Thursday, January 31, 2008

"The Beginning of the End"

Holy cow, was that a premiere! I think it worked best because it focused not on the usual suspects of Jack, Kate, or Sawyer, but on fan favorite Hurley. Honestly, did you think Hurley would be the one coming out of the car? I must admit, I correctly guessed that it was him, just because I figured they were wanting to showcase an outrageous behavior by an unlikely person.

I Tivo'd the premiere, so I'll probably watch again and have more to ponder. But for now....
  • Who make up the Oceanic Six besides Hurley, Jack, and Kate?
  • Fantastic that Hurley found Jacob's shack. Was that Jacob in there, and if it wasn't Locke looking back at Hurley through the window, who was it?
  • What are they lying about? Did a number of people decide not to leave the island, so a coverup was created so the world wouldn't know the people who stayed were still alive?
  • For screencaps of "The Beginning of the End" and other episodes, go here.
  • Jacob loves you, and wants you to go here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the return of "Lost"

I had my nightly nap tonight, and I completely forgot that ABC was running the third season finale of Lost, so I didn't set my TiVO (or whatever it is I can do on my TV that records shows without the bother of a VCR). Did you watch it? Of course I own the third season on DVD, so I'll prolly watch it at some point during the day. The fourth season premiere airs at 9:00 PM EST.

Anyway, I'll give you some linkage to put you in a Lost mood...


The religion as seen under Time's microscope.
The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally or physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."

Yet the outrage and litigation have failed to squelch Scientology. The group, which boasts 700 centers in 65 countries, threatens to become more insidious and pervasive than ever. Scientology is trying to go mainstream, a strategy that has sparked a renewed law-enforcement campaign against the church. Many of the group's followers have been accused of committing financial scams, while the church is busy attracting the unwary through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and even remedial education.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pappas on Kennedy

“This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who ‘know what’s best for us.’”

That's Marcia Pappas, the president of NOW New York. I reckon she wasn't so excited when Elizabeth Dole was running her short-lived presidential candidacy, probably because Liddy wasn't the "right kind" of woman. National NOW offered a formal statement, essentially saying We like Hillary, but Ted can vote for whomever he wants.

Kennedy likes Obama

I really only have two things to say about Teddy Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama for president.

1. What does it say about you when two of the most liberal senators around - the two from Massachusettes, Kennedy and Kerry - think you're the best choice for the presidency?

2. I guess this means the Clintons won't be attending clambakes at the Kennedy compound anytime soon. And conversely, if Hillary does make it into the Oval Office, certain people won't be sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Cloverfield" and the End of Days

The venerable iMonk has penned some thoughts on the most recent monster movie and the end of the world as we know it (and I don't think he feels fine).
Jesus predicted earthquakes and stars falling to earth. But was he talking about what would happen if a world-ending comet or asteroid took aim at us? Do Christians need to be purchasing copies of Armageddon to have a plan to keep their Christian eschatology on track?

Just how bad can things get and Christian eschatology remain “on track?” What versions of eschatology can accommodate the facts of catastrophism as we know them today? How do the scenarios of Cloverfield and Armageddon work into Christian theology?

Do those Christians who believe in global warming need to say we could wipe out human life with a man-created catastrophe? If that’s true, why wouldn’t we say it? Because Jesus won’t let it happen and upstage his return?

I tend to think that eschatology is often the weakest area of applied Christian theology; the area where there is the least reflection and rigorous examinations of what we assert. If the giant lobsters come ashore to have us for dinner, where does all of it fit into the totality of Christian belief?

Until we work all this out, I’ll be watching more monster movies, and keeping an eye on the lobster tank at Krogers.

Josh Hamilton

Get Religion points to a very nice article about Josh Hamilton, center fielder for the Texas Rangers.
Faith, he regularly testifies, has put him back in baseball after four years of addiction problems so ugly you can't blame his family for not wanting to relive them. But because of faith, they do – to churches, youth groups and halfway houses.

If Hamilton could shake his habit – it included downing a bottle of Crown Royal almost daily and cocaine and crack cravings so strong he burned through a $3.96 million signing bonus – and finally get to the big leagues last season, there had to be a reason.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Who has destroyed the Republican Party?

It's exactly who you think: George W. Bush. He certainly did it for me: a disastrous war with Iraq, his peddling of ridiculous "compassionate conservatism," and his (ab)use of evangelicals.

Angel's incision

Angel's incision
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie
As promised....

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm following Bob Barker's advice

I just dropped off The Beast at the vet's office so she can be spayed. I'll try to have a picture up post-op.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Indiana in the spotlight

The focus is on our photo-identification voter law.
The U.S. Supreme Court is now scrutinizing whether that statute violates the first and 14th amendments, in the most contentious legal battle over voting since the high court issued a bitterly divided decision eight years ago that stopped Florida's recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush.

If the law is upheld, voting rights advocates fear it will encourage conservative lawmakers across the country to enact equally restrictive measures. The high court's decision is expected in the summer — leaving time to impact November's general election.

Opponents, most of them Democrats, say requiring photo ID at the polls disproportionately affects the poor, the elderly and minorities — the most likely to lack photo identification. But supporters, most of them Republicans, say such requirements are necessary to prevent voter fraud.

Obama, the CT interview

Christianity Today recently conducted an interview with Barack Obama.
I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn't 'fall out in church' as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn't want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger, 1979-2008

As you must surely know by now, actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a New York apartment yesterday afternoon. (I assume it was his, but I saw one report that claimed the apartment belonged to the actress Mary Kate Olsen.) Police are investigating at this time, but it will indeed be a tragedy if his death is ruled a suicide. On the outside it seemed he had so much going for him: an Oscar nomination a couple years ago for Brokeback Mountain, critical buzz for the recent I'm Not There, and his upcoming role as devious psychopath The Joker in The Dark Knight.

Like numerous actors before him (James Dean, River Phoenix, and the recently deceased Brad Renfro come to mind), he is gone seemingly too soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar nominations

Are you excited about this list? Does it affect your choices for films to watch? Can Daniel Day-Lewis pick a bad picture to be in? Of the nominated films, I've seen Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ratatouille (which I was hoping would get a best picture nod), and Transformers.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gone, Dungy, gone?

Those of us living in Indianapolis have heard much speculation from the media this past week about the life plans of Tony Dungy, head coach for the 2006 Super Bowl champs. Numerous pundits have asked, Is he staying? His children have enrolled in a school in Tampa - does this indicate he's retiring?

Today we have a definitive answer from the man himself. Coach Dungy will be staying for the 2008 season. Great news for the team, and great news for Indianapolis.

I'm a Sci-Fi Sounds Geek, I guess

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 92 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
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married to K-Max

It's funny how you can attend a fairly strict and fundamentalist church (KJV-only to boot!), think that you know the people in the church quite well, talk to couples and watch their children grow over the course of years that you attend the church, and to find that the child of one of those couples marries this guy.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brett vs. Eli

A stunning end to the NFC Conference championship game. Who would have thought we'd have Peyton Manning going to the Super Bowl one year, and younger brother Eli the next? I feel sorry for Favre, but only a little. Now we'll see if they can take on Team Unstoppable Force.

Added: Terry Bradshaw is reporting on the Giants' receiving the conference trophy, and I keep thinking, I saw that man's rear end in "Failure to Launch."


Almost since the dawn of cinema, there has been a celluloid monster to terrorize both the denizens of the screen and the audiences in the dark. King Kong was the most notable of the early beasts, and we've had many more since then. After the gigantic gorilla, Godzilla and Gamera are the most notable. Godzilla has been the subject of numerous movies, both good and bad. With all these monsters, we've been able to view them from an all-seeing perspective. We've seen them in quiet moments, when they are taking a break from terrorizing the masses.

Not so with the finely-executed Cloverfield. We view the events from the camera of a man who had planned on taping his friend's going-away party, but ended up with footage much more compelling. The party is interrupted by what at first appears to be an earthquake or possibly a terrorist attack, but which turns out to be gigantic beast. There is much speculation but no explanation given as to where the beast came from or what it ultimately seeks to achieve. All we see is the mayhem is has produced.

Will Smith sought in I Am Legend to redeem humanity from its infected state. The creature of Cloverfield knows only mayhem and destruction. The Army runs through the city trying to stop, but to no avail. In its world, we're all legends.

There are a few tense moments, but it's not as scary a film as traditional monster movies have been. Beyond the existence of a gigantic monster, there are several implausibilities, including a cell phone that's able to work no matter where the main characters go. But the film works. The audience member is able to completely buy into the world this film shows, a ruined Manhattan where people are desperate to save the ones they hold dear. In the YouTube age, Cloverfield fits right in.

More about Cloverfield from Rogert Ebert and Peter Chattaway.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

the 1865 inauguration

In light of this year being a potentially historical election year where we may just have a female or a black male president, it's intriguing to look back at recently discovered photos of another historic election. CNN has pictures of Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration.

"The Host"

The Host is a monster movie that transcends the horror genre. There are several scary scenes, to be sure (including a fantastic crowd chase scene), but there are also moments of political conspiracy, family dysfunction, medical melodrama, and humor. During one scene, a family mourns over the supposed death of a young girl, but their mourning devolves into an absurd, slapstick fight. Since I'm unfamiliar with Korean culture, I didn't understand if their mourning was proto-typical or merely played as a comic device for the film. I felt guilty laughing during the scene, but only a little. No matter - I've always been a fan of monster films, and The Host certainly delivered on many levels.

On orders from his American superior, a Korean mortician dumps "dirty" formaldahyde down the drain, pipes that lead directly to the Han River. Several years later, a beast rises from the river and starts to hunt, prefering people above any other creature. The monster looks like an elongated fish with legs, but it's much more than that. It's truly a wonder to behold, and certainly the best film monster since Alien. The creature grabs a young girl, dragging her to its lair in the city sewer system. The film focuses on the family of this girl, and their struggle to bring her back to them. If you're in the mood to see a film involving family melodrama, political intrigue, killer chase scenes, and a hideously beautiful monster, go rent The Host.

You can read Jim Emerson's review, on Roger Ebert's site, here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 years ago...

...we were beginning to learn about Monica Lewinsky and a certain blue dress. Hard to believe it's been that long, eh?

Survive Alive

The Sweet One's class went on a field trip today to Survive Alive, and I had the opportunity to serve as a chaperone. It was a very good presentation, and the kids had a good time while learning the importance of fire safety.

Our guide, a retired firefighter, put on his gear so that the kids could know what firefighters look like who enter buildings on fire.

A small section of the building housed antique firefighting eqiupment as well as some old engines.

Ten Tidbits, v. 11

01. The biggest subject that 2007's book of the year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had to address (other than how You-Kn0w-Who would meet his end) was the character and motivations of Severus Snape. Although we all know the answer to that question now, it's worthwhile to read Orson Scott Card's considerations of Snape's statements and behaviors in Years One through Six.

02. I was saddened to learn of the death of 25-year-old actor Brad Renfro. His most notable appearance was in the film adaptation of John Grisham's novel The Client, as a witness to a mob lawyer's suicide; he acted in the film with two Oscar winners, Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones. I consider The Client to be my favorite Grisham book.

03. I'm back in the world of the college student, which means that I have to purchase textbooks for classes. I've always questioned the great expense of textbooks, and I'm not alone. FYI, my anatomy textbook was $160.

04. Tom Cruise: Scientology Proselytizer. "We're the authorities on getting people off drugs. We're the authorities on the mind. We're the authorities on improving conditions." He's also become an authority on how to make a movie no one goes to see.

05. Yet another Hollywood marriage has ended, this one after two weeks. I was in Target yesterday and saw some magazine showcasing pictures of the supposed marital bliss, which apparently soured minutes after the "I do's."

06. The musical Rent will close on Broadway this spring. I've never seen it, but I have seen my fair share of musicals on tour, including The Producers (in Chicago), Miss Saigon (Cincinnati), and Phantom of the Opera (Columbus, OH).

07. Reasons to love Apple. Truly tempting.

08. Jon Ferguson lets you know when you're not leading.

09. Justin Taylor interviewed Scott Klusendorf about current pro-life issues.

10. If you really must know where Brownie attends church services, it's here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

what you always knew

The kiddies don't like the clowns.

those cheating Daytonians

It's always nice to see the hometown make national news, but not for this reason.

Biblical inerrancy

Challies v. iMonk, according to Sullivan who chooses a side. At least Sullivan called Michael Spencer by name - he dismissed Tim Challies as nothing more than a "fundamentalist." I wonder if Sullivan would like it if others simply referred to him as "that queer, pseudo-Christian limey."

I'm sure iMonk knows that getting that que... I mean, Sullivan's blessing isn't necessarily a good thing.

Update: I'm pleased to see that Challies handles Sullivan's dismissive link with grace.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2 blogs 2 check on 2sday morn

1 serious: Books by C.S. Lewis

1 silly: The Brothers Brick

"Darling, don't you love looking out over the water?" "Zeeble-beep-dot!"

We humans aren't the only ones who enjoy nice neighborhoods with excellent lake-front property. Extraterrestrials love a good view, too. Since he's from Ohio, I'm sure Dennis Kucinech knows about this.

(HT: Anchoress)

whatever you do in life will never be as awesome as this picture

Brant is right.


Did Julia really want her "seed" to take her seat in Congress?

Ah, family. There's nothing like leaning on your family name to get you places you otherwise wouldn't have gone. If Andre Carson had any other last name - and any other grandmother - he wouldn't have made as many steps to the U.S. Congress as he recently has. Several eulogists at Carson's funeral reported her saying that the constituants who loved her should "send [her] seed," supposedly meaning her grandson Andre. Julia Carson's name, and a bit of confusion, helped Andre Carson win last Satuday's special caucus. Bil Browning has more.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Why on earth would we choose to put the Clinton family drama at the center of our politics again?"

I obviously don't agree with Christopher Hitchens and his supposed case against religion in general and Christianity in particular, but I like his thinking when it comes to Senator Not-so-much-inevitable.

Related: Timothy Noah comments on the ridiculous claim of "experience" from Senator I'll-make-my-voice-crack-if-it-gets-votes. If the Democrats wanted experience, Biden and Dodd wouldn't have dropped out. Since Hilllary values experience so much, she would do well to pick Laura Bush for veep.

Manning to the Conference Final

A Manning will once again be attending a conference final, only this time it will be younger brother Eli with his Giants and not elder brother Peyton with his 2006 champion Colts. I guess New England is the only team allowed this season to make big comebacks from behind. Becoming excited about Super Bowl 42 will be difficult, but my mantra is anbody but the Pats.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Proof cats are demonic

Resistance is futile

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) might just win the Democratic nomination for the presidency. If he should win the presidency, he will have to thank Seven of Nine in his inaugural address.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

prayer request

If you find a minute today, please offer a prayer for the family of my coworker Carolyn. Her son Collin, who is a couple years older than me, has been stationed with the Army in Afghanistan. Another solider, an Afghan translator, and Collin were in an area where there was an explosion. The soldier died, but the other two survived. However, Collin's face, hands, and legs are significantly burned, such that he no longer has eyelids and the doctors formed a new nose for him made from shark cartilage. He is currently at a hospital burn unit in Texas, and his situation doesn't look good.

Update on 1/11: Thanks for your prayers. Collin is no longer under a medically-incuded coma, but he has yet to "awaken." He is not responding to painful stimuli.

so now you know

I've been tantalizing and frustrating certain family members this week by my insuations that I will be experiencing a transformative "life event." I guess I've done all that because it's always good to have a little mystery in life, isn't it? I wanted to throw some intrigue out there, and make people wonder what I was up to. Frankly, it's extremely heartening to know that there are people out there who are interested in my life and what to know what I'm up to.

But of course, I never meant to turn this whole thing into some kind of teaste.. I was going to tell you all eventually, and the sooner the better. I mean, I don't want my life to turn into a Lost episode or something where everyone's wondering, what's going to happen next? How crazy would that kind of life be. Brownie is chased by the smoke monster! Brownie finds a white stone and a black stone! Brownie blows up a submarine! Brownie wins millions of dollars! Okay, that would last one would be rather great, but still... you get the drift.

So now, let me tell you what all this talk has been about.

Ever since I was young lad, I knew I wanted to grow up and help people in some way. I became fascinated by the work of a very-extended family member... the relative of a relative of a relative. Cincy Sister, you know who I'm talking about. He worked as a counselor at my school, but I never had any interactions with him that way. Still, I was fascinated with the idea of sitting down and talking with people to help them sort out their problems.

So I entered college and did an extremely rare thing: I graduated with the major I initially declared. Psychology. I knew of course that there weren't piles of money to be made in the psychology field, but that wasn't why I got into it. I wanted to help people, and I thought that this would be a fine method for doing so. I went straight from four years of undergrad to two years of graduate school work, finishing a master's in mental health counseling before I turned 24.

Looking back, I think, Good grief I was so young. Why was I so sure of myself? How did I decide that this would be good work to do? And most importantly, why did I think I was doing myself any favors by working in a field that's becoming increasingly unstable? The truth is that health insurance - managed care, as we like to say in the biz - has made this field more unstable. People in private practice have found it difficult to support themselves because insurance companies aren't willing to pay for more than a limited number of sessions (usually 6-12), and so have turned to seemingly more stable jobs within a community mental health center (CMHC's). However, the CMHC's are taking pages from the business world and increasingly focusing on productivity - if a counselor isn't seeing enough clients, she could lose her job. A counselor can't count on others to "pick up the slack," as has been done in the past.

I considered my options. I thought of applying for Ph.D. programs in psychology. I talked with several people who had done this very thing, and learned that they weren't making that much more money than I was (who had only a lowly M.S. to follow my name). I wanted to stay in the healthcare field, because I still had - and have to this day - a strong desire to assist other people. I thought of med school, but soon dismissed the idea because it would consume too many years of blood, sweat, and tears. After all, I have a family, and most of the time they enjoy having me around.

What to do? A few years back, The Wife and I came upon a plan - I would stay in the healthcare field, but build upon the exeriences I already had. I would plunge into a field that's continually growing and in need of more people. I would enter a nursing program and become a Registered Nurse.

I've taken the first step. I'm currently enrolled in two classes, Human Anatomy and Lifespan Development, at IUPUI. Yes, I'm a college student once again. Slightly older, slightly bulkier, slightly less fresh-faced, but a student nonetheless.

I'm up for the challange. I'm ready to go.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hillary's Voice

It appears that Senator Hillary Clinton is the New Hampshire primary winner, narrowly beating fellow Senator Barack Obama in a race that was thought to belong to him. I don't want to discuss the N.H. primary in detail, but instead want to focus on a few words from this article on MSNBC's site.

A quote from the Hill herself:
I come tonight with a very full heart and I want especially to thank New Hampshire. Over the last week I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice. I felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and I’m so glad that you responded. Now together let’s give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me.
Words mean things, as we all know. With that in mind, it's important to consider what Hillary means by the "I found my own voice" line.

A few days ago, Hillary was speaking at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, NH. She "let slip a glimpse of uncontrolled emotion" when someone asked how the campaign had been affecting her and how she stayed "upbeat and so wonderful." She responded by saying with a cracked voice, "I don't want to see us fall backward as a nation," and acted near the point of weeping.

I wonder if this moment is what she referred to when she said she "found [her] own voice." Did she mean that she found a way to connect with some voters with a See? I'm not a robot routine? If she has only now found her own voice after all these years, whose voice had she been borrowing? Her husband's?

Whatever it was - and whatever you interpret it as being - it apparently worked. She has laid claim to the first primary in the nation, and we'll see if that claim gives her any momentum. She believes she is the one to keep America - you and me - from falling backwards. I just don't think she has the proper shoes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

lite blogging

Yeah, I haven't blogged the past couple days. There is a good reason for that, though, which is related to this.

Speaking of lite, feast your eyes on the worst restaurant dishes, food that would totally blow your New Year's diet... that is, if you haven't blown it already. (Guilty!)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

Pastor Jon Hay has been blogging through the 12 days of Christmas.

Alton Brown's deal

Alton Brown, host of Food Network's best show, has made a deal to stay on for three more years. He'll develop a new limited series, Feasting on Waves, which will no doubt be similar to his Feasting on Asphalt. With Emeril and Mario losing their deals with Food TV, it's good to know that Brown will be sticking around.

And, no, we aren't related. Brown is a common surname.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Challies Blog Tour

Tim Challies is "touring" several blogs to promote his book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. The tour runs from January 7 through January 18, and he's visiting quite the eclectic list. Challies' book stirred up quite a discussion at Justin Taylor's place.

Britney Spears in the hospital

Kim Cosmo has the details on Britney Spears' latest melt-down. It appears Britney has been admitted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital. If she did not sign an admit form, then her admission was involuntarily. I don't know about California law regarding medical admissions, but for someone to be admitted to a hospital against her will in Indiana, a doctor would need to have completed what is called an emergency detention form. A person can be admitted under emergency detention if she is deemed to be either a danger to herself, a danger to others (e.g., her children), or so incapacitated that she is unable to properly care for herself (e.g., she is running through the streets naked while experiencing a manic phase). Once the doctor completes the forms, they are taken to a judge for signature. The emergency detention form is good for 72 hours.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Life changes

I've got a life change coming up, one that starts incredibly soon. I know I'm being cryptic, but I'll fill you in on the details in the coming days.

Any life changes for you?

a raucous Caucus

Go here for the latest news.

Jeff Grenfield explains how the Iowa caucus goes wrong.

Evan Herrnstadt explains how Iowa controls the world.

Michael Moore has written a letter to his readers, saying he is endorsing... no one yet. No surprise, there. He liked Dr. Howard Dean last cycle, and we all know how that turned out. Moore's just happy that "W" will be outta there.

Update: Read Joe Gandalman's round-up and Doug Masson's assessment. David Brooks thinks there were two earthquakes, not one.

blogging & watching Dick Clark

blogging on New Year's Eve
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie
My daughter took this photo on New Year's Eve.

Brownie cameras

Besides the food, one of the great pleasures of dining at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dayton (which I talked about here) is examining the antique signs and posters on the walls. There's a collection of old Ohio license plates in the restaurant waiting area.

I noticed one sign in particular, and knew I had to photograph it for the blog.

I never realized this company existed. How could I have missed it?

"I Am Legend"


I've been to New York City once in my life, in my teen years on a vacation with my parents and Cincy Sister's family. NYC is the most densely populated city in the United States, holding over 8.2 million souls in its five boroughs. A person could easily lose himself in the human sea that sweeps through the streets every morning, afternoon and evening. With that many people around him, he could easily hide and not be found. I found the city a marvel to behold.

As I Am Legend neatly shows, the city is even more a marvel with no one in it. The film begins with a lone man, gracefully played by Will Smith, and his canine companion racing through the deserted streets with a high-powered shotgun, chasing deer in a hot red sportscar. Years of neglect have allowed trees and tallgrass to break through the concrete, turning the urban jungle into a real one. Broadway signs for Wicked and a Batman/Superman movie (fanboys, take heart - it could happen!) cry out for attendees to come to stages that have been darkened for years. The scenes featuring a destroyed Brooklyn Bridge are particularly engrossing.

I Am Legend is based loosely on the 1954 novel by Richard Matheson, and tells the story of a man who believes himself to be the last person alive, or at least the last one alive on the island of Manhattan. Robert Neville, a virologist and an Army colonel, is apparently immune to strain of genetically-engineered measles created to cure cancer but with the unfortunate side effect of turning people into sunlight-abhorring mutants with super-human abilities. Neville left a radio message for anyone who might hear, explaining that he would be at a dock everyday "when the sun is highest" to offer food and shelter to anyone who comes. Besides hunting deer, he works on what he hopes to be a cure to help those who are infected.

What are the infected like? Well, they are never actually given a name, except perhaps by one character who calls them "dark seekers." The virus seems to disfigure those infected so that they become more like a CGI character than an actual human, so it's hard to have any kind of sympathy for them (at least not the same kind that Neville has). They also seem to have the ability to climb buildings and withstand an incredibly high pain level. Is there any kind of virus that comes to close to this?

There are so many spiritual themes present in the film that I found it hard to believe that Roger Ebert and Owen Gleiberman, two of my favorite reviewers, completely ignored them in their review. Perhaps Roger and Owen missed them, but I noticed several.

  • In a flashback scene, Neville's daughter encouraged him to "follow the butterfly." Near the end of the film, Neville meets a character with a butterfly tattoo. The metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly represents new life. The spiritual implication here is that a new life is possible for those that are infected. The Christian begins her new life when she realizes that she is a sinner and only belief in the risen Christ can save her.
  • Neville discovers that salvation for those infected lies within his own blood, since he is immune to the virus. The Christian believes that Jesus died on the cross, shedding His blood, for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).
  • The infected can only move around in darkness; they cannot abide the light (John 3:19).
  • Neville gives his life so that others can carry the cure to give to those infected. The Christian believes that Jesus offered His life to save sinners (Mark 10:45).

There are a few tense moments within the film, especially when Neville chases his canine companion into a dark building. Later in the film, Neville is forced to commit an act that he never wished to do. The look on his face is one of profound horror, and tells you what he is doing what actually showing the act. In that scene alone, Smith shows that he's become a premier actor.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"I dropped out of law school at Georgetown--where I could have learned how to become a highly paid attorney..."

Instead, she chose to critique politicians on television. Sacha Zimmerman reviews the ads streaming all over Iowa cornfields at this very minute.

She concludes:
And so, in the strange multiplex that is the '08 presidential race, there seems to be a little something for everyone: horror (Romney), science fiction (Giuliani), comedy (Huckabee), inspiration (Obama), John Waters (Clinton), and The Notebook (Edwards). If only I knew what the candidates' policies were.

(HT: Althouse)

as a new year begins, take time to consider your life

This prompted what may very well be one of the strongest posts from one of the Pyros.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 resolutions

Do you have any? My perennial resolution is to lose weight, but people who know me realize that it's a tough one. I've added a new one, though - I resolve to improve my writing skills. Not just here on the blog, but every time I write. I do a lot of writing in my work, more than what most people would think. I don't mean typing - I mean actual writing, with a pen and paper and everything. I also resolve to read more books than I did last year, but I don't know if I'll read this many.

If I'm truly going to improve my writing, I'll have to stay away from these words.

"a yummy New Year breakfast"

That's my eldest daughter's title for this post. Our first meal of 2008.

A two-egg omelette with bacon, chives, and cheese, accompanied by whole-wheat English muffins and a slice of processed American cheese. A perfect New Year's brunch.