Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Hodgepodge, Mishmash, and the Like

Mattel & the Chinese Manufactured Toy Recall

This cartoon tells it the way it is—or, at least the way I’ve seen it since I was a kid and my little sister filled out house with Barbie shit—I mean toys:

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Visit Pat's site.

So You Gonna Find Your True Love Online

Bucky Four-Eyes linked to a disturbing true story regarding online romance that includes deception, obsession, and murder. I strongly recommend that you take the time to read it.

Do You Remember Berkeley Breathed and Bloom County?

Bloom County was one of my favorite comic strips, often satirizing our society and its foibles. Of course, Breathed is still around with the comic strip Opus, but recently he (again) crossed the line of political correctness (or maybe the new “Denmark Line” of cartoons that irritate Muslim extremists) when several newspaper editors refused to run this cartoon:


A few years ago I purchased (from myself—the online store I then owned) a cordless telephone that could do everything except brew the morning coffee. The problem is that I had to have the manual within reading distance to figure out how to use the damned thing. So, I asked Nick, my technolgy genius older son, the former precocious youth, who was publishing technical stuff in national computer magazines by the time he was 16, how to work the phone.

Nick looked at the phone, glanced at the manual, and said, “There are some engineers who, when they design stuff like this phone put all kinds of crap in them just because they can. My advices is to throw the damned thing away and get a cheaper—and simpler—model that does what you want it to do and nothing more."

The Bishop’s Candlesticks

Last Wednesday, Barman (Bryan) posted about an incident that had him questioning whether he had done a good deed or been scammed and made a fool of. That reminded me of a decision I made many years ago not to be concerned about being scammed—and I have been scammed and conned by many folks, even when I knew what they were up to. The decision was made after I read and gained a new understanding of the chapter in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables that I have labeled (when I’ve used it in a sermon) “The Bishop’s Candlesticks.” Here is that story as I remember it and as I’ve told it in several sermons.

The protagonist, Jean Valjean, after being imprisoned for about 20 years for stealing bread to feed his family, is released but, as an ex-convict, can find no work and is himself on the verge of starvation when he comes upon the resident of a bishop and seeks food from the Bishop’s servants. The Bishop himself invites Valjean into his home and provides his hospitality of dinner at his own table and a bed for the night. When it comes time of retire, the bishop sends Valjean up to his room with one of the two very expensive silver candlesticks that grace the bishop’s dining table to light his away.

The following morning the servants of the Bishop awaken him with the revelation that not only has their guest departed before breakfast, but he has taken the costly candlestick with him. Later the same morning the police arrive at the Bishops residence with Valjean in custody and inform the bishop that they found the ex-con in possession of the candlestick that was recognized as belonging to the bishop. They asked the bishop to identify the candlestick so that they may charge Valjean with the theft.

The Bishop speaks directly to Valjean rather than the police. Says he is sorry that he, his guest, departed before sharing a fine breakfast with the Bishop, and then hand Valjean the mate to the candlestick he had stolen, saying, “You forgot this, my friend. I gave you both candlesticks. What good is one without the other?”

The police release Valjean, who at that moment is changed by forever by the Bishop’s action. He leaves with both candlesticks, walks to a nearby town, sells them, and using the proceeds, becomes a wealthy factory owner, known for his honesty generosity, and just dealings who eventually becomes mayor of the town.

Of course, there is much more to the book, but it is this story that I have told many times. I usually use it in a sermon without commenting upon it and allow people to hear and glean whatever they may need to from it.

Have a Fun Weekend!

Click on the above graphic to enlarge it and obtain a better view of the two crazy cats


  1. That’s some good mishmash there, Rev. Saint. I remember being at Saint John’s one Sunday when you incorporated that Bishop’s Candlesticks story into your sermon. I’ve never forgotten it.

  2. i love calvin and hobbes cartoons ... they are pure class. and hey, the sun's come out after days of cloud and rain - whoop!

  3. I wonder how the bloody hell those cats got out of that jar.

    I think your son gave you the best advice regarding the phone. Sometimes you need to figure out exactly what you need before you go shopping. Figure out how to use that, and forget the other features.

  4. I would rather have one gadget that does one thing well than a gadget that does a dozen things poorly.

    I was never a fan of Swiss Army knives, either. I have never been lost in the woods and in need of a corkscrew.

  5. Hi Nick ~~ I really like The Bishop's Candlesticks story that really changed that man's life around and he had been in jail for so long.
    Glad you like the Father Christmas story. I can imagine you as Santa.
    ope you are keeping well and the weather cools down a bit.Take care, Regards, Merle.

  6. ` I've always liked that picture of kitties in a jar. They is sooo cute!
    ` BTW, do you think it will be possible a few years down the line to buy a cell phone that does not have internet access or a camera?
    ` Seriously!

  7. Love the ripple effect charity had in your sermon, Nick -

    Great pix as always - very neat Flickr album too:)

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  8. Those crazy cats the hell did they get out?

    Victor Hugo told a wonderful story in his epic and that particular chapter was quite thought provoking.

    Hope all is well with you and Alex Nick. I'll try and send some of the rain your way.

    Take care