Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Park Avenue ... Utah!

We took a lot of pictures while on our road trip. So, for a few days, this blog will be turning into a photo album. Hope you don't mind.

This was taken at our first stop in ARCHES NATIONAL PARK at a grouping of rocks called "Park Avenue". (I highly recommend stopping here anytime you are driving the 70 from Colorado through Utah. And take the 128 scenic byway to get there - we'll post pictures of that journey soon.)

From our travels,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Generations of History

Sean & I had the opportunity to see Mount Rushmore for the first time last week.

The magnitude of what these four men did to extablish, expand, protect and preserve our nation was overwhelming.

That evening, the ranger asked anyone who had served in the armed forces to come down to the front along with their spouses. These men then retired the flag for the evening. It was wonderful to honor these men with our applause.

What I didn't expect were the tears that began to pour down my face as they passed the microphone down the line and each person told where and when they served. Everything from WWII to Iraq was represented. We kept clapping and crying until my hands were stinging and my face was sopping. We are blessed.

This photo of our niece Genavieve is one of my favorites from our trip.

There is something about the younger generation in bright life directly in front of the past in grey stone that is both delightful and profound.

From our travels,


Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Catherine’s godson had his first communion the other day. The event showcased for me several types of church-folk.

It was a rowdy group, mostly. Several visitors, so I guess that is to be expected, but yowza!

A majority of the attendees talked throughout the mass. A priestly prayer was a relief to them, because they didn’t have to push from the diaphragm to be heard over the music or communal recitations.

The group behind us played games the whole time. They had a Barbie doll that they tortured throughout. And they were not children.

When the priest came by sprinkling the Holy water – symbolizing the saving sacrifice of our Lord for our sins - a woman near me ducked.

And at communion, a family down our row literally pushed my young nieces (and the rest of my relatives) aside, so they could get in the communion line first. (For those who do not know how orderly Catholics are in communion, this meant that the rude family had to suffer my kinfolk climbing past them to get back to our seats; which they endured with nasty scowls.)

And me – I spent most of the mass praying that my anger and irritation at those around me would subside enough to find joy in my nephew’s celebratory rite.

A fair grab-bag look at Christians, don’t you think?

Those that are there to hear themselves.

The ones that play at church.

The faction that come inside, but duck Jesus as much as they can.

Those that are so devout, they trample those around them in a desire to be first in the kingdom.

And the grumpy old goats who allow their surroundings to determine the quality of their conversing with G-d.

Can’t say as I’m impressed by any of them.

The kid that stayed focused, though, partaking with pleasure the communion wafer while honestly acknowledging the bitterness of the cup (he wiped his mouth with his sleeve after his sip) – him I could aspire to.

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crazy Kroc Memorial

We visited the Crazy Horse Memorial, shortly after visiting Mount Rushmore. Both, as you know, are mountainsides turned into gi-normous sculptures of American heroes.

At Crazy Horse, tucked in among other statues by artist Ziolkowski, was a bust of Ray Kroc, apparently a friend of the sculptor.

My niece saw Ray’s visage, and wanted to know who that guy was. We informed her that he founded McDonalds.

Her face scrunched up as she asked, “You mean they almost put him on the mountain?”

We laughed at the notion, realizing how inappropriate it would be to put him up there, flanked by 100-foot arches.

But then again, such crass commercialism is oddly appropriate, given much of the focus of this “fast food nation.”

Makes me wonder what other inappropriately appropriate people we should carve into our mountains.

Ideas, anyone?

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Signs of the Times

One can tell a lot about a state based on its billboards.

For example, Nevada is mostly interested in three things: gambling, what shows can be seen while gambling, and what foods can be eaten cheaply while gambling.

What they haven’t learned is that places with names like “Gas & Go” should not lead by bragging about their discount breakfast meats.

Utah has a lot of signs asking drowsy drivers to exit the road; just one way the state admits that they can be a bit boring.

Utah also has a remarkable number of billboards advertising “modest” swimwear; whereas California does public service by showcasing exactly what “modest swimwear” means – by negative example.

So far, Wyoming’s billboards we've seen have been monopolized by the hotel in Little America. This town has a population of 56. Yea, 56.

The hotel has 150 rooms. Just about three rooms for each resident. So I guess we can’t fault them for overselling in an attempt to bring in outsiders.

Only so often can you rent a room to cousin Leo before you're desperte for a tourist or two to stop by.

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is She Crazy? You Decide!

I have to say that I was a bit taken aback when I got my Reader's Digest this month. The cover picture and caption was... Well, sure, who hasn't thought it, but RD seems gentler than this.

The tabloids are expected to have a contest where the audience decides the sanity of any particular star. But RD?

Cuthroat, man.

It actually took a while of staring at the full cover before I realized that Miss Jolie wasn't suffering from backstabbing journalism, so much as poor cover layout.

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Galactica Catch Up Time

Sci-fi channel is hosting a BATTLESTAR GALACTICA marathon – you can see pretty much the entire last season in three days starting Wednesday – tomorrow.

Reasons that you should care:

1) In spite of what you may think of sci-fi, BG is one of the best shows on television – writing, acting, directing, production.

2) BG is perhaps the most relevant show on television in terms of addressing post 9/11 culture.

3) BG is challengingly even-handed in addressing our world and culture – giving you opportunity to stretch your thinking as well as be entertained.

4) BG doesn’t shy away from deep and dangerous – deep and dangerous thoughts, emotions, psychology, etc.

For example, in one episode this season, a character makes an argument for one aspect of the Gospel. Not the mamby-pamby feel-good Gospel of American marketers, but the this-is-different-than-the-world, in-your-face Good News of Jesus and Paul.

And the argument was given in such a way, under such circumstances, and with such Truth that I fully understood why a guy would get stoned or beaten or beheaded or crucified for talking such talk.

In fact, I wasn’t so sure that I wouldn’t have been the first one to toss a stone at the guy. Fortunately, I live on the mythical Earth and not in exodus, so I didn’t have to act on my choices…

5) BG is on-the-edge-of-your-seat entertaining.

Let me give you a clue as to how exciting: in the finale, someone will say something that changes everything. EVERYTHING. One of those “you did not just say that” things. The ba-da-dum!! type thing. The thing that any other show would fade to black on, putting up the “to be continued” sign.

But there is no fade after “the thing” is said; rather, the writers tease us by showing how those impacted by the news choose to live their lives – despite Everything changing, we see who these characters really are.

Which, trust me, is even more shocking and wonderful than “the thing.”

Oh, and then later, someone pops up and says something else that changes everything, and we fade to black and the “to be continued” sign pops up.

So, if you like having your cake and eating it too; if you like stories that challenge in a good way, if you like your sci-fi to rock your entertainment world, catch up with Battlestar Galactica – so I can finally talk to you about that amazing last episode!!!

Just my thoughts,


PS The Sci-fi Channel HEROES marathon starts on Saturday!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

If It Applies...

I heard an odd little phrase on the radio today.

The nice voice of NPR said, “Have a happy Mothers’ Day.”

Okay, that wasn’t odd. But the follow up was: “Have a happy Mothers’ Day, if that applies.”

If that applies? When wouldn’t it apply?

Upon reflection, I suppose she meant, “if you are a mother.”

I’ve never thought of Mother’s Day as being exclusive to mommies, like Valentine’s Day to lovers, or Easter to Christians, or St. Patrick’s Day to people who like to drink beer.

It always seemed more to me like Presidents’ Day, which is meant as a day for everyone to honor Presidents and buy discounted bed linens. Sure, George slept in a lot of places, and Abe has a famous bedroom, but those sales couldn’t be just for them, could they?

So if you are a mother, happy Mother’s day. And if you aren’t a mother, happy Mother's Day to you too.

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, May 10, 2007


From THE IRRATIONAL SEASON, Madeleine L'Engle:

The Church is not immune from the bigger-is-better heresy. One woman told of going to a meeting where only a handful of people turned out, and these faithful few were scolded by the visiting preacher for the sparseness of the congregation. And she said indignantly, “Our Lord said feed my sheep, not count them!” I often feel that I’m being counted, rather than fed, and so I am hungry.

Just repeating her thoughts,


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Show Goes On

I wore my superhero t-shirt today. No, not one with a bat symbol, or a spider, but the one with the “SH” logo in the corner, and “Suspension of Disbelief” on the back.

This t-shirt is a souvenir from a play I wrote a few years back, directed by friend Jennifer Schuchmann and performed at the American Heritage Academy in Georgia.

The play, “Superhero High,” is about a school for the super-powered. For the special effects, we used stage hands – manipulating things on poles, lifting kids in the air, etc.

The magic was in the audience being unable to see the stagehands, a trick we pulled off by having them wear t-shirts that said things like, “You can’t see me,” “I’m not here,” and “Suspension of disbelief.”

I got me a t-shirt from the cast when it was done.

I’m wearing the shirt in honor of the fact that the school is performing a new play of mine this weekend, “Deadline,” with music and lyrics by Tony Troy.

It is odd – not the piece, but the fact that I won’t be there this year to see it.

I should be used to it – as a playwright, I do not get to see the majority of my plays in production. In fact, those where the rights are obtained through a publisher like Lillenas or a company like Taproot – I usually don’t even know the work is being staged until my quarterly statement arrives months after closing night.

But this is different – maybe because the director, Jennifer, is such a good friend.

Or because this is the world premiere, and I have no idea how well the writing holds up.

Or maybe I want to be in a room where everybody is celebrating something that I had a hand in.

Do folks that work on assembly lines seek out the cars on the street that they had a hand in? Ask the owner how she handles the road?

Do grocery clerks get tempted to call patrons at night and see how that frozen pizza worked out?

Do hotel maids desire to hide in the closet, to see the look on the guest’s face when he sees how neatly the blankets have been folded over, or if the triangle fold on the tp is appreciated?

Maybe they should.

Just my thoughts,


Counting Sheep

A friend of mine is a graduate of a prominent Christian university. As part of a fundraiser, and in celebration of the school, the alumni have been asked to count and send in the number of people that they have saved.

My friend wrote an angry response to this request.

I can see why she thinks the campaign it is a bad idea.

How do you think Jesus will feel when he finds out, and realizes that they saved more people than he has?

It seems mean, feeding his low self-esteem.

Just my thoughts,


Friday, May 04, 2007

"A writer ought to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."

– Mark Twain

Quote courtesy of CS Weekly

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What do Twitchy and Zach Braff have in common?

Check it out:

And, for my friend Cory, may I say: Wahoo!

Just my thoughts,


"I found out life's hard, but it ain't impossible."

-August Wilson