Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Early Years Continued

Okay, so my other country album made the list and in short order after Johnny's. This one is probably earlier than the Cash record as far as my listening goes. I'm not sure how I got into Kenny. I know at some point I heard Coward of the County on the radio and asked my parents to buy me the 45 of it. (That's like a small vinyl lp and played at a faster speed...not a gun.) I also remember it got scratched and then would skip, much like a CD does. So did my replacement copy.

This album was my dad's but when he moved to Florida he was looking to lighten his load, so I helped out as best as I could by grabbing this, a few Elvis records and the old Johnny Cash album I rescued from the yard sale.

Favorite tracks: The Gambler, Coward of the County, Reuben James and Long Arm of the Law.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Favorite LP's 2

Given my first selection, I've decided to go in semi-chronological order. In other words, I'll start with the ones that were big for me under the age of 10 or so.

I don't remember how old I was- we'll call it 11- when I discovered, with a fair amount of shock, that my Dad had included this album (yes, album, vinyl) in the pile of other albums at the yard sale. I quickly grabbed it and brought it to him demanding an explanation. I didn't get much of one, but instead I got a gift. "Oh, you want that one? Okay."

This is one of those records that my dad played when I was a wee-little thing and I loved it. Every track is a winner. It would be quite impossible to pick only one track as a favorite, but if you held a gun to my head and forced me to choose, I would have to go with What do I Care. Or The Rebel- Johnny Yuma. Or The Big Battle.

As for Johnny Cash, you have to love the guy. From that great deep voice to the ultra-cool hair (did you see that picture?) to his later life granddaddy status, what's not to like? I read The Man in Black in the 5th grade and was struck by the powerful story and his deep faith. I have not seen the movie yet, but I look forward to seeing it eventually. As for genre, I'm not sure if this counts as a country album, because we all know Johnny is so rock-n-roll, but if it is, it is one of two country albums that I like (and the other will probably make an appearance here as well, but that remains to be seen.) Wait a minute, it may be three, but I think of John Denver as more folk than country. Perhaps I'm beginning to reveal too much.

Merry Christmas

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Favorite LP's

I'm going to do a series on my favorite LP's. (I'm never sure what to call them these days. Album? Record? Disc? CD? Back in the day I just called them albums, even though most of my albums were tapes. Cassette, not 8-track.) Anyway...

When I was just a little nard my aunt would play two records at my request. We're not sure, but we think one was Kiss Alive and the other was this one- Joan Jett and the Blackheart's I Love Rock-n-Roll. I loved this record. Punk-n-pop brilliance moved my little seven year old body, especially when I got the "tape" for Christmas in second grade. It was my first real record I owned. (I don't count Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits, or the Sesame Street record.) Favorite track is definitely Nag, but Victim of Circumstance, (I'm Gonna) Runaway and the title track rank up there as well.

(UPDATE: My sister gave me a copy of this CD for Christmas. Digitally remastered and additional bonus tracks. It's better than I remembered.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Advent *

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

-Isaiah 9:2

When I was a youngster and found myself in the midst of one of those days when friends weren’t around I would play a game of football with myself. It was a pretty simple game. I would stand in my driveway and throw a Nerf football onto the roof at the far end of the house. I would then run towards that end of the house as the ball rolled down the roof. To make things a little more difficult, I would dive over a bush near the end of the house as I attempted to catch the ball before it hit the ground. I loved this game and could play it for a long time unless, of course, it was too dark.

As a boy I liked the Winter. There was hockey, snow to play in and maybe a school cancellation. The thing I didn’t like about Winter was the shortened daylight. It got dark way too early. These days I’ve grown less fond of the snow but my displeasure with the shortened daylight has remained constant. Yet, I think the early darkness and the Advent seasons invites us to ask some good questions. And one question can be gleaned from the verse from Isaiah quoted above.

This verse from Isaiah is one that I think about this time of year. As I prepare for the birth of my Savior I am thankful for the light that has and will dawn. The event of Jesus’ birth has happened; the light has dawned. The birth of Christ also happens, the light dawns over and over.

The light that dispels darkness and brings hope and peace has come and it will come.
Advent is a time for me to ask, “How have I been walking in darkness?” The answer is often too long and somewhat depressing, but I know that a light has and will dawn. “For to us a child is born and to us a child is given.”

Later in Isaiah we read,

For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.

I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me— the breath of man that I have created.

I was enraged by his sinful greed;

I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways.

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the LORD. "And I will heal them.”

-Isaiah 57:15-19

There may be darkness all around, but we believe the light has and will dawn. We believe that the LORD will bring healing. For all of us, and especially our youth who face many temptations and opportunities for darkness, darkness is a real and powerful thing, but the light of Christ is more real and more powerful.

Sometimes our eyes play tricks on us in the dark and things appear to be there that aren’t really there. Sometimes the darkness seems like a good and fun place to be. It is my hope that we all will experience reality as it really is and leave the illusory and transitory pleasures of darkness.

This Advent season when you think of Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem, will you pray for our parents who are trying to help their teens navigate the often difficult journey of these teen years? Would you ask the Lord to bless them with an abundance of patience, wisdom and love?

When you think of the inn-keeper who gave the little he had to help these parents, would you pray for me and my fellow youth workers? Would you ask the Lord to bless us, to help us be all that we’ve been created to be, and faithful servants of our teens and their parents?

When you think of the baby Jesus, who entered the world a vulnerable babe dependent on Mary and Joseph, would you pray for our youth that this light would dawn in their lives? Would you pray that the light of Christ would penetrate any darkness in the lives of our youth and will lead to real change- the kind of change that helps them be more of who God created them to be?

*Originally published in my church's newsletter.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Humble Kid

Joe is a kid that has been involved in my youth group for 6 years and has been attending a small group at my house for a couple of years now.. I never hear about his accomplishments from him but instead hear from his mom or read them in the paper. Joe's not "super Christian boy" by any stretch, but he's honest about his faith and his doubts. He's pretty reserved and not overly demonstrative, but I think this article is a good example of how he demonstrates his faith in a Colossians 3:17 sort of way.

Who Cares?

No not the Extreme song. It's a hockey thing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

New Bruins Quick Review

Well, the Bruins looked like a different team tonight. There was noticeably more skating and speed and a much improved transition game- against arguably the best team in the league. Now one game doesn't mean much, but you have to like what you saw tonight. Stuart and Sturm looked good. Sturm, as advertised, has a lot of speed and had several scoring chances, converting one. Stuart looked very good and had a nice assist on Bergeron's goal. Boyes and Bergeron both looked very good tonight. Hopefully this will keep up.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Joe Thornton Trade

In a previous post where I delineated the problems facing the Boston Bruins I wrote:
Thornton has done okay numbers wise, but he needs to step it up in a big way. He needs to finish some checks and set the tone.

Finally, in looking at all these problems and trying to find the common denominator, Mike O'Connell has to take a good measure of blame here. He's the one who put the team together and planned to go into the season with a minimum of two rookie d-men slated for the opening night roster. I've said it before, in the new salary-cap era, good management gives teams a decided edge. Does that idea fill your heart with hope Bruins fans?
Well, the Bruins decided that enough is enough when it comes to Joe and they shipped him off to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. While I was ready for Joe to be traded and not terribly surprised that he was, I was disappointed with what they got in return. Now, I can't honestly say I'm terribly familiar with these three players as I don't have the Center Ice package and thus don't see teams out West very much. Still, none of these names will blow you away. Other rumored trades sounded much better, like Thornton to Florida (along with Raycroft) for Luongo, Bouwmeester, and Horton or Jokinen. That would have been much more palatable.

The Bruins have tried to address their issues, but I still think Sullivan has to take some blame for Joe's performance. Joe was at his best under Keenan who called him out and rode his butt hard. Mike did nothing but massage Joe in the media. O'Connell decided to go into the season with two rookies on defense. Now, when the defense is shaky, he trades Joe Thornton, and at best, gets back questionable value. Now, I'm sure O'C knows these players better than I do, but how much confidence do I have in MOC at this point? Not much. I hope I'm wrong.

Finally, I think this will light a fire under Joe's butt. Good news for San Jose.