What, Thursday Already?

What, is it Thursday already?

And I’m supposed to have a blog post up?

But….but….my wife’s out of town so I’m single dadding and work’s been crazy busy and the kids have had some issues that have had to be dealt with and I’m trying to play catch-up on some badly behind household projects and I needed to take a day to go see my parents and I had a few unplanned things break into my schedule and….and….

Well, this will have to do for now, okay?

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

Holding On To Sticks

The dog would like to head across the bridge, but there’s a problem.  Poochie has a stick in his mouth that’s significantly longer than the bridge is wide.

There are conflicting desires going on here.  1) I want to cross the bridge.  2)  I want my stick.

Any halfway competent preacher could turn this into an object lesson on how materialism or holding on to the past can keep us from our mission and purpose.  On the other hand, sometimes protecting and valuing the things we cherish might mean there are courses of action we must sacrifice for the greater good.

One of those dual-purpose metaphor thingies, right, depending on how you might want to make use of it.

Me?  I’m sort of hoping Fido figured out how to get across with his stick.

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

Vanity Surgery

Don’t Google “plastic surgery fails” unless you’re prepared for some tragic and heartbreaking sights.  I use Google Images for a lot of the blog pictures I put up, and the one included here was a lot less unsettling than some of the ones I could have gone with.

A “plastic surgery fail” is someone who’s paid a lot of money to look younger and/or more attractive and has wound up looking freakish.  You see it a lot in celebrities who trade on their appearance and are trying to hold off the hands of time a little longer.  And fair enough, sometimes they get pretty decent results and they DO look a little younger than their actual age.  Sometimes it doesn’t work so well, and you get a scary face where once you were good-looking.  Sad.

And it’s all vanity, with maybe a little bit of commercial desperation thrown in.  “I get movie roles because I’m young and pretty; if I start to look middle-aged those offers will dry up.”  And I can’t judge, because I don’t live in that life.  There may be a lot of pressures going on I don’t know anything about.

But I actually spent some time in prayer for those who are so desperate to hold on tightly to youthful beauty, that most fleeting of qualities, that they’re willing to take such extreme risks with their health and appearance to do it.  Tragic, and a pain I will thankfully never have to endure.

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

 

Thrill Seeking

When I started this blog, I had the idea of doing “Advice for Everyone,” when I’d get friends to do interviews.  That’s fallen by the wayside a little bit; I had some personal issues come up and it’s been a little more laborious getting people to help me out than I had anticipated.  You wouldn’t think it’d be that hard to get people to talk about themselves, but oh, well.  I keep meaning to try to revive that.

In the meantime, you gotta check out this picture of an extreme skateboarder I found on the internet.  Is this guy nuts or what?

I have to confess to not really understanding the thrill seekers, the adrenaline junkies, the extreme sports enthusiasts.  I mean, I can go “wheee” with the best of them on the occasional rollercoaster; I get the exhilaration of speed.  But people who make it their mission to keep doing crazier and crazier things just to see if they can?  I have a certain respect for it, but it’s just not part of my makeup.

Maybe I’m just boring.

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

Impending Doom

This is one of those picture you run across on the internet that you just have to stop and ponder a moment.

I love high-speed photography, and this is a great shot.  That poor hapless bird has about 1/27 of a second left to live.  And it’s sitting there without a care in the world.  I appreciate that not everybody is a fan of snakes but there’s still something awe-inspiring about its raw, predatory speed and power.

I thought of captioning this something like “I’ve had days like this.”  You know the feelings of “impending doom” you sometimes get, where it seems like you KNOW something bad is about to happen?   That’s not this.  This is where you’re just peacefully minding your own business and disaster strikes without warning.

Not sure which is worse, but I don’t like either one.

Poor birdy.

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

Pragmatic Car Repair

I love this picture.  I didn’t take it, and don’t know who did, but I’d love to meet the guy (I’d be prepared to wager it was a guy) who came up with this wonderful idea.

There’s a philosophy behind this, which essentially says that “I’ve got things to do with my life that DON’T revolve around doing things ‘properly.'”  It’s the idea of pragmatism: if it works, it’s good.

Say, for instance, your brake light sensor has broken, but you don’t have the time or the money to get it fixed so it looks and works like new.  Or, honestly, it’s just not all that important to you.  Well, all you need is some way to turn the current on and off; a $2 light switch from Home Depot will do the job.  A little cardboard, a little duct tape, and you’re in business.  It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t have to be pretty.  It gets the job done, and you can be on to higher priorities a lot faster.  Just condition yourself to flip the switch when you hit the brakes, and you’re in business.

I’m not mocking.  I’m genuinely respectful and admiring of the kind of ingenuity and lateral thinking that gets this kind of thing done.

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

Being Gracious

Janet.  Shane.  Gene, Jean, Joanna, John, Juan, Ian, Johann, Hanna.  All names derived from chana, the Hebrew word for “gracious.”

In Greek it’s “charis,” which has come down to us in English in the word charismatic.  And in the actress Charisma Carpenter, who was one of the funniest things about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”  Seriously, she was hilarious.

I was thinking about “gracious” today.  We usually think about a gracious person as someone having good manners, but it really has to do with someone who is giving.  If you say or do something graciously, you are giving courtesy, respect, time, consideration, attention beyond that which you have to.  You’re treating the recipient of your graciousness as being worthy of your best.

The Bible tells us over and over that God is a gracious God.  He gives to us, abundantly and again, without any kind of compensation.

Let us be gracious as well, friends.

Oh, and I was trying to crop that image to take out the whole “my Hebrew name” part at the bottom, but for some reason I was having trouble with the graphics editor on my blogging publisher.  Weird.  I’ve never had any difficulty before.  Oh, well.

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

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…..um….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.