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24th of August

Monticello, KY: Sinkholes and Higher Ground.


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Recently, my hometown suffered a total collapse of Main Street and closure of traffic into, and out of, downtown Monticello.


Fact: Wayne County sits atop the list (apart from Warren County, I believe) as being the most cave-heavy counties in all of Kentucky. And Kentucky boasts the largest cave systems in the world. So, I’m no engineer, but it’s safe to say that building above ground can sometimes have repercussions like this one from a few weeks back in my hometown.

The sink hole on Main Street is a nice comparison to seasons of our lives.

There are times when the ground seems firm, non-cavy. Then, there are times when the road literally collapses beneath our feet (or vehicles), and we’re stranded…or, worse still, devoured by earth and caves.

I say all of this to say–I often forget about my place in the world-at-large.

I mean, I know I’m a citizen of the U.S.A. I know God loves me more than I ever deserve. But, I guess, on a more selfish level, I forget where I’m even standing. Really. The ground I’m walking upon. Day-to-day treading.

Whether it’s Monticello, KY or outside the Taj Mahal in India, there are similarities inside each and every person’s day-to-day existence. There are caves beneath us and risks of falling through at any moment. Our footing might feel firm, but the ground can still give way. Much like an earthquake and it’s destructive capabilities in a matter of seconds, the earth can swallow us whole.

Should we live in fear? No, of course not. But, should we remember where we stand? I wholeheartedly believe so.

Each day is a gift. For a million reasons, I should give thanks. And if for no other reason than just this one at the moment, I give thanks for not being swallowed by the ground I walk upon…not yet anyways.


 

(For funny, continual updates on the progress of the Monticello sinkhole, feel free to follow him/her/it on Twitter @Monticellosink1  Apparently, the sinkhole has a lot going on. Enough to warrant Twitter updates.)

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18th of August

Worst Movie You’ve Ever Seen On Netflix?


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Worst movie you’ve ever seen on Netflix? …Go!

 

My friends and I use a ‘Bottom 100’ list featured on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

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It features, you guessed it, the worst-rated 100 movies by viewers in all of cinematography. The list changes, but not as often as you’d expect. (The Bottom 100 are just that bad.) We also use other sites with “Worst of All-Time” lists such as: Rotten Tomatoes (summarized by Wikipedia).

Not bragging, but I can safely say we’ve (collectively speaking here) seen more BAD movies than you could ever fathom watching.

Why would I make this claim?

Because for 2+ years, we’ve made a point to find the worst of the worst in the rankings (0-10 point scale). Anything below a 6.0 is bad for IMDB standards. The ones we look at–rarely top a 4/10. So…as we hover around films in the 1.0-3.9 range, we are seeking out some of the worst.

Why do this to ourselves?

  • Great question.

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For some reason, we are intrigued (like others out there) by BAD movies.

Questions like:

How did this get made? Why would anyone in their right mind direct this? Pay money for this? Sit through 2 hours of this?

We’ve asked the same questions, but all while “in our community” where we feel less bad about ourselves, as we TRY to sit through most of them. There’s a lot to be said for seeing atrocious films with your best friends. (Huggable moment here.) Of the ‘Bottom 100’ we’ve seen approximately half of them.

There have been some real stinkers. And some, we didn’t know if we COULD make it through…to the credits. To date, we’ve only stopped on 1. (I. Don’t. Understand. That. One. At. All.)

But, you’re probably wondering: What in the world is this list? I want to go past the ‘Bottom 100’ and list the ones we’ve sat through. It’ll give a little insight for those curious about self-torture 101. It looks something like this, and I’m sure friends will come to my rescue for the films I’ve neglected:

And yes, Troll 2 (1990) was what started it all.

t2(It’s not connected to Troll 1, and it’s not about Trolls at all.)

 

  1. Final Justice (1985)                                            IMDB rating: 2.0
  2. Son of the Mask (2005)                                     IMDB rating: 2.1
  3. Soultaker (1990)                                                 IMDB rating: 2.2
  4. Alone in the Dark (2005)                                  IMDB rating: 2.3
  5. Gigli (2003)                                                         IMDB rating: 2.3
  6. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)  IMDB rating: 2.5
  7. Tees Maar Khan                                                 IMDB rating: 2.5

(Those outside the IMDB ‘Bottom 100’ worth noting)

  • In the Name of the King  (2007                  IMDB rating: 3.7
  • Prototype X29A (1992)                               IMDB rating: 3.5 (How?)
  • 2-Headed Shark Attack  (2012)                  IMDB rating: 2.5
  • The Stuff (1985)                                             Rare 5.9 rating*
  • Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)                         IMDB rating: 3.4
  • Metal Tornado (2011)                                   IMDB rating: 3.3
  • 500 MPH Storm (2013)                               IMDB rating: 2.2
  • 100 Degrees Below Zero (2013)                 IMDB rating: 2.5
  • Zombeavers (2014)                                       Rare 4.8 rating*
  • Attack of the 50-ft Cheerleader (2012)     Rare 4.5 rating*
  • Gingerdead Man Part 3 (2011)                   IMDB rating: 3.8
  • Batman & Robin (1997)                               Rotten Tomatoes: 3.7
  • Birdemic: Shock & Terror (2007)              Huffington Post: “truly, one of the worst films ever made”
  • Mac & Me (1988)                                          Rotten Tomatoes: 0
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)    No words.
  • DeepStar Six (1989)                                     Rotten Tomatoes: 2.5
  • Tees Maar Khan (2010)                               IMDB rating: 2.5
  • Class of Nuke Em High (1986)                 IMDB rating: 5.6 (How?)

…And the list continues onward (and DOWNWARD), because tons of bad movies are being made–by Director Uwe Boll and others–each and every day.


Not saying it’s for everyone, but watching a bad movie can sometimes be quite the treat. It makes movies like Star Wars even more spectacular, when/if you ever return to good films.


Side note:

It’s great fun seeing what Netflix ‘recommends’ for you after you’ve added movies like Troll 2. This is where a lot of the ‘discoveries’ are made. Then, you call friends up, ‘Let’s watch In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.’ And they’re like, ‘Your place or mine?’

 

 

 

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16th of August

Baptisms & Dogs free on Kindle this week!


Hey readers, BAPTISMS & DOGS – FREE promotion on Kindle (Monday – Friday)!

“Baptisms & Dogs” is set in the small town of Seton, Kentucky. The residents are grumpy, jobs scarce. In these “slice of life” moments, it’s anything but warm, puppy dog tales. From sunup to sundown, this 581-person town looks over its shoulder, praying for release. Will it come? Available on Amazon at:

http://amzn.com/B00LAFKRBQ

If you’ve already read BAPTISMS & DOGS, would you consider helping us spread the word about the free download?

 
Be Sociable, Share!

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12th of August

Writing a Book Is Difficult.


IMG_04801 (Bad smell, bad headache, bad day look)

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4th of August

I’m not alone! (‘8 things that Baffle me’ contd.)


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My 8 Things that Baffle Me’ (contd.) and their SUPPORT from sources around the web. Check em out:

1.) Disconnecting from tech is important. Connecting with people is important as well. (Spend time with your people!)

2.) I’m still not completely on-board with this one, but apparently they work: banana hangers.

3.) Disney World, according to Jim Gaffigan. He Agrees! that Disney isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

4.) Not just Nicki Minaj (but pop music industry as a whole) is getting worse…louder (about 1 decibel every 8 years).

5.) Sunscreen burns other peoples’ skin too: read here.

6.) Because we could all use a refresher on roundabouts. No shame.

7.) Primaries!! This site helped me understand the ones closer to my home. I’m sure there’s a site out there for every geographic area.

8.) Flavored chips and its link to illness. It’s science. And…if your stomach hurts like mine does after eating them, I recommend staying away from some of these options, especially #20. Blueberry flavored?

Violet Beauregarde, of Willy Wonka fame, would be proud of that flavor.

gal-wonka-violet-blueberry-jpg

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31st of July

8 Things that Baffle Me.


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(LOOK AT THAT GIANT EGG! It’s so hot out there you could fry an egg on the sand!)

Call it a heightened sense of awareness brought on by less structured Summer months – with more time to think and whatnot – but these things have registered (and brought on conundrums) this year. See if your list and mine share any similarities. If you’d like to comment, please do so on this page. I believe, we can have a civil discussion about this list (except #2. My mind is made up on that one!).

Here they are. My 8 Things that Baffle Me (in no particular order):

 

1.) Why GoGo exists at all (Do we really need high-speed Internet a mile into the sky on some flights that only last 45mins? Can I go without sending that text, watching that movie at least that long? I pray so.)

2.) Banana hangers (Bed Bath & Beyond sells them by the truckload. Guilty: I own one. Does my banana need to be tricked into thinking it’s still hanging on a tree in Ecuador? Is it good to ripen all of the bananas at once? Won’t we just have to eat them even quicker? Hey! What are all of these gnats doing around my bananas. It’s that darn HANGER I bought. Well played, BBB. Well played.)

3.) Disney World (and its presence towards the consumer, the crowds, the Orlando-Kissimmee St. Cloud-I-75 mess, the mice. See you at Harry Potter world this fall?)

4.) Nicki Minaj (a la the majority of music created in the past 5 years. Is Taylor Swift country or isn’t she?)

5.) Why sunscreen burns the skin (Isn’t it supposed to protect us from burns?)

6.) Roundabouts (saw someone going the wrong direction in one earlier this week and…well.)

7.) Primaries (Closed, Open, Semi-Open, Semi-Closed, Blanket, Nonpartisan Blanket, Unified…blah bleh bluh)

8.) Why flavored chips make me sick if eaten on an empty stomach (especially Pringles Sour Cream & Onion. Total nausea.)

 

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29th of July

Timeliness. “Is that smoke a good sign?”


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I mentioned my vacation a few weeks back. The one where we swam with a Sea Carp. The same week where I followed a fellow vacationer around (unbeknownst to him or me) for almost 9 days and accidentally found him in an unlocked bathroom 1,500 miles from our original destination. Remember that one?

Well, time has a constant tie-in to everything we do on this planet.

I say all of that, because I read this headline last week: Fire breaks out on Royal Caribbean ship.

When you read something like that (and realize it was the ship you traveled on not 2 weeks prior), it puts things in perspective quickly.

Now, I’ve read the article and it looks like the damage was reparable and no one was hurt during the blast, but still…scary nonetheless. Especially since the Freedom of the Seas was a ship just revamped and renovated earlier this year to accommodate 67 more rooms. I’m glad everyone followed protocol and participated in the emergency drill and the one crewman with the injury was treated (and is recovering).

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But, this update caused me to think about time as it spins onward and without pause.

It ALL matters. Every bit of it. Time with family and daily stuff and interactions with your favorite (and least favorite) people. Planning a vacation, taking the dog for a walk, and even getting an oil change. All of it matters on the spectrum of your time on this planet.

So we must make it COUNT. We aren’t guaranteed a safe flight, family reunion, or even a long, memory-filled life. But, it’s crazy to not pursue those things, when God gives us another breath to seek them.

The fire could’ve happened when we were on-board the Freedom of the Seas (even though it didn’t). The ship could’ve been stranded for weeks. It could’ve been disastrous. And…even though it didn’t happen that way and we weren’t there when it did…I’m thankful for the perspective it’s offering. The awareness of the here and now.

You might read my words and think this strictly conjecture. I’m reaching for something that’s not there. But, I wouldn’t argue that anyways. It would defeat my whole purpose in telling you TIME is a precious commodity. Don’t wait for something when you can thank God for the ability to go after it straightaway. (I’m taking my own advice here as I type.) What else were we put on this Earth for anyways?

The Great Commission is, verbatim: “GO and MAKE disciples of all nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and TEACHING them to obey everything I have COMMANDED you.”

That’s it. In summary. The ship didn’t sink, and we weren’t on it. But it doesn’t mean we wait around for the next one to go down either. We gotta move, live, love, and listen to God. Daily.

 

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24th of July

The Summer Cold


cold-life-06-23-1941-077

 

 

 

 

For 2 weeks, I’ve been in a fistfight with – the Summer Cold.

 

Related to the Common Cold of Winter months (somehow). The Summer Cold has power and it wields it mightily. For weeks. Precious Summer weeks.

I can attest to its power.

 

Two Saturdays ago, I blamed it on pollen. HAHA

Chattanooga, TN has the highest pollen index (yes, that’s a real thing) in the nation. And, I’m from southern Kentucky where pollen begats more pollen and the bees even pray for release. But, I blamed pollen. Then, I blamed Chattanooga. Said, “Aw, it’ll go away when it rains.”

Pshaw. It didn’t go away. And, I spent the better part of last Saturday, trying to walk.

My highlight (or lowlight) was a BP gas station.

I had a DVD in my possession and it was due back at a Redbox ASAP. So, I saw the red, metal tube in my periphery, and decided to pull over for gas and return the disc.

I stepped out of the vehicle and a nearby temperature gauge read 96 or something. The sweat beaded on my forehead. My nostrils were red from paper towels, friction. I managed to lift the gas lever, swipe the card, push Unleaded 87. Then, when the tank clicked full, I felt my sore nose again, and my head – close to spontaneous combustion.

I looked longingly towards the Redbox–a distance of only 100 feet–and said to myself, Feet, you can do this, and I sneezed. I stopped dead in my tracks. It’s one of the few times I considered succumbing to an ailment and I’ve had a few (heart surgery, diabetes). But, the feet kept moving somehow. The will to live.

I pushed ‘Return Movie’ and let the machine do its retrieval. For a second, I hallucinated that it struggled in the 100-degree blazes to take the movie from my clammy hands. It chug-chug-chugged but eventually clasped the disc and safely tucked it away, inside its metal heart.

I turned and realized I’d forgotten my shades at home, my vampire moment was coming to fruition. A sunburn could happen in a matter of seconds. But, I found my car’s door. I slid into the seat and clung to its fabric as it did mine. I pulled onto the highway without looking either direction and struggled to locate a Kleenex, somewhere anywhere.

To my surprise (and thanks to God), the vehicle found its way home. I was a happy returnee. Saturday bled into Sunday and now, the next Friday. I believe, with my whole heart, Summer Colds are genuine clingers.

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15th of July

Carpe the Carp.


carpe-diem-1542865

 

I saw a fish on vacation that made me realize it was closest in personality to me. Not an exotic Mahi Mahi. Nope. Not even a treacherous Barracuda. I am closest in disposition to…yes, that’s right: the Caribbean Sea Carp.

Have you seen one of these before?

They are funny looking. And just plain funny.

They like to get out in the sandy parts of the coral reefs and roll around.

My wife and I brought our goggles and snorkeled on Seven Mile Beach at Grand Cayman last week, and I wanted to see “Bigger Fish” than the ones flapping along the shoreline.

So out I went. No life jacket. No flippers even. The water was SUPER clear. And out about 200 yards there were buoys tied off (and weighed down) to the ocean bottom.

There were sea urchins and prickly things everywhere, so I was cautious not to put my feet down anywhere. My goggles allowed me to see everything resting on the bottom.

Whoseits and whatsits galore.

Then, I spotted the big, beastly tumbler that is the beloved Sea Carp.

He blended into the orangish, golden ocean sand quite well. But, his movements gave him away. As I approached him, he rolled and spun over and over again in pure delight. I put my hand out, and he didn’t even try to swim away like the other (smarter) fish. He just kept spinning, reaching into coral, knocking up sand and making the water dusty. I signaled for Leah to join me out there, but the urchins weren’t too inviting without flippers. So, I paddled around out there as long as I had strength and eventually told the thirty-pound bumbler goodbye.

When I got back to the shoreline, I exaggerated the carp’s size to everyone around us, but I knew what I saw. He was quite the spectacle; his aloofness to all those two-legged giants was quite appealing, I thought.

It got me to thinking about humans. Humans. Our purpose. The way we’re made. It made me smile that the Sea Carp resonated so deeply. He just wanted to enjoy the coral, food, and waves; he let them move him around constantly. I thought he had the right idea. Maybe we shouldn’t fight waves all day, everyday? Maybe rolling around and enjoying what’s set before me isn’t so bad? I appreciate God giving all that He has already.

If I’m like any fish, I’d say this fish in the Caribbean is probably the closest match. I hope I can keep the contentment up and the urge to flee my surroundings down.

Happy Hump Day!

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14th of July

New Publication.


LOBSTER MEAT IS SWEET –

brian-tucker-christine-stoddard-lobster-meat-is-sweet

(artwork representing this story by Christine Stoddard, 2015, now on physical display in Washington, DC).

Hey guys & gals! My new story “Lobster Meat is Sweet” is now available for reading on Story Shack Magazine here. Check it out and let me know what you think. Love y’all! Thanks for reading my stories and supporting my insanity. God bless you this week.

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