"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!

Monday, November 28, 2005

243rd Place Never Felt So Good

For eight years the Campbell Family 10K record of 51:19 has stood. Robin set that mark at the 1997 Turkey Trot in Fort Worth. For 8 years she has held that over my head. She has tormented me at family gatherings, mocking me as she proudly proclaimed my annual Thanksgiving Day failure. My children were embarassed to be seen with their father in public, and would ritually deny accusations that the chicken-legged man with the pot belly running around the ACU campus was a member of their family. My mother and father had even boarded up the door to my old bedroom, unable to cope with their son's repeated failure.

But on the morning of November 24, 2005, my children were once again able to look their father in the eye...and my parents proudly found their crowbar. For this past Thursday that large Kong-like monkey was removed from my back. I, Chris Campbell, am now the proud Campbell Family 10K record holder...with a "blazing" time of 49:32.

Robin was standing about 50 yards in front of the finish line. Earlier that morning she had run the 5K (a tremendous feat for a mother of three who just 9-weeks earlier had given birth and has to make time to workout around the pandemonium in our house). She stepped off the curb and yelled at me as though she was going to trip me in an attempt to maintain her record. But being the true competitor she is, she conceded the Campbell Family title.

After the race, when I was able to stand up, she raced over to congratulate me...then proceeded to tell me about the 242 people who finished in front of me. The list included...

-188 Men

-54 Women

-32 of the Men were 50 or older...including a 66-year (45:37) and a 68-year old (49:09)

-6 of the Women were 50 or older...including a 68-year old woman that ran in 41:48!

-A 13-year old girl (45:30) and a 13-year old boy (47:23)

Another 50-year old lady almost beat me...but I kicked her legs out from under her right at the 6-mile mark. That'll teach her!

Now if they'd just come up with a medal or a trophy for 243rd place I could die happy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


...while wondering whatever happened to former Texas Rangers 2nd baseman Bump Wills.
The five college teams I hate the most:
5) Texas Tech -- Is it just me, or does football coach Mike Leach always look as though he has just stumbled out of Pi Kappa Alpha's latest "study session"?
4) Oregon -- Bad uniforms, stupid mascot (ducks? c'mon!), and foggy stadium. 'Nuff said.
3) Duke -- They'd be #1, but their football team is so pathetic I find myself wanting them to win.
2) Notre Dame -- C'mon, NO college should have their own network! And I was actually beginning to soften up on these guys...but after the way they did Ty Willingham....HATE 'EM!
1) Texas -- Never has a team received such specialized treatment as these clowns. Case in point -- last night's game b-ball game against West Virginia? That shot at the end of the game.....uh, that's a foul on ANY team except one wearing burnt orange. If Texas and Notre Dame ever were to play each other I might just take my own life!
And as much as I hate to say it I don't see anyone beating Texas this year. So it looks like the overrated Mack Brown will finally win a national championship...although one could make the arguement that a bowl of warm milk could have won national championships with the teams he's had in the past!
Saw my first high school basketball game of the season last night. I watched the Lady Panthers of A.C.H.S. pound Albany by 20. Robin and I coached the Lady Panthers for the last two years, and we absolutely adore that group of young ladies, and we're thrilled to see them off to a 3-1 start.
Saw "Sky High" with my five-year old on Friday night. WONDERFUL family movie. Funny, no cursing...and Kelly Preston looks great in a super hero outfit! Also, Lynda Carter (A.K.A., Wonder Woman) is the principal of the school. I'll have to say that she has aged well also.
I'm running the Fort Worth Turkey Trot 10K race this Thanksgiving. This will be my seventh attempt at breaking the Campbell Family Record...held by my wife. Robin also ran the 5K race back in 2002...while she was 8 months pregnant! It's great being married to a beautiful woman who is also capable of kicking your butt!
Thanksgiving is my favorite day. Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (my responsibility) buttermilk pie, and football. That...coupled with lots of family to babysit my kids! Priceless!
I'm all for Congress signing a bill that says it is absolutely positively ILLEGAL to turn on your Christmas lights until the day after Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Turkey Day!

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Super-Heroes!

Having three children causes many complications around our house...and any house for that matter. The children are on the Power Play...and when I head off to work, they have the two-man advantage which ultimately results in a "score." But sometimes those "scores" are Robin's most cherished moments.

Elijah and Noah are 26 months apart. Naturally they fight...as all brothers do. But the majority of the time they play together quite well. In fact, I watch them sometimes and I'm jealous of their relationship. I have a brother that is three years younger than me...and he and I never got along. I take full responsibility for that...and maybe someday I'll elaborate more for both of you that read this.

But back to task...

Robin has resumed her rigorous exercise schedule. She spends an hour on her stepper each morning in her quest for a dress size that I will not divulge. This is easier to accomplish on Tuesday and Thursday as both Elijah and Noah go to school at around 8:30. However on Monday, Wednesday and Friday Robin is heavily outnumbered but still tries to get her exercise in.

Well...this past Wednesday morning Robin was stepping away...and she noticed that it had been remarkably quiet in the boys room. Almost too quiet. About the time she figured she might ought to investigate around the corner walked two strange looking characters. They resembled Elijah and Noah in size and shape...but their faces were "different."

These two mild-mannered young men (and I use the term "mild mannered VERY loosely) had become super heroes...they were Super Bucket Head and Super Miniscus Head.

After overcoming the shock of what the boys had done (they had painted their faces with magic marker) and that Elijah knew the word Miniscus, Robin quickly grabbed the camera and the video camera and captured this priceless moment.

"We're Superheroes...just like LarryBoy," Noah declared! (Larry Boy is the Veggie Tales super hero -- VERY funny). They had taken their pajamas and wrapped them around their head, thus giving them the power of flight. They also did a number of other "decorative" things to themselves in order to ensure their superhero status.

So they proceeded to run around the house and the backyard fighting crime and protecting their mother from the vile offenders of our neighborhood.

Now if only they would clean their room...

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Most Controversial Top Ten EVER!!!

You're trapped on a desert island. While you have food and water aplenty, you have little else...except for an iPod...with 10 songs. What are those 10 songs?

Granted, this is not a blatant attempt to identify the top 10 songs of all time...but this just happens to be the top ten songs of all time. So deal with it!

10. "Rock'n'Roll" - Led Zeppelin: No list is complete without at least on entry from these guys. Probably my favorite song to play air guitar to...or air drums...or air bass.
9. "It's All I Can Do" - The Cars: A very underrated and underappreciated offering from Ric Ocasek and the gang. On a side note, the fact that a creepy looking dude like Ocasek was able to woo a beautiful supermodel gave hope to all of us goofs around the globe.
8. "American Girl" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Pretty much any song eluded to in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" deserves to be in this list. And it doesn't seem right selecting only one Tom Petty song. I heard the Goo Goo Dolls perform this song during an encore in Las Vegas...and it was equally awesome.
7. "School of Rock" - School of Rock: Okay, the fact that these kids are all 10-years old and playing this song is amazing in and of itself. But regardless of that fact -- what a great tune! If you haven't seen the movie PLEASE rent it.
6. "Bonzo Goes To Bitzburg" - The Ramones: Although I'm not a big fan of songs that give a commentary on our nation's government, this one is extremely entertaining. And listening to a punk band use a xylophone makes it extra-tasty. This song was also featured in the movie "School of Rock." "I Wanna Be Sedated" also should garner some honorable mention."
5. "I'll Be" - Edwin McCain: I know, I know...but I gotta have something that I can relax to. And this song is awesome. It was used in a tribute to one of Robin's softball players in Tom Bean that was killed in a car accident during the season...so this song also generates a tear or two each time I hear it.
4. "Bad" - U2: (No, I'm not talking about the Michael Jackson song! Jacko's "Bad" isn't even as good as Big Audio Dynamite's song of the same name). I'm out on U2 after "Rattle & Hum," but this offering, which appeard on both "The Unforgettable Fire" and "Wide Awake In America" still makes my eyes well up.
3. "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)" - AC/DC: Jethro Tull had their flute; AC/DC busted out with the bagpipes.
2. "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" - Judas Priest: Hopefully I don't have to forfeit my spot in Heaven for this...but I'm a HUGE Priest fan. And no, listening to their music has never caused me to contemplate taking my own life.

And number 1 is...

1. "Superman" - R.E.M.: This song is so great it's not even listed on the album it was included on, "Life's Rich Pageant." Good harmony, nice keyboard...and the clip from "Godzilla" at the beginning is sheer genius.

Next up -- songs I could live without.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Parent of the Year

I had been working on a speech to give to the different civic and state organizations that bestow this prestigious award. Not knowing how much time I would be alloted, I was up to about 25-minutes. I went into great detail on how my parents, my Bible class teachers, school teachers, principals and other mentors had guided me in my upbringing. And I was looking forward to delivering this speech a crowd similar to that which gathers at the Vatican to be blessed by teh Pope.

But I don't think it'll be happening any time soon.

Last Saturday was Elijah's final soccer game....FINALLY! Not that I mind watching Elijah's games. On the contrary, his games are exciting. He's the best player on his team, and it gives me a considerable amount of pride to watch him play. (Yes, I know he's my son, but the kid DID score 11 goals in his final game).

The problem with his games is that he has two younger brothers. One, as I've mentioned before, is a high-maintenance two-year old (Noah) that we refer to as "Legion." The other is 8-weeks old (Jacob). Enough said?

This past Saturday we managed to load everyone up and take them out to Elijah's final display of athletic greatness. His games are out at the Abilene Soccer Complex...and what a complex it is! There's gotta be 20 fields out there - ranging in a variety of sizes - and every one of those fields is being used. So there's no telling how many kids and adults out there (Robin says there's also no telling how many perverts and child molesters are out there as well).

In the first half of the game Noah did a fairly good job of staying close by. He would watch his brother's game for a moment, and then would wander over to one of the adult-size goals (approximately 9-feet tall) nearby and play in the net. Countless times I got him out of the net and told him to stay away from it or he would get hurt.

As I tuned back into Elijah's game, there was a pretty good flurry of activity so I stayed focussed on the game for a while. As it turned out I stayed focussed for too long of a while...for as I turned to find Noah, I saw him again playing in the net. Only this time he had climbed to the very top of the goal. I told Robin to look at what HER son was doing. So as I'm trying to get him down she snapped this lovely picture.

Sadly this picture does not capture my attempt to "rescue" Noah...nor does it capture the Administrator of the Big Country Soccer Association scolding me for letting my young hooligan climb on the nets. I managed to get Noah down...but only after he had climbed up and over the bar.

The second half brought much of the same. Me telling Noah to get down from the net; me telling Noah to stay off the field; me telling Noah to get his finger out of his nose; me telling Noah to get his finger out of MY nose; etc., etc.

Near the end of the game, young Jacob became tired of sitting in his seat. So while trying to control Noah and, at the same time, paying homage to the Caucasian answer to Pele, I am now attempting to settle an infant.

This cannot be done. Something had to give...and for some reason I turned my attention to the game and away from Noah.

This is the moment that the little bronze statue was taken from my grip.

I promise I was only watching for a handful of seconds...when the final whistle blew signifying the game was over. While Robin gathered up drinks, blankets, soccer balls, and other family items, I turned to gather up my rambunctious one...and he was nowhere to be found.

I turned to Robin. "Where's Noah," I asked? Her response was the expression only a panicked mother is capable of giving. I handed Jacob to her, and sprinted (a relative term) across several soccer fields (games in progress) to the entrance of the complex to see if he had wandered that way. The only thought running through my head was of a little girl in Plano that was abducted from a soccer complex in Plano years ago. She was later found dead.

I'm not ashamed to tell you that I was sobbing as I was running and calling Noah's name. I'm sure I looked like a moron, but I wasn't terribly interested in how I appeared at that point.

After what seemed like 10-minutes of this, my cell phone rang. It was Robin - she had found Noah. An older sister of one of Elijah's teammates had taken Noah to get something to drink. How nice! HOW 'BOUT LETTING HIS PARENTS KNOW NEXT TIME!!!

In closing let me apologize to those of you who had high hopes for Robin and I to win this coveted award. We've let you down...and we feel just awful about it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Best Concerts Ever

I'm sitting in my office this past Friday, when one of the "kids" that I work with called and asked if I wanted a t-shirt from the concert she was going to. "What concert," I asked? "U2," she said.

After I overcame the aggravation of not being able to attend the concert myself, I was transported back through time.

November 23rd & 24th of 1987.

Those were the two days that I witnessed what has to be the greatest live performances of music in the history of mankind...when U2 played two consecutive nights at the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth, TX.

The process of actually getting tickets to the concert was half the thrill of the concert. I was a senior in high school, and a group of friends devised a plan to camp out for tickets...but the tough part was going to be finding parents who would allow their children to camp out in Downtown Fort Worth for three nights. UNBELIEVABLY...my parents fell into this category...along with 7 other sets of parents.

So for three nights 8 of us set up a rotation of camping out for tickets that were to go on sale on a Saturday morning. This consisted of missing day(s) of school, although priority was given to things such as football and basketball practice.

It also meant sharing a room with some interesting characters. Naturally, we made friends with every female that felt the need to take on the same quest we had all embarked on. But more interesting than that were the "outdoor residents" of Downtown Fort Worth. The homeless population was fascinated by the fact that a bunch of 17-year olds actually WANTED to sleep out under the stars on a hard sidewalk. We shared our food and drinks with them...and they shared their stories with us.

Of all the homeless we met was a man named Maurice. Maurice was an African American man who was between 35-40...but his liver was probably 100! His diet consisted of a steady flow of Boone's Farm and Old English. Maurice LOVED hanging out with us. He would sing, recite poetry, and spend time philosophizing with us about religion, race relations, and rap music. He was also fond of reciting "Maurice's Ten Commandments." While I don't remember each commandment, I do remember a couple of them. For instance: "Never drink with a man that's holding something sharp" and "Cops can't reload faster than you can run." Those were just some of the enlightening comments Maurice had for us teenagers.

There are a slew of experiences that I could share similar to these...but I won't bore both of you with my adolescent adventures. Suffice to say: we had a tent; we lived on fast food; we got tickets!

Fortunately...we had enough folks in line that each of us got enough tickets for BOTH nights of the concert. Night #1 was magical...and it introduced me to another of my favorite bands: The BoDeans. I can still hear The Edge's guitar screeching the eerie intro of "Helter Skelter," and watching Bono bobbing up and down to his tribute to The Beatles. Tears well up in my eyes when I think back to hearing "Bad" (one of my top ten all-time favorites -- next Blog) live for the first time. "MLK" brought the entire crowd to a hush, as their short tribute to the great civil rights leader echoed throughout the coliseum. Their final encore ended with "40"...and one by one Bono, Adam Clayton, and The Edge disappeared into the night. Only Larry Mullen, Jr., remained, lightly playing the hi-hat as the crowd sang in unison...and just as he stood to leave, he quickly sat back down and played a gut-wrenching 30-second farewell for the crowd.

Night #2 introduced me to the great B.B. King. I could've listened to him for days. Much of the set of the second night was the same...though there were some changes...AND some surprises. Most notably was the first encore, when B.B. King and U2 played "When Love Comes To Town" together. It's also after "Gloria" and right before "Bullet The Blue Sky" that Bono actually spoke to one of my pals. Luis Weinstein was sitting(standing) in the 4th row wearing a cowboy hat. Bono said simply, "Nice hat!" Luis removed the hat and threw it on-stage. It's the same hat that you see Bono wearing on the cover of "Rattle & Hum" and throughout much of the concert footage on video.

So yes...jealousy set in as I sadly told the young lady I didn't think I could afford the t-shirt (the last concert I went to they were sellling t-shirts for $25+!!!). But getting to briefly relive that small span of time in my life was priceless!