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How to be more spiritual than your friends

Competitive spirituality - man on mountain topIn order to succeed in life, you have to compete. Some say life is a zero-sum game. And they’re right, of course. There are winners and there are losers. And nowhere is this truer than in the game of your spiritual quest. It’s not enough anymore to be “good.” You have to be the best.

I am widely regarded as an expert on competitive spirituality. Not to brag, but it’s just a matter of time before I overtake the Dalai Lama on the footpath to enlightenment. The Dalai Lama once told me over a latte at Starbucks, “My religion is kindness.”  Well, I’m here to tell you:  My kindness is better than yours, Dalaiman.

In order to achieve spiritual supremacy, you have to demonstrate your supremacy. Oh sure, it can sound arduous. You’re probably asking yourself, “What do I have to do? Go on a 2,000 mile trek across the Gobi Desert? Fast for a month in a cave? Climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but a toga and sandals?”  Slow down, Skippy. Those journeys are way more hassle than they’re worth – plus you’d almost certainly miss out on Opening Day of Baseball.

No, my tactics for achieving spiritual superiority are far less taxing. Many can be achieved while lying on the couch. You see, most people behave passive-aggressively. Outsmart them by being aggressively passive. They won’t know what hit ‘em.

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  • Another laugh-out-loud column for me! Thanks, Tim.
    Tracy T.
  • Published On Feb. 19, 2015 by TEJ
  • Things I hope people won’t mention at my funeral

    Tim funeral - football coachRecently I turned 35 years old, and by recently, I mean 25 years ago. But more recently, I turned 60 – this past month. When you turn 60, you start asking yourself uncomfortable questions like, “How long has that mole been there?” You ponder your own mortality and your legacy and how is it that AARP got your mailing address so quickly.

    Lately I’ve begun asking myself challenging questions: What have I done with my life? What do I want to do with the limited time I have left on this planet? Did I have breakfast yet? Where did I leave my car keys?

    I wonder about the impact I’ve had on the people in my life. What might these people say about me if they spoke at my funeral? It got me to imagining, which got me to worrying…. a lot…. about what they might have to say:

    My earliest childhood friend, Danny: Yeah, Timmy and I were tight – until he destroyed my purple bicycle. I loved that bike. You son of a bitch. When you rode it into that pond and wrecked the frame beyond repair, from that moment on, you were dead to me. You hear that, Timmy? You’re DEAD TO ME!

    My first grade teacher, Miss Kelly: I remember Timothy, yes I do. He was a rather chatty young lad. An unhealthy need for approval, if you ask me. As I recall, he had the worst penmanship and he was a very slow reader. Took him forever to get through the book Fun with Dick and Jane. And every crayon drawing he ever did always included a rainbow. I privately wondered whether he might be gay. Read More…


    • Hey Tim, I found your keys! Thanks for the car, guess you won't be needing it anymore.
      dave driscoll
  • Published On Feb. 11, 2015 by TEJ
  • Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream

    I have a dream too - King and TimThis past week the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Day. The iconic civil rights leader would have been 86 this year. On a swelteringly hot day in August 1963, Reverend King delivered one of the greatest oratories in American history – his famously inspiring “I have a dream” speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    While I don’t claim to possess Mr. King’s eloquence, I too have a dream. And it’s very personal. With your permission, I would like to share it with you today.

    I have a dream, too – By Tim Jones

    My fellow Americans, like the great Reverend Martin Luther King, I, too, have a dream.

    I have a dream that one day there will be peace throughout the world, and that people of all races and religions will walk hand in hand, free from hatred, distrust or fear, united in a common belief that all men and all women are truly created equal in God’s eyes – with the possible exception of people who like Duck Dynasty.

    I have a dream that one day I will be able to look out my window and see little white boys and girls playing with little black boys and girls and I’ll be able to shout out with joy and happiness, “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!”

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    • Yah but who wants to live in America's Big Apple anyway, Central Park. :-( Noisy smelly and likely one …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Jan. 22, 2015 by TEJ
  • My open letter to the guy crossing the street against traffic without looking up

    Dear person who never looks up while crossing the street, no matter how much traffic there is,

    letter to guy crossing street - manHey, how’s it going? I hope I didn’t interrupt you from anything important. Please, by all means, go ahead and finish texting LOL to your friend Brad. Don’t forget the smiley face emoticon. Your text is far more important than anything I have to discuss with you. I’ll wait……… Done yet? Super.

    Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself. You see, I’m the guy whose car almost creamed you earlier today when you walked into traffic against the light and never once looked up. I doubt you remember me.

    I can imagine it must have been hard to hear my horn blaring or my brakes screeching to avoid hitting you, what with that AC / DC song playing on your iPod at 175 decibels. I could hear them rocking away from inside my car with my windows up. I have to say, excellent choice in music, dude. Can’t go wrong with Highway to Hell – a classic.

    You know, when I was young, I was taught that the center of the solar system was the sun. I now realize that my teacher lied to me – because clearly the solar system revolves around an eight-inch space between those earbuds of yours.

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    • You sure hit the nail on the head Tim. Too bad your aim missed that jerk's head. Maybe …
      Eleanor rushworth
  • Published On Dec. 04, 2014 by TEJ
  • The secret to taking the stress out of moving

    My wife and I recently decided to move. Of course, when I say that, I mean that my wife decided we would move.  As her husband, she did allow me some say in the matter. I had the option of coming along or staying behind in an empty house soon to be occupied by complete strangers.

    I considered the pros and cons with manly logic, and in the end concluded that following my wife’s lead was probably the better option. Besides, that way I got to keep the giant flat screen TV.

    The process of moving can be stressful. Just thinking about the endless list of tasks can feel overwhelming. If you’re planning to move any time soon, follow my advice and take the stress out of your move.

    Step One: CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT MOVING. Seriously, what’s so bad about your current place anyway? Oh, sure, so your neighbors’ 17 pit bulls can get a bit annoying when they all bark at the top of their lungs every time a car drives by. Hello! – ear plugs?! But if you don’t want to heed my advice about not moving, I understand. My wife ignored it, too.  Read More…


    • I love step 4. hire movers... and the photo of the moving truck smashed into the house. great. How can we …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Nov. 19, 2014 by TEJ
  • No, Grandpa, that’s not how you beam up. Let’s go over this one more time.

    Future tech - motorcycleI’m proud of my mother. At 93 years of age, she decided to tackle a computer for the very first time. Her bruises are healing. She even has an email account. It’s been a struggle, but after only a week of practice, she’s already figured out how to turn on her computer. Until 3 months ago, she had never heard of email or Google or Facebook. She’d never surfed the web, never watched a YouTube video of a cat riding a roomba.

    Today she sent me her very first email. She wrote, Dear Tim, I ma laerning ti sned emali but ti deos not thenw othew byrw kt wodh pcx; s93@m &m$k m1t8 btn%+. Love, mom”.  What a beautiful message.

    I appreciate that learning new technology comes more slowly to the elderly than, say, to an eight-year-old techno-dweeb raised with a cell phone surgically affixed to his thumbs. And it made me wonder: What sorts of new technology will be hard for me to comprehend when I’m my mother’s age?

    I can only imagine the conversation with my future eight-year-old grandson as he patiently tries to explain to me how to use the everyday tech tools of his generation…

    ************************************

    Grandson: Hey, Grandpa. I see you’re still having problems figuring out how to use some pretty basic devices. Didn’t you have jetpacks and 3-D printable holograms when you were growing up?

    Me: Surprisingly, no, Nathan. Things were less complicated in the 1960s when I was your age. Back then, we had not yet invented iPads or cell phones. Heck, as I recall, we were all pretty stoked about the recent invention of the Etch A Sketch. Hard to imagine, but people used to read these contraptions called books. So, yes, I could use a little help with these modern day gadgets.

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    • Love this story Tim and the jargon is fabulous. Less than 40 years from now hum... and it …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Oct. 28, 2014 by TEJ
  • Rain, clouds, moss and other reasons I love Drip City

    Seattle - Space NeedleI’ve lived in Seattle for over twenty years and I still love it here. It’s known by various nick names: Jet City (because of all the Boeing jets built here) and The Emerald City (because of all the greenery). Personally, I prefer Drip City because it’s more accurate, thanks to all the rain and the fact that at last count there were at least 1,542 Starbucks locations in downtown Seattle alone.

    For many people in the eastern two-thirds of the country, Seattle is this mysterious, faraway place they only know about from Sleepless in Seattle. But there is so much more to this city than a spunky Meg Ryan (although let’s not understate Meg’s importance).

    Let me debunk a few myths about my adopted city:

    • Myth: It rains here all the time. That is simply not true. The weather here is gloriously sunny and mild with zero humidity – if you happen to be here in August. Otherwise, yeah, it does rain a fair bit.
    • Myth: The sun vanishes for nine months of the year, from October through June. Again, utter hyperbole. There are many winters where you may see the sun for long stretches of time – usually during the second week of August.
    • Myth: It is so damp here that the roofs of most houses are covered in thick moss. Actually, it’s more like a light dusting. And this also goes for the dusting of moss you’ll typically find on our lawns, driveways, patio furniture, and any toddler who has been left out in the backyard for more than 45 minutes.

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    • Ha!! Drip City - SOOOOO perfect!!! My new favorite name!
      Lee
  • Published On Sep. 10, 2014 by TEJ
  • IMPORTANT HEALTH SAFETY WARNING: THESE FOODS WILL KILL YOU!

    bad food - food pyramidIt seems every week there is a new study about yet another popular food staple that has been linked to cancer or heart disease. It’s all very confusing. First experts tell you that grape juice is a heart-healthy beverage. Then other experts claim that it’s bad for you (containing as much sugar as soft drinks).

    As one of the nation’s leading nutrition experts, I have compiled a comprehensive list of unhealthy foods. Avoid these foods and you should be able to lead a long and healthy life – assuming, of course, you don’t live in Afghanistan, Somalia or Detroit, in which case all bets are off.

    FOODS TO AVOID

    Cake, cookies, candy and ice cream. When I first discovered that these foods were considered unhealthy, it came as quite a blow. For years I had considered these to be the four basic food groups. But apparently no longer. They are all high in sugar, carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fat. Avoid these at all costs – unless you prefer to be happy.

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    • Let's not forget that fruitcake can be used as a lethal weapon
      Dave driscoll
  • Published On Jun. 11, 2014 by TEJ
  • America’s worsening attention span probl – Hey, Pam just texted me : )

    attention span - frowny faceRecently I have noticed a disturbing trend. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. In fact, if you’re like 85% of Americans under the age of 35, you lost interest after the sentence Recently I have noticed a disturbing trend. It’s an epidemic.

    For the 15% of you still reading, let me explain. Thanks to texting, people now spell the words U and B4 because they don’t have the patience anymore to take the extra two seconds required to spell out you and before. God forbid the word might contain more than two syllables, such as a word like, well, syllables. People simply can’t be bothered – too many keystrokes. And when was the last time you wrote a personal handwritten letter? Let me guess. President Clinton was still dating Monica, right?

    Thanks to Facebook, we have all become conditioned to posting micro comments on people’s “walls” which according to the Facebook Code of  Condensed Communication Conduct (FCCCC) must not exceed 24 characters. Say your family dog passed away after 18 years, and you decided to share your grief about your loss. Here is the response you would likely receive from one of your closest  friends:

    1)     In 1974: Hey, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Golden Retriever Buster. I know that he was a family member to you. I hope you can be heartened in your time of grief knowing that he lived a good life. I hope you don’t mind but I baked you my homemade apple pie. I am always here for you. (This note would of course have been handwritten.)

    2)     In 1994: Hey, so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. What was his name? Anyway, imagine you’re pretty bummed. Would love to talk more, but gotta go – Monica’s soccer match. Can’t be late. (Sent by email.)

    3)     In 2014: Hey,  attention span - frowny face - small(Sent by iPhone.)

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    • Q. How many kids w/ ADHD does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A. Let's go bike …
      Peter Cohen
  • Published On May. 14, 2014 by TEJ
  • Kids, Ask Me About God
    – By Reverend Tornquist

    [Note from the staff at VFTB: This week, we are privileged to feature a LIVE CHAT with noted Christian evangelist Reverend Norman Tornquist, host of the popular webcast, Kids, Ask Me About God. Tornquist is the renowned author of children’s books including God Loves Kids with Braces Too, and Skittles – The Devil’s Gateway Snack. We join the LIVE CHAT already in progress….]

    Kids ask me about GodReverend Tornquist: I see we have a question from Sophie. Hello, Sophie. How old are you?

    Sophie: Hi, Reverend Toadkiss. I’m four years old.

    Tornquist: That’s Tornquist. An understandable mistake.

    Sophie: Whatever. I wanted to know – Is God left-handed like me?

    Tornquist: What an interesting question, Sophie. I really don’t know. I will have to pray about that one.

    Sophie: So what you’re saying is you know nothing about God. How did you ever get to become a priest?

    Tornquist: Actually, Sophie, I’m not a priest. I’m a minister. I see that Billy has a question. Go ahead, Billy. How old are you?

    Billy: I’m eight. Hey, Cardinal Tornquist –

    Tornquist: Actually it’s Reverend Tornquist, Billy. What’s your question about God?

    Billy: I want to know, where does God go to the bathroom?

    Tornquist: Another fascinating question. Thank you, Billy. Well, God is all-powerful. So, I guess he can go to the bathroom anywhere he wants. When it rains in the forest, maybe that’s God’s way of peeing.

    Billy: Wow, I had no idea God had to pee so much. Maybe he has a tiny bladder. Sure hope my parents never make me go on any more camping trips. I never knew how gross the outdoors was. Thanks, Cardinal T.

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  • Published On Apr. 15, 2014 by TEJ