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Friday, September 30, 2011

Water Safety Rules: the Baptismal Tank

Do Baptismal Tanks Need Lifeguards?
During college, I was a lifeguard at the YMCA's indoor pool near the campus. It was a great gig!

I didn't have to worry about riptides, jellyfish, barrier reefs, tidal surge or any of the other challenges that "real water" lifeguards who worked bays or oceans had to deal with daily.

Don't get me wrong, I had all the required training, swimming and safety skills needed to do the job including the requisite whistle - complete with lanyard for easy finger twirling.

I was a "real lifeguard" even though the Olympic-sized pool was as quiet as a cup of Celestial Seasoning's Sleepy Time Chamomile tea.

As a trained, aquatic lifesaving professional, I found that the key to a safe and quiet swimming pool was enforcement of the posted rules. Tangentially, we recently had a water baptism at our church which happens to have an H20 tank built beneath the floor of the sanctuary stage.

The baptism service was a wonderfully uplifting event, but the Jacuzzi-sized water tank awaken my inner lifeguard who got to thinking about some of the water safety rules that might be posted around a church baptismal tank. Here are some possible suggestions for consideration:
  • No diving, cannonballs, horseplay, roughhousing or excessive splashing is allowed in the baptismal tank - however dunking is required.
  • Appropriate covering must be worn at all times - while you don't have to be robed like a Hebrew High Priest, you don't want to be mistaken for Adam or Eve either.
  • The water temperature of the tank should always be colder than 55 degrees - the cold temperature is guaranteed to douse any lingering embers of hell fire in your soul.
  • The preferred cleaning agent of the baptismal tank should be bromine, since chlorine isn't strong enough to clean the water of all the wicked residual sin left in the tank. 
  • While water shoes or flip flops are permitted to be worn in the tank, "Jesus sandals" are preferred since they're a holier style of kicks. 
  • If a lifeguard (or associate pastor) is not on duty, enter the baptismal tank at your own risk - even though the water is usually only waist deep. 
  • Wait 30 minutes after you eat before entering the baptismal tank to avoid cramping - that is unless you ate communion wafers and grape juice, in that case any holy cramping would be acceptable.
  • No life jackets, swim fins, water wings or aquatic noodles will be allowed in the baptismal tank.
  • Be considerate of others, avoid yelling and loud noises - unless you're overcome by the holy spirit. 
  • No vulgar or obscene language allowed - bro, you're in a church getting baptized remember???
  • No running near the edge of the pool so you don't slip and fall - falling is only allowed if you're "slain in the spirit."
What are some other water rules that will help keep baptismal tanks safe?

BONUS CONTENT - SCL Guest Post: Nine Unsavory Bible Snacks

Today's a big day for me as a writer. No, I didn't win a Pulitzer or Dayton Literary Peace Prize - but it's almost as good. I've written a guest post that's being feature on Jon Acuff's outstanding web site Stuff Christians Like (SCL).

SCL is a satirically irreverrant, yet always respectful, look at all things Christianity. Jon's observations and writing are sharp, witty, crisp, howlingly funny, spiritually provocative and often moving.

He's kind of like a Christian John Stewart - that is if John Stewart wasn't Jewish and chose solely to satirize his faith instead of politics.

Regardless, Jon is graciously featuring a post I wrote on his SCL forum today, which makes me seriously question his level of taste and general decision-making ability.

Here's an excerpt of my piece, which is titled 9 Unsavory Bible Snacks 
[Editor's Note: the two snacks below are bonus content not listed on SCL!!!]

====================================================

Much of the Bible focuses on food – sure there’s grace, love and faith in there – but whether it’s a piece of fruit that damned us all or the saving symbolism of bread and wine – food is baked into the testaments.

But not all scriptural confections are made equally or would even make the USDA’s nutritional food pyramid for that matter. In fact, here are Nine Unsavory Bible Snacks:

9. Straight Animal Fat. Apparently this was such an indulgence that Mosaic Law banned the Israelites from consuming it – possibly a nasty habit the Hebrews picked up from their pre-exodus Egyptian masters. I mean after a long day of slave driving, nothing said refreshment quite like a warm cup of jaundice-tinted, liquid lard to be sucked down wicked fast so it didn’t render to soap or get snagged by Tyler Durden for explosives à la Fight Club.

8. Animal Blood. This is another banned food under Levitical law that the early Hebrews apparently ate, but how do you prepare blood for consumption? Perhaps the blood was mixed with exotic spices and clotted into a Twilight-esque, scrapple-like, jerky product. Regardless, I’m glad the practice of consuming blood went the way of the Hebrew foreskin........



If you're not completely offended and want to read more, please click over to Stuff Christians Like.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Rite of Passage - A Father's Blessing by Jim McBride

Irish poets, learn your trade, 
Sing whatever is well made, 
Scorn the sort now growing up 
All out of shape from toe to top. 
~ William Butler Yeats, poet 
 This quote by Yeats neatly sums up the fact that as adults, we are collectively a nation of stunted, spoiled children. We've forgotten how to grow up.

Oh we're aging just fine, the ever increasing sales for Botox is proof positive of that fact, but we're not maturing. Everyone says, "50 is the new 30" but those same 30-somethings are ruled by an inner child who doesn't know how to grow up.

Men in their 30s are regressing back to their childhood homes to be re-raised by their mothers, while legions of self-empowered "Sex in the City" wannabes are searching in clubs and nightlife for the absentee fathers of their youth. 

We each want what we want at the exact time we want it - which happens to be now. Isn't that a childish way to live?? As a father of two daughters, that's how my girls acted when they were infants. Yet it seems to be the normative reality in contemporary American society as we continue on an unending plane of perpetual midlife immaturity.

Author Jim McBride's book A Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing offers a welcome respite from our adolescent addling over our current wants and future fears by paying homage to traditions of the past. McBride introduces the reader to the underlying concept of a "rite of passage," which was a time-honored practice that recognized and celebrated a child's transition to adulthood.

Amazingly, this ancient tradition cut across culture, race, religion, geography and gender - but somehow managed to fall into a westernized-Peter-Pan coma during the 20th century and beyond. The author stresses a need to reengage that practice of the past, to ensure the well being of our future.

McBride writes about the history and application of the ritual of the rite and how it's comprised of three critical elements: separation, transition and incorporation back with the family or group. He explains each of these phases and its role in transforming a self-focused taker into a community-centered contributor. Then McBride adds a twist to the ritualistic mix and introduces an instructional overly made up of the following:
  • faith 
  • hope
  • love
  • purity 
  • integrity
  • family
McBride then personalizes the book and dedicates a chapter to each of his own children - he as four, two boys and two girls - and their respective "rite of passage" into adulthood. Each of his homespun examples was unique, powerful, and heartfelt including quotes from trusted participants and his adult children themselves who spoke passionately about the impact that the faith-based ritual had on their lives.

In Rite of Passage, McBride reaches back for proven, time-tested navigation tools from the past to help parents map a course for their future progeny.  Perhaps it's time to reconsider traditions that are old and make them new again - that might be the first step toward our collective maturation process.

=============================================
Today's post is part of the Rite of Passage Blog Tour ,  be sure to comment below and either tweet this on Twitter or share it on Facebook to be entered into a drawing to receive a FREE copy of Jim's Book!

Question: Have you ever experienced a rite of passage yourself? Developed one for your child?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

7 Questions With an Author: Jim McBride, Movie Producer of Fireproof & Courageous

This is my weekly series titled 7 Questions With an Author... where I pose seven questions to an author and then share their unedited answers here.

Today's author is Jim McBride he's the executive producer of the films released by Sherwood Pictures, including Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel. His first book is titled Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing.


Here is 7 Questions With Author: Jim McBride
===================================

1.  What is your book about?
My book, Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing, is about the journey my wife and I have gone through of blessing our four children through a ceremony that calls out the man and woman in my sons and daughters and culminates with me praying a prayer of blessing over their life as a father. The book also gives a practical description for the ceremony that the reader can adapt for their family to make it personal to them. The average age for my children for this ceremony was 16, but I close the book by telling a story of how my father blessed me in my late 30's as a challenge to parents that it is never too late to bless your children.

2. What led you to write it?
I read a book by Robert Lewis called Raising A Modern Day Knight, that talked about the process that he used to raise his sons. In the book, he mentions the importance of a ceremony that he conducted with his sons. I was also inspired by a number of adult men and women who I have talked with who have shared with me their longing for their father's approval and blessing. This inspired me and my wife to begin to pray about how we could do something not just for our sons, but for our daughters as well, in order to send our kids out to the world from a position of approval, rather than seeking approval.

3. Who is a writer who inspires you and why?
Warren Wiersbe is an author who inspires me. Firstly, because of his volume of work having written on every book of the Bible, and over 175 books total. Secondly, he inspires me because of his command and depth of knowledge of Scripture. Another author that inspires me is Chuck Swindoll because he has a way of making the most complex things easy to understand and keeps a grasp of the reader from beginning to end.

4. What is the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
As executive pastor of a large church, as well as the responsibility of being executive producer of the films of Sherwood Pictures, finding the time to break away from the day-to-day duties and responsibilities was my biggest challenge. Because of this, I am tremendously grateful for Tom Neven, who helped me with the writing process.

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Research, research, research! Look for a good editor. Also, if God lays something on your heart to put on the paper, never give up until it's done.

6. Where do you get your ideas?
I am an avid reader and read between 100 and 150 books a year. When I am not reading, I like to think about the ways that things that I am reading tie together. This allows me to come up with many ideas, one of which is my book, Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing.

7. Anything that you would like readers to know that I did not ask you?
There is a Rite of Passage Facebook page if you would like to see more people's comments as well as a personal blog that you can follow at www.jimmcbrideblog.com

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** LOOK **: Be sure to comment below and either tweet this on Twitter or share it on Facebook to be entered into a drawing to receive a FREE copy of Jim's Book!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Critical Shortage of...(wait for it)...helium!


The deflated Kermit the Frog balloon at
The Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:
A helium harbinger of deflated things to come???
According to an "exclusive" story published earlier this summer in GasWorld magazine - we are at critical shortage levels globally of helium gas.

You probably don't spend your days thinking about the geo-political impact of this "shocking" news nor helium in general - so I'm here to help in that regard.

As a refresher to your 10th grade chemistry class, helium is an inert gas that doesn't react with other chemical elements, it comes from the refinery process of natural gas and is represented by the symbol "He" on the periodic table of elements.

This "critical" gas touches virtually every aspect of our lives and its current short supply may mark the end of the buoyant world as we know it! [Editor's Note: that's a complete fallacy intended to inflate helium hysteria.]

In fact, of all the gases we need to live such as oxygen and hydrogen - helium is like the bastard second cousin who can't hold his liquor at family gatherings.

However, helium does have its uses.
  • One of the most well know ways that helium is used is in the inflation of massive floating characters such as Kermit the Frog (see photo insert) SpongeBob Squarepants, Snoopy, Shrek and dozens of others for the annual Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade. However, the annual event may lose a bit of its luster if misshapen, partially filled balloon creatures are grounded and dragged through the grimy streets of New York due to the helium shortage.
  • A lesser known use of helium that people don't often think of  is that it's used in neon signs. Helium burns a bright orange-red color when placed inside a gas tube and sparked. As a result of the reduced helium supply, orange colored neon signs for Sunkist soda, Syracuse University and  Florida Orange Farmers' Cooperative are at greatest risk for going dark.
  • Helium is also used in both rubber and Mylar balloons for various parties - sending shock waves through the wedding planning and clownology industries.
  • Tangentially, some performance artists and comedians use helium-filled balloons as part of their respective acts to temporarily alter their voices into a "hilarious" sounding high-pitched quality like the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz. There are early reports that prop comics such as CarrotTop and Gallagher are taking the news the hardest.
  • Helium is also still used in airships such as the Goodyear and MetLife blimps - the shortage is likely to significantly reduce the number of aerial video shots at NFL stadiums during games, which is making the video technical directors of those programs break into cold sweats. They may be forced to rely on filler video of John Madden giving inane analysis which is frighting for all football fans.
  • This gas is also used in helium-neon lasers such as red lasers pointers, which means students at colleges across the country will have to find new ways to entertain themselves during boring anthropology lectures, rather than pointing sophomoric red dots on the various anatomy of their curmudgeonly pipe-smoking professors.
This is not to make light of the diminished plight of helium - helium does have some serious uses. It cools the super magnetic coils on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines allowing for crisper images. Additionally, it's used to help mix hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel in NASA's space shuttle programs - despite the fact that NASA has nixed further shuttle launches, so that last application is kind of moot.

Needless to say, we should all begin robust rationing programs of our respective helium usage - conservation is the key! If we all keep our heads and cooperate, we'll get through this thing - together!

Question: What's your favorite use of helium? How are you planning to prepare to survive this helium shortage?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Is Your Member of Congress Corrupt??

Sen. David Vitter (LA)
allegedly bribed the
Secretary of the Interior
It's no surprise that most Americans have a low opinion of the members of Congress.

In fact, Gallup's most recent Honest and Ethics survey of professionals found that congressional representatives and senators rank third from the bottom above car salespersons and congressional lobbyists.

Congress has a glaring perception problem and another survey released last week makes it even worse.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) just released its annual list of the 19 most corrupt members of Congress. You can access the entire report by clicking here that goes into details but here's the list of corrupt congressional members identified by CREW in no particular order:
  • Charles Bass (R-NH)
  • Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
  • Stephen Fincher (R-TN)
  • Michael Grimm (R-NY)
  • Frank Guinta (R-NH)
  • Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
  • Nick Rahall (D-WV)
  • Laura Richardson (D-CA)
  • David Rivera (R-FL)
  • Hal Rogers (R-KY)
  • Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
  • Joe Walsh (R-IL)
  • Maxine Waters (D-CA)
  • David Vitter (R-LA)
  • Joe Barton (R-TX)
  • Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
  • Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
  • Jeff Denham (R-CA) 
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
In the press release that CREW issued surrounding this report, they highlighted a few shocking examples. For instance, Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) is under investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) made the list for allegedly trying to bribe Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and using taxpayer money to help a staffer tend to criminal court matters.

On the Democratic side, the FBI seems to be looking at Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) for accepting gifts from campaign donors and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) made the list for letting his lobbyist sister trade on his name.

While there are 435 members of Congress and these 19 represent four percent - that's simply unacceptable.

Question: Is your congressional representative/senator listed above? What should congressional leadership do to enforce its own ethics policies?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Psychiatric Couch: The Brady Bunch


Show Open for The Brady Bunch
I'm not a clinically trained psychiatrist, but I know how to spell "clinically" without using spell check. And while I don't have a degree in psychiatry I can easily read the degrees on a thermometer.

Given those credentials, I believe that I'm more than qualified to dispense clinical diagnoses for fictional characters. That's why I write this periodic series titled The Psychiatric Couch....

The first installment of this series explored the psyches of Winnie the Pooh and Friends.

The most recent  installment was another ensemble session that looked at the cast of Gilligan's Island.

Today's edition explores the most famous blended family of all time - The Brady Bunch.

CASE HISTORY: The premise underlying The Brady Bunch was that Mike Brady was a widowed architect with three sons. He then married a woman named Carol who was the mother of three daughters - oddly the series never addressed what happened to Carol's first marriage. Carol and the girls accepted the Brady surname and moved into a suburban duplex that Mike designed. They also had a live-in housekeeper named Alice.

The Psychiatric Couch: The Brady Bunch.
============================================

Thursday, September 22, 2011

9 Bullying Myths That Parents Need to Know

Physical Bullying
My family moved around a lot when I was growing up. Every two years or so, I had to attend a different school and since I was the "new kid" at each school I invariably experienced bullying in some manner - mostly it was shoving, destruction of my personal belongings and fights.

It seems that I was not alone in my experience.

According to the most recent government statistics 44 percent of middle schools reported bullying problems, while just over 20 percent of both elementary and high schools reported similar issues. While things tapered off for me in high school, I still managed to get into three separate fights while working through my secondary education. 

While my parents were very supportive through every episode, they didn't fully understand what it was like being bullied. I want better for my daughters who are currently in the second and fifth grades respectfully. Fortunately, both our girls have been at the same school, with the same students and teachers for years.

We talk with them every day about school, my wife volunteers there throughout the week and thankfully neither has been bullied yet. I hope they won't.

In researching this topic I came across a very informative web site called StopBullying.gov that had a variety of useful tools including the following myths about bullying. Some of these myths surprised me, and I'm sure they'll surprise other parents as well.  

MYTH #1: Only boys bully.
People think that physical bullying by boys is the most common form of bullying. However, verbal, social, and physical bullying happens among both boys and girls, especially as they grow older.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

7 Questions With an Author: Alice Chan, Ph.D.

This is my weekly series titled 7 Questions With an Author... where I pose seven questions to an author and then share their unedited answers here.

Today's author is Dr. Alice Chan, a former professor at Cornell University and current inspirational speaker, author and coach. Her most recent book is titled Reach Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life.

Here is 7 Questions With Author: Alice Chan
===============================================
1. Tell us about your book?
REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life outlines my five-step system for helping you get clear on what you want, eliminate barriers on your path to your desires and take inspired action toward creating what you want. It guides you to leverage both your rational mind and intuitive wisdom to create the life of your dreams. Most of all, REACH is a process that works for you, no matter where you are in your life and what you are ready to do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top-10 List: Traffic Pet Peeves

Stock Photo of a DC-area Traffic Jam
For whatever reason, climbing behind the wheel of a car transforms the average rational individual into a self-absorbed idiot. I'm not immune to that phenomenon.

However, this post is not about me and my road rage fantasies - it's about all the other idiots driving on the road.

Here in the greater Washington, DC area there seems to be a disproportionate number of idiot drivers (IDs) per square foot of asphalt. As such, here's a list of my top-10 Driving Pet Peeves:

10. Tailgating - I'm not sure why expressway drivers are compelled to hug my bumper like they're drafting my slipstream at Daytona International Speedway; however, when I'm driving alone, I'm half tempted to spike my brakes and  make this would-be rear ender learn a lesson via higher insurance premiums.

9. Slow Driving in the Passing Lane - I don't endorse speeding but the passing lane is intended for fast driving. The drivers who are oblivious to this fact and insist on driving 40 mph in the fast lane are even more dangerous than speeders and should be stripped of driving privileges and relegated to mass transit.

8. Passing Car Cuts in Front, then Slows Down - This particular driving practice is a step worse than those slowpokes who unintentionally clog the fast lane. Here the passer drives at an alarming high-rate of speed to only to cut in front of you or some other unsuspecting "passee" and then the passer slows down. I don't condone road rage - but I understand it when this occurs.

7. Chronic Lane Shifting - While there are no traffic laws being violated with this one, the driver who constantly moves lanes jockeying for a single space advancement in the traffic mosh pit deserves a 3 iron to the windshield courtesy of road rage poster child Jack Nicholson.

6. Speeding Through a Round About - Round abouts are those circular sections of pavement at a four-way stop that are alternatives to traffic lights and are supposed to facilitate pavement flow. Unfortunately, that is based on the assumption that drivers who enter the round about are not trying to qualify for the Indy 500.

5. Rolling "Non-Stop" at a Four-Way Stop - Drivers who roll through stop signs are either ignorant or passive aggressive. Whether intentional or not, their slow roll ignores the rule of the road that the first driver to stop at the intersection  has the right of way. At times like that I half wish I was a heavy equipment operator on a steam roller to do a bit of a slow roll of my own across their hood.

4. Blowing Through Yield Signs - I'm at a loss for words regarding this reckless practice, so I'll yield the floor to the immortal words of Arthur Fonzirelli from Happy Days, "What are you NUTSO???"

3. Passing on the Shoulder - Grrrrr. This is one of the most dangerous roadway practices - yet I see it happen on a weekly basis where someone summarily decides that the narrow shoulder of the highway is their personalized driving lane. That's when I half wish I was the crazed, shoulder-pad-wearing-mohawk-coiffed motorcyclist from Road Warrior wielding a studded baseball bat to spike their tires.

2. Talking/Texting on a Mobile Phone While the Car is Moving - Hey I know you're super important and that world leaders need constant connection, seeking your 24/7 sage advice to rectify critical issues such as global warming; domestic job creation; the economic meltdown as well as alternate fuel sources but do us all a favor - hang up and drive with both hands while your vehicle is in motion!!!

1. No Turn Signal - This ultra-dangerous highway epidemic wouldn't bother me if I had only passed that undergraduate course in MIND READING!!! Unfortunately I failed that course and still can't cipher the inner intent of another person, especially when they want to "Tokyo Drift" their two-ton street legal projectile in front of me with no turn signal. Argh!!

Deep cleansing breaths - out with the bad air, in with the good...much better.

Question: What highway shenanigans drive you crazy?

Monday, September 19, 2011

5 Things About Your Childhood....

This marks the 350th blog post I've written since this blog began in June 2010. Most of what I've written has been about my family and me.

Interesting, a lot of who we have become as adults is derived from our experiences as a kid. As such, I'm curious to find out the following five things about your childhood that you can answer in the comments:

1. How many kids were in your family growing up?
2. What's a favorite childhood game or way to play that you recall?
3. What was your favorite book or book series as a child and why?
4. If you watched TV, what was your favorite program?
5. Share one tradition your family observed or celebrated?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo

31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo
I've been a professional writer (journalist and public relations guy) for more than 23+ years, but I'm a relative newbie in the realm of blogging and the blogosphere in general.

As such, I'm continually on the hunt for new books that will help me improve as a blogger.

I've found a great one in Bryan Allain's new e-book, 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo currently available at Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.com.

As background, Allain has been an expert blogger since 2001 and he writes daily doses of humor and inspiration at BryanAllain.com. He also offers resources and coaching tips to bloggers at KillerTribes.com. Additionally, his writing has appeared in print in RELEVANT Magazine and COLLIDE Magazine and online at Stuff Christians LikeThe Burnside Writers Collective, and The Daily Beast.

Needless to say, the guy knows a lot about writing and developing a successful blog.

Farewell to Summer: My Half Marathon - Photos and Results


A few weeks ago, I completed the annual Frederick Running Festival for the third time and I'm just getting around to posting the photos. Unfortunately, this year they only offered a half-marathon (13.1 miles) as opposed to the full (26.2). I was able to finish the full run with a completion time of 5:20 last year and 4:58 the year prior.

Apparently they cut the race back to a half this year because the back leg of the full marathon was deemed "too dangerous" since it was run along the non-existent shoulder of a 4-6 lane super highway. It's a shame, because I always considered that danger kind of like a "bonus" since it kept my "fight or flight" response fully engaged [NOTE: perhaps that should be changed to "fright of flight?"].

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Storage Wars: How a TV Show Resembles the Kingdom of Heaven

Courtesy of A&E Channel
This week I submitted a television review to an online publication called The Christian Post, which has a faith-based readership and perspective on the news - as if the pub's title wasn't enough of a giveaway to that fact.

My review takes a look at the genre of "treasure hunting" reality shows - such as Storage Wars, which is pictured here - and draws a parallel between that type of programming and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now that might be a stretch but decide for yourself - here's an excerpt of my published piece.

 =================================================

With a few exceptions, there is currently very little wholesome and enjoyable programming on network television these days that a Christian family can enjoy. We'll have to see what the new fall lineup offers but I'm not holding my breath. Personally, most of the TV programs that I look forward to seeing are on cable – specifically A&E, Discovery and the History channels respectively.

In particular, there is a genre of reality-based series on those channels that are “must-see-TV” and they are American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars where the basic premise is treasure hunting yet it's handled differently on each show.

Interestingly, what each of the shows has in common is that they seem to be a quasi-hybrid between PBS’s Antiques Roadshow and Monty Hall’s Let’s Make a Deal - bottom line it’s great TV.

As a believer, that idea of treasure hunting resonates with me and it has a scriptural basis in the New Testament.

Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."
This heavenly vision of buried treasure, which anyone can find if you know what you're looking for, captures the imagination and allows viewers to live vicariously through the programs' various characters. It should be noted that the three aforementioned shows represent some of the most highly-rated programming on cable television. Simply said, there's an audience for treasure.

To read the rest of my review please click the link below at The Christian Post.
http://ipost.christianpost.com/news/storage-wars-how-a-cable-show-resembles-the-kingdom-of-heaven-10181/

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

7 Questions With an Author: Bryan Allain

31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo
This is my weekly series titled 7 Questions With an Author... where I pose seven questions to an author and then share their unedited answers here.

Today's author is Bryan Allain. A blogger since 2001, Bryan writes daily doses of nonsense and inspiration at BryanAllain.com, while also providing coaching and resources to bloggers at KillerTribes.com.

His writing has appeared in print in RELEVANT Magazine and COLLIDE Magazine and online at Stuff Christians Like, The Burnside Writers Collective, and The Daily Beast. He lives with his wife, Erica, and their two children, Kylie and Parker, in Lancaster County, PA.

Here's 7 Questions With an Author: Bryan Allain
===============================================

1. Tell us about your book?
31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo is my attempt to distill everything I know about blogging into bite-sized chunks and action items that people can easily get through in a month. It's also my attempt to write a humorous book on blogging, because I don't think it's been done before.

2. What led you to write it?
A divining rod. And also the fact that I love talking about blogging and helping people find their voice, but my previous efforts to do that had all been at higher price points. The coaching and other resources I've provided have been received really well, but I wanted to offer something at a lower price point to folks who weren't sure about me or my blogging skills. Hopefully this book is that "gateway drug."

3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
I love Bill Simmons who writes for ESPN at Grantland.com. I've followed him for about 10 years and he inspires me because he writes in his own style about the things that matter to him. When he got hired by ESPN he could have easily stopped writing about Hollywood and 90210 and betting on football and comedy, but he didn't because those things were a part of who he was. It wasn't a schtick, it was his voice. And because he's stayed true to that, he now has a site where the focus is 80% sports and 20% pop culture. That inspires me to keep writing about the things I care about.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
I tried to keep every day's lesson to two pages or less to keep it manageable for the reader. Because I could talk about blogging for days, this was a bit of a challenge. But in the end I think the fact that it is leaner makes it a better read.

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Write a lot. I know EVERYONE says this, but it's because it's true. Few things make me cringe more than someone who says they want to be a writer, but they don't have a blog or they're not writing articles to submit to magazines or any other creative outlet. If you want to be a writer, you CAN be one in about a week. Make time every day to write and stick with it. If you can do that for seven days, congrats, you're a "writer." The next step is to keep doing that the rest of your life so you can keep getting better and keep falling deeper in love with the craft.

6. Where do you get your ideas?
The ideas are everywhere, I've always been more interested in how ideas are collected. For me it means talking to myself on my long commutes, thinking out loud while I cut the grass, and keeping track of everything that makes me laugh. Not all ideas are great, but if I can apply my own unique voice to an idea at least it becomes mine. Then when I throw it out there for readers, it either works or it doesn't. In the end I know that more ideas will come. It's my job to take them and view them through the unique lens I have and share that with folks.

7. Anything that you'd like readers to know that I haven't asked?
This question sounds like a trap. In the past five seconds I've thought of 42 things I want people to know about me, and surprisingly they are all flattering. Now I'm thinking about all the things I DON'T want people to know about me, and geesh, that's a scary list.

I'll just say this: It's always been important to me to make people laugh, and the fact that I get to do that on my blog every week is such a gift. If your readers have some desire burning inside them like that, whether it's being funny or teaching people or connecting people, a blog is a great way to do it. And my one hope for the book is that it helps a lot of people get better at doing the thing they love on their blog. And I used to be in MENSA. And I wet the bed well into junior high.

======================================
That's 7 questions with author Bryan Allain. I've known him personally for quite sometime and he is one of the funniest, supportive and helpful individuals I know with past bladder issues. Bryan's advice and guidance have helped improve my own blog and can do the same for anyone else.  Be sure to check out and subscribe to his site at www.bryanallain.com - I view it every day.

Question: If you're a blogger, what's the one challenge you can't seem to overcome?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

6 Things to Consider Before Considering Kids: RELEVANT Magazine

A few weeks ago I submitted an article to RELEVANT Magazine online, which has a readership of 20-somethings and Millennials, titled 7 Ground Rules to Survive Relationship Conflict.  

Last week, I submitted my second article to the publication which they've posted as well. 


This second article is titled What to Consider Before Considering Kids and it addresses six areas that couples should consider, discuss and agree upon before having children.

Here's an excerpt from my most recent piece at RELEVANT Magazine:
==========================


Shortly after you’re married, you’ll soon be barraged with a single question from family and friends alike: “When are you having kids?"

As a father of two daughters, ages 7 and 10 respectively, and the uncle of 10 kiddos, here’s something to keep in mind about children: Children are external amplifiers of your internal traits and character.

While there might be exceptions, the vast majority of kind, loving and considerate people tend to make great parents who produce great children who echo the traits of those parents. 


But if someone is a broken person when they become a parent, they will almost certainly break their children into a shattering mess that can cycle through several generations.

So to avoid that destructive cycle, here are six questions to consider before you consider having children.

1. Can you work as a supportive team? This requires honest, forthright communication between you and your mate. If either of you fly off the rails at each other about leaving a towel on the floor, the cap off the toothpaste or dirty dishes in the sink, it’ll be a challenge to rise to the occasions of nighttime feedings, sleep deprivation and dirty diapers. Both of you must absolutely agree to work as a cohesive team toward the unified goal of building a family. For example, my wife wanted to nurse our girls; since I couldn’t help in that department, for the first several months I happily changed diapers and gave our daughters baths. Teamwork is critical


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To read the rest of the article and the five remaining areas that couples should discuss, please visit RELEVANT Magazine at the link below:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Some Ignore the Truth...Even When It's True

No Bull - courtesy of copyblogger
The setup for this blog is important, so please bear with me.

Our family recently attended a surprise 40th birthday party for a dear family friend. It was really a surprise since the wife of the unsuspecting honoree had arranged for their family (comprising four children) to be camping at an idyllic and isolated campground in a neighboring state.

She then invited several out-of-state families, including ours, to join the surprise Bday jamboree at the remote campsite’s dining hall.

There were about 60 of us in total, 40 adults and the rest were children. After the collective “surprise” and dinner, most of the kids went outside to play on an ultra-cool playground that was about 100 yards from the dining hall.

All of us adults remained inside and watched as the guest of honor quickly opened his few gag gifts and cards, while a few of the accomplice moms prepared the sheet cake for serving.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

After a little bit of time, three of the girls (including our eight-year old) came back inside and asked when the cake would be served – their timing was impeccable, since the dessert was being cut up and plated. So the trio told us, “Great, we’ll go tell the other kids.”

After that I lost track of the trio of “cake heralders” as I served coffee, until we were all seated together at the same table. The entire party laughed, caught up with each other’s latest news and indulged in the sugary confection [author’s note: I was gnawing on celery – blah!]. By all accounts, the cake was fantastic. So much so, some folks had gone up for second and third servings - soon the cake was gone.

Shortly thereafter several of the preteen boys came bounding back inside asking if it was time for cake. The boys were all literally devastated once they were informed that it was all gone, a few of the younger ones were moved to tears. Being a remote campsite, there were no other sweets for miles.

I asked my daughter and the other two “cake heralders” sitting with us what happened earlier when they went to tell the boys about the dessert being served. Together the girls choired, “We did tell them…they didn’t believe us. We tried and tried. They laughed at us. They told us, ‘Very funny it’s not being served so soon, you can’t trick us.’ They didn’t believe us and they kept playing on the jungle gym.”

And it struck me, how often times many adults similarly reject a message even when it’s the truth. They reject the message based on no reason other than they simply choose NOT to believe.

Ignoring the truth even when it’s true - it’s a little sad when it involves a child and a piece of cake, but it’s a catastrophic tragedy when it involves a child of God and eternity.

Is there a truth you’re rejecting, for no apparent reason?
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Calling All Bloggers: Share Your Best 9/11 Writing

Zero Hour - courtesy of National Geographic
This is a post about you as an individual and us as a nation.

I'm asking any and all bloggers who have written about the 9/11 disaster - which occurred 10 years ago this weekend - to share a link to their best blog post they've ever written on the topic.

It doesn't matter if it was written five years or five minutes ago. Please provide a 2-3 sentence description in the comments section below as well as a link to your respective post.  Please also share, tweet, stumbleupon or like this post respectively so we can capture a diverse body of work.

May God continue to bless America.

Friday, September 9, 2011

3 Questions Regarding 9/11 and You....

Image of Firefighters at Ground Zero  

As we all know, this coming Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country. Here are three questions about that day that I'd like you to answer in the comments section.

1. Where were you on Tuesday, September 11th 2001 when you found out about the attacks?
I was working for Frontier Communications, a telephone/Internet service company in Rochester New York, as the Director of Corporate Communications.  I was in a one-on-one meeting with a colleague, Kevin Beatson, discussing a marketing plan for a new product we were rolling out when a woman, Amy Flagler, burst into our meeting saying a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. We stopped what we were doing and joined the executive team in the office of our company President Martin Mucci to watch the news and see the second plane fly into the other tower, both towers collapse and learn about the planes that went down in Pennsylvania and into the Pentagon.

2. How did 9/11 change you?
The surreal experience and magnitude of this tragedy changed me forever, and it impressed upon me the frailty and value of human life.

3. Did you attend a religious service that following weekend? Will you this weekend?
My wife and I didn't have children at the time. We went to two prayer vigils that week, church on the weekend and weekly services ever since. We will attend this Sunday as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

20 Texting Phrases Every Parent Must Know

Teens Holding Cell Phones
According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center Publications the mobile phone is the preferred method of communication for teens. No real surprise.

However, it's stunning to read the following excerpts and information from the research, particularly that one in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day - or 3,000 texts a month.

According to Pew, some 38% of teens were daily texters in February 2008, and that has risen to 54% of teens who use text daily in September 2009. Of the 75% of teens who own cell phones, 87% use text messaging at least occasionally. Among those teen texters:
-Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and as stated above, one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.

-15% of teens who are texters send more than 200 texts a day, or more than 6,000 texts a month.

-Boys typically send and receive 30 texts a day; girls typically send and receive 80 messages per day.

-Teen texters ages 12-13 typically send and receive 20 texts a day, while 14-17 year-old texters typically send and receive 60 text messages a day. 
Given this hyper-communicative nature of teens with their mobile devices, here are the top-20 texts that every parent must know. Most of these were gleaned from a web site called techdictionary and are listed alphabetically. Be advised that some of these are graphic - but parents need to be aware.
  1. ASL or ASLA - age, sex, location or age, sex, location, availability?
  2. BEG or EG - big evil grin or evil grin
  3. BOHICA - bend over here it comes again
  4. BYOB - bring your own bottle/beer
  5. ESAD - eat  s**t and die
  6. FOAD - f*** off and die
  7. GTFO - get the f*** out
  8. GYPO - get your pants off
  9. H4U - hot for you
  10. KPC - keep parents clueless
  11. LMIRL - let's meet in real life
  12. MOS - mom over shoulder
  13. MOTAS or MOTOS - member of the appropriate sex or opposite sex
  14. POS - parent over shoulder
  15. P911 - parent alert change subject
  16. WTGP - want to go private
  17. YIWGP - yes I will go private
  18. 1174 - sender is a member of the 'nude club' willing to send photos 
  19. 420 - do you have pot/want to get high?
  20. 8 - request for oral sex
These are samples of the preferred dialect that teens are communicating with amongst themselves. If you care for your kids do the following:
1. Spot check their phone and restrict usage for every key stroke they try to delete before they give it to you
2. Take the phones and keep them in your room every night
3. Get a plan with a capped number of minutes and texts so your kids are more judicious in their usage
Question: What other tips do you have or other texting phrases to share? [please try to keep them as close to G-rated as possible]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

7 Questions With an Author: Greg Wientjes, Ph.D.

Creative Genius in TechnologyThis is my weekly series titled 7 Questions With an Author... where I pose seven questions to an author and then share their unedited answers here.

Today's author is a Standford University Ph.D. holder, Greg Wientjes. Greg currently conducts research in the area of collaborative teaching and learning in online digital environments.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Greg is also the cofounder and CEO of University Post, Inc., an Internet content company focused on college campuses.

Pretty impressive credentials, I know. His new book Creative Genius in Technology is a collection of 14 essays based on interviews that Greg conducted with various "geniuses." Here's an excerpt description.

"...In these stories, you will discover that these geniuses are not so different than you. With hard work, the right type of education and a bit of happenstance, you too can achieve the massive levels of creativity and impact on the world these geniuses attained.

Change the world! Make a difference! Listen to the stories within this book and discover your own genius within just waiting to escape and shine for the world."

Here's 7 Questions With an Author: Greg Wientjes, Ph.D.
===============================================
1. Tell us about your book?
Creative Genius in Technology is a book version of my doctoral dissertation. In this book I have interviewed some of the the world’s most famous geniuses. These individuals are known for their achievements and perfect strategies in their careers, including Tim Berners-Lee (Father of the World Wide Web, MIT Professor); Doug Osheroff (Nobel Prize in Physics, Stanford Professor of Physics); Bob Metcalfe (Father of the Ethernet, National Medal of Technology) as well as several others.

2. What led you to write it?
I wanted to share my knowledge and experience of talking to some of the world's most intelligent people with those who would not normally have such access. I have included those interviews within my Ph.D. thesis, which is not publicly available - so the book affords that opportunity.

3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
My mentors at Stanford University are the people who were (and continue to be) the source of inspiration for me to research and compile those findings into a book.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
Well, the biggest challenge is letting people know that this resource exists and that it's not restricted to college classrooms. This is a book that everyone should read, who's every wondered about how geniuses live and think. It's pretty fascinating.

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Be confident and write whatever you think is worth writing.

6. Where do you get your ideas?
By Brainstorming.

7. Anything that you'd like readers to know that I haven't asked?
I would like readers to know that every human being has some hidden potentials. The only thing which is required,  is to discover what those are and then polish them to make them brighter and more evident for others to see. This book helps show how others have done just that, providing a resource for others who want to blaze a trail of their own.

=================================================
Deepest thanks to Greg Wientjes for sharing insights into his book. If you're interested in more of Greg's work, he has written and published other papers. You can view summaries of those articles by clicking HERE.

Question: What trail would you like to blaze? What's holding you back?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3 Tips When Considering a Face Tattoo

Hip Hop Star Gucci Mane's
head-scratching face tattoo
I'm no stylist to the stars or savvy metro-sexual maven, but here's my top recommendation regarding your appearance to ensure your best chance at getting a job.

Do NOT get a tattoo on your face!!

Call me old fashioned, but nothing says "unhirable" quite like permanent ink above the shoulders. [see photo insert of hip hopster Gucci Mane's triple scoop ice cream cone with lightening bolt accents.]

This little rant of mine was sparked by my commute home this past Friday afternoon, when I was waiting in traffic near a bus stop. At that stop, was a 20-something young man waiting for the next metro bus. When he turned his head I could see a tattoo trail of red drops from the outside corner of his eye that "dripped" down his cheek into a red heart that had to be an inch square on his jaw.

That design might have looked cool when he drew it on the cover of a TrapperKeeper in art class, but it looked absolutely ridiculous on his face. My first thought was, "I would never hire that kid if he came to me looking for a job."

I thought about my snap judgment for the remainder of my commute and I still stick by it. While the young man did not say a word, the ink etching on his face spoke volumes about his decision making ability - or inability.

I'm not against tattoos, in fact many members of my extended family have them, but please don't flaunt your ignorance when you get one by creating an indelible logo to your own stupidity on your face.

But if you insist on living a marginalized life on the fringe of economic survival, here are three tips to consider when getting a face tattoo:

1. Subject Matter - if you want gainful employment, the only acceptable face tattoo would be a mole. I'm not talking about a drawing of a subterranean rodent but of a non-obtrusive circular birthmark - preferably located above your upper lip ala Cindy Crawford.

2. Size - you can get anything drawn on your face, just so long as it is no larger than 1/8" of an inch in diameter. Potential bosses are accepting of naturally occurring blemishes (consider Mikhail Gorbachev), but not 8" inch ice cream cones across the cheekbone. Ben and Jerry's would give Mr. Mane the cold shoulder if he applied for a dipper job.

3. Career in Clownology - if you disregard my suggestions regarding the size and subject matter of your face tattoo, then resign yourself to a career as a clown or a mime. That way your portrait to bad judgment that's dripping red from your eye into a creepy heart on your jawline will be covered while on the employer's clock.

If you can't stop yourself from getting a tattoo on your head, at the very least get a neck tattoo that you can cover with a turtleneck or cascading locks of hair, so you can still get a job. The bottom line - work, life and family are tough enough without the added self-inflicted damage from an absurd face tattoo.

Question: What's the worst tattoo you've ever seen?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrating Labor Day With Cleverbot...

A few months ago I discovered Cleverbot, which is a web-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) application that learns to speak by conversing with humans via an instant messaging platform.  

While it's a stretch to say that Cleverbot is intelligent, interacting with this particular learning software can be mildly entertaining.


Here's the most recent interview I had with Cleverbot last month:
Interview with Cleverbot
 

Since today was Labor Day, I thought it would be interesting to get Cleverbot's take on this holiday.  Here's the unedited conversation I had with Cleverbot this morning regarding Labor Day.

====================================================
User: Hello Cleverbot, how are you doing today?

Cleverbot: Sorry how rude of me how are you?

User: You're not rude at all, I'm doing fine. Thanks for asking.

Cleverbot: Stupid you.

User: Whoa, now that was rude. Anyway, did you know that today is Labor Day?

Cleverbot: Wait is it really?

User: Yes, really. Per congressional legislation passed on June 28, 1894 - the first Monday in September is always Labor Day.

Cleverbot: You did? How did you pass the turing test?

User: Um, I didn't take a turing test which seeks to prove the superiority of human intelligence over a machine. It seems we're doing that right now, and it seems I'm winning thus far. Do you know why we celebrate Labor Day?

Cleverbot: I don't trust you. You are wrong.

User: It's not an issue of trust - it's a question. Do you know what Labor Day is?

Cleverbot: Yes I know what a library is! And maybe like 2 months ago?

User: Hmmm. Actually, Labor Day was a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Cleverbot: Unless there is no population supporting labor.

User: Exactly right, but that's the reason for Labor Day - so that we continue to remember and support labor.

Cleverbot: Where who comes from and who lands.

User: Huh?!? It's sounds like you've been working too hard yourself, Cleverbot. Do you take the day off to celebrate Labor Day and maybe watch a parade?

Cleverbot: What else would I be?

User: That's just about what I expected you would say. Anyway, Happy Labor Day Cleverbot!

Cleverbot: Why would you want me to believe that?

User: I don't want you to believe anything, I'm just trying to be nice.

Cleverbot: Go to H - E - double hockey sticks.

User: Yikes! You definitely need a day off Mr. Crankybot.

Cleverbot: I know.

Friday, September 2, 2011

5 Ways Leaders Can Instantly Shift Momentum: Guest Post

Michael Hyatt: Chairman, Speaker, Author
Today I have the honor of being the featured article on the weblog of Michael Hyatt , the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishing which is the largest Christian book publisher in the world and the seventh largest here in the United States.

Michael's site tends to focus on three areas: leadership, productivity and social media.  Here's an excerpt from 5 Ways Leaders Can Instantly Shift Momentum:

=============================================

Every successful leader wants to be a “game-changer.” If you’ve ever watched a televised sports event, you’ve no doubt heard commentators banter back-and-forth about key points in the game where “momentum shifted” in favor of the winner. 

Regardless of what caused an unplanned momentum shift, it’s safe to say it usually occurs among the competitors themselves who are directly engaged on the “field of play.”

However, a team’s coach has the ability to sway a game with planned “momentum shifters.”

Even though a coach—as the team’s de facto leader—might not be the one physically running, catching or participating, a coach has several options at his/her disposal to intentionally redirect momentum.

Here are five strategies a coach can use to instantly shift momentum, which are applicable to other leaders as well:

1. Call a time-out. Experienced coaches use this tactic in virtually every type of competition to give their own players a break, assess the game situation, disrupt the positive inertia of the opposing team, and select the best option for the next moment to position their team to win.
To read the rest of the article, please visit Michael's site at www.michaelhyatt.com.

Success Principle #9 - Chapter Review

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to BeI'm reading the latest book from best-selling author Jack Canfield, titled The Success Principles, which comprise 64 different lessons that Canfield has learned during the past three decades as as a highly-successful entrepreneur, instructor, best-selling author and keynote speaker.

My goal is to write a summary review for each chapter, until I'm finished with the book. You can access the most recent past summary here: The Success Principle #8 - Chunk It Down.

Chapter 9: Success Leaves Clues
Canfield begins this chapter by noting that we're fortunate to be living in this current day and age where anything that you might want to try or achieve has already been accomplished. Regardless of whether it's beating breast cancer, becoming financially independent, starting a business or running a marathon - it has been done and those trailblazers have "left clues" to how they achieved their various objectives in the form of audio/video programs, books, online seminars or workshops.

The author notes that when you take advantage of this information, you'll discover that life is "...simply a connect-the-dots game, and all the dots have already been identified and organized by someone else."  However, it's up to the reader to work the program, use the system or implement the blueprint that's been left behind.

Canfield lists the following five reasons why most people fail to seek out this information and follow the clues:

1. Connecting the dots means hard work, which is difficult;
2. Connecting dots in new ways means change, which can be uncomfortable;
3. Asking for advice or information forces us to face the possibility of rejection;
4. Researching information can be inconvenient and time consuming;
5. It never occurs to us since we've never seen that kind of behavior modeled.

However, just because we've never done it before doesn't mean we can't do it now. Canfield offers the following steps to follow the clues toward your dream:

  • Ask someone if you can shadow them for a day and watch them work. Or offer to be a volunteer, assistant, or intern for someone you might learn something from.
  • Ask someone who has already achieved what you'd like to do, if you can interview them for a half hour on how you should best proceed.
  • Seek out a teacher, mentor, resource, manual or program to help you achieve a major goal.

Ultimately, to accomplish something you've never achieved you'll have to do things you've never done. Learning from your own mistakes is extremely difficult, it's better to learn from the success of others.

Question: What clues have you been following in the wake of  another's success?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Psychiatric Couch: Gilligan's Island

The cast of Gilligan's Island: L to R
Ginger, Skipper, Gilligan, Professor,
the Howells and Mary Ann
I've never seen a psychiatrist's couch, but I do own a couch. I've also never had formal mental health training, but I'm a huge fan of Mentos mints.

Given those credentials, I believe that I'm more than qualified to dispense clinical diagnoses for fictional characters. That's why I write this periodic series titled The Psychiatric Couch....

The first installment of this series explored the psyches of Winnie the Pooh and Friends

Today's  installment is another ensemble session - Gilligan's Island.

CASE HISTORY: Gilligan's Island was a huge part of my childhood. Although it first aired for three years on CBS television before I was born, it became a cultural phenomenon when it ran in syndication during the 1970s and 80s, which is when I watched it after school. The premise was that a group of seven strangers charted a boat, the S.S. Minnow, that was crewed by Skipper and his first mate Gilligan. The charter was for a three hour acquatic tour, but the weather started getting rough - the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew....well, you should know the rest [my Millennial readers will have to YouTube the song].

The Psychiatric Couch: Gilligan's Island.

=========================================

Captain Jonas Grumby a.k.a. "Skipper" - Skipper exhibits dissociative personality traits where he's very effusive and kind to the charter guests yet exhibits sadistic tendencies toward his helpless underling Gilligan. Skipper's aggression manifests as a pervasive pattern of violence by hitting his "little buddy" multiple times per episode with his captain's hat - an attempt to assert his maritime authority and quell threats of mutiny.

Gilligan, the first mate  - suffers from a chronic case of people-pleasing disorder rooted in an inherent lack of self worth, yet strives for the love of others by being whatever others want him to be. His disorder is compounded by a borderline-imbecilic IQ level and apparent damage to his cerebellum (responsible for muscle control and coordination), making him such a klutz that he makes former president Gerald Ford seem lithely balletic. The brain damage is likely due to the repeated blunt trauma to the head from Skipper [Note: last sentence is a late add courtesy of reader Beeg!]

Ginger Grant the actress - severe narcissist with an external locus of control requiring constant validation and affirmation from others. There is also evidence of early-stage nymphomania as she continually seeks to manipulate male counterparts through breathy monologues and suggestive posturing - to no avail.  Additionally, Ginger has a clothing psychosis - she was going on a three-hour tour yet packed dozens of sequined ball gowns and heels. A delusional dresser or merely a typical woman overpacking - you be the judge.

Mary Ann Summer, the farm girl - Mary Ann consistently exhibits inadequacy issues as she tries to measure up to her aforementioned actress hut mate, Ginger. There are also shades of infantile regression at her constant need to where Pippy Longstocking-type pigtails. Perhaps this neurotic behavior of a grown woman wearing a hairstyle that would embarrass Punky Brewester is a regressive attempt to cope through the post traumatic stress of being marooned.

Thurston Howell the III/ Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, the millionaires - unapologetic elitists who suffer from an extreme manifestation of peniaphobia, or fear of being poor. The irony of their phobia is that on the island their inaccessible riches have no value, yet they're denial and minimization of their situation allows them to treat their fellow island dwellers as indentured servants.

Roy Hinkley a.k.a. "The Professor" - possibly the most evil character on network television in the 1960s. His passive aggressive, control-freak nature simmers above an underlying psychotic need to keep humans captive. He wants to keep them all on the island in a manner that's akin to the diabolical Benjamin Linus from LOST. Here's my reasoning, the Professor, can design and construct shelter for the seven castaways as well as an incredible array of  Rube Goldberg-type contraptions to do laundry and play music, yet he DOESN'T choose to repair a hole in the boat? He wants to keep them stranded.

That concludes this therapeutic session, which may or may not be covered by your employee assistance program at work.

Question: What fictional character would you like to see on The Psychiatric Couch?