From the Desk of Mr. Zissman

The musings of an over-stimulated mind

Archive for August 2009

I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS

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One of the many joys I experience in this world is my Sunday School class that I teach. The real number of students is sometimes a bit unpredictable and I can have as a little as three to as many as eleven or twelve in some cases. Either way, I try to make sure that no matter how many kids I am teaching, they all walk away with a good lesson.

When I first took the teaching gig, it was for the first Sunday of every month and my grandmother was my assistant teacher. At first, I didn’t take the assignment too terribly seriously and would often not plan my lessons till I was actually walking downstairs to the class room. It would usually consist of a quick 5-10 minute speech and then coloring for the rest of the class. I tried too hard to be the “cool” teacher and figured I would give them a break from the usual arts and crafts and umpteenth singing of “Jesus Loves Me.”

But one day, while our church was hosting a youth conference which was composed of other churches from North Central Ohio, something happened that changed me. The whole day had been highly entertaining, with give-aways, prizes, funny skits and singing. The kids (ranging anywhere from 5-16) seemed to be enjoying themselves and loved the free pizza and sports merchandise we gave away. (Gotta admit, I was jealous of the kid who won the 1:24 scale Jeff Gordon diecast.) Everything seemed fine when the guest speaker took the podium for the final event of the night. He was an older gentleman, whom I would have put in mid-to-late 70’s, with a face of stone and eyes like daggers. My first clue should have been the fact he started off his ‘message’ by going “Please try and stay awake for my sermon, children.”

Uh-oh.

What followed next could only be described as some sort of horrible train-wreck of epic measures. This man began to scream in a near-senile frenzy, his face red and sweaty, the veins bulging in his neck as he slammed his fist down on the altar/podium. His voice cracked like Old Testament thunder and roared like a holier-than-thou lion as he screamed to the children about how shaved heads and Elvis (not making this up, by the way) would all be one way paths to damnation. The last straw came when I saw my Pastor’s grandson sheepishly pull up his hooded sweatshirt to hide his recently shaved head.

I stormed out of the church as soon as his ‘sermon’ was over, not even bothering to shake his hand like my Pastor had requested the church to do. I felt so bad for those kids and ashamed that they had to hear this. Not ONCE was love, forgiveness of sins, or grace ever mentioned. Instead we got a demented ranting that bullied, humiliated and served no other purpose then for a bunch of middle-aged white guys to slap themselves on the back going “A-men!” at how awesome Christians they are.

No thank you.

This was sort of my turning point and from then on I vowed I would actually take the time to come up with lessons that would allow the kids to grow closer to Jesus and not shackle them to restrictions that seemed to have come from ‘Footloose’.

I eventually left my church for several months and attended else where. During this time, I felt my spiritual growth sky-rocket thanks to the wonderful preaching at this new place and, due to several books I read by a man named Rob Bell. Eventually, I began to feel as if I was being called back to my old church and rejoined, now armed with the knowledge and growth I had occurred in my hiatus. Of course, I wanted to get right back into teaching, but my spot had already been filled up and there were no longer any openings. So I had to wait.

Eventually, a church member quit (which sadly seems to be happening more and more lately) and an opening appeared to take the fifth Sunday of each month, assuming such a Sunday would happen. Finally, August gave me a fifth Sunday and it was Go Time.

I had read about an awesome Sunday School lesson a teacher had done in one of Rob Bell’s books, this one called ‘Velvet Elvis.’ (NOTE: You really need to read this book, Christian or Non-Christian.) The point of the lesson was that there is the capability of good in all people, no matter how miniscule or small it may seem, and no matter how toxic the person would appear to be on the outside.  Because since we are created in God’s own image, then the essence of God lives in us.

My tools for this mission included a large mixing bowl, a large spoon, one egg, some flour, some sugar, some chili powder, some garlic powder and some Italian herb seasoning.  Oh and I had my ring too. I started off by telling the children how much I had missed them and how embarrassed I was by not grabbing my lesson planner, but accidentally grabbing my mother’s cooking supplies instead.

“But, so we won’t let this day go to waste, I figure I’ll just teach you how to make brownies instead. Sound good?” I said. Of course, they jumped at the concept and soon I had the large bowl in front of me. I quickly added the sugar, flour, some water and an egg and mixed it all up. Their little eyes were glued to every stir, which made the next part even more epic. “And now we had the secret ingredient, Garlic Powder. Mmmm….garlic.” I added a couple of dashes of the strong-smelling powder, as the kids looked on as if I were doing a Mexican hat dance naked.

“That should at least keep the vampires away….” one of them joked. I nodded and stirred in the powder, before adding the Italian seasoning, and the chili powder. By now the concoction smelled like Chef Boyardee’s gym socks and its powerful aroma punished the nostrils of anyone nearby. Of course, I had to go around the room and offer each child a smell, watching with mild amusement as their little noses wrinkled in olfactory horror. Returning to my end of the table, I smiled triumphantly as I added the Secret Ingredient.

“And now, finally, I will add my ring.” I said, slipping it off and landing it in the bowl with a plop. I faked dipping my finger in the bowl and tasting it, doing my best to show a face that was a mixture of pure revulsion and culinary murder. “Well…this was not how I wanted this to turn out, at all.” I complained. Snapping the lid back on the container, I shrugged at my apparent failure at making brownies. “Oh well, guess I’ll just throw it all away.”

“Wait!” a little girl shouted. “You can’t throw it all away, what about your ring?” Bingo. This is exactly what I wanted them to do.

“Huh? Why wouldn’t I throw it away?” I said. “You saw how bad it tasted and smelled, right? It’s rotten…it’s foul, it’s horrible. No use for anything. It needs to go in the garbage.”

“But..but…” another kid protested. “Won’t your girl get mad you threw the ring she got you away?”

“I don’t know.” I said with a shrug. “But I don’t think she would have liked these brownies.”

“You can’t do this.” another kid protested. “Not with the ring in it.”

“So you’re saying, even though this is nasty and foul, there is still something of value in here? Something good?”

“YES!” they all said at once.

Having them right where I wanted them, I then explained how I was fibbing and actually had the nasty brownies as part of my lesson. They were obviously confused, so I took it a step further.

“How many of you have ever heard the song ‘Our God is An Awesome God’?” I asked. They all raised their hands. I then opened up my Bible (NIV) and read them Genesis 1:27.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him…

“So then,” I said. “If God is an awesome God and God made us in his own image, what does that make us?”

A short silence fell over the class before one of them quietly peeped up with “..awesome?”

“EXACTLY!” I said triumphantly. “We are all each awesome in our own special ways. As a matter of fact, we are exploding with awesome, so on the count of three, let’s all make explosion noises to show how awesome God has made us. Ready? 1..2..3!” (Thank you Michael Bay for this commercial, or else I never would have come up with this part.)

I went around the room and offered my opinion on what made each kid awesome. For example, one was a good singer, one was very funny, one was a good artist, etc. I said that no one was better than the other, but they are all equally awesome because God made them awesome, because God is awesome.

I then proceeded to write ‘C.O.A’ on the marker board and asked them if they knew what a Certificate of Authenticity was. Nobody did, so I explained how it was simply a piece of paper that said the autograph of a sports player or movie star is real and not a fake.

“But we’re not here to make Certificates of Authenticity.” I said. “No, today we are going to make Certificates of AWESOME!” I then erased ‘C.O.A’ on the marker board and instead wrote this…

CERTIFICATE OF AWESOME

1)

2)

3)

GENESIS 1:27

I explained to them they were to copy this form and list three things about them that made them awesome. The Genesis 1:27 was there so they would know it was God who made them awesome and I said they were free to decorate it however they wished once they were done.

The lesson went better than I could have ever hoped for. The kids, though a bit wound up, were easy to wrangle and hold their attention and they seemed to grasp and understand the lesson. Sadly, I have to wait till November for a fifth Sunday, but I am hoping maybe I can switch a teacher here and there to get more teaching time in. I love these kids and I want to make sure that they under there is more to being a Christian than xenophobia and a mistrust of anything different then things as they are. These kids are our future and if we don’t invest in them, who will?

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Written by MrZissman

08/30/2009 at 6:57 PM

Taste you can believe in

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Today I received a phone call from a phone number with a 202 area code. My cell phone’s caller ID not only shows me the number, but what city the caller is from as well. This one, apparently, happened to be Washington D.C. and after doing a quick Google search, I discovered it was a scam meant to rip of college students.

Needless to say, this broke my heart. Seeing a phone number from Washington D.C. made me think my homie B-Rock “The Islāmic Shock” Obama was calling me to invite me over for a beer. (I did vote for him, so he at least owes me that.) But no, it was some slimy ass scum bag scammers. And besides, I don’t drink beer and would probably ask B-Rock to bring me a Pepsi instead.

But this got me to thinking….Pepsi would be a wonderful way for B-Rock to stimulate the economy! Simply take all the money used for bailouts and Cash For Clunkers and instead build several big-ass Pepsi factories in states hit hardest by the recession. (ex: Ohio, Michigan, California, etc.) And all these Pepsi factories will only make Pepsi Blue, Pepsi Throwback and Crystal Pepsi. These brands ONLY.

Next I thought me and B-Rock could just split a 24-party pack, but then people would accuse him of being a dictator. So then I thought we would split some of it with random peeps in D.C., but then people would think he’s a Socialist! UGH. So I figured let’s go all capitalist on this and CHARGE people! You’d have to hire people to build the factories, and then hire people to work in them, and distribute them to the country. People collect a paycheck, they spend their money, money goes back into the economy.

Plus, this works out cause I miss Pepsi Blue and Crystal Pepsi and Pepsi Throwback should be a 24/7 brand, not some random seasonal crap. We could even get Sammy Hager to come out of retirement and sing “Right Now” to a Pepsi commercial.

RIGHT NOW….OVER 10,000 JOBS ARE BEING CREATED

RIGHT NOW….CRYSTAL PEPSI IS COMING BACK

RIGHT NOW…AMERICA IS GETTING A TASTE IT CAN BELIEVE IN

So Obama, if some chance you happen to stumble across my blog, PLEASE give me a call and let’s do this, man. We can do this, home skillet. It is a taste that I believe in.

Written by MrZissman

08/18/2009 at 12:55 AM

I am the GREAT CORNHOLE!

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[The commercial fades into a black and white shot of two prepubescent boys lounging around in a living room looking bored]

BILLY MAYS: Billy Mays here to tell you about the wonderful world of CORNHOLING! Tired of the same old, same old? Do X-Box games leave you drooling in a fit of near comatose boredom? Then try CORNHOLE! The game where you stand and throw bean bags!

[end commercial]

I love the fact they named the dog MATHMAN. MATHMAN! MATHMAN! MATHMAN!

I love the fact they named the dog MATHMAN. MATHMAN! MATHMAN! MATHMAN!

For those of you who grow up in the corn-fed midwest such as myself, you’ve probably been introduced to the game of Cornhole and all the glories it has. I can pretty much guarantee that for any family function I attend, someone is going to bring the cornhole boards.

Easter? Cornhole with Jesus!

Thanksgiving? Cornhole with the Pilgrims!

Christmas? Cornhole with Santa!

For those of you who’ve never played Cornhole, it’s kinda like horseshoes. Except replace the metal poles with angled, wooden boards with a hole cut in them, and replace the horse shoes themselves with bean bags. Divide it up into two teams of two and the first one to 21 points wins. I’m not going to take the time to explain the more detailed rules about scoring, but you are more than welcome to read the Wikipedia article, if you so feel inclined.

The thing about Cornhole is, and maybe I’m just too much of a tech geek, but I never understood the draw or attraction of this game. True, I’m not much of an athlete, but I can understand the attraction of football or baseball, sports where people actually move. It just seems like watching paint dry watching middle-aged guys throw bean bags all day.

This doesn’t help me feel any less  separated from my family, both immediate and extended. It’s not a feeling of being unloved, because I know they all care for me deeply, but I feel like I have no common ground with them. I’d rather be knee-deep in zombie gore mayhem playing LEFT 4 DEAD or swinging around Manhattan as Spider-Man on my PS2.

I guess in the long run, variety is the spice of life and I should learn to appreciate my differences. After all, I can only imagine how my family must feel when I start to geek out and explain proper zombie survival techniques. (Shoot them in the head, btw.) or attempting to explain to them the different sides of the Force. Besides, someone needs to be the Official Family Tech Support.

So if you do play cornhole, more power to ya, man. If you get excited about such game-play and find yourself wanting more, who am I stop to you? Enjoy your game, even if it does sound vaguely homo-erotic. I’ll just be over here loading up my auto-shotgun and saving the world from zombies.

Written by MrZissman

08/17/2009 at 12:49 AM

Joker Obama is stupid and you are stupid for liking it

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I’m sure that by now, many of you have seen the Socialist Obama picture that has been floating around on the internet and now starting to make it’s way into the “real world.” For those not in the know, this is what it looks like….(click to make bigger)

WAIT TILL THE GUYS AT THE RON PAUL CLUB SEE THIS! LOLOLOLLLL

WAIT TILL THE GUYS AT THE RON PAUL CLUB SEE THIS! LOLOLOLLLL

What started off as a lame photoshop job has now gone viral and is springing up all over the internet and now can be found printed up and sticking on your local telephone pole. (TRUE FACT: I passed at least two of these while leaving after getting my hair cut.)

I’m not sure where I could even begin to describe how ridiculous these posters are. First off, if we’re going to compare Obama to Heath Ledger’s Joker, we need to look at Ledger’s character. In The Dark Knight, we see that the Joker is far from a socialist, but actually a violent anarchist.

“It’s not about money… it’s about sending a message. Everything burns!”

Joker’s whole point was that to classify such things as “good” or “evil” was foolish. He believed that everyone would gladly sell their souls if it meant for only a moment of comfort.

“You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.”

And that was the Joker’s point throughout all of the movie. That morals are weak and people only cling to them to make themselves feel better. He saw himself “ahead of the curve” and in his mind, wasn’t evil. That right there is the biggest difference, even between the most whack job of tin foil hat theories. If they believe Obama secretly wants to ruin America, then they really can’t use the Joker as a comparison. The Joker, in the most basic of sense, did not want to ruin Gotham, but rather to free them from their preconceived notions of justice and right and wrong. Far from what this poster is accusing.

Next, we need to take a look at where this poster originated from. Doing a bit of research, it looks like the poster originated with Alex Jones, who runs crack pot websites like InfoWars.com or PrisonPlanet.com. (You can buy JOKER OBAMA tee-shirts off his website.) Who is Alex Jones exactly? Sit back and think of the most far fetched, unbelievable conspiracy theory you can think. No, seriously think of it. I’ll wait.

….okay, you got one in mind? Chances are, Alex Jones really believes that. Matter of fact, Mr Jones believes…

  • The Branch Davidians were not a cult, but rather a peace-loving religious group. And David Koresh was in no way a pedophile.
  • The government is being run by the Worldwide Masonic Conspiracy, who are in turn run by Satanists.
  • High ranking people, such as George W. Bush and Pope John Paul II are actually a race of inter-dimensional shape shifting space lizards.
  • FEMA is setting up secret death camps where people who disagree with Obama will be thrown into and left to die.
  • Every year our government, and celebrities gather together in a secret camp where they worship the false god Moloch and engage in mock-child sacrifice ceremonies.

STILL not convinced this guy is off his rocker? Watch this or this

But hey, maybe fighting Obama and his FEMA Death Squad™ helps Alex reach his HIDDEN POWER LEVEL?!

I will gladly buy whatever quality OBAMA = TEH JOKER LULZ merchandise this fine man is selling.

But that just brings me to my final point….WAKE UP! Wake up, you protesters, tea baggers, and what not. Do you see the quality of people you are hanging out with? Do you understand what a joke this all is?

Let’s say there are two people who don’t like Obama or his health care reform, Goofus and Gallant. Both of them do not like the health care reform and both of them wish to express their discomfort with it.

Now Gallant reads up on the subject, including a variety of news sources. Gallant attends town hall meetings and politely, intelligently engages in debate using such things as stats, figures and facts.

Goofus dresses up as an 18th century slave owner, makes a crude, misspelled home made sign equating Obama to Hitler and shouts a random string of catch phrases like “9-11 INSIDE JOB! ILLUMINATI! SPACE LIZARDS! FEMA DEATH CAMPS! DEATH PANELS! ACORN! KENYA!”

And nobody wants to be a Goofus, right?

What I’m saying is that, if you want to protest Obama, do so as a respectable, civilized human being and not a puppet being controlled by elite, rich far right wing interests. WAKE UP and realize that you are being lied to! Boycott the Tea Parties, shut off the Fox News and INFORM yourself. Stay away from the Ron Pauls, Rush Limbaughs, Alex Jones and Sean Hannitys of the world. You wanna protest? Do it as a human, as an American and not as a puppet. Cut the strings and then, and only then, will you have real freedom.

Written by MrZissman

08/15/2009 at 6:01 PM

Posted in Politics, Rant

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I would vote for this man in 2012

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Can we dance?

Can we dance?

Written by MrZissman

08/06/2009 at 6:34 AM

Posted in Random

Tagged with ,

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