Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little did I know...

How's this for "things that make you go 'hmmmm'" (that's an Arsenio Hall reference from the early 90's, y'all): In 1999, I was still in Chattanooga, working for a fulfillment company whose main client was the media ministry of my church, filling orders for tapes, etc. by my pastor Wayne Barber, then at Woodland Park Baptist Church. I went with the boss, Wayne (pictured, left) and friend and co-worker Jennifer Ould (middle) to the National Religious Broadcasters convention, at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville that year.

Hang on, the "hmmmm" is coming.

I was mostly a tourist at the convention, took a few pictures here and there, including this one (missed a potentially great shot of Tammy Faye Baker walking around with a camera crew).

This week, I was going through my photo album (the non-computerized kind; remember paper prints?) and scanning pics for a Facebook group of friends from those days, when I realized know the man Wayne is talking to, though I didn't know him then.

Larry Warren is the founder of African Leadership, and at the time of the photo had recently moved its based of operations from Africa to Franklin, TN (near Nashville). He's the one who introduced Brentwood Baptist Church, to the ministry of Living Hope, in Cape Town, South Africa, about 5 years ago.

Meanwhile, I had moved to Nashville in September 2002, and joined BBC not long afterward. In September 2004, I was part of the first of several church-wide mission teams to go to South Africa to work with Living Hope.

And that's how I got my start in the long-distance relationship with the people across the ocean, traveling there, e-mailing, and generally yammering on about it. Like I'm doing now.

So, how's that for a "little did he know" (Stranger Than Fiction reference)...Hmmmm? OK, it's not like Larry's my long-lost twin, but still, given the number of people that were there and the small number of pics I took, that's a pretty "neato" coincidence.

As a bonus, one of my first jobs after moving to Nashville 3 years later was with the Grand Ole Opry, also owned by Gaylord and on the same property.

And I'm pretty sure that's not Condoleezza Rice to the far right...but THAT would be REALLY something, wouldn't it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Patchwork boredom

Careful what you say to her, guys...or she'll be insisting you go with her to the National Quilt Museum as your penance.

A couple of friends of mine here in Nashville, one from Pennsylvania and the other from Maine, just got married in Hawaii; could be he was trying to make sure this place didn't end up on the honeymoon schedule.

For those of us who don't live anywhere near Massachusetts, this place makes a stay-cation seem like an even better idea.

Overheard during the tour:

"OK, honey, but next year we're going to the football AND baseball halls of fame!"


"No, it never would have occurred to me that Rubik's Cube would make such a natural quilt design. Never crossed my mind."

"What? All these quilts and no place to take a nap while my wife does the tour? Is there a breakroom at least? A snack machine?"

"So what kind of insecticide gets rid of those quilting bees? Heh heh. Get it?"

"I heard they were going to open a branch at Guantanamo Bay until the new restrictions on torture went into effect."

"And don't forget to visit our sister organization, the American Sheet and Pillowcase Institute, just up the road!"

(Feel free to pile on).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guns don't kill people...but angry wives often do

Gun Scare Prank

Other than the obvious stupidity of startling someone who 1) is holding a potentially loaded weapon, 2) is a novice at using said weapon and 3) knows not only where you live but when you sleep...this is hilarious. Makes a man seriously consider getting married and buying a gun. I imagine it makes a woman consider staying single...and buying a gun.

Panic now, check the research later

In the "scientists apparently DON'T know everything after all" department:

Scientists split on risks of cell phones

Other health-related news: reading stories like this can lead to head injury...

This is one of those articles that seems to offer new information on a scientific subject, but upon reading further we find the original premise to be the disputed opinion of a minority of so-called experts who, in fact, have nothing more conclusive to offer than gems like "I don't know that cell phones are dangerous, but I don't know that they are safe."

The head injury risk is from the urge to beat one's head against the wall after reading such a story, realizing one is barely any better informed and that one will never get the minutes back that it took one to read it. Further research is needed to determine the extent of the head injury danger, however, as experts continue to debate.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Now you see him...

...and now you don't.

Shocking. One expects so much more in the way of photojournalistic ethics from a fine publication such as the Sun. Riiiiiiight. Or at least PhotoShop skills--note how dude's knee is still visible in the lower picture.

Some people should stick to crayons to illustrate their stories.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Verity...or Not Verity?

I was up very late last night (it was Saturday night and I'm single, so I'm allowed) and being the type of person who keeps the TV on more often than not (my degree was in Broadcasting, so I'm not just vegging...I'm supplementing my education), and a movie came on that I would normally not watch at all except my resistance to bad TV was pretty low at that point (you've been there, I know). It was called "Dolly Dearest"--sort of the Lifetime answer to the "Chucky" movies (which I've also sampled--see above reasons), with a cute little girl being controlled by a possessed and murderous doll. Silly, but it'll make you think twice before you put the name Bratz on the Christmas list (as if you didn't need to think twice about that already).

Anyway, the actress portraying the girl's mother was such the spitting image of my South African friend Verity, I just had to do a comparison.

So, from the collage above, see if you can:
a) name the actress from the movie.
b) tell which is Verity and which is said actress

One pic will be pretty obvious (hint: I've met Verity. And had my picture taken with her).

To save you the trouble of Googling (you knew you were going to), here's Verity's website and here's the website of the actress in the movie.

And here's the answer key (don't click until you give up guessing--this ain't exactly the SAT's, so go for it).

Fascinating, huh? criticize ME for wasting time. HAH!

By the way, Verity was recently interviewed for a TV program in South Africa (no, I don't get that channel either but she did mention it); here's the transcript.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Terry and Carmen Thompson Benefit--How It Went

(See my handful of pics above or click to see them at your own pace)

(Click here to see and purchase Benjamin Gibbs’ many pics)

Every now and then something goes so much better than you pictured it, you have to reevaluate whether you're too pessimistic about other areas of life as well. That's how it was with the Terry and Carmen Thompson Benefit last week.

We had a great turnout, especially for a Tuesday night, and especially given the market. Nashville area residents tend to be a little jaded toward the nationally-known artists we get to see—often for free—at more benefits per capita per year than the average city of comparable size (or so it seems). We can't help it if we're spoiled.

When I arrived at the Factory in Franklin, I was immediately impressed by the scale of the event; a lot of work had been going on all day (while I was at work) as well as during the weeks leading up to it. A large platform was set up on one side of the room with tables full of items up for bid and people examining the stuff for sale. A large room in the back held tables of the usual party food (nearly always too much when you’re at the party, but you can’t eat enough because it is awkward to eat a lot at a party and you don’t want to look like a pig in front of people you might want to impress—or at least not disgust. So I seldom enjoy eating at a party).

The concert began with a video welcome by Joni Eareckson Tada, a renowned figure in evangelical Christian circles ever since her inspirational autobiographical book and subsequent film came out in the 70’s.

The music was top-notch, unsurprisingly. Many of the songs were familiar to the crowd with a few exceptions. Amy Grant was clearly aware of what the night was about, but her usual laid-back self. She remarked that “only in Nashville” could she get away with collaring a guitarist backstage to help out on an otherwise solo acoustic song at the last minute. Then she did a couple of her hits (“It takes a little time sometimes/To get your feet back on the ground”) with the band backing her up. They lost each other along the way on one song, but she laughed it off, they worked it out and got back on track. Not many artists of her fame and stature would even consider such a loose approach to a performance; Amy seems more aware than most of how little she has to lose at this point in her career. Definitely part of her charm.

Vocalist Michelle Prentice, the instigator of the whole affair, did an impressive operatic solo a cappella that made me realize I don’t hate ALL opera! Seriously, I really enjoyed it. But then, it didn't last for hours and I didn't have to dress up to listen to it, so....

After several more performances, including one by Terry Thompson himself with help from Carmen, and after a hefty sum of money had changed accounts from buyers to the benefit fund, Michelle called the planning committee on stage and led us in singing “You’ve Got a Friend” to (and with) Carmen. Cheesy, maybe, but sincere. (pictures here and here and here)

The results, in addition to all the new friendships formed and goodwill shared…we raised $40,000 for Terry and Carmen. We’re talking about next year’s benefit already (well, Michelle is, anyway). Should be even bigger and better. And next time, I eat beforehand.