Thursday 13.

This week: 13 of your favorite movie lines.

1. “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” –Rob Gordon, in High Fidelity

2.  “No more rhymes! I mean it!” “Anybody want a peanut?” “AGGGGH.” –The Sicilian and Fezzik, in The Princess Bride

3. “Gee, Ricky, I’m real sorry your mom blew up.” –Lane Meyer, in Better Off Dead.

4. “Well, there’s the usual things: flowers… chocolates… promises you don’t intend to keep…” –Cogsworth, in Beauty and the Beast

5. “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” –Sam Gamgee, in The Two Towers

6. “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.” –Maximus, in Gladiator

7. “I’m American, honey, our names don’t mean s***.”–Butch, in Pulp Fiction

8. “…Now I’m thinkin’: it could mean you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be a shepherd. “–Jules, in Pulp Fiction

9. “And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”–a random cleric, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

10. “Everything in this room is eatable. Even I’m eatable! But that my dear children. is called cannibalism; and that is frowned upon in most societies.”–Willy Wonka, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

11. “How much is ‘wow’?” “It’s right in between, uh, ‘ouch’ and ‘boing’.” “Wow…”–Phil Davis and Bob Wallace in White Christmas

12. “Nobody sits like this rock sits. You rock, rock. The rock just sits and is. You show us how to just sit here and that’s what we need.”–Albert in I Heart Huckabees

13. “Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.” “Are you like a crazy person?” “I am quite sure they will say so.”–V and Evey, in V for Vendetta

*poke poke poke*

“Hey. Hey, wake up.”


“You haven’t updated in a week. Get it going, McClendon.”

“Oh, geez, sorry…getting right on that.”

New post commences…NOW.

1. So, I went home last week and ate a lot of turkey…forgot about Buy Nothing Day and procured a new pair of jeans (which still need to be hemmed, but there you have it)…read Ian McEwan’s Atonement (which, if you haven’t read it, is a fabulous, fabulous book–I want to read all of his other works now), was in a car wreck (more on that in the next point), and have since come back to finish out the semester. The roommates and I have decked out the apartment in holiday cheer–if I can get a picture, I’ll upload it later. It’s pretty fantastic. Today the weather outside is gloomy–really cold, wet, windy, all that. Add some hills and some better architecture, and it would look like Scotland outside; as it is, it’s just a greyer version of Waco, which is somewhat depressing.

2. Yes, so, car wreck–my roommate and I were on our way back from Houston in her car, her back tire blew out (we think), she lost control of the car, we hit a road sign and drove straight into a ditch (all the time praying, “Please don’t let us flip”). Huge dents in the front and back bumpers, cracked radiator. Brand-new car, too, and she loves that thing more than life (I wish I were exaggerating…). So, yeah. It was scary. She’s still a bit traumatized, I think. But no damage done to our persons, thank God, save for a sore shoulder and neck.

3. For future reference, “All I Want for Christmas is You” is the best song in the world to goofily dance around to in one’s living room.

4. Ummm…not much else for the time being. I’m sure as soon as I think of something pithy, I’ll let you know. 🙂 Stay tuned for the T13.

thursday 13.

Should be obvious: What are you thankful for? 🙂

1. Life and breath and relative good health. And sanity.

2. That God sustains me and my family and friends (and brings those people into my life).

3. The church.

4. A college education. Literacy. The fact that my degree consists of reading good books.

5. Roommates (both paying and non-paying); an apartment; being able to pay my rent.

6. A job that consists of grading quizzes and going to class.

7. Music.

8. Double-pointed knitting needles.

9. Sweaters and corduroy pants.

10. Sleep.

11. Diet Coke; coffee; tea; hot caffeinated beverages.
12. Good memories.

13. Notebooks and pens.

a few webby things…

First of all, if you look over to the right, I put up a new page entitled “books i’d like to get read”. Take a peek.

Here’s my reason for wanting Stephen Colbert to run for president: “I love my Church, and I’m a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the Church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That’s totally different from the Word, the blood, the body and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth.” (HT:

Finally: Remember the commerical with all the bouncy balls? Well, they have a new one up at that involves exploding paint. It’s pretty amazing–go check it out.

gloria in te, Domine…

(starting music: Marvin Gaye – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough)

1. ^ That song always makes me think of Remember the Titans…man, I haven’t seen that movie in a few years. I need to watch it again.

2. Two of my papers are now in proofreading stage. I’m feeling extremely gratified right now–I think as someone who has churned a lot of text in my lifetime, finishing a project may be one of the most satisfying things I can do. Editing and revision makes me feel all warm inside. 🙂 Nerdy? Yeah. But that’s okay.

3. Speaking of writing, I totally fell off the NaNoWriMo wagon about three days into it. I’m awesome. I’ve seen a couple of fun spin-offs all over the web: National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), and Defective Yeti is doing National Novel Reading Month (he’s tackling Moby Dick–he’s a brave, brave man). I think I may have to try those next year instead, haha.

4. I’ve been reading Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, which is fantastic (at the end I think I may write up a review for Writers Read)–it’s got me thinking about this whole concept of home, and how it’s meant to be a safehaven. The characters in the book ironically never get this real sense of having a place to belong. They have a physical space to live in, of course, but it’s not the same as having an emotional and mental refuge, a place where you feel like you’re completely accepted, you know?

And that got me thinking: This world isn’t our real home. Ultimately, we’ll never be really at rest here; we can never really feel settled. I think, though, that’s a reason to make our homes places that foreshadow our final home–places where people feel accepted and safe and cared for. That’s why hospitality is important; that’s why our families are so important; that’s why living in community is so important. So, yeah. Cultivate a good domestic life; it’s a good spiritual practice. Or something. 🙂

5. Of course, as I say that I’m sitting in a pile of junk on my floor. So take all of the above with a grain of salt. :p

(ending music : U2 – Stay (Faraway, So Close!))

music check.

It’s about high time for one of these. Y’all know the drill.

1. Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down

2. Counting Crows – Hanginaround

3. The Waiting – No Time for That

4. Derek Webb – Every Grain of Sand

5. Michael W. Smith – Free Man

6. Don Chaffer – Oh Virginia

7. Sandra McCracken – Eve (live)

8. Wilco – I’m the Man Who Loves You

9. Jeff Berry Band – Before the Throne of God Above

10. Buddy and Julie Miller – That’s Just How She Cries

11. Leslie Kritzer – Learn Your Lessons Well

12. Rent Original Broadway Cast – Tune Up #1

13. Blenderhead – Vivaladel

14. Dave Matthews – Christmas Song

15.  Caedmon’s Call – International Love Song

16. Little Champions – Beverly

17. Ethan Durelle – Chord

18. Sonicflood – Lord Over All

19. David Crowder Band – Do Not Move

20.  Lorrie Morgan and Dolly Parton – Best Woman Wins

Thursday 13!

This week (and sorry this is going up a bit late): 13 writers whose work you enjoy.

1. I’m going to say it: Thomas Browne. I don’t know what it is, but I the more I think about what I’ve read, the more I like him.

2. Jonathan Safran Foer.

3. Marilynne Robinson. I’m reading Housekeeping right now, and my gosh, I love this book. Maybe even more than Gilead.

4. William Faulkner–weirdness and all.

5. Lauren Winner.

6. G.K. Chesterton.

7. John Keats.

8. Vladimir Nabokov–I’ve only read one of his books, but it was so much fun that I think I might have to dive more into his work.

9. Annie Dillard.

10. Thornton Wilder.

11. J.I. Packer.

12. John Piper.

13. T.S. Eliot.

playing with prodigal sons…

(starting music: Rufus Wainwright – Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk)

1. Sorry I haven’t blogged for a few days. Trying to remedy that. I’ve been especially busy the past few days, but I have been doing a great deal of thinking, too, so I’ll try to make this an especially good, long post.

2. I had a presentation today that I’ve been actually kind of terrified about, and I’m glad to say it went extremely well. And I got a lot of helpful feedback, so I feel extremely gratified. Today’s actually been rather good in general, I’m glad to say, so there you have it.

3. Epiphany: I have this tendency to treat God like the means to an end, specifically the end of making me a “good” person. I want Him to fix me so I don’t have to deal with my brokenness anymore. The thing is, the situation is quite the opposite–He is the end of my being changed. My heart gets fixed in order that I may know Him better. (Again, you’d think I’d know this by now–nope.) Christ in me is the hope of glory.

4. Also been thinking about how the gospel needs to be preached to the whole person–I had a very interesting conversation with a friend (who reads this–hey, you) in which we discussed the future of Protestantism. He was concerned that it may die out in the near future, and I told him, “Well, that probably won’t happen because there are people who still have emotional investment in it.” Which is true if you think about it–some people just won’t become anything else because of their family history or whatever.

However, even for people who are very doctrine-oriented, I think that may be true, too. I know that personally that the doctrine of justification by faith alone isn’t just a matter of biblical theology for me; it has strong emotional and existential meaning for me, too, for a variety of reasons. People sometimes don’t just believe in certain things because they believe them to be true in the factual sense, but true for them experientially as well. I think that’s why some folks I know have switched belief systems, because they didn’t have strong ties to the one they came from, or even had very negative experiences before. (I do know that’s part of why I’m now Presbyterian and not Baptist, although that’s by no means the whole reason.)

Which is not to say that Protestantism ought to be preserved solely on that, but I think it’s important for us to keep in mind. I think where we fail sometimes is in not engaging a person’s whole being, whether that’s by keeping everything spiritual separate from our actual practice, or by keeping doctrine more or less purely intellectual, or whatever. We’re not gnostics; we’re Christians who believe in the Incarnation and in the Trinity, and that ought to affect something.

5. I have a feeling that last one will get some comments. Maybe. *shrug*

6. Other news: Stream all of Sufjan’s Christmas EPs here. Standout tracks: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, “All the King’s Horns”, “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!” (prettier than it sounds), “Joy to the World”, “Get Behind Me, Santa!”, and “Sister Winter”. It makes me happy. 🙂

7. Oh, also, I’m already thinking about Christmas gifts, so if there’s anything you’d especially like, let me know.

Thursday 13

This week: 13 questions you’d love to know the answer to.

1. What does Dr. Donnelly look like without the beard?

2. How does the Trinity work?

3. How did humanity first come up with all the nature gods?

4. What makes us prefer certain things over others? Is it purely arbitrary, is it genetics, or what?

5. What was the first conversation between Adam and Eve post-Eden like?

6. What is it like for a prophet to receive a word from the Lord? Audible or not?

7. Where did Eden go, anyway?

8. What must it have been like to be one of Jesus’ nephews or nieces?

9. Are our scientific theories really true, or is it the only way we can explain something that’s really unexplainable?

10. To steal something from Bono: How long to sing this song?

11. Who came up with the idea of dancing, and how, and why?

12. Are there alien life forms?

13. What happened to my biological parents, anyway?