Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Than a Day

More Than a Day

I have a special place in my heart for February 29, or Leap Day, or as it is most obscurely known Sadie Hawkins Day. Well not technically Sadie Hawkins day, for that is the invention sprung forth from the Li'l Abner comic strip, but it's equivalent, a day during which women may freely ask a man's hand in marriage and the refusal comes with a fine ranging from one pound, up through a new dress. While it is an amusing history, or folklore, my fondness for the day stems thusly. 
     In college I was in a music group we traveled about hither and yon' singing and such.  In my first year, both in college and the group, we had an engagement on February 29th which lasted the better part of the day. Having never given much thought to leap years in general, and being entirely ignorant of Sadie Hawkins day, I was highly amused to hear of the "tradition" associated with the holiday. We spent much of our down time thinking of scenarios and ways to get out of the whole matter, laughing and joking about the nature of a day allocated to the marriage rite. 
    The entire day was a pleasant affair, and upon our arrival home I was struck by the fact that I would never, likely, spend another Leap, Sadie Hawkins, February 29th with this group of people, and that the jokes we told are so inside that their only any good once every four years, and by then they're forgotten. By the time the calender synchronization came along again, we would be gone in all of our separate directions, and may not give leap day a nod. But I took this opportunity to give her one more nod.

Here's to you Sadie Hawkins
Here's to you Erin
Here's to Undivided Heart.

Through Sickness Into Health (Part 2)

MoTheThird vs. The Flu

To those people curious about the state of my recovery from the flu, etc. with which my girlfriend has been plagued now for ten days. I would characterize myself as being at about 75-80% of normal functionality. A noticeable deviation, but one which, I don't imagine will last much longer. Through a regiment of three to four Emergen-C: Immune Plus packets per day, many handfuls  of almonds, spinach, and Honey Nut Quaker Oatmeal Squares, about a gallon of water, two blankets, a heater, 007, Life (the TV show), Day and NyQuil, and unshakable confidence,plus one Amp and five cups of coffee to make it through a long day yesterday. I'm at the door of health. If I thought the system was foolproof or even universally applicable, I would share the minutiae. And perhaps someday, I'll prove it to be awesome and transferable. But since, most people don't have the latitude to spend a day or so in my intense recovery model, it doesn't really matter anyway.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Through Sickness Into Health

I can be cocky at times. Not for the most part mind you. Not about everything. But, I think that knowing that you’re good, is just as big a part of being self aware as knowing where you leave major room for improvement. And, knowledge without action is a lot like a rocking chair. It’s fun to have, but it doesn’t really get you anywhere. And I like going places.

I’m good at a fair number of things, awesome at others. I’m good at singing. I’m awesome at quoting movies. Euchre is on the line. Two things I’m awesome at are pulling “all-nighters” and the recovery of my own health. Today, I was exceptionally tired, and when I went to grab a short nap, I realized that I was achy. Tired, and achy? Two good indicators of illness’s onset.  It’s only fair, my girlfriend was in the midst of a rather lengthy battle with the flu, plus (perhaps), some seasonal interference.

So, I’ve been saying all day, and to anyone who knew I was sick, how great I am at recovery. So, I figure it’s only fair that I demonstrate that odd skill. My G/F has been sick for a few hours short of a week. I’ve claimed that I’ll be back in working order in 48hours- 72tops. So, what say, we track my progress.

MoTheThird vs. The Flu

Day One

Emergen-C: Immune Plus
Bolthouse Farms: C-Boost
One bottle Vicks NyQuil: Cold and Flu
One bottle DayQuil
Raw Baby Spinach

  James Bond (the Daniel Craig ones)
  Life (Starring Damien Lewis)

Game on

Feeling achy and otherwise listless, I sucked down a little DayQuil, to finish my obligations and worked on a C-Boost (not a big fan of mango, but it has a proven track record, so bottoms up) during lunch. Back at home, I set up shop. Almonds, water, Emergen-C, and NyQuil, all went down in round one. I popped in Casino Royale and slept through the better part of it. I caught the parkour chase, and the big tournament finish, and the gun battle at the end. I also had the misfortune of being awake for the torture scene. But, mostly I just watched the inside of my eyelids.

Round two is about to start. Another dose of NyQuil, another C-Boost, a massive glass of water, a good sized fistful of almonds, The Quantum of Solace, and good dose of baby spinach, and I should be eyelid watching once more.  If not, Detective Crews will usher me back to sleep.

Catch you in the a.m.

P.S. This movie was awesome...I think.
I was a kid when I saw it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Do You Have These In a Nine?

Footwear. From strapped-in sandals, to strappy stilettos, every foot gets adorned a different way for each different scenario. I have a friend with enough shoes to not repeat once in an average month. Amazingly enough, this is a significant scaling down from the hundred plus pairs that she had, not so long ago. In contrast, another friend regularly goes without shoes, even amidst the winter frost. It helps her feel connected to the earth, she asserts. Which, I guess, is a good thing? In winter, I’m mostly just thankful for my woolen socks. 

As ubiquitous and sometimes flatly ignored as footwear is, when it is on, it garners a lot of thought in the getting ready process, and some really strong opinions in conversation. I should know. I have them. I really love nice shoes. As a child I wanted a pair of shoes that sparkled with the shine of military dress uniforms. I relentlessly polished my Sunday shoes never accepting the fact that maximum shine is limited based on the design of the shoes. The media also contributed to my shoe afinity. I had a pair of black and white saddle shoes that I wore with pride, because they looked just like the ones that Bert from Sesame Street rocked.

In later years, my attachment moved from solely asthetic, to functional as well. I had a pair of ratty cowboy boots which I wore relentlessly, not just because I liked their look, which I did. Mostly I kept them on because I could almost instantly build up a good sized static electricity shock when I wore them. And if that's not function, I don't know what is. I just wish I would have listened when I was told that maybe I shouldn’t tuck my pants into my boots. Cowboy chic is not the chic for me.

I’ve had some odd mishaps with shoes and fire, as well. Including one long cold day at camp sitting by the fire at the end of the night, in which staring at the fire with my outstretched legs, resulted in my smoking and bubbled up soles. I guess the smoke wasn’t an optical illusion after all. Or when, after stumbling into an enormous ice puddle, I suspended my hiking boots over the wood stove to dry, and returned to find three mysterious singe marks on the boot and no other sign of trauma. I never figured that one out. 

My strongest stance on footwear is best expressed in the words of the comic Demetri Martin, “When you get dressed, you’re really making a statement. Like, if you put on flip-flops you’re saying, ‘I hope I don’t get chased today.’” I understand the appeal of going shoeless, really I do. But a flip-flop on its best day,  chafes between your toes, and requires an odd looking walk just to maintain the position of the shoe, relative to the ground and your foot. While I won’t be wearing flip-flops anytime soon, if you and I are hanging out together, and you’re wearing them, I’ll be as happy as a clam. ‘Cause, no matter how you protest, I can run faster in my sneakers than you can in your flip-flops…or barefoot. So, if it hits the fan, I’ll be the one to tell the tale. But I’ll tell everyone, that you went out, a flippy-floppy hero.

Walk on. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

If it wasn't for sports...

Walking through the ordinary parking lot on an ordinary day, I was startled to notice that someone had parked an explosive device in the nearby space. I felt obligated to take a picture to have an account of what happened when the dust finally settled. Thankfully, I left before what I'm sure was a horrible blast. I'm just praying that someone survived.

Note: Identifying markings have been removed to protect the 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Gold Star For Church People

Dear The Church,
    Thanks for seeing a real problem, and taking real action. 

Slightly antagonistic, as always, 

but a touch more optimistic,


The new Christian abolition movement

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Greensboro, North Carolina (CNN) —The truck-stop hooker is no Julia Roberts, the trucker in the cab with her no Richard Gere, and this truck stop off the highway could not be any farther from Beverly Hills, the staging ground for “Pretty Woman.”
The woman sports baggy shorts, a white T-shirt and frizzy hair. Her fat middle-aged pimp sits in a beat up red Honda, watching as his “lot lizard” moves from truck to truck, in broad daylight.  If this pimp has a cane it is for substance, not style.
She moves through the parking lot, occasionally opening a cab’s passenger-side door and climbing in.
The trucker and hooker disappear in the back for 10 minutes.
Danielle Mitchell watches from the other end of the parking lot and shakes her head.
“We know from talking to other victims and other agencies that girls are taken to truck stops and they’re actually traded,” she says, sitting in her car, a shiny silver sport utility vehicle, keeping a healthy 50-yard distance from the pimp.
Mitchell is North Carolina human trafficking manager for World Relief.  World Relief is a Christian nonprofit attached to the National Association of Evangelicals and is best known for its efforts to combat global hunger and respond to disasters around the world.
Please continue reading their exciting story at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's in a Name? Labeling

The other day, my girlfriend was writing in her journal about the way that people label one another. It was an interesting topic and we were sharing on the subject later that day, and about what it does to those who label and are labeled. So, what follows is part musings from her journal, which she graciously shared with me, observations from life and whatnot, and then, of course, my own wit and wisdom(?)

*For my non-spiritual readers: I hope that beyond the god stuff, you can find some value in the thoughts on what labeling is, and what it does to the victim of the label and the person labeling.

~For my readers of various faith traditions: I can only assume you have applicable lessons and warnings in your teachings. Extrapolate as needed.

Labeling: Identifying, Pigeonholing, and Marginalization 

God is massive. God has created the laws of the universe, and suspended them at will. Has given us seasons, and art, self-awareness, and intellect. Jesus sat with thieves and hookers. In the twenty first century, I’m pretty sure Jesus would be dining with junkies and politicians.
We must be about God’s business. And God is in the business of attracting people.

OK. That’s awesome. But the people, who say they want to identify with Jesus, spend more time trying to label the people that they are supposed to be serving. As a society, why do we label people? Poor, rich, autistic, black, white, disabled, gifted, and on and on and on. We slap on more labels than a soup company. Sure, sometimes we do it ‘cause we’re really lazy. Calling them, “The 90 degree couple” was easier than saying, “The couple. She has super long straight hair. He has average length black hair. He wears glasses. And they both wear stern expressions.” The label helped cut to the chase.

Being in a small private Christian college, in central Pennsylvania, there was a lot of labeling angst. I’d be with a group of people and one person is trying to describe a mutual acquaintance to those assembled.
“He’s the guy, in the engineering seminar, who is super quiet… He’s sort of tall...? Always waiting in the hall before class...? He always wears UNC blue…? He’s…um…black. Yeah, him. “

So, of course, some of it is just a convenient way to identify people and things. But often, labels are used to highlight those characteristics in others which one finds undesirable, and from which one seeks to be differentiated.
“No Fat Chicks” “God Hates Fags” “I Hate Stupid People”
These glaring examples of having a label, which is born from a single characteristic, contort, grow, and consume, until the world’s identity of this person is tied inexorably to this one thing. As good people, and more so if we call ourselves people of faith, we should be careful with our language. Students with disabilities don’t' want to be labeled as their disability. Do people who are poor want to be labeled as poor or needy?  These things are circumstances, not who they are. Just like grace is hard for sin stained humans to accept, Jesus didn’t run around saying, “You wretched sinners are really lucky to have me around. You’d be pretty much screwed if I weren’t here.”

Jesus looked at these people and saw the one, single, solitary important label, “The Image of God.” And he acted on it without fail. And, as a result, crowds of people followed him, and his biggest fans were the people who were the farthest from the “perfect life” to which he called his followers. Conversely, the church ostracizes itself constantly. It’s “Us” evangelizing “Them” and this may be why people don't feel welcome because they feel defined by their circumstances like being divorced or single parenthood, poverty, or even being “unsaved.”  These things don’t define a person.

Next time you host a service meal, invite ANYONE to serve, and ANYONE to eat.
When you think of someone’s label before you think of their name, say something nice about that person.
When you’re tempted to drag someone down a “Romans Road” conversation, take a page from Jesus’s playbook. Wipe away his or her tears and say, “go and sin no more.” Then realize that you’re talking to yourself, too.