Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sweeney Todd Review

I’ve decided that Johnny Depp is too cool to see on the big screen with your wife. There isn’t much chance of cuddling while maestro Depp is captivating every diet-coke slurping female in a 60-foot radius. Oh well.


I have to be honest, I haven’t really liked a musical made into a film since the Sound of Music and the Golden era of movie-musicals. (The producers, the ONLY exception. “Yessssssssssssssssss…ssss…sssss?” Friggin hilarious.) It’s not like I go into musicals made into movies hoping they will be bad. I’m much too poor to waste money like that. They just kinda don’t do much for me. Yes that includes that over dramatic two-hour music video “Dream Girls.” It bored my butt numb. (However, I have since recanted my judgment on Beyonce and declare that she was a slightly better actor than Jennifer Hudson. No excuse for her attitude post Jennifer-mania, but she was definitely under-credited for her work there. And Jennifer Hudson beating all of those other actors out for the academy award was laughable.)


Happily, Sweeney Todd was another exception. It was a darn good adaptation in my opinion. Theater snobs will disagree, and I can sympathize, but overall, it was a well-crafted, exhilarating flick.

The Gist:

You’re a famous barber in England back when people still traveled by ship and used oil lamps, and the sun never shines and fog is everywhere, all the time. The one day it does shine, a rich Judge steals your wife after he wrongfully accuses you of something and sends you to jail. The judge then steals your baby daughter and raises her himself. (Wait a second... that kinda sounds like Zorro...) Anyways, You return from the clink in fifteen years looking like you’ve been injected with skunk and zombie gene therapy and sing a little bit about it in a brooding monotone. Then you begin a new career as a throat-slashing barber. But that’s not enough. You enlist the landlady to grind the leftover corpses and bake them in her meat pies and sell them to the corrupt city. Eventually you get even with the judge that janked your wife, and much blood is spewed. - The rest I’ll let you see for yourself.

Things I loved:

One of the things that I loved about Depp’s performance was that the transition from speech to song was seamless. It never seemed like he was setting up for a song. I hate that in modern day movie-musicals. On stage it’s different. Set up all you want. It is a part of the show, part of the magic. But transferred to film, it’s just comes off as cornballoramma punch. My thumb immediately moves to the fast-forward button. Not so with Depp in Sweeny. It just happened. That magic was part Depp and part Burton. However, the biggest part of the magic-credit belongs to Sondheim.

Sondheim is a genius. No if ands or buts. I practically flipped during some of that music. An embarrassing note: In a recent conversation with a producer here in the city, I made the mistake in referring to Sondheim in the past tense. Yep, I thought Sondheim was dead. Derr. I thought the man was going to smack me then and there. He demanded that I cross myself and say a prayer for his buddy Sondheim’s health. “He better not be dead, I just talked to him this yesterday and he’s excited about the movie.” You can’t imagine the me-stupid look on my face.)

Cinematography: I suppose I could sum-up the film’s overall look in a few sentences. Sweeney Todd is Edward Scissor-hands meets Sleepy Hollow. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Oh yeah, tack on about 876975 quarts of blood and a couple hundred “meat” pies.

Allan Rickman was awesome as usual. (Btw, has anyone seen Galaxy Quest? One of my favorite Allan Rickman flicks.)

The little orphan boy was the best singer of the lot and he was a pretty great little actor too. He’s probably the only one in the whole flick who could actually have Broadway career.

Borat was hilarious as the competing barber. I’m glad to see Sacha Baron Cohen is starring in some “serious” movies. After seeing his performance in Sweeney, I predict a possible Academy Award nomination outta' that guy in the next 7 years, if the right part comes along. Just something about him.

Finally, most of all, I loved the song “Joanna.” I think it might be one of the most beautiful songs in all theater lit. It is just flat-out beautiful. I’ve been singing it since I saw it. It is my wife’s favorite theater song, and that’s saying a lot.

Things I didn’t love:

Sweeny’s daughter’s voice. She sounded like my grandma’s best friend singing a bunch of hymns I’ve never heard of. Her voice was tiny, pinched, and wobbly. The kind of voice where you want to like the effort, and smile at the heart behind it, but most of all you just want it to stop. I hate to be too mean but it was really a little unnerving to listen to her. I can’t imagine the hours the sound editors spent in front of pro tools working with auto-tune to correct the wobbleizations. You could jump-rope through the vibrato frequencies.

Verdict: A- Good flick. Go see it if you like Burton movies, Johnny Depp, and or Sondheim. Plug your ears during the daughter's song. For the love of God, don’t take your little kids to it, or your Grandma just because it’s a musical. It is bloody I tell ya. Also bloody good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Not Too Shabby

One of the things that I hate about NYC is that nobody seems to know a tootin' blasted thing about Sweet Tea. What the crap? You can't even find "ICED" tea bags at the grocery store. How in the world did this city get so popular without sweet tea is a complete mystery to me. Every time I ask somebody at a restaurant if their establishment sells sweet tea they look at me like I just grew a butt on my forehead.

HOWEVER!! I have found a decent substitute. And it's about dagnabit time. I bought this on a whim thinking I would be horribly disappointed by the normal revolting aftertaste that comes with ALLLLLLL canned or bottled sweet tea. Honestly, I don't know how anybody can drink that crappy, nappy, over-lemoned-to-mask-the-chemicals "TEA" that comes via the fountain in all the Subways and fast food restaurants north of the mason-Dixon line. Whenever the zombies working behind the counter at the fast food joints slip that junk in my drink without me knowing, I turn flat-out non-Christian.

So here it is. I would even suggest you go out and try it if you see it at a gas station. I usually pour in two packets of splenda to sweeten it to my liking and that does the trick.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fullness of Time: Greece and the Birth of Liberty.

After Adam fell, the spiritual pendulum swung far and low into the dregs of idolatry. Whatever knowledge or ritual Adam passed down to his offspring about God eventually deteriorated into only a sinister, shadowy, distorted version of the truth. Adam surrendered his dominion over the world and his offspring to the devil and God allowed it. So God let the disease of sin run its course and the devil threw a party. Religion transformed into a devilish carnival throughout the world. In some cultures children were sacrificed to appease an angry idol while in others, beating hearts were torn from the warm chests of screaming men to placate the gods that brought rain to their crops. The atrocities are even worse but I’ll spare you stories about young boys raised for the purpose of being raped to death as a reward to the tribe’s returning hunting party. And all that was AFTER the flood.

Then, finally, at the bottom of the pendulum, amidst the filth, God appeared to the Abraham and a new nation was born. His true character was revealed again, His covenant established, and man’s redemption set in motion. But the road of the Jews was not one of blissful evangelism. It was a hard and harsh road filled with disobedience and discipline. Somehow, they handled it better than all of the rest of human kind would have. The law was preserved the line was unbroken. And that is why they were chosen.

But what about the rest of humanity? Eventually the pendulum swung out of the mire and excrement and as close as it could to knowing the God of the universe on its own, peaking about four-hundred years before the birth of Christ in the city of Athens.

What was so miraculous about the Greeks?

Well, it all began somewhere in the rough and rugged terrain of ancient Greece when man’s mind turned from dwelling on death, to dwelling on life and something new was born of this: Play.

The Greeks were the first people to really play and play they did. It sounds strange but it is true. The Egyptians didn’t truly play for the sake of play. If they did, there is nothing to notate or show evidence of it. There were a few Egyptian contests to be sure, but the contests served a purpose and the loser often lost his life, or his testicles. The stark contrast between Egyptian and Grecian play can be summed up with a quote from a Egyptian priest to great Athenian, “Solon, Solon, you Greeks are all children.”

All over Greece there were games, all sorts of games; athletic contests of every description: races – horse, boat, foot, torch-races; contests in music, where one side out-sung the other; in dancing – on greased skins to see who would fall on their butts; a game of balance of body; games where men leaped in and out of flying chariots… and the list goes on. And I mean ON. (Check it out sometime… stuff like “dancing flutists competition.” Waaaay cooler than American Idol in my opinion.) The greatest honor in Greece of course went to the Olympic victor. The Olympian victors were absolute heroes.

When Greece died, the spirit of their games died with them and lay dormant for hundreds of years. The brutal, bloody games of the Romans that replaced them had nothing to do with the Greek spirit of play. It was from the Roman idea of play that Christians were fed to lions and gladiators were bread to murder each other. This was not Greek. To be Greek was to rejoice in life. The joy of life is written in everything the Greeks left behind. Even in their great tragedies they show this. It is the depressed and numb-minded that cannot both greatly rejoice and greatly sorrow in life. The Greeks knew all too well the brevity of life and how little time we have to enjoy the wonders of the world and their tragedies reflected this. The old Greek definition of happiness goes something like this: “The exercise of vital powers in a life affording them scope.” It is a philosophy that is abounding with the joy of living.

In Greece, individual liberty was born. No man was a slave in Greece. Somewhat common today, but NOT common then. The rich didn’t rule Greece or the priests, it was ruled by law and even the law was questioned and refined for the good of all. The Egyptian priest said, “Thus far and no further, we set the limits to thought.” The Greeks said, “All things are to be examined and called into question. There are no limits set to thought.” It is astounding that in Greece alone, the Priest played no role of real importance in governing the society. The Greek priests had their temples and sacrificial rites, but other than that, they were told to mind their own damn business. Men and gods fought the Trojan War with no intermediaries. The Greek never went to a priest for guidance. If he wanted to know something he went to Plato, not to the castrated priest.

The Greeks were the first intellectualists, the first philosophers.
Our word for school comes from the Greek word for leisure. To the Greek man who was afforded some R & R, what else would he do but spend his time “finding out” about things? To chill out was to learn. Today for leisure, our children eat tater tots and watch cartoons, right beside their parents.

The Greeks were the first to call their healers physicians. The Greeks used their minds in a way that engaged nature and learned from it, rather than looking for an outside source to intervene combined with a strange concocted potion of crap and piss. (Real remedy used by Egyptians.) The Greeks were the first scientists and all modern day science goes back to them. The Greeks dared to look into the face of superstition and set their minds to it. Sure Galileo can be commended for his “humanist” ventures, but his lonely and brave venture pales in comparison to what the Greeks accomplished. They were the master of none and were free to think in a way that is hardly rivaled today here in America. For instance, imagine the turnout to a play during WWII where Roosevelt was portrayed as a power-hungry goofball and Uncle Sam were portrayed as a stupid oaf. Exactly that happened when Greece was fighting for its life and pro- and anti- war alike showed up and loved it. To think free was to be free.

Socrates drinking his hemlock was the one exception in all of Greek history, but he was an old man by then and had spoke his mind his whole life and Athens had just gone through a bitter defeat, rapid change of government, and the people basically panicked as they always do for a patsy. But even then, a small majority only charged Socrates and Plato went on teaching in his name and honored for it. Socrates was the only man to suffer death for his views. Three others were exiled from the country and that’s it. That’s the whole list of people that were persecuted for their views compared to the gazillions who are killed, beaten, and tortured in the last five hundred years alone. Never before or since has a whole culture and country welcomed learning and liberty, as the Greeks, not even in the Renaissance, and no, not even America.

And it was just at this time,
when mankind was at his peak and most likely to understand and grasp what God would demonstrate, the Messiah came into the world through the virgin womb of a young Jewish girl surrounded by a dark and dank cave in the city of David.

Next up: The Jews.

(Sidenote and sucker-punch: The current trend to de-hellenize Christianity is bunk and reeks of Gen X crybaby-I-long-for-significance syndrome. You can no more de-hellenize the New Testament, and especially Paul and the Gospel of John, then you could demoralize or "de-God" the Constitution.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fullness of Time: Egypt - the Power of the Priests

In researching for this series, I've realized that this topic is a tad gargantuan and it's going to be nearly impossible to survey every single religion at the time of the Incarnation and then comprehensively fit it into a blog, but I think we can at least take a gander at the biggies. (Feel free to add your own insight and thoughts. It is a learning experience for me and like all good nerds, I live to learn.)

At the time of the Lord's coming there were three religions of significance. Each religion was primed and ready and contributed to the rapid spread of the Gospel afterwards. The three dominant religions of the time were Egyptian, Greek and Judaism. (There were many, many others, but these are the three critical to the Gospel's unfurling.) Judaism was no where near as large or as the other two, but it was most certainly as strong and rich in tradition. The first I'll tackle will be the Egyptians. By the time of the Incarnation, Egypt was a Roman state, but the religion still held its people.

To understand Egyptian religion is to understand the importance of two things: The afterlife, and priests. Sounds pretty similar to us huh? Not really.

For the Egyptians, death was paramount in all their thinking, daily life and religion. All Egyptian art is centered around death and the fear of death. It's pretty cool to look at now, but it must have been a pretty miserable existence to live during that time. The amount of suffering that went in to building that civilization is unimaginable. It wasn't just the slaves who lived on a narrow margin of safety either. There is a famous epitaph of an Egyptian noble that boasts that he had never been beaten or whipped in front of the local magistrate. It was pretty common for everyone to be whacked or smacked, publicly in Egypt. If you made it through your short life (30-45) without being whipped, you were really something. Little value was placed upon the living. In such conditions, men, seeing little hope in the suffering of their present state, turned to the afterlife.

As a result, there were no great works of philosophy coming out of Egypt at the time. Why would they turn to their reasoning if it gave them no relief from the pain of their present? The mind and spirit of the Egyptian was enslaved.

In Egypt, the domain of the reasoning belonged to the priests alone. Today, popular movies depict the Pharaohs as the most powerful men in Egypt. But it was the priests who held the real power, and their power was tremendous. Kings were subject to it. And as you might guess, the priests guarded that power jealously. To the Egyptian priests, the notion of a people thinking for themselves was nothing less than catastrophic. For to be ignorant was to be afraid, and the only way to ever really rule or control man was through fear. There was only one Pharaoh who ever challenged their authority. His name was Akhenaton. Astoundingly, Akhenaton tried to turn Egypt into a monotheistic religion. But after he died, the priests took possession of his successor and wiped his name from the monuments.

So even though the Egyptian religion has been popularized in our film culture by fun summer movies, it was no joke to the everyday Egyptian. To live in Egypt was to live in a virtual misery and fear. The afterlife was the only hope you had, and the afterlife was carefully guarded by the Priests, who just happened to be the ones at the top causing all the suffering.

In short, life in Egypt sucked. No sense in romanticizing it. It sucked. Bigtime. Period. (Compared to the way we think and live today.) Unless of course, you were a priest. It is no wonder Christianity spread like a wind across its conquered remains. The wikipedia's only explanation for Christianity's rapid spread is to say the Christ resembled one of their gods and that Christ himself was a mythical person. I was astounded to read this in the Wikipedia. Christ as a mythical person is a theory that no noted historian takes seriously. It is nothing short of conspiracy theory. But somehow, it seems to be the author's only explanation:

"Egyptian mythology put up surprisingly little resistance to the spread of Christianity, sometimes explained by claiming that Jesus was originally a syncretism based predominantly on Horus, with Isis and her worship becoming Mary and veneration (see Jesus as myth)."

Nice try. I have a different take on why Christianity spread.

Next up: The Greeks.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Scary Santa

Pictures and music compiled by yours truly for your viewing pleasure. I thought the pics of these kids were pretty funny.

Score is a combo of Jaws, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Crumb's Black Angels and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Proud Husband Alert: A Pic of Amber and the Rest of the Cast in NY Times.

She's the the first girl from right to left, beneath the guy with the round hat!

No Country for Old Men: Unabridged Review

There is this quote about Franz Liszt that someone said after hearing him perform.

“Liszt fears God but loves the Devil.” I kept thinking of this line throughout the Cohen Brother’s latest and greatest film, “No Country for Old Men.”

The gist: A Mexican drug deal goes wrong in the desert and everybody kills each other. The man who escapes with the money only makes it a mile away and dies under a tree. Josh Brolin plays the protagonist, and stumbles onto scene of desert carnage while hunting. He finds the money and claims it. Enter evil. Javier Bardem plays Anton Chigurh and looks like some apache warrior who has returned from the grave. Scary and fascinating. Like all great villains, Chigurh needs a unique weapon to kill. Chigurh uses a tank of compressed air that farmers use to kill cattle. It blasts a metal cylinder into their heads and whips it back again. Chigurh spends the film tracking Josh down like a slow-killing cancer. And that’s all the plot I think I’ll give you. Go see it.

Overall impression: There are so many astonishing things about this film that it is hard to find a jumping point. Sort of like the cat thrown into the box with a bunch of mice and tries to paw them all and catches none.

Acting: For starters –

Tommy Lee Jones. Crap, what an actor. And what a voice. That opening line is chilling and magnificently delivered. Some people have the gift when it comes to narration, Morgan Freeman (Shawshank), Anthony Hopkins (anything)… they are born with voices that are nothing short of hypnotic. His opening narration sets us up for the fascinating evil that is to come. His timing is that of an artist. He’s also blessed with getting to read fantastic writing. (McCarthy… nice to meet you, I’m your newest fan. I shall be running to the store to buy your books now.) In this film we find Tommy Lee in the role he was born to play: An old, tired, frayed, calloused, bitter, humorous, lonely, a little confused, but completely trustworthy sheriff. (He’s played that in other roles, but NEVER like this, tinged with fear and so vulnerable.) He is humanity, surveying its own atrocities. He is the good who not only fights the bad, but hates, fears and is ashamedly fascinated by it.

SPOILER ALERT! Skip this next paragraph if you don’t want to know an important surprise.

Josh Brolin was great as well as the protagonist. He is our greedy side. He is us on the verge of temptation and fault. Finally, his greed and arrogance kills him. And it comes from the worst way: cheating on his wife. His end is a post-modern twist that I actually LIKED. The hero is flawed, and is killed for his flaw. His love of money, and his inability to stay faithful ultimately are his end. It was one of my favorite moments in the film. I was totally caught off guard.

The Villain. Good lord what a villain. I don’t think there possibly has been a better villain in a movie since Darth Vader. Most villains these days are irrational, grotesque, monsters who we only fear because we don’t want to get chopped up or shot, caught off guard by them while we are on the crapper or asleep in bed.

Great villains are those who embody evil, but are equipped with such rationale, power and character that you love and hate at the same time. He is pure evil, but as we all know, the purest evil is nothing less than enticing. Pure evil plays virtuosically upon what is good and true, giving us all the smells of the good through a magnified sensory lens, but then when we take a bite, we are starving. (Read Nietzsche’s The Antichrist for a taste of what the devil would sound like if he wrote a book.)

The villain in No Country for Old Men is principled. He is powerful and resourceful. He is hypnotic and scary as hell. So hypnotic, you don’t want him to be good. Unlike other villains, he isn’t crazy at all. He loves himself above all things and loves his principles. He even gives some a chance to live. But he does it only as purely evil person would do; he leaves it to chaos. He flips a coin, and lets chance decided their fate. In this way, he is the ultimate enemy of free will. He mocks it. And man loves and hates free will. We want God to do everything for us and we hate screwing up, but immediately after our prayers, and promises of surrender, we turn around and to fight God to the death for that great, miraculous thing as complex and awe-inspiring as the starry sky above us – choice.

The cinematography and editing was stunning. Intense action sequences, suspenseful moments that would have made Hitchcock bite his nails, and cold and beautiful moments of repose. Like when both Chigurh and Tommy Lee sit in the same spot on a couch at different times and stare at their reflection into a television monitor, and drink from the same milk jug. That was just cool as crap.

In my opinion, the Cohen Brothers have established themselves among the great filmmakers of all time. Fargo opened the door; No Country for Old Men pushed them through it and into the front row.

The Cohen Brothers paint a broad strokes across each of their films, whether it be the consistency of color in O Brother Where art Thou, to “Okay Then” and thematic transformation of the music in Raising Arizona, (One of my all-time favorite flicks. See scene where H.I. is being chased through grocery store. Listen to music throughout that scene. Just hilarious genius.) And they’ve caught hell because of it as their peers and critics have called it affected. But here the broad stroke is genius: the sparseness of a film score. A hard thing to pull off. But they did it. The score was hardly noticeable, if even there. I can't remember. The effect was chilling.

Verdict: Not a cuddly date movie, but movie I will watch many, many more times and learn something new about myself every time. That is, when it comes out on DVD 'cause seein' a movie in NYC is TWELVE FRIGGIN BUCKS A POP. Talk about evil...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

.3 degrees of Pink

It's a pretty day here in the city. It's cold but people are out shopping with their kids. We slept in today and it felt reeeeeeeally good. I arose sleepily but happily to get Amber some shampoo and snag some coffee from the Bux. In my groggy state I forgot that there are some laws in the universe that cannot be broken or bent, with any known technology. Because of this, women should protect their men from trying these daunting and dangerous ventures. Husbands can do many things. We are hunter-gatherers. We fight off mountain lions, we assail high and hostile mountain peaks, we vanquish every level that can be made in Halo... However, the sad fact remains: The shampoo makers design the bottles to confuse the weaker sex and succeed they do. Yes, we saunter in and look for colors. Colors we know. Blue sky, white mountain peak, red Mustang, chrome Macintosh, black ipod... But for some reason, in the case of shampoo bottles, we enter into the quantum realm. A house of mirrors that dizzies our wearied souls. Such a seemingly simple task...

I take a quick look at the shampoo bottle at home, it's pink. I go to the drugstore, quickly scan the bottles for the same name and color. Doo doo doo, doo doo doo...

Name brand! Check!

Color, pink, check!

Done! Conquered! I jump, I skip. I proclaim, "Much hugging and smooching from hot wife shall be mine!"

Mission accomplished. I go home, jogging along through the streets like a happy Golden Retriever with a big knotty stick in my mouth.

Enter apartment. Unhappy wife, check. No smooching.

Therefore, I hereby declare that men should be discouraged from this task, or all shampoo bottles of different types should be different colors.

Hang on, hang on… This just in. the shampoo bottles in question apparently ARE different colors, just different SHADES of PINK. Thanks.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry. No. They must be entirely different in color AND shape. Can I get an Amen fellas?

The designers of the shampoo bottles, though they me be men of the “light-in-the-loafers” variety must be notified immediately that normal, everyday, heterosexual, boot-wearing dudes, cannot discern the subtle differences and nuances in shampoo bottle architecture. Heretofore, vis a vis, concordantly. Thank you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Et tu Frankie?

Lots of Non-Christian Christmas Carols here in NYC. It doesn't really make sense. It kinda sounds like one big fat oxymoron to me. Christ...mas?? So all the Frankie songs are piping through the airwaves while I'm eating chili at the soup stop, or while I'm eating a Rueben on Rye at Arti's Deli, and they'll sing: "Have a Holly Jolly Christ...mas...” or, it's all about "the nuts on an open fire." Chestnuts, Pine nuts, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts... (quick, quick, name the movie.) but no Bing Crosby or Frankie singing Silent Night, or other Christmas classics. You'd think that roasting the chestnut was the single most important discovery in the history of man. Come on, even the old Jewish Crooners new the value of those melodic classics and cashed in big-time recording and singing them like they wuz ready for carol hour with Billy Graham and fam. It was a happy marriage of celebration and capitalism there if you ask me.

And don't give me that crap about the Christians stealing the date from the Romans. I mean, a show of hands... Who misses good old Mithra after the Catholic Church Christianized the twenty-fifth of December a few THOUSAND years ago?

I know, I know, not everyone is a Christian, and believes that "Christ the savior is bo-oooorn," but lets face it, it's mostly Jewish folk in these here parts and why sing "Christmas" in your chestnut carols and not just go ahead and go the whole way, and embrace the whole fun of the season. I know, I know... you don't believe Jesus was the Messiah, but can't you just listen to the pretty music, and think of it as... wishful thinking or something? Can I get an Amen? Or a Mazel Tov???

p.s. It's snowing again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Super Churchlady and Co.

My friend the Super Churchlady has a blog. She, her husband, a.k.a. "The Hammerin' Hebrew," and her two kids Jack & Mer are some of my favorite people in the world. They are really like family to Amber and I and I can't say more about that, lest I choken sie up...

However, a few things must be said...

The Hammerin' Hebrew is a lawyer who has kicked much legal butt in Houston and abroad. He is also Jewish, but acts like a Christian, or at least how a Christian should act. He also thinks theologically like a Christian (understands Romans) and goes to Sunday School like a Christian. However, he maintains that he has not made the leap no matter how hard we've tried to stick a trampoline in his path, or how much bacon we try to sneak into his gravy. Did I mention that he is the best golfer that I have ever seen in person?

Super Churchlady is an lawyer turned full-time mom/BSF leader/Sunday School teacher, and if you are ever in Sugarland Texas, you gotta drop by the college Sunday School class at WTBC and learn learn learn. She is one sharp cookie, and when you throw Lawyer-Super Churchlady into a New Testament jar with Lawyer-Hammerin' Hebrew and give it a shake, the result is a scriptural fireworks display of prophetic proportions. Hammerin' knows his Torah and Churchlady knows who the Torah is pointing to and how to bring it home. (HA! A little friendly trash talk there H.H.)

Anywho, Superchurchlady just wrote a blog on what its like watching her kids grow up.

Drop by and welcome her to the blogosphere!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Kitten Model, Work it, Love it.

By the way, I know the man who invented the technology to show videos on blogs and websites and such. Am I wrong Hammerin' Hebrew??? No, I'm not talking about Kip, Napoleon's brother.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Getting Colder

It is most certainly getting colder up here. Today I froze 73% of my butt off. I imagine that in a month or so the other 27 % percent will be frozen as well. I would prefer it freeze 88% of my gut off, but nooooo. Speaking of gut... You know what I don't get, from an evolutionary, or creationist standpoint?

Love handles.

I mean, what is so important about that part of the body that your DNA tells your cells to store fat in that area? Maybe somehow the body thought we would be able to eat our fat and put it there for easy access like a gunslinger to his guns. Don't get it. Why not the legs? We use those all the time. Why not arms? Seriously, when the hello-dolly do we utilize the muscles that sit underneath our love handles? Huh?

In other news...

The editing process on the novel is almost complete. I have all, or most all of the plot probs fixed and it has a nice flow to it.

This "Fullness of Time" series is a tad elephantine. It is like a dissertation or something. Luckily, I've studied a good bit of Church History and world religions, which is unavoidable if you study Music History and Ethnomusicology, so I think I can pull it off... with a little help from my friends. Yes that means you. Please add your two cents in if you get the hankerin'.

It is getting dark here in the city and it is about five o'clock. I'm not quite used to that, being a Southern fella at heart. But NYC is full of lights at night so it is a decent trade-off.

I do miss the sunsets in Texas. I miss having my breath taken away by a surprise work of art on the horizon as the sun burns its last for the day.

Anywho, about to get back to it here. I've got a full tummy and coffee is a' brewin.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fullness of Time

From the Message: Ephesians 1:10 " He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth."

I was never able to grasp the wonder of the incarnation until I was able to step back and view this verse in a new light. The incarnation was no arbitrary throw of the dice. God chose just the right the time to make things right. God let sin run its course, as a disease or a revolution must run its course, so that man would be certain that what he wanted to be- a god - would end in his ruin. To redeem him immediately might have left a "perhaps" to trouble mankind's peace. So we tried this notion of being a god thoroughly and failed miserably, beyond a shadow of a doubt. And when, somewhere in the super-consciousness of man, man realized that all attempts of being god were futile, God appeared to the Jews.

And just as God appeared to Abraham at the right moment, Christ came at the right moment. It changed the world forever. Not only was man no longer an enemy of God, Christ showed us that fishermen, tent-makers, slave, lame, deaf, blind and lepers were equally loved and valued by Him, not just the rich or elite. The Jews were teaching Love your neighbor as your self for a hundred years or so before, but it was the Lord Himself that gave wind to that notion and the world has never been the same.

So what I want to do this season of Advent is something I've wanted to do for a while. Survey the recorded ancient religions, philosophies, and cultures up to the arrival of the Lord. God becoming man is both simultaneously the most ludicrous and most believable idea that mankind has ever heard. No other religion teaches it. No other religious leader claims to have been God Himself while showing no signs of lunacy or evil. We believe that it was not invented, but rather it is inventing us. Just as any truth that has been veiled and then is revealed changes your course of action. The truth re-invents you. It sets you free, as Jesus taught us, and showed us.

I truly believe that all men who hear the nativity story want to believe the incarnation is true because if there is a God, he finally makes sense. Man can no longer ignore, fear, or despise a cold, uncaring God who watches us from afar, who knows nothing of our weakness and shows no compassion.

So I'd like to talk about what led up to that moment, and why the incarnation isn't ludicrous, but the most believable thing, if you believe there is a God.

It is not a blind leap of faith, but a step of faith that makes sense. As much sense as anything if you first believe that God made everything and still holds it together, which is a bigger step in my opinion.

So, it's a big task but it'll be good for me and might interested those of you interested in world religions and of making sense of it all.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I've been down in the dumps for past few days. Some of it has to do with editing, a process in which you are in a constant state of "does this suck?" but after a little prayer, and through a chance meeting with a maverick and brave scientist, I've concluded that most has to do with the fact that I received no turkey and dressing this year at the appointed time. No turkey and dressing from my mom's oven, and no turkey and dressing from my mother in laws oven. I usually get two major helpings a year, the "wet" stuffing from my mother, and the "dry" dressing from my mother-in-law. This year, nada.

I consulted a noted scientist about this, Dr. Kran Berry, M.D., and he told me that large amounts of turkey and dressing have become a integral part in the American Male's critical genome development. Without a large dose, every year, a man might not recover for years after. He went on to say the there are in phase II of clinical testing on the long-term effects of turkey and dressing depravity. Some believe that most mental institutions are filled with people who went several consecutive years without a proper dose of turkey and stuffing.

He told me that the depravity of T & S could explain why I'm tempted to wear the same clothes every single day until the smell kills my neighbors. My rationale? I’m tired of smelling the garbage. Logical conclusion: Don’t bathe, then you won’t smell bad things. Dr. Berry said that a break down in personal hygienic logic is one of the first signs of what they are terming as T.A.D.D.S. Turkey and Dressing Depravity Syndrome.

Luckily, my mother-in-law has decided to intervene and provide a healthy dose of T & S after the new year when we visit. I told Dr. Berry that I would see him after and he would submit his findings to the board.