3.30.2006

War Cry: Shawn Roberts!

My wife and I watch over a group four-year-olds every Wednesday evening during the school year. Sometimes this is a form of birth control for us and other times it gives us the idea that maybe just maybe we could pull off having a child of our own. But it’s never discussed without fear and trepidation.

The mind of a four year old is very complex. You’d think it would, by most standards, be optimized for games and snacks, but there are inner workings in that smallish head that defies explanation.

For example, now that the days are getting longer and the early evenings are warmer, we send them outside to the playground during “Game Time.” This is a wonderful mechanism to wear them down so that they will do the mundane tasks later we have for them later. After a winter of playing “Red Light Green Light” with very slack rules, the kids were jittery with excitement on the promise of “outside.”

Upon marching out to the play ground in single file line, the tension to burst forth in squeals of glee was mounting. The girls tend to run and yalp into the playground as an announcement of all the fun that is before them. The boys, however, look to conquer the fun with fists-a-flying – pummeling it with dirt and wood chips. One boy who is one of our more sedate/space cadet kids, I’ll call him “Trevor,” came out, raised his fists in determination and grunted in a restrained fervor “SHAWN ROBERTS!”

I have no idea who Shawn Roberts is so I did an internet search. I don’t know why “Trevor” seems to need to express himself by stating the name of the acting legal director at the center for justice & accountability (according to google). Again, the four-year-old mind is complex. He could have simply meant “Strong Robbers!” or “Song Rugburns,” but – on second thought - neither of those clarifies the issue.

All in all, as long as they keep the dirt and woodchips out of their nose, eyes, mouth and ears, he can state whatever acting legal director of his choice…

…as long as they can help referee “Red Light Green Light”

3.23.2006

Farewell Petra

Petra. What can I say? Petra was in my mind the standard of Christian Rock music for decades and now they are going away. At least that’s what I’m assuming since their latest album is called “Farewell.” I must preface this by saying I did no research before typing this. Though I never followed Petra, I am a little sad. My only dealings with their music are from their very first albums and then I lost interest after “This Means War.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Petra. If Petra came over for a visit, we’d have a great time with Guesstures or Uno Attack. But I never considered them for anything more than a casual acquaintance.
News of this breakup has made me rethink a lot of things. Well, Petra-related things. My feelings about it are akin to that one kid in school who seemed kind of okay and then you heard him crack a few jokes and thought he was cool and then you find out that his dad got a job transfer to Izekistan (or some country ending in –stan). I know I had over 20 years to listen to Petra but I guess I really didn’t want to based on the fact that I thought they’d always be around. Just like chicken noodle soup, you don’t want to have it all the time, but when you might need it, you know it’s there and never going away.
Do I have enough analogies for you?
Petra to me was the James Bond character of Christian music. If a band member or two wanted to move on, that’s okay, they’d find a replacement – they always did. I’m sure they had Sean Connery albums as well as their Timothy Daltons.
Complete overhauls in music do not work, but if you replace a band member every odd year, the blow isn’t as bad. I viewed Petra as an institution like “Saturday Night Live” except more entertaining and more respectable. Petra would not and could not go away, even if a record exec wanted it to. Buried in long legal contracts first penned in the 70’s, an unbreakable clause was unearthed that spelled the immortality of Petra.
“Oh no!” cried the record exec as he tried to push an off-color semi-Christian band under Petra’s budget – and Petra came out with another album that week and the record exec was punished for his ignorance.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t like that, but it should have been.
Even though I was not even a casual listener, I have been known to travel down the highway and spurt out “BEYOND BELIEF! BEYOND BELIEF!” where my wife would join in on the repeat after getting over the jolt of my first outburst. She’s cool like that.
Well, here’s to the rock that was Petra and all you have done and meant to countless people over the decades. More power to ya.

3.15.2006

On fire!

Certain denominations of my faith require me not to dance. Okay, “require” isn’t the right word. “Strongly suggest” is more appropriate. The suggestion is to protect the appearance of lewdness or inappropriate closeness to a member of the opposite gender wherein the dancer would stumble ..nay, bootscoot into debauchery.
That’s a mighty presupposition considering my attractibility of females is roughly “0”
– and that’s rounding up.
I would rather submit that this prohibition to dance is more of a protection to not embarrass oneself. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the plea to not dance is more of a “You don’t know how to - so stop it.” If I were to let it all hang out I would most likely start dancing like this:

I call this dance: “Aigh! Getemoffahme”

True. It’s not as shrewd or sophisticated as two musical artists as depicted below:

But, as you can see, if you were to try any of these moves, you would simply just draw attention to yourself – not a good attention either. I realize I can’t dance, nor do I enter environments that, when certain conditions are met, give me no choice but to dance. However, should that occasion occur, where I would have to “eat meat sacrificed to idols” so-to-speak, I have my dance move picked out that can be safely performed with minimal disturbance off in the corner without breaking local social customs:

Whoo! I’ll be impressin’ the lady-types!

Maybe I’ll just stick to sliding on linoleum in socks.

3.08.2006

The Banana Gospel

Being a resident of the United States of America, I have come to realize that I have been eating a banana the wrong way my entire life and you may have too. I was “enlightened” by some friends from the Ukraine who brought me their “Banana Gospel.” When I first heard about it, I was shocked and resistant claiming “pfft! Yeah right.” (I didn’t take debate in High School, so that’s the extent of my rebuttals) Even though I didn’t like bananas, I found myself wondering about it. “Could it be? Have I been wrong all this time?” I dared myself to think this way, because I really had nothing to lose.

The banana gospel is simple. “Peel it from the other end.” Yet the profound truth of this is deeper than what you first realize. “Peel it from the other end??” you may say. “That’s ludicrous! Everyone knows that the stubby end of the banana is one of the most hardest materials nature has ever devised! … Right?” For illustrative purposes, I took the following pictures in my cubicle with a free camera that came with an Office Depot order. Pictures will help and it's too bad I didn't have a camera during my orange episode.
This is my banana, I’ll call him “Chuckles”

Besides the odd shape and structure, the banana has a lot of valuable nutrients and can taste really good with peanut butter. I heard that some people like to put them in the freezer. But recipes are not to be discussed here.

Nature’s pull tab? Or convenient handle? The Truth may shock you!

As tempting as it is to pull that stem, it is wrong. How many times have you peeled a banana that wasn’t cooperating and you wound up mashing up the top? Granted, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s enough to make you say “I’d like a banana but why go to the trouble?” There is hope.

Behold the stubby end, largely ignored by Western Civilization

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always regarded this part of the banana as inaccessible. Why? Because I assumed it was due to being raised to open bananas from the stem. I never once thought “out of the box” to see that maybe … just maybe … there was another way. It took someone from the other side of the planet to show me the way.
“Just what do you do now?” I’m glad you asked. The stubby end can be peeled by your own fingers, like an orange but without any squirting juice. “HUH??” is what I usually get as a reply after I say this – like I largely shook a vital truth. It’s okay, I had the same reaction.

“Aigh what are you doing?? You’re messing with my head!”

Now since, I’m taking my own pictures in secret, I have to do this one handed. I recommend two hands for more efficiency. As you can see, the stubby end is giving away easily. “Stop! Isn’t this against the law??”

You will quickly see that this is working out really want to share the idea with another Perhaps you’ll want to buy a banana of your own to try it out. You can name it whatever you want.

Chuckles the Banana in mid-peel

Observe: No floppy stem to deal with…


…and Looky! A nice little handle for easy cleanup!

I know there are some of you who probably are saying “So what? I’ve done it that way forever!” Good! But, you are rare – at least in my experience. Everyone I’ve come in contact with has peeled it the by the stem. Some even have gone to say “yeah, right! Whatever…” as if I was trying to deceive them.
I’m pretty sure that cartoons from the 30s and 40s depict the “banana peel slip” gag with a banana peel like above, but I don’t have that research with me. However, pictures of bananas in video games such as Super Mario Kart have a banana as such:

and in others...

And we never question it.

I showed my grandmothers, parents, in-laws and friends this technique and they all looked like they never saw a banana before. A new world was open before them. Some refused this new teaching, some accepted it but have no real use for it since they hated bananas, but to some it has forever changed their banana peeling habits.

That’s the power of Truth.

3.01.2006

The only joke I know

I only know one joke. It’s sad but it’s the truth. I can come up with some older jokes that everyone knows, but when it comes down to joke telling, in its traditional sense, I draw a blank – except for this one joke. It’s a golf joke too. I don’t golf, however. The expressions of the characters of this joke are built and suspended in my mind as theoretical.

I did not write this joke. I’m not that funny. I’m sorta funny. (See logo at top) Is the joke funny? Well, when first heard, yes – but if you’re my wife who has to endure countless retellings – then no. She knows I only have one joke, so whenever I tell someone, “hey, I have a joke for you.” She hangs her head in a “not again” stance. She does confess that she does find the joke funny, but only once – at that “once” was 7 years ago. Why she doesn’t tell this joke to others herself is beyond me.

I also submitted this joke to Reader’s Digest. I didn’t expect too much since they keep reprinting old jokes and pay people for them or disregard them all-together. The joke appeared in a couple issues later, reworded and slimmed down. There was no point to argue, it wasn’t my joke and it wasn’t in my wording. I didn’t think it was as funny – not even sorta funny, but more like “could’ve-been-more-funny-if-they-used-my-version.” I’m not bitter; because it’s still a good joke to toss too someone who never heard before, especially a golfer but one does not need to be a golfer to appreciate this joke. It’s also has a better reaction when told aloud rather than print. Try it. It works.

What’s the joke? Ask my wife, she can tell it without laughing.