Ciera

My 16-month-old niece is learning to talk and to walk.  She already says several words and FINALLY actually likes to practice walking around… now if we can only get her to do it on her own.

Sad story, though… She’s learned to say two new things in the past couple of weeks:

1.  Johnna (my twin sister’s name).  I think we confuse her b/c she won’t say Kara… she continually calls me Johnna… i know she sees Jo more than she sees me… but still makes me a little sad… I’m trying to keep it in perspective… she is ONLY 1…

2.  Worse than that, her parents have taught her to say “Oh, S**T”… NOT funny…

a late “bits and pieces”

Well, I missed last Friday’s Bits and Pieces post.  Sorry folks… it was a hectic week last week.

Bit #1

I know this is not fun or lighthearted (or interesting to anyone but me), but I think my job is going to get more difficult in the upcoming months and/or years…

Bit #2

Odor Tyrants… reminds me of Chris’ blog here… (what I really like about this article is the caption for the picture (Some allergic to scent are declaring war against odor. One Massachusetts woman filed a lawsuit last year after having an allergic woman to a coworker’s perfume.)  I wonder how you have an “alergic woman” to someone or something…

And our only Piece this week:

We’ve started a new series at West Side entitled “Recycled: Beyond Broken.”  I’m very excited about it.  Yesterday’s sermon was amazingly in line with some of the “themes” of my life right now. 

(Side note:  6 young adults made decisions to join the church–2 through baptism 🙂  )

West Side has started a blog to record stories of being recycled… it’s pretty cool, you should check it out.

Today’s Bits and Pieces

I’ve decided to start a new Friday post:  Bits and Pieces… little tidbits of things that I’ve been contemplating through the week or that have caught my attention.  I hope you find them at least quasi-interesting. 

Bit #1 

I’ve become a news-junkie.  Not such a great thing when you are quite aware that journalism in this country is wrought with bias and politically and socially manipulative undertones.  Nonetheless, I check CNN on a daily basis.

And one thing I always enjoy reading is commentaries by Glenn Beck.  I don’t always agree with him.  I wouldn’t even hazard to say that the majority of the time I agree with him… but sometimes I do.  And I always enjoy reading what he has to say.  His straight-forward, tell-it-like-it-is commentary, usually showing hints or all out in-your-face sarcasm and dry wit almost always make me think.  If you haven’t ever read anything by him, try this out. 

(In other political news, here’s additional commmentary about the detriment Clinton and Obama are being for the Democratic Party… he, appropriately on the eve of St. Patrick’s day weekend,  uses a “Two Irish cats from Kilkenny” metaphor.  Seriously, I like him already.)

Bit #2

I know that we live in a messed up society when courts have to rule on the legality of incest, junk-food diets are the craze, and when people who have moved to the U.S. from overseas when they’re in their late teens or early twenties state that they can receive more information about sex in an hour of american television than in all the years of their life,

Piece #1 

We’re down to the Sweet 16 in Lost Madness… I’m not liking that Sawyer and Kate and Jack and Sayid are pitted against each other… There are some match ups that are just looking “duh” to me on who’s going to win.  But there are some that are really close…  I’m not sure I realized when I first saw this fun game that it was really just a popularity contest.  If I had, I might have considered a linked campaign for Sawyer.  (not really sure what this says about me, but I’m pretty sure my roommate commented on my choice of Sawyer over Hurley in round 1 with a “You would!”  Now I like Hurley, but I’m telling you… the swoony bad-boy will get me every time.  Every. Time.)

Piece #2

Speaking of my roommate: she and her fiance bought a house last night!  Yay for them!  (brings into stark reality my need for a new roommate and some sort of “plan” though… boo…)

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman

200px-the_league_of_extraordinary_gentlemen_movie.jpgleague.jpg

I was flipping through channels last night to find something to put on in the background as I got some things ready for the retreat this weekend and (hopefully) take a nap when I came across The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  I had seen this movie once before.  Anything with Sean Connery is worth at least one viewing in my opinion and this was right around the time when I was excited about comic book adaptations (such as X-Men or Spiderman). 

 I ended up watching the show in its entirety.  It’s amazing to me the things that strike you at different times in your life.  I’m sure I must have noticed the use of characters (what self-respecting English major wouldn’t have).  But I don’t think it struck me as quite so… ingenious… as it did last night.  Creating a fictional world in which fictional characters (from other fictional works) come together to form a “superhero” team?  Quite thought-provoking.  Alan Moore, the author of the series, once stated: “The planet of the imagination is as old as we are. It has been humanity’s constant companion with all of its fictional locations, like Mount Olympus and the gods, and since we first came down from the trees, basically. It seems very important, otherwise, we wouldn’t have it.” 

Moore doesn’t endorse adaptations of his work (he also authors V for Vendetta… another quite thought-provoking series.  Seriously, people, if you don’t know something about the comic book or graphic novel scene, you’re missing out on some pretty philosophical stuff).  Despite that, the movie adaptation is fascination.  Just look at the heroes they choose to use.  Alan Quatermain:  Okay, I get him… he’s an adventurer and the type of person one might actually see as a hero…  Mina Harker… vampiress and ex-wife to the infamous Jonathan Harker who, along with Van Helsing, fought the evils of one, Dracula.  But her hero-strength is the part of her that is vampire… the very thing that was the evil in her own world.  Then you have Dr. Jekyll… and his counterpart, Mr. Hyde.  Again, the hero-strength comes in the form of the evil of his world.

 

The most fascinating “hero” or “villain” character to me, however, was Dorian Gray, who’s “strength” comes in his invincibility… the invincibility afforded to him because the ramifications and consequences of any of his actions take effect on his portrait, not his person.  Though he turns out to be one of the villains, rather than a hero, his evilness manifests itself for reasons we can easily relate to.  That portrait, his Achilles heal, was at stake.  He chose to save himself, over the good of man-kind.  And completely stayed within character.

 

And it is this distinction that sets apart our other heroes.  Though their strengths might be provided to them by their evil natures or a result of malicious things in the world, they all choose to save man-kind… from them.  They chose to fight to take down the man who wanted to create more of them.  They could have thought, “hey, here’s my chance”.  If others were like them they would no longer be alienated, no longer be “freaks of nature (or science).”  But they recognized that their uniqueness was, in-it-self, a strength, and recognized that these manifestations of evil they used as their “strengths” should not be wished on anyone else, for any reason.  They banded together and effectively prevented the villain(s) from creating any more of them.

 

Superheroes are a funny lot.  In a book I just read, The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult, one of the main characters, a comic book writer, indicated that creating villains was more fun because heroes had to fit a pre-defined mold.  And you can see that… Batman, Superman, Spiderman (any guy that ends in man J), the various X-Men… they may have their differences and their own character flaws, but they mainly fit a pre-defined formula.

 

Alan Moore, the author of the League, breaks that mold.  Though he uses some more formulaic heroes (such as Quatermain) he takes the characters who are fringe characters, or characters who are stamped with evil and turn them into heroes.  Makes you sit back and contemplated what true heroism is.  What if heroism doesn’t really have anything to do with the outside world?  What if heroism is the ability to recognize the evil nature in ourselves (that nature which we all have within ourselves to be bad) and choosing keep that nature from surfacing?  What if the only thing from which the world needs saved is… ourselves?

 

(note:  the above commentary does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the commentator.  They are rather “thought” questions to be used to spark conversation 🙂 )

Lynch Soup; or: Why a “hanging” metaphor isn’t always meant as a racial slur

Okay… Sorry this might be a bit rough but I’m posting on the blackberry (which you did know I had BAS… I just think you forgot…remember my excitement over being able to “poat” from the bb?)

I know this has been said many times before by political commentators much smarter and more savvy than I, but WHAT a strange political season this has been. McCain, who was pretty much out of the running a couple of months ago, clinched the republican nomination tonight…

And Clinton and Obama are still at it… I hate to tell them, but they’re effectively strangling the democratic party… Think about it… Now McCain can begin an actual presidential campaign, not a nomination campaign. And with democrats pretty much split (and pretty much emphatically… People feel pretty strongly For their candidate and against the other) he can pretty much jump on a “unity” for change kind of ticket…

I don’t care what the polls are saying (they keep going back and forth on “electability” when factoring whether C or O would be better pitted against McCain)… I think a unified party will always have a better chance than a “house divided.” After these G. W. Bush years I truly thought it impossible to get another Republican in the office this time around… But now I think there’s a good chance…

And who will Republicans have to thank?

The presidency is greater than one man (or woman) Senators Clinton and Obama.

(I was going to insert a “hanging” comment here b/c I thought it appropriate in light of the strangulation of the democratic party’s hopes and the need of one of the Senators to cut the rope for the good of the party. But political correctness has me editing it to this comment…

Usually I don’t stand too long on the p.c. or censorship soapbox, but I have just realized that the freedom afforded people in this country to express themselves using “the pen” rather than the sword is seriously suffocated when every metaphor or illustration can be twisted to offend…)

Damn political correctness…

Senators? One of you had better cut the rope… Neither of you may have broken your neck when the barrel was kicked out from beneath you, but your slow asphyxiation is quickly choking your party’s chances for the presidency.

Or if that’s too offensive for the Obama fans (hey, I like some of the things the man stands for too) try this… Senators? One of you needs to get out of the kitchen. Too many cooks ruin the soup, and as things stand now, we’ll be eating the same OLD conservative soup for the next four years…

This message brought to you by an equal opportunity alienator…