The other night, during a television commercial break, something strange caught my eye in a trailer for the new movie The Incredible Hulk:
It didn’t strike me until 10 seconds into the next commercial. Quick rewind (this is the stuff DVRs are made for!). Yes it’s just as I thought:
Notice the dire warning box at the bottom of the credit screen (which looks eerily like a McCain-Feingold style political disclaimer). Yep, just when you thought it was safe to enter the cinema again, they had to go and ruin it.
Nevermind that its PG-13 rating includes “Scenes of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images, and brief suggestive content,” this film contains depictions of tobacco consumption, for crying out loud!
Why can’t they just let the monstrous gamma-ray infected superheroes bludgeon each other to the death without bringing tobacco into the mix? Films these days are getting as dangerous as the front porch of the Baptist church of my childhood, which featured more than its fair share of tobacco consumption.
Last week, we looked at how to name a church. This week, let’s take a brief look at how to name an American staple: that compound of suburban bliss — the subdivision.
The trick in naming a subdivision is pretty simple: think opposite. For example, if the subdivision consists of quarter-acre lots within the city limits, you call it “Country Acres.” If you have garden homes in a valley, you call it something like “Hillside Estates.”
You must be very careful in naming your subdivision, lest you cross the line too far and end up with a funeral home name — a system that is frighteningly similar. If your neighborhood’s name is “Sunset Gardens,” you know someone has gone too far.
As I made my way through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru today, it dawned on me that even though the technological advancements of our country have given us such wonders as i-Phones, artificial hearts, and Tang, we still haven’t developed a drive-thru intercom system that outputs ungarbled speech.
No matter which fast-food bastion I choose to visit without exiting my vehicle, my order is always read back to me in a language that not even a Star-Wars interpreter droid could understand. At Dunkin today, my conversation went something like this:
Me: I’d like a box of the 50-count Munchkins, assorted.
Drive-thru speaker: You’d lshieheno lseir ei ni shh shhh sh mme a 25 whh whhh?
Me: No, not the 25-count — a 50-count please.
Drive-thru speaker: Ok, sljdjdj shh mee mee shmee shmaw total is shmee shaww wuuu…
Me: (sigh) OK, I’ll drive around.
Exactly what kind of microphone-speaker systems do these places use? I got better clarity when I made tin-can-and-string phones when I was a kid. Mark my words: the person who invents an intelligible drive-thru voice clarification system will lead this country out of recession (that is, if we’re really in a recession…).
Also, am I the only person who has spent many a sleepless nite wondering why it’s spelled drive-thru instead of drive-through?
If you’re a typical evangelical church plant in the United States, you’ve probably gathered together a few families and individuals in a community, and are meeting in homes, rented office buildings, or more commonly, a school building.
Hopefully, you’ve decided (and founded your church upon) sound doctrinal tenets and at least a few church leaders. Next comes a phase that’s perhaps even more difficult: naming your church. While there’s biblical precedent for the naming of animals, support for the naming of a church is scant.
Thankfully, we evangelicals (who are typically disoriented without written instruction) have found a way to remedy this. It’s really a rather simple process. Start with the list of words below:
Take any combination of the above words, in any order, and add them to your denominational (or lack thereof) preference, and tack on the word “Church.” Bingo. A brand new church name.
There will be outliers, of course—the Chevrolet Missionary Baptist Church I saw once driving through Harlan, Kentucky certainly didn’t fit the mold—but as a general rule, it works pretty well.
If you can think of any other church-name-words that I’ve missed, put them in the comments below.
Next week, we’ll look at how to name your subdivision.
Excuse the blur — the line between discretion and good photography when you’re standing behind a tree snapping shots of your neighbor’s house at night is thin. I’m not cut out to be among the paparazzi.
In case you’ve lived under a rock for the past 25 Christmases, the lamp is indeed a “major award” from the classic 1983 film A Christmas Story. You can get your own here.
It’s official. Standing ovations are now meaningless.
I recently attended a political event here in Washington where nine presidential candidates came to speak to a crowd of nearly 3000 people. The same crowd gave every candidate a standing ovation. While some of this was due to the politeness of the crowd, it was noteworthy that each candidate received the superlative endorsement of the crowd. Later at a tribute dinner, there were so many standing ovations for the tributee that it often seemed more meaningful to sit and clap.
Therefore, I’m proposing — if you’ll join me in this contrarian revolution — that a sitting ovation now be the sign from an audience that the limits of greatness have been reached.
Think about it. No more having to stand up again once you’ve situated yourself. No more wondering whether or not you should stand, lest you offend. This revival of the long lost sitting ovation will bring about a new sort of equanimity to the crowd that will further marginalize those rabble-rousers who try to stand up and clap.
Join me in not standing for this nonsense any longer.