Archive for May, 2012

Mr. Smartypants

comic about Mr. Smartypants being a guy wearing pants made of Smarties candy

Mr. Smarty-Pants?
It’s Mr. Smarties-Pants

Smarties® is a registered trademark of Ce De Candy. This blog is not affiliated with, approved by, endorsed by, or otherwise associated with Ce De Candy.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes. And clever in their own sight!

Isaiah 5:21

Moral Dilemmas

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend, visiting my sister and family. But the drive home presented me with two moral dilemmas.

Moral dilemma #1 occurred at the gas station. I had just started reaching for the gas pump when I heard someone call “Sir! Sir!”. I turned around to find a shorter, stockier man approaching me, asking if I had a tire iron. He proceeded to explain that his tire almost came off on the highway because the lug nuts were not tight enough.

While he was talking, I was thinking to myself “Where is the tire iron in the van?” I know where it is in my car, because I’ve had to use that one. But the van? I didn’t know exactly.


Have you ever tried to get some information from a hospital or school these days? There are a lot of restrictions and papers to sort through.

comic about having to sign a HIPAA form just to answer the question 'How are you?'

Person A : I can answer that question, but first I’ll need to see a copy of your privacy policy.
Person B shows the privacy policy
Person A : Okay, that looks fine.
Person A : Now I’ll need you to sign the HIPAA compliance form.
Person B signs the form
Person A : Good. Now to answer your question…
Person A : I’m fine, thanks. How are you?

The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”

Acts 23:19

Tuesday at the Beach

Michigan weather has been noticeably warmer than usual this spring. We were grilling outside in March (because grilling inside is frowned-upon). And we are going to the beach in early May. Normally, Michiganders don’t go to the beach until late June – the water is just too cold before then.

But now, thanks to global warming, we can enjoy the lake for more of the year. More importantly, the kids can enjoy the lake for more of the year.

These photos are from a week ago – Tuesday evening. I came home from work, we all ate dinner, then we loaded up the van and headed to the state park (which is only ten minutes away). We have an annual pass, so we might as well use it.

Although the drive was only ten minutes, that was long enough to put Delta to sleep:

sleeping baby being carried by his mother

And he stayed asleep for a little while:

sleeping baby under an umbrella at the beach


Running Thoughts

My first 5k of the running season was this past weekend. “Running season” in Michigan means “months normally without snow”. I know some people like to use treadmills to stay in shape when the weather conditions are uncooperative, but I am not one of those people.

Here are three of the thoughts I had during or after the race (I did have more than three total thoughts during that time – these are just the thoughts that might interest other people):

  1. Include pavement on your training runs
    I do not usually run on pavement – my routes keep me on dirt roads. The problem was that the whole race (except for about 400 yards) was on pavement. I didn’t think anything of that until halfway through the race, when my shins started complaining. I should have gone on some pavement runs before the race, to condition my legs to the harder surface.
  2. Good race organizers mark the miles on the course itself and on the map.
    I saw the race map ahead of time and guessed where the miles were. During the race, I was feeling fine as I passed the area where I had guessed the first mile to be. Of course, I saw the actual one-mile marker a little while later, which produced some disappointment in me. The same thing happened for the two-mile mark.

    And really good race organizers have the current race time at each mile. That helps those of us who do not run with watches.

  3. Slow and steady wins the race
    unless fast and steady is also running.

I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11


Here are some items for mild amusement:

graphic showing avocado and avocadon't


graphic showing avocados, avocatres, and avocaquatro

Of course they are available for purchase. You can buy avocadon’t shirts here (or here) or buy avocatres shirts here. Or maybe “avoquatro” flows better than does “avocatres”.

Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives on the topmost bough, Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, Declares the LORD, the God of Israel.

Isaiah 17:6

Your Life is an Example

I have four children.

They watch me.

In order to know how to behave and what to do, they watch me. As they are growing, I am their main example of an adult. They might not realize that they’re learning from me, but they are.

How do I speak to their mother? That is how they will speak to their wives.

How much TV do I watch? That is what they will watch.

What sports do I follow? They’ll probaby enjoy those later too.

How do I fill my free time? That’s how they’ll learn to occupy themselves.

Which is why I want you to tell me to stop if you see me playing games on my phone. I want to stop doing that, because it is a waste of time.

What good is it, really? Are my children going to brag to their friends about how well I play cards by myself? And they’re not even real cards – I’m just tapping my finger on a rectangle of glass.

When my kids are grown, which will they remember: that I played soccer in the yard with them or that I spent their childhood looking at a rectangle in my hands?

I read an article in WORLD magazine that discussed the rise of online games. While it has been great for the people at Zynga, the makers of Farmville and Words with Friends, I wonder how great it is for the general population.

The main quote from someone at Zynga stood out to me. He said how their games were perfect for filling idle time throughout the day.

The problem I have with that is that our brains need rest. Bits of downtime throughout the day are good for the brain.

People need to learn how to be quiet without being bored. To be unoccupied peacefully.

Can you be alone with only your thoughts for company?

If not, what does that say about your thoughts?

How prevalent is daydreaming anymore?

From where would the great ideas come if everyone is Drawing Something instead of Doing Something?

It seems to me that any new development or trend in society was foretold by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World. And online games are no exception.

On the surface, at first glance, you would equate Huxley’s soma to today’s illegal drugs. Which is true to some degree, but I extend that to anything that placates the masses into complacency.
Are there grumblings in the population? Release a new app for their phones! Are the people unhappy? Stream them some more movies!

People consume and consume and consume. We hear about that in the current obesity studies and health measures. But shouldn’t the same principle apply to our minds?

If all I’m doing is consuming games and apps and tweets and blogs, is my mind being exercised or stuffed?

I try to produce as much as I consume – match my caloric output with my input and limit my input. That applies to the web/internet/social media too. I’m producing things now – the key is to figure out how to produce useful things. More puns are fun, but what good does that do the world?

I need to also apply that to my spiritual life. To be still and know that He is God. To meditate on His Word. And then to produce. I am excellent at sitting in the pew and consuming. How can I balance my spiritual input with my spiritual output? I bet it starts with my four children.

In summary:
a bit of entertainment = fine,
excess entertainment = amusing yourself to death.

(If it was true for television, then it is even more true for the things that succeed the TV).

Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.

Psalm 119:27