Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Christian Bumper Sticker, Luxury Car

At a nearby Christian school I read this bumper sticker on the back of a very nice vehicle:

"Don't let the car fool you, my treasure is really in Heaven."

Feel free to comment. I am still mute with wonder.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Migratory animals

Apparently the magnetic field leads birds directly over our house when they are migrating, because every day several hundred ducks and geese fly overhead while Z and I walk to her school in the morning.

We talk about this every morning.

A few days ago she had this to say:

Z: I'm glad cats don't migrate, because then every morning on the way to school we'd have to jump over them.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Harvest Time!

Last night was the "Harvest Party" at Village (our church). The kids asked me on the way home, "Dad, what's the meaning of Halloween?" Which is sort of like asking Donald Trump "What's so good about money?" So the kids got a half hour documentary on the meaning of Halloween on the ride home from church.

As you would expect, there were many special moments associated with the evening. Instead of breaking them up into multiple posts, I'll include them all below:

1) PRELUDE: Z picks what she will be for the party.

Z: Dad, guess what I am going to be for Halloween.

Me: I don't know, what?

Z: Supergirl!

Me: How did you choose Supergirl?

Z: Well, I just thought, "What could I be? A balloon? No! A crayon? No! Mom? No! It has to be Supergirl."

2) Our Princess, (A) shares her commentary on the strange social norms of those around us:

A was looking around at the party and noticing all the kids' costumes. She saw that someone had brought their baby and dressed them up as a pumpkin or something.

A: Look. Someone decorated their baby.

3) Co-worker Mike learns how we treat those who work with us.

Our good buddy Mike Krieg joined us at the party. We went to see the "illusionist" at the church and of course when volunteers were sought, Mike tried to get me to volunteer. But I didn't. And the magician chose Mike to come up front and get ropes tied around his neck as an example of sin being a sort of bondage in our lives. Two assistants then took hold of the rope on two sides and when the magician commanded they PULLED ON THE ROPE WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT and it fell off, harmless.

But it was a pretty scary moment for Mike. Ha ha. I'm so glad you came, Mike. :)

And of course there were other special moments, like hamster bowling (see below) and Pastor John wearing a crazy wig and taking orders for hot dogs.

A good time was had by all, I think.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Eighteen)

Dedicated to the kids at the Harvest Party, especially the ten-year-old boy who showed up thinking (like me) that the game called "Hamster Bowling" might be something different than it was.

Worker (holding up a purple ball with a live hamster in the middle and pointing down the "lane" to a pyramid of stacked cups): Who thinks the purple ball will win?

Kid: Me! Me! I get to go first!

Worker (holding up the blue plastic ball, which also has a hamster in it): Who thinks the blue ball will win?

Kid: Me! Me! Give me the ball!

Worker: You realize that you don't get to actually throw the hamster, right? We're going to let them roll down there themselves and knock the cups down.

Kid: WHAT? That's no fun!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How to Buy a Monkey

You may recall that before we were married, Krista told me that I could buy a monkey.

Alas, that dream is dead now.

But if I know the BHR readers, there are several of you out there still considering a primate for a pet. I came across this article today about how to buy a monkey and thought you would enjoy it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Seventeen)

Dedicated to the elderly gentleman sitting in the back seat of the minivan, knees together, eyes glued on the husband, wife and children standing out on the sidewalk talking to their friends.

Young Wife (to friends): I guess we better get going now. We need to get Grandpa to the bathroom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beef-eating trees

Here's a news report from Mangalore about a tree that snatches cows from the ground and then eats them. No, really.

via boingboing

This sucks

I read today that Tennyson McCarty from the Maze was found dead last week.

I saw Jim and Tennyson do their act last year at a leadership event we had back east. I loved the show and was really impressed with Jim and Tennyson, both their skills as illusionists and their passion to follow Jesus.

If you're the praying kind, please be praying for Tennyson's family and friends.

Here's a site where you can leave condolences or remembrances for Tennyson's family and friends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Roaring Lion Seeking to Devour

Tonight I went to a men's Bible study, and one of the things we talked about was how a husband/father is meant to protect his family. Protect them from a lot of things, but one of the main things being that you need to protect your family from sin and evil. To underline the point, the leader of the study showed us a video of a fox sneaking up on a family of geese and trying to run off with all the goslings. The geese went crazy and went after the fox, but it got away with one of the goslings. This, our leader pointed out, is what we are up against.

He talked to us, too, about how the people who wrote scripture had likely seen things like "roaring lions" in the wild, and when they said to protect the sheep from ravenous wolves, they knew what it looked like to see a wolf streaking through a flock and jumping at a sheep. And they knew that you didn't mess around with predators, you went after them.

He showed us a video of some lions attacking a herd of elephants, showing how the elephants protected their young by making a ring around them.

Anyway, the video made sense to me, and I think drove home to me how important it is to be protecting my family and everyone under my spiritual care. So I looked up a little video for all of you to enjoy. It's not a lion, it's a tiger. Or, as one of the commenters said, "One (heck) of a stripey lion."

It's a tiger attacking a man who is riding on an elephant. And it's pretty amazing. Remember that "roaring lion seeking who he may devour." Don't play games with lions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jesus on a Wheaties box

Trolling around the internet I came across the paintings of Dick Detzner. I found the paintings in his "Corporate Sacrilege" series interesting. He is, of course, intending to skewer Corporations and their religious fervor for products and product placement. Here's my favorite:

Of course, the pictures of sports heroes have never caused me to want to eat Wheaties. But Jesus is really a hero for me. If they put him on the Wheaties I would buy a box for sure. In the meantime, I guess I could buy this piece of original art for only $6,500, which would be a great deal if I had that kind of money. But, unlike a box of Wheaties, it would be inedible... and if I spent $6,500 on a piece of art, I would have to be able to eat it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Welcome to the Worldwide Wanderers

Longtime readers here at BHR know that every once in a while we like to greet the people who have wandered to our warm hearth from the cold and uncaring worldwide web.

So, first of all, I'd like to welcome everyone who came here looking for the Bond girl auditions. Please let us know how it goes.

Also, for the several people who are looking for the Billy Madison weasel laugh and somehow came to visit us, greetings!

Likewise, welcome to all the people looking for old friends, whether they are name Bourne, Gargamel or even McComas.

And lastly, dear friend who was seeking for an answer to the question "What to do when you are in love with two people" I would like to say this: hang in there. Drop us an email and we'll be glad to talk it out with you.

Meanwhile: I am in California right now. Unless you are a thief or robber. Then I am sitting behind my front door with a shotgun. A loaded one. And I had someone flick off the safety since I couldn't figure it out myself. I'm dangerous, you better watch it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mysterious Secrets of Womankind Revealed!!!

This morning I was helping our four-year-old daughter, A, get dressed. She decided to wear a "skort", that strange piece of clothing that is both a skirt and a pair of shorts. Is it a pair of skorts? Or just a skort? I don't know. Anyway, here's what A said to me this morning:

A: See, Dad, the front is a skirt, but in the back it's shorts! It's a skort!

Me: Why do they make it that way?

A: They make it that way to confuse you.

"The Princess and the Bear" by Z

Once upon a time there was a princess. She liked to play. One day she decided to take a walk in the woods.

What she did not know was that a bear was watching her. She walked deeped into the woods. Soon there was hardly any light.

The wolf jumped out from where it was hiding! But fortunately the princess had a knife. She threw the knife at the wolf.


"The Princess and the Bear"... commentary

I enjoyed Z's story above. I don't have time this morning, but you would find the pictures that go along with it enchanting. I am particularly fond of the happy, smiling bear in the woods and the knives with which the princess fights off the wolf.

I was a little suprised by the sudden appearance of the wolf.

Me: Z, what happend to the bear? It was watching the princess, and then suddenly a wolf sprang out at her.

Z: Oh, did I write "wolf" at the end? Hmm. It was supposed to be a bear. Well, actually, the wolf and the bear were working together. The bear was the lookout for the wolf, and he said 'The princess is coming, hide! Then we can catch her and share her.' The wolf would get to eat her, and the bear could have her dress to wear. The bear thought the dress was very pretty.

Me: Wow! This is a great story.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday Night

Sunday night our church's Hispanic fellowship had a big party for Dia de la Raza, and to celebrate they invited all the rest of us to come on down for the service and eat authentic Mexican food they had made.

As it turned out it was more than just Mexican food, too, as they had food from all over Central and South America, all made by women in our church. Piles of tamales, vats of pozole, trays full of tostadas and several things I had never seen before but which tasted spectacular.

Afterwards we went home and just laid down and thought about our meal. Mmmm. Sooo good.

And we met a lot of great people and hung out with a lot of friends while we were there. We met a man who had come from Mexico and he told us that when he was in Mexico he was hungry all the time and there hadn't been enough food to feed his family. But here, it's good.

Happy Dia de la Raza, everyone. And to all the Hispanic and Latino immigrants and citizens... I'm glad you're here. I know a lot of people say stupid, hurtful things, but I am thankful for you and your culture.

3:10 To Yuma

Saturday night Krista and I went to see "3:10 to Yuma".

It's the story of a broke rancher who, in a moment of desperation, agrees to help transport a psychotic outlaw from the town they are in to a nearby town to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. The rancher needs the money to keep his ranch. And of course the outlaw has a bloodthirsty gang eager to keep their boss from prison and the noose.

Krista and I both enjoyed this movie. Russell Crowe plays a character that is, perhaps, the most riveting and realistic portrayal of evil that I have ever seen in a movie. He's charismatic and enticing. Everyone wants to be with him or be like him. He's friendly and polite, even affable... but it's all punctuated by frightening moments of brutal violence. And there is a price to be paid for making friends with him.

Christian Bale also does a fine job as a man trying to do the right thing, to be a righteous man, when the whole world seems aligned against him. By the end of the movie, I think most sane viewers would see that he is the man to be emulated, not the outlaw.

Anyway, Krista and I talked about this movie for hours afterwards and the next day, too. It has deep themes of sin, redemption and the nature of man, and I think lends itself naturally to discussing spiritual things. It's a great movie to see with a friend and to discuss together.

I highly recommend it.

Rated R for violence and some language.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Further Evidence that Learning Definitions and Correct Terminology Matters

Here's a little story from when A and I were vacuuming the office.

A: Dad, the hooker is back here.

Me: I... what?

A: The hooker is behind the desk.

Me: I don't think I understand.

A (pointing): For the vacuum cleaner. The hooker!

Me: Honey, that's called an electrical outlet, not a hooker.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Joshua Tree pics

Joshua Tree

You may have noticed the new picture on the BHR banner. That's a picture that Krista took while we were in Joshua Tree National Park last month. I think Krista's a gifted photographer, and I really enjoy this particular photo.

The stark beauty of Joshua Tree hit me pretty hard. The night that K took the photo on the banner, we had hiked a short distance from the road and set up for sunset. The silence amazed me. An airplane flew by in the far distance, barely in sight, but I could hear it. I could hear the wind, the occasional sound of an insect, the click of Krista's camera.

I have never experienced a silence so profound and so encompassing as in Joshua Tree. When the wind settled I could hear nothing but Silence. I realized that silence is always there, beneath the noise, and for the first time I was in a place where I could hear it. The intensity of his presence in that moment was overwhelming. He, too, is always near us, but I often do not sense him beneath the noise of the world. Could anyone stand in a place of such beauty and silence and not sense him?

The sun caught in the branches of a tree. The tree flared into golden light, and was not consumed.

Poet Laureate of New Jersey In Action

You may remember Jill James, the triumphant winner of last year's Poet Laureate Competition for the state of New Jersey. I still remember her poem clearly. She's a gifted writer, and thinks carefully about the impact of her writing on the world around her. She sent me this note today:

hi matt how r u?

im the poet laureate of New Jersey, hope u remember!

i read that the position was eliminated in 2002 due to anti semetic remarks, which is ironic since i am jewish....

i've decided to do a project involving new jersey. I'm printing postcards, each with a photo i took and one paragraph of this short story im writing, and then i'm gonna send them all to prisoners in the new jersey prison system. Each person will have to trade with someone else in prison in order to find out what happens in the story......i think this will be a cool way of getting people interested in, they get mail, which might be nice if they're lonely in jail.....I might do something similar with poems and nursing homes.

hope u like my project!

Jill James

I'm really excited about the project. Jill is going to send some of her work on the project and I'll post it here!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This Little Piggy Had None

Tonight we had dinner at my Mom and Dad's house. I noticed a large bag of cookies on the counter afterwards and asked mom if the baked goods were for dessert or for her Bible study Wednesday night.

My daughter A came running over a few moments later.

A: Dad! I want some bacon for dessert!

Me: Well, you can ask grandma, but I don't know if she has any bacon.

A: Grandma, I want some bacon for dessert!

Me: Oh, wait... did you hear me say "baked goods"? I was talking about the cookies....

Nine Seconds of Awesome

This is a special post dedicated to Geoff Malgee, Andy Goolsby and all the fine lads and ladies headed to Australia on stint this year. Take careful note of the video to follow:

Tie me kangaroo down, sport. Tie me kangaroo down.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Customers Only

Now that Z can read, she has a lot more questions about the world. For instance, tonight at the pizza place I walked her back to the restroom where there was a sign that said "this restroom is for customers only."

Z: Dad, the restroom is for "customers only"?

Me: That's right.

Z: Why can't the people who work here use it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bird Brains

It appears that birds may be able to see the earth's magnetic field, using it to navigate as they travel.

Animals are cool.

I give us five years before the mag-field sunglasses come out. Awesome.

via boingboing

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Diet of Worms

When we cook spaghetti, I often call it "worms" for the kids' sake. But then this week I took my daughter A out to lunch and we ate spaghetti. She loved it. She was shoveling it in her mouth like crazy and she finally stopped, spaghetti hanging out of her mouth, looked up at me and said:

A: Dad, how do they catch all these worms?

Me: You realize that spaghetti is not actually made of worms, right?

A (giving me a disbelieving stare): Then how do they cook spaghetti?

I was tempted to tell her that it grows on trees, but I refrained. It made me wonder what other jokes I assume the kids understand but that instead give them a warped view of reality.