Sunday, September 27, 2009


Boy howdy did ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A [MOVIE]: a righteously funny, irreverent, curse-filled comedy. Kevin Smith directed another smashing good flick, which is categorized as a romantic comedy although I'm not sure ZACH AND MIRI ... qualify as a romantic comedy, at least not in the traditional sense.

This ain't the typical chick flick fare, but it is well worth the rental if you don't mind lots of curse words and a bit of nudity.

If you loved such movies as
then you will likely love ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A [MOVIE].


You know us – Halloween junkies that can't get enough of the macabre. It's all fun for us, dressing up ourselves and our house. The Halloween tree went up yesterday with its metal purple witches hat with lights on top, orange and black ribbon, eyeball novelty lights, orange-purple-green LED lights, Halloween ornaments, and foam bones. It's a dadgum hoot.

That's actually late for us; we usually put up the Halloween decorations by the third week. As you can see by my movie reviews of late, we have even watched some Halloween-inspired horrors. I'm loving it.


We continued our movie watching over the weekend with MARLEY & ME and ROLE MODELS. The dog movie was cute and cuddly and then sorrowful. That's the story; now you know what I know. It was nice and reflected the life of this GQ couple with dog (and eventually kids). Pets do become part of our lives and this movie celebrated that to the nth. A bit too much so if you ask me, but that's a Disney tearjerk for you.

I enjoyed ROLE MODELS if not for the mentor-mentee relationship certainly for the hyper geek, fantasy role playing angle. I suppose it is "geeks unite!" film where I could understand the one poor geeky boy and his struggle to be who he is. Besides, I really dig an irreverent film.

Friday, September 25, 2009


This Saturday night the Missouri State University department of Media, Journalism and Film will host a short film screening. From the 438 submissions from around the globe, only 10 were chosen.

This is a fundraiser for the department's scholarship program and all proceeds go to that fund.

Manhattan Short Film Festival
MSU Plaster Student Union
Saturday @ 7 p.m.
Students: $8
General Public: $10

More information is available at the Missouri Film Alliance website.


I love myself a good horror/thriller/campy cult favorite/B-movie slasher flick. I think they are fun and I love being scared. The more authentic, the more realistic, the more "holy crap, that could really happen" my response, the better I feel afterward.

THE EXORCIST is the queen mother of all horror films, if you ask me (although you didn't). But there are plenty of other good ones, great ones, that are top horror must-sees.

I didn't see anything of that caliber today, but did see a horror movie. And it did make me jump a few times, but that's about it. I didn't really connect with the movie because – and I think this is at the heart of the problem with the movie – I didn't really understand what motivated the funeral home director to carve up all those folks in the first place. Why was he stealing bodies, carving some words (who knows what those words were or what purpose they served) into their bodies, and them storing them in the walls of the funeral home-turned-rental home?

In order to be really scared, the viewer must understand the religious/spiritual/voodoo/ceremony in the first place. That just didn't happen with THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT. He did crazy things to already-dead bodies and held a seance. Why, exactly, would that make all Hell tear loose?

Who knows? Who cares?

So I jumped and was mildly entertained at the macabre. I should have been given more in the vein of plot and character development. It's fine as a movie rental so long as you don't pay extra money to see movies in blu-ray.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


What can a priest – an over-educated, 27-year-old virgin who holds the hands of superstitious old women promising them eternity – have to tell an 80-year-old Korean War veteran about life and death?

Not much if you ask Walk Kowalski: a widower who is completely disconnected from the lives of his two sons; a man who really doesn't like anyone, regardless of race; a man who is alone and miserable and who knows plenty about death but little about life.

That is, until he finds a Hmong teen trying to boost his precious Gran Torino (which is the title of the film.) What Walt finds out, sadly, is that he has more in common with this immigrant family than he does his own boys. But he makes the best of it and finds value in life when he befriends the teen and helps his stay away from the Hmong gang trying to initiate him. The boy becomes a friend and Walt tells him so, just as he walks away from the boy forever.

Clint Eastwood can put a movie together and he is not afraid to take his time developing a character, a story, a robust narrative that the movie-goer can reflect upon and find common ground with. It was a beautiful but sad film.

My only complaint is that Eastwood, for some unknown reason, chose to sing the ending song himself. There ain't no way Walt would have ever done that and it really spoiled the ending for me.

GRAN TORINO is highly recommended. Note, that is uses all kinds of curse words and racial slurs.


The New York Times has this story about Leong's famous cashew chicken which started right here – our claim to fame. I would venture to say that Mr. Yen's (owned by a Leong family friend) is the closest to Leong's famed dish as any in Springfield can get. Mr. Yen's makes the best in town, as far as I am concerned. It's all about the sauce, kids, and you don't get any more authentic than Mr. Yen's.

Blog nod to Welcome to the Middle of Everywhere for the link.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The wife and I watched two very different movies lately, and we hope to watch more. One was a little known flick, the other a blockbuster.

This funny little film is all about a naive all American high school cheerleader (she doesn't know she's a lesbian, but everyone else does) whose family and friends hold a gay intervention and send her off to a Christian re-straight camp.

The re-education is all about God's intended roles; boys are taught to chop wood, fix cars and play sports while girls are taught to cook, clean and mend. Those who do not comply are kicked out, left in the cold without families who often forsake them, you know, out of Christian duty, love ... but mostly embarrassment. No wonder many of today's youth view Christianity as "hypocritical, insensitive and judgmental".

This comedy had us laughing, but also brought to mind the hypocritical, insensitive, judgmental (and ridiculous) nature of these ex-gay movements. I recommend it if you don't hate homosexuals.


It was panned by critics and by comic fans and I see why. The script is loose and not at all as interesting as it could have been. The storyline is outside of continuity, which always makes comic fans crazy, as well it should.

I recommend seeing the film as a new universe, rather than comparing it to the established Wolverine mythos. In that context, the film is more enjoyable as an action film. It had nice parts. I liked little boy Wolverine, but I wanted much more deep character development (within continuity) and more believability. Can I say I want more believability in a movie about super human mutants? Sure I can.

I liked the old couple who took in Logan. I thought that scene was nice, but the whole time I was really curious about what motivated Sabertooth to go against his brother. Did he feel that abandoned by his brother? Rather than tell me that, the writers should have done what my college creative writing instructor drilled into us: Show me, don't tell me. It's a fine rental, but I'm glad I didn't spend my hard-earned money watching it in theaters.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I do enjoy a theological discussion, especially when those dialogues challenge my preconceived notions about God or the Bible. I think it is fair to say that most people have an idea of Hell being a place of eternal damnation with the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I know I grew up with a near-weekly dose of Baptist-conjuring of eternal torment for those of us saved who even thought about the sinful gyrations of the woman's bosom. It was a constant barrage of how full of sin, sin, sin we are. And we were going to pay unless we were in a state of constant repentance.

I grew up believing that Hell was not only a real place, but one where the Devil was the cause of all our ills, problems, misgivings, and shortcomings.

My life journey has taken beyond the confounds of that mission church and given me opportunities to see how others view and love God, which I find to be a cool thing. I have also come to a place which my childhood pastor called "air-conditional Hell". That is to say, I am now very open to the idea that Hell may not be what so many of the world's Christians think it is.

This week I read a local blogger talking about this very thing and I found it so interesting. Write From Karen makes a compelling and well thought out argument why Hell is not the place that mainstream Christians think it is. She makes her point better than I could, so I'll just point you her way; however, I will say I agree with much of what she sees on this point. Karen manages to leave out how fictional literature (Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno) have managed to unduly infiltrate mainstream views of Hell. I do think While Write From Karen assigns entirely too much power to the Devil.

I enjoyed her article and have struck up conversations about Hell with some trusted friends. Have fun and feel free to talk about your beliefs here, just be nice about it. If you are in a mind to read more about different views, you might try reading this article, too.

Just for clarification, my views in this area are still developing and I don't have a firm grasp on what I believe, but I'm definitely moving away from my childhood teachings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


South Carolina school banned Confederate clothing. A student sued and had her case dismissed because her attorneys did not provide sufficient evidence for her claim. The district deemed the clothing as disruptive.

In classrooms across the country, cursive writing is taking a back seat to reading, writing, math and other curricular needs. Texting, email and other 21st century skills have taken over the need for cursive writing. Students just don't use it any longer and many cannot read it. Studies show that most adults use a print-cursive hybrid. I either print exclusively or use a print-cursive hybrid. I never use cursive only except in my signature and it is stylized and doesn't follow cursive convention anyway.

Who hand writes letters, college entrance essays, research papers and the like anymore? I still write thank you notes, but I print them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am an avid fan of Peter, Paul and Mary. My father had one of their vinyl albums when I was a kids, which surprises me as they are serious liberals who protested the Vietnam War and he is a veteran. Anyway, I listened to their music from time to time, especially that dragon song.

As I've grown up, I have continued to enjoy their music going so far as to take my wife and daughter to one of their concerts when they came to Springfield a few years ago. I enjoyed the experience so much. I'm so glad I saw them in concert. I listen to them daily as I have their songs on multiple play lists on the iPod. In fact, I am listening to one now. The song is And When I Die. Mary opens the song and her voice is so beautiful and soothing.

I am so sad.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I decided to take a break and showcase a article entitled "8 Insane Ways Parents Are Politically Brainwashing Children". I sent this to some friends, one of which responded that s/he was not amused.

I am, at the same time, amused and disturbed at the amount of crazy located within. Crazy, which I know is present on the left and right. Remember, there were people who claimed that Ronald Reagan was the Antichrist because he had six letters in each of his three names (666). Stupid without a doubt.

This article pokes fun at the crazies on both sides and I thought I would share. You will likely laugh, but I also hope you ponder for just a moment, the serious irrational mentalities behind many of these t-shirts, books or beliefs.

Just for the record, I think PETA is as crazy as the left can get.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I've been talking a lot about hatred and irrational behavior lately. Then I found this news story from CNN and even I was stunned at the amount of crazy out there these days. Steven Anderson, a Baptist pastor, preached a sermon explaining why he "hates" Barack Obama.

"Here is my sermon, why I hate Barack Obama. That's my sermon tonight, because Barack Obama is coming to town tomorrow morning. … I hate Barack Obama. You say, well, you just mean you don't like what he stands for. No, I hate the person. Oh, you mean you just don't like his policies. No, I hate him."

His hatred runs so deep and so wide that the pastor actively prays that Obama dies and is sent straight to hell. Here's his quote:

"No. I am not going to pray for his good. I am going to pray that he (Obama) dies and goes to hell."

Like I've said before, the crazy is permeating our social structure to the point that our religious leaders are losing their senses. How can a religious leader actually pray for the death of others?

In light of irrational thoughts such as this, it should not surprise you that the Secret Service has seen an increase in presidential threats of ... wait for it ... 400 percent! The report states this increase has gone far and beyond anything the Secret Service has ever seen.


Even folks who don't like the man's politics don't need to pray for his death. Where have our values and ethics gone?

You really need to watch the video or read the transcript. Click here and then consider your own thoughts and feelings. You can stop the madness in your own little way by being logical, rational, calm, and using your brain to think.


On this morning's news KY3 did a story on Obama's upcoming speech (which aired later today). The interviewed one man who objected to the speech. His problem: Nazis.


His grandmother lived through the war and he was concerned about all this Nazi business. Then ... THEN ... he actually read the speech given to him by the news reporter. Seems it wasn't so bad after all. All this hoopla over a president telling the nation's children to take responsibility for their own education and work hard. (I tried to look for the KY3 video link, but couldn't find it on the website. After the site kept crashing, I finally gave up trying.)

KOLR 10 also had a story on a third grade class at Roundtree elementary. Taught by John Walstrand, the students watched the speech and were instructed to use their Com Art skills to write effectively with a specific topic telling us what they understood, an idea which is strongly supported by state guidelines. What did the kids get out of the Nazi propoganda?

  • Never give up and always be respectful to your teachers.
  • Get a job; don't skip school.
  • Be responsible.
  • If you fail, it doesn't mean you are stupid.

Keep in mind that other presidents have addressed the nations children. George HW Bush did it in 1991 and Ronald Reagan did it in 1988. Conservative blogger, Larry, at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind (who has been MIA for a while due to a new baby boy) posted on all the silliness yesterday. He must have felt strongly to join us again. [Good to read you again, buddy.]

He concludes, rightly so, that we need to act better than our politicians. (I found that to be a funny line.) Good people can disagree on religion and politics, but to call the leader of the free world a Nazi (Musolini, Hitler, Stalin, Antichrist, or whatever) is just plain irrational.

Yes, Jeremy, it is irrational. [wink]

If folks actually care to read the speech before they call it Nazi propaganda, they could go here, here or here. But people have not been doing that. They have fallen prey to the nasty tactics of hardcore right-wing politicos (Rush, Coulter, etc) believing that somehow our president is a Nazi and our local paper is too full of pictures of Black people.

Then there is the guy on this morning's news spouting the same stuff before he's even read the speech. Don't forget, people also think that Obama is the Antichrist, he wants to kill senior citizens, and that people who refuse the H1N1 vaccine will go to a concentration camp. The amount of ignorance is mind boggling and it is not relegated to a few. The crazy has gone pandemic and permeated otherwise rational people's minds like mad cow disease.

If you are buying into any of this I offer this advice: Take a breath. Read Larry's post and consider if, perhaps, you have been led a bit astray. There's no shame as it happens to us all. Even this blogger went through his anti-Bush anger for a while, although I never called him a Nazi.

It's healthy to be angry and be a dissenter. Having your own beliefs is the crux of a democracy. If you really believe our president is a Nazi incogneto, wants to kill seniors, is Satan's cabana boy, or will institute death camps for vaccine deniers, then I respectfully suggest you change your news channel and take a deep breath. None of that is true. It's all crazy talk meant to cultivate irrational hatred.

You are smarter than that. You have to be otherwise our society is doomed, and I don't believe we are doomed. I really think that we are smarter than all of this nonsense. And so, I direct you back to Obama's speech as understood by these third graders.

  • Take responsibility for your own knowledge.
  • Be respectful.
  • If you fail, it doesn't mean you are stupid.

Gee. I think Obama's speech was more apropos than we might have known. I'm not sure he was actually talking to our kids. I think he might have been talking to us.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Who better to lampoon the Disney-Marvel deal than the seedy but funny Jason Rohrblogger?

My favs include:

  • Peter Pan and Captain Hook join Batman and Robin for NAMBLA's "movie of the year"
  • The Muppets take Dr. Manhattan

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Answer: 13

One to do the right thing and screw in the light bulb so everyone can see.
Twelve to fend off all the crazies who call the light "facism", "Marxism", and "Nazism".

Judas Priest!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


SPRING HILL, FL – Last week 16-year-old Heather Lawrence, a JROTC student, walked down the school corridor and discovered a Muslim girl with a head wrap who did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. A few hours later, Lawrence verbally confronted the Muslim student in essence telling her to take off her religious head wrap and to stand for the Pledge.

Lawrence was suspended for bullying and the blogosphere went nuts with patriotic support for the soon-to-be Army recruit. The discipline referral, signed by assistant principal Stephen Crognale, stated:

"She began to rant that she was enlisting and was going to Iraq and that basically because the girl looks Middle Eastern, that makes her an enemy because all Iraqis are Middle Eastern."

She maintains her comments were not intended to be racial in nature. She just wanted the Muslim girl to stand for the Pledge.

Apparently, it's not bullying or harassment to hate someone's skin color if you love your country. Ethics be damned. Hate be praised. Perhaps I am being a bit too hard on the child and should give her the benefit of the doubt that she was not being hateful toward a Muslim?

SPRING HILL, FL. – The part about the Muslim girl not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance? Yeah, the JROTC member and future solider made that part up, according to school officials. Springstead principal Susan Duval said:

"This girl lied. "I have confirmed with the homeroom teacher the young (Muslim) lady stood for the pledge. She's compounded the story as an explanation as to why she felt it was okay to make a very disparaging comment to this young lady."

The strong undercurrent of Muslim hatred is deep. It was seen during the presidential election and it is alive and well today. It does not have to be that way. Minors often see the world in black and whites. It's part of the natural human development.

More than punishing the JROTC student (whose suspension has been reduced) I think it is important to find out where these irrational fears come from and work to educate people. Just because there are some bad Muslim terrorists (just like there are some bad Christian abortion bombers) we should not hate an entire group. It's not rational and I hope the community can help this girl and her family understand their wrong doing and make a change.

Despite the fervent bloggers' beliefs, the JROTC student was not patriotic in her opinion or her actions. Just because someone is a member of the armed forces does not mean they have the right to bully, or on a larger scale, torture.