Saturday, April 26, 2008

Last Night's Reverend Larry Moonshine Show

We here at the Reverend Larry Moonshine camp...meaning us, The Good Reverend and The Moonshine...have decided it would be very fitting and good to spend a little bit of time blogging about our shows and other random happenings. So, we will start with last night's show at the Old Farm Shores Singles Mingle. To preface this, however, we must say that whenever you are in a band that is booked to play at a singles mingle, you have arrived. You may not have a song on the radio, and you may not have a record deal. You may not have received a grammy or lots of recognition, but come on...SINGLES MINGLES ARE FUN. Now, we weren't really sure what to expect at this place. It's an apartment complex in Kentwood, which is a suburb of Grand Rapids.

The night started off a little rough. I (and by "I" I mean The Moonshine) thought the evening started at 8pm. But, just for good measure I called my friend Brent who originally booked is for this show, and he informed me that it started at 7. So, The Good Reverend and I didn't have time to go pick up our tuxedos for the event. We had to settle for jeans and T-shirts (yes, we were very disappointed). When we arrived, there was no one there other than a couple of the even organizers. So, we proceeded to set up the sound system and run the soundcheck. 7 o'clock rolled around and no one was there other than the staff. One by one some people trickled in (and by some, I mean about five) and we proceeded to start playing.

Now, you must understand that Reverend Larry Moonshine is really just a couple of idiots who write some music and laugh at each other. So, before we started playing we ordered a pizza from Papa John's (can someone say sponsorship?) to be delivered to Reverend Larry Moonshine. And, as planned, it showed up in the middle of our first set...all a part of the Reverend Larry Moonshine Experience. Then, to top the night off, there were a couple of single ladies who came in part way through the set, and after the first song they heard, they were bold enough to ask The Good Reverend if that band in his finger was a real wedding ring. We, of course laughed very hard at this question, and he informed her that it was indeed real. She politely said that married men are off limits (for which we were all thankful...didn't need any uncomfortable moments). She did, however continue the conversation by saying, "But you are one hunky man!" To which I, The Moonshine, laughed even harder.

All in all, the Old Farm Shores Singles Mingle was definitely a night to remember. If you were there, and you're reading this, thanks for sticking around and listening to us. We had a great time, even though the crowd was small, and we would love to come back for the pool party in the summer. If the chick who thought The Good Reverend was a "hunky man," is there for the pool party, we might even be able to coax him into wearing a speedo...though you might have to shave his back because I'm pretty sure is wife would be a bit too grossed out to do that.

So, let's raise our glass up high...to Singles Mingles and Papa John's! Cheers!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

29 and Counting

So crazy! Exactly 29 days from today is the due date of our first baby. I can hardly wait to meet him or her. Heidi had her first shower yesterday, and we got a ton of stuff that we needed. We're almost completely done with the baby's room...along with all the other stuff we've been doing to the house to get ready...which I am very happy about. It seems like my weekends have mostly been filled with just work around the house, which gets old. I would like to take some time to relax. But, today won't be very relaxing. We're going to try to finish up a bunch of stuff, and then I'm going to take down the Christmas lights and have band practice with Justin.

In other news, I've really been praying recently about my job situation. I really do enjoy my job for the most part. I manage a staff of four (it was five, but I had to lay someone off this past week). My staff is amazing. They are great people who do an excellent job with their work. I have a boss who is probably the best boss I've ever had (which I've determined is very important in a career). However, I'm really wrestling with the ethics of this low-income apartment complex. Not just this one, the whole system in general. See, the way it's set up is that the owner receives tax credits for renting to people of low to moderate income. Their income must be at or below the county's median income based on family size. This means that anyone who rents an apartment where I work cannot exceed a certain amount of income. We also have minimum restrictions in place as well. The rents, however, are not based on the individuals income. That means they are set. $595 for a one-bedroom, $695 for a two-bedroom. A side note here is that Heidi and I paid $655 for our first apartment, and it included heat and had two bathrooms. Then, when we renewed for a year, it dropped to $640 per month. There were no income guidelines...it was not set up for low-income families or individuals. However, the whole idea of tax credit housing is to give owners incentives to rent to low to moderate income people, and I believe it's fractured. What I've experienced in the last five months at my job is seeing person after person fall behind on rent and I have to evict them. Now, don't get me wrong...there are plenty of people who simply don't manage their money well and don't make paying rent a priority (case in point, one lady who received $2000+ per month in Social Security for herself and her children), and it's those people who go purchase a Lexus SUV and a plasma TV instead of paying there rent that I don't have sympathy for. It's the people who honestly try, though, that really bother me. I can do nothing other than advise them of ways to get help, but usually if someone falls behind a month or two on rent it's difficult, if not impossible to catch up. So, the owners of these tax credit properties receive amazing tax credits (millions...I mean MILLIONS of dollars over several years), and instead of providing quality housing at affordable prices for people of low to moderate income, they try to get top rents so that they can make more money. I won't say that making money is wrong (though I do think we have way too much that we keep to ourselves here in America). I do think it's wrong to make money at the exploitation of others, and I believe that is what's happening in this vicious circle of tax credit housing.

So, there is my rant for the day. I also know that God has me here at this property for right now for a reason, and I'm ok with that. Which means I will continue to do my job as best as I can. And, do everything I can to help out these people who are being screwed by the system. My comfort this morning comes from James chapter 1. "Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days."