Monday, June 30, 2008
Oh yeah, and I also fought this pirate
This guy kept getting in my face and giving me trouble during my time in Costa Rica. You can see that I started off by giving him a warning glare. He kept coming up to me and saying "Soy cual soy" and then he would laugh his strange little laugh.
So I popped him one, and he took a swing at me. I kept rotating to stay on his blind side and he kept throwing these wild punches. Then I knocked his hat off, and he pulled my cardigan down so that my arms were pinned and he kicked me over and over in the stomach, but then I used my powerful abs to grab onto his foot when he kicked me, and then I flexed my abs and he flew over backwards and into a table of diners.
I tore my arms out of my cardigan and then leapt up high into the air, smashing the table he had been lying on into splinters. Then he ran like a tiny mouse, and I stood upon the hill and shook my fist at him, crying out, "RUN TINY PIRATE, RUN! RETURN NOT UNTO MY RESTAURANT LEST YE PAY IN THY BLOOD!" I could hear him crying like a little baby.
Costa Rica Stint team
Rex, the bi-lingual wonder dog
This is Rex. He is Carlos and Tatiana's dog. They've taught him to respond to English commands, and he understands Spanish, too. That's right. Even the dogs in other countries speak two languages. Plus Dog Language.
News from my Previous Neighborhoods
I thought I should back up my thesis that "all neighborhoods are created equal" by sharing about some of my previous neighborhoods:
1) The "Alicante" house in California. My favorite character would be Steve, the neighbor who had been shot in the head during an armed robbery at a liquor store. His mind never worked quite right after that, and he would come over to our house for rambling speeches about the types of ants in his yard or to ask us to change the lightbulbs. One strange thing about Steve was that he had an unerring ability to pick out movies I liked. I mean, I went to every movie he ever suggested and they were always excellent. It was strange and amazing. At the same time, he got permanently banned from the local Safeway for saying weird things to the workers there.
2) Our first apartment in California. Notable moments in our apartment neighborhood would include:
a) Neoma, the woman who worked in the office, calling to ask, "Is your stool running?" Took a while to translate that one.
b) The handyman coming to fix our gas fireplace, turning it on and, when the flames came to life declaring, "Instant sex." That was a favorite phrase of mine for some time to come.
c) Krista waking in the night to hear someone breaking into our truck, followed by me coming to the window and shouting (in my best scary southerner accent) "YOU BETTER RUN BECAUSE I AM COMING AFTER YOU!" The kid was so scared he dropped his very nice flashlight, which I think is still around here somewhere.
3) Our apartment in Seattle was just above a veterinarian who specialized in optometry. "The Animal Eye Clinic" it was called. Little one-eyed dogs made their way in and out of our building all day. Across the street lived the mysterious "Junk For Drugs" people, so named because I would stand on our futon and watch the strange, late night dealings in which they would take junk from people and the people would leave happy. And of course my good friends "THE DEATH SQUAD"... a gang of pre-pubescent anarchists who would throw garbage cans in the street and yell ANARCHYYYYYYY!
4) Our apartment in Asia had more interesting tales than can be boiled down into one paragraph, but let me just say that I sometimes popped popcorn before standing in front of the windows and just watching the passers-by. I will briefly mention "Tex"... the American ex-pat who claimed to have grown up in a Hispanic section of LA but mispronounced the word "flan" and, as near as we could tell, was on the run from the law. He used to wander around our courtyard drunk and yell at his wife (or his pet dog, when he got one of those later). I also loved the game, "Guess What Business Will Go In Here." That's when a shop closes and a new one comes in a week or so later. I never got it right, and was startled when one day they completely razed an entire city block across the street from us. Supposedly this would one day become a subway, but for the rest of our time there it was a field of weeds.
Which brings me to the conclusion that every neighborhood is strange and wonderful and filled with people of infinite variety and comical delights. Unless -- and I cannot deny that this may be the case -- I am a "magnet for the weird."
Now I have to go look out the front window and see what is going on out there. Maybe I'll pop some popcorn first.
Matt Mikalatos, Gourmond of San Jose
The first thing I wanted to do when Carlos picked me up at the airport in Costa Rica was get some food. Carlos asked what I wanted to eat and I said "COSTA RICAN FOOD!" I'm sure Carlos was disappointed, because he really loves Italian and seafood. But I don't think either of us were disappointed in this lovely meal seen above. I can't even remember what this was called... I want to say caballos. I also had some guanabana con leche, which was good, but I forgot that I prefer it without the leche.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Me, the Devil, and the Virgin Mary
Then, last Monday, as my friend Carlos took me on a tour toward the airport, I noticed this car:
A little closer and you can see why I found this so humorous:
"The Virgin Mary: Made in Japan." Lovely. Carlos pulled up close to the bumper so I could get a good picture.
Friday, June 27, 2008
The Dolphin: A Story By Z
Here's a story she wrote a couple of days ago:
The dolphinOnce there was a very poor man. His name was Jim. He didn't have a house. One day he went
for a walk by the beach. Suddenly, a rainbow-colored dolphin jumped out of the water. It flew
over to Jim! Suddenly Jim found himself on a throne! With $50,000,000! Jim was never poor
Spontaneous Praise and the Macadamia Nut
On the way to Costa Rica last week I pulled out the little bag of macadamia nuts I had brought for the trip.
As I carefully savored each one I started to realize once again how spectacularly good macadamia nuts really are.
And I started to say, "Mmmmm. Macadamia nuts are the best nuts of all. So salty. And the fat content is high, and they are smooth and creamy."
I suddenly realized I was actually praying, telling Jesus about how great macadamia nuts are. So I said, thanks for macadamia nuts. I think the fact that they exist show that you are a good God and care about us.
Which seemed a little goofy at the time, but I'm guessing I should be goofy in that way more often.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
News from My Neighborhood
Monday, June 23, 2008
Guest Blog: I Wish...
At the airport in San Jose
However, I did see advertisements here for the Indiana Jones spicy hamburger, which has a picture of Indy with a look of uncomprehending horror looking at a burger which has fire coming out of it. I think that might be worth a shot. Also, McDonald's is selling "Beijing Burgers" in honor of the Olympics, which I am curious to see. No idea what that might be.
I will report back tomorrow sometime. Feel free to enjoy your ordinary boring burgers while experiment with these strange beasties.
Guest Blog: If I were in Charge of Mondays
Enjoy your summer break, Z! Today is your first Monday of summer!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Guest Blog: Who I'll Take to the Barn Dance
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Guest Blog: If I Woke Up a Tree Frog
If you think about this, it's actually a pretty profound statement. If you wake up as some sort of animal it is likely that Walt Disney either had something to do with it or can turn you back.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Guest Blog: If I Could Have Any Kind of Dog
Guest Blog: Things I'm Afraid Of
Not in Portland anymore, Toto
1) The first thing I saw when I got off the plane was a FOX NEWS store. FOX NEWS t-shirts, magazines, etc. I think we might have had one of these in Portland, but then the people of Portland burst in, tossed over the tables and threw molotov cocktails into the center of the store, and a Powell's Book Store rose from the ashes.
2) Christian t-shirts. I've seen about fourteen people wearing Christian t-shirts this morning, which is easily twice as many as I've seen in Portland in the last four years.
3) I had something for breakfast called a "Chicken Biscuit." It's a foreign food, but satisfying.
4) You have to pay for the internet.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Be always vigilant of your surroundings
1) Right when we pulled up and my friend Brian dropped me off (we were right in the middle of discussing our theology class) we watched as a small white car backed slowly into the new Mercedes behind it. It was a love tap, at best, but the Mercedes guy leapt out, checked his car for damage, and failing to find any, still went and yelled (screamed, maybe) at the person from the other car. I'm sure his anger helps in business or something, but what a lousy life, worrying about your car so much that you yell at people when nothing happened. Relax, pal! Looking back on it I realize that he hadn't dropped anyone off, and seemed to be waiting at the drop off point. That's weird. I wonder what his story was.
2) I noticed tonight that the wording on the looped announcement inside the airport is strange. It says "Be always vigilant." A little awkward, right? Why not, "Always be vigilant"? It's going to bother me now.
3) While I was talking to Krista on the phone some guy walked up and asked if he could use my cell phone when I was done. I told him that wouldn't be a problem, but that it might be a while. He said okay and then walked off and hasn't come back.
"Be always vigilant of your surroundings." The announcement just came on again. Why the inverted wording? It's going to drive me crazy. I probably won't be able to sleep on the plane because I'll just be wondering about it. It's probably Yoda's fault. Stupid little Jedi. Shaking my fist at Yoda, I am!
In the meantime, I'm working on being always vigilant... watching all these regular people here at the airport, so eccentric when pulled out of their contexts and placed on my blog. Good night, my fellow revolutionists. Good night, Angry Mercedes Man. Good night, Guy Who Needs a Phone and Would Like to Use Mine. Sleep well, wherever you are, and wherever you are flying to tonight.
Be always safe in your travels.
Z's first post will go up tomorrow morning, and there will be at least one post from her each day I'm out of town.
I know you will enjoy them. She's a talented, interesting little person.
And, since I know that my second daughter, A, will see this and want a chance to put something on the blog, I'm sure you'll see a little something from her in the next couple of weeks as well.
Finally... someone whose politics we can agree with
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Cheeta Needs Your Help
As you know, I often feel sorry for rich people and famous animals.
That's why I think it is well worth your time to go help Cheeta (Tarzan's strangely named chimpanzee sidekick) to get a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
I think it is only right that Cheeta have his name on the filthy sidewalks of Hollywood where the drunks and drug dealers and prostitutes and occasional lost tourist can look down and say, "Hey, I think they misspelled this animal's name!"
Go sign the petition here.
If you don't Godzilla will be angry. “Ha ha ha…I’m just kidding, Godzilla doesn't care what humans do!” Also, he already has a Hollywood Star.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The fine folk over at BuyTalkingJesus would like you to buy-- for just twenty dollars-- a talking Jesus doll that gives you a "direct connection" with Jesus. Talking Jesus says things really close to the Bible, like, "Love others as much as you love yourself." Your kids will just love to see what Jesus says to Ken and Barbie! Be sure to watch the commercial!
Also available, Talking King David with Scrawny Legs and Big Noggin (pictured at left). Via Boing Boing.
Spam From Heaven
Fellow revolutionist Ken writes in to encourage everyone to check out the You've Been Left Behind post-rapture e-mail service. For a $40 annual fee, a cabal of savvy Christian programmers will host your post-rapture messages to loved ones. If they don't throw the "dead man's switch" every six days* an e-mail will go out to all your loved ones that says, "Remember when I told you about the Rapture and you laughed? Guess where I am now?" And the name "You've Been Left Behind" will gently remind them who was right about that one. I've left a message with the "You've Been Left Behind" website to tell them that I don't trust the emails will go out without a human at the computer, and that I sincerely hope they will hire a couple of pagans to come check and make sure everything works correctly once I fly into the sky.
*Now we know what "the button" was that Desmond kept pushing on the Dharma Initiative's Island.
The Further Adventures of Samson and Goliath
From the people who brought you Talking Jesus comes SPIRIT WARRIORS! These great action figures (pictured at right) are two of the greatest warriors in the Bible... Samson and Goliath! The only thing they are lacking is a media tie-in. I will provide one!
NARRATOR: Once mighty heroes upon the Earth, the dead warriors Samson and Goliath are sent back to fight at one another's side... for justice!
SAMSON: Are those two men trying to steal a car? I will tie their tails together with burning torches!
GOLIATH: Hold, Samson! Perhaps it is their own car, but they have locked the keys within the vehicle.
SAMSON: Do you think I'm blind? I have two eyes, Goliath.
GOLIATH: I thought the Philistines poked them out.
SAMSON: Wretched Philistines!
GOLIATH: Watch it, shorty. I'm a Philistine.
SAMSON: I forgot. Wait, there's an army massing over there to do evil. Let's go kill them.
GOLIATH: But first let's taunt them for weeks on end.
SAMSON: Ha ha! Yes, and I will give them an obscure riddle based on my own life that they will never be able to figure out... unless I fold to the pressure of a pretty girl and she tells them all about it.
GOLIATH: Ho, ho, ho. You are so weak!
SAMSON (under his breath): At least I didn't get killed by a little boy.
GOLIATH (angry): At least I didn't die a blind and straggly-haired slave!
SAMSON: Let's not fight, Goliath. Let's focus on the things we can agree on.
GOLIATH: Like what?
SAMSON: You know... there is one thing we both love.
GOLIATH (scratching head): Spears?
SAMSON: Something softer...
GOLIATH (rubbing chin): Swords?
GOLIATH (holding up his shield arm): Shields?
GOLIATH: Oh! I know!
SAMSON AND GOLIATH: Philistine women!
(Cue Music and Credits as Samson and Goliath slap each other on the back in a good-natured way.)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Women In Ministry
A: What are you reading, Dad?
Me: It's called Two Views on Women In Ministry. It's for one of my classes.
A: What's it about?
Me: Some people disagree about what jobs women are allowed to have at church. In this book different people share about what they think is allowed.
A: Why don't they just ask their pastors?
* As you all know, I hate puns. I suppose if you cut off the entire left side of every pun they would be all right.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The Sort of Thing Krista and I Talk About When We're Out on a Date (paraphrased)
Me: On the other hand there was a lot more to eat here.
Krista: I don't know. I'm sure there was plenty of food in the Bay Area, too.
Me: You know, the Native Americans near Mount Diablo lived on acorns.
Krista: I wasn't talking about back when there was nothing. I'm talking about something more like thirty years ago.
Me: Oh. I guess there would have been restaurants then.
Krista: The Natives in the Bay Area lived on boiled bark and acorn mash. The Natives here lived on salmon and berries.
Me: Yeah. It would have been better to live up here.
Friday, June 13, 2008
In retrospect, the man in the middle of the road with a chainsaw might have been an omen of bad things to come
We've both been reading Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road" this week... I just finished and the Omnivore is about fifty pages from the end. It's the story of a father and son walking through a shattered earth after what appears to be nuclear winter sets in. It's spare, disturbing, full of a strange sort of hope and great reading. We talked about that for a while. There are a lot of scenes of pushing your cart along abandoned highways. Many of the events of our evening would remind us of The Road.
We picked up the couch, which was longer than the Suburban. It's a couch that's big enough to fit a man, his wife and five children comfortably, with room to grow. Which means it has to be moved in and out of houses that have no corners.
Anyway, we got the couch moved in to their new place, packed up his wife and kids and they went to drop me off again in Vancouver. We drove down 84 west for a couple of miles and then stopped. The traffic wasn't moving at all. A fire truck and ambulance came zipping by on the shoulder. An hour passed and still no movement. A few people got out of their cars and hiked ahead to see what was going on. After a long, long, time a soccer coach came running back along the highway, telling people, "Everyone is turning around." People started to turn their cars around and drive east on the shoulder of the highway. So we turned the Suburban around, only to discover that the eastbound "shoulder lane" was now gridlocked as well. We were in one of those rare situations where the westbound freeway is gridlocked going both west and east.
Eventually things cleared up and we managed to get off the highway. A cop had blocked a highway entrance so we could exit the highway.
Our thirty minute drive to drop me off became a two-and-a-half hour time of living in a Suburban together.
All in all, it wasn't terrible. I learned some new games for the car, and we told a lot of terrible jokes. And how often do you see a man with a chainsaw on the highway and then get to drive down a highway the wrong direction? For me, it was a once in a lifetime event.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Chuck Norris
There is no 'ctrl' button on Chuck Norris's computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.
Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.
Chuck Norris has volunteered to remain on earth after the Rapture; he will spend his time fighting the Anti-Christ.
They were going to release a Chuck Norris edition of Clue, but the answer always turns out to be "Chuck Norris. In The Library. With a Roundhouse Kick.
Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.
Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Summer Is Here
I've only had a chance to listen to it a couple of times at this point, but overall I like it, and a couple of songs are great. I particularly like "A Mirror is Harder to Hold." So many of the songs on the other EPs seemed to be about dysfunction and loss in relationships, it's nice to have one that is about trying to keep it together. And I like the almost mariachi style music. It's a fun song.
You can hear clips from the song for free at the link above, and can buy the album there or on iTunes.
Other things I like about summer: The sparrows fighting at the bird feeder, the flowers in bloom, the trees adding inches every few days, the way the sky wears every blue it can find with darker shades all the way past ten.
Jon Foreman's "A Mirror Is Harder to Hold" (lyrics)
A Mirror Is Harder to Hold
You could stay a while longer
We could stay up and talk about last summer
We could go down to the water, watch the sunset goin’ under
Its not that I’m a stranger to lonely moments
I’ve had my share of those
Please don’t go please don’t leave me alone
A mirror is so much harder to hold
I could try to point a finger
But the glass points in my direction
Sure you’ve got your sharp edges but my wounds are from my own reflection
You’ve got nothing I could ever hold against you
Ive got fatal flaws to call my own
Please don’t go, please don’t leave me alone
A mirror’s so much harder to hold
I met a man who was looking for perfection
Said he’d never met a girl who was good enough
His eyes are getting old like they’d love to love again
Such a lonely man
Such a lonely man
I see him in my reflection taking steps toward me these days
So I hold you that much closer and pray we don’t throw this away
It’s not that I’m a man who couldn’t love you
I know what these arms are for
Please don’t go please don’t leave me alone
A mirror’s so much harder to hold
A mirror’s so much harder to hold
Please don’t go please, don’t leave me cold
A mirror’s so much harder to hold
Further Evidence: Best. Wife. Ever.
1) Last night, Krista watched The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters with me. It's a documentary about two guys battling it out to see who can have the world's highest score in Donkey Kong. Not her first choice in movie.
2) Krista is going to be out of town next week, and she suggested that I eat "tater tots with melted cheese and salsa on top" all week. Great idea!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Best. Wife. Ever.
Books are my "love language" (although most people don't include this on official love language lists, the fact remains).
Especially when it is a book like this one.
You know this is a good book because I can flip it open randomly and find lines like these:
"Acid in the face is no fun."
"Can it, for God's sake, Johnny. You're not a punk yet."
"Listen, you cheap grifter! Keep your paws down, see! Tinhorns are dust to me! Dangle!"
The book: Raymond Chandler's "Pickup On Noon Street." I can't find an image of the cover online, so guess I'll have to scan it in for you later.
80 bucks worth of Karma
I handed back the hundred and said, "I think you gave me too much."
"WHOA! That's awesome, man. Awesome. Thanks for doing that. Wow. Awesome." He then said something unintelligible about one of his fellow employees not putting money into the cash register correctly.
Then he looked at me and said, "You've got some good karma coming your way."
So I guess I have eighty bucks worth of good karma "coming my way." The check's in the mail. And I didn't even do a *good* thing, I just didn't do an evil thing.
So what can you get for eighty bucks worth of karma? And who writes the checks? For the record, Karma, I don't believe in you... don't know if you're as spiteful as Santa Claus and will therefore not fill my stockings with oranges, but I've heard you're just some mechanistic force, so if you exist feel free to make the check payable to MATT MIKALATOS. You can email me for the address.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Here's a picture of me and Krista at the wedding of our friends, Joe and Shannon. It was a great wedding, and thoroughly enjoyable.
I wore a suit.
Which caused a lot of commotion everywhere we went.
At church a gentleman approached me and said, "So, do you just dress 'down' when you preach?" I didn't wear a suit last week.
Krista had pointed this out as well. The guy sitting next to me in church asked about it, too.
A couple of people at the wedding said they hadn't recognized me because I was in a suit.
So I thought I should post this picture here so that you, my friends, could see what I look like in a suit so that you will recognize me should I happen to wear one sometime in the future.
I would also like to say that my wife and I are well suited for one another. And that Joe and Shannon are also well suited to one another.
And here is a picture that you can go see, where the gravity of my enormous head causes Joe Smith to spiral out of control. He tries to escape my gravity... but he can't!
Krista has posted more pictures of the blessed day at her blog.
Eavesdropping With Matt (episode twenty)
Little Girl: Mom, when I get married, will I be beautiful?
I just want to say, kid, that you're beautiful already. And I hope your mom told you the same exact thing as the cart rumbled out of my earshot.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Rad Street Art
I told A, "Your sister really waits to the last minute, doesn't she?"
After a minute I started to wonder what had happened to her, as I thought I heard strange sobbing noises. I walked to the kids' bathroom, but she wasn't there. Well, I thought, I suppose she might have gone to my bathroom... which shows she is thinking ahead, but not really being thoughtful.
But she wasn't there either.
So I went downstairs, where I could definitely hear sobbing, to discover her standing in front of Krista, who had a bloody paper towel in one hand. Z had actually shouted, "MY TOOTH IS COMING OUT!" Which made more sense.
The tooth has yet to come out. Z won't let me touch it. She seemed to think the miscommunication was funny, and we all had a good laugh. It's easy to forget how hard it is to talk with only half the teeth a grownup has.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
News From My Neighborhood
And Keep the Old. The youngest Ukranian girl next door has been coming over pretty much every day to hang out with A and Z. She's rapidly becoming a family favorite as she entertains the girls and is a pleasant young lady. Krista was invited into the neighbor's house for tea today as a result, somehow, of the deeper relationship between our kids. Nice to be making a deeper connection. Of course I forgot the Mother's name today (I called her "Nadia"). Krista laughed and told me that I was making a mistake in assuming that every Slavic woman was named Nadia.
One Is Silver. If you recall the silver car that kept getting marked by the police... well, that roommate moved out from across the street, so her car is gone now.
And the Other is Gold. I don't really have anything to say about gold. Um. Hmmmm. The compost pile has a giant weed with yellow flowers growing over the top of it. But I wouldn't call that news, precisely.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Now we're on the National Review website
For those of you stopping by for the first time... well, we're not really a poetry website. And Michelle won the contest to become Poet Laureate, but it wasn't via voting. I gave her the unofficial title because the people of Arizona don't have an official poet laureate, so I took the authority upon myself.
Fox News Covers the Burning Hearts Revolution
Apparently someone in Tennessee asked John McCain if he could name the Poet Laureate of Arizona. But, as Fox News rightly points out, the only Poet Laureate of Arizona is the one that we crowned here at BHR during the First Annual Poet Laureate contest. You may remember Michelle Lawrence. And you may remember the contest, where we "unofficially" awarded poets laureate to each state of the union which lacked laureates.
Which just goes to show you that reading BHR prepares you to be a better presidential candidate.
I'll send a note to the McCain Campaign to see if they would like to make a comment.
In the meantime, here's a reminder of the winners of the contest, and links to their poems and bios:
Arizona: Michelle Lawrence Down Reflection
Massachusetts: Eva Ting Open Casket
Missouri: Rob E You Must Be Misstaken
New Jersey: Jill James Puberty
New Mexico: Kasey Martin Spun
Ohio: T.M. Baird The Flock
Pennsylvania: Adam Struble What Crazed Eyes Have Already Seen
Washington: Alexis Youngs I Used to Love My State of Origin But Now I Have My Doubts
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Washington now has an official poet laureate. Sorry, Alexis. But I suppose you can still be the unofficial one. You may recall the time that I sent Governor Gregoire an email telling her about our silly little contest. She never responded to my email. I guess she was too busy getting an official laureate. Hee hee heeeeee!
Monday, June 02, 2008
A link to my latest talk
Here's a link to download the talk: A Divine Invitation.
And, in case you missed it, here's the talk I gave at Village just after Easter: Hope for a Dying World.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
His year inside radical Islam
Daveed's story is fascinating and well written. He walks through his own history, going from a young man interested in social justice to a Muslim of the most conservative kind over the course of about a year. As he gets deeper into Islam he finds himself working for an organization that is (unbeknownst to him) funneling money to terrorists.
I won't give away more than that, but I was particularly intrigued by Gartenstein-Ross' description of what it's like to be an American college student looking for answers about who God is and how one can know him.
Pick up a copy, you'll enjoy reading it, I think.