Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Church Stories

-At my church in Illinois, a Christian comedian performed one evening and near the end, gave an know the invitation I'm talking about. Somehow I was confused. I was sitting in the balcony, I stood up, and started walking downstairs only to mentally realize the substance of the invitation. I quickly replayed the comedian's message to see if a 're-dedication' would be appropriate and concluded no. I deviated from the group walking downstairs and pretended I was lost for about 3 minutes before going to my dad's office (he was a Pastor at the church). I met back up with family member's at the end and recounted the embarrassing story.

-My cousin Steven and I were sugar fiends in late elementary/early junior high. We had a whole tour around the church. First, we would sneak down to the pantry and take taste tests between sugar, equal, and sweet-n-low packets. We also ate cookies (mostly oatmeal...a real treat was the rare chocolate chip), drank tang up in the nursery, then to the choir room for the hard candies, and then across the street to Burger King (skipping church) to get free refills on Coke. No wonder he was a bit 'jumpy' those years.

-After 1980, 'Jim' was rarely seen at church without a Big Gulp in his hands. When the Super Big Gulp and then the Double Gulp came out, he upsized. 'Jim' was not self-aware...even taking the first chunk out of my sister Catherine's birthday cake. Our family used to spend Sunday afternoons at church because of the 45 minute drive into the city and needing to be at both Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. Because of this, Catherine's birthday cake was put into a fridge upstairs to be celebrated later. When it was taken out, there was a large section missing. 'Jim' later confessed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Inspired by True Events

In the movies, often mentioned with romantic flair, is when a man holds his girlfriend's hair back when she is sick and vomiting. This is how she 'knows' he is the One. It is similar to the television/movie scenario: "all I need is a gazuntite or a bless you" and I know he is sensitive and will be there for me.

Cut to marriage. One sister and her husband. She gets sick last night.

He does the following (Inspired by true events):

1) Pretends he's not nearby when she calls from the adjoining bathroom for him to get her something.
2) Says 'get out of our bed and sleep with our son' who is also sick.
3) Says '95% of not feeling well is in the mind.'
4) Says 'it must have been something that all of you ate' (3 people are ill)...even though they all ate different things yesterday.

My sister says she should have known because when they were dating, he came over with chicken soup, dropped the soup on the front step & rang the doorbell, and high-tailed it out of there.

He must have a Pentecostal view of sickness and not allowing it a 'foothold' in. When I mentioned, to be empathetic, that my niece had been fussy all day and this is probably the reason she was fussy with him...replied "We don't say fussy, we say particular." Huh?

He really is a good husband and father, just a little wacky.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Most of the Family...

Taken at Ashley's wedding last year (our niece). Richie is missing from the picture.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Business Ideas...

Just so you don't think I 'rigged' an earlier post, writing in hindsight of good business ideas I've had, only after they came to fruition: I want to share some good future business ideas. Each business idea below meets a need or fills a niche.

1) New Jukeboxes. Context: Matt Neher and I were at Crescent Moon when someone played Little Mermaid on the jukebox. This killed the mood at the bar and I overheard other groups of guys cussing about the music. SO...I propose jukeboxes where if people can put in $1 to play a song, $3 can be used to 'kill' a song and put in another one.

2) Man Stationary. Context: Over the years writing lots of letters to friends and supporters, I have been extremely disappointed in stationary. Stationary is usually made for women, is bright pink, has butterflies, etc. I wanted 'manly' stationary, if there is such a thing. I wanted stationary in browns and tans, with dark blue complements. I think having nice stationary that is marketed specifically to men would be a big seller and I'm personally prepared to drop a lot of cash. I could see this being valuable for any guy in missions, in churches, or even in business. Instead of pure cream colored stationary, a bit of dark color is mixed in, and guys can feel good about sending notes again.

3) Accounting Program. Context: When working for a bank and also when working for WMF, finding potential accounting errors was extremely time-consuming. BankOne had a whole team of people looking through Excel spreadsheets trying to find numbers when I was there. In accounting, often there isn't one transaction that is wrong, but two or three transactions that leads the 'batch' or reconciliation to be in error (Let's say the batch is in error by $24.14). There is a program that can be written (after talking with a computer science friend and an engineer friend), that gives the possible combination of 2 or 3 numbers that add or subtract to $24.14. It could also rank the possibilities by their probability based on the task (two positive numbers might be more common in a batch). +12.12 on 1/01 and +12.02 on 1/29 might be tied with +8.64 on 1/3 and +15.50 on 1/15 for highest probable errors, but other probabilities would show as well. This would work best with small bodies of numbers (weekly or monthly reconciliations).

The program could also perform a second, but different task, which is to find a number in a certain range. Quickbooks is good for finding numbers above or below another amount, but not good at finding a number within a range. These two sorting mechanisms could significantly decrease the amount of time that bookkeepers and/or accountants to find an error in a batch.

4) Pitch a new 'Judge' show on T.V. Context: I know that the market is saturated with judge shows on t.v. right now (8-10 in my market), so how does another one fill a niche? So many of these shows are dominated by women suing men who have taken advantage of them. The kind-hearted woman pays for everything for the man because they are supposedly in a relationship. The man dumps her/cheats on her/leaves her and the woman sues for rent, phone,etc. The judge usually tells the woman that these were gifts and that she can't sue just because the man was a whore-bag. So, I propose that a judge show be created where ONLY women sue ONLY men and the judge is a comedian but also performs a bit of a social service. Someone like Steve Harvey. The show will feature large segments of Steve Harvey berating the man but also telling the women to be smarter and this is generally how men are, so be careful.

5) Tear-Off Calendar. Context: When George Bush was in office and United States standing in the world was at an all-time low, I started a project of a 'tear-off calendar' where every day shows a different invasion, coup, etc. that the United States has performed in its history against another country/people group. Generally, these actions by the U.S. would fall under the following criteria: 1) that it was unprovoked, or 2) that it was in some way horrific; that it violated the Geneva Convention, the national sovereignty of another country, or demonstrated a severe barbarism. I didn't find any difficulties coming up with entries, but with the election of Obama I thought the calendar sales might not nearly do as well, especially in the States. However, they still might do well if translated into Urdu, Farsi, etc.. An example: May 20, 1961 US provides rifles for conspirators who assassinate the Dominican Republic dictator after he fell out of favor with the US.

6) Brake Toggle Lights. Context: I almost hit another car when I saw their brake lights but I didn't know how quickly they were slowing down. Brake lights just tell whether or not the brake has been applied. In the last couple of years, some buses have started to incorporate a different kind of brake light that seems to show how hard the brake pedal is being pressed and therefore how quickly the bus is slowing down. I would love to see these more sophisticated brake lights on all cars.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Economics Jokes

Everything here found on Econosseur

Peter Orazem
"The economy is so bad these days that I miss the old days of $4 per gallon gas prices. It was so nice when you could fill up your car and double its value."

Best Financial Jokes from and 'cherry-picked' for the blog listed above, by its authors: Richard W. Evans, Assistant Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University, Jason DeBacker a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia, and Guest Contributor Scott Condie, Assistant Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University:

-The problem with investment bank balance sheets is that on the left side nothing is right and on the right side nothing is left.

-How do you find a good small-cap fund manager? Find a good large-cap fund manager, and wait.

"I have a 10-year-old at home, and she is always saying, 'That's not fair.' When she says that, I say, 'Honey, you're cute; that's not fair. Your family is pretty well off; that's not fair. You were born in America; that's not fair. Honey, you had better pray to God that things don't start getting fair for you.'"

(P.J. O'Rourke, Political satirist, in "The Problem is Politics", Cato's Letter: A Quarterly Message on Liberty, The Cato Institute, Spring 2008, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 5)

Capitalist Hell vs. Communist Hell
A man dies and goes to hell. There he discovers that he has a choice: he can go to capitalist hell or to communist hell. Naturally, he wants to compare the two, so he goes over to capitalist hell. There outside the door is the devil, who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan. "What's it like in there?" asks the visitor. "Well," the devil replies, "in capitalist hell, they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."

"That's terrible!" he gasps. "I'm going to check out communist hell!" He goes over to communist hell, where he discovers a huge queue of people waiting to get in. He waits in line. Eventually he gets to the front and there at the door to communist hell is a little old man who looks a bit like Karl Marx. "I'm still in the free world, Karl," he says, "and before I come in, I want to know what it's like in there."

"In communist hell," says Marx impatiently, "they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."

"But... but that's the same as capitalist hell!" protests the visitor, "Why such a long queue?"

"Well," sighs Marx, "Sometimes we're out of oil, sometimes we don't have knives, sometimes no hot water."

(Taken from the website of Jeffrey Parker at Reed College)

On the One Hand... The Economist's Joke Book, by Jeff Thredgold. You can purchase the book from his website.
Three economists went out hunting and came across a large deer. The first economist fired but missed by a yard to the left. The second economist fired, but also missed by a yard to right. The third economist didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it! We got it!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I went to a local drop-off for recycling tonight and it was a complete mess! There were boxes and bags full of recyclables that weren't sorted but thrown on the ground and lots of trash as well.

A lady who was sorting her own recycling, started sorting the mess around her and placing the bottles, cans, etc. in their proper compartments. I started helping and another lady came by and started helping as well. We three cleaned up so that all the recyclables were put in the right places and the first lady took the trash back to her own house in a garbage bag.

At first, I felt terrible about humanity and its carelessness, but my feelings turned around by these people helping out, taking 30 minutes after work to make sure recycling is taking place properly.