Friday, October 29, 2010

Could I get excited? Sure...but then what's the point?

I'm probably going to offend a few people today...

But then again, when has that ever stopped me from writing something? I just want to plead with Christians to lighten up a bit when it comes to Christmas, Easter and...Halloween!


Not the eve of evil, the celebration of satanic, the ALL HALLOWS EVE! As God fearing faithful, we can't condone the night dedicated to the living dead! What are you thinking?!

The blogosphere is full of post today addressing the issues of Halloween, so naturally, I'm jumping in with mine. I mean seriously, do you think my 3-year old has any idea the origin hails back loosely to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain? I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know any Celtics...besides, we are all Lakers fan. Purple and gold baby!

Every holiday season, the Celebration Police show up and start spouting off about the secular roots of this, the demonic connections to that, the square root of...anyway. Most do it in the name of Jesus. Funny thing is...I don't ever remember Jesus ranting about any of this nonsense. To me, the Celebration Police come off a lot like Tony C...don't go there...don't say it... a lot like...don't say it Tony C... the Pharisees!

I can't believe you went there!

Believe it brother, that just actually happened. Christians need to accept we live in the secular world. Our job is to put God in all we do. That's how we don't become of the world. I could care less where Christmas started. In my home, we focus on the Christ element of the season. Same with Easter. Halloween is a little more challenging, but I've found a few costume idea's that might appease the Celebration Police just a tad:

Where it all started...

With thanks to David Johndrow at Fire & Grace, nothing screams Christian like the fall of man. (Recommended for adults only)

God's Holy Word

Ring doorbell. Say 'Trick or Treat.' Receive candy. Jump on top of them. Bible bashing on a whole new level. Amen.

Eternal Lake of Fire

One of my personal favorites. A little tricky getting in and out of the car.

Sorry. I was emailing that to Mrs. Tony C for a Christmas present idea (how embarrassing).

If you chose not to celebrate Halloween this or any other year...more power to you. That's you're call. But if you get a hankering for a Twix bar Saturday night...swing through Stone Edge Subdivision. I'll be dressed like an Egyptian handing them out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You can put a cat in an oven...but that don't make it a biscuit.

So, I'm watching the Disney channel with the 2 year old one day, and she breaks into a dance as a short called Choo-Choo Soul starts. As the attractive young lady dances and sings on the television, my little one is jumping around and having a great time too. Then the kids on the show get up and start dancing...

Now there are certain things that just POP out at you. Can't be helped. It's not that your mind is geared to a preset expectation or anything...I mean...well, I'm just saying.

But why did Disney pick this lily-white kid with absolutely no rhythm to dance in this video?

No...that's a stereotype! Bless his timing-challenged heart...

White people can dance! My wife is a great dancer. I'm pretty decent when the mood strikes. The teenager...well...okay, so two out of three ain't bad!

Poor kid better hope this get lost in an archive somewhere at Disney...before he starts dating.

Monday, October 25, 2010

That's just the way it is...still today Walter.

I don't watch the evening news that much anymore. There was a time when watching the local news at 6:00 then Uncle Walter at 6:30 was a household ritual. I kept that up even after Dan Rather took the once thought irreplaceable chair of Cronkite in 1981 and held the post for 24 years on his own. I even made it a point to usually catch the local news again at 11 before Carson or Letterman drifted me into la-la land to close the day.

Come to think of it, I don't read the newspaper anymore either. The USA Today (which this blog affectionately parodies in name) and my local newspaper were daily reads at one time. I'm not sure if somewhere I lost faith in the media's integrity or focus on the source as each became drowned out in a backdrop of news media overexposure (radio, 24 hour news stations, blogs, magazines, etc). At this's hard to say.

One thing I am certain about though is the increased negativity of both televised and printed news- local and national. I personally can't stand it. One can't help but be jaded by the constant barrage of the Right crying 'liberal media' or the farcical discrediting from the Left of conservative sources. As for me...I don't trust either side at this point and have seen point blank examples of both sides distorting the truth to bolster their agenda. Before you point out the obvious to me, I'm sure Uncle Walter did the same. But I was mostly ignorant to the fact then and still looked at journalism as an honorable profession. Of course...I thought the same of the legal profession at the time too. I guess we all grow up and lose the illusion of Santa Claus eventually.

Watching or reading my local news anymore is just a 'Who's Who' of the recently arrested. It's the same stuff night after night of blah, blah arrested...blah, blah charged. I would rather watch a Seinfeld rerun or episode of Man vs. Food to wind down the day. A person would think crime had just been invented, and until recently, wasn't the norm. Here's a news flash for you...people have been doing stupid things for a very long time. Don't believe me, just read your Bible.

In my best infomercial pitch...But wait, there's more! Apparently people have become so enamored in the daily crime watch, a seriously opportunist entrepreneur now publishes a weekly newsprint of nothing but recently arrested local mugshot and charges.

If only I were joking...

The monthly circulation of the paper is up to 30,000 and climbing. Unbelievable. Stores sell out the same day the new copies are a dollar a pop! I applaud the audacity of the publisher and shame the patrons who buy them.

I just look through the one at work to make sure none of my relatives are looking to move residence...seriously.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Best of Tony C Today- I'm no rocket scientist...but I make a mean grilled cheese sandwich. (March 2010)

Last 'Best of' this week. New stuff coming next week.

I had a dream as a young boy...

When Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 11's Lunar Module in July 1969, I was sitting beside my grandmother watching on her black and white television. Although I was completely unaware at the time, she was dying from cancer and would take her own final trip just a few months later. I treasure that memory... and miss her today.

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an astronaut. After a few flying lessons from a former Leatherneck pilot in an old cub prop plane, I was ready for the big show. I had it all mapped out. Through Vanderbilt for commissioning in the USMC. Flight school. Carrier duty. Instructor School. Test Pilot Program. Astronaut Program. Space!

God had a different plan. I never made it to step 20-40...unacceptable for flight training.

Now don't get me wrong, I was crushed. But looking back at how NASA changed from the glory days of Apollo through the routine grind of Skylab to driving a space bus called the Space Shuttle, maybe my dream wasn't the only one that faded.

When NASA finally announced a plan to go back to the moon, my batteries recharged. Since the birth of my fire-haired toddler, our daddy-daughter motto has been 'Red hair to the Red planet'. * We routinely participate in low gravity simulations and centrifugal exercises. By my calculation, NASA would be about ready for a Mars launch about the time she would be completing her PhD in astrophysics with an emphasis is subatomic particles. With a double undergraduates in geology and chemistry, she'd be a shoe in for the maiden voyage.

But once again, another dream is smashed...

The Obama Administration has deep-sixed the Constellation program which was the first step to put a working outpost on the moon by 2020 and a reasonable step toward a Mars mission. Again, don't get me wrong. I understand how expensive such an undertaking would be and there is actually logic in Obama's push to privatize some parts of space travel. Apollo cost $145 billion in today's dollars...not chump change, but not bailout money either. At the height of the program, NASA employed over 440,000 people. That would sure help some key employment indicators today.

NASA must be up to much more important things these days with the upcoming retirement of the space bus and Virgin Records sponsoring a new era of space tourism...sort of an Age of Aquarius deal I guess. The budget for NASA is still pretty rich at $19 billion for 2011, not the $27 billion for the Department of Agriculture for high fructose corn sweetener subsidies, but that's a different blog post now isn't it?

So how will NASA be spending their billions in the near future with no major space exploration planned? Funny you should ask...because just this week we got a glimpse of the new NASA:

Richard Gross, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues calculated that Saturday's earthquake in Chile shortened the Earth day by 1.26 microseconds. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second.

I'll bet that stinkin' guys an astrophysicist too...

*Disclaimer- Mrs. Tony C neither condones, encourages nor appreciates anyone who does condone and encourage her daughter to participate in interplanetary space travel, extraterrestrial colonization, human endurance experiments and any training to wit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Best of Tony C Today-Where everyone knows your name...unfortunately (August 2009)

I'll admit I'm often an idiot...

I was reminded of that fact last weekend when the teenager went to eat with other family members and brought back leftovers for the fridge. Like her old man, she's loves hot wings and went to a restaurant noted for great wings. Little did she know the anxiety she would create in her father when he opened the refrigerator door later that day to see the take-out box from...

Allow me to explain.

There was a time in the life of Tony C Today when I would frequent said establishment. All that changed when my heart was taken by Mrs. Tony C Today...and for the better. It was bliss and constantly falling rose petals as we honeymooned for several years. Oh, we had the occasional disagreement about trivial on or off at night, Heinz or Hunts, toilet seat issues, etc. The most consistent point of disagreement was the dreaded 'Where do you want to eat?' question...the focal point cause of conflicts in so many modern would almost be my undoing too.

It was a typical weekend night as Mrs. Tony C and I travelled down our town's version of restaurant row. We had done it all way too many times.

Tony C: Where do you want to eat tonight Dear?

Mrs. Tony C: Where do you Honey?

Tony C: Your choice Pookie. Whatever you're in the mood for tonight.

We rolled down the street passing restaurant after restaurant...

Mrs. Tony C (glancing over at the familiar owl sign): I've never eaten at Hooters. How about...

Let me state with scientific certainty that a Nissan Pathfinder can conduct a 90 degree turn traveling at 32 mph without a major component flying off. Just FYI.

Mrs. Tony C: Whoa! Hooters it is!

Tony C: Are you sure Dumpling...I is something different.

Mrs. Tony C: For me it's different. Sweetie, you've been here before.

Tony C: Yeah, but not in years Sugarlips.

Mrs. Tony C: We'll give it a try.

As we walked up to the door hand in hand, my carnal self began to imagine the combining of the old with the new...could it work? Should it work? As the door flung open and we were greeted by the Hooter Girl Beth, that last question came across my love's lips...

Mrs. Tony C: When was the last time you was here?

Tony C: Years...

My answer hung in the air as we walked through the door and were greeted by...

Except 'Norm!' wasn't was MY name.

Not since jumping from an airplane have I felt the sensation of overwhelming pride and complete utter terror simultaneously. It honestly had been years since my last visit, but little did I know that as my life had moved on...the lives of some of my old friends had been pretty much static and very predictable.

I knew, instinctively, the next few seconds could forever change my horizon...

Mrs. Tony C: HOW long did you say it's been since you've been here?

Tony C: Pookie...I just know these people from way back...honest.

And then, quite possibly, the counter move of my entire life...

Tony C: Do you want to go someplace else? It's really no problem. We can leave.

Mrs. Tony C: No...we're here. Let's just eat.

For some reason, the experience wasn't what I had pictured though. The food was average at best, and the service is a lot different in mixed company...I mean...the die are cast in that situation. Not that I desired the silly flirtations that usually...what I really mean is...I wasn't looking for the the girls...aaagghhhh!

Sometimes I'm just an idiot.

We don't really use pet names for each other anymore. Not sure we actually ever did...and I've not seen one single rose petal fall since that dreaded day.

Good thing Mrs. Tony C fell in love with a very lucky, forgiven idiot!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Best of Tony C Today- If a podcast told you to jump off a bridge...(March 2009)

I've been in a bit of a funk lately...

This week, I'm selecting a few of my favorite Tony C Today post for you with the promise of new stuff next week. Hey! I'm eight months pregnant you know...(does that work for men too).

If a podcast told you to jump off a bridge....

Describing my taste in music as eclectic might be a tad understating. My iPod playlists are a mosaic of genres that even David Letterman couldn't link to a specific stereotype. And, like most people...I just love music. Pop to Pavarotti, rock to religious, Free Bird to funk, classical to country...a little or a lot of each is all on there...and I listen to it all.

Who's Grayson Hugh? Song on my iPod. Have you heard of the Amazing Rhythm Aces? Original version of Third Rate Romance on my iPod. Do you remember Robbie Dupree? Squeeze? The Clash? Ronnie Milsap? The Manhattans? Pablo Cruise? They're all there. LTD or Hot Chocolate ring a sexy thing?

Now before all of you kids born during the Reagan administration or later stop reading, I've got plenty of music released on something other than vinyl too...even that catchy tune by Yael Naim from the Macbook commercial ...'I'm a new soul, I came to this strange world, Hoping I could learn a bit bout how to give and take.' I really like songs with 'la la' or 'hey hey' in them...seems hip.

I sing in the car most days. I also keep a pair of drumsticks with quick access for good grooves or rolls coming up in a song. My thoughtful wife got me a new car stereo for Christmas that syncs with my iPod. Good stuff...keeps my hands free for drumming parts. I don't really embarrass easy, so singing and drumming doesn't cease when there's an audience...say at a red light or on the Interstate. The same principle applies when I sing in the choir at church. Can I sing? Doesn't matter...I do it anyway. Hey...make a joyful noise...the good Book doesn't say anything about melody. Sometimes, I sing while I play drums in our church Praise Team, but I don't do it often. The Music Director gets upset because sometimes I forget I'm the drummer...first and foremost.
Being a drummer draws me to different music styles to some degree. I make fun of the Bee Gees on this blog from time to time, yet the groove of Night Fever is mesmerizing to me...and hard to master. Although I'm not that fond of country music, it was Don William's son who helped me with the switch from guitar to drums while I was in college, so I feel somewhat obliged to keep some old school Nashville around...even though Don Jr. played classic rock in a college band. I also went to school with Marty Roe of Diamond Rio...great guy, great voice...but dances like the white guy he really is. (You young people probably need to google Don Williams)

Are we what we iPod? Hmmm...that's a pretty philosophical question that has great points on both sides of the debate. Music touches and affects everyone....good and bad. I don't think, as a Christian, it's a requirement for me to listen to only Christian music. Besides, it's a little difficult for me and the wife to...well...get 'to know each other' with Ray Boltz playing in the background. Okay, bad choice...let's say Mercy Me. Now Boyz II Men or James Ingram, on the other hand...bow chicka wow wow. I do subscribe to the 'garbage in, garbage out' method of parenting, so I don't want to come across a hypocrite either.

I was forever changed one day when I heard my high school football coach belting Maneater...Hall and Oates style...while he showered after football practice. I need a mental Tic Tac.