Friday, June 27, 2008

Ahhh, Look at All the Lovely People

The youngest Fruit Of My Loins, KayJay, works at the local swimmin' hole (officially known as the Apple Valley Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Center...bleck) and had a celebrity encounter at the refreshment counter. She served hot dogs and nachos to her favorite Christian music artist, Sara Groves. Because of this, Beloved went to Mrs. Groves' website,, to check on her concert schedule...found out that the next day she was going to be in New York City.

It was just kind think that one day she's shoving carbs into her kids' faces at the pool and the next day she's singing her songs in front of thousands of people.

Yes...of course...I've always known that "famous" people aren't always sitting at a piano writing songs or standing in front of a camera emoting. They've got real lives that have to be lived: Dinners to cook and faces to shave and teeth to brush. But it got me to thinking...what kind of normal hobbies and activities do some of the more-well-known people of the universe engage in when they're not earning their truckloads of cash? We all know that Jay Leno likes to collect and work on cars and motorcycles, but what about some of the other famous faces?

Sparing no expense (translation: spending no money), I've done some research and herewith offer a short list of some of the more interesting free time activities of the Beautiful People:
  • Jack Nicholson crochets sweaters for chihuahuas.
  • Barry Manilow plays paintball.
  • Mariah Carey coaches high school wrestling.
  • Alan Alda sneaks into emergency rooms and sutures lacerations with four-oh silk.
  • Paris Hilton butchers her own cattle.
  • Stevie Wonder drives in demolition derbies.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

But Seriously, Folks...

I just finished the first of two weekends full of performances with Giant Step Theatre. (Current production: Aladdin's Lamp, in which I appear as the Genie.) It's always an interesting experience taking the stage surrounded by 70-90 3rd-10th graders, especially when your head is shaved and you've painted yourself blue, but I've actually been led into a slightly deeper mode of thought than normal because of something that happens fairly frequently with Giant Step. . .

It's not unusual (Tom Jones, anyone?) to enter the auditorium and be instantly confronted by a 2 foot, 10 inch, cherub-faced pixie sadly proclaiming, "Dewey? I can't find my prop. I'm supposed to have a rubber chicken for the market scene, and I can't find it." Translation: Dewey? I just remembered that I need to have a rubber chicken for the market scene, but when I stood still and looked around at my feet, I couldn't see it.

The solution is normally to encourage the treasure hunter to actually go to the backstage tables that hold all of the props (physical PROPerties that actors use as part of their onstage roles: a purse, a cane, a golden lamp full of genies, etc.) and look at the spot that has been outlined and labeled "rubber chicken" or "Persian gold" or "Shabeeb's whip." 99.44% of the time, the hopelessly lost prop is found right where it belongs.

This is what got me thinking about Real Truth and not just almost.

It strikes me as odd when people go off in search of themselves. Um...aren't you right there? Isn't it true that, "Wherever you go in life...that's where you are?"

Okay...settle down...I get it. Searching for oneself is actually searching for meaning and trying to find one's place in this gobbledy-gook mess we call life. And the serious point here is that to stare at your own navel and attempt to find purpose and meaning is like looking for a rubber chicken in the dressing room instead of the prop table.

There is a Creator, and it only makes sense that the Creator would have a better handle on what we've been created for than we do.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Papa Was a Rollin' Stone...

For your consideration, my schedule for Father's Day, 2008:

6:15 AM - The alarm rings, my hand rushes to turn it off and I jam my finger on the bedside table.

7:30 AM - Beloved and I head to church for worship rehearsal. My team is leading today, and I need to tune my guitar to the piano...which is a quarter-step flat.

9:30 AM - During the first song, I drop my pick into the guitar, because of my jammed finger.

10:15 AM - A blister is cultivated on my thumb due to playing without a pick; due to dropping my pick into the guitar; due to jamming my finger; due to the alarm ringing at 6:15 AM.

12:20 PM - The steaks hit the grill, and I accidentally break open the blister on my thumb while closing the grill's lid.

12:45 PM - Our college-freshman daughter, KayJay, makes me tear-up with her mealtime prayer of thanks for her daddy.

2:30 PM - At a graduation open house, salt from a potato chip gets in my raw blister, which causes me to drop my can of Pepsi, which causes the graduate's grandmother to slip, which brings the celebration to a grinding halt as Gramma is rushed to the emergency room to see if her hip is broken. Somehow, the graduate doesn't sound sincere when she says, "Thanks for coming."

4:30 PM - While mowing the backyard into windrows so I could bale it (yes, the grass was that long), a rock flies out from the mower and gashes my shin.

6:00 PM - I cry in the shower when soap gets in the open wounds on my shin and my thumb.

6:47 PM - Having popped my traditional batch of Sunday evening popcorn, I sit down to watch a VHS of The Pink Panther I borrowed from work...right up to the point where the tape gets eaten by our player.

I had a great Father's Day, because the 7:30 and 12:45 entries are the only ones that are actually -- how do you say it? -- true.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Time 100

I haven't been paying close enough attention to really know, but I think Time magazine does it every year: publishes a list of "The 100 Most Influential People in The World." This year, it came out in the May 12 issue, which means I'm within a month of being current...a newsworthy event in itself.

The gimmick with the issue is that Time makes this, in their words, "thoughtful and sprightly" list -- Sprightly? What in the farnsworth is that supposed to even mean? -- of who they consider to be highly influential people, and then have all sorts of different mostly-well-known people write a few paragraphs about a person on the list with which they have some kind of connection. For example, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu waxes eloquent about Peter Gabriel...supposedly because they both have experience in being way past their prime in terms of contributing to their chosen field of endeavor.

Putting that bit of snark aside, I did manage to learn a few things by reading the short essays. For instance, I bet you didn't know that the Dalai Lama (profile paragraphs written by popular spirituality author, Sixpak Chopra) got his name from a Little Richard doo-wop song. (Tutti-Frutti: "A whop dalai lama, a bom bam boom.") I'm also willing to wager that you were not aware of how Vladimir Putin (as told by former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine "It's" Alright) single-handedly popularized the hokey-pokey in Russia.

Other almost facts I find interesting:
  • Barack O'Bama is Irish.
  • African National Congress Chairman, Jacob Zuma, has a vengeful brother named Monty.
  • Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shi'ite power broker in Iraq, was on Wheel of Fortune and wasn't allowed to buy a vowel.
  • The last name of Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, can be translated as breakfast dish of scrambled eggs and unmarried men.
  • Ashfaq Kayani is Pakistan's top general, but he is also a botanist who developed the kayani pepper.
  • According to George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are really nice people who just happen to be stinking rich.
  • A clue to Oprah Winfrey's secret religion that worships a hellish jumbo shrimp is found by rearranging the letters in her name: Oh Fiery Prawn.
  • Lance Armstrong's name was chosen by a computer program set to search for the manliest syllables in the known universe.
  • Former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, was supposed to write a tribute to Britain's former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, but still managed to use the words I and my nine times in four paragraphs. I'm just sayin'....