Sunday, August 25, 2013

Just Ducky With Duck Dynasty

This will be controversial, I know. I have been blogging for almost four years now and I’ve never ducked (no pun intended) from the controversial topics.

For example, I have dealt with controversy, mainly from millennials, stating The Beatles were an over-rated band. I’ve talked about various election campaigns and stood firmly with Chick-Fil-A when some people wanted to make eating a fried chicken sandwich some sort of sin close to genocide.

However this time, I’m going to really step in it. Duck Dynasty? It is ok, I guess.

Before you run off to the comments section of the blog or to Facebook to question my Christianity, (Dear Alan, I never thought you were saved and this article confirms it) let me explain.

For those that do not know, Duck Dynasty is about some Southern men who make duck calls. That’s the premise of the show. These men are all hairy, with “that old long hair”, as my parents used to say. They all have beards that make them look like a real bad ZZ Top tribute band. All, including Uncle Si (who might still be in Sagion, if you catch my drift), are married to very attractive women.

There’s not much that happens on Duck Dynasty. Here is the plot description of one episode: “A large order is placed at Duck Commander, and in order to keep up, Jase and the other employees decide to build a conveyor belt. Meanwhile, Phil and Si declare war against the beavers who are disrupting their duck hunting. While that does not sound like an episode of Downton Abbey, I will admit watching Si try to blow up some beavers was pretty funny.

My problem with Duck Dynasty is the genre. I’m not a big fan “reality shows” because most are no where near reality.

Years ago, Cops was the first reality show. It had a great purpose: to show what really goes on in law enforcement and make you glad you did not choose it as a career.  When my mother was still alive, I would call her and somehow Cops always came up. We were discussing one episode in which a naked man had broken into a barber shop. The cops apprehended the man and brought him out of the store.  Mom said, “They blurred out his (Mom’s comical word for male genitalia). Boy, that was a big blur”.

Somehow, reality shows went from Cops to Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, which I think is supposed to show you what really goes on in the South (fat people picking their nose, eating gross food, and breaking wind).  I’ve watch this show maybe twice and got a headache because you spend most of your time reading the subtitles of “Honey Boo-Boo”. I’m a life long Georgian and I can’t understand half of what is said in the show.

In between, there have been shows about former Centerfolds who supposedly  were “girlfriends” of Hugh Hefner (combined IQ of these three lovelies: 45), wrestlers, children of a famous dead lawyer and “Real Housewives”. The “Real Housewives” talk like “real” sailors and spend most of their time shopping and/or throwing drinks at each other.

What is unusual about Duck Dynasty is that there are never any “bleeps”.  You don’t hear any cuss words. The people on the show seem to like each other.  The wildest thing they do is pray. I know, what they show on television now days!

A couple of weeks ago, there was a story that some Louisiana Republicans were trying to get Willie Robertson (the older son who is the CEO of Duck Commander) to run for Congress. Like an episode of Duck Dynasty, he seemed really surprised. Another son was escorted out of Trump Tower because he looked like a bum. He came up with the quote of the year-he was a victim of “Facial Profiling”.

No, I’m not a big fan of Duck Dynasty. It is not my cup of tea. But, I’m glad that tea is out there and I wish there was more like it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Au Revoir, College Football

I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time 
  - Bob Dylan

We’re at the time of year when our favorite professional sport, college football, begins a new season.

This season, in all probability, will end like the past two seasons with Alabama winning The BCS Mythical Championship. It is not a lock. The national sports media would love for two non-SEC schools to be in the Championship game. If it happened to be The Ohio State University versus Stanford, the national sports media would act like guy who learns his fiancé Kate Upton also knows how to cook.

            Kate Upton's fiance learning that she knows how to cook.


However, this season will proceed without the weekly “This Week’s Picks” which has been a part of Humor Me since its inception in 1959. (From 1959: “What’s with all these guys wearing facemasks? Are they women? Next thing you know, they won't rub dirt on  fractures”). Here at Humor Me headquarters I have been meeting with my executive Vice President of Vice Presidenting (my cat, Grace D. Manis) regarding “This Week’s Picks”.

   Gracie D. Manis, Executive Vice President, Humor Me, Inc.

I  actually started “This Week’s Picks” in 2002 on The Wheeler Alumni.Com site. I would post who I thought would win the various “important” games of the week and my fellow Wildcats would comment. From there it eventually landed at Humor Me, where I kept it going for the past three years.

I’ve learned a lot about College Football over the past 11 years.

One, most opinions about college football are like belly buttons: everybody has one and they are good for nothing. There are some people worthwhile listening to regarding college football-there is just not a lot of them.

Two, you can make generalizations about a particular fan base because they are true. For example, Alabama fans are the most passionate. They are also the most criminally insane. They are people you don’t want to leave your children overnight with.  They sleep, eat, and breath Alabama football 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks out of the year. I’m sure  Alabama marriage counselors have heard, more than once, a weeping wife say that her husband called her “Bear” while making love.

Auburn fans tend to whine a lot. You need to keep a close eye on LSU fans. They might try to stick you with a knife. Georgia fans say things like, “I’ve looked over our schedule for the next three years and I don’t see how we can lose a game. If we do, we need to get rid of that sorry, good for nothing Mark Richt because he is too soft. Do you think Saban ever lost a game? NO!”

Three, I am convinced that all of the Division I FBS head coaches would sell babies on the black market if it meant they would win a BCS National Championship. Even Mark Richt. “Hi, I’m Mark Richt. Before every home game, I hop into my Ford F-150, drive around Athens and try to sell babies. If you see me, be sure to walk up to me and engage me in a long discussion regarding blocking schemes.

Four, there are a lot a small colleges that have football teams and one of them is named Ursinus, which is a private, independent, co-educational liberal arts college located (conveniently) in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. For the past two years, I have included a “Division III Game of The Week”.  My method was very scientific. I would find the funniest named college and see who they were playing in that particular week. I probably should have won a Nobel Prize for my efforts.

I’m not giving up College Football. I have a busy fall coming up and I want to write on other topics. Gracie suggested that I use my Friday status on Facebook to give my weekly picks. (Ok, maybe having a talking cat is a good reason to give up commenting on the weekly insanity of College Football. At least that’s what the doctor said.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

You See, What Had Happen Was....

Two points about Southerners. One, if you ask a Southerner why something happened and the Southerner starts his sentence with “Well…”, be prepared for a long story.   Two, if you ask a Southerner how something happened and the Southerner says, “You see, what had happen was was this..” be prepared for an Homeric tale of epic proportions.

This is to prepare you for the story of how I fell through my ceiling.

Well, you see what had happen was was this.

We have a yearly air conditioning issue at this house every summer.  Like all air conditioners, it has a demon inside it that waits until the hottest months of the year to go out. One year, it went out in late July and it was about 400 degrees in the shade. Then it takes the repair people a week to get here because in this country we do not teach the value of hard work and not enough people go into the heating and air profession. Enough with the Peace Corps, we need young people to join the HVAC Corps so they can fix our air conditioners without a two month wait!  I blame Obama.

On this particular day, my wife, whose inner thermometer is out of whack due to her CANCER maintenance drug  Tamoxifen noticed  the air conditioner was not working.  While we are thankful for Tamoxifen, the side effect is it turns my wife into a walking, talking hot flash. When I say, my wife is “hot”, I mean it literally. Air Conditioning is a must.

The good news is we have a maintenance contract with an HVAC company and they will see us as soon as possible. The bad news is ASAP was the next day, which is good news if you had any experience with trying to get an air conditioner fixed. The technician would be there around 5:00.

The technician didn’t come until 10:00. Fortunately, it was going to be an easy fix. The unit was low on Freon.  Here is where the story takes a turn for the worst.

For some reason known only to God, the HVAC unit in my house is located in the attic. There are a few plywood boards that allow you to get to the unit, but that is all. The rest of the attic is filled with insulation that is “blown” in. The technician had to go up into the attic to check on it.  Our cat, Gracie, who is 16 years old, had never been in the attic, decided that this would be a good time to investigate the attic.

I must admit I panicked because I could see the cat eating the insulation and dying causing the whole house to stink. I got my wife and we decided upon an action which was our first mistake: trying to reason with the cat.

We went up into the attic and begged her to come to us. Didn’t work. Yelled at her to come us. Didn’t work. We got some food and tried that. Didn’t work.  If you have any experience at all with cats, this should come as no surprise.

I was to the point where I was going to suggest just letting her investigate and when the technician left just close the attic and she’ll cry to come out.  

However, I was closer to edge of the plywood flooring than I  thought, slipped  and I stepped backwards  on to the actual sheetrock. Sheetrock does not hold as much weight as you think it would. Soon, in slow motion, I might add, my legs broke through the sheetrock. I was able to grab on to some beams and half of my body was in the attic with other half dangling in the air.  I saw I was about five feet from the floor so I just let go thinking I would land on my feet. I didn’t. I landed on my gluteus maximus.

There is no way to fall through a ceiling in a dignified manner. I broke the sheetrock in two pieces and I was sitting in a ton of insulation.  Obviously, my wife was concerned that I had hurt myself. When I assured her I was fine (this sounds like a clichĂ© but I only got a scratch), we started cleaning the mess up.

The technician was putting Freon in the outside unit and came in the house. I do not have the words to describe the look on his face when he saw what I had done. His last call of the day and the owner falls through the ceiling. (“I should have studied auto repair”). He was gracious enough to put back the broken sheetrock up as of an interim repair. He also helped us get Gracie out the attic. (By the way, Gracie didn’t seem a bit concerned.)

I learned two things. One: I learned God does have a voice and he sounds like Kenny Rogers. After I had gotten over my fall, I just kept hearing, “I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in”.

 Two: people will start calling you Clark Griswold.

 This is sort of what it was like except I wasn't wearing pajamas and a cat was prancing around.

The story has a happy ending.  I have a friend that is a handyman and by the end of the week the ceiling was repaired. If you want to know why I didn’t repair it myself,  well, you see, what would've happen was I would somehow set the house on fire. But that is another story.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Millennials, Rachel and Me

Rachel Held Evans is the Maureen Dowd of the  “Evangelical” world. She is an attractive young lady and an incredible writer. Like Maureen Dowd, she is wrong about a lot of things.

Evans recently wrote a blog for the CNN Belief Blog titled “Why Millennials are Leaving the Church.” ** “Millennials” are people born from 1980-present and are right on track to being the most  obnoxious set of young people since their parents (Baby Boomers and Generation X). Here are some quotes from the blog (bold and in italics) and my snark next to it.

At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial. I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.”  Talk about establishing credibility-she wrote an essay with a paper and pen!  She doesn’t mention having write it by candlelight.  So, you see old people, I know what it is like not having to use all of these new fancy gadgets but in a few short years I was open minded enough to use Google as a verb. In the same way, you'll get used to not being Republican and you'll like LGBT people.

Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.” I have one foot in with the Baby Boomers, but I tend to identify with Generation X so how come I have never been asked to speak to  my fellow evangelical leaders?  I've written essays with pen and paper plus I wrote term papers on this machine called a "typewriter". Where does one go to become an “evangelical leader” anyway? Is there an "evangelical leader" farm?

Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”  She has surveys and anecdotal evidence! Therefore, Evangelicals should be Democrats, inclusive, hip, socially concerned and not hostile to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders because that's what the survey's and anecdotal evidence show. Just like what Jesus said in The Sermon on The Mount: "Blessed are the peacemakers, because that's what the polls say".

Evans continues in saying the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules.  I’ll translate this: stop being such a fuddy-duddy and get your groove thing on. We should no longer sing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”. We should sing  “Whatever Gets You Through The Night.”

I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.”  Attention millennials: Cry me a river. Part of life is having to “choose”. Sometimes “intellectual integrity” is intellectual bullying. I’m not sure why they feel a need to choose between “compassion” and “holiness”.  You can be compassionate and holy.

Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.”  “BS meters”-now there’s a term I never heard in Vacation Bible School. But as long as she brings it up I have never met a millennial that has one of these "meters". They seem to be easily impressed to me. (See: Lady Gaga, Toms Shoes, Sleeve Tattoos, and Barack Obama)

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.  This is simply my opinion. Evans does not want a "truce"-she wants a surrender.

"We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities".  I have no idea what she means by feeling “truly welcome”.  There are denominations that make this community feel truly welcomed and those denominations are bleeding membership. Guess what? The membership is not being replaced with millennials.

"Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus".  This is the only sentence that implies Ms. Evans has any sort of historical insight. With a couple of changes here and there, you could have placed this blog in "The Wayback Machine"  and sent it to 1979. This blog would have been an article in Newsweek magazine and called  “Why Baby Boomers Are Leaving The Church” (‘You gotta wear a tie, man, and I don’t dig it’). This article could have been written twenty-five years ago: "Why Generation X is Leaving The Church" (Surveys show people want to sing hymns that sound like they were written by U2).  The point is every generation thinks it can change the “church”and it simply wants “Jesus”. However, the Jesus they are looking for always ends up looking like themselves and that is the problem.

** Here is a link to Ms. Evans' post:         
     Here is a more thoughtful discussion of it than mine: