Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well ginger my bread Charlie Brown...Merry Christmas!

I watched the Crazy Tomato's Christmas program at church last night, and not a single kid sang the songs looking straight up at the ceiling...

Does that fact take anything away from my annual yuletide enjoyment of that sappy Brown kid and his array of smart-alacky friends? Absolutely not.

Charlie Brown Christmas is, and always will be, a holiday tradition for me. Along with watching the antics of the Griswold family (including Cousin Eddie) each year, Chuck and the gang have a knack for putting me straight into the fa-la-la spirit. What's not to love?

While it's true some media pundits have chosen to call out the Schulz classic for the 'dark, depressing undertones', my spin is the show hits all the true highs and lows of what we have, in fact, made Christmas.

Trying to ween the four-year old off the sterile and emotionally dead line up on Nickelodeon over to watching a cartoon that first aired when yours truly was a rambunctious, tree-destroying toddler was no easy task either. The hand-drawn frames of 1965 hardly pale in comparison to the computer-generated wash of shows today that produce new cartoons like daytime soap episodes.

But... I'm a bit stubborn (that didn't require confirmation by amen, but the way). So... I tried to keep her interested in the show hoping the deeper moral and spiritual ambiances would take hold.

Crazy Tomato: Why is that big headed kid...

Tony C: That's Charlie Brown.

Crazy Tomato: ...why is Charlie Brown mad at his dog for decorating his dog house?

Tony C: Christmas isn't about decorating the house or getting presents sweetheart. It's about Jesus being born, and that's a very big deal.

Crazy Tomato: Oh. Why does that dog sound like a cat when he talks? How do they understand him?

Tony C: The dog's name is Snoopy and this is a cartoon. Dogs don't really talk in real life, but in cartoons everyone can understand them.

Crazy Tomato: Oh. This cartoon is really old daddy.

Tony C: Just watch it with me. You'll like it I promise.

That's when my Christmas moment happened for 2011. As her interest (and tolerance) was seriously waning, the scene cuts to Schroeder kicking out that classic jazzy tune Linus and Lucy...and the gang starts to dance...

The Crazy Tomato lit up with a smile, then she started dancing to the music and pointing out the funny ways some were getting their groove words....not hers.

Yes! Acceptance can be a golden gift for an old, outdated and out of touch parent. While it's not necessary to properly carry out the can sure be a sweet treat at times.

As the moment I had patiently waited for approached, she was captivated.

Tony C: Watch this part and listen sweety. Very important stuff...

Crazy Tomato: Okay daddy.

Crazy Tomato: It's about baby Jesus daddy. He's talking about baby Jesus.

Tony C: That's right sweetheart. Baby Jesus...

Crazy Tomato: Can we watch it again?

I'd be safe in saying you will never, and I mean ever, hear a monologue coming from Dora,  Phineas, Wubbzy, Spongebob or even the Wiggles like the beautiful prose recited by Linus from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke.

And that's why Charlie Brown Christmas will continue to be a tradition in the Tony C home for many years to come...but my little Crazy Tomato is going to have to wait a few years before she can watch Christmas Vacation with dad. I'm sure Clark will still be just as funny then too.

May God bless your Christmas celebration in a mighty way this year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I draw the line at donning any gay apparel...

We've added a new holiday tradition to the Tony C household, and I must admit I've gotten into it...just a little bit.

Some of you may be familiar with Elf on the Shelf. Until this year, I was not. Here's how the racket works according to the company's propaganda:

Every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, each family's scout elf watches over the children and then at night, once everyone goes to bed, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report back to Santa about what activities, good and bad, took place throughout the day. Before the family wakes up each morning, the scout elf flies back from the North Pole and hides. By hiding in a new spot each morning around the house, the scout elf and the family play an on-going game of hide and seek. The Elf on the Shelf explains that elves get their magic by being named. In the back of each book, families have an opportunity to write their elf's name and the date that they adopted it. Once the elf is named, the scout elf receives its special Christmas magic which allows it to fly to and from the North Pole. However, the magic might go if touched, so the rule for The Elf on the Shelf states: "There's only one rule that you have to follow so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won't hear all I've seen or I know." Although families aren't supposed to touch their scout elf, they can talk to it and tell it all their Christmas wishes so it can report back to Santa accurately.

So Mrs. Tony C plopped down the cash for the book and elf, read the story to the 4-year old, and then gracefully bowed out of the picture leaving yours truly to do 'the fun stuff.'  First order of business, giving the mischievous little snitch a name...

Now, I've previously documented my apparent ineptness at naming inanimate objects (remember Joe Pony?), so when pressed by my beloved Crazy Tomato to help her think of a name, the best I could beget was...Blue.

Crazy Tomato: Blue?

Tony C: Blue the Elf. He has blue eyes...

Mrs. Tony C: (mocking eye roll) Geeezzz

Crazy T: I like it daddy! His name is Blue the Elf!

Mrs. Tony C: Blue?! Seriously? Blue the Elf?

Crazy T: I want it to be Blue mommy. Put it in the book!

There's a tremendous amount of responsibility that accompanies the power of influence I wield at my home. The burden at times is absolutely crushing...ahem...but I love my girls and take it very seriously.

So then began the routine of placing Blue in a new spot and situation each night after my own little fruit-nicknamed elf went to sleep. Why did this ultimately fall to you Tony C? That is a wonderful question my astute readers.

Another household custom not tied to the seasons in general is bedtime at the Tony C estate. The ritual goes like this...the Crazy Tomato will not go to sleep in her bed without the accompaniment of one Mrs. Tony C...every single, stinking night! Also falling asleep in these accommodating circumstances would be one Mrs. Tony C...every single, stinking night!

I might be harnessing a few ill feelings about this situation, and in the spirit of the season, I sincerely apologize for my pithiness.

I said pith-i-ness! Come on guys! You know I don't use such language! This is a family show!

Back to the elf. So each night, I look for creative places and circumstances to place Blue and bring joy and a chuckle to my Crazy Tomato the next morning. I already know what you're can come up with creative circumstances to build a continuing story around a toy doll, but you can't come up with a better name than Blue the Elf?

Google my friends. I ain't blazing a new trail here you know.

Can't wait to paint her nose red tonight and pin it on the fairy. I might even try to get away with a two-for-one...I'm still feeling a little bitter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The next best thing to being Adam...

First off, I'm not trying to score pre-holiday brownie points here...

The fact simply is- I genuinely love my in-laws. From the very get-go, there were a number of potential obstacles in the way of a smooth transition going into my relationship with Mrs. Tony C.  The biggest being the fact that I had practically gone to school with her parents.

Let me state for the record, they are both OLDER than me by a few years.

So for those of you not keeping up, I am indeed significantly somewhat older than my lovely wife. A fact that has never been a new revelation nor point of contention with either of us...ahem...especially me. The age issue never seemed to bother anyone around us though, at least as an issue important enough to vocalized to me.

Anyway, back to my original point and off this self-justification for cradle robbing.

So, I love my in-laws. What's not to love? My mother-in-law is a quite remarkable lady. She beat breast cancer back in the year 2000. Not only did she beat cancer, she early retired from her lifelong career, went back to school, and is now an oncology nurse helping other cancer patience. She takes her job to heart and works with a passion that is recognized by those needing the service. I don't tell her enough how proud I am of her and that she is truly a hero to me.

My father-in-law is somewhat of a kindred soul. We share a lot of the same passions, with a primary passion for God. He is a tremendous role model not just for his children and grandchildren...but also for me. Unbeknownst to him (to this point), I often gauge my own moral stature on a particular issue based on his personal insight to the issue. That's not to say we agree on all matters, but clearly grown men in an informed society can disagree and both stand on solid moral footing. I would be very uncomfortable being on a different moral footing than my father-in-law.

I'm going to use a term that is often overused where I live but beyond all doubt applies to my in-laws...they're just good people. My oldest daughter is not their maternal granddaughter, but you would never know a difference between her and the younger two girls with them. They come to her soccer games and show genuine affection for her and have since she and I joined their family. I can't emphasize enough what that and that alone has meant to me.

My in-laws drop by our home quite frequently, and I'm really glad they do. Now we all know the visits are geared to interact with the grand kids, and I'm perfectly at ease with that fact. I enjoy their company. I enjoy it so much we vacation together in the summers...something I look forward to each and every year. In my heart I know, the more my in-laws are around my three girls, the more the love of God is being demonstrated to them. Plus, I have the luxury of seeing the product of their joint parenting efforts daily...and I must admit I'm quite impressed.

Did I mention my brother-in-law? He's a pretty cool dude too...I just don't want to give him the big head, so keep that between us. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy days are finally here again...

My plans are to share in my good fortunes with all my loyal readers...

Seems like the right thing to do. Naturally, I'll start by paying my tithes to thank the Lord Almighty for I'm sure His divine intervention on my lowly behalf. Now I'm not completely sure what has happened to yours truly is absolutely a  gift from above, but I'm not taking chances either.

I'll be sure to take care of my family. Having three weddings and three college tuitions to pay at some future point was beginning to weigh heavy on this old bloak.  Lots of sleepless nights.

Well okay... I've had a few nights it's been hard to go to sleep. That may have been Coke Zero related now that I think about it.

I'm so sorry! I'm getting way ahead of myself here! The excitement has just been building around my house and I'm just a mess. Let me explain...

I've been getting these legal notifications that I'm part of several separate class action law suits currently in litigation. Honestly, I've not paid much mind to them until last week. Let's see... there's one with iTunes, Amazon and Ameritrade ongoing...and I just received a settlement check from the Yingling v. Ebay, Inc case. I didn't have to do a thing! They're just sending me money for free!

Pinch can't be so.

After talking distribution over with Mrs. Tony C (whom I must admit seemed quite apathetic), she agreed I could follow our standing family values guide of God, family and education...wait...that doesn't work...God, family and all others. You are the all others!! I just knew in my heart this day would come, and I would be able to give back to my loyal readers as an undying thank you in the form of every one's favorite

Well, the eBay settlement check is in people!

Once I get the other three suits settled, just send me a self-addressed stamped enveloped, and I'll send your part right away!

Hope this helps makes your Christmas (or Festivus) just a little bit brighter...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl...

Been pretty hectic and I apologize for no new stuff lately. Hopefully next week will see a lighter load...

Today is my youngest first birthday. Let's look back a year.

The 'Third day at hospital' look- Mrs. Tony C wears it so much better...and she just delivered a human being!

So, our little bundle of joy arrived last Thursday morning at 8:08 am coming in an ounce shy of six pounds and half and inch short of 20. She's a little tiny dancer. Dad couldn't be prouder if he'd push her through his own...well...let's not get carried away crazy here.

Almost a week later, I still stand in complete awe of a Divine design that produces such a glorious moment called child birth. As I stated in my last post, my role was minuscule. I managed the wet wash cloth, camera and thick skin. Ice chips weren't necessary...but I had it covered none the less. The delivery staff were nothing short of amazing. A well-oiled machine that made this former Marine officer beam with glee at the management of organized chaos that occurs when another number is added to the roll of the human population.

Oh yes...and it's a most beautiful concert.

Maestro, aka, Dr. B was unflappable. While the subject of recent post have involved the OB/GYN experience for yours truly as a bull in a china shop, the calming effect of Dr. B sharing a fly fishing story involving his own son while I chewed scissors through a cord both a part of my new daughter's body as well as her mother's should go down in bedside manner lore. The situation was potential for the medical school instructional film series. Had my mind focused for even a brief moment on the task I was actually two of the most important people in my life...or my eyes wondered to where the cord went on either end...someone would have been using the cold wash cloth on me.

I'm not sure my HMO would have covered that either.
Look. I'm no stranger to bloody situations, or weak-kneed, or even fainthearted. I pulled a guy's molar once with a pair of pliers and gauze pads (no, he didn't owe me money...he actually wanted it pulled). I've lanced boils and blisters with a flame-sterilized K-bar (now we're talking pus). I've recovered a severed finger to hopefully be reattached! Hey...I'm no girly-man people!

Sorry. I guess Marines and former Marines just get a little defensive if we come across a bit squeamish or weak. It's a natural reaction. Some brainwashing...I mean, training...last a lifetime. Besides, 'cutting the cord' has a completely different meaning/context in our field manual. But we won't discuss that here because some of you might be a little squeamish...

Thanks Dr. B for helping me save face by not ending up on my face...oh, and kudos for helping bring my little tiny dancer into the world. To use a fishing phrase...she's a keeper.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm most thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! May we never take for granted the many, many blessings that come from a loving Father.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day is every day for some...

First, I want to wish a belated thank you to all those who serve or have served in our armed forces. My timing is a bit off for a reason...

On both Thursday and Friday, I opened up Windows Live Writer to drum out a post in gratitude to veterans and reflection of on my own service. Thursday was the birthday of my beloved Corps and Friday a celebration for all branches of our great Nation's military.

I failed miserably to pulled together all but a short blurb that started a post on the Penn State debacle. Emotions seemed to flood then overwhelm my thought process as my fingers looked for the right keys to type the right words.

Don't get me wrong. There's plenty to say. My heart is filled with appreciation and genuine gratitude not for just our veterans but for their families as well. Military service is both a richly rewarding experience and a unbelievable hardship all at the same time...especially when it comes to the families. Please don't ever forget the wives and children when honoring those who serve.

I took my uniform off in 1991 after 4 reserve years at Vanderbilt University and 5 years of active service in the Fleet Marine Force. Real Marines. I cherish that time in my life and can directly attribute much of what I am today directly to that period. Military training saturates your person down to the very core. While it doesn't ultimately change who you are (only God can do that), there is certainly a separating of the wheat from the chaff  if I can borrow from the Gospel of Matthew.

The encumbering emotions I felt last week are hard to explain...unless you're also a vet. I don't mean to come across pompous or even pretentious by saying that. There are levels of coalescence even within the military ranks. Combat troops that have spent months together facing life-or-death situations day after day relate on a level that's just...well...incomprehensible to me. I'd be a stranger lost in their conversations. There's no disrespect meant, and I understand that completely. Facts are just what they are...

Only 7 percent of the U.S. population falls under the umbrella of veterans. All things considered, that's a relatively small number given the conflicts we've faced since World War II. Unfortunately, I know several people who separated under other than honorable conditions. I refuse to acknowledge their time in uniform. Please forgive me. That's at least one issue the federal government and I see eye-to-eye about.

The number of active duty and reserve military is only 1 percent of the 300 million people living in the United States. Just 1 percent defend our very freedoms! There are less than 150,000 US Marines on active duty (the few, the proud) and actually more New York City police officers than Marine Corps officers.

I miss the people I served with a great deal. That's the very first motley crew I had the privilege of leading at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in Hawaii in the picture. It's hard to explain how you feel love for practically a stranger by all definitions of the word. To this day...I love each of them as a brother. A few I still have contact with today thanks in large part to the social media boom. Some have moved on from this life. God speed my friends. One thing becomes very evident the minute a connection is made after so many years though. The time gap becomes completely irrelevant...

Guess I'm still a little emotional about the whole thing. May we never forget.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I know exactly how Chesty Puller would have handled this...

Happy Birthday Marines! God bless all those serving and those who have served in the beloved United States Marine Corps!

I'm just highly aggravated that on the day we celebrate our Corps' 236th birthday, the story overshadowing the celebration is coming from University Park Pennsylvania.

The story itself makes me sick enough.

As students riot to protest the firing of their beloved Joe Pa, someone at Penn State needs to do a little educating and tell the rioters they need to grow up because they are clearly on the wrong side of this one.

For those of you oblivious to the circus surrounding the storied university, a former football coach has been arrested on allegations of sexual molestation of minors. To make a repulsive story even worse, the allegation go back over 9 years and involve multiple cover ups and head turnings from not only the head coach Joe Paterno, but also numerous university administrative staff to include the university president AND local police.

Paterno's part in this is the classic ostrich defense...head straight in the sand. That's a problem Joe. When you were made aware from an eye witness who watched one of your coaches, a then 60 year old man, showering and touching a 10 year old boy...the proverbial ball was in your court to do the right thing.

I've got a problem with the witness for not dragging the sick jerk kicking and screaming out of the shower for the beating of his life in defense of that kid too. There's a larger moral obligation at work here that completely overrides any legal and ethical considerations...which are also numerous.

We live in a warped culture that protects pedophiles to prevent reputable damage to our beloved institution which in this case is a college football program and it's legendary coach. Penn State has fired Paterno, the president and a number of other school officials, but the university, along with local law enforcement, are still culpable for the situation playing out for 9 years. Disgusting.

To further prove my point of contention, people still idolize the late Michael Jackson and buy his stuff.  Don't give me any of that he was never proven crap either. Ridiculous.

In my opinion, taking the innocent life of someone is the only crime more heinous than molesting a child. It's a perversion with devastating effects on the victims who are often is too ashamed to come forward to confront perpetrators. As a society, we are often guilty of the same naivety as Paterno and don't want to be bothered with the messy aftermath of the crime.

How arrogantly egotistical we've become... 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Tomato sure doesn't fall far from the tree...


I can hardly believe my middle child is four years old today...(sigh)

Affectionately dubbed The Crazy Tomato for her strawberry blond hair and infectiously spontaneous personality, my own little personal Jan Brady is by no means in danger of being lost midst her two sisters. While she sports at the very least an initial minimal shyness, she quickly makes up for that once you've been properly sized up and categorized in her mind as either fun, potentially fun or blah.

Don't be offended by that fact because I've spent my fair share of time in each classification.

Just this past weekend I was trying to explain something to her about...well...I don't actual remember, but I'm sure it was one of the trillion life-lessons I'm required to dole out under the expectations that accompany the title DAD. After the brief explanation while we were riding in the car, I get this:

Tony C: (looking back through the rear view mirror) Are you listening to me?

Crazy Tomato: (looking out the car side window): Okay. I just don't find that interesting. You think it's interesting, but I just don't think that's interesting. can talk about something interesting now. Can I listen to my CD?

Tony C: (under breath): Geez. As if I don't get that enough from your mother and the teenager...

Conversation classified= Blah. Moving on to music =fun.

Or this recent exchange:

Crazy Tomato: (walking into living room and rolling eyes) Why do you watch the NewsHour every stinkin' day dad?

Tony C: (Trying to be clever) Why do you watch Phineas and Ferb every day?

Crazy T: I mean duh...because it's funny and fun.

Tony C: Well maybe I think the NewsHour is funny and fun (as I notice scene of rioting in Syria on screen).

Crazy T: What's fun about people running around screaming and throwing fire things and getting beat up? Should I be watching this? Mom don't let me watch stuff like this.

Tony C: (Cleverness obviously failing) You're shouldn't. Go to your room and play.

Crazy T: (running back through hallway) Mom! Dad's letting me watch bad stuff on the NewsHour!

We've still got to have that talk about snitching which I'm sure she's going to love.

In a growing trend that seems to upset...maybe more irritate... her mother (providing all the motivation I need to continue), my fun-time interactions with the Crazy Tomato have broken down below even a sophomoric-level of crude humor which includes jokes about painting boogers blue, a plethora of poop-related phrases, and even a rather catchy little ditty about shining a flashlight on some body's crack (bottom). Yep...I just love that kid!

Of course, such things have a tendency to backfire and usually at the most inopportune moments like the grocery store, when we have company, or (gasp) in church. I'm just thankful that initial shyness  pretty much prevents her from wanting to sing in front of people.

It seems like only yesterday when her then-four-year-old sister, unencumbered by said public-related restriction, was invited to take center stage while at church with my mom one Sunday. Unbeknowst to her, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap  doesn't hold the same classic status with Methodist as it does mainstream rock least while in the church. I still hear about that one 12 years later.

Maybe the crack song isn't such a good idea after all...

Happy Birthday Crazy Tomato. I love you more than macaroni and cheese with sprinkles!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Okay, I'll admit it...I just want the candy.

(Original post from October 29, 2010)

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 fans. 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 your call, and I respect that. But if you get a hankering for a Twix bar Monday night...swing through Stone Edge Subdivision. I'll be dressed like an Egyptian handing them out.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nothing displays your true character quite like sticky-backed colored paper...

There are a number of things I observe and find amusing while on my daily commute to and from work each workday...

I love to see people jamming and singing in their cars because...well... I too am a rock star on wheels with a range of vocals, air instrument talents and genres that put Burt Bacharach to shame. Okay... maybe that's just Sesame Street's Bert to shame. Concerts daily for two shows only.

Then there's the 'dodge and weave' drivers that I just love bottling up with the strategic cooperation of a slow, left-lane driver. Slow down fool!  Bwhahaha! Very entertaining. (I just might have control issues...)

But oh how I love the bumper stickers! I got this picture sitting at a red light watching a middle-aged white guy smoking a cigarette waiting for the light too. Buddhist in East Tennessee?! That would be quite unique. Wonder what the Tibetan Monks would think about him flicking his cigarette butt out on the ground?

Let's take a look at a few of my favorite bumper decors I see with commuting frequency-

Hmmm. What Good Book they are reading?

Mean? Yes. But I chuckle anyway.

No...this isn't my pastor's vehicle. (He has the Rosie one)
Might be a bit of a mixed message. Doesn't make it not true though...

I'd just like to...nope...second thoughts...leaving this one alone.

Fellow graduate from the Academy of Sarcasm.


Then there's the one that drives my absolutely crazy (previous rant)-

I've got an idea to fix and correct this pop culture poison...what do you think?

Pretty sure I'll be hearing from the political correctness police or somebody's attorney soon...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

To boldly go where no man has gone before...

I love my daughters more than life itself...but three kids are plenty enough to keep me busy...thank you very much.

Since I'm a take responsibility kinda guy (ahem), logic would dictate it is therefore time for me to step up to the plate and do my part in population control within the Tony C household...given Mrs. Tony C's consent naturally.

So, I had a consult appointment with a urologist just yesterday.

Granted, yours truly done his fair share of doling out my uneasiness this time last year in my visits with Mrs. Tony C's OB/GYN appointments, but this wouldn't be anything like that...right? I mean, this is guy's territory, so how hard could it be...for a guy?

Unlike my attitude of ignorance is bliss at the OB/GYN office, I went a little prepared with researched information yesterday. After all, we are talking about...well...a couple of dear friends. By the way, I highly recommend NOT doing an internet search for urologist, vasectomy or any other related words without the Safe Content filter being engaged on your search engine. Trust me. Some information is best left unknown (not to mention images unseen).

As I'm waiting for the doctor in my exam room, I couldn't help but note how utilitarian the whole setup seemed. After all, guys don't really need fancy paintings, flowers, or graphic charts and displays to make us comfortable about the whole process. I mean it's a snip, snip and bag of frozen peas kinda deal. Heck, it was so pragmatic...there wasn't even a picture on the wall. Just this...

I mean we're in Manville! So relaxed and at ease, I settled into a good game of Angry Birds while waiting on the white coat. Let me state by nature, I'm just not a very nosey person. But...I couldn't help from overhearing the conversation going on across the hall because both of our doors were open, and it was obvious there was a tad bit of anxiety being conveyed between a man and, I presume, his wife:

Dude Across Hall: I sure hope that doctor don't stick his finger in my butt this time.

Assumed Spouse: You'll do exactly what he needs you to do I'll tell you. You want to get better don't you?!

Dude: Why of course I do! But I just don't like that part. I mean need to leave during that.

Obviously the Wife: Well I reckon I've seen your backside plenty. Stop being a baby about it.

Dude: Can I stick my finger in your butt?

Wife: Why Lord no you can't do that!! does my bottom have to do with your condition?!

Dude: Well it's just uncomfortable is all.

Thank goodness her cell phone rang because I was mere seconds from bust-out-loud laughter that would have been impossible to hide. Of course, noticing this on the counter beside me also helped squelch my amusement at dude's expense rather quickly...

What the heck does that have to do with getting a vasectomy!

Apparently, my research didn't cover that part...stupid internet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In God we trust...unless you're offended by that of course.

Okay...I stirred up more than one lengthy comment thread on various social media sites with my last post. Good. That was my intent.

When it comes to public office, I'm a firm believer that all issues concerning a given candidate running for office are fair game. Do I like seeing or reading dirty laundry? Absolutely not. But we all own the actions or words we chose daily, so why should political candidates be any different?

Choosing to ignore a candidate's view on matters of faith is only adding to the marginalization of faith already dominating this country. Now I'm being completely transparent on this issue. There's no hidden agenda. I'm a Christian voter who places a lot of emphasis on the adjective in that label. Removing my Christian values from any decision-making process is counter intuitive at best...blatant disregard for my faith at worst (Romans 12:2 among others) I shouldn't  feel pressure from the political correctness police to wave off or disregard the issue when it comes to voting.
Apparently, I'm far from alone when it comes to Romney. This past weekend, Pew Research conducted a survey of 1007 voting adults that included an open-answer description giving one-word responses-

Given the amount of negative connotations associated in the survey with the other two candidate's names, Herman Cain should be lauding these results. I don't know if I'm more intrigued by Perry's list or Cain's...but I had to chuckle that 19 people associated pizza with Cain. Once a pizza-chain mogul always a pizza-chain mogul...I suppose.

It was really good pizza.

So what's my point in all of this? Believe me, I'm not trying to steer people away from Mitt Romney. All things considered, he is a highly qualified candidate. Also, that is a personal matter for each individual voter.  I just don't want the left-leaning media, the out-of-control train called political correctness, or any political caucus for that matter telling me I shouldn't consider the faith of a candidate running for the highest office in our Nation...or any other office for that matter.

That's a clear contradiction to my individual right to practice my religion which is actually in the Constitution. Try finding the words separation of church and state in the same document...  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hang on! We're in for a bumpy ride...

Most people knew it was coming, but I have to admit I'm surprised a Baptist pastor fired the shot and not the liberal-leaning, Godaphobes in the media. But then again...

Personally, I have very divided feeling about my subject matter today. As a conservative, I really like a lot of what Mitt Romney brings to the table. He's just center-right enough to appeal to a broad base of the voting public, and frankly, his platform is pretty solid when compared to the other Republican candidates in my opinion.

Let me pause right here for a moment for a disclaimer. If you're new to this blog, please note I'm not a R-party or D-party kind of guy. I have numerous issues with BOTH parties, there just happen to be fewer of them with the R's at the moment. I'm not a "dang you!" Barrack Obama flag waver either (or finger waver for that matter). My issues are with his policies...not his persona. Now back to the show...

As a constitutionalist, I understand the grave importance of keeping religion and politics separate issues. That's not saying that religion doesn't have part in matters of politics. Democratic governments are obligated to protect any one's right to practice their faith without risk or threat of persecution. Religion just shouldn't run the state as you see in some Muslim countries. Faith is a matter of choice by God's design...not mandated by legislation.

As a position gets a bit more muddled. Having declared the first two positions as a conservative and a constitutionist, it almost seems hypocritical to say I have a problem voting for a candidate who is a known Mormon....but honestly...I do. Above every other adjective, attribute or modifier that can be used to categorized me, I'm a follower of Jesus first and foremost. Period.

That's just how I roll...

Should it matter what faith the leader of our country professes and follows?  Absolutely. As a man of faith and an advocate for Christ, I don't see how it could be any other way if I truly believe what I claim to believe. I can't wholeheartedly trust in and share the Holy Bible while voluntarily supporting someone who believes that same Bible is flawed and incomplete. If you're curious exactly what Mormonism teaching, here is an excellent overview.

Before you start throwing the 'judge not lest you be judged' spears at me, this isn't a matter of rendering eternal damnation judgement on anyone. Not my call, and believe me, I'm cool with that. This is about choice. This is about principles. For me, it boils down to this...does my confidence in the man's ability to effectively lead this nation become overshadowed by my complete sadness at his choice to put his faith in a deluded religion?

Would I vote for a Muslim? An atheist? How about a Scientologist?

Yes...that is a very personal matter. But it's also a fundamental question Christians better reflect upon before casting what could be a decisive vote in any election.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Land ho! Let's park by those nice looking huts...

Admit at least giggled a little at this.

There's no way I'm the only American who finds Columbus Day as a federal holiday a joke. I mean, neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln get their own individually recognized day as a holiday...and they actually accomplished something for our country!

Historical evidence has come to show that the Vikings, the Basques and even the Chinese had all footed North America long before the Santa Marie put in anchor in 1492. Not to mention, exactly how in the world do you get credit for discovering an occupied territory? (Hint- the indigenous people didn't belong to the Roman Catholic Church)

With all the political correctness goop flying around these days, it amazes me this issue isn't dripping with the stuff. Although the liberal-leaning world of academia is in constant scream mode about  presenting truth, the facts (as if they'd know the truth even if it ran over them), our children still read textbooks that credit Christopher Columbus with finding our continent and none of us are getting mail today as a continuation of this preposterous claim.

Columbus no more discovered America than I discovered my glabella washing my face this morning (that's the space between your eyebrows...that is if you have two...eyebrows that is). So why, oh why, do we continue perpetuating this myth?

Now before Italian-Americans get all up in arms about me not justly recognizing their native culture and contributions on a global scale, let me state I'm a huge fan of Leonardo Da Vinci, Luciano Pavarotti and hey...Giada De Laurentiis is on my television set at least five times a week. Her Food Network recipes rock, not to mention she's pretty easy on the eyes...I'm just saying.

So, let's give it a rest. Shall we? Write or call your worthless representative in our federal government and give them a fair choice. Balance the stinking budget or do away with Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Can you at least get one of the two done?

Feel free to suggest replacing the holiday with say...Neil Armstrong Day. Now that was a genuine first step onto unfounded territory!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't hate the player...hate the game.

Sometimes, I'm just not a very good person...

Take just last night for example. I was coming home from a Wednesday night series we are doing at church called Essentials. As a matter of fact, yours truly was the speaker last night for the second of  three parts I'm presenting on the Bible. The focus was on the authenticity of God's Word, and the detractors that have created a fracture of skepticism in our society concerning that authenticity.

...and yes, of course. Political correctness was one of the detractors discussed.

While the conceptual goal of political correctness is to reduce or marginalize an attitude of malice directed at any particular group based on socio-economic demographics (read hate crimes here), the actual result has been an increased attitude of hostility and air of intolerance aimed directly at Christians.

Listen up's against our by-laws to hate anyone!

But often, too often, we bring these feelings of contempt on ourselves. Back to last night.

After finishing up an hour-long interactive class and the impromptu follow-up discussions in post-presentation, I headed home to catch the days news on my DVR'd NewsHour program in a little decompression time.  I made what I presumed to be a quick stop at a convenience store for a bottle of water...okay, okay...AND a stick of Laffy Taffy. Cherry flavored. No sprinkles.

There's only two people in front of me, and they're together. At first, I was zoned out mentally reviewing my presentation and critiquing what I felt could be done better next week. Be more yourself , be Tony  kept echoing in my thoughts as a piece of positive reinforcement advice that came from a highly respected friend after the class.

What is taking so blasted long?

Now I'm focused on the two people at the counter bartering with the cashier. The problem was over exactly what could be paid for by using a welfare card and what couldn't. Now I'm aggravated. The purchase was two packs of cigarettes, two soft drinks, a bag of beef jerky, a prepackaged pickle and a lottery ticket. I'm sorry...I looked.

I then glanced down to notice the girl was wearing American Eagle jeans and some trendy shoe name my teenager is always pestering me about, and the other person (I'd be completely guessing if I stated either male or female) was wearing similar clothing but had a wallet on a chain out (doesn't disqualify previous remark in parenthesis, at least not here) looking for the welfare card.

The transaction is finally completed with all but the smokes and lottery ticket coming off the welfare card. A promise to pay back is met with a remark about having plenty on the card this month, and then both people pick up their iPhones from the counter and head for the door. I'm not really sure if the clerk has broken the law or not, so as tempted as I am to comment...I swallow and refrain.

Exiting with my water and taffy,  I passed by the two in a conversation with a Sheriff's Deputy who had also stopped. The conversation was friendly and light-hearted with a parting comment by the deputy that he hoped not to see one of the two persons anytime this month, insinuating frequent encounters with the law were quite common for the person. Everyone was having a good laugh as I got into my 1999 Mazda Protege. They got into a late model Dodge Ram truck with a very nice trim package.

Honestly, I'm heart-broken and ashamed by my feelings as I write this, but they're still prominently there and burning. There were so many verses of Scripture flooding my mind last night...and today as I write this as well. Scripture not pertaining to the other people involved in this story...but directed at my attitude.

I'd love to hear your thoughts Tony C Today readers...