Getting THE GIGGLES at the dermatologist with my wife

Posing as serious adults who would never get The Giggles

“Looks like you have a pimple right here,” the woman placed her finger right in the middle of my wife Annie’s forehead.

Annie and I have been together for 19 years (since high school), and I know there’s nothing my wife loves more than when I point to one of the zits, she so rarely gets, and say, “You have a zit!”  She typically reciprocates by pointing out one of my few flaws.

The woman, a dermatologist, continued to offer her professional opinion of where my perfect wife was less than perfect. She delivered each judgement in the tone of a straight-faced…

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Dear Game of Thrones, I want my life back

I’m five years late to the Game of Thrones series. (Also, I recently watched this amazing series called Breaking Bad. Heard of it?) Since discovering the GOT books late last year, it has consumed my life.

My first GOT experience was with the audible book. George R.R. Martin’s first book Game of Thrones read by Roy Dotrice comes in at 34 hours long. That may seem long until you consider the 3rd book which is 48 hours long. I’m currently eleven hours into book 4 of the series, A Feast of Crows. Add it all up and I’ve spent 130 hours or 5.5 days listening to Game of Thrones books.

I listened on my five minute commute to work, while I showered, while…

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The beauty in the thing you feared

Hiking in the rain in New Zealand in 2002

This rainy morning as I hustled out the front door and into my car, I thought about the freedom of hiking all day in the rain.

You go through life avoiding getting wet. And when you’re hiking and the rain starts, you do the same. You get out your poncho, you jump over the mud puddles, you hide under a tree, but then you slip on a rock and your shoes get wet or you realize that the rain isn’t stopping and you no longer fear getting wet. At some point you can’t get any wetter.

When the rain saturates us there…

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“Are you a Christian?”

I was at a faith-based university and had talked for 50 minutes on our global and local connection with people around the world who make many of the things that we take for granted. I talked about global poverty and introduced the audience to Arifa in Bangladesh who earned $24 per month. I showed pictures of a dump in Cambodia where barefoot kids pick through trash for 25-cents per day. I shared the story of my friend Amilcar, who risked his life for his family traveling from Honduras to the United States riding on top of trains and outrunning bandits who wanted to hold him for ransom.

And “Are you a Christian?” is the…

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I’m that annoying dad who teaches his kids to despise Wal-Mart


(Photo: Outside a WalMart in China.)

Harper was with my brother’s family as they pulled their van into Wal-Mart.

“WalMart,” Harper, 5, said. “We don’t shop there because they don’t treat their workers right.”

Kyle, my brother, thought this was funny when he told me. But I can’t help but think it’s a bit annoying too.

Let me say this. I’m not better than you because I don’t shop at WalMart. I just can’t do it. I have friends who work at WalMart and I’m glad they have jobs, but still, I just can’t do it.

I wrote the following in the Huffington Post (how annoying am I?! I even write about WalMart in the Huffington Post!) right around the time Harper and I had our…

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Connecting with Germany

 

I’ve been to Germany. I spent one night sleeping in a subway with a group of homeless folks in Frankfort.

So, really, I’ve barely been to Germany, but my words are there.

A few years ago a German textbook publisher adopted an excerpt of WEARING or of an article I wrote on WEARING. I don’t really remember. Now each year I get emails from German students asking follow up questions to the story. At first I tried to answer them all, but that became a bit like work. Now I offer to Skype with the class.

I just got off Skype with the enthusiastic students above, one who reached out to me on Twitter.  They stayed after school…

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Where I’m Giving. How to support the children of Nepal.

(I took this shot outside of Katmandu in 2001)

A second earthquake has hit Nepal. The first on April 25th killed 8,000, injured many more, and directly affected 1.7 million kids. I’ve been to Nepal and have had a heart for the country ever since. Several friends have reached out to me asking where they should give to support Nepal.

This is my answer . . .

I signed up for a recurring donation to Next Generation Nepal. Please join me in giving to an organization working to help support Nepal and not exploit it.

When disasters happen, images like the one to the right…

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How Bruce Jenner & a College Student Made Me Less of a Jackass on Transgender Issues

Over at the Facing Project blog, I shared my evolution in thinking about transgender issues. I really believe that many of us are just one powerful story away from growing in understanding and shedding ignorance around particular topics.

I don’t know anyone who is transgendered (that I know of) and I had never really closely paid attention to anyone’s story until I heard Bruce Jenner’s story and until a Ball State student shared his story.

You can read the entire piece, What’s in a Name? on the Facing Blog. For now here’s an excerpt:

Two years ago I didn’t know the difference between a crossdresser, a drag queen, or someone who is transgendered. In fact, if you would have engaged me in a conversation about the issue, I may have even…

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Why We Should Neither Be Anti- or Pro-GMO, but Support Chipotle

There is a scientist crossing coffee trees with scorpion venom in South America.

While this sounds like a great start to a new comic book series, I’m not sure I’d want to start my mornings with that cup of coffee. Would you? I’d rather not grow a tail by lunch. Like where would I find pants?

This fear of mine isn’t based on any rational scientific understanding, but simply from watching and reading science fiction movies. That said, I’m okay with that. It sounds creepy and as long as there are other options, I will continue to choose non-scorpion venom coffee.

In my book Where Am I Eating? I met  Dr. Alvaro Gaitan, the head of plant pathology at the Cenicafe…

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What’s Missing from John Oliver’s Garment Industry Argument

If I had a dollar for everyone who pointed me to John Oliver’s takedown of the global garment industry on Last Week Tonight, I would be able to buy-out the nearest H&M store of its cheap inventory.

I’m not complaining. I’m glad so many saw the piece and honored that they thought of me and my work.

But overall, I was disappointed with his argument. There wasn’t a single mention of the word “poverty” or of the lack of opportunities that exist in countries like Bangladesh.

Any story, segment, or piece on the global garment industry that doesn’t mention the word “poverty” is simply focusing on symptoms.

A factory accepting an underage worker is a symptom, but the fact underage worker has to have a job is the problem.

A…

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