The Notorious B.I.G. (as opposed to all of the other B.I.G.s out there - I am referring to the Notorious one)
John - the one who Jesus loved
John Barber (when I get home from work some days)
Alright, since Nate did it, I'm gonna get a little sentimental 'bout Capt. Flip Out, too. You see, for the first 21 years of my life, I was a musical idiot. Sure, I knew Bill Mallonee, but that was about it. I mean, I owned albums by the Gin Blossoms and Rusted Root, for cryin' out loud. Then, one evening, that all changed.
I, only knowing Nate-dogg a little, agreed to accompany him to a SonVolt (ok, I wasn't a complete idiot - I loved SonVolt and Wilco (and Uncle Tupelo, of course)) concert with his friend Mark - who I didn't know. Well, we got to Juanita's and, of course, the show was as Sold-Out as Kurt Cobain doing Hallmark commercials. So, we had to find a Plan B. I was pretty ignorant of Little Rock nightlife, so the other fellas (who was the fourth person that night?) made the decision to go to a little jazz bar and drink beer. Seemed like a good idea to me.
The place was dark, and fairly empty. I think it was open mike night, or amateur night, or something (man, my memory's going). The atmosphere was intellectual, but not a bit snooty. And I didn't have a clue what was about to happen to me in that place.
You know those movie scenes where the young fellow has an "encounter" with an older woman, and his whole perspective changes? You know, the Tom Cruise-Rebecca DeMornay scene - "becoming a man" and all that? That was what that night was for me.
We talked music (and the music biz), we drank Guiness (Currey drank black-and-tans), and I got an education. I pretended like I knew what they were talking about - I nodded by head in all the right places. But I'm sure I didn't fool anybody that night. Those guys taught me what it was like to really feel passionate about music.
The first time I laid ears on Gram Parsons was through the mouth of Mark Currey (on a different occasion). He was raving about how wonderful the mind of the man who writes "On the 31st floor/A gold-plated door/Won't keep out the Lord's burnin' rain" must be. I went out and bought some Parsons the next day.
My favorite NFL teams are the two worst teams on the planet. That's no exaggeration - I think any team in the CFL or the WFL could beat the crap out of the Lions and the Ravens (and I'm pretty sure my flag football team (Go AMINALS!!) would give them a run for their money). They are bad, bad football teams. They are coached badly, they are managed badly, and the players flat-out suck. Can't blame it on youth - the Lions are the second-oldest team in the league. Can't blame it on being "small-market" - this is Baltimore and Detroit we're talking about. They are bad. And (here's the scary part), I'm OK with it.
I am a Ravens fan - I live in Baltimore, I cheer for the Ravens, I wear their colors sometimes. But, here's the truth about me: when it comes to the NFL, I bleed blue and silver. There, I said it. I love the Lions! You can pity me if you want, but the truth is that I will probably have a much more enjoyable NFL season than you will. One thing I've learned in my 25 years on this planet is that sucky teams are far more fun to watch than good teams are.
I used to go to The Big Sombrero (aka Tampa Stadium) every year to see the Lions play the Bucs - the battle of the incompetents. My friend Adam and I had our routine down: about an hour before game time, we would stop at a local Burger King, get a Whopper, then go in the bathroom and paint our faces blue and silver. Then it was on to The Sombrero to watch Barry Sanders run all over the hapless Bucs. But, here's the thing, since the Lions were never very good (one NFC Championship Game in 20-something years, I think), it wasn't that big of a deal if they lost . . . because we expected it. If they won? Then it was wonderful - it was like winning the Super Bowl.
Then, for a couple of years, they went to the playoffs a couple of time, and got beat - bad. I would walk around for a week looking like somebody ran over my puppy. Somewhere along the line, I decided that it was far more fun to cheer for a pathetic, can-only-do-wrong team. No expectations, no disappointments!!
So, I say start Joey Harrington! Play for that high draft pick that will turn out to be a bust! Lose, lose, lose!
Dateline: Provo, Utah. Here's the headline: Bonding Therapy Leads to Death of Four-Year-Old, Parents Charged. An Excerpt:
Prosecutors said Cassandra Killpack was forced to drink so much water it lowered the concentration of sodium in her blood, causing fatal brain swelling.
Danielson said the parents were dealing with a girl who was physically and sexually abused before being adopted and wasn't bonding with her new parents. He said the Cascade Center for Family Growth in Orem promoted forced water drinking for children with "attachment disorder" and that it was supposed to teach children to go to their parents for relief and comfort.
Wow. They forced water down her throat until she died - they call it "water-intoxication." They were trying to get her to bond with her foster parents. A four-year-old girl - almost Sam's age. I just read the article a couple of minutes ago, and I feel a remarkable amount of incredulity about this. Does this sort of thing go on all the time? I'm reminded of a Law & Order episode in which a little girl died in a similar circumstance - she suffocated during a "re-birthing" procedure.
God gave us brains - good ones. He gave us the ability to reason, to invent, to create. He gave us a place to start - an orderly universe that has set scientific rules for us to learn and experiment with. But, it seems to me that he also gave us the responsibility to do all of it wisely. To use some common sense about what is healthy and what is unhealthy - especially for 4 year old little girls.
I guess I'm a bit naive when it comes to this sort of thing - it's probably the church boy in me. Maybe they felt like they had no choice. Maybe they were so desperate that they felt like the only alternative they had left was to drown their baby girl. Maybe.
Do we abandon sense when confronted with despair? I guess so. I guess that's what draws so many people to Christ - their ability to explain away their problems reasonably leads them to what many would consider an irrational decision - the decision to follow an invisible God. I just wish that those foster parents had chosen that route, rather than water torture.
The Four Feathers comes out Friday. I'm pumped. It's got Arkansas-born Wes Bentley, Australian-born Heath Ledger, and So-Cali-born Kate Hudson. We got a $20 rebate last week from a Panasonic phone that we bought 6 months ago. So, I think The Four Feathers will be funded by Panasonic this weekend. Woo-hoo!
So, I'm watching Dr. Phil today. Dr. Phil McGraw - Mister Tough Love. This was his first show. Now, I'm not normally a Dr. Phil fan (Dr. Phil, for those of you not in the know, got his start on the Oprah show). I mean, I like his philosophies, I guess. I just usually wouldn't go out of my way to catch a broadcast. But, I happened onto it today, and I watched. The show was basically about parents who let their rage and anger affect their relationships with their children. As I was watching I continued to think about how horrible these parents were - shouting, cursing at their children. Their kids were reduced to blubbering messes with their fingers in their ears, trying to get away. Man, I'm not like them. I'd like to say that the show made me realize something about myself. I'd like to say that I had an epiphany about my behavior around Sam (3 yrs old). I'd like to dramatize my TV watching experience and legitimize Dr. Phil's existence by saying that I learned some important thing about the way I parent.
Well, here's what I learned: Man, I'm not like them. I guess the realization I came to (with the help of Dr. Phil), is basically that I'm a pretty darn good parent. Sure, I'm not perfect, not by any stretch. Yeah, Janna and I have fought in front of Sam a time or two, but I don't think he's permanently scarred, and besides, we always try to talk to him about it. Yeah, I get mad at him every once in awhile. But I've never, never screamed at him. I've never hit him in anger (although I have spanked his bottom more than a couple of times). I give way more hugs than scolds.
So here's my problem. How in the heck can these people treat their kids this way? I just don't get it. Are they missing some ceiling in their anger limit that the rest of us have? Why can't they just go hit a punching bag, instead of their kid? Why do they let their kids see the horrible side of themselves? Do they have a not-horrible side?
Dr. Phil asked a 10 year old boy if his mother ever hugged him and said that she loved him. He said, yes, I think she did that once.
I have this friend, see. He's my buddy from back in O-Town (which, by the way, I can't say without thinking of boy bands). He was younger than me, and for a whole lot of years I don't guess I took him very seriously at all. Than I left for a year of college, and when I came back, that kid (who was really always just Trey's little brother) had grown up. Big time. Let me tell you about my friend Jason. One talented mutha. He's the third person I ever met who had actually heard of the greatest band of all time (R.I.P.). He writes one of the most profound and continually interesting blogs out there, along with Nate-dogg of course. He is one heck of a songwriter, guitar player, and singer.
But here's the thing about Jason. He takes that VOL quote, the famous one ("Sew your heart onto your sleeve and wait for the axe to fall") and does his absolute best to believe it
Everybody knows that bloggers filter their thoughts, not letting everybody see the really grimy stuff, the stuff in the corner, the stuff that we've covered up with little doilies and things. But with Jase, one of two things seems to be true: either his filter is on the blink - maybe it's just got a big freakin' hole in it that lets everything through, or he's removed the filter on purpose. Either way, there's such honesty in his posts, that sometimes it's a bit painful for us to read. Sometimes we get embarrassed and worried for his sanity. Sometimes we rejoice with him - he can show us a picture of God's grace that is authentic, not CCM. Jason is the antithesis of the fried egg in my previous post - sometimes the taste is bitter, but it is always good for us to consume. Jase does a body good.
Check him out. Listen to his songs. By the way, I've posted one over there on the right - without his permission, of course. Jase, if you read this, forgive me. I only mean the highest of praise for the best of men.