Cry Pretty

How can you not love a song that mentions rhinestones? Carrie Underwood’s latest:

Favorite TV Show? I Don’t Have One.

Tonight I was dumbfounded when a friend asked me what was my favorite television program. It is not that I don’t watch TV; I do. But I don’t have a program that I would classify as my “favorite.” My television habit has severely curtailed in recent years. It is not that I don’t watch television, but it isn’t that important to me anymore.

Directv NowI subscribe to DirecTV Now, an internet-streaming service. It costs $60 a month. They stream most of our local over-the-air channels, as well as the YES Network, SNY, MLB Network, MSG Networks, Fox News, USA Network, TNT, and a good assortment of entertainment networks (most of which I don’t watch). At $60, it is a much more comfortable cost to watch TV when compared to DirecTV’s (satellite) regular $130 a month charge. DirecTV Now doesn’t have a DVR, but with on demand, I guess I can say I don’t want to pay for a DVR.

Overall, I watch more sports than I do anything else. For instance, as I type this, the MLB Network is on showing the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals game. Right before, the New Jersey Devils’ game was on. And now as I type that previous sentence, that game is back on with the locals leading the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The last TV show I watched was NCIS: New Orleans (watched it on demand via the CBS All Access app). This morning, I watched parts of CBS 2 local news, Fox News’ morning program, including the last ten minutes of their 5 AM show, and some infomercial promoting the My Pillow Topper. At around 6:40 AM, I turned the TV off. And 14 hours later, I turned it on to watch the Devils, New York Rangers, Nashville Predators game in Washington DC against the Capitals, and baseball on the MLB Network.

I like dramas more than comedies. Documentaries score high on my list.

But a favorite show? I don’t have one. The last television show that I considered my favorite? 24 on Fox. Before that, The X-Files, also on Fox.

And I like to read, mostly mysteries and thrillers outside of religious-themed books. I like the Kindle more than the iPad to read, but actually holding books have come back into fashion with me. Listening to books is OK, but not great – listening to them makes me tired, especially religious-based books.

I like reading newspapers – on my iPad. The New York Post, the New York Times (the subscription is part of a deal that ends in May), the Wall Street Journal (also part of subscription deal) are part of my morning newspaper routine. The Bergen Record, our local newspapers, is delivered, but at $38 a month, it is very costly and is really not worth the monthly price.

Apple MusicI listen to the radio. Apple Music and iHeart Radio and Radio.com and Sirius XM, all streamed from my phone to Apple’s HomePod, though Apple Music’s integration is perfect with HomePod and the others is a little clunkier. I like the playlists on Apple Music and their “radio stations” have gotten extremely good recently. Favorite music genres? Country, Christian Contemporary, Chill (especially piano), and some modern pop.

And look at that – the Devils beat the Maple Leafs and are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Though a Rangers and Predators’ fan, I’m happy for the Devils.

Meatless Good Friday

Balancing the spiritual desires of Holy Week with the realities of real life sometimes causes me to shake my head.

I’ve been asked a half-dozen times in the course the last two days whether it is a church rule that you can’t eat meat on Good Friday. The “understanding” of not eating meat on Friday is burned into the minds of Roman Catholics who will this Friday eat enough salmon or tilapia that will cause a shortage of the little critters come Saturday morning. And because most of us here in New Jersey have relatives who are Roman Catholics, their ideas on refraining from meat on Fridays is passed onto us non-Catholics through words or osmosis.

It is not a church law that you must refrain from eating chicken nuggets on Good Friday.

Coming from a strictly Lutheran perspective, Good Friday is a holy, introspective day where one could, if they so choose, fast, that is, to refrain from eating. Good Friday offers Christians an opportunity to use that day as a spiritual exercise by reflecting on our lives as God’s children knowing that He sent His Son to pay our debt of sin. But this is an exercise, not a law. So, if you really are hankering for a cheeseburger on Friday, God isn’t going to hit you with lightning as you walk out of Burger King.

Yet the “eating fish, not meat on Good Friday” lives on.

The owner of a local deli told me yesterday that he is going to have four fish options for “Christians” on Friday, one of which is a lobster bisque soup, another is pan fried tilapia. Supermarkets have great sales on everything fish this week including tuna in a can that is going for less than a buck at some stores. And as I see what deli owners and supermarkets do for us “Christians” this week, I wonder why don’t they offer deals on tofu dishes? That way, no animal flesh at all on Good Friday!

Well, I don’t eat meat any day. It’s not a spiritual exercise; it’s a health exercise. Should you stop eating meat this Friday for a day? It won’t kill you, but don’t do it because you may think it may make you more holy. Focus your day on Christ and fasting. That’s a better way to tackle the spiritual aspect of Good Friday.