Monday, August 25, 2008

The Blogosphere - Empowerment, Endangerment, Entertainment

I hope everyone is familiar with The Pizza Girl and her encounter with our Utah senate majority leader. For the few that have not seen the story on the news or read about it in the paper, here is a link to the story in the Salt Lake Tribune. The gist of the story? Young pizza girl delivers 5 pies to Curt Bramble and is unable to take a personal check due to company policy, typical of start-ups. Bramble pulls the "Don't you know who I am?!" card, rants, raves, calls the manager, makes himself look like a complete and total fool, then tips the poor girl $2 for 10 minutes of humiliation. Unbeknownst to Bramble, Pizza Girl is a blogger. And a talented one at that. She documents the entire episode on her blog.

Sometimes blogging is a lonely past time. I for one often feel that I'm standing at the edge of the abyss, screaming into nothingness, reaching no one. I know I have a few readers, my die-hard kind family members read this from time to time and post comments. Sometimes I hear secondhand that someone occasionally comes here and reads without commenting, but typically I write as a creative outlet and nothing more. Pizza Girl had the same outlook. She didn't realize that her story would pass from one friend to another to another, catch like a brushfire, eventually reaching many thousands of people, creating drama untold. She appeared on the news, has been featured in print, and is now a hero to little bloggers like me. Senator Bramble, naturally, has not had the guts to comment.

I love blogging. It's a virtual version of Alice's looking glass...nothing is as it seems. Real world rules do not apply. In cases like Pizza Girl, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. In the REAL world she could never take on a Goliath like Curt Bramble, but in cyberworld she fought back and owned his philistine ass. In the atmosphere she is voiceless, in the blogosphere she booms, resonates, and reaches thousands of people.

I began writing as a creative outlet. I'd sit down to the computer and vent, rant, create. I told my parents about it one day and explained how therapeutic it was. They asked to see what I had done, so I printed it up. They raved about it, like good parents should, and asked for more. This fueled the fire and I kept writing. I eventually moved away from the Word format and started blogging. Incidentally, my first blog post was my first Word document.

My style continued to evolve and I believe it is now very clear. I lean heavily on sarcasm and I exaggerate. A few of my posts may be viewed to be "over the top" or "brutal" or sometimes even "inappropriate." Anyone who knows me well will understand that is just my style. I don't REALLY believe that spammers are worse than pedophiles. I'm a cynic. But boiled down, my posts still speak my mind. I hate spammers. I don't understand vegans. Utah is a red state. Auto mechanics are greasy and dishonest. If the subject of one of my flames were ever to actually read my post, and call me to the carpet, I'd have ZERO problem in letting them know that A) I am a creative exaggerator, and B) the basic thesis of the post was accurate. If you spam, you are an idiot. End of story.

I feel that blogging empowers people. It allows the silent to speak. In text, people can be many things they could never be in life. It is also one of the dangers of a virtual world. Awkward, scrawny, odd people can create a profile and persona of power and confidence on the interweb. Sometimes the alternate reality is preferable to the real reality. Fortunately for me, blogging is all about entertainment. I look forward to weathering the wave of writer's block so I can ink out the next post, and I truly enjoy reading others' fantastic blogs.

As for Pizza Girl, she took a tremendous amount of heat for speaking her mind and unfortunately she's starting to waffle. She has written an apology letter to Senator Bramble and has publicly back-peddled a bit. In the minds of many, this is showing maturity and grace. I, for one, wish she'd have stuck to her guns. This is the blogosphere, the looking glass. Grace isn't necessary. The man was a buttwad, and she justly called him on it. There is no slander, no libel. This is a vehicle for expression and opinion.

The character of Jeffery Chaucer from the film "A Knight's Tale" said it best. "I shall eviscerate you in fiction." Beware angry pompous tightwad politicians of the world. The bloggers are here to stay, and our kung fu is strong.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Next Generation of Spam

A childhood friend sent the following email a few days ago:

Hi Everyone!
I wanted you to know about my new blog:
If this link doesn’t work, cut and paste it to your browser!
I love you all!

I was interested to see Grant’s blog. This is the golden age for bloggers. There is no better way to keep up with friends and family in this digital world than through blogs. It is the perfect hybrid of scrapbook and journal. Some blogs follow the family feel, whereas others are more abstract and goofy. In most cases, blogs are interesting.

Grant’s blog is not. It is a horribly masked advertising campaign and a pathetic attempt to make a few bucks. There are ads on the blog offering deals on Mac laptops. The subject matter of the SINGLE blog post is completely designed to steer you to the ad where Grant is set up to make money each and every time someone clicks on the ad or any links in his post. Furthermore, anytime someone actually purchases something after linking from Grant’s site, he makes a good percentage from the sale.

I figured it had to be a mistake so I clicked on his profile. There were two other blogs, one of which was Grant served a mission in Spain, so this one had to be legit, right? WRONG! Another post steering you to click on the ads for Travelocity and cruise lines. It’s hard enough having to filter out male enhancement and cheap pain killer emails. I have to withstand the tsunami of junk mail in my snail mailbox. I don’t need to be spammed now by blogger friends.

Grant you should be ashamed of yourself. As a matter of principle you shall now be flamed

You are a cowardly wolf in a really bad sheep costume. This ploy is greasier than an unwashed Jiffy Lube attendant eating a day-old turkey leg off the floor with no hands. The least you could do is make an actual legitimate looking family blog and sneak in a post or two about how rad Macs are, with a link in the post. You have less creative juice than the loser college dropouts that come to my house selling bad print replicas of famous paintings. You are a stick figure drawn by a blind left-handed Parkinson’s victim in a Bob Ross landscape.

You are small potatoes at a Yukon Gold potato bar. Spammers with any self-respect will at least buy marketing lists. Instead you prey on your friends and family. There were over 50 names in your email, ranging from L through W. Mathematically that means you could have easily blasted 150 people with this diatribe. If you want to play with the big boys, spend some money. Gary Coleman doesn’t play ball in the NBA. Cows don’t swim with piranhas. Bill Shatner doesn’t act with DeNiro. And skinheads don’t walk alone at night in Harlem. Because, like you, they can’t hang.

The deepest darkest corners of hell are reserved for pedophiles and spammers.

How did the best canned mystery meat ever produced draw the short straw when it came down to naming the art of blindly delivering unwanted crap? Spam and eggs is a breakfast staple. And now Spam will never be seen the same way again. Like the hijacked rainbow.

If it’s a money issue, Grant, grow a pair and get a second job. Get a third. Borrow money from the mob. Sell plasma. Join the circus. Start a cock-fighting ring. Hunt cougars and sell their pelts. Run up credit cards and file bankruptcy. Sell drugs. Apply for welfare and leach off of my tax dollars. Nothing is as morally defunct as spamming Travelocity ads.

But it’s not too late son. Simply kill the blogs. Start a new one with pictures of your kids, your thoughts on life, or photos of your hair. I’ve always wondered, did you ever draw blood with that hair? I was always terrified of impalement when we played ball.

Let me be clear…I have no problem with people that link to ads from their blogs. I have friends that do it. But they do not promote it, they do not email me to solicit business, and their sites are legitimate multi-subject blogs or web pages.

Finally, write up an apology, blast your email list and grovel for forgiveness. You have placed yourself in the same category as Viagra, Trend West, and Amway. You can’t simply bail on the product and expect everything to be fine. Repentance is required, period.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Five Things I Learned at Wilco

1) My skin has no business being exposed to sunlight for any period of time. I am a Swede, replete with Norse pastiness. The next time I go to an outdoor concert I will be in something akin to Travolta's mobile plastic trailer from his "Boy in the Plastic Bubble" film.

2) I live an extremely sedentary lifestyle. I wake up JUST in time to splash some water on my pits and head to work, where I sample cookies...all day long, with an occasional break to eat. Yes, I take a break from eating to eat. I go home at 5:00, and after eating again we post up on the couch to catch our reality TV shows. I don't exercise. The only time you will catch me running is if I am chasing a ball, or being chased by someone. This concert was PACKED with people my age or older that were lean, fit, and wiry. My excuses are gone. I need to reinvent my lifestyle and rethink my hobbies.

3) Wilco is the best show I've ever seen live, and quite likely the best band today. This is a serious statement, since I consider my July 15, 2003 Phish show a near-religious experience. The musicianship was superb, the tightness of sound was unlike anything I've ever heard, and the band/audience interaction was highly entertaining. And if you've never caught a show at Red Butte you need to. It is an absolutely breathtaking atmosphere and they allow you to bring in your own coolers full of frosty beverages and food.

4) Nature offers tranquility. I didn't come from a camping family. For us, "roughing it" was staying at a Motel 6. My father never denied me the opportunity to experience the outdoors. He bought me a bow and took me hunting, taught me to fish, took us camping a few times. But these were not his passions and it was never a true part of my young life. Therefore, I don't do it as an adult. But being up there in the mountains with a newly waning full moon peaking over the mountain tops, pine trees on all sides, and clean air reminded me that there is life outside of my basement. I could actually SEE stars. I haven't seen a clearly starlit sky in a long time.

5) Friends bring love to life. I lost touch with my best friends from my younger days. It was entirely my fault and a terrible decision in retrospect. It takes a pretty weak person to alienate friends just to protect an ideal, assuming my shoulders should rub with shoulders that identically share my views on life. Religion. Right vs. Wrong. And I was weak. I was dishonest with myself and unfair to friends that gave me love and brought me invaluable joy in life. I had the absolute pleasure of sharing a blanket with four very good, amazing friends that I hadn't seen in over a decade and making friends with some new people I'd never met. Seeing and talking with Muffin, Kaycee, Paul, and Amy brought back a spark that has been missing in my spirit for a very long time. I've always been envious of Sherri and her close-knit group of friends that have been together since jr. high. I am determined to never again distance myself from my best of friends, regardless of our differing lifestyles. Life throws some pretty nasty ugliness our way, but the ugliness is so much more manageable when you can fight it together with your friends.

I can't wait for the next concert!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dentist Rant

I love my dentist. This rant has little to do with my current dentist, but is rather a comprehensive rambling combining ALL dentist experiences from both personal experience and from secondhand stories. In fact, if anyone is looking for a marvelous dentist, I readily recommend Dr. Allan Thomas of Distinctive Dentistry on Parleys Way. I'll go to him as long as he's in practice, regardless of where I live. Click HERE for his website.

What's the deal with conversational dentists? You just pumped my jaw full of liquid and now I can't feel my face. You have your gloved hands that smell like rubber cement inside my mouth and you are drilling gaping holes in my teeth. Your light is about 100 watts too bright and 300 BTUs too hot and you are shining it DIRECTLY into my eyes. Your assistant is hovering and smiling...constantly smiling...does that not hurt her face muscles after a while? You are torturing me and you want to chat about my family, job, and golf game? Even if I wanted to talk I couldn't. And I don't. A few general rules that dentists should print, frame, and nail to their office walls:

1) You are scary. You may be nice and cordial during the pre-exam warm-up, but as soon as you strap on the mask and start poking around my pie hole you instantly become the devil.

2) It's all in the knuckles. There is ZERO need to ask me if I'm uncomfortable or in pain. Just periodically look down at my hands that are gripping the chair's armrests. If my hands are relaxed you are doing fine. If my fingers are closed on the rest and my knuckles are white then I'm uncomfortable. If my fingers are plunged two-knuckles-deep into the leather then I am in pain. No need to ask. Just crank up the gas and hit me with some more jaw juice.

3) Don't chat with the assistant. We patients are exercising extreme faith that you are A) competent and B) concentrating. We do not want you distracted. Don't chat up your assistant about her love life or bitch about your garden producing deformed zucchinis. Save that conversation for when you've finished raping my teeth. There is a reason I don't chat up the girl cutting my hair. I don't want to look like Chuck Liddell because I distracted her by pretending to care about her life. Similarly, I don't want my mouth to look like Michael Phelps'. You may be a brilliant multi-tasker, but I'm not giving you that benefit of doubt. Be quiet, throw out an occasional "oh this is looking great" or "you must floss" and then get the hell out of my mouth.

4) Nitrous is your friend. Don't cheap out. Forget your personal philosophies of right and wrong. Nitrous is an amazing calming agent. You should have spickets in the waiting room for people to suck on before their appointment. Believe me, the 4"needle does not feel that long when your body is slowly spinning around your head.

5) You'd better damn well have perfect teeth yourself. You don't buy a Ferrari from a salesman that drives a Hyundai. If you have to cap every one of those suckers then do it.

6) Implement a "head-nod" system. Feel free to ask questions and explain things before you lay me on my back, but once I've got the bib on then you should simply expect head nods. Yes/No questions only! For example, "Is that sensitive?" is perfect. However, "Tell me how that feels" is utterly retarded. Even if I'm not numbed up, you don't have your fingers in my mouth, and I'm perfectly able to speak, I don't want to. It takes a fair amount of strength to open my mouth wide like that...and if I have to close it to answer your stupid-ass question then it'll make it all the harder to open it back up and hold it that way.

7) Be Brief, Be Bright, and Be Gone. This rule applies to anything. If you need to talk to your boss about something, do it quickly, be intelligent, then go away. If your wife is already annoyed at you, but you absolutely have to ask her about a charge on the credit card, be quick, kiss her butt, then get out of Dodge. I do not want to visit with the dentist after he's annihilated my mouth. Smile, shake my hand, and see me next time.

8) Your hygienist is your secret weapon. No matter what it takes, you need to find a hygienist that is thorough, speedy, gentle, AND friendly. We may not want to talk to you, but we don't mind talking to your hygienist. I have no idea why this is, but it just plain is. In my dental experience there are very few that meet all these criteria, but those select few have been a joy to be worked on by. Don't settle for less!

9) Points 1-8 > gadgets. Don't think that your 36" flat plasma screen on the ceiling, with 1000 available channels and a remote control for your patient strapped into Boze headphones will compensate for all your other stupidities. I can watch TV at home. If I want the ultimate viewing experience I'll go to Lance's house...that dude's setup makes yours look like a first generation Gameboy. I am here to have my teeth cared for. Let's focus on THAT, shall we?

10) Chap stick. Even guys like me that refuse to gay up our lips unless they are oozing blood can appreciate some preventative chap stick. Your hardware hurts our mouths, and without chap stick we can easily wake up the next morning looking like lepers.

Dentists of the world, or at least in the Salt Lake valley, for the love of all things holy, please pay heed to my counsel. Learn these points, teach them to your staff, and post them on the walls of your office.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For Fathers of Daughters - Dennis Park at the Plate

I was never a ladies man. I was always surrounded by hot chicks, but that's not because I was interesting. If the crowd of cool guys and fly girls were a ship, I'd be the gnarly barnacle on the stern. I did have girlfriends and I was extremely monogamous. I've only kissed 5 or 6 girls in my life and I was terribly shy around the fairer sex. I've only picked up the phone ONCE in my entire life to ask a girl to a movie, and that was because I was bored as hell and she was a good friend. I didn't have any romantic feelings at all. My romances always blossomed from group dates or school dances. It was the least confrontational option with the lowest probability of failure and humiliation.

There was a girl my junior year in high school that I was attracted to. I never had the guts to really ask her out or anything, but I always thought she was cute. Somehow, fate would have it that some of her friends became friends of my friends which made us distant mutual friends. The stage was set.

In Utah, beginning in September, young and old alike flock to "haunted houses." When I was haunted-house-hopping they were relatively small, cheap, and innocent. Now they are so over the top with blood and guts and death, and they cost $20 per person. Unfortunately what was once a lot of fun has now become terribly overdone and tired.

A large group of us had congregated at my friend Tony's house in late September to go hit "The Haunted Old Mill." As more and more people showed up, Tony surfaced at the front door and yelled, "Cori needs a ride over here, can anyone go pick her up?" My hand shot up like a vaulting Chinese gymnast; this was my chance!

Now, I may not have had much experience with women, but I was batting 1.000 when it came to their parents, specifically fathers. I was well-spoken, somewhat preppy, complimentary, and non-threatening. I had mothers that adored me and I actually played golf with a couple of girls' dads. This particular night I had on a lovely white IZOD sweater and neat jeans. I further prepared by tucking my Grateful Dead necklace into my t-shirt, checked my breath, approached the door, and rang the bell. The door slowly swung open.

There to greet me was a large, intense looking moustached man with thinning hair and a wicked half-grin. Cori was standing relaxed to his left. A blonde woman, I supposed it was her mother, was politely sitting on the piano bench. "Come in please."

"You must be Mr. Park." He nodded. "It's nice to meet you." He didn't speak or smile. He just looked at me, considering the threat. He slowly raised his hand to shake mine, then proceeded to squeeze it with vice-grip doberman strength. His message was clear...I wasn't getting over easily this time. My smile vanished.

"Where are you headed tonight young man?"
"Well sir, we're just going as a large group of friends...erm, acquaintances, to a haunted house."
"You driving?"
"Yes sir."
"Any tickets?"
"No sir."
"No sir."
"You a good student son?"
"I think so."
"What's your GPA?"
"3.5", I lied.
"B student is good, huh?"

Now I'm starting to get a little heated. Terror was giving way to annoyance. If there is one constant in this universe besides death, taxes, and country music being BAD, it is that I always have been and always will be a square peg. The only times I fit in the world's round holes are when I'm pounded so badly with a Thoresque hammer that I barely squeeze in, splinters flying everywhere. It is never pretty, and my square peginess was starting to surface. I'm not even taking this chick on a date...I'm doing her a FAVOR by picking her up for a group trip to Wheeler Farm...

"You a Mormon?"
"Yes I am."
"Go to church and seminary?"
"Every week."
"Tell me about your family."

Without skipping a beat he broke the plane of personal space and lifted his hairy bare hand up toward my right cheek. Holy crap, this psycho is going to smack me! Instead he felt my right earlobe, then my left.

"No earrings, that's good. Any tattoos?"
"You drink or smoke?"
"Of course not."
"Any drugs?"

And then one of the most bizarre things happened. He went too far. Dennis reached down and gripped my right kneecap. Then he moved to my left knee and fondled that kneecap. I half expected Zed and The Gimp to come around the corner with furry handcuffs and a leather whip. I stood there stoically. Violated and rigid.

"Wow, you've got some nice knees there son."

At this point his face somewhat softened...I didn't know why. He then pointed to his daughter.

"You see this girl here? She's my only daughter."

I'm not stupid. I clearly saw Cori's older and younger sister sitting at the kitchen table watching the show. I wasn't stupid, but I wasn't dumb either. I didn't argue. However, I also wasn't very observant because as I pondered the molesting of my knees, Dennis had reached behind the door with his other hand to produce a solid wood Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

"And son, if you don't bring her back looking EXACTLY how she does right now, I'll break both your knees."

There was no smile. No shred of humor or tease in his voice. Just the stare. Cori never changed expression, nor did her mother or sisters. I swallowed hard.

"What time will you have her back?"
"What time would you like us back sir?"
"Midnight should be fine."
"See you at 11."

Dennis patted his daughter on the shoulder and we walked out into the welcoming brisk night air. I'd survived with my life, and my knees, intact. Somehow I managed to get to the car and made absolute sure to open Cori's door first, then my own. As I drove off I looked in my rear-view mirror to see Dennis on the porch with his Slugger resting lightly on his shoulder.

I looked at Cori incredulously, "what the hell was that?" "My dad loves me." "Yeah, well what's the deal with the baseball bat?" She smiled, "You'd better have me home by 11."

Cori and I went on to be friends and we dated for a period of time. I quickly learned that Dennis had a wicked sense of humor and we got to be pretty good friends. While he never really planned on shattering my kneecaps with a baseball bat, his message was sure. This girl is off limits. Keep your hands and other appendages in their vehicles at all times.

As a father I get it. I realize that there are thousands of guys out there that are snakes in the grass, wolves in sheep suits. Men are pigs, period. Some are just less piggish than others. I'm not sure that I'll recreate the slugger experience for Maidie's dates...I'll let that legend rest with Dennis. But I'll build my own legend.

Young dudes of the world beware.

Monday, August 11, 2008

IN the scene, not OF the scene.

I have an issue with people who stereotype someone by the music they enjoy.

I spent two full years in Italy shaking stereotypes when I was there as a missionary. There was a film made in the 80s starring Harrison Ford called “Witness.” The witness protection program was protecting Ford’s character, and to keep him safe they hid him in an Amish community. It’s actually a pretty decent film. However, when translating the movie into the Italian language the decision was made to substitute the word “Amish” for “Mormon” since the population had no idea what the Amish were but had some exposure to Mormons. Besides…Mormons were peaceful bearded farmers too, right? Unfortunately the film was a gigantic success and now every Italian that saw it had a sure knowledge of what Mormons were. I spent the first 3 minutes of every conversation explaining that we do not sport beards, ride in horse-drawn carriages, and churn our own butter.

I dig hippie music. My first love and obsession to sonic beauty came through Simon and Garfunkel. I was given their box set for Christmas my 8th grade year and spent the entire year listening to nothing but SaG with a little Neil Diamond interspersed. I was sucked into their imagery and developed a true respect for and knowledge of poetic writing and harmony. From there I started to look at some SaG contemporaries. Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Byrds, Dylan, Led Zeppelin. I was a 13-year-old kid in 1989 that had clearly been born in the wrong era.

At 15 I was introduced to The Grateful Dead (Workingman’s Dead) by a friend named Jeremy Erkkila. At first I had a tough time with it. As the musically challenged Austrian king said in “Amadeus” when critiquing Mozart, there were “too many notes.” So much was going on ear just couldn’t process it all. But I knew The Dead were important so I listened over and over again and began picking the music apart and analyzing small pieces. The bass line, the drummer(s), Jerry’s insane guitar work. And once I understood the individual pieces the composition as a whole made sense. And I loved it. From then on I’ve been a “deadhead.” This naturally transitioned into other hippieish jam bands such as Phish, String Cheese Incident, Moe, Disco Biscuits, and Strangefolk.

It is no secret that bands like The Dead ushered in the psychedelic era. And with the era came a number of bad things. Potent drugs, freaky hippie sex, and a total disregard for human hygiene. Combine those three things and you have a pretty funky scene. Somewhere along the way the scene was DIRECTLY tied with the band and anyone that dug The Dead was labeled a hippie.

I have a problem with this, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

Look around you. In 90% of cases you can instantly tell what kind of music someone listens to by the way they dress, especially with young folks. I’ll admit that I got sucked into it in high school as well. I regularly wore Tevas, corduroy shorts, t-shirts, and longer hair. And I always had a Dead necklace on. Fashion and appearance are directly influenced by music. Black trench coat, black lipstick, painted white face and a dog collar? Goth. Skin tight jeans, feathered long hair, comb in the back pocket, Converse shoes? Metalhead. Sagged oversized jeans, NY Yankees hat sideways, bling? Hip-hop. Wranglers, cowboy hat, boots? Garbage country music.

Memo to the world. Just because I rock The Dead and collect hundreds of Phish shows does not make me a hippie by your definition. I am a well-mannered, educated, clean-cut Mormon kid that has no interest in dreads, weed, or ‘shrooms. I don’t sell grilled cheese sandwiches out the back of my VW bus to pay for show tickets and I don’t sew my own patchwork clothes. And I’d pit myself against 85% of those that DO in a contest of knowledge, appreciation, and exposure. Do not assume that my choice in music dictates my conscience and values. Believe it or not you CAN listen to country in a cardigan, rap in a kilt, or emo without crying and cutting.

Which leads me to another point…while music influences fashion it ALSO dangerously influences values and decisions. And it DOES NOT HAVE TO! Kids have this terrible notion that Goth music means they need to be depressed and isolated. Hippie music implies a drug culture. Metal includes aggression and anger. I refuse to believe that the music propagates this in and of itself in most cases. The perfect example comes with the band Minor Threat. Formed in the early 80s by Ian McAye, Minor Threat started the straight-edge scene. When we hear straight-edge we immediately think of angst-filled teenagers that don’t drink/smoke and are determined to beat the hell out of those that do. This is NOT what straight-edge started as. Is the music aggressive? Very. It elicits intense emotion. It certainly does spread a message of abstinence from drugs and alcohol, but its earliest forms did NOT condone violence. The scene evolved that way.

My first and only Phish show to date was here in Salt Lake City on July 15th 2003. It was epic. The first song of the second set was well over 30 minutes long with only 90 seconds of lyrics, and it bled into a 45 minute composition that FELT like one song. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I was staring Page McConnell straight in his left eye from the 6th row. I was sporting a Phish t-shirt, sandals, and shorts, but that was how I chose to dress. I had no interest in fitting in. And neither did the two middle-aged gentlemen behind me in shirts and ties. They were likely stock brokers that got off work early to appreciate some Phish. You’d assume they rocked Brahms or Michael Bolton based off of their looks. Instead they beautifully illustrated that just as the converted can be IN the world and not OF the world, the musically converted can be IN the scene but not OF it.

Music is beauty. It is the tie that binds. It is the language of my soul. I believe that God is surrounded by it. And I can honor and appreciate it regardless of how I look, what I believe, or the way I act.