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Monday, 11 June 2012
On Behalf of the Fallible...
Now Playing: a circular fan on high...
Topic: the Christian walk

On behalf of the fallible, I stand before you a weary, weathered, and worn soldier, a reluctant disciple working my way up to GOD chaser status, flesh duking it out with spirit on a daily basis.  I am individual erroneous, one amongst all who have sinned and come short of the glory of GOD and even when I would do good, evil is always present.  A saint who has seemingly run out of cheeks to turn, straining to recognize the stamp of the divine on us all while keeping ultraviolent office scenarios at arm's length (the likes of which would make Tarantino wish he had cameramen on the ready).

The bile in my stomach is a putrid mixture of resentment and bitterness over present-day outcomes and anger at the fact that I have no one to blame but myself.  Sarcasm and cyncism remain close running buddies, whispering in my ear from time to time that I really ought to cut grace and mercy loose.  But it takes entirely too much energy to be this damn caustic and the few times that I did try on selflessness in the dressing room, I was surprised at how well it fit.  "Looks good on you," my loving Father said.

When your paycheck resource is a place where common sense is shown the door and convoluted is the new simple, you begin to wonder if winning is even an option for you.  But getting up in the morning and heading out the door and hopping onto a train and sitting down at a desk and logging in and picking up the phone to lose - on a daily basis - no longer carries an appeal.  And in the game of life, I am fresh out of poker faces.  

I am limping, hobbling my way towards a place of personal integrity, a place where I'm able to do the right thing even when no one's looking, even when I know I won't get the credit.  I can honestly say that's a place that I haven't been to.  Not for any long stretch of time, anyway.  But I'm long overdue to make that place my permanent residence.  One where a peace that surpasses all understanding can wash over me, one where I can feel safe within my own skin, and one where iron lawn jockeys and Trayoning intenet memes and White male salivation over coming attractions for a slave revenge narrative can't find me.  And I will no longer have to explain why any excitement of mine over Obama's inauguration was killed with Oscar Grant in that Oakland subway station, nor will I have to blurt out reactionary phrases like "post-racial society, my ass."

Or to quote Paul Mooney, "White men can't jump.  They don't have to, they own the team."

And just like that, my bitterness has me sidetracked again.  Because this isn't about fixing everyone else, it's about me undergoing GOD's pruning knife, to hack away what's not beneficial in order to keep the branches that bear fruit.  I must admit that part of me lives this life simply to make sure that my daughter doesn't make the same mistakes that I have made, to ensure that her life is an improvement on my own.  But it's ultimately not fair to her to shield her from everything.  Nor is it my place to talk about my life as if it's over at age 38, for GOD did not give me a spirit of fear.

I am weathered.  I am worn.  But I am here.  I am persecuted, but not forsaken.  Cast down, but not destroyed.  I am fallible, but learning how to yield so that GOD's perfection can work through my imperfect self.

For those who know the words of prayer, I simply ask that you pray my strength in the Lord, that I will take the suit of selflessness off the rack once again, that He will guide my feet while I run this race.  Because as much as I would like to, I can't afford to run this race in vain.


Posted by macedonia at 1:55 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 11 June 2012 7:44 AM EDT
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Friday, 27 November 2009
giving thanks...
Now Playing: various artists - powerstrip circus mixtape
Topic: the Christian walk

family plans turned out different than usual this year.  my aunt normally plays host for thanksgiving dinner, but she was laid up in the hospital for four days prior to turkey day.  thankfully, she's better now and checked in on my wife, daughter and i prior to heading off to maryland.  apparently there was a general concensus among other family members that our reunion this summer packed quite a punch on everyone's finances, so things were scaled back considerably for november 26th and everyone just did their own thing.

honestly, that worked out well this year.  my wife was burnt out from work and various family issues of her own, so it was a small thanksgiving feast at home.  a roasted organic chicken with stuffing, broccoli, candied yams, and apple crumble for dessert.  just wifey, my daughter, and i.  it was wonderful.  quiet.  and necessary.

i am thankful for my wife beth and my daughter simone.  thankful for family and friends wherever they might be.  thankful for having a job that drives me crazy, but still puts food on the table.  thankful for having the ability to hear my daughter's voice whenever i come home from work and she calls out to greet me while running towards me.  thankful for music in all its many forms and for the podcast as a platform to share the sounds i find with others.

and i'm thankful for the person who heard my reasons for why i didn't want to do something and saw them as the very reason why i should.  and thankful for the knowledge that there were takeaway points from that conversation that will be useful long after an upcoming project is complete.  those points ought to be applied even more so in my spiritual walk.  always interesting when things happen within the secular realm that speak directly towards what you might be dealing with within the spirit realm.   hmmm...


Posted by macedonia at 12:43 AM EST
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Wednesday, 25 July 2007
burn the village...
Now Playing: incessant typing and muttering from co-workers as the day ends...
Topic: the Christian walk

it is a very scary thing when you don't care about what it is that you're doing...and it's how you make your living.  particularly if you care about real relationships and being real with people.  meanwhile, your 9-5 scenario is artificial, even more so than the sweetener in your co-worker's coffee.  your body shows up to work, but your mind is elsewhere.  you talk on the phone to customers, but your concern has taken a permanent leave of absence.  there's a general feeling of malaise that overtakes you, but allows you to care just enough to do your job right.  once in a blue moon, the occasional kudos come your way through higher-ups, but it really doesn't matter to you.  because you know that it is what it is. and what it is is a series of changing variables.  there are no constants, other than the fact that the variables will change and the moment that you start to learn the composition is the exact moment that those above you will decide to switch up the tempo, change the pitch, or just use a different song altogether.

if you know that you were built for truth, and you strive to stand for truth, situations like these will make you realize just how good you have become at lying, whether it be to yourself or to others.  if you're concerned with retaining the ability to be compassionate in a cruel world, the careless moments within your daily routine may cause you to stop and say, did i just do that?  what's happening to me?

this is the state that i find myself in.  as a Christian, it's a bit disheartening and somewhat troublesome.  if you're serious about your spiritual walk, then not caring about other's needs is not an option.  i've heard it said that you should never burn bridges, but i've never had a problem cutting people off from my life, even when i was a little kid.  these days, my patience is paper thin with just about anything having to do with the 9-5.  i often wonder how i'm going to avoid going out in a blaze when i leave.  will i stop with just burning the bridge or will i feel the need to torch the village?  my rationale as of late suggests that sometimes it is necessary to burn the village.  to be customer service is to assume the position of the whipping boy, the bottom feeder bitch, the human shield, and i've run out of answers to problems i didn't create.

meanwhile, flashbacks of sunday sermons raise up in my spirit, and it is suggested to my soul for the umpteenth time that i may be the only Bible that people ever read, that my life, my actions and reactions may be the only sermon that others will ever hear.  and i don't want my life to be an example that people point towards as the reason why they want nothing to do with Christ.  but there are plenty of people who do dirt on the daily and still walk away with riches, still are cleared of all charges against them when all evidence points to the fact that they did it.   i don't know if i have this in me anymore.  lately there are just too many instances of me refusing to learn from past cautionary tales and blunders, repeating the same destructive behavior and being rather blatant about it, as if it doesn't matter, as if it won't have some adverse effect on my mind and spirit.  i'm having a hard time understanding why, with all my faults and flaws, would God want me on His team.  granted, there are plenty of figures within the Bible that had tragic flaws that God was able to use, but the Lord's work is too important to screw up.

honestly, this is too much to think about right now, particularly when credits have to be issued and orders must be fulfilled.  so i stare blankly into the computer screen, waiting for the next eventual call to come through, a metaphorical molotov cocktail within my reach and the bridge within my sights...


Posted by macedonia at 6:01 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007 9:43 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 June 2006
on the topic of today
Now Playing: music of our times with the good doctor (wfmu.org)
Topic: the Christian walk

if anything bad happens today, it will be because we live in a fallen world, not because the date is 6/6/06. if the world ends today, it will be because GOD wants it to, not because somebody predicted it would. a news reporter brought up a good point today: let's say you won a bet that the world would end today...

how would you collect?

and no, i'm not going to go see the remake of The Omen. the original was scary enough. forget the slasher flicks - the O.G. version of The Omen is the top-notch horror joint, for real.

Posted by macedonia at 11:29 AM EDT
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Friday, 6 January 2006
reassessment
Now Playing: Daiki and Little Wings - Orange Sweet Town
Topic: the Christian walk

sometimes, a believer needs to speak to themselves as a reminder of who they are and whose they are. when the world calls you everything but a child of God, and when those that are supposed to represent His word go about it in all the wrong ways (and it seems that these voices have the tendency to speak the loudest), these are the times that you have to retreat from all those voices and remember what God told you.

excuse me while i take a moment to do so...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

Posted by macedonia at 5:24 PM EST
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Sunday, 31 July 2005
wave's philosophy
Now Playing: the 11 o'clock news
Topic: the Christian walk

Beth and i tried to get away earlier this month. the original plan was to head upstate for an extended weekend and camp out near Lake George, just the two of us. the car caught a flat the day before we were supposed to leave. plus the planning was stressing Beth out. so we chilled at home for the most part. when Monday came, we headed for Jones Beach.

although it was overcast, it was still quite warm and humid. just feeling sand between my toes was nice. then we got into the water and the five year-old in me came out. i had a lot of fun. however, i am seriously out of practice as a swimmer. back in day camp, it was nothing for me to swim. now it's a different story. plus i always swam in pools. swimming in the ocean always feels a bit foreign to me. the current was strong that day. sun was unexpectedly strong, too - Beth and i still show signs of peeling almost two weeks later from where we got sunburn.

it was wild to look out at the horizon and see nothing but ocean. no land in front of you, no buoys, no nothing - just water. after a while, i would jump over waves or let them push me around. skidding along the sand makes for a serious case of rug burn, but i survived. more often than not, i would let them crash into me just to see if i could stand my ground. sometimes i did, other times i didn't. i thought to myself...this is my life. watching the wave come, standing my ground, and preparing myself for the impact. the waves are gonna come whether i like it or not. may as well learn how to take the hit.

the best is when the wave catches you when your back's turned and you just get slammed. it's times like that when you have to give it up to the forces of nature, because it's clear that they're reminding you just how little control you have over what happens to you. and if it's like that during a day at the beach, you know it's gonna be that way on your job or in other areas of your daily existence. the waves are gonna come. some will hit you head on while others will sneak attack from behind. sometimes you can jump over the wave, sometimes you can swim under the wave, and sometimes you gotta ride the wave. make no mistake, though...

the waves are gonna come. so get ready.

Posted by macedonia at 11:17 PM EDT
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Monday, 28 March 2005
"one step at a time."
Now Playing: Hood - "The Negatives" [Domino]
Topic: the Christian walk

every other morning when i step out the door, i see an elderly man walking to or from the corner store on my way to work. his movement is limited and he takes amazingly small steps - baby steps. what would take a healthy and fit human being about five minutes probably takes him at least twenty. every time i see him, he greets me with a smile and a hearty "good morning." almost every time we see each other, he says, "one step at a time." i never see him at any other time of the day...only in the a.m. i don't believe in accidents: GOD placed that man in my path for a reason. his perspective is simple yet profound, and one that i seriously need to immerse my mind and spirit within in order to make it through the work day.

Holy Week seemed like anything but for me. to be frank, i've felt like less than a child of GOD for most of the Lenten season. i've let life just sort of walk all over me. i think it has a lot to do with the new job. the old one was a cake walk compared to this one. the number of obscenities that have crossed my lips has increased considerably since i've started. tuesday was horrible. issues piled up quickly, one after the other. seemed like every order that had a problem with it was one of mine. i felt like i was sinking rapidly and no one around me cared if i drowned. i left my cubicle and went down to the fitness room because i felt the need to punch something and i didn't want it to be my computer screen or a co-worker. but there were no punching bags around and my hands wouldn't ball up into fists. looking back on it, i think it was God's way of saying, "why ball up your fists when you could throw up your hands in surrender to the one who sustains you? turn away from violence and turn toward Me."

although the week got better, i still had a terrible attitude toward work. actually, it's one of conflicting emotions. i was jaded, sarcastic, bitter, classic customer service rep. but i'm not the type of person that gets to the point of not caring. i may say it, but i never completely get there. i'll occasionally get numb for a while, but i'm not programmed to just stop caring. while the team i work with is helpful, there are other people outside of the office that we depend on to get things done and quite often they blow it. BIG TIME. i've never done well with incompetence, especially in the workplace and particularly if it makes me look bad. so i mutter four-letter words to myself and envision violent interstate confrontations with whoever's on the other end of the phone line. and whenever the co-workers are too loud, too obnoxious, too offensive, too much, i retreat further into myself, never saying too much because they're already saying what doesn't need to be said. the courteous me is being eaten away and the sad sack takes residence, who just can't believe that this is their lot in life. i had made up in my mind that this was going to be the very thing that broke me. i was telling myself that i needed to do everything in my power to make sure that my future children never have to suffer this fate, that they will be able to actually like what they do for a living and don't have to spend 20 years of their life paying off student loans in order to get there.

while i won't say that i hate myself, i've lived with myself long enough to know that there are some horrible things in me: selfishness, anger, resentment, thoughts that dance with the predatory and perverse... it's bad enough when you don't know God for yourself and you possess all of these qualities, but it's even worse when you know that the fruit of God's spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, self-control, and that it's your job to bear this fruit in your own life, yet the opposite keeps rising to the surface. the idea that i'm allowed to wake up every morning even when the Lord is aware that i'm likely to blow it is difficult for me to fathom. that's what's called unconditional love. i hope i can love people like that someday.

there is a man named Brian Nichols that recently went on a killing spree. he found himself holding a church member hostage in her own home. she was able to calm him down by reading a paragraph from a book called The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church. he stopped her in the middle of reading and asked her to read it again, which she did. he would later surrender to the police. supposedly, that church member has regular talks with him. she saw beyond the killer into a heart of a man whom she shared some similar issues with. she spoke to his pain simply by treating him like a human being at the time that he needed it most. i read through that book two years ago while i was going through a rough time in my life. i recently started reading it again. negativity never has a problem showing up where it's not wanted; i need to be able to counteract it with something positive and saturate myself. otherwise, i end up getting swallowed whole by chaos and disorder. God is not the author of confusion; God is a God of purpose. nothing that i go through is by happenstance, nor is it just for me. sometimes you need to be reminded that life is a test.

i recently got through a two-day session of prayer and fasting this past weekend. i believe that God spoke to me quite clearly in regards to keeping the flesh subject to the spirit. i have a wonderful wife who also happens to be a wonderful cook, so i never have problems saying yes to my stomach. still, i figured if Jesus could go for forty days in the desert without food while being tempted by the devil, i should be able to fast for at least two. but i know i didn't get through it on my own. God had to show me that He could work through my weaknesses and make me strong. there are still many problem areas, however, that need serious work.

"one step at a time."

seeing as how God is a God of purpose, i've been eager to learn what mine is. whatever it is, it'll be revealed in His time. God's timetable is totally different from mine, and i've never been a patient person. maybe that's why i keep seeing the man on the street before work.

"one step at a time."

his attitude resembles that unshakable faith, that patience and peace that surpasses human understanding. the phrase may sound simple, but at the end of the day, it's the basic instructions that always trip me up.

Posted by macedonia at 12:54 AM EST
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Thursday, 24 February 2005
prayer
Now Playing: Men's Chorus rehearsal tape
Topic: the Christian walk

yesterday as i was leaving work, i saw five deer run across the entrance to the office complex. totally caught me off guard...to the point where i found myself staring at them in awe for a few seconds. a train ride into Mount Vernon later, the moon hung low and full in the sky. stopped into a McDonald's to grab a little something to tide me over until a late dinner. i was heading to church for the first night of our 2nd annual Men's Conference. light attendance, but that's likely to change once word gets out about how last night went. it was electric. GOD met us right where we were. there's nowhere to go but up from here. tonight i'm singing with the Men's Chorus. should be interesting since i was moved from a comfortable baritone to a barely making it 2nd tenor three days ago. so i'm sitting at work listening to rehearsal tapes and picking out the 2nd tenor parts, which is made all the more difficult since i mostly concentrated on the baritone section.

Lord, i know you're up there. you know i was comfortably well off as a baritone. i was able to pay my vocal bills just fine until forces beyond my control have moved me to a higher tax bracket. now it seems like my ends don't even want to introduce themselves to each other. i also know you're big enough to fill in the gaps and give me the push i need to reach those higher notes. you wouldn't put this challenge before me and not equip me with what i need to meet the challenge. it is where i am weak that your strength shines through and reminds me that it was all your doing. decrease me so that you may increase. be with the brothers tonight; let us all be on the same page with no other motive than to sing of your power and greatness, that your name will receive every ounce of the honor that you so rightly deserve.

in Christ Jesus' name i pray...Amen.

Posted by macedonia at 10:23 AM EST
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Wednesday, 26 January 2005
45 fixation (and an apparently deeper revelation)
Now Playing: TV On The Radio - "Staring At The Sun"
Topic: the Christian walk

it was earlier this month that i noticed something was missing. i was in the midst of picking records for the gig @ 85A when i said to myself, "i really should bring that 'Funky Nassau' 45 with me." about that time, i got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. my mind flashed back a couple of months to spinning at a friend's birthday party. i remembered wondering why i forgot to bring that same record with me. i discovered a few weeks ago that i didn't actually forget - i just didn't see it while picking records. there's a good reason for that...it turned up missing.

"Funky Nassau" by The Beginning of The End is one of those funk 45s i took pride in owning. i bought it during my SUNY Albany days for next to nothing (probably at Last Vestige, one of the best crate digging spots in the Capital District) and it was in pretty good shape. i couldn't imagine losing it, even though such a possibility could happen. however, i am a man who believes in being organized, and i'm usually pretty good at keeping up with my wax wherever i spin. needless to say, this upset me. things got worse a few days later when a thought popped up in my brain:

"you know what i haven't seen in a while? 'Bang! Bang!' by the Joe Cuba Sextet."

no, not that one, too. after searching through my collection, yet another 45 had turned up missing. this definitely isn't like me. either one of two things happened: a) i lost them, or b) someone stole them. i tried to remember the last gig i would've played them. the first one that came to mind was almost a year ago: Squeeshee up in Poughkeepsie. as horrible as the thought is that somebody would have stolen them, i thought that maybe it occurred at a birthday party i spun last may. but that isn't the case, either. otherwise, i wouldn't have been able to place "Bang! Bang!" on my last mix CD. Back to the Party was recorded last summer.

after discussing it with Beth, we concluded that it could've happened during a wedding reception that i spun for all of 20 minutes at. i brought some 45s, but never played them. things ended up moving from its original location to a spot down the street (due to less-than-hospitable treatment by the management and waiting staff). i'm thinking those two seven-inches probably got pilfered at some point during that night. again, the thought of it kills me because i associate that night with friends and their acquaintances. but a lot was happening that night and not everyone i came into contact with between the original locale and the relocation was a friend or acquaintance of the bride and groom. and it's not as if i can rule out those that were, if in fact they were stolen. i'm not sure what happened, but i can't fathom losing two 45s in one night, particularly not those two. and i was away from my records for quite some time at the second locale, which is something i never do.

it's halfway made me paranoid and almost prompted me not to bring any 45s to the gig i spun with Redlox earlier this month, but i brought them anyway. The Beginning of The End is easy to replace; the entire album got repressed last year and i really need to cop the whole thing. The Joe Cuba 45, though...i dunno. i'm willing to be patient and search for that one. having that one swiped really upset me, seeing as how it was part of my relatives' collection before my own. i used to think to myself that it's better if i don't know who did it; if i ever found out, i'm not sure if i could hold back a gut reaction. it halfway sickens me to think that i'm fixating over a pair of 45s. in the grand scheme of things, they're miniscule. but i love music and i'm a collector and i can't deny the fact anymore that i'm a music geek. i give myself away almost immediately the moment i start talking about it.

it's not like there's a blessed thing i can do about it now except suck it up and take comfort in the fact that (as far as i can tell) that's all that was taken. someone could've made off with a lot more than that. there are more 45s in my crib where those from, some of which haven't even been listened to yet because they still need to be cleaned. i have records that i either bought or were given to me last January that i STILL haven't listened to in their entirety. and now the digital files are growing by the week. the hardcore vinyl addict would tell you that there is no such thing as enough; i'm beginning to rethink that stance. it's not like i can take any of this with me when i die. and i don't want one 45, one full-length, one MP3 to stand between me and a more intimate relationship with GOD. all of the music in the world isn't worth me missing out on revelation knowledge that can only come from Christ Jesus. i really dig music, but i love the Messiah more. it might sound strange to some, but that's where i am in my life right now. i have to give honor to the one that gave the gift of music and gave me the gift of hearing in the first place before raving about the recorded sounds that are all around me in various formats.

damn, i MUST be maturing in some way, shape, or form. whoever has those 45s now, i hope they're enjoying them. and that it turns them on to some other great sounds. if i believe in sharing music with people half as much as i say i do, then nothing in my entire collection is really mine to begin with. dying with the most wax will profit me nothing. this is no time to be bitter about 45s lost. it doesn't mean that i won't get excited about music - i still do. constantly. ASK MY WIFE. all i'm saying is...there are much more important things to be concerned about in both the secular and the spiritual sides of life.

Posted by macedonia at 12:31 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 26 January 2005 12:45 AM EST
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Monday, 15 November 2004
the rock
Now Playing: Kelis - "Millionaire" (feat. Andre 3000)
Topic: the Christian walk

Last Monday ended on kind of a weird note. For the most part, it was a good day for me. I put in for that day off so my birthday weekend would be an extended one. I reacquainted myself with an old business contact to try to get some things moving in a different direction in terms of my job situation. The meeting went well. After that, I felt like swinging by my old job and I?m glad I did. Saw some people that I hadn?t seen in quite some time, all of whom were happy to see me. So I was kinda flying high for a while. Then the evening came?

Beth called me sometime after 10 p.m. really upset. She told me that the passenger side window of her car had been smahed. There was glass all over the front seat ? it had been completely shattered. She was able to get most of it out and had placed tarps on the driver?s seat as in the windowless door. Thankfully, our auto insurance covered it and we wouldn?t have to pay a dime to get it replaced. She drove home and was able to get it fixed the next day.

Under the circumstances, both of us seemed to take the whole thing in stride. Perhaps we knew that the situation could?ve been a lot worse. Beth could?ve been in the car when the incident took place. She could?ve been seriously hurt?maybe even fatally hurt. Unfortunately, these things happen more often than they should. Parking in a fairly safe neighborhood doesn?t change the fact that crime travels. Material things aren?t worth freaking out over, especially when they?re far less valuable than human lives.

I had been reading the Book of Job from the Old Testament of the Bible, so I was kind of ready for bad news to come. And of course, that news paled in comparison to what Job had to go through. He lost his family, his home, his help staff, his possessions, and broke out in sores all over his body that oozed pus. The only people he had to talk to were his so-called ?friends? that kept trying to figure out what he had done to deserve all of this. And for over two-thirds of the book?s chapters, God didn?t say a word. And when He finally did speak, it wasn?t the answer that Job was expecting. Considering what he had to go through, I wasn?t about to go ape over a broken car window. If anything, I?m thankful that nothing else was broken, nothing was stolen, and that my wife was nowhere near the car when it happened.

Beth kept a souvenir from that night: the rock she found in the car afterwards. She figured somebody hit the window with a crowbar or something. She described the rock?s size as ?no bigger than an apricot.? I?ve seen it and it looks smaller than that. We?ve been trying to figure out how this small rock caused so much damage. Just exactly how fast was that thing traveling, and from where? We?ll probably never know, but we do know this:

Job had it worse. FAR worse.

Posted by macedonia at 5:45 PM EST
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