Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!

This date really sneaked up on me!  I was wondering if the milk was still good and realized that today is an incredibly monumental occasion.
On March 11, 1990 I became a Christian.  Exactly 21 years ago, I experienced the love of God in a very powerful way.  I emphasize "experienced" because there is no way other way to describe it.  I remember where I was, the smells, the sounds; even Mitch Dunn sitting across the desk with his out-of-style helmet haircut.
So now I'm 21 years old in the faith.  A bonified "grown-up" Christian--although, I don't feel "grown up".  I've been thinking about my journey, about my failures and successes, and about what the future holds.  Mostly, I'm so thankful for First Baptist Church: Moss Bluff and Mitch Dunn.  They loved me and shared God's love with me.  So much of who I am now (at least the good stuff) is because of those experiences.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life as I know it

I realized after looking at some of my postings that many of you may think that there is more than one person writing this blog.  Let's face it, how can one person write about Point Break, Lucite Grapes, and Sho-Nuff: the Shogun of Harlem, and then translate the Didache from Greek and delight in a biography of Jonathan Edwards (I don't think Jonathan Edwards would have enjoyed "Weekend at Bernies").
Do I struggle with split personalities?  Possibly.  Am I a complicated man? Absolutely.
This blog is about life as I know it.  And life is full of ambiguity and complexity.
I was raised in a trailer park, but I love impressionist and expressionist art (especially Van Gogh).  I love Ratt and Motley Crue, but I also love to translate Greek and Hebrew (often at the same time). 
Life is never simple, and there is always more than meets the eye.
So let's revel in our weirdness.  And if you enjoy George Jones and Alic Cooper, you are in good company!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jonathan Edwards

I've been reading a wonderful biography of Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden, and I wanted to recommend this if you're looking for some nice rainy day reading.  Marsden is one of the world's leading Edwards scholars, but his writing is surprisingly readable.  The portrait Marsden paints is not heavy handed in any way.  He doesn't seek to malign or glorify Edwards; instead, he offers a balanced account of his struggles to follow God and lead in a time of change.
Marsden won awards for an in-depth study (which means long), but he wrote a short biography for those looking to get a glimpse at this great theologian's life.  It's only 150 pages or so and immensely readable.  If you interested in the Great Awakening, US history, or the relationship of religion and politics, you'll be rewarded by reading this biography.
It's also inspired me to read "The Religious Affections", a book I've been meaning to read for a decade or so.  I'll be collecting my thoughts about this work on the blog as well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freaky Friday- Ninja 3: the Domination

Back from a hiatus with a spectacular Freaky Friday offering--The 1984 Golan-Globus martial arts/horror spectacular.  First, let's start with the title.  You might expect there would be a Ninja 1 and 2 living somewhere in the ether, but you'd be wrong.  Israeli cousins Golan and Globus bought the Cannon Group and started churning out action flicks.  They picked up on the martial arts craze of the 80's and made "Enter the Ninja" (an utterly forgettable film) followed closely by "Revenge of the Ninja" (the best Ninja film of the 80's--seriously watch it!).  When they decided to make "the Domination" it was the 3rd in the series so they called it Ninja 3.  Not very inspiring, but hey it was the 80's.

This film is truly amazing--a time capsule of all that was great (and awful) about the mid 80's.  If you're homesick for the cheese of the 80's (and who isn't?) then you're in luck.
The plot is actually cool.  A Japanese assassin, or Ninja, has been tracked down and shot a gazillion times but manages to escape just long enough to put his soul into an unsuspecting telephone repair woman/aerobics instructor (sounds awesome...I know).  His soul uses this attractive vessel to avenge his death.  Enter Yamada (Sho Kosugi- master of all martial arts) who must exorcise the spirit and do some Kung Fu on his imortal soul.  It's Kung Fu meets the Exorcist and it's TOTALLY AWESOME!
Sorry this movie is no longer in print, but you can see it on Video on Demand on Amazon.  Check it won't be disappointed.  Well, actually you might be disappointed, but it's only a movie.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Freaky Friday: Point Break

"I am an F-B-I agent"
Those immortal words ring throughout the history of cinema--a reminder to all that real talent is overrated.  If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, "Keanu Reeves don't make a bad movie."  And this is indeed no exception to that rule (however "A Walk in the Clouds" might be).
Year- 1991
Rating- R
Running Time- 126 minutes
Enjoyability- UNLIMITED
This movie stars 3 great thespians: the aforementioned Keanu Reeves (playing Johnny Utah), The late Patrick Swayze (as Bodhi the leader of a rogue gang of bank robbing surfers), and wild man Gary Busey (as Angelo Pappas).  The fact that Gary Busey wasn't nominated for an Oscar further proves that the Academy Awards are run by Communists who want to undermine freedom in the USA.  This movie was directed by Kathryn Bigelow who recently won an oscar for some other movie (obviously the the Academy was just rectifying a 20 year old mistake).
This movie is about rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah--former college football star turned G-man who is now in LA to stop a series of perfectly executed bank robberies.  Angelo Pappas is an aging agent who holds the key to this mystery and urges Utah to go undercover as a surfer.  He falls in love with a surfer girl (who hasn't?) and falls in with a surfer gang led by Zen philosopher Bodhi.  Of course, we all know that Bodhi and his metaphysical warriors are the ones robbing the banks, but Utah is blinded by his admiration for Bodhi's philosophy, cool hair, and awesome abs.
In the end, he must go all "21 Jump Street" on his friends, admit that he's lied to his girlfriend, and bring down this laid back crime lord.
This movie works on every level.  It has been copied but never duplicated (aka Fast and Furious).
And if you doubt this movie's staying power, just know that a live version of the movie exists in the Los Angeles underground.  There is a "broadway" type show in LA where they re-create the film using a random person from the audience to play Keanu Reeves part: it's called Point Break Live! 
If you've never seen this movie, please do yourself a favor and check it out.  It's not my all time favorite movie, but it's pretty close.  And remember that sage advice given so many times--Keanu Reeves don't make a bad film.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hair Metal Monday: Cinderella

Whenever I wonder how Glam Rock could have possibly given way to that unholy pseudo music called "grunge", I need only remember the heights of lunacy embodied by bands like Cinderella.  This group embraced every Glam Rock stereotype: Ultra big hair, transvestite pirate outfits, over the top music videos, and attitude like nobody's business.  It seems almost oxymoronic that their biggest hit was "Nobody's Fool".....hmmmmm.
By the end of the 80's there were so many Glam rip-offs that the Sunset Strip was populated solely by androgynous crowds moving from one party to the next--ah the good ol' days.
The really tragic element in this scenario is that Cinderella for all their faults (which are legion) they were really a good band.  They could play their instruments and lead singer, Tom Keifer, had a great, albeit AC/DC voice.  They wailed.  Their music was solid, but their bravado outshone their talent.  In the end, they were just another Sunset Strip band that went the way of the dinosaur....too bad.  Their rookie album "Night Songs" went multi-platinum and their follow up effort "Long Cold Winter" is also a solid album.  They kept going even into the 90's and possibly their greatest song, "Hot and Bothered" is featured on the Wayne's World soundtrack alongside Queens uber-hit "Bohemian Rhapsody".  Cinderella rocks, but few remember this once heralded quartet; if you want to know why watch this.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Freaky Friday: Ghostbusters

I've been preoccupied with other things the last few days, like not laboring on Labor Day.  So this is a couple of days late...but definitely worth the wait.
In 1984 (what a great year for movies), this big budget summer blockbuster sparked my imagination like few other movies.  For years (and I'm not exaggerating), I wanted to be a paranormal extermination technician (a.k.a Ghostbuster).  These guys were awesome--they had great gear (nuclear accelerators, PKE- psychokinetic energy- meters, ghost traps, night vision goggles, etc), they trapped and contained ghosts, and they were geeks.
I even did a great deal of research on the topic.  When my dad caught me reading a guide to haunted houses in colonial America, he gave me that look as if to say, "I'm not getting grandchildren, am I?"  Well in your face, dad!
This movie stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver-- Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Rick Moranis also provide a great supporting cast.
The plot is not bad: Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis play disgraced college professors who turn their expertise of the paranormal into a ghost extermination business right on the eve of a supernatural explosion of "biblical proportions".  They have to fight Zuul--an ancient Mesopotamian god who is back to end the world. 
The movie does go a bit astray with a 100 foot marshmallow man, but all in all this script is full of great one-liners and is immensely entertaining.
I give this one 4 1/2 stars (I have to deduct half a point for Mr. Stay Puft)
If you've never seen this one, shame on you!