Monthly Archives: October 2014

Action Figure Norman Rockwell – Halloween

Did you ever start a project, maybe one that you thought was a little strange, but that you thought would work?  And then after working on it for a while, you think, this is ridiculous.  But you keep working on it.  And as it’s almost done, you think, yeah, this was a stupid idea from the beginning, so you abandon the project.  But you don’t really clean it all up, but instead leave it sitting there.  And a couple days later you think, well, this could work, so you work on it a bit more, only to realize that the project is completely dumb.  But you’re almost finished so you figure, what the heck, and you finish the stupid thing.  Has that ever happened to you?

Well it happened to me. I had all these old action figures in various states of disrepair.  And I thought their service to their country doesn’t have to be over.  They still have something to contribute, these all-American heroes.  That was it.  All-American.  You know who else is all-American?  Norman Rockwell.  One of my grandparents had a big mostly full-color coffee table book filled with Norman Rockwell paintings.  I loved that book.  That guy could really tell a story with just one picture.  Also, it was a fascinating and nostalgic look into America’s past.  So it was clear.  The connection between action figures and Norman Rockwell was obvious.  I was surprised no one had thought of it before.  I discussed it with the fellas, and they were up for it. And then I started to work on it, and well, the best laid plans and all that.

But I finished it, and against my better judgement, I present it to you here.  The first one is Rockwell’s. The next one is a couple of the guys doing their best to spread the Halloween spirit.





the fellas

The guys want to make this a monthly feature.  I’m not so sure.  Happy Halloween everyone!

Ask Me About Joni Tickets

ask me about joni

Joni is of course Joni Eareckson Tada. She was a person who became paralyzed. Because of her faith she believed that she would be healed. She wasn’t. This caused some time of self reflection, but she eventually worked her way through it. She became famous for her story and her paintings. She painted by holding the brushes in her mouth. The tickets (referenced on the button) are for the movie that was made about her life. She starred in it. As I recall, churches would contact movie theaters and get them to book these Christian movies and then church members would help with the ticket sales. The theaters made money selling tickets, and the churches helped people hear about Jesus. I just was a kid when all this was going down, so I may not have my facts quite right. I remember Time to Run being another one of these movies. This was before VHS/DVD; nowadays Christian movies like this–seems like there was a football movie and a firefighter movie–just go straight to video so churches can show them on their own big screens.

I’m not a fan of the division of art into categories of Christian and secular. Although I guess if the purpose of a piece of art is to get someone to make a religious decision, that puts it in a different category. I think the word for art, the purpose of which is to persuade, is propaganda. I know that word carries a bit of baggage, but some propaganda is considered pretty good art: Picasso, Norman Rockwell, Casablanca, Chaplin’s Little Dictator, Animal Farm, Dr. Strangelove, and Red Dawn (ok, maybe not great art, but Wolveriiiiiiines!).

Anyway, if you were asking, you can buy the Joni movie (6.6 on imdb) on Amazon. I can’t find Time to Run (7.6 imdb).

When I first published this on facebook it lead to a bit of a discussion.  Much of it is below.


  • Andy There is a great movie now touring the country that is both a great piece of art in and of itself (great acting, powerful story, great cinematography, etc..) but also a powerful Christian movie. It’s based on the life of Rich Mullins and called “Ragamuffin” and if you want to look at more info you can check out their Facebook page:

    Bryan They’re still doing the “partner with theaters” thing. This past year, our Celebrate Recovery group worked with the local Nevada theater to get them to show “Home Run”, which was a baseball movie with a similar religious point. It didn’t beat you over the head with it, but I don’t think anyone could leave thinking it wasn’t trying to persuade you towards Christianity. Overall not a great movie, but definitely better than anything starring Kirk Cameron.

    Carrie Saw her movie, read her book and had her album.
    Matt Carrie, one of the reviewers on imdb said that every teenage girl she knew back in the day had a copy of Joni’s book.

    Bryan, one of the youth groups we worked with years ago brought one of those Cameron movies to a lock in–so that they could make fun of it.
    Anyone seen Blue Like Jazz? I read it and liked it.
    Oh,and speaking of great art, I wish I had a Thief in the Night button.

    Andy Are you talking about the semi-recent ones by that church out of Georgia? I’ve seen three of them… Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous… they all have an element of cheesiness to them…I think it’s the so-so acting and so-so writing. Courageous came the closest to a good movie though.
    I’ve listened to the audiobook of it (Blue Like Jazz) … and I have a couple of other Donald Miller books that I want to read on my bookshelf. I liked some of it…

    Bryan Blue Like Jazz was a good book, but haven’t seen the movie. If you want true cheesiness, I suggest the Left Behind moves. Kirk Cameron takes terrible material to a whole new level of weirdness.
    Andy Oh yeah. Those are awful.

    Matt Thief in the night was from the 70s, end of the world, mark of the beast, guillotining believers, amazing. I saw it in the basement of the Methodist church back when. It may even have been the first of a trilogy.

    Marnie I had a copy of the book. I think all of the girls in our youth group read it and saw the movie. Really vivid memories of this being a huge turning point in my faith. That and some mission weekend we had. I remember the couple who led it. He was black and she was white. That was breaking barriers back then.


Have a 3-2-4-4 Day


Have a 3-2-4-4 day. Ah, back in the day when the food pyramid was easy and not controlled by the beef & dairy industry. That’s three dairy servings, two meet, four grain, and four fruit/veg every day. I’m sure nutrition scientists have changed those numbers since the 70’s, but they were good enough for us back then.

Back in the day when Mrs. Snodgrass and Nedham would check to make sure we’d eaten some of everything before releasing us to recess.

Back in the day when Jimmy Ward would throw rolls out the open lunchroom window.

Back in the day when Kent Larsen would fling a spoonful of peas across the lunchroom while yelling “Martian turds away!”

Back in the day when we regularly received roasted marshmallow on a peach half or carrot shavings in orange jello.

Back in the day when we probably didn’t appreciate how good we had it having basically home cooked food everyday.

Back in the day when during school lunch week we had to eat everything on our plate to get a 3-2-4-4 pencil, and since Snodgrass and Nedham were wise to the hiding of food in our milk cartons, I held all my cole slaw in my mouth while she checked my tray and sent me outside with pencil proudly in hand so I could spew that nasty slaw all over the playground. Totally worth it.

But who’s Nelson?

Friend Julie: I have that button. I remember when we thought we could hide food we didn’t want to eat in our milk cartons. Mrs. Snodgrass was onto us pretty quick. And now I am one of those lunch ladies at Kennedy!!! I have actually caught a few kids doing that and it cracked me up. I let them go dump their tray anyhow.

Doodles as Art

Doodles swirls

There’s something cool about zoning out and letting your right brain run things for a bit.  It may reveal something about the person doodling.  Maybe it doesn’t.  If it does I guess these two were having a pretty good day.

My daughter said it looks like the second picture is all about my wallet.  My wallet is covering the name of the artist.  So that piece, I guess, is all about her.

Why are you still talking?

This is from Lent last year. I’m just a grouch some days.


It’s the start of lent, something that I try to pay attention to, even when it sneaks up on me like it did this year. So this year I have those things I’m taking on, and those things I’m taking a break from, as I prepare for Easter.  And during this first week of lent, I’ve about decided that one of the things I’m giving up, is people.  Not really.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  I had one of those weeks.  Admittedly, I’m not a social person on the best of days.  My standard setting is, people: I can take ‘em or leave ‘em.  But this week I could definitely leave ‘em.  All those snarky t-shirts that kids wear that say things like, “Why are you still talking, I quit listening hours ago?”  That’s how I felt all week.  I mean, Jesus took 40 days in the desert, right.  Maybe that’s what I needed to do.  Although this week, that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.

And while Jesus did spend his time in the desert, and some time praying alone; and while we do see him frustrated and angry at times with those around him, his mission it seems, much to my chagrin, was about people.  He spent much of this ministry with his close group of friends.  He invited himself to people’s homes.  He ate and drank with outcasts.  His first public miracle was at a wedding (shudder).

Even on the cross, when I imagine what that would be like, I think about the men on either side of him arguing and cajoling him, and I want to say, after trying to ignore the both of them, “Look, this has been a really bad day; I feel like crap; in fact, we’re all going to be dead pretty soon anyway; so I would really appreciate it if you two could just shut up!”

That’s me.  Not Jesus.  He, tortured and dying, engages the two of them.  At least one of them entered the kingdom that day.

Lent is a time of contemplation and introspection.  And there are times to take a break from things.  But even when Jesus took his 40 days in the desert, he came back.  And he participated in life with people–annoying, frustrating, “Please don’t interrupt me while I’m ignoring you” t-shirt kind of people.  Yeah, I know, people like me.

So when you take the bread and the cup, you might do this.  Pray for me.  And pray for those who are on your last nerve.  And pray that all of us can be there for those that need us, even when we’re tired and worn out and not in the mood.  And maybe say thanks that god does the same for us.




A man named Mark Jackson (aka pastor guy) has a blog where he writes about mostly about board games and God. Every few years he posts, over to the course of about 100 days, his top 100 board games. I’ve thought about doing something like that on this blog, but I don’t really consider myself qualified. I have a lot of games by any normal person’s standard, but when it comes to real board game geeks, I’m in the minor leagues. If I did a top 100 list, it would mostly all be games that I own. There would be a few games that are owned by friends and family that would make such a list, but not many. I tend to be the game buyer/owner in my gaming circle. Also, I’ve recently tried to curb my game buying and even game keeping; recently I trimmed my collection, at least on paper, to just 101 games. So unlike these major league geeks, there are a lot of games out there, new, and not so new, that it haven’t played. So again, I don’t think my top 100 games list would be that helpful, meaningful, or impressive.
But back to Mark. He’s recently started the 2014 top 100 games list at his blog. And I’ve decided that when he hits one of my games, or one that I’ve played but don’t own, I’ll link to his post, and add some of my own comments.
Number 92 on his list, Rampage, is the first place where a game I own shows up (he’s counting down from 100). It’s one that is played and loved by our entire family.  Despite my previous statement about cutting down on game purchases, last Christmas I splurged a bit and bought a few for the family. They weren’t all hits, but this one was. I bought this one with my son in mind; his not the game geek that his father is. It was a hit with both him and his game-discerning mother. I mean, everyone plays the part of a giant Godzilla monster destroying a city and fighting with one another.  Really, enough said. But the city actually collapses, building by building, vehicles are hurled across the board, people are eaten; you can even use your monster breath to blow down buildings and each other.  It’s really a thing of beauty.


Happy Birthday


This is an old Sunday school birthday pin. Somehow I still remember the little intro song that the teacher sang before the class joined in with “Happy Birthday.”

Today is the birthday, I wonder of whom.
It must be of someone who’s right in this room.
So look all around you for somebody who
Is happy and smiling. My goodness it’s you!

(And everyone sings) Happy birthday to you . . .

If fact, this is exactly what happens in my classroom when I find out it’s someone’s birthday. Yeah, I mostly teach high school students.  And you know what. They love it!

I wonder what a few dozen of these buttons would cost me every year?

Fernando vs. The Little Professor

When it comes to looks, I mostly favor my mother.  But here’s a fun little visual comparison with my pops.  The first picture is me prior to my stage debut as Fernando De Las Vegas, a 1930s social climber. It was very fun. I can’t act my way out of a paper sack, but I can remember lines pretty good, and I’m not afraid to sport a bad accent and be big and silly on stage. So I did o.k. The next picture is my dad as an 8th or 9th grader. He looks like a little professor, right? Truth be told, he didn’t spend a lot of his spare time doing experiments. Instead he spent his days roaming the countryside, having adventures, and catching snakes. If he’d known of such a job (maybe he did, I don’t know) I think we would have been a good ophiologist. Instead, he became an accountant. I guess if you picture a 1960s accountant, you can see some of that in my young father.


Anyway, I like to think there’s something of a resemblance between Fernando and the little professor, beyond greasy hair, glasses, and a serious look.