Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm goin' back to Indiana

Traveling from just south of Minnesota's Twin Cities to just south of Fort Wayne, Indiana involves a number of decisions:

  • Should we leave Saturday morning, or right after work Friday...arriving at my folks' place (the home of SweaterGirl and FlatulenceKing) at 3:00 AM?
  • Should we go south through Illinois on I-39, avoiding the drive through Chicago, or cut 50 miles off the trip by braving the Windy City?
  • Which lane should we get into at the toll booth?

Having taken the second option on the first two decisions, I was faced with the third question repeatedly between 10:00 and 11:00 PM. And at the very first toll booth, I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt my ability to choose wrongly.

In an effort to get everyone to purchase an I-Pass that allows you to bypass stopping to pay individual tolls, all toll-paying on the Jane Adams Memorial Tollway is done by cash to a real, live, surly human being. That wouldn't be so bad, I reckon, except that the driver of the van in front of me apparently tried to pay the one dollar toll with a 100-dollar bill that had to be tested for authenticity by a specially-trained agent of the Treasury Department who had to be flown in from Denver.

While I was waiting for the van driver to get his very specific denominations of bills and coins...the thought struck me: JANE ADAMS MEMORIAL TOLLWAY????

Why would an actress who is, according to, "best remembered as the sympathetic hunchbacked nurse, Nina, in 1945's House of Dracula," have a tollway on the northwest side of Chicago named after her?

Or maybe the Illinois Department of Transportation is honoring the Jane Adams of the "dynamic, exciting, and empathetic speaker whose presentations illuminate contemporary trends in lifestyles and choices, provide tools and strategies to increase personal satisfaction & professional achievement, and motivate audiences to take control of their lives, expand their horizons, and fulfill their goals." (That retching sound you hear is me.)

Oh...never mind...the line is moving to you later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dewey has...

According to the World Wide Wackfest and the search monkeys at GoodSearch and Google:

Dewey has taught our teachers how to learn.
Dewey has an attitude.
Dewey has demonstrated the creative ability to compose inspirational music, lyrics, prose and poetry.
Dewey has never been appalled by the novelty of an idea.
Dewey has had an insidious effect on American democracy through the baneful impact his core ideas have had.
Dewey has been an avid fisherman and lover of art all of his life.
Dewey has been developing a novel approach to treating addiction.
Dewey has offices in the U.S., U.K., China, Italy, Germany, and Poland.
Dewey has been photographing the landscape of California and beyond, from the ground and air in detail and in general for thirty years.
Dewey has not yet clipped any coupons.
Dewey has met some large and small dogs, and plays nicely with them.
Dewey has memories from when he was a baby and dropped by his grandparents.
Dewey has come under attack before.
Dewey has also appeared in many jazz festivals.
Dewey has the skill and experience to see a case through.
Dewey has a great sense of the majesty, grandeur, and adventure of life.
Dewey has been called an experimentalist.
Dewey has been active in the art of balloon sculpturing since 1975.
Dewey has swept the likes of communist Jones into our classrooms and put fear in educators to label Jones' venom as venom.
Dewey has published a total of 26 books and 4 videos.
Dewey has been a featured presenter at the Annual Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers (NOBS).
Dewey has four children.
Dewey has come to learn a lot about himself, people, and the world.
Dewey has been very active behind the scenes.
Dewey has previously lectured in composition at the University of Tasmania.
Dewey has two Administrative Assistants.
Dewey has studied the effects substance abuse has on the brain.
Dewey has served as president of the Society for International Nutrition Research.
Dewey has a new fiddle album out on his own DewBug label.
Dewey has his next acting project lined up.
Dewey has been a mess for years.
Dewey has total control!
Dewey has a problem he's not quite sure how to solve.
Dewey has rolls and rolls of puckered fat draping his squat frame.

For those who are curious, about five of these statements are actually factually true.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Injury + Insult

Back in the days when I was paying for groceries by ministering to/with youth, there was one Senior Pastor I worked with who was particularly fond of Christmas music: Joy to the World, Silver Bells, Oh Come to Old Faithful...the whole spectrum.

And I really had no problem with that. I'm fairly fond of the fa-la-las meself. Besides, he did force himself to wait until Halloween to actually put any Christmas music in the Mega-Bass, three-CD-changer, shelf sound system unit in his office.

Which brings me to today's subject: the disparity in salary and perks allotted to Senior Pastor/Preacher types and what is imparted unto Youth Minister/Student Pastor/Now-That-I've-Screwed-Them-Up-Beyond-All-Recognition-Please-Save-My-Teenager types.

Giving a larger paycheck, office, education allowance, and parking space to The Preacher than one does to The Youth Guy/Gal is perfectly understandable, acceptable, reasonable, and both okie and dokie. The Preacher usually has responsibilities beyond Sunday morning sermonizing that justify a higher rate of compensation.


This exalted position creates a couple of issues; one that's bad for The Youth Guy/Gal, and one that is a disadvantage to The Preacher.

1) When the planets, stars, and prevailing winds all align to the point of being able to raise the salaries of the church's pastoral staff, some brilliant mathematician decides that increasing each staff person's salary by the same percentage would be the only fair course of action to take. Those of you keeping notes will soon realize, if you haven't already, that this results in a larger increase for The Preacher and a widening of the gap between The Preacher's salary and that of The Underling(s).

2) The knowledge that The Preacher's office is larger and packed with more material blessings than the converted broom closet that The Youth Guy/Gal scrunches into makes said office the specific target of any burglary attempts.

Now...I've said all of that so I can say this...

One chilly night in early November, a burglar burgled his or her way into the inner sanctum of the Christmas-music-loving Senior Pastor I was speaking of earlier in this post. Drawers were rifled, books were strewn, pen and pencil sets were pilfered, and worst of all...the Mega-Bass, three-CD-changer, shelf sound system unit was taken.

Did I say that was worst of all? No...back up...let me change that. The absolutely worst thing—what added insult to injury—was that, in the midst of what had to be a rushed, hushed, and hurried bit of larceny, the perp took the time to open the CD player, take out Julie Andrews Sings Christmas, and leave it behind. It was as if to say, "We want your stuff, but your taste in music sucks!"