Giving it Away

Have you ever noticed that I don’t play games or use these gadgets on Facebook? Ever. (ok rarely). Ever wonder why? Here’s what I wonder, “why would someone make a free viral tool or game?” Why would they give away something cool? Why would they give away something so cool that hundreds, thousands, or millions of people would use it? There’s a real reason.

Continue reading “Giving it Away”

End of the World

Cubs End of The World

As the ‪Cubs‬ gear up for a 1-game playoff vs Pittsburgh tonight, “Doomsday” is also today, at least according to Chris McCann, leader and founder of Pennsylvania-based eBible Fellowship. It’s like the mere possibility of the Cubs going to the playoffs, let alone the World Series is freaking out some people.

Continue reading “End of the World”

Social Media Warning

Susceptibility Virus Warning

Warning Social Media users – there is a new threat to your personal security and it is being perpetrated on Facebook as well as other social media like Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. The posted virus can infect Windows and Mac users as well as various distributions of Linux. Put simply, if you’re connected to social media at all, you need to be aware of this problem.
Continue reading “Social Media Warning”

Creepy Symmetry

OK – here’s a weird thing about my brain.

At lunch today I had an apple that was leaning off to one-side and I thought – hmm not very symmetrical.
Then I remembered a Newsweek Magazine article from about 15 years ago that described how symmetry had a lot to do with what we perceive to be beautiful. They showed actors’ and actress’ faces that were split up the middle and superimposed on the other side to show how symmetrical or not they were. Continue reading “Creepy Symmetry”

olden days

I used to write on this blog all the time. I used to publish every week and even had a “what’s wacky this week” tagline. So, what happened? Facebook… Twitter… I’m posting there all the time and neglecting this, my first foray into what would become social networking. So, let me look back at a few recent posts over there and see if they measure up. Continue reading “olden days”


My first PDA

Whether Public Display of Affection, or Electronic Organizer (which by the way does not abbreviate to PDA at all) it’s not something I think about often. However, today someone mentioned that teenagers use PDAs. Yeah… perhaps not as hip to the mod crowd as they’d hoped. Continue reading “PDA”

New Amex Ad Bombs

From Homeland Security / Special Operations
On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, members of the Baltimore County Police Department – Hazardous Devices Team responded to a suspicious item received via the mail (USPS). The recipient partially opened the item and observed “wires” which he felt were consistent with an IED. The item was subsequently examined by bomb technicians who determined the item to be a new “American Express” advertisement.

I repeat – NOT A BOMB.

NOT A BOMB! – kinda one of those musical greeting cards… awesome.

Christmas Story

I can’t believe that Christmas is almost here!

I have a special shout-out to my friend Matt for passing this heartfelt story on to me. I’m not above posting something that’s traveling around the internet and although this might not exactly fit in the format of the Wacky blog, it really got to me.

So – in the time-honored tradition of the Christmas Shoes, here is a Christmas story for 2009.

Late last week, I was rushing around trying to get some last minute shopping done. I was stressed out and not thinking very fondly of the Christmas season right then. It was dark, cold, and wet in the parking lot as I was loading my car up with gifts that I felt obligated to buy. Then I noticed that I was missing a receipt that I might need later. So mumbling under my breath, I retraced my steps to the mall entrance.

As I was searching the wet pavement for the lost receipt, I heard a quiet sobbing. The crying was coming from a poorly dressed boy of about 12 years old.

He was short and thin. He had no coat. He was just wearing a ragged flannel shirt to protect him from the cold night’s chill. Oddly enough, he was holding a hundred dollar bill in his hand.

Thinking that he had gotten lost from his parents, I asked him what was wrong.

He told me his sad story:

He said that he came from a large family. He had three brothers and four sisters. His father had died when he was nine years old. His mother was poorly educated and worked two full time jobs. She made very little to support her large family. Nevertheless, she had managed to skimp and save two hundred dollars to buy her children Christmas presents.

The young boy had been dropped off by his mother, on the way to her second job. He was to use the money to buy presents for all his siblings and save just enough to take the bus home. He had not even entered the mall, when an older boy grabbed one of the hundred dollar bills and disappeared into the night.

“Why didn’t you scream for help?” I asked.

The boy said, “I did.”

“And nobody came to help you?” I wondered.

The boy stared at the sidewalk and sadly shook his head.

“How loudly did you scream?” I inquired.

The soft-spoken boy looked up and meekly whispered, “Help me!”

I realized that absolutely no one could have heard that poor boy cry for help. So I grabbed his other hundred and ran to my car.

Turn around

Oddly enough, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been pointed to a couple of different quirky pieces about the old 80’s hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.

First is this flow-chart detailing the song.

Jeannie Harrell takes Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler, and puts it in flowchart form.

And this literal interpretation of the music video.

This just in… Brak

It is ITLAPD again

Get Your Yaar On!

Today is September 18 – or as I like to call it, International Talk Like A Pirate Day‘s Eve.

For the weekend, I am Piratizing the whole Mirthmobile site. Enjoy it while you can!

Special thanks to the Yahoo Developer Network for the JavaScript. This helpful little script turns seemingly innocuous phrases into a salty prattle.



Still a Typo

Is it still considered a typo when you make it out of wood and mass-produce it?

A co-worker of mine picked up some office decor and found what she thought said “Peace” followed by a decorative cross. While showing it off, she pointed out how she wanted a reminder to have peace in her life.

I suggested that she would most likely get lots of visitors to her desk and phone calls asking for computer help. (followed by a blank look)

It took a while for her to figure out that the Peace wooden cut-out instead spelled PC ACE.

I still like to call her from time to time and ask her questions about my Mac.

marker fun

See how much fun you can have with a marker and a window in your cubicle?

It’s lots of fun working in a creative environment.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of other things you should have seen on the internet.
You Should Have Seen This

Thanks Matt!

Google Makes Life Easier

google logoI know you all need help with the technology in your lives and I thought I’d point you to some ways Google is making my life easier.

Over the years, Google has helped me with my home internet connection:

Helped me understand how their search engine rankings work:

And even provided me with refreshing beverages to help balance my electrolytes:

This year, Google has added a couple of great user-friendly tools to their labs, including:
Autopilot for email

It utilizes their new Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE):

So, dig in, hook up, and plug away.

objects in mirror

Objects in Mirror are Dumber than they Appear

Reminds me of a story –
These two guys get out of Truck Driving School and on their first run, they see a sign for a low bridge – 12 feet – 0 inches. They check the truck and the height is 13 feet 9 inches. They keep driving.
As they get closer to the bridge, they see another sign, “ low bridge – 12 feet – 0 inches”. They check the truck and the height is 13 feet 9 inches. They keep driving.
Finally as they get to the bridge, they stop, see the sign on the bridge, “12 feet – 0 inches”. They check the truck and the height is 13 feet 9 inches.
One driver says, “Waddaya think?”
The other says, “Well, there’s not a cop in sight, I say we go for it.”

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.


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.

Tina Fey Glasses

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…

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?

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

And that’s just plain awesome.

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


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!


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!

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.


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!

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?

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: in favor of 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 has been so successful Google might buy us out. The brand name is so valuable that we’re going to offer some services with the identity; services like email – or Gmail for short. We’ve even launched a new website showing the merger of and Google – Googspel. Of course that prospect is ludicrous and Google has no interest in the Gospel, let alone 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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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 for that

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?

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]

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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

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

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.


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.


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

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.

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”