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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: May 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

May 2009 Wrap-up

Here is an overview of May's posts:

5.4.09 - 5.8.09

IHM! ~ No Ifs, ands, or BUTTs
: People who flick cigarette butts out their car window.
STT ~ I Thought I was Offending Asians
: Be careful what you wear to the Chinese restaurant.
AFW ~ It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright
: I talk about one of my favorite bands: mewithoutYou.
DTT ~ Don't Be so Pushy!
: A post about people who push their beliefs on others.
FFF ~ You Too!: One of my favorite comedians, Brian Regan.

5.11.09 - 5.15.09

IHM! ~ No More Cones!: Enough with the highway construction already!
STT ~ Bottled Skunk: A story about a stuck skunk. This story has a happy ending.
AFW ~ M.C.E.: My favorite graphic artist, M.C. Escher.
DTT ~ Popping the Bubble
: Christians need to stop hiding their dirt and acting like they're perfect.
FFF ~ Jon Arbuckle is a Sad, Sad Man: I talk about Garfield and a website that takes a different look at the Garfield comic strip.

5.18.09 - 5.22.09

IHM! ~ Check THIS Out!: The self check-out registers aren't all they're cracked up to be.
STT ~ Return of the Skunk: Another story about a skunk. This one does not have a good ending.
AFW ~ Take it to the Banksy: A mysterious graffiti artist known only as Banksy.
DTT ~ And They Lived Happily Ever...?: The things we think will fill our lives fall short of what really matters.
FFF ~ CCE: T-Shirts: A funny post about Christian t-shirts.

5.25.09 - 5.29.09

ILM! ~ Happy Memorial Day!: A short post wishing everyone a Happy Memorial Day.
STT ~ I am 7-Iron Man: A story about a 17 year old boy, his 6 year old sister, and a golf club.
AFW ~ BLU: Another graffiti artist. You could say his work jumps right off the walls.
DTT ~ The Good, the Bad, and the Why?: Some thoughts on the age old question: "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?"
FFF ~ CCE: Album Covers: A funny post about Christian album covers. Thanks to Jesse for giving me the idea.

Freakin' Funny Friday ~ CCE: Album Covers

The reason why I've decided to do a series of Christian culture posts on Fridays is partly because of my friend Jesse. He sent me a link in an e-mail to another blogger site called Funny & Worst Album Covers. I had already planned on doing a post on Christian t-shirts, so when Jesse sent me the e-mail it gave the idea to do this series since there's a wide range of things to talk about and poke fun at. But remember, it's all in good fun until someone loses an eye. But how many people have lost an eye while reading a blog, honestly? So today we'll be looking at some of the funniest and worst Christian album covers.

They may walk by faith, but I don't have much faith in their math skills. I see more than three people in the Tyler trio. And what's up with the guy on the left? Did he miss the photoshoot with the rest of the group and they just added a picture of him to the left? Couldn't they have just Photoshopped him in? What do you mean they didn't have Photoshop back then?

Is it just me or is that pink phone floating in mid-air?

Watch out for his "Crain Kick" Ha ha! Sweep the leg Johnny!

Long before Damon Wayans persona of Homey the Clown saying "Homey don't play dat" we had The Rappin' Reverend Dr. C. Dexter Wise, III saying "I ain't into that"

Butch Yelton and Upbound sounds like an awesome indie band name. What exactly are you gonna swing at with that gospel axe? What the heck is a gospel axe? Why doesn't everyone else have gospel weapons. Where's the gospel chain, the gospel brass knuckles, the gospel lead pipe, and the gospel sack of doorknobs?

Is that a young Peter Griffin in a gospel quartet?

Yea, and he has buck-teeth!

Yea, come to the chapel, Carroll Atchison is lookin' for a fight. C'mon, bring it on you punks with your rock music and your yoo-hoo chocolate drinks!

I wouldn't want to mess with Father Rober White. He could take on Carroll Atchinson and his wife, Butch Yelton and his gang, and Dr. Roy Anderson Jr. and the Tyler trio all at the same time. But just in case things got a little rough, Mike Crain would have his back. The Reverend Dr. C. Dexter Wise, III would help out but he just ain't into that.

But poor Liz is. Anyway, there's plenty of booze, syringes, and women to go around!

Uhhh, yea...I'm not touching that one.

So there you have it. I hope the dude that started the Funny & Worst album cover blog doesn't mind me "borrowing" some of the pictures from his blog. I'm sure he "borrowed" them from somewhere else. But go check it out, funny stuff. I did some research and found a few more covers that are just as bad as the ones above. Here they are.

They must have been in the same math class as Dr. Roy Anderson Jr., and the Tyler Trio.

Wrong picture or wrong title on this album cover?

I don't know what that would accomplish, but at least you wouldn't have to change your name.

The guy in the middle doesn't look real. He either looks like a mannequin or a muppet. I think Jim Henson had something to do with this.

Uh, wow. I really don't know what to say about this one. Next!

Gee, I'm really sorry to hear that...hey, is that the same font they used for the title sequence in "All in the Family" with Archie and Edith Bunker?

A few years ago I used to listen to Christian music (nothing like the albums above though, ugh). In fact it was the only thing I listened to because at one time I used to think it was wrong to listen to anything else. I'm glad I grew out of that though. If something sounds good I'll listen to it. I enjoy Jars of Clay, Switchfoot, Derek Webb, Kevin Max, Five Iron Frenzy, P.O.D., Dr. Dog, mewithoutYou, DeVotchKa, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, Sufjan Stevens, Copeland, Emery, Anberlin, Spoken, Starflyer 59, The Myriad, Fiction Family, Jon Foreman, Chase Pagan, David Bazan, Radiohead, U2, Cool Hand Luke, The Welcome Wagon, Mae, Farewell Flight, M.Ward, Lorien, The Chariot, Deas Vail, Brave Saint Saturn, Further Seems Forever, Two Gallants, Reign of Kindo, Danielson, Ashton Allen, Brooke Waggoner, and many more I can't think of right now. Yes, some of those bands people may consider to be Christian bands but I don't think the bands themselves would give their music that label.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, see you on Monday!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Deep Thought Thursday ~ The Good, the Bad, and the Why?

On Tuesday's post I had talked about getting hit in the head with a golf club. Towards the end of the post I had mentioned that I felt God was protecting me from any permanent damage and people might question "If God was protecting you, then why did he let you get hit with a golf club in the first place?" My answer to that question was "I'm glad God doesn't coddle us every minute of every day otherwise we'd all be a bunch of babies." I want to go further into detail about that today.

Everyone has probably heard this question before: "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?" I can't claim to have the answer to this question, but I do have some thoughts about it. Imagine you had parents that always kept you away from trouble and from any harm by never letting you do anything or experience anything on your own. Sure, you'd be safe all the time but at what cost? It would suck to have those kind of parents and I feel sorry for anyone who grew up with parents who are like that. So why do so many people treat God like he should be that kind of parent? Why do we feel that God always needs to hover over us and protect us from anything bad?

God allows us to experience things on our own. He lets us learn from our mistakes and encourages us to get back on the horse when we fall off. He removes our training wheels when we're ready and gives us a little push to get us going even though we may wreck a few times. When life throws you lemons, God makes lemonade. Are those enough metaphors? He allows us to seek and explore and ask questions. It's what makes us all so unique as humans which allows us all to follow God in our own way. Some people might scoff at that last sentence, but
I'm not promoting universalism, I'm promoting individualism. The truth is that no two people in the world believe in God exactly the same way. But if you do find yourself in a room full of people who do act and believe exactly the same way then you are probably in a cult and you may have been brainwashed, GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!! Whoops, I've derailed again. Time to get back on track.

So, if I had to take a stab at answering that age old question:
"Why does God let bad things happen to good people?" I guess my reply would be "Because God is not a sucky parent." He embodies all the good qualities of what a mother and a father should be.

I think many people base their view of God on how they view their parents. It makes sense considering how God is referred to as a parent so many times in the Bible. It must be so difficult for those who had an abusive or an absent parent to view God this way. But know that God is the father and the mother you've never had before. Even if you had great parents growing up, know that God is more of a parent than they could ever be. It is hard for a parent to let their child experience things on their own knowing they will fail from time to time and they will get hurt along the way, but it is the only way the child will learn and grow. I also think perhaps that is why bad things happen to good people, because they must happen.

I want to elaborate more on this question, but I will do it next week. Some of my blog posts tend to be a little long and I'm trying to shorten them because I'll admit that even I get annoyed sometimes when I read someone's ridiculously long blog post. So even though I will be talking about a different subject it will still be based on the same question we've tackled today. Remember, I don't have the answers, just some thoughts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Artsy Fartsy Wednesday ~ BLU

Last Wednesday I covered Banksy, a graffiti artist from the UK. Today I will be covering another graffiti artist known as BLU from Argentina. What's different about this graffiti artist is that he animates his graffiti...

Reader of this blog: "Whoa, wait! Did you just say he animates his graffiti?"

Dan: "Why yes I did, reader of this blog, yes I did."

Reader of this blog: "How?"

Dan: "Here, take a look at this video"

Warning: Due to the surrealistic nature of this video, it may contain images that may be disturbing to some. Not recommended for young children.

MUTO is the name of that animation. It won an Animated Block Party award for original design in July of 2008. The Animation Block Party is an annual event that started in 2004 in New York city. I saw a commercial recently that looks very much like this animation. I don't know if it was done by BLU or if it is a rip-off of his work. I can't remember what the ad was for since I don't watch a whole lot of TV. Someone let me know it they see it. This is going to be a short post today since there isn't much more to say. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Story Time Tuesday ~ I am 7-Iron Man

Today's story is one of my favorite ones to tell even though it has left me scarred for life.

This story takes place in 1995 when I was seventeen, but I'd like to preface this story and go back to 1983 when I was five. I was still getting some of my immunization shots. My mom had to drag me kicking and screaming out of the car because I had learned to recognize the building that you go to where they stick you with sharp objects for no other reason than to make you cry. That's how it looks to a five year old anyway. I won't use his real name, but I'll refer to him as Dr. Spooner. If you knew his real name you'd understand why I just called him that. Anyway, Dr. Spooner was the one who gave me all my shots when I was little. He may as well have been the devil.

Okay, fast forward to 1995. I'm in the back yard practicing my golf swing using a 7-iron. My sister, who was 5 or 6 at the time came into the back yard and said she wanted to hit the ball. I told her no, these are not toys. So she did what any little sister would do, she told mom. "He won't let me hit the ball!" My mom came out and said "Just let her try it one time." "One time"...those are two words I'll never forget.

So I bend down to set the golf ball on the tee. As I'm doing this I say "Now wait until I move before you..." *WHACK!* I never finished that sentence. I don't know how long I blacked out, but it must have only been a few seconds because when I got up off the ground my sister was still standing there, golf club in hand with a look of shock on her face. Blood was flowing from my brow. I walked into the house being careful not to get blood on the floor or on my shirt (which should have been the least of my worries) and yelled, "MOM! She hit me!"

I stood over the kitchen sink while my mom came down to see what happened. She made an ice pack for me and then drove me to the emergency room. I don't remember being in any pain until I had to sit in the waiting room. It seemed like all the pain I should have felt after getting hit caught up with itself once I sat down in the waiting room. It felt like my head was expanding to twice it's size and then returning to it's normal size every few seconds.

The doctor showed up and said "Hi, I'm Dr. Spooner" I immediately started having flashbacks and started shouting "El Diablo! El Diablo!" and making the symbol of a cross with my index fingers. I don't know why I was shouting in Spanish. Okay, I didn't actually shout "El Diablo!" and make a cross with my fingers, but all I could think of was my childhood nightmare had returned.

The following paragraph is not for the faint of heart or people with weak stomachs. If you get queasy easily then I suggest you stop reading, otherwise, grab a bucket or have a wastecan nearby.

I went back into the ER and Dr. Spooner decided I was due for my tetanus shot. So he gave me the tetanus shot and another shot to numb the pain because he was about to sew my face back together. He put a sheet of paper, kind of like tissue paper over my face and there was a little hole cut out of it that was big enough for my eye. I could have closed my eyes but I decided to watch what he was doing. The anesthetic worked very well because only thing I felt was a slight tug, but no pain as he took a needle and sewed my wound shut. The needle was less than an inch from my eye as he worked. By the time he was done it looked like I had an eyebrow extension.

The next morning I was still in a lot of pain and I missed school because the eye that was hit swelled up so much that I could barely see out of my other eye. Some blood vessels broke in the eye that was hit and the white of my eye had turned completely red. The swollen part of my face turned purple. I looked worse than Sloth from the Goonies.

Maybe I'm exaggerating

I went to church that Sunday and some of the kids from Sunday school saw me and were pretty freaked out. After church was over the kids from Sunday school presented me with an eye-patch they made out of string and black construction paper. It was a very thoughtful gift.

My friend started a rumor that I had gotten into a fight with one of the football players. When I explained to one of my teachers what had happened he would ask me every so often if I was buying a set of golf clubs for my sister for Christmas. Generally when people would see me they would say "Oh geez, what happened to you?" as if they had been completely knocked off guard when they saw me.

It took a few months to completely heal. The thing that took the longest was the white of my eye to become white again. I am left with a pretty good scar (pictured below). I know my mom has a picture somewhere of me a day or two after I was hit. If I find it I will update this post and let you know.

I am thankful that my scar is the only thing I am left with after this whole incident. I could have lost an eye, gotten severe brain damage, possibly even killed. I feel that God was protecting me from those things. Some of you might ask "If God was protecting you, then why did he let you get hit with a golf club in the first place?" I'm not gonna get into too much deep detail, (today is Tuesday, not Thursday) but I'll just say that I'm glad God doesn't coddle us every minute of every day otherwise we'd all be a bunch of babies.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Love Monday! ~ Happy Memorial Day!

This will be one of the very few "I Love Monday!" posts. Today is a quick one so I just want to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day. Enjoy spending time with your family and loved ones. Though I do not agree with war I will honor those who gave their lives and honor the ones who are still serving. I cannot however honor those who decide to send our troops to war when they have never been there themselves. 

God bless, not just America, but the entire world.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Freakin' Funny Friday ~ Christian Culture Edition: T-Shirts

I thought I would try something different. For the next few weeks or however long it takes I'm going to call Fridays, Freakin' Funny Friday ~ Christian Culture Edition, or CCE for short. I will talk about something within the Christian culture and most likely poke fun at it. But it will be all in good fun, I'm not doing it to be malicious. I used to be a part of the it and in some ways I guess I still am. But I want to talk about the most ridiculous things that come about within the culture. In yesterday's post I hinted at Christian culture so that's why I decided to do this mini-series.

I read a book that was a real eye-opener to me. It's written by Matthew Paul Turner called "The Christian Culture Survival Guide: The Misadventures of an Outsider on the Inside".

You can find Matthew Paul Turner's website and blog here. The book was put out by Relevant Books and you can buy it here. Turner also has a book out now called "Churched".

There is also a blog called Stuff Christians Like that I mentioned in my first introductory post. This is a blog devoted to poking fun at Christian culture. It was created by Jon Acuff and he does a much better job at talking about Christian culture than what I'm about to do. I'm going to try to be original and not emulate what he does on his blog, but you can check his out here. Okay, that's enough links for one post!

In today's CCE I'd like to talk about Christian t-shirts, or rather -shirts. First of all I want everyone to know that I am not opposed to someone who wants to share their faith through the use of a t-shirt. I think it becomes a problem when a logo or a figure from pop-culture is taken and changed to reflect a Biblical message. Though Christians believe that we are "not of this world", every opportunity is taken to emulate the things of this world and twist them around for their own use and say "that's clever". What's so clever about stealing? I'm pretty sure there's something in the Bible about not stealing, but I could be wrong. It's probably in some obscure passage somewhere. Okay, so without any further ado, bring on the -shirts!

Okay this one makes no sense to me at all. I know the shirt is talking about idolatry, but doesn't "Amazing Grace" sound a lot like "Amazing Race"? All you need to do is add a "G" for crying out loud!

I have no idea what peanut butter cups have to do with Jesus. You've heard the slogan "There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's" So I guess what this shirt is saying is "There's no wrong way to follow Jesus". Just make up the rules as you go.

Yes, I'd like to order a Half caff, double holy, non fat, whole truth, Double cupp, no satan, to go.

Wow, that is a steep price to pay to get social networking in heaven. What needs to happen to get face book up there?

I drink Pepsi. Am I going to hell?

Um, so are we worshiping Jared Fogle now or what? I'm confused.

Wow, this shirt is offensive on so many levels.

So there you have it. Honestly how did it ever get to this point? It's sad really. I'll admit that at one time I owned a bright red shirt that had the Taco Bell chihuahua on it saying "¡Yo quiero Jesus!" But those days are over. There was one company that isn't around anymore that made some very creative t-shirts. They were called One Truth clothing. Even though they're not in business anymore, but you can find what's left of their website here. I bought a few of their shirts a couple years ago. I'm going to finish this post with some of the shirts I found while researching that I thought were funny and clever
. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. God bless.

This one is funny because it doesn't make any sense.

I wish I had this one when I was in youth group.

I like this one because it reminds me of a friend from college who would always ask a question and then answer it by pointing his thumbs at himself and saying "This Guy". So this shirt reminded me of him.

Personally I prefer cross-word puzzles, I mean -word puzzles.

Hide and seek with Jesus sounds like fun! Of course he would always be able to find me right away.

I don't have any tattoos, but just in case I get one or two someday...

I don't know what it is about this one, but it's funny.

I like this one, maybe it's because I have a beard.

This is a shirt put out by Is it controversial? Perhaps. But is it the truth? Absolutely. Check out the xxxchurch website here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Deep Thought Thursday ~ And They Lived Happily Ever...?

We've all heard stories and fairy tales when we were kids. Most of them end with the phrase "...and they lived happily ever after. The End." But what these stories fail to mention is what happens after the story ends. What happens in the span of time which is "happily ever after"? Do we just assume the characters in the story spend the rest of their lives happy and content with no more issues or problems?

Too often we take what we hear in these stories and fairy tales and apply them to our lives as we get older. "If I would just find someone and get married all my problems will go away and I will live happily ever after" or "If I just get that big promotion I will have enough money to take care of all my problems and I will live happily ever after".

Take marriage for example. How many of us really have it in our heads that finding someone and getting married is going to end all of our problems? I know I used to think that way. Sure, it might end our problem of loneliness, or does it? It's sad, but I've seen people who are married but they are also lonely. Why? Because marriage is not a cure for loneliness. Marriage is something that takes a lot of hard work to maintain. It's about connection more than it is about attraction. No, I'm not married but I've been around long enough and I've seen enough to have realized some of these things. I am with a really great girl now, she's really smart and beautiful. I thank God for her. I'm thankful for the time that I've spent alone though. I've had time to observe. I'm glad I didn't get married at a very young age. I'm not saying it doesn't work for some people, I'm just saying it wouldn't have worked for me.

Then there are people who have no interest in marriage but like to have sex with as many people as they can. I think these people must be the loneliest people. There is no connection to the people they are with. They are just fulfilling a desire for themselves that lasts only moments at a time. It's sad. Selfishness can make a person so lonely.

What about that big promotion? You'll be all set after that, right? You'll feel free, right? Probably not. The more stuff you have, the more you'll want. We came into this world with absolutely nothing to our name, yet so many of us never seem to have enough. Freedom is not about having whatever we want, it is about being free from want. I know this is something I struggle with and I don't want anyone to think I'm standing on a soap box saying these things. I'm right in the middle of the crowd with everyone else.

So I guess this is the part where I'm supposed to say "Give your life to Jesus and you'll live happily ever after! The End!" But I'm not going to say that because it's not true. However this is how Jesus is usually presented to people by others. Give your life to Jesus and he'll solve all your problems and you can just sit back and relax, he's got it all covered. I think this is why so many people get excited when they hear about all the stuff Jesus is gonna do in their lives and then they back away when something bad happens. This whole "bait and switch" tactic doesn't work. Has anyone ever seen the "easy" button that Staples sells?

Whoop, there it is! Yes, the Staples "easy" button. A clever little device that doesn't really do anything. But it's a big red shiny button, you can't resist pushing it. You're getting fingerprints all over your computer screen, stop it! Now of course the Christian sub-culture had to go and rip this idea off just like they do with everything else, so now I bring to you:

Whoops! Ugh, so misleading. I understand what they're trying to say here. They're trying to take the passage in Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" to try and send a message to people. But Jesus also said "Get ready for trouble. Look to what you'll need; there are difficult times ahead." (Luke 22:36). So to simply say, "It's just that easy" just doesn't sum it up

Just like a marriage, following Jesus takes a lot of work on our part. There will be times of rest and peace, but there will also be times of hardship and suffering. There are some books out there written by Christian authors that tell you how to get what you want in 12 steps or 8 steps or however many steps they choose. They may as well title these books "How to Make God Your Own Personal Genie: so you can get what you want when you want it", and it will feature a picture of the author on the front cover with a huge grin and perfectly straight white teeth.

The last time I checked Jesus didn't even have a home, car, computer, or any possessions for that matter. We worship a homeless guy. He normally ate at other people's houses and slept on their futons. How does a book about getting everything you want reflect a life lived for Jesus? The fact is it's close to impossible to follow Jesus. If I told you to go and sell your house, your car, become homeless, leave your family, would you do it? I know I couldn't. But I don't think Jesus is looking for people to live the same life he lived. I think he's looking for people who take what they do have, whether it's a little or a lot, and use that for God's kingdom. To let go of the things and the stuff that we think matters so much to us. To do that we must love others unconditionally as Jesus loves us. We must not judge or condemn others, but lift others up when they are down in the dumps. Jesus looks at our hearts and what's in it (besides blood).

One thing that does bring comfort when following Jesus is to find others carrying the same load and knowing you are not alone. In 2 Corinthians 1:3 it says "He (Jesus) comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Will we ever have a happily ever after? I'd like to think that when I finally get to meet God face-to-face, I will get to experience "happily ever after." Until then, I need to remember what it says in Romans 8:18 "That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens."

Hope you enjoyed this one. Come on back tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Artsy Fartsy Wednesday ~ Take it to the Banksy

I never paid much attention to graffiti art until I learned about a man from Bristol who is known only as Banksy. Not much else is known about this man. He wants to remain anonymous. Many sources claim they have learned his identity, but it's hard to know who is right. He wants his work to be seen, but he does not want to be seen. He is not doing his artwork for himself. He wants to use his art to make people laugh, make people think, and to make a statement. Much of his work is satirical including topics such as culture and ethics. It's very different from most graffiti art. He uses stencils and he often uses the environment as a part of his work. Since I don't know much about the man I won't spend a whole lot of time talking about him. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

I will talk about how I found out about Banksy. One day I was listening to the Mars Hill Bible Church podcast. Mars Hill is where Rob Bell teaches and gives his messages. He started talking about a guy named Banksy and was showing the congregation some of Banksy's work. There was a lot of laughter coming from the crowd and from Rob. Since it was an audio podcast I had no idea what was going on. So I hopped online to see what all the noise was about. And this is what I saw:

Oh, poor Thomas.

I thought the guy and the scaffolding was real at first.

There's something very Looney Tunes-ish about this one.

I guess even the earliest artwork ever discovered
could be considered graffiti. By the way, does this
picture depict anti-graffiti graffiti?

A good example of how Banksy uses the environment
his work.

Does it smell like wet dog or wet paint?

Claude Monet's famous painting "Japanese foot-bridge
over the
water-lily pond in Giverny".

Banksy's version of it.


Unfortunate, but so true.

Check out Banksy's website here. Some of the content on his site is NOT suitable for children, just a warning. Come back tomorrow for Deep Thought Thursday. Have a nice Day!