Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Movie No-No's

Use the silent function on your cell phone

A friend's comment and the fact that I am going to see a movie tonight reminded me of a few irritating trends involved with going to the movies....or for our elderly readers (going to the picture show).

1) I am about sick and tired of there now being commercials intertwined with movie previews before the actual movie. I don't pay 7 dollars plus gas (now about 5 more dollars) to go to a movie and watch commercials. Commercials are for television and one of the advantages of going to the picture show is supposed to be an absence of commercials. One of my favorite parts of going to a movie is anxiously awaiting the previews. When the lights dim, I quit talking and get excited about what should be the upcoming preview. And then, lo and behold, its a freakin commercial (Much beloved Coca Cola is usually the guilty party). My plea: if we absolutely have to watch commercials, please make it be ESPN Sportscenter commercials.

2) Leave your infants at HOME. My goodness, when parents bring their infant to a movie theater, I lose my compassion. Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and babysitters are for you. Here is a tip. If you bring a sleeping infant into a loud movie theater, no matter how well he/she sleeps, the surround sound of a gunfight will probably wake him up. And then the child will be screaming....I would be too, if I was 7 months old and experiencing gunfire all around me.

3) That guy or usually that girl who thinks she can have a conversation on her cell phone during the movie. They think because they are whispering, they are being polite. What I usually hear is "Hey...I'm at a movie....yea its pretty good...I'll try to call you back after the movie....I know, I'm so excited....OK call me later...." For that brief moment, I am completely distracted from the movie and zero in on how annoyed I am at the conversation going on in the movie. Who knows, in that brief minute, had I been watching Deep Blue Sea, I might have missed Samuel Jackson's death because of her conversation.

I still love the movies though and will continue to go. I just think people should be stopped at the ticket office and told "oh, maybe you didn't realize it, but that thing you are holding is a small child. That child probably does not want to see this movie and we can't allow you in."

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

sticks, stones, and pigs

remember in Kindergarden when the taught us this:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Apparently, that never made it's way to New Zealand. Recently a 22 year old man was arrested and charged with insulting a police officer by using offensive language when called the officer a pig. The officer was so bothered by the comment, he placed him in handcuffs and charged the man. Community Magistrate Robyn Paterson at Tauranga District Court ordered The man to spend an entire day with pigs on a pig farm and report back with an essay that could clarify that pigs and police officers have absolutely nothing in common. Even after his day on the farm and hours of apparent research He maintained the word pig could be found in the Oxford dictionary and was often used to describe police--good for him.
Surely this is evidence to why the Land from 'down under' has never had presence in any world domination. Remember when the world thought it be would fun to go at it for a few years and hack away at eachother? They had so much fun the first time, they did it again 20 years later. But New Zealand and Australlia are nowhere to be found in any historical recording--they probably backed out at the first insult...also, it's not as though it appears that einstein was born there. They found it neccessary for the man to spend the entire day with pigs before he could differentiate them from cops--i think most of us would only need an hour or so. I think the Japs would have had them surrender pretty quickly...on a happier note, i'm glad he didn't call the officer a butthole.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Saved By The Bell Factor

In the spirit of the 'season finale', i thought it would be appropriate to take the mask off and give some honest opinions about what people are really watching on TV, including myself. We all put on our 'manly' costume's when the topic of TV is being served to the conversation table, but deep down many of us are in denial of our true TV passions. You know who you are, it's tuesday night and some guys wanna go out--but you make up an appropriate excuse to stay home and watch that show that keeps you going. It's embarrasing to admit, but you love it and look forward to it each fact, if you miss it-you race to the internet to find out what happened. It's a vicarious life you live through fantasy TV characters--Yet when someone asks you what you thought about 'so and so' getting cut from american idol, you play it off like "I don't watch that". It's an internal struggle, wanting to be unmasked and respond with a "I'm stunned Chris got cutt, i voted for him 5x!!" Yet you restrain yourself for sake of your 'manhood' and deny your involvement. Ever been busted?? Your watching one of your shows and your friend walks either quickly change the channel and pretend to be channel surfing, or fake a nap and pretend you never even knew the TV was on. I confess years of addiction in college to the drama "Dawson's Creek". I privately watched in seclusion and ellogantly navigated my way through 2.5 years before being busted, coming clean was relieving. My roommates and I then indulged together.
I call this the 'Saved by the Bell' factor. All of us from this generation at one time or another watched that show obsessively in junior high. We were all in love with Kelly Kipowski and thought Zach Morris was a hero worth immulating. This show was so great, we shared it together. No one denied it, but all coorporately partook and cried at the day of graduation. These are the roots of our TV passions. It is because of this show that I quickly made the connection with shows like 'Dawson's Creek', 'Friends', and others. The realness of Zach, Slater, Screech, and Kelly gave way to reality TV (one of my theories, debatable).
So i know your out there, and were all on the edge of your seat at the season finale's of american idol, desperate housewives,lost, greys anatomy, gilmore girls, ect...Don't live in shame anymore, we understand what 'saved by the bell' did to you -- it did the same to me. I say, let us be open and share our thoughts and passions over how the season went on our favorite show!! I hope you were cheering for Taylor Hicks, and that all the stories came together for you in your drama--here's to a summer of rest and movies.

p.s.....still, all who watch American Idol are gay and should be utterly ashamed of themselves

Thursday, May 25, 2006

T.V., Game Shows, knowledge and wisdom

There is a fascinating book printed in 1984 by a man named Neil Postman entitled "Amusing ourselves to death." In the book, he basically asks and answers the question of "how does the method of communication and not just the message impact our culture?" All that to say, he analyzes how television, the photograph, and the telegraph changed the way we learn and process information. (I know this sounds like I'm a deep reader and I'll just let you continue to think that.)
Postman asserts that when TV, Radio, and the telegraph became the means of communication, the learning process changed. These methods of communication erased the time factor and brought an instant influx of information. The spattering of instant information changed the concept of learning from knowing about things and understanding them to knowing of things.

To illustrate he gives an example, and I quote " if you imagine a stranger's informing you that the illyx is a subspecies of vermiform plant with articulated leaves that flowers biannually on th island of Aldononjes. And if you wonder aloud, "Yes, but what has that to do with anything?" imagine that your informat replies, "but here is a photograph.... you might murmur, now I see."... If this happens you have learned something, But if the event is entirely self-contained, devoid of any relationship to your past knowledge or future plans, if that is the beginning and end of your encounter with the the impression of meaning attached to it is illusory. You will, in fact, have "learned" nothing, and the illyx will fade from your mental landscape as though it had never been.

(maybe that was ridiculously long), but all that to say, we equate knowledge of facts with learning. I know I do. But Postman's point is that unless knowledge leads to understanding we really aren't learning. Yet, our modes of communication now spatters us with so much information that we think if we know the current events of the world and the latest headlines then we are knowledgable. Postman concludes by saying that "where people once sought information to manage the real conteexts of their lives (let me figure out x to help me perform y), now they had to invent contexts in which otehrwise uselesss information might be put to some apparent use. The crossword puzzle is one such pseudo-context; the cocktail party is another, and the modern game show are still others; and the ultimate, perhaps, is the wildly successfull "trivial pursuit."

Perhaps this has been longwinded. But I think its genius. We want to be amused and want to feel smart so at least I equate knowing facts with being smart. I think this carries over to Christianity as well. People equate Christianity with knowing facts. And while knowing facts are necessary and Christianity is based on factual events etc., just knowing the information does not equal Christianity. Information must lead to knowledge, knowledge is to understanding, understanding must lead to wisdom, and The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In other words knowing the fact of God's sovereignty is not learning until the belief in the sovereignty of God has led to wisdom and we can say in rough times and good times with Job that "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away but blessed be the name of the Lord."

I hope this blog made sense. It was a little rough and by no means am I bashing game shows. Long live Bob Barker!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Finally finished with finals here, what a relief. One can never actually communicate the load off unless you can say 'been there, done that'. After another year here, some reflections on current academic scholarship....: postmodernity is the topic (post-conservative is the evangelical category), basically indicating that meaning is determined not universally, but by context. As i thought about this, i began thinking of the concept of "safety", which means many things in many contexts. As a man first of all, you cannot think of this without first knowing that a 'safety' is when the defense scores 2pts for tackling the offense in their own endzone, the ref holds his hands in a prayer like manner over his head to indicate a 'safety'. Their is the annoying idea of 'safety' meaning to protect one's self, maybe using a seatbelt, precaution, helmet, or condom. All these are thought of to be used in a state of fear, preventing unwanted consequenses. Another childhood use of 'safety' came from regular day games of tag, hotbox, steamroller, (or insert your favorite childhood outdoor recreational activity) - here one would run from the sucker who was forced to be "it" first and run to the place where he could no longer get out, he would then call 'safety'. It really was a taunting move to turn to the usually poor, slow, fat kid who was deemed 'it' and call 'SAFETY'! I always got a bit of a laugh out of it. But my personal favorite use of safety was used all throughout highschool and college, and i've tried to keep it going in marriage but it just hasn't flied with becki. I think you all know what i mean here: the greatest use of 'safety' came from the fart game. In case you slept throug the 90's, it worked like this: when someone farted, they must immediately call 'safety' before someonelse called 'doorknob', if your 'safety' was beaten even wimsically by a 'doorknob' you must surrender to free punches until you could touch a doorknob. Calling 'safety' in this context became a rountine punctuation mark in conversations. For instance, i remember my friend once telling me "Alex you know your one of my dearest friends, 'safety', but i can't give you $5,000." See, here my friend used 'safety' w/o even interuppting his serious thought, and i remember not being offended or upset by his use of the game even during serious moments. There was no time that was too inappropriate to use 'safety'. So I applaud contextual use sometimes, sadly this is what i most came away with during this academic year.....

Whatever happened to "walk it off"

Please Walk It Off Kerry

Remember the good ole days when dad would tell you to just "walk it off." It was the manly thing to do. Kids would sprain their ankle, or maybe tear a few ligaments and dad or coach would simply tell you to walk it off. And for the rest of the game, we would grit our teeth and stick it out. That is the way it should be in sports. It seems like its the way it is in every sport except for baseball. In football, Ronnie Lott is out there chopping part of his pinky finger off so he can play in the super bowl. In basketball, Larry Bird is running out of the locker room in the second half of a playoff game after a head splitting concussion, or Bill Lambeer is slapping on a plastic faceplate to keep playing with a broken nose. But in baseball, we encounter some of the most insignificant injuries I have ever heard of. People go on the 15 day DL for blisters, spasms, and hang nails. What kind of message are we sending to our youth?

But nothing I had heard previously could top what caused Kansas City Royals Triple A outfielder to leave a game. Kerry Robinson experienced chest muscle spasms throughout the game because he had laughed too hard a some pre-game youth antics. He eventually had to be REMOVED from the game because the spasms would not stop. He left the game due to a laughing related injury. Again, what kind of message are we sending our kids? Please, somebody man up and tell Kerry to walk it off. On an ending note, I've gotta see these youth antics....must have been hilarious.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sports and Providence

For some reason I was reminded of one of the craziest sports moments these pair of eyes has ever seen. This one moment should blow apart any notion of a belief that things just happen by chance. I mean, not only was it unbelievable that it happened, but it was also too beautiful and perfect that it happened with a Randy Johnson fastball. I still remember radio sports talk show host Jim Rome's comments on the incident. "A bird and a Randy Johnson fastball tried to occupy the same space at the exact same time, and the bird lost." My friends, nothing happens by chance in this world.

On a second note, much to Alex Watlington's chagrin I am sure...I heard some possibly exciting news the other day. Rumor has it that my beloved Atlanta Hawks might be trading for the great one Allen Iverson. Atlanta could make up for all its previous blunders by bringing A.I. to the table. I still have a hard time forgiving the organization for trading Dominique Wilkins for Danny Manning during a playoff run year. However, I might finally find forgiveness in my heart if they bring A.I. to Atlanta. Watch out Atlanta, get ready for your first playoff run since the "Nique" days. Oh and Joe Johnson, its time to learn to pass the ball since a new captain will be in town. Please let this rumor be true. Ludicrous and AI in the same town, Atlanta will never be the same.