Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Merry Christmas from Oddwalk

A little early, we know. It's going to be a busy two or three days, obviously, so we'll be on blogging vacation. See you all later! Enjoy a great Christmas, holy, peaceful, and joyful!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

More Oddwalk News Articles

Hey everybody,

The main Oddwalk site ( just got updated with a media page where we can put news clippings, audio, video, etc. In addition to a new promo flyer, there are a couple new news articles over there:

- One about our recent visit to Sioux City, IA - you can also see this online here, and

- One about our newest CD put together by the Catholic Missourian - you can also see this article by clicking the pic on the left.

Check back to that page often for new Oddwalk goodies!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Concert Update

The Oddwalk Christmas concert at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows was a success! Not only was it a lot of fun, but the fundraiser for Sgt. Jon Brough went well too. The first musical group of the evening, from Holy Redeemer in St. Louis helped out, announcing the cause, and taking donations before Oddwalk went out to play. Over the course of the night, over $300 was raised to support The Brough family. The Shrine Gift shop was also donating a dollar from each sale of two special ornaments to the collection. No report yet on how many were sold, but more than a dozen or two would be a safe bet.

All in all a fantastic night at the Shrine! Thanks to all of you who were able to support Oddwalk in person last night and those who support us in other ways, both last night and throughout the year!


Jon Brough went home from the hospital today (December 23rd). You can read more about it in this article from the Belleville News-Democrat.

What a great Christmas gift for the Brough family. Praise God!

What is Christmas all about?

‘‘There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got,’’ one observer noted recently.

Well, not so recently.

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote those words in 1850.

Watch the whole show here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Concert for Sgt. Jon Brough

If you live close to the Belleville/St. Louis-area, we would like to invite you to join us for a Christmas Concert this Thursday night (December 21). This is a special concert because we will be collecting money to benefit Sgt. Jon Brough, a Belleville police officer (and friend of Shannon's) who was seriously injured in a raid on a home a month or two ago. Because of these injuries, Jon has lost his sight and sense of smell. He also has years of surgeries ahead of him. Sgt. Brough has a wife, Wendy, and two grown children. Click here to see our previous post about this.

This concert will be held in the Visitor's Center lobby at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. It will start at 7:30pm and will run about an hour. As an added incentive, the Shrine Gift Shop has graciously agreed to donate $1.00 for every Family ornament ($ 8.50) and Our Lady of the Snows Souvenir Ornament ($ 8.95, inset) that they sell that night from 5pm-9pm.

The Oddwalk Christmas Show is usually a pretty good time and it's a great place to bring your family. E-mail us at if you have any questions.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Did you know Elvis recorded a song about the Rosary?

We didn't.

Click here to listen and read a bit about it.

Not sure about the theology of the first little bit... Hm.

Did you want the karaoke version?

Be amazed: google "elvis rosary"!

Person of the Year

YOU. Just look in the mirror.

Not sure I'm (Orin) terribly excited by the choice - it falls flat for me on two accounts:

1) It seems to want to avoid earmarking someone in particular as most influential, interesting, unique, etc.

2) It also only further reinforces a society that forgets the underpinnings of community - that is, that we must look around ourselves and fashion our behavior for the good of humanity, not just the good of ourselves.

What thinketh thou?

Friday, December 15, 2006

To see elfin-Orin elf-dance, click here.

Do you want to make your own?
Go ahead, you know you want to.

Prayers Needed

Friends of the Oddwalk family (specifically friends of Orin and Erin) are in much need of prayer, sorry, can't go into a lot of detail. Just remember this family when talking to and listening to God. Thanks.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Vegas Pics

More vegas pics, thanks to Erin C - see more at Cerneka Family Adventures!

Hanging out at the booth

Oddwalk at the NFCYM Birthday Bash

Shannon's head, even larger than usual
(we just mean he has a physically large head to begin with)

Your favorite Keytar Hero
(Yes, Erin H is very proud)

Don't forget to keep playing our Haiku Challenge III, just below!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Haiku Challenge III

Well friends, it's about that time again, time for our third Haiku Challenge! Whee! Our simple rules:

-Lines are in lengths of 5-7-5 syllables
-The first word of your haiku must be the last word of the previous haiku
-You can play more than once, but not until someone else has haiku-ed

That's pretty much it! Leave your entries in the comments. Here's one to start us off:

Now is the season,
Lights twinkle all around us -

Christmastime is here!

Next haiku starts with the word here. Have fun!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Ground Control to Major Tom

This picture is of my wife, Erin, who works as a transport nurse for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This picture was taken just before Erin took off in a helocopter to take care of another sick baby. MY HERO!!


Friday, December 8, 2006

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord."

Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We look to our Blessed Mother as the greatest model of how we all should approach our relationship with God.

Here is an excerpt from today's Gospel:

...Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
-Luke 1:38

(The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of our Blessed Mother free from Original Sin. It often gets confused with the virginal conception of Jesus in Mary's womb.)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Vegas Videos

Not of us unfortunately, but of some other parts of the Saturday Night NFCYM birthday bash that we were a part of - some very very funny stuff!

First, a Chris Padgett and Jesse Manibusan Dance-off to the vocal styings of Joia Farmer:

Next, Decaf (Bob Rice and Chris Padgett) in action, "Hand Motions in Heaven"

Requiem for a Snowman

Thanks to Jared!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

I wish I could take credit for this:

Found while surfing around this afternoon:

"I have the clothes and you have the beard for it. Together we could make a great Santa."

Happy St. Nicolas Day!

Daily Mass Readings Podcast!

The daily mass readings and in fact the whole NAB version of the Bible have always been available at the USCCB website. Now, though, you can get the audio (podcast, or right in your browser) if you'd rather listen than read. Check it out!

The Loss of a Friend

When I was in high school, the youth ministry programming for the Belleville Diocese (where I lived) was organized as the Catholic Youth Organization or C.Y.O. Our diocese did a great job of offering faith-building opportunities for high school students.

One of the things that made our diocese great was that each deanery had it's own youth ministry organizational structure as well. It's like a state and its counties. These deaneries provided additional youth ministry events to help us get closer to God and connect with the life of the Church.

The lay person in charge of our deanery was Mary Hirl. Mary was a lively woman who cared deeply for the teens and their faith. She worked very hard and is partly responsible for my entry into the world of youth ministry.

Mary Hirl passed away on Tuesday. I don't have many more details than that, but the news makes me very sad. She will be greatly missed.

Please keep Mary and her family in your prayers this week.


Hey, quit shaking that box!

Boy booked for opening Christmas present


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A fed-up mother had her 12-year-old son arrested for allegedly rummaging through his great-grandmother's things and playing with his Christmas present early.

The mother called police Sunday after learning her son had disobeyed orders and repeatedly taken a Game Boy from its hiding place at his great-grandmother's house next door and played it. He was arrested on petty larceny charges, taken to the police station in handcuffs and held until his mother picked him up after church.

"My grandmother went out of her way to lay away a toy and paid on this thing for months," said the boy's mother, Brandi Ervin. "It was only to teach my son a lesson. He's been going through life doing things ... and getting away with it."

Read more here!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

An Early Merry Christmas from the Keytar

Orin's keytar asked him earlier today to pass along this Christmas message to all of you:

Click here to listen

Click here to sing along.

Explanation: for some curious reason, Wham's "Last Christmas" is the demo song on the model of keytar Orin owns...

Vegas Coffeehouse Pics

Thanks to DJ Bill Lage for the pics!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Memories of NCCYM 2006

Until we catch up back home and have some pictures to post, here are some of Oddwalk's memories of NCCYM 2006:

- Avoiding the St. Louis Storm
- Purple booth again!
- Where's that guitar peg?
- Speed "Oh St. Joesph" & "Let The Children..."
- Popple
- Quizno's guacamole
- CoffeeHouse lights and sounds and smoke machine...
- Bare Naked Ladies (the band)
- GIA Skybox
- Great conversations at the booth
- Dance rehearsal
- The Jamminest "Jammin' with Jesus" ever
- 4 hours of sleep

I'm sure we'll add some more as our brains un-fog! Glad to be home!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

¡Viva Las Vegas!

NCCYM, here we come! It's 4:xx a.m. and Orin and Erin are heading out the door - see y'all there (except the ones we won't)!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Colbert on Pope, Ecumenism

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the content, there's a lot in this bit that is very funny:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Look Out Vegas,

Here We Come:

They'll never know what hit 'em...

The Faith of a Child

Oddwalk often tells stories of child-like faith, often connected to songs such as In My Heart or Let the Children Come to Me.

Gene of APeX writes at his blog of a 7th-grader exhibiting just that sort of trust.

Go! Read!

Monday, November 27, 2006

So, It's Orin & Erin's 2nd Anniversary!

Office Space - the thriller

Oddwalk has long been fans of the movie Office Space.

In this clip, someone has recut a trailer to make it look like it's a suspense-thriller instead of a comedy. Enjoy:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How well do you know your Oddwalk?

Click the leaderboard to take the quiz, then come back and see how your result compares. All the answers to the quiz can be found on our main site, the Oddblog, or our MySpace page.

Create your own friendquiz here

Update, 11/29:

So, um...

There was an error with the quiz which has now been fixed. Everyone who answered C on the last question, add 10 points to your score...

Everyone who answered B and got credit, you can keep the points for believing Keytars are totally awesome.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Helping Those in Need

Orin's wife, Erin Hammond, coordinated a Thanksgiving luncheon for the homeless, poor, and elderly of the area that was hosted at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Belleville, IL. On site and through pick-ups and deliveries, they served about 700 people all told between 11am and 1pm on Thanksgiving day.

The Belleville News-Democrat stopped by to check out the happenings and do a nice little write-up — please read their story online here.

On a personal note, Orin is quite proud of Erin — she was mentored into the program last year, and this year it was completely her baby. Way to go!

Also, see if you can find Orin in the picture — it's subtle, but he's in there, and yes, that's all the larger the picture was, at least on-line! Unfortunately, no picture of Erin.

Often when I or others pray before meals, we speak of "being mindful of those who go without" — be that physical nourishment, spirirual nourishment, or just companionship. This truly was a day to be more than just mindful.

PS - St. Luke's was Shannon's parish growing up, is featured on the cover of our newest CD, and this room, the one in the picture, was the site of our CD release concert/World Series Game 1 party.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

St. Cecilia, Patron of Musicians

“Liturgical action is given a more noble form when sacred rites are solemnized in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people."
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 112

Read more about St. Cecilia here (If it's still Nov. 22; if not, just google*)!

Also, don't forget to check out "Sing a New Song to the Lord (Psalm 98)" on the left sidebar!

*PS - Oddwalk earns a few pennies every time someone googles from our home page - when you think of it, could you make us a few pennies?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Oddwalk (de)Composing

Check the Gcast ("Audio Blog Posts") thingy on the left to listen to a rough recording of a setting of Psalm 98 that Shannon (and Orin) are working on...

Something to ponder

An unattributed quote in Orin's Theology of Worship reading at Aquinas this week:

"People know what they do. People frequently know why they do what they do. People don't often know what they do does."

"I am old enough to know better!"

In his book, Forgotten Among the Lilies – Learning To Love Beyond Our Fears, the popular and wise Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, paraphrases the opening lines of Fr. Carlo Carretto’s love letter addressed to the Church, the visible institutional Church.

How much I must criticize you, my church and yet how much I love you!
You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe you more that I owe anyone.
I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.
You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Never in the world have I seen anything more obscurantist, more compromised, more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure, more generous or more beautiful.
Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face – and yet, every night, I have prayed that I might die in your arms!
No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even if not completely you.
Then too – where should I go?
To build another church?
But I cannot build another church without the same defects, for they are my own defects.
And again, if I were to build another church, it would be my church, not Christ’s church.
No, I am old enough. I know better!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Caption Contest

Post in the comments your best caption for this picture:

Sometimes you just want a practical solution

Bubba went to a psychiatrist. "I've got problems. Everytime I go to bed I think there's somebody under it. I'm scared. I think I'm going crazy."

"Just put yourself in my hands for one year," said the doctor. "Come talk to me three times a week, and we should be able to get rid of those fears."

"How much do you charge?" "Eighty dollars per visit," replied the doctor. "I'll sleep on it," said Bubba. Six months later the doctor met Bubba on the street.

"Why didn't you ever come to see about those fears you were having?" asked the psychiatrist

"Well, eighty bucks a visit three times a week for a year is an awful lot of money! A bartender cured me for $10. I was so happy to have saved all that money I went and bought me a new pickup!"

"Is that so! And how, may I ask, did a bartender cure you?"

"He told me to cut the legs off the bed! - Ain't nobody under there now!!!"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Jammin' Johns! (or, "Music to your Rear")

An anonymous reader tipped us off to this extremely necessary product every Oddwalk fan (and every member of Oddwalk too) should have...

Many questions arise:

1) How did this person happen to come upon this product?
2) Why did this person instantly think of us?
3) Which one should we get?

Make sure to check it out yourselves, and let us know!

Our toilet goes to 11!

(Spinal Tap, anyone?)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Your Prayers Are Needed

Last week, a police officer in Belleville, Illinois was shot in the face while carrying out a raid on a home. That police officer, Jon Brough, is a parishioner at my home parish of St. Luke in Belleville, and is someone I've known most of my life.

While he survived the shooting, and several hours of surgery that followed, Sgt. Brough is permanently blinded. Furthermore, his sense of smell will be permanently affected, and he has years of facial reconstructive surgeries ahead of him.

At a minimum, Sgt. Brough and his family need our prayers. If you would like to do more, please click on the title above and search the main page of the Belleville News-Democrat for ways to donate money. Anything you can do will help.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Behold the Oddwalk...Guitar

As you might have expected by now, American Airlines has not found my guitar. If you aren't up on this story, click here.

Seeing no other choice, I went through a local music store and found a guitar that I really liked. I've used it a few times and am already in love with it. It sounds great and it has a built-in tuner. Woo Hoo!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a guitar again. You are free to end your prayer vigils.

Monday, November 13, 2006


"Fr. Willmar was saing Mass and he was having trouble. He said, 'There's something wrong with this mic.' And Sr. Arvonne said, 'And also with you.'"

—From a Garrison Keillor Story, quote seen in the NCR

Friday, November 10, 2006

The dog's name is Mary

Here's an email I (Orin) got from my dad the other day. Yes, this is the entire email:

Hi Orin and Erin. Just to let you know that Erick was elected mayor and the
dog next door got 5 votes. DAD

You see, in my hometown of Tyler, Minnesota, no one had filed to run for mayor by the filiing deadline - no one really wanted the job. My folks' neighbor put a sign out in his front yard that his dog Mary was running for mayor. Eventually, a friend of mine from high school, Erick Harper, decided to run, along with a couple other guys, as a write-in candidate.

This is Erick. You can see a little more about his victory and other exciting aspects of Tyler, Minnesota life here at the Tyler Tribute web page (that's the weekly newspaper).

For instance, elsewhere on the site, you can see a picture of other neighbors of mine growing up, Lorraine and Mervil Knudsen, trying to vote at the high school gym:

I'm not sure who the elction worker is. Sorry.

There's also an interesting story on the 1939 time capsule discovered at the old hospital building which was recently torn down, about a block from where I grew up.


Thursday, November 9, 2006

Babies! Babies! Babies!

New life is all around us! Oddwalk would like to congratulate several family members and friends on their new babies:

-Elizabeth Leahy, a cousin of Shannon, and her husband Brendan welcomed their son, Griffin.

-Kim Distler, another cousin of Shannon, and her husband Greg welcomed Molly.

-Ricky and Tania Willmann, friends of the Oddwalk family, welcomed Richard Craig, whom they will call Craig.

Congratulations to all! You are in our prayers.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

New Oddwalk Web Banner

If anyone wants to link to us (we're very popular, you know), that's always more than welcome. A text link is fine, but you can always use our logo (top-left of the page) or this new web banner:

Make sure to click on it first to get the higher-quality, right-sized version - Cheers!

Coodies, and another Treo-loving Catholic artist

Ryan Meyers is a Catholic musician and absolutely loves his treo! Orin has blogged here often about his...

Ryan wrote about one particular game he plays on his that I've been looking for for a long time, mostly because my wife Erin now also has a treo and loves loves loves an old Nintendo game, Dr. Mario.

He found a version called Coodies and it looks like this:

If you see this before I get home, honey, don't worry, I'll beam it too you. : )

Culture Gap between Rome and America

"Another classic instance [of the culture gap] is differing attitudes towards law. For Anglo-Saxons, law is a lowest common denominator of civil behavior, and hence we assume that laws are meant to be obeyed. If we find that people aren’t obeying a given law, it’s a problem, and we either crack down or change the law. In Mediterranean cultures, on the other hand, law is more an expression of an ideal, and there’s tremendous room for subjectivity in interpretation and application in a concrete set of circumstances. Anyone who’s ever driven the streets of an Italian city knows what I’m talking about. The bar tends to be set high, with the implicit understanding that most people, most of the time, will far short to varying degrees."

Read more of John Allen's balanced and thought-provoking column here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

David and the Pope

Our friend David Muñoz,

that's him on the left,

sent us a couple picture of the Pope visiting the Gregorian (in Rome), the school where he (and many others) are studying. David will be ordained a Priest for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate someday (that's the religious order that owns and operates the Shrine where Orin ministers).

David writes, "...just wanted to update you on a great event. The pope went to visit the Gregorian last Friday. I was able to get close enough as he exited to take a picture so I send some to you. The first pic happened because we were bored out of our minds waiting for two hours for the pope to arrive. He thanked the Jesuits for their great work in universities (Erin's probably happy)."

Voting for the Common Good

Happy election day, everyone.

Even if you're not voting, this is worth a read.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Why St. Louis fans are the best in baseball

When the Pope asked St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Joseph "Ducky" Medwick what he did for a living during a World War II visit to the Vatican, Medwick replied, "Your Holiness, I'm Joseph Medwick. I, too, used to be a Cardinal."

Read more here! (from Washington University in St. Louis' student newspaper)