Sunday, February 29, 2004

Gentle movie critics, meek and mild

Movie critics viewing The Passion seem to share one criticism of the film, namely that the crucixion and death of Christ are being protrayed as too gory. Well, actually Christ's death could have even been worse than potrayed in the film.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

A Thief In The Night, part 5

Those who have seen A Thief in the Night will be pleased to know that plans are underway to make a sequel to the fictional 1970s Bible prophecy movie. Sort of the Left Behind before there was a Left Behind.

Or dismayed. I remember liking A Thief in the Night, though, so there you go. (His electric razor is still running. Nooooo!)
Put a mark on the wall

I like this Jonah Golberg column on why the princess who urged "Let them eat brioche" was a forerunner of the limosine liberals of today.
Il ne regrette rien

Glad to see that my former colleague Jeremy Lott isn't going through life as if he were the central character in an Edith Piaf song. Perhaps he just had a tiring day, which happens to the best of us.

If Jeremy wonders "Edith who?", one of his bosses or Kevin Michael Grace can explain. Basically, Edith Piaf sang the most depressing songs ever. She makes Kurt Cobain look like a raging optimist.
Insert Nunavut pun here

Aside from the glaring error of writing that Pentecostals are fundamentalists, this is an interesting story on charismatic Christians in Nunavut.

Friday, February 27, 2004

"Soylent Green is made from...Spam!"

Todd Wilbur, Mr. Top Secret Recipes, discusses a disturbing urban legend about food.

Harry and the Potters are fabulously gifted and talented.

Yes, it's a music duo inspired by Harry Potter, fictional boy wizard.

In Denver, a dumb church has posted a road sign to take advantage of the controversy surrounding The Passion:

....The large-size outdoor marquee, which sits on the property of the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church at Colorado and Mississippi, says, "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" and the word "Settled!"....

Perhaps they are unaware that the Jewish religious leaders of the day were banned from levying capital punishment sentences. [Please see John chapter 18, verse 35. Consulting the Bible is always helpful in such theological matters.]

The Romans killed Jesus. Pontius Pilate, fearing that Rome would hear that he was "no friend of Caesar" if he spared Jesus, contemptably put him to death. To put this in modern historical terms, think of Vichy French leaders trying to prove by their cruelties that they are more Nazi than their fellows.

If the Jews could legally do nothing to Jesus, it is hardly sensible to assign them the complete blame for his death.
Michael Coren on The Passion..

He wanted to like it, but found he could not:

....I love God and Jesus with all my heart, but for the life of me I cannot embrace this film.

Forgive me if I cause offence, but I have to be honest.

This is some pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic blood cult. It is populated with medieval-type caricatures, screaming out of context, laughing at suffering....

[I haven't been able to see it yet, myself.]

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

What he said...

Movieblog on The Passion: "But this isn't the fatal flaw of Gibson's movie. The heartrending, suffocating violence of Gibson's film, wholly committed as it is to showing Christ's suffering and sacrifice as a man, barely allows Christ's sublime message of love and redemption to break through. It's a film about Christ's awful death, with mere hints of His wonderful life, and that's simply tragic."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks...

I wonder if Kathy was thinking of the theme from the Drew Carey Show when she titled this post.

Monday, February 23, 2004

To blog, or not to blog

My friend and former colleague Jeremy Lott, on why he isn't blogging so much any more.

He notes that a serious illness has caused him to think about the eternal significance of what he would be blogging about. This is something that I think about too, and I have no quarrel with with what he writes.

This is a quote about his second reason:

One reason for this is that this editing thing can really take of you. Between the business end of things, the website, and the print edition of the Spectator, my writing has been scaled back rather drastically. Even freelancing has become difficult. This week, I told an editor I thought I'd have a review to him on Monday. In fact, it took until Friday, at 4:30 in the afternon. And if I don't have the energy to freelance, I shore don't have what it takes to blog.

Fair enough, but as someone who isn't being paid for his writing much these days, I'm finding that I am rediscovering my love of just writing and commenting on things. And now I can comment and quote on what I want to, while trying not to be excessively self-indulgent and keeping in mind what I think my readers might be interested in too

After spending years and years in the student press, working for a burger or slice of pizza per article I wrote, I am finding that blogging, for no pay, is not hard.

It's a fun thing to do while I am slowly gearing up to freelance again...

Perhaps Jeremy needs to find the fun parts of his day job, or find ways to make his freelancing fun. Let's wish him good luck on that quest.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Not for animal lovers

Penguin Baseball.

Fun, but I like penguins. Somebody change this to Hutton Gibson baseball. [ ;) ]

And here I thought I was Down and Out in Paris and London.

You're Siddhartha!

by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try
anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent
some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.
This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's
time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in

Take the "What Book Are You?" Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

"Christian news you can use..."

Journey With Jesus.

This site is certified 51% GOOD by the Gematriculator

[Reminds me of my mark in Algebra 12!]

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Just ask President Landon

Skittish Republicans shouldn't worry as polls sometimes drastically change before Election Day. Tim Blair cites some amusing historical examples of this.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

You dig?

Christianity Today posts a list of their top ten New Testament archaeological finds of the past 150 years , but some of their results many surprise you.
And now for something completely different

"Learn to dance The Freddie!
Please follow along with those groovy Hullabaloo Dancers as they teach us the latest dance craze from Merry Olde England. Don't step on any toes, luv..."

There's instructional photos too, courtesy the band Girl Trouble's website.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Jesus gives The Passion two thumbs up

It's not only Catholics that are going gaga over Mel Gibson's new movie The Passion of Jesus Christ. Charismatic protestants are saying extraordinary things about the movie too.

"Prophet" Rick Joyner, who has at least seen an early edit of the film, writes:

"....The acting, directing, and overall quality of the movie is excellent, but there is more to it than that. There is an anointing on it. Even before I saw it, I knew it had the power to begin changing Christianity. I know this may sound like a wild exaggeration, but I believe it to be true....."

Agape Press's reporter dubs the movie "The Greatest Story Ever Told":

"As the movie ended and the screen went black, the audience was collectively dumbstruck at the realization that what they had watched was more than just a good story portrayed by a cast of good actors. It was much more profound than that. It was, in truth, nothing less than each viewer's personal encounter with the terrible consequence of sin - and not someone else's sin, but his or her very own."

Well, fair enough. But now thanks to heavenly visions by "prophets", we have Jesus Christ himself endorsing the movie. It's not named in the item I cite below, but what other movie to be featured in theatres soon features the death of Christ?

Bill Yount predicts mass healings and theophanies at performances of the film:

"In the Spirit, I sensed the same angels who could have been called to rescue Jesus at His crucifixion were now being given permission to attend it.. in theaters!....

I saw angels of healing descending upon theaters to minister to people's spirit, soul and body. As the flesh was being ripped out of Jesus' back, confirmation would come to many that "by His stripes we were being healed!"....

....I saw the heavens open over theaters and dreams and visions were being poured out without measure that would change lives, families and generations forever!

Sleep would escape many, being replaced by visitations of conviction, angels and Jesus Himself appearing to confirm His resurrection....."

There are several things that trouble me about the early Christian reaction to Mel Gibson's film.

I should begin by stating that as a Christian I hope that The Passion will have a powerful witness about Jesus. I know well that film can be a powerful thing. Christians hoping for the best can point to at least two historical examples of a film doing some good for the church. Missionaries used mainstream silent films that dealt with the life and death of Christ well into the 1940s in some non-English speaking parts of the world. The usefulness of the Jesus film is also well known.

The message of the Gospel is very powerful and any well made film about the subject should touch the heart. All Christians should hope that The Passion does this well. But, what if it does not?

It seems to me that Mel Gibson intended to make very much a personal statement of what Christ's death means to him. But, since Mel Gibson is a Hollywood star and can raise and use a Hollywood-sized budget, all sorts of unfair expectations are being raised regarding the public reaction to this film.

The standards regarding the future success and impact of The Passion have been raised far too high. I fear that christians, acting on their aching hopes to have a movie turn "Hollywood" into "HolyWood", are setting up "The Passion" for a nasty fall.

When christians express opinions such as The Passion will "transform Christianity" or cause "miracles" to happen, it puts a lot of pressure on Mel Gibson's film that it doesn't deserve.

Now some christians are being made to feel that they can't view the film objectively, judging it on its strengths and weaknesses, without being disloyal to the hopes expressed above for the film's success. I worry that in some circles, The Passion can't be seen on its own merits as an average or bad film should it prove a cinematic turkey.

Christians have placed false expectations on movies before. I remember The Judas Project, made several years ago. The film, made on a low budget, tried to show what would happen if Christ came for the first time to the earth of today. I recall that a lot of Christians had high hopes for the film as an evangelistic tool due to its premise and the fact that it didn't have a budget of 43 cents as so many christian films do. Well, that movie was worse than most movies I have seen--I have most of Edward D. Wood's films on videotape--and it died a quiet death at the box office.

The Passion should be a good movie, as Mel Gibson is a fine actor and producer. But that is all it should be for now. Christians should hope for great results from the film without predicting them and thereby looking foolish should the film not meet our expectations.

I hope that I am wrong and everything hoped to happen as a result of The Passion's release happens. But, I fear that I am not wrong and many hopes will be dashed. And that would be a shame, because the message of the film is powerful enough to survive any film made on the subject.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Rent on Rick's Miscellany with 4 houses and hotel....38 cents :)

Hey, it's time to play Blogopoly!
"We can mate with rabbits"?!?

The wondrous Irwin Chusid submits this amazing post to the Outsider Music e-list:

Julien Aklei

"We Can Mate with Rabbits"


Playing and writing constantly, Julien's devotional fervor has led her to
live her life based on Divine aesthetics: Eternal Youth, Absolute Beauty,
Infinite Levity, and Selfless Humility, as she was guided to in training
from Angelic companions. ...

Julien feels her life mission is to walk the whole Earth and sing
everywhere, in both conventional settings, and also natural settings. In mid
2003, Julien received an Angelic visitation with a message, that she must
dedicate her life to spreading the Almighty's Word and help humanity develop
into lifestyles more akin to Life in Heaven. The message is the idea "We can
mate with Rabbits." Commonly understood to be a pagan symbol, Julien has
been told that the Rabbit is one of the Virgin Mary's special creatures, and
as a symbol will introduce a new vitality into the human mind.


Oy himmel

The Sally Forth comic strip gets the Dysfunctional Family Circus treatment here.
Journalistic stretch of the day

There's a potato glut in Prince Edward Island, with 80 per cent of the spuds still in storage on some farms. What's the cause? Canadian Press attributes this to overproduction and the Atkins diet.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Woo Hoo!

You can play online versions of 1980s video games here. Games like Pacman, Frogger, Simon, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Duck Hunt and Star Castle...

> "let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out
of her closet.

TOM: Uh, if the bride's been in the closet, I don't think the
marriage is going to work out."

A fan uses the Mystery Science Theater 3000 characters to spoof the Biblical book of Joel.
E-mail from a friend

"Who wants to get their music heard? Not me, cause I suck! BUT, If you or any one you know that has music that they wrote or played and it needs to get heard, well here's your chance. Warren Ellis is doing a month of music and photos on his site at This man has massive following and it's growing everyday at a rate of four thousand unique hits per day.
Check out his site and read his posting for February the thirteenth. All the information you need is right there."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I don't believe it!

My FAFC Kevin Steel just got cable TV. Amazingly, he's about my age and has never had cable TV before!

Perhaps I watch too much TV for my own good, but I remember the last time my parents and I didn't have cable TV, and would always at least try to have basic cable. We lived in a farmhouse in the countryside, where cable couldn't reach. We became WWF fans because that was the best program available to us on Saturday afternoons. (We got two channels...even less than when I was a little kid and we only got CBC, CTV and a channel from Bellingham, Washington...)

Monday, February 09, 2004

Sing along with Leonard Nimoy

A Quick Time Video clip of him singing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins is here.

Tom McLaughlin, who played Billy Jack in the movie series of the 1960s/70s, is running for President on a "No blood for oil" platform.

He ran against Bush in the New Hampshire primary and garnered 154 votes, I understand.
I will not defend to the death your right to say it

The B.C. Supreme Court rules that it is appropriate to ban Chris Kempling from teaching after he writes in the local paper that he morally obejects to homosexuality and Mark Steyn has le mot juste:

"....Whatever happened to “live and let live”? If I can live with the occasional rustle from the undergrowth as I’m strolling through a condom-strewn park or a come-hither look from George Michael in the men’s room, why can’t gays live with the occasional expression of disapproval?....

Sunday, February 08, 2004

First item on the party platform: More funding for Boobies! in the federal budget

It makes sense that some canadian conservative would put out a link looking for members of the new and improved Conservative Party of Canada, but why in classified ads?

Friday, February 06, 2004

St. He Hate Me

"That day, prophesied over 2,600 years ago, will bring to a screeching halt all activity taking place in this world! For starters, money will be worthless, there will be no election this November and sports contests may be over!"

The above is by a letter writer to a U.S. newspaper, who writes the End of the World will take place on April 5, 2004.

Sports contests "may" be over? I guess, then, that they will have the XFL in heaven...
Don't vote for Ian Paisley

Cybercatholics is conducting The 1st Annual St. Blog's Awards for Catholic blogs.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

God is my blocker

Is Christianity bad for football players? Baptist Press quotes Kurt Warner speculating that his coashes wondered if this was the case:

"I actually had [Rams] coaches say I was reading the Bible too much and it was taking away from my play," he said. "It was OK when we were winning, but now I was [messing] this thing up? People were saying I had lost my job because of my faith.".

Fair enough, but Rush Limbaugh seems to be giving this mindset some creedence:

I'm thinking back to a radio station I worked at in Kansas City, where I had a mind-blowing conversation with a chief engineer.

He was very religious, and his philosophy of life was "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." So this guy let people walk all over him. In fact, he took pride in it! He took pride in being taken advantage of and not seeking any advancement professionally. He literally thought that the more he was tromped on and trampled on, the greater his future looked.

Well, maybe he had a long term view of things.

I can think of many Christians who are not wimpy by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who can look at the life of Christ and think of Him as "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild" is misreading the Bible.

I'm sure you can think of many tough as nails Christian football players and coaches. Vince "the will to win is the most important thing" Lombardi for one.

Perhaps this is my old journalistic cynicism popping up, but I would hate to be a born again Christian applying to work on Rush's radio show.
What th'...

The Village Voice is reporting that Roger Stone, Republican eminence grise, is organizing the Al Sharpton campaign.
Welcome to Cabaret

Kevin Michael Grace on the Janet Jackson Super Bowl flash:

Janet Jackson has for years professed a wholly unconvincing penchant for S&M, but could it be true that Hollywood's darkest perversion is a secret longing for discipline of the strictest and nastiest kind imaginable? Hey, say what you like about those Nazis, they certainly had style....

Worth reading more...

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What would Jared do?

"...thank you, but really, there is no way I'm going to sleep with you because you upgrade my sandwich....

Miss Hatter has a unique problem as you can see for yourself here. When not fending off sandwich advances, she has other interesting things to write too.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Bad blog! I'll smack your nose with a newspaper.

The blogging equivalent of the Raspberries: The 2003 Anti-Bloggies awards.
Tell your children!

The US TV network Showtime has announced plans to broadcast a musical remake of Reefer Madness.

(sound of piano playing) Faster! Faster!! Faster!!!
Obscure website subject of the day


"As a dermatologist and a film buff, I've found a series of skin conditions featured in movies. All of the films listed are readily available on home video. Peruse at your leisure and let me know what you think. You may look at movies in a new way....

It's pretty interesting though...not dryly academic at all.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Where's Terry Tate Office Linebacker?

Rats, I would have liked to have watched the CBS special on the greatest ever Super Bowl commercials.

Oh well, CBS has posted their picks for the ten best Super Bowl commercials here. Although, I am surprised that Terry Tate--Office Linebacker, didn't make the cut. Fans of these commercials can go here to visit the website of the actor who plays Terry Tate.

Dork 2.0 was taken?

Thanks to AP for this news item:

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP)....

Jon Blake Cusack talked his wife, Jamie, into naming their son Jon Blake Cusack 2.0.....

"I wanted to find something different to name him besides Jon Blake," Cusack, who is self-employed with Westshore Design and Cusack Music, told The Holland Sentinel....

"I got this watch from my grandfather on his deathbed. He sold it to me for $50..."

Dizzy Girl is poorer than a church mouse after buying a $30 US Webster's New World College Dictionary (4th ed.) for school.

My dictionary of choice is the Shorter Oxford Dictionary (2 volumes). It's the old newsroom dictionary at the magazine that I used to work at. Someday, I may buy one of their unabridged dictionaries...but to save space, I may buy the edition with the four pages printed on one page and shrunk super-small.
Blog name of the Week

I am Jill's Amygdala.

[Someone else has read old copies of Reader's Digest, I see!]
Plans duet with Midnight Oil

Meanwhile in Australia, there's a singing, piano playing dingo.

Already Farked, but couldn't resist. :)
Elvis has left the party

Amongst the many Tories trying to keep the old Progressive Conservative Party alive is Ontario Anglican minister Dorian Baxter--who is also known as Elvis impersonator Elvis Priestley.

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 10.
What is your score? Get it here.

Hollywood North? Hardly...

Rick McGinnis offers some thoughts on movie making north of the border:

"....As for Canadian films, well, I don't know what to tell you. I see quite a few of them every year, and it's with a heavy heart that I admit that there's a good reason you haven't seen them, in Lima, or in London, or in New York or Los Angeles, if you lived there. The simple fact is they're not very good...."
Roll that log

A passing reference about the University of British Columbia student council elections in my old paper here would reveal to a wise student journalist that UBC is profoundly changing.

Buried in the article is this:

Another recommendation was to end the practice of candidates promising salary donations to various groups as part of their campaigns—something he [the student council elections commissioner] equated with bribery. The practice has "absolutely no place in an election campaign," he wrote.

Last year two candidates promised $2000 of their executive salaries to the Sexual Assault Support Centre if they were elected. This year VP Academic-elect Brenda Ogembo promised $1000 to an "international student"...

Ogembo said she did not intend to bribe potential voters.

"It was not my intention to come off as bribing but I understand his position," she said.

Back in my day I remember that even some student politicians I knew badly needed the salary/tuition write off to make ends meet. Some Ubyssey editors tried to make their $2,000 annual stipend for working on the paper stretch for six months.

It would be interesting to see a Ubyssey story which asks if there is now a de facto glass ceiling banning the poor from competing and winning in student politics. After all, if you have to make gross offers of patronage to voting blocs to win, that certainly would deter any one who is poor and would need all of their student council honoraria from running for office.

Might be worth looking at, I suggest.

He came, he saw, he blogged

Ben is taking a break from ghostwriting Bloggus Caesari: a Weblog by Julius Caesar, but the old posts are an interesting first-person look at Roman history and still well worth browsing through.

Now, if only I could steel myself to read my six volume Decline and Fall...