Wednesday, May 27, 2009

words that rhyme with orange

I'm pretty sure that's the title of the kid's record (I wrote about it at length here). For those that care, it's coming along slowly, but great. I am doing about 90% of the work myself. Usually I hire a bunch of musicians and pay them to play various instruments. These people are typically really good at what they do. This means that they do things very well, very fast, and at a very expensive price.

This time, I'm playing most of the instruments myself. Some of the instrumentation is being done with this software, and some is being done the traditional way (you know, where I pick up an instrument and, like, play it and stuff). When I play everything myself, things are done very slowly and very cheaply. It's a give-and-take deal.

Anyway, I'm taking it a song at a time, and I've completed 7 songs. I hope to have 12-14 on the final record, so I'm a little over halfway done. I am really trying to get some samples up for those of you who are faithful to the blog, so keep a look out for that.

For now, know that I plan to have this thing done by mid-summer. Really. Seriously.

Thanks to everyone who has asked about it.

Monday, May 18, 2009


A few thoughts for today. Please feel free to disagree.

On my career:
--If I ever did a CD made up entirely of covers (i.e. songs that were written and performed by other people before I recorded them), I’d call it Ross King: Gently Used Songs.

--I’m pretty sure I’d be more famous if I had a better chin and jaw-line. I don’t have a good one of either. There are lots of famous people that are much fatter than me that still have a skinny chin and chiseled jaw-line (see two tubbies below whose jaw/chin combos are totally sweet). It’s some sort of genetic issue, I suppose. I feel certain this has held me back, but I have forgiven my ancestors.

-- If you listen to my old projects, you’ll discover that my old songs are pretty bad, but at least my voice was irritating.

On parenting:
--I don’t understand the decision to use a child’s full name only when a parent is especially serious about something. If little Timmy is sticking his finger into his sister’s eye, is he so intent on blinding her that he won’t know he’s being admonished until he hears “Timothy Joseph Gorkenstein!”? Perhaps this tradition began in George Foreman’s home, which would be understandable. In every other home, it ought to be enough to say “hey timmy stop doing that.” Followed by, if necessary, a swat on his little Gorkenstein.

--And speaking of names, I don’t understand the decision to name children based upon letters of the alphabet or rhyming or anything else other than saying “she looks like a Susie” or “he looks like a Ted,” or “he looks like a Percy McSissypants, so let’s name him Cobrastrike and hope to God that he grows into it.” I’m not sure if this letter-based-name-choosing method qualifies as “trying too hard” or “not trying hard enough,” but it seems fishy to me. "Let's go with M!" says the mother excitedly upon deciding that she wants five children. "Nothing but M's all around!" A group of cohabitating creatures named Madison, Mason, McKinley, Minnie, and Millicent ought to be hamsters or cartoon characters perhaps, but not children who will someday be grown-ups that will probably go by their middle names by then.

On entertainment:
--I’m rooting for Britney Spears. I really am. Any time someone goes bonkers in public and shaves their head while dropping their infant on the dirty sidewalk in front of the second best tattoo parlor on the block and then manages a comeback, I applaud them. Clearly Britney had some tough times, and now she has somehow resurrected her career, at least for the next 3 or 4 days. Let me be clear that I am for that. But please, can someone explain why her voice now sounds like someone is holding her nose with industrial clamps, especially when she says “oh baby baby”? I don't remember this from before. I think this is new. Is she actually talking to her infant child when she says this, because it sounds like she’s doing a voice. Sometimes I do a voice when I’m talking to my infant child. I usually do Mickey Mouse or Goofy, but sometimes I do Cary Grant or Hank Hill, and I can’t tell if she appreciates the nuances of my uncanny impersonation skills. But that’s not important. I suppose if Britney is doing a voice (Fran Drescher in a high school mascot suit, perhaps?), it’s of some comfort, but then of course we hear the rest of what she’s saying, and we are alarmed to realize that she’s saying it to a baby. And this is only further proof that K-Fed was a shoo-in for custody.

--I don’t watch American Idol. I like the general idea, but Randy Jackson’s face-skin is getting really, really inhuman-looking to me, so I have chosen to boycott the show on principle. Randy's face is so tight and smooth that I feel like maybe he might be turning into a street-lingo-savvy, slick-talking wax statue. Of a lizard. Most people hate Simon or Paula. Not me. I hate Simon and Paula. Ha! Gotcha! No seriously, I hate them, too. But for other reasons that aren't as superficial as why I hate Randy. And that is because, to be totally honest, he gives me the heebs. And I worry that he’ll soon melt under the lights.

Nice jawline, Rand-izard (not to be confused with Randizzle, which would be a pretty sweet nickname).

On tanning:

If you go tanning in mid February and get all glowy orange like an atomic-powered Dreamsicle, are the rest of us allowed to ask you about how your skin got like that? Why is that offensive? It's not a secret, is it? Are people ashamed that they went tanning in a “salon”? Tanning places aren’t like adult bookstores or Carl’s Jr restaurants. People don’t hide their faces when they go in. We have a tanning establishment in our town that is quite popular . It’s nestled, rather unashamedly, right between Jason’s Deli and Pier One in an upscale shopping center. I’ve seen the attractive, friendly-looking people who work there. They seem normal, in a “my skin is as soft and comfy as an alligator-skin speedo” kind of way. So I don’t understand why we can’t just talk about it. “Wow, you are some serious tan, my friend. Is that painful? Cuz it looks excruciating. How much money did it cost to get like that?” Fair questions, right?

--And what’s with these UV rays? On sunny days, I’m supposed to be really careful and make sure I wear lots of sunscreen. I get this. But then on cloudy days, I’m also supposed to wear lots of sunscreen because – and this is the sort of logic that I get from the science geniuses who always seem to be on the beach towel next to me – I am actually in more danger when it’s cloudy: “Watch out! On cloudy days, you actually burn worse, because you don’t know you’re getting burned!” So when I do know I’m getting burned, I’m not getting burned as badly? This seems like some kind of tactic to trick me into going into that tanning place. I can’t go in that place. I wouldn’t even know what to wear in the… what? Booth? Bed? Pod? What do they stick you in these days while they cook you up for a summer glow? For how long? And what would an hour in the tanning pod do to Randy Jackson’s waxy lizard skin? Would he know he was getting burned, and would that make it worse? Fair questions.

On bumper stickers:
--I don’t get bumper stickers. Do people put them on their cars and think “watch out world, here comes my opinion!”? Or, rather, “watch out, Person in Car Directly Behind Me, that’s my opinion back there, and if you catch up to me later maybe we can argue about it!” I just sort of picture these people as riding around thinking that poll numbers are altering like crazy simply because they drove to the Dairy Queen. "This Blizzard is great tasting, but it goes down a little smoother knowing that people on this stretch of road will now think twice about gun control!"

--I’ve often thought it would be funny to put several bumper stickers on my car, only make it so that they have confusing, competing messages. Like “God is My Co-Pilot” next to one of those Darwin-Fish-with-feet-eats-Christian-Fish-without-feet-things next to “Kinky Friedman 2012” next to “Bush/Quayle 2000” next to “Stop Global Warming” next to “My President is Charleton Heston” next to “Eat Vegan or Die” next to a Calvin peeing on whatever model of car that I’m actually driving right then, which would hopefully be a Prius limo with monster truck tires. And hopefully you’d have plenty of time to read them all when you sat behind me in the drive-thru line at Carl’s Jr. Maybe Dairy Queen for dessert.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Two links for you today, along with some verbal head-scratching from yours truly. Beware of bitter-sounding rants. I'm pretty sure I'm not mad about any of this, just kind of confused.

First, check this out.

To be clear, I’m all for fasting (feel free to make jokes about the thing I posted on Monday).

And I do love me some Jon Foreman. Compared to most of what CCM is turning out these days,that dude is in another musical/lyrical universe. But I’m a little perplexed by the idea of famous people fasting publicly and other people writing magazine articles about it (I actually made a joke about this in an interview I once did with Todd for worshipnotes, but I don't know where that interview is now). I mean, I guess it's better than spending millions of dollars giving away fake, Christian-ized Grammy's to the wealthy, famous, idolized Christian musicians who are the most wealthy, famous and idolized. But that's another blog.

Anyway, pulicized fasting. Anyone else think this – the publicity of it, not the fast – is odd? Not bad, not evil, just odd? I mean, honestly, maybe this is a great thing. Maybe this will cause more people to contemplate fasting. I guess I just get a little nervous when I read that article and then I read this.


Second thing:

Any of you remember that song "happy" on my last record? Any of you wonder what I was talking about?

Well, when you read this you'll either get the connection or you won't, and if you don't, then all I can say is this: please do your best to convince me that I'm way off. Because this confuses me. A lot.

I guess I'm just tempted to propose this crazy idea: let someone else preach. Maybe, just maybe, God can speak thru other people in the 99 other church bodies that you're broadcasting to. Maybe, just maybe, He wants to speak thru those other people from time to time. Maybe, just maybe, it's dangerous to have people say "if that one guy doesn't preach, this thing won't be any good."

Here's another question. How much money does it cost to do this? Is it enough money to pay the salaries of some young pastors who are eager to be trained up to use their gifts?

And no, I'm not saying these people are evil or ungodly or anything. I listen to this guy's sermons from time to time, and I generally like them. I trust that the leadership of this church is doing their best to follow Jesus. I'm just saying that I'm not sure God is happy about this.

Sure, I could pick on any number of preachers who are doing this sort of thing. These guys are actually doing some great stuff, so why not just leave this alone? Because in this instance, I want to make it clear that even churches who seem to be doing lots of great things for the Kingdom can go wrong when they inordinately exalt preaching and preachers. Feel free to chime in. I promise I really do want to hear what people say.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eat, drink,and be very unsure what to make of it.

I've had this entry sitting on my desktop for a while, but I've hesitated to post if for reasons that will be clear (at least to the "lifelong evangelicals" among you) when you read.

A few months ago I got to go to Disney World.

By the grace of God – and the generosity of my wife’s parents – Staci and I spent several days at Saratoga Springs Resort in Orlando, taking our boys to the Disney Parks and generally having the kind of vacation that we could never have had without someone else paying for it. It was a fantastic week, and as always, I’m so thankful to have cool in-laws.

It was so ridiculously fantastic that I’d feel guilty elaborating much further. It's very difficult to think about this or this while talking about free vacations to the most magical place on earth. So I won't spend a lot of time bragging on it. However, I do have something, from the non-theme-park aspect of the trip, that I’d like to throw out there.

One of the cool things we got to do while we were there was called Party for Senses (some info about it here and here). Basically, several hundred people get together in a huge room and try out food and wine from the many of the best chefs and wineries in the country. They give you little tiny portions so that you can eat and drink and sample lots of stuff. I ate stuff like duck wrapped in bacon over fresh greens, and barbecue-braised short ribs over cheese grits. I had smoked pork loin and scallops and lamb filet. Desserts were abounding: chocolate brownie with white chocolate mousse and coffee ice cream; orange-honey cheesecake; various chocolate truffles.

Oh, and wine.

I won’t elaborate on the wine, out of respect for some of you.

Here’s what I want to talk about. I ate too much. I was gluttonous. It’s a fact. I know I ate way past “full” and indulged to sinful excess. Some of you might be quick to cry “legalist!” Hey, sin is sin. I’m not beating myself up over it or trying to over-dramatize. I’m just being honest and, as much as I know how, biblical in dealing with myself. Just because gluttony isn’t something we talk about anymore doesn’t mean it’s not sin. More on that in a bit.

Bear with me.

I also had a glass and a half of wine over the course of 3 hours. I did not drink in excess. I don’t like to get into this kind of stuff very often, but for clarity, I will say that I was with family the entire night. In case anyone is tempted to bring up “weaker brothers” and all that, the only people in the room that knew me were the people with whom I shared a table, and I’ve known all of them (and their opinions/perspectives on alcohol) for over a decade. Though I don’t agree with the way that many people interpret the “weaker brother” passages, I will say that I feel confident defending myself within that context ( I’ve dealt with all of this before, so I won’t spend time on it here). In short, I am as certain as I can be that I wasn’t sitting in the presence of (what Paul would call) weaker brothers (or sisters). The people that knew me are fine with drinking alcohol and following Jesus, and the people that didn’t know me wouldn’t have any reason to pay attention to me. (Again, if anyone wants my interpretation on the “weaker brother” passages, let me know and I’ll give you my take.)


Here’s the weird thing. Lots of Christians wouldn’t think twice about eating too much. In fact, lots of Christians would think it's kind of silly for me to even talk about it with any kind of seriousness. But lots and lots of Christians would scorn my alcohol consumption – which was in moderation, and didn’t lead to drunkenness in the least. I actually repented over my eating, because I was confident that I ate to sinful excess. But there wasn’t anything sinful about my drinking.

And I just think that lots of Christians would disagree with my perspective on this. I'm not trying to invite a fight or assume the worst about people. Maybe I'm wrong and nobody even cares about drinking alcohol, so long as it's in moderation. Maybe I'm wrong and everybody really cares about gluttony. I'm honestly just perplexed by what I perceive to be a weird imbalance.

Any thoughts? I’d really love to hear what people have to say.

But first, let me address what I think might be the knee-jerk reaction for some folks. Aside from the weaker brother idea (again, I'm aware that my perspectve on it will be problematic for some), most people, when comparing/contrasting drinking with gluttony, will say, "well, if someone eats too much, the worst thing that happens is that they are unhealthy, but if someone drinks too much, awful things can happen."

Assuming that someone might make this kind of argument (and I admit that they might verbalize it a lot better than I just did), I guess my response would be, "If Jesus wanted us to weigh sin based upon its consequences, he would've never equated 'hating your brother' with murder or 'looking lustfully on a woman' with adultery." (I'm referring to the latter part of Matthew 5 here, in case you're wanting some documentation.)

See, its not enough for our argument to be about consequences. It has to be about more than that. So, to that end, let's hear it. Keep it civil. Readysetgo.