Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring this!

Maybe it's the 40 in me, but Daylight Saving Time was a rough go this year. After a week, my body is finally realizing that 9 a.m. is 9 a.m., not 10 a.m. (or is that 10 a.m. is 9 a.m., not 10 a.m.? I don't know...)

This is a little off the topic, but this talk of time changes makes me think of time zones which makes me think of Marvin Barnes, a basketball player who was quite a character in the old American Basketball Association during the 1970s.

He played for St. Louis. His team had played a game in Louisville - located in the Eastern Time Zone - and was flying home to St. Louis - in the Central Time Zone. The flight ticket showed the flight departure from Louisville at 8 p.m. local time (accounts vary on the exact times, but the gist of the story is the same) with an arrival in St. Louis - a relatively short flight - at 7:59 p.m. local time. Barnes told team officials they should cancel his ticket because, "I ain't goin' on no time machine."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The season of giving up

The Lenten season is upon us. That means a couple of things: Easter is less than seven weeks away and chocolate consumption will plummet as it is the No. 1 item that is sacrificed during Lent (watch out, guys!).

The Sunday before Lent, pastors everywhere likely prepped their congregations for the season’s 40 days, which started on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter.

As a Catholic schoolboy, the season marked a special time in the church year. From Stations of the Cross to the processional and special Masses during Holy Week, I have fond memories from my days of wearing an altar boy’s cassock (we didn’t have altar girls in the 1970s).

The tradition of giving something up for Lent has changed slightly for me. Back then, you gave something up because the priest, the nuns and your parents instilled in you a deep fear that Hell’s fiery gates awaited you if you didn’t. Plus, it would make Jesus sad.

Fear and guilt – two required tools of Catholic parenting.

In middle adulthood, churches today encourage the practice sacrificing something. But it’s less on a physical product – such as chocolate or tobacco – and more on personal habits.

Makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. When you give up a favorite treat, you find yourself – consciously or subconsciously – counting down the days until you can once again be reunited with those salty chips or fined brewed pilsner.

But say you give up gossiping about the neighbors, yelling at your kids less or saying something nice to that co-worker who you can’t stand. Doing that over the course can have a positive effect that can extend beyond the 40 days of Lent (oh, Lord).

When Satan tested Jesus for 40 days in the desert, the Savior didn’t say, “whew, glad that’s over.” He continued to be a positive role model for those around him. The phrase “What Would Jesus Do” isn’t just some catchy marketing slogan. It’s what we – regardless of our beliefs or lack thereof – should put into practice all the time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sipping wine in a plastic cup

When you promise to write more on the blog (as I did what seems like an eternity ago), two things can happen:
- You think that someone might actually tune in to see what you've written, so you wait until you've got something really great to say; or
- You write anything down to keep the commitment.
As I drink some Wollersheim River Gold wine wine from a child's plastic to-go cup from Rainforest Cafe, I realize I'm doing the latter right now. But the creative juice will start flowing again soon. I made it through Day 1 of no Facebook gaming with no consequences, and actually got a couple of things done. My goal is to hit things hard over the next two weeks (cleaning house, organizing papers, balancing the checkbook, finish taxes) and go into April with a clear plan to resurrect a writing career - or at least something that I can do from home that pays the bills.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stupid Facebook

I made a post about a month ago, saying I would be more faithful to the Blog. About that time, they seemed to be this mass rush to Facebook. I thought I'd take a look. I spend more time now on the computer player games (stupid Mafia Wars) than writing.

It was good electronic crack for a while, but the sore shoulder and hunched posture of too much computer time is making me rethink the Facebook gaming phase. It's been great to see some old friends, but life's too short to worry about how many virtual casinos I can build.

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