Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

12/28/08

Perfect Tool for a Professional Beginner - REVIEW - Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black)

Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black)

I love the Canon Rebel XT. I use it for work, where I manage communications for a high school. Despite that I have no real camera or photography training, I find the XT comfortable and easy to use. Although the school supplied me with this camera, when I next need to buy one for personal use, there is a good chance this will be my choice.

I'm the chief paparazzo, taking candid pictures of students, teachers and events. We have pro photographers for major things, and they use higher level equipment, but for quick, on-the-spot shots, I grab the XT and am out the door.

Images are clear every time, thanks to the camera accurately predicting what I am interested in. There is an auto/general pictures options, as well as context-specific options (distance, action, close-ups and others). The flash is perfectly timed and is at the correct level for whatever amount of light I need.

The download software is quick, and interfaces with Windows with no conflicts.

All images download as jpegs, so there are no conversion issues. I open them in Adobe Photoshop, and take it from there.

It is small enough to carry discretely, but big enough to get the job done.

I fully recommend the Canon Rebel XT.

Anthony Trendl
http://anthonytrendl.com

12/27/08

Unite! Trendl Trendel Trendle Trendell Families

As a keeper of the Trendl name, a fairly rare name in the big world, I thought it might be good to get us all together.

If your last name is Trendl, Trendel, Trendle or Trendell, you are invited to join a new Facebook group: Trendl Trendel Trendle Trendell - Common Interest - Families.

We are who we are. The name is pronounced the same no matter how it is spelled, so something connects us.

For some, we are directly related. This can help us connect, remember, or manage genealogy. If nothing else, we can smile knowing we aren't alone.

If you a Smith, Jones, Johnson or Patel, sorry. No Thompsons, Williams, Browns, Davises, Miller or Wilsons.

If you are a Trendl, I want you.

12/25/08

Hardrock, Coco and Joe Christmas Video

Hardrock, Coco and Joe

One of the most odd Christmas videos, with an extremely catchy tune.

Concerning the Magi (poem)

Concerning the Magi
by Anthony Trendl

Job security ignored,
lives put in jeopardy,
reputations put on the line,
they chose to bow with their gifts
at the feet of Mary,
before a Baby named Jesus.
There was no risk--only faith...
only love... only worship.
And this was and ever will be
worth the trip for the Magi,
for you and for me.

first published in Decision Magazine, December 2001

12/23/08

A Violin-worthy Soliloquy

Can you hear the wisp of a violin's soliloquy singing out my sad song?

Friday was rough. I had plans to attend a fellow running club member's party -- an annual Christmas-related event she hosts. Suits, ties and cocktail dresses. My day was not destined to involve a party.

Friday stunk. Snow made it difficult to get out of the complex we live in, then I lost control of my car on my way to work, and hit a curb. Record snow and ice rain likely caused more than a few accidents.

30 minutes later, a long drive became longer, just south of Wheaton Academy (near North Ave on Prince Crossing), I had had a flat tire. Despite the great help of an old friend, the tire was extremely difficult to remove. Frozen, wet, aching (much labor in tire removal).

My usual start time at work is around 8:00 am. Friday, I got there at 10:30 am.

Realizing I was short a few photos for a newsletter I am putting together, I had to stay late to take some pictures of a basketball game. On my way to the game, I twisted my ankle hard. It still hurts a few days later. I got home, was wiped out and simply had no party-energy.

12/17/08

Excellent Dentist Office Addition - review - Atlantic Monthly

The Atlantic Magazine

I like the Atlantic, but I confess I do not like it enough so that I will continue to subscribe. I read it while awaiting treatment at my dentist's office, while on the train or at a coffee shop. In 45 minutes, I have had my fill. It is otherwise not compelling in its originality or capacity.

The articles are better than most popular magazines. I enjoy Mark Steyn and Mark Bowden, but get tired of Christopher Hitchens' proselytory writing tone.

Occasional issues have been dumbed down, are feel as if they are being geared for the Entertainment Tonight crowd.

The Atlantic is a good read in short spurts, but inconsistent over the entire issue, I now only buy a couple issues a year, at most.

Anthony Trendl
http://anthonytrendl.com/

12/11/08

Merry Christmas and Other Merry Days of Christianity

Don't wait until December 25 to wish someone a merry Christmas. When you do, do more than give a card, present and well wish.

While I am not great fan of cliches, the Christian culture mantra of a few years back, "What Would Jesus Do?" is worth applying in some form. A more practical phrase is, naturally, "What would Jesus have me do?" The question is hard, and with Christmas approaching, cannot be ignored by those us who claim faith in Christ.

Today, December 11, is exactly two weeks before December 25, but God is not less present now than He will be.

There are obvious, easy ways of living out a Christian life in the moment, like helping at a homeless mission. There are harder, more quiet ways of the application too. Try loving your neighbor. Your next door neighbor. If you live in an apartment complex, you might have a bunch. Take them to to dinner, bring them a homemade dessert, or just stop up to say hi.

Before you get on about how you think they should do this to, remember love is not passive, but proactive. Besides, you know the verse, 1 John 4:19 "We love, because He first loved us." If you were waiting around to be loved, and call yourself a Christian, get going. Jesus has been there, done that, and is still doing it.

Merry Christmas.

12/7/08

Top Movies of All Time: Top 100 and Beyond

Another blog I maintain is "Top Movies of All Time: Top 100" which, at first lists the AFI top 100 movies with a brief synopsis. It follows major industry news.

Major movies covered: CITIZEN KANE * THE GODFATHER * CASABLANCA * RAGING BULL * SINGIN' IN THE RAIN * GONE WITH THE WIND * LAWRENCE OF ARABIA * SCHINDLER'S LIST * VERTIGO * THE WIZARD OF OZ


Check it out.

http://topmoviesofalltime.blogspot.com/

12/2/08

Amazing Grace - Punk Style by Dropkick Murphys

The Dropkick Murphys are not exactly theologically astute here, and holiness is not a way you would describe, but the song is a fun version. Sadly, they try to mock God in the process. See the video.

11/29/08

Listen With Me: Bjork to Bowie to Boogie Woogie

Regular readers know I post video variations of Amazing Grace. Some are well-known versions by Elvis or Mahalia Jackson. Lesser known versions, played on unusual instruments or by musicians unexpected to have a spiritual side.

New, now, is my personal playlist, through Facebook and Playlist.com. This is a hodge-podge of electronica, synth-pop, folk, classical, rock, jazz fusion, klezmer, and whatever else causes me momentary interest. Right now, you'll hear Thomas Dolby, Bjork, Phil Keaggy, Larry Norman, David Bowie and several others -- a mere 110+ songs. As fancy calls, I'll add to it.

Got any good suggestions?

Take a listen. If you listen at my profile, Facebook will shuffle the songs. I might reorder them as well.

1 Declare Independence — Bjork
2 I hope I'll see you in heaven — Larry Norman
3 Hyperactive! — Thomas Dolby
4 Five Years — David Bowie
5 We Can Work It Out - Phil Keaggy & PFR — Various Artists
6 March Of The Clouds — Phil Keaggy
7 No milk today — Herman Hermits
8 Boogie woogie Bugle boy — Andrew sisters
9 Sleeping Dogs Lie — Bela Fleck
10 5. Asturias. Leyenda - Preludio — Andres Segovia
11 Earth Intruders — Bjork
12 One Of Our Submarines — Thomas Dolby
13 Hoedown — Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
14 The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Ennio Morricone —
15 Dueling banjos — Banjos
16 Scatman — Scatman
17 Tell Me Something Good — Rufus & Chaka Khan
18 Swinging On A Star — Bing Crosby
19 Come When I Call You — The Klezmatics
20 Hurricane — Bob Dylan
21 Play That Funky Music — Wild Cherry
22 James Brown - The Payback — James Brown
23 It's Oh So Quiet — Bjork
24 Somebody To Love — Queen
25 Space Oddity — David Bowie
26 Ain't Misbehavin' — Louis Armstrong
27 Europa And The Pirate Twins — Thomas Dolby
28 Ol' Man River —
29 Moon River — Andy Williams
30 da da da da — Trio
31 Rocky — Theme
32 Bela solo (Amazing Grace) — Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
33 Tom Dooley — The Kingston Trio
34 Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix — Jimi Hendrix
35 Hey Joe — Jimi Hendrix
36 Sunday School — Phil Keaggy
37 Wondering Where the Lions Are — Bruce Cockburn
38 Gotta Serve Somebody — Bob Dylan
39 Keith Green - There is a Redeemer — Keith Green
40 Putting On The Ritz — Taco
41 Get up Offa That Thing — James Brown
42 Fifth Of Beethoven — Walter Murphy
43 My Way — Frank Sinatra
44 War — Edwin Starr
45 Crank That (Soulja Boy) — Soulja Boy
46 99 Red Balloons — Nena
47 Don't you(Forget about me) — Simple Minds
48 Saved By Zero — The Fixx
49 El Shaddai — Amy Grant
50 Fado — Cristina Branco
51 Corpo Iluminado — Cristina Branco
52 O meu amor — Branco, Cristina
53 Birdland — Charlie Parker
54 Georgia On My Mind — Bix Beiderbecke & Hoagy Carmichael
55 Old Piano Roll Blues, The — Hutton, Betty and Carmichael, Hoagy
56 Muskrat Ramble — Dick and Libby Halleman
57 India — John Coltrane
58 Django Reinhardt-Minor Swing — Django Reinhardt
59 Girl from Ipanema — Stan Getz
60 Misty (with Dave Brubeck) — Stan Getz
61 Desperado — The Eagles
62 Close (To the Edit) — The Art of Noise
63 Beatbox (Diversion One) — ART OF NOISE, The
64 moments of love — art of noise
65 Billy Don't Be A Hero — Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
66 One Tin Soldier — Coven
67 Djangology — Django Reinhardt
68 Andy Griffith Show — TV Themes
69 Right Now — Van Halen
70 Hang On Sloopy — The Yardbirds
71 Food, Glorious Food — Oliver
72 The Oompa Lumpa Song — The Oompa Lumpa's
73 The Unicorn — Irish Rovers
74 Baba O'Riley — Who
75 Fat Albert theme song — ....
76 I Believe In You — Cat Power
77 Duke Of Earl — Gene Chandler
78 Maxwell's Silver Hammer — The Beatles
79 Puff The Magic Dragon — Peter Paul and Mary
80 Pinball Wizard — The Who
81 Hold Me Now — Thompson Twins
82 They're Coming to Take Me Away — Napoleon XIV
83 The Night Chicago Died — Paper Lace
84 wanna be starting something — michael jackson
85 TV Theme — Barney Miller
86 Welcome Back Kotter 1976 — John Sebastian
87 Don't Worry-Be Happy — Bobby McFerrin
88 Disco Duck — Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots
89 Seasons in the Sun — TerryJacks_SeasonInTheSun.mp3
90 Hotel California(Acoustic) — Eagles
91 Sweet Home Chicago — Blues Brothers Band
92 Kung Fu Fighting — Carl Douglas
93 Crazy — Willie Nelson
94 Somebody Come And Play — Sesame Street
95 Spoonful Of Sugar — Mary Poppins
96 Mary Poppins - Chim Chim Cher- — Disney
97 It's Not Easy Being Green — Kermit the Frog
98 Rainbow Connection — Willie Nelson
99 Rubber Ducky — Earnie
100 Peter Gunn Theme — Henri Mancini
101 Yellow Submarine — Beatles
102 Meltdown (At Madame Tussaud's) — Steve Taylor
103 The Cisco Kid — War
104 War — Low Rider
105 My sharona — Knack, the
106 SabreDance — Khachaturian
107 Ride of the Valkyries — Wagner
108 Stairway To Heaven — Stanley Jordan
109 ACDC — Dirty Deeds
110 No More Mr Nice Guy — Alice Cooper
111 Jailhouse Rock [From Jailhouse Rock] — The Jordanaires, Elvis Presley
112 Ring Of Fire — Jonny Cash
113 I Write The Songs — Barry Manilow
114 MacArthur Park — Richard Harris

Matching Pop With Sausage Pizza: Pepsi is the Best Choice

Matching Pop With Sausage Pizza
Pepsi is the Best Choice
by Anthony Trendl
Listen to me present this on BlogTalkRadio Matching Pop With Sausage Pizza: Pepsi is the Best Choice

Much has been said, and should be said, about matching wine with a meal. As any sommelier will tell you, the epicurean mind needs to think beyond "reds for red meat, whites for white meat." I am no sommelier, and have nothing to offer you here. Consult Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide, 7th Edition: The Complete, Easy-to-Use Reference on Recent Vintages, Prices, and Ratings for More than 8,000 Wines from All ... Wine Regions (Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide).

However, as an aficionado of pizza, with a specialty in sausage pizza, I submit there is something important to match. Rarely properly married is pizza with pop.

Let's skip Domino's Pizza for a moment. Let that moment last forever. Clearly, if this is your choice, you have skipped past consideration of your palate. Move on. Nothing for you here. Take your insipid, limp cheap bread and sauce excuse of all that is good with you.

Instead, the cultured man's pizza is made with real meat, real tomatoes. I like deep dish, but that is still a regional pleasure, so I'll focus on a more national favorite. This is about a thin pie, crusty and crispy, wood oven baked if you can get it. It has a sweet marinara sauce just below a mozzarella skin mixed in with Italian sausage pieces -- genuine pork sausage with overtones of fennel coming right at you.

Which pop though you ask goes with this delightful cuisine? After many years of sampling, it is...

Pepsi. Not Diet Pepsi. The regular stuff. No after bite like any of Coke's cola products. Not too sweet, like a root beer with a vanilla tint, not too fruity like a Mountain Dew or Orange Crush. Dr. Pepper loses out because the cherry flavor crosses too close to the medicine line. RC Cola, though the flavor is acceptable, has a higher carbonation level. Too many bubbles.

Get in the Pepsi line.

What the diner wants is a pop with enough of an acid bite, and flavors that linger long enough, but never overtake the intensity of the next greasy bite. If he burps, and he will burp, there should be a residue of the meal's goodness coming through.

Most pop is acid-ready, but, combined with the flavor impact and carbonation levels, Pepsi is the one to open to put the fizzle in your za.

If you must:


But if you are serious:

11/27/08

Amazing Grace for Hang Drum

The melody of Amazing Grace played on the Hang steel drum by PANArt.

I love the simple tones, and the way the light mixes mid-beat. Excellent video, excellent music.

11/25/08

Amazing Grace with Bach

Amazing Grace with Bach
Classical rendition, mixing Bach (please forgive me, I do not know which piece) with Amazing Grace, played apparently at a church.



Category: Music

Tags: Classical Bach Amazing Grace Ariana Cello Piano Soma Trio

Money Trouble is Trouble with Money

The trouble with money is the trouble with money. We need less than we think, we think we deserve more than we get, and everyone else's attitude about money is wrong.

Of course Alan Greenspan got it wrong. He never consulted me.

So there it is.

Which brings us around to politics. Who gets to have money, and who gets to have my money has become political. I don't care. That's Caesar's problem. Not mine. He can have what's his.

"...And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."

Out of context, that's lovely. In context, it is a response to God, not Man.

Why bring any of this up? One friend has suddenly found herself on her own. Another has never really found her footing. One friend is finding his income similar to what he made 15 years ago. Another drives a bus and barely makes it month to month. In my home, we are doing better than ever, yet my day job's monthly income is lower. Long story explaining that one.

Back to the original question.

What's the problem with money?

Lordship. Not enough of that. Greed. Too much of that. Fear. That is something that is cast out by perfect love, yet we too often prefer fear over God.

Those who have money need, per Acts 2, share it wisely. Those who don't have money cannot presume they should be given money. Loans should be turned into gifts, but, as a receiver, we should try to repay that gift. Grace needs to abound on all sides, dignity must be encouraged.

Be fearless. Don't worry.

11/23/08

There and Back Again: A Tale of Convergence

I have several worlds. One is growing up, in Palos Heights, through high school. More or less, the same people surrounded me. Then, in Bloomington, IL, three miniworlds: one as a college student, one as it related to a woman I dated near the end of college, and then, post-college, post-relationship before heading to Wheaton, IL for grad school, also with several miniworlds.

Grad school at Wheaton College brought me students and church mates from across the globe, most of whom have returned. Next, my early work life and Church of the Resurrection/Church of the Great Shepherd friends. Toss in a mix of online friends, especially those relating to my Amazon.com reviewing adventures. Finally, now, at Wheaton Bible Church, my running community friends, and my Hungarian friends thanks to Aliz.

Why the list? Facebook. These worlds are colliding. They just don't know it.

Some are indirectly connecting on a group I began, What's Your Gas Price? Others just happen to read what's on my Wall.

Ran across one person who I long lost contact with, and saw pictures and was pleased life had turned out wonderfully. Connected with some grad school friends who I have wished I kept in touch with better, and likewise am pleased they found their way. A few, through me, were able to connect with others they hold dear.

This is a good thing. As I lay in bed this weekend, dreadfully bore down with a cold -- this lifts my heart.

11/21/08

Braving the New World's Order

The order of things is relative to what needs organizing, and for whom. I learned there is an order of things unexpected.

I joined Facebook, found a lot of old friends, and even started a group (join: What's Your Gas Price?). I joined several groups as well, dealing with running, poetry and general literature, and my college church group, Christian Collegians.

This post should feed into my Facebook page.

I fought this for years. Two dozen blogs, a dozen websites, jobs as full-time webmaster, and no Facebook page. I thought this was the realm of high kids and supposed 'grassroots' political campaigns. Yes, it is all that, but I am finding more sophisticated uses for it as well.

Join me there.

(Looking for Aldus Huxley's book, Brave New World?)

11/18/08

33 Degrees of Separation on a November Morning

The cool wisping of flurried wind hit briskly this Tuesday morning. 22 degrees at 6:30 am when I left my home.

That leaves 33 degrees of separation between my present warmth and my preferred state. Kevin Bacon is nowhere to be found.

Christmas songs at the Chinese restaurant at lunch yesterday.

That is 38 days before Christmas. (And Kevin Bacon is not the one celebrated here, not in the most absurd of Nativity scenes.) Thinking about Christmas, knowing the usual cynical response to early holiday music, it occurred to me any reminder of Christmas is good.

The days are warmest at Christmas. Though there was once a million degrees of separation between God and Man, He reduced it to one, with an open hand calling us forward.

11/17/08

A Death in the Family

I spent much of Sunday at funeral activities for the father of a dear friend. First, an open house breakfast at their home, then a memorial service at the funeral home.

Two speakers eulogized their friend of 50 years, plus various family members.

Whatever can be said about other than vignettes and hyperbole? Are there any words that sum up a man's life? There are attempts to bridge this concern, but an hour -- two, three, five hours -- are never enough. The best speaker can only touch our hearts and remind us of some of what he was. For me, I only knew the man's daughter. He was 68, and she is now 45.

Death is not a metaphor. Something living is now not living. Whether spiritual or physical, death is absolute. I cannot raise the dead. I can only look upon the body and wonder.

11/14/08

Learning to Listen to Classical Music in a Hip-Hop World

I have found a great challenge to listen to classical music. I did not grow in a home which appreciated it. No piano lessons. No WFMT on the radio.

Sometime in high school I decided to be better rounded. A fan of classic folk rock at my core - Bob Dylan, Larry Norman, the Byrds, classical, I found, was another language. That's kind of how I feel about hip-hop music now.

Why listen to a voice contrary to my own? In this exact case, to enrich my sense of culture. I'd turn on the radio to classical station, buy music, and even attend concerts. I am a long way from being an expert, but I can say I like many aspects of the music.

As this began process to filter into other parts of my life, I learned to broaden my understanding of the world. I became a free speech advocate. Freely learn, and freely speak.

This is probably why I do not see life as political. It isn't. Truth is truth, and in whatever party it may reside, I want truth. I don't want truth wrapped in lies -- hence my recent frustration with the political verbiage that suggest more guns/war equal more peace, or that prochoice equals fewer abortions. While there can be such results, it is wrapped in aquiesence. I don't care who is in charge, so long as they know the truth, and live the truth. That's why I was glad to write this article for yesterday's Chicago Tribune. It is apolitical in its focus, despite the story being about a politician.

Fairness in freedom will frustrate a great many people. Acknowledge a firm belief, and some will leave you. Acknowledge the merit of the other, and say good-bye to everyone else.

In college, I organized a debate about abortion that was well-attended and civil. Why? I invited both sides to bring their best debator, and asked real, not leading, questions.

My friends who happen to be prolife cringed when I noted I was open to supporting a Democrat in the recent election. Yes, I even considered Barack Obama.

I was not voting for party, image, history, gender, race, religion. I was voting for what I believed in. I avoided talk radio, hyperbiased websites and media, and stayed clear of the bitter dialogical spite flung around. Dialectical discussion was hard to find.

Likewise, and sadly, with vitriol, my more liberally minded friends, claimed angst when I mentioned I would be voting for John McCain, who happens to also be a Democrat.

Statistics were bantered about, e-mails demonizing either were sent to me, and, in general, I sat alone. Dare say intrigue of a person's opponent, and mistrust began. They'll know we are Christians by our...(?)

Friends, I saw, in the best cases, were not ones in which agreement was found, but pursuit of truth, and declared it in love, and in humility.

Now, granted, the election was bigger than just the abortion issue, but it is easy to wrap a blog post around that.

A bigger picture issue, of course, is in what now? Elections are over, yet campaigning remains. Me? No campaigning because we have a president, and know who our next president is. Pray is due both, and I hope both grow in wisdom and knowledge of truth.

In the meanwhile, try a little classical music (samples of great pieces)


And try a little classic rock (Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti")


Rock on.

11/13/08

1549 Days Left: No Celebration Worthy

Some people will cheer January 20, 2013 as a day Barack Obama leaves office. I certainly will not mind, but that's just one man leaving a job. Maybe he will be reelected. Then, his supporters will cheer.

What is sad has nothing to with who is in office. It has to do with who is dying, and who, on that day, will barely be remembered.

Few will have seen any of their faces, or cried when they were buried.

January 20, 2013 happens to be a Sunday commemorating the legalizing of baby killing. I can't call it murder because the courts accept the grinding up of a baby girl while still inside the mother as legal. The baby girl has no rights, of course, given her confinement in the body of someone who doesn't want her.

Planned Parenthood's adage "Every child should be a wanted child," presumes it is more acceptable to apply saline solutions (very strong salty water) to the face of a baby girl who is not wanted than to birth her. At least, the are cool with supplying this ability to the mother.

Yes, yes, it is also the day Barack Obama's first term ends. And, of course, he is famously prochoice with no desire of removing the choice to violently kill unborn children. Yes, yes, some of his supporters somehow believe he will decrease abortions during his term. For all I know he might, and I hope so.

40 years will have passed since Roe v. Wade has passed. Two generations. Roe v Wade actually was decided January 22, 1973, but it is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday that particular January 20.

Who will be cheered? Probably not the fallen, but the elected.

Hanging her head in grief might be Norma McCorvey, aka "Jane Roe." who now regrets ever being responsible for such infamy. The choice is now not hers, but each mother who has the right: to kill or not to kill. That is the question.

11/7/08

Gypsy Music at the the Epicurean Hungarian Restaurant in Hillside, IL

Gypsy Music at the the Epicurean Hungarian Restaurant in Hillside, IL

You were promised a video in an early post today, but, as it seems, I am not allowed to post it. Fair enough. I have no beef with the law in this case, so I took it down. In the meanwhile, jam on.

Kenny Horvath's violin playing helps make this place fun. Great csirke paprikash too (and goulash, of course). If you eat there, tell Tamas I sent you.

The song isn't exactly Hungarian though -- nor is it gypsy. Do you know it?



Category: Music

Tags: gypsy hungarian magyar violin fiddle europe

My Vote on Video (YouTube)

My two key votes: John McCain and Peter Roskam.

Despite a strong expectation to vote for someone other than for a Republican for president, I never seriously considered McCain until the last few weeks, but my choices otherwise were weak.

Sure, Barack Obama won and had Illinois in his pocket since running essentially uncontested (technically against Alan Keyes who gave no legitimate fight), and he's soon my president, but his values re not my values. You might say I voted my conscience.

Roskam got my vote because he serves my area, and has done so well in both public and private life. See my recent Roskam story.

(I've deleted the video from posting here, not realizing local laws prohibit me from displaying my actual voter card. Further analysis is needed to find out if my video is OK, but at first glance, maybe not, so I'll remain safe.)

11/6/08

Peter Roskam Speaks at my Workplace

Peter Roskam came to Wheaton Academy today. No fanfare. Just Peter and an assistant. I wrote a story and took a picture you can see in today's online Chicago Tribune.

He focused not on politics, but on faith, and the process of living out our faith in whatever we do.

11/5/08

Michael Crichton is Dead

Michael Crichton was a Harvard grad (summa cum laude), an MD, created ER, wrote Jurassic Park.

He was also the author of The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Disclosure, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey, and Next.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Crichton

The Sun Still Rises: My President is Not My Choice, But I'm OK

Barack Obama has been elected. On January 20, 2009, he becomes my president. None of this whining "he is not my president" garbage like I heard from anti-George Bush types. I respect the office, I respect the process, and I respect the voters' choice. Just because it was not my choice doesn't mean the freedom to vote has been lost or abducted. Iran misses this, as do many of the Islamic countries.

Naturally, Obama is now charged with dealing with this, and will do so with no excuses. Democrats control Congress.

Thankfully, we will now get a new senator in Illinois ready to actually work rather than campaign. Ideally, it will not be someone part of the corrupt Chicago machine, or the nepotistic Chicago culture.

While Obama fans claim fewer babies will be executed during his tenure, the reality is Obama is prochoice. Like the faulty argument than pro-war people are best set up to avoid war, a prochoice leader is not designed to stop abortions. Unlike war, abortion is never necessary. At best, it is a choice made to save the physical life of the mother, and always, there is death. Just the same, the situation is as it is, and we'll see how it turns out.

Regarding Iraq, terrorism, etc., Obama will soon be privy to knowledge only presidents have. Let's see if he resolves or hinders freedom, safety and defense concerns.

The sun rose today. God has not abdicated his throne. Nor has Obama assumed any throne. He is just a temporary president, and entrusted by the majority of Americans to lead our country. The ball is not in Obama's court anymore than it was in Bush's. Jesus Christ is the Lord of lords.

Be frustrated if that's what you are about, but do not lose yourself. Remember the things which are right, then do them.

11/4/08

Voting Against the Grain: Voting John McCain Into No Office

Look around -- I'm young, educated, suburban and care about issues like the homeless. Most of my friends are voting for Barack Obama. In fact, peer pressure to vote for him has been tremendous. That said, I know others who are so pro-John McCain that they cringe when I suggest that Obama will not ruin our country.

So I voted for John McCain. My writer friends, most whom care more about the homeless than actually spend time with them, think I am unintelligent.

Tomorrow, I will look out the window. If the world is still there, I will go to work. If not, I'll stay home and drink coffee.

January 21, I will repeat the process, if, as one friend suggests, I am not dead. If I am dead, I regretfully will no longer be blogging, nor looking out windows.

So I voted for John McCain. He is not my first choice, nor my second. Possibly, he is my third, but, really, Barack Obama is not on my list. Even Hillary Clinton is higher on my list.

270 electoral votes needed to win, 527 undecided?
Right. Poor old Barack is down in the first quarter, with John McCain up by five. The score is 8-3. The election is over, and was when I voted. Illinois' decisions were made long ago.

The upside is once Obama is run out of town, we can bring in a new senator, one committed to getting the job done.

And so, I voted for John McCain. Tomorrow, I'll be a tiny point in a million point spread, and next week, a minor, soon forgotten statistic for pollsters and analysts.

11/3/08

Common Sense Love - review - The Love Dare

The Love Dare

For marriages in trouble, and for those people who want to keep things out of trouble, "The Love Dare," is a great list of ideas. Nothing here will cause the reader to go "Wow! Brilliant!" because everything here is common sense. It might not feel natural, and some ideas will be difficult for the couple in strife. The majority of couples will find it useful in its practicality.

Why is it common sense? Try day one, for example,

"Resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue that to say something you'll regret."

Easier said than done, but worth doing just the same.

Either partner can apply the content solo. In fact, it is structured that way.

Forget the movie. I'm reviewing the book. I know, lots of reviewers loved it, but this book will last long after the film leaves the theater. While I liked the movie, all it does is serve as a stepping stone toward the much more difficult work. Get into "The Love Dare," apply its ideas, and, whether or not it delivers, you will know you have done the right thing.

The content is a quick read at first. Partially written in a script like handwriting font, it will flow easily on the eyes. Slow down, consider the depth of the ideas, and the creative applications, and the work begins. It is meant to be read over 40+ days, not scanned on the train to work.

I fully recommend "The Love Dare" by Stephen Kendrick.

Anthony Trendl
http://anthonytrendl.com/

The Counter Culturality of Voting for John McCain

A friend IMed me, and asked why I think voting for John McCain is counter-cultural. We didn't labor into who McCain is, but I replied as this (edited for context, clarity):

The culture clearly sways for the near future President Barack Obama, especially within my demographic (white suburban, educated male). I was dead set to not vote for a Republican, but hoped a better option than Barack Obama. My family, mostly, are hardcore liberal, hardcore Democrat. I'm hardly Republican, but I must look like it to them.

Some Obama fans see all who vote for Obama as enlightened, while all who are not are idiots. Broad-minded, are they, or as gullible as the "Obama is a Muslim" crowd?

Obama is a shoe-in for president, though, and I think Jesus' second coming will not be delayed as a result.

Reasons for voting for John McCain? NARAL's 100% approval rating of Obama was one (several years running), his economic solutions are another, and my belief that we need a strong military. The gay marriage thing? I'm not especially concerned. Much huffing by many Christian believers there, methinks, who want to connect a spiritual marriage with a civil one. The NARAL thing is big, and I am disappointed Obama has embraced a prochoice position so much.

Just the same, I do not think an Obama presidency will be there worst thing we endure, nor will McCain be a savior.

I'll be happiest when January 21st hits. No more signs, no more election, no more demonizing. We Christians, I think, too easily can forget the greater issue is not who is president, but who is Lord. We need to get down to the business of serving the right God.

I do think Obama is naive about doing all he wants, but naivete is not all bad. I see him as a kind of Mr Smith Goes to Washington. While I disagree with most of his position, I think he is sincere, and has integrity, and will work hard. I just do not want a man who has views so much in contradiction to mine.

I think Illinois will do well to get an active senator again, though. Obama could have done great things here, but chose to spend his best time campaigning. He is a hard working guy, but his attention has not been focused 100% on his day job.

I'm voting intentionally, knowing my choice will lose big.

I'll say something even less savory: I believe both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when they claim Christ as their savior. Their claims are based on words I would have used myself, and 'love believes all things.' Romans 10:9-10 has no clause, "except for..." Really. Check it out.

Romans 10:9-10 is a bothersome verse, as it seems to include, not disclude, but in turn, lays down carefully that those who reject Christ are doing exactly that, rejecting Christ. 'Lord' means all others are second place, and there is no second place. We cannot conveniently accept some, and not others based on this. Truth is either truth or a lie. Never both.

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
-Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:44

11/1/08

Political Signs in an Era of Faith

What if everyone who claimed to have faith posted "I believe," in their yards instead of a political sign?

What if everyone voting for the 'environmental candidate' cleaned up those ugly signs from the byways and highways?

What if we, next time, invested our money into the key issues of our faith (worship, evangelism, loving our neighbor, etc.) instead of dumping it into some mediocre airblower in Washington DC?

10/31/08

Good-bye Studs Terkel: Dead at 96

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, activist Studs Terkel dies at 96

Little can be said about one of the most American of American writers. His books are among my favorites, and his voice is one I often emulate in my own writing.

The library and its readers are a better place for Studs having written.

I met him once, and we spoke for around 15 minutes before the Studs Terkel Awards, an award given in Chicago. He forgot my name quickly, but he was 90 at the time. However, when he hit the stage to talk, he was fluid, sharp and engaging.

I have few autographs I treasure. His is among them.

I'm sad.

10/24/08

Political Diversity, Washington DC, and Good Meals

I'm in a hotel lobby in DC, on Connecticut Ave. Day's Inn, visiting my brother. Internet access is sketchy, and it blocks me from blogging. I'm post dating this, but going to actually post it back in Illinois.

Strange, wealthy areas: massively wealthy, like the former owner of the Redskins football team. Nothing like I've seen. Suprisingly laden with political signs in their yard. Only one candidate seems to be running in the big bucks area, but this is Washington DC, and only one candidate exists. All others, to them, are stupid.

This is Connecticut Ave, not a street famous for small events like cheering the hometown high school after a football victory. This is money. This is politics. All around are higher end restaurants, bumper sticker politics and caucasian people. As diverse as Washington is, intregration is clearly weak. One person admitted being a conservative Christian would be very socially difficult in Washington. I suppose the reverse might be true for other towns.


Ate at Dino's
Fusilli con Ragu d’Anatra "Bolognese"
Duck - house made corkscrew pasta in a ragu of ground duck, Duroc pork & veal, cooked with carrots, onions, celery, herbs, garlic, cream, white wine & nutmeg with grana cheese. We had a bottle of Deforville "Vigneto Loreto" {Nebbiolo} Barbaresco 2003.

Dessert was the best tiramisu I have had to date.

Enjoyed another meal of grilled filet mignon, green beans, coucous with onion, and to drink, Rioja (a delicious Spanish wine).

10/20/08

Barack Obama: Completely Prochoice (and it sickens me)

Not my words. His thoughts.

This is according to the leader in abortion promotion. This is not some right wing organization looking to slam him.

http://www.naral.org/elections/statements/obama.html

NARAL does not think Obama is prolife in any regard.
Sen. Obama received the following scores on NARAL Pro-Choice America's Congressional Record on Choice.
2007: 100 percent
2006: 100 percent
2005: 100 percent

10/17/08

Decided: Who Gets My Vote: Count My Vote

John McCain, Sarah Palin

Why Not Obama?
  • Heavily prochoice Barack Obama is not merely following Sarah Palin's tune of recognizing current law allows abortion, but will do nothing to limit abortions.
  • Obama offers too little when it comes to a vision for Iraq. I believe Iraq's success, and related issues of Al-Qaeda and terrorism are directly corresponding to worldwide peace. Freedom matters to me -- both mine, and the freedom of others. We need to ensure the world moves closer to global freedom, beyond the selfish scape of our own backyard.
  • Like John McCain, Obama is pro-capital punishment, which I am not. He offers nothing special here.
  • I will not vote for a man for the sake of history. No affirmative action, or anything other than who is the man best suited for the job. Obama is suited, but not the best. That man is John McCain.

Why McCain?

  • I trust McCain and Obama's integrity, as much as I might trust any politician. Both love America, want the best for America, and are smart, articulate leaders. However, although I trust Obama to do what he says, I do not want him to do it. Simple as that. I like Obama, and wish he was morally conservative in how he votes.
  • I believe John McCain can lead the USA. He will be closer to who Bush should have been, bringing us closer to what America should be.
  • I considered third-party candidate options, but this is too important of an election to vote 'in theory.' My perfect candidate would be different, but this will always be true.

I am not Republican. I expected to vote for someone other than a Republican this year, but this is my best choice.

10/11/08

A View from the Bridge: What I See Between


Arthur Miller's more famous play has little to do with any of this. Instead, above, is the view I have daily, looking southwestward. As bridges go, that's my role at Wheaton Academy. In my case, it means relaying through various media life at the Academy with either the outside world (mostly those living in the surrounding towns), or, the inside world. The inside world includes staff and faculty, but also parents, students, and to a degree, prospective students.


My cubicle is modest. I sit with a few others, with the head of school's office behind me on my left, and Nikki, who I report to, has an office in front of me to my right. Barb and Charity have cubes between. Just outside is a hallway trafficked by hundreds of students daily.

Stop by, and you'll likely hear jazz played from the College of DuPage's public radio station, WDCB. Projects that hit my desk include a quick weekly e-mail to the Academy world that alerts parents and employees of news, events and opportunities to be involved. Also, I manage the website. My fingerprints aren't really on it yet as I ramp up and figure out how things were done. I'm the paparazzi on-the-spot. My photo skills are limited, but I can work a camera and fix things in Photoshop.

All press releases, most brochures and other printed documents come through me as well. I don't write them all, but am more of a coach and project manager. I design some here and there, but the good stuff will be completed through a professional designer.

As bridges go, I am more than the extension, but also the car that drives between. In two weeks, my completed projects are few, but I can see that there are plenty of avenues. Academic and sports departments, music, art and theater, front office with the rest of the staff, and so on.

I am hardly the only bridge.

Each teacher ultimately remains the most important bridge on a daily basis. They connect students with knowledge, with faith, with God, with truth, with inspiration, working hard to compromise none of it. Each staff member is an ambassador, with a few positions being particularly interactive, like the Head of School Gene Frost, the Director of Admissions Brenda Vishanoff, and the various coaches. Topping it all off are the students themselves. The success of the school is in their hands as they are evidence of how things are done.

9/29/08

Scene from a New Day: Doing an Old Thing a New Way

Wheaton Academy
Remnants of morning mist lingered, waiting for sunlight as I drove in from Prince Crossing Road. Everything was new, except for what I will be doing. Writing, once I could write anything, was what I have wanted to do. That's what I have been doing. Nothing new there.

What's new? Context. Message. Vision.

Wheaton Academy.

That's my new employer. Started Monday, 8:00 a.m., with a wonderful boss, but, as rich as that is -- great colleagues.

What Makes a Colleague Great?
For now, first impressions, though in a few cases, old allegiances. People who love teaching enough make this their lifestyle, not just their career, fill the classrooms. These are Christians who understand the difference between doing a good thing and doing a godly thing, and do it without compromise. They are not just "Christians" at their workplace, but, in the rest of their lives, are feeding the hungry, walking with the lonely, and serving those in their lives.

Good ol' buddy Bob Vishanoff is on the IT front, heading up systems there. He's not the only one I know from "the outside." There's Kim, Lori, Cindy, just for starters.

A good first impression is hard to define, as what is new is new on many levels. WA is a private Christian school. That's three new things all at once.

Schools
I have been involved in schools as a substitute teacher and as a private tutor visiting teachers, and as a playground monitor while in college. There was a fun gig I had teaching storytelling and chess at the Blooming Grove Academy in Bloomington, IL. A private school, yes, but not a faith-based one.

Christian Ministry
WA is a ministry. Though a high school with strong academic credentials, it concurrently is working to engage the students as believers. I have worked in a few ministries over the years, and here, I see it is more than something that happens serendipitously. It is intentional, with the depth of the full Bible. More than trying to create little Billy Grahams (which is OK in my book), they are working to raise up students who excel in loving their neighbor, and will bring the love of Christ into whatever place they land as adults. This is not just something on their motto, then forgotten day-to-day. No, no. Much more. I see this in staff all around.

I have plenty to learn about the school. With 155 years behind them, it will take some time to catch up. As a communications director, which is a generalist position, there are aspects I need to hone up on, relationships I need to make, and the tasks at hand.

My First Day
Students, celebrating the upcoming homecoming events, wore mismatched clothing. At an assembly, I saw teachers got in on it too. I, wearing a trusty sport coat, mock t, and black slacks, was mismatched in that I matched (as pointed out by Steven Knoerr, who, ironically, is a friend from my own high school days).

Nikki, my boss, and headmaster Gene Frost took me out to lunch at the former King James, current Boondocks. We talked about the school and things I will involved with.

I met several teachers, including the head of the poetry club, an English teacher whose first love is grammar, and Jessie - a social studies/Bible teacher (great combo), and others whose names are fuzzy at the moment.

Took in part of the JV soccer game before the rain hit, and met a couple who happen to be missionaries from my Sunday school classes. Their son played for the other team, but we sat together anyway.

My Tasks
There's a lot that may fall across my desk, from increasing a media presence, guiding the presentation of the WA mission and vision through website content, brochures, videos, letters, and other types of communiques. There will be a strong electronic communications component, including HTML newsletters. As I get my feet wet, defining/refining editorial policy.

My days will be a combination of relationship building (getting to know the people and needs of the school, as well as related media), strategic planning, and lots of writing. Some of the writing will be quick e-mails announcing activities, and other pieces will be considered with more creativity.

And Tuesday, my second day? Faculty and staff wear orange, and each class wears a different color. With no orange in my closet, a quick trip to Target was required.

This is the beginning of a new adventure, and, like the verdant colors of a Midwestern autumn, will scan the range of subtle and bold derivations of God's glory. It is a good day.

Willie Nelson - Amazing Grace

Willie Nelson - Amazing Grace

Nice version. Classic Willie.

9/25/08

Good News - Crossway Books: A Publisher Worth Knowing

Good News - Crossway Books, a publisher you may already know about, is worth a quick look-see. Referred by some as the "House Frank Built," alluding to Frank Peretti, who had a bestseller published there. See below a few of their bestsellers now. Lots of John Piper. See their site for more. A few links might show up here leading to Amazon.com.

Why Good News - Crossway Books? I live near their offices, and know a few people who have worked there over the years. An unassuming, modest building, in a neighborhood just east of Wheaton College, Crossway's impact is far stronger than their facilities might indicate.

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die - John Piper
Bestselling author John Piper explores fifty things that Jesus accomplished through his death on the cross.

Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper
This book is a passionate call for this generation to make their lives count for eternity. John Piper acknowledges that the risks for those who seek to accomplish something in life--risks in relationships for the sake of righteousness and authenticity, risks with money for the cause of the Gospel, and risks in witnessing to the truth and beauty of Christ. Readers will find their passion for the cross of Christ enlarged as a result of reading this book.

Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions - Mark Driscoll, Gerry Breshears
This popular-level theology book introduces the person and work of Christ to those who are seeking answers to some of their most basic--and pivotal--questions.

What Is a Healthy Church? - Mark Dever
Guides both pastors and members to recognize key characteristics of a healthy church and then challenge each person to do his or her part in developing those characteristics in the local church body.

Don't Waste Your Life Study Guide - John Piper
This study guide is designed to be used in a ten-session, guided group study that examines each chapter of Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Working through Don’t Waste Your Life in a group setting with the help of this study guide will ensure you get the most out of the book.

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Foreword by C. J. Mahaney) - Mark Dever
Seeks to encourage readers to understand the fundamentals of evangelism and to challenge them to develop a culture of evangelism in their lives and their local churches.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Foreword by David Limbaugh) - Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist argues that Christianity requires the least faith of all worldviews because it is the most reasonable. The authors lay out the evidence for truth, God, and the Bible in logical order and in a readable, non-technical, engaging style. A valuable aid to those interested in examining the reasonableness of the Christian faith, Geisler and Turek provide a firm challenge to the prior beliefs of doubters and skeptics.

You Are Special - Max Lucado, Sergio Martinez (Illustrator)
Every day Wemmicks do the same thing: either stick gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty and talented ones always get stars. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly dots. Kids will love seeing how Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is--dots and all. Parents will appreciate the message this story sends to kids: that regardless of what the world thinks, they are precious in God's sight.

The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World - John Piper (Editor), Justin Taylor (Editor)
Believers who wish to thrive in a postmodern world must cling to the joy, truth, and love that comes only from understanding Christ and his ultimate purpose in this world.

Disciplines of a Godly Man (Trade Paperback) - R. Kent Hughes
This inspiring and best-selling book has long been speaking to the hearts of men, and its words continue to be highly relevant. Using biblical wisdom, engaging illustrations, practical suggestions for daily living, and personal study questions, Kent Hughes offers hard-hitting discussion on major areas of Christian manhood: marriage, fatherhood, friendship, purity, integrity, leadership, prayer, ministry, and more.

The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright - John Piper
Pastor John Piper thoroughly analyzes the teachings of Bishop N. T. Wright on the topic of justification and sounds a call to discernment for the entire church.

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God (Foreword by Paul Baloche) - Bob Kauflin
This book focuses on the essentials of God-honoring worship, combining biblical foundations with practical application in a way that works in the real world. The author--a pastor and noted songwriter--skillfully instructs fellow pastors, musicians, and worship leaders to root corporate worship in unchanging scriptural principles rather than divisive cultural trends.

What Is a Healthy Church Member? - Thabiti M. Anyabwile
For Christians, playing an active part in the local church is not optional. God intends for every believer to contribute to the mission of the local church and experience profound spiritual growth as a result. This book shows church members, pastors, and church leaders what a healthy church member looks like.

Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God - Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
This bold book is an urgent call to parents--and the church--to return to biblical discipleship in and through the home.

What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible (Foreword by Elisabeth Elliot) - John Piper
John Piper examines gender issues from a biblical perspective, showing how the teaching of true biblical manhood and womanhood affects the roles of men and women in the home, the church, and the wider society.

Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists - R. Albert Mohler Jr.
You know about traditional atheism. The contemporary strain of it--called the "New Atheism"--is more popular and widely respected than ever. Dr. Albert Mohler brings helpful perspective and keen insight for understanding, challenging, and countering this latest atheist thinking.

Feminine Appeal (Foreword by Nancy Leigh DeMoss; New Expanded Edition with Questions) - Carolyn Mahaney
In this book of instruction for wives and mothers, Carolyn Mahaney explores seven feminine virtues given in Titus 2 that have transformed her life and the lives of countless other women. Expanded edition with study questions.

In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement - J. I. Packer, Mark Dever
Combining three classic articles by J. I. Packer with a recent article by Mark Dever and a foreword by the four principals of Together for the Gospel, this compact yet penetrating anthology takes an unwavering, classically biblical stance on the increasingly controversial doctrine of substitutionary atonement.

9/18/08

Director of Communications at Wheaton Academy

That's my new title. It comes with the new job, beginning September 29, 2008.

Wheaton Academy is a private, Christ-centered high school in West Chicago, IL.

I'll manage a range of things, including PR, website content, various publications, and whatever falls under the category "what-not."

Check it out.

Cool, huh?

9/17/08

Meeting My Peers: Three Amazon.com Reviewers at Lunch

That's me, and two other reviewers from Amazon.com. This week, we met in a breakfast-lunch place of no great regard, although its quality doubled by the presence of my two companions.

Both Jeanne and HistorianWannabe were more than delightful. Each was laid back, personable and engaging. Our time was brief -- not more than two hours. I fought the remnants of a cold, bringing less than my A-game of lucidity with a terrific headache, but they extended grace and patience.

It is always challenging meeting online people in person. Making the transfer from persona to personality is not easy, as part of who someone (if not all) is online who is who they are in person.

Remembering the online persona is also a challenge, since in real life we use real names. There, I am seen as A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com, and often signed posts with my initials, ALT. HistorianWannabe has a real name too. Jeanne is Jeanne. My image of both was different than reality too.

It was hard to be friendly when I was wishing I could scrape out the inside of my head, clean it out like a cantaloupe. Standing in the rain Sunday watching a half marathon endeared me to a cold, for which Monday was filled with ache and suffering.

We avoided any contentious topics, and instead enjoyed what we shared. We all have in common a love for books, reading, and looking at life thoughtfully.

I hope we meet again, and draw others into this fledgling flock.

For the record, The Red Apple Pancake House is not bad. It is what it is, a pancake joint. Better than IHOP by far (only Denny's is worse), but no Walker Brothers.

Red Apple Pancake House
414 S Schmale Rd
Carol Stream, IL 60188
(630) 871-2911‎

Walker Bros Original Pancake House
153 Green Bay Rd
Wilmette, IL 60091
(847) 251-6000‎

9/16/08

You, Me, Us and Them: Spiritual Arrogance in a Fallen World

As long as they are not we, we will have no peace with them.

Who are "we," and who are "they"? That depends how we divvy up humanity. Who counts as one or the other may not be shared by the other. Someone might think I'm OK, one of them, yet I might think they are not.

Race is the most obvious of discriminators, one of which is poised as a factor in this year's election. It should not be, and, for me, will not. I won't divvy up the colors.

Gender, religion, economics, all are others.

Then there are Sox and Cubs fans, a big deal to some here in Chicago. Trivial? Yes, but more than one buffoon has gotten into a bar fight over team colors.

Which are they and we? It comes down to faith issues for me, but, those who are "they," not believing in God as I do, are still OK in my book. The only book which counts, though, is God's book of life. Either you are in it, or you are not, but at no point am I permitted, as per God's Word, not to love even the one least like me or what I believe. I don't have a say in who gets into this book. I'm even called to love my enemy.

With an "us and them," perspective, we are forced into some kind of spiritual arrogance. I believe God chose us, with the freedom to reject Him. As such, it had nothing to do with me, or how good or holy I am. I'm not all that. I'm not any of that.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me." Nothing in that song says how great I am that God was smart enough to wrestle me from Earth to be exalted into Heaven. Not if you knew me -- and He, like no one else, knows me.

Why no peace? Lots of people either don't like what we believe (Muslims, atheists, anyone rooting for the other baseball team), or they see Christians acting like boneheads (and we too often do, so get off your holy horse). Jesus Christ is open to a lot of things, but rejection is not one of them. He draws the line by declaring Himself God, the only God, and one with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

Brain hurting? Love your neighbor. He's wretched, but, then again, you and me aren't so hot either.

9/12/08

Moving to September 12: Love is All You Need

The morning of September 11, 2001, I was on the road to a project management seminar in Arlington Heights, IL when the rock station broke in for news. You know the rest.

What now, seven years and a day later? Do we labor in the memory of what happened? Yes, but we do not stay there. While looking back, we must also look forward.

Nothing changed except America's awareness of reality: Islam's message includes Jihad. Jihad includes a concept of fighting a visible enemy, which many Muslims consider the "west" and/or "Christians." I put these in quotes knowing both are misunderstood terms, just as the Islamic perspective of Jihad. See Wikipedia's definition of Jihad. Nothing new here, not under this sun.

The short version is a significant group of Muslims want to kill Americans until America becomes Muslim. Since this will not happen, the war will rage on. Kill Osama bin Laden, and a new leader of this slime will rise up. That mosquito will be slapped, but be ready for what spores will replace him.

Press on in Iraq. Exterminate the lack of hope. You want the audacity of hope? Go to Iraq, and foster hope. Whomever becomes president has this duty.

Next, love your neighbor. Hate by a Christian is an oxymoron. Whether he is Muslim, gay, atheist, vegetarian or a St. Louis Cardinal's fan, love him. No excuses.

9/11/08

Amazing Grace - Marines and Bagpipes

Amazing Grace - Marines and Bagpipes

Has Amazing Grace ever been played on a sunny day with bagpipes?

2006 Scottish/Irish Highlands Festival in Estes Park, Colorado. Mass band with several different bagpipe groups and the Marines playing Amazing Grace

9/10/08

Charging Toward Significance Through Self-Promotion

Self-promotion is the name of the game in these political times, and so, emulating our two well-funded candidates and Madison Avenue, here I can be found, albeit a more one-man grass roots style.

Two new links, or enhanced/updated links to keep you clickin'.

9/5/08

PADS Run Tomorrow (western suburbs of Chicago)

PADS 5K Run (western suburbs of Chicago)
I am volunteering. Join me. Show up at 6 am.


PADS' home office happens to be next to where I start many of my longer runs. They help, in short, people short of a long-term housing situation. In this case, various churches have banded together to provide volunteers, floor space, food and more for people to use during the coldest months.

In Chicagoland, where I live (around 30-35 miles west), cold really means cold. God has blessed our family greatly, and this experience I have never known. However, I worked for many years with the homeless, and have seen its difficulties second-hand.

As I love running, helping with a road race is easy stuff. You don't need to know running, though. They can use you. My friend is helping coordinate volunteers, and said they have plenty of needs for just a helping hand.

Donuts and coffee will be available, so no need to stop at Caribou. Just show up. Plenty of parking across the street.

Laptop Blogging Blues (poem)

Laptop Blogging Blues
Anthony Trendl

Hear me tell the poem with images of my garage, ala Jack Kerouac



I'm sitting hunched on an Igloo cooler in my garage:
No windows. No sun.
Just 100 ceiling watts. 1280×800 bits of monitor light.
Old suitcases and auto supplies flicker in shadows on the wall.
My laptop is set on a blue foot stool.
Spilled my coffee.
Wiped it up with an old rag used for washing the car.
Humid. Hot. It didn't rain today.
Logged on. WiFi blowing in from the college across the street.
Walking heard on the sidewalk,
muffled by the echo in the garage.
Message posted.

9/2/08

42 Years in the Making (And Not Done Yet)

How I Spent My 42nd Birthday

The Gift
Aliz gave me my gift early: a Garmin GPS watch - the Forerunner 201. Runners and bikers like these because it tracks distance and pace, and when I load the info into the computer, will show a map of where I have been. While I know where I have run, this is especially handy showing accurate distance, knowing I crossed streets or ran straight down the middle of the road, running on a sidewalk versus the grass, and, if I run in the woods, it knows exactly where, even if I go only where the deer run.

I slept poorly Friday night, and woke up at 4:40 am. Laid in bed until 5:30 am, got up, made coffee, checked my e-mail. Happy birthday from a few people, some of which I had not heard from in a while. I sent a long e-mail to my brother.

The Race
At 8:00 am, I ran a 5K (3.1 miles). It was sponsored by a Catholic church in Downer's Grove -- a very local, modest race, without all the fanfare of a big race. All went more or less until around the 2.5 mile area. A large dog ran out of his yard directly at me, growling. This was not a friendly, "How're YOU doin'?" kind of dog, but a dog that thought I was fast food (Get it? Runner = fast food - ha ha [*cough cough*]).

The Finish Line
I had my best race since 1999, got 18th place out of 230, finishing with a 21:35.5. That's not very fast, as any high school kid will tell you, but let's see what they've got when they're 42! In fact, compared to the others in my age group, I did OK. I have a little red third place ribbon to prove it. That's the first age group award I have won since maybe the late 1980s, when I was in college.

The Zoo
I headed home, and Aliz took me to a surprise, Brookfield Zoo. First on the list was the Dolphin Show. I can't remember if my brother and I saw it as kids, so this became a priority. Nice, but not quite the spectacle I expected (say that fast). I wanted dolphins flying hundreds of feet into the air, snatching a fish from some tiny kid's hand. Then, I hoped the dolphin would dance in sync to a Michael Jackson song, like the famous YouTube dancing walrus.

Onward to the rest of the zoo, we worked our way to most of the exhibits. We saw the giraffes -- which is one of my first Brookfield memories, seeing it with my Grandma and Grampa Trendl.

While in one of the primate exhibits, a baboon (that is a baboon, no?) decides it is time to get his funk on. No music, just a baboon dancing to an unheard band. Sometimes, you just gotta shake what your momma gave you.



When I was 21, none of this would have been all that tiring. Now, I was exhausted, but there was one more important stop to make: dinner.

The Meal
Dinner was planned at a place in LaGrange, but one quick look around, and we 'Plan B'ed it to Uncle Bub's, a favorite Westmont BBQ joint, a favorite. We split a meal, and headed back.

The Age
So now, in the beginning of my 43rd year, stuff aches, my hair is starting to turn gray, and, a middle-aged favorite, ear hair. But, all is not dour. I weigh significantly less than when I was 40, my resting pulse and blood pressure are very good, and, my back no longer hurts (thanks to the weight loss and general getting into shape).

The Rest
Such was one day of the 15,341 lived thus far. Only a hundred thousand more to go. Better use 'em right.

8/28/08

Submitted a Children's Book for Publication


The Title
The Boy Who Hated Doing Everything
. It is a short book, intended for the 7-10 year-old crowd, told in a classic American fable style, with silly images and characters, and situations that are preposterously fun.

The Gist
Jeremy is especially lazy, thinking only of himself. His mother goes to the neighbor’s to borrow coffee, and while she’s gone, the plumber, a fireman (with Tuna Salad, a gray and white kitty), a baseball team and his father all come by just before lunch. Jeremy never answers the door, and so they wait.

What Happens Next?
Will Jeremy gets his beloved rainbow parfait? You might imagine the pandemonium that ensues as the visitors figure out what to do, but, what I really want is that Henry Holt and Company publishes it for children to read.

The picture is my submission and letter to them, as well as a copy of my 2007 edition of the Writer's Market Deluxe Edition. I sent it today, 3-day, first class. Cost me a dollar in postage, and, not more than an hour of writing.

Within six months, my four-page tale is either recycled or sold.

Now, to prepare the next one. I have several started, and one essentially finished.

8/27/08

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Cold Shot (Live in Texas)

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Cold Shot (Live in Texas)

Stevie Ray Vaughan died August 27, 1990 in a helicopter crash on the way to Chicago.



(original MTV video)

8/26/08

A Hymn To God The Father - John Donne

Read this the other night to an artist's group I am active in. As my art is poetry, and poetic-related writing, I have been reading samples of my own work. This month I did again, but also, introduced the group to John Donne, one of the greatest English language poets and a great man of faith. He died in 1631, and, for the nonreader of poetry, is left for freshman literature classes to read.

A Hymn To God The Father

by John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

8/19/08

Art Education for the Non-Artist: review: The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists: Seventh Edition (Dictionary, Penguin) (Paperback)

"The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists: Seventh Edition (Dictionary, Penguin) (Paperback): Art Education for the Non-Artist

I am a writer, not an artist, and thoroughly appreciate "The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists" by Peter and Linda Murray.

Though a dictionary, I am using it as a primer. While I am aware of major movements, schools and the artists, and, of course, the most major of works, there is so much I missed that I am reading now. Getting deeper into Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh is a must, as is learning about Dada (I am glad that never stuck).

As I read other materials in my attempt to acquire and bone up in all the arts (music, literature and the visual arts), this is becoming a strong tool for cross-referencing periods in artistic development, especially from a Western hemisphere perspective.

Each entry is encyclopedic, not like a dictionary. There are no etymologies or pronunciation help, just definitions.

What pleases me most is that I understand what I am reading. Lacking the rich artistic vocabulary is no problem. Everything is explained intelligently, simply but not superficially.

I fully recommend "The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists" by Peter and Linda Murray.

Anthony Trendl
http://anthonytrendl.blogspot.com/

Driven - by Trendle Thomas (Jazz)

Trendle Thomas is not my brother. Despite a shared name, my own brother has no particular musical skill. This guy, though, has some chops, as does the band he's with.



Driven - written by Trendle Thomas
Chris Rhodes - Bass
Trendle Thomas - Keyboards
Kevin Childress - Drums
Kevin Basiliko - Sax
Artie Campbell - Additional Keyboards
Ray Brooks - Percussion

Worth Repeating: Politics in a Box: Why I Am Not a Republican, Why I Am Not a Democrat

Most of this post is a rerun, edited somewhat the highlight the more important and current concerns.

A reader of a recent post suggested she knew my bias, but, if anything, I am realizing more and more my dissatisfaction with both Barack Obama and John McCain. One is supported by NARAL (the leading abortion rights group) while the other supports cell stem research beyond the degree I am comfortable with.

No matter how much I enjoy listening to a Barack Obama speech, I cannot get beyond his ardent support of abortion rights.

As much as I am convinced John McCain's experience is fundamentally more substantive than Barack Obama's, he is part of the "establishment." You know the Generation X catch-phrase, "Trust no one over 47." Seriously, he knows how to get things done, but at what cost?

Idealism or experience? That's not the choice I will be making in November.

My question: Who will lead our country best, following closest what I believe morally, ethically, making decisions that will protect my country? Right now, I have no good choice.

A number of readers of my blogs wonder where I stand politically. I have managed to incense supporters of both parties. Readers of my more political posts wonder, and for good reason. I argue for and against their capacities.

I will not put politics in a box. You might say I'm nondenominational. I'm not independent exactly, as I probably will never vote for a third party candidate in the presidential election. I can't find a good reason to. The old idea that it is throwing away a vote makes sense. Yet, I am not registered as a member of either the Republican or Democrat Party.

All candidates disappoint me. None meet my needs, and so whomever gets my vote will be second best. I have written in support of candidates that later showed me I was too quick to endorse, and likely will again.

If one really excited me, I think it would only be giving too much trust in government. I am not cynical, but no man or woman will solve society's troubles. No party, even one I entirely agree with, can do that job.

I am prolife (more on this).
  • That means simply I think aborting unborn children is wrong, and that women or men making the decision to do that are killing a child.
  • It also means I think killing inmates is equally wrong, and that the judge or jury, as well as doctors and guards involved in moving that inmate toward death are wrong. They are willfully killing.
  • One of the greatest ills of society in America has been done by Planned Parenthood, which has sugar coated abortion, and naive, but well-meaning women have ended up choosing to kill their baby with Planned Parenthood's knives and poisons.
I am fiscally conservative.

  • Don't ask me for financial advice. Not my speciality. However, I think debt is a bad idea, we should pay for what we buy, and we should work toward a stable economy. I doubt I'll get disagreement there. I don't like taxes, but who does? Necessary evil, but we should avoid getting the government paying for too much. That is, we need to pay taxes to pay for essentials, but there a lot of non-essentials.
I am mixed about welfare.

  • So many people are not born with money, or have the capacity to make much money. Children suffer from parents who are lazy, but also from having parents who struggle with physical and psychological problems. We must care for these people.
  • Those of us in a position to help individuals should. Hire, teach, give, whatever. Those of us with more to give should also give to good organizations doing good things in this category. This can reduce the government's need to help.
  • So, you could say I don't want a nanny state, but, likewise, I don't want a nanny church. I hear, "The Church should help." Yes, they should, but if we ourselves are not helping who we can, asking the government or Church to step in is not right.
  • This is based partly on theology, partly on experience. There's eight years of working with jail and prison inmates and homeless individuals, living in the tougher part of town, getting to know gang members, murderers as well as the guy who made one bad decision but is at his core a good man. I saw the everyday issues, not merely sociology class theory. My beliefs are not based though on a social gospel, but a Christ-centered Gospel that includes loving my neighbor.

What else?

  • I don't think the government should tell us who counts as married. Am I for gay marriages? Perhaps in the secular sense, I don't care. As a Christian, that's another matter. What a judge does matters to the government. What my church does matters to me.
  • I think Islamic terrorism is here to stay, and we need to be proactive in solving this problem of hate.
  • I am not pro-war, but, I think we must aggressively pursue Osama bin Laden, and all other terrorist leaders. As prolife as I am, I think it is consistent to stop them by killing them if necessary. One captured, though, no matter how guilty, we should not kill even bin Laden.

Politics are part of life, and imperfection is part of politics. There is nothing to lose sleep over, or endure angst as a result. The problems with each candidate are plenty, and too many now to type, so, for now, this'll be enough.

8/18/08

Freedom of Speech: Obama, McCain Talk with Rick Warren

Freedom of speech lives in America. Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, opened a dialogue with Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama has been very direct in calling himself a Christian, and McCain has not been as direct. Read the news.

As a prolife and anticapital punishment Christian, I am pleased that this stuff is getting addressed.

It is a well-known fact that Barack Obama is comfortable with abortion, tolerating whatever moral he has for the legal right to kill an unborn child, yet is likewise comfortable leaving Iraq to fend for itself in order to save American lives.

It is also a well-known fact that John McCain is comfortable with war, tolerating whatever moral issues he has sending American soldiers into harm for the legal right for a democratic Iraq to exist, yet is likewise comfortable denying a mother a right to abort the life of her child, placing the mother's choice second to the child's imminent birth.

All moral issues are viewed through a moral compass. For Christians, that compass happens to be what they believe God wants. Either way, we all have standards.

Whether or not churches should be injected into the political process was not too deep a struggle for Reverend Jesse Jackson, Pastor Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Phleger, or Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. They all seemed very comfortable with preaching their politics in churches.

Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter explained directly they were Southern Baptists. Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. held their personal beliefs somewhat quieter. George W Bush happens to be a member of the same denomination as Hillary Clinton.

A church is just a building, and Rick Warren in just a man, and the congregation he is a pastor of are just people, some of which are voters. He got Barack Obama on stage with John McCain, something no one else has previously done.

I hope the Muslim groups have similar forums. I am curious what John McCain and Barack Obama would say to these questions in a mosque, and how Muslims would phrase them.