Tuesday, November 23, 2010

things david said while watching the SECOND oprah's favorite things giveaway

Look, she’s wearing her favorite color, that Penis Shaft Beige.

Man, look at some of these haircuts.

That lady looks like she’s in pain. Did you see that? That woman has a giant horse mouth! She’s got like eighteen extra teeth. Was Oprah laughing at that woman who was in physical pain? Do you see that?

Oprah's yipping and circling around that iPad. Maybe she’ll go poop in a corner and bury it.

Those people don’t even know what an iPad does, they just know it’s an iPad.

Gross. I don’t want to hear her talk about how her Oprah app moves and grooves.

Oprah: I got a Scrabble score of 384! *cheering* David: Those people don’t even know what that means, they just respond to her tone.

This is such a mockery. You know what I mean? There’s nothing relational, nothing family, but there’s a giant Keebler elf mascot high-fiving people who just got a bunch of shit from Oprah.


Oprah: This is the third show in 25 years that Stedman has been to. David: Yeah, he’s usually too busy laying around in his underwear and investigating his mustache.

Oprah: My best friend Gayle is here! And Stedman’s in the control room watching. David: Because he doesn’t trust Gayle!

Oprah: You know that I am passionate about the power of a good bra. David: Oh Lord God! *pinches bridge of nose and squints*

An herb saver! We'll cheer for anything!

Ugh, that lady’s eyebrows. It looks like her face is under attack.

Diamond earrings, audience! You’re going to make your ex-husband wish he never divorced you!

(Oprah gives away a book on how to have the life you want by someone named Mark Nepo) Mark Nepo backwards is Kram Open!

Oprah's just a disgusting combination of Buddhism and retail.

Oh, they’re diving into those croissants. I want to see Horse Teeth get on those. She could take a whole tray down.

(Johnny Mathis comes out.) His hair went away a long time ago. I guarantee you that’s not real hair on there. It’s like packing material. What race is he? (Josh Groban walks onstage singing.) Oh goddammit.

Look at Johnny Mathis’s cd cover. He’s looking longingly into that horse’s eyes and massaging its snout.

Oprah: I call it my VW Bug my Toodle Car because I toodle around town in it. David: Yeah, as if.

That lady’s hair is just...dynamic.

Shoot me in the face PLEASE.

Monday, November 22, 2010

things david said while watching the first oprah's favorite things giveaway episode

Oh God. Did you see that black man leaping? That’s the gayest, blackest man.

Are these like, homeless people, or…?

I think if Oprah asked them to eat her out they all would right now. But she has Gayle for that.

Look at all these giant people. I hope she’s giving away treadmills.

Are these people selected cause they like, need stuff? It would be better if it was random cause you know how grace is random.

Yay. You get a diamond watch. Now you can get mugged in broad daylight.

Two little O’s on the face! Also, the sun has an O. That’s because of me.

Retails for $2500? You’re all going to make a killing on eBay 3 hours from now.

Thora Burch? I like Thora Burch! Oh, Tory Burch. Who’s that? Ha, they just got unwearable shoes.

Oprah: Guess who took these photos. I did. David: Obviously.

Did you see that lady’s shirt? It said “cancer”!

This is a good way to get this crowd exercise for once.

Why are the elves wearing purple hats?

Oh my god. They have medics standing by. Those poor medics. Have to give mouth-to-mouth to a retired teacher who eats hamburgers all day.

She picked that color because it reminds her of her dog Sadie? That’s the color of a penis shaft, that’s what it is.

Those earrings are the color of yellow snow.

I’ve never seen more ugly people in one place at the same time.

Did you hear the clip-clop sounds? They’re making horse noises!

Ew, did you see that lady’s eyes? They’re swollen shut from crying.

Where do people put this stuff each time the elves come out? Do they put it under their seats or do they whisk it backstage during commercials? Is it just for effect?

I hope that the medics have to be used and they go into the audience and pump somebody’s chest.

The Black Eyed Peas are coming on? That should be funny.

Ew, they’re talking about Oprah’s Love Sandwich? That’s gross. That’s like saying Oprah’s Love Pie.

Why are they cheering wildly? It’s a brownie pan! I don’t like the edge, I like the middle. How about an edgeless brownie pan? Seriously, that’s the worst part of the brownie.

She’s giving away a book on weight loss? I hope it comes in a syringe. That’s the only weight loss plan they’re gonna follow. “Hey fatties, here’s a brownie pan and a weight loss book.” Yup, here they come, trays of brownies.

That lady is saying “thank you” and crying over Netflix? Please.

They go through this full range of emotions, from surprise to disbelief to comatose to hungry and back to comatose.

They have raised over $100 million to lift people out of poverty? That’s like 1% of her fortune.

EW gross, ew so yucky! Look at those models wearing that Oprah shirt and those dumb pants! Ew!! Those are the worst colors too. EW! Those pants cut your butt in half? Oprah needs a pair that cuts her butt in quarters. That’d be a start. She needs different fractions.

Free Nikes! Start jumping, fat people!

Yup, here come the elves again. Seriously, where are they putting this stuff, in the aisle?

What if Oprah’s favorite thing was “I’m setting you all on firrrrrrrre!”

Her cleavage is like a big buttcrack.

That cruise ship is a menace to the earth. It’s just like taking a dump in the ocean wherever it goes.

They’re not going to have the time of their lives, they’re going to be puking the whole time. Really though, that’s these people’s life goal, to finally get on a cruise ship.

I think it would be funny to name a cat Dollop.

(The Black Eyed Peas come out.) There’s nothing more honoring to Jesus than the Black Eyed Peas and a pitch-correction vocoder Christmas.

This audience is all old women and an occasional gay man sprinkled into the crowd.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

things organized neatly

This site pleases me. I find it very pleasant indeed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

wanda sykes prank call

How had I never seen this one before? "Oh, I love America." hahahahahaha

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

adam carolla at his most brilliant

I'm having a hard time today, my heart hurts so much that relationships at our church are negotiable and referred to as collateral damage. Church is supposed to be the place of all places where people are not disposable to one another and relationships are fought for and strategy and business and such pale, PALE I SAY, next to community.

Since this is not the case much of the time on this stupid planet, Adam Carolla's rant on the underpants fire/dignity waiver distracted me nicely for about seven minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

letter from nikki visel

My friend Nikki wrote this letter to the leadership of our church to explain to them why she's leaving the congregation. She said she considers it to be public domain and gave me permission to post it here. She expresses so well the struggle against literalism that goes with faith and how that struggle is worth fighting, and reading this gave me a lot of comfort while I'm grieving this so hard.


To the Session of Grace Seattle,

Over the course of the last four weeks, I have decided that the time has come for me to leave Grace Seattle. While I’ve never pledged my membership at Grace, I have called it my home for over 10 years and feel compelled to share the reasons behind my decision.

In my experience, worship is not a place of escape, but rather a place of reality. A place where the seen and the unseen mingle. A place where the rough edges aren't smoothed out; they’re explored. A place where we don’t have to hide. Difficult ideas aren't simplified so that we feel better, but are allowed to stand openly in their complexity. To worship is to engage both imaginative thinking and concrete thinking. It is both formulaic and intuitive. We must practice worship and also wait for it to happen. Worship is demanding.

For most of my life, I've had to shut down my "intuitive knowing" in order to sit in church, because my intuition can smell untruth about 30 miles away and while technically every intellectual idea and construct presented may be true there is also a falseness, a shallowness that makes itself known and unsettles me.

By intuition I mean that my physical perception interacts with a "felt" inner sense of something: its truth, its presence, its beauty. Thoughts arrive on my peripheral awareness, and I feel the edge of an idea, but can't find the whole thing – like trying to recall details of a dream. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, since we all rely on intuitive thought in one way or another. For me, intuition is essential. It’s how I relate to the world, how I process ideas, how my creativity emerges.

For years, the only way I could make it through church service was by turning off my intuition and sticking with the facts, which is pretty depressing for someone like me. In fact, it’s debilitating and maybe even spiritually deforming. But since that was the only way I could worship, I sort of thought that must be what God wanted me to do.

When I came to Grace over 10 years ago, I slid into a pew and was stunned by the fact that the music awakened part of me with its truth. A song written in 7/4 time might not be the easiest to sing, but its structure acknowledges that we live in a broken world. A tune in a minor key might feel dark and scary, but that's how my interior life feels much of the time. The lyrics we sing are sometimes simple and sometimes difficult to understand, but their poetry is honest and has often withstood centuries. So there I sat. ALL of me fit into that pew, and I felt the corset on my heart begin to come unlaced. For the first time in my life, I took a full breath during church. Years passed, and over time I decided it would be ok to let some people at church actually know me. My relationship with God deepened, and Grace became my home.

After my last letter to the Session, I have hesitated to speak again, because I believe that the Session has the best of intentions. I hesitate because leading a church is difficult, and I have watched members of the Session rearrange their lives to help individuals understand and process the decision that has been made. I’ve witnessed the Session taking ownership of the ramifications of their leadership. These things are the marks of good leaders, but my heart aches and that sick feeling I get when I "know" something that I don't "know" won’t leave me.

I have spent a great deal of time reading and re-reading the Worship Vision and new Worship Arts Director job description. I do not use hyperbole when I say that they made me nauseous and I wept over them for days. The very format of these documents is of rigidity and their language demands conformity – but not a conformity to God, a conformity to human made power structures. And suddenly my intuitive knowing became very concrete and with those documents I felt my heart’s corset begin to tighten again.

I am heartbroken that Phil is gone. But that's not what is eating at me. I don't want to see the worship music dumbed down so that people can sing it while mentally mowing the lawn. But that's not what it is either. It's the part of me that spent the first 30 years of my life trying to squeeze my head and my heart into a pew and not die in the process that has reared her head. It is the part of me that reads the new "Worship Arts" job description and sees a church using the word “Art” and then describing a technician who will create only a world that the Session can see, thereby minimizing the gifts God has given the artist. I suspect that we are now a church moving in a direction where efficiency is key and effectively reaching goals is the primary objective. And I cannot ignore my intuitive knowledge just to fit into the new Grace paradigm.

I beg you to consider one thing as you move forward. Is a nine-page outline, lead by a “goal statement” the best way to describe how Grace will approach worship? The way we frame ideas shapes the way we respond to those ideas, the format will play a large role in determining how the document “works on us.” How would a contemplative approach the same task? What would it look like if Annie Dillard wrote it? Luci Shaw? Thomas Merton? Perhaps the issue of “format” seems a small issue to you, for me, it’s huge. I cannot have a “goal statement” govern the way I worship God. I do not want business language, linear measurement, footnotes, or technical textbook language coloring the way I approach the Creator of the Universe. Nor do I want those elements to impact the person who is helping to lead me into worship.

Some of you have encouraged me to stay at Grace, and while I am grateful for your expressions of hospitality, the truth is that in order to implement the Vision at hand, you need me to leave. You need people like me to be part of the collateral damage that comes when a church body makes changes to integral parts of its DNA. Perhaps God has called Grace to a bigger, broader future, but I suspect that He has prepared me for small things. For the places of God where people who have a hard time sitting in a pew might find a place to worship and be transformed.

As I leave Grace Seattle I ask you to please pray for me; pray that God will use me and that he will not let me go. In turn I will pray the same for Grace – and I will always be grateful for the home that it provided me all of these years.

Blessings on us all,

Nikki Visel

Thursday, November 4, 2010

by the powers vested in me, i digested mc's

It's that time again! An onslaught of what I've loved on the internets today.

Haunting version of "Creep" with equally haunting dolls acting out my high school years.

Creep (Radiohead) - Scala & Kolacny Brothers from Alex Heller on Vimeo.

I like this New York Magazine article on the best rap lyrics.

Here is how Taiwan saw the US midterm elections.

Don Draper says "what" a lot:

Here's an introduction of a mobile phone from 1978, and here is my Joel McHale telling Hoda and Kathie Lee why their show sucks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

holding pattern

I'd like to post my thoughts on the stuff that's going on at my church because that part of my community is huge for me, and also because people have said they don't know what to do with their grief over this and that it helps them to read they're not the only ones grieving. We need a fallout shelter of some sort. One thing I'm glad about is the pace at which this is going. It's been a month since the firing and the first congregational meeting (aka town hall) about it will be on Sunday. Then we'll know more. But since I consider my group email correspondence to be public domain, I'll share what I've sent the leadership of my church since the firing and introduction of the new worship vision. I want to share it because it sums up what I'm feeling and the core questions I have about what is actually going on. I hope it helps some people. I feel the need to talk about this out loud and on purpose for the same reason many people would choose not to. So anyway, here is the first email of Oct. 18.

Hey guys,

I just want you to know that my heart is heavy for you and I can only imagine what you're feeling, and I'm sorry you have to go through this. This bullshit has been happening since Acts, so know it's nothing new and is in the grand tradition of the ancient church. The ancient church was a mess and it still is a mess but God pursued it and cherished it then and he's doing it now.

So I just wanted to say to you I guess, that there's nothing new under the sun. God has given me things to say and it's scary, and I have an idea you have the same feelings, that it's scary to do what God is calling you to do. But God will protect us through it all and he hasn't given us a spirit of confusion but of a sound mind and I've been praying that for Grace Seattle as we're muddling through this.

You are dealing with so much and the powers and principalities are unfortunately all too real but I like what George MacDonald did when he saw a demon sitting on his bed, he said "Oh, it's only you" and went back to sleep.

I've been feeling for almost exactly a year now that I'm on the cusp of a big change, that something big and huge is coming up like a swelling wave and I don't know what it is but that it's going to be good. And I think that this church stuff is part of that big change. I just want you to be encouraged and to have rest in the midst of this somehow. I will pray this for you. CS Lewis said in Letters to an American Lady, "Underneath are the everlasting arms, even when it doesn't feel like it."

Love you, dear brothers!!

Here is my second email of Oct. 29.

Hey guys,

it's me again. The situation at Grace that's unfolding from the new worship vision has been weighing so heavily on me but I haven't been able to put words to my feelings beyond what I sent to you guys a week or so ago, and then last night I was reading something by Eugene Peterson and came across these three paragraphs that describe my concerns for Grace Seattle so well, I thought I'd send them along to you.

"Americans talk and write endlessly about what the church needs to become, what the church must do to be effective. The perceived failures of the church are analyzed and reforming strategies prescribed. The church is understood almost exclusively in terms of function — what we can see. If we can't see it, it doesn't exist. Everything is viewed through the lens of pragmatism. Church is an instrument that we have been given to bring about whatever Christ commanded us to do. Church is a staging ground for getting people motivated to continue Christ's work.

This way of thinking — church as a human activity to be measured by human expectations — is pursued unthinkingly. The huge reality of God already at work in all the operations of the Trinity is benched on the sideline while we call a timeout, huddle together with our heads bowed, and figure out a strategy by which we can compensate for God's regrettable retreat into invisibility. This is dead wrong, and it is responsible for no end of shallowness and experimentation in trying to achieve success and relevance and effectiveness that people can see. Statistics provide the basic vocabulary for keeping score. Programs provide the game plan. This way of going about things has done and continues to do immeasurable damage to the American church.

This way of understanding church is very, very American and very, very wrong. We can no more understand church functionally than we can understand Jesus functionally. We have to submit ourselves to the revelation and receive church as the gift of Christ as he embodies himself in this world. Paul tells us that Christ is the head of a body, and the body is his church. Head and body are one thing." — Practice Resurrection, Eugene Peterson, p. 118

Here is my third email of Nov. 2.

One more thing I thought I'd pass on. Our friend Pete is a Presbyterian pastor in Oregon and he told me this recently:

"I told Eugene in August that his books annoy pastors. He was surprised (which surprised me). But his books annoy pastors who want to create their own little empires — even while being completely self-deceived into thinking that they are really wanting to build the kingdom of God. But as Jesus showed us in his parables, the kingdom of God is already all around us for those who have eyes to see a mustard seed and a wedding and a field and a guy playing cello. But pastors and pharisees are too busy looking at stats and charts and wishing for a better demographic."


So for whatever all that's worth, this is where I am and these are the questions I'm holding. Very much in a holding pattern and trying to let myself feel all my grief and fear of what will happen. You know, the usual.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the revival of hammerhead theater

Ten years ago I had a vexing coworker and to cope I wrote down what she did and emailed it to voyueristic friends (this was before I had any idea what a blog was) and called it Hammerhead Theater. I called her Hammerhead in these emails (HH for short) because the same week I started working with her there was a Dilbert cartoon that featured Hammerhead Bob, who would bound into your cube and say "Did you know I'm an expert on whatever it is you're talking about?" which is basically what this lady said all day. Here is a candid picture I took of Hammerhead one time with my extremely-primitive-but-then-new digital camera:

I just found a rash of old Hammerhead Theaters and will post them here for your reading enjoyment, or maybe whatever the opposite of enjoyment is. Feel my pain.


Hammerhead: Hey, did you get the email that I sent you? The one that had a poem about a guardian angel watching over you?
Me: [through clenched teeth] Yes. Thank you.
HH: I love those poems. Whenever someone forwards them to me I print them out. I have stacks and stacks of them!

Boss: I’m going to get a pedicure tomorrow.
[Everyone oohs and ahhs in a congratulatory brown-nosing fashion.]
Hammerhead: Well, once I went to get a pedicure and the lady refused to touch my feet because of my snaggletoe! And on my left foot the bones stick out!
[Conversation stops short.]

Two doctors just came into the office looking for one of the managers.
Doctors: Where is Cheryl?
Hammerhead: WHAT?
Doctors: Uh, Cheryl? Is she here?
HH: OH! CHERYL! Well…I don’t know. I don’t think so. No, probably not. Well, I don’t really know. She worked yesterday but I’m not real sure about her schedule –
Doctors: [cutting her off] Well, can we leave a message for her?
[HH hands them a notepad decorated with wolves.]
HH: I just LOVE wolves! Look at my calendar! It has wolves on every page. I just love their eyes. That’s what gets me about them. My kids got me a wolf bath towel for Christmas. And also a wolf throw pillow. And a wolf cup.
Doctors: Okay, thank you for your time. [They edge towards the door.]
HH: And they said they wanted to get me a wolf shower curtain! And I have lots of wolf figurines.
Doctors: Okay, thanks for your help. [They are in the hall by now.]
HH: [shouting into the hall] And I got a little wolf doll from the gift shop and when you squeeze him he goes “Arooooo!”

HH: We’re getting a family portrait done on Sunday.
New Lady: Are you going to get your hair done?
HH: NO. I don’t do that! I do NOT get my hair done!
NL: Oh.
HH: Well, I might go to my friend’s house and have her perm the back.
Me: Just the back? [visions of mullets dance in my head]
NL: What are you going to wear?
HH: Clothes.
NL: Well, I KNOW. What kind of clothes? Aren’t you all going to get coordinated?
HH: No. I’m just worried about what my son’s going to wear. He’ll probably show up in his mover’s uniform.

Boss: Stephanie, do you want to go to a conference next week?
Me: Do I have to?
Hammerhead: Why does everyone get to go to conferences except me? I’m starting to feel LEFT OUT.
Boss: We’ll find a conference for you to go to.
Boss: We’ll know it when we see it.
HH: You’ve been saying that forever!
Me: They’re not all that great.

HH on phone: How many people have you got working over there, anyway? 500? There can’t be that many! You have transferred me so many times that I’m beginning to think you’re running a racket over there. What I want is to hang up and for you to call me to see if the call comes through. Yes. I’m very concerned about my cell phone because the date and the time disappear and all it says is “Verizon.” I don’t care about the word Verizon, I need to know the date and time! Not that my phone is Verizon! I KNOW my phone is Verizon! All right, all right, listen here. I’m going to hang up and you’re going to call me so I can PROVE to you that my phone isn’t working. YES, I RECHARGED IT!! JESUS CHRIST!!

Anne the British nurse: Hammerhead, we can talk without shouting. Do you understand this? We can discuss without shouting. People may be walking by in the hall.
HH: Yes, but I'm just VERY ADAMANT about my country!
Anne: Do you understand what I'm saying, though?
HH: I don't think I'm shouting though. We just shouldn't allow ANYONE from other countries over here. It's not right.
Me: Anne's a foreigner.
HH: Yes, but Anne can speak English!

Hammerhead: Lott's was having a car sale so I went on down there and got me a 2002 Chevy Tahoe pickup truck!
Me: Wow, a brand new one?
HH: Yup! But after I drove it home they called me and said that the financing didn't go through that that I would have to bring the truck back. And I told them, "You won't be getting your truck back, you'll be hearing from my lawyers!"

After months of radio silence from Hammerhead, I encountered her last night. I went into work super late and she was there doing her night shift.
Me: Did you have a good birthday?
HH: Yeah, my daughter took me to the Drift On Inn for breakfast and she bought me some Mount St. Helen's ash earrings! They're made out of the ash from Mount St. Helen's! Then we went to the Cheesecake Factory and I picked out four flavors of cheesecake I wanted, but my daughter said she was only buying me one. It's okay though, because I stole a menu and now I can check off which flavors I've tried.

Last night I stopped by work and Hammerhead was there, brewing coffee on her desk.
Me: When did you get a coffee maker in here?
HH: A long time ago! Where have you been? I drink a whole pot every night. And look in here...(she opens an overhead cabinet)...I got a full-size microwave too! Except the management said that I can't use it because they don't want cooking going on in the office. And I said, "It's not cooking, it's REHEATING!"
Me: (taking note of a fountain on her desk that runs water through it) When did you get that fountain?
HH: Oh, I just love it! It relaxes me. Well, it also makes me have to pee, especially since I drink a pot of coffee each night. I'm telling you, since I had my hysterectomy, I can't hold number one OR two!
Me: Oh my.
HH: Well, I only had a partial hysterectomy - they took my uteruses [sic] and my cervix out. And ever since then I can't hold nothin'. So when I feel the urge, I gotta RUN! Because more than once it's gone past the point of no return, if you know what I mean!

Today HH is wearing a knee-length blue skirt made out of t-shirt material, with a white satin slip with lace edging hanging way below it. She has on socks and tennis shoes with no stockings, leaving her bumpy, veiny legs to flap in the breeze, and an orange t-shirt that said I LOVE MY ATTITUDE PROBLEM. She and the new lady were discussing their new favorite show, "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here."
New Lady: I just love that Downtown Julie Brown. You'd think she'd be a wimp because she has a British accent, but she completes all her missions!
HH: And Melissa Rivers wore a diaper full of maggots!
New Lady: Yeah! She groused about it, but she got the job done!

Hammerhead: I'm exhausted. I just got back from our union meeting in San Francisco.
Me: How was your trip?
HH: It woulda been a lot better if they had told me not to lock the locks on my luggage. Security ended up breaking all of them! I found this out when I got off the plane in San Fran. So I marched over to the counter and said "If you don't want the whole airport to hear me yelling, you'd better take me someplace private." So they took me in a little room and I explained to them that one of the locks had been my mother's and it was PURELY ORNAMENTAL. And it was missing! Then I found it later in my bag. Whew.

Hammerhead: Did you hear about the big wreck on I-5 last night? Well, my daughter was in the middle of it.
Me: OH MY GOD! Is she okay?
HH: Yes, she's fine. She's real heavy. She's got a lot of padding. They got in the wreck cause they'd been drinking. And I asked "Did you have your seatbelts on?" and she said "We did by the time the cops showed up."

HH: I was supposed to be out of the office an hour ago but I GOTTA FIND THIS DOCUMENT ON SHARON'S COMPUTER!
Me: Actually, you don't need to fill out that document - I just send an email. It's a lot faster and easier that way.
HH: But I NEED the document! And I gotta pee so bad but I GOTTA find it.
Me: Why do you feel like you need to find it?

Me (talking out loud to no one in particular): Crap, I can't find the code for this diagnosis.
Hammerhead: What's the diagnosis?
Me (wondering if I should even bring this up with HH): Um, black stool.
HH: Maybe he ate a bunch of spinach and artichoke hearts. That always makes MY stool black.