August 2007 - Posts
1. Burning Man (or )'( to those that are "in the know") is currently in full swing in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Take one look at the Wikipedia.org entry [link] and tell me it doesn't wreak of Old Testament idol worship like the golden calf in Genesis or Nebuchadnezzar's statue in Daniel. It looks creepy from my ill-informed perspective.
And while we're on the subject, I read that a man committed suicide at this year's event and hung from a pole inside a circus-style tent for two hours before people realized that it wasn't an expression of art. Is that tragic irony or cosmic irony? I sometimes get them confused.
2. Passion, huh?
3. And speaking of me being ill-informed, I had no idea that tapping my foot while in the lavatory could signal to others that I wanted anonymous ... umm ... relations [link]. For anyone that has ever seen my foot tap under a bathroom stall, it's a nervous habit. Or I'm just making some noise to let you know you're not alone in there. OK?
4. Labor Day. I like the day off but what is Labor Day, really? A day to celebrate our ... labor?
5. Tomorrow, Dad has a 15-mile hike planned to the top of Blanket Mountain in the Smokies. Bubba and I have decided to go. I hope we haven't bitten off more than we can handle. Bubba did a 14-miler to Shining Rock in North Carolina once but was nearly in tears after it was over. He's gung-ho for tomorrow and we'll take plenty of food and water -- most of which I'm sure I'll have to carry. I'll let you know how it went on Tuesday.
6. Mud run update: BJ, M, Bubba, Butch and I were all set to go. The only problem was that 1,000 people had already signed up and registration was closed. So, there'll be no pictures of mud piles with eyeballs for you guys to enjoy. We'll do it next year, though.
7. Have a wonderful weekend. On tap next week, I plan on a posting a passionate article about Christian denominations and how fed up I am with them. I'm bringing the bomb. But don't worry your sweet little cheeks about it. Get outside. Oh, and the backpacking trip is set for September 28-30 in the Ravenfork watershed near the Cherokee National Forest. Anyone is invited to come along.
Put Joe back in his place.
What I need is 100 different comments before midnight tonight. I don't necessarily need 100 different people to comment. I just need the comments.
Please leave a comment below to help persuade the powers that be to put my blog on top on the Blog Page. It certainly deserves top billing, right?
Update: At 3:52 PM, we have 42 comments. The people are speaking and it is evident that they want this blog to rise to the top.
Update 2: The people have spoken. Move Joe to the top! Move Joe to the top! Move Joe to the top!
I was laid up on the couch yesterday in an empty house with two tablespoons of Children's Benadryl, the TV remote and a blankie. And on the TV was a rerun of "The Simpons" -- a longtime guilty pleasure of mine.
The episode playing was "Bart Has Two Mommies", which isn't about what you are probably thinking. On the show, Bart is kidnapped by a lonely female ape at the zoo. And at the same time, Bart's mother, Marge, is babysitting the next door neighbor's two boys, Rod and Todd Flanders (affectionately referred to as "Nimrod" and "Nimtod" by Bart). Rod and Todd's father, Ned, who is an overprotective and over-religious father, comes home late to discover a little red piece of paper in the carpet. What followed made me laugh out loud to no one in the room.
Ned: (gasp) A sliver from a band-aid wrapper! Call me Ned Zeppelin, but is one of my boys abraised and contused?!
Todd: I cut myself on the knife playing Christian Clue.
Rod: The secular humanist did it in the school house with misinformation.
But what was hilarious was Rod pulling out Clue cards from the game box. Representing the secular humanist was a picture of a young man in a Yale sweater. The schoolhouse was a typical schoolhouse portrayal with a belfry. And "misinformation" was a dinosaur card. Hillarious.
Thanks to BJ and his salesmanship, I now have a 21-speed mountain bike. Actually, I must thank his boss for the bike. BJ's boss gave me his old mountain bike from his college days. And, as free bikes go, this one is tops.
There is even a little something on the bike to keep me humble. On the lower support bar is a 12-inch long tie-dye decal. And it gets noticed. Two men commented on it when I took it for a tune up at the local bike shop -- one while he held the door and the other who was propped up on the counter taking orders. And I identified it in a crowd of bikes when I picked it up by saying, "The one with the tie-dye is mine". To which a couple in the store spun around on their heels and whispered something to themselves. I'm sure it was adoration that they were expressing, except I'm not sure what the woman said that caused the man to snicker.
All in all, I'm excited to have a bike. Just ask my wife. She has heard about it nonstop for days.
I now have grand plans to start a community bike gang just like the good ol' days. We'll just need some girls to pick on, shortcuts through neighbors' yards and a tree house. Oh, and don't forget that we'll need matching unitards. No bicycle gang is complete without a uniform.
I've received mountains of letters from my adoring fans, and each one always has the same theme: "Joe, how can I be like you?" Sure, there are letters, emails and singing telegrams that ask other less important questions about politics, relationship questions and how to cook opossum, but each one eventually gets around to asking about how to be Napalm-cool.
Today, I offer Lesson Number One. And, no, it's not because I can't find anything else to blog about. And I'm definitely not avoiding a "Free Prose Friday" (Did I mention it's trademarked?). And it certainly isn't about writing something to make up for feeling inadequate because Wesley is teaching some complicated thermal dynamics course at the university. It's my larger than normal heart and my inhuman capacity for compassion that warrants this post.
Lesson 1 - How to Talk Like Joe. Being like Joe requires vocabulary and grammar rules.
First -- and I won't dive too deep into this this first topic -- you absolutely cannot use passive voice. Joe does not use passive voice. He owns the problem. And we didn't do anything. Either I did it or you did it.
Next, never say "I believe". In the heat of a discussion, no one cares what you believe. Say it with authority. It is this way or it isn't that way. Once I see or hear "I believe" my eyes glaze over and I begin thinking about other things that I have to accomplish at home like taking out the trash in the kitchen. I may even drool a bit, too, just for dramatic effect. In the meantime, your point is lost.
Third, never use analogies. I can't stress this point enough. Using analogies is like ... Ha! You thought you had me. Please do not use 'em. No one cares, especially me, how accomplishing a task is a lot like driving a ship.
And, finally, you need a vocabulary that matches Joe's wit. Below is an abridged list of words and phrases that Joe uses daily. (Use "footprint" when describing your company's regional presence and I may punch you. "Paradigm" will get you two punches.)
Hoppin' 'n poppin' - When things are going great, without a hitch, they are hoppin' 'n poppin'. In a sentence, it looks like this: We have a great plan. We'll go out, put it into action and then things will start hoppin' 'n poppin'.
G to G - An abbreviation for "good to go". I have my breakfast blend Starbucks coffee, I've read the Steeple forums and I'm G to G.
Ate up like a football bat - Very, very messed up situation. In the place of "football bat," you can substitute "soup sandwich" or "basketball cleats". I can't stand idly by and watch this mess. It's ate up like a football bat.
Accoutrements - Although I frown on French words in general, this is a good psychological word. For the proper usage of this word, you need your pronunciation to be overly French. Saying it like "a-KOO-ter-mint" is just plain silly and sissy. You need a good rolling "r" when pronouncing it "a-KOO-trrrey-mohn". It works well because no one expects it coming and it throws off their train of thought long enough for you to hammer your point home and possibly get a positive response. Dave, we're going down to pick up sodas, chips, dip, New York strips and accoutrements. You're paying, right?
Ain't - No cool vocabulary is complete without the word "ain't". However, some words or phrases do not work well with "ain't". Saying "yous guys" in the same sentence is poor taste. Saying "dog" instead of "dawg" within two sentences of the word will cause you to lose street credit quick. Oh, no you ain't!
And that concludes today's lesson. Now get out there succeed. And soon people will be asking you, "Do you know Joe?"
As I write this at work, I sit here stark naked. I used to be ashamed of my pasty-white nudity, but not any more. My nakedness tells the other men and women in the office that I am in charge.
You see, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president took off his shirt during a fishing trip [link] which could easily be an embarrassing moment for a state leader, but not according to the state-run Russian media and other media outlets. Writers and Russian lapdogs around the globe are ga-ga over the bare-chested Putin and his PR stunt. One UK source [link], has gone so far as analyzing what effect Putin's bare chest will have on the world's psyche. Here's my favorite part:
But while there are all sorts of rules, and seasonally updated tips, on how much women dare to bare, with the rival merits of halternecks and exposed midriffs regularly rehearsed, the question of how men should manage the exposure of their own flesh, and what can be read into these displays, is rarely given the close study it deserves.
As Putin’s careful release of the pictures of his own taut form demonstrate, the deployment of male nudity is, above all, a power play.
But tactical exposure of holiday flesh is a way of asserting power which is certainly not restricted to the political sphere.
Who knew that my nudity could be used as a "power play"? I'm just embarrassed that at thirty-two years of age I'm just now learning this lesson. Just think how far I could've risen during my peak fitness years about ten years ago. Nevertheless, I won't let a little flab stand in the way of my authori-tay!
OK, gotta go. I'm going to do laps in my manager's office and strut my ... power play.
1. I have a soundtrack playing in my head at all times. And this week the William Tell Overture has played nonstop.
2. Speaking of the William Tell Overture, did you know that in Brazil the Lone Ranger is known as "Zorro" and that Zorro is also known as "Zorro"? How confusing.
3. For Uncle Jesse: Criteria for the proper tactical usage of the phrase "oh, snap" [link].
4. And, while you're at Flickr.com, check out this sweet digital news stand [link]. I ran this by Mrs. Napalm earlier this week and asked if we could do the same thing except use it as a television. It would fit well with our brickabrack.
5. It is about time to plan the annual Joe Napalm backpacking trip. The days are getting shorter and the weather cooler. Who's in?
6. Have a wonderfully wonderful weekend. I feel the creative juices beginning to course through my veins. I expect better material to begin flowing anytime. This weekend in the Hamptons will inspire me to greatness. Now what are you doing at your computer? Get outside. Now.
Do not conclude that God's silence is His indifference. Ecclesiastes 8:11-13 tells us:
When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.
Although it may be a little more insight than you care to participate in, I start this post by telling you that I come from a long line of
bathroom readers. Sunday afternoons at my parents' house normally involves each
one of us alternately slipping off to the water closet with a World Magazine [link]
tucked under an arm. And it is not unusual to see someone with sweat beading on their forehead and desperately asking, "Has anyone seen the latest World Magazine?" In fact, I expected to see this very post on a couple of other blogs here or in the blogosphere. But, alas, it's up to Mr. Napalm to share.
In the most recent World Mag, Joel Belz, a favorite in the Napalm family, writes an interesting article about strange maps [link]. And since I am a connoisseur of maps, the article sucked me in and even stirred conversation around the lunch table this Sunday. Mr. Belz writes specifically about http://strangemaps.wordpress.com. The blog is a collection of odd and obscure maps found on the web or possibly contributed by readers.
Of the maps that I have found in the collection at strangemaps.com, there are several that amaze me. One is a controversial map supposedly drawn up in the early-1400s [link]. The dating of this Chinese map implies that China discovered and mapped America many decades before a European.
Another amazing map--or series of maps--is the one where each state name of the United States of America is replaced by a country whose gross domestic product roughly equals that state [link]. In one example, my home state of Tennessee has a GDP roughly equal to Iran. Wow! However, it might be easier to invade Tennessee. We're a bit more hospitable and are fairly indifferent toward the Jews.
Look around on the site. Navigation isn't the best, but you will find an "Archives" section at the bottom. Also, like Joel Belz, I find some of the articles and comments to be quite liberal. But it is an amazing collection of oddities.
I'm not sure if the following is an example of Luddite eschewing technology or just plain stupidity. Just when I thought I had seen the pinnacle of computer ignorance, I find that, like a putting green at St. Andrews, I had only discovered a false front.
At my previous employer, the powers that be decided to hire a purchasing manager that had little or no use for technology. He didn't understand the most basic functions on his own cell phone. (I assume that I will not offend him or kind because reading this blog means that each of you at least had to turn on a computer and that is .) After only two weeks in his new position, he developed this brilliant plan where each supervisor in the building would have a dry-erase board in his or her office on which he or she would document and track critical items. Each week, each supervisor would take a digital photo of the white board and email it to him. In turn, his secretary (yes, the same one that got him coffee every morning, wore sleeveless, Saran-wrapped tops and complained that 75 degrees was cold) would print the photo and hand it to him just before the conference call.
Not only was this stupid because anyone with a little sense can create a spreadsheet, save it on a network drive or email it, but each supervisor had to buy a digital camera (and we all know those aren't cheap) and finagle with the thing each week. Just try to take a flash photo of a white dry erase board and see what you get. My supervisor had devised a plan where he could set the camera on a three-ring binder on his desk to steady the photo because turning the flash off causes the shutter to remain open longer and any shake in your hand will blur the image. Oh, the insanity.
Well, I though I had left the craziness. But, no. We have a guy here at my new place of employment that will not reply to an email. He prints my email, writes his reply in pen or pencil (or crayon) and places the printed sheet and reply in my mailbox.
And I guess what frustrates me the most is that I am actually nervous in a job interview. If these guys can get jobs, I should be able to walk in, turn on a computer, type my name and ... BLAM-O! ... get the job with top pay.
1. The city of San Francisco has unveiled the three competing designs for their next new highrise. It is being touted as the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast. Unfortunately, this one [link], which would be a perfect fit for SF, didn't even make the final three.
2. I must admit that I am an "America's Got Talent" addict. Although I haven't been a huge fan of beatbox, Butterscotch is off the chain! Check out her last two performances over at NBC.com. Just follow the link to "America's Got Talent" and look for Butterscotch's Week 8 and Week 9 performances.
3. School starts Monday. Maybe now we can start unpacking in our new home.
4. If the U.S. is truly the world leader in nearly everything, why is it that we stand idly by while the rest of the world uses the metric system? I can't think in terms of the millimeter. Someone must pay dearly. Have the jets on standby.
5. I have discovered a flaw in my communication technique. I have two modes. I am either talking or waiting to talk. But I am in training. My wife has been trying to teach me to communicate for years. The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.
6. Have a blessed and fruitful weekend -- not "fruitful" as in Biblical fruitful, just more of a fruitful like you get things done kind of fruitful. Well, you know what I mean. Get outside for goodness sake. And see you on Monday.
No amount of human suffering erases the guilt of sin. If so, human suffering would be morally equivalent with the death of Jesus on the cross.
Listen carefully and contemplate this: Hell is eternal. "The Lord ... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Our pastor is preaching a series through the Book of Revelation. And, yesterday, he came to Chapter 16. In the middle is a parenthetic statement that translators have attributed to Jesus (I know this because it was in red). After he read it, I immediately became distracted with a memory.
Revelation 16:15 says, "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." Yes, I know what you're thinking. But, no, it wasn't the word "naked" that threw off my train of thought.
When I was in the Army, we trained in Southern California. Right in the middle of the Mohave Desert is the National Training Center. Our unit was thrown into three weeks of desert warfare against Ft. Irwin's opposing force (Opfor) and a small group of Marines from Twenty-Nine Palms. I was very familiar with the Marines because what I thought was a jackrabbit turned out to be a platoon of those foul-mouthed warriors that asked me in not-so-nice terms and at gunpoint to get out of my Humvee. But that is a different story.
After nearly two weeks of intense training and some serious sleep deprivation, many of us chose to get as comfortable when we slept as possible. Normally, your military force sleeps at the ready. Most of the time we slept with our boots beside our cot, our battle rattle -- all of the gear including flak vest, web belt and helmet -- hanging nearby and our weapons at arm length. But after two weeks, many of us were stripping to our skivvies.
We had gone a few days without any drama. The Opfor had left us alone after dark. We left the night shift at the ready at about midnight and many of us slipped off to bed. Because the desert is so incredibly dry, bed was a sleeping bag and cot under the stars.
I had just slipped into random-eye-movement bliss when the sky lit up with flares. The perimeter erupted in simulated artillery impacts, small-arms fire and complete havoc. I jumped up, threw on my clothes and battle rattle, grabbed my M16 and headed for my position near the tactical operations center (TOC). The TOC was in complete blackout so as to not be easily identifiable. There was shouting inside, so I took up a position outside to defend.
I kid you not. While I was lying there, I saw a close friend, Andy, a real warrior who, if I were ever in a firefight up to my eyeballs, I would want in the foxhole with me. He was running around in his helmet, boots and ... tighty whities. There was a streak of teeth, eyeballs and unbelievably bleached white briefs.
I am still in touch with Andy. He's still a wonderful guy. He still has a hair-trigger. But I believe he now wears colored boxer briefs just in case.
To be brutally honest, guys, I have been in a rut. I just can't find the energy to get fired up about things. I mean, take the CNN/YouTube debates. Alexander Hamilton and John Adams are rolling over in their graves because a snowman puppet is asking our presidential candidates questions. But I can't find the energy to come on here and mention it.
And then there is Barak Obama's statements about not using nuclear weapons. Like I could vote for the guy now. Seriously? No nuclear weapons at all? How could Joe Napalm vote for a guy that is going to shelf the nuclear football? I'd lose street credit.
Then there's the Republican candidate who wants to bomb Mecca every time a suicide bomber pops off. Well, I guess we can say that at least he understands who the enemy is. But bomb Mecca? What about the other holy sites? We'd be remiss to overlook those.
There isn't anything out there that interests me. Maybe I'll just blog about personal experiences and what is going on with the fam. Sure, it's a boring read, but at least I'd have something to write about that interests me.
If manna was a cheeseball with crackers, I'd be wandering around in the Sinai Penninsula.