Thursday, December 27, 2007

The chilliest Internet fun going!!

Chilly Willy! Great cartoons. My daughter got a toy penguin for Christmas and dubbed it 'Chilly'. Of course, she was completely unaware that Chilly Willy even existed!

I turned to the Internet (What did we do without it? It boggles the mind.) and discovered a great Chilly Willy site with all of the old Chilly Willy cartoons posted for download! Click on to see for yourself!

I suggest "I'm Cold" and my daughter likes "Half Baked Alaska" because Chilly Willy is cute ordering the pancakes ("uh-huh, more butter", "uh-huh, more syrup").


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

One of the best deals on the internet

If you wear neckwear and haven't tried the Tie Bar, you should.

Have you, like me, ever wondered why such a small amount of silk and backing fabric should cost $50 or $100 in a department store? If you have, these guys are a breath of fresh air. No frills, just great ties.

The quality is unbelievable, better than some ties that I've paid over five or six times what they charge for theirs. However, they stick to their guns, and they only ask $15 for a 'regular' size, and $20 for an 'extra-long' tie (that's the one that I get).

A flat $5 for shipping for your entire order, no matter how many ties, and you get them in about three days. Such a great deal that I can't believe that they aren't inundated with orders.

Kudos. A great quality product at a great price. Try them and see!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Close to Home - really.

We threatened (good naturedly, of course) one of my neighbors with similar fate when he began to circulate at the street Christmas party with some faux mistletoe.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Old-school fun foods that are surprisingly good

I'm a man of simple pleasures for the most part -- some eggs and a little grits, I'm happy.

Here are a few of the fun snack foods that I've recently become reacquainted with recently that are still pretty darn good, even with fancier competition:

- Nabisco Nilla-brand vanilla wafers. Wholesome cookie goodness. Far from being a 'plain' flavor, vanilla is really pretty good. And, I like the texture, too.

Aside: A former Tennessee governor, Ned Ray McWhorter, used the phrase, "Just give me a cup of coffee and two vanilla wafers and I'll go to work for Tennessee" as his campaign slogan. Really.

- Necco Wafers. These little not-too-sweet discs of chalky candy are very good, too. Subtle.

- The original Reese's peanut butter cups. Why do they persist with the different configurations of the cup (dark chocolate, white chocolate, etc.) and different candy bars? So many kinds. What's wrong with the original?

- Raisins. I really like the golden raisins, but the regular ones are good, too. They keep jazzing them up with Craisins, dried fruit mixes, etc., but regular raisins are just plain good.

- Carmel apples. With a really tart Granny Smith apple. Messy, but who cares? It's good.

- Cheap fruitcake. I really like fruitacke. I'm probably the only one that you'll ever meet that won't make fun of fruitcake at Christmas time. I'm a Claxton-brand man, but others are good, too.

- Charleston Chew. This candy bar rocks, and the minis are even better. Chewy and vanilla/chocolate goodness.

- Original Fritos. I don't need no stinkin' Fritos with cheese or ranch or barbeque flavor. Just the original. You know, the ones that the Frito Bandito sang about.

- Hot Tamale candy. These cinnamon jelly beans rock! As a special treat on long road trips, I get the kids the fruity relation, Mike & Ike.

So, if the hunger pangs are "stickin' like duct tape", then give one of these a whirl. You'll be glad that you did.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Mythbusters

Andy and I have "discussed" (quotes because it's all e-mail/blogger stuff) about the traditional Christmas views and how I'm different than most Christians -- Christmas to me is a completely secular deal. Every day is Easter, every day is Christmas, so the special holiday stuff is just that -- special holiday stuff. No more, no less. I still enjoy Christmas, it's just all about the fun.

There are a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding Christmas, and here are a few. I'll bet that you didn't know at least a few of these.

- The song "We Three Kings" is full of baloney. First of all, they are known as "wise men" in the Bible, and they probably worked for a king, but they weren't kings. They were astrologers who used the stars to guide the ruler with whom they associated. Secondly, we haven't a clue as to how many "wise men" actually visited the baby Jesus; we only know that there were more than one (plural) and that they brought three gifts: gold, frankensence and myrrh.

- The concept of three wise men in a nativity scene is in error. The Bible says that the wise men first consulted with Herod in Jerusalem (three days on foot) asking where Jesus had (already) been born (Matt. 2:1), then saw Jesus "in the house" (Matt. 2:10). Jesus wasn't born in a house, he was born somewhere with a manger. Therefore, these men came sometime after the birth -- at least a number of days, so they weren't at the birth scene with the manger, etc. And, again, there is no Biblical nor historic reference indicating that there were exactly three wise men (see above).

- A wooden shed as a stable and a wooden manger are likely in error, too. This one isn't for certain by any means, but the custom in that time and in modern times in Judea is to use a cave below the city to keep livestock. The shepherd would gather the sheep into the cave and lay down to sleep across the opening to ensure that the sheep wouldn't get out. Likewise, the manger was usually a crude trough made of stacked stones near the entrance to the cave.

- Jesus was not born on December 25, A.D 1. Of course, this one is a biggie for some folks. It's not hugely important to know the exact date, but the time was likely in the early autumn, for a couple of reasons: 1. The shepherds were still in the fields, which they wouldn't have usually been in December, and 2. from Luke 2:1-2 we know that Jesus was born during the first census taken by Quirinius, and a winter census would have been a real hardship for travel during the rainy winter months. About the year: the Romans were good record keepers, and that census was likely taken in 4 B.C. I say 'likely', because there is a little doubt about how our modern calendar and the Roman calendar match up. To further drive this point home, we also know that Herod the Great died in 4 B.C., and he certainly was alive when Jesus was born (Matt. 2:1-3).

- The wise men are likely of the same ethnicity. Many nativity scenes depict the wise men of three varying ethnicities. However, there is evidence to the contrary. First of all, the Bible records that they "from the East" (Matt. 2:1). A single direction. Secondly, the Bible records that "they returned to their country by another route" (Matt. 2:12). A single country. It certainly is possible that they were of different origin and living in the same place, but it isn't likely, especially given that they were likely high-ranking advisors to their king.

- Silent Night - NOT! We know that the birth process ain't no box of chocolates for the mothers among us, and presumably, since Jesus was born a man just like us, there was some discomfort involved. Strike one. Second, the town of Bethlehem was crowded -- remember the lack of room in the inn? There were people everywhere camping out, etc. Strike two. Then, the angels get in on the act, singing praises and bringing the shepards to see Jesus (Luke 2:13-20). The shepards start spreading the word, too! Strike three. It wasn't a very silent night, no siree Bob.

There are other misconceptions, but these are the ones that I always marvel at -- do people really read their Bibles? Really?

Ten car stunts that you should NEVER try at home

When you get drunken Canadians around the winter beater during the week and a half of summer that they get in the Great White North, some pretty bizarre things happen.

Click the link on the title for ten of the most You Tube -able moments in automotive stupidity.

Warning: seriously crude language.


Coffee, tea or a dead passenger?: this one hits close to home

How did I miss this one earlier this year?

It seems that a top-level British Airways frequent flyer awoke from a nap on a British Airways fright from India to discover that flight attendants were seating a woman who had died in the economy cabin minutes earlier beside him.

Get this: when he protested, the attendants told him to "Get over it."

Boy, that certainly puts the stiff in the British upper lip, eh?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This is very true.

I do not know why the fashion industry insists on ultra-thin women. It simply isn't realistic nor is it particularly attractive.

I was surprised that this article quoted that 80% of men favored "voluptuous" women, but I'm not surprised that preference is a majority.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Michael Vick deserves punishment, but 2 years??!

This sentence is way too harsh. Two years -- some people doing really nasty things like selling drugs or cheating people out of their lifesavings don't get jail time. This is insane, if you ask me.

A hefty fine plus six months and community service. That's more in line, I think.

Perhaps he knows that he'll get out in a few months. I hope so.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Predators vs. Ducks: We win!!!

My son and I were able to use some tickets from our neighbors that couldn't go to the hickey game last nigt (thanks, Ray!). The Predators beat the defending champions, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 4-2.

The win was great, but, perhaps even better, we witnessed a singular accomplishment: Jordin Tootoo notched his second career Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game). Jordin Tootoo is a very popular player with the Nashville Predators and has been since he was drafted in the amateur draft six years ago. In part because he was and continues to be the only Inuit player in the history of the NHL, and he's an exciting player to watch -- he hits often and hits hard.

Jerred Smithson added a short-handed goal in the final period to ice the win. Go Preds!!

Ewww. Warning!

As a FREQUENT hotel guest, I rarely touch anything in the room if I can get around it.

This is just one more reason why. Use the plastic cups. Period.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Gen-Y: What an annoying bunch of whiners

They demand things on their terms. They resist teamwork if it involves discomfort. They insist that they aren't wrong, continuing to argue well past the time to realize that they need to shut their mouths. If they aren't spoon-fed, they won't take action on anything.

Generation Y drives me crazy.

In the past week, I've encountered three separate episodes of egregiously bad Gen-Y behavior, and I've pretty much had it. I refuse to continue to coddle these children that have been coddled their whole lives and continue to act like spoiled brats well into young adulthood.

The first episode involved a work-related he-said, she-said scenario between two people that are in support roles in a company affiliated with mine. One Gen-Yer insisted that she was prompt and absolutely correct, while the other Gen-Y wonk was hung up on a deadline that had supposedly passed without the "correct" action. Well, I had information that showed that our female participant had indeed done the right thing in timely fashion -- her male counterpart was wrong. It was no big deal, I didn't even comment actively -- I just forwarded a previous e-mail from our customer with the note "FYI" to both of them. I checked the item off my list, thinking that the paperwork should go through, no problems. Except that Mr. Gen Y was all pouty and refused to cooperate. When he forced me to call someone else there to get things moving, he then blamed me for being difficult to work with!

Score: Stubborn refusal to admit fault, petualant lack of cooperation, finger-pointing.

The second was clearer cut -- a college student in a class that my wife is teaching actually reported my wife (a teaching assistant while she's earning a graduate degree) to the course professor because she wouldn't accept an assignment a week after the due date. Because of the nature of the assignment, it was to be submitted in print form (most of their assignments are submitted online). On the due date, the student claimed that the assignment was "on my thumb drive" yet had some trouble printing it out. Wanting to be reasonable, my wife gave the student the remainder of the day (about 4 hours) to submit the work, even referring him to the department technical support staff to help with the printing issue. Of course, a week later, the student had yet to turn the assignment in, so that was that. However, the student reported my wife, saying that he had "disrespected" him by disallowing the tardy assignment, saying that he was "too busy" that day to print out the requirement.

Score: Unwilling to work for achievement, expectation of special treatment, refusal to accept responsibility for his own actions.

Finally, another one that really kills me -- the know-it-all. I'll accept that in my youth, I was something like this, but I generally knew where my knowledge was and wasn't. That is, I didn't argue about things with people that obviously knew more than I did. Well, in this case, a kid born in the 1980's wieghed in with a strong opinion of the political landscape in that same decade -- when he was a toddler. And he chose to debate two men that were in their twenties and thirties during that same span. Spouting ascerbic rhetoric, he instantly claimed that he didn't approve of this person and that group, etc. Meanwhile, I was incredulous. I simply couldn't believe the arrogance and brazen condescension. Obviously, we didnt know a thing about the 1980's; he was going to tell us. Unbelievable.

Score: Arrogance, moral superiority, using opinion as fact, refusing to listen to others.

Spare the rod and spoil the child. That's pretty wise. I really wish that boomers had heeded that advice.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Great Work, John and Wayne!!

John and I have known each other for some time -- I first met him about 20 years ago. He knew my sister while they were in college together, and I met him during that time. Fast forward about 12 years, and we found ourselves attending the same church and getting to know each other better. John and I have a lot in common.

We've since moved to a different congregation, but I still talk to John on a regular basis -- he and I had a Friday morning Bible study together for two or three years along with five or six other guys. Great stuff.

Now John and his co-founder, Wayne Howell, are coordinating a great mission in our small town of Franklin, Tennessee called Franktown Open Hearts. They've got a great website designed by some other good friends of ours, Rob and Deb.

Allen Gentry gives a great video testamonial on the site. For those of you outside our community, Allen is a well-known local man that I like to call the "unofficial mayor of Franklin" because everyone knows either him and or his father. They are fifth-generation farmers on the same land just outside of town. Each fall, they open their farm to local families with animals, games, pumpkin patch, etc. during the fall season and he hosts a children's day camp on the banks of the Harpeth River during the summer months. Allen and his family are leaders in the community and in the same church that John attends and that we formerly attended. His video is sincere and from the heart, I assure you.

Great stuff, John and Wayne! You have my support.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Jason Whitlock makes some sense...

Jason Whitlock is a sports columnist. A pretty good one.

He's got an opinion about the deaths of a few of our famous athletes this year.

I don't agree with his rhetoric necessarily, but I do agree with the double standard that he's pointed out.

It's time for someone to stand up and change this culture of violence.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Music Math, lesson 2

= 3/4* + 1/4*

Music Math, lesson 1

= +

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My eight-year-old daughter, the knee surgeon

Like most cyber-savvy girls, my eight-year-old daughter is into Club Penguin, Webkinz, and But, my wife and I knew that she was onto something different when we recently asked her what she was doing online, and she answered matter-of-factly, "I'm doing knee surgery." What??

Turns out that it was true. She had clicked on a link on one of the other sites (I think that it was the Yahoo! Kids page), and she was ready to operate!

Check it out here.

If we can keep her interested long enough for medical school...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not liking today, December 2

Today is one of my least favorite days of the year. Some folks don't like tax day, others aren't too keen on annual visits to the dentist. For me, the day that we drag out all the Christmas decorations is no fun.

Why? Because I don't particularly care for the look of Christmas, and I view the trappings as unnecessary detritus that will simply be in the way for a few weeks and will require a lot of storage effort later. It's always much too stressful; everyone fusses and fights about what to display and where it should go. I'd really just rather watch football.

To top it all off, my religious tradition does not attach any special significance to Christmas. To us it's simply a secular holiday, and that's fine by me. The Bible says absolutely nothing about celebrating Jesus's birth, and Christmas is really a man-made holiday with traditions built upon Northern European pagan winter solstice rituals, so I think that we are on solid ground here. Therefore, I don't even get that win in the Christmas season. In fact, "Remember the reason for the season" slogans just remind me that the Norse were too superstitious to allow the solstice to go by without a collection of fertility symbols (fir and mistletoe, two plants that are still green at that time of year, and a winter father figure bringing the gift of spring) in their homes and on their person, nothing more.

(By the way, Easter is the real Christian major holiday in my view. We are commanded to celebrate Christ's resurrection every day, so in that way, Easter is a day like any other. However, we know the exact date of the resurrection from Biblical writings, so I'm good with special emphasis on that day each year.)

So, Merry Yuletide. Or whatever you celebrate. I'll have fun with the kids, but I wish that we could compact the whole thing into a couple of days. That's just my take.