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Posts from ‘March, 2009’


picture of will

What have you inherited? Inheritance is far more than what can be listed in a "last will and testament." Some of what makes up our "inheritance" becomes crystal clear when we, as parents, look at our children and see ourselves, our parents, and/or our grandparents in our children's appearance, mannerisms, interests, and personalities. For instance, I've inherited my dad's bizarre sense of humor and have passed it on to my own children. I have also inherited from both of my parents a body with the annoying ability to extract every calorie and every fat gram from every ounce of food that passes through my lips! Some of what we pass on to our children is not fully realized until our children are well into adulthood. Read on....

This past week I was strongly reminded of several other physical traits that get passed on from generation to generation in our family. Our son Mark has given blood frequently over the past ten years. His blood is highly sought after by the blood-letters since he is a universal donor, O-negative. He is fortunate not to have inherited my tendency to vasovagal episodes when giving blood, unlike our daughter Nora who shares the same issues that dear old dad grapples with. However, this past Monday, for the first time, Mark had a reaction to the chlorhexidine gluconate that is now being used to clean the arm before the needle is inserted. His was the same reaction I described in my post medical faux pas, and his arm looks every bit as bad as mine did. The doctor put him on Prednisone for a week to try to throw off the ill effects of the reaction. Poor guy!

For most of my life I have known that type 2 diabetes does not run in my family – it gallops! My great-grandmother had diabetes, as did my grandfather and his nine siblings, as does my mother whose younger sister is officially prediabetic. My extended family is far-flung and has not kept in close contact, and therefore I do not know what is happening in many of their lives. However, last week I heard about the first person I know of in my generation of my great-grandma's family who has now been diagnosed with diabetes. I figure that it's just a matter of time until I become diabetic, but I've been doing everything I can to delay the onset for as long as possible.

These two bits of news got me to thinking about what we inherit. The following jokes poke fun at different aspects of inheritances and heritage.

Inheritance jokes...

A little boy came home from school one day and handed his father his grade card, with nothing but D's and F's on it. Before the father had time to react, the boy asked him, "So tell me, Dad, is it heredity or environment?"


A man died with $30,000 to his name. He wanted to be remembered after he was gone, and his last request was that his wife be sure to buy a nice memorial stone. After everything was done at the funeral home and cemetery, she told her closest friend that there was none of the $30,000 left.

The friend exclaimed, "How can that be?!"

The widow said, "Well, the funeral cost me $6,500. And of course I made a donation to the church. That was $500 in my husband's honor, and I spent another $500, you know, for the wake, the food, etc. The rest went for the memorial stone he insisted on."

The friend asked, "$22,500 for the memorial stone? My word, how big is it?!"

The widow replied, "Three carats."


A math teacher posed this problem, "A wealthy man dies and leaves ten million dollars. One fifth is to go to his wife, one fifth is to go to his son, one sixth to his butler, and the rest to charity. Now, what does each one get?"

The savvy student answered, "A lawyer!"


A woman asks her husband, "Do you love me only because my father died and left me a fortune?"

"Of course not," he says. "I'd love you no matter who left you the money."


Two friends meet in the street. One looked forlorn and almost on the verge of tears. The other man said, "Hey, how come you look like your whole world caved in?"

The sad fellow said, "Well, let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars."

"Well, that's sad about your uncle, but all that money is not bad either."

"Hold on, I'm just getting started. Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew died and left me eighty-five thousand, free and clear."

"Wow, I'd like that!"

"Last week my grandfather passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from him."

"Then, how come you look so glum?!"

"This week ... nothing yet!"


A highly successful business man wrote in his last will and testament: To my high school teacher, who always told me I'd never amount to anything and whom I promised to mention in my will, "Hi, Mrs. Matthews!"


Besides various physical conditions and the "stuff" found in our last will and testament, there are other important bits of heritage we pass on to our children. What are you seeking to pass on to your children that cannot be quantified in a will? Some people concentrate more on inherited conditions over which they don't have control or on a large inheritance which we've seen lately can take wings and fly away. What values and ideals are you seeking to pass on to your children? It is undeniable that more is caught than is taught.


"Do you ever daydream about what God could do with your life? ... We need Christian dreamers." - Rob Campbell

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"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt." - Herbert Hoover

Apparently the national debt has been around for quite a while if Hoover was talking about it. He would probably be shocked to know what it has become and to what dizzying heights (or depths) our current leaders are trying to send it!

picture of national debt cartoon

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picture of words

Have you ever heard of spoonerisms? Or better yet, have you ever uttered a spoonerism inadvertently? A former French student of mine and a long-time ivman reader who knows my love for punning let me know that the Word of the Day this past Monday, March 23, on dictionary.com was "spoonerism." I told him his e-mail had moved one of my posts that had been simmering on a back burner to the front burner. Read on to learn more about spoonerisms....

By definition a spoonerism is a word that describes the unintentional transposition of two sounds within a word or phrase. This transposition usually involves (a) the sounds created by the initial letters of words within a phrase; (b) whole words; or (c) the initial sounds of syllables within one word.


"I just saw a monarch butterfly!"
"I just saw a monarch flutter by!"

"Vulcans do not shoot from the hip, Captain."
"Vulcans do not hoot from the ship, Captain."

The term "spoonerism" was coined around 1900, after the Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930). He was a distinguished British cleric and scholar who served as Dean and Warden of Oxford's New College for a period of some 40 years but is best known for the many humorous misstatements attributed to him. According to the New College website at Oxford University, Spooner "almost certainly never uttered a 'spoonerism,' but equally certainly had a number of curious verbal traits." In any case, many have insisted that he indeed uttered most of the spoonerisms attributed to him.

Spoonerisms are linguistic flip-flops that turn "a well-oiled bicycle" into "a well-boiled icicle" and other ludicrous ways speakers of English get their "mix all talked up." It is said that Spooner once addressed a group of farmers as "ye noble tons of soil," queried after a university official by asking "Is the bean dizzy?" and admonished a student because he had "tasted two worms" and "hissed all my mystery lectures."

English is a fertile soil for spoonerisms, as author and lecturer Richard Lederer points out, because our language has more than three times as many words as any other – over 618,000 and growing at 450 a year. Consequently, there's a greater chance that any accidental transposition of letters or syllables will produce rhyming substitutes that still make sense – well, sort of.... A word of caution – I do not advise one's attempting to develop a habit of doing spoonerisms since some can be quite embarrassing or even vulgar.

Some of the best known "tips of the slung" attributed to the Rev. Spooner...

fighting a liar – lighting a fire
cattle ships and bruisers – battle ships and cruisers
nosey little cook – cosy little nook
a blushing crow – a crushing blow
our queer old Dean – our dear old Queen
we'll have the hags flung out – we'll have the flags hung out
our shoving leopard – our loving shepherd
a half–warmed fish – a half–formed wish

Some spoonerisms others have made...

know your blows – blow your nose
go and shake a tower – go and take a shower
nicking your pose – picking your nose
a lack of pies – a pack of lies
sealing the hick – healing the sick
pit nicking – nit picking
wave the sails – save the whales
chipping the flannel on TV – flipping the channel on TV
I'm shout of the hour – I'm out of the shower
lead of spite – speed of light
I hit my bunny phone – I hit my funny bone
bedding wells – wedding bells
I must mend the sail – I must send the mail
It crawls through the fax – It falls through the cracks
Would you like a nasal hut? – Would you like a hazel nut?

Here's a story where the final barb of the pun-chline is a spoonerism:

Once there was a horse that was in agony. Several birds were building nests in his mane and nothing he did would make them stop. The noise and activity were driving the horse crazy. So, he decided to see the wise old owl for help. The old owl told him to go home and put some yeast in his mane and all would be well.

The horse thought this was a bit nutty, but out of desperation, he did what the owl told him.

The next morning the mane was completely clear of nests. The very surprised horse trotted excitedly to the owl's house.

When asked why the yeast worked, the owl replied, "Horse, don't you know that yeast is yeast and nest is nest and never the mane shall tweet?"



"When you pull out the gospel thread, a believer's life unravels." - Dr. Drew Conley

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"Noah's stock was floating high while everyone else in the world was in liquidation." - Les Ollila

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Happiness Is….

picture of smiley face

What is happiness to you? It seems to me that the more people seek for happiness, the more discontented they are. I read somewhere that if we stopped trying to be happy, we would probably enjoy life more. Dr. Bob Jones Sr. is credited with saying, "Happiness is not found by looking for it. You stumble over happiness on the road to duty."

Recently I received an e-mail about a happiness kit. When I saw it, I knew immediately that I wanted to share it on my blog.

Employee Happiness Kits Now Available


All personnel will now be required to look happy while working. We will provide the supplies to each employee at no cost.

    Workloads getting to you?
    Feeling stressed?
    Too many priorities and assignments?
    Worried about pending layoffs?

Here is the new low-cost, company-approved solution to cope with multiple priorities and assignments.

Each employee will be supplied 2 paper clips and 2 rubber bands. (See Fig 1.)

Fig 1.

picture of kit supplies

Assemble items as shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2.

picture of supplies assembled

Apply as shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3.

kit in applied

Be sure to stop by the front desk to pick up your supplies. Enjoy your day. This new office equipment will help you to reach the end of a productive work day with a smile on your face! 😀


Even though that may have brought a smile to your face, we all know that a fake smile on the face is not an indication of a happy heart. Here's a story about happiness.

A 92-year-old man, who was fully dressed, clean-shaven and hair perfectly coiffed moved to our nursing home today. His appearance was all the more remarkable when I considered that he is legally blind. His wife of 70 years had recently passed away, making the move necessary. After having to wait for a long time in the lobby, he smiled sweetly when I told him his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on his window.

"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"But Mr. Smith, you haven't even seen the room yet – just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I have already decided to love it.

"It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice – I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

"We convince ourselves that life will be better after we finish school, get married, have a baby, then another....

"Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and say we'll be more content when they are. After that we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with; we'll certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.

"We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are we able to go on a nice vacation, or when we retire.

"The truth is, if you're not going to be happy now, then when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

"Happiness is the way, not the end. Treasure every moment that you have, and treasure it all the more if you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with. And remember that time waits for no one, so don't you wait either!

"So, stop waiting....

until your car or home is paid off

until you get a new car or home

until your kids leave the house

until you go back to school

until you finish school

until you lose 10 lbs.

until you gain 10 lbs.

until you get married

until you have kids

until vacation

until you have grandkids

until you retire

until you die

"Young lady, there is no better time to be happy than right now. Happiness is a journey, not a destination."


picture of Spot a tot button

This week is our annual Bible Conference on campus. The gang at Creative Services on campus is sponsoring a fund-raiser for the Bible Conference offering. They've come up with a collection of buttons they're selling. Oh my! 😳 You can check them out at http://wiiiju.com If you would like to watch any of the messages live via streaming video online, here's the link to that - Bible Conference 2009

Our grandson Drew is usually a happy little guy. He recently got to meet Curious George at Barnes & Noble. Drew enjoyed high-fiving George.

picture of Megan, Drew, and Curious George

Megan and a good friend took their boys to McDonald's recently for lunch. They thought they'd let them try out the play area for their first time. They are both still a little young and didn't attempt much climbing, but they enjoyed it in their own way.

picture of Drew and Joey on slide

It doesn't take much to make little ones happy, does it? Maybe it's because at that age their expectations are lower than they are later in life. What advice do you give to unhappy people?


"Discontent is rooted in unbelief.... We bring God glory when we are content with what He is and does." - Dr. Jim Berg

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A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. (My wife has asked me to remember this....) 😀

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The Power of Advertising

If I had any doubts concerning the power of advertising, they all vanished this past week as a result of something I participated in on campus last Tuesday. At our university we have a special day once every four years called Gold Rush Daze. Classes are suspended and the students and faculty enjoy fun activities the whole day.

I helped serve "breakfast in bed" in one of the men's dorms that morning, but my main participation in the day's festivities was in the program called Faculty Body that the faculty put on in the evening. Several weeks prior to Gold Rush Daze, my office mate Phil and I worked up four "Bo-Jonic" commercials, knock-offs of some Sonic ads that appear on TV. We spent an afternoon with several people from BJ HomeSat taping the ads in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

In anticipation of the evening, not having seen the finished products, Phil and I were fearful that our ads would totally bomb, making us the laughing stock of the campus. However the ads went over far better than we ever imagined they would! Here's a shot of me eating a tater-tot I'd bummed off of Phil, not knowing he had licked it before handing it to me! 😯

picture of me eating a tot

The folks at HomeSat did a fantastic job with the taping and editing, even adding the SLAP sound effect and the words in red. The ads looked so authentic! Here's a picture of the tail end of that ad.

picture of frozen frame

Several people told us that, after seeing our Bo-Jonic ads, Sonic and tater-tots were on their minds so much that they went to the Sonic closest to the campus on their way home. However when they got there, they were turned away – the folks at Sonic were so overwhelmed with people coming from BJ that they couldn't take and fill any more orders. The next-closest Sonic to campus was a little less busy, but bustling with BJ people nonetheless.

Even though our commercial spots were not for Sonic, per se, the suggestion alone was sufficient to induce people to head over to Sonic anyway. A while back I did a blog post on effective advertising. Since then, I have come across some other shopping bags that are quite creative, some advertising products and some promoting social causes.

If I saw this bag, I know that I would instantly crave some Nutella.

picture of Nutella bag

Here's a great bag advertising a pain reliever called Panadol Extra.

picture of Panadol bag

Here's another bag advertising Panadol Extra, perhaps even more effectively.

picture of Panadol bag

These two bags definitely have a touch of class.

picture of upscale bag

It appears that the side of the bag with the hands is mostly transparent, creating the illusion that a person is holding the book that's inside the bag.

picture of bookstore bag

This is a creative bag for a car dealer.

picture of steering wheel bag

Here's a bag from a Belgian animal rights organization GAIA (Global Action in the Interest of Animals) protesting the cruelty of making and eating foie gras. The bag says, "Folter deze gans. En spaar de echte: eet geen Foie Gras." = "Torture this goose. And spare the real ones: don’t eat foie gras."

picture of gooseneck bag

This bag promotes fitness in a unique way.

picture of fitness bag

This bag seeks to motivate people to help those with autism.

picture of autism bag

The Red Cross is always eager to have people donate blood. I'm afraid it would take more than this bag to move me to give blood.

picture of blood donor bag

Although it's cute, if the bag below is advertising something, it's so cryptic that I can't figure it out. Can anyone help me on this? (added Friday morning, March 20, 2009 - Since posting this, I have learned from a commenter and by e-mail that the woman on the bag below is Yulia Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister of Ukraine. She's iconic in Europe for her braids.)

picture of bag with braids

People have told Phil and me that they can't see us without thinking of Sonic or tater-tots, or they can't drive by Sonic without thinking of us – a testimonial to the effectiveness of branding in commercials. Do you think that advertising is effective on you or your family? Could you give us an example?


"The worst that this world can dish out to you is just an opportunity to serve God in a way you hadn't even thought of." - Dr. Drew Conley

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"I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second." - Steven Wright

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Can You Take It with You?

picture of us at Biltmore

This past weekend I was reminded strongly of the folly of living for stuff. A few weeks ago a friend gave us tickets to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC. We had not been there since the day we got engaged, almost 33 years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, even though it was cold and rainy. We could not believe how many visitors there were! It was a packed out house (or as I love to say, a packed outhouse)!

As we toured the house many thoughts went through my mind. Some of the rooms were literally so large that our entire little house would fit inside them. The 175,000 square-foot (16 300 m2) house with its 255 rooms and beautiful gardens reminded me of the châteaux we have visited in Europe. Although today's liberal politicians would try their best (or worst) to incite us to class envy by criticizing George Vanderbilt for using his own money to build the house he wanted and could afford, the building project and maintenance afterwards provided jobs for many people. I said to my wife that since Obama wants to create jobs, he ought to build a house like this. One difference would be that he would not be doing it with his own money.

As I viewed some of the amenities in Biltmore, my mind went to a post I did called Changing Times about what life was like in the US in the year 1900, which is right at the time Vanderbilt had just moved into his new estate. There was quite a contrast between what we saw in Biltmore and what most Americans considered the norm in 1900.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but I was able to find some online to show some of the amazing features.

The first thing you see upon entering is the "Winter Garden." There were many plants and flowers throughout the house, and as far as we could tell by what we touched, they were all real.

picture of winter garden

Here's a view of just part of the banquet hall. The table can be extended to a length of 40 feet. Notice the triple fireplace at the far end.

picture of banquet hall

In the basement of the house we saw the Vanderbilts' two-lane bowling alley.

picture of bowling alley

Although there was no water in it, we were able to see the world's first indoor swimming pool in the basement.

picture of swimming pool

After visiting the house we stopped at the River Bend Farm on the Biltmore Estate. Even though it was winter and rainy, we were glad we visited it. As we watched a film inside the barn we learned much of the good that had come to the people living in that area as a result of George Vanderbilt's having built his mansion there. His interest in horticulture and his goal of running Biltmore as a self-sustaining estate was extremely beneficial to people in the area and added to advances in farming techniques in the United States.

Near the barn we visited the woodworker's shop, the blacksmith's shop, and the mercantile. The blacksmith was particularly entertaining and informative.

picture of blacksmith

There was a barnyard with animals to pet, including two huge horses. Here's one of them.

picture of horse

We enjoyed petting the adorable baby pygmy goats that were the size of our cats.

picture of baby goats

I don't know how much George Vanderbilt obsessed about his mansion, but I do know that he was able to live there for only a short time 1898-1914, dying at the age of 52 of complications from an appendectomy. And his magnificent house is still here – he couldn't take it with him. It made me think of a story to share.

There once was a believing rich man who was dying. While on his death bed, he tried to get the Lord to let him bring his earthly treasures with him to heaven. "Lord, please, I have worked so hard to accumulate all these riches. Can't I bring them along?"

The Lord spoke to his heart, telling him, "I never grant this request. Go ahead and plan what you would bring if I permitted you to bring just one suitcase, and we'll talk about it once you're in heaven."

The man immediately began to think about what he could take in just one suitcase. Finally he had a servant fill a large suitcase with gold bricks. Shortly thereafter, he died.

When the man got to heaven, he was amazed at the beauty surrounding him, and to say he was overwhelmed when he saw the Lord for the first time would be a huge understatement.

Enjoying the splendors of his new home, the man completely forgot about the suitcase he had wanted to bring along, until the Lord asked him about it. "My child, tell me what you planned to put into that suitcase you wanted to bring."

"Oh yes, Lord. I forgot all about that! I had my servant pack a large suitcase with bricks of gold."

The Lord said, "I know you haven't been able to see everything up here yet." He continued by asking him kindly, "But what in the world were you thinking when you decided to bring pavement?"


Have you ever visited the Biltmore or other mansions of the world? What were your impressions? Becka reminded me Saturday of a quotation from Joan, a friend of my mom, "Europe is a nice place to visit, but I sure wouldn't want to have to dust it!"


"Possessions have a way of possessing us as they take the place of God in our hearts." - Dr. Drew Conley

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I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.

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