Saturday, March 28, 2009

I ♥ Christian Radio

When I'm driving long distances I like listening to Christian talk radio. I've never been able to put my finger on what it is that I actually like about it because it's terribly repetitive. Christian radio seems to consist of endless slight variations on a simple theme: Jesus is coming, and you've been warned.

But just because it's repetitive doesn't mean it's not interesting. Here are some of my favorite shows.

Open Forum is a call-in show. My interest in Open Forum is due almost entirely to the fact that there is no escape from this show. When I tune in a Christian radio station, this show seems to be on.


Listen to the Christian radio Crypt Keeper speak.

Harold Camping is the host of Open Forum. His other claim to fame is being the oldest man on earth. Technically this may not be true, but he certainly sounds like the oldest man on earth.

The Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraff.

Hank the Bible Answer Man is a show hosted by Hank Hanegraaff. Its goal is to provided answers to questions that non-believers might pose to a believer. Evolution is a common topic. Hank has sired nine children. I find this fact to be a much more credible argument against "survival of the fittest" than his bible analysis.

It's almost like Ken Hamm purposefully tries to resemble a chimp.

Answers in Genesis with Ken Hamm. What makes Ken Hamm interesting is that he seems to be angry that science is used to perpetuate the sham of evolution.

If you are interested in evangelical Christian culture in the US, you might enjoy Daniel Radosh's book Rapture Ready. As David Rakoff said, this book is worth buying for the interview with Stephen Baldwin alone. That chapter left me literally in tears.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Community Service at Georgetown University

On Tuesday we went on a campus tour of Georgetown. I have to admit I wasn't all that impressed. The tour consisted of walking around the small campus while the tour guide said things like "having Jesuits in your classes adds a lot to the class" and "Georgetown really makes you grow", but didn't provide any examples of why or how.

(However, I was able to impress Kelley and her family with my knowledge of famous Georgetown alumnus Dikembe Mutombo. It's exceedingly rare for me to be able to share any sports knowledge with anyone, so the tour was valuable to me for that reason.)

But back to the tour. One of my complaints about the tour is we were taken into very few buildings. We were taken into was the student center, but even that was disappointing. The tour guide took us to see the student-run credit union. We couldn't see the library or a dorm room, but they'll show us a bank branch.

Hunger banquet at Georgetown University.

Across from the credit union was a small, community message board. A flier for a "hunger banquet" caught my attention. They weren't collecting food for hungry people. It was a feast featuring Korean food. The purpose is to increase awareness of hunger in North Korea and, I guess, to emphasize the tragedy by demonstrating how good their native food is.

And it reminded me of charity events like "golf for orphans" or "motorcycle across the country for veterans". It's a scam, isn't it? You get your friends and family to pay you to go out and do something you like. You get someone else to do the charity part while you have fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reasons to Live in Washington D.C.

Reason 1: You can get Bad Boys Club license plates.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Most Unenthusiastic Proselytizing

Why is it that Jehovah's Witnesses are the most unenthusiastic proselytizers? Men wearing sandwich-boards advertising strippers in Times Square are more into their message than the Jehovah's Witnesses appear to be. Even the people handing out ads for discounted men's suits look more engaged.

If you really want people to believe, shouldn't you be a little more enthusiastic?

Today I was riding the 1 train downtown. On the train was a Jehovah's Witnesses, standing quietly at the end of the car, looking like a statue, and a rather bored one at that.

Several times a month, a few of them plant themselves at the entrance of the subway station near my home for a few hours. They stand there holding fliers, not passing out or really even offering the fliers, just standing there with blank expressions like those that children wear when they are forced to do something they don't want to do. If it were possible to sleep standing up, eyes open and hands holding papers, I would believe these people are sleeping.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Muffin Top

Yesterday I wrote about Kelley's selflessness. Today, I am writing about her selfishness. The other day I baked some muffins. This morning, I noticed two were left. I packed them for my lunch. When I went to eat the muffins, however, I noticed that part of one was missing.

My lunch consisted of Kelley's scraps.

When I confronted her, she laughed and explained "I only wanted the top!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Pictures (and a homeless man's shoes)

The only thing these pictures really have in common is that I have seen the objects in Brooklyn within the past month. And that I thought there was something strange about them when I took them.

The first picture is of a family riding the subway. Each member of the family - including the infant in the stroller - had his face buried in his own electronic device.

The modern family.

My next picture is of items for sale on Coney Island Ave the day before Valentine's Day 2009. Coney Island Ave is not a comely street to begin with, so it takes a lot to stand out as hideous. They are cheap teddy bears wrapped up with miscellaneous pieces of plastic junk. I'm not sure which is more pathetic: the man who thinks his lady will enjoy one, or the woman who beams with delight when it is delivered.

Nothing says "I love you" like a teddy bear you picked up on Coney Island Ave.

My last picture I didn't take. Kelley did. She saw these shoes sitting in the stairwell of our apartment.

Who leaves shoes in the stairwell?

That night, Kelley and I returned home together. As we unlocked the door to our apartment building, I saw what appeared to be a man lying in the hallway.

My first thought was "there's a dead man by our mailbox!" I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I thought this with a slight bit of excitement. I've never seen a dead body. I didn't want the man to be dead, but if he was dead, I was glad to be there to see it. And to take a picture.

We approached the man and determined he wasn't the unconscious victim of a heart, but a homeless man passed out in our lobby. I still wanted to take a picture, but all of a sudden I felt a great deal of shame for wanting to take a picture of this man. Or maybe it was fear that he'd wake up as I was taking the photo and fly into a homeless rage. Yeah, it was definitely the latter.

Kelley wanted to let the man sleep, but I insisted on calling the police. We can't have a homeless stranger sleeping in our lobby. Kelley went upstairs to get a plastic bag for his things. As she was leaving the stairwell, she noticed the shoes again and realized to whom they belonged.

Monday, March 16, 2009

South Ferry Station 2009

After watching construction from my office window for 4 years, the new South Ferry subway station opened today. The old station opened in 1905. According to the MTA's press release, the last time a brand new subway station was opened in New York City was in 1989.

Here are some pictures of the old and the new.

The platform at the old station was small, cramped and terribly noisy.


When trains arrived, the platform was crowded with people.


Metal grates would extend when the train's doors opened so passengers wouldn't fall through the large gap between the train and the platform.


What passengers saw when they arrived at the old station.


The new station this morning, before it was officially opened.


The platform at the new station.


Incredible mosaic by Doug and Mike Starn.


"See It Split, See It Change" by Doug and Mike Starn.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Whole Foods Outdoes Itself

The other day I wrote about $30 eggs at Whole Foods in Tribeca. This morning I noticed that $30 emu eggs no longer get their own display. Now they share display space with an even more expensive egg. Gentle readers, I present the $40 egg!

Ostrich eggs are available in your choice of glossy or matte finish.

Ostriches are the largest bird in the world, and they also lay the largest eggs. Each ostrich egg weighs approximately 3 lbs. Chickens are the most numerous bird in the world. Each chicken egg weighs around 2 oz. Assuming a dozen chicken eggs can be bought for $4:
  • Ostrich eggs cost $13.33/lb
  • Chicken eggs cost a little less than $2.75/lb.
  • An ostrich egg has the equivalent weight of 24 chicken eggs.
  • An ostrich egg has the equivalent cost of 120 chicken eggs.
  • Pound-per-pound, a chicken egg is 1/5 the price of an ostrich egg.
That last comparison is the most interesting to me. It makes me think the price isn't so outrageous. I was almost tempted to buy one with my tax return.

Then I thought about what I'd do after cracking it open. I would be looking at a bowl filled with the equivalent of more than 2 dozen cracked chicken eggs. That's way too much egg to try to use up before it goes bad.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Is New York Expensive?

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote "Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

From my experience, there is another thing that is certain. When I am talking to someone who has never lived in - or visited - New York, I can count on being asked the following question: is New York expensive?

The answer is yes. And the answer is more interesting when an example is provided, the more outrageous the better. Last month I was at the Whole Foods in Tribeca and I noticed they were selling eggs for $29.99 each.

You are looking at $300 worth of eggs.

To be fair, these are emu eggs. Each is the size of an avocado, and about twice as heavy. In comparison, free range chicken eggs at my local grocery store cost $5/dozen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Unlikely Combinations

Cable television is full of unlikely combination, and last night I saw one: Al Roker and heroin.

Al, before his surgical diet.

In case you don't who Al Roker is, his main claim to fame is being the weather presenter for NBC's morning talk show, Today. But he's also known for losing over 100 lbs after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. And for writing some books about food.

A dog eating Al's genitals.

Al Roker seems like a pleasant and cheerful man. Pleasant and cheerful men report on the temperature in Nashville. They report on great places to get barbeque in the midwest. When pleasant and cheerful men report on topics that are unpleasant or do not warrant cheerfulness, well, then what's the point?

Al Roker's "serious reporter" face.

If the picture that is used in the ad is any indication, it appears that Al is now hosting some sort of serious news-ish program on MSNBC. I hope that I'm wrong.

Is Al going to make heroin fun again?

Has NBC hasn't already forgotten what happened to Katie Couric when she got all serious? Al needs to play to his strengths. Heroin can be goofy and silly, somehow, probably. And if it can, I'm sure he's just the man to make it so.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Last week I was looking at what movies were going to be aired on HBO and I noticed The Incredible Shrinking Woman was going to be on. This movie (along with Strange Brew and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) was one of my favorites when I was a kid, so I set the Tivo to record it.

Small IS beautiful.

Today I finally got around to watching it. I don't really have anything to write about the movie, but I do want to mentioned that I felt extreme disappointment when I remembered that Charles Grodin played Lily Tomlin's husband in the film.

If, at this point, you're asking yourself what is wrong with Charles Grodin, it is clear to me you don't know what he's been up to lately. These days he fancies himself a journalist and a humorist. You can listen to some of his recent radio commentaries online.

If you listen to them and find one that is - by any stretch of the imagination - entertaining, insightful or informational, please leave a comment. Of course, I will reject your comment as it would be evidence that you have criminally bad taste and I'd rather appear to have no readers than readers like that. But please comment.