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Is Globalization Good or Bad?


picture of manhole cover

This past weekend a friend posted on my Facebook wall a link to an article at the Telegraph.co.uk about a new McDonald's opening at the Louvre in Paris. I experienced mixed reactions to this announcement. As a tourist, I know how nice it is to find something familiar while traveling, but as one having relatives in France, I share their disdain of the encroachment of American pop culture in their country.

A few years back we decided to go out for dinner to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Corona. When we arrived we saw on the sign out front that it was "Mariachi night." When we went inside, we saw that the restaurant was all decked out for St. Patrick's Day — green balloons, streamers, etc. everywhere. As we ate our dinner, we were surprised that the special music ended up not being a Mariachi band after all. It was an Oompah band! It was just too weird, sitting there eating Mexican, surrounded by Irish decorations, and listening to German polka music played by people with Southern accents and wearing Lederhosen and Dirndels!
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Unnecessary Redundancies


picture of redundant sign

On my blog I poke fun at all sorts of things, good-naturedly, of course. It's especially fun when it's something that I know I am also guilty of. The other day I said something in class and immediately realized that what I had said was redundant. I pointed out to my students what I had said. I figured it was at least marginally on topic — I teach French and linguistic redundancies are undoubtedly possible in every language.

Here's a dictionary definition of the word:

re·dun·dan·cy (noun), 1. The state of being redundant. 2. A superfluity; an excess. 3. Unnecessary repetition.

Here's a fun visualization of redundancy that I found online:

picture of redundancy

Newscasters and politicians, possibly because of the sheer amount of speaking they do, seem to offer up quite a few redundancies. The other day in connection with Swine Flu (H1N1) I heard one person call it a "world-wide pandemic disease." But they don't have a monopoly on redundancy. Yesterday I heard someone talking about "two twins." And for some reason, all of my high school social studies teachers used to say "irregardless."

Some redundancies might not even strike people as being redundant, until further reflection, like "government deficits." Some redundancies result from adding a superfluous modifier to a word that is already an absolute, like "quite unique" or "very true." Though we say these things innocently, they are still redundancies that we repetitiously repeat again and again over and over. You get the point, which is why say it twice?

I had an extremely long list of redundancies in my files and found some even longer lists online. Rather than repeating those lists, here are some of my personal favorites:
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Don’t Mess with Seniors!


picture of old swinger

I never thought I'd be a "swinger" in my old age. But this past weekend, I was a swinger, of sorts. As I related in my last post, my son and I joined over 100 other men from our church to go to the Wilds for a men's retreat. It was a wonderful weekend, in spite of the rain. The messages we heard from Dr. Dick Stratton were super and the fellowship was great. Because of the rain and mud, Mark and I weren't really tempted to do the hike to the second falls, opting to play some indoor games instead.

In the afternoon, however, we enjoyed some outdoor activities in some light drizzle. We started off with the Land Trolley, then the Giant Swing, then 18 holes of miniature golf before heading inside for some Foosball and air hockey. Shortly after we went inside, the drizzle became the torrents that continued the rest of our time there and on our drive home after dinner.

Here are several pictures of us doing the Giant Swing. We were "suited up" first.
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Seeing The Forest for More than the Trees


picture of autumn beauty

There are not many things I enjoy more than being in the woods of Western North Carolina in the fall. Becka and I go up there several times each fall, just for the day. If you're a long time iv reader, you know that I try to go camping up in that area one weekend each fall with my son Mark and with my friend Phil and his sons. This year our various schedules just don't mesh. Read about last year's adventure in my post called Camping Tips. This year instead of going camping, Mark and I will be going to a men's retreat at the Wilds this weekend. I'll tell more about it at the end of this post.

As I look forward to this weekend, I decided to post some humor from our nation's Forest Service personnel and rangers. What follows is comments and questions from visitors.

Forest Service Complaints
This list circulated for a while among Forest Service employees. These are supposedly actual comments on Forest Service registration sheets and comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips:

"A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call."

"Escalators would help on steep, uphill sections."

"Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness."

"Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands."
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Redneck Boats


With summer officially ending this week and the arrival of much-welcomed autumnal temperatures and colors, people living in colder climes have either already removed their boats from the water or will probably be doing so soon. One of my younger readers (Hi Ben!) asked me this past week to put out some more redneck pictures. With those two thoughts in mind, I decided this might be a good time to do a post on rednecks boats. In earlier posts I've shown examples of just how much ingenuity and imagination there is among rednecks.

Rednecks Catfish Bait

As I searched online for better, clearer versions of some of the pictures I had in my files, I ran across a website that sells a special soap used as bait to catch catfish. (I didn't even know you could catch catfish with soap!) One thing in particular that I found amusing is that the company calls its own product Rednecks Catfish Bait Soap. Learn more about it by going to http://www.catfishbaitsoap.com

Of course, the arrival of cold weather does not keep some rednecks from doing things with boats. Here's a redneck ice fishing boat.

picture of redneck ice fishing boat

If you need to transport your boat to the water, you need a boat trailer. Here's an example of necessity's being "the mother of invention."

picture of redneck boat trailer

Once you get the boat to the water, you need to know how to use a ramp to get it from the trailer into the water.

picture of redneck boat ramp

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