Big 'Ol Pile a Wood

Below is a link to a hilarious voicemail someone left on my wife's phone. Make sure to listen to the end. FYI - My buddy edited the clip to remove the man's actual phone number. Those are the skips and beeps you hear.

Big 'Ol Pile a Wood

Tell us your funniest wrong number story.

Tic-Tac Socks

I'm a compulsive Tic-Tac purchaser (the orange kind, if you're Christmas shopping for me). I buy them in the grocery store checkout line whether I'm out of stock or not (usually not). But then I lose them. I find them later in random spots. Glove box, bedside table drawer, office desk. Then I'm happily surprised. They're like little love gifts to myself.

We took Evan for his first haircut the other day. They gave him a certificate. I want to be rewarded for basically not throwing a fit. Of course, I realize by complaining about this I've disqualified myself. Rats.

Once again, the University of New Mexico did not make it to the New Mexico Bowl. Go Lobos!

I need new socks.

Today is my sister's birthday. She's 29 again. I wonder if she needs socks?

What are you snacking on?

How To Use a Runaway Truck Ramp - New Book by Shawn and Maile Smucker

This is an excerpt from Shawn & Maile Smucker's new book, How To Use a Runaway Truck Ramp. I've not yet finished the book, but have enjoyed what I've read. Except the scary part about heights. I'm terrified of heights.

And bees, but there haven't been any of those in the book.

So far.


We had pulled away from the scenic view at the top of Teton Pass. Breathless. Anxious. Eager to have the ensuing four-mile descent behind us.

It wasn’t long before I had realized we would be fortunate to make this stretch without incident. Even in first gear, I had to use my brakes too often, too hard. The air pressure dropped. The brakes smelled hot after just half a mile.

I pulled into a side pull-off area to give the bus a rest, and my parking brake barely engaged. Adrenaline left me feeling shaky. I opened the bus door. The cold air felt great, and behind us, the mountainside was covered in snow, but both were contrasted by the smell of hot brakes. The smell of something important not going well.

After ten minutes or so, I released the brake and began creeping forward. The brakes felt okay, but not quite right. I had no idea what to do, but then, I saw another pull-off a few hundred yards ahead. I decided to pull in there and park for an hour, let the brakes cool completely. We might take all day getting down. Oh, well.

By now, Maile and the three older kids sat just behind me. Sam napped in the back. The kids chattered on and on about the view, the trees, and the bears they wanted to see. It was surreal – inside, I felt a massive sense of tension nearing panic, yet just behind me the kids were having a great trip. They had no idea.

But Maile – I could tell she knew what was going on. She asked me short questions in a quiet voice as we crept along at 5 mph, questions that I had no answer for.

“Are we okay?”

“Can you stop?”

“Should we pull off?”

I pulled our 20,000 pounds into that next pull-off, preparing to stop, put on the parking brake, and wait until the brakes cooled. But it was at that moment I realized we couldn’t stop, at least not completely. I pushed the brake all the way to the floor, but we kept coasting, a snail’s pace really. It’s amazing how immense fear can rise up in the face of such slow movement. In a last ditch effort, I pulled on the parking brake, but it did nothing. We kept coasting forward.

I had no other option but to coast back out on to the road. This is when we began gaining speed. This is when I reached over with my other foot, put both feet on the brake and pushed down as hard as I could. This is when I realized we could not stop.

A guardrail defined the next curve, to the left, just a hundred yards or so ahead of us. Beyond that road, a thousand feet of air and rock and evergreens.

Faster. Soon, we were going fifteen miles per hour. We came around the turn. I began calculating at what point I would need to wreck the bus into the side of the mountain. The brakes no longer slowed us at all. Then, we saw it – on the left, a runaway truck ramp, the kind I used to always look at and think, Seriously? People actually use those?

Shawn Smucker is the author of How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp and Building a Life Out of Words. He lives in Lancaster County, PA with his wife Maile and their four children. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook, and he blogs (almost) daily at Maile blogs at

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Buying Guide

Don't buy something your intended recipient won't like.
Do buy something your intended recipient will like.

You're welcome.

What do you want for Christmas?

Interview Dojo

We are conducting interviews today in an effort to find my replacement.

I hate boring interviews.

Help me spice it up for the candidates by giving me some funny or odd questions to ask.

Things like:
  • I can't ask how old you are, but...were you eligible to vote last month?
  • What size shoes do you wear? We're looking for someone who can fill mine. Although I'll probably take them with me, so you should just use yours. Yours look like they fit pretty well anyway.
  • Would you like to get me some coffee?
  • Do you hate celery, I mean salary?
  • Do you love overtime?

What else should I ask?

Things That Went Better Than Last Friday, When I Told My Boss It's Over

Remember the last time I resigned?

Well, I did it again, but this time it didn't go over nearly as well.

In fact, here are some things that went better than the conversation I had Friday morning with my soon to be former boss:

  • New Coke
  • The Hindenburg
  • The Ford Edsel
  • Betamax
  • Enron
  • The Titanic

What fun conversations have you had with your boss?

Changeup, Chapter 4

"Don't back off the grounders, Son."

Joe's dad tossed him another dribbler.

Joe knelt, then flinched. The ball bounced lazily under his legs. Joe felt his face flush with embarrassment.

He chased the ball and angrily chucked it back to his dad.

"No worries, Son. Try again. It's just a grounder. Charge it, snag it and pass it on. Get your knee down; all the way to the ground if you need to. Glove in the dirt, free hand over the top. You can do it!"

This one had some pep, but so did Joe. He ran towards it, he momentum making his knee slide a bit as it touched the grass. The ball stuck firmly in the webbing of his glove as his free hand trapped it in the pocket. Gracefully, he rose and returned the ball to his dad in one fluid motion.

"PERFECT!" crowed his dad. "That's all there is to it, Joe."

Bored yet? Try reading it again with a British accent...

Deep Thoughts From the Basement, Also Known As the Server Room / Extra Storage Hidey-Hole

If you're a manager and you're having trouble figuring out how to delegate, just have someone else do it.

Lesson learned: thinking that working 10 days straight gives you the right to leave early ensures the server going bleh and you coming back.

I'm out of sorts. I used to have a lot, but I used them up last week.

You would think Toys R Us would be a happy place for kids, but all I usually hear are hollering and screams of anguish.

When signing up for insurance plans at work, do you ever get overwhelmed and just choose the middle option? Oh, me neither then.

Dentist: You have nice teeth.
Me: Thank you. *Awkward silence*
Me: You have nice gloves.

I'm thankful to my wife for always giving me my haircuts. Just think of all the money she's saved me over the ears.

Halfway through filling out an online form at work, I saw a link to change my name. You know, in case I started as Ricky and finished as Tawanda McPhee.

Is it a problem if when you sneeze, your left arm goes numb?

What do you look for in a robot?

Good Gravy Roller Coasters

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

What do you wish you were doing for Thanksgiving?

Does it involve roller coasters?

What's your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving?


Correct, cranberries. Good job.


Tip of the Mornin' to Ya!

New Dad Tip: The outfit you put your son in yesterday that your wife applauded you for will get you chastised today. Especially if it still has food on it and you're headed to church.

First Time Parents Tip: You'll watch movies differently after you have kids. My wife and I watch The Lord of the Rings every year. We're watching them again now to get ready for The Hobbit. Usually we would watch the first three films on three consecutive nights. This time around, we've spread 3 viewings over a week...and we're still on the first half of the first movie. We just play it until one of us falls asleep. That's usually 30 minutes in.

Movie Tip: I'm anxious to go see Lincoln. Rob Shepherd's dad plays Lincoln's doctor at the end (I won't spoil it by telling you he dies. Lincoln, not Rob's dad.). To get ready, I watched Evan Almighty again. Those two stories don't appear to be related, but they both have Rob's dad in them, so they must be. Plus, they both take place in Washington, D.C.

Give me a tip!

Changeup, Chapter 3

Joe thought a bit about the lottery on the ride home.  He could do whatever he wanted with that much money.  He could get married.  He could retire.  He could be someone!

But beneath the grandiose and selfish thoughts was a little nagging doubt.  He knew money wouldn't fix his life or make him happy.  He'd never been a greedy man, and he didn't intend to start.  He was mature enough to understand these things, but the little doubt wasn't pestering him about greed.  It was informing him he had no plan.  Even if he won, he didn't have a plan.

This had been Joe's problem his whole life.  He didn't know what he wanted or where he was going.  He wanted to succeed, but didn't know at what.  He wanted to provide for someone, but hadn't found who.  So even if he won, it wouldn't matter.  Not until he figured a few things out.

It was all useless pondering, of course.  He knew that.  He'd never been lucky before, and that wouldn't change now.

He was abruptly jerked out of his daydream by the sight of a car pulled off the shoulder of the highway with its emergency lights flashing.  An old man was struggling to pull the spare tire out of the trunk of his old green Nissan Sentra.

Joe immediately put his flashers on and pulled to a stop behind the man.  He cut his engine and stepped out of his truck.

"Let me get that for you, Sir."  Joe easily pulled the tire from the trunk with a single large hand.

"Thanks, son", sighed the man.  "Ain't as easy as it used to be."

"Where you headed?", Joe asked as he carried the tire around the side of the Sentra.  He leaned the tire against the passenger door and squatted down to remove the flat.

"Daughter's house.  In town a ways.  She dotes on me now her ma's gone."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"Don't be.  Hurts more to watch 'em suffer than to let 'em go."

Joe didn't respond.  What was there to say?  He fought with the lug nuts on the flat.  He threw his weight on the tire iron, and the bolt finally gave.  It cost him the skin on his right knuckles, but it gave.  He winced, but moved on to the next bolt.

"You look like a catcher down there."

Joe chuckled.  "Guess I do.  Played catcher for fifteen years."

"That's a thankless position.  How'd you end up getting stuck there?  You must have quite the arm."

"Nope, just the only one who wasn't afraid of the ball.  Never did understand why all the other guys was so scared of it.  They put so much gear on you, you almost can't get hurt if you try."

"Now you're selling yourself short, son.  Takes more'n not being afraid to play catcher.  You gotta see the whole field and call the plays a'fore they happen.  Ever'one credits the pitcher, but he takes his lead from the catcher.  Folks forget that."

Joe nodded silently.  The man knew his stuff.

He finished tightening the bolts on the spare, then grabbed the car jack in one hand, and the flat tire in the other.  He placed each carefully in the back and closed the trunk.

Joe wiped his hands on his already dirty jeans and offered one to the man.

"You're all set, Sir."

"Thank you kindly, son."  The man grabbed Joe's hand and shook it vigorously.  "How much do I owe you?"

"Not a thing!"

"Well, your folks did all right.  What's your name, son?"

"Joe.  Yours?"

"Jim.  Pleased to meet you.  If I can't give you nothin' for your trouble, then I can treat you to a ball game and a hot dog, can't I?  The locals are playin' the Tigers tomorrow."

Joe hesitated.  He hadn't been to a game in a while.

"Don't let me down, Joe."

"All right Jim, you got yourself a deal.  Meet you tomorrow at the ticket counter.  Thanks!"

Each man headed off to his own destination with a casual wave.

Joe was in a much more pleasant mood on the way home.  He always looked forward to the games.

He parked the truck out front and let himself in to the old house he was renting.  He tossed his keys on the counter.  Sure would be nice to have a garage.  Someday, someday.

He pulled his frozen pizza from the microwave and carried it into the living room, holding a beer in his free hand.  He set them down on the coffee table, pulled the tab on the beer, and leaned back with a long sigh.

He flipped through the channels, shooting down five of the six options he had.  Finally - a ball game!

He watched the Rangers chase the Yankees for a bit.  The announcers were analyzing the latest trade and mega contracts.  Joe mumbled a bit at them.  He couldn't keep up with who was on what team anymore, and some of these men made more money than some countries.

He watched in amazement as the latest star watched three strikes sail past him.  The bat never left his shoulder.  On the third called strike, the man became enraged at the injustice of it all.  He tossed his bat and started in on the umpire.  The ump, used to this sort of abuse, stood his ground.  The player started kicking up dirt and foaming at the mouth.  The ump tossed him out, to great cheers from the crowd.

Joe flipped the channel, disgusted.

The lotto drawing came on, and little numbered ping pong balls began dropping down the chutes.  Joe, with only a passing casual interest, fished his ticket out of his pocket.

A moment later, those little ping pong balls held his interest fully.

What happens next?

Shocksocute #5

We have an accountant here from India.  I've worked with him for a couple years now.  Not only has his English improved dramatically since he started, but I've gotten much better at understanding him.  This doesn't mean we never have a communications gap, though.

The other day, he was telling me about the elections going on in his hometown.  Some records had been 'destroyed', and he was crying foul.  He feared election corruption by one of the political parties.

Him: Can a fire be started with electricity malfunction?

:  Sure.

: One of the states in India just had a fire and lost all their electronic records.  I think it was started on purpose, but they'll just claim it was a shocksocute.

:  Electrocute?

: Shocksocute.

:  Electric shock?

:  No, shocksocute.

:  Shocksocute?  It was pretty?

:  No!  What is word for not long?

:  Short?

:  Yes!  It was a shortsocute.

:  Little AND pretty?

:  Like the store.  Socute City.

:  ...?....OH!  Circuit City?

:  Yes!  They will say the fire was started by a shocksocute.

:  Short circuits will do that.

:  But, I know that is not what event happened.  The story will be a pure crap.

:  Hold on, I need to clean up this coffee dripping out my nose...

Tell me about a funny communications gap you've experienced. Do it now.

Hi, I'm Al

In my grandmother's eyes, I'm Al Gore.

She's never understood technology, and never wanted to.

When I was in high school I told her about a web page I was designing for a statewide competition. She wasn't interested, and I asked why.

"I don't want to know how a light bulb works, I just want to flip the switch and have it work", my grandmother said to me.

I showed her my web page anyway.

"You made that?"


"Huh." Then she hollered at my grandpa. "RAY! Come see the Internet that Ricky made!"

Flash forward a few years, and now she has her own computer. It's a non-portable laptop, or lapdesktop for short.

We were visiting a few weeks ago, and she asked me to look at the lapdesktop to see if I could fix it. She refused to elaborate, thinking she had explained the problem quite thoroughly.

The only thing she uses on the lapdesktop is her email. I clicked around on her email, and sure enough, everything worked fine. I asked her to show me what was wrong.

"There's no room."

"No room? For what? What do you mean?"

"For new emails. The screen is full."

Further explanations proved fruitless, so I ended up deleting everything in her inbox.

So go ahead, send her an email - she's got room now.

What are you the resident expert on in your family?

Changeup, Chapter 2

"Catch the ball, son."

His dad rolled the soft, squeaky blue ball towards him. Giggling, Joe snatched the ball in both hands and held it above his head.

"Good job, Joe!"  His dad smiled proudly at him.  "Now throw it back to Daddy!"

Joe tossed the ball in the air with excited laughter. It bounced off his head and rolled away.

His mom walked into the room at that moment and picked up the ball as it rolled toward her feet.  "Time for dinner, boys."

His dad looked up at her from his perch on the living room floor.  "Just give us five minutes more, Hon."

She raised an eyebrow at Joe's father.  "You're just as much a kid as Joe is," she admonished him.

"Thanks, Hon!"

Click here for Chapter 1. Click here for Google. Click here for fun.

It's My Party, And I'll Cry If I Want To, But Probably Not, So Call Me Maybe

It's my one-year anniversary at work today.

I celebrated by remoting in this morning from home to do some maintenance on the database server.

And killed it.

And drove like a maniac to the office.

And expanded my vocabulary with raised volume.

While all my coworkers decided to get in early.

And sit around doing nothing because the database server was down.

All was back to normal before 8.


How do you celebrate anniversaries? How do you kill servers?

Changeup, Chapter 1

Joe shouldn't have dropped out of school.
He knew it wasn't wise, but he hated school and so he dropped out anyway.
He was working in the oil fields.  It was a career that would eventually kill him, but it paid well enough for now.
It had been a long day.  He was tired and dirty.  He was on his way home, but his fuel gauge was showing empty, so he pulled his old pick-up off the road and into the gas station.
As the pump filled his tank, he leaned back against the truck.  He folded his arms across his chest and sighed.  What a day.  He'd gotten yelled at again by the foreman, Chester.  What kind of a name was Chester, anyway?  The man was a hardcase.  Joe had only been two minutes late, but there was no mercy from Chester.  He'd spent five more minutes berating him.
Well, there was no sense reliving this particular day, Joe thought.  He left the pump to do its job, and headed into the store.  Might as well take home some beer.
He grabbed the cheapest canned beer he could find and headed to the register.
"This and the gas", Joe told the clerk as he plunked the cans on the counter.
The clerk, a blond middle-aged woman who hadn't missed many meals, glanced up from the celebrity magazine she was reading.  She slowly rose from her stool as she tossed the magazine aside.
"Wanna lotto ticket, honey?"
"Nah.  Wouldn't win, anyway."
"You sure?  The jackpot's near $500 million.  Highest ever!"
Joe glanced out the window at his truck.  What a beater!  Sure would be nice to have a new one.
"Huh.  Never played before, so why not?  I'll take one."
"Just one?  Everbuddy's gettin' ten or twenny!"
Joe just stared at the lady until she mumbled "Suit yerself", and slapped a ticket on top of the six pack.  He nodded at the lady, put the ticket in his back pocket, picked up his cans, and headed to the door.

This is part of my first effort at writing a novel. It's not ready. But like Jon Acuff says, 80% produced beats 100% stuck in your head.

Here we go. 

Tell me what you're thinking, unless it's about math.

Pickled Spleen Condition, a Memoir of the Late Alfred P. Bootbonger III, Jr.

  • There is a lady outside my office who's coughing up a spleen. She refuses to go home.
    • I have never seen a spleen. I am not keen to see a spleen, especially if it is green, which means it is not clean and quite obscene.
  • I have reached a new pinnacle (not pickle) of laziness: a friend sent me an email with a list of questions. I didn't feel like typing all those words and sentences out in response, so I left him a voicemail.
    • The message I left was this: "I've been doing pretty good. You? See ya."
      • I am a horrible friend.
        • But I don't charge too much.
  • I think I'd make a pretty good medical researcher. They're the ones who name health conditions when they're first discovered, right? My son got hand, foot and mouth disease last week. I could have named that disease.
    • I could have named headaches, too.
      • Also heart attacks.
        • But not meningitis.
Would you like the extended warranty with your fries?

Covert Op: Mission FUBAR

User: Do you have an email address?

Me: Really? I'm the IT guy...


User: HELP! My email doesn't work!

*I hurry over to the user's desk*

Me: Ok, let me take a look.

User: Hold on, I have to finish sending this email.


User: I received this email and I'd like you to take a look and tell me if you think it's spam.

*Brief glance at poorly-written email ("You won, Click the open attachment fore downloading of you're free iPad!!!")*

Me: Yup, it's spam.

User: How can you tell?

Me: Did you enter a contest to win an iPad?

User: No.

Me: Then I'm guessing you didn't really win.

User: But what if I did?!?

Me: You didn't.


And then there's me. I was so tired the other day I was no longer thinking straight. The Boss had asked me to download a PowerPoint presentation from the client's site. I saved the file on my desktop and started to send it to her. I couldn't find it. I looked and looked, but I just couldn't find that silly Excel spreadsheet anywhere...then it dawned on me...

Rat yourself out - what's something dumb you've done lately?


How To Put Me Down

Most funerals are sad. Nobody thinks, "I can't wait to go to So-and-So's funeral - it'll be a blast!"

That's about to change.

I want to have a rockin' funeral.

I want to ride in on a Zamboni. Everyone can take turns driving my little urn around.

The music will be Five Iron Frenzy...and only Five Iron Frenzy.

The food will be a big pizza potluck. We'll settle the debate of who makes the best pizza in town by having all of them.

The service should be webcast live for my virtual friends...and the people in the audience will have posters and randomly stand up with them to display "pop-up ads".

The eulogy will be written by my buddy Chris. It will be a Mad Libs eulogy. Everyone will get to read theirs. Funniest one gets a prize.

What should the winner's prize be? What do you want at your funeral?

Let's Get Political - Guest Post for Chad Jones

I'm finally back.

Except, not really.

Today I'm over at my friend Chad Jone's''s"" place. Sorry about that last sentence, Mom. This is your last year as an English teacher, so I'm already starting to get a bit lax about my English skillz.

Unless you're a hermit (like me), you know that three things happen on a 4-year schedule:

1. Leap Years - kinda cool, unless you're the one with a birthday on February 29th ("You're only 7? Ha! Betcha never heard that before!").

2. The Olympics - Where the US ends every debate with "Michael Phelps - BAM!"

3. The Elections - This is when you wish you were a hermit and could just turn the world off for a bit.

Since I've already written about the Olympics and don't much to say about Leap Years, I jump into the wonderful world of politics. It's kinda like stepping in gum.

Who would your write-in candidate be?

Basketball Boogie Boogaloo

I did it! I finally defeated my 8-year-old neighbor in a game of Horse. After the first shot I hit, he proudly exclaimed, "Hey! You didn't airball it!" I'm way more excited about this than a grown man should be. When he asked why I'm so bad at basketball, I told him I was more accustomed to a 10-foot rim rather than his 8-foot one. Which is true - I've spent far more time airballing on 10-foot rims than 8.

We have a General Mills plant in town. It's right next to the highway, which is where I spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. It's fun to guess what cereal they're making at the moment by the smells. While I was sitting in my parked car on the highway the other day, I was thinking about how we decide whether something smells good or something smells bad. Then a thought that wrecked my whole world schema popped up - WE DON'T KNOW WHAT ANYTHING SMELLS LIKE! At least, not fully. That perfume you like? It smells like perfume...and boogers. Cookies in the oven? Mmmm...and boogers. Every scent you know is tainted by what's already in your nose. I may have just changed your life. You're welcome.

I never know what to bring to potlucks. I want something cheap and easy that looks like it was expensive and time consuming. Not that I'm going to any potlucks anytime soon. I was just a bit peckish and thought a potluck sounded good.

What are you bringing to my potluck?

Love Thy Rival - Interview With Chad Gibbs, Former Baby

Finally! I found someone who's a bigger baby than me.

Exhibit 1: Me, during an eating break

Introducing: Chad Gibbs, author of the new book, Love Thy Rival.

Exhibit 2: Chad Gibbs, Former Baby
Chad was kind enough to answer some questions for me. Make sure to check out his new book, and especially the medical clinic he's helping Samaritan's Purse build in Haiti.

Tell us what your new book is about.

What sports' greatest rivalries can teach us about loving our enemies.

That was long and boring. Now describe your new book in one word.


What are three things that your new book is not like?

Fingernails on a chalkboard, head lice, Oliver Cromwell

When does the movie come out?

The book is actually based Magic Mike

What is your favorite part of your own book?

The table of contents

What's one thing you'd change?

All the Phantom of the Opera references

Too late.


Can people order an autographed copy of your new book?

Yes, on chadgibbsdotcom

What is your favorite part of your own book?

The 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty.

That's not what you said before. Red Sox or Yankees?

Yes they are in the book.

Amazing Grace

For Evan, On His First Birthday

This is what happens when Dad dresses you for the day.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

That's my father's favorite hymn.

That saved a wretch like me.

I can't sing it. I get choked up, thinking about my dad. Never have been able to sing it. I've always just mouthed the words.

I once was lost, but now am found.

Your mom and I didn't think we'd be able to have kids. At least the doctor said so.

Was blind, but now I see.

And yet, you're one today.

T'was grace that taught my heart to fear.

A year ago I became your dad. I was overwhelmed. Excited. Scared. Helpless.

And grace my fears relieved.

You made it easy. You slept through the night by the time you were barely two months old. And you giggle a lot.

How precious did that grace appear.

Now I can sing it, but only to you. Even humming it when I'm putting you down for the night has an instant effect on you. You quit fighting sleep, and lay your head down in acceptance.

The hour I first believed.

I want many things for you in life. I want you to learn, play catch, marry your sweetheart. But what I want most is for you to know your real Dad. And I want you to one day soon quit fighting and bend your knee in acceptance.

Of His grace.

Happy Birthday, Evan. We love you.

Space Invaders Caption Contest

"We come in peace. With weapons."
Two questions for you:

1. What's going on here?
2. Which one's my dad?

Give me your best captions!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Part II

I feel like an Internet dating service today, but I promise you - it's all platonic. Probably. I might want to look that up first.

Here we go.

Rob Shepherd (@robshep, asked for "funny people that make me think about tech, sports, and Christianity." I don't know much about sports, but for the rest? To you, Rob, I give Rick Knowles. You're welcome.

TJ (@tjcapalla, teejay82.tumblr.compeanutbuttercupmoment.tumblr.comasked for "inspirational stuff". Have some Tony Alicea, TJ. Enjoy.

Russ Ray was half asleep / delusional. So for you, Russ? Tyler Tarver.

Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson wants pop culture. Feeling a little stuck on this one. How about some TV AsylumRenée? You'll get a range of topics by a range of different folks. And maybe some unicorns.

Chad Jones wants "fiction, non-fiction, Christianity, humor, blogging, and butterscotch flavored terra cotta siding". Chad, you already know almost every blogger I know, so I'm going to focus on your fiction request. Which is different than your fictitious request. Have you tried the Infinity Manuscript?

Larry Hehn (@larryhehn and wants a combination of "humor and insight for Christian living". You already know Rob Shepherd, right? Well...go meet him again. Sorry this recommendation's not new, but Rob is the best for what you asked for.

Daniel Carman says "I will not tweet. Not in a box, not with a fox." No, Dan(iel), you may not. But you do blog, and you'd even blog with a dog in the bog, right? Thus, check out my friend Some Guy.

Ken Hagerman ( a lot of words and I got overwhelmed. But one of those words was humor, so Ken - go follow @sgtwolverine. He's the funniest guy I follow on Twitter.

Burrill (@sgtwolverine) wants funny. Jamie Golden is funny. Jared Clifton is, too. But you? EVERYBODY should follow you!

Stephen Haggerty (@StephenHaggerty) wants creativity. Stephen, meet my best friend Chris. He's the most creative guy I know. His Twitter feed has a heavy tech focus, but ask him anything and I guarantee a creative answer, regardless of topic.

Some Guy asked for more Network Administrator Diaries. On it's way, SG, on it's way.

Ok, your turn. Who do you like to follow on Twitter? Whose blog do you enjoy?

Private Public Internet Confessions

  • Remember when I offered a guest post for your blog if you voted for Team Ricky in the Blogging All-Star Challenge? Yeah, no one took me up on that.
    • Confession: Feelin' pretty awesome about that. I got the votes without the follow-through! Let me know if you'd like to change that.
  • I'm not your typical IT guy - I'm a people person.
    • Confession: If you're in my office talking about your marriage woes and foot ailments (yes, both of these have happened), I will turn on the Typical IT Guy Mode. I'll grumble, mention gigasomethings, and stare at my screen moodily until you leave. Best of both worlds!
  • Evan's birthday is coming up. He'll be one. Jana's having a hard time with this.
    • Confession: I couldn't be more excited. Every day older he gets is another day closer to when I'll be able to throw a ball around with him at the park. I don't want him to stay a baby. Is that bad?

What would you like to anonymously with your name privately confess on the World Wide Internet?

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Follow Friday is something a lot of folks participate in on Twitter. The idea is to recommend folks to other people.

The problem I find is that people recommend their friends without thinking about whether or not I'll actually have anything in common with them. It's like a bad blind date.

There are lots of people on Twitter who I follow that I don't necessarily think you'd like to follow. This is why I don't do Follow Friday.

Which makes me a bit of a jerk.

I'd like to change that today, but rather than just tell you who my friends are, I'd like to personalize it to your tastes.

In the comments, tell me what you're interested in. What type of person do you like to hear about? Do you want a laugh, or someone who makes you think? Are you in to tech? Sports? Christianity?

Leave a link to your Twitter page as well. If you're not on Twitter, I'll make blog recommendations instead. Leave a link to your blog if you have one.

I'll answer everyone who comments in a post on Friday.

Step right up!

New Dad Tips - Guest Post for Kevin Haggerty

Kevin Haggerty may or may not be having baby.

Spoiler alert: He is. His wife is helping a smidge.

Kevin will be taking a bit of a break from blogging and asked some friends to fill in on his blog while he's gone.

Spoiler alert: I am not one of those friends. My post was unsolicited. But my check cleared, so I get to go first.

Head on over to Kevin's blog, The Isle of Man, and read my guest post. Then stick around and check out Kevin's site. Like me, Kevin blogs about a wide range of topics. Unlike me, Kevin can focus and convey clear thoughts. He's funny, he's serious, he's thoughtful, he's Batman.

Spoiler alert: Fish.

You're welcome.


Artwork by Wes Molebash


It came way, way too close, but we won! Thanks to everyone who voted...for my team, at least.

Thanks also to Rob Shepherd for funding and hosting the competition. You're awesome, Rob!

One more thing - see that awesome artwork up there? That's the brainchild of the uber-talented Wes Molebash. He has a new cartoon (comic? is there a difference?) premiering today. It's called Insert Image, and you should go check it out!

Down to the Wire

Artwork by Wes Molebash

It's the 9th inning, and the score is pretty much tied up.

Go vote for Team Ricky!

Here's what you get if you do:
  • A lifetime supply of air
  • Well-mannered children
  • No v-neck shirts
  • World peace
  • No Chik-Fil-A blog posts from me
  • Free telepathy lessons
  • A guest post for your blog
One last thing - THANKS!

Why I Shouldn't Be an Olympic(s?) Judge

The Olympics: Where you work your entire life to have me judge you from my couch.

Jana and I were watching one of the swimming semi-final race thingies the other day. We were rooting for the American, Whatshername, in lane 5.

The race was close, and we couldn't tell who was going to pull it off. We leaned forward in our seats, shouting, "Go! Go!"

The results popped up on the screen, and I sat back, deflated.

Jana, on the other hand, threw her hands in the air. "Yay!"

Me: What do you mean? She lost.

Jana: What? No, she didn't. She won!

Me: No, lanes 1, 2 and 3 won.

Jana: Um...that shows who came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.


Jana: Dork.

Are you watching the Olympics?

Blogging All Star Challenge 2012

Artwork by Wes Molebash

It's that time of year again!

No, not that time of year where you have to pay taxes and/or visit the proctologist.

It's time for the 2nd annual Blogging All Star Challenge, where Rob Shepherd and I each pick a team of bloggers and go head-to-head.

Check out my team for 2012, and then go vote for them!

Team Ricky

Tor is a former journalist, author, speaker, husband and father of two girls and one shiny new son, hot off the press.

Chad is an IT guru who lives in Arizona with his wife and two kids. He is a contributor to Not Alone, Alise Wright's anthology of living with depression.

Jamie is the marketing director for a children and family non-profit. She's also one of the funniest people on the Internet, and slightly obsessed with Nathan Fillian.

Monica is Rob's wife. She's the reason he's functional in life. Monica started blogging a few months ago. If you want to see some of Rob's funny stories from another perspective, check out her blog.

Amanda is Canadian, but we don't hold it against her. She aspires to be the world's first sit-down comedian.

Kevin is an author, husband and soon-to-be father. In fact, he may be a father as you read this. Or this. It's THAT close. Kevin is a rare breed of writing talent - he'll make you laugh, think and be challenged.

Renée is a teacher, wife and mother. She's funny and touching. Although not in a creepy way.

THE Joseph Craven is a man of mystery. He is currently on an international quest for ice cream. He is also the host of the Courtesy Laugh Podcast.

Paul lives in Shanghai with his family. Or maybe it's somebody else's family. It's too far to go fact-check. He produces plays and is a contributor to the Huffington Post. He accepts checks.

Jessica is a trophy wife and mother of two. She will make you laugh, cry and laugh while you're crying. She's that good.

Disposable Car - Guest Post by Ken Hagerman AKA 'The Barba'

Today's guest post is from Ken Hagerman. Ken is a missionary in Paraguay. For reasons you won't understand, unless you speak Spanish, Ken goes by The Barba. He blogs here and tweets here.

Take it away, Ken and Barba...

It all started innocently enough. It was just a little playful banter on Twitter. Young @Arthur2Sheds tweeted:

I responded with some ridiculous quip that is nearly, almost totally, based in the truth of our car experiences, and Sir Arthur of 2 Sheds thought it comical. I tell you, tragedy and comedy are sisters in the same dysfunctional family. He threw down the gauntlet of a guest post and, in my machismo, I couldn’t let the challenge pass. What follows is the fallout of that exchange.

Being nearly legendary in armchair engineering, I propose the invention of the disposable car. “No need for such a contraption,” you say. I will enlighten you to the gargantuan need for just such an item.

A disposable car would hold almost no value, so security isn’t an issue. A disposable car would have no repair cost; just throw it away. A disposable car could be replaced at a moment’s notice, no need to ever be without transportation. Still not convinced? Read on…

I could fill a very sad, very big book with my apocalyptic automobile stories. In 2008, just two days after moving to Paraguay, we purchased a used Mitsubishi Montero, aka the Mission Mobile. It turns out our complete ignorance in Paraguayan business practices would haunt us.

Who would have thought? About a year in, the motor in our Mission Mobile defecated its contents next to an empanada stand on Route One. The good news was that a friend’s stepson was the best mechanic in town. The bad news was our town was very small. The worst news was the guy belonged to a cult. I made sure every time I went to check on it that I was well hydrated. I couldn’t risk a Kool-Aid snafu.

A disposable car could have spared my family the cost of repairs and the angst of waiting three months to get the Montero back.

Yes, it took three months. The first time. The second time the engine went into cardiac arrest, it cost us four months. No matter, it gave me time to track down the reason we still didn’t have a title for the car after 18 months. It had collateral damage. By that I mean, it was used as collateral in three outstanding loans by the previous owner. I can’t blame the guy--he was fleeing the country. He needed money to fund his trip.

A disposable car would alleviate this problem by not qualifying as security for a loan, unless you care to buy a sandwich on credit.

The third time the Montero’s power plant pooped out was the drive home from picking it up at the repair shop. I towed it to a friend’s house where it still sits today, 14 months later. The good news is that I may get the title for it soon. The loans are paid and the transfer is underway. Four years and counting (Author crosses various body parts for luck).

A disposable car wouldn’t have a title, thus saving buyers tons of trouble.

Life dictated that we have a car so we bought a little VW Golf to fill the gap. Apparently the original owner was Magneto of X-Men fame. The car has a residual magnetism for other heavy, metal objects. I’ve been hit by a bus three times, by other motorists three times, and we were even sideswiped by a three-wheeled motorcycle once. I avoid the hospital parking lot at all costs for fear of a wheel chair incident. Did I tell you about the first time we rebuilt the Golf’s motor?

If the disposable car were a reality this entire story would not exist. We would be liberated from the stress and aggravation of those moments. However, we would also be without God’s provision and deliverance in those things. We would not have seen Him acting on our behalf and for our good. We would not have learned those valuable lessons or understood He is in control in every detail.

Still, a disposable car…

What new convenience do you want to see invented? How has modern convenience insulated you from God’s interaction?