New Poster: Now with Correct Spelling.

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I thought, prior Kentucky Derbies had good prints, so I searched on various sites. And I found great posters. This one did not incorporate the year into the graphic itself. So I got the 2002 edition, and got a nice frame for it.

It’s of a crowd gathered around the jockey and his horse, with Churchill Downs in the background. One lady is holding a mint julep.

Best of all, no misspellings that make me twitch. I double checked that before ordering. Next year, I hope to get a giclee print and put it in the living room.

I also got a Preakness print as well, on special:

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It was in honor of the 125th stakes. The artist who did that is talented. That poster was quite big, but I managed to fit it on the other side of the bedroom. I looked for recent prints, but it looked like I would have to wait less than 9 years for an 150th stakes edition.

So now my room is properly decorated and tied together. That is the end of the poster typo saga. Less twitching, more sleep.

The Poster Typo Saga, Part 3: The Quest Begins

You’d think Walmart has poster tubes to send posters via mail. Not there. Office De[s]pot was closed and I had to look at Wally World for the tube. Not there, so I had to purchase the tube at the post office. Yesterday, I removed the poster, rolled it, and sent it back with a return form.

Now, my wall is bare. I have enough other types of wall decor in my room, like a crucifix, my diplomas, and wedding pictures. I have framed pictures on the dresser: in college with my spiritual director, a set of Winston Churchill stamps, and my ham radio license. But this room is missing a horse racing picture right on my wall.

What should I place instead? An old Derby poster seemed possible, but I have not watched the past events in over a decade. I wanted a giclee print, but the cost is prohibitive. Work is easy, but bills eat up my wages, as it is the way of living, no? I will have to earn it the hard way: exactas and trifectas.

So, my quest begins. First, it’s bills and food. What’s left over, I save. Then, I will choose a picture. With correct spelling. Stay tuned.

The Poster Typo Saga, part 2

Wrote an email to the designers this afternoon, that the C looked like a G. They assured me that the Art Deco font is correct, after all they sold many posters without problems.

Okay, fair enough. But how one explain the C in the Kentucky Oaks poster? The fonts does look similar… except for that C.

I’ve talked to my coworkers and on Facebook. They said that it sure looked like a G. So it’s hanging back on my wall, for now. But I am staring at it and will stare at the letter until I fall asleep.

Be glad they did not use an F for the T in “Kentucky Derby.”

Sometime back after the estate sale, I redecorated the house to make it more my living space. Kept a few things and ordered a few prints for the family room and bedroom. Found this on sale. After all, you never forget the Derby in which you played an active role. I was not a mere spectator watching the telly, but I was a hostess guiding people to a crowded restaurant, bussing tables and getting the word on who would win. This print would look great in my bedroom. I had the Kentucky Oaks print framed near my wine bar along with a Secretariat poster, an American Pharoah print, and a Nyquist print.

This afternoon, I thought to dust and spiffy up when I saw something a bit off.

The C had a bit of a horizontal line, making it look like a G. Compare that with the C in the Kentucky Oaks poster.

I was miffed and then thought to pass it to my work, who may not mind having it in their break room. I showed the poster to one of the waitresses and a VIP patron. He was from Kentucky. I asked: “Guys, what’s wrong with the picture?”

The VIP responded: “The horse does not have any balls.”

“Of course not, it’s supposed to be classy, not vulgar. Read the words.”

“The 142nd Kentucky Derby. So?”

“Look at the C.”

*blinks* We all laughed. I went to the manager and he thought it was awesome to see a typo on official Derby prints. He wanted me to keep it, but I told him that I would twitch and get annoyed every time I walk past that on the wall. “Maybe you could call Churchill Downs and let them know about the G. Maybe get a corrected version.”

So I’m sending it back. And now, my bedroom wall is bare. Too bad, it really tied the room together.

My City Was Gone: Return to the Valley

I’m in the Valley to see my younger brother get wed. I am happy to say that the girl he married is lovable and decent. The ceremony was beautiful.

But this whole time I am here, I felt alien. Who wouldn’t? The areas that I grew up changed for the worst. Graffiti on ageing stucco. Strip club advertisements. Heretical storefront churches. Crap traffic. Crappier neighbours who would blare out Mexican oompa music at 2 am in the morning, let their unlicensed packs of dogs roam around the streets filled with dog turds. My brother’s dinky house has a huge gate that he locks every time. Back home, I locked the doors, no gates surrounding each house like a mini penitentiary. As if that was not enough, my mum broke her upper arm and the local hospital screwed up in stabilising her arm and she had to wait for a referral and someone to cast her. In Fort Wayne, the Parkview guys would immediately work on her and she could see a specialist the next 2 or 3 days. When Mum and Father move into Indiana, there will be lawns without sprinklers or yellowing grass. There will be more churches that look like churches. My parents can sleep in silence. Brick and wood siding, no cinder block gated fences. And best of all, fast service. No stupid bureaucracy holding up medical treatment, no two hour waits at the BMV to get a permit or plate renewal.

In-N-Out was why the forces of nature did not make California disappear into the ocean. It was super delicious. The magical flavor of grilled onion, sauce, and melted cheese inspires many top chefs, and is cheaper than most places. It tasted like home; however, it does not erase the strangeness of a different land. Like Chrissie Hynde have sung, our cities are gone. And I must return to the Fort Wayne area where I lived for 15 years. I look forward to returning home.

Belmont 2016: Weep No More

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Saturday afternoon, I told my bosses about being nervous over my picks, especially choosing 13) Creator as my pick. They told me it’s alright and it’s the nature of the game to make incorrect guesses. As long these guesses are informed guesses, it’s no worries.

A lady won a 500 dollar voucher and she must place a win bet. She asked me for advice, and I told her it’s my belief Creator will be the best choice, but ultimately, she must go for her gut feeling. She chose Stradivari. I advised her that she should view her chance as play money, and at least it was not her own actual money.

A group of gentlemen asked me about why I recommended Creator. I gave them a crash course of the Dosage index, a number denoting how pedigree influences a horse’s endurance. They did not know that this was a handy tool for races like the Belmont. (Note that it may not be a sole indicator to guess victors of the Kentucky Derby [i.e. Nyquist has an unfavorable number of 7] but it’s great to gauge classic distances.) I told them that horses like Lani (1.92), Creator (3.00), and Destin (1.43) has good dosage numbers… and alas, Exaggerator does not.

The race went and I was puzzled who was the winner? Destin? Gettysburg, the rabbit? The noise drowned out the announcing. After it was over, I saw the Winstar logo on the winner’s silks and then I saw the number on the saddle towel. WHAT? CREATOR?! I actually guessed THAT correctly?! I was very thrilled and most of all felt that I found my niche in life. An unorthodox niche, but it is MY niche. I quickly apologised to the lady on not being pushy enough to recommend Creator. The guys at the party table gave me high-fives for correctly guessing Creator. The bosses gave me fist bumps and high fives. The bartender who was pushing for Exaggerator smiled and flipped me off. I resumed bussing the tables. After my shift was over, I went to Kroger’s and one of the customers recognised me as the Girl who Guessed Creator. She ate at Voodoo and heard my recommendation.

Seeing my Triple Crown picks bearing much fruit was wonderful. The bosses and co workers noticed it, and even my mum thought it was cool to see me succeed. Deo Volente, I will be able to do this for a living, as soon my bosses give me clearance. I will find out within two weeks.

I’ve bought this bracelet in anticipation of my new path in life. On the bracelet, the engraving reads “Weep No More.” I first saw this phrase just before Derby weekend. A filly who was to run the Kentucky Oaks race was named that, it was a reference to Kentucky’s state song. As the horses processed to the post just before the Derby race, everyone in Churchill Downs would sing this song.

During that time, I was depressed, for it was around the time when the Deaconess programme advised me that due to my disability I must pursue another vocation. Since 2005, I had bouts of melancholia and wondered if I should end my life. I did not doubt the existence of God– for I know the universe is too complex, but my question was: Is God a GOOD god? Or is He the Cosmic Terrorist? Yet I attended the Sacrament, I attended Confession, and found great friends along the way.

When I saw these three words on the Daily Racing Form, it was oddly comforting. As if I was told that now is the time to live again because I have a future. I have a new job, and it was working great. So, I slept and I was all right. And after the Derby, I visited Churchill Downs and visited the Derby Museum. For the first time in years, I felt NO psychological pain on 9 May.

The Preakness was the time I must have got my bosses’ attention, as I got a trifecta and the superfecta right. And as the days went on, “Weep No More” became a beacon of hope and somehow, something will fall into place. They knew I was Autistic and they knew I can do many things well. My workplace accepted me!

Just last week, I found out that if things pan out, I will be working the programmes section and most likely, give wagering and handicapping tips. This involves a HUGE pay raise. At last, I will have a full-time job at a proper wage and benefits. I really hoping this comes into fruition. So, I bought this bracelet with these words. This Belmont Stakes, I was successful with Creator. It was not some fluke, it’s a reasonable guess that went well. God willing, I will see that I will no longer weep for my future, that my life has meaning, and my disability is no longer a liability but an asset. Please pray for me. In the meantime, I will hold on to that hope, that echo of the new earth that weeping will cease and I will see Joy face to face.

Belmont Picks: FWIW

Yesterday, I’ve downloaded the past performances for several undercard races and the Belmont Stakes tomorrow. Spent hours looking and staring, writing notes on race cards. Gave them to my general manager… who I’ve learned took them, copied it, and passed them to other managers. Thanks a lot, now I feel the pressure to do well. I did warn them about the nature of gambling, that these are guesses. So, without further ado, here are my picks for several races at Belmont. Use them for exotics (exactas, trifectas, or superfectas), preferably in boxes to increase one’s chance for hitting it.

RACE 7, THE WOODY STEPHENS, Grade II (11 June, 3:15p)
1) Sharp Azteca (he has the chops)
4) Justin Squared (I’ve seen him run well at the Chick Lang stakes on Preakness Day)
6) Seymourdini (he has a good exacta record)
7) Counterforce (for that overlay. He was second in Chick Lang)
And keep an eye for 11) Mrazek. His connections are also Nyquist’s. But… his speed is not there. Maybe he will keep up with the pace.


4) Noble Bird
5) Frosted
7) Stanford
11) Calculator


Now, this race holds a special place in my heart. You see, it was the first race I wagered and brought back my interest after years. Last year, I did an exacta for Big Blue Kitten and Slumber. They won. It’s full circle, now I’m working at the same place I made my wager. (My path in life is unfolding, I do not know what will happen, so I must place my trust in Him.) 5) Big Blue Kitten and 2) Slumber are back. I do not know which one I would use, as there are great horses like…

1) World Approval
6) Ironicus
10) Flintshire
11) Divisdero

RACE 11, BELMONT STAKES, Grade 1 (11 June)

I really like the potential of this race. Challenging but so much talent to choose from. Mix and match your preferred horses with these picks:

1) Governor Malibu
5) Stradivari
11) Exaggerator
13) Creator

I’m divided between 2) Destin and the crazy 10) Lani. He’s more disciplined than in prior weeks, but he ran the Derby and the Preakness! I hope he has the energy to endure! But I really like Creator the best.

Now, enjoy the races, bet responsibly, and cheer on!

New Link Category: Horse Racing

Since Preggie got sick, I was at the Winner’s Circle off track betting, eating their pretzel bites and betting on horses. Liked the environment so much, I got a job there when Hoosier Park changed the format of the OTB site to include the Voodoo BBQ restaurant.

But the story of me and horse racing did not begin there. It actually began in 1985, the year when Spend A Buck won the Kentucky Derby.

In California, Santa Anita Park and Los Alamitos play their commercials regularly. My dad used to work at an Italian restaurant where Joe the boss has a penchant for horses and the Rat Pack. I thought gambling on horses was cool. AT SIX YEARS OF AGE. I would read the green sheets in the Sports pages of the newspaper. One year, Joe asked me what I thought of a certain race. I said that Brave Raj would win. Sure enough, he won and I got 20 bux. :D

Other concerns pressed on my mind over the years. And add the Evangelical/Pentecostal dictum to avoid gambling, and then college studies. Got married, and then focused on working.

Then the Brewpub opened. I wanted to visit, but I did not know how Confessional Lutherans would react to me going there. That changed when I’ve heard of American Pharoah and his Triple Crown bid. I’ve spent my breaks reading on the right trifecta box. Carpe Diem and Frosted? Maybe.

Got word of an undercard race the day of Belmont and I’ve heard that Big Blue Kitten and Sleeper will do well. So, after work, I stopped at the Brewpub and used their kiosks. I bought a program for 3 bux and studied it a bit and I did an exacta for Big Blue Kitten and Sleeper. I also did a trifecta for Materiality and Madefromlucky with American Pharoah, plus an exacta for AP and Frosted. Picked up Preggie, went back and found out I won the undercard. WOW!

Visited for food regularly only after that, but it changed when Preggie went to Parkview. I would watch Delta Downs or Charles Town while thinking of how would Preggie would live, with his health problems. Jonah would make me a cocktail, I get pretzel bites, and relax. Several of the staff would ask about Preggie’s health. I did not want to bother cooking big meals at home. Just give me a Diet and a burger, please.

My work as a sample lady was great. However, it was a far commute. When I have heard that Winner’s Circle was hiring, I applied and went to the job fair for an interview. I was stoked when Human Resources extended a job offer on the spot. And from that point on, I decided to reimmerse myself into horse racing, just like I was a kid. I’m still learning, and I am just learning how to read the workout sessions– 12 seconds per furlong is decent. I stick to two main tracks, Gulfstream and the New York Racing Association circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga). My favorite jockey is Javier Castellano.

My ability has improved. No, not gonna enter a handicapping contest, I fear I’d pick all horses that would go into last place. But I would look at various sources including the Daily Racing Form and make some reasonable guess. My bosses would call me to ask me what would be a good horse for some stakes in the future. I thought I would stink at the Preakness, nearly avoiding wagering altogether as it was a muddy mess. BUT, I received various information I cobbled up and used them to make the guesses. I even had weird Preakness dreams. NOT supernatural woo woo, but the re-organising of information in my brain as I rested. (Listen, guys. I believe in Sola Scriptura. Dreams, no matter how clarifying, can NOT replace Scripture as the SOURCE of enlightenment and salvation– even if said dream “reveals” the winners of the Preakness, okay?) This was the gist of the information: 1) Cherry Wine won his maiden race in the mud. Chances are, he will excel in the muck. 2) Exaggerator is a mudder as well. Nyquist has not tried running in mud at that time. 3) Stradivari is a threat. So I would follow these contenders and I made a trifecta box and a superfecta. Showed these observations to the bosses. Gave the usual disclaimer. They were foolish to take my advice and they were amazed at the results.

My workplace wanted me to improve in this craft. I am not at liberty to discuss specific plans until things get official, but I will say that the bosses would like to see me to become a handicapping expert so I can teach new gamers how to wager with confidence. When things go through, I’ll announce it on Facebook and on this site.

“All I want is for the illusion of competency to pass over me once a day.” –Nancy Gabalac.

In the meanwhile, I will post some stuff, some guesses that may or may not be crappy. I am excited that I’m doing something that I did as a child, and maybe I would get paid for that. Keep your eyes peeled for Belmont thoughts!

Threee Geniuses

Tonight’s misGuidance Theatre presentation is so trippy, you don’t have to drop LSD to enjoy this.

When I was on summer breaks during college years, I’d watch public access channels for funsies. In the Los Angeles area, we have a crapload of epic weird and cool shows to watch, some of it very racy. One time, my brother would crank call an open line and would do a “Deez Nutz” joke.

But there was this show that was my favorite of all of them, The Threee Geniuses. A bunch of people would futz around with the public access studio equipment and used TV clips and obscure sound effects. I thought I was the only Missouri Synod Lutheran who watched this regularly. Nobody at Irvine or at the Sem have ever watched it, a shame as I want to hang out with such people. (And I want you to watch it with me so I won’t be the only Confessional who contemplates the death and rebirth and re-death of psychedelia.)

Flashback Paper: Why Should the Fluffy Have All the Good Music?

Cleaning out my room, I’ve found this on a forgotten flash drive. It was for the final class I took at Ivy Tech, a college writing class. I thought my AP grade would excuse me from this general requirement. Nope. So I ended up in this class. I was pleasantly surprised at how I enjoyed that class. The prof respected me greatly. I also taught the students a small tip. One day, the prof said to all of us to bring in a trade publication or an academic journal article. Most of the class brought in small articles, 2-5 pages with pictures. Thinking of nothing, I brought in a 25 page article. The students thought I was crazy to bring in a “large” article.

Guys. When you get to a 4 year college, you will be expected to read these articles and use them in papers. By the time you get a Master’s, these articles are a walk in the park.

I would rack up A-grade papers, mainly because of my years of training at Concordia Irvine and at the Sem. I also imported a bit of Confessional Lutheran theology into arts and culture. Here is one paper from this class, entitled “Why Should the Fluffy Have All the Good Music? An Analysis of Contemporary Christian Music.”

Why Should the Fluffy Have All the Good Music? An Analysis of Contemporary Christian Music
Carol Rutz, 2009

The Christian Church is a singing church. It is the Church of King David the Psalmist, Bach, Mendelssohn, Charles Wesley, and Johnny Cash. It is also the Church where Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, and other Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) artists flourish. However, like any form of art, CCM music is subject to review and criticism. Contemporary Christian Music with its cultural isolation, overemphasis on human emotion and light theology, should take steps to become more engaging to the world. A disclaimer: This paper offers a confessional Lutheran viewpoint that is highly liturgical. This differs from the American Evangelical tradition, CCM’s theological roots. Music is a sensitive subject as questioning the content risks offending a variety of people. It is not the intention of this essay to question one’s motivation, dedication and faithfulness to Christ. The question about CCM is not about using language or musical forms that people understand– various churches do incorporate various instruments in their worship. The question is whether popular culture should dictate how artists produce music at the expense of compromising what the Christian Church throughout history believes.

To understand CCM, it is necessary to define it and look into its historical origins. “CCM” is Christian music that runs parallel to various genres of music and adopts current innovations and artistry while carrying a Christian message. Its roots are in the Jesus Movement, a youth-based revival among the hippie subculture of the 60s and 70s. Out of the Jesus Movement spawned various church groups like Calvary Chapel, the charismatic Vineyard churches and Jesus People USA and influenced others like Campus Crusade for Christ and non-denominational churches. CCM is trans-denominational, although it is dominated by the “born-again” evangelicalism inspired by the Jesus Movement. Christians within the movement thought that via rock and folk music, they can reach Vietnam-era alienated youth. They faced challenges such as limited radio coverage and publicity, disapproval and hostility from various Christian organizations, and “technically inferior record production” (Romanowski 103). Over time, CCM became a multi-million dollar industry, with an awards show, magazines, and implemented cutting edge technology.

CCM is a tight-knit enclave that mainly entertains and edifies the converted rather than reaching the unconverted. Peacock (60-65) noted that trend started at the very beginnings when Billy Ray Hearn, under the auspices of the Southern Baptist Convention, created the folk musicals Good News (1967) and Tell It Like It Is (1968). The Baptists’ aim for these albums was to entertain their own youth so that the youth would not turn to the countercultural rock of the Sixties. Although today there are “crossover” bands and secular bands with professed Christian members like Creed, Sixpence None the Richer, P.O.D., and Jars of Clay, the vast majority of CCM bands rarely find Billboard or Grammy-level success because of its emphasis of being apart from the world with its own subculture. One Barna Group survey reported that while 96% of evangelicals listen regularly to Christian music, only 25% of non-Christians expose themselves to Christian media.

Its cultural isolation spawns the attitude that the CCM bands are solely substitutes for Christians so they can not only participate in the commercialized rebellion of rock ‘n’ roll without the sin, but also participate in the consumer culture. That sentiment prevails every time a Christian band gets compared to a secular band. Like drugstore knockoffs of designer perfumes, CCM bands are touted as “safer” alternatives to objectionable secular music. One youth ministry in Troy, Michigan has its own “Alternatives to Secular Music” guide online. The message behind these lists is that if the listeners care enough being a Good Christian, they should support the CCM artists and not the secular bands. The unintended consequence of these lists is that the marks of Christian identity are no longer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and active Christian corporate worship but instead outward consumer consumption of goods from music CDs to themed t-shirts.

Even today, related magazines would review a band, comparing the guitar sounds to secular bands. Here is a sample review for alternative pop CCM duo, Chris and Conrad, written in 2009: “From the first notes of ‘You’re the One,’ the duo bursts out with simple but singable harmonies and lyrics similar to Waller’s vertical-style fare. Next, the techno-flavored ‘Rescue’ boasts a dance beat and enhanced vocals reminiscent of One Republic. Vocally, Chris and Conrad prove quite versatile, with momentary glimpses of The Fray, Goo Goo Dolls and Lifehouse.” Another one for Revive reads: “While chunky guitars a la Third Day are present throughout most songs, Revive is more readily compared to fellow countrymen INXS or Midnight Oil, plus newer secular standouts Glasvegas.” The problem with these comparisons is that CCM bands will be typecasted as analogues (inferior versions) of the secular (real; better) thing.

CCM’s substitutions give a message that their talents are stagnant and years behind the current trends. Note also which secular bands were compared with the CCM bands: INXS, Midnight Oil, and the Goo Goo Dolls were popular in the late 80s and early 90s. To say that Revive is like INXS and Midnight Oil is to say that their newest work sounds like what was popular in the 90s, and to compare Chris and Conrad to the Goo Goo Dolls is to say that their sound is years behind what is trendy in 2009.

Furthermore, the CCM industry prefers that music should be positive and optimistic, even though those outside the subculture do not find it engaging. Peacock (119) recalled one episode of “Seinfeld” when Elaine complained about her boyfriend’s penchant for Christian music. George Constanza’s response: “I like Christian rock. It’s very positive. It’s not like those real musicians who think they’re so cool and hip.” Peacock was not amused. Despite the popular sentiment, the musicians are forced to follow that trite and true pattern and stay the positive course lest they get scathing criticism. Howard and Streck (177) quoted Peter Fuhler of Newsboys: “We’ve definitely done our share of cliché-driven songs…” and noted that Audio Adrenaline described their first albums as “cheerleader music”. That emphasis stifles creativity and ignores the reality of the Christian life—that a Christian, a saint and a sinner at the same time, will experience joys and struggles until his life on Earth ends.

CCM with its short entertaining lyrics provided little information about Christ and too much emphasis on personal emotions. Christian hymns and songs are singable confessions of the Faith. When a congregation sings a song, it is confessing what they believe, teach, confess, and practice. The Christian Church has a Latin saying: Lex orandi, lex credendi: As one practices, one believes. As religious music is heavily marketed and blurred the lines of entertainment and worship, CCM focuses upon the subjective feelings and reactions of man more than the concrete work of Christ. One explanation by Peacock was that the Charismatic movement was heavily involved in CCM, which placed personal experience and private revelation on par with Scripture (44). Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, which is a product of the Jesus Movement, admitted that “a lack of sound Bible teaching” was a weakness of the movement. A Barna Group survey reveals the hazards of novelty: “Overall, nearly half of all worship attenders said that the words in the currently popular praise and worship songs lack the spiritual depth of traditional hymns while three out of ten adults noted that too many new worship songs are introduced into their services.”

To demonstrate the paucity of theological content in these hymns, here is Pastor Todd Wilken’s diagnostic with two popular songs: “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever” by Delirious? [sic], and “Radiator” by 2009 CCM Magazine Readers’ Choice winner Family Force 5. Wilken, host of the radio talk show Issues Etc., introduced a diagnostic for sermons, hymns and song writing as a way to expose weak theological points. The first question states: “How often is Jesus mentioned? For His purposes, a simple tally will suffice.” This is not a license to produce heavily commercialized “Jesus Per Minute” music so a band gets heavy rotation in Christian radio stations. In fact, the other two questions erases the notion that only mentioning Jesus’ name suffices for good songwriting. The second question asks: “Is Jesus the subject of the verbs? Is Jesus the one who acts, or are you?” The final question is: “What are the verbs? What has Jesus done and what is He doing?”

In “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”, there is no mention of God or Jesus, although Delirious? used capitalized pronouns and referred to God as “the Healer”. The second Wilken question reveals that the singer—represented by the pronoun “I”– is the subject of most of the verbs: “Over the mountains and the sea,/ Your river runs with love for me,/and I will open up my heart/and let the Healer set me free./ I’m happy to be in the truth,/and I will daily lift my hands:/for I will always sing of when/ Your love came down.” In the third question, those verbs reveal the lack of what Jesus did, except with hazy terms: “Your river runs”, “The Healer set me free” (from what?). Family Force 5’s “Radiator” is like the first song in that Jesus was not mentioned except in third-person pronouns: “Hey You You’re blowing my mind again/Out of my skull, I feel the levitation/I feel my skin crawling up from my soul/I feel Your radiation/I’ll be a radiator just like You/Radiate it on me, burn it all through.” Most of the verbs described what the singer is feeling, and if the third person refers to Jesus, He is “blowing [the singer’s] mind again.” How is Jesus “blowing away” one’s mind? According to singer Nathan “Nadaddy” Currin in an interview on, the lyrics reveal an out-of-body experience, death and the here-after. The listener must provide the meaning of this song instead of the song explicitly teaching what Christ did. Unless one reads an interview, it is unclear whether Family Force was talking about Jesus. Note also the use of “I feel” in both songs (Delirious? : “Oh, I feel like dancing -/it’s foolishness I know”, Family Force 5: “I feel the levitation/I feel my skin…”). Neither song mentioned any Scriptural reference, which makes it unsuitable for worship or catechesis.

What does CCM must do to improve? On the part of the artists, an intense period of personal catechesis and continuing theological education. If a singer wants to sing about Jesus, she must know about Him and His work for mankind. A serious regimen of study can lead to not only theologically rich content, it will also provide creative insights. Another avenue for artists to express creativity is to incorporate older hymns and adapt them to new music for modern styles. Of course, artists must exercise discernment when selecting hymns, as even the seemingly conservative hymnals of yesteryear are guilty of assimilating popular culture of past eras and focusing upon human-centered actions. The Wilken Diagnostic is a good way to gauge and adjust the content of these hymns. This is not to say: Throw away the guitar and keyboard. The use of musical instruments is what theologians call “adiaphora”, indifferent matters that people can disagree. But solid Christocentric doctrine is NOT adiaphora, especially in worship environments. To introduce faddish sound and man-centered lyrics into corporate worship is to strip away the holiness of God, making the Christian life into an exercise of kitsch.

The final suggestion is that the artists should not consider music as Sunday School lessons promoting morality and happy platitudes but creative works of art that can be judged by their own merits. Romanowski in his 2005 essay refers to CCM as “propaganda” with diluted and sanitized musical styles. If CCM artists want the secular world to take their art seriously, they should first meditate upon Huxley (1932): “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” According to Franky Schaffer (113), the whole world belongs to God without any compartments between real life and Christianity. That means that artists should be free to sing about a whole range of topics in a whole range of emotions without adding a gloss of spirituality as an afterthought so the album is easily accepted by the industry. It also means that the “transformational” artists described in Howard and Streck have an idea and vision worth looking at. Brown (147) points out that kitsch is immature, like the mawkish Precious Moments figurines. What CCM need are more maturity and substance, and they are located outside the range of shallow “selling Jesus” pop consumerism.

Works Cited

Argyrakis, Andy. “Revive- Chorus of the Saints: Faith-Affirming Fun from
the Land Down Under.” CCM Magazine. 12 June 2009

Barna Group. “Christian Mass Media Reach More Adults With the Christian
Message Than Do Churches.” 2 July 2002. 13 June 2009
< >

—————-. “Focus On ‘Worship Wars’ Hides The Real Issues Regarding Connection to God.”
19 November 2002. 13 June 2009 < update/85-focus-on-qworship-warsq-hides-the-real-issues-regarding-connection-to-god >

Brown, Frank Burch. Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste:
Aesthetics In Religious Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Cartwright, Grace S. “Chris and Conrad: Smart Debut from Slick Pop Duo.” CCM Magazine. 12 June 2009

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“I will love you today and I will love you tomorrow.”

After posting up the Benny Hill clip, Preggie went to the hospital. He was sleeping for hours and I checked his oxygen. 70%. I called 911 and he was on a BiPAP machine and the folks at Parkview did everything they can to prevent him from drowning due to congestive heart failure. They also found pneumonia and gave him strong antibiotics.

He woke up, but his short-term memory was greatly reduced. He has vascular dementia and due to the various health problems, I was advised to place him in a nursing home. So I did, knowing that he will be in a safer place than home alone while I work.

So now, everyday, I visit Preggie. Wheel him around the facility, getting to know the CNAs and nurses who help him. He now lives in a private apartment, and I put up pictures and diplomas on the walls. I would bring snacks to put into the pantry and cans of Diet Coke for him to enjoy.

January was a hard month for me, with the transitioning, plus a medicine change for me. Olanzapine made me gain 60 pounds and the good shrink and my family doctor figured it’s too dangerous for me to remain. So the shrink placed me on Geodon. BIG MISTAKE. It did not make me feel good. It gave me extrapyramidal effects (aka “the twitchies”) and I felt very fragile. During Symposia, a retired District President noticed that I was not at my best and he prayed for me as I tried not to reduce myself into a weeping puddle. I JUST CAN’T EVEN. So I told the shrink that I need a different medicine. So I was placed on a new generation medicine called Rexulti. The shrink warned me not to drink my usual Rockstar. She was right. Energy. Alertness. 3am, waking up alert. But, the melancholia disappeared. So I coped better with the transition.

My mom came to visit us, and we cleaned up the house of years of clutter. Bags of ill-fitting clothes went to the Salvation Army. Old junk was tossed out. The fridge and pantry was cleaned out and I got new food to replace old products. My bedroom has changed. A twin bed in place of a queen-sized bed, my makeup table, and a bookcase. My office will be my parents’ bedroom. They will stay with me.

During this time, was I angry at God over all this? Believe it or not, NO. Not pissed off at Him at all. You see, Wayne smoked for decades, from his college years on. Preggie brought it all to himself. He was addicted to these cigarettes. There is a visible cause-and-effect, it was not an “Act of God.” I made sure that Preggie and I get spiritual care during all of this. I arranged for the pastor to give Preggie the Sacrament weekly. Now that I wake up early, I attend early morning church and I too receive the Sacrament. I would listen to Pirate Christian Radio and Issues Etc. I love listening to people shredding Theology of Glory hucksters and pious claptrap from the dominant Protestant culture. Confessional Lutheranism is my last stop. I cannot go to other places, can’t go home to Rome, can’t swim the Bosphorus to Constantinople, can’t stroll to Azusa Street, and certainly I can’t be an atheist.

I also got a new job. Yesterday was my last day at the Kroger Marketplace at Coventry. I was an event specialist, a sample lady. But I need to be closer to Preggie and needed regular hours. So now, I will work as a hostess at Voodoo BBQ inside the Winner’s Circle Brewpub and off-track racing. I need a high energy environment. I got to know my new coworkers and regulars who would follow simulcasts and betting on stakes and maiden races. I immediately had a crash course in horse racing. I subscribed to the Daily Racing Form’s online site, learning to read stats and past performances. I’m learning about the progeny of Tapit and Mr Prospector and Storm Cat. I’m learning which jockeys at certain parks are good performers. In a few days, the folks at Hoosier Park will train me and other new workers at their casino in Anderson, then various test runs back in New Haven. I am very excited about my new job.

I told people to pray for us and to check up on me regularly. And during all of this, I hold my Preggie’s hand and we tell each other “I love you.” I hope we continue to say this to each other as much as possible, as long as possible.

Childhood Hero: Benny Hill

Technically, it’s another installment of MisGuidance Theatre, but this is not a silly educational film. It’s much more saucy and amusing.

My dad used to work at a restaurant and when he’s done, it’s about 10pm. Every Saturday, he’d bring home breadsticks and we’d watch Benny Hill on KCOP. We laughed and I was amused at the fast forward sketches and choppy editing. My dad would slap my head like Benny would to Jackie Wright (aka the short bald man). Here is an odd mix: a devout Catholic (later “Born Again Christian”) enjoying the art of the single entendre. When the Thames ident comes on, it’s a signal that it’s gonna be a great show. In fact, whenever I hear the Thames ident, I would run to the source and hope the show is worth watching.

I would catch Benny Hill whenever I can, and I was sad when network television stopped showing the episodes. One day, I was looking through the TV Guide and I thought it said “Benny Hill.” Then I tuned it and it was Benny Hinn. Hill was much more entertaining. You seen the Hill’s Angels? When I saw In Living Color, I said to my family that the Hill’s Angels were the original Fly Girls.

I was thrilled to learn that he was featured on Comedy Central in the early morning, so I would watch it in the morning during vacation. So, one Sunday, I programmed the VCR so it can record the show and I slept in the living room instead of my room. Several hours later, there was an earthquake and I was safe. It was the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. When we were cleared to enter the apartment, I noticed that there were broken glass on my bed. So I credited Benny Hill for avoiding injury.

Here is a very funny clip, a “How Not To” guide on making movies, with real bad editing and continuity errors. It’s funnier than Manos: The Hands of Fate. Here it is, “The Police Raid in Waterloo Station”.

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