[Religion News Service, January 23, 1996]
It’s not every day you get to see a photo of a woman folding a man up and pushing him into a suitcase. But there she is: standing outside a compact car, shoving an amiable-looking fellow in a rugby shirt into a carrying case.
Make that a “#4858944 Zippered Nylon Carrying Tote.” Yes, this is Safe-T-Man, the inflatable bodyguard, “a life-size, simulated male that appears to be 180 lbs. and 6 ft. tall.”
Entries in Humor (41)
[Religion News Service, January 23, 1996]
[Books & Culture, November 1995]
When I was down to the Big City not long ago, my youthful friend Rod took me to his favorite bookstore-cafe. We sat on high stools at a small, sticky square of yellow wood, buffeted by alternative rock flowing from the excellent sound system. I chose, at Rod's suggestion, a designer beer that the menu described as "fruity and complex." Nearby, patrons lingered at blond-wood book racks, perusing the handsome volumes with impressive nonchalance. Diversity spread her amiable wings: elbowpatch-and-beret types mingled easily with Birkenstocker-backpackers en tout noir. So when Rod came up to Baltimore I took him to my favorite book source, across the street from the Friend General Store and Love Nest Package Liquors. The bulky one-story building fills nearly a city block; it is painted rosy beige with deeper-brown trim, and topped with romantic crenellations. The orange metal sign bolted to the wall reads "Baltimore Department of Finance, Bureau of Purchases, Warehouse #9." But those familiar with its charms eschew the formal title; we call it the Baltimore Book Dump.
[World, September 23, 1995]
Reporters are brave adventurers, required by their profession to visit places where they face danger in the forms of gunfire, tornados, or foreign food. Recently I undertook a similar expedition: I spent an entire afternoon in my living room. With the television on.
[Religion News Service, August 22, 1995]
Quick, how many genders do you think there are? Two? Three, if you count Richard Simmons?
Such stingy thinking is scorned by some of those preparing for the Fourth World Conference on Women, to be held in Beijing next month.
[Religion News Service, July 25, 1995]
It's as adorable as a kitten sitting on a teddy bear holding a balloon, licking a lollipop shaped like a rainbow that smells like violets and plays "Send in the Clowns." Make that a pink kitten.
Superlatives fail me. The latest porcelain doll catalog just arrived from the Ashton‑Drake Galleries, and just thumbing through it is enough to make my teeth hurt.
[Religion News Service, May 7, 1995]
I can't get the bumper‑sticker out of my mind; it's stuck there like a wad of gum under a theater seat. "World Peace," read the message on the back of the Dodge, in faux‑childish crayon scrawl. It had a smiley‑face in the middle. No doubt the woman toting this sticker likes world peace, and wanted to suggest it as an option the rest of us had not yet considered.
[Unpublished, February 1995]
Long winter evenings have always challenged families; the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware recently hosted an afternoon of "19th century winter pastimes…once-popular parlor games challenging the mind or the memory." For some readers, early March will bring more snowstorms, and a list of old parlor games sounds appealing.
But who needs outmoded forms of entertainment, when you can keep jolly the Wiedro way? "The Wiedros" became our family alias when daughter Megan, attempting to enter the surname "Weirdo" on a computer questionaire at Disneyworld, logged something like "Wiedr O" instead. On our last Wiedro outing we visited museums in Delaware’s Brandywine Valley, then spent abed-and-breakfast evening, free from all electronic diversions. Here are the pastimes taht helped pass our time—some old familiars, some invented on the spot. The first is a guiding principle:
1. Drive it into the ground. Don’t let a promising topic go until it’s exhausted.
[World, January 7, 1995]
Three, two, one, and I was on the air. With a crackle my phone line was patched in, and I heard a jovial voice saying, "Welcome, Frederica! So glad you could join us today!"
My host and all his audience heard: "Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark."
The mailman’s arrival at that moment had thrown Sparky into End of the World Alert mode. "I hear you have a dog," the host gamely went on. "Yes, now everybody knows," I agreed miserably.
As late fall slides to winter, across the country Christians are winding up another year of living the religious life. Late fall, and across the country members of the American Academy of Religion are winding up another year of studying the religious life.
The distinction between living it and studying it may seem artificial; most Christians study scripture, as well as theology and devotional works. But the study based in faith is not like the study of religion per se. In the halls of academe, religion is just one more sociological phenomenon, to be appraised from a safe distance (after all, He may not be a tame lion). Not that all the members of the Academy are religious abstainers; there are mainliners, goddess-worshippers, Buddhists, and the odd evangelical or two. But the AAR meets in the ivory tower, not the church.
[World, October 1, 1994]
"What is culture?" asks Tom Weller in his funny 1987 book, Culture Made Stupid. "Not the same thing as culture, which a dish full of germs has...No, cvltvre is something nobler, loftier, finer, thicker with pompous adjectives."
If there were a Federal Bureau of Cvltvre, it would be the Smithsonian Institution, which sprawls between the Capital Building and the Washington Monument, paralyzing tourists with its bulk. Although there are fourteen museums in the Institution, its holdings are so vast that only 2% can be shown at once. Museums range from the wildly popular Air and Space (which draws 9 million visitors a year) to lesser-knowns like the Portrait and the Building (yes, a museum about buildings, currently showing a barn).