Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You can't say that in church.

Disclaimer: This blog contains profanity. If that offends you, keep reading. I wrote it for you.

I'll be honest. I like to swear. I think it's a hoot. The very fact that certain words in our vernacular are somehow more "taboo" than others constantly bemuses me, and using those words at the appropriate (and sometimes inappropriate) times gives me a kick.

And why shouldn't it? Is there really anything special about 4 or 5 letters arranged in a special order?

No, but it would be naive for me to say that words have no meaning, or that what we say has no effect on other people. At critical junctures in history, a single word has meant the difference between success and failure, order or chaos, even life and death. The difference isn't the words we say, but the intention behind them. The spirit of the language is what hurts and heals and bonds and breaks. Which brings me to my point:

Can I say the word "shit" in church?

I once made an announcement video for my church, (as I often do) and at one point in an announcement I said,
"Somebody's gonna be in deep doo-doo."

After the video aired, our pastor's wife (who is an awesome woman, don't get me wrong here) came up and said, "I like the video. But you can't say that word in church."
"Which one," I replied, "Doo-doo?"(I had been forewarned that she was ticked.)
She grimaced and nodded. "Yeah. That's the one."
I just raised my hands and gave an embarassed smile as she sighed, shook her head and walked away.

I was flabbergasted. It was never my intention to offend anyone- quite the contrary. I consciously chose "doo-doo", thinking it would be a better alternative than, "Somebody's gonna be in some deep dog shit over this one!" (Which, to note, I don't think is wrong. It might have caused some unpleasant ripples in the congregation, though.) But seriously, it was as if using fecal matter as a quantifying measure for trouble was some anathema towards Christendom! Have people become so petrified of words that their meaning and character has become secondary? It's just a rude word for feces, folks.

How's that for doo-doo kid?!

I often hear people using language as a standard for morality, both in their own lives and those of others. I think people are afraid to be transparent and really connect with the character of other people, so we use something tangible and audible to measure our integrity: profanity. This is a grave mistake! It's unfair to write someone off simply because their vocabulary is more colorful than ours. That's taking the easy route- instead of getting to know somebody's heart, we simply take a surface reading based on their words. But it's as simple as this: if the language of our hearts isn't being transformed, we all might as well be saying "fuck you" at the end of every sentence.

I can think of people in my own life who would never be caught saying as much as "pee-pee" in public, but the words that do come out of their mouth are more venomous and despicable than the oaths uttered by a salty sailor any day. I believe it's because they got the wrong idea- as if we could change our hearts by altering our words, instead of the other way around. It's only when I allow Christ to transform my personality do I truly witness the outpouring of loving speech. And speech like that might even have a few "doo-doo's" and "shits" in it.

That's why it's so important to look at the heart, not just the mouth. Transparency is the road to communication, and when we stop being afraid of words and start examining why we say them, I think we'll all understand each other a lot better.

And by the way:
By saying all this, I'm not condoning reckless swearing and allowing children to let their mouths run amok. If your kid drops the f-bomb, smack them. Then explain: Words like that are like a verbal handgun or knife- they can be used as weapons, tools, or (carefully) for fun. However, if you don't know how to use them properly, you can really hurt somebody or get yourself in a lot of trouble. So do mommy and daddy a favor and don't call your teacher an asshole anymore.

I know, in a perfect world, right? What do I know. I don't have kids.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


It is a long time aspiration of mine to go to college to become a jazz piano player/commercial music guru. This is just something I want to do. Sometimes I am afraid that I'll be poor my whole life. Sometimes I feel pressure from the world, from my culture, from my father in law, that I should go the "easy" route and go with the grain, doing a job that makes me enough money to support me and my soon to be wife. And I understand that.

But at the same time, I think all of it is bullshit.

In our world, particularly American culture, happiness and success are equated with a significant income, a big screen TV, a house with a yard, 2 cars and 2.5 kids. And even though everybody looks at that as the ideal, nobody is satisfied with these things. Hence comes the cycle of accumulating more stuff, and then the inevitable problem of what to do with it when you're dead.

Don't get me wrong. I've accumulated a lot of great stuff, and I'm sure a lot of that is from dead people.

But in the process of life, as I collect more and more things to haul around with me through this life, I long for something simpler- a life where I can play piano. A life where I can serve others. A life where I can please my God through simplicity.

When Jesus said, "Sell everything you have and give it to the poor", my first reaction is:
If I do that, I'll be poor. Then I'll just be waiting around for somebody to make the same fool move I did, so I can get back on my feet.

But the more I think about it, I realize happiness and simplicity go hand in hand. That the most important things in life become the only important things in life when you eliminate the clutter and the noise and take a second to breathe. I think everybody knows this. I just get so caught up in the lie of accumulation that I forget where to look for real happiness.

So this is breath number one. Cool.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Violent Music

I've been saying for years that there are subliminal messages buried within Chris Martin's ever so sappy lyrics and Coldplay's ever so sappy music.

And now there's proof.

It would appear this woman just couldn't handle it any more and went ballistic. But who can blame her? "Yellow" sucks, and any jackass who would attempt to sing that in a karaoke bar DEFINITELY sucks. I really just hope this means Coldplay will be banned from karaoke bars.

Yeah? Well I'll "Fix You" too, motherf***er!

And if it wasn't enough that she went nuts in the bar, she attacked everyone else in the area, including an off-duy cop, who she "headbutted at least twice."

Seriously people. It's only a matter of time before somebody goes nuts because you're singing that God-awful "Chasing Cars" song by Snow Patrol and you get your ass shot. Stop listening before you're sucked into a world of violence that you can never escape from. Please.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I'm not sure if we're in the throes of climate change. I don't know if the world is melting, and giant, lightning-throwing killer tornadoes are just around the corner. I don't know if California is going to be underwater next year. For all I know, greenhouse gases are going to bring dinosaurs back to life and they'll kill us all by December. (Which would be an AWESOME way to die, by the way. But that's another blog.)

All I can say is this: If CO2, the internal combustion engine, SUV's and cow flatulence are whats making it 106 degrees in Augusta, GA this week, somebody really dropped the ball.

Because this weather sucks major ass-butt-hole-ness. It makes me want to lay naked under my celing fan, crying.

This was what I looked like yesterday.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


It's occurred to me that the word "pianos" is in the title of this blog, and I haven't written a single word about them.

I suppose I should preface this with: "I'm going to talk about my life here, so if you don't care, read the blog about taco genesis. It's more interesting."

I'm against the idea of forcing your kids to do anything they don't want to, for the most part. Granted, things like bathing, wearing underpants and pooping in a toilet are probably reasonable guidelines for instructing your kids. However, when it comes to fulfilling my unrealized childhood ambitions vicariously through my children, I'm not going to be the guy bouncing a soccer ball off my 5-year-old's forehead for an hour a day because my parents didn't push me hard enough to be David Beckham. (Damnit parents! SHE'S POSH SPICE! The hot one! COME ON!)

However, if I had to vouch for one "my parents made me do it" burdenous activity, music would be at the top of the list. Even if your kid sucks at it. My mother and grandmother began a conspiracy against me when I was 6 years old by purchasing a piano. They got a crazy, red-haired Irish Catholic authoritarian to teach me. And through 11 years of getting smacked in the head by pencil waving dictators (and many other teachers, at that), I learned the piano. I'm no Mozart, but I can play.

I quit when I was 16 to learn the bass. I thought it was more "punk rock" and it would help me pick up chicks.

This is a vicious, terrible lie. To this day, a girl has NEVER, EVER, EVER come up to me and said anything remotely resembling, "Wow, your bass playing is hot. I want your baby."

In fact, I think the closest thing to a compliment I've gotten from a lady (that I wasn't already dating) about my bass playing was, "Wow, you were really spazzing out up there! Cool..."

Fortunately, God blessed me with a wonderful woman anyway, but the point is- I probably should have stuck with the piano. My mother constantly reminded me the piano is the most romantic instrument, and that it melts her heart, and women blah, blah, blah, some long rumination about the 1970's, your father this and that and the other thing, etc.

(On third thought, maybe it's best that I started playing bass after all. I could have ended up the ivory-tickling pool boy fantasy of a 50 year old Steely Dan fanatic. And granted, as appealing as that sounds, I'm happy where I'm at. Thanks all the same though, destiny. It would have made for interesting dinner table converstation.)

Anyway, the point- kids need music. Whether they just learn enough to clap on beat or they can play Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata, it's important. I'm not saying I'll beat them over the head with a piano bench (though the picture does make me chuckle), but I'll probably do a little more gentle coaxing than even my mother or grandmother did to me. And the next time I feel like rebelling against the matriarchy, I'll just stop wearing underpants and bathing instead of quitting piano for the thrills (or lack thereof) of the punk-rock bass-player lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Latin of the Day

Cape nuces tuas et amove!
Take your nuts and get out of here!

Te relinquo; mores tuos agitantes invenio.
I'm leaving you; I find your behavior irritating.

Tempest est dormiendi.
Time for bed.