A Christian Christmas?

Isn't that redundant? I mean, Christmas (from Christ Mass) is a Christian holiday. Isn't it?

I don't know anymore. Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem as the promised messiah sent by God to save the world. The overriding concept is that Jesus allowed himself to be limited by human flesh in order to give hope to all mankind. It's not about GETTING gifts but rather GIVING them.

In so-called Christian nations like the United States & Canada even secular people recognize that Christmas is more about commercialism & and consumerism than peace & joy. Jesus has been supplanted with Santa Claus.

So much so that major retailers make their employees say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas for fear of somehow offending someone? Just a few years ago city hall took down their Christmas tree for fear it would offend non-Christians. Surprisingly it was Muslim's who finally told the city to stop being so ridiculous.

Some Christians simply abstain from Christmas, claiming it was never a Christian holiday to begin with. We don't know exactly what year Jesus was born, let alone what month or day. So December 25th (or January 7th) is just as likely Jesus' birthday as much as any other day of the year. Actually, since our present calendar system didn't exist in Jesus' time it is impossible.

In truth, Christmas was originally a pagan holiday. It was modified to make it easier for Christians to digest. So many conservative/legalistic Christians refuse to celebrate Christmas claiming that it is really a pagan holiday.

I think they're both wrong! And they’re both right! Yes, the western world has made it all about the THINGS. But that doesn't mean you have to be that way too. Make it a season of giving again:
- Do a food drive with your church
- Have your small group sponsor a family in need
- Get involved with Operation Christmas Child
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
- Collect coats and hand them out to the homeless

Regardless of where, when, and how Christmas was started it's what we do NOW that makes it what it is. The Bible says to do everything as if we do it for the Lord. If we celebrate Christmas by celebrating Christ's birth , life, and mission then I don't think God will hold it against you that hundreds of years ago OTHER people venerated the sun on this day.

The truth is in the message of the Bible, the reason Jesus died for us, and the personality of God. And that is redemption. God took murderers like Moses and Paul and used them to accomplish great things. God took the cross, a symbol of shameful and painful death, and turned it into a symbol of everlasting life.

God wants this to be the BEST Christmas for you ever! Will you let him? Well then you have to give it back to Him. Give up the presents, turkey dinner, and family visits. Instead give someone else some of YOU! I guarantee you'll be overflowing with the Christmas Spirit!

B(lessing)'s up!


Ignorance Has A Name

And right now it's "Obama is a muslim". It befuddles me how people can get the truth SO twisted! It's right there for you. All you have to do is look for it.

Recently I heard people mention that they are worried about the next president of the US because he's a muslim. As a Chrstian, like any other group of people, you would want someone in power who reflects your own values, morals, and religion. So it wasn't the fact that they obviously preferred a Christian leader over a Muslim one that took me by surprise. It's the fact President-elect Obama ISN'T a Muslim.

"His name is Barrack Hussein Obama! Of course he's Muslim" was essentially what I heard. The scariest thing I saw recently was "The only difference between Obama & Osama is BS!" How can people of reasonable intelligence be so obtusely ignorant?

You have an opinion on Obama? AWESOME! But CHECK YOUR FACTS!!! The man got heat for racially charged statements made by the pastor of his church in Chicago during the primaries. So much heat that he had to publically leave the church for another more moderate non-denominational church.

Just because the man's father was born into a Muslim family (a confirmed athiest by the time he was in college) doesn't make Barrack Obama Jr. a Muslim. Conversely, just because he goes to church and prosesses to be a Christian doesn't mean he has biblical values and morals. During his interview for Rick Warren's nationally televised 'Civil Forum' on faith & politics made statements about abortion that don't correllate with the accepted Christian view.

It scares me when people latch on to things that are obviously untrue. Something they find shocking and don't spend the time to find the truth for themselves instead of just taking someone else's word for it. It reminds me of 2 Peter 3:5 "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water"


Welcome To The Good Life

Honestly, I know married life is no picnic. But that doesn't make it any less awesome. I love the fact that we have a future together. That by facing it together as a team so many more things are available to us.

It would be VERY nice if making the condo a more livable space with everything in it's proper place and NOT stacked on the bed & in the closet of the spare room.

All in good time!

Oh! And if you're interested in some wedding pictures be sure to check out our webpage: The.Duffyz


All I Want For Christmas Is...

I know. Christmas isn't about 'GETTING STUFF'. I know more than most how true it is that it's better to give than to recieve. But let's face it. We no longer live in a Christian nation but rather a consumer nation. People are more interested in things than the truth.

Also, even if it's better to give to someone else than to recieve a present yourself doesn't mean you don't want to recieve some awesome presents.

Finally, if I write them all down I can't forget them myself! So here we go... my top ten list:

#1 - Russell Peter's new 'Red, White, and Brown' CD/DVD combo - Russell Peters is a super funny comedian. There is a ton of his stuff on Youtube so you can check him out yourself.

#2 - Red vs Blue: The Bloodgulch Chronicles Complete Box Set - This is a kewl show made using the Halo video & voiceovers to create a hilarious show. Also worth a peek on Youtube. The site lets you download low res versions a few episodes at a time. But the full set in HD is WAY better!

#3 - Slam Nation - A DVD chronicalling the 2005 National Poetry Slam competition. It pits Saul Williams against Taylor Mali. Bucketloads of hot sauced word awesomeness!

#4 - Brisingr by Christopher Paolini - It's the 3rd book of the Inheritance Cycle, an adventure series about dragons, elves, dwarves, & magic. The books are well written and really draw you in.

#5 - His Story My Shoes by Precise - A christian hop hop artist from the Shaolin Projects of Staten Island (same area as the Wu-Tang Clan). His flow and rhymes skills are outstanding and outmatched only by his passion to follow Jesus.

#6 - Season 1 of Lost on DVD - For those who don't know it's a dramatic serial about a bunch of people who plane crashed on this island in the south Pacific where they find abandoned scientific facilities, strange people who live there, voices whispering in the jungle, and a monster made of smoke.

#7 - Season 3 of Lost on DVD - Since I already have Season 2 and Season 4 hasn't come out yet!

#8 - Listener & Dust - Just In Time For Christmas - Another awesome Christian hip hop CD

#9 - Beat Rabbi & Deepspace5 - DeepSpace5oul - A hip hop worship CD by a crew of amazingly talented Chritian hip hop artists.

#10 - Realistikk - The Real - This female MC holds it down with tight rhymes & flow, deep topics, but with an edge to it. Be sure to cop be 1st disc 'Secular Stress' if you can.


The Joys of Planning A Wedding

Well it's down to the final count. Only five more days until the wedding! Thankfully everything is pretty much done. We had all the big stuff like picking a date & location done early on. Most of the other major details fell into place as well. Most of the effort has been on the details. Things like the invitations and programs being printed and made just the way you want them. Right now the few details remaining are just juggling the timing of the wedding day, writing our thank you speech, being prepared to go away on our honeymoon for 2 weeks, and how to be organized when we get back.

This last week and past week or so have very much been a blur. Things are going so fast and we've been so busy. It feels like life is on fast forward right now with most of our time (aside from work & sleep) is being taken up by the wedding plans. As distracting as it is being this busy I really think it's better this way. I think if there wasn't stuff going on and being in constant thought & motion about the wedding that I would be a ball of nerves.

As Christine & I have been talking about our wedding day & how fast it seems to be approaching I'm rather glad that I'm not the only one who is all done with details. We both are anxious and can hardly wait. But we're not sure what we are more excited about: The ceremony & reception or the 2 week honeymoon/vacation afterwards? Like if we could somehow hit fast forward and be getting married life would be infinitley easier.

BTW, don't expect a TON of posts while on our honeymoon or when we first get back. But I plan to put up a thing or 2 and maybe make a small update to our google webpage http://the.duffyz.googlepages.com


Creation vs Evolution - The Debate Rages On

Surprisingly, it seems that the teams have switched sides: A prominent scientist calls for creation to be welcomed into the science classroom while the Church of England claims creationism & Darwinism are compatible and offered an apology to Darwin for judging him too quickly.

Last week I was surprised to read an article that Michael Reiss, professor of science education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and director of education at the Royal Society (an old and respected scientific institution), had said that Creationism DOES have a place in the science classroom. Now, He is far from proponent of creationism, intelligent design, or anything other that evolution. Rather he feels that open discussion with students who do believe in origins other than evolution is an approach that a science teacher can hope to at least ensure the students understand the evolutionary position. A rather open minded approach for a proponent of evolution.

However, just a week later a Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown posts articles on the birthday of Charles Darwin celebrating his life and contribution to science and the theory of evolution. All of this on the official Church of England website. Now I know the Anglican church is FAR from evangelical in it's beliefs and practices. But when did the Christian & scientific communities trade places on this issue? While I found Professor Reiss comments to be open minded, honest, and encouraging I find Dr Brown's writing be ignorant fluff more interested in public relations than the pursuit of truth.

He claims:
Whilst it is not difficult to see why evolutionary thinking was offensive at the time, on reflection it is not such an earth-shattering idea. Yes, Christians believe that God became incarnate as a human being in the person of Jesus and thereby demonstrated God’s especial love for humanity. But how can that special relationship be undermined just because we develop a different understanding of the processes by which humanity came to be?

I guess on the surface the concepts seem very compatible. However the biblical & evolutionary worldviews are polar opposites. The bible tells us that God created a perfect world, as a result of mankind sin death entered the world, and now we need to be saved by Jesus. Evolution says that the universe and everything in it created itself through countless generations of things living & dieing they improved through random chance, natural selection, and survival of the fittest. So if you accept evolution as true then death existed long before mankind and isn't a result of our sinful nature, and if you don't have a sinful nature then you don't need Jesus as yopur personal saviour.

The doctor also claims that the theory of evolution has been missaplied to creat the concept moral progress. The basic premise being that, if humans are continuing to evolve physically then the same must be true socially & morally. He then says this misconception of moral progress was the basis for racism or Nazism. He said that Darwins theory on physical evolution was hijacked to create a "social Darwinism". In reality, the concept of physical evolution has social implications. It doesn't have to be hijacked or misapplied (whichever term you prefer) in order to have logical implications on social thought & structure.

The basic concept of evolution is that through natural selection and survival of the fittest a species changes over time (for the good). In other words, animals with weaker traits for survival and reproduction are weeded out of the gene pool while animals with stronger or new more benficial traits garner prominence simply by the fact that they are the ones that live & live longer. Logic therefore dictates that if the species homo sapien sapien (humans) are evolving too then the same must be true about them. By that logic, humans with weaker physical traits are inferior to those with stronger traits. So if someone kills a person with triats deemed to be inferior then that person is simply giving mother nature a helping hand and is actually helping the human race to be better & stronger. This was of course the justification for the slaughter of native americans, slaves and segregation in America, and of course the holocaust.

I wholeheartedly disagree with the biology professor at the univeristy in Kansas, whom he quoted as saying "The kids (who believe evolution to be heresy) know that if they want a good job they need a degree, and if they want a degree they have to work with evolution theory. Creationism is for church, as far as they’re concerned. Here, they’re Darwinists". Honestly, I don't have to believe the world is flat in order to learn that people thought that way, so I don't have to believe in Darwin's conclusions just because it's part of the curriculum. Thankfully the doctor disagrees with the professor as well.

However he does want a rapproachment between Christianity and Darwinism as a matter of integrity. Yes, as Christians we are called to live with integrity. Yes, as Christians we are called to, in love, give people the benefit of the doubt. But first and foremost we called to put our faith in God and His word. When something disagrees with God & His word then we have the freedom, nay, the obligation to rebuke it and disenfranchise ourselves from it. Sadly most Christian churches, groups, and organizations are doing the exact opposite. It's the doctor unknowingly already has his wish.

Since God is the author & creator of all things and truth, good science being the pursuit of truth, then there is one statement he made that I can embrace without question: "Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well."


Olympic Politics

I felt it was important to wait until the Olympics had come to a close before commenting on this issue. So here it is:

In response to criticism of why China got the Olympics, despite its horrible record on human rights, I heard one response say that made me think for a day or 2 before dismissing it. The argument was that the Olympics isn't a forum for politics or politcal agendas. Rather, it has always been, and continues to be, a place where people can set aside cultural and political differences (like wars) and compete against each other in the arena of sports.

When the Olympics was first played and perhaps even when the modern version first began it met or came close to achieving this altruistic goal. But now the Olympics is ENTIRELY about politics.

The people who decide which city/nation will get to host the Olympics have been revealed as nothing but opprotunistic pilferers. They accept numerous gifts and benefits in exchange for their endorsement.

Those who actually base their opinion on proper reasons it usually boils down to infrastructure. The Olympics is SO huge that the city needs to be able to accommodate the influx of hundreds of thousands of athletes and visitors from many different countries, speaking many different languages. It requires action on behalf of the city, provincial, & federal governments (politics) to make sure the infrastructure is there and can handle it.

Then there is the most obvious element of the athletes themselves. Training at the level of an Olympic athelete is an extremely expensive endeavour. Corporate sponsorship can help. But it can only go so far. And seriously, isn't the Olympics supposed to be an amateur competition? Without sustained political pressure for athletic funding & support then a country can't put together a competitively relevant program.

So with all the politics that are invloved in the Olympics, I think it's perfectly fair and relevant to discuss a countries record on human rights issues when determining a city/countries suitability (or lack thereof) as a host city.


Points Are Not The Point

Well, last night I competed at the 2nd Burlington Slam Project. I started off with my new piece "What's The Point?". I only got 25 points I think. An average score of about 8.3, which is okay. But I'd like get some more 9's.

Again I was in last place the second round so I was the last slammer to take the mic. Which normally just means you're nervous all the way until the end. But the band downstiars always seems to start before we are done. This made it a little tough to do a soft touching reading of what I called "The Christmas Love Poem" (the poem I wrote for my then girlfriend and now fiance for a Christmas present). That being said everyone went "AWWW" when I was done. LOL Especially when I kissed my fiance before taking my seat. The judges gave me a 26 point something, which is an average of 8.8 points.

I know they say that "the points are not the point, the poetry is the point". And it's true. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice to place a LIIIIIIITTLE higher than last place each time or maybe even when it!

Come on though, I've only done this three times! I've just started doing this as a hobby. I'm going up against people who have been doing this a LOT longer and have their peieces much more practised and honed. Most of them have their own book, or cd, or have featured at an event! So it's not that I'm epecting to be there already. But like I said, it'd nice to get just a little bit closer.

I know that the biggest thing that's holding me back is MEMORIZATION! Everyone loves my pieces. And NO! not just my fiance, friends, & family saying so (though they do and seem genuinely surprised when I get low scores). All the poets and performers I look up to and admire have approached me and said so. I've even had a few say that I have "presence" on stage and that it would come across so much more if I was able to get off the page.

So when it comes down to me getting higher scores and possibly winning or getting accolades and compliments from other poets, I prefer the latter! However, I'd also like to be complimented on my stage presence too. So it's a good that the wedding planning, day & honeymoon are going to keep me too busy for another slam in the next couple months. That way, the next time I hit the mic for a poetry slam, I'll have the pieces down pat.


I'm A REAL Writer

They say that a true writer/poet is never finished editing their work. We are our own worst critics and won't statisfied until it's absolutely perfect. I guess this means I've arrived.

I sat down to write a new poem today. And I did! However, I borrowed part of it from an old poem and reworked it to fit. Then I went to another poem I had been hoping was mostly finished wound up adding a little tongue-in-cheek introduction to explain it a bit more.


Paris Hilton for President ???

This one is TOO funny! So John McCain, the 2008 deomcratic presidential candidate, recently put out a tv ad attacking Barack Obama, the 2008 republican presidential candidate. The ad depicts Obama as just another shallow celebrity, like Paris Hilton & Britney Spears, in an attempt to question his ability and depth as a leader.

Really, it was just a matter of time before the mud slinging began. I don't know who threw the first punch, but it doesn't matter. The fact is both candidates always end up with mud on their hands & face. What makes all this noteworthy for my blog is this... that Paris Hilton is the one who has come out on top.

Turns out Paris Hilton made her own "ad" and posted it online. She uses her dumb blond celebrity fame to make fun of the attack ad. The most startling part of the video is that when she starts discussing Energy policy... she makes sense!!! In fact, she makes more sense than the 2 candidates. Using CLASSIC Paris Hilton venacular the video ends with her saying, "I'm Paris Hilton, and I approve this ad because it's Hot!"

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


BSP site is up and running

Tomy & Selina have have been working hard for sure. The first event was a hit and they we already promoting next months event! I'm sure that the quality of the flyers is only going to add to the greatness.

The most impressive part is the grassroots push they are giving it. They've already created a YouTube account and uploaded the open micers, Gypsy Eyes (the feature), and the 1st round slammers, with 2nd round poems to come.

Now I'm surprised that I missed the launch of the Burlington Slam Project's website when it was posted on the SLAMtario blog.

BIG things are going to happen. So get in on the ground floor and come out to the next slam: 8pm Thursday August 21st @ The Dickens Pub (upstairs).


The Renaissance

This poem is a modernized version of the Gil Scott-Heron piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Only, instead of a revolution I want a rebirth, a renaissance, of creativity & excellence in art, music, & poetry. Fittingly it was the other poem I performed at the very 1st Burlington Slam Project.

The Renaissance

The renaissance will not be televised
You will not be able to see it on cable.
You will not see it on ITunes, TiVo, or Youtube.
You will not be able to see SuperBowl commercials,
Or half-time wardrobe malfunctions due to a 2 second delay.
Because the renaissance will not be televised.

The renaissance will not be compromised.
The renaissance will not be available on Blu-Ray-DVD
Encrypted high def with an FBI copyright warning.
The renaissance will not be sound bites of Bush
Declaring "war on terror" & "evil-doers" like Saddam
Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda only to be
Stuck in Iraq years later with no exit strategy.
The renaissance will not be compromised.

The renaissance will not have its world premiere at the
Grauman's Chinese Theater and will not star Beyonce,
Lindsay Lohan, or Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.
The renaissance will not give you another face lift.
The renaissance will not get rid of wrinkles.
The renaissance will not make you look ten years
younger, because the renaissance will not be advertised, brother.

There will be no color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale,
United States Department of Homeland Security, or
Emergancy Readiness kits with duct tape in them.
The NSA will not be able to get warrantless wiretaps
For KEYWORDS like "bomb" or "jihad"
The renaissance will not be terrorized.

There will be no footage of pigs beating down
Rodney King on instant replay.
There will be no footage of brothers beating
Reginald Denny on instant replay.
There will be no coverage of Rev. Al Sharpton
Eulogizing James Brown at the Apollo theater
There will be no LAPD car chase of O. J.
Simpson riding in a White GMC Bronco,
Going 40 miles an hour down the LA Freeway,
Wearing black Isotoner gloves he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Survivor, American Idol, and Big Brother,
Will no longer be so damned relevant, and
No one will not care if Britney finally got back
Custody of her 2 kids because people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The renaissance will not be commercialized.

There will be no video blogs or highlights on
Entertainment Tonight of Paris Hilton going to jail
For D.U.I. or Miley Cyrus going platinum.
The theme song will not be remixed by Bad Boy,
Jermaine Dupri, nor sung by Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls,
Kanye West, Soulja Boy, or Black Eyed Peas.
The renaissance will not be glamourized.

The renaissance will not be right back after an Email
From EBay, ECommerce, ETrade, or EHarmony.
You will not have to worry about Anthrax in your
mail, a bomb on your plane, or water in your carry on.
The renaissance will not go better with rhymes
The renaissance will not be longer than 3 minutes and 10 seconds
The renaissance WILL be found here at the Drake.
The renaissance will not be televised, compromised, advertised
Terrorized, commercialized, or glamourized.
The renaissance will be no cover brothers;
The renaissance will be live.

Two Large Double-Doubles

Thanks to Burlington Slam Project one of my very first Poetry Slam performances is now on YouTube. As if pictures of myself weren't bad enough, I now have to suffer through watching myself butcher my own poem. If anything... I need to PRACTICE. Here it is:

Two Large Double-Doubles:

Well I felt the need to "roll up the rim"
So I headed right away to see Horny Tim
I pull up quick onto the scene
Ready for my next hit of caffeine

For a fresh cup I "always got time"
Oh wait... it's my turn in line.
I said "Large Double-Double and make it 2"
He said "Sorry man I ain't hearing you?"

2 large coffees double cream & sugar
Say that’s all that I want to order
Just 2 large coffees double-double
Said that's all that I want.

He said "Sorry sir, can you repeat that?"
Into the drive-thru mic I said in a scream

"Let me repeat that back to you, please
Breakfast sandwich, with bacon & cheese
And a caramel iced cap with a mint shot too,
Is there anything else I can get for you?

2 large coffees double cream & sugar
Say that’s all that I want to order
Just 2 large coffees double-double
Said that's all that I want.

Listen, all I want is my two coffees
A dozen times I've asked you, "Please!"
Really bro I ain’t getting older
See I know my drink be getting colder

By this time I'd had about enough
So I put the car in gear and just drove up
All this drama to get 2 coffees in a cup?
Give me a tray with two cardboard cups of...

2 large coffees double cream & sugar
Say that’s all that I want to order
Just 2 large coffees double-double
Said that's all that I want.

Now I ain’t had a coffee yet today
So I gave him the money and drove away
I popped back the lid and I’m about to take
Just a big old swig and I can’t wait

Where’s the java I’m supposed to have
Where’s the mocha I’m supposed to grab
I can feel my blood pressure going up,
MAN!!! There's nothing in the cup!!!


BSP Recap

In a word? HOTNESS !!!

The room itself for one. It was the upstairs room of the Dickens Pub in Burlington. It wasn't very big. Maybe a bit bigger than your average livingroom. But the air conditioning in the room wasn't working and the room was jam packed (4 or 5 people even had to stand!).

The poets were hot too! There was an awesome cross-section in both age and styles. Both Truth Is... and Yogi (from the Toronto Poetry Slam team) made it out. Soulfistikato & Dane-Ger-Us were there to support the fam and join on a couple pieces with the feature: Vagabond Retinas (AKA Gypsy Eyes). There were a couple older gentlemen in the back who rocked the Open Mic and I was plesently surprised by Tom's poem "Everyone I've Ever Known". The was a tall woman who went by Livingston who did some very musical pieces with great showmanship. A.O. did a great deadpan delivery of a limerick style poem about being the "other woman". LOL It was like Lilith Crane from Cheers telling dirty jokes.

I was picked to go third and did my Tim Hortons' 'Double Double' piece. It's all about what happens when a drive thru experience goes horribly wrong. The crowd enjoyed it. Christine even said that the other poets were laughing. Unfortunately, the judges didn't score me very well. I thought for sure I was out of contention.

But since there were so few slammers they decided to do 2 rounds for everybody. This time though the order was the highest score first and the lowest score last (which was me by the way). For my second piece I did 'The Renaissance', a remake of Gil Scott-Herons famous poem 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised'. Even though I lost my place once and the band was already playing downstairs I hit this one! I was able to do it with much more expression and conviction. The crowd clapped and the judges redeemed themselves with MUCH better scores. The 2 old guys in the back loved it so much that they both tried to shake my hand at the same time.

Well.. go to go. Maybe I'll be able to finish the rest of the review later this weekend.



Burlington Slam Project

So everything is coming together for next Thrusday night at the Dickens pub in Burlington. It's going to be the very first Burlington Poetry Slam. It's being put on by Tomy "Bam Bam" Bewick.

Tomy has been a staple in the Toronto Poetry Slam / Spoken Word scene for the past 4 or 5 years. After numerous moves throughout the GTA and always making downtown for events Tomy finally decided to start something for his own hood.

Eventhough Burlington isn't "technically" in the Halton Region it's still a heck of alot closer to Acton than downtown T.O.

This will be my 2nd Poetry Slam appearance. This time no covers are allowed so I have to do my own stuff, which (to be honest) is a little frightening. But I'm prepared to make it all the way to the 3rd round with 3 poems. 2 of them I had ready for last slam and 1 brand new one (just finished today).

Almost everyday a new idea for a poem pops into my head. The hard part for me is putting pen to paper (okay, finger to keyboard) and actually writing it. The idea for this poem came from an underground Christian Hip Hop group called DeepSpace5. On the track "Stick This In Your Ear" an emcee called The Listener does a verse where he actually speaks the formatting.

And since Googlebot is likely the only person reading this blog right now I'll post it here, before the competition, so you can see what I mean:

Punctuated Hate For The Man

I don't understand how you can hate me question mark
You don't even know me exclamation mark
I know who I am period
You know who you are period
But when it comes to knowing
All caps bold me you have a question mark

New paragraph tab Ignorance Causes Emotional Turmoil semi-colon
It apostrophe s impossible for me to present my quotation self
In a way that you will italics understand period
Am I the bold sex that is raping your soul question mark
Am I the bold class suppressing your mind question mark
Am I the bold race enslaving your body question mark

New paragraph tab Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody semi-colon
I have a solution to your problem
Ampersand head dash ache comma
It will keep your quotation foundation from crumbling period
Instead of seeing me through lenses of hate comma
Listen close to my raw unfiltered truth exclamation mark

You ampersand I aren't that different period
We both have a soul parentheses spirit that comes from the divine period
Divinely inspired knowledge says we should quotation Love God
Comma ampersand love people instead of harbouring hate for our brother PERIOD


My Brain Hurts !!!

Do you remember back in school when after having the summer off from any REAL learning the first week or so back was awkward? Your brain hurt a little because it was being made to exercise again after being a couch potato all summer long. Well today my brain is hurting.

You work right now is slow. DEADLY slow. I don't have to worry about losing my job (one of the benefits of a government union job). But I'm seriously getting stir crazy. Everyday is struggle to keep busy doing something. And the few times i actually have work I feel so unbelievably lazy and bored because I'm so used to doing barely nothing.

Most days are spent surfing Wikipedia reading about different topics that interest me. The past few months I've also trying to learn a bit of American Sign Language and write poetry. I figure I need to stimulate the creative portion of my brain before disappears due to atrophy.

But every time I try to get going it feels like I'm trying to run through mud with snow shows on. It just doesn't work. But at least it keeps me busy. Well today I read a vast majority of the posts of this blog ran by a woman who got some sort of grant to travel the world documenting slam poetry.

It was very interesting. However, my mind is now NUMB! Blarg! Someone hand me an ADVIL!!!!


Is 'Gangsta Rap' to blame?

So today on one of the discussion boards I follow a person posted hip hop song(poem) that criticized mainstream hip hop for glorifying and selling violence, drugs, and other reprehensible behaviour. It was an excellent (and far too rare) piece of using hip hop to critique hip hop.

I was however equally surprised by another users comments. This person said they didn't understand. They couldn't understand why someone would criticize hip hop for doing exactly what it has always done. He went on to say that at least Gangsta Rap is being on honest about the fact that it's "All About The Benjamins". He even implied that this is simply what the public is demanding.

I'm sorry. I guess I can understand someone being ignorant about the history of hip hop music (it did exist prior to 1992). But can someone really be THAT clueless about how coporate america and the media work? Do they REALLY think that the public is DEMANDING more sex, drugs, and immoral behaviour in their entertainment and advertising? That's simply what they are being fed!

So is Gangsta Rap REALLY to blame for societies woes? Or is it simply an easy scape goat? The truth is that Gangsta Rap is simply ONE of the vehicles coporations use to sell their products and consumerism to the masses. If Gangsta Rap wasn't being pimped to promote sex, drugs, and money then something else would be.

Gangsta Rap is simply a sympton fo the REAl American Family Values: Profit by any means neccessry!


What's NEXT?

After becoming a follower of Jesus (AKA Christian) I felt conflicted about music. I LOVED hip hop music. But so much of the music at the time wasn't very inspiring. I stumbled across the Kirk Franklin video for Revolution on CTS (www.ctstv.com). It was more "Gospel" than I really liked but it made me wonder if there was Christian Hip Hop music out there. I visited the local Christian bookstore and looked in there small contemporary music section.

Finally after digging through a discount basket I found a CD called "Coalition: the Hip-Hop Alliance". It was a compilation of various Christian Hip Hop artists. I LOVED it. I found every website listed on the cd sleeve and began earnestly searching the internet for other Christian Hip Hop artists. I quickly came across DJ Maj's Wax Museum Mixtape tracks and some classic Tunnel Rats tracks.

The Christian hip hop section of my favorites was quickly getting VERY big. It was then I realized that if I had this passion for both Hip Hop music and Jesus then others would or have had it too. But what if they aren't as good at finding things online as me? So I started a free website with Freewebs.com to host the hyperlinks I had collected to various Christian Hip Hop related sites. While MP3.com was still a free site I had a link for almost every artist. Evetually I bought my own domain name with pages for MC's, Dj's, Break dancers, & Graffiti artists giving special mention to any Canadian artists. I even had the dream of eventually making it a professional looking site and possibly even being a distribution site for Christian Hip Hop to Canada.

But in the years that followed I got busy with other things in life. First it was a girlfriend, then college, then leading youth group, and now my fiance (& the associated wedding). The updates that I've made over the years have mostly been cleaning up broken links. But in the past 3 years I've even given up on that. Now there are MANY other great Christian hip hop sites out there. Most artists promote themselves online with a Myspace page or Soundclick account. The artists signed to "major" Christian hip hop albums have their own websites. The more popular underground artists have their own site & store. The fan sites have interviews, upcoming album release dates, forums, and music videos.

So what do I do? Obviously trying to revamp the website now would be silly! there are so many other website of high caliber. But do I just GIVE UP on my passion? Am I to be simply reserved to buy a few CD's here there after being so on fire just a few years ago? For whatever reason, just like in the secular world, hip hop culture is forced to the outside and deemed uncool by the mainstream Chritian culture despite the fact that it relies upon hip hop culture to tell them what IS cool.

So... What's NEXT?


Floppy Disk Art

So today at work I'm cleaning off my desk and I come across a stack of floppies. First I check to see if there is anything on them I need before formatting them. Then I realize that I am NEVER going to use these again. Floppy disks useless. 1.44 MB is nothing!!! My address book file is bigger than that. And if I need something saved I can use a CD, DVD, or a flash drive.
So I'm sitting there staring at a stack of almost 20 floppies thinking to myself "There's gotta be something I can do with these other than just chuck'em". I figure someone out there has to have come with some sort of use for these other than chessy lookin' coasters.

So I spent the rest of the day surfing Google. Most of them were pretty lame: a notepad, a pencil holder, a photocube, and the worst of all... a bag made entriely of floppies. The best one I found was called Disk Combobulation. But I think my boss might get suspicious if I started trying to make that LOL.

I DID find out how to make a couple mini Star Trek ship models. I made the Enterprise (A I think) and a Klingon Bird of Prey. I'm also going to make a mobile of stapling the actual floppy part of the disks together.
If you have any cool ideas on how to use the ACTUAL floppy disk (and not just the slider) PLEASE let me know!


Honeymoon in ???

OY VEY !!! Will this honeymoon issue ever come to an end? Just when I thought it was all said & done it turns out that the NYC timeshares are EXTREMELY popular and none of them are currently up for trading. So we had to pick a few more options as backup. Here they are in order of preference:

B. White Point Beach Resort, White Point, NS

C. Horseshoe Resort in Barrie, ON

D. Kaatskill Mountain Club, Hunter, NY

These are really cool options! But I'd REALLY like to go to the Big Apple.

4 8 15 16 23 42

Lately I've had a horrible case of writers block. I have ideas coming out the wazoo. But when it comes to putting them in the form of a poem I struggle. So I started surfing for stuff about Lost to distract my mind and give me something LOST related to talk about until the next ARG gets going. So I thought I'd write a poem with a LOST twist. The idea being that the numbers of words in each stanza would equal each of the Lost Numbers. Then I decided to insert different lost words, phrases, episode titles, etc into the poem. Finally, when I posted it online I decided to link each LOST word to its page on Lostpedia. So here it is...

I feel so LOST.

The DHARMA of my karma is long gone.

I was once a MAN OF FAITH, but now WHISPERS make me doubt the truth

And OTHERS have kidnapped my heart. So now hatred and loneliness are my CONSTANT in life.

Death looming over me with OCEANIC weight like nightmares of faceless MONSTERs whose footsteps EKO after me in endless pursuit but never strike.

When THE ISLAND of my discontent washed up on shore I took a oneway trip THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. Now left has become right, and right is all wrong. So DON'T TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO because you don't know JACK!


Honeymoon in NYC !!!

For the most part the wedding planning has been smooth sailing. There was initial change of plan from having it in Milton to Cobourg. But that made sense. It was a whole lot cheaper there and it makes it easier for Christine's grandparents to make it. After deciding to have it in Cobourg everything else was very easy. The date wound up being the 25th (because the 18th was a HUGE soccer tournament). We decided to have the ceremony & reception at a local community centre which is also doing the catering and bar. A local store is taking care of decorations & flowers. We have a local DJ booked. Most impressive is the fact that Christine's cousins & their parents have decided to pay for the photographer as our wedding present.

Oddly enough, the decision that has been the source of the most debate and flip floping has been the honeymoon plans. We limited our ideas to Canada (due to passport issues.. don't ask). Initially we were thinking of going to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia and staying in a Bed & Breakfast. With the cost of gas only going up and B&B's not being cheap it was quickly becoming unrealistic.

We tried looking at other places to do a B&B. Stratford would have been nice but to do anything, like see a play, would have costed a fortune and didn't offer enough variety of things to do. Next on the list of possibilities was the 1000 islands. This seemed like a better idea. It offered boat tours and locals spas. However, we couldn't find a place to stay that fit what we were looking for.

Then we were offered to stay in a 2 week stay with a timeshare for free. So we searched the site and found 2 locations in Ontario in or near Barrie. The problem was that we wouldn't REALLY be getting away. We would end up doing things we can do ANYTIME! Then we opened our search to Quebec. Only 1 major downfall: Neither one of speaks French! LOL.

Suddenly it occured to me... What about New York or Michigan? We could drive across to the states, not have to worry about passports, and still spend more of our money and things to do and see rather than travel. Then I saw that they had places in New York City. Then I looked closer... One of them is The Manhattan Club, a posh hotel in downtown Manhattan just 2 blocks from Central Park!

There are TONS of things to do in NYC. Come on, they even call it the 'City That Never Sleeps'. We could do touristy things like visit the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, or Ground Zero. We could check out a play on, off, or off-off Broadway. We could check out all the cool stuff in and around Central Park. We could visit and get pictures in places like Time Square. We could even go see TV shows like David Letterman.

I've even found cheap bus tickets to New York and back for about $60. Not each, that's for the 2 of us. It's going to cost us more for an unlimited 2 week transit pass!

Right now the owner of the time share is checking the availability dates. Pray... PLEASE PRAY that the dates right after our wedding are available. I really hope that they are (since it IS a hotel). This would a really awesome and totally unforgetable honeymoon if it works out. LOL Not to mention the fact that deciding it would FINALLY be done and we could start the fun part of deciding what we are going to do instead.


Did the season finale leave you LOST?

I'm very much a LOSTIE. I watch every episode, discuss question about the plot, and read Lostpedia almost daily. I've even added the 1st 3 seasons to my wedding gift registry. If you're a LOST fan too then you watched this weeks 2 hr season finale and have a whole host of questions.

After watching the show so far I have a few theories. The island, Jacob, Christian Sheppard and now Claire are all the same. They try to keep the island secret and carry out it's will. I think the island is a representation or manifestion of God's will on earth. Just like in the Bible, God had a chosen people the island has a chosen people (the Others).

Just like Jacob of the Bible was a man of faith the Jacob of the represents faith. Those who follow Jacob (Ben, The Others, & now Locke) do so by faith. Whereas those live by science (Jack, Widmore, Dharma Initiative) try to control things. The DI used stations to control the islands natural properties (Swan & Orchid stations). Usually with dire results (ie: the purge).

Just like God, the island offers people redemption. Or more specifically to choice at seeking redemption. Those who fail intially but then redeem themselves through actions are taken/die (Eko, Charlie, Michael). But those who follow the quiet voice of God inside all of us from an early age are given the chance to accept their fate and used as instruments of the island.

How do the ancient things on the island (statue, the temple, smoke monster, the orchid wheel) fit in with the outside forces (Hanso, Widmore, Paik, DI)? I think that's what the next 2 seasons will be about. In the end, ALOT of the small questions will go unanswered (at least by the TV show.. the producers may fill in the gaps through podcasts). It will answer major questions about the island, the numbers, the DI, the others, and why Oceanic 815?


All the world's a stage

I've taken part in a few small open mics before but this Sunday night was my first time to sign up and take the stage at a poetry slam. I had been to the Toronto Poetry Slam (TPS) once before in February. Their website had recommended going at least once before you sign up for the slam itself. I dragged Christine, my then girlfriend, and a few friends. We ALL had a blast. The feature was a guy from South Carolina and blew us away with 20 minutes of straight performing, alot of which I suspect was improv.

During the time that followed I started writing poems again for the first time since high school. I had even written a poem for Christine as a Christmas present. I also signed up for and began participating in the TPS online forum. I quickly became a very active member posting comments, asking for critique of my poems, and letting it be known I'd be showing up for the first slam after the finals: Sunday May 25th, The annual "Anything Goes Slam". Where the only rule still in effect is the time limit/penalty.

Christine, my now fiance, 3 of our friends, and my mother showed up early to get good seats because there was a lot of anticipated interest in this slam. When the host announced the sign-up the massive line formed out of nowhere. I spoke with and met a few poets who were on the forums as well as the host himself. But to be honest I was worried I wasn't going to make it through the lottery with so many people signing up.

You see they only let 12 people in for the 1st round, top 6 make it to the 2nd round, and the top 3 make it to the finals. But the host broke the rules too! He let all 15 peeps into the 1st round. PHEW !!! I made it. But something even crazier happened... I made it to the 2nd round! The top 6 of 15 ?? Not bad for a 1st timer I'd say.

I didn't end up making past the 2nd round but that's TOTALLY cool. I got to get on stage, do 2 pieces, make people laugh, and (best of all) my mom & fiance were there to support me. Plus the fact that Elyse, the girl who won, deserved to win hands down. Not to mention the fact that I didn't have my 3rd poem well rehearsed yet.

I'm going back again for sure. In fact, I'd love to make it back for the June one and find some other open mics. But the next month is going to be CRAZY busy and I'm TRYING to save money for the wedding in the fall. I guess I should use this time to write more material.