The catylist of a dream

After writing two different blog series about the church, an idea took root. Over the last couple of months, what was once just a dream, became an idea. That idea is turning into a reality.

I have a quirk. I'm not really interested in my own success. I derive more personal satisfaction helping others be successful than I do in my own personal victories. So I envisioned an organization where I could support artists in my community and be the catalyst for their success.

In helping others achieve artistic success, I recognize that many have hurdles too high to jump over. Walls that some might consider unbreakable. Roadblocks that might as well be dead ends. Those challenges may be a creative slump, writer's block, a muse that no longer speaks. It could be fear of failure, performance anxiety, stage fright. It could be time management - conflicting schedules and priorities. Then there are things that can't be done alone. That no matter how talented an individual might be there are occasions where they need a partner, a resource, guidance, support.

All these holes within the artistic community. Places where people need help. Over the past couple months, that idea has become an deafening roar. I can help.

I can be that person. I could be the hub in the center of the wheel that connects the individual spokes to the others. I could be the underwater ridge joining the islands of an archipelago.

Several years ago, my buddy Steve and I took a road trip from Boise to Seattle for an independent musician's conference. The conference was held at the EMP with appearances from bigwigs from Sub Pop and The Seattle Weekly. The highlight (and the reason Steve and I drove there and back) was to do a Q&A session with some really cool people. One was an A&R person from a local music label, another was an editor for an indie magazine. But the third person on the panel was the one I was most excited to meet and talk to: Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America. If you don't remember PUSA, chances are you were not alive during the mid-90s. (Millions of peaches, peaches for free. Anyone? Anyone???)

Beside the point, I'm getting side tracked.

The Q&A was set up for the panelists to listen to short clips from submitted demo tapes from the bands and musicians that attended; Steve and I had submitted the demo that Steve's band had just finished. After listening to about 20-30 seconds of a song (sometimes two songs), one of the panelists would ask the people that submitted the demo, "What do you want to do next?" Answers ranged from recording a better demo, to wanting a record deal, to building a fan base. Questions arose about how to self promote, how to find studio musicians for a backing band, and copyright issues. Steve and I asked what we needed to do to get noticed outside of Boise. Chris gave us wise advice: "if you can't make it in Boise, you won't be able to make it anywhere else." The last ten years has seen revolutionary changes for musicians. Websites like ReverbNation, Band Camp, and NoiseTrade have created outlets for indie artists to get their songs in front of new listeners with out the assistance of major labels. Crowdfunding has created avenues for artists to finance their projects that didn't exist a few years ago. These changes have made it easier in some respects, but at the same time it's made it harder to be an independent artist. Despite the changes with in the music industry over the past decade, the advice that Chris Ballew and other industry insiders gave to that crowded room at the EMP are just as true today as it was then.

Looking back, that weekend was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had. I learned more in those few hours than I could have anticipated.

The question asked of us is vital to the life of an artist - whether it's a musician or a photographer, a writer or a filmmaker. A woodworker or a painter. The question that must be asked is this: what's next?

What do you want to do?
What do you want to accomplish?
What is your dream?
What is your next step?

For some, these questions might be too big to answer - or at least too big to answer out loud. But, wherever the artist is in their journey - from the kid strumming their first power chords on a $150 guitar in their parent's basement, to the actress taking a bow after the closing night's performance, everyone has a dream. But not everyone knows how to take that step.

I could help people find that next step and help them take it.


The formation of a dream

In the 26 years that have passed since I first listened to Jim Morrison's Grave, my dream has been under refinement.

I took art classes in junior high and got involved with the drama program. I found my voice while on stage pretending to be someone else. Then I wandered away from my dream. Throughout high school, I had my heart set on becoming an architect. But by the time I graduated, I had been reminded of my calling from 1987. I had a plan to go to college for a speech/communications major then return home to get a job as a radio DJ. That plan fell apart as my family could not afford to send me to college. I also met some interns that worked for KNDD in Seattle; they gave me an eye opening glimpse into what it took to break into the radio industry.

With that version of my dream turning sour, I floundered for a while. I knew that someday, I would find my place working with music and art. There was still a kid inside me that wanted to be a rock star despite my crappy singing voice and limited guitar skills. As reality and adult responsibilities took over, I did what ever I could. Running soundboards for churches, concerts, and theatrical productions. Managing and promoting my best friend's band while living in Boise. Hanging out in recording studios while my friends recorded their demo tapes. I spent a little over a year as a DJ in Sioux Falls. When I moved back to Idaho, I helped teach a youth worship band how to play songs and lead worship.

Somewhere in there, the studio became my dream. I felt comfortable behind a soundboard. I daydreamed about how wonderful it would be if I were to produce a hit single. The recording process was alluring to me, but the rise of home studios (with software like Pro Tools and GarageBand) eroded the practicality of opening my own recording studio.

DJing is some of the most fun I've ever had while earning a paycheck. Since returning to Idaho, I've had three gigs, all done for free; my sister-in-law's wedding, the wedding of my wife's best friend, and a junior high dance party. My sister-in-law's reception is probably the best gig I ever played. After that wedding, while driving home, Bekah and I talked about the possibility of me DJing as a job again, but this time doing it on my own. She saw how much fun I had mixing the music, she recognized my talent, she entertained the possibility, and encouraged me to do some research. There aren't any wedding DJs in Coeur d'Alene. You either have to hire a karaoke jockey, or go hire someone from Spokane. The market here would be all mine. But I also understand the crippling funds of buying a mixer, amp, speakers, microphones, and lights - not to mention paying the song royalties that make it legal to be a professional DJ. All conspired to make it cost-prohibitive to start my own DJ business. DJing would also take away my ability to spend weekends with my family.

So, I've operated in stasis.

Then, two years ago, I wrote a series about the church. That we as Christians too easily make people feel out of place and how I've felt like an outcast most of my life. That we let ourselves get wrapped up in issues that don't matter. That we set unrealistic expectations. That we manipulate people with fear. We create unnecessary rules. And we end up pushing people away. I came to a conclusion that we can do better.

As soon as I hit publish on that seventh and final post, my brain started pondering about what would be next. I wrestled with those thoughts about where this would take me. After reading Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz, I marveled at the purpose of his church, Imago Dei - a church that values creativity and is populated by artists, writers, and musicians. It's the kind of church that I could have only dreamed existed.

It was the kind of church I wish existed in Coeur d'Alene.

My dream began to take shape. Someday I'd like to either start or take part in a church that focuses on ministering to artists. But that's someday. I'm not ready for that now. My dream continued to go through revisions until last October, when I wrote about the church's relationship with art. I walked through a brief history of sacred art. I explained how Christians involved in the arts feel abandoned and alone because of the church's tendency to put their artists on pedestals and hold them to double standards. I demonstrated a need for greater creativity within the religious community and explained why artistry matters. I found inspiration in the life of King David and in the words of Leonard Nimoy.

When writing the series of church and art, I came to the same conclusion as when I wrote my first series about the church. We can do better.


The beginnings of a dream

It started in 1987. My brother bought Steve Taylor's album 'I Predict 1990.' He brought it home and played it. I listened. I was only eight years old, but those songs struck a chord deep within me. Especially this song.

My knowledge of Jim Morrison at the time was limited. He died eight years before I was born. The songs I grew up with were 80s era contemporary Christian artists like Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, and Sandi Patty. And if we weren't listening to Christian music, it was The Righteous Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, or Chicago. There's no reason that I should have known about Jim Morrison. I wouldn't start listening to The Doors until I was in junior high, but the eight year old version of me knew who they were. I didn't know much about Jim, but I knew he was a womanizer, an addict, and that he had lots of problems. Knowing that he was a hedonistic man was the limits of my eight year old knowledge.

In the world of black and white, I knew that he was not a good man. The song, Jim Morrison's Grave introduced me to an element of grey that exists in our world.

That's when I began to comprehend that people could be bad, but still be great at the same time. I began to recognize that people could possess incredible talent and influence and still be completely messed up. I got a crash course in the nature of the tortured artist persona.

I also began to question. What if?

What if Jim Morrison hadn't strayed down the path of depression and self destruction. What if someone had given him hope?

Those lyrics clawed at me. They've become a permanent part of my psyche.

I stay driven because there's nowhere to park
I can't shut my eyes, I'm afraid of the dark
I lie awake that stone left me chilled to the bone
Sound the alarm before it's done
Find Jim Morrison
Come away to Paris, let him see another day
Let him fade out slowly, only fools burn away
Let a true love show him what a heart can become
Somebody find Jim Morrison's grave
I get weary Lord, I don't understand
How does a seed gets strangled in the heart of a man
When the music covers like an evening mist
Like a watch still ticking on a dead man's wrist
Tick away

I listened to this song over and over and over. I borrowed the album from my brother as often as I could - frequently without asking. I bought it on tape in high school. Then on CD. And again on CD after the first one got stolen.

I can clearly look back and see the seeds of my dream planted back then. I was only eight, but I knew that I was going to work with artists some day. I couldn't escape the question, what if someone had shown a true love to Jim Morrison? What if his life hadn't ended in tragedy?

Those questions became more poignant when I was in junior high; I was in ninth grade when Kurt Cobain ended his life. I began to ask again. What if? What if someone had given Kurt hope? What if he had been able to break the cycle of depression and addiction? The questions returned again a few years later when Bradley Nowell OD'd. And again in 2002 when Layne Staley passed.

My dream was born in 1987. It's time for me to start doing something about that dream. My generation has too many dead heroes.


Help Wanted: Artists

A while back, I wrote a series on the church and its relationship with artists. Through that, I expressed some frustrations, concerns, and yearning for something better. In the first post of that series, I wrote, "We can do better than that." Not only are we capable of doing better, we need to. Now, I'm going to do something about it.

And you can help. You. Those of you that consider yourselves an artist. Honestly, I don't care if anyone else thinks of you as one. What matters is what you think.

If you're a photographer, an actor, a musician, a first time novelist furiously typing out your manuscript, or the crafty type selling your handmade products on Etsy, this is for you. If you do your art for free or if it is your paycheck, this is for you.

Please click HERE and take a quick survey. Five questions, and only a couple minutes of your time.

Your input will be greatly appreciated.


The kid dreams big

Christian, my oldest, has become obsessed with owning a mansion someday. A few months ago, he asked me what the biggest and most expensive homes in the Cd'A area were for sale. I showed him the Amway house on the Spokane River and Hagadone's Stanley Hill home. He's so assured in his future that he knew that he would buy one of those mansions someday.

His claim to future wealth is always coupled with the promise that he would let Bekah and I live there too.

But now he's put his plan to paper. Instead of a pre-existing mansion, he knows exactly what he wants in his future abode. He gave me this list today.

Two pages. Front and back. Mixed mediums: pencil, pen, and red marker. It looks like he has been working on this list for days. In case you're curious, his mansion will be as follows.

20 bedrooms
6 bathrooms
2 living rooms
1 BIG! family room
3 kitchens
3 dining rooms
1 bowling alley
1 movie room for family only
1 movie room for guests
1 game room
2 offices
1 conference room

Outside in the yard: a pool, fireplace, tennis court, rockwall, big yard with 15 trees (4 apple trees, 5 pear trees, 2 maple trees, 2 cherry trees, 2 pine trees), wild rose bush, a garden (tomato plants, carrots, corn, potatoes, and grapes).
There will be a stable with 2 cows, 2 horses, 2 mules, 2 donkeys, 2 sheep, and 2 pigs, and a chicken coop with 6 chickens.

He'll also have kayaks, bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, a motorcycle, pool floaties, s'mores, food for the animals, and wallets with lots and lots and lots of money.

Inside the mansion, he will have: a flat screen TV, another fireplace, 2 MP3 players, a Wii, an XBox, a playstation, 2 Nintendo DS's, clothes, cleaning stuff, food boxes, food cans, food, boxes, air conditioning, toothbrushes, toothpaste,
floss, mouthwash, phone, car, couches, beds, pillows, blankets, dressers, laptop, Bible, toys, books, medicine, toilet paper, pets (especially a parrot), dishes, silverware, a freshwater aquarium, a beta fish tank, fans, lamps, art stuff, a ring with a real gem, and contact lenses (because he doesn't want to wear glasses for the rest of his life).

Somewhere in explaining this all to me, he also said he wanted his own zoo. And a restaurant in the house because he won't ever want to leave.

He also said that he will live there with his wife and kids. Zu and her husband would also live there. JJ couldn't live there unless he was willing to help pay for it. Lucky me, he'll let me be the first guest.

Dang. I hope this kid never stops dreaming big.


Typing. Nope.

Writing words longer than two letters has been a challenge for me today. Not sure why. That was the kind of day I had today. My fingers wouldn't do what my brain commanded. For instance, this conversation I tried to have with my wife.

She didn't understand what I was trying to say. So I tried to put her mind at ease. That didn't turn out as I intended either.

More explanation after this is completely unnecessary and it quickly became obvious that I should just quit.


Not so smooth criminal

An instrumental version of Smooth Criminal started playing over the Pandora station at work. The song reached the first verse, my coworker started chuckling as she developed a concerned expression.

I looked over at her and synced my query in time with the music.

"Molly are you OK?"
"Yes." She replied.
"Are you Ok?"
"Are you OK, Molly?"

It took her a while, but she finally figured out what I was doing. 


What is the opposite of SAD?

The first time I heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) I was working at an Old Navy in Meridian. The Boise area had been covered by an abnormally long stretch of cloudiness and unseasonably cool weather. One of the managers was complaining about feeling depressed - that the dreary skies were getting her down. She claimed to have SAD and - at the time - I didn't even know that was a thing.

I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard.

But it is a thing. As I've grown older and wiser and researched stuff like vitamin D deficiencies and depression, I've come to accept that SAD is true and valid. Some people do develop symptoms similar to depression when the seasons change. Most people experience this in winter when the days are shorter and the sun doesn't come out to play as often. Most people attribute their emotional state to increased clouds and rain.

However, whatever SAD is, I'm the opposite. I don't like spending time in the sun. My body does not handle hot weather. All summer long, all I can think is that there's a dark basement and an air conditioning unit calling my name. I'm a winter person. I often tell people that I'd rather shiver than sweat. When it's cold out, you can always add another layer to get warmer. But when it's hot out, there's only so many layers that you can take off.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the Seattle area. Umbrellas are a foreign concept and the thought of using them hurts my brain. I'm waterproof. I don't need one. My emotional state is far more exuberant when it's stormy outside. Wind, rain, thunder. All of it makes me a bit manic. I'm like that song from Garbage: I'm only happy when it rains.

The truly sad part of this is that the rest of my wife and kids are all summer people.


My Christian Political Creed

The following is a rebuttal to a flyer being distributed by Rally Right, a political action committee in North Idaho. These are my opinions on the topics addressed in the Rally Right flyer. While I am passionate about what I believe, I hold my opinions loosely. My understanding could be wrong. I am only human and therefore, prone to error. You are welcome to disagree, but please, do so kindly.

I believe in...

The Triune God - τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος
My relationship with God is not dependent on how this country was founded. I believe that my God would be the same God regardless of where I lived. If I packed my bags and moved to Canada, or Russia, or Korea, I believe that my God would not love me any more or any less than he does now. But since I am an American, I know that this nation was founded with freedom of religion being the first item in our Bill of Rights. With no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof – I understand that means there will be people who live here and are citizens of this same nation that do not believe in the same God that I do; some might not believe in any God. While my religious beliefs conflict with theirs, they have been granted the same liberties as I – to believe as they choose to believe, to worship as they see fit.

Liberty is not just a matter of being able to do whatever you want; it is the freedom to do what must be done. I believe the rights that I've been given are balanced by responsibilities to which I must abide. To have the freedom to safely drive on paved roadways, I pay taxes to fund the construction of those roads and must follow certain rules about speed limits, traffic lights, and seat belts. I have the right to life and liberty, so part of the money that I earn must go to pay for police, fire personnel, and paramedics so that others can be granted their life and liberty. I have the right to pursue happiness as long as my pursuit does not infringe upon the ability of others to pursue their happiness.

The Constitution
I believe that the constitution was written by men with the noblest of intentions - whose understandings were limited to the past. These men had no knowledge of what was to come. They did not envision a world where the USA would stretch from one ocean to another; where planes, trains, and automobiles could (in a matter of hours) transport them a distance that would have taken them months; guns that could kill dozens in the time it would have taken to load their musket and fire a single shot; a world with atomic energy, hydroelectric dams, and power lines dotting the landscape; homes that would be dependent on corporations for their basic utilities; where plastic cards would replace money and fortunes could be made or lost from the comfort of a person's living room. However, they had the good sense to know that the world would not remain the same. With that knowledge, the provided a way in which the laws they established could be amended. They demonstrated that process with the Bill of Rights, setting an example for future generations to do the same when the existing Constitution became archaic. With that power bestowed upon us, the Constitution is as much a living document as it is a historical one.

States Rights
There are some needs that should be met at the federal level and others that should be met at the state level. However, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Without the Union, the State is weak. Without the States, the Union is nothing. The line that divides what should belong to the state and that which should belong to the federal government is a very fine line and we're not always going to get it right. Sometimes the States will over step their bounds, and sometimes the Feds are going to step over theirs. There will always be that pushing and pulling. The States exist to prevent the tyranny of a federal government, but the federal government must also prevent the tyranny of a state.

Like most people, I long for justice. Social justice. Legal Justice. Spiritual Justice. I want justice when some jerk cuts me off on my way to work but I also want justice when I look at the statistics surrounding human trafficking. Unfortunately, my ability to influence the delivery of justice is fairly limited. I understand that my definition of justice doesn't always line up with God's. That's why Christians believe in a thing called grace. The legal system is a different yet similar mechanism. Just like God, I'm not always going to agree with what our courts call justice. Justice, much like happiness, is something that is to be pursued. But just because you chase after it does not mean it will be obtained. Or, at least it might not be obtained in the manner you would prefer. Sometimes, despite our wishes and efforts, justice will elude us. However, when I feel the courts are wrong, I must respect and honor their decision. As a Christian, I will obey God's command to follow justice and not pervert it. I can't just do it my way; vigilantism is a fancy word to describe criminal behavior. There is a time and place for civil disobedience, but having your feelings hurt over a speeding ticket or hiding assets to avoid taxes does not make you a hero.

Individual Rights
I am a free man. The government does not own me. No one owns me. I am free to do as I please. However, I have willingly ceded my rights so that my life will serve more than my own selfish desires. I have given my freedom to my employer – I do the best job possible so that I can maintain employment and earn a paycheck. I have given my freedom to my wife so that I can show her that I love her, admire her, and support her. I have given my freedom away to my kids so that they can learn from me and grow into healthy and productive members of society. I have given up my freedoms to my community so that I could provide a home for foster kids. I have given away my freedom for friends so that they could know that they're not alone in this world. So, while I have the rights to do anything I want, doesn't mean that I should. I can do anything, but not everything is beneficial or constructive.

The Right to Life
Abortion is a horrible and ugly thing. But do you know what else is ugly? Child neglect. Sexual abuse. Domestic violence. I believe that abortion is a bad idea. I won't pretend to know why anyone would chose an abortion, but here's what I do know. If the child has a right to life before they're born, they have that much more right to life after they're born. We cannot continue fighting for the life of the unborn child without maintaining that fight after they're born. We must strengthen supports for kids. Everything we're doing is fundamentally wrong. We need to better prepare future parents. We need to improve our foster care system and social services to help make stronger families and to save the kids are most at risk. We need to break the cycles of abuse and neglect. We need to stop undermining public education. We need a complete cultural shift to create communities that supports, encourages, develops, and engages kids at their developmental level.

I believe that marriage is a religious institution. It's time the government got out of the marriage business. Let the government honor civil contracts between two consenting adults. If that is a husband and wife married in the tradition of the church – fine. If it's a couple of rednecks that drunkenly decided to elope while on vacation in Vegas – fine. If it happens to be two dudes who love each other – fine. Civil contracts can fulfill the legal aspects of joint finances, next of kin, medical decisions, and tax filing status. If churches can handle marriage, then the church can define what marriage is or is not. The government does not need to intervene.

Personal Responsibility
As a nation, we have perfected the blame game. We could justify anything if we really want to. OWS blames the one percent. The rich blame the freeloaders on welfare. The Tea Party blames taxes. Conservatives blame the liberals and the liberals blame the conservatives. But the blame for what is wrong in America is misplaced. It's not in any specific political party. It's not in any economic or social class. It's not in any race, religion, or sexual preference. It's not in immigration – legal or otherwise. It is in the hearts of each and every one of us. American's biggest problem is greed. When you look at all of this nation's woes, the root cause of that ill is greed. The power struggle in congress: greed. The abuses in welfare or Medicare: greed. The arguments over gun rights: greed. The arguments over health care reform: greed. Racism: greed. The maltreatment of the disadvantaged citizens - the elderly, the handicapped, the homeless, the single parents, the recovering addicts: greed. The bloated credit card debt of the average American: greed. And I am not immune. I shoulder as much of that burden as anyone else with a heartbeat existing on American soil. The time I spend reading, listening to music, or playing video games: greed. The meals I eat out: greed. My desire to have a comfortable house, a big TV, and a nice car: greed. We will not be able to fix anything that is wrong with our nation until we all own up to the fact that we're all to blame.

National Security
Our military should be strong enough to defend our land and our people from foreign aggressors. However, the strongest military in the world means nothing to national security if the people at home feel insecure. We might be able to protect ourselves from terrorists, but what about gang violence? What about people living paycheck to paycheck and fearing how one medical emergency will ruin them? What about the worker who got a pink slip after years of loyal employ because his company decided they can make more money by hiring lower skilled workers? What about the single parents fulfilling the roles of both mommy and daddy while struggling to pay for food and rent? What about the kids who get bullied day after day while their school turns a blind eye to the abuse? We may have the biggest or the strongest or the most technologically advanced military in the world. None of it matters if we can't take care of the people here at home.

Fiscal Responsibility
The average American household has more than $15,000 in credit card debt. The average American still owes $148,000 on their home. The average student owes $32,000. We are an indebted society. We lie about our wealth. Rapper Nicki Minaj inflated her earnings by 6500% when she estimated her wealth to be in the billions. Nas claimed to be worth $200 million while he owed $6 million to the IRS. Most honest people probably wouldn't admit how much (or how little) they're worth. We are a society that lives beyond its means. Americans buy cars that we can't afford so that we can keep up with the neighbors who bought cars that they can't afford. Americans go to movies and buy fast food, but forget to pay for car insurance and the phone bill is past due. Americans take out loans to pay off loans. Americans spend more money than they make. Then we wonder why the government can't balance a budget? I say that we get responsible with our own finances, then we will have more leverage to demand fiscal responsibility from our government.

Support for Israel
Are the Christians in Israel worth more than Palestinian Christians? Are they more valuable than Christians in Sudan or Indonesia? Furthermore, God's covenant with Israel ended with Jesus. We are now under a new covenant which is better than the old one. (Hebrews 8:6). When Jesus sent out his disciples, he told them to reach all nations – not just Israel. (Matthew 28:19). Besides, who would God support? According to Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” In that case, I'll support Israel, but I'll also support Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Turkey.


A New Start

Today is a new beginning for me. A challenge. An experiment. Something you may or may not be hearing more about over the next few weeks. Is that vague enough? No? How about - I feel like this kid.

There's no earthly reason that I should be doing what I'm doing, but dangit - I'm doing it anyways. Why? Because I need to. Because my perspective is focused elsewhere. And because reasons.

Much the same reason that my month of lists petered out and that my corner of the interwebs has been largely vacant for the past few months. There's a back story that I've not made public that I hope to tell as soon as I work up the cojones to do so.

But for the voices that keep telling me that I should keep my Kung Fu Panda moves to myself, the demons that mock my hopes and prey on my fears, the inner monologue that plays out like the offspring of Holden Caulfield and Marvin the Paranoid Android. For those causes, I took a risk. I made a choice to do something that scares the crap out of me.

I need change.

That was today. Just a start. A crazy - and possibly impetuous - start.

It's go time.


Scary movies

It seems Netflixs thinks the documentary about Snoop Dogg Lion's pilgrimage to Jamaica and his transformation into a reggae artist is a horror movie - recommended for people who enjoyed the most recent Silent Hill movie.


Who's that cat?

It's the cat that keeps trying to ninja it's way into our house. Yeah, that one.


If the founding fathers were clairvoyant...

It was brave men who birthed this nation, went to war with Great Britain, and signed the documents that declared this land to be an independent United States of America; but if they had been able to foresee the future and predict a time when their descendants would celebrate freedom with pyrotechnic technologies invented in China; that these devices would be fiery, explosive, and bombastic; and that the flames and sparks would be as destructive as they are beautiful; I think they would have re-thought their timing - that they would have chosen a day that wouldn't be in the middle of the hottest season of the year; a day when our grounds would not be as dry as tinder; a day when the earth would not be so easily ignited.