Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SNL - Taco Town

Have you ever noticed that when you get into a conversation about Saturday Night Live you almost always hear someone claim that the show just isn't as good as it used to be? This doesn't matter if you're talking to an "old school" fan who fondly remembers John Belushi as a cast member; a fan who recalls the "glory days" as the time when Eddie Murphy was a Not Ready For Prime Time Player; or even a relative youngster who equates the greatness of SNL with Will Ferrell.

The show goes through phases, but it always manages to produce SOMETHING that's funny. Take this newer fake commercial for Taco Town:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Men's Retreat - Leap of Faith

This weekend my church hosted our annual men's retreat at Camp Allendale in Trafalgar, Indiana. Originally we started attending a retreat like this many years ago as guests of Zionsville Fellowship Church. However, we grew our attendance enough that we were encouraged (ok, we were FORCED--but in a good way) to start our own retreat. For the past three or four years now we've been hosting the Hendricks County Men's Retreat with our brothers from Calvary Chapel Church and Hendricks Community Bible Church. This retreat also includes our brothers from Cornerstone Church of the Living God in Indianapolis.

This is an event that I look forward to every year. We've been blessed with men who are humble and who desire to grow in their walk with Christ. I could go on and on about how blessed I was to be a part of it (and I was) but instead I'm going to show you the video from the zip line. Camp Allendale has a 70 foot tall by 850 foot long zip line on their property. They call it the "Leap of Faith." We didn't get a chance to try it last year, but this year we had 33 men signed up to make the leap--including me. What you are about to see is my second run on the zip line. I took off about a second after everyone else and shot video from my digital camera. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cake Wrecks

There's a great site that my sister-in-law brought to my attention recently. It's called Cake Wrecks and I keep an updated link under the "Blogs I Read" section on the right of my blog. It's a great way to waste a little time. The site contains images of cakes produced commercially (i.e. anything from a grocery store to a professional cake decorator) that simply did not turn out right. Here's one of my favorites. You can just imagine the request when this cake was ordered, "I want it to say 'Class of 2007 Rocks!' and then have a fireworks explosion on it. Can you do that?"

Similar blogs include The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks and FAIL Blog. However, I'll warn you that FAIL Blog can go over the top on occasion--you've been warned (FYI, they also have a g-rated version of the site)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Baby Needs What?

This is a picture I took at the Jay-C grocery store using my cell phone while visiting French Lick, Indiana a few weeks ago. If you read it like a sentence, it seems to be suggesting that your baby needs candy.

In case you're wondering, French Lick is a small resort area in Southern Indiana. If you want to know more about Frenck Lick and West Baden, CLICK HERE.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bring Back Smootsdell!!!

I've been able to uncover several sources (here's a reliable one) which indicate that the name of my current hometown of Avon, Indiana used to be known as...Smootsdell.

Apparently we wer first known as Hampton. That name didn't stick and soon we were called White Lick, Smootsdell and New Philadelphia. The name "Avon" was assigned by the railroad which plays a prominent role in the city. Apparently, someone from the railroad stuck a sign next to the tracks that said, "Avon" and we gradually inherited the name (how pathetic!).

While we are a fast growing town of close to 10,000 people (just around 6,000 in the year 2000 Census), we've only been officially incorporated since 1995. But I say, let's take back our heritage. I don't want to be a town assigned a name by the railroad that reminds me of a popular cosmetics company. Residents of "Avon" unite. Let's take back our heritage.

It's totally original--something our town needs since basically we're just a bunch of new housing developments and strip malls located along Rockville Road.

Cartwheel Update #132

In case you didn't know, Miss Sniz has a very fickle back that will "go out" on her from time to time. Now is one of those times. So, we both know that the cartwheel is coming, we just have to wait a bit. Or, maybe just to be safe I'll as Miss Sniz Juniorette (a.k.a. "Bird") to do it for her. She's actually pretty good at cartwheels.

Looks like gas prices are starting to go up a bit, too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

JellyTelly Launches...or...Whatever Happend to that VeggieTales Guy?

I'm sure that many of the people who follow this blog (all three of you plus the people that Rax owner Perry Knox sent over to make great comments about his restaurant--I'm just teasing you, don't get all worked up) are well aware of Veggie Tales. In fact, your kids may have grown up watching the videos or perhaps they still do.

Veggie Tales was the brainchild of Phil Vischer. While what he did was amazing, it also consumed his life. If you've never read his book, Me, Myself & Bob I highly recommend it. Not only is it an incredibly humbling story of faith, failure and grace, it's also a great book for the business community. If you have friends or coworkers who are always reading the latest success oriented business books like Who Cut My Cheese, Great to Good, How to Influence People & Trick Friends, and The 6 Bad Habits of Highly Ineffective People (I may have modified those titles a bit) then you should buy them a copy of Me, Myself & Bob--I'm VERY serious about this because Vischer puts everything in it's proper perspective.

Vischer created a Christian based media empire called Big Idea that produced quality media for families interested in teaching their kids about faith in...blah, blah, blah. Face it, if you've seen the Veggie Tales videos, you know how fun they are--even as an adult. For me, that was the greatest thing about them. I would laugh just as hard as the kids because there were things there that only a grown-up would understand and it was appropriate for the whole family.

Read the book if you want to know more about what happened to Phil and his former company. However, if you want to see what he's up to today, go check out JellyTelly.com and watch a few videos online. If you're really curious you can sign up for the free one-month trial and kick the tires around.

I watched a few of the sample videos and really liked what I saw. This time around he's committed to using the media to teach kids about the bible and living out your faith. As usual, he's doing it in a way that will make your kids laugh and make you crack up, too. I know that I cannot wait to see more of these guys...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rax Responds!!!!

A few weeks ago I visited the only remaining Rax restaurant in Indiana and had what I described as an extremely disappointing" experience. I talked about it HERE. While I can only assume that a few of you read this blog, I KNOW that many of you read this post because of the comments that I received. Many of us have memories of Rax. You can go back and read all of the comments, but I thought it was only fair to prominently display (as much as I can "prominently" do anything on a silly blog like this) the comments of one Perry Knox who actually owns the restaurant that I visited. Please read what he has to say and then I'll make a few remarks below:

My name is Perry Knox and I am the Owner/Operator of the Rax Restaurant in Anderson Indiana. I found your blog quite by accident while doing a search and was disappointed in your visit to our restaurant. After doing a little search on your blog, I came across a picture of your family (at the Spaghetti Factory) and noted that you are like myself a family man.

My Wife and I have operated this location since 1987 and work very hard to support our family of 4 children..3 of which are of similar ages to your children while our oldest is defending freedom in the US Armed Forces. I hope each day that I do not receive the phone call that every parent does not want to receive, but like most parents of service personnel, we concentrate on loving our families and understand that our children are supporting the very freedoms that allow the freedom of speech enjoyed by people like yourself and for example this Blog.

Being a franchised member of the Rax Restaurant chain, my wife and I have watched as corporate take-over and dispersal of assets have played its role in our lives. Even our downtown location has witnessed the evacuation of retail business to other parts of our city..closer to the interstate, nearer to the Walmart, etc. Still, we open our restaurant each day and greet our "regulars" who have watched our family grow and become an integral part of our community. I personally have volunteered many hours coaching children of varying economic and social backgrounds, while my wife faithfully donated her time to our church. But still, we are the Last Rax in Indiana.

Many of our employees have been here for years demonstrating the commitment our small business has to its employees and believe that we want to support those employees through the ups and downs of their lives as well.

I wanted to write to you to put a personal face on our restaurant. I took the picture that you copied from the Rax Website...I thought it may be a positive thing to do to help other Family Owned Rax Restaurants stay in business after the demise of our Corporate entity...I thought it would be a positive thing to do. This Restaurant is not a financial windfall as many may assume. Our family owns a modest home in a "transitional" neighborhood and I find myself doing more and more repairs personally each year.

I can only apologize for your poor visit that you received. I share your thoughts concerning the "old days" and wishing that things would remain as they were. We have struggled over the years keeping Logos on Cups, and maintaining a connection with the Rax Past, but we truly are a small business. You may have noticed the showcase in the Dining Room of Vintage Rax Memorabilia that we proudly display and discuss frequently with our Patrons. At one time, Rax had over 500 Restaurants and was voted America's Number One Sandwich Chain by Restaurants & Institutions Magazine.

I thought the comment that our Restaurant looked like it hadn't been cleaned since 2003 wasn't a nice thing to say, but that is Freedom of Speech. I would like to point out, however, that we post our Health Department Scores by the front cash register for review by our customers and this restaurant has received No Violations in the last 2 semi-annual inspections. We are proud of those scores. We did remodel the Dining Room in January 2008 including new Wall Coverings and Decor.

I do not share your opinion that perhaps we should be "gone completely" and I hope that day never comes. Our family puts more than just hours into this business and with the current state of the economy, we face new challenges each day. I am not so much worried for myself as I am the welfare of my children and our ability as parents to attend to their needs. As a father and a business owner, I try each day to make ends meet. Owning a Franchised Restaurant of a failed concept in a Downtown Area is a challenge enough some days.

I can only offer my sincere apologies for not maintaining those memories you have of the New Haven Rax.

Sincerely, Perry Knox
First off, I want to say, "Thanks," to Mr. Knox for taking the time to send the comment. It shows that he cares about his business, his brand and his reputation--that's just good business. While I don't have kids who are old enough to serve in the armed forces, I have a dear brother-in-law who just finished up 14 months of service in Iraq flying Chinook helicopters in very dangerous missions. I can only imagine what it's like for Perry. I, like you, have been a coach for a number of years and a number of sports. I'm a busy dad and my family is also committed to our church family.

I'm also sorry that I had a bad experience at Rax in Anderson. Maybe I just caught you on a bad day, but I'm 100% willing to come again the next time I'm in the area. In fact, I'll stop in on my way up to Ft. Wayne the next time I'm visiting family--and I'll bring my own family. I would encourage the rest of you Central Indiana folks to stop by as well. Personally, I'd love to see Rax come back. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Also, please forgive me for the tone of my remarks. I don't want Rax to disappear and the place was not dirty. It just looked...aged...and that's not bad.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who Has the Power?

Now that the election is over and President-Elect Obama is preparing to hit the ground running as President, I've been thinking more about who really has control of this country, this world, this universe, etc. (Is there a such thing as an "etc." after universe? Hmmmm.)

Today is the 21st birthday of a young lady named Hannah who attends my church. In fact, I've known her since she was just five years old--which reminds me that I'm old. Anyway, I just found out that young Hannah has a blog called "handing Him the pen." What a great name for a blog and what a great philosophy of life to have at such a young age.

Here's the subtitle of her blog:

"Learning to give up the pen of my life story and hand it to the real Author… "
And then Hannah quotes Jeremiah 29:11 in the right margin:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Happy Birthday, Hannah and way to go on the blog.

On a related note, I should also point out Mical's blog, Fun and Faithful Tales. I just discovered it the other day and even though she doesn't officially go to our church, she attends what I refer to as one of our unofficial "sister churches", Calvary Chapel in Danville.

Both of these young ladies are examples of how to put your trust in Christ for everything you need.

I know that I still owe you all a Miss Sniz carwheel post. I'll be getting to that soon. Since it now gets dark here in Central Indiana by 6:00 p.m. we don't have a lot of daylight to do things outside after the work day.