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Monday, February 16, 2004

When you live a life without cable television, sometimes you are presented with slim pickins in choosing which program to watch. Now, you might say, "Why not just turn off the tv and read, exercise, bake a pie, knit a sweter, etc?" Maybe, but not when Joel Osteen is on the tube. Joel Osteen is the minister at the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. This is one of those churches that holds a couple thousand people there, has a huge stage, and jumbotron screens. But Joel can make you feel like he's talking to you and only you. His sermon was that you need to mow your lawn, not go out in public looking sloppy, and keep your car from becoming a garbage can. He stopped short of saying that you ought to wash your hands only with a new bar of soap, open and close your door three times before leaving home, and carrying ten packets of sugar in your pockes at all times. His point was that you should strive to be "a person of excellence." When you shower before going to the grocery store, you're a person of excellence. When you pay your bills, then you are a person of excellence. When you lead a life that isn't sloppy, you're a person of excellence. If you want a video or audio of the sermon, you can visit his site, It is a most excellent website.
I like to imagine that guys like Joel Osteen lead a double-life. By day, he's a good ol' boy minister with a soft southern drawl, delivering sermons about being a person of excellence. But then when he gets home, he's a total crackhead. He hangs out poolside drinking margaritas and doing massive amounts off hookers' backs. And after he's done that, he pulls out a shotgun and blows away watermelons. Or cantaloupes. Then after another 96 hour binge, he cleans up, puts on his new blue blazer, and goes back to his congregation as a person of excellence.
This sort of narrative just helps to move things along.

We also watched the Daytona 500 today. Nathalie seemed to get into it more than I did. The car wrecks really do make it worthwhile, just waiting to see a big old pile-up. And then after the pile-ups, it's hilarious to listen to the drivers talk about it. And they get pissed. One dude was like, "Wayul, ah hayud one rookih down bulow meh, an thin anotha came down undah heem, an thin they wricked mah car." The announcers reminded us of the the announcers in "Best in Show." One was a little more professional sounding, and the other was a little unhinged. After a fantastic wreck that left one car upside down, the wacky announcer says, "Well why don't they just flip the car over so he can get out?!?" The other said, "If he's hurt in there, they probably don't want to have him moving around." Makes sense. But this is NASCAR, so you can guess what they ended up doing afterall.

And for those of you keeping score at home, the Seven Seas restaurant provided a meal of excellence. I didn't go for the live fish in a bucket, but the double lamb delight was doubly delicious, and Nathalie enjoyed her Shrimp and Chicken Kung Pao.

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