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Archive for December, 2007

I’m not making any, but I figured I should write some type of post to round out 2007. The closest thing I have to a 2008 Resolution is the plan to clean up and reorganise my home office space. As I look at my desk now I see:

  • -a dusty lamp
  • -a collection of cds with games and Christmas music
  • -a hospital bill I just paid
  • -a thank you note from my dad for some work I did for him 2 years ago
  • -some expired pizza hut coupons
  • -a half-empty bottle of nail polish remover (Oh look. I’m a pessimist by nature. It would have been cheerier if I said “half-full”)
  • -a half-used cube of Winnie The Pooh Memo Paper which now looks creepy. I’ve used just enough pages to make it look like Pooh is beheaded as he floats among the bees and balloons
  • -an empty Griffin TuneBuds package
  • -my iPod Touch
  • -a pack of Orbitz Bubble Gum with 3 sticks left
  • -a plastic spoon I use to scratch my back
  • -a bottle cap for Boylan’s Cherry soda

So you can see that I need to do some general housecleaning. I find messes comforting, but my husband finds them annoying. Since I like being married to this specific person I’d better clean up.

Oh, yeah. I did get an iPod Touch for Christmas. Although I don’t like to use my blog to tout purchases, I will use the blog to tout a wonderful husband who bought it for me. I realised this Christmas, though, that we’ve been together for a really long time. (Our 19th anniversary of our first date was 2 months ago.) The poor guy kept my present a secret for months, but inadvertantly gave it away on our drive to Indiana. I was telling him that for some reason my iPod wasn’t charging on my Mac’s firewire connection. His response: “I wouldn’t worry about it.” Now, that right there told me I was getting a new iPod for Christmas. He’s far too kind and caring and if I weren’t getting an iPod he would have responded with a long list of things we could do to fix the charging issue. When you’ve been with someone for almost two decades you start to pick up on nuances like that.

My other plan for 2008 is to get myself back in some kind of working order. As it stands right now the arthritis is much worse in my hands, is growing steadily worse in my elbows and has now cost me the use of my left knee. I’ll be going to see this man about my problems next Monday. I’m kinda freaked out about seeing a specialist who is younger than I am, but I guess that had to happen eventually. Although at this point I’d see Doogie Howser if it meant fixing my pain.

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  1. We are not at church to worship YOU.
  2. No one cares how “transported” you are by the music.
  3. This is not a show starring you.
  4. No matter how musically talented you are, you are not the last word on theology and matters of faith
  5. You look like an idiot when you wear sandals to church.  Yes, Jesus wore sandals.  Jesus also lived in Israel 2000 years ago and didn’t have indoor plumbing.  I bet you showered and flushed the potty before coming to church.  Try adding “put on big boy shoes” to your getting-ready-for-church repratoire.
  6. Songs with 9 words do NOT get more profound if you repeat them over and over again.
  7. There is more to God than how “awesome” he makes YOU feel.  Try finding a song or three that magnifies God’s characteristics apart from the warm fuzzies YOU get from worshipping him   singing in front of an audience.
  8. If a song could also be sung to your cat, then perhaps you could aim for something with a bit more substance.  For instance:  “The sun shines in your eyes/you make my day complete/I could love you all day long/ your love is so sweet.”
  9. Do not talk during the song.  You sound like an egomaniacal moron when you interrupt the congregational singing with your chestnuts of wisdom.  For instance:  Siiilent Niiight Lord, we’re glad to praise you on this silent night Ho-o-o-leeee Niiight “God you are so awesomely holy!!!”

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I wrote this post a couple of days ago and had decided not to publish it. But after a comment to another blogger where Kevin called a man evil for denying Kevin help, I decided I needed to clear a few things up on my end.

——

I’ve been pretty baldly critical of Kevin Barbieux over at MCB recently, and subsequently have received all sorts of Bible verse comments about Christianity. Slartibartfast wrote a post to which I typed this comment. His post was about whether or not Jesus would be an enabler. Then I realised this comment probably should be a blog post of its own. So here you go.

I’m probably the most vocal detractor (although you should see my inbox behind the scenes) in the discussion of helping someone who is gaming the system.

I’m also probably one of the more vocal Christians. I realise people don’t understand that. So, please, allow me to explain my position. And feel free to disagree with it.

The resources for those in need are finite. We have to repeatedly make a choice as to whom we help, even if the choice is “do I keep this money/food/clothing for myself?” Charity is always a choice accompanied by action. When you choose to help one person, another will not receive that help.

Ever since Kevin came onto my radar nearly 5 years ago (I’ve followed him long before I started to blog) I’ve researched him. I’ve read his blog, I’ve talked with people who once believed in him and now feel duped. I’ve worked with many charities (but I won’t talk about which ones and in which capacity because then it stops being charity and starts being Look!At!Me!) and it troubled me, initially, that there was a homeless man in need in my own hometown.

Five years have gone by since he first came to my attention. In that time I’ve gotten promotions, different jobs and had an ongoing major health crisis. I’ve seen my husband be jobless for 8 months. I’ve watched other bloggers suffer death, job loss and hardship–and that’s nothing compared to the people I know in the real world who face the same things.

Kevin has chosen homelessness. He’s chosen a “victim” state for many reasons. (Chief among them, I believe, is that if he gets a home and a job then the government will collect on the many years of unpaid child support he owes his exwife.)

If Kevin’s homelessness were only his problem then I wouldn’t mind so much. But he abandoned a wife and two children in order to embrace life on the streets. There’s a struggling woman and two kids who are seldom mentioned in the equation, and often forgotten.

When Kevin talks about being homeless it strikes a chord in people because The Homeless are a vulnerable spot for everyone. We all fear homelessness. For most of us our largest bill is our mortgage. Most of us feel about 2 pay checks from homelessness ourselves. Fear of homelessness is as instinctive as fear of sharks and snakes.

Barbieux knows that, and has used that fear to manipulate people–many of whom feel a donation or kindness to him is a sort of karmic talisman against homelessness or joblessness in their own lives. The thing is, whenever you help someone who is gaming you–whether it’s a homeless man you’ve met on the Internet, a jobless man you’ve met on the Internet who brags about bilking $45,000 out of strangers, or a close relative with a drug and alcohol problem–you are helping people with resources that are better used to help other people.

It always, with Christians, comes back around to Jesus. What would He do? Well, I do know that whenever he helped people he did say “go and sin no more.” I also know that He said “you will always have the poor with you” NOT as an instruction to help the poor but as an instruction to His disciples to focus their worship on him. The disciples were objecting that a woman was wasting money on Jesus. Jesus’ response was that he wasn’t going to be around as long as the poor so worship of Him was more important.

Jesus knew the poor would always be with us. I firmly believe that “unto the least of these” and “love thy neighbour” and “do unto others” are clear instructions for us to act charitably in all aspects of our lives. His most famous instance of anger, though, was when people manipulated the religious sensibilities and sacred obligations of the faithful in order to make money. That was why Jesus overturned the money-changers’ tables in the temple. They were profaning the sacred with their greed. The money-changers in the temple were preying upon the rules of faith which govern some people’s lives, and doing so for their own needs.

It’s a common belief that charity is ONLY financially helping those who are less fortunate. There are other aspects to charity. It is my belief that exposing charlatans who prey on the good nature of other people is a form of charity.

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I guess the post title pretty much gives away the whole story, minus the details.   I’m loathe to repeat all of the details because they were disgusting enough the first time around.

Last night we went to the Hermitage Vittles for dinner.   They have (what I’m told is) good meatloaf, and my poor husband is married to a woman who thinks meatloaf is one of the four most disgusting food items on the planet–right beneath haggis and fighting a dueling battle with pigs’ feet.

A few minutes after we were seated, two guys came in who I suspect are ancillary folks in the music business.   Live in Nashville long enough and you get to know the type.   They’re usually burly and have a gruff charm that says they’ve retained a sense of fun despite the fact that they look as though they’ve had a few swigs of hard-living.  But the easiest and best way to tell they’ve been roadies is that they are hard of hearing AND TALK REALLY LOUDLY ALL THE TIME.

Here’s where the trouble begins.

The guy with his back to me, sitting right behind my husband began a protracted narrative about his health problems–specifically his dental health problems.   Even though I’ve got pretty persistant nausea (cause as yet unknown), I’ve got a fairly high tolerance for “gross” stories.   But we sat through at least 8 minutes of talk about how his teeth have begun rotting out of his head.  He’s had cavities in molars for years but now the front teeth are starting to go.  His gums are receeding and bleeding.   There was talk of oral abscesses, pus, blood and rot.  Lots of talk.

And then came the death knell.

“We looked at doing implants but the hole in the bone was rotting around the edges.”

At that point I just lost it.   I said–as politely as possible–“Excuse me!  I’m trying to eat!”

Now of course there were many responses I probably deserved.  They could have said “lady, you don’t look like you need to eat any more.”  They could have said “Mind your own business.”   Instead, they both looked abashed and apologised.   The waiter came over and asked THEM what the problem was and the rotting-tooth guy said “oh just me and my big mouth.”  (the funny part was that it really was his mouth that was the problem.  Not the talking. The rotting.)

I felt really bad for making them feel bad and just took the rest of my dinner home.

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I’ve been overdosing on Heartwarming Holiday Movies from the Hallmark Channel. In past years I’ve soaked in a few Lifetime movies, but I’ve decided that when it comes to Christmas Movies, Hallmark is Wendy’s and Lifetime is McDonald’s. Sure, they’re both the film equivalent of fast food, but one is a little bit more square and a little bit more made to order. Lifetime movies usually involve getting screwed over by one man and loved by another, whereas Hallmark films seem to be slightly less misandrous.

All that being said, I still have a few bones to pick with the latest Hallmark Movie “The Note“. While I realise it’s meant as a bit of Christmas Candy fluff, I nonetheless feel the need to let the writer know a few things:

  • Do your research.   Baptists don’t have bishops who reassign pastors to different churches.   Neither do they “christen” babies.  Baptist churches stand alone, and ministers are offered new pulpits when search committees visit them.  Babies are “dedicated” in the Baptist church.  (Note to Friday Night Lights:  This applies to you, too.  Baptists do NOT sprinkle-baptise their babies.)
  • I realise you may be an older person out of touch with the lingo, but when talking about emails, people say “inbox”.  I’m a dirty-minded gal, so I laughed out loud when Genie Francis said she had over 200 emails in her box.  Must be mighty uncomfortable.
  • Big TV & Movie Pet Peeve Alert.  I absolutely cannot stand it when one character calls another on the phone and says “turn on the tv” only to have the person in question flip on their television to see the pertinent program.   IN REAL LIFE THERE ARE AT MINIMUM 7 CHANNELS.    That’s if you don’t have cable or satellite.   Some people have 500 channels.  How hard is it to have three extra words, ie. “turn on the tv to channel six”???  See how easy that was?

I know none of these are probably that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but those touches are important to me as both a viewer and writer.   When you don’t take the time to make your story realistic in those small details it makes me feel as though you don’t truly value the process.

Oh, and this is beside the point but man, Ted McGinley is not aging well.

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I Am A Snob

I don’t care if it’s the Free Holiday Single Of The Week.

There is no way I’m downloading Michael Bolton singing “Winter Wonderland.”

Seriously, could anything be more awful?!  My least favourite Christmasish song ever, sung by one of my least favourite artists ever.

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Ugh.

I’ve got a sick dog today.   Which of course means that I’m going to spend the day worrying about my poor kid and feeling helpless.

I love parenting dogs.  I really do.  But they’re the hardest to deal with when they’re ill because they can’t tell you what’s going wrong or where they feel bad.

So far he’s just been vomiting–poor kid.   I hope it doesn’t get any more serious than that.

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