball, all I really taught them was a mild version of Calvinball.


Some of today's rules included: Daddy has to walk when he kicks the ball. If one of the kids can't find the base (we were using bits of trash we found in the field), then I couldn't tag them until they found it, it took one "out" for me to stop kicking, but they got four outs.
P.S. Krista was worried when I saw this post that I was going to be talking about Calvinism. Calvinism Ball, in my opinion, is much less fun. It has many of the same rules as kickball, but everyone gets together and decides the outcome before they play.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bloggerific

The wonderful thing about bloggers
is bloggers are wonderful things
they drink their coffee from mug-gers
they like to lay on bed springs.

Bloggers are cuddly fellas
bloggers are awfully sweet
everyone else is jealous
they never stand up on their feet!

they're moggy, loggy, doggy, bloggy
fun fun fun fun
but the most wonderful thing about bloggers
is I'm the only one!

Ooooooooh Iiiiiiiiiiiii'm the only one!

Sharing is nice

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