Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tales for the Melancholy Child and other....

I am REALLY excited. A lot of you may know that I'm a writer. If you don't, I'm still a writer. I'm trying to get published, and have some good leads that I'm working on, but until then, I'm also a dentist, and I hope you're flossing daily. To the left you'll see our family links, and if you're interested in keeping up with my publishing updates and some short stories I have in my head, then keep an eye on the site. One of the ideas I have floating around my brain is a book of Tales for Melancholy Children. What is it? Besides the obvious, I promise to give you a taste before a week from today. Hopefully I'll be updating it regularly. Here's the catch: if you want to read them, you have to leave me a comment with your email so I can allow you access to it. Unfortunately, you will have to sign up for blogger if you've not already. Since it's my own writing, I don't want any hippie-ho-ha-nanny coming along and stealing it.
Also a note. I made a promise to myself and my family that I would never swear in my writing if I could help it. In some of my short stories there is some language, some four letter words. I would never put them in if I didn't feel they belong. I'd love to hear your feedback as long as it's not chastisement for swearing because I believe I have very conservative views on this. I'll be posting some of the ones I wrote for a class shortly. Thanks!

Who Am I to Judge: A rant? Not quite.

I'd like to thank everyone who replied to the "Dumbledore" post, whether it was positive or negative. We all have important views to share, and we should be leaving more comments about important issues. What issues are important? Whatever we think is important.

One comment I would like to draw on is from someone I have never met. This person said, "Who am I to judge?"

An interesting statement.

Who am I to judge? Let me tell you who I am to judge. First of all, I am a human being with 25 years of experience in trying to relate to other human beings. 25 years experience of being helped, hurt, picked up, let down, cursed, blessed, loved, and hated. In order to choose my own friends, casual acquaintenances, employees or employers, baby-sitters, professors, mechanics, grocers, hairstylists, accountants, plumbers, etc, I will judge. And in most cases, the prinicpal factor will be ethics and morals.

Second, I am a husband. That means I went through years of judging girls and being judged by girls during 20$ meals and late night walks based on our appearance, behavior, smell and hygiene, education, personality, tastes, beliefs, and yes again, morals (and I don't know how I got the one as good as I did...). Courting is essentially judging.

Third, I am a father. This means I can judge the people who my children spend time with, let drive them, let court them, and to some extent, marry. I will be handing down my judgments with agonizing scrutinization because that is what I am supposed to do. I will judge the way they dress, speak, spend their free time, treat my family, treat their family, and dozens of other factors that are unnameable because I do it automatically because I am built to judge.

Judging is something we all do, which is why I am glad for the Biblical clause "Judge ye not unrighteously" because I know it is perfectly okay to judge, and I am very qualified to judge.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's Okay to Say It's Not Okay

After reading a well-written article about why there is no reason to be upset about JK Rowling’s announcement of the homosexuality of Albus Dumbledore, I thought it was important to give a voice to the rational opposition of homosexuality, and why to people like us, the ramifications of JK Rowling’s announcement are rather large. To begin, I think I should further clarify what I mean as rational opposition.
Rational opposition does not mean hate, intolerance, mistreatment, or discrimination. It means a belief that homosexuality is morally wrong based on laws set by God and unchangeable by society or scriptural interpretation. It also means an opposition to teaching children and youth that homosexuality is an appropriate alternate lifestyle. And last, it may go as far as to feel that many forms of media expose viewers and readers to homosexual characters or situations in order to gradually introduce the lifestyle into mainstream and gain acceptance by those who are unsure of its veracity in morals and in society.
One of the popular arguments against religious opposition to homosexuality was used by the author, and I would like to point out the way the Bible’s meaning was distorted. The author spoke about certain sins and their punishments during Moses's time, and how in our society we no longer punish people for those acts nor do we use such severe punishments for any small crimes such as those listed. If we no longer punish people for lighting a fire on the Sabbath, God no longer punishes people for homosexuality.
However, according to this logic, adultery (a crime punished just as severely as homosexuality) is also no longer wrong because a different society’s punishments have changed. God never said, “Homosexuality is now an approved action, and so is adultery, spouse abuse, and drunkenness.” We have no record of that in the scriptures, only a change in consequences as societies rose, fell, and became more civilized.
I do not want to spend any more time on this because not everyone will be persuaded for or against homosexuality. The main point is this: for those who believe homosexuality to be not only a sin, but a sin as serious as adultery, bestiality, and other similar acts, Dumbledore is no longer the person he was. He no longer has any of that wholesome or pure quality that we suspected of him. He is the same as an adulterer, a spouse-abuser, a pedophile. The symbol that he represented for the first six books, that of a sort of Christ-figure, now cannot be.
Many of you will say, there is a huge difference between someone who loves a member of the same sex and someone who breaks a commitment of love either through infidelity or physical violence, but others disagree. Those who see the family unit to be the fabric of society, and marriage between a man and woman an institution ordained by God, to be something sacred-- we see homosexuality as a direct threat to that which God created. And therefore, it is just as dangerous as other sins that are glamorized in media.
Does that mean we love homosexuals less? No.
Do we support what they do? No.
So why would we throw our hands together and applaud JKR’s decision to make such an important, wise, and powerful character a homosexual? Especially since she waited until weeks after the final book had had plenty of time to sell millions of copies to people who had no idea they were supporting her views. It was cowardly and under-handed. It tears apart the validity of the things we try to teach our children. I wanted my children to read the books I have cherished for the last eight years, and now I have to hope my child will never have to wonder, “if homosexuality is wrong, why is Dumbledore gay?”
Dumbledore, over the course of the series, grew into a role model of purity and wisdom, and part of that has been lost. He is not a role model for those who believe a part of his life was very wrong. I hope that this has provided an answer to those of you who wonder why we react strongly (and yes, sometimes too strongly) to announcements such as the one this week. I want to reiterate the fact that we do not hate gays, nor do we discriminate against them. But please do not call us intolerant, homophobic, or prejudiced for believing what we want to peaceably believe. There is nothing bad about thinking homosexuality is morally wrong, just like lying, stealing, pedophilia, bestiality, adultery, and murder, because we believe, yes, it does hurt people. It hurts our children who we are trying to teach that God wants one kind of family: a wife and husband who love each other and children.
(I submitted this to and since I doubt it will be published, I still want my voice to be heard!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Good One and A Bad One

Let's start with the bad. Spider-man 3. I have some ideas for Sam Raimi, the director, after making two strong superhero films, building up interesting characters and cool villians with decent storylines, on how to trash it all in one film amazingly filled with bad ideas and writing: First, turn the hero into an utter goon in order to have a character arc. Next, Rewrite the story line from the first film by changing who killed Uncle Ben (this will also help make the new villian more interesting since your writers couldn't come up with anything good). Third, fill your movie with other characters and don't develop them AT ALL, especially characters cherished and beloved in Spider-man fandom. Fourth, stuff the dialogue full of cliches and borophyll, a paraphrase for example: "Harry, I've never told you for the last several years while you've been self-destructing in agony over your father's death that he killed himself and not Spider-man."
"Thank you , Butler," Harry replies, "now I can go be a good guy."
Last, ruin the series so that anyone who knows quality film making will never want to see one of your films.... ever again, and please, if there is a film god, DO NOT let this man anywhere near The Hobbit.
If I were to swear in our blog, this sentence would be ideal: Who on earth let this script be made into a movie? If you thought this film was good, you may want to NOT consider yourself a potential screenwriter, even during the strike. I should be in film business....

Now onto the good. Everything is Illuminated. A Warner Brothers Independent film which is why you may not have heard of it. Solid acting, very moving storyline, hilarious sequences (I laughed for almost the entire first 15 minutes), and some things that will make you wonder if some people can even be called human. Don't watch this while you are doing something else, the WELL-WRITTEN dialogue will require your attention. Much of this film, I believe, was shot in Ukraine, and I have to wonder if some of the actors were people straight from the streets of Odessa. The performances were so natural that it left me feeling as though a part of Ukraine had stayed with me. I imagine this will be found in the comedy section of your local movie rental, but it isn't. The film touches on disturbing stories of the Holocaust and there is a suicide. Leave the younger children out of this one. This is Liev Schrieber's first film, and wow, let's hope he does more. Maybe Spider-man 4. I HIGHLY recommend this film.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween = Identity Theft

Of course this isn't a warning post! Why should anyone be worried about identity theft? After all, as Dwight says, "Identity theft is not a joke, Jim! Millions of people are affected every year!" So, yes, this is a warning post.

Halloween is approaching. The time of the year when everyone worships the devil by debasing themselves and asking neighbors and strangers alike for dentistry-endorsing sweets. You probably just stood up and said, "Wait a minute! Halloween isn't really a satanic holiday." Without asking the Jehovah's Witnesses their opinions ( no offense to my JW readers ;) ), it's really not hard to see that, as usual, I'm right.

Q: Who is the devil?

A: The father of lies.

Q: What do we do for Halloween?

A: Dress up as something we're not (lie about ourselves).

For instance, my nephews are going as a pirate and a horse. Are they actually those things? No. The only thing my "pirate" nephew has ever plundered is a bowl of cookie dough. And the other is no more a horse than I am published (for now). Lies? YES!

Now consider the implications. I could dress up as anyone and pretend to be anything for Halloween. If I dressed up as YOU everyone would think I (you) was (were) a junk-eating glutton. But it's okay.... Because on Halloween it's okay to steal someone's identity. Yoda, Spider-man, Dracula, and every U.S. President are among the victims in this rationale. Personally, I don't think it's right. Either Halloween should be banned or costumes should be limited to fictional characters. And don't tell me Spider-man isn't real. I saw him on TV.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chicago and Red Dawn

Those are the titles of the two movies Kat and I watched this weekend, and both are worth telling you about. First I'll talk about Chicago:

The thing that will surprise you most is the story is based around actual events that happened in the 20's. A reporter who interviewed the killers wrote a play which was turned into a musical in 1976 by Bob Fosse, one of the greatest choreographers of all time. That being said, the dancing in this film is INCREDIBLE, as is the singing. Probably part of why it won the Best Picture award for 2002. You find a let down here that you may have in the wanna-be director Joel Schumacher's Phantom of the Opera that came out in 05. Here's a warning, though: One of Fosse's signiature style's was a cynical view of sexuality. In other words, he put it in to satirize the sexuality so common in musicals and theatre. Now, that being said, if you want to watch the film you're going to find brilliant performances by Renee Zellwegger, Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, and my personal favorite song: Mister Cellophane by John C. Reilly which I thought stole the show. It was very moving. The film satirizes the criminal justice system and exposes the need for "no-talent celebrities" like Paris, Britney, and Lindsay to be constantly one-uping each other in order to keep the spotlight on themselves. Again, the film is risque but beautiful.

The second film, Red Dawn, was made in..... 1984 and features the infamous 80's stars: Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, and Lea Thompson. It's about the Soviet invasion of America resulting in World War III, and about a band of teenagers, named the Wolverines after their high school mascot, lead a resistance against the Soviet forces from the mountains. The film has not only some great action sequences but also exposes the psychological trauma kids go through when thrust into violent terrifying situations. Look for strong performances from both Swayze and Sheen here.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lily Updates

How's Lily doing these days? Well, let's see... she's crawling, spitting, chasing toys, and experimenting with new hairstyles. This is one of her latest. It's kind of a rebel/mohawk mixture. She wanted it dyed, but we talked her out of it. One step at time, Lily. One step at a time. I don't know why she looks so scared here, probably something Kat did. As you can see in the corner, this one's a little old. We'll try and get some newer one's up soon.

Poor Lily.... as intense as she is, she often becomes too wrapped up in whatever she's doing. We're anticipating that she'll grow up to become a fruit roll-up... maybe a burrito. You'll also notice that she has a diamond studded lip piercing. Kind of going back to the rebel stage thing again. At least the hair is back to normal. Let me see if we kind find a picture of her new tatoo......

Unfortunately, she's also obsessed with her weight. We've tried to tell her it's just baby fat, but she refuses to listen and constantly checks the scale. Still, better to start now than when obesity sets in, right John Candy?

And she's sitting up on her own! She's still trying to work out exactly where her center of gravity is, but as soon as she does, we're certain her posture will improve.

Yes. It's true. Lily has gone the way of the mullet. With the mohawk, the rat tail, the lip piercing, and the anorexia, we hope you'll keep her in your prayers. In the meantime, we'll keep you updated.

Here are three videos of Lily:

Lily Chases a Treat

Tiger Lily's Growl

Lily's New Dress

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Scary Movies

Keeping with the new tradition of regular posts even if it's just to say hello, I thought I'd make a small mention of my favoritest scary movies. I'll include both recent and old. If you haven't seen them and you like scariness. Check these out:

Definitely one of the most intense American films ever made. I saw this as a freshman in college, and it is the only time in my life that I have literally jumped out of my seat in fright. This is not a movie to watch alone. The performances by Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin are incredible. Wait Until Dark is not just a film, it's an experience. Only problem: it's never as good the second time. I watched it again five or six years later, and I couldn't feel that same sense of anxiety that I had the first time. Though I won't post a separate blog for it, if you like this film I'd highly recommend the French film: Le Boucher. It has a very similar feel to it, and is quite intense.

I have not seen all of Alfred Hitchcock's films, but this one is the best. James Stewart and Grace Kelly have great chemistry, and the mosaic stories of the apartments complex make this film one of the most interesting portrayals of a community I've ever seen. I recently rewatched this film with my wife, and I'd forgotten how it constantly keeps you guessing. Very smart, very psychologically intense. Best Hitchcock film ever made.

Do I even need to say anything after showing the poster? I used to be afraid to swim in my swimming pool after I watched these films. If my siblings and I so much as hummed the infamous tune, my brother would start screaming. Ah... good times. Anyways, if you have never seen it, see it.

The reason why I list this among the others is more because of its overall eeriness. To that I credit the amazing directing of David Koepp and the performances of Johnny Depp and John Turturo. This is as much psychological and is it suspenseful, and its ending will chill you to the core.

Last one. What a brilliant performance by John Cusack. I can't wait to see this one again! I hadn't planned on seeing it until a friend invited me to the theater with him, and I'm very glad I went. Awesome! I haven't been so scared at a film since watching Rear Window for the first time. Anyone who loves jumping and starting in films needs to see this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A movie recommendation

I know we've been total slackers about posting lately, mostly because we can't connect our cam card into our compy, so I thought I'd post a little snippet about a good movie Kat and I watched. I really liked it, Kat thought it was pretty good too, I think. Anyways, it's called Benny and Joon, and if you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend it. It's very touching and funny. Johnny Depp's performance is, as it almost always is, incredible, and he's backed by solid performances by Mary Stuart Masterson and Aidan Quinn. You'll also find Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, and Oliver Platt in it. If you've never seen it, check it out. It holds an 80% on the rotten tomatoe meter. Also, if anyone is interested in knowing, I recently tried to read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, and couldn't finish it. Too much babbling on about how perfect Edward was.... I don't recommend it. However, if you're looking for an excellent read, try Psion Beta, hitting bookstores in 08! Hopefully......