Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ninja + Roller Skates = HIGHWAY DANGER!

Stolen from Tokyo Mango!

Mikalatos Mention on McSweeney's

Some time ago I sent in some thoughts to McSweeney's "Convergences" contest. It was unclear to me whether the contest was still going... and as it turns out, mine was more of a meditation on a previously discussed theme than an original entry. But those swell folk over at McSweeney's went all crazy and mentioned my name anyhow. Here's the link, and below is the Mikalatos-specific content (which will look familiar to the BHR faithful).

Or, in another instance, remember the "Aftersquib to the Foregoing" (just before Contest Winner No. 18), how the rhyme between the image of a cross-channel swimmer being pulled onto the beach and a painting of Christ being lifted down from the Cross in turn provoked a whole slew of observations about paparazzi and the Passion

(not unlike those provoked by the Iwo Jima / Stations of the Cross and Beirut / El Greco analogies that immediately preceded that aftersquib)? Well, take a look at what correspondent Matt Mikalatos came up with in terms of the Passion of Peter Parker:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Banksy and the Grey Ghost

Every once in a while you stumble upon an epic of conflicting personalities of such scale that you hope that someone turns it into an opera... or at least a novel or a movie.

Such is the story of Banksy and the Grey Ghost. Banksy -- like any superhero -- keeps his identity secret. He's an artist who does public art. For instance, he climbed into the penguin enclosure at the London Zoo and painted a giant sign that said, "We're Bored of Fish."
(Also funny... he apparently convinced some people that his real name may be "Robin Banks." Ha ha.)

He also enjoys painting graffiti in New Orleans. With the 3-year anniversary of Katrina coming up, some of his work has appeared on the NO streets.

However, street artists across New Orleans watch in trepidation as the masked vigilante known as the Grey Ghost makes the rounds, covering over street art with gray paint. Banksy has thrown down the gauntlet, his recent art taking a shot at the Grey Ghost himself.

Meanwhile, the Grey Ghost is teaming with the city of New Orleans to battle the efforts of the group called NOLA Rising which is attempting to encourage beautification through street art.

I like the personalities at work here. The gifted artist who refuses to follow social norms, choosing to break the law although he could easily get his works in galleries... but doing it in such a spectacular way that you start to wonder why those laws exist. Meanwhile, the implacable Grey Ghost, without imagination, without appreciation, continues his crusade to remove the illegal art, replacing it with ugly, utilitarian grey paint, not even trying to match it to the colors of the buildings.

I look forward to seeing how this all plays out.

Keep Portland Weird

A common bumper sticker (I'm going to get one eventually) in this area says KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD. You might think that's just a silly slogan. But the video below from Weird America will show you that, yes, Portland is weird.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Switchfoot Studio Cam

You probably know this already, since half of you have become rabid Switchfoot fans that take pictures of Jon Foreman when the poor man is just trying to buy himself and enormous chocolate yogurt, but the band is working on their new album.

And they've decided to sometimes turn on the webcam while they're in the studio (see below). Yes, it's just like watching baby eagle chicks in the nest, my friends. Live. Day or Night. Pretty soon they are going to fly and you can say, "Hey, I remember when those little eaglets were just little gray fluffy fellas." Only now they are eagles.

Kids grow up fast.

Okay, it's not a perfect metaphor. Leave me alone, man, and just watch the studio cam.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Twenty-Eight)

Dedicated to the ancient and dessicated man in front of me at the grocery store yesterday, and to the plucky young checker-lady who waited on him.

Lady Checker: Do you need help getting out to your car?

Old Man: No. But I could use some help when I get home. Carrying in my groceries. And then opening a bottle of wine --

Lady Checker: ha ha ha--

Bagger (after the old man shuffles off): I am taking notes from that guy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Hold Back!

A few weeks ago, the kids and I "rabbit-sat" for a friend. When the friends returned home to find the rabbit alive--at least, it was alive when I last saw it, I swear--they showed up at our place with a gift certificate for ice cream.

So yesterday I took the kids out for a frozen treat. When we go out for a frozen treat we have one rule: The total volume of ice cream must be larger than the dimensions of our own heads.

Even if it means that we have to take a little sit-down break before we get to the end of the treat:

Yes, even if it means we will enter into some sort of treat-induced coma, we soldier on:

I am proud to say that--like ballpark seagulls--my kids managed to slide the entire mess into their gullets with a minimum of squawking.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

If you haven't run across Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, now's your chance. Poor Dr. Horrible. He's a second-tier super villain, constantly thwarted by a second-tier superhero. All he wants is to change the world for the better, preferably by ruling it together with the sweet girl he's fallen in love with at the local laundromat. But to do so he'll need to defeat Captain Hammer so he can join the Evil League of Evil.

And now you can watch his blog as he shares his thoughts and as he --yes -- sings about his deepest feelings.

I hate to admit this, but this little show lines up almost precisely with my sense of humor (other than a few sexual jokes as you get into acts two and three... so this isn't for the kiddies). The first act in particular gave me fits of laughter. Anyway, hope you enjoy it, and special thanks to Ken for forcing me to give it a try.

Anniversary Gifts

For our anniversary, Krista made me a "mix tape." Okay, I guess our society has evolved beyond mix tapes, but it was an Anniversary Playlist. In addition to proving that she knows me better than anyone, it is a great mix of songs. She bought several Weezer songs that remind us of Thailand, each other, and great rock songs of the past. The fact that she knew me well enough to know that I love Weezer but didn't have any of the songs she bought was impressive.

She also figured out (via our friends Kerri and Shasta) that I had expressed interest in the song "The Story" by Brandi Carlile during the Olympic commercial breaks. I love Carlile's voice, and I like the breadth of the song, how it moves from gentle love ballad to not-so-gentle rock ballad where you can tell that Carlile is putting every ounce of her self into getting those lyrics out over the music. I've included the lyrics in the post below. It's really a captivating song.

I actually cried when Krista gave me the mix. Partly because I am an old softy, I guess. And partly because she so perfectly expressed who she is and who she knows me to be in the songs she chose. I also liked the "High Fidelity" aspect of it.

We ended up liking the two Brandi Carlile songs on the mix so much that Krista went all crazy and bought the rest of the album last night. Good stuff.

Brandi Carlile -- The Story -- Lyrics

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Oh, because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do
I was made for you

You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No, they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what
I've been through like you do
And I was made for you...

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
Oh yeah, it's true that I was made for you

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bloggers, Monkeys and Burritos

Enough, already. I am fatigued by the incessant messages to my inbox demanding more monkeys on this blog. Some have begun to complain that there are too many, preferring that we instead discuss burritos and Mexican food in general. I love both these things, also, my dear friends, but how long can you clamor for both? I am merely a simple-minded blogger, not some cyber-servant for you to berate and confuse. I cannot meet all the demands put upon me by you, my internet audience.

Nevertheless, I will do my utmost to provide you with what you crave... nay, what you demand.

Click "Play" O Gentle Reader and have your deepest Burrito/Monkey cravings satisfied.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ten Years!

Dear Krista--

Happy Anniversary! Ten years ago today my life changed irrevocably for the better. Thank you for saying yes and becoming my wife.

I spent some time yesterday out shopping for Anniversary cards. The ones I saw were terrible. There are two extremes. On the one hand you have the "funny" cards, which tend to be not-so-funny. Like so:

Or you have the overly-verbose sappy ones scripted over a watercolor that you can't read to the end of. Like so:

I wanted something offbeat but loving, something that would remind you of me. Something that would show how I picture our future. Maybe something like this:

Okay, that's a little closer, but honestly, it's too silly to capture my true feelings for you. You deserve something more like you, something classy. Something like this:

I am thankful for the ten years we've shared together. Every year with you gets better. I love your passion for life, for God, for our children, for people in general -- that they would find life. I deeply respect your commitment to learning and how you do your absolute best in everything you put your hand to. I am amazed by your patience with the kids, and with me, too. I appreciate your insights and wisdom... I love our conversations. Your intelligence and breadth of knowledge make talking with you one of my favorite things in life. And I appreciate most of all your love for me, how you have taught me what it means to forgive, what it means to love someone more than myself, what it looks like to know without a doubt that someone is committed to you without question. I look forward to many, many more years to know you better, to love you more, and to learn how to treat you the way that you deserve. Happy Anniversary. I love you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mikalatos Dance Fever

One of the stint teams this week had a scavenger hunt in which they needed to see Mikalatos Dance Fever in action. I recruited some background dancers (you might recognize The Autumn Film... they have caught the fever).

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Twenty-Seven)

Dedicated to the family at the boarding area at Gate B 35, Dad, Mom and two boys, aged nine or ten.

Mom: Here, son, you can scratch off the lottery tickets.

Son: Great!

Mom: Be sure to read the directions.

Son: I already know how to do it!

Mom: When you're done with that you need to do your math homework.

DIA One, Mikalatos Zero

Clean Hair, Dirty Teeth. Believe it or not, the DIA TSA caught my illegal toothpaste. I found that the, "It has less than three ounces in the tube" argument to be ineffective. Well done, TSA, well done. This round goes to you. On the positive side, I've had no shampoo all week, because my hotel room came with hand lotion instead. Yesterday I got a little container of shampoo from another hotel. Clever. And Clean.

Mikalatos Standing By. My bus dropped me off early enough for me to have a chance to stand-by to get home early. I would love to get home early and see my beloved wife and kids. And our roommates, too.

Breakfast Burrito. Nothing makes me quite so happy as having a burrito at nine in the morning. Chicken burrito with guacamole, extra spicy. Mmmmmm. I love travel breakfast.

One more Sign

Nevertheless, I made it safely to the airport.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HUGE! Mikalatos spots a specimen of the world's largest organism in Colorado (yup, there's a picture)

The stand of trees shown at the top of this picture is a stand of aspens. Aspens grow as a stand of genetically identical trees... in fact, they're technically stems. If you look carefully at the picture above you can see a large swath of them fallen on the ground. It appears that this entire organism is sick or dying, and I'm told that when a large amount of them falls, it will only spread to the rest of the stand.
The largest known stand of aspen is nicknamed "Pando." I have decided to call the stand that I've discovered here, "The Matthew Mikalatos Explorer of the Year Award Aspen (Copper, Colorado)."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can't believe I missed it

Missing this wedding is the first time I've deeply regretted a travel conflict with my job. In addition to really really liking the bride and groom, a lot of good friends were at the wedding.

Krista has put up some great pictures at her site. The picture above is one of them.

Congratulations, Alexis and Jesse!

Yet Another Silly Sign from Colorado

"Two Great Locations To Wake Up At Copper." I am not sure what this means. I have not personally ever woken a location. Apparently both locations are Starbucks. Tomorrow morning I plan to burst into Starbucks and yell WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!

I am not sure what will happen, but I imagine it will involve the floor buckling and pipes reaching out of the ground like arms, lights flashing on and off and some sort of monstrous yawn.

This sign brought to you by the Men's Restroom Stalls of Copper Mountain.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

BHR News Roundup

I don't have any monkey news for you today, but I thought I would share these two stories:

1) DNA experts say, "This so-called Bigfoot DNA is totally fake!" Meanwhile, believers in Bigfoot say, "Shut up you stupid so-called experts!"

2) If a polar bear and a shark are both chasing you, try to turn them against each other. If that doesn't work, take your chances with the bear.

Another favorite sign

This one from the nearby town of Frisco:

If you can't read that last line, it's "fish curds"

Friday, August 15, 2008

My favorite sign at the conference so far

The theme of our conference this week is "Christ Alone." I was extremely pleased to see this sign on the side doors this morning:

Christ alone, please use other doors.

I'm pretty sure that he'll use whichever doors he pleases.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Words Fail Me

A friend who spends too many hours of the day trolling the internet for Hasselhoffia sent me this link... definitively answering the question, "Does David Hasselhoff know that he and Wisconsin are both known primarily for their cheesiness?"

Note, by the way, Hasselhoff's complete concession to Europe. He has had KITT modified to have the driver's seat on the right hand side.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


While cleaning out school papers, we found this story Z wrote.
"One day Clark Kent was walking home when a cat walked up. But when it put its ears back, Clark said, 'It's mad. I can see that it's mad.' Then he saw that it went to everyone.
When it got to him it purred and purred."

Where I'm At

This week is the "Global Briefing"... this is when we get together all of the new, one-year, overseas missionaries together for a week and spend time worshiping God together, providing training for their upcoming year, and making preparations for what is to come. We call our one-year folk "stinters."

I'll be blogging over at our blog for stinters this week. Feel free to drop by and hopefully I can provide at least a flavor of what the week looks like.

Shaping up to be a Grand Adventure

On my way to Colorado this fine morning, headed to Copper Mountain. As always, the Portland airport always provides me with early morning ramblings. Including:

1.5 ounces of extra toothpaste due to daring in-your-face security philosophy. I didn't have a 3 oz. toothpaste tube last night, so I brought a 4.5 ounce one, thinking I could bargain with security by explaining that I had already used some of the toothpaste and thus it might very well be that there were only 3 ounces in the tube. Apparently my logic was both self-evident and unassailable, for they didn't even pull the toothpaste aside to mention it to me. Excellent!

God Wills a return to the Alaska ticket counter. Someone whose name sounds a great deal like "God Wills" has been asked repeatedly to return to the AK ticket counter for a lost item. (Gott Wills? Not sure.) This creates an awkward feeling for all of us here at the airport as we are told repeatedly that God wills us to go to the ticket counter. I imagine the people working there are having a rough morning. Here's the conversation I had when I went to check on it:
"Can I help you, sir?"
"Yes. God willed me to come here and speak to you."
"I'm not sure what to say, sir?"
"He said there was an important left behind item."
"Like what, sir?"
"I'm not sure, He didn't say what it was. Hmmm. Could you look in lost and found and see if there's a largish gold box with cherubim on it? Should have long poles for carrying it, and some manna and the ten commandments inside it. Oh, and a stick with flowers on it."

Now All I Need is a Hymnal. I realized as I packed last night that I had left my Bible in Corvallis. Which meant searching for a back up Bible. I didn't want to take one of Krista's, because she needs all her Bibles at various times. So I went to our "book closet" where we store various unused but new books, often ones we received for free at some point. So I found a Giant Pew Bible (TNIV). Looks like I stole it right out of a church (but I didn't). Practically needs its own carry on!

My book for the plane today is "A Purple Place for Dying" by John MacDonald. I recently read my first MacDonald novel and now I... must... read... them... all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Honor of the New "Beverly Hills 90210" television show

You may not have known that 90210 is being retooled for a new generation. And so, in honor of this special new show I decided today to... shave off my sideburns.

Comments so far include:

"Goodbye, sideburns!" (the woman who cut my hair)
"Your head looks smaller." (Shasta)

I also had that special moment of terror that comes at least once when you are paying your "stylist" less than 15 bucks for a haircut, when my stylist reached for what looked like thinning scissors. Can't she see that my hair is thin enough already?

But it turned out that the tool in question was, in fact, a special razor for people who have a "forest of hair" growing on the back of their neck. The stylist spent several minutes logging in the forest, and then several more moving her hands back and forth across the newly shorn skin and commenting on how clean and great it felt now. I mentioned my wife several times to remind her that yes, I am married. Very happily married.

We can only hope that the new 90210 will have many moments like these. Hard to tell if I shaved off the sideburns prematurely, because apparently I am meant to grow my hair long and hang it over my sideburns. I'll work on it.

Nat, owner of the Peach Pit

Monday, August 11, 2008

How 'bout Them Apples?

As if to prove the inescapable power of cute little kids selling apples, here's a little clip of A and cousin J selling their apples this weekend:

We Play Pool

We left Z alone and she wandered off and started jumping off the high dive at the pool. Quite a surprise for our normally conservative Z! The fact that she did it without any prodding or encouragement for us was surprising. Good job, kid! She told me that she stands on the edge and thinks through how she wants to land, on which part of her body, and then drops off the edge. She loves it.

As soon as A heard the high dive was open, she went back into the pool. As you can see she walked right out the end, didn't really think about it and jumped off. This is pretty typical for A... fearless. I asked her if she was afraid and she said, "Not until after I jumped." She jumped twice, but isn't quite as sold as Z on this being a fun activity.

Here's Sunscreen In Your Eye

I got sunscreen in my eye today. Apparently it is an extremely aggravating type of sunscreen. It says on the instructions to wash your eye if you accidentally slather it on there. But by the time I made it to the bathroom, my eye was SPF 50. I'll never need sunglasses, I guess.

My eye burned for hours until the sunscreen somehow leaked down into my sinuses, causing a constantly weeping eye and running nostril. That's right, one nostril.

The weeping eye is sort of cool, like a super villain in a James Bond movie. The nostril, on the other hand, is like some sort of grotesque clown from a Jim Carey film.

Assuming that my eyeball falls out, I'll post pictures of my eye patch tomorrow. Please be kind and don't mention the weepy nostril.

Quite A Bargain

At the garage sale, Z needed to learn a few lessons. She, A, and their cousin J gathered some apples to sell to people. A marked her apples for fifty cents a bag, J marked his at a dollar a bag, and Z marked hers at two dollars a bag.

Z: I will charge two dollars a bag for my apples.

Me: Would you be willing to bargain?

Z: What does "bargain" mean?

Me: It means, you say two dollars and I say, "Would you be willing to accept one dollar and fifty cents?"

Z (pauses to think about this): I would rather you said, "Would you be willing to accept two dollars and fifty cents?"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Twenty-Six)

Dedicated to the fine folk of Drain, OR, and especially to Krista's Aunt Jan and whomever it was who was shopping the garage sale yesterday.

Jan: How is your garage sale-ing going?

Shopper: Great. I can't have fish in our pond because the raccoons eat them, but I bought some lilies for the pond.

Jan: The raccoons eat them, huh?

Shopper: Yes. We have some "live traps"... but did you know that if you take a racoon fifty miles away it will still get back to your house within a day.

Jan: They are pretty devoted to their territory.

Shopper: Yes. You can't kill them in town, you know, so we catch them in the live traps and take them out to "The Buzzard Buffet." (She makes a gun with her fingers and mimes shooting a raccoon.) That's why I say... it's a "live" trap.

How I Lost My First Tooth by A

One day -- well, a few days, I was going to be in Thailand and that's where I lost my first tooth. And that's what I'm here for, telling you the story of how I lost my first tooth. Y'know, everybody loses teeth. You might not lose one until you're in first grade. One day at dinner in Thailand, Dad and me decided to go to take out my very first loose tooth. So once he pulled it out I went out to show everybody and everybody was so excited and the the next night I put it under my pillow and the next morning I had a big surprise of joy and happiness. Because I had money under my pillow!


Video Games and Their Effect on.... your braaaaaaiiinss

While driving home from the Great Drain Garage Sale of ought eight, my kids decided they really wanted to play with their cousin J's Nintendo DS. J doesn't like to share it, so he came up with a good reason they shouldn't take turns.

J: You shouldn't play video games, because they make a storm in your brain.

Z: Then how come you play them all the time?

J: Because I like to.

A: Who even told you that it causes a storm in your brain?

J: My cousin K.

Z: How old is K?

J: He's six.

A: I don't think he even knows what he's talking about.

J: Yes, he does! He's really smart.

(This was met by a great deal of eye-rolling and snorting from my daughters.) Then we had a little tangent where I talked to the kids about if they had ever had a brain storm, but it's too long and involved for here.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Great Drain Garage Sale

Today was the big garage sale in Drain, when the whole town shows up to sell their wares and buy from one another. It's a great social experiment in which everyone moves their stuff from one house to another. We had a giant party at Krista's Grandma's house. My parents came down, too.

The kids had a great time, whether it was playing with all the toys we were supposed to be selling, or selling apples (which is big business if you are a kid and keep going up to people and convincing them they are bad people if they cause you disappointment).

Here's A, playing with a hula hoop. As you can see she is a natural.

And here's Z, getting ready for a boxing match.

She wasn't really sideways but I couldn't figure out how to rotate the picture. By the way... don't make her angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Subtle Trap

I received an e-mail this morning from "CNN UPdates."  Two e-mails, in fact.  I pondered this carefully.  Could it be possible?  I don't recall signing up for CNN updates. 

I opened the first one.  My e-mail program didn't allow the pictures to download, but I see the link to the story I am being updated on:


Good grief!  Someone will die unless I read this news article!  Right now!

But then I paused.  This does not sound like any news article I have ever read.  In fact, most news articles say things like, "People are dying and there is nothing you can do about it, so feel free to sit in your easy chair and read the newspaper."


So I opened the second e-mail, only to discover this shocking headline:


"What!?" I cried.  "A baby?  Borned?  With a Moustache?"  This deeply distressed me.  But perhaps they meant moustache in the sense of the ancient Greek mustax, which means merely "upper lip."  I could not, however, see why CNN would be covering the story "BABY BORNED WITH UPPER LIP."  So they must mean, as the Slovaks would say, that the baby was borned with a fúzy.  I paced the room restlessly.  Should I click on the link and learn more?  A deep curiousity drew me to these stories.  Someone's life might hang in the balance on the first story and in the second... some poor baby had to learn to use a razor so young in life.  And he was just borned that way.

Wait a minute.  The word "borned" bothered me.  I looked it up in the dictionary.  No such word.  My dictionary politely suggested that perhaps I meant "burned."  BABY BURNED WITH MOUSTACHE.  Hmmm.  Now we were getting somewhere.  Some well-meaning moustachioed man must have accidentally lit his lip aflame, run to tell the baby, picked it up when it began to cry, forgetting the conflagration upon his face, held the baby up to comfort it and accidentally burned it with his moustache.  Unless it meant BABY BOUND WITH MOUSTACHE.  But no, a moustache of that length is simply too terrible to consider.

Could this be a scam, I wondered.  I don't recall signing up for CNN updates.  But then it said, right there on the bottom of the e-mail:  You have agreed to receive this email from as a result of your preference settings.

I thought back on this.  Was it possible I had signed up for CNN updates?  Was it possible that I had put in my settings "E-mail updates about people in grave peril who can only be helped by me somehow over the interrnet" and "Babies borned or burned or bound by facial hair"?  It seemed... only distantly possible.

I looked at the e-mail address which sent this e-mail to me.  Ah.  Fredrek Nofalped, my old enemy.  The NordBelgians have been after me for a long time.  And I almost fell for it!  I shake my fist at thee, Frederek, son of Nofalped!  Do not profane the name of CNN with your freakish stories, attempting to convince me to follow thee into dark corners of the internet!  And now, hear my solemn oath: As a punishment for your wicked opposition to me, I will invent a time machine, go back in time and completely erradicate NordBelgium from the face of the space-time continuum.  When I am done, no geographer on earth will know your name.  "NordBelgium?" They will say.  "Are you sure you don't mean... Belgium?  Or Nordstrom's?"  Thus shall my revenge against thee be... complete.

This... I COMMAND!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Show Me The Monkey

CALIFORNIA -- The search for Moe, the missing chimpanzee, has come to a halt. Moe escaped from Jungle Exotics, a company that specializes in renting animals to the entertainment industry. Despite helicopter searches and extensive ground searches little trace of Moe has been found.

One confirmed sighting came from the Deer Park Nudist Colony. "I knew something was wrong," said nudist Frank Gerheim, "When I saw someone in a top hat and vest, carrying a cane. On closer inspection, however, I saw that he wasn't wearing pants. He was incredibly hairy, but let's be honest, most beautiful people don't feel the need to join a nudist colony. Also, he was riding a unicycle.  And wearing a monocle."

LaDonna Davis, Moe's owner, is not ready to give up yet. "We're going to try new tactics," she said. "We have two in mind, but I can't say what they are yet." This is presumably to prevent Moe from reading about the tactics on the internet, which would allow him to avoid the suspiciously large pile of bananas at the "Every Which Way But Loose" outdoor movie later this week.

Moe the Chimpanzee did not immediately return calls to his cell phone requesting a comment.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New Devotional

Remember the old days, when I used to occasionally let you know about a devotional somewhere or other that I had written for our overseas friends? 

Well, the old days are back.  We've started a new blog for people headed overseas for a year (we call them "stinters") and I've put up the first devotional here.


Monday, August 04, 2008

New Cell Phone

This is a picture of my old cell phone.  I got it four years ago and it still works fine.  I dropped it in a toilet during Year Two.  I ran over it with my bicycle during Year Four, and then hit the brakes just as my tire came across it, so the bike skid across the pavement with the phone grinding beneath it.  It has traveled through many a country, been throttled by children, crushed in glove boxes and buried alive in ancient pyramids while treasure hunting. 

I had to trade it in because Washington has a new law forbidding me from driving while talking on my cell phone.  So my wonderful and generous mother went and bought me an Auditory Cybernetic Enhancement.  When I tried to "pair" it with my phone the earpiece said, "This old piece of junk is a phone?  I don't think so."  Therefore, I had to search all the brummagem and "free phones" provided by my carrier until I found one I could stomach.

I took this picture of my old phone with my new phone.  My new phone has a camera.  It can also send text messages, film movies, surf the internet, play music, give directions with its GPS, shoot grappling hooks, send out ultrasonic squeals that cause criminals to wince and drop their weapons, sonar capabilities, respond to voice commands and beat Bobby Fisher at chess.  I think it's Batman's old phone.

Of course I can't afford to activate anything on it, and I can't figure out how to make a phone call with it.  I've been hanging up on people, dropping calls, missing texts, losing messages.  It's spectacular.  And I'm keeping it for at least four years.

Puppet Show By A

At the library the other day my daughter A decided to do a puppet show for me.

(Enter Alligator)

Alligator: Have you seen the rabbit anywhere?  I'm hungry!

A: Dad, tell him if you've seen the rabbit!

Me: I haven't seen the rabbit anywhere.

(Exit alligator)

(Enter rabbit)

Rabbit: Have you seen the alligator anywhere?

Me: Yes!  Look out!  He was just here!

(Enter alligator)

Rabbit: There you are!

(The rabbit attacks the alligator.  Horrible sounds of munching and eating follow.  The alligator disappears behind the curtain.)

Rabbit: Mmmm.  That was tasty.


If I had a secret blog

I would write on it yesterday.  About slugs.  Because they are weird.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Twenty-Five)

Dedicated to the young woman at Target who was slumped on the floor between the bookshelves, reading a novel. And also to... me! We had a conversation as we walked out of the store. (NOTE: Is it considered eavesdropping if you are merely reporting on a conversation that you had? I suppose not. But "Conversations with Matt" seemed a little much).

Me: How far did you get into that book you were reading?

Young woman (surprised to have a stranger talk to her but reassured to see that he is with his wife): Oh... not very far.  I actually have the book at home, but I haven't finished it yet.

Me: Is it that vampire book that just came out?

YW: Yeah.  Well, it's not the current one that just came out.

Me: We went by the bookstore today and there were tons of people coming in to buy that.

YW: Right.  I'm reading the first book in that series.

Me: I hear they're making a movie of the first book.

YW: That's right.

Me: Pretty exciting.

YW: Yeah!  I can't wait to read the book so that I can go to the movie and say, "That's nothing like the book!  This movie sucks!"

P.S.  This series is like Harry Potter for young women right now.  They are going crazy for it, pre-ordering books and arranging their lives around it.  FYI.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

You won't surely die

This commercial came on before a movie we recently rented (I think it might have been the awful waste of celluloid that was "Be Kind, Rewind"). I thought this commercial was disturbing, hilarious and bold. I particularly found the audience shots hilarious. I don't know who that main singer is, but he's absolutely rad.


I just finished reading Percival Everett's Wounded last night.  Wounded is the story of John Hunt, a black horse trainer in a small town with a particular talent for training even the most difficult animals.  Hunt has no real trouble with animals, whether it's horses, donkeys or coyotes, but when it comes to people (himself included), Hunt doesn't have the same facility.  He just can't find a way to heal the old hurts.  When a gay man is murdered in town, followed by racist messages and slaughtered cattle on the nearby reservation, everyone begins to fear some sort of neo-Nazi hate group has moved into town.  The fears and difficulties are compounded by the arrival of David, the gay son of one of Hunt's friends.  Hunt sets out to try to fix everything: racism, homophobia, the hurts of his own past, the loss of loved ones, but finds himself up against the implacable realities of human nature, bigotry and death. 

I enjoyed this novel a great deal.  I can never figure out why Everett's novels aren't more widely available.  The big Box Stores don't even stock them, but they are intelligent, compelling, funny and deep, as well as entertaining.  He's one of my favorite authors for sure.  It just shows the fact that good books often go unremarked, while awful pieces of trash soar to the top of the bestseller lists.  Everett's writing balances enormous themes with a deft facility for words, plot and character, while revealing a wise knowledge of the world and a healthy sense of humor.

The ending of the novel hit me like a pillowcase full of bricks, but that didn't alter my enjoyment.  I've found myself reflecting on the novel and its themes several times since finishing it.  That's the sign of a great book.