And Another Thing…


“Gran Torino” a fitting final role for Eastwood


Since my father considers westerns to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement in the U.S., my exposure to Clint Eastwood’s oeuvre started young and never stopped; and he has made some of my favorite movies ever. To be fair, he’s made a few clinkers along the way, but for the most part he has maintained his status in my mind as one of the coolest, toughest guys in Hollywood.

I didn’t bother seeing The Changeling (although I won’t rule out ever seeing it) but I was chomping at the bit to catch Gran Torino. Initially, the Mrs. wasn’t interested, and understandably so. In her mind, Eastwood was just “Dirty Harry” so I had to convince her that his later movies are a whole lot more than that (nothing against Dirty Harry in my book, though). After finally relenting, she was pleasantly surprised – she laughed as hard as everyone else in the theatre at the funny bits and admitted that she even cried a little at the end.

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Filed under: Movies, ,

It’s Never Going to Stop, Is It?

Warning: If you have no history with the churches of Christ or any other fellowship to come out of the Restoration Movement, this post may make no sense (or be of interest) to you whatsoever. However, if you are curious, read on; if you have something to share from a different perspective, by all means feel free to comment.

The c of C blogosphere has been all abuzzin over a story in the Christian Chronicle about the 2009 edition of Churches of Christ in the United States. This latest edition reports that our congregations are closing shop at record rates and our membership numbers are on an increasingly steep decline. To be exact: we have lost 526 churches and 78,436 members in the past six years. And we were never that big to begin with: 12,762 congregations with 1,601,661 adherents at our peak.

As the story points out, some of the reduced numbers can be attributed to the decision of the directory’s editors to remove congregations that have one or more services which use dat ol’ debbil instrumental music. Case in point: the directory excludes the Richland Hills church, which as it happens is the largest congregation in the fellowship.

Many c of C bloggers (mostly elders or ministers) have chimed in on the issue; and best as I can tell, there are six recurrent (and contradictory) themes:

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Filed under: Faith and Religion, , , , , , , , ,

Quick Hits X: The Freakin’ Cold Winter Edition

I am ridiculously jazzed for the final episodes of Battlestar Galacticastarting this Friday. If you have not been watching it, then you are missing out on one of the best shows currently on television and one of the best science fiction shows ever. I caught up with it last summer thanks to NetFlix, and am glad that I did. There are a few dud episodes scattered throughout, but they are more than worth it for the satisfaction of seeing the whole story through.


Is it wrong that the main reason I am looking forward to the double holiday whammy next week is so that I can get two days off?


 If you like to read, check out Shelfari. You can friend me under the name Mike M.


Jackie Chan will play Mr. Miyagi in the upcoming Karate Kid remake. I’m not kidding. So in addition to confidence, self-respect, timeless life lessons, and some sweet fighting skills, the new kid will learn to speak broken English and make grossly exaggerated pain expressions.

I’ve made clear my distaste for most remakes before, but I’m not opposed to them on principle. I think that John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing is brilliant – it’s closer to the spirit of the original story and he managed to up the suspense and paranoia by making the creature capable of mimicking human beings to the smallest detail. Plus, he gave it one of the best endings of all time. But was something wrong with the original Karate Kid? Having caught it again on cable a few years ago, I thought that it was still a decent, emotionally satisfying, feel-good movie. So who needs a remake?



Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Ricardo Montalban has gone on to that Fantasy Island in the sky. However, many of us geeks will always remember him as one of the greatest science fiction movie villains ever.


Again with the geeking: Remember that sweet stinger at the end of the closing credits for Iron Man with Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury? Apparently, being in an actual good movie frightened him, so Jackson may not reprise the role for Iron Man 2.

Filed under: Quick Hits, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


It’s a common courtesy in the blogosphere to provide links to those who link to you, so I want to make sure that I am reciprocating those who have done me the courtesy (charity?) of linking their very good blogs to my very average blog. I will be adding these to a blogroll here on the front page instead of the links page. I have listed the links that I know of below the fold. If you link to AAT and your blog is not on the list below, drop me a comment and I will link up accordingly. Obviously, if your blog is private I will not link to it. Thanks for your help. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Getting What We Pay For

I’m going out on a limb here, but I think maybe this woman missed the point, despite all that church-going.


Disabled Man’s Ordeal Leads To Bus Matron’s Arrest

Family Furious After Man With Cerebral Palsy Was Left Alone In Frigid Brooklyn Yard For 19 Hours

NEW YORK (CBS) – He could have frozen to death.

On Thursday night police charged a 51-year-old woman for allegedly leaving a mentally and physically challenged man — overnight — on a bus for 19 hours.

Ed Rivera, who has cerebral palsy and the mental capacity of a 2-year-old, survived alone, trapped in a parking lot Wednesday night, as the wind chill hovered near zero.

Rivera’s New York City family was in disbelief Thursday night following a day of uncertainty.

Rivera didn’t arrive home Wednesday night. His special needs bus, ironically named Outstanding Transport, should have dropped him in East Harlem, but investigators found him almost a day later — miles away in a Brooklyn bus yard. Sources tell CBS 2 HD Rivera was strapped in his seat directly behind the driver’s seat. How the driver missed him is not known.

However, late Thursday sources told CBS 2 HD police were talking to the bus matron Linda Hockaday, the assistant to the bus driver. The source said Hockaday admitted to knowing that Rivera was still on the bus when it was locked up on one of the coldest nights of the year. Her rationale for leaving? She apparently didn’t want to be late for church. [Emphasis mine]


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Filed under: Society, , , , , , , , , , , ,

First Stupid Thing I’ve Heard in 2009

Hair-splitting semantics run amok:

School bans the word ‘school’


THE head of a new school has banned the word “school” – in case it upsets pupils’ parents.

Watercliffe Meadow is known as a “Place for Learning” because staff say “school” has a negative impact on some mums and dads.

The new £4.7million academy in Sheffield, South Yorks, replaced three old schools.

Its 481 pupils, from nursery to Year 6, are allowed to wear slippers instead of shoes.

Headteacher Linda Kingdon said: “We decided we didn’t want to use the word ‘school’.

“One reason was many parents of children here had very negative connotations of school.

“Instead we want this to be a place for family learning.

“There are no bells or locked doors. We wanted to de-institutionalise the place and bring the school closer to real life.” 

What negative connotation does the word “school” have exactly? Where did Ms. Kingdon get the idea? Did the parents demand the change? If not, how did anyone draw this conclusion?

I love the quotes about letting the children wear slippers and not having any locked doors, especially since these things are a part of “bringing the school closer to real life.”

Where, in the real world, is anyone allowed to wear slippers outside of their home? Where in the real world do we not have locked doors? This reminds me of some of the things that my friends at state schools used to say to me about attending a Christian college, such as “How do you learn anything about the real world?” Apparently, this was the real world where Mom and Dad paid for everything, you got to sleep in every day until 10, and nobody cared about your appearance when you went to work.

But hey, I’ll play along. I don’t know if England’s public schools are in the same sorry shape as ours, but based on the work stories some of my teacher friends tell me, maybe the U.S. should try some alternative names for our schools:

Gang Recruitment and Initiation Center

Facility for the Cultivation of Unwarranted Self-Esteem

Parental Failure to Discipline Correctional Unit

Place for Junior-League Responsibility Aversion Training and Sociopathy Development

Metal Detector Testing Site

Well, you get the picture. Any other alternatives you care to suggest?

Filed under: Rants, School, , , , , , , ,

Nine More

Movies that I may see this year

Shutter Island – Scorsese directing a movie based on a great novel by one of my favorite writers? Dude.

Avatar – James Cameron returns to science fiction, with no ocean liners or clichéd love stories in sight.

I Love You, Man – This one could go either way, but the two leads bust me up every time I see them.

The Maiden Heisthere’s why.

Public EnemiesMichael Mann directing a movie about gangsters and g-men in the 30s? Sold.










Up – Another probable winner from Pixar.


watchmencastWatchmen – Zack Snyder’s long-awaited adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons masterpiece. Unfortunately, we may have to wait a little while longer for this one: distribution rights are currently in legal contention.

beniciowolfmanThe Wolf Man – I would normally eschew horror remakes, but with Benicio del Toro starring and the legendary Rick Baker doing the special effects, this might be a keeper.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Initially, I had no interest in this one, but the trailer makes me think twice.

Movies that I wouldn’t see with a gun to my head

Bride Wars – just the title and the fact that Kate Hudson is in it are enough.

Dragonball: Evolution – Anime brought to life. Oh joy.

Friday the 13th – What, the 10 sequels didn’t offer enough variations on “Guy in hockey mask runs around and kills kids at camp”?

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra – What’s next, a Masters of the Universe movie? Oh, never mind.

He’s Just Not That Into You – and I’m just not that into 2 hours of torture.

My Bloody Valentine 3D – 3D is usually code for “suck.”

The Pink Panther 2 – I didn’t see the first one, so why break with tradition? Steve Martin should be sentenced to dig up Peter Sellers and stop him from doing 360s in his grave.

Race to Witch Mountain – so how long before The Rock has to return to wrestling?

Terminator Salvation – stupid title, stupid idea, stupid director

Now how about you? What movies are you looking forward to or dreading in the new year?

Filed under: Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nine for ‘09

Looking back…

Nine Most Popular Posts at AAT in 2008

  1. Let freedom ring…except on campus (1,051 views) – In which I pingbacked to Mark Elrod’s blog (now gone private), touched on a subject which provoked strong reactions, and learned about the joys of comment moderation.
  2. American Movie “Classics” (901 views) – A lot of folks seemed to share my opinion that Piñata: Survival Island and Navy Seals don’t quite qualify as classics.
  3. Cheesus Saves (783 views) – Mmm, holy snack food.
  4. And the dust settles… (458 views) – The fallout from #2.
  5. New Year, new Edumacational Interlude (425 views) – I have no idea why.
  6. About (389 views) – Presumably, these folks wanted to know how I got this way.
  7. Jesus, School My Heart (387 views) – Sing it!
  8. Pentecostals With Mullets: Brother Barry Woo-hoo! (384 views) – Satan is a liar!
  9. Just like everybody else (381 views) – In which I suggest that maybe folks with disabilities might value their lives.

…and looking ahead 

Nine Things I Am Looking Forward To in 2009

  1. Graduation from VCU
  2. Another year with Christine
  3. My next job (whatever that may be)
  4. Graduation from VCU
  5. A long vacation
  6. Being able to stay awake in church because I did not work the night before
  7. Graduation from VCU
  8. Free weekends
  9. Did I already mention graduating?

Happy New Year to everyone – may joy, health, and prosperity be the constants of your life in 2009.

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Where in the World…