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?