December 2006

Personal28 Dec 2006 08:50 am

My wife and I occasionally babysit three small children. They come from a sad situation and can be sometimes difficult to handle. My wife does very well with them.

The oldest (about 3) is a drama queen. The next (around 2) is amazingly, alarmingly, devious and cunning. Maybe devious is too strong of a word, but I never would have thought a child that young could ever be capable of some of her shenanigans.

Anyway, one recent Sunday we had them all day. Took them to church. What a disaster that was. I thought it was anyway, Jewel didn’t.

I was playing with them that afternoon, and the oldest and I sat down at a VERY small table with paper and pens to draw. It is with considerable pride that I give you the fruits of my labors.

Click the image for a larger version.

Notice all the livestock in this piece. I usually don’t enter a work with preconceived ideas of themes or messages to explore. I’m not sure what brought this out, I usually prefer meat-bearing livestock.

Click the image for a larger version.

Of particular note here I think, is the incredibly accurate dimensions and proportions evident in this piece. It was all done freehand with no assistance from a mechanical device, such as straightedge or measuring instrument.

Notice how I display my artistic ambidexterity by flaunting my mastery of multiple genres. B&W as well as color are in my stable of tricks.

I was bragging about these to a friend, and then showed them off. Pseudo-friend agreed, they weren’t bad. Then one thing or another clarified the situation for them, and they said “Oh! You just drew these! I thought you must have done it as a child. That’s not nearly so impressive!”

With friends like that, my goodness!

Family26 Dec 2006 06:52 pm

My wife and I read a lot. She got me going to the library again, we usually come home with an armload. I have rediscovered Louis L’Amour and have discovered Dean Koontz, if that tells you anything about the depth of books I prefer.

So anyway, one night I asked my wife about the inspirationish fiction book she was reading. I asked if she liked it, and why or why not.

It was ok, she said, but it wasn’t very realistic.

I probed further, what wasn’t realistic? Fantastic action, ludicrous coincidences, unlikely plots?

It turned out to be this: the man in the story always knew the exact perfect thing to say.

Indeed, that sounds unrealistic to me!

Medical23 Dec 2006 06:31 pm

Why is it that people love to wax eloquent about their medical issues? I don’t know, but I’m certainly no exception! A quick way to bore other people to tears is to talk on and on about your physical ailments, I know that. But it doesn’t stop me from doing it in this forum, for some reason. Maybe because when I preserve my insights on ITF it just seems like typing on my computer, not speaking to the whole world through the internet.

Besides, with as many medical issues as I have, it’s a regular treasure trove of material.

Recently I was subjected to a certain medical procedure called an EGD (upper endoscopy). Basically they jam a scope down your throat and look around and do stuff. It’s not too bad, they knock you out for it, so that’s nice. (Side note: I can’t wait to get the pictures from it so I can post them here!)

Except — I’m hard to sedate. I’m naturally resistant to medication, it takes a boatload to have an effect on me. I’ve proven that time and again in the dental field, as well as other times and situations.

Anyway, they socked it to me and started to work. He had to go in and out with his scope 4 different times, so it took longer than normal and was a little rougher than usual. BUT the bad thing was somewhere in the middle of this whole thing I started to wake up!!!

I was not thrilled!!

They quickly shot me up with more la-la juice and finished their business.

My wife was with me in the recovery room. She claims that when I was coming to, I was rather, um, rude. She says I was chewing out the nurse saying I didn’t get enough sedative, that I woke up in the middle of it, that I SAID I need a lot of medication!

She rolled her eyes at the nurse and they both ignored me.

How embarrassing. I don’t remember any of that, but next time I’m going to apologize to the medical staff beforehand.

Then the doc came in and went over what all happened and what he did. He said, “We can normally do heart surgery with the amount of medication you took!”

Now he knows for next time. Man it hurt though, that was a rough one. I couldn’t eat right for days, then there were other residual effects that lasted even longer. Turns out I’m a real mess in there.

A week later we went in for the follow up. I have acid reflux and some strange allergy related condition (I don’t remember what it was called, it was some 64 syllable word) that work together or are closely entwined and they cause my stricture problems.

So I asked him, Doc, what does this allergy thing and acid reflux and asthma mean to my voice as a singer?

He kind of stopped and looked at me a little incredulously, then asked a couple questions. No, I didn’t sing for a living (I’d starve), I didn’t actually sing very much anymore, but I’d like to again. Then he dropped the verdict: “Don’t quit your day job,” he said. “I’m surprised you can sing at all!”

Nothing like a little encouragement!

So, joy of joys, I have to have another one of these things in a couple months. I asked him if he was going to give me enough sedative this time. He assured me they would, “Now we know,” he said.

He mused further, “We could have dropped a bison with the amount of sedative we gave you!”

Misc20 Dec 2006 03:32 pm

Speaking of tenors and bass in heaven, the Baritone sent me this story about Marcus Lind. Marcus was a well-know Mennonite preacher, teacher, and author from Oregon.

David writes:

Marcus Lind had a dream while he was still alive that he had died
and was singing in Heaven’s choir. They got to the end of one song, and
the angel who was directing the choir stopped them and said, “Okay, the
bass section needs to quiet it down a little.” Marcus looked around, and
saw thousands and thousands of people in the soprano section, thousands
and thousands of people in the alto section, thousands and thousands of
people in the tenor section, and then he looked around for the basses and
realized he was the only one singing bass! So I guess there’s at least
one bass in heaven now.

Misc19 Dec 2006 01:15 pm

You really need to see this. I’ve killed a few nutria in days gone by, maybe even occasionally at 3 in the morning, but never quite like this. Kon is the man.

The Nutria Documentary

Misc18 Dec 2006 12:58 pm

I just got off the phone with a lady who said, “This is something or other CRC…”

“What’s CRC?”

“Something Reading Club, do you watch more than one hour of TV a day?”


“When you do, do you prefer a comedy, drama, etc. etc?”


“You don’t prefer any of those?”

“I don’t watch much TV.”

“Oh. Can I have your age for advertising purposes?”


“Do you wish to participate in this survey?”


Small exhalation of exasperation. Click.

Now, which one of us was rude? If she would have asked the last question first, she would have saved herself some time!

Music16 Dec 2006 06:39 am

I was having a discussion with a lady and she offered the following slightly unsettling quote:

“In heaven all men will be tenors!”

I replied, “That doesn’t sound like heaven to me!”

ITF Headquarters14 Dec 2006 12:19 pm

Mom and Dad and Linda came out for several weeks to help us move and get the new house ready. They just went home a week ago Tuesday. And yes Mark, they mentioned seeing you at the airport!

I don’t know what we would have done without Mom. We probably still wouldn’t be moved in!

We painted

and painted

and moved

and moved.

A ton of work, but it was high time it happened. Thanks for helping, Mom. See you next May!

AHQ&Audio12 Dec 2006 01:16 pm

When I was visiting Utopia Christmas of ’05, AHQ briefly went into the studio to record some tracks for a project on which we’re making a contribution. We were under-rehearsed and short on time, but after the main session was over we cut loose and recorded a song from our past just for fun. We’d never recorded it and I had always wished we had the opportunity to lay it down.

A few years ago we needed to learn a few Christmas songs for something, maybe it was this tour. Anyway, we came up with a version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and we learned the Cathedral’s version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

A side note of trivia, I’ve heard the Cat’s in concert a number of times. This was a tune they’d sing occasionally, a cappella of course. One time (this would have been with Ernie and Scott) they launched into it and blew the words! They had to stop and start over.

So anyhow, This song is just a kick in the pants to sing. It ends with a high barn-burner tag, on a minor chord no less! Very cool. Now we’ve finally got it recorded, and I suppose there’s nothing else to do with it but post it on the internet.

And if you like to hear By reach for the stratosphere, here’s your ticket.

Download God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1.2MB, 1:31)

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