Bad Advice for Everyone

Disclaimer: Do NOT follow any of the advice in this blog post.  Bad idea.  Bad, bad idea.  If you should choose to follow any of the advice in this blog post, on your own head be it.

I owe the idea for this to my very funny friend, all around good guy Brian Robinson, who I interviewed here.  He posted on Facebook the challenge to ask him anything, and he would respond with bad advice.  I asked him whether it would be better to sell my three semi-decent vehicles and put the money into one nice car, continue patching them up with duct tape and superglue, or just buy a good bicycle and lots of bus passes?  He responded that I should sell all of them and invest in avocados.

So, to keep the chain going, some bad advice given in response to questions my Facebook friends have supplied:

Q: What’s the best way to stay connected with friends you haven’t seen in many years?

A: Start a blog about them and pay a lot for advertising. Tell all kinds of scandalous untruths about them from way back when. They’ll look you up and you’ll both have a good laugh about it and happily renew your friendship.

Q: What’s the best way to change a tire on a car, on a dirt road with no jack, a hundred miles from anywhere?

A: If the flat is on the right side, get up as much speed as possible on the three remaining wheels and abruptly turn sharply to the right. With a little luck the car will flip over and you can then access the flat with no problem. Make sure to get the spare out of the trunk BEFORE trying this.

Q: What’s the best way to get my husband to quit snoring?

A: Stuff a sock in his mouth.

Q: What’s the best way to find a new job?

A: Get a big piece of poster board and write, in large letters, “Value Adder.” Decorate it with lots of happy stickers and bright colors. Find a busy downtown area where you can encounter plenty of business people and walk around with your sign while loudly singing “I’m A Little Teapot.” When you catch someone’s eye, buttonhole them and tell them how much value you can add to their organization. You’ll be employed by lunchtime. (Be sure to dress professionally.)

Q: What is the best way to bathe a cat?

A: The important thing is to catch the cat by surprise. Wait until the feline is sleeping somewhere. Fill the bathtub halfway with warm, soapy water, nonchalantly whistling like you’re going to take a bath yourself. Then, shrieking like an attacking Highland Scot fighting for his homeland, grab the cat and sprint like mad for the bathroom. Halfway in the door, release the cat, allowing its momentum to carry it all the way into the tub. Continuing to bellow (or loudly singing Def Leppard classic rock if that more strikes your fancy), grab the scrubby loofah you’ve secreted by the side of the tub and plunge your arm again and again into the mass of bubbles until you have a firm grip on pretty much any substantial part of the cat’s anatomy. Proceed to apply the loofah vigorously to the cat.

After all this, with any luck the cat will be hyperventilating, half-drowned, and near-comatose with panic, so you can now rinse it off and gently dry it at your leisure. Have fun!


Changing Our Thinking

I really, really like this quote from Professor Einstein.  It brings to mind the business maxim “your system is perfectly designed to achieve the results you’re getting.”

It also reminds me of the well-known definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

To be fair, some of our problems aren’t of our own creation, and we’re just doing the best we can to get out of them.  But many of the undesirable circumstances in which we find ourselves?  Yeah, we can lay much of the blame squarely at our own doorstep.

Maybe we had a skewed view on how we should best spend our time.

Maybe we prioritized the wrong things.

Maybe we convinced ourselves that “the ends justify the means.”

Maybe we were persuaded that this bad habit, or that indulgence, or that indiscretion, were really no big deal.

And now we’re in a mess, and we have to get out of it.

The Bible calls it “repentance,” and it means to turn around, turn away from your previous pattern of behavior and thinking.

We can’t fix our problems without first fixing our thinking.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Learning Spanish

I took a couple of years of Spanish in school, but that’s been…….quite some time ago, and if you don’t use it, you lose it.  I couldn’t carry on a conversation en espanol if I had to.

But I’ve decided that I want to brush up on my Spanish.

I really like (and heartily recommend) Duolingo’s online language learning courses.  Fun and painless, and all you have to do is watch a few advertisements.

Some of the vocabulary they start you out with is a little odd, though.

On the plus side, if I need to reassure Mrs. Garcia that there are no penguins in her bathroom, I am prepared.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Semi-Listicle About My Day

I’d like to apologize for missing last Thursday’s post.  I could have gotten it done, but things were a little full up and I had to make some choices, and I chose to let it slide.  I’m not sure that was the best course of action.  A commitment is a commitment, right?  I’ll do better.

On the up side, my daughter turned twenty-five years old, and we did spend a little time in video chatting, so that was cool.

Anyway, I thought I’d tell you about my Saturday.  In bullet points.  Sort of a listicle.  Did you know that “listicle” is a new word?  It means an article that consists of pretty much just a list.  “Twenty-Five Rising Young Stars” or “Top Ten New Words I Didn’t Know Were Words.”

I love language evolution.  But that’s the etymology/grammarian nerd geek coming out.

Anyway, my Saturday.

  1. With half a dozen friends, reorganized the storage shed at the community theater.  Threw away a boatload of stuff we don’t need, which is always a satisfactory experience.
  2. Did some self-study in Spanish.  I’ve decided I want to dust off my Spanish skills and become a little more proficient at it.  If I need to tell somebody en español that ducks don’t eat oranges, I’m all set.
  3. Took my son to his basketball game.
  4. Stopped by the church and did a few chores, mostly relating to leading the children’s worship time on Sunday.  Copied some coloring pages.
  5. Did recycling and composting and some yard clean up.
  6. Assembled a new footstool from Wal-Mart.   Thirty second chore.
  7. Went through a bunch of paperwork and was able to recycle a bunch of stuff Again, a very satisfactory experience, and it’s nice to be able to walk away from a shelf that looks much neater.
  8. Played some Lego Batman on the Wii.
  9. What?  I happen to like Lego Batman.  I never claimed to have grown up.
  10. Played cards with my wife.
  11. Had a good conversation with my daughter.
  12. Did a little writing and Facebooking and emailing, and this post.
  13. Reset a bunch of clocks and my watch.  Daylight savings time starts tomorrow.  Whee!  (Yesterday by the time you read this.)
  14. Fed the cat.
  15. Had my daughter’s chinchilla run its exercise ball over my foot.  That was kind of weird.
  16. Bought milk at the grocery store and was able to get a lot of empty cardboard boxes for our church’s food pantry at the same time.  Serendipitous.
  17. Knocked on the neighbor’s door to check on him, but he wasn’t home.  Poor fellow.  Elderly man whose wife quite recently passed away.  I think he might be staying with his family for the weekend, which is nice.  I’ll try him again later.
  18. Took a shower, ate, various other odds and ends.  Nothing else substantive comes to mind.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Didn’t Get the Joke?

I’m sympathetic to people who don’t have a sense of humor.  But I find it very difficult dealing with them.

Now, when I say that, let me hasten to add that I don’t find everything funny that other people do, and I appreciate that there are those who aren’t going to share MY sense of humor, either.  Not everything is for everybody, and not everybody is going to “get” every gag.  The expression “I get it; I just don’t think it’s funny” is perfectly valid.  Most of us can tell when something is said jokingly, whether it appeals to us or not.

But I’ve run across a few individuals, here and there, otherwise intelligent, who don’t seem to understand the concept of humor at all.  Relating to them is tough for those, like me, who are constant jokers and clowns.  I can be serious when the occasion calls for it, but it’s not my default state.  Interacting with someone who’s nothing BUT serious?  It’s like we’re speaking different languages.

I interacted with one lady recently on social media who took a tongue-in-cheek thing I’d posted and treated it absolutely at face value, and was rather offended and delivered a small lecture.  It was a gentle and affectionate jest,  nothing mean-spirited.  Dozens of people “got it,” with hers being the only negative reaction, so I don’t think it was the content itself that was the trouble.  It’s possible I’d touched on some sore spot, but in that case I think she would have said something along the lines of “I realize you’re only joking, but…..”   I think I’d just found one of those poor souls who, for whatever reason, don’t recognize humor.

I didn’t respond to her comment, and don’t plan to unless she persists.  I feel bad for her, but we don’t speak the same language.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Reading Esther

The book of Esther is unique in the Bible because nowhere does it mention “God” at all, or make any direct reference to Him.  There are only three places (possibly four) it gets anywhere close: when Mordecai tells Esther that deliverance will arise “from another place” if she doesn’t act, when he  clearly believes in a purposeful force behind events, suggesting that Esther has risen to the queenship “for such a time as this,” and when Esther calls for a time of fasting, no doubt with prayer in mind.

The possible-fourth place is when Haman’s family and friends suggest that Haman will not prevail against Mordecai because he is a Jew, perhaps thinking of the Jews divine history under God’s protection.

I almost skipped it in my Bible reading.  I love the book–it’s one of my favorite “adventure stories” in the Bible, and Esther and Mordecai are fascinating characters.  And I’d come to it in the course of my regular Bible reading, having just finished Nehemiah.

But I was going through some challenging personal things and I thought of maybe skipping Esther and going to the Psalms or the Gospels; someplace where the hand of God was evident and powerful.  I thought my faith could use a little building up, and Esther wasn’t where I needed to be.

Esther was exactly where I needed to be.

Here’s the lesson, and I won’t belabor the point: even when things seem grim and God seems a long way away, He is very close and in absolute control.  Everything is going to work out all right for those whose trust is in the Lord.

I needed to be reminded of that in this season.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.