Thursday, August 24, 2006

Long time gone

It is exactly 23 hours before we are scheduled to land in Buffalo. To be frank, that means I'm sitting on our home computer doing one last check around before diserting to a hermitage on the east coast somewhere.


Do take care everyone. I'll catch you on the flipflop if I don't catch a connection on the fly.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The argument up north

Some members of Canada's parlament have had a falling out over how Hezbollah should be viewed by Canadians. Conservative MP Jason Kenney distilled the issue quite nicely when Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj began sounding a little too friendly to Hezbollah during a trip to Lebanon:
"There was another political party in the past which had democratic support, which provided social services, which played an important role in the political life of its country in Germany in the 1930s which was also dedicated to violence against the Jewish people," Mr. Kenney told reporters. "The world was wrong to negotiate with that party then and it would be wrong to negotiate with Hezbollah today and I'm shocked that Mr. Wrzesnewskyj doesn't understand that."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two weeks on the go

Come Friday I will be gone...very gone. I won't be back until September 9th in fact. Those two weeks will encompass a conference in Toronto, plus a visit with various people including my sister Sarah and her in-laws. The cool part is seeing Ruth for those two weeks--it's been about 7 months I think.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Spring in review

Ok, so I didn't get all the pictures up from the second hike I went on around Memorial Day because I only got a hold of them recently. I don't have time to go through them all for posting...there's some great shots, believe me! This picture sums up the good times though.

Credit: Ted Thompson

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Rev. Sharpton's agenda

For a moment I thought I was going to agree 100 percent with former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton. Indeed, it sounded so right for a second that I was about to write a very hopeful post about him.

But, alas, it was not to be...

He's right in this much (from the AP)

"We have got to get out of this gangster mentality, acting as if gangsterism and blackness are synonymous," Sharpton said Thursday at the annual conference of the National Association of Black Journalists.

"I think we've allowed a whole generation of young people to feel that if they're focused, they're not black enough. If they speak well and act well, they're acting white, and there's nothing more racist than that."
So far, so good...preach on, right?

Well, not really... He goes way out of bounds as well:
The key to leadership is taking the initiative to change things, said Sharpton. He said his National Action Network is just one group willing to help young black leaders get into politics.

What good is that, except to derive a short-term political gain for your godfather party?

What a hack!

If the good Reverend were truly interested in helping young blacks, he would not be thinking of ways to get them into politics. He would be telling them to work hard, get a real job, and be a model citizen (i.e. the opposite of Democratic politics).

Notice he was speaking to a group of journalists who will ignore the newsworthiness of his hacktivism and focus on what made sense.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Brook Shields and Muhammad

This has to be one of the most entertaining reads I've come across in a long time. The fact that it took me so long to post it after seeing it a number of days ago shows you how much I've been occupied with everything BUT the internet lately.

The Washington Post story is basically a speculative account of where the dots are connected with current and past famous people--and the extreme likelihood that any given Caucasian (including you and I) is probably descended from any number of medieval monarchs.

Then there's the speculation about possible connections with some descendants of the (false) prophet Muhammad and European rulers.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Prager: Mel Gibson or Naveed Haq

Dennis Prager's most recent column pointed out an irony that I missed--and I'm surprised that I missed it because it should have been plain as day.

The column is titled "Jews shot in Seattle, Left angry at Mel Gibson," and points out that although the two "anti-Semitic" events that happened so near each other are obvious in their relative importance and newsworthiness, the press and media seemed to make a judgment call that defied all reason:

Question: Which story has most troubled the Left?

The answer is known to any American who can hear or read.

So, the real question is: Why? Why has the shooting and murder of Jews elicited less angst from the Left than the anti-Semitic statements made by Mel Gibson when drunk?
Prager's conclusion is obvious:
We should be worried about this: The liberal world fears -- and much of it loathes -- fundamentalist Christians considerably more than it does fundamentalist Muslims.
I agree with this conclusion. But I don't know that I should be surprised considering that such a large portion of American evangelicals are “reconstructionist” in their thinking--acting (whether consciously or not) like society has to be changed from the top down.

It's amazing how much damage the old mistake of viewing Christ's kingdom in earthly terms can do to the reputation of the church.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lady in the Water - is the jury in yet?

I had the opportunity of watching the movie under two different circumstances. The first time, it was with a more eager group of Shyamalan fans that perhaps weren't looking for a really scary movie. The second time was with a group that clearly expected to be scared and weren’t. As a result of this difference primarily, I think I enjoyed it the first time a lot more...

My perspective is a lot more balanced though as a result.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed watching it. It didn't take itself too seriously and was an interesting plot with very colorful characters to flesh it out. The acting was generally good and (as much as some seem to think otherwise) there were few, if any, loose ends.

There was one potential loose end that I didn’t end up putting together until the second viewing. It stuck out like a sore thumb until I was able to explain it. The point where the usually silent Mr. Leeds asks the question of Cleveland: “Does man deserve to be saved.”

Cleveland answers immediately in the affirmative, but is obviously confused. Is he, however, confused by Mr. Leeds’ question or by his own quick answer? It was probably the answer because that was supposed to be a clue to his identity in the story. His part (I’ll refrain from naming it) was supposed to be “full of hope.” The reason his affirmative answer should stick out to us is because by this time we know about his tragic past, and expect him to be despairing about the state of man.

Will anyone who's seen it be angry with me when I say that the best part in the whole movie was also the most morbid? (Mr. Farber's last part in the movie) I laughed plenty loud... I just found it to be such a perfect blend of self-conscious comic relief and also a vicious jab at anyone who thinks they know what should happen in any given story. To top it all off, I the outcome of that part actually surprise many people.

What was wrong:

To be quite honest, I think the worst acting came from the director--he didn't script his own lines very well, so his first major acting part in his own films ended up being somewhat flat. The sibling infighting wasn't very clever and sounded at some parts quite overdone.

Mr. Farber was somewhat more likable than he should have been considering his quick exit. I mean, while he was thoroughly cynical and arrogant as can be, he still admitted to enjoying the company of another resident and tried to help (albeit in ignorance and arrogance) Cleveland find what he needed. For the amount of screen time he got, that's pretty significant. But I shouldn't take this too far or I'll end up defending someone based on their extremely limited merits. Does anyone really deserve to survive any movie?

There is one other major complaint that I heard from a friend: He was upset that a seemingly good idea ended up being so poorly fleshed out. For example, he would have preferred that the myriad of trivial things in the movie had more significance and unity as in a classic McDonald or Lewis story. Not a bad thing to want I'm sure. But again, this movie doesn't take itself that seriously and at the same time comes in somewhat above par for the typical "bedtime story" of our day. Not long, but still was able to develop the interesting quirks of a large number of characters (he also complained about general poor scripting).

Any thoughts from the floor?