Sunday Drive

Given the price of gasoline these days, driving at high speeds on a Sunday afternoon is out of the question. But thanks to the wonders of YouTube, we can all live vicariously.

First, the greatest movie car chase of all time, from the 1968 film Bullitt. Steve McQueen, in his 1968 390 CID V8 Ford Mustang, is followed by two crooks in a black 1968 Dodge Charger. He quickly turns the tables on them, and the chase commences. When the music stops, the engines roar, and it’s time to hang on. Read the details of the car chase here, and watch the clip below:

Since we’re competing with the Europeans for the price at the pump, I’m reminded of another high-speed driving flick called C’était un rendez-vous. Shrouded in mystery, this 9 minute film is a high speed morning ride through the city of Paris at dawn — shot in a single take:

Drive safely…

The Hulk must be an incredible smoker

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:

The Hulk uses tobacco

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.

How to name a subdivision

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.

Now that you know the rules, go have some fun with it at this random subdivision name generator that I found.

Why is drive-thru technology still in beta?

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?

How to name a church

Let’s pretend that you’re planting a new church.

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:

  • Life
  • Community
  • Covenant
  • Creek
  • River
  • Chapel
  • Spirit
  • Grace
  • Faith
  • Calvary
  • Cross
  • Hope
  • Fellowship
  • Light
  • Redeemer
  • First
  • Road

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.

Super Tuesday Predictions

Since I missed my Super Bowl predictions, why not try something a little more safe, like Super Tuesday? I predict:

  • My trash will be picked up
  • D.C. traffic will be bad
  • I will have at least two meetings at work
  • Catholics everywhere will get fat

And you thought I was going to say that John McCain would win the bulk of Republican delegates and Hillary Clinton would upset Barack Obama in the Democratic race…

A Major Award

Seen in my neighborhood:

A Major Award

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.