Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This cracked me up

(By Erik)

Check out and you’ll find a discussion called “Christian Chronicle tackles identity crisis.” It’s a discussion of Bobby’s latest story in our series “Are we growing?”

Scroll through the comments after the post and you’ll find one by someone named David. Here’s the comment:

“I’m not intending to hijack the thread/discussion here, but I just followed GKB’s link to the Chronicle website (haven’t looked at the paper in several years, and then in print). Why are there only three writers, apparently, for the whole deal? Ten articles on the front page — all but one (which was a congratulatory in-house piece) were written by one guy, his wife, and another guy. Should they be calling this a blog rather than a newspaper? Anybody got info/explanations? Maybe the print version has opinions from more than two households …”

I could go into a long discussion of the difference between news stories and “opinions” and how a lot of folks don’t acknowledge that there’s even a difference anymore (because people like Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken and Bill O’Reilly have rotted their brains), but I find this comment way too funny to be upset.

(Incidentally, the congratulatory, in-house piece was written by the one guy’s wife.)

-- Erik (a.k.a. “Another Guy”)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Meeting Malcolm

(By Erik)

The Christian Chronicle won four awards in the annual contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Jeanie and I drove to Tulsa for the awards banquet Saturday night. We met Bobby and Tamie there.

The big thrill for me was winning first place in the category “Minority Issues” for the story “Churches use edgy, 'street-savvy' evangelism to reach communities” that ran in our April 2006 issue.

The story focused on Malcolm McIntosh, a former gang leader who said he “got tired of trying to be God” before he started visiting churches. He was baptized at the Northeast Church of Christ here in Oklahoma City.

Malcolm defied my expectations. Quick-witted and sincere, he laughed through most of the interview. He was honest about his former life — and the fact that some elements of it still appealed to him. Many don’t understand that, for a lot of kids, gangs take the place of broken families. Malcolm used to give lunch money to children as young as 8 years old as a means of introducing them to gang life.

Now he warns kids about the dangers of that life — and he tells them about eternal life.

“I was a Blood,” he said. “I tell them we still use that blood, but now we live for the blood of Christ.”

I visited the Northeast church just a few days ago and asked about Malcolm. He’s still coming to church and doing well. I’m hoping he’ll be available to tell his story at this year’s World Mission Workshop. Oklahoma Christian is hosting it here in October.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Armed hairdresser pursues suspects

(By Erik)

The headline pretty much says it all.

Before I moved to Oklahoma to work for The Christian Chronicle, I was a reporter for the Savannah Morning News in the great state of Georgia. My beat was cops and crime. Here’s a “flashback” article that I wrote for the Savannah paper back in 1999. Rarely does a haircut go by that I don’t think of John “Mad Dog” Partain.

By Erik Tryggestad
Savannah Morning News
October 30, 1999

Two alleged purse snatchers got more than they bargained for when a hairdresser ran out of his Wilmington Island salon with a gun.

Master stylist and colorist John Partain saw two men run by his business, The Salon at Wilmington, at the Kroger Island Center on Johnny Mercer Boulevard, about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

"These guys were flying," Partain said. "Then I heard the lady holler ‘They got my purse! They got my purse!’"

The victim, an 81-year-old woman, was attacked in the parking lot of the shopping center.

Partain, 57, who served in the Army before he became a hairdresser, ran to the back of the store and grabbed his gun, a Walther PPK. He said he keeps it there in case his business is robbed.

"I remember (Partain) pushing me up against the washing machine, "as he grabbed the weapon and barreled out the back door, said Lucas Muncie, an assistant at the salon.

Partain watched the two men flee along the fence behind the shopping center. He yelled at them several times to stop.

The man with the purse jumped over the fence into a residential neighborhood and escaped, Partain said. The other didn’t make it over the fence, and continued to run along a drainage ditch in front of the fence.

Partain said he fired the gun into the dirt near the fence to try to stop him, but the man kept running. He fired again, but the man still didn’t stop.

"I wasn’t trying to hit him. I wouldn’t shoot him in the back. He was unarmed," Partain said.

He chased the man around the fence and down part of Penn Waller Road.

"Finally, he was out of gas," Partain said.

The man tried to hide in some bushes, but Partain ordered him down on the ground and kept him there until police arrived.

Chatham County officers arrived and arrested the man, identified as Shannon Deshawn Johnson in the police report, and charged him with robbery by snatching. Johnson, 21, of Miami, admitted to running from the scene, but denied involvement in the robbery, according to the report.

During the arrest, police found Johnson in possession of a small bag of cocaine, according to the report. Also charged with possession of a controlled substance.

The officers also took Partain’s gun, in case it’s needed for evidence.

Partain used to own a salon in Atlanta called Mad Dog John’s. He recently decided to move back to the Savannah area, where he grew up, but chose the tamer name The Salon for his new business.

Hairdressers in the salon Friday had mixed reaction to the incident. Some said they didn’t approve of Partain’s use of the firearm. Others, like customer Debbie Crawford of Tybee Island, said it’s just John being John.

"It seems to be in character for him," she said.

So what happened? Did John Partain get in trouble for discharging his firearm in a quasi-public area? Hardly. Here’s a follow-up report from the Web site of his business, The Salon at Wilmington:

“In an awards ceremony Feb. 28 Chatham County Police Chief Tom C. Sprague awarded John Partain, owner of The Salon at Wilmington, a Citizen's Award. Partain was honored for coming to the aid of a frail elderly widow, with total disregard for his personal safety, by chasing one of two suspected purse snatchers in the Kroger Islands Center. He caught and held one of the suspects until police came and made the arrest. Then he comforted the 80-year-old victim and assured her safe return home. The assailant pled guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.”

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Everything you've ever wanted to know about me can be explained by playing this video

(By Erik)

Click and be ye enlightened

Pretty much says it all. (The song will get stuck in your head after two or three plays, I promise.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Five things no one knows about me ...

(By Erik)

In continuing the trend I’ve established of mentioning Bobby and/or Tamie Ross in the beginning of every single blog post …

Bobby recently “tagged” me to list Five Things No One Knows About Me. For some time I’ve avoided this activity for the simple fact that any such information would be considered privileged and, if I posted it, would be no longer privileged or indeed unknown. Yet, as I find myself woefully without Netflix movies or anything decent to watch on TV, I feel oddly compelled to comply.

1. I have absolutely no writing ability at all. All of my articles are ghost written by my wife in her spare time. In fact, I’m not even writing this now. I’m in the other room playing Super Pac-Man.

2. I have AT LEAST two fingers on every single hand.

3. I have a brief cameo in the film Mission to Mars. I portray Marvin Morales, the wise-cracking head chef at NASA who breaks into Mission Control throughout the film, grabbing the intercom system and shouting the names of today’s entrees in the NASA cafeteria up to the astronauts as they approach the Red Planet. In the touching scene where Woodrow “Woody” Blake (Tim Robbins) dances with his wife, Terri Fisher (Connie Nielsen) in zero gravity as a wistful Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise) watches, pining for the wife he lost to cancer, I can be heard in the background yelling, “RIGATONI WITH SAUTEED BABY EGGPLANT, FRESH MOZZARELLA AND FRESH BASIL IN FILETTO DI POMODORO SAUCE. GOLDEN BROWN, WHITE MEAT CHICKEN SERVED WITH SHALLOTS IN TERIYAKI SAUCE. THE CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI TORTELLONI IS NOT AVAILABLE ON TODAY’S MENU. I REPEAT, NOT AVAILABLE. THAT IS ALL.”

My voiceover was cut from the final version of the film’s domestic release. The producers felt my performance was “too cerebral” and removed the romantic tension from the scene. However, the scene was left in its original form for the Italian version of the film. Though I have never visited, I am regarded in Italy as a national hero.

4. Right now I’m watching the religious TV station. It features Kirk Cameron, better known to the world as Mike Seaver of ABC’s popular sitcom Growing Pains, talking about the Ten Commandments. (Actually, a man with an Australian accent and a mustache is doing most of the talking. And no, I'm not sure if I'm spelling "Seaver" correctly.)

More recently Cameron portrayed the main character in the movie version of the popular Left Behind series of novels, a fictional account of the equally fictional belief that the Second Coming will be heralded by the Rapture and seven years of tribulation in which we will be tortured by the antichrist — an evil man with a bad Russian accent in the Left Behind version. He will also be the head of the United Nations, which believers in the Rapture think is an evil organization bent on nothing less than complete world government. They are wrong, of course. It is well known by all free-thinking people that the evil organization bent on world domination is not the United Nations. It is Disney.

Kirk Cameron’s voice is just slightly ahead of his mouth movements on the religious channel. I fear that he might be the antichrist. If he is, perhaps he has the power to silence the moustached man with the Australian accent.

5. “Tryggestad” isn’t actually a name at all. It’s merely an assemblage of random letters I put together by punching a “Speak N’ Spell” repeatedly. My actual name is X92458756-NB478. I am a clone — part of an elaborate government experiment to create an exact genetic duplicate of Leon Trotsky, the Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary, Marxist theorist and founder of the Red Army. The government deemed the experiment, code-named “Treadway,” a failure. I was released into the wild to fend for myself, and the government was forced to devise another method of winning the Cold War — pushing the Soviets to the edge of economic ruin by escalating the arms race during the Reagan era instead of having me — had I, in fact, developed into a perfect genetic double of Trotsky — announce to the Soviets, “Oops, comrades. Looks like I was turned around on this whole communism thing. Free markets rule!”

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Can't beat that Chronicle style!

Bobby and Tamie's blog has a neat little search function that lets you look at blogs across the Web that mention The Christian Chronicle. I browsed through them (there's a lot of talk about the "Are We Growing?" stories Bobby's written) and came across one site that had the title "Viagra."

Obviously, I had to investigate.

So here it is — a mention of The Christian Chronicle on a Web site named "Viagra" (I excerpted the section that mentions our publication):

"Viagra what likelihood there was of an disobedient dangerousness by the musicales. but it is desponding that it was after the stern-frame of the Viagra, since it has interpolations from the Christian chronicle-style. The Viagra of this intended poem, re-visit probably the d'asacs of the Pursuest Khsatriya"

Yep, that pretty much says it all.

-- Erik "disobedient dangerousness" Tryggestad

Monday, February 05, 2007

Our favorite airline excuses

(By Erik and Jeanie)

It’s hard for us to top Bobby’s recent airline experience, but here is a list of actual excuses for delayed flights Jeanie and I have heard over the years. Please feel free to post your favorite excuses.

(But seriously, we love to fly … and it shows.)

There’s a small electrical problem with the plane.

This nondescript problem took about three hours to resolve. It was a Memphis to Amsterdam flight, too. And although I say “resolved,” I can’t help but remember that the whole plane smelled like burning electrical wires.

A small part of the handle broke off one of the cargo doors.

We sat on the tarmac for half an hour while they looked for a maintenance guy. Finally, someone showed up with something that looked like — I’m not kidding — clear packing tape. A few minutes later we were good to go.

The flight attendants were delayed going through customs.

… which seemed strange to me, as it was a domestic flight

There’s a small spring in one of the windows that’s broken. We’re trying to put a new spring in now.

This took about 45 minutes to fix, while we all waited on the plane. Jeanie and I were scratching our heads. What sort of window on a plane is spring-loaded?

The TSA is inspecting all the cargo we’re unloading from the place this plane just came from — Tegucigalpa, Honduras. After they’re done we’ll begin loading your luggage.

I was in the plane for that one. (I think they found a few flight attendants in there.)

Since we were late pulling away from the gate, we got behind another plane that’s also going to Chicago, and now we can’t take off until he’s been in the air about five minutes.

Yes, evidently planes generate something akin to a wake zone. This was some sort of FAA rule.

There’s some sort of wreckage on the runway in Lagos, so we’re diverting to Abuja and will wait for them to clean it up.

All I can say is, “Ahhh … Nigeria!”

We don’t have a pilot for this plane

Whoops! They had to call a guy in to fly the plane. He looked like he was about 17 years old.

There’s some sort of animal on the runway.

The pilot (the same 17-year-old) assured us that, the last time he was at Chicago O’Hare, the same thing happened.