The Day I Read A Book

A classic song from comedian Jimmy Durante, circa 1947:

Ah, lit’rature! There’s nothin’ like sittin’ home next to the fireplace, with a pipe, a dog, and a good book at your feet. But if you walk into my house, you’ll see loads of books. And believe me they’re not there just for appearance. I press an awful lot of butterflies.

My Awesome Birthday Cake

In case you missed it on Facebook or Twitter, my birthday was last Friday. My gluten free triple-fountain-encore monster truck cake (feat. Grave Digger) was pure chocolate awesomeness. Here are two iPhone pics of the end result. Note how the cocoa powder dusting gave the entire scene a nice authentic appearance. And it was delicious too! My wife rocks.

And here’s the inspiration, a YouTube clip of a real encore fountain feat. Grave Digger (2 trucks):

Grave Digger

You may remember that my kids are rednecks who love monster trucks. Well, one of the discoveries that awaited us as we traveled through North Carolina was the home of monster truck Grave Digger in the town of Kill Devil Hills—a fittingly named hometown for a fierce monster truck. Outside on the property four old models of the monster truck were spread out (the Grave Digger legacy is now 22 models deep). The public was invited into the workshop and the gift shop. While we were there I grabbed this picture of the kids:

And here is video of a run by GD in the 2007 freestyle competition in Atlanta. Having watched this 20 or more times I think this is the family favorite YouTube clip:

Flannery O’Connor: Self-Portrait

Letter dated Oct 20, 1955: “The enclosed should help you. I don’t want it back. I am the one on the left; the one on the right is the Muse. This is a copy of a self-portrait I painted three years ago. Nobody admires my painting much but me. Of course this is not exactly the way I look but it’s the way I feel. It’s better looked at from a distance.”

Letter dated Oct 30, 1955: “I first sent Harper’s Bazaar my self portrait and can you imagine, they said: this is not exactly what we want, a little stiff, couldn’t you send us a snapshot? I also sent it to Harpercourt Brace to use on the jacket of my book. They said: this is a little odd, we don’t think it would increase the sale of the stories.”

Letter dated June 19, 1963: “In the self portrait that is not a peacock. That’s a pheasant cock. I used to raise pheasants but they got too much for me as they require attention and have to be caged. The peacocks take care of themselves. But I like very much the look of the pheasant cock. He has horns and a face like the devil. The self-portrait was made ten years ago, after a very acute siege of lupus. I was taking cortisone which gives you what they call a moon-face and my hair had fallen out to a large extent from the high fever, so I looked pretty much like the portrait. When I painted it I didn’t look either at myself in the mirror or at the bird. I knew what we both looked like.”

PAMIC: People Against Massages In Church

One of the first churches my wife and I attended was also home to a publicly cuddly wify type (a PCW). Right during the sermon—and often for the duration of the message!—this woman’s red fingernails were busy scratching away at the back of her husband’s neck, eventually twirling his hair, and then rubbing his shoulders, and then back to the scalp scratching. It became a one-handed, unending cycle of scratching, twirling, and rubbing.

I’m sure the husband enjoyed the sermon. But the public massage fest was distracting for the 20 rows of unfortunate spectators behind the couple. It is almost impossible not to notice this activity (red fingernail polish didn’t help). And following the sermon became an almost impossible task. I can imagine a letter from Screwtape to Wormwood on the importance of encouraging wives to massage at church.

All this to say, I have been personally effected by the spiritual distraction caused by massages in church. Today I sign the manifesto to join People Against Massages In Church (PAMIC). Join me, and together we can put an end to this disruptive practice.