The Christian T

I’m not fond of the idea of Christian merchandise that costs twice what regular stuff costs.

I have long been a silent critic of stores that sell candles with Bible verses on them – costing five times what they might cost at Target without the verses.

A secondary thing… I am not willing to put a symbol on the back of my car telling the world of my faith in God. The simple reason is this – I am not a perfect driver. One day I might accidentally cut off another driver – and make her angry. She will then see that symbol and lump all Christians in the “bad driver” bucket. Furthermore, I doubt that anyone will change their course toward God through seeing a symbol on my car.


Teacup Ride – the movie

I read last week that Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride is going to be made into a feature-length film. Some of you might remember that Pirates of the Caribbean was originally just a ride at Disney.

So I had to ask – is the famous Teacup Ride going to be Disney’s feature-length film after that?

Photo by Vanessa Pike-Russell, used under a Creative Commons License.

And an update: my brother reminded me that there already was a Haunted Mansion movie, starring Eddie Murphy. It was so worthless that I forgot it. And maybe the fact that I never saw it pushed it even deeper into my memory banks.


Competition can be bad

Advance Auto is building a new car parts store not far from our house. Nothing wrong with that – except that there are already two auto parts stores within a mile of that location. One is even just across the street!

I’ve been to both stores, and I’ve never had to wait more than two minutes to check out.

It amazes me that their corporate headquarters did not do their research before being willing to spend more than a million dollars to see this project through. The sign touts new jobs becoming available. But that’s just short-term. One of the stores will inevitably close within a few years. Those employees will lose their jobs – and maybe years of gradual small pay raises, only to have to start over.



Unexpected creativity

creative-bagThis lovely shopping bag was crafted by a friend of ours in rural Kenya. She gave it to us as a gift.

You will note that the strap is made from a necktie. The brightly-colored stripes are from plastic shopping bags that were tightly wrapped around natural sisal fiber, found close to her home. And it’s totally hand-woven.

Her husband is very creative too!

Takeaway: How can you use an article in a different way than its original purpose – and come up with something new?

Special thanks to the beautiful model, Heather. More posts on creativity.


Volunteers? Not a problem.

over-volunteersThis summer Ben is in a suburban swim team. The parents plan all sorts of parties and events surrounding the team’s activities. Sadly, we don’t volunteer much for the team. Ben isn’t interested in many of the activities – and we aren’t much either.

But some parents are. As you can tell, there is a glut of volunteers who happily fill the needs.

The first thing I thought of when reading this email was how I wish some of that extra volunteering energy could go toward a place where it’s really needed… like an inner-city ministry, such as Restoration Outreach Programs.


Suburban rites of passage

ben-swimteamSo our son Ben is on swim team for our local suburban subdivision. (He’s the swimmer on the right.) He goes to practice 3-5 mornings a week. They start at 7:00 am! Anyhow, this past Saturday was a swim meet at another suburban pool. We were surrounded by suburban parents and their suburban kids. Some were really intense – yelling like their kids were about to win the Olympics. Others were simply lounging under their pop-up canopies.

We stayed for his heat and left. I felt as if I had betrayed suburbia.


Bank holiday

bank-holidayToday is a bank holiday in America – Memorial Day. I’ll let others write about its significance.

A national holiday in the UK, is referred to as a “bank holiday”. In the US, it’s “national holiday”. A break from work of several days in the UK is a “holiday”. In the US, it’s “vacation”.

Whichever the case for you, I hope you enjoy this day!


Proud of America

hibaHiba Ibrahim spoke at at Ben’s graduation ceremony (or continuation ceremony). Her family immigrated from Sudan to Littleton, Colorado, about five or so years ago. Her speech reflected complete adjustment to life here. Her delivery showed confidence and poise. She had a totally American accent.

I was so proud of our country for accepting Hiba and her family! She has many more opportunities to excel and grow as a person and contribute to society here than she would have had in her warn-torn village in southern Sudan. Reflecting on this brought tears to my eyes.

p.s. Horrible photo? Again, I was a long distance from the stage.


Who responds?

spam-namesThese lovely names are the supposed senders of spam that appeared recently in my gmail spam folder.

They have these characteristics:
– They are not normal spellings of English names.
– They are all female.
– Often the last name is a first name.

What does this tell me about spam?
– Those who respond are usually male.
– Those who respond might speak English as poorly as the spam authors.
– It’s fun to read these bizarre names.

More on spam.


Cool backpack

cool-backpackThis baby was from World War II, Japan.

I do have this theory that Japan has more cool stuff than just about anywhere else in the world, except maybe Italy. This backpack is actually a parachute – from the Fort Wayne Air Museum.