News (in my world)

Couldn’t get the mower started today.  I couldn’t get it started yesterday either.  It turned over and over, but just wouldn’t hit.  I figured it was a spark plug thing, so I just pushed the front (yesterday) hoping I could take care of it today.  Alas, even after I changed the plug, it wouldn’t crank.  I wonder if there’s too much oil.

Needless to say, I’m tired after pushing and bagging the back yard.  Any suggestions?

The Braves are heading in to the 11th as Venters just threw his 4th closing K: 6 up, 6 down!  Even with the excitment of a tied up game, and the anticipation of game 2 of the NBA finals tonight, I’m still worn out.

On another note, I can’t tell if I’ve bought in to hype or if I’m rightfully alert concerning the oil spill’s effect in Orange Beach, Alabama.  The news makes it sound like the whole place smells like oil, and the beaches are littered with oil and dead birds.  While I know that’s probably juiced up, the only counter-voice comes from the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach crowd who are saying that while they are affected, it’s all still vacation-worthy.  The GS/OB front has a little more credibility because they’re posting daily videos from the actual beaches which show people in the water on the same day you view them.


What to do.  Both of my problems may stem from too much oil.


Lately this has turned into a bit of a sports related blog. I hope that doesn’t turn anyone off.  It’s a bit heavy on my mind, though.  It’s nice to have a sport be the deep issue.

After a nine straight game win streak, the Braves are in a bit of a slump tonight with Kawakami giving up four runs (so far) in the first two innings of this late game against the Dodgers.  L.A. is becoming a quickly hated town for me.  Maybe it’s a little east coast/west coast rivalry, but I really don’t like anything Los Angeles right now.

A little bit of a subject change – – let me recommend a book called Crazy Love.  I don’t know if it’s the book itself or the timing of the book, but there’s a lot of timely information in it.

In the wake of a massive movement to make the Christian’s life a cakewalk of grace as a crutch, it’s nice to see a man like Chan center the off-kilter back to a place where love is proven instead of assumed.  I’m not talking about the falsehood of works-based religion that requires a confession booth for forgiveness.  And I’m certainly not talking about living as if anything we do requires God to save us.  I’m talking about calling love like it is.

The over-arching illustration of Jesus’ relationship to the church (and therefore the Christian) is in bride/groom terminology.  So the only thing I know how to relate is through the relationship I have with my wife.  No one would say that my actions toward Karen are the reasons she loves me.  In fact, it would be widely assumed that my actions toward Karen prove my love for her (a love that already exists).  She doesn’t love me because of my actions; instead she further confirms my love for her by my actions.  She knows I’m sincere in the very thing she knows is true because my actions coincide with my declaration.

Why should it be any different with God?

Read Crazy Love to find out a little more of what I’m talking about. 

Caveat: if you were raised in church (no matter which version of Christianity it may be), ignore the first three chapters.  They’ll turn you off.

I’m not sure what my next book will be.  I’ve tried to go back and forth (one for one) between fiction and non-fiction.  I have a lot of Grisham to catch up on.  With the momentum I have in the non-secular works, I don’t know if I should ride that or not.  This is the very reason readers should keep a queue.  I’ll keep you updated.

Lastly, if you get the chance, you should give a restaurant called Old Chicago a chance.  The food is INSANE and the beer is just as celebrated.  You’ll find out a little more about what they call the World Beer Tour when you go, so I won’t bore you with the details.  I wussed my way through a few light beers at the beginning, but I’ve finally started to see the beauty of the storied brewing processes by braching out a bit. 

It’s near impossible to carry any valid conversation about light beer.  They really do all taste about the same.  It’s the adventure into the full-bodied that initiates the connoisseur.  The Sweaty Betty, of the Boulder Brewing Company, is a bit smoky and barrel-flavored for me, but I followed it with a Dos Perros from Yazoo out of Nashville, and that was well worth the money.  Of course, all of this only applies to domestics.  The closest to good (in comparison to non-American beer) that I’ve come across is Nut Brown Ale from the Bluegrass Brewing Company out of Louisville, KY.  It holds a minimal lead over the Lawnmower of the Dogfish Head Ale House that I had in the D.C. area.

As far as lights go, I just recently made the move from Michelob Ultra to Miller Lite.  The small .4 carb increase is well-worth the taste improvement.  In terms of full-throttles, I still haven’t found a challenger for a good Guiness Stout or really any Belgian brew (e.g. Fat Tire).

We only go to Old Chicago every now and then (twice a month, maybe), so it’ll be difficult to make this a constant discussion.  Any beer I drink away from there is going to be light (without apology) because I don’t want to weight 200 lbs.  As I encounter new goods, I’ll let you know.

Well, this post has been quite the hodge podge of topics.  I’ll try to categorize it as best I can.

The iWillbe page is now complete according to the present calendar.  There are several things that should appear soon as they firm up so keep checking it and come say hello in a town near you!

My brother and his wife are having a baby!!!  Karen and I traveled to Woodruff, South Carolina, this past weekend in order to attend a baby shower.  It was so good to see our families get together!  My grandmother, Alice, rode with my parents from Indiana, and we, along with my sister-in-law’s family and friends, spent time showering them with love and support (not to mention a few gifts!).  It’s the first baby in our family so we’re all beside ourselves!  I’m so glad Shane found such an awesome woman with an amazing family.  I love being around them all!

Since it’s six one way, half a dozen the other, we came home via Atlanta instead of Knoxville.  Yes, it was a bit selfish, but it was near impossible for me not to at least try to see the Braves.  I didn’t think we were going to get to pull the whole thing off because we were awakened to the sound of rough rolling of thunder and the deep saturation of rain on Monday.  I had to stand in water over my ankles to load up the car.  The night before I get to go the Ted is like the night before Christmas for me so the rain was a bit depressing.  After a prayer, however, the clouds were rolled back and the Braves were rolled out!

The following are a few of the pictures. 

1. Joey (yours truly), Maw (my grandmother), and Shane (my brother)  2. My family  3. Mike Love, of the Beach Boys, on the JumboTron during the Beach Boys’ concert at Turner Field  4.  Jason Heyward (J-Hey) at bat  5. The Braves take the field  6. A pre-game, Memorial Day presentation

While what I’m about to tell you isn’t the “possible big news” I referred to in an earlier post, it is news of decent proportion.

While I was at the Prairie Home Companion performance (refer to post “My Prairie Home Companion”) at the Ryman, I ran in to an old friend, Brian Wiersma of Vocal Union. The other day he and I calculated that we’ve known each other for roughly twelve years. He’d brought his father-in-law to the same Keillor performance and fate caused a collision behind the lower level pews in front of one of Porter Wagoner’s rhinestone suits. In passing I mentioned to Brian that if they ever needed anyone to do sub-in work, give me a call. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of being the guy groups like that call when one of their regular performers is unavailable. I’ve done that for groups like Acappella, Watershed Worship, and even Valor (though I was actually a member of Valor at one point—well—two points).

A few weeks later I get an e-mail through YouTube that instead of a sub’, they needed someone to be a full-on member. To make a long story (that doesn’t even need to be long) short, I am now a member of Vocal Union. You can check out their—actually—our website at If you’re in the Nashville area toward the end of June, I’ll debut on the Wednesday night of Acafest on LipscombUniversity’s campus.

The upcoming show I’m doing in Huntsville is set with two of my favorite performers by my side: Brian Randolph, of AVB fame, and Paul David Kennamer, of Valor. I’m sorry it has to be a private event. I’d love to see the whole world there. This isn’t a VU show.

On another note, it would be a perfect world if the Celtics and the Braves were both making good runs. Alas, it has only been the Braves of late. Last night was a perfect storm of injury and emotion in Game five of the Eastern Conference Playoffs as Kendrick Perkins drew two technicals (both of which were rescinded today, though they won’t replay the second half of the last game), Big Baby and Marquis Daniels both left with concussions, Rasheed Wallace sat out with back spasms, and Rajon Rondo looked like his leg may have been bothering him again. While the stats are in their favor (no team has ever lost a series with a 3-0 lead in the history of the NBA), health is not. All they have to do is win one more game to hit the big show, and their best shot may be tomorrow night since they’ll be back home at TD Garden. After last night, however, they may be staring at Goliath despite the home court advantage. Luckily, Perkins won’t be suspended as per the multiple technicals rule, but rest assured the refs will be keeping a keen eye on him. Also, unless Glen Davis and Wallace are both cleared, they’ll have to throw in someone with less experience to guard Dwight Howard. I still have high hopes for them since the main four—Pierce, Garnett, Allen, and Rondo—will be in the lineup with no issues. The depth will be what you should watch. Can they count on the ten man bench to seal it up and face the winner of the Phoenix/LA series? Will they suffer the same fate as their city’s other team, the Bruins?

As for the Braves, they’ve rallied pleasantly lately. After last night’s win at Florida, they’ve moved to 2.5 games behind the Phillies (a huge improvement from when they were below .500 and last in the NL East. If they finish Florida well enough, and Philadelphia has another game against the Mets like the one they had last night, then they’ll get the chance to make more full-game standing improvement when they host the Phillies Monday through Wednesday. The only issue, standings-wise, comes with the fact that while Atlanta deals with ½ game movements as they face Pittsburg again this weekend, Philadelphia will get more full-game chances as they travel to Florida. Chipper’s obliques are probably bothering him more than he’ll let on, but with Heyward making such an amazing first-year run alongside Prado, I look for a win tonight and a 2-1 series win over Pittsburg. The next three pitchers should be Hanson, Lowe, and Medlen.

I’ll try to post a couple pictures Monday as Karen and I will be sitting behind the dugout on the Braves side at the Ted on Monday. I’m going to the game to see the Braves, obviously, but Karen’s going to see the Beach Boys in hopes that John Stamos will be drumming with them. She’ll say she’s there for the Braves, too.

As for Lost, 24, American Idol, and Dancing With the Stars, I’ll have to post more later. Actually, I probably won’t post anything about AI and DWTS. No one on AI was worth our time, and DWTS was finished the moment Nicole walked onto the floor in episode one. Lost and 24, however, are completely different stories. I feel like I’ve lost a few friends. Let me marinate in my mourning for a bit, and I’ll catch you at the next stage of grieving.

We just got the tickets today to go see George Strait and Reba McEntire’s concert in September!  They’re sweet seats!

Oh . . . we also got FLOOR SEATS to the final stop on Brooks and Dunn’s farewell tour!  August in Nashville!

Be jealous.  Be very, very jealous!

Forgive the pitch and room noise.  We recorded it all in about 30 minutes with about one pass per track.  Recording that way uncovers a multitude of sins!  Haha!  Your guesses about what’s on its way are probably not as far off base as you may think (unless, of course, you think we’re doing a reality show or moving to Denmark–those are actually way off)!

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