You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

(Another College Poem – this one was originally titled “Love Square” and while I like this as a name for a poem, I don’t think it works for this one.)


Four Around a Table 

We speak,

We spoke no lies,

But the truth was not said

We spoke, if looks could kill

We would be dead,

Except one

She is sweet,

She is the rope,

How do I send a rope to a rope?

My Foe, on the other side

Was not my foe before.

She was put there by all of us (I did not wish it)

The eyes watch, our friend observes,

And laughs

My foe observes the eyes

and smiles and cries

If it were up to my foe (if looks could kill)

I and the eyes would be gone

If it were up to me

            My foe would be gone

If it were up to the rope

            She would not be pulled between two

            But besides that, I do not know

The eyes glint with the recognition of a situation with a non zero amount of humor.

He sees clearly.

I got the extended version of  “That Thing You Do” for Father’s Day. We watched it this week. I recommend it.

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from Tom Hanks

The Godfather answers all of life’s questions. What to pack for a trip? “Leave the gun, take the cannoli’s.” ··· Stupid is as stupid does. ··· May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live. ··· Sometimes I wonder if I’ve changed so much, my wife is even gonna recognize me whenever it is I get back to her… and how I’ll ever be able to… tell about days like today. Ahh, Ryan… I don’t know anything about Ryan, I don’t care. The man means nothing to me, he’s just a name. But if, you know, if going to Reméal, and finding him so he can go home, if that earns me the right to get back to my wife, well then… then that’s my mission. ··· I don’t want any of this lover’s lament crap. I want something peppy, something happy, something up-tempo. I want something snappy. ··· It is very important that you don’t suck today. ··· Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were suppose to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… the only real home I’d ever known. I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car. It was like… magic. ··· Wind the frog! ··· Mama says they was magic shoes. They could take me anywhere. ··· I sometimes catch myself looking up at the moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the moon, and wonder: When will we be going back? And who will that be? ··· I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is. ··· Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breath in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breath in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while. ··· Mr. Mango on my shoulder ··· We’re not here to do the decent thing, we’re here to follow orders. ··· The whole purpose of places like Starbuck’s is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the heck they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino! ··· Houston, we have a problem. ··· Don’t you just love fall in New York? It makes me want to go out and buy school supplies ··· It’s supposed to be hard! If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great! ··· From now on, we live in a world where man has walked on the moon. And it’s not a miracle, we just decided to go. ··· There’s no crying in baseball. ··· Oh, no, no, no, I’m not, I’m not tense. Well, I did pass out today… and got hit in the head by a baseball… and brushed my teeth with shampoo… then butchered Rimsky- Korsakov in front of 1,500 people, and my clothes fell apart. But I’m not tense. ··· It’s time for spice, and the lucky spice is… paprika! “Oh thank you, thank you! You’ve made me the happiest spice in the world!” ··· Nobody knocks off an old man in my neighborhood and gets away with it.

13 Promises from a Father to his 6 Kids* (under the age of 10**)


1.  I will point you to God and his glory.

2.  Despite my repeated statements that life isn’t fair I will nevertheless try to be fair and explain myself when you don’t think I am.

3.  I will remember that tickling can be abuse. If you want me to stop, tell me and I will. If you want me never to tickle you, tell me and I won’t.

4.  I will not shame you. If my laughter at your behavior bothers you, tell me and I will stop.

5.  I will avoid saying bad things about you to others.

6.  I will consider what is in your heart, not just your actions, when I consider whether (or how much or in what way) to discipline you and what you should learn from the situation.

7.  I will not expect you to be like your brother or sister.

8.  I will recognize and point out when you do something well.

9.  I will be reasonably discrete in the way that I discipline you.

10.  I will bring you into life experiences that enrich your knowledge of life.

11.  I will expect more from you tomorrow than I did yesterday.

12.  I will pray for you and expect miracles.

13. You will not want for food, shelter, clothing or safety nor will you experience too much convenience. 


Any suggestions?


* I should be careful here – I don’t want to make it sound like I always do this. Many of these are things that I am constantly working on. But this title sounds more catchy than “12 things that as a parent I think I should do, and want you (my children) to have confidence that I will do, but please don’t consider me to be a liar if I fall down on one of these every once in awhile, which is probably going to happen.”

** My thought is that these might change over time? But some of you know that better than me.

It had. . .


He did . . .


There was . . .

“ _____ and ______ and everything in between”

 Or “Everything from _______ to ______” 



Regarding the topic at hand, here are two things (not really on a one dimensional scale) which are both true and I want you to think that these are just two examples of the goodness of what I’m talking about, but really, that’s pretty much all it has.


More Succinctly Translated:


I’m gushing, but I’m trying to hide the fact that I don’t have as much praise-endorsing content as I would like.

If you have an opportunity to do something that cost you little, but aids another much, by all means, do it.

So Steve ‘tagged’ me.

This is a term that up until yesterday I was unfamiliar with.

Evidently, in this case, I am to list songs that I’ve made myself a happy fool singing along with. This is a good data request for me because I am never happier (as I’m driving alone in my car) when I hear a song with which I can sing along (at the top of my lungs) with hand percussion or keyboard on the steering wheel.

  • “The Things We Do for Love” – 10 CC
  • “Things we said today” – Beatles
  • Several other Beatles Songs
  • “Hooked on a Feeling” (The oldies one is better)
  • “Sweet Talking Woman” – ELO
  • Actually pretty much the whole ELO album – “Out of the Blue”
  • “Do you believe in Love” – Huey Lewis
  • “More than Words” That Hanson group that I can’t remember the correct name for. With this one, which is a duet, I find the third part and make a trio out of it.
  • “Only the good die young” Billy Joel
  • Rhapsody in Blue – Gershwin
  • Nylons – “Bop till you drop”


And one song I did actually make myself a fool (albeit a sad fool) singing along with:

  • “I’m Alright” Kenny Loggins – Caddyshack soundtrack.

And Steve, can I just say (as I commented over at his place) – “A Horse with no name”? What?

And I guess part of being tagged means tagging others. So how about . . .  

Marie and Didasko.

I might ask Bob, but he has already shown us what kinds of songs he sings along with.

And of course Vox has never been a happy fool in his life.

Another College Poem . . .


Yes, Confidence, Yes
There is no guess.
Frighten, Shock
Smile or Stern
And In return
A smile or “Please”
The heart that flees
Is the content one.

Take a walk
Hold her hand
But don’t ask first
Around the block
It just happens every day
Look for the Dimple
Or the Stylish Way
(so unrehearsed)
She comes undone
She Falls Apart
She flips
You have her heart
You now have won.

For me it never happens that way.
Still, thanks for the tips

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from Spinal Tap 

Compiled by Jamsco – who does not recommend this movie 

In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, lived an ancient race of people… the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing… ··· Well, I suppose I could work in a shop of some kind or… or do um… freelance… selling of some sort of… um… product, you know… A salesman, like, maybe in a haberdasher, or maybe like a… um, a chapeau shop, or something… you know, like: “Would you… what size do you wear, sir?” and then you answer me. . .  “I think we have that…”, you see, something like that I could do. “No! We’re all out, do you wear black?”, see, that sort of thing, I think I could probably muster up. ··· Certainly, in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful. ··· You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like – I’m really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it’s sort of in between those, really. It’s like a Mach piece, really. ··· I think B minor is the saddest of keys ··· Well, I don’t really think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end, because what does the end feel like? It’s like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how – what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what’s stopping it, and what’s behind what’s stopping it? So, what’s the end, you know, is my question to you ··· Here lies David St. Hubbins… and why not? ··· We say, “Love your brother.” We don’t say it really, but – We don’t literally say it. We don’t really, actually mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but – But we’re not racists. That message should be clear. ··· You can’t really dust for vomit. ··· The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and . . . – Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Put it up to eleven. Eleven. Exactly. One louder. ··· It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. ··· I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I weren’t under such heavy sedation. ··· Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported. ··· It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. ··· . . . These go to eleven.

So after yesterdays disclaimer, I have two more today. . .

Disclaimer 1. By calling this theological idea Tolkien, I am not saying he would agree with it. While I think there is some evidence (particularly at the end of book 4) that he might have gone in for this thinking I think there is a also pretty good likelihood that he would chuckle at the ideas that I am about to suggest. I’ve read his book many times, but I don’t know his theology. Nor am I saying that what I point out here only happens in the best fiction book ever written. I call it Tolkien Theology because I think about it every time I read his works.

Oh, and here’s the second disclaimer – LOTR Spoiler alert!

Okay, now I guess I’m really ready to start this treatise.

“God doesn’t cause sin or tragedy, he allows it, and then he uses bad things that happen as a result of it.” This is the Free Will’er Mantra. “God used 9/11, God used Columbine, God will use Virginia tech. God will use Hurricane Katrina. But he had nothing to do with any of them happening.”

Do I have this correct, Armenians? If not, let me know.

As anyone knows who has read the book, bad things happen in the Lord of the Rings. Good people die. Others experience long hardship. There is betrayal. There is murder.
And here is the intriguing part: These bad things are all required for the better things to happen.

The best example is the capture and forced march and threat of torture and death for Merry and Pippin. They suffered greatly. It was evil. It was horrible. But it was also required.

As Gandalf says of Saruman and The Dark Lord:

“And so between them our enemies have managed to bring Merry and Pippin, with marvelous speed, and only in the nick of time, to Fangorn, where otherwise they would never have come at all”

So this evil happened for a reason. It wasn’t just bad and something that had to be turned around for the good.

There are other examples of this (bad being required for good to happen). I will mention just one. Many times Gollum, the murderer, the betrayer, the deceiver, is near death but due to luck or mercy, he is allowed to live. It was not just. He didn’t deserve life. But he hadn’t stayed alive even as he tormented Frodo and Sam in their last desperate journey, there would have been no happy ending. The Lord of the Rings would have taken back the One at Mount Doom and all would have been lost.

So Tolkein didn’t just use the evil deeds that the enemies of Gondor did (“Well, that’s too bad, but let’s see what we can do with it”), he wrote them to do these deeds because the deeds were necessary.

So here is the question. Is our God in as much control of our universe as Tolkein was of his? Can it be that some evil in our world is not just put up with by God or used by God but something he requires or ordains in order that a greater good will happen?

Is your God more or less sovereign that a human author?

You say, “But Merry and Pippin and Gandalf were just characters. They weren’t real. I’m not fictional.” Yes, it’s as I suspect. One significant reason you Armenians don’t like the “God is really sovereign” plan is because it makes humans seem too low. We humans are real! We are important! We are self actualized! We have free will!

But be sure of this. The degree that our Infinite God is more ‘real’ (transcendant, self-existing, actualized, on a higher plane) than us finite humans is greater than the degree that a human author is more real than his characters.

It’s time to consider whether or not this is true.

I have noted a problem with my defense of Calvinism in general and hyper-compatibleism specifically. Most of my apologetics here have the main point that God is shown in the Bible to cause (or ordain, or is behind, or wills) evil. My thought is that this is a pretty dark thing to dwell on.


I would like to dwell on the fact that every good thing that ever happens or was ever created or seen by a human is/was also willed by God. And that it is God who saves all. And that God is sovereign over all creation, eternally.


But this part is not the part that most people have problems with. They don’t like the “God is Sovereign” view because insofar as it pins what they might call the blame for bad stuff on God, it makes God look bad, or so they think. And God is not bad. So they reject it, despite it being biblical.


So that’s the part I find myself defending. Oh well. And another is coming tomorrow.


But to just to dwell on the positive side of the Sovereignty of God how about something from the end of Roman 11. . . .


Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been His counselor?

Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?

For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things.

To Him be glory for ever. Amen!


Be aware – if you in a serious conversation and the other person (spouse, sibling, child, coworker, boss, parent) repeats a statement three or four times, they are trying to tell you something and it’s not the thing they are repeating. Figure out what it is.

When considering how to spend your free time, choose something that:

1. Is relatively inexpensive.

2. Creates something.

3. Doesn’t take you away from your spouse and our children (assuming you’re married) for long periods (like days or weekends).

4. Is mentally healthy, challenging and encouraging.

5. Is legal, ethical and not sinful.

6. Helps you relieve stress.

7. Something that you could do with your spouse and children.

8. Glorifies God.


Happily, blogging can fit all of these.


Any suggestions?

Another College Poem

I at least partially don’t agree with it now. Or call it perilously close to a weasel way out of obediance. But perhaps that was my point.
1:39 AM 2/12/88


So would you, if Christ were sitting right here
Be doing this same without any fear
that he’d think you a fool to be watching this face
and if you had doubts he’d remove every trace

 And you’d know by his voice
 That you had not a choice
  But to do just what he had said

Yes, Yes, I know, it’s true, I agree.
But he is not here to tell it to me
 So thus I must ask myself this:

 Is this face lovely?
 Is this face godly?
 Does this face cause you to sin?

 And sir, my answer:

 This face, no perfection
 But with some inspection
 The sin part is not brought within

And if every face, reflecting a sin
Must be removed, then look again
That other face, of which you view
Must go as well, it must go, too.
 So what have we left?
 We now are bereft,
  Of all things that can entertain

 Can we all then keep
 Our dreams, yet not sleep?
  I hope so, again and again

And if there’s no cure,
we’ll find out for sure,
When we’re dead, Ma’am, when we are dead

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I learned from Guns N’ Roses 







Um, No.

Here is a reason why we go to our church:

From This Sunday’s Sermon:

“. . . And in the New Testament no one is more positive about children than Jesus himself. Mark 10:13-14 says, “They were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” So from beginning to end, the Bible puts a huge value on having and raising and blessing children. If you are among the many at Bethlehem with large families, be affirmed! It is a magnificent calling. . . . . This is one of the great meanings of marriage—to bear and raise children for the glory of God. ”

He also said that there would be “no approved eye rolling” at Large Families by the leadership at Bethlehem while he is there.

“Do you feel affirmed? You are!”

Nice to hear. And it seemed like he looked at our family at least once while he was saying these things.

But I should say that he said this in the middle of a sermon where his main point is: Having children is not the absolute or final goal of a married Christian (or any Christian) – letting God work through you to create more Children (Desciples) of God is.  

I don’t strictly adhere to following Sabbath. I do some work. I cause others to work. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty.


I’m wondering how my observance of Sabbath compares to others. Here is how I currently follow it:


On Sunday I don’t do any work that I don’t have to do everyday. That is, I make meals, I clean up from meals, I make the bed, clean the house (Let me just make it clear that I can’t take credit for doing even half the household work for each job listed here, I’m just saying I’m willing to do these thing.)


I don’t do any lawn work, or home improvement stuff or work for my employer. This, for me, is delving too deep into breaking Sabbath. But I can’t exactly say why (biblically) I draw the line here.


I go to church.


I try to relax and experience fun with my wife and kids.

 But what makes me feel guilty is the using of others who are more distinctly breaking Sabbath. Sometime we go out to eat. Sometimes (more rarely) we do a little shopping. 

I have heard people explain away Mowing on the Sabbath by saying that they say they just really enjoy Mowing. My problem with this is two-fold:


(1) You do not enjoy mowing! You’re just using this as an excuse. If you like it so much, do it on a Friday night.

(2) More than once I have just been sitting back in a lawn chair in our back yard on a Sunday afternoon and someone decides to ruin the peaceful neighborhood with his Toro. If you’re going to break Sabbath, do it quietly.


Any opinions?

Christians have a responsibility to not be offensive, except in the ways the Bible has commanded us to be.

. . . About Jamsco 

 (idea blatantly stolen from Steve – every blogger should do this)

1. For the first 35 years of my life I lived in 6 different towns, but always within a 6 mile square radius.

2. I’m not super proud of this.

3. I graduated in the top ten percent of my high school class.

4. I don’t know what to think about Evolutionism vs. Straight Creationism

5. Same thing with Global Warming

6. I’m a Baptist

7. I think my Primary Goal should be to Glorify God

8. I pray that God will make this more and more my primary desire.

9. Favorite book: Lord of the Rings

10. I try to read all of Clancy, Crichton, Beale and Grisham

11. Not proud of this either (mainly the Clancy part)

12. Of those four Crichton is best.

13. 3 books that made my heart pound while I was reading them: Clancy – Sum of All fears

14. . . . Beale – The World in Shadow 

15. . . . and Crichton – Disclosure

16. Last week, for the first time, I was able to see the bald spot on the back of my head in the mirror. Great!

17. Favorite Author – C.S. Lewis

18. Favorite C.S. Lewis Book: Screwtape

19. I’m not a sports guy.

20. During the school year I teach First Graders at our church’s Wed. Night Activities

21. I am writing a novel.

22. I don’t know if I will ever finish it.

23. Reading right now: Cryptonomicon by Stephenson

24. Coolest internet tool: Google Earth

25. I weigh five to ten pounds over my wedding weight

26. We (thanks to my wife’s work) eat a lot of natural foods

27. . . . Including Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

28. . . . And Raw (non homogenized, non pasteurized) milk

30. . . . And Only Maple Syrup (A gallon a month) or Honey for sweetener

31. . . . And forget Cold Cereal

32. I met my wife in a Christian College’s Choir.

33. It’s a good place to meet a spouse

34. I was a tenor, now I’m a baritone

35. She’s a soprano

36. Actually I was always a baritone, but they always need more tenors

37. We paid off our first home in less than seven years.

38. Not so our second home.

39. We just got a quarter cow and it is frozen in our freezer.

40. On Oct 21, 2007 the ages of our kids will be 4,5,6,7,8 and 9

41. My wife wants more

42. A family of 8 eats on average a dozen eggs a day.

43. On Oct 21, 2017 the ages of our kids will be 14,15,16,17,18 and 19

44. I fear how many eggs we’ll eat then.

45. I play the Piano, the Tuba and the Ukulele

46. Pretty much the only TV we watch is “The Office”

47. Kirk or Picard? Picard, of course. Less Swagger, More Subtlety

48. Star Wars or Star Trek: Don’t make me pick.

49. In high school I listened much to Supertramp and ELO

50. These days I buy every Weird Al CD

51. I considered it somewhat of a failing that I like secular music over Christian music

52. I am currently in a 40-Day No secular music (except classical) fast

53. I’ve been to two big name concerts: Supertramp and U2 (Joshua Tree)

54. My Dad died of cancer when I was in fifth grade

55. My mom remarried – now she and my New Dad have been married 26 years.

56. Our family likes picnicking – we’ve picnicked in 8 different states

57. Two Favorite Vacation Spots: Black Hills and North Shore of Superior

58. I like blizzards (both weather and DQ dessert).

59. Favorite Book of the Bible: Ephesians? James? Job?

60. I have a Masters Degree in Computer Science

61. If you’re in the Twin Cities and you see a blue suburban with 8 fish on the back, it’s us.

62. As far as I can remember, I’ve never told a flat out lie in my life.

63. My Birthday is Christmas Day

64. I like DQ cake better than regular cake

65. Current Favorite Verse: 1 Peter 2:9-10“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation . . .”

66. Beatles, Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin? Beatles

67. Although I might have gone with RS or LZ . . . if I liked a single one of their songs.

68. Although “Shattered” is halfway decent.

69. Your God (the way you think of him) is too small.

70. Your God (the way he really is) is infinitely good.

71. Any sin against him is infinitely bad.

72. Any infinitely good being is worthy of praise.

73. So praise him.

The title references an Escher artwork title.

Jamsco circa 20 years ago: College Student, Poet, Camper, Mister Self-Pity.
Three More Worlds (Or Maybe Four)

As I gaze I see a sturdy wooden door,
A door that has trouble shutting, a sticker on it,
And finger stains smears on the window section

Through the window I can see
the snowy hillside and some trees, some pine, some bare
Faintly lit by the nearly full moon.

And in the reflection of the window
I can see the yellow orange glow
of the lantern behind me
Partially silhouetting and partially revealing my face
The face of a man contemplating.
Contemplating what it would be like to have a girlfriend.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned from Second and Third John

The truth, which lives in us, will be with us forever *** Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. *** I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. *** Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. *** Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. *** Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. *** If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. *** Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. *** I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. *** Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. *** It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. *** Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. *** Peace to you. *** The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

My Wife’s Blog

My State Park Blog

Promotion – Songs To Help Families Memorize Scripture

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June 2007