Countdown to “Opening Day”

Don’t tell my dad this, but when I was a kid I would occasionally go without food at school so I could spend my lunch money on baseball cards. With the money my mother gave me for lunch each day, I could buy three packs of 1987 Topps cards. At the time it seemed like a pretty sweet trade in exchange for some lousy cafeteria food. I was obsessed. I just loved holding those cards in my hands and reading all the stats. I would spend hours learning all the players names, what teams they played for and what town they grew … Continue reading Countdown to “Opening Day”

We’re entering a film contest!

Some of you may remember that, back in July, Don Miller sent me an advanced copy of his latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It was a book that I really enjoyed reading and have since passed on to others. Don’s book really challenged me to consider the type of story I was telling with my life, and to make changes that would help me tell an even better one. It also helped me realize that, as a parent, it should be my passion to help my children tell the best story possible with their own lives. … Continue reading We’re entering a film contest!

Breaking the Ice

When you read the match report from the January 18th, 1958 game between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens the team rosters are a “who’s who” of some of hockey’s greatest players. The two teams had a combined 13 players who would ultimately be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, including legendary Bruins winger Johnny “Chief” Bucyk and the immortal Jean Beliveau whose name has been engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup a remarkable 17 times. Another name on those rosters that has special meaning to local hockey fans is that of Bronco Horvath, who lead the Bruins in … Continue reading Breaking the Ice

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 11

Ex Nihilo is the worship band at Mars Hill Church in Seattle – where Mark Driscoll is the pastor. This year they re-recorded seven classic Christmas songs for a release titled Silent Night: Seven Old Songs Made New Again. This dramatic version of “What Child is This?” is available as a free download. You can purchase the rest of the album through iTunes. Ex Nihilo – What Child is This? Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 11

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 10

Well, we’ve come full circle. First Ray LaMontagne covered Ray Charles, then Ray Charles covered Charles Brown. Charles Brown played one of his own. It seems appropriate that we carry our theme into a song from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. You can find this track on the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. The Vince Guaraldi Trio – The Christmas Song Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 10

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 9

Ray LaMontagne covering Ray Charles. Ray Charles covering Charles Brown. I think we’re onto something … Here’s Charles Brown, with the unequivocal Dr. John, performing his hit song “Come Home for Christmas” live on David Letterman. You can see the performance here. Charles Brown (feat. Dr. John) – Come Home for Christmas Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 9

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 8

I couldn’t possibly include a Ray Charles cover in the countdown, especially one of his most famous Christmas songs, without offering up one by the man himself. Here’s Brother Ray doing a cover of “Merry Christmas Baby” by Charles Brown. It was recorded at a performance in The Monastery Of Ettal in Germany in 1979. You can watch the video here. Ray Charles – Merry Christmas Baby Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 8

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 7

If there was one voice that was sorely missing from my Christmas music collection in years past, it was that of Ray LaMontagne. Thankfully that is no longer the case. Here he is performing a live rendition of “That Spirit of Christmas” by Ray Charles at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. You can watch a video of this performance here. Ray LaMontagne – That Spirit of Christmas Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 7

12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 6

Alright, time to lighten up a bit. I stumbled across this song randomly on the internet. I don’t know anything about Thea Gilmore other than the fact that I really dig this tune. You can find it on her new Christmas album titled Strange Communion (Note the free download of this track.)  Enjoy! Thea Gilmore – That’ll Be Christmas Continue reading 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 6

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 5

It wouldn’t be a “12 Tunes of Christmas” countdown without a song by Over the Rhine. This live version of “Snow Angel” can be found on their Live From Nowhere – Vol. 3 release. Christmas can be a bittersweet time of year for many people. The beauty and joyfulness of the holiday season often comes with a tinge of pain, particularly for those who have lost someone dear to them during this special time of  year. I remember, as a young boy, being in the room as my grandfather breathed his last breath on Christmas Eve morning. Last Christmas Day … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 5

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 4

When I credited Jack Johnson with this song last year I was pretty embarassed to learn that it was originally a Stevie Wonder tune. Apparently I was the only person on the face of the planet who had never heard it before. So I figured this year I had better make ammends by posting Stevie’s original – and superior – version of “Someday at Christmas.” This song can be found on Stevie Wonder’s 1967 Motown Records release by the same name – Someday at Christmas. Someday at Christmas – Stevie Wonder Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 4

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 3

A few months ago I introduced you to the songwriting and recording style of a duo called Pomplamoose.  Their style is unique in that they record video along with the audio and mix both to produce their “Video Songs.” If you hear something in the mix, you see it at some point in the video as well. This song was part of a project titled “YouTube Christmas” where a number of musicians collaborated via YouTube to compose music for the holiday season. They joined up with another YouTube “Video Song” artist named Wade Johnston – who plays a mean ukulele. … Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 3

The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 1

Last year Rosie Thomas released what has become one of my absolute favorite Christmas albums of all time. This is the song that gets that record started. It just sounds like a warm crackling fire and a big glass of red wine to my ears. Curl up with someone you love. We’ve got all night. Christmastime is Here – Rosie Thomas Continue reading The 12 Tunes of Christmas – Day 1

Introducing “Josiah and Friends”!!

Several weeks ago I took Josiah to go hear former NBA star Manute Bol speak at the University of Rochester. He was giving a presentation on his current effort to build schools in the war-torn country of Sudan. At the end of the talk there was a Q&A session and Josiah asked me if he could ask Manute a question. Curious as to what he might ask – albeit a little nervous about what might come out of his mouth – I encouraged him to raise his hand. When they passed the microphone to Josiah he stood up and asked … Continue reading Introducing “Josiah and Friends”!!

Here’s to sensible alternatives!

I hate to admit it but I’m the absolute worst when it comes to making healthy food choices. In almost every conceivable scenario, when given a choice about what to consume my default selection is always the least healthy option. For example … Often when I find myself on the road for work, I will order two double cheeseburgers from the McDonald’s dollar menu for lunch. I know it’s awful, but one usually isn’t enough to satisfy my hunger. Besides, they’re easy to eat while driving and dirt cheap. Cost of a full belly – $2. Today I found myself … Continue reading Here’s to sensible alternatives!

Close to home…

This was the scene yesterday afternoon about 75 yards from our front porch. A 19-year-old kid was shot in the upper thigh and collapsed on the sidewalk before police and paramedics arrived. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. This is the second shooting that has taken place in broad daylight in our corner of the 19th Ward this year. Back in March a 22-year-old man was murdered outside his mother’s home on Rosalind Street – about six blocks from our house. That case was featured on the A&E show Crime 360. … Continue reading Close to home…

It only takes a spark …

A week ago I asked you all to join Cheryl and I as we help feed Rochester’s homeless this Thanksgiving. I wasn’t sure if anyone would respond but thought I’d at least give others the opportunity be a part of something good during the upcoming holiday season. I’m really excited to report that a few people have responded. Four other people have stepped up to the challenge and have donated money to Open Door Mission so far. If a handful of people have been so responsive already, what’s to stop us from doing more? Let’s set the bar a little … Continue reading It only takes a spark …

Happy Birthday Judah!

Ok. I’m the worst father ever because I’m waiting until 11:20PM to post a happy 1st birthday greeting to my son. But in my defense … I spent the first few hours of the day at work while Cheryl took Josiah to the doctor (long story). Once we reconvened as a family, it was rush, rush, rush to get ready for a wedding we had scheduled today. Which is where we were until about 10PM. Then we had to get the kids to bed, etc., etc. So here I am, at almost midnight trying to squeeze it in. Judah. Every … Continue reading Happy Birthday Judah!

Fun with asymmetry

The image in the center is an actual photo of me. For the images on the left and right I isolated half my face and mirrored that image to make a complete picture of my head. The one to your left is what I would look like if my head were symmetrical with the left side of my face. The image on the right is what I would look like if the rest of my head were symmetrical with the right side. I find it fascinating how different some of my facial features are in each photo. Particularly, the angle … Continue reading Fun with asymmetry

I’ve come full circle.

When I was 18 months old I had to have corrective surgery on my left eye to correct a pretty wicked case of lazy eye. The surgery was a success, but then my right eye began to wander. From the time I was two until I was fifteen I had to wear thick glasses to correct the problem. And by “thick” I mean that on a clear night I could see most of Jupiter’s moons. But for the past 17 years I’ve been glasses free and my vision has been A-OK. Lately I’ve been noticing that it’s taking me a … Continue reading I’ve come full circle.

The perfect lunch break.

I do believe I just had the perfect lunch break. The weather is gorgeous today so I decided it would be nice to get outside for some fresh air during lunch. The Jazz Fest is going on this week, so when my wife told me about the free concerts at the downtown library it was a no-brainer as to where I’d be heading on my walk. My ten minute stroll took me through Washington Square Park which was particularly peaceful this afternoon as dozens of business people enjoyed their lunches in the shade of the trees that line the park. … Continue reading The perfect lunch break.

Curse you Friendly’s!!

Look what Friendly’s did to me! Cheryl and I took Josiah to Friendly’s for dinner last night. She and I both had burgers. We were also both up all night throwing up. All those red splotches around my face are busted blood vessels from the most violent heaves I’ve ever had! We checked the Mayo Clinic’s website for symptoms of food poisoning and we pretty much have them all. Awesome. Continue reading Curse you Friendly’s!!

Beer pong anyone?

Cheryl’s mom visited us from downstate last weekend to attend the Women of Faith conference here in Rochester. Since she wasn’t going to be able to give Josiah his birthday presents on his birthday, she brought them with her to give to him while she was here. He got some nice things: Transformers, a fishing pole, etc. But his favorite thus far has to tbe the Beer Pong game that she got him for the Wii! Ok, to be fair, it isn’t actually beer pong. The game is called Game Party and it has a handful of mini-games included such … Continue reading Beer pong anyone?

Play ball!

On a whim I took Josiah to the Red Wings game last night. We hadn’t been since Opening Day, which is downright shameful. It was “Kids Eat Free” night too, so I figured what the heck. He was randomly selected to be the honorary coach of the Red Wings for the night. That means he was able to go out on the field with the Wings manager before the game and turn in the lineup to the umps. He had a blast slapping high-fives with the managers and umps. He got a free t-shirt out of the deal too. Good … Continue reading Play ball!

37:45

I just finished my first 5K. I ran in the Fight Against Violence 5K Run to benefit the Rochester Center for Youth. I ran with my father and we took turns pushing Judah and Josiah in a double-seat jogging stroller (though my dad did most of the pushing). Josiah hopped out from time to time to jog along with us. I finished 102nd overall with a time of 37:45. I’m not sure exactly how many runners there were total, but I do know there were over 200. I didn’t really set any goals for myself except to run the race … Continue reading 37:45

Summer of ’98

It’s hard to believe that it has been ten eleven years since the summer of 1998. That’s the summer I spent living with a missionary family in Guinea, West Africa through Alliance Youth Corps (now called Global Ventures). Needless to say that summer had a major impact on my life, my faith and my worldview. It was my first exposure to extreme poverty. It was first time I had ever been in the religious minority. The first time I had ever been in a place  where I didn’t speak the language of those around me. And it was also the … Continue reading Summer of ’98

Adventures in public transit.

We’re a one car family. I kind of like that about us. We only have one car to maintain, insure and gas up. It’s cost effective. Not to mention it’s one less car polluting the air and ultimately one less car in a landfill. At times it can also be pretty darn inconvenient. Especially for my wife who has to wake the kids up early to take me to work on days when she needs the car. Like today. So today I decided to be a nice guy and take the bus to work instead. I actually really enjoy taking … Continue reading Adventures in public transit.

Diversity on Ice

I mentioned last week that our oldest son Josiah recently started playing ice hockey, but I neglected to mention anything about the program he joined. Which is a shame, because the story behind it is pretty cool. The Genesee Valley Youth Hockey Club is an instructional program for children ages 6-12. (They’ve been kind enough to allow Josiah to enroll a year early.) It is a not-for-profit organization that provides an opportunity for underprivileged kids to learn to play ice hockey. The program is free for city kids, which includes their equipment which is mostly donated. It is staffed by … Continue reading Diversity on Ice

The next Gretzky?

Maybe not so much. 😆 Josiah had his first ice hockey practice yesterday. Unfortunately I had to work and couldn’t be there for it. So Cheryl make sure to take some photos and video to document this landmark event. Not only was it his first time playing ice hockey, it was also his first time on skates. He’s starting the program a few months late so he’s a bit behind the other kids (not to mention a year younger). But we’ll get him caught up! Continue reading The next Gretzky?

Shake it like a Polariod once again!

If you were distraught over Polaroid’s decision to discontinue all of its analog film production in 2008 there is new reason for excitement! A group of folks calling themselves The Impossible Project think there’s still a buck to be made in vintage Polaroid film. So much so that they have purchased all of Polaroid’s old manufacturing equipment and signed a 10-year lease on the factory building. Their intent is to begin production on Polaroid film for the purpose of selling it to vintage collectors and hobbyists. The task comes along with some challenges.Namely, they only have 12 months of research … Continue reading Shake it like a Polariod once again!

Bonnie M. Bertou (1954-2008)

My mother passed away on December 27th from a pneumonia related infection in her lungs. She was 54. On behalf of my family, I want to say “thank you” to everyone for their love and support during what was a very difficult time for us all. There were close to 400 people who paid their respects during her calling hours, and another couple hundred attended her funeral. Words cannot express what your presence, kind words, stories, emails, comments, voicemails, meals, flowers, cards, texts and generosity have meant to us. We are truly humbled and grateful. Below is what I shared … Continue reading Bonnie M. Bertou (1954-2008)