Wednesday, December 31, 2008

(Inconsequential) Things I Like

To even out the post from a couple weeks ago where I posted what I don't are some things I like:

1) The Green Machine (extended tricycle that could spin out)
2) Batman and Robin Rub N' Play. (also from childhood...however, search Rub N' Play on Ebay and the first item that comes up is the Michael Jackson Rub N' about destroying a good childhood memory)
3) The way the crown of my head tingles when I'm at a library and I try to guess what book someone will take off the shelf.
4) The absence of pain in the seconds it takes to yawn or stretch.
5) Opera & Classical Music
6) Living in a time period when teeth can be replaced. And wooden teeth are not used.
7) Penicillin (not for any specific reason)
8) Being an early proponent of restaurants giving the wait staff PDA's to enter menu orders.
9) Wanting brake lights to be more than a toggle switch...and new brake lights that should demonstrate how "hard" someone is applying the brakes.
10) Morrowind
11) When I had ENT doctors checking my ears as a child and I would have the faint taste of ketchup in my mouth.
12) Sushi
13) Chicago Style Hot Dogs
14) Gyros and most Mediterranean food.
15) Old Movies
16) Being a good lip reader as a child.
17) Pitch-correction software for modern singers that allows them to always be 'on-pitch'. Now we just have to convince more of them to use it.
18) Family hugs
19) Our Swedish traditions for Christmas Eve (minus the herring...oh yeah and lutefisk (sp?) the perfectly good whitefish you ruin by chemically burning it which 'cooks' it and then washing off all those chemicals),
21) How everyone resists being commoditized, even though the pressure is constant. "We're not selling a product, we're selling a relationship"
22) Digital signatures and paperless offices
23) Wanting to raise chickens on the roof of my apartment building but not knowing how to approach the landlord.
24) Cellos
25) When the carbon dioxide from a newly opened can of Coke, won't let you catch your breath only to dissipate and receive fresh oxygen. Ah! Effervescence.

Overheard at the Airport

When a couple was attempting to sit down near an elderly lady, she said: "We are traveling with our retarded son. He is being escorted to the restroom."

Alternate acceptable phrases to be used next time:

'These seats are occupied.'
'These seats are being used'
'I'm sorry, but my family will be back soon and they are using these seats.'

All of which are better than the phraseology used.

Monday, December 29, 2008

From "A Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin

"'With his wealth of sympathy, his conscience, and his unflinching sense of justice, he was predestined to sorrow,' observed Helen Nicolay, whose father would become Lincoln's private secretary."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration yesterday. I think we had 37 people at home. Several others couldn't make it because of the weather....there is SO much snow here in Milwaukee.

Pictures will be coming soon both of the snow and of the family (I hope).

As always, it was wonderful to be with family.

Some highlights:
-We read from Luke 2 and sang Silent Night together
-Some family stories were told in passing:
How my sister Brage used to take a Barbie doll and pull down it's shirt to nurse.
How my sister Rachel used to take the salt pellets from the water softener and eat them. And how she used to rub her broccoli against the huge salt blocks before eating the broccoli. I think she has a sodium deficiency.
How I didn't want to nurse as a child and how this may have led to intimacy issues even today and not being married at 35.
-Tobias has this way of bringing a lot of intensity into these gatherings. At Thanksgiving, he yelled at mom: SIT DOWN, THIS IS YOUR TIME; YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE RELAXING. Mom: is hard to relax when you're yelling at me. Tob: BE QUIET!...LET SOMEONE DO SOMETHING FOR YOU.
-Rob Jr. was a bit rebellious. We all think he is just like Rob when he was younger. We may all take restraining lessons again so we can hold Junior's arms across his chest on the floor, separate his legs and sit on him... for the years to come. In our short time together, he shoved, hit, kicked, cried, yelled, and head butted. At Thanksgiving, I told Rob and Claudie what an angel he was. They said I obviously hadn't met their child.

Even though I'm writing some personal and maybe not flattering things, I still love them all. And enjoy being with them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ways Not to Lead Children to the Lord:

From my Sunday school teacher (Sunday night worship time) when I was a first-grader:

Teacher: Do you know that there was a teenager who was asked if he wanted to accept Jesus in his heart?... and he said he wanted to think over it a little while longer. Well, he walked over to the window to look out, and the window slid, cutting off his head. He's not going to get that chance again.


I just created a petition that lobbies Christian pastors to remove the USA flag from church sanctuaries. :-)

Reasons for this petition are located in the petition itself.

If you'd like to read more, please visit this site:

There is both a petition overview and an actual letter that can be viewed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

IM with Jara today....

[13:09] jbs!!!: hi
[13:10] Brent Anderson: hi
[13:10] Brent Anderson: sorry you're not feeling well.
[13:11] jbs!!!: me too
[13:11] jbs!!!: ken brought me some medicine. i feel better from that.
[13:11] jbs!!!: finally
[13:11] jbs!!!: my whole body ached
[13:11] jbs!!!: i hate fevers
[13:11] Brent Anderson: what a good boyfriend.
[13:11] Brent Anderson: bringing you some medecine.
[13:11] jbs!!!: yes. i couldnt' imaigne getting out of the apt.
[13:11] jbs!!!: i look awesome
[13:12] jbs!!!: i woke up this morning and my lymphnodes in my neck were huge
[13:12] jbs!!!: i kept trying to shake it
[13:12] Brent Anderson: go see a doctor!!!
[13:12] jbs!!!: i feel better now
[13:12] Brent Anderson: i just read part of a book on the bubonic plague yesterday.
[13:12] Brent Anderson: same symptoms!!!!
[13:13] jbs!!!: whatev
[13:14] Brent Anderson: i woke myself up, throwing up in my mouth.
[13:15] jbs!!!: what?
[13:15] jbs!!!: today?
[13:15] Brent Anderson: but i went back to sleep.
[13:15] Brent Anderson: yep.
[13:15] jbs!!!: are you SICk?
[13:15] Brent Anderson: it was aweful, that burning sensation in your mouth after the acidity of throw up.
[13:15] Brent Anderson: no...i'm fine.
[13:15] Brent Anderson: it was almost like a hiccup-throw-up.
[13:15] Brent Anderson: not very much coming up.
[13:16] jbs!!!: oh gross
[13:16] Brent Anderson: can i put our IM on my blog later today?
[13:16] jbs!!!: sure!
[13:16] Brent Anderson: thanks

Friday, December 12, 2008

(Inconsequential) Things I Do Not Like

1. Clowns
2. Figurines, especially unicorns, angels, singing fish, and Precious Moments.
3. Kitsch (see above)
4. Use of the quick phrase, by a US citizen, when describing France: "We saved their ass in two world wars"
5. Use of the phrase "perfect storm" when describing the current economic crisis.
6. The movie "Perfect Storm" (Might be because I was on several Asia plane trips when this was being played ALL the time; I felt hijacked).
7. Bailouts
8. Sins of Power more than Sins of Weakness
9. Consumerist Culture
10. Mimes
11. "Jared"...the stupidest name ever given to a business chain and especially to a jewelry chain.
12. Ultra-specific infomercial products like: fajita makers and microwavable plastic containers for pasta.
13. Ventriloquists
14. One particular brand of urinal, whose company has obviously not hired an engineer or anyone with any knowledge of physics, because no matter where you pee in the urinal, it all ends up back on your pants.
15. The Einstein mouse who I haven't killed despite numerous poisons, traps, and glue.
16. Songs that have the word "baby" in them more than 10 times.
17. Christmas themed sweaters, ties, and vests
18. Most comedians: especially Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Pauly Shore, Dane Cook, and CarrotTop.
19. The Cubs getting my hopes up.
20. Neck hair combed up over the opening on the shirt.
21. Museums that only show the tools and spoils of war: swords, guns, and stolen gold.
22. Hummers
23. Taking my shirt off on a hot summer day and sitting on my vinyl couch at home and sticking to it. Just kidding.
24. Finding an anonymous bitten off fingernail on the table at the post office (the one mentioned in a previous post).
25. Church marquees
26. The Prayer of Jabez
27. Illinois Politicians
28. Celebrity baby pictures
29. Animal prints, especially in bedding.
30. Static electricity and that I am particularly prone to being shocked (I have lit up dark rooms with the arcs of electricity).
31. The futility of watering and fertilizing lawns to make them grow only to cut them.
32. The look of horror plus a look of affection from a large woman I bumped into at Union Station. There was a small gap between two people that I was trying to thread when she backed up and bent over (to get a paper out of a machine) when I rammed my bags into her backside. Sorry.
33. Lots of gold jewelry for men
34. Paisley
35. The monopoly of certain sports in cultures. Why not just start making up games/sports and start to play those?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trail of Tears

My family has been been told that we will be receiving 2 acres of land in northwest rural Georgia, west of Atlanta and close to Alabama.

This is land that has been given to us by some extended family (on my mom's side) and had been divided many times before so that the original family tract would have been hundreds if not thousands of acres.

We have been told that this land was given to our family by the State of Georgia. We also know that several of our ancestors participated in the Trail of Tears, forcing the Cherokee tribe from Georgia out west to Oklahoma.

Family history is not complete. I don't know that this particular land was forcibly taken by the State and/or given in return for complicity in driving away the Cherokee. But it seems suspicious.

I recommended to the family that they give this land back to the Cherokee tribe. They were not receptive. But it was a good dialogue and they asked the following questions in return:

1) Who are we to give it to? What would the Cherokee tribe want with 2 acres in the midst of a rural environment where they might not, even today, be received well? Also, if it is given to the leaders of the Cherokee tribe, how would we know this would go to actual descendants of the people who were driven from the land?
2) Since we are a bi-racial family, it was also stipulated that maybe with our family owning the land, this act is redemption in itself....because it means that lots of different ethnicities will be represented in ownership.

If it is true that this land was gained in such a manner, do we have the responsibility to give the land back? How can we make amends for the sins of our ancestors?...especially in light of clouded histories?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Post Office

While at the Business Center Post Office yesterday, the scab on my lip broke open and I started bleeding. A LOT.

I tried to blot it with my finger but there was just so much blood. I ended up covering both hands with blood and think I may have looked like the Joker in that meeting...smearing the blood across my face.

I tried to be non-nonchalant, tipped my chair back and trying to blot the sore.

Then a co-worker looked over and started to laugh uncontrollably in the meeting. I quickly stood up and said that I 'might' be bleeding and asked where I could find the restroom.

My lip was dripping blood at the time; I entered the bathroom and I tried blotting it with a paper towel.

Made me wonder if I am a hemophiliac. I doubt it, but I also doubt I will need to take blood thinners or aspirin to thin the blood when I'm older.

Maybe I can buy one of those experimental snake venoms that help clot the blood. To put over my lip.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Prayer of Oscar Romero

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.


The following prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled "The mystery of the Romero Prayer." The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.”

Credit to: Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)
Congregation of Notre Dame --- Visitation Province

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Freakonomics Calendar

Nov. 25th, 2008

Two economists found that when a country takes over one of the rotating seats on the United Nations Security Council, it receives nearly 60 percent more foreign aid from the U.S. When the country leaves the Security Council, the aid falls back to the old levels.

Gratuitous Sex and Violence

Telemarketer: I was given your name by _______________. Aren't you tired of the gratuitous sex and violence in Hollywood these days?

Me: Uh.... yes.

Telemarketer: Don't you want to send a message to Hollywood to promote more family friendly movies?

Me: Where are you going with this?

Telemarketer: We would like to send you two family friendly movies on VHS tape to show that Hollywood needs to make more of these types of movies.

(I forget which family friendly movies they were, but they were clearly geared for children).

Me: I don't have any children and I don't even own a VCR.

Telemarketer: ...But wouldn't you like to send a message to Hollywood by purchasing these two movies? More would follow.

Me: You're asking me to buy movies for myself that I can't even watch. I don't have a VCR.

Telemarketer: But you're sending a message to Hollywood.

Me: What, that I'm stupid?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I was able to travel home by train (a first). This year was the family "off" year so siblings with spouses visited the spouse's families this year. That meant only 18 for Thanksgiving.

However, we were invited to meet the cousins that Sat. evening afterwords. Dad graciously drove us down to Illinois and Uncle Pete and Aunt Kathy hosted the party.


-Of course the relationship time....being with extended family. We laughed a lot and consider each other our good friends in addition to being family.
-Lounging around the house. Normally I help out with the hosting prep but Mom and Dad really gave me the great gift of letting me relax.
-Reading two books...a book on contemplation and a book by David Sedaris.
-Starting and beating Call of Duty 5
-Watching some movies on my PSP (thanks Ron) including On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando
-Continuing the family tradition of watching James Bond in theaters Thanksgiving evening.
-Eating at Noodles and Co. with Mom and Dad during her work lunch break.
-Banana Cream pie AND Pumpkin Pie

I have a grateful heart for such a wonderful visit and for such a great family.