rustypants speaks

youth pastor. husband. idiot. why should you care? it's beyond me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007 is the place to go for the mindless blogging exploits of scott rust.

don't be sad. it's worth the click.


Saturday, August 19, 2006


hey folks:

i've spent the last week tinkering with a new website - i was looking for something to replace the old youth group site and the result is:

there's still some kinks to knock out of it but that'll come in due time. for now, start checking over there for new posts. if you've linked me, change your links, too.

lise and i are leaving for florida early sunday morning and will be back sometime next saturday (the 26th). will be testing a feature of the new blog by blogging by phone and pocket PC.

will it work?

who knows. check here to find out!

FYI to all you bloggers out there: getting registered and blog-ready wasn't that difficult and was DIRT CHEAP - also registered - both of them together (including hundreds of email accounts, gigs of web space, a blog for each one and easy to use templates for the webpages) was only $44.88 for a year. this is where we got it from.

as someone who's been putting up websites for over 10 years, this is the best deal, easiest setup and manipulation i've ever dealt with.

geez, i sound like an infomercial now.

Friday, August 18, 2006

1-800-SUICIDE in crisis

i'd heard several months ago that the 1-800-SUICIDE crisis hotline was having trouble raising money to pay their phone bill - the argument was one-sided with the non-profit hotline claiming that the federal government was reneging on a deal to fund them (and that since then, the gov't set up it's own hotline with the intent of getting personal info from the callers).

the washington post today has an article that gives it a different slant.

and what to do? the washington post is no friend of president bush and his government - they're a liberal-leaning paper that ought to be friendly to such groups as the hotline. i can only hope that maybe this is just the other side's story and that the truth lies in the middle somewhere.

i'm still supportive (and supporting) the 1-800-SUICIDE hotline and encourage you to do the same. groups like this are vital to folks needing a lifeline in the depth of horrible depression and crisis. i'd rather err on the side of caution in this case than to condemn based on a newspaper article.


i guess we knew it had to happen at some point.

you don't get away with selling 70,000,000 copies of a series of books (albeit theologically shaky ones), having 3 movies (albeit horribly made ones), and being on the New York Times bestsellers list over and over again without having a video game being made about said series.

one more thing to be made fun of about, i suppose.

in this article in the washington post today, a spokesman for the Christian Game Developers Foundation says:

"You can't kill people in the name of God and put it in the game play and hope it won't offend people," he said.

On the other hand, Bagley said he understands the need for a gamemaker to put in plenty of action to appeal to the market.

"There are people out there who think that if it's a Christian game, it has to be about putting two animals on an ark," he said. "But how many people are going to play that?"

my thoughts exactly.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

seen around town

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

paid ministry dilemma and discussion continues

following my rant on God saving me from his followers, i've received a good amount of email, IM's and phone calls about the issue of church, God's people, and my situation, among other things.

one of the IM's i got was from an old friend, greg teselle. he wrote a plea for all paid ministers to resign a couple months ago and i think it's worth taking a look at.

i'll take his argument a step further, in fact.

long before the fiasco at my previous church occurred, i had been struggling with the concept of paid ministry.


1. the church gets cheapened by becoming not only your "brothers and sisters" but also your "employer" - where does the line get drawn?
2. what is the standard by which ministers are then held?
a. attendance?
b. how the leadership perceives your ministry is going?
c. whether you use _________ (fill in the blank) enough times in your sermon each week
d. how many people are "saved" each year/quarter/month/week
e. number of baptisms?
f. how much is in the collection plate each week?
g. make up your own here
3. what happens when life takes a turn and the minister is unable to minister as he had before? when the minister needs ministering, will the church cut and run?
4. the pressure of pleasing the select group that must be pandered to (leadership? deacons? elders? the founding family of the church? the biggest contributor?) means that you've already knocked out the Holy Spirit's guidance. (this is NOT an indictment on all churches or my saying that all churches i've worked with or attended have been run this way)

in essence: church becomes a business. it becomes less about the grace of God and becomes more about a set of man-made standards that are arbitrarily made and/or followed.

this isn't always true, and i freely admit that there are a large number of churches out there that are doing fantastic ministry without petty squabbles, money-related issues, factions engaged in behind-the-scenes wrangling, ministers with wrong motives, etc.

but i wonder: if paid ministers quit, what would happen? would the church suddenly take notice that they had a responsibility that goes beyond warming pews and dropping a dollar in the plate on Sunday mornings? would the sheep stand up and lead? and would the goats scatter?

what's my experience in this area? i was the volunteer youth minister at a couple churches over the course of 10 years. over the last 4-5 years, i've been on staff as the paid youth minister. i've seen both sides and frankly, i can't imagine going into paid ministry again. my vision as of the summer of 2005 was to go to grad school, get my master's degree in special ed, quit as the paid youth minister and continue as the youth minister in a volunteer capacity.

so: is there a solution?

i think the model greg is trying with his church, shale harbor, is a good start. root around a little bit and look at what they're doing.

check out this article from last Sunday's washington post talking about alternate forms of worship pursued by folks who are tired/burned out on the traditional church model.

read george barna's book, "Revolution: Burned Out On Church? Finding vibrant faith beyond the walls of the sanctuary." i'm part way through it now, and as barna is probably the biggest statistics dude out there in evangelical america, he's got a lot to say on shifting perceptions in the traditional church business.

i'm encouraged by the things i see happening.

but i'm still shopping for a good jockstrap.

freakin me out, dude!

i've gotta tell you: the whole 'talking website avatar' thing freaks the crap out of me.

i first ran into this a couple months ago on a website by a dude calling himself a web evangelist. not only was i freaked out, i figured it had to be a joke. why would anyone seeking Jesus want to be weirded out by a fake cartoon "person" "talking" to them and eyes following your cursor all over the place?

and as a secondary issue: when you claim to be wanting to help Christians evangelize the web, your own site has to be something that people would want to look at. this site is VERY poorly put together and looks about 6-7 years out of date (which, as the joke goes, is about how far behind most christians are with the rest of the world anyway). i still can't tell if the guy is serious based on the poor quality of his images, content, grammar and knowledge of what the typical web surfer looks at and pursues.

at any rate, please: trash the avatars.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

politics as usual

politics has always interested me and caused me to laugh.

Rep. Jean Schmidt has bought an Ethanol-burning vehicle.

why? to fight terrorism, of course!

Schmidt's opponent in this election, Victoria Wulsin, says: Schmidt's not being sincere.

Schmidt: Look at me! I'm fighting terrorism!
Wulsin: You're not sincere!
Schmidt: Oh yeah? You should practice what you preach!
Wulsin: Fine!! If elected, I'll ride my bike!!
Schmidt: Hah!! If I'm re-elected, I'll walk!
Wulsin: Nuh-uh!!
Schmidt: Uh-huh!!
Wulsin: Nuh-uh!!
Schmidt: Uh-huh!!
Wulsin: Oh yeah!?! Well, if I'm elected, I'll walk, too, and I'll walk UPHILL both ways!!
Schmidt: Well.. well, whatever!! If I'm re-elected I'll walk both ways uphill AND through five feet of snow!
Wulsin: Liar!
Schmidt: Am not!
Wulsin: Are too!! I'll walk uphill both ways, through five feet of snow and... and... and I'll do it without shoes!
Schmidt: Now you're being silly. Media hog!
Wulsin: Oh yeah, little miss Rep-Murtha-is-a-cut-and-run-coward!?!
Schmidt: Hey, that's not fair!
Wulsin: Oh, boo-hoo!

how silly. and we're supposed to vote for one of these clowns?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

hahaha!! er, i mean: BLASPHEMY!!!

image borrowed from,
a website that is both hilarious and quite
off-color at times. if you're sensitive to this
type of thing, don't go check it out.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

100 people surveyed, top answers on the board...

Surveys typically drive me nuts - i don't see the point in answering things like, "have you ever made out? what are you wearing? who's the last person you yelled at?" but this was on someone else's blog and doggone it, here i am.

i'm a loser, i know.

1. One book that changed your life:

More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell
little. tiny. book. really made a huge difference in my life.

2. One book that you've read more than once:
The Stand by Stephen King
this book has done the shock-and-awe on me since reading it the first time back in high school. stunning book, maybe not a literary classic, but the vision and harrowing nature of it... dunno. have read it probably eight times in the past 16 years. while king's writing is usually hit-or-miss (and it's usually one hit, two misses, one hit, two misses) this one is right on the money.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
The Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury
100 of Bradbury's favorite stories - awesome short stories that can be read over and over. very vivid imagery.

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Umbrella Man and other stories by Roald Dahl
Dahl is an incredible storyteller. humorous, ironic, sarcastic, hilarious. i woke lise up a couple times laughing while reading this in bed over the course of a week. i fell in love with his writing as a boy (most notably, Danny, Champion of the World and James and the Giant Peach) and as an old man i still find him to be a riot.

5. One book that made you cry:
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
probably my favorite book of all time. the melancholy sweetness of the story, the optimism found, lost and regained, the coming of age and pining for a simpler time, the realization of things lost and the marching of time - bittersweet.

6. One book you wish had been written:
Under the Bleachers by Seymour Butts

7. One book you wish had never been written:
The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
i've never thrashed myself so hard as i have in trying to read this book. several times over the past 25 years i'll pick it up, get 40 pages into it and put it down with a splitting headache. too much! too much!!

8. One book you're currently reading:

A Great Improvisation : Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff
i've been reading a lot of history and biography this past year and a half - very strange for a guy who has read fiction 2-3 hours every night for the past 27 years. David McCullough has been at the top of the list of authors, but schiff won the Pulitzer Prize for biography with this one last year. took me two tries to get into it, but it's a good one.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt
McCourt wrote a book called Angela's Ashes several years ago - i got it at sam's club cheap because the cover intrigued me. it's a stream of consciousness account of McCourt's growing up in Ireland with THE dysfunctional irish family. this is book three of his memoirs and it's been difficult to get to it with about 10 other books lined up to read...

and now, to add a few categories of my own:

10. One book that has scared the crap out of you:
Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
this is another book that has been re-read many times and it still scares the crap out of me. it's old. it's out of print. it's worth hunting down at a used bookstore and reading it.

11. The one book that is most recommended to others by you:
Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields
having done youth ministry for thirteen plus years, this is the best book out there for folks who are starting out in this ministry. fields is not my favorite writer by any stretch, but this is good for those who have no idea what they're doing or maybe just need some guidance.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

QUAD...ruple bypass?










Thursday, August 03, 2006

mandibles of death, indeed

much has been made of the fact that my dog, dolby, has mandibles of death when it comes to toys. as an eight month old black lab, he doesn't as much "play" with toys as hunt them down and kill them.

we've decided to follow in the footsteps of Timothy Leary, who, upon learning he was dying from prostate cancer, videotaped his final dying months.

last night at 2200 hours we gave dolby the Dr. Noy's supposedly somewhat indestructible plush teddy bear toy you see to the right.

cute, isn't he?

he was, at least. by 2300 hours, the cute, somewhat indestructible teddy bear was already being torn to shreds. what follows is a pictorial review of the subsequent 25 hours. be warned: it's not for the faint of heart.

click on individual pics for clarity and hour-by-hour captions.
after spending $22.00 on two of these toys (the other was a sheep whose grisly fate was met even quicker than the bear's), not to mention incalculable amounts of money on other fun squeaky toys, i think we're just going to give dolby bricks and barbed wire to chew on and play with.

my new motto: indestructible? HAHAHAHAHAA

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

goodness, don't we all need to do this a bit more often?

above image came from

and oh. my. gosh. is it a funny site.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

i don't want to start grad school in three weeks.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

God, protect me from your followers!

over the last couple weeks, i've gotten some friendly inquiries from a couple folks wanting to know if my faith is doing ok.

and my response would have to be, "faith in what?" or "faith in whom?"

well, you know, ever since you were somewhat screwed over by your last church. since you and lise have been dealing with mind-numbing medical and mental health issues for the last 3 years. you know, since you feel like you've been on the continual downside of the rollercoaster. since you've not gone back to church since leaving the ministry. you know, since you don't really talk about Jesus in all of your blog posts (i mean, you are a minister, aren't you? you are a christian, right?).

let me dispel this myth.

i admit: after the shock of being treated the way i was at the church, my faith in God got a little shaky. it sure felt like we were being singled out for continual persecution and kicks in the crotch and if God has the power to stop all this and i keep begging him and begging him to do so, and then the people who are supposed to help me by ministering to me (even as i minister to teens) take a swift kick at my crotch, too... well, that certainly was difficult. since God didn't stop it, then it must be God having fun kicking us around.

depression hit me pretty hard. self-doubt hit hard. questions and anger at God hit hard. i couldn't believe that God would do this to me!

and the reality is: he didn't.

another reality is: i can cry, moan, whine, beg, plead, be angry, scream and hold my breath until i'm blue in the face, but God didn't set out to prove a point by torturing me or lise.

sometimes crap happens.

and i think that God gets too much of the credit and too much of the blame. i also think satan gets too much credit and blame as well.

so towards what, then, has my faith suffered?

God's people.

i know, i know - it's an unfair, blanket statement. but the shock of 17+ years of following Jesus and seeing God's people treating others of God's people with SO much disrespect (and then being on the receiving end in such a time of need) - this really put me over the top. it's made it difficult for me to trust and even listen to Christians because i'm wondering what their motives really are. wondering what they're really thinking.

jim snyder told me back in december as i was first dealing with what had happened: scott, we're all broken sinners and we don't play well in the sandbox together. it still seems too simplistic to me but i guess it'll have to work.

in the last 2 weeks alone, two friends of mine who are also in ministry have been dealt with in similar (yet different) ways, the end result being their leaving the church/ministry. over the last 17 years, we've seen people in leadership get forced out over the silliest things. we've seen folks in the congregations we've been a part of get hurt (at the hands of leaders and/or other lay people) to the point of leaving and with no restoration of peace or fellowship. we've seen people get used and discarded. we've seen people who needed to be taken care of and ministered to get shunned and ignored.

and i can't imagine that God sits back and says, "good work, folks! this is exactly what i was talking about when i sent my son to die for y'all! keep it up!"

am i guilty, too? definitely.

are there good and awesome things happening in the name of God? absolutely.

but right this minute, i can't imagine going to a church and opening myself back up again, sharing my life with a group of people who i'll wonder if i'm going to get hurt again. see, several older guys who've been in ministry a long time advised me that i shared too much - with the youth group and with the senior ministers. they advise me that i should have kept my mouth shut and just dealt with the things going on in our lives alone.

but i don't think that's what ministry's about - ministry can't be conducted in a vacuum. God works, leads, directs us through our lives and the everyday things, in part.

keep it to myself? hold it in? don't share myself with the folks i minister to? keep it on the superficial? i've served under a minister who did just that. he's a good teacher but his interpersonal skills and compassion (as well as leadership skills) are awful. he admits he doesn't like dealing with people and would rather not be leading a church.

i'd rather not do ministry at all than to have to guard and shield myself from God's followers.

my faith in God? rock solid. i don't understand why all this is happening, but God's not up there with levers and switches angling a big shoe at my crotch.

my faith in God's people? shaky. will this improve? i hope so.

i may just have to invest in a good jockstrap before i get back into church.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

it's the drive that drives me

i love driving.

i must've gotten it from my dad. my mom? more than 15 minutes in the car and she's had enough. no joke.

the drive from cincinnati to maryland is 550 miles. we love taking this 9 hour trek for various reasons, from together time to driving back roads half of the way and seeing the beautiful mountains in west virginia and western maryland to being able to take our time and mosey or make stops.

and another reason is the strange sites along the way.

Ohio's Smallest Church is one of those sites and it's an odd place. it's situated across the street from a rest area in Athens County, Ohio in the middle of a field off Ohio Rt 32. until just 6-7 months ago there was no driveway or parking lot. we first noticed it a couple years ago and first stopped in last year.

clicking on the picture will give you a better idea of the scale of the place. the front door is maybe 6.5' high, so the whole building itself can't be much higher. there are stained glass windows on the sides, a steeple with a real bell inside, 4 pews on the inside, an altar and a place to put your prayer requests.

i was hesitant to go into this church because of the "spine-tingling" factor. have you ever had that? someplace has something "special" in the feeling of it and you're certain that (despite the understanding that God is everywhere) "God is here" - i try to avoid that (and as a youth minister i try to avoid that for my teens) because i don't want to box God up. at any rate, the spine-tingling was present and if nothing else, it's quite a peaceful place. you figure: driving for hours, the noise of the road, of the music you're playing, of the thoughts you're thinking, and suddenly: silence. peace. quiet. breathe. sit. pray.

breathe. sit. pray.

i could use a reminder about that every now and then.

we were further rewarded as we continued home by a spectacular sunset viewed from Keim's Amish Market in Seaman, Ohio. the sky looked like a fireball was rolling across it, ready to burn through and scorch the land. pretty cool.

driving, discovering new places, revisiting old - these are the things that make life good.

Friday, July 21, 2006

our trip to maryland was rather queer

one of the things about having a dog is that there's always something interesting going on. when you couple this basic truth about a dog with a second dog, things get really strange.

when we go to maryland we always stay with our good friends barb and joe. they've been friends of ours for almost 15 years now and we share many things together. barb was the youth director at our church when we first met her and she was really supportive of our getting involved with the group. over the years they've become family. we spend every thanksgiving with them and usually a week in the summer.

this past week was spent at their house in bowie, maryland. joe is the executive director of FIDO's, an assistance dog organization. he is also the owner of Ace, an ass-kicking black lab service dog. ace it a big boy and he serves joe well.

needless to say, when we get our black lab, Dolby, together with their lab, all playful hell breaks loose. one minute it sounds as though they are going to kill each other, the next minute they're wrestling over a toy, and the next minute they're laying next to each other hanging out. it's a lot like junior high ministry.

this week, however, dolby's non-existent sex-drive kicked in and he repeatedly was trying to hump ace. was it dominance? was it that we have a homo dog? was it acting out? was it dolby thinking he still had his gonads? did dolby think that ace was a chick? was it ace being subservient? or maybe he was just caught unawares.

at any rate, as we took some pics during the visit, lise inadvertantly snapped a picture of dolby assuming the position.

and it was good enough to share.


we're gonna have to break him of this habit, though. to quote joe, "That's RUDE!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom

Syd Barrett died.

for most of you, this is probably not a name you're familiar with, but for this old man... well.

i was turned on to Pink Floyd by the sister of my best friend in junior high. ken had bought me an album by Billy Joel for my birthday and i already had it (52nd Street, maybe?) - ken's sister worked at Globe Records and Tapes in the plaza a couple miles from my house. i walked into the store and asked for some help in returning it and getting something else. what would she suggest, my 7th grade former self asked.

and she gave me Wish You Were Here.

and life as i knew it was changed forever.

i didn't know anything about Pink Floyd at this point. never heard of dark side of the moon. didn't know animals. no idea who syd barrett was or that Wish You Were Here was dedicated to him and was essentially about him.

sonically, WYWH is probably my favorite Floyd album. the range of the music was mind-blowing. the guitar work of david gilmour - holy cow! the whole thing was mesmerizing.

soon after, i was loaned The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon.

and then i went back further and discovered syd, hiding among the first two albums PF made.

then i bought his 2 solo albums.

did i like them? sure. did i love them? hmm. no. syd's music was a bit too far gone for me. was he a genius? i suppose. misunderstood genius? definitely.

at any rate, RIP syd. if nothing else, you started the band that would build on your insanity and blow our minds. thanks.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

when there's one minute to go 'til the lights go down low

several folks asked me today what lise and i did for the 4th of july.

i feel a little foolish. we didn't go see fireworks. we didn't go to a cookout. we didn't get together with the family. we didn't get hammered at the bar. we didn't go to a swim party.

we went to the drive-in.

lise and i have been going to the drive-in for several years now. here in the cincinnati area, we've got two to choose from. the holiday auto theatre is up in hamilton (or "hamiltucky" as the locals call it) and it's ok (check out their ridiculously long page on "house rules" and you'll get the feeling that we get when we go there: Yeeesh!! anything ELSE we can't do?) but rather restrictive.

the other drive-in we go to is the Starlite Drive-In out in Amelia. the starlite ROCKS. really nice folks, nice atmosphere, good screen (some drive-in screens are dark or falling apart - beware!) and almost always good movies.

so what is it about the drive-in that we like? hmm, well....
  • BIG FRIGGIN SCREEN - woo-woo!
  • fresh outdoors air
  • snuggling together in the car (get your mind outta the gutter)
  • cranking the sound in the car however loud we want
  • TWO movies for the price of ONE (always double feature at the Starlite and admission is only $6/person)
  • first-run movies all the time
  • gets us out of the house and into each others arms
  • no distractions from people around us, like at regular movie theaters
so what'd we see? Nacho Libre was the first one and, i admit, i thought for SURE it was gonna be a dog. jack black is an idiot and i was doubtful that there was ANYTHING he could produce that i would like. i was wrong. jack, i'm sorry. you're funny in a very stupid kinda way.

Click was the second movie. again, apologies to adam sandler. i was starting to give up on him. now, this movie isn't intelligent fare and it's loaded with predictable dialogue, sequencing and conclusion, but despite all these things: it was funny. and decent. you can take the kids to see either one of these movies.

there's just something about the drive-in. if you've never been, please: do yourself a favor and check it out. you can go to and plug in your zip code and find the closest one to you.

you'll thank me for it.

and if you're at the starlite this coming sunday night, you'll see us - we're seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

my mom is funny

she cut this out of the paper and gave it to me.

and i laughed for about 5 minutes over it.

and then i laughed more over it since then.



Sunday, June 25, 2006

that's disgusting!

one of the things i pine for since leaving Washington DC 5 years ago is the Washington Post. for world news, top political coverage and editorials, it's just a fantastic paper.

but that's not all.

they also have THREE PAGES of COMICS!

yes. that's right. three pages.

one of the strips that they introduced 7 or 8 years ago is called Liberty Meadows. it's one of the best drawn strips out there and also one of the dumbest. frank cho is a comic book artist who apparently LOVES boobs. his main character is a chick named Brandy who has... well, a sizeable chest. i've enjoyed cho's artistic ability but his ability to write is... less than stellar. his strips revolve around brandy's chest and the animals at the animal refuge (hospital?) she works at. it was funny the first couple months, but he ought to stick with marvel comics.

at any rate, reading through some of the past strips, i came across the following and it reminded me of my dog, Dolby.

be sure to click on the strip to see and read the whole thing.

to which dolby says:

Friday, June 16, 2006

the next item up for bid.... A NEW CAR!!

my trusty old 1993 Saturn SW2 wagon has been a real workhorse. we've had it for nine years and have put 150,000 miles on it for a grand total of 195,000 miles. it's consistently gotten 30mpg since buying it and we've put almost no money into it except oil changes and routine tune ups. youth group teens from years past have nicknamed it "The Recycling Bin" because of how much garbage and junk i keep piled in it and i typically, affectionately call it "the wagon" or "the piece of junk" - it's been a good car for a long time.


and someone's but is always getting in the way, isn't it?

but about a month ago i started having trouble with acceleration and herky-jerky-ness. i knew something big was going down but i wasn't sure what. fuel pump? a gasket? and then it dawned on me: it's the clutch. a major thing. uh-oh.

so i kept driving it and praying. and then wednesday we took it to saturn of western hills - a most awesome place. they've been great to lise and i with our two saturns over the last five years. we turned the wagon over to cary and i told him: it's the clutch.

and he calls an hour later and says, "you're right."

"what's the damage" i ask him.

"$800+ and there's more things that will need your attention in the next year."

i jokingly told lise we ought to just ditch the wagon and get a new car. and she said, "let's check what they've got" so i ask the lady on the floor, "what's on the lot under $10,000" and she says, "only one thing - a 2004 Saturn Ion 1 with 27,000 miles for $9,995."

out we go to check it out - and it's a nice car!

5 speed manual, 4 cyl, 2.2 ltr engine with power NOTHING (the way i like it - why pay all that money for power windows, locks, etc?) except steering. CD player, A/C, 28mpg city and 36mpg highway, soundproofed to keep road noise out, a year left on a bumper-to-bumper warranty AND a lifetime powertrain warranty included. payments would be under $200/month and our insurance would only go up $20/month.

what's not to like?

so we went in and as we're filling out the paperwork, i said to becky, our saleslady, "you know what would make this a definite deal?" "what's that," she asks. "give it to us for $9,995 INCLUDING titles, tags and taxes." "hmm. that's asking a lot," she says, "but i'll run it by my manager - he likes teachers!"

10 minutes later we're finalizing a deal on the car for $9,250. woo-woo! my philosophy has always been, "the worst they can say is no, so you may as well ask!" but this, coupled with my borderline paranoia keeps my expectations low.

talk about being thankful for things - this has been a real surprise and blessing to me. that wagon's been great, but when you've been driving something for almost a decade, you don't really realize what a piece of junk it is. this new car is so sweet and it really rides well. and it's QUIET which for me is a HUGE deal. engine's quiet. the ride is quiet. and smooth.

it's our fourth saturn. if they keep treating us like this (and they will), we're gonna end up with a fifth when lise's is ready to go in a couple years.

come on over. we'll give you a ride in it while the new car smell is still in there.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

lurking, are you?

not for long, perhaps.

my AIM account has been active for years and years. before AIM was cool, i was on it. i may have been the reason AIM became cool in the first place, who knows.

my ICQ account is one of the originals. while membership on ICQ is now numbering in the hundreds of millions, my account number is 744908 - i've been on ICQ since the beginning of instant messaging.

my buddy list? hundreds. active? most of them.

so what's the point?

one of the things about AIM that is both cool and not cool is the ability to lurk - to have someone else on your buddy list but that person doesn't know you have them on there. you can read all their profiles, their away messages, see when they're on and off, etc.

over the last year, probably a dozen people have been outed as lurkers because of viruses - you know, the ones where someone "sends" you a message saying something like, "hi!! I just edited one of our pictures in photosuite, you think I should put it to myspace?" and then there's a URL to click on? and then kaboom - you've got a virus because you download something hoping to see pictures or whatever. and the next thing you know, AIM sends a message to everyone on your list who's logged in.

and i'm always logged in.

and some of my lurkers are then like, "holy crap!" and are embarrassed that they were outed.

and others won't respond at all.

and a small minority are like, "hey! how're ya?" like nothing strange is going on.

haha. well, at any rate, this message is a warning to either:
a) beware of messages from people who claim to have edited pictures with you in them
b) out yourselves before you're outed involuntarily

honestly, i think the whole thing is rather funny, but it does make me wonder... who's out there lurking and watching...?

besides George W, that is.

Friday, June 09, 2006

jack's taking a civilian hostage

proof of further degradation of the franchise.

there's GOT to be something we can do!

how about this! we'll set up a perimeter around keifer sutherland and have curtis guard him so no one can take advantage of the poor viewers and thus preventing the public beating to death of jack bauer.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

for those about to rock...

i've had a hearing problem for as long as i can remember. i've had some funny experiences with what i think i hear and what is actually said. if you've been around me for any amount of time, you've probably experienced it yourself.

one thing i've never been able to do is understand lyrics to songs without having the lyrics in front of me- even songs where there's not enough music to interfere with the words - i just can't understand them! it's been a problem ever since i fell in love with music thirty-some-odd years ago. i learned to enjoy the music and worry about the words later (if ever).

this past week i've not been able to get AC/DC's song "You Shook Me All Night Long" out of my head. now, Back In Black was one of the first albums i ever owned as a jr. higher back in 1980 (in fact, i think my grandma bought this and For Those About To Rock for me for Christmas). the rocking tunes and screaming vocals not to mention the crunching guitar of angus young - it was great!

but back to the point: You Shook Me All Night Long has been stuck and i find myself over and over and over starting off with the opening riff, going right into the thumping drum and then: the lyrics that i've never understood (except for a couple lines like the chorus). the lyrics to songs generally get treated like music - i can't identify the instrument but i know it's good and goes well with the song.

so i decided to crank the song up (over and over) and look up the lyrics online.

and i had to laugh. what an awesome frickin' song! and so silly! it's no wonder it's such a lasting anthem - i mean, wouldn't it be awesome if sex were always like that?? it's the ultimate male fantasy! the walls was shakin, the earth was quaking, my mind was achin, we were making it and you... shook me all night long!

well, the lyrics certainly are illuminating and only make the song better. now i can rock with full knowledge and understanding! i can now work doubletime on the seduction line! YES!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

i've always been borderline paranoid

well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but there are a lot of times when i'm really not sure whether what people say is the truth, whether something i've worked for i'll actually receive, whether the intentions of the person(s) i'm dealing with are in the right place, whether i actually deserve something i'm told i deserve (or think, at times, that i DO deserve), if someone is talking about or planning against me, etc.

now, we can psychobabble this to the end of time (it's trust issues, it's poor self-esteem, it's that i've been hurt X number of times, my mommy didn't love me, my ice cream fell off the cone in 1st grade, i listened to too much judas priest when i was growing up, i had a girlfriend who laughed at me when she saw me naked, i was breast-fed, i wasn't breast-fed, i'm co-dependent, i drink too much water, i don't lather-rinse-repeat - choose the one that makes you feel best) but it won't help the situation.

i graduated several months ago from Cincinnati Christian University. in other words, i finished my coursework. it felt good and strange but i was sure that something would come up to screw it up. i wouldn't get my diploma and i'd have to do something else (another class? some weird requirement i didn't hear about 5 years ago?) to get it.

then i graduated a month ago during a ceremony at CCU, but none of us got our diplomas when we walked the stage. why? they wanted to make sure we actually did everything we needed to do to satisfy graduation requirements. i was certain (although i only shared it with a few people) that something would come up and even though i walked the stage, i'd not get the diploma. "the other foot" (that i feel so used to sometimes) would come crashing through and prove to me what i already knew: i screwed up somewhere and i'm not really graduated yet.

well, the diploma came today. i'm not sure what happened to the other foot (or what implication this holds for my semi-paranoid psychosis) but now it's real.

i've really graduated from college.

now to hide the diploma so when the government men in their black helicopters come and break into my foil-lined office to steal it, they won't be able to find it.

that last part was a joke.

life with the beach

lise and i are trying to decide if we're gonna make a summer trip to the beach or not.

taken over christmas last year, our trip to pensacola ended up being the best vacation we've ever had.

why? truth is, we've never taken conventional vacations in our 16 year marriage. we usually take a couple days, fill the gas tank and just go driving, stop randomly, hang out, then move on. we've never gone someplace and stayed for several days. ever.

we got a condo right across the street from the gulf of mexico and it was gorgeous and perfect. we hit the beach every late morning and found hundreds of seashells and sand dollars (brought back 5 gallon-sized bags full of them) and got our feet very cold in the water (outdoor temps were in the upper 50's, lower 60's and the water temp was about 60 - but hey! when you're from cincinnati where the avg. december temp is 18....). drove around the city of pensacola (and quickly realized: the beach is more interesting). rushed to the beach every day at 4:45pm to snag pictures of the sunsets (absolutely the best sunsets we've ever seen). hung out at the condo later in the evenings and watched movies and had dinner. ate at flounder's our last night there (the key lime pie was the highlight).

simply put: it was the best vacation ever.

well, the condo we stayed at is available for the third week of august and amazingly at the same price as we paid back in december! almost $300 less than peak season of July! what does this tell me? pensacola beach empties out by mid-august, which would be perfect for us!

we've asked our good friends travis and sarah if they'd like to come with us this time. negotiations are pending. obviously money is the biggest issue.

but for 5 days on an incredible beach? it's worth it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

no, really - turn up your sound and click play: the Evolution of Dance

Friday, June 02, 2006

...and one for the road

today was the last day of school for both lise and i and what a year it's been.

lise admits that it was anti-climactic for her: hey kids! last day of school? good! get the heck out!!

for me, i've only been at this school since... february? there were some good times, some great people, the kids were cool... but not enough of a connection to really pull at the heartstrings.

we're looking forward to three months off together. oh, yeah baby!

why don't you come over and have dinner with us sometime?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

neil young's newest album is...


it's an anti-war, anti-Bush album from one of the granddaddies of protest songs.

i need to listen to it again before giving in-depth comment.

Monday, May 22, 2006

right now, you're going to face JUSTICE!!

the season finale of 24 dropped tonight and it did several things for me:

made me angry - when president logan hit his wife in the airplane hangar, i wanted to kill him! we all knew something fishy was going on, but oooOOOoooooh - i hate that guy!!

confirmed my fears - 24 is going down the toilet. lise and i are in agreement: season one and season four - excellent. seasons two and three: ehhh. season five: bleah!

made me feel warm inside - when president logan finally got what was coming to him and the look on his wife's face? hahaa - PRICELESS!!! oh, that was a good shot!

intrigued me - sad as it is for me to admit: the ending of the show tonight makes me wonder where season six is gonna start from. china? will aaron pierce be the new jack bauer?

oh, and further proof of the shows impossible premises: chloe showed an emotion other than disdain for a fellow human being. c'mon - get real!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

trees glorious trees

my great-aunt nettie died last weekend. she was in her 90's and had suffered from alzheimer's for a short while. she died peacefully in her sleep. she was a strong and powerful (forceful?) woman who was much ahead of her time when it came to independence. the stories my mom and my aunts and uncles tell of her are incredible.

i found out earlier this week that my aunt diane wanted to honor nettie by planting a tree. all in favor said "aye" and the motion was passed. the tree (a kwanzan cherry tree - same as the ones in washington DC) was purchased and then it was decided that it would be best to plant it in our yard. how this decision was made eludes me, but it's beside the point. i found out wednesday that we were having a tree-planting ceremony at our house on saturday. haha.

a small crowd of folks came over to plant the tree, take some pictures, write short memories of nettie on playing cards (her favorite pasttime), hang them on the tree, then go inside and talk and eat the night away. it was a good time.

one highlight of the night was sitting on the front porch with my uncle glen. we talked about a lot of things while we were out there. at some point glen looked at me and asked seriously:

"scott, did you hear that cincinnati is building a new zoo?"

"no," i said. "i've not heard anything about that."

"yeah, they're putting a fence up around kentucky."

and for the next five minutes, glen and i sat on the porch laughing our heads off.

well, the tree is really a nice tree. lise and i are looking forward to seeing it grow and getting to see these gorgeous double blossoms it's supposed to have in the spring!

by the way: the memories i have most of aunt nettie are when she and her husband, my uncle tony (from whom i got my middle name), would come into town in their green camper. i remember several times them driving from LA to cincinnati and staying with my grandma. all the stories and the card-playing and the cartoon characters she used to knit into signs for the back window of the camper - good memories.

Friday, May 19, 2006

someone shoot me

this article falls under the category of


Thursday, May 18, 2006

random collection of mismatched thoughts

1. the new red hot chili peppers CD is most awesome. you ought to get it. it's got an eclectic blend of different styles and sounds. some folks think it sounds like their old stuff, some think it sounds more like their more recent stuff. i think it sounds GOOD. i'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this double CD is the best album they've put out yet. funky. polished. rock!

2. the da vinci code movie is out this week. the book is incredible - it's no literary masterpiece but it IS gripping and i read it in a day or two. i couldn't put it down. all the commotion from christians about this movie has really been amusing to me. i like what ron howard (the director) said today in the washington post: if you think it'll make you upset, DON'T SEE IT! good heavens, and can't we just enjoy a book or movie nowadays without making it some kind of crusade? certainly the "facts" presented by dan brown are not "facts" at all but can't we pull the stick out of our collective butt and just relax a little bit and watch a movie for entertainment? bigger things and people have attempted to shut down the message of Jesus (and intentionally at that) and have failed.


3. tye von allmen

4. lise's been crazy busy with 2 online classes the past month. she's got 2 more weeks. it's been lonely in the evenings while she's online doing her work. i've tried. i've tried hard to sit and watch TV while she's busy. but i've gotta tell you: THERE'S NOTHING ON!!! and i keep meeting folks who pay money for cable tv and i just can't do it. there's nothing on the regular channels and what i've seen of cable over the years - i'd get stuck watching CNN or MTV all the stinkin time. what i'm able to watch is already too mind numbing for me. but this won't stop the local cable company from knocking on my door, offering free installation and 2 months free and then looking at me like i'm crazy when i refuse. has no one ever refused the cable company before? ought i get a bar code tattooed on my forehead so i can blend in better?

5. i ordered an invisible fence system for the backyard for dolby. it came a couple weeks ago. i guess i ought to go out and install it now?

6. tomorrow is jean day at school. pay $5 (for a good cause - i think tomorrows is cancer research) and you get to wear jeans to school. this deal makes me feel strangely warm inside. now, if it were shorts and birkenstocks day, i'd pay much more for the opportunity.

7. neil young has a new CD out. it's an anti-war-president-bush-is-a-dumbass album. the reviews from customers at are somewhat amusing. one guy suggested that neil needs to give up the protest song writing and leave it to the younger crowd. haha. HAHAHAA. gosh. must be some 18 year old. isn't neil one of the granddaddies of protest song writing? at any rate, i've not bought it yet. stay tuned.

8. i'm tired. goodnight.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

i suppose this is it.

i'm officially educated.

at least, that's what i'm told.

the graduation ceremony was long. looong. i was wishing for a pellet gun to start picking off some of the speakers after about an hour. isn't that horrible?

the truth is, everyone said it was a very nice ceremony and i didn't hear any complaining (haha - except from myself). i suppose the problem for me was that all the graduates were behind the speakers instead of in front of them on the floor. i couldn't hear a thing that was going on. being up on stage was kinda cool - getting to see everyone in the audience.

Lise's family came in from Toledo. Mom picked up my Uncle Glen and navigated the city without directions. Dad and Karen cut their month-long trek through the southwest short by a day or so to get back in time. my Grandma was there. my brother was there, too! zow! several good friends like adrienne, eric, ema, rick, denise - they came as well!

these pictures, in order:

jon weatherly and i - he's been a big supporter (not to mention a stellar professor and dean). i was trying to do rabbit ears on him but it ends up looking like horns. hmm. so many directions i could take that, but i won't.

dan dyke and i flashing the sign he flashed at me just before i got my diploma. unfortunately, with this being a family blog, i'm not at liberty to explain what it means. i can't say enough about dan as a professor and a friend. of all the good things i can say about my time at CCU, the relationships i've built with people there are probably at the top of the list. dan's been a phone call away many times. he's also in the top three of the finest professors at CCU.

me, my mom and my uncle glen. they're twins (no, i'm serious). they rock. they've been encouraging and supportive through the whole thing.

my dad, myself, and karen. they've been HUGE supporters over the last five years. they took us in for a year when we moved back from maryland, they've supported us financially for a spell when we were going through lise's cancer and lise's position had been cut at the school. they've been encouraging and always available. it's definitely true that if it wasn't for them (and especially karen), i wouldn't have graduated yesterday from CCU.

and most importantly: me and lise. she's the greatest wife on the planet. i can't imagine being anywhere else than with her, wherever that might be. over the last five years we've faced the biggest challenges of our sixteen year marriage with multiple life-altering illnesses, college for me, buying a house, etc. but we've come through it all in one piece. she is the coolest, most gorgeous and awesomely supportive chick i know. she is another huge reason i made it through the last five years of school.

it's been a wild five years getting to this point. feels good to be here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

i've still got it.

whatever "it" is.

last night i taught up at travis' youth group at his church in middletown.

and it was a strange feeling. it's the first time i've taught or hung out at a youth group since leaving impact back in december.

i rarely get nervous teaching or speaking. big groups, small groups, youth group, church, retreats, camp, etc. but last night i was concerned. i was thinking, "oh my gosh - what if i've lost "it" and i can't do this?"

and then i went in and taught and hung out with the group. and it rocked.

whatever it is - apparently it's still there. and i'm reminded that it's not about me - and that helps keep perspective.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

calling all stalkers, lurkers and other shady characters

my graduation is this coming saturday - may 13th. 10am at cincinnati christian university's worship center / multipurpose building.

all friends and stalkers are invited.

a map can be found here.

i'll be looking for you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

come walken with me

some folks might feel it's too early to be thinking about the 2008 presidential election.

not me.

christopher walken is running and i'm jumping on his platform now!

you really ought to join me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the 24 drinking, er, Oreo game

this season of 24 has hit a new low for lise and i. it's taken me beyond what is logically acceptable and pushed me out of the plane. there's NO WAY that the current situation could even remotely have played out this way.

now, please: don't tell me, "it's just a TV show" - like, DUH!! but come on! this whole president logan in conspiracy with the terrorists and his poor wife, aaron pierce lasting as long as he did, kim coming on the show again without doing something totally stupid, non-satellite phone reception in airplanes, bauer's knowledge of plane anatomy, and the list goes on and on and on and on....

the sad thing is: sutherland has signed on to do three more seasons! NOT a time for rejoicing.

now, all this might be driving me to drink, except that i'm not a big fan of drinking. i'm not a fan at all of drinking games. this drinking game, compiled from a couple different ones located online, has been modified to accomodate Oreo Cookies instead of drinks or shots. and of course, eating is something i do with great proficiency and skill. you ought to try it.

24 Oreo (drinking) Game

Every time...
Jack says "You have got to trust me", take 1 Oreo
-- if the emphasis is on "got", i.e. "You have GOT to trust me", take an extra Oreo
Jack says "DAMN it!" take 1 Oreo
Jack doesn't have time to explain, take 1 Oreo
Jack doesn't have time for this, take 1 Oreo
Jack says "You've got to do it", take 1 Oreo
-- if this is followed by "and you've got to do it now," take 2 more
Anyone points out something that is "against regulations", take 1 Oreo
Anyone has got to understand what is at stake here, take 1 Oreo
Anyone gets tortured, take 1 Oreo
-- if they aren't a terrorist or criminal, take another Oreo
a perimeter is set up, take 1 Oreo
-- if the perimeter is supposed to be held until someone arrives, take another Oreo
-- if the agents manning the perimeter are redeployed, take yet another Oreo
Jack takes a civilian hostage, take 1 Oreo
Jack steals a car, take 1 Oreo
Jack blows his own cover, take 1 Oreo
Jack dies, take 1 Oreo
-- if he's resuscitated, take another Oreo
- Every time somebody says "protocol," take 1 Oreo.
If Jack is able to infiltrate a building or perimeter:1 Oreo.
Take another Oreo if he makes it out alive.

*Special technical section* Every time...
Satellite coordinates are requested, take 1 Oreo
-- if they can't get the coordinates, take another
there's a problem with the database, take 1 Oreo
a file is in the wrong format, take 1 Oreo
something needs to be rerouted, take 1 Oreo
someone uses another person's computer, take 1 Oreo

1) The time is displayed. (1 Oreo)
2) There is an explosion, a bomb going off, or a plane/helicopter crash. (1 Oreo)
3) A tender or sentimental moment is interrupted by a ringing cell phone. (2 Oreos)
4) There is a major plot twist that renders a significant amount of work done by CTU/Jack Bauer useless. (1 Oreo)
5) Someone you thought was with the "good guys" is revealed to be in with the "bad guys." (2 Oreos)
6) Someone is held at gunpoint. (1 Oreo)
7) A defibrulator is used (1 Oreo).
If it actually saves the persons life. (2 Oreos)
8) Someone dies. (1 Oreo)
If they're a A CTU / Governmental executive or other major plot character. (2 Oreos)
If the person is killed just before they reveal important information, discover something crucial, or solve some puzzle. (3 Oreos)
9) Jack Bauer miraculously recovers from an injury or very narrowly escapes certain death. (2 Oreos)
10) Jack Bauer does something that is against protocol. (1 Oreo)
If he gets caught. (2 Oreos)
11) Jack Bauer asks to speak to the president. (1 Oreo)
If he says "It's important." (2 Oreos)
12) Jack Bauer yells, "Drop your weapon!" (1 Oreo)
13) Jack Bauer says, "You just have to trust me" (1 Oreo)
14) Jack Bauer interrogates someone. (1 Oreo)
If Jack gets pissed off and yells, throws things (or them) around. (2 Oreos)
If Jack kills them afterward. (3 Oreos)
15) Some computer whiz at CTU decodes, analyzes, decrypts, or hacks something. (1 Oreo)
16) Kim Bauer says or does something extraordinarily stupid. (gets kidnapped, lies to the authorites, etc) (2 Oreos)
17) An old character who you thought was dead, fired, or gone forever comes back to surprise everyone (2 Oreos).
18) Someone is being a complete asshole, or a total moron and is preventing CTU, Jack, or the "good guys" from saving the day. (1 Oreo)
If the above someone is Kim or Sherry (2 Oreos)
19) Sherry Palmer says "I'm doing this for you, David", or "This is for the good of your Presidency".(2 Oreos)
20) Someone on Palmer?s staff advises him not to do something. (1 Oreo)
If he does it anyway. (2 Oreos)
21) Someone on Palmer's staff does something sneaky behind his back. (1 Oreo)
If Palmer fires them for it. (2 Oreos)
22) Information is leaked to the press. (1 Oreo)
If the leak was unintentional (2 Oreos)
23) Someone without government clearance is told a secret they aren?t supposed to tell anyone. (1 Oreo)
They tell someone anyway. (2 Oreos)
If Someone is Kim. (3 Oreos)
24) Something bad happens three seconds before the episode ends. (Finish your Oreo)

woe to you who try to play the 24 oreo game while watching the show on DVD!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

blogging against the church

the washington post has an interesting article regarding this issue.

i've considered doing this.

but then i think: why should the whole church be punished for the actions of a few?

i guess it's difficult no matter what you do in church leadership, as you're not just leading a flock of people, you're also running a business. where does the "tending the sheep" end and the "business" begin? at what point does the responsibility for an individual's spiritual and mental health end and the responsibility to the business-end (financial?) of the church pick up?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

strong you are with the force, hmm?

this is a crude caricature of one of my best friends, travis, otherwise known as t-bone. on this particular day that the caricature was drawn, t-bone was looking a lot like captain kangaroo.

travis and i met five long years ago at Cincinnati Christian University. it's a rather funny story, but let's cut to the chase, shall we?

travis is funny. i have been accused of being funny. together, we're a bundle of inappropriate fun.

over the years, we've terrorized CCU proper and CCU faculty with such antics as going around the campus plastering the "every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten" pictures all over (on office doors, in place of peoples faces on pictures, in windows, under the Dean's door, etc) and doing our Two-Headed Mr. Know-It-All routine (to the amazement and annoyance of all around) to pass the time. we also have swapped out and taught each others' youth groups too many times to count, gotten our women together and been silly, eaten more indian food than is legally allowable in the state of ohio and we've plumbed the depths of urinals at rest stops in rural illinois. travis is my best friend and i love him to death. we have waay too much fun together.

but none of this has anything to do with why i'm blogging about him.

travis is one of the funniest people i know. he is able to do an imitation of Yoda that just makes me crack up (and more often than not, fall out of my chair in laughter and tears). not only does he do a killer Yoda, he is also able to do a very twisted version of Elmo. to make matters worse, he has the uncanny ability to imitate Yoda and Elmo together having a conversation and i must tell you that i'm laughing even now as i think about it.

it's so bad that i was almost run over by a car in downtown st. louis because i was laughing so hard at one of his "conversations" - hahahaa.... oh. ok. stop laughing. breathe.

anyway, this Yoda "Got Milk" ad reminded me of him and as i told him at dinner tonight, i need to get it to him. what better way than by blogging about him?

as always, you can click on the pictures to see a bigger version of it. enjoy!