Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

That was one of the iconic 80's catch phrases . Of course uttered by Hannibal Smith of the A Team as played by George Peppard (RIP) .

If you do not follow the NBA at all , then watch this amusing commercial that seems to have the Jim Henson (RIP) legacy all over it.

Otherwise you know by now the preordained NBA Final is only half right. I really have nothing against Lebron except for that flirtation with the New York Bricks. It's just that the appeal of sports (except wrestling) is that it is not scripted. Sometimes the results are academic. Sometimes they take strange twists. That's why we love sports as spectacle. The players do not even know the outcome.

Classic Ironic quote "I need a basketball in my hands" by the Lebron puppet. At around the :33 mark. Well there may well be one but the cameras will not be pointed at him next week.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Loud and Clear

I know a guy who when he was in early twenties went on a beach trip with his family and about 3 other families. This guy is the type who would have to go through drug tests. While on his trip he was busted with pot/ grass/ weed . This was something his dad did not approve of. So what did the dad do to reinforce the lesson he could not successfully impart to his son?

He and some of the other parents smoked the confiscated loot.

The lesson really sank in I am sure.


Note it made me think of this commercial that used to be on American TV in the 80's. Wow Youtube had it.

tags: parenting , hypocrisy, pot, marijuana Do as I say , Not As I do, example,

Monday, May 25, 2009

BREITBART: How Sean Penn won the war - Washington Times


Moe Berg has nothing on Sean Penn.

Click each man's name for tales of real espionage.


Law of Identity as demonstrated by Patrick Swayze

You may remember this old post :

Only read and watch this if you plan to lead a group sometime in your life or are currently leading a group or will soon lead a group. In other words the fact you are here means that this can apply to you.

The Law of Identity is a chapter from the book above.

I talked a bit about the Law of Identity. Sometimes the best teachers of concepts are movies with stars we might know. Please take the three minutes it takes to watch one of the more profound scenes in movies that I have seen. Watch it once then watch it again, then I will break it down after in the text after the clip. For better impact view the clip before you read the notes. See what you make of it before you take in Maxwell's teaching.


The clip is taken from a film called Uncommon Valor. A story that is based on Vietnam Vets in the 80's who return to rescue Prisoners of War left behind in the 70's. Movie came out in 1983. This is a more realistic Rambo: First Blood Part II which came out two years earlier.

The clip is part of a training sequence . You may notice Kevin Scott ( Patrick Swayze's character) is surrounded by older men. You can see they all resent him. Because in the beginning of the sequence they thought he was a snot nosed punk. The rest had seen combat. The rest were already a unit when Scott was still in elementary school. Who is this guy to tell them what to do? Who is this kid who thinks he is part of the team??? This guy has not bled with them . This guy has not lost like they have.

Well towards the end the undeterred Scott gets carried off by the same guy who was tormenting him moments before. Because they discovered Scott was in fact part of the team. He too shares values with the veterans. As explained by the concepts in John Maxwell's law of identity. The shared values was the glue. The mission was the magnet.


Important concepts from the John Maxwell chapter

Chaos is:
When everyone on the team has different ideas about what’s important

Just as personal values influence and guide an individual’s behavior, organizational values influence and guide the team’s behavior

Shared Values are like:
1. Glue
When difficult times come-and they do for every team –values hold people together
2. A Foundation
All teams need stability to perform well and to grow
3. A Ruler
Values help set the standard for a team’s performance
4. A Compass
When individuals embrace strong values, they possess a moral compass that helps them make decisions
5. A Magnet
A team’s values attract people with like values to the team
6. An Identity
What you believe identifies who you are

I Suppose I Could Collect My Books and Go Back to School

I got the above line from the Rod Stewart song Maggie May . I am glad this day is here. I had an extremely long break from my pursuit of my MBA. Not a good sign when Prof. Cruz gives me a look of mock horror as if to say " you are finally back".
The whole day at the office I was already tired knowing this was going to be a long day. Then I could not catch a cab . Residue traffic I guess from the Makati Day parade. So I walked. Which is not bad except it gets hot after a while.

After a while in that class, I got too nervous and stressed to even think of fatigue. Prof. Cruz looked at the little group where I "earned " my spot then told me he was expecting a lot from us.

No picture but to make up for it I have three applicable videos:

1) Rodney Dangerfield in Back To School . I am about that age too.

2) Welcome Back Kotter. A teacher returns to teach the remedial class he was once a part of. For me it's a welcome back.

3) Maggie May - Rod Stewart from 1976


tags: GSB, La Salle, RCBC, MBA,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Speak Up Sonny - a recollection of an amusing tale.

This tale happened in the summer of 1988. We were going to watch the recently released Saving Private Ryan.

Saving Private Ryan Pictures, Images and Photos

But one of us got tied up. So we decided to go to a downtown bar and grill in downtown Vancouver. Very early in the process at the restaurant we saw this guy.

Vancouver had an NBA team at the time but it was not basketball season so I could only assume he was there for the so called Vancouver Indy race. So called because Vancouver did not believe it was Indianapolis but it had it's stop in the Indy circuit (open wheel) . Which was North America's most popular racing tour at the time.

Two years later NASCAR (stock cars) broke out of the shackles of being perceived as a southern sport and overtook the Indy circuit in popularity. But I digress.

Anyway it was the three of us in the restaurant:




I'd like to think the three of us were enjoying our dinner. With the exception of a sports grill what bar/ restaurant plays the corresponding sound to whatever is on the screen? Well not this one. On the videoscreen was this video.

But the music was loud. Not loud enough to drown out hope of a conversation but loud. Anyway looking at the video on the tv gave me a weird thought. I said to my companions in my bewildered teenager voice ( I was 32 at the time) "Mom, Dad .. I'm gay" Who am I ? Dough Boy.........

.........correctly answered in the context of the situation

Chastity Bono. (bio)

Anthony was more hard of hearing than your typical 32 year old and he did not hear Dough's answer properly. He heard "Anthony Boulton".

So what was Dough's

reward for getting the answer of my question right?
Anthony heaved at Dough the closest thing to him.

(big gap for some artificial dramatic effect).

So endeth the saga of the flying chicken wing.



What a coincidence. I was reading the original in the barber's chair yesterday, then I saw this in my email. This might be helpful for some of you. It's helpful to me. I need all the help I can get.



Get Great Copy

April 14, 2009

Copyright 2009 Jan O'Daniel

Monthly tips, insights and how-tos for better communication and great copy.

Please forward Get Great Copy to those in your professional network.
To leave this list or to update your email address, please scroll to the end.

WORD COUNT: 1,097 words


This is the quarterly ezine version of my Get Great Copy monthly e-newsletter.
Next month, I'll be back with a shortcut, tip or insight you can read in less than
2 minutes.




This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Stephen R. Covey's
famous self-help book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

The book, which has sold more than 20 million copies, has been called the
most influential business book of the 20th century. It stayed on the
New York Times bestseller list for five years and has been credited with
changing the lives of multitudes of people.

So in honor of the book's milestone anniversary and its common-sense
principles, I'm offering my take on the Seven Habits (as they relate to
effective communication, of course).

I'll discuss the first four habits this month and continue next month
with the remaining three habits.


Like life, relationships and so many other things, effective communication
doesn't just "happen" by accident. It takes focused energy, thoughtful word
choice and leveraging the proper communication vehicle to send, receive
and understand a message. Choose to make better communication a part
of your life and work.

How to incorporate it:
Proactive communicators work at tailoring their message for relevance,
refining it for understanding and improving their communication delivery.
Begin by recognizing your areas of strength and opportunity. Then take
a small improvement step each day, such as instituting a three-count
silence after someone else stops talking and before you start; paying
careful attention to not repeat yourself to make your point; or using
Twitter to practice concise writing and thinking. Also, consider enrolling
in a writing workshop; hiring a communication coach; implementing
new-to-you techniques from books and blogs; and soliciting constructive
criticism from your boss, peers or others whom you respect.


Know what you want to say and what point you're trying to make before
you communicate it. Begin with the End in Mind means to make a
conscious effort to visualize what you're trying to communicate and
how you'd like it to be received. It means spending time collecting your
thoughts before delivering your message.

How to incorporate it:

One of the best ways to do this is to create what I call "one sentence
to clarity." It means stepping back, either literally or figuratively, from
the words to create a single-topic sentence that quickly, clearly and
succinctly explains what you're trying to communicate. Create a
headline, if you will, that will help you keep your message and thoughts
on track and, consequently, make it easier for your listener or reader to
understand. For example, my one sentence to clarity for this ezine might
be: "Give my readers practical steps for better communication based on
Stephen Covey's Seven Habits book."


This, says Covey, is where Habit 1 and Habit 2 come together. For
effective communication, Habit 3 is focusing on the highest priorities
-- both yours and your listener/reader. Decide what is most important
to communicate and spend your time saying only what needs to be said.

How to incorporate it:

Create a down-and-dirty outline by jotting down a few bullet points that
relate to your topic. (Hint: Your topic is your one sentence to clarity from
Habit 2.) If you're having a conversation, obviously you won't want to stop
and create a written outline, but you can make a quick mental note of the
three most important details. Share only what's necessary at the time.
Think you need to share more? Choose wisely or else you may become
like the person who focuses on the most minute, irrelevant detail, such as,
"There was this time I was at the store. Was it Kroger? No, it must have been
Giant Eagle. No, no, it was Meijer. No, wait a minute, I'm pretty sure it was
Kroger ..." Nip off-topic thinking, speaking and writing in the bud. Focus
instead on the top three, highest priority points. Your listeners/readers
will thank you.


Covey says win-win is "a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks
mutual benefit." In the case of effective communication, that means keeping
the other person in mind. Note that the habit says speak to the mutual benefit.
That's what writers call the "what" and the "so what." What do you want to say?
And so what does it mean to your audience?

How to incorporate it:

Communicating your point fearlessly but with consideration takes practice.
Find someone you admire who does it well and become a student of their
communication habits. Also, always put yourself in the other person's shoes.
Take a moment to consider an alternate angle, an unarticulated need or an
opposing viewpoint. Make a list of win-win words and phrases that are mutually
respectful. If you look closely you'll see that I use words like "many" and "some"
instead of "all" or "none." Sometimes it just takes softening the tone, swapping
exclusive words for inclusive ones, or leading with a more benefit-driven message.

Questions or comments about my version of the 7 Habits? Email me:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Public Transit Can Deprive You Of Your IQ

Public Transit Can Deprive You Of Your IQ

I had to do something today in another part of town today. A place where I rather not drive to and where parking is extremely limited. I decided to do the bus and the jeep combo. I walked from the office to where my old place of work was. The Philippine Stock Exchange. Caught a bus there. It was not crowded at all but they were playing this totally annoying song. It was at a volume so loud that I could not even hear Joy Russo, Barry Melrose and E.J. Hradek discuss the Red Wings vs. Blackhawks. That was what was playing on the Ipod at the time. And it was incomprehensible.

Saying that song was as dumb as a sack of hammers would be insulting the hammers. That may be my opinion but you may form your own since the video of this inane waste of audio frequency happens to be on youtube. Well, since the hockey podcast was not canceling out this drivel, I switched to listening to Journey Frontiers for the rest of my "journey" . The full spectrum was able to cancel out the audio poison. After one song I decided to go back to the hockey talk only to find out that idiotic song repeated. All this until I reached my transfer point. This song went on and on and on. When a Journey song would fade there would a result a gap of silence before the next song came on in my ear buds. Then that moronic picha pie song would re-invade my consciousness. Somewhere along the ride, a vendor entered the bus trying to sell cashews. If only he was selling IQ so I could replenish what I lost , and give some to the driver and the conductor. To prevent future brain cell depletion.

I think I will repent my sinful ways if this song on repeat is what awaits me in the afterlife.


tags: hockey, bus riding, bus, picha pie, low IQ, Parokya ni Edgar

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Steven and Jeff Two Crazy Guys

I don't have to tell you that I am addicted to podcasts. For the uninitiated, those are radio shows that can be found on line and listened to using your computer or MP 3 player. A show that I have been listening to since I discovered this wonderful medium is NFL Rants and Raves. By two guys named Jeff Ellis and Steven Miranda who reside in Pasedena California. Listen to them for a while and you get to know them to some extent. And it gets addicting. They talk about family and college and high school and movies and anything else people talk about. I will give you a taste of their ramblings. And TRUST me . It has nothing to do with football. You will be entertained. The audio is in the form of mp 3 attachment either below on the multiply post or click here.


1) Jeff and Steven on relationships. When you hear this clip you will hear then sing a bit of a song then reflect on deep thoughts. In fact thoughts I expressed in this old post. Their version probably makes more sense than Men are from Mars............

2) Jeff and Steven on the exact same topic I discussed in this Blog Entry.

3) Jeff and Steven on the Little Mermaid. If you ever wanted to hear a 44 year old man (Jeff) sing Part of Your World with gusto then have the conversation go down hill from there, well you are in the right place.

Related links:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Its Better To Look Good Than To Be Good

Read and listen (attachment below or click here) to this post and you will learn about :
  • vanity
  • teamwork
  • style vs. substance
  • Billy Crystal does not want to feel good.
  • Tiger Woods depends on his 'team'
  • Makeup demonstrations in my office
  • Dictionary definitions
  • Failure of 'Ballers' in the NBA playoffs.
  • David Stern's failure in the immediate post Michale Jordan period.
  • Leadership

Once again I present you a six minute segment that I immensely enjoyed from Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio. It's a lecture about life that masquerades as a sports story. It was aired in ESPN. It's actually a topic I have visited many times in my blog. The plain fact of the matter is you all know somebody like this. My title was a play on a catch phrase that Billy Crystal had in a recurring Saturday Night Live skit. Which just about says everything.

Trent Dilfer ( forgive me with this next paragraph non sports fans but I am making a point) will never make the Hall of Fame and played in only one All Star game. BUT he has something some hall of famers do not have. That is he won a championship. Because eventually he learned something. Something you rarely hear. He understood his job was not to look good himself. His job was to make others look good. It's very possible to look good as an individual player and still lose. It is very hard for a whole bunch of guys on the team to look good and the team still lose.

Golf is an individual sport but look at the best Tiger Woods. He still gives credit to his swing coach Butch Harmon and to his caddie Steve Williams and most of all to his dad.

I saw John Maxwell when he came to Manila back in 2004. First thing he said. It is impossible to accomplish something great without a team. Jesus still needed the Apostles to carry on his work and his Word. I can't remember if Maxwell himself that (he is a minister ) but it sounds like something he would say. An example Maxwell did give was his last book launch. He spent half the night thanking all that made the book possible. Team is important.

There are people in your life who are vain and could care less how other people around them look. No sense showing this to them since it is my experience short sighted people rarely read anything of insight. I am not saying my words are insightful but hopefully the Colin audio and the links are insightful.

Listen to Colin's verbal essay on all these basketball players who only care about individual razzle dazzle as opposed to team success. Colin mentions Steve 'Franchise" Francis. A drama I saw play out while I was living in Vancouver. Colin's main point "it's amazing when you consider others. If you don't see attachment below then click here.

I know somebody in the office who I find vain. Known for always having to excuse herself to go the washroom and use the mirror. After working there 7 1/2 years all I know about her is she is the one that organized cosmetic demonstration for other office women. Anyway based on what I told you , you know that she likes looking at herself in the mirror and she organized a cosmetics event.

I am not a fan of cosmetics which might be as redundant as saying Lindsay Lohan is not a fan of sobriety. Still, since I am in search of meaning in life and hopefully by continuing to document my observations I will tap into it a bit more. Remember the main theme of this post is style vs. substance. Let's go to the dictionary and look at the definition of 'Cosmetic'

Cosmetic serving an esthetic rather than a useful purpose; "cosmetic fenders on cars"; "the buildings were utilitarian rather than decorative"

I then decided to look up superficial in the dictionary.

# concerned with or comprehending only what is apparent or obvious; not deep or penetrating emotionally or intellectually; "superficial similarities ...
# of, affecting, or being on or near the surface; "superficial measurements"; "the superficial area of the wall"; "a superficial wound"
# of little substance or significance; "a few superficial editorial changes"; "only trivial objections"
# Superficial is a general term meaning "regarding the surface", often metaphorically. Both in the literal as in the metaphorical sense the term has ...
# Shallow, lacking substance; At face value; pertaining to the surface; being near the surface

You see the relationship?

This is not my first post on vanity and it will not be the last. Take from it what you will.


Related links

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Curious Case of the Beverly Brothers vs The Bushwhackers

This is an incident that happened back in the early nineties. I can barely find any reference to it on line. Make no mistake this was front page material even in the legit newspaper in Vancouver. Working off memory this is what I can remember:

These two homosexual guys decided to celebrate their anniversary by watching a wrestling event. The WWF (World Wrestling Federation) as it was called at the time came to town and set up shop at the Pacific Coliseum. As you all know professional wrestling is all about spectacle and showmanship and not about competition.

The tag team match in question involved the Beverly Brothers vs.The Bushwhackers . I still remember the newspaper story explaining the Beverly Brothers as wrestlers that act in stereotypical gay way. Since I do not watch wrestling , this description does help in my comprehension of this event. One of the members of The Bushwhackers pointed to the Beverly Brothers and started chanting "F*ggot F&ggot!" Which of course got the crowd following suit. The couple celebrating their anniversary was hurt by this. If I recall they filed suit on the promoter of the event and the local venue. They also got front page news coverage on the Vancouver Sun.

Besides the fact that I only have the link below and my memories to go on is a but weird. What's also weird is I doubt this was the only time the WWF resorted to that kind of audience participation . If that's true then why was Vancouver the only place to be on record of complaining of such practice?

It's possible that Vancouver being at the extreme west of the continent was the first stop of the tour was the first and only place they tried this act out. This was eighteen years ago and hard to imagine this happening again unless The Iron Sheik made a comeback. I think he hails from Iran.


Tags: WWF, Wrestling, gay, harassment,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poor Miss California

The woman Carrie Prejean spoke her mind consistent with what her family taught her. So if she chose not to be consistent with the left coast she is attacked? So if she chose not to confirm to Perez Hilton's own version of morality she is attacked? Perez Hilton there is a worthy , noble role model. The guy may be famous but can you really be proud of someone who's livelihood and fame is based on gossip?

There are other angles here but just sticking with the Q&A of the pageant.

I also provided a funny but dated list of beauty pageant questions from Letterman's glory days in NBC.



10. Which is your favorite dancing raisin?

9. Can you spell your home state without looking at your banner?

8. How does it feel to be the only contestant with a fat butt?

7. How much of your scholarship money have you lost in the slots?

6. If you were stranded on a desert island with a shampoo for oily hair and creme rinse for dry hair - what would you do?

5. Aren't there any other girls in your state?

4. Don't you want to put some ointment on that?

3. Are those real?

2. Don't you have anything better to do?

1. Would you consider teaming up with Miss Teen U.S.A. to fight crime like Batman and Robin?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Mrs. Martin

Make a long story short . Mark Cuban owner of the Dallas Mavericks told the mother of an opposing player that the entire team was composed of thugs. " Including your son". Read the gory details below. Plus the subsequent apology by Cuban from his own blog. This all happened the night before Mother's Day.

My opinion. If Cuban's statement was true, the refs and the league will handle it. Hate to break it to you but sports in it's highest level involves some physical contact. But dirty play is eventually dealt with.

You can not hold a family member of a player responsible for the "role" they play on the court anymore than you can hold the mother of Eric Bana responsible that he is the bad guy in the Star Trek movie. This may not be the best example but allow me to quote the great Dave 'Tiger' Williams formerly of the Canucks and Maple Leafs. " I knew my role, I fought or I was gone".

There is a division of labor in sports with literally millions willing to fill those spots. For every pretty glamor boy there are 4 or more role players whose job it is to the mean and uglies for the pretty boy to function. Cuban himself employs those type of players. That's the way it is and the way it's always been in competitive sport.


Cuban blog:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One of the things that bugged me about Star Trek (2009) No Spoiler

One of the things that bugged me about Star Trek (2009) No Spoiler

Don't worry , the spoiler is within the video itself. Was corresponding with one of my Facebook/ Multiply friends and I already told her one thing that bugged me and to reveal it would be a spoiler.

Another thing that bugged me is if you believe what happened in the current movie then this scene you are about to see is irrelevant.

Star Trek and I go way back. We were both born the same year. I have seen about 80% of the first show and all of the movies so I might be more demanding than some.

Still I enjoyed the movie. But once you have seen it, watch the video below and you know this could not have happened the way the movie played out.


Manny Tests Positive Suspended for 50

Anyway info on the links. In the meantime since he got caught with a female fertility drug and his testicles apparently shrunk, well the jokes have been flying. Here are some I compiled from the Dan Patrick Show and from Peter Pacarelli.


  • Gives Mannywood a Whole New Meaning
  • He Wants to be Octo Mom
  • He will be vindicated when he gives birth to twins.
  • Would you rather have an issue with ED or PED? But their both performance enhancing. (erectile dysfunction / performance enhancing drugs)
  • Suffering from Mannypause
  • I told you Manny was nuts.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Filipino Pride a photo essay

Warning: I rather you not be personally be consuming anything edible while reading this.

It was Saturday afternoon (May 9 ) around 3:40 PM . Was crossing Edsa (via Pasay Road) from Dusit to Petron on foot.

Pasay Road (right before Park Square)

I saw this guy maybe 28 years old. With a "searching " look to his face . I asked him more or less "may hinahanap kayo?" ( are you looking for something/ some place?) The spot you see below is where I saw him and where I approached him.

At least he gave me the courtesy of shaking me off. I don't mean literally but you can tell I am a baseball addict by using that phrase. Better explained by clicking here. The next thing I know, this guy is taking a leak/ taking a whizz/ relieving himself here. 

This is 3:40 PM in the afternoon. Broad daylight. In a very busy street in a nicer part of Manila. I have seen this happen way too many times and smelt the smell way too many times to believe this is the only time it had ever happened. This is an esteem issue. This is a pride issue. How people feel about their environment and their idea of presentation.

This guy had options . Maybe he was not as familiar with the area as I was but I did offer to help. There is a nice clean men's room in Park Square that would not have charged him a dime. But like many people , this guy chose the route of the short cut. Never mind that hundreds can see him answering the call of nature on a busy street. Never mind pedestrians for hours can enjoy the musty aroma of his gift to the pavement. This choice and this mentality relives (and relieves) itself many times over everyday in Makati, Quiapo and other places. And who cares about it? This is acceptable in this society as well as many other things. We should value our pride. There is more to national and civic pride than cheering for a guy in shorts to administer a concussion to his opponent.

Imagine that, he was in full view of any vehicle as you can see by the arrow.

It shows real pride in your community to go where this man went (arrow) . I doubt any cop would have done anything. How many of us would bat an eyelash? All that indifference defines "Filipino Pride".

Not every Filipino can box internationally or host a noon time variety show but sure as I am typing this , every Filipino can aspire to refrain from urinating in a public place. Imagine that: I have a dream that all Pinoys do not #1 in the street. Oh what utopia we will achieve.

We should be more aware of how are actions reverberate in our community. We should be considerate of our fellow humans who we share our space with. Pride and consideration are commodities we should not piss away.


Seems like everybody's shakin'
'Cause the big one's 'bout to fall
I'm just tryin' to hold it steady while I
Piss On The Wall

(J.Geils Band 1981)

Related link:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

If This Really Happened We Would Not Be Here

I just find this funny.


Warning if you don't see a video screen you must find this post in

Hugh Hefner and Pope John Paul II What Do They Have In Common ?

What did he have to say about orgasm?

Hugh Hefner and Pope John Paul II What Do They Have In Common ?

I really recommend this video and this story. My regular readers know I like to blog about Catholic issues. I never dreamed I would have this topic but here it is. Again that's the beauty of being receptive to things and then blogging about the occasional revelation. I like this guy because he goes around and disproves a myth that being Catholic and living Catholic makes one dull and dispassionate.

Watch the video to get these questions answered:

  • Similarity between Hugh Hefner and John Paul II?
  • John Paul II as a young priest talking about mutual orgasm? In the 1950's?
  • God's place in the bedroom?
  • Justification of Catholic Church's stance on birth control?
  • Why is Catholicism a sexy religion?
  • What connection does good sex have with eternal life?


Sex Sermonist's Heroes: Pope John Paul II and Hugh Hefner
Devout Catholic Christopher West Lays Out Unexpected Vision of What Sex Can Mean for Christians

QUARRYVILLE, Pa., May 7, 2009

Christopher West is not your average sex therapist. He's a devout Catholic who believes one of the most important ways we can get closer to God is through great sex.

"As Christians, we are desperately in need of a renewed vision of our sexuality," West has sermonized. "The union of man and woman itself is meant to be here on planet Earth an image, a foretaste, a little glimmer of the eternal ecstasy that awaits us in heaven."

The seeming paradox of West's position is captured in the unlikely pairing of his two big heroes -- his muses, you might say. They are Pope John Paul II, and Hugh Hefner. A saint and a sinner.

"I actually see very profound historical connections between Hugh Hefner and John Paul II," said West.

And it's not just the red slippers?

"No, it's not just the red slippers." Each man in his own way, West insisted, rescued sex from prudish Victorian morality.

On Hugh Hefner: 'I Understand His Ache'

"I love Hugh Hefner," said West. "I really do. Why? Because I think I understand his ache. I think I understand his longing because I feel it myself. There is this yearning, this ache, this longing we all have for love, for union, for intimacy."

West said John Paul II took the sexual revolution an extra step, outlining what he called the "Theology of the Body." The pope emphasized how God made Adam and Eve naked and without shame, in his own image. And told them to be fruitful and multiply.

In other words, according to the pope, from the very beginning, sexual love has been at the heart of God's plan for us.

"Catholicism, properly understood ... is one of the sexiest of the world's religions," said West. "But what do we mean by that statement? Catholicism is a very physical, very sensual religion. And indeed the authentic soundtrack for Christianity is a small book in the Old Testament called the Song of Songs. And what is it? It is glorious erotic love poetry."

West goes so far as to call the Song of Songs "the centerfold of the Bible," providing what he sees as a Biblical acceptance of oral sex as foreplay, among other things.

Christian Sex Therapy Is Big Business

Small wonder his books have sold more than a million copies and his CDs more than 3 million copies. Small wonder the Christian couples who attend West's "Theology of the Body" retreats tend to leave with smiles on their faces.

"It revolutionized my marriage and the way I saw my husband, and even the way I understood our intimacy," said Kathy Schmugge, an attendee.

Another student of West's, Andy McMurry, agreed. "It changed my life completely," McMurry said. "It changed my marriage. It took my marriage from what I thought was good to unbelievably good."

West admits his take on Christianity and sex is a radical departure from the church teachings he grew up with.

"What I heard in Catholic school, growing up anyway ... [was] 'Thou shalt not.' When it came to questions of sex, 'Thou shalt not.'"

But when West looks at the Bible now, he sees the ultimate sex guide. The "Joy of Sex" as a path to salvation.

"How do we live our sexuality in a way that points us to ultimate love, and ultimate happiness, and ultimate fulfillment?" he asked.

Of course, there is some fine print. West addresses his teaching only to straight men and women, properly married. No gay sex. No birth control.

Asked why contraception is wrong given that the Bible does not explicitly outlaw condoms, for example, West has a snappy reply.

"Where in the Bible does it say, 'Thou shalt not cut off thy neighbor's head with a chainsaw'? It also says in the Scripture that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. And Christ's love is a life-giving love."

In other words, West believes sex without the possibility of creating new life is a sin, and that using contraception is, if you will, a kind of a sexual bulimia.

"I want the pleasure of the act, but I don't want the consequences of the act, so I am going to vomit out my fertility," is how West describes the mind-set.

But West also believes sex without pleasure would be a sacrilege. In fact, he sees orgasm as a glimmer of salvation.

"Interestingly enough, John Paul II, long before he became pope, in the late 1950s, wrote that if a man is truly to love his wife he must learn how to contain his own climax in order to learn how to bring his wife to climax with him."

As a sexual manifesto, it may not be for everyone. But it is certainly revolutionary.

"Christians must not retreat from what the sexual revolution began," lectured West. "Christians must complete what the sexual revolution began."

Christians Flock to Sex Sermons

Among a growing number of Christians, his message is finding a receptive audience.

"The problem is we have kicked God out of the bedroom. Do the math on that. If God is love, and we kick him out of the bedroom, then what's going on in your bedroom? It ain't love.

"We have to bring God and sex back together," said West.

Copyright � 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

tags: theology, birth control, catholic, orgasm, faith, sex

"I Don't Like Anybody"

As some of you may know, I exist on podcasts. Which explains why I am rarely seen without my Ipod Nano around my neck like a necklace. A lot of my blog ideas come from listening to podcasts and wishing I was in on the discussion. Anyway Peter Pascarelli is one of the stars of the talk show Baseball Today and combines his knowledge of the major leagues with his acerbic wit and makes the show an amusing listen for some of us. Hence his catch phrase "I Don't Like Anybody". Eric Karabell serves as the host and "straight man". Not unlike the Ron MacLean Don Cherry duo. My comment on that got my letter read on the May 7th show and you may hear it here (mp attachment available on Multiply post) or download the whole show.