Monthly Archives: November 2005

Is It Worth Forgiving UHaul?

Anger. The feeling of indignation that results from the denial of a perceived right.
Rights. What you are entitled to by divine providence, local law, or (if you’re an atheist) random chance.
Humility. Not demanding rights. Not getting angry even when your perceived rights are trampled.

After renting an unsafe truck from UHaul, getting a flat, watching coolant bubble over, waiting all day on hold for hours for the tow truck that never came, spending hours on long distance calls to get reimbursed for meals, hotels, and the rental, and being treated very rudely by some of their reps, we took our last shot at UHaul. Thanks to Philly’s Channel Six news station we were able to share our tale and will hopefully prevent many from renting a truck from that company. Yet the angle of the story revealed some of the anger disgruntled consumers hold against UHaul. We found it necessary to move beyond that point . . . and it’s been very humbling.

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Wednesday Night

<%image(20051129-philly.jpg|115|74|philly)%> For those of you in the Philadelphia area, Julie and I will be on the Channel Six news at 11 pm on Wednesday night regarding our moving disaster with the “company of whom we do not speak” (UH–L). We’re not out for revenge, though it does feel good to air our grievances in the most public manner possible. Though the focus of the report is how shoddily the company runs and how angry this is making consumers, we have moved on out of necessity. It’s not nice to feel powerless, to be yelled at by people who are taking your money, to be lied to, to wait on hold for hours while calling long distance . . . you get the picture. Forgive, forget, but tell the truth. That’s what we tried to do.

I hope to post tommorrow on forgiveness and some of the emotions I went through while dealing with the company of whom we do not speak.

The World’s Third Biggest Business: Selling Human Beings

A BBC article caught my eye last night. Several Albanian men were arrested and have plead guilty to essentially kidnapping Lithuanian women and then forcing them to work as prostitutes (link). Promising free travel opportunities or employment, they were able to lure young women, sometimes high school age even, away from home. The rest is simple enough to figure out. This case has prompted the UK to consider signing on to a European trafficking treaty (link).

Justice For Children International reports, “Prostitution and trafficking of women and children is thought to be the third largest income-generating syndicate, after guns and drugs, in the world.” In addition to JFCI, Rainbows of Hope is also addressing some of the needs of children worldwide. The stories are absolutely heart-breaking and I am at least comforted that this horrible practice is gaining more attention and action is being taken.

Here are some links regarding human trafficking in the US:

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Compass Bearing

It’s hunting season. I don’t mind eating meat, but killing it myself is not my idea of a good time. While I love a good hike in the woods, I cannot fathom how these guys track through the wilderness for hours and manage to return to their pickup trucks at the end of the day. For some, it’s a matter of reading a compass on a regular basis.

There are so many directions we can choose. So much to occupy our attention. There are so many things and people that appear important, urgent, in our face, screaming for attention. And yet only one thing is necessary. At the end of the day, the blinds I’m hanging, the trim I’m putting up, or the floor I’m laying mean nothing if I do not have the one necessity. Jesus. Am I full of him? Too often I’m full of “it” and not of him. And so I am struck by my need to take a compass reading on a regular basis. To read something that points me to Jesus. Pardon the cheesy pictures, but these articles seemed to help me:

watchman.net (The Missing Ingredient)
gregaustin.com

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Bad Puns, Good State

< %image(20051127-Maine 05 037 smaller.jpg|252|189|Portland lighthouse)%> A trip to my wife’s ancestral home in the “GRAND STATE OF MAINE” always brings blessings and curses. It’s always a top notch time with family, site seeing along the Portland coast. Yet, the very name of the state prompts tons of puns and the unique Maine accent leaves me in stiches. Going to main st.? Aren’t they all “Maine” streets? What is the “Maine” thing? And so on. The Boston-esque accent throws a spin on names like Brenda and Alta, becoming “Brender” and “Alter”. With my own Philly dialect well in place, my ears always perk up in North East New England. They really do some fancy things with the letter “a”.

And who can go to the Maine coast without seeing some lighthouses and the wonderful rocky shores. Beaches are dotted in between cliffs and groves of weathered rocks, while islands pop out of the distant surf. It truly is a far cry from the familiar beaches of New Jersey that eternally extend beyond the horizon. I took about 80 pictures while in Maine. Some came out better than others. I have posted some below. If you’re interested in getting your paws on the full size jpeg. of one of these or want to see some other shots, just post a comment with your e-mail address. (note: the last two are from a beach in Maine: close ups of red sand and a rock). Enjoy.

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Thoughts on Context

I grabbed a double helping of turkey. The plate was near the edge, the huge chocolate lab of Julie’s aunt and uncle roamed the kitchen nearby, the plate was on the edge of the counter . . . I didn’t expect to go back for seconds. In fact, I predicted what would happen, and it did, during grace of all times. The prayer lasted 3 seconds too long, the paws went up on the counter, and chowing down commenced. We saved most of the turkey, but I at least had the satisfaction of recognizing the inevitable.

That was pretty interesting, but what really struck me after dinner and the equally large spread of desserts was a conversation about cultural differences. How do you market an Asian film in North America and vise versa?

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Colonialism or Relief Work?

<%image(20051122-new tribes Ven.jpg|130|145|ntm)%> I’m about a month behind this story. Apparently President Chavez of Venezuela has decided to kick out New Tribes Mission. He claims they have brought in all kinds of “stuff” (great word choice there Hugo) into impoverished areas and set up camps in a spirit of colonialism that threatens Venezuelan sovereignty (link). My first thought was, “We had THAT coming for a long time.” With so much colonialism in our missionary methods, we were bound to get caught.

But I’m not so sure that New Tribes is guilty in this case. The locals on the ground see things differently (link). I think that Chavez is up to no good.

Do we need to take him out? . . . to lunch I meant . . . so we can talk . . . or something.