Thursday, June 23, 2011

I might just be in the wrong line of work...

I  was watching TV last night when an ad for the Christian dating site, Christian Mingle, aired. Sure. I've seen these ads from time to time without much thought, but what intrigued me last night was the ad was actually on The Science Channel. Not GodTV, TBN or the Osteen Channel (if there is such a thing).

So I'm sitting there watching Morgan Freeman* spew some nonsense about the fabric of time and how one day soon humans will be zipping around the universe by ripping holes in this fabric and doubling back something another when I suddenly see this commercial showing single Christians running around on the beach looking for love.


My guess is all of the atheist/agnostic types watching and hanging on every word of Freeman were pretty ticked. How dare they interrupt the very proof  that I am not in fact delusional?! This stuff is science!  Whatever Thomas Dolby.

(Side bar: I find it ironic that the very actor who played the role of the Almighty so elegantly in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty is selling this crap...but that's just me.)

Now the fact that an ad showing single Christians (or actors playing such) frolicking around and having a good time might actually irritate an atheist brought a smile to me face. No. I know that's not very WWJD. I'm working on it.

The commercial made me realize that, as a whole, Christians don't do a lot of advertising for our faith. Why? Are we worried about being politically correct or sensitive? Bah! Nonsense. Are we falling into some type of kumbaya let's all coexist mentality? Don't even get me started on that...again. Actually, I think we've, Christians that is,  just become complacent and lazy. Commercial advertising is a powerful force in our society. How else can you  explain the commercial success of all that junk Ronco sold for years? Pocket Fishman and Veg-O-Matic...come on!

I started thinking about targeted venues that would be perfect for Christian advertisements on just how wonderful a relationship with Jesus can actually be and the overall awesomeness of God, creator of all things. Since we don't won't the proverbial preaching to the choir scenario, the intended audience would need to be mostly comprised of non-believers, backsliders and the theologically confused. Here's just a few possibilities...

1.  Popular beach destinations. No brainer. Practically the Sodom and Gomorrah's of modern days. People are half naked, all those pineapple filled drinks with the little umbrellas, and the misconception that God doesn't like hot weather. Nothing would remind people faster that God doesn't take vacations, He's still everywhere than looking up and seeing that messaged being pulled behind an airplane while you're sunbathing. Brilliant!

2.  The Disney Channel/Cartoon Network. Look at the success the tobacco industry has had getting customers started young. They've build lifetime loyalty. Albeit often shortened lifetimes, but hey...a sale's a sale...get it while you can. There's potential here for a two birds, one stone kill too. Maybe the kids will take hold of the message and minister to the very parents who neglect them by allowing them to watch too much television. Brilliant!

3. NASCAR. Whoa Nelly... wait, wrong sport...Boogity Boogity, Boogity! While Darrell Waltrip is famous for those words, he's also very outspoken about his Christian faith. NASCAR has a number of pious participants I'm glad to say, so why doesn't the Church (notice the capitalization please) sponsor a car? I can't think of a more cost effective means of advertising our faith than putting the message on a stock car going around in a circle in front of a captivated, often intoxicated, crowd of 100K plus...not to mention the millions of TV viewers. Now that's...Brilliant!

That just scratches the surface of the numerous opportunities ripe for the Christian advertising taking. Have an idea? Be sure to leave it in the comments section. I'll make sure you get credit when your idea becomes the next "Where's the beef?!"  success story.'s the WWJD thing to do.

*I confess to watching these type of shows so I can heckle and berate them out loud. I just didn't want you to think I was strange or something. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everybody have fun tonight...everybody Wang Chung tonight!

To all the people who are losing money today...I'm sorry...again.

I know a lot of people never thought yours truly would reach this many trips around the sun above ground, and I hate to disappoint. Okay. Not really.

Thanks to a drastic change in lifestyle a decade or so ago, the Big Guy apparently has given me a new lease on life. While it's very much still a work in progress, I'm very appreciative every June 15th for another year of opportunities to serve Him.

Birthdays take on a completely different semblance when you reach a certain age, and that point is definitely well in my rear view mirror. The annual celebration of my arrival into this world is marked personally by a day or so of inner reflection. No so much on a grand scale...more of a year in review type reflection. Since Tony C Today is sort of an intimate recording of what's going on in my life at any particular moment in that year, I went back and looked at post since last June 15.

Not very telling...

Or is it? The major event for me in the past year was certainly the addition of my little Eden Blakely. Her first cry was on December 2 which was ironically the day after my mother's birthday. I'm very blessed to have them both in my life. As a matter of fact, I'm very blessed to be surrounded by a number of females most every day. There's also my soul mate and best friend Mrs. Tony C, the Teenager and Crazy Tomato at home; my sister, mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law; that nutty bunch at church on the Praise Team I get to spend several hours a week with in fellowship and service; my favorite co-worker across the hall that makes my workday always a little brighter; the young ladies in my Sunday School class that I lift in prayer daily (that includes the ones there every week and the ones, well, not); and I can't forget my female blogging/social media buddies.

I don't mean to slight my male friends that are just as dear to me...I'm just not feeling very gay today.

I left my grandmother out for a reason because she gets special notice. My beautiful grandmother turned 97 less than two weeks ago. God bless her. She's as feisty as ever and still gets around great. I hope that gene made it into my pool...

Sometimes I wonder if I'd really like to make it to be 99 years old. Notice I said wonder and not worry. Only God knows the appointed time He will call me Home. I very much look forward to that reunion. Not because I want to leave all the blessings in my life behind. No. That's just not the reason at all. It's not even to leave all the troubles of this life behind. Living life is meant to build a strong character as we are told in the Book of James. As our character matures through the troubles and trials of this life...we better understand and appreciate the hope found only in our Father.

If He leaves me here to celebrate number 99, my prayer is He leaves my love with me, so we can celebrate 60 years of marriage together here before Eternity. I know we'll spend that time in service and appreciation of Him.

My hope is that your next birthday is as blessed as mine is today...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Actually, I don't even own a pair of overalls...

An early inspiration for Tony C Today.

I've been known to poke a little fun at my own southern culture from time to time on this blog...

Yes. It's true. Now that doesn't mean I'm not proud to be from the South, or God's country as we like to refer to it here. Having lived a number of different places outside the South in my life, I completely understand why people from other parts of the country are moving here in droves. What does surprise me though is the apparent disappointment that occurs when carperbag...I'm mean people not from the South arrive and find it's not what they completely expected.

Let me elaborate please...

While it's true people in the South are overall generally resistant to change, we do actually have electricity and running water in our homes. Shocking to some...I'm sure. We actually graduated from the wood-stove heated log cabin some years back (although we keep a few around for purely historical reference and as hunting lodges), and the outhouse is a distant memory. Southerners now commonly use the porcelain throne like most other Americans...though if we're outside, we still often pee in the backyard so not to track dirt in on the rug going in the house. Makes perfect sense to us.

Not only do we have shopping malls, they actually contain stores like Gap, Abercrombie and Pottery Barn. Granted Sears and J.C. Penney's are usually mall anchors, but we don't just go there for the catalog anymore. Wait...that's my second outhouse reference in only my second overall point. Oh well. Bathroom humor is funny wherever you live...except maybe Antarctica.

Southerners think much faster than we talk. Is that such a bad thing?  We also coined the phrase shoot first and ask questions don't say you haven't been warned.

Not everyone from the South listens to Elvis music and goes to a Baptist church. Okay. So maybe I do both, but I have plenty of Episcopalian friends that listen to Coldplay...or what's his name...Usher! No. We're typically not very good liars either, because living here is hot enough...and hell is rumored to much hotter!

That's just a few of the stereotypical ideas people who move to the South are often disappointed or even confused not to find when they arrive...explaining why we're often now referred to as the Newer South.

Just a quick history review, the New South was post Civil War...the Newer South is post Hee Haw.

By the way, hee haw is onomatopoeia for the sound a donkey makes, but very few people actually own farm animals of any kind here...although my cousin does own a llama.  Bet now I've really blown your mind...

Monday, June 6, 2011

A picture is worth far fewer words today...due to inflation of course.


Americans are really just about everything you can imagine too.

A recent Newsweek/Daily Beast survey found people are aggravated on everything from the current debt crisis to even the Almighty. They're mad about the governments ineptitude to basically do anything, the economy as a whole, Democrats, Republicans. gas prices, big corporations, rich people, their marriages and even their sex lives. God only got a 33 percent approval rating! God Almighty!?

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm a survey junky. While I don't necessarily subscribe to the all-telling, truistic, finiteness of practically any survey result I take in, surveys are a good quick snapshot of any given moment/mood.

 I look at surveys the same way I look at photos. Take this one above for instance. That's a specific moment in a time captured after an evening church service when the Crazy Tomato: 1. hadn't warmed up yet to the person taking the picture, 2. was tired from a rather long day, and 3. was also mad because I wouldn't let her go pound on the drums while a group of people were talking in the sanctuary.

Does that make her necessarily a hateful child in general? Not at all. Sure, she has her moments...but then again...don't we all. 

Surveys are along the same lines. Taking a quick look at the temperament of a cross-section of society at any given moment in time could result in wild deviations in the results across a broader time fame. Now before some egghead starts berating me about the scientific reliability of properly conducted surveys, let me state for the record I've had several classes on probability and statistics. While I generally hated the classes, I did pay attention. My problem with the black and whiteness of survey results is the human factor can never truly be figured into them.

Example: You are arguing with your beloved over whose responsibility it is to put a new trash bag back in the can after it is emptied. Sure, logic would dictate the person taking the full bag out, but she's standing right there!  So down the steps you go taking the trash out, when the phone rings:

Hypothetical Spouse: (answering phone) Hello.

XYZ Surveyor: Good afternoon mame. I'm conducting a survey for XYZ  that will take just a moment. May I ask you a few short questions?

Hypo Spouse (still standing by the emptied, bag less trash can): Sure. Why not.

XYZ Surveyor: Thank you. Are you employed, yes or no?

Mrs. Ton...Hypothetical Spouse: Work like a dog trying to keep this house going. Think he appreciates what I do all day from begin to bedtime? The man never picks up his own clothes, so you can forget about helping with the kid's stuff. It never stops around here. Pick up this and clean off that all day long...he thinks taking the trash out on occasion is some monumental achievement! Does he think clean clothes just appear in his closet? I can tell you this, it would take Jesus Himself telling me to put a bag back in that can before I'll do it...that's right...I said that...Jesus Himself.

XYZ Surveyor: Okay. I'll mark yes. Thank you mame for your time. (hang up)

Hypothetical Spouse: That's it?!  What a dumb survey. Stupid. Dumb.

My example isn't intended to make anyone in particular look hateful...just a snapshot in time remember. I just didn't have an actual picture to correctly depict that particular moment.

Have I mentioned the Crazy Tomato looks a lot like her mom?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm no Charlie Brown...well, at least in one way.


I've never once claimed to be the best looking guy in the world...

But, I've never felt a pressing need to 'bag it' either. My philosophy has always been life should be lived to the fullest while playing with the cards the Man upstairs deals you. It's somewhat of a mixed metaphor...but I've both heard and used much worse analogies I'm sure.

Being average is okay with me...when it comes to looks that is. Yes, that's a huge assumption on my part, but I'm pretty confident in my statement of tolerable guise based solely on the fact I have a smoking hot wife. Now, don't go trying to bust my bubble  by throwing up some freak situations like Seal and Heidi Klum as a 'stranger things have happened' scenario. Despite not being able to publicly declare the fact (at least in her presence), there have been other attractive women that crossed the path of yours truly before Mrs. Tony C. (gasp)...please forget I said that...I beg of you!

You're probably thinking about right now that I'm having some type of self-esteem issue rear its ugly head creating an anxiety that I feel compelled to release by sharing with you. Sorry Dr. Phil...just ain't happenin'! People who truly know me are laughing about now because if there's any psychological disorder at work in my over-sized melon, the diagnoses would come closer to falling on the narcissistic side of the scale as opposed to any avoidance personality issues.

Confidence has never been an issue for me...a fact that has on occasions caused major problems in my life. But while I may not make the cover of People Magazine based solely on my swagger and my mug (and pray I never make it for any other reason), I'm not a complete moron either and capable of learning from all previously ego-driven problems that have occurred....including those that may have been driving related and cost me a lot of money in the end to fix (just knew my superior driving skills could overcome a little ice and an 18 percent grade...just knew it).

Let me just tell you how much my humility has grown...

A few weeks back my doctor decided, with (ahem) a little prodding from my spouse, that a sebaceous cyst needed to come off the back of my noggin.  Apparently, all parties involved (excluding me) felt my rather bulbous head had reached maximum capacity for all but industrial-sized pillows and relief was the only plausible option.

Hey, I'm a tough guy. A little cutting and stitching never bothered me, so I show up one early morning to have the little marble-sized bugger removed. Let me state for the record, even the most egotistical jerks would be taken a bit aback by the gasp and whisper of 'oh my...'  while having the back of your head examined.  Of course, the nurse piping in with 'we have plenty more pillows if you need them' didn't help either.

But all's well that ends well as they say. With the exception of the most heinous of haircuts and sitting on the back pew at church a few weeks, I'm proud to once again be sporting a symmetrical hat rack.

Keep in mind, a block can be symmetric,  and the fact now the bag can fit better too...just in case...

Whoa...that's one really bad haircut.