Monday, November 13, 2006

Democrat Shenanigans

The Republicans received a fairly well-deserved thumping in last week's elections. Leaving principles for power should be punished and it was if exit polls are to be even slightly believed. The problem, however, is that if -- besides Iraq fatigue -- the main issue was Republican scandal, as many polls seem to suggest, then what hath the electorate wrought with ushering in Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

She is backing Jack Murtha for Majority Leader. Murtha -- besides having gone whacky on Iraq is renowned for his up front whoring for campaign contributors. I'm no Pollyanna -- I know the drill. I guess in one sense I appreciate it because at least I know up front he's a weasel. That's only a part of the equation, however. It means Peolosi values personal loyalty above even the appearance of a lack of integrity. Murtha was also tagged pretty closely to the Abscam scandal -- where FBI agents posing as Arab sheikhs -- offered bribes. I'm no expert -- yet -- on Murtha's involvement, but it fits in to the general "flavor" of Murtha's character -- or lack thereof. I know he's a decorated veteran, but so what? Hitler was too. Fighting for one's country is an honorable thing to do -- mostly. But it is no King's X against being a bad actor. And it certainly does not immunize one from criticism.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday Night Light

Every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM (PT) on NBC there is a show that takes faith and the faithful seriously. Friday Night Lights, the TV show based on the movie based on the book is a revelation. Christians are depicted as serious people who have foibles and yet are still faithful. The scenes where the football coaches must drive the ACLU faithful crazy. They'll have to live with it. The 1st Amendment is alive and well in football locker roooms all acrosss the South and West (and I'd wager in more places than that, but I'll stick to what I know). People can actually bow their heads, shut their mouths, and take a quiet moment while the reast of the team prays without their heads spinning off or them bursting into flames. When in Rome....

The coach and his wife are depicted as Christians, yet they are not cartoon characters -- too perfect or too perversely fallen. They are hard-working, loving, and they get angry and curse a bit -- real life cursing -- not the stream of filth popular (and realistic) among today's youth. They make an interesting foil against the struggles of the high school crowd adrift in the emptiness of youth culture with its empty pop culture, meaningless sex, and in some cases too easily expressed faith (the Smash character is a good example).

It is also an accurate example of small-town Texas high school football. The fictional town of Dillon is based on the real town of Odessa, TX and the Permian Panthers who were, through the early 1990s, the cream of the crop of Texas football. Economics and demographics have changed that, but it's still a good story of faith, hard work, and a slightly unbalanced love of the local high school football team. The writers are thus far (through 3 episodes) catching the right balance of the cultural Christianity that makes nominal faith easy in the Bible belt yet highlights the real faith of the sincere believers.

The, in some cases, perverse love of the football team -- stoked by the decline of the town's economic base (oil in real life, though the writers haven't dealt with that aspect) drives some to do acts that are unethical, if not illegal. The writers deftly include Katrina in the plot as the local auto dealer tries to recruit (illegal in Texas) a quarterback displaced and basically homeless. He's a stud who can replace the injured starting QB. Odessa Permian was notorious, in the 1970s and '80s, for recruiting kids from across Texas -- giving fathers oil jobs so their kids could move to Odessa and play football. I'm quite sure it often went down as depicted in last night's episode.

The show illustrates these events and people without any irony or caricature -- at least not in excess. Some exaggeration is going to happen to drive the plot and create dramatic tension, etc. Congratulations to NBC. I hope Friday Night Lights succeeds. I'm a supporter, not just because it honestly portrays believers, but because it's a good show in general.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Secular Europe

Althouse links to a list from the CBC of a UK survey of songs people would want played at their funeral. The top 10:
1. Goodbye My Lover, James Blunt.
2. Angels, Robbie Williams
3. I've Had the Time of My Life, Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
4. Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler
5. Pie Jesu, Requiem
6. Candle in the Wind, Elton John
7. With or Without You, U2
8. Tears from Heaven, Eric Clapton
9. Every Breath You Take, The Police
10. Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers

The lack of taste or class is appalling enough. I guess it's to be expected that the majority would have bad taste and take a maudlin approach to their own demise. Even more distressing is the utter lack (save for Pie Jesu -- which is still questionable) of any Christian songs on the list. No good old English hymns or any classical literature either for that matter. Again it's to be expected in a country where 99% of the population never attends church and devout Muslims outnumber devout Christians, but still....

It's also distressing on a cultural level. We make common cause with these folks on a variety of issues internationally. Are we unequally yoking ourselves? The U.S. is already sliding (or slouching?) down the slope to total secularism. We have much in common historically, linguistically, culturally, etc. with Europe -- Western Europe especially. Is this coming to an end? The list highlights an utter lack of Judeo-Christian wordlview, but it also lacks any sort classical Greek and Roman rationality. The list is sentimental -- in the absolute worst sense of that word. The Greeks and Republican Romans wished for a good and dignified death. Does no one in the UK wish to be remembered as "Hale fellow well met"? Do they even think it's worthwhile to be remembered for living by values much classical values such as virtue, courage, integrity, etc.? I fear the answer is "No". I know the answer is more likely "Not many these days".

"Wind Beneath my Wings"!?!? God help us!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mel Gibson -- part deux

Mel thinks our civilization is on the decline -- linking Mayan human sacrifice to sending troops into Iraq in a "useless" war. I think Mel is still drinking. Of course this kind of tripe passes for lucid discourse in Hollywood it seems.

He does raise a valid question-- is Western Civilization waning? It seems ironic that the guy who was in Lethal Weapon 3 and 4 (1 and 2 are pillars of the West after all), Maverick and the Million Dollar Hotel would decry the decline and fall of western civilazation. More later on the decline of the west -- which I think the Iraq war delays -- natch.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hugo Kruschev

Hugo Chavez is whacked out. The decline in world leadership -- and at least the appearance of statesmanship is a tad disappointing. Even a bastard like Hitler would've made the appearance of civility. Now Chavez is no Hitler -- but he doesn't even have enough couth to realize he has made an ass of himself. This stuff only helps Bush and the U.S. because it highlights the real differences between Bush -- who has class -- and the venomous, hateful Left (native and foreign).

Charlie Rangel and Nancy Pelosi came out condemning Chavez for calling Bush names. Spare me. Rangel is as communist as Chavez and a Castro sycophant to boot. Pelosi is just a dope. There is really nothing else to say. There are many Libs about which that can't be said. Pelosi is, however, as previously labeled. These folks have said worse things and more often that their anger at Chavez's attacks are suspect at best.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Remembrance

A student of mine, Kyle, died yesterday in a motorcycle accident. It just hit me this morning while cancelling class -- I couldn't get through the announcement. He was a great kid -- handsome, well-liked, beautiful girlfriend and a solid Christian. He was going to graduate this year. His poor parents -- my heart literally aches for them.

I looked at my 3 kids -- and I know this is cliche -- last night and I thanked God for them and asked His protection on them. I know they have to live their lives and go out into this world. Please God be with Kyle's parents and brother and all of his friends. Thank You for the promise of seeing him again down the road.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Integrity

There's an angry man over at Althouse who dropped the old "Religion has done bad things so therefore religion is bad"bomb . I responded I'm sure rudely, but I'm also sure ineffectively since such a man is beyond reasoning -- but not beyond salvation (even though he would find the prospect repulsive I'm sure).

The thing that irks me about that line of reasoning is the lack of integrity behind it. Don't believe in God? Fine. But accept responsibility for it. "Dave" wants to not believe, but then cops out and blames religion. Does he not have control over his own choices?

I'm sure somewhere in his past there is a hypocritical Christian parent, friends, lover, etc. or perhaps he's been in an abusive spiritual situation. Perhaps not. It really matters not I guess. I won't get into the mysteries of God's sovereignty and free will. We should, without being too prideful, take responsibility for our own thoughts and beliefs. In the judgment to come -- we will be judged on what we believed -- Did we follow Christ? -- not what others "made" us believe.

Friday, September 01, 2006

America the Beautiful

Tonight on Turner Classic Movies I was watching a Peter Sellers movie from the late '50s called The Mouse That Roared. Sellers (presaging his multi-role tour de force in "Dr. Strangelove....") plays the Grand Duchess, Prime Minister, and General of the Army of the tiny state (fictional) of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick -- high in the French Alps. Their main export is a specialty wine with their main trading partner being the U.S. A California vintner invents a knockoff of Fenwick's wine and sells it at a cut rate price thereby bankrupting Fenwick.

What is Fenwick to do? They request the vintner to cease and desist, but since they never recognized the U.S. gov't they have to go through Monaco's embassy. The PM has the brilliant idea to declare war on the U.S. since everyone knows that the U.S., of all states, will forgive almost anything. Fenwick will be defeated and U.S. largesse a la The Marshall Plan will save Fenwick from its dire straits. Suffice to say they invade New York City (with an army Henry V would've recognized), steal the Q-Bomb, and capture some U.S. military brass along the way.

I was struck by the attitude towards the U.S. I realize it was a comedy, but this Army fully expected to lose and then be taken care of by U.S. authorities -- indeed, they expected to be rebuilt fully and gain in the process of defeat by the mighty U.S. military. There was some social commentary about "the Bomb" and the absurdity of civil defense drills, etc., but the default position was ultimately pro-U.S. it seemed to me.

We still do this by the way.... "Losing" Vietnam and Korea was not just bad for us politically, etc. It had horrific consequences for the people of Vietnam and North Korea. Could these people be part of a booming "economic tiger" a la Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea? Perhaps.

This is not an advocacy for war or starting wars. I'm just noting that when we win wars we are exceedingly magnanimous in victory -- sharing our money, our ideals and our vast array of resources (material and otherwise). Are you listening Middle East?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Media...

It looks like Mel Gibson has been saved by JonBenet Ramsay -- or should I say her "alleged" killer John Karr. Gibson can now -- thanks to a rockin' lawyer who got him (rightly) to plea quickly and quietly -- begin his probation and hopefully his successful recovery in relative peace. Hopefully he can mend fences along the way also.

Karr seems like a worm who got a free ride home from a Bangkok jail. I won't however, be surprised if he's guilty of the murder. I do think he is a "wannabe" false confessor.

It strikes me every time how much the media fail to report real news. Where is the focus on the Iranian nuclear program? Possible North Korean nuclear tests? The Vermont woman who forced a landing in Boston while acting weird and who appears to have created a distraction for terrorists? 5 years on after 9/11 and our news is focusing on a 10-year old murder from a backwater town in Colorado and an alcoholic actor who said some mean things while drunk. Is it the culture or the media?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Mel Gibson -- Screwed

I like Mel Gibson -- as much as I can like someone whom I don't really know. His recent arrest for DUI is sad, but worse of course are the anti-Semitic remarks he is supposed to have made. I would still like to see the report and the in-car video. Assuming the worst -- are the rantings of a drunk man to be taken seriously? If so, how seriously should we take them? Don't we often ignore or laugh off the ramblings and rantings of those under the influence? Aren't I asking a lot of questions?

Is Mel Gibson an anti-Semite??? No one really knows -- deeds speak louder than words -- especially drunken words. It's very possible. With all the crap he endured during the Passion flap he may have some hard feelings. Perhaps his Dad has negatively influenced his thoughts. Again assuming the worst.... he still has the possibility of redemption, even moreso if he is a Christ follower.

Ann Althouse says he is beyond forgiveness. Child molestation and murder are nothing compared to bigotry. That is outrageous. As a Christian -- I know that NO ONE is outside the possibility of forgiveness and redemption. I think Mel, to use a very tired cliche, has his demons and drink is clearly one -- as is his temper. They may be part and parcel.

Whatever, Mel Gibson may very well be done in Hollywood, but I don't think. If he is truly an anti-semite then "good riddance". The problem is -- if it was just a very real and despicable mistake or even if he finds redemption he will most likely never work in Hollywood again though I would think it would be hard for him to have partied as hard as he has and hide this part of his personality from his friends. OR does Box Office trump all? It will be interesting to see. Racial remarks are the major mistake in today's world.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

American Left -- looking through a glass -- cracked

In my other blog Water is Wet I wrote about seeing a leftist TV "news" program.... It never ceases to amaze me how VASTLY different folks see the world. Not mere differences of opinion mind you, but polar opposite perspectives. I see white and they see black, etc.

The differences are so vast and so intractable that one of us has to be wrong or lying. Of course, the left is so post-modern, so Nietzschean that they don't perceive their own shifting standards of liberty, morality, etc. They are just as fundamentalist as any snake handling cracker Christian from the hills of Tennessee -- they just have an ivy league education.

The apostle Paul said we all look through a glass darkly because we do not have the full revelation -- the disclosure of how things really are -- or should be. That's just Christians -- these folks are looking through a fractured glass -- and their view of reality is not just incomplete -- it's incoherent -- and it's to be totally expected. The world is irreconciled to its Maker.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Perspective

The world is not supposed to be this way. Well... it IS supposed to be this way, but it should be infinitely better. Brunelleschi is often credited with "inventing" perspective or realistic perspective I should say. Proper perspective is crucial and most of us lack it at critical times.

My musings here will occasionally struggle with putting and keeping things in a proper, realistic perspective.