Busted Halo
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Chris Cabrera :
25 article(s)

Chris Cabrera has a wife and two offspring and writes from Los Angeles.
April 16th, 2004

“All of us had suffered greatly to get to this moment�I had eaten little and slept not at all since leaving Camp 2, two days earlier. Every time I coughed, the pain from my torn thoracic cartilidge felt like someone was jabbing a knife beneath my ribs and brought tears to my eyes. But if I wanted a crack at the summit, I knew that I had to ignore my infirmities and climb.”
-From Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
These are the words of the reporter who went on an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth at more than 29,000 feet! To many, this mountain is affectionately called “the roof of the world.” To hear Krakauer’s account, where several people paid thousands…

February 28th, 2004
Don't Wait for the Video of Your Life

There I was, flying 13,000 feet in the air without an airplane.
I was plummeting 120 miles per hour toward the earth, with my arms and legs outstretched. I was skydiving . Just prior to that, I had raced through several hours of training. I knew the eight steps required to check my parachute, and what to do if I needed to pull my reserve. Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind.
Surprisingly, the one thing I didn’t really have much time to think about was skydiving itself, since the activity is not necessarily conducive to full, present-moment awareness. You have too much to think about to fully experience it.
What a fittingly ironic metaphor for life. In our most profound moments (our wedding day, receiving our Country…

February 9th, 2004
She Sweetly Replied, "You'll Be Dead."

When I count to three, please say the name of a loved one with whom you want to have a better relationship. Someone you want close to you.
One. Two. Three.
This pep talk is for them.
Not badThe person’s name who I said when I counted to three is my 12-year old daughter. She’s your typical pre-teen girl. Developing as a beautiful young lady, a little shy, really into her friends, watches Nickelodeon, loves animals. She’s a great kid.
Sadly, she and I don’t have a great relationship. We’re just not as close as a father and daughter should be. As many of the women in the audience can attest, there’s something special about a father daughter relationship, a certain magic. My daughter…

December 1st, 2003
The Holidays

Forget Survivor Thailand. One of the most challenging, daunting threats to modern mankind’s survival (and our sanity) is The Holidays . Now that they’re over, it’s time to assess the damage, see where our resources have been depleted, and concentrate on recovering enough so we can face another year of living in the jungle.
Not supposed to be like this…I’m not sure where things changed. I think it was somewhere between the time I got my driver’s license and when I became a parent. Somehow, the holidays, specifically Christmas , went from being a time I greatly anticipated to a time where I now have to psyche myself up, train, and strategize just to make it through in one piece.…

September 17th, 2003
Father-Daugther Tips from Today's Silver Screen

Raising kids today is more challenging than it has ever been. Kids today just aren’t as young as they used to be. I don’t have any scientific research to back this up, but I do have two specimens under my roof who give me all the proof I need.
To wrangle young people these days, a concerned dad needs to be two steps ahead, and not afraid to admit he needs help. But how to learn? Where to turn? A resourceful, modern-day dad like me immediately knows where to go for sound, practical parental guidance: The Movies.
With my teenage son, it’s a bit easier, since it wasn’t that long ago that I myself was a young dude. But with my preteen daughter, it’s more of a struggle. I have little or no experience…

July 26th, 2003
Letting Summer, Fall, and Company Do Their Thing

A couple weeks ago, with Labor Day behind me and school back in session, I gave in to the temptation of calling it quits for the summer, and mentally fast forwarded to the bleakness that is fall.
Falling from summerEven the name itself is a downer. Fall. Leaves leaving trees. Rakish, spindly gardening tools itching to come out of their tool shed hibernation. I knew fall was just the appetizer. The main course was a little thing we like to call winter, and it was coming right up.
Reluctantly I covered my patio furniture, dragged it to the side of the house, and let go of my summer mind.
But then I decided this was way wrong. Even though it was already mid-September, summer’s warm weather remained, and it wasn’t…

June 24th, 2003
My Secret Plan for Father's Day

I don’t have high expectations for my Father’s Day celebration this year. Don’t get me wrong, we will undoubtedly celebrate. We will barbecue or break bread in some way. And hopefully, I’ll receive one or two hand-made cards (hopefully two, since I have two kids). Believe it or not, the reason I don’t have high expectations isn’t because our Mother’s Day celebration was such a disaster (though it was).
Happy %$#! Mother’s DayHere’s what happened, in a nutshell. This year, at least for one day, I really wanted the wife to feel the respect and love she deserved. But when I tried to enlist the help and participation of the two young people we live with, they…

March 30th, 2003
Not Some Hare-Brained Scheme from Hallmark

I have some friends who made the parental decision not to expose their kids to the dangers of “make believe” characters like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Their reasoning was that if you weren’t honest and up front with kids about everything from the beginning, they might doubt your word about other things they couldn’t see with their little eyeballs…things you really wanted them to believe in, like Jesus and God.
Personally, I think exposing kids to harsh reality too soon is a fate worse than believing in a big rabbit that brings you candy, and then finding out that all along it was your parents offering this loving gesture. (Loving, not only because the parents knew the kids…

March 18th, 2003
Jesus Was Voted Out Too

Bless me, Father , for I am about to draw a connection between Your Son’s Passion-the story of his suffering and death read in Catholic and other churches this Sunday, Palm Sunday -and a “reality” TV show.
No, not Fear Factor, although it wouldn’t be hard to make a case for it. No, the show is Survivor, and the connection is to Roger , a guy who was recently cast off the island at the hands of a few of his so-called “friends” and several of those whom he irritated immensely.
The player is played…
Roger was a man’s man. A leader. He worked tirelessly to accomplish the goals of the tribe, and he pushed those who were on his side pretty hard. Sometimes too hard, and that may have been

March 17th, 2003
"The devil envies those who are tending towards a better life." St. Ambrose

I belong to Toastmasters, a public speaking organization
that focuses on the art of speaking, thinking, and listening. I’ve been with my club for several years, and my big goal is to someday, some way, deliver a great speech. Not just a good speech, but a great speech. A JFK speech. An MLK speech. Just one. I’d be happy with one. I’m like the guy from that Twilight Zone episode where he’s a salesman who wants to deliver one last pitch before he dies, a “pitch to the angels.”
Me, I’d like to give a speech for the angels.
And I want to badly.
Luckily for me, I have a couple guys in my club who serve as fitting models whom I strive to emulate. Now don’t be fooled. When I say “emulate,”…

February 27th, 2003
Real Facts from Snapple and from the Almanac of Life

Do you like Snapple? I like Snapple. Not only is there a treat inside every bottle, but there’s even a treat on the outside. Often, right on their label, you’ll find funny, goofy text describing the ingredients or the product. For example, on a bottle of Raspberry Ice Tea, it says, “Berry-ed Treasure” next to an illustration of raspberries. On the Kiwi Strawberry label, it has a teeny-weeny kiwi and a tiny strawberry with the words, “Separated at Birth,” and arrows pointing to the fruit in question.
Real factoids
Now, they even have treats under every Snapple bottle. It’s part of their “Collectus Cappus for Stuffus” campaign. What you’ll find…

December 13th, 2002

There I was, driving down the road with my teenage son in the front seat and my daughter and her friend Lauren in the back. Lauren says to my daughter: “How old were you when you found out Santa Claus was your parents?”
My son didn’t say much, but my daughter (who is younger than he) admitted that she began to suspect years ago, when she recognized that the wrapping paper on one of her gifts suspiciously matched some she had seen in our closet. We went on to talk about the Tooth Fairy, and in spite of my futile attempts to explain things and salvage the remaining shreds of childhood innocence (theirs AND mine), I was able to keep driving without veering off the road over an embankment. But just barely.
When…

December 1st, 2002
A Young Dad on What to Do with the Kids for Advent

Passing down faith to my two teen and pre-teen kids is tough. Since I’m still figuring out the ropes myself, I’m sometimes limited in what I say or do to help them get charged up about the relentless pursuit of God (perhaps I should start by using different terms than “relentless” and “pursuit”).
A case in point is the Advent season, and how to make it relevant for them. It shouldn’t just be the few weeks in December before their Christmas break. Not on my watch, it won’t.
Although the Advent season (the four weeks or so before Christmas) and the Christmas story are rife with mysterious comings and goings, they still lend themselves to young audiences because they…

November 26th, 2002
A Lesson in Checking Your Nostalgia

Yes, it’s official. Freddy’s dead. That’s what I said. This is the story of how I was painfully notified.
I was planning to call my cousin Jim to wish him Happy Birthday. Rather than do something traditional, like yawn through the garden-variety version of “Happy Birthday,” I thought it would be better to sing it like Fred Flinstone’s Water Buffalo lodge buddies sang “Happy Anniversary” to him and Wilma. Surely you recall that episode? It went a little something like this:
“Happy anni-versa-ry. Happy anni-versa-ry. Happy anni-versa-ry. Ha-ppy anniversary. Happy happy happy happy happy anniversary. Happy happy happy happy happy anniversary.…

November 1st, 2002
Shedding Light on All Souls Day

This year, to shed some light on All Souls Day (November 2), I had planned to write a beautiful, lovingly heartfelt tribute to my deceased uncle who was a Franciscan priest. If anyone deserves the full Busted Halo treatment, it is he. My tribute was going to be extremely uplifting, very Catholic, quite educational and inspirational. Then I had a dream, and my plan went south.
I dreamt of my dead grandmother on my mom’s side. In my dream, I went to hug her and tell her I loved her, and when I pulled back, she bit my nose. Hard. I’ll spare you the details of the dream, but let’s just say that when I woke up, I was less than thrilled at this R.E.M.-sleep raid on my face. Needless to say, I plan to take this up with…

September 22nd, 2002

The leader of our organization (Jesus) always was a savvy marketer, a marketing God, if you will. He knew his audience, he knew how to reach them, and he wasn’t afraid to go up against the competition to gain His fair share of the market (in His case, of course, he relentlessly pursued heart, mind, and soul, as well).
In the days when he roamed the earth in the flesh, he made the most of the media that was available to him: the spoken word. It’s amazing to realize that He got us where we are today by simply starting with his voice. If there were a Word-of-Mouth Hall of Fame, he would certainly have his tunic hanging up in the rafters, as a symbol of his greatness when it came to delivering his message to his audience.…

September 1st, 2002
Sounding Off As a Nation

Friday night, 7 p.m., Central time. I’m sitting in my favorite chair, anxiously staring at my radio, when those familiar words come through the air: ” From WBEZ Chicago?and Public Radio International ?it’s This American Life . I’m Ira Glass.”
Have you heard this show? I stumbled upon it accidentally, when surfing the far left end of the radio dial, and I have been laughing and musing ever since. Each week the show profiles regular Americans, just like you and me, and tells their stories. Okay, most of them are nothing like you or me (at least they’re not like me), but that doesn’t stop me from finding them fascinating.
Every TAL show has a theme and they offer several stories…

August 17th, 2002
Lessons from Trash TV

“Anna Nicole Smith is busting out with a wild new reality sitcom. It’s the place where pop culture and cleavage converge, so tune in and stay abreast of Anna Nicole’s big adventures.”
– Program description from e! Channel Web site
Although the program description above says it all, there are really only two points to make about the new “hard-to-believe-this-is-really-someone’s-reality” show “Anna Nicole,” which premiered on the E! Channel recently, and received the network’s highest ratings. Ever.
Main Point Number One: we don’t have to watch it.
Well, actually, I DO have to watch it. How else would I be able to help my loyal…

June 5th, 2002

“Do not bother to adjust your (TV) set. We control the vertical. We control the horizontal.”
-cheesy , deep-voiced narrator on “The Outer Limits.”
Ever see that old show, “The Outer Limits”? Basically, it’s a poor man’s “Twilight Zone ” (now there was a show!). The intro for The Outer Limits begins with a narrator who says this mumbo jumbo about controlling your TV set, while a bunch of wavy lines appear on your screen. Mr. Cheesy goes on to say that any attempt to adjust the picture on your screen is fruitless, and then what follows is a bad, poorly-acted, black-and-white “suspense” show. Basically, the narrator is announcing the…

May 19th, 2002

“Waiting for Star Wars is an art project designed to capture the evolution and journey of one person’s wait for a single event?”
– Jeff Tweiten and John Guth, two guys who waited four and one-half months in line for Star Wars Episode II.
This article is about fanaticism. Or should I say extreme behavior? Dare I say?insanity? Of course, I’m not talking about the type of fanaticism which would cause one person to harm another. We all know that’s wrong. I’m talking about taking a simple interest, nurturing it, feeding it, until ? before you know it ? it grows into it’s own potentially frightening entity with a mind, heart and soul all its own.
If you’re lucky,…

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