Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And now, A word from our Sponsor(s)

I am very pleased to announce that the Omnivore Digest has signed on as one of the proud sponsors of the First Annual "I Want To Be Poet Laureate" competition.

The word they would like to share: Hair-product.

Yes, I also think that the hyphen is a bit of a cheat and that they really took two words, but they are the only sponsor we have, so we can give them a little leeway.

Theology with My Daughter

A: Daddy, my teacher said that when Jesus comes back there won't be any night. Is that right?

Matt: Yeah, that's right. There won't be any night, because Jesus will be the light. We won't even need the sun. Isn't that weird?

(She thinks about this for a while.)

A: Is it because of his legs?

Matt: What?

A: Is it so bright because of his legs?

Matt: I don't understand.

A: Are his legs so white that it makes it so we don't need any sun?

Where does this come from? I don't know.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Thirteen...spooky)

Dedicated to the worker at Hollywood Video, who had dressed in black and then wrapped a black t-shirt around his face. He then--in front of his co-workers who were dressed as a witch and a wedge of cheese--attempted to do an ill-advised flip behind the counter and landed on his ninja rump.


Cheese: That was almost awesome! Ha ha ha!

Ninja: Shut up!

Witch: Do it again!

Ninja: Shut up!

Cheese: You better watch it or we'll both get a shuriken to the forehead!

Witch: Ha ha haaa!

Footnotes are Fun

For the third week in a row there's a new devotional over on gnwstinters.blogspot.com.

Future guest devo-writers (confirmed) include:

Ralph Cooley
Krista Mikalatos

Future guest devo-writers (unconfirmed):

Billy Graham
Jurgen Moltmann

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hints to Win the I Want To Be Poet Laureate Contest

Hint #1: Please remember that I am sending the winning poems on to the governors of the respective states. Poems with names like "Why I Will Beat the Jelly Beans Out of Partisan Politicians" are not likely to make a positive impression in many states. Now, unlike a regular poet laureate, the governor can ignore you completely. But still, that means the subject matter of your poems does matter a little bit. I'm not saying that it can't be political, I'm just saying, remember, you will be the representative of poetry for your state. One or possibly two children will look up to you as an example of the Poet.

Hint #2: If you do not either include or e-mail me your name and a way to contact you, I can guarantee that you will lose the competetion. Even if you have the best poem out of all of them. I don't care if your name is William Carlos Williams, you will not win if you don't give me a way to contact you.

P.S. William Carlos Williams, if you would like to enter the competition, I prefer that you give me an e-mail address. I have a thing about not doing seances or using necromancers or other practicioners of the dark arts. I know this is probably inconvenient, what with you being dead and all, but then, you had your shot at being a laureate, didn't you? And you never served your term, Mister. So it's e-mail for you, Will. Gracias.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Here are a couple of real-life products.

I particularly like the statuette where Jesus is playing basketball with the kids. "Try and get it, kids! C'mon, you can do it... or did I create you too short? Ha ha ha! Jump higher, come on!"

Note to the BHR community: Unless you have the gift of healing, please don't play soccer in your sandals.

In that last one I am not sure why they didn't go all the way and give Jesus a helmet and football uniform. He seems to be playing on the yellow team, but it's hard to say, what with the white robe. And really, to be theologically correct, I am guessing that kid on the other side might be a Christian, too, so there should be a second Jesus over there (?). It sure is confusing when God gets involved in sports.

Whew. Okay. Let me pause and wipe the tears from my eyes. Those are pretty funny. For some reason the baseball one didn't seem that funny. I can dig that, Jesus teaching some kid how to play baseball. Sure. But playing a cruel game of keep away is spectacularly great.

Then we have this swell footgear. Now, when I first saw it I laughed pretty hard. But as I am reflecting on it, I am starting to like it. I am thinking I might go see if these are still available somewhere. I have totally been brainwashed! I don't know how they did it. I must admit that I still laugh imagining the wearer of these flip-flops as the main character in the "Footprints" poem. "I noticed in the hardest moments in my life there was only one set of footprints... and that it no longer said 'Jesus loves you' in the sand."

There's more where this came from. Laugh or be creeped out. Or start shopping. The choice is yours.

The Subject of My E-mail is "Other"

I sent Governor Gregoire an e-mail tonight telling her about the First Annual Poet Laureate Contest. Here's the e-mail:

"Dear Mrs. Gregoire:

First of all, thank you for governing our fair state. I will say that overall I am pleased with the priorities and direction of the state and am proud to live in Washington, even though my friends in Portland make a big deal about driving “all the way to another state” to see me in Vancouver.

I am also pleased to know that education is such a high priority to you and your administration. I taught American literature once-upon-a-time, so education is important to me.

I noticed recently that Oregon, after a ten-year hiatus, announced Lawson Inada their new poet laureate. This got me to thinking, and I went off to research who the Washington poet laureate might be, only to discover that we are one of ten states that does not have an official state poet.

Knowing how busy you and all the other governors are, I decided it would be fun to put together a poetry contest and invite people to become the unofficial poets laureate of the poet-less states. I guess you could say this is my own way of “Moving Washington Forward!”

You can see the contest rules and so on at this website: http://mikalatos.blogspot.com/2006/10/annual-i-want-to-be-poet-laureate.html

I apologize that I won’t be providing a professional poet with lots of publication history to be poet laureate. I may not, in fact, even be delivering a Washingtonian to be poet laureate. But I figured an amateur poet laureate from another state was better than no poet laureate at all.

I will send you a letter when the contest is over, introducing you to our new, unofficial poet laureate. If you would like to send them a note, an autographed picture or a poem of your own we would be extremely grateful. And don’t worry! I am glad to keep holding the contest once a year until we have an official poet laureate. In the meantime, if there is anything you would like to communicate to the contest participants, I would be happy to pass on your thoughts.


Matt Mikalatos

p.s. Please give my regards to the First Gentleman."

Of course you all will be the first to know if she (or, of course, a staff person) writes back. As I surfed the Washington state website, I couldn't help but think that Governor Gregoire and her husband ("The First Mike" they call him on the website) seem like fun people to hang out with. Who knows? Maybe she will want a photo shoot with the new poet laureate and I can tag along for kicks. I tried to put a photo up so you could see the first family, but it didn't work, so you'll have to follow the links. They look fun, don't they? I think they will understand the spirit of our contest. Hey, maybe one of them will enter!

Latest Hebrew Score


That's right, kids. 90%!


Get Smarter Now: Seminary Quotes

I have this great theology teacher who is immensely intelligent, has a deep love of both God and people and, inexplicably, is also Funny. I've been taking notes on some of the funny things he says, and since we just took our midterm in that class, I thought it was time to share the wealth. So, every Monday night I get to hang out, learn about God and laugh heartily at sayings like the following:

1. Don’t read your Bible. It’s corrosive to your faith and it messes up your prophecy conferences.

2. One of my least favorite things is fundamentalism.

3. If Jesus returns, put your exam in the recycle bin. Not in the trash, because Jesus cares about that.

4. They asked me my opinion. That was a mistake. Because I gave it to them.

5. Martin Luther was probably bi-polar. If he were around today we would put him on meds and the reformation would have never happened.

6. ‘Nuke ‘em for Jesus’ doesn’t ring quite true for me.

This is a fun class, and the guy is a great teacher. His name is Gerry Breshears. I told my wife, "I would be happy if, when I die, someone writes, 'Matt was like a dumb version of Gerry Breshears' on my tombstone."

New Devo

Continuing our stellar line-up of devotional providers at gnwstinters, our newest devotional is brought to us by none other than Carolyn Culbertson. Don't miss this rare internet post by one of our most elusive and insightful spiritual leaders.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And now off to homework

Okay, I really am going to go do my homework. The kids are in bed now, and K is at class for another hour.

Before I went, though, I thought I'd let you know that I've decided to enter this contest. I've already written the first third or so of my novel, and I only need the first three chapters for the contest, plus a synopsis. I have a month to get ready, so you may get asked to read my chapters and give feedback if you have the time!

First prize is, of course, publication.

But homework first, right? Right, chum! To the Mattcave! dudududududududududu MATTMAN!





Take that, homework!

Latest Hebrew Score:


I'm slowly getting the hang of it. Midterm is next week, though! Yikes!

In other news, I'm off to the Switchfoot concert with Krista tomorrow night (and Shannon and Joe).

Anyway, got to go put my kids in bed, study, etc. Don't worry, I'll be back to prolific blogging soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Here are the FAQs for the "I want to be poet laureate" contest:

What is a poet laureate?
I could give you a long explanation, but instead I’ll give you the wikipedia entry on poets laureate.

Is this a joke?
Are you laughing?

Can I submit previously published poems?
So long as you are not contractually obligated to give them exclusive rights, sure.

Can I submit more than one poem?
How about one per state. That means you can submit a maximum of ten poems.

Can I submit someone else’s poem?
Nope. Especially if you put your name on it.

Do I have to give you my contact information?
Only if you want to win. If I don't have your contact information, I can't get ahold of you. If I can't get ahold of you, I can't send you your victory junk. I won't be able to e-mail you for your address. I will just have to address the envelope to: "Winner of the Poet Laureate Contest." This will make me bitter and confuse the post office. So... no contact information = you are not the poet we seek.

Will I be the "official" poet laureate?
Well, that depends on how you look at it. None of these states currently have “official” programs to select poets laureate… but you will be the “only” poet laureate for that state. And I will print you up a nice certificate. That seems awfully official to me. I mean, all I got for graduating college was a certificate and a square hat.

I don’t want to submit my poem in the comments section because I figure you have creepy stalker-types on your site. Can I send my poem via e-mail?
Hey, pretty soon you might be poet laureate, so you should get used to being treated like royalty. So send your poems via e-mail to Matt.Mikalatos(at)gmail.com.

I have an extremely poetic sensibility and must send my poems only by snail mail, written by hand. What should I do?
No problem. E-mail me at Matt.Mikalatos(at)gmail.com and I’ll reply with my address.

May I send my entry using my psychic powers?

Can I send bribes or lots of money to guarantee my spot as a poet laureate?
If you have lots of money you are clearly not a poet. Go away, this contest is not for you.

Do the poems have to be about one of the ten States represented in the competition?
No. They can be about anything you like (always remembering not to include porn, gore or gratuitious violence, cursing or poems about golf).

Can I use the word "Y" (where Y = some word that is potentially offensive but is not "on the list" of offensive words)?
Of course you can use that word. But you may not use it in the poems you submit to this contest.

What's the catch?
No catch, so long as you want to enter a poetry contest that pays nothing, gives silly prizes and a letter of introduction from a nobody blogger to a government official.

How frequently are these Frequently Asked Questions being asked?
More often than I ever realized was possible. I thought that three of my friends would send in some silly limmericks, and then you guys had to get all serious and turn this into an actual contest. Now I get questions all the time. Questions, questions, questions! Stop writing questions and start writing poems! Or write your questions in the form of a poem.

A 3-year-old's praise song (by my daughter, A)

The Holy Spirit fills the whole world
like a bird
with wings
there are wings everywhere
and also white refrigerators
and rainbows
and it's all so beautiful.

English Lessons

Z: I'm firsty.

Me: You're "firsty"? I think you're "thirsty."

Z: Yes, I'm firsty.

Me: Th, th, th, thirsty.

Z: Firsty.

Me: You have to stick your tongue between your teeth, like this: Th, th, th.

Z: Th, th, th, thfirsty. Firsty.

Me: I'll get you a drink.

Monday, October 16, 2006

new Devotional

I've put a new devotional up on the gnwstinters site. It's from my boss, Keith Bubalo. Alpha Dog himself! One of the greatest things about my job is having people like Keith Bubalo and Chip Scivicque as my bosses. In addition to teaching me a lot about what it means to be a godly person, they make me feel that the name Mikalatos falls into the "normal and easy to spell" category. Take a look!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our Third Child

When you’re about to have a baby, a lot of things change in life. You start rearranging the furniture in the house, at least mentally. You find yourself saying things like, “If we moved the office downstairs, the current office could be the nursery” or “If it’s a boy we could paint this room another color.” You start getting serious about finding the maternity clothes in the garage. You explain to your kids how everything is going to change (“you’re going to be a big sister now!”), you alter your travel plans for the future.

At the same time, you’re rearranging things internally. You’re preparing a place for the new arrival in your heart, in your mental landscape. You think about what it will mean to be the parent of three (!) kids. You start thinking through what you will need to do to survive the sleepless nights to come, and weigh it out against the joy of having a baby in the house again. You start making space in your life for another human being, another essential, irreplaceable, intimate human connection.

And then, sometimes, things change. For us, it was having a miscarriage last week. I think, for me, the hardest part of a miscarriage is that all that space we made for this new little one now seems lonely and hollow and empty. The inconvenience of moving our office downstairs so that the baby could have a nursery now seems desirable. And the luxury of having an office in the house seems cheap.

I told Krista this week, “now you could go with me to Korea this summer” and she said, “I’d rather have a baby.” And I think that in a lot of ways, Krista’s reply sums it up. Having a baby requires giving up some freedom, and adding new responsibilities. But having that freedom returned to you is not worth what is lost.

How are we feeling? Good, terrible, fine, depressed, detached, guilty, sad, tired. The emotions are too complex and change too quickly to describe well. We’re okay. I found that this week I couldn’t work well or consistently, because I realized I was sitting there doing nothing. I regret never knowing my child.

I think it’s worse for Krista, of course. Her body went through obvious changes in preparation for giving birth and now it’s all going back to “normal”… and every day that’s a reminder of what has happened.

And in the midst of it all there’s the question of God. Or rather, not the question, as that’s something that Krista and I have both said. We’re certain of his presence, and of his goodness, his love, his peace. Honestly, I am too tired to come near to him, to spend time in the word, even to cry out to him. But I feel like, nevertheless, he is meeting with me. He’s sending friends with words of encouragement, or to pray. And I am reminded over and over that there is a day coming when all these things will be done away with. The human creature was not made for death, we’re not designed for loss. One day the King of Kings will rule and he will do away with death and injustice once and for all. So there’s hope and peace in the midst of it all.

In the meantime, we’d appreciate your prayers, if you think of it. And, of course, your questions and thoughts are welcome. We want to be open about the reality of being people living with the Christ in the “real world” and this is part of life for us right now. Thanks for your time and your friendship.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Annual "I Want To Be Poet Laureate" Poetry Contest-- tell your friends

Because the following states do not have poets laureate, I have decided that it is our right, nay, our duty, to create poets laureate of our own: Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

By the power invested in me by my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, I have decided to hold a poetry contest. The winner of the contest will receive the following:

1) An official document from moi, declaring you the poet laureate of the State division which you have won. Your term will last one year.

2) A letter sent to the governor of the State on official BHR letterhead, inviting them to give you money, accolades and public recognition, and perhaps even a ticker-tape parade.

3) TWO blog entries here at the BHR, one including your poem and one with a profile of yourself.

4) The everlasting respect of your friends, the envy of other would-be laureates and something to put on your resume.

5) If the poems are good enough, funny enough, endearing enough or plentious enough, maybe we'll throw together a little chapbook or something. No guarantees.

Here are the rules:

1) All entries must be received by midnight November 15th, one month and two days from today. That's right, it's a tight deadline. This is because poetry is a harsh mistress. Stop your whining and start your writing. Decisions shall be handed down and winners heralded from on high by December 1st.

2) You need not live in or have ever visited the State to which you are applying as laureate. You need not like the State. You need not know the State flower.

3) No porn or cursing, please. This is a family establishment.

4) To enter, merely paste your poem into the comments section of the State to which you are applying to rule as First and Enduring Poet Laureate (or send an e-mail to Matt.Mikalatos(at)gmail.com with the subject "poetry contest" and the name of the State you would like to represent). Be sure to include your name and an email address where you can be reached.

Here are the entry locations for each state:
New Jersey
New Mexico

Now, hop to it! May the muses give you wing'ed pens.



Would you like to preside as Chief Poet over the southern deserts?

Then kindly enter your poem(s) here.


NOTE: Hawaii does have a State Writer. So you will have to share your Glory and Prestige with them, I think.

But don't let that stop you from applying.


Governor Mitt Romney will be so pleased to have you as Poet. You can do it!


Michigan has been through a lot lately, what with all those troubles with the Emerald Ash Borer. So lift their spirits with the gift of poetry.


I used to live in the "Show Me State" so don't try to pull one over on me. You will have to do your research!

New Jersey

Give your dreams a chance.

New Mexico

"Commitment, hard work, efficiency, accountability: these are the elements in my approach to governing, and my strategy for success." —Governor Bill Richardson

These words can so readily apply to poetry, too. Just replace the word "governing" with "poetry."


So much to discover!


There are more than 1,800 historical markers in Pennsylvania. Surely they will be able to spare one for the New, First Ever Poet Laureate of Pennsylvania.


My own State! Betrayed! Shut out in everlasting darkness without the pleasure of State Endorsed Poets! Say it isn't so!

Make me proud.

The State of Washington Hates Poetry With a Deep and Undying Hatred, Deep as the Ocean, Undying as the Sea

Boy, you kids love poetry. And you are the most nationalistic (state-istic?) group I know. You've flooded my inbox with requests--nay, demands!-- to know the poet laureate of your own state.

So, here they are:

Alabama Sue Walker
Alaska Jerah Chadwick
Arkansas Peggy Vining
California Al Young
Connecticut Marilyn Nelson
Delaware Fleda Brown
Florida Edmund Skellings
Georgia David Bottoms
Idaho Kim Barnes
Illinois Kevin Stein
Indiana Joyce Brinkman
Iowa Robert Dana
Kansas Jonathan Holden
Kentucky Sena Jeter Naslund
Louisiana Brenda Marie Osbey
Maine Betsy Sholl
Maryland Michael S. Glaser
Mississippi Winifred Hamrick Farrar
Montana Sandra Alcosser
Nebraska William Kloefkorn
Nevada Norman Kaye
New Hampshire Patricia Fargnoli
New York Billy Collins
North Carolina Kathryn Stripling Byer
North Dakota Larry Woiwode
Oklahoma Francine Ringold
Oregon Lawson Fusao Inada
Rhode Island Tom Chandler
South Carolina Marjory Heath Wentworth
South Dakota David Allan Evans
Tennessee Margaret Britton Vaughn
Texas Alan Birkelbach
Utah Kenneth W. Brewer
Vermont Grace Paley
Virginia George Garrett
West Virginia Irene McKinney
Wisconsin Denise Sweet
Wyoming David Romtvedt

Or perhaps you are from one of the following laureate-less states: Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Washington. Quick! Write a poem and send it to the governor!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Poet Laureate (Oregon)

In February of this year, Governor Kulongowski appointed the first poet laureate in Oregon in the last ten years. His name is Lawson Inada, and he's an interesting and funny fellow. Krista and I watched a mini-documentary about him tonight. He's currently a professor at SOU in Ashland.

Here are Three poems by Lawson Inada. His sense of humor comes across quite clearly in these poems.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Heroes? I kind of doubt it.

WARNING: I am cranky and I worked at a comic book store for three years. I was destined to dislike "Heroes" by watching it tonight. Okay, now you can read on.

I just watched my first episode of "Heroes". It was okay. It should have been better. It's sort of about super heroes. Or rather, super-powered riff-raff who might one day become heroes. Here are a couple of the problems:

1) It's not about anything important. Oh yeah, the world is in danger, blah blah blah, New York City is going to blow up, blah blah blah. People are evolving to the next stage of human evolution. Yawn. Do we deal with the greater questions that might come up if humans really did suddenly have god-like powers? Nah. Do we (a la Lost) wrestle with huge questions of faith vs. science? Not really. We are too busy showing all the strippers, drug addicts and politicians who have super powers. Okay, we have a nice cheerleader also. And a comic-relief Japanese man with world class super powers. Ha ha, isn't he cute.

2) The bad guy appears to have a Jesus fixation. He's been murdering people all over the world with his telekinetic powers, after which he returns to his crappy apartment and writes "Forgive me Father I have sinned" all over the wall and draws crosses with Jesus' name. Again, yawn, yawn, yawn. Apparently we have a well-meaning Christian serial murderer.

3) I am so over the so-called "real world" super heroes. If you want to make something about the real world STOP WRITING ABOUT FREAKING SUPER HEROES. For crying out loud, people. Don't give me any of your lip about how in real life people get attacked by oversexed boys at high school bonfires and then fall down and die.

4) Emotionally flat. Flat like the second dimension. Flat like a soda left open for a week. Flat like a squirrel in it's third week on the highway pavement. This episode had: a drug addict being left by his girlfriend, a main character being attacked and killed, a woman telling her mother-in-law she wanted her out of her family's life, and a husband and wife apparently on the brink of divorce. Did we feel sad? Mortified? Shocked? Scared? Nope. We felt bored. BORED. The only real emotional response: Anger at the treatment of women in the show. Mild, jovial feelings about the Japanese comic-relief guy.

5) Jeph Loeb was writing. And I know he can do better. But it gives me a brief, shining glimmer of hope that it might be better in the future.

In conclusion: stick to LOST. Weird, insightful, moving, and about Important Things.

Stickin' it to the man... or, well, the telephone autodialer

Here's a trick that's good to know.

When you pick up the phone and say "hello" and no one answers, it's often because it's an auto-dialer for some big faceless corporation. If you say "hello" again you will soon hear the greetings returned by a poor telephone salesperson... and of course in the backround you will hear all of the rest of their co-workers, jammed into the room with them like chickens on a semi.

So, here's what I do. I say hello one time... ONE TIME, that's all you get. And then I hang up the phone. TAKE THAT! JUSTICE! JUUUUUUSTIIIIIIIICE!

Um. If you're my friend, though, you should just call back if I hang up on you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stop your jibber jabber!

Mr. T has a new "reali-T" show called "I Pity The Fool." From the video clips I would say that this is possibly the best reason to invest in cable television. I don't have cable, but maybe some kind person will put my name on the list of people who should be visited by Mr. T during his show.

You know, it's interesting how much life as a WSN director is like being a member of the A-Team. I can't even remember how many times I've said, "You ain't getting me on no plane, Bubalo." But then he knocks me out somehow (it's usually Dan "Face" Weidner that does it) and I wake up in some foreign country, and Chip Scivique is standing there smoking a cigar and saying, "I love it when a plan comes together."

And, as all the stint team leaders already know, Andy McCullough = Murdock.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Nativity

Here's a movie I'm actually excited about: The Nativity. It's written by Mike Rich (Finding Forrester and The Rookie), who is a believer from Portland and is also a great writer. Mary is played by Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider). It looks great. Here's the trailer!

My New Nephew

A little while back I received a very nice e-mail from my half-brother's ex-girlfriend (are you following all this?) saying that she and my brother had a son almost two years ago, which I did not know.

So, I am pleased to announce that I have my second nephew, E. Here's a picture of him and his Mom. Thanks for hunting us down and for bringing another wonderful child into our lives!

P.S. Sara (E's Mom) found me via the blog. Yet another reason that having a blog is good!
Thanks, Sara, and welcome to the family.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Philosophers

Here's a conversation my dad and I had with the children on our way through the parking lot. The children each had a balloon.

Dad: Don't let go of those balloons.

A: Why not?

Me: Because they will fly away forever.

A: Forever?

Z: Why forever?

Me: Because none of us can fly to go catch the balloon if it flies away.

Dad: Yeah, where's Superman when you need him?

Z: In our imaginations.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cingular drives customers to drink

Their new slogan: "More bars in more places."

This Week's Hebrew Quiz


Well, that's a sizeable increase over last week's 1%. And you know what that means... the quiz that I took today will probably be a 119%! WOW!