Thursday, August 29, 2002

My eyes had not fully opened this morning when I reached for the remote control. It rests quietly in the headboard of my bed each night while I snooze away my fatigue. There are three remotes to be found there. My fingers tell me that the small one is for the VCR. The long, thin one is for the stereo. The medium sized one with the fluted edges is the television. I seized it and pushed the big button on the top left. That is the power button. As usual channel 4 appeared first. That is because David Letterman is the last thing I watch before shutting down at night. I could hear... and dimly see... some lady giving the mornings traffic report. I don't care about traffic. There are 4 stop signs between my driveway and my office parking lot. They don't usually back-up with vehicles even in the fiercest of rush hours. I occasionally have to wait for a young mother getting her exercise and pushing a stroller to clear the intersection before I proceed. Once in a long while there will be a garbage truck making its rounds or a street sweeper cleaning up the gutters to slow my progress. But even on the worst of days it's a 53 second drive. Yes, I have timed it. I can do it in less on my motorcycle but only because I cut through my neighbors front yard. Tough to do that in my car.

But back to the point. My fingers silently make a tour of the channels in the morning. Without looking I punch in 02. If Glen Zimmerman is giving the weather I might open my eyes. I do not do mornings well. If I strain I can understand as he is telling me what the sky and temperature will be like today. But it is best if I do not try to audibly comprehend anything. Instead I squint at the screen and wait until he puts up that little graphic. Sometimes it has lightening shooting out of a cloud. On those days I move a little more slowly getting out of bed. Sometimes it shows flat, gray clouds. On those days I barely move at all. And if the numbers next to the picture exceed 100 I have been known to fall back into a coma. But if the graphic shows a big, blazing sun... oh baby! I'm going to open BOTH eyes. You see, I'm a visual person. I understand pictures before I understand words. The big blazing sun means that there is hope for the day! I would rather have a sunny day at 105 than a cloudy day at 72. I would rather have a sunny day at -20 than a cloudy day at 32. No joke. I really would. I am solar powered.

I have strayed from my point again. Glen Zimmerman was not on at the moment. There was a house fire somewhere and somebody was tragically dead. I sniffed the air. No hint of smoke. Ok, I'm not the dead guy. My fingers move on and punch in 05. If Katie Couric is speaking I automatically move the pillow out of the way and focus on the screen. Today it was that Matt Lauer fellow. I moved on to the next set of digits.

This is where the trouble began. I punched in 31. The Weather channel. MY weather channel. It was not there. I'm not sure but I think it was an infomercial or something. It just kept going and going and going. The moment when "weather on the 8's" should have been came and went twice with no sunny graphics.

I punched in 38. It was not a talking head. It was not FOX news. 29 was not CNN.

Uh oh. They did it again. It quickly became obvious that the e-stinken cable company had messed with all of the channels one more time. Everything was moved. I hate it when they do that. As I slid my weather-ignorant body out of bed I made a mental note to fire off an angry email to somebody somewhere. Who makes the decisons on these things anyway? It's not bad enough that I am going to have to re-learn all of their numbers and locations. Oh no, that is not the half of it. I am going to have to teach my MOM all of the new numbers and locations. This does not bode well for a holiday weekend.

Proof came later in the morning. The headlines screamed, "Charter Realigns Cable Networks." Man, how can they toy with my life like that? And what is worse... they don't even do it well! I mean, The Weather Channel is now on 45. What does 45 have to do with weather? I'll tell you what it has to do with weather... NOTHING. Anybody with a brain knows The Weather Channel should be on 32. That is the temperature at which you begin to worry about the roads. That is the temperature at which you wonder about school closings. The Weather Channel was designed with 32 in mind. But Charter can't figure that out. And now they have added Weatherscan Local on channel 99? Is this a mutiny? Do my hero's down at the Weather Channel know about this? I know there is a web site that is called "The Naked News." Naked people stand there and read you the news, weather, and sports. I really don't think anybody is listening. Looking... yes. Listening... no. I also don't think Dan Rather will be transferring over there. As distasteful as I find The Naked News, at least I understand it. I would tell you what channel it should be on but this is a "G" rated blog. Figure it out for yourself. Kid's, ask your mother. But I do not understand the need for two weather channels. Are we now having weather in stereo?

And how about The Food Network? Somebody tell me where it is now? I'll tell you where it should be. Common sense dictates that The Food Network should be on channel 8. Think about it, people! "Are you hungry?" you ask. "No. I am not hungry. I already 8." Isn't this a given?

And then there is ESPN. It's out there somewhere. It was on channel 33, I think. I don't know where in the world it landed on this day, August 29, 2002. But it should be on number 666. Or if there is not a 666, at least put it on 66. This time of the year ESPN is about baseball. Major League Baseball to be specific. And tomorrow Major League Baseball is going to go on strike. They are evil. They get channel 666, hands down.

How about Court TV? My mother is addicted to Court TV. Even she knows it should be on channel 11. Think about it. Drive over to the Madison County Jail. Look at the windows. What do you see? You see llllllllllllll. Those are bars. Big thick steel bars. Put two of them side by side and you have ll. There you have it. Channel 11.

There are other examples. Why in the world isn't The Golf Channel on channel 4? The Hallmark Channel should have the number posted in reverse as though it were on the back of the screen. Duh. Why is ABC-30 on channel 12? Don't they believe the network? I think I might consider putting the Trinity Network on channel 3. That might be where somebody would go looking for it. Here is a tough one... where does Nickelodeon belong? In my humble opinion the Women's Entertainment channel should be on 28 but I'll let you figure out why.

I could go on but I think you get my point. I do not think very well in the morning. I consume a small, 20oz. Vanilla Coke every day before 10am. At that moment my brain comes on. I'm not sure if it is the caffiene or the vanilla bean. It doesn't matter. It works. But before that I need my input to be simple. I need it to be clear. I need it to make sense. If you want to discuss the deeper issues of theology with me grab me between 10pm and 1am. I'm thinking my clearest at those hours. I am a youth pastor. This is the way God designed me. And Charter Cable is not helping. This must displease The Almighty greatly. I would certainly not want to be in their shoes after I have my quiet time and bring this to God's attention later tonight.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Ten Books That Changed My Life (The Bible Doesn't Count... It's A Given)
1-When Being Good Isn't Good Enough - Steve Brown
2-Adrenaline And Stress - Dr. Archibald Hart
3-Abba's Child - Brennan Manning
4-One Minute After You Die - Erwin Lutzer
5-The Serpant Of Paradise - Erwin Lutzer
6-Evidence That Demands A Verdict - Josh McDowell
7-Approaching God - Steve Brown
8-The Wounded Healer - Henri Nouwen
9-Christianity 101 - Dr. Gilbert Belezikian
10-Ruthless Trust - Brennan Manning
11-(a special added bonus) Rediscovering Church - Bill and lynn Hybles

Monday, August 26, 2002

Ten Things I Hate ...
1-Humidity/haze/clouds without rain
3-Flies in the room especially in the early morning
4-Paying for cable and still having to watch commercials
5-Peas (it makes me angry just seeing them on the table)
6-Sales tax
7-Throwing up
9-Stop lights
10-Underwear that shows on purpose

Ten Simple Things I Love To Do...
1-Mowing lawns on the riding mower I inherited from my dad. I feel him there.
2-Propping up on my bed with Tess (my laptop... short for "testosterone") and surfing/writing/reading
3-Watching Jeff Hicks eat Mexican
4-Seeing Bear show up in the laundry room with dirty clothes in his mouth because he knows I'm there and he wants to make a trade for a Milky Bone
5-Walking down the street alone in a strange city and realizing that no human being knows where I am at that moment
6-Play the same song over and over and over until I'm SURE I understand every little part of it
7-Talk to strangers and have them talk back... pleasantly
8-Go to Chicago and drive south on Lake Shore Drive from the Wrigley Field neighborhood to Soldier Field while playing "Running South On Lake Shore Drive" by "Aleuota, Haines, and Jeremiah"
9-Be at home.
10-Sit in silence and listen to Steve Browns "fog horn voice" tell me that everything is ok and that God still loves me no matter what

Ten Things I Really Want To Do Before I Die But I'm Afraid They Would Kill Me...

1-Ski the complete "Olympic Men's Downhill Run" at Snowbasin Utah (I've only done the bottom half) while keeping up with Mike Babcock
2-Sky dive into a stadium full of paramedics and er doctors
3-Drive a tractor trailer from coast to coast
4-Climb to the top of Sears Tower using the stairs
5-Build a tree house
6-Sleep in a "haunted house"
7-Have my own radio show
8-Learn to Tango
9-Shoot an M-16 and throw a hand grenade at an invisable enemy from behind a really big tree
10-Receive a letter from Adrain Rogers saying, "Great sermon Sunday. Mind if I use it?"