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(122 posts)

It’s all Darrin’s fault. Having no consideration for weaker brothers, he put a stumbling block in my path. I didn’t mean to do it, honest. I was just looking. It doesn’t hurt to look, does it? Anyway, here is what he did: he posted—callously, I might add—this excerpt from J. H. Merle D’Aubigne’s The History of the Reformation. So I went shopping—just looking, mind you!—and I found it, used. Now, Darrin had stated (the previous link is my witness) that it has rarely been out of print, so I emailed him to enquire if he knew where it could be found new. This is where it gets ugly. No, it could not be found new; but there were many options, from merely used to antquarian. He sent me links. One of them had over 300 listings. I tried to resist, really, I did. I tried to click back, but the page loaded too fast. I had no choice. I scrolled down. Then I scrolled down some more. Like Jonah, I went down, down, down, until I had gone too far to turn back. Then I saw it: a promising specimen. I clicked the link. It was a nice set, and reasonably priced. I bookmarked it, virtually guaranteeing my demise. Still, I told myself I was just looking. Certainly, if my wife had walked in and caught me, that would have been my defense: “Just looking, Dear! (nervous laughter here) Really! (more nervous laughter, beginning to perspire) Oh, nothing, heh, heh, just some old (mumbling now, hoping she doesn’t catch the damning word) books.” That’s when I will get THE LOOK. You see, we’ve been down this road before. My fellow book addicts will understand. Money magically disappears from your pockets when you walk past a bookstore. You wake up clutching a strange hardcover, with no memory of acquiring it. You have books on your shelves that you had to have but haven’t yet read. Challies reviews a book, and you click the Amazon link every time. Of course you don’t buy every one, but you add them to your wishlist until it is bloated beyond any useful limits. Your wife begins to squirrel money away in Switzerland, out of your reach. No, she’s not leaving you—she’s just hiding the grocery money. I kept scrolling and clicking “next page.” I bookmarked two more pages before I stopped. I now had three serious temptations before me. I clicked back and forth between them feverishly. The one that called my name the loudest was a beautiful 1843 edition in quarter-leather binding. I’ve purchased used books many times before, but I’m no expert on antiquarian books; so I emailed Darrin once more. He gave me his opinions, which were pretty much what I had hoped for. I was gazing hungrily at the screen, mesmerized by antique leather, when my wife walked in, jarring me from my trance. From this point on, my memory is hazy. This is how I remember it. “What are you doing?” she asked. I decided to play it straight—as straight as I could, anyway. “I, ah, I’m looking at some books.” Her eyes narrowed. It was THE LOOK. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. THE LOOK is only worth a few, but they are unambiguous. Whatever you are doing when you get THE LOOK, you know exactly what it means, and it is never encouraging. “What kind of books?” she said, her voice low, eyes narrowed, brows arched. It was THE LOOK, deluxe edition. “Antique Reformation history books.” “And how much are they?” It was an accusation, not a question. I gave a number. “Hmmm . . .” she said, voice very low. THE LOOK intensified. “I have to do laundry.” She stalked ominously from the room. I looked at the screen. My cursor was situated directly over the “add to cart” button. My heart began pounding. My ears were ringing. My vision became cloudy. A voice in my head whispered, “It’s now or never!” I heard a click, and another. Then, before my eyes, a form was being filled out. A name—my name! An address—my address! Numbers, dates, click, click! The room was spinning! What is that black bird above my monitor? What does he mean, “Nevermore’? Bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells! Click, click! I awoke with a start. No! I thought. It was a dream. It had to have been a dream. Then I saw it: the little envelope icon on my taskbar. You’ve got mail. I clicked Outlook Express. There is 1 unread Mail message in your Inbox. Hands trembling, I clicked my inbox. Thanks for your recent order! This is confirmation that your order has been received . . . My heart sank. Then, slowly, the cloud lifted. 1843; leather; History of the Reformation. I couldn’t help it. A warm sensation engulfed my body, and the corners of my mouth began to creep apart until a broad smile stretched across my face. My wife walked in. “Oh, no,” she said, “you’ve done it, haven’t you?” I just smiled.

This Is Not a Cat Blog

Wednesday··2006·12·13 · 10 Comments
Bloggers who have nothing to say write about their cats. At least that is what I have observed. Today I am writing about my cat. Draw your conclusions as you will. When we lived in the country, we always had cats. We had to. It was either cats or mice, and we chose cats. Those cats were not pets, they were livestock—not like cattle, because we didn’t eat them, but like horses, because they had a job to do. When we moved to town, we didn’t bring any cats with us. Then, last week, a kitten walked into the house and decided to stay. This one, I guess, is a pet. Her name is Dagmar. She hasn’t done a lick of work since she arrived, and I doubt she ever will. She sleeps a lot. When she wakes up, two little girls harass her until she makes a break for my office, where she climbs up my leg and promptly falls asleep on my lap. Sometimes she climbs across my keyboard, typing in tongues. I will be reading Charismatic Chaos to her soon. At least she meows in English. So, now I have blogged about my cat. Can I sink much lower? Well, yes, I suppose I could have posted pictures, but then I would never be able to look in the mirror again, regardless of how devastatingly handsome I am. Here is a cat picture for anyone who cares to see one. It’s not our cat. I wish it was. I wonder if this is what they call jumping the shark.

101 Dalmatians

Saturday··2007·01·20 · 4 Comments
The kids watched 101 Dalmatians last night. I didn’t watch, but I was in the next room listening, and I’ve seen it a few times before. This is not the 1961 animated one Hundred and One Dalmatians, but the 1996 live-action remake with Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. I don’t usually care much for remakes, but this one is good. Glenn Close is a hilariously evil Cruella De Vil, and Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson are perfectly charming as Roger and Anita. Pongo and Perdita are played by dogs, who carry off their parts quite convincingly. It is unfortunate that the scriptwriters chose to transform Roger, originally a song writer, into a video game designer, but it did create some very funny dialogue. For example: Cruella: And what is it that you do that allows you to support Anita in such . . . splendor? Roger: I design video games. Cruella, to Anita: Video games? Is he having me on? Anita: O no, he’s very good at it. And it’s a growing business. Cruella: Those horrible noisy things that children play on their televisions? Someone actually designs those? What a senseless thing to do with your life! Well, this is turning into a mini movie review, which is not what I intended and is rather lame since the movie is now eleven years old. All I really wanted to do is repeat for your edification what I think is one of the funniest bits of movie dialogue I’ve ever heard. The setting is fashion designer Cruella De Vil’s office. Present is Frederick, who appears to be an upper-management type. He, like all of Cruella’s employees, is horribly intimidated by her. Cruella is looking over some of Anita’s designs, which have spots. Cruella: Do you like spots, Frederick? Frederick: O, I don’t believe so, Madame. I thought we liked stripes this year. Cruella: What kind of sycophant are you? Frederick: What kind of sycophant would you like me to be?

Funny(?) Because It’s True

Friday··2007·03·02 · 5 Comments
I don’t remember when I first discovered, but I immediately fell in love with it. For better or worse, the creators of Demotivators® and I think alike; so it was no surprise at all when I received The Pessimist’s Mug one year for Father’s Day. It was a bitter irony when it was dropped on the kitchen floor and broken. I now have this image on the coffee cup sitting on my desk. Anyway, seeing Demotivators on another blog recenty inspired me to pull out and fix up a few knock-offs that I had made some time ago, before I had a blog to post them on. Call them the product of idle hands and a twisted sense of humor. Click images for larger view. Before you throw a fit over this one, read this, this, and this. This one is just for fun. If you don’t get it, don’t feel bad.
If G. K. Chesterton was right, literature is in a sad state. Chesterton is supposed* to have said, “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” Hard to believe, but I think it may be true. Sure, there may be a verse or two on cheese hidden away somewhere in a Shel Silverstein book, but I’m afraid this beautiful gift has been almost entirely, inexplicably, overlooked by the poets. I aim to rectify that. Cheese Couplets Colby is fine, but what I like better Is the lovely bouquet of an extra-sharp cheddar. For a good, tasty snack that will never miss, Try a nice dunkel bier and a platter of Swiss. My lips smack When I eat Pepper Jack. Grab a sheep and pull and squeeze— Have yourself some Roquefort cheese. Though Muenster cheese may sound quite German, It’s American, like Munster (Herman). Primost looks like peanut butter, but it’s not— It’s from the udder. Feta is a royal treat, Although it smells a lot like feet. When cheese smells bad, that means it’s good— I’d say that of my verses, if I could. * I’ve never read Chesterton, and I’m too lazy to verify the quotation.

The Best Final Episode Ever

Saturday··2007·09·15 · 1 Comments
If you weren’t a Newhart fan, you won’t get this. It won’t be even slightly humorous. Kind of like a lot of my jokes.

Say that Again?

. . . the armless man attacked her brother.“They got into a big confrontation, a verbal confrontation and a fist fight . . .” I know it’s not really a funny story, but an “armless man” in a “fistfight” just cracks me up.

Where’s My Nobel Prize?

Saturday··2007·10·13 · 4 Comments
So Al Gore wins a Nobel prize for “raising awareness about global warming.” I’ve spread countless loads of manure—beef, dairy, swine—on fields from Wisconsin to North Dakota. What do I get? A big, fat nothing. Is that fair?

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

I already linked to this in the sidebar, but this is too good to leave there. I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s, like, totally . . . you know? Yeah.
Some people think I am odd. This post will not help. I like math. It’s not that I’m especially good at it, I just like it. I like the absoluteness of it. 2 + 2 = 4, √25 = 5, the area of a circle is πr2, and there is nothing the postmoderns can do about it. I also like limericks. In fact, I love limericks. So this post displays all kinds of pedantic-romantic goodness about me. These are a few math limericks I’ve collected. An algebra teacher named Drew Tried to find the √2. He found it between ¼ and 14, But couldn’t get closer. Can you? There was an old man who said, “Do Tell me how I should add two and two. I think more and more That it makes about four— But I fear that is almost too few.” A mathematician confided That a Moebius band is one-sided. And you’ll get quite a laugh, If you cut one in half, For it stays in one piece when divided. There was a young student from Rye, Who worked out the value of π. “It happens,” said he, “That it’s just over 3, Though I’d rather you don’t ask me why.” If, inside of a circle, a line Hits the center and goes spine to spine, And the line’s length is D, The circumference will be D times 3.14159. There was a young lady named Bright Whose speed was much greater than light. So she set out one day, In a relative way, And returned on the previous night. The Professor said, “Now I’ll tell you A fact known to only a few Men and women alive: Two plus two equals five (For large enough values of two).” This is credited to John Saxon, the author of our math textbooks: A Dozen, a Gross, and a Score, Plus three times the square root of four, Divided by seven, Plus five times eleven, Equals nine squared and not a bit more. 12 + 144 + 20 + 3(√4)7 + 5(11) = 92 = 81 Here’s one for you to solve: There once was a woman from Dundee, Whose age had the last digit three. If her whole age reversed Is the square of the first, Then what must the woman’s age be?

Have Yourself a Mercenary Christmas

Wednesday··2007·12·19 · 7 Comments
It seems that no matter how hard we try to be frugal, we always end up spending too much at Christmas time. Then we wrap up all that money and lay it on the floor under a tree, where anyone could walk in and carry it off. This has been a worry of mine for years, but no more. Son #3 has assembled a razor-sharp squad of mercenaries to provide security this Christmas season. They have been instructed to be on the look-out for fat guys in red suits who have been known to take credit for the hard work of parents around the globe. Intruders will be shot on sight. No prisoners will be taken.
We did our best to guard the goods this year, but we briefly lost the high ground to a post-Christmas enemy surge. After a tense stand-off, our forces were able to flank the enemy drive her back. Happy New Year!

Apologetics for Curmudgeons

Saturday··2008·01·12 · 1 Comments
I would make a horrible attorney. I hate to argue. Obviously then, apologetics is not my bag. I like to state my case once, and leave it at that. If you don’t agree, fine. Just stop arguing about it. I’m a presuppositionalist. In fact, you could call me a hyper-presuppositionalist—more roto-tillian than Van Tillian. What is, is, and it’s obvious. All truth is based on a few self-evident facts that are as plain as the nose on your face, and if you can’t see that, I probably can’t help you. I’ll give you a couple of examples of how my arguments go. Let’s pretend I am a college professor . . . There once was a scholar from Esser Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser It at once grew so small He knew nothing at all And now he’s a college professor . . . One morning, as students are filing into the classroom, I am regaling some of my more manly students with riveting tales of my hunting adventures around the globe, when in walks Ms. Teensy Eyequeue, who has just come from professor Hillary Steinem’s Obnoxious Liberalism 101 class. Teensy: I think killing all those beautiful animals is horrible. Me: If you don’t kill them, they won’t lie still on the grill. Teensy: I’m a vegetarian. Me: If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why are they made out of meat? It’s as simple as that. And then there are those who think there has to be a winner of every argument. Me: As I was saying . . . non curat de minimus lex . . . and, as Socrates said, . . . and so, . . . hypotenuse . . . cogito ergo sum. Pug Blowhard: Dude, . . . blah blah blah blah . . . yer just, like, totally bogus. Me: Adversus solem ne loquitor.* PB: No way. Blah blah blah blah . . . blah blah blah blah . . . Me: “          ” Because I have gone silent, PB now believes he has won the argument. Later, observing that I am continuing as before, unchanged in spite of his stunning rhetorical victory, he resumes the attack. PB: So, you’re still going to do that even though you know I’m right? Me: I never said I agreed. I just stopped arguing. AP: Dude, yer like so passive-aggressive. Me: Call it what you want, Dr. Freud. One of us knows when to shut up and stop arguing, and the other is a moron. Which one do you think you are? AP: Alright, wiseguy . . . Me: Age. Fac ut gaudeam.† There you have it. Apologetics for curmudgeons. It won’t make you any friends, but it will save you a lot of time. * Don’t speak against the sun (don’t waste your time disputing the obvious). † Roughly, Go ahead. Make my day.

Serious/Silly Saturday

Saturday··2008·05·17 · 1 Comments
Pray for Jonathan Moorhead as he teaches a seminar on Jonathan Edwards at Word of Grace Bible Church in Battle Ground WA today. This is a Russian-speaking congregation, so he will be working with an interpreter. Pray also that he doesn’t do this—or maybe that he does. A guy’s got to have some fun, after all.

Random Thoughts

Tuesday··2008·05·20 · 1 Comments
Economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell occasionally titles his columnRandom Thoughts. If you’ve read those columns, please lower your expectations several degrees before continuing. These are just a few things that have crossed my mind in the past week or so. Some are thoughts inspired by conversations, others are just the fruit of a wandering mind. On singing: Rebecca shared a nice hymn on Sunday, complete with a performance of said hymn by Fernando Ortega. She commented that it was “one of the few versions I could find that was not sung in a breathy female voice.” She almost set me off on my own list of irritations with popular singers, but I saved it for you. Rebecca already mentioned breathy (kiss me, baby!) singing. I’ll add: growling, whining, moaning, groaning, panting, yelling, screaming, and any other vocal affectation. Just because your favorite pop singers do it doesn't mean you should. They shouldn’t, either. Please—sing with the voice God gave you. It might not be a great one, but trust me, it’s better than the one you’re faking. My most hated musical crime is poor enunciation. I’m not referring to the careless kind, although that’s bad enough. I mean the intentional kind, in which the singer pronounces words in ways he never would if he was speaking, because it’s cool. Come on, people. Get Hooked on Phonics. A serious offender on both counts (this is one of those “wandering mind” segments) is Bob Dylan. Some say he can’t sing, but we’ll never know; we’ve never heard him try. I’d call what he does a combination of whining and moaning. And he obviously has no respect for phonics. His fans, if any are reading this, are thinking, “Yeah, but man, can he write. He’s a brilliant lyricist.” Yeah, whatever; I’ve got some poems I wrote when I was in 9th grade and in “love” with a gorgeous 8th grade blonde that might impress you, too. There is no male gender, nor female. Male and female are not genders; they are sexes. Gender is described as masculine or feminine. How do you pronounce evangelical? Most say “ēvangelical”; some say “ĕvangelical.” As I’ve observe who says what, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s those uppity guys with “Dr.” in front of their names who use the latter pronunciation. The rest of us are right, but will never be published. Every time I go out, I see people, including adults, wearing sweats—in public. What is wrong with these people? It really is a sign of societal decay when people are more concerned with being comfortable than presentable. For my part, if I meet you in a public place (not a gym or a jogging path), and you are wearing sweats, I’ll assume you can’t be trusted with serious responsibility. After all, you didn’t even manage to get dressed before leaving the house. No wonder your kid can’t wear his cap straight or pull up his pants. Sometimes I don’t understand my wife. The other day, she told me a story that was supposed to be funny, about a Norwegian who, overcome with emotion, confided in a friend: “I love my wife so much, I almost told her.” What’s funny about that? I thought it was touching.

Friday Frivolity

Friday··2008·05·23 · 1 Comments
Just sign here . . . Would you believe . . . You paid attention during 100% of high school! 85-100%! You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don’t get scores that high! Good show, old chap! Do you deserve your high school diploma? Create a Quiz Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! If you only knew. Well, after taking that quiz, I took this one: Your Language Arts Grade: 100% Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes). Are You Gooder at Grammar? Create a Quiz Well, of course. This is one of the few things I’ve worked hard to achieve. It’s just part of being an obsessive pain in the

It’s not nice to laugh …

So maybe I’m not nice.
I know I'm a sucker for providing free advertising like this, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pass on this bit of encouragement to my fellow bloggers. I think I know what I'm getting for Christmas.

Semi-Humorous Saturday

Saturday··2008·07·12 · 2 Comments
Sorry, this is the best I can do today. What was the name of the horse in Jingle Bells? Bob. This joke is funniest if you can imagine it being told by a small child.

My Brush with Greatness

Saturday··2008·07·19 · 14 Comments
Louisville, Kentucky; April, 2008. Albert Mohler has just concluded his lecture at the 2008 Together for the Gospel Conference. I make my way to the front of the auditorium, clutching my copy of Dr. Mohler’s new book, Culture Shift, hoping to get it signed by the man himself. If successful, this will be the second signature I have acquired, the first being that of John MacArthur on the new 25th anniversary edition of The Gospel According to Jesus. I feel confident—not in my chances of getting the coveted signature, but of something far more important: not saying something stupid in the few seconds I will have in his presence. I managed to maintain my dignity with my Favorite Living Theologian, Dr. MacArthur, even making a couple of intelligent comments; surely I can manage it with Mohler, as well. I wait behind the ropey-thing that separates the celebrities from the groupies while Dr. Mohler converses with a young seminary student (I know he is a seminarian because he has that broke-but-trying-very-hard-to-look-scholarly appearance). He approaches, pausing momentarily to jot a note on a scrap of paper and hand it to one of his minions. Suddenly, it strikes me: he has more brains in that fancy fountain pen than I have in my whole body. Like a child ducking behind his mother’s skirt, my brain sneaks away. My mouth opens, but nothing comes out. I silently hold out my book, only vaguely aware of how stupidly mute I am. Dr. Mohler looks at me expectantly; I say nothing. He takes the book, signs it and hands it back. Finally, my tongue breaks loose. “Thank you.” “My pleasure,” he replies, and moves on. Back at my seat, I open the book. It is signed, “To David.” I spend the remainder of the day, name tag hanging around my neck, wondering how he knew my name. This could be me.

The New Calvinism

I have no statistics to prove it, but I’m willing to bet that Calvinism is the fastest growing theology today. Calvinism is spreading like an epidemic. Calvinistic churches are popping up everywhere. Calvinists are writing best-selling books and building mega-churches. People who wouldn’t normally attend church at all are flocking to Calvinist churches. It’s no wonder, really. Who doesn’t love Calvin?

Everything Must Change

Saturday··2008·09·13 · 1 Comments
And now, for something completely different . . . Not hip with the postmodern scene (i.e., don’t get it)? Click here, here, and here.

Sad Truth Saturday

Saturday··2008·10·04 · 2 Comments
Once again, I’ve been suckered into giving a free plug to (I’ve done it before). Here’s another demotivator relevant to our context.

Vote Your Conscience

Saturday··2008·10·11 · 2 Comments
Are you one of those ultra-idealists who vote purely on principle, with no thought as to whether your candidate has the slightest chance to win? Well, then, have I got the candidate for you: Me! Disclaimer: When I created this ad, I was not thinking of the fact that there actually is a Constitutionalist party. I just love the Constitution.

Some Saturday Stuff

Saturday··2008·10·25 · 6 Comments
You Might Be a Redneck . . . I think this looks like fun. Does that make me a redneck? Funniest thing I’ve read all week: “Student volunteers from colleges around New York State braved freezing cold temperatures on their bikes Wednesday to send a message to state and federal political candidates: pay attention to climate change.”


John Adams is quoted as saying, “No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.” In that spirit, I* offer my heartfelt congratulations to both John McCain and Barack Obama.† * No, I’ve never been President. I’m just taking Adams’ word for it. † I know. I said yesterday was my last political post. But you see, this one doesn’t count, as it’s kind of a joke.
Saturdays on the blog are normally reserved for things ranging from trivial to frivolous to foolish. Today, due to the out-dated nature of my offering, we can add irrelevant. As promised, I have refrained from political outbursts for the last week. Well, almost, anyway. Technically, I should wait til tomorrow; but tomorrow is the Lords Day, and as this post is both frivolous and political, Id best get it out of my system today. Its not muchpretty lame, actuallybut I reckon its worth the price of admission. The Presidential election was too close to call. Neither McCain nor Obama had enough votes to win. There was much talk about ballot recounting, court challenges, etc., but a week-long ice fishing competition seemed the sportsmanlike way to settle things. The candidate that caught the most fish at the end of the week would win the election. After much discussion, it was decided that the contest take place on a remote lake in northern Minnesota. There were to be no observers present, and both men were to be sent out separately to return at 5 P.M.with their catch for counting and verification by a team of neutral parties. At the end of the first day, McCain returned with ten fish. Soon, Obama returned with no fish. Well, everyone assumed he was just having an unlucky day or something, and hopefully, he would catch up the next day. At the end of the 2nd day McCain came in with twenty fish and Obama came in again with none. That evening, Harry Reid got together secretly with Obama and said, I think John McCain is cheating. I want you to go out tomorrow and dont even bother with fishing. Just spy on him and see how hes cheating. The following night, Reid asked Obama, Well, tell me, how is McCain cheating? Obama replied, Harry, you’re not going to believe this, but he’s cutting holes in the ice! Experience matters. See you in church tomorrow.

And so forth, etc.

Monday··2009·03·02 · 11 Comments
For your information: Viz. is an abbreviation of a Middle English word, namely, videlicet, which is a contraction of two Latin words, to wit, videre licet. There are several abbreviations of this sort commonly used in English writing: e.g., for example, abbreviates exempli gratia. Another is i.e., that is, id est. I hope this is helpful. This post is tagged humor. I dont suppose anyone gets it, but trust me, its funny. Weird-funny, or Haha-funny? they asked. Yes, he explained.
Of course, I dont actually believe God is to blame for this foolishness. But if I did, Id say the Holy Spirit is shouting, Dont do it! Id also say the Bride needed some friends like these.
I didnt bring up Tom Jones on Monday. When he was brought up, I said I didnt like him. But I do like this.
Wrapping up rerun week . . . We used to be funny here on Saturday. Okay, scratch that. We used to tell jokes here on Saturday, about various things, including a duck some Indians and a frog.
We recently watched Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. Its not a great movie, but a pretty good one. I like the ending. To be true to the spirit of Hollywood, and to the prevailing moral climate in general, it should have ended with an adulterous tryst, but it didnt. My compliments to the screenwriter. Still, as much as I liked the ending, it would have been even better had it ended like this.
These are just a couple of loose thoughts rattling around in my head this morning.1 Item One: This was brought to my attention twice in one day (Thursday, to be precise). I take that to be a sign from God that I must comment on it. First, I heard it on the radio. As I seldom listen to the radio, that must be significant. Then, I was reminded in print2. Since in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established,3 I take this as an anointing of the spirit4 to share a word of knowledge4. And, today being Saturday, this is as good a time as any to share my wisdom. Prepare for the profundity. Anyone who can sing Easy like a Sunday Morning5 has obviously never gotten eight (or even one or two) children ready for church on Sunday.6 If that requires any explanation, you should perhaps consider a life of celibacy. Item Two: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, or perhaps I should say, alleged moon landing. No, Im kidding; but God, in his loving providence, has given us some entertaining folks who are not. More proof of his providence is that this was captured on video. Im not saying what Aldrin did was right; I am saying that viewing it provided me with a moment of schadenfreude7 for which I have yet to feel convicted. Item Three: I like lists and footnotes.8 1 Yes, you may say it: along with a couple of loose screws. 2 You wont see it in this link, but the text that came through my Google reader was Easy like a Sunday Morning. 3 Matthew 18:16. Yes, I know I am ripping it violently out of context. Believe it or not, Im only following a precedent Ive encountered in using this verse. 4 You may insert one of those rolling-eyes emoticons here, if your religion allows. 5 A truly horrible song, second in horribleness only to Well Sing in the Sunshine. 6 No, ladies, I dont have to be a mom to know that. 7 A word that makes me look scholarly. 8 Footnotes add to the illusion of scholarshipliness. Lists give the appearance of orderly, structured thinking.* * Footnoting a footnote is taking it a bit too far.

Weekend Miscellanies

More love from the religion of peace. Famous musicians shouldnt grow old. Im not sure the younger (1974) is so much better than the older (2008). Stephen King once wrote of a character singing with a voice that could melt screws. I think weve found him, if you can call that singing. On the other hand, heres a famous musician who got old: hear him in 1957, 1969, about (Im guessing) 198590, and in 2009at 100 years old. I guess it all depends on what you call music. Oh, Benny. This is so ironic you wouldnt want to leave it out in the rain . . . you know, because it would rust. Conclusive proof we elected the wrong man: our President drinks light beer. And finally, possibly the worst joke I will ever tell. This is no exaggeration. It is utterly horrible, but its also so much my style that I cant resist. The worst part is that its original; it just popped into my head the other day. Its really only funny in the perverse way of bad puns and the twisted minds that love them. So you have my sincere apologies in advance. Prepare the tomatoes. David, son of Jesse, King of Israel, walks into a bar . . . Yep, clich?d lead-in and all. Sorry. . . . has drink, shares casual banter with the bartender, etc., and leaves. Spends the afternoon writing several Psalms, plays Harp Hero with one of the boys. Wanders back to the bar later that evening. The bartender says to himself, Wow, man. Dave ? Jew.
. . . this will never be me: (see previous post)
I grew up with a medium-sized list of things Christians shouldn’t do. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things Christians shouldn’t do, but this list was not exactly the Decalogue. On this list, probably somewhere in the middle below drinking alcohol and above playing cards, was going to the movie theatre. It wasn’t considered a sin per se, but it was definitely a sign of worldliness. I’ve never been able to negotiate the difference between sinful and merely worldly, but trust me, it exists. They said so, or at least, implied so. So it was through a bit of serendipity that I first stepped into a theatre at ten years of age. Some cousins from Big City, Minnesota came to visit during the summer of 1975. They were liberals (no kidding, they really were) who had no scruples about the theatre; so, stuck in Small Town, South Dakota (population 650, give or take) and bored to death, they were going to the show that weekend, whatever it was. As luck would have it, it was The Apple Dumpling Gang (still one of my favorites). It was rated G, and I think my parents weren’t quite sour enough to frown and tut-tut at the cousins. Consequently, they were in a bind when, in front of aunt, uncle, and cousins, my siblings and I declared that, yes, that would be fun! Long story short, we went; which, I believe, broke down the barrier between yours truly and an event that would have a dramatic effect on my wee little psyche in the summers to come. What, The Apple Dumpling Gang messed me up? No, this story is not about cute orphans and bumbling “desperados.” It’s about [cue ominous music] sharks. You see, 1975 was also the year Jaws was released. I’ve told this story many times, and every time I’ve said I was twelve years old. Who lets their twelve-year-old see a movie with graphic people-eating? But my fact-checking revealed the shocking fact that I was actually only ten. How I managed to finagle Jaws from my theatres-are-evil parents is still a mystery. Anyway, in those days and in that town, no ten-year-old was getting into a PG movie unaccompanied, so it fell to my sister, then seventeen, to take me. She was a better date than you might expect, jumping and gasping in all the right places, giving me mucho teasing ammo for days, if not weeks and months, to come. Her gasps grew to shrieks in my gleeful accounts of the evening. But I haven’t gotten to the good part yet. It was either that same summer or one of the following two that our family met some other cousins, these from Even Smaller Town, South Dakota, at the Oahe Reservoir near Pierre, the state capital, where we camped, swam, and fished for a week. On at least one of those days, the wind blew something fierce, as it is wont to do in the plains states. Oahe is a big lake, so a big wind produces big waves—too big for fishing, skiing, or any small boating activity. But we were there to have fun, so rather than sit around outside our tents watching our potato chips and paper plates blow away, we did the only thing we could do. We went swimming. Well, not swimming, exactly. We put on life jackets and swam out from shore as far as we could. Then we just laid in the water and let the waves take us in. Up and down we rode for hours, on waves six to eight feet high, reaching the shore and swimming back out again. There I was, laying on my back in the water, watching the waves tower over me, then riding to the top and surveying the lake around me and the approaching beach ahead. I could have just laid back and fallen asleep, it was so relaxing. Relaxing . . . relaxing . . . when suddenly, like a flash of lightning, the image of a huge shark thrust itself upon me. I nearly shot out of the water and hydroplaned to shore. Slowly, I got a grip on myself. “It’s a lake. There are no sharks. It’s a lake . . . it’s a lake . . . it’s just a lake.” My heart-rate slowed, my breathing steadied, and I was mostly alright. I laid back, shaken, nervous, and wishing for the shore, but pretty sure I wouldn’t be eaten that day. Now, you need to know that Jaws had awakened an interest in me. From the day I saw that movie, I was hooked on sharks. I read everything I could find on them. I even got the novel and read it (and was disappointed with the discrepancies between book and movie). I knew that sharks have a cartilaginous skeleton, that they have to swim constantly to avoid drowning, have multiple rows of teeth that rotate forward to replace lost teeth, and that, rather than scales, they have a network of dermal denticles that sheath their bodies in a virtual external skeleton. Shark skin has the texture of sandpaper, and has in fact been used as such. Mark that fact, Dear Reader. But I was not thinking of those things on that warm, windy day as I rode the waves to shore. I was trying to put all things fishy out of my mind, and had mostly succeeded. Riding to the top of a wave, I was relieved to see the beach within yards. Sinking to the bottom of the swell, laying face down now with my feet trailing behind, the top of my foot brushed the sandy bottom. I’ve never been a good swimmer, but I’m sure I broke somebody’s record that day. Spitz and Phelps had nothing on me. I hit the shore running, and collapsed just a few yards onto the beach. That was the end of my “swimming” for the day. My interest in sharks waned as years passed, but still, whenever I see something like this I think, “cool.” I didn’t enter the theatre again until 1979, for Hal Lindsey’s church-approved The Late Great Planet Earth. I don’t remember a thing about that one.

Missing the Point

Friday··2009·09·11 · 2 Comments
I gave my daughter Voddie Baucham’s book What He Must Be if he wants to marry my daughter. I asked her the other day how it was and what she was learning. If you don’t know who Voddie Baucham is, I need to tell you, for the purposes of this story, that he is black. You also need to know that I and my family are as white as Scandinavian-Americans with roots in Minnesota and Wisconsin should be. One section of Baucham’s book deals with interracial marriage. His view is that it is both wrong and foolish to narrow your matrimonial options based on ethnicity (I concur). As he discussed this issue, he personalized it in the context of his own pigmentally advantaged family. If a godly young man of differing shade wanted to court his daughter, and she was amenable, that would be fine with him. So, when I asked my daughter what she was learning, she replied, “I’ve learned that I don’t have to marry a black guy.”

Surprise Inside

Congratulations, Mr. President.

What I Did Yesterday

I am not a sports fan. There are certain sports that I enjoy occasionally, but when it comes right down to it, I couldnt care less. That doesnt mean I cant muster a strong opinion on particular games or teams. Those opinions are usually manifested in dislike for teams who play the games about which I couldnt care less. No, it isnt actually the teams I dislike; its the cities, states, or other entities they represent, and what they represent, that I dislike. In short, its usually something political. For example, I could never be a Redskins fan, even though the political incorrectness of their name is attractive. What the Washington machine has been doing to my beloved Constitution since long before Il Duce took power requires me to oppose all things DC. I cant tell you why I oppose the 49ers; this is a family blog, and besides, I might get being charged with a hate crime. Closer to home, the Vikings have my indirect disdain. Al Franken is why. Well, not Al Franken per se, but the road they have long been traveling that has led to Al Franken. Being married to a native cheesehead, Minnesota-hate has been quite convenientuntil Brett Favre went to the Vikings, that is. My wife has been in quite a dither over the whole situation. Favre was the hero of Green Bay for so long that it has been difficult to separate Packer-fanhood from Favre-fanhood. She has even been heard to suggest, with the agony of a woman in labor, that she might have to root for the Vikings if they make the Superbowl. I, supportive husband that I am, have suggested what a beautiful irony it would be if the Vikings first Superbowl win was led by Favre, in his first year as a Viking, after defeating Green Bay in the playoffs. Not everyone, it might interest you to know, appreciates irony. So there we were, yesterday afternoon, in front of the tube waiting for the Packer-Viking tip-off, or first pitch, or whatever it is they do on a football court. Well, one of us was waiting. I was daydreaming about something profound (Im sure, though I dont remember) when I was rudely yanked from my reverie by a sound reminiscent of my only professional hockey match (at the beginning of the first inning, the North Stars fan behind me was instructing his young son in court-side etiquette as the Detroit Redwings took the field). The Packer fans were booing Brett Favre! Now some of this post might be taken frivolously, but please take me very seriously when I say I was disgusted. Such shameful behavior! Disgraceful! Anyway, there was only one thing I could do: I launched into a rant against unsportsmanlike behavior, in which I repeated the adjectives above repeatedly (incessantly, some might say, but shes exaggerating) and decreed that the support of the entire household was to be thrown solidly behind Favre and the Vikings. Shocking, I know, but such was the heat of my fury. So there I was, all afternoon, cheering loudly for a bunch of guys in purple from the Al Franken state performing some of the most meaningless (or is that least meaningful?) antics imaginable. Alas, how low I had descended! Not really. I went back to my profound ponderings without another thought. I needed a nap.

Heeere’s Johnny!

Saturday··2009·12·19 · 1 Comments
How about some plain old frivolity on a Saturday? Alright, then; here you go: Johnny Carson with Jack Webb (1968)
Well, like I said on Monday, it’ll be mostly filler for the remainder of the year. Today, I just have a couple of Christmas gift suggestions (in case you haven’t gotten mine yet). The Snuggie (not that hilarious—ha ha!—thing you used do to each other back in junior high) Wii Fit

Papist Poetry (pretty poor)

Monday··2010·03·01 · 21 Comments
One sure warning that you are about to hear a really bad song is when the singer announces, “This is a song the Lord gave me.” At that point, you should plug your ears, and probably hold your nose, as well. A couple weeks ago, Calvin’s comments on John 2:4 provoked a discussion in which I learned something I hadn’t known about Roman Catholic Mariology: apparently, Mary is the “New Eve.” Of course we know that Christ is the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), but I had never heard any mention of another Eve. Turns out it’s because there isn’t any. What should have immediately occurred to me, but didn’t, is that there couldn’t be a second Eve because Christ already has a bride (Ephesians 5:22–27), chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Well, the gentleman who was schooling me on this mysteriously dropped out of the conversation, so I never really got a satisfactory explanation. While I was waiting to see if he would return, my mind began wandering through the maze of papist Mariology, and I began to wax poetic. Those who remember my previous poetic works, including a contribution to contemporary worship music and a collection of cheese couplets, may want to go elsewhere at this point. Anyway, considering all that the Bible says about Mary, and adding to that all that Rome has said . . . “This is a song the Lord gave me.” Not Quite the Magnificat (tune and inspiration) A couple thousand years ago, I was a Jewish lass A strange thing happened to me (pardon me if this sounds crass) I was impregnated by the Spirit of the Lord And had a holy baby who was very much adored This baby was the son of God and made me very proud He was so good that some folks claim he never cried out loud And then some guys in funny hats invented theories odd Among them being that I am the very mother of God So now I am God’s mother and the mother of his son But I’ll reveal a stranger fact before my song is done My baby was the second Adam, I, the second Eve Which made me my son’s wife, a thing I hardly can believe Now if I am God’s mother, Jesus then is my grandson I know that is a weird thought, but it’s not the weirdest one I’ve come to a conclusion that is sticking in my craw If I am Jesus’ wife, then I’m my granddaughter-in-law So . . . I’m my own grandma, I’m my own grandma It sounds funny, I know, but Rome says it is so Oh, I’m my own grandma!

Bork Bork Bork!

Considering the seriousness of yesterdays post, I suppose its a poor reflection on my maturity that it left me thinking of this.

Freedom Friday: Zombie Edition

Our Fridays are dedicated to the promotion of liberty. It has been a sad week in American politics. Liberty has taken a beating unlike any Ive seen in my lifetime. The Constitution has been wadded up and tossed in the trash, and it remains to be seen if it can be salvaged. Its almost enough to make me lose my sense of humor. Almost, but not quite . . . Zombies

Bigamy and Holiness

. . . and I win the prize for Most Deceptive Title on a Blog Post. Have you ever wondered, Dear Readers, Where does this guy come up with some his weird ideas? Well, heres your answer: a brain that runs open-source software and short-circuits every now and then. Heres a small window into the mind that is mine. When this article came through my RSS reader, the headline read More women earning more than hubby. Scanning quickly as usual, I read Women earning more than one hubby. I thought, earning? Like, say, earning a trip to the woodshed? Naturally, I was then reminded of the Addams Family episode in which Morticia (one of the hottest babes ever to grace the small screen, if you ask me) asks, Gomez, do you know what the penalty is for bigamy? to which Gomez replies, Of coursetwo wives. Speaking of two wives (not really, but I have to segue somehow), it is time for another The Holiness of God giveaway. The rules remain the same. To win a copy of The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul, just send me an email that includes Free RC! Your name How you follow this blog, i.e. RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Kindle, link from your blog, bookmark, etc. The Holiness of God Giveaway 9 in the subject line Entries will be accepted through next Friday (May 28), and the winner will be notified by email. Another giveaway will be announced next Saturday. There are still a few copies remaining, so if you havent won, keep trying.

My Song-Writing Debut

Wednesday··2010·09·01 · 5 Comments
Originally posted April 4, 2006. As previously announced, I’m amputating the earliest half-or-so of the blog and republishing any part of it that seems worth saving. I doubt if this post actually qualifies as “worth saving,” but you know how poets are—imposing all manner of atrocious verse on whomever will listen. This isn’t actually the first song I’ve written, or even the first of this kind. It’s just the first I’ve inflicted on the public. It doesn’t have a title. I’m sure you can think of something to call it. Sing to the tune of Hooked on a Feeling. Pretend you’re David Hasselhoff. Words that are so simple Don’t require no thought Stir up my emotions With pathos fraught       Yeah, I sing them       Over many times       All I ask is       That the verses rhyme    I-I, I’m hooked on a feeling    I’m high on believing    That this is worshipping The second verse is kind of Like the other one Mindless repetition Can be pretty fun I just love this feeling Flooding over me Yeah, it’s warm and fuzzy It’s kind of dreamy       When I stand here       Hands up in the air       With my eyes closed       I ain’t got a care    I-I, I’m hooked on a feeling    I’m high on believing    That this is worshipping       When I stand here       Hands up in the air       With my eyes closed       I ain’t got a care    I-I, I’m hooked on a feeling    I’m high on believing    That this is worshipping    I-I, I’m hooked on a feeling    I’m high on believing    That this is worshipping    I’m hooked on a feeling    I’m hooked on a feeling    I’m hooked on a feeling* * Repeat until you just can’t stand it anymore.

Feel the Love

Monday··2010·09·13 · 6 Comments
Consider this a day off from your arduous studies at the Thirsty Theologian. Overheard: Third Son: My password is poop. Third Daughter: Youre an idiot. TS: Well, whos going to think of poop? TD: I would, if I was thinking of you. TS: Yeah, well, youre my sister.

Sad, sad, that bitter wail . . .

Another repost; this time, its just because Im lazy. Things Ive Learned after It Was Too Late Never touch a sensitive part of your body when youve been cutting jalapeños.Dont smoke a pipe under a ceiling fan. The fire will get hot enough to roast marshmallows. The marshmallows will taste bad. OK, I never did that. The marshmallow part, I mean.Dont forget to put a sling on your rifle and then shoot a deer half a mile from your pickup when there is no way to drive in. Carrying a rifle in one hand and dragging a deer with the other is a lot of work. Be careful what you say in front of your children.Swallowing a live grasshopper is stupid, even if your friends offer you two dollars to do it. If youre given a month to do an assignment, and you think you can wait until the last week to do it, the assignment will take at least two weeks. If your wife asks you if you liked the new recipe, the answer is Yes. When you go camping, dont let your five-year-old son drink all the pop he wants all day long, and then tuck him into his sleeping bag without first visiting the bathroom. Simply naming a tobacco Presbyterian Mix does not make it doctrinally sound. Men and women are more different then they appear. God may not help everyone who helps themselves, but if you dont help yourself, your kids will eat all the cookies before you get any. That cake your wife baked that you snitched a piece from? That was for church. Your sins really will find you out.Shipping from Australia is really expensive. All the really good old books are owned by an antiquarian bookseller in Australia.When your wife is nine months pregnant, dont suggest naming the child Jonah.* Im not as funny as I think I am. See above.* Just between you and me, that one still cracks me up.
As a follow-up to my sports post earlier this week, here are some favorite scenes from my favorite sports movie. Update: So this guy can post the entire movie (dont read the comments), but I try to post three short clips and theyre censored. Well, sorry about that.
I went to the dentist yesterday. It wasn’t at all interesting or funny. The technologies described in this routine—the rinse cup and “miniature toilet bowl” (sink)—may be unfamiliar to many of you, but to those of us who actually visited a dentist in the ’80s (the “olden days” to you children under 30), they are all too familiar.

Comedy Is Not Funny

A comedy can be funny, but humor is not a necessary attribute of comedy. By classical definitions, a comedy is a story that ends happily for the protagonist. A tragedy ends unhappily. A humorous story, what we commonly call “comedy,” is correctly known as farce. Well, all that is interesting to about three of you, and two of those three already knew it. I only present it as a preface to the following anecdote, which is the sort of thing we laugh about at our house. Our Son #2 works at the grocery store. He likes to read while on his breaks. Recently, he left his book, Dante’s The Divine Comedy, lying on a table in the break room. Returning to retrieve it, he found a coworker paging through it. Remarked the fellow, “This isn’t very funny.”

No Buts about It

When a small child begins asking questions, you never know where they’ll take you. For example, just last evening: “Dad, what’s an arsonist?” “Someone who sets things on fire.” “What’s an arsenal?” “An arsenal is a stockpile of weapons.” “What’s an arse?”*† * If Alistair Begg can say it, I reckon I can write it here. † Note to UK readers: it’s only a dumb question where you’re from.

Surviving Thanksgiving

Yes, I know the site is still hiccupping. Im pursuing one possible solution while avoiding another. In the mean time, those of you who have not subscribed to the RSS feed through a reader such as Google Reader might want to consider doing so. Youll have no trouble there. So you survived Thanksgiving. Me too. We cut back to only five kinds of pie this year, which may explain why I’m feeling so chipper (only napped for about two hours) and looking so svelte. But we’re not out of the woods yet, as the following sonnet by an anonymous bard will illustrate. When I was a young turkey, just new to the coop, My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop. Then he sat me down, and he spoke really slow*, And said there was something I needed to know; His look and his tone I will always remember, When he told of the horrors of Black November. Come about August, now listen to me, Each day youll get six meals instead of just three. And soon youll be thick, where once you were thin, and youll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin. And then one morning, when youre warm in your bed, The farmers wife will burst in and hack off your head. Then shell pluck out your feathers so youre all bald and pink, And scoop out all your insides, leave you lying in the sink; And then comes the worst part, he said, not bluffing, Shell spread your cheeks and pack your backside with stuffing. Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat, I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat, And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked, Id have to lay low and remain overlooked. I began a new diet of nuts and granola, High-roughage salads, juice, and diet cola; And as they ate pastries, chocolates, and crepes, I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes. I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half, And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed. But twas I who was laughing, deep under my breath, As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death; And sure enough, when Black November rolled around, I was the last turkey left in the entire compound. So now Im a pet in the farmers wifes lap. I havent a worry, so I eat and I nap. She held me today, while sewing and humming, And smiled at me and said, Now, Christmas is coming . . . * My apologies for the misplaced adjective (or truncated adverb, if you prefer). Slowly does not rhyme with know.
In a melancholy mood today, I am. In an attempt to lighten the load, brighten the day, and so on and so forth, Ive written a light-hearted poem. I hope it cheers you as it did me. Trudging Inexorably toward Death (in postmodern metre) The year is passing Many things still left undone Like the year before January came yesterday Now it is December Where the in between-time went No one can remember Twenty-ten Is gone, my frien December was cold and got colder The snow just got bolder and bolder Day after day It fell just to say Im not so much fun, now youre older Time passes like seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years Are we there yet? No. go back to sleep.

Three Irishmen walked into a bar . . .

Thursday··2011·03·17 · 1 Comments
You’d think one of them would have seen it. In honor of St. Patrick: What’s Irish and comes out in the spring? Paddy O’Furniture.

Frivolous Friday: No Future

I have had some dead-end jobs, but none like this: Then, after that, I spent a couple of months as Princess Annes assistant. Um . . . well, I chucked that in because, you know, it was perfectly obvious they were never going to make me Princess Anne no matter how well I did the job, and it was a question of . . . of who you were, rather than how well you did the job, and I hate that; I just cant bear it . . . Hugh Laurie, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Season 3, Episode 2

Next Fathers Day

Monday··2011·06·20 · 4 Comments
This post is totally frivolous. The hyper-spiritual (<scowl> Thats not edifying!) might want to click away. Well, you did it again. You bought your dad some lame gift that hell never use, but wont be able to throw away because it came from you, his precious, clueless child. Way to go. But theres always next year, and to help you redeem yourself, Ive found the perfect Fathers Day gift. With a full years notice, youll have no excuse.

Home Skool Journal

Friday··2011·10·14 · 3 Comments
One of the advantages of homeschooling is the ability to answer our childrens questions correctly. Just this morning, my son asked why cereal killers are so called. I was glad to be able to provide him with an accurate answer. I shudder to think of the misinformation he might have received from the public school.

Just be thankful it’s not Feliz Navidad

Is it too early to start playing Christmas music? I played a little yesterday. I just wanted to be the first to post that this year. If you’ve looked for an original Looney Tunes animation of this song—and who hasn’t?—you know it can’t be found. That’s because it was never a Looney tunes bit. That’s right, it’s a fraud. According to one source, it was “recorded by North Carolina disc jockey Denny Brownlee. When he was threatened by Warner Brothers with a lawsuit, the song was re-released and attributed to ‘Seymour Swine and the Squealers.’” I figured as much. Everyone knows that stutterers don’t stutter when they sing.

On the Third Day of Christmas

Tuesday··2011·12·27 · 1 Comments
Today I finally learned what the Twelve Days of Christmas are. In case you care, they begin with Christmas Day, and end with Epiphany on January 5th. And, as you know, they have their own song.

German Chocolate

Tuesday··2012·03·13 · 3 Comments
Overheard: Granddaughter (age 3): Do you have any chocolate? Daughter (overzealous German student): Do you know how to say chocolate in German? G: Yes. D: How do you say chocolate in German? G: Chocolate in German. D: No! How do you say chocolate, in German? G: Chocolate in German. D: No! Not chocolate in German, just chocolate, . . . . . . in German! Can you say that? G: Chocolate in German. D: No, no no. Its Schokolade. G: Oh. D: Now you say it. G: Schokolade in German. . . . . . .

Things That Amuse Me at Christmas

Because you want it . . .

Regarding Ratzinger’s Recent Resignation

Dear brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the holy church to the care of our supreme pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the cardinal fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new supreme pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the holy church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. —Pope Benedict XVI In honor of the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, and in recognition of his invocation of Mary as “Mediatrix of all graces,” and because I’ve got nothing else today, here’s an oldie from the archives: Not Quite the Magnificat

Yes, I know, it’s not original

Friday··2013·08·30 · 2 Comments
Okay, everyone, lower your expectations. I’ve got next to nothing today. As you might know, I’m reading The Glory of Heaven. I just want to give kudos to John MacArthur for writing an entire appendix on The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven by Kevin Malarkey without making a single joke about the author’s name and the appropriateness thereof. I could not have done it. Perhaps, when I have achieved MacArthur’s years of maturity, I’ll possess that level of restraint, but I doubt it. My wife doubts it more. As long as we’re indulging in childish humor:
For all you slackers avoiding work today:

If You Think Your Job Stinks

Fellow North Dakotan Julie Neidlinger has something to tell you about cleaning toilets. It’s something you need to know, especially if you are one of [ahem] my teenage children. And it reminded me of a story . . . January, nineteen hundred and ninety-something. There I was, piling wood in the stove at six a.m. in my underwear. By underwear, I mean two pairs of socks, long johns and heavy-weight sweat pants, t-shirt and two sweatshirts (one hooded). While the family snoozed peacefully in their warm beds, I stepped into jeans and a quilted flannel shirt. Over that, I put on a Carhartt quilted vest and insulated coveralls with a snap-on hood. As I laced up my Sorels, my partner pulled up and blew the horn. I pulled on my Carhartt Thinsulated cap (earflaps down), slipped into Thinsulated gloves, grabbed my lunchbox, headed out the door looking like a portly duck hunter. It was cold. I don’t remember how cold, but it was one of those days when the snow squeaks under your feet, and walking to the mailbox feels like a Jack London adventure. I remember reminding myself that “at least I’m not in Grand Forks.” So we headed down the road in our work van, drinking gas station coffee from insulated mugs, simultaneously glad we had work and wishing we were laid off, and generally dreading the day. The owners of the largest house we would ever build were anxious to get the siding on the dormers finished, and for the last week it had been too windy, even for hardy North Dakotans, to stand up on that roof. Finally, the wind had abated enough that, with an adequate load of nails in our toolbelts, we could hope to remain planted, and the boss said no more putting it off. So we went. We climbed up on that roof, and did the slow work of trimming and siding small structures that are all angles, taking our gloves off to handle the short nails, pulling them back on to avoid frostbite, and generally feeling miserable. Oh, yes, and complaining. Lots of complaining. Could there be a more odious job? No; never. Then it happened: a truck with a tank and a pump in the back pulled onto the lot and backed up to the porta-john behind the house. The driver, in garb similar to ours but not so clean, climbed out. He trudged to the rear of the truck, uncoiled a hose, and opened the fiberglass door (here I had a vision of a hillbilly fireman saving the outhouse). We watched. We listened. We heard the lid slap the back wall as Hillbilly Fireman flung it open. Then we heard an exclamation that was both vulgar and ironically appropriate. The hose was recoiled, and Hillbilly Fireman went back to the cab and, from behind the seat, retrieved—No way, he’s not going to . . . oh, yes, he is—a hatchet. Grabbing a handy concrete block, he propped the door open, squared his shoulders, and went to work. Whack . . . whack . . . whack [more ironically appropriate commentary] whack-whack-whack-whack . . . We heard some shuffling around, and what we saw next is indelibly imprinted on my memory. Flying through that porta-john door and landing with a loud BANG! in the box of that unfortunate truck was the darkest chunk of ice I had ever seen. My workmate and I stood speechless for a moment, and then in unison, murmured . . . well, you can guess. The scene was repeated several times until Hillbilly Fireman emerged, tossed the hatchet—and his gloves—in the bed of the truck, climbed into the cab, and drove away. I vowed that day never to complain about my job again.
I was going to title this Brevity Is the Soul of Vit, but that would have been too long. In yesterday’s post, I made reference to the reticence of Scandinavians. I now present this post as evidence. I have no knowledge of the verbal propensities of the Welsh, but if the name of this village is any indication, it’s no wonder Lloyd-Jones could fill fourteen volumes with his exposition of Romans. Had Lloyd-Jones been Norwegian, I suspect fourteen chapters would have been more than enough—or perhaps, going by this village name, fourteen paragraphs. Final observation: I’d love to hear both of these villages fit into I’ve Been Everywhere.

Winter Holidays, 2014–15: Filler #2

Shifting the mood a little from yesterday: I Was Santa Claus at the Schoolhouse

Winter Holidays, 2014–15: Filler #5

Now, for something completely different:

Winter Holidays, 2014–15: Filler #6

More Stan and Doug: “The kids think Santa Claus is dead.”

Modern Tongues-speaking (as I see it)

Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. —1 Corinthians 14:13 This morning we’re on the road to a wedding. We’ve got 500 miles ahead of us today, so there’s no time for frivolity. Therefore, here’s a very serious example of tongues-speaking and interpretation as practiced in modern Pentecostal/charismatic churches, courtesy of Disney. Hana mana ganda, Hana mana ganda; We translate for you: Hana means what mana means, And ganda means that too. Context, for the cartoon-deprived Disclaimer: I have some doubts about the veracity of the historical claims* presented in the video above. * The “million years” part. The rest, I’m sure, is reasonably accurate.

Exercising My Spiritual Gifts

This morning, I was inspired by the metrical Psalms of my friend David Regier, and I’ve been waxing poetic this afternoon. This is the result. If you like it, thanks. If not, it’s Mr Regier’s fault. For your edification: My arrival at church was belated; I came with my stomach unsated. Like a ravenous creature, It drowned out the preacher, And so I was excommunicated. A teacher of systematic theology, Whose avocation was zoology, Catechized an equine, Which got into the wine, And now he owes an apology. The organist came to church late, While the ushers were passing the plate. To shorten the story, There was no offertory; In shame, he became an oblate. Preparing for Sunday’s potluck, Mrs Jones baked a luscious roast duck. It made enough gravy To feed a whole navy (The remainders filled Mr Jones’ truck). The youth pastor said to his wife, “This job is creating such strife. “The time’s drawing near, “I really do fear, “I’ll be running top speed for my life.” Semper Deformanda.

Frivolous Friday: Take It

This is a serious blog, so I feel obligated to temper the following frivolity with a serious note. So here you go; this is serious: From comedians who preach their opinions to athletes who kneel during the national anthem, I really dislike (to put it mildly) entertainers who use their platforms to make political statements. As others before me have said, “Shut up and sing!” On the other hand, as long as they don’t get too obnoxious about it, and are truly entertaining, I can still enjoy their work. Such is the case with the Smothers Brothers. I was just a wee lad during their heyday, so wasn’t a witness to the Vietnam-era political satire that irritated my parents and got them fired from CBS in 1969, but I’ve always got a kick out of their act whenever I’ve seen them, and I pity those who can’t. Here endeth the serious portion of this post. Ladies, Gentlemen, and Postmodern Undecideds, I give you [drum roll] the Smothers Brothers.

A Malicious Musician or The Pianist’s Plot

No time for blogging, I’ll be out of town on Very Important Business today, so here’s a little filler material. I count three languages, so, for those keeping score at home, it’s very diverse and multicultural. On the other hand, being a middle-class middle-aged white heterosexual male, I’m probably guilty of cultural appropriation. You be the judge (might as well—everyone else is).

A Conversational Canine

Long ago, in a far away land,* this blog was born on I soon began posting jokes on Saturday, and continued the practice until, to the relief of many, I ran out of material. Eventually, it occurred to me that Saturday space was more appropriately spent preparing minds for Sunday worship. Hence, I began posting hymns, a decision that has been richly rewarding for me and, as occasional emails attest, for a number of readers. However, being who I am, I miss the levity of those days and have decided to resurrect it—on Friday, this time—beginning by reposting the old ones from the old blog. You may like it, or you may not; you may laugh, and you most certainly will groan (if my hopes are met). So, without further ado, . . . One Day, at the Stable A group of race horses was loafing around the stable one day when one of them began bragging about his racing record. “Out of the last fifteen races, I’ve won ten,” he boasted. “That’s pretty good,” said another, “but I’ve won nine out of the last twelve.” “That’s nothing,” scoffed a third. “I’ve won nine out of the last ten races.” As this was going on, a greyhound walked in. After listening to the horses boast, he growled, “You guys think you’re hot, but I’ve got you all beat. I’ve been undefeated this entire season.” The horses were silent for a moment, looking at each other in amazement. Finally one of them spoke. “Incredible . . .” he said, in awe. “I can’t believe it!” exclaimed another. “Unbelievable!” said the third, in hushed tone. “A talking dog!” * It was actually right here.

Another Dog Tale

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie A man was leaving the local café one morning when he noticed an ad on the bulletin board by the door that read: Dog for Sale Large mixed breed Good watchdog Loves children He had been thinking about getting a dog for his kids, so he decided to check it out. He drove to the address on the ad, went to the door, and knocked. “I’m here about the dog,” he said when the owner answered the door. “Sure, he’s out back. Follow me.” He led the man to the back yard, where the dog was lying in the sun. Just as they were stepping through the back door, the phone rang. “Excuse me,” said the owner, leaving the man in the yard with the dog. The dog hopped up and trotted toward him, wagging his tail. The man hunkered down and scratched his ears. “You’re a nice dog, aren’t you?” he said. “Kind of old, though. I was looking for a younger dog.” “Yeah, and I was hoping for a smarter owner, too,” said the dog. Astonished, the man stepped back. “You can talk?” he stammered. “Yep,” the dog replied. “How’d you learn that?” The dog settled back on his haunches, thought for a moment, and began, “Well, I discovered this gift pretty young. I suppose I learned it like anyone else, just from hearing it. Anyway, it’s led to some pretty great opportunities and interesting experiences. “I knew pretty early that I was unique, and figured I could cash in on it. I had some pretty high expectations, so I applied for work several places, including the military and NASA. Unfortunately, in spite of my unique talent, they turned me down. I suspect it was because of my mixed-breed heritage, but I can’t prove that. It was all for the best, though, because eventually I got connected with the CIA. In no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. “I was one of their most valuable assets for years. But, the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So, I left the agency and took a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.” The man was amazed. As the dog was finishing his story, his owner returned. “How much for the dog?” the man asked, willing to pay almost any price. The owner replied, “Fifty bucks.” “But this dog is incredible! Why would you sell him so cheap? Why are you selling him at all?” Shaking his head, the owner replied, “He’s such a liar. He never did any of that stuff.”

Holidays Are for the Birds (or vice-versa)

Surviving Thanksgiving* When I was a young turkey, just new to the coop, My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop. Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow, And he told me there’s something I needed to know; His look and his tone I will always remember, When he told me of the horrors of Black November. “Come about August, now listen to me, Each day you’ll get six meals instead of just three. And soon you’ll be thick, where once you were thin, and you’ll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin. And then one morning, when you’re warm in your bed, In’ll burst the farmer’s wife, and hack off your head. Then she’ll pluck out your feathers so you’re bald and pink, And scoop out all your insides, leave you in the sink; And then comes the worst part,” he said, not bluffing, “She’ll spread you wide open and pack you with stuffing.” Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat, I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat, And decided right then, to avoid being cooked, I’d have to lay low and remain overlooked. I began a new diet of nuts and granola, High-roughage salads, juice, and diet cola; And as they ate pastries, chocolates, and crepes, I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes. I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half, And tried not to notice when bigger birds laughed. But ’twas I who was laughing, deep under my breath, As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death; And sure enough, when Black November rolled ’round, I was the last turkey in the entire compound. So now I’m a pet in the farmer’s wife’s lap. I haven’t a worry, so I eat and I nap. She held me today, while sewing and humming, And smiling, she said, ”Now, Christmas is coming . . .” * Very few of these stories are original (Ecclesiastes 1:9), but most are revised and rewritten my own way. This one is almost entirely verbatim as I found it, with only a few minor revisions to improve the meter. I wish I could give credit to the original author, but I never knew who that was.

Another Bird Story

Air Fare As migration approached, two elderly vultures* doubted they could make the trip south, so they decided to go by airplane. When they checked their baggage, the attendant noticed that they were carrying two dead raccoons. “Do you wish to check those also?” she asked. “No, thanks,” replied the vultures. “They’re carrion.” * Yes, I know vultures are not migratory birds, but the story wouldn’t work with robins, would it?

A Stay of Execution

In medieval times there was a court jester whose wont was to devise the most atrocious puns. This continued for months on end, whereupon the king lost his patience and sentenced the jester to be hanged. The poor wretch was standing on the gallows with a rope around his neck when a messenger came riding posthaste from the castle, exclaiming, “Wait! The king has decided to spare the jester”s life, provided that he never again tell another pun in public.” As you can imagine, the jester was overjoyed. Grinning from ear to ear, he said, “No noose is good news!”

Things Workers Comp Doesn’t Cover

Arrr! A pirate disembarked from his ship after a long while at sea and made his way to the nearest seaside tavern for some refreshment. Upon entering, the tavern keeper, an old acquaintance, greeted him loudly. “Hey, long time, no see! What happened to you? You look awful!” “What do you mean?” replied the pirate, “I feel fine.” “Are you kidding? What about the wooden leg? You didn’t have that before.” “Oh, that. Well, we were under attack, and a cannon ball took my leg off at the knee, but I’ve adjusted to it. I’m fine now.” “Well, Okay, but what about that hook? What happened to your hand?” “That was another nasty battle. We had boarded a ship, and I was going one-on-one with the captain, and he took my hand off. I nearly bled to death, but I got fitted with this hook, and I’m alright now.” “What about that eye patch? Did you lose an eye in a fight, too?” “No, that was an accident. One day we were at sea and a flock of birds flew over. I looked up, and one of them crapped in my eye.” “Oh, come on,” said the tavern keeper, “that wouldn’t take your eye out.” Sheepishly, the pirate replied, “It was my first day with the hook.”

Happy Hollandaise

Putting in his dentures one morning, a man noticed an alarming amount of wear on his teeth, so he made an appointment with his dentist to have them examined. “That’s really quite disturbing,” said the dentist. “That upper plate is only six months old, and it won’t last another three. I’ve never seen erosion like that. What have you been eating?” The man replied, “All I can think of is that about four months ago, my wife made some asparagus and put some sauce on it that was really delicious—Hollandaise, I believe. I loved it so much I now put it on everything—meat, toast, fish, vegetables, everything.” “Well,” said the dentist, “that’s probably the problem. Hollandaise sauce is made with a lot of lemon juice, which is highly corrosive. It’s eaten away your upper plate. I’ll make you a new plate, and this time use chrome.” “Why chrome?” asked the patient. The dentist replied, “It’s simple: There’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise.”
A man returned from a trip overseas feeling very ill and suffering from a horrible rash. He went to see his doctor and was immediately rushed to the hospital to undergo a series of tests. He was admitted to the hospital, gave a urine sample, and had blood drawn. Several hours later, not only had he heard nothing, but no one had even come to check on him. He was about to step out to the nurses station to inquire about his status, when the phone rang. “This is your doctor,” said the voice on the phone. “We have the results back from your test and, I’m sorry, you have an extremely contagious deadly disease called ‘LIPS.’” “LIPS?” replied the man. “What in the world is that?” “It’s a combination of Leprosy, Impetigo, Psoriasis, and Smallpox,” explained the doctor. “It’s very rare, and very contagious.” Panicking, the man asked, “What are we going to do?” “Well, we’re going to put you on a strict diet of pizza, pancakes, quesadillas and pita bread,” replied the doctor matter-of-factly. “Will that cure me?” “Well, no,” said the doctor, “but it’s the only food that will fit under the door.”

A Priest Goes to a Ball Game

Father O’Flaherty tried to enjoy himself at a baseball game, but the man sitting next to him kept pestering him with a lot of nosy questions. The priest bought a hot dog, and the vendor handed it first to the talkative man who passed it along to Father O’Flaherty. And so the hot dog went from the prying fan into the friar.
Joe thought robbing the Skate and Surf Shop, while not making a huge haul, would at least be fairly easy and low-risk. However, as he approached the store in the dark of night, he saw a sight that made his blood run cold. It was a young man, twenty-something, long blonde hair swept back, wearing baggy shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and shades, riding on the back of the most enormous German Shepherd Joe had ever seen. Only then did he notice the warning he should have seen earlier in the week when he was casing the joint—a small blue-and-white sign in the store window which read, “guard dude on doggy.”

At least it’s not another dog story

Several working men and a duck came into a bar and ordered beer. The bartender immediately noticed the duck, and remarked, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help noticing . . . you’re a duck!” “Your mama didn’t raise any dummies,” replied the duck. “Yeah, but . . . you can talk!” exclaimed the bartender. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I can sing, too, if I’m in a good mood. Now can I get that beer please?” Incredulous, the bartender served the duck his pint and asked him what he was doing in the area. “Oh,” said the duck, “I work in construction, I’m a mason—a bricklayer. My company’s working that new development up north of here, staying at the hotel next door. We’ll be here for a couple of weeks, so we’ll be in most days after work for a little refreshment.” True to his word, each day the duck waddled in with the crew and took a stool at the bar. The next week, a circus came to town. The circus owner came in for a cold one. Serving him his beer, the bartender struck up a conversation. “So, you’re with the circus, eh? Have I got a tip for you.” he said. “Oh, really. What’s that?” “Just wait. He’ll be in in about twenty minutes.” Sure enough, twenty minutes later, the duck waddled in with his gang. “That’s what I’m talking about,” said the bartender, “Watch the duck.” The duck, as always, took his stool, ordered, and lifted his mug. The circus owner was amazed. He quickly went and sat by the duck. “Excuse me,” he said, somewhat unsure, “you’re a duck, aren’t you?” “Not this again . . .” muttered the duck. “What do you want?” I run the circus,” he explained. “I could use a guy . . . that is, a duck . . . like you.” “Really?” said the duck. “Yeah, I could pay you really good, too. You’re one of a kind.” “No kidding.” “Yeah! You’re priceless! What else can you do, I mean, besides talk and drink beer?” “Well,” he began, “I’m a . . . wait, did you say circus? “Yes! The circus! You’ll be great!” the owner exclaimed. “In a tent, with a big pole in the middle?” “Yeah!” said the circus owner, getting excited. “That’s canvas, isn’t it?” said the duck. “Of course,” he replied, “You can start right away!” The duck, looking more confused than before, asked, “What do you want with a bricklayer?”

This one should probably be throne out.

The king of a primitive tribe was so well loved by his people that they hired one of their artisans to carve an ornate throne to celebrate the anniversary of his coronation. When they presented it to him, he was so delighted that he had the throne hauled into his grass hut immediately. There, he faced a dilemma: what to do with the old throne. For lack of a better idea, he had it hauled up into his attic. That very night, while he was sleeping, the sticks and grass of the attic floor gave way under the weight of the old throne, which fell on the king and killed him. People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.

Weather Beaten

At -33° Fahrenheit this morning, I think this is appropriate. A weatherman on a local television station was having a bad year. Although he was a qualified meteorologist, week after week his predictions failed until he became a laughingstock. Finally, the station fired him. After some time off, he decided to look for work in a part of the country where his past would not be known, and try to get a fresh start. Filling out a job application at another station, he came to a line that said, “Reason for leaving previous position.” He wrote, “The climate didn’t agree with me.”
A man was driving on Highway 2 through North Dakota late one evening. The road was deserted and he had not seen a soul for what seemed like hours. Suddenly his car started to cough and splutter and the engine slowly died, leaving him sitting by the road in total silence. He popped the hood and looked to see if there was anything that he could do to get it going again. Unfortunately, he had a limited knowledge of cars, so all he could do was look at the engine and feel helpless. As he peered by the gradually fading light of his flashlight, he cursed that he had not put in new batteries, like he had intended. Suddenly, through the inky shadows, came a deep voice, “It’s your fuel pump.” The man jumped up quickly, striking his head on the underside of the hood. “Who said that?” he demanded. There were two horses standing in the field alongside and the man was amazed when the nearest horse repeated, “It’s your fuel pump. Tap it with your flashlight, and try it again. If it starts, it should at least get you to the next town, where you can get it replaced.” Confused, the man tapped the fuel pump with his flashlight and got into his car. He turned the key, and sure enough, the engine roared into life. He went to close the hood, and turned to thank the horse; but they were gone. Thinking he must be delusional, he got in his car and drove away. When he reached the next town, he pulled into the first service station. “My fuel pump is going out,” he told the attendant. “Can I get it replaced here?” “Mechanic won’t be in ’til morning,” the attendant replied. “You can get a room at the Motel Six down the street. They left the light on for you. Say, how do you know it’s the fuel pump?” “Well, I . . . never mind, I just know. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Well, now you got me curious,” said the attendant. “You must know a lot about cars.” “No, not really,” said the man. “Well, alright . . . about five miles out of town, my engine quit . . .” and he told the whole story. “. . . and then, when I turned to thank him, he was gone! I must have imagined the whole thing—it was late, and I was awfully tired—but my car started, and here I am.” The service station attendant rubbed his chin and looked thoughtful. “A horse, you say, ’bout five miles out? Was it by any chance a white horse?” The man replied affirmatively. “Yes, it was! Am I crazy?” “No, you ain’t crazy. In fact, you’re lucky he was there, because the black horse don’t know nothin’ ’bout cars”.

But . . . there are no hippopotami in North America.

An Indian chief had three wives, each of whom was pregnant. The first gave birth to a boy. The chief was so elated he built her a teepee made of deer hide. A few days later, the second gave birth, also to a boy. The chief was very happy. He built her a teepee made of antelope hide. The third wife gave birth a few days later, but the chief kept the details a secret. He built this one a teepee made out of a hippopotamus hide. The chief then challenged the tribe to guess what had occurred. Many tried, unsuccessfully. Finally, one young brave declared that the third wife had given birth to twin boys. “Correct,” said the chief. “How did you figure it out” The warrior answered, “It’s elementary. The squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the two hides.”

Truth in Lenting

An Irishman came into a bar one day and ordered three beers. He slowly drank them one after another, and went home. The next day, and the next, he did the same, until he was a recognized fixture at the bar. After a few weeks of this, somebody finally had the nerve to ask why he ordered three beers at a time, since the last one must have been quite flat when he got around to it. “It’s for my two brothers who left for America,” he explained. “We agreed to always drink a beer for each other as long as we were alive.” Then the night came when he ordered only two beers, and the entire bar fell silent. When he was finished, as he was about to leave, the bartender finally expressed his sympathy for the dead brother. “What? Dead brother? No, no, my two brothers are alive and well, I assure you. It’s just that I’ve given up beer for Lent.”

For St. Patrick’s Day, 2019

There was no question about it, Paddy Fitzpatrick was lucky. Everyone knew it. Since that serendipitous day so long ago, when wandering aimlessly in the country, despondent, mourning the loss of his one true love, he had been exceedingly lucky. It began, as these things so often do, with an accident, an unfortunate event without which a fortunate event would have been missed. It was nothing serious. A broken shoelace, nothing more; but as he knelt to tie the broken ends together, cursing bad luck added to worse, his eyes came to rest on something wonderful and rare. It was a four-leaf clover. Whether the acquisition of the clover merely changed his outlook on life, and so enhanced his performance, precipitating improved outcome from his efforts, or the clover itself actually changed his luck, is open to debate. In any case, from that day forward everything good seemed to come his way. He had met the beautiful Erin, and after a whirlwind romance, they were married. Their love seemed to grow exponentially day after day. It seemed as if the honeymoon would never end. Now, a year later, he was the proud father of beautiful twins, a boy and a girl. Life could not be sweeter. On the job, the quality of his work was so improved that he was being noticed by the proprietors of the firm and considered for much bigger things. New employees called him “Mr. Fitzpatrick.” An executive office and company car were in his future. Paddy was certain his good fortune was due to his four-leaf clover. It was in his suit pocket at all times. One morning, however, Paddy could not find the clover. Frantically, he searched the house, but it was not there. In a panic, he tried to recall when he had last seen it. He finally recalled it was in his gray suit that he had dropped off at the dry cleaners. He rushed to the cleaners only to find that the work had been completed and his suit was ready to be picked up. He searched the suit and found the four-leaf clover, still in one piece but now faded and flattened from the dry cleaning. From that day on, Paddy’s fortunes changed. Life was good, but it was no longer perfect. The little inconveniences were always there. His wife seemed more irritable. The twins seemed a little naughtier. His career stalled. Paddy’s life had changed. He still carried the clover, but he was certainly not living the charmed life he was used to and had come to expect. Finally, he had had enough. He confided in his wife, who had previously been unaware of his clover. He told her of the day when, at the end of his rope, he had found his good-luck charm, and how he had carried it every day, and how the most amazingly good luck had been his. Then he told her of that fateful day when he had forgotten the clover in the pocket of his suit when he dropped it off to be cleaned and pressed, and how everything had gone downhill from there. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” she said, comforting him. Then, with the wisdom of a loving wife, added, “You know, it’s never wise to press your luck.”

Sounds fishy

A gourmet chef was on vacation in Europe one summer. He had a delightful time sampling the cuisine in Italy, France, and Germany, but in London he found English food bland and overcooked. However, one day he had a great meal of fish & chips at a London pub. He asked the manager of the pub if he could have the recipe for the fish & chips. The manager confessed that he bought his fish and chips from a nearby monastery, and thus the chef would have to get the recipe from one of the brothers. He quickly made his way to the monastery and knocked on the door. When one of the brothers came to the door, the chef asked him if he were the “Fish Friar.” The brother replied, “No, I’m the Chip Monk.”
A boy was bagging groceries at a supermarket. One day the store installed a machine for squeezing fresh orange juice. Intrigued, the young man asked if he could be allowed to work the machine, but his request was denied. Said the store manager, “Sorry, kid, but baggers can’t be juicers.”

Of Frogs and Men

A frog hopped into a bank one day to apply for a loan. The teller went to the back and asked the bank manager what to do. The boss said, “Tell the frog to go see Patricia Black at the loan desk.” So she did, and the frog went into Miss Black’s office to fill out the application. Examining the application, she said, “This says your name is Kermit Jagger, and your nearest kin, your father, is Mick Jagger. Is that correct?” “Yes, that’s right,” replied the frog. “Do you have any collateral?” “I only have this ivory figurine. It’s very valuable.” Patricia took the application and the figurine and went to the bank manager’s office. “There’s a frog in my office asking for a loan. This little statue is all he has for collateral. What do you think?” The manager examined the figurine, looked over the application, and replied, “It’s a knick-knack, Patty Black, give the frog a loan. His old man’s a Rolling Stone.”
A student came home from school one day, very depressed, and moped around the house all evening. Finally, his father asked him what was troubling him. “It doesn’t matter,” he replied. “Nothing matters.” “What makes you say that?” “Biology,” the lad replied, sullenly. “Biology? Biology is all about life. It’s exciting!” “Yeah, that’s what I thought,” He answered, “but today I learned that our lives are ova before they’re begun.”

Come On, Ring Those Bells

Anticipating Quasimodo Sunday, a classic oldie: Quasimodo, the hunch-backed bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, was getting old and feeble. When the priest suggested that he retire, Quasimodo agreed that it was probably time. The priest asked him to train a new bell ringer before taking his retirement, and Quasimodo agreed. Ads were posted around the city, and Quasimodo began to interview applicants. One day, a young man named Bob came to interview for the position. Bob had no arms. Quasimodo was polite, and allowed him to fill out the application, which he did by holding the quill between his toes. Finally, Quasimodo decided he should be honest with the poor fellow. “I’m sorry to have to ask this,” he said, “but how will you pull the rope? You have no arms.” “If you give me a chance, I’ll show you. I can do it,” he replied. So, Quasimodo led him to the top of the bell tower, and they waited. At noon, Quasimodo instructed him to ring the bell twelve times. Bob backed up, and ran full speed into the bell, striking it with his face. Eleven more times he repeated it, and then sat down, dazed and exhausted. Amazed, Quasimodo said, “That was incredible, but can you do that every hour, day after day?” “Absolutely, I can do it,” he replied. He was hired, and Quasimodo could now retire. Bob performed his duties reliably, day after day. Then one day he went to the priest and said, “I have a brother who is looking for some extra work. Could I have him ring the bell sometimes, so I can have a day off?” The priest had no objections, so Bob’s brother, Bill, who also had no arms, came to be Bob’s substitute, doing the job just as well, and in the same bizarre way. One day, when it had rained, and the wind had blown water in on the bell-tower floor, Bob went up to ring the bell. As usual, he ran toward the bell, but this time he slipped on the wet floor and slid past the bell and out the window, falling to his death. People gathered around, and one spectator called out, “Who is he?” Someone closer looked at the poor, broken body on the ground and answered, “I don’t know his name, but his face rings a bell.” Bill was called in to take over the job. The very next week, after a rain, the same thing happened. Bill, slipping on the wet floor, plummeted to the ground, stone dead. Once again, spectators gathered around. Someone commented, “He looks like Bob, but it can’t be—he died last week.” Another onlooker replied, “It’s Bob’s brother, Bill, but you’re right—he’s a dead ringer for his brother.”
Once upon a time there was a trolley conductor, very reliable and honest, who was so in love with a beautiful young woman that he finally mustered the courage to ask for her hand in marriage. He was not a wealthy man, and she had very expensive tastes, but she did love him, and so she resolved to learn to make do, and consented to be his bride. They began their life together in a tiny apartment, with few possessions, but a lot of love. They were very happy for quite some time, but eventually, the young woman’s craving for the “good life” got the best of her, and she began spending beyond her poor husband’s means. Consequently, he was forced to get a part time job to pay for her lavish lifestyle. Before long, it became necessary to work full-time at both jobs to make ends meet. He would rise early in the morning, drive the trolley all day, and then rush to his second job, arriving home late at night and collapsing, exhausted, into bed. His wife had become so self-centered that she scarcely seemed to notice. Finally, he could take it no longer. Physically, he was a wreck, and mentally, he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He came home one evening after a day on the trolley, flopped on the couch, and fell asleep. His wife shook him awake. “Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” she asked. “I’m quitting my night job. I can’t take this anymore. It’s killing me,” he groaned. “But how will we pay the bills? You don’t make enough as a trolley conductor,” she whined. “We’ll just have to cut back.” he replied, “We’ll have to eat out less, sell the second car, and move to a cheaper house; and no more shopping sprees.” “No,” she snapped, “I will not go back to that wretched lifestyle. If you will not support me in the way I have become accustomed to, I will leave you!” Now the poor man was really on the edge. “Do you mean to tell me,” he said, his voice shaking, “that you would rather have me lose my health, not to mention my sanity, than give up these luxuries?” By now, he was so worked up that his vision was becoming blurred, and there was ringing in his ears. “Oh, stop whining. Be a man!” she retorted. “It can’t be that bad!” That was too much. The poor, stressed man snapped, grabbed her by the neck and strangled her. When he came to his senses and realized what he had done, he called the police and turned himself in. His trial passed quickly. On the advice of his attorney, he entered a plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity,” but the jury was unsympathetic, and the judge was even less moved by his sad story. He was convicted, and sentenced to death. The day of his execution arrived. He had eaten his last meal, and had his head shaved. As he walked the last mile to the execution chamber, he thought about the last months of his life, and the overwhelming burden he had been laboring under. He was almost relieved that it was all over. He was led to the electric chair, sat down, and strapped in. The hood was placed over his head, and the cap was strapped on and wired. The switch was thrown. Nothing happened. The switch was thrown again. Still, nothing. The wiring and connections were checked, and another attempt was made. Again, nothing happened. The unfortunate trolley driver still sat there, alive and unharmed. After several more unsuccessful attempts, the prison warden took the execution crew aside and demanded to know what the problem was. “Is there something wrong with the equipment, the wiring?” he asked. No, everything had been double-checked and was in order. “Well, then, is there something special about this guy that protects him from electrocution?” he asked. “No, there’s nothing special about him at all,” was the answer. “He’s just a poor conductor.”

This Bus Runs on Time

A man boarded the Metro Bus and was shocked to see the smallest man he’d ever seen in the driver’s seat. He was no more than two feet tall, and was wearing a green uniform with a hat straight out of Robin Hood. The driver stared directly ahead while driving, and kept repeating the same words over and over: “tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . .” The man asked the person sitting next to him what the story was, and was told that he was a common sight on the Metro Bus runs, and was a great driver to boot. “But why does he keep repeating the same words over and over?” asked the man. “Well,” his neighbor said, “I called the bus company myself to find that out. Seems he passed all the driving tests with flying colors, so they hired him right on the spot.” “Well, that’s fine, but my question was, why does he keep repeating ‘Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock’?” “Oh, that’s part of his job,” was the reply. “He’s a Metro-gnome.”
It seems that one of my ancestors was a knight in the service of a Scottish laird. On one occasion, his castle was under attack by the English, and it looked as though defeat was imminent. The castle had been under siege for many days, and the supplies of food and arrows were quickly being depleted. They could not hold out much longer. As the lord of the castle was nearing the end of his rope, my noble forefather came to him with a plan. “I have several relatives within these walls who are very clever jokesters, skilled in word-play. My strategy is to position them on the castle walls and have them shout jokes to the enemy, incapacitating them with laughter.” “Hmm, that might work,” replied the laird. “It sounds like quite a punning clan.”

A Sick Story

A man was brought in to the hospital intensive care ward, put in a bed, with tubes coming out everywhere. A week later, another man was admitted, in a similar condition. Both lay there, machines pinging, fluids dripping, etc. A couple of weeks passed before one of them had the strength to turn towards the other and say: “Scottish.” The other turned his head slowly and said: “Irish.” This act tired them out so badly it was a week before the first summoned up the strength to say: “Glasgow.” Again the second replied in a frail voice: “Dublin.” Once more, the strain was too much for them both and they passed out. Days passed before the first man managed to force out the word: “Jimmy.” Replied the other: “Paddy.” A few hours later, Jimmy managed just enough strength to rasp out weakly: “Cancer.” Paddy responded: “Sagittarius.”

See that Escargot

A man went to a costume party carrying his date on his back. “What in the world are you?” asked the host. “I’m a snail,” he said. “But you’re not in costume . . . and you have a girl on your back,” replied the host. “Yeah,” he replied, “that’s Michelle.”

Simple Gifts

A widow had worked hard, sacrificing every comfort to raise her three sons and send them to college. Each of them had graduated with advanced degrees and went on to become very wealthy. One day, the three sons met to discuss their mother’s welfare. They had been looking after her, but they all agreed that they needed to do something special to thank her for the sacrifices she had made to secure their success. Her oldest son built her a large mansion, fully furnished with all the most modern conveniences. The second son bought her a Rolls-Royce. The third son was at a loss to find something he could add to these gifts. What else did she need? Finally, one night while watching television, he found it. There was a story on the news about a parrot in a monastery. The monks, after many years, had trained the parrot to recite the entire Bible. He could recite chapter and verse on command. It was perfect. His mother’s eyesight had failed to the point that she could no longer read her Bible, even with giant print. He traveled to the monastery and asked to see this amazing parrot. One of the monks escorted him to the room where the parrot was kept. Testing the bird, he said, “Genesis 1:1.” Sure enough, the parrot recited the verse. “John 3:16,” he said. The parrot recited John 3:16. After testing the parrot with several passages, he was convinced. “I’d like to buy him,” he said. “Who do I talk to?” “Oh, we would never sell him,” the monk replied, “it took us many years to train him, and we’re really very attached to him. No, he’s not for sale.” He was determined, however, and price was no object. When he proposed that he would set up a trust that would generate enough income to fund the monastery indefinitely, it was an offer they could not refuse. The paperwork was done, the monks said goodbye to the parrot, and he was delivered to the old widow. A few weeks later, when the three sons were able to coordinate their schedules, they went together to visit their mother. As they sat visiting, they asked her how she was getting along in her new surroundings. Hesitantly, she replied, “Well, it’s all very nice, and I’m very thankful to you, but it’s just so much, and not very practical. I’m only one person, and now I have this big house to look after. It’s lovely, but it’s just too much.” To her second son, she said, “I really appreciate the car, but I can’t drive anymore, and I have friends who pick me up for church and shopping. I really don’t go anywhere else. It seems like an awful waste to keep and insure an expensive car like that when it never gets used.” Speaking to her third son, she continued, “I hope you’re not planning to give me anything extravagant. I am just thankful for the little, thoughtful things. That chicken you gave me was delicious.”

Dog Day Afternoon

A dog ran into a butcher shop and dropped a note on the counter. The butcher read the note: 5 lbs. ground beef 2 lbs. bacon He looked at the dog suspiciously, and saw that it had a twenty-dollar bill in its mouth. It was almost closing time, and there were no other customers in the store, so he decided to fill the list and follow the dog home. He wrapped the meat and put it in a bag. The dog dropped the bill on the counter and watched as the butcher counted out his change and put it in the bag. The butcher set the bag on the floor in front of the dog, who picked it up and ran out the door. Quickly, the butcher locked up and headed off down the street after the dog. Arriving at the bus stop, the dog looked for a moment at the bus schedule, then trotted over to the bench and sat down. A bus stopped, and the dog looked at the number and remained sitting. A second bus stopped, and the dog got up and hopped on board. The butcher followed. The bus went across town, making a several stops on the way. The dog exited the bus, still carrying the meat, with the butcher close behind. The dog trotted down the street to the edge of town, where it turned down a narrow, seldom-traveled road. The butcher was beginning to be uneasy, as it was getting late, and he was a long way from home and in a strange place; but he had come this far, and he was still very curious. The road wound through a small patch of woods and across a creek. Finally, they arrived at a small, run-down house. The butcher, more nervous than before, stayed out of site and watched from a distance. The dog ran up the steps, set down the bag, and scratched at the door. After waiting a few minutes, it backed up and took a run at the door, throwing his body against it. After a few tries, the dog sat down and began barking. Soon the door opened. A large, seedily dressed man came out, picked up the bag, and gave the dog a vicious kick. “Stupid dog!” he yelled, following that with a string of invectives. That was too much for the butcher. Angrily, he came out of his hiding place. “What’s wrong with you? That dog just went all the way across town to get your groceries. He’s a genius!” “A genius, you say?” the man snapped back. “That’s the second time this week he’s forgotten his key.”

A Grizzly Tale

Two scientists, a Czech and a Slovak, had dedicated years to studying the life and habits of bears. They had travelled the world over, documenting Polar Bears in the Arctic, Asian Black Bears in Japan, Pandas in China, Sun Bears in Borneo, Sloth Bears in India, and Andean Bears in South America. Finally, they had come to North America, where they had travelled from Mexico to Canada observing the several subspecies of Black Bears. Last on their list was the Brown Bear, found in Europe, Asia, and North America. They decided to study this species from west to east, so their first stop was Alaska, Kodiak Island, to be exact, where the largest of the species live. Knowing these bears could be dangerous, they arranged to keep in daily contact with the local game warden. Several days passed, and on each day the game warden received a report from the scientists. Then one day, he didn't. Taking another warden with him, he set out for the researcher's last known location. When they arrived, they found the campsite in shambles, and evidence that the men had been dragged off by two bears. Following the bloody trail for several hundred yards, they came upon two large Kodiak bears, a boar and a sow. No remains were to be seen, but there was enough blood to convince the wardens that these bears had eaten the men. They had no choice but to shoot both and haul the carcasses to town to be autopsied. The first bear opened up was the female. Sure enough, human remains were found, and were soon identified as belonging to the Slovak. “You know what this means, don't you?” said the first warden. “Yes, I do,“ replied the second. “The Czech is in the male.”

Random Selections: A Raw Christmas Chicken (Church Curmudgeon)

This random selection (odd page*) is by one of most prophetic voices on the internet, from one of my favorite devotional books, Then Tweets My Soul: The Best of the Church Curmudgeon. Although it is food-themed, no animals were harmed in the posting of this excerpt. Christmas Eve was taken from the side of Christmas Adam. Celebrate with a McRib. I named my three steaks Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in hopes of a fourth showing up on the grill. But they all just came out raw. Spiritual warfare is when you pass by a Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday and just wish . . . —David Regier, Then Tweets My Soul (Canon Press, 2016), 11. Buy the book, feed a starving artist. * Actually, every page in this book is pretty odd.

Those Angry Villagers Will Get You Every Time

A movie production company was filming on location in a remote village in a third-world nation. During the filming, they hired a several locals as manual laborers. Some were even given parts as extras. One young man became so caught up in the excitement of it all that, when the filming was done and the cast and crew packed up to leave, he finagled a job and, without telling anyone or obtaining his family’s permission, got on the bus with the cast and headed off to the airport, California bound. He had not gotten far, however, when his family discovered what he had done and took off in hot pursuit, with many other villagers joining the chase. They soon caught up to the bus and forced it to pull over, ordering everyone off the bus. The angry villagers surrounded the group of frightened actors and began picking up stones. However, while acting as a mob is relatively easy and requires little courage, no individual could bring himself to throw a rock. Finally, the village leaders brought the young man’s father to the front of the mob and said, “Let him who is without son stone the cast first.”

Author! Author!

I hear there’s a school that helps authors of theatrical dramas to hone their skills. Graduation is called the Playwright Write Right Rite.

Come One, Come All

The circus came to town recently. The ringmaster shared this true* tale with me. A man went to Africa on a safari. While there, he came upon an elephant in great pain, with a giant thorn in its foot. The man very slowly and fearfully approached the elephant, and gently removed the thorn from its foot. The elephant began to walk away, then turned and stared at the man for a full minute, locking eyes with him. The man was terrified, until the elephant turned again and slowly continued on its way. The man heaved a deep sigh of relief and thought, “I wonder, if I ever see that elephant again, will it remember me?” A few years later, the man went to the circus back in the States. He noticed that one of the elephants kept looking at him, almost like it knew him. The man wondered, “Could this be that elephant I helped so long ago?” He decided to get a closer look. With the elephant still giving him the stare-down, the man moved in closer, getting right up in front of the elephant. Their eyes locked. An expression of recognition seemed to cross the elephant’s face. It reached down and picked the man up carefully with its trunk. It lifted him high in the air, holding him aloft as if to exalt him for all to pay homage, and made a full three hundred and sixty degree turn. Then, thrusting him even higher into the air, with a mighty swing of his trunk, sent him crashing to the ground below and trampled him into the ground. Turns out it wasn’t that elephant. * Tall.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one . . .

This one is so old, and so bad, I should be ashamed to post it, but since I have no shame, here you go. A panda went into a cafe, sat down, and ordered a sandwich. Having finished, he stood up, drew a gun, shot the waiter dead, and headed for the door. As he was reaching for the door, the manager ran after him, shouting, “Hey! Where doyouthink you’re going? You just shot my waiter! and you didn’t pay for your sandwich!” The panda yelled back, “What did you expect? I’m a PANDA! This is what we do! Look it up!” He then stormed out, slamming the door behind him. Naturally, the first thing the manager did was to grab his dictionary, wherein he found the following definition: “Panda : A tree dwelling animal of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”
A young boy was sitting on the floor in the living room. He had just acquired a new kazoo, which he produced from his pocket and began to play. His father, sitting in his chair with the newspaper, winced at the squawking “music” but patiently bore it. After several minutes of this audio assault, he suggested that his mother might like to hear him play. To the father’s relief, the boy happily trotted off to the kitchen, where his mother was cleaning up after supper. There, he began to play with increased enthusiasm, marching around the room. Finally, his mother could take no more. “Oh, honey, please! I’m getting a headache! Could you go play that outside?” Somewhat discouraged, the boy moped outside, where his grandfather was sitting on the porch. “Hi, Grandpa,” he said, dejected. “Don’t worry, I won’t play my kazoo near you.” “Well, why not?” asked the old man, having heard the events inside, “I love music.” “You do?” asked the boy, dubiously. “Why, sure, I do! In fact, you could say that music saved my life.” “How did it do that, Grandpa?” “Well, it was back during the flood of ’39. We should have gotten out sooner, but we were young and dumb, and we never believed the water would come up as high as our place. Before your grandma and I knew it, we were surrounded by water, and the house was flooding. The water kept rising and the furniture started floating—we were really in a jam.” “Golly, Grandpa, what did you do?” “Well, the dining room table came floating by, and your grandma climbed up on it and floated to safety . . .” “Wait a minute!” the boy interrupted, “How did you get out? And how did music save your life?” “Well, you see,” Grandpa replied, “I accompanied her on the piano.”

Otro Chiste Estúpido*

A poll was taken in California asking if people thought illegal immigration was a serious problem. The results showed that 29 percent said, “Yes, something must be done.” 71 percent said, “No es una problema seriosa.” * Probably more so than usual, even. Also, blame Google Translate if my title doesn’t say what I think it does.

By Any Other Name

An elderly couple were dinner guests at another couple’s house one evening. After eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen. The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, “Last night we went out to a new restaurant, and it was really great. I’d recommend it very highly.” The other said, “What’s it called?” The first man thought and thought, and finally said, “I can’t remember. What’s the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know, the one that’s red and has thorns.” “You mean a rose?” “Right, that’s it.” Turning towards the kitchen, he yelled, “Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?”
A man left work early one day to get a haircut. Afterwards, it was still a little early, so he decided to stop for bit of refreshment on the way home. He walked across the street to a bar, sat down, and took off his hat. “Nice haircut,” someone said. “Thanks,” he replied. “Thanks for what? You haven’t ordered yet.” said the bartender. “Didn’t you just . . . ? Oh, never mind. Give me a beer.” He scooped up a few peanuts from a bowl on the bar. A few sips, and he heard, “Love the tie!” He looked quickly behind him. No one was there. In fact, he was the only one in the bar. Strange, he thought. He scooped up a few more peanuts. “Hey, that’s a nice-looking watch! Is it a Rolex?” That same voice again, and no one in sight! Now he was getting nervous. “Hey, bartender!” he called. The bartender appeared from the back room. “Is there someone else in this bar?” “Just you, sir. It’s been slow all afternoon. It’s still early, though,” he replied. “OK, then, what’s the joke?” the man demanded, somewhat irritated. “Joke? What are you talking about?” “Oh, come on! Someone keeps talking to me—telling me I look good, ‘nice tie,’ stuff like that. You’re the only one here, so what’s the joke?” he demanded. “Oh, that; that’s the peanuts,” the bartender said. “The peanuts? How stupid do I look?” “I’m telling you, it’s the peanuts,” he insisted. “They’re complimentary.”


A couple in their nineties were both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor told them they were physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember. Later that night, while watching TV, the old woman got up from her chair. “Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?” she asked. “Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?” “Sure.” “Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” he asked. “No, I can remember it.” “Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so’s not to forget it.” “I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.” “I’d also like whipped cream. You’re going to forget. Write it down, okay?” Irritated, she snapped, “I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it. Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream—I got it, for goodness sake!” Then she shuffled off to the kitchen. After about twenty minutes, she returned from the kitchen and handed her husband a plate of bacon and eggs. He stared at the plate for a moment. “I knew you’d forget,” he grumbled. “Where’s the toast?”

A Rude Question

A bear walked into a cafe and took a stool at the counter. As the waitress approached, he said, “I’ll have French toast, bacon, and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . coffee.” “What’s with the big pause?” asked the waitress. “I don’t know,” the bear replied, “I’ve always had ’em.”

Happy Birthday, Comrade

One more post for Bernie Sanders: When you were a child, your mother probably read you the story of the automobile manufacturer who affixed ornamental miniatures of Karl Marx to the front of his cars. Little Red, Riding Hood.

So, Maybe You Can Divide by Zero

A follow-up to yesterday’s post: A pastor had been away, attending a conference. Upon his return, like Moses descending Sinai, he found that his congregation had built a giant golden zero and placed it at the front of the sanctuary. All were present, bowing and praying before the image. The pastor, devastated with grief, rent his shirt, and cried out in a loud voice, “Is nothing sacred?”
By now, you’ve heard the news from England about the university professor who recently fell and suffered a severe head injury. He’s in an Oxford coma.

Yes, I am aware of the theological difficulties with this one.

Suffering from uncontrollable seizures and erratic behavior, a man made an appointment to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist ran a full battery of psychological tests, and even sent him to a neurologist to have his brain examined. Finally, he came to an unexpected conclusion. “This is very unusual,” he told his patient, “I’ve never encountered this before. There is nothing wrong with you, mentally or physically. I believe you are possessed.” “Possessed!” exclaimed the man. “You mean by a demon or something?” “That’s exactly what I mean,” the doctor replied. “I’m calling my priest. I think he can help.” The next week, when the man came for his psychiatric session, the priest was there. The psychiatrist sat back in a corner while the priest performed an exorcism. Afterwards, the man went home. At his next appointment, the psychiatrist questioned him about events following the exorcism until the present. “It’s really amazing,” he said. “The fits have stopped. I haven’t done anything strange at all since the exorcism. I guess you were right!” “Well, I believe you are cured,” replied the doctor. The man went home. Bills arrived from the psychiatric office, but he didn’t pay them. For several months, he ignored the requests for payment, until the letters were coming from a collection agency. Still, he refused to pay. Finally, the psychiatrist himself got in his car, stopped by the rectory to pick up the priest, drove to the man’s house, and had him repossessed.
A new young monk arrived at the monastery. He was assigned to help the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand. He noticed, however, that all of the monks were copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. Concerned, he went to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies. The head monk replied, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, the abbot went down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts were held in a locked vault that hadn’t been opened for hundreds of years. Hours went by. The young monk got worried and went downstairs to look for him. Finally, he found the old man sitting at a table with a dusty old manuscript spread before him, holding his head in his hands. He was weeping uncontrollably. The young monk asked, “What is wrong, Father?” “Look at the manuscript!” he bawled. The monk did so. The particular document before him was on the marriage of priests. “Yes, Father? What have you found?” With a choking voice, the old abbot whispered, “The word is ‘celebrate.’”
A certain Viking named Rudolph, who sported a large head of red hair with a full beard to match, was fascinated by the weather. Ever since he had first taken an interest, he had compiled a record of temperatures, wind, rain, snow, and all other weather conditions. He also took note of animal and plant reactions to various changes in weather. As he entered the later years of life, his skill had developed to the point that he could predict with near certainty the following day’s and week’s weather. One spring day his neighbor, Lars, came by and informed him that they were getting the longboats ready for a “business trip” to France. Rudolph was to pack his gear and be on the boat in the morning. “I think we’d better wait a week,” Rudolph said. “There’s going to be a storm. It won’t be a good time to be at sea.” “What are you talking about?” replied Lars. “The weather’s been perfect, and we need to get an early start this year. Remember last year? We were almost late getting back for the fall lutfisk dinner at St. Olaf’s Lutheran.” “Ja, I remember, but I’m not getting caught out there in the storm that’s coming.” Try as he might, Lars could not get Rudolph to budge. Rudolph finally told him they could go without him, for all he cared, but he was no fool; so Lars left. Rudolph sat down, shook his head, and grabbed a jar of pickled herring out of the refrigerator. As he snacked on the delicacy, his wife came in and asked what Lars wanted. Rudolph told her all about it. “Oh, Rudolph, are you sure? It would be a shame to miss plundering France. I do so love that recipe book you brought home last time. French fries, French toast, French dressing .  .  . What if you’re wrong?” “One thing you should know by now is that I’m never wrong about the weather,” he replied sternly. “Rudolph the Red knows rain, Dear.”

Thick Rolled

I told my wife I wanted to lose some weight. I wanted to change my diet, and needed her help. I asked her to serve me small portions of healthy foods: meat and vegetables, fewer carbs, and definitely no sweets. Once served, I asked that the food be removed from the table, because I have no discipline when it comes to eating—if it’s in front of me, I will eat it; I just can’t help myself. So she made me this promise: “Never gonna fill you up, never gonna make you round, never gonna add a pound and dessert you; never gonna bake you pie, never gonna even try, never gonna put a pastry before you.”


Who Is Jesus?

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What I Believe

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