Saturday, December 26, 2009

Homer

Somehow during our rambling discussions after story time on Christmas night, the girls and I got on the topic of births.  I started telling them how some of our friends have chosen to have their babies at home using a midwife.  My six-year-old (she turns seven tomorrow!) said, "Oh, one of my friends' moms did that.  She had a homer."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Baby Jesus Emergency


Tonight the kids got out the Christmas Little People.  They don't really play with Little People anymore except on rare, special occasions.  But that is why tonight I could hear them playing increasingly raucous games which eventually led 6-year-old A to burst into the kitchen and shout, "Z KIDNAPPED THE BABY JESUS!"

What followed was a chaos of sudden kidnappings of beloved Christmas characters.  It started with the baby Jesus, but it wasn't long until Magi, elves and jolly St. Nick found themselves incarcerated in a plot more diabolical than anything the Grinch ever came up with.  Daring rescues were staged (with the most dramatic and successful one freeing two wise men) until I finally stepped in an put an end to it all, finding that my holiday cheer was being sapped out like Jack Bauer on Christmas Eve discovering that he has 24 hours to stop a plot involving a fat man with nuclear waste that he intends to drop down chimneys.  But in the end, I thought it was the price you pay when you buy your children toys of Bible characters.  You have to expect that the story will be tampered with at some point (Z, for instance, when A pointed out that kidnapping the baby Jesus was Pure Wrong Badness said, "That's not the baby Jesus, that's baby Jessica!").  But that's how the end of the game came to be, and now all the children are in bed and we are enjoying the Christmas tree and feeling guilty about the Christmas cards sitting on our coffee table, unsent. 

And, in a last, unrelated note, you'll see that the Fisher Price baby Jesus has blond hair.  Who knew? 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mr. President, this one is for you

Z: I wish school started at 11 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m.

Me: You would have to go to school really long every day, or not have summer break.

Z: Maybe the next president of the United States will take care of that.

Note to those with political aspirations: Z will vote for you for President if you can get her an extra two and a half hours of no-school.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Traditional Airport Post: PARROTS CAN FLY!

Wake up service.  I had a 6:30 am flight yesterday, so I was planning to leave the house around 5 and had set my alarm accordingly, never suspecting that I had set the alarm to go off in the p.m.  Fortunately, my dad was giving me a ride and he called the house when he arrived and saw that there were no lights on.  Close one!

Parrots can fly.  The woman ahead of me at the airport had an animal carrier that kept making jungle calls of alarm, which turned out to be a great big parrot who was concerned that he was being transported in a cage.  Security gathered to stare into the cage and decided that the bird needed to come out of the carrier so they could scan it.  Unfortunately, being a bird, the parrot was able to fly, which meant taking the bird to a private screening room.  The lady taking him on the plane said that he liked to fly in style and was upset to be in the carrier.  This makes perfect sense to me, as I also would dislike being in a cage while flying.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

CONTROVERSY! And Educational Folly...

My kids wanted to talk all about why Pluto is no longer a planet tonight.  I am not sure why this came up, though there was some vague indication that perhaps this was addressed in this morning's Saturday morning cartoons.  Or the new and improved Electric Company.  Z tells me that the name of the show was Zula Patrol.  "It talks about science."

As we talked about this for a while (seriously, it must have been ten minutes) I suddenly realized that the only reason I knew the order of the planets was because of a mnemonic device from my childhood in which a phrase had words the first letter of which corresponded in order to the first letters of the planets: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza Pies.

Several strange things:

1) By the time you memorize that saying, you might as well just memorize the order of the planets.  It's ridiculously long and saying "Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto" is pretty much the same length. 

2) Since the phrase was taught to us by way of a song on a video, it would have been fiendishly simple to take the same catchy tune and simply sing the names of the planets.

3) It bothered me, even as a child, that the outermost planets change order sometimes and yet we are taught this very specific order without so much as a throwaway "Sometimes Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune."  I mean we say that the letter Y is sometimes a vowel, why not admit that sometimes our very educated mother just served us pie nicely?

4) It's weird that the mnemonic device I was taught has two "P" words on the end.  Why not just nine pizzas?  Why nine pizza pies?  And who even said "pizza pie" in California in the eighties?  No one.  It's just strange.  Is there a tenth planet named Parnassus? 

5) Why not order the planets some other way?  Why not by size or density?  Why is proximity to the sun the most important thing?  If we did it by density we could have other cool sayings, like, "Every Man's Velvet Moth Privately Needs Juniper Umbrellas, Sadly."


6) I know that Pluto got demoted because someone found Eris, which is bigger than Pluto and the "tenth planet" and that scientists were concerned that if children had to add Eris, Ceres, Haumea and Makemake to the list of planets they had to memorize that their tiny little brains would probably explode.  But I think, man, just make the song a little longer.  "My very educated Mother just served us nine pizza eyes, cyclops has'm MMMMMM!"  Of course that might be the wrong order but we simply didn't have so many trans-Neptunian objects when I was a child.

7) Did you know that there are entire documents laying out the proper naming procedures for planets?  It's true!  Not just planets, but pretty much any astronomical object.  People get paid to make rules for how we name these things.  And that's why you can find awesome paragraphs like these on the IAU website:

The Jovian satellites have previously been named for Zeus/Jupiter's lovers and favorites but now Zeus' descendants are also included as an allowable source of names.  The satellites of Saturn have so far been named for the Greco-Roman Titans, descendants of the Titans, Giants and the Roman god of the beginning.  In order to internationalize the names, we now also allow names of giants and monsters in other mythologies (so far Gallic, Inuit and Norse).
Depending on the type of rock you discover in space there might be a lot of rules for you to follow.   You might have to choose from heroes of the Trojan war, or the most popular names for centaurs.  You might be forced to use Roman numerals.  You might have to choose a character name from Stephen King's "The Stand."

8) My kids think it is really wonderful that adults can't figure out whether Pluto should be a planet or not.  They were really giddy at the thought that so much time and effort has been put into the definition of planets.  This is because it is their first glimpse into the fact that adults are weak, and that perhaps their generation has a chance to overpower and devour our own.  My next post should be about how the names for generations of people are chosen.  As a member of Generation X (or is it Y?), I find the practice of being named by a previous generation unsettling to say the least.  And so I am planning to rename my generation... GENERATION AWESOME!

And that is all for tonight.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Smart as a Whip

I told my almost-seven-year old that she is "smart as a whip."

She said: "Whips aren't very smart, Dad.  Are you trying to say that I am not very smart?"

I assured her that was not the case.  She then told me that I could have at least said that she was "smart as a dolphin" which, although not as smart as human beings, are at least well known for their intelligence (unlike whips). 

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I Ski, You Ski, We All Ski for Ice Ski

The day after Thanksgiving was officially pronounced to be family ski day.

So I went through the ritual.

I got up early in the morning.  I checked the ski conditions.  I loaded up our car with too much winter gear.  We went up to the mountain.  I bought us lift tickets and rented skis.  I told them that I thought the skis that they had given me did not match my black winter parka with the bright white skull pattern, nor the helmet and boots with the silver and gold flames.  I showed them my gloves which look like bones.  They gave me better skis.  I zipped out to the lift for the bunny slope.  I took the lift to the top.  I dismounted the lift chair and fell.  I could not get up.  I managed to move out of the way of the many novice skiers coming off the lift.  I tried to get up.  But I couldn't.  I used my poles.  I moved around.  I put my skis perpendicular to the hill.  I shouted, "I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP!"  I clapped my hands and wished for fairies to come help me get up.  I waved off the rescue crew.  I let the St. Bernard give me some whiskey from the little barrel around his neck.  I took off my skis.  I stood up and put the skis back on.  I listened to my children tell me all day how they are better skiers than me.

And a good time was had by all.

THE END

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Imaginary Jesus and the ARC


As you can see by the picture on the left, I just received a generous heap of Imaginary Jesus ARCs. Okay, I guess you can't see the heap but you can see a representative sample.

In "the Biz" we try to use jargon and slang to confuse you and make sure you know we are experts.  But I'll let you in on the secret.  An ARC is an Advanced Reading Copy, and it's generally used to send out to reviewers a few months before the book comes out.  A lot of magazines, for instance, have a lead time of several months, and if you want a review of the book to come out sometime near the time of your book, people need to see it ahead of time.  NOTE: No one calls the publishing business "the Biz" except for newby authors trying to impress people on their blogs. 

Anyway, this is a really fun day because for the first time I can hold something that looks suspiciously like a book in my hand and say, "Oh.  That's my book.  My name is on the spine.  My book has a spine!"  Up until this time my book had been completely spineless.  It's true!

This isn't the final product.  The design will be a little different when it comes out in April, the cover copy on the back will change a bit (right now it has my publicist's contact information on the back... I don't think she'll allow that to go on the actual cover).  We've made some changes internally as well, but overall this is pretty close to what the "real" book will look like!  Neat!

As always, you can buy your own copy, and one day it will arrive in YOUR mailbox.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Everything We Ever Needed

Our family spent Thanksgiving together out in Sunriver, Oregon.  We rented a house and everyone packed in, and a great time was had by all.  At one point, Z and I were playing SUPER SMASH BROTHERS! in one of the rooms, and it was starting to get dark.  My mom came in and said, "Do you guys need a light on?"  Without missing a beat, Z said, "No, the light coming from the television is enough."  Ah, television!  It even gives us light!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

You are what you eat

I like to use this "leftover" picture from time to time.  You can't see my feet in this picture, but it is likely that they are made out of white chocolate chip cookies.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

News From My Neighborhood: Weekend Edition

Yard Work in the Northwest.  I hear ridiculous things sometimes, about how people in the Northwest don't use umbrellas, that instead they just stay inside.  Which -- although it makes for excellent travelogue talk for Marco Polo when he returns from the far reaches of the northwest -- is ignorant foolishness.  NWers rarely use umbrellas because the precipitation is comparatively mild and a hood on a sweatshirt or jacket is typically sufficient to keep one warm and dry. And more than once I've caught myself standing in the middle of the rain talking to a friend, neither of us wearing a hood until the rain eventually fogs up his glasses and douses our hair.  For those of us with sufficient hair, anyway.  All that to say, when I set out to do yardwork yesterday I wore a baseball cap and a hooded sweatshirt so I could keep working through the rain.  Because we do go out in the rain. Otherwise we would need to build an impressive city of hamster tunnels.

A Traveling Meat Market. Yesterday, what appeared to be an ice cream truck came by, but instead of ice cream they were selling frozen steaks.  The driver slowed down as he passed me and shouted, "Hey! You look like a man who appreciates a good steak, right?"  I'm not sure what such a man looks like, but I guess like me.  I told him that I like steak fine, but we had plenty.  I'm not sure how much steak we have, but enough that I don't need to buy any from traveling meat salesmen.  He told me that they have "stupid prices" because of something or other.  I assured him that I still did not want a meatsicle. 


Man vs Nature or, the Tarps of Clark County. The big task of yesterday's yardwork had to do with winter-proofing our yard... so things like draining out the sprinkler system,  moving the glass birdbath into the garage so it won't freeze while full of water, and covering up the summer furniture with a tarp.  I spent a long time on the tarps, eventually getting everything all battened down and held in place with bricks.  Only to discover that during last night's wind storm my tarps were blown all over creation.  So, Mother Nature wants to fight me?  Fine.  Get ready, Mother Nature! It's go time.



Squirrel!  We had a squirrel in our backyard yesterday!  Which is the first time since they built our house!  Our trees are finally getting big enough to interest the little clowns.  Pretty exciting.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free (Good) Christmas Music

I don't know about your family, but in my family Christmas music is allowed to be played starting on Thanksgiving day and going through all the way until about December 31st.  Which means now is the time to start gearing up for Thanksgiving.

Friends of the Revolution, Page CXVI sent out a note a bit ago that there is a free download of a Christmas EP from Oh, Starling... I just downloaded it and I like it a lot.  Take a listen and then buy it, start a fire, put up your Christmas tree and bring me some figgy pudding.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: The Weezer Snuggie

A couple of months ago I learned just how much Montel Williams loves blankets with sleeves.  Today for Wonderful Wednesday we ratchet up the rad by showing you that even Weezer loves them some blankets with sleeves.  It is hip.  It is new.  It is hilarious.

And now, here is a commercial:

Monday, November 16, 2009

The I Love Bunnies Club

My six-year-old came downstairs tonight while I was doing the dishes and asked if I wanted to join the "I Love Bunnies" club.  I told her yes, so she brought me a contract that she had written up.  Here's the text of the document I had to sign:

I Love Bunnies Club

I ________ will be a very loyal person to the I Love Bunnies Club.  To be a member do this... follow the rules.

RULES

You don't have to love bunnies.

Follow the directions.

Have fun.


I _____________ will follow the rules.

My daughter says that I have a very nice signature.  And now I am one of the founding members of the I Love Bunnies Club.  She also gave me a little assignment, but I can't tell you about that because that's only for members of the I Love Bunnies Club.

MUST NOT USE IT!


 Having lived in Asia for several years, I became pretty used to seeing hysterically funny signs in English.

But it's not often you see one in the United States with equally impenetrable English.  Note the sign to the left, which was at the hotel that Krista and I stayed in this weekend.

"GUEST UNDER PREGNANCY MUST NOT USE SAUNA"!  I'm not sure what that means, but my best guess is that when Krista is pregnant and tired and wants to rest her baby belly on me, that at this time I MUST NOT use the sauna because I am "under pregnancy."  But that's just a guess.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Teaching my children vulgarities while watching the Princess Bride


Yesterday morning, since the kids had the day off school, I told them that they could pick a movie to watch.  They chose the Princess Bride (which, to my way of thinking, was the correct choice.  And if you think I chose wrong, that's what so funny... while you weren't looking I switched the glasses!).

Anyway, (spoiler alert if you haven't seen this movie or read the book and let me add that you are causing me great sadness please go see this movie) as our master swordsman friend finally encounters Count Rogan in the bowels of the castle and confronts him at last, after all these years, you may recall that he eventually badgers the six-fingered man into promising him anything he wants and more and then he kills the Bad Man while also saying something unkind to him.  Take that!

Krista immediately gave me that look that said, "Your children have just heard some unsavory language and I better not find them upstairs pretending to stab each other with swords and slinging vulgarities at each other." 

So I said: Hey kids, that one word is a bad word.  You shouldn't use it.

A's little eyes lit up.  A: Which word?

Me: So you know when he said, "I want my father back you son-of-a....".  The word after that is a word you don't need to use.

A: Birch?

Me (laughing): Close.

A: Beach?

Me: Never mind.

Poor kid is probably lying in bed wondering, "What is so bad about calling someone a son-of-a-birch?  Do they hate trees or something?"

And that is all I have for you today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Slovenian Acapella Jazz Choir singing Toto's "Africa"

If the title of this post alone isn't enough to tell you why this video falls into the category of Wonderful Wednesday, then I pity you. I truly do.



I remember going to a conference once where they had us make the sounds of a thunderstorm in the audience. Minus the thunder, though, which makes it a little less impressive.  The name of this choir, by the way, if you want to hear some more of their wonderfulness is Perpetuum Jazzile. 

Also. I would like to point out that today's video is via MY MOM. Yup. Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If you live near Port Orchard, WA...

I'm doing a two hour training on evangelism this Saturday morning at Harper Church.  Details are here.

We'll be talking about the biblical basis for and defintion of evangelism as well as various way to talk with people about Christ, including story-telling, disarming people who are hostile to Christ by asking questions, using art to share spiritual truths, short films as discussion starters, and resources for spiritual conversations.

Anyway, if you're in town please come on by and say hello!

Monday, November 09, 2009

BOOK BERZERKER PRESENTS: Win a Free Copy of Don Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Last week I read Don Miller's new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I can tell you honestly that this is the best book that Don Miller has written.  Or, well, the best one that has been published, what do I know, maybe he has another spectacular one hidden away somewhere in a drawer or something.

The basic premise is that Don discovers, while working on a feature film adaptation of his previous memoir, Blue Like Jazz, that he actually lives a pretty boring life.  And as he studies the structure of Story to figure out how to write a better (fictional) life for himself, he starts to apply those same concepts to his real life so that he lives a life that has some meaning, a purpose, and goals.  Overall, I found it inspiring, though I did find myself wishing at certain points that it was a novel so that it would follow story structure even more, and also so that the ending would WRAP IT ALL UP instead of being like, well, real life.

ANYWAY, Amazon.com will tell you that people who bought my book, Imaginary Jesus, have also bought A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  In honor of that dubious achievement on Mr. Miller's behalf, I am giving away a copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (hereafter referred to as AMMIATY) this very week.

HOW TO WIN: Leave a comment on this post telling me two things... ONE, what would the plot of a movie based on your life be about (feel free to make things up) and TWO, who would you want to portray you in the film (feel free to choose any actor, living or dead... computer generated actors are all the rage).  I will choose the winner later this week and will announce the CHAMPION next Monday.  Yes, that's right, I am the sole judge, jury and executioner (meaning that I will execute the action of placing the book in the mail).

Legal Mumbo Jumbo: Yeah, if this is illegal where you live then it doesn't apply.  By entering this contest you agree that I am awesome and that you would never sue me or even say mean things about me.  And if you had your way you would like to buy me one of those back scratchers that this one guy sells on the street in Portland.  Or at least you agree that it doesn't apply where you live if it's illegal.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Guest Speaker Gordon MacDonald at Village tonight and tomorrow

Gordon MacDonald, speaker and author of Ordering Your Private World and Who Stole My Church? is speaking tonight and tomorrow at our church, Village.  That's tonight at 5:30 or tomorrow morning at 8:30 and 10:30. 

I'm sure I'll run into some of you there.  But mostly because I know some of my fellow Villagers are probably reading this.  :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Traditional Airport Post: MAYHEM!!!!!

Monday morning we were scheduled to fly out of Portland at 6:30 a.m. This would get us to Spokane by 7:30 for our team leader's conference, giving me a comfortable cushion before I gave a devotional at 9.

Our first sign of trouble, however, came as we entered the line on the "other terminal"... we usually fly United and today we were entering on the other side to fly Alaska. As Krista and I wheeled up with the baby, ready to jump into the rapidly moving line, a TSA guy waved us to the side and told us to join the "family line." We were to discover that this line should be called the "slow line." The few people in front of us took seven times longer than regular people to get through the line. A group of three hadn't brought any identification... none of them. A family of five followed them... a family of five who had never flown on a plane before, apparently. The mother kept stopping the TSA people to say things like, "Am I allowed to take my deodarant on the plane? Does that count as a liquid?" The TSA guy would say, "Deodarant is a solid."

After the slow water torture that was our experience in Family Line, we ran to our gate, because now, of course, we were late. Our gate was in the basement of the airport in the farthest reaches of the B Terminal. When we got there we were told that the flight was not yet boarding because the plane "hadn't landed yet" so I went to change the baby's diaper (if it hadn't been for the delay the poor child would have had to suffer). (SIDENOTE: Who designed the bathroom so that the "koala care baby changing station" is right next to the disposal unit for hypodermic needles? Do they hate babies or something?)

As I walked back to the gate an announcement came over the loudspeaker that our flight was now CANCELLED! Everyone leapt up and scurried to the various representatives to try to get rescheduled. By the time we got to the front of the line we were told that we could get on the 2 o'clock flight, which would have us arriving at 3. Since it was 6:30 in the morning and I was supposed to be giving a devotional at 9 AM, this was not a pleasing situation. Later I heard a guy who had been in line behind us who had been told that he couldn't get on a flight to Spokane until the following day.

After grilling the poor representative on our options, we decided to cancel our Alaska ticket and I jumped online and bought tickets on Southwest at 8 am. We now had just over an hour for me to run down and get our baggage from baggage claim, check in again with Southwest, get through security and board the plane.

And that is what I did. The baggage representative had to call the handlers, though, because they only sent three of our bags out (we are travelling with an infant, don't judge our many bags... it includes car seat and baby bed). Finally all four bags came out. I got them checked back in but then they said that I needed proof of the baby's age. I assured them that my 3 month old was not two years old. I ran for security, and since I had left Krista and the baby behind security I was able to skip the dreaded Family Line. I ran down to the C gate and arrived out of breath, sweating and victorious. I felt like I had won the Amazing Race, except that instead of a million dollars I just got to board an airplane.

And then our friend Steve Ellisen was on the plane and he rented a car, so we didn't have to take the shuttle to our hotel.

And that is the end.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Traditional Airport Post: On the Way to Ohio

Three things worth noting.

1) Apparently it was not a fluke last time I traveled that soldiers in uniform don't have to take their boots off. I saw another guy do it today. The screener looked at his boots, said, "Thank you for your service" and passed him through. Question: Does it make good military sense to have shoes that are so hard to take off? What if you need to take them off all of a sudden? I know what you are thinking: why would a soldier need to take their boots off? Perhaps if they run out of bullets they would like to throw them at the enemy's head. I bet you never thought of that.

2) Some guy pulled a screener aside and said, "I have prostate cancer." The screener said, "In that case you have two choices --" but then I couldn't hear the rest. I didn't know they did that kind of screening at the airport. Nice.

3) I don't know what the lady sitting next to me did, or who would care at 5:21 in the morning, but apparently when she gets home tonight she will take care of whoever is mad by taking the pictures and sending them off to someone's work e-mail. It's all her fault, apparently. And now she is having a bad day. Poor lady.

Okay, kids, time to board. I'm on my way to speak at a retreat in Ohio. I'll be back.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun Works

Saw this on zoecarnate and am shamelessly lifting it for BHR:



I am a big believer in fun theory, as it turns out. This is why when I am loading the dishwasher I pretend it is basketball. I stand about eight feet back and I say, "CAN MIKALATOS GET THIS DISH TO LAND PERFECTLY IN THE BOTTOM RACK? HE SHOOTS! HE -- uh oh." And then after I clean it up I try again! Wheeeeee!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Astronaut Jesus


This Jesus doll is made by an Argentinian design company and it's sold out in every color.  Who buys these? 

If you have one of these I expect you to admit it RIGHT NOW.  And to send a picture of where you keep it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why are clouds different colors?


One of the great things about children is that you realize that there are all sorts of questions in life that you've never thought to ask... questions like, "Dad, why are some clouds black and other clouds white?"

I decided that instead of researching this question I would, instead, "Ask The Audience" to give me a final answer for my children.  Please vote in the poll below:

1) Clouds are different colors dependent on the color of their mother and father clouds.

2) God decides whether to make them white, black or something in-between so that they match their surroundings.

3) Evolution. Clouds that are best adapted to their environment are most likely to evade their natural predators, and thus are the most likely to procreate.  That's why purple, yellow and plaid clouds are relatively rare.

4) Optical thickness, either because of quantity or density of water droplets, prevents light from getting through the cloud.

5) If it's about to rain, the cloud is darker, genius.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

Last week Krista and I took the kids to see this movie:



To be honest neither of us were particularly excited to see it, but the kids had the day off school so we took them out that night since they didn't have to get up early the next day. The movie had ratbirds, a talking monkey, a police officer with a pretty major role played by Mr. T and... Bruce Campbell. Crazy. But it was actually a really good movie. I enjoyed it a lot and walked away amazed by how much you can get away with. Once you get the audience to accept the basic premise that a wacky scientist can turn water into food, well, you can get them to accept pretty much anything that comes after that. Yay for pseudo-science! Anyway, if you haven't seen this movie it's worth your time. I was laughing harder than the kids sometimes.

And, in the world of previews, where kids always ask "Dad, can we go see that movie?" I was forced to say NO WAY to Disney's Princess and the Frog. It's too bad because it's nice to see Disney doing some hand drawn animation again, but I just don't want my kids watching a movie where voodoo plays such a big role. Also the trailer simply wasn't funny. Too bad, Disney.

But that's okay, I told them we could go see this instead:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You know you want to see this


This is the first official picture from next summer's A-Team movie. It looks awesome, right?  Yes, it does.  And do you notice who is playing Hannibal?  It's Liam Neeson.  Nice!  I love it when a plan comes together.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday:Hello Kitty Beer


Stretching the definition of "Wonderful" to the outer limits, please enjoy this crossover between cute kitty and liquified barley.

What do you think?  Is this WRONG or "Oh-so-right"?

P.S. When I can't find anything for Wonderful Wednesday I just type "Japan" into a search engine. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

O Books, Why Must You Torment Me?


This book arrived in my mail box last week...as regular readers of BHR know, Michael Connelly is one of the few authors who forces me to buy books in hard cover because I can't wait for the paperback.

In a twist of cruel fate I realize that if I read this book now I'll fall behind in my seminary class reading.  So this book sits beside my bed, mocking me.  Grr.  It might have to wait for Thanksgiving.

In other news, Gene Wolfe's new book has been moved up to March!  Yay!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Trip to Tyndale

At the end of this week I flew out to meet the book team for Imaginary Jesus at Tyndale.  I was picked up at the airport by my driver and he told me that he had another fare to pick up.  I said that was fine with me (as if I had some sort of say -- like to keep the illusion of power), so we zipped over to the international terminal and picked up a guy who had just gotten in from Frankfurt.  He offered me some french fries.  As we talked a bit more he told me that he had been in Frankfurt on business.  I asked his business and he told me that he worked for a publisher and had been at the Frankfurt book fair.  I asked what publisher and he said Tyndale.  Then we all (driver included) had a good laugh because that's why I was in the cab, after all. It turned out that this was actually Doug Knox, the publisher for the section of Tyndale which is printing my book.  So we had a half hour together on the ride home.

That night, Kevin O'Brien from Tyndale's Bible division came over and picked me up and we went back to his house where we talked with his lovely wife about hockey, writing, family, Bibles and cats with too many toes.  We had a good time, and it was super nice of Kevin to drive a half hour each way, twice just so we could hang out.

Then I tried to get a burger at WhiteCastle, but they were only taking people through the drive thru.

The next morning Sharon Leavitt picked me up and we made our way over to the Tyndale office.  I met the book team, which was cool because I feel like we're all already friends, so we were meeting again for the first time.  We went downstairs into "THE STUDIO" to do a little interview for Imaginary Jesus where I answered questions like, "Why do you hate Jane Austin so much?" and "If you had to fight a ninja or a pirate which would you choose?" and also "Can Matt inflate a long skinny balloon without a balloon pump?" (SPOILER: I can't).  These questions were all masterminded by Sarah Atkinson, who was trying to publicly humiliate me in an attempt to keep me from getting a big head because of all the nice endorsements coming in for the book.  It was a clever ploy and it remains to see if it is working. Luckily Nancy Clausen was along to make sure that my answers didn't come across too idiotically (meaning: too much like my real self!  Ha ha.)

Then off to a meeting with the excellent Publicity team (you guys are going to enjoy some of the fun ideas that will be coming your way soon), followed by a lunch from the local pizza place.  Chicago deep dish, of course!  As we ate and then afterward we had an enjoyable conversation that ranged from books, missions, my next project, the gospel, who-in-the-room-speaks-Chinese, how great my wife is, and more.  It was a lot of fun, and I think we all laughed pretty hard.

After that came the big discussion of whether to include a study guide in the back of Imaginary Jesus.  There has been a lot of back and forth on this topic -- whether a series of questions in the back will create a "value added" experience for readers, or whether it will make the story suddenly seem like it was a didactic lesson.  Feel free to leave your opinion on this topic in the comments, but I think we finally came to a resolution.

Then came the tour of Tyndale, which was fun, and I got to meet some more of the amazing staff that works there.  One of the things I was amazed by was the fact that the illustrated Bible I read when I was a kid, they had some of the original art up on the wall.  And then, too soon, it was time to leave.  I know that the Tyndale staff actually have jobs other than hanging out with me, but I would have been glad to spend one more day hanging out.  And I'm glad to say that all the people who have been my e-mail and twitter buddies are even more fun and enjoyable in person.

Last but not least I got in my car headed back for the airport and had a pretty deep spiritual conversation with my driver.  He's going through a rough patch and just starting out in a relationship with Jesus, so we talked about the gospel and what it means to experience God's peace in a broken world and then I had the privilege of praying for him.

WHEW!  So.  I should have a few more details to share about our time together this week and some of the things we decided, plans we made, and things we're kicking around.  There are a lot of fun things coming up in the future.

Thanks to all the Tyndale staff for the amazing hospitality, for your hard work and your friendship.  I hope to get a lot more time together in the future!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a Church's commitment to international missions reveals...

Here's a quote from page 274 Stephen Neil's excellent A History of Christian Missions, which I'm reading for the class I'm taking in the, uh, history of Christian missions. 

“The missionary enterprise of the Churches is always in a measure the reflection of their vigour, of their wealth, and of that power of conviction which finds its expression in self-sacrifice and a willingness for adventurous service.”

Neil is specifically referring to international mission here.  So.  I'd like to hear your thoughts.  Does the Church's (or church's) commitment to missions reflect the church's:

Vigor?

Wealth?

Conviction?

Willingness to sacrifice and serve adventurously?  

Do you agree or disagree and why?  

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Google Flu Trends


Google has discovered that using aggregated search content, they can estimate real-time flu levels around the world.  So far these estimates have closely mirrored the CDC data when it comes out, quite a bit later.  Check out the google flu site:

United States Flu Activity
Influenza estimate  Google Flu Trends estimate  United States data
United States: Influenza-like illness (ILI) data provided publicly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In other news, Google will be releasing the Statistical Predictions of What You Are Getting For Christmas tool next month.  Just put in your age, financial strata and geographic location and Google will predict what you'll find under your Christmas tree with 87% accuracy! (NOTE: Does not work for people who don't celebrate Christmas)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dreaming

I had two dreams last night and I thought I would post them here so that you can psycho-analyze me, which is probably more effective and certainly less expensive than seeing a professional.

Dream #1: At the Puppeteers.  I walked into a puppet maker's shop and the puppeteer told me, "Hey, we just got a new puppet in.  It's the Woody Allen puppet."  I laughed and said, "I wouldn't want to put my hand in that."  One of the customers gave me a dirty look, as if I had said something super offensive (I realized in the dream that it certainly wasn't a polite thing to say).  I looked at that customer and said, "C'mon!  Woody Allen would think that was funny.  Would he not?"  Only when I said "would he not" I made it sound also like "Woody Not?"  Then I laughed like crazy at my own joke.  Then the dream ended.

Dream #2: At the Laundromat.  I was on a boat with a bunch of people (I got the feeling I knew them all pretty well) and we were on the way to the laundromat (this laundromat could only be reached by water). As we got closer this guard goat came swimming out toward us, barking like a dog, but our boat's captain shooed it away with gondolier's pole.  I was amazed at the barking goat, which came out on shore, shook its fur out and stood next to another goat on the shore (both had four horns).  Then the guard at the gate opened the wrought iron gate for our boat and we came into the laundromat property.  On the riverbank was an enormous crocodile wearing armor, sunning.  Amazed by this, I looked up at the guard, and next to him stood a dinosaur of some sort, also wearing armor.  It looked like a velociraptor, but with a smaller head... definitely a predator of some sort.  As I looked at it with some alarm I realized it was actually a statue, as was the crocodile.  Then I noticed along the bank an enormous number of triceratops statues, some with different pieces broken off, but many of them intact.  We walked through the laundromat and then ran out to walk through the statuary. After a while Krista realized that she had left a stack of videotapes in the laundromat that she was really worried about, so we ran up to find them (one was our wedding video). We got there and the videos were fine, but we had forgotten to do our laundry.  And that was the end of that dream.

Okay, kids.  Share your dreams, deconstruct mine or leave mean comments about how much weirder your dreams are than mine. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

President Obama is given a very special honor


That's right.  It's Chia Obama.  Only three presidents currently have this honor: Washington, Lincoln and Obama.  When the five members who make up the Chia Committee were asked how they came to this decision, they said, "Let's be honest... only three presidents have had really great hair.  Okay, four if you count Clinton."  But Clinton was thought to be too controversial a choice, so they replaced him with the Statue of Liberty.

Congratulations, President Obama!

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Muppets Take Ramallah


The New York Times ran a fascinating article about the continuing attempts to make a tenable Palestinian version of Sesame Street.  Here's a link.  Sesame Street has been making contextualized versions of their show for a lot of years... including locally produced segments, Muppets unique to their version of the show, and characters interacting with issues and themes that children in that culture may face.  As you can imagine, doing all these things and also sticking to Sesame Street's values of education and tolerance can be complex, especially in war zones and the third world.  In any case, it's an interesting article that is worth your time.

Now, if you're saying, Matt, I am sick of you putting links to articles from the NYT, I want something a little less meaty and a little more based on grown up fans of the muppets discussing trivia, puppeteers, history, comics, et cetera, then say no more.  You should go visit Tough Pigs.  And now I have done my good deed for the day.  I intend to celebrate by refusing to help an old lady cross the street.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

News From My Neighborhood

Return of the Expulsions of Houdini Dog.  No doubt you recall the many times in the past when a clandestine canine visited my yard and made deposits in the hope that my feet, like some sort of podiatric bank tellers, would happen along and then whisk the deposits away to some other, safer location.

I thought that was all over.  But in recent weeks it seems clear that someone has been either helping or attempting to frame our old friend Houdini Dog.  We know this is true because a perfectly straight line of excrement has been appearing in our yard.  What I mean to say is that each pile is in line with the next, as if standing in a queue.  But what is it waiting for?  That is yet to be determined.  The most mysterious part is that, once again, the offending digested materials have been appearing in our back yard... our locked back yard.  Some think that it has been tossed over the fence.  It is a mystery.

Killing Me Softly... With Her Smoke.  There's this lady on the next street over who walks her kids to school every day while smoking a cigarette.  She forces her kids to walk five to ten steps ahead of her so they won't breathe in any smoke.  When we came up on the sidewalk behind her, she freaked out, tried to wave the smoke away and finally decided to walk in the middle of the street, where she wouldn't get her inhalations on anyone.  When I walk home from the school I often see her on the corner, standing there and having a smoke.  When she sees me coming she waves the smoke away and mumbles sorry, sorry.  If I were her I think I would just say, "Please look away... I'm trying to slowly destroy my lungs and it embarrasses me to have people watching."


Mews from My Neighborhood.  Gemma the Cat of Terror has given birth to yet another litter of kittens.  One of the girls who lives at Gemma's house said, "I don't think anyone has ever had The Talk with Gemma."  It's true.  It's hard to deny that they are cute.  I took hold of one for this picture.  Afterward I noted that it looked like I was choking the poor cat, but that could not be farther from the truth.  In fact, here's a second picture showing that the cat is alright.

Kittens In Disguise. And, lastly, in news of the neighborhood weird, Tuesday night at about 9:30 I drove home from seminary to see a man in camouflage carrying something clutched to his chest.  A rifle, I assumed.  Why is a man dressed in military-ish clothing carrying a rifle through our neighborhood, I wondered.  And then, as I drove by, I took a look in the rearview mirror and discovered that his rifle was, in fact, a large black cat.  I don't know what he's planning to do with that cat, but here's my guess: Using his camouflage outfit he sneaks up on his worst enemy.  Then, when his enemy isn't watching, he SPRINGS THE BLACK CAT, who crosses path with the enemy.  Now his enemy has bad luck!  Moowhahahahaaa!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Settlers of Catan vs. the Old Testament

Today's Wonderful Wednesday is this fascinating foray into the Christianization (or, okay, it could be the Judaization) of the popular game, Settlers of Catan.  In this version, instead of trying to build your own settlements to win the game, you have to be the one to contribute the most to building the temple in Jerusalem.

Also, you can get the "Kill Anyone Who Lives Where You Are Supposed to Settle With the Power of the Lord" card.






Okay, I made that last part up.

Update: A couple of you have already written me asking where you can buy it. You can buy it right here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Stalking that Elusive Prey -- THE LITERARY AGENT!

You know, there are plenty of great posts out there about finding a literary agent.  And, to be honest, they all say pretty much the same things.  Which leads me to think that YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE IN THE INTERNET AREN'T LISTENING!  And do you know what I do when you aren't listening?  I say it a different way.  So.  Here are some tips on how to find a literary agent said in a way that you've never, never heard before.

It goes like this: You, the hungry young author, are the lion (or lioness).  The literary agent is the tasty gazelle who can sate your hunger.

And now, tips for the predator seeking its prey:

1) Study your prey carefully.  Don't just jump out at them the first chance you get and scream I HAVE A 500,000 WORD FANTASY EPIC ABOUT ELVES PRETENDING TO BE SKINNY HUMAN MODELS!  Be honest... this would startle anyone.  Take your time.  Watch them from the bushes.  Read their blog.  Read their submission guidelines.  Make sure, for instance, that they represent fantasy books.  And if they don't, they're going to get away if you give it a try.  But don't be too disappointed...there are plenty of gazelle on the savannah. 

2) Thin the herd to the most promising prey.  There are hundreds upon hundreds of tasty gazelle out there, and you can't chase a whole herd.  You want to get it down to a list of, say, twenty favorites.  Don't go after the weakest animals in the herd, either, go after your best shots.  Make sure the antelope both reads and represents the type of book you are selling.  Go online and see if they represent other lions you respect.  Make sure they aren't big cheaters (if, for instance, it turns out they are actually hunters disguised as antelope... run away) and they have a good reputation.  You may have to be ruthless to get your list down to twenty.  Then go after them in groups of, let's say, three to five at a time.  Be sure to tell them, "Hey, no offense but you're not the only prey I'm stalking.  No guarantees that you're the one I'm going to catch."  Or something along those lines.

3) Query them politely.  It should sound something like this: "If I were to chase after you, would you run so fast that I would have dust in my mouth, or do you think I would have a chance to capture you with my sharp, sharp claws?"  You will be surprised at how honestly the gazelle will reply to such a polite inquiry.

4) Give them your best work.  Gazelles and antelope are embarrassed to be caught by slow-running predators.  If an antelope is going to go down, it doesn't want to go out like a punk.  It wants it to be a glorious fight, like this, "I didn't want to represent Matt Mikalatos, but his query was so well written... and the stunning prose of his sample chapters slowed me down because I wanted to look at it in awe.  And then, well, I tried to escape but it was too late. I felt his sharp little teeth on my neck and I knew... I was going to be his agent."

5) Don't give up.  As the old saying goes, it's the hard working lioness who captures the antelope and is ushered into the presence of many publishers.  Or something like that.

6) Use other, more successful predators to set it up for you.  There's no shame in using a larger predator to get your dirty work done.  Let's say, for instance, that you are a hyena and you happen to be close friends with a great big lion.  There's no harm in asking the lion, "Hey, could you introduce me around and maybe catch some prey and just hold onto it for a while so I can talk to it?"  For me, as a matter of fact, an established author who I knew from a seminary class offered to let me use his name to approach a few agents who were "out of my league."  And it worked!

7) Make yourself look good... be a professional.  While agents may be the big prize around the campfire, the fact is that it's helpful to show off your hunting skills.  Maybe you've been published in a national magazine, or a famous blog, or a little startup magazine that pays professional rates. If you can show that you can make money of some sort as a writer, all the better.  Sometimes you have to kill a few monkeys, rabbits and mice before you move up to the antelope.  And sometimes a few professional magazine articles could get you moved to the front of the "promising predators" file.

8) Remember that the hippopotamus kills more people each year than the lion.  I think the meaning of this statement will be clear to all of you given the context of this post.

9) Stop annoying the antelope with all your jibber-jabber.  A predator must be patient.  It's bad form to keep saying over and over to the antelope, "What do you think?  Am I going to catch you?  Do you see how fast I run?  Can you tell I'm a sleek and svelte lioness?"  If you haven't heard from the antelope in six weeks or so just drop it a line that says, "I just wanted to make sure you knew that I was chasing after you, that's all.  Love, the Lion."

10) Yes, yes, you may savor a victory roar.  When a lion successfully captures an antelope, it is perfectly acceptable to roar all about it on your blog, via twitter, or in personal phone calls to everyone you know. Or you can drop it in casual conversation around the water hole.  Be sure to say "my agent" all the time.  You deserve it, you beautiful animal, you.

And that concludes today's ten tips for catching an antelope.  Feel free to leave your comments and questions in this post.  For bonus points to make sure you were paying attention, feel free to explain point eight at length.

FINAL NOTE TO THE ANTELOPE: I know you might think this simple how-to guide is a little creepy.  But let's be honest, you want to get caught.  And this just might work.  Please be patient with queries and proposals in the next few weeks that use a predator metaphor.  

Monday, October 05, 2009

Home!


I'm home from a great time speaking at the St. Cloud State Fall Getaway.  Which means that this morning I got to hang out with baby M!

Friday, October 02, 2009

First John and the St. Cloud Fall Getaway

I'm hanging out with the kids from St. Cloud State University this weekend, and we're going through First John all weekend.  Tonight was chapter one and the first six verses of chapter 2, where we talked about Jesus' offer to destroy our status quo and bring us into a revolutionary life of eternal fellowship with him.  A good time was had by all.

Afterward the worship guy got up and that horrible screeching tone that sometimes accompanies guitars and microphones being too close to one another went off.

Worship Guy: That's just my way of saying 'thank you' to you, Matt.

Me: Thanks for the feedback.

AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!  And that's what the poor St. Cloud kids are in for all weekend.

You can be praying for the talks if you're the praying type:  Tomorrow morning we'll be talking about transformation in our community relationships, tomorrow afternoon I'll meet with the leadership students to talk about leadership as a Christ follower and Sunday morning I'll be teaching on the great commission and being agents of worldwide revolution!

Lord, Save us from your Followers


Hey if you're in Portland looking for something to do tonight, you should go check out Lord, Save Us From Your Followers at the Fox Tower theatre. If you go to the 7 o'clock showing, Dan Merchant, the filmmaker and star of the movie will be around for the Q and A time. It should be a blast and I wish I could get out there! If you go, tell Dan that Mikalatos sent you.

The Traditional Airport Post: SECURITYYYYYYYYYY!

The longest lines at PDX that I've ever seen this morning, and as you might expect the beleaguered security people are hard at work and, yes, friendly!

Here are two things I saw while waiting in line:

1) An old lady! She hasn't flown in a long time. She didn't know that her liquids had to be in a quart sized bag so she put them in a GALLON sized bag! The security man tells her that she will have to pick her favorites and put them in a quart sized bag and toss, give away or drink the rest! She is dismayed! She is staring at her gallon sized bag of toiletries! Her lotions! Her gels! Her pastes! It is a hard life.

2) A soldier in the military! He is wearing his desert camos! People come up to him and thank him for serving. I also am thankful. He is a living weapon, that much is clear. The security man sees that the soldier had large, impressive, undoubtedly deadly boots on. Keep those on! he tells the soldier. No need to send them through the X-ray like the flip-flops of the man in front of you. After all, we know already that you are dangerous. Please walk right through. And this the soldier did, because he is accustomed to taking orders! A feeling of safety settles over the crowd!

MORAL: Terrorists will never get their shampoo onto a flight, unless they dress as soldiers and hide it in their boots.

THE END

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Your Inner Weird Meets Your Book Proposal

I've got a guest post up today over at Rachelle Gardner's excellent blog, CBA Ramblings.  If you're a writer or want to be a writer, you should be reading Rachelle's blog regularly. My post over there is about how I learned to start writing what I love rather than what I thought other people wanted to see and how that, paradoxically, eventually got me an agent and got me published.  As a bonus feature for anybody stopping by the Burning Hearts Revolution today, I thought I'd give a concrete example of how "Embracing my Inner Weird" changed not only my book, but also my book proposal.

The difference is clearest when we look at the book's premise.  While many sections (the author bio, my platform, the audience) stayed mostly the same, the premise of the book changed pretty radically, despite having essentially the same theme.  Here's the premise as it appeared in my first proposal:

If I come across a bunch of people sitting outside my church selling doves and changing money, I know I should make a whip out of ropes and turn their tables over and yell at them.  But what is the most Christ-like action when buying my lunch at McDonald's?  Should I buy a Filet-O-Fish sandwich?  Should I turn a milkshake into wine?  I spend my life guessing what Jesus would do instead of living like him.  Is there a way I can get to know the real Jesus instead of inventing my own?  Imaginary Jesus will help identify places in our lives where we've adopted a false Jesus for our own convenience, and talk about real, practical ways to connect with the living, breathing Christ.

The man who eventually became my agent (Wes Yoder of Ambassador Literary), as I shared in my post on Rachelle's blog, told me to take another shot at it, but emphasizing the story-telling stuff and minimizing what he called the "Sunday School lessons."  That weekend I feverishly wrote about six chapters of "Imaginary Jesus Reimagined" and sent them off to Wes.  He got back to me right away, and here was the new and improved premise we used to describe the book once I finished writing it (now that it was fiction instead of non-fiction, I needed to finish the book, not just outline it):

Sitting in a coffee shop with Jesus, Matt Mikalatos realizes that the pleasant, robed man across the table is not the real Jesus at all.  During Matt’s attempt to destroy the imposter and find the real Jesus, Imaginary Jesus escapes.  Now the Lamb is on the lam and Matt is on a quest to find the living, breathing Christ.  With the help of the apostle Peter, a talking donkey and the mysterious Motorcycle Guy, he chases Jesus across the city of Portland, determined to exorcise his imaginary friend.  A fast-paced, hilarious novel, Imaginary Jesus explores what it means to be in relationship with a physically absent but relationally present Jesus. 


As you can see, that's a pretty drastically different book... although the title and "living, breathing Christ" made it into both.  I like that phrase pretty well.

Next Tuesday I'll post some thoughts about getting an agent.  For those of you who are in the process of looking for an agent now, I think you'll find it helpful... there are a lot of things I did that you can do just as easily.


I'd be glad to answer other questions you might have about writing, book proposals, finding an agent, Jesus, butterflies, the average speed of an African swallow or anything else that interests you.  You can leave a comment here or send me a note at matt.mikalatos (at) gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: The public art of Joshua Callaghan

Check out this amazing work by Joshua Callaghan.  He likes to paint public objects to appear like the items which are standing behind them.  Which translates to urban camouflage.  I'm a fan.

I'm planning to paint our house to look like our back yard (don't tell Krista).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Three things I've learned while watching late night television with my infant daughter

1) Montel Williams is a really big fan of blankets with sleeves.   Every time I flipped around to him, there he was, talking about how great a blanket with sleeves could be for me.  I shifted underneath my precarious blanket wrap, baby in one arm and remote in the opposing hand and decided that I would not buy one of those around the time that the husband and wife said that they bought two to wear in bed so that they would never steal each other's covers.

2) Oscar Wilde spent two years in prison for "gross indecency." I had no idea.  But some movie from the 1960s knew all about it.

3) Apparently young singles in my area like to call "chat lines" while wearing skimpy clothing, lying around in their living room with candles, or while lounging in a hot tub.  Kids these days... go figure. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Winners of the Holy BIble: Mosaic drawing

Congratulations to Ruthie Johnson and Erica Cheslock, the winners of the Holy Bible: Mosaic lot casting for free Bibles.  I've contacted Ruthie and Erica and their Bibles are flying through the air... right... now.

What's that?  You want to know how I chose from the more than 50 entries to come up with Ruthie and Erica?  Fine then.  I assigned each person a number (those who tweeted, commented and entered other ways got extra numbers) and then used a random number generator to choose between them.

While at the random number generator I got distracted by the coin toss feature, in which you can choose coins from throughout history to toss.  The way I figure it if you're going to toss a coin you might as well toss a Aurelian  Bronze Antoninianus from the Roman Empire.

Anyway, if you didn't win a copy, you can still purchase a copy.  It's a really fun, helpful Bible.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Thirty-Eight: I Keel You)

Dedicated to the old man with the flat blue tooth and the two middle-aged sisters all drinking coffee together at Peet's coffee in Beaverton, Oregon.  And yes, I can identify you old man.  I'M WATCHING YOU!!!!

Old Man: -- think that the best solution is to kill him.

Sister 1: What does that solve in the long run?  The police would eventually trace it back to you and then you would go to jail for the rest of your life.  I just don't think that's a good solution.

Old Man: I don't think the police will do anything about him, so the best solution is to kill him.

Sister 2: I would get his address from google maps and then watch him for something that would get the police's attention.


How the police will find him out in the end if he ever did something drastic (sounded like the sisters eventually talked him out of this): turns out you shouldn't discuss murdering someone in crowded coffee shops and so on.  Who knew?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Your true colors are beautiful,,, like the wind

Little known fact about me: I have little names that I use for different outfits I wear.  For instance, I have these brown shorts that I sometimes wear with a striped brown polo shirt.  I call this my "prison outfit" because Krista once said that the striped shirt reminded her of something a prisoner would wear. I also have a pair of blue shorts that I wear with a grey shirt, and I call that my Civil War outfit because it is like the Union vs. the Confederacy, except that the Confederacy is in the North and the Union in the South.  I also have these khaki shorts that I wear with a green shirt.  This is called the green shirt outfit.

But my entire system was thrown into disarray when someone mentioned on Monday that the blue shorts of my Civil War outfit were grey.  In fact, they walked up to me and called me "Grey Man."  I asked Krista later in the day what color my shorts were and she confirmed that we could, at best, call them "formerly blue."  I was stunned.  No longer could I call this outfit my Civil War outfit.  Unless I was happy with the a-historical representation that  the Confederacy was winning out over the Union!  I don't think so.

So now I need a new name for the outfit.  Here are some of the choices.  Feel free to leave your suggestions or preferences in the comments to this post:

1) Grey Man. 
2) The outfit formerly known as the Civil War outfit.
3) The Antebellum South.
4) Portland Skies (Winter)

That is all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Jung's Red Book

Carl Jung kept a secret diary where he tried to break down the barrier between his conscious and unconscious mind.  His family has been keeping it private for decades, and it's being published next month.  Jung feared that people would think he was insane if they read the book.  Check out some of his drawings.

Here's an article about the process of getting the book and publishing it, and more details about the strange journey this book has taken to print, the slavish devotion of some Jungians and the Descendants of Jung.

You can purchase the The Red Book here.  Only a hundred bucks (!).  I'm pretty interested to take a look at this bad boy, but think I might have to make a date at the library.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Free Mosaic Bible here at BHR!


Great news! You may recall me gushing over the artsy beauty and theological richness of the new NLT Mosaic Bible-- a Bible that has devotionals built around the church calendar with art, creeds, quotes and hymns from across the centuries and around the world. Well, thanks to the generosity of one of its editors, David Sanford, I have TWO COPIES TO GIVE AWAY THIS WEEK!

I thought we would do it "random drawing style" to increase the appearance of casting lots. What could be more Biblical than that? I'll be doing the drawing this Friday night sometime, so get your entries in before Friday at 5pm Pacific.

You can get your name entered into the drawing up to four times. Here's how to do it:

1) Send me your email address using the form below. This DOES NOT sign you up for a newsletter. Don't believe the hype that will tell you otherwise. This just allows me to get your email in a way that keeps internet robots from learning your email address and telling you that you won the British lottery. 

Mosaic Bible drawing

Enter your email address:

Enter the 5-digit code displayed:









2) Leave a comment on this post. I will read all the comments, so feel free to try to sway me by saying things like, "A wild dog tore my own Bible to pieces and I really need this because it also got my wallet and my internet connection." But since this is a drawing it won't really matter. Make sure I have a way to contact you if you leave a comment.

3) Tweet about the giveaway this week. Be sure to include a link to this post, and if you want to make sure I see it you should probably put @mattmikalatos in your tweet, too.

4) Put a link to the giveaway on your blog. Again, you'll need to let me know about this (though I should see the incoming links).

So, there you have it. Four ways to win. I'll do the drawing on Friday, so the winners should be hearing from me this weekend. Good luck and may whoever is causing this terrible storm that is causing our ship to sink be the one to draw the shortest lot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dr. Horrible at the Emmys

In case you missed his appearance at the Emmys, here's Dr. Horrible's evil genius on display:



And if you have a higher standard of evil and don't think this video cuts it, I would suggest you check out this link.  Mooohwahhahahahahaaaaaa!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Win a Free Mosaic Bible


Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I got a free copy of theHoly Bible, Mosaic a few weeks back. 

It's a really cool Bible that has quotes, creeds and artwork from throughout church history in a series of devotionals that follow the church calendar.  You can see more about it here:
Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT 

Anyway, I saw today that another (more generous) blog is having a contest where YOU can get a free copy of the book yourself if you enter.  Here's a link to that contest.  I think you have to enter by Monday, though, so you better get to it.

Also -- I know I've directed a few of you to blogger review programs for Thomas Nelson and NavPress, and I recently discovered Tyndale's, also.  Here's a link to that.

Alright kids, have fun and go win yourself a Bible (ah, what a special moment of church history we live in that we can raffle off Bibles).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Traditional Airport Post

Yesterday, Krista and I flew Horizon.  Two events of note:

Wanda Gets Grounded.  A woman we later learned was called 'Wanda' came onto the plane and took a seat in the row ahead of us.  Then she got up and moved to the back.  Then a cop came on the plane and said, "Wanda, we need you to step off the plane." 

"Why would you do this to me?" Wanda asked.  "I'm just trying to get home."

"Step off the plane and we'll talk about it," the officer said.  Then they went back and forth for a while.  Why would you do this to me?  Step off the plane.  But why would you do this to me?  Step off the plane.  And then Wanda stepped off the plane, leaving all of us to make us stories about why she was removed.

My theory: Drrrunk!

Krista's theory: Wanda did something bad.  Then possibly snuck onto the plane.  This is one of the rare moments where Krista's invented history for another person is more dramatic than mine.


Missionary Aviation Fellowship.  We overheard the young lady behind us talking and realized she's a missionary that will be joining our friends Matt and Sharon in Slovenia.  Of course Krista and I are missionaries.  And the lady across the aisle from the missionary behind us seemed awfully familiar with a variety of missions organizations.  This is very strange when you consider the small percentage of Christians in Portland, that so many of us on the plane were missionaries.  Maybe that's why they took Wanda off the plane... she was a missionary and she was skewing the percentages on the plane.

In any case, when we got off the plane I saw this bumper sticker: IN CASE OF RAPTURE THIS PLANE WILL HAVE PLENTY OF LEG ROOM.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: DRAGON BOAT!

I'm not sure why so many of the Wonderful Wednesdays have to do with Japan, other than the fact that Japan is more wonderful than other countries. Check out this dragon boat:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Imaginary Jesus at the US Open

Keen eyed BHR correspondent Ken Cheung sent in this note and the picture on the left:

"I found Jesus at the us open ... he is married to kim clijsters."








P.S. I am a big fan of puns, but if one more sports writer says something about Clijsters staging "The Mother of All Comebacks" I am going to stick my fist into the internet to send them some electronic justice.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Imaginary Jesus Cover Art

Here it is at last -- the official cover to Imaginary Jesus!  The fine folks at Tyndale sent several rough drafts of possible covers to me back in July, and the early version of this cover was by far my favorite.  It made me laugh, and I love the haphazard look to it, like someone just took a sharpie to a guy and made him look like Jesus.  So, I'm pleased that this is the cover that was eventually agreed upon all around.

The cover was designed by Beth Sparkman, who sent me this behind-the-scenes note about the cover design:  "This image just jumped out at me as being so far out, and then when I scribbled the beard and hair on it with a half-dried up marker it got even more bizarre! But I thought it fit the wildness of the book so showed it to Nancy [marketing director at Tyndale] and Sarah [Tyndale acquisitions editor]. The rest is history. . ."

The picture should show up in places like Amazon starting next week.  You can preorder Imaginary Jesus
on Amazon and they will give you the lowest price between now and the release date in April!

Notice also the official tag line... brought to us by the ridiculously clever Sarah Atkinson.

Hope you enjoyed this little sneak preview. Now go out there, get a sharpie, and deface some posters.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday: Zombie Bunnies!

Today's Wonderful Wednesday takes us to the land of handmade zombie bunnies. AAAAH! They live! They are so cute! And deadly!