Maybe the Best Tribute…

Maybe the best tribute to Tom Wallace—or at least the one I find the most personally reassuring—is that his name is the number one search-term leading people to my blog right now, and my page hits have increased about 500% as a result.


To all of you stumbling upon the blog because of that…  I’m deeply sorry for your loss, and I mourn with you.  My apologies for anything else you read here that doesn’t do Tom’s name—which I’m gratified to see was so well-known and loved—justice.

Rest in Peace, Tom

I was planning on writing up something else entirely.  I was supposed to be writing about Pro Wrestling and Hulk Hogan making an unexpected move to TNA Wrestling, along with Eric Bischoff.  This was supposed to be a fun, lighthearted, goofy little blog post.


Instead, I’m saying goodbye to ANOTHER friend.


Those who’ve been reading my blog for a long while know that I used to work at St. Louis Christian College and that I’m a graduate of the school as well.  While I was a student there, there was a member of the faculty named Tom Wallace.  His wife’s named Linda and she ran the bookstore right up until this semester.  She was laid-off at the same time I was, when SLCC’s budget hit the red.  When Linda and I were both still working there, I’d find some excuse to go over to the bookstore EVERY DAY to say hello to her (and Deb) and chat for a while.  As recently as TODAY, I saw Linda, who interviewed for a job with the company for whom I now work this morning.  All things considered, I’m glad I got to see her with her spirits up.


I’m unclear on the timeline…but somewhere after her interview, Linda went home and started making diner.  Tom was downstairs exercising.  Linda walked downstairs to find him unresponsive.  9-1-1 was dialed, but he could not be revived.  Today, Tom Wallace died of a heart attack while his wife lovingly prepared him food he would’ve loved eating.  It’s incredibly sad.  It’s not real to me yet.  My jaw literally dropped when I read it on Facebook.  I actually hesitate to post anything about it because I just can’t believe that it’s actually true.  It’s just shocking.


Tom, as I said, was a faculty member at the school while I was a student.  We didn’t have much direct contact as it pertained to my education, but he would always say hello when he saw me and he knew my name for absolutely no reason other than that it was important to him to know it.  That’s a good man.


One day, Tom arranged for me to play a gig in Litchfield, Illinois in a fund-raising thing for SLCC.  I haven’t always done right by SLCC, and I’m not necessarily the first person they’d choose as the poster-boy for their Alumni Association…but I was touched when Tom asked me to do that.  I still had the long hair at the time and Tom was one of the few—if not only—faculty members who ever asked me to do something like that.  Most of them, I think, wanted to keep me OUT of the promo-materials based on looks alone…  I hope I did him proud.  (I regret that I never told him how much that meant to me as a student.)  I drug my friend Cody along to play congas, and we did about a half-hour to forty-five minutes.  Tom was there.  He was complimentary, kind, considerate (he made sure I got paid for mileage and made sure the church got us something to eat, as well), and even though I’m not sure the stuff I played was quite his cup of tea, he applauded at all the right times.   He was exactly the kind of man you want in your audience.  He was exactly the kind of man you want in your LIFE.


The world sucks a little more without him.


I could say more…but I’m starting to bum myself out, and I kind of want to stop writing.  I guess that the measure of a man isn’t how much you CAN say about him, it’s how much you have to leave unsaid for fighting back the lump in your throat.


Rest in peace Tom.  I don’t know why you had to leave here so early…I just know Heaven’s luckier than we are.

Just realized…

First of all…sorry ’bout not blogging over the weekend…not much of interest happened…


…but moving on…


I just realized that I don’t have a tape player anymore.  I’m working on a record with a friend, and he gave me a tape of the songs so I could make some notes and rehearse.  “Thanks, I’ll get right on this,” I said.  But then I got into the car and started driving home.


I slightly chuckled to myself that I don’t have a tape player in the car.  A few years ago, I’d have popped it right into the player and given it a listen on the ride home.  Not an option.  Only a CD player and an input for my iPod in there.  Then I got to thinking about it…and…I don’t have a tape player.  I THINK I might have an old 4-track somewhere that I accidentally stole from a friend…but the tape players I used to have either don’t work anymore or I can’t find the power-cords for them.


So how am I supposed to listen to this thing?  Does anyone even SELL tape players anymore?


…and how freaking SAD is it that the format died and we barely even noticed?  …probably about as sad as it was when Soupy Sales died and most of us thought, “Oh…didn’t know he was still alive.”


So, rest in peace, cassette tapes.  And Soupy Sales.

…about the Bible…

I’ve been thinking about the Bible. The one I’ve been reading lately, I’d imagine isn’t too different from your own, assuming you have one. (Most people in America, incidentally, do have one. Several in fact. They are often gifts that go unopened or family heirlooms that get trotted out only during funerals if someone takes the time to write all the family births and deaths in it…but I digress.) My Bible is 1141 pages long (small print, by the way). It has little notes in the footer of the text, explaining cultural things you might be interested in, giving some possible options for meanings of particularly arguable texts, and referencing other places in the Bible that contain similar themes, ideas, or wordings. It’s fairly easy to understand. It’s in a more-or-less modern version of English. The stories, even at their longest, are shorter than most novels you’ve probably read. It’s a pretty straightforward, simple, everyday Bible.


I’d imagine most Bibles look comparable to this. There are some variations, of course. Some don’t have all those little (irrelevant) footnotes. Some are worded in different (but similar) wordings of English from my own. Some have different coloured passages of text to indicate words spoken by Jesus. Some aren’t leather-bound. Some are thinner (largely because they saved page-space without the footers). Some are thicker (largely as marketing devices). But in all, I’d imagine the stories are basically the same. The point is consistent from Bible to Bible, I’d think. The words are basically easy to read—or at worst no more taxing than reading a “classic” by Dickens or Austen, or even a dreadful fluff piece by Nick Sparks or anything from Oprah’s Book Club. The point is, that I’d wager good money the Bibles we both have are pretty similar, with only inconsequential differences.


So…here’s the thing. There are thousands—literally THOUSANDS—of books that have been written attempting to explain the Bible. Go to (or, my preferred, and type the words “Bible commentary” into the search field. Barnes and Noble gave me over 5000 hits. And these are only a slim margin of the available resources out there. Whereas there are commentaries that discuss the Bible as a whole, most of the commentaries considered to be “good” in Biblical Academia are the ones that deal with only one book of the Bible per volume of the commentary series. (A lot like a standard encyclopedia…except where Vol. 5 of a standard encyclopedia might be for the letter “E,” Vol. 5 of a Bible Commentary might deal with the Bible book of Deuteronomy. You get the idea.) In the case of the Word Biblical Commentary, there are two full books dedicated to just the Biblical book of Genesis. In my bible, Genesis is 50 pages long. The Word Biblical Commentary books on the subject reach a total of 962 pages—about 90% as long as my WHOLE Bible. That seems strangely weighted to me.


Christians, for the most part believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Of course, there are some who debate the degree of inspiration vs. human interpretation blahblahblah…but let’s keep this kind of general and just allow that MOST Christians believe the Bible to be God’s word. God’s perfect, flawless Word. So…why does God’s word—perfect in its simplicity and brevity—need a series of books that dwarf it in page number alone to explain it? Doesn’t that seem kind of stupid? If God didn’t think that what was in the Bible was easy enough to understand, don’t you think he might have just added a bit more within the pages of the actual text rather than wait for some publishing company to fund a new commentary set? Doesn’t it seem just a little bit like these people are wasting their time?


…but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one left who’s actually interested in studying the actual words IN the Bible, rather than the words written about those words by people who, frankly, are altogether too wordy in the first place. Myself included.


So there you go.


Stuff I Bought from Barnes & Noble:

  • Harvey Pekar – “American Splendor — Another Dollar”
  • Nick Hornby – “Not a Star”
  • Nick Hornby – “Shakespeare Wrote for Money”
  • Nick Hornby – “Housekeeping vs. the Dirt”

…so basically, I’m catching up on my balding dudes who write about day-to-day stuff…


Side note…if the Windows guy and the Mac guy from those commercials both applied for the same job, who do you think they’d be more likely to hire?  The guy in the suit, right?  Makes ya’ think…

Good News

Just a small update.  My brother and sister-in-law got good news about the twins today.  (I think we—and by “we,” I mean “I”—are officially calling them “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” until we have proper names to call them, by the way.)  Doctor’s now reading BOTH heartbeats and everything looks great.  Thanks to everybody who kept them in mind this week.  (Thought about posting the ultrasound pic…but technically that’s a picture of two naked kids and it’s just not that kind of blog.)


And now the (selfishly) bad news…the due-date has been changed to May 29.  That’s my birthday.


No offense to Dave and Valerie, but I’m turning 30 this year…and I’m sure I’ll love whatever arrangement of  nieces/nephews this turns out to be…but—again, no offense—I’m not doing kid-shit on my 30th.  You’d best PLAN that C-Section!  🙂  (Mostly joking…kinda…maybe…)


In all seriousness…  Officially congrats to them on officially having everything be officially official as of today.  Officially.


Current Reading:

  • Ordered a few things from Barnes and Noble…most excited about the latest edition of Harvey Pekar’s “American Splendor” (called “Another Dollar”).  WAY looking forward to cracking that open when it gets here on Friday!!!


BONUS JOKE:  This one’s been going around the Internet for a couple of days, and I thought it was funny.  No idea where it originated…  “Thank God they found the balloon boy.  For a little while, I thought Michael Jackson was placing take-out orders.”