Well, you blew your chance

So today I was online and on Yahoo messenger and saw the greatest thing EVER:

So I'm gonna be like 15 years old here and just state it publicly:

For the rest of you guys out there ... sorry 'bout your luck. Because


Song of the Day

Now That I Found You
Terri Clark

How can I believe

That my heart would find someone like you
You see me, the real me
No in bewteens, I had nowhere to hide
You took away the walls around me
Made me feel safe to share my truth

I see the heavens open, a heart that once was broken
Is holding nothing back
Now that I found you
You hold me like a prayer, you touch me everywhere
A lifetime just ain't enough to love you true
Now that I found you
Now that I found you

I do believe we're meant to be
Our chemistry will last forever
And through the years
We'll see some tears
We'll conquer fears
And together we will grow
Looking in your eyes
They tell me
I no longer have to feel alone

I see the heavens open, a heart that once was broken
Is holding nothing back
Now that I found you
You hold me like a prayer, you touch me everywhere
A lifetime just ain't enough to love you true
Now that I found you
Now that I found you

You see me, the real me
You believe in me

I see the heavens open, a heart that once was broken
Is holding nothing back
Now that I found you
You hold me like a prayer, you touch me everywhere
A lifetime just ain't enough to love you true
Now that I found you
Now that I found you


Why JG is worth the drive.

First, because I can.

Second, because he's worth it.

And because of this ... which I found on a website and really really really sums up what it is about Jeffrey Gaines that makes a drive across two states worth it.

(Well, he's the payoff in the end. The drive across two states happens on Tuesday, after Kara gets off work, and puts us in Philly in time for Kathleen Edwards show Tuesday, March 28th, at the Tin Angel ... Jeffrey is Saturday night, April 1st, also at the Tin Angel. Between the shows, we're gonna explore Philly and venture down to Washington DC to go to the National Gallery and pretend to be art snobs!)

Anyway ... here's the article.

The Fans
(August 2005)

A few months back at the Tin Angel, Jeffrey joked about the fact that no one ever comes to his shows dressed like him. Whereas crowds routinely don elaborate costumes to be in sync with their favorite performers we just look like were waiting for a bus!

Its true; the connection isn't an obvious one. Jeffrey Gaines fans represent a cross-section of America. Looking around the room, you are likely to find teen fledgling rockers, some guys who just came for the beer, married couples, serious music aficionados, a sprinkling of pageant contenders, some guys who came along to appease their girlfriends and a few gen x-ers who came just to hear In Your Eyes. Then there's the core group of Jeff's supporters who for some reason connect to this guy and would follow him anywhere. I'm not saying which category I'm in but considering that I'm spending a gorgeous Sunday afternoon typing this article, you could probably guess.

I am personally offended at the tasteless choices we are handed in the movies, television and music industries today. I am just as offended by all of us who are willing to accept those choices and just live with them. Its mostly garbage. The media spoon-feeds us mediocrity on a daily basis until we begin to believe all those small, fragmented, isolating thoughts that reinforce our insecurities, convincing us that we are never enough. They seep into our consciousness and begin to form our existence. Where is the quality in our lives? There is so much talent out there underrated, under promoted and under supported. We just need to care a little bit more.

I once overheard a club manager remark to Jeffrey that hes never seen anything like the devotion Jeff's fans have toward him. We hang around long after the show hoping for a few brief words, a photo or a JG on our cd cover. Jeffrey is always generous and accommodating.

We come away from the show feeling validated, appreciated and inspired. We can take all that back into our lives and function from a slightly higher level of awareness as the words and music still resound in our minds and hearts, reminding us to be bold, to care for each other and to focus our energies on the things that really matter.

I wasn't at all surprised to find that many of Jeffrey's fans are caring, compassionate and creative. They are teachers, artists, photographers, caretakers, builders, writers and musicians; people Id like to know better. The JG cafe is a forum for just that kind of interaction. I hope more people will write in just to say hi. Don't be shy! I love mail!

- EJ


Random Thoughts #3

I'd get a Verizon phone but I hate when people follow me around, so that many people would bug the shit out of me.

And why do you need a phone that plays music videos?

Or you can watch TV on?

If you wanna watch TV, stay home, don't drive.

Can't be home? It's 2006. Get a TiVO. Or your local cable company's DVR.


That guy who lives in the Grand Canyon and drives the Suziki Vitara pisses me off. Yeah, the guy that jumps off the cliff to get TO his vehicle?

Yeah, that guy.

How does he get back up to his house every night?

Does he have a helicopter?

The state of Tennessee has a revenue (tax) stamp for illegal drugs and moonshine. Apparently you purchase this stamp from the county or state government to put on your illegal drugs and hooch. The story is if the stamp isn't on the illegal goods and you get busted, you have to pay an additional fine and have your property subject to seizure by the state.

That, in and amongst itself, was the single funniest bit of news in USAToday this year.
Until I read the last line:

In 2005, sales of the stamp accounted for $1.7 million in state revenue.

(insert your own punchline here because I'm fucking out of comebacks on this one. I have nothing.)


Kara's Game Night Rocked!

Game Night was cool ... ya shouldda been there. Kara did a GREAT job planning it and with the guest list, and as a first-time attendee I loved it! We had food ... Jess did a great job making it ... sorry I couldn't eat the cupcakes ... cake & sugar are not good for me. We had snacks ... Cheddar Chex Mix is my weakness. Yeah, I ate a lot of it.

We had beer ... Yuengling by the case. Yum.

And fun ... we had fun. And laughs. And a never-ending supply of amazingly funny comebacks by Dave and Shawn. Every time I thought Dave said the funniest thing all night, he'd top it. Because he's a manimal. Yeah.

What's funny .... we only played one game ... the music game. Apparently there are 77 bands hidden in this picture. We found quite a few. Try Your Luck.

Two nights in a row I get home after 6 a.m. ... yeah, it was a good weekend.


It was a GREAT weekend.

And that's all I'm saying.


Best. Joke. Ever.

x and e^x were walking down the street when they saw a derivative up ahead.

"Oh, no!" cried x, "I've got to get out of here; that derivative will do me in for sure!" and ran off, fearing for his life.

But e^x just smiled smugly to himself and thought "Ha, I'm e^x, that derivative can't do anything to me." So he walked right up to the derivative and said "Hi, I'm e^x!"

The derivative smiled back and said "Hi, I'm partial/partial y."


I heart songs in movies

I know I've mentioned before that I really wasn't impressed with Brokeback Mountain ... and I don't want to beat a dead horse (or dead sheep?) ... but this point drove it home for me:

At the Golden Globes, there was a song in the movie ... the Bernie Taupin-penned "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" ... that won the award for Best Original Song.


And that, my friends, is very, very unusual.

Yeah, I'm a music snob. You're probably aware of that. And because of that, songs tend to resonate with me, stick in my craw, so to speak, for years. I refuse to give up until I find what I want. Ask Kerry, who hung with me for a day-long roadtrip from Austintown to Cleveland to Columbus to Dayton for hockey ... and the French Market ... and Second-Time Around ... on Brown Street in Dayton ... where I found the Stealin' Horses CD I'd been wanting FOR FIVE YEARS. Yeah, I'm like that.

And just recently, I had another search pay off ... that actually relates to the fact that I didn't notice any songs in "Boring-Ass Manlove Mountain": I spent years looking for two songs from movies ... one was never released; the second ... the soundtrack had such a limited release that it's impossible to find, even in the days when Napster ruled the world.

And just yesterday ... that's January 17th for those of you scoring at home, I found the second and final song I was looking for.

How cool is that?

1st Song: Bill Medley, "Most of All You" from "Major League."

Found that sometime in the latter part of 2005 on WinMX (yeah, I know it's shut down, but if you have the software and a list of OpenNap servers it's still working ... just not as WinMx. But the client software still works, wink wink, nudge nudge, google at your own peril.)

2nd Song: Melissa Etheridge, "Don't Look At Me" from "Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael."

I once reviewed a Melissa Etheridge concert ... on the "Yes, I Am" tour ... and remember saying "man, she played everything I wanted to hear except that song from 'Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael'."

So every couple of months I'll google it ... but for some reason I was looking for something else and went to the Melissa Etheridge page and found that it was never released anywhere, including her recent greatest hits package. So then I looked on Melissa Etheridge's iTunes page, because sometimes single songs like find life outside of traditional distribution channels ... but no love. Then I finally found a link to a fanpage that has apparently enough official support to not be banned on the official ME forum that had the song, and several other unreleased Melissa tunes, available for free download.

The soundtrack for the movie is just the official score, not the music used, and like many fans of the song, and Melissa, I was surprised that "Don't Think Of Me" was never officially released, but "In Roxy's Eyes" was repackaged as "I Will Never Be The Same" and released on "Yes I Am."

So those two songs ... and the great stuff I've been getting from eMusic (music snob heaven) will soon force me to get a bigger iPod because my 20gb is damn near full. Yeah, I know, poor me. Bitching about my 20gb being full, while some of you don't even have an iPod shuffle to your name.

Anyway ... I'm sooooo loving eMusic that I have to shill for it. Message me for an invite ... I get free songs if you sign up, and you SHOULD because they have good stuff there.

And you can get 50 free songs just for checking it out ... and the best part ... they're MP3 files with NO DRM ... that's digital rights management. Meaning you can download, share, burn, etc. without issue. Oh, and you're not paying 99 cents per song, either ... it's between 25 and 40 cents, depending on the package you buy on a monthly basis. Well worth the cost of one CD for four or five ... four or five you probably won't find at your big-box retailer or discount chain. Yeah, snobbery off.

My favorites I've gotten from eMusic:

Amy Ray (yeah, from the Indigo Girls) - Stag
Amy Rigby - Sugar Tree
Emily Richards - You Give
Lisa Loeb - Hello Lisa
Martina Sorbara - The Cure for Bad Deeds
Jenifer Jackson - So High
The Decemberists - Castaways & Cutouts
The Pillcrushers - Welcome To The World (amazing powerpop)
Mirah - Advisory Committee
Melissa McClelland - Stranded in Suburbia
Marykate O'Neil - Marykate O'Neil
Autumn Under Echoes - The Smile and the Nod

and a Kara favorite:

Ben Lee - Awake is The New Sleep

and my absolute new favorite:

A Girl Called Eddy - A Girl Called Eddy

To paraphrase Donnie Baker ... this could be Aimee Mann ... swear ta Gawd it could, man.


I am an Explorer / Negotiator

I am an EXPLORER/negotiator

I am a highly spontaneous person who always likes to try new things. Novel and unpredictable situations don't bother me; instead I find them challenging and exciting.

I tend to be focused and resourceful and I am able to juggle a lot of projects at the same time; as a result I am sometimes a whirlwind of activity.

I have a firm grip on reality and enjoy living in the present tense. But I have a keen imagination that enables me to lift off from time and space to be remarkably creative.

I am humorous. I am able to laugh at myself, and like entertaining others.

I have a deep sense of compassion. I can show genuine insight into the needs of others; I am good at listening and talking; and express a genuine desire to be helpful.

Yet I am easy-going. My tolerance for others and their beliefs, my lack of prejudice, my ability to compromise and my occasional antics make me popular with others and a great companion.


Song of the Day

"Always Be"
Jeffrey Gaines

I know it's hard to count on anything
'Cause no one knows just what tomorrow brings
Still here we are, we've shared so many years
We've come this far, there's nothing to fear

You will see
You and me
Will always be

I know this world can sometimes bring you pain
Believe me girl it's going to be okay
You ask me how it is that I'm so sure
'Cause with everyday I love you more

You will see
You and me
Will always be

Me and you
You and me
You know it's true
That you and me
Will always be

I know this sounds too good to be true
But I devote my whole life to you
And if my life should end my love goes on
And you will always have this song

You will see
You and me
Will always be


My 2005 Song of the Year

Your 2005 Song Is
Since You've Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

"But since you've been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on"

In 2005, you moved on.


Getting Healthy Several Ways

Well, not sure what exactly was wrong with me, but about 10 p.m. it left.

I got up after watching Lost on Wednesday, realized that

  • I could breathe
  • I wasn't coughing
  • I didn't feel light-headed and weak
  • I didn't feel like I was going to vomit
  • I actually felt good for the first time in about a week.
So I did what anyone else would do ... looked around and said, "Damn, this place is a mess" and cleaned ... and did laundry ... and when all that was done I started reading the most amazing book: The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel - A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus

This book was recommended to me by Kerry after I told her I was less of a doubter and starting to think that maybe I've just been missing the big picture. And as someone who's known me for going on 10 years (hey, Friday would have been our 10th Anniversary ... yeah, I remember our first date was a Friday the 13th of January, 1996, and we went to see "Se7en" (bad first date movie, granted) and then went out again the next night to Chi-Chi's, drank sangria because you didn't drink beer [then] and went across the street to Damon's to play Music Trivia ... which we lost on a Hall and Oates question.. Yeah, I'm like Rainman. I'm an excellent driver. But Hall & F'n Oates? Gah!)

Wait, where were we? Oh yeah,
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and why she recommended it to me. Because she knows that a book written by a former journalist who flies cross country to interview a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and the Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields, then peppers them with questions like:

  • How reliable is the New Testament?
  • Does evidence exist for Jesus outside of the Bible?
  • Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?
would resonate with me in the areas that we journalists who lived on the "prove it or shove it" mentality would understand.

Yeah ... the perfect book for me.

How do I know this so far? In the introduction, Strobel says the following:
"For much of my life I was a skeptic. In fact, I considered myself an atheist. To me, there was far too much evidence that God was merely a product of wishful thinking, of ancient mythology, of primitive superstition." and "But that's all I had every really given the evidence: a cursory look. I had read just enough philosophy and history to find support for my skepticism - a fact here, a scientific theory there, a pithy quote, a clever argument. Sure, I could see some gaps and inconsistencies, but I had a strong motivation to ignore them ... "

Um, hello? Did I write both of those?

I could have ... that was exactly the way I felt about the subject, as well.

As he sums up the introduction: "As far as I was concerned, the case was closed. There was enough proof for me to rest easy with the conclusion that the divinity of Jesus was nothing more than the fanciful invention of superstitious people. "Or so I thought."

Yeah, I hear ya, Mr. Strobel.

I was the same way ... or so I thought ... until a seeming innocent conversation with Kara about why she was going to Grad School got my brain thinking (read the blog entitled something like me asking to borrow a Cray with a cerebral interface for more details).

Strobel started his journey after his wife converted in 1979. He was worried about her not being fun anymore, but found he was wrong, and was surprised - even fascinated - by the fundamental changes in her character, her integrity and her personal confidence, and that led him on the path to find out why. As he says, he launched an all-out investigation into the facts surrounding the case for Christianity.
And as the former legal affairs editor for the Chicago Tribune, he turned his law-school education and his journalism degree loose, and looked at numerous categories of proof. So far I'm 30 pages in. I'm fascinated by this book.

Yeah, I checked it out from the library, but I have the feeling that by the end of the week, I'll own this one.

Wait, where were we?

Oh, yeah, my health ... Much improved ... physically ... and on the way spiritually.

Thanks for asking!


Might have the Avian Flu



Or still.

Not really sure.

Left work early yesterday, slept all afternoon, was up for a couple of hours, slept all night.

Slept all day today.

Got up. Tried to go to school. Left before class started.

Home now. Going to bed again. At least I'm catching up on watching DVDs in and out of sleep.

Hope Thursday's better.



So I'm reading this book about how what may appear to you to be coincidences may actually be affirmations from a higher power that you're doing the right thing, or making the right decisions, or going the right way on something ... really interesting to me because for a long time I just chalked them up as coincidences ... heh heh ...

And there's this great chapter on love that really answers a lot of questions that just didn't make sense to me.

So in the words of Flava Flav ... check 'dis shit out, yo!

"But, but but - you're saying: "Am I supposed to believe that my Prince Charming or Cinderella is in that pile of pieces (of the jigsaw puzzle) called "My Life?"


"Please listen, because this is one of the primary messages of this book.

"Within that jigsaw puzzle called "My Life," there is a perfect love for you! You are destined to have a soul mate relationship.

"Trust me. The perfect relationship for you is there in the grand design of your life. You just need to have the faith and patience to find him or her.

"I know - you're looking around yourself right now, saying, "Wait a minute, relationships are disintegrating all around me. If what you say is true, why am I - and half the people I know - involved in failing relationships?"

"Back to the jigsaw puzzle.

"Did you ever pick up two pieces that seemed like they were a perfect match? You wanted them to be a fit? So then you jammed them together to try to get them to fit? In the end, regardless of how much you wanted them to go together, all you did by forcing them into place ... was to injure each piece.

"Have patience. Have faith. Have tenacity.

"If you're just beginning a relationship, strongly resist the temptation to jam yourself into an imperfect match. The never fit."

Yeah, I'm liking this book ... I'm actually reading two books by the same author at the same time (because I'm nerdy like that)

1. When God Winks

2. When God Winks on Love

both by SQuire Rushnell (who points out that yes, the Q is supposed to be capped) ...

Reading is fun.


Random Thoughts #2

So I saw Brokeback Mountain ...

Required joke: Where was the pudding?

But seriously ... my one word review: meh. My expounded review (because, Lauren, I can't leave it at one word, ever, can I?) If this was a story about a man and woman on a mountain herding sheep, it would have gone straight to Wal-Mart's two-for-$11 big-ass-cage-of-crappy-movies. Seriously, without the manlove, this is a (very boring) PBS documentary about life in Wyoming. I gotta give Ang Lee credit for trying, but as this IMDB post says ...

"I saw the movie last night, and I completely hated it. Not because of the subject matter, but because it was boring. I'm not a car crash and gun fight guy, but the prolonged silences and Heath Ledgers mumbling nearly made me fall asleep! On paper it's a good movie, good acting, good plot and everything, but i just didn't find it the least bit entertaining. I didn't feel any emotions for the main characters and their families. I guess I'm a robot that just doesn't have feelings..."

No, man, we were right with ya. Kara said she felt the same way ... yet there were others in the theater who were way into it, in fact, several were crying at the end. Like I said, bad PBS documentary with some manlove spliced in. But it's "edgy" for the manlove ... because we still live in a country that is still in shock from the one-half-of-one-second-long glance of Janet Jackson's breast at the Super Bowl.

Move movie talk: When you see the previews for Big Mamma's House 2 ... or you decide this is a must-see motion picture and you actually drop the cash to see this movie ... remember, someone got paid to write that; someone got paid to make it; and you know Martin Lawrence got paid. And I'm all for getting paid ... but what amazes me (and makes me shake my head in absolute astonishment) ... there are literally dozens of people in the approval process who thought this was funny and gave the go-ahead to make this movie. Now the job of the trailer (preview, commercial, whatever) is to get butts in the seats. There isn't one thing - even the tease of nudity - that makes me even wanna consider watching this on cable ... and I don't care what the Jo Bob Briggs breast count is on this movie ... I couldn't watch it. I'm guessing the only potential humor is they found some stereotypes left to exploit.

Football Notes: So someone should tell the Giants that their game started at 1 ... and I know all you Bengals fans are bummed ... but please remember that Kimo is a former Bengal ... and despite how easy it is to point fingers and cry foul, that hit was nowhere near dirty. Unfortunate, but not dirty. When I lived in Pittsburgh, Kimo was the one guy that was always on the radio, always doing community work, always the guy that makes you remember that not every pro athlete is a ass. This ain't ballet, sometimes people get hurt.

Other quick sports notes:

What planet is Tracy McGrady from? He's just weird looking.

Totally forgot to mention the total (lack of) class that Browns fans showed on Christmas Eve when the booed the five members of the Cleveland Opera who sang Christmas songs at halftime of the Browns/Steelers game. Yeah, I know, I just said it ain't ballet ... but seriously ... if you don't like it can you just sit there and shut up?

Rick Nash is brutal ... he just demolished Phoneix tonight.

Drugs are bad, kids, m'kay? Well, not all drugs. NyQuil & DayQuil are beautiful things to fight a head/chest cold.

I'm still impressed with the Columbus library system.

Finally watched Pride Shockwave 2005 ... well, the first part of it. Gonna watch the rest tonight after I post this. The color commentator was not Bas Ruttan ... but Frank "Twinkle Toes" Trigg (or Frank "I have no defense for a rear naked choke" Trigg). He was amazing. Very intelligent, very well spoken, very respectful of Pride history, tradition and knew his stuff. I was hella impressed.

But on to the fights ... Takanori Gomi is a bad mofo for weighing 154 pounds ... his two bouts at Bushido 9 and his beating of Mach Sakurai were all the justification anyone needed to see why he was voted best MMA fighter in Japan in 2005. Kazushi Sakuraba put Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa into an kimora that would have broken the arm of anyone else; and Hidehiko Yoshida did break the ankle of Naoya Ogawa. Wow.

What told me this was going to be a great event was the curtain jerker (that means the first contest) was Fedor Emelianenko vs Zulu (just like you'd think, Zulu is some big-ass black dude who made Mark Henry look fit.) Fedor hit this dude so hard with his first punch he went down hard. After he got back up, he got his so hard by Fedor's second punch that he went down again. A couple of hammer-fists later he was tapping like Gregory Hines. Total time of the bout - 26 seconds.

DVD Burners rule. I've had one for three years now, but I still love my DVD Burner. I learned the COOLEST thing the other night about PAL and NTSC DVD's ... I have a couple of DVD's that are PAL (that's European) that won't play on either of my DVD players. Then I found a tool that allows you to fool your DVD player into thinking the DVD is actually NTSC. Granted, you have to rip it to your computer, make a couple of changes, and then burn a new DVD ... but hell, the old was was about a 20 hour process that cost you the menus and sometimes the additional audio commentary. This new way takes about 10 minutes to rip, 2 minutes to fix and 15 minutes to burn. SWEET.

Music suggestion of the week ... The Decemberists. Yeah, Picturesque is one of my top 5 of 2005, but Castaways and Cutouts has been in a big rotation since I got it ... I just keep walking around telling people my name in Leslie Ann Levine.

DING ... fries are done (okay, popcorn) but I'm out. Have a good week, bitches.


Can I borrow your Cray?

Have you ever had something in your life so spin you around that you just sit in awe of it?

That’s been my last two weeks.

Everything I thought I knew about me … everything that I thought I wanted … and everything I thought I didn’t want … it’s all up on the table again.

I had the most amazing conversation with Kara the night we went to the zoo about paths in life and how she really believes that God has a plan for her, if she has enough faith to see it. Not blindly follow. Not stand there and expect to be guided. But she searched it out, and found it. And things that seemed like random, unconnected events suddenly popped into place and made sense. Well, most of them.

I’ve spent the past two weeks with my head in a whirlwind of activity thinking about the past 15 years of my life – where I was, and where I am now; and came to the conclusion that it can’t be a series of random, unconnected events that brought me here, now. There has to something greater in the universe.

Most of my adult life I’ve been what you’d consider a doubting Thomas when it comes to faith (faith and religion are not intertwined … faith is belief in a higher power, that’s what I’m talking about here). Like Thomas the Apostle, I’ve been a proof-based person. Years of journalism … years of needing proof to believe what I’ve seen others just blindly accept.

And no, I’m not diving into this. Yeah, I’ve been around the past two weeks, but with the exception of massive talks with Kara about life, spirituality, and how it all fits together, my brain has been out on an extended vacation, just processing, trying to figure it all out, because I am unable to just accept “because” it is.

And I always thought it was entirely black and white. You either believed, or you didn’t. I never saw there was room for doubt, and question, even in those with the strongest faith; and that their faith is strongest because they don’t blindly follow. Yes, they believe, yes, they trust, and, yes, they question. Like Thomas.

If you’re not familiar with Thomas …You can crack open your Bible to John 20:24-29 (and for my longtime friends who are picking themselves up off the floor now, yeah, I know. I picked me up off the floor too, but you know me, I don’t like not knowing. I fear not knowing. Ignorance isn’t an answer I can accept from anyone, let alone myself. So yeah, I’ve read the Bible, twice); or read this, part of a sermon from the great spiritual leader Reverend C.L. Franklin, which just cemented it for me that yeah, doubts are good; questions are encouraged; and blindly following anyone, or anything, can often lead you the wrong way, or off your path.

Thomas, who was of the scientific turn of mind, heard some rumors. The women had said that they had seen him, and that he was alive. Others said that they were en route to Emmaus and he joined them and talked with them and while he talked their hearts burned.

Some of the rest of them reported that they had seen him. Lately it was said that in their secret gathering place in Jerusalem to avoid the police and to avoid arrest and embarrassment, that he had come into their meetings.

But Thomas said, "I don't believe it. I don't believe it. Obviously you're being swept by rumors or you're suffering from hallucinations. Nobody has ever died as I saw that man die, and come back again. I was looking at them when they hung him to the tree. I was looking at them when they nailed his hands and his feet. I was looking when the soldier thrust the sword into his side. And I heard him when he dropped his head say, 'It is finished.' And I saw them take him down from the cross and lay him in Joseph's tomb.

I know he's dead. Now there's only one way that you can tell me anything different, and that is I'll have to see him. And I'm not going to trust that. He's going to have to show me his hands, and let me see the nail prints in his hands. He will have to let me look at his side, and then I will have to examine his side for myself. I must satisfy the sense of seeing, and of feeling before I shall be convinced. I don't believe that he's alive."

Now Thomas, has received a great deal of ridicule from the Christian world about his doubting position. But you know you must give some respect to people who want to know, to people who are not satisfied with hearsay. You must give some respect to people who want to base their faith upon as much knowledge as they can acquire. You see, superstition, rumor, and hearsay is not a sufficient foundation for faith. I know that faith transcends knowledge, but you get all the knowledge you can get before you stop.

For you see, Thomas was moving on fact. And you see fact can carry you just so far. It was a fact that Jesus was put to death, that he was hanged to a tree. It was a fact that he dropped his head and died, and declared, "It is finished." This was a fact. It was a fact that they took him down and laid him in a tomb.

All of this was fact. But that is so far as fact could go. This is the reason that Thomas couldn't go any farther because he was proceeding on the basis of fact. You understand what I'm talking about. His whole operation was based upon empiricism, investigation and what one can find out.

But you see, faith goes on beyond the grave. Faith doesn't stop at the grave. Faith didn't stop when they rolled the stone to the tomb. And faith didn't stop when the governor's seal was placed thereon. For you see faith goes beyond what I can see and what I know. I can't prove God.

And you don't have to prove God. Somebody said, “If you haven't seen God or you haven't seen heaven, and all that kind of thing.” That doesn't mean anything. Say, “Who's been there?” That doesn't mean anything. What you cannot prove, what you cannot see is no argument against its existence.

You can't see electricity but God knows it exists. You can't see energy, but take all the energy out of this room tonight and all of us would be dead shortly. Many of the forces of the universe, you can't prove them, you can't see them, you can't touch them, but they do exist. They are realities.

But Thomas was like many of you that are listening at me tonight. He wanted to base his faith totally upon fact. Totally upon faith or rather upon fact.

But you see faith moves out beyond what I can touch, beyond what I can investigate. I don't know where God is, but I believe he liveth.

I don't know anything about how he raised his Son. I'm not concerned about whether it was bodily or spiritual. I believe that Jesus liveth tonight. I believe that he is a living reality. He is a transforming influence in this old world of ours. Don't you know all these people wouldn't have been following him by the thousands and by the millions for twenty centuries if he didn't live? Don't you know all of these people who go to their graves with his name on their lips, saying, "Death cannot make my soul afraid if God be with me there, though I walk through the darkest shades, I'll never yield to fear. “If he didn't live tonight the great impact that his name has had upon history would not have changed the world society if he wasn't a living influence. I believe he liveth.

So Thomas wasn't at the meetings. And you know when you fail to meet constantly with that Christian fellowship you miss so much. You miss so much in inspiration, you miss so much in God-consciousness. You miss so much in soul enrichment when you fail to fellowship with that Christian society. So Thomas’s great mistake was he wasn't there. And when he came in after having given voice to his doubts, he eventually presented himself at one of the services.

And while they were no doubt musing and meditating upon God, singing his praises, while they were no doubt talking about the fact of his Resurrection, while they were no doubt talking about their faith in the fact that he was alive, without a door being opened he walked in. And than God he can walk in here without a door being opened. He can walk into your life sometime when you unconsciously open the door. The door of your life might be open and you don't know it. He can walk in.

While they were in their meeting he walked in, without a door being opened.

And when they looked around he was standing in their midst. When they looked around he was therein their presence. And it seemed that why his address was so consoling.

He knew how doubtful some of them were and he knew how their faith had been tried, and he knew what a terrible ordeal they'd gone through, and think about how consoling his address was Listen at him, “Peace be unto you.”

So what does this mean for me? I still don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. I’m still questioning things and questioning myself. I’m in wonderment here. I can’t believe something as simple as a conversation with someone could make my mind open so many doors. And people have knocked there before, but nobody’s answered.

And I have no idea where this is leading me, but I don't mind. I like this journey. I’m still wondering what’s real, what’s provable, and why if I’ve accepted so many things in life that can’t be proven, why I’ve stood so solidly against faith for so long.

But it’s funny, because I’m not at the bottom looking up in disbelief or clutching at straws like all those people who when they have nothing left "discover" God. For me, it was one seeming innocent conversation with a person I'm still getting to know, but who's opinion matters to me, and who's beliefs are solid, but often questioned. Not doubted, but not blindly followed, either.

I feel that I’m in an amazing part of my life right now, ripe for self-discovery, and finally have my eyes open to things I once blindly rejected.

So to say 2006 has been an interesting year for me, all six days of it, is an understatement. Which is why I want to borrow that Cray Supercomputer with the cerebral interface.

Because, as Rev. Franklin said, “He can walk into your life sometime when you unconsciously open the door. The door of your life might be open and you don't know it. He can walk in.”

I’m sitting here with a door that’s been opened … and a brain that’s just churning away because of it.

And I like that.


Things I've Overheard

This was a response I left to a blog my friend Dawn has on her page ... but I had to repost it here because it's sooooo damn funny, and one of those things that only I would pay that much attention to, and then share. The blog Dawn had was about a conversation she overheard while helping a friend pack to move and what to do with a dead frog carcass.

Here's my strangest ever overheard conversation:

I'm sitting in a men's room where I worked a few years ago, um, doing my business. Yeah, downloading. Even better. Yeah, I'm there downloading. Now this is a call center that has about 1,500 employees ... so there were all sorts of people there, and this is not a conversation you want to hear in a men's bathroom:

Male Voice 1: I can't get it. Stretch your leg out. Bend your leg, it's in my way.

Male Voice 2: I can't see where the hole is. Is it open?

Male Voice 1: I can get a finger in there but not much more. Lemme try again. Looking at the size of it I need two fingers in before I try.

Male Voice 2: Is everything lined up right?

Male Voice 1: Should be. I think it's lined up right.

Male Voice 2: You're close, move it to the left.

Male Voice 1: I can't see where the hole is. There. I think that's it. Yeah, I got it. But I can't get it in. It's too tight.

Male Voice 2: Yeah, you had it close. I felt it go across the hole but it didn't go in.

Male Voice 1: Damn, this is hard. I don't think it's opened up enough.

Male Voice 2: Try some soap or something to lube it up.

Male Voice 1: Okay. Lemme get some and we'll try again.

(Sound of shuffling feet and soap dispenser being hit to dispense soap)

Male Voice 1: Got it. I'll try to get it lined up right the first time. Don't put it in all the way when you start, I don't wanna leave any marks.

Male Voice 2: Seriously. I'll never hear the end of it. There ya go. It's in the hole. I can feel it now. I got the nuts, too. (Then Said with relief) That was much easier this time.

Male Voice 1: Yeah. I think I hurt myself though.

At this point I'm done with my business and want nothing more than to leave, quickly. So I flush, carefully open the door and see, to my relief, it's actually the maintenance supervisor and the facilities manager standing by the sink ... they're the two voices I heard ... so it wasn't what it could have been.

Because the IT group was considered part of the Facilities team, my desk was one office away from the facilities manager's office. I went back to my desk and typed up the above conversation (I copied it from my old email I sent him) and sent it to him with the title "Things overheard in the Men's Room, September 23, 2000."

I saw him walk back into his office, read his email and howl with laughter before calling me into his office and telling me that was the single funniest thing he's ever read.

Here's the rest of the story:

They were trying to install a soap dispenser into the far end of the countertop. They couldn't do it from the front because the last sink was kind of blocked by the paper towel dispenser, installed after the counters were mounted but before the soap dispensers arrived.

The bottom of the soap dispenser had a long anchor bolt that went through the counter top for support and was connected with a locking wing nut underneath the countertop. The back of the thing mounted to the wall on two other bolts that difficult to get lined up without scratching the countertop.

Male Voice 1 - The Facilities Manager - was leaning over the sink trying to get the bolt lined up with the hole they had drilled before I walked in. The counter, however, was too deep, and his beer belly kept him from being able to get far enough over the counter to see down into the hole. He couldn't climb onto the counter because it wouldn't support his weight.

Male Voice 2 - The Maintenance Supervisor - was under the sink trying to put the washer, nut and locking wingnut on the bolt as it came through the hole, but the pipes kept him from being able to get close enough to help guide the post from the dispenser into the hole; and he had to hold the bolt with two fingers because that was all he could reach up with.

Yeah ... I've been privy to some interesting conversations in my life, but this one ... well, it was the shit.


Blind Faith & Football Fans

I hate the "what if" game. Because there are no real right answers. (Yeah, Eric has issues with things not being black and white. Go figure.)

Today I'm on the way back from lunch today (chicken noodle soup at Panera in a sourdough bowl. Yum) and have the misfortune of hearing Chris Speilman (yeah, I know local legend) on ESPN Radio talking about how the Ohio State Buckeyes should be national champs.

Um, WTF?

Didn't Texas beat USC last night to become the National Champs?

Yeah, that's right, they did.

And OSU wasn't in the national championship game because they lost twice this season ... once to Texas, and once to Penn State, who was third in the nation.

Yeah, that's right (see, I haven't had enough of the kool-aid to be a nut-headed mascot worshipper, but I do read the papers daily, watch SportsCenter and know enought to get trivia questions right. Give me some credit).

So you lost, twice, to teams ranked ahead of you ... and both of them won their bowl games, as did you, so let's see .... if two beats one, two then become one. If three beats four, and two loses, three becomes two. If five beats six and four loses to three and two beats one that means that one is now three, two is now one, three is now two, four is now five five is now four and six stays six, because six lost and you can't move down if you're already at the bottom.

Got it?

So you've moved from fifth to fourth.

That's still three places from 1.

(Yeah, I took college math. For a mere $1,400, you, too, can be this smart)

So now after doing the math, and listening to what #36 said, I think maybe he took one too many blows to the head.

Here's his logic:
In a four-team playoff after the BCS Bowls, where it's 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 with the winners playing for the title, OSU would win?

You'd beat Texas if you play them again or Penn State if you play them again?

Well, you had a chance to do just that the first time, and lost. What makes you think this time will be any different?


Applying logic makes bravado disappear.

I have some advice: Step away from the crack pipe.

Ohio State had a chance to beat Texas, back on September 10th. They lost, 25-22.

And I don't care why, or who didn't play, or who was hurt and is now healthy or because they're just playing better now.

Now doesn't matter.

There is no playoff. There is no BCS+1.

You can talk all you want because every word that comes out of your mouth is nullified by these five words you spoke:
if only given the chance.

You had your chance, September 10th.

Texas won.


Don't care about anything but the final score, 25-22, because that's black and white (or Orange and White, as Texas would say).

And you had your chance, October 8th.

Penn State won.


Don't care about anything else but the final score, 17-10, because that's black and white (or Blue and White, as Penn State would say).

And I don't care who'd win today, because, and this is also black and white, they aren't playing again.

It's over.
OSU didn't win the national title.

Like the Cubs fans say ... wait until next year.


Song of the Day

"Nerd Alert"
The Aquabats

Well yeah, we're the freaks of nature
We're the kids that easily bruise
We're the geeks and the creatures
Outer space hillbillies from the moon

Get stupid on your time
Keep your geriatric biker fight
Diffuse the land mines
I'm all right
You're all right
We're all right

Well we both know that our day will come
The revolution has begun
So raise your fists and take a stand
With your super cool...
Super cool wrist bands!

We broke out
And now we're running crazy
Down the middle of the boulevard
Spaced out!
There's a nerd alert
There's a nerd alert
And you'll never, ever
Never take us alive
Never take us alive
You'll never...!

We're fat, young and hungry
But we don't care
We got big old brains
Like Mexican candy
We got some complex flavor
Running up in here
So get stupid on your time
Get the bud bowl off the air
Diffuse the land mines
I'm all right
You're all right
We're all right

Well we both know that our day will come
The revolution has begun
So raise your fists and take a stand
With your super cool...
Super cool wrist bands!

We broke out
And now we're running crazy
Down the middle of the boulevard
Spaced out!
There's a nerd alert
There's a nerd alert
And you'll never, ever
Never take us alive
Never take us alive
You'll never...!

You know that your apathy
Became your enemy
And you did yourself in
Find out this phenomenon
Is running on and on
And we'll never give in...

We broke out
Now we're running crazy
Down the middle of the boulevard
(Spaced out!)
There's a nerd alert
There's a nerd alert
And you'll never, ever
Never take us alive
Never take us alive
Never take us alive


Idiots With Keyboards - Vol 2

So yesterday I was kinda hungry for pizza, and remembered that Papa John's is just around the corner from me ... I remembered this as I was staring at a coupon for a free dessert pizza (by the way, pizza crust with fruit filling ... genius!) on the counter at Blockbuster.

I was at Blockbuster because there wasn't anything good on TV Monday night ... everything I watch is still in reruns (Lost, Comedy Central shows. Yeah, that's all I watch), so I've been renting a lot of movies (because I don't have enough of my own to watch) ... and I don't know if "Big Brother" really exists or not ... but like Bill Hicks said about his rental habits ... draw your own conclusions: Last night I rented Family Guy, Season 2, Disk 3 & 4 and Ultimate Fighting Championships 46 (Couture vs. Belfort II) and Ultimate Fighting Championships 48 (Shamrock vs. Kimo). Yeah, felt like laughing and fighting ... whereas Mr. Hicks was renting Sonic the Hedgehog and Clamlappers, Volume 501 (because, as he says, once you watch the first, you're hooked).

So anyway ... I grabbed the coupon and headed over to my local Papa John's ... and my Papa John's Pizza Experience wasn't very good ... for a number of reasons ... and frankly, I was surprised, because I'd never had a bad Papa John's experience before. So when I eventually got home, I tossed in a DVD, started to eat the pizza that was close to what I ordered, and while scanning the flyer pinned to the box loaded with coupons I noticed a "comments" email address where I was invited to discuss my pizza experience.

Yeah .... you know what's coming:

(my email to PapaJohnsConcerns at rrohio.com was titled, "At least the garlic sauce was good" and is reprinted here for your reading enjoyment:)

So having recently moved to the north side of Columbus I was glad to be close enough to a Papa John's to get a decent pizza ... because Donato's pizza-like substance just doesn't cut it for me. I'm from a small town that featured a lot of mom & pop pizza places ... your pizza reminds me of that.

Or it did.

Today's first visit to my local Papa John's store is an experience not worth repeating.

Hadn't even planned on it. Was getting some movies to watch, there was a coupon for a free Sweet Treat with a pizza order, I was thinking, hey, there's a dinner idea ... Papa John's. And it's just around the corner from my new apartment. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.


I went into the Northeast Columbus location and placed my order at 4:35, and was told it's going to be 20-25 minutes.

I go back to the store at 5 and am told it will be a couple minutes more. That was before I remembered that "couple" is one of those inexact words. Could mean two, could me three, could mean four ... in this case, it meant 12. And when the box is handed over to me, I ask about the sweet treat and am told it will be out in "three minutes" because, for some reason, it got pushed back. That was the last thing I heard.

There was a blueberry Sweet Treat that came out of the oven in about 5 minutes. It wasn't mine. I ordered apple.

After another five minutes, not another word from anyone behind the counter, and nary a look in my general direction ... and a total of 50 minutes from the time I ordered my pizza and sweet treat, I left, with just the pizza.

And then got home and discovered it wasn't right.

Or your thick crust has gone on the Atkins diet and lost some significant weight. I'd hate to see the thin crust if what I got was the thick I ordered.

But the garlic sauce was good.

According to the label, my "pizza experience" was (mis)managed by Eric S.

The only other numbers on the ! label that matter: 3828 / 0102/0027


So then some other stuff happened last night and I ended up heading out to smooth out a misunderstanding (Eric = Idiot) and I flipped on the radio and that was when I realized that the Ohio State Buckeyes were in the Fiesta Bowl ... and that kickoff was just after 5 p.m.

Now I don't know if you're aware of this ... apparently OSU football is a big deal in Columbus.


Which totally explains why Papa John's was so crazy busy, behind, and forgot my Sweet Treat.

And I don't know if you're aware of this, either ... I was probably the only man (and one of the few bipeds) in the city on Monday who wasn't aware of the OSU game, and watching it.

See, I'm not a Columbus native, I've been here a year, and I'm not a fan of college sports at all ... and in the 12 months I've been here done my best to avoid drinking the kool-aid that turns normal people into, as Rebecca says, worshippers of the nut-headed mascot.

Add to that I've lived in the Pittsburgh area for the past 7 years ... where pro football is all that matters ... and the only time you hear of a college mentioned is when discussing where the current Stiller played his college football, and why wasn't it at Penn State.

So now you have my excuses for not being aware of this Fiesta Bowl thing on Monday ... or maybe I'll claim that I was watching TV, but only because I was trying to figure out what was happening with my boy Maurice Clarett ... because we went to the same high school (years apart). Yeah, you can take the thug outta Warren, Ohio; but you can't take Warren, Ohio, out of the thug.

Perhaps he'll be able to share a prison cell with our good congressman James Traficant. Or the former mayor of Warren. Or several of the other elected officials who have gotten prison sentences. Yeah, Youngstown has the mafia, but Warren has the dumb crooks.

Mo is just one more in a long list of famous Warren, Ohio, criminals.

I did get a nice response from Papa John's offering to talk to me on the phone ... where they'll probably give me coupons or free stuff ... but here was my response:

It's really not that big of a deal ... as a former retail manager, I know you don't get much feedback, good or bad... it wasn't until I was in my car later last night (after I sent the email) that I realized that the OSU bowl game was on (not a Columbus native, and not a college sports fan) ... but the insanity that was the Northeast Columbus location at 15 minutes prior to kickoff all makes more sense to me now ... so no worries ... I'll be back ... and I'll check the sports calendar first!