Archive for August, 2011

y'all - the magazine of southern people

Image by lacylouwho via Flickr

Southerners know how to speak. Every drawled phrase is rich with personality. As much as we like to poke fun at their accents, we cain’t hep imitatin’ ’em. It’s downright cawntagious. In Sling Blade ,a little boy tells Billy Bob Thornton’s character, “Ah lak th’ way yew tawk.” But the Culture Vulture loves the way those Southerners talk. Why? Cawse it’s so dang fun, y’all! And speakin’ of SouthernSpeak, isn’t y’all the most useful, yet underused word in the English language? The Culture Vulture has heard groups of elderly women regularly referred to as ‘You Guys’. Who would say that? Well, I don’t like to gossip, but it’s them folks from California, bless their hearts.

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Mr. Coffee is a Drip

Here’s a guest post from billdaviswords.wordpress.com

My wife and I love coffee. Love it. And I mean coffee (as opposed to the caffeine-enhanced, coffee-flavored, sugar-and-whipped-cream beverages my kids’ generation loves) We have coffee every morning and sometimes later in the day (although the middle aged body requires decaf after 10 a.m., if I want to sleep)
Anyway, my point is, I have a lot of experience making coffee. I know that’s not a big deal, but it does give me some perspective when I say, “What is wrong with the guys who design coffee maker carafes?!”

This is the age of smart phones, Google and Google +, iPods, iPads and Kindles (sorry, B&N… Nooks, too.) In my lifetime I’ve seen space travel, moon landings (unless you believe the conspiracy theory dudes) and even EARTH landings after space travel. I’ve seen the Iron Curtain crumble. I’ve seen the advance of technology such as the demise of the 8-track and quick shift from CDs to digital music.
So if our species can make a 2.7 GHz computer processor for my Mac, if my phone can know that I’m in front of Filippi’s Pizza Grotto and offer me a coupon, WHY CAN’T THEY MAKE COFFEE DECANTERS THAT DON’T DRIP?!

Mr. Coffee is a cultural icon. We got a Mr. Coffee for a wedding present. In fact, time was, “Mr. Coffee” meant coffee maker in a generic sense. Like xerox is used to mean “photo-copy” and kleenex meant “facial tissue.” They started making Mr. Coffee machines in 1972. That’s 39 years ago. Thirty-nine (seems longer when I spell it out, huh?)
And yet they have the same insane design. You know what I mean: squatty glass carafe with the tiny spout, shaped like the pouty lower lip on a little girl who’s about to cry. The design doesn’t work. It never did. So why don’t they fix it?

Try to pour a cup of coffee and it will dribble and spill all over the place. Now, I realize that it might be a bit much to ask of a coffee carafe to pour coffee. I’m sorry to have such high expectations. At least, once you are pouring your third cup (this means you have already spilled about a half a cup) you’re good. For a while. You’ve reached that tiny window of satisfaction. But then you try to pour the last cup and… oops. Carafe fail again. You know what I’m talking about. You can’t pour the last cup out without tipping it fully vertical (actually nearly upside down), getting steam burns on your hand, and yes, spilling more of that precious fluid on the counter.

This is the REAL reason for the Starbucks revolution. It’s not the strength or sweetness of their coffee or the quasi-Italian names. It’s not the couch-and-jazz ambiance or the sense of luxury that comes from paying too much (really folks, it’s beans and water: $5??) No, it’s actually the fact that someone else can pour your coffee for you and you avoid all that stress and mopping up at home.
But wait… THEIR coffee machines don’t spill. What gives, here?

Forget the Tea Party. It’s time for the Coffee Party. Red and Blue states alike can unite around the fight for a decent home coffee carafe.
I’m gonna ride through town calling everyone to arms…
…just as soon as I have my coffee.

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Pendulum of Faith


The Culture Vulture is beginning to think of faith in Christ as a pendulum. It swings back and forth, in wide arcs, between extremes. On one side: wildly ecstatic hope. On the other: dark skepticism. At the center: God, the plumbline of truth. When faith swings toward the center, faith stabilizes. Clarity prevails, wisdom and understanding appear. Day to day living becomes simpler. There is peace. In the early stages, faith swings wide and high. Oh, those highs! To fly on that trapeze of belief where every dream will come true, every fantasy will soon be realized. Those are heady times. Naysayers, who aren’t flying at the same heights, are merely weak in their faith. Poor schmucks. The cliche, however, soon proves itself accurate: What goes up….you know the rest. Faith becomes tempered by truth, real truth, God’s truth. But, carried along by momentum, faith swings past God so quickly that it ends up on the other side of the arc, doubting the words of Jesus, doubting even the existence of God. Emotional faith is easily swayed. But the dark pessimist cannot remain airborn for long. Soon enough, the giddy experience of life draws faith back in the other direction. A pattern of highs and lows emerges. Realization that the God of Abraham, Moses, Peter and Paul is unlike the gods of mythology. He is not a capricious circus performer who may or may not catch you when you fall. He is not the one swinging. I am. He remains steady and consistent, true to Himself. When faith swings close to Him, I experience a calming trust. I experience His presence. As time elapses, the pendulum of faith rocks gently closer to that center of truth. Once in awhile, life knocks the pendulum, hard, upsetting the balance. But it happens less often. Acrobatics aside, experience shows that there is, indeed, a plumbline. Those who are attached will always rock back to center.

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