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Opening Eyes- 1/28/08

I’ve thought about this for a while.  Maybe it will keep my writing soul alive.

People are creating blogs left and right and east and west, often to give off their opinions about the latest news story, the hottest album, or the newest celebrity goof.

I’m gonna try to be more about truths than opinions.

Not my truths, but God’s.

I am a media hound/fly/tick/tiger.  Music, somewhat.  News, sort of (not really).  But when it comes to TV and Movies, I’m your man.  Not exactly the man whose seen it all, but a man who’d like to see a lot.

Well, I need to start processing what I’m taking in.  Philosophies.  Stories.  Truths.  And to help with the chewing and digesting, I’m going to analyze the media that I’ve seen/heard/experienced and try to determine the good and the bad and what it means for us.  And me.  And you.  And Jesus.  And the pandas.

So sit back, read, and think.  Chew the honeycomb (Although if you want some real honey comb and not my imitation sugar version, try this. www.biblegateway.com)



“The Bucket List” – 1/28/08

Well, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this movie- but the person I was seeing a movie with REALLY wanted to see this, so I went ahead and did so.

Now, I could get critical about the details, the bad editing, the poor sound quality (not sure if it was the theater or the actual movie), and other stuff- but that’s not why I’m here.

As I watched this story of two old men longing to live before they die, I wondered what my own bucket list would be.  Well, I wouldn’t call it a bucket list- that just sounds preposterous/stupid to me.


Carter constructs his bucket list.  Edward steals it, sees it, and begins to dream.  He tells Carter, in so many words, “Let’s do this stuff!”  Carter responds with excuses upon excuses and one that stood out to me was something on the lines of this.  You see, Carter’s freshman philosophy professor told his students to write a “bucket list” of things they want to do before they kick the bucket.  Carter puts it off until, well, the foot’s accelerating in the direction of the bucket.  He’s got 6 months to 1 year to live.  So he writes things like “See something truly majestic” and “Drive a Shelby” (a car he’s loved for years).  However, when Edward actually proposes to do them, Carter back down, saying they were only “theoretical.”  It was more about writing the bucket list than actually accomplishing the items on the list.

How often do we, as Christians, create lists like these- theoretical lists, where the only thing we expect to do with them is write things down and think about life and how we should live.  In Sunday school, we have little kids write down ways they can love their classmates at school- sharing food, taking turns, saying nice things.  Then we, the older and more mature Christians, go to Bible studies and such and create noncorporeal lists, verbal lists, in which we say things like “I wish I could…” or “I should…” or “I’m really gonna start…”  Do we actually take our lists seriously?  When we look at the Gospels, look at Jesus’ treatment of “outsiders” and say that he told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, that too is a list.  And we can’t even execute that one item.


Shocking as it is, in a small way, Jack Nicholson kind of plays the Holy Spirit in this movie.

Okay, okay, I know.  Nicholson’s character Edward tries to get Carter to go cheat on his wife and he curses up a storm and treats most other people with disdain and disrespect.  But ignore all that, and focus just on what Edward does for Carter.  He provides him with money to fly around the world and do amazing things.  He’s a comforting friend that actually does try to help him do the right thing.  And he truly cares about the betterment of Carter.  He cares about making him a better, more flourishing, more alive human being.  (and I still am questioning the comparison, and maybe I will post a rebuttal to that statement.  but for the moment, Jack Nicholson plays the Holy Spirit in The Bucket List.)


In this movie, Carter and Edward do more in 3 months than they did in an entire lifetime.

Or did they?

Edward did, surely, for he learned to love and to take joy in others and give joy to others- that is truly an adventure.

But Carter was already living the adventure, and I think he realizes that in a scene where he is sitting at the table, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren.  He complains earlier in the movie about the work he did so that his kids would be okay.  However, at this moment, I think he realizes that the real adventure is to live the real, day-to-day life- dealing with family issues, the job, life in general.

Still, he did have a great time riding a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China….

John 10:10


Carter and Edward truly bond.  They share their lives together for a few months, and somehow become as close as lifelong buds.  I think that’s because they did some certain things together that friends should do together.

– They suffered together- in cancer, in family trials, in dashed expectations

– They adventured together- they tried new things, they went new places

– They dreamed together

– They laughed together

– They served eachother

The last scene of the movie (DON’T READ THIS IF YOU DON’T LIKE “SPOILERS” OR WHATEVER) shows two coffee cans sitting atop a mountain- containing the remains of Edward and Carter.  Their final resting place represents their hearts- side by side, like David and Jonathan.  (It might sound fruity, but it really is cool if you think about it.) (And if you just thought about it and still think it’s fruity, well then I throw apples at you!)

There are actually a bunch more ideas floating around in my head, but these are what I’ve got for now.

– God calls us to fulfill our “bucket” lists- John 8:51 (there might be a better example)

– The Holy Spirit provides what we need to truly flourish- Ephesians 3:16 (among other verses)

– The true adventure to be lived is to live your life where you are- 1st Corinthians 7:17

– True friends/brothers suffer together, dream together, live and die together- 1 Corinthians 12:26


The Muffin Man- 1/23/08

There once was a man who made muffins every Tuesday morning. He was approximately 93 years old, however when he jogged (every Wednesday morning) he was as spry as an octogenarian. Well, this man, let’s call him Nate, for that was his name, loved to make muffins. Pumpkin. Spice. Blueberry. Strawberry. Chocolate. Coconut. Granola. Lime. Even Poppy Seed, though he did sometimes worry about testing positive for opium. Well, every Monday night Nate would gather up his ingredients and go to sleep at around 6:45 (unless his granddaughter Janie was calling from NYU- then he would postpone bedtime for about 30 minutes, though it did slow him down the following morning). Well, Nate would wake up at around 3:00 (yes, 3:00) and begin cooking his muffins. He had only one oven, so he would often pack it with 3 or 4 trays. Some muffins were baked in his toaster, whilst some were made in the microwave (though they were somewhat more gooey). He even found a way to cook a few in the fireplace (though they were somewhat more crunchy). Well, at around 6:00, Nate would have around 230 muffins. Sometimes 250, but usually closer to 230. Well, he would sit down, take two strawberry muffins and a glass of milk and eat them whilst listening to his Frank Sinatra records. After 20 minutes, he would get up and pack up his muffins into Tupperware (he was a Tupperware salesman for 13 years and won many salesman awards, thus gaining a collection of approximately 450 Tupperware pieces). He would load the containers into his ’92 Corolla, plug in his iPod, set it to shuffle, and pull out of driveway (of course, he only had one song on his iPod- “Come Fly With Me” by Frank”- though if you pointed out the pointlessness of appointing the iPod to shuffle mode, he would point you towards the door, even if you were outside). He would drive at 30 mph (though the speed limit was 45) down to the City Hall. He would park across the street in front of Bonnie’s Soda Shop (dropping off 8 muffins, per their deal). He would cross the road, carrying a stack of 14 Tupperwear containers. To the left of the steps of City Hall would be sitting a folding table and a stool (set up by Uma Polski, who did this for the cost of 4 muffins). Nate would take his containers, empty each one, lining up the muffins in alphabetical order, starting with Apple muffins and ending with Yam muffins (he experimented with Zebra flavored muffins in the 80s, however PETA called him for 3 weeks during “Frasier” and he got so frustrated he burned his zebra muffin recipe, his TV, his phone, and his latest copy of Newsweek- then he went and picked up a new TV and phone and subscribed to TIME). Well, after organizing the muffins, it would usually be 8:00, though he sometimes finished at 7:45. He would sit down and pull out his cell phone to call his grandson Ernie to wake him up for his 8:30 Biology class. Then Nate would hover over the muffins with a flyswatter, guarding his creations with tender loving care. Around 8:15, the usual people showed up. Henrietta Smithers, mayor; Janice Worth, City Hall receptionist; Ira Opplegang, host and producer of The Good Morning Show (City Hall doubled as the town TV station). Each would pick up two muffins, thank Nate for his handiwork, and then head in. And then Nate would sit there for another 8 hours, and finally realize that only three people worked at City Hall. He would pull out his Palm Pilot and make a note to remember to reduce his muffin numbers by more than 200. Unfortunately, Nate had never actually learned to turn on his Palm Pilot, so week after week he would forget his muffin number blunder and make the same number of muffins that he had been making ever since 1970, when the city was five times the size. So, each evening, Nate would take his leftover muffins to the local pond and feed them to the swans, the ducks, the crows, and the pigeons, and any other birds that came by. In the town of Dowby, North Carolina, the population barely hovered over 34. However, in the 40 years that Nate had been making muffins, the bird population of Dowby increased exponentially. In fact, the ratio of human to bird was around 1:358. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records gave Dowby the title of “Most Birdiest Town in America”; however, as Johann Redgraves, the town’s bookseller/librarian, had left in 1997 after making a fortune selling Beanie Babies, the townspeople weren’t that up to date on the news stories. Well, Nate would sit on the park bench and stare into the feathery water and dream. He dreamed of a place where people ate muffins all day long and sang Frank Sinatra songs while doing the limbo and playing Monopoly. And he would whisper “Blue Eyes, I wish I could find Muffinland and be the king of the muffins.” And then the sprinklers would turn on and Nate would head back to City Hall, pack up his Tupperware containers, and head home.
On April 23, 2008, Nate woke up, made the muffins, drove to City Hall, realized his blunder, and headed to the park. However, he never made it home. You see, about 40 years ago Nate started taking a pill called Olikicillin, made by the Werkle Drug Co., located just outside of Dowby. However, about 35 years, Werkle went out of business; however, Nate didn’t know this. All he knew was that one day Olikicillin cost 3.50 a bottle, and the next day it cost 12 cents. Never to pass up a bargain, he purchased approximately 3400 bottles of Olikicillin. Now, the reason Werkle went out of business was because the pill Olikicillin, designed for arthritis comfort, had a small dose of steroids in it. Well, their researchers discovered that the steroids had an interesting affect on wildlife. Namely, their monkeys began to grow extra eyeballs and their snakes grew about 4 times their normal length. Well, PETA heard about this and organized a protest, a petition, and a boycott. It worked, and Werkle went out of business. Well, Nate continued using Olikicillin, uninformed of the freakish affect on nature. The only strange thing it did in his life was notably his bad memory and spry knees and ankles (I did say he jogged like he was 60). Well, on this Tuesday evening, as Nate sat there on the bench, he began singing his favorite Sinatra song.
“Come fly with me, come fly let’s fly away…”
And so, the birds of Dowby, North Carolina obeyed their leader’s voice, and, with the strength of a thousand T-Rexes, lifted Nate up off the ground. They carried him high into the sky, thanks to their steroid-induced strength. They carried Nate to the land of Muffistan, in the heart of Asia Minor. There they dropped him through the skylight of the royal palace. Nate fell on the king of Muffistan, killing him instantly. But it was okay, because the king didn’t pay his taxes. Well, the royal subjects found Nate in the morning (the birds carried the king’s body to a nearyby ossuary), and believing it to be a sign from God (and partly because they didn’t like their original king), the citizens of Muffistan put on the hottest record that was out- Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits, pulled out the limbo poles and the Monopoly boards, and crowned Nate with a golden poppy seed muffin. He cried and cried and called his grandchildren. They weren’t impressed. But Nate was overjoyed and suddenly felt the left side of his body go limp. He smelled toast.
And it was over.
That is, the Muffistani national game of “Tranquilizer Tag/Toast Hunt” was over.
Nate lived to be 145 (Okicillin was pretty amazing) and he ruled the kingdom with great wisdom and muffinistic enlightenment.
But the kids back home in Dowby never forgot their friend, the Muffin Man. Partly because every year the town did a pageant in his honor and the kids had to sing 12 songs about muffins, not to mention learn choreography. It was the pits.
But still, the Muffin Man never really died. In our hearts. Right?

His Royal Highness Nathan Silazar- 1915-2060- May he always be immuffinned in our hearts.

Serenity – 1/11/08

Well, the other day I was watching the TV show Firefly with my sister, and then after she went to bed I watched the movie that was a continuation of the TV show.  I had seen it before, but seeing it after the TV show episodes really helped.  Anyway, there were some awesome themes I saw in it…

  • BELIEF- This movie definitely doesn’t point to a Christian belief, but it does point to belief, to faith, itself.  There’s a “pastor” (they’re called Shepherds in the Firefly/Serenity universe) that tells the main character, Mal, that he’s got to believe… nothing specific, just believe.  Well, in the movie Mal and his crew are uncovering a conspiracy that the government’s tried to cover up.  There’s an Operative hired out by the government that parallels Mal.  The Operative believes in the government, specifically he believes in a perfect world.  (When a friend of Mal tells Mal he can’t beat the operative, they state that the Operative really believes in what he’s doing— which shows the power of belief/faith— good or bad.)  Mal, on the other hand, hates the government (in the F/S universe, the government is like the winning side of the Civil War- Mal fought for the rebel side, and they lost.  The government is bad, though, and makes decisions for many people without consulting them first.)  Mal is not sure what he believes.  After the war, he didn’t really have a cause, anything to believe in.  But when he discovers the secret the government’s been trying to hide, he finds something to believe in.  He and the crew travel to a special planet where he can broadcast to the entire universe the corrupt works of the government.  The Operative tries to stop him and there is a face-off.  They both fight for what they believe, and someone wins.  SPOILER!!!! Mal broadcasts the message and forces the Operative to watch the broadcast- a video recording from the last survivor of a planet where the government tried to put chemicals in the air supply in order to “calm” the population.  The woman tells how everyone eventually stopped fighting, then working, then everyone just stopped doing anything.  The Operative, whom Mal practically chains down, watches the video.  And in the end, he helps Mal and his crew— he sees that his belief is placed in a wrong power.  Mal and his crew were fighting for truth, and the truth will always win out in the end.
  • FAMILY- The people on the ship truly act like family.  Sure, they bicker and fight– but isn’t that part of being a family?   Anyway, they fight together, they help eachother, they sacrifice for eachother- it’s truly beautiful.
  • NOBLE SACRIFICE- Almost everyone in this movie makes noble sacrifices for others or for a noble cause.  Mal and his crew risk death by going to the planet to broadcast the message.  A friend of theirs who ran the special broadcasting tower was killed, and his broadcasting equipment was destroyed by the Operative.  But in his dying moments, he leaves a message for Mal, telling him where the backup generator is.  Mal risks his life, trying to save a “friend”, Inara, from the Operative and his people.  And in one of the most beautiful moments of the movie, River, this special half-psychic/half-supergirl, bends over Simon, her brother, the doctor who just got shot after trying to fetch his doctor’s bag to help someone, and River tells Simon that he’s been watching over her for so long- now it’s her turn.  She jumps into a room that’s slowly filling with Reavers (picture zombies with the blood rage of vampires and the power of werewolves), throws the bag to Simon, and shuts the door, staying behind to fight for the others.  She risks her life out of love for her brother and the others– and that love motivates her powers into defeating the Reavers.
  • SERENITY/THE PAX-The name of Mal’s ship is Serenity.  The name of the chemicals in the air on the dead planet is the Pax.  Both words for peace, but they try to bring peace in different ways.  More thoughts to come…