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May 31, 2005

Good News! I'm going away and cool people are replacing me!

When I go on vacation (June 10-17), you won't be without culture! Sheila from The Sheila Variations and Joel from The Between (both accessable from the right toolbar) have agreed to help keep the ship running and have been given the keys to the kingdom while I'm away!

I should be near Internet access, so I'll probably toss up a post or two as well, but insomuch as I'll be at the beach, don't hold your breath.

Sheila and Joel should be getting their Popping Culture access cards, retinal scans and passports soon, and they have permission to put up some test posts and whatever else strikes their fancy in the meantime, so please make them feel welcome when they get here.

C'mon and get here already, June 10th!

Posted by Dan at 08:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Reason to Live #1: The Friendship Cup


Established in 1993 among a trio of novice golfers including your humble host, Jim and Scott, the Friendship Cup is traditionally awarded whenever all of the participants can convince their wives to let them go golfing instead of doing chores. Needless to say, this is a rare event indeed.

Our friend Doug was later added in the interest of creating a foursome, but this later proved to be a mistake, since Doug has the rudimentary beginnings of what could be considered golfing skills, which is more than the rest of us could claim.

Whenever the four of us can gather, the cupholder brings the trophy to the field of competition, and that day's winner takes the cup home after a ceremony wherein he writes his name and date on the ball he used on the 18th hole and places it in the cup, securing his place for all eternity.

Right now Doug has the cup, but he has been the unfortunate beneficiary of my move away from Virginia (where the other three cup-challengers live) and my bout with cancer, which has stalled competition and kept the cup in his possession longer than the bum deserves.

In the picture, you can see two golf balls resting atop the coveted trophy. On the left is the first ball ever to win the Friendship Cup. Note the word "Dan" on that ball. I earned that win, too, not with play on the links, but by overcoming the creative scoring techniques employed by Jim and Scott in the inaugural event. Alas, I have not held the cup since. The other ball, I think, is the most recent Doug win. Yadda yadda.

Suffice it to say that Cup competition separates the men from the rodents. Chemotherapy is cleansing me, making me whole, staightening the hitch in my backswing. I will emerge from cancer - I MUST emerge from cancer - to once again claim my rightful rank as cupholder. Beware, Jim, Scott and Doug. We will soon once again separate the men from the rodents. Or shall I say, me from you.

Oh, and this is you:


Nyah Nyah.

Posted by Dan at 03:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

New ad campaign reveals worst-kept secret in history.


Posted by Dan at 03:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

China has their own version of American Idol and it has THE COOLEST NAME EVER.

The Mongolian Cow Sour Sour Yogurt Super Girl contest.


Posted by Dan at 03:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ESPN drops contract to cover NHL.

Even if the National Hockey League DOES play next year, ESPN won't cover the games, saying they need to be more "TV-friendly." The move will cost the NHL yet another $60 million.

In related news, nobody cares.

Posted by Dan at 02:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From Popping Culture's "Does the punishment fit the crime?" Desk

Man freed after serving 35 years in prison for stealing a 19-inch black an white television.

Key quotes:

Under an old law, the late Judge Pou Bailey sentenced Allen to life in prison for sneaking into the unlocked house of Lessie Johnson, 87, near Benson and stealing her 19-inch black-and-white Motorola TV. Allen, a migrant farm worker at a nearby camp, was 30.

The harshest punishment the offense could draw now is about three years in prison.

"We've got an in-house joke here: How much time would he have gotten if he had stolen a color TV?"

Full story here.

Posted by Dan at 02:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Things they don't teach you about in journalism school.

A TV girl was sent to report on an orphan squirrel being raised by a pet cat — and killed the rodent by accidentally stepping on it.

Inka Blumensaat, of German station NDR, had hoped to film the heartwarming tale of the unlikely animal pals.

But it all went wrong as the squirrel climbed up her leg and she panicked.

Cat owner Heike Reher, 45, of Luebeck, said: “She leapt about like a mad woman and squashed it.

“Everyone looked in horror where the squirrel lay in a pool of blood. I was in tears.”

Story in The Sun.

Posted by Dan at 09:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2005

Memorial Day is a day when even dogs and babies get along.


Posted by Dan at 08:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Popping Culture Reflection: His strength made perfect in my weakness.

2 Cor 12:9-10
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

As a pastor, my goal, first and foremost was to serve as a "midwife of Grace" to those in my congregation. They would trust me enough to let me enter their most private lives, traumas, crises and conflicts and I would hope to serve as a sort of touchable representative of God.

In many ways, even the most dedicated pastor is in danger of seeing himself as a kind of empowered emissary of God who can rely solely on his own ability. I learned to identify certain danger signs in the life of a church or in the lives of individuals, and found myself therefore in danger of losing the perception of that "still, small voice." I became able to solve many administrative problems creatively, and found myself in danger of losing sight of what God had in mind for the church. As a writer, I found myself in danger of writing pretty sermons that sounded great and got wonderful feedback, yet fell short of the mark of delivering the message that needed to get across.

Most dangerously, as a professional "midwife of Grace," I lost, or nearly lost, the ability to see the workings of Grace in my own life. After all, I tell my congregation that I am just another human on the journey like they are. I tell them that, and on the surface I believe it, but after serving in enough hospital rooms, living rooms, conference rooms and pulpits, it's easy to elevate yourself. To think that since you deliver Grace and point people to it, that you don't need it yourself.

And then you get sick. Really sick.

Now who needs Grace, tough guy?

I found these words written by Reverend William Chidester, also from Ohio, who had liver disease:

"During my hospital stay I cannot begin to tell you what kind of support I received from my friends. What has been impressed upon me in ways that I will never forget is this - as a minister I spend much of my time caring for and about others. I am affirmed in the process of doing this. So here I am working to earn people's love, trust and admiration by being the best possible minister I can. Yet I was never able to do enough. Then I find something I can't do, function with my own liver, and it is out of my weakness that the grace of God is revealed. Because of what I can't do, I have been affirmed in these people's support and love beyond anything I thought possible."

If I had never been sick, I would never have felt Grace in a way that didn't need to feel earned, somehow. The people of my church, my friends, have stepped up and forced me into a new perspective, and for that I am grateful. Because of their constant cards, calls, meals, gifts and other support, I am able finally to feel and see Grace, not just deliver it to others.

Posted by Dan at 08:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Happy Memorial Day!

Today it would be a good idea to visit this website.

Posted by Dan at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2005

Eye Candy


by Edward Hopper

Yes, this has made its way onto Popping Culture a few times before, often with long commentary. Still, I think it might be my favorite important painting ever, so expect it to bubble up from time to time.

Posted by Dan at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I may have pushed the wrong button.


Posted by Dan at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer Updates: could it be a bug?

My temperature is back down near normal. At least part of what was going on was dehydration caused by too much Lasix and not enough complementary liquid. This is my own diagnosis.

I felt feverish, weak, headachey, and my blood pressure (usually on the high side) stayed low: all symptoms of dehydration. Once I went on a drinking binge yesterday I started to feel better.

Until the evening when I started coughing. I have a wicked cough now and decreased appetite. My temperature and blood pressure (the two things I can monitor at home) are normal. I guess they'll check my blood Wednesday before chemo, but I'd like to be on my feet before then. If I still feel bad Sunday, I'll call first thing Monday for blood work.

I feel like I've been in bed since Wednesday, but that's just because I've been in bed since Wednesday. Still, the whole pushing fluids thing helped out, so that's good news.

It's the details that kill you with cancer. It's the treatment that gets you, or the little things that crop up once they start knocking down your defensive systems.

Cancer is a jerk.

Posted by Dan at 02:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 28, 2005

Star Wars Easter Eggs.

Here are a few interesting tidbits you probably missed during your first viewing of Star Wars: Episode III, including a kitchen sink and the Millennium Falcon.

Via Boing Boing.

Posted by Dan at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Eye Candy: Modern Art?

Look what you can do with sidewalk chalk.

Posted by Dan at 08:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer Update: Saturday temperatures

7:50 a.m.: 99.1

This is a good sign. Anything over 100.5 is a problem. Normally every night at around 6 or 7 p.m. I get a fever, so that might have made my temperature spike higher before bed last night. I'll be posting more here later, so stay tuned.

Noon: 99.7

Creeping up there, but I don't care as long as we don't get over 100.5. I had been sleeping under a heavy comforter so that might have raised the temp. It also occurs to me that I may be dehydrated. I've been taking Lasix to get the fluid out of my lungs and maybe I should be replacing liquids better. I had some koolaid and now I'm going back to bed.

Posted by Dan at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2005

Don't look at this picture under any circumstances.


When I posted the Titanic picture, something in my little brain (for I am a bear of little brain) seemed to remember that there was another disturbing picture that Joel was fond of. I did a quick search and voila!

Two things to note are the pleasant smile on the woman's face and the little guy in the oven. Sleep well!

Posted by Dan at 10:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Popping Culture Update: Your host takes a turn.

Well, we know why I've felt so bad the last couple days. Tonight, my temperature got as high as 101.2. If it's still that high tomorrow morning, I have to go back to the hospital.

I don't like the hospital.

Time to start again with the prayers, happy thoughts, good mojo, joyous voodoo, power crystal alignment, or whatever you can send my way. If I go in the hospital now, there's a chance that the vacation is in danger. That's a negative in my book. Although, to be honest, at this point I'd drag myself to a week off if I looked like Anakin when Obi Wan left him on the Lava Planet (alert! geek reference!).

Help me out here. For my part, I'm taking several adult doses of Nyquil and going to bed.

Posted by Dan at 10:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Here's a game of chess that gets harder to win the better you play.

How long could you last?

Key rule:

3. Illegal moves are permissible as long as neither player notices.

Link via Dave Barry.

Posted by Dan at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You know what the dog means.


Treatment is getting me down and I'll be sleeping through the afternoon.

In the meantime, I found a sweet, sweet website for you to spend the next several minutes of your life perusing. It is called nostalgiacentral.com. Just enter a year and one of several topics (news, pop culture, music, television, etc) and strap yourself in for a ride down memory lane!

Posted by Dan at 01:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Now it can be told.

Two days out from treatment, I'm still weak, but I can finally comment on the American Idol finale:

Of course, Carrie won. Duh.

Usually about now I'd launch into the obvious reasoning behind Carrie's big win, but this MSNBC writer does it much better.

Key quotes:

Who could root against her? It would be like booing ice cream and apple pie.

The “Idol” producers could not have drawn up a better contestant if they’d tried. She was straight out of central casting...

And Bo?

He has talent, a large following, and the ability to wear multiple pairs of sunglasses in a single TV episode. He’ll do fine.

Posted by Dan at 09:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I can't help noticing...

...ever since the Yankees bashed their way from the basement to second place in the division, communications from The Hidden Rebel Base have gone WAY down.

Posted by Dan at 03:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Still just in rumor form, but what a rumor!

Star Wars Episode 0.

Posted by Dan at 03:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2005

This is not going to end well.


Posted by Dan at 01:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A little pick-me-up on a weak day.

Today is the day after chemotherapy as most of you know, and I don't remember ever feeling this weak. Weak as in, a trip up the stairs and back down means another couple hours in bed. Weak as in, flop in the chair and don't bother me until Monday.

So it was nice to receive this email out of the clear blue. I edited some of it down, but I hope it wasn't meant to remain private:

Hi Dan--

Kinda funny how this happened--
8 this morning Central time (im in Texas) I had just gotten into wrk and was browsing the internet looking up cat scans b.c my mom had one on her sinus and ears on tuesday. Blah blah... so anyways i came across your Blog or whatever it is called... I am not to familar with them...
Anyways- I read some of your stuff- you amaze me! i laughed at so many things you wrote and would hurry and scroll down to see another funny picture with another hillarious comment.
I have no real reason to write, just to tell you that i believe that if more people in this world had a sense of humor like you... the world would be so much happier!

Thanks for making my day a little brighter!!!

Lindsay N. Kwait

This is the kind of thing that helps you fight a little more every day, and I am grateful. Thank you for the good word, Lindsay!

PS You can tell she has good taste.

Posted by Dan at 12:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ladies, there's still time to buy this item for your geek husband before Doug Richter outbids you.

The Handmade Princess Leia Sock Monkey is still up for bids!

Posted by Dan at 08:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Please arrest me!

A Charlotte, N.C. woman was arrested and jailed after police said she called 911 dispatchers 20 times in a little more than a half-hour — all to complain that a pizza parlor wouldn't deliver.

Full tale of stupidity here.

Posted by Dan at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Here's an article for the kids who were running their mouths all the way through Star Wars 3, one of the few movies I'll see while I'm sick.

600 Choice Words for the Chatterers, by Peter Mehlman, a television writer and producer who worked on "Seinfeld."

Posted by Dan at 08:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 25, 2005

How today's chemo treatment reminded me of Spider-Man 2.

Remember near the end of the movie, when our hero, Spider-Man 2, was holding up a wall that was about to crush the delectable Kirsten Dunst?

Remember how, just at the peak of danger, Spider-Man 2 found the strength to lift the wall and toss it aside?

Imagine a weaker Spider-Man 2. Imagine the wall crunched his already worn out body. That was today.

Still, I am alive and I'm taking an Ambien and going to bed, so things can't be all bad. Right?

Posted by Dan at 08:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tossing a little culture to you savages.

Here's a nice read while I'm at the doc's: Sheila's take on the wife in Field of Dreams.

You'll also note that just below this post, she linked to Popping Culture, which shows she has taste.

Posted by Dan at 07:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How do you counter the evil of Star Wars? With a dancing Jesus, of course!

They sell t-shirts, too!

Thanks to Kimm for this important link.

Posted by Dan at 06:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

I remember how much Joel liked this one, so it must be pretty messed up.


Just a little something to ponder while I'm off doing my Wednesday chemotherapy.

Posted by Dan at 09:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It's the only "must see" movie EVER.

And i got yer trailer right here.

Posted by Dan at 09:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Guilty! Guilty!

I mean, c'mon, would an innocent man have that hair?

Posted by Dan at 05:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Feel smarter instantly by reading this story.

A 38-year-old Winthrop, Ark. man was hospitalized after jumping out the passenger window of a vehicle traveling an estimated 55 to 60 mph to retrieve his cigarette late Saturday, an official said.

Posted by Dan at 04:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Chemotherapy tomorrow!


Posted by Dan at 09:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer Update: what comes next.

Tomorrow is chemotherapy. Next Wednesday is more chemotherapy. The following week we re-take CATscans.

If you remember, last cycle's scans were inconclusive. The tumors hadn't changed in size. This is good or bad, depending on your perspective. Bad because we need the tumors to shrink and go away. Good because cancer, if left alone, always grows, so at least there is an indication that treatment is doing SOMETHING.

In any case, more scans in three weeks. I said last cycle's scans were "make or break," but instead they turned out to be a push. So let us call THIS cycle's scans the make or break ones, ok?

This means, of course, that you have to stay tuned to Popping Culture for another three weeks.


Posted by Dan at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Myth of Cheap Tickets.

Ok. I finally have had enough with the chemotherapy and the feeling just a little bit weaker every three weeks, so this is what I did: I took a week off. Yes. I do chemotherapy Wednesday (tomorrow! yay!), then again the following Wednesday.

THEN... instead of a week off to get just enough strength to survive the next immediate round of chemotherapy, I'm taking an extra week off. So, just when I'm starting to feel well again, instead of chemotherapy I have... another week off! My theory is that I feel like a regular human for a week, then return refreshed and stronger than ever to resume treatment.

That's my theory. As is often the case with theories, however, reality (in this case, reality comes in the form of a checkbook) is working against us.

Mrs. Popping Culture and I have plans to get to the beach - specifically a cabin on the Outer Banks of North Carolina owned by a friend of Mrs. Popping Culture's mother. The drive home is 10 hours, then another 2 to the beach, so I'm thinking that it might be a bit much to have to tolerate in the shape I'll be in, even if we split it up over two days of driving.

All that to say, we want to fly. Of course, a week at the tourist-trap beach and airfare are not normal expenses when you're living on disability checks for the first time in your 36 years.

All THAT to say, Bill Shatner keeps coming on my television, telling me I can fly around the world for 37 cents if I just click on Priceline or whatever cheap tickets website at just the right time. Air fare might really be the difference between whether we vacation on the sunny Outer Banks or watch random bits of trash float ashore on Lake Erie, so I really don't need Mr. Shatner pulling at my trouser leg just now.

I've never had any luck finding cheap tickets online. Each site has a story about how a family of twelve flew to southern India for fourteen dollars, but I suspect those are stories told to pull you in.

The deposit on the cabin should all but use up our vacation money... have any of you ever had luck with cheap tickets? If so, what site did you use, how did you find the fare, and did you have to leave at 3:30 a.m. hopping on one leg and reciting the Star Spangled Banner to get the discount?

Posted by Dan at 08:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

Are you ready for a Friends reunion movie on the big screen?

Negotiations have each friend hauling in $19 million.

Posted by Dan at 09:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Chew. Swallow. You don't want anything in your mouth for this or you might spit it out involuntarily.

It's the Parade of Unfortunate Star Wars Costumes.

Even if I was able to breathe normally, I'd be struggling after visiting this site.


Posted by Dan at 01:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I've been up one hour and I've taken a tyroid pill, two heart pills, a lasix and some decongestant.

Welcome to my world.


Posted by Dan at 09:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Something else you didn't know about your humble host.

Before the current cancerous setback, I was big with the genealogy. I have my father's side traced back to England, and more than one relative of my mother's side who came over on the Mayflower. My mother's side also has a particularly interesting Revolutionary War hero's information listed.

Sadly, all the photos on the site are from when I was really fat - I've lost about 85 pounds since the Christmas photo. Check out my family!

Posted by Dan at 08:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Reason to live #4,519

The next-gen Nintendo system, the "Revolution," not only boasts a Legend of Zelda game that looks almost photo-realistic, but the system itself will (finally) be online, allowing you to - get this - download ALL the old Nintendo library, including all NES and SNES games. They are discussing downloading prices, but one strong implication at E3 was that the downloads would be free.

Posted by Dan at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2005

Quick! To sleep, Cat Wonder!

It has been suggested on this very blog that we come out with a Deathbed Dan action figure. Not a bad idea, but every hero needs a sidekick. Looking around the house, all I can come up with is Petered-out Polly, the Cat Wonder.


Posted by Dan at 04:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer Update: no update this weekend.

Eh. It's my week off chemotherapy and for a change, I feel pretty good, thanks to the removal of a good bit of the fluid in my lungs.

I know it's more interesting when I'm making profound insights while on my deathbed, but until Wednesday's chemo treatment, you're going to have to deal with a Dan that is actually out and about.

I promise to get back to the near-death experiences later in the week.

Posted by Dan at 09:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Hot dog! Weinermobile saved after close call!

Full legislative drama here at Adfreak.

Posted by Dan at 09:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is it me, or has the ACLU become just plain mean?

I'm a Christian pastor (granted, I'm on haitus with the cancer) and even I'm against forcing people to listen to Christian prayers if they don't want to hear them. I'm perfectly happy keeping secular events, organizations, schools and the like secular and letting individuals decide their own spiritual fate.

However, the ACLU is going a bit overboard these days. Now they have sent out a call for those who pray "in Jesus' name" to be, quote, "removed from society." Ouch.

The ACLU asked a federal judge to send those who prayed publically in one Louisiana school TO JAIL.

Wow. I mean, I'm all for sensitivity to other religions, but don't you think jail is a bit much for public prayer?

Posted by Dan at 09:19 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

Weekend ponderable.


Posted by Dan at 09:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The latest from the very clever Starbucks Gossip site.

An Alabama couple gets married at Starbucks.

In my imagination, the groom looked nervous the whole time. Then again, to be fair, everyone who frequents Starbucks looks a little shaky after a while.

Posted by Dan at 02:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voice of Fred Flintstone Dies at 85

Henry Corden, the voice of cartoon caveman Fred Flintstone's "Yabba-dabba-doo!" for more than two decades, has died. He was 85. Story here.

Posted by Dan at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2005



Posted by Dan at 05:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Evil! Evil! Make it stop!

This video from Japan of a new robot cat is, I think, supposed to be cute and adorable. It gives me the creeps. All I can see is hundreds of these things taking over Japan, then Youngstown, Ohio.

No sleep for me tonight.

Posted by Dan at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Less than two weeks left! Celebrate now!

May is, of course, National Rutabaga Month!

If you're late in starting your rutabaga-based partying, you better click here for all your rutabaga needs, including it's critical role in Halloween celebrations and the much-loved "RUTACAM," which is of course a constantly-updated streaming video of an exciting experiment in progress at the Advanced Rutabag Studies Institute's (ARSI) laboratories.

Posted by Dan at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OOOHHHH, that's sneaky!

A Richdale Food Store owner in Massachusetts took a woman's lottery ticket, glanced it over, told her she'd won $2, and paid the lady.

But that evening, the store owner went to a lottery office in Woburn and cashed in a winning lottery ticket with the same numbers that were on the woman's card, for a $46,000 jackpot. Sneaky sneaky.

Police said the rat faces felony charges of receiving stolen property and larceny over $250.

Posted by Dan at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2005

Challenge Darth Vader!

This spooky cat can, like, read your mind and stuff. Creepy.

Posted by Dan at 03:57 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Fox Television rises three notches in my estimation.

Their new fall lineup includes, get ready, NO REALITY TELEVISION.

Allah be praised! Now if we can get the other networks on board.

Other than that the pickings were pretty slim on the lineup, though. This looks like it might be interesting:

Bones, a drama about a forensic anthropologist (Emily Deschanel) at the Smithsonian who helps an agent (Angel's David Boreanaz) with murder investigations. Likely teamed with House on Tuesdays.

Posted by Dan at 03:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More thoughts on self-image: pictoral version.

So which one are you?



Posted by Dan at 07:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer reflection: On self image.

Long-term cancer is a constant battle with self-image and worth.

Recently I've been suffering from fears that I don't exist. That is to say, I sit in the same chair in front of the television or computer all day and feel miserable, simply because there's nothing else for me to do, and many days there's nothing else I CAN do.

I used to be the spiritual caretaker of a church. I would attend to my marriage, do the shopping since my schedule was more flexible, walk the dog three times a day, go to school four hours away, plan for the future, pay the bills and manage our household finances. Now, I sit and ask Mrs. Popping Culture for help with things like pouring a glass of milk or turning up the thermostat.

It's easy to get depressed, to feel less like a being of worth than a huge sucking need in that same chair every day. It's easier still when you consider the guilt I feel at watching Mrs. Popping Culture have to do all those things I used to do, as well as live her own life. It's frustrating and stupid and it makes me angry. Cancer makes me angry.

I don't think there is any real answer other than endurance. On the few days I feel well enough to get out and do, I try to get out and do. Days like this last week, where my only possible goal each morning is just to survive the day or at least endure it, all I can do is try to accept the fact that I am where I am right now. One day I'll get my life back, but for now this is how it has to be.

It's hard and unfair on Mrs. Popping Culture and it's hard and unfair on me, but isn't that a reflection on life itself? Unless you are Paris Hilton, you have things you have to do that you'd rather not. Life isn't fair and nobody, not even God in the Bible, promised life would be fair. Bad things happen and sometimes after all the prayer and charity and good will, all there is left is just to find a way to deal with it. To survive. To endure.

So today I'm going to sit in my chair and keep surviving. Today I'm not a pastor. I won't be walking the dog or running to the store or doing any homework. Today my work is to get through the day alive, to keep breathing even though my lungs are full of fluid, to keep being angry at cancer, and to try to hang on to the dreams of who I was and who I will be once again after this thing is beaten.

You can lose to cancer by dying, of course, but you can also give up your dreams. You can become a professional cancer patient (and that will last far beyond your cure from the disease itself) and you can give up your self-image and let cancer take you over body and soul. As a chaplain I learned that cancer ends the lives of more people than it kills, if you get the concept.

I've decided: not me. I still have dreams and plans for the future. Maybe today I'll feel well enough to work on them, or maybe today I'll be too sick and pained to do more than just get through the day. I have faith to believe that however it ends up, I will be in the hands of a loving God when it's over. I have strength to get through today if getting through today is the only goal life offers. I have courage to do what I can to hang on to who I am on those days when I have enough strength to choose between fighting for my life or sitting depressed in that same chair.

I can beat cancer, live or die, by simply claiming and keeping possession of that Dan Champion who is waiting to be a pastor again, to walk to dog again, to buy the groceries again. Waiting as long as it takes to endure the work I have to do right now.

Posted by Dan at 07:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 18, 2005

X-Men 3 news that I don't know how to feel about.

First of all, Juggernaut will join the evil Magneto's band. That's pretty sweet. Juggernaut lived up to his name in the comics as the huge, helmeted half-brother of Charles Xavier.

Secondly, we have an interesting casting choice: Kelsey Grammer as Beast, the big blue furry genetic scientist. Interesting. Any reactions? Of course, Beast was always the smartest of the X-Men and was a tall drink of blue water, which Grammer fits in both ways. Still, we're talking about Frazier.

X-Men 3 is set for May 2006.

Posted by Dan at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer Update: new drugs!

I saw the doctor today because of my trouble breathing, my chest cold and my difficulty sleeping.

This is what he came up with:

-Lasix daily. This is a water pill, which means I should be running to the bathroom fairly often, but also means that the fluid in my lungs might finally go away.

-Ambien nightly. This is a pill to help me sleep.

I have no chemotherapy until Wednesday, so the hope is that all these issues sort themselves out by then. As I've been telling folks, other than being unable to breathe, I feel fine.

Posted by Dan at 08:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

From Popping Culture's paleontology desk.

Big Stupid Tommy clears up a few recent scientific misconceptions about the Stegosaurus.

Posted by Dan at 03:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Worst yearbook superlative EVER.

Boynton Beach High's 2005 yearbook lists Robert Richards as "most whipped," a term used to mean most controlled by his girlfriend.

The problem? Richards is black, his girlfriend is white, and the photo shows Richards with a leash around his neck.

Ouch. Don't they have staff advisors and yearbook editors for these things?

It gets better: Another photo, of the winners of the "Most Likely To Be On Jerry Springer" category, features a male student pretending to be on the verge of hitting a female with the back of his hand.

Whatever happened to "class clown"???


Full story here.

Posted by Dan at 10:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Popping Culture inspirational moment.


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The most important issue surrounding the Newsweek scandal.

Jon Stewart happened to take this week off from The Daily Show. Shame, really. Think of the fun!

Posted by Dan at 01:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2005

Brain Candy

This time from yet another under-heralded American poet.

Pretty Words

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

Elinor Wylie

Posted by Dan at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Thanks to the fluid in my lungs (what a fun way to start a sentence!), I only slept in fits and starts of about 45 minutes per last night.

I'm tired and I'm grumpy and I'm gonna take naps all day. The only time I ever get in a bad mood (barring tragedy, of course), is when I'm tired. Paris Hilton better not say anything else stupid today.


Posted by Dan at 08:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Your favorite word that's not in the dictionary?

Survey says: "Ginormous."

Others include "Confuzzled," "whoot," "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and several Harry Potterisms.

I suspect they have too much time on their hands over at Merriam-Webster, which sponsored the event.

Posted by Dan at 08:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Kylie Minogue Diagnosed With Breast Cancer.

Cancer is a jerk.

Posted by Dan at 08:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2005

Maybe this is the Nyquil talking...


... but the news today gives me a case of the mixed messages.

Photo via Defamer. Nice rack, by the way.

Posted by Dan at 07:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Popping Cancer Update: The Bad Day

Forgive me for not showing up today. Today was the bad day.

I have fluid in my left lung. This makes it hard for me to sleep and I sound like a vacuum cleaner when I try to breathe while in the bed. This in turn makes me tired from not sleeping, which of course makes me more sick, and on and on. I took a pill yesterday that was supposed to help, but the furnace kicked off last night so the cold air did me more harm than good. I'm not fond of the idea of a needle in my lungs to drain fluid.

Add to that the miracle of joint pain. The drugs they gave me Wednesday are apparently working overtime because everything hurts. I want to lay in bed and moan, but again with the breathing. So I've alternated 45 minute spurts of sleep/rest with hobbling to my chair in pain for as long as I can stand to sit there.

I could use a good night's sleep. Whatever you can do to help with that would be greatly appreciated - prayer, power crystals, good mojo, fine intentions, passing thoughts - I'll take what I can get.

Mostly, I just wanted to let you know I'm here, I'm just suffering right now, which I guess is part and parcel of having cancer sometimes. It is the work I must do, and there's not enough Advil in the world to get the job done.

Posted by Dan at 07:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 15, 2005

Sunday disturbance.

It's the end of the world as we know it...


... so we must be almost to Houghton.

Posted by Dan at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

JK Rowling bypasses mainstream reporters for Harry Potter release.

Here's a nice story. Instead of going large with the press release, J.K. Rowling has decided to unveil Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book 6 of 7) to a more intimate group of 70 cub reporters between the ages of 8 and 16 on Sunday, July 17.

The lucky brats get a free signed copy of the book and my eternal jealousy. Just after midnight on July 16, Rowling is going to read excerpts from the book to the kids in, no less, the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle.

Jealous, jealous, jealous.

Posted by Dan at 04:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New Jackson Pollock!

A trove of 32 previously unknown works by abstract art icon Jackson Pollock has been discovered by a family friend, who said Friday he would like them to tour internationally and be studied by art historians.

Not a bad find considering that last year a Pollock painting sold for nearly $12 million.

These are earlier works, from before Pollock was well-known, but still. Story here.

Posted by Dan at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2005

Paranoid? Wanna be?

Click here.

That's a bit end-timesish even for me.

Posted by Dan at 05:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Now THESE kids really know how the game is played.

Two West Virginia boys' game of hide-and-seek prompted a massive search involving dozens of people, a helicopter, military planes and at least three K-9 units.

I never had that much fun when I was a kid.

They eventually found the kids - hiding at home under a blanket.

Story here.

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Saturday Ponderable.


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May 13, 2005

Popping Cancer Reflection: On coming back to life.

Paul Simon said "Half of the time we're gone, but we don't know where."

After about six months of cancer, I've noticed in the past couple days that I'm starting to return to Dan Champion.

That is, for six months, I've let cancer guide me. I've let my life be about cancer.

I guess I'm lucky. The first time it took me about six years to figure out that cancer can be a part of my life without being my life and my schedule-maker. I can still be Dan Champion.

There are signs now that I'm coming back to myself. I want to see the ocean. I want to buy movies on DVD, even if I don't live long enough to see them enough times to make it worth the cost. I am willing to plan for a time after cancer. I'm willing to tell my doctor that I'm taking a week off after the next round of treatment to go on vacation with my wife, even if he is against it.

I'm not talking about being cured. I don't know if I'm going to live or die, and the last test results weren't any help with that. I'm talking about the act of being who you are, being alive whether you live or die.

I'm Dan Champion. I have cancer, but it doesn't have me. It might beat my body, but, you know, I'm ok with that, too.

And it only took six months this time.

Posted by Dan at 09:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Eye Candy - Van Gogh style, and a letter from the man himself.


Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries, 1888, Arles, 65 x 81 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

I love the use of color here.

Fishing Boats on the Beach (above) with it's red, green, blue boats van Gogh writes to Emile Bernard "they are such pleasant shapes and colours they remind you of flowers". In three day trip to the Mediterranean Vincent paints 3 oils, 1 watercolour and 3 drawings which later he used to paint pictures in his studio. While there, he wrote this letter:

My dear Theo,

I am at last writing to you from Saintes-Maries on the shore of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean has the colours of mackerel, changeable I mean. You don't always know if it is green or violet, you can't even say it's blue, because the next moment the changing light has taken on a tinge of pink or gray.

A family is a queer thing – quite involuntary and in spite of myself I have been thinking here between whiles of our sailor uncle, who must have seen the shores of this sea many a time.

I brought three canvases and have covered them – two marines, a view of the village, and then some drawings which I will send you by post when I return to Arles tomorrow.

I have board and lodging for 4 francs a day and they began by asking 6.

As soon as I can, I shall probably come back again to make some more studies.

The shore here is sandy, neither cliffs nor rocks – like Holland without the dunes, and bluer.

You get better fried fish here than on the Seine. Only fish is not available every day, as the fishermen go off and sell it in Marseilles. But when there is some, it's frightfully good.

If there isn't – the butcher is not much more appetizing than the fellah butcher of M. Gérôme's – if there is no fish, it is pretty difficult to get anything to eat, as far as I can see.

I do not think there are 100 houses in the village, or town. The chief building, after the old church and an ancient fortress, is the barracks. And the houses – like the ones on our heaths and peat bogs in Drenthe; you will see some specimens of them in the drawings.

I am forced to leave my three painted studies here, for of course they are not dry enough to be submitted with safety to five hours' jolting in the carriage.

But I expect to come back here again.

Next week I'd like to go to Tarascon to do two or three studies.

If you have not written yet, I shall naturally expect the letter at Arles.

A very fine gendarme came to interview me here, and the curé too – the people can't be very bad here, because even the curé looked almost like a decent fellow.

Next month it will be the season for open-air bathing here. The number of bathers varies from 20 to 50. I am staying till tomorrow afternoon, I still have some drawings to do.

One night I went for a walk by the sea along the empty shore. It was not gay, but neither was it sad – it was – beautiful. The deep blue sky was flecked with clouds of a blue deeper than the fundamental blue of intense cobalt, and others of a clearer blue, like the blue whiteness of the Milky Way. In the blue depth the stars were sparkling, greenish, yellow, white, pink, more brilliant, more emeralds, lapis lazuli, rubies, sapphires. The sea was very deep ultramarine – the shore a sort of violet and faint russet as I saw it, and on the dunes (they are about seventeen feet high) some bushes Prussian blue.

Besides half-page drawings I have a big drawing, the pendant of the last one. Good-by for the present only, I hope, with a handshake,

Ever yours, Vincent

(letter via www.van-gogh-art.co.uk)

Posted by Dan at 01:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The cops have beanbags! We surrender!

The first line says it all:

Police used beanbag rounds to subdue an apparently delusional 85-year-old woman who had slashed a man with a large knife Wednesday evening in a southwest Medford neighborhood.

The next lines are fun, too, though:

Signe Gorman was armed with a 22-inch long carving knife when she approached a 52-year-old man who was working next door to her home in the 900 block of South Peach Street, and "asked him to help get a man out of her television," Medford police Lt. Mike Moran said.

The man asked Gorman to return to her home. She instead slashed him with the knife, causing a deep cut to one of his hands, Moran said.

Full story here, and if someone asks you to help them get a man out of their television, SAY YES.

Posted by Dan at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today's Relaxation Forecast: Lazy and Nonproductive.


I could use a day off treatment and activity. I think I'll take one.

Posted by Dan at 08:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 12, 2005

As if you needed to hear another thing I hate about cancer.

I LOVED being a pastor. I miss it. It is who I was. There were several chaplain-related reasons for this that you have heard about here ad infinitum, but another joy of the pastorate was that it gave me an outlet for my writing.

I stumbled across this child dedication service I wrote for a Christmas Eve service in 2003 and I thought you might be interested. I put it in a jump so it wouldn't fill up the screen too far, so go on and click. CAUTION: don't praise it too highly or I might be tempted to start putting up sermons.

Leader: Naked into the world we came, naked of mind and spirit and body, waving our tiny arms in the bright confusion of this strange world and this strange life.

Helpless we come, without food or clothing, without maps or knowledge, without language to ask our way to whatever Unknown destination may lie before us.

With no armor, with no guilt, in innocence, unknowing, we trustfully set forth.

Who will take our hands and lead us? Who will make sandals for our tender feet? Who will draw forth our smiles with a smile?

Who will teach us to love with their love? Who will teach us to speak with the words of their mouth? Who will teach us right by their rightness? Who will show us the truth through their truthfulness? Who will lead us to do justly through their justice?

Congregation: We will.

Leader: To you parents is given the awesome privilege to be the givers and shapers of a growing person. And to this congregation is given the privilege and responsibility to share the concern for his/her growth and religious nurture. Before us is the challenge of a questioning mind, the unfolding wonder of selfhood and the response to the world and other persons. Can we respond to that challenge with the best that is in us, seeking not to make our children like us, but rather to help them find themselves and their own ways?

Parents: We can.

Leader: We can.

Congregation: We can.

Leader: From the beginning of time, men and women have brought their children to the houses of worship for dedication. In the presence of the congregation, the child is given a name, and the parents declare their responsibility for their child. Nicholas and John leave here with not only their given names, but now their Christian names as well.

We come to a house of worship out of reverence for the mystery of life that we have seen in the miracle of reproduction and birth. We acknowledge the mystery of the power that is in us and works through us, and we are humble before that mystery.

Parents: In this act we declare that the (Nicholas/John) is an individual, a unique and separate person with a dignity and life of his own. Our children come from us, but they are not ours. They are themselves, individuals. In giving this child a name we declare that we will respect him as himself and give him the freedom to grow. We perform this ceremony publicly to declare that we as parents, and all of us as representatives of this society, are responsible for the care and development of all children.

Congregation: It is our task to give them a world of peace and justice in which to grow. It is our task to share with them our ideals and our hopes.

Leader: By presenting your child here, today, you the parents, acknowledge that the child is more than a private possession, but is a new being in which we all have a responsibility, and whom we all welcome to the community.

And so the children come. And so they have been coming. Always in the same way they come - Born of the seed of man and woman. No angels herald their beginnings. No prophets predict their future courses; no wise men see a star to point their way to find the babe that may save humankind.

Yet each night a child is born is a holy night. Fathers and mothers - sitting beside their children's cribs - feel glory in the wondrous sight of a life beginning. They ask: "When or how will this new life end? Or will it ever end?" Each night a child is born is a holy night.

Do you, the congregation of West Side Baptist Church, dedicate yourselves to the Christian care and nurture of these children?

Congregation: We do.

Leader: Do you, Steve and Angie and Amanda, dedicate yourselves to the Christian care and nurture love of Nicholas Paynter for as long as God shall entrust him to your care?

Steve, Angie, Amanda: We do.

Leader: Do you, John and Jessica, dedicate yourselves to the Christian care and nurture and love of John Logan Chandler for as long as God shall entrust him to your care?

John, Jessica: We do.

Pastoral Dedication

Prayer of Dedication

Posted by Dan at 10:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Brain Candy

I found this interesting poem that sums up all three of my poetry writing courses:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

-Billy Collins

Posted by Dan at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Visit the house of mourning.

The Fedoration - the official Anthony Fedorov fansite - is down in the dumps after the results of last night's American Idol.

Posted by Dan at 05:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yes, yes, my appetite has improved.

But, still, please don't buy me this.

Via Dave.

Posted by Dan at 05:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Popping Culture mini-movie review.

Once every three weeks comes The Magic Day. The Magic Day is the day after the second round of chemotherapy. At night on the day of chemotherapy, after the worst of the effects are over, I start taking steroids for three days. On the morning of The Magic Day, I get a shot in the arm that makes all my joints hurt horribly for about two full days, but the pain doesn't usually begin until the next day.

The steroids in fact help clear up my breathing and boost my metabolism, giving me a rare burst of energy. Yesterday was round two of chemotherapy, today was The Magic Day. I had a short time when I knew I'd have energy and could do whatever I wanted, like normal people.

So of course, I took the wife to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Here is my review:

The movie was brilliant and brilliantly acted. Arthur was spot-on, Marvin was spot-on and, most importantly, the dolphins were spot-on.

If you are an obsessive about the novel (I consider myself a hardcore but not obsessive fan), you will be disturbed by the large omissions and additions in the film. However, if you are an obsessive about the novel, you don't represent a constituency large enough to support the film on your own. The changes were clear and obviously necessary to make the film a film for people who hadn't read the book. There is more than enough there to like and recognize for those who did read the book.

Additions simply added more adventure, more humor, more clarity, and a much-needed romantic subplot. I enjoyed it, and am glad I used my 4 hours of freedom every three weeks to have a nice lunch and see this movie.

Now, to lay on the bed for a day or two and whimper.

Posted by Dan at 04:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

So they re-constructed, from bone structure, the face of King Tut. Look familiar?


Photo via Gawker.

Posted by Dan at 07:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cops looking for house of prostitution raid the wrong place.


Key quotes:

The officers began searching through the rental house on Grady Drive that Petronella, a widower, has shared with his daughter and son-in-law since July. He figured they might be looking for drugs, or bombs, given how much protective gear they were wearing. But he wasn't worried, he said, because he didn't have either.

"I said, "This has got to be the wrong house, or the wrong people,' " he said yesterday.

And so, hours after the search of his home began, the retiree learned what the commotion was about: Police suspected that his home had been used for prostitution.

"I told them, "You gotta be kidding. I ain't getting any. Nobody else is getting any out of here,' " Petronella said.

State Police Capt. Al Della Fave's response?

"It happens," he said.

Here's what they did to his front door, which was ironically unlocked in the first place:


Full story here.
Via Obscure Store.

Posted by Dan at 07:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2005


Fox may force Nicole and Paris back together for Simple Life 4, despite their very public break up.

Posted by Dan at 10:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Since we had such a good time with the last bit of photo captioning, whattya got for this?


Mine is:

::Knowing male dog snort:: Chicks. What are you gonna do?

Posted by Dan at 10:15 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Celebrity wisdom of the day. Listen, reflect, learn.

"I have to tell the maid to buy diapers and get the pool boy to walk the dog? Can't I just make out with Kevin all the time? Being married sucks."

-Britney Spears, complaining in Allure magazine about the responsibilities of family and stepchildren, quoted in People at the doctor's office.

UPDATE: it turns out one of our more resourceful regulars has evidence that this quote is made up. I'm gonna keep it though, because I like it and because I'm just plain happy to be alive. Good reporting, though, Chava.

Posted by Dan at 04:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 10, 2005

A note on Wednesday blogging.

I'm gonna try to make an appearance by the late afternoon to let you know I'm alive, as per usual.

If you're reading this on Wednesday morning with the sun up, I'm at the doctor with the wife, getting the chemo drugs. What worse way is there to spend your ninth wedding anniversary than taking chemotherapy? Easy, watching your spouse have to go through it.

Still, it beats being dead.

Enjoy, you know, however you choose to celebrate my wedding anniversary.

Posted by Dan at 09:54 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Still one of my favorite articles.

"Microsoft Word Grammar Checker Are No Good, Scholar Conclude."

Yes, that headline also passed, according to the Microsoft Word grammar checker.

Sandeep Krishnamurthy, an associate professor of marketing and e-commerce at the University of Washington, contends that the grammar checker does more harm than good, especially for those who are learning English as a second language.

One student offering Mr. K cites reads: "Marketing are bad for brand big and small. You Know What I am Saying? It is no wondering that advertisings are bad for company in America, Chicago and Germany." And the grammar checker says? Fine by me.

Your spell checker is a gem, Microsoft, but the grammar checker? It are no good. Fix it or ditch it.

Full story here.

Posted by Dan at 09:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 09, 2005

I'm tired; how about YOU caption this one?


Posted by Dan at 10:13 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Cancer can make beautiful things stupid.

I guess if the first anniversary is the paper anniversary, and number 50 is the gold anniversary, then number nine is the intravenous poison anniversary.

That's right, friends, Wednesday will be the ninth anniversary of the day Mrs. Popping Culture agreed to be my wife. I intend to celebrate the occasion with nausea, cramping and a side effect to be named later.

Does it get any better than chemotherapy on your wedding anniversary? Maybe if I could be tortured on Christmas.

In all sincerity, this is another dangerous quality of cancer: if you let it, it can demoralize you not just by taking things away from you, but by twisting the things you get to keep.

Still and all, it has been the best nine years of my life. Nothing chemotherapy or even death can do about that. No matter what comes of all this cancer mess, I can look back knowing that in the end I was given more than I gave, I was loved more than I loved in return and I was the luckiest man on earth for at least nine years.

You can't beat that, even with cancer.

Posted by Dan at 10:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Just in case you don't feel bad enough about yourself already.

The New York Post (always a reliable source) is reporting that the Diet Channel Network is set to launch. All diet and fitness shows, all the time.

Pass me the Twinkies.

Posted by Dan at 03:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This is rich.

Rebecca Alvarado, a 2004 graduate of Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, got mono.

English teacher Judy Neary was kind enough to tell the class about Alvarado's illness and went on to explain that it was spread by "sexually active girls."

When a student asked if "whores" get that disease, the lawsuit (oh, yes, there's always a lawsuit) claims that Neary replied, "Yes."

Well, it's a good thing high school kids are a loving and forgiving bunch, yes?

"People were saying I was a slut because of this," Alvarado said. "Everyone was staring at me like I was a freak. And when I was walking in the hallway, they'd point at me and laugh or say 'There she is. That's her.' It was terrible."

Full story here. Via Obscure Store.

Posted by Dan at 01:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 08, 2005

Popping Cancer Update: The Grind

I haven't really posted an update in a while, with good reason: nothing's really happening.

I have another chemotherapy treatment Wednesday, the second this cycle, then a week off, then the three week cycle repeats. I'm sure I'll feel horrible on Wednesday. So what else is new?

Eventually, cancer just becomes a grind, especially when tests show slow progress. The newness and fear wear off. People stop bringing you meals and sending money and cards and you just settle into a rhythm of feeling horrible and recovering. The firey passion to survive, to fight back, to beat cancer, sort of eases into the daily grind.

The enemy now is boredom. Afternoons are long - very long. It sounds funny to say to those of you who are active participants in a productive life, but video games and blogging and television and reading can only fill so many hours each day. As boredom grows, the will to fight shrinks. With each progressive three-week course of treatment, the baseline of available strength gets lower and lower.

It's easy to start to feel like a prisoner. I feel trapped in this house, yet I don't have the strength or motivation to go anywhere else. Worse, you start to wonder if you really exist - if your personality matters or if you're just a black hole of neediness to your family as you sit in the same chair day after day.

I know the days of chemotheraputic torture are coming; they are part of the rhythm now. I've been doing chemotherapy twice every three weeks since what? January? It's hardly news to tell you I'm going to feel sick on Wednesday, is it?

So the challenge - and by challenge, I mean the real-life battle for survival - becomes staying active, staying alive, making my life still mean something. If you fall into that rhythm of just existing and dragging through the afternoons, you're one step away from giving in and giving up.

So my strength goes down, but my need to be active and alive goes up. THIS is the real battle with long-term cancer. Staying active when a walk to the mailbox leaves you breathless and coughing up God-knows-what.

So what is the Popping Cancer Update for today? I'm still fighting. I'm still grinding it out. I'm bored of this place and this schedule of nothingness with the occasional torture day, but I'm still alive. I'm still angry. I still want to live.

That will have to do.

Posted by Dan at 03:08 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

From Popping Culture's Eye On Fundamentalism Desk

Baptist pastor Chan Chandler of East Waynesville Baptist in North Carolina ex-communicated nine members this week who supported John Kerry in November's election.

Apparently, in fundamentalist churches, Baptist pastors have gained the right to ex-communicate members now. Great.

But wait! It gets better!

Chandler told his congregation last October "the question then comes in the Baptist Church how do I vote, let me just say this right now if you vote for John Kerry this year you need to repent or resign."

Then, he said his actions weren't political. Huh?

By now some 40 members of the church have left. They were the real Baptists, I think. The original Baptist faith was based on freedom of worship and separation of church and state. For a church pastor to require members to vote a certain way is fine if the congregation gives him that power, just don't call yourself Baptist.


The North Carolina Democratic Party has issued a statement about the Church's actions. Chair Jerry Meek says, "One of the Bible's most repeated commands is to love your neighbor. If these reports are true, the minister is not only acting extremely inappropriately by injecting partisan politics into a house of worship, but he is also potentially breaking the laws and treatening the Church's 501 non-profit status."

I am certain there are liberal churches out there doing stupid and abusive and sinful things as well, I just intensely hate the ongoing corruption of the term "Baptist," particularly given my interest and study in Baptist origins in general and the life of Roger Williams, my personal hero, specifically. Williams is turning over in his grave at some of the churches that claim the name "Baptist" these days.

Read more about East Waynesville Baptist here.

Posted by Dan at 03:01 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Reason to Live #41

The new Harry Potter movie looks like it's gonna rock. The Goblet of Fire was a book that just screamed out for a movie, and now it's getting one.

Click here for the teaser/trailer.

Promo poster:


Posted by Dan at 02:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wanna get stupid?

Let's go noodling. What? You don't know from noodling? Maybe these quotes will clear things up.

Key quotes:

I couldn't walk for a couple days. But that's all part of it.

They have rows of tiny teeth, and when you try to pull your arm out of their mouth, they'll just skin you.

"We had a huge cat that we nicknamed old Walter that whipped five of us for three years," Webb said. "... He even took a bite out of my friend's shin and thigh. We got a look at him, and we knew he had to be over 100 pounds."

If those clear-as-mud quotes didn't clear up noodling for you, click here for the full story. I'll be putting on my sneakers and waiting for you.

Posted by Dan at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2005

Another convert?

It looks like Sheila is about to learn the joys of Firefox over the horrors, spyware and pop-ups of Internet Explorer.

Just remember, kids: DO NOT try to delete Internet Explorer, as much fun as it sounds. It's now part of Windows. Just keep it installed and never, ever run it. Virtually all of today's spyware is geared for IE, and since we switched to Firefox (which is free), I've had nary a pop-up.

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Good for her! redux.


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Mom crashes car into her son as she's picking him up after his release from the hospital.

Both were admitted.

Normally, I wouldn't post this story, but I actually had a recurring dream not too different from this during my bone marrow transplant a decade ago. In my dream, I fought and fought and finally beat cancer, then was hit by a car in the hospital parking lot. I had that dream at least 20 times.

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May 06, 2005

Brain Candy - cancer makes you think.

For The Anniversary Of My Death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

W.S. Merwin

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I have GOT to get me one of these.

Dave Barry's blog points out the Solar Death Ray.

This is what it did to an N64 cartridge:


And this is what it did to a golf ball:


I want - no, I NEED - one of these.

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Hey there, good lookin'. Did I tell you I'm a Navy Seal?

The FBI's Mr. Cottone estimates that for every actual Navy Seal today, at least 300 people falsely claim to be one.

Of course I am, look at my t-shirt.

Via Obscure Store.

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May 05, 2005

Mystery solved.

You think THIS is amazing?


Well, there's a simple explanation:


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Support our troops... or at least eat like them.


The Hooah Bar is hitting shelves near you, presuming you live in a red state. Those of you who live in states that don't love America (ouch! I can feel the emails coming already... it's a joke. Be nice. I have cancer.) can purchase Hooahs online here.

The energy bar (a play on the Army abbreviation hua, for “heard, understood, acknowledged”) is the same thing our boys and girls are eating over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Key quote from the website:

Whether you're hiking 30 miles in the woods, battling a deadline at work, or commanding a platoon of unruly children at home, HOOAH! helps you soldier through.

Hat tip to Adfreak.

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Popping Cancer Update: the day after.

Yesterday was rough (read "The very bad news" below for details). I think a day of rest and mindless television is in order.

This scientific scale should portray exactly the way I feel this morning:


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Popping Culture Baseball Update

Kevin Brown lost again. He's 0-4.

He lost to Tampa Bay, a team whose entire salary for all players totals just slightly more than the left side of the Yankees infield (Jeter and A-Rod).

Tampa Bay, who only lost the first game on stupid fielding errors, should be on the verge of sweeping the Yankees. I was hesitant to say it in April, but now it can be said with certainty:


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May 04, 2005

The very bad news.

Cancer has one trick, but it plays it over and over. I have personally fallen for it in my lifetime at least a dozen times. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but feel free to let me know and I'll probably be able to list 15 times off the top of my head. The point is, I can't believe I fell for it again. The trick? Cancer dangles hope, then snatches it away.

Elwood the cat was breathing hard by last night. Today, after I got home from getting my own poison from the chemotherapy doctor, Mrs. Popping Culture returned Elwood to the veterinarian. A bone marrow test showed that his leukemia was active. The doctor said he would live between one and three days and that he was suffering. We had the doctor end his life so that he wouldn't suffer any more.

One of the worst parts was that I wasn't able to be there with him. While he was dying, I was in bed fighting off the umpteenth wave of nausea. While Mrs. Popping Culture and a friend buried him, I was twisting in bed from a severe series of abdomen and leg cramps. (PS prayer request: somewhere in the cramps I twisted my knee wrong and can hardly walk on it. Seems a bit trivial, all things considered.) There are very few things I wouldn't have given to be there with him and Mrs. Popping Culture. Please keep her in your thoughts.

Chemotherapy is a jerk.

Cancer is a jerk.

I miss Elwood the cat.

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Special Mid-chemo Popping Cancer Update: scan results.

The other thing about cancer is, expect to be surprised.

I've been fretting for a couple weeks about the options concerning this CATscan. What if the tumors are bigger? What if they are smaller?

Well, the truth is a third option: everything is the same. The two smaller tumors in my left lung are exactly the same, while the larger one is less than a tenth of a centimeter longer.

This is what we in the cancer business call "mild good news." Cancer, if left alone, ALWAYS grows, and usually quickly. It never rests or reaches a size it is happy with. Remember the two new tumors in my left lung grew up suddenly out of nowhere over the course of one chemotherapy session. Therefore, this new chemo is probably making a difference, just not shrinking it yet.

So we do another two three-week cycles of the same chemotherapy, starting today. In fact, I have just gotten home from getting the drugs and I expect to start feeling it in about half an hour. I thought I'd just pop in before the fireworks begin to let you know what's going on.

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Pope John Paul II trading card sells for $8,100

And to think I traded mine for a Kurt Rambis.

Full story on the Topps trading card here.

PS Click here for Kurt's official website. It includes a link you can click called "Kurt sings," which I personally did not click, for reasons that should be obvious.

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May 03, 2005

Popping Cancer update.

One of two things is happening, if you're reading this on Wednesday morning:

1) The CATscan results were good and I'm doing chemotherapy since the fight against cancer is progressing.

2) The CATscan results were not good and we have to go back to Cleveland to see the specialist in case he learned how to beat cancer with magic because we're pretty much out of other options.

FOR REFLECTION: How bad off do you have to be when a day of chemotherapy means things are going well?

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Caption this!


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I found this. It sounds sappy, unless you have cancer.

Cancer is so limited.....
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the spirit.
It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.


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Updates on cat and cancer: good news and bad omens.

First of all, Elwood the cat is coming home this afternoon. He will have to remain on antibiotics and a drug to keep up his appetite, but he is expected to recover fully, given that leukemia in cats is not curable, but is live-withable. That's the good news.

We are also awaiting the all-important results of the CATscan I had this morning at 8:30. We won't have results for a little while (though we might have them today, since I am potentially scheduled for chemo tomorrow), but on the way home from the scan, we passed an Italian bakery whose sign read "Closed Monday in memory of Dan." That can't be good.

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Ice cream shop worker's finger found in pint of chocolate custard.

Of course, the lucky recipient plans to sue.

It's his own fault: who eats custard, anyway?

Key quote:

"God, this ain't no nut!"

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May 02, 2005

I'm gonna be doing a CATscan, then recovering, most of Tuesday morning.

You guys try to keep all your dogs in the air until I get back.


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Who knew THIS was illegal?

A 39-year-old man is accused of breaking into his neighbors' house and threatening them, shocking himself by sticking his fingers into a lamp socket, threatening a deputy with a metal rod, running naked through his yard and chewing through a cable in a patrol car.

Key quote:

That just caused the intruder to demand to be shocked some more. He grabbed a lamp, unscrewed the bulb and stuck his fingers in, shocking himself and yelling.

Via Obscure Store.

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Cinematic commentary of the day. Listen and learn.

"Ours is much hotter because Vincent Price is not as hot as me and Elisha Cuthbert."

-Paris Hilton comparing the remake of the horror film "House of Wax" with the 1953 original, in the New York Post.

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Eye candy.


Miss Van Buren
by Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)
c. 1886-90 (130 Kb); Oil on canvas, 113.1 x 81.3 cm (44 1/2 x 32 in); The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Eakins is regarded by most critics as the outstanding American painter of the 19th century and by many as the greatest his country has yet produced. Most of those opinions were formed before the Dogs Playing Poker movement hit, however.

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This week in Dan's cancer.

This is potentially a full week of cancerous fun!

Today, I drink two big bottles of barium contrast. MMMMMMM! If you like chalk and spoiled milk, you'll LOVE barium contrast!

Tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. is a CATscan which should tell us how the fight against cancer is progressing.

Wednesday is either chemotherapy or fret and concern about what comes next, depending on the results of the scan.

Don't touch that dial!

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From our "American Idol News You Don't Care About" desk.

Nearly a full week later, whining and crying still continue over the ouster of pretty-boy "rocker" Constantine.

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May 01, 2005

Just one more reason to love cancer.

Monday for me is just another day of the week. It's like I have weekends EVERY DAY! I can do whatever I want whenever I want and all I have to worry about is the whole slow, painful death thing.

For the rest of you bums, it's almost Monday... back to the mines!


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Maybe I'm getting bigoted in my old age.

I was fine with August Tom Cruise dating April Katie Holmes despite the difference in their ages, until I actually saw them kissing:


Maybe it isn't the age difference, but SOMETHING about this is definitely unsettling. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Tom.

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