Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas in the Trenches

As I talked with the customer service representative from ATT, she innocently asked, "And how was your Christmas?" A rush of thoughts flooded my mind. My son is states away and I didn't get to see him this Christmas, but I know I will see him soon.

Yet Christmas 2008 will always be known as the year we lost Janet.

My brother Brian's wife, Janet has been a joy to know and inspiration to me (though I know she hated being called an inspiration). Just several weeks ago Brian, Janet and myself went out to eat at a local coney island restaurant (the kind that seems to be everywhere in Metro Detroit). Janet's spirits were high and she was witty and engaging. On Christmas Eve, I shared the room with a different person. Janet was in a hospital bed in the living room. I couldn't tell if she even knew I was in the room. Barbara, Janet's mother had prepared Spaghetti, which was apparently a family tradition. Sometime when I had just about finished my first serving of the angel hair pasta, Janet stopped breathing.

Both of my grandmothers died of breast cancer. My father's mother died of the disease before I was even born. I think of all that Janet will miss, but most importantly I think how less rich my life would be, without my sister-in-law, Janet.

The visitation is tomorrow (Sunday) and the funeral will be a local Catholic Church. Information on the funeral is at Griffin Funeral Home. Contributions in Janet's honor can be made to the Young Survival Coalition.

I keep thinking of the tagline she created a few months ago: "F*ck Awareness: Find a Cure." (You can still buy the stuff online). Yes I get her point the pink ribbons seem a little trite when you are facing death.

God, I miss Janet tonight.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sexual Ethics From Almost 20 Years Ago . . .

I am amazed at how some right-wing bloggers love going through the college papers of Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama and claim to uncover the secret ideology of that person. Of course Clinton and Michelle Obama both went to great schools and had ambitious papers. They should be commended for that.

After talking with a friend, I went back and revisited a sexual ethics paper, Sex, Love & Utilitarianism, I wrote while a student almost 20 years ago. It is about sexual ethics, a topic as a minister and newly single/divorced man, I've been thinking a good deal about. There are parts of this paper, I no longer agree with. Certainly, my worldview is more complicated than it was in 1989, but I think the core is quite helpful (for no one else than me).

I no longer view utilitarianisms as the ideal ethical system. I can't ever now imagine a case when incest could be morally acceptable. But this paper is an interesting part of my own ethical journey.

I guess I'm most proud of the line that, "Condemnations of homosexuals are based in misunderstanding and self-righteous assumptions. Such criticisms do not have a place in the world today." Of course, I knew I held that intellectually, but I probably wasn't personally at that place. For in 1989 there weren't many openly gay or lesbian individuals at Graceland.

I did not yet know what my brother was gay, as were many of my closest friends. I remember as a first year seminary student having an older man (and by older, he might have been my age now) come out to our small group as gay. Intellectually this was "no problem" for me, but I remember actually physically shaking because of the anxiety I had about being so close to a gay man.

Sigh. We are always growing and adapting. So, as if anyone is interested. I'm publishing this paper online. (Sex, Love & Utilitarianism is on Google Docs, a click should just take you there.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Small Part . . .

I did a discussion on Faith and Politics for the local Obama Office in September. This is the sign that they used in the office to make calls.God, I love the political season.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fallout Shelter

Over the past year, I've noticed the "Fallout Shelter" signs around more and more. This sign is located right across from the Truman House in Independence, Missouri.

The Fallout Shelters was from the last big "War on Terror"--The Cold War. And anyone that thinks that duck and cover or a brick building will save you from nuclear blast is just absurd.

Sometimes in our life, we need fallout shelters. And safe places to land. I'm glad I've found mine.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Evart Lost & Found

Found right off of Pine & Washington Street in Evart: Loose Leaf Papers for the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Persons (Teen Edition).

Why did I stop and pick them up? Because I was convinced they were mine, but I have never done Covey's teen edition before. All other signs pointed to that being my papers.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Frick Awareness: Find a Cure (redacted by the editor)

You know, when I was growing up, I always wanted a sister. Yes, I imagined the nice things they would say to me and perhaps most importantly, help to fix me up with their friends. But alas, the Goddess gave me 2 brothers. But then their are sister-in-laws. I would never put the F-word on my blog without the great excuse that I'm just supporting my sister-in-law, Janet.

See Janet and me (like many bloggers) are naturally introverts and blogging gives us a chance to "say" the things, we sometimes can't in real life. Though the blogging world is real, I think.

So, in honor of Janet and in the hope that she gets rich on her great design. I'm putting a plug out there for her movement to Frick Awareness: Find a Cure. (Janet, I hope I am not violating your trademark, if so, please contact my attorneys. Yes, after going through a divorce, I have too many). Love, Your Brother-in-Law, Todd

PS: What would the minister who did you wedding say about you using the F-word? Oh yeah, that was me. He thinks it is pretty cool.
PPS: Just so you have the links clear: Janet's Great blog. Her Store.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Voter Supression Tactics in Michigan?

Ok, I went walking today for Obama and had the chance to register two first-time voters. Wow, what a rush, eh? A chance to help two young men exercise their rights as citizens of this great country.

The Michigan Forms are a little hard to navigate, and so I helped the guys the best I could. I mean, I do have a master's degree and did voting rights work in the last election, I should be a good guy to help, right?

Sigh. Well, Michigan requires two signatures on their form and they only signed it once. Why does Michigan require 2 signatures? Right on top of each other? I can only assume it is a voter suppression tactic, unless someone can tell me a better explanation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote for the Day

The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
- Oscar Levant

From Google Quotes

Any responses Dad?

Letter to Editor: The Cadilac Paper

I am both a parent and a minister. I do not believe that stigma and shame are appropriate methods in helping my son, Carter (age 3) learn about his sexuality.
Stigma and shame are indeed powerful forces, but they turn up in unexpected ways and are not what we hope healthy adults or children need to deal with.

I also find it ironic that the letter which inspired me to respond was written by a fellow Christian. For our Savior Jesus Christ was born to a teenage mother, who to the outside world had a very strange story about her own pregnancy.

I believe the gospel record that Mary and Joseph were good parents to Jesus and I thank God that Jesus was not “ripped from [Mary’s] arms and spirited away into private adoption . . . never [to] see the child again.”

Rev. Todd Elkins

Friday, September 26, 2008

To Form a More Perfect Union

A new addition to the Todd, Blog a Verse. The Union of Concerned Priesthood, Members & Friends
is a place for people of faith (especially members of the Community of Christ) to network and find ways to connection together and live out the gospel.

This, of course, is an unofficial site and not sponsored or endorsed by the Community of Christ. Mention of the Church name is for identification purposes only.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recycled Carter?

At the Elkins' household in Michigan today, we received a call from Citizens United. Of course, they wanted money, in this case to help stop Obama's "radical socialist" agenda. According to their website:
Citizens United Productions examines the phenomenon that is Barack Obama. HYPE: The Obama Effect examines the Junior Senator from Illinois and his record. Is he the new Kennedy or recycled Jimmy Carter?
Just a tip to the kids out there. Whenever they ask a question like that, they also put what they consider the worst phrase at the end. A recycled Jimmy Carter? Like that is a bad thing.

Yes, my son is named after the 39th president of the United States and so I simply told them that I wouldn't stand for people dividing our country like that on the right or the left and asked to be put on their do not call list.

If you disagree and wish to give money to these SOBs, please do so using the web address above.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

D*I*Y Planner | paper, productivity and passion

Perhaps one of the greatest sites on the net:

D*I*Y Planner | paper, productivity and passion

Yes, that makes me a geek.

Monday, August 18, 2008

And Now An Update on Mr. Baxter Pugsley--Crossposting Dog Edition

Of course, the entire blog-a-verse knows about Baxter Pugsley. Ok, maybe not. But the readers of Janet's Blog know about the great dog, the only and only, Mr. B. (Janet is my wonderful sister-in-law who out does me in blogging greatness and having the coolest collection of science fiction stuff that anyone would be proud of.)

Well, I have been alone today with Baxter while Brian has been at work. And we have had a nice time. We took 2 walks and only had 1 little accident, which perhaps "Daddy" aka Brian will not know about.

I am Baxter's "Uncle" at least in dog-laws. Though for some reason, the Elkins nieces and nephews call me Tio Todd. Scott's girls speak Spanish, their Uncle, I mean Tio does not. But I love the alteration of Tio Todd.

Now, I want to believe that Baxter's Spanish is worse than mine, but I'm not testing this dog. He is a good boy and makes his Tio proud!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Closer Look @ "The Outlet"

Yes, this is the 1 power outlet at the Taco Bell in Cadillac.
Posted by Picasa

The Weak Link in Wi-Fi

Ok, it is great that more and more places have free Wi-Fi, but many places don't have adequate power outlets for patrons. At Taco Bell in Cadillac I had to squeeze in to this nice young lady even though there were lots of other seating in the restaurant. I thought I needed to buy the girl a drink since I was so close. And while I'm at it, these little tables are horrible for a laptop and eating, I really needed a double table.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Don’t Just Do Something . . . Talk About It

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking of about the recent Supreme Court ruling on the second amendment. For several years, I was very active opposing the NRA and their allies effort to legalize concealed weapons in Missouri. I found an reflection I wrote during that time that I think still has many interesting insights to it.

“We need to act,” is a cry often heard from those pursuing peace and justice. There is no doubt that we need activism on the critical issues facing our state and nation. As I write this reflection, the United States is preparing for, what appears to be, certain war with Iraq. The Missouri budget crisis continues to loom as lawmakers propose gutting programs that serve children, seniors and the uninsured. The gun lobby and their allies have taken the most significant steps toward legalizing concealed weapons in Missouri since 1999, when the voters rejected such a measure.

These are all incredibly important issues, and we need people of faith to act on them. However, just as important is the need to talk about these issues. There is an attitude in our culture that action are talking are opposite. That a person, who wants to discuss an issue, probably isn’t serious about taking real action. However, if we are to be engaged in pursuing peace, as people of faith: both talking and reflection are needed in addition to real action.

It becomes too easy for those of us who have long histories as activists to simply copy our actions (through calling or e-mailing legislators, protesting, etc.). However, the real opportunity for transformation comes when we begin to dialogue and reflect with others. I had the opportunity to talk with a group of denominational leaders about concealed weapons. In the past, the leaders had sent a thoughtful letter to all their congregations opposing concealed weapons. Immediately there were a reaction from many congregation members, who didn’t want to be told what to think.

Out of that experience, it was decided that it might be helpful for the group to consider how could we encourage congregations to take the time and ask questions like: What efforts for peace is God calling us to participate in? How should we be involved with advocacy at the state capitol? How does our faith tradition inform our personal positions on issues like concealed weapons? Clearly, we will answer these questions differently. However, by spending time to have these discussions in educational and small group settings, we will strengthen our churches and synagogue’s ability to respond (through both talking and action) to the critical issues of our day.

--From the Missouri Impact Spring 2003 Newsletter,

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Music and the Soul

I realized today that I haven't listen to "My Music" for weeks. I have sort of a love/hate thing with music. I guess my self-image is that I'm much more of a NPR News/Talk Radio guy. Which I suppose that I am.

And while I also have had more formal music lessons than most people will have the pleasure of and my performance skills are very week and pale in comparison of my brother, Scott. (One of the great gifts of having brothers is you always are comparing your skills and situation in life to your siblings).

Well, in case I should forget it. I love music. I don't know what it is, but somehow it feeds my soul like few other things do. I need to find the book I was reading that talk about the changes in brain chemistry that happen when one listens to music. It is fascinating.

Yes, it bothers me that I don't have an IPod anymore. It also bothers me that I'm using Windows Media as my primary music player. But it works and I love the playlists and . . .

Hey, Todd, can you stop thinking so much, I'm trying to listen to this song. ;-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quote for the Day

Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre
(thanks to Quote of the Day from my IGoogle Page)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why Diehard Partisan Politics Makes Me Sick

They should "re-consider their own self-righteous condemnations of others" says GOP Spokesman Paul Sloca.

It is almost sage advice that we could all benefit from, if Sloca didn't try to make the "They" only apply to "Democrats including Jay Nixon."

Mr. Sloca. It is a sad day when a public official falls down. Like we all do at time. Perhaps not as publicly, or dramatically. But you aren't really suggesting that Missouri Republicans are without sin? (Sorry that is theological language, but that is what you are using too!)

(Yes, this is about the Gov. Spitzer affair, this is from a comment I made over at the KC Star's blog.)

New York Governor

Andrew Sullivan, must be one of my favorite bloggers. He correctly notes about Governor Spitzer that "Being human means failing."

Yeah, that is theologically informed, but no doubt true. There is a quote that original sin is the one theological proposition for which there is empirical evidence for.

My heart and prayers goes out to Governor Spitzer and his family, as they go through this difficult time.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Obama: The Anti-Christ?

I found this clip where Glen Beck asks Pastor John Hagee is Obama is the anti-Christ. (Beck seems to be asking the question tongue-in-cheek, but his assertion that he has received lots of letter calling Obama the anti-Christ, I'm sure is real.) Thanks for Andrew Sullivan for first posting this clip.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

For President: A Mormon and a Muslim?

I was in a coffee shop in Northern Michigan early in the week and overheard someone say, "Who would have thought for a president: a Muslim and a Mormon."

Perhaps as a Reorganized Mormon that made me uncomfortable, though there is no doubt that Romney was LDS. The Muslim? Well, most smart, clever readers of the blogs, know that Obama isn't a Muslim. But there are forces in both political parties that are happy to keep drawing lines between people. And they will play on any fear to get votes. I hate that part of our political culture.

Paranoid conspiracy theorist will never cease to amaze me. What is fascinating to me is that there are those that believe that both John McCain and Barrack Obama could be "Manchurian Candidates" (sleeper agents for some foreign power).

I, for one, believe we are lucky to have the strongest field of presidential candidates in my lifetime. (Perhaps with 1976 being an exception, but I was only 7 when Carter faced Ford).

Friday, February 29, 2008

Veteran of Hope: Dr. Vincent Harding on Dr. Martin Luther King

See over at Democracy Now! | Ex-Speechwriter, Confidante Dr. Vincent Harding on Dr. Martin Luther King's Courageous -- and Overlooked -- Antiwar and Economic Justice Activism.

Dr. Harding was one of my professor at seminary. I'm not sure I fully understood him at the time, but come on I was a newly married, trying to be a part-time youth minister and a full-time seminary student and . . . too many other things.

If you don't know who Vincent Harding is, take a break and watch the clip. Today is the February 29th and we have an extra day of Black History month to celebrate. Sure, Black History month is just a made-up holiday so people can talk about history. But that isn't a bad thing! And Vincent Harding is worth getting to know.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who will get Toddy?

It was a disappointing Christmas. For the bust of my adolescent self was the joint gift from the two people who were suppose to know WHAT I REALLY WOULD LIKE FOR CHRISTMAS!

So back in those days $10 per brother was about the budget for a Christmas gift. But I guess at the craft fair Scott & Brian both found the possibility of seeing their elder brother sculpted in clay to be too great a lure. So, yes, dear reader, they did combine their funds together and just by providing a 2d school photo I was transformed into the great work of art you see photographed here.

"Oh, wow, thanks Scott and Brian. I never considered the possibility that I could receive a mini-bust of myself for Christmas. But thanks. Honestly, it is very unexpected. Boy, this sure beats getting any new comic books, or another role playing game module. Thanks, very thoughtful of you. You shouldn't have. Really, you shouldn't have."

He use to have a pair of glasses that has been lost and I've taken him out of his protective case (Insert divorcing guy joke here). And, while there have been many disputes in this adversial legal process I am not engaged in, the final ownership of Toddy has never been in question. Someday you need to count the small blessings.
Posted by Picasa

McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out - New York Times

For a guy that loves a good constitutional debate, talk about yummy! McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out appears in the New York Times today. (The article is written by Carl Hulse and my father read the article in The Grand Rapids Press and was kind enough to show it to me).

Well, read the article, but the issue is the US Constitution says you must be a "natural-born citizen" to be president. So, since John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the issue is in debate.

So, it seems that not only does the New York Times have an anti-McCain bias to it, so does the United States Constitution.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Real Response to An Anonymous Mother

As a mother in today's society why would you put a picture of your little boy on your site? Is he really your son? Or are you one of those sick men who look for their jollies on line. Will Stone Phillips show up when you least expect it? -- Anonymous Comment on my site.

Wow, anonymous mother thanks for the comments. As a writer and blogger, it is always good to know that you are reaching people and being read. Plus, better than just being read by you, I have illicited an emotional reaction in you. And not just an emotional response, but enough for you to act. Your acted out by posting a comment on my blog. Thank you for your response.

Well, guess what? Your comment has done the same for me.

You are a mother, you say? Well, I will accept your assertion that you are a parent at face value (something that you have not done me the courtesy of).

Dear anonymous mother, let me tell you something as a father. (Yes, I am indeed a father). You know what scares me?

It scares me that we are in an unwinnable war on terror. And if you think the "War on Terror" is just about Iraq or Muslims, you are part of the problem.

We have created a War on Terror Industrial Complex in this country. There are men and women who are becoming rich on playing on the fears of others. Woman and men who have become powerful by being neosegregationists by drawing lines between us and them. They are the new rich and powerful, who are fueled by the fears of others.

The fear of the other.
The fear of the other.
The fear of the other.

I’m a Christian, or at least I try to be. I fail. I fall down, but what you accused me of so vile and offensive to me that I can’t not respond to it. Yet to respond to it would say it is worthy of a response. That is the catch-22 of the War on Terror.

If you really think those things are true, make your anonymous comment to the Division of Child Protection Services. If you live in the Missouri, you can thank the party in power for not providing enough resources to help the brave social workers that work day in and day out to protect our children.

If you want to deal with me directly, please send me an e-mail. Here, let me give you my gmail e-mail address, and you can correspond with me privately:

Anonymous, I don’t know if you are a Christian or not. So if you aren’t, you are ignore this next part as just crazy religious talk. But one of the things that Jesus kept repeating over and over in this ministry was: “Fear Not.”

Fear Not.
Fear Not.
Fear Not.

Jesus knew the world was a scary place. He knew that better than most of us. They hung that man on a tree, courtsey of the Roman War on Terror Industrial Complex for what he said and what he knew. Jesus scared the Roman authorities and they executed him, for just proclaiming the gospel (as he understood it).

(Oh yeah, there were some Jewish collaborators that helped, but they were not the really faithful Jews, they were puppets of the dominant power who gave the nominally Jewish citizenry a false sense of security that their religious way of life was being protected. There is no correlation to our present culture in the last assertion.)

Yeah, Stone Phillips doesn’t scare me, Anonymous Mother. Right now you know what scares me? Over protective mothers who hide behind the comfort of an anonymous comment and try to tell other people how to raise their children.

My name is Todd Michael Elkins. I am Carter’s father and I believe I’m a good father. I am a Christian, and I can’t seem to shake the feeling that you think you are a Christian too.

God, that thought really scares me too.

Dear God, please help me with my fears and anxiety (both real and imagined). May your angels be present in this world (in both real and imagined ways). Please be with my family (in both real and imagined ways). Help me to be an instrument of your peace and shalom (in both real and imagined ways). And please be with us all as we seek to repair this world.

In the real name of Jesus, who is called the Christ.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Carter Loves his Water!

What could make this boy so happy? It must be the Ice Mountain water!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What is Old is New Again . . .

I've been looking for the perfect PIM, of course, we all know it already exists. Ecco Pro (Wikipedia entry). Yeah, it is old school, but it runs on Windows Vista and it is now free.

Fast, beautiful organizer. I love it. You should check it out too.

(Or if you want to support World Domination, use MS Outlook).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A One Way Ticket to . . . Evart?

A dear friend of mine says that home is where they have to take you in. After a 20 year absence, I'm preparing to move to Evart, Michigan the town I grew up in and graduated high school in 1987.

There are many transitions going in my life, divorce, career loss, but I'm excited about returning the town that formed me. See, I'm a small town guy. Probably always will be.

My father is the city manager of my old/new hometown. He has a business card with a copy of a train ticket on the back. It says first-class ticket from Evart to ______________.

Yeah, that is the problem with small towns. They often are first class tickets to the next place. I've lived in the Kansas City metro for the past decade. Denver before that. My foundation provided by Evart and Graceland College (in the small town of Lamoni, Iowa) has served me well.

What is next for this Mr. Elkins? Who knows, but 2008 will be the year that I returned to myStuckeyville. Could I become the bowling alley minister? (Obscure reference to the greatest TV Show ever, explained upon request).

How many Laws Are There?

Robin Leftler created:

a set of 102 "Laws" to live by. "When I learn something essential," she explained, "I make up a law about it. That way, I never forget."

1: You can only count on yourself.
12: Give credit where credit is due.
17: When all else fails, do it yourself.
22: Never date a co-worker.
23: Never look back, the obstacles are all ahead.
36: You gotta go with what works.
46: Life isn't always fair.
91: Always watch your back.
103: A couple of light years can't keep good friends apart. (Wesley Crusher suggested adding this) [Source: Memory Alpha]
Ok, next time someone makes fun of you for being into Star Trek. Remind them that Robin Lefler was played by Ashley Judd. Yeah, that Ashley Judd. Ok, I may be a geek, but at least Ashley Judd is in one of my universes.

Does, anyone have other set of rules or laws to live by?

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Real Gem in Independence

Hugh Wlesh at the Examiner does a nice write-up about the wonderful Diamond Bowl, called "Having a ball." Yeah, the article is about a month old, but some nice photos there.

I'm a sucker for bowling alleys. Maybe because Bowling Alone is one my favorite books. Maybe because Ed (Wikipedia entry or IMDB) is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Maybe because I love the Independence Square.

Or maybe because Michelle, the manager is awesome. Maybe because the great Paula Sorensen works there when she isn't at the Main Street Coffee Shop and/or singing great songs.

Or maybe because the current plan is for Family Guy viewing on Sunday nights. Or maybe it is the minicheese burgers.

Or maybe, you should just check it out yourself.

It is located at 218 N Osage Street in Independence, Phone: 816.252.8003.

Harry S Truman bowled there, so should you!

cross-posted at

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Homosexual Saints

I picked up a copy of what books like a great book edited by William Russell (who I served as his student assistant for 2 years at Graceland) called Homosexual Saints: the Community of Christ Experience. I can't find the book on Amazon, but you can visit the John Whitmer Books Page for some info.

More to follow.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

And They Call It Printer Love

OMG! OMG! I’m in love.

Yeah, I found her. I’ve stared at this girl for a long time. Actually never really this girl. This little sweetie was out of my league. Way too much for a guy like me. Outclassed.

But something brought us together. Perhaps it was God. Perhaps it was the human directional marketing specialists (you know the guys standing on the corner).

Yes, I was there when the last CompUSA in Michigan was closing. It was Lansing, the state capitol. And that is where I found her.

An Epson LQ-570+. A laser printer? Please. I have two laser printers already. An Ink Jet? God no. What type of computer geek do you think I am? You think I would own an Ink Jet printer? Pleeease!

It is Dot Matrix. What a beautiful technology. May I quote from the internet?

Introducing the super fast, super sharp and super quiet 24-pin dot matrix printer. The LQ-570+ narrow carriage prints at 337 characters per second in draft and 112 cps in letter quality. You get the sharpest Ultra Letter Quality printing at 360 dpi with an optional film ribbon.

  • 225cps draft/75cps LQ @ 10CPI
  • 269cps draft/90cps LQ @ 12CPI
  • 337cps draft/112cps LQ @ 15CPI
  • Handles up to 4-part forms

Handles 4 Part Forms! Handles 4 Part Forms! Try to do that with a laser printer or an ink jet printer.

Plus, best part. It was labeled $10, when we got to the cash register, it was only $5.

What about the ribbons? (For you kids out there, ribbons are what we used in the old days on these printers.)

The ribbons are available on the internet for $5 (plus shipping).

It is a cold day in Michigan in February and I’m in love. Sure, its just a printer, but some days that is enough.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Well, I'm writing this from Evart, Michigan. That is home for me. Lots of reasons why I am here, none of those are as important as: I am here.

I am here in the modest home that I was raised in. On the street that I use to walk to school on.

I remember entering kindergarten in 1974. I walked the 10 or 12 blocks to school the first day with my mother. My teacher then told me, "You tell your mother that you are a big boy now and you can walk to school by yourself." To which I did and from that point on I walked to school alone (later with my brothers and others).

It wasn't a more innocent day then (it was, however, before the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Tylenol scare). The Vietnam war was waging; child abuse and neglect abounded. But it was a small town. There were plenty of "safe" houses along the way, but it was naive to think a 5 year should walk that far to school by himself. Yet I did and I was never hurt (not entirely true, but that is enough for now).

I'm not sure which naivete I'm working on, if it is 3rd or 4th. But there is something nice about believing against all the evidence. For you see, that was my job. I was a professional rainman of hope. I've been so upset about losing my job that I forgot who I was and who I am.

I'm a veteran. I'm a Veteran of Hope. (See Vincent Harding's project).

I don't know yet where I will plant my stake in the ground. But wherever it is. There I am.

Listening to: Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Prayer for Carter and Thanking the Girl in White

Today is Monday, January 28, 2008. My son was born 3 years ago this day.

Was January 28, 2005 a good day?

It wasn't the due date for Carter and he was born premature. A C-Section birth and Carter was having trouble breathing.

I remember a lot from that day. It was great to have Kara there. Kara is an old college friend who has studied midwifery (I love that word!). Kara was there at the birth of my son (and my freshman year at Graceland).

Yet the woman I think about often was this amazing nurse who stood by me when I first held my son in my arms. I looked down at this amazing lump of beautiful flesh and hope. (Yeah, that is the right word. Hope.)

Then something happened. This amazing little baby turned purple. I wasn't concerned. That is normal, right? All newborn babies turn purple. (At least they all had in my very limited experience. My limited experience being the 1 baby who was in my arms right then).

This nurse. This amazing grace-filled nursed, simply took Carter from me, without saying a word, without scaring me one bit and placed an oxygen mask over his face.

Carter went from the "normal" color of purple to a healthy pink. I was dumbfounded.

Carter was taken on that day from St. Mary's Hospital in Blue Springs to Children's Mercy in downtown Kansas City. It is probably while I hold in such high esteem the health care workers of our fine city and especially at these two amazing institutions. (I love nonprofit hospitals in general, and these 2 in particular).

I had dinner with some new friends last night. A Mormon family who has lived in Independence almost 40 years. They invited me into their home to share Sunday dinner. That touches me. I'm not afraid to say that it touches me when someone welcomes me into their home.

We talked about Emma Smith, the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I didn't think about it at the time, but I forgot how many babies that Emma had that were still birthed or miscarried. We talked at dinner last night how we understood how Sister Emma didn't want to leave the Mansion House in Nauvoo and head west. Brigham Young wanted her to, but Emma stood her ground.

Yeah, I grew up in the church that Emma's son was Prophet of. That is legacy I'm proud of. Very proud of. But Emma was wrong (sometimes). And so was Joseph Smith III (her son). And so am I. And so am I. And so am I. But aren't we all?

So, today I'm thinking about Carter. I don't think I will get to see him today, but I will try to talk with him on the phone, but more importantly. Today I'm trying to be the father he can and will be proud of.

Oh, I forgot to answer the question, was January 28, 2005 a good day? Well part of it kind of sucked, but I think it was the best day of my life. Yeah, I'm sure of it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Art Simon for VP Blog Launched!

Ok, we are taking this to the next step, a blog . . . Art Simon for Vice President Blog. Check it out and join our the Google Group todayas well (

3 Way Forced Choice

When I was a youth minister, one of my favorite games was "Forced Choice" you would pick 2 things and make the players pick one or the other.

You start with something "easy" like Coke or Peps.. (our culture has conditioned people to make that choice). And then you make people defend their choices.

Eventually you work on harder questions like "Democrat" or "Republican"; or "Pro-choice" or "Pro-life". Or "Jesus" or "God".

The questions you struggle with are the ones that are at your growing edge.

But, what if, "there's more than 1 answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line?" (to quote the latter day psalmists, the Indigo Girls).

On 30 Rock last year, they played a similar game: Marry, Screw or Kill. You had to name 3 people and were forced to assign them to one of the categories. (This was network TV, so you can imagine that screw might have another word attached to you).

Well, I love the game Marry, Screw or Kill. Yet I decided that Marry wasn't the right word. Vouch is a better word. And you can change the ratings dial to G on the game and get:
Vouch, Kiss or Slap; or
Trust, Eros or Anger/Violence

It is about root emotions. it is my argument that we have the capacity for all 3 of these things.

It defines us as human beings and it is about the choices that we make!

A new friend of mine has been explaining the concept of "Hotness' to me. To her, hot is totally about physical beauty, or the ideal about physical beauty (think Plato). Being a woman raised in our culture, she of course does not think she is hot. (I mean, who does?) Yet I remember a book I read in seminary, God Images and Self-Esteem. It was a feminist critique of the male images that we give to God and how that get internalized into girls and women.

Of course, hot is a metaphor. Our actual temperature does not vary much beyond 98.6 degrees. Yet we are so sure about "hotness" or the favorite metaphor from my day, "cool". So, my new variation on the 3-way-forced choice is
Hot, Cool or Lukewarm

See, it moves us beyond these unhealthy dualism's. it is the Third Choice. And in that regard, I am a Trinitarian. I love the power of the Third.

And yes, Trinity from the Matrix is Hot. Way Hot!

Originally written in June 2007 and posted to my MySpace Blog

Oh My God, I got a comment from Martin Simon!

Ok, favorite comment ever on one of my blogs:
Todd-I think Art Simon for V.P. is a great idea! I'm also pleased that my dad,
Paul Simon, provided political inspiration to you 20 years ago. You are
obviously a man of great wisdom!
I'll tell my uncle to start working on his
stump speech!! -- Martin Simon (emphasis added)

Ok, the possibilities are:
a) This isn't really from Martin Simon, but some person went to Wikipedia and found out that Paul Simon had 2 children, one of whom is named Martin and this person is playing a joke on me.
b) There really is a Martin Simon who is a bigger fan of Sen. Paul Simon and Rev. Art Simon than I am. (Is that possible? ;-)
c) I am a hopeless political and religous geek that found in the example of two brothers who grew up in the as Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) as a worthy model to emulate. (I did grow up in the Mormon Church (Missouri Synod), you know.)
d) Perhaps the path that I am on (that I sometimes feel alone one) is not just an old, old path, but also the road less traveled. But it is good to know that I'm not alone. It is good to know that I'm not alone. It is good to know that I'm not alone.

(Pick 3 out of 4 for your answer, and the first letter doesn't count).

P.S. Martin if you come back this way, please drop me a line at Thanks

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Good, Bad & the Ugly of Poly Web Sci: Freshmeat

Ok, for some time I've been wanting to write about some of the "Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Poly Web Sci" in Missouri. I think the first site I will touch base on is Freshmeat, the always interesting and original blog from one of my favorite state senators, Jolie Justus.

Now, the Senator from Jackson County is to be commended for doing political blogging at all, that by itself is a major "Good," so congrads on that. Plus, she now has a great graphic header for "Freshmeat." She is using Blogspot as her blogging engine (powered by Google), a smart choice.

Yet, every time I visit the site the clip art of the bloody meat cleaver creeps me out. Yes, Senator I know you have chosen it ironically--but it sends the wrong message! Plus think of all the Midtown vegetarians that you are "hacking" off. And think of our dear Congressman, the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver! The humanity of it.

Freshmeat, meat-market. Meet-up. There are a lot of fun puns that you can do with your site. But please. Pleeeease for the love of the Goddess, Senator get rid of the bloody meat cleaver graphic on your site.

Plus, I would make the business card graphic clickable to either your Official Site and/or Your Campaign Site.

An interesting hypothetical question is do you need to have a Missouri election campaign disclosure tag on the site. I mean it doesn't cost you anything, right? So it is a personal site, right? So you can link to anything you want, right? But what if you are using a state computer? Yes, now we are entering the brave new electronic world.

Senator, you are a pioneer in that area and I trust you will figure this out with some of the bright minds in the state. Yet it is amazing that the technology that would have easily cost $1000's just over a decade ago are now being given away free by Google to gain market share. (Kind of like how the the state's e-mail issues technologically could give solved is they used Gmail Enterprise). Ethics and the Law, that is another issue. Perhaps that is why Governor Blunt has said he has accomplished all that he could.

I look forward to your response and a day when the bloody cleaver is safely cleaned and put away. (But perhaps that is too OCD of me! ;-) But more importantly I look forward to your progressive leadership to continue in our fine state.

Your friend and fellow Jackson County Resident, Todd

crossposted at TheBlogofIndependence


One Term Blunt, is that what OTB stands for? Or is it On Time Budget? I forget. I have had a little problem with a memory disorder this past year. Can someone remind me?

Oh yeah, Bob Holden. I miss Bob Holden. Never forget that man had the freakin' courage to face the public in an election. Did I say I miss Bob Holden? I did say I have a memory disorder, didn't I?

Draft Art Simon for Vice President!

Hey, people that know me know that I'm the champion of lost causes. Not really true, I just love the underdog. Well, my patron Saint of lost causes, William Dean Russell of Graceland College fame finally picked a winner in the Iowa caucuses, Barack Obama (See Campaign Site or Wikipedia Entry). Hell did not freeze over, though it sure has been pretty cold here lately.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love the Iowa Caucuses. Probably because I was a young impressionable student in 1988 and I cast my first vote in Lamoni for Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois (Paul Simon the Graceland Tour was the T-Shirt, get it?). Simon was running for president that year, he almost won Iowa. For a kid from a small town in Michigan it made me feel like we could change the world. Because we did, a little bit.

I guess part of me has been chasing that dream ever since, and it was a fine dream. My world(s) have gotten bigger and I've fallen down more than my share of times along the way, but I know that group of students that helped carry Lamoni in 1988 for Sen. Paul Simon weren't wrong.

I'm older, hopefully wiser and still a little naive (is it 2nd or 3rd naivete now?). Who knows. I'm enjoying watching the presidential race as an observer. Yet I still think it matters who I vote for. (Honestly I don't know yet who I will vote for, but if you ask me I'll tell you who I like).

I would be happy with any number of the presidential candidates (even 1 or 2 on the Republican side--gasp!). Yet what I really wish would happen is that people would start talking about Paul Simon's brother: Art Simon. He would make a great Vice President. (OK come on, I know that probably won't happen). It is the biggest open secret out there that most of the presidential candidates would love to be Vice President they just can't admit it yet. But I can start a draft Art Simon for Vice President movement. And what I really want is Art Simon as a Special Ambassador for World Food Security. He has been the senior statesman for the issues I've been concerned about for a long time. So why don't we make it official? (Oh by the way, I would expect that the newly created position of Special Ambassador for World Food Security be a Cabinet level appointment). Wouldn't you?

See the Facebook Group we created today. Do I have a Witness?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What type of Change?

One of the best quotes from a campaign was George Bush Senior talking about change. He correctly noted that change is always happening, the real question is what type of change we want. Yeah, he did have a problem with that "vision thing," but I do think he was more grounded in reality than many, including perhaps his son.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

TME Update

They Might Be Giants is playing again on my computer. God, I love them. I think I like them even more than the Indigo Girls.

Yet I've come to believe that if I am going to move into the next stage of my life, I have to integrate both the Indigo girls side of Todd and the TMBG side of Todd. What do you call that next stage older young adulthood? middle aged? The 40somethings? Noooo! ;-)

It is what Hegel talked about: "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". Yeah, that is what is happening to me right now. (Thesis: TMBG Todd, Antithesis: Indigo Girls todd; Synthesis: 2008 Todd.)

Frankly, it sucks. I didn't want this path, but it seems like it kind of picked me.

A dear friend of mine helped me learn that some of my negative thinking was "so 2007 Todd." Thank the Goddess that it is now 2008.

Weather Report for Todd? Right now it is freezing. Fresh snow is on the ground. The sun is out. And I think, no I believe that I can make it to Easter 2008. Or at least Groundhog day.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bright Light quote of the Day

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
- Pablo Picasso

Thursday, January 03, 2008

On the Personal Front: My life sucks

Well, i had a court scheduling day today. I honestly had forgotten about it and was trying to leave town to see the caucuses.

Well, the nice thing about forgetting a date is that you don't obsessive worry about it.

It was the worst couple of hours of 2008, but it is over. To borrow a phrase from a friend, my anxiety was so 2 hours ago!

Oh, and I won't be divorced now until March.

I don't know if that is good or bad. » Blog Archive » Tim Hoover headed to Denver

Over at we learn that Tim Hoover is headed to Denver.

Tim has been a fine reporter for The Star in KC and done a great job on covering some of the important issues in the state. Denver's gain is Missouri's loss.

Thinking of Janet and Penguins!: Putting a Face on Breast Cancer

One of the most amazing women I know, Janet, talks about Penguins

You should check it out and she has some great wisdom about surv . . ., no living with breast cancer.

Yeah Janet you are one of my heroes. (Plus you picked my brother, so you can't be so bad.)

(Ok cynics, perhaps I'm just doing this to help raise the google search and hit count of her blog. Yeah, that it is. It isn't that i'm an introvert and have trouble saying things i want to say in person. no, no, that isn't true. ;-)

I love you, Janet! You are aces in my book. - Todd (you know the guy that did you wedding)

Iowa caucuses 101

An article on says, Iowa caucuses 101: Arcane rules have huge impact on outcome. I hate reporting like this. And the similar approach by Dan from Gone Mild who is "Sick of Iowa."

Because essentially they are both saying similar things. The CNN reporter is stressed and overworked and can't figure out the Iowa system and Dan, the political junkie who wishes (I think) that he was more connected in the process.

The critics of the first two articles are valid, but they also provide the rule why the Iowa caucuses are a good idea. Those that participate in the process take it very seriously. Is it democratic (lower case "d"), of course not, it isn't suppose to be. Does it help build the parities? Yes. It is the reason why Iowa is a bellweather state. It is a leading indicator of many things.

Now if you want divide and conqueror politics, come to Missouri. Our segregationists past has made us experts on that.

crossposted at the Blog of Independence

In the Everybody Wants to Rule the World Department

No, Microsoft is trying to take over the world, but things like this make you wonder:

Office 2003 update blocks older file formats | Tech News on ZDNet

Maybe they are trying?