Archive for June, 2006


Mood: Excited, about news that Don & Lori Chaffer have been in the studio the last few months.

Other mood: Curious. Don produced Songs from the Voice, Volume 1 for a project initiated by Chris Seay that appears to be a “retelling” of the biblical story through a variety of media. This record includes a lot of my favorite voices: Sara Groves, Jill Phillips, Don & Lori Chaffer, Christena Groves…. I haven’t gotten to the bottom of “the Voice” yet, but the album appears to have a connection to a new translation by Thomas Nelson.

Look it up and tell me what it says. I have to study.

Sometimes when pomo/emerging people unChristianese something, it’s hard to get to the bottom. Those of us who speak the language have to work a little harder so everybody else doesn’t – supposedly. Sometimes its like an English translation of a Japanese advertisement that was already a wooden translation of an English slogan. We are not us, we are you, see? Of course, I’m all for whatever. Hooray, everything!


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In Abilene, at a major grocery chain and at the airport gift shop, you can buy more than one book debunking The Da Vinci Code, but you can’t buy The Da Vinci Code. This, I think, might have some correlation to the great success of Angels and Demons.

The nice thing about Angels and Demons is that it has a virtual 1:1 correspondence to the characters and the plot arc of The Da Vinci Code, the movie (I can’t say anything about the book version, as it was not available at the airport gift shop). This is nice, since while I fill in all the blanks with Tom Hanks, Ian McKellan, Jean Reno, et. al. (actually it was Sophie Marceau or Monica Bellucci rather than Audrey Tautou, and I had to fill in a skinny British guy whose name I can’t remember for Alfred Molina*), my imagination has extra time to consider what Dan Brown is doing with all our money.

I predict a cable TV movie with Harry Hamlin or Peter Gallagher. Or Lorenzo Llamas.

*On imaginitive vacation after appearing, in his younger self, as David Carr (opposite younger Tilda Swinton) in Nick Hornby’s How to Be Good.

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On Wednesday, we went to church, and four white guys in their early twenties reflected on Jesus’ radical social reorientation that broke down barriers between classes, races, and gender, by marveling at their own wonderous arrival at this moment despite being from (wait for it) different states. “What else might have brought us together here,” they pondered, than the very power of the gospel? Parents rich enough to afford private Christian education, my wife astutely observed. I can’t be too hard on these guys – I like them. I was them. I am them. But we are part of the problem.

On Thursday, we took the young’un on a practice run to the National Center for Illustrated Childrens’ Literature. It’s a great place. Right now they’re featuring the books of Bryan Collier, who had come to the center and talked about his work. Large originals of his illustrations hung on the walls next to his books for children about Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., the underground railroad, and modern life in Harlem. A child-sized model of a bus sat in the middle of the room, and a locally produced video about Mrs. Parks and the civil rights movement played inside, where visitors could sit in bus seats and watch and learn, and hear the voice of Dr. King. The place was full of children who were getting exposure to beautiful words and images, participating in creating their own, and experiencing these stories of courage, faith, hope, and lives of sacrificial love. I like the feeling that I’m from this place, too.

Later, at the Grace, in the Childrens’ Museum, we saw two boys, five and six years old, playing in the four-and-under area. They pushed a younger boy to the ground for playing where they were building. “Don’t ruin it!” they said. My mother in law said, “Hey, he’s a person, too.” We asked them how old they were, and told them they couldn’t play there anymore. The father of the boy who was pushed said, “Don’t worry about it. He has brothers – he’s used to it.”

It’s true. We get used to it.

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We were in Texas this week. And there were thunderstorms, and there was ZiegenBock. And it was good.

It was also over 100 degrees most days, which made some of the local advertising especially interesting. “Our pizza’s always hot and ready!” “HOT SALE!” at a casual wear store, and “Try Our New Heat Lamps!” at a tanning salon. What could be more appealing?

My favorite local billboard for high risk auto insurance: “Have Tickets!!”

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Yesterday I saw a poster for Diddy’s new mogul scent, Unforgivable:

“Life without passion is unforgivable.”

PTS* PR Guy #1: How about, ‘Life without passion is unforgivable?’
PTSPRG2: No, that would imply that Unforgivable smells like a passionless life.
PTSPRG1: Yeah, but that’s not what I mean.
PTSPRG2: Yo, those magic beans are real, dog. Word out.

Keep it real, D.

*PTS: “Prepare the Sexy,” a term Diddy used on Letterman to describe his staff’s activities before his arrival at the P. suite.

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This is so great. The Carleton Singing Knights from Carleton College, MN, sing an acapella version of Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago.” According to their website, they recorded “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part 1” on one of their albums – a song I’ve often wanted to claim I was going to arrange for a capella singing. Might be worth my lawn mowing money.

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Ok, let’s play a game where you can pick any bands you want to be in your music festival. I’ll start.

(So I’m not going to die of envy, but this is an excellent beginning.)

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