Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Double E-note

I don't usually do the "meme" thing, but I figure, what the hey.

Fivers (snagged from RAD Cara):

In my fridge:
  • a fresh new gallon of milk that my mother insisted i take home with me after the family's Memorial Day dinner.
  • two uncut onions. not sure about the age of either, but i know that one is much older than the other.
  • Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. so choice.
  • a small container of "pumpkin spice" butter that my dad left in there from his last visit. the idea of it frightens me, so i haven't touched it since.
  • some Oscar Meyer fat-free hot dogs that I will be tearing into in about an hour.

In my closet:
  • Two hockey sticks that I "inherited" from my dad and one of his brothers. My grandparents were in the process of moving from their old A-frame house into a smaller, pre-fab home about thirty yards away, and needed to get rid of old junk. I got the boy's hockey sticks. My dad saw one of them a while back and said, "you know that's mine, right?" I smiled and said, "Not anymore."
  • A shoebox full of clipped pictures and words from sundry magazines. For some reason a few years back, I started making collages at random times. I'm not as good at it as some folks, but I'm just a lowly lit-geek.
  • A box of old teacher's-edition textbooks that i'm trying (and failing) to sell online.
  • A framed movie poster from Kill Bill: Volume II that used to hang in my office before we moved buildings. I was going to hang it in my house but haven't decided on a good spot. Plus, the frame's cheap, so I want to get a better one.
  • Three tee-shirts that I look forward to wearing, about sixty or seventy pounds from now. These include a House of Blues shirt, a Waterdeep concert shirt, and my rockin U2 Vertigo tour shirt.

In my car:
  • my old air filter that I just replaced, and forgot to throw out.
  • my headlight power knob. it broke off a while back, and instead of doing the smart thing and getting it fixed, I just keep it in the ashtray, and use it like a key to turn my lights on and off.
  • an old air freshener shaped like an old-school Nintendo controller. it's been years since it had any scent, but I don't want to throw it away.
  • a number of crappy mix tapes that I'm about to toss out and replace.
  • a rubber mallet, hammer, and crowbar that I bought at a truck stop in Sanger, Texas, when a friend and I got stranded there for seven hours because I couldn't get the stupid tire-lock lugnut off of the flat tire. I bought the implements for my various attempts to snap the stud, since i couldn't get the lug off. of course, once my dad drove up from Houston, he was able to get the lug off in less than two minutes. because that's how my life works.

In my purse--I mean, wallet:
  • my old OBU ID. I showed this to coworkers during Friday lunch, and my boss said (with no small hint of surprise), "Wow, Dave, you're a good-looking guy!" Well, um, thanks, man. Of course, with the picture that's on my ID, I'm rather puzzled how he came to that decision.
  • a fortune cookie fortune that I got during a Sunday School lunch at Pei Wei. The fortune reads, "YES! Do it with confidence!" I laughed at this and passed it around the table. Best fortune ever. And it's been in my wallet for the past two or three years, as an unsubtle reminder to always do "it" with confidence.
  • a Taco Bell promotional game piece. do you remember "pogs"? well, Taco Bell had this promotion coinciding with the release of Star Wars Episode 1, where the characters were on different "pog-shaped" game pieces, and you collect 2,3, or 4 certain color-coded pieces to win each prize (not unlike McDonalds' famous Monopoly promotion). Well, I got the "Princess Amidala" piece, which was one of five "million-dollar" prize pieces. This was about the same time my crush on Natalie Portman began, and I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. Into the wallet it went, and every time I pull it out or look at it, I laugh and leave it in there. For five years.
  • a faded, water-damaged picture of my youngest sister, with Santa Claus, from three years ago.
  • no money.

BR update

I'm in a holding pattern right now. Still working on the Genesis piece. Next up is the story of Elisha (Elijah?) and the Widow's Oil, and then the story of Lazarus' resurrection (from three perspectives).

Just to let you know. Still working on it. Heck, I may even post an excerpt around here, if the fancy strikes me.

The PBB Cool Ten (5/28-6/3)

10. 19-31. That's right--12 games below .500--yet my mood is lighter. Must be because we actually won a game yesterday. Either that, or all the Cubzac I've been downing like breath mints.
9. Saw X-3...twice. It was a little better the second time. Really, it was just because I've already gotten over the initial shock of Wolverine dying... Just kidding. It was Rogue. HA. Made ya look.
9a. By the way--Anna Paquin? Still kinda hot.
8. Finished "Pride and Prejudice." Good book, highly recommended. Turns out Darcy and Elizabeth are both prideful and both prejudiced. They just alternate who's what.
7. Used an old Best Buy giftcard this weekend to pick up my dad's Father's Day gift (next month, kids, don't forget!), and with the remainder, bought myself this little gem.
6. Mocha Cappucino Shakes. Mmmmm. Diet killers, though. But so choice.
5. Manders asked me, if I had to choose, would I be a pirate or a ninja? It was a tough decision, but I went with ninja, because I don't swim well. However, if I had to choose which one to fight, I'd rather fight a pirate, because ninjas tend to be less honorable and more crafty. ...Yes, these are the things we talk about.
4. Adam found this, and I found it hilarious--Screwtape's Letter about The DaVinci Code. A PBB must-read.
3. I'm shaking off the shackles of laziness and putting Redux into overdrive. I'm committing right now to finishing the first draft before summer's end.
2. I returned to the scene of the crime--my old high school--for a graduation two days ago. Saw some old friends, and some old co-workers. Fun times. Anecdote later, I'm sure.
1. I'm hitting the road two weeks from today!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

i have to admit, the dancing hot dog makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

Movies I'm Looking Forward To This Summer:

X-Men: The Last Stand (tonight!)
The Proposition
A Prarie Home Companion
Nacho Libre
The Lake House
Superman Returns
Pirates of the Carribean II: Dead Man's Chest
Clerks II (I know, it's wrong, but i DON'T CARE)
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (okay, not really, I just love Uma...and Eddie Izzard. In different ways.)
A Scanner Darkly

Movies I'm Looking to AVOID like the Plague This Summer:

Thrice Fast, Thrice Furious (thrice insipid.)
Yet Another Garfield Movie (Bill, consider this an intervention: we need you to stop.)
The Break-Up
Miami Vice
Zoom (and pretty much the rest of Tim Allen's career)
Snakes on a ^&(*#(#&*Q#$& Plane!

What about you? Agree? Disagree? Did I miss any that you're wanting to check out?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

We are all on drugs.

After watching the Cubs get ingloriously swept by the team with the second-worst record in baseball, I'm really starting to rethink that "no-swearing" argument. It's true; sometimes, there are no other appropriate words.

Furthermore, if God didn't want me to swear, He shouldn't have let me be a Cubs fan. Must be where free will comes in. ("That's right, boy. Good ol' free will!")

Okay. That's all I'm gonna say. Have a good evening.

*grumble grumble Astros grumble Cardinals grumble grumble injuries grumble friggin Dusty Baker grumble grumble*

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On the Subject of Profanity; or, "Dang, Gina."

Speaking of swearing like a pirate (or a Canadian), there have been not a few feathers ruffled in the Christian blogorama about the issue of swearing. At the center of the issue over the last few weeks are two figures: one is Pastor Mark Driscoll, who in a recent book recounts a conversation without editing the salty (or, some could argue, salt-less) language involved. This caused a bit of a reaction (though--to be fair--Challies, in the original book review, only gave it a parting mention), as does Driscoll's alleged propensity for using such language from time to time, which is not seen as offensive by the flock he cares for. (I say "allegedly" because I haven't seen or heard any evidence other than the report of others.)

The other figure is the blogger Centuri0n, who used an expression that some of his readers deemed unsavory. First, he tried to explain his use of the phrase, and then recanted, based on his own conscience in the matter, and I respect that.

Others have commented on the subject, either to defend one or both instances, or to lambast them. I'll do neither. Instead, I'll do what I do best: work from personal experience. (In other words, "this is where I'm at" on the subject.)

I have a problem with profanity, and I have for several years. I picked up my wide use of profanity in college, particularly through theatre (the actual practice of it, not the people involved...necessarily). Not blaming or pointing fingers, just stating fact. Before college, I was a really uptight church kid who'd much more easily slander or reject others than use a four-letter-word in front of them. As I matured (in some respects), my attitudes and habits changed. While I'm now less likely to mistreat or reject people who act or believe differently than I do, I'm also more likely to use what some consider objectionable language.

[If pressed to choose, I'd prefer to be guilty of the latter than the former. However, I shouldn't have to choose one. I should strive for that option of "neither."]

Do I believe that using "swear words" is absolutely wrong? I know you're waiting for the answer to that question, either ready to attack or defend with chapter and verse. The answer is... I don't know. Sort of?

Some of you are disappointed, I'm sure. You probably have proof texts that you are ready to paste into the comments. That's fine. Thank you for your concerns. But if you do any amount of study into the commentary on those common texts, you will find that the definition of "filthy language" is not exactly crystal clear. There are a host of cultural and interpretive factors to consider.

Now, you know me. You know I hate the goofy, pandering academic drivel (apologies to you academics) that over-analyzes and weakens Scripture with exceptions and caveats, until it is powerless, meaningless pulp. But in this instance, I think there is some merit to considering the bigger meaning behind the text, and you have to consider how one's context affects things.

Or not. You may believe that these four-(or five or six or seven or eight or twelve)-letter words are never acceptable under any circumstances. If that's you, I support you one hundred percent. And sometimes, I feel the same way.

Of course, that does make the issue of "substitution words" a troubling one. Because I think a "bad word" is bad due to what it means, rather than the letters and sounds that comprise it. So, in that context, do words like "dang" and "crap" and "shoot" and "dadgum" and (dare I say it?) "frak" constitute sins of intentional profanity, if not actual? Does this mean that any emotional exclamation, other than one of love and/or praise, comes dangerously close to that uncrossable line?

I'm not trying to nitpick--really, believe me, I'm not. But this is the type of thing I wonder about.

So again I say, I don't know. I don't know, outside of a few obvious things, if there are words that are never appropriate in any context.

The few obvious things, off the top of my head (and subject to further additions--but no subtractions):

--Misuse of God's Name: There is clear Scriptural teaching that it is never appropriate under any circumstance to use God's name flippantly or disrespectfully. This doesn't just apply to the big "G.D." I think even careless uses of "Oh my" etc., are wrong. And I will confess that I do this too, more than I want to admit. It's wrong, and it's sin, because it diminishes the sacredness of the Name that we have been unworthily and graciously allowed to call upon. It's taken me a while to really grasp the seriousness of this offense, but it's something that I have recently been convicted of.
--The F-Bomb: I can't think of any justification where such a thing is defensible as benign or inoffensive speech. There is no meaning or variation of it that is not repugnant or unnecessary. Yet, like the other, I have used it and continue to use it from time to time. It is one part of my speech that I really want to eliminate.

That stated, I use these and other profane words. Much worse, I like using them sometimes. There are times when I find a certain word or phrase to be the most appropriate and expressive one at the time (which may belie a lack of linguistic imagination on my part). I feel a little less awkward knowing that others feel the same way from time to time.

But Cent brings up a valid point immediately after admitting he gets satisfaction from a properly employed profanity. We should question whether we should allow ourselves to feel any sentiment that we require profanity to express. As he aptly quotes, Christ teaches that out of the overflow of the heart does a man speak. So whatever thought is coming out of my mouth, it doesn't just appear. It has its genesis in my heart and mind. [This brings up a whole 'nother issue that's just as big and messy: what we feed our minds and hearts, and how it affects us. I almost got sidetracked here, on this point, but I'll save that for some other time.]

This brings up a root cause of my profanity problem, and one I'm often resistant to address: part of me doesn't really want to change. I don't want to give up those words. But as much as I can argue and justify and give examples of context and exception, deep down I know that a fully mature believer just doesn't speak that way. In my heart, that's what I believe... I think.

That doesn't mean I condemn or accuse or confront other believers who do, with the exception of the first exception above--I'll call you out on that. And by that same token, I expect and allow you to confront me (gently, please) when I make those mistakes. As for the other stuff, the other "profane" words, I'm trying at least to limit, to cut out, to substitute, to sidestep those words where and when i can. I absolutely refuse to use them in specific and certain contexts, which are obvious with any amount of reflection.

I'll close with two anecdotes. First. I have a friend who attends the Sunday morning Bible study I teach/lead. He's a relatively new believer. We were talking one day after class, and he said that he felt like he's still learning the "proper" Christian practices. I knew immediately what he meant. There are certain things you do and say (or don't do or say) when you interact with other believers. He talked about how he says "God" as an exclamation or filler word sometimes. He said that, after our class barbeque a few weeks ago, his girlfriend pulled him aside and commented that he needs to watch out for that. He felt bad about it and told me, "Dave, I feel so embarrassed. I just didn't know, you know?" What I told him is, yes, there is clear Biblical teaching that what he did was wrong. But I said, "Man, there's grace for that, you know? God knows your heart, and He knows that you didn't mean disrespect at all. Now that you know, you work on it, but you don't need to sweat what's already done. Ask for forgiveness, and move on, yeah?"

I believe this is absolutely true. There's grace for the repentant swearer. As long as we're seeking God's face in this matter and doing what we can to walk in God's continual process of renewal for our hearts and minds, we'll be okay. We don't have to sweat it. If we fall, we confess and receive forgiveness. We change. We grow. It's all good.

Second. Before class one week, I met with the other teachers for a time of prayer, as is our weekly practice. Somehow, the discussion turned to the subject of bad language, and the single adult pastor talked about how appalled he is at the use of the "F" word. I sat, silently, riddled with guilt. I had used it just the day before, for something that little merited such strong language. Flippantly, in other words. And I knew I would use it again (which, of course, I did--that very day, I think). I sat there, wondering what this man (who is my supervisor, essentially, in this ministry) would think if he knew the kind of language I've been known to use.

Finally, later, I realized that someone else of higher authority knew already. God Himself knows that I'm a man of unclean lips, and that despite my best efforts, I slip up and say something foul sometimes. And even though He knows this, He still called me to be a Sunday School teacher. This is not to say that I have the right or freedom to curse like a pirate (or a Canadian) in my classroom, or anywhere else. Far from it. But it does mean that my brokenness does not disqualify me from being used of God. Nor does yours disqualify you. God knows your faults, your petty sins, your "big, bad" habits. He knows. And He still loves you deeply, and calls you to follow Him and do His work in the world. So, rest on grace. And don't sweat your imperfection. Follow. Seek. Trust.

"I don't swear like a pirate; I swear like a Canadian."

I don't know how many of you will dig this, but Random House Canada has posted a podcast interview with my favorite author, Douglas Coupland, about his new book JPod. If you're a fan of his writing, it's worth a listen. If for no other reason than to hear the origin of the post title there.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The PBB Cool Ten (5/21-5/27)

10. 18-25. The only good to come out of this week is that we weren't swept by the ChiSox. Yes, winning one game out of the 3-game series is the ONLY good thing that I can think of.
9. New albums on the AOL page this week: the 2-disc set of previously unreleased Johnny Cash songs (!!!), as well as new releases by Less than Jake, the Ditty Bops, Alexi Murdock, Def Leppard, Angels and Airwaves, Americal Idol (gag), and the Dixie Chicks (double gag).
8. A humorously re-edited "trailer" for Charlton Heston's "Ten Commandments"--Vaguely wrong? Quite. Funny? Oh heck yeah. (NOTICE: Includes one use of the "eff-bomb," so be advised.)
7. Q: What's cooler than being cool? (A: Ice-cold.)
6. My mom bought me a bunch of groceries yesterday. That's pretty dang cool.
5. Pride and Prejudice is actually a pretty good book (i'm halfway through). Recommended.
4. The finale of 24 is tonight! Go Jack go!
3. Already have my tickets to see X-3 at 11:59 Thursday night!!!
2. I managed not to get the crippling stomach virus that took out 60% of my family this weekend.
1. Next Monday is Memorial Day! Woohoo!

Friday, May 19, 2006

And now, back to dumb stuff...

My "favorites" list is overly full, which means only one thing:


  • Growing up in the church as I did (the Independant Fundamental Baptist and Southern Baptist varieties), this cracks my corn right up. Being no theological scholar, I had to look up what "semi-pelagian" means. What's funny is that, I recognized the sentiments without knowing what it was.
  • Ever wondered what it would be like if Martin Luther came back to life as a movie reviewer? No need to wonder anymore.
  • This post about Jesus the Investment Banker was an interesting read. I have to admit, I've slipped into this type of description before. Something to ponder. (h-t: BHT, i think.)
  • Manders clued me in on this: the Cookie "Monster" experiences an existential crisis.
  • If you haven't read Joe Carter's comparison of the church to tree bark, you should. Because it's good stuff.
  • It's summer, and that means it's time for really crappy blockbusters (Da Vinci what?). Here's a list of the ten worst blockbusters of all time. (WARNING: Strong Language.)
  • From the same site as above, so ignore the banner ads, please. But this is one of my favorite reviews of "United 93" so far. (Yes, I promise, mine is still coming.)
  • This is an interesting piece: If you don't like rap, does that mean you're secretly a racist? My answer: No, it just means you have taste. Oooh, buuuuurrrrrnnnn!!!
  • I've already confessed this to Jill (whose BIRTHDAY is today, so go show her love!), but I think it's time to confess it to y'all, too: I think Britney is more attractive with the baby weight, than she was without it. There, I've said it.
  • It really depresses me that there's a chance Carrot Top could actually kick my butt in a street fight. I mean, dang. Dude's got himself some guns now. And he'd fight dirty, too. You never can tell with those redheads.
  • Here's an article from IMonk about Generation Y (still hate that title) and how they may not put much stock in the "God-shaped hole" idea. Must-read for anyone in ministry.
  • Memo to Brother Pat: "Do us all a favor, and please SHUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTT UUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP!!!!!" Best (worst?) quote of the day: "If I heard the Lord right..." So, since Robertson has now made the leap to claiming to receive special, specific revelation from God Himself about future events, does that mean that we have to organize a stoning party if he's wrong? Don't look at me like that. I'm just asking. You know, to be Biblically accurate and everything. Sheesh.
  • Congrats to Manders, who's found the most. addicting. internet game. ever.
  • Frank Turk dispenses some pretty harsh advice about blogging posts involving "where I'm at right now." Which leads me to believe that he may be a closet PBB reader. Come out of the shadows and join us, Frank. It's okay. We're all friends here. (h-t: pyro.)

Have a good weekend, gang.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Post #1,000: "Plus de choses changent..."

Dear Friends,

I started blogging on September 16, 2002. And outside of the really inconsistent posting during my period of unemployment in 2003, and my self-imposed blog hiatuses and vacations, I have done it on a daily basis ever since. To the tune of a post almost every day and a half. Or something. I didn't really try to do the exact math. One of you math nerds can help me out with this.

Karin says that changes come and turn your world around. Well, in the years and months since that afternoon when I first signed on to Blogger, they have. I was thinking about this the other day. During the lifetime of this blog, there have been two election cycles, including a presidential election. A war in Iraq. The deposing of a dictator. Terrorist attacks in London, Madrid, Indonesia. A tsunami in the South Pacific. A hurricane's destructive force, a little closer to home. The deaths of all sorts of public figures. Big events.

Lots of smaller events have shaped this blog too. The Cubs getting five outs away from the World Series. Getting to see my three favorite bands perform. Watching hundreds of movies, reading dozens of books, listening to thousands of songs. The birth of my love for my favorite TV show. The marriages of so many friends. Meeting so many new friends, both in person and online. Contemplating the death of my 18-year-old cousin, and the incarceration of a high-school friend who wasn't that much older. Losing my first grown-up job. Finding a new one. Moving out of my parents' house and to an apartment five minutes away, and then a year later, moving across town. Travelling to places I've never been, like St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

A few minor events have actually occured on this blog. I've started writing two different books, that I actually intend to finish. Regular weekly segments have come and gone; some have lasted(like the ever-popular "Cool Ten"), while others have quickly faded from memory. (Anyone remember the "PBB Dead Letter Office"? Chaucer still owes Manders a letter.) The blog name and design have each changed twice. You've been witness to the "Slackie" Awards, and the newest and greatest fake Internet holiday, International "Embrace the Lame" Day. I've started and then closed a handful of side-blogs, ignored a few coblogs, invaded and occupied Will Sansbury's blog (which I ruled for a week before being overthrown in a bloody coup), and seriously contemplated purchasing a new domain and continuing my blog (and eventually literary) career under a new persona.

And in the end, here we are. You, the reader. And me, the writer.

I called myself "TeacherDave" on that September afternoon, because that's what I was. A high-school English teacher. Some of you first knew me as such. A few of you had the privilege (or misfortune) of actually being my pupil.

Since then, I have stopped teaching English grammar and literature, and have started teaching Sunday morning Bible study to people my age. So, I'm still a teacher.

But throughout the intervening 3+ years, I have been more often a learner. And I'm still learning, each day. How to live and work and love and write and be. I'm still learning how to blog rightly, so that I don't abuse or misuse or squander this opportunity to teach and entertain and amuse and love each of you.

One of the things I've learned most often is that a word, whether written or spoken, is a source of incredible power. Too often, especially in this context, I've been shamefully cavalier with this power, this gift. My hope is that, as I continue to write, I can do so with more humility.

I was trying to think of a big theme or topic for this post, but I couldn't come up with one that seemed to do the moment justice. Yes, Tiff, this is a big deal for me. This website, you readers, you've all been such a big part of my life for the past 3+ years, that I wanted to mark the occasion with something worthwhile, something grand. But I have nothing grand to give you today, except my thanks.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, for encouraging. Thank you to the few of you who have had the courage and kindess to call me out and kick my butt a little bit, when I've been out of line (which has happened much too often). Thank you to new friends and new faces, who have sent such kind regards. If not for you folks, I wouldn't do this. Seriously. I can talk big about how this is all about self-expression, but really, it's about connection, however ephemeral.


Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to speak to these folks, and the blessing of sharing part of myself with them, and receiving part of them in return. Help me never take such things for granted.


Onward to the next 1,000 posts? Perhaps. Unless the Lord intervenes somehow, nothing much is gonna change here. Maybe a little more temperance and prudence in what I say and how I say it. Less self-pity and self-involvement is surely in order. No more Xanga-teen posts about how sad it is that no one lurvs me, because that's both childish and untrue. I am loved, even if not in all the ways I hope yet. But I am loved, and that is enough.

You know, I thought about quitting this whole blogging racket. Really, it crossed my mind for a second. A poetic finish, to say goodbye, out of the blue, in the 1,000th post? But I couldn't bear the thought. I'm enjoying myself much too much to think about leaving.

I sometimes worry that this online community prevents me from establishing real flesh-and-blood friendships. But even if that may be somewhat true sometimes, I'm not done with whatever I am supposed to be doing on this silly old blog.

So, until such time as God changes my plans, I remain indebtedly and respectfully yours,


Friday, May 12, 2006

"...Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb!"

WARNING: Extreme fanboy prattle ahead. If you are not a fan of "Smallville," Superman, or goofy comic-book type stuff in general, skip this post. Go outside and enjoy the nice weather. Take a nap. Read a book (gasp! That's crazy talk!) Do something productive.


Holy. Crap. Dude.

That was a crazy season finale. So much packed into the one little hour.

To address it point by point:

Opening. Lana and Lex napping together on the couch. Heh. Guess there's no pretense of awkwardness anymore, huh? Then Lex gets "The Headaches" (which always means Kryptonian mischief afoot), and rolls out from under Lana. He drives out of there, and she follows in her vehicle. (Echoes of the "chase scene" in "Reckoning"? Yes, I think so.) Out to the field Lex runs (same field where Lana saw the black ship originally? I'll have to check), and there the ground stars exploding around him into the Zod symbol. Nice effect with Fine appearing behind Lana, in what appears to be David Duchovney's "X-Files" wardrobe. "I'm preparing him." Creepy. Then Lex is abducted by the almost-invisible ship (what, they couldn't afford the F/X this time? I guess, given the rest of the episode, I shouldn't complain). Lana actually acts, showing an emotion other than petulant pouting. Amazing. Must be the finale or something.

Clark and Chloe need to stop discussing matters of worldwide importance in public where people like sneaky Lana can hear. Geez, kids. You're in a freaking NEWSROOM talking about SECRETS. Duh. Clark decides that Lex is the vessel that he has to kill, as verified by his trip to the Fortress. Good to hear Jor-El's voice again. He's been MIA since Pa Kent died. J-E gives clark the special Dagger out of the console there.

...too much to recap. How about highlights?

--Lionel seemed to get pissed off at Clark at one point there. Like he's saying, "Geez, kid, crap or get off the pot already." Guess it's hearing that your son is the vessel for the most destructive force of evil in the galaxy. Always sure to ruin your morning.

--No way Lionel should have survived being thrown fifty feet into his limo's windshield. I totally thought he was a dead man. Which would have been cool too. Lex killing his dad. Appropriate.

--Lex shooting himself to prove his abilities to Lana was pretty rad. And the whole, "I'd never keep such a big secret from the one I love" line was awesome. Take that, Clark! Idiot. What I wish he'd done though, was test whether the kryptonite affected him the same way. I guess they're saving that for later. But that would have been the obvious step, especially for someone like Lex. Find out where your weaknesses are, so that you can protect yourself.

--Lana is evil. EVIL. EVOL. EEEEEVIL. Like the fru-its of the dev-il. E-vil. Not that I don't understand some of her motivation. But the whole, "I never really loved you" line to Clark was just ice cold. Dang, Gina. Vindictive much?

--The look on Clark's face was priceless when he found out that Lana accepted Lex's new powers. Granted, it isn't the same as telling her you're an alien, but still. Looked like Clark was kicked in the gut by that realization. Good, I say.

--The Clark/Fine confrontation rocked. Some of the best lines of the episode. "...your one weakness: humans." And the final standoff: "I'll give you one more chance to join me." "I'll never join you." "So it begins. Enjoy the show."

--The moment when Clark saved Chloe from the car flying into the DP basement--awesome. Great F/X. And the kiss--hot dang, dude. Clark better get his head straight and grab Chloe before she's gone, one way or another. That's what I would do. In a heartbeat.

--The Clark/Lex fight was cool, but short. Does Lex have the speed and strength only? Can he do heat-vision? Because duelling heat-vision would have been cool.

--Clark, Clark, Clark--why did you throw the dagger into Fine? The dagger that CAME FROM THE CONSOLE that Fine was trying to tap into in the first place? DUH. DUH DUH DUH. That said, I kinda had the same thought. So I'm not gonna throw stones. Or daggers. But dang, just give a huge helping hand to Fine, who evil-red-energies from the console to himself to Lex, opening up the portal and "downloading" the spirit of Zod into ol' baldy.

--Clark/Lex-od dialogue was good. "You have your father's eyes." "I won't let you destroy this planet like you did Krypton!" Lex as Zod is just awesome. Michael Rosenbaum can totally swing that--and you know he had to enjoy it.

--Phantom Zone. Lex throws the Phantom Zone braclet thing, which appears, then flies out the barn's picture window (formerly known as the "snoopy telescope" window) and into space. Then, Clark just got yanked up, up, and away, into it, like that movie "The Forgotten." He didn't even try to stop it. I think Lex-od should have thrown him into it or something. It wasn't as strong a pulling force, the last time. So now, Clark is trapped in the PZ, helplessly watching the carnage unfold? I think they should show that, with his super-hearing, he can hear all the cries of agony from the people suffering from the riots. That way, when he's freed, he feels responsible enough to finally take on the mantle as "everyone's hero."

--Meanwhile, at 20,000 Feet: Martha and Lois in the Luthercorp jet, flying to D.C., notice it's taking way too long. We see the pilot--it's a Fine clone!!! They see that the terrain below looks nothing like what it should. Then the cabin pressure drops. Not enough air. They both pass out. Will the plane crash? Who knows, dude. The way things are looking now, I wouldn't count anything out.

--"I Predict a Riot": Holy crap. Crazy riot scenes. Stock footage of NY and LA, and then we show Metropolis. Destruction, mayhem, basically the worst mob scenes you can imagine, just short of zombie movies. Lionel dragged out of his limo. Chloe running around, jumps in Lionel's limo, then is dragged out too and held down. Beaten up. Some of the online fans thought it looked like she might even be sexually assaulted by the mob. Honestly, I had that thought too, but I don't think the producers will want to open up that can of worms. But yeah, both of them in peril.

Meanwhile, Lana just walks past (I could have sworn she saw Chloe being terrorized), and into the Luthercorp building. Up to the roof she goes. (One fan brought up a good point: if the power's out, how'd she get up there so fast? Jogging the 30 flights?) On top, Lex-od stands on the ledge overlooking the carnage, totally badass leather trenchcoat flapping in the wind. Lana doesn't know what's going on, but pretty much swears loyalty to whatever he's doing. Lex-od looks at her, sizes her up, and then kisses her. Geez. Even Zod falls for her crap. So sad. Camera pans down over the ledge at the chaos in the streets, then pulls back from the city, as we see the blackouts roll throughout Metropolis. Then back further, and the blackouts are spreading around the country. Then all the way out into space, and there's Clark doing the mime-in-a-box bit inside the PZ.




So basically, if they do it the way they should, here's how the next season SHOULD start:

Lionel should escape with Chloe, and then she'll show him how to get to the Fortress, but refuse to go with him. Something like, "I got a bad case of frostbite the last time I went!" Lionel goes to the Fortress. Jor-El says, "Oracle, you are not welcome here." "I'm here to find Clark." "My son has been imprisoned. He was unable to obey me." "Is there anything I can do?" Then Jor-El will somehow give Lionel the ability to bust Clark out of the PZ. But he'll only be able to open the door. Clark should have to FLY out, thus learning his most powerful ability. (Fly for reals, not say it's "Kal-El" who's flying.) Then, Lionel and Clark should take on Lex-od and defeat him. In the meantime, Clark finds out where his mom and Lois are, and flies to catch their plane before they crash.

Then there should be several episodes (a good part of the first half of the season) dealing with the aftermath of the riots and the computer virus. Having heard all of their suffering from his prison, Clark feels completely responsible for what happened, and this pushes him to finally--FINALLY--accept that his responsibility is to the safety of all people, not just the ones he cares about. He works to help restore order to Metropolis and elsewhere.

That's how I think Season 6 should start. We'll see what happens.

Wow. I'm such a dork. But you know what? I'm EMBRACING that. Because for all of it's many many MANY faults, I love this show. SO there ya go.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lame Fanboy Prattling


Okay, i'm done. Thanks. Move along.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

PBB Cool Ten (5/7-5/13)

10. 14-17. Shameful. Embarrassing. Losers of seven straight. And yet, a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Kerry Wood may be starting in the next 10 days or so. Now, if only we could get some frakkin' offense going again.
9. Enjoying the high-school throwback music this week: So far, I've spun "Don't Censor Me" and "Bloom" by Audio A, "Our Best Album Ever!" by Five Iron, the "Seltzer" and "WWJD" compilations, and I'm currently enjoying Jars of Clay's sophomore release, "Much Afraid," which I would rank as one of the best Christian albums of the last ten years. Easily. Top three.
8. I absolutely love the new Jetta TV spots. Perfectly executed advertisements.
7. Reason #96 why VH1 beats MTV: old-school arcade games online. I'm so not going to be productive today.
6. ...As the other side of the pillow. [Dig that warmed-over recycled joke. Well done, Dave.]
5. A coworker gave me a poster of King Kong wrestling the three T-rexs while holding Ann Darrow just out of their hungry reach. It was the coolest part of that ridiculous movie, so I have no problem exhibiting it in my office.
4. So far, "Hey, Nostradamus!" is a great book. I love Coupland. One of my top-five favorite authors. (Incidentally, the rest of the list, in no particular order: C. S. Lewis, Stephen King, Charles Dickens, and Ray Bradbury.)
3. Saw "United 93." Wow. Still processing. Expect a longish essay later this week. Lots of things to discuss.
2. Going to a playoff hockey game tonight with my compadre Willam. Hopefully, we won't be seeing our beloved Aeros get swept by the Milwaukee Admirals in the Western Conference Finals. Although, the way they've been playing, it's thoroughly possible. Oh, well. At least I may get another eyeful of the dancers! Kidding. Sort of.
1. Have you taken time recently to really sit and wonder at the fact that the God who created reality and all of existence actually wants to know you and wants you to know Him? Mind-blowing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday Afternoon Lyrics

I'll post a Cool Ten tomorrow. Promise.

Today, I'm busy busy. But I was spinning some albums from my high school days, and rediscovered this gem. Fits me, at this point in my life. Here you go.


Sometimes I'm a liar
sometimes I'm a fake
sometimes I'm a hypocrite that everybody hates
sometimes I'm a poet
sometimes I'm a preacher
sometimes I watch life go by sitting on the bleacher

But I've never been left alone
in any problem that I've known
even though I'm to blame
there were times when things were dark
and I've been known to miss the mark
but someone fixed my aim

Sometimes I'm a man of God
sometimes I'm alright
sometimes I lay down close my eyes
and pray to God

Sometimes I don't feel good
it's hard to start the day
it's hard to climb the obstacles
that sometimes come my way
if I make it, I'm a good man
am I a bad man if I fail?
I know I'm never good enough
so I let grace prevail

But I've never been left alone
in any problem that I've known
even though I'm to blame
there were times when things were dark
and I've been known to miss the mark
but someone fixed my aim

Sometimes I'm a man of God
sometimes I'm alright
sometimes I lay down close my eyes
and pray to God I'm ready for the night

--"Man of God," Audio Adrenaline

Friday, May 05, 2006


when you see them fall, in pairs, remind yourself to
choose to be happy. do not embitter yourself, so
that their communion wine tastes of vinegar on
your tongue. even if you have to lie, lie lovingly,
and tell them you couldn't be happier.
tell that to yourself, most of all and most often.
repeat it in your mind, over and over.
when they take their vow, think it. when they dance,
mumble it under your punched breath.
when they fly off into the future, breathe it out and in.
make yourself believe it, because
you really do love them, and though your scowling heart
seems to disagree, you want them to find their joy.

and when you return home and take off your tie or
your new dress or your uncomfortable shiny shoes,
you will be tempted to look into your vanity mirror
and ask, what's wrong with you? do not give in to
that dark question, built on lies piled high like rubble
from bombed-out buildings, twisted rebar vines and
dust crowning desolation.

if you evade this deadly snare, you will then be tempted
to ask the next question. "what am i doing wrong?"
redirect this. ask instead, "what am i doing right?" then,
ask, "why must i do anything at all?" let the darkness
stumble to find an honest answer for that one.

remind yourself that there are other, more vital
questions to be asked than "why me?" and "why not me?".
much more serious worries to bear.
much more important Truths to seek, than
who your missing mr. or mrs. is, the one you think you
need to find your peace.

take a breath. listen to only one sad song. then turn your
deft attention to seeking the big questions, and the big
Answers. there's too much to do, and no time to waste
waiting for Darcy or Elizabeth to arrive at your doorstep.

write these words down, and tape them to your mirror.
remind yourself of their truth, every time you receive
that tiny white envelope by post, or see the posted
tidings of friends you've never met yet still feel close to,
or when your friends all seem to bear left-handed
baubles that throw off your emotional balance. in that
dreadful moment, breath the words out and in, like the
scent of lilac. inhale them and hold them in your chest:

your joy is mine also.

Everybody likes free stuff, right?

Tomorrow is "Free Comic Book Day 2006."

Just like it sounds, you go to a participating comic book shop and get one from their list, for free.

Check out the website to find out who's participating near you and what books are available.

Personally, I'm hoping to nab either a Superman/Batman, Justice League Unlimited, or an X-Men Runaways.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hate to say I told you so...

Found this old post today.

Turns out, Oliver Stone is making a 9/11 film.

While Michael Pena may not be a heart-throb type, I think Nick Cage could fit the granite-jawed superstar role well enough.

It may be too early to say "I called it," but, well...

Thursday Linky Dinky (short version)

  • The new Red Hot Chili Peppers double-album "Stadium Arcadium" is streaming free right now on VH1. If you aren't familiar with RHCP, they're wrong, profane, and dirty. If you are familiar enough to be a fan, then you'll enjoy this album. I sure do. The first disc is a little stronger than the second, but it's worth a listen.
  • Being a Superman fan AND an editor, I thought this was genius.
  • Don't know if I've linked this before, but you should check out the One Red Paperclip story. So cool.
  • Congrats to PBB-friend Jenn (of Sunburned), on getting published recently over at Relevant Online.


I feel like being creative today. So here you go. Some opening lines/paragraphs. I may use these at another date, but for now, they'll just be seeds planted.


Nelson Reed's keys rattled in his hand, as he fumbled with the lock on his front door. Eyes darting left and right, he turned the handle and slid inside, closing the door behind. He left the lights off, and took out the paper-wrapped package from inside his long coat, under his arm. He gingerly set it on his kitchen table, as if it were bone china or nitroglycerin.


There's so much I want to say, but I'm sitting here, bleeding out of a few holes in my gut, so any unspoken thoughts may just have to stay that way. After 17 years of being "the strong, silent type," I feel the sudden urge to write volume upon volume about my life, my work. I guess that's how these things play out. I'm starting to lose feeling in my fingers. I tried wiping the blood off my badge, but it only smeared more. No fine-movement coordination. Not a good sign.


She didn't even say goodbye. I woke up, looked around, and saw that all of her things were missing. Not even a note was left to signify that she was there. The only artifact of her existence in my life was a half-empty gallon of soy milk in the fridge. After an hour of pondering the meaning of her absence, I numbly walked over to the kitchen, took out the soy milk, and poured it down the drain.


My coffee cup was broken. That's what set me off. A broken mug is no reason to murder, but it's a strong enough tap to send the other dominoes flying. What's a shame is that the poor sap didn't even see it coming. After all he's done to me this year, he should have, but sometimes a person's just blind to his own menace.


My daughter was brushing sand off of her clothes when she walked inside the house. "Outside!" I shouted, smiling. "Sorry, mama," she laughed, taking a backwards step onto the welcome mat. Through the open door, I saw my ex-husband watching from the car, making sure Sara got in the house all right. Our eyes met, he waved, and I nodded. Then he drove back down the street, and off to rejoin his other family--the one I'm not a part of.


When the odd girl spoke, only vowel sounds came out. Moaning, wide-mouth A's and E's and O's. She could understand speech--she was rather bright, truth be told--but the odd girl couldn't reply in kind. That's what the people in Crenshaw Township called her--the odd girl. Never by her name, which was Susan, nor by her family surname, which was Lowell, as in "Mrs. Lowell's daughter," nor even by her relation to certain members of higher society, as in "Savannah Lowell-Hudson's niece." They called her "the odd girl." Even her parents referred to her that way, at night, when they mistakenly thought she was sleeping. But she heard them every time.


When the end of the world came, no one was expecting it. The sky lit up like neon, and the last of the great glass monuments shattered and melted, sliding into the sea. At the end of this age of man, there was no one left who wondered at the sight of it. Man had seen too many movies to wonder at much of anything. The crowd of people waiting in line to by the newest gaming system simply stood, mouths gaping in stupor. No widened eyes, no voices raised, they simply stared dumbly, watching carnage and chaos with the disinterest of a cat inspecting the planting of a tree. The heat-flash disintegrated them instantly.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Capsule Movie Reviews

At the multiplex:

Akeelah and the Bee (Rated PG for mild language)
I'm a word geek. If you've read this page for any length of time, you know this. So obviously this movie is a good fit for me. It's the story of a gifted student in an inner-city Los Angeles school who grew up with a love of words and eventually works her way toward the National Spelling Bee Championship. However, she's trained herself to "dumb down" so as not to stand out among her peers.

This is not just a movie for nerds. This is one of those feel-good, cheering-in-the-theater movies that leaves you with a smile on your face. I never knew spelling was so thrilling. Seriously. This movie was well-acted and well-written. The young lead carries the film easily. The supporting cast is pretty strong overall, especially the main kids. Angela Bassett's harried-single-mother character was a little flat, but Laurence Fishburne was great as Akeelah's mentor/coach. The character should have been just as flat and predictable, but Fishburne breathes life into it.

Beautiful, heartwarming, funny film--well worth your full-price ticket. And if you're a word-geek like me, you may be tempted to add this one to your DVD collection.

On Video:

Capote (Rated R for violent images and brief strong language)
Truman Capote's landmark book, "In Cold Blood," is one of the most influential works of 20th-century American writing. This film chronicles Capote's pursuit of this story, and the lengths he goes to get the lowdown on the harrowing crime it recounts. Phillip Seymour Hoffman completely disappears into this role, and proves that he deserved his Best Actor Oscar win. Catherine Keener co-stars as Truman's contemporary and friend Harper Lee. It was interesting to see the publishing of "To Kill a Mockingbird" play a small part in this film. Hoffman presents a very fascinating character study. At the end of the film, I felt both compassion and disgust for the title character.

Side note: I appreciate that Capote's homosexuality was clearly addressed but not emphasized in this film. While some would argue that the film whitewashes his relationships, I think the filmmakers would argue (rightly) that it's not as relevant to the heart of the story. We see Truman's partner, it's obvious they are "together," but we never see them as much as touch.

Fascinating story that is worth your time and rental money.

Tristan and Isolde (Rated PG-13 for "battle sequences and some sexuality")
Another medieval romance, but one that can't really decide if it's "First Knight" or "Braveheart." It was too "mushy" to be a "guy movie," but much too violent to be a "chick flick." In other words, it kinda worked for me by not working in any set formula. It was clearly marketed as a romance, with the trailer teasing the "forbidden love" aspects. But, according to my mother, it could have done with fewer people getting their heads lopped off. (Personally, I disagree.)

To describe it would be to ruin it for you. It's predictable in the way that legends and fables are predictable. It uses old scenarios to present somewhat timeless ideas, particularly the conflict between honor and passion. Sadly, honor doesn't really win, as you'd expect. But there are consequences and interesting resolutions.

James Franco is sufficient as the male lead. He's not my first choice, but he's fierce enough to be believed as a warrior. And my teenage sister thinks he's cute, so I guess that works for the women during the romantic elements. He's just not a very strong actor yet. On the other hand, the female lead, played by Sophia Myles, is very good. But of course, I may be biased. (I mean, look at her! Dang.) One of the best actors in the film is Rufus Sewell ("Dark City"), a character actor whom I think has been grossly undervalued over the years.

If you like medieval violence (not quite Braveheart level, but satisfying nevertheless) and you like love stories with lots of "sad longing" looks, then this movie is your bag. Fortunately, I meet both of these criteria, so the movie worked for me a lot more than I expected it to.

Aeon Flux (Rated PG-13 for "violence and sexual content")
I'm a sci-fi apologist. It's true. I'm a dork. I like science fiction, often because it can be much more creative a genre than any other, and I'm a fan of interesting stories. This means that I'll forgive more inconsistencies or problems in sci-fi movies than I would forgive other types of films, as long as the sci-fi film is trying to make sense and accomplish something interesting.

That said, I was let down by "Aeon Flux," the live-action adaptation of the MTV cartoon. I stayed with it, hoping that it would have a wham-bang ending, and it just didn't. Charlize Theron was athletic but not emotive. The male lead (Marton Czokas) was more interesting to watch. The rest of the cast (notably Sophie Okenedo, Jonny Lee Miller, Frances McDormand, and Pete FREAKING Postlethwaite [!!!]) is satisfactory without succeeding. In fact, for those four, I found myself asking, "Why are you all in THIS movie? Well, Jonny, you I understand. But Frances? Sophie? PETE? Really, folks. You can do better."

Plot? I'm sure I could probably try to explain it. I didn't have too much problem following it. But I think the reason so many people hated this movie is because the movie assumes you understand everything that's going on. (For example, the fact that Aeon and the other rebels communicate telepathically, and that's shown visually by suddenly presenting the characters talking in a special room, in white robes, using soft-focus shots. Or, how they have something implanted in them that they use to activate this telepathic communication. I think. I'm still not sure.) Meanwhile, if you have no experience with the original or you are unfamiliar with sci-fi conventions, you are left scratching your head and wondering if you missed the first 90 minutes of the movie.**

Basically, it's typical sci-fi: disease wipes out almost all of humanity, people form "perfect society" to survive (which, surprise surprise, turns out to be a fascist regime), secret rebel groups, slick visual design, some nonsensical elements, "hot" assassins, the dreaded sci-fi "C" word. The production and costume design commits the typical sci-fi sin of trying too hard and taking itself too seriously. Same with the whole "character with a pair of hands at the end of her legs instead of feet." That creeped me out.

The overall story was somewhat interesting, but not thrilling. The acting was mediocre at best. But Sophie "Four-Hands" creeped me out. So overall, I'd say this was a let down. If you love the sci-fi, it's worth a buck or two at the video store. Otherwise, pass.

By the way, Jeff Goldstein provides a pretty succinct review of this film here.

**This has actually happened to me. I went to see "A. I." but showed up about ten minutes late for the showtime I wanted. So I got my ticket, went to the theater, sat down, and tried to pick up the thread of the film. I was surprised when it ended, and said, "Wow, that was quick." Then I realized I had only been in the theater for an hour. The box office clerk had sold me a ticket to the wrong showing. I didn't try to see it again in the theater. I watched part of the first half of the film at Trev's house one time, and realized I didn't miss much but catching the last 2/5's.

The PBB Cool Ten (4/30-5/6)

10. 13-10. Why does still being over .500 feel so awful? Oh, yeah. That's why.
9. More playoff hockey!
8. "Mission Impossible III" comes out this weekend!
7. "X-Men III" comes out this month!
6. "...as a cucumber."
5. I finally finished "On the Road." Dean Moriarty's a jerk.
4. The Houston Texans select...who?!?
3. I saw a handful of movies this weekend. Reviews forthcoming.
2. It's freaking May!
1. More than 18 people contributed to the ETL Day festivities. You guys rock.