What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas: On the March!

Well, I've not really put in my two cents about the issue of Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas. I don't really understand why Christians got so bent out of shape over the whole thing. I mean, would you really tell a guy Merry Christmas if he were Jewish? or Muslim? It would seem a little ridiculous, I think. Like trying to give the club handshake to someone not in the club. I think it's just a courtesy. Especially if a business doesn't want to piss off a potential customer it only makes sense that they would be inclusive to all religions and holidays of the season. You don't know who you are speaking to and if there is business at stake, why would you not try to be as diplomatic as you can. I say "Merry Christmas" before December 25 and then "Happy New Year" before the 1st of January. But if I were in China I wouldn't tell them "Happy New Year" until a few weeks later, when the "Chinese New Year Holiday" actually begins.

I think what this boils down to is Americans' (particularly white middle-class Christians) frustration over political correctness. Don't get me wrong. The social limits that are put on us to speak toward the lowest common denominator grind at me, as well. I hate the fact that we sacrifice real discourse and free speech because there are people who don't want to hear certain harsh truths. I think that there are times when it is appropriate and even necessary to break the PC barricade and let your true feelings be known. But, for crying out loud, Target isn't trying to make war with the Baby Jesus! Is it really necessary to risk offending paying customers over some minutiae? And now these companies have to worry about offending the other side if they continue to try being diplomatic. I really don't think that most Christians even care as much as the media has made it out. It's probably just the ultra-touchy trigger hair watch-dog groups that even started the junk in the first place and the media latched on.

Bottom line we should try to be sensitive to others who are different than us if we want to connect with them. If you don't want to connect with them, then, I suppose that you have every right to be a prick about it, but don't be too upset when you have no friends. When the need arises and you have to break a few hearts to make a point, be bold and don't be politically correct. But, only do it when it necessary and important.

Or funny.

I'm sure the controversy will spring back up next year, too. Maybe even worse.

In the meantime, have a laugh.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Movie Reviews: King Kong

King Kong

Peter Jackson is in the nicest situation in showbiz. Here's a guy who can direct any movie that he wants and make it over three hours long, whether it needs to be or not and the studio won't bat an eye. He spent how many years filming the Lord of the Rings movies? Like, three, right? Okay, so Kong obviously didn't take that long, but, gee wiz he sure made the hell out of this movie. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that, in our digital age, Naomi Watts probably never had to spend any time in a mechanical ten foot ape hand. If she did I'm sure that it was a green colored ape hand that looked more like a lime green tree house than an actual hand. But, nonetheless, no one would have ever guessed. I think that one can only take so much CGI before one starts to forget whether one is watching a live action movie or animated. They look darn near the same a lot of the time. But, I will hand it to Kong most of the time the CGI didn't take me out of the story. Sure, there was the fleeting moment where I realized that any damsel in this much distress would have died from internal injuries sustained by being slung through a jungle while being clasped by the angry Kong. But, when that monkey snapped the jaws of the T-Rex, I cringed. When the hero and heroine were standing on the top of the slippery metallic Empire State, I couldn't help but think to myself, "Get down! That is a blatent safety code violation!" It looks very real and without ever having to leave the studio.

The story, you know. Girl meets monkey, girl makes monkey laugh, monkey doesn't eat girl but falls in love with her... You know, it's a tale as old as time.

But don't let the love monkey or the presence of Jack Black fool you, this is not a light movie. I've never seen the original but I can't imagine that it is quite this disturbing or bloody. I'm actually a little surprised that it was only rated R. It gets pretty darn scary. I actually had to take a little breather from the intense monster scenes that may be the coolest ever captured on digital microchips. No wonder Jackson kept us in the jungle for so long (a little too long, really). He had monsters to show off.

I loved the ride. It was pure adrenaline, popcorn fodder to be sure. But, in all honesty it could have been about 40 minutes shorter. Like I said before, we could have left the jungle sooner and spared us some of the stress. Also, there was a symblance of a subplot between a ship crew member and his apprentice that didn't ever fully play itself out like it wanted to. The movie spends at least 10-15 minutes fleshing out this relationship and giving us details of the characters only to leave it on the island and never resolve it. It didn't make sence to me. I also heard criticism about Black and Adrienne Brody who plays the human love interest to Watts (who is excellent). I personally thought Brody was great and continues to get my respect. The criticism I heard about him dealt with his and Watts' chemisty. I thought it was fine. I saw the problem with Jack Black to be more perception than actual acting chops. Black had done more serious roles before, but not since he's made it big. I thought that if I hadn't been expecting him to break out with one of his signiture goofball faces, I would have completely bought him as the greedy filmaker, desparate for his big shot. Unfortunately, he didn't ease us into the serious roles like Jim Carrey and Robin Williams did, but instead just went for it. Which I can respect. I also see where some would have a problem with that.

Everyone will like this movie, so I highly recomend it. But, keep in mind the scariness of it. Amanda and I saw it with a packed house of mostly families with small kids. Talk about a noisy lot! The kids obviously shut up when the monkey arrived, but that doesn't happen for at least an hour into the movie. This is brilliant filmaking, really, holding the big guy out for a grand entrance. But to kids it's torture. They came to see a big ape, not plot structure and exposition. Oh, yeah, and I think I already mentioned the 3+ hours running time. Leave the ankle biters at home and go watch this great flick in some peace and quiet. If I'm not mistaken the studios are churning out family friendly junk on a bi-weekly basis now, so they aren't in short supply.

3.5 bulls

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

More Reviews: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Yes, I've read all of the books and yes, I am anxiously awaiting the seventh and final one. People who have only read the first one or maybe two books always say the same thing: "I read the first one and didn't understand what the hoopla was all about." Well, yeah! If you only read the first book then you are simply reading a cute kid's book. It's basically about a kid who is the hero of a story centering around him, and while it is creative, it's like every other kid's book in that exists to give kids a sense of adventure and hope that they to can overcome obstacles, blah, blah, blah. Feel good blandness. The second books seems to set the precident that the series would be more of the same. You've now got a really interesting well written childrens series. But then J.K. Rowling does something that will forever set it apart from even the most successful children's books. It matures with it's audience. The third book in the series is grittier, more complicated and introduces elements of darkness that the others did not contain. The subject of witches and wizards is considered by many to be inherently dark, but in the firs two books, while they exist in a dark world, are white-washed quite a bit for the reader.

On the fourth book we finallly see the truest and most honest nature of the world of Harry Potter. The times that the characters live in is brought to new hieghts of darkness and realness. It would seem strange that I would use "realness" when describing a movie about witches and magic. When I say realness I'm not talking about reality, I am referring to the idea that, if we suspend our disbelief and really exist in this fantasy, the story seems honest as opposed to a contrived children's story.

Which brings me (finally)to the movie. I am a firm believer that a movie doesn't have to be a strict retelling of the book. In fact, the more a director tries to be "faithful" to a book, the more I believe he is going to fail. Do I think that a director should completely change intent, story line, and other things that were vital to the success of the book. If he's smart he will try to excentuate what made the book a success in the first place, but I believe a filmmaker should try to make the story as visually their own as is possible. Film and books are two separate and completely different in how they get a message across. While books rely on the reader to imagine the words that an author has created, director and filmmakers are more like a painter whose images are supposed to inspire thought and discussion. It can be said that movies and books are opposite mediums.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is 600 plus page book that is made into a movie that, for marketing reasons, has to be under three hours. There is going to be much left out and for continuity other things added. The movie focuses on the triwizard tournament and the love life of the three main characters. The book has many more subplot that aren't even hinted at. Additionally, the Triwizard Tournament in the book is only dealt with occasionally, but it is pretty much the entire movie. Even when we are watching Harry fumble over words as he tries to talk to girls, it is only during breaks from worrying about the Tournament.

But the similarities and differences between the book and the movie are not what are going to make or break a film. This film is based on a book that has already won me over, as well as millions of others, so the story is not really worth mentioning, except to say that I think the filmmakers chose the right things to focus on. The scenery and cinematography in Goblet are by far the most excelled in the series. A low dolly shot near the beginning of the film that comes up on a boot that serves as a portkey to another location is beautiful. As always the British countryside is beyond words and Mike Newell does a better job than either Chris Columbus or even Alfonzo Curan of capturing the beauty and majesty of the land in which Hogwarts resides.

4 bulls (out of 5)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Movie Reviews: Romance

Here are some short opinions on some movies that I've seen recentlyThese are the romantic comedies. I'll deal with action and drama later on.

EDIT: Amanda and I just saw King Kong tonight. Yeah, there something to be said about this movie. It requires some room, too, so back up.

Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Rufalo

I'm starting with the lighter side of my recent viewings. This movie fell into the catagory of movies that I would never have seen on my own. By that I mean of my own choice. But every now and then Amanda and I comprimise and I end up seeing a chick flick. Luckily, Witherspoon charms the socks off of me everytime she's on the screen despite her tendency to play the same cutey in every movie. Of course, isn't that what happens when you're a big star and writers create characters with you in mind?

Just Like Heaven surprised me, though, because it was funny and heartfelt and had all of those cheesy, chick-flick things, except one: it did't suck. It was good. I laughed, I didn't cry, but I felt for the characters and Witherspoon and Rufalo had chemistry. It worked. And there was even enough darkness and macabre to really interest me.

3.5 bulls (out of five)

Elizabethtown with Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst

I think that everyone is allowed a celebrity crush, right? Well, mine is Miss Dunst. It has been for a while. I don't even think that she's that great of an actress. I think she's good, but what attracts me to her is the way that her own style and personality shine through in all of her characters. Some people (uneducated) think that this means that she plays all of her characters the same way. But this isn't a bad thing. If at least some of an actor's personality doesn't show through they probably weren't right for the part. This happens all the time because producers want big stars in their movies, but don't always get the star that they originally wanted. So they settle for a big name that isn't right for the part.

I digress. Kirsten and Bloom are both striking and really work as a couple who meet and by coincidence end up saving each other. Bloom's man needs saving more, but I really think that it's mutual. You see, Bloom is a suicidal shoe designer that finds a reason to put his own death on hold to deal with the death of his father. He meets Dunst, who obviously needs something in her life, and she basically keeps him alive while he deals with the legacy that his father left behind and the family that he has gotten used to not having to deal with.

Cameron Crowe write and directs this movie, true to the formula that he has perfected. Crowe is brilliant with stories about tragic heros who bravely shoot for the stars and miss. Not everyone goes for this type of tragicomedy, but it certainly strikes a chord with me.

4.5 bulls

Shop Girl with Claire Danes, Jason Schwartsman, and Steve Martin

This movie has been compared to Lost in Translation for the simple fact that Steve Martin, like Bill Murray, is of the original SNL comedian generation (I know that Martin was never an SNL cast member, but come on, he might as well have been) and because he is playing out of type. His character, like Murray's, is a depressed man in his fifties, dealing with a mid-life crisis and hooks up with a girl young enough to be his daughter. This is where the comparison's end.

Don't take this the wrong way. I liked Lost in Translation. I know many people who didn't. The thing about Shop Girl that makes it so strikingly different is that it has a plot. There is in Shop Girl, unlike Lost in Translation a discernable initial incident, climax and denoument. While these things exist in Lost in Translation to find them would require a committee and several hours of discussion.

Shop Girl also focuses on Danes character instead of Martin's, also. (BTW, Clare is my other celebrity crush, but it stops there, except for Kate Winslet) Danes is a shy, lonely soul trying to make it in LA as an artist but can't quite find a way out of her hum-drum life working in the glove department of a ritzy Beverly Hills store. Gloves you say? Exciting? No. But this only adds to the picture that is being painted for us of what kind of world our heroine is living in. When she is courted by an older man simply seeking a bed-buddy she is able to add a little bit of spice to her life, but also falls into what can only be described as an unhealthy relationship. We know this isn't going to end well because, unlike Lost in Translation we never get the feeling that the age difference is ignored. It's there staring both of them in the face the entire movie just waiting to be uttered. Like the awkward conversation between two lovers about what that thing actually is, and can it be removed, the age issue cannot be ignored and Clare's character inevidably must be hurt in the process.

Schwartzman adds some seemingly misplaced, but much needed comedy to the movie as a one night stand who keeps calling Danes after she is already in the relationship with Martin. I'm a big fan of his character as the spaz who actually works at bettering himself for a girl that he doesn't actually believe he can be with. It's that type of quirky, unabashed, stupid optimism, that I will route for every time.

4 bulls

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Not enough time...

Too much to do...

Can't blog properly...

I feel like I'm overwhelmed with Grease right now. Here is my main concern:

The orchestra.

I have a lady to play piano for me, but I'm getting the feeling that she really doesn't want to and she's just one of these people who has a hard time saying no to stuff. Personally, I'm kind of wishing that she would have said something earlier so that I had time to get someone else if she wasn't that into it. She's had a busy semester with her own stuff so she hasn't had time until now, but she said when we first began that she would do it. If she can get her stuff together I think we'll be okay, but with the kids having never worked with live accompaniment it worries me that they could get it all accomplished in less than two weeks.

Oh, well. The beautiful thing about theatre is that one will always have it behind them and won't have to live with something for very long. Whether it is good or bad. Overall I'm enjoying the rehearsals. Some are better than others. Most high school productions take forever to get going and then make it in the final week. That's not how I like to work, but if I keep reminding myself that I can sleep better.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Final Ride of Broqueric Martinez: Part 3

SMASH!The final balloon is a direct hit on a window, shattering it into the cabin.

Ext. Behind the pile of bricks EURIC, KEVIN, BRODY, freeze. EURIC looks around at the group of younger Jr. High kids. One by one the Jr. High boys start to break down and sob. RONNY tugs on KEVIN's shirt.

Kevin, are you going to prison?

No, little brudder. Never. Not without you I'm not!

RONNY and KEVIN embrace

I love you, Kevin! I'm sorry I lost your Dave CD.

It was you. I knew it!

Matteau, what do we do? I never expected it to hit the window. I only thought it would be cool if it did. I didn't actually think it would. What do we do now? Matteau? Matteau?

Matteau's gone? He's gone?

Stop crying, Brody! Be a man!

EURIC slaps BRODY. He continues to cry harder.

He ran that way.

TIMMY point behind the boys into the dark woods.

EURIC POV. A shadowy figure can be seen scurrying from tree to tree.

He's over there!

We should follow him!

Yes, follow him!

From the woods

Don't follow me!

MATTEAU makes a mad dash for toward the gym and the men's sleeping quarters all of the boys run after him.

I said don't follow me. Didn't you hear me?

We need you!

You got us into this.

Are you crazy? I got you into this? You came to me and needed the experties. You got into it yourself.

But, come on. You at least owe it to us to help us out.

MATTEAU breaks into a mob type New York accent.

Well, I don't know you. So, I don't owe you, Saso does. My place now, new rules. Everybody pays, okay?

Don't tell me...

Can you guess it?

I know this one...

Come on...

Oh, oh...

It's Caa..

Don't tell me, don't tell me! Oh, man it's on the tip of my tongue. I want to say...Donnie Brasco?

Carlito's Way.


I knew it was Pacino.


I could hear his voice in my head.

Get down!

The guys drop into the high grass.

POV of the female cabin. Four women, one older lady, and three adolescent girls, exit the cabin looking scared and nervous. They wear pajamas, gollashes, and carry baggage and bedding.

Who is it?


They must be scared out of their minds.

Awsome! Success, guys!

KEVIN goes for an unrequited high five

Nobody? Really? Okay.

They're getting into the truck.

Where do you think they're going?


Oh, come on! That's a ligitament question.

I'm sorry.

I know what they're doing. I've got to get these children out of here. They'll freeze.

It's hot.

Well, they'll burn their sensative skin.

MATTEAU takes TIMMY's arm and gives him an Indian Sunburn.


TIMMY cries

Look at that.

Dude, it's like 80 degrees. This is the perfect tempeture.

And you would expose innocent's to that. Let's go back to the cabin, kids.

MATTEAU rushes away and the younger boys follow.

Later, Ronny.

Later, Kevin. I'll visit you in the slammer!

I can't believe this. Of course they want to be in on all the fun whenever it's just a prank but as soon as it's an act of criminal vandalism with possiblly devestating consequences...whooshh! Off they go.

Devistating consequences? What devistating consequeces?

Too devestating to mention in front of you.


Because you'd cry like a girl.

No I wouldn't.

EURIC whispers something in BRODY's ear. BRODY tries to fight back tears, biting his bottom lip.

Red truck.


Red. Like a firetruck.

EURIC and BRODY turn to see a pickup coming down a dirt path up to the gym/boy's cabin

Get down! It looks like their going to the cabin.

Do you think they know it's us?

I don't know.

I'll bet they're pissed because we got them wet.

They're going to tell my dad.

They're going to tell Darcy and Timmy's dad.

Basketball Kirb!

They say his forearms are as big as tree trunks...

And his neck is like an ox's...

He can take a basketball team to the Texas State Finals and come within one shot of a victory.

He's going to kill us!

Maybe not. Let's check out the damage. Maybe we only thought it broke the window and it just hit it really hard. Maybe the girls were just coming over to say "hi."

Naw, they were pissed.

Let's just see what happened.

Cut to.

Ext. Outside the girls cabin
The boys look up to see that the window is, in fact completely smashed in.

Yep. Broke all right.


KEVIN goes for another high five.

Okay, but only because it is pretty money that we hit it with the very last balloon.

Thank you.

All three give high fives all around

But, that high five was not for the broken window. That sucks! I was trying to save for a new Perpetual Motion Gyromationator.

You think we'll have to pay for it.

Can you squeeze water out of a sponge that has sat in the hot sun for three weeks straight.

We're all in this together, man. With me on they right and you on the left and Brody on the trigger, we were all three part of this triumvirate of mischief. We are all Broqueric Martinez!

I am Broqueric Martinez!

EURIC mouth's "Not now" and KEVIN shakes his head in pity

I guess it's time to face the music, huh.


Looks that way.

Well, after you.

KEVIN and BRODY lead and all three trod slowly up the hill to the gym. KEVIN leans down and picks up a small, portable CD player and presses play. It plays "Are You Ready For This" by the Clubmix. He quickly stops the CD.


He changes the song. It is now Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive."

Int. The boy's cabin. In a small room three bunk beds line each wall and a single bunk bed sits at the end of the rooom creating a horse shoe. The Young boys and MATTEAU are seen sneeking in and just settling into their beds lie in bed pretending to sleep. A grandfatherly man with a flowing white beard, thin reading glasses and a long sleeping robe and cap, OLE HARRY sits at the end of the room reading a story from a children's book. He has apparently been reading this whole time unaware that for a long period of time no one was listening. MATTEAU speaks over OLE HARRY.

Hurry, hurry. Shhh! Into bed. You're asleep.

"In the first case it was necessary to renounce the consciousness of an unreal immobility in space and to recognize a motion we did not feel; in the present case it is similarly necessary to renounce a freedom that does not exist,..."

There is a loud knock on the door

Almost finished, dear. One moment! "...and to recognize a dependence of which we are not conscious."

OLE HARRY closes the book and looks up.

Boys, I hope you enjoyed Tolstoy's latest masterpeice. Some say the old boy's outdone himself this time. Boy's? Boy's?

He leans over and touches the head of one of the young kids.

Goodnight, you princes of Texas. You kings of Lone Star State.

MATTEAU coughs as he says

The Cider House Rules. 1999.

What was that?

There is a loud knock on the door.

Open up Ole Harry! Please! Open up!

OLE HARRY moves to the door and opens to three young, beautiful adolescent young sorority types, KARI, DARCY, and SANDRA all in pajamas and fuzzy slippers, and one older woman, Mrs. Lane, in a high necked nightgown, a mudmask and sponge curlers.

Ole Harry! Ole Harry! There's a gust of wind! A tornado! The Sasquatch?

Uncle Harry, the window...; Everything was so scary...; I don't know what was going on but I don't like it...; Etc.

Hold on, now. Hold on. Hold on! They quiet down Now, tell me what's going on. One at a time.

Oh, Uncle Harry! It was ever so frightening!

I was lying in bed, and, and...

Shut up and let me talk...

Now Sandra, be nice.

Pipe down. Here's what went down. We started hearing strange sounds on the roof. Like the sound a solar flares creates on the lunar surface and less like a coronal mass ejection, although level M flares can sound practically the same.

Good thinking Sandra. Then I started thinking how this isn't the coronial season for such large flares and thought about weather conditions. Earlier in the day I sensed a low pressure system culminating in a what is known as a tropical cyclone, but certainly to diminished size in that it wouldn't have possibly resulted in such a violent turn. Plus because of the coriolis effect I knew that we couldn't have been hit from the north side.

So then I suggested a shock wave being generated by a aircraft. Possibly being deployed from the nearby air station. I had done some field research on aerodynamics earlier this year and sometime the pilots take night training.

But, I thought that was ridiculous because experiements with Mach 1 are quite obsolete and impractical in day to exibition.

It's not ridiculous. Not anymore ridiculous than that stupid solar flare thing.

Please. It is so possible.

Girls, girls, we have to stick together.

Kari's right.

I'm sorry, Darcy.



Come on, girls!

The girls hug.

So what happened next?


The window busted in.

Which if you think about it, substantiated my theory the most.

We couldn't figure out what it could have been.

We were ever so scared.

I'll be there for you.

MATTEAU jumps up and holds KARI

Matt, what are you doing?

I'm keeping you safe.


Oh, Matteau!

They embrace

Oh, Thank you,Matteau.

Not you.

EURIC, KEVIN, and BRODY appear in the door.

Hi, everyone.

Did anyone get wet?

KEVIN, EURIC, BRODY POVCollectively all of the women and OLE HARRY turn slowly around to face the Three Boys.


You know from the water baloon. Did anyone get wet?

Water balloon?

Not a low pressure system?

Water balloon

We thought you would have figured that out. I mean it is kind of obvious.

SARAH leaps on EURIC and KEVIN and beats them senseless.

You know, I helped.

SARAH turns on BRODY and while she is beating the snot out of him, EURIC and KEVIN speak

So, what now, man.

Possibly, we'll have to pay for the window. We may go to jail.

I think, at the very least, boys you need to clean the women's cabin for them.

"The simple fact is you feel responsible for Goose and you have a confidence problem. Now I'm not gonna sit here and blow sunshine up your butt, Lieutenant. A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what's happened, so he can apply what he's learned. Up there, we gotta push it. That's our job. It's your option Lieutenant. All yours." That's from "Top Gun." I'm not real sure what I'm trying to say, but I want to help. I feel responsible and I want to help fix things.

Thanks, Matteau.

You're the best in the biz man.

ALL laugh as MATTEAU takes KARI in his arms and kisses her passionately. ALL cheer. KEVIN leans over to EURIC.

Wow! That was totally unnecessary.

Cut to

Int. Girls cabin MATTEAU, EURIC, KEVIN, and BRODY are talking and laughing as they sweep up the girls cabin. SAM ELIOT in a large cowboy hat and signiture Wally Fingers mustache, enters and speaks directly to the camera.

Well, it appears the boys are gonna hang up the hat of Broqueric Martinez. For now at least. Their last ride was a special one to say the least. There was adventure, drama, romance, and a little comedy to lighten the mood. Only thing it was missing from my vantage point is a good home cooked meal and some bottles of brew.

Behind him the four boys pull out plates of food and bottles of root beer.

Well, I reckon I spoke too soon.

SAM ELIOT pulls out a harmonica and begins playing "Home on the Range.

The End.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Coming Soon!The Final Ride: Part 3

Don't Miss!

Sooner than later you will be reading the final installment of the saga of Broqueric Martinez and his attempt to save a young girl from a speeding train.

The final episode will contain thrills, chills, intrigue, action, and romance. It's a riotous laugh, and a heartbreaking tail of revenge and redemption.

Coming soon to Great Blogs of Fire:

As soon as I'm done with this story I will be free to write more blogs. As it is I didn't want a whole lot between installments. The first one just flew out, but the last two have been a little laboreous. Enjoyable, nonetheless. But, I'm about halfway throught the final bit, so you'll have it soon. After that I am planning:

Short movie reviews on all of the movies I've seen in the last couple months

My thoughts on Turkey and the debate between Canned Shapped Cranberry Sauce or the whole berry kind

A spot on The Earlies and their awesome show in Denton last weekend.

Rants on social injustice and the Republicans

and Recipes for flan

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Final Ride of Broqueric Martinez: Part 2

When last we left our three cabalaros they had hatched such a devious and wiley prank that no man or woman could deny the michevious nature of it. I know that doesn't sound very devious or wiley, but you must read on, dear reader. Read on!

Ext. The gym at Gulf Coast Christian Youth Camp outside Columbus, Texas. A doorway leads to the men's lodging. BRODY, EURIC, and KEVIN are huddled together at the edge of the gym where the cement meets the grass. EURIC is visually anxious to get the plan underway. KEVIN is jumping up and down, beating his chest. BRODY is looking around with not a clue as to what is going on. A bucket full of water balloons and a small satchel lay at the boys' feet.

Has everyone got their knee high socks for deflecting the stings of the high grass?

What's up! What's up! You want some of this, girls cabin? Huh? Huh? That's right! That's right! It is so on!

EURIC is rummaging through baggage

Do we have flashlights? Let's see...Extra batteries. We need extra batteries.

We don't need no extra batteries, dawg! Come on, Yo! Get crunk up in here! Get crunk!

KEVIN throws his chest against EURIC, but EURIC just pushes KEVIN away toward BRODY

What's up, man? You ready for this? Dun-dun-dun, dun-dun, dun, dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun.....

KEVIN starts dancing over to BRODY pushing him around while singing the tune to "Get Ready for This" by the Clubmix. BRODY freaks out in hysterics. He speaks loudly.

Holy moley! Oh, man! You freaked me out!

What's up man? Can't take it? Can't stand the fi-ya!

When did you guys get here? I've been waiting for, like, 20 minutes.

Brody, we've been here for twenty minutes planning the attack.

What? Your lips are moving, but nothing is coming out.

KEVIN picks up a water balloon and busts it on BRODY's ear.

Whhaaahhh! Ow! That hurt.

Can you hear me now?


You can hear me?

Sure, now that your speaking up, I can hear you.

EURIC reaches over and takes some white foam from BRODY'S ear

Shaving cream.

Are you sure it's not whipped cream?

KEVIN takes some shaving cream from BRODY'S ear and tastes it

Bleaahh! That is not whipped cream!

Are you sure?

BRODY takes some shaving cream from his own ear and tastes

Ah! That is awful.

Told you.

Brody, why is your ear filled with shaving cream.

I'll tell you why.

BRODY, KEVIN, and EURIC POV. An older gentleman with an Italian accent, MATTEAU, steps out of the shadows as the boys cower.

(Whispering) Don Matteau, Don Matteau, Don Matteau...etc.

You can call me Don.

MATTEAU approaches BRODY

Bonasera... Bonasera.

BRODY cowers in fear and cry begins

You could act like a man.


What's the matter with you? Is this what you've become, some Hollywood finnochio that cries like a woman?

Mocking BRODY

Oh, Godfather, what am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?

Don Matteau, forgive me.

BRODY kisses MATTEAU's hand until MATTEAU drops the accent, pulling his hand away.

Dude! What are you doing.

Don Matt...

That was from the Godfather. Good, huh?



Stand up and tell them why you've got shaving cream in your ear.

But, I...

Tell him!

The older guys grabbed me in the middle of the night while I was still in my sleeping bag. They bungie corded me to the pillar of the gym and squirted shaving cream all over me. I was so embarassed.

MATTEAU laughs hysterically.


Absolute genious.

Thank you.

I remember that, Brody. It was last year.

You've had shaving cream in your ear all year?

It's been a rough year.

So, wait...was that you?

It was me. It was all me! Well, me and some other guys. So funny, huh?

Well, we could really use your expertese, Matteau. Please, we need you.

Please, Don Matteau.

MATTEAU reverts to his Godfather impression.

Someday - and that day may never come - I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as gift on my daughter's wedding day.

The others give looks of great confusion.

Yes. I'll help. That means I'll help. It's also from The Godfather.


Two young boys enter,TIMMY and RONNY

So, Kevin. Can we come.

Oh yeah, which of the kids are we going to bring?

Well, boys, we've given it much consideration and we still don't know.

What's this?

We're going to allow three boys to join our ranks as Junior Broqeric Martinez members so that one day they may take over the reigns of tomfoolery.

How many kids are supposed to be involved in this?

EURIC pulls out a clipboard.

Well we interviewed them all. All the ones who are here at least. We had a number of quality candidates...

"What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men." Cool Hand Luke, 1967. What I want to know is how many of these little pipsqeeks are going to be tagging along tonight?

We were going to choose three.

Three? No. Two.

No, three!

"You know, Zeke, I am the authority figure here, it's time you realized that." The Faculty, 1998

You can't do that! This is our beat and you want to come in here and push us around? Well, we didn't gain our reputation on whims and fansies. It took sweat and blood and sometimes urine, and we made it here on our own and we can continue on our own.

I think you need to watch yourself, soldier! Do you know who you're talking to?

Why don't y'all just relax?

"Don't you tell me to relax! You're an E4. I'm a full bird colonel! You don't talk to me like that. You understand, soldier?" Buffalo Soldiers, 2001.

Why don't we just take Ronny and Timmy here? They've already heard us talking about the plan.

That's fine with me. Brody?

I don't have an opinion.

Will that be okay, Matteau?

"Smart I like. Smart aleck, I don't!" Raw Deal, 1986.

So it's settled. You guys are our new Broqeric Martinezes in training.


One by one, another young boys steps out of the shadows.

What about me?

What about me?

And me?

And me?

This continues until soon EURIC, KEVIN, and BRODY are surrounded by boys all clamoring for status

Oh, boy!

Quantum Leap.

Ext. A large pile of bricks adjacent to a building. EURIC, KEVIN, and BRODY are setting up to launch water balloons. A crowd of Jr. High Boys are looking anxiously on, some are getting in the way. MATTEAU sits on the pile of bricks, clipping his nails. BOY ONE picks up a water balloon and begins tossing it around to his buddies

Give me that!


But, but, but! Shut up, just shut up! This was such a bad idea.

RONNY is playing with a water balloon

Hey get away from there! Kevin, get your brother out of there.

He's not hurting anything.

The balloon bursts

Whoops. Sorry.

See? This was a bad idea. Really bad.

At least we didn't have to carry anything.

Yeah, one bucket and a rubberband is real tough.

Come on, come on. Isn't it ready yet?

Just about. There. Now, Kevin, you and I will hold the handles and Brody, you will load the launcher and pull back and let go.

Got it. (pause.) Isn't there anything else?

No, that's basically it.

Got it.

Aren't you going to check for wind resistance and atmospheric conditions?

Why should we?

That's what I would have done in my day.

Whatever. All right! Let's do this!

Yeah, baby! What's up? What's up?

KEVIN and EURIC grab the handles of the water balloon launcher as BRODY loads the first balloon.

Here we go. Ready?


BRODY pulls back and launches a balloon

It missed!

Who asked you?

Well, it did miss.

I can see that. Try another one aim higher. I think it was too angled down.

BRODY loads and launches another balloon


Direct hit!

Take that you shingled punk!

Nice. Very nice. Do another.

BRODY loads and launches another.


BRODY, EURIC and KEVIN continue to launch balloon after balloon which pretty soon turns into a very convincing "montage" complete with shots of the females coming out of their cabin to see what was the matter and silent (or MOV) shots of MATTEAU laughing sinisterly.

Ext. The same pile of bricks. A water balloon has just burst on the cabin and the crowd cheers.





All Laugh.

Can I get a "what, what?"

Silence. Finally, MATTEAU breaks in

How many are left?

Only one.

Just one? Wow. That was a powerful montage.

I'll say.

Well, if there is only one water balloon left you must make it count. Make it count.

Well what should we do?

I know!

What is it? What? Tell us. etc....

A puntar a la ventana!

What does that mean?

Aim for the window!

I thought you didn't know Spanish

I don't.

Nevermind, this is excellent. A puntar a la vintanna (pronounces tanna like "span" or "dan")

No, no. Tahnna. It's "a la vintanna" with an ah, ah, ah sound.

Tahnna, tahnna. Ah, ah.

Right. Use the long A sound.

Brody! Load the launcher!

Yes, sir!

BRODY loads the water balloon launcher and pulls back hard. MATTEAU speaks like an old 1800s western coot.

You gotta get out there, son. I got $20 gold bet on you, so don't let me down. (Pause.) It's the old guy in the saloon from Back to the Future. The third one.

A puntar a la ventana!

A puntar a la ventana!

BRODY releases the final water balloon and...


Friday, November 11, 2005

The Final Ride of Broqueric Martinez: Part 1

Chad Nall (friend, minister, Kinsmen) gave an account of one of his escapades in juvenile delinquency in a recent blog entry. This has encouraged me to reveal something that I've probably never told anyone.**

I am Broqeric Martinez! (to be said with a Spanish accent)

I am not alone, mind you. Broqeric Martinez is actually a triumvirate of mischief and mayhem funded, guided and supported by yet another, supposedly wiser, older gentleman. The three of us who made up Broqeric Martinez would ride the fields of Columbus, Tejas pillaging and plundering the local folk, taking nothing but leaving much more than a legacy behind.

Our attacks from the dark of the night were legendary in, not only Central Texas, but Oklahoma as well. We were a whirlwind of terror and frustration that would leave the gentlest of camp administration writhing their gym towel in irritation.

Until one day...

The following is a dramatic interpretation of actual events. The names have been changed to sound cooler.

Int. A dark room. There are two figures under a hanging lamp that just barely illuminates their faces. They are two young men named EURIC and KEVIN.

I'm glad we met Kevin. We have much discuss.

Indeed, we do, Kevin.

But, you're Kevin.


You didn't get the memo?

You know, I did, but I couldn't make it out.

It was in Aramaic.

That's what it was. I only speak Russian and Mandarin Chinese.

And English.

Of course.

And, we've gotten off topic. Let's try to focus. We've got a gig coming up and I want this one to go smooth. Not like that last debacle in the Red Oaks.

That was messy. Sometimes I think I can still feel Pop Rocks in my rectum.

I don't really want to talk about it. But I do want to plan what this next one should look like. Here I've drawn out a sketch.

EURIC hands a spiral notebook to KEVIN who turns the notebook every which way trying to make heads or tails of it.

Is this more Aramaic?

Let me see.

EURIC takes the note book from KEVIN

Sorry, that's my calculus homework. Here.

EURIC turns some pages and hands the notebook back over to KEVIN

Ahh. Ahhhhhhh! Oooohoohoo! Ahhaaah! HA, HA, HA!

KEVIN and EURIC both erupt into a sinister and revealing laugh that fills the room. It is stopped by a much brighter light being turned on behind KEVIN. The laughing stops abruptly.

Eurasia POV. A younger boy with a bright naiveƃe smile and wide eyes is standing next to the light switch. His name is BRODY and he is sipping a "Big Gulp" and speaks in a loud voice.

Hey guys, it's dark in here. Why don't y'all turn on some lights.

Geez, Brody! Will you keep it down. My grandma's asleep in the next room. She can see the light through the crack under her door.

Oh, sorry! Should I...

GRANDMA'S voice is heard from behind KEVIN


It's Euric, Grandma!

Whatever! Is that you making a ruckus in there.

Sorry, Grandma!

I can see the light from under the door.

(to BRODY, in a whisper)Turn it off, turn it off!

BRODY flips off the light switch and it returns to the way it was before.

Sorry, Grandma!

Is that Kevin in there.

Hi, Grandma.

Hiya,sweetiey! Kevin, feel free to whatever's in the fridge, dear.

Thanks, Grandma.

Eric, when your finished playing, can you bring me the Calamine lotion?

Euric, Grandma. And, we...Okay!

Keep it down now.

Yes, Grandma.

BRODY pulls a chair up next to KEVIN under the low light, once again.

Thanks a bunch, Brody.

Sorry, I didn't know.

Okay, forget about it. Let's just get back to business. Brody, these are the plans for the next job over at the Gulf Coast Encampment during the Annual Spring Retreat.

EURIC hands BRODY the spiral notebook


No, here.

EURIC flips the notebook over

This is good. This is real good. Do you think that it might be a little too good?

What does that mean?

If we execute this plan just as Matteau hasprescribedd, it can't go wrong. I've taken the liberty adding my own flavor for a reallyinterestingg touch. As we arebecomingg aged and weather-worn, it shall soon behoove us to train others to replace us.

Replace Broqeric Martinez? Never!

Yes. Do we wish our legacy to live on. Should we fade into society as an unknown, forever forgotten dream. Or would you rather the legend live on. Become..Legendaryy, even. Through those who came before us we rode on the wings of glory to newheightss of mischief. In that same way we shall gather the budding pranksters and teach them the ways of Broqeric Martinez. I dare not leave them to their own devises to besmirch the quality craftsmanship with which we have smeared annoyance across the land.

Well, when you put it like that...

I'm in. So what are what's your plan?

We make it known among the little'uns that Broqeric Martinez shall be admitting not one, not two, yea, threesaplingss to water and nurture as apprentices until they are ready to take over the reigns of the moniker itself.

Then it's settled, I guess. We've decided we will launch water balloons at the girls cabin, and we're going to bring a couple of squirts along with us.


Come on, guys. Can't you make it sound more mysterious?

KEVIN and BRODY think for a minute.

I've got it. A puntar a la ventana!


**Not true. I tell anyone within earshot when I get a chance.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"The Religious Right is Flexing It's Might...."

(Clap, clap, clap, clap)

"Deep in the heart of Texas!"

Yesterday, while watching the local news something happened that rarely happens while watching the local news. I was given actual, relevant information that I cared about. And, in hearing this information I was struck by something even more rare for a show that generally seems lame and pointless, I was filled with two strong emotions. Those emotions were sadness and anger, two emotions that frequently accompany each other. The reason for these emotions was the passing of Proposition 2, a constitutional ammendment prohibitting the recognition of anything resembling a marriage when two people of the same sex are involved. The law already states that gay marriage is illegal.

What made me mad wasn't so much the fact that it passed. I thought that it might. What frustrated me was generally two things: That it passed by such a large margin (76%, 24%) and that I didn't vote myself.

As far as Proposition 2 passing, I'm not surprised. Texas is a conservative state and is increasingly voting along the Republican party line. But the fact that 75% of the people in Texas are so vehemently opposed to gays, not just gay marriage, that they will make it double illegal is disappointing and disheartening.

Texas is a great state. The people are friendly, curteous, and open. They will welcome any and all outsiders and keep them well fed and entertained. Texans are some genuine, kind people.

Unless you are gay or lesbian.

I can't imagine why someone would go out of their way to go vote for this amendment. The only people who have something to gain or loose in this election was the gays. On the one hand, Republicans within the Texas Government knew that this bill would pass. There was no way that they would have created and sponsored this bill unless they were absolutely confident of it passing. Imagine if it had been denied. It would essentially have been saying that Texas is okay with gay marriage and legalization of it wouldn't have been far behind. So in this way Texas Republicans were taking a slight risk by holding such an election. Why introduce the ammendment at all? Are Texans afraid of gay marriage being overturned in our state of conservative judges and rednecks?

Could it be that Texas lawmakers want to make it more difficult in the future to interpret laws as unconstitutional with regard to this issue? Future legaliztion of gay marriage isn't really a fear unless the state of Texas, whether it be lawmakers or citizens, decide later on that it should be legalized. At this point we will legalize gay marriage whether we have to get it out of the constitution or not. Essentially, the lawmakers of today are just giving the lawmakers of tomorrow more paperwork. The trend of society is to become more lenient and tolerant of others, giving our shrinking global community. It seems that those who came up with this ammendment realize that sooner or later, Texas is going to want to change the law to allow gay marriage. They are just being assholes by creating more hoops to jump through.

Which brings me to my next point. What kind of jackass would go out of his way to deny a right from another person. Well, the Ku Klux Klan made their presence known in Austin yesterday. They certainly want to take a stand on this issue.

But, what about the typical, non-hatefilled Texan who just simply finds the homosexual lifestyle to be sinful. Surely they don't hate gays but hate the act, right? Hate the sin, but love the sinner, and all that jazz. What could possibly compell a person like this to push for an amendment to the constitution to ban a practice that is already banned. Aside from the aforementioned likelyhood that if this ammendment was rejected legalizing gay marriage was next, I can't think of any reason. All this ammendment serves to do is further widen the socialogical gap between gays and mainstream culture. It is a slap in the face to gays, plain and simple. It is mainstream Texans saying to a minority, "We don't just oppose your lifestyle, we oppose you." What happened to loving the sinner?

Maybe you truly don't hate the sinner, then why vote for this rediculous bill? Did you vote on principle? It's as if any opportunity to show the world you are a Bible-thumping Christian can't just pass on by. The WWJD t-shirts and horribly cheesy bumper stickers aren't enough anymore, apperently. And, far be it from anyone within the fundamentalist Christian community to actually try acting like Christ!

Some might be wondering why I care so much, being that I'm not gay, and if gays or lesbians in Texas really wanted to get married, they wouldn't live in Texas. Besides, I didn't even vote. Well, I intended on voting, but actually thought the election was Thursday, completely forgetting the whole "Tuesday following the first Monday of November" thing. And, afterall this change doesn't really change anything, which we've already been over.

Then I started thinking, do I really want to vote on such an ammendment when I know it's going to pass, but also, in voting I'm validating the governments right to put such a vote on the ballot. The issue isn't really the legalization of gay marriage, while I would vote for legalization if the occasion arrose. It was about banning an already banned practice. I am primarily opposed to the proposition being on the ballot to begin with, not so much whether it should be legal. I guess what I'm so angry about is that 75% of the people of Texas don't have this small little chip of logic in their brains to allow them to realize that this proposition was inheritly defunct in the first place. Now, I don't want to pass judgement on everyone, because I don't understand the motives or reasoning behind every Texan's vote (which is why I don't pretend to pass judgement on homosexuals, by the way), but the truth is, I don't really believe that they are missing the logic, I think they just don't care. I think that the people who created and voted to approve this ammendment simply wanted another platform on which to shout their own self-righteousness. I may be wrong but that is what I truly believe. It was irresponsible, foolish and hateful to have such a change left to the general population. If you don't like the idea of gay marriage, then guys, don't marry a man! And ladies, don't marry a freakin' lady!

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force made a really good point:

"When you put a fundamental right of a minority up for popular vote, it's almost impossible to win. I'm not sure the right to desegregate schools, the freedom to marry another race or even access to contraception in many states would exist if those issues were put up for a vote."

I may have to rant about this issue again, but I think this entry is long enough. Thanks for your time.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Life is Silly

In my previous post I mentioned that I like movies with "heart and a dark, morbid undertone." To further expand on this description I enjoy movies that deal with real human emotion and can take a light hearted look at the things that we tend to take way too seriously in real life. Like death or romantic relationships. I tend to review two movies soon that I feel exemplified these criteria quite well. I mentioned that I was looking for a movie to watch while Amanda was at Wicked with a friend. I ended up watching 4 hours of "I love the 80s in 3-D." Leaving me with the suspicion that the 80s really were very rediculous and not to be taken seriously. If you consider the fact that there has been an "I love the 70s" "90s" and two other "I Love the 80s" volumes we see that the world hasn't been taken seriously since the 60s. And the 80s were the silliest decade of all, garnering three chapters. Granted, the decade was longer than the others, having one more leap year within the decade (3 as opposed to 2), but it does seem to have been quite a bit sillier than either the 70s or 90s, and therefore deserving of all three "I Love the 80s" episodes. Given the show "Best Week Ever" is such a hit, I think it is safe to say that we don't take ourselves much more serious now, even with the world seeming to crash in around us.

UPDATE: just to clarify, the 80s sucked. Not awesome, or totally tubular. They sucked. I was cool, but that was about it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Photo for Little Reason

I thought it was about dang time to post a picture of Amanda and meself. This is us on our 3rd anniversary going to see the musical Wicked in New York City. I've mentioned this before. She is going to see it without me tomorrow with one of her friends. I will get a movie, I guess. Recomendations? Remember, I'm very picky. Nothing pretentious, weird is okay, as long as the filmaker knows he's being weird and knows that we know it. Funny is usually better, but not without heart and a dark, morbid undertone. I've seen most movies that fall into this category, so if you know something obscure, feel free...

We started rehearsals for Grease today. I like the cast the way it is. I hope it doesn't change (i.e. get bigger) Can I please just direct plays after school and not teach classes?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Walken Into a Mess

The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He'd be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy's birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.

This brilliantly funny monologue from the movie Pulp Fiction was delivered deadpan with all the sincerity in the world by, one of the finest and most loved character actors of all time. He has frightened us in more than one movie, made us cry in a couple more and made us laugh plenty of times. A man known for his evil, nasty characters, those close to Walken know him as a very gentle, friendly man with a brilliant mind and thirst for life.

I believe that it is this attitude and reputation as a well liked, respected human being aside from his acting abilities that has lead to the emergence of Walken 2008, Christopher Walken's bid for the Presidency.

When it comes to actors turn politicians, or actors turn anything, for that matter, I often have a hard time accepting them as sincere and not just trying to bring more attention onto themselves. After all, actors have this inherent desire to be loved and admired and be in the spotlight and politics garner that type of attention in a very similar way as acting does. You would think that as an actor myself I would be more willing to give actors the benefit, but I think it just means that I have even more reason to be skeptical.

But, Walken is different. He's not just any celebrity, trying to hog the headlines. On the contrary, Walken is of the rare breed that shuns the spotlight, but craves the joy and challenge of a heady, complex character study. Walken is an artist, not a celebrity. So, when I saw this site I decided to give Mr. Walken a chance.

It turns out that the platform claims could have come directly from my lips if I had ever been able to verbalize the feelings I had on the issues plaguing our country right now. He seemed quite moderately liberal and gave good well thought out reasoning following each stance. I thought that I may have my candidate for the next presidential election, an election that is sure to produce some interesting, albeit frighteningly inept and snarky candidates. I've not been looking forward to the new crop of political saviors and so Walken seemed like a breath of fresh air.

Unfortunately, as you've probably already figured out, it's all a hoax.

But, man, our own liberal version of a well liked celebrity. Someone who people will really get behind and support, not for all the good reasons, but for the superficial ones, too. You know, the kind that really win elections. Bill Clinton, minus the sex scandals, Al Gore plus Dubyas strange likability. (Which would mean that I wouldn't like him, which would be okay if he was as qualified to lead the country as Gore was. The point is the general population would like him and so he'd win.)

I'm looking for a cross between Jimmy Carter's heart, Al Gore's brain, George W. Bush's balls, and Clinton's sheer animal magnetism. And throw some of that Reagan charm in there for good measure and you've got yourself a president to lead us into the millennium, baby!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Honor, Part 2: Did the Greeks Capitalize Pronouns for Their Gods?

I've always been perplexed by why people capitalize "him" and "he" and "his" when speaking of God. I've never understood it and furthermore I've never seen it written anywhere that this is a rule to be followed. Surely, God is greater than English rules of punctuation but since when does he care? He knows he's great and could change grammar rules at a moment's notice, but is it really necessary to take it upon ourselves to do that. The truth is that we honor God for ourselves and for others. On a very cynical plane we honor God to show everyone else, "Hey, look how much love I have in my heart for God." Or in my case it's always been, "Oh, gees! I better take off my hat, and stand during this prayer or people are going to ask why I don't love God."

And then my mom informed me that "gees" is short for "Jesus" and that I shouldn't use it in vain either. Of course, every psuedo explative and alternate cuss word is a dirivative of "God" or "Jesus" or some refference to them. You really can't swear without offending God; or rather offending God's followers. Take a look.

Gosh: God

Darn: damn

Gees: Jesus

Gees-Louise: Jesus-Louise

(Here's my favorite because my dad would always say this) Dad-gummit: Switch the first letters of each word, you get Gad-Dummit, which sounds an awful lot like a hillbilly with a speach inpediment making the most cardinal of swears. Somebody got really creative in order to swear.

When I was a kid people would say that when you said "gosh" you were really saying "God" and so it was still bad because, "It's what's in your heart that counts." On the one hand, it doesn't really matter because I don't think anyone who uses the word "God" as an explative is feeling any ill will toward God in their heart or otherwise. But on the other hand that little saying is right on the money. God sees our hearts, not whats on our lips.

The Bible says much about honor. I would like to know how the word "honor" is directly translated into the Greek, or Hebrew, or whatever. In the Old Testement, God obviously goes far with showing him outward honor, smiting everything that betrays him. But in the New Testement we are shown an example of how he is much more concerned with honor for our own sake. "Honor your father and mother." Makes sense. They have feelings. Show them you love them. "Honor your body." Yeah, sure, don't kill yourself with alcohol or getting a disease from a skanky woman. I got it. But, throughout the Bible, especially in the NT we see that this honor thing isn't for God, but for us. We, or at least most people, either need to honor others in order to equate love to a more tangible element, or need to be shown honor to feel loved.

So in conclusion, I'm not saying that everyone should stop showing honor God, and certainly not to each other. What I'm saying is that we have a tendency sometimes to focus on the outward expression when what is on the inside is really what matters. I don't think God derives love from physical acts of what we consider honor. I think that he sees what's really in our hearts at all times and regardless of what we do, he will know if it is genuine or superficial. At the same time, those who may go against the grain and ruffle feathers because they may not adhere to the same code of honor that most of us do, should not be judged based solely on our standards. I think this applies to people who have been raised in our culture as well as other cultures. People come to God and honor, or should I say, love God in many different ways. I don't think that one is better or worse than the others. I can't say, "Don't do that because it doesn't honor God." The response to that is, "Do you think God cares? I love God and he knows it, why do I care if you can see it or not." There's obviously a lot of reasons that someone could give as to why you shoud honor God for people, not for him. But this is why Jesus said that we don't judge the hearts of others. We don't have that capability like God does. Even if you consider yourself a good judge of character no one can read hearts or minds like God and so we should show love before judgement on every occasion.

Honor, Part 1: Our Ego is Stupid

I've always heard that we should honor God. That it is sinful, even, to dishonor him by using his name in vain or not taking your hat off in a prayer or doing one of these outward signs of respect that actually stem from ways of honoring those in our own society. Basically, we have tried to make God into, not only a human, but an American human that derives worth and honor from the same petty things that we do.

We feel honor as people when others tell us we did a good job, or we win an award, or if someone asks our opinion of something. Our egos and self-images are entirely based on how we are honored by other people. In this sense, honor is a completely outward and superficial idea. It's not even a real emotion, it's accolades, trophies, and "at-a-boys!" A dictator or king who rules absolutely needs the kind of shows of honor like saluting or even bowing so that their honor is reinforced. The people who serve him or her show that they honor the ruler by completely submitting to their will. Because humans generally equate this type of honor with a deity, the human ruler's ego is so stroked he or she might begin to think of him or herself as as close to a "god" as one can get.

My point is that honor is a concept that is of this world, that human beings have developed in order to show outwardly that one is revered or even loved. So, I have to wonder, does God really care about being honored?

I don't think so. I think God wants to loved which is much more difficult emotion to muster. Anybody can take off their hat during a prayer or refrain from using the Lord's name in vain. Anyone can go to church, sit in a pew and even turn off a television show that they deem "ungodly." These are all acts of honor to God, but they are outward acts. These acts may be associated with the condition of one's heart. A person may only be honoring God because they've been taught that if they love God, they will do these certain things in order to honor him, outwardly. Is God impressed? I suppose that if you actually believe that the two are linked then God may be appreciative of your gesture, but in the end, I gotta think that he doesn't care about that. He cares about the love that you have for him.

Tomorrow: Honor, Part 2: Did the Greeks Capitalize Pronouns for Their Gods?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Earlies

My brother-in-law, or rather my wife's brother-in-law... My sister-in-law's husband, (and good friend, btw) Brandon Carr is in a band called The Earlies They are big overseas, and I'm not saying that in a "Oh, but we're HUUGE in Japan" kind of way. They really are a well known group that has received some incredible reviews by some of the U.K.'s nation music publications. I was even amazed the first time I was able to find them on iTunes.

Anyway, they were just written up in an article from The Dallas Observer, a local arts mag in Dallas, because they are releasing their first album, These Were the Earlies in the U.S., finally. I won't bore you with their story since you can read it at the link provided in this paragraph, but I will tell you that the music they make is very good. It's artsy, but not unmanageable, edgy, but not raucous, beautiful, but not cheesy, and relatable, but not obnoxious. I would even go as far to say that certain tracks could be radio hits. Maybe not on today's homogeneous, corporation dominated radio waves, but perhaps when (if?) that pendulum ever swings back the other way. But even if they aren't the "next pop prophet" they certainly have a grand amount of potential and momentum behind them with top billing at various music festivals, including South By Southwest, enough to make them an underground college radio sensation, which would probably suit them just fine based on what I know about Brandon's taste and snobbery when it comes to music (I mean that in a good way).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Thank You!

Sometimes... Okay, every year between the months of April and October, I ask myself over and over, "Will this be the year? Will this be the year?"

Well, gosh-darnit! This is that year! It is about time, I'm telling you!

Thank you, boys, now let's go to Chicago and do it again. They're all saying you can't do it again, which of course means that you will.

I guess I like Pujols again. I've actually forgotten what I had against him in the first place.

World Series, Baby! Here we go!

Monday, October 17, 2005

I think I hate Albert Pujols...

I know it's wrong, but I can't help it.


There is a movie out right now called Waiting about waiters getting even with rude and annoying customers that frequently demand too much of waiters and fail to tip properly. I haven't seen the movie, but a lesser known movie with a similar premise came out a few years ago. I waited tables for a year before I became a school teacher, and I actually liked it a lot. I've even thought about waiting tables during my summers or other off time. With that said, I completely relate to the woes of a waiter making $2.13 and having to depend tips, which is basically a gamble.

As a waiter the rude or overly sensitive customers got on my nerves, but after I got better as a waiter and I made less mistakes those issues became less frequent. They still happened but fewer and farther between than before. I think waiting tables is definitely a job that requires a lot of patience and people skills, and much like teaching, takes a while to get good at.

There were However two moments as a waiter that could have gotten me fired had it not been that my wife was a hostess and kept me from doing anything.

The first instance that sticks out was a couple who were nice enough throughout the dinner, the guy was kind of a jerk, they paid in a large bill and I gave them change. They left me a two dollar tip on a $30 check. On one of the dollar bills, face up was was written in large crayon (it was Macaroni Grill, lots of crayons) were the words "F*@K OFF!" I'm not usually overly sensitive, but this came out of nowhere and really bothered me, even besides the horrible tip. It's sad what some people feel they can get away with just because you won't be seen again.

The other table that stands out was a large table of rednecks who were drinking and having a good time. Now, I grew up in Texas and so Rednecks don't bother me, or rather I can deal with them. These people seemed alright until I carded one of them when he ordered a beer. It turns out he was under age and they asked if I would just serve him because everyone else was drinking and he wouldn't be paying for it. I said that I was sorry, but no. Well, they proceeded to order drinks for the kid from the bar and then bring it over. I decided not to make an issue, if they wanted to risk breaking the law, I'd covered my butt. But, after that things got worse, complaining about everything from a small water spot on a fork to not liking their lasagna. Finally, when the temperamental pantry chef took forever to make their deserts they got mad and ended up tipping me $3 on a $180 check. Did I mention they had been taking up my entire section for over 2 hours. My lovely wife kept me from storming out into the parking lot and getting my self fired, or possibly killed (This is Texas, and in Texas, people carry guns...Legally.)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What Is Wrong With 1997?

I'm a sucker for a list, especially with music being involved. Got this from Deana Nall:

1. Go to musicoutfitters.com and, in the search box provided, enter the year you graduated high school. For me, that would be 1997.
2. From the search results, click the link for the top 100 songs of that year.
3. With the resulting list:

1. Bold the songs you like
2. Italicize the ones you hate
3. Underline your favorites
4. Ignore the ones you don't remember/don't care about.

Top 100 Hits of 1997

1. Candle In The Wind 1997, Elton John
2. Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me, Jewel
3. I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
4. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton
5. Can't Nobody Hold Me Down, Puff Daddy
6. I Believe I Can Fly, R. Kelly
7. Don't Let Go (Love), En Vogue
8. Return Of The Mack, Mark Morrison
9. How Do I Live, LeAnn Rimes
10. Wannabe, Spice Girls
11. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), Backstreet Boys
12. MMMBop, Hanson
13. For You I Will, Monica
14. You Make Me Wanna..., Usher
15. Bitch, Meredith Brooks
16. Nobody Keith Sweat
17. Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind
18. Barely Breathing, Duncan Sheik
19. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Az Yet Featuring Peter Cetera
20. Mo Money Mo Problems, Notorious B.I.G.
21. The Freshmen, Verve Pipe
22. I Want You, Savage Garden
23. No Diggity, BLACKstreet Featuring Dr. Dre
24. I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face), Rome
25. Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G.
26. Every Time I Close My Eyes, Babyface
27. In My Bed, Dru Hill
28. Say You'll Be There, Spice Girls
29. Do You Know (What It Takes), Robyn
30. 4 Seasons Of Loneliness, Boyz II Men
31. G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T., Changing Faces
32. Honey, Mariah Carey
33. I Believe In You And Me, Whitney Houston
34. Da' Dip, Freaknasty
35. 2 Become 1, Spice Girls
36. All For You, Sister Hazel
37. Cupid, 112
38. Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?, Paula Cole
39. Sunny Came Home, Shawn Colvin
40. It's Your Love, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
41. Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit, Gina G
42. Mouth, Merril Bainbridge
43. All Cried Out, Allure Featuring 112
44. I'm Still In Love With You, New Edition
45. Invisible Man, 98 Degrees
46. Not Tonight, Lil' Kim
47. Look Into My Eyes, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony I don't really remember this song, but these guys were pretty cool
48. Get It Together, 702
49. All By Myself, Celine Dion
50. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
51. My Love Is The Shhh!, Somethin' For The People
52. Where Do You Go, No Mercy
53. I Finally Found Someon, Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams
54. I'll Be, Foxy Brown Featuring Jay-Z
55. If It Makes You Happy , Sheryl Crow
56. Never Make A Promise, Dru Hill
57. When You Love A Woman, Journey
58. Up Jumps Da Boogie, Magoo And Timbaland
59. I Don't Want To / I Love Me Some Him, Toni Braxton
60. Everyday Is A Winding Road, Sheryl Crow
61. Cold Rock A Party, Mc Lyte
62. Pony, Ginuwine
63. Building A Mystery, Sarah McLachlan
64. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
65. Your Woman, White Town
66. C U When U Get There, Coolio
67. Change The World, Eric Clapton
68. My Baby Daddy, B-Rock and The Bizz
69. Tubthumping, Chumbawamba The first time I heard this I liked it but predicted that I would hate it within a week. I was right, but now I like it again. It's like candy. Not too much.
70. Gotham City, R. Kelly
71. Last Night, Az Yet
72. ESPN Presents The Jock Jam, Various Artists
73. Big Daddy, Heavy D
74. What About Us, Total
75. Smile, Scarface
76. What's On Tonight, Montell Jordan
77. Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen
78. The One I Gave My Heart, w Aaliyah
79. Fly Like An Eagle, Seal
80. No Time, Lil' Kim
81. Naked Eye, Luscious Jackson
82. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio Absolute worst song ever. I hate this song with all my being.
83. On and On, Erykah Badu
84. Don't Wanna Be A Player, Joe
85. I Shot The Sheriff, Warren G
86. You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time), Brian McKnight Featuring Mase
87. Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Madonna Like the song, okay, but that remix pissed me off.
88. Someone, SWV
89. Go The Distance, Michael Bolton
90. One More Time, Real McCoy
91. Butta Love, Next
92. Coco Jamboo, Mr. President
93. Twisted, Keith Sweat
94. Barbie Girl, Aqua
95. When You're Gone / Free To Decide, Cranberries
96. Let Me Clear My Throat, DJ Kool
97. I Like It, Blackout Allstars
98. You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
99. You Must Love Me, Madonna
100. Let It Go, Ray J

*After reviewing this list I am utterly disappointed in my graduating class, or at least the songs from that class. I actually knew more of the songs from the 1989 list. And of the one's I did know I barely liked any of them, and even those weren't my favorites. Very disappointing. I think the problem was that this is the first year that the teeny-bopper crap came back into style and I largely ignored it, if not completely dispised it. Sooner or later I gave up on pop music for good. Look for my own list soon.*

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More Math

No implications, just take it at face value

Fill in the blank with "<", ">" or "="

1. Good Hitting+Good Pitching _____ Decent Hitting+Great Pitching

2. Home Field Advantage _____ An overall (slightly) better ballclub

3. Best record in Baseball ______ Best record in second half of season

What is the formula for a World Championship team?

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Greatest Game Ever Played

While I am always a little remiss to post twice in a day, muchless the same hour, I cannot let this go.

Yesterday was, regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, the greatest moment in baseball history as far as I'm concerned. This six hour monstrosity that was the longest game in baseball postseason history was destined to be our undoing or our greatest moment ever. I figure if the Astros hadn't been able to pull this one out after coming from behind they had no chance of winning a game 5. Even with Pettitte on the mound (I just glanced up at my Andy Pettitte autographed baseball to check my spelling) I don't think there is any way we could have recovered. But, oh, I need not worry about that, my friend. Yesterday was amazing. I need not worry because thanks to Clemens, Burke, Ausmus, Berkman, and the rest the Astros pulled it out to win this amazingly long, tedious, painful, and glorious contest.

I won't bore you with the details of the game. If you don't know them already, my brother gives a pretty good account. I think the interesting part lies within the story that every Astros fan has with regard to this game. Where were they when the Astros beat the Braves in the 2005 NL Division Series. Like every Rita evacuation story, Houstonians are going to long be able to account for their every move and thought over this 6 hour marathon. If you are like my brother and I you may be able to recount multiple places. Or, like my uncle, Steve, perhaps the first quarter of the game was simply too painful and you had to go do something else to get your mind off of it, only to realize later that the boys had come through and you were left to hang your head in shame for giving up so soon.

My tale isn't that of a traveling family man or shamed gardener. Mine is more akin to that of the Hobbit Frodo in Lord of the Rings, or the Knights of King Arthur's Court in search of the Holy Grail. Yes, my tale begins simply enough, but alas, comes to light in victory and heroics and romance. Ah, yes...romance. Baseball, my friends, is not just any game.

The journey began as my friends Eric and Paula and Amanda and I were trying to decide where to eat lunch. They were here visiting from the far away land of "Toronto" and we wanted to watch the game. Eric, a native of these lands, was a championeer of the Houston ballclub. In fact, Eric pays for internet TV in Canada just to watch the Astros. He is a true soldier, I can tell you that. So we decide on this little local restaurant called Baytown Seafood and are delighted to find out that it indeed has two TVs, one on either side of the room. That way we can all watch the game and talk to each other face to face at the same time. Eye contact had to be sacrificed, but in a battle like this one, something had to give.

By the end of lunch it wasn't looking good. On the way home things became worse. Finally, one run, but it was match by a Braves run. It looked like this adventure would extend to yet another day. The longer I sat waiting for the Astros to make their move the more futile it became. I had some errands to run, so I opted for the inferior car radio. The entire drive to my destination was riddled with peril and challenges. I was pulling a very heavy bar-b-que pit and having to carefully maneuver through potholes and curves and crappy drivers and pygmies. At least I think they were pygmies. But it was perilous, nonetheless. The radio of silenced Astro fans was simply background noise. It was the same scoreless inning after scoreless inning. A voice inside my head thought, "I wonder if there have ever been two grand slams in one game. If we could just get another grand slam." Then another voice in my head thought back, "Way to go, dillhole, now that you thought of it it'll never happen. Never!" So my other voice though, "Nuh-uh. Remember back in May when Jason Lane hit that slam to come from behind and win that game. You had predicted it then." So my other voice said back, "That was a once in a lifetime fluke. It'll never happen again."

"Settle down, boys!" I said out loud informs of my friend's dad who had loaned me the pit. "See you." I blushed.

Back in the car, to my surprise, "Two grand slams in one game. This is a record for post season play. There has never been two grand slams in a single post-season game."

Two grand slams?! Who did it? Who hit the other one?

Oh, my heart was racing. Had I predicted yet another grand slam?

"First LaRoche and now Berkman with his first post-season slam..."

They did it! I couldn't believe it! This was awesome. We were back in. I was at a self carwash, washing out some coolers that had stored greasy briskets and the guy next to me must have heard me freak out when Ausmus tied it because he came around the corner and asked, "What happened?"

I finally made it back home to watch the rest of the game on television. The next three hours were difficult, to say the least. Imagine being in a waiting room at a hospital not knowing whether or not your new baby is going to be a healthy baby boy or something else that is bad. Like a troll, or a warlock, or something. (I got weird just now because the only other funny things I could think of were highly offensive, and I'm trying something out called "sensitivity to the audience.") So I waited and waited and inning after disappointing inning I paced in my sterile waiting room, checking back every so often to ask, "Is it done yet?" It got to where I couldn't watch. I took breaks while Atlanta was at bat, listening from another room. While I would never miss the victorious triumph of the Good Guys, I couldn't have handled it if the strong side of the bat lay on the third base side.

Finally, it happened. The inevitable. This was the only way the game could have possibly ended. Clemens after basically pitching the second game of a double header as masterfully as we would expect, stepped up to the plate. As much a position player now as any man sitting on the bench (or rather, leaning up on the rail). I thought for sure he was about to hit his first career post season long ball. Those massive whiffs would have taken a basketball yard if contact had been made. I wasn't the only one who thought the Rocket was going to bag this one. Garner, himself, said later that he really thought Roger was going to hit a homer. It didn't fall that way and now an unlikely candidate approached to take a crack at glory. The rest doesn't have to be recounted again.

But I will anyway. Chris Burke lived the dream of every boy who ever put on a pair cleats and knocked the dirt off his shoes before approaching that strange looking pentagon. Burke was the envy of every inner-child from California to Tokyo who had been told to choke up and wait for a good one. Burke got a great one and this young man took his shot, swung the bat and simply had to let his intuition, everything that he'd been training for take control. As he rounded the bases there was a stoic look of duty on his face, as if the task had been an honorable, yet humble task that would have been done by the next guy if he hadn't been able to do it. Turning second the weight of such a swing could be seen melting on the 25 year old's face. On the final stretch his composure was no longer need, as if it ever was. Burke could no longer contain the elation that boiled over all the more with every bag that he stomped. Coming down the stretch he laughed with glee as he was engulfed in the already celebrating mass of red and gold and black uniforms, jumping and hugging and laughing and back slapping and high fiving. These men had been tired and now they exuded more energy than a ADHD kid without his Ritalin.

I celebrated right along with them. Amanda was afraid people across the hall would think people were dying. I told her that they would understand and I picked her up. She caught the bug from me and jumped into my arms, screaming and hollering right along with me. She would tell you that she was happy for me. That her exuberant behavior was simply out of joy for my sake. If that simple gesture doesn't make the woman wonderful enough, I actually think she is using that as a front to mask her ever-growing and undying love for the 'Stros, herself.

It was almost as if they were destined to win this game and it was only a matter of time. I really can't even imagine this game ending any different. This was how it had to be. This was destiny, drama. Yesterday was a prime example of what I love so much about the game of baseball. Patience. Art. Determination. Character. Love. Astros.

Brisket Math

Number of hours it takes to smoke 46 briskets: 12

Number of days it takes to prepare for said brisket smoking: 2

Number of people you will piss off my following my Brisket Smoking Plan: 4-6

Number of people it takes to tell you that said Brisket Smoking Plan is ineffective: 0

Number of people who will tell you anyway: 4-6

Number of happy customers eating delicious brisket: 45 (apparently one was a little to done)

Number of times I let out a barbaric yalp in my car on Friday to relieve stress: 4

Number of high school students who will show up for a lock-in: 19

Number of high school students I expected to show up: Like, 10, max

Number of high school students it takes to rub down 46 briskets in 10 minutes: 19

Number of packages of rub bought for 46 briskets: 15

Number of packages of rub actually used: 10

If all these numbers are added together (assuming "4-6"=6) and divided by the number of stats shown the final number is 12.3333333333333333, etc.

So based on this year's calculations I will die of a brain aneurysm if I try to make any sense out of all this crap.

*Go to the website to check out how the set for A Midsummer Night's Dream turned out*

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Seven Questions

I wasn't tagged, but I want to do this. I might tag other people. I don't know. I feel like I've been doing too many of these lately, but I've been busy and these are generally pretty mindless.

7 answers to 7 questions

7 things I plan to do before I die:
Have a child, or two.
Write and direct a film
Form a Rock Band when I get tired of theatre and play in smoky bars
Backpack across Europe with Amanda
Go to a third world country where I can help starving people first hand.
Grow into a goofy, but cute old man that is active and fun and everybody in town knows and says hi to.

7 things I can do:

Play guitar
Hold my foot while standing on the othe foot and jump through the foot I'm still holding.
Open a Zippo Lighter by flicking it between two fingers (and I don't even smoke, I'm just cool)
Change my own oil.
Swing Dance
Design and build a set and have it come out looking a great deal like I was hoping.
Hit an 80 mph fast ball from a pitching machine

7 things I cannot do:

Wake up in the morning without hitting the snooze alarm (multiple times)
Brush my cat, Bonkers, until he no long has loose hair to shed.
Design a real website, despite having one that I cheated with.
Play a really cool, fast, rocking guitar solo
Convince my wife that making the bed is a complete waste of time.
Remember to do everything that needs to be done in a single day. Yes, I know I've got to write things down, but sometimes I forget to do that.
Balance my checkbook to within a even a dime of what it should be.

7 things that attract me to another person:

An Open mind
Williingness to change for the better

7 Celebrity Crushes:

Kirsten Dunst
Clare Danes
Kate Winslet
Drew Barrymore
Lucy Lu
Cameron Diaz (I guess all of the Charlies Angels)
Uma Thurman
(This was hard, since I don't really have any celebrity crushes.)

7 things I say the most:

Say it loud and proud
No, go sit down.
Is this relevant?
What was I saying?
Come on in and have a seat.
I feel like I'm saying the same things over and over.

7 bloggers I am tagging:

Mad C