March 27, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 114 (Candle licking, Canadian geography, church vs. Chick-fil-A and more)


ONE: If you've ever had the pleasure (or displeasure as the case may be) of shopping at IKEA then you know how a rat must feel when it's stuck in a maze. When my family and I went to IKEA last week I decided to track our meandering path on my Fitbit. Check out our journey:


TWO: Somewhere in the midst of that 2+ mile sojourn I found some amusing warning labels in the candle department.I think this first one means, "Don't let your dog lick the candle."

And this one means, "Don't spit on your candle, but it's okay to put a party hat on it."


THREE: The other day an AT&T telemarketer told me that I would be able to call "anywhere in the United States, including Canada." I'll take Geography for $500, Alex!

FOUR: I went to the dentist yesterday and told the hygienist that I want to stick with her every time (I usually rotate between the two hygienists depending on schedule availability) because "you're less painful than the other hygienist." She made a note in my file that I want to see the same person each time. But later I felt bad because I wondered if the other hygienist heard me say that; there is only a partial wall in between the two exam rooms.

FIVE: I took all of last week off to hang out with the family while my kids were on spring break. It always stinks to go back to work after a vacation, especially when you have a ton of calls and emails to catch up on.

SIX: My eight-year-old daughter told me yesterday that she can do 100 pushups. Maybe this weekend I'll ask her to give it a try, and I'll keep count.

SEVEN: My wife told my two-year-old daughter that it was time to leave for church, and the little one said, "I don't want to go to church. I want to go to Chick-fil-A."

EPILOGUE: For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum.


March 20, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 113 (Seersucker season, warehouse security, bathroom humor and more)

ONE: Why do warehouse stores even bother putting your picture on their ID cards? Check this out. The one on the left is from my Costco card, and the one on the right is from my Sam's Club card.


The Costco photo looks like it was printed on a dot matrix printer. The Sam's Club picture looks like it was taken in one of those crazy photo booths that distorts images to be funny. And I'm not sure where that shadow came from on the Sam's photo, but it looks like a big sweat stain below my collar. I'm glad Costco and Sam's Club aren't in charge of homeland security.

TWO: Now, a little bathroom humor. I saw this sign in a restaurant men's room hanging directly above the urinal.


The stall in the bathroom was occupied, so I couldn't peek and see if they had a No. 2 sign above the toilet.

THREE: I got a good laugh when my alma mater sent this email inviting me to a Jewish Alumni Association party.


I'm Catholic, but I have a Jewish-sounding last name. I suppose someone looked through the alumni list and picked out names that sounded like they might be interested in this event.

FOUR: It's not a good idea to jump to conclusions about a person's name. Yesterday we received an early Easter gift: treats shipped from Hoffman's Chocolates, a well-known store where I grew up in South Florida. It reminded me that when I was in elementary school I had a classmate with the last name Hoffman. So one say in school I asked her if her dad owned Hoffman's Chocolates. She replied, "I don't have a dad." Oops!

FIVE: It's always amusing to peruse some of the comments that are snagged in my blog's spam filter. Here's a funny one from the other day:

"whoah this weblog is wonderful i like studying your posts. Stay up the great work! You already know, many people are hunting round for this info, you could aid them greatly."

SIX: As I was about to toss a Land's End catalog into the recycle bin, this photo caught my attention. Easter is apparently a time to honor the death and resurrection of Christ by slapping on a seersucker coat, checkered shirt, polka dot bow tie and balancing a croquet mallet on your finger.


SEVEN: My eight-yer-old daughter is a discriminating fruit eater. When I offered her some blueberries the other day, she said, "I don't like blueberries unless they're exactly the right size and taste exactly right."

EPILOGUE: For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum.


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March 13, 2015

What NOT to sing while doing CPR (7 Quick Takes - Vol. 112)

PROLOGUE: CPR training has gotten so easy over the years. Now all you need to do is disco dance on the chest of the victim, at least according to this magnet at a doctor's office:


"Stayin' Alive" is clever choice for pacing your chest compressions. But I wonder how many other songs medical experts considered before settling on this one. For my Quick Takes, I present to you the top seven songs rejected for use during CPR:

SEVEN: The theme song from the original "The People's Court"

SIX: The theme from "Mission Impossible"


FIVE: "Help" by the Beatles

FOUR: "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers (specifically this version from "The Muppet Show")


THREE: "Vaya con Dios" by Gene Autry


TWO: "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam


ONE: "So Long Farewell" from "The Sound of Music"


EPILOGUE: For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum.


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March 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 111 (Prehistoric Panasonic, chocolate quote, pennies for heaven and more)

ONE: I've been neglecting an old friend for many years, and now it's time to say goodbye. I bought this stereo from Circuit City in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1993.

It's been taking up valuable space in our family room TV stand even though it hasn't been touched in several years. I remember when I was in the store I was hesitant to buy it because I thought the automatic 3-CD changer would easily break. To Panasonic's credit, it still works 22-years later. But we have no use for it.

TWO: I'm dumping the stereo because more than seven years after moving into our house, we've finally purchased an entertainment center to fill up the empty wall in our family room. It's about time!

THREE: I've always dreamed of finding other sources of income on the side to help support my family. (Catholic school for the kids isn't cheap!) I think I've stumbled on something worthwhile. I joined up with a team of drop shippers on ebay. I was skeptical at the beginning, by my first month was pleasantly profitable. Hit me up via the blog's email link if you want to know more about this.

FOUR: The other night after dinner, my eight-year-old daughter asked if she could have a Nutella sandwich for dessert. I said, "Nobody should be eating a sandwich right after dinner." She replied, "Technically it's not a sandwich. It's just chocolate on bread."

FIVE: I've been thinking lately that there's no such thing as coincidences. (Don't tell me -- you were thinking the same thing, weren't you?) That was the topic of my latest post for Austin Catholic New Media. Check it out over here.

SIX: Here's a bonus quick take that never made it onto the blog after our flu-ridden Florida Christmas vacation. The baptismal font at the church where we attended Christmas Mass had pennies in it. Maybe some of those people who only go to church at Christmas and Easter thought it was some sort of wishing well. I wish them well and hope they'll come back to Mass more often.


SEVEN: It's never too early for kids to learn their prayers. Here's my two-year-old saying a Hail Mary with the skill of an experienced Catholic.

EPILOGUE: For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum.


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March 4, 2015

Coincidence? I don't think so! [ACNM]

I am starting to think there is no such thing as a coincidence. (Were you thinking the same thing?) Whenever someone says, "Wow, what a coincidence," I usually give a quick nod to the Lord knowing that whatever the person is describing must have been holy handiwork.

For your reading pleasure I will share a recap of three recent situations that surely must have been more than just coincidences.

The first example happened to a friend. This one had God's fingerprints all over it. My friend endured an especially anguishing weekend because she had a very difficult decision to make. She was already happily employed but out of nowhere received a very tempting job offer.

What added to the pressure was an extremely tight deadline to to give the prospective employer an answer. It was practically an on-the-spot decision. She knew that if she said yes she would have to give her current employer only a few days' notice that she'd be leaving. The stress was mounting.

Faced with this dicey decision, she turned to the right place for help: God. She prayed about the choice she would soon have to make and asked the Lord for some direction. I know that God speaks to all of us one way or another. But sometimes it is not always evident that God is telling us something.

In my friend's case, it was rather obvious. At some point after she prayed about the situation her phone buzzed with a new text message. A former pastor of mine used to joke that if your cell phone rings in church, "It better be God calling." Well, my friend was not in church when the text arrived, but I'm pretty sure God had something to do with it.

The text message was a verse from Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you -- oracle of the LORD -- plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.

It is my understanding that the text came from another friend who felt like she could use some inspiration but did not necessarily realize she was in the midst of making a hard decision. Coincidence? I don't think so. The verse gave her comfort and helped her reach a decision with peace rather than stress. She took the job.

The next alleged coincidence involved me and my wife. I was at a ministry meeting that was not directly connected to my parish. While I was chatting with a priest, he gave me a copy of a new book he had written. He also does parish missions on the same topic as the book.

[To read the rest of this story and the very funny third coincidence, please click over to Austin Catholic New Media.]


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