The Problem With a Perfect Punchline



Bumper stickers.

I have a love-hate relationship with them.

Driving down the road and seeing a sticker that pithily states my beliefs raises my spirits and makes me laugh.

But seeing a series of stickers making snarky comments misrepresenting something I agree with makes my blood pressure go up.

I kind of want people to put the kibosh on bumper stickers. What would our world look like if people stopped throwing out unanswerable one-liners as they barreled by at 70 miles an hour? Do you think we might have less road rage? Or do you think we’d be more able to separate assholes from the political positions they espouse if the car with the “Hope” sticker (or the “Sorry Yet?”) hadn’t just cut us off in traffic?

Maybe taking the time to debate our beliefs and politics with each other would be better for our nation than trying to piss each other off with passive-aggressive and often misleading words plastered on our cars.


Astronomy Picture of the Day


This one is interesting. It’s a compilation of shots taken of the sun at midday throughout the year, showing how the location of the sun in the sky follows a figure-eight. This is known as an analemma.
Curious to see where some of our common symbols, like “infinity” come from, isn’t it?

How To…Add Something Nonsensical to Your To-Do List

Another completely random project: homemade vanilla extract. The dishes aren’t done, laundry is piling up–but at least I made something I could have run out to the store to buy, right?

002I followed (mostly) the directions here. I neglected to check on the origin of my vanilla beans when I was at the store, so I’ll do that next time.


And after one week it looks like this:

001(I’m actually supposed to cover the vanilla beans with vodka, but I ran out and haven’t replaced it yet. So when I do, I’ll fill the jar up the rest of the way. ‘Til then I’m making sure to shake it often and stare the beans down as if that’ll stuff them below the surface.)

Friday Five: Bad Church Signs

These are actual words from church signs around here. I’ve put them into the Church Sign Generator to protect their privacy.

Bad Church Signs:

churchsignHave they ever heard of Ephesians 4:6? “Be angry and do not sin.” Apparently there is nothing wrong with anger, but Christianity seems to fear righteous wrath of the saints and tries to stamp out any occurrence. Bad form, Lighthouse church. Bad form.


churchsign1Because when things are going crazy, we don’t want someone who is on top of the situation and in charge. All we want is someone calm. Oh, yes, being calm totally takes care of all your problems when a storm shows up. Why would we ever want a calm sea when we can stand here in the middle of chaos and be calm ourselves?


(Also, I picture a stoned sailor smoking weed in the middle of a torrential downpour when I see this sign.)

churchsign3Funny, I thought actions were what you did and character was intrinsic. Also, “character” is supposed to be a neutral term that has migrated to mean “anything good”. Whatever happened to “bad character,” “lazy character,” and “poor character”?


churchsign4So if God “wills everyone to be saved,” does that mean it has happened just like he willed the universe into existence? Poor choice of words if they meant “wants” instead. It looks like they smacked a version 1 Timothy 2:4 up there (“This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,”) and didn’t check for more current wording.


churchsign5I love this one. Discipleship gets on the cross? Like, you know, Jesus did?? So we can totally be like God, yeah? And be lauded for our sacrificial natures! What’s that? There’s a verse about being glorified by men and how that’s all the reward we’ll get? Well, shoot.

Astronomy Pic of the Day

aurora2_salomonsen_658Since the shutdown effects NASA’s Astronomy picture website, I can’t pull a new image for this post. This is an older image I had saved in my “favorite pics” folder of the Aurora Borealis against a backdrop of stars. I still have dreams of making it to see the Northern Lights in person this year–2013 is a high year of solar activity before cycling back down.


Eye Contact

Back in August I posted a challenge for myself and anyone else who wanted to join: Find one thing a month to do for someone more disadvantaged than you.

Then things got busy and it fell off my radar as I was consumed with things like work, applying for promotions, trying unsuccessfully to connect with old friends, and keep the dirty dishes from overwhelming us (I’ve failed on that one, too).

But I found myself in San Francisco as September drew to a close. The city is an easy place to find people looking for handouts. Whether they’re really in need is anyone’s guess, but a few years ago I realized that it’s the lack of eye contact–of really acknowledging someone else as being a person and being present–that is so demoralizing in our day-to-day activities.

So I let my companions walk ahead of me when I saw a man sitting outside a parking garage holding out a cup. He was talking to passers-by, keeping up a fairly steady, one-sided conversation. I thought that must be an exhausting way to spend a day. Always peppy, always chatting, but never a response from anyone.

I put money in his cup, but it was an excuse to make eye contact and brief conversation with him, just to acknowledge him as a person.

It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t planned out ahead of time, but it was still something.

Now I need something for October.