Let's get one thing straight. The Bible does "kind of" end with the God winning. I say "kind of" to understate. Jesus does state that there will be many antichrists and then there will be one huge one that will be the "Taker of Cake" of all the not-so-anti-as-as-the-AntiChrist.
If you think about it, only God the Father knows when the End is suppose to start. That actually is frustrating to Satan. Satan has a role to fill even with his rebellion and waywardness, he isn't omnipresent or even capable of time travel. Since God exists outside of time, He decided to share what the future was going to hold and it must have steamed the devil's beans to learn that he is pretty much going for a lava swan dive at the end. With that in mind, this devil has to have a candidate in mind in every generation for the AntiChrist role.
World War 2 seemed promising with Hitler and the Atom Bomb, but that didn't pan out. There seemed a lot of energy behind that one which left Satan really frustrated.
Since the Lord is only allowed to rebuke Satan (read Jude) it seems really funny to me that the Lord can just screw with his plans - which he does a lot. Please remember that God is in control no matter the politcal climate. If you don't believe me, read both books of Kings. It's in the Old Testament. You'll see a lot of bad kings that did a lot of bad things for more than 8 years. You'll also read about good kings and stuff, but remember one thing - God was there. He was near and He still is. The bad kings died, the good kings died. Captors came and captors captured the captors.
My advice is that you better HOPE the real AntiChrist is coming soon. If he is that means the REAL Christ is coming sooner. If not, then you are just stuck with tyrannt who can just make it really tough.
If you're pretrib - then it's all the better and you get to avoid the whole nastiness. If you're post-trib, Man up, Christian Soldier! Get out of your bunker, try to share the love of God and realize that if you did get shot in the head with a fire bolt from the naval of the Beast, you still get to go to heaven.
Well, let's take a look at "The Ministry Rate."
Ah yes. The Ministry Rate, or the project built by guilt. Here a person is approached by a Church or staff member or even maybe perhaps the leader of the congregants to ask for some sort of service or project. No problem there. The initiator then probably hints or indirectly asks or maybe asks or - heaven forbid - demands a lesser rate appealing to the charity of the individual, because the Church is strictly volunteer in everything and, because of it, needs a drastic rate cut down by either half or free or half of free ... maybe chip in a few bucks after the service is done.
There is a problem with this. First, don't get me wrong. If the skilled worker/artist/service provider wants to help, they are free to do so. It just gets weird when it is expected. Suddenly, the church becomes a freeloader with a cross for a shield and suddenly that person isn't seen around as much and dodging church staff in the hallways.
Let me paint a different picture:
Church: We would like some web work done.
Webgirl: Uh... ok... sure
Church: What's your rate?
Webgirl: Um... well...
Church: No, seriously, what if we were a small business?
Webgirl: Well, that would be around $X per hour
Church: Ok, how does $X * 1.7 sound?
See what happened there? Because the Church was willing to offer more, they Webgirl will most likely be around the Church more because the Church is treating the Webgirl with respect and understanding that she forked over waaaaay too much money for a very competative field. Webgirl isn't hiding behind the fake trees in the fellowship hall anymore - she feels valued there.
Now hold on cuz I'm going to turn the tables here.
Ok congregation. Where do you get off handing over junk to the church? Seriously? If you have a lawn mower that leaks gas and oil and is on the verge of exploding in some sort of napalm blast, do NOT say "well, I'll just take it over to the church. I'm sure they can use it."
The Church is not your personal dumping ground. Your flea-infested couch does not need a new home in the youth room.
I went to a youth minister conference back in 95. The lead youth pastor there told a story that they asked for couches for the youth room and so they got couches. It was perfect for those teens to lounge.
Then the itching started. The youth started itching and soon those that ventured down that hallway itched too. Once the source was discovered, a huge bonfire was held in the church parking lot - a burnt offering of davenports.
Let me paint a picture for you:
Churchguy: I noticed that there was a need for office chairs for the church
Pastor (sitting on a preschool chair): Well, need and want are two different things
Churchguy: Our Sunday classes got together and we bought new office chairs for the staff. We went ahead and assembled them... Here they are...
See what happened there? The pastor and the staff will feel respected and cherished by those they serve and perhaps, PERHAPS, others will notice that people actually value the church they go to or - at least - their god.
My brother-in-law is beginning the social media part of his project. The first question is what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you here the phrase "Christian Art." I expanded the creepy part of my original comment here. When things become done for Christians by Christians, the original meaning or intended purpose becomes lost on the rest of the world and your point gets waaaaay off from what you intended. Let's take a gander at some interpretations of Jesus with alternate titles.
Harry Potter has nothin' on this guy
or "Frustrated Jesus," right in the middle of an eye roll after a disciple said
"Well, if Lazarus is sleeping, he'll get better!"
Snob JesusRemember in Return of the Jedi when that one dude says "You Rebel Scum!"
That's this face.
Really hating this time period JesusNo Running Water. No Internet. No Fooseball. No Happy.
Scary Phantom JesusIf I saw this in hovering over my bed, it would be time to move.
No calling "Ghost Hunters," just leave.
Thief JesusLookin' to score some quick coin.
Mirco-Manager JesusHere, Jesus and Paul Bettany (or Sting, circa 1984) race their ship around the tip of South America
to deliver their cargo before the others in the Fleet. Yar Har!
He makes me stand in the hub of activity.
He leads me beside reputable companies.
He restores my value proposition.
He guides me to the best assignments for His own reputation's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of unemployment, I will fear no creditors.
Your Network and Your Referrals, they comfort me.
You land a gig before me in the pressence of my competitors.
You annoint my head with trade secrets; my skillset overflows.
Surely better projects and good references will follow me all the days of my freelancing career
and my name will be in the front of the Lord's rolodex forever.
Sorry for the loooong delay in posting. My employer was downsized by its corporate office which has left me to try my hand at consulting while looking for meaningful employment - it takes a lot of time.
In short, worry is praying to yourself.
Trying to be constantly aware of a situation and it's outcomes is very hard for a person who is not omniscient, omnipotent or omnipresent. When you try, you become omni-annoying.
Praying to yourself is praying to a being that has no control over a situation. When Jesus said "Do not worry" in Matthew 6, he isn't making a light statement.
"But God didn't come through last time!" Oh really? Well, let me ask you this: Did you even let Him? or did the Credit Card god get more attention? or were you placing your faith in something man-made first. First give praise to God for being God and then let him decide what he wants to show you in his time.
The problem with the Creationism debate is that it keeps referring to the Bible. “The Bible tells me so” will not hold any weight to someone who thinks the Bible is a bunch of hogwash as they show you a fossilized bone. It’s kind of like a footsweep to the argument.
I will tell you right now that it is not up to you to defend God. God defends himself every time, he just chooses the time to do it – that’s why he’s God. He is under no obligation to defend himself at every argument on old vs young Earth or to every pinhead that says “If there is a God then let him strike me down right now!” Nope. God just says “I’m not going to appear before you. You are going to appear before ME and my appointed time. Keep that in mind when you feel that all of Christendom rests on your shoulders as you argue with a grad student in a Dairy Queen.
So what do we do then about these debates?
Well, for starters, the debate is askew. The Evolutionist/Billion-year-whatever proponent is given the task to try to explain the world and universe according to its current set of rules and laws and boundaries. Fair enough. Outside of a scientist having some sort of personal grudge against the idea of God because he was forced as a kid to go to some hostile bitter church (yes, they do exist) he has to rely on the Scientific Method of observations (or he’s suppose to anyway) to gather and test data and form a theory. The scientist is then left a very valid right to say “based on our understanding, this is how it came to pass.”
Enter the Creationist.
Armed with the word of God, no matter what the world throws at him, he will not deter his stance upon the Rock. Despite “evidence,” despite “a-lotta-numbers,” he will not believe what the Evolutionist says. So we wind up with two groups that can’t actually reason their way out of a conundrum of a pickle.
So how is the debate askew? Well, the Evolutionist states that if there is a God, then he has to be bound by the physical, testable laws of the Universe. It doesn’t matter if He created it; he has to be bound by the rules. The Creationists will just refer to the Bible even though the Evolutionist rolls his eyes.
So outside of the Bible, I’m going to show how a creator can exist and created everything in six days. To do so, I’m going to use the following computer game: Sim City 2000
Now, Simcity 2000 is a fun little game to others except myself. I hate it. I have no control. I’m bound by the law of “budget” and can’t build enough police stations to keep my city safe. So, I cheat. As a side note, cheat codes in games started as ways for the programmers to test different parts of their games quickly before it was released. For Simcity 2000, I use something more powerful than a cheat code. I use a hex editor to eliminate the need for a "budget."
Ok, with my billions in hand I look out on the playing field...
Just a tad formless and full of void
This is something I had fun with as a kid. I put the game on pause and the entire timeline STOPS. I am not bound by the law of “game speed”
A thousand years are as a day to me now
Here’s the fun part. I get to shape the land to my desire:
I put water where I want and I also decide to install the elaborate underground water network:
I then lay out the zones of residential, industrial and commercial and put in parks, roads airports, stadiums, zoos and connect it all with electricity.Wow. Hardly a second has passed by...
Then when I have called it good. I then advance the timeline.
Suddenly, my creation springs to life. Things are being built, cars appear on the roads. People are doing stuff with my creation!Now let’s zoom in and take a look. Oh, I found a church! Reverend Sprite’s been there for 30 (game)years.
Guess who they’ll be worshiping?
Ok Ok. Let me tie it all together. See that little speck?
That’s the car of Mr. Evolutionist. Let’s call him Mr. Pixel. Mr. Pixel goes for a degree in science at the local college and studies “how did we get here?” Mr. Pixel is then on a quest to study his current environment. Based on what he found, he estimates according to the laws of “budget” and “game speed” it must have taken MILLIONS of years to get to this point, what with all the hills and valleys and trees and what-nots. Mr. Pixel becomes Dr. Pixel and goes on a speaking tour. Meanwhile, Reverend Sprite goes to one of Dr. Pixel’s lectures and … well, you see where I’m going.
In the game, I am God. I have unlimited power and unlimited resources. I create and destroy as I see fit. I can pause the game, I can speed it up. I can reload a previous version. I am God. If Dr. Pixel says “There’s no God! If there is, let him show himself to me right now!” I don’t really feel inclined to prove myself to him. He’s just a pixel. Should he provoke me, I can print him out, cut around him and put him on my finger and say “you were saying?”
FOOLISH PIXEL! I AM NOT BOUND
BY MY OWN CREATION, ITS LAWS OR EVEN YOUR WILL!
That’s what Creationism is. It’s the realizing that there is something larger than yourself, even the created universe and that Something has a message for you whether you choose to read it or not.
Alexander, the Metal Worker 2 Timothy 4:14
Not much is known about this guy except this verse. Paul warns Timothy to stay away from him because he caused a lot of harm to Paul. If I had to guess, Alex didn't appreciate all this talk about not worshiping idols which probably cut into his profit margin. Being a smithy, he probably had some large muscles and decided to use them. However, having Paul record your name for all of history to see as someone who might appear on God's "smite list" isn't worth increasing the profit margin.
King Balak Numbers 23-24
The Israelites are moving about and are starting to cause some panic in the countryside. Moabite King, Balak decides to take a spiritual route rather than a physical route with them seeing as the body count keeps rising. Balak hires the prophet Balaam to speak a curse over them. Even though Balaam says "Dude, I can only say what the LORD gives me to say," Balak responds in a "whatever, just do it" attitude and takes him to a high place to see the Israel camp.
Balaam gets a word from God and pronounces a blessing instead of a curse over the camp which makes Balak a little tight in undies.
Rather than listen to Balaam explanation on how this whole "prophet thing" works, Balak takes him to another place to try again. Since Balak is a contracted consultant, he again speaks over the camp and another blessing comes out. Balak, not knowing when to quit moves him to a third place and another blessing takes place. At this point, the gloves come off and Balak just wants Balaam to shut up, but Balaam says "Geez, now you did it! Here's two more ..." and more favoritism for Team Israel is announced. Balak would have had better odds if he attacked with an army. True, he would have lost, but he would have at least taken a few Israelites with him. The lesson here is "If you're going to play the game, learn the rules."
Korah, Dathan and Abiram Numbers 16
While traveling away from Egypt and wandering in the wilderness, the people get a little restless. Despite seeing physical manifestations of God's power and provision, people start getting a bit crabby (let this be a lesson to those who think they'd believe if they saw a miracle). Korah's family along with Dathan and Abiram were put in charge of carrying the furniture of the tabernacle. They were the strike crew stagehands. Instead of carrying amps and lighting rigs, they carried the altars, lampstand, tent posts, curtains and the freakin' ark of the covenant - not something to take lightly! Well, Korah gets some sand in his shoe and says to Moses, "Ok, you've gone to far, you took us from a pretty cool place to here. There is no cool place here. The people are holy, you're messed up in the head, man." Moses falls down and appeals to the Lord. Rather than get into a knife fight, he tells Korah to get Dathan and Abiram who quickly respond in a "whatever dude, we're playing playstation" manor and refuse to come. Moses lets God handle this one. Moses and Aaron and Korah's posse line up the next day and God says "Ok. Everyone take one big step backward away from Korah, Dathan and Abiram." I won't spoil it for you, but when God says "Back up." You back up.
Here's some jerks in the Bible:
Achan (Joshua 7:1-26)
The Israelites were having a great campaign - kicking butt and giving glory to God. God gave a strict command to not hoard any treasure and everyone obeys - except Achan. Achan hides some loot before Josh and crew head to Ai. The battle between Israel and Ai was to be the North Carolina Vs. Johnson City Tech and Hairstyling Correspondence School Basketball game. A no-brainer shut out. What happened was that Israel got schooled. Defeated. Or as the net culture would say: PWND!1!
Achan admitted what he did only after the grueling process of filtering everyone else out. Achan became part of a gigantic stone pile for disobeying and putting all of Israel at risk and getting some good fighters killed.
Gehazi (2 Kings 5)
The servant of the mighty prophet, Elisha, Gehazi would have probably been on his toes to make sure he was doing things right. Well, no. In chaper 5, we see that Naaman, commander of the army of Aram, had leprosy. Elisha heals him of the leprosy and refuses any compensation. (Very non-jerk like). Naaman even insists to the point that we Americans take as a cue to accept it. Elisha then makes a pledge to God saying he won't take anything. As they part ways, Gehazi determines that they just lost out on some good coin and chases Naaman down. Gehazi takes advantage of Naaman's good graces and scores more than what he asked for through a lame story.
Elisha questions where Gehazi was and we find out that Gehazi is a really bad liar. He also isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer forgetting that Elisha is really close to an omnipresent God. In short, Gehazi gets leprosy and runs away. Poor dope.
So far, our jerk-ology deals with material wealth. We'll see what other themes there may be in the next post.
The common Christian phrase is "praying for a hedge of protection" around them. A hedge? Seriously? Is that the best you can do?
If we are free to ask for God's protection, please give me something a little more compact
What really gets me is when people give the Enemy too much credit. Yeah, you're not suppose to invoke a mano-y-mano type brawl, but don't short change what God can provide when the Enemy comes at your hedge with this ...
Just remember that God won't place anything in front you that He doesn't think you can't handle with Him.
Caffeine, Sugar, Grease & Salt.
I had a headache yesterday that was cured from a McDonald's Coke and small fry - the simplest conglomeration of the above Junk Square.
On my way back home I realized that the kid's song that goes "Head, shoulders, knees and toes - knees and toes" has a rhythm that compliments the Junk Square.
I recommend singing this while vacationing:
Caff-eine Su-gar Grease and Salt, Grease and Salt Yeah!
Caff-eine Su-gar Grease and Salt, Grease and Salt YUM!
Caff-eine Su-gar Grease and Salt, Grease and Salt Bleah!
Caff-eine Su-gar Grease and Salt, Grease and Salt NO!
Sometimes working long hours can bring fatigue during the day that would be handled easily with a little nap. However, your employer expects you to be awake. Not only are you expected to be awake; but showered, clothed and ready to do something profitable. But what about that fatigue?
Fortunately, you have 2 options. You can inflict harmful amounts of amino acids and sugars upon your heart with a variety of energy drinks, or you can get the rest you need while appearing awake. Impossible, you say? Well, nay-sayer, read on! How to be appear awake while not being awake at all. Credit is due to Calvin & Hobbes for this...
Here's what you need:
Two ping pong balls
1. Cut the ping-pong balls in half
Most Ping-Pong balls have logos on them, so that's why you need two.
2. Cut out two circles from a strip of velcro
Or you can make a Zorro mask for your pet hamster
3. Attach circles with sticky-tack
The First Test (Initial placement)
Hmmm. Looking kind of psychotic here. Needs readjusting...
The Second Test (Adjust the focusing of the eyes)
Remember, your posture helps with the illusion.
Excellent! I look like I'm really into the P & L auditing of a 10 year old spreadsheet!
Here, I maybe getting an ingenius idea on how to market pig's fat as a diet food
Remember. You may have to strap yourself into a chair to keep your posture in a more convincing "awake-looking" stance otherwise they may think you died.
To avoid the inevitable backlash or unemploymentness, it might serve you well just to go to bed early.
I started to really despise it when secular media started doing TV shows that Christians should have been doing first.
Extreme Home Makeover is the show that comes to mind. Granted, I haven't watched it for a long time if it's even on anymore, but that was something that seemed very selfless and giving - appearance is everything after all and it wants to make you cry.
Christians like to cry happily so it seems like a natural fit.
People may say "but there's Christians on the show," but how would I know that? I'd just assume that ABC grew a big heart and became a Mormon or something - a collective borg-voltron mormon. Wow, that's scary. My point is that ABC gets the "props" or at least that energetic guy with the wild hair and God remains left to wait until someone from the show writes an article about God working on the set in some obscure publication read by people who don't watch TV.
I'm not saying that Christians should get into TV, no we tried that and failed and still fail. Lots of fail. Would, you want some ideas?
Watch this clip and imagine that is was a Christian Group who did it and not a regular comedy troupe:
I do a lot of watching of movie clips and imagine the setup is that the main character is a Christian and I'm watching a "Christian" movie.
Go ahead and try it with "Big Trouble in Little China," minus the cursing you can get some interesting inspiration for a movie script.
So much has been said already about what works and what doesn’t work about Star Wars, from Jar-Jar (aka The Abomination) to Wedge being proof that you don’t need help from the force or Jedi to survive through the original trilogy, but there are some other points that stick out to me that I haven’t seen people mention much. I need to get them off my chest so here they are:
8. “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck” Obi Wan - Episode IV
Great philosophy Ben, but remember how Jar-Jar pretty saved everyone by being klutz? If you stand by your statement, then that mean that Jar-Jar was one of the greatest force-users of all.
7. “What I told you was true, from a certain point of view…” Obi Wan - Episode VI
Obi Wan basically covers his butt from telling half truths about something as significant as Luke’s paternal heritage. It’s not really a good representation of even a half truth: “Darth Vader killed your dad, even though Anakin wasn’t given the title until he first turned to the dark side.” Obi-Wan basically shuts Luke up by telling him “that’s life, suck it up – if you don’t kill your dad, we’re all dead and it will be your fault. Can you live with that guilt?”
6. “Only a Sith deals in absolutes!” Obi Wan - Episode III
Yes, a lot of my complaints deal with Obi Wan. It’s mostly because he’s suppose to be the sage and holder of truth that is more palpable than Yoda’s fortune cookie speak. Anyway … after Anakin states that if Obi Wan isn’t aligned with him, then they’re enemies. To which the above quote is stated. Obi-Wan lives in a world of compromise which would give him a place of honor at the table of Scottish nobles in Braveheart … you know, the ones that William Wallace systematically took out one at a time.
5. “You haven’t learned anything.” Obi Wan - Episode II or III, (I can’t remember nor do I care.)
Geez, what a mentor. Sounds like an absolute statement (see #6) to me. “So you’re saying I’m still as knowledgeable as that 8 year old kid you met on that sand planet that called lightsabers “laser swords?”
4. “Is the dark side stronger?” “NO! … no…” – Luke and Yoda - Episode V
What Luke asked as an innocent question was answered with panic and hysteria. Oh really? The dark side isn’t stronger? Ok then how can one Sith be able to blind the entire Jedi Council? Oh and Palpatine kills off several Jedi in 4 seconds that a 30 minute battle scene couldn’t do. Sure.
3. “You speak of the one who is to bring balance to the force and you think it is this boy?” Mace Windu -Episode I
Balance to the force? What the heck does that mean? An equal number of votes between dark and light sides of the force? So you’re saying that the dark side has a place? Yet you’re saying to stay away from the dark side? This is a weird belief system. If balance is meaning an equal number of Jedi to Sith, then at the end of Episode III the score is now brought down to two Jedi (Obi Wan and Yoda) and two Sith (Darth Vader and Palpatine). Balanced was achieved, prophecy fulfilled – why are you complaining?
2. “It seems she’s given up hope.” Some Robot Nurse - Episode III
Padme is dying on a slab from a broken heart, apparently. She’s given birth to twins but that was ok, she apparently is giving up on life knowing that her hubby killed a lot of things dead very quickly. Yet when we hear her final words she said “There’s still good in him.” Huh? Do you have hope or not? Could you stay alive and talk a little bit more about this?
1. The Jedi Council – Episode I, II & III
Lucas’ hatred of politicians is evident with the Senate wishy-washyness and easily corruptibleness and other “ness’s,” but the same thing is apparent with the Jedi Council as they basically refuse any type of request brought to them. This makes the Sith look like the only group that gets anything done. Let look at the scoreboard:
- Manipulates the Trade Federation to force a vote of no-confidence of the current Chancellor
- Created a secret Army and keeping it hidden by removing the planets record from the Jedi Library
- Trained Sith arts to people that don’t really have to sign on as full-fledge members
- Manipulate the Senate to give obtain martial law
- Outsourced the Death Star … twice
- Wiped out all but two Jedi
- Refuses to train people
- Killed two Sith, but that was actually what the Sith wanted anyway
Being a Jedi seems to be a lot less appealing now. What’s more is that it’s really easy to turn to the Dark Side, to release your anger – like when laying down tile flooring. I would very much like to use force lightning if after I shout “This will never line up!!!” and Obi Wan jumps in and says “Only a Sith deals in absolutes!”
Don't mess with him.
The story of Shamgar comes after a huge epic of sneakery and stabby prose of my main man, Ehud. While the story of Ehud is gripping and capable of modern Hollywood interpretation (shh! Don't give them any ideas!), Ehud still only killed one guy. Yes, he could have killed more that King Eglon, but it's not recorded.
Shamgar is different.
Almost thrown in as a "deleted scene," in the hopefully-not-to-be-made-into-a-movie book of Judges. Shamgar is mentioned as a son of some other dude, (yeah okay), who struck down six hundred Philistines (oh yeah?) with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel. (wait, backup..)
An oxgoad is a wooden pole with a sharp point. An oxgoad could be as long as 10 feet. So, suddenly we see that Shamgar in a new light.
I think "The Message" translates this verse as "And then this guy grabbed a pole and went all "matrix" over those Philly guys. Man, you should have seen it."
Another aspect to the story is that it just ends. We're left to assume that Shamgar didn't give interviews. He simply saw what he needed to do, did it and then went back to work - presumably goading oxes. The others most likely kept their distance, fearing that the nice guy in the field will snap again or something.
He would serve well in a line of Biblical trading cards.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
Nothing is more fun that for a guy to watch a movie where the enemy gets his "just desserts." People like to see the enemy take a fall and cheer on the hero. For those who think God doesn't have that side to him doesn't know how hardcore he really can be and should read that one part where he strikes down everyone with the words of his mouth... and yes, that's in the New Testament.
The Psalms are God's mix tape for us to play on the journey. Luckily, this compilation doesn't include "Journey," but you get my point.
The Psalms are full of love, anger, woe-is-me, hit-him-again type tracks. King David - the shepherd king - wrote a lot of these and could play musical instruments and "git down and dance."
This means that David was the ancient equivalent of that automobile kid that could wail a guitar and became an eccentric leader - kind of like an Israelite Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen. It is of my opinion that "Selah" means "lyre solo." I think King David jammed on a wicked solo during a praise song that rocked and concluded "Thank You, Jerichooooo!" before smashing the instruments as a sacrifice to God.
Even though we lost the music of the Psalms, ("Doe of the Morning" must have been a huge hit), the lyrics survive. Luckily, the lyrics mean a lot more to a general populace than the Christian Music lyrics I listened to in the 90s.
I leave you with the lyrics of "More to Life" from Micheal Knott
"Sink the ship and save your hair
Thousands drown yet you're still breathing
From a lifeboat you won't share
Kick me out although there is room to spare
Death to your family it's still a joke to me
And when you finally reach the shore
You'll say there is something more"
uh ... who in the what now?
It's Eric - 31-year-old Eric. You're probably wondering why I'm writing you. Well, it's because Kansas is playing for the championship in basketball again 20 years later. It's been awhile since I've been in Lawrence, but I will tell you that it's a lot bigger now.
20 years doesn't seem to be that long ago, but you're in grade school right? Wow. You're probably wondering what your 31-year-old self is doing. Well, in an effort to not create some crazy vortex paradox or anything other word that has a scary "x" in it, I'll just say "you made it this far, dude!" Now, it might not seem fair, but I will say that your road will be a little curvy, but don't let it throw you.
20 years can pack a lot of changes. The game is tonight - yes, I'm writing you before it takes place so as not to create some sort of Back to the Future II alternate reality. So as you go about doing your 11-year-old stuff, remember to hug others often.
I'll see you in the mirror and photographs.
Even in my own little townhouse, I am alotted a section of "lawn" where I am free to grow whatever I like - as long as its grass. The idea of having your own land and yet not doing anything with it seems very odd to the rest of the world. I have been told by two people groups, that any personal plot of dirt is readily converted into a vegetable garden, vineyard, olive grove, orchard and/or animal stall.
A vegetable plot is about as ambitious as the average american would attempt. The common folly of planting way too much of one plant usually leads to a panic of passing off the undersized extra produce to unsuspecting acquaintances. "Do you like tomatoes?" "Well, of course!" "GREAT! Please take this metric ton off my hands."
"Are those cherry tomatoes?" "No."
2. Car Accidents
Driving in America compared to driving overseas is like saying you're a decorated war hero because you were really good at Halo. Rules in other countries are just mere suggestions of what you could do to prevent death, but usually as long as you are all going the same way, Godspeed. Here, on an empty highway, with a little mist in the air, an American will still somehow manage to hit a pole and cause a tractor-trailer to jack-knife 4 miles away.
An American Supermarket is something that only makes sense to a native born. We have trained ourselves to recognize the marketing and advertising tricks to understand what it is we're looking at. The box with the orange tiger does NOT mean that tiger meat is included. The crisco package with the chocolate chip cookie on it is not trying to be decieving. Butter IS in the store, though nothing is labeled as such ... just "Promise," "Blue Bonnet," "Smart Balance," Country Crock ... and even "I can't believe it's not butter" which is rather unhelpful.
Americans are addicted to sugar. One actually has to look really hard and pay a little more to get something without sugar, corn syrup, or High Fructose Corn Syrup which should be called what it is: More Sugar. I have a sweet tooth (though filled with a porceline resin) and have taken the most dangerous sweets into my bloodstream. To date, there's only one dessert that made me question its safety - The O'Charley's Caramel Pie. Ow. That one stung a bit. Some Non-Americans look at frosting and go "why?" to which we reply with a muffled "what?" while cramming it into our gaping maw.
5. Americans don't speak English
Other cultures take great pains to speak English to move along to success in the world. Yet, when they come here, they are puzzled to learn that they can't understand a word of what we are saying. This is not their fault. It's ours.
"It is nice to meet you."
"Say there, you ain't from 'round here, is ya?"
"Whut. I says where you from?"
"I am from China."
"Tarnashun! That's a far piece of travellin' ya did there. Wanna take a seat?"
"Take it where?"
So if you see someone from another country and wish to approach them in conversation, please remember: They are the normal one
Well, Ford - our beloved firebomb maker of automobiles - has come up with a new one:
Ford. Drive One.
Three words. Three very expensive words. Well, maybe just two words. "Ford" should be free.
So next month there should be ads that will look like this ...
Getting pushy? Not really. At least it didn't say "buy one." Now, I have had some terrible Ford experiences. I did drive one, so even if this is something to add to a checklist of things to do, I'm clear. But let me get my little red pen out and see what happens...Ah, add a little 'c' in there and suddenly it ranks up there with Found On Road Dead. But for those who think they shouldn't be so direct, how about this...
There's always time for manners. Actually, this sounds more like desperation. Well, admitting failure is the first step to ... eh, it doesn't matter. Let's try another one...
Zing! There seems to be a rash of recalls which is not a pleasant thing even for a baby's toy. No matter the type of "recall," there's a sense that you are just one downshift away from being engulfed in a fireball. Ok, one last one ...Bitter? Nah, I just ... ok, I am. I'm not Unamerican for bashing Ford. I just would like not to die in a metal deathtrap of glass and oil. My forefathers fought for that right and I plan to make them proud.
I bought an orange today. I rarely buy fruit, but in a moment of healthy thinking, I bought it with the intentions of eating it at work as a light snack. Upon my desired snack time, I retrieved my orange from the company refrigerator and became perplexed by a problem. How do I eat this orange without covering myself in orange juice? Eating the oranges in slices, with skin intact, would be the best bet. Fruit with wrappers want to help you. Looking for a knife in the office kitchen yielded no results and an orange peeler was out of the question. All I found was a plastic spoon. Innovation? Ready for a challenge to do something different, I marched back to my office with my orange and spoon-that-wants-to-be-a-knife.
Placing the orange on a half stack of Post-it® notes for easy cleanup, I began making an incision with the plastic spoon. My progress was very encouraging, although the spoon made more of a curved cut rather than the straight one that I required. To deal with this I just simply cut a circle about the size of a nickel and lifted up the skin.
Now I had an orange with a hole in it. No turning back now or I lose 68 cents and would have to explain to my wife where my orange went. Things like this she notices. My first circular cut turns out to be too narrow for my spoon so I elongate the cut into an oval, trying not to spill the juice that is squirting in abundance now. Wishing I had a grapefruit spoon, I remove the next portion with a little more effort but nothing to severe. Now my orange has a large oval hole. My Post-it® note base is stained but stable. I now have ample room for my spoon. But just what am I suppose to do now? I don't know. I once stuck a straw in an orange like they did in TV commercials (that doesn't work by the way) and had some success if I pre-mashed the inside of the orange. So, with this knowledge, I start to stab the innards of my orange repeatedly. Once enough pulp was loose, I fixed my mouth around it and tried to drink my orange. Knowing that my wife was away in her office and my boss was at the dentist, I figure I'm in the clear although this mash-slurp-repeat method is not very efficient.
Fearing that anyone will come by, I tear with my fingers at the orangy rind. I throw the spoon away, labeling it a traitor. As I make progress on one side, I decide to eat it like an apple. I'll be darned if there's one way to eat an orange! The juice starts coming in full force. Remembering my Tangerine staining incident from a month ago, I hunch over my trashcan frantically trying to eat my orange, deflect juice, and dislodge rind bits into the trashcan. I have become an animal.
Now that my hands were drenched in Vitamin C, it dawns on me that my phone could ring or that someone would come by. Could I answer my phone with my elbows? - were those footsteps? Without shame, I eat the last two slices as anyone else would in this world and walk to the restroom with hands outward, sticky sweet with orange pulp. I wash my hands with odd-fragranced berry hand soap and return berry soft to my orange aroma-ed office. Sitting at my desk I hear my wife come around and take some papers off the laser printer and then go back again. Safe. I look into my trashcan and see the mutilation that took place moments before. Unceremoniously, I cover the pieces with some discarded envelopes. I tear off the stained Post-it® note and begin my work anew.
I have snacked.