Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas! You may now open your presents.

For my blog readers, I offer you Christmas gifts as tangible as our relationships (e.g. digitized, compressed, and transmitted over networks for all the world to share in).

For the linguistically challenged traveler:


For the decorative computer nerd:

And for the relatives of Cousin Itt with newborn babies:

I hope all had a merry Christmas and we in the Euphrony family wish you a happy new year.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

I just thought I would't blog

As perhaps could be expected, I look away from the computer for a few days and find a million things worth sharing. Posting this, I feel a little like a store that does a "going out of business sale" every month. Oh well; I'm getting off work early today, so I have some time. Here, have a laugh.

And have a
Mary Christmas, too. Just select one of the hundred or so Mary Christmases that aren't already taken, please; this one is married.

Our minivan has no antenna; thus rendering Mrs. E's collection of antenna balls useless.
In steps Jack! Jack in the Box now sells antenna balls with the antenna attached. Uses a suction cup. Problem solved.

We ate dinner last night at a nice Italian restaurant. In the middle, Lil'E had to take a potty break. On returning to the table, she could be heard loudly saying "I couldn't get the second poo poo out. Help! Push it back in!"

From
xkcd.com:

Join MySpace xkcd
Pointers xkcd
Snapple xkcd
(My apologies for the last two to those not computer savvy or up with the periodic table. I laughed all day over these.)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Zzzzzzzzzzzz

I'm tired.

I'm really tired.

I'm struggling here to care about the blog world. I've made some interesting "friends" in my year and a half of blogging, but right now I just don't care. Honestly. Don't care. I've got other things on my mind. Hosting family for Christmas. Getting the house clean. Presents wrapped. Trying not to completely lose my temper with my family for no reason (which is totally out of character for me, but true at the moment). Little things like that.

I know I'm not the most popular site on the net. Ho hum, big deal. Why would I expect to be the number one site, or even number 1,000,000, when even I don't think I'm that interesting or compelling. I get, randomly, between 20 and 100 visitors a day to Euphrony Rambles. On top of that, I have an average of 30 subscribers to my
RSS Feed. So, probably 30-40 regular readers of this blathering blatherskite. I don't think that's too bad. I get maybe three comments a week - so much for hosting a conversation here. I converse a ton on other blogs, though.

I'm struggling not to look at this as a popularity contest. I know its not, but sometimes I care just too much about such things. And I don't want to deal with it right now. I'm trying to work on another site,
Inspired to Action, where we talk about and try to inspire people to act, in God's name, to touch people's lives. It's hard to inspire others when you yourself feel rather uninspired. I'd rather see good stuff over there than dross here. I've got several post ideas - about abominations of Christmas yard decorations, thoughts on books I've read recently, I could talk about my kids for days, the struggles of helping and caring for friends (and family) even when you think they may be doing stupid things, music is always on my mind, I could rant for days about my office nemesis, or how I feel some people/Christians take the work of some of the best artists and strip it of all meaning to clothe themselves in the leftover, tattered rags and effect an air of accomplishment for embracing the art or worship. Boy, I could rant for days about some things right now.

But I don't want to. I don't want to be the gripe spot. I don't want to be so negative. I don't even feel the desire to take the time to write down the positive things. Rather do something else. The only reason I'm typing right now is catharsis - it'll be even odds as to whether I publish this or trash it. I'm not doing it to get sympathy (oh, Euphrony, we love your blog . . .), I'm just talking. If you like stopping by here, then great. If you're just passing through, well, you know where to find me. Come back any time. Maybe I will, too. Some time.

Right now, I want to spend the holidays with my family. I want to not blow it when Lil'E starts whining about not eating the dinner she asked for. I want to be a support and joy for my wife, not an annoying jerk. I had to leave the house after dinner last night, go catch a movie and do some grocery shopping, so that I could get a hold on my temper and calm down a bit. Me. For those who don't know me, I don't have a temper. I'm mister calm, cool, and collected. But there it is.

There's been some ballyhoo from a couple of bloggers about taking a blogcation. I guess I'm joining them. Don't be surprised if you don't here from me for a while; at least not before 2008. And considering my work load for January, I don't think I'll be around much then. I'll be focusing most of my efforts on I2A, not here. Like I said, that's worth something.
Go there.

TTFN

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Little Man; Big Nerd

Liler'E and meI told you I still wore it. You probably didn't believe me, but here I am. Liler'E looks like a little man, I look like a nerd. Yep, that's me. Don't I look proud?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Opening lines

Before the chorus. Before the plot. Before the eye-grabbing special effects. Before you know who's who and what's what. Before any of that you have the opening line. Some live up to the expectations and are truly memorable.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .

Call me Ishmael.
Others are infamous.
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Others are just plain bad.
Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor.
(for more of these gems, see the
Bulwer-Lytton Contest, also know as the Dark and Stormy Night contest)
What are your favorites? What lines do you always go back to? What opening lines make you want to seek shelter as you pray for fire from heaven to rain down on the author?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hot off the Presses: Lil'E wows crowd at pre-school Christmas program, is called a "Little Angel"

I just got back from going to Lil'E's wonderful Christmas program this morning. As a 4-year old (the oldest class), her group does the manger scene all dressed in costumes. Lil'E was an angel (mainly because her best friend at school was also an angel). Here she is, praying over the crèche with her other angel/friend on her left and Mary and Joseph on the right.

Lil'E in her Christmas program

Screaming KidShe did a great job in the whole show - got all the hand motions and words down right. Didn't even look too bored (I saw more than one yawn from some kids). At least I can say that this was not my child (not this time, at least).

Flasher KidNot my kid, either. She may run naked through the house at times, but she usually keeps her clothes on in public. That's a good precedent for her future.

My parents were there for the show this morning, and we opened presents from them last night. As I have discussed on
Kat's post about creepy dolls, Lil'E got a Baby Alive doll. This doll talks, eats, and poops. That's right: poops. And yes, you have to buy extra food and diapers for her. To top it all off, you have to put the "baby" to bed (Lil’E would flip out if you just turned it off) - the bedtime routine for Baby Alive includes the "baby" asking for a drink, wanting to read stories and sing songs, and takes an inordinate amount of time. I foresee many prolonged evenings ahead. I also wonder about the morality of starving a doll, thereby forever scaring a child's psyche.

So, what have you been doing to prepare for the holiday season?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tidbits

Here are a few tidbits I found amusing today. Maybe you will, too.

From "Commitments Differ for College Players, Coaches" by NPR commentator Frank Deford:

There are, I have discovered, four things in the world today that you absolutely cannot count on:
  1. Airlines
  2. Vladimir Putin
  3. Giving a small boy a goldfish and expecting it to live very long
  4. College coaches honoring their contracts
. . . [the NCAA] is essentially to college athletic departments, what the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is to casinos
______________________________________________________

From a story on the release tomorrow of the results of George Mitchell's 20-month investigation into drug use in baseball:
[Baseball Commissioner] Bud Selig does not plan to attend the news conference at a Manhattan hotel a few blocks from the commissioner's office.
(well, either he's too lazy to travel a couple of blocks or he is doing the MLB equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming "I can't hear you!")
______________________________________________________

Sherman's Lagoon

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Monday, December 10, 2007

A Very Special Blog from Euphrony

Michael LandonHappy Holidays, one and all, and welcome to this Very Special Episode of Euphrony Rambles. You know that it is a Very Special Episode because, first, I have told you that it is a Very Special Episode and, second, it features Michael Landon as a guest star. (For those of you unaware of this particular definition of "Very Special Episode", it is best described as being similar to anything done by Michael Landon from the Highway to Heaven series and includes many of the Little House episodes and much of his other work. Anything similar to this, or in which Michael Landon appeared, is by default a Very Special Episode.)

It's the holiday season. The time for good cheer. The time for giving and thinking of others. The time for overproduced church musicals. The time for songs written and sung just so - and will bring a tear to your eye as sure as sliced onions. We in the Euphrony family partake in these traditions as readily as the next family - and how could we not, when Mrs. E and Lil'E love them so much and I love sharing that time with them. In the tradition of the season, I have decided to give back to you, my loyal (and not so loyal) readers.

I begin with the Christmas program we went to see this past weekend at a nearby megachurch,
Champion Forest Baptist Church, entitled "Finding Home". It told the story of a common American family at the holidays. Father and son law firm. Daughter who runs a charitable organization. Wife who throws soirees on every occasion. Caterers who spit in your food and laugh at you. An eldest son who left home, is destitute, and returns to a tear-filled family. The special guest star was a Christian artist who lives in Nashville and has a recording contract (thus sealing his credentials). It was Very Special. The second half was a tribute to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The wise men rode onto the stage to present their gifts to the baby - two on camels and one on an elephant (yes, you read that right, an elephant on stage). The baby Jesus was well-played by a newborn baby girl. Because she was a little confused, and really only wanted to see the animals, Lil'E had to ask me to see if that was the real Jesus or not. I told her no, it was a man playing Jesus. Liler'E had a lower opinion of the whole experience and decided to go play in the child watch.

The holiday cheer continues as we in the Euphrony family are recording every holiday special in sight. All the classics - the Doodlebops, Wonder Pets, Diego and Dora, and Charlie and Lola - have all been saved to DVR and watched a hundred times by now. The others - Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and the
Rankin and Bass series of specials - are either recorded or owned. Lights are hung on the tree, and ornaments set where Liler'E cannot break them. The yard is aglow with lights and decorations (but no inflatables). We are all smiles, awaiting the opening of presents and a White Christmas in Houston.

Ted McGinleyAs I conclude this Very Special Episode of Euphrony Rambles, I want to wish you all a joyous Christmas and wonderful New Year. If you found this installment to be a meaningless ramble, please tell me that I have
Jumped the Shark - a review process that should be instilled for all blogs. If the simple fact that it was a Very Special Episode was insufficient, then perhaps the additional presence of the Patron Saint of Shark Jumpers, Ted McGinley, will surely push me over the top.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Worth reading

If you have not noticed the banner link on the right, go check out Inspired to Action this week and next. Over these two weeks the subject of abuse will be broached - something all to often swept under the rug in Christian communities. You can read about Becky's encounter with an abusive boyfriend (Part I and Part II)., and next week read about resources for the abused and abusive.

Also, I had a chance to ask some questions of
Shaun Groves and his involvement with Compassion International. Go read his thoughtful responses as to why he is inspired to action.

Behold the Lamb of God

Okay, so it was a week in coming; here, at last, are my comments on Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God tour. Mrs. E and I were able to attend last Friday night when they were in Houston (many thanks to Mrs. E for tracking down a baby sitter, which was hard this time).


The banner says that the tour features
Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, Bebo Norman, and "many more". In reality, I think the tour should be renamed "The Andy's Christmas Tour 2007", as the many more included Andrew Osenga and Andrew Gullahorn, who along with Jill Phillips made up the six central performers. AP wrote up a full list of those on the tour on his blog, The Rabbit Room. (Side note: If you're looking for a good blog to read, go to The Rabbit Room. Now. Besides AP, he has a double handful of friends helping out, including Jason Gray, Randall Goodgame, and Ron Block of AKUS. Some very deep and good thoughts going on there.)

The show was in two parts, with the first half being music in the round. Each of the six artists took turns playing a song, going around the group twice. While they were singing, the others would sporadically come up and join in on harmony, making a nice shared experience. Andy O played one of my favorites of his, "Swing Wide the Glimmering Gates", and Sara's songs I have long loved. I'd not heard much from Jill Phillips recently, but enjoyed what I heard. I'd never heard Andy Gullahorn's music previous to last Friday night: my first taste was a song he wrote in memory of a toe that Andy Osenga lost in a lawn mower mishap. It was simultaneously beautiful, poignant, and hilarious as he sang of a little piggy regretting its new-found freedom ("His last meal was roast beef . . ."). Even better was Andy O's harmonizing to the chorus, adding that nice personal touch

Listening to him and his humor (which Mrs. E commented seemed so much like my own) makes me think I should get some more of his music. He even writes reviews of all his shows (since no one else will), but keeps them interesting by writing them all in Haiku. For example:

I had two women
Ask me to go out with them
Ben's grandma and aunt

or

Wonderful house show
Well, the house was wonderful
And there was a show

My kind of laughs.

After the individual songs Bebo gave a brief talk, ostensibly about
Compassion International; but he talked at least as much about Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission, and other things. Really, he talked about compassion (lower-case "c") and God's people. Talking about it, Mrs. E and I decided to sponsor a child with Compassion for the first time. We've supported so many other things (locally and internationally) that we (I) had been hesitant to keep spreading to other groups. After seeing how Lil'E responded to getting a Christmas gift for a little girl at a children's home a couple of weeks ago, though, we decided that she is more than ready to be sharing in this work. So now we will be writing letters to a 4-year old girl in Brazil and telling her that we love her and want to see her cared for in her daily needs.

After a brief intermission (during which the musicians apparently
play Speed Scrabble) everyone came out and performed the entirety of AP's Behold the Lamb of God. Beautiful music, and a great look at the scriptural anticipation of Jesus' birth. Not many people can put Jesus' genealogy to music, but Andrew did well.

I could write more, but I've rambled enough already. In short, go see the show. If you can not get to a show this year, buy the CD and go next year. That is an official Euphrony recommendation (for what it's worth - I also recommend
Pure Luck, and people may argue with me about that).

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Monday, December 03, 2007

de facto ban

de facto - ACTUALLY : in fact : in reality

In other words, when something is de facto, it has the force of reality without being spelled out in so many words.

A hospital here in Houston,
West Houston Medical Center, has placed a de facto ban on the "risky" procedure of women having a vaginal birth after a cesarean section (VBAC) by no longer guaranteeing the availability of anesthesiologists after normal working hours for VBAC patients. You can read an article from a couple of weeks ago in the Houston Chronicle here. Without the promise of available anesthesiologists, in case of emergency, few doctors will be willing to allow women to have VBACs, forcing them into the new reality of "once a cesarean, always a cesarean".

Some physicians cite the risks of the procedure - mainly the 1 percent chance [actually, less than 1%] the uterus will rupture along the C-section scar - as reason to perform repeat C-sections instead.
But C-sections, too, carry risks, particularly those associated with surgery, such as infection. So which option is better for a woman often hinges on her pregnancy, including whether she's likely to have the same complications that required a C-section during the previous birth.
For doctors, C-sections can be more appealing because there's less chance of a lawsuit. In the small percentage of VBAC cases that result in uterine rupture, an unpredictable complication, a C-section must be performed immediately to save the life of both the mother and the baby. (from the
Chronicle article)
What this is really about is not the women's health, or about the safety of one option over the other. This is simply about two things:
  1. doctors fear lawsuits, and their insurance companies fear them even more, and
  2. doctors like schedules and dislike having to be available 24/7 waiting for a birth to happen naturally when they can set it for 8:00 Monday morning and be done with it in an hour.
Right now, there is something you can do about this. A petition is being gathered (a real one, not some goofy add your name to the e-mail chain) that can be signed on-line. Go sign the petition, and it will be presented to the hospital per their stated mission of listening to the community.

This is something that Mrs. E and I are very passionate about. The birth of our little boy, now nine months old, was through VBAC. It was perfectly safe, and low risk, with the only problems coming from medical staff who indirectly expressed their disdain for us nutballs who make their life hard. Birth is not about the hospital getting it's way, and it is not about the insurance company finding the cheapest solution and maximizing their profits. Birth is about a mother, a father, and a child coming into the world. Give them the options to birth that baby in the best way possible for them, not for some third-party's interests. Please join us in signing this petition.

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