Today is the day that I ______.

I hit a milestone today, cause for (mild) celebration. I set a new record high for unique visitors (I passed my previous record for page views last week). So June '08 is officially my highest month for traffic - in page views, visits, and unique visits. And the month's not over yet. So, please forgive me if I coast for a few days.


If video killed the radio star, what killed the video star?

It's funny how "firsts" can be so accurate in setting the tone of something new.

Like the first song ever broadcast on Seattle's 107.7 The End: REM's It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). In essence they were saying "the world is ending, we're the End, so just be happy about it and listen to some music." Perfect.

Another trivial pop culture nugget, and eerie predictive first was on MTV. The first video ever played on MTV was Video Killed the Radio Star by Buggles. The song serves to bring back a certain happy sense of nostalgia, but it was weirdly true to my generation; many of my peers abandoned radio in devotion to this "new" medium. MTV set the standards for what was "cool" in music, and many of my friends couldn't wake up without watching an hour of music videos before school.

Now I can't help but wonder what went wrong in a world where "Music Television" hardly plays any music.

In it's heyday - video killing the radio was fairly true. But what if MTV was created today. I'm sure the first song they play would be something along the lines of Reality Killed the Video Star.


In review: Viva La Vida

Coldplay is one of those bands that everyone likes, but few are willing to admit it. Their first single, Yellow, was one of the few memorable songs that created instant bewilderment and appreciation. I’ll admit it – I’m a fan, and I have been since they first hit American radio. Over the last few weeks, their newest single has been featured in Apple’s commercials as an iTunes exclusive. And every time I see that commercial, I’m humming “That was when I ruled the world” to myself for the next couple of hours. Those dang iPod commercials. However, Viva La Vida became the first album in… I can’t remember how long that I’ve been excited about, and Best Buy became a (regretfully) essential destination today.

The opening (mostly instrumental) track, Life in Technicolor, sets the tone of the album. Coldplay is trying to make a statement: they fully intend to be a great band. In any other (current) band, this type of aspiration may seem pretentious. Yet, Viva La Vida is genuine, musically ambitious, and filled with sonic dynamics as Chris Martin and crew guides the listener across an auditory play land that is equally familiar and foreign.

Much remains from previous Coldplay efforts. The band stays true to their formula of driving acoustic rhythms coupled with U2 styled electric guitar riffs. Chris has kept his bi-polar vocal styling – swinging back and forth from hauntingly lulling balladeer to leader of anthemic choruses and sing-a-longs. And yet again I (willingly) suffer a bit of musical whiplash as Coldplay exhibits their tendency to begin with a funeral dirge and finish with joyous momentum; as best displayed in the fourth track 42.

Lyrically, the band remains introspective while leaving the songs’ true meanings open for interpretation. Thematically, the album seems to tackle grief and mourning. Some one once told me that funerals and memorials have three purposes: to remember those we lost, to celebrate life, and to reflect our own mortality. Viva La Vida clearly explorers all three of those aspects of remembrance. From the title track (Spanish for Living Life) to the closing track Death and All His Friends, the lyrics balance between hope and lament.

The band stays faithful to their influences without mimicking their inspirations. They’ve borrowed from some of the greatest (U2, The Cure, Radiohead, The Who, The Beatles) and made a sound uniquely their own. Viva La Vida is purely authentic Coldplay, as they blend their addictive melodies and Britpop genius with tribal drumming and symphonic groove. With Viva La Vida, Coldpay is four for four in releasing great albums. This is a band that has yet to reach a sophomore slump and hopefully never will.

I highly recommend Viva La Vida for any fan of music – even the most jaded music snobs who believe they have the most superior tastes in music.


Crummy Church Signs

For today's post, I'd like to direct your attention to someone else's blog. I am one of the contributers in today's post @ Crummy Church Signs. while you're there, enjoy a laugh and Joel's comentary on one of our local church's church sign.


'lil man is an artist

Meet my son...he's going to be an artist when he grows up.

This, according to Christian... is an elephant.

I won't tell you what Christian said this was...but, to me, it looks like a sheep's head.
(If you want to know he called it, you'll have to ask me in private.)

Yes, I know...he's special.



getting here from Google

Search by "Nicholas Casey" - no link on the first page of results.
Search by "Nic Casey" - Third link on first page.
Search by "Ryan Jabaay" - #1 result! (out of about 12,300)


to be young and dumb

When I was in high school, the Arby’s in Ellensburg Washington was a frequent stop for our youth group during our spring and fall road trips to NNU. A typical trip would start with us leaving Marysville on a Wednesday after school, travelling over the pass, stopping for dinner in Ellensburg (most of us chose Arby’s), then camping in the basement of our youth pastor’s old church in Pendleton Oregon. We would finish the drive into Nampa Thursday morning with a brief stop for breakfast at the Blue Moon Café in La Grande (not the best food but worth a visit to see the model railway that runs throughout the restaurant). The trip back to Marysville on Sunday was a full-day's drive with a quick lunch break in Pendleton.

So, two times a year we would eat at the Arby’s in Ellensburg. And two times a year we would get kicked out of the Arby’s in Ellensburg. Strangely, on each occasion, we were instructed to never return. Lucky for us, the attrition within Arby’s was high enough that the staff was completely new by the time we returned.

We weren’t really bad kids. Most of us grew up in the same church. And we usually tried to stay out of trouble. But for one weekend in October, and again in May, we were on a road trip without parental supervision. It was glorious.

Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t perfect angels. We were obnoxious. And every time we were kicked out, it was fully deserved.

But the way the seating area is laid out at that particular Arby’s is an invitation for disaster. There is a raised middle dining area with sunken seating areas on all three sides. The side areas are separated from the middle section by large planters. As further motivation for a bunch of mischievous teenagers, most of the dining area is obscured from the view of the registers.

What would you do if you were an Arby’s employee and you had a group of customers who:

* Started chanting “Tastes great!” and “Less filling!” from opposite sides of the restaurant
* Played an impromptu game of volleyball by spitting ice cubes over the planters
* Used the squirt bottles of ketchup, horsey sauce, and Arby’s sauce to create “art” on the tables
* Sat by themselves at various tables but carried on conversations as if they were sitting together
* Sang a loud (and off key) rendition of “99 bottles of beer”
* Excused the obnoxious behavior of a friend by saying he suffered from that disease that makes you age four times faster “he may look like he’s 16, but he’s really four!”

Yeah, I’d have kicked us out.


Insomnia: Good News, Bad News

Bad news: I couldn’t sleep last night.

Good news: I watched the entire first season of The Office

And now that I've been up all night watching The Office, it's time for a day of work at the office.


Happy (Belated) Birthday RR&RT

Oops, I breezed right through my third bloggiversary with out noticing. I new my first post was sometime in June of 2003, but I forgot that it was June 1st. Silly me.

Well, help me celebrate my blog's third birthday... even if it is a few days late. And, while it's nothing to brag about, you can read my first ever blog post HERE.

Boy, I've come a long ways in the last three years...


In defense of a drunkard?

On the evening of Monday, May 26th, Ryan Jabaay sped through a red light at the intersection of 4th Street and I-90 in Coeur d’Alene. His truck hit a car carrying a mother and her two sons – killing the younger boy. Jabaay was drunk.

To further complicate the tragedy, Jabaay left the scene of the accident. I don’t know if he was running in fear, or if he was running for help. Either way, he will be facing charges for fleeing the scene as well as a DUI. And if this wasn’t enough, this accident was not Jabaay’s first DUI.

I first read about the accident when Dave Olivera posted the Police Department’s press release the next morning. You can read his post HERE, along with several comments. Those comments are quite provocative and are the reason I am writing. I’ll summarize the comments, but you can read through the thread yourself by clicking the link to Dave’s post.

I (like many others in our community) recognized the tragedy for what it is – heartbreak for a family who lost their son, and hopefully a wakeup call for the drunk driver. The first few comments on Dave’s blog were expected notes of sympathy and outrage. One commenter even called Jabaay a monster.

But then a funny thing happened. A week later, friends of Jabaay started posting comments in support of Jabaay – many of them mentioning that Jabaay is a really good guy and all of them saying something along the lines of “WE LOVE YOU RYAN.”

I don’t mind people showing support to a friend who made a mistake, but they appeared to be justifying (or at least excusing) his mistake of driving drunk. I am angered. Not at Ryan Jabaay for his blatant disregard for life when he decided to drive drunk, but at the dozens of comments that seem to shrug it off as if Ryan is the true victim.

Here’s a quick rundown of comments justifying/excusing Ryan’s descision.
· Alcoholism is a disease and he needs help
· He’s hard enough on himself, so he doesn’t need any one saying bad stuff about him
· Only God can judge him
· Drunk driving isn’t the only cause of fatal driving accidents (this person compared drunk driving to someone who isn’t aware that they have epilepsy and has a seizure while driving)
· Many people drive drunk and don’t get caught
· No one took the keys from Ryan because all of his friends live far away in a small town in Washington
· Those criticizing Ryan for driving drunk needs a lesson in humility
· Everyone makes mistakes – the only person that was ever perfect was Jesus
· This is only his second DUI, but his father had three (this person also said perhaps the most idiotic thing I’ve ever read: “and I also understand that most likely every person reading this has put lives in danger like him. But wait.. you're not wrong for doing that unless you actually injure or kill someone...RIGHT??”)

And my personal favorite…

Seriously? I felt sickened after reading through all of the comments from Jabaay’s friends. I actually feel less sympathy for Jabaay now than I did when I first read about the accident. The following is my reply to all of them. (this part is cross-posted in the comments section on HBO)

To the friends of Ryan Jabaay

It is nice that you all want to show your support to Ryan – he is lucky to have friends like you. Although, I think it would be more productive to write letters directly to him in jail. One of you mentioned he’d probably never read this thread, don’t you think letters written to him personally would be far more meaningful than the random anonymous postings here? At least he’d be far more likely to read them.

But before you rallied up your troops in GI Joe gear to show him support or garner some measure of sympathy, you probably should have come up with a more cohesive strategy.

Most of you keep trying to explain what a good guy Ryan was, but I can’t wrap my brain around that description of him. If he really was a good guy he would not have gotten into his truck drunk. We have cab services all over Coeur d’Alene that could have driven him home.

And don’t try to use the “everybody’s driven drunk” excuse with me. It’s just not true. I’ve never been drunk behind the wheel. Never. Not once. I don’t buy that excuse, and neither would a court of law. Before I appeared before a judge for a speeding ticket nine years ago, the judge told the entire courtroom that he would not except “but other people were driving faster than me” as an adequate defense. If that defense doesn’t work for speeding, it won’t work for a DUI.

Speaking of strategies that won’t work in court… stop the “but he’s really a nice guy approach.” Face the facts. He drove drunk and killed a ten year old boy, and then he left the scene. There’s not a jury that will pity him just because he has a good heart.

One of you mentioned that he moved here in hopes to do positive things with his life. How is driving drunk a positive thing? And if he was moving here to start fresh, that tells me that he wasn’t doing positive things with his life there. That doesn’t jive with this good guy image you all want us to see.

And you are the company you keep. Many of you have admitted that you’ve driven after drinking. And if you are his closest friends – drunk driving sounds like his standard operating procedure. Since he all ready has one DUI, and driving while impaired seems to be normal for all of you, I’m having further doubts about how he could possibly be a good guy. I hope he learns from his mistake – but I hope all of you do as well.

Now, I’m not going to call him a bad man, or a monster. I do not know him, nor do I know what kind of person he is. But is human and as a man, he makes mistakes. We all make mistakes. But don’t expect me to feel sorry for him because we are all imperfect. I make mistakes every day. Mistakes come with consequences. I pay for my mistakes. Ryan needs to do the same. But what separates my mistakes from Ryan’s is that my mistakes have never resulted in the murder of an innocent stranger. And I will call it murder because it was not an accident. He made a choice that resulted in death. No one accidentally drives drunk. It just doesn’t happen.

And since you brought God into the argument, let’s take a look at how God views Ryan’s choices, his drunkenness, and the death he caused.
· You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)
· Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. (Exodus 21:12)
· Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)
· It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones (children) to sin. (Luke 17:2)
· Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness (Romans 13:13)
· Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. (Ephesians 5:18)
I hope you get the point.

Finally, as a citizen, I am outraged at the loss of life caused by those who choose to drive drunk. This includes Ryan, but he is not the only one to cause such a tragic loss of life. Alcohol and vehicles don’t mix; I am sick and tired of people like Ryan who think otherwise.

But as a father who deeply knows the pain of losing a child, I am angered by the callous comments posted here by those of you who claim to be Ryan’s friends. To say we’re all as guilty as him is heartless and shows nothing but spite for the Frisbee family. To compare drunk driving to an epileptic seizure not only insults those who suffer from epilepsy, but is an affront on all who have lost a loved one to drunk driving. And Brittany’s comment that we all put lives in danger just like Ryan is more than simple naïveté, it is arrogant and pretentious.

Please show your support of your friend. But think before you write. And if you’re going to get drunk, don’t be an idiot – get a ride.