RWPE #50 – Restaurants

Exactly the same number of people that love LOVE, loved RESTAURANTS. Here are the submissions:

Christopher D. Bennett

Shannon Bardole of Little White Lye Soap

Dawn Krause of Impassioned Versifier

Mike Vest of Waxen Media

This is it. Only 2 themes left. Somebody with a really good memory and a web browser could figure out the last remaining theme after the Random Theme Generator spit out an apropos theme for the week where Christians (like me) celebrate the birth of the savior.

Peace of Mind

I just want to throw out a reminder to anybody thinking of submitting a picture. The deadline is still noon on Monday. However, you don’t have to wait until Sunday night or Monday morning to submit.

I hope many of you find peace of mind this week. I know I will. Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve is my favorite church service of the year.

Also, the “Comments” section on my journal entries has been more active in the last week or so. This is something that I of course love, but the “comments notifier” plugin has went belly up. I’m actively working to solve the problem, but until I get fixed, you won’t be getting an email notifying you if I have responded to your comment. Or if somebody else has added a comment. So check back. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I suppose I could forward comments for the time being.

Also I would like to thank Kelly from The Colorado Grill for allowing me to take my RWPE photo this week. We had a lengthy conversation about the calendar during FNSC. It is always good to touch base with my fans.

Proust No. Four

Jesse Howard correctly answered the Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question:

Q: Currently, what is Christopher D. Bennett’s favorite band?

A: The Swell Season.

Proust Quote

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.”

Confessions Question

What is your present state of mind?

Proust Questionnaire Number Sixteen

I’m going to take this question to mean what am I thinking about right now.  So this will be an incredibly short answer.

I’m thinking that I need to talk about boobs less on Twitter.

I’m thinking that I had an awesome weekend. Great food. Great company. Then great company, but I missed out on the great food. Then more great food.  More great company. Then more great food. More great company.

But mostly, I’m thinking about my yearly viewing of It’s A Wonderful Life.  This is causing me to wonder if the world would be a better place if I had never been born.

Don’t take this as me being depressed or sad.  Definitely don’t post any comments or send me any messages reassuring me that the world is a better place because I’m in it. Definitely nothing with examples of how I somehow improved your life and prevented you from being a crack whore, petty thief or NASCAR fan.  I’m not fishing. Keep that stuff to yourself. Admire me from a distance, if you will.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I will never post anything in this forum or in a social networking environment of the “woe-is-me” variety. I don’t play the game where I beg for other people’s pity. I keep my own counsel. I don’t pity farm.

It is simply an honest intellectual question that I am thinking about right now.  Do the positives I have brought to this world outweigh the negatives that I have brought to this world?  More importantly, what can I do to increase the balance in favor of this being a better world for my being in it?

Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question

What brand of camera does Christopher D. Bennett use?

Personal Photo Project of the Week #46 Beta

The rest of the I Recommend Pleasant pictures.

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

I think if you look closely at these pictures, you can see the exact moment where Foster is no long amused.

Something else I am reminded of when I look at these pictures is that I need to invest in another backdrop. I’ve also been considering painting the “studio” area of my basement silver. Mostly because of its light reflective properties and it will look awesome in black and white. I do worry that people will think that I stole the idea from Andy Warhol and I can’t stand Andy Warhol. I can live with it though.

There have been a couple of developments in the world of Foster Q. Bunny.

1. Thanks to Angie, Foster now has an actual cage. Foster was living in a giant rubbermaid container with a screen window on top to prevent escape attempts.
2. My rabbit expert Becky came over and sexed up Foster. Foster is officially a chick rabbit. Good thing Foster is an androgynous name.

Personal Photo Project of the Week #46 Alpha

I Recommend Pleasant

There is a long and elaborate story about how this rabbit came into my possession. The details that you need to know are that he was homeless so I opened up my home to him.

To slightly elaborate, I borrowed him from Dawn to photograph. While he was in my care all of his siblings died a horrible parasitic death. So he has kind of de facto became mine.

However, he needed a name. I understand that naming a rabbit is kind of like naming a car or a cat or fish or a washing machine. It is a complete waste of time. But since it easier to just say “Name X” rather than explaining why it is a waste of time to name a rabbit I finally settled on the name Foster Q. Bunny.

I gave him the name Foster to remind him that the people that were supposed to love him rejected him. I never want him to forget that. It will burn inside him and propel him to greatness. The Q. part is from John Q. Public. I want him to be a rabbit of the people. The bunny part is fairly self-evident. Bunny is clearly cuter than rabbit and lepus gives me nightmares because of the epic giant rabbit movie Night of the Lepus.

A special thanks to Shannon for acting as the bunny wrangler on this job.

Here are more pictures from the I Recommend Pleasant Photo Sessions.

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant
Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Personal Photo Project #46 Alternate - I Recommend Pleasant

Just a quick reminder. Nobody has correctly answered the most recent Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question.

If you would like to take a guess, follow this link and try your luck in the “Comments” section. You can also read more of my political rantings.

Proust No. Three

You can guess more than once, but only one guess at a time.

Proust No. Three

Angie DeWaard correctly answered the Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question:

Q: What is the 1 thing Christopher D. Bennett always buys when he goes to an Iowa State game?

A: A program.

Proust Quote

“Our intonations contain our philosophy of life, what each of us is constantly telling himself about things.”

Confessions Question

What characters in history do you most dislike?

My 2009 Answer

Proust Questionnaire Number Sixteen

There are quite a few historical figures in the last year that have raised my ire. Some have dropped off my radar and some have popped back on.  Some I’m sure will always be there.

One guy who I have a love/hate relationship with is Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard. Sometimes I hate him.  Like when he ran out Dan McCarney. Like when he ran off Wayne Morgan.

Sometimes I love him. Like when he refuses to sell single game tickets to the Iowa-Iowa State game to Iowa fans. Or when he hires Paul Rhoads.

But when he got the gift of Creighton hiring away the failed Greg McDermott and he hired Fred Hoiberg to take his place, it screamed publicity stunt and I was irate.  However, Hoiberg has turned out to be a very good hire thus far. Plus I can never really hate Jamie Pollard.  Iowa fans are terrified of him and that does tickle me so.

Glenn Beck might be on my list of most disliked historical figures as well. His Rally to Restore Honor was a pathetic joke. Learning about honor from somebody like Glenn Beck is like getting financial advice from a homeless person.

To single out one professional liar over the rest of the talking heads on Fox News or MSNBC overstates his importance.  After all, a comedian was able to get triple the number of people at his rally and he didn’t have to go on the air the next day and lie about how many people showed up for it either. Glenn Beck is merely a sad race baiter that will most likely be completely forgotten by historians.

Congress would definitely be on my list as well.  Let me explain to you how our Congress worked these last two years through a story.

16 kids are on a playground. They are playing a game of dodgeball. Since the rules for dodgeball are not universal, there is some debate on what happens when somebody throws a ball at you and you catch it. 10 of the people think that when you catch a ball, not only are you safe, one of your previously eliminated teammates gets to come back into the game. The other six think that you are safe when you catch a ball, but one of your teammates doesn’t get to come back in. They have both agreed to vote on this rule. Whomever wins the vote, the game will be played by their rules.

However, the 10 feel bad for the 6 and refuse to just have the vote because they don’t want to impose their will on the 6. So they try to compromise with them.

“We have the votes to just play by our rules, but we are willing to compromise with you.”

“No. Your way is socialism.”

“So what? The military is a socialist institution and you love it.”


“Well do you have any ideas?”


“No. Isn’t an idea.”


“We could just vote and leave you out of the process all together.”

“No. We’ll take our ball and go home.”

“It is actually our ball.”


“No isn’t an idea.”


The 10 have a huddle.

“They won’t agree with us.  I don’t know what to do!”

“We have the votes, if they don’t want to play, let’s just pass the rule and play the game.”

“I’d feel bad about it.  Instead, let’s just do nothing.”

“But we have the numbers to do something.”

“Yeah, but if we do something they are going to say that our way of playing the game involves Death Panels.”

“Only the extremely ignorant listen to that type of uninformed drivel.”

“Have you seen the standardized test scores of the rest of the 3rd Grade?”

“Right. We should do nothing.”

Then nothing gets done.

And the people suffer.

Understand, that is a simplification, but not by much.

I didn’t mind the Republicans dominated the midterm elections. I sincerely hate both political parties and I have for quite some time. I hate the way that Democrats feel that they have a monopoly on compassion. I hate the way Republicans think they have a monopoly on patriotism. I hate how both parties think they have a monopoly on good ideas.

I was disappointed however that 2 Democrats that were most responsible for a failed Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid kept their jobs. I hate to see cowardice rewarded.

John McCain’s fight to become this generation’s George Wallace is pretty disheartening.  His crusade to keep the plague known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is sad. I remember when McCain used to be one of my favorite politicians, but now he is a horrible shell of what he used to be.  It is sad that he flip flops on his positions more often than the Salmon and even more frustrating is that when he gets the very evidence that DADT is bad for our country that he has been asking for, he changes his mind and asks for different evidence.

I understand that he needs to sharpen his conservative credentials to keep his job in a socially backward state like Arizona, but it was the old “Straight Talk McCain” that made him a maverick. He is certainly a maverick no longer. Tea Party lapdog seems about right.

But when I think about it, it is really a no-brainer. The historical figure I dislike the most is Bob Vander Plaats.

I don’t really know how influential Bob Vander Plaats was in getting three Supreme Court judges removed from their positions for following the law and doing their jobs by ruling that gay marriage was legal in the state of Iowa. I doubt that he actually had that much influence in putting a black eye on the state of Iowa. However the fact that he was out in front on this issue and mobilizing like-minded bigots to get to the polls and vote out the judges makes him an embarrassment to our state.

There was a brief period of time where Iowa was a state of enlightenment. Personal rights and freedoms were actually protected here.  I could walk proudly in any state in the union, knowing that I was from Iowa. I’m probably better than you.  A state that actually protected equal rights. Not a backwards hick state like Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, or (God forbid) Nebraska.

Then election night came in Iowa. All three judges were thrown out. Iowa was an embarrassment.

I know this wasn’t completely Vander Plaats doing.  I know that the enthusiasm gap that the Republicans had in the midterm election was a big contributing factor. I’m not ripping on Republicans, but it is a fact that they are decidedly more socially conservative than Democrats.  That means that Republicans often have the following range of thoughts on gay people: they are gross to burn them at the stake.

Now I personally don’t know any “burn them at the stake” Republicans because I don’t hang out at too many Klan meetings like our boy Vander Plaats and his friends most likely do. (That is clearly an overstatement and parody, but Glenn Beck would try to pass that off as fact and that is just one of the things that separates us.) However, they are certainly out there. Also I try not to be friends with bigots, but that  makes me bigoted against bigots. Ironic, huh?

The surge of Republican voters certainly aided Vander Plaats. Something else that aided him was that most people that supported gay marriage didn’t know what was going on.  More than a few people approached me in the days following the election and told me that they were shocked about the judge “thing”.  If they had known, they would have went out and voted.

As unscientific as my polling data would seem to be, I am very certain that if pro-gay marriage factions had ran a better campaign, doofuses like Vander Plaats wouldn’t be running around our great state thinking that they had just received a mandate.

It makes me sick to my stomach.

It also makes me glad that Brown v. Board of Education was not decided by the Iowa Sate Supreme Court.

Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question

Currently, what is Christopher D. Bennett’s favorite band?

Remember to be the lucky winner, you have to answer in the “Comments” section of this journal entry.

Taiwan Times – November 2010

The Taiwan Times
By Mark Wolfram
Reporting on God’s mission in Taiwan
November 2010

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Advent:  A Good Busy

Hello everyone! November has come and gone and we are just about to get into the thick of things with December’s Christmas preparations.  Right now it is the season of Advent, which means we are preparing for the arrival of Christmas.  I absolutely love Advent, even though it is one of the more busy times of the year.  In fact, I was just having a conversation on Friday about how the Christmas season is a “good busy”.  I say that because under all of the skit practices, music practices, parties and outreach events, the central message is one of great joy and hope.  We have these celebrations and activities to share in the jubilation that God sent his son to our world.  As we prepare for Christmas, we complete all of those items on our list to help celebrate this fact and to share the life changing message of Christ with other people.  May God continue to remind us that he is with us.

Advent at Friday Night Bible Study

In the four weeks leading up to our celebrations at Salvation Lutheran Church, we have been observing Advent at Friday Night Bible Study.  FNBS has 5 different levels of classes:  Little Lambs Class for Elementary students, a Bi-lingual class for beginner English learners,  Junior High class, a Senior High class, and an Advanced English Adult Class.  Each class has been taking their angle on themes of preparing for Christmas, and I would like to spend a little time introducing the lessons for the Adult Advanced English Class.

The first lesson was taught by Petrea, and this lesson studied the role of angels and the proclamation to Mary that she would give birth to God’s son.  Ben taught the second lesson and focused on the shepherds.  The lesson examined who the shepherds were and what they did at Christmas, but it also related the idea of sheep to the fact that Christ is the Passover Lamb, blameless without defect.

Last Friday I taught a lesson looking at the Wise Men, and the gifts that they brought.  Several people knew that they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  We went further though and discussed how each of these gifts can remind us about who Jesus is.  Gold shows that Jesus is our king, frankincense shows that Jesus is our priest, and myrrh reminds us that Jesus came to die for us.  We then looked up Bible verses to show how Jesus fits each of those descriptions.

Please pray for this Adult Advanced English Class.  May God continue to strengthen the faith of the believers in that class, and may he bring to faith those who do not know yet know him.

Prayer Update

Thank you very much for your continued prayers for Noel, Andrew, and James.  I would like to share an update on the situation.  A few weeks ago, Noel went back to the doctor and discovered that her tumors were gone.  Praise God!  Doctors continued to have tests and examinations, and then this past week they gave her a clean bill of health, so she will be able to join us in Taiwan this Christmas.

In addition, James Rush was able to make it out to Taiwan and fill in for Noel’s classes.  He has been a great addition to the team, not only in easing the teaching load, but also with the new energy and excitement that he brings.  Praise God for him and his willingness to come and serve.

New Website

This semester, CMS requested that the American teachers work together to make a website introducing the work and lives of the missionaries here in Taiwan.  The school wants to link this website to the official CMS website, and hopes this new English website will be beneficial for people here in Taiwan, but also people in America.  The whole team has and will continue to work together on this website, but Graham Guenther has volunteered to work with the school on managing the site.  I would like to invite all of you to check it out.  It’s not finished yet, but feel free to browse and get a feel for it.  The website has videos, general information, and a blog (which will be updated by several members of the team).

The address for this website is:

To see the blog, click on “What’s Happening”, or go to:

It’s Prayer Time!

1.     Praise God for Noel’s recovery, and ask for God to continue to be with her as she prepares to return to Taiwan.

2.    Praise God that James Rush has been able to come to join us.  Pray for him as he teaches Noel’s classes this semester.

3.    Pray for the students of the Adult Advanced English Class at FNBS.  May God continue to work on their hearts to create faith.

4.    Pray for all of the Christmas preparations here in Taiwan.  May God give all of us missionaries strength, energy, and wisdom in sharing the Gospel.

A joyous Advent to you all!


RWPE #49 – Love

A few people had their imaginations lit by the concept of LOVE. There were 4 submissions. The male to female ration was 3:1. Proof positive that men are the truly romantic gender.

Mike Vest

Christopher D. Bennett

Jason Baier

Julie Johnson

Only 3 weeks left. The theme for this week might be a little tricky:


I can imagine this will be a hard theme for some people. Especially with a busy holiday season, but I have hope. Maybe there are people that love restaurants more than they love love?

Personal Photo Project of the Week #45

Turtle Thoughts are Turtle

Special thanks should go to Dawn for loaning me this homeless turtle and to Shannon for acting as turtle wrangler on the inside photos of my stinky friend.

More pictures from the Turtle Thoughts are Turtle Photo Sessions.

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

Personal Photo Project #45 - Alternate

My understanding is that this homeless turtle eventually found a home where he is being tortured with country music.