Working Without a Net

27 07 2008

From an episode of West Wing (season 4):

(After Donna spends a few minutes sarcastically telling Josh how handsome and powerful he is in order to persuade him to hire a character played by Matthew Perry)

Josh: Your sense of humor’s a bit of a high wire act isn’t it? You’re really trying to thread the needle.
Donna: And half of it you don’t even get.

This is how I feel in my life a lot of the time. I like to fancy myself a funny bloke, but there are clearly times when my dry, sardonic wit is clearly lost on my audience. The example I give comes from today. I was invited by my former boss to return to MFUMC today to preach at all three Sunday morning worship services as she was returning home a mission trip to Ecuador. While my sermon was certainly not my audition for “Last Comic Standing” I did pepper in a couple of quips for the sake of keeping things interesting. We will say that I had 3 targeted ‘funny moments’ in my sermon, given three times this morning that left me the opportunity for 9 moments of mirth for my audience. At the end of the morning my tally was 3 of 9 (if you are keeping score at home that is 33%–in baseball I’d be batting .333 and that would be nice, shooting free throws in basketball I would be running laps after practice for stinking, and as a kicker in football I would be getting towel whipped in the locker room after the game). Not the most ego inflating statistics. Now I am not going to be so brash as to say that my humor was too smart for my audience (it rarely if ever is), what I am going to go with is that my sarcastic sometimes wry delivery just misses the mark. I love, LOVE, to make people laugh and I take greater joy in few other things (there are some but not lots) in my life than do bringing a smile or a laugh to someone’s countenance.

Why am I rambling on? It is just something that I have been thinking about since finishing my time in the pulpit this morning. I don’t need your empathy, I am not crestfallen, in fact I am rather at peace with my station as a comedic middleton. I aks for no pity laughs as you see me making attempts at jokes. I just ask that you find what makes you laugh in life and enjoy it.

What a random thought for a Sunday?


Weekend Wrap Up

21 07 2008

Its been a great weekend here at the M Ranch. We’ve spent most all of our time doing baby things (diapering, feeding, and sleeping in between). It is so great to have the girls at home, and there have been plenty of times when I will be sitting by myself or talking to L and just say out loud “we have kids”. It is not the least bit scary and I am not even sure it is strange, it is just a new place in my life. The girls are doing amazing. They are eating a lot at most every feeding and being just as cute as you could possibly imagine.

One of our new favorite routines around the M house (thanks to our fabulous friends at “The Hull” or whatever they call their new pad) is to watch all things that are on BBC America. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Top Gear, You Are What You Eat, BBC Reveals (we just finished watching “My Small Breasts, and I”), and much more. Great stuff. I’ve been trying to convince Mrs. M that for the rest of forever we need to speak in fake British accents so that our girls will grow up talking that way. I am sure there are some flaws in this plan but it sounds good at the moment.

The New Papi’s Blah Blah Blah Chicken’stravaganza ends in about an hour and a half. As of press time there are only three entrants to the contest. Mr. H, Varlowe, and Hooks. The rest of you suckers have let me down (and I would like to add I also did not get an entry in as of now so I am a sucker also). I am planning to re-read all three posts in the next day or two and determine the winner based on my completely lunatic criteria.

I have not had the opportunity to attend a showing of “The Dark Knight” yet but I am very excited about going and I have heard from my friends that have already seen it that it is quite spectacular and well worth the price of admission. As I read online tonight it is projected to break 200 million dollars by the end of the weekend. Good stuff.

Against my better judgement I am starting back to the gym tomorrow morning. Mrs. M and I are going to swap nighttime feeding times (I was 2:00 a.m. and she was 5:00 a.m.) and this way when I get up to feed the girls at 5:00 when I am done I can get dressed, go to the gym, come back for breakfast, get ready for work and be off to work by 8:00 a.m. I really do want to get in better shape and I want it to be one of those things that if I can be in the shape I want to be now it will make it that much easier to stay that way the rest of my life.

For those of you that are the praying type I would ask that you keep my parents in your prayers this week. Without going into a lot of detail, my mother has had a lot of health problems for a good number of years now and has never really been able to get any good solid answers nor treatment for any of her ailments. Nana & Pops (as Harper and Lily call them) left this morning to drive down to Jacksonville, Florida for 3 days of doctors appointments at the Mayo Clinic. I really hope and pray that this will be the chance my mom needs to get some real answers and more importantly some treatment that will help improve the quality of her life (especially seeing that by the time Christmas gets here she will have FOUR grandchildren).

Speaking of doctors. Harper and Lily have their first appointment with their pediatrician in the morning. We are excited to see how much weight they have gained since coming home almost a whole week ago.

I think that is all the news that fits for the moment. I am going to retire to watching WW and feeding babies one more time before I knock off for the night. I hope you all have a wonderful week this week!

Mexican Chicken Challenge

13 07 2008

Recently I shared with Mr. H a recipe that I have been cooking for a couple of years. The reason for sharing was that Mr. H has been developing his inner (and really I guess outer also) chef by experimenting with different dishes. In this post Mr. H wrote about his experience cooking my dish, which he has now named “New Papi’s Hat Dance in Your Mouth Chicken.” He was even nice enough to post a picture. As I was reading the post out loud to Mrs. M she walked by to look at the picture and remarked “that looks way better than yours”. So now the gauntlet has been thrown down. I am now issuing to all of you the “Mexican Chicken Challenge” I am posting below the recipe for “New Papi’s Hat Dance in Your Mouth Chicken.” I would like for each of you to prepare it and add your own little twist/spin/take/what-have-you and then post a picture and your own personal review. The winners will be determined in no apparent fashion and will probably receive a fabulous amount of nothing for a prize. Sure sounds fun, doesn’t it? The loser will be asked to ‘please pack their knives and go’. You have one week (deadline is 7/20/08) your time starts now…

“New Papi’s Hat Dance in Your Mouth Chicken.”

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or as much as feeds your family unit)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 jar of salsa (your choice-I usually go with inexpensive as it is for baking)
sliced pepperjack cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
Yellow Saffron Rice

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-mix taco seasoning mix according to directions on package and marinate chicken breasts for 20-30 minutes (i usually poke them with a fork to create holes for seasoning to absorb a little
-after marinating place chicken breasts in baking dish and cover completely with salsa
-bake in 350 oven for 30-45 minutes (until chicken is cooked thoroughly)
-during the last 5 minutes place a slice of pepperjack cheese on each breast (the chicken’s not yours sicko)
-serve over prepared yellow saffron rice
-garnish with Lime wedge (lime wedge squeezed over the finished product gives it a light flavor and takes a little bit of the kick out of the salsa and pepperjack)

other additions/variations:

-sour cream is a great addition to this dish

-use the salsa that the chicken baked in as a sauce for plating or dipping

-black beans are another side that goes well with the rice

Thoughts on Reviews

8 07 2008

(she is reviewing you and judging you all at the same time)

Recently the fabulous Mr. H wrote a blog post about his love of book reviews. The other day I was driving in the car and reflecting on some recent movie reviews that I had read in the newest issue of Rolling Stone (you know the one with our next President on the cover). I have decided that there are many areas of day to day life that would be vastly improved if they were subjected to full public review (I’m not talking comment card/court of public opinion/I told my friend and they told two friends and they told two friends…). I mean full on written reviews that would give people an idea of what is really going on. Here are just a few examples of some areas that I think could benefit.

-Worship Services-I know on the surface this could seem a little harsh and against the spirit of going to church, but hear me out. What if churches and their worship services got reviewed in the paper? I believe there would be much more competition amongst pastors to be good at their job and not just get away with doing the same old things. This could potentially improve music, sermons, liturgy, and more. I mean picture turning in your Sunday paper to read something like this:

“Sunday’s service at St. Mattresses Holy Epidemiological Temple were a searing reminder of why priests are typically older than Methuselah . The service performed by the Reverend Father Hold M. High was one that demonstrated the inexperience of a much younger man. The fumbled lines of liturgy, the spilling of the sacramental wine, and the accidental lighting of the choir directors hairpiece by the children during the children’s sermon were just a few representations of a priest in need of some holy comforting. If chaos is your style and you like to be on the edge of your seat (the service will take you there the sermon is another story) during your time with the Holy one then SMHET is the place for you. Join us next weekas we load up the Prius and visit The Holy Cathedral of Saturday Night Fever featuring His Holiness Jerry Maguire and the church of Sciencefictionology.”

-Cell Phone Stores-Okay so I know we all have opinions and share them on a regular basis about how terrible customer service is in a cell phone store but I think that is not enough. I think getting some strongly worded reviews out in the local paper might serve to let everyone else realize its not just them and that we are all getting doinked every time we set foot into mobiletelrizont&tular. This one might not make much difference but it would make me feel especially better if the nastier of the reviewers would be the ones to take on this burden and give them the ‘R-rated’ version of Mark Bullock’s “CLEAN UP”.

-Drivers-I think we should each get a turn once a year to review, on the local news, the driving of one individual of our choosing. As a part of this review process we should get to post the persons picture, vehicle and tag number, and cell phone number (so that when we see them ruining traffic for the rest of us we can beep in on their call and tell them to get the heck off or pull over). Again this one really wouldn’t accomplish much but would probably make me feel better.

-Blogs-Okay so maybe I’m just kidding about this one. I don’t want my pithy (I’m pithy aren’t I? I mean I think I am filled with pith.) musings to be trashed and lambasted mostly because I don’t update enough. So maybe we will leave this sleeping dog to lie.

I’m sure there are other things that should be flummoxed in the public sphere. Any takers?