Friday, November 24, 2006


In reviewing yesterday's post, I think I was wrong in referring to Joshua and Delores Thompson as "pieces of crap."

That would be an insult to actual pieces of crap.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dictionary definition

From the Merriam-Webster's dictionary, under the entry "pieces of crap":

Katrina ripoff? Couple sells church's gift house
By Woody Baird,Associated Press

Memphis, Tenn. A church that wanted to do something special for Hurricane Katrina victims gave a $75,000 house, free and clear, to a couple who said they were left homeless by the storm. But the couple turned around and sold the place without ever moving in, and went back to New Orleans.

"Take it up with God," an unrepentant Joshua Thompson told a TV reporter after it was learned that he and the woman he identified as his wife had flipped the home for $88,000.

Church members said they feel their generosity was abused by scam artists. They are no longer even sure that the couple were left homeless by Katrina or that they were a couple at all.

"They came in humble like they really needed a new start, and our hearts went out to them," said Jean Phillips, a real estate agent and member of the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ. "They actually begged for the home."

The church was also shocked by an ungrateful interview the couple gave with WHBQ-TV in Memphis."I really don't like this area," said Delores Thompson. "I really didn't, and I didn't know anybody, so that's why I didn't move in and I sold it."

Thompson, reached at a New Orleans phone number by The Associated Press on Tuesday, thanked the church for its generosity but said she saw nothing wrong in selling the three-bedroom, two-bath house.

"Do I have any legal problems? What do you mean? The house was given to me," she said. "I have the paperwork and everything."

She refused further comment and hung up.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


In the Johnny Cash post I listed the Loretta Lynn album I liked as Wildwood Flower. It was actually titled Van Lear Rose. Wildwood Flower was June Carter Cash's last album which, unfortunately, I didn't care for. But back in the day? Oh man, go listen to the song "Jackson" and tell me that June Carter Cash couldn't carry a tune. That song gets turned up to 11 in my car.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Man In Black

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burn, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.
---Johnny Cash, "Ring of Fire"

A child's favorite music vs his parent's favorite music- truly the age-old struggle. When I was growing up my parents enjoyed country music, and artists like Hank Williams, Porter Waggoner and Loretta Lynn. My first concert was Mel Tillis at the Michigan State Fair. I remember my father playing songs from a country music songbook on a guitar with four strings. Me? I was much cooler than all that. Give me the Bay City Rollers. (Like that's cool.)

But there was one song that I thought was pretty funny, so I would actually pause to listen when it came on. That song was "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash. The rest of his music got lumped in with the other country artists my parents made me listen to on long car trips, although shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die was an interesting turn of phrase. Yeah, "A Boy Named Sue" was entertaining. Rap artists today owe a lot to songs of that style.

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."
---Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue"

Time went on and I began to develop my own taste in music and my own favorites. Kiss was at the top of the list, along with AC/DC, REO Speedwagon and Journey. All rock and roll. No country allowed, and especially not the old stuff like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash. Mention the name of Johnny Cash and I might ask, "Is he even still around?"

Funny thing happened around 1994- I discovered that yes, indeed, Johnny Cash was still around, and he had just recorded an album with a guy named Rick Rubin. Up until that time Rubin had only produced rap records and speed metal bands like Slayer. The pairing of Rubin and Johnny Cash was intruiging. The fact that Rolling Stone magazine gave a country album a five-star review was even more so. I wanted to hear this album, but I didn't want to pay $15 for a country album. I finally wandered into a record store and buried the Johnny Cash CD in a pile with Kiss and Soundgarden. If the cashier checked me out fast he might not notice how uncool I was.

"Johnny Cash? I've heard that this CD is really good."

Well there went my facade.

First time I shot her I shot her in the side
Hard to watch her suffer
But with the second shot she died
Delia's gone, one more round
Delia's gone

But jailer, oh, jailer
Jailer, I can't sleep
'Cause all around my bedside
I hear the patter of Delia's feet
Delia's gone, one more round
Delia's gone
---Johnny Cash, "Delia's Gone"

The album which won the Grammy that year for best contemporary folk album was a fantastic album indeed. American Recordings was a simple album- just Johnny and his guitar. Acoustic music being one of my favorite styles, I took to it right away.

OK, now I've lost it. I'm listening to Johnny Cash and liking it. What's next, Loretta Lynn?

Well.... She recorded a CD with Jack White of the White Stripes called Van Lear Rose, which I wanted to hear but was more averse to buying than I was Johnny Cash. I checked it out from the library and listened to it. And liked it as well.

Something weird is going on. I'm liking my parents' music? Am I getting old?

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
---Johnny Cash, "Hurt" (written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails)

I didn't buy his next two albums Unchained and Solitary Man, but I did delve into his back catalog some with the box set Love--God--Murder, and I liked what I heard. My affinity for the man in black was growing. There was some good music here, and I was sorry that I had waited so long.

Then came American IV: The Man Comes Around, and the song "Hurt", a song originally performed by Nine Inch Nails on an album called The Downward Spiral. The song is very compelling, and Johnny Cash really made it his own. You could feel the despair in his voice as he sang about the pain caused by his own past of drug abuse. Then the video was made, and I wanted to tell people to stop making videos at that point because it had been done to perfection. It contained a collection of video clips throughout Johnny's career, interspersed with clips of a very old Johnny Cash singing the song. And I think that's one of the qualities that makes this video so powerful; Johnny is at the end of his life, lamenting that everyone he knows has gone away.

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line

You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line
---Johnny Cash, "I Walk The Line"

Yesterday I was listening to the Carter Family on my way to school. I have some Hank Williams on reserve at the public library as well. Life has come full circle.

Hi, my name is Sean, and I am a Johnny Cash fan.

There's a man going around taking names
And he decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won't be treated quite the same
There will be a golden ladder reaching down
When the man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up
At the terror in each sip and each sup
Will you partake of that last offered cup
Or disappear into the potter's ground
When the man comes around
---Johnny Cash, "The Man Comes Around"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mr. Brown goes (back) to Washington

Me and Senator-elect Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio

Baby Got Book

Now this is wicked funny....

"Baby Got Book" by Sir Reads-A-Lot

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nothing funny about it

I’ve written extensively about Anchor Bay High School and my experiences there in past posts. I was thinking about it today and one of the people I thought of was a boy named Ronnie Decker. Ronnie was one of those kids that got made fun of and was totally clueless about it. He was “a little slow.” He would ask perfectly innocent questions that seemed logical to him, but which brought heavy laughter by those who supposedly had their wits about them.

I thought about Ronnie today because it finally occurred to me that he was a product of special education, a student who was integrated into typical classrooms instead of being sequestered in a special ed room for all the days of his schooling. Ronnie may have been slightly retarded, he may have been autistic, I don’t know. But I asked myself one question- are Matthew and Rebecca going to be treated like Ronnie Decker? Will Matthew be beaten up and ridiculed by the asshole population of junior high school? (And I’m not sorry for using that word, because it’s the only one that fits here.) Will Rebecca be taken advantage of by some smooth talking Lothario who only wants to get in her pants? (Once again, a description that is appropriate.)

I have no answers to these questions and no solutions to these potential situations. And that pisses me off (see preceding paragraph) because I don’t want my kids to go through these things, yet there may be nothing that I can do to prevent them.


I like big "buts" and I cannot lie

Read an interesting post on Ted Haggard which is unfortunately all too typical of the attitude among Christians. You can read it here. In the last paragraph he makes the observation that I expected:
"Furthermore, does anyone else find it just a bit curious that this accusation comes just days before the state of Colorado votes on the issue of homosexual marriage? For people who might be undecided on the issue, hearing that a well known opponent of the measure has been living in the sin he condemns might just cause them to vote in favor. However, it may just be that the accusation will back fire, and those who didn't care one way or the other will react to the obvious political agenda behind these accusations and voters across Colorado (and other states voting on this issue) will rise up against the measure."

Right here is why I have issues with Christians and politics. I believe that evryone should vote, and everyone should be aware of the political situation, whether Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. The problem with this conservative Christian/Republican movement in this country, however, is that their priorities are skewed. They act as if the only thing that matters is the vote, and not just any vote but the Republican vote. (Boy, are they in for a surprise come Tuesday.) The writer of this blog boils the whole thing down to how it will affect the election. Forget about the fact that a marriage is now hurting. Forget about the fact that a church has lost their pastor. By golly, how does this affect the election? Geez.

Ted Haggard laid it all on the table in what was probably the hardest thing he's ever had to do in his life. For that he deserves a tip of the hat. He got caught, he owned up to it, although here is something interesting. He said that he has had a problem with sexual sin for a long time. How come he couldn't get help for this? Two reasons. One, most churches in America are facades with little substance. If people have struggles like this and need help they can't get it. You don't go to church to confess your sins and be honest about them, you go to church so people can see that you are there.

The second reason is that even if he had confessed this a long time ago, evangelical Christians in this country wouldn't believe it anyway. "Touch not God's anointed and do his prophets no harm" is the mantra often heard. And in situations where someone comes forward and says "the pastor did such-and-so", the church members clamp their hands over their ears, close their eyes tight, and chant "I'm not listening!" in between choruses of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Or... they blame the accuser. "Yeah, Ted may have committed an indiscretion.... but look how bad this other guy is! He's a male prostitute? Who are you going to believe? This is all politically motivated..." blah, blah, blah. Well here's a thought- forget the "but..."s. There is only one Sir Mix-A-Lot, and you aren't him. When that co-worker you know who is always hostile towards Christians says "Hey, look what happened- another preacher couldn't keep his horse in the barn", don't say anything about the accuser. Just say that you're sorry. Just try and be humble.

And don't use that classic old chestnut "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." That so sounds like a massive rationalization. If my daughter grows up and starts dating a guy who comes to me and says, "You know, sir (all of her boyfriends will call me Sir), I can't guarantee that I won't sleep with your daughter, and if I sleep with her I can't guarantee that I will wear my raincoat- after all, I'm not perfect, just forgiven", I am going to say "Is that so? Well there's the door, Jack. Don't let it hit you where the good Lord split you."

And that's all I have to say about that.

Sorry if the post title bothers you, but it was just such an obvious play on words that I had to use it :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Like a fine wine

Can we talk here? Will someone tell me why, oh why, mothers insist on aging their children by months? Before a year old I can understand, but once they turn one year old, then they are one year old, not 12 months. A two year old is two years old, not 24 months. My kids are six and four, not 81 months and 49 months. You can't keep them babies by using months instead of years; the aging process is irreversible.

After all, my mother and father don't start a discussion of their family by saying, "Our oldest son is Sean- he's 481 months old."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Response from the church in Toronto/ a call to pray

A blogger who uses the name "The Lord's Army" posted a summary of a recent meeting of the church in Toronto where they discussed the Titus Chu excommunication and what their response should be to it. You can read that post here.

A brother who was at that meeting posted quite a different interpretation of the events over at The Bereans forum (here). He closed his post by asking for prayer for the church there. That would be a good idea for them, as well as for Ted Haggard. I have to confess that I haven't done that. It was too easy just to twist the knife a little.

Friday, November 03, 2006

We'll have a gay old time

And from the "here we go again" file...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) -- The president of the National Association of Evangelicals resigned Thursday after accusations by a male prostitute that the pastor paid him for sex over three years.

The Rev. Ted Haggard said he also is temporarily stepping aside from the pulpit of his church in Colorado Springs pending an internal investigation by the church.

The church official who temporarily has assumed Haggard's post said late Thursday that there has been "some admission of guilt," but not to all of the allegations. He did not give any more details....

Church members who spoke with The Associated Press were stunned. "It's political, right before the elections," said longtime member Brian Boals, according to AP. Another, E.J. Cox, 25, told AP the claims are "ridiculous."
"People are always saying stuff about Pastor Ted," she told AP. "You just sort of blow it off. He's just like anyone else in the public eye."

The Rev. Ross Parsley, now the church's acting senior pastor, told reporters Thursday night that Haggard has made a partial admission after the allegations surfaced on a Denver radio station. "There has been some admission of indiscretion, not an admission to all of the material that has been discussed, but there is an admission of some guilt," said Parsley, the New Life Church associate senior pastor....

Amid the furor over the allegations, Haggard received support from another prominent religious conservative leader, James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, also based in Colorado Springs.

"It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man's accusation," Dobson said in a written statement issued before Haggard's leave was announced.

"Ted Haggard is a friend of mine, and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday's election -- especially the vote on Colorado's marriage-protection amendment, which Ted strongly supports," Dobson said.

Yeah, forget about the fact that the Christian church in America is about to take another black eye; this is all about the elections. Geez Louise.

Ted, if you are reading this, let me tell you something- you had better be telling the truth. Don't deny the story, and then admit to some unnamed "indiscretion", and then have the world find out that, in fact, the whole thing was true. Don't start blaming the "liberal media"; don't come on TV and make a tearful confession and play on people's sympathies; just tell the truth right from the start. If you are truly a follower of the Lord, who said "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (and although it isn't my place to say, I believe you are), then TELL THE FREAKING TRUTH!!!

Enough already!


Jesus i love You, but i don't understand Your wife
she wears such funny makeup and she always wants to fight
every time i turn my back she's waiting with a knife
in my world of black and gray she argues shades of white

she loves capital punishment and nuclear arms
then screams about the right to life and the grand old party's charms
she's always burning bridges even the one she's standing on
when i try to tell her she says "to You i don't belong

you always hear her make a plan and you're listening once more
i know everything Your bride's against but i don't know what she's for
so don't mistake my anger for bitterness and strife
because on bended knees i'm begging You please
Jesus talk to Your wife

Jesus i love You, but i don't understand Your wife
so please, please talk to Your wife
---Dead Artist Syndrome, "The Bride Song"