Archive for June, 2008

DEVO’s revenge

June 29, 2008

I remember first hearing DEVO on a Sunday evening when Dr. Demento played ‘Mongoloid’ on his radio show. He later would play ‘Jocko Homo’ which featured the lines “I’ve got a rhyme that comes in a riddle / O-Hi-O! / What’s round on the ends and high in the middle? / O-Hi-O!”

Many people may not be able to name any song by DEVO, but they might be familiar with their signature red flower pot hats.

It was not until the late 90’s that I saw DEVO live in a small club, it was a great show! The energy they played in that rather small venue, after having played larger spaces in the 80’s was great. I saw them 2 more times after that.

DEVO still plays shows, but many families are exposed the music of DEVO’s co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh on a regular basis via his musical scores for the children programs: Rugrats and Clifford the Big Red Dog. He has also provided music for many movies.

I share all of this because DEVO is in the news… They are taking on McDonald’s.

It seems one of the McDonald Happy Meal toys in their ‘American Idol’ themed Happy Meals violated a DEVO (copyrighted) trademark– the red flowerpot hat.

An article featured here, stated:

“….the fast food chain released a series of American Idol Happy Meal toys in the US based on a range of music genres…..

Devo’s complaint relates to New Wave Nigel, a toy kitted out in an orange jumpsuit, pink shades, and Devo’s “energy dome” hat.”

“Bass player Gerald Casale said the band were taking legal action against McDonald’s for using their copyrighted hat without permission.”

“‘This New Wave Nigel doll that they’ve created is just a complete Devo rip-off and the red hat is exactly the red hat that I designed, and it’s copyrighted and trademarked.

They didn’t ask us anything. Plus, we don’t like McDonald’s, and we don’t like American Idol, so we’re doubly offended.’

Comment was being sought from McDonald’s.”

My favorite line from the article was:

“Casale said it was ironic the world’s largest fast food chain should appropriate the image of a band known for taking aim at the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.”

So now I am wondering… would it be wrong for me, as a person who enjoys DEVO, to go to McDonald’s and buy a New Wave Nigel Happy Meal… After all, this lawsuit might make the New Wave Nigel worth something.

I mean if DEVO is going to make a buck off of it shouldn’t I, as a DEVO supporter, be able to profit from it too??


i guess sometimes a mom has to draw the line.

June 24, 2008

I have no idea how tough it can be to be a stay at home mom. But I get an idea when I over-hear my wife respond to one of our children’s early evening tattleing with:

“You wasted all of your tattleing today on stupid stuff.”


June 21, 2008


I have waged this war against myself for many years.
It was terrible.
But now I am disarmed.
I am no longer frightened of anything
because love banishes fear.
I am disarmed of the need to be right
and to justify myself by disqualifying others.
I am no longer on the defensive,
holding onto my riches,
I just want to welcome and to share.
I don’t hold on to my ideas and projects.
If someone shows me something better–
no, I shouldn’t say better but good–
I accept that person without any regrets.
I no longer seek to compare.
What is good, true and real is always for me the best.
That is why I have no fear.
When we are disarmed and dispossessed of self,
if we open our hearts to the God-Man
who makes all things new,
then He takes away past hurts
and reveals a new world
where everything is possible.

by Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras (1948-1972)

props to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral blog

wash your hands

June 18, 2008

It is pretty typical to go into a restroom that is used by food handlers and see a sign reminding them to wash their hands.

If a person is not attentive enough to wash their hands after using the bathroom without a reminder, are they really the type of person I want preparing the food I am going to eat?


I was in a restroom the other day and I saw, what to me was, one of the more amusing restroom ‘wash your hand’ reminders. It read:


homeless karaoke

June 11, 2008

I am reminded of a time when my wife and I still lived in Southern California. I would visit the streets of LA outside of the LA Rescue Mission on Sunday nites with a group of people who called themselves ‘Jackets for Jesus.’

Jackets for Jesus would pass out coats, clothes and even food to those who were spending the nite on the street. I learned alot about homelessness. I learned about some of the causes of homelessness from the men and women that I met. One man whom I met over 18 years ago, and have never forgotten, was a man named ‘Wolf.’ I have (somewhere) a picture of Wolf and me together.

I remember a man called ‘Panama’ who lived in a fenced in parking lot across the street from the Rescue Mission. He had a group of people who lived in front of the fenced lot who he kind of watched over, a homeless man watching over other homeless people.

I remember Wolf selling loose cigarettes from a t.v. tray on the street, and my concern that he was making a profit… he assured me that he was.

I remember the excitement I felt one Winter evening when the City of Los Angeles sent school buses to pick up the men and women of the street so that they could spend the nite in a school gym because it was cold out.

I remember how we would end our time on the street in prayer on the sidewalk. One evening during the time of praying one of the men who lived on the street sang ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ It was beautiful… I was in church.

My time visiting the men and women on the streets of LA has always stayed with me.


I encourage you to take 8 minutes and watch the short film called ‘Homeless Karaoke.”

Watch the Online Shorts Festival Jurors’ Award winner: HOMELESS KARAOKE here.

June 10, 2008


flowers in babylon

June 7, 2008

I spend my day with convicted felons, I do this because I work in a state prison. I am a Correctional Officer (that is the p.c. term for prison guard.)

I don’t write too much about my job, although there is much I could say about where I work… about prison. It is a different place. It is a place where I spend my day among men who have committed crimes against the people of our communities. I have interacted with men whose crimes drew media attention and I have interacted with men whose crimes went pretty much un-noticed by society at large. I have interacted with men who are on death row, and I have interacted with men who are serving lengthy sentences, and I have interacted with men who only have a couple of years to serve.

In my time of working at the prison I have run the gamet of responding to inmate fights, working while the prison is on lockdown, sitting outside the cell of an inmate on suicide watch, observing as inmates spend time with their family and friends in the visiting room and I have even had to testify in court at a murder trial–all this along with working in the day to day life of a prison.

I have also witnessed some moments that were flowers amidst the concrete of prison, here are three short stories:

I was working in our Inmate Activity Center (which houses the Inmate gym, library, music room, and legal library.) I watched as an inmate carried a guitar that he owned into the Activity Center… as is policy I searched the Inmate and the guitar case, as was good and in he went. A few minutes later he returned to the same spot to leave, only this time he did not have the guitar. I asked him where his guitar was. “I sold it” he told me. Thinking he sold it to another inmate (a forbidden activity) I jokingly asked him “I hope you got a good price for it.”

He then shared with me that his Mother was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. As her son he wanted to help his Mom out, and so through the music program he found a way to sell his guitar so that he could send his Mom some money.

This made an impact on me as I imagined how that this guitar kept him occupied in his cell, helping him to fill his time… he had made a sacrifice– a sacrifice for his Mom.

A young man became a Christian while in prison. I remember him telling me that he was going to get baptised.

In a later conversation I remember him telling me his thots about his sentence of being in prison. His words were not about getting released, or finding a way via the courts to get out of prison… his told me “I took two lives, I deserve to have lost mine.”

I recall the time that I saw him turn in the required form that allowed him to have funds taken from his account. This money taken from his account was to go to a local church in our town; the church that the volunteer Chaplain who spent time with this inmate was from. What impressed me about this action of his is that I know inmate jobs do not pay much. To watch him take money and send it to a local church, a church he will never enter, made me think of the story of the Widow’s Mite.

“Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18b

This young man’s actions reflect the work going on in his heart and soul.

I think of this past week… An inmate that I have known for a while told me that he recieved a letter from his son. A son he has not talked to in 25 years. He shared with me that his son wrote: “I think we should get to know each other.”

There is a lot of negative in prison — but if a person is willing to look, they can find a flower or two. But then that can be said for the world around us… whether at work, in our community, in our home.

Corner Gas

June 4, 2008

Corner Gas is a Canadian TV show.
In response to my “Gas Cans” post, Paula suggested I take a look at the program.

If this opening scene is any indication, I think I would like this program:

My wife tells me that she has seen snipets of the program on the American BBC network –I am going to have to check out when it airs and take in a full episode.

Here is another excerpt:

gas cans

June 3, 2008

I was driving along this afternoon when I saw, sitting on a corner, two large gas cans. Looking at the house they were sitting near, and the fact that it was raining, my guess is that a lawn crew had been mowing but when the rain hit they loaded up their gear and moved on… leaving the gas cans behind.

But then the suspicious side of me wondered… “What if this is an observation exercise? What if someone left those two gas cans sitting there and are sitting nearby to see if someone, due to the current $4 a gallon gas, will try and steal the cans.” Kind of like those exercises when someone leaves a wallet on the street to see if someone will try and find the owner (or something like that.)

Of course later, the more diabolical side of my thinking kicked in….

“What if someone filled the cans with gas and water. Enough gas so that the contents smelled of gas, but enough water to mess up the car engine of the person who stole the gas.” A thought-out, of sorts, pre-emptive revenge towards thieves.

But then the question could to be asked: “What would be the greater evil… a thief or the person who, knowingly, figured out a way to cause greater damage to a thief?”

But then what if the thief (who did not know about the gas water mixture) sold the gas to someone else and the tainted fuel ruined the car engine of an otherwise innocent person?

Perhaps I have too much free time to think on my hands.

they have returned

June 2, 2008

I do not mean the swallows to Capistrano (note: each year swallows make a yearly return to San Juan Capistrano Mission in Southern CA. people gather at the Mission there to watch their return.) What I do mean is the return of my favorite insect: the dragonfly. Today my wife and I saw our first dragonfly of the year, flying over the side yard of our house.

Over the past couple of years we have grown to enjoy watching these wonderful insects. During the Summer, towards the end of the day, I enjoy taking a chair to a corner of our garden and watch the dragonflys sit on a stick until a bug flys by, and then they take off and catch them.

It is pretty fun to watch.