Thursday, June 26, 2008

Better than Hannah Montana!

I love this photo from Charlotte, North Carolina. Classic! Many fans hold up signs at Springsteen shows to request songs. This one was from a young girl. If you can't read the sign it says:


When he read that sign Bruce said, "My aspirations have been realized. We can go home now!" On the back was her request, "Darlington County" and Bruce stuck it in as an audible. It's been over three months since I last saw Springsteen (March 16th in St. Paul, Minnesota, with Tony Cloyd) and I'm starting to get that twitchy feeling now.


Bruce Remembering Tim Russert

This is a real nice tribute.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baseball and Football

Oh, the mind of George Carlin. What a loss! His comedy will live on forever though.

Ice Box Man

This is merely one of my favorite Carlin routines.  It's from the brilliant 1981 album, A PLACE FOR MY STUFF.  Please do try to find the audio somewhere because his inflections and delivery are so amazing!

"Ice Box Man" by George Carlin
I'm the ice box man at our house. I'm Ice Box Man! I answer the call when there's a need at the ice box. Two very important responsibilities, the first one is: keeping people from standing with the door to the refrigerator open for more than 45 minutes at a time. God, that gets me mad - "YOU WANT TO CLOSE THAT GODDAMN DOOR PLEASE? YOU WANT TO CLOSE THE DOOR?! YOU'RE LETTING OUT ALL OF THE COLDNESS I SAVED OVERNIGHT! COME ON, CLOSE THE DOOR!" - you know, some guy smoked eight joints and he's gonna inventory my refrigerator. "Ummmm...Ummm...Uhhh.... "Here, here's fifty dollars- go down to the Burger King. Willya, God! We'll save more than that on electricity alone. Close the goddamn door, willya?"
Look, if you wanna know what's in there, why don't you take a Polaroid picture and go away and look at the picture and then come back and figure out what you want. Years ago, we didn't have Polaroid cameras. We had to make an OIL PAINTING of what was in there! 

Aah, I don't let it get me down. 'Cause there's a bigger responsibility. And that is getting into that refrigerator and deciding which things need to be thrown away. Most people will not take that responsibility. Most people will just go and get what they want, leave everything else alone and say, "Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that" Meanwhile, the thing is getting smaller and smaller and smaller and is, in fact stuck to the rack. Well, I've got to go in there and decide when to throw things away. "Chocolate pudding? Does anyone want this last chocolate pudding? I have just one chocolate pudding left. It's only pulled away from the side of the dish about three inches all the way around. And there's a huge fault running through the center of the pudding. Actually, it's nothing but a ball of skin at this point. Does anyone want a ball of fault ridden chocolate pudding skin? I'm only going to throw it away." 

Do people do that with you? Offer you some food that if you don't eat it, they're only going to throw it away. Well, doesn't that make you feel dandy? "Here's something to eat, Dave. Hurry up, it's spoiling!" "Something for you, Angela. Eat quickly, that green part is moving!" "Here, Bob. Eat this before I give it to an animal." Y'ever been looking through the refrigerator and you come across an empty plate? Boy, that starts me to wondering. Did something eat something else? Maybe the olives ate the tuna! Maybe that chicken isn't really dead yet. Actually, I picture a little mouse with gloves and a parka on, y'know. Just waiting for the lights to go out. 

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is to reach into the refrigerator and come out with something that you cannot identify at all. You literally do not know what it is. Could be meat, could be cake. Usually, at a time like that, I'll bluff. "Honey, is this good?" "Well, what is it?" "I don't know. I've never seen anything like it. It looks like...meatcake!" "Well, smell it." (snort, sniff) "It has absolutely no smell whatsoever!" "It's good! Put it back! Somebody is saving it. It'll turn up in something." Thats what frightens me. That someone will consider it a challenge and use it just because it's in there. 

It's a leftover. What a sad word that is. Leftover. How would you like to be...a leftover? Well, it wouldn't be bad if they were taking people out to be shot. I might even volunteer. But, y'know, leftovers make you feel good twice. D'ja ever think about that? When you first put them away, you feel really intelligent- "I'm saving food!" And then, after a month, when hair is growing out of them and you throw them away you feel...really intelligent- "I'm saving my life!"

When you make a sandwich at home, do you reach down past the first three or four pieces of bread to go down and get 'the good bread'? It's kind of a self preservation thing, y'know? What you're really saying is, "Let my family eat the rotten bread! I'll take care of Numero Uno!" And down you go into the loaf. Down, looking for the two that you want, a matching pair. And you have to be careful pulling them out so they don't tear. And then when you get them to the top, the upper eight slices fall the other way. I never straighten them out. I think, screw it, let 'em think a burglar made a sandwich. Not my job, straightening out the bread.

Gotta tell me. In the refrigerator, who is it, please that puts into the refrigerator the half-gallon containers of milk with only that much left in them? I get one of those every time. Hey, here's some milk- fooom! ...God, not enough to drink. Better put that back, huh? I know my responsibilities.


Five Sentence Tribute: George Carlin

I know, this should be a seven word tribute to the man, but I can't post things I wouldn't want my children to read! I was lucky enough to have seen Mr. Carlin live more than once and to have met him twice. He has hundreds, count them, hundreds of genius comedy routines. One of my favorites was the "Ice Box Man" which I think I may just put in a separate post. This man was my absolute, all-time, second-place-is-not-even-close, favorite comedian, and man, this one really hurts.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Maybe I'm Just Highly Evolved?

This one was just released on "Yahoo! News" today.  This may explain a lot in my life . . . 


by Meredith F. Small, LiveScience's Human Nature Columnist, from

Humans are fundamentally social animals. Our social nature means that we interact with each other in positive, friendly ways, and it also means we know how to manipulate others in a very negative way.

Neurophysiologist Katherine Rankin at the University of California, San Francisco, has also recently discovered that sarcasm, which is both positively funny and negatively nasty, plays an important part in human social interaction.

So what?

I mean really, who cares? Oh for God's sake. Don't you have anything better to do that read this column?

According to Dr. Rankin, if you didn't get the sarcastic tone of the previous sentences you must have some damage to your parahippocampal gyrus which is located in the right brain. People with dementia, or head injuries in that area, often lose the ability to pick up on sarcasm, and so they don't respond in a socially appropriate ways.

Presumably, this is a pathology, which in turn suggests that sarcasm is part of human nature and probably an evolutionarily good thing.

How might something so, well, sarcastic as sarcasm, be part of the human social toolbox?

Evolutionary biologists claim that sociality is what has made humans such a successful species. We are masters at what anthropologists and others call "social intelligence." We recognize and keep track of hundreds of relationships, and we easily distinguish between enemies and friends.

More important, we run our lives by social calculation. A favor is mentally recorded and paid back, sometimes many years later. Likewise, insults are marked down on the mental score card in indelible ink. And we are constantly bickering and making up, even with people we love.

Sarcasm, then, is a verbal hammer that connects people in both a negative and positive way. We know that sense of humor is important to relationships; if someone doesn't get your jokes, they aren't likely to be your friend (or at least that's my bottom line about friendship). Sarcasm is simply humor's dark side, and it would be just as disconcerting if a friend didn't get your snide remarks.

It's also easy to imagine how sarcasm might be selected over time as evolutionarily crucial. Imagine two ancient humans running across the savannah with a hungry lion in pursuit. One guy says to the other, "Are we having fun yet?" and the other just looks blank and stops to figure out what in the world his pal meant by that remark. End of friendship, end of one guy's contribution to the future of the human gene pool.

Fast forward a few million years and the network of human relationships is wider and more complex, and just as important to survival. The corporate chairman throws out a sarcastic remark and those who "get" it laugh, smile, and gain favor. In the same way, if the chair never makes a remark, sarcastic people are making them behind his or her back, forming a clique by their mutually negative, but funny, comments. Either way, sarcasm plays a role in making and breaking alliances and friendship.

Thanks goodness, because life without out sarcasm would be a dull and way too nice place to be, if you ask me.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Why I Teach

Part of me feels weird for doing this post. You know, it's not considered socially acceptable to "toot your own horn" and all, but if you know me well, you know I'm not above doing so! I became a teacher eight years ago and there's a reason I wanted to be a teacher. This post tells you why. I reason is I wanted to make a difference. Sometimes I wonder if I am and then, something like this happens to let me know that I am. That feels good. Honestly, I love my job.

Today at recess I saw a strange envelope in my mailbox at work. It was from a person I didn't know at the district office. Inside there was this note: "Mr. Lynd, Thought you would enjoy reading this essay from one of your former students." Attached was this wonderful essay from a student I had in third grade three years ago.

I remember Karina well. I remember everything she wrote about. I also adore the fact that she ends with a poltical statement too! What a crack-up! Turns out this is what she submitted for her sixth grade writing proficiency examination. The writing task was to write an expository essay about someone you know that deserves an award. In the grand fashion of George Bailey, Karina's composition makes me a very rich man. Here is what Karina wrote:

Someone I Know Deserves an Award
Do you know anyone that deserves an award? I do and if there ever was a competition for being "The Greatest Teacher" I would choose Mr. Lynd as a nominee. Mr. Lynd was my third grade teacher and he worked in the school, Remington. I had attended Remington the year before and that same year I had arrived to the U.S.A. from Mexico. While I was in second grade I didn't know any English, but when I moved to third grade in Mr. Lynd's class I learned English before the middle of the year! Every day Mr. Lynd would encouragae me to read in both English and Spanish. We would have to write a journal every day, but instead of me writing my journal, he would call me up to his desk, along with other kids that weren't very good talking or writing in English. He would sit with us and make us read little books that didn't have many sophisticated words in them. Then, after we would all finish the book, he would talk to us about what words we couldn't pronounce or read. One day I had a question about the word colonel and he told me that English was a very crazy language and that he would be glad to help me. That day I learned that the word colonel was pronounced like if it had an R, even if we couldn't see it, we had to say it. This was very difficult for me. Mr. Lynd even established a club that would help us with reading and writing. Mr. Lynd didn't just help us with learning, but he also helped us emotionally.

One day I got mad at this girl named Diana because of what she said about me and when Mr. Lynd found out he didn't get mad at us. He just made us stay after school and we had to solve our problem before we left. One Sunday afternoon my dad was driving and a car crashed our car from the back. I was very frightened because it was my first car crash and I started to cry. On Monday when I went to school, Mr. Lynd told me to tell him if I was okay and I told him about the car crash. He told me that he was also very frightened when he was in a car crash, but he told me he knew the perfect cure. He told me to write a story or book about what had happened and told me also to draw a picture of what I had seen. He said that it's always good to tell someone how you feel and I had done the right thing by telling him. Mr. Lynd was and is a very good teacher.

Some kids sometimes didn't like him because they said he was mean, but they didn't even have him. At first when I heard about Mr. Lynd being one of the meanest teachers at Remington I was terrified, but when I met him I noticed it was all lies and he was actually one of the nicest teachers. Mr. Lynd was a very cool teacher and he encouraged us with "Lynd Dollars!" Every time we got a good grade, Mr. Lynd would give us a "Lynd Dollar." These Lynd dollars became a source of encouragement for getting good grades. We could use the dollars to buy stuff like pencils, little toys, or 15 minutes of free time. Mr. Lynd told me one day that I was now officially an English speaker, which just meant that I had learned English in less than a school year. I was very happy and I got home and told my mom. The next day I told Mr. Lynd that it was all thanks to him that I could talk in English. He told me he was very happy that I didn't give up. If it wasn't for him maybe right now I wouldn't be talking in English or even writing this. I soon became one of his best students, or at least that's what he told me! I remember that my parents always say that Mr. Lynd was my best teacher ever! I am very thankful that he never lost hope for kids like me and little by little his club started disappearing because every kid would have succeded in English. He said he was very happy for all of us and he told us that every single step we take in our lifetime one day we would look back at it, which meant that every single choice we make, even the ones we think don't matter, will affect every minute in our future. I think Mr. Lynd would be the perfect nominee for "The Greatest Teacher" award! I especially remember these words that he told me the last day of school, If you keep believing in yourself you can accomplish many wonderful things in your lifetime, maybe even become the first woman president! That's why I hope Obama wins!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Good News on Father's Day!

So it's Father's Day.  Wes woke me up telling me that he made me breakfast.  He did. It was thoughtful and yummy.  Zoey and Kasey honored me with the love of a six and four year old as they brought me their school crafts that might as well have been Springsteen tickets. Chrisy got me pounds and pounds of my favorite Peet's Coffee. Max wrote these words to me:  "Dad, I love you soooo much.  I am so thankful for the things you do for me like make me eggs and clean the house.  And most of all I love it when you watch movies with me and teach me about music."  I think that last line meant so much to me because to me it meant, "I like YOU just the way you are, I like your interests, and I like to spend time with you."  Good stuff, huh?  But, it's hardly the best news of the day.
This morning in my junior high group at church I focused on the idea of "the Good News" and I essentially asked the kids if they truly believed that God loved them fully right now.  I drew heavily on one of the greatest books I've ever read.  It is called THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL.  It's by Brennan Manning.  I really started thinking about this book again this morning. Something deep within my heart welled up saying, "Doah, my grace is the best gift you will ever receive. Doah, my grace is the best gift you could give to your children. What's more, you've got to tell this Good News to the junior highers!"

The best gift I ever received is recorded in Romans 1:17 and it says this:  
The Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As the Scriptures says, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."
Here's a passage about this from Manning's book.  This comes from "Something Is Radically Wrong" which is the first chapter:
I believe the Reformation actually began the day Martin Luther was praying over the meaning of Paul's assertion that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God to us--it shows how faith leads to faith.  In other words, the righteous shall find life through faith (see Romans 1:17).  Like many Christians today, Luther wrestled through the night with this core question: How could the gospel of Christ be truly called "good news" if God is a righteous judge who rewards the good and punishes the evil? Did Jesus really have to come to reveal that terrifying message? How could the revelation of God in Christ Jesus be accurately called "news" since the Old Testament carried the same theme, or for that matter "good" with the threat of punishment hanging like a dark cloud over the valley of history?
"Justification by grace through faith" is the theologian's learned phrase for what Chesterton once called "the furious love of God."  He is not moody or capricious; He knows no seasons of change.  He has a single relentless stance toward us:  He loves us.  He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners.  False gods--the gods of human manufacturing--despise sinners, but the Father of Jesus loves all, no matter what they do.  But of course, this is almost too incredible for us to accept. Nevertheless, the central affirmation of the Reformation stands:  Through no merit of ours, but by His mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son.  This is the Good News, the gospel of grace.
My favorite passage may be this:
Here is the revelation bright as the evening star: Jesus comes for sinners, for those as outcast as tax collectors and for those caught up in the squalid choices and failed dreams.  He comes for corporate executives, street people, superstars, farmers, hookers, addicts, IRS agents, AIDS victims, and even used-car salesmen.  Jesus not only talks with these people but dines with them--fully aware that His table fellowship with sinners will raise the eyebrows of religious bureaucrats who hold up the robes and insignia of their authority to justify their condemnation of the truth and their rejection of the gospel of grace.
In that section Manning is talking about Matthew 9:9-13. You really have to read Matthew 9:9-13 here:
Matthew 9:9-13 (THE MESSAGE)
Passing along, Jesus saw a  man at his work collecting taxes.  His name was Matthew.  Jesus said, "Come along with me."  Matthew stood up and followed him. Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them.  When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers.  "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riff-raff?"  Jesus overhearing shot back, "Who needs a doctor:  the healthy or the sick?  Go figure out what this Scripture means:  'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."
Here is what Brennan Manning then says about that chunk of the Bible:
This passage should be read, reread, and memorized. Every Christian generation tries to dim the blinding brightness of its meaning because the gospel seems too good to be true.  We think salvation belongs to the proper and pious, to those who stand at a safe distance from the back alleys of existence, clucking their judgments at those who have been soiled by life. In the name of Grace, what has been the verdict of the Christian community on the stained life of Rock Hudson?  To the disclosure that he called a priest to his deathbed, confessed his sins, and cried out God for forgiveness?
I think we all need to reread this line:  Every Christian generation tries to dim the blinding brightness of its meaning because the gospel seems too good to be true.
I want to draw on Luke 23:39-43.  In this section of the Bible Jesus is on the cross and there are two criminals hanging beside him.  One of the criminals mocks Jesus, but the other criminal protested and then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."  Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise."
So what did that criminal do to get salvation?  It goes back to Romans 1:17.  He just had faith.  He believed. This is what I so badly wanted the junior highers to get today: We don't have to do something or not do something to clean ourselves up and make ourselves presentable to God.  We are presentable now!  He loves us now!
It also goes back to the passage I shared in Matthew 9. Jesus has a place at the table for crooks and riff-raff. And, since I was among the riff-raff, that is indeed Good News! Again, Manning puts it this way:
Through no merit of ours, but by His mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of grace.
Do you get that?  I can't do anything to earn God's approval!
So, this is where I am at today.  I do not want to pollute the message found in the gospel of grace.  I do not want to dilute the Good News.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Five "Sentence" Tribute: Tim Russert

Wow. Shocking news. 58 years old. MEET THE PRESS was a great show. I really liked Tim Russert.


Thursday, June 12, 2008


"You don't run to generate self-esteem,
but to render it beside the point.
This any religious man will tell you."
--Benjamin Cheever


While running
I saw majestic trees
Delicate yellow buds
A proud new mom
Grey-haired lovers in the park
Sun rays dancing on peeling bark

Running further
Looking closer
I saw how far I'd come
The strength of my sons
Every best friend I've had
My old man wasn't so bad

Running farther on
Looking closer still
My heart expanded
All my needs were met
I saw God's jubilee
The beauty inside me

--Shenandoah Lynd

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Walking with my daughter
I finally understood
My Lord when he said,
"For the Kingdom of God
belongs to such as these."

Armed with just a stick
She took on the world
No calculating
Without hesitation
She pursued her goals

Why can't I be more
Like my three-year-old?
Collecting leaves makes her happy
Joy contained in a pine cone
Me, I need an iPhone

"Wait daddy!" is wisdom
I need to be content to
Let a day unfold
Busyness is my fool's gold
That's what my toddler teacher told

--Shenandoah Lynd


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good Ol' Days

It was fun while it lasted
My life apart from you
I enjoyed those nights getting blasted
Throwing back the brew

The illusion of freedom was grand
Keeping you up on the shelf
Living with my head in the sand
Daily serving just myself

Pops taught me all about sex
Fun without a price
No matter whose life it wrecks
Deception's a skill, not a vice

Am I a product of those days?
Or a whole new creation?
Heavily, the guilt it weighs
To my disgrace, I forget I'm your formation

--Shenandoah Lynd