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Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.
– John Wayne
THE COUNSEL OF THE WICKED
I remember talking with a young man in jail. He was telling me that his family had hired a lawyer to get him out (whom I always heard was a good attorney) but he wasn't sure he wanted to trust the lawyer. I asked him why.
He responded that the other guys in his jail block didn't trust this lawyer. He said THEY didn't think he ought to let the man represent him. And then he said, "They ought to know because they'd been to court plenty of times."
And I thought to myself -- you've got to be kidding me!There's a reason why these guys are in jail! They weren't smart enough to STAY out to begin with, and now that they're in... they aren't smart enough to GET out! AND THESE were the men my friend wanted to rely on for advice?
· Don't walk in the counsel of the wicked
· Don't stand in the way of the sinners
· Don't sit in the seat of mockers.
Don't listen to these people. They'll just get you to doing and thinking things that are going to hurt you.
In 1976 the British astronomer Patrick Moore made an announcement on BBC Radio 2. He said this: "At 9:47 a.m. today there will be a 'once-in-a-lifetime' astronomical event occurring." He said that listeners could experience it in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity.
Patrick Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, Radio 2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. The date was 1st April 1976.
Thomas Carlyle once said, “Show me the man you honor and I will know wh...
On 1st April 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in an American newspaper announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" especially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger, etc.), but all the items were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The next day, Burger King issued a follow-up.
The follow-up press release said that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others [had] requested their own 'right handed' version."
Our Own Folly
The murder of millions by the hands of the Nazi's during WWII is seen as one of the most evil acts of history. Considering how this was allowed to occur, a group of ministers met to discuss why the church in Germany had failed to take a stand against the evils of the Third Reich. Some of them tried to justify their actions by appealing to the "demonic forces" that had led them astray. But another minister stood up and said: "Gentlemen, we have all been very foolish". When it comes to theological error therefore, we should all beware the wiles of Satan without overlooking our own seemingly boundless capacity for folly.
(Source: R. Alan Cole: The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: IVP, 1965. p. 86).
As far as stupid ideas go, this was one of my better moments. I stayed after church one Tuesday night with a number of other kids in the youth group. We were just hanging out and talking for a bit. We were a pretty wild youth group to begin with, but if you know anything about young teenagers, you know that the more of them you put in the same place unsupervised, the stupider they get. Intelligence actually drops, that is a medically proven fact.
This time was no exception. We had been hanging out talking but eventually we got bored and wanted to do something. Now we had a really open church parking lot. One of the guys there had a video camera...which also seriously decreases the intelligence of the group. We proceeded to stack up a few bails of hay and started out by having someone sit in a shopping cart and we pushed them as fast as we could into the curb, which would launch them out of the cart into the pile of hay. This was great fun.
Then the cart broke...but we would not be deterred. We figured if a shopping cart was fun, a car would work even better. That little voice that tells you not to do things had gone on vacation for me. So I volunteered to get on the hood of the car and get ramped into the hay. The car went to the back of the parking lot I hopped on the hood and off we went. We got up to about 25 miles an hour before the driver slammed on the brakes and I was tossed from the car to the pile of hay. It worked out perfectly.
So we decided to do it again. This time with two of us. I got on one side and my friend Zach got on the other. Same deal, car sped up, this time to about 30 miles and hour and then slammed on the brakes. One problem: this time he slammed on the brakes a little earlier. I left the car first. I was thrown and rather than hitting the hay flat as I had the first time, I hit it head first. Zach, who stayed on the car a split second longer than I did, flew to the pile of hay and landed with his entire body on my head. The stray from the hay pierced the skin all over one side of my face, even going though the skin of my lip into my mouth. I went to school the next day as two-face...but it wasn’t Halloween.
THE RICH FOOL
Ortberg writes (and I have abridged it and translated it into proper English)
Once upon a time in the Silicon Valley, there lived a very important man.He routinely logged in 12-14 hours a day work and sometimes at weekends. He went to the Harvard School of Management, where he got top honours. He qualified in his chosen field and broadened his horizons by joining thge board of his professional institute. Indeed he joined a number of boards of directors to expand his contacts. He read business books on keeping up with the sharks and took leadership courses from Genghis Khan. Even when he wasn’t working, his mind would wander back to his job, which became not just his occupation but his pre-occupation.
He found the forty-hour work week such a good idea that he’d often do it twice a week. His wife tried to slow him down to remind him he had a family. He knew they were not as close as they had once been. He had not intended to drift away. It just seemed that she wanted time from him and that is just something he did not have time to give. Instead, he gave it all at the office.
He was vaguely aware that his kids were growing up and he was missing it. From time to time his kids would complain about the books he wasn’t reading to them and the games he wasn’t playing with them. "I am doing it all for them" he said. "Things will get better soon and our future will be assured."
He knew he wasn’t taking care of his body. His doctor told him that there were some very serious warning signs–-high blood pressure, high cholesterol-–and that he had to cut down on the chocolate, red meat and cigarettes, as well as start to exercise. So he stopped going to the doctor. There will be plenty of time for that he thought once everything settles down.
One day his chief operations officer came to see him and said: "You won’t believe this but business is booming so much that we can’t keep up with it. It’s a miracle. But with the present technology we just can’t keep up and make a killing." So he put the company through a technological revolution: New software, new computers. The buzz phrase was "24/7 accessibility," so much so that that he put phones and video conferencing into the toilets.
But as he sat at his computer rearranging the company, there was one microscopic detail that he had overlooked. An artery that had once been as supple as grass was now as dry and brittle as old cement. For more than half a century his head had been pumping 70 mililitres of blood with every contraction, 14 thousand pints each day, 100 thousand beats in 24 hours--all this without him ever sending a memo or giving it a performance review. Now it skipped a beat. Then another. And a third.
He gasped for air and clutched his chest. For a moment he was given the gift of blinding clarity. Even though he sat on the top of hundreds of organisational charts, it turned out that he wasn’t in control of his own pulse. Funny thing: thousands of employees on multiple continents would obey his every word with fear and trembling. But a few ounces of recalcitrant muscle brought him to his knees.
His wife woke up at 3am and he was still not in bed beside her. She went downstairs to drag him up to bed and saw him sitting there in front of the computer head on his desk. "This is ridiculous," she said the herself. "It’s like being married to a child. He would rather fall asleep in front of his screen than come to bed!"
She touched him on the shoulder to wake him up--but he did not respond and his skin was alarmingly cold. Panicking she rang 911 with a sinking heart. When the paramedics got there they told her he had suffered a massive heart attack.
His death was a major story in the financial community. His obituary appeared in the Times and the Telegraph. It was too bad that he was dead because he would have loved to have read what they said about him.
Then came the funeral service. Because of his prominence the whole community turned out. People filed past the open casket and commented how peaceful he looked. Rigor mortis will do that. Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. They’d ask the same foolish question that people ask when a rich man dies: How much did he leave behind. He left it all - everyone leaves...
PANTS ON THE GROUND
I believe the General, Larry Platt, was right. We are talking about something as simple as
"Pants on the ground, pants on the ground,
looking like a fool with yo' pants on the ground,
with the gold in yo' mouth, hat turned sideways,
pants hit da ground, call yourself a cool cat,
lookin' like a fool walkin' downtown
with your pants on the ground.
Git it up, hey! get yo' pants off da ground."
THE CRUISE: SILLY BUT UNSTOPPABLE
When we left for our cruise of Tampa, the cold weather from Erie finally caught up with us. While the high temperature here that Sunday was around 15 degrees, it was 66 degrees, cloudy and windy in Tampa. Better than here but not exactly what we were hoping for.
This wind created some very choppy seas as we left. Swells averaged 7 to 12 feet with lots of white caps. Our ship, the Veendam from the Holland America Line, was really a pretty small ship compared to some of the newer ships, especially in other lines, which was good for this weather, because these cruise ships with the wind blowing it are like giant sails. The bigger the ship, the more it gets tossed around. And it swayed and rocked. Back and forth. Whooosh! Whooosh!
My father, who is a travel agent, has been on tons of cruises with over 50 days on board. He said this was the worst that he had ever been on. Some of the crew remarked the same thing. When you walked, you went to the left and then to the right. Fortunately, the hallways are pretty narrow so that you had walls for support.
When you had to cross large open spaces, you sort of had to pick your mark and when the ship dipped, you ran to your mark. We called it the walk-run method. One might have thought that someone had spiked the coffee... and the tea, and the pop, and... Everybody looked like they were falling-down drunk. So people wouldn't get the wrong idea, for the first day I told people that I was a consultant because I didn't want somebody calling back here and telling you all that they had seen your pastor stumbling through the halls. Not really. I just told them we didn't want the communion wine to be wasted.
Of course, a few people fared worse than others, and they "tossed their cookies." I felt bad for them, but since I wasn't feeling real well myself, I didn't want to get too close. Sometimes the smell can causes some of us to have a "gag reflex." But I did feel bad for them. One woman was so apologetic. She felt really bad.
I thought about all the passengers who felt ill-suited for that first night. We all felt foolish walking into walls and slamming into doors. I'm sure we all looked pretty stupid walking around like we did. But we didn't let it stop us. I'm sure some people were probably too sick to leave their cabins, but for the most part, people went about the ship to check everything out.