“If you build world class facilities, you will get world class students. If you build prisons, you’ll get prisoners.”

This is an amazing video from about six years ago. Bill Strickland built a world-class school in the middle of one of Detroit’s toughest neighborhoods. Now neglected kids and welfare moms are learning skills from reading to analytical chemistry to art.

All that it took to change these people’s lives was a little respect.

Virgin America Takes Flight

Attention Delta, Southwest, Northwest, American, and Continental Airlines: You are doomed. Virgin America inaugural flight was today. Although they currently only handle a few destinations (NYC, San Francisco, LA, and Las Vegas and Washington DC later this year), they will expand. They have a huge advantage: the most amazing airplane ever invented. Seriously. Go look at that last link, look through all the features, and tell me that you aren’t shivering in fear.

Unless you make some major changes now–changes like expanding the amount of legroom in your planes to allow for a taller (and fatter) populace–Richard Branson is going to eat your lunch.

And no one will mourn your companies’ passing.

“Jesus Junk”

I don’t normally read Sharper Iron, but my mom sent me an insightful article on the commercialization of Jesus. I agree with most of what that the author says. Jesus Junk–like the “Armor of God PJ’s” and the infamous “Godweiser” T-Shirt and all the WWJD junk and the Christian mints (seriously!)–serves to devalue the Christian faith.

The article has a rational discussion of this trend and why it needs to stop. All I can add is this: You aren’t really speading the gospel this way. You’re just making Jesus into a brand name. Stop it.

Myrtle Beach Snail-Spam

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting a steady stream of junk mail urging me to vacation in Myrtle Beach. They’re sending out expensive kits and four-color catalogs, and I have no idea how they found my name and address or why they think I’d have any interesting in going there.

My best guess is that the Myrtle Beach tourism department finds out when people in South Carolina graduate from college and send them advertisements for a while, hoping that they’ll celebrate their new-found freedom with a vacation. Any other BJU grads out there experiencing the same thing?

The Tubing Industry

My dad, my brothers, and I had planned to go tubing this morning. In case you’re not aware of the practice, here’s how it works: You float down a river, sitting in a big inner tube (like they used to use for car and truck tires), enjoying the scenery and the experience of sliding down the rapids.

Unfortunately, it’s raining this morning, which would make the experience much less pleasant, so we’ve postponed our trip for a little while.

But here’s what I’m wondering: How many people earn a living from this little industry? For example, the place we had planned to go rents inner tubes with handles and sends a bus down to the end of the course to return you to your car. And then there’s the guys who manufacture, market, and sell the specialized inner tubes. They, in turn, pay folks in the petroleum industry who make the plastics used for the inner tubes.

Isn’t the economy fun?