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#GoodFriday

March 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I am grateful for the sacrifice of Christ.

That must be said.

What must also be said is that Christ’s death on the cross, while of infinite importance, is not the reason he came to earth—if of course you believe in this whole thing we call Christianity at all.

I don’t mean to promote non-belief in Christ, but I must acknowledge the truth of scripture. I Corinthians 1:18 calls “the message of the cross foolishness” to those who do not believe it. This is not a commentary or judgment on non-believers, but a wake-up call to Christians: Don’t go around trying to convert people; realize that it sounds like crazy talk to people until they’re ready to accept it (#Calvinists, please ignore that last sentence).

But if the cross (i.e. His death) isn’t the reason Jesus came, then what is? And what then is the message of the cross if not to tell people about it?

Jesus came not to die, but to live. If He came to die then He could have been a miscarriage and been done with it. Mary wouldn’t have had to go through labor, nor she and Joseph through raising the Child. Jesus came to preach the #Gospel. I don’t think that is a controversial thing to say; pretty standard. He even commissioned us to do the same.

But how many people have you mistakenly heard say that the gospel is “the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s all well and good, but that is hardly the gospel. How is it good news that some guy died a couple thousand years ago? Even if he did come back, so what? Besides, how could Jesus then preach the gospel (which Matthew 4:23 clearly says he did), if the gospel was his death? Imagine that:

“Hear ye, hear ye, I’m gonna die! Don’t you wanna be my friend now?!” –Jesus

No one’s going to follow that guy; no one wants to be “that guy!” So then what’s the gospel? That Jesus came to live. That’s what he preached and that’s what we should proclaim! The Lord and creator came to live, because He wants you to live; He created you to live. That is pretty good news!

So then, what is the message of the cross? All over time we tell people to look back to Calvary NOT because He came to die, but because He came to truly live and then gave it all up! When we look at the death of Christ in terms of the life of Christ the meaning is all the more crucial!

All over space and time (forgive me, I am a #DoctorWho fan), let it be said and truly believed that Jesus came to live and boy did He live. He laughed, cried, felt pain, learned, loved; He experienced the human condition!

So this #GoodFriday, take the time to look back 2,000 years on a Savior who came to live for you, and live with you! When you put it that way, this Friday IS pretty good!

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#problemsolved

January 18, 2013 1 comment

You know the problem with #Hashtagfairytales? I expected too much out of it. You might be saying the problem then, is with me. You might also be saying you were so sad when Manti Te’os girlfriend died of leukemia; clearly you can’t be trusted.

  1. I expected #HTFT to be a weekly episodic blog and to quote Sweet Brown—who went viral sometime since the last episode—“Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I don’t have time for a weekly episodic blog, and neither do my readers.
  2. I expected to #HTFT be the sole source of your Friday entertainment. I expected people to be sitting on the edge of their seats until Friday’s at 10:00am when each episode was published. In my mind I pictured people reading the episode and then seeking comfort from other readers; mourning that they had to wait a whole seven days for another post.
  3. I expected #HTFT to transport readers to another world of intrigue and excitement. What in the blue hell was all that crap about “#TheAdministration?”
  4. I expected #HTFT to immediately go viral. I used buzz words, current events, seasonally appropriate jokes, and even a few swear words, but I’ll be damned if they got less laughs than the Baseball Hall of Fame got 2013 inductees. #seewhatImean
  5. I expected #HTFT to get me a job with the WWE. I’ve made it no secret that I want to be a Play-by-play commentator for the WWE; it’s an ultimate goal, a dream of mine. But a blog is not going to take me there, not by itself. I can’t just sit around and write about Narnia and expect a call from Vince McMahon!
  6. I expected #HTFT to be too f***in’ long! If I can’t write it in one sitting how can I expect people to read it in one sitting. Better yet, why should they want to?

If the problem with #Hashtagfairytales was the delusion of its author, #problemsolved.

You want a #Hashtagfairytale? How about this:

I just met a guy who thought shouting his thoughts in a room filled with others shouting would get him a job 3,000 miles away. #dreamon

#goodbye

July 27, 2012 Leave a comment

You didn’t think I would leave without saying #goodbye did you? After all of the time that the #hashheads gave to this blog, I could not dream of leaving things undone. Allow this episode to stand as a series finale of sorts; not like a “House M.D.” or “Seinfeld” series finale, more like a “Harry’s Law” or “Kings” series finale (I mean #Hashtagfairytales is #epic, but it isn’t #EPIC). So my friends, allow me to make a declaration of sorts: When in the course of online events, it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the creative bands that have connected them to a website. A decent respect to the opinions of any fans or readers that the site has gained requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to this separation.

I hold this truth to be self evident: #Hashtagfairytales has been a hell of a good time for me! I hope that it has been for you as well. But it has run its course. It is time to move on. Does that mean that the domain is leaving? No. http://hashtagfairytales.com will remain alive and well (#cheapplug). This site will remain as I am very proud of the ride that we had. The guest posts, the fun comments, the responses to the #PolloftheWeek; I would be amiss to forsake them. I will leave them to memorialize the joy, the intellect, and the suffering that was had in these pages. #Hashtagfairytales has had the opportunity to react to a few timeless or historic events.

The inception being in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, #HTFT has had the solemn duty of reacting to events like the passing of several individuals (Randy Savage, Whitney Huston, and Dick Clark to name a few), and tragedies such as the Norway shooting, but it has also had the pleasure of celebrating holidays (Thanksgiving [#gracias], Christmas [#istayinnarnia] and of course the premier of @CutDownPodcast), and introducing items of pop culture (#obscurereference). We experienced together the rise and fall of #TheAdministration (let me save you some time, it was a sham like Mili Vanilli’s singing voice; it was as fake as the Easter bunny or Iowa).  I guess the #bottomline is: I’ve had a good time.

You might ask: Ok then, Why? Why is this #goodbye? Why not #seeyalater? Because my friends, it is time. Everything has it’s time and everything must die. This project that is #Hashtagfairytales has run its course; it lasted longer than a Kardashian marriage (I’m looking at you Kim), but not quite as long as a Kardashian marriage (Kudos to you Khloé). Does that mean that the #hashtag is dead? No, it is still alive, although if it doesn’t watch it’s back the meme will soon take over. I simply mean that this project, this platform, this blog is done. The purpose of this whole thing was to give me a platform. Once again, it is no secret that my goal, my dream, my “rock star job” would be to be an announcer for the WWE, but I ask you, is #Hashtagfairytales going to get me there? It is tough to come to the conclusion that it isn’t.  Did it even extend my name further than my existing circles? It is difficult to face the fact that it hardly did.

One of the hardest things for a man to do is admit that he is wrong, so I face that difficulty and publish it online.

I was wrong.

Drink that in, everyone with whom I have ever had a conversation; it may not happen again.

I was wrong.

Dang, I was wrong, it DID happen again…

And again.

But you get the point. The internet is full of people projecting themselves and creating platforms, how many of them will admit they are wrong? How many will admit that they are barking up the wrong tree?

Let me clarify, I do not regret #HTFT, I simply recognize it as a project that didn’t accomplish my goal. But believe it was a great time and I had so much fun writing it. I cherish each of the readers I have had. Each reader who took their time to invest in me has a special place in my heart. I don’t just say that, I mean it. On top of that, #HTFT truly honed my skill of creative writing. Through this blog I have been able to find my writing voice, but by and large this project is in fact done.

Allow me to quote an author for whom I have the utmost respect, Jesse Rice, author of “The Church of Facebook.” In his last blog for THE CHURCH OF FACEBOOK (I’m not yelling, he just likes all caps), he said this:

“Sometimes you just need to admit you’ve failed and start over. I pretty much failed as The Church of Facebook blogger and that’s okay. I have other gifts. Namely, house plant maintenance. I was inconsistent, my branding was all over the place (as were my topics), and did not have any clear goals in mind. I sincerely apologize to my faithful subscribers who took a chance pressing the ‘submit’ button and didn’t get much in return. But admitting failure clears the road for a new beginning.”

I cannot say that I am gifted in the art of ensuring the survival and prosperity for the common ficus as Mr. Rice may well be, but I can say that I agree with his statement.  I must admit #hashheads, #HTFT was all over the place, in a bit of a quirky way, but a blog needs direct guidance. Upon his first visit to this blog, Graphic designer Nate Davis said this to me, “So. When you said ‘hashtagfairytales,’ I thought you were either going to make up stories in 140 characters, or based on hashtags that you noticed on Twitter.” That would have been a good call Mr. D, but that #Hashtagfairytales was not. But rest assured that Jacob C. Howard is not gone, you will see him again in an online capacity (possibly sooner than you think).

#Hashtagfairytales is and was a medium of entertainment. It may not be streamlined or organized in such a way as to amplify my name, but if this blog has entertained and/or taught any one person. I say, #missionaccomplished. Thank you to everyone who has dropped by. I appreciate it. I will miss #Hashtagfairytales, but I bid you all adieu, and I say with all love and respect possible; with a heart of joy for time well spent: #goodbye.

(“Insert smart ass author comment here”)

#thisonesforyou

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

As you can see at first glance, this episode clearly could qualify as an #HTFTS. It is not. This is a guest episode. Who is it written by? You. The #hashheads have this one. What is your topic? #Hashtagfairytales…or whatever the hell you want (#excusemyfrench). Friends, I want you to tell me what to do now? As I’ve always said, I write to entertain you, I want to know what you want, but moreso I want to know what’s on your mind.

So, in the comment section tell me: #whatnext? Should I go fiction? Theology? Sports Entertainment? YouTube? Should I just focus on the already existing Cut Down Podcast (posted every Friday [#shamelessplug] available on iTunes)? What should I do? The internet is your oyster! Or just type “Wuss up.” Tell me what you’re thinking. This is an opinion piece…only the opinion isn’t mine. Because to all my readers, #thisonesforyou!

(I want you entertained. What do you want to see? And what do you want to talk about?)

#happyfrigginburfday

366 days.

That is how much time has elapsed since the very first episode of #Hashtagfairytales.

Exactly 12 months.

It was this day one year ago that I asked myself the question: #youcallthatablog. May 9, 2011: the day #HTFT was born. You don’t have to believe me, it was on Wikipedia…of course that was before some jackwagon decided it wasn’t a “world event” and they decided to remove it (I guess you can’t just put anything on there).

Today is #Hashtagfairytales’ first birthday and there is no one I would like to share the first birthday with more than the #hashheads. Those who have been here through all of the ups and downs of #HTFT. As of this writing #Hashtagfairytales has had 4,623 views in it’s lifetime; my assumption is that at least 20 of those are me trying to figure out how this blog thing works, so lets say 4,600.

Now I am no #mathmagician (that’s what they are called right?) but 4,600 views over 366 days comes out to about 12.56 views per day. About 12 and a half people have graced this page every day for the entirety of its life. That doesn’t seem like a lot but let me give you a few statistics that were shared by blogging guru Jon Acuff:

According to statistics, there are 2.4 billion people online around the world.

There are an estimated 450 million blogs online.

If you divide the number of people online by the number of blogs online, each blog should have approximately 5.3 readers.

5.3? I have more than double that daily. It’s all about perspective.

Why did I create #Hashtagfairytales? Over the past year of writing and facilitating episodes I have learned the answer to that: I have a passion to entertain. It is this passion that drives me to want to be an announcer for the WWE (#keepcalmanddreamon); a goal that will be accomplished. At times I succed at entertaining and get 70+ views in a day, and other times I fail miserably (#beinghonest). But I love to entertain.

Do I want 100 views a day? Yeah, of course; what blogger doesn’t? But I am proud to tote my 12.5! #Hashtagfairytales may morph and change, but I am still me and I am still here to entertain. Ideas fail and episodes bomb, but #hashheads remain to the very end.

So to you #Hashtagfairytales, I say #happyfrigginburfday.

And to you Jacob C. Howard circa May 9, 2011 I answer your question: #youcallthatablog?

No, I call that #Hashtagfairytales.

(#Boomshakalaka)

#pickupabook

May 4, 2012 4 comments

With Mothers day coming up this month, it has recently occurred to me: there are few things as invaluable as a mother’s love…and of course by invaluable, I mean valuable. You know, the English language is so difficult (that “mothers love” crap can wait). I work with a lot of people who speak English as a second language and this week I tried to teach a native Spanish-speaker how to pronounce the word “bag.” Sure, easy word for us native English speakers, but in Spanish—I have come to learn—there is no short a sound; her “bag” usually ended up as “bog.” I’m just saying; English is frustrating.

Any old way, back to the invaluableness of a mother’s love. Many people are difficult to love; we all have our quirks and…you know what forget it, I can’t do this. Do you want to know what is truly valuable? Mastery of the English language. But how many of us take it for granted? How many of us when typing a tweet do not bother to differentiate between “your” and “you’re?”Allow me to be honest #hashheads, one thing that frustrates me is a wreck less disregard for the English language. Is that to say that I always have perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation? No, but rest assured you will never get a text or tweet from me that says,

“Dis week is kilin me more than u no. i cud use a vaca. and its only monday smh”

As a matter of fact, it took me 20 minutes to butcher that sentence; I’m just not cut out for that kind of stuff! Don’t get me wrong, I am no Ted Mosby (#HIMYM), but I’d like to think of myself as at least a cadet on the #grammarpolice force . People who hang out with me—or are my friends on #thefacebooks—will know that I am one to…”assist” with grammar, spelling, and all around book-learnin’. I cannot lie, I used to read the dictionary and Encyclopedia for recreation, (some read that and hear, “I’m brilliant;” others hear, “I’m a loser.” Both are at least partially correct) sure, I know off the top of my head how many US presidents were named James. But I’m not asking the same from everyone; I know that English and grammar aren’t everyone’s forte per se; I know that the Latin and Greek origins of our Germanic language can throw many for a loop. I just ask that we all try to #pickupabook!

Go ahead, end a sentence in a preposition if you can’t get yourself out of the pinch you are in. (That sentence wasn’t funny, but the #grammargeeks can see the ironic punch line) I don’t mind a mistake here and there, but let me tell you, if that tweet that you call a deep philosophical truth is riddled with spelling errors, Fred Nietzsche you are not. If your theological revelations/status updates need to be read 17 times in order for the reader to formulate a sensible sentence, then give up your dreams of being a G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, or John Piper (you, still have a chance to be Mark Driscoll though).

Is this in part a scathing warning to our school system? I suppose so. But more so, this goes out to the adults who don’t read Hunger Games because “it’s stupid;” the adults who haven’t picked up a book recreationally because books are too long and boring. Are you one of those people? Here’s how you can tell: Are you reading this? Then you probably aren’t one of those people. The same people who won’t #pickupabook, will likely not read this blog, which is why I can be mean to them! It’s perfectly fine to write mean things about people who don’t read; they’ll never see it. It’s like speaking ill of a deaf person (#toofar?).

Friends, my point is this: strive for perfect grammar; sound out those words that are difficult to spell; remember the lessons you learned in third grade phonics. It isn’t difficult. Above all, May the fourth be with you! (#wordplay)

(The answer by the way is 6: Madison, Munroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield, Carter #presidentialfacts).

#suspended

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I am excited for May 5th.

I am an alum of Patten University in Oakland, Ca. and on the fifth of next month there will be a Barbeque for alumni and current students. My guess is it will be a fun little shindig; I suppose I’ll see some old friends there. There will be a volleyball game and word on the street is that Christian Rountree—a young woman with a story that is crying to be told—will be there sharing a bit of her story. I am looking forward to food, wiffle ball, alcohol, and loud Banda music. The food and wiffle ball will be coming from on campus, but the alcohol and Banda will be coming from the neighbors…because our picnic is on Cinco de Mayo! (#Fruitvale)

But that is what’s going on next month. I like to think about the future, but if you’ve ever seen my wardrobe, you’ll know that I also like to live in the past. This is why #Hashtagfairytales always shares the #TweetoftheMonth; a time to review the major events of the previous (#plusorminus) thirty days! So #hashheads, without adieu, I give you…

#April 2012:

#suspended- America is a land of opportunity. So much so that if you are a rich dude and you want to be the leader of the free world—the President of the United States; the POTUS if you will—you can throw your hat in the ring; I once mentioned #fiveguys who attempted to do just that. But of course the POTUS is like the #Highlander: There can be only one! (Side note: Is it just me or is #HungerGames remind you a little bit of #Highlander? [#TeamGale]) Anyway, this month, two guys suspended their campaigns in the GOP race for the nomination. Seriously rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich? “Suspended your campaign” did you? No, you lost. I kind of hate it when I hear that someone suspended their campaign, it isn’t like they are going to resume it; although I still get emails from Rick Santorum. C’mon guys, just say you were getting your butt kicked and you give up!

#NaGriCheeMo- You’ll remember that the month of #Movember was #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). But did you know that April was National Grilled Cheese Month? Neither did anyone else. I suppose if people knew then Coachella would have been much different! I could just see holographic Tupac chomping down on a melty, flakey, homemade, fresh off the griddle, grilled cheese sandwich; because Pac loved his mother***kin Kraft Cheese! (#waitwhat)

#areyouseriousbro- Charles Manson was a heinous individual. He was responsible for pain and murder of many people. He brainwashed people and destroyed their lives. He was a conspiracy theorist who ran from the law and has been in prison since 1971. He was a relentless bigot and he had a parole hearing this month? #areyouseriousbro?! Why are we wasting time on this kind of garbage. Waste of time and money; a bit disgusting. 

In other news, Dick Clark was a beloved television personality and a legendary broadcaster. He was on the air for the better part of four decades. His face has rang in more New Years then I have even experienced. He was Americas oldest teenager and made millions laugh over the years and we haven’t seen a full tribute yet? #areyouseriousbro?! As an aspiring broadcaster Dick Clark is a hero of sorts. My true passion—my dream of broadcasting in WWE—would be nothing without Clark. His involvement (though small) in the Rock and Wrestling Connection in the 80’s truly introduced professional wrestling into the mainstream. And for that Dick Clark, we thank you. (Also, I gotta thank @ZackRyder for the use of his catchphrase: #areyouseriousbro)

#POTUSwiththemostest- In other #areyouseriousbro news, guess who was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. That’s right, the current POTUS: Barack H. Obama. Fallon has a sketch where he “slow jams the news” and Obama assisted him in doing so. Now of course this was just a chance for the President to push his own agenda and further popularize himself with young potential voters (the show was taped on the University of North Carolina Campus); his part in the bit was nearly purely propaganda. But this was arguably one of the coolest comedy bits that a sitting president has done. But don’t take it from me, see for yourself:

Slow Jam the News with Barack Obama

#TweetoftheMonth:

“April 2012: RIP Thomas Kinkade & Dick Clark; Santotum and Gingrich are dropouts; #POTUSwiththe mostest slow jams the news #TweetoftheMonth”

Audience Participation question: What were other highlights of April that I missed?

(Hunger Games, Dick Clark, Tupac, Zack Ryder, and Barack Obama. Typical #Hashtagfairytales.)