Thursday, October 23, 2008

23 Days And Nothing's On

23 days it has been since my last post. As my public cries out for some warm morsel from the oven that is my intellect, I'm afraid the cupboard has been bare. But before I take off for yet another wedding (this has certainly been my busiest wedding year in quite some time, and I still have one more), here are few random thoughts to whet your pallet before 23 days turns into 24.

- For the record, I will not be voting the "Grandma and Dad" ticket in 2008 like I did (out of disgust for the candidates that were available) in the past two elections (sorry Great One). For the first time since 1996 I'll actually support a candidate that has a chance of winning (although I'd still prefer my grandmother who is fiscally conservative and pro-education). Every person has one issue that matters more to them than any other, and that generally decides their vote. I've got mine, so to the polls I'll go. May the best man win.

- I've been listening to a compilation on Rhapsody called "Soft Rock Favorites of the 70's". Don't ask me why. Let's just say that my musical preferences during the first ten years of my life weren't all that edgy. In any event, I just heard "Afternoon Delight", and now at the age of 39 am wondering how in the heck that song was ever permitted on the radio. It's about sneaking away to have sex in the afternoon. It's filthy. It features the lyric "and the thought of rubbing you gets me so excited /skyrockets in flight / afternoon delight". I predict it'll be the tag music for Viagra or Cialis within two years. Just goes to show that if music is tame enough to be on the Lawrence Welk Show you can pretty much sing about anything and still get it on the radio.

- Speaking of popular radio, have you listened to a Top 40 station lately? There's plenty of rap, plenty of sampling, and plenty of angst ridden bands playing lots of minor chords, but it's a little short on... well.... I don't know..... melody.

It's like nobody can write two verses, two choruses, and a decent bridge any more. They say you can't escape your influences. In the words of Paul McCartney, what ever happened to all the silly love songs? Where are all the kids who grew up listening to Elton John, Billy Joel, or Journey. And whatever happened to great funk bands or brass sections in general? It's like every little kid who grew up listening to Parliment, the Ohio Players, the Gap Band, and Chicago never took bass, horn, guitar, or drum lessons. I'm waiting for the next Earth, Wind, and Fire, but all I get Britney Spears.

By the way, here's a video on YouTube of a guy beat boxing to Womanizer:

The internet.... 57 billion channels and nothing on.

- My prediction for Saturday night: OSU 38 Penn State 36

What did you expect? I'm as biased as biased can be. Too bad I'll be listening to it in the car, thanks to my buddy Merv deciding to get married on game day. The guy was born in Ohio, but all these years living in Indiana have beaten the Buckeye right out of him. Scheduling a wedding on the day of the OSU/PSU game... yeeeesh! Some people have no priorities.

Also, I might add here that while Eric the Buckeye is a true Buckeye fan in every sense of the word, he's a little soft on the "Terrell Pryor Era". The guy actually texted me last week wishing that Tressel would put in Boeckman, even as the Bucks pounded MSU in front of their home crowd.

His ship has sailed, my friend. It's time to come into the future, and the future is a quarterback that can stiff arm defensive lineman, knocking them on their can, and run 18 yards for a touchdown. You gotta live with the inaccuracy and the sacks when he should throw the ball out of bounds. By the end of this season, he's going to be poised to be the best we've ever seen. Let's just hope Beanie comes back for his senior year.

- And, by the way, gotta love a 2-5 Michigan squad. Hail to Rich Rod and a team that can't beat Toledo (who got pasted the next week by Northern Illinois)!

- Finally, we'll be starting a new sermon series at Shawnee this week called "James: Uncensored". If you've never read much of the Bible, or tried but stopped because it seemed either too dense or obscure or, in some instances, very violent or strange, you'd probably do well to go back and read the book of James. It's short, to the point and incredibly practical.

The writer of the book is generally attributed to be James, the brother of Jesus, who we learn in the book of Acts becomes the head of the church in Jerusalem and one of the chief leaders of the first generation Christian movement. Early on, James sees a real problem in the Christian community. While they sing the hymns, recite the scripture, and share Communion together, in every other aspect they don't look all that different from anyone else in the world. For example, while Christ's church is supposed to celebrate different gifts while treating all people in its tribe equally, very early on rich people are treated better than those who are poor. James, who basically sees hypocrisy and calls it what it is, uses this example as a spring board to say something very important of church's role in the world, and how each of us together are responsible for one another's Christian journey.

Thus, for example, while American Airlines might have a First Class section and tony clubs in LA have VIP rooms, the church is supposed to honor everyone, particularly the poor who don't get a lot of honor anywhere else. The idea is that church is supposed to be the place that influences the way people treat one another in the world, and not vice-versa, and the only way this can happen is if hold one another accountable to demands of discipleship. So for five weeks we'll look at how James says the church is supposed to work.

If you can't make it to Shawnee for worship, feel free to download the podcast of the sermons here at the church website. They are, of course, free for all with internet access and a computer.

Stay cool. I'll be back with you soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Goodbye Old Friend

Today, we had to end the life of our cat, Trixie, who has been with Aimee and I since we were married more than 18 years ago. She was in renal failure, and instead of prolonging the agony, we had her put to sleep. After a long, and might I add, cushy life, her body just finally wore out.

We ended up with Trixie because she was rejected by her original owners. Before we were married, every year on Sherman's (my wife's grandfather) birthday, my mother-in-law, Carol, would threaten to buy him a live pet, and every year he'd end up with some sort of toy animal. It was a running joke until his 80th birthday. That year Carol actually bought Sherman a cat. She named her Trixie after Sherman's wife, (Aimee's grandmother) Henrietta, who earned the nickname from her friends after many nights dancing and partying. It was a party girl name, for a party girl.

Sherm and Henrietta took the cat home, but if you had ever lived with Henrietta, you'd know that one of things that drove her nuts was an unkempt home. We lived with them for nine days so I found that out, first hand (and often scolded).

By the way, in their home, somehow, against the laws of nature and physics, "The Lawrence Welk Show" was on their television every evening, sometimes as long as three hours, and these were the days before you could buy TV shows on DVD or VHS. How they could find that program every single blasted evening is a still a mystery to me.

You can imagine, then, the havoc a kitten wrought upon the Little household. Being up in her years, Henrietta just couldn't relax as Trixie messed up their house. Trixie, too, had a terrible habit of walking right under your feet, so she was a potential broken hip. For the good of their health and sanity, my mother-in-law took her back in, an orphan of a home, I'm sure, was scrubbed top to bottom the moment the cat left the house.

I'd never really owned a pet (besides, Garfunkle, a goldfish), and has always wanted one. Aimee grew up with all kinds of animals and liked them. We couldn't really afford it, but we decided to take her in.

Before you have children when you are young marrieds, often a pet will become like a child for you. Kind of a pseudo-son or daughter you spoil, talk to, and tell stories about to other people, much like a new parent tells stories about the the exploits of their babies. For nine years, this was pretty much Trixie's place in our life.

After Max was born though, Trixie, for all practical purposes became the cat. Still loved, but not nearly as pampered as before. Her change in status - from "favored child" to "cat who better stay away from the baby - was difficult for her. But she's a cat, so she adapted. Besides, she still found the available lap with great regularity.

That's probably how the story would have ended, her becoming more and more the cat as each boy was born, except late in her life she got a brief reprieve. The year we were in Kentucky while I was at school (June 2006-May2007), Trixie lived with The Great One, my grandmother, where for a time she was elevated from "cat" to "treasured guest" status. Within a month of settling in, The Great One's lap was Trixie's territory. Her every need catered to, when we would come home for a visit, Trixie would hide in The Great One's bedroom so we wouldn't take her home. Needless to say, she really didn't want to come back to the Bucher house. I'm sure she was grateful for a year where she always could find a warm lap to lay on and the absence of little boys looking to chase her or pull her tail before they were spanked or scolded by her parents. It had to be sweet to be talked to and valued again like she was when we had more time for a little gray cat.

Thank you, Great One, from Trixie, and us.

She's gone now. The obvious pain she was in, coupled with the loss of control of bladder and intestines, makes it much easier to let her go, but we'll still really miss her. She, like too many others - like Sherman, Henrietta, and Carol - have gone on from this life, leaving a hole in ours. Amazing how a cat can do that... leave a hole. Somehow, Trixie did.

"Goodbye old friend. I hope as you passed, you were comforted by memories of a a pillow, a lap, a gentle pat on the head, a finished bowl of milk, and a warm sunbeam."