Monthly Archives: June 2007

Paris Hilton – the New Nelson Mandela

Yep, I watched Larry King interview Paris Hilton last night. What a farce I am. Here is how the hour increased my understanding of this earthly plane of existence.

  • I am glad prison was a life-changing experience for Paris, and that she now intends to transcend the cartoonish blonde character she fashioned for herself, and which she plays with such aplomb. It reminds me of when Larry Flynt became a Christian, and when Michael Bloomberg became a Republican. Seems to be working out real well for them.
  • Too bad about that claustrophobia. Being in an 8×12 foot prison cell makes Paris feel hemmed in and causes her to freak out and go into hysterics. I will think about that every time I see her riding in a car. And you know I’ll be watching.
  • Her jailhouse writings were, uh…profound? I think that’s what she thought they were, as she proudly read them to millions of people. We seem to have found the successor to Kahlil Gibran. Paris is wise beyond her 26 years and GED. Proof that blondes not only have more fun, but can masterfully string together boatloads of cliches.
  • Paris is, of course, an utterly normal girl. I’m glad she emphasized that point. It was a revelation to me.

Okay, enough with easy targets. Paris, Nicole, Britney, Lindsey–you enrich our lives and give our sorry souls meaning. May you prosper, and always drive on a road where I’m not.

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Three Parkers and One Chandler


During my vacation last week, I finished four books, all detective novels. No difficult or edifying reading.

Three of them were novels by Robert Parker, one from each of the series he has going right now. The first was “Sea Change,” the fifth book in the Jesse Stone series, the police chief in Paradise, Mass. Then I read “Blue Screen,” the fifth in the series about spunky private eye Sunny Randall. And then came “Bad Business,” the 30-somethingth Spencer novel. I’m actually behind on my Spencer reading; two other Spencer novels, written after “Bad Business,” also cohabit on my shelves.

The interesting thing is that Parker is cross-polinating (a very appropriate word) his characters. Jesse Stone has shown up in two previous Spencer books, and he was mentioned in “Bad Business.” In “Sea Change,” Stone interacted with Rita Fiore, a recurring character in Spencer novels. But it got real interesting in “Blue Screen.” Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone spent most of the book together, getting increasingly cozy. I believe Rita Fiore was mentioned. And then it turns out that Sunny’s therapist is Susan Silverman–Spencer’s girlfriend.

All of this makes Parker’s books great fun. I need to read more closely to pay attention to other overlaps.

Rather than launch into another Spencer book, I picked up Raymond Chandler’s “The Lady in the Lake.” Robert Parker (with PI Spencer) is considered the successor to Chandler (with PI Philip Marlowe). This was my fourth Chandler book. Chandler is amazing with slick analogies and witty turns of the tongue, and his plots are far more involved than Parker’s. You really need to read a Chandler book over a period of a couple of days, rather than piece it out over a longer period of time, because you’ll lose track of the characters and their sundry shenanigans. I spent two days on “The Lady in the Lake,” and for the first time, felt like I had a good handle on everything that happened in the book.

Chandler can be very funny. But in my view, Parker’s much funnier. Plus, Parker has a way of quickly defining unique characters. I’ve tried to figure out how he does it. He’ll introduce a character and tell a few things about him, and suddenly, I feel like I know the guy.

And then there’s Hawk. The banter between Spencer and Hawk is priceless, always entertaining, and frequently politically uber-incorrect, much to my delight. And they tend to kill a lot of people.

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Movie Recommendation: Evan Almighty

On Saturday Pam and I saw the movie “Evan Almighty.” The new Die Hard movie was supposed to be out–said so, right there, in the newspaper–but when we got to the Rave, they said it wouldn’t open until this coming week. They’ve done this bait-and-switch scam before.

As we walked away, I told Pam, “You know, that movie ‘Evan Almighty’ would probably be pretty good.” So we turned around, gave the girl our $11.50 (that’s nearly four gallons of gas), and settled into the back of a near-empty theater for the 11 am showing.

My goodness, that was a fun movie! Unless you’re a hardcore fundamentalist with severe Sense of Humor Deprivation Syndrome, you must admit that the movie included some good religious messages. Steve Carrell plays a new Congressman who is told by God (played by Morgan Freeman) to build an ark. There are a lot of scenes where you go, “I’ll bet Noah faced the same situation.”

Beyond any religious messages, it was just a fun movie. We laughed a lot. I mean, a lot. And that’s never a bad thing. The movie was clean, fun, and ultimately satisfying. I know the critics are stomping on it, but what do they know? I heartily recommend “Evan Almighty.”

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A Week for Myself, Mostly Sans Computer

This has been an interesting week. I used all of last week as vacation. Pam and I haven’t actually taken a vacation together–just the two of us, without other family–for probably five years. We didn’t do that last week either, but we did have the week to ourselves, in a way. Allen, Carolyn, and Connor took a quick trip to Florida, so we were left with the house to ourselves for the first time in seven months. Kinda forgot what that was like. Nice.

I’ve been using most of my vacation time, for several years, doing freelance work. So it’s not really vacation. I decided that I was going to do only minimal freelance work, and otherwise spend the week doing stuff that I wanted to do, no matter how frivolous. I did spend a few hours Wednesday redesigning some pages on my site, but when I began the process of uploading them, the computer froze up, and I’ve not been able to get back into that drive. Has me a bit worried; maybe it crashed and can’t be recovered. But at the same time, I haven’t spent time trying to fix it. Rather, I’ve pretty much been taking a break from the computer world. And that, too, is nice. Beginning tomorrow, I’ll see if I can resurrect our main computer. Doing so this week would have felt too much like, well, work.

On Thursday I tried fixing up Pam’s laundry room in the basement by adding a bunch of shelving on both sides of the room. Made two trips to Lowes for supplies, and got most of it done before Pam came home from work. In between, I took myself to the Flattop Grill for lunch (I like it, but Pam doesn’t). Then went to Barnes Noble for a bit (I can kill an infinite number of hours in bookstores).

Pam took Friday off. We ate breakfast with my parents, who just returned from a cross-country trip to Washington State, and then we did a bunch of work around the house. Yesterday I finished making my garage all spic and span. The place looks neat and clean now.

So it’s been an enjoyable week.

Last night presented somewhat of a crisis. Allen and Carolyn, on their way back from Florida, got stuck in Ringgold, Georgia. Transmission went out. Carolyn’s aunt came down from Knoxville to pick them up, getting there around midnight. I helped Allen arrange to have their car towed to Knoxville. Just talked to Allen. He thinks the car is running okay, and they plan to head back tomorrow morning. We’re praying they make it just fine.

So that’s been my week. Or at least, that’s all I’m gonna report in this particular post.

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The Big Disconnect

Today Pam and I went to Indy. Took Pam’s sister, Jodie, and her two sons to the airport. They took a 2:00 Northwest flight to Los Angeles, where Pam’s Mom lives.

During the first part of the ride to Indy, Austin, a high school freshman, was bummed out. He left his cell phone at the house. If I left on a long trip and left my cell phone, I would be bummed out, but I would also be confident of my ultimate survival.

Austin is of a different generation, for whom a cell phone is an appendage. You no more leave the house without your cell phone than you leave without your left arm. It’s how they stay connected with the world…and now he would not be connected. I use the internet for information. Austin’s generation uses it for relationships–chatting, texting, calling. And cell phones are the thing you have with you all the time. And now he would be without it for a week. He would be unplugged. Incommunicado.

Austin will survive. But he doesn’t realize it.

After dropping them off, Pam and I ate at Skyline Chili (we don’t have one in Fort Wayne), then went to a wonderful used bookstore, where I found three Robert Parkers that I don’t have, a James Ellroy, a James Patterson, and some other author new to me. Pam found some religious novels.

If heaven is contextual, then for Pam and me, heaven is a used bookstore.

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Comments About Ann Kiemel

Last September I wrote a piece about rediscovering Ann Kiemel’s books. The post was called “Ann Kiemel, Wherefore Hast Thou Been?

Interestingly, a lot of people have come across that post, obviously through Google searches, and have left comments about what Ann Kiemel has meant to them. There have been three comments just in the past couple of weeks. Very interesting.

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Tonite we met my brother Stu and his wife, Joyce, at Headwaters Park for the annual Ribfest. I’d never gone to it, but Stu told us of its wonders over Memorial Day, and I felt it behooved us to go. As it turned out, I was overwhelmingly behooved. Tried three different rib samplers, all very good. Got spots all over my orange shirt.

Yes, Ribfest is a worthy event.

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The Amazing Pam

The other night I dreamed that Pam and I were about to enter a little shed of some kind, and a big snake was in the middle of the shed. I backed away as the snake slithered out toward us. I’m sure I was taking a protective stance around my wife. But Pam walked toward the snake, leaned down, snatched it around the neck with one lightning stab of her right hand, and then picked up the snake with the left hand.

My wife never ceases to amaze me.

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Father’s Day Parody of “I Am Free”

Previously, I wrote about the version of the worship song “I am Free” that we wrote for Mother’s Day. Actually, that Tim Bauman, one of our guitarists, wrote. Well, now it’s time for the Father’s Day version, which we’ll do this coming Sunday. Once again, Tim out-did himself. And once again, I’m sure, we’ll see people smiling all across the congregation as we do this song.

Here are the lyrics Tim wrote. I hope Jon Egan, the song’s author, is okay with this.

“I Am Free”

Verse 1
Today is Father’s Day,
That’s why we sing this tune
So just relax we say
Or golf all afternoon.
Do what you like to do,
Because we love you,
It’s your day.

Chorus 1
We are free to mow (you are free to mow)
We are free to trim (you are free to trim)
We will do this all for you
’cause our love for you is true
And it’s your day.

Verse 2
We’ll take you out to lunch
How ’bout a T-bone steak?
And then to Dairy Queen
To buy an ice cream cake.
We’ll do this all for you,
Because we love you
It’s your day.

Chorus 2
We are free to mow (you are free to mow)
We are free to trim (you are free to trim)
We will do this all for you
’cause our love for you is true
And it’s your day.
It’s your day.

Ending Chorus
We are free to mow (you are free to mow)
We are free to trim (you are free to trim)
But I guess we’ll have to pass
’cause the mower’s out of gas
But it’s your day.
Yes it’s your day.

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Okay, I Thought of Something to Write About

My name is Steve, and it’s been 11 days since my last post.

I do continue to exist within range of the cybersphere. But we had this big denominational convention, which turned out being wildly successful. Being on the planning committee, as well as on staff with our denomination, I was fully engulfed in the thing. The weeks leading up to the event were insanely hectic, though the event itself, for me, was only bedlam hectic. The thing ended last Sunday.

This past week, I’ve managed to completely wind down. In fact, all traces of ambition have seemingly been sucked out of me. Including the desire to jump back into the blog game. But here I am, 11:30 at night, typing away, trying to produce something of value to those disappointed souls who frequent this thing, and for nearly two weeks have found nothing of value. Well, finding nothing of value is not an unusual occurrance. But finding nothing, period, is not so usual.

I blog, therefore I exist.

Here are some random pokings squeezed from the recesses of my cranium.

  • I finished James Patterson’s Judge and Jury. That was a very good book. Not as good as his Alex Cross novels, but certainly a heck of a fun read.
  • I put up some extra shelves in my garage this weekend. Being a pathetically inept handyman, accomplishments like this give me extraordinary satisfaction.
  • Conner likes to pull my beard. He was doing it tonight. Fortunately, it’s not very long and he can’t get a good grip.
  • Spurs in five. But I’m not happy about it. And for the record, I’m still pouting about the cosmic injustice inflicted on the Phoenix Suns.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got.

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