Friday, August 31, 2007


So, I ran across something today that amused me, so maybe it will amuse you, too. I wiki-ed (don't you love the way Wikipedia has become a verb?) Romper Room because I was writing a pastoral prayer. Ok, so I'm not going to make the Romper Room reference in the prayer after all, because I'm not sure everyone would get it. At the end of every show, Miss... well, whichever Miss you had at your television station—would look through her "magic mirror" and name all the people she could "see" out there in TVland. Kids were encouraged to send their names in so they could be "seen" by Miss Whoever. Sometimes when I'm praying the pastoral prayer, I feel like one of the Misses from Romper Room, because our congregation is large enough that the names of those being prayed for can become a very long list indeed!

But here's the thing: When those pre-schoolers heard their name being spoken out of the television especially for them, it really did mean something special. And when the entire congregation is praying for your loved one by name, it means even more. I just wasn't sure that the connotation of the reference would come through in the prayer.

Anyway, I discovered this wonderful story about the Japanese version of Romper Room, Ronpaaruumu. It falls under the catagory of "Kids Say the Darndest Things," and if you can't stand the proper terms for certain male body parts, just skip down to the nice video. For the rest of you, sate your curiousity by reading on...

The Japanese version had a controversial episode; when hostess Midori Utsumi (second hostess) asked the kids, Tell me a word that begin with "Ki" (き or キ). A boy answered with "kintama" (testicles). Miss Midori replied "Do you know any words that are more beautiful?" The same boy responded with "kireina kintama!" ("beautiful testicles"; the word "kireina" (beautiful) also begins with "Ki"). After a commercial break, the boy was replaced with a teddy bear. Midori Utsumi, who has since became a major media personality, often tells this story on some TV programs that she appears in.

The above was quoted directly from Wikipedia, which is linked under "Useful Stuff." And finally, I found this clip from Romper Room on Youtube. Well, it's a little long to be called a clip, maybe, but it at least shows the "magic mirror" part, for those of you who don't remember Romper Room! Oh, and if you remember these commercials, you're probably beginning to feel old... (but you probably aren't yet).

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh
083107 (again)


So, I took the time to post yesterday, and I didn't get completely swamped by all the other writing I need to be doing. So I'm going to try on the idea of posting at least a little something every day I'm in the office again. We'll see if this concept actually survives Advent this year!

Of course, one of the dangers of this newfound self-discipline is that I don't have brilliant ideas for entries every day, and I'm afraid today is one of those days. It's Friday, I'm a little tired, I have to get up early and perform a funeral tomorrow, and overall I'm feeling just a little down. I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the way I see people treating each other on the road. On the way back from the gym this morning I watched a young lady cross the street in the crosswalk while blathering away on her cell phone. She was probably somewhere between a quarter and a third of the way across when a guy (I almost said "gentleman," but he wasn't acting like one) in a beat-up green car started laying on his horn at her.

BEEP! BEP! BEP! BEEEP! BEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEP! Granted, she ignored him, kept walking and blathering away on her cell phone, but really, it didn't cost him more than 30 seconds to slow down and let her get out of his lane. And the look on his face was just... demonic.

Besides, I'm pretty sure the law states that pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right-of-way.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

PS I did not take either of these pics, they came from Stock.Xchng

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"I got that guy"

Hey, I've got a lot on my plate today, well... the rest of the week, really. And I wasn't going to post today, but I ran across this incident on MSNBC that I simply have to get out there.

Did Tucker Carlson say on air that he and a friend beat a guy in a bathroom stall for propositioning him? And is it just me, or was the general response... glee? Doesn't that fit the definition of gay bashing? Shouldn't the appropriate response to any part of that situation be the opposite of glee? I'm not saying that anybody should be propositioned for sex in a public restroom. You ought to be able to urinate without having to worry about unwanted advances. But I will also say that approaching someone for sex shouldn't be grounds for being assaulted, whether you're gay or not.

I guess there are several lessons here. Stop watching MSNBC, they're inappropriately gleeful over there. Don't proposition people in public restrooms—public restrooms are usually gross to begin with and most people just want to urinate and get out of there as soon as possible. And finally, don't proposition Tucker Carlson for sex, ever—he might respond with violence.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More Written Words

Hey, I know it's been a long time, but I've been on vacation! You'd think that would mean lots of time to write, but what really happened is that it was lots of time to visit and be visited! Which can be just as busy as work, only much more fun! (And this coming from someone who really loves his job!) In any case, I'd like to share a poem that came out of my week at Silver Lake counseling for The Written Word. The fool thing keeps refusing to be titled, either I have no ideas or too many... I'll keep thinking about it. Anyway, here it is.

I hear familier voices singing alongside new.
I feel the floor as it bounces and moves with the shrieking throng.
I see the pulsing mob occassionally disgorge a happy and flushed dancer, out of breath and laughing.

And I, no dancer, bask in the glow.

And I don't mind.

Content, I find myself thinking that I've only ever danced to please another.

As if on cue I see them suddenly baring down on me.
I'm being mugged by dancers!
"Give me your money!" replaced by "You have to dance now!"
"Ah! Ah! Ah!" I reply as I am dragged by both arms, struggling, to the dance floor.

I hear familiar voices alongside new.
I feel the floor as it bounces and moves with the shrieking throng.
I see the beaming faces of my abductors as they dance freely, effortlessly, consumed by joy.

And I dance as best as I'm able.

And I don't mind.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is It Still Road Rash If You Do It On A Chain Link Fence?

So, I don't have a pic of the "rash" in question, (my skin is too brilliantly white to get a good pic...) but I'd still like to know... Is it still called road rash if you do it on a chain link fence? And you'd like to know how the question came up in the first place, I imagine!

Well, this is your bike post, the one I alluded to last time. Actually, this is kind of a postscript to my skateboard post. If you remember, or feel like going back and looking at it, I decided that I couldn't very well skateboard to work with the sidewalks being as bad as they are. And I ended with the question, "Now where'd my bike go?" The answer is: Nowhere, it's right at home, hanging up in my parents' garage, right where I left it... um... gotta be over 10 years ago now. Or rather, that was the answer. Today the answer is:

Chained to the railing in the entryway of the church.

That's right, I've been riding my bike to work! Praise me! Considering that I hadn't been on the thing in over a decade, I think I've been doing pretty well.
Now, I know that some of you might be against it, but I've been riding on the sidewalks. Call me a coward, but I simply do not trust the way people drive on Main Street (or Stratford Ave. for that matter) enough to be in the road with them. Besides, if I take the sidewalks I don't have to cross Main Street to get to the church. I think the main argument for not riding on the sidewalks is that it's rude and/or dangerous to, you know, barrel down on pedestrians with your bike. And I agree with that, of course! But over half of my ride has a strip of grass between the sidewalk and the curb and lawns on the other side, so I can get around padestrians!

And the rest of my ride? Well, pretty frequently I end up walking my bike for at least part of it. I'm scared of corners. I know, I know, but I actually took a pretty bad turn into my parents' driveway one time, lost control, hit a driveway light, went over the handlebars onto my head... So I'm afraid that I might loose control when I'm turning, because I've done it so spectacularly before. Now, the turn out of the apartment's driveway is really safe, but the next turn is onto a really busy street, so I dismount and walk my bike instead of trying it. Cause if I did loose control, I'd end up on the hood of a BMW or something. And then I often walk it just a little bit further, because the sidewalk gets really narrow right after that. All these pics are taken on the way to the church, by the way, but it was on the way home, in that narrow spot, that I earned my "road rash." I got a little too close to the fence side of that little gap, and, well... I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt! (Cool. I just discovered that sleaved is a real word, too!) So I didn't scrape myself on the road, per se, but I did do it biking... is that still road rash?

Major intersections that I have to cross, I do so walking my bike, with the walk light—there's no sense in taking stupid chances. Especially when you're on a bike and the other guy has an SUV. There is one last corner I walk, it's just at the church, and it's actually got a decent descent to it. (Try saying that three times fast!) I was biking downhill when I lost control all those years ago, and I don't want to repeat that, especially not when loosing control would probably mean ending up in the street—or running into the side of a car! I doubt if my insurance covers me running into a stationary car on my bicycle!

For what it's worth, I can make that turn coming from the other direction!

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good about bicycling to work, and I'm going to keep it up as much as is safe. Thanks to my folks for helping me get the bike here, and giving me enough money to get it tuned up and safe. Thanks also to Dawn for staying on the cell phone with me and talking me to Tony's Bikes and Sports. I never would have gotten there without her!

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bash Bish

You were going to get a post about bicycles. Or rather, my bike. And you will, but not today. Because I forgot that taking pics on the way to work doesn't do anything for today's post, because I need to bring the camera home to upload them...

So, instead, the first installment of Silver Lake posts! Yay!

So, I think I mentioned that I was a conselor for a creative writing conference called The Written Word last week. I thought it would be silly to simply tell you about how I've been writing and not share any of it with you, so here's the first piece that came out of the week for me. But first, you need the setting: This piece came out of a writing exercise we did downstream from Bash Bish Falls. I'd say that this is a first draft, but I suspect that I'll be doing some editing as I transcribe it from my hand-written copy into the post, so in effect you'll be reading a second draft. I'm all about the constructive criticism, so if you have any, please, be my guest and comment!

Wednesday, 072507, Bash Bish

I meander down the bank of the stream, feeling secure in my old boots, looking for a new friend to make. As I sit here, writing this, I resist the urge to smile and lovingly give him a little pat. I know him well enough now to be confident that he would not appreciate the gesture.

But I get ahead of myself. It was downstream from the little beach that he caught my eye. He was, in general, shaped like all the other rocks, but something about his pockmarked features spoke to me.

I picked him up, ranged upstream and found a large rock in the center to sit on. Then, after a brief interlude involving the need of a pen, the return to the bank to retrieve a pen, and the subsequent decision to roll up my pant legs, remove my boots and socks, and wade back to the center, I lay him down on the stone next to me, and he began to tell me his story.

"Who but God knows the immensity of the pressure, the literal physical weight under which I was formed?"

I knew there was something about this rock, he has already brought proper focus to me, setting my mind on God, I thought.

"Who but God remembers the great, tall and fantastic mountain of which I was once a part? A spire so tall that it would seem to be a route into heaven. Who but God can comprehend the terrible cold, or the inexorable grinding movement of the glacial flow or the insistant tumble of water, or the more intermittent working of wind and rain that has worn me down to the palm-full of pock-marked stone you find me to be?"

I left him there, to ponder heavily the working and mystery of God. A smile and a pat seemed inappropriate.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vacation is Work!

Hey everybody, been a long time, I know, so sorry, so sorry. Lots of things have happened since I posted that long, long post about a tiny piece of General Synod. Most of which happened during vacation. (Actually, I have only had half of my vacation, the other half is coming in about a week... don't ask, it's not worth the telling, lol!) But let me backtrack a second. Just before my vacation, I learned from Elizabeth (she of Modern Day Slavery and Red Leggings) that she was going to be involved in a presentation in the park of Shakespear's The Tempest. Awesome! I find out from her that the show will be running every Friday and Saturday in July. Way cool, plenty of time to go see it!

Well, as soon as I reach my vacation start, Jenny (she of Yarnpie) and I head home to visit the fams. We watch the new Transformers movie with my brother... and then we go searching for a walk-in clinic. It turns out that Jenny has Strep. (Cue evil music.) But not just in her throat. Oh no. She has a lovely ear infection to go with. By the time (hours... horrible hours) we get out of there, Jenny has been proscribed an antibiotic... and is tripping on Vicodin. No, you can't have any. So I got to take care of Jenny for a while.

We spent some time cleaning out closets (now, to clean out the rest of the apartment made messy by the closet cleaning... hmm... vicious circle anyone?) We also tried to spend some actual quality time with the fams. We also got to see my friend, Bob, from seminary. He and his wife came down to see the aquarium, Bob's got a thing for penguins, so he was happy! We had to hurry home so I could get ready to go to Silver Lake to be a councelor for The Written Word, a creative writing conference for high school students. I would be leaving Saturday late in the morning... to...


I haven't been to see The Tempest yet. I suggest to Jenny that she could go on her own, but she would rather wait for me. She gets online and re-discovered that the Saturday I come home is the last showing, not the Saturday I go up, so we make plans to see it when I get back.

Now, I love Silver Lake, and it was a very good week, I think. But there wasn't a whole lot of sleep involved. Ok, so only half of that was the fault of the youth (Harry Potter is my Kryptonite) but the fact remains that I was dead on my feet by the time we got to the park. But I really wanted to be there to see Elizabeth (and, it turns out, another member of my church) in the play.

Only, Elizabeth wasn't there. I haven't had a chance to talk to her since I've gotten back, but I hope everything is ok... and I fear that she might have told me she couldn't make that last performance. If so, then I am truly sorry.

Anyway, The Tempest was very good.

But it would have been better with Elizabeth.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

PS I just reread this post, and I realize now that my tenses are shifting all over the place... and I just don't have the umph to sort them out. You'll just have to deal, lol!