Friday, January 30, 2009

Sign on the way to Sisters

We're in Sisters, OR, this weekend for the OSU retreat.

On the way we passed a restaurant that had this sign on the road:

"CHICKEN

STEAK

SEAFOOD

KIDS"

I hit the gas and we rocketed past. I'm never going to that restaurant.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

News From My Neighborhood

A Veritable Slip. Walking Z to school this morning I came across humanity's old foe... BLACK ICE! I stepped onto a manhole cover slick with it and immediately swapped the position of my head with that of my feet. Z sweetly asked me if I was okay, I told her I was, and then we paused and reflected on the impressive prat fall I had entertained us with. I told her it was a good thing we hadn't been holding hands, because she might have gone down with me. "No," she said, "I would have recovered and walked on."

HOW TO LOSE THIRTY POUNDS IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS! Once a week or so I weigh myself (before my weekly shower). Today I was thrown off by the numbers... I had lost thirty pounds! This seemed not only irresponsible but also unlikely. I evaluated the scale to discover that a toy mermaid had slipped her tail under the scale. I removed her scaly backside and found that I had returned to my regular corpulent self. CLOSE ONE!

Your Dreams Really Can Come True. I had this dream last night that I stepped in a prodigious amount of dog poo and that I had to walk through all the neighbor's yards to try to get it off. I mentioned my dream to Krista and she asked if it was because of the entrance to the kids' school. In fact, I think that is precisely the reason. Some monstrous dog did its duty earlier in the week. Then the freezing weather and clouds came and covered it in snow. Then many school children walked over it. Then the rains came. Now there is a nasty mess that will not be easily cleaned that I have to walk past every day. I know what you are thinking, and no, it was not Houdini Dog this time. It appears that it was Elephant Dog or Dinosaur Dog or one of their relatives. I would like them to get out of my dreams*.



* But not into my car.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WORDSspaceWORDSspaceWORDS

I took Z to the hospital today to get a strange bump on her finger looked at.

As we drove to the hospital she started telling me about a young man in her class who is her "boyspacefriend." Charmed, I asked her more about this concept and she explained that unlike a "boyfriend" a "boy-space-friend" is a friend who happens to be a boy. I asked her who had come up with this way of saying it and of course "oh, everybody says it." I suppose it's from a television show we don't get or something along those lines. But I like the appeal to the written language in the midst of the oral one. Krista assures me that I won't stop hearing about boys for years and years to come. I told her that was fine so long as it was boy-space-friends we talked about.

Next new word of the day came from Z's doctor who told me that she was suffering from an exossification. And, although I am not a doctor I do know quite a bit of Latin, enough to know that this is another way of saying "a bone that sticks out." But when you have spent so many years in school, it is nice to have another way to say things to show how much you have learned.

Which is why, as a creative writing major, I've learned to say things like onomatopoeia instead of saying "hey that words sounds like the thing to which it is referring." BOOOOOOM!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Punless

I was feeling a little out of it last night, so I think I might have missed any puns that my church history teacher threw out there. I am, however, looking forward to the middle ages because I think the term "flying buttress" deserves several pun mentions.

There was one little interchange that made me laugh, though. Our professor was pointing out that Ireneaus (I totally butchered the spelling there, I think... point is, he is a good guy) made an argument against the gnostics (the bad guys) that was essentially the same as the one the Catholics made against Martin Luther. This upset many people in the class (I'm sure this was on purpose, as the professor was trying to get people to think through the church's and Luther's predicament).

One student said, "Martin Luther was smarter than the average bear."

To which my professor replied, "See, I don't get that. Because bears aren't very smart."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dent May And His Magnificent Ukulele

You guys know I am a music snob. And I think you will agree that I rarely steer you wrong when I talk about great music you should Go. Listen. To. Now.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce you to Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele. His debut album comes out next week and you, me and everybody ought to buy it.

Until that great day, please enjoy this video of the song, "Oh, Paris!"



I know what you're thinking... how is that Matt is so far ahead of the cultural curve? How does he find these things? He rips them off from Paste, that's how.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Alas, Poor New Mexico

As you no doubt recall, we at the Burning Hearts Revolution care deeply about the people of disenfranchised locations around the globe. In fact, one of our Great Campaigns Against Injustice was enormously successful, causing all the poet laureate-less states of the Union to receive their own unofficial laureates. In response, Washington even created an official position. Yay.

But one of those tragically under-loved states was New Mexico. And though the letters of adoration have been pouring in from the maligned people of New Mexico, profusely thanking me for crowning Kasey Martin the New Mexico State Laureate, I have learned of yet another problem facing our beleaguered friends in the Newest portion of Mexico. They need a new governor.

So, I contacted some of my friends in Hollywood to see what I could do. And I am proud to say that one of them has answered the call... our good friend, Val Kilmer. Yes, the voice of KITT from the new Knight Rider. If you're looking for a governor, he's your huckleberry.

That's all I got.

Friday, January 23, 2009

On the way to the video store

A: Dad, did you see that Beebah?

Me: What is a Beebah?

A: That's what I call a store that I think is a video store but when I look at it more carefully I realize that it actually isn't.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

Quite a while back I interviewed a guy named Dan Merchant for the Wittenburg Door. Dan made a documentary and wrote a book called Lord Save Us From Your Followers. Dan was immensely generous, spending part of an afternoon hanging out and answering all the questions I could come up with.

If you've not seen the film, it's about Dan's quest to find an answer to a simple question, "Why is the gospel of love dividing America?" So, like any sane man would do he set out to find answers: he dressed in a jump suit covered in contradictory bumper stickers; he held a “reverse confessional” at the gay Pride Northwest event, apologizing for Christian behavior toward homosexuals; he set up a “family feud” style game show pitting the atheists and Christians against one another; and he traveled the country asking people like Al Franken, Tony Compolo, Rick Santorum, Michael Reagan and people on the street, “Why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?”

Dan is selling DVD copies of the film on his website for a limited time. He's in talks with some distributors, so this is a limited time offer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Baby Mikalatos On the Way


Krista and I are pleased to make our "official" announcement that Krista is pregnant. She's about ten weeks along, and you can see a picture of the baby above.

The bright white spot in the center of the baby's body is the heart beat, which was a strong 165 beats per minute at our appointment. The baby was moving around during the ultrasound, too, which was a beautiful moment. We both cried when we saw the baby and heard the heartbeat.

The baby should be joining us as a detachable person around August 13th. Z and A are thrilled and have been coming up with a bevy of names. Z picks names like "Gracey" and A picks names like "Lightbulb."

So, get ready world, one more Mikalatos is on the way! We figure seven months is plenty of warning.

Inauguration Day LIVE

Whomever you voted for, today's the day you get a new President to treat respectfully, pray for and support. Hulu is providing a live feed... so I thought I'd bring it to you, too.

EDIT: Didn't realize that there was a commercial on the front end of the feed and that there really wasn't an easy way to turn the thing off if you *didn't* want to watch the inauguration. So here's a link to the live feed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Did She Break Up With U?

The nice thing about G-mail is the advertisements targeted toward... me! I was surprised to see the title at the top of the page that said "Did She Break Up With U?" The "U" gave it that sad text-message look. The name of the website revealed that they could help me get my ex-girlfriend back! Years too late, of course, for me and for her (and her and her and her... good grief, did they all break up with me?)

The tagline for the advertisement said,
Stop Searching For Sad Love Songs. Get Her Back Now With These 6 Tips.

Now I was laughing out loud. Some pour schmuck got broken up with and is searching for sad songs on the internet and now some Evil Genius is going to try to GET MONEY OFF HIM while he's down. KICK HIM, KICK HIM WHILE HE'S DOWN!

I couldn't take it. I had to click on the link and hear the sales pitch. And here's what I heard (sales pitch in blue, followed by my thoughts):

"MEN ONLY: Learn How to Get Your
Girlfriend Back Into Your Arms — Even

If Your Situation Seems Hopeless..."

Awwww, how sweet! He just wants to get her back in his arms. He's surfing the net, looking for sad songs and thinking, "If only I could get her back in my arms." This nameless guy is starting to just make me sad.

If you've broken up with your girl and have tried everything to get her back... yet failed, then this FREE report will be the most valuable thing you read all year.

This is a pretty bold promise. More important than the directions on my tax return? More important than the booklet that tells me which transmission fluid to put in my car? More important than the words upon my barbecue that teach me how to insert the gas container without blowing myself up? I am suddenly looking forward to my FREE report!

Inside you'll discover...

  • The 2 "tricks" you must never try with your ex (these will push her away to the point of no return)
Oooh! I know this one! The first trick is the Pick Up A Skanky Girl at a Party and Flaunt Her In Front of Your Ex to Make Her Jealous. Rarely works. And the second trick is the Drunken, Blubbering Phone Call Saying I Love You Forever Come Back to Me Baby. This one only works if you time it for when she, also, is drunk.
  • How many days does it take to get a girl back? Finally, a straight answer you can live with
Twelve days, three hours, fourteen minutes.
  • Are you still friends with your ex? Discover exactly what you stand to gain (and lose) with this arrangement
Gain: A friend. Lose: a friend.
  • The slight change in your approach that leaves her begging to be with you (this is so simple yet all guys overlook it)
All guys overlook it. Hmmm. Must be... memorizing scenes from Pride and Prejudice. That's all I can come up with.
  • Why the pain you're feeling right now is killing your chances of getting her back (and how to turn it off like a light switch)
It's not the pain killing your chances of getting her back, it's your incessant sobbing whenever she is around. You're a downer, man. It's like watching a marathon of Russian movies. One is okay, but it has to be every time with you. Be a sitcom for ten minutes.

How to turn it off like a light switch: cigarettes.
  • The 1 thing you must never tell a girl after a breakup... find out if you've already made this mistake and how to correct it before it's too late...
The one thing I must never tell a girl is... uhhhhh. Crap. I have no idea. I was dating you to get close to your sister? I bet that would wreck things. As for correcting it, I find a simple Just Kidding! does the trick (best said immediately after the sister comment).

Send for this FREE report now... simply enter your First Name and a valid Email Address below, then click the ‘FREE Instant Access’ button and this report will be sent to your inbox immediately...

Wait a minute... this whole thing is free? Hold on. This sounds like a trick. Is this website run by ex-girlfriends? Is this a cruel hoax? Poor sad Ex-Boyfriend. Must she use him so terribly?

I HATE spam with a passion - your Email address will never be shared with anyone else.

Wow. You feel strongly about spam. Good for you. I wonder though, what if my ex were to write you and ask if I had been trying to get back together and she lost my email address... would you share it with her? Because that would be okay.

To Your Relationship,
Dr. George Karanastasis

Karanastasis? KARANASTASIS? It aaaaaaaaaall makes sense now. Dr. K is Greek. Like me. Wily Dr. Karanastasis.

Here's my guess: Dr. K's girlfriend broke up with him. He applied his superior intellect to figuring out how to get her back. He realized that gifts and kind comments would only push her away. His best bet was to become an online relationship guru so that women would always be saying things like, "I wish my boyfriend would listen to Dr. K." Then Dr. K's (ex) girlfriend would hear about it and be, like, "Hey, Dr. K used to be my boyfriend" and she would call him up and say Hey do you want to get together for coffee.

No, he would say, my own pamphlets suggest it would be an unwise boundary to cross. Should I risk my heart being broken again for one cup of steaming java?

Fine, she will say, let's get married then, and you can take me out for a cup of coffee in Hawaii on our Honeymoon.

Play it cool, thinks Dr. K, and he does, and pretty soon they are in Maui, married, musing over mochas.

You really are an expert, Dr. K. Well done, sir, well done.

Recycled Humor

In our house, when something needs to be recycled, it is placed on the end of the counter to await my manly hands, which take it out to the garage, place it upon the floor, squash it with my feet, then place it in the appropriately colored recycling container.

Yesterday I took hold of a milk carton and two egg cartons. I took them to the garage. I squished the milk carton and placed it in the plastic recycling. I stacked the egg cartons on top of one another, leapt into the air and landed on the cardboard, waiting for the familiar fffffp sound of compressed cardboard, but being greeted instead with a definite CRACK. The crack of an... eggshell?

Indeed, it was the crack of an eggshell. One lone egg had remained in the discarded carton. I cleaned up and told Krista about it. She apologized, having forgotten to warn me about this. I told her, "I guess the yolk's on me."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Bible As Fiction (?)

I'm currently taking a class on Ecclesiastes at Western. The teachers are my Hebrew teacher and the pastor from my church. The class is split in two... during the first hour my Hebrew professor walks us through the Hebrew exegesis, and in the second hour my pastor talks about how to present these things to your congregation.

One of the interesting things that we talked about this week is that Ecclesiastes may not have been written by Solomon. It seems reasonably clear that there is a "frame narrator" (i.e. someone who wrote the first and last chunks of the book, which refer to the main voice of the book in the third person). There are a wide variety of opinions on this question, and there are respected evangelical voices on both the pro- and anti-Solomon authorship question.

My professor thinks it was probably Solomon, but he said that the Hebrew style and vocabulary is a good argument for it being written later. He thinks that maybe it was edited at a later day to make the language more accessible to a later audience. He admits that this is a dangerous assertion.

What interests me is that *if* Solomon is not the author and some later wisdom author wrote Ecclesiastes, then what we have here is a work of fiction. I don't think this impacts its canonicity or its truth. I believe that some fictional accounts have more truth in them than historical accounts. It is interesting to consider, though. If the genre of fiction is something that God chose to use in the scriptures (and I think there may be other places we could argue that this is the case) then it introduces an interesting point into questions about the role of fiction and story in spiritual instruction. Of course, Jesus told parables which could easily fit the definition of fiction (although some have argued that they were his actual life experiences), but they are short, quick little stories. Ecclesiastes is on another scale entirely.

Tremper Longman III has an interesting discussion of the "genre" of Ecclesiastes in his commentary (required for our class) in which he compares Ecclesiastes with ancient Akkadian "ficitonal autobiographies", meaning biographies in first person written about famous people by someone other than those famous people. It appears to fit pretty well.

So, anyway, I'm mulling all this over today. I know this wasn't a fully detailed explanation of all the reasoning behind why Solomon may not be the author of Ecclesiastes, but what I'm more interested in for now is this question... did God use fiction at all in the scriptures? What do you think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Song from the Autumn Film


I once played a piano... from Dann Stockton on Vimeo.

P.S. I am not a stalker. Stop saying that!

Listen to the new Fiction Family album for FREE

Fiction Family has put up the entirety of their new album on Rhapsody so you can listen to it for free.

The album releases January 20th. In the meantime you can download When She's Near on Fiction Family's website.

Billboard recently ran an article on Fiction Family, too, and you can see that here.

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Thirty-Six: In First Class)

Dedicated to the woman next to me, who had been up drinking with her work friends until three in the morning before trying to sober up enough to get to the airport by five. Although she was talking to me, I count this as eavesdropping because she never really stopped talking long enough for me to say anything.

Lady: -- and I didn't used to be very Green, but now I'm really serious about it. So I made a New Year's Resolution to say from now on I am going to live a completely Green lifestyle.

By doing things like riding in First Class... one of the least Green way to travel. I mean, she could have traveled alone by F-15 I guess if she wanted to be less Green.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Well Played, United Airlines, Well Played

Up until today, I have been dominating in my Red Carpet game that I play against United Airlines. It's the game in which I attempt to put at least one foot on the first class' red carpet when I check in.

Well, today I got upgraded to First Class. I walked up to the attendant and handed her my ticket and she said, "I'm not boarding you yet, sir." I thought maybe I had misheard her earlier and she was only boarding global service members. So I walked back and waited. But then she started boarding the main cabin. I walked down the red carpet and she said "SIR, YOU NEED TO WALK DOWN THE OTHER LANE."

"But I'm flying first class," I said.

"My apologies," she said.

But I knew the truth. She was punishing me for touching the red carpet when I wasn't allowed to by tarnishing my red carpet experience when it was my right.

Touche, United Airlines. Well done.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Classy

Here's a sign at the restaurant I had lunch in today:

MEN: NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE.

WOMEN: NO SHIRT, FREE DRINKS.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

When She's Near -- Fiction Family

On February 4th Krista and I will be going to see Fiction Family in concert in Portland. Here's their first video:


Fiction Family - When She's Near from ATO Records on Vimeo.

Summer project training

I'm on my way this morning to Daytona Beach for summer project leader's training. This is for all the people leading a, uh, summer project. Which is why we came up with the utilitarian name "Summer Project Leader's Training."

I have nothing more to say about that...

Nothing unusual has happened at the airport this morning which is, in itself, something unusual. Don't worry, I am keeping my eyes open for a cadre of clowns or something along those lines.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Whopper Sacrifice

Burger King has had my favorite fast food advertisements ever since "Big Huckin' Chicken." He was big and so... spicy!

Now BK has released a Facebook app called WHOPPER SACRIFICE. For every ten of your facebook friends you "unfriend", BK will give you a free Whopper. It's hilarious.

via Laughing Squid

Friday, January 09, 2009

I have a new text message

I received a text message today from a stranger. He had a 360 area code, which is my area code. Here is our text conversation in its entirety.

360: R u a chick

Me: Are you a rhinoceros?

360: Am a guy. I am 19.

Me: I am a happily married man. How did you get this number?

360: Just started txting randum peaps!. Do you have any friends that r girls or any on ur contacts that i can have?

360: U receive text

360: U receive previous text

I wanted to write back to ask how successful the cold call "R u a chick" technique was working for him, but I didn't have time.

Minneapolis: How It Went at TCX 08

Some of you have been wondering how our time in Minneapolis went, and why I haven't really given an update about that. I was, in fact, waiting for the talks to go online so I could put a link to them. You can listen to the talks here.

I've also included this photo montage, to give you an idea of what it's like to see me in action:

"I'd like to welcome you all here because I am a friendly guy. Ha ha ha!"
"Now get SERIOUS! We are looking at the Bible. Stop laughing. I mean it."
"If you can't be serious. You can just leave. No, really. You there in the back. Stop goofing around or I swear I will bring you up on this stage and shave a bald spot on your head."
"Stop crying. I warned you that I would do this. Wow, this is hard work. I'm getting tired."
"Now, let's get back to my speech. I -- *yawn* -- wow, it's a lot harder shaving heads than I thought. I -- Zzzzzz."

"*Snort* Wha-- where am -- oh, yeah. In conclusion, I know that many of you have never been to the Northwest and don't know what a beaver looks like. They look like this. Just imagine I am holding a stick. This is my impersonation of an earnest beaver. Okay, that's all I have. Thank you very much."









Thursday, January 08, 2009

An Open Letter to the Parking Enforcement Guy at the Vancouver Court Jury Overflow Parking

Dear Sir,

In response to the soggy yellow piece of paper you left wadded up into the rain-slicked door handle of my truck, allow me a moment to respond, point-by-point to your assertions.

Firstly, regarding your statement PERMIT PARKING ONLY [FUTURE VIOLATIONS MAY RESULT IN TOW], allow me to say that I have a permit, which renders your paranthetical nigh nonsensical. How can I have FUTURE violations when I have neither present nor past violations? I take this to mean that you suspect I am the sort of person who, although legally parked today, may one day in the future turn to... Evil Parking. I daresay this is a rather rude way to start our aquaintence, and I assure you that I am not the sort to lightly violate parking rules. Else, what would our society become? One vast parking lot, I daresay.

Secondly, in response to your comment PUBLIC PARKING LOCATED ON THE 1ST FLOOR AT PARKING METERS, I thank you. This is helpful knowledge for the future when I am--for some reason now unimaginable to me--at the Vancouver Courthouse for some event at which I need public parking. As for today, I had hoped to park here, in the Jury Overflow Parking because I am, you see, on jury duty and--as you no doubt would have noticed had you seen me--I am overflowing.

Thirdly, I must take issue with your comment NO PERMIT. Here it is on the dashboard. PARKING PERMIT it says. PLACE ON DASHBOARD it says. FOR DESIGNATED JUROR PARKING LOTS it says. But perhaps you are trying to tell me that you don't have a permit? It's true that your paucity of words makes interpretation flexible. I suppose you might be saying something deep and profound, perhaps you are saying that there is no permission sufficient for our human inability to treat one another with the kindness and respect that is deserved. I really must ask for greater clarity and a sentence rather than a fragment made of two words clinging to one another without the comforting glow of context to keep them warm.

And lastly, concerning the hastily scrawled post-script NOTICE LARGE SIGN'S. I do, in fact, notice the signs which say that this is JURY OVERFLOW PARKING. And here, on my dashboard I have a Jury Parking Permit. Thus, the sign seems to say to me, you belong here. This is an unexpected kindness coming from you, as the beginning of your note seemed cruel and even capricious. Now, for you to tell me to look at the signs, the ones all around me that are telling me that I am in the right place at the right time, that I am, in fact, doing all that I should be doing in life, that I am--for once!--precisely where I should be... well, sir, it causes me to feel satisfied and deeply grateful for the reminder that I am a needed, important, essential part of the universe. I will say that the possessive apostrophe on the word "SIGN'S" puzzled me at first, but now I am certain you were telling me to notice the large sign's message.

Thank you, dear sir, for taking the time to leave such a kind and warm-hearted message on my door.

Sincerely,

Matt "Permit # 141934" Mikalatos

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Church History Puns

I just started a church history class tonight. My professor is young (meaning he is not ancient) and also one of those Ridiculously Intelligent Geniuses Who Cannot Be Touched (meaning he is smarter than me).

I kept noticing throughout his lecture today that there were these little puns thrown in every once in a while. But he never cracked a smile. I laughed once, but no one else did, so I was wondering... is this some sort of test? Is this how he entertains the other 98% of his brain while the 2% is lecturing?

I know, you think they are probably just those accidental puns that happen sometimes. The kind where you say "no pun intended" and everyone laughs and you say, "No, really." But c'mon. You have to see these puns to believe them. Here are my two favorites:

1) Talking about the earliest church that has been found (it's in a cave) he aid, "This was a rocky time for the church."

2) Talking about the similarities between pagan and Christian art in the first couple of centuries after Christ he said, "There are common artisitic practices that I would draw on."

So come on... tell me the truth. Do you think those puns are intentional or accidental?

Monday, January 05, 2009

ALL AMERICAN

Krista is in California this week for a seminary class. Which means the kids only need to get their clothing approved by me. Which means a modesty check, not a style check. Z came prancing through the house wearing a shirt which declared --

Z: ALL AMERICAN GIRL! (Pause) Except that I was born in Seattle.

Me: Seattle is in America.

Z: YAY! ALL AMERICAN GIRL!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ecclesiastes 10:1

Our pastor John taught a great sermon this morning about Ecclesiastes 10:1, which says, "As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor." He walked us through a series of great observations about how sin works, why "little sins" matter and the strategy used by our opposition to turn little sins into big ones.

It was a sermon that was not only insightful, but fun to listen to as John spent the whole time taking apart one simple metaphor and showing just how deep and profound it is if you take the time to meditate on it.

As a result, I spent some time online tonight hunting down one of the books John mentioned tonight, and I'm pleased to say that thanks to the generous Amazon gifting of my parents, a copy of Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges is winging its way to my house even as we speak.

And, since you can never buy just one book online (HOW WILL I GET FREE SHIPPING?) I also bought a copy of Patrick Michael Finn's A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich. Patrick and I went to university together. He was always a better writer than me, as I'm sure is evidenced in this novella. He was, in fact, working on this while we were at school together, which just shows how carefully he works his stories over and over until they are perfect. But now that respectable sin of mild jealousy is showing up as I discuss this so I better quit. Ha ha. Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading Patrick's book, too.

I don't think John's talk is up yet, but when it is it will be here.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Disarming Questions

A couple of you have written to ask where you can buy a copy of the most recent issue of Discipleship Journal, which has my article "Disarming Questions" in it.

And here is where you can do just that.

Sharing is nice

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