The Speckled Mind

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Which My Sports Related Ire Is Evoked

If this story is true, and I have little reason to believe it isn't, I am angry.

Let's get this straight. We traded the best pitcher in baseball for four guys who haven't seen an inning of major league baseball. And, we didn't even get the best guy that the Mets had to offer.

How could this have happened??!! In December there were packages led by Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester and Phil Hughes. And now we get four no-names that MAY AT SOME POINT be ready for the major leagues?

I'm too upset to type more.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

In Which I Forget This Day Ever Happened

Things that happened to me today at work:
  • I dropped an unopened gallon of whole milk onto the floor. It broke open and spilled everywhere. And, I do mean everywhere.
  • I cleaned up that spilled milk but DID NOT cry over it.
  • I had to boot out a bunch of high school kids who, despite management's best efforts to the contrary, insist upon using Ebenezer's Coffeehouse as their lunchroom. I did my best to be civil; but I'm afraid that in the end it came across as something akin to, "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!!"
  • I got into a brief and bizarre argument with a deaf mute over a large iced tea. I could explain the details of that one, but it wouldn't make any more sense than the one sentence description I just gave.
On days like this I just have to go home, shake my head and remember that tomorrow is a fresh day with fresh possibilities.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008


I think cobwebs were beginning to form in this corner of cyberspace, friends. Sorry for the blogging lapse--while I accomplished very little that benefited the Speckled Mind, I (hopefully) just cleared the last hurdle for my Master's Degree by finishing my Statement of Faith.

But enough about me. Let's talk about music that I like.

At the end of last year, I got an issue of Rolling Stone that listed Liam Finn as an up and coming artist. Usually I don't find RS to be a very good barometer for new and exciting music (note--they did a feature on the Sex Pistols earlier this year. Way to stay relevant, folks). But, in this case I have to tip my hat to them. They described Liam Finn formula as follows:And in my opinion, any time you put Elliott Smith into the equation, you're bound to come out in the black.

It really is an apt description of Finn. There are places on his new album, I'll Be Lightning, when he sounds so much like the late Elliott Smith that it's spooky. Like "Elliott came back to life and found a new body to live in" spooky. He's not quite the guitarist that Smith was, but Finn's vocals are stronger and the tunefulness of the two is a dead heat (or was that "Heatmiser?")

I bought the CD on Tuesday and haven't stopped listening to it yet. The single, 'Second Chance' is spectacular even after dozens of listens (free download here). To be honest, there isn't a skippable track on the album. I think my favorite though is the last track on this record, 'Shadow of Your Man.' It's a hauntingly beautiful and weighty piano ballad about the unrequited love for a friend's girlfriend. Whatever you do, pay the 99 cents for that song.

Hope you Liam Finn as much as I do.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Holiness of God...

I'm working on my Statement of Faith right now (so that I can graduate from Bethel), and a thought occurred to me. I would love to get feedback from others who like to wax theological.

Are the attributes 'holy' and 'unchangeable' really just two ways of saying the same thing when used in reference to God?

After all, God ordered the universe and set it up according to the laws and principles which he deemed right/just/good. Thus, God's adherence to the maintenance of everything in accordance with rightness/justness/goodness which we often call 'holiness' is nothing more than consistent adherence to the system He created.

Basically, then, God's 'holiness' boils down to nothing more than this: God always plays the game by the rules.

It's just a musing...thought I'd cast it out there and see what ya'll think.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why Does The Mississippi River Flow South?

Ah, Iowa.

Jess and I had to unexpectedly return to the Midwest this past week to mourn the passing of her 95 year old grandma, Jeanne Spellmeyer.

A number of interesting things happened while we were there. First--and I can't possibly say this forcefully enough--it is impossible to get a decent cup of coffee in the state of Iowa. What they refer to as 'coffee' is little more than hot brown water (light brown). Weak coffee always puzzles me immensely. Why can't everyone just make stronger coffee and then ADD WATER TO IT later if they like it weaker?! It's far better to do it that way, because if it's made weak, I have no options for making it stronger.

I did finally find a Starbucks on our way out of the state though...which was better, but it still had weak coffee for a Starbucks...

Second, be sure to take a close look at the photo in this post (from a restaurant menu). It was taken at a restaurant in Eagle Grove, IA (the ONLY restaurant in Eagle Grove, I might add); it was called 'The Family Table.' Apparently a 'veggie burger' in Iowa still includes a 1/3 lb. patty of ground beef. Also note that it was strategically placed on the menu between the 'Bacon Cheeseburger' and 'The Tonner'. Absolutely spectacular.

Third, one thing I did appreciate about Iowa was its cheap movie tickets. A few of the Ovel cousins and I saw I Am Legend at a theater in Clarion, IA. It cost 2 bucks. Just think--if I lived in Iowa I could see 8 movies on the big screen for the cost of one flick as a DC resident.

But then, of course, I'd have to live in Iowa (insert joke here).


Monday, January 07, 2008

"Bluetooth" or "Crazy?"

You know what, friends?

Not everyone who uses a bluetooth headset is as suave or put together as this guy.

In fact, I've been rather confused lately by the lack of distinction between bluetooth users and the completely insane street people of Washington DC.

Now, at first you might think it would be easy to tell if a person is having a conversation with someone over their cellular device or they are schizophrenic.

But I gotta tell ya, these Washingtonians are throwing me for a loop. It's gotten to the point that I can't judge whether it's 'bluetooth' or 'crazy' from a distance of more than twenty feet. And, of course, there is always the very real possibility that the answer to the question is 'both' this guy.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

So This Is The New Year...

*strums guitar*

"...and I don't feel any different."

Seriously--how else was I going to start my first post of 2008? Besides, Death Cab for Cutie deserve my advertising--and they've got a new album set to release in May of this year.

Lots of other things to say, many of which could fill a post of their own..but who's got the time? So, without further ado, here's another edition of the Speckled Mind's often-imitated but never duplicated "Bits and Pieces."
  1. Jess and I celebrated our five year anniversary yesterday. She makes me happy in ways I can't express in words. My speechlessness should be evidence enough of how remarkable a woman she is.
  2. Speaking of Jess, she was typing an email the other day that referenced 'Bethel.' The dictionary didn't recognize that word, and in its place suggested she change it to 'Brothel.' This confirms many of the suspicions I had about the undergrad female dress code while I was employed there.
  3. I got a lot of comments on my post about meeting Bono. But none of them funnier than this one from Peter:
    tim - i don't know you, i'm friends with matt glatzel. but i have to say that meeting bono is cool, even if you did end you post with some of the worst writing bono's ever done. that's the shittiest u2 song ever.
    Well, 'Peter whom I don't know', there were a number of U2 song titles that just didn't make the thematic cut. "Where the Streets Have No Name" seemed silly because it happened on the corner of F and 2nd. "Mysterious Ways" was also a bad choice--Bono seemed like a pretty normal guy. "With or Without You" seemed a bit melodramatic for the occasion. "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" would have been odd because the incident happened on a relatively peaceful Friday afternoon. I could go on and on here Peter. The point is that the title fit the theme I was shooting for, regardless of the song's relative 'shittiness' in comparison to others Bono has written.
  4. Thanks to all who read and commented on my Best of 2007 music blog. I enjoyed all of your comments immensely and appreciated those of you who took time to craft a list of your own. 2007 was a great year for music; I'm looking forward to many new releases in 2008; among them--Anathallo, Death Cab for Cutie, and Counting Crows (first new LP in 6 years!).
  5. I really hope the Twins trade Santana soon so I can get on with the rest of my life. Please, please, please don't blow this, Bill Smith. Please.
  6. Speaking of Baseball, The first Twins spring training game is less than 8 weeks away. Not that my favorite squad will necessarily be a contender this year. I'm just glad it's gonna be baseball season again soon.
  7. I bought a new battery for my laptop while I was in Minneapolis. It makes me smile--I went from 12 minutes of battery life to 5 1/2 hours of battery life.
  8. Call it 'Tapas,' call it 'Dim Sum' or call it anything else you like. It's a fantastic way to have a meal. We had tapas with some friends tonight in Alexandria at a restaurant called 'La Tosca' and it was sublime.
  9. The Daily show and The Colbert Report are coming back with new episodes (minus their writers, of course) on Monday. As luck would have it, Jess and I get comedy central in our apartment for free. It's good that something is free in this city.
  10. Congrats to all my recently engaged friends, including Brad and Christine, Chris and Tara, Andrew and Emily, Rob and Mindy. Seems like a good summer for weddings. I *really* appreciate you all waiting until I moved thousands of miles away to plan an event those events...
  11. I hope to do a 'New Year's Resolution' blog sometime soon, so I won't pull back the curtain on those just yet.
I guess that'll do for now. If you stop by here and read the posts, I'd love to get your feedback. Just say hello if nothing else. It's good to know who's on the receiving end of these blogs.

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