the green fields beyond


Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Trebek, you only know the answers 'cause they're on that little card!

So i finally did it. I joined the ranks of Ken Jennings and Sean Connery.

I tried out for Jeopardy! last night, when they held their online test. 50 questions from 50 categories, with 15 seconds to answer each question...i think i did well (they don't show you your score). If more people pass the test than can fit into the regional auditions, then Jeopardy uses a "random selection process" to narrow the field. So my chances are slim, and i'm certainly not quitting my day job(s) yet. But still, wouldn't it be cool...?
A big thank-you to my friend Jeff for letting me use his Internet connection for the test. He didn't even get weirded out by my yelling at the screen and my odd "thinking noises," but just read a magazine calmly, a cigarette in his hand and the hint of a smile on his face, as i bounced up and down in front of his laptop. Also a big thank-you to Jeff's cat Stella, for only getting mildly weirded out by the aforementioned odd behaviors. If I do end up winning anything, she's due for a big piece of salmon, or something.

Stay tuned to see how this all turns out...

Read more!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Kingdom of God is like...

For those of us who look at the world today and wonder where God's justice and renewal are...
A gentle reminder from Shareen Kelly.
Please read her "guest post" over at Mark's blog.

Read more!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Help me beat my students!

I'm looking for some fresh material for my drum stuff (or classic stuff that I've forgotten) that we can work on together. So i'm asking for help from all those millions of you out there who read this blog. What are some songs with cool drumbeats? The ones that make you want to bob your head or dance in public despite the risk of embarrassing yourself? Send them in!! And lest you think a song is too well-known and that the students have already learned it, I will reproduce the following actual dialogue:
Me: So, here's one I'd like us to learn. I think you'll like it.
Student: Ok; who's it by?
Me: U2.
Student: Who?
Me: No, not the're not ready for Keith Moon yet. This is by U2.
Student: [blank look]
Me: [forced smile]...c'mon, you know...U2.
Student: Oh, Wu-Tang Clan!
Me: Um, no, although we can learn their stuff too, if you want. I said "U2." They're more...rock.
Student: Oh, rock--like Yellowcard or Nickelback?
Me: No. No. Not much like them at all, actually. (stifling a sob)

So please send those songs in! The youth of America need help!

And of course, the obligatory drummer jokes...
Why are orchestra intermissions limited to 20 minutes?
So they don't have to retrain the drummers.

What is the difference between a drummer and a savings bond?
One of them will mature and make money.

What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
You only have to punch the information into the drum machine once.

How can you tell a drummer is walking behind you? You can hear his knuckles dragging on the ground.

Read more!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Miss Marple (and Fred and Velma and Shaggy) and the Bible

Here's a mind-expanding little essay by Duke professor David Steinmetz, on reading the Bible as one would read a mystery novel. If the whole book has the same Author, then why not see if He had a plot in mind all along--even one that the characters didn't fully see at the time?
Only flaw in this essay: he didn't use a Scooby-Doo episode to illustrate his point..."So it wasn't a Zadokite priesthood, all along! It was just old Mr. McCready dressed up in a phosphorescent robe and ephod!"
Other than that, it's well worth reading. Tip-of-the-hat to WTS professor Doug Green for assigning it.

Read more!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just when we think we've found 'em all...

Psalm 104:24-25
"How varied are your works, LORD! In wisdom you have wrought them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Look at the sea, great and wide! It teems with countless beings, living things both large and small. "
Here's the story on this funny little guy.

Read more!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why My Wife & I Paid $12 For a Night With Two Gay Men

This is more than just cross-promotion of my wife's blog...she has written an excellent "apology" (not in the "i'm sorry" sense, but in the older sense of "defense") for why she and I watched the well-crafted Brokeback Mountain. As a bonus, she includes the unsettling question: why did Christians who freaked out about that movie happily go to see heterosexual romances with the exact same message?
Read her insightful post here.

Read more!

The Hook...

I love the feeling of opening a book for the first time...that sense of anticipation, wondering where this new story will take me. It's downright addictive. And though some good books take a while to unfold, many of the best will have a certain something in their very first lines, a bright lure to draw me further in.
So here, in no particular order, are a few of the opening lines that have hooked me...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Mama died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know.
Albert Camus, The Stranger

Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn't go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda. She was warm in every wind and weather, but he was always cold.
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks

The news hit the British High Commission in Nairobi at nine-thirty on a Monday morning. Sandy Woodrow took it like a bullet, jaw rigid, chest out, smack through his divided English heart.
John Le Carre, The Constant Gardener

There was once a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell, 1984.

Enough from my bookshelf. Come on, send in some of YOUR favorites!

Read more!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hi, Ev'rybody!

Hello, world...
I initially registered this blog so that Blogspot would allow me to comment in the blogs of my friends and family. Soon, though, i decided to take a shot at this whole blogging thing myself. I've never been much good at journaling, so this probably won't be one of those self-disclosure blogs (at least not overly so). Instead, i'd like it to be a space where i can hone my writing, share some ideas, and dialogue with friends about issues both serious and light-hearted.
I promise to try my best (given the constraints of a very busy life) to post some thought-provoking material on return, could i ask a few things from you, my invisible-but-still-dear readers?
1. Don't let me take myself too seriously. After years of God-driven effort, my ego has shrunk from the size of Mexico City to merely the size of Chicago. I'm aiming for Ekalaka-size, so if i start bloviating, feel free to deflate me without mercy.
2. While many of us (myself included) love a good argument, let's remember that it's easy for such things to get out of hand online, where you don't have a "real person" in front of you. Let the opinions flow freely, but don't get nasty or your comments will be wished into the cornfield.
3. I'm a total rookie at this blogging thing, so I'd greatly appreciate any tips on how to "dress up" the look of this site (and no, Mattias, I'm not going to paint the whole thing in Redskins colors).

That's about it. Let's get started!

"There are very few starts. Oh, some things seem to be beginnings. The curtain goes up, the first pawn moves, the first shot is fired (usually at the first pawn)--but that's not the start. The play, the game, the war is just a window on a ribbon of events that may extend back thousands of years. The point is, there's always something before. It's always a case of Now Read On..."
--Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

Read more!