nicknameI don’t know why we spent so much time choosing names for our kids—we hardly ever use them.

As we waited for the twins to arrive, my wife Cathy and I went round and round considering names.  If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about.  For the boy, something that sounds intelligent, but won’t get him beat up on the playground.  For the girl, something feminine, but with an undertone of black belt.  No names that might have unpleasant associations—and since I’m a middle school teacher, that narrowed the field quite a bit.

Finally, we chose the perfect names for our little ones…Alec Daniel and Carissa Joy.  Simple.  Classy.  With wonder and awe, I wrote their precious names carefully on the birth certificates and never used them again.   Continue reading

Competence vs Congeniality

refrigeratorI bought something that was supposed to be a refrigerator but isn’t.

It looks like a refrigerator.  Quite an attractive refrigerator, at that.  It’s gleaming white, oh so clean, and very spacious.  It came from a refrigerator company and was delivered by certified refrigerator delivery people.  It is in all ways a refrigerator, except for one annoying detail.

It does not refrigerate.

I plugged it into the appropriate wall receptacle, returned in the requisite four hours, and made an important discovery.

Are you ready?  You might want to write this down. Continue reading

The Call of Freedom

Declaration of IndependenceThis morning I was thinking about an assignment I give my U.S. History students.    Now, I know that in the past I have shared with you some of the less-than-stellar examples of my students’ efforts.  This time, let me share something that worked out pretty well.  It’s not as funny, but it may be worth thinking about as we celebrate our Freedom. Continue reading


small changeOK, so some of you are going to call me an idiot, a patsy, a pansy-faced sucker.

And maybe I am.

I’m sitting in a fast food joint, slurping a soda that I’m not supposed to have because I have braces (don’t tell my orthodontist).  I came here to write a post just for you, because you’re one of my favorite people.  The plan was to write about a cool tradition my family has for my wife’s birthday, but then I got distracted by the news that the AMA has officially designated obesity a disease.  I decided that I needed to vent about the inanity of that concept, and, having an hour or so to kill, I plopped down on a stool to ingest sugar and fat while ranting and raving.

You’re going to have to wait for both of those posts (and I hope you do), because when I did the afore-mentioned plopping, I saw something. Continue reading

Lessons from the Dog

IMG_1742I’m way too much like my dog.

And yet not enough.

Confusing?  Tell me about it.

Summer is here, and for me that means early morning walks with the lovely Mandibles of Death.  You may remember this pooch.  Her given name is Amanda, but she has claimed the title Mandibles.  She has earned it, too, being vicious in a way that only fluffy Golden Retrievers can be.

I try to use our daily walk as prayer time.  The fresh morning air and invigorating exercise are supposed to free up my mind for communion with God.  That’s the plan, anyway.  As we cruised along the block today, I couldn’t help but notice that there are ways in which Mandy reminds me, uncomfortably, of myself.   Continue reading

Real Men Don’t Wear Flip-Flops

flip flopSeriously.

I was in the market yesterday, and I noticed a display of flip-flops.  For those of you who don’t know, “Flip-Flops” is the technical term for inexpensive, backless sandals, usually made of rubber.  There are a variety of names associated with this casual footwear, but the intellectual elite know them as “Flip-Flops.” Continue reading