Chuck Ripka, one of the bank’s founders, once told the Star Tribune that God spoke to him and said, "Chuck, if you pastor the bank, I’ll take care of the bottom line." Ripka and his staff would pray with customers in the bank’s Otsego branch and even at the drive-up window. (A story I once heard about not mixing money lenders and temples suddenly comes to mind.)
Seems the Good Lord didn’t tip Mr. Ripka to the fact that home prices do not always head toward Heaven. The bank was an aggressive real estate lender and at one point had the fourth-highest concentration of real estate loans-to-capital of any community bank in the Minnesota. Riverview’s mistakes weren’t limited to bad loans it seems. Earlier this month it had reached an agreement with the Fed to cease paying dividends and correct violations of law spelled out in a May letter from the Fed. The order didn’t identify what laws were broken.
(And speaking of banks in need of divine intercession, check out: Citigroup’s "Hail Mary Pass": How To Know Citigroup Is In Serious Trouble)
The UK’s Adertising Standards Authority has been asked to rule on a campaign by an atheist group featuring signs that read, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” (Note: the action part of the message works just as well if you replace “no” with “a”.) The campaign from the British Humanist Association has been challenged by a group called Christian Voice on the grounds it breaks rules concerning substantiation and truthfulness.
Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: “There is plenty of evidence for God, from people’s personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world. But there is scant evidence on the other side, so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it.”
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: “I am sure that Stephen Green really does think there is a great deal of evidence for a God (though presumably only the one that he believes in), but I pity the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of God’s existence.”
Once it hands down this ruling I want the ASA to get to the bottom of the whole Mac or Windows thing.
Yeah, there’s a lot more than 10 here. What can I say? It was a very good year for very bad things.
GRAND PRIZE FOR SUSTAINED ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORT
The John McCain Presidential Campaign
- “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
- Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
- Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
- Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
- Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
- “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
- “Lipstick on a pig”
- Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).
- June: with gas heading to $4-a-gallon, company announces it is trying to sell the Hummer brand. As of today, sale is still pending.
- August: with gas at $4-a-gallon, company announces it will take the bold move of investing “$500 million to build a new fuel-efficient, small car the automaker says will show it can make money in head-to-head competition with its Japanese rivals as it fights to return to profitability.”
- October: Asks Treasury Dept. for $10 billion to pay for proposed merger with Chrysler
- Early November: car company that already isn’t selling cars argues it can’t file for bankruptcy because “people won’t buy cars from a bankrupt car company.”
- Late November: leads troika of Detroit CEOs to DC to ask for taxpayer money to balance the books. Each flies in on wings of attitude and three separate corporate jets.
- December: runs weasel-word mea culpa in Automotive News: “While we’re still the U.S. sales leader, we acknowledge we have disappointed you. At times we violated your trust by letting our quality fall below industry standards and our designs become lackluster. We have proliferated our brands and dealer network to the point where we lost adequate focus on our core U.S. market. We also biased our product mix toward pick-up trucks and SUVs. And, we made commitments to compensation plans that have proven to be unsustainable in today’s globally competitive industry.“
- Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
- Framingham State College uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
- Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
- Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
- JetBlue lives up to Southwest’s parody ad by charging for pillows.
- Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone
- Residents of Lesbos sue those other lesbians over brand name
- Motrin gets headache from viral moms video
- Butcher’s ads feature “Meat Products, Fresh Service” on naked woman
- Hershey asks if you’ve found Mr. Goodbar
Special Jury Awards
Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been
- Windows Vista toilet paper
- The Muppets appear on DVD for Law & Order: SVU
- Barbie® Rice Krispies® Treats
- P&G starts hip-hop record label (Bounce® and Beyonce? Jay Z and Oral B®? 50 Cent and Febreze®? Snoop Dogg and Eukanuba®? Ghostface Killah and Ghost®? Lil Wayne & Pampers®?)
The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching
- God’s chosen racing team loses at the Indy 500
- “Pope’s Cologne Provides Solace to Grieving Widow”
- “Can Batman Teach Spiritual Truth?”
- Email service lets you taunt friends after The Rapture
- McDonalds compares Ray Kroc to Martin Luther King Jr.
- LifeLock ID protection service fails to protect CEO’s identity
- Anti-shark device found to attract sharks
The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards
- Publisher says bankruptcy puts magazine chain in “a position poised for wonderful growth
- WaMu continues to send credit card offers after going out of business
Previous years’ lists
Germany’s churches criticized a businessman for selling thousands of Jesus chocolates. Frank Oynhausen set up his “Sweet Lord” chocolate Jesus-making business saying he wanted to restore some traditional religious values to Christmas in Germany.
So remember: Representations of The Savior in bread or wine form are OK, just don’t serve Him as dessert. However, is it OK to eat a cookie with a picture of Jesus on it? There’s a woman in the UK for whom this is not a theoretical question.
You really owe it to yourself to checkout the website for The Original Chocolate GoldJesus®. Best line: “No Santa Claus, especially no chocolate Santa Claus, could ever substitute for Jesus.” I know someone who’s getting coal this in his stocking!
Worth noting that chocolate crosses and such have long been sold in many places (even Wal Mart!). They seem to have started as a Hispanic tradition and spread from there.
Just over a year ago Ernie Chambers, the longest serving — and maybe the most powerful — state senator in Nebraska history, sought a permanent injunction against God. He said the Almighty has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents in Omaha, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.’’
In what may be the best legal argument I’ve ever encountered, Chambers said he has already found a flaw in the Judge’s reasoning: “The court itself acknowledges the existence of God. A consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God’s omniscience. Therefore, God would have actual notice of that lawsuit. Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit.’’
Elsewhere in The Realm of the Unknowable … G-D is making His/Her/Its/Their presence known at this year’s Great American Beer Festival:
- The Lost Abbey brewery of San Marcos, Calif., has a full line of offerings, including one called Judgment Day. Even better, the company also makes a line of “non-denominational ales.”
- There is also Schmaltz Brewing, makers of “He’Brew … The Chosen Beer.” Brands include Genesis Ale (“our first creation”), Messiah Bold (“the one you’ve been waiting for”), Jewbelation (“L’Chaim!”) and the seasonally released Rejewvenator.
- Russian River Brewing Co. seems to offer everything you could want in a religion with brands called Damnation, Salvation, Perdition, Redemption, Sanctification, Deification and Benediction.
- St. Arnold Brewing Co. has Divine Reserve and for believers of any stripe don’t do the whole alcohol thing they make St. Arnold Root Beer as well. (Also have the best name of any beer I’ve ever seen: Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower)
New post about my latest strange habit. Click here for more details.