Saturday, May 20, 2006

Email: Church denominations [AS]

I don't think most "churched" people esp. ministers understand that the reason so many people are "unchurched" is because of specific sins and blunders the church itself has committed. The church doesn't often examine its own soul (convinced it has holiness and salvation) with God's eyes to see the hurt and judgment it has visited upon its former members. It merely presumes those unchurched folks are in the wrong and in the need of its vaunted ministrations. Actually talking to those to whom they would minister, in an incarnational stance of putting oneself in the other's shoes, would be an eyeopener which C.S. Lewis would approve wholeheartedly.

Catholic church pastors are famously overworked. The celibacy thing undercuts their numbers are there are congregations with no pastors and even very large ones may have one pastor or on average perhaps half as many as a Protestant congregation.

It's a good thing to have a church home of your own choice. I think that couples can do well (esp. if they are older or childless) to allow each partner to maintain the denominational allegiance that is meaningful to them, and to attend and learn from both, rather than have one spouse autocratically determine that theirs is the only legitimate option in the marriage.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Movies: A few words on The Da Vinci Code

I haven't seen The Da Vinci Code yet, but it's fascinating to monitor the jabber circus that surrounds it:

+ The New York Post ran a quotable feast of splendiferous verbiage with "Ron Howard's splendid The Da Vinci Code is the Holy Grail of summer blockbusters: a crackling, fast-moving thriller that's every bit as brainy and irresistible as Dan Brown's controversial best-seller." (If I recall, using the words "blockbuster," "crackling," and "thriller" to describe one movie is like a Trinitarian blessing of perfection.)

+ Cannes reviewed it as "grim," "unwieldy," and "plodding." (Do these reviewers live in the same world or just have an opposite reaction to the panegyric "intellectual thriller"?)

+ A Cannes audience laughed at the film's climactic revelation and showed no reaction whatsoever at the end.

+ The makers felt great pressure to closely follow the book so as not to muck up a made-to-order franchise. (How many times does anyone get to make a movie after 40 million people have already read the book?) Harry Potter never took it on the chin like these guys. Nevertheless movies are a different medium, where literalism can seem boring (to the unwashed masses). (Brainy people like brainy fare though.)

+ The Vatican has called for a boycott of the picture, which is a work of pseudohistorical fiction claiming that "Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her, and that elements within the Catholic Church resorted to murder to hide the truth" (Reuters). (Even members of the Magdalene Community don't believe this story. More telling, elements in the Catholic Church have throughout history committed murder, not to mention pedophilia, and in every instance have tried to cover up the truth. This is known as irony.)

+ Conservative Christians all over the world live to pooh-pooh the book, telling everyone to stay away from the movie in droves (or, if one must see it for debunking purposes, at least not to go on opening weekend). Many plan to picket or pass out leaflets outside theatres, or use the movie as an entree to church-sponsored seminars about "the truth behind The Da Vinci Code." (Again, since it a work of fiction, this is known as redundancy.)

+ In the vastly Catholic Philippines, the censors have given the movie an "adult only" rating. (Community standards are an excellent way to say, "We're all adults here, but speak for yourself.")

+ Alfred Molina, who plays the evil bishop, blames the media for the (negative) controversy. (Unlike Ken Lay, or a Palestinian terrorist for that matter, who wants to blame everyone but the one who is actually responsible for his actions, I would blame the book, the author, the director, and the actors -- if blame must be laid -- for creating and promoting a story that is controversial. The media didn't invent the controversy, it merely chronicles the reaction that tens of millions have to a story they find offensive or at least threatening. Molina would never blame the media for positive controversy, so his comments are false, self-serving, or both.)

+ I can believe Ron Howard would make a film that is dull and plodding. Our older Opie doesn't seem to be a cracklin' kind of cracker. Either way, he and Tom Hanks have got the biggest cinematic tiger yet by the tail, so whether or not the movie is truly good is beside the point (for now). It's huge, and the market for a potboiler that doesn't toe the conservative church party line is only beginning to open up.

Trivia: Houston - It's Worth It

Ttweak (yes, that's their name, and Randy Twaddle really is a copartner) started a grassroots Web-based marketing campaign called Houston: It's Worth It.

Euphemisms: Please review and advise

Please review and advise. (Please take a good look and tell us what the heck is going on.)

Euphemisms: I will save the information for our reference

I will save the information for our reference. (I will file this and never look for it again.)

Trivia: Potatoes for breakfast

I chose hash browns for breakfast in honor of the poem I just heard on The Writer's Almanac, "Easter Morning" by Jim Harrison:

"On Easter morning all over America
the peasants are frying potatoes in bacon grease.

We're not supposed to have 'peasants'
but there are tens of millions of them
frying potatoes on Easter morning,
cheap and delicious with catsup. [...]

Your ideals are invisible clouds
so try not to suffocate the poor,
the peasants, with your sympathies.
They know that you're staring at them."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Email: Tête a tête [--]

My advice is not to second-guess what I want. Just say what you want, and say it in as much detail as you want. The only thing is, you have to wait until I actually read it. I can understand any length of epistle and any density of vocabulary--if I actually have time to read it. It might [also] help to stop making, or imposing, expectations on the timing by which I respond to you.

Yes, we will talk. When I can. Just not now when I say later, not now, or soon.

Email: Complementary for a reason [F]

I like to joke and to "pontificate" (solve all the world's problems through analysis and opinion).

I think women unfortunately end up doing most of the talking in relationships and social situations (not that many complain) but men shouldn't leave that turf to women because they perceive it as womanly not manly. (Men tend to define themselves as opposites of women, just like teens tend to define themselves as opposites of their parents. Poetry, opera, dance, flower arrangement -- if a woman does or enjoys something, most men will avoid it in droves.) Why don't men (and women) just settle in and enjoy getting to learn new talents or pursuits from the opposite sex? We're complementary for a reason!

Email: One thing [--]

My blog is not a diary nor is every posting an underhanded peek into some [supposed] passive-aggressive agenda. That is not how I operate. Please stop expending mental energy on the inferred or implied messages of anything I post. Here's how it works: I see something funny in that day's paper, I post it. I write something (supposedly insightful or helpful for the public at large) in a completely different context than you, I post it. That's all.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Trivia: My Netflix 5-star movies

Here is the current list of movies I have rated with five stars:

2001: A Space Odyssey
A Beautiful Mind
A Life Less Ordinary
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
About Schmidt
American Beauty
Big Fish
Bringing Out the Dead
Cast Away
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
City of Angels
Cold Mountain
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Curious George
Empire of the Sun
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Family Guy: Vol. 1: Season 1-2 (4-Disc Series)
Fiddler on the Roof
Fried Green Tomatoes
Garden State
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Grand Canyon
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
It's a Wonderful Life
Jacob's Ladder
Jimmy Neutron: Jet Fusion
Jimmy Timmy Power Hour
Kingdom of Heaven
Kitchen Stories
La Femme Nikita
La Femme Nikita: Season 1 (6-Disc Series)
La Femme Nikita: Season 2 (6-Disc Series)
La Femme Nikita: Season 3 (6-Disc Series)
Lemony Snicket: Unfortunate Events
Life Is Beautiful
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lost in Translation
LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Ed.
LOTR: Return of the King: Extended Ed.
LOTR: The Two Towers: Extended Ed.
Love Actually
Mary Poppins
Message in a Bottle
Moulin Rouge
My Fair Lady: Special Edition
Mystic River
Never Cry Wolf
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Primary Colors
Raising Arizona
Sex and the City: Season 1 (2-Disc Series)
The Animatrix
The Birds
The Business of Strangers
The Constant Gardener
The Devil's Advocate
The Game
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Killing Fields
The King and I
The Last Emperor
The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
The Matrix
The Notebook
The Passion of the Christ
The Phantom of the Opera: Special Edition
The Princess Bride
The Professional
The Shawshank Redemption: Special Edition
The Shipping News
The Sixth Sense
The Sound of Music
The Thomas Crown Affair
The Usual Suspects
The Wizard of Oz: Collector's Edition
U Turn
Watership Down
What Dreams May Come
When Harry Met Sally

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Email: Man's vs. woman's needs [--]

Here is my take on how it usually works between men and women (from my steady experience anyway):

The man says he is going to spend a given afternoon, entire day, entire week, or whatever, doing X. He says this consistently over a given span of time, and he says he will be unavailable for chitchat or emotional support during that time.

The woman asks for and pursues his attention for chitchat and emotional support during that time. She intimates that if he cared at all or loved her, he can make the time to do this for her. So his deadlines (upon which his career, reputation, and earning power depend) slip or fail. He promises those to whom he must answer that he will get in (say) eight hours on a given day, but he actually only gets in six, or four, or two hours, because she demands that much attention. It galls him, because he has been clear about his needs, but he says nothing, because he loves her and she would take it personally (not as a man would take it). Such things a man does for love--but wishes it were not always about her needs but sometimes (when necessary) about his.

Email: What a man's gotta do [CH]

Men are weird, you know: We don't need to talk things through or get emotional support (except for traumatic stuff like killing the enemy in Vietnam or Iraq); we just need time to "do what a man's gotta do."

[Talking instead of doing, to a man, is] like being asked to stop for tea when you're in the midst of evacuating a burning building. Like that.

Words: vice versa [AHED]

ADVERB: abbr. v.v. With the order or meaning reversed; conversely.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin vice vers: vice, ablative of *vix, position + vers, feminine ablative of versus, past participle of vertere, to turn

Email: Happy Mother's Day, Dad [WD]

Dad, as usual: Happy Mother's Day, because Mom couldn't be one without your help too.