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Posts from ‘August, 2009’

Define Friendship

picture of wall writing

I've been thinking a lot lately about friends and friendship. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this past summer was the 40th reunion of my high school graduation class. Due to the timing of some things going on in life, I was not able to attend. I've been able to "reconnect" with some of my classmates on Facebook and writing on each other's wall. (That's FB lingo for saying things to each other that many others can see.) And it's been great to see their pictures and hear about their lives — even IM'ing several of them. (Pretty good for a bunch "geezers," huh?! 😀

Actually the whole Facebook thing has also got me thinking about friendship. Earlier this month, my number of friends on FB passed the 1,000 mark! I tell people that I am probably the world's worst FB friend — I simply don't have time to "keep up" with that many people! Many/most of my FB friends are actually former students, going all the way back to my first year of teaching in the 1973-74 school year. Some, I think may just be people I have passed on the sidewalk on campus, but I recognized them from their picture, so I accepted their friend request.

In my MLF101 French classes we have a lesson on friendship that describes friendship in France and asks the students to compare and contrast that with friendship where they are from. Having students from all over the USA and all over the world in my classes leads to interesting insights and discussions. The textbook maintains the contention of the French that American friendships are shallow and superficial. At first my students react to that and strenuously disagree. But as the discussion goes on, they start to see what the French are talking about and usually agree that maybe their stereotype of us is justified.

Here are some sayings I've accumulated over the years about friends and friendship.


Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.

If you can buy a person's friendship, it is not worth it.

True friends have hearts that beat as one.

You can bank on any friendship where interest is paid.

Don't worry about knowing people; just make yourself worth knowing.

No one has so big a house that he does not need a good neighbor.

If you were another person, would you like to be a friend of yours?

Friends are those who speak to you after others don't.

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail and not his tongue.

Pick your friends, but not to pieces.

A friend is one who puts his finger on a fault without rubbing it in.

The way to have friends is to be willing to lose some arguments.

If a friend makes a mistake, don't rub it in ... rub it out.

A friend is someone who adds up all your traits but brings up only the good ones.

picture of friendship

A friend is one who helps you bridge the gaps between loneliness and fellowship, frustration and confidence, despair and hope, setbacks and success.

Make friends before you need them.

A good friend is one who neither looks down on you nor keeps up with you.

Friendship is a responsibility, not an opportunity.

Friendship is the cement that holds the world together.

You cannot see eye to eye with the person you look down upon.

People are judged by the company they keep and the company they keep away from.

Deal with others' faults as gently as if they were your own.

Be friendly with the folks you know — if it weren't for them you would be a total stranger.

If you cannot think of any nice things to say about your friends, then you have the wrong friends.

To be without a friend is a serious form of poverty.

The best mirror is an old friend.

The best possession one may have is a true friend.

Friendship is the art of overlooking the shortcomings of others.

Make friendship a habit and you will always have friends.

The more arguments you win, the fewer friends you will have.

A friend is someone who knows all our faults but still loves us.

You will never have a friend if you must have one without faults.

Real friends are those who, when you feel you've made a fool of yourself, don't feel you've done a permanent job.

The real proof of friendship is to have the same ailment your friend is describing and not mention it.

Doing nothing for your friends results in having no friends to do for.

Friends knock before they enter, not after they leave.

picture of interlocking hands

Being square creates a circle of friends.

It is just as difficult to get along in this world without a friend as it is to get along without food to eat.

A friend is a person who can step on your toes without messing your shine.

Anyone can give advice, but a real friend will lend a helping hand.

The quickest way to wipe out a friend is to sponge off him.

You can make more friends by being interested in them than trying to have them be interested in you.

A real friend is a person who, when you've made a fool of yourself, lets you forget it.

A friend is a person who listens attentively while you say nothing.

You can buy friendship with friendship, but never with dollars.

The most miserable person on earth is the one who has money and no friends.

A friend is someone who thinks you're a good egg even though you're slightly cracked.

True friends are like diamonds, precious but rare; false friends are like autumn leaves, found everywhere.


Are there any of those sayings that you strongly agree or disagree with? Do you have any secrets on friendship to share? I look forward to your comments on friends and friendship.


"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 ESV

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

Your secrets are safe with me and all my Facebook friends.

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Rednecks in the Summer

picture of famous woman

Do you recognize the woman in this picture? Some of you may know right away who she is; but for those who don't, here are a few clues. The picture was taken when she served as Grand Marshall in a parade in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, in 2007, though her home state is Louisiana. She starred in one of the all-time longest-running TV series from 1962 to 1971, a series that made her one of the most popular television stars of the 1960s. Her name on the show is much better known than her real name. Her love for "critters" is not just a part she played in the series.

I'm sharing this because my wife saw in the paper recently that this woman will turn 76 (!) next month. If you haven't figured out yet who she is, I'll tell you — she's Donna Douglas, a.k.a. Elly May Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies. Here's a picture of her when she starred in the series.

picture of Donna Douglas - Elly May Clampett

Why, oh why, don't they make good, clean shows like The Beverly Hillbillies any more?! I loved that show, and even though some of the humor was a little corny, I LOL'd so many times watching that show ... and reruns!

Recently several people have sent me redneck pictures that came to mind as I thought about The Beverly Hillbillies. Two of them are pictures readers took with their cell phones.

Here's the first of those "cell phone camera moments." The car proclaims the owner to be a redneck, not only because of the letter decals on the back window, but also the repair job on the bumper.

picture of a redneck car

One of the great things about rednecks is their ability to "make do" with what they have, showing great ingenuity. During the summer months, especially here in the South, air conditioning in a vehicle is a blessing that is considered by some the only viable option. Here's a picture of one redneck's way of having much-needed AC in his car.

picture of redneck AC

That picture with the window air conditioner and generator may seem far-fetched, but my son Mark was at a grocery store near his home recently and captured the following picture on his cell phone. Notice the placement of the AC unit and the heavy use of various materials, held together with duct tape and rope.

picture of a redneck van with AC

Who needs to spend big bucks to protect the car when you can have a car alarm system like the one below?

picture of a redneck car alarm

Summer is a great time to cook out. If you can't afford an expensive grill, just improvise. Here are several styles of redneck grills. Speaking of grocery stores....

picture of a redneck grill

I guess this grill wasn't needed as a decorative flower planter in the yard.

picture of a redneck grill

This redneck is planning to grill and serve "possum in the half shell."

picture of a redneck grill

Look carefully at that last picture — it looks as if it may "smoked" armadillo. (What's that in the critter's mouth?)

For those who prefer an open fire, here's a great idea for cooking hotdogs!

picture of a redneck hotdog cooker

Summertime is when lots of baby "critters" make their appearance. Here are two little redneck girls excited about their new "kittens."

picture of redneck kittens

A lot of people can only dream of having a riding lawn mower. Here's one made by a creative redneck.

picture of a redneck lawn mower

If the summer heat makes that one undesirable, here's a riding mower that would be a lot less work.

picture of a redneck riding lawn mower

Summer is the best time to enjoy the races. Guess which driver this redneck fan is pulling for....

picture of a redneck race fan

I'll bet other fans can't wait for cooler weather when that guy might put his shirt back on!

I have plans for sharing more redneck pictures in other thematic ways in future posts. If any of you would like to be my "reporters," keep your cell phone or digital camera handy, snap some pix, and send them my way!

Did you immediately recognize Elly May in that first picture? What are your favorite memories from The Beverly Hillbillies? Any comments on today's redneck pix?


"Don't go for flashy excellence; just be competent." - Dr. Ted Miller, paraphrasing O. B. Hardison

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

Some people are wise, and some are otherwise.

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Teachers’ Rules

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This past week we had our annual Teachers' In-Service meetings on campus. It was a great week and I heard many things that I want to put into use in my classes. One of the speakers read a list of rules for teachers in the late 1800s that he received by e-mail from someone who had visited a historical site this summer. I was able to find the list online. According to snopes.com it may not be authentic, but it certainly seems plausible and is still a fun contrast to life nowadays. As tough as we may think we have it today, I'm sure that some aspects of life were much tougher in the "good old days."

Rules for Teachers in the Late 1800s

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean chimneys.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly

5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty

9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.


In my files I found a list of Murphy's Laws of Teaching that might be a little less dated than the list above.

Murphy's Laws of Teaching

The clock in the classroom will be wrong.

Disasters will occur when visitors are in the room.

A subject interesting to the teacher will be boring to the students.

The time a teacher takes in explaining is inversely proportional to the information retained by students.

The length of a meeting will be directly proportional to the boredom the speaker produces.

The more important the occasion or the larger the audience, the greater the chance that the bulb in whatever machine you are using will burn out.

Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.

The problem child will be a school board member's son.

Students with behavior problems are never absent — not one day — all year.

After 27.5 hours of intense creative work, your bulletin boards — the best ever — are finally complete. Ten minutes later you will be notified that you are assigned to another classroom in which the bulletin boards are not the same size as those you had just prepared.

The day the cafeteria serves mini-missiles — raisins, corn, peas, etc. — is the day the superintendent will have lunch at your school and will decide to eat with your students.

Once your notebook is full of good ideas, tests, sample lessons, films and a list of 500 library books for supplemental reading, and all of this is correlated to the textbook you are using, you will get the message that they're adopting new textbooks next year or that your current textbook is out of print.

Your first experience with a vomiting student will take place with a guest speaker in the room.

When the instructor is late, he will meet the principal in the hall. If the instructor is late and does not meet the principal in the hall, the instructor is late to the faculty meeting where the principal is waiting.

Good students move away.

New students come from schools that do not teach anything.

When the teacher says "weird" rather than "emotionally disturbed," he learns that the person to whom he is speaking is the school counselor.

The instructor's study hall will be the largest in several years.

The administration will view the study hall as the teacher's preparation time.

News of what you failed to do travels at 1,000 times the speed of news of what you did well.

The week after you have completed your lesson plans that will keep you on schedule with the curriculum and allow you to teach all you need to before the school year ends, you will lose four days of school because of snow.

Parent-Teacher Open House will be held on the night of part two of the best three-part TV series of the year.

On a test day, at least 15% of the class will be absent.

If the instructor teaches art, the principal will be an ex-coach and will dislike art. If the instructor is a coach, the principal will be an ex-coach who took a winning team to the state.

Clocks will run more quickly during free time.

Murphy's Law will go into effect at the beginning of an evaluation.


I'd love to hear the comments of fellow teachers to the lists above. I'm sure some of you could add your own Murphy's Laws of Teaching!


"Contentious people are not right with God." - Dr. Drew Conley

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

Time is the best teacher; unfortunately it kills all its students.

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Why Women Live Longer than Men, take 2

picture of man jumping off a cliff

Have you noticed that there seem to be more old women than old men? Statics worldwide confirm that, for whatever reason, women do indeed live longer than men. There are all sorts of theories out there, from genetics to levels of risky activities. Whatever the reason(s), in nursing homes and other places where older people are in the majority, there are usually more older women than older men.

Almost two years ago, I did a post called Why Women Live Longer than Men that featured some funny pictures of men doing some insanely dangerous things in the workplace and in other settings. Several of the pictures showed me driving some work vehicles, and I assure you, I was far safer than everything around me was! Since that post I've come across more pictures that could help explain why men die younger than women do.

I found some pictures that show that men have been acting dangerously for a long time. Here are some old black and white pictures from construction sites in New York City.

This picture gives a whole new meaning to the expression "going out for lunch."

picture of men on girders

I hope these wooden boards were not old and ready to break!

picture of man sleeping on a girder

Look, Mom! No hands! (and maybe no brains?)

picture of man on girders

Not only has risky behavior been going on for a long time, it seems to start young too.

picture of boy trapped in chair

Although I enjoy air conditioning, I'm not sure I would go to these lengths to fix it.

picture of man doing repairs

I wonder how much this guy makes an hour at the stone quarry ... probably not enough!

picture of man doing some quarrying

When you don't have the right tools available, though, you have to improvise. For example, what do you do when you don't have a jack?

picture of man fixing car

Speaking of jacks, how about lumberjacks? Logging has its own dangers.

picture of man cutting wood

What do you do when you don't have the ladders or scaffolding you need? You come up with alternatives!

picture of man trimming hedges

picture of man on buckets

Movable scaffolding is great!

picture of man on mobile scaffolding

When it comes to working safely, hold no bars!

picture of man fixing car

Many of us men brave all sorts of dangers in vehicles. This bridge is not for the faint of heart!

picture of man crossing bridge

There doesn't seem to be any problem with this bridge, but crossing it was apparently not too easy.

picture of man crossing bridge

I guess as long as you can see through the holes in the lattice, it's OK.

picture of man in car

Here are three pictures that show that some men who are good at securing loads but who don't have much regard for seat belt laws ... or safety.

picture of man in back of vehicle

picture of man in back of vehicle

picture of man in back of vehicle

A lot of us guys enjoy working with wiring and electricity, even if we're not sure what we're doing.

picture of bad wiring

This gives a whole new meaning to the expression "man power!"

picture of man working on wires

I look forward to hearing your remarks about some of these pictures!


"Beware of those whose religion cares more for outward forms and ceremonies and associations than for genuine holiness of heart, justice, mercy, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, and self control." - Dr. Drew Conley

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

People are more violently opposed to fur than to leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.

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Dog and Cat Haiku

picture of dog and fan

Do you enjoy the "dog days" of summer? Dogs have been on our minds for reasons other than the dog days of summer. We dog-sat for our daughter Nora while she visited our daughter Megan and her family in Detroit last week. Becka and I have been "cat people" for so long that we'd forgotten how much more work dogs are than cats. And puppies (like Nora's Kingston) require lots of attention and have boundless energy!

Since the new school year is on the verge of beginning, I decided to post something a tad more literary than usual. I'm far from being an expert on the Japanese poetry called haiku. I'm sure the haiku I'm posting today (not my own composition) is probably not the finest ever written, but at least the number of syllables per line follows the standard formula of 5-7-5.

Here's some dog haiku for your amusement:

Dog Haiku

I love my master;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be.

I sound the alarm!
Paperboy — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Mailman Fiend — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Neighbor's cat — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I hate my choke chain —
Look, world, they strangle me! Ack!
Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!!

Dig under fence — why?
Because it's there. Because it's
There. Because it's there.

You may call them fleas,
But they are far more — I call
Them a vocation.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I
Have made a puddle

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

My wife commented recently that I hadn't posted any cat humor lately. So to balance out the dog haiku, here's some cat haiku.

Cat Haiku

Grace personified,
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Small brave carnivores
Kill pine cones and mosquitoes
Fear vacuum cleaner.

You never feed me.
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.

The rule for today:
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

Blur of motion, then —
Silence, me, a paper bag.
What is so funny?

You're always typing.
Well, let's see you ignore my
Sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box.
You cannot see me if I
Can just hide my head.

Terrible battle.
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a "term paper"?

I want to be close
To you. Can I fit my head
Inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside.
Oh no! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no! The Big One
has been trapped by newspaper!
Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange.
Mine lies still in bed, then screams.
Claws are not that sharp.

Cats meow out of angst
"Thumbs! If only we had thumbs!
We could break so much!"

The Big Ones snore now.
Every room is dark and cold.
Time for "Cup Hockey."

Several people have asked about what the symbols =^..^= =^..^= at the beginning of my signature line in each blog post stand for. It's our two cats — Adelaide and Clementine — each pictured by whiskers, ear, two eyes, ear, and whiskers.

This evening I downloaded a piano CD from mincymedia.com called A Place of Quiet Rest. Dave Mincy is offering all 11 tracks of the CD for free at least till the end of this week. I'm listening to it on my iPod, even as I type, and its quiet beauty is ministering to my heart.

Do you enjoy the dog days of summer? Any thoughts on the superiority of dogs or cats? 🙂


"We're all going to be sifted, and Satan would love to discourage us." - Dr. Chris Barney

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

A dog will come when you call, but a cat will take a message and never get back to you.

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