Monthly Archives: November 2009

Round and Round I Go

Ran a mile Tuesday, 1.25 on Thursday, and 1.5 today. Ankle doing fine. Fingers crossed.

Not that I’m tearing up the track. This morning, one gal who was running lapped me around five times. The more I ran, the more it seemed that:

  1. I was running slower and slower.
  2. She was speeding up.
  3. Both of the above.

I’m quite sure Point 1 was true. She lapped me, a fellow runner, more often than I lapped the people who
were just walking (including that lady who talked on her cellphone the
whole time). Pride, fortunately, is something I leave at the door when I enter the Y.

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A Non-Sweetie Scams IHOP for Breakfast

I have griped about being called “sweetie” and “honey” by waitresses and even at the McDonald’s drive-thru. But today, Pam got called “sweetie” twice–once by the nurse at the doctor’s office, the other at IHOP.

Pam’s checkup went fine, following her surgery for a frozen shoulder on Wednesday. Just need to keep exercising that shoulder, and mostly-full motion should return eventually.

We then went to IHOP for breakfast. I’m pretty positive I saw a woman pull a scam on the restaurant.

The heavy-set woman at the next booth complained that it took too long for her food to come. She wouldn’t be able to eat it there, and would be late for work. Plus, even while waiting, she said, she couldn’t drink the coffee, because it was way too strong, undrinkable. She would need a box to take her food, and would like a pitcher of coffee to take home–which wouldn’t be the same, she said, because she would have to put it in the refrigerator.

The woman manager was very professional and courteous. I’m pretty sure she gave her the breakfast free, and maybe even threw in a $5 gift card (I couldn’t tell for sure). I suspect the manager knew they were getting scammed, but what could she do? It would only cost the restaurant a few bucks to make the lady happy and get her out of there.

When Pam and I left, the lady was still sitting there, eating from her box, taking her time. Apparently not concerned about being late for work.

The IHOP staff, I noticed, did not call her “sweetie.”

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I Must Be Missing Something

I was on a Christian site, called Women of the Harvest, looking for an article they published by one of our missionaries. In trying to access their articles, I was taken to a page telling me:

Our website is secure for your privacy. To access the
Women of the Harvest resources, you will need to become a registered user.

So let me get this straight. If their website was NOT secure, but open to anyone, I could freely read their content and nobody need know I was even there. But because their website IS secure, I must give up private information about myself in order to protect my privacy.

CNN doesn’t require that I register. Is that a liberal conspiracy to undermine my privacy?

Perhaps my church should require people to register before they can view such information as service times, ministries, etc. You know–to protect their privacy.

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Kroger: Leave My Grocery Store Alone

Kroger is doing it again. They own the Scott’s grocery store chain in Fort Wayne–bought it a few years ago. That included the Scott’s on Illinois Road, where Pam and I shop. It immediately went a little downhill, service-wise, but not too badly. Still a good store.

I know that store real well. I can find things. I have it down. Ask me where something is, and I can tell you.

Went there today…and they’re MOVING EVERYTHING AROUND. This is like the third time since they took over. Why would they do that? Why? Why do they insist on injecting so much tension into my grocery-shopping experience? Is not American life difficult enough without the uncertainties inherent in rearranging the store? My beloved grocery store, once a comfort zone, will now become a mystery. Again.

I imagine some corporate dead-ender did a consumer-behavior study, complete with hidden cameras and eye-tracking and who knows what else, and the conclusion was: we need to move stuff to a different location. Put the paper goods where the pickles were. Move the cereal two aisles over. Put the coffee next to the flour. Consumer-behavior studies give detailed ramifications.

When I went through the checkout line today, the checker, talking points memorized, was assuring people, “It’ll be a good change. You’ll like it when it’s done.”

No, it won’t be a good change. Because in another year, just after I once again figure out where everything is, some corporate guy will do another consumer-behavior study, and it’ll show that things still aren’t in the right place. The cereal is still on the wrong aisle, and flour and coffee just don’t work together. You’ll determine that this “good change” is actually all wrong, that it is mortally flawed. And you’ll move things around again.

Just quit it, okay? The store is fine the way it is.

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We are the Champions

steve-yankees200.jpgSo the Yankees pulled it off! My team won!

I’m guessing ratings were pretty good this year. I didn’t watch the Series last year, because I didn’t care. But when the Yankees are in it, it’s more interesting. No, it’s not fair. But that’s the way it is. People like me watched every game this year, only because the Yankees–a collection of talented multi-multi millionaires–was contending.

I dug out an old, blurry Little League photo of me in my Yankees uniform. That would have been after my 4th grade year. Skinny little runt, wasn’t I?

In the Paxtonia league (thus the “P” on the cap), in the east suburbs of Harrisburg, Pa., we had the A and B teams, which played other leagues. And then there was the pony league, which consisted of four teams: Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers, Phillies. We played amongst ourselves. I was on the Yankees, and we won the league. (The next year, I made the B team, and the A team the year after that.)

I only remember two other members of that Yankees team: Jeff Kline and Scott Clark. They alternated between pitcher and catcher. I played shortstop. Must have had some other decent players, but I can’t remember them.

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Of Running, Korean Christians, and the Taliban

I ventured back into running tonite. Did a mile at the Y. In July, I had worked myself up to four miles, but the stubborn stress fracture above my right ankle reminded me that it had not yet gone away, despite periods of respite from pain. So, I gave up my new-found interest in running, determining not to run until the beginning of November. At the least. Longer, if I still felt a hint of anything lingering.

So I did just a mile tonite, and I’m pooped out. But I’m sure I can work back up to a few miles fairly quickly. Hopefully I won’t wake up in the morning with pain in my ankle and the realization I should have abstained longer.

While stretching, doing crunches, running, then lifting some weights, I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan. I love listening to his messages. Chan speaks with humor, authenticity, and insights I’ve not heard before. And “Living Courageously” was the best I’ve heard so far.

Chan told about the 23 Korean church workers kidnapped by the Taliban several years ago. Two of them were executed before the group was released. Chan was able to spend a couple hours with one of those Koreans. The man told how the Taliban took everything they had with them…except for one Bible, which one of the men carried in his back pocket. That Christian man tore the Bible into 23 pieces and distributed a piece to each Korean, so that everyone had part of God’s Word. The Taliban then divided the Koreans into groups of three and took them to different locations, where they remained until their eventual release.

The man told Chan what had happened since the group’s return to Seoul. He said occasionally, a member of that group would come up to him and say, “Don’t you wish we were back in Afghanistan?” Why? Because never before, and never since, had they felt so close to God. In that desperate situation, they were sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and doing exactly what the Lord required of them.

As I chugged along the track, I had goosebumps.

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Notes to the Combatants in the “War” on Fox News

First to the Obama Administration:

The definition of stupidity is telling terrorists, “Bring it on.” In going after FoxNews, you redefined stupidity.

And hypocrisy. You accuse FoxNews of being partisan–which most of us agree it is–but then refuse to acknowledge the same of MSNBC (at least, of its evening line-up). If you’re going to stand on principle–that newspeople should be unbiased–then for heaven’s sakes, STAND on it. Consistently.

You knocked FoxNews, but gave MSNBC a pass. Why? Because Olberman and Maddow continually give you sloppy wet kisses, and you don’t want to impede the continuing flow of gratuitous saliva. Chill out.

Now, to FoxNews:

You’ve certainly gotten your mileage out of this. Milked it to death. Enough already, okay?

I’m weary of hearing your Anchors & Friends continually trumpet this War on Fox News. They always talk about this imaginary “war” in general terms, without mentioning what acts of aggression are coming from the Obama Administration. From what I can tell, here are the blitzkriegs which have been launched against you:

  1. An interview with Chris Wallace was denied.
  2. Various Obama representatives have accused you of being biased, and that hurt your feelings.

Is there more? If so, please be specific. Quit talking about this “war” in nebulous terms. Tell me when and where battles are occurring.

The fact is, the Administration did not launch a war. They launched a hissy-fit, which you then blew into a galactic conflagration. Okay, so your feelings were hurt. Quit acting your age–which is 13–and stop the pouting. It’s unseemly.

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Musings on Setting a Worshipful Mood

When we do communion at Anchor, we usually have music playing underneath–sometimes the whole worship team, sometimes just a guitar or me at the piano. You know, setting a mood. Typically, we have people file to the front of the church to get the elements, so playing music works well.

Today, we did it differently, the way most [United Brethren] churches do it. The band played John Mark McMillan’s “How He Loves” while the ushers distributed the elements to people in their seats. Then the band stopped playing, and everyone took communion together. No music underneath.

As I stood on the platform, the bread and tiny plastic juice cup in my hand, I thought about the silence. It was…interesting.

I thought about that Last Supper. Did Jesus have someone in the corner strumming a guitar while he blessed the wine and bread? Was there nothing to set the proper mood? Nothing, that is, except the presence of Jesus?

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