Month: March 2009
I am RadBlogging from America’s place to be if you live in Michigan and it’s March: Florida.
Not much blogging. Just doing not much. That’s a vacation.
R. Adam Davidson
Saturday Morning Post
March 14 2009
Spring Arbor, MI
I’m sitting in the basement in front of three computer screens. One displays tomorrow’s 1st Service. The middle screen has a USA Today story on how people are 10% less spiritual than they were 18 years ago. The third screen is where I’m focused right now, writing my Saturday Morning Post in a little program called WriteRoom. Three screens. One person. Oh, and a Phil Collins record spins in the background, causing Lexi to rock out.
Let’s be all post-moderny and deconstruct the screens. Before we do that, though, allow me to give you some context. Thank you.
A typical Saturday doesn’t usually start me a-workin’ until the afternoon hours as Sunday approaches. This weekend is different because we’re getting ready to spend a week in Florida, a land flowing with milk and honey. The flowing milk, by the way, is Milk of Magnesia. I should also point out, as a parent, that Honey is not meant for children under 1 year old. Ask any bear-shaped bottle of honey and you’ll see the label from the Surgeon General: DO NOT FEED TO INFANTS. My assumption is that this will give children super stingy-like powers that could prove disastrous, especially on vacation.
Speaking of vacation, we’re going on one to the great state of Florida, which is where my sister and her first husband* have decided to set up shop and start their new life together. I would make a witty remark about how terrible it must be to start in such a desolate place like Palm Coast, but I’ll skip it for the time being and maybe come back to it later. I’m fairly confident that within my small number of blog readers (Hi, Mom), my sister could be one of them.
Yes, so we’re going on a vacation. To Florida. Florida is many miles from Michigan, so if you’re going to spend a lot of time in the car, you should probably make the most of it and stay for at least two weeks. We have decided to stay for 4 days which won’t be long enough. Let’s face it, though — is two weeks even enough? Before you answer, let me remind you of how “authentic” our Winter experience was here in Michigan. Remember how Mother Nature experienced a mood swing every 20 minutes, dumping a foot of snow on us and then apologizing with 63 degrees of Farenheit — in January, no less — only to slap us across the face with freezing rain as a punishment for enjoying it so much? Oh, I remember it well. Too well. Excuse me while I cry myself.
We’ve decided to go on a vacation to Florida. Flor-a-duh. Nice place. Since we will be gone for so long, I need to get some ducks in a row so I don’t freak out while I’m gone, saying aloud to my wife or whoever will listen “Did I remember to ask Duane about playing Trumpet?” This question is fine for Emily but most certainly alerts any store clerk who hears the question that maybe they should check my ID before accepting my credit card. “This guy does not have his ducks in a row” they would think aloud, which will make Emily nod her head in the affirmative.
All I’m trying to say in the last 17 paragraphs is that I have the service order pulled up on screen one for a very good reason. Which I have now forgotten.
Let’s move on to screen two — the USA Today article concerning religion in the US. I am quoting the writer, Cathy Lynn Grossman, when I say “When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers.” I think that’s true. She goes on to cite a study that suggest that the percentage of people who call themselves Christian has dropped 11% in a generation. The accompanying photo is of a dude named Dylan who is meditating under a poster of the Beatle’s Abbey Road. His cat is sitting next to him, ready for whatever part of the ceremony she plays in this. Dlyan says “I don’t know anyone religious and hardly anyone ‘spiritual'”. This aligns with the American Religious Identification Survey, which says almost every religious denomination in the US has lost ground in the last 18 years, despite a population increase of 50 Million adults. The report ranks religious groups in terms of participants:
#2: Baptist (down almost 4% from 1990 stats)
#3: No religion
I look at this list and see the neighborhood I grew up in. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen my neighborhood on COPS before, too. Anyway…
What do we make of this report on screen two? First, we must take stats with a grain of salt (which provides iodine). 82% of all people use statistics to prove a point. Of that 82%, 45% know that I just made that number up. Statistics are a funny thing, and I’m not just saying that because I got a D in that class.
Second, I think the opportunities are immense. We can see this and panic, which is a very stronghold-ish thing to do. Or we can look at it and see that this is a time where people need Jesus, which happens to be something that Evangelicals posess in droves — and should be giving away like the Living Water that He is.
Third, I’m interested in the fact that the reporter says that this report suggests that people are less spiritual. I think maybe a better way to put it is that people don’t realize how spiritual they are. There is no possible way for us to be less spiritual, given that this is a key part of our makeup as humans. We will never NOT be spiritual, but a population can certainly lose perspective on spirituality.
So there — screen two is deconstructed and responded to.
The third screen, remember, is the one I’m typing on right now. At this moment. I am using a program called “WriteRoom”, which makes my screen look like a Word Processing Program from 1984. The background is black and the text is an errie Apple II green. There is nothing else on the screen to distract — no clock, no bouncing e-mail icon, no quick link over to Facebook to uninstall that wacky “We’re related” app. You may be wondering why I would be so concerned about not being distracted, given that I have three screens in front of me. I wonder that, too.
In the course of this writing, I have taken Phil Collins off the platter and put U2’s new album on the record player. Fantastic, though the fact that they only fit 2-3 songs per side means that I have to flip vynil every 12 minutes or so. It makes me long for some type of device that will play all songs in succession, perhaps a smaller, more compact disc. Ha! Like that would ever happen.
I hope you’re having a great Saturday. Thanks for reading all the way through and/or scrolling to the bottom to see where this post ends.
It ends here.
Two out of three little Davidsons are getting their teeth cleaned. I’m out in the waiting room at the Dentist’s office with Zach, who has no teeth. Suddenly I realize that I have NEVER seen so many Cat in the Hat books at the same time in the same place. Also joining the fleet is “The Cat In The Hat Comes Back” — but there’s only one copy of that. Hmmmm.
“a dentist chair goes up and down
Your cavities will make Doc frown
(on the outside)
A filling by a patching goo
What’s done to roads is done to you!”
– an ode to Dr. Seuss, written as I sit in a Dentist’s waiting room.
Is it just me, or is something obviously wrong with the consistency of the Before/After?
I’m no dentist, but I think those whitening strips also realign and reshape your teeth.
Emily and I got our taxes done on Tuesday (Status: Married, Filing Jointly). While at the appointment with our accountant who, like all accountants, is named Gary, I was in a strange mood that led to me doing things that were kind of annoying to Emily. While it didn’t lead to a new status (Married, Filing Separately), we did have a good talk on the way home about how financial things make us both tense for some reason, most likely because there’s money involved.
Gary crunched the numbers and pushed buttons on his computer and adding machine at the same time, proving his dexterity on a variety of non-musical keyboards. He came up with a number, though, that gave Emily and I pause, because it
1. Was an unexpected amount, and
2. Involved money (see above for how that goes)
Anyway, Gary, our dexterious (not a real word) accountant said, in very account-y* terms, “you should get a refund of ____________”, a number whose lowness led to our surprise. I should probably clarify for the reader that indeed Gary said an actual number and not just an underlined pause as it looks above, an actual number which was significantly lower than what we expected. Less money back is bad for many reasons, but for us it is bad because we need to make some adjustments to our house involving putting windows in square holes that are currently filled with something that once resembled windows. Some of our lighty-works (windows) are bad enough that the neighborhood birds refuse to fly into them and “pretend” that they didn’t know it was a window. This disappoints our cat.
Let me pause here and say that the whole point of this story is this: The best question you could ever ask your accountant is “Are you sure”?
We didn’t know this at the time, but when we asked Gary “Are you sure?”, his answer was a breath of fresh air. “No”, he declared, and immediately bared down and started crunching numbers and asking questions of his fellow accountant pals, the kind of people that probably know a few jokes about carrying the 9 and knock-knock jokes involving an IRS auditor and a 1040 form; this humor is above me because accountants know things I don’t. One example is the filling out of tax forms.
Long story short, it turns out that our number (“______”) was actually quite a bit more, which I will indicate using a math-like problem below:
Are You Sure = (“________”) x 4.2 = New LightyWorks = Birds Flying Into Window
Davidson, R. Adam Words I Made Up on Tuesday
“The children are nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums dance in their heads”
– Warning label on Children’s Benadryl
It’s Saturday morning. The children are no longer nestled, no longer snug, and now have visions of Turkey Bacon dancing in their heads… and hearts.
The kitten is eating scrambled egg chunks that found their way to the floor. This may seem like a waste, mostly because it is. It’s an accident involving an excited fork in the hands of an even more excited 3 year old. What can I say? I know how to heat up embryos.
Man, that’s gross. Can you believe that we eat eggs? I mean… eggs.
Anyway, we’re listening to NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. The board operator is making strange timing mistakes, as if someone else’s hands are running the controls. In my mind, it looks like that one sketch they do where a person stands behind you and puts their arms out around your front so it kind of looks like they’re your hands. This leads to hillarious results as the person does something like bake a cake or run a radio station. I keep reminding myself that no one else really cares about the things I’m particular about. I wonder if it’s like when a car mechanic rents a vehicle and drives it while realizing that it needs a front-end alignment, new plugs — things that most of us don’t really notice unless it’s not running.
Lexi is begging for food, being the bottomless pit that she is. You would think that we don’t feed her. Believe me, we do. Bacon, eggs, toast and glorious milk. It smells like a Bob Evans in here. Thankfully, no one has called me “hon” yet, though the day is young.
Malachi is watching a show called “Roary the Race Car” (TM). He likes it, mostly because it combines his love for racing, good story lines and personified vehicles. As I write this, I am having a parental revelation. Every show he likes involves a talking car/train/front loader. Could this lead to awkward social interactions in the future, where he ends up trying to talk to cars in the mall parking lot? But I am relieved as I remember how much I liked Knight Rider when I was a kid, a show which featured a talking car with at least a Bachelor’s degree. Maybe KITT just looked smarter when juxtaposed with David Hasselhoff, but that thing was smart. One might attribute this perception to the British accent. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, thank goodness. We’re doing a brief survey of talking vehicles, which my son is into as much as or more than I was when I was his age. I turned out fine*. He will probably turn out even better.
Zach is with Emily. Emily is with her sister (and female family types) at a Baby Shower. This leaves me at home with two out of three little Davidsons, which by comparison to the typical three feels like a vacation. Two kids seem overwhelming until you have three. I love being a dad and Emily loves being a mom. We like to remind each other that though we are outnumbered, we are still able to outsmart them, at least for the next few months. Ah… synergy can be a destructive power. We love it.
In closing : :
Happy Saturday. Thanks for reading.
* I am aware of the fraudulence of this statement.