ivman's blague rotating header image loading ... please wait....

Think Cool!


This week it's been oppressively hot here in Greenville. Yesterday, depending on which thermometer you looked at or what weather report you heard, the temp hit anywhere from 101 to 103 degrees. It is supposed to do the same today and tomorrow, but they say cooler temps are coming this weekend - like 90 to 95 degrees is cool?! I guess in comparison, it is.

I've heard several people joking about moving north. I remind them that several weeks ago it was the northernmost states who were having 100+ degree temperatures, and do they *really* want to endure their winters?! I thought of an old classic to share with you today about a Southerner who moved north.

Diary of a Southerner who moves to Montana

December 8: 6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and my wife and I sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9: We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snow plow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12: The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man I'm glad he's our neighbor.

December 14: Snow, lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snow plow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.

December 15: 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for my wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. My wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 16: Ice storm this morning. Fell on my bottom on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurts like crazy. My wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17: Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at my wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should have bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20: Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Snow plow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22: Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white stuff fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to go to the bathroom. By the time I got undressed, and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think he's lying.

December 23: Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. My wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24: another 6". Snow packed so hard by snow plow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the guy who drives that snow plow, I'll drag him through the snow. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight my wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was busy watching for the snow plow.

December 25: Merry Christmas. 20 more inches of the stuff tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. I hate the snow! Then the snow plow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's an idiot. If I have to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to shoot the television.

December 26: Still snowed in. Why did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.

December 27: Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze.

December 28: Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. THE WIFE is driving me crazy!!!!!

December 29: 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30: Roof caved in. The snow plow driver is suing me for a million dollars. My wife went home to her mother. 9" predicted.

December 31: Set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8: I feel so good. What are those little white pills they keep giving me? Why am I tied to the bed?

divider

Today our grandson Drew is five months old. The doctor says for most baby milestones - sitting up, teething, etc. - it's best to think of him still as being 6 weeks younger than he is since he was born 6 weeks early. Jim is a real sports enthusiast, loves baseball hats, and is glad that Drew is finally big enough to wear hats. Megan sent us a couple of pictures we thought we'd share on the blog.

Jim and Drew in their ball caps

Drew happy to be with Dad

quotation...

"Rather than being pessimistic about life changing, be optimistic because it's God making the changes." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite

You Know You’ve Lived in China Too Long When…


Our friend Ruth with whom we have taught in Asia the last two summers has been here in Greenville on an extended leave to help her elderly parents and is now preparing to go back next week. One month before her scheduled departure, her university there informed her that since her passport would run out in 5 months, she would need to get a new one. We were all amazed that she was able to get her passport renewed and then get the necessary visa in it in 18 days! She loves the confirmation that Someone wants her there this school year. One evening this week our little team of teachers from last summer is taking her out for Asian food before her return next week.

Recently Ruth forwarded a list of ways you can know you've lived in China too long. My wife and I have lived there only two months, so we had not experienced all the things in her list, but we saw enough to know that nothing in the list is out of the realm of likelihood.

You Know You've Lived in China Too Long When...

You think a 30-year-old woman's carrying a Hello Kitty lunch box is cute

All white people look the same to you

You like the smell of the bus

You no longer need tissues to blow your nose

You find Western toilets uncomfortable

You think it’s OK to throw rubbish, including old fridges, from your 18th-floor window

You believe that pressing the button 63 times will make the elevator move faster

You aren’t aware that one is supposed to pay for software

You are not surprised to see your tap water run dark brown

You think that a $7 shirt is a rip-off

You started to buy an XXXL T-shirt in a store when you returned home

You think it’s silly to buy a new bike when it’ll get stolen soon, and stolen bikes are half the price

You feel cheated if you don’t receive a full head and shoulder massage when getting a haircut

You blow your nose or spit on the restaurant floor (of course after making a loud hocking noise)

You no longer wait in line, but go immediately to the head of the queue (=the line)

You no longer wonder how someone who earns US $400.00 per month can drive a Mercedes

You regard it as just part of the adventure when the waiter correctly repeats your order and the cook makes something completely different

You accept the fact that you have to queue to get a number for the next queue

You are not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb

You honk your horn at people because they are in your way as you drive down the sidewalk

You have a pinky fingernail an inch long

You burp in any situation and don’t care

You have absolutely no sense of traffic rules

You start cutting off large vehicles on your bicycle

You go to a local shop in pajamas

You think - pollution, what pollution?

Someone doesn’t stare at you, and you wonder why

You wear out your vehicle’s horn before its brakes

Forks feel funny

Chinese remakes of Western songs sound better than the originals

You get homesick for real Chinese food when away from China

Your handshake is weakening by the day

You have compiled a 3-page list of weird English first names that Chinese people of your acquaintance have chosen for themselves

Your collection of business cards has outgrown your flat

The last time you visited your family, you gave each person your business card

You and a friend get on a bus, sit at opposite ends of the bus, and continue your conversation by yelling from one end to the other

You cannot say a number without making the appropriate hand sign

You start recognizing the Chinese songs on the radio and sing along to them with the taxi driver

You feel insulted when you enter a restaurant and only three greeters welcome you

Signs like the one below don't look odd to you...

bilingual signage

quotation...

"We have a low estimation of how much prayer can change our circumstances." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.

“What would you like on your Tombstone?”


Two weeks ago I posted something that falls in the "thought-provoking" category. That blog post, "the dash and the jar," looked at the quality of the life represented by the dash between the dates of birth and death.

Today's iv is a much lighter look at this topic - epitaphs on tombstones. I have no way of knowing if they are all for real, but some of them are quite humorous. They range from puns on the name of the deceased, to insights into how the person lived or died, to insights into "those left behind" whose task or joy it was to write the epitaphs.

The following are reported to be actual epitaphs on tombstones:

Here lies Ann Mann;
She lived an old maid
And she died an old Mann.
(Bath Abbey, England)

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les
No Moore
(Tombstone, Arizona)

Here lies Johnny Yeast.
Pardon me
For not rising.
(Ruidoso, New Mexico)

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June
- Jonathan Fiddle -
Went out of tune.

Here under this sod and under these trees
Is buried the body of Solomon Pease.
But here in his hole lies only his pod
His soul is shelled out and gone up to God.
(Falkirk, Scotland)

Someone punned on the name of Owen Moore in England:
Gone away
Owin' more
Than he could pay.

Underneath this pile of stones
Lies all that's left of Sally Jones
Her name was Briggs,
It was not Jones,
But Jones was used to rhyme with stones.
(Skaneateles, New York)

Sacred to the memory of Anthony Drake,
Who died for peace and quietness sake
His wife was constantly scolding and scoffin',
So he sought for repose in a twelve dollar coffin.
(Burlington, Massachusetts)

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay
Lies Arabella Young
Who on the 21st of May
Began to hold her tongue.
(Hatfield, Mass.)

Shoot-em-up-Jake
Ran for sheriff, 1872
Ran for sheriff, 1876
Buried, 1876.
(Dodge City, Kansas)

Anna Wallace:
The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
(Ribbesford, England)

Margaret Daniels:
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.
(Richmond, Virginia)

Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake.
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
(Uniontown, Pennsylvania)

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.

Beneath this stone
lies Dr. John Bigelow,
an atheist all dressed up
with no place to go.
(Thurmont, Maryland)

Here lies my wife,
I bid her goodbye.
She rests in peace
and now so do I.

Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102
The Good Die Young.
(East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia)

Beneath this stone, this lump of clay
Lies uncle Peter Daniels,
Who too early in the month of May
Took off his winter flannels.
(Medway, Mass.)

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.

Sir John Strange.
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
(England)

He called Bill Smith a liar.
(Cripplecreek, Colorado)

She lived with her husband
50 years and died
in the confident hope
of a better life

William Jones
Beloved husband of Elizabeth Jones
Rest in peace until I come

In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be.
Remember this and follow me.

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:
To follow you I'll not consent
Until I know which way you went.

A popular pizza commercial asks, "What would you like on your Tombstone?" If your life were to be summed up in an epitaph, how would it read?

I doubt that the apostle Paul had a tombstone, but if I had had to write it, I think I would have just recorded what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

That pretty well sums up Paul's life. The question is, does that sum up my life?

divider

In a blog post in early June I included pictures of a flower box I built. Below is a picture of what it looks like now - the zinnias and lantana are doing great, the trailing petunias are not, and the pansies and Johnny Jump-Ups ... well, they've not yet appeared.

the flower box in full bloom

quotation...

"Don't live for anything less than God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"My greatest fear in life is that no one will remember me after I'm dead and gone." - some dead guy

The Eye of the Beholder


Yesterday my wife and I went to the mountains for a few hours since we really haven't been able to yet this summer. When we saw how low the water was in the creeks and one of our favorite places - Davidson River - we regretted that we couldn't bring them drought relief by going camping! We saw some of our favorite places, and I was reminded of something I'd run across recently in my archives....

Traveling through New England a motorist stopped for gas in a tiny village. "What's this place called?" he asked the station attendant.

"All depends," the native drawled. "Do you mean by them that has to live in this moth-eaten, dust-covered dump, or by them that's merely enjoying its quaint and picturesque rustic charms for a short spell."

divider

Of course, one sight beautiful to all grandparents is grandchildren. We received some recent pictures of our grandson Drew, so I'm sharing several with y'all.

A couple of weekends ago he enjoyed a DSO (Detroit Symphony Orchestra) concert at Metro Beach.

Drew at the DSO concert at Metro Beach

After getting his next round of shots, he had a low-grade fever for several days. A cool cloth on his fevered brow seemed to help.

Drew with a fevered brow

Drew *loves to lie on his tummy on the boppy.

Drew on the boppy

quotation...

"The trouble with shepherds is that they're sheep too." - Ted Allston

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you never go off on a tangent, you are doomed to going in circles.

Murphy’s Laws of Camping and Hiking


Several things in life lately have gotten me to thinking about camping. This past weekend our son mentioned that he and his young bride hope to go camping for a few days before their school year begins. Our daughter Nora is currently housesitting for family friends who are camping in Colorado. And finally a colleague from school sent me a link to the picture below. I would call this "extreme camping" - another, not me, man! Rather than 1,000 words, this picture says just one - YIKES!!!

I'd call this extreme camping!

All this stuff about camping made me think of something in my files - Murphy's Laws of Camping and Hiking. For those unfamiliar with Murphy's Laws, you can read up about them by going here. Those of you thinking about getting in a camping trip before the school year begins might want to be reminded of the following....

Murphy's Laws of Camping and Hiking

Any stone in a hiking boot migrates to the point of maximum pressure.

The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.

The size of each of the stones in your boot is also directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.

Feet expand when removed from hiking boots. The same law applies to tents and tent bags, clothing and backpacks, and sleeping bags and stuff sacks.

If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.

When hiking, you take half as many downhill steps as uphill.

The weight of your pack increases in direct proportion to the amount of food you consume from it. If you run out of food, the pack weight goes on increasing anyway.

The width of backpack straps decreases with the distance hiked. To compensate, the weight of the backpack increases.

The weight in a backpack can never remain uniformly distributed.

The local density of mosquitos is inversely proportional to your remaining repellent.

The distance to a given camp site remains constant as twilight approaches.

The area of level ground in the vicinity tends to vanish as the need to make camp becomes finite.

When you arrive at your chosen campsite, it will already be occupied.

Average temperature increases or decreases with the amount of clothing brought.

The sun sets three-and-a-half times faster than normal when you're trying to set up camp.

Tent stakes come only in the quantity "N - 1" where N is the number of stakes necessary to stake down a tent.

Propane/butane tanks that are full when they are packed will unexplainably empty themselves before you can reach the campsite.

All available humidity and moisture will congregate on match heads.

If no match heads are in the vicinity, all moisture will congregate inside waterproof clothing.

Waterproof clothing isn't. (However, it is 100% effective at containing sweat).

Waterproof matches aren't.

Non-stick pans aren't.

One size fits all doesn't.

Anything bug-proof isn't.

Your side of the tent will always be the side that leaks.

Rocks and sticks rise above dirt when irritated by tent flooring fabric.

All foods assume a uniform taste, texture, and color when freeze-dried.

Divide the number of servings by two when reading the directions for reconstituting anything freeze-dried.

When reading the instructions of a pump-activated water filter, you should substitute "hour" for "minute" when reading the average quarts filtered per minute.

All tree branches in a forest grow outward from their respective trunks at exactly the height of any of your sensitive body parts.

You will lose the little toothpick in your Swiss Army knife as soon as you open the box.

Rain. ('nuff said)

Enough dirt will get tracked into the tent on the first day out, that you can grow the food you need for the rest of the trip in rows between sleeping bags.

When you are camping in late fall or winter, your underwear will stay at approximately 35.702 degrees Kelvin (-395.136 degrees Fahrenheit) no matter how long you keep it in your sleeping bag with you.

Bears. (see Rain)

The probability of diarrhea increases by the square of the thistle or poison ivy content of the local vegetation.

When one is in a mummy bag, the urgency of the need to relieve oneself is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing worn. It is also inversely proportional to the temperature and the degree to which the mummy bag is completely zipped up.

95% of a backpack's contents could have been left at home.

The 5% left at home will be needed.

Tents never come apart as easily when you're leaving a site as when you're trying to get them set up in the first place.

The memory of misery approaches zero as the memory of joy approaches infinity.

When planning to take time off of work/school for your camping trip, always add an extra week, because when you get home from your "vacation" you'll be too tired to go to back for a week after.

divider

We're amazed at how soon "summer vacation" will be over! Three weeks from today we begin our faculty in-service meetings at the university. I am *so* ready for all the construction projects on campus to be completed, and I am very eager to see my students again.

quotation...

"Do you obey God when it's costly?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?