Monday, October 25, 2010

Sammy Jr. Rataloni- A modern parable

To whoever reads this:
The following is a modern knockoff and mishmash of two of Jesus' parables. Obviously I don't take credit for their content since I didn't really come up with them. I did, however, embellish them a bit to make them funnier.

            Sammy Jr. was a good little baby rat. He was born on the 5th of August, 2010 to his loving parents, Sammy Sr. and Jenny Rataloni. He was such a cute baby rat, the first child of his parents. That wasn’t incredibly special, though because his ten siblings followed a few minutes later. The Rataloni’s were very proud of their children.
            Sammy Sr. and Jenny loved all of their children. Even when rats in love with the environment told them that having a family of eleven was irresponsible, unsustainable, and would kill the world, they would not change their minds.
            “Destroy the world?” Sammy Sr. asked one particular rat. “Don’t you think that you’re overreacting just a bit?”
            Jenny simply noted that this rat didn’t have a spouse and died that way only a few days later. Some said that this was due to a broken heart, that the poor creature never found the love of his life. The condition of his body prompted an investigation; however, and it was found that he had been trampled to death by a buffalo that he had tried to stop from destroying the natural environment.
            The Rataloni children grew up very quickly. In no time at all, they were walking and all wanted to play sports.
            “I’m proud of you, kids,” Sammy Sr. told his children. Jenny simply looked on with a worried expression as he paid for all of the sports equipment.
            All too soon, the little rats were old enough to get their drivers licenses.
            “I’m proud of you kids,” Sammy Sr. said to his children. “I’m going to buy you all a new car!” Jenny watched with a worried expression as her children roared out of the driveway in their new rides.
            When the children started to bring home girlfriends and boyfriends, Sammy Sr. was proud of his sons.
            “Way to go boys! Go get those cute, little girl rats,” he said. On the other hand, he scared off all of the boyfriends of his little girls with a shot gun. Jenny thought that he had a bit of a double standard.
            Then it was time for the children to go to college and get an education.
            “Oh, my gosh! Why did I have so many children!” Sammy Sr. groaned. “This tuition bill is going to kill me!” Jenny simply smiled as she thought about all of the well-educated children that she would have to take care of her in her old age.
            “But I don’t want to go to college, dad!” Sammy Jr. whined. “It’s too much work. Besides, I’ll never use that stuff in real life.”
            “What are you going to do to support yourself?” Sammy Sr. asked. “You aren’t planning on working at a fast food restaurant all of your life, are you?”
            “Of course not, dad, I’m smarter than that,” Sammy said in a self-righteous tone. “I’m two months old now; I’m not a kid anymore. I was going to wait until you die and then live off of your inheritance.”
            “That’s just a little cold,” Sammy Sr. said. “What are you going to do until I die?”
            “Well, I was thinking about that,” Sammy Jr. said. “Could you give me my inheritance now? That way I wouldn’t have to work until you died.”
            “I still think that it’s a little cold, but sure,” Sammy Sr. agreed. “Here, I’ll write you a check.”
            With his check in hand, Sammy Jr. drove out of town. He was already making plans about what he would do with his money.
            “First I’ll use this money to buy a nice house,” he said to himself. “Then I’ll use my money to buy friends. Some really big parties should do the trick. After a few weeks of extravagant living, my money will be all gone, and I will be stuck, living in a dump and working for a fast food franchise. And the only food that I’ll have will be pig swill. Maybe I can steal some of that fast food, but that’s just as bad. After I live in misery for a while, I’m sure I will think of something to do.”
            Sammy Jr. drove all day before stopping in a town as the sun was setting. Quickly he started to look for a place to stay and found a likely looking trailer park. His first stop was the dumpster to look through the ‘trailer trash’ for dinner. After eating his fill, he found a nice trailer that had a convenient hole through which he could gain access to the underside of the structure. Quickly he tore a hole through the trailer’s insulation and crawled up in among the pipes and wires. He saw some green, blue, and red strings.
            “And this place comes with candy, too!” he exclaimed. “I recognize this stuff from when dad use to bring it home.”
            Immediately he started to gnaw on the colored strings. It didn’t taste like candy, more like plastic, but Sammy Jr. kept gnawing. Suddenly the plastic taste ended and a metallic one replaced it.
            “Oh crud, I think that I’m actually chewing on…”
            There was a brief flash lighting up the underbelly of the trailer, then blackness.

A Few Days Later

            The stink had started as nothing. At first it was easy to ignore, but it grew steadily until it was too much to bear.
            “Peter, was that you?!” my brother asked. I looked up from my dinner and looked at him with a puzzled look. “Was what me?”
            Now before you wonder how I could possibly not smell an unbearable stench, let me say that God has blessed me with an incredibly bad sense of smell. Most people may not look at this as a blessing, but hey, if your aspiration is to be a sewage pipe repairman, a bad sense of smell is a good thing.
            “That ungodly stench,” my brother said. “Don’t you smell it?”
            “Nope, don’t smell a thing,” I said and went back to eating dinner. I finished and looked over at my brother; he was looking a bit green.
            “Are you feeling all right?” I asked. “Because if you aren’t, I’ll eat the rest of your food for you.”
            “Here, It’s all yours,” my brother said and pushed his plate toward me.

A Few Hours Later

            “Peter, is that you?” my sister asked. Her nose was wrinkled, so I had a good idea what she was asking about.
            “No, not me,” I answered. “If you’re referring to that ungodly smell, I have no idea what it is.”
            “It smells kind of like sewage to me,” my sister said. “What do you think that it smells like?”
            “Oh, I can’t smell anything,” I answered and left the room. My sister hasn’t asked me anything since. I don’t know why.

Later On

            The other people in my house decided that the stench was probably coming from the tub drain in the master bedroom. The next day and a half were spent pouring chemicals down the drain, using drain snakes on it, and using a plunger on it. Nothing worked and the stench continued to grow. Finally, my sister realized that the smell was not coming from the tub drain but from under the tub itself. She also recalled having heard a faint car door slam followed by scratching under the house a few days prior. These clues, plus the fact that the stench smelled a lot like dead fish lead us to believe that smell might be from a dead animal under the house.
            The smell was bad by now. Even I, with my horrible sense of smell, could smell it clearly. So on October 24th 2010, I and my brother went outside to find the source of the stink. We removed the skirt from the trailer and looked underneath. The shredded insulation assured us that an animal had been there, we just had to find it. Which wasn’t very hard; we just followed our noses. Literally.
            Of course that didn’t mean that it was comfortable. The trailer only has about two feet of space under it, so we had to lie on our backs and slide underneath to look for the dead animal. Dust fell in our eyes and the stench was terrible. After a bit of searching, my brother was able to locate an odd lump in the insulation. We quickly determined that it was the dead animal.
            “Hand me your pocket knife,” he said.
            “Why mine?” I asked.
            “Because I don’t want dead animal guts on mine,” he answered.
            “Oh, that makes sense,” I said and handed him my knife.
            We knew that we were correct about the animal location as soon as my brother started to cut. The animal dripping, yes dripping, out of the cut in the insulation was a giveaway. We placed a plastic bag underneath the animal and continued to cut away the insulation until the rotting carcass fell into the bag. I took the bag, tied it up, and put it out by the curb. I never saw it after that. The next night we had some sort of gumbo, but my sister wouldn’t tell me what kind of meat it had in it. Either way, it was really good!
            After we had gotten rid of the dead rat, I and my brother repaired the damage to the insulation and put the skirt back on the trailer. By now the house is back to smelling normal and my room is back to being the worst smelling room in the house.
                So what was the point of this long story? Actually there are a few of them since I never believed in telling a story with only one point. First of all, you should not run away from your parents, no matter how old you are. They were given to you by God for a reason, and are a lot smarter than you think. There does come a time in your life when you will no longer have to do everything that they tell you, but remember that they love you. Also they have a lot more experience with life than you do, so you should listen to them.
            Another point of this story is that you should not put something in your mouth before you know what it is. You may think that it is candy, it may look like candy, and the man who sold it to you on the street may have referred to it as ‘candy’, but if you aren’t positive of what it is, don’t eat it. After all, Sammy Sr. probably could have told his son that the wires were not food.
            A third point to the tale is to put out this message: if you are going to die, have the decency to not do it under someone’s house. After a while you will begin to stink, and that is no fun for anyone. It is better to just die in public and get buried like everyone else so that no one has to smell you.
            I’m assuming that you are still waiting for the real point, so here it is. The rat that died under my house was small, especially compared to the house that it was under; nevertheless, it sent its stench throughout all of the rooms. The Bible says in I Corinthians 5: 6-7 says “Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast.” (NIV) This is referring to sin, no matter how small, in a person’s life. Just like the rat and the yeast, sin may start out small, but the result of it is huge and affects everything. So what can we do about it? We need to uproot every sin, every bad habit, everything in our life that is not from God. No matter how small a sin is, even if we say that it is too small to worry about, we must uproot it, or it will spread to the whole person and ruin them completely.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading my blog.
Peter Last

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Individual Importance

            I’m sur  that most of us hav  b  n told at on  tim  or anoth r that w  ar  sp cial and that
 v ryon  is important in th ir own way. Y s, w ’v  b  n told that, but how many of us actually b li v  it? How many p opl  ar  th r  in th  world that truly think that th y don’t matt r in th  grand sch m  of things? I m an, l t’s fac  it; som tim s it’s r ally hard to s   th  valu  of som on  who works at a fast food franchis . Sur , th y mak  your food, but if th y w r n’t th r , som on   ls  would do it. Cons qu ntly, th  id a that  v ryon  is important oft n s  ms lik  an untru  clich .
            Th  stat m nt that  v ryon  is important is tru , no matt r how much w  may think oth rwis . To  mphasis this l t’s tak  an  xampl . What if on  of th  k ys on your k yboard wouldn’t work.
L t’s tak  th  l tt r “ ” for this  xampl . Oh wait, you can’t r ad what that l tt r is! W ll, I’ll giv  you a hint, you mak  th  word “man” plural by r placing th  “a” with this l tt r. I’m sur  that you alr ady figur d that out, and I’m also sur  that you can r ad this post  v n without th  l tt r, but what about th  words “b d” and “b d”? Can you t ll what th s  on s say? So you can s   that no matt r how common or s  mingly unimpr ssiv  a p rson is, th y ar  still important and should b  t r at d as such.

Hope that you enjoyed this latest post. As always, thank you for reading my blog.

Peter Last

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Global Warming: A Satirical Argument

To whoever reads this:
The following is, in my opinion, an effective if not slightly satirical argument concerning global warming. I gave this speech in a competition once, and while the audience thought that it was funny, the judges were less enthusiastic. Perhaps they took it too seriously. I'm not going to tell you what my opinion on the debate is; instead, you can decide for yourself.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

"Bad Lieutenant"

To whoever reads this:
This is a review of the movie "Bad Lieutenant" starring Nicolas Cage.

The movie, “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” is a film following New Orleans police man Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) in the wake of hurricane Katrina. The film delves into the life of Cage’s character, seeing how a back injury that he sustained during the hurricane has affected him several years down the road.
            The first scene of the film shows how Terence injured his back during the hurricane. Within the first several minutes of the movie, you find out that a doctor declared him healthy enough to remain on the police force, but that his back pain has him on pain medication. There is a jump of several years in the movie, and you immediately discover that Terence has turned to illegal drugs to easy his pain and now finds himself addicted to them. To feed his addiction, he takes drugs from people for his own use and raids the police station’s evidence room.
            The action that sets the track for the film is the murder of several people in their own home. The killings, it was assumed, were a result of drugs and drug dealers. Terence is put on the case, and he takes his job very seriously doing whatever is necessary to find the killer.
            There are a multitude of problems, beginning with its R rating. The film is full of bad language and drug use. There is not very much violence in it, but the little that it has is bloody. The film also has sexual content (Terence’s girl friend is a hooker) and disturbing situations. The quality of the movie was not good either. Nicolas Cage was perhaps the best actor in this movie, which is bad considering his acting abilities. The script was poorly written with parts of the movie not appearing to have any bearing on the main story line. The only good thing about the script was that the lines were believable; if only the actors had been better.
The final and most important problem with the movie was its lack of moral compass. Many of the police officers in the film were corrupt like Terence, and the straight ones (like the officer who refused to “take care” of a speeding ticket) were the bad guys. Also, the fact that Terence was trying to bring people to justice for crimes that he himself was committing makes it hard to cheer for him. In fact, with practically all of the characters starting out as bad people, the only one that changed at all was Terence’s drug addict, hooker girl friend who decided to go to rehab, much to his chagrin.
Basically, “Bad Lieutenant” is a movie that shows real life at its worst. There are no heroes, only one person to turn from her evil ways, and no salvation even wanted by the others. The only thing that this movie does is show the utter depravity of men, a task that it preforms very well.

Peter Last

My First Book is Finally on Track

To whoever reads this:

Good news! My first book is finally on track to get published. Haven't got any specific details from my publisher yet, but my book has been read through, and the company is offering ideas on it. I'm taking this as a good sign. Apparently my original draft was a bit long for a single volume, but that situation has been rectified. I don't have an estimate on why the book will come out yet, but I will post them as soon as I get them.

Peter Last

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

My Vacation

To whoever reads this:
The following is an account of a real vacation that I had. The details may not be exactly true, but I have tried to preserve the truth (sort of) while making it funny.

My Vacation
By Peter Last

Disclaimer: This account is based on a true event; however, since my memory is not the best, some of the details may not be completely true. Nevertheless, I have done my best to recount the events of the journey in a humorous if not completely authentic manner.

            This is the wholly remarkable account of an exciting and somewhat life-threatening trip from my home in Alabama to the frozen wastelands of Wisconsin. For what reason might a person decide that he should leave the comfortable climate of Alabama and enter the land of the polar bear? In truth, if the choice was mine, I might not have made the journey at all; however, the choice was made by my father, and the whole family had to comply with it. The reason for the trip was very simple actually; most of our extended family including the parents of both my mother and father live in or near Wisconsin. Because of these facts, I was determined to pull myself together and cooperate; as you recall, I had no choice in the matter. Since I not only wanted to arrive in Wisconsin intact but also return to Alabama, I began preparations for the trip long before the day that we left. Actually, I thought about preparing for the trip; however, when the night before we left rolled around, I found myself staring at an empty suitcase.
            “Let me see,” I said, trying to put the monumental task of packing into perspective. “We are only going to be gone for a little less than a week, so I shouldn’t need that much luggage.”
            I reached for my list of necessities and began to look through it. At the top it said, “Two dresses.” This should have been my first indication that something was wrong; however, it took until “thirteen blouses” before I began to think that this list might not be correct. My suspicion heightened when I got to “twenty-seven pairs of shoes” but what really tipped me off was when I got to “three tubes of lipstick.” It was at this point that I finally realized that I was looking at my sister’s list. I was slightly embarrassed at my mistake, but more than that I was angry with myself. Now I would have to unpack everything and restart. To this day I still wonder why I had two dresses hanging in my closet ready to be packed.
            “I’m actually glad that that was the wrong list,” I tried to convince myself. “After all, it didn’t have hardly any necessities on it at all.”
            “Make sure that you have enough clothes for the trip,” my mother told me as I was just beginning to repack my suitcase.
            I decided that I should pack the clothes first so that I didn’t forget them and make my mother angry. I glanced down through my list but couldn’t find anything that resembled clothing on it unless you count a football helmet and pads as clothing. I carefully reviewed the list, but somehow I had managed to leave clothes off of it.
            “Well,” I said out loud, “I guess I’ll just have to figure out what to pack right now. Since we’re not even going to be gone for a week, I’m going to need one t-shirt, one pair of pants, one…” I stopped in the middle of my sentence. “I’ve already got a full set of clothes on!” I exclaimed, proud of my observation. “That’s really all of the clothing that need. I guess I’ll pack another shirt in case this one gets dirty, but the rest of my suitcase I can use for important things like movies, my X-Box, my laptop, and stuff like that.”
            With this decision made, I quickly packed the rest of my suitcase and placed it down stairs with all of the others. Looking back, perhaps I should have let mom look at what I had packed. Not that it mattered; she found out very quickly anyway. After the strenuous ordeal of packing, I was ready to go to bed which I did so extra early so that I would be properly rested for my day of inactivity. The entire family woke, or was woken up, early the next morning, and we piled into the two vehicles that we were going to be taking up north, our fifteen passenger van and a five passenger car. Even with twenty seats, the fit was still rather tight because besides the twelve people that our family contains, we had been joined by three significant others. Even so, the ride to Wisconsin was not too brutal, and we only lost three unfortunate souls on the way. Actually, the ride was quite boring and consisted mainly of sitting in an uncomfortable position, eating, sitting in an uncomfortable position, sleeping, and sitting in an uncomfortable position. Sadly the highlight of the trip was counting road signs, an activity which we stopped after we reached 36,743,879,430,217. (This is of course extreme exaggeration used to make a point. The actual number was just over 1 trillion.)
            When we arrived in Wisconsin, I was surprised to find that it was not a frozen wasteland as I had expected it to be and figured that I wasn’t going to be able to make a fortune by selling hot chocolate. On a side note, I never understood why people buy hot chocolate. All that happens when it is heated up is that it melts and makes a mess. Anyway, when we arrived, we made a short stop at the house that the reunion was going to take place in and then headed to the hotel. At the hotel, Dad began to unpack the bags but kept finding random pieces of electrical equipment. The cause of this became obvious when my suitcase was unpacked. Over the course of the trip the top had come open, spewing the contents of the case over the entire vehicle. I guess that’s why there are latches on luggage. Needless to say, mom was not happy when she found out exactly what I had packed.
            “You packed what?” she shouted. “Peter, you are a #*NM#!! boy.” Now before you take this to mean that my mother cursed let me explain what actually happened. I quote her exactly as saying, “Peter, you are a number sign asterisks skull and crossbones bomb number sign exclamation point exclamation point boy.” I took this as a complement until I realized that she was actually very mad at me for the choices I made in packing. Eventually mom cooled down and we carried the luggage up to the hotel rooms. When we got into our rooms, we fell in to the beds and fell asleep almost immediately; riding in a van for thirteen hours is hard work.
            The time spent with our relatives went by very quickly. We had a blast playing pool and talking about various things. Of course nothing can be perfect, so I had to have left my tooth brush at home. I really didn’t mind, but when small animals started to fall down dead when I breathed in their general direction, I realized that I needed to do something. The solution was really quite simple; I chewed a lot of gum. I noticed that after I started to do this, people stopped having important dental appointments whenever I walked into the room.
            The time flew by quickly and all too soon it was time to drive back to Alabama. I figured that the ride back would be more peaceful since we had lost three people on the way up, but it turns out that they had just gone into comas and were awake for the ride back. This time we didn’t count road signs. Instead we played a game called “How many Mt. Dews can you down before you go so ballistic that you snap your seatbelt?” Unfortunately everyone had to go to the bathroom before any seatbelts were broken.
            One other interesting thing occurred just when the trip was almost over. We arrived home safe and sound only to find that we had managed to lock ourselves out of the house. We had an interesting time getting in, but this problem was finally solved when we used a quarter stick of dynamite to blow the back of the house out. After this occurrence, Dad decided to replace the locks on the door so that we could actually get into our own house.
            The trip to Wisconsin was very trying and difficult, yet when we arrived, I found that seeing all of my relatives again was worth all of the trouble. I guess it is only by hard work that anything of worth can be acquired. All things considered, the trip to Wisconsin was definitely worth all of the trouble and hardships, and I am looking forward to going again next year, though this time I’m going to make sure to remember my toothbrush.

All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.
Proverbs 14:23

Hope that you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading my blog.

Peter Last

Friday, October 01, 2010

Flowers and the Bible

            What exactly can we learn from flowers? And for bonus points, who cares what we can learn from them? Christians should give some thought to flowers, not only for their beauty, but also for the things that they can teach us. The Bible uses flowers to teach lessons in several passages of the Bible, so it is obvious that God thought that there was a lot that we could learn from them.
            Matthew 6:28-30 is the passage that most people would think of if the words “flower” and “Bible” were used in connection with each other. These verses state, “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” The message here is that God pays close attention even to flowers, plants that don’t last for very long. We are worth much more than flowers, so we can deduce that God takes care of us even better than He does the flowers.
            The message of Matthew 6:28-30 is very comforting to Christians; however, it is not the only passage in the Bible about flowers. James 1:10-11 says, “And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” This passage appears to be very similar to that of Matthew at first glance. They both deal with flowers, how flowers fade away, and how people relate to flowers.
While the above passages may seem very similar, a closer inspection brings out a single important difference between them. While Matthew 6:28-30 tells us how we are better than flowers and so more important than them, James 1:10-11 does the opposite in showing us how we are like flowers. In the same way that flowers “are here today and gone tomorrow,” so also people and their accomplishments will vanish. We are as fleeting in God’s sight as flowers are in ours.
The two passages previously mentioned may seem to contradict each other since one talks about how people are more important than flowers while the other one says that they are like flowers; however, these two ideas are reconciled by a third passage of the Bible. I Peter 1:23-25 says, “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, ‘People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.” Matthew states that people are more important than flowers while James says that they are like flowers, and I Peter draws these two seemingly opposed viewpoints into harmony. When it states that “people are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades,” it is agreeing that people are like flowers in that they fade away; in the long scheme of things, they are not important. This idea is balanced out by the beginning of the passage. “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” So it can be seen that while human life is as fleeting and as unimportant as flowers are, Christians receive their life from the word of God and because of this life, we are more important than the flowers of the field.

Hope that you have enjoyed this post.

Peter Last