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.


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.

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

The link went to this sandwich:

Ruben is my new best friend.


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!

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.
Is God awesome or what?

My mother and me

Why I’m excited about it.

A quick Christmas list

Usually we make Christmas lists for things we want instead of things we’ve done. However, every year some people write those Christmas letters listing and describing their accomplishments for the past year. Here’s my list:
1) Name change
Following my recent adoption I’ve done most of the name-change stuff.

2) Followed by another Comcastic moment
Changing the name on my power, gas, bank, email, phone and a ton of other stuff that you have to change when your name changes was really pretty easy. Most of them took a phone call and sometimes an email with my old and new drivers license attached and that was that. Comcast took things to a whole new level of annoying and funny. First of all I couldn’t just call. I couldn’t email or fax them proof of my new name. I had to go to their office. Really? Yes, I had to go to a building so that their crack customer service staff could inspect my documentation and then change the name on my account. In truth, they inspected my documents, called a supervisor who also inspected my documents and then they gave me a form. They typed in a bunch of stuff on a computer and printed a form. They handed it to me to fill out. Most of what I needed to fill out they had typed into the computer, but it didn’t appear on the form. Now that’s all pretty Comcastic, but did you know that they accomplished all of this Comcastic customer service from behind one-and-a-half inches of bullet-proof glass? Oh yes.
Don’t make your customer service so great that they staff gets thank you Christmas fruitcakes from grateful subscribers. No, protect your customer service staff from the so-angry-that-they-might-become-violent customers.
Way to go Comcast!

3) Didn’t give anyone a fruitcake

4) Taught some people about RSS
Blog: Word to your mom.
You see here my Google Reader showing my friend Chris’ blog. Until just a bit ago – no RSS. Now… RSS and I can subscribe to his blog. I taught Brooke, and she taught Chris.

I think that’s how the Gospel is supposed to work too. Please let me know if you want to know what I mean. brianatkinson [at] mirthmobile [dot] com

Merry Christmas.

PS – ** didn’t give anyone this kind of stuff.

Christmas for me

Come on you do it too!
You get yourself a little something-something for Christmas don’t you? After-all, what’s the spirit of giving without making sure you get just what you want.

This year I got myself some direction in life.
It’s an older-model very basic GPS for my car. I set it up with the British English voice, so now I have this exotic sounding car-girlfriend. I’m driving the 16 hours to Gulfport, Mississippi this year. I think I will appreciate this gift to myself.

I also had 5000 Tivo points to use before they expired. So I used them to get another remote. My three-year-old remote is just fine. It works like a champ. But this one has flames! Seriously, how senselessly cool is that?

Day of the Ninja

Today is the 2007 Day of the Ninja.
It’s the day when all ninjas together with non-ninjas (non-jas) gather in their normal everyday locations, in their secretive ninja attire. Don’t confuse this with Talk Like A Pirate Day which involves no costumes and is all about your piratey language; especially since ninjas are silent.

Want to participate? All you have to do is pretend you are a ninja.

There’s plenty to see and do today.
Check out Ask a Ninja and learn about the origins of Day of the Ninja.
Visit the official NinjaDay2007 site

If you’re not prepared with a ninja costume today, learn how to make a ninja mask out of a t-shirt.

Today, the whole world is just a little deadlier.

worst moment ever

Maybe something like this has happened to you?
Something awful happens. You’re not sure if you should tell anyone.
It’s humiliating.
It’s terrible.
It’s hilarious.
So, after a few days, you go ahead and tell everyone you know.

So has something like that ever happen to you?

1977 was not for the faint of heart

Thanks to the plethora of people who emailed me the pictures and captions for this one. Steve gets extra points for sending me a link to the blog where it started about a month ago and deciding that he wouldn’t clog the internet with pictures. Nice going Steve! Please note that if you follow any of the links below the comments contain a bad word. It’s a bad word that appears in the bible on several occasions and refers to a donkey. If you don’t like that word, please don’t click on the links. There are some other words that lots of people object to. Some of them actually written out and others with cleverly placed characters in place of some of the letters so that you don’t have to read the complete w*rd. I normally wouldn’t link to a page that contained those words – but these are too good to pass up. I’ll make my own snarky comments below about some of the pictures.

Strap in, shut up and hold on. We’re going back. Yes, it’s a collection of snappy comments about the JCPenney 1977 Summer catalog.

Here’s a picture of me at age 10. Shoes to match the belt were available on page 478.

Here’s a guy who went to my church standing next to Scott Bakula (from Quantum Leap and Star Trek – Enterprise)

Then there is a series of matching outfits for couples. I’ll have to discuss that with Sylvia before I invent a time machine and buy them for us. Mmmmm… but Christmas is just around the corner. What a nice surprise they would make!

Finally, this is actually me on my first day of kindergarten in 1972. That’s a luggage tag on my shirt-zipper just in case I got lost. Please note the fancy navy blue socks with the sneakers and my left hand in a jaunty pose. Clearly, by the position of my feet in the imaginary starter’s blocks – I’m raring to go.

Ready… aim… fire!

SkyMall never lets me down

If you ever travel by commercial airliner, you know about SkyMall. It’s that rather thick tome in the seat pocket in front of you that hawks untold useless junk that no one should ever own.

However, my recent trip to Minneapolis revealed the worst one yet. Right there on page 6 was the TimeMug.

The TimeMug!
Does it let you travel through time as you sip a bracing cup of joe?
Does it save time within its cavernous maw?
Does it help you tell time in a clutch?
Not so much….

The time mug is the world’s first and ONLY 100% dishwasher safe, time-telling drinkware!

To the giant brains behind the TimeMug: there’s a reason why it’s the first and only.

Gospel.com goes live

Normally this blog is relegated to the strange and wonderful things that I observe or that people send to me. Today I wish to depart momentarily from that format to brag about the place where I work just a bit and maybe for the first time help you understand a little of what I do for a living – which is only a little wacky.

I work at Gospel Communications International. My title is Manager of Alliance Development. The Alliance is a community of Christian organizations, banded together to make an impact for Christ online. I encourage our members to fully engage in doing their individual ministries online, rather than just run an online brochure about their ministry.

My company along with the alliance community launched a new site today.


It’s the content from the alliance sites bookmarked by them – and tagged with keywords which turn into topics. For example: apologetics.

It also dynamically creates micro-sites about each ministry. For example: mirthmobile.

Since it’s gone live just a few minutes ago – the search engines won’t index it quite yet, but in the near future when you do search for a topic contained in Gospel.com or one of our alliance members, gospel.com will have an enormous impact on those search results. That’s good news for our community, but it’s also good news for people who need help with the topics we cover – for example divorce – something I’ve recently experienced.

I’m so proud of everyone on our whole internet ministry team and everything they’ve done to make this new site a reality. Thanks everyone!


All of you! Don’t conform! Stop it right now!

The Dave Ramsey booth at the Catalyst conference in Atlanta this year gave away these very popular shirts that say, “don’t conform.” They asked everyone to wear them at the same time. Seriously.

I also got one of these shirts but I’m waiting to wear it until I know there won’t be anyone else around wearing one.


Yahoo! didn’t actually do this did they?

Yes… they did.

Thanks to Jonathan for the heads up! Apparently it came in a large box with a cut out for the over-sized button, and a slot for some other type of promotional material – but there was nothing in that slot.

To Halloween or not to Halloween

Each year as the end of October approaches I find myself caught up in conversations about Halloween. To some, this is a fairly innocuous day, and to others it is tantamount to selling one’s soul to the devil. Being that I’m someone who tries to follow Christ and tries to still live in the tangible world, you can imagine that those conversations have a range. Feel free to wade in on that if you like.

Here are some Halloween type links to some wacky and some just plain awful web pages.
Boo on a Budget
Ruprecht the Psychic Chicken’s Haunted House
Creepy Classics
Carving Pumpkins used to be free, but now $8 will get you the patterns for an amazing Jack-O-Lantern.

Some costume observations:
Men – Pirates
Men want to be pirates. We used to want to be cowboys and some other stock characters until the Village People used some of the best ones. Now, many of us are afraid go out in our police officer, Indian Chief, or leather-biker outfits for fear of confusion.

Women – Princess becomes Witch
Little girls want to be a princess or something like that. This includes the ballerina, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and other permutations of the princess theme. However, something happens as girls become women. The little princess at some point decides to become a witch instead, and then as she gets a little older – the slutty witch. How does that happen?

Thanks to my friend Brenda who helped me think that through a while back.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

The Apocalypse starts today

Good news! Macy’s has cracked the biblical code and figured out that the Last Days start today and run through Sunday. Not only is it the end of time but Macy’s is also celebrating the original sin (the Fall) with a sale! Based on the Left Behind novels and movies, you might not want to get in on the apparel sale.

If you were going to buy something, knowing that the world ended on Sunday, what would you buy?

First Time

I’ve had a borrowed vacuum cleaner from Jessica for the last year but today I purchased a new one. It’s one of those canister/HEPA-filter/bag-less/gyroscopic/whirlwind/tornado/hurricane types. I’ve been vacuuming semi-regularly all along, but once I put the new one together, I gave it the once-around-the-joint tour. Here’s the damage from the first pass with the new fancy vacuum.

I feel so dirty.

Do you Yaaarrrr?

It’s September 19 – do you know what day it is?

Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Not one of the better known Hallmark Holidays, but definitely one of my favorites.
And guess what? It also falls right in the middle of National Singles Week.

Shiver me timbers, this be a double celebration for the likes of me. If ye be not a scurvy dog, tell us all how you’ll be celebratin’. Yaaarrr!

Arrrrrggggghhh! This video takes a while to load.

Yaaarrr! And this be the first day of the conference I’m responsible for, The Internet Ministry Conference. If ye be the prayin’ kind, I’ll be much obliged if ye’d include me for the next few days. Arrrrr.

PS – Flickr or FlickARRRRR updated their logo.

Fightin Amish

I’ve gone ahead and designed a shirt for Shirt Woot I need a bunch of people to vote for it so that the design will be selected for printing. So – vote early, vote often. Just click the shirt to vote.

The shirt is in honor of my Fantasy Football team name: The Fightin’ Amish. This is my second year playing and this year I actually thought about it a little. In other words, I didn’t pick the Bears Defense with my first pick.

We had our draft on Saturday and here’s my starting lineup:
Postion Name Team Round
QB: Phil Rivers (SD) 6
RB: Larry Johnson (KC) 1
RB: Marion Barber (DAL) 4
WR: Chad Johnson (CIN) 2
WR: T.O. (DAL) 3
TE: Owen Daniels (HOU) 8
DEF: Patriots (NE) 9
K: Jason Elam (DEN) 14
O: Brandon Jackson (GB) 7
or Javon Walker (DEN) 5

First game is Thursday. Feel free to mock me.

going out on a limb

I’m tapping into my spiritual gift of prophesy here and calling ABC television’s Fall release “Cavemen” the worst idea for a television show ever.

Based on the GEICO pitchmen…
I really don’t think I need to write anything else about that do you? Special guest stars: the GEICO Gecko, the Aflac Duck, and in a bizarre twist, the Adams Family’s Thing returns to TV as the hands from Allstate.

Following trends, be sure to set your Tivo to record:
CBS – Elves – based on the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies mascots Snap, Crackle, and Pop who star as three best friends rooming together at college. Laugh your misshapen hats off as these three elves learn to get along in the modern day college co-ed environment. And you just might learn something if you’re not careful.

NBC – It’s Chad! – featuring Chad from the Alltel spots along with his pals from the other major carriers. A buddy comedy that tries to answer the question, what level Dungeon Master are you?

FOX – Beer Girls (working title) – a reality contest show involving the spokes-models from the last 3 years of beer ads.

CW – Clear Away – a young adult drama starring the kids from recent acne cream commercials. So fresh and squeaky-clean, you’ll barely notice all the cleavage and shirtless guys.

TBS – World’s Funniest Commercials, hosted by Kevin Nealon – Some programs are shown free of commercial interruption…but not this one! Tune in Wednesday night for the only show on television that consists entirely of commercial interruption.

So bad, I didn’t even need to make that one up.

So awful, a caveman would watch it.

Wasted time

5 minutes and 40 seconds of wasted time.
Watch the whole thing for the lame payoff, or scroll ahead to 5:09 to watch Napoleon and Bill dance.

If you make videos for trade shows, please don’t do this.

Left behind

Special thanks this week to Randy Bonifield for his performance. And thanks to the nearly overwhelming chunk of email I received from a bunch of people.

Christians – it’s OK to poke fun of ourselves, especially when we deserve it. It’s also OK for everyone else to make fun of us when we get things wrong.

There’s no way that I can actually debunk all of the misconceptions around the second-coming of Christ as portrayed in the Left Behind novels and movies. The only thing we can be sure of is that Jesus is coming back. We won’t know when (like a thief in the night). It seems pretty likely that it will be in Jerusalem and he will come out of the East. We probably won’t disappear and have our clothes Left Behind like it showed in the movie. What we’re wearing might not matter so much.

What do you think about that?

If a comment isn’t quite the right place for a question or thought you have around what I’m talking about, please don’t hesitate to shoot a note my way: brianatkinson [at] mirthmobile.com

Go ahead and leave a comment if you want – I think this could be some good discussion.

A short list

Today I present this short list of random wackiness.
Please note that the items in this list are a bit of a departure from the usual wackiness. They are a little blue.

1) The dumbest spam message about, um… well aren’t all spam messages about this?

“Make sure you have enough room in your car if you plan on enlarging your ____ …”

Am I the only one getting these messages then?

2) The Wackiest video I’ve seen lately – Thanks Paul.
Neither I nor this website condones cheating on one’s spouse. That is a really bad idea.

3) One for you cat haters – Mr. Marbles the prop dead cat
Please note, this is not a real cat – just a prop.

Brian Simpson

No, it’s not another name change, but a fancy gadget from Burger King and the Simpsons Movie called Simpsonize Me.

Thanks to Steve and Amy for that!

My take on the movie (no spoilers) – a really great episode in extended form, built for the theater, and pointing out all the things that they can’t do on broadcast television. I had a great time and will see it again, and likely buy the DVD.

Here’s me at the KWIK-E Mart

and in front of the Krustylu Studios

Garfield Zen

Reading comics with my brother Chris today, he described a Garfield randomizer with the explanation,

They’re not worse [than the actual Garfield comics].

Here’s the second random one I hit:


Who’s your monkey?

Sometimes I wish I had a horde of Carnival Monkeys to do my bidding. Mostly they would respond to my email for me. I wonder what I would call them…
(insert dream sequence effect and sounds here)

(enter Brian’s dream world of Carnival Monkeys…)
My right hand monkey is Sebastian. He is excellent for delegation and management.
#2 is Flouncy and she takes care of the sensitive messages.
#3 – Cleo is assigned to triage, evaluating most messages and farms them out to the monkeys overseas in India as needed. That’s why when you email me you may not get responses for quite some time. He (yes, Cleo is a he) also redirects some to Flouncy and Sebastian.

Then in no particular order:
Alice, Martin, Tony, Boris, Essie, Penny, Paul, Poppins, Ramsey, Mr. DePinna, Ed, Mrs. Kirby, Rheba, Donald, Jason, Daddy-o,

So… that’s 19 plus the overseas staff. I think they have a lot of them over there.

What would you name your carnival monkey?

Things on my plate

I’ve had a few things on my plate since my last post, so here’s the update:

1) I turned 40
2) my birth mother adopted me
3) I got a new plate for the MirthMobile

Michigan decided to change out their old blue plates with white letters and replace them with white plates with blue letters. Way to go Michigan! For my 40th birthday I got to go to the Secretary of State (DMV for everyone else in the USA) to renew my registration, license, and replace my old plate MIRTH1. I had the MIRTH1 for several years because someone named Mirth had the MIRTH plate. She let it go and I pounced.

Here’s the old plate:
Old Plate
You may notice a license plate frame around the old plate and a partial one around the new one. There is a story there.

At the end of 2004 I took my current job a Gospel Communications. The office is about 60 miles from my home and I had no intention of moving, so I got my car checked out by the local Chrysler dealer. I got some work done and the final price was considerably higher than I had discussed or authorized. I was angry, but nonetheless needed my car, so I paid the price and went on. Some time later I noticed that they put a license plate frame on my car – without my permission.

I sent them this letter along with an invoice for $984.15 – the precise amount of the repairs to my car:

Highland Chrysler Jeep
1350 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

To whom it may concern;
Thank you for choosing your advertising space so judiciously!

I have a long history of providing the best in mobile advertising for a relatively small cost. I was pleased to find that Highland Chrysler Jeep chose to use my services for advertising and I’m sure that the traffic seen by your advertisement is worth the expense.

Your mobile advertisement travels from a residential section of Caledonia Township in South-East Kent county to a location on Apple Avenue in Muskegon every weekday and throughout Kent, Ottowa and Allegan counties on weekend days. In fact there is a trip planned for this weekend that will bring your advertising message to a variety of new potential customers.

The most exciting part of mobile advertising for me is that you never even contacted me about spending your valuable advertising dollars with my service. One day, following a service procedure at your establishment I found the advertising and I have proudly displayed it ever-since. I have tried on numerous occasions to contact your service manager, [name], to thank him for the opportunity to fullfil your advertising needs, but he has not returned my calls. [name] was very helpful when he said he would let Mike know that I called and have him call me back, but that has not happened yet.

Please find enclosed your first quarterly invoice for rental of the advertising space and a picture showing a close-up of your message at work. Please make your check payable to Brian Melles and send it to the address listed above and below upon receipt of this invoice. If for any reason you wish to terminate your rental agreement with me prior to the end of the current billing period (January 24, 2005) I will happily pro-rate the invoice. Otherwise, I’m sure you agree that the money you spend advertising with me is well-spent, I’ll continue billing Highland Chrysler Jeep on a quarterly basis.

Additionally, next quarter, I’m running a special promotion that will put this information on my website for the low price of only $150 per month (regular price $300 per month) that’s a savings of 50% on the web advertising alone, and we all know how effective web-based advertising can be. In keeping with your previous method, I’ll go ahead and take care of that for you, and send you another invoice at the end of next quarter unless I hear from you differently.

Thanks again for using my services this way!

I received a phone call a few days later and discussed the matter with them. Not only were they not willing to pay for the advertising (duh), nor were they willing to discuss even a partial refund, but they also didn’t want the license plate frame back, and they also didn’t have the original screws that came with my car which did not have the extra space for the frame. Now. without the frame, the plate would bang and clatter loosely on the back of my car. I broke the frame up into pieces and used only the top portion to finish securing my license plate to the back end. Highland did offer me 10% off of my next service. I respectfully declined to take advantage of that.

Altogether an experience just as bad as any Comcastic customer service opportunity. When presented with the opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, why do companies continually choose to keep their customers unhappy? All people with a service should start reading Seth Godin’s blog to learn the basics. Seriously, it’s been over two years and I’m still honked off enough to take the time to blog about it – and more than once. Don’t get me started on my 1993 State Farm Insurance story!

So, Highland Chrysler Jeep – please enjoy this belated, but still appropriate, finger from me to you.

from-here to-there

I love google maps
I use them to get just about anywhere.
You faithful readers may remember this post about directions to France. There was swimming involved.

But what if you’d like to visit some place more exotic? What if the hum-drum of your earthly existence has you longing for a change of landscape?

Google Moon
Thanks to my pal SteveO for that one.

Unfortunately – no directions from-here or to-there are available yet. But if you zoom in all the way – you can see what the surface of the moon is really made of.

Please use the comments to suggest directions either from-here or to-there.

Why I like Woot!

I like Woot

It’s not just because they write such creative descriptions of the products they sell.
It’s not just because the sell one thing each day and then you can’t buy it again until they come around with it again in their haphazard rotation.
It’s not because they start selling that one thing at midnight Central Time, and keep selling it until it’s sold out or time runs out.
It’s not just because shipping is $5 no matter if it’s a huge screen TV or a nearly worthless bag o’ crap.

It’s also because when there is a problem, they explain it well.

Don’t you wish everyone had a really cool plumber page like this?

Giving myself the finger

This morning I emptied my dishwasher. Now if that’s not the beginning of a great story, I don’t know what is.

I pulled out my Complimentary Cereal Bowl when it suddenly slipped from my grasp. I managed to grab it in mid-air and keep it from crashing to the floor. (note to self, buy a broom just in case) When I snagged it with my cat-like reflexes, the smallest digit of the pinky on my right hand bent up on the lip of the bowl. I heard a pop.

Normally, snaps, crackles and pops near a cereal bowl are good things. This was not so good. I immediately noticed that I could not straighten out my finger. Here’s a picture if you want to get a little grossed out. It hurt. It didn’t hurt when I laid it out flat on the counter. So I fixed up a little splint with some tape and the handle from a plastic knife from Wendy’s. That was better.

I called my mom, the NP and asked for some quick medical advice. She said, “Oh, you’ve got trigger finger. Get it X-rayed and have someone check it out.” I went to the medical center nearby. I was out of there in about an hour with a splint on my little finger and orders to avoid anything that I didn’t feel like doing. That’s right, I have medical permission to milk this any way I want.

The tendon that holds that last digit out straight snapped. Boy if that doesn’t make you take the fragility of the human body into consideration, what will?

I have to leave the splint on for at least 6 weeks. I should see a hand surgeon as soon as possible to see if we can re-attach the tendon. I’m waiting for my doctor to get back to me on that.


Mallet Finger

My Accent

I used to be radio disk jockey.
Before that, I had a strong mid-western twang, but then I taught myself to sound like someone on the radio. So, I’m not surprised that I have this accent.

Which American accent do you have?
Take the quiz and comment with your results.

Thanks to Brian for this one.

I Hate You Too YouTube

As if I weren’t already feeling a little blue today, YouTube adds salt and a twist of lemon to the wound.

I’ve been posting a few videos to YouTube recently and after setting up my own YouTube site This happy little image appears at the bottom of my screen.

Thanks a lot YouTube. I hate you too!

Office I Dare You

Score Keeping

Special thanks to my friend Jeff for this one – some edits from me.


1. Run one lap around the office at top speed.
2. Ignore the first five people who say ‘good morning’ to you.
3. Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say,”Just called to say I can’t talk right now. Bye.”
4. To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.
5. When someone hands you a piece of paper, finger it, and whisper huskily,”Mmmmmmm, that’s nice…”
6. Leave your zipper open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, “Sorry, I really prefer it this way”.
7. Walk sideways to the photocopier.
8. While riding in an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.


1. Say to your boss, “I like your style” and shoot him with double-barreled fingers.(Men named Steve or Women named Amy get 4 points for this one)
2. Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask, “Did you get all that, I don’t want to have to repeat it.”
3. Page yourself over the intercom (do not disguise your voice).
4. Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle (there must be a ‘non-player’ within sight).
5. Shout random numbers while someone is counting.


1. At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (extra 3 points if you actually launch into it yourself and finish).
2. Walk into a very busy person’s office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.
3. For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as “Bob” except people actually named “Bob”. Do not address them at all.
4. Announce to everyone in a meeting that you “really have to go float a duce in the shallow end”.
5. After every sentence, say ‘Mon’ in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in: “The report’s on your desk, Mon.” Keep this up for one hour.
6. While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator.
7. In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, “Shut up, damn it, all of you just shut up!”
8. At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, “As God is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!”
9. In a colleague’s diary, write in 10am: “See how I look in tights.”
10. Carry your keyboard over to your colleague and ask, “You wanna trade?”
11. Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: “Do you hear that?” “What?” “Never mind, it’s gone now.”
12. Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, “I can’t talk about it.”
13. Posing as a maitre d’, call a colleague and tell him he’s won a lunch for four at a local restaurant. Let him go.
14. Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc.) during a very important conference call.
15. Find the vacuum and start vacuuming around your desk.
16. Hang a two-foot long piece of toilet roll from the back of your pants and act genuinely surprised when someone points it out.
17. Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuit; smash each biscuit with your fist.
18. During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.
19. Arrange toy figures on the table to represent each meeting attendee and move them according to the movements of their real-life counterparts.
Triple Dog Dare You

1. At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hairdryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2. Tell your children over dinner: “Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go.”
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put your trash can on your desk and label it “IN”.
5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6. Finish all your sentences with “In accordance with the prophecy…”
7. Don’t use any punctuation
8. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
9. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
10. Specify that your drive-through order is “to go.”
11. Sing along at the opera.
12. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don’t rhyme.
13. Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.
14. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can’t attend their party because you’re not in the mood.
15. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Hard.
16. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream “I Won! I Won! 3rd time this week!!!”
17. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, “Run for your lives, they’re loose!”

When Vending Machines go bad

Oh the vending machine is a curious thing.
You put money in and jiggle the thing.
Press a button and something comes out.
Your cash for their stuff is what they’re about.

I took this picture of vending machines gone bad at a rest stop in Mississippi. As amusing as this is to me, it doesn’t hold a candle to this little beauty. A vending machine of live bait – spotted by my friend Adam.

I’ve seen these at gas stations along some highways in Michigan. Adam spotted his near his home in Alaska.

Question: How often does one have to refill the live bait to keep it “live?”

Worst Animal Hospital Ever

We all get junk mail in our mailboxes. In Grand Rapids, we get a little 10 page catalog called “Grand Rapids Deals”. This periodical provides coupons for pizza, carpet cleaning, and pest control. It also has ads for local services like this – The Worst Animal Hospital Ever.

It’s difficult to read the text in this picture, but it says:
“Veterinary care with a heart”

Unfortunately, the heart of the little kitty in this picture has stopped. We hope you get over it soon.

Yes, that’s a picture of a cat, laying on it’s back, eyes closed, and paws akimbo. Did the vet or advertising exec think that this was a cute picture? Did they think it would inspire me to bring my beloved family pet in for their expert care? Do they offer taxidermy services?

Way to go Grand Rapids Deals!

Farewell Falwell

Thanks to the Wittenburg Door we have an appropriate look at the late Jerry Falwell.

Too soon?

I’m not even going to comment on the man himself, or his impact – but since God likely has a PERFECT sense of humor, I can’t wait to get to heaven and know how he greeted Jerry at the door. I wonder what will meet me at the gate.
What about you?

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Hurray! it’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week again! May 19-26.

Are you going to the parade?
Do they have fireworks in your town?
Will the Mayor give a speech?

I can’t wait to open my presents!
We’re having an egg hunt later on, and everyone is invited. The Turkey is in the oven – with all the trimmings, and I got a bunch of cards already. One from a secret bite preventer.

Every year as the National Dog Bite Prevention Week season approaches, I find myself caught up in the hustle and bustle of so much to do, so much to prepare. No matter how busy we all get, let us not forget the reason for National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Happy National Dog Bite Prevention Week everyone!

What’s So Funny?

A recent conversation with my brother Chris, sister in-law Michele, and their friends Alexandra and Arron led me to the notion that I’ve never really come up with what I think are the best comedies of all time. The following is a list of my top 10 movie comedies.
What are yours?

1) So I married an Axe Murderer*
2) Blazing Saddles
3) Airplane!
4) Young Frankenstein
5) Caddyshack
6) A Fish Called Wanda
7) The Jerk
8) Ghost Busters
9) The Blues Brothers
10) Best in Show

And just so you know that I’m aware that there are other contenders out there, honorable mentions include:
History of the World Part 1, This is Spinal Tap, Shaun of the Dead, Real Genius, Meatballs, Groundhog Day, Fletch, The Great Dictator, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Arthur, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, City Slickers, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Court Jester, The Nutty Professor(Jerry Lewis), Beverly Hills Cop.

And Hot Fuzz – which I’m going to see for the second time Sunday afternoon – and it’s only $2.97. See you there!

* Why is this #1? Possibly for this string of dialog alone:

Stuart Mackenzie: Well, it’s a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there’s a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.
Tony Giardino: So who’s in this Pentavirate?
Stuart Mackenzie: The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, *and* Colonel Sanders before he went tits up. Oh, I hated the Colonel with is wee *beady* eyes, and that smug look on his face. “Oh, you’re gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!”
Charlie Mackenzie: How can you possibly hate the Colonel?
Stuart Mackenzie: Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly smart-arse!

I also have a clip in the Wacky archive.

I like it so much that I went on a “So I Married an Axe Murderer” tour of San Francisco recently.

So what about you?

Yahoo! 404

Geek alert.

This Wacky thing of the week contains material that may only be funny to people with an intimate knowledge of internet errors. The rest of you can read the description below, and then look at the picture again.

The 404 error, is displayed when a web page you tried to reach is not found. It’s a good idea to come up with a customized 404 error page to help people find what they are looking for when they try to visit an old link or make a typo.

I don’t know the author of this picture, but my friend Glenda pointed me to it. Read more

Getting Warmer

Now and then a wacky thing of the week falls out of the newspaper. This one has been forwarded around a bit already, but there are so many awful (wonderful) things about it, I scarcely know where to begin. So let me begin at the beginning. I must pause to thank Morgan, Bethany, Steve and Marty for the forward. I originally received this article as a full page, but chopped it up for presentation.

Dateline April 16, 2007.
Why mention the date? Well in this case I need to point out that the date is recent, it’s actually in the current century.

Next we proceed to the article headline. I must mention that there is a typo.

It should read (based on the context of the body of the article) “Daylight exacerbates warming”, and not “warning”.

Please read the article below in its entirety.

I know what you’re thinking. Incredibly, there is someone so confused about the role of government and caught up in conspiracy theories that it firstly seemed plausible that the government’s adjustment of daylight savings time could impact global climate or at least the local weather. Secondly, it made them upset enough to write a letter to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Finally, the newspaper, having presumably read the letter, not only printed it but messed up the headline.

To the editorial staff of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and to Connie M. Meskimen of Hot Springs, Arkansas, I salute you.

Mr. Deity

Every now and then, I’m overwhelmed by the creativity of Christian minds trying to bring certain topics into discussion.
Thanks to my friend Mikey – mrdeity.com has my attention this week.
Check out this first video.
And then more if you’re interested.


Google maps have become an indispensable part of how I get around, and to be fair Mapquest (Yahoo!) has some features that make it more desirable from time to time. Sometimes I find that the directions, while practical, are not that useful.

Follow these steps [in order of course]

1. Go to http://maps.google.com/

2. Click on “get directions”

3. Go from “new york” to “paris, france”

4. Scroll down in the directions to number 23

5. Laugh

Thanks to my friend Brenda’s friend Claudia for passing this on to her, who in turn passed it on to me.


I spent a few days in San Francisco visiting my friends Steve and Amy, and my Aunt Linda and Uncle Bob. Steve and I took the “So I Married an Axe Murderer” tour, stopping at several of the locations used in one of our favorite films.

At one point we stopped at the Musee de Mechanique and played some games. Most of them are antiques and are more like amusements than games per se. We did spend a little extra time on this SHOCKING experience. Steve and I made a video.

Lombard StreetAnd here are some pictures from the Trip

explain this

How do I explain this one?
Let’s see, back in ’00 my friend Steve moved to San Francisco to work as a software developer. Steve and I worked together at Calvin College for a few years and Steve was instrumental in teaching me a few things about writing web pages, and using photoshop.

When Steve set up his web site Steve’s Apartment he sent out a challenge to people he knew stating that if you sent him something to put up on his wall, he would do it. He displayed a picture of the blank wall, and as items arrived, he updated the picture.

Not to leave Steve with an empty wall, I sent him a little something. My architect friend Steve printed it on his plotter for me, and helped me with a mailing tube. Steve put it up on his wall and left it there for a couple of months, and then back to the tube where it’s remained for the last 7 years. During that time, he changed jobs a few times and now works for Yahoo. He married Amy – a lovely young lady from West Michigan. And today, they make their home, not in an apartment as the web site suggests, but in a house and everything.

And that’s where I am now. I’m on vacation in San Francisco to visit Steve and Amy, and my Aunt Linda, and Uncle Bob. Steve and Amy placed this picture and a few other pictures of me on the walls of their guest room. I feel very much like an honored guest. Steve is one of the wackiest guys I know – thanks man.

April Fool

Here at the wacky thing of the week, April 1 is a bit like Christmas. There’s just so many jokes you can play on people, people you love of course – keep it fun.
Daily Fool Newspaper
Rumored to have originated with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar that replaced the Julian calendar in 1582, April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day, was formerly celebrated as New Year’s Day. It has evolved into its current form through several centuries and influenced by several cultures. Associated with the fun and silliness associated with Spring, practical jokes and pranks are the order of the day. GO!

The following sites should give you some good ideas.

1) Snopes info
2) Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes
3) Family Friendly pranks
4) Pranks on websites don’t get fooled this year!
5) Google comes clean about it’s pigeon-based ranking system. (So much for Search Engine Optimization)
6) Google’s latest beta product
7) For some more time-wasting fun, check out some older wacky archives.
8) like this one – should give you some creative ideas.

Approved by John Calvin
John Calvin did not approve this post


This is a photo of the pictograph instructions on a restroom hand dryer.

I thought of a couple of interpretations, which ones make the most sense to you?

1) rub hands together under warm air until dry.
2) angle vent to dry face

1) rub hands together under warm air until dry.
2) insert hand into vent and pull down to bake your head

1) rub hands together under warm air until dry.
2) insert hand directly into fan blades to cover face with blood

Mullet fever

Call it what you will, Hockey Hair, The El Camino, Superman’s Cape, or the Nashville Bi-level, at the end of the day, a Mullet is what you’ve got. Business on top, party in the back.

I spotted these the other day at a local diner. You can be sure I’ll return for seconds!

I’ll admit I had one in varying degrees from 1983 until about 1996, possibly longer. At the time I thought I was pretty cool. Now, I look at these and want to go back in time with a pair of scissors and a warning. Oh younger Brian, I have so much to teach you.

Did anyone else see the short-lived TV show?


You get SPAM. I get SPAM. We all do – and hopefully you have your spam filter set to accept email from me.

This week I’m delighting in the top ten recent wacky subject lines from my filter.

  1. load bearing light bulb
  2. linguistic cheese wheel
  3. they always catch the second one
  4. mysticism commando
  5. clinician unassuming
  6. transfusable congressional
  7. kneecap bicentennial
  8. gloom liqueur
  9. country music
  10. what do you mean your system has exceptionally durable rubber feet?

What are some of your favorites?

Censorship Can Be Fun

Oh Noooooo!
Oh yes, censorship can be fun!

In the olden days of Saturday Night Live, there was a little man made of Play-dough. His name was Mr. Bill. Every Saturday night, Mr. Bill, Mr. Bill’s dog Spot, and the always helpful Mr. Hands would share an adventure. Usually Mr. Sluggo would join in and despite Mr. Bill’s protests that Mr. Sluggo was not his friend and that Mr. Sluggo would be mean to him, Mr. Hands would carry on like a vengeful god exacting retribution for some unknown offense.

Invariably, Mr. Bill would meet some horrible fate along with his trademark cry, in a high falsetto, “Oh NOOOOOOooooooo!”

The plucky little puppet would return again next week for another episode of what could be termed, “Disasterpiece Theater”. At the time, some felt that the weekly demise of Mr. Bill was too violent, even for the not-ready-for-primetime-players, and a bit of a fuss was made. For those of you not old enough to remember, it was quickly dismissed.

However time passes, and old wounds do not always heal. I give you the parental control versions of Mr. Bill. It encapsulates all the episodes of Mr. Bill – edited for the children of parents who are afraid of what their children might do if they were subjected to images of violence upon clay figures. All the violent acts have been replaced with images of happy, cheerful, warm, fuzzy things.

G rated Mr. Bill
Please note that this is about a 47 minute video, so it can take quite a while to view. I do not recommend watching it all in one sitting.

Fun with Search Engine Optimization

From time to time I teach classes on “search engine optimization“. I know what you’re thinking, “could Brian get any dorkier?” The answer to that question is of course, “YES! – oh sweet fancy Moses, Yes!” If you’ve ever taken one of my classes, you know that “click here” is a serious no-no. You’ve learned some fun tricks, do’s and don’ts and hopefully you were entertained.

Search Engine Optimization is the process by which you use all the right code, words, and ads on your web page to bring your page to the top of the search page when someone searches for particular words.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want to, but I have a feeling the fine folks at albinoblacksheep.com meant these results to come out just the way they did.

You can try this yourself.
1) Go to Google.
2) type “french military victories” in the search window
3) click the “I’m feeling lucky” button (brings you to the first search result)
4) giggle

Or – just ‘click here

Thanks Brian

Screaming Navel Fluff

This week: Screaming Navel Fluff
The Wilhelm Scream

It’s incredible, you hear the scream in movies and on TV, but it’s absolutely amazing how often that old sound effect gets used. It’s everywhere!

The world’s largest collection of navel fluff. Seriously, this guy collected his navel lint… for years.