January 20, 2021

Saturday Ramblings—8.21.10

MOD NOTE: Thanks to Adam Palmer for doing our rambling for us this week!

Jeff has taken leave of the iMonastery this week to visit our English friends across the pond (where they have monasteries that are only slightly older than this one), so it is up to me, Adam Palmer, to ramble today. Shall we?

Houston pastors Kerry and Chris Shook are encouraging people next week to participate in a one-day “Facebook fast.” The idea is that we need to stop relying on social media to be social and actually concentrate on, say, real relationships with real people. Obviously, a single day’s focus on this stuff isn’t enough, but in this day and age, I guess we’ll take what we can get. And yes, if you want to participate, the Shooks have ready-made text you can copy and paste… as your Facebook status.

What religion is President Barack Obama? According to a Time magazine poll this week, almost a quarter of Americans believe he is a Muslim, while slightly less than half think he’s a Christian. A Pew Research Center poll indicated that 18% believe Obama is a Muslim and only 34% believe he is a Christian. The rest? They believe he’s secretly Hawaiian.

The ballyhoo about President Obama’s faith grew to such a pitch this week that even Franklin Graham commented on it. Graham was careful not to call Obama’s faith into question–hey, maybe he’s read the comment FAQs here at iMonk!

A federal appeals court ruled this week that roadside crosses in Utah memorializing fallen highway patrolmen are unconstitutional by promoting a specific religion and violating the separation of church and state. It’s a much more complicated issue than it sounds like, especially since the crosses were eight feet tall. Read the story, then feel free to make your opinion known below.

What toys did you play with as a kid? Personally, I was all about Legos, and, as it turns out, I’m not the only one. A survey was released this week claiming that Legos are the runaway champion of the Most Popular Toy Ever Made. The runner-up? Barbie. Of course, now that Legos have claimed the crown, you are welcome to tell us your favorite in the boxes below.

News broke this week that a poor widdle bear cub got its head stuck in a jar… for ten days. A Floridian bear family was rummaging through some neighborhood trash when the plastic jug lodged on a cub’s head before it took off into the woods. Biologists were finally able to tranquilize the mother and wrestle the jar off her baby’s head, then relocate the bears deeper into the surrounding flora. Fortunately, that young bear will most likely live to see another birthday.

And hey, that makes for a great segue into this week’s round of feliz cumpleanos: cooking dynamo Julia Child, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ben Affleck, that guy named Napoleon Bonaparte, singer and provocateur Madonna, the two-dimensional filmmaker James Cameron, method actors Sean Penn and Robert De Niro, wordsmith Ogden Nash, human travel record-breakers Orville Wright and Usain Bolt, and non-Islamic US President Benjamin Harrison.

And since Jeff has been forced to eat English food all week, I thought he (and you) might enjoy a reminder of what’s waiting for him back here in the States:


  1. I’ll be participating in the fast as much as I can. I can’t put the link on my facebook page, however, because I still have to work that day and so will still be using work e-mail. Posting this link would make me a hypocrite methinks.

    I’m also extending the fast to non-work related cell phone usage, surfing and blogging.

  2. Major Matt Mason anyone?

  3. Mattel Toggle blocks, with the faceless, bendable robot-like characters made of nuts and bolt shapes?

  4. Lincoln logs– made of real wood.

    • Yeppers – Lincoln logs. My little brother and I both played with them…when I wasn’t on my bike – that had long plastic streamers coming out of the plastic handle grips.

    • My eleven-year-old daughter still loves them and plays with them while listening to stories being read aloud. I play with them when she’s not around . . .

  5. Didn’t the Supremes determine that a cross was just a generic symbol for grave, so in that context, wouldn’t the crosses be OK?

    • Yes, you often see crosses on Hindu, Jewish or Muslim graves. Oh. No you dont.

      • I know, but that was the government’s argument for why the cross built to remember the WWI dead was kosher under the 1rst Amendment. As a non-Christian I can really enjoy that argument because while it allows the cross (a symbol not of my faith), it also takes away the cultural victory lap from the Christians because it takes a symbol at the heart of their faith and says, well it’s only the symbol of a grave. It really does seem to make neither side happy.

  6. Christiane says

    loved the bear story . . .

    I am so enjoying my morning:

    two cups of delicious coffee and a wonderful story about a bear cub


    • Yes, I somehow missed that story this week. Then again, this has been a pretty insane week. Hope the bear family finds a nice home away from human encroachment.

  7. sarahmorgan says

    The Facebook fast makes me shrug…I moved from a huge metropolis to an isolated town in part of the country that’s know more for its rugged individualism (community and friends? we don’t need no steenkin’ community and friends) than its immersion in social media….unsolicited visits from strangers, even to deliver cookies, are met with fear, suspicion and possibly a shotgun….I’ve learned the locals view friends from a very self-centered perspective (“What good are friends if you can’t use them when you need them, and ignore them when you don’t?”), and consider investing in new relationships to be anywhere from being on par with pulling teeth to a something no one has time for…even the local churches haven’t escaped this pervasive attitude (in fact, it could be argued that they’re the worst at it, constantly looking for “Christian” reasons to rationalize their individualism, self-centeredness, and avoidance of relationship). After years of trying, I’ve decided it’s not worth the effort anymore to try to build relationships with people who honesty don’t want to build any relationships with anyone out of their immediate family (or outside of their immediate control, so that they can stay firmly in their comfort zones). I continue to be as polite as I can, and in new encounters, always ask God if this is someone He wants me to build a deeper friendship with, but otherwise (and I’m not saying it’s necessarily a good thing), I’ve resigned myself to the reality of where I live, and kind of given up on expending any more energy to try to build local relationships.
    I was the last in my widely-dispersed family to get on Facebook, and it was kind of pushed on me by them (because they wanted me to stay in touch with them, plus, I’m sure, they didn’t want me to go nuts out here by myself). Through FB I remain in contact with them, as well as a small circle of dear friends who are still living in the places around the world where I used to live.
    Attending the needs of my family, going to work/classes, working on my personal projects, spending time with God — these are the things worth “fasting” from Facebook to do…avoiding FB to once again beat my head against the local relationship wall no longer has much appeal for me.

    Also, how blessed that some people have so many friends, family, and contact that texting, tweeting, emailing, and chatting with them on FB is a big part of their lives — is that necessarily a bad thing? And to some degree, this seems to comes across as a generational thing — those who grew up in the digital age don’t see much of a difference between sentiment expressed in a handwritten letter vs. an email or even an ecard on FB — (both are a form of communication, one slower than the other).

    As for old toys, I loved Whizzer tops — my siblings and I would wage battles with them. 🙂

  8. When I was a kid, I really wanted Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots! I used to watch a cartoon with a character named “Jot”, who said I could write him for a free gift.
    So I wrote and asked Jot for Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots.
    Jot wrote back and said the free gift of God was new life through Jesus Christ.

  9. Definitely Legos all the way! And for the younger set, laundry baskets and cardboard boxes are by far the best.

  10. 1969 Sear Christmas “Wish Book”. Man, does this bring back memories:

    • Ok, one more:


      “You take too many trips down memory lane,
      You take too many trips down memory lane,
      You take another trip down memory lane,
      You go down there once too often then you’re likely to remain.”
      – Daniel Amos (Terry Taylor?)

    • That was fun Dumb Ox. Thanks.
      I had completely forgotten about “Ker Plunk” and I know my brother and I played that one a lot. Speaking of relationships and Facebook fasts, I think I will go call my brother.

  11. apparently Franklin graham is preaching the “faith of a MUSLIM seed Parable” 😉
    I think this guy is off his rocker! How many other Genetic beliefs of faith does this guy have????

    • I think what he was poorly trying to describe is that Islam is inherited from father to child just as Judaism is inherited from mother to child. In that way, a child of a Muslim father does not have to convert to Islam. As a child of a Jewish mother does not have to convert to Judaism.

      Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your faith. Especially in the States where it’s a national hobby to do so. Certainly in Obama’s case where he had no real relationship with his father as a youngster, it would be odd for his agnostic mother to raise him in a religious belief she did not have. His stepfather in Indonesia was also a Muslim but most people in Indonesia are at least nominally and they range from not involved all the way up to deeply committed. SInce he was willing to marry a non-believer, it would seem he wasn’t that committed to Islam.

      And in this country even if Obama had once been deeply committed to Islam, that doesn’t mean he can’t change. I was once a Catholic, now I am a Jew. My partner was once a Catholic, now he is agnostic. My aunt was once a pagan and is now a Christian. The possibilities are endless in the US.

      • Judaism is not inherited. Belonging to the Jewish tribe/race is inherited. The actual beliefs of Judaism cannot be inherited. Just as the beliefs of Islam (specifically that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger) can’t be inherited. Graham was making use of some CLASSIC weasel words “if he has renounced Islam”.
        And as well, as that, he flat out lied. Anyone who read Obama’s books would know that his father was an atheist.

  12. Late to the game here, but my favs were Betsy McCall paper dolls (in the magazines). Also Lincoln Logs—to build houses for Betsy.

  13. Salsapinkkat says

    What’s wrong with english food? ….Apart from there being less on the plate 😉

    • Other than curry, it seems awful bland. On the other hand, they have the most awesome vindaloo ever! It seems that the best of English cuisine has been brought by their immigrants.

  14. Also. Stop saying “legos”. That is not a word!

    Proper Use of the LEGO Trademark on a Web Site
    If the LEGO trademark is used at all, it should always be used as an adjective, not as a noun. For example, say “MODELS BUILT OF LEGO BRICKS”. Never say “MODELS BUILT OF LEGOs”.Also, the trademark should appear in the same typeface as the surrounding text and should not be isolated or set apart from the surrounding text. In other words, the trademarks should not be emphasized or highlighted. Finally, the LEGO trademark should always appear with a ® symbol each time it is used.

    • Too late, friend. You might as well try and get people to stop saying, “kleenex.” I also remember when older generations referred to the “frigidaire.” The language police will never stop these kinds of associations.

      By the way, one of my kids was the ultimate Lego-maniac. I still have the impressions on the bottoms of my feet to prove it.

      • Its only the pesky yanks who say “legos”! There is still hope!

        • Yeah, hard to believe that those “pesky Yanks” (capitalize that, will ya?!?!) didn’t invent those Legos. But I bet we’ve spent more money on them than the rest of the world. 😀

  15. For anyone still reading this, here is a link to an interview with Obama. He is obviously not a Muslim, though he does seem to go out of his way to ingratiate himself with Muslims. However, from the interview it is also fairly clear that his brand of Christianity is far from orthodox. Or Orthodox.

  16. “A Pew Research Center poll indicated that 18% believe Obama is a Muslim and only 34% believe he is a Christian. The rest? They believe he’s secretly Hawaiian.”

    Kinda makes you proud to be a “Merican”

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