Laughing Matters
Getting a fix on home repair

By Charles Marshall | March 11, 2009

I just finished replacing a piece of loose siding on my house and it only took me about a year to do it. How did I accomplish this miracle of efficiency and home-repair savvy? By applying the time-honored suburbanite-male’s system of home maintenance.

The following is the simple 14-step process I use to ensure quality workmanship and timely results.

1. Walk by the thing that needs to be repaired for about three to six months. Glance at item in disrepair and think. “Man, I need to do something about that.”
2. Six months later, walk by item again – this time noticing that the situation has reached critical mass and can no longer be put off. Resolve to take decisive action and act immediately to repair item.
3. Three weeks later, take initial step in repair by examining damage. Briefly look at damaged area of house. Go back inside house, turn on TV and watch This Old House program, in hope that they might offer some clue as to how to fix problem.
4. Come to the happy realization that the repair will necessitate the use of tools (maybe even power tools)!
5. Go into garage and rummage through piles of tools in search of specific gizmo needed for this repair. Find a completely different, really cool tool that I didn’t know I owned. Become overwhelmed with desire to use really cool tool. Go find something to use it on. Forget all about original project for the rest of the day.
6. Come back the next day and rummage through tools again and come to the conclusion that I don’t own the necessary gizmo for project.
7. Go to Home Depot and walk around in store for four or five hours looking at all the neat stuff I don’t have the money to buy.
8. Finally get around to purchasing proper gizmo needed for this home repair project.
9. Go home and commence home repair. Spend 10 minutes gleefully tearing out old, damaged part of home. Experience brief feeling of elation, fantasizing about hosting This Old House.
10. Have massive panic attack, realizing that I am now committed, and have reached the point of no return.
11. Spend the next 12 hours attempting a repair project that is clearly over my head. Briefly consider suing Home Depot for their advertising campaign leading me to believe that:
A] I could do it. (I can’t.)
B] They can help. (No one wearing an orange apron showed up at the house to help me fix the thing.)
12. Go to garage to look for a hammer so I can beat the living daylights out of my house. Rummage through piles of tools. Find one-year-old gizmo identical to the one I just purchased at Home Depot.
13. Call carpenter-buddy of mine and beg him to come “help” me repair house.
14. Greet friend at door and show him where botched repair job is. Pepper him with annoying questions and advice until he begs me to leave. Go watch This Old House in my living room until repair is completed.

It’s amazing how often I encounter obstacles – about which I know little or nothing – that I have to create solutions out of thin air to overcome. In these situations, I often find myself bowing my head and asking the Lord for help.

Tell me, where did we ever get the notion that being a Christian means knowing everything and having all the answers? My experience, coupled with what I read in the Bible, leads me to believe that a big part of following Jesus is recognizing our own moral, mental, physical and spiritual bankruptcy, and choosing to rely on him instead. In short, I’m not perfect, but I know Someone who is.

But it’s time for me to get back to work. I have another home repair that I have my eye on and I want to get right on it. I’ll let you know how it went in about a year.

Charles Marshall is a Christian comedian and author. Visit his website at

Capture contributed to jaguar’s death

March 11, 2009

TUCSON – In an interview published in the Arizona Daily Star, Dr. Dean Rice of the Phoenix Zoo stated that stress from the capture and tranquilizing of Macho B contributed to the jaguar’s kidney problem, resulting in the decision to euthanize him Monday.

Dr. Rice is the Phoenix Zoo’s executive vice president and is also one of two veterinarians who performed the necropsy. Dr. Rice concluded that Macho B likely had a deteriorating kidney prior to being captured and tranquilized. However, the stress of the capture and the passing of the tranquilization drugs through the ailing kidney caused extreme stress to the endangered animal, playing a key role in its death.

The Center for Biological Diversity called today for an independent scientific review by a federally appointed recovery team to determine whether the capture and handling of the jaguar took into account the age of the animal and the possibility that it would be more vulnerable to kidney dysfunction or other health problems. Such a review is needed to determine whether adjustments to the protocol for capturing and handling these magnificent animals are needed, or indeed whether capturing jaguars in the first place is an acceptable risk given their small numbers. A federally appointed recovery team would be an excellent body to conduct such a review.

“We hope Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will appoint a recovery team for the jaguar with their first task being an investigation into the causes of Macho B’s death and needed actions to ensure this tragedy is not repeated,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Authorities are now counting on an analysis of tissue samples of the dead jaguar to provide clues to how long Macho B had kidney problems. On Tuesday the Phoenix Zoo sent the samples to the Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson.