Myth Busters: Home Edition

Social media is not for everyone. John Mayer left Twitter after very publicly declaring in a USA Today interview:

“It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well.”

He goes on to say:

“Those who decide to remain offline will make better work than those online. Why? Because great ideas have to gather. They have to pass the test of withstanding thirteen different moods, four different months and sixty different edits. Anything less is day trading. You can either get a bunch of mentions now or change someone’s life next year.”

What Mayer fails to mention in this interview is that it was his own narcissistic need for constant attention via Twitter and lack of self-discipline to simply disconnect from the virtual world that most likely caused his work to suffer. Also, he’s sort of a tool. A very talented one, but a tool none the less.

I disagree with Mayer’s assertion that nobody who has participated in Twitter has created lasting art. Not only do I think one can still create lasting art and participate in social media, I would also say that oftentimes art begets art on the twitter. Why, just this week an idea for a book came to me whilst I was gazing at my tweetdeck:

And while the idea for this book of myths was still fresh in my head, I began sharing some household misconceptions with the twitter:

Then a great thing happened. Others started joining in with their own myths:

Note: That should read The food pantry is filled during the night by the food fairie.

So there you have it. The birth of what promises to be a best selling coffee table book. Lasting art created and contributed to right on the twitter.

Since I know many publishers, agents and PR people follow me on the twitter (many of them secretly), this is an open invitation to make me an offer for representation or multiple book deal via Direct Message. I will consider any and all offers, but don’t insult me by low balling. It should also be noted that while the Household Myth book is completely up for grabs, I have promised my upcoming Young Adult Amish Vampire Romance Novel to Rachelle Gardner, and I would hate to disappoint her unless it was for an obscene amount of money.

Your turn, friends. Have any household myths to share?

Marni and the Skymall

Up until a few months ago, I had two guest posts a week here. One from Billy Coffey and one from a guest blogger. Then again, I also posted seven days a week, which is just nuts. (For me, anyway.) But even though guest posts are no longer a regular feature here, I do enjoy having guest bloggers here, especially the likes of Matt Appling on Friday, and today, the lovely and talented Marni Lamb. Marns is a fellow Texas gal and I love her snarky, sassy, spunkiness. When she tweeted from an airplane about reading the Skymall and thinking of me, I was already thinking guest post.

Here’s my friend Marni and her adventures in Skymall:

I have a running “top ten” list in my head. It’s the top ten things I am most proud to have accomplished in my life. For example: marrying the man of my dreams, having 2 beautiful daughters, finishing my degree…and now, writing a guest post for the great Katdish.net. Take me now, Lord, for I have peaked!

But I digress…

Last week found me taking a long, bumpy, but highly scenic, road trip from Dallas, Texas to Seattle, Washington. My husband (hereto referred to as Sainted One– because he drove the ENTIRE trip) and I drove my very pregnant sister, nervous brother-in-law, and their 3 dogs to their new home in Washington. Picture us, pulling up to the finest KOA campground/RV parks in Western America in our rented RV. We were high rolling in our luxe ride.

The other campers were green with envy when we pulled in—for obvious reasons. Yes, it was a sweet ride for a 2100 mile road trip. I liken it to being like dice in Yahtzee cup, because the ride was so smooth.

We saw beautiful mountains, shared funny moments and in general, it was a really neat trip. But thank goodness, we were able to fly home, instead of driving!

The plane was full, we were very tired, and our fellow passengers were all recently disembarked travelers from an Alaskan cruise ship (read: elderly) who were, shall we say, vocal and needy? (Side note: flight attendants do not get paid enough). At any rate, I wasn’t looking forward to the flight. However, I’m generally a positive person, so I plastered on my smile, locked in on my “fake it until you make it” attitude and boarded the plane with Sainted One.

I sat down in 24E (on the wing, because apparently it’s my God-given talent to ALWAYS book a flight where I sit on the wing) and prepared for the return trip home. I sat attentively through the pre-flight instructions, turned off my iPad and phone and waited patiently until I could log back on to the in-flight wireless and mindlessly distract myself on the internet until we landed at DFW.

But then it turned south. The in-flight wireless cost for us was going to be $32.95. Sainted One was already annoyed we paid $25 for our luggage to fly home, so he was not cottoning to paying for wireless. So great, now what was I going to do?

And then…there it was.

Skymall.

I was SO excited! I began reading and could practically hear Katdish snarking along with me as I turned the pages. In a brief moment of free internet, I even tweeted my excitement level. (Yes, I find happiness in the little things. I work in education, so my standards are low).

The first thing I noticed about Skymall is they assume most air travelers have 2 gut-wrenching afflictions: hair loss and too much hair. Oxymoronic, yes, but we all know Skymall is better than us, so don’t question it. I kept showing Sainted One all the products they had for hair re-growth, but he would point to his iPod and close his eyes and ignore me. Likely because the lady that cuts his hair uses the euphemism “high part” when talking to him about his receding hair line. Whatever. One day, he’ll ask me for hair growth help and he’ll be sorry he didn’t pay attention to me earlier.

As for the excessive hair, for you ladies, if you’re tired of that full beard you’ve been trying to ward off since early menopause has hit, might I refer you to page 41 and page 102 of the Summer 2011 issue? You’re welcome.

Another thing frequent air travelers clearly live with, are headaches. And really, why take Excedrin? That’s so old school. Instead, you should try the head relieving wrap. It’s only $49.95!

I think you could accomplish the same thing with a frozen wash rag, but what do I know?

For those of you who feel your headaches deserve more, there’s always the Migraine Magic Plus for $59.99. Think Terminator glasses, with magnets attached.

For the record, Excedrin is $8.99 at Walgreens. But it’s your call.

You know what else frequent air travelers battle? Germs! I’m a bit of a germaphobe myself…to the extent Katdish recommended I watch the TV show, Monk, because “he would complete me”. She was right. He does.

Have you ever been to a restaurant and thought “this silverware might not be clean”. Me too. And then I leave. But for those of you who don’t let that sort of thing get between you and your meal, there’s the Nano UV Disinfectant for only $99.99!

Scan this bad boy over your dirty eating utensils and voila’, 99.9% germ free! What a bargain.

Of course, sometimes the germs aren’t on your eating utensils. Sometimes it’s more sinister. Sometimes, the germs are in your running shoes! Fear not. For $99.99, you can eliminate those foot-odor germs with the shUVee Deodorizer.

Foot spray is for suckers. This is what you really need.

For those of you who have, what I like to call, “more money than sense”, this is how you can deodorize your shoes –the Nano-Silver Sanitizer.

And for only $299.99! It’s like they’re practically giving it away at that price.

Maybe you have real problems…not like those who battle germs (that apparently cause headaches and hair loss). Maybe your problems include to having packable wine glasses. I have literally lost count of how many romantic picnics Sainted One and I have gone on, only to have them ruined because I didn’t have packable wine glasses.

“Life’s too short to drink fine wine from paper cups” according to Skymall. I could not agree more. I’m busting out the brie, escargot and a nice ’79 Merlot and throwing myself a proper picnic. God bless you Skymall!

Well folks, this has been fun. But this laundry that piled up while I was on vacation, isn’t going to wash, dry and fold itself, so I guess I’ll have to put down my catalog now and get back to work. If any of you hear of a gadget capable of doing my laundry for me, give me a shout. In the meantime, I’m going to suggest that for a future issue of Skymall and see what they come up with.

***

To catch up with Marni’s comings and goings, visit her blog The Chronicles of Marnia, which she updates about 3 times a year (Snort), and follow her on the twitter at @marni71.

The best of Billy Coffey: My Come to Jesus Moment

Last Monday I introduced the Best of Billy Coffey series. In case you missed it, I shared a snippet of Billy’s second novel Paper Angels along with a few ways you can enter to win a copy of Paper Angels. I’ll choose one winner each week. The winner may choose either a hardcover copy or an ebook version (kindle or nook). You may enter as often as you like, and there are several ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment here or on subsequent “Best of Billy Coffey” posts each Monday indicating you would like to be entered into the drawing.
  • Tweet or post to Facebook a link to this post and/or subsequent posts. (Please be sure to let me know you’re doing so by adding @katdish to the end of your tweet or sharing the Facebook link with me.)
  • Tweet or post to Facebook a link to the Paper Angels Amazon page letting people know it is available for pre-order.
  • Ditto Barnes & Noble
  • Ditto Books-a-Million
  • Ditto Indie-Bound

Each of the aforementioned actions will constitute one entry into the drawing. If you don’t win this week, each of your entries will go back into the drawing. Winners will be chosen at random and will be announced the following Monday. Enter early, enter often, and check back here each week for new opportunities to win.

Thanks in advance for helping get the word out about Paper Angels. If you’re not big into contests, I still encourage you to head over to Amazon or another online retailer and pre-order a copy. I know once you read it you will recommend it to a friends and family, and word of mouth advertising is the very best kind.

The winner of Week One is Leann aka @mabeswife. Congrats, Leann! I’ll post next week’s winner next Monday.

And now, as promised last week, one of my personal faves from Billy.

My Come to Jesus Moment:

billytestimonypic1bw

You do stupid things when you’re seventeen. Things that maybe don’t make much sense later, but certainly do at the moment. It’s a scary age. You stand right on the pivot point of your life, teetering and tottering between the child you were and the adult you want to become. You try to find your balance, but more often just stumble and fall.

At seventeen, I stumbled and fell.

I referenced Allison in one of my posts this week and the events surrounding her then-anonymous letter to me, and I alluded to what I considered at the time to be a one-way trip into the mountains above my town. At the time, I wrote only what I had to in order to put the rest of the story in perspective. But since so many of you wanted to know how I came to Christ, I’m going to do that right now.

Here’s the part I didn’t tell.

The sad thing about high school is that everyone from teachers to guidance counselors expects you to be able to plan the rest of your life. That’s just not possible. Being a senior in high school is all about living in the moment. The now. It’s enjoying what you have because you’ve realized you won’t have it much longer.

Me, I enjoyed my senior year for that very reason. I was leaving. Headed for either college or some major league farm system. So while my classmates crammed and studied and stressed over SATs, me and my motley crew of friends partied, fought, and chased girls. Looking back, I was being stupid. But at the time? Oh, it was magical.

But it’s usually when we manage to convince ourselves that we have the world on a string that the string breaks. Mine broke during the sixth inning of a baseball game. Not slowly, mind you. I didn’t hear it tighten, didn’t hear it strain. There was just one clean, violent snap.

My future was there, then it was not.

Then there was nothing.

Men define themselves by what they do. It’s one of the first questions we’ll ask when meeting another man for the first time. “What do you do for a living?” we’ll ask. Me, I was always going to answer “Ballplayer” to that question. That was all I had. All I was.

I was an awkward teenager. Never confident, never truly happy. But when I stepped between those lines I was both. It was the one thing in my life that brought me joy.

Also the one thing God took away.

In a matter of weeks I had spiraled downward into the blackest hole I had ever known. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat…couldn’t feel. I was dead inside. Seventeen and dead already.

Those classmates I had been secretly mocking all year I now secretly loathed. They had their entire lives in front of them. Years of happiness. All I had were years of regret and Coulda Been. And I just couldn’t live with that. I just couldn’t live at all.

What I needed, what I craved, was rest. I had shrunk myself down to a gaunt 120 pounds and developed a pack a day Marlboro habit. I couldn’t sleep because of recurring nightmares and couldn’t eat without getting sick. I was killing myself slowly. So why not just get the whole thing over with?

People decide to kill themselves for the simple reason that doing so no longer prolongs the inevitable. Suicide seems like the most rational thing in the world, which is why at that moment you are as insane as you will ever be. I was never going to find rest in this world. The last shred of hope I had said that maybe I would find it in the next.

One thing was for sure. I was going to do it right. My end had to come in the mountains, of course, which was where so much of my life had been lived. And it would come with the obligatory teenage angst, too. I had the music picked out (Cinderella) and the alcohol already stolen (a bottle of Night Train from the local 7-11, snatched after I had sweet-talked the cashier into going into the back to get me a cold Coke. I was always a charmer). I was going to smoke a few cigarettes, down the bottle of three-dollar wine, and jump. For rest. And there would be a smile on my face the whole way down.

There, on that ledge, was when God first spoke to me. “You’re not afraid of dying,” He said, “You’re afraid of living.”

That was true. It didn’t take God to make me realize that. But it didn’t matter. Like I said, my world was black. There were no shining parts, no points of light.

“What if there’s one?” He said. “One point of light. Would you leave?”

I took a long sip of wine and tossed a spent cigarette into the bushes. “How’m I supposed to see a light in all this darkness?” I mumbled.

I looked down over the valley below, quiet and peaceful. And in the middle of all that blackness, I saw one tiny speck of light.

That’s when I left.

I drove home with no music and no alcohol. The cigarettes, of course, were still with me. I decided to take a dirt road home to avoid the police, not considering the potholes that would accompany it. I managed to dodge most of them, but the one I did hit sent my Marlboro light flying out of my mouth and onto the floorboard.

I pulled over at a small church so I could find the cigarette before I managed to either ruin the floor mat or explode my truck. I parked under the light post so I could find it. I did. As I tossed it to the side of the road, my eyes wandered to what had been put on the sign in front of the church:

OUR REST IS IN CHRIST ALONE.

I stared at that sign for a long while. Coincidence? Maybe, I thought. There were a lot of churches around with a lot of things on their front signs. But then I realized this was the only sign I would be able to see this time of night because this was the only church with a light post.

I looked back up the mountain to where I had been, and shuddered as I realized two things. One was that it was not a coincidence at all. The other was that the light post I was under was the speck of light I had seen that convinced me to live.

Taking yourself seriously by Matt Appling

I’m excited to have Matt Appling from The Church of No People guest posting for me today.

Many of you already know Matt, especially all you folks who found your way over here via some snarky comment I left over at Stuff Christians Like.

For those of you who don’t already read Matt’s blog, I would highly recommend it. He blogs about the Church, culture and how the two often clash–always with a healthy dose of sarcasm, humor and intelligence. I appreciate Matt’s ability to act like a jerk even though he’s not. I think you’ll see what I mean…

Here’s Matt:

Hey everyone, I’m really excited to be a guest on Kathy’s blog today. She’s been a dedicated reader and encourager of mine for three years, and writing for her is way overdue.

So when she and I decided what I should write about for her, we thought of the most serious, solemn, amazingly mind-blowing topic we could think of…

…me.

Lots of people like to take themselves rather seriously. Most of us think pretty highly of ourselves, even if no one else does. And when you’re as drop dead awesome at everything as I am, it’s really hard not to take yourself seriously.

But, taking yourself really seriously has a few drawbacks. If you want to stroke your own ego at all times, there will be a few things you will have to give up…

Religion, Politics, and Pretty Much Everything

Everyone likes to toss around controversial topics and have some friendly banter, whether it’s politics, religion, scandals, philosophy, diets or whatever.

If you want to have a conversation, or blog about controversial things like I do, you’ll probably have to have some facts or logic up your sleeve. Facts and logic come naturally to me because I am a genius. If people agree with me, great. If I encounter the rare person who proves me wrong, I am eager to congratulate them.

However, if you lack the necessary mental skills needed to have an intelligent conversation, there is an alternative. You can just be a big fat blow-hard, barge into a conversation and assault everyone with your overwhelming belief that you should be taken seriously.

People like this are stuck in a vicious cycle. They groin-punch everyone else’s egos. People give up talking to them because they cannot be reasoned with. Thus, they feel they win every argument they start, so it encourages their behavior. Then they get a talk show contract with MSNBC or FoxNews.

You Got Served

In olden times (why it’s “olden” and not just “old,” I don’t know), it was a point of honor that once a conflict started, neither man backed down until they had dueled and one of them was dead.

Even though most gentlemen don’t duel with pistols anymore (fortunately) or wear handlebar mustaches or mutton chops (unfortunately), many of us still go through life thinking that it’s a point of honor that we never back down from a disagreement.

I’m pretty sure the first qualifications for landing a spot on reality TV is a big, fat ego, a propensity for starting conflict, and a complete lack of ability to resolve conflict. Oversized fake boobs are the second set of qualifications, because they always help people take a woman as seriously as she obviously thinks she deserves.

Of course, the more seriously you take yourself, the more impossible it is for you to back down from a conflict…even when the likelihood that you are right becomes more and more remote. Go ahead and keep insisting that you are “winning.” Everyone else knows the only thing you are winning at is being an ass.

Being In On the Joke

The funny thing about taking yourself super serious is that it’s a zero sum game. The more serious you are about yourself, the less seriously others will take you. People don’t make jokes about funny people. They make jokes about Americans, Asians, Polaks, Mexicans, Christians, Muslims, Al Gore, Charlie Sheen, and anyone else who thinks a bit too highly of themselves.

Rather than being respected, you will be alienated. Rather than being offered constructive advice, people will talk about you behind your back. Rather than laughing with you, people will laugh at you. The more seriously you want to be taken, the funnier you will be to others. The less you laugh at yourself or admit your mistakes, the more others will do it for you.

You can be serious about yourself all you want, but you can’t ever make other people be serious about you.

Tell us about someone – a boss, a friend, a relative you know who takes themselves way too seriously.

To read more from Matt Appling, head over to his blog The Church of No People and follow him on the twitter, @MattTCoNP.

Raising Hope

I don’t know about you, but I rarely stumble across a television show. I’ll typically watch a show because someone I know recommended it or I see a preview that intrigues me. And honestly, there just hasn’t been much on TV lately that I’ve been excited about. There are only a handful of shows I watch faithfully and more than a few which looked promising but proved disappointing.

Along with a few of my favorites, I’m looking forward to this TV season, there are some new shows I’m hoping will live up to their hype. One of those shows aired Tuesday night on Fox: The New Girl.

Zooey Deschanel (right) pictured with her sister Emily Deschanel, star of one of my favorites shows, Bones

It was quirky and cute, much like its star Zooey Deschanel. The jury is still out on whether the characters and storyline will be strong enough to keep me watching, but the pilot was enough for me to give it a chance. When the credits began to roll, I almost turned off the TV. But then another show came on called Raising Hope. I’d heard of the show, but had no idea what the premise was. The only reason I kept watching it was because I thought for a minute that the main character was the same actor who played Mr. Tummus from The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s not, by the way.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know the premise, because it sounds like some horrible reality show:

Jimmy is a twenty-something slacker who lives with his slacker parents. The owner of the house is his great-grandmother, a crazy old lady who is the habit of walking outside without a shirt on. He has a one night stand with a woman who jumps into his van while running away from a man presumably wanting to cause her harm. As it turns out, said woman is a serial killer who is tried, convicted and sent to death row. Eight months later, Jimmy visits her in jail to discover she is pregnant with his child. Do you see where this is going? Here’s the trailer from the first season:

And while I do think the trailer is funny, I don’t know that I would watch the show based on seeing it because it depicts so many undesirable (albeit amusing) attributes of everyone on the show. Frankly, I’ve grown a bit weary of the quick laugh at someone else’s expense, even if it is a sit-com. What the trailer doesn’t show you is how smartly it’s written. Yes, Jimmy is a slacker and his parents are sponging off his crazy great-grandmother, but there is a depth to the characters–especially Jimmy–that caught me completely off guard. I was so impressed with the season premiere Tuesday night that I watched several episodes of the first season Wednesday. Love this show.

Raising Hope is cleverly disguised as a comedy about a family of low class, uneducated slackers, and I suppose to a certain extent that’s what it is. But it’s also a show about the importance of a loving and supporting family, no matter how dysfunctional they happen to be. If there’s such a thing as a perfect family, I don’t know of any. But that’s okay. Perfection is highly overrated and often boring.

What new shows will you be checking out this fall?

What old favorites are you looking forward to?

In defense of a fellow Texan

image courtesy of photobucket.com

This is not a political blog nor will it ever become one. Politics make me stabby. Nor will I publicly endorse a candidate for president. Actually, I’m still undecided at the moment.

Rick Perry has been the governor of Texas for the past 10 years. He’s made some mistakes, but I think overall he’s been good for the Lone Star state. This doesn’t necessarily merit my endorsement for president, but I do think the rush to demonize him for calling Social Security a Ponzi Scheme is a bit unfair.

The Social Security Act was drafted during Roosevelt’s first term by the President’s Committee on Economic Security, under Frances Perkins, and passed by Congress as part of the New Deal. The act was an attempt to limit what were seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children. By signing this act on August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt became the first president to advocate federal assistance for the elderly.

The Act is formally cited as the Social Security Act, ch. 531, 49 Stat. 620, now codified as 42 U.S.C. ch.7. The Act provided benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death. Payments to current retirees are financed by a payroll tax on current workers’ wages, half directly as a payroll tax and half paid by the employer. The act also gave money to states to provide assistance to aged individuals (Title I), for unemployment insurance (Title III), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (Title IV), Maternal and Child Welfare (Title V), public health services (Title VI), and the blind (Title X).[12] (Source: Wikipedia).

When the act was first adopted in 1935, the ratio of workers to retirees was 40 to 1. Currently that ratio os 3 to 1 and is predicted to soon diminish to 2 to 1. I know millions of Americans depend on Social Security and to threaten to do away with it seems equivalent to taking away their ability to support themselves. However, we need to acknowledge that the system is broken and unsustainable. But is it a Ponzi scheme?

According to the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the definition of a Ponzi scheme is as follows:

“A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk.”

I ask you, dear reader, which part of the Social Security system IS NOT a Ponzi scheme? Except maybe the fact that most people don’t have a choice to opt out of it to begin with? I don’t dispute that the Social Security Act of 1935 was created with good intentions, but we all know what the Road to Hell is paved with, don’t we?

In defense of a fellow Texas, we Texans sometimes have an annoying habit of saying what we think without much sugar-coating. Rick Perry might not be right about everything, but in my opinion he’s right about calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Because in its current state, that’s exactly what it is.

This post was inspired by a news story featuring comedian Steven Crowder, who actually called the SEC to report his Social Security deductions as a Ponzi scheme.

You can find the entire video here.

The best of Billy Coffey: Paper Angels

If you’ve been reading this blog or following me on Twitter for awhile, you already know I’m a big fan and supporter of author/blogger Billy Coffey. Many of you read his blog and read his first novel, Snow Day.

Billy’s second novel Paper Angels will be released November 9. Here’s a sneak peek from the back cover:

Not all angels look like cherubs. Andy Sommerville’s personal angel looks like an old man, and “Old Man” is just what Andy calls him. Ever since Andy was ten years old, the Old Man has been appearing to him–cautioning him, advising him, always trying to set him on the right path. And, over the years, the Old Man has encouraged Andy to collect mementoes of the people who have been important to him and to keep them hidden inside an old wooden box.

Now, things have suddenly gone very wrong for Andy: The victim of a shocking and senseless crime committed at his gas station, he awakes in the hospital to find that he’s been badly burned. Even worse, the Old Man–his lifelong friend–visits one last time to let Andy know that he won’t be seeing him again. But Andy isn’t alone. Beside him in the hospital room sits a woman, Elizabeth, whom Andy takes to be a counselor. With Elizabeth’s gentle guidance, he goes through all the objects in his box, explaining–and reliving–the critical moments of his life. In the process, he discovers the wondrous meaning for which his seemingly ordinary existence has been preparing him.

In order to help spread the word about his new book and introduce some of my new readers to Billy’s writing, for the next several weeks I will be reposting some of my favorite stories from him each Monday. You may recall that Mr. Coffey used to have a regular gig here each Monday, but between a full time job, full time family life and writing books, blogging three times a weeks just got to be too much. He still posts twice a week over at What I Learned Today, but I let him off the hook from writing for me because, as I’ve told Billy many times, he’s no good to me dead.

Beginning today, not only will you be able to read (or re-read) some of my favorites from Billy each Monday, you will also have an opportunity to win a copy of Paper Angels. I’ll choose one winner each week. The winner may choose either a hardcover copy or an ebook version (kindle or nook). You may enter as often as you like, and there are several ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment here or on subsequent “Best of Billy Coffey” posts each Monday indicating you would like to be entered into the drawing.
  • Tweet or post to Facebook a link to this post and/or subsequent posts. (Please be sure to let me know you’re doing so by adding @katdish to the end of your tweet or sharing the Facebook link with me.)
  • Tweet or post to Facebook a link to the Paper Angels Amazon page letting people know it is available for pre-order.
  • Ditto Barnes & Noble
  • Ditto Books-a-Million
  • Ditto Indie-Bound

Each of the aforementioned actions will constitute one entry into the drawing. If you don’t win this week, each of your entries will go back into the drawing. Winners will be chosen at random and will be announced the following Monday. Enter early, enter often, and check back here each week for new opportunities to win.

Thanks in advance for helping get the word out about Paper Angels. If you’re not big into contests, I still encourage you to head over to Amazon or another online retailer and pre-order a copy. I know once you read it you will recommend it to a friends and family, and word of mouth advertising is the very best kind.

Since I’ve already taken up a few minutes of your time with the contest rules and whatnot, I’ll save my “Best of Billy Coffey” post for next Monday.

Thanks again friends,

Kat

Assholiness

image courtesy of photobucket.com

This post began as a much anticipated and highly procrastinated Katdishionary post. The term “assholiness” was one of several new terms I feel warrant entry into the annals of my own version of Webster’s, but I think this term deserves its own post, because I like to keep the definitions brief in Ye Olde Katdishionary. This one needs a little more of an explanation.

The term assholiness first popped into my head several months back when a few high profile Christians began to publicly berate Rob Bell’s yet to be released book Love Wins. Many were incensed that Bell had the audacity to suggest that a loving God would not send people to Hell. And while I happen to (mostly) agree with Bell’s detractors in principle, I felt some of the public discourse was downright un-Jesus-y.

For the record, I don’t think God sends anyone to Hell. That’s a choice we make for ourselves. I will also admit that I had some private conversations about the subject that were way more salty than lighty. But I resisted the urge to jump into the fray. Why? Because it’s never been my experience that you convince someone you’re right by pointing out to them publicly how wrong they are.

Honestly, how many times have you seen a situation like that turn into anything more than a pissing match?

I did write a post about it, but the point of my post wasn’t about whose team I’d be on if Rob Bell and John Piper were choosing up sides for a game of Red Rover, my point was that Rob Bell is not Jesus Christ. Neither is John Piper or Francis Chan or Billy Graham or (insert famous Christian leader here). Nor am I for that matter.

When Christians draw their theological lines in the sand, choose sides and start attacking each other, we’re not winning anyone for Christ, we’re just becoming more alienated from one another. And like it or not, if you’re a Christian, you’re part of the same Body of Christ as that fundamentalist pompous ass or that crystal-gripping tree hugging hippie that is woefully misguided and is driving you nuts. Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean metaphorically neck punching someone with the truth and telling them you love them afterwards.

But assholiness is not a term reserved for Jesus people*. Some examples of assholiness I’ve seen come from atheists. Not all atheists, mind you, just the really angry, Christian despising kind who spend time online searching for a Christian platform where they can pick a fight. Don’t believe me? If your writing is primarily faith based in content, use the tags “atheist”, “Creationism” and “Darwin” on your next few posts and see who shows up on your blog. You may want to turn on comments moderation before you do that, the f-bomb seems to get dropped a lot.

Regardless of your faith or lack thereof, anytime our need to be right takes precedence over all else, it’s counterproductive. You may have a huge following who agree with everything you believe is wrong with that other guy, but like my friend and pastor Jeff says, when all you have in common is a common enemy, once that enemy is gone you will either lose the group or seek another enemy to fill the void.

I’m not interested in building that kind of following.

How about you?

*Jesus people is a term borrowed from my friend Jake Lee without his permission, but hopefully he won’t mind so much.

Different not less

Cattle handling system designed by Temple Grandin

My friend Tamara suggested I watch a movie several months ago. I got busy doing other things, but said movie arrived from Netfix last week and I sat down and watched it Monday afternoon. The movie is called Temple Grandin:

Temple Grandin has a brilliant mind, but she’s right, she’s not like other people. For most children diagnosed as autistic in the 50s and 60s, the outlook was grim. Doctors classified autistics as infantile schizophrenics. It was common practice to have them institutionalized. When Temple was 4 years old, her mother was told she would likely never speak, that there was no cure for autism. The doctor who diagnosed her recommended that Temple be put in to an institution. Fortunately, her mother refused to believe her daughter could not improve.

The story of Temple Grandin is one of great personal triumph, but it is also the story of people in her life who understood that she had so much to offer the world; that she was different, not less. Most notably for me was her mother, who understood that even though many of the social morrells were foreign and often frightening to her, she insisted that her daughter conform to them because the world was never going to conform to her. The following is a very telling interview with the real Temple Grandin:

Grandin’s autism may have been a social handicap, but it was her autism which allowed her mind to work in a way most people’s don’t. She thinks in pictures and finite details which most people miss. As she said in the above interview, her center-track restraint system is used in over half the cattle handling facilities in North America.

image from Grandin.com

One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Grandin says, “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.” She was referring to the treatment of the cattle before they are slaughtered, but it goes beyond that. I despise that we are so often cruel to each other when we don’t have to be. We are all so different, but in many ways so much the same. We all want to be loved, to be of value and worth. When we acknowledge our differences it doesn’t mean we proclaim our acknowledgement is an endorsement of their ideas being correct and/or true, only that they have the right to their ideas. When we refuse this right, I think we need to examine our hearts and ask ourselves why ideas different from our own (or the people who have them) pose a threat to us. We can conform to graciousness without conforming to what we don’t agree with.

If you have an opportunity to see this movie, I would highly recommend it, especially if someone in your life falls under the autism spectrum. Not only is it a wonderful true story, it is also the best visual explanation inside the mind of an autistic that I’ve ever seen.

I’m not fat, I just have a butt cold! (Repost)

Okay, whether or not you’re considered obese is a matter for those ridiculous insurance charts. Pull-lease! They don’t take into account those of us that are big-boned (pronounced: big-bone-ded), and the fact that you have rather large feet and a fairly sizable head. (I gotta fit my giant brain somewhere!)

I’m kind of like Oprah…only I’m not famous, African-American, have a book club, a huge production company, nor could I buy and sell you several times over if I wanted to. But I digress…

According to the latest research, obesity may be caused by a virus spread like the common cold. Check this out from foxnews.com:

Obesity can be “caught” as easily as a common cold from other people’s coughs, sneezes and dirty hands, scientists said Monday. The condition has been linked to a highly-infectious virus which causes sniffles and sore throats. Nikhil Dhurandhar, an associate professor at The Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, La., said the virus, known as AD-36, infects the lungs then whisks around the body, forcing fat cells to multiply and also causing sore throats. “When this virus goes to fat tissue it replicates, making more copies of itself and in the process increases the number of new fat cells, which may explain why the fat tissue expands and why people get fat when they are infected with this virus,” Dhurandhar said. In one test, a third of obese people had the rare and highly contagious virus compared to just 11 percent of thinner people. Weight gain can last three months until the body has built up resistance to the bug.

Check it out the entire article here.

I am comforted to know that IT IS NOT MY FAULT! I can only presume that I have a mutant strain of this virus: Fatassatosis. Won’t you join me in finding a cure? My bathing suit would appreciate it.