Monthly Archives: May 2015

. . . from the “Hungry i” The Kingston Trio

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From the Hungry i . . . The Kingston Trio.  I used to listen to this one a lot as a kid. I was only about 20 years behind the times.  What kept bringing me back to this album is the energy of the live performance. Back then, and now to a lesser extent, I am of course drawn to the funny stuff– the silly songs and bits humor in between. Mom and Dad also had the greatest hits album, and 35 years later I still remember the words to some of the fun ones there–MTA, in particular, and of course the not so funny Tom Dooley. But that album is nothing compared to listening to three guys and their acoustic instruments in a nightclub carrying that audience along that journey of emotional and musical highs and lows, comedy and drama, from the raucous to soft and sweet and back again. It’s a master class in audience control, if one is interested in such things. And even if you’re not, and I guess most people aren’t, it’s a great ride to be taken on, one that I have traveled and enjoyed dozens of times, even on a low quality recording, by today’s standards, that has to be flipped over and restarted in the middle of the act.

The show (album) starts out with the quiet and funny Tic, tic, tic. (Back then my mom had to explain the joke to me).

And it ends with the audience joining in on the party rock anthem Oh When the Saints.

And sandwiched between, as I’ve said, is that musical journey.  Here are a couple of my favorites (I like the silly upbeat ones best).  Enjoy.

And of course M.T.A.

Plainview #23

If you’re having trouble sleeping, this is the podcast for you! We were pretty low energy on this one.  So low energy that I couldn’t bother to edit the thing.  At the end there is a minute of us mumbling about whether or not we’d covered the week’s worth of events.  We talk about homecoming, Sunday school, school, and the media.  In the past 10 years–school technology is still an issue, The Office was able to maintain their quality for several years, My Name is Earl did not, and Mare still hasn’t watched an episode of South Park.  Listen if you dare.

The Great Softball Cryout

[I have not idea what the softball cryout it/was. I don’t know what happened to Mike’s turtle. Some mysteries are just lost to time.  I did figure out the p.s and p.s.s. with the help of Google.]

 

Family

Hi!

Mike – thanks for the letter

Mom – thanks for disinheriting me

Dad – thanks

Actually parents – living with two parents of a young son who at present is teething very badly makes me appreciate very very much your raising me.  Thanks a lot. (Of course I don’t think it will be necessary to remind me of this during any future arguments that may occur between us.)

Mike – in response to your letter: Good deal about Sports Editor, sorry about your turtle, and I’ll believe the Cosby tape is coming soon when it gets here.

Thanks for the pictures and it’s good to know that the R.C. is still delivering that controversial, intense, horizon expanding journalism that we have all come to expect. (Have you ever heard [of] the ball–softball-cryout after being hit by Palmer.  Mike, could you get a little farther from the plate.)  In the softball league that D plays on there is no official.  the team that is up to bat supplies two–one at home and one at first–they cover the whole field.  As far as strikes and balls are concerned, the pitch to be so high of course but there is a piece of rubber or indoor/outdoor carpet that goes behind the plate as illustrated in diagram 2.

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The area behind the plate is the “strike zone.” If it hits there it’s a strike, otherwise it’s a ball.  Kinda different.

Since I’ve been here I’ve seen 1 dead scorpion in a house we were painting, 2 tarantulas in the road, which we stopped to look at, and a bunch of road runners.

Saturday morning N and a couple of neighbors are having a garage sale.  I think I’m going to buy a Van Gosh (Starry Night).  It would sure add some class to the room at the house.  I’ve been running about every other day about 2 – 2 1/2 miles.  D & I are going to go 3 1/2 Sunday morning.  Mike–remind me to tell you about a great game we can play on the way home.  And when you get here we–you & me & D & N & M–are going to do something –go to the mountains or something. I wish you people would let me know when I need to be back to school. I haven’t accumulated enough stuff to sell anything at the garage sale–but I’m working on it–it’s a joke!  Well, I haven’t told you much, but I don’t have anything left to tell.  See ya soon. Love you.  Keep me posted.

Love,

Matt

P.S. “Dress cool – like your life depended on it.”

P.P.S. Dress up – Go anywhere

Dress down – like you just don’t care

Remember one simple rule

Dress cool

 

What does the kingdom of god look like?

One thing that brother Matt and I have in common is that we like movies. It’s nice when you have something in common with your pastor. It’s a way know that they’re alright, because they’re like you, you know what I’m saying? The difference is that Matthew is DVD guy, and I watch most of mine on Netflix. So I still worry about him a bit.

But I’ve watched several documentaries recently that have been kind of depressing because of the way that people tend to treat each other, some believers, some not. If you don’t watch documentaries, maybe you watch the new.  Similar vibe. And it made me ask, what should our role be in all of this treating each other badly that goes on in the world. What are supposed to be doing about it?

Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us.”

We are called to be ambassadors for Christ, to do this work of reconciliation of all things, to help put people back into a right relationship with Christ and each other and creation. To help grow the kingdom of god.

So I’m watching these movies, and I admit that I hold Christians to a bit of a higher standard, and I’m thinking, this is not what I imagine the kingdom of god looks like. So I said to myself, self, what does the kingdom of god look like? When the master comes back, will he be impressed with they way I, with they way we, have used our talents as ambassadors of Christ?

In the kingdom of god, are fingers pointed and bricks thrown, or are hands held and bread broken?

In the kingdom of god, is it important to be right or gracious? To be comfortable or challenged? To be served or to serve?

In the kingdom of god, do enemies shout each other down, pray for each other’s destruction, and physically attack and kill each other. Or is there discussion, forgiveness, and reconciliation?

These aren’t hard questions,at least not sitting here. It’s easy to think and say the right answers. But doing them. Arrrrrrr.

So as we remember Christ’s life, death and resurrection this morning, and we think about the state of the world, let’s be encouraged that we have been called to be his ambassadors, to participate in reconciling the world to Christ. And let’s go build some kingdom of god.

Mare’s Mess

My beloved bride is back to blogging. It started with a piece she wrote about cursing that she thought was too long for Facebook. When she went to set up a blog on which to post said piece, she recalled that the blog, Mare’s Mess, already existed. So she spruced things up a bit and is open again for business. Her most recent feature is the Thursday Three-fers where she shares three songs that she loves, and talks a bit about them. There are other pieces there as well, pieces inspired by both inspirations and frustrations she encounters in life. As people often say about blogs they enjoy, you should check it out.

By the Light of the Moon

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I’d finally had enough students tell me how great Dean Koontz was, that when I found a couple of his novels at a library sale, I picked them up. Koontz writes thrillers, not a genre I’m that familiar with. I’ve read a couple by King. Or at least I’ve started a couple. Pet Semetary I couldn’t finish; it was just that nothing was happening, and two-thirds of the way through, I gave up. I also started It, but didn’t get but several pages in. I found that as I have kids, I didn’t enjoy reading about bad stuff happening to kids. So to be fair, my King experience is limited. I’ve read three of Koontz’s novels. What I like about Koontz is that while he does thrust us into a world of darkness, there is someone there for us to root for, there is light in the dark world. And his protagonists, in my limited experience, are people who have to screw their courage to the sticking place and face all sorts of evil in order to help out someone else, someone they may not even know. I like a protagonist who does the right thing when it’s the difficult thing to do almost as much as I like real people who do the right thing when it’s the difficult thing to do. Ok, I like real people more.

By  the Light of the Moon kept me on my toes as I never knew where it was going to go next. It went from government conspiracy to pseudo science/supernatural thriller to superhero story and then back around the horn. I finally quit trying to guess what was going to happen and just held on for the ride.  The characters here are flawed, but with a good heart.  By the end of the novel I found myself wanting to spend more time with them.  I wonder if Koontz has written other books with these characters.  It seems there is a lot more to explore with them. I’ll keep my eye out at the library book sales.

Summoner Wars

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Mark’s #27 game is Summoner Wars.  I wrote a bit about this one previously. Since then I’ve played a few games via the iPad with Mark and have been soundly thumped. Well, there may have been a close game or two, but he’s beaten me every time, once on his first turn.

As I said before, there’s a lot of game here in just a half hour of play. The Master Set comes with 6 different factions– different armies really– different types of elves and dwarves and undead and such. And because new decks are relatively cheap, I picked up a few more just for fun. The game pits one faction against the other in a pretty straightforward draw cards, play cards, move, attack with dice, strengthen your ability to play cards next turn. Each army has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, and part of the game is learning how the different decks work. This I’m still learning, and is one of the reasons Mark keeps beating me. That and my poor tactical skills.

summoner war

Maly and I, on the other hand, are pretty evenly matched. We are currently playing through a bracket using each of our factions. In theory we’ll know the strongest faction and the strongest player when we’re done. But mostly it’s just fun. That’s the thing about this game. Even when you lose, even consistently, because of an inspired play by your opponent, or a couple bad rolls of the dice, or just bad play on your own part, it’s still fun. It’s interesting to see how the different factions interact. It’s nice to pull off an amazing play, and if you’re a good sport, watch your opponent surprise you. Each game, each war, results in a story. And that’s one of the reasons I play games.

summoner wars

Pure Drivel

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin

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I love Steve Martin.  I used to secretly listen to Get Small and Wild and Crazy Guy in 6th grade social studies.  I think I own all his albums on vinyl.  I’ve seen all his movies, except maybe Pennies from Heaven. I’ve read his books.  In particular I’ve listened to his book Born Standing Up four times, and I’ll probably listen to it again this summer.  Pure Drivel, unfortunately, didn’t do much for me. There were some pieces here that I read out loud to my family that resulted in real laughs, especially “Dear Amanda,” and “Sledgehammer.” But most of it was just ok.  I can’t resist. Pure Drivel: mostly drivel.  Sorry.

Missed Out on that Sweet Government Contract

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[Dad’s handwriting at the top of the letter] Check enclosed 370.72

Sun 20

Family

Sorry I haven’t written for a while, but I talked to ya the 14th and I’ve been busy workin’ and I really haven’t had that much to tell you–still don’t.  I told D about paying me by the hour and I don’t know if he’s going to or not.  Probably depends on how close I am to 2500.  N cooked me up some beans–just got done tonight.  We went to Legal Eagles tonight.  It was pretty good.  Seems like Mike should bring some traveler’s checks or a credit card or something for out trip to L.A. cuz we’re not going to be able to write checks and we don’t what to carry around a Million Billion dollars with us.  (He may  want to bring some tapes so he doesn’t get sick of my good music). I haven’t learned squat on my git fiddle and I didn’t see any video copier.  I’m starting to make a list of places I want to go in L.A. I think it’s cool that the church is meeting in homes.  This week has been pretty busy.  I worked a couple hrs today and about 5 yesterday. But things should be slowing down to regular this week.  The fort job has been moved from Aug 2 & 3 to later so there goes my $28 an hour.  That’s what D would have had to pay me.  Thanks for your letters.  Tell everyone howdy.

Love

Matt

P.S. American Flyers [thumbs up pictogram] – pretty good