You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2008.

I don’t cook that often, but we have a Saturday tradition in our home in which I make pancakes. I generally make between 60 to 70 pancakes. We’ve got a big griddle.

10 Family Pancake Meal Tips I’ve Learned:

– A big griddle is a good investment.

– Don’t force someone to cook while you’re eating – make a whole batch and have them all ready.

– Find a place to keep them warm – we used a crock pot.

– And don’t be afraid that you’ll have too many. Pancakes make great leftovers.

– Use Real Maple Syrup.

– Bisquick is good. Made from scratch is better. And not really that difficult. Find a good recipe.

– Start out each round by spreading butter on the griddle. Not for sticky-lessness, for flavor. Remember: Butter is healthy fat.

– While you’re cooking, throw some bacon and eggs on another pan – to add protein to your breakfast.

– Take the last couple batches and fill the kids’ plates, with butter and syrup pre-placed on before you sit down. That way there isn’t a big wait to get everything ready after you pray.

– And if you are wondering when to flip, take a tip from John Piper’s Mom: Notice when the bubbles form on the edges.


Any other suggestions?

Everything I Ever I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Calvin (From Calvin & Hobbes) Part 9

Well Dad, we’re right down to the wire, and the polls say you won’t be Dad here much longer. It seems you’re just not likeable enough. *** Those polled continue to find you a cold fish. If you want some advice, I suggest you do something extraordinarily likeable in the next two minutes. ***  I keep forgetting that rules are only for little nice people. *** It must be awful to be a girl. I’m sure it’s frustrating knowing that men are bigger, stronger and better at abstract thought than women. Really, if you’re a girl, what would make you go on living? *** Mothers are the necessity of invention. ***  I’ve never liked crayons very much. They just don’t have any flavor at all. *** Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery. ***  Is it truly being good if the only reason I behave well is so I can get more loot at Christmas? I mean, really, all I’m doing is saying I can be bribed. Is that good enough, or do I have to be good in my heart and spirit? In other words, do I really have to BE good or do I have to ACT good? ***  I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep everyone’s expectations. ***  I say it’s a fallacy that kids need 12 years of school! Three months is plenty! *** There’s nothing prettier than new fallen snow on a clear freezing moonlit night. …through a window, that is. *** Pretty convenient how every time I build character, HE saves a couple of hundred dollars. *** I think the short attention span of television is great. As far as I’M concerned, if something is so complicated that you can’t explain it in 10 seconds, then it’s probably not worth knowing anyway. *** My time is valuable. I can’t go thinking about one subject on end. *** There’s something magical about having a fire. The crackles and snaps, the warm flickering light… everything always seems safe and cozy if you’re sitting in front of a fire. *** I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood. *** Childhood is short and maturity is forever.

I wrote this several years ago about a common trait I’ve noticed in first born children and adults (And Yes, I am one). Beware, it is cynical and intentionally wrong-hearted


Goals for the First Born Personae:
Try to make them think you are ____, even if you are not, without looking like you’re are trying give this impression.

(Fill in the blank with the following):
Better than the other guy

By being good in the right ways with the right people looking, you can get them to think you are great. But watch out. If it works, it may backfire by causing you to regret fooling your audience and harming others. It is easy enough to ignore these feelings of regret, however, if you continue to remind yourself that you are the most important person in your family, your church, your company and, in general, the world. Remember, you are great. Deception is okay if you believe it yourself.

1. Star Wars Motivational Posters

I ran into this after the guy commented here. I just noticed it’s a year old today. How come I haven’t seen other people link to this?


(As seen here).

Watch it more than once.


Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?

Nothing says “I have too much money” like buying bottled water or three dollar cups of coffee.

To dry your hands!

In Corporate America, you get adventure and excitement, it’s just in small doses.

I just walked into the bathroom and spotted the new Dyson Airblade hand dryer. Of course I had to use it!


Some comments:
– Yes, I know . . . your county park had this three years ago. Well, it’s new to me!
– It works very quickly
– . . but your hands feel a bit damp afterwords
– . . but the guy who was right after me (who acted like a Dyson representative) said the last dampness dries very quickly.
– It’s a little loud.
– My thought is that the name ‘Airblade’ might frighten children.

Update: Actually, I’m curious how behind I am. Has anyone else seen these yet?



Everything I ever needed to know I learned from ‘Atlas Shrugged’ (Part 1)

First Notes:

– Bought this book at a charity book sale for a dollar
– Recommended by many – including my Pastor (sort of).
– This is just from the first three hundred pages
– Notable about this list – I have chosen only passages that I think the author disagrees with. More than other authors I’ve read, Mrs. Rand writes many foolish characters who speak aphoristic statements that she (Mrs. Rand) obviously thinks are rediculous.


A country is its neighbors keeper. *** Public opinion can mean a lot. *** Disunity seems to be the cause of all social problems. *** The only justification of private property is public service. *** People who are afraid to sacrifice somebody have no business talking about a common purpose. *** Men have to get together  *** Virtue is the price of admission to heaven. *** Social reforms are slow – it is advisable to be patient and cautious. *** Reason is the most naïve of all superstitions. *** The duty of thinkers is not to explain, but to demonstrate that nothing can be explained. *** The literature of the past was a shallow fraud. ***  Only those whose motive is not moneymaking should be allowed to write. *** Plot is a primitive vulgarity in literature. *** Property rights are a superstition  *** Machines have destroyed man’s humanity, taken him away from the soil, robbed him of his natural arts, killed his soul and turned him into an insensitive robot. *** Intellectual pursuits are not learned in the marketplace. *** It is only in the realm of pure science that truth is an absolute criterion. When we deal with applied science, with technology-we deal with people. And when we deal with people, considerations other than truth enter the question. *** If a man deserves a job there’s not virtue in giving it to him. Virtue is the giving of the undeserved. *** Real devotion consists of being willing to lie, cheat and fake in order to make another person happy – to create for him the reality he wants, if he doesn’t like the one that exists. *** To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She’s earned it, it’s a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is a real gift, unearned and undeserved. To love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake – and that is real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self–esteem. *** Love, that is the key to everything. If men learned to love one another, it would solve all their problems.



The Adventures of Ogden: Man of the Suburb
Episode 7 – June – Investigative Journalism

“Hi, I’m Guy Goodmountain. I am an investigative journalist for “Heads Up!” a nationally syndicated news program. Do you . . . recognize me?”

Ogden, who had come to the door of his home, interrupted from reading an anthology of poems by famous computer scientists, had to admit that he didn’t really recognize the large-jawed journalist.
“Would you be willing to answer a few questions for me?”

“Uh, Sure.”

“And would it be all right if I recorded our conversation” Guy pulled out a microphone.

“Well, what is this about?”

“Oh, you could say it’s about . . . artwork.” replied the journalist, and he cleared his throat.

“I . . . I guess that would be okay.” agreed Ogden, getting a bit nervous.

“Mr. Fenfert, what are your feelings about art, in general?”

“Well, I’d have to say . . . ” and over the next few minutes Ogden responded to Guy’s emotionless questions. The general thrust of what Ogden said was that, although he himself wasn’t an artist, in general he liked art and respected artists.

“That’s interesting, because just this week we received a phone call from the American Society of Artists for Corporate America. I would assume that someone so . . . respectful of artists as yourself would have heard of the A.S.A.C.A., haven’t you?”
Again, Ogden had to admit that he hadn’t heard of it.

“They provide artwork for large companies to place in the hallways of their corporate offices.”

“I see.”

“Many companies including . . . your company.”

“I . . . see.”

“Does this sculpture art look familiar to you?” Guy suddenly produced a picture of a large dark piece of twisted and smashed-up black metal on a thick black metal podium. Ogden did indeed recognize it.

“Yes,” he replied, starting to feel a little perspiration on his forehead

“So, you’ve seen it before?”

“Yes, at my office.”

“This work is entitled “Youth strangulation” and was created by Biff Trippenbinkle last year. Did you know that?”

“Uh, no.”

“And do you recognize this?” again, Guy pulled out a piece of paper with a picture of the same piece of artwork, but this time, above the black hulk of metal, taped to the wall was a homemade sign that said “This could happen to your vehicle. Please don’t drink and drive.”

“The A.S.A.C.A called us and let us know that some . . . person decided that it would be humorous to put up this posting which we can only assume was meant to suggest that the artwork looked like a car wreck.”

“I see.”

“Did you put up this poster, Mr. Fenfert?”

“I did not,” Ogden replied, truthfully, although he wasn’t telling the full truth. He had thought that the metal looked like a twisted car and had mentioned it to his department. He was pretty sure he knew who had put up the sign, but he wasn’t going to say that into a microphone.

“Did you find this funny?” asked Mr. Goodmountain, pressing. Ogden now noticed a video camera, mostly hidden by the “Heads Up!” van parked in the street. The camera was focused on him.

“I – ” began Ogden, but his interviewer interrupted him.

“Did you know that the artist meant for his work to symbolize children living in hardship throughout the world?”

“I wasn’t aware of -“

“Do you it funny that children around the world are suffering, Mr. Fenfert?”

“I most certainly do not. I -“

This time Ogden was interrupted not by Guy, but by two vehicles moving at a fairly quick pace towards the Fenfert home. One was a police car, with siren’s blaring, the other a van with the logo which read “Who Dem Cops! Investigations”. Ogden feared the worst.
But when the policemen came up to them holding handcuffs, it was not to Ogden, but to his interviewer that they spoke.

“Mr. Goodmountain, we are placing you under arrest for insider trading.”
As they were bringing Guy, now handcuffed, to the squad car, the “Who Dem Cops!” microphones were in his face.

“Do you realize that many of the families who owned stock in your company and lost thousands own pets?”

“How does it make you feel that cute little puppies may go hungry as result of actions you took?”

After watching the three vehicles drive away, it took a few minutes for Ogden to calm down, but he finally managed it.

Jamsco’s Trip to the Boundary Water – By The Numbers

Nights stayed: 3, Men on trip: 4, Canoe count: 2
Campsites stayed at: 2 (Ester and Ashdick)
Rain during our stay: Less than a half inch.
Largest depth of water in our canoes while paddling in because the wind kept dumping lakewater in them: 24
Required trips to shore to empty our canoes: 3
Hours to paddle in (against the wind): 8
Miles traveled in our canoes: 23
Portages: 4
Rods portaged: 370
Feet per Rod: 16.5
Rods per Mile: 320
Proofs besides these required to show that the English measuring system is goofy: 0
Fish caught and eaten by us: 6
Fish caught and eaten by a passing snapping turtle: 1 (a 4 pound northern – Rats!)
Width of this turtle’s shell (in inches) 14
Moose that walked into our campsite while we were having a theological discussion: 1
Number of seconds the moose stayed in our campsite after he saw us: 1
Hours to paddle out (with the wind): 5
Moments when I was seriously impressed with God’s creation: 823



The Lake We Canoed Through

It is a blessed thing to sit in a canoe and paddle past cliffs and cedar and loons and see more of what God has created. It is also a blessed thing to get home after four days of being away and kiss your wife, hug your kids, and take a shower.

Yes, it’s a day early.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader – Part 1

 There are dozens of ways to give people a bad time if you are in your own home and they are only visitors. *** Most of us, I suppose, have a secret country, but for us it is only an imaginary country. *** You had better get it into your head that the left of a ship when you are looking ahead, is port, and the right is starboard. *** It was as if King Arthur came back to Britain as some people say he will. And I say the sooner the better. *** To the convenience of a lady, even a question of honor must give way – at least for the moment. *** It is very unpleasant to have to go cautiously when there is a voice inside you saying all the time, “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” *** You know – If you’ve ever picked the scab off of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh, but it feels so good to see it come off. *** It is not at all nice to be pursued by an unknown something either on land or sea. *** It is folly to think of avoiding an invisible enemy by any amount of creeping and skulking. *** If it is anything against her majesties honour, you will wonder to see how many we can kill before we die. *** Least said, soonest mended. *** What I always say is, when a chap’s hungry he likes some victuals. *** It is always better to turn around than to have anything creeping up behind your back. *** Spying on people by magic is the same as spying on them in any other way. *** No one is ever told what would have happened. *** It’s always like that, you can’t keep him; it’s not as if he were a tame lion. *** What I always say is, when chaps are visible, why they can see one another. *** Use? If by use you mean filling our bellies or our purses, I confess it will be no use at all. So far as I know, we did not set sail to look for things useful but to seek honor and adventures. And here is as great an adventure as ever I heard of, and here, if we turn back, no little impeachment of all our honours. *** There are some things no man can face. *** Courage, dear heart. *** There are moments when simply to lie in bed and see the daylight pouring through your window and to hear the cheerful voice of an early postman or mailman down below and to realize that it was only a dream: it wasn’t real, is so heavenly that it was very nearly worth having the nightmare in order to have the joy of waking. *** Of your courtesy fill my cup with wine from that flagon: it is too big for me to lift. I will drink to the lady. *** Things aren’t always as they seem. *** It is not for you, a son of Adam, to know what faults a star can commit. *** There is nothing particularly exciting about a round world when you’re there. ***  I shall be telling you all the time. But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.





















































































The Boundary Waters are a large set of lakes in northern Minnesota and southern Ontario. It’s beautiful and completely undeveloped.

The most famous road traveling through these lakes is the Gunflint Trail.

This trail begins in Grand Marais (of which I have written  before) and ends in the very large lake – Lake Saganaga.
This is where I am headed this weekend. It’s been more than ten years since I paddled these waters. But they say paddling a canoe is like riding a bike. Perhaps not so with portaging. We’ll see.

To be filed under “Statements that almost certainly have never been uttered in the history of the English language before”:  Last week my son Daniel said this – “Ticks must have cute lungs.”

One of the best gift giving situation I ever witnessed was with my son Daniel (who was 7 at the time – two years ago) He wanted to get a gift for his Mom for mother’s day and his choice was a hand held mirror.

Now it should be noted that at that time, when my wife wanted to see the back of her head as she was getting ready to go out, she was using the left over product of a mirror that she had had for years. It had broken several time to the point that she was just holding a three inch cracked piece of mirror glass.

So when Daniel suggested it, I thought it was a great idea. So we went to Target and he chose the Green one (because Mrs. Jamsco likes green) and paid for it with his own money (actually personally handing the money to the check out person, – perhaps for the first time).

And Debbie was very happy when she opened it and now she uses it every day.

So thinking about that, here are –

7 Gift Giving Suggestions:

A good gift should be:
– something that shows that the giver knew a little about the receiver.
– paid for by the giver.
– something that the receiver wanted.
– not an item that makes the gift receiver uncomfortable with its expensiveness.
– something that the receiver would not get for themselves*
– useful.
– a little unexpected .

It is very rare that a gift is all of these things – but Daniel succeeded.

Any other gift giving suggestions?

* My wife sometimes doesn’t like gift suggestions that make it sound like the person is just avoiding a run to Target. (“Yeah, while you’re there, could you pick up some striped socks for me?”)

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Nicholas Cage

What’s the point of being a teenager if you can’t dress weird? *** There’s right and there’s right and never the twain shall meet. *** Sometimes it’s a hard world for small things  *** We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter. *** If not Arizona, then a land not too far away. Where all parents are strong and wise and capable. And all children are happy and beloved. I don’t know. Maybe it was Utah. *** Don’t want to get caught, shouldn’t be a thief. *** People get married and then they do the most hideous, unbelievable things to each other. *** Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. Yellow then red. *** Put… the bunny… back… in the box. *** There’s only two men I trust. One of them’s me. The other’s not you. *** Many hands make light work. My father taught me that. *** Some things are true whether you believe in them or not. *** I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts. *** Without disappointment you cannot appreciate victory.  *** Two Rogers don’t make a right. *** Rule no. 1: Don’t work where you live. Rule no. 2: Don’t write anything down. *** For some people, money is a foreign film without subtitles. *** If there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action. ***A toast? Yeah. To high treason. That’s what these men were committing when they signed the Declaration. Had we lost the war, they would have been hanged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and-Oh! Oh, my personal favorite-and had their entrails cut out and burned!  *** Here’s to the men who did what was considered wrong, in order to do what they knew was right. *** You know something I’ve noticed about fishing? It never works out so well for the bait. *** I don’t want to be remembered at all. That means I’m dead. *** There are two types of tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, the other is getting it. *** The problem with dating dream girls is that they have a tendency to become real. *** They say, “Evil prevails when good men fail to act.” What they ought to say is, “Evil prevails.” *** That’s the secret to survival. Never go to war. Especially with yourself. *** Any friend of my brothers’ is a… a friend of my brothers’. *** You can’t force someone to fall in love with you but, you can definitely improve your odds. *** My daddy once said, “If you don’t make a choice, the choice makes you.” *** You cannot live in fear. *** Here is the thing about the future. Every time you look at, it changes, because you looked at it, and that changes everything else. 




. . . . but this time, I actually agree with it.

I know that about half of you come here from Vox, but for those who don’t – today he posited a pretty clever defense against the idea that there is no creator god because the human body design is flawed:

Now, consider John Madden NFL Football 2008 in any of its various incarnations. There are around 1,700 virtual players existing in the game, all of whom are given ratings for various physical characteristics such as Speed, Tackling, Passing Accuracy, and so forth. 99 is the perfect rating, 0 is presumably the lowest, although one seldom sees a rating south of 50. Of these 1,700+ players, not a single one is designed for perfection; even that rare player with an Overall rating of 99 does not possess a 99 rating for every characteristic. . . .

Does this observable design inefficiency indicate that there is no design inherent to John Madden NFL Football? By no means! Perfection would be inimical to the purpose of the game, it would be a detriment to both the simulation and the enjoyment of the player; imperfection of design is intrinsic to the game. Now, we may not know the purpose of the game called Life, much less what, if anything, it is designed to simulate or test, but there is certainly substantial evidence in the Bible suggesting that Man’s imperfection is inherent to his design. The Argument from Imperfect Design does legitimately call into question both the designer’s goodness as well as his omniscience, but it does not, it cannot, call his actual existence into question.


I especially appreciate the Apostle Paul-esque “By no means!”




We should have some kind of standardized way of stopping a phone conversation in a non-goofy way:

Typical ending of a phone call between two normally non-dysfunctionally conversant people:

Phone talker 1: We’ll that’s about –
Phone talker 2: Yep!
Phone talker 1: So I guess we’ll talk soon.
Phone talker 2: Okay, so –
Phone talker 1: Yeah, well, we’ll . . . 
Phone talker 2: Yep, so . . .
Phone talker 1: Have a good one!
Phone talker 2: Bye!

Can’t we do better than this?

If you want peace between two warring family members (or church members, or coworkers) it may be up to you.


Step one: Never repeat something bad that one says about the other.

Step two: If you can, repeat something good that one says about the other.

Okay, so what can I say about this comic without getting into trouble theologically?

How about this?

– Artist is almost certainly not a evangelical Christian.
– The comic is somewhat irreverent in tone.
– God doesn’t use Vicoden.

But on the Plus-side –
In some respects (within reason of course) this comic is very nearly exactly how I think about God –

God is portrayed as creating everything they see, and as being the causer of minute details, even those trivial actions done by a character.
God is suggested to be intimately involved and present, but also transcendent and significantly more real than the characters.
One character believes in him, another doesn’t.
The suggestion (last panel) that if God weren’t extremely consistent, every part of our reality would be wrong and undone.


From Opus


And don’t say I’m getting my theology from a comic strip. Rather, say that even as an unbelieving sceptic, the artist has been given some kind of general inspiration available to all of us just by thinking about life.







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June 2008