Sunday, August 26, 2007

goodbye evans

When I talked to my parents on the phone today, I learned that Evans Huber, a childhood friend of mine was struck by lightning and killed last night while camping in Baxter State Park with his mom and brother. I had not seen or talked to Evans in years, but I was affected by the news. Two years younger than me, Evans grew up on Peaks Island, Maine, where my family spends our summers. His parents and mine were close friends, and my mom and dad had recently started visiting more regularly again with Lare, Evans' dad. I remember Evans as the quintessential island kid, curly-haired, barefoot, bike-riding. He hung out with the island crowd, the kids who snuck beers on the Back Shore and jumped off the towers at the ferry dock, but also seemed more interested in the world beyond Peaks, a trait he no doubt inherited from his parents.

Evans went to McGill University in Montreal and graduated the same year I did, in 2005. I hear that he was in love with a woman he met there, a Canadian, and was planning to get a visa to move to Canada and live with her. His brother Emmett is still an island presence at the age of 18; he was hit by the bolt, too, but survived. Their mom, my mom's friend Lois, was uninjured.

How do you deal with something like that if you're Evans' family? I have no answer. I have never been touched by tragedy in that way, and I am grateful. I do not know how I would or could respond to the death of my own brother, but I know that I am looking forward to seeing him next week, even more than I was before I heard the news about Evans.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ITEM: team "you know, for kids" stuns in pub quiz debut

DENVER (AP) — In a debut that rocked the local drinking community, a new team calling itself You Know, For Kids took third place last night in its inaugural GWD-sanctioned pub quiz competition, held at area ex-pat bar The British Bulldog. The team, composed of three members of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and two of their hangers-on, seemed not unhappy with its performance, but universally agreed that it "could have done better, considering."

The team roster consisted of secretary-general Carl Burnett, Director of Professional Sports Studies Chris Catanzarite, VP for '80s Music Affairs Nick Catanzarite, Exchecquer and Former Mullet-Owner Gerald Hayden, and Hot Nurse/Science Geek-in-Residence Mary, who spoke to the AP on the condition that her last name not be used. (Full disclosure: OK, this reporter does not actually know Mary's last name, and is too lazy to find out.)

The team faltered in the early rounds due to overconfidence in its knowledge of 1980s popular music (they knew their Bon Jovi but not their Belinda Carlisle), but rallied when Hayden and Mary arrived, advancing to fourth place, then third. After two stellar rounds, including a Catanzarite-brothers-led dominating performance in the sports round, the team seemed a shoo-in to advance to the top two. Undoubtedly through administrative subterfuge, the team instead fell back to fourth place, necessitating an eleventh-hour (literally) rally to secure its final position in the top three.

Reached for comment at his Greenwood Village workplace, Burnett vowed, "We'll be back. Just wait till next week, when we'll be sure to do some pre-gaming before the quiz starts. The Bulldog's list of performance-enhancing substances sure is delicious."

Monday, August 13, 2007

power invasion ministries

Yesterday while biking along the Platte River trail here in Denver I saw a building that scared the hell out of me. It's a fortress-like concrete edifice, nearly circular in shape, located in a barren industrial area. Two large signs on the building identify it as the home of "Power Invasion Ministries," with a King Arthurish sword-and-shield logo. Of course I had to Google it when I got home from my ride -- was this really a church, and if so, who or what were they invading with their power? And why were they located in what looked like a fallout shelter to be used in case of industrial accidents?

I found their website (which includes the breathtakingly candid slogan "Desperate people, desperate for God"), and it answered my first two questions. Apparently, the "power" part comes from Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” They don't cite a biblical verse mentioning an "invasion," but their mission in that regard is spelled out pretty bluntly. The Power Invasion folks apparently believe they have been

[a]ppointed and anointed by His Power to Invade [sic] the greater metro area of Denver by uprooting, tearing down, destroying, and overthrowing the power of darkness; and called to build and plant a new foundation.

Invade, uproot, tear down, destroy, overthrow -- wow, those are some strong verbs. I suppose that's the point, but like the ministry's building, its intentions scare the hell out of me. These people would like nothing better than to see people like me either converted to (their particular brand of) evangelical Christianity or driven out of town. These same people are on the pulpit every Sunday denouncing the spread of ideas they find dangerous -- including, I'm sure, fundamentalist Islamists, whose ambitions exactly parallel their own. One recent Power Invasion sermon (by "Pastor Randy") was titled "What you Tolerate May Destroy You." In a free society, I am reluctantly willing to tolerate the existance of groups like Power Invasion Ministries. But I really hope their Pastor Randy was wrong about the destruction part.

what is g.o.p.?

On the Brooklyn-based neo-Afrobeat group Antibalas' awesome 2007 release, Security, is a 12-minute slab of funk called "Filibuster XXX." After seven frantic, instrumental minutes, West African-accented vocalist Amayo starts in with some of the funniest stream-of-consciousness political musings ever committed to wax:
What is G.O.P., class?
Let us examine the cronynynynynism:
Is it Greedy Old People, class?
Is it Guilty Of Purjury?
Or, let's try this one...
How about Gas, Oil and Plutonium?

It would be fun to keep going...
  • Guns Offer Protection?
  • Generating Offshore Profits?
  • Grumbling Over Palestine?
  • Governator Obliterating Priuses?

Well, class, what is G.O.P.? Can you add to the list?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

mt. hood camp #2 wrap-up

I was back at Mt. Hood again for 10 or 12 more days on snow and got back on Monday. The ski team just posted a great press release about the camp, which includes a photo of all of us on the croquet lawn.