I adore the guitar. The first time I heard Angus hit those famous three chords, I have been addicted to it's sound. The guitar can be such an expressive instrument in the hands of the right user. So many sounds. It can speak, cry, yell, whisper, shout, laugh, chuckle, and yes even weep. It never asks to be heard,

it demands it!!!

There have been many a guitarist, and even more guitar solos. But those that are truly great...well, like I said, they demand your attention.


I am not much of a lyrics guy. Words don't stir a great deal of emotion in me. But actions...they make me FEEL. The guitar is active, living, breathing. It moves. It cuts through and searches out those things hidden deep inside the soul. At least that's how I feel about the whole thing.


I sit here preparing for Sunday Worship, and I think about how my job is to make people feel God through my guitar playing. Hear what he is trying to say to them. Cut through the outer core and strike at the heart of their soul. It go me thinking of those guitar solos that do that for me. These are all (Except one) from "secular" songs, but they speak to me just as clearly as any "christian" song about who God is, and what he wants for my life. They are like the spirit of God who is living and active, constantly speaking words of truth and wisdom.

I have gone on long enough, you get my point. These collections of notes move me in a special way every time I hear them. They inspire me.

Enjoy

Limelight - Alex Lifeson/Rush
Comfortably Numb - Dave Gilmour/Pink Floyd
Back in Black - Angus Young/AC-DC
Hotel California - Joe Walsh and Don Felder/The Eagles
Brother in Arms - Mark Knoppler/Dire Straits
Blue Sky - The Allman Brothers
Goldilox - Ty Tabor/King's X
Shake it Up - Elliot Easton/The Cars
Love is Never Ending - Brad Paisley
I Want a New Drug - Chris Hayes/The News
Nobody Drinks Alone - Keith Urban
Is This Love - John Sykes/Whitesnake
Anything For You - Paul Gilbert/Mr. Big
Emotion Detector - Alex Lifeson/Rush
Night by Night - Steely Dan
Lenny - Stevie Ray Vaughn
I Am a Viking - Yngwie Malmsteen
Cheap Sunglasses - Billy Gibbons/ZZ Top
Everlasting God - Lincoln Brewster
New Years Day - The Edge/U2
Subdivisions - Alex Lifeson/Rush

That's not all of them, but these are some solos that make me feel.

Check em out...if you dare.


Everyone who knows me, knows one thing about my life...It is run by the seasons.

Baseball season to be precise. For 6 glorious months from the 1st of April to the final days of October, my life is in a state of bloom. The days are long and at times very warm...and thanks to the MLB package on Direct TV, I have access to over 60 games a week (some in HD!!)

But then...Like the galaxy under Imperial rule...the dark times come.

In the final days of October, something downright evil occurs. The time changes back, and the baseball season come to an end.

My wife calls them the grumpy months. No baseball, no daylight savings time, no happiness in Mudville. Mighty Casey can't strike out...he's not playing today. My softball league will not even start again until late March. OH THE HUMANITY!!!!
but.......

for a brief moment, like a desert flower, I am in bloom once again.

Why???

From the 4th Friday of November until 26th of December, I am born anew.

IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!

I am no longer a Scrooge, I am Clark Griswold.

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the season to be jolly, Take it Russ!!"

I love everything about this season. I love the music, the food, the smells, the throngs of people not so merrily wandering from store to store. I love putting up the tree, the lights. I love Christmas. It is for me "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" I love buying presents, I love getting presents, heck, I am in such a state of glee I wouldn't even mind a visit from good old Cousin Eddie.

The movies and shows are the best!! (more on this later). I seek out the 24 hours a day of Christmas broadcasting and set my DVR to record. I am like Lenny on a rabbit farm, so many furry things to pet. Rudolph, Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Emmit Otter, George Bailey, Ralphie Parker, Jack Campbell, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, and every single one of the Scrooges...is there anything better???

I can't get enough Burl Ives.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas?!?!?! Are you kidding me. That song makes "Stairway to Heaven" seem like a bad commercial jingle. It is genius, dare I say it (In your best Wile E. Coyote please)....SUPER GENIUS. Burl Ives is to Christmas what water is to the ocean...Really empty without it. I love that man.

But most of all, I love the message of Christmas. I believe it is summed up best at the end of that Christmas classic "The Grinch"

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags!" It came without packages, boxes or bags!" And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!" Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
A little more indeed...

Couple that with perhaps the greatest scene in any Christmas show (cue Linus, and lights please)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."


That's it kids. The whole ball of wax, the kit and caboodle, the whole nine yards, the yin and the yang, the twist and the turn. It's why the Grinch rode back down the hill, why Scrooge bought the big turkey, why George Bailey's life was so wonderful, why Rudolph led the sleigh, why Emmit and his ma sang their songs, why Charlie Brown picked the tree, why Bing and Danny put on a show, and why Clark put up the lights.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

So my wish for all of you this year, in the words of my good friend Mr. Burl Ives...

Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It's the best time of the year. I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. Have a holly, jolly Christmas; And when you walk down the street, Say Hello to friends you know and ev'ryone you meet. Oh, ho, the mistle-toe hung where you can see; Somebody waits for you; Kiss her once for me. Have a holly jolly Christmas, and in case you didn't hear, Oh by golly, have a holly, jolly Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas...

...Only 3 months until spring training










I am Batman!!!

Who hasn't said it?


Michael Keaton said it...
Val Kilmer said it...
George Clooney...Christian Bale...

Heck, even Kramer uttered these famous words.

Now I proclaim it... "I am Batman!!"

Of all the super-heroes, Batman is my favorite.

Why??

He's human

He doesn't have super strength like Superman. He can't run fast like the Flash. He doesn't have self-healing skills and a metal skeleton like Wolverine (although I must admit, Wolverine is #2 on the super-hero cool list). He can't even do the whole "Wonder Twins activate thing ("Form of a pail of water!). He is human. He bleeds, gets hurt, and has to flee the scene at times in defeat. I like that. I can relate to that. He's not perfect, and neither am I.

As boys, we all wanted to be a super-hero.

The truth is, those of us that are fathers are super-heroes. That is the way our kids look at us. Too many of us though are pretending to be Superman with his super strength, the Flash with his super speed, or Wolverine with his all his super skills. We act as if we are invincible.

But we're not...

We're Batman.

To our kids, we have the ability to do super hero things, but we also fail at times and have to retreat in defeat.

But what do we do then?? What do we do when we've be beaten by the Jokers, Riddlers, and Penguins that haunt our nature??

Well, Batman had a mission. To protect the people of Gotham.

Gotham still needed Batman, and so do our kids.

When you are a father, you are super-hero. So what kind of Super-hero am I going to be?? Well the truth is, I am not Superman (I have an everlasting supply of Kryptonite running through my veins.)

But I never wanted to be Superman.

I am Batman

and to my kids, that's just fine with them.







My dream has come true


Growing up I had a dream...

Not for world peace (although that would be great)....

Not for a better bread slicer....

Not even for a pony....

I had a dream that one day, I would have all my songs in one place with instant access. No fumbling through records, no searching for CDs, not rewinding or fast-forwarding so I can get to my favorite song....

Thank you i-tunes / i-pod......My dream has come true.

So I saw that someone else did this little exercise. They pressed play in their i-tunes library (set to shuffle) and wrote down the first ten songs they heard. Well, I had a lot of work to do...so I went to 25.

It is a very wide ranging group of songs, showing just how broad my listening habits are. Enjoy.

Same Old Saturday Night - Frank Sinatra
A Man and a Woman - U2
Runaround - Van Halen
Adam Raised a Cain - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Enough Space - Foo Fighters
Makes Me Wanna Sing - Stryper
Hideaway - John Mayall Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton
Twilight - Future Of Forestry
Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
Dig - Incubus
Sleepin' On The Foldout - Brad Paisley Who Needs Pictures
Children Say - Level 42
Jacob's Ladder - Rush
Testify - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Why Is It Me - England Dan & John Ford Coley
High Landrons - Eric Johnson
Better Be True - Huey Lewis and the News
Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly
Regime Change - Disciple
Live Out Loud - Steven Curtis Chapman
Carpet Crawlers - Genesis
Little Toy Brain - Gov't Mule
I Believe - Third Day Wire
Hold It Now - The Beastie Boys
The Stranger - Billy Joel

The Moose is Loose!!!




Where to start.......

Isn't that always the question people ask. "Where do I start?!?" Kind of a foolish question if you ask me. You start from where you are at the time you ask the question. It's the only logical place you can start from. It's where you are for Pete's sake (and by the way, who is this Pete fellow and why are we always doing things for his sake?) To me, too many people are asking the question "Where do I start?" when they should be asking the more appropriate question "Where in Sam Hill am I going!!"

It seems to me that if more people thought about where they were going, this world would be a much nicer place.

So where am I going with this??

That is the question.

Not sure. I am of course a lost moose, trying to find my way in the woods. Of course, the more you know about the woods, the easier it is to find your way. And every once in a while, you come upon a beautiful clearing filled with flowers and a river running down middle, filled with cool water to drink, and fresh water plants to munch upon.

I suppose I am on a quest in these woods. A quest for truth. I like truth. It's so...well.....true. Logical, it just plain makes sense. Because no matter how crazy the truth might seem, it usually makes more sense than any of the other nonsense you put it up against.

So join me if you will as this moose wanders (at times very aimlessly) through these woods in search of beautiful clearings and cool rivers filled with deliciously slimy water plants.


It might just be fun (but I wouldn't count on it)....








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