Scared fish

(I was going through some old notes and came across this entry I had written in May 2006, just four months after we brought Carlos and Jeremiah home.  Enjoy!)

I am finding out that 4-year olds can and most often will interpret what you say QUITE literally. We were shopping a few days ago and while Sarah did the grocery shopping, I wheeled Carlos and Jeremiah around the store to keep them entertained. Carlos was talking away and suddenly he got excited because he saw some fish tanks nearby with fish in them. So off we went to see the fish.  Big fish.  Small fish.  There were even a couple of little tubs with fish in them ready to be taken home. After a few minutes, Carlos wanted to tap on the glass. I tried to explain to him that this would scare the fish, by saying, “Carlos, if you tap the glass, the fish will be scared, like ‘AAGGHH!!'” (Usually this is exactly what he says when he is scared or thinks he might be scared and is trying to convey the scariness of whatever situation he is thinking of.)  After a minute of thinking about this, he looks at me with a puzzled expression and says, “Fish no say ‘AAGGHH!’ – they’re in water!” Yup, definitely can’t pull one over on Carlos! I finally had to demonstrate by tapping on the tank and sure enough, the fish scattered.  BUT they didn’t say “AAGGHH!”

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Almost Paradise

Last Saturday, I took Jeremiah, Natalie and Ben with me to the store to get a few various and sundry food items that Sarah needed. (Yes, I know saying “various” and “sundry” is redundant, but you have to admit, it’s fun to say together.) Usually, such a venture is a crapshoot – you never know what’s going to happen, how they’ll behave and whether or not I’ll end up getting the urge to buy a roll of duct tape. Sometimes, it’s an ordeal just getting them to cooperate by riding in the cart. And believe me, I would MUCH rather have them ride in the cart. That way, I know where they are and know where their hands are (“please keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.”)

But on Saturday’s excursion, they each did wonderfully. There was no arguing as to who got to ride where, why couldn’t they walk instead and generally refrained from adding things to our cart that didn’t need to be there. Jeremiah, in particular, however offered up some rather funny moments. This should be no surprise since this is also the child whose style of worship leading covers quite the range of music. On the subject of putting things in the cart, Jeremiah quipped “Do you know why we don’t put things in our cart? Because it’s not on our list.” He definitely gets that from his mother.

After getting all of the food items on our list, we went to get some toothpaste. Since the toothpaste is right beside the toy section, we couldn’t possibly NOT go down the toy aisles. Especially since the munchkins had done such a great job in the store. I lifted them out of the cart and they made their way down each aisle, checking out the various and sundry toys [see? You had fun reading that, didn’t you?]. We checked out the pink aisle with all the girlie stuff and the more colorful aisle with the Legos, building block and other learning toys. But then, we rounded the last corner and Jeremiah must have heard angels singing and a bright light shining a path for him. He stopped, stretched out his arms and exclaimed with a sigh, “Ah! The toys with all the buttons!” And that’s exactly what they did – pushed buttons to their hearts’ content.

I told Jeremiah that I felt the same way when I go into a bookstore. He just looked at me like I was nuts.

Friday Funny

Cletus is passing by Billy Bob’s hay barn one day  when, through a gap in the door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow and  sensual striptease in front of an old green John Deere.

Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette, and gently slides off first the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left. He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move, lets his overalls fall down to his hips, revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt. Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to reveal his stained T-shirt underneath.  With a final flourish, he  tears the T-shirt from his body, and hurls his baseball cap onto a pile  of hay.

Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says, “What the  heck’re ya doing, Billy Bob?”

“Good Lord, Cletus, ya scared the bejeezers out of me,” says an obviously embarrassed Billy  Bob.

“But me ‘n the Ol’ Lady been havin trouble lately in the  bedroom d’partment, and the therapist suggested I do something sexy  to a tractor.”

 

HT: Dan Casey

WW II: A review

(Just came across this incredibly funny and well written “review.”)

There are some shows that go completely beyond the pale of enjoyability, until they become nothing more than overwritten collections of tropes impossible to watch without groaning. I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called “World War II”.

Let’s start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn’t look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn’t get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn’t even mind the lack of originality if they weren’t so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren’t that evil. And that’s not even counting the part where as soon as the plot requires it, they instantly forget about all the racism nonsense and become best buddies with the definitely non-Aryan Japanese.

Not that the good guys are much better. Their leader, Churchill, appeared in a grand total of one episode before, where he was a bumbling general who suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Ottomans of all people in the Battle of Gallipoli. Now, all of a sudden, he’s not only Prime Minister, he’s not only a brilliant military commander, he’s not only the greatest orator of the twentieth century who can convince the British to keep going against all odds, he’s also a natural wit who is able to pull out hilarious one-liners practically on demand. I know he’s supposed to be the hero, but it’s not realistic unless you keep the guy at least vaguely human.

So it’s pretty standard “shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong” versus “evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide” stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics. The actual strategy of the war is barely any better. Just to give one example, in the Battle of the Bulge, a vastly larger force of Germans surround a small Allied battalion and demand they surrender or be killed. The Allied general sends back a single-word reply: “Nuts!”. The Germans attack, and, miraculously, the tiny Allied force holds them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive and turn the tide of battle. Whoever wrote this episode obviously had never been within a thousand miles of an actual military.

Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy – the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin’ play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there’s no way to take the Japanese home islands because they’re invincible…and then they realize they totally can’t have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they’ve never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was “classified”. In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone’s ever seen before – drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn’t it?

…and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin’ unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you’re starting to wonder if any of the show’s writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made.

I’m not even going to get into the whole subplot about breaking a secret code (cleverly named “Enigma”, because the writers couldn’t spend more than two seconds thinking up a name for an enigmatic code), the giant superintelligent computer called Colossus (despite this being years before the transistor was even invented), the Soviet strongman whose name means “Man of Steel” in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman “Man of Steel” and the Frenchman “de Gaulle”, whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).

So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don’t even try to make their stuff believable.

HT: James

Wayne Grudem’s the man

‘Nuf said.

Music Monday – Um, what?

And now for something completely different.

I don’t think I’ve ever featured a commercial on Music Monday before, but this “music video” by Toyota is just too good/funny to pass up.   This one’s for all my peeps, yo.

Book Review – Imaginary Jesus

Imaginary Jesus is a helter-skelter, “not-quite-fiction” ride through the imagination of Matt Mikalatos as he attempts to humorously point out how we in 21st century American evangelicalism often create our own ideas of what or who Jesus is.  From “King James Jesus,” “Magic 8-ball Jesus” and “Testosterone Jesus” to “Free Will Jesus,” “New Age Jesus” and “Meticulous Jesus,” Mikalatos paints an absurdly funny narrative of someone trying to find out just who the REAL Jesus is.  Accompanied by the Apostle Peter and a talking donkey (who I’m convinced is included only so King James Jesus can hurl the threat “Thine ass is mine!”), Mikalatos’ journey gets personal in a few places where he talks about his own struggles of faith and his questions to the many Jesuses about his goodness and power.

Imaginary Jesus is one of those books that makes you laugh, makes you think and often makes you wonder “Where in the world is this going?”  I laughed quite frequently at Mikalatos’ many variations of “Jesus.”  The word pictures he creates will draw you into the story and make you feel like you are a part of the action.  The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, but that is perhaps its one major downfall.  There are some serious questions of the goodness of God and faith in Jesus that are raised, but they are surrounded by the high-speed chase scenes (Mikalatos chasing fake Jesuses then fake Jesuses chasing Mikalatos), hijinx and silliness.  When his experience with the real Jesus finally comes into view and offers answers, I got a feeling of mental whiplash at the sudden change in tone, only to reverse back to the silliness later.

In my experience, I’ve found that, in general, authors should not read their own books.   While they might be great authors, they make lousy readers.  Matt Mikalatos is one author who certainly does not fit into that generalization.  He narrates the audio version of his book available from ChristianAudio (who provided me a copy of this book to review – thanks!) and shows that he has the ability not only to be a good story writer but also an excellent story teller.

Overall, Imaginary Jesus is more of a diversionary read than anything else, but it’s definitely a fun read.