Good music

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Want to hear some good music. Want to get some free music:

Here you go, straight from Australia, one of my recent favorite cds is now yours to have:
Tanya Gordon’s Braver than you think you are

the genie’s wish

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It’s a cool, breezy Saturday. A day for the mind to wander a little bit. Random rather than particular ways.

I got to thinking about genies. You know the kind who live in those persian lamps or in bottle’s of 1960s astronauts. That’s a pretty rotten deal they have when you think about it. They have their little space into which they shrink and retreat to on occasion, are on the beck and call of whoever owns the lamp, and expected to respond with some measure of authority when called forth, pleased to serve, eager to help, happy to oblige. I would guess they get used to it after a while.

In our selfish consideration we think about how great it would be to own a genie lamp, so we could get our wishes, vanquish our enemies, get a new car, and fancy clothes. Today, though, I got to thinking about that genie.

Who answers when he calls? I would bet that sort of thing gets discouraging. Having to be there for the call, but never able to make a call himself. Giving a wish, but never getting one.

A curious life really. I think if I ever find a lamp I’d first off ask what the genie wants. It’d be the least I could do.

random evening notes

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Someone came to this site looking for the “feeling paranoid Bible”. Now, I don’t have one and I’d never thought about this before, but it does make perfect sense really. A good many folks look to the Bible to justify all manner of fears or conspiracies or other dangers. Call a spade a spade and get yourself a “feeling paranoid Bible” if you really want the thrill of being a martyr without going to the Middle East.

Completely unrelated. I was going through and sorting some new mp3 files I just ripped. Old and New Testament mind you, so it was a kosher activity. In the background, however, I had Fox on, mostly because of the Simpsons. Then that ended and Malcom in the Middle came on. It’s a reasonable enough show for mindless background entertainment, so I kept it on while I worked. Towards the end of the show my attention was drawn by a commercial I hadn’t seen before, a commercial proclaiming the opportunities, equal and otherwise, of working for the CIA. Yes, that CIA, which ended on a picture of their austere logo and a link to their website. The CIA is hiring apparently.

Who exactly are they looking for that they advertise employment opportunities during a rerun of Malcolm in the Middle? Is this their ideal demographic?

It does explain a lot really.


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I just can’t get away from sin can I? I did warn everyone, what with my soliciting books and all.

I think the island effect is slowly wearing off, so regular commentary (whatever that is) will begin again shortly.

Unless I get a picture of the western tanager that keeps hanging out round these parts in which case it’s more pictures of birds.

odd findings

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I have a bit of the absent minded professor about me. Especially in terms of my books. I’ve a good amount of books, and these good amount tend to be moved around. Most of the books I would use only to fill bookcases are in storage of one type or another. I’ve boxes and boxes of those.

Books I have in here are books I generally use, or think I’ll use, at some point. Once a year or so if I haven’t moved, I realize any manner of organization has completely disappeared and I need to go through and do something with these books. Stacks have formed in various other, non-bookshelf, spots, and these stacks have an increasingly diverse mix of topics. Plato, which I haven’t read since college is sitting under The World according to Garp, which is sitting by Don Quixote, which is on top of The Princess Bride and the third Harry Potter novel, opposite Ignatius of Loyola (whose day it is today) and the complete works of Josephus and Mark Twain, on which is sitting Toward a Theology of Nature by Pannenberg. This is quite a silly order of things.

The bookshelves, of which I do not have nearly enough, have run into the same problem. There’s no organization any more. Books on learning how to use Dreamweaver and InDesign are sharing shelf space with a book on Christian nominality, the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, Taiko by Yoshikawa, the Dead Sea Scrolls (in book form) and the collected works of Jack London. Different projects required pulling books out, and they never quite got back to where they would feel comfortable. Somehow I generally have a sense of where a particular book might be only the disorganization and stacks tends to make my mind feel a little cluttered.

So, since I’m going to start writing again tomorrow after a month or so away from anything particular, I figured today, being an odd sort of day, is a good day to get things squared away. It’s odd mostly because it’s the 31st and a Monday. The end of a month while also the beginning of a week. It is the middle of summer and misty cold outside.

This past Friday, Monday called up and said it was going to be a day for cleaning. So, I penciled it in and here I am typing instead of cleaning, writing a long post on what is, thus far, completely unrelated to anything I’ve written thus far. The point of this post follows.

In cleaning up my bookshelves I found what occasionally pops up in other times of cleaning and moving and otherwise sorting.

It’s a ticket to Disneyland.

It’s a ticket to Disneyland given as a prize to some Disney contest in celebration of Disneyland’s 30th anniversary. Disney recently made a big deal about their 50th anniversary, which means, well, this ticket isn’t exactly new and has wandered around various boxes and bookshelves for a good while.

I don’t even know if it’s still good, though I imagine it is, and worth considerably more than what it was worth when it was given out in 1985.

That was in the era of my regular Disney attendance, which fell off about ten years ago or so. This ticket floated around, never around when I went since 1985. Out of sight, out of mind, out of any memory of where it might be except when it makes an appearance on completely inconsequential days such as this when there’s absolutely no chance or plans to make good on its temptation.

I note this now for a reason. Only I’m not quite sure of that reason, but assume it must be about the same reason as why I keep coming across this ticket at odd intervals.

The funny thing is that at this point if I went to Disneyland I’m not sure I’d use it. It’s been twenty years.

Think of how much value it will have in twenty or thirty more. I just need to tuck it back into the bookcase, maybe behind the 5th volume of the ante-nicene fathers or the autobiography of Clarence Darrow sitting right next to it.

blog personality

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For whatever reason I became outwardly introspective. Or inwardly outrospective. Or whatever way one might describe the awareness of one’s own extroverted awareness. No? How about this? I just, for whatever reason, began to really think about how someone who doesn’t know me might know me if only by looking at this blog, or this site in general.

I’m wondering if in fact I am that person I’m presenting, or if I’m not that person I’m presenting. There’s a conflict, you see, because in looking at the posts recently (like for the last year, though I didn’t look at any others besides the last four or five) I’m thinking someone might not really know me even though my blog is telling people a lot about myself. Or maybe the problem is I don’t really know me, and my blog is the spot on representation, and I’m really that person someone who doesn’t know me thinks I am, and not the person I think I am but not representing well here on Present Matters.

Is a blog supposed to tell the world of one’s soul? Does it? Can it? Or is it an expression of what one like’s to write about, even if and assuming this doesn’t incorporate the totality of one’s own reality.

I’m thinking by analyzing my extroverted introversion here I’m saying a lot about myself by analyzing what I’m saying about myself. Which is a silly loop really.

All this to say, I think I’m funnier in person. And less apt to talk about birds.

But maybe I’m wrong about that.

I do know that Monday morning internet existential crises bode poorly for the rest of the week.

a random rumination

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What wanders so close it cannot be seen? What is so near it is now hidden to our blinded eyes? This is the soul. Our soul. The soul of another which cries and yells in rabid discontent, caught up in our own inner frenzies of being, unable to say more or do more or show more. Yet we ignore the plaintive cries, we expound on things irrelevant, never listening, never noticing, never bothering with that which is loudest and clearest.

And so we wander, always wander, never settling into ourselves, wanting only to become what someone else is, even as they wander to yet another. There is no peace, there is no comfort there is nothing which gives sign to an end. We are refugees from ourselves. No one will take us in.

a realization

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If I really wanted to live as Jesus lived in my context I would move up to Lake Tahoe and go around to various parties and such, getting to know people and telling them how hard it is to pursue God, but that it’s still terribly worth it. And then I would spend a lot of time in the forest alone because I didn’t like crowds. I would also be supported by rich women, as I gave up my full time job in order to go around and talk with people.

A few times a year I would come down to Los Angeles and raise a ruckus for a week or so, then go back to Tahoe.

Of course to make it completely analogous, California would have to be ruled by China or Iran or something like that making the whole lot of us Californians a mite bit rebellious and looking for some practical freedom.

Incarnational ministry is always described somewhat different than this.


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Step away, step toward, step to the side, step to the other side. A dance, a curious dance as these steps are not to music being played but instead a life being lived.

To settle, not settle alone, but settle down. To find a ceasing of the frentic soul which for this past month has been dancing in an unrestrained rhythm, if rhythm one can even call it.

My soul is not still, so what do I resonate? My heart is not calm, so what do I radiate? My inner being finds no rest, so what do I say, and see, and hear?

I pray for peace, for the peace of Jerusalem, when Jerusalem is within.

I pray for light, for delight, not which provokes confusion but which enables me to see, to dance the intricate dance and revel in God annointed peace.

There must be stillness around, even here where I once left due to no stillness. But I look in different directions for stillness now, not without but within.

I pray for the Spirit to wash and clean and let me breathe. The frenetic soul is weary of the dance it cannot stop, so I change the music and seek the hope of the quiet.

May god rest with me, within me, about me, so that I can drink the deep draughts of Living water.

random idea

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So, after waking up quite early and spending my time reading a good chunk from Pannenberg’s Systematic Theology I decided I had earned a bit of a break and breakfast.

I, of course, decided it was a fine time to watch The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn. I’m not generally into old movies, but these action flicks always are a treat.

I pop in the DVD and am delighted to see they have a set of features called Warner’s night at the movies. Basically, this includes a brief introduction by Leonard Maltin about the year the movie was made. Then there’s a preview for another movie in the same year, a movie short, a cartoon, and a newsreel. After this the movie starts.

Now this is good, quality old time fun. I only watched about ten minutes of the actual movie, but I had a grand break with the other stuff.

It gave me an idea, what I think is a grand idea, only I’ve no money whatsoever, so I’m suggesting it rather than doing it, though I’d do it if I had the extra money to get it done.

Movies now have become frustrating experiences. The previews are sometimes good, but the rest of the pre-movie experience has been so cluttered with ads and whatnot I feel violated. I pay good money not to watch commercials, then they sneak them in. It’s irritating.

However, how fun would it be to have a movie theater decide to go back to the classic pattern. Instead of ads and upwards of 8 previews, there’s a nice pre-movie priming experience. One preview, followed by a newsreel. Now, being this is the movies the newsreel has to be about something uplifting and fun. I think there’s a place for telling all the nasty stuff of war and this world, but this newsreel could feature one of the many unknown quality stories, which are news but not the kind of news that news shows consider news.

Then, there could be a short feature. These are the kinds of shorts that get nominated for oscars but no one ever sees. Then we could have a cartoon, something silly, maybe with a musical number. At this point the movie starts, and everyone feels they got their money worth.

Now, I would pay extra to go to a theater like this, and I would go out of my way to go to a theater like this. Moviegoers are being abused by crass commercialism. Someone really needs to get back into the business of movie experience making. They’d make a bundle.