Friday, April 30, 2004


Big night tonight.....

Leafs-Flyers, Game 4. BIG GAME! I can safely say that I will be incommunicado from 7 - 10 PM.

Before the song list is revealed, a cool note from The Digital Bits:

In other news today, the Lord of the Rings fan site The One has posted a new interview with New Line's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Matt Lasorsa, about plans for the Return of the King: Extended Edition. Matt's a good guy - we've met him many times before - and this is a good (if brief) interview in that you get some solid facts about future Rings DVD plans. Definitely check it out if you're interested in the 4-disc DVD. The gist is that the 4-disc version is due "just before Christmas 2004". Look for the extended version to be over four hours long, featuring extended scenes and dialogue, as well as new scenes involving Faramir, the fate of Saurman, the Mouth of Sauron at the Black Gate and more. As far as a possible "Mega Box Set" of the extended versions of the whole Trilogy, it's at least 2 years away, and will likely feature all-new content created with Peter Jackson's participation.

Having said all this, I'm still buying the theatrical release on May 25th. I can't wait until November/December to renew my relationships with the LOTR characters.

The latest song list:

Sussudio (an easy one to start you off) - Phil Collins
Paranoimia - Art of Noise (the Max Headroom tune)
Hey Ladies - Beastie Boys
Oops Up - SNAP!
Brilliant Disguise - The Boss
Metal Queen (today's Canadian content) - Lee Aaron (thought this on would be tougher)
Silent Lucidity - Queensryche (4 stars on this one Amy)
Cherish - I was thinking of Madonna's version, but Al and Amy named the Kool and the Gang version, so points for that answer
Pump Up The Volume - MARRS
How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths

More later...................

Thursday, April 29, 2004



Leafs 4 - Flyers 1

.....and, of course, I didn't see any of it.

Oh well, good for the Leafs showing some spirit and getting the Flyers back on their heels. Repeat the process on Friday and we get us a good ol' best of 3.

Couldn't watch the game last night as I had an amazing visit with Pastor Lane last night. As always, he was willing to listen to what I had to say and we had a great discussion that set some hard targets for some exciting stuff. Gonna be a great summer/fall at Philpott.

Stayed up last night to watch 24. Y'know, I don't think I've ever had an actual "hate" for a bad guy in a show, but I'm working up to one now. Stephen Saunders is one bad man, and it's a shame they're probably going to have to kill him off at season end, because he'd be a good nemesis to bring back in the future (MUCH better than Nina). Shockingly ham-handed writing, though, when it came to Chloe, who was clearly marked as a traitor. It's not like the writers to be so obvious, but then again they could be setting the viewers up for a swerve and the bad guy is really Adam. I especially liked the way they set the last 30 minutes up as if Saunders was going to try to snatch his daughter back (and get Kim in the deal), but he was really targeting Michelle the whole time. I said it before and I'll say it season of the show, hands down. And it was just announced that they've been renewed for next year.

I'm having lots of fun with these '80's quizzes, even if Austin was too busy playing with Lego to listen to the radio. Here's some more dandies from the archives:

Sussudio (an easy one to start you off)
Hey Ladies
Oops Up
Brilliant Disguise
Metal Queen (today's Canadian content)
Silent Lucidity
Pump Up The Volume
How Soon Is Now?

Answers Friday. Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


The answers revealed (again)........

Before I do, condolences to any Habs fans out there. That loss last night was a killer. Hope they can bounce back, but those kind of losses in the playoffs can be really demoralizing.

Top Jimmy - Van Halen (good on ya, Al!)
Fire Woman - The Cult (Al's 2-for-2, sadly he bottomed out here)
Love Plus One (bonus points if you get that one) - Haircut One Hundred
One Thing Leads To Another - The Fixx (one for Amy)
The Things We Do For Love (may be late '70s) - 10cc
Wouldn't It Be Good - Nik Kershaw
Moments In Love (could be drifting to the early '90s here) - Art of Noise (2 for Amy)
The More You Live, The More You Love - A Flock of Seagulls
Don't Walk Past (Tonight's Canadian content - double bonus for this one) - Blue Peter

Amy, in response to your question, I actually own all of the albums upon which you can find these songs. My brain is a respository of useless information, much of it contained in the thousand or so albums (cassettes, vinyl, CD's) that can be found scattered throughout our home.

I'll bring you a new collection of obscure '80s tunes to mull over tomorrow.


Monday, April 26, 2004


Whoops! One more thing

Something some of you may not know is how many of us know each other. Allow me to elaborate:

In 1984, I took on a job at Copps Coliseum working in their food service. Around 1986, this guy with VERY long hair named Jay Forderer was hired. Said about 3 words total in the first year he was there. Shortly thereafter, a young lady named Amy Sloan was hired and rapidly ascended the corporate ladder tto earn the coveted job of "Condiment Girl". While delivering mustard, relish and jalapeno peppers to Concession Stand 3, she often crossed paths with young Jay, in his 3-color polyester work shirt. Jay was responsible for managing the largest concession stand in the joint.

Shortly after the opening of the Coliseum a young kid named Rob McCann was hired. I wound up meeting a buddy of his, Greg Baran, at a restaurant we both worked at in Hess Village one summer. I got Greg a job at Copps and he eventually brought in his buddy, Al Baker, to work there.

Fast forward about 10 years.

Jason and Joanne Silver are hired to serve as Worship Leaders at Philpott and wind up moving into a place where they become neighbors to A lovely young couple, Jay and Amy Forderer who, at the time, have one son, Sam and and another on the way. Around the same time, another couple, Al and Cindy Baker, show up at Philpott.

And now we all blog together. Although we can thank Austin and Jason for starting that trend.

Small world, no?


Where do I start tonight......

First I want to share with all of you what a great weekend we had in the Benallick household.

It all began on Friday, as Christine and I enjoyed a wonderful, adults-only evening with Doug and Tanya Dolbear. We ate a great meal and then sat around and chatted until 10:30. We moved on to Saturday, which was busy (errands in the morning, yardwork in the afternoon) but capped by a wonderful dinner for two at La Spaghett on Upper James. If you like homemade Italian, this is the place to go. A bit pricey, but worth every penny. Oma and Opa looked after Aidan and Christine and I sat in a quiet restaurant taking our time over a great meal.

Capped it all off on Sunday by having a great morning at church, which saw T-Sound (in my opinion) raise the bar on their performance skills with their new song. God was really working with us, as it was probably the most challenging song we've ever done and, hopefully, God was able to use it to touch hearts in a powerful way. I really love singing with T-Sound. I cannot think of a ministry that has given me more joy and satisfaction in the 9 years since I was saved.

But gets better.

Oma and Opa served up an awesome midday meal (roast beef, mashed taters, homemade strawberry shortcake) that was devoured after church. Then, we came home.......

......and all SLEPT from 4 - 6 PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This weekend, God knew exactly what our little family needed. A little rest, good fellowship, quiet time for Christine and I and GOOD, LONG NAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, onto other things.

I really want to talk a bit more about last night's Leaf game. I was disappointed that they lost. However, I was pleased with the effort. I think the Leafs are going to do some damage Wednesday night, especially if they can play the bulk of the game like they did the 3rd period. I think Robert Esche (the Philly goalie) can be beat and the Leafs just need to get to him good for one game to rattle his confidence. I thought everyone except Antropov and Kaberle played well and it was good to see Sundin back. That behind-the-back pass he made to spring Wilm on a breakaway in the third brought me to my feet. Too bad such a beautiful pass had to land on the stick of a guy with cement hands. Oh, well. Another good effort by Eddie and Domi had another good game and continues to earn my respect by being a real role model for anyone who coasts through a shift. No time for that in the playoffs and Domi's showing everyone what the phrase "playoff hockey" means. Haing said that, when one of your "goons" is the best player on the ice, you're really just making excuses for why your team isn't winning.

Last week's issue of Business Week has some very thought-provoking stuff on the latest events in Iraq. Now I usually don't sojourn into politics, since I don't have the time to do near enough research to fully support any thoughts I may have, but I'm letting what the writers at Business Week have to say percolate in my brain. Who knows, this may be enough to finally make me pay Instapundit a visit. Once I have a formulated position, I may write something, if only to trigger some back-and-forth with my good friend, Austin.

I'm PSYCHED about 24 tomorrow night. As one of the other blogs I read, which is written by a fellow from the prairies named Scott Keith (Warning: Strong Language), it looks like they're building towards a downer ending that could make the end of Season 1 look positively Christmas-cheery. We'll have to see.

Before I exit, here's a few more '80s tunes upon which to test your brain:

Top Jimmy
Fire Woman
Love Plus One (bonus points if you get that one)
One Thing Leads To Another
The Things We Do For Love (may be late '70s)
Wouldn't It Be Good
Moments In Love (could be drifting to the early '90s here)
The More You Live, The More You Love
Don't Walk Past (Tonight's Canadian content - double bonus for this one)

Answers on Wednesday.

See ya.


The answers revealed..........

But, before we do that, may I just say to my beloved Leafs: Good effort, try harder.

The answers are:

The Politics of Dancing Re-Flex
Tenderness General Public (Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger of the English Beat)
Mother's Talk Tears for Fears
I Go To Pieces Paul Janz (Canadian talent. Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
The Glamorous Life Sheila E.
Looking for a New Love Jody Watley
19 Paul Hardcastle

More later. BTW, I went 24 hours without going on the computer, much to the shock of my wife.

Have a good one.

Saturday, April 24, 2004


Pops 'n' Buzzes

.....floating around in my skull.

So I got my hands on the first CSI computer game. Holy smokes, is it addictive. I've played 2 of the 5 cases on the game and so far have burned up 5 hours over three days. Methinks I may need a break tomorrow. Actually, Christine's threatening to bet me I can't stay off the computer for an entire day. Might be worthwhile taking her up on that one :-).

I'm having fun checking out Amy's blog with all her references to fun '80's songs and it got me thinking about a few tunes I went out of my way to find, like:

The Politics of Dancing
Mother's Talk
I Go To Pieces (Which I heard on JACK-FM today)
The Glamorous Life
Looking for a New Love

Now, let's see who's got the heads full of knowledge to name the singers. You have until Monday morning, at which time I shall reveal all.

Off day tomorrow. GO LEAFS GO! T-Sound's busting out a new piece in Service 2 tomorrow, so it might be worthwhile to come out and hear it. It'll either be amazing or cause people's ears to bleed. It's all in God's hands.


Thursday, April 22, 2004



One of the signs of good entertainment is its ability to wake you up when you're tired. Case in point, if I'm laying on the couch watching sports (with the exception of the Leafs in the playoffs), I guarantee I'll be asleep within 30 minutes.

Last night, I nodded off in my easy chair before Aidan went to bed. After he and Christine called it a night, I still had a bunch of chores to do around the house (dishes, clean cat boxes, tidy the family room, laundry). I finished those at about 11:30 last night and was ready to crash. Then I thought, I still haven't watched the last two episodes of 24 yet.

At 1 AM, I was still awake.

This year, I thought the show was losing steam based on the first 6 episodes. However, the intensity level at this stage is the highest I ever remember. I was shocked when they actually went through with the killing of Ryan Chappelle, a character I was really starting to like. The whole thing at the hotel is a major downer and I suspect that the viewer will be rewarded with some real "highs" after such intense lows when the season wraps in 6 more weeks.

Kim (Jack's daughter) is back in the picture in a big way and I think it may come down to some kind of showdown involving Jack, Saunders and their daughters, which should lead to a few tense moments.

Great shows this week. Can't wait for next Tuesday.

Leafs-Philly, Game 1 tonight. We'll see how the series will play out based on tonight, I suspect. GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Interesting sidenote: Senators fired Jacques Martin this morning. I can't say I'm surprised. I had a feeling that the coach that lost the battle of Ontario this year would be out of a job.

Have a good one. Enjoy the awesome weather.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


I love it when I'm wrong......

4-1 Toronto.

How sweet it is.

Tie Domi, you win my respect after a great performance tonight. Patrick Lalime, thank you for once again restoring my faith in your inability to win the big game. Daniel Alfredsson, good riddance. See you next year and we'll do it all again.

I refer you to my earlier predictions:

Ottawa-Toronto is a bloodbath, but Eddie's the difference and the Leafs advance in 7.

Darn RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die.

Y'know, I had a conversation with one of my co-workers this morning and we got to talking about the low scoring in this series. Now, I admit to speaking pretty loose after Game 6, but I think I understand a bit better today. Ottawa and Toronto are mirror images of each other in nearly every way, especially how they run their offense. Both teams love to "cycle" the puck (A strategy requiring a number of passes behind the net in an effort to get the other team to chase. Once the chase is underway, free someone up in front for a shot on goal). It's a strategy that does not work if the defensive team is aggressive in their bodychecking and keeps forwards pinned to the boards, which both teams did.

In order to adjust, teams need to take more shots from the boards and the slot, trying to create rebounds and traffic in front of the net. That's a bit jarring to a team who has been loyal to a specific strategy year round. As a result, Eddie got to see just about everything, got a few posts here and there and made more than a few miraculous saves.

Now, Philly.................

Oh, man, this will be tough. Philly plays 180 degrees opposite of Ottawa. They love to bang and crash, create traffic in front of the goal, look for rebounds and collect junk goals. The Leafs have to play much tougher and faster against Philly to have a chance. A return by Sundin and Nolan would also help. But that's tomorrow's worry. Tonight, it's time to savor the moment and look forward to all kinds of possibilities in the future.

But, MAN, is the woofin' going to get loud in the office the next two weeks.

Back later with a 24 update.


Monday, April 19, 2004


Remind Me Again..........

......why I'm a Leafs fan?

Y'know, it's a good thing Eddie B's 12 kinds of awesome. Otherwise, last night's game probably wouldn't have even happened. Last night, Belfour carried the team to double OT, making a few saves that defied physics. I was on the edge of my seat all game, hoping that the REAL Maple Leafs would show up, not this alternate-reality version that's played the first round. The Leafs are using, I believe, the following game plan:

1. Play at the top of their game until the first goal is scored.
2. If the Leafs score the first goal, let the other team take shots at Belfour at will until either a) the game is tied or b) the game is over.
3. If the Senators score first, let them continue taking shots at Belfour until the game is out of reach and then try to start a brawl.

Good plan there, Patty boy!

I will be rooted to the sofa tomorrow tonight, cheering for the Leafs and hoping that Quinn will take off the leash and LET THEM PLAY! I have a sinking feeling, though, that we are about to see a redux of the 7th game display Toronto put on against Philly last year.

If that happens and the Leafs get turfed, John Ferguson Jr.'s schedule for Wednesday should include one item: FIRE PAT QUINN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other thing I'm worried about is the crowd at the ACC tomorrow night. I hope that they come ready to cheer, as opposed to the regular, elitist crowd at Leaf games, who are content to sit on their hands. One of the things that made last night's game so exciting (and the same can be said for the Montreal-Boston and Calgary-Vancouver games on Saturday) was that the crowds were so amped. Towel-waving, singing, cheering hordes who loved the game and the home team. I find it alarming that I hear louder "Go Leafs Go" chants from the crowd at the Corel Centre than those from the quote-unquote fans at the ACC.

On a tangent, let me just say that the Calgary-Vancouver game Saturday was, quite possibly, the greatest playoff game in recent memory. Coming back from 4-0 to tie the game should count as a moral victory for Calgary and be enough to motivate them tonight. Going to triple-OT was icing on the cake. Hot crowd, great wide-open hockey, super goaltending (don't let the score fool you), clean hits and play. Perfecto. Bet your bottom dollar if the Leafs trailed the Senators 4-0 last night you wouldn't have seen a 4-goal comeback.

Saturday night was another reminder why I love playoff hockey. Sunday night was a reminder of why it's SO FREAKIN' HARD to be a Leafs fan.

Saturday, April 17, 2004



Well, I've been busy. I've added a MESS of links on the right and a Site Meter. Now all I have to do is learn about permanent links and how to set them, and we are in business.

Oh, I'm also no longer on Pacific time. Good for me :-).


Might as well start with the NHL tonight, since it's what I'm going to be talking about for most of my workday on Monday:

- Montreal is a GREAT hockey city. Toronto WISHES they had a crowd like the one at tonight's game. They were cheering, singing, waving towels and raising the roof at the Bell Centre. And the Habs responded, hanging a 5-2 shellacking on Boston and forcing Game 7 on Monday night, which should be a doozy. Crucial game for the Leafs, too, but I'll come back to that.

- My first two missed predictions today, as Philly ousted New Jersey in 5 (which I find stunning) and Colorado had a much easier time than expected, blowing out Dallas in 5. Detroit finished righting the ship today and ran out Nashville in 6. So, I'm 3-for-5 thus far and could make it 4-for-6 in a few hours if Calgary can beat Vancouver and their third-string goalie tonight.

- BIG night for the Leafs tomorrow. Beat Ottawa in Ottawa and call it a series, lose and we get Game 7 Tuesday in T.O. That'll be tough, choosing between Game 7 and 24 at 9 PM, although the wonder that is the VCR helps a lot in that decision. Leaf fans, should T.O. win, will be watching the Montreal game closely. If Boston wins, we get Tampa. If Montreal wins, we get Philly. I prefer Tampa. Although Toronto-Philly will lead to some world-class woofing in my office between a bunch of guys on my floor (myself included). One of these guys is a Philly fan, the rest are GO LEAFS GO, you do the math.

Meant to mention a sad little article I saw in the Metro newspaper Friday. Apparently, a 16-year old boy approached an undercover cop, thinking he was a hitman. He wanted to pay him to kill his mother, which in itself is bad enough. However, it gets worse. Along with the money, a map of his home and a pic of mom, he gave the cop specific instructions to NOT DAMAGE THE FAMILY TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each day God shows me yet another sign that the world is going to hell and we're that much closer to Jesus' return. Can't be soon enough, sez I.

24 is on tomorrow night, and I will have to remember to tape it. This is my new note-to-self service.

Started Warren's Purpose-Driven Life today and read Chapter 1. God has a purpose for my life and that's different than goal-setting. I found this to be a very interesting concept. One day, I'll make sure to put up the story of how I got into Mac's MBA program, which was all the proof I needed to find out that God had a plan for me. I'm excited to see what this book will do in helping me to see God's purpose for my life.

See y'all tomorrow morning.

Friday, April 16, 2004


Quelle semaine!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wher do I begin......Aidan was sick the beginning of the week. He shared it with Mom, who's now sleeping upstairs and unable to breathe. I got a brief taste of this mid-week, but it hasn't progressed beyond an occasional sneezing fit. So I can live with that.

Good news for the family though, as Aidan officially graduated out of McMaster's Growth and Development program. Those of you reading who aren't aware of the story, Aidan was 10 weeks preemie when he was born in 2001. He weighed all of 2 lbs. 9 oz. (1146 grams) and was slightly longer than my hand from wrist to fingertip. As a result, he was followed pretty closely by G&D (every 3 months in yr.1, every 6 months in yr. 2 and our last visit). They're happy, we're happy, everybody's happy. Of course, they still haven't completed a couple of drug studies Aidan was in (there was a caffeine study and a family life study), but I suspect these things NEVER end.

My aunt (my Mom's sister-in-law) is up for a visit from Massachussets this week and dropped in tonight. We had been warned she was coming a few weeks ago and, of course, promptly forgot about it until yesterday, when Mom called to say they would be dropping by tonight. Naturally, something crops up at work today and I'm late getting home. Nothing like trying to scarf down dinner in 5 minutes before company arrives. Oh, well. Such are the joys of a commuter's life.

I'm doing OK on my hockey predictions so far. Nailed the T-Bay win in five, called the San Jose series but missed on the number of games (I said 6, only went 5). I'm in deep trouble on the Jersey and Dallas series and won't get the game count right in a few others, but not a bad bit of prognosticatin' thus far. UGLY Leafs game tonight, though. Glad I missed the first period and about 8 minutes of the 2nd. Eddie's the MAN, though. And I'll keep saying it, too.

Some fun reading on other blogs lately. Amy, listen to Al. Try the Kreme-filled KK's. They are top-notch. Thursdays used to be a pretty special time around the office, as someone kicked in every week for three dozen KK's for the staff. The person who picked them up has, sadly, left the floor. The person picking them up now is getting the crap from Timmy's and it just isn't the same.

Although Tim's Maple Walnut muffin is a marvy treat. I cannot BELIEVE I just wrote the word "marvy".

Liked Al's little note about Q-107's Van Halen cage match. I am personally a Van Hagar aficionado. Nothing against Diamond Dave and the party era, I just find version 2.0 to be a whole lot more musical. Giving Eddie that second guitar player allowed them to create some cool sonics that just weren't possible in the old days. "Balance", the last Hagar album, had some of VH's best tunes ever including an amazing instrumental, "Baluchytherium". Having said that, the best individual songs are definitely back in the DLR days, with cool tunes like "Jump", "Little Guitars", "Jamie's Cryin'" and "Unchained", to name just a few.

Jason and I have been having a good little conversation over the last few days. I don't think I will meet many worship leaders like Jason as I move through life. He really is responsible for the deep appreciation I have for the power of music and how God can wield that power to such great effect. Keep smilin', my brother.

Anyways, gotta boogie. I should try to get some sleep before Aidan wakes up. Before I go, two things....Austin, I'll be praying for you, my friend. And I'll be making some journal/diary like posts over the next few months. I've started reading "The Purpose Driven Life" and I think I'm going to use this blog to post my thoughts and feelings on the chapters as I read them. I'll try not to get TOO personal.

Later, gators.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Flipping through Metro News this morning and I see this ad for tonight's episode of 24:

"Which CTU agent is Dead?"

OOOOOH! I like the possibilities here. Could be Chappelle, who's supposed to have a run-in with the Pres tonight. Could be Michelle, but I really think she's going to be immune and they won't use up her death with 6 hours of dramatic tension to go. Could be Chloe, which won't cause me any sadness.

Of course, I expect that it'll be Gael, who actually died LAST week. But who says there's truth in advertising?

Spooky little item here. I don't follow hockey (apart from the Leafs) that closely, but as you may recall, I made a few predictions for the playoffs. Turns out one of CNN-SI's writers made first-round predictions awfully close to mine (he picked St. Louis and Colorado, I chose San Jose and Dallas). See for yourself..

Finally, regarding my beloved Leafs. Two years ago, I spent a substantial amount of time complaining to anyone who would listen that the Leafs were nuts signing Ed Belfour. I freely eat my words. Eddie, you are THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, April 09, 2004


Good Friday. Or, as I heard it so wisely put by Dwayne Cline this morning, GREAT Friday.

My mom has, over the last few weeks, completed the transition from the Church she called home for nearly 20 years (Philpott Memorial Church) and moved on to a new home, West Highland Baptist Church. She invited the whole family to attend their Good Friday service, which is actually co-ordinated between 8 local baptist churches. Pastor Cline, who pastors Hughson Street Baptist, delivered an absolutely AWESOME message explaining why Good Friday should be called Great Friday, as Jesus put paid to all of our sins past, present and future. His powerful illustrations and obvious love of God created in me a renewed spirit.

Which was nothing compared to the challenge put forth by Pastor Deric Bartlett. He seriously questioned why the modern Church couldn't deliver the message of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. He posits that the Church, in its desire to reach out to the unchurched, have pushed the Cross to the background. I agree.

The Message of the Cross is not an easy one to hear. It says that we as humans are unable to do enough to satisfy God. We are ALL sinners who, as it says in the book of Romans (Romans 3:23, to be exact, caps mine):

"For ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God".

It doesn't matter if the sin is "small" or "large". In God's eyes, a person who shares a bit of gossip over coffee is just as guilty as a mass murderer. So, if that's the case, what are we to do? This world of ever-increasing temptation leads us into sin more and more and we are slowly becoming deluded by the "good person" argument (i.e. "I am a good person, kind to everyone, charitable, good spouse, loving parent. Nothing wrong with me.") that we can use to tell ourselves we're OK.

Not in God's eyes.

That's why we need the Cross. Romans 5:8 says "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us". Substitute your name for "us" to help drive it home. Romans 8:1 (one of my favorite verses) states that there is " condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". BOO-YAH, says I. The love of God and the Holy Spirit is a transformational power which, when asked for with an open heart, is freely given. When Christ hung from the Cross for 6 hours one Friday (tm Max Lucado), he completed the work of his earthly Ministry, taking on every single failure of every single person and accepting God's wrath for us. Mel said it in his interview with Diane Sawyer:

DS: "Who killed Christ"
MG: "I did"

So did I and so did every other human who has walked, is walking and will walk this earth until Christ's gloriuos return, as foretold in Revelations. We are all guilty of murder, but Christ wants to forgive us and then stand in the gap for us when God asks us why we did the things we did, forcing Him to send His own Son to death.

If that's not a transformational message, I don't know what is.

See, a seeker is looking for something different. They're tired of the ways of the world. I know this because that was my experience back in 1995. I had a string of fractured and dysfunctional relationships trailing behind me, I wasn't really going anywhere and I needed to find a direction. In other words, I was ready to be transformed. Steve Baldry, along with my parents and my brother and sister, introduced me to the Cross and the transformational love of Jesus Christ. I was hit between the eyes with a challenging message and saw it for what it was. Sure I was skeptical, angry and resistant, but that was the guilt that Satan puts in the heart when one is confronted with the real truth.

Today, we're trying much too hard to avoid being confrontational with the Gospel. We put on message-free events, create services that make little mention of the name of Jesus Christ, wrap it up in a snazzy package and make everything nice and presentable to the masses. My question is, should we? The road Christ walks is rough, gravel-covered and filled with potholes. It is not an easy life. Along each side of the road, Satan has placed nice, soft grass to walk on. It's comfortable and, if you're tired, you can lie down and get comfy. People need to see that, even though it's nice and soft on the sidelines, there's something special about following the leader along the gravelly, potholed road. We need to convince them that, while it's uncomfortable and painful and long, the reward at the end will be much better. Instead, I think we're drifting onto the grass to make our argument and finding that it's kind of nice having one foot off the road and, maybe, it might not be a bad idea to walk on the grass, just for a little while.

The metaphor's not the best, but I think it makes the point.

Don't lose sight of the Cross. It's important to reach out, but before we reach, we need to make sure we are well-tethered to those two pieces of wood upon which our sin AND our forgiveness is hung.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004


LOTS of goodies today.

Item 1 - NHL playoffs start tonight!!!!!

In a related news item, my wife is considering applying for widow's benefits. Here's my predictions:

Eastern Conference

Round 1
Tampa has an easy time with the Islanders. 10 points for Martin St. Louis and Lightning in 5.
Jose Theodore puts the Habs on his back and carries them past the Bruins in 6.
Martin Brodeur is better than Sean Burke and Robert Esche combined and New Jersey blows past Philly in 6
Ottawa-Toronto is a bloodbath, but Eddie's the difference and the Leafs advance in 7.

Round 2
Tampa can't solve Jose Theodore and Montreal shocks the #1 seed in the East in 6.
Toronto finally figures out New Jersey and advances in 7.

Round 3
Toronto and Montreal have a dandy little series that sees Mats Sundin score the series winner in double overtime in Game 7.

Western Conference

Round 1
Detroit learns their lesson about taking #8 seeds lightly and blows out Nashville in 5
Vancouver fails to remember their lessons about goalie Dan Cloutier and bow to Calgary in 6
St. Louis stays as inconsistent as they've been all year in losing to San Jose in 6
Dallas and Colorado have an awesome series, going 7 before Bill Guerin wins the series for Dallas.

Round 2
Detroit, now on a hot streak, blows out Calgary in 4
Dallas and San Jose play a 7 game series of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 games before Dallas advances.

Round 3
Dallas' tank is empty and Detroit is still revvin'. Red Wings in 5.

Stanley Cup Final
Oh, how I want the Leafs to win this. Not this year. The Wings send their veterans packing after a glorious 6-game series. In the final game, Hull, Shanahan and Yzerman each contribute two points in a 5-3 win. The Wings win another Cup and begin dismantling their high-priced roster before the strike starts.

Item 2 - 24 brings the awesome again.

The first 20 minutes were a little slow, but who cares? The season takes a major turn for the dark as we introduce a suicide solution at the hotel, Ryan acquires a bullseye and a Jack v. Palmer showdown looks to be looming on the horizon. I am absolutely digging Ryan's character as he has moved into CTU's reality seat normally occupied by Tony. Tony and Michelle have the starring role right now in the ending and I find I'm enjoying things more with Jack, for now, in a kinda secondary role. You better believe he's coming to the front in three weeks, after we determine that Michelle's one of the few immune to the virus. RIP, Gael. You had a rough day.

Item 3 - American Idol

How did John Stevens get this far? If you watched last night, I hope your ears have recovered from his wretched Crocodile Rock. On the plus side, George Huff's rendition of Take Me To The Pilot rocked bells. This guy is this year's winner, no doubt.

Item 4 - Bill Gates

Bill Gates has dropped the title of world's richest man, surrendering it to the founder of IKEA. In short, the guy who designed Windows is taking a backseat to the man who covers them. That joke, of course, bites if IKEA doesn't actually sell window coverings anymore.

Item 5 - DVD News

Everybody Loves Raymond Season 1 and CSI Miami Season 1 are coming in June. You better believe I'll be checking used stores like mad in the winter for them. And don't forget the original Star Wars trilogy in September. Check out the post today at The Digital Bits for information on extras.

Lastly, where is everyone? All the blogs I check daily have had hardly any posts in the last few days. I NEED MY FIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If anyone needs me, I'll be in rehab.


Monday, April 05, 2004


Oh, I have a lot of ground to cover today.

First things first, one of the pastors at Al Baker's.
church has created a great blog called Stations of the Cross. Go visit at Stations of the Cross.

If my attempts at setting links fails, Al's blog is and Stations of the Cross can be found at

I know, I should have this basic stuff mastered. I have to go back and relearn my HTML and I am inherently lazy about these types of things.

Second, the NHL playoffs start this week and I am STOKED about the Leafs' chances this year. Their 6-0 win over a shockingly uninspired Ottawa team was a thing of beauty and I hope it's a harbinger of things to come in the next two weeks. The Leafs look pretty serious about things and I'm loving the fact that all of their traded-deadline pickups are contributing (Calle Johansson contributed 3 assists in the Ottawa win and Ron Francis chipped in the first goal of the game). Eddie B.'s back seems to be holding up, too. Looks like he knew what he was talking about when he said it was better to rest it for a month in February than push to regular season glory and flame out in the playoffs. Wise man. After all, nobody remembers who wins the President's trophy (well, unless you're a Detroit fan).

Third, the Junos went down last night and we see once again just how much talent there is on the Canadian music landscape. According to those outside Canada, we have pretty much two music talents of note: Shania and Celine. I don't consider EITHER of them talented, but at least Shania can sing pretty ballads (I really like that new song she has on the radio). But then we hit the Junos and Shania won the one she was supposed to win (Best Country Album) and then it's clear the decks for the real talent, as Sarah McLachlan (whose music I've liked since her first single, "Vox"), Sam Roberts, Nickelback and Nelly Furtado took over. I REALLY like Nelly's song, Powerless. It's just such a happy song that gives me such a lift whenever I hear it. It was absolutely the right choice for Single of the Year. My only beefs with the awards were giving 50 Cent International Album of the Year as Canada falls prey to the U.S.'s problem of giving out awards to rap's Flava of the Month, and no recognition to the Barenaked Ladies, who have a great single out there in Another Postcard (Chimps) and, I think, deserved a little something, although they are running against the high-flying Nickelback. Oh, well.

Finally, I have to vent about our economic structure in North America and the world. There was a little story in today's paper about how unions for Air Canada employees were digging in their heels against the company's need to further cut jobs and pensions. For those not in the know, Air Canada is in bankruptcy. A white knight, Victor Li, made an offer to buy the national carrier and lead it out of bankruptcy, but the unions refused his overtures. This is a common lament shared by a number of large corporations who are headed for big trouble.

You see, when companies expanded during the baby boom era, they had huge payrolls and thought nothing of giving the boomers the same pension/benefit packages the boomers' parents had received. Unions saw companies growing and becoming more profitable, so why shouldn't workers get a decent share of the pie? Makes sense, no?


Today, every company is battling on a number of fronts and are seeing the very real possibility of any future profits being flushed by their pension commitments to those same boomers, who are about to start stampeding toward retirement. Today's company is forced to live on razor-thin margins thanks to the Wal-Martization of our economy. In order to ensure there is enough money in the pension coffers to meet the obligations of retirees who gave their best years to these companies, management is forced to find savings in such dirty practices as "offshoring" and "outsourcing". Not to mention the push for higher productivity gains from technology. We are a society that wants things at the lowest possible price, while earning the highest possible wage. Something's a little bit out of whack here.

You see, a big part of the problem is that we, as a society, largely suck at saving money. I know, I used to be that way. We live in houses beyond our means, drive two (or more) cars, and dump money into all kinds of things that we think are necessary, but really aren't (I mean, really, if you need 100+ channels of TV to find something to watch, aren't you getting a LITTLE BIT over-selective). We don't bat an eye at a family night out to the movies that now runs close to $100. For crying out loud, BUY the DVD for $25 and add in $5 for microwave popcorn and a bottle of soda. You'll save $70 and your feet won't stick to the floor. We expect that the Government and our company will cover us for the future, assuming we live that long.

I have news for you.

That measly 2% of income you're contributing to the company pension plan. NOT ENOUGH. The 4% contributed to CPP? NOT ENOUGH. Assuming that the amount is matched, you will be living on 12% of your current income. That's a gross oversimplification of the argument, but it makes the point. The company is MORE than matching your pension contribution and is about to slowly go broke honoring its commitments to our parents. Especially when you consider that the majority of people are living into their 80s and beyond. Don't try to tell me that companies were planning to support their retirees for 20 years or longer.

Compounding this problem is the fact that many pension funds took a BATH when the stock market tanked a few years ago. Canadian pension plans took massive hits when Nortel cratered and are, just now, getting back to where they were in the latter half of the 90's. Once the drawdowns begin in earnest on pensions, drug plans (and don't think for a second THAT will be cheap) and other medical plans, corporate profits will dwindle and that will mean cost-cutting. Or, like Air Canada, insolvency. We live in a global village, where China and Japan cheat on valuing their dollar so they can flood markets with the low-price imports we so dearly love to buy at the local Wal-Mart. They also can pay their workers one-tenth of what we pay ours and they'll think they're living like princes. Companies aren't dumb and they'll do what their capitalistic hearts will always do, find the lowest-cost, best-quality solution in order to protect their bottom line.

The love of money is the root of all evil. If you think corporations are evil now, wait'll the money begins to evaporate.

The solution? SAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My wife learned at her father's knee. My father-in-law is one of the wisest men I know. He appreciates the value of a buck, lives sensibly and has taught us both the importance of socking away money for the future. We have savings plans already started for Aidan, so he (and we) won't go broke paying for University. I'm not trying to paint myself as some renaissance man. I have my money weaknesses too (namely a (un)healthy love for movies and music), but I have a God who convicts me when I'm not honoring my commitments by making my wife confront me with the reality that is our checkbook. It comes down to this: depending on others to provide for our future while being a poor steward of the gifts God provides us today is a recipe for disaster.

Sorry, long post. I'll try to make the next one shorter.

God bless.

Thursday, April 01, 2004


A while back, I stated that I was going to do little capsule reviews of stuff I was watching, listening to or reading. Well, reading has been at the forefront of late, as I've been getting absorbed in Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Church", which is very interesting. However, I just finished John Grisham's "The Last Juror" and I'm happy to say that Grisham's BACK!!!!!!

I have read every Grisham book except "Skipping Christmas". However, my interest in his books had really dropped off with the last run of stuff he wrote. While I loved "A Painted House" and thought "Bleachers" was OK, his last three "Grishams" ("The Brethren", "The King of Torts" and "The Summons") were, in my opinion, atrocious. John Grisham has the distinction of being the only author to make me cry while reading, which happened at the end of "The Chamber".

Well, it happened again.

Without going into a great deal of detail, "Juror" takes the reader back to the fictional small town of Clanton, Mississippi. Clanton is recognized by veteran Grishamites as the setting for Grisham's first and (what I consider) best book, "A Time To Kill". Many of the characters from that book appear here. The driving force of the story is the editor of the local newspaper, Willie Traynor, and the rather nasty trial of one Danny Padgitt. The book starts fast, setting up the trial in the first 50 pages, moves quickly through the trial and then spends the second half examining life in Clanton after the trial.

The book is an interesting juxtaposition for Grisham, as the first half reads like one of his earlier, fast-paced legal thrillers while the second half is a more laid-back, "Painted House" type of approach. However, the transition is smooth, something you wouldn't expect from a mass-market author like Grisham. Unlike his previous three novels, which I actively disliked, this one gives you three-dimensional characters that are very easy to invest in. Traynor, Callie Ruffin and her family and even the darker characters (the Padgitts, Hank Hooten and Lucien Wilbanks) are given a more complex structure than is typically seen in Grisham's world. I confess to being a bit weepy at the end (with good reason), and that comes from being able to really relate to the characters.

To be sure, Grisham, like any "mass-media" author, isn't deep reading and may not be your cup of espresso. But if you've read him before and gotten away, I suggest you try coming back. You'll likely find it worth your while.