Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mazel Tov!

"You're what Grammy Hall would call a 'Real Jew.'" --Annie Hall.

Happy Rosh Hashanah to my Jewish friends! Though I hope none of you see this well wish today because what kind of a Jew are you to be screwing around with the internet on a high holyday?

Crooked Thoughts From an Unwell Mind

So this is my 29th September 29th. I'm trying to make it one of the better September 29ths that I've had, but I can't really remember what I did on my previous ones, so it's hard to distinguish the forgotten from the murky.

Thinking about doing this trip around the sun over and over again reminds me of a startling philosophical insight I had when I was 8 or 10: Every day is a new year. Even more mind blowing, every second is a new year. Sure, we choose to celebrate the "new year" on January 1st, but you must understand that is completely arbitrary. A new year just happened right now. It was a year ago just now. I remember trying to explain this to my mother while we waited in the Seafirst Bank drive-thru line in Burien. It wasn't really resonating with her, which frustrated me because I was enamoured with the idea and wanted to share the love.

Other stray observations from the ages of roughly 7 to 11:

  • I was deathly afraid of someday having to go to war. I remember reflecting on this when I was roaming around our expansive backyard.
  • I often wondered if I were the only real person in the world and everyone else was robots or actors. It's weird, I've heard a lot of people say similar things, but I don't think anyone put the idea into my head. Why should this be a common sentiment or preoccupation? Did we all discover Solipsism by accident, or is it simply a mechanism inside human nature? Either way I'm left Not Rich even though I came up with the idea for The Truman Show quite on my own.
  • I swear to God for one moment, while walking down our street to a friend's house, I grasped how time travel could possibly work. I was thinking about Einstein's thought, about riding on a light beam and looking in a mirror and wondering what he would see--and then it hit me. But now I can't remember how it worked. Note: This thought may have occurred to me post the age of 11, but I think it still merits inclusion.
  • My mind used to boggle at the fact that I couldn't PROVE my toys didn't get up and dance or play whenever I left my room. I thought about putting a hidden camera in there but knew it would be no good because I wouldn't be able to prove that they simply knew of the camera and therefore maintained their ruse of inanimacy. Improbable? Of course. Impossible? Well you just can't say now, can you? This is how I stumbled upon, quite apart from any textbook, the Hawthorne Effect.
Did any of these things occur to me on a September 29th? I don't know, perhaps all of them did. I don't know.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Something Rotten in Israel

There are things going on in the Holy Land.

I haven't read a full article on it yet, but I know shit is tense. Palestine is pushing for statehood, I'm pretty sure Israel is not cool with that because a large part of Palestine's government representation also happens to be an avowed terrorist organization.

And there is a headline on Drudge that reads "Netanyahu: 'Theater of the Absurd...'" Now that is an intriguing headline. And part of me kind of wanted to click on it. But then I got to thinking...

Man, I've got a lot of crap going on in my life right now. I don't mean big, serious stuff, but just all of the stuff that one has going on. I've got a newborn, an 18-month-old, a job to think about, a blog to run, another book to write, quality time with my wife to consider, a strained relationship to God to cultivate, tennis to play--

Do I really need to know what's going on in Israel?

I mean, I want to know. I'm interested in international politics. At least I am, you know, when they're interesting. I care about Israel, I'm a supporter of the state, and I also care about fairness and justice, so I want to read about it and make sure everything is on the up and up or see if I need to adjust my opinion or stance on the various issues surrounding the debacle.

But that's all I have, isn't it? I have an "opinion" about Israel. If that's all I have, then these are the things I don't have in relation to Israel: a say in what goes on, a personal stake in the outcome of whatever may transpire, influence with players and decision makers.

So how is a well groomed opinion on Israel helping anyone? What purpose is it serving? I treat news like others treat soap operas, sports, the lives of celebrities--it's entertainment. It's something to talk about with other people. Sure, they're weighty issues that matter in the real world, but in reality I have zilch to do with them. Israel/Palestine matter--my opinion on the matter doesn't even equate to a loud fart in a hurricane. So why waste my time?

I shouldn't. But for some jacked up reason we're willing to settle for lesser things that are easy, instead of greater things that are harder.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Judgemental Wednesday: I Know Who You Are

So you're a big fan of "Two and a Half Men" huh? That's great.

You're going to have to leave now because I have to sterilize my house, don't touch anything on the way out, I'll get the door--I now know everything I need to know about you, have a nice life.

Are You Smarter Than Someone From Hong Kong?

No, you're not.

Well, if we're going purely by statistics then you're not, but a case by case basis might yield different results.

For some reason I got the wild idea to plunk down $18 and take the Mensa Home Test to see if it's even worth continuing to try and think. The test got me thinking about IQ in general, so I checked out the Wikipedia on IQ scores which is how I found out that you're certainly dumber than a McDonalds employee in Hong Kong, and basically most of Asia, as well.

I know I know, you're dying to hear my score--well I'm not going to tell you. Let's just say I'm no Einstein. To give you a vague idea, I'm somewhere between Gump and Gary Oldman. I'm constantly needing to prove to myself that I'm not as dumb as I fear I am. The real victory would be to accept things as they are, not get a high score on some stupid test.

Not there yet, though.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Free Blogging Tip

If you want to increase your hits do some posts about chili cook-off flyers.

You can view the search terms that lead people to your sight, and for over a month now the most common search that has lead people to my blog are for people looking for flyers for their chili cook-offs. I did a post on it last September because Jess entered a chili cook-off and SHOULD HAVE WON.

Anyway, this is the only tip I have for bloggers out there--this is the key to my success.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

D is for Douche


I used to REALLY like the Drudge Report, but I think Matt has gotten steadily more petty over the last few years.
Matt earns my official proclamation of Douche Bag over him for the above headline. It is simple elementary to say that conservatives don't like liberal and vice versa. And liberals don't give a fair shake to conservatives and vice versa.
But this goes WAY too far. In the above headline Drudge is somehow trying to make fun of the parent company of the Olive Garden because they are VOLUNTARILY making an effort to reduce the calories on their menu and provide healthier meals to kids.
So he is somehow trying to spin it as Big Brother peering over the shoulder of industry, forcing them to get healthier. How ridiculous. That is not a legitmate point of view, and it's even worse to suggest the untruth as your main headline.
Drudge fails today.
Unfortuneately he remains a great source of news, so I will still be frequenting his site.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alaska In My Crosshairs

For some unknown reason I launched into a tirade against the state of Alaska on Twitter today. I thought I would document it here just in case the authorities will want to investigate if, God forbid, something terrible should happen to Alaska in the next few days and I turn up as a suspect:
Holy crap, Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas. Wrap your mind around THAT.

All that Texas bluster about big this and big that, Alaska is like “I crush you now” and just rolls over.

I’d consider moving to Alaska if they’d do something about the FREEZING TO DEATH and BEAR MAULINGS.

I had a friend vacation in Alaska. He came back with no arms. He said the Grizzly was “nice about it, though.” Whatever that means.

Welcome to Alaska, here is your bazooka that fires bullets that bounce off grizzly head. Best chance 4 survival is 2 stay out of the outside

Alaska is not known as a cultural hub, but if u kidnapped a lot of celebs and artists and forced them to live there that would soon change.

Real estate is dirt cheap in Alaska, but you have to build your own runway to fly your plane to the supermarket & video store.

Alaska is the weird brother-in-law of states: they don’t talk much and you rarely know what they’re up to, but you know it’s not good.

I might move to Alaska someday, but it will be b/c I was bound & gagged at 3 a.m. and dragged there, so I’m not looking forward to it.

I don’t mean to hate, I know I would think it was beautiful, but then I’d look down & say “great, my ass is froze to the toilet seat again.”

It's Judgemental Wednesday Part II

Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake."
The media juggernauts of America gazed upon the hungry minds of the land and said "Let them eat crap."

It's Judgemental Wednesday

If someone demanded that I indict American culture for its sins, I would say the following:
The perfect metaphor for our culture is Jersey Shore:
We pay people exorbitant amounts of money to drink, fall down and hurt themselves.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Basic Etiquette for Human Beings

Just talked to a foreign patient who said the lady at Medicare was nice because she “talked to me slowly so I could understand.” All customer service agents take note: YOU ARE OFFICIALLY IRREDEEMABLE A-HOLES IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS AS WELL!

Friday, September 9, 2011

More on 9/11 Prayer Debacle

I like being on the same page with people who are much smarter than me--it oh so slightly eases my massive inferiority complex. I just read this piece on the 9/11 prayer issue that hits on some of the same themes as my own, it resonated with my soul, and so I present it to those who are interested.

Michael Horton's take on the 9/11 prayer issue.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who Would Jesus Petition?

Mega church pastor Mark Driscoll tweeted a Washington Times article explaining that religious folk are upset that none of their clergy will be involved in New York City's 9/11 tenth anniversary memorial ceremony. They are outraged that clergy and prayer won't be part of the planned events.

I used to be one of those people who would jump on the band wagon, get all huffy, get my panties in a twist and sign the petition to get Mayor Bloomberg to invite clergy to the memorial to pray.

Not anymore. And I want to invite my fellow Christians to consider another way. First of all, I understand the reasoning behind getting all huffy--I used to spout it seamlessly. I won't even go so far as to say that I'm sure it is the wrong course of action and that it isn't what Jesus would do. But I will say that I am personally convinced that it is wrong, and that it isn't what Jesus would do. I hate to get so basic and cliche, but as Christians, that is one thing we kind of signed on for, to try and--imperfectly to be sure--do things the way Jesus would do them.

Follow my line of reasoning and see if you don't disagree:

Jesus pointedly stayed away from politics and the official government stage. The people wanted to make him king, they wanted him to lead the charge against the Roman Empire, and he went out of his way to signify and specify that he wouldn't be doing that. Jesus didn't give us a lot of instruction on how to pray, but when he did, he said things like "keep it short" and "do it in private." Jesus had a big problem with people doing things for show. He didn't like it when people would go to great lengths in public to show others how holy they were. He got pissed about it.

So why would his followers demand the right to show up to a party they weren't invited to so they could do one of the things that Jesus specifically went out of his way to condemn?

And what's with Christians demanding things? New Testament Christianity is not big on this. Paul asks the question, why not allow yourself to be wronged rather than to seek recompense in court? Jesus said if someone takes your hat give them your coat too, turn the other cheek, and if someone forces you to walk a mile with them then you should go two. Christians will cry that all of this is out of context and there is nuance. I don't disagree with that, BUT--can you seriously read the New Testament and not agree that the overall thrust is in the direction of non-intervention, a non-demanding posture, and self-sacrifice being valued OVER insisting on your own way, whining about petty injustices and throwing your weight around?

1 Corinthians 13:5--Love does not insist on its own way. Does that apply to the reaction of clergy to a party they weren't invited to? You could make a case either way, but I will humbly submit that only one of those cases is right.

I think one reason why Jesus taught us these things is because he truly understood what real power is. The world's idea of power is incredibly flawed. Worldly power certainly gets things done, but the price is much too high. What people think of power in this world is really coercion. Whether by the power of the law, or indulging someones innate greed to get them to give you what you want, it is coercion. This breeds resentment. This breeds revenge. This breeds war.

The only real power in this world is the power that people willingly and gladly give you.  Real power is when people want to listen to what you have to say because it sounds true. Because it resonates. Real power can only be gotten by having others voluntarily give it to you.

God is not glorified by deliberately public displays of ostentation, he said so himself. Why in God's name are we insisting we should be able to pray from a stage when one of the God-blessed beauties of prayer is that we can do it from anywhere? If you want prayer during this memorial service you can certainly have it; a petition is, to be kind, extraneous.

Who would Jesus petition? Would you start a petition against your neighbor if he didn't invite you to his party? More importantly, what if you didn't invite someone to your party and they started a petition demanding that they would be invited--how would that make you feel? Would you then want to invite them to your party?

Jesus is famous for that saying that everyone loves and no one applies to themselves: Treat others the way you want to be treated. What glory would redound to their God if us entitled, American Christians recovered this simple principle and ran with it?

If this country isn't Christian enough for you anymore the last thing you should do is whine about it and get a petition going around. Not only is it not what Jesus would do, and childish, and annoying--it's also completely ineffective. Well, I shouldn't say that. If the point is to rally the troops, be divisive, and have the faithful pour money into your coffers, then yes, it is effective. But if your goal is to "make disciples of all the nations" then I'm afraid this course of action has nothing at all to do with what Jesus taught you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

How to Forsake Middle-class Mediocrity

I listened to this talk that Dan Allender gave several months ago and I was floored by it. Just floored. And so I transcribed the most impactful part of it, shared it with my wife, freaked out about it. And then it just sat there. I thought, "Well, it's kinda heavy, I don't wanna bum people out."

Now I say: Screw that. Go ahead and like it or hate it, let it change your life or ignore it with impunity; I don't make those decisions for you.

Now here is Dan to rock your world (as he goes he picks up steam, he was very animated throughout, so you have to read it with that in mind):

I know what it is to be abused, I know what it is to be marginalized, i know racism, I know agism, I know sexism, I know the reality of not just individual but coporate and cultural sin. I know what consumerism does to the human heart. I know what the negativity and the self-righteousness of the believing community does to the human heart. So the question, really, if I can put it very simply, is, where are you angry because you know evil has done you harm? And has done the people in your own life harm. And if the answer is "nothing makes you angry. Nothing is a "no" for you in this life. Then all I can ask of you is to ask the question, is your life worth living? Because if there is nothing you'll take a bullet for, then there is nothing worth living for. If there is nothing in your life that you are willing to give your life for, except your middle-class mediocrity—keeping your mortgage up, and maybe you need a little bit bigger home, you know the car's just not running quite as well, we need a new one. Again, I'm not against the enjoyment of all the riches and blessings God gives. And yet, we live in a world where $100 in Ghana can feed an orphanage full of children for a month. Do you know any orpans? You don't. You don't! Why not? They're on the websites. There are ministries. Do you not know any trafficked children? They're there for you to know. My question to you is, what's the "no" that the harm of evil has brought you to say "As long as I'm on this earth, you take me down sucker, you take me down. Because you see, if you kill me, do you understand what a blessing that is? Kill me, because I'm with the Father. But if you don'tyou foolyou don't take my life today? You fool! Then I have one more day to talk to you about tough things that most Christians don't even want to get close to. And it's a good day." As the Apache saying says, "This is a good day to die." Is it for you?

That was Dan for you. My quick answer to his last question is, "not really." I like to think that I'd die for my family, that I'd die for my faith, but, as the man said, "talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things." I know I'm not giving it my all, I know I'm still clinging to my middle-class mediocrity.

Guess I gotta go watch Fight Club a few more times, or read this againthey're essentially saying the same thing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Day Jeopardy Legend Ken Jennings Told Me To Suck It

That day was today, actually. But it was all in good fun, I am so tickled and honored by his suggestion.

That's right, I had a lot of fun on Twitter today, and so I'm going to give you a little Twitter Roundup. For some reason Facebook is much more popular than Twitter, and I really don't understand why. Twitter is a dynamic communication mecca of wonderfulness. Besides @KenJennings I also talked with (at) @PeteCarroll, @NormMacdonald and @AlbertBrooks today as well. True, none of those guys wrote me back, but they MIGHT have saw what I said to them, isn't that exciting? You're not going to get that opportunity on Facebook, friends.

Mr. Jennings wrote a blog today about Twitter as a comedy barometer. It was a great blog, and he mentioned how some of his Tweet-jokes go over like lead balloons, so I decided I would tweet to remind him of one that I found particularly lead-ish. That's all you need to know to enjoy our conversation.

Jason DesLongchamp

 Also, my favorite lead balloon tweet of yours was the postmortem congratulations to Amy Winehouse on 4 weeks of sobriety. Ouch.
9 hours ago 

Gotta love a guy who can be that honest about himself.

And then I gave Pete Carroll a little reassurance of my Seahawk commitment:

Jason DesLongchamp
 I'm gonna be screaming so loud tonight you're gonna hear me from TUKWILA! 

 As a bonus I will give you my tirade against Starbuck CEO Howard Schultz. Now, look--before today I didn't have anything against Schultz. I don't begrudge hardworking (or otherwise) Americans making boatloads of cash; by all means, have at it. And I don't know what his politics are, and more importantly I don't care what his politics are. But this morning he sent an email to every Starbucks customer he had an address for accusing the United States congress of the very original charge of "partisanship" leading to "gridlock" which apparently is keeping more jobs from being created (I refer you to this excellent This American Life episode in which they explore the incredibly dubious idea that the government can create private sector jobs). I guess the thing that really set me off is that because Howard Schultz is, well, Howard Schultz, people are going to listen to what he has to say. But what he has to offer are incredibly facile political observations that Everyone Else is Making. It's like the suck-up kid repeating the adults orders like they were his very own--we all hated that kid. Anyway, something snapped inside of me and so I let Schultz have it:

Jason DesLongchamp
Is that email to customers from Howard Schultz for real??? "Stop the partisan gridlock"? Thanks for the tip, Howie. 

Howie, seriously you're a nice guy & everything but my coffee is getting cold. Drop the Mr. Smith act & give me a warm up. 

News flash:  CEO shows he's leading the way by bitching & complaining--just like everyone else. Thank you, sir.

CEO of  comes out w/ bold new plan to stop greasing the wheels of the machine that up until this point he has been paying to run.

Schultz of  is like the guy who got in w/ the drunk driver and then started screaming at him when he wrecked the car.

Congress admits they were simply waiting for someone to tell them to "do better" & they publicly thanked  CEO for doing so.

Uh, I think that's about all the scathing sarcasm I'm able to muster against ' Howard Schultz today, thank you for your time.

Ugly? Mean-spirited? Yes, I think you could make a case for those arguments. I get it that it might be hard to understand why I was so annoyed by his seeming effort to be helpful and level-headed. I just didn't like that what he was saying is pretty much what everyone else is saying, like we needed a billionaire in shining armor to save us (with everything we've already got).

Oh, and lest I accuse him of all talking and no doing, also part of his, well, whatever he's doing, is organizing a national call-in conference next week so Americans "can be heard."

All hail the inventor of bipartisanship and talk radio.