Archive for December, 2006


Your Holiday Apocalypse Gift-Buying Guide

December 19, 2006

The editor of the Baptist newsletter “The Biblical Recorder” (who, by the way, seems to me to be a reasonable man in most things, though I’ve heard it said that his Circulation Manager is the real brains of that whole operation and. I’ll just say it, deserves a hefty Christmas Bonus) seems a bit alarmed by the fact that the creators of the “Left Behind” series of apocalyptic fiction books have come out with a nifty new computer game in which players, operating in a post-tribulation nightmare world, seek to “convert the uncommitted and kill the forces of the U.N.-like “Global Community Peacekeepers”:

It certainly appears as though the Peddlers of Apocalypse have failed to rapture — I mean capture — the Good Doctor’s fancy with this particular product. And I don’t blame him. After all, who wants their kids to waste these last few precious hours on earth pretending to slaughter infidel U.N. soldiers in the name of Jesus?

Not me. I want my kids to spend their borrowed time on this doomed earth reading about the horrors of post-tribulation life. Lucky me, the good folks at “Left Behind” offer a vast array of end-of-the-world products that no god-paranoid family should be without.

(A disclaimer: Feel free to explore the link and read no further. Commenting on this stuff is really just gilding the proverbial lilly anyhow. I simply can’t help myself.)

Seriously, folks, these are must-have holiday items. There’s something for every member of your family. Waking up to a “Left Behind” product on Christmas morning will be the next best thing to waking up in heaven!

For the kids, there’s a whole series of young adult novels featuring the “Young Trib Force,” a feisty collection of formerly hell-bound teenagers just trying to make sense of a world gone mad, holding out for the establishment of a cool New Jerusalem. The authors of this series certainly know how to make the most of a bad situation. The first book in the series is subtitled “Four Kids Face Earth’s Final Days Together.” I presume things only get worse in the ensuing thirty-nine volumes. My personal favorite and holiday pick is “#34: Bounty Hunters: Believers in the Crosshairs.” That’ll give the neighborhood skateboarders something to chew on.

Let’s face it, your wife has probably already polished off the original series. (63 million sold, after all.) So if you don’t want to be treated like the Antichrist on Christmas night (wink-wink), better give her the movie, in which only Kirk Cameron and a few of his friends are left once Jesus claims his own. (No word on whether Boner is Left Behind, although judging from that one time when he snorted coke in the bathroom on Growing Pains, I kinda doubt Jesus is going to snatch him up on the first trip.)

Finally, for the military-minded or the political junkie in your family, two separate trilogies fill in gaps in the original series with outlandish plots like this one:

In a single cataclysmic moment, First Sergeant Samuel Adams “Goose” Gander finds himself center stage in the opening act of the Apocalypse. Goose and the men of the 75th Army Rangers fight to survive a massive attack on the Turkish-Syrian border. Battling his own failing faith, Goose prays for the lives of his men and the innocents who are caught in the rain of bullets and missiles.

A little far-fetched for me, but to each his own.

I’ve given my own family the heads up that I’ll be doing all my Christmas shopping at the Left Behind store, and they assure me they’ll be spending Christmas Eve night praying for God to come take them away before morning. Mission Accomplished!

And if you don’t hear from me before then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New…well, we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.



Me and Funky Marie Curie

December 8, 2006

I swear the stainless beast winked at me from across the broad floor of the Goodwill Thrift store. Maybe it was just the glint of hard fluorescent lighting off its stainless steel shell, but at the time I would have sworn that it was flirting.

Having taken care of the essentials of moving into a new place — heat, electricity, DirecTV and DVR — my roomate and I are left with just two pressing issues inre: the new apartment. Namely, a washer/dryer and a microwave. Neither of us are ready to talk laundry, so starting last Saturday I set about tackling the microwave situation. My goal was to find a suitable oven at or around twenty dollars. Something small, two knobs…simple and cheap. Needless to say simple and cheap at even the bargainest of bargain stores will run you forty bucks easy, so by the beginning of the work week I resorted to Goodwill.

Which brings me back to the beauitful shiny brand new microwave/grilling oven tucked away in the corner of Goodwill. The owner’s manual was still inside. I didn’t think you could make a microwave out of metal, but the inside of this one was just as diamond-polished and spectacular as the outside. Unable to find a price tag, I called a clerk over.

“Sixty-five dollars,” she said. “New from Target.”

At what cost, such beauty? Such elegance? I deliberated. I sweated. I besseched the heavens for guidance. I rent my clothing and pulled out clumps of hair, so troubled was I by the consumer choice that confronted me.

“I’m not cleaning up that hair,” she said.

“Maginificent bastard.” I was only vaguely aware that she’d spoken.


“I was talking to the oven.”

“No talking to the appliances until you’ve purchased them. Goodwill policy.” I followed the trajectory of her finger to a sign on the wall.

Absolutely No Talking to Appliances.

Very well then.

Decision time. I took one last look at my stainless steel mistress, reached deep inside my soul, and purchased the ten-dollar GE Spacesaver II on the floor beside it.

microwave.jpgAnd it was a good decision. you can’t get any more funky, after all, than a ten-dollar microwave. Especially this one: a fifty-pound, wood-grained marvel from the days when the ability to mount your microwave oven on the bottom side of your cabinets was a huge deal.

I mean huuuge.

I now own the ’57 Chevy of microwave ovens. A Classic. It’s furniture, is what it is.

It sports twenty-two buttons on the front panel, including ones that say:


“Cook and Watch”


“Auto Bake”

I stood in front of the thing for fifteen minutes that first night trying to cook a bowl of instant grits. I set the clock fine, no problems. Then I set the timer for one minute and pressed start, only to watch the timer count down silently with no dicernable cooking going on whatsoever.

I was afraid I’d just laid down ten dollars for a fifty-pound egg-timer. Luckily, the “Cook and Watch” button fired up the spacesaver’s reactor immediately, although the timer counted up instead of down…thus the necessity to “watch” while you “cook.”

Which raised another question. How closely should i really watch a twenty year-old microwave in operation? She’s go to be leaking deadly waves, after all. And having eschewed the optional “Cancer Insurance” in my benefits package, I need to be careful. So I dove out of the kitchen and huddled against the living room wall, counting seconds on my wristwatch.

Of course I’d have to go back in there to shut the damned thing off. If I couldn’t figure out another way to turn it on, I’d have to invest in one of those lead vests that x-ray technicians wear. Small Price to pay, funky being by nature a tenous state and requiring constant vigilence to maintain.

Anyway, cowering there in the living room in the tornado drill position, I came up with the perfect name for my new old microwave:

Marie Curie.

“Marie Curie would murder a bag of microwave popcorn,” I proudly told my friend M.

“Why do you call your microwave Marie Curie?” M asked.

“Because she like, invented radioactivity,” I asnwered.

“That’s stupid,” she said. “Radioactivity is not the same as microwaves.”

“It’s similar,” I said.

“Not really,” she maintained. “I mean, they’re both invisible.”

“Exactly,” I said. 1-0 me.”

She then went on to say something about the properties of waves, radioactive elements, fissable materials, and other useless physics jargon that I couldn’t follow because of this weird piercing headache I seem to be getting a lot lately.

“Ok,” I said finally. “I’ll call it 1-1 if you stop talking. They can both make you sick. That’s 2-1 me.”

The problem with M is that she can never admit when she’s wrong, even after being so clearly bested in argument.

“Screw you,” she said. “You’re gonna get brain cancer.”

That’s ok.

Only the funky die young.