Saturday, December 29, 2007


Lots of people call me a comic. I'm not sure if I am. I'm certainly not a stand-up comedian...I can count on one hand the straight stand-up gigs I've had. I might have been good at stand-up if I had given it a serious run, but stand-ups have a strange neurosis that I've never been entirely ready to embrace. They are generally the most depressing people in the world. I might have fit in too well and gone over the deep end. I drifted toward improv vs. stand-up. Improvisers are usually a little more happy - at least they work well with others and laugh at each other more.

Most people don't care to know the difference in an improviser and a stand-up comedian. People under fifty years old often say that I remind them of Ray Romano. I think I might look like him a bit, but it's probably more of my delivery that reminds them of him. I take it as a compliment.

Older people often say that I remind them of Bob Newhart. We don't look alike. So I take that as a huge compliment. I've decided that he is my favorite comic of all time. People ask who my favorite comic is all the time, so I had to pick someone. He's a minimalist. He says the least amount possible to get the most laughs. His classic phone bits are my favorite, because generally he makes himself the straight man to the funny person on the other end of the line. He lets your imagination deliver the silent punchline. He trusts his audience to think funny...risky and revolutionary.

I'm going to work on the minimalist thing more as a storyteller. We'll see what happens. Here's one of Newhart's earliest bits where he considers what Abe Lincoln's press agent would be like. I think it was ahead of its time...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'm waiting on my kids to fall asleep so I can bring their presents into the living room. It's a very "hands on" Christmas this year. Eli is getting a real workbench for the basement complete with real tools and a few things that could permanently injure him, like a hand saw and a starter drill. His Uncle Phaff constructed the bench and shipped it up from Indiana last week. Aidan is getting a working art easel and some he will likely injure himself as well.

We did our first Donut outreach at The Vineyard tonight. For eight years the church has taken dozens of Krispy Kremes to people who have to work on Christmas Eve. We went to the McDonald's and Blockbuster by our house. They were both much more excited than I expected. The girl at Blockbuster gave Eli and Aidan big hugs and seemed genuinely thankful. Then we came home and I spilled coffee on our new couch. That brings us all up to date with me sitting here waiting for my kids to fall asleep.

For all the readers near and fear - from Vegas to So-Cal to the Midwest....and all you others everywhere you've ended up, have a happy and healthy Christmas. Be just sentimental enough to look forward to the day when this Christmas will be a distant, hopefuly happy, memory. And for you fellow rebel pilgrims, don't forget that this day is our D-Day, our Normandy - when the beachhead of the divine conspiracy was intially established in the DNA of an infant human being. That day commenced the battle of battles to emancipate the captives and destroy all evil at work in the world. Here's to another year of the Kingdom of Love forcefully advancing.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I booked my first professional acting gig here in Cincinnati. I did a voice over today for a new video game. I'm not sure of the name yet, but it's an Iraqi war game. I played two different roles - a younger southern solder and an older major. I haven't done a lot of v.o. work and I had a blast doing it. The production company for the game is based in NYC and they normally book talent there, but this time they decided to lay down the audio here in Cincy. Pretty cool.

Bruce is going well. It's hard to believe that we close tomorrow night. A three-day run is about as short as they come.

The kids have 16 days off school starting tomorrow! I'm taking about five off myself after this weekend. It should be a welcome break.

And oh, yeah...Broomball Rocks!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Opening Night

A Cat Named Bruce opens tonight. It feels like a legit opening night...when you are so tired from rehearsing that you can't imagine going on in a few hours. I'm feeling especially blessed this week to be able to have a job that allows me to do most all of the things that I enjoy. Brad Wise and I conceived this play hoping to simply bring some joy and laughter to people., embedded in a very simple message. I think it accomplishes that. Any major collaborative creative effort evokes strong emotion in me. I can remember trying to explain to some of my castmates back in Las Vegas that our somewhat campy, casino-based improv show was actually a spiritual exercise because it demanded honest community and continual creativity. Those things mirror the Trinitarian Creator so closely that you can't help but sense the presense of God in a situation that is tapping into creativity and honest community simultaneously. I felt the same reality with Bruce at dress rehearsal last night. Hopefuly those who come will also be brought into the dance and sense what GK Chesterton claims is God's greatest and most fundamental attribute - his mirth.

Afterall, plays are called "plays" for a reason. If adults played more - authentically pretended - fought more dragons, saved more damsels, visited strange worlds and invented new creatures...if we all honestly embraced the awkward and beautiful creator child inside, maybe we would start to understand a Creator Father who invents aardvarks, zebras and human beings...a God who reproduces sunsets, ocean tides and baby ants....a God who likes colorful fish in the darkest ocean and monochloral planets flying around a magically suspended fireball in perfect eliptical orbit.

Or, as Chesterton puts it:

"A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again," to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again," to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." -Orthodoxy, GK Chesterton

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Week of Bruce

Some teaser videos below. For you locals, showtimes are this Thu, Fri and Sat at The Vineyard. More info at

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Picture

Look at our cute kids here so I don't have to send you a Christmas Card that would look exactly the same, only made out of paper instead of your computer screen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Alma matters

Click for More Information on CCU

I visited the old alma mater on Price HIll today for the first time in a decade or so. I saw more familiar faces than I expected and had a very enjoyable lunch with Dr. Weatherly at the new Skyline. (The old Skyline in Price Hill was torn down...very sad. It was the first one ever.) I ran into my old friend Robb Faust in the bookstore...where he's been for the last 13 years now. Another professor (Dr. Shannon) was also at Skyline. It was a sentimental and rather therapeutic afternoon.

Talking with Weatherly made me wish that I could have known the right questions to ask him 15 years ago when I was studying under him. I left struggling with the irony that, for most any profession, we really need the education more after we start working in our field than before we start. I'm wired to learn things much better once I see that I need to learn them. It took me a few years of trial and error after college to be broken enough to want to learn the things that people were probably trying to teach me in college. I wonder if most everyone goes through that.

After the lunch I drove the 1.2 miles to the Garfield Park area of downtown Cincinnati for a voiceover audition. Then back to finish some loose ends at church. Somehow the last five hours have been a miniaturized version of my life story...without the good weather.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Got busy...what with Bruce coming and all. Tis the season to work 14 hours a day, I guess. It's all good though. The rehearsals have been a blast and I'm enjoying getting to know all my castmates better. I actually have a few commercial auditions tomorrow as well. I'm feeling my thespian oats.

There are some promo videos for A Cat Named Bruce at the website - click below to check them out.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Just another magi monday...

I spent the last few weeks reading in the neighborhood of 500 pages on the Magi from different scholars and commentators. I found Michael Molnar's book The Star of Bethlehem: The Legend of the Magi very interesting. I'd have to say that "interesting" is the best word to describe what I learned about the Matthew Magi event. Interesting stuff for someone like me - a closeted science geek and an outed history and theology geek. The problem is that sometimes the interesting things of life do not always translate to practical help for the masses.

My problem this week as I prepared to teach was to allow these interesting facts and theories about stars, astrology, Hebrew midrashic tradition, Roman politics and ancient customs to eventually evaporate away in light of the story itself. Matthew didn't set about to write a science book, and though I believe Matthew to be a competent historian, he wasn't trying to give a detailed history of the Magi event, per se. He actuallly seems to take the opposite approach, seeing value in clothing them in mystery and intrigue. He states plainly his plan in the first verse of his book- to tell the story of Jesus, as the son of Abraham and the son of David. (And, as he shows us in time, the son of God.)

There are, no doubt, shadows of the Moses and Balaam stories in the Old Testament woven into the account of the Magi. I believe that to the first century Hebrew mind these references would have been easier for them to see, and therefore, easier for them to interpret. I avoided them altogether in my weekend message for fear that opening the subject in such a constrained time limit might only confuse people. The Moses parallels are the most obvious, primarily centering on the parallels between Herod and Pharaoh. Matthew connects Herod's infanticide (a Moses parallel) with the holy family's flight to Egypt and their return. It all seems to point to God's redeeming his people again as he did with Moses. We will learn as the story progresses in Matthew that this redemption is actually one of eschatological significance - the beginning of the final redemption for all who would follow Jesus. So, if you want, he's not just the new Abraham and David, but the new Moses as well.

Interesting for me, I guess. But I still think the main idea surrounds the fact that strange Gentile astrologers find the Messiah and worship him before God's people do. There's something big to that. It's also a highly political story that sets up the central political conflict between Messiah Jesus and his Kingdom and Herod (and all he represents) and his kingdom. They tried to kill him from day one, until he finally allowed them to have their wish. Then he died. Then he won.

On a completely different note, I just heard that the Cat Named Bruce website is now live at Click the icon below to be magically transported there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More snow pics


As you can see in this picture, it snowed here today. School was canceled. (They never canceled school for two inches back in my day.) The kids were trying to build a snowman and sled in our flat backyard when I left for work this morning. The snow is novel and interesting, but it is starting to feel extra cold now. I'm that annoying guy who moves to a new place and can't stop talking about the weather. I tell myself every morning that I'm not going to mention how cold it is and then it's the first thing I say when I see someone. I'd be annoyed if I was my friend.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mount Vernon and back again.

I had a great time going up to Mount Vernon, Ohio this weekend to speak at The Vineyard Knox County. My old friend Paul Chandler is a member there and suggested to the leadership that I come up to speak. There was such a great vibe at the church and it was great be with them. I left very energized and excited to be a part of what's going on with the Vineyard movement in Ohio.

I was able to drive through my hometown of Worthington on the way there. It's the first time that I have been to Columbus since we moved here. It was strange to realize how close we actually live, probably about 90 miles to the old neighborhood from my house.

I also happened to be in Columbus when Ohio State backed into the national championship game via the WVU and Missouri losses. God is good.