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Karaoke Dive-By

6 Mar

The Inn of the Prancing Pony is even more innocent in Lego form.

On Friday night, I let loose with a few friends for some karaoke fun at our friendly, neighborhood pub.  Now when I think of “pub,” imagery of The Inn of the Prancing Pony from the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings comes to mind.  (If you’re not a LOTR nerd, I know I just lost you.  Come back to me! If you are a LOTR nerd, then you’ll probably love the Prancing Pony scenes fully reconstructed in Legos here)  Or maybe an old-fashioned pub like The Eagle and Child where C.S. Lewis, Tolkien ( those LOTR references just keep coming), and the rest of the Inklings met to talk about their literary works.  Yes, a classy joint, sort of like an artistic Applebee’s (which I just learned also has karaoke) or a coffeehouse where people drink beer.

A pub, at least the one down the street, is nothing like that.

There were no writers discussing their works (though I did try literary analysis on some of the song lyrics.)  Or rough and tumble guys playing poker.  There were flashing strobe lights, a cheesy stage area, and a random sampling of people–most of whom were drinking.  I know, I know, it’s a bar, what did I expect?  Well, I thought it was a pub and everyone would be drinking butter beer!  Besides, we were there to karaoke, not get sloshed.

And karaoke we did!  While one of my friends, who is apparently a karaoke superstar, sang love ballads, I relied on classics such as “Bad Moon Risin'” by CCR and “Dancin’ Queen” by ABBA.  I mean, who doesn’t want to sing “Dancin’ Queen”?  It may be cliche, but at least I can cross “Sing ‘Dancin’ Queen’ at karaoke bar” off my bucket list.

In between our performances, we paged through the song catalog placed at each table and laughed at the names of bands and song titles, commenting on some of the more, uh, at “classy” song choices, and trying to yell over the noisy room.  One of us began to look for songs by Christian artists, and that’s when three of us decided we needed to sing one of these songs.  I joked that we needed to be light in the darkness.  We were going to be missionary karaokeers.  We chuckled about it, but I think there could be something to it. I think Jesus would karaoke.

We chose “Dive” by Steve Curtis Chapman.  It wasn’t as in-your-face as Chris Tomlin’s “How Great Is Our God” or as sugary sweet as Point of Grace. I claimed to know it, though I hadn’t heard the song in a few years.  My friends said they’d follow my lead.  After all, I am on the Sunday morning praise team, right?

I wrote our song choice on a slip and handed it to the  D.J.  After listening to a few other patrons, the D.J. called our names.  I was a little shaken by the song before us, which talked about bodies hitting the floor and had some screaming parts.  Still, we smiled sweetly at the crowd and exchanged nervous glaces as the song started.  We were ready to show the pubsters how we Christian chicks karaoke.  As soon as the lyrics began scrolling across the small screen, I realized I didn’t know “Dive”  as well as I thought I did.  Neither did my friends who were counting on me.  So we did our best and half-laughed our way through the verses as we tried to produce some semblance of a tune.  Fortunately, we did know the chorus, which we totally rocked. The nice thing about being among so many people who don’t listen to Christian music is that they didn’t know the song so they didn’t know that we didn’t know it either.  Or they were too drunk to care.  I realized later that lighht in the darkness doesn’t have to be brilliant to be seen; it just has to shine.

So, what’s the point of this post?  Am I trying to get Steven Curtis Chapman to hire my friends and me as back-up singers for his next tour?  (Maybe.  SCC, we’re available.  Call us!) Is there some deep, spiritual platitude I’m trying to get across?  Not really.  I’m just sharing a story about 30-something ladies having a good [sober] time on a Friday night.  We weren’t at the pub to be salt and light.  We didn’t sing “Dive” to be a witness.   We just were because when you allow yourself to be God’s light, you can’t help but shine.

I don’t think we saved any souls with our singing.  I’m not even sure we planted any seeds (Though strangely enough, “The 700 Club” was being show on one of the TV’s in the main bar area, so perhaps Pat Roberston took care of the souls we missed.)  But I think we did bring glory to God by praising His name in a neighborhood pub on Friday night.

Sometimes light is subtle…and that’s OK.  We don’t always have to flood the world with our faith, which can make people feel like deer caught in headlights.  We can be a light in the darkness simply by being radiant and letting God’s light pour out through us into the world.

Maybe we all just need to step out of our comfort zones, take a leap of faith, and dive in.

Friday Faves: The Surprise! Edition

27 Apr

Aren’t you elated?!  It’s been months (or at least a month) since I did Friday Faves (FF) and I didn’t originally plan on putting together FF today, but some days I just surprise myself as well as my readers!  Since I just gave you an update on my life, I thought I’d share an amusing anecdote to fill up some space because just jumping into a bunch of links seems so impersonal.  However, I spend a lot of time sitting on my couch with my broken foot propped up on pillows, so it’s not like there are all that many stories to share.  Although when I  was using Stella the Walker to hobble up the stairs after returning from a doctor’s appointment this morning, the UPS man asked if I broke my foot after falling from drinking too much.  I informed him that I’m not a drinker (except for that wine cooler on New Year’s Eve).  He said that maybe I should start.  So, yeah, my UPS man encouraged me to become drop down drunk.  I guess what’s what brown can do for you.

What is up with our culture’s obsession with drunkenness?   I can think of several movies where drunken people get married or have one-night stands…and hilarity ensues.  I don’t understand the humor behind promiscuous sex or “accidental” marriages.  I mean, alcoholic drinks are expensive, so getting that sloshed isn’t cheap, especially if you can’t remember the “good time” you had last night.  Plus, I’ve heard about the upchucking and killer headaches that follow.  It makes me just want to stay home and watch “Fraggle Rock” on NetFlix streaming.  I am grateful to state stores for supplying me with free moving boxes. 

Oh, and for those of you who want to argue about the merits of drinking in biblical times, remember this–Apostle Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach, not become rip roarin’ drunk during a toga party.  The key is moderation, friends, and not to take advice on drinking from your UPS man.

A story and a lesson on morality–does Friday Faves get any better than this?

So, onto this week’s linkage…

*Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Sara Groves, particularly her latest album, Invisible Empires.  Those of you who have been listening to her for years are thinking, ‘Yeah, Amy, we know how awesome Invisible Empires is….where have you been?”  I decided to share the above video of Sara singing “Obsolete,” which is one of my fave songs from the album because it’s all vulnerable and emotional.  I think Sara paints beautiful word pictures with her lyrics and I like her gentle melodies.

*If you’re under 21, sometimes it’s hard to get find a pal (or UPS man) who will buy you alcohol.  Therefore, some teens have decided to make their own “moonshine” using hand sanitizer.  Yes, hand sanitizer!  My friend, Shari, who is a dedicated child care professional, first told me that the two year-olds in her classroom weren’t allowed to use hand sanitizer due to its alcohol content.  We laughed, thinking of all the moms who rub it on their kids like sunscreen.  But, apparently, the Pennsylvania Department of Health wasn’t too far off with this one.  For more information, on this alarming trend check out this article from The Morning Call.

*What do you get for the paparazzi who has everything?  A vintage camera fashioned into a tape dispenser!  It’ll only set you back $21.  Other vintage items available from A Mano Trading include an Ultraman Piggy Bank (sorry, it’s sold out!  What a hotseller!) and a needlepoint squirrel.  Personally, I like this closeout bag.

This is Big Red laying the eggs. Currently, all three eggs are now hatched.

*Finally, I want to tell you about a unique opportunity to spy on a red tail hawk nest thanks to CornellVia this link, you can check out Big Red and her mate, Ezra, as they  care for their three eyasses.  I spent a good hour watching Big Red feed her babies a vole carcass.  It sounds gross, but it makes for fascinating viewing. (Click here to view additional videos of the eyasses hatching, eating, and fighting like siblings do.)

As always, have a great weekend!

Because I just adore your comments, here are some discussion questions…I’m going to a book sale and church–what are you doing this weekend?  Have you ever tried to drink hand sanitizer?  With your UPS man (or woman?)What is your favorite Sara Groves song?  Which do you like best–Sarah, Sara, Sarai, or some other alternative spelling of the name?  What do you think of the goods at A Mano Trading?  Any good gifts for Mother’s Day?  Speaking of mothers, what do you think of Big Red’s parenting skills? 

Friday Faves: Amy’s {Irish} Brain Dump Edition

16 Mar

Top of the mornin’ to ya!  That was my Americanized version of a traditional Irish greeting.  Really, what do you expect from a lass that’s only 1/16 Irish?  Still, my wee bit o’ Irish blood and my love of the color “green” makes me leap like a leprechaun (with joy, of course!)  Since I’ve blogged about St. Patrick’s Day in the past, I invite you to check out my fascinating discourse on Mickey D’s Shamrock Shakes, among other items of interest.

Last week, I passed a church sign displaying part of St. Patrick’s famous prayer, “The Lorica” (a.k.a. “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”).  Immediately, I turned around and snapped this photo (as well as several others from their spring garden—to be featured next week in a photo essay). 

The Lorica is one of my favorite prayers (and the part about “sorcerers” makes me chuckle, though we would be wise to pray about such things), especially the “Christ within me” section.  To read the full prayer, go here (saintly pic of Patrick included).  Print it out and use it as a bookmark in your Bible.  (If you use it to mark the Lord’s Prayer, you have a double-prayer win!)

Since I haven’t done Friday Faves in a good, long while, much to your chagrin, I will attempt to keep this brain dump short and sweet.  Truth be told, I haven’t been prowling around blogs and websites these past few months, so I’m fairly out of the loop.  Being in the loop tends to make me dizzy, so perhaps we’re all better off. 

Focusing on God, being quiet before Him, reading my Bible, and practicing contemplative prayer are far more valuable to me right now.  I feel my sweet season under the broom tree is coming to an end; it’s a bittersweet reality.  My Mary heart longs to rest in God, but I am urged to rest in Him while living life outside the cloister of my apartment. 


So, that’s it…oh, wait, you want some linkage, don’t you?  Silly me!  Alright, here’s what I’ve been reading about all over the Interwebs…

*If you’re been raised in the Church, you already know what words like “anointing” and “salvation” mean, but if you’re new to all these wacky Christian terms, or just need a refresher, then you need to learn “Christianese.”  There are many sites that offer explanations on Christianese and church culture at large–including one of my faves, Stuff Chrsitians Like, run by Jon Acuff (Read Jon’s Take 5).  This apologetics blog offers a “Christianese Dictionary,” with helpful definitions and no snark at all.  If you’re into snark, you better check out Matthew Paul Turner at Jesus News New P.R.  While you’re there, check out this hilarious pic of Jesus’ resurrection drawn by a 4th Grader.

*Way back in February author/pastor Pete Wilson wrote a great blog post about jesting called,What Does Being Sarcastic Say About You?In his honest, yet frank style, Wilson asks himself about his own issues with sarcasm, but mostly quotes the article.  A lot.   I could send you to the article itself, but Pete Wilson has such cool hipster hair, you should really just go to his blog instead.

*I’m so out of touch with “Friday Faves” I don’t even know which of these links I used, so if anything is a repeat, just count yourself doubly blessed.  Randy Elrod, who knows Philip Yancey, wrote a great post a couple months ago about failure.  It’s called, “Why Our Mistakes Must Not Be Allowed to Define Us.”  I often think that when people see me, they only remember me for my failures, and lately, through meeting up with old friends, I realize it is not true at all.  I have allowed my mistakes to define me…and others have not.

While I’d like to include more fascinating linkage, it’s not the morning anymore.  In fact, we’re heading right through the afternoon into the dinner hour, so I’d better wrap things up.  Tell me how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (I get a Shamrock Shake)…and what is your favorite “Christianese” term?  Are you sarcastic?  What does that say about you?  Do you let your mistakes define you?  Are you excited about Brinley the Shih Tzu Puppy?

Go with me to the Sadie Hawkins?

29 Feb

"Li'l Abner's" Sadie Hawkins

According to Wikipedia—a fount of knowledge on all things Leap Day/Sadie Hawkins—the practice of woman asking men to MARRY them was allowed once every four years on Leap Day.  Though often attested to Birgid’s major crush on St. Patrick (and really, who wouldn’t be beguiled with the man who drove the snakes out of Ireland?),  the Leap Day major proposals appear  to have started in the 19th Century, not in the 5th Century with Birgid and Patrick.

Leap Day marriage proposals by women have been allowed across cultures—and if a man refuses a lovely bachelorette, he was required to buy her a gift to soften the blow. “In Denmark, the tradition is that women may propose on the bissextile leap year day, February 24, and that refusal must be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves. In Finland, the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on leap year day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt,” says Wikipedia.

So, just who is Sadie Hawkins and how does she figure into all this?  It all started back in the 1930’s with a hillbilly comic strip called “Li’l Abner.”  The town’s most eligible spinster, Sadie Hawkins, couldn’t find a suitor so her father created an event in which Sadie could “catch” a husband.  No, seriously, she’d catch him.

Click on comic to see FULL SIZE!

From Wikipedia:

“When ah fires [my gun], all o’ yo’ kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin—after givin’ yo’ a fair start—Sadie starts a runnin’. Th’ one she ketches’ll be her husbin.” The town spinsters decided that this was such a good idea, they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors. In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown—by law he had to marry her!

This inspired the real world “Sadie Hawkins Dance,” where girls ask guys to be their dates to a wonderful dance.  No doubt these are women who are still reeling from Valentine’s Day singleness, which makes the placement of the day—exactly two weeks and one day after the lover’s holiday—so sweet.

The Sadie Hawkins’ Dance also inspired the hilarious song “Sadie Hawkins Dance” by Relient K.  There are several fan-made music videos for the song, but this one is my favorite (I like the Rock Band instruments)…

So happy Sadie Hawkins Day, everyone!  If you don’t have a date to the Sadie Hawkins Dance, you could always take advantage of 29% off sales at the retailer of your choice (as if a sale that pitiful inspires would-be bargain hunters.)

Friday Faves: Linus’ Blanket Edition

16 Dec

Last week, I admitted that I wasn’t OK and gave you my permission to revel in your not OK-ness (not that you needed my permission).  If last week was not OK, then this week was one, uh, terrible.  I mean, wretched.  Gut-wrenching.

It was bad.

I think that’s what I like about Friday…the hope of the rest, relief, and recreation the weekend provides is just on the horizon.  We can let ourselves go, have a Pajama Day Saturday, rock out with the worship band at church on Sunday…and then have at it again.

But were weren’t made to live from weekend-to-weekend.  We weren’t even meant to live day-to-day, but rather moment-t0-moment…and in those moments, in each and every moment, we were meant to rely on God.  We can’t have faith in the past moment.  We can hope to have faith in the future moment, but we MUST live in the present moment.  Oh, there’s nothing wrong with finding happiness in the weekend!  We were also meant to hope in the future…or rather for a “future hope.”

When life is painful, moments creep by.  Moments until the pain meds kick in.  Seconds between each sickening sob.  Minutes pass like hours as we wait on God to answer our cry.  Hours are like days.

I imagine this is how the ancients felt as they studied the prophecies regarding the Messiah.  When is he coming to save his people?  Probably a question asked by many as they looked for a sign, doubting He would come as a helpless baby born into abject poverty.  They watched and watched for Emmanuel, and so many missed God in their midst because He didn’t fit their expectations of a Messiah.

I know I miss God with me all the time, especially when I let those moments pass by failing to give each and every one to Him.  Deep thoughts for a Friday. (But, who knows if I’ll roll out a Christmas post this year?  I mean, this could be the last time I’ll post for three weeks.  Who knows?)

And, with that, here are some of the things amusing me this fine week…

* “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was on ABC last night.  There was some weird elf special on after the amazingness that is vintage Charlie Brown, so I decided to abandon the television until a repeat of  “Bones” came on at 9 PM.  I love watching Linus quote the Bible, even putting aside his little blue blankie to take the Christmas musical crew about the real meaning of Christmas.  Incidentally, my pastor is a lot like Linus.  I think he has the WHOLE BIBLE memorized.  When he preaches, he uses NO NOTES and recites all the Scripture he uses from memory (OK, he does occasionally glance up at the big screen…but not often.  He *IS* a senior citizen).  It should be noted that my pastor does not use a security blanket, but I do think his Bible is super glued to his hand.  I love my pastor!  I also love Linus’ blanket, so this edition is for you, Linus.  Or, rather, your blanket…because we all need a little tangible security.

*Author Mary DeMuth isn’t just a superhero(ine) for aspiring writers who want to publish books; she’s just super in general!  I admire Mary’s honesty, wit, and transparency, which are qualities that not only shine in her memoir, Thin Places, but also on her blog.  This week, Mary wrote a great post called, “Criticism Does Not Define You.”  Oh, how we need to be reminded!  I am HORRIBLE at taking criticism, but EXCELLENT at dishing it out.  As a writer, I need to be open to criticism.  Mary’s post helps with the sting.  AND…if you sign up for her e-zine, you can get a free PDF of Mary’s e-book, Live Uncaged, which has a very beautiful cover featuring a bird! (Sadly, my Kindle only shows the cover in gray-scale.  If only I had a Kindle Fire…)  I am enjoying the challenge of reading Live Uncaged because Mary writes in a way that makes my soul flutter.

Click on image to view a bigger version.

*My friend, Eric Altson, isn’t just married to one of the coolest women on the planet (Renee), he also has some mad drawing skills.  With pencil, he sketched “The Last Supper of Childhood” (pictured above) AND gave me permission to share it with y’all.  Isn’t Eric *the* best?  He warned that I may get a cease-and-desist letter from those who hold the copyrights to the characters depicted, but I’m gonna risk it.  And it’s NOT like he’s making money off of it.  Also, please remember the Altsons in your prayers right now.

Sorry, ladies, this handsome fella’s engaged!

*Apparently, I’m just a magnet for talented people…or I just flock to them.  Whatever the case, you NEED to check out the photography of the one-and-only Justin Gifford.  I’d like to say I taught him all he knows, but I’d only be telling you the truth. (Or not.)  Since my RSS feed is jammed with 1000+ blog posts that I’m going to read “some day,” I asked Justin if I could subscribe to his blog via email.  And you know what he did?  He added an email subscription option–just for me!!!  Secretly, I think it’s only because I gave him a six-pack of Rockstar energy drinks when he watched my dogs a few years ago.  I think Justin capture the range of human emotion so expressively.

*If you’re like me (and you’re probably not), then it’s your dream to witness a singing/dancing flash mob OR be a part of a singing/dancing flash mob.  I live vicariously through the plethora of flash mob videos that are uploaded onto YouTube.  A word of warning–there are some pretty mediocre flash mob attempts.  But all-in-all, watching flash mob videos on YouTube is a great waste of a morning.  I just want to flash mob the holidays away!  The above video features one of the most advanced singing/dance routines I’ve seen.  I mean, Irish Folk Dancing?  Wow!

Well, I have some cookies to bake.  Actually, I don’t.  I just thought that was a clever way to say, “I’m ending Friday Faves now because I’m tired and I’m going to bed.  Though I probably won’t go to bed right away.  I might catch up on Facebook, read a little, and so forth.”  But I am going to bake cookies with BFF Sarah this weekend, so by the time you read this, I may very well be baking cookies.  How’s that for blatant honesty?

What’s your favorite Christmas cartoon?  Do you have a “security blanket” like Linus? (Mine’s called a “journal.”) Does your pastor memorize his whole sermon (if you have a pastor)?  Is it also your dream to be in or witness a flash mob?  If not, what is something outrageous you’d like to do?  Do you think I really taught Justin all he knows? (If  you answer “yes,” you can have a cookie from the batch I may or may not be baking at this very moment.)  Do you let criticism define you?  Do you think you could be Eric at Pictionary? How do you “miss” God in your life?

Friday Faves: Hurricane Irene’s A’Coming Edition

26 Aug

First, we get hit with an earthquake and now Hurricane Irene is roarin’ our way—what is going on with the East Coast?  Are we experiencing the wrath of the gods? (I say “gods” because I don’t think my Heavenly Father is exacting wrath on us.  But the fictional Greek gods would do exactly this sort of thing.  Shame on them!  That’s who I’m fakely referring to.)  Every day, my life becomes more and more like a dystopian novel—and not even a good one.  Suffice to say, if I’m washed away, this will be the last Friday Faves ever (that is, unless Jen Rose keeps it up in my memory.  She’s in Orlando.  She’s safe…for now.)

This morning, instead of putting together from Friday Faves, I’ve been dodging calls from my arch-nemesis Sallie Mae and others who are trying to take down Sallie and her henchmen AND my mom who keeps asking me if I have flashlights, bottled water, an ark (actually that was Shari’s suggestion on Twitter—that we should build an ark and load up all the pets.), and so forth.  Therefore, I’ve been monitoring the path of Irene with the intensity of a NOAA meteorologist, reading about hurricane preparedness, and of course, making sure BFF Sarah and I are stocked with all the essentials.

The first on the list of essentials—First Aid Kit (Band-Aids in two sizes and triple antibiotic—check!), bottled water (check!), flashlights…uh does the one on my keychain count?  Apparently the major retailers are out of flashlights AND flashlight batteries, so I headed to a charming local hardware store to purchase my goods.  There I am—lost female—in a hardware store full of burly men buying siding and bird seed (for real!  I guess he figures the birds gotta eat when the hurricane passes).  I wandered about the lighting section because flashlights are lighting, right?  No, no they aren’t.  I can’t even tell you what else I saw in aisle after aisle of tools and parts—it’s all blur of hardware.  Finally, I reached a counter at the back of the store where a man told me that the flashlights were in the front of the store by the batteries.

I mean, I must be a hardware store idiot because I couldn’t find flashlights OR batteries, so I asked another employee who pointed to the keys and told me the flashlights were on the other side.   Of course, why wouldn’t they be by the keys? (See, I would have put the keys next to the door knobs…)  Score!  I found the flashlights.  On my cell phone, I conferred with BFF Sarah about which lights would be best, since they didn’t have any cute lanterns (just because a natural disaster is headed our way doesn’t mean we can’t be fashionable).  I decided on TWO big red flashlights that could double as bully sticks in the case of home invasion or martial law, and two small flashlights (also red).  Now, if the lights go out I can still read.  Disaster averted.  As long as I have my books, I can survive the storm.

In other news, my mom got a dog from a friend of a friend, but I don’t think the “friend” was actually friends with her friends, more like an acquaintance, so my mom got the dog from the acquaintance of a friend.  Anyway, this little shih tzu was in pathetic shape—ignored, underweight, and didn’t even know her given name (“Jayd,” changed to “Jayden.”  We could have called her anything and she wouldn’t have known the difference.)  I’ll tell you more about Jayden next week, since hurricane coverage took over the personal story section.  Here’s a picture to hold you over until next Friday…

Now onto this week’s faves…

*Owl City unleashed a lyrics-only video for one of my fave songs off his new album, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and since I haven’t mentioned Owl City in at least two weeks…I posted the video for “The Real World.”  You can also check out his new website: for cool merch and other reality-based products.  In other Owl City goodness, Adam Young write an exciting and informative post (complete with graphic) called “How to Tell an Octopus From A Dolphin.”  Those of you who are confused about marine biology should definitely check this one out.

*You must have been hiding under a rock if didn’t hear my happy exclamations about the Sept. 20 release of NeedToBreathe’s new album, The Reckoning.  Well, now you can pre-order the album!  I can’t because I’m broke from purchasing flashlights and batteries, but you can!  (Plus, I’m hoping for a review copy.  Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.)

*Speaking of music and breathing, singer/songwriter Jason Gray has been doing both!  JG is fast becoming a “Friday Fave” regular mention because we here at BSW just love, love, love his upcoming release, A Way to See in the Dark (a hilarious title teamed with my frenzied flashlight buying tale).  Anyway, Jason wrote a post about his song, “The Sound of Our Breathing” at The Rabbit Room called “Is the Name of God the Sound of Our Breathing?”  Honestly, I love this one because during my panic attacks I have to breath in and breath out, and it’s comforting to think I’m speaking the very name of God in my panic.  By the way, check out the video below for information on how you can get JG’s new album in retro form from the fine folks at Centricity U.

*My pal, Evangeline Denmark, wrote an adorable post about her son’s recent fromance (that’s friendship/romance) with a girl.  Here is one of my [many] fave quotes, “Why must girls be so cruel? Especially the really cool, popular ones. You know, the undercover unicorns who think they’re all that because they hang with washed-up extra-terrestrials.”  Intrigued?  Then go read the rest of “Heartbreak!  With Unicorns and Aliens” at Breathe In and Breathe Out (Hmm…maybe Evangeline needs to listen to Jason Gray’s song…)

And, honestly, that’s all I have time for because there’s a battery emergency going on in the living room (no “D” batteries to be found ANYWHERE) and our two BRAND NEW mini-handhelds don’t work!  AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!  There’s a hurricane a’coming!!!!

Are you an East Coaster?  Is Hurricane Irene going to hit you?  For those of you who have been through hurricanes, what advice do you have?  What do you think about Jason Gray’s blog post?  Are you going to buy [me]  NeedToBreathe’s new album?  Who was your first love?  Was he or she a unicorn or some otherworldly creature?

James Tate & the Tatens ARE GOING TO THE PROM!!!

18 May

James Tate & Sonali Rodrigues are going to the prom...together!!!

You can now cancel the international protests, stop crank calling the Shelton Board of Education, and throw away those rotten eggs you were planning on throwing at Headmaster Smith’s house eating.  Shelton High School’s headmaster, Dr. Beth Smith has relented.  James Tate and his band of Romeos will now be attendance at Shelton’s prom on June 2. Whew!  That’s a relief!

While Headmaster Smith said in this Reuter’s article that she felt the issue was distracting the school and that the boys will face “alternate consequences.” I think we all know what *really* happened here.  Obviously, she read my blog post, rented Saved By the Bell, and decided to be a Mr. Belding.  No one will admit it publicly, but that’s OK, because I choose to live in my alternate reality know the truth.

Let James Tate & the Tatens Go to the Prom!!!

11 May

An important issue has come to my attention, so important in fact, that despite my sickening sinus/stress headache, I had to drop everything to let you all know about it, so we can act fast….

James Tate has been banned from his high school prom.

Stop the presses!  What did this teenage miscreant do to deserve such a punishment?  “Tate” (that’s what the cool kids call him) taped his prom invite to the FRONT OF THE SCHOOL!  Come on, you know that the teenage girl in you just swooned! (Unless you were a teenage guy, then you’re thinking, “Man, all I did was make a nervous phone call!”)  While the object of Tate’s affection–one Sonila Rodrigues did say “yes”–the “man” (down with “the man”!) Shelton High School Headmaster Beth Smith gave Tate and his merry band of helpers in-school suspension, meaning they are barred from the prom because they received their in-school suspension after April 1. If only Tate had committed his act of rebellion a few weeks earlier…

Evidence of James Tate's heinous crime.

While I agree kids can’t recklessly climb around on ladders on school property (hear that stage crew, no ladders), Tate says, “I wore a helmet and brought friends along to hold the ladder and hand me the letters with tape on them.” (Source)  I mean, come on, he wore a helmet and had his friends hold the ladder!!!  Furthermore, the high school student even comes up with his own punishment, “I offered to collect litter around the school and argued other options.Give me a week of detention, but don’t give me an in-school suspension so that I can’t go to prom.”  Perhaps my favorite Tate quote from The Patch article is this: “I feel like a jerk for getting my friends in trouble and for screwing Sonali out of a date.”

Here is my open appeal to Headmaster Smith:

Look, Headmaster Smith, give the kid a break.  He feels like a jerk.  He offered to scrape gum from underneath desks.  And I’m pretty sure he’ll never do it again. Tate seems like a good kid with the purest of intentions.  Show some good humor and give Tate and his friends a reprieve.  No one will doubt your authority, but see you as the benevolent dictator that you are.  Mr. Belding from “Saved By the Bell” would do it for Zach Morris and the gang and he was a princi-“pal” and I know that Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts wouldn’t have banned Harry Potter (or the more likely offenders Fred and George Weasley) from the Yule Ball.

Look at Mr. Belding and the kids. It's just so right. Be a Mr. Belding.

In fact, I do believe that Professor McGonagall sets a precedence for benevolent punishment when Harry flies around on his broomstick to help a fellow classmate retrieve his Remembrall in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone.  She lefts Harry Potter join the Quidditch team!  (Incidentally, McGonagall does become temporary headmaster in Dumbledore’s abscence and subsequent death.  As a female headmaster yourself, I’m sure that McGonagall’s example of female leadership is an inspiration to you.)  See, Headmaster Smith, you can be a Mr. Belding or a Professor McGonagall–not a Principal Vernon from The Breakfast Club.

Let Tate and the Tatens go to the prom–for the teenage girl you used to be–and because you know you secretly think that what James Tate did was hilarious.

But if that doesn’t work, we can always further the cause…

If you want to lend your support to Tate, you can join the Facebook group: “Let James Tate Go to the Prom” (over 25,000 members and going strong) call these peple: Shelton High School – 203 922 3004 ext 512, Board of Education – 203 924 1023, Mayor’s Office – 203 924 1555, Superintendents Office – 203 924 1023, extension 302, sign this petition: “Let Tate and His Friends Go to Prom!, write a humorous blog post, or come up with a hilarious idea of your own.  In fact, I have a few of my own.

Perhaps, we can get 80’s teen icons like Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and John Cusack to lend celebrity support to the cause.  I mean, John Cusack was in Say Anything, right?  One look  at that famous boom box scene and Headmaster Smith’s heart will melt.  She will realize that teenage boys will do anything–and I mean anything–to get the girl.  Perhaps John Cusack could go to Smith’s house with a boombox and re-enact the scene.  Come on, John Cusack, Hot Tub Time Machine was a wash, get yourself some major publicity here.

Or we could just send her the movie Say Anything along with some Saved by the Bell DVD’s and a few Harry Potter books so she can see first-hand how to be a Mr. Belding or a Professor Dumbledore (or McGonagall).

Maybe we could just remind Headmaster Smith and the school board that teenagers are silly, foolish, and reckless, which is part of what it means to be a young adult.  They are learning to be adults, but haven’t quite reached the maturity [some] actual adults possess.  Instead of making James Tate and his friends an example, why not show them some grace?  Perhaps the most valuable lesson you can teach these teens and the rest of the student body is that, yes, people do mess up and sometimes, not always, people don’t have to face the full punishment for their follies.  Sometimes, Dr. Smith, it’s OK to be human and to let teenagers be the same.

Update 1: According to this Fox News article, the town’s mayor thinks James Tate’s case needs to be “re-examined.” Also, I sent John Cusack a Tweet and posted a message on his Facebook wall, but so far the actor has remained silent on the issue.

Update 2: James Tate & the Tatens are going to the prom!

Do you think that James Tate and his friends should be allowed to go to the prom?  What is the likelihood of John Cusack taking on our cause?  What is your favorite “Saved By The Bell” epsiode?  What does Shelton High School have a Headmaster instead of a principal?  What are you going to do to help James get to the prom? And, finally, do you think that Matthew Morrison and I could chaperone this prom together?

Sorry, James, I Just Can’t Marry You

10 May

   Last week, I got an email marriage proposal [in my spam folder] from a gentleman named “James.”  I’m afraid to email James directly because he may be a phisher who is trying to hack into my email account (Or maybe he is the South Korean who hacked into my email account and spammed all my contacts over the weekend.)  Yes, I know, I do have trust issues, but in this case, I don’t think they’re unwarranted.  Therefore, I am going to write an open letter to James so I can tell him my answer is no and make sure that he doesn’t somehow get into my bank account. Or try to delete my blog.  Again.  (Yes, I’ve been having a tumultuous time in cyberspace lately.)

An Open Letter to James

James, (I didn’t want to say “Dear James” as that might give you the wrong impression about “us.”)

Thank you for the email that you sent on the twenty-ninth of April.  I would have found your correspondence sooner, but for some reason, it was sent directly to my spam folder.  While I appreciate your offer of marriage, I cannot say “yes” for several reasons, which I will outline below.

First, I am a take-it-slow romantic kind of girl.  Therefore a quickie marriage to a guy I met over email simply doesn’t cut it for me.  Perhaps you should have asked me over dinner and a movie.  Try that on the next lady and you may yield a more positive outcome.

Second, I write for a living, so little things like grammar mean a lot to me.  If you took the time to check your atrocious spelling, consulted an online grammar site, used periods at the end of sentences, or even capitalized a few letters, I might have been a little more receptive to your marriage proposal.

Third, I believe you may be a spammer trying to hack into my email account, steal my identity, or empty my back account (good luck there, James!)  Relationships need to be built on a foundation of trust and understanding.  Because of your alleged criminal allegiances, I just cannot morally justify this sham of a proposal.  While some women really dig the whole “bad boy” image, I am not one of them.

Again, James, I appreciate your email.  Really, I do.  But as you can see, we live in two different worlds—one of good grammar, romantic notions, and identity protection and another of pathetic language art skills, marriages of convenience, and identity theft.  Therefore, James, if that’s your real name, I must say “no,” but thank you for being the only guy who has ever summoned up the courage to ask me to be his partner in holy matrimony.


Amy (which may or may not be my real name)

Like me, have you ever had to refuse a proposal of marriage?  Has anyone ever asked you to marry him or her via email?  Was his name James?  Give me the deets in the comments section.

Photo Essay:: Inside Scranton, Pennsylvania

17 Apr

On Wednesday, I accompanied my friend, Shari, on a trip to her hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Scranton is not only the hometown of Vice President Joe Biden (until he moved to Delaware at the age of 10) but also the location of the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin from “The Office.”  A historic town, Scranton is full of fabulous old architecture, including its public library, which beckoned to be photographed, despite the rainy conditions outside.

The Scranton Public Library is full of these wonderful stained glass windows. I think they would be prettier if the sun had been shining.

The window ledges also make excellent additional bookshelves.

Old school window crank.

I want to LIVE in this library.  At least I’d finally have room for all my books.

Microfilm will burn your retinas out.

Two of these stone lions guard the entrance to the Scranton Public Library.  The lions come alive at night and hunt down patrons who don’t return their library books on time.

Why does the Scranton Public Library have an “A” in the middle of its iron gate?  I don’t know. (A = Amy)

Scranton is also known for its fine “monuments.”  Sadly, this is not one of those monuments.  In fact, I’m not quite sure what statement this is supposed to make. (I know, I know, it’s just waiting to be unveiled.)

So, there you have it, a little bit of Scranton!  See, Justin, you told me to take pictures of Scranton, and I told you I probably wouldn’t.  Well, I did, so, ha! I showed you.    I know these aren’t the greatest pictures I’ve ever taken, but it’s been a while since I photographed anything.  Amy’s gotta get her groove back.

So, what do you think?  Have you been to Scranton?  Do you want to go?  Do you think the stone lions really attack people at night?

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