"I asked for a car; I got a computer."

Looking for a commentary that uses big words and ponders the deeper meanings of various topics? Well...you've come to the wrong place. This blog is all about extolling the greatness of Christ, the joy of marriage, the rollercoaster ride called parenthood, the supremacy of the 1980's...and doing all of it at a fifth grade reading level!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I Wish I Hadn't Seen That

My buddy Corey had a fun post the other day about movies he had never seen. It was fun reading through those and realizing how many good movies are out there that I've never had the opportunity to see.

During this mind-altering exercise, I also realized there were a ton of really bad movies out there that I HAVE seen...and I wish I hadn't.

With that in mind, from the home office in Pocatello, ID (where all really bad movies originate) here is the Top Ten Worst Movies Of All Time (that I've seen)...

Blogger's Disclaimer: It is understood that sequels not containing the words "Godfather" or "Star Wars" are automatically bad movies...and therefore have been discredited for this exercise.

10. Clueless -- My wife actually WANTED to see this. But even the beautiful Alicia Silverstone couldn't rescue this teen flick gone bad.
9. Ishtar -- This one is a given...but for those of us who have actually sat through this one, it cannot go unmentioned.
8. Inspector Gadget -- This one is my son's fault. How could Matthew Broderick go from "Ferris Bueller" to "Glory" to this piece of garbage? I know -- because he got tired of staring at Sara Jessica Parker! O-VER-RAT-ED clap, clap, clap, clap, clap -- another blog.
7. Titanic -- There's three and half hours of my life I'll never get back.
6. Out of Africa -- I saw this with a girl I was crazy about in high school, and she was dying to go see this movie....so I went. And yes, I got an honorary skirt and a copy of Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" for attending the film.
5. Twister -- I spent an entire summer chasing storms and NEVER saw a tornado. Somehow these cats manage to find 5 or 6! The inanimate antagonist tornado doesn't work well with a plot. And for the love of God, please tell the folks at TNT to quit rerunning this thing and give me more "Coming to America!"
4. Anchorman -- And I WANTED this move to be funny. AAAAGH!!!
3. Dirty Dancing -- Yeah, no one puts baby in the corner...but I wish someone would've put my head in a vice! Boy, that Patrick Swayze sure can act!
2. Necessary Roughness -- You'll notice that we haven't heard from Sinbad lately, and Scott Bacula has been relegated to commanding a starship on cable. Even the lovely Kathy Ireland made me tired...but Fouts Field looked great!
1. Joe Versus The Volcano -- Saw this at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood...and the place was EMPTY!!! Gee, I wonder why. Not even a cameo appearance by comedy legend Abe Vigoda could rescue this crappy flick. Interestingly, they never mention this film when rattling of ol' Tom Hanks' bio.

That's all I've got.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Anytime of any day is a good time to sit down and enjoy a fine bowl of nature's greatest gift -- cereal! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snack...it doesn't matter. A bowl of cereal is sure to brighten your day.

The Campbell Family routinely keeps as many as eight boxes of cereal in the ol' cupboard...because the love of cereal knows no generational limits. Frosted Mini Wheats, Count Chocula, Cap'n' Crunch, Frosted Flakes -- they all have graced the Campbell's with their presence over the years.

Enjoy your cereal with white milk, chocolate milk...or no milk at all. Whatever your choice, cereal is sure to put a smile on your face. Just remember the Campbell house's only cereal rule -- no fruit. If I want fruit, I will buy an apple...or an orange...or a banana. And if I want a raisin, I will leave some grapes sitting on the dashboard of my truck for a week.

But when I want cereal, I want cereal....and nothing else.

That being said, allow me to list the Campbell Family Top Five (from the home office in Battle Creek, MI):

5. Grape Nuts -- While the name is certainly confusing, this cereal is guaranteed to give your morning a jump start. For a twist, try adding some Corn Flakes or Frosted Shredded Wheat to your bowl.
4. LIFE -- Yes, Mikey likes it and so do I. Would rank much higher on my list had it not shared its name with a highly overrated board game (another blog topic)
3. Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds) -- I know, I sound like an old man...but a guy's gotta have his fiber!
2. Cocoa Pebbles -- Must be consumed quickly; otherwise it turns into Cocoa Wet Paper Towel. Also comes with its own bonus chocolate milk at the end (and yes, I drink the milk at the end -- and you should to!)
1. Lucky Charms -- I prefer the traditional pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers...but if it takes blue diamonds, purple horseshoes and other sugar-coated "marshmallows" to continue the greatness of Lucky Charms, then I say "hooray!"

So sit down with your old friends King Vitamin, Tony The Tiger, and Fred and Barney...and enjoy some cereal today!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Ode to Billy Joe

Bill Cosby says that he was amazed at the transformation of his parents once they became grandparents. He would tell his children, "These are not the same parents I grew up with. These are old people who are trying to get into Heaven now!"

Billy Joe Martin went home today. He was special to many people for many different reasons. He was special to me because he was my grandfather.

Grandy, so-named by one of his grandsons, was born April 19, 1922. His father left home when he was two...leaving he and his mother to fend for themselves. He was only seven years old when the Great Depression began. As a result he grew up fast and learned hard lessons early in life. Things like the value of hard work; the importance of saving; the appreciation of simple things; and taking care of the ones you love.

He flew bombers during World War II, achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant. After the war he worked for General Dynamics, staying with the same company for thirty-eight years.

Some of my early memories of Grandy: Watching Satruday Night Wrestling and teaching me the importance of rooting for Fritz Von Erich and the other "good guys"; learning how to play pool on his old pool table; his old cigars sitting in big green ash trays.

Grandy was a simple man. He loved to eat -- steak (the Lowake Steak House near Ballinger was his all-time favorite), jalapenos (the hotter the better), and Mom's strawberry cake (which she made for his last birthday) were at the top of his list. In addition, his daily lunch break was the thing legends are made of...as each morning grandma would pack six sandwiches in Grandy's lunch..and the fellas at work would crowd around to watch him eat it all.

Grandy loved to laugh. He was constantly armed with a snappy reply, a quick joke, or a funny story. I distinctly remember being 5-years old when Grandy told me some story about a chigger walking on a tree branch and breaking his kneecap. At the time I had no idea what a chigger or a kneecap was...and I didn't understand the point of the story. But I laughed just as hard I could...after all, it was Grandy telling the story so it had to be funny. There are other jokes that I could share, but my mother would get embarrassed.

I only saw him lose his temper once...and it was the time that my brother Jeff called him to tell him there was a burglar in the house. Grandy showed up ready for battle (armed with an old Colt 45 pistol)...only to find that the "burglar" was me playing a joke on my brothers. Grandy didn't think my joke was funny.

I only saw him cry three times -- the day he buried his son Rocky; the day he buried his mother, whom he had cared for as nobly as any son could; and the day of his 50th wedding anniversary...when he proudly proclaimed to his family as he gestured to his bride, "This is the best thing that ever happened to a guy like me."

Grandy's greatest joy was his family. I think if he had it his way he would prefer we didn't make such a big fuss over him. He hated being sick, and hated even more the fact that he needed others to help care for him. But that was because he cared so much about all of us, and he wouldn't want any of us to think of him as an inconvenience...which he wasn't.

He reveled in the accomplishments of his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren. As a little boy I remember how much he used to enjoy taking the grandkids waterskiing. He would drive all over the state to watch his grandchildren play football games or compete in Karate tournaments. He loved going to see my cousin at the bank, busting through the doors asking to speak with the man in charge. He never grew tired of hearing stories about different places I was traveling, assuring me that one day I would be the CEO of a major corporation. If a grandfather is allowed to have a favorite, his was probably his only granddaughter Kim. And that's okay. Family was so important to Grandy that I think Thanksgiving was his favorite day of the year -- a day when all of his family was in one place together.

Of all the things Grandy did, his most valuable contribution is the legacy he created for his family. Grandy's life wasn't blessed with a father who nurtured him and taught him how to be a man. He grew up figuring things out for himself, trusting the lessons that life taught him. Graciously, God intervened and brought into his life a loving wife with a Godly family. For years my grandmother served as a spiritual example to her children and to her husband. It wasn't until later in life that Grandy confessed Jesus as his Lord and put Him on in baptism. Grandy quickly put his talents to work for the family of the Altamesa Church of Christ in Fort Worth. From running the sound during worship to fixing the often-broken-down Church vans, Grandy was content to be a servant working behind the scenes.

He was the kind of man you would be proud to say was your grandfather, but I'm most proud because I can truly say he was my grandfather.

And as I think back to the words of Bill Cosby...Grandy, if you were an old person trying to get into Heaven......mission accomplished!

Monday, May 16, 2005

VH1 Frightens Me

I have a horrible habit of making one final trip through my favorite channels each night before I go to bed. As a result I usually wind up watching some often-run archaeology show on The History Channel or another rendition of Cold Case Files on A&E.

Tuesday night I scrolled past VH1 and saw they were doing a show on the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. As a fan of heavy metal, I was intrigued by the topic. I made some popcorn, grabbed a Diet Coke, and sat down to enjoy the show...never realizing I would spend the next four hours of my life screaming at the television. (By the way, whatever happened to music videos? I know, I know, that's a topic for another blog).

While the show was full of humorous stories and quotes (my favorite being Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead saying, "If our band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die"), the folks responsible for the list need to have their music credentials re-analyzed. I submit the following evidence to support my case:

  1. The Pixies (#81) are to hard rock what Chris Farley was to Chippendale's
  2. While "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" is a great tune, Pat Benatar (#74) can hardly be lumped in with the masters of hard rock -- see "We Belong."
  3. I'm not picking on the ladies...but Joan Jett (#66) -- does she really belong ahead of The Rolling Stones??? There are some great all-girl bands out there (The Go-Go's; L7 -- both are in desparate need of Jesus) that deserve some recognition..but neither should even be in the same hemisphere with The Stones.
  4. Seattle has a lovely music scene...but does Soundgarden need to be in the top 20 (not to mention the fact they're ahead of The Ramones!!!)

I could go on, but my wife wants to use the computer. In closing, I have no serious complaints with the top ten...but here's mine:

10. The Ramones

9. The Who

8. Pink Floyd

7. Cream

6. Metallica

5. AC/DC

4. Nirvana

3. The Doors

2. Jimi Hendrix

..and 1. Led Zeppelin

Here's where you can find the full list: http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62186/episode.jhtml

Monday, May 09, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

Elijah amazed me on Mother's Day morning.

While he was eating breakfast, Robin gave him the gift and the card we had gotten his Mee-Maw, and she told him to take it to her. Instead, Elijah quickly hopped out of his chair and ran back to his room.

Everyone was puzzled by his reaction...until moments later he emerged from his room with a little gift bag. He handed it to Robin and said, "Happy Mother's Day!" Robin opened it up to find a red, orange, and pink beaded bracelet. Elijah had made it at Rainbow School on Thursday...had brought it home with him from school that afternoon...and kept it a secret until Mother's Day morning. Amazing!!!!!

"Is that what you wanted," he asked?

"Oh yes, Elijah, I love it," an excited Mommy replied...even though it didn't match her green outfit she had selected for Sunday morning.

My boys surprise me every day...and I thank God for their Mother. Without her....well, they'd be like me. Scary...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Top Ten Things I Learned On Saturday

From the home office in Downers Grove, IL (home of former WWF wrestler "Leaping" Lanny Poffo), here are ten tidbits of wisdom I discerned while going about my day on Saturday...

10. Raid Wasp & Hornet Killer does not kill bees. It does, however, make them extremely angry.

9. When stung by a bee put a mixture of water and baking soda on the place(s) stung; it helps relieve the pain...a bit.

8. My mother STILL panics when I get hurt.

7. ACU employees should stand in the middle of traffic to collect change. It obviously works for our local Abilene fire fighters.

6. My next door neighbor, Mrs Spicer, doesn't like The Ramones and would prefer I not play their music while working outside.

5, When the label on a cannister tells you to wear rubber gloves, it's wise to heed the warning.

4. When Slade Sullivan asks if you'll be around later to help him move something, it is wise to come up with an excuse.

3. On the Day of Judgment, "bad people" won't go straight to Hell...they'll first be made to wander through the Wal-Mart card section on the Saturday afternoon before Mothers Day.

2. One should buy a Mother's Day card on a day other than Mother's Day Eve.

And the number one thing I learned on Saturday...

1. I'm getting old...

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Gift of Music

I remember my 14th birthday like it was yesterday. It wasn't the chocolate cake that my mother made; it wasn't the trip to Mazzio's Pizza; it wasn't my 10-year old brother throwing up in the car on the way home from school that day (although that was quite interesting). What made it most memorable is that this was the ONLY birthday I ever had where I specifically asked for a gift...and actually got it.

A stroll down the halls of my junior high was a parade of the have's and the have not's (I was a have not). The haves wore Izods; I wore the dreaded Fox (I think that was from JC Penney). The have's wore button-fly 501's; my fly zipped. The haves wore white leather Nike's (with the red swoosh); I was still wearing Stadia. The haves owned a Sony Walkman...and I didn't.

Oh, to be a "have!" I would never be a fashion plate. I would never be the envy of Kristi Black, Kelley Green, Maria Cox, or a slew of other girls I stared at during Algebra. My parents could never see spending that type of money on clothes. "It's what's on the inside that counts," my mother would say. AAAGH!!!

But I COULD do something about securing that much coveted musical apparatus. The retail price on one of those little dolls was $79.95...but I was determined to save all that I could scrape together in order to meet that goal.

Then came January 31, 1984.............

The chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream had hardly been swept aside when my mother proudly strode into the dining room with two presents. An eerie silence fell over the room as all eyes became fixed on me. I moved slowly towards the first present, savoring each moment as though it were my last. I quickly tore into the larger present, praying that it was the prize I so desperately sought. Tears streamed down my face as I saw the word "SONY" stamped in the upper left corner of the box. The rest of the paper seemed to melt off the package. I ran around the room like Jim Valvano following the last-second putback by Lorenzo Charles looking to hug someone.

I opened the box, fumbling to plug in headphones and install batteries (Yes, I even got batteries!!!). I was prepared to incinerate my ear drums....but wait, what music should I choose???

It was then that I saw the second gift. I caressed the second gift, for it was obvious that it required significant tenderness. Delicately I removed the tape from each end and quietly folded back the paper. And there it was......"Fascination" by The Human League.

Oh, how I wish I could've shared the musical delight with everyone in the room. I skipped in a circle throughout the house singing "passion burning, love so strong" then quickly moving to the highly underrated follow-up song "Mirror Man."

I could barely sleep that night. I was like a child the night before Christmas...only my Christmas had already arrived.

So this evening...I go to the store and buy my wife a MP3 player for Mother's Day. It's the size of one of the cassettes that went in a Sony Walkman. And just for old time's sake...I purchased a Walkman....for a mere $7.95!!!