Groupon. STAHP.

groupon. stahp.

I signed up for Groupon about a year ago, because they offered a round of golf at a mediocre golf course for a mediocre price. In the year since, I have been besieged by Groupon emails for products that I will never buy.

I have only opened these Groupon emails on accident — or out of the fascinated horror that overcomes one when one realizes that one has been contacted by another human being who thought that what a 25-30 year old male living in San Diego, California would buy was a Groupon Getaway to San Diego | Yosemite National Park | Los Cabos | Fullerton, CA | Honduras. Not only that, but this person (or algorithm, to be fair)  wanted me to wash down my random vacation plans with: 42% off Rosetta Stone Language Course, Garmin Geocaching Bundle, Petnax Digital Camera … and Nail Services.

So, I can get my nails did, learn how to speak Spanish, and take a picture of the bobby pins that someone hid deep inside the Cal State Fullerton bowling alley.

Once I finished marveling at Groupon’s frighteningly accurate grasp of my travel and vacation plans, I thought: does Groupon think I am made of money?

The mani-pedi? $20 (a $40 value). Rosetta Stone? $259 (42% off $449). Garmin eTrex 10 Geocaching Bundle? $95 (21% off $120). Pentax WG-2 16MP Waterproof Digital Camera? $189 (37% off $300). The ellipses? Priceless.

(Just kidding. Total cost of the other items detailed in Groupon’s “42% off” email? $445.)

That’s $1008 for 500,000% off such valuable items as Netgear Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter ($10).

The travel deals are even more ridiculous: that San Diego | Yosemite | Fullerton travel deal email thing? $4,000 to take advantage of all the discounts on 29 days of vacation (not including food, airfare, or activities at the HoJo in Fullerton).

I wish I had the time and inclination to make a spreadsheet that compiled all Groupon’s ridiculous deals and offers from the last year but I do not. So I’ll make something up and put some math behind it.

If the prices above are any indication, Groupon expects me to want to spend around $1000 every 2 days on crap and services and $4000 every week on month-long travel plans. That’s …

$208,000 on travel and $182,500 on crap and services and stuff. $400,000 spent at Groupon every year.

know that Groupon doesn’t intend for me, personally, to buy all this stuff. But that’s still a ridiculous amount of crap for them to send my way. Let me put it in perspective: Groupon wants me to spend more money than the total value of house, every year, on crap and entertainment that I don’t need and have not expressed any interest in.

Groupon. Take a chill pill. Just send me a crappy golf deal once a year or so. I probably won’t buy it but I will feel better about thinking about buying it. And isn’t that what you want?

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RIP Dorothy Earnest – part 1

My grandmother died on July 30th, 2012.

I learned this at 5:44 in the morning, when the buzzing in my ear turned into my phone ringing, and my phone ringing turned into my mother’s voice and my mother’s voice was careful and controlled and calm.

“Grandmom died 10 minutes ago.”

“Oh.”

My mom said more things to me that I do not remember.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah. I’m fine.” All I could think was: don’t fall back asleep. Listen. Grandmom is dead. Don’t fall back asleep.

My mom asked if I was okay, again.

“Nah. I’m fine.”

She said more things but when it sounded like she was done talking I said “I love you, Mom.”

“I love you too, honey.” She hung up and I told my wife what had happened.

I realized I wasn’t completely back asleep when I could hear my wife beating a soft metronome with her breaths. I was worried about work. My grandmother was dead and I was worried about work. I was really worried.

I didn’t want to. Go to work, that is. That day, that is. I also didn’t want to be worried about going to work. This is more important than that. Your parents need you. Your family needs you. What else do you have in this world? Well, what will they work on without you? At work, that is. Today, that is. If you don’t go in, that is. Especially with what’s been going on lately. Will they work? Family comes first. They’ll probably work. Should I go in? I don’t want to. My grandmother died. But what about work? That situation is tough. In this sleepy cycle of justification I lost sight of the fact that my grandmother, a woman who has had a beating heart for 90 years and 9 months, was dead. Her heart had stopped beating. Her brain no longer worked. Her kidneys stopped disposing of waste. Her liver stopped filtering blood. Her spleen stopped doing whatever spleens do. She had stopped breathing. The one way that I knew how to relate to her was gone, forever, when the breathing stopped.

I decided I wouldn’t go in to work when my first alarm went off.

I’ve always wanted to be in a war

I’ve always wanted to be in a war—
Is that the wrong thing to say?
I’ve always wanted to be in a war
At least one like I would play.

I’d be covered in glory,
Glamorous and gory,
Full of wonderful stories,
Beloved and entitled to V.A.

When Uncle Sam came calling
I’d put my ball in
And off to boot camp I’d sashay!
(And that’s okay now, I’d be quick to say).

Camaraderie! Brotherhood!
Oh, what a dream!
Three meals a day! Three types of cream!
One for my face and one for the pot
And then it’s me and the cream of the crop.
One by one, my fellow soldiers would drop
From exhaustion or drunkenness or too much fear
And me standing alone and the general near.

“Sir!” I reply, and smart as a whip,
With a salute, and a smile, and a manner that’s slick.
“Earnest!” he cries and he pumps my hand,
“I’ve been looking for you! We need such a man!”

He gives me my orders and off I dash
With two pistols, a rifle, and a knife safely stashed.
Somehow I end up behind enemy lines,
With a knife at my throat and my fingers entwined
With a beautiful spy, a double agent—both sides—
Who I’ve seduced and converted to mine.

She betrays me, it’s true.
“But I expected that of you! I had a plan along!”
With my battle cry said, and leaping from bed,
I shift the knife in a jiff. Then I hear the click
And the spitting pistol whiff
Of a gun going off at close range.

That’s how it always ends, again and again,
No matter what course I take.
I guess that’s the price that you pay for a war
When the war that you’re fighting is fake.

Go on a date!

See John.

See John go.

See John go on a date with his wife.

Go, John! Go!

Go to the movie, John. Watch the movie, John. Criticize the movie to your wife.

Criticize, John, criticize! Talk about what you could have done better! Talk, John, Talk.

Mention character arcs. Mention them! Mention them!

Forget you have not written anything in a month.

Write, John, write!

New Bible Translation: the New Heresy Edition

Have you ever been confused by a particular passage of the Bible? Or wondered if the “obvious” interpretation is the correct one? Have you ever had your individuality, your style, your way of life, your something-else-that-is-really-important-to-you-but-probably-not-that-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things, criticized by someone who “just” “doesn’t” “get” “it” – and by an author or a pastor who is just out of touch?

No? Do criticisms bounce off your self-assurance, your knowledge barrier, your superior intelligence, intellect, and ego?

Than (sic) have we got the Bible for you!

EarnestWords is proud to announce a new project product: the Bible, New Heresy Edition.

Of course, “heresy” is just a churchy word for “thinking “differently.” But guess who else thought differently? Well, yeah, Nahab and Abihu. But, also: Yeah. Jesus.

The New “Heresy” Study Edition of the New International Version cuts through the blather of centuries to deliver an alternative reading (or multiple alternative readings) of the Grand Old Book – with cutting commentary to allow you to challenge your secular friends and your church friends with time-ish truths.  Here’s just a sampling of the great ‘retranslations’ you can hope to read in the NHE:

New Heresy Edition Retranslations

John 3:16-18

NIV NHE
16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, the first created being, that whoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life.
17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.
18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 18Whoever does not believe in him is okay, as long as they believe in something – and nihilism counts as belief. God’s one and only son – the first creation.

Commentary on John 3:16-18:

These verses are now more palatable to a modern, pluralistic society; we’ve also thrown a bone to our apologetically-inclined friends. We also tried to make Jesus Christ’s relationship to the Father much clearer than the metaphorical ambiguity of “begotten” and “one and only” used in “the Original Greek.”

I have tried to read “the Original Greek.” I have no idea what it means, but it looks like this:

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

What does that even mean? I will try to steer clear of “the Original Greek” as much as possible. Also, I don’t even know Greek – and have no intention of learning Greek. Why would I need to learn it, anyway? Jesus spoke English.

James 1:2-7

NIV NHE
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 2Consider it joy, people, whenever you face any trials at all
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 3because trials are always good and they show that you have faith.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 4And it’s really important to have faith –
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 5AND HAVE IT ALL THE TIME.
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 6IF YOU DOUBT AT ALL, YOU NEED TO GO PRAY AND IF YOU PRAY POORLY:
7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 7 “NO WISDOM FOR YOU! THREE DAYS! ”

Commentary on James 1:2-7

As Jesus said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” James was also, apparently, a Seinfeld fan!

James added in tons of unnecessary words to this last set of verses, when the obvious message is that you are never to ever doubt anything at all. And if you doubt, you need to pray. If you keep on doubting, pray better.

All that stuff about “letting perseverance finish its work” and God giving wisdom to those who are suffering trials doubting, if they ask for it — that’s kind of complicated and a little difficult. I mean, am I supposed to believe that the people who follow every passing fad can expect to receive anything from the Lord? Of course they can expect to receive anything they want – as long as they believe it hard enough!

(That’s a cross-reference to 4 John 526:4328, a bonus book included in this version of the NHE for only $1,000,000).


Stay tuned as we show you what the Bible might really mean – because no one can no for sure!

Truthful Worship Songs: Holy is the Lord God Almighty

“Christians don’t tell lies — they just go to church and sing them” – A.W. Tozer

Why do so many worship songs call on Christians to sing things that aren’t true? Case in point, from Chris Tomlin’s Holy is the Lord:

We stand and lift up our hands
For the joy of the Lord is our strength
We bow down and worship Him now
How great, how awesome is He

Full lyrics

Has anyone ever seen anyone else bow down during this song? No? That’s a gruesome irony. Apparently, He is not holy enough for people to bow down. Making the bowing down a metaphor isn’t much better. God is metaphorically great?

I’ve made some gentle changes to this song to make worship more accurate. I also added some punctuation to keep me from going mad. Some things don’t fit but don’t you think it’s better not to sing lies?

Most stand and some lift their hands
For the joy of the Lord is our strength.
God is great;
We worship Him now.
How great, how awesome is He?

“He’s great!”
Together we sing.
Even the guys humming – that counts!

[Chorus]
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory.
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory.
The earth is filled with His glory.

Most stand and some lift their hands
For the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Those who can’t stand, they worship Him now.
How great, how awesome is He?

And together we sing.
Everyone sing
Even the guy in the back! Please!

[Chorus]
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
The earth is filled with His glory

It’s rising up all around
It’s the anthem of the Lord’s renown
Repeat

And together we sing,
Everyone sing
Or you can just listen

[Chorus]

Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty
Holy, Holy
[Repeat 2x]

If you’ve got another worship song with lyrics that need adjustment for accurate worship, let me know. I’m on the case.