Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rad water jet pack

Wait. This is real? Did I fall asleep and wake up in the future?


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Sesame Street is Undermining Biblical Values

I was surprised to see last week's article by Owen Strachan talking about an episode of Sesame Street in which Baby Bear (who is male) plays with a baby doll. Telly the monster tells Baby Bear this is dumb, but resident wise sage Gordon tells him it's okay. Like this:

Baby Bear: It’s a doll 
Gordon: So?!
Baby Bear: So…Gordon…I’m a boy, and dolls are for girls!
Gordon: Says who?

Strachan explains that this is the undermining of Protestant values, because boys shouldn't be taught to play with dolls, and that after this confusing message from Gordon, Baby Bear needs the Gospel.

While I sympathize with Strachan's concern that boys might grow up to be nurturing fathers, both he and Sesame Street are missing the point.

The fact is, Baby Bear should not be playing with baby dolls. He is a bear. And socializing him with humans (let alone human babies) can only bring grief.

I know, you might think I'm overreacting, but the Bible is very clear on the role of bears in human relationships. They are meant to be voracious killing machines. I mean, the ONE COMMAND God gives specifically to bears is to "Arise and devour much flesh." This attempt to anthropomorphize and humanize bears strikes at the heart of everything the gospel teaches about bears.

If Sesame Street hadn't completely capitulated to heretical ursine views, the conversation between Baby Bear and Gordon should have gone something like this:

Baby Bear: It’s a doll.
Gordon: So?!
Baby Bear: So…Gordon…I’m a boy, and dolls are for girls!
Gordon: No, you're not a boy. You're male, but boys are human. You're a male bear cub. Now put that doll down and tear into it with your teeth. That's right, really rip into it. Pull the head off... good! Good bear! Now go for the entrails!

Or, even more correct:

Baby Bear: Grrrr.
Gordon: A baby bear? Here in New York City? I'm calling Animal Control!
Baby Bear: Rawr!
Gordon: Ahhh! Stop with the biting! Ahhhh! Why won't it listen? Is it a boy or a girl bear? Ahhhh! 

I, for one, take this issue seriously in my family and at the organization I head up, The Council on Biblical Interactions Between Humans and Animals.

In fact, because of Teddy Roosevelt's (the Dutch Reformed Episcopalian President) undermining of the scriptural role of bears in the family, I have been training my own children in the godly way to interact with bears. I include a few instructive photos here for all the parents:

One, teach your child that cuddling her teddy bear is not appropriate. Should she come across a real bear, the bears would either smother her when they roll over, or possibly eat her.

And don't get me started on the "rainbow" bear.

Second, kissing bears is right out. They will eat your face off. Do not allow your children to kiss their teddy bears.

Especially don't kiss bears named "Pooh."
There's a reason they're called that.

This is the correct way to play with teddy bears (or any bears at all). Lay on the ground, roll into a ball and play dead. Even if they are leaning in close to your face, about to take a big bite.

This looks easy, but is much harder with real bears.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should one attempt to lift a bear by its hind legs. You will probably get a hernia and/or be swiped by its claws, smashed beneath it, eaten or mauled.

In real life, that paint-spattered bear would be
devouring much flesh, just as God intended.

I've also taught all three of my daughters this helpful proverb: "Never go to a teddy bear picnic because you just might be on the menu."

You can see what others are saying about this conversation in a variety of places:

My friend Caryn Rivadeneira's thoughts.
Some thoughts from a preschool teacher. (ETA: Oops. Kristen is not a preschool teacher. She's a paralegal But it's still a good read.)
Rachel Held Evans has a good post where people from both sides of the question are having a civil conversation on the topic.

There are a bunch more out there, too. No one mentions the bear angle, but that's why you come here... FOR HARD HITTING JOURNALISM THAT ISN'T AFRAID TO CALL IT LIKE IT IS!

Now, in the comments: How are you preparing YOUR children for the coming Bearpocalypse?

Eavesdropping With Matt Episode Sixty-Seven (Great Date Conversations)

This episode of Eavesdropping with Matt is dedicated to the old couple out on a date at a local restaurant, who spoke very loudly to one another so I could hear everything they had to say, including when the old lady apparently visited a "gynecologist for women" and "had her blood pressure taken." Here's part of their "getting to know you" conversation.

Lady: I'd like to go to confession.

Man: Why? What do you have to confess?

Lady: Plenty.

Man: Like what?

Lady: Oh, you know. I don't go to church as often as I'm able to go to church. But you know what? I'm seventy-one. So maybe I get a pass on that one. And if not... ABSOLVE ME!

More Eavesdropping with Matt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rollin' Safari

I'm in meetings all day today. This should keep you jackals busy:

These were all made for the ITFS festival coming up in April!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Upside Downton Abbey

For those of you who are missing your weekly episode of Downton Abbey tonight:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Lesson on Hipsters

This video was sent to me by Shelby Abbott. Which means that it is good. Enjoy.

So. Are you a hipster?

Friday, February 22, 2013

StoryMen Episode VII: An Even Newer Hope

The new episode of StoryMen with me, JR. and Clay is live. This week we talk about the anniversary of Jerry Falwell suing Hustler Magazine, Megan Phelps leaving the Westboro Baptist Church, the Pope's resignation and the new Star Wars movies!

Here's our facebook fan page. Or you can download or subscribe at iTunes.

The invisible driver at the drive thru prank

I showed this video to my ten year old (A) last night and she immediately asked, "Dad, can we do that?" The answer, my child, is no. Because I'm your father, that's why.

Also, we are not ghosts.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's hard not to love this picture forever

This year at the Epicenter Conference I mentioned how I ride a unicorn to work every day under a double rainbow and someone went and found this photographic evidence of my daily routine. Look out for those other two unicorns, they're missing their drivers!

Feel free to leave comments about how much you love this picture anywhere on the scale from one to five rainbows.

Also, if you would like animate this as a gif, there ain't nobody gonna stop you.

40 Day Fast: a collection of all the posts

Several people have asked me recently about my 40 day fast (a juice fast, meaning no food, just water and fruit juices) from the summer before last. I thought it might be good to make a post that would show you where you could find information about my experience during those 40 days.

I've put some notes by the posts I think are most interesting if you don't want to read 40 days of "Wow, I'm really tired and I keep forgetting stuff and I'm really tired. Also let me repeat a story I told you yesterday."

MY MOTIVATION: 40 day fast: Why would you do that?

BEFORE YOU FAST, READ THIS: Some excellent reasons not to fast.

Day 32 has a bibliography that you may find useful, as well.

Day 1.


3 When you're fasting but sitting in on communal meals.




7 Seems like I was getting a little irritable after a week of no food.

8 Don't necessarily expect a bush to catch on fire and God to speak out of it just because you're fasting.


10 Food God.


12 Processed vs. organic theology





17 Gauging your emotions: overreacting while fasting.



20 Halfway there!



23 In which I mess up trying to take a day with the Lord.

24 The true purpose of fasting.



27 Here's an honest post about how bad you feel during the fast sometimes.




31 Is there a big decision on the horizon?

32 A HELPFUL BIBLIOGRAPHY of fasting books and resources (with notes on each book).




36 Fasting together in community.

37 The discipline of God's presence.

38 "After 40 days he was hungry." Some thoughts about Jesus fasting in the wilderness.


40  Meeting with God on the last day of the fast at Mt. St. Helens. Also, Bigfoot. No, really.

And, for a "last laugh": A year and a half later and I can't fit into my "fasting pants."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday: Snookles the Baby Dragon

I can't believe I finally found this. I've been looking for it on the internet for years. I first saw it in my short film class in college (1993? 94?) and have always remembered it fondly.

Now it will be burned into your memory. Behold... Snookles the baby dragon!

Wonderful Wednesday: Bambi Meets Godzilla

I first saw this classic bit of short film genius when I was in a college film class. Enjoy. More Wonderful Wednesday here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Now I Wish I Knew How To Play The Flute

What makes you cool? It is what you do? No. It's how you do it.

Stay tuned for videos of me learning to beat box tuba.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is Portlandia real?

When the TV show Portlandia first came out, I was surprised that people outside of Portland had never heard of it, especially my favorite sketch "Put a Bird On It."

Now it seems that wherever I travel, when people hear I'm from Portland they ask me if I've heard of the show and they always ask, "Is it true?"

Here's a part of last week's show, lampooning the high end movie theaters here in town called "Cinetopia."

Is it real?

Pretty much. Cinetopia is real (although the first one was in Vancouver, where there are now two... and there's one in Beaverton, but none in North Portland... part of the joke, I suspect, is referring to Vancouver as "North Portland").

Yes, they have full food menus, which can be delivered to you in the theater. There are about six different "artisan" toppings you can choose from for your popcorn. Waiters will come into the theater to take your order and deliver your food (hopefully not once the movie has started).

So, for all of you from somewhere else who want to know, "Is Portlandia real?"

Yeah. Pretty much.

Come visit.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gordon MacDonald speaking in Portland this weekend

This weekend at my church, former pastor, seminary chancellor and author Gordon MacDonald will be speaking. Gordon MacDonald is probably best known for his book, Ordering Your Private World
Services at 5:30 tonight and and 8:30 and 10:30 tomorrow morning.

See you there!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

We should all try to get on this reality show

You guys. We should all apply for this. I, for one, will not be satisfied unless at least one of my friends is on this show. AND IF WE ALL GET ON THE SHOW WE CAN TEAM UP AND CALL OURSELVES THE SCOOBY GANG. So take five minutes and send this email now:
Whodunnit? Are you a budding Sherlock Holmes looking to put your amateur crime solving skills to the test? Do you always figure out the ending before everybody else? Have you always seen yourself as the main character in mystery novels? From one of the creators of CSI, Anthony Zuiker, and 51 Minds comes a brand new mystery reality competition for ABC. We are currently scouring the nation for armchair detectives, perceptive problem solvers or anyone who believes they have the mental acuity to go up against other like-minded sleuths for $250,000. This show is for everybody from ex-detectives who've solved crimes all their lives, to a mother of three who has to figure out when her children are lying or where they hid her keys. If you or anyone you know fits the mold of an ASPIRING GUMSHOE then APPLY today. You MUST be at least 21 years old and a legal US resident to be eligible. Email us at - include name, age, brief description of yourself, why you think you would be a great crime solver and two (2) recent photos. Make the subject line your current city and state. All submissions become property of producer. Good luck.
Okay. Get it done, people.

Monday, February 11, 2013

All five of the Oscar-nominated animated shorts for 2013

I thought you would enjoy seeing all five of this year's Oscar-nominated short animated films. I think there's a clear winner here, but I'd love to see if you agree in the comments!  You can watch all five of these in a total of about half an hour.

This first one I can only find with an auto-play feature which I find annoying, so you can watch it here. The Simpson's with "The Longest Daycare." Maggie is growing up so fast.

Next is Disney's "Paperman" which apparently screened with Wreck It Ralph. This is all computer animated, but it's made to look like traditional cartoons.

Fresh Guacamole. I can honestly say that my guacamole looks better to eat than this one.

Adam and Dog.  A really cute idea. It's weird, but I was actually thinking about this yesterday before I saw the video... that Adam probably really liked the dog in the Garden of Eden.

"Head Over Heels" is a movie about relationships. Interesting.

So, what do you think? Who's going to win that golden statue this year?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Rock, Paper, Scissors, redux

My friend Shawn Cramer sent me this video, exploring the difficulties of rock, paper, scissor logic.

Favorite line: "Now you are an origami swan or something."

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Listen to Buechner's lecture about the Gospel as Fairy Tale

One of my favorite spiritual books of all time is Frederick Beuchner's Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale. I've read it a lot of times, and I always enjoy it and am moved by it.

I discovered last week that one of the lectures it's based on is available as audio online. It's well worth your time.

Beecher Lectures: "Gospel as Fairy Tale" | Frederick Buechner Center

You are welcome.

Monday, February 04, 2013

My three year old drew this on the computer

I thought it was pretty cool. Because I am her father.

The new Storymen podcast is up and running!

If you've been following along, this is episode 6 of the podcast from yours truly and Clay Morgan and JR. Forasteros.

Our special guest star this week is M.S. Corley!

It's a fun show, and the first one in which we do not in any way mention wolves. Excellent.

Friday, February 01, 2013

I love the Internet a lot because it makes me laugh

I thought this video of a woman talking about cats on a dating site was pretty hilarious. I mean... she loves cats A LOT.

But the Internet can make anything funnier:

I love you, Internet.