Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Random Thoughts 14


I have come up with a number of indie band names for free use:

Sneeze-guard Attrition
Redacted Betrayal Fellowship
2Faced Triathletes
Hamstrung Collateral Veganism
Freudian Video-Gamesmanship
Love Triangle Squared
Serpentine Axis Theory
Neverthejest
Intimacy Subpoena
Cookie CRISPR
Relational Foghorn Collective
LifeChoate
Handlebar Balderdash
Bruce’s Waning
Point-of-Sale Hedonism
Snark Week
Solitary Consignment

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I have always suspected that the wide discrepancy in my Netflix DVD return times is attributable to the postal employee that services my mailbox. Perhaps they open the red-envelope to see what I watched, and based on the synopsis, take it by the house and watch it before allowing it to continue its journey.
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This was the first item I encountered upon opening the box of infant furniture for my son. I knew that if the grammar was reflective of the overall craftsmanship, I was in for a real treat.
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My wife recently purchased a jar of ranch salad dressing that touted the new formula only included “real ingredients.” Legally speaking, any non-metaphorical element or component of a consumable product qualifies as a “real ingredient.” Artificial colors, toenail clippings and anthrax would all fall under this umbrella. I can’t wait until their “Now Completely Edible” Thousand Island makes its debut.
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The true measure of a polite society is how long a complete stranger will observe you trying to insert a credit card into the Redbox disc-return slot before intervening.
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My son attends a wonderful Christian Pre-K program and, in addition to the secular curriculum, they complete scriptural worksheets. Most of these are fairly straightforward, but he recently came home with one that presented quite a challenge. It was based upon Mathew 21:12-13 in which Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers in the temple.

The students were asked to read this passage and then decide (in the context of the verse) if the scenes illustrated on the worksheet would “make Jesus happy or sad.” The first row of illustration was easy to decipher (the forlorn look of the children holding the Bible non-withstanding) However, the second row raises the stakes.



The very last image depicts what appears to be the same young lady from the Bible illustration except she seems to be happy. She is staffing an innocuous-looking Bake Sale table and, as any good Protestant knows, the bake sale / chili supper is the fiscal cornerstone of all youth activities. Mission trips and outreach all depend somewhat on the revenue from these events. With that in mind, this scene of a joyful young disciple selflessly raising money would clearly get a thumbs-up from JC.
Or would it?

Let’s look again. Suzie’s innocent little “bake sale” is not positioned in the fellowship hall or recreational center, but right in the front of the pulpit in the sanctuary. Not only is she standing on “holy ground”; her very presence could pose an altar-call safety hazard. Furthermore, the conspicuous absence of a cash box would indicate that Bake-Sale Suze is pocketing the proceeds (why else do you think that her left hand is outside of our view?) Even worse, there is no evidence of fiscal oversight to balance the books.

So which is it? My interpretation of the original verse is that Jesus is not against temple commerce in principle, but rather he is denouncing those who would knowingly prey upon worshipers to dishonestly enrich themselves. Under this assumption, the only way to determine Christ’s approval of the image is to be privy to whether or not Suzie is pricing her wares at fair market value and not cutting the product. I felt it would at least to be necessary to ascertain whether or not the bear-claw icing is 100% pure. My son chose to leave it blank. I hope it does not affect his GPA.
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When a movie touts that it was helmed by a “visionary director” this is code for “we are giving them one last chance to produce a commercially viable film before we move on”
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Just a few days ago, I was ordering a Marpac White Noise Machine for my son’s room. These are the wonderful cylindrical devices that emit the sound of a fan to block out other noises to promote sleeping or privacy of conversation. As is Amazon’s custom, their algorithm suggested “related” items that other customers bought along with their Marpac White Noise Machines. I was not prepared for the suggested companion items.


Perhaps I am reading too much into things, but if the apparently substantial number of people acquiring the noise machine / cooking spray / “Do You Have A Secret?” trifecta aren’t planning a surprise dinner for mommy; this might be worth law enforcement looking into.
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I have been seeing a lot of marketing for the horror / thriller “A Quiet Place” which follows a family forced to exist in silence because they are being hunted by creatures drawn by noise. One trailer even shows the parents and children sitting around in a living room in silence as the parents read and the children play a board game. As a parent of multiple young children, I can tell you that watching that scene evoked as much longing as it did dread.

Sure, the idea of being constantly threatened by malevolent creatures is not best case scenario, but the absence of one child loudly accusing the other one of being a “big doo-doo baby head” is not the most disproportionate trade-off I can imagine.
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There is no better irony to be found on the Internet than being forced to watch a YouTube Ad purporting to show me how to theoretically build my wealth while coming to the realization that by watching their promo, I am actually building theirs.
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We exist in a world where commercially-available smartphones can instantly recognize the unique facial contours of a human-being, but the grocery self-checkout kiosk still requires my assistance to identify fruit.
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I got the following letter in the mail. I simply wrote them a response that I was turning them in for violation of Child Labor Laws.

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