photos in a need of a caption, christmas edition
Monday December 19th 2005, 11:15 am
Filed under: humor

ooh — this is gonna be fun! and since i’m flying to DEE-troit, michigan today for 10 days of christmas/winter/family fun, i thought to myself, “self, what better way to officially kick off your christmas holiday than with a two-picture, semi-sacrilegious, special holiday edition of the ever-popular photo in need of a caption contest.” and when i thought that to myself, myself had to agree!

so here they are. really, just two angles of the same thing, thanks to one of my wittiest co-workers, lisa wondercheck (some of you talk to her when you call our reg department).

same rules as usual: contenders will get added (by me) to a rolling list. contenders are those captions (or quotes — some of you don’t quite know what ‘captions’ are, but that’s ok) that elicit an audible response from me: laugh, chuckle, grunt, groan. anything audible, you’re on the list. the prize? two things: 1, the admiration (and rabid jealousy) of the other contenders; and 2, a ys book of your choosing (from any line: youth ministry, invert, or emergentys).

contest closes sometime wednesday night, theoretically. i’ll be at my in-laws, and will only have dial-up, unless i sneak out to starbucks; so don’t hold me to it!

oh, and i should warn you — i’m getting massive quantities of poker site spam these days (comment spam). so the word “poker” automatically requires approval by me. don’t worry if your poker-related comment doesn’t immediately show up — it’s just in a cue, waiting for my approval.

the contenders:

I have always siad that the wise men were baptist. (chris saulnier)

Tonight on Celebrity Poker Showdown; Gaspar, Melchior,Balthasar and from NBC’s FRIENDS…Courtney Cox. (steve)

“Hmmm….three kings, again….I don’t think you’re shuffling enough.” (l4ou)

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to bear gifts and traverse afar.
O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done. (andy jack)

“Okay guys, the winner decides who gets to change the diaper.” (bethany boring)

Hurry up and deal King boy. I ain’t got all night. I have to go unplug the snowman and take my shift on the front lawn in like 5 minutes. (brian)

“I ask the court to mark this item as defense exhibit “Z” in the case of the Pope vs Dan Brown.” (paul)

Come on Jesus, take me to the river… (mike)

Baby needs a new pair of shoes… (dennis)

yeah, it’s not quite wednesday night (though it is just after 5pm here in frickin’ cold michigan), but i’m gonna declare a WINNER, because i have one more special holiday edition caption contest to post! so, without further waiting, the winner this time around is…
Hurry up and deal King boy. I ain’t got all night. I have to go unplug the snowman and take my shift on the front lawn in like 5 minutes. (brian)

shoot me an email, brian, and tell me what book you want!

random seasonal observations
Sunday December 18th 2005, 9:30 pm
Filed under: personal

- we packed up our christmas decorations and put them up on shelving in the garage today. how odd to put away all the decorations on december 18.

- likewise, the christmas tree is now upside down in the ‘greens’ trashcan, ready for pick-up tomorrow morning, it’s little exposed tree-butt sadly sticking out the top.

- in packing the christmas stuff, we noticed that the dog ate the head off the camel from the nativity set i bought a few years back in bethlehem. not sure what that says. seems there’s an illustration in there somewhere.

- likewise, one of the wise men had his face removed, by our dog. no other damage has been reported by the holy family at this time.

- having my wife and son fly through chicago tomorrow, while my daughter and i fly through denver, gives us close to 100% confidence that someone won’t make it to detroit. frequent flier seats have their dark sides.

- i hate cleaning the house to leave. but with a dog/housesitter coming as we leave, this is my lot (well, ‘our’ lot would be more accurate, as i’m certainly not doing it alone!).

- packing a family is perfect storm at the intersection of “the least fun a family can have” and “most guaranteed family activity to bring tension and a possible right at some point”.

are you one of those tempted to steal the baby jeezus?
Sunday December 18th 2005, 4:16 pm
Filed under: humor






there’s help for you, lordnapper. and you’re not alone. please turn to this helpful website for counsel, guidance, clarity and confrontation. and put down that baby.

(ht to dave barry)

which 24 character are you?
Sunday December 18th 2005, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, tv/movies

which 24 character are you? funny little quiz with questions that aren’t immediately easy to answer! i came out as jack bauer, and i’m not sure how i feel about that.

(ht to jonny baker)

my long-lost brother?
Saturday December 17th 2005, 11:26 pm
Filed under: personal

jay howver sent this to me — the lead guitar player for a metal band called ‘the giraffes’. i’ll be asking my parents over the holidays about my guitar-crunching brother. i just wish his guitar was burgandy mist.

family christmas day
Saturday December 17th 2005, 12:01 pm
Filed under: personal, family

because we travel to detroit every year to celebrate christmas with jeannie’s folks and mine, our family christmas is always quite early. this year it’s today! we just got up and had hot chocolate while opening our stockings. in a few minutes we’re going downtown to serve breakfast to homeless folk at a mission (this is a new thing for us this year; we’re hoping it will bring a bit of perspective to the day for our kids). after serving, we’ll head to our favorite san diego beach dive for brunch: kono’s, at crystal pier in pacific beach. i’m sure anyone’s who’s been there would give me a woop-woop.

after brunch we’ll come home and open presents, followed by going to see narnia (actually, both the kids have already seen it, but jeannie and i haven’t). we’ll wrap up the day with a trip to the hotel del coronado (the del) to have a cup of hot chocoate or a fancy drink while looking at their amazing christmas decorations.

what a great family day!

great free christmas music
Friday December 16th 2005, 5:23 pm
Filed under: music

this has been on a few blogs, but in case you’ve missed it: three whole free cds of christmas music by sufjan stevens. really nice stuff.

amazing video
Friday December 16th 2005, 4:43 pm
Filed under: youth ministry

this is a stunning video. would be wonderful to use in youth ministry when talking about god.

(ht to steve case, via email)

the ys staff christmas party
Friday December 16th 2005, 4:18 pm
Filed under: youth specialties

we had an amazing staff party last sunday night. as is our tradition, all aspects of the evening were a surprise. all we’d told people was that it was a hawaiian theme, and that there would be a costume competition and talent competition. then, friday afternoon, we let everyone know they should show up at the town & country hotel, in the ‘tiki room’. we’ve had many conventions at this hotel, so going there for a staff party would be — we hoped — a bit of a ‘been there, done that’. people tried to have a good attitude. the tiki room was all decked out for christmas, almost like a year-round christmas store (the hotel does this, it wasn’t our decoration). but we had lousy hawaiian appetizers (spam and pineapple on toothpicks, for example). once everyone arrived and we had our share of laughs over the way people dressed, we gave each person an envelope of money and told them they had one hour to walk over to fashion valley mall (a very nice mall right behind the hotel) and buy a gift they would like to receive. we told them to be on the lookout for karla yaconelli, tic long and myself. if karla found them, she would give them additional money for their gift. if tic or i found them, we’d take money away. it was pretty funny to see people actually run away from me in the middle of a crowded mall!

when everyone got back to the t&c with their wrapped gifts, karla presented a funny poem and made the ys execs do an interpretive hula behind her (all the male execs had to take our shirts off and wear little coconut bikini-tops, along with grass skirts — i was not overly happy at this development!). her poem revealed that the t&c was a set-up, and we were actually headed to ‘the prado’, a beautiful restaurant in balboa park. we all loaded up our cars and drove over to the prado, where we had an appetizer reception on a private balcony, then a wonderful meal. during the meal, we revealed the winners of the costume competition (alex roller — dressed much like the male execs were made to be during karla’s poem, but with the addition of a long black wig and make-up that made him terrifying, and leslie lutes — dressed as a roasted pig, tied for first place. will and christine penner — dressed as tacky tourists — won third place). then we started the ‘talent’ competition, which provided dozens of opportunities for cross-your-legs-or-you’ll-pee laughter.

then we had a massive ‘white elephant’ gift exchange (everyone’s place cards had numbers on the back), but we threw in a few bonus rules here and there to keep people jumping.

we wrapped up the evening as we have the last handful of years, at a rooftop lounge overlooking san diego (a place called ‘mr a’s’).

i work with a wonderful and creative group of people, and it was so much fun to share this time with them.

randal’s fatal flaw
Friday December 16th 2005, 2:03 pm
Filed under: personal, thinking...


randal was so stinkin’ perfect.

confession: i’m a bit of an ‘apprentice’ junkie. we have a group of friends over every thursday night to watch the show together. and like most viewers, and most of randal’s fellow competitors, i had him picked as the clear winner fairly early on in the season that ended last night. and the guy seemed really amazing on every single level.

but in the last 3 minutes of the finale last night, he pulled a king uzziah on us.

remember uzziah? he ‘did what was right in the eyes of the lord’, following a bunch of kings who didn’t. he experienced god’s power in such amazing ways, and stood firmly in the middle of god’s will and work for many years. but his fatal flaw (a phrase i’m borrowing from a talk i heard years ago by dan webster that has really stuck with me) was revealed when his arrogance lead him to step into a priestly role and snatch the incense out of the hands of a priest. leprosy broke out on his face, and he spent the rest of his years in seclusion.

we all have fatal flaws — some of us more obviously so than others. when i first heard this concept from dan webster, i was at an event with a group of pastors from the church i worked with at the time. we gathered that evening, and in debriefing our day, talked about this idea. and we all identified our own fatal flaws; the one thing that was likely to ‘bring us down’, if anything did. i remember our senior pastor revealing what we all knew, that, unchecked, he would be a sexual predator (thankfully, this has never manifested for this guy). i remember, as a young guy, saying to him, “you’d be a total slut!” and i remember his nervous laughter.

my fatal flaw is self-sufficiency. there are lots of pieces that fit under that umbrella. but that’s my achilles heal. and i think an awareness of this has been highly instrumental in — so far — keeping me from massive failure.

back to the apprentice finale. randal had been the magnanimous one. he’d been a strong leader, but had done so with heart and gentleness. he’d helped other people be successful.

we all saw the ’surprise’ coming — that trump was going to offer a job to both of the final apprentice candidates. they were both so sharp. and when trump told randal ‘you’re hired’, we could still tell he was going to bring it back around and hire rebecca (the other finalist) also. but trump asked randal. he gave randal the chance to be the good guy one more time and agree that rebecca should also be hired. she started grinning, because it was clear what was about to happen. and everyone knew randal’s character (or thought they did), and knew he would agree she should be hired.

but he shocked us all. randal said there can only be one winner, and that rebecca shouldn’t be hired. he said the show is called ‘the apprentice’, not ‘the apprenti’ (a cute way of making it plural). and in an awkward moment, trump obviously felt trapped (something i doubt he experiences very often) to go along with randal’s shocking turn in character. so rebecca wasn’t hired.

randal had nothing to lose by agreeing that rebecca should be hired. he was already clearly ‘the winner’. but his selfishness, that we’d never seen, popped its ugly head out and revealed him.

i pray my own fatal flaw never undoes me — especially in such a public way!

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