Thursday, March 30, 2006

Call him Sir Tom

Welsh singer Tom Jones is getting used to meeting Queen Elizabeth II — but Wednesday was something special as she dubbed him, "Sir Tom." The 65-year-old singer, a coal miner's son from the Welsh town of Pontypridd, received the honor from the queen at Buckingham Palace. (Yahoo!)

After the ceremony, Sir Jones was overheard to say, "With Sir Paul and Sir Mick running around here, and now me, it's not unusual to be knighted by anyone. Being knighted made this big man cry. That Queen Elizabeth, she is a lady. I asked her what's new, and she said Prince Charles had given her a pussycat. After talking to her, I think I'll never fall in love again - she said goodbye to me, but I couldn't say it to her. Anyway, I can't wait until I get to the green grass of home to tell everyone about this - I'll definitely call everyone I know in Detroit City. I'll have to send an email to Lucille - snail-mail is pathetic."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


One year old, today this blog is.

To all who have stopped by long enough to read my pointless, inane writings - I thank you.

To all who have taken time out of a busy day to leave comments for me - my life has truly been enriched because you took the time to dialogue with me. I especially thank you.

What would he say if they were alive?

Sir VS Naipaul dares to criticize some literary heavyweights. See?
Novelist Sir VS Naipaul has lambasted literary greats from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to "the worst writer in the world" Henry James. naively said Thomas Hardy was "an unbearable writer" who "doesn't know how to compose a paragraph". And Ernest Hemingway "was so busy being an American" he "didn't know where he was", he told the Literary Review. (BBC News)
What does that even mean, "so busy being an American"? What else should Hemingway have been doing? Should he have been more Cuban? Okay, maybe he knocked back a few too many beers at Sloppy Joe's when he lived in Key West, but you can't write much better than For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Naipaul insults such literary hacks as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and James Joyce. It's quite convenient that they are all deceased and unable to defend themselves. He does have an affection for Mark Twain and H.G. Wells, so perhaps that counts for something.

We get to the crux of the matter here: "England has not appreciated or acknowledged the work I have done." He wants more recognition, and he thinks that belittling others will get it. Oh, the narcissism...

Just you wait until the Democrats are back in charge... again...

They'll get rid of him. Yep, they're saying it out loud.

I can't wait... can you?

How to publicly apologize and seek forgiveness

Consider this an example.

Don't you be wearing no "Good Charlotte" T-shirts, khaki shorts and mandals when you're in your 30's, Dude...

Adults - they're the new kids.

This is an obituary for the generation gap. It is a story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old. It’s not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent. It’s about the hedge-fund guy in Park Slope with the chunky square glasses, brown rock T-shirt, slight paunch, expensive jeans, Puma sneakers, and shoulder-slung messenger bag, with two kids squirming over his lap like itchy chimps at the Tea Lounge on Sunday morning. It’s about the mom in the low-slung Sevens and ankle boots and vaguely Berlin-art-scene blouse with the $800 stroller and the TV-screen-size Olsen-twins sunglasses perched on her head walking through Bryant Park listening to Death Cab for Cutie on her Nano. (New York)

The article by Adam Sternbergh quotes Paul's famous dictum about adulthood: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child..." Some parents are purchasing $300 pairs of jeans, nearly the cost of suits in some stores, in an effort to dress down. After considering several names for this type of adult, Sternberg settles on "grup."

He concludes:
Being a Grup isn’t, as it turns out, all about holding on to some misguided, well-marketed idea of youth—or, at least, isn’t just about that. It’s also about rejecting a hand-me-down model of adulthood that asks, or even necessitates, that you let go of everything you ever felt passionate about. It’s about reimagining adulthood as a period defined by promise, rather than compromise. And who can’t relate to that?
Read the article - it's eight pages, yes, but worth it.

Three things to consider, though:

1. Remember this verse.
2. We may have post-modern thinking to thank for all this. Dag-nab you pomos! Oh, wait, I dress like this sometimes...
3. Al Mohler gets to the heart of the matter: "The issue of dress isn't what's most important -- it's the fact that adulthood is disappearing as a recognizable mark of maturity and responsibility."

Update: For the record, let it be known that I do not possess a "Good Charlotte" T-shirt - in fact, I don't own any shirts with rock groups on them. I've heard of the band, but I don't own any CD's by them, and I don't plan on purchasing one.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Okay. You know it's important news when I USE ALL CAPS. Such big news that I can't imagine why I didn't tell you before. In fact, I'm pretty sure the Good Father police will come and haul me away for this (or at least, they'll take my Good Father card).

This past weekend, The Cute (that's my 17-month-old girl) said her first word - "Ball." Well, she didn't actually say the complete word. What she said was, "Ba-", with the "-" being the barest hint of an "l." It counts, however, because this is the sound she uses whenever she holds or points to a ball. It's as if she has her tongue in the middle of her mouth to make the very beginning of an "l", but stops before the tongue can hit the back part of her top rows of teeth.

Anyway - she said her first word. I'm pleased as punch.

FOR REFERENCE: The Sweet's (that's my 6-year-old) first word was "shoe."

Monday, March 27, 2006

America: Land of the Coffee Snob

Are you a fan of Starbucks? Does your vehicle pull into the drive-through nearly every morning so you can get your fix of the House Blend?

As you can tell by the cars and SUV's in front of and behind you, you are not alone. Jerry Shriver of USA Today loves Starbucks, too, and he gives the House Blend four-and-a-half slurps out of five.

The site also features a survey, asking if you agree with Shriver on his choice of coffee. As of this writing, 8,220 people had voted, and 43% agreed that the House Blend is the best.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Brownie received no commercial support for providing this gratuitous mention of Starbucks, but he is accepting of all donations.

All eyes turn to Indianapolis now


George Mason vs. Florida

Boy, the Madness has been crazy this March, no? Who would have thought there'd be no #1 teams in the Final Four, and that we'd have a #11 team? I must say, it is down right fantastic that Duke, UNC, and UConn are not in the mix this year.

College basketball fans - welcome back to Indy.

UPDATE: Who are you rooting for? I think I know which team my Florida relatives will be cheering. Personally, I'd like George Mason to win.

Increase in applicants at Christian universities

An increasing number of high school graduates are sending their applications to Christian universities.
Applications have jumped 8 to 10 percent at the 238 colleges that belong to the North American Association of Christian Admissions Professionals, according to Executive Director Chant Thompson. More applications mean more students on campuses next fall, he says, and that's good news, because 25 percent of those schools are barely breaking even.

Since 1990, enrollment has increased 70 percent, from 135,000 to 230,000, at the 102 evangelical schools that belong to the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Over the same period, enrollments at all public and private colleges increased by 13 percent and 28 percent, respectively. (WaPo)
Some believe that this is occurring due to monetary reasons. Specific denominations that dominate certain schools are able to subsidize tuition. However, the biggest reason seems to be that students want to go to a place where their faith (and sometimes their denomination in particular) is at least respected if not outrightly embraced. This increase in students has led to more restrictions on accepting applications (e.g., higher SAT/ACT scores, higher G.P.A., community involvement).

I attended Cedarville University because I wanted to go to a place where my faith would be encouraged, and I would be able to talk with faculty, staff and fellow students about my Christian walk. (Please note that I'm not saying that my faith is so fragile that merely attending a non-Christian university would shaken, if not destroy, it. I'm saying that I wanted to go to a place where my faith would be affirmed and I could talk with others.) I also wanted to go to a smaller school where I could become involved in various groups and outreaches. Cedarville gave me that opportunity.

Just around the Riverbend

An anonymous blog by a young woman in war-torn Iraq has been longlisted for BBC Four's Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. Baghdad Burning, a first-hand account written under the pseudonym Riverbend, is one of 19 books in contention. (BBC News)

A blogger with a book? She's not the only one. RLC created a book from 89 of his blog posts.

Riverbend's site can be found here. She's a fellow Blogspotter. She writes with an insider's view of the war with Iraq, and she appears to be no fan of the current presidential administration.

What Ben Domenech Teaches Us

A word of caution if you think you are going to write/blog:
In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately. (WaPo)

More here.

Joshua Claybourn and Mark Byron, whose blogs I regularly read, have some thoughts about this matter. (UPDATE: Ah, I see Joe Carter has linked to Joshua and Mark as well....)

Remember what you learned in high school English class, okay? Use quotation marks. Cite your sources. Don't claim other people's work as your own - give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I thought she did this a long time ago...

After being surprised by her husband's role in the Dubai ports deal, Sen. Hillary Clinton has insisted that Bill Clinton give her "final say" over what he says and does, well-placed sources said. (Daily News)
She doesn't want him to say anything embarrassing that might hurt her chances in running for an office, say.... two years from now. He can only talk about the positive things he did when he ran the country.

What can the Gospel bring you?

There is much talk these days about how one can benefit by being a follower of Christ. Some preachers claim that if one has enough faith, one will receive monetary rewards. Others preach that one will be delivered from physical afflictions if one believes hard enough. Others teach that one's borders will be expanded if one prays as Jabez did. Still others say that if you're walking with God and have His favor, you'll always get a good parking spot.

One thing that isn't often mentioned (if at all) by the TV preachers: persecution.

Read these posts by Frank Turk, Joe Carter, and LaShawn Barber. Think about the cost (yes, there is one) of serving Jesus. Then, think about the cost of serving yourself.

UPDATE: "An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said. The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed. An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released." (AP)

Monday, March 20, 2006

I only go there for Craftsmen tools

The retail giant Sears is falling on hard times. Some stores have only a few shoppers during the day and, similar to U2, they don't always find what they're looking for.
Sears Essentials--the combination of Sears brands in former Kmart stores--was supposed to be the future of Sears Holdings Corp., the $55 billion retail Goliath formed by the March 2005 merger of Sears and Kmart. But as the one-year anniversary of the merger arrives, the outlook for Sears is dismal.

- At Sears' core chain of nearly 900 department stores, sales were down more than 8 percent in 2005 and plunged by 12 percent during the crucial holiday season.

- Sears Holdings' debt is rated "junk" by all three major rating agencies, a far cry from the A credit rating the old Sears earned for decades.

- Sears and Kmart are opening few new stores while competitors such as Wal-Mart unveil more than 300 new locations a year. (Chicago Tribune)

The merging of Kmart and Sears has not been as profitable as hoped. Also, it doesn't help that the Sears Holdings Chairman, Edward Lampert, sounds very mysterious - he's #61 in Forbes' list of the richest 400 Americans, he doesn't like to fly, he retires at 9:30 (even when guests are in his home), he's had very little retail experience but investors are confident in him.

We shall see what lies ahead for Sears. The contracts with Martha Stewart may come and go, but they better never get rid of Craftsmen.

a winter storm in the spring

Spring has sprung! My calendar reads that today is the first day of Spring, with tomorrow being the first full day.

The tulips are peeking out of the ground in my front yard. The birds are chirping in the early morning. What other tell-tale signs are there that announce Spring's glorious arrival?

That's right - the weather. Let's look at the forecast, shall we?

Spring could be ushered in by a late wintry blitz covering Central Indiana with 3 to 6 inches of snow Tuesday, Indianapolis forecasters for the National Weather Service said Sunday.

"It won't really feel like the start of spring," public forecaster Logan Johnson said of the storm, which will move in from the southwest late tonight, followed by a dry but chilly week of low temperatures in the 20s and highs in the low-to-mid-40s. Tuesday is the first full day of spring. (Indy Star)
What is going on here, I wonder. Then it dawns on me - that's right, I live in the Midwest. We have crazy weather here.

Wisdom for life

I was reminded of these words from King Solomon while listening to the sermon at my in-law's church yesterday.

Proverbs 3
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Psychiatric meds for kids

Soaring numbers of U.S. children are being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs -- in many cases, for attention deficit disorder or other behavioral problems for which these medications have not been proven to work, a study found.

The annual number of children prescribed anti-psychotic drugs jumped fivefold from 1995 to 2002, to an estimated 2.5 million, the study said. That is an increase from 8.6 out of every 1,000 children in the mid-1990s to nearly 40 out of 1,000.

But more than half of the prescriptions were for attention deficit and other non-psychotic conditions, the researchers said.

The findings are worrisome "because it looks like these medications are being used for large numbers of children in a setting where we don't know if they work," said lead author Dr. William Cooper, a pediatrician at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. (Indy Star)

If your daughter's pediatrician wants to start her on psychiatric meds, do your duty as a parent and talk to the doctor. Ask questions. Demand answers. If you're not comfortable with what the doctor is telling you, seek other medical advice.

Don't just accept without question whatever the doctor says - DEMAND to be informed and involved.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Notable Posts

Smart Christian brands a new word: emergentising

LaShawn Barber discusses her 9 lives

Tim Challies buys the same toys for his kids that I do for mine

Jan writes about one of the great mysteries in life (to men, at least)

Richard L. Cohen on (not) having a free zone

Pastor Mark Daniels reminds us of what servants do

Brian Orme wonders if email spam came true

Dr. Al Mohler has an addiction (don't worry - many people have it)

Think of how much he'd get back if he sent it all to Robert Tilton

Multimillion-dollar book deals are usually the realm of presidents, popes and Federal Reserve chairmen, plus the occasional mega-best-selling novelist like James Patterson or Michael Crichton.

Add to that list Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, one of the nation's largest congregations, and the author of "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential."

Mr. Osteen, a television evangelist, has signed a book deal with Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, that publishing insiders say is potentially one of the richest for a nonfiction book and could bring the author more than $10 million. (NY Times)

Joel: go here now. Pay your vow so Robert can get another boat for his Miami pad.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Coming to Must-See TV:

Saddam calls his trial a "comedy."
Saddam Hussein testified for the first time at his trial Wednesday, but the chief judge quickly closed the session to the public after the former Iraqi leader refused his orders to stop making political speeches.

The former Iraqi leader, wearing a black suit and standing before the chief judge, called the trial a "comedy." He then addressed the Iraqi people about the bloody wave of sectarian violence that has rocked the country since the bombing of a major Shiite shrine last month.

"What pains me most is what I heard recently about something that aims to harm our people," Saddam said. "My conscience tells me that the great people of Iraq have nothing to do with these acts," he said referring to the bombing of the shrine in the city of Samarra.

Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman interrupted saying he was not allowed to give political speeches in the court.

"I am the head of state," Saddam replied.

"You used to be a head of state. You are a defendant now," Abdel-Rahman said.

current rankings for the Brownie

TTLB ecosystem: Marauding Marsupial, rank #1,833 with a link count of 105 and a link score of 101

Blogdom of God: #246 - way behind centuri0n (#127) but ahead of purgatorio (#274)

Alliance of Free Blogs: #236

Technorati: current rank of 6,915 with 248 links from 201 sites

Just so you know, I have no idea how any of these rankings are made/decided/produced. I'm just here to tell you what they are.

I have to read WHAT?

Another book list. Yes, I know, some parts of the blogosphere have been buzzing about book lists and who should read what. I don't think I need to go over those lists, but I will mention this one: the books everyone should read before they die. The list was compiled by a group of librarians in Great Britain. As usual, I haven't read all the ones on the list but I will put in bold the ones I have read.

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird tops the chart. Have you read it? I haven't, but I guess I'll have to now.

The rest:

The Bible
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

I'm surprised that these aren't on the list:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (or any other Gothic horror-type novel, such as The Phantom of the Opera or Dracula)

Any others you think should have been included?

Next Blog

Occasionally - okay, rarely - I feel the need for some added excitement in my life, and so I decide to click the "next blog" button that is at the top of all Blogger user's page. You know the button, the one that sends you to some random blog, usually one that you wouldn't read if you had all the time in the world but you've been sent there anyway, so what the hey. I've had people come here because they decided to take a risk and hit "next blog," so it's nice. But, as I said, it's a risky little game to play because you might go to a site that was specifically designed to sell something, like Cialis or homes obtained from foreclosures. Be wary, though - I've gone to (and quickly left) a site that had pictures of - shall we say - women in various stages of (un)dress.

Most sites are filled with snippets of people's personal lives. Some people seem to live for the ability to type in whatever is on their mind, even if they don't know a thing about grammar or they aren't aware that Blogger has a Check Spelling key (I've only recently become aware of that).

Just know that if you decide to click "Next Blog," total gibberish is what you might find.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The Ides of March are upon you!

Big bucks! Big bucks! No whammies! Stop!!

Sad news. Peter Tomarken, best known for hosting the 1980s game show "Press Your Luck," has been killed, along with his wife, in a plane crash in the Santa Monica Bay.

The bodies of Peter Tomarken, 63, host of the hit 1980s game show "Press Your Luck," and his wife, Kathleen Abigail Tomarken, 41, were identified by the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

The plane was on its way to San Diego to ferry a medical patient to the UCLA Medical Center, said Doug Griffith, a spokesman for Angel Flight West, a nonprofit which provides free air transportation for needy patients.

Griffith said the pilot was a volunteer for the group. According to the FAA, the plane was registered to Tomarken and he was the pilot.

The plane apparently had engine trouble and was headed back to Santa Monica Airport, located about two miles inland, but went down about 9:35 a.m. just off shore, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer. (AP/CNN)

This is especially sad considering what they were doing: transporting someone in need of medical attention. May their families find comfort in this time of mourning.

best way for Don Cheadle to get a second Oscar nod

He may play legendary jazz musician Miles Davis in an upcoming biopic. Cheadle earned his first nomination by portraying real-life hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda.

Playing a real person seems to be the best way to obtain an Academy Awards nomination. Philip Seymour Hoffman won for playing Truman Capote, and Reese Witherspoon won for playing June Carter Cash. Of the twenty total acting nominations, nine were for portraying a real person. Last year, Jamie Foxx won for portraying Ray Charles, and Cate Blanchett was honored for her performance as Katherine Hepburn.

This article from USA Today is specifically about the 77th Academy Awards - held last year - yet is still relevant.

Monday, March 13, 2006

balmy Indiana weather

Current temperature in Panama City, Florida: 68 degrees

Current temp. in San Diego, California: 50 degrees

Current temp. in Phoenix, Arizona: 43 degrees

Current temp. in Indianapolis: 67 degrees

Yeah, it's horribly rainy and there are tornadoes and flooding. Don't envy the Hoosiers today.

UPDATE: It's 1:56 AM on March 14. Temp is 35 degrees. Crazy Indiana weather....


Okay. I put the word "naked" in the title of one of my posts, and I get no noticeable increase in traffic. Maybe I need to type things like "free Viagra" and "make thousands while working from home," because apparently only one person wants to discuss Terry Bradshaw's exposed backside.

And, yes, people are still coming here because of the whole "fued" thing. If that's the reason you are here, welcome - feel free to look around - comment on what you think is interesting.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Do we really need to see Terry naked?

I just don't understand this.

[Terry] Bradshaw bares all in “Failure to Launch,” in which he co-stars with Oscar-winner Kathy Bates as the parents of a 35-year-old man (Matthew McConaughey) still living at home. They’re reduced to hiring a woman (Sarah Jessica Parker) to seduce their son and induce him to leave. Once he’s out, his room becomes daddy’s Naked Room.

“Not that I got a lot to show off here. But I really thought, and I think I’m right,” Bradshaw says, “you seeing my butt is a shocker.

“I just thought it shows the people that I’ve got the guts to do something like that. Which is important for me. It was kind of a brave thing for me. I got a family I got to answer to. I got kids ... my older parents and my preachers and everybody,” he says, then busts out laughing: “I’m going to have to answer for this.” (MSNBC)

I was completely afraid at first because Terry is reported as "[baring] all," which I interpret to mean that the audience would see Terry as he would be if they took a time machine and saw him in the locker room shortly after a game. In other words, the audience would see everything. He shows only his backside, not his front. I would have typed "Thankfully he shows only his backside...," but I'm not willing to concede that seeing only Terry's backside is something that one should be thankful for.

But, he thinks it takes guts for a 57-year-old guy to show off his backside? I see that all the time when I work out at the "Y".

UPDATE (3/13/97 @ 7:02 AM): Failure to Launch was the #1 movie this weekend. I guess a lot of people did want to see Terry.

Remember: he's a uniter, not a divider

Blame games never end, do they?
President Bush, on a Gulf Coast inspection tour that included his first visit to this city's storm-shattered Lower Ninth Ward, bluntly accused Congress on Wednesday of underfunding the repairs and called for speedy action to make good on federal commitments.

The president said Congress has been slow to provide funding to rebuild housing destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and, while pledging to make New Orleans's levees "equal or better than they were before" the storm, attacked a congressional decision last year to redirect $1.5 billion from his request to repair the region's flood-protection system to projects in other storm-affected states. (WaPo)

Yes, Mr. President, this is the way to woo Congress with those votes that you desperately need for that ill-conceived idea of handing over control of some ports to the United Arab Emirates. This is just the thing to get those pesky senators and representatives to say, Wow, we should help him out more often.

The president has been a uniter in this, though - the Republicans have united against him. I don't think that's quite what he wanted.

Run away from Donald Duck!

He might have the bird flu. In Paris, that is.

the finale of "Project Runway"

As if we haven't had enough of upsets this week...

Chloe Dao wins in the second season of Bravo's acclaimed series Project Runway. I thought Daniel V. had a lock on this, but congrats to Chloe. She proved that she's more than just a pattern-maker, as Santino called her.

Check out the site for Chloe's shop, Lot 8, here.

A "Crash" at the Oscars

As you no doubt know by now, Crash took the Best Picture Oscar at the 78th Academy Awards held this past Sunday at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles; the film also won for Editing and for Original Screenplay. The honoring of Crash came as a surprise to the people that assumed the top award would go to another film, Brokeback Mountain. Ang Lee, who won the directing prize for Brokeback Mountain, expressed disappointment that his film didn't win the top prize.

I saw Crash shortly after it came out on DVD. I had read a bit of the press surrounding the film and I watched when Oprah had several members of the cast on her show. I knew that critics were responding both positively and negatively toward it. I knew that the film was about racism, and so I assumed that it would focus on white racism - white people having negative images/stereotypes about those of other races. I was surprised to see that the film explored not only negative racial attitudes and behaviors by white people, but by persons of other races as well.

I was pleased that no character was portrayed as solely motivated by racial prejudices, but was shown as multi-faceted. A prime example of this is Matt Dillon's portrayal of Officer Ryan. Ryan's racism is expressly shown in the scene where he pulls over husband Cameron (excellently played by Terrence Howard) and wife Christine (played by Thandie Newton). Ryan believed he had witnessed a sexual encounter between a white woman and a black man; to say that Ryan disapproved of this would be an understatement. After ordering the couple out of the vehicle and discovering the truth about Christine, Ryan sexually assaults her in front of her husband, knowing that Cameron would be effectively powerless to do anything. Later in the film, Ryan is shown expressing great concern over his father's health problems. Ryan also rescues a woman from a potentially deadly car wreck without regard to his own personal safety, only to discover that the woman he rescues is Christine. In other characters as well, Crash showed both hate and love.

Crash shows an exaggerated view of racism, of course. I sincerely doubt that every car crash in L.A. involving person of different ethnic backgrounds results in the persons spewing racial epithets toward each other. But I think the film did a good job in showing that racial stereotypes can be held by anyone, regardless of color. We may not even be aware that some of our views towards others may be racially motivated; after all, the prophet Jeremiah lamented, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" While I certainly don't believe that Crash is on the same level of other films that have won for Best Picture, I was pleased to see that it had won.

Just so you know: I do not plan to see Brokeback, although not for the obvious reason.


RELATED: Annie Proulx, author of the short story on which Brokeback was based, wrote an article for The Guardian discussing her disappointment with Brokeback not winning the Best Picture prize. Poor Annie, she comes across as a big fat whiner - "Wah! How dare you not pick my story as the best! Wah!"

Monday, March 6, 2006

Clooney & Stein on Hollywood

Read and compare George Clooney's Oscar acceptance speech (here) with Ben Stein's article about the ceremony (here).

Clooney's main point:
And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch.

Stein's main point:
Hollywood is above all about self: self-congratulation, self-promotion, and above all, self-protection. This is human and basic, but let's not kid ourselves. There is no greatness there in the Kodak theater. The greatness is on patrol in Kirkuk. The greatness lies unable to sleep worrying about her man in Mosul. The greatness sleeps at Arlington National Cemetery and lies waiting for death in VA Hospitals. God help us that we have sunk so low as to confuse foolish and petty boasting with the real courage that keeps this nation and the many fools in it alive and flourishing on national TV.

Who is the more correct in their assessment of what Hollywood is and does? My money is with Stein.

(H/T: Cent)

RELATED: Read this piece by Peggy Noonan when you have the time.

*sigh* why do I even look?

Site Meter numbers as of this minute on this day:

Althouse: 3,378

Good Brownie: 5

We've GOT to do something about this.

Confessing on a dance floor while waiting for the Messiah

Musician and sometimes-actress Madonna wants to buy a house in Rosh Pina, Israel, so she can be close to where the Messiah will come. She's not looking for just any old place - she wants a five-bedroom villa.

I guess if you're going to wait for the Messiah, you might as well do it in style and be comfortable. But, Madonna, Messiah has already come.

Oscars 2005

Another biggest night in Hollywood has come and gone. I was able to see most of the broadcast, but I had to turn off the telly after Philip Seymour Hoffman got his award for Capote (no, not because I was offended that someone won for playing a gay man - I turned it off for the obvious reason). All in all, a very predictable ceremony, except for the ending.

Jon Stewart did an adequate job as host, but I think he played better to the television audience than to the live one. The Hollywood crowd didn't seem to know how to handle him or his jokes, as evidenced by the very few audible laughs. No one chuckled when he talked about how when someone pirates a movie, the people with the large homes and even larger bank accounts are "the people you're stealing from." Andy Dehnart seems to agree with me.

It was nice to see Crash win - upsets are fun to watch. This seems to be a movie that people either like or not. I can definitely say that I'm in the "like" category. I enjoyed how the stories connected with each other (in a very Magnolia-ish way) and how the characters were not just one-note but had multiple dimensions.

I haven't seen any of the movies in the Supporting Actor category, so I don't know if George Clooney deserved his win or not. He may have been awarded it because he was also nominated for Director and Picture (both for Good Night, and Good Luck), and the Academy voters weren't going to vote for Clooney in those categories, so the Supporting Actor is a consolation prize for him. If that's the case, then it's too bad for Paul Giamatti. Clooney's speech was surprisingly free of any mention of Bush/Cheney, although he made sure to tell us that Hollywood is correct to be "out of touch." Sure, George, whatever gets you through the night in your Tuscan villa...

Itzhak Perlman should play in every film score. Beautiful.

The complete list of the nominees and winners can be found here.

Some interesting items from the ceremony:

- Crash won three awards: Picture, Original Screenplay, and Editing.

- Other films that won three awards: Brokeback Mountain (Adapted Screenplay, Director, Original Score), King Kong (Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects), and Memoirs of a Geisha (Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design).

- Brokeback Mountain was nominated three times in the acting categories, but none of its actors won.

- All four acting winners had not won previously.

- Where was Cate Blanchett, who should have awarded the Oscar to George Clooney since she won last year for The Aviator?

- Brokeback Mountain won for Director but not for Picture. The last film to do this was The Pianist - Roman Polanski won for Director, but Picture went to Chicago.

- Other than Academy voters, did anybody see the films nominated for Live Action Short Film and Animated Short Film?

- Since Felicity Huffman did not win, Linda Hunt is still the only actress to win an Oscar for playing a man (for The Year of Living Dangerously). If Huffman had won, her career would probably not become as obscure as Hunt's has.

- Hollywood seems to like actors portraying real people - in the past two years we've seen Truman Capote, June Carter Cash, Ray Charles, and Katherine Hepburn portrayed in Oscar-winning films.

- Speaking of P.S. Hoffman, I see that he's in Mission: Impossible III as a villain. He just doesn't strike me as someone who can pull of being a villain - creepy and sleazy, yes, but not villainous. It would be interesting, though, if he talks in the same speech pattern and vocal style as he did in Capote.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Don't blink or you'll miss it

Author Malcolm Gladwell has a blog.

This Day in History

On this day in 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law declaring that Yellowstone, located in the northwest section of Wyoming, should become a national park. Of the many parks that I have visited, it is by far my favorite one (though not my most visited one - that would be the Great Smoky Mountains). Spouting geysers, stinking mud pits, gorgeous mountains, beautiful lakes, graceful elk, noble bison, even its own "grand canyon" - Yellowstone has it all.

For anyone who may care, I've been to the following parks, thanks to all the vacations I spent with my parents:

Meditations for Ash Wednesday and Lent

Pastor John Hay (from right here in Indianapolis) has a nice one.

So does pastor Mark Daniels (he's from my home state - go, Buckeyes!), even though he thinks he looks like a dork.

And, finally, read the one by pastor Mark Roberts (he lives in California, one of the few states I have yet to visit).

*I realize that this is posted at the very end of Ash Wednesday. Sorry for the lateness.*

RELATED: Did you catch Senator Joe Biden on the telly today? Uh-huh, you could tell that he went to church somewhere.

Discussing "The DaVinci Code"

Nice article by Hugh Hewitt over at The DaVinci Dialogue site. Even Cent thinks so.