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Wide White: May 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

1981 Minneapolis skyline

This is the Minneapolis skyline 30 years ago, just a few buildings smaller.

Minneapolis skyline 1981

(via MINNpics, uploaded by Flickr user RamDriver)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nose scare

The back-and-forth in this kid's face is priceless!

(via Tastefully Offensive)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Facebook confusion

2 Facebook terms proved to be woefully inadequate for me yesterday.

The first was "friend/unfriend." I noticed that a coworker unfriended me on Facebook. I have my guesses as to why and it's not a big deal to me. I don't think I've ever added a coworker on Facebook since I generally keep a more distinct line between my work and personal lives, but she had added me and I accepted the friend request.

But we aren't "unfriendly," so to speak. I've unfriended people who I'm not unfriendly with before too simply because we weren't close or I thought they posted too many rants, but when you put it in terms of "friend/unfriend," it makes it sound a lot more dramatic than it really is.

The second term was "like." Congresswoman Betty McCollum was in our office yesterday and our CEO posted a link to a Facebook picture of her with one of my colleagues. I was looking at it on my phone and went to "like" the picture but instead liked Betty McCollum's actual fan page. Suddenly my Facebook news feed said, "Joey White likes Betty McCollum."

I quickly unliked the page and wondered how many of my friends who saw that were scratching their heads. But what if I had actually wanted to follow Betty McCollum's Facebook page? What if she were my congresswoman and I didn't actually like her and wasn't friends with her but wanted to keep up to date with what's going on in her office?

Come on Facebook, help us out. I think more neutral terms like "connect" would make a lot more sense for what we're really doing with Facebook and it would make a few situations a lot less awkward.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

What about another one?

I don't know if or when we'll have another child, but I've wondered what other people would think if we do. I suppose it's ultimately irrelevant, but here are a few hypothetical thoughts that I imagine others may have right now:

Thought: "They wanted a 3rd kid anyway, so I'm sure they'll still want to have a 3rd."
Response: We got our 3rd. The next one is our 4th. It's not the same and I don't know how to explain that to someone who only sees a home with 2 children.

Thought: "If they get pregnant right away, it'll be cool 'cause then they wouldn't have had that kid if they hadn't lost Kaylee."
Response: Having another son or daughter doesn't somehow make losing Kaylee more okay. There is no replacement for Kaylee. Another life doesn't offset her death.

Thought: "They probably don't want to get pregnant again because they're afraid of complications."
Response: While we're more keenly aware of how fragile a young life is, we have no medical reason to be concerned about complications and, perhaps strangely, it really is a non-issue in our minds.

I'm sure there are other things people think and if I were them, I'd probably be wondering some of those things too. Of course, I'd probably never actually ask those questions and neither would you. It's not polite! But if you're curious about any of our post-loss sentiments about this or anything else, here's your open invitation: ask away!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Craigslist ad: terrorist-proof bunk bed

I've posted a few wacky Craigslist ads recently, but they were all from the same poster. This one is from a new guy. You can thank my wife for finding this.

Here's the text:
Terrorist proof bunk bed - $300 (Ham Lake, MN)

Tired of looking at flimsy Ikea type bunk beds that threaten to collapse and kill your kids in the night? Are your "kids" really psycho-destruction machines bent on wrecking any furniture left in their room without adult supervision? Are you afraid you will be host to their evil for the rest of your life?


So I built hardened bunk beds to withstand the abuse that they were capable of. This unit is built of the finest 2x lumber, chain link posts and dock hardware the Home Depot had to offer. Glued, screwed and lag bolted together this is a matrix of strength only imagined by other bunk bed manufacturers. Once bolted to the wall, (YES, I SAID BOLTED TO THE WALL) this bed ain't going nowhere. In a severe weather situation I suggest seeking shelter under this behemoth.

Yes it is painted "Safety Yellow" but it could use a coat of paint (to hide the teeth marks) in any shade complimenting your decor.


See more photos at

CALL TIM AT 763 516 0826
I thought it was ironic that he talked up how indestructible this was and then noted the teeth marks. I'm convinced that nothing is indestructible for a kid!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Complaining about free stuff

As you may (or may not) have noticed, Blogger had some serious problems last week. This caused my Thursday post and all of its comments to be deleted. My Friday post was also deleted. Blogger restored the posts sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning but didn't actually publish the scheduled Friday post. Blogger also never restored the comments that had been left on the Thursday post.

I was pretty frustrated. Ironically, I had just been taking steps a few days prior to move my blog to WordPress. This event only furthered my resolve to get off the Blogger platform.

But I also realized how quick I am to complain about services for which I pay nothing. When social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger or my free web-based email client goes down, frustration kicks in. It's provided to me for free, yet I complain!

I think we complain partly because while we don't pay dollars for these services, we do pay time. Not only do we give our time and attention to these platforms, but there are other free alternatives that we could be using. I don't have to use Gmail. I could use Yahoo or countless other platforms for my email. Besides, these companies are making advertising dollars on my use of their platforms, so it benefits them for me to choose their platform.

What free products do you use that make you crazy? What free stuff do other people complain about that they really just need to get over?

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Singing and adapting

A few nights ago I was singing while Jamie was trying to comment on a blog. Exasperated, she finally said, "I can't comment when you sing!"

Now, singing is a habit for which I make no apologies. I spent time this weekend singing with my family and on the drive home I sang with my kids. I grew up in a musical family and while I'm certainly not great, I can carry a tune.

But singing (or music or any other distraction) doesn't work for Jamie when she's trying to concentrate. She grew up in a household where quietness ruled; I grew up in a household where any hope for quietness was futile. She needs to pause the music to read an article; I can read a book with 5 kids playing tag in my living room.

When you marry someone, you inevitably discover that someone else processes a whole lot of things much differently than you do and you have to learn to adapt. Pausing the music isn't a big deal, but things like that can be annoying if you aren't careful.

In what ways have you had to adapt for your spouse? Is there anything you don't think you could give up - even for short periods of time - for someone else?

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good graffiti

I'm with the blue guy.

(via FailBlog)

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vote for Summer!

This attack ad against winter reminded me of the "Vote for Summer" campaign in Napoleon Dynamite.

(via 22 Words)

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Fighting wars on behalf of others

There's a constant debate in America over whether we should be fighting wars for other nations. We've done it in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and others. I've often jumped on the bandwagon that we should not be getting involved in the business of these countries.

Yet my inner history buff reminded myself the other day that the only reason our country exists is the French were kind enough to help us fight our common enemy, the British.

So was France's foreign involvement justified? And if it was, does that justify our current foreign involvement? France certainly didn't have the resources to be fighting the war, just as America hardly has the financing for the wars we're fighting.

Should we be asking ourselves if maybe our present-day involvement in foreign wars isn't quite as wrong as we've thought it was? Or should our history books be frowning on the French for making such a foolish move and helping the poor American rebels?

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

The art of seeking ministry support

I received a ministry support letter 3 days ago that began:
Dear Joey and Jamie,

I know we have never met, but I recently spent and [sic] evening with (NAMES REDACTED) sharing our new ministry vision and your name came up. You must have made a deep impression on them. After sharing with them what the Lord has been doing in our lives they thought that you might also be excited to hear as well.
The letter went on to describe a ministry that this couple is starting. They said they'd like to meet us and "see how the Lord will draw us together for this journey."

A few things struck me about this letter.

First, as noted in the letter's first sentence, I've never met the person who sent it. In searching for support, they're relying on referrals from people they know, which is common in people looking for support, but leads me to...

Second, I barely know the people who referred me to this couple (the people whose names are redacted). Apparently I left a "deep impression" on them, and while I recall the husband as being a really nice guy, I don't remember the wife at all. In fact, when I forwarded the letter to my wife, she asked, "Who are (NAMES REDACTED)?"

Third, this letter was sent to an address that's over 3 years old. The referral apparently didn't know me well enough to know where I live. I actually didn't know them when I lived at that old address, so I'm not sure how they even found it.

I've never had to seek support for a ministry. I have friends who have and I'm guessing they're more sympathetic to this person. I'm trying to be sympathetic.

But it bothers me that someone I hardly know is handing out my personal (if outdated) information to someone I don't know at all without asking me first.

I don't support ministries simply because someone goes to my church or (in this case) goes to a church I used to go to. I support them because A.) I have a passion for the ministry, B.) Someone I know and respect recommends the ministry and/or C.) I have the funds with which to support the ministry.

The letter also felt like an awkward sales pitch. My wife made an interesting observation when she noted, "Ministry support gathering feels way too similar to a pyramid scheme."

I think there's a right way and a wrong way to seek ministry support. The right way is for someone you know and trust to approach you about a ministry they really believe in and refer you to that person. The wrong (or at least more ineffective) way is to send letters to people with no real connection to you other than your mutual interest in serving Christ, which is an interest that covers a lot of people.

Unfortunately, we found the approach in this letter to be decidedly ineffective. (I should add that I received a very gracious response from the guy to my email letting him know that we wouldn't be supporting him.)

What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Have you been faced with a similar situation before?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Color blind

I can't count the number of times I've been asked if my twins are two boys or two girls, even when each is clearly dressed in gender-specific clothes. I inwardly roll my eyes and correct the offending questioner. Sure, Keira's hair is just as short as Carson's, but she's often wearing pink and other girly colors.

I was a bit humbled on Sunday when asked if the kids were both boys. We were on a walk with them at Wood Lake Nature Center and an older gentleman with a cane stopped to talk to the kids and briefly chat. He asked if they were two boys and we told him that no, there was a boy and a girl. He then said, "I'm color blind. I suppose that's a pink jacket, huh? It looks gray to me."

We must have responded in a way that made our confusion over his question obvious since he made the effort to explain himself. I was glad he did, but it made me wonder if any of the other people who've asked us the same question weren't lacking in observation but were simply limited in their ability to distinguish between pink and blue.

I roll my eyes easily at how slow I perceive others to be. I need to stop reacting like that. I need to give people more grace. Sometimes they're just color blind. Sometimes they're just not thinking. Either way, it's just not a big deal.


Monday, May 09, 2011

Craigslist ad: patio furniture, sans Caps Lock

Remember those Craigslist ads from a few weeks ago?

Well, here's the last one, South Minneapolis funny man's ad #7:

Here's the text:
Patio Furniture - $50 (South Minneapolis)

Don't you hate when people type in all caps or use hundreds of thousands of exclamation points on their Craig's List posts?

Look- we get're excited about selling your old crap. One man's trash is another man's treasure, we all know...that's why we're on here.

But even though this patio table rocks, you won't see me going crazy with the punctuation here.

And just because the umbrella is brand spanking new (hasn't even been rained on once) I'm sticking to my principles and typing all this in "Sentence case."

The table has a diameter of 40" and it is about 27" high.

E-mail me to come and get it. Thanks! (Did you notice there how one exclamation point does the same job of 468?)

Search " SOUTHSIDE " to read my other ads and buy the rest of my stuff. Thanks again!

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Office Space desktop background

If you haven't seen Office Space, this won't mean anything to you. If you have, you know why this is my desktop background.

(via M thru F; download original file here)

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Bolivian bridge

I think the best part is the woman working furiously to bale water the entire time.

(via There I Fixed It)


Friday, May 06, 2011

Religious symbolism

Every time I see a crucifix I cringe. I hate to see the image of Jesus hanging on a cross in agony. It seems an awful thing to celebrate and I have no desire to have a religious symbol that focuses my attention on that moment in Jesus' life.

However, I don't have a problem with a simple cross. Sure, the cross was a deadly, awful instrument of death. But it's empty. There's no body hanging on it. It symbolizes the death that took place and yet its emptiness reminds us of the resurrection that also took place.

I like to think I embrace faith more than religion, though the two are certainly related. I'm not a very symbolic person though. I don't tend to find comfort in tangible things.

Is there religious symbolism that bothers you? Is there symbolism that you embrace?


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sports snobbery

Every time I hear someone talk about the NBA playoffs lately I can't help but think, "Who cares?!" Of course, I know others think the same thing about sports I love. And nobody likes the guy who's always one-upping your sport.

Sports snob 1: "You like tennis?!?!? Booooring! NASCAR is where it's at!"
Sports snob 2: "NASCAR? Left, straight, left, straight, left...sounds exciting!"

So, just for the fun of it, here are a few sports I love, wish others loved, and could do without.
  • Die-hard: Major League Baseball, NCAA basketball
  • Wish it would catch on: Ultimate Frisbee (seriously, that would be AWESOME to watch played at a professional level!)
  • Could live without: National Basketball Association
Now, your turn to sound off! What does your list look like?


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Osama bin Laden's death: a military victory worth celebrating

The U.S. has been fighting a war whose primary opposition leader was Osama bin Laden for almost 10 years. 5,992 soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bin Laden's death marks a tremendous military victory against al-Qaeda, our primary adversary.

When news arrived that bin Laden had been killed, immediate reaction was predominantly excitement and celebration. Finally - FINALLY - we had succeeded in bringing down the man behind the massacre of thousands of innocent lives!

Fans at a Phillies game started chanting, "USA! USA! USA!" People expressed hope that we'd be able to publicly celebrate the U.S. military team who was responsible for bin Laden's capture and death. One popular (and mis-attributed and fabricated "Mark Twain") quote said, "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

It didn't take long, though, to see a much different, more subdued reaction. Around 2.5 hours after the news broke, I started seeing posts like, "Remember on Sept 12, 2001, when you saw people in some places abroad celebrating death? Exactly. Don't be like that." Many people circulated a (fabricated "Martin Luther King, Jr.") quote that said, "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." Another post said, "[R]ejoicing in or celebrating another person's violent death is [messed up]. Let's quietly move on."

Our country just experienced the most significant military achievement in years and we're supposed to "quietly move on?"

Throughout history, newspaper headlines have screamed the news and ticker-tape parades have been thrown when the U.S. has succeeded in battle. While I appreciate the reminders from so many that death is evil and shouldn't be celebrated, victory in war -- bittersweet as it is --should be celebrated. Victory means life for those who win and, presumably, the defeat of death and evil.

We do not celebrate the death of a man, evil as he may have been. But we do celebrate the military victory that death represents.The world is a safer place with Osama bin Laden dead, and that is something worth celebrating.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Minnesota: bitter, cold, home

Sunday night I played my first 2 softball games of the year. It was 37 degrees and windy when we walked off the field at 9:45.

This is life in Minnesota and it's the part of life here that I despise. I've lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota for all but 2 years of my life and I have yet to embrace the bitter cold that wraps itself around us so many months each year.

Jamie and I frequently talk of moving to warmer weather, usually just venting frustration but always with a bit of heart-felt desire. We've visited California each year we've been married and would love to land in San Diego or maybe somewhere around San Jose.

But the truth is we'll probably never leave and we both know it. Minnesota is home. Jamie's family is 45 minutes away and mine is less than 4 hours away. The longer we're here, the more friendships we build and the deeper those relationships get.

Someone at church who's much older than me told me yesterday to move away now. He said that if you don't like where you live, move before your kids are in school and you still have the flexibility to do so. Otherwise, he said we'd turn into a lot of his friends who never left "while they could" (i.e., before their kids were older) and now complain each year about the weather.

That comment struck me. Lately, despite one of the most brutal winters on record, I've actually felt more attached to the Twin Cities. The longer I'm here, the more I embrace the area. I still hate the cold, but there's more to life than weather.

I don't see my hate for Minnesota winters (and springs and falls) changing any time soon. But it's my decision to live here. Nobody is holding me down. Nobody forces me to stand outside waiting for a bus each day or to play softball in the spring. Minnesota has never been warm year-round and to complain about it each year is fruitless.

So here it goes, Minnesota. I'm going to give it my best shot. No complaining from me. I bought my first pair of winter boots last month and I'm going to get some use out of them next winter. Minnesota weather sucks, but continuing to live in it while constantly complaining about it sucks even more.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Social media responses to Osama bin Laden's death

As soon as the White House announced last night that Obama would deliver a national security-related statement, speculation over the reason erupted. Presidential announcements just don't happen at 9:30 PM on a Sunday (or 10:30, for that matter, which is closer to when Obama eventually gave his statement).

Twitter let the cat out of the bag on the news first. Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff tweeted,
So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden.
That was tweeted at 9:24 PM and was retweeted by someone I follow at 9:28 PM.

Over the course of the next few hours, that news was confirmed in President Obama's address and reactions flooded Facebook and Twitter.

Here were some of the most noteworthy posts of the night from people I follow:

I would say 'Mission Accomplished' but it's been done and it isn't.
If anyone has a horribly embarrassing bit of news they'd like to bury, now would be an excellent time to disclose it.
I'm already bored with the Osama dead story. So 4 seconds ago!!! What do I gotta do to get a Charlie Sheen update!??
Osama Bin Laden is dead? I want to see the long-form death certificate.
Learned Osama Bin Laden is dead via Twitter at 9:34pm. Learned Osama Bin Laden is dead via NBC at 9:48pm. #twitterFTW
Take that Osama!
Does this mean less airport security ridiculousness?
Saddam, Usama, next.. [Posted to Facebook by Michele Bachmann's Chief of Staff]
[Waiting for Obama to make his statement] Obama is just busy printing up a "Mission Accomplished" sign.
[From comedian Jim Gaffigan]I In lieu of flowers Al Qaeda has asked that you buy tickets to one my shows
Osama may you rest in hell...
I've never been so happy to hear that somebody has died. Woot woot!
Seriously? He was in Pakistan? Pakistan: How could you do us like that, bro?
Hey @BarackObama please start talking. CNN is embarrassing themselves.
Lara Logan: "You have to get Bin Laden to win, but getting him doesn't mean you've won." Great way to put it.
Anyone tweeting partisan bulls*** right now is totally missing the point. #usa
i'm honestly gonna go out and buy an american flag tshirt right now just so i can wear it to school tomorrow. USA USA USA
I'd celebrate our troops coming home from Afghanistan but Hussein's been dead for 4.5 years & they're still dying in Iraq. :(
Foursquare confirms that Bin Laden just checked-in @ Hell.
Nice job @BarackObama , CIA, and armed forces. Pakistan, I'd like to talk to u in my office.
Many soldiers on my flight. Passengers shaking their hands. Lone naval officer now getting praise as we learn seals carried out attack
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Fans at the Mets-Phillies game began chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as the news of Osama bin Laden's death spread through Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night.
Rah rah US. Gratuitous flag waving. Three cheers for Obama. Now can we get the TSA to stop groping Americans? Kthx.
Hope US military team responsible 4 Osama bin Laden’s capture & death R identified. They deserved 2 B publicly celebrated.
Crazy to think it took 10 yrs. 1/3 of my life.
Gas prices will be back to $2.00 per gallon tomorrow right?
phillies fans break out into chants of USA, USA, chills!
May 1st, 2003: George Bush gives "Mission Accomplished speech aboard USS Abraham Lincoln

May 1st, 2011: Barack Obama actually accomplishes mission
"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." -Mark Twain.
God have mercy on his soul.
the four words OBL probably wasn't expecting to hear...I never knew you
In front of the white house a few thousand people are here, great friendly celebration!
[Same person from previous tweet in front of the White House] Crowd is chanting "obama obama you f***ing killed osama"
Wow! That's amazing. Someone tweeted raid. RT @henrim: This is unreal. @reallyvirtual live tweeted the Osama raid.
Remember on Sept 12, 2001, when you saw people in some places abroad celebrating death? Exactly. Don't be like that.
He was a demagogue and mass-murderer. But rejoicing in or celebrating another person's violent death is f***ed. Let's quietly move on.

Many Christians seemed to find themselves wondering if they should celebrate or feel sadness for the loss of Osama bin Laden's soul.

I think Proverbs 11:10 may provide some direction on this:
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
Of course, others have noted Ezekiel 18:23:
"Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?"
I didn't agree with everything that was said last night, but I enjoyed the summary of individual analyses that Twitter and Facebook provided.

I also thought the proverb, quoted by someone on Twitter, was a good reminder that celebration is part of this experience. Osama bin Laden was an evil man who destroyed the lives of many people. His death marks a victory in the war that is worth celebrating.

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Social media tutorial

In case this social media thing doesn't make sense to you...

(via Tastefully Offensive)

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