The Reviewer

NOTE: As I’m preparing a new laptop and culling files from the old one, I came across this little story, allegory, I wrote circa 2004. It related to a screenwriting site I used to frequent.

The Reviewer
by Kevin L. Kitchens

Bob, a car aficionado sat at home one day when a friend of his called.

“I just designed a new car, man.  I’d really like to know what you think.  Can you come over and take it out for a spin and give me your honest opinion?”

“Sure,” said Bob.

He arrived at his friend’s house to find a sleek sports car.  Not the best, mind you.  But it was still pretty nice to look at.  Bob climbed behind the wheel.

“Be honest, dude!”

Bob drove away.

From the very beginning, Bob could tell there were problems with the car.  First the alignment was way off, as the car veered too much to the left.  He tried the headlights.  Nothing.  As he approached a traffic light, a waypoint on his journey, the brakes failed.  He barely came to a stop with the park brake.

Bob turned the car around and returned to his friend.

“So what did you think, man?  Pretty fast, eh?”

“Sorry friend,” said Bob, “this car has some nice things going for it, but there is too much wrong with it foundationally.  There was no need to finish the entire drive to know that, right now, it’s a bad car.  I’d love to drive it again when you get the problems fixed.”

“What problems?”

“The brakes to begin with.  The headlights.  The alignment.”

“You’re nitpicking.  Other people have driven the car and think it’s a beauty.  They took full drives and didn’t complain about those things.  In fact, some of them liked the struggle against the wheel, the adventure of the brakes, and the darkness of the headlights.  I kind of agree with them.  It’s a sports car, man!”

“Sorry, but I cannot let their opinion change mine.  You asked me to be honest.”

The friend growled, “Yeah, but you should have taken the full drive.  You can’t just diss my car after driving it part of the way.”

“Sure I can.  And a safety inspector would do the same thing.”

“You’re not a safety inspector!” screamed the friend.

“Look, no need to get upset.  You asked for my opinion and I gave it to you.  If you want to listen to the others, then fine.”

“I’d trust your opinion more if you’d taken a full drive.”

“But that wasn’t necessary.  The problems were evident early enough.”

“You were just too lazy to take the full drive,” the friend foamed.

Bob shook his head, not believing what was being said.

“No wait.  You were jealous.  You were upset that I had a better car than you.  So all you could do was put it down.  Hope it made you feel better.”

“I hope your denial makes you feel better,” said Bob.  “I did my best and gave you an honest assessment of the car as it stands now.  Like I said, it shows promise and if you get the core problems fixed I’d love to take it on another ride.”

“Fat chance.  And I’m going to tell every designer I know not to let you drive their cars either!”

Bob shook his head again and walked away.

Bob’s friend couldn’t get to all the other designers.  Several of them called Bob and had them try out their cars.  Most of them, he was able to take out for a full drive.  Some of those he sang the praises of while for others he helped the designers see where the problems were.  Normally, they were most grateful, even if they didn’t agree with the assessment.

Other cars, like his friend’s, were still faulty from the start.  Those that had foundational problems he returned without completing the drive.  He offered his assessment based on the current state of the car.  Again, most of the time, the designers accepted the input with gratitude, regardless of whether they agreed with it.

Finally, there were a few new designers who called him over to test drive their “cars”.  Bob went, but found they had actually built variations of bicycles, skateboards, even a motorboat.  When Bob explained that these were not actually cars, many of them became quite irate.

“They are transportation and that is the important thing!  Not how it all looks.  Or how it functions.  You’re too caught up with silly rules about what a car is!  Transportation is King!  Not the rules.  If I want to call this a car, then it’s a car!”

Other designers rushed over to console the rookies.

“People like Bob are mean,” they soothed.

“How dare he try to pigeonhole your car into his narrow view of what a car is?”

Saddened, Bob walked away.  He had his own cars to design.  Ones that actually were cars.  And not washing machines.

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The Family of Charles Howard and Lurana Braswell Kitchens

Charles Howard Kitchens was born in Georgia around 1812 to Bartholomew and Abby Kitchens. His wife Lurana Braswell was born in 1814 in North Carolina to Britain and Judah Braswell. She and her three brothers (Davis, Duke, and Jacob) came to Georgia sometime prior to 1827 as she and Jacob are listed in the Georgia Land Lottery of that same year.

The name was originally listed as “Kitchings” and evolved in this generation to Kitchens, although one son held on to the original spelling.

They married around 1835.

They had a total of eight children as follows:
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A Tale of Two Bosses

A man was seen recently in the local BullseyeMart creating quite a disturbance. He was moving from section to section complaining out loud about how the signs were worded, the products being sold, the prices being charged. He complained to anyone would listen about the policies being implemented by the service desk and management.

Needless to say, while from time to time he got a few people to agree with him, for the most part the customers looked at him like he was a raving maniac.

Finally, as he took matters into his hands and stood on a “associate use only” ladder to rollback a few prices, security grabbed him and escorted him to the managers office.

Before the manager could address the man, the man started in with “Finally! What are you doing out there? Do you see what a mess this store is in? Have you not read the operations manual? Have you not heard what the boss had to say about your policies? The way you treat your customers? The prices you’re charging? Don’t you care?”

The manager stared at him blankly for a moment, unsure how to proceed. “Excuse me sir. Do you work for BullseyeMart? Perhaps the corporate office?”

The man straighened up his clothes and sat upright. “Why no, I work for Carpenter’s General Store down the street. But still the boss said…”

“But sir,” the manager cut him off. “Your boss is not our boss.”

Such is the case when Christians try to argue social and political issues with the world from a Biblical perspective. Our God is not the god of this world. You cannot disciple a non-Believer. First people must come to Christ and be willing to submit to Him solely on the basis of what He did for them and their recognition that they are lost completely without Him. Continue reading

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The Marriage Mixer

So let’s say I want to make a batch of sugar cookies. I like sugar cookies and this seems to be a good, simple recipe: Easy Sugar Cookies Recipe

So, I take the flour, soda, powder, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla (yum) and dump it all onto a pan, throw it into a preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes and voila! A lovely batch of sugar cookies, right?

Of course not. I skipped a basic, simple, but very important step in the process. Mixing the ingredients together.

This is also true when two people live together and leave marriage out of the process.

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Candy canes after Christmas

Almost forgot to buy one of favorite post Christmas treats… Candy canes!

Not the large tree hanging canes, but the little Bob’s canes that come in boxes of 100.

I remember one Christmas, the one we spent at Plymouth Colony Apartments, I had a tall whiskey gift box sitting next to my bed and it was full of those yummy candy canes. Each night I could reach over and pull one out as a late night sugar snack.

By the way, since I was only 12 or so the whiskey box wasn’t my gift. 🙂

So today I remembered to grab some when we were t Walmart and wouldn’t you know they were out! Fortunately when we were next at Publix Cristi reminded me to check and sure enough they had some.

And I’m having some as well!

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Oh! The Places You’ll Live!

I figure very few will ever stumble across this blog, but I figure the best way to reach others is to write about the things I know, drop some place names here and there, and as people get curious and Google those names and places, they might just click a link to bring them here.

With that said, I will start with my general background, where I lived in Atlanta and schools I attended.

I was born in 1966 at DeKalb General Hospital (as it was then known) over in Decatur, Georgia. I spent the first nearly ten years of my life in Clarkston in a little house on Verdi Way with dad and mom (Alfred and Frances) my two older brothers William and Robert, and in 1969, my brother Jeff was born. We lived there until 1976 or so. My recollections are bit hazy on exact timing of things, but I remember certain events clearly, so that gives me a general reference.

So in 1976 the moving began. We moved a lot. As a kid, I never questioned why and always found it kind of fun — experiencing new schools and meeting new people. The actual packing and truck loading not so much. But I think it did give me a unique perspective on the metro Atlanta area — at least DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. I met some fun and interesting people along the way and as I write here I hope to bring them to life for you.

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There and Back Again…

So apparently this blog self-started. I’d taken it down back in March and magically my server appears to have restarted it.

I had gone in just today to manually restart it and found I did not need to.

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This is harder than I thought…

I told myself when I started this, that I would write something every day. Even if it was minor. But so far that has not happened. Programming and writing other stuff (and the lack of time) always seems to get in the way.

Sigh.

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Fall…Spring…Forward…Backward… Daylight Savings Time = ARGH!!!

So it’s that time of year again… well, the new and improved earlier time of the year (since the government “improved” it a couple of years ago). Of course, I speak of Daylight Savings Time, where we adjust our clocks an hour and pretend they are correct and the sundial is not. Not than anyone many actually still use the sundial.

I don’t really mind the illusion of Daylight Savings Time. I like the extra perceived hour of daylight in the summer. It’s nice to have until 8:30 or 9:00 to enjoy the outdoors. What I don’t like it trying to remember which way to set my clocks in the spring and then later in the fall. Do I gain sleep now or lose it?

And stop right there… I know you’re thinking of the old “Spring ____, Fall _____” cliche — where the words “back” and “forward” each go into one of those blanks. But that trick doesn’t truly work as a memory aid when BOTH combinations make complete sense. A memory aid should help you to remember, right? Not create a bunch of additional work. So every season, I still have to go through the mental hurdles to make sure I pay attention to when I’m supposed to get up the next morning.

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In the lights of the city, you lose sight of the stars…

I used to have some weird thoughts as a teenager. No, actually weird FOR a teenager. One of those thoughts was that if parents raised their child without ever having candy, would the kid actually know they were missing something. Of course, the parents would have to prevent the kid from having knowledge of candy, see other kids have candy, etc. for the experiment to work. See I said it was weird. But once the kid learns about candy and tastes candy, will they be happy with that new knowledge?

Something said during the sermon at our church last week made me think of this. The pastor said than when he was growing up in rural Mississippi they didn’t know they were poor and neither did most of the people in their town. I thought my childhood was pretty much the same way. Though he and I are a generation apart and the circumstances were different, I grew up poor (or lower middle) most of my life and never realized it. Some of that might be from a child’s point of view, and in some ways that’s just fine. It’s the ignorance of childhood that made me content with what I had.

They say progress is a good thing (so I guess that makes congress a bad thing?), but is that true in all cases?

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