Posts Tagged ‘Dan Kenney’

So what does that mean?

I was born in 1975, so I started to become aware of life and my surroundings by the time I was five and by the time the 80’s were done, I was starting high school.  To me, the quintessential 80’s kid.

So what does it mean to be an 80’s kid?

It could mean any of the following.

I remember when MTV first came on the air…and when it became big…and when my family got the new cable box just to try basic cable out…and when mistakenly we got a whole bunch of other channels free for a year.  (and yes, I remember trying to watch that one station through the fuzzy vertical bars) I remember my brother and I getting up early on Saturday morning to watch videos, you know really awful Ronnie Milsap and Rod Stewart videos and Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder doing Ebony and Ivory along with the occasionally awesome Michael Jackson or Iron Maiden video.

I remember MASH and Dallas and Bosom Buddies and Three’s Company in Prime Time.  I remember Howard Cosell and Don Meredith on Monday Night Football and even at an early age quite aware that some of these guys must be a little drunk.  I remember After School Specials and Nancy Reagan and Don’t Do Drugs and really scary guys from Prison coming to our school to Scare Us Straight!

I remember the day Reagan got shot.  I was walking home from Adam Stabell’s house when my dad brought my brother’s home from school in the old wood paneled station wagon and they yelled out of the windows that “Reagan got Shot” and we watched the few seconds of that footage on our thousand pound wood paneled television over and over again the rest of the day.

I remember trying to sneak in watchings of the Benny Hill show on Sunday nights.  Why?  I knew that my mom and dad thought it was innappropriate and that was enough to make it rather curious to me.  An entire show about a British pervert.  With a kooky song.  The 80’s.

I remember when the president would speak and we kids would run around the house screaming our heads off because there would be nothing to watch on TV that night.

And this is exclusively for people from Omaha.  I remember Peony Park the sandy beach swimming pool and the coolest arcade.  I remember thinking that kids who were awesome at pin ball were just about the coolest kids in the world.  I thought Pinball Wizard by the Who was so cool.  I remember my brother’s talking to me about Sprite Night and how someday I would get to go there (but I never did since it shutdown).  And I remember getting the all day ride pass on the day of a Smithereens concert, then me and a buddy finding an opening in the fence, trying to crawl through, only to find that a girl was urinating on the other side.  Frown.

I remember leaving by house on my bike for what appeared to by days on end.  We didn’t have to check in but we did have to be back by dinner time.  I’m not sure what my mom did while I was gone and I didn’t care.  I was a boy with a dirt bike.  I had dimes to spare.  I kept them rolled up in sock and if I was lucky I could get a sweet twist soft serve cone.  And after that, check out the dirt bikes that were too expensive for me to by at the bike shop.  And then go to the hobby store and look at all the miniature war figures and hobby trains. Ahh!  It was a good life.

I remember when every decent tv show was at least 50% car chases.  I remember when Chips was considered a decent tv show.  I remember the one episode when they were up against such a badass gang of motorcycle guys that they had to unveil and use the “SUPER BIKE”!

I remember all those shows about cars that could talk (Knight Rider), motorcycles that could go 300 miles per hour (street hawk), and awesome helicoptors (I’m talking about you Blue Thunder and Street Hawk).

I remember when I used to look at the 3 miserable kids in my suburban middle class 3rd grade class and feel so sorry for them that their parents were divorced.  But they did get to go to some mysterious group called Rainbows where rumor had it they got to eat donuts.  Seemed a small consolation to me.  I was so glad that would never happen to me.  Until four years later it did, and I joined the ever growing group of kids whose parents were getting divorced.

I remember how I knew that my generation had it easy.  We didn’t have a war.  We didn’t grow up in a time of sacrifice.  All we had was some little weekend thing called Grenada and then there was that other thing with Noriega…oh and Iran Contra…but who knew what that was other than a chance for Ollie North to say I have no recollection One million times after consulting with his lawyer.  I guess all us 80’s kids had was the weird looming fear that at some point The Soviet Union and the USA would destroy each other with a gabillion nuclear weapons.  I remember constant comparisons about how much bigger our MX missile was than their whatever thing a ma jig.  I remember being terrified after watching the Day After.  And you know how my parents made me feel better?  They said, don’t worry honey, we live in Omaha.  We won’t have to deal with nuclear winter or our faces melting off.  Because of STrategic Air Command here, we will be one of the very first targets.  And if it makes you feel better honey, we will get into the station wagon and drive down to StratCom just to make certain we are instantly vaporized and we don’t feel a thing.  (Seriously, they really told me this…and you know what, it actually made me feel better).

I remember the Big Gulp.  And how I didn’t think it was possible that any one human being could drink that much soda pop in one sitting.  And then they came up with the Double Gulp.  Crap!!!  You remember, it had the paper sides that folded up and then you punched the straw through the hole.  It was literally a box that held pop.  It was so freaking big that it was a damn box!  (and a side note, most pop at the Gas Station today are Double Gulp size or bigger I think)

I remember the farm crisis, the Savings and Loan disaster, watching the Challenger disaster during school, thinking BMX dirt bike racers were super human, watching Mary Lou score her perfect 10, watching Jim McKay do Wild World of Sports, watching the ridiculous Super Bowl shuffel of the Chicago Bears, having the big U2 verses Bon Jovi debate in junior high.  Shockingly, the girls favored Bon Jovi and the guys U2.

I remember crimping.  Man I wish crimping would come back in style.

There’s alot more, and I guess there are some things I would like to come back…but for the most part, I’ve moved on.  You see, I’m an 80’s kid.  The other thing that makes me an 80’s kid is that I’m perpetually annoyed with the Baby Boomers and the 60’s people.  The ones who always talk about “Dylan” and make a certain voice when they say “Dylan” like if you don’t get “Dylan” you just aren’t smart enough; you don’t get it.

You’re right, I’m not smart enough and I don’t get it.

I prefer the memories of wearing out my brother’s Reo Speedwagon Eight Tracks, that awesome Boston debut album, and all that other stuff like 38 Special, Blue Oyster Cult, Eddie Money, Chicago, and Moody Blues.

I remember skating parties, the highlight of the gradeschool calendar year.  And how hearing the song “Gloria” even to this day transports me back to the skating rinks of the 80’s, those holdovers of 70’s disco culture.

I remember spring loaded, hard plastic, dart guns that could actually hurt people.  And I remember taking toy guns everywhere with us and nobody ever thinking there was anything wrong with that.

I remember Blue Light Specials when they really meant something.

I remember when 1 murder was a very, very big deal and not a regular weekly occurrence.

I remember the 80’s.  Not a perfect decade.  But it was my decade.

I am an 80’s Kid.


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At least not instantly.

But here is some of what Jesus does offer us by way of the Good News.

If you make a firm and fundamental decision to follow Jesus.

If you repent for your sins.

If you are truly sorry for your sins and make a firm commitment to try and not to do those sins again.

Then…Jesus will forgive your sins. All your sins. Right then and there.

Just like that. Just like love.



Just because Jesus saves us. Just because he covers up our own iniquities with his perfect righteousness. Just because he opens up the Gates of Heaven for us. Just because in a sense he makes us, the unloveable, suddenly lovable.

Doesn’t mean that Jesus also makes us Loving. At least not right away.

You see, that takes longer. And we all know it.

We get out of confession and we feel great. The slate has been wiped clean, our sins have been forgiven and sanctifying Grace has been restored in us and we are ready for bigger and brighter things. Then we go out to our car and try to get out of the parking lot when somebody cuts off of. Our initial instinct is to cuss them out and wonder why they are such a moron. But, because we just got out of confession, we have to tame and control our instinct, our habit. We have to overcome it.

You see, we spend a lifetime developing unloving habits, building up our unloving muscles so to speak. Just because Jesus forgives our sins instantly doesn’t mean he makes us super loving creatures instantaneously.

Lets puts it this way.

Lets imagine that getting fat was a sin. And lets say Jesus were to come down one day and forgive you for getting fat.

That would be awesome, except…that you would still be very much…fat. Jesus doesn’t change that part of it. At least not right away.

You see, after we accept Jesus’s forgiveness, his Salvation, his Grace, into our lives, then we have to follow Jesus. And because Jesus loves us first, because he reaches out to us, because he moves with Grace towards us, we are then Moved to love him back. And slowly, steadily, over time we start to develop new muscles, new habits.

Our unlove muscles go away and our love muscles build up.

This is why Catholics believe in purgatory.

Christ’s Salvation ‘gets’ us into Heaven, but it doesn’t make us good lovers, at least not right away. That takes time.

And as we become better lovers, our experience of the Communion that Heaven offers us will grow.

So, we don’t love Jesus in order to merit Salvation. (We can’t merit Salvation). Jesus offers us Salvation because of his own love, his own merits. After we accept Salvation, we are then so moved by our thankfulness and love for Jesus that we dedicate our lives to following him.

And one day, we will become so good at loving, that we will become very much like Christ himself.

We will be Saints and we will be enjoying the fullness of the Communion of Heaven.

So, if you haven’t accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, start with that. If you need to repent of your sins, do that. And if you’ve never really started the quite difficult work of following Jesus, the hard work of becoming a better Lover, get started today…get started Now.

It will be worth it.

Jesus is worth it.

Heaven is worth it.

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Disclaimer.  You will get no spiritual enrichment from this post.  If anything, the time you spend reading this will amount to time that was wasted from your life.  And with that….

You know trash talk, that way of insulting each other on the playground, on the court, or on the field that professional athletes seem to have mastered with Reggie Miller and Kevin Garnet being the patrons of this group.

I think I know where it started.

The Book of Kings.

I’ve got two examples as evidence.

First example comes from 1 Kings 20.  The context, Ahab is King of Israel/Samaria , which since 922 B.C. has been the collection of the northern 10 tribes of Israel that split off from Judah and Benjamin in the South.  And Ahab is a seriously bad dude.  He married Jezebel, who is a crazy Baal worshipper and he essentially has no backbone when it comes to her as she walks all over Ahab, taking him away from Yahweh worship and towards the worhsip of Baal.

But apparently Ahab has a little backbone when it comes to Ben-hadad, the King of Aram.

At the moment, Assyria is the big boy on the block in the Middle East so Ben-hadad decides to pick a fight with someone he thinks he can actually beat, Ahab and Israel.  So, Ben-hadad sends a message to Ahab telling him that all his gold and silver belongs to Aram.  Ahab initially agrees.  But when Ben-hadad demands even more, Ahab finally refuses.  And Ben-hadad gets angry and sends the following message to Ahab.

May the gods do thus and so to me if there is enough dust in Samaria to make handfuls for all my followers.  Translation?  I’m gonna kick your butt and run all over your sorry excuse for a kingdom.

But Ahab responds with the only thing redeamable about this otherwise bad and pathetic man.

Ahab gives us a good line.  A good trash talking line.  Here it is, from 1 Kings 20:11

“The King of Israel replied, “Tell him, ‘it is not for the man who is buckling his armor to boast as though he were taking if off.”

Bad job Ahab for being a petty murderous tyrant.  Good job for giving us a good line.  Its not quite “That’s bold talk for a one eyed fat man” Ned Pepper to Rooster Cogburn good, but its still pretty good, right?

It may not sound super current for 2012, but that’s what will make it so awesome when you use this line next time the opportunity arises.   Like lets say the next time you happen to be in the middle of a bar room brawl.  Some guy is talking about how much tougher he is than you as he breaks a beer bottle open so he can shank you.  (Happens all the time right?)  Then you just look this coward right in the eye  “it is not for the man who is buckling his armor to boast as though he were taking it off.”  You’ll not only diffuse the situation with this brilliant line, the guy will probably buy you a drink when your done.

Okay, ready for the next example?

Bueller.  Bueller.

It comes from 2 Kings 1.  The context is this.  That scumbag of a king Ahab has died and his equally crappy son Ahaziah has taken the throne of Israel.  He does evil just like mom and dad and is a committed Baal Worshipper.  Anyways, after he takes the throne, Moab sees an opportunity to rebel against the new king…so Ahaziah is already tense.  And then one night, he falls through the roof of his terrace in Samaria and injures himself.

He is in bad shape and looks to the gods for some help.  And no, he doesn’t go to Yahweh for help, I mean why ask the God of the Universe for help.  Instead he asks his messenger to “Go and inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.”

This time, the trash talking is happening from the writer of the story.

The joke is that Ahaziah would have never called the god Baal by the term Baalzebub, rather he would have called him by the name Baalzebul.   Baalzebul was a term of honor and respect, it meant “Prince Baal” kind of like our Lord God appellation.

BUT.  When you make a little change and turn Baalzebul into Baalzebub…it no longer means “Prince Baal” it means “Baal of flies”.

While Ahaziah is trying to get advice from the god Baal, the author of the story keeps referring to this god Baal as “Baal of the flies”.

HA!  HA HA!  HA!

In the ancient world, the contest was always about who or what god was the toughest, the baddest, the strongest.  Part of that came from what was your god the god of.

Israel made the awesome claim that their God, Yahweh, was the God of EVERYTHING.

And Ahaziah, this unfaithful Baal worshipping King of Israel, he kept crawling to his god Baal for his needs and desires.

And what was Baal the god of?

According to 2 Kings 1, Ahaziah’s god was only…..”god of the flies”.

Who you gonna choose?   God of everything…….or…….god of the flies?


Again, I apologize for the last several minutes and no you will never get it back but I do have a little, teeny, god of the flies puny, sort of a point.

And its this.

There are all sorts of reasons to read the Bible.  Most of them are really spiritual and good and important.

But what’s wrong with occasionally picking up the Bible for another reason?  Because its full of great stories, interesting characters, and good cheesy lines?

God, Yahweh, Holy Trinity,  the God of Everything, is strong enough and smart enough and cool enough that He can bring you in your door and take you out through His.

God Bless and Good Reading!

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I was in really good shape for about ten minutes of my life, and it happened when I was twenty four.  I worked in a school where I would occasionally have to walk from my classroom to my office and to get there I would have to walk right through a huge room that was built for dancing, and which stil had wall to wall mirrors.

And everytime that there wasn’t anybody else around, I would look in that mirror and remark to myself that I looked good.  Yes, you got that, I would check myself out.

Major D-Bag at the time…and I can see that now.

And yet.  When I was 24 I thought I was the greatest guy ever.  I thought I was religious, prayerful, generous, selfless, oh and talented…did I mention talented.  Yeah, most days I gave myself an A+.

That was then.

The reality is, I’m not a worse person than I was then.  Its just I now realize what a fool I was.  Because when I turned 25, I got married.  And now, 12 years later, my wife and I have six chidren.

Once I got married and had children, I started to get impatient, angry, yell.  I would start to guard my free time and little parts of myself like it was the most important thing in the world.  I have had arguments with 2 year olds that, if taped, would make Alec Baldwin look like a nun by comparison.

The hardest part of being a husband and a father has been realizing that in many ways, I am a total crap bag.  You see, as long as I thought I was an A+ dude worthy of checking himself out, I didn’t have much room for growth.

At least now, its a little easier to see the truth of who I really am, who I’ve always been.

And guess what, it sure is alot more obvious to me why I need Jesus in my life.

And I suppose that’s the best part of being a husband and a father, at least for me.

Although it probably won’t happen any time soon, my doctor still tells me that its medically possible that I could still get in very good shape some day.  So hypothetically, if I ever do, you’d guess that I would  be able to tell you with certainty that I would never ever check myself out again. Right?

Ah, the 24 year old me would have made that guarantee.  But the 37 me can’t.  I’ve learned that much at least.

And you know what else I’ve learned.  There’s some way I act right now, some way I live my life right now, that I think is fine.  But in about ten years, I’m gonna look back and realize what a fool I was.

Maybe it would be a good idea to spend some time reflecting what that be right now…and then do whatever I can to change it…now.

It sure would save me the embarassment of having to write about it ten years from now.

And maybe this applies to you as well.  Maybe there’s something your doing right now, that if you spent some time considering it….would embarrass you a little bit.  If so, ask Jesus for help….to have the courage to change it now.

God Bless!


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You’ve probably seen this picture all over the web so apologies to whoever posted it first, but its so good that I wanted to use it to.  Its a visual image of the difference between men and women.







Or, as I heard a guy say it one time.  You know those movies where the safe cracker has the stethescope on his ears and he is listening to the internal workings of the safe while he tries to crack it?







Sometimes they will show the internal tumblers inside the lock while he tries to find the combination.  And only when all of the different tumblers of the lock line up, only then will the safe open.  This guy used this image to explain how difficult it is to make women happy.

I laugh at both the picture above and the mental image offered by my friend because both are TRUE!

Women are complicated creatures.  Brain research seems to indicate that many different parts of the typical female brain are activity at the same time all the time.  This contrasts with the typical male brain which usually fires white hot in one area of the brain while many other areas are off.

And women have hormonal profiles which shift almost daily depending on where they are at in their cycles.  Men are pretty much always the same.

What does this mean?  Apparently that what makes women the incredible and fascinating creatures that they are also makes them a little…er….frustrating…for men, that is.

And so, things could be going well for a women in 9 different areas.  But if something is wrong in that 10th area, then she could well be affected by it.  Men on the other hand are overwhelmed that a human being can even think about ten different areas at the same time.  The thought is exhausting.

So what does it mean?

That trying to make a woman happy by figuring out how to make her happy in all ten areas at the same time is probably a losing proposition.  Men, give up that fight right now.  Because when pushed to really explain what a woman wants out of a man, most will probably not give you a listing of the ten things they want done at all times.  Instead, a woman will probably say something like “I just want a good man who is good and kind to me and helps me raise our children well.”  And so men, go focus on that.  Just be a good man.  Do your best in the other areas but know this, that some days, she just is thinking about so much and has so much on her plate that she isn’t going to be super duper happy exactly when you want her to be.  Instead, just be good to her and over time, that will make all the difference.

And women, here is the good news.  Its kind of like you are a professional basketball player and you’ve been invited to play in the little leagues on the eight foot rims.  Because making men happy?  Its EASY.  All you have to do is ONE thing.

I know what your thinking and I’m not going there.  Yes, somedays, for your man, it may be THAT ONE THING.  But certainly not always.  But at almost any time, its only one thing.  Just figure out what that is.  Then do that.  He’ll be Happy.  Guaranteed.

Simple, right?

So….don’t complicate it.


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Ha!  Wouldn’t it be great to write a blog post all about how women need to act?  Wanted to grab your attention.  This post will be way less courageous than that, and hopefully a bit more nuanced.

My starting point for this post is the following.  That you are a woman who first and foremost desires  a life focused on Christ.   That second, you desire a husband who is primarily focused on a relationship with Christ and who can be a great leader for your marriage and your family.

And so the question is, what can you do to help your husband be the man that God is calling him to be?

You love your husband.  You want whats best for him, that’s what great lovers do.  They will the best for their beloved.  But you also believe that the more your husband is focused on Christ and doing God’s work in the world, the better marriage you will have and the better family you will have.  And so although you first and foremost want your husband in relationship with Christ for the good and joy of your husband, you know that the effect on you, your marriage, and your family will be profound.

And again, your question is, what can I do to help my husband?  What can I do to support him?  Or lets be more plain about it.  You think that right now, you are doing a pretty fair job of making God the center of your life…but your husband?  Not so much.  And you really want to know what you can do to change that situation.  Right?

Let’s imagine for a second that what your husband wanted more than anything in the world was the love and affection of his wife.  He dreams about having a wife who thinks the sun rises and sets with him.  You would point out that this is disordered.  That his ultimate goal shouldn’t be what may or may not please him.  Rather, the main goal of his life should be what may or may not please God.  And…you would be right.


I think many women completely underestimate how incredibly inspiring and motivating the love and affection of a good woman can be….to a man.

I love the old Dr. Phil cliche.  “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be effective?”  I’ll assume for a moment, that you Mrs. Woman, want to be effective.  And so for a moment I want you to put aside the following.   “he should know better”.  “he should want to do that all on his own”.  “if he is just going to Church/praying the rosary/spending time at Adoration etc… to get rewards from me, then he is doing it for the wrong reasons”

Let me suggest to you, that the only way you don’t want your husband to do these things is with bitterness and resentment.  And even then, I would argue that the transforming love and power of Christ can do its work.  I do think you  as the incredible woman you are can be effective at motivating your husband to do any or all of the above and do it in a spirit of love and appreciation.  And I would argue this, if your husband starts to pray, attend daily mass, spend time at adoration (and he does all of this from a starting point of thankfulness, eagenerness, and joy)…then watch out.  Christ will take hold of that man, wrestle him down to the ground, and re-name him for himself.  Your husband’s life will change forever.

Your husband will eventually begin to seek Christ out no longer for you…but for Christ.

So please don’t assume that your husband needs to start out wanting Christ in order to eventually want and desire Christ.

What would be so wrong with your husband starting out by doing these things to please you, to gain your love and admiration?

And so my proposal is the following.

Find out your husband’s love language.  There is a way that your husband desires to be loved by you that he has expressed to you many times throughout the course of your marriage.  What is it?  I don’t know…but if you don’t know by now, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Does your husband want a wife who throws her arms around him and tells him how awesome he is and how much she loves you?  Does doing that make you want to puke?  Well, get over it.  If that’s what he wants, then do it.  And especially do it in such a way that rewards or encourages him to pray, to center his life on Christ.  I don’t need to spell it out for you, you are smart so figure it out.

Or, maybe your husband loves when you keep a clean house (I couldn’t care less about this but maybe some guy in the world cares).  Or maybe your husband loves when you arrange to have time alone just you and him.  Or maybe your husband loves when you compliment him.  Or maybe your husband loves when you fix him awesome meals.  Or maybe your husband loves it when you (fill in the blank).

I don’t care what it is…but it…is something.  Figure it out.

Men might frustrate you.  And if that’s the case, I have no sympathy for you.  You women, are, compared to us men, brilliant.  Brain studies consistently show that women have all sorts of areas of their brain firing all the time while men in comparison look like pre-historic animals.  And what amazes me is how an entire group of people (women) who are so darn smart find it so difficult to understand the simplest creatures on earth (men).

All you have to do with men is find that one thing.  That one way in which they would love to be loved by you.  And then?  Go do it.  Do it with joy.  Do it with the knowledge that you are encouraging and rewarding your husband towards Christ.

Once Christ consistently gets his hooks into your husband, then…well, forget about it.

God Bless You

P.S.    Men are searching for God in much of what they do. Athletics, achievement, money etc… All of it, is in some way an aspiring towards something great that will give them some sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. At different stages of life, the above may provide some fulfillment. But ultimately, all of it…every last ounce of it…is shallow compared to God. 

Only in God, will Men find their true home and contentment. So guess what?  You as wives need to do a better job of encouraging the right kinds of behaviors.  Don’t encourage the race for monPey, for possessions, for power, for achievement.  Neither you nor your husband will be able to take any of that to Heaven with you.  And some of it can derail you from the path to Heaven.  Instead, carefully and thoughtfully encourage and reward your husband’s good behavior.  Reward and encourage him to be a great husband, a great father, a great follower of Christ.




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The following link takes you to a talk I recently have on the First Creation Story from Genesis Chapter 1.

The First Creation Story – Genesis Chapter 1

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