breakfast in bed

Honestly!
You know how in The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews are realizing that they are in love and they sing, “I Must Have Done Something Good”? Well that’s how I feel.

However, that might be the gayest thing I’ve ever written in my life.

… maybe it’s just me.

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shooting stuff

I’ve never been one for guns. I staunchly support very strict handgun control.

I honestly didn’t know it could be this much fun.

My friend and co-worker Matt is getting married on Saturday, and this was event #1 of the bachelor party. We also went to dinner.

A group of guys – each renting or bringing a different firearm to the target range gives you the opportunity to try a bunch of different stuff. I have even more respect for the seriousness of weapon ownership now than I did before – having felt the recoil of a 357 Magnum, felt the easy squeeze of a 9mm and a .40 caliber. The M-16 (pictured) on the other-hand is what my friend TJ and I rented and it was easily the highlight of the shooting-fest.

Where’s my NRA membership card?

And no, I did not make all of those bullet holes in the ceiling.

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shrimp po boy

The Shrimp Po Boy is a bunch of fried shrimp on a roll. Sounds simple? You’d think so, but the location of the really good shrimp po boys is hotly contested. This particular po boy came from the 49 restaurant in Gulfport, oddly enough located on highway 49.

To help you northerners understand, the shrimp po boy is the Cheesesteak of the south. Everybody makes one, and everyone disagrees over where to go to get the best one.

…maybe it’s just me

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Elf Yourself a bit

By now, you’ve probably seen the Elf Yourself site and maybe you’ve even played with it.

I decided to elf my co-workers a little bit old-school. It’s easy! My cube has glass walls, and I have red and green dry-erase markers. This is Caleb, our Senior Graphic Designer.

Did you elf yourself? Are you gonna?
Post a comment with a link to your elfyness!

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Good to be that guy

So now I’m the Director of Web Communications at my new company – a very old company – the American Bible Society. The pace is frenetic, the people are fantastic and I’m trying to clean up a bit of a web mess.

Our Development department has been working through a direct mail provider called Stratmark who, in a wash of Christmas spirit, has sent me a gift.
A gift of Chocolate.

This tower from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company contained a plethora of cocoa goodness from the nutty caramels in the top to the lovingly wrapped pretzels in the middle down to the ensconced cashews and almonds in the bottom. All delicious.

It’s good to be the guy who gets stuff from vendors for Christmas.

… maybe it’s just me

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what is the difference?

You might wonder what’s the difference between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where I live, and Grand Haven, Michigan where my sweetie Sylvia lives. The differences are actually quite striking.

The view outside my PA office In PA, winter means rain, sleet and snow, all mixed together or at least the threat of said precipitation. That threat creates early releases from work – like today, we’re all supposed to go home at 2:30. Drivers freak out, not because it’s so rare, but because the winding, curving, hilly roads are almost impassible when it’s dry and sunny. Drivers around here have as much chance of successfully navigating those roads as Joe Biden has of successfully navigating a press conference.

The view outside Sylvia's Grand Haven officeIn MI, winter means snow. Snow as far as the eye can see and it never ends. Winter also lasts 6 months. Michigan drivers have to drive in straight lines and there are snow plows armed with rock salt. Also, everyone drives huge american made tanks with 4-wheel drive so they don’t care about the roads any more than Hillary Clinton cares about New York state.

Yeah – so, it’s 2:30, I gotta go get my PA driving license so I can drive like an idiot and have a good reason for once.

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Burgeriffic

First of all, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything and that’s not because I haven’t been eating – oh no. I’ve just been very busy…

  • Getting a new job
  • Moving to the Philadelphia suburbs
  • Getting engaged to Sylvia

I’ve been working hard and eating at home or at my desk a whole lot. But today at lunch TJ brought me over to Five Guys. It’s the East’s answer to In-N-Out.

Great burgers, fresh toppings, Bay’s seasoning on the fries and Coke at the fountain.

This particular Five Guys is in a strip-mall, just about a mile from my office, and now I have a fun place to go for lunch from time to time.

One note – there are free peanuts in the shell available for munching. They are not roasted. They are raw peanuts. That is just wrong.

… maybe it’s just me.

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Elevator brand name

I’ve always been fascinated with branding, names, and coming up with a good way to present something, whether it’s really cool or rather mundane.

A common elevator brand name is Otis, but the elevator in my office is Schindler.

Does that make it Schindler’s lift?

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between the lines

In Philadelphia there are cheesesteaks. Today, I had them for the second time at Pat’s King of Steaks. Jeremy was kind enough to haul me around after visiting his church.

In this picture, you can see the lineup to order (wit or witout) the beef bricks slathered or insulated with cheese. Across the street, there’s another line at Geno’s Cheesesteaks. You gotta give Geno’s credit for building competition directly across the street from the originator of this east coast yummy.

Clearly, they’re not hurting for business.

… maybe it’s just me

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stuck in my head

Special thanks to Sylvia for posting this video on her facebook page. I can’t get it out of my head now.

For the record – it’s a medley of John Williams music from a variety of movies, but uses dialog from the Star Wars movies throughout. 21 year-old Corey Vidal is an impressive talent and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Way to go Corey!

Now to get this out of my head, I need to listen to six hours of The Girl From Ipanema. That ought to get it.

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mmmm… Big sandwich

Did you know Wal-Mart sells sandwiches?

I didn’t either, but now I do. Living out of a hotel room in Philadelphia is strange enough and I honestly don’t feel like a daily diet of eating alone at Chili’s or Logan’s is the best way to spend my time. I like to eat from the grocery store.

I found one with a salad bar my first night in town. Last night I noticed a Super-Wal-Mart (like Wal-Mart needed to be super-sized in any way). I made my way in and the first things I saw were these sandwiches in the deli.

Now I didn’t bring a tape measure or anything, but I’m pretty sure this sandwich was about 20″ long. Add mustard and I was tucked in for the night.

… maybe it’s just me

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Never-ending Hallway

I’m looking for a place to live in the Philadelphia area.

This hallway appears in one of the converted factory loft-type places I’ve toured. Notice the ramp and doorway creating a fancy optical illusion that the hall is actually longer than it is.
This would be fun.

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Tony Packo's

I was in Toledo on my way to Philadelphia and I had to jump off at the Front Street exit.
The chilli, the spicy dogs, the even spicier pickles are a magical combination on a cross-country road trip.

… maybe it’s just me?

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How to Drive

Today is Saturday and on Monday I’m getting in the car and driving to Pennsylvania. I’m kicking off a new job in the Philadelphia area, working for The American Bible Society as the Director of Web Communications. My GPS will get me there, but since I have a passion for the details (anal) I looked up the route on Google maps.

Along the way, there were pictures of the road through Toledo. Most of them looked just the way I remember from the many times I’ve driven through Toledo, gotten on 475, and even hit the Ohio Turnpike. As I continued to pull up the images along the way, I discovered a rather disconcerting image.

Doesn’t this seem dangerous to you?

I feel a little more confident since the directions continue…
13. Continue on I-76 E, Partial toll road, Entering Pennsylvania. 350 mi

However, I’m a little apprehensive about arriving anywhere after driving through a retaining wall of an overpass. But according to this next image everything seems like it’s going to be OK. Just drive into the light…

Until I find myself on the wrong side of the road and have to cut across a cement barrier and directly into the side of this tanker.

I’m just going to follow the GPS and take my chances.

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Saint Pat

Today is my first day in my new office and I’m excited to start my new job at The American Bible Society in Wayne, Pennsylvania – near Philadelphia.

With Philadelphia comes Philly Cheese Steaks.

This is Pat’s King of Steaks, the claimed inventor of what might be the single greatest single contribution to American cuisine. I had this when I was here for my interview about 3 weeks ago. I also had Geno’s across the street – also good, but I like Pat’s better I think.

This last note might open me up to a horde of criticism and questions about my upbringing… you get the picture.

Maybe it’s just me…

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Social Lubricant

Gabe Lyons – opening keynote for the Internet Ministry Conference made this observation…

The internet is the new beer

Meaning – it takes away the inhibitions and promotes a lack of consequence for one’s actions.

Since I don’t drink, I guess facebook is now my vice?

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Twitter with a raspberry reduction

It’s Internet Ministry Conference time and the food is always amazing. Notice this dessert – white chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell with a raspberry reduction, next to an iPod touch with twitter running on it.

That’s much better than an iPod touch with a raspberry reduction running on it.

maybe it’s just me…

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Not Ashamed

One of the biblical writers, Paul, wrote in his Roman letters that he was not ashamed of the gospel. Read more ›

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Fall – with a twist

Whilst driving through my local Starbucks I like to make fun of Sylvia’s order. She gets a “Venti, skinny, vanilla, latte” but when I order it I like to say something like this.

first I’m gonna need a big ole honkin’ venti, skinny, no-fat, no-sugar, no-fun, no-nothin’ vanilla, latte…

WITH WHIP

Sylvia laughs when I do that, and that’s half the reason. This time, the intrepid barista in the drive-thru says:

wow – with that twist at the end I thought I was in an M. Night Shyamalan movie

We applauded when we got to the window.

I’m not a big fan of Fall – as it has fully arrived here in West Michigan, but I do like the Pumpkin Spice Latte an awful lot.
…maybe it’s just me?

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Tow This

Who gets to tow that? I imagine they will call the towing company next door to tow its own truck.

I live next door to a towing company and they often park their trucks right outside my windows. I’ve never complained, but they are loud. When these police order signs went up, I was very thankful, and the street was bare for… gosh… at least the weekend. Today, they started parking out there again.

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Fire!

Jodi is awesome.
Jodi signs up for a variety of giveaways, promotions, contests and such.
Jodi wins stuff.
This time it was a dinner for up to 8 people at the Golden Corral buffet. We didn’t know that it was also a sales pitch for some kind new-fangled fire safety device.

As seen in the picture, they roped in a herd of customers wanting a free meal and who were willing to sit through the presentation. Sylvia and I chose to skip the presentation and just enjoy a buffet meal on our own. We sat next to the banquet room so I could mock the presentation whenever possible.

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Crabs!

My friend Steve Wilcox invited a bunch of us over for Maryland blue crabs.

Sylvia and I had a great time and Zeke ate almost a whole hot dog.

Note about blue crabs: after you cook ’em, they turn red. Kind of a political statement, don’t you think?

…maybe it’s just me

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The most wonderful time of the year


September 19 is upon us again!
Talk Like a Pirate Day
It’s a regular feature around here: 2007
And something I try to celebrate with a certain degree of gusto each time it comes around.

Do not confuse Talk like a Pirate Day with the Day of the Ninja. They are not the same.

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Tina Fey Glasses

Yeah
it was awesome.

Not political – just dang funny.

Tina fey returned to Saturday Night Live as Sarah Palin and kicked off the season opener with her old cohort Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. Oh… it seemed some guy named Michael Phelps hosted. Huh…

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Bag O' baby

My local Wallgreen’s store has everything. I had to stop in for some supplies today and there on an end-cap was a display containing this: Bag O’ Baby.

Not to make light of a tough situation, but man! Couldn’t some people struggling with infertility get a false ray of hope from this?

Like it’s some kind of kit?

Seriously, what do you do – just add water or something?

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Not a parking lot

This is the front of my apartment building and not some cheesy used car lot.

Can you believe that someone would just drive up on the front yard like that? Well, I guess if you have 4-wheel drive, you use it.

Nice parking job Mr. “I’m so important”.

Well done.

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Best Juice Ever

Many years ago, Ocean Spray made Cran-Blueberry. It was amazing. Then, they stopped making it. It was sad.

Today, I found this in the grocery store. It is fantastic. I’ve started hitting the juice pretty hard today.

If you’ve had someone else’s Cranberry-Blueberry concoction, that’s fine, but this is the best juice ever.

… maybe it’s just me

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Wild Stallion

As if we needed one more energy drink – this is mango flavored. I found it on tap at a gas station.

When you think of wild stallions, raw power, rippling muscles, thundering hooves, and manes whipping in the wind as they gallop across the great plains – don’t you just think “Orange Mango”?

… maybe it’s just me

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McCain – Palin

I can’t be the only one who thought of this can I?

The thought of Michael Palin in the pepperpot drag getup along with John McCain has me in stitches. Sarah Palin is probably a better choice.

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one please

There’s got to be a way that I can set this up in my own kitchen.

I’d probably just end up sticking my face underneath and dispensing both barrels directly into my mouth.

… maybe it’s just me.

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Red Knapp's Dairy Bar

Rochester, Michigan is the home of Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar. Until I was on the way there, I thought is was the Dairy Barn. Clearly, I’m a moron.

It’s a 50’s-style diner. It’s been a 50’s-style diner since the 50’s.
That’s actually really nice. Great burgers on homemade buns, shakes served in the can and fries.

You can’t go wrong when those are all done well.
…maybe it’s just me.
Thanks to Sylvia for taking me there!

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keep on giving

ADD: the gift that keeps on giving.

Clearly this poor fellow missed the first day of marketing school where they taught people the three basics.
1) who is your customer?
2) what do you want your customer to do?
3) how do you spell “ad”?

It’s math, it’s medicine, it’s advertising
(addvermathicinetising)

And that’s just plain awesome.

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100 posts

It was about 18 months ago that I converted the long-standing Wacky pages into a blog. I actually started the Wacky thing of the week on a shared drive at Calvin College over 10 years ago and the wackiness continues.

For this one-hundredth post on the newer blog-version, I needed something memorable, something superior, something wacky.

I give you: Badger Badger Badger

Mushroom…
Snake…

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Tanks alot

According to my friend Paul…
This was taken in front of the Gardendale, Alabama , Walmart while she (the subject of the picture) was going to the Flea market.

Now I ask you…
Who sits and looks at a pair of men’s briefs and says hmmmm…I can make a nice summer top from these!! On the other hand…
$6 for a three pack is a good price!

wow

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I Feel Great!

I don’t know about you, but I feel GREAT!

Here’s a guy who made up his mind to do something and by golly, he’s doing it. Spirit like this is contagious and gets around the office simply by being near it.

One problem, he based his new plan on a snack-bar instead of a really good idea. This is where planning really has to come into play.

What is the one thing you do really well?

Are you ready to go, do, and be that?

Thanks to Keller for pointing me to that video!

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Old Joke

I have the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for Greater Hopes, Inc. Adoption Agency and we had our first meetings this week in Rockford, MI – just around the corner from The Corner Bar.

Famous for their hot dogs and their hot dog contest. It seems if you eat enough dogs in a short enough amount of time, then you get your name on their wall. That’s good fun!

When I ordered my hot dog I was reminded of this old joke.

Q: What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
A: Make me one with everything.

…maybe it’s just me

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not dead yet

I’ve been listening to the local radio station in Grand Haven. It’s small-town and full of delightful little nuggets that you just don’t get at the big stations. I worked on the air for about 12 years and I fondly recall the goofy things I had to do. Some examples from my career:

  • weekly psychic/astrologer call-in show
  • remote broadcasts in the mobile studio van…
  • at a car dealership, from 5:30-10 AM, and the dealer didn’t open until Noon
  • at a TCBY for an entire week
  • in a city park on Saturday night from 7-Midnight
  • at a movie theater, in a mall, from a pay-phone, on a Tuesday night
  • commercial for a Mexican restaurant featuring blatant racial stereotypes
  • horrible commercial read live on the air by a business owner

However, yesterday I heard something new. It seems that my local station includes the reading of the obituaries column as part of their news broadcast. If that weren’t creepy enough, here’s what I heard yesterday:

Well… there are no new obituaries to share with you today… so… we’ll be back with more news after this:
(commercial) “Would your family be properly cared for if something happened to you?…”

Then I had to pull over as the rest of the life insurance commercial played.

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one pound of awesome

Pavilion's Wharf

1 pound…Pavilion's Wharf
One of my favorite places in Grand Haven is Pavilion’s Wharf right there on Washington. It’s a cute little place decked out like a red, green, and white cottage, but inside it’s an awesome little restaurant and bar.
The burgers are clearly their best offerings. Cooked to order and available in 1/2 pound or… yes… Full One Pound options. Fiesta burger: bacon, swiss, guacamole, and I encourage you to try the curly fries.

You won’t go to bed hungry… and you wont wake up hungry the next morning either.

… maybe it’s just me

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And then that happened

My office isn’t the best place in the whole wide world right now and yesterday the ceiling started to cave in.

Seriously, right in the middle of a meeting and right on cue as Andy said something with just a tinge of despair. Andy’s usually a very positive fellow, but this was priceless. We all stared at the can-light hanging from the ceiling by two slender copper threads and then just exploded in laughter.

It kinda helped.

The other day though…

Jon started making some crack about Genesis (the book, not the band) and after an awkward silence asked,

“What? We’re not joking about creation?”

Luke just smirked and muttered,

“Too soon.

I nearly hemorrhaged.

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Dairy Treat

It’s Summer time and that means ice cream. In Grand Haven, a lakeshore tourist community, that means you have plenty of choices. Today I’m talking about the Dairy Treat – at the request of my special guest requester – Brian.

Of all the gastronomic delights available, Brian had a hankering for a Rock Pile Shake. He said it was kinda like a blizzard but better.

When I arrived at the window I saw the slogan, “Home of the Rock Pile Shake”. I was pretty geared up! You get a choice of peanuts or pecans. Brian asked for peanuts so that’s what I got. I didn’t know what else might be in there and I don’t mind the adventure of an unknown. Brian hasn’t ever steered me wrong before, so I received my first Rock Pile with salivary glands at the ready.

There were strawberries clearly visible. I like strawberries. I like ice cream, I like peanuts, what could go wrong? (see my food rules for examples of what could go wrong)

I like bananas, but not really in things. This was a banana split in a blender. I ate the whole thing anyway just because I love Brian so much and wanted to honor his food request.

nasty

Brian also wanted me to visit Butch’s Beach Burritos (next blog post coming soon). I had to ask him if I should be worried about finding a banana covered in salsa hiding in there.

… maybe it’s just me.

PS – got something you want me to eat and blog about? Add your comment and let me know!

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Stop – The Agency Treatment

Thanks to Paul for pointing me at this gem

Anyone been at a client meeting like that?

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Can’t start soon enough

The Arena Football season is drawing to a close and that means NFL isn’t far behind, and that means Fantasy Football!

I placed 5th last year – right in the middle of the pack with a group of friends. The Fightin’ Amish will live to fight another day, but since I’ve moved to Grand Haven, I thought I should come up with some other potential team names. So – with my apologies to David Letterman (and other mis-users of the top-10 list) here are my top 10 rejected Grand Haven Football Team names:

10) Beacon
9) The Loyal Townies
8) The Retired Beachcombers
7) Hey I’m from Chicago too!
6) I just came in from GR for the weekend
5) I’m sooooo drunk
4) How do you get to the beach from here?
3) The Lousy Tourists
2) The Mighty Coast Guards (thanks Sylvia)
1) The Disappointing Musical Fountain

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Rotten things part 2

Whilst installing an upgrade for an operating system, I inadvertently closed my laptop, putting it to sleep. I honestly forgot it was going on until I was half-way home. When I tried to fire it up again the computer was pretty unhappy.

So, I tried to rescue the OS with the install CD. After about 90 minutes, I got this message in the picture:

That was not good.

So, I tried a few more things for a while and finally did a clean install and restored the data from a week-old backup. Not horrible, but not great either.

Also, the fan makes a horrible noise.

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Rotten things part 1

My office is not a fun place to work right now. In an attempt to get some funding together, I worked with our advancement (a goofy word for fundraising) staff and came up with a wiz-bang of a letter to a select audience.

Then things changed again.

Then we couldn’t send out the letter. So, we had to shred them. Jon came up with the bright idea to feed them into the shredder en-masse. He used this funky little staple-less stapler to connect all the letters together. Then we fed them into the shredder in a big-ole paper train.

That made the office fun again for a while. I hear we might be getting ice-cream sandwiches soon.

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Creative Juices

Thanks to Dave and Kevin for passing this one on to me.

Get your creative juices flowing?

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Rick and Aedan

So what do you say to someone when you haven’t seen them in 25 years? That’s what my friend Aedan said this week when we met up for a visit. He’s been living abroad for most of his adult life and lives in Finland now with his family. He found my website and recognized me by my toes.

He’s kept in touch with our mutual friend Rick over the years and this week while I was in Chicago, speaking at a conference and recording a podcast and Aedan was in town visiting home – we all got together.

So – what do you say after 25 years?

Giordano’s – that’s what!

maybe it’s just me…

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Instantly delicious

This is Jeff. Jeff wants his coffee. Jeff Parker is my oldest friend. He’s actually about the same age as me, but I’ve known him longer than nearly anyone I know. Jeff moved to Chile about 15 years ago and we’ve been keeping in contact ever since.

This is the dark and robust Uruguayan Cafe de leche. After a couple days of that, I flew from Uruguay to Chile.

I was surprised to find that the Chilean coffee is all instant. In fact if you want brewed coffee you need to ask and pay special for it. Apparently they export all of their coffee.

However, this is like no instant coffee I’ve ever had. If you made it dark – and most places simply hand you the hot water or hot milk and a tin of Nescafe – it’s really good. That was by far the strangest thing I ate/drank on my South American jaunt.

…maybe it’s just me

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ANGRIEST POODLE IN THE WORLD

Along with last week’s bucket full of puppies the little pet store in the Pueblos de Dominicana had this charming little critter.

While it seems to be indeed the angriest poodle in the world, it was in fact a very sweet little dog having a bad hair day.

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Bucket full of puppies

While traveling to South America I went to the Pueblos de Dominicana in Santiago, Chile.

They have everything.

Wood carvers, jewelry stores, t-shirt shops, and a ton of local craft-type shops.

They also have a pet shop. The pet shop had a bucket full of puppies.

Also – now I have a story that starts, “So I was on this plane full of Argentinian Super Models.” The story doesn’t really get any better than that, but it sure starts great.

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Technology Impaired

Apparently I’m technology impaired. It took me a an hour to figure this one out. The bellboy in my hotel (Montevideo, Uruguay) didn’t give me the heads up. That’s fine, I’m usually a pretty smart guy. Not today.

The light switches in the hotel don’t work!

What’s this salad?

ohhhh…. you put your room key in here and then all the light switches work. Nice.

Yeah, I totally want that for my apartment now. That’s just too brilliant! It saves so much energy that the US will clearly never adopt such a thing.

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Phone cards on a leash

I spent 10 hours in the Miami Airport today on my way to Montevideo, Uruguay to speak. I’m excited about the trip, but not the 5 hours on this side of security, and then 5 hours on the other side. Fortunately, I was able to work from a lounge next to the luggage shrink-wrapper.

Am I naive to think that I don’t need my luggage ensconced in blue glad-wrap to survive the trip? These guys do a bustling business, so I must be crazy.

Meanwhile – there are international phone card machines everywhere. This guy lead his along by a leash. We definitely don’t want that phone card machine out running amok!

Curses to the Miami Airport for removing the stamp machines so I couldn’t mail cards and letters. They did leave the mail boxes out though. Really? Yes, apparently 9/11 created a state of fear, not about what people might put into letter boxes, but that they might do legitimate mailing.

I blame the Amish – who, by the way, were in the Miami Airport in droves. How does that work?

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Boxing Cat

From the YouTube member’s description:
This is what my cat does every time we watch boxing…

Thanks to Tara, who sent it to Sylvia, who sent it to me.

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Dids Deli

I had to run some errands at lunch and just before I went home I stopped in at a Deli, just around the corner from my apartment.

Sweet Fancy Moses!
That’s what I call a sandwich.

I’m never leaving.

… maybe it’s just me

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Donut Day

Wednesday at the office is Donut Day.

It’s a day devoted to donuts.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

… maybe it’s just me.

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guest brian

Today I had lunch with Brian Tol. He and I used to work together at Gospel Communications and he’s recently gone over to 5Q Communications.

We ate at one of my favorite places in Grand Haven, Pavilion’s Wharf. The Wharf is right downtown, has great burgers, and is smoke-free. I’m pretty much done eating in places that allow smoking. Michigan is considering legislation that will ban smoking in public places, we’ll see about that.

The Wharf has this one burger that bears mentioning – The Magnificent Stuffed burger. It’s a burger – yeah, that’s pretty obvious – and it’s stuffed with bacon, cheese and jalapeño peppers – add curly fries and you’re set for the day. I estimate the calories at around 400,000.

On a personal note – Brian and his wife Amy are preparing to adopt a child from Ethiopia. I wrote up a warm-fuzzy letter for them and hopefully it will help. When I heard they were looking at Ethiopia I said, “Hey, at least they won’t each much.”

… maybe it’s just me.

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Historical Tour

I normally don’t link to or display content from The Onion because, while it’s usually hilarious (read: wacky), it’s also off-color enough that I don’t feel right about including it.

This time I’ve got a good one thanks to my friend Paul.

Historic Blockbuster Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past MirthMobile does not endorse the advertising messages associated with the video.

Paul was kind enough to pass this article on to me – containing the video. I really recommend the article as well.

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Mother Goose Rocks

As disturbing as Mother’s Day was, Mother Goose Rocks takes it up a notch.

Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes by Mono with ME2

Good luck getting that out of your head.

Thanks Paul

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Happy Mother’s Day

My Mom sent this to me back in January. Turn your volume down before playing it. It’s kinda loud.

Like the good son I am, I’m posting it for Mother’s Day.

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Dog tricks

My mom sent me a link to this dog tricks site.

Max does tricksGo visit and try some typical dog commands:
Speak
Rollover
Play dead
Jump
Fetch
and be sure to try – Kiss

Thanks Mom!

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Table Scraps

Three Years of Brian-Food and 100 posts – a retrospective.

It was on June 8, 2005 that I first posted about breakfast cereal. I’d been blogging since 1995 with my Wacky Thing of The Week – before there were blogs. I first started with internet fun available on a shared drive for my co-workers, and then started putting them on the web in ’97 when I learned how and registered mirthmobile.com. But Brian-Food was/is my first actual blog as we understand it today. I thought a great way to celebrate this milestone might be through reflection.

Some of my favorite food topics center on the elixir of life – Coca-Cola:
Zero
Black
Flavors
The Real Thing
I’ve switched over almost entirely to Coke Zero now, but now and then I have to get the good stuff.

I’ve used the word “joint” in 10% of my posts and “eatery” in 5%.

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I also find oddities in my food:
Bones
Things
Stuff

I try to take pictures before or while I’m eating. This is one of my favorites.

One of my favorite posts focused on the story I made up about the guy at my local Taco Bell. For a while there “Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito” was the #4 referring keyword to my site and MirthMobile was the #1 hit on Google with the words “Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito”. Now, thanks to the magic of blogs, it’s #1 and #2. Give this post a couple of weeks and I’ll have that #3 spot locked up as well.

I try to come up with catchy titles for my posts like:
Thank you very mocha
What up G
Unfortune cookies
and…
Shout out to my peeps
By the way, I still have some of those peeps drying nicely in my cupboard.

I also try to feature the gastronomic gyrations of my friends. Steve shows up from time to time, but his best work has to be the giant gumball in Mouthfull of pain. (not for the faint of heart)

Not everyone may agree with what I write, after all – I have my rules, but I hope the past three years have been entertaining and possibly enlightening for you gentle reader.

… on the other hand, maybe it’s just me.

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Coffee Refils

I love eating at diners, drive-ins and dives.
In fact, about the only cooking show I can stomach is the show by that name, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives“. As much as I love the food and the great variations on the PEB theme (pancake, egg, burger) at the local place, there’s something that those joints could learn from a national chain.

Coffee refills are too slow almost everywhere. Perkins on the other hand gets this right. If you order coffee, they give you the pot. That’s what I’m talking about. They brew small pots, directly into this air-tight carafe so you can enjoy fresh coffee during your stay. Today, I spent about 2 hours in a Perkins and finished the pot. It was diner-coffee, that is to say, not great, but not bad. But I never had to wait for a refill and I never had to deal with the dregs at the end of the pot, nor the regular/decaf problem.

Perkins, you get a gold star.

… maybe it’s just me.

PS – this is post number 99 on Brian-Food. I’m going to have to find something pretty good for #100. Stand by.

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Human Snake

Thanks to the fun people at Get out and play .com we have this video of a human snake.

GO!

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Expelled

I’m not a movie reviewer by trade, but I do go to a bunch of movies and I eat popcorn.

Tonight I went to see “Expelled”, a documentary about the oppression of even the words “intelligent design” if used in academia, the press, or politics. It’s a run-n-gun shoot showing Ben Stein interviewing leading scientists, thinkers and writers who have been fired, labeled, branded, and ostracized for mentioning intelligent design, along with dyed-in-the-wool Darwinist authors, teachers, and philosophers.
Big picture – Ben comes through the heavy Nazi, Communist, Berlin Wall, and Eugenics metaphors genuinely asking for open, free, debate on the topic of intelligent design as a way that Evolution (change over time) began.
My favorite detail – The Darwinists all agree, as did Darwin that life began with a single cell. There’s disagreement on where the cell came from. One scientist postulated that the cells piggy-backed on crystals. Another agreed that one way the cell got here was through seeding by another intelligent race of aliens. Clearly, he believed in the possibility of intelligent design, but not the possibility of a Judeo-Christian designer. Aliens “Yes”, God “No” – everyone got that? Yikes!

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Movie Popcorn

Just in case you haven’t ever been to a theater with a refillable popcorn bucket, I need to explain.

You see, you buy this bucket, then you fill it up with popcorn as much as you want until the bucket expires. I pretty much quit buying popcorn at the grocery store once I got my bucket. Although, I do keep a few bags of microwave corn around for emergencies.

There are two major buckets around these parts.

Bucket #1 – good at any of the theaters in this particular chain. Festooned with a recent movie ad, the bucket is good for about 5 months (December to April or May to November). This bucket goes for $37. That’s pretty pricey, but you get a $20 gift card with the bucket and the last two times I’ve bought one the cashier asked if I wanted to redeem the gift card toward the purchase of my bucket… seriously. So, now it’s $17. With that I also get $12 worth of coupons toward concessions, and I’m a sucker, so I get those over the course of time. So, at the end of the day, I’m paying $5 for 5 months worth of popcorn.

Bucket #2 – good at just the one theater in Grand Haven, where I live. It’s $10 and good for 6 months this year, and 6 months next year. You buy another bucket to cover the other 6 months of the two years. So, $20 gets you 24 months of popcorn.

They’ve got you hooked.
OK… maybe it’s just me.

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Narcoleptic Cat

Everyone, meet Boone.
Boone, this is everyone.

Boone is a narcoleptic cat.

Don’t believe me? – click on the picture of Boone to watch him pass out. It’s hilarious.

Meanwhile, Boone has a day job.
Boone works at Kitty Wigs (dot com)

Seriously – kitty wigs.
Is that really necessary?

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Garfield Minus Garfield

This is Garfield genius!
What’s better than a random Garfield comic strip?
Why a Garfield comic strip without the Garfield.

Meet Garfield minus Garfield.

Thanks Tol!

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A Monkey Washing A Cat

Yep… a monkey washing a cat.

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Happy Fish Day

The French call April 1, Poisson d’Avril – or literally translated “The Fish of April”. Traditionally, school children tape a picture of a fish onto the back of a schoolmate who then cries out “Poisson d’Avril!” when they discover they’ve been, as Ashton says, “Punked.”

Here on the Wacky page, April 1 is a bit like Christmas. I look forward to the variety of hoaxes perpetrated by some great pranksters out there. Last year’s Google hoax was particularly fun.

This year, I had the fun of setting up a little something that goes live on April 1.

I’m supervising a weekly blog for the community I manage as part of my work and we blog every Tuesday. This week, Tuesday happens to be April 1, so I couldn’t resist. The posts are usually about what’s happening in the community, with our members, or internet ministry in general. Over the last few months we’ve been phasing out one site: Gospelcom.net in favor of Gospel.com and next month we’re taking the old site down entirely and pointing it to the new one. The new site has been incredibly successful so far. How successful?

Here’s the gist of the blog…
Since Gospel.com has been so successful Google might buy us out. The Gospel.com brand name is so valuable that we’re going to offer some services with the Gospel.com identity; services like Gospel.com email – or Gmail for short. We’ve even launched a new website showing the merger of Gospel.com and Google – Googspel. Of course that prospect is ludicrous and Google has no interest in the Gospel, let alone Gospel.com. I realize that for most people it’s not all that funny, but to us it’s hilarious.

The thing about trying to reach people for Jesus is that sometimes people see it as just a big April Fools Day joke. The rug’s been pulled out from under them so many times that they can’t trust people. When someone says that they love me, I tend to shy away. And if they tell me that they are going to love me, that makes me even more nervous.

But here’s what I’ve learned. People fail. People fail all the time. I fail ALL THE TIME. I fail my friends, my family, my employer, the ministries for which I’m responsible. I mess up ALL THE TIME. It took me the better part of my life to figure out that God doesn’t mess up, doesn’t let me down, and doesn’t fail. God is exactly who he says he is.

Our own histories and experience with people have skewed our perception of who God is, but when you really read what he says about himself, it’s a very different picture than what we’ve thought for so long. Our culture has been throwing us a red herring for years about God. It’s time that we pull that fish off of our backs and yell, “Poisson d’Avril!” one last time, and go see who Jesus really is.

No fooling!

Happy Fish Day!

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Are you paying attention?

Test your visual acuity with this simple video test:

Today is Good Friday – it’s a day that we post-modern, millennial, post-literate Christians tend to overlook when we’re not looking for it. We tend to miss the miracle that’s just around the corner. If it’s never been explained to you before, I’m going to take a really quick crack at this.

Jesus, who lived not just a good life, but a perfect life, died. He died in the most horrible way that the most brutal culture ever to walk the planet could imagine. Then, after he was buried for a couple of days, he got up and walked out of his tomb. No one ever did that before, and no one has done it since. Afterwards he ate and drank with his friends, thousands of people witnessed him walking around living and breathing. He’s still alive right now. The best and worst part of this for me was that he did it on purpose. He knew that because of the rules of the universe, someone had to put things right between us (me) and God. The only way to do that was through a sacrifice like this. His act of selfless love tore down the wall between me (us) and God and now we can live directly with him in our lives, without fear. Today is Friday when we remember his death, his sacrifice, and the huge pileup of everything we’ve ever done against each other, ourselves, and against God. On Sunday, we’ll remember that in one moment everything changed.

It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.

Let me know if you want to know more: brianatkinson [at] mirthmobile [dot] com

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Does it really?

I used to drive by this sign all the time and it made me laugh.

Seriously? It Works?
What works? I imagine their sales pitch going something like this…

“Hi, this is Brian from It Works Marketing. I was wondering if you had any marketing needs that It Works Marketing could take care of today.”

“No, we don’t have any graphic designers.”
“No, we don’t have any one who has any marketing training or anything.”
“No, we don’t actually have any experience.”
“What do we do? Well, we recently bought a box of sticky letters that we could use to put on a sign out in front of your place.”

“No… we don’t have any Goo-Gone to help wipe off the adhesive from the previous sign.”

Yeah – something like that.

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Jump in – the water’s fine

When some people decide to follow Jesus, it’s all at once and they jump right in.

(wait for the second kid)

Others have more of a process they need to go through and some have to put a toe in the water first.

When God brought His people to the land that He promised them, he said,

“When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.”
Joshua 3

Once they did, God parted the water in the river, just like He did earlier in the big migration story – parting the Red Sea. God spent 40 years teaching a people that they needed to trust Him. When he got them where they needed to be, he asked them to take the critical step in faith.

I’m not the first person to say this – but to me it seems that if you go and read that whole story, God wants us to trust Him and not ourselves. He wants us to leave our “good sense” behind and go jump in the river (lake).

What do you think? (read the story first)

Thanks to my Mom for sending me the video.

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Chili Cookoff Real Winner

Real Winner

We had a chili cookoff at work. It was a lot of fun.

There were chilies of all flavors, concoctions, colors, and spice levels. The big winner was Kevin Kyser and his Chicken Chili. It was overwhelmingly fantastic with an average score of 4.17 out of a possible 5. Kevin won a 5lb Hershey Bar and $20 gift certificates to O’Charley’s.

It turns out that Jody (pictured), Kevin’s wife made the chili.

I’ve suggested to Kevin that he send Jodi to O’Charley’s and he stays home with the 4 kids and each one gets 1/4 of the chocolate.

Maybe it’s just me…

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Bear with me

Some fantastic bear moments from around the internet:


1) from Jonathan: Bear Rescued on Donner Pass Bridge


2) Stephen Colbert hates bears
Flickr Group
official site


3) Bear with me a moment – from xkcd.com
Thanks to my brother Chris for getting me hooked on that one.

and just because I can’t resist another Stephen Colbert moment:

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Screen Cleaner

So we ran out of screen cleaning wipes at my office the other day and our purchasing department got us a replacement.

Please consider donating to Gospel Communications so we can either get some real screen cleaners or feed this little guy.

Thanks to Jon for that one.

Even better when you watch it in your browser. For best cleaning be sure to maximize your window.

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What’s a Gygax?

Maybe you heard that Gary Gygax died.
Maybe you’re saying, “Brian, that’s awful. Who’s Gary Gygax?”
Maybe you’re in the first stage of grief, denial.

I tend to move along pretty quickly.

Here are 16 jokes about Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, that you’d better not make. There’s an internet full of nerds who will get out their vorple blade and… oh man.

1. “Quick! Someone cast Raise Dead!”
2. “Don’t worry – he’s just play-testing the Astral Plane for the next edition.”
3. “He’s gone the way of Star Frontiers.”
4. “Analysts warn of a free-fall in Mountain Dew futures.”
5. “In the next town, you meet a stranger named Barry Bygax.”
6. “Now who will lead our young people to Satan?”
7. “With his last breath, he cursed the name of Marlon Wayans.”
8. “I wonder how they’ll divide up his XP.”
9. “Pallbearers, make a Bend Bars/Lift Gates roll.”
10. “At least he didn’t live to see Disney’s Greyhawk On Ice.”
11. “Lorraine Williams is behind this somehow, I just know it.”
12. “The worlds of adventure gaming, fantasy fandom, and van painting will never be the same.”
13. “When I heard, I cried 2d10 tears.”
14. “Is there anything in the will about electrum?”
15. “Heart condition? Wow, I always thought it’d be owlbears that got him.”
16. “Suddenly, nobody in Heaven wants to hang out with Marilyn Monroe on Friday night.”

Thanks to Woot.com for that

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How’s your soul

Yesterday’s Jesus post has me examining my soul a little more than usual. I think it started with this shot on the local news this morning:
Of course it’s actually a very white orchestra. Clearly the quotes around “Symphony with Soul” indicate a title, but since I’ve been blogging on this “other blog” I can’t help but see quotation marks a little differently.

And that got me thinking about Don Simmons.

So how’s your soul?

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just painful

I love Jesus.
Seriously! I am a huge fan. I think that Jesus is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and so many of my loved ones. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you’re curious let me know: brianatkinson [at] mirthmobile.com

Anyway, since I’m such a fan of Jesus I’ve made it one of my missions to be an everyday marketer for Him. It’s one of the reasons I run this website. It’s also one of the reasons why stuff like this makes me sad, angry and cracks me up all at the same time. Is there any wonder why there has to be a blog dedicated to how bad church marketing can be?

Most Christians who are really sold-out for Jesus tend to express their passion in a variety of ways. Some sculpt, some make movies, some write books and essays. Unfortunately, some create painful art

Since we don’t have any photographs of Jesus, people try to create some kind of image that represents who Jesus is to them. I just can’t get behind this creepy Kenny Loggins in a tux version. Why did you have to paint this? Why?


This one was tough to pick out from the collection. I had a choice between this boxer with the gloves off and another in the ring, but with more of a WWF style to it. Jesus is no wimp. The man was a laborer, a carpenter, or some say more like a construction worker. He probably doesn’t resemble the emaciated blond guy they show in the movies. On the other-hand I don’t know if portraying Jesus as a bare-chested prize-fighter really captures the essence of the savior, even if you title the painting “Undefeated”.

Last but not least, the inked Jesus. What more can I say about this one? For my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters out there who place a traditional importance on the role of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, please don’t be offended by the “Father” tattoo on our Lord’s bicep. I’m sure there’s a renaissance Madonna on the other arm.

Thanks to my friend Stever for pointing these out to me.

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Cat Herding

For years I’ve had the phrase “cat herding” in my bio but some people ask what that means.

To me, that commercial, shown first in the 2000 Super Bowl and later during the 2005 Super Bowl, does a great job explaining it. That’s what I do.

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tax dollars at work

It’s funny how some random events can lead to some unexpected answers to some burning questions.
I hardly get any mail at my new apartment in Grand Haven. I’m getting some forwarded mail from my old place, and I’m getting some mail addressed properly, but not very much. Out of 6 possible mail delivery days each week, I seem to receive mail on an average of only 2 days. Why don’t I get much mail?

Now the interesting facts and random events.
A check mailed to me on or near February 1 is now officially three weeks – undelivered – late – missing – etc.
I recently renewed my passport – and yesterday got a phone call from the passport people.
And I just spoke with my United States Postal Carrier (they have titles you know – USPC) in the hallway of my building.

These are two pieces of new information gleaned from the phone hallway conversations:
1) My USPC only works three days a week and the other three days are handled by substitutes who don’t normally work this route.
2) My Passport was returned to the United States Passport Administration Office as undeliverable through the United States Postal Service.

Leading me to this conclusion:
US mail might not deliver to my home in a timely manner.
My tax dollars at work?

The moral?
At least I don’t have Comcast for cable and internet anymore.

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haircuts

I just got a new haircut – finally. Having recently moved to Grand Haven, I had to figure out where to get a haircut around here. Fortunately, surprisingly, freakishly, coifishly , mind-bogglingly, there are lots of places to get a haircut just up the street.

I’m even pretty happy with the results. Sylvia says it’s her favorite so-far. So, as bizarre as 10 haircut places within easy walking distance and 100 more within 15 miles seems to me, I don’t think it compares to how wacky this is:

Special thanks to The Chris for blogging that haircut.

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Chumble Spuzz

My friend D’Arcy sent me this blog post about learning English as a second language and using children’s blocks to illustrate the language.

Everything starts out innocently enough:

And moves on to some interesting translations:

Then a little stranger:

Where’s your epidiascope anyway?

After that, it just gets scary.

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Now that’s a coney dog

Lafayette Coney Island Dogs

That’s a coney dog Lafayette Coney Island Dogs
Living in Western Michigan as I do, there’s a huge hole in my diet. Namely, the Coney Dog. The Coney Island dog or chili-dog has somehow been perfected on the East side of the state and specifically in Detroit. Now, if you want a chili burger, you have to go to Los Angeles, but Detroit has cornered the market on the dog.

Next door to the American Coney Island, a poor excuse for a coney island joint, you’ll find the best there is: Lafayette Coney Island.

The natural casing makes the hot dogs snap when you bite into them. The fries are fresh and hot, covered in shredded cheddar and a ladle of chili. The onions are zesty. The service is… oh what’s the word… International, that’s it. The guys that work there speak enough English to take your order, deliver it and talk about the Tigers, Lions, Redwings, Pistons, and how Joe Louis was the greatest boxer who ever lived.

They have Coke at the soda fountain, and everything else comes in cans, including Vernors of course. That’s the Michigan state beverage.

… maybe it’s just me?

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Peanut Butter Banana dogs

Mmmm…
So what you do is split a hot dog down the middle and warm it up. Bologna works in this, but bacon is best. The hot dog was a little improvisation.
Then a banana and put it all on a hot dog bun spread with peanut butter.
So good.

Peanut buttery, melty, banana-ey, salty, meaty…

… maybe it’s just me?

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Valentines Schmalentines

Every year the Hallmarkiest of Hallmark holidays comes around in mid-February. Of course I mean Valentine’s Day. People who are together feel pressure to do something grand and people who are alone get depressed. We all eat too much candy. Kids bring card-ettes to school and often lace them with less than flattering aphorisms.

In the USA Miss Esther Howland has credit for receiving and sending the first valentine cards in 1847. Commercially produced cards were introduced earlier in Europe right around 1800 – the first mechanical cards in 1840.

Then there are the candy hearts. How can anyone actually ingest those chalky, flavorless lumps with trite sayings tattooed in Red #6? The first conversation hearts were introduced in the 1860’s by the founder of the NECCO Company founder. The hand-made candy hearts included lengthy entreaties such as,

“Please send a lock of your hair by return mail.”

Finally they were tightened up and factory-made by the NECCO Company in 1902 and since then have sported favorite sayings like: kiss me, sweet talk, and be mine. 2004 brought the internet-based IM ME to the hearts.

The mind swims with the awfulness.

Over the years NECCO has eliminated sayings when they become out-dated, such as the funky “Dig Me” and the cheerful, “you are gay”.
A full production run contains 1.7 million pieces and NECCO will sell about 8 billion candy hearts in six weeks. They have a shelf life of 5 years.

Thanks to the folks at despair.com there’s a valentines candy heart for the rest of us.

… maybe it’s just me?

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Fruit Salad

Is that a euphemism?
Sylvia says that I’m a good cook. I made up this fruit salad on the fly while I was at the grocery store picking up groceries to cook in my new groovy pad for the first time.

Ingredients:
2 Bartlet pears very ripe
1 Granny Smith Apple
1c red seedless grapes
2 blood oranges
1 starfruit
1 stalk of celery
1/2c roasted almond slivers

Directions:
cut it all up, mix with your (clean) hands, top with almonds. There’s plenty of citrus juice to keep things from browning. Serve it up in piles or in bowls.

I also made, a green leafy romaine/spinach salad, baked potatoes, and rib eye steak.

Sylvia brought harvest medley pie (raspberries, rhubarb, apples, pears) and ice cream to the Super Bowl the night before, but we didn’t have any then. It was really good for dessert the next day.

Anyway, I like to cook, and I like to make a nice presentation… maybe it’s just me.

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Leftovers again

It’s Fat Tuesday again – kind of a second Thanksgiving here on the brian-food blog. .flickr-photo { }.flickr-frame { float: right; text-align: center; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }

Since we’re still behind the picket lines of the writer’s guild strike, here’s a Phat Tuesday re-run, just like on TV.

Meanwhile, one of my co-workers brought in the Paczki this year – I need to go get one before they’re gone!

I’d still like to know if anyone is making a sacrifice for lent.

…maybe it’s just me?

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Steve-food

My friend Steve sent me this picture from a vending machine.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to trust this salad for a couple of reasons.
1) The window of opportunity for room-temperature mayonnaise is rather narrow.
2) Is it Bumble Bee or SweetSue Chicken?
3) Too much packaging… but mostly the first one.

… maybe it’s just me… or Steve.

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Spoiler Alert

There are no spoilers in this blog – I don’t believe in them. I’m not stupid, I know they exist, I’m just not going to be someone who creates a spoiler. I think it’s just common courtesy. A certain movie theater on the other-hand was not so courteous.

I went to see Cloverfield with Sylvia and Ezekiel.
The theater in question has started a little, what I like to call, “customer service moment” after the trailers, but before the feature. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to adjust my arrival time to the theater such that I miss the genuine commercials, but still catch the trailers. Now they send a kid who fancies himself a thespian out to tell us how wonderful DLP technology is. Then they play the DLP trailer, and then the movie.

This time the kid came out and did not mention the millions of colors, the sparkling clarity nor even the marvelous contrast ratio provided by the DLP experience. Nay, he stepped out into the role of the film critic.

I should point out that I don’t like to know too much about movies before I go to them I want to enjoy the experience and be surprised. Some movies, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the movie. Those are annoying. I had managed to shield myself from most things about the movie before I got there. I knew from the trailer that something happened, everyone was scared, and we might see some of it through a hand-held home video camera.

So, when the kid stepped out to talk about DLP and instead started talking about the movie, he revealed certain truths about the movie that I did not know before that moment.

sigh…

I’m not going to tell you anything about it other than what I thought of the movie. Ready? If you don’t want to know what I thought, don’t read any more. In fact, I’m placing this image here again so that you won’t go any further if you don’t want to.

don't read below this unless you want to know what I think

It
Was
AWESOME!!!
If you see one movie this month – go see that. It’s got everything a great summer blockbuster needs, except the summer.
WOW!!!
Whew!
Great movie…
Yeah!

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weigh-way-down

I’ve been working on some things in my personal life to be a better me. One of them is my weight. I’ve been trying to follow the plan laid out in the weigh-down workshop and it’s working pretty well for me. I’m at a bit of a plateau right now, but that’s OK. Those things happen.
I’ve joined the YMCA and it’s time to sell my own Elliptical machine.
You can bid on that over on eBay if you like.

Good news – thanks to the Elliptical – I’m down about 20lbs since Thanksgiving. I’ll keep you updated on that as I go.

Have you lost any weight this year?

… maybe it’s just me?

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chipotle grilled stuffed burrito redux

Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito
Who knew that those four little words could mean so much to me for so long?

Back in the early days of this blog I wrote a happy little post about a little something that tickled my taste buds at my favorite Faux-Mex restaurant – Taco Bell. Today that little post is #4 on my list of keywords used to find mirthmobile.com.

Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito
That little blog post is also the number one hit on a Google search for those four words. Try it yourself. Though I’m sure once Taco Bell gets wind of this they will hire someone to do some search engine optimization and they can get back on top.

Maybe that will be me…

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Go to the mattresses

The time has come to buy a new bed. It was time to go to the mattresses.

I visited a number of furniture stores and carefully avoided a particular chain of furniture stores. Hint – the sales staff descend on shoppers like a horde of locusts, and they advertise… a lot! And the initials of the store are “Art” “Van”. However, on a limited budget, I eventually walked through the doors.
I made a B-line for the mattresses and carefully avoided any eye contact that might encourage the sales-folk to pounce. I think they can smell you when you come in, or maybe they have chips installed in their heads that ping when the doors open. In any case, I wasn’t going to give them the opportunity to jump me.

After about 30 seconds in the mattresses, walking past the $3500 Tempurpedics and down to the other end, Jon showed up. I put on my “polite, but just looking” face and returned his greeting. He said,

“If you have any questions, I’ll be right over there,”

pointing to a kiosk across the way a bit.

I was shocked to say the least. No pitch, no fake friendliness. Where was I?

I found a mattress I wanted, the price was good, and I was ready to make a purchase. I looked up to see if Jon was around. There he was, right where he said he’d be. He hadn’t come around to check on me or anything. He did just what he said he would do. Weird.

He rang up my sale including a new mattress pad, which he carried out to my car for me. Then he thanked me for my business. Weird.

I felt that I needed to say something. I thanked him for his time and told him that I really appreciated the way he gave me the space I needed to make a purchase. Jon kinda smiled and said,

“Yeah, we know what the reputation is out there, and some of us are trying to change that.”

It’s working.

When I started this story, you might have had a visceral reaction to the words “Art Van”. You might have thought to yourself – No Way. I’m here to tell you that at least one person over there gets it and is trying to do the right thing. So, now I’m an Art Van evangelist?

I found the whole shebang to be a big metaphor for Christianity. My own experience was that I was really turned off to the hypocrites I knew. People who claimed to be Christians – all that love junk – but didn’t behave consistently with their talk. Then I met just a couple of people who were trying really hard to live the way they talked and their deep desire was to see me connect with the creator of the universe.

Weird

One person’s genuine faith and love made all the difference to me. There’s a new book out there called unChristian. For Christians it’s a wake up call that Christianity has an image problem. Young Americans see Christians kind of the way I thought about the Art Van sales staff. If you don’t know what our reputation is, pick up the book and read it.

We know what the reputation is out there, and some of us are trying to change that. It’s time to go to the mattresses.

Weird

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my whiteboard

From time to time I write something on my whiteboard that stays up there for a while.
I’ve usually borrowed them from somewhere.
Sometimes they are clever like this Haiku:

Haikus are easy
but sometimes they don’t make sense
Refrigerator

Sometimes they are relatively profound:

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

Sometimes they are wacky, like this one my boss said a few weeks ago:

“My mom thinks she’s having some dementia. She’s not, but she thinks she is.”

Thanks Robby.

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and we're back

It’s been almost a year since the Peter Pan salmonella outbreak.

The jars are finally back on the store shelves and display their fancy marketing slogan: “New Better Peanut Taste!”
Wouldn’t it also be appropriate to label them, “Now with less infectious bacteria!”?

… maybe it’s just me?

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Macaroni and Cheese 6pc

Yes that’s right gentle reader, a 6 piece of macaroni and cheese. I’m picturing 6 noodles laden with cheese.
As it turns out they are actually those mac-n-cheese bites. Breaded and fried Macaroni and Cheese.
Can life get any better than this?
I submit that it cannot.

Unless of course you can tell me what Bosco sticks are.

…maybe it’s just me?

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New Year Foreshadowing

I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. I went out to my car this morning – headed to church – and when I clicked my little key fob to unlock the doors, the alarm went off. At first, I thought it was because I pushed the wrong button, but then I realized that there was something wrong.
Something very wrong.
There’s glass all over the place.
Someone tried to break into my car last night and was successful – with a brick. Half of the brick is sitting outside the car, and half of it is inside. In this picture you can see the dents they made in the door frame near the top when they must have been throwing that brick over and over. These would-be thieves also have bad aim.
I had my new GPS and my iPod in plain site. Yes, I’m that dumb. I’m grateful that they didn’t actually take anything. Since they were successful at eventually breaking into the MirthMobile, but didn’t take anything, I’m guessing that the alarm did go off and scare them away. That would also explain why the alarm sounded when I tried to unlock the car at the beginning.
Now some thankful moments…
1) Thanks to Tiffany over at Progressive. She was very nice and made the process of reporting my claim easy.
2) Thanks to Officer Brian Barry from the Kentwood Police Department for coming around and making the police report easy.
3) I’m thankful that they didn’t take anything.
Now some dork moments…
1) There’s snow all around the carport – meaning that indeed there are footprints in the snow leading to and leading away from my car.
2) I mocked myself for the CSI-type of thoughts I had.
3) I’m pretty sure that the foot prints are from Converse sneakers, about a men’s size 9.
I shared my self mocking with Officer Brian and he also mocked me… “We can probably get some casts of these prints… naaaaahhh”

Nice…

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Have yourself a creepy little Christmas

I’ve really been thinking about a certain Christmas Carol this year – Up On The Housetop – maybe you know the one? I’ve pasted in the lyrics below for your reference. I’m really OK with the chorus. I mean, who wouldn’t go? I’m even OK with the first two verses, they tell a lovely little story about Santa Claus. The dolly for little Nell sounds precious.
I find myself stumbling on the stocking of little Will. What’s this freak get for Christmas?
– a hammer
– lots of tacks
– a whistle
– a ball
– a whip
I’m sorry, but that’s just creepy. Besides potential problems with child-labor laws, I’m concerned that for his birthday this kid is also getting half a pound of C4.
Perhaps I should point out that back in the olden days when B.R. Hanby wrote this song, there was no Nintendo. Little boys had to make their own fun out of wood and string.

Up On The Housetop

Up on the housetop reindeer pause
Out jumps good old Santa Clause
Down thru the chimney with lots of toys
All for the little ones
Christmas joys.

Chorus

Ho, ho, ho!
Who wouldn’t go!
Ho, ho, ho!
Who wouldn’t go!
Up on the housetop
Click, click, click
Down thru the chimney with
Good Saint Nick

First comes the stocking
Of little Nell
Oh, dear Santa
Fill it well
Give her a dolly
That laughs and cries
One that will open
And shut her eyes

Repeat Chorus

Next comes the stocking
Of little Will
Oh, just see what
A glorious fill
Here is a hammer
And lots of tacks
A whistle and a ball
And a whip that cracks

Repeat Chorus

And I’m not alone. Morgan is also clearly disturbed.

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Tradition

In Gulfport, Mississippi our family Christmas tradition includes Bruce’s famous gumbo. This time there was sausage, chicken, smoked pork, and shrimp.

We had quite a crowd over to the house for dinner – they were all former neighbors from Pascagoula and long-time friends. I had a lovely time getting to know them all.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

or… maybe it’s just me?

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Facebook wackiness

So it turns out that “Brian Atkinson” is a rather popular name, and people find me on facebook and think I’m someone else with the same name. Nothing I’ve ever had to deal with before. Here’s a recent exchange with someone named Ruben.

It should be known that when I wrote:

Wait, wait!
Is this: http://tinyurl.com/2alp3w
you?

The link went to this sandwich:

Ruben is my new best friend.

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“Congratulations”

I’m an occasional contributor to the “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, as some of you may know.

It’s not one of those grammar-police blogs, but a just-for-fun snarky comment blog about the inappropriate use of quotes and their funny and not-so-hidden meanings.

The “good news” about the “blog” is that it just cracked the top 1,000 most popular blogs on the internet. So – “congratulations” to Bethany and all the other contributors!

We’re number 997!
Yeah!

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Home Improvement

The local and national news was all over this story today and I had to weigh in on it.

Steve Flaig and his biological mother Christine Tallady

This guy named Steve Flaig just found his birth-mother. I’m overjoyed for him and I’d love to talk to him about his experience. The goofy thing of course is that when he met her, he found out that they work together at Lowes.
Seriously…
Mlive
WoodTV
MSNBC
Truemors
Is God awesome or what?

My mother and me

Why I’m excited about it.

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