Archive for February, 2009

Blunt is the New Tact

The boys and I were playing on the couch two Sunday afternoons ago. Playing in close quarters, with boys who like to talk/yell, means that you can tell what they’ve been eating by the scent of their breath. The older one’s breath smelled sweetly fruit-like.

Knowing what they had for dessert, I said “Someone’s breath smells like Skittles. Who had Skittles for dessert?”

To which the 5-year-old replied: “I did!

Next I smelled the 3-year-old’s breath, but his didn’t smell like anything. He had a Tootsie Roll for dessert, and apparently Tootsie Rolls don’t affect one’s breath much.

Then the older one wanted to smell my breath, so I breathed on him. His response was “Your breath smells like skunk spray!

And the 3-year-old chimed in: “Did you eat skunk spray for dessert?

I think they were being dramatic, as my wife hadn’t said anything about my breath. Or maybe she was just being polite.

For the record: All I had for dessert was some toffee brittle.

My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am loathsome to my own brothers.

Job 19:17

Do Not Inhale

Here is a tip that I’ve found useful over the years:

When trimming one’s mustache with a beard trimmer or hair clippers, one must breathe out through one’s nose.

One must take a deep breath before starting to trim, then exhale slowly through one’s nose while the little clips of hair are being flung hither and yon.

One can trim the rest of the beard without checking one’s breathing. But if the mustache remains get inhaled into one’s nose, they can be quite irritating.

For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of anger produces strife.

Proverbs 30:33

The Good Old Games

This is several months old, but there’s an emulator that turns your Pocket PC into a Commodore 64. This is only for PocketPC / Windows Mobile devices (PDAs and smartphones). Which means it might be hard to plug in the old joysticks I still have in my basement.

I have nothing but fond memories of the good old C64. Okay, I do still have the C64s themselves. Ahh, the good old days. Back when you had to choose between screen resolution and color depth. But there was still plenty that could be done with the limitations.

But the old computers don’t need to be relegated to the past. You can even play play Guitar Hero on one, well, almost.

So if you know anyone with an iPaq or other Pocket PC, tell them to get the Pocket Commode 64.

“The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.”
– Proverbs 10:7

Space Chimps Review

We watched Space Chimps last weekend. We got it from the library, as we have found it easiest to rent/borrow movies from the library than from any other movie places. I hadn’t heard of Space Chimps before, but my wife said that Dove liked it. It was rated G, so I figured it should be okay for the 3- and 5-year-old to watch.

It was almost okay for the kids to watch. There was not much objectionable in the movie, unless your children object to giant carnivorous flowers and vines that try to eat the protagonists. And there’s some bully behavior, which you definitely don’t want your kids to learn. But, of course, everything works out fine by the end of the movie.

But until the kids were sure that everything was going to be okay, the dangerous parts of the movie had the kids moving from their own chairs to my lap, then from my lap to the couch behind me (next to mom). The many-toothed, large-mouthed plants were just the start. It was the long-fanged cave monster, chasing the heroes through the cave, that most affected the kids. But if you stop a movie at the scary part, I think that’s worse than continuing to watch it. If you stop it when they (or you) are scared, you are left with only your imagination. The damage has been done, assuming that it is only a scary part of an otherwise decent movie, and the best way to mitigate the damage is to finish the story.

Of course they make it through the cave okay, and of course the friendly aliens who were dipped into freezing liquid by the bully alien are just covered in a frozen shell instead of being frozen solid. I would not introduce the youngsters to liquid nitrogen after watching Space Chimps, as they may have the mistaken impression that if they get frozen by it they could just break out of it with no ill effects.

At the end of the movie, the kids were laughing and were able to tell me their favorite parts. Their favorite parts of any movie are always the slapstick parts. In this case, it was a chimp falling down on a treadmill.

Jeff Daniels voices the bully Zartog and does a fine job. I had seen his name in the credits and was trying to figure out which character he was, but I could not. Patrick Warburton, on the other hand, is much easier to tell. Maybe his voice is too distinctive, or maybe he gets typecast into these roles. If you know what Patrick Warburton sounds like (especially in other animated films – I’m thinking Bee Movie) then you’ll have no problem figuring out which character is his.

There were enough jokes and stuff aimed at the parents of the kids watching the movie. So it is entertaining for all. I did laugh out loud at a couple of parts, or at least chuckle heartily. Here was my favorite bit (might not be exactly right, but the general idea is there):

Two chimps, Ham and Titan, are in a spaceship heading back to Earth.
Ham, protesting: “But I’m not an astronaut.”
Titan: “Are you wearing aluminum clothes?”
H: “Yes.”
T: “Are you in outer space?”
H: “Yes.”
T: “Are you David Bowie?”
H; “No.”
T: “Then you’re an astronaut!”

“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.'”
– Isaiah 14:13

Pets Are Animals Too

Don’t get a pet that you can’t take out by yourself. “Take out” does not mean a nice evening on the town…

Pets, deep down, are wild animals. They may behave nicely most of the time if they are domesticated, but they are still animals. They may decide to do something uncivilized and start harming people. Animals just do that from time to time. The bigger animal you have, the bigger gamble you are taking with your life or someone else’s life.

Growing up on a farm-like setting, I was able to see various animals and pets in all stages of life. I got to see day-old kittens – very precious. And I saw kitten parts scattered over the lawn after some predator (maybe a hawk, maybe a grouchy tomcat) found the kittens too. All that was good, because it made me realize what exactly animals are and what they do.

If you don’t have a well-rounded view of animals, then you run the risk of ignoring the problems. If all you’ve ever had are cute housecats, you might not realize that it is not a good idea to take a cute baby raccoon into your house.

If you do want an animal as a pet, consider what would happen if the animal decides to be undomesticated one day. Would you be able to control it? Would you be able to win if you had to fight for your life (or a friend’s life, as the lady with the chimp had to do)? That’s why cats and parakeets make good pets. And fish and turtles too. But not chimps or lions or panthers or elephants.

“But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,”
– 2 Peter 2:12

Valentine’s Day Observation

Our church had a work day on Saturday, February 14th. It was just in the morning, and it was for people to help maintain/improve the church – painting, sawing, etc.

One thing I noticed was that just about everyone drove separately. I’m not talking about different families car-pooling – most of the spouses drove separately.

For the work day, most of the wives were in one area and most of the husbands were in another area. Not that our church requires men and women to work separately, but people generally just do that. At the end of the work day, which was lunch time, I noticed that there were a few wives who came to the husband’s area and said something like “Okay, I’m going home now.” To which the husband replied something like “Okay, I’ll see you there.”

I guess I expected more togetherness on Valentine’s Day. And these weren’t young couples either – most of them had grandchildren.

Yes, my wife and I also drove separately to the church. Since our anniversary is in February, we celebrate that and ignore Valentine’s Day. Plus I had to go into my day job for a couple hours before heading over to the church. So we had good reason to drive separately. I’m sure everyone else did too, but I didn’t question them. I just thought it was an interesting observation. At what point do couples trade the joy of togetherness for the practicality of logistics? Probably somewhere around the second child.

“Then Esau said, ‘Let us take our journey and go, and I will go before you.'”
– Genesis 33:12

Car TV

I got to drive a Mercedes S-Class last weekend.  One of the features is a nice screen in the middle of the dashboard. It is the multi-function display: it shows the radio, navigation system, rear-view backup camera, DVDs, and live TV. The live TV comes from the over-the-air broadcasts, like any normal TV.

While that is a fun feature, I wonder how many vehicles have been sold with televisions in them.  Because some of those are going to be obsolete in June, when the analog broadcasts are disabled and only digital remains.  The converter boxes won’t work very well in the cars either.  The Mercedes TV tuner is supposed to handle both analog and digital, so it shouldn’t be affected by the transition.

The analog tuners would have been obsolete this month (February 2009), but the digital deadline got moved back, yet again.  Now it is in June, although stations can start dropping analog broadcasts now. But I wonder how many cars or aftermarket TV tuners will be affected. That would not be fun for someone who spent a boatload (or carload perhaps) of money to add TV reception to his car a couple of years ago, only to discover that he’ll have to upgrade it.

One other thing I noted from my afternoon in the car was the radio controls. The radio (and climate control and TV and nav system) is controlled by a single dial thingy. On my drive home, I usually switch between one AM station and one or two FM stations. To change from AM to FM took 3 presses (back, down, down) and to change from FM to AM took 4 presses (back, down, back, down).

Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

Mark 8:25