In full disclosure, it’s impossible for me to say I’m totally against mood-altering drugs. I love the way caffeine makes me feel. Today I had a full-caf latte (from my perfectly-sized Bialetti Moka), my first full-caf coffee in several weeks, if not months.

Anything is possible … Maybe I’ll paint that still-blank canvas. I may write a book today. I ought to redesign this website from scratch. I could drive my new car to Orlando to watch the shuttle launch. Or I could probably run there. Who knows? I can do anything!



Mike and I went out with some friends last weekend to Swallow at the Hollow, a tasty dinner and fun venue despite the unfortunate moniker. Three country/folky songwriters were performing that night and we stayed for the show. As a result, I’m developing a theory about lyrics, mostly pop and pop country: If the song begins with the word “I,” I’m probably not going to like it (take, for example, most American Idol singles). These lyrics seem easy. A little bit cookie-cutter.

As a corollary, Mike Nelson offered the suggestion that if the song mentions a car by name (mostly Chevy and Ford), it’s not looking good for that one, either. See almost every country song ever.

While I might anticipate backlash from songwriter friends (how many songs have I written, again?), almost all their songs are lyrically strong, with every word pored over and deliberate. I appreciate that about them.


Tonight marks a high point of the Perseid meteor shower for North America. Get out your binocs and a lawn chair, hope the clouds part long enough for you to see a good show, and enjoy with a nice glass of something tasty. You should end up with lots of wishes granted. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Have I already said 30 Rock is the best show on television right now? I even look forward to reruns (I’m approaching that age where things on TV sometimes move too fast for me so I have to “run it back,” which makes reruns particularly enjoyable as I pick up things I missed the first time).

In the “Hard Ball” episode, Tracy awards Kenneth a spot in his entourage. Kenneth’s job is to harmonize with Tracy. Whenever Tracy breaks out in song, Kenneth is there to add a little alto.┬áIt’s a fun picture of marriage; almost nothing makes me happier than to erupt in song with Mike Nelson bringing in the countermelody. Our bathroom is often not unlike the Barry Gibb Talk Show.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne.
– Frances R. Havergal, 1873

I have a thing for hymns. The words (which were at one time somebody’s “contemporary worship”) transcend cultures. I sang these this past weekend at church and have been pondering them ever since.

My will is voluntarily submitted – I decide that it shall be no longer mine.

My heart, on the other hand, was already His to begin with. It is Thine own. It’s His home. It’s where He lives and works and does things. It’s where He moves.

Forty years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to plant their feet firmly on the surface of the moon.

That is frickin’ unbelievable.

MoonLanding_072169Alaska had been a state for ten years.
You could still spend a halfpenny in England.
The Beatles were still together.
Sesame Street was a fresh new kids’ show.

For millennia, people had been standing on earth, looking at the moon. It may as well have been a trillion miles away for how accessible it was. And yet on that day, people watched on television as two guys walked around on it. I can’t imagine witnessing anything in my life as world-changing as that. I need to go talk to Aunt Pearl about it …

I’ve been repeating Philippians 4:6 in my head the past two days:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I couldn’t remember where it was in the Bible (and I was too lazy to look for a concordance), but I knew that part. And I couldn’t quite remember the second part, but I figured it was something about how God would meet your needs and answer your prayers. But then I figured out where it was and read the next verse:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Dang. I’m not looking for peace. I’m looking for an answer. More specifically, a yes answer. But God says His peace is what I need, not a yes.

Henceforth, anyone using the following phrases shall be immediately punched in the throat:

“You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
This is almost never used correctly, and when it is, it’s overused.

“It is … and it isn’t.”
Be decisive. “And” has no place in that sentence.

“Bonding [time]”
The concept is good, but the word “bonding” is way too corny for what can happen when people spend time in real community. Applies to any use of the word other than in reference to materials being joined together with glue or other adhesive substance.

“That’s what she said.”
Who am I kidding? This never gets old.

A note: Finding a good word is not to be confused with getting a good word, which is Christian for, “someone shouted something Biblical at me that I needed to hear.”

The good word for today is velleity.

I discovered this word a few years ago and swore to incorporate it into my regular usage, but – and this is truly the height of irony – my dedication to doing so was evidently inferior to my desire to do it. It’s the height of irony because the definition of velleity is just that: the desire to do something that is outweighed by the effort that must be put into actually doing it. It means wishing something without putting forth the effort to pull it off.

I suspect, however, that velleity is not intrinsically bad. The connotation is negative, to be sure (my velleity keeps me on the sofa all weekend rather than out doing something constructive), but I bet there are some things it’s okay to let go of in this fashion. Maybe.

Just read in Money magazine that the more television you watch, the more you spend. A sociologist at Boston College found that every hour of television we watch in a week, we spend roughly $200 a year. So if I average 14 hours a week (two hours a day is pretty reasonable, right?), I’m spending an extra $2800 (in addition to the outrageous amount I’m already paying for satellite).

Money, always good for a laugh, suggests that if you can’t turn off your TV completely, at least change the channel. “No one ever looked at the PBS anchor and said, ‘I’ve got to get a blazer like that!'”