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Posts from ‘August, 2006’

Mindset of the Class of 2010

We all view life and the world around us from our own frame of reference. Older people sometimes have trouble keeping up with such rapid change in our technological age. But younger people often have trouble thinking beyond their comparatively limited experiences. It's not uncommon for a young person to say with complete confidence, "I'll never need this. Why do I have to study it?" I heard a wise, older teacher tell that his reply to such a comment is "You are not equipped to know that."

As yet another new batch of freshman has arrived on campus, it's good to be reminded of what is "reality" for them. One way to do that that is becoming a tradition is to check the beloit.edu site to read their listing of the "mindset" of this year's freshman class. What I'm sending today is an edited version of their list - the items I found most interesting. If you want to read their list unedited, you can go to their site given below. Bear in mind that what these 18 year olds remember probably did not happen until after they were 5 or 6 years old.



Members of the class of 2010, the freshmen entering college this fall, were mostly born in 1988.

For them, the Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.

They have known only two presidents.

For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.

Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.

There has always been only one Germany.

They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.

They are wireless, yet always connected.

Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.

A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.

Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.

Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.

They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.

DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.

They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.

They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.

"Google" has always been a verb.

Text messaging is their email.

Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.

Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.

Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.

They grew up in mini-vans.

Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.

They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.

Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.

"So" as in "That is sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else

They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.

Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.

Small white holiday lights have always been in style.

Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.

They have always been searching for "Waldo."

They never played the game of state license plates in the car.

They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.

There have always been live organ donors.

They have always had access to their own credit cards.

They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."

Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.

Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.

Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.

Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.

Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.

Disposable contact lenses have always been available.

Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.

They have always "dissed" what they don't like.

The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.

Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.

They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.

Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.


personal update...

Last week we had an all-too-brief visit from a friend I met in France in 1975 - Doris Gilbert, for those of you who know her. I hadn't seen her in 14 years, and it was wonderful to see someone whose life has had such an impact on mine. It was a huge blessing to see her continuing to minister to many, at age 83, long after she's officially "retired from ministry." She asked me if other seniors receive my iv's, and I assured her that there are a good number in that category on my mailing list. Since she had brought the age thing up, I told her that I wanted to ask her, since she knew him personally, if George Washington was a nice man. Without missing a beat, she said, "You must have me confused with my grandfather." We did talk a little about history, and it was neat to hear the perspectives of someone who has lived even more of history than we have.


To the assembled faculty this fall: "All of us are students, learners, sitting at His feet." - Dr. Stewart Custer

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

You know it's going to be a bad day when your teenager knocks on your bedroom door first thing in the morning and says, "Today is Nerd Day at school, Dad. Can I borrow some of your clothes?"

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Someone recently told me that I thought like an engineer. I wasn't offended and didn't ask why, but I'm not quite sure why either. Hmm.... The comment did make me think of some humor in my files about engineers. If you're an engineer, you may not think these are as funny as those who know you do. People who deal with engineers, though, know that many of them see life from a very different perspective from that of most folks. After reading through the material again, I thought that maybe the comment had at least a tiny bit of validity. 😎

Q: What is the definition of an engineer?
A: Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.

Q: How can you tell an extroverted engineer?
A: When he talks to you, he looks at your shoes instead of his own.

Q: What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
A: Mechanical Engineers build weapons. Civil Engineers build targets.

Q: How do you drive an engineer completely insane?
A: Tie him to a chair, stand in front of him, and fold up a road map the wrong way.


A pastor, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers to move on ahead of them. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude! "The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him."

[dramatic pause]

"Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

The greenskeeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment. Then the pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "You know, really, these guys could play at night."


An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess. He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, and I'll be yours forever."

Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm actually a beautiful princess and that I'll be yours forever. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."


You may be an engineer if...

If you have used coat hangers and duct tape frequently for something other than hanging coats and taping ducts.

If your idea of good interpersonal communication means getting the decimal point in the right place.

If you carry on a one-hour debate over the expected results of a test that actually takes only five minutes to run.

If you are convinced you can build a phaser out of your garage door opener and your camera's flash attachment.

If you have saved the power cords from all your broken appliances.

If you look forward to Christmas so you can put the kids' toys together.

If you see a good design and still have to change it.

If you still own a slide rule and you know how to work it.

If your I.Q. number is bigger than your weight.

If the microphone or visual aids at a meeting don't work and you rush up to the front to fix them.

If choosing whether to buy flowers for your girlfriend or to upgrade your RAM is a moral dilemma.

If you take a cruise so that you can go on a personal tour of the engine room.

If at an air show you know how fast the skydivers are falling.

If you can remember 7 computer passwords but not your anniversary.

If you have memorized the program schedule for the Discovery channel and have seen most of the shows already.

If you have ever owned a calculator with no equal key and know what RPN stands for.

If your father sat 2 inches in front of your family's first color TV with a magnifying lens to see how they made the colors, and you grew up thinking that was normal.

If your wristwatch has more buttons than a telephone.

If your three year old son asks why the sky is blue and you try to explain atmospheric absorption theory.

If you window shop at Radio Shack.

If your ideal evening consists of fast-forwarding through sci-fi movies looking for technical inaccuracies.

If you have modified your can-opener to be microprocessor driven.

If you sit backwards on the Disney World rides to see how they do the special effects.

If you know the direction the water swirls when you flush.

If you ever burned down the gymnasium with your Science Fair project.

If you are currently gathering the components to build your own nuclear reactor.

If you think that when people around you yawn, it's because they didn't get enough sleep.

If you have a habit of destroying things in order to see how they work.

If you comment to your wife that her straight hair is nice and parallel.


This week we teachers at BJU are busily working in our offices and attending meetings, getting everything ready to begin university classes on August 30. We're praying for safe journies for our students as they come from all corners of the world in the next few days.


"With the passage of time, I'm more and more struck by how abnormal 'normal' is." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

The optimist sees a glass that is half full. The pessimist sees a glass that is half empty. The engineer sees a glass that is twice as big as it needs to be.

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To Build a Fire

Probably one of the best preparations for our teams to France and our teaching in China was all our experience from camping. We learned to improvise and make do with whatever we had to work with in our living situation and to plan ahead by taking small, useful tools, etc.

My son and I are hoping to be able to go camping one weekend this fall with a friend and his sons. Some of our best memories and stories are about getting a campfire going and keeping it going. Oh, the stories we could tell, and wouldn't tell! Today's iv is almost too true-to-life to be funny....

Sixteeen steps to building a campfire

1. Split dead limb into fragments and shave one fragment into slivers.

2. Bandage left thumb.

3. Chop other fragments into smaller fragments

4. Bandage left foot.

5. Make pyramid structure of slivers (include those embedded in hand)

6. Light Match

7. Light Match

8. Repeat "a Scout is cheerful" and light match.

9. Apply match to slivers, add wood fragments, and blow gently into base of fire.

10. Apply burn ointment to nose.

11. When fire is burning, collect more wood.

12. Upon discovering that fire has gone out while out searching for more wood, soak wood from can labeled 'kerosene'.

13. Treat face and arms for second-degree burns.

14. Re-label can to read 'gasoline'.

15. When fire is burning well, add all remaining firewood.

16. When thunderstorm has passed, repeat steps.


We were happy to learn from her son that Jean, one of the teachers who went to Hainan with us this summer, arrived safely at GSP this evening an hour early! Her flight to Cambodia left 15 minutes before our flight back to the USA two weeks ago today. Since she was already on the other side of the world to teach with us, she made the most of it by going to visit her daughter Kim, son-in-law J.D. We'll look forward to seeing her and hearing all her stories from there!


"One of the things God does in our lives is to pry our fingers off the controls." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

When camping at a public campground, place a tuba on your picnic table to keep the campsites on either side of yours vacant.

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Our Final Days in Beijing

our long weekend in Beijing

After getting settled in at our hotel and freshening up, we went exploring the area around our hotel to find a place to eat dinner. We found a Pizza Hut that looked great to us - a place where we could order for ourselves and get food we recognized! We were amused to see a phenomenon that Ruth had told us she's seen at other Pizza Huts - people stack melon neatly around the edge of their salad plate to make almost a bowl in which they can have a bigger salad than would ordinarily be possible. I pretended to be taking a picture of my wife to capture the scene below. I wonder if the woman knew I wasn't really taking a picture of Becka....

Where did you get that salad bowl?!

Saturday evening we took in an acrobatics show - Cirque du soleil. Incredible! If you ever get to Beijing, this is something you *must* include one evening! The kids looked like they ranged from maybe 9 or 10 years old through the young 20s. They did flips, mounts, juggling, balancing, and all sorts of other feats. Still pictures cannot adequately convey the marvels we saw, but that's the best I can do until you see a show yourself. Below is a picture of some boys who juggled three hats each. Each hat is a different color or design so that the audience can better see what they're actually doing as they juggle the hats off and on their heads. After doing flips as they juggled and even juggling from person to person in a line, they did a mount. Each level of boys was juggling the three hats from head to head in one direction and from one boy's hand to the next boy's hand in the opposite direction to keep the supply going.

boys juggling hats

One routine was boys climbing two poles, flipping from one pole to the other, flipping or sliding down the pole and catching themselves just before hitting the floor. Here's a shot of four boys who were holding themselves in place with their thighs.

4 boys on poles

The finale of this act was three boys hanging from wires with one or both feet, each one having around his neck a strap from which another boy was hanging and spinning around.

the pole boys finale

Not all of the acts were fast-moving athletics. One was a girl who could balance umbrellas on feet and hands. I struggled with envy as I considered how much trouble I have sometimes controlling just *one* umbrella with both hands! Below is a picture of the girl on her back, balanced on the feet of the boy on his back on the floor. If you can see the umbrellas well enough to count them, you'll see five!

five umbrellas on three appendages!

Towards the end of the whole program was an amazing group of girls on bicycles. First some girls rode in a fast circle around the stage.

girls riding fast in a circle

As their act progressed, other girls came out and jumped onto the moving bikes. Then the riders would switch positions while moving. Then the number of bikes diminished as more and more girls jumped onto one bike.

more and more riders on one bike

But we learned that that was not enough! They finally ended up with about a dozen girls on one moving bike.

a dozen cyclists on one bike!

Sunday morning after a sumptuous East-meets-West breakfast in our hotel (we decided that our breakfast would become one of our main meals of the day since it was an all you care to eat buffet included in the price of our rooms), we went back to one of our rooms to listen to an mp3 of one of our favorite speakers from back home. Afterwards we set off by taxi to visit the Temple of Heaven. We had heard that in this place where the emperors worshipped the One, True God. I have not yet studied this place sufficiently to know all the of biblical symbolism that it includes. Some of the parts of the Temple of Heaven that we would have liked to visit were closed for refurbishing, a common activity in Beijing right now with the recent influx of foreign tourists and in anticipation of the 2008 Olympics. What we could see, though, was beautiful - it had already undergone refurbishing. Below is a view of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

We went inside to inspect the Hall of Prayer more closely. Here's a shot of Yvonne and Jean on the steps on the way up.

 the steop to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Upon closer inspection we saw the great beauty of this temple.

the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests up close

The inside of the Hall of Prayer is equally beautiful.

inside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

In addition to the famous ancient cypress trees, we saw some interesting trees that we called "camouflage trees."

camouflage trees

After our visit we went to some shops to the east of the Temple of Heaven. The sign in front of one shop we passed caught my eye with its "Buddhism stuff" advertised. Seemed a bit lacking in reverence....

Buddhism stuff?

On Monday we visited a small part of the Great Wall called Badaling. It has been refurbished and was quite impressive. We learned that the Great Wall is 4,000 miles long and that some parts of it are crumbling badly. I'm sure that those parts are not readily accessible to tourists. Since it was raining, the weather was cooler and there were probably fewer visitors. But also the rain made our visit rather unpleasant and climbing the wall more difficult. Below is a picture of my wife and a "hole in the Wall."

Becka and a hole in the Wall

Because of the altitude, rain, and angle of the sidewalk, the three ladies ran out of steam in short order. I climbed a little higher and could have gone on, but from any place I could see little more than from where I'd already been. To continue on would have been selfish of me since the rest of the group would have been just standing in one place under umbrellas. Here's a picture of the ladies. You can detect the angle from the way they are standing to remain upright.

ladies on the Wall

On Tuesday we flew back to the good ol' USA. Our flight from Beijing to Chicago took us over Siberia, the Arctic Ocean, and Canada. From my window seat I saw a *lot* of uninhabited (uninhabitable?) land and the cracked ice on the Arctic Ocean. Below is a picture of the ocean below.

cracks in ice on the Arctic Ocean

The climate below our plane was a stark contrast to the tropics where we had lived and taught for three wonderful weeks!

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What Are They Really Saying?

When we arrived at the airport last week, we thought we were being greeted by our son and his girlfriend. But instead we were greeted by our son and his fiancée! The week before we got home, Mark asked Katie to marry him, and she accepted. They are planning to wed on June 29, 2007. Below is a picture of Mark and Katie at some time during this past school year.

picture of Katie and Mark

What I'm sending today is to help men and women to understand better what each other are really saying, especially for the young couples who are learning to navigate in these waters. The first section says that it's women who are explaining some of the things they say, but I strongly suspect that whoever is explaining what men are really saying in the second section may well have been a woman also. You can judge for yourselves.

Women's Vocabulary - women explain the meanings of their keywords and other utterances

FINE - This is the word we use at the end of any argument that we feel we are right about but need to hush you up. NEVER use fine to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of those arguments.

FIVE MINUTES - If we are getting dressed, this is half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house, so we feel that it's an even trade.

NOTHING - This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. "Nothing" is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing" usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with the word "Fine."

GO AHEAD (with raised eyebrows) - This is *not* permission; it's a dare - one that will result in a woman getting upset over "Nothing" and will end with the word "Fine." So, don't do it!

GO AHEAD (normal eyebrows) - This is not permission either. It means "I give up" or "do what you want because I don't care." You will get a raised eyebrow "Go Ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing" and "Fine" and she will talk to you in about "Five Minutes" when she cools off.

LOUD SIGH - This is not actually a word, but is still a verbal statement very frequently misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing."

SOFT SIGH - Again, not a word, but a verbal statement. "Soft Sighs" are one of the few things that some men actually understand. She is content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe in the hope that the moment will last a bit longer and that she will stay content.

OH - This word followed by any statement is trouble. Example: "Oh, let me get that." Or, "Oh, I talked to someone about what you were doing last night." If she says "Oh" before a statement, run - do not walk - to the nearest exit. She will tell you that she is "Fine" when she is done tossing your clothes out the window, but do not expect her to talk to you for at least two days. "Oh" as the lead to a sentence usually signifies that you are caught in something. Do not try to get out of it, or you will get raised eyebrows "Go ahead" followed by acts so unspeakable that I can't bring myself to write about them.

THAT'S OKAY - This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can say to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding what the penalty will be for whatever mistake you have made. "That's Okay" is often used with the word "Fine" and used in conjunction with a raised eyebrow "Go Ahead." At some point in the near future after she has plotted and planned, you are going to be in some mighty big trouble.

PLEASE DO - This is not a statement; it is an offer. A woman is giving you the chance to come up with whatever excuse or reason you have for doing whatever it is that you have done. In other words, a chance to get yourself into even more trouble. If you handle this correctly, you shouldn't get a "That's Okay."

THANKS - A woman is thanking you. Don't faint and don't look for hidden meaning. Just say "you're welcome."

THANKS A LOT - This is dramatically different from "Thanks." A woman will say "Thanks A Lot" when she is really ticked off at you. It is usually followed by the "Loud Sigh." This signifies that you have hurt her in some callous way. Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the "Loud Sigh," as she will only tell you "Nothing."


What Men REALLY MEAN when they say certain phrases...

"I can't find it," REALLY MEANS, "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."

"That's women's work," REALLY MEANS, "It's dirty, difficult, and thankless."

"It's a guy thing," REALLY MEANS, "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

"Can I help with dinner?" REALLY MEANS, "Why isn't it already on the table?"

"It would take too long to explain," REALLY MEANS, "I have no idea how it works."

"I'm getting more exercise lately," REALLY MEANS, "The batteries in the remote are dead."

"We're going to be late," REALLY MEANS, "Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac."

"Take a break, honey, you're working too hard, "REALLY MEANS, "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

"That's interesting, dear," REALLY MEANS, "Are you still talking?"

"Honey, we don't need material things to prove our love, REALLY MEANS, "I forgot our anniversary again."

"You expect too much of me," REALLY MEANS, "You want me to stay awake."

"It's really a good movie," REALLY MEANS, "It's got guns, knives, and fast cars."

"You know how bad my memory is," REALLY MEANS, "I remember the words to the theme song of "F Troop", the address of the first girl I ever dated, the Vehicle Identification Number of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."

"Oh, don't fuss. I just cut myself. It's no big deal," REALLY MEANS, "I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit I'm hurt."

"I do help around the house," REALLY MEANS, "I once threw a dirty towel near the laundry basket."

"What did I do this time?" REALLY MEANS, "What did you catch me doing?"

"She's one of those rabid feminists," REALLY MEANS, "She refused to make my coffee."

"I heard you," REALLY MEANS, "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me."

"You really look terrific in that outfit," REALLY MEANS, "Please don't try on another outfit. I'm starving."

"I missed you," REALLY MEANS, "I can't find my sock drawer, the kids are hungry, and we are out of toilet paper."

"We share the housework," REALLY MEANS, "I make the messes. She cleans them up."

"I don't need to read the instructions," REALLY MEANS, "I am perfectly capable of messing it up without printed help."

"I'm not lost. I know exactly where we are," REALLY MEANS, "No one will ever see us alive again."


"When I don't pray in light of God's word, I set my sights too low." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

Do you ever wonder why test mice and rats seem to be so prone to developing cancer?

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