Keeping up with The Jones

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Come on down

I was enjoying a rare lunch at home this morning and fulfilling my duty as an American to watch The Price is Right. There was the typical commercial lineup: Liberty Medical (free diabetes testing supplies!), Colonial Penn (who would have thought I’d be able to get affordable life insurance at my age?), and of course, the Scooter Store (I never expected them to be so nice).

In the middle of all of this came an ad for a product I had not yet seen: Pringles Minis. Apparently Pringles has jumped onto the bandwagon of companies shrinking their products and passing them off as new and exciting. Nothing earth-shattering there.


They come in a bag. Pringles. In a bag. Their entire marketing history is based on the can. It’s what sets them apart. “Once you pop, you can’t stop!” Over and over, they’ve championed the superiority of the can. The lid locks in freshness. The cylinder protects the chips from crumbling. And of course, once you get halfway down, your hand is too fat to get the chips out anymore.

Without the can, what’s the point?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Round 2

Months ago I wrote about a man who called me, among other things, a hypocrite. I’ve seen him around occasionally, although not regularly, in the time since. Each time I’ve tried to be friendly, just as I am with everyone, but especially with him. I would smile and offer a greeting, but inwardly I would brace just a little bit, not because my love wasn’t genuine, but because I wanted to be prepared lest a situation arise that would make it harder to show.

There has been no incident since that time, but also no indication that he feels any different. Today he approached me. I braced. And then…

He apologized.

And he shook my hand.

And we talked.

Not that I meant it yesterday, but I am most definitely not in the wrong business.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I warned you

Don’t say I didn’t.

First we had Deal or No Deal, awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars on the basis of dumb luck, removing any possibility of strategic game-play by seeking out contestants with “personality.”

Now we have Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. I’ll be honest: I haven’t really watched much of this show. I figure if you need this show to answer that question, it’s probably a no. But tonight I flipped over during a commercial from the Tourney, and witnessed what I hope will be looked back upon as rock bottom. A woman was awarded $100,000 for knowing – actually, that’s putting it too strongly – for correctly guessing that the word “yak” has three letters.

I’m in the wrong business.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I realize I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit. My posts are shorter and less frequent. I’m still trying to keep up with it, but the fact is I’m now writing a lot more for Incidentally, if you haven’t checked it out yet, or if you’re like my uncle and only checked the first day when there wasn’t much up yet, you should go. I’m specifically mentioning this on a Wednesday, because that’s the day we have our Bible Discussion, which is perhaps my favorite part of I also write a regular article every Friday. But there’s new content up every day. There’s even a wave file that demonstrates how to pronounce “bweinh.” So there’s really no excuse not to go.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Overheard in Penn Station

“I beat up Jon Bon Jovi’s little brother.”

I was bringing my sister to the catch her train back home after her week’s visit. We were sitting on the floor playing gin rummy and watching the departure board update. The claimant was following a too attractive for him female through the station.

It was difficult to tell for sure if he was accompanying her or merely trying to. If it was a pick-up line, it didn’t seem to land cleanly, since she turned around and walked the other way. He followed her back past us.

“It’s pretty much my claim to fame.”

Congratulations, sir!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weather man

This past week the weather was so beautiful I boldly declared it spring. I deflected any suggestion that cold weather could return and unilaterally decreed that warmth would reign unabated.

It seemed real: a week straight of pure sunshine and 60+ temperatures. Wednesday, the warmest day of the year saw my return (and that of junior Nowitzki) to the local basketball court. I was wearing shorts!

So Thursday night I proudly made my proclamation. Of course, Friday ice was falling from the sky and yesterday I helped shovel the corps out from the most snow we’ve seen all year.

Welcome to Spring!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

(e)Mail time

I recently went online to purchase car insurance from Progressive. Geico was getting to be so expensive, only a caveman would pay for it. Yesterday in my inbox I received notice that while Progressive would love to insure me, they were “unable to confirm the garaging location provided on the application.” Basically, they needed proof of address.

Today I called the 1-800 number provided and was informed of the very narrow list of items this office could accept as proof. Not included on the list: pay stubs, cell phone bills, bank statements. I’ve had enough trouble proving my address even when these things were acceptable. Also not on the list: car registration, which would seem to be the one document that would matter, since this car is what I’m trying to insure.

Further prodding revealed that the address their background check provided was in Dartmouth, MA. This seemed entirely reasonable, since it’s only been almost six years since I lived there and I’m only living in my fourth home since that time. I won’t even begin to list all the bills I’ve paid and organizations I’ve registered with at these various other addresses during that time.

The good news is that I am now insured. I had to drive across town to a real person who would accept a pay stub and repeat the entire application process, but it actually saved me an additional $10. I don’t like to be troubled like this, but I’m a generous fellow, so I’ll just call us even.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

An excellent waste of time

I’m tired. And not just because of springing forward. I’m tired because last night Shannon and I got entranced with a video game and lost track of time.

For those of you who don’t know my sister, this is not exactly a common occurrence. By my figuring, the last video game she willingly spent a significant amount of her free time playing was Donkey Kong Country, which came out roughly ten years and three systems ago.

But there is a game that combines two of our great loves, indeed, two of the great entertainment forces known to man:

Lego Star Wars!

Since part two of this particular game just recently came out, it was of course time for me to go purchase the original at a much more affordable price. And it has not disappointed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for some sibling bonding.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pardon me Roy

Last night my sister arrived at Penn Station. She’s here to visit me for the next week during her spring break. I met her at the station to guide her safely back to Staten Island, but first we stopped at the in-station Roy Rogers so she could get some supper.

“Do you think I can ask for no ice?”

I assured Shannon that I had full confidence in her abilities to make a request for ice to be omitted from her drink.

“I’ll have a #4, with fries, and a pepsi, no ice.”

“Pepsi, no ice,” repeated Roy’s representative.

I reached out to mockingly pat her on the back, even as the man scooped ice into her cup.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Yes you can

One day Capt Steve’s almost three year old son was hanging out in the drop-in center, before it was time for the teens to arrive, watching Noggin (for those like me with no children and thus no reason to know any better, Noggin is a TV channel with children’s programming). One of our teens showed up early and was rather enthralled with the show “Lazy Town.” I’m sure his enjoyment was meant to be rather sarcastic or ironic, but he’s been showing up early to watch the show everyday since.

Today after the show was over the weird yellow moose that comes on between programs with songs and lessons was at it again. His song really caught our attention. And so, in the grand blogging trendition of posting lyrics to songs one finds enjoyable or profound, here’s a brief window into the soundtrack of my life:

Days are the sunniest
Jokes are the funniest
Rabbits are the bunny-est
Hives are the honey-est
Elephants the ton–iest
Troubles, they’re the none–iest
Everywhere I go

Straws are the bendy-est
Time is the spend-iest
Cards are the send-iest
Books are the lend-iest
Fun’s the pretend-iest
Friends are the friend-iest
Everywhere I go

Berries are the fruitiest
Shoes are the boot-iest
Puppies are the cute-iest
Treasure is the loot-iest
Teams are the root-iest
Horns are the toot-iest
Everywhere I go

Birds are the tweet-iest
Candy is the sweet-iest
Socks are the feet-iest
Tricks are the treat-iest
Drums are the beat-iest
Lunch is the eat-iest
Everywhere I go

Flowers are the smelliest
Jams are the jelly-est
Rain’s the umbrelliest
Tales are the tell-iest
Wishing is the well-iest
Buttons are the belly-est
Everywhere I go

Skies are the blue-iest
Cows are the moo-iest
Gum is the chewiest
Ghosts are the boo-iest
Goop is the goo-iest
You can be your you-iest
Everywhere I go

These words may have wreaked havoc on my spell checker, but I think they pretty much say it all.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Coffee makers

I don’t really know how to make coffee. I understand the basics, of course. I just don’t have any reason to acquire the necessary field experience to work out the details.

This became an issue for the first time ever today when Captain Steve called me at the corps and told me to make some coffee. There was a three alarm fire on the south part of the island, and we needed to load up our emergency canteen to go provide for the firefighters.

As I stood lamely looking at the coffee maker, two of our younger teen boys eagerly offered their assistance. They assured me that they knew what they were doing. I figured they couldn’t mess things up any worse than I would, so I put them to work while I started boiling water for hot chocolate.

The boys were absolutely delighted. They gleefully got to work and kept saying things like, “This is fun! I like making coffee!”

As I watched them fill the cambro one pot at a time, I couldn’t help but wonder what the coffee would taste like (wondering was all I could do; I don’t drink coffee so a taste test would be useless). I figured I just had to trust them; I needed to have as much as I could ready by the time Capt arrived so our response time would be as swift as possible.

At one point while I was readying some things in the next room, I overheard the following exchange between the two:

“Come on. We’ve got a job to do.”

“This isn’t really a job. I mean, we don’t get paid or anything.”

“Who cares if we don’t get paid? We get to know that we’re helping people.”

So who cares if the fire was taken care of by the time we arrived, leaving us nothing to do but turn around and come back. That was still the best coffee I’ve never tasted.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

They are the Duke Blue DEVILS after all

Tonight I explained to Captain Steve that missing the second half of the Duke-UNC game to lead the evening praise meeting proved how much I love Jesus. I told him I expect rewards in heaven for my sacrifice.

“Well, in heaven, you’ll be able to see all the games. Of course, you may already know who wins…”

Don’t be silly, Captain Steve. In heaven, the Tarheels always win.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Not quite Sunday School

Captain Steve and I have recently started forming our own material for the weekly Thursday night Bible Study at our corps. We basically strive to take on passages that are obscure, uncomfortable, and bizarre, and try to glean what we can. It’s all the inspired word of God, so anything goes. Some of the themes and topics might be a bit mature, but it’s an adult Bible Study. The awkward, the hard to explain, the oft avoided, all sit in our crosshairs as we try to deal perhaps most of all with why they are in the Scriptures to begin with. So far it has really produced some lively and edifying discussion.

One of our regulars is an older woman. She is basically the grandmother of our corps. She supports the church wholeheartedly and commands universal respect. She is one of those people who can be stern and loving at the same time. She is a strong woman of faith and a prayer warrior.

Last night I was leading a study on Genesis 38. As the reader got to the passage about Onan, I tried to keep my composure even as this dear old woman just started giggling like a teenager.

I guess I understand why most people avoid this stuff.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Recently a regular reader of this blog contacted me and asked me to be one of the writers for a new website. The fact that this reader was good friend and former roommate Steve Maxon in no way decreased my excitement at the offer.

So today we launch I’ll be posting individual articles about once a week, in addition to my contributions to various Bible discussions, polls, and debates (both serious and trivial) the site will feature.

Check it out. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Or I can at least state that I’m pretty sure your level of disappointment will be indiscernible from what you experience after a visit to this blog.

My only disappointment so far: we’re using our real names. Admittedly, if we weren’t I probably wouldn’t be making this announcement in this forum. And don’t get me wrong; I love my name. But I’ve always wanted to write under a pseudonym. There’s just something about it that makes one’s exploits seem more intriguing. I even have a name picked out.

Donald Igwebuike.

Is that a great name or what? Some of you may even recognize it (although I doubt it).

There's the real Donald Igwebuike. His was quite possibly my favorite football card when I was younger, almost assuredly because of the name. I certainly never watched him play, and have no idea about him at all. But what a name!

So in the future, if you ever read something witty and persuasive by Donald Igwebuike…um, well, I have no idea who could have written it.

And go visit