Monday, April 30, 2007

"The Queen"


Helen Mirren, in a role that won her the Academy Award for Best Actress, plays the title role of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. The movie details events of the week immediately following the untimely death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and specifically covers the (non)reaction of the Windsor family. Newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair (expertly played by Michael Sheen) seemed able to judge the mood of the nation, speaking only mere hours after Diana's death and designating her as the "people's princess."As many will remember, the royal family gave no public statement until the negative reaction of the English people forced it to do so. In unprecedented moves, the queen addressed the nation in a live broadcast to "pay tribute" to Diana and allowed the Union Flag to fly at half-mast over Buckingham Palace (the royal flag flies only when the queen is in residence there).

The film includes actual footage of Diana, her funeral service, and the public outpouring of support near Buckingham Palace. Mirren's performance is a wonder, imbuing Queen Elizabeth with much dignity, grace, and sense of tradition. The production was filmed beautifully, and the score perfectly matched the mood and tone of the film. The screenwriter Peter Morgan was able to glean much information from sources close to Prime Minister Blair and the Royals which helped in constructing conversations and events.

The Queen was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning only Best Actress. Mirren's win (and Forest Whitaker's, for The Last King of Scotland) continues the string of actors who have won for playing real-life persons.

It was impossible to watch the film and not think back to the events of that week, and how life was like for me. The Wife and I had been married just over a year. We were living at the Ronald McDonald House of Dayton (Ohio), where The Wife worked as the night manager. I was working as a case manager for mentally ill persons at a local mental health center. The evening of the accident, we had gone with a friend (our maid of honor) to see My Best Friend's Wedding. We returned home and learned of the accident, and I remember Tom Cruise was on CNN condeming the papparazzi.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

They found the plane. There were no survivors. They were all dead.

So many intriguing tidbits with "D.O.C.", don't you think?

  1. It's always good to see a Sun & Jin flashback. To me, theirs and Hurley's are the most interesting stories. Nice to see Sun's underlord father as well - will he show up on the island? I'm betting he's connected to Locke's daddy somehow.
  2. The parachutist was on for a full episode, and we still don't know who she is, what she's doing, and how she managed to eject from a helicopter.
  3. The producers have said in the past that the Lostaways aren't in purgatory. So what is going on? What did the parachutist mean that there were no survivors of the Oceanic 815? If there were no survivors, who are the Lostaways?
  4. Sun knows that her baby is Jin's, but her time on the island appears limited. Will Juliet find a way to help her?
  5. Mikhail survived breaking through the sonic barrier the Others used to keep themselves secure. Since Mikhail was able to break it and live, why did it seem to stop Ole Smokey in its tracks?
  6. Why did Jack have no issue with keeping the story of the problematic pregnant Other women from Sun? Is it significant that he didn't immediately tell Juliet about Sun's pregnancy?
  7. What's the significance of Juliet telling Ben, "I hate you?" She's working for him but isn't -with- him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Indiana license plates

Today is the last day to vote on the new license plate. Obviously, this is only for Hoosiers, but if you feel like voting, use one of my former zip codes, 46256.

give 'til it hurts


So I was wandering around TV land the other day, punching random numbers on the remote control.

Cartoon Network.
Lifetime.
Bravo.
Weather Channel.

Suddenly, I found myself sucked into the vortex that is Trinity Broadcasting Network. Yes, it is the channel of the lady with the fake pink hair. It appears to be "Sharathon" time for TBN again, which means that you will be urged to call in (on an un-tollfree line) and "pledge" an amount that you will give to the network. I crossed paths with TBN in the evening hours, so I got to see some guy with perfect hair and gleaming white teeth talk about how God has to "bless" all the people who send in their "seed money." (Don't bother giving money to your local church - God wants you to send it directly to TBN). There were probably 30 people on the stage with him, all dressed impeccably. They all acted as if they believed what the man in the nice suit was saying: give your money to God (or TBN, which is the same thing), and He will give back to you - even more.

And I got to thinking: if all 3o of those people gave money to TBN, wouldn't God then give more money to them? And couldn't they in turn give all that money back to TBN, and then God would give them more? Why, these 30 people could fund TBN by themselves for years to come. What do they need my money for?

you, only better

Joel Osteen has a new book to publish with a title that Oprah would adore - Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life.

Hilarious line from the review on Amazon's site: People love Joel Osteen-- they love to be in his presence, to hear him speak , and to read what he's written--they just can't get enough of him. Is it serious or sarcastic? You be the judge.

Osteen's first book is titled Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Let's assume that someone read the book and is practicing all seven steps, so that he/she is living at his/her full potential. If someone is living at full potential, what would be the need for improvement?

Also: Has Osteen discovered the secret?

the atonement

Go to Dr. Warnock's blog for his series.

Banana doodling

Here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Truly horrible.

The tale of a survivor can be found here.

Here is the text of the president's televised remarks.

Naturally, the editorial at the New York Times labels more gun control as the solution:


Our hearts and the hearts of all Americans go out to the victims and their families. Sympathy was not enough at the time of Columbine, and eight years later it is not enough. What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.

Does the editor really think that nothing like this would ever happen if the U.S. had the strictest gun control policies that could be imagined? As long as human hearts are depraved, terrible events like this will continue to occur.

Check out 21 ways to minister to those who are suffering.

Update: Here are some of the faces of the slain. A simple, yet powerful, presentation.

Why did this tragedy occur and what do we do now? Doug Masson has some answers - not his, mind you, but other people's explanations.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"We want to keep our kids safe when they're on the Internet"

One of the old excuses by Democrats to have government become involved in something: it's for the children.
Operators of Web sites with racy content must label their sites and register in a national directory or be fined, according to a new U.S. Senate proposal that represents the latest effort among politicians to crack down on Internet sex.

The requirements appear in legislation announced Thursday by two Senate Democrats, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana, that they say will "clean up the Internet for children."

The proposal, which the senators describe as a discussion draft, relies on the idea of embedding a new tag--such as --in all Web pages that the government deems unsuitable for minors. Then future Web browsers used by minors could be configured to reject L18-labeled Web pages.

I have two daughters, so naturally I don't want them wandering to filthy sites. However, I'm going to do what's necessary to make sure they aren't able to get to those sites. I don't need the government doing something for me, now matter what it is. It's insulting for these senators to say they are doing something for the children, as if parents have no responsibility for that. It's the theory behind the action that I don't like: We are governmental officials, and we are the only ones who can look out for your children's welfare.

"When you're alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go..."

Whenever I hear this song now, I feel a bit creepy inside.

If you watch ABC on Wednesdays at 10:00 EST, you know why.

Somewhat related: If you want to know how to get somewhere, Google Maps is worth checking out. These directions from New York to London are especially good, as Tricia points on.

tattoos and death

Ann Althouse thinks this post is the best she's ever written. If you are so inclined to acquiesce to my request (and why aren't you?), you should go to her site and decide for yourself whether she's right. My relatives with tattoos should especially consider this.

Professor Althouse has an impressive Wikipedia entry.

"I feel it's my responsibility to pay."

Illegal immigrants filing taxes:
With the tax deadline approaching, illegal immigrants are sending in federal returns in what appear to be record numbers despite fears heightened by recent immigration raids around the country.

The increase in filings comes amid talk of an immigration overhaul, with some proposals introduced in Congress linking amnesty to the payment of taxes. Many illegal immigrants showing up at tax preparation offices around the country say they hope that filing a return will create a paper trail that could lead to citizenship one day.

Let me get this straight. You come to the United States - illegally - to live and work, breaking the law in doing so. You think that if you pay some taxes, you'll eventually become a citizen and thereby have a right to live and work in the United States. This works so long as the government allows it to work. Currently, the I.R.S. doesn't ask about a person's immigration status. And, when has the government ever refused to take someone's money?
“I feel it’s my responsibility to pay,” said Mr. Lima, 39, clutching a $202 money order for the Internal Revenue Service. “And if it helps me get papers, fine. The most important would be a permit to travel back and forth to see my family.”

Yeah. It's my responsibility to pay, but not to come to America in the proper way.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Taxes

Normally you would need to file your taxes by midnight tonight, but since April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, you get two extra days.

I've done my taxes already - did them several weeks ago, in fact. What about you?

Yes, I admit that one year I filed my taxes on April 15. I turned them in to the post office at 11:00 PM. What can I say? Sometimes I do dangerous things, like take a bite of banana after my two-year-old does...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Can the Democratic Party truly understand Christians?

Not if the chairman of their party expresses ignorance about what Easter really means.

100 days

See you in a week


If you're a fan of Lost, and you didn't get to watch "One of Us" last night, you won't want to read this post because there are spoilers. You've been warned.

**************************************************

We got to see more of Juliet's background. We saw how she willingly agreed to go with Mittloes BioScience, even there were so many reasons for her not to (ie, she didn't know exactly where she'd be, she'd have to swallow a sedative-filled drink to make the journey, she wouldn't have contact with anyone for "6 months"). And, of course, we saw how she remains under Ben's direction, a plant in the Lostaways' camp just like recruiter Ethan before her.

Was this really a suprise ending? No, it was not. Michael shooting Ana Lucia and Libby, then letting Ben go free - now that was a suprise ending, and there still hasn't been another one like it (I'm talking about shows during the season here - I'm not considering season finales). It wasn't a surprise, because it's difficult to imagine that The Others, whom she lived among for three years, would actually abandon her to people they deemed worthy of terrorizing and manipulating. Let's consider also that the woman has got to have trust issues. She thought she'd be working for a company not-exactly-in-Portland, but she was taken to some unknown island where she's been for three years. Would she so quickly decide to hang out with some new people? I think not. Especially not when a man she "hung out with" - Goodwin - ended up dead after spending time with them.

The questions that remain are these: why are The Others still interested in the Lostaways? Will Juliet try to figure out what is happening so that Sun won't befall the pregnant Others' fate? Can we assume that what Juliet told Jack and Kate about the pregnant women was the truth? Can we assume that Ethan really did take matters into his own hands by kidnapping Claire and leaving Charlie for dead, as Juliet said he did?

Well, you know what can happen when you assume...

For more views on this episode: Sloe Jen Fizz, Sniderz, Vozzek69

Related: If you must have spoilers for the show, go here.

eat, blog, & be merry

If you're a fan of the Food Network, check out this site. Lots of information on shows and their hosts.

Speaking of Food Network, Paula Deen has published her memoir, It Ain't All About the Cookin'. Mary Constantine of the Knoxville News Sentinel has a review.

"Middle Class American culture is not the reason the Son of God spilled His own blood."

Read this post, and not just because I make a comment in the meta about how I think people don't read Rolling Stone much anymore - noting Frank's age demographic at the same time - and he puts me on a list.

A taste:
But the question is this: is it the secular culture we have to win? See: I thought that Jesus came to establish a new Heavens and a new Earth, not to try to make the one we have wrecked into one in which Victoria's Secret only sells stuff to married women, but doesn't target unmarried women because that would be profitable.

Jesus didn't come here, giving up His rightful place on the throne of Heaven and the active praise of creatures which will make you cry out in fear because they are flames of fire, and die on a cross so we can have a global America. Middle Class American culture is not the reason the Son of God spilled His own blood. He did not walk out of the tomb to hand you the keys to a new SUV or a house with a nice, flat sod yard.

Happy Birthday, Honey

On this day in history, The Wife was born. Because I value my life, I won't reveal the year. You'll just have to guess.

Everyone is STILL talking...

...about Imus.

Even Obama wants him off the air. He states that if anyone on his staff made derogatory comments about persons of any race, he/she would be terminated. But, would Obama listen to a group called Nappy Roots? Josh Claybourn reflects on a moment in Obama's history.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finally!

We know.

"There is no end to Christian tacky in America."

Have you accessorized for Jesus?

Check out Kevin Jones' blog The Reluctant Puritan. He focuses on Christian kitsch in his "Tacky Tuesday" posts. He even posted this just for me.

Duke Lacrosse case

Dropped.
The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sources close to the case.

The three players, Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty, were facing charges of first degree kidnapping and first degree forcible sexual offense. The charges stem from an off-campus party on the night of March 13, 2006.
I'm sure the families are relieved, but they can not gain back the many months lost to pain and suffering caused by the ridiculous charges. Hopefully Seligmann, Evans, and Finnerty can successfully put this sordid affair behind them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

2nd blogiversary... a little late

I was on vacation on March 30, so I wasn't able to write a post recognizing my own second blogiversary. Happy blogiversary to me!

Here's my first post, which is mostly autobiographical.

Dennis Kennedy may be congratulating people for having a tenth-year blogiversary, but does he consider the fact that if a person said she was a blogger ten years ago (that'd be 1997), no one would know what she was talking about?

Related: Is blogging peaking?

Johnny Hart, 1931-2007

Go here to find memoriams on the creator of the B.C. and Wizard of Id comic strips, who died at his drawing board. One was written by Dayton, Ohio dweller (and my hometown, too!) Mike Peters, creator of Mother Goose & Grimm.
Mike Peters on Johnny Hart as a friend:

"When Dick Brown, who started Hagar the Horrible, was very ill ... he got a letter from Johnny. You could see Johnny's name on the return address, and when he opened it up there was an outline of Johnny's hand. He must have put his hand down and traced around it. Inside there was a note that said 'Dick - call me.' So he called Johnny and said 'I got your letter - what does this hand mean?' Johnny said, "Oh, good you got the letter! Open it up and put it flat on a table. Now put your hand where the drawn hand is.' Dick did and said, 'Ok, now what?' Johnny said, 'Now we're holding hands -- let's pray a little bit.'"

198 Things

Probably the thing I most enjoy about Joe Carter's blog, The Evangelical Outpost, is his periodic listing of "33 things," which are usually 33(!) articles he finds informative, provocative, and/or humorous. I will link to them because I'm betting that you'll enjoy them, too.

You can read them all in successive order, like this:
1
2
3
4
5
6


Or, if you prefer, you can just go here and read them all at once (from post #6 to #1 in the series).

Be forewarned: some of his earlier links have already disappeared.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Joshua Bell, D.C. street performer


An absolutely amazing experiment. Watch the videos, too.

If Misha Dichter was playing a piano, would they have stopped to listen?

In my first collegiate year, I had the opportunity to see Bell in concert. This was in early 1990, when he was building the acclaim that he now richly deserves. He gave a performance in front of about 200 people in a small concert hall on the Wright State University campus. I believe I paid about $10 to see him. Listening to - and watching - Bell was extraordinary. He plays much bigger venues now, and for a lot more money.

And, yes, I've also seen Dichter in concert - the same year that I saw Bell. Bell's performance moved me more.
(H/T: ALOTT5MA)

Update: Thanks to my anonymous commentor, I was able to read an actual street performer's thoughts on this experiment. Why did Bell fail to attract an audience? He's not a good busker.

Happy Easter

I have returned from hiatus. My sojourns to Florida are over... for the present. Who knows when I shall make it down there again? Certainly not on Duke's dime, which - I don't think that I ever mentioned it by name - is my wife's former place of employment. Surely you got from my coy post below that she was let go, right? Ah, injustice! It happens to so many people. Several family members were unfairly terminated from their jobs, so it's nothing new to us. Since my wife is no longer there, I have no problems pointing them out.

Some of you may ask: Brownie, do you have pictures from your sunny journeys? To that I will say: I had pictures, but no longer. The story - and there is one - will be forthcoming...

Anyway, I am back. Let me direct you to this post by La Shawn, which gives the right sentiments on this most-celebrated day of the Christian faith.