And Another Thing…

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Summer movies, so far

Star Trek  A whole lot better than it should have been. I was right in hoping that they would keep the cool stuff (space travel, aliens, starship battles, phaser fights, fisticuffs, and camaraderie) and jettison the draggy stuff (wooden acting, cheap sets and special effects, self importance). The casting is rock solid (especially Karl Urban as Bones and Zachary Quinto as Spock) and the story moves like gangbusters with plenty of humor. Granted, like all movies featuring time travel there are some plot holes, but otherwise its great fun. Just one question: does anyone else wonder why alien species look and behave just like us in the Star Trek universe?

The Hangover  Absolutely appalling, but funny as all get-out. Caught this one on a guy’s night while my wife and some of her girlfriends went to see The Proposal. I think the guys got the better portion.

UP  As far as I am concerned, a new classic. Not a false note in this deeply moving, riveting, laugh-out-loud, heartfelt adventure, and I feel no shame in admitting that I choked up a couple of times. How does Pixar make movies with animated characters that seem so real while Michael Bay makes movies with flesh and blood actors who come off like cartoons?

Seen anything good? Seen anything that made you want to sue to get the time back that you spent on it? Sound off in the comments.

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The Stupidest Thing I’ve Heard This Week

The federal government has spent nearly half a million dollars to fund a study to find out why some men would prefer not to wear condoms during sex.

Next up, a study on why people don’t like paying taxes.

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Kinkade found guilty of defrauding distributors of his crap

Thomas Kinkade, purveyor of kitschy paintings and self-professed born again, has been found guilty of committing fraud against two distributors of his “paintings of light.”

From the article:

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The Nighthawks at Jammin Java

Christine and I celebrated my brother’s birthday with him and his girl on Sunday night by catching local blues legends The Nighthawks at Jammin Java. Not much I can say about this except, well, what a show. They lit the place up and boogied like the masters that they are. For your listening pleasure, I have included a clip of them playing the old chestnut “I Wish You Would.” Enjoy!!

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Just Imagine

Over at The Onion’s AV Club there is an interesting post where the editorial staff writes about what fictitious world or worlds they would like to live in and why. There are some great responses. My personal favorite:

“…my fictional world is less a matter of geography than concept: I wouldn’t mind spending a week or two in the skewed reality of a Zucker-Abrams-Zucker film like Airplane! or Top Secret. How fun would that be, to have everything you say turned into a hyper-literal pun, for every stupid question to have an attendant snappy answer, and for your life to be filled with parodic non sequiturs?”

I think it’s a great question, and seeing as I lack the shame necessary to stop me from stealing a good idea, I wanted to put it to any readers who are interested. Mine is below the fold:

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Maybe this is how it’s done

There is a great profile of Tim Keller in this month’s issue of Christianity Today. For those of you who don’t recognize his name, Keller is a pastor, author and church-planter. In 1989 he and his wife began Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the heart of Manhattan. Keller’s prior experience had been as a pastor in the suburbs and a seminary professor. Balding, bespectacled, and studious, he is by his own admission neither dynamic or hip. In fact, he admits in the article that he didn’t even want to go.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Yet today Redeemer has an average Sunday attendance of 5000 and shows no signs of slowing down their growth in the near future. Redeemer’s membership body is made up of life-long New Yorkers, Wall Street wizards, blue-collar workers, and everything in between. Every ethnicity in the city is represented. And they are in the process of planting new churches all over the city. They do this without multimedia, soft rock, or interpretive dance. Keller’s sermons follow the liturgy and the music is traditional, except for evening services. They didn’t even advertise. Consider:

“Redeemer’s worship is seemly and traditional. Instead of using video monitors, casually dressed worshipers follow a 20-page bulletin that includes hymns, prayers, and Bible texts. Organ and a brass quartet lead the music. For evening services, jazz musicians play contemporary Christian songs.

Standing 6’4”, with a bald head, glasses, and a coat and tie, Keller, 58, does not look hip. Nor is his sermon funny, charming, or daring. He preaches from the first chapter of Genesis, on the doctrine of Creation.

Keller speaks like a college professor, absorbed in his content, of which there is a lot. When longtime friend and founding member Dee Pifer invited colleagues from her Manhattan law firm, she would say, “I want you to hear a really good litigator.”‘

How does this happen?  You really need to read the article to get the whole picture, but the following points stood out to me:

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A lucky child comes into the world

Permit me to indulge in a little sentiment:

My friends Carl and Shayna became parents this past weekend. Like anyone, I rejoice to see any friends become parents when they are ready for it, and surely these two are. I have had the privilege of their friendship for almost 10 years now, and it has been a blessing every step of the way. When I first met Carl, he was a quiet college student. When he finally started talking, I quickly became impressed with his kindness, generosity, and likability. When I first met Shayna she and Carl were dating. She was not a believer, and having her in the class I taught at church challenged me in many ways – I never prepped so hard teaching a class before. I knew she would ask tough questions but she was never unfair or unkind. Over the years the two of them have come to mean a great deal to me, and eventually, to Christine as well. In fact, Shayna was one of Christine’s bridesmaids and she sang a blistering rendition of “At Last” at our wedding.

I feel compelled to celebrate the birth of their daughter, Sophia Marie, not only because I am happy for Carl and Shayna but for Sophia’s sake as well. After 10 years in human services, I know what the odds against a kid are when he/she doesn’t have good parents. In light of this, I am pleased to be able to say that the odds are on Sophia’s side.  Big time.

So congratulations Carl, Shayna, and Sophia. Here’s to a bright future for your family.

UPDATE  Comments for this post are closed. I don’t know why the little comment link is still there. Thanks Leann for letting me know.

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