Epitome of Random – Vol 8

-I came home and handed two bags of groceries to my wife at the door. She handed me a bag with a dirty diaper. This is what we call an unequal trade.

-The trailers for Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens both came out within close chronological proximity, thereby sparking my biggest nerd boner in ages!

-There are only 32 days left to make the New Year’s resolutions you’ll be breaking in 35 days.

-It’s important to teach your children the little lessons in life. Like my five-year-old walked up to me and said, “Pull my finger, Daddy!” I’m so proud.

-Idea for a drawing from any artistically-inclined readers…four wizards in colorful outfits and ninja poses. The title? “Harry Morfin Potter Grangers.”

-Made ten chocolate/whipped cream wafer cakes for Thanksgiving dessert. Ate all ten within 34 hours. Why am I not losing any weight, again?

-I asked my wife what her favorite food is a few weeks ago. She mouthed, “You!” Then she told me to not post it on this blog. I’m a rotten husband!!!

-Poor Rudolph, I hope his science and math can bring his GPA back up.

-Averaging 3-4 hours sleep most nights is not good for the brain. Want proof? Um, what blog are you reading right now?

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Feeding the Mob Mentality

Darren Wilson is a murderer. End of story, thats a FACT.
You don’t need to play frakin “devil’s advocate” in this. It is a fact. It is not disputable.

That’s a direct quote of a beloved relative. It’s a shame that our country, especially our internet culture, has come to this. Why do so many people feel the need to display their ignorance on a daily basis and say such things which serve no purpose other than to feed the mob mentality which is destroying the livelihood of so many in Ferguson, MO? I love my relative, but this quote is utter ignorance and totally irresponsible.

First of all, murder is the UNLAWFUL killing of another. The grand jury decided there was not enough evidence to warrant the indictment of Darren Wilson. Therefore, no unlawful killing as far as the legal system goes. But that’s just the dictionary definition part of the ignorance. Where the real ignorance comes in is the simple fact that my relative isn’t even a resident of Ferguson. My relative lives over 700 miles away. My relative was not on the grand jury to hear the evidence. At best, my relative obtained the information to render a verdict for Darren Wilson via the media. Therein lies a great problem.

I don’t care if my relative read every newspaper article on the shooting of Michael Brown, it does not in any way compare to the testimony presented to the grand jury. I remember being at my best friend’s trial and reading the papers the next day. The testimony from the investigators, medical examiner, forensic odontologist, etc. compared to the articles was like comparing The Lord of the Rings to a 5-page book report of Tolkien’s classic. There’s no real comparison. Even the book written about that trial, which does a fairly decent job in relaying evidence, fails to mention numerous facts brought up in testimony throughout the days of the trial I was present for. That’s why I no longer follow cases like this – neither local nor high-profile – because I am not worthy to judge anyone whose case I’m not on the jury for.

When it comes to the Darren Wilson/Michael Brown case people who haven’t heard ALL OF THE EVIDENCE need to exercise responsibility in our right to free speech. Because it all boils down to the simple fact that the majority of the voices out there saying justice wasn’t served (and, yes, even those saying with absolute certainty that justice was served) do not know their asses from a hole in the ground. What hasn’t been reported far outstrips what has been reported by at least a ten-to-one ratio; that’s just the simple fact of the system. It’s not our business to know the case against a defendant without a defense.

And, if memory serves (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), that’s pretty much what a grand jury probe is all about. They examine the evidence to determine whether or not a crime took place and an indictment is necessary. They hear evidence about the commission of a crime without a defense attorney to present a rebuttal to the prosecution – that’s what the trial is for. In a nutshell, the grand jury hears the most damning evidence there is, because after an indictment and before the trial come hearings to throw out inadmissible evidence. If the grand jury is hearing evidence which may later be thrown out as inadmissible, the defense’s tactic, without a rebuttal, then the potential defendant is going to look more guilty than at trial. That’s why there are grand juries, the judicial system need not overtax their resources when there’s no case to be made.

Sadly, America has become a place where far too many people feel they know so much more than they really do and can express it in a manner counter to proper civil discourse. Nowhere is this more evident than on the internet; just read the comments section of any article online. Base, ignorant and many times violent comments are riddled across the electronic forum. Even though my relative is over 700 miles from Ferguson and not rioting, looting and destroying the lives of countless innocent bystanders, those comments feed the mob mentality which is causing the destruction. It’s a shame that after 2000 years this country seems no better than the mob ready to stone to death the adulteress Jesus rescued. That’s not my America; it shouldn’t be any of ours.

Nom Nom

My clerk Amber asked me what my favorite foods were just the other day. I thought I’d write a little post about it; having a little walk down memory lane in the process. But I forgot about it for a while, until my wife went to her weekly small Christian community meeting tonight and I treated myself to some homemade batter-dipped onion rings. (They’re a treat until clean-up time, that is.) So it reminded me of Amber’s question. And I guess that I’m not alone in having a variety of different favorite foods depending on what mood I’m in and what I’m doing. Also, whether or not I’m cooking it myself has a bearing on the desire to eat the food as well. So, without further ado, here’s the list of favorites I came up with.

Salisbury Steak (my Mom’s recipe)

Ground sirloin and Lipton Onion Soup mix are the key to this gem. After mixing half the packet of soup mix with the meat and making patties she’d cook them up in a pan. Before being done she’d take out the patties, add flour and the remaining onion soup mix to the juices left in the pan, followed by some water and then put the patties back in to soak in the gravy. Mmmmm, yummy. Having to cook for my four kids I realize exactly how hard my mom had it cooking meals for all of us growing up, but I think her Salisbury Steak was a hit with us all. As my oldest can’t have all the ingredients I haven’t made it in over eight years – I’ve been too chicken to try to substitute gluten-free ingredients.

Cheese Dreams

A lightly toasted English Muffin, lightly buttered, topped with a slice of fresh tomato, crisp bacon and melted cheese. Oh baby, can you say culinary wet dream? This was also a hit with all of us, even though I was a picky eater and refused the tomato as a child. I’d eat half without tomato and half with these days. However, I haven’t found a good enough gluten-free muffin to accommodate my oldest, and all of our kids are pretty much dairy-free, so that keeps cheese off the menu. As a result I haven’t had these in over eight years as well.

Chocolate Wafer dessert

Nabisco Famous Chocolate wafers stacked with a blend of heavy whipping cream mixed with powdered sugar; stacked three or four tall and chilled to perfection. Once again, it was a family favorite, a culinary orgasm! My store no longer carries the Nabisco wafers but our own brand which tastes just as good. I managed to make them a few times for my parents when they lived here and my brothers visited, but still as the only one in the household who eats both gluten AND dairy I can probably count the number of times I’ve eaten them in the past ten years on one hand.

One may wonder, if I no longer eat all these great foods anymore, why I’ve only lost 2 pounds in the last 2 years? Well, had Amber or another clerk named Lisa written this post for me they would’ve said mini chocolate chip cookies were my favorite food. Sure, I like them, but it’s more a matter of ensuring product quality for my customers. I pride myself on serving only the best cookies in town, so I feel the need to frequently test the product for freshness and flavor. It just so happens that those cookies are readily available for such testing. As a perishable product affected by time I may have to check every few hours. Okay, every hour. Okay, every 20 minutes. But, it’s all about customer service.

Of course I can’t forget to mention my weakness from the meat department which borders my bakery…BACON! When I smell them cooking up bacon to entice our customers I can’t help but get a little aroused. Bacon is God’s gift to the taste buds…and Satan’s gift to the arteries. But, choco-holic that I am, bacon may be the top candidate for favorite food if I were forced to narrow it down to one. Especially our store’s uncured bacon; what a treat!

Now that I’m thoroughly hungry it’s time to try to get the baby to finally go to sleep. Please pray for me, all this thought of good food may be a problem later if I try to eat my pillow thinking it’s a chocolate-covered bacon cake!

Epitome of Random – Vol 7

-My five-year-old was spelling words for me under my wife’s cues. My wife asked, “How do you spell dog, sweetie?” She replied, “D-O-G, dog.” I so badly wanted to retort, “How does a dyslexic spell God, honey?”

-I think all skeletons are gay…we keep finding them in closets.

-How to increase productivity at work, lesson 1: Hand depends to all employees to eliminate unnecessary bathroom breaks. (Also called waste time, hee-hee.)

-How to increase productivity at work, lesson 2: Brew staff coffee using caffeinated water and watch them buggers go…by multiple meanings of the word go. (Here’s where the benefits of lesson 1 come into effect.)

-How to increase productivity at work, lesson 3 (specific to working in a retail bakery/food-service establishment): Hold onto buckets once emptied in case you fail to purchase enough inventory from lesson 1.

-When at work last week our deli manager called to me, “Jason, this case is on fire!” Sure enough, there were flames shooting out of the case, right where the light fixture was. So, I grabbed an extinguisher and put it out. I haven’t seen that much fire-marshal action since my wedding.

-After putting out the above fire our meat manager said, “You should’ve let it burn, maybe then we’d get that remodel.”

-My fifteen-year-old carried the baby into the kitchen while I was cooking.  She said, “She wants to see Daddy.” The baby smiled at me, so I said, “I want to see my baby, too!” To which the baby replied, “I WANT MY MOMMY!” Oh, to be loved so.

-My fifteen-year-old is a big fan of the band R5, featuring her crush, Ross Lynch. The drummer goes by his last name, Ratliff. When showing picture/word cards to the baby we came to the card with the drum. I asked her what that was and she said, “Ratliff plays the drums.” I may have to devote an entire post to the lessons she’s learned from her three big sisters.

Fitness and Fear

My dad has always been a fit man. I seem to recall him jogging regularly when I was a wee lad and I know for an absolute fact that he walks regularly these days. And not just a sight-seeing stroll, but a good, brisk walk. He has taken far better care of his body than I have of mine, and it shows. When I was twenty hanging out meant spending time with friends; now it just means hanging out of your jeans. My dad has never attained the level of midsection jiggle that I have, even with my mom’s terrific cooking and even more outstanding baking. I’m not sure if he’s sporting six-pack abs, but, ladies, I can honestly say he has quite a hot tush for a seasoned citizen.

I am now at the same age he was when I was playing youth basketball. I remember during one of my practices watching dad do some layup drills. Sure, even I can do that now but not with the same energy level, nor duration, as he. Heck, I couldn’t even handle the Mikan drill beyond a few hook shots before needing a sit down. In fact, the first year my oldest played basketball the coach of the 13 & up team asked if I’d like to scrimmage with the kids to help them practice in a game situation. It didn’t take long for me to silently pray that someone at that practice was a fully-trained paramedic. There was a moment when I was chasing a loose ball down the court when my legs just gave out due to fatigue – and we hadn’t even made it through one quarter of play yet. I was so glad I told the coach I couldn’t stay long because I had to get home. That “couldn’t stay long” became “I gotta get the heck out of here” right quick. I’m happy to say I can last longer these days, but nowhere near what my dad could’ve done back then. (And probably now, for that matter.)

But there was a time I was very worried about my dad. He had a chest cold and they took an x-ray to see if pneumonia was present. What that picture revealed was an orange-sized tumor in his chest. They scheduled surgery to remove it and dad told me not to worry. I didn’t worry, he seemed calm and sure that all would be okay. So, following his lead, I didn’t worry. But I was four states away, so when I heard they bumped up the date of surgery – significantly in my opinion – I started to worry. Not being a medical professional I’m not sure if bumping up a surgery is all that routine. A few days or so and I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but I think it was over a month. Why? Was dad in any eminent danger? I was walking on the proverbial eggshells, not knowing if I should call mom, say a novena, whatever. It was a stressful time for me, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for my parents.

But, fifteen plus years later, Dad is still kicking. He may be a father, but after getting his chest cracked open and a sizable invader removed, he’s proven himself one tough mother as well. And, he’s still in great shape. Makes me think I should get off my butt blogging and go for a walk. Yeah, that’s a great idea. There’s a new burger joint down the street – I hear they have this triple-decker bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on a toasted donut for a bun. Um…wait, never mind.

Inheritance

No, my parents didn’t pass away and leave me with a pile of cash; I hope that never happens. I hope they enjoy their hard-earned money until they die, leaving nothing behind. Then I’ll know that they lived to the fullest. Wait, I take that back – I’d like the hutch, Mom. Okay, now that I’ve cleared that up, let me tell you what this post is really about, my children’s inheritance. Specifically, it’s about the traits one of my daughters has inherited from me genetically. Even more specifically, it’s about her disobedience. I kind of need to work this out, because only by analyzing the situation can I truly get a firm grip on exactly what’s going on and perhaps some solutions; only by identifying the cause can we eliminate the negative effect. So, bear with me.

I know that I had a disobedient streak growing up. “Jason, don’t touch it. It’s hot,” said Mom in regards to the tailpipe of our van which had just been driven for over an hour. Did I listen? Did I walk away? No, I stood there staring at the tailpipe and thought Yeah, what do you know, Mom! Fortunately my screaming was louder than the sizzling skin on my index finger, otherwise I think Mom would’ve been really scared.

One would think I should learn to listen to Mom and not be so disobedient after such an injury. But, no, I had that disobedient streak. So, even when Mom gave me the EXACT SAME ADVICE when I was watching the popcorn pop in the old-fashioned popper, I decided to ignore every word she said. Fortunately I had the added noise of popping corn added to my screaming to mask the sizzling of my index finger, otherwise Mom would’ve been really scared.

But, looking back at those two specific instances, perhaps it wasn’t disobedience for me then nor for my daughter’s actions now. I was always a hands-on learner and so is she. Perhaps I just needed to experience it physically to truly learn the science behind heat transfer. (I regret that I needed multiple experiments for that lesson to sink in, but at least I know better now.) So, even when authority figures speak, that failure to heed their advice may not necessarily be disobedience, just a natural hands-on learner needing the experience. Like the time I was fixing an applause sign for my 12th grade Modern Global History teacher. Any shop teacher or book will tell you not to cross two live wires. But, I wanted to see exactly what would happen – I was curious to know for myself! The loud pop and immediate darkness sure scared the snot out of the kids in study hall in the auditorium that morning! And, I avoided electrocution – so all was good.

And sometimes experimentation by a hands-on learner has nothing to do with disobedience but instead the exercise of creativity. No one ever told me not to mix Immodium with Exlax…with a Pepto-Bismol chaser! But, I just had to know. Then I just had to go, or not, or go, or not…or pass out. And my daughter in question is a highly-creative soul. Perhaps I just need to monitor her creativity so it doesn’t reach the same level of “excessive” creativity in my own past.

However, there’s also the possibility that it’s her hearing which is causing the problem. All check-ups show that her hearing is perfect; just like mine was. Even today I’d pass any hearing test the doctors could throw at me. The problem, however, isn’t so much recognizing the presence of sound, it’s the vocalizations of speech which I sometimes have difficulty processing. I hear the sounds just fine but they sometimes end up muddled in my brain. (This type of auditory processing disorder is actually on the autism spectrum. Definitely 917 words on this blog, definitely 917 words.) That’s probably why I was so shy growing up, I had difficulty in hearing exactly what people were saying. Take, for example, the time I was geared up for my first summer basketball camp. My two older brothers were going to a traditional summer camp, Camp Hugh Beaver. I had no interest in joining my brothers, I was all about the hoops, so I was initially traumatized by this exchange with Mom at the dinner table…

“So, I go to basketball camp after Jared and Jeremy go to Camp Q Beaver?”

“Hugh, honey.”

“ME???”

Needless to say, I was in a virtual panic. I didn’t want to go to that camp, I wanted basketball camp. Once my family stopped laughing at my expense and spelled out H-U-G-H I was okay, but those few precious moments were terrifying. All I can say about my poor hearing is this – I’m glad it wasn’t my vision because my ability to learn braille is greatly hindered by the excessive nerve damage to my index finger from touching tailpipes and popcorn poppers.

I am in no way complaining about said daughter. She’s a good kid, and smart, and beautiful. She gets all of that from her mother, which is a blessing. So, I’ll just have to watch her over the years and gently guide her along the path of life so she doesn’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. In essence, I have the role of any other parent to make sure my child has an even better and brighter future than me. Because, God forbid I read a blog like this thirty years down the road.