Monthly Archives: May 2014


usa dad

Some of these pieces I am bit more partial to than others.  The one’s with the words “Dad” and “I love you” often fall into that category. I’m not sure of everything that is going on in this picture, but clearly I am some sort of American hero, an astronaut, I think.  I’ve always thought that what my boy lacked in raw artistic talent, he made up for in an eye for color and spacial balance.  Of course, as I mentioned, I’m partial.

Acacia Wants You

acacia wants you

Acacia brother Brian Hamilton did such a great job back in the day of drawing up designs for our shirts and other party favors. As you can see, he was partial to Bill the Cat of Bloom County fame. Say want you want about fraternities in general, and a lot of bad could be said, but I think fraternities generally reflect attitudes and mores of the society of which they are a part; and as I was at K-state in the 80’s, a time known for self-centeredness, greed, and lack of introspection, I saw and lived the dumb college boy version of that America to some extent. But, I think my Greek experience was overall a good one. It provided me opportunities for campus involvement, social functions, and of course friendships that remain today.

Sorry, that wasn’t much of a story. So here’s one. More a memory really. Andy was a year or two older than me, but he took good care of the pledges (not everyone did); he was cool to everyone really. One of the pledges’ jobs was to wake everyone up, each guy at the time indicated by a little tag left outside the sleeping dorm. The thing about Andy was he slept with his eyes open. Wide open. So it was a little disconcerting for a timid pledge to approach this dude’s bunk, him lying there, eyes wide open. The other thing about Andy was that we woke up kind of violently, with arms flailing and a kind of startled grunt. Of course he didn’t wake easy; calling his name wouldn’t do; it required physical contact. So the very first time you wake Andy up, you’re creeped out because he’s staring at you as you approach, and then as you shake him he scares the crap out of you with his thrashing about. And then you’re still not sure if he’s awake because his eyes are open, but they were open before you got there. After the first time, I knew what was coming when I woke him, but I still had to steel my nerves as I put my hand on his shoulder, as he made me jump every time. Andy was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago. He was a great guy.

Bump in the Night

I like this one.  I think it’s creepy and fun and maybe says something about fear.  I sent it to a few places, but no one was interested.

Bump in the Night

“Tim, your roll,” said Mike.  Tim picked up the dice and shot them across the board.

“Six.”  Tim moved his counter.  “One, two, three, four, five, six.  That does it.  Enough of wandering around the village; I’m moving in to the dungeon.”

“Who wants a Dr. Pepper?” Brett shouted from the kitchen.

“Pepper me!” shouted back Mike.

“Me too,” said Tim.

Brett returned from the kitchen with a 2-liter of pop and and three stadium cups, all hugged to his chest.  “What’d I miss?” he asked as he set the cups and pop on the table.

“I’m tired of messing around,” Tim said.  “I’m going in.”

“Sweet,” said Brett.

Mike smiled and took a cup and the bottle. “You are going to get eaten alive.”

Tim reached for a cup.  “Whatever.  When is Jon going to be here?”

“I thought he’d be here by now,” said Brett.  “I figured we’d start the movie about nine.”

Slasher Man IV.  This is going to be sweet!” said Mike.

Brett looked out the window.  “Gets dark early this time of year,” he said.  “I wonder where Jon is?”


The discussion was interrupted by a loud bang on the front door.

The boys were quiet for a few seconds after the noise, listening.  Tim glared at the door.  “What the crap was that?”

They listened a bit longer, then Brett got up and went to the door, stopped, and waited.

“Well, open the dang thing,” said Mike.  “What are you acting so scared about?  You’re freaking me out.”

Brett opened the front door and peered out into the darkness.  “Windy,” he said.  “Probably a branch or something.”  Then he looked down.  “Or a rock.”  He bent over and picked up a large gray rock.  The rock was roughly the size and shape of a human foot.  He looked at the front door and found a small scratch in the paint.  “Mom’s not going to like this.”  He looked at the scratch again and closed the door.

“What is that?” said Mike.  “A bone?”

“It’s a rock,” said Brett.  “Somebody threw a big honkin’ rock at my house.  What the heck?”

“Probably Jon,” said Tim.  “He’s out there waiting for you, hoping you’ll come investigate so he can scare you.”  Tim took a drink of his pop then turned back to the board.  “Let’s go.  Who’s turn is it?”

“Look at this thing.”  Brett brought the rock over to the dinning room table where the boys had the game set up.  There he dumped it on the table.  It shook the pieces on the game board.

“Dude!” said Tim.

“That thing looks like a foot!” said Mike.

“You said that already,” said Tim.

“I said ‘bone’ before.  Now I say foot,” said Mike. “Foot bone.”

“Who would do that?” said Brett.

“Jon,” said Tim.

“It is windy out,” said Brett.

“The wind blew that rock?” said Mike.  “From where?”

“Let’s go.  Let’s go!”  It was Tim.  “I’ve got monsters to kill, treasure to plunder.  Whose turn is it!”

The boys gathered around the table.  Brett took the dice.  “I think it’s my go.”

While Brett took his turn, Mike picked up the rock and military pressed it over his head again and again with his right arm.  “I am He-Man!” Mike announced.

Then, Thump!  The boys stopped.  This time it was on the roof.  The boys remained frozen, quiet, listening.

“Dude!” said Brett.  The other boys shushed him.  They listened again.  This time they heard the sound of what seemed to be something scuttling across the roof.  They exchanged glances.  “Tell me that was a branch in the wind,” said Brett.

“Didn’t really sound like a branch,” said Tim.  He paused.  “Bet it was Jon.”

“A kid running across the roof would go bump, bump, bump.  That sounded like something else.”

“Yeah.  Kinda did,” said Mike.

Tim dropped the dice, walked to the front door, opened it, and stepped into the windy night.  “Jon!” he shouted into the darkness.  And the wind blew the door shut.

Mike and Brett stared at the door, not realizing that they were holding their breath.  Seconds passed.  Then suddenly the door flew open with a bang and a shriek as Tim leaped into the house, screaming and holding his throat as though he were being tortured.  The boys both jumped.  Brett slammed into the table, knocking pop and ice onto the game board.  Mike dropped the rock that he forgot he was holding and it bounced off his foot and onto the floor.  Tim finished his scream and then began to laugh.  “Scared much, ladies?” he chuckled.

“Jerk!” said Brett.

Mike rubbed his foot. “Ouch,” he said, still a little pale from the scare.

“Dude, you wrecked the game,” said Tim.

You made me,” said Brett.

“Guess I win,” said Tim as he picked up wet cards from the table and attempted to dry them on his shirt.

The other boys were silent.

Tim slid the rest of the game into it’s box, doing his best to avoid the spilled soda.

“Let’s get the movie going,” Mike finally said.

“What about Jon?” said Brett.

Tim looked out the window into the night.  “Guess he’ll be here or he won’t.  Maybe he found something else to do.” The boys moved into the living room and toward the T.V. set, leaving the foot shaped rock and the spilled soda behind.

The truth shall set you free

the truth shall set you free

When I was a kid, dad rented part of his building to a Christian bookstore. So whenever we’d be down to see Dad, we’d stop in and look around, talk to the manager Judy, play with the toys, and generally raise havoc. As with any retail business, not everything sells. As a result, it seems we ended up with a bit of (is second rate too harsh?) Christian merch, like this button. I also had access to the gnarly Jack Chick comics that Judy wisely considered too obnoxious, or maybe just noxious, for the shelves. Best of all, the sample albums that were deemed too hard rocking to play in the store were bequeathed to me, introducing me to good Christian music–Resurrection Band, Daniel Amos, Steve Taylor, Larry Norman, 77’s, Undercover.

Friend Carrie: I had this button!

Friend Jeannie: I think I have this button too!

Friend Julie: When I looked at this button I thought of you, Carrie, before I read your post. Now I know why! LOL

Resurrection Band Rocking It



Rock Chalk

rock chalk

It’s hard to be a K.U. fan in my little Missouri town.  I thought K-State fans hated K.U. until I moved to Missouri.  There are still a few of Jayhawk fans around though.  Looks like this one was on the wall and then suffered some vandalism.  That’s why we don’t take M.U. fans to the art museum.  I think this artist is selling cars in the area.

The Shepherds

I think this is from December of 2005.

Midnight mass finished up 22 hours ago in Vietnam.  Throughout the Middle-East and Africa, Christian families are together, recounting the day’s events, and watching the sun go down on the holiest day of the year.  In England, Christmas dinner is over, and the great English/American tradition – the Christmas nap – is taking place.  Here in Adrian, my neighbors are right now frying their 4th turkey–you can bet the traditional nap is only a few hours away.  And in Hawaii they will sleep a while longer before the greetings of “Mele Kalikimaka” are heard.  For the last 27 hours (and for the next 21), Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ.

The point in history when God came physically to earth  — as a homeless little baby in the middle of nowhere.  The first ones to hear about this were the shepherds.  Why the shepherds? Well, clearly shepherds are some of God’s favorite people – Moses and David, for example, put in their time with the flocks.  And Jesus liked to call himself the good shepherd.  Shepherds are also just the kind of poor & dispossessed people that our God brings to glory.  But mostly, I think, that night, the shepherds heard first for another reason.

The bible says they were out tending their sheep.  Out working.  And God the father looks down at his only begotten son — a brand new baby, there in the feed trough, wrapped-up in rags.  And he says, “Wow!  I have to tell somebody about this!  Who’s up?”  Who’s up in the middle of the night?  Shepherds.  My guess is that if Jesus was born today, it would be the people working, and hanging out all night, at truck stops, diners, bars and street corners, who would first be told of the miraculous birth.

The news, thank God, trickled down to the respectable folk.  The good news.  That God is here with us.  He loves us.  He forgives us.  He wants us to be with him.

So the celebration of God’s son, the baby, bringing the good news to the world, continues.  We have several hours left today.  And if we want, we can continue to celebrate tomorrow, too.

Jesus didn’t give us any guidelines for celebrating his birth.  So, for the last couple thousand years, Christians have come up with an amazing variety of ways to mark the arrival of the little baby and the good news.

But he did set up the celebration that we’re about to take part in this morning.

I’ll finish up with some of Paul’s words from I Corinthians, and a prayer by Nathan Nettleton:

For this is what the Lord himself said, and I pass it on to you just as I received it. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.


With the woman who gave him birth,

with the man who took him on his shoulders,

with the shepherds who found him in a feed trough,

with the magi who knew of him from the silent stars,

with the aged prophets who saw in him the redemption of the world,

with the angels and archangels who envelop us,

with all the saints before us and beside us,

with brothers and sisters, east and west, north and south,

And with our loved ones, separate from us now,

who yet, in this mystery are close to us,

We celebrate Christ’s birth, we proclaim his death and resurrection, and we await his return in glory.


Biker Man

biker man

You know, when you start sketching, you just don’t know what the ol’ subconscious brain is going to give you.  In this case it was was hairy, shirtless motorcycle man in cut-off shorts.  I guess it was sweet of this artist to think of me after finishing this piece.  This artist is, I believe, a commercial artist now.  He’s also kin to the artist of the Mystery Woman.  I’m really fortunate to know such talented kids.

Red Riding Hood

red riding hood

I know, right.  This kid should illustrate children’s books.  I really like this one, but I could never bring myself to hang it on my classroom wall.  Nowadays the artist is a boilermaker.  I don’t know if he’s still doing art, but every time I see him, I ask him if he is, and I tell him he should be.