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Puddy in his hands

The release of Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins and the public discourse among Christians before and after its release hasn’t exactly been the greatest public relations coup in the history of the church. And let’s face it, we can say we love God and love people until we’re blue in the face, but if we don’t back up our words with the way we live and the way we treat each other, let alone those who aren’t Christians, we probably deserve much of the bad press we’ve received. I’m not suggesting we simply agree to disagree and not speak out against what we believe to be bad theology or legalism, we just need to do a better job with how we present our beliefs. The world is watching us.

I’ve often said that you can relate just about any life circumstance to an episode of Seinfeld, and I was only partly kidding. Funny how a show about nothing seemed to have covered just about everything. In the following montage, Puddy reminds us how NOT to be salt and light:

(Sorry, you’ll have to watch the clip on youtube because of copyright stuff.)

What important life lessons have you learned from Seinfeld?

Things that scare the heck outta me (by Billy Coffey)

In light of the fact that Halloween is just around the corner (and that a certain blogger/author is a little busy right now), I’ve decided to re-run a post Billy Coffey wrote for this blog last year. I certainly enjoyed this peek into Billy’s secret fears just as much this time around. Besides, it’s given me some great Christmas gift ideas. Here’s Billy:

It’s a little ironic that though I tend to be a bit picture kind of guy, it’s hours and days I’m more interested in than months and years. What’s happening down the road doesn’t really concern me. What’s happening now does. This is why I tend to pay much more attention to my watch than my calendar.

This is also why it’s a good thing God made department stores. Otherwise, I would not know what holiday is upon us.

The department stores here say that Halloween will be soon. There are costumes and candy and ghouls and, even, greeting cards. You know you’ve arrived as a holiday when you get your own greeting cards. Halloween is getting big.

And I think it should be big, if for no other reason than it focuses upon one of the great issues of our lives.


In the interest of writing-frees-the-soul, I can confess that I normally do not talk about my fears. I’ll even go so far as to say that I go to certain lengths to maintain the lie that I do not have any. I do have fears. Many, in fact. And I don’t care who you are, how tough you happen to be, or how much faith you have, you’re scared of something, too.

However. The thing about fear is that it’s often a very big shadow of a very little thing. Dragging it out into the light and seeing it for what it is can be a liberating experience, or so I’ve heard. So it’s along those lines that I will blaze the trail for anyone else who might read this and admit those things that send a shiver up my spine and force me to sleep with the light on.


Ghosts? Ghosts don’t bother me. And I laugh at monsters. Vampires run from ME. But zombies freak me out. I think it’s the slow but steady movement. Zombies are patient, and I don’t understand patience. Honestly, the whole taste for human flesh thing doesn’t really bother me as much as the ratty clothes, the pale skin, and that “AAAHHHH” sound they make. Zombies are the worst creatures in the world. I don’t care who you are, if you turn into a zombie and come at me, I’ma killin’ you.


The fear of clowns is shared by so many people that it actually has a clinical name—coulrophobia. Stephen King wrote about Pennywise the Clown in It. John Wayne Gacy, one of the worst serial killers in history, dressed as Pogo the Clown for children’s birthday parties. And who can forget Crazy Joe Davola on Seinfeld? He dressed as a clown, too. And he was crazy.

Ventriloquist Dummies

When I was a kid I dreamed that I got a ventriloquist dummy for Christmas, but instead of using it, it put me on it’s knee, shoved a wooden hand up my back, and took me on tour around the country. He kept me in a small wooden steamer trunk and all he’d give me to survive on was Nilla Wafers. I’ll never forget that dream. And to this day I can’t eat Nilla Wafers. Nuff said.

Along those lines, dolls freak me out, too. I was watching Destination Truth the other night and they visited a place in Mexico called Isla de Las Munecas. Island of the Dolls. Legend states that the spirit of a drowned girl haunts the island and the dolls are there to appease her. Evidently that’s not working, though. Because now the dolls are haunted, too. Wanna see a picture of the lovely surroundings? (photo by esparta courtesy of Flickr)


Ice Cream Trucks

Those of you who have never seen the movie Maximum Overdrive may not truly appreciate how utterly mortifying ice cream trucks are. As much as I believe Stephen King to be a genius, he’s ruined more than one seemingly innocent thing for me. This is one. There’s an ice cream truck that drives around our neighborhood in the summer (blaring Christmas music, by the way), and every time I see it I make a hasty yet dignified retreat back into the house. This, by the way, is not that ice cream truck. I get too shaky to take a picture of it, so I borrowed this shot from the movie off the internet.Yes, I know this one may be a little stupid. No, I don’t care. Ice cream trucks are evil. You’re just gonna have to trust me on that.

So there you go. All my fears laid out for your reflection and mockery. I figure I’m good so long as I never run into a zombie clown whose ventriloquist dummy is driving an ice cream truck sporting a doll as a hood ornament. Chances are that won’t happen.

But I figure most fears are like that, anyway.

To read more from Billy Coffey or to hyperlink pictures of zombies, clowns, ventriloquist dummies, dolls and/or ice cream trucks, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Watching Seinfeld

As promised from last week, here’s my updated version of Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Needed to know I Learned in Kindergarten”, the Seinfeld edition:

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned from kindergarten or watching Seinfeld. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox or on late night reruns on TBS.

These are the things I learned:

From kindergarten:
Share everything.

From Kramer:
“Retail is for suckers.”

From kindergarten:
Play fair.

From Jerry:
“To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We’re all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.”

From kindergarten:
Don’t hit people.

From Kramer:
“The camp ended a few days early….I punched Micky Mantle in the mouth.”

From kindergarten:
Put things back where you found them.

From Jerry:
“Very few crooks even go to the trouble to come up with a theme for their careers anymore. It makes them a lot tougher to spot. “Did you lose a Sony? It could be the Penguin. I think we can round him up; he’s dressed like a penguin. We can find him; he’s a penguin!”

From kindergarten:
Clean up your own mess.

From Frank:

From kindergarten:
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

From Kramer:
“Wait a minute. You mean to say that you drugged a woman so you could take advantage of her toys?”

From kindergarten:
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

From Jerry:
“Why do people give each other flowers? To celebrate various important occasions, they’re killing living creatures? Why restrict it to plants? “Sweetheart, let’s make up. Have this deceased squirrel.”

From kindergarten:
Wash your hands before you eat.

From Jerry:
“When somebody has B.O., the “O” usually stays with the “B”. Once the “B” leaves, the “O” goes with it. “

From kindergarten:

From Elaine:
“No, I don’t have a square to spare. I can’t spare a square.”

From kindergarten:
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

From Jerry:
“The black and white cookie. I love the black and white. Two races of flavour living side by side in harmony. It’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”

From kindergarten:
Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.

From George:
“Just remember Jerry, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

From kindergarten:
Take a nap every afternoon.

From Jerry:
“Sleep is separate from That, and I don’t see how sleep got all tied up and connected with That.”

From kindergarten:
When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

From Jerry:
I can’t go to a bad movie by myself. What, am I gonna make sarcastic remarks to strangers?

From kindergarten:
Be aware of wonder.

From Elaine:
“I wanted to talk about how we had nothing to talk about.”

From kindergarten:
Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

From Newman:
“The mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there’s never a let-up. It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out, but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in. And then the bar code reader breaks and it’s Publisher’s Clearing House day!”

From kindergarten:
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup – they all die. So do we.

From Jerry:
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

From kindergarten:
And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK . Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.

From Jerry:
“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.”

What valuable life lesson have you learned from Seinfeld?


And now for something completely different…

No doubt, millions of you have been on the edge of your seats anxiously awaiting observations I promised about Ted L. Nancy’s book “Letters from a Nut”. (I realize that my site counter indicates a much lower number, but once it reached infinity, it started over. But I digress…)

“Letters from a Nut” is just that. It is a collection of letters that were actually written and mailed to an assortment of companies, individuals and heads of state. It has been rumored that Ted L. Nancy is actually Jerry Seinfeld, but this has never been proven in a court of law. Without further adieu, the following is one such letter and the corresponding reply:

Ted L. Nancy
560 N. Moorpark Rd., #236
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
July 10, 1995
Mr. Albert H. Meyer, President
American Seating Company
901 Broadway
Grand Rapids, I 49504
Dear Mr. Meyers:
I had a seating question and I was referred to you because I understand you manufacture stadium and arena seating. My question:
When entering or exiting a seat in a stadium, which is the proper side to face the person sitting down? Rear to them or crotch to them?
I am always at a quandary when this problem comes up. To hence: last week at a sporting event I had to leave my seat. There were a row of people — ALL FROM THE SAME FAMILY — that were sitting down the row. I exited my seat, stood up and faced away from this family. Then I moved down the row realizing my buttocks were not 2 inches from this whole guy’s family. I had shown an entire family my rear end! But then again if I had turned around and moved down the aisle THAT WAY, wouldn’t that be worse?
Stadium seating is the only situation in life where you can show whole rows of people your butt or crotch. And it is acceptable!
Can something be done about this seating? Should the rows be changed? I suggest a single row straight up to the top. You walk into the stadium you simply find your seat number and go up until you get it.
Question: Is there a gracious way to exit?
Thank you, Sir, for your response,

Ted L. Nancy

August 3, 1995

Ted L. Nancy

560 N. Moorpark Rd., #236
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Dear Mr. Nancy:
Your letter on crotch or butt first was most interesting. In fact, in all 38 years which I have been in this business it is probably the most interesting question I have ever been asked. I have shared your letter with numerous of my colleagues, and they have also found it most interesting.
But alas, we have no good answer. Your idea of a single chair has merit, but unfortunately would greatly reduce the number of chairs which could be put in the building.
The only suggestion we could come up with is for you to come early before anyone has arrived, stay in your seat the entire time, and wait until everyone else has gone before leaving. This, of course, could cause an even more embarrassing problem.
If you come up with any solutions, we would welcome hearing from you.

Albert H. Meyer

This is only one of many works of great literature that have been my inspiration throughout the years. I will from time to time share snippets from some of my other favorites. (Again, you’re welcome.)