Wednesday, December 29, 2004


The polls are closed! The votes are in! And the results of the first annual "Foolish Knight Reader's Favorite Songs Poll" are as follows:


1. Where the Streets Have No Name, U2

2. With Or Without You, U2

3. Jesus Freak, dc Talk

4. Red Letters, dc Talk

5. O Holy Night, John Sullivan Dwight (words) Adolphe-Charles Adam (music)

6. O Lord You’re Beautiful, Keith Green

7. & 8. (tie) Into the West, Annie Lennox and Be My Escape, Relient K

9. Honeysuckle Breeze, Lost Dogs

10. Vertigo, U2


There it is, like it or not, the people have spoken! Many thanks to all who participated, you folks don't agree on much but I guess U2 isn't going away any time soon.

More info to come...

Installment Fifteen...

“The Christian mind thinks sacramentally. The Christian Faith presents a sacramental view of life. It shows life’s positive richness as derivative from the supernatural. It teaches us that to create beauty or to experience beauty, to recognize truth or to discover truth, to receive love or to give love, is to come into contact with realities which express the Divine Nature.”

-Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind

Monday, December 27, 2004

Would you like to eavesdrop onto some of Foolish Knight's thoughts?

Let's listen in...

I tend to hold books and movies to different standards from each other. This is understandable. They are, after all, different mediums. Still... it seems to me that, when boiled down, the elements of story are the same. Aren't they? So why should I throw a fit if a film asks me to invest in it? Why not tolerate a film that leaves me with more questions than answers? G. K. Chesterton, Frederick Buechner, J. R. R. Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, C. S. Lewis and Alan Paton--some of my favorite authors--all have written books which do just that. They allow for multiple visits and multiple interpretations of their minor themes and while their major themes are simply made clearer with each visit.
What I’m saying is why not view films with this some attitude? This attitude of exploration and viewing art as a journey--not a destination.
And it helps if we view this journey like all journeys--sometimes dangerous. sometimes thrilling sometimes beautiful, bland, entertain or tiring but only constant in one respect: it’s always a journey.

This reminds me of something I found on the Looking Closer web site:

"I think writers with actual intentions generally end up saying things they already thought they knew, and I'm not much interested in reducing my vocation as a poet to something like propagandist. I write poems to find things out, not to communicate some previously ossified conclusion."

-poet Scott Cairns in an interview with Image

God, I love so many people here...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s all you can hear for now, the rest is a little personal. I do hope this excursion has been educational, thanks for listening.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Since I don't intend to do any blogging tomorrow...

...I'll just say it now,


and may you see how God has blessed you with his love, the love that brought his son here in the first place.

“And now I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. but where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known,
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, But the greatest of these is love.”

-First Corinthians

Two opinions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, in a Q&A format.

I thought it would be fun to give my opinion of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in a question and answer format. Also, I thought that it would be good if you got another opinion of the movie, so I’d like to thank my sister for her willing assistance in that area.
Many thanks, as well, to Joel, for his provision of these thoughtful and though-provoking questions. (it should also be noted that Joel is in no way responsible for the answers to these questions, so if there are any knife-wielding Phantom fans out there who don't like what you read here, blame me, not him) Alright, on to the good stuff:

First my sister's answers:

1. Was it well cast?

Yes. All the actors did a great job portraying their characters personalities.

2. Did it go an original route or did it look like the stage play on

Original, it didn’t look like someone sneaked a video camera into the play.

3. Did it use the original music?

Yes, as far as I know; I’ve only heard bits and pieces of the Broadway soundtrack.

4. Was it more style or more content?

Probably style.

5. Did it have good character development?

They concentrated on the Phantom and kinda left the rest alone.

6. Was it sappy or interesting?

Interesting. I didn’t feel like I was about to cry instead I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

7. Was it well directed (shots and such)?

Yes, the director did a great job moving from one point to the next without confusing me.

8. Was it worthy of more stars than CT online gave it?

Yes, out of four stars I would give it three and a half.

9. Is it worthy of one or more academy awards?

Yes, the costume and sets were incredible and the music was great.

10. Is it worth seeing more than once?

Yes, I would like to see the acting again now that I know what the story’s about.


Now mine:

1. Was it well cast?

I think that the character of the Phantom will always be the most intriguing to me no matter what adaptation I’m watching (or reading) so it’s no surprise that I found Gerard Butler’s performance to be the most worthwhile aspect of this film

As for the rest of the cast they (for the most part) did a fine job with the material they were given; Emmy Rossum (who plays Christine) pulled off an impressive performance especially considering here age (only 18!) and Minnie Driver was entertaining as a spanish diva. Patrick Wilson however gets the short end of the stick with the character “Raoul”, I use the term ‘character’ lightly.

2. Did it go an original route or did it look like the stage play on

It certainly did not look like a play on film, which is to the director’s credit but this had little effect since the film very much felt like a Broadway play trying to make it’s way onto the big screen.

3. Did it use the original music?

Yes it’s all here, from the bombastic main theme to the dated drum machines, though I wish it wasn’t, for I was made painfully aware from the moment Lloyd Webber’s music muscled it’s way into the movie that I was not watching The Phantom of the Opera but *ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER'S* The Phantom of the Opera . A fact I wasn’t allowed to escape for the rest of the film. It was the film’s greatest weakness.

4. Was it more style or more content?

Style definitely trumps content in this film. I did not feel like the filmmakers were trying to say anything through this movie, which is too bad since the original story naturally lends itself to many topics and themes.

5. Did it have good character development?

Despite the actors best efforts, we are often left with no clue or insight into the characters actions or motivations.

6. Was it sappy or interesting?

Neither, really. It tries to knock us over the head the characters' emotions (which are never exactly “sappy”, instead they’re usually a mix of awe/admiration/desire that gets old after awhile), I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more if it had opted to show instead of tell.

7. Was it well directed (shots and such)?

Though his direction is not award-worthy, Joel Schumacher, like the actors, does an adequate job using the material he is given.

8. Was it worthy of more stars than CT online gave it?

No, I think two out of four stars is a fair rating.

9. Is it worthy of one or more academy awards?

It had very high production values, that is to say that there was a lot of talent going into the look of the movie but, beyond awards for these things, I don’t see it winning anything big come Oscar time. Thank goodness.

10. Is it worth seeing more than once?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Winter Wonderland (Pt. Two)

Originally uploaded by Foolishknight.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Why read old books?

I think C. S. Lewis goes a long way in answering this question:

"Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds... by reading old books."

Penny Lane Blair has got me thinking.

With this comment:

"I dare ask you what makes a film great anyways? Isn't it up to the viewer to deside?"

A question for my readers,

What do you think?

Installment Fourteen...

“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”

-C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Art Needs No Justifcation

It's been about a mounth since I encouraged my readers to get off their computers and read a book.

Well, now it seems that you can be online and read a book at the same time. For those who like that sort of thing.

So I present to you, for your mind's enlightenment, Hans Rookmaaker's Art Needs No Justifcation.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I've made a terrible mistake!

I need you to help me! I need your list to be twenty songs long, not ten. You see, you (my readers) have such varied tastes that only a handful of songs even got voted for twice. Like I said, this is my mistake and I know that at least one of my readers will think unpleasant thoughts after reading this post. I'm sorry!

Remember the deadline's Christmas day. Oh and for order's sake please do not post any lists which are subject to change; I'm accepting all lists I see as final. Thank you, and once again I'm terribly sorry about all of this.

I need more hellos.

Have you ever moved a mountain?

Have you ever moved a tree?

The mountain doesn't want to be moved

Neither does tree

And I know why

It hurts

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Early Draft Reflections

I once described myself as a recovering procrastinator. Well, I've decided to strike the adjective - I'm a procrastinator plain and simple I don't like it, I'm trying to fight it, but darn it! I am one.

A Man For a Seasons

This film's biggest weakness is probably that - because it's very much driven by dialogue - it (at times) can feel more like a play that's been filmed that a movie. As weaknesses go, this is not a very big one and is understandable since A Man for All Seasons is based on Robert Bolt's play of the same name

Fuori Dal Mondo (Not of This World)

Not of This World just may be the best movie you've never seen.

Moby Dick

Once again we end with my least favorite of the bunch and once again I'm fumbling to explain why. With Ray Bradbury’s pen and director John Huston's helmsmenship, why third place?

G. K. Chesterton on: Indiana Jones?

"Europe ought rather to emphasize possible perdition; and Europe always has emphasized it. Here its highest religion is at one with all its cheapest romances. To the Buddhist or the eastern fatalist existence is a science or a plan, which must end up in a certain way. But to a Christian existence is a story, which may end up in any way. In a thrilling novel (that purely Christian product) the hero is not eaten by cannibals: but it is essential to the existence of the thrill that he might be eaten by cannibles. The hero must (so to speak) be an eatable hero."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Now is the time for all good men (and women)...

... to stand up and be heard! In the first annual Foolish Knight If-You-Don't-Like-The-Rolling-Stone-500-Greatest-Songs-List-Why-Don't-You-Make-One-Of-Your-Own? reader's list-making event! That's right, I want you to help me compile a list of my readers Ten Most Favorite Songs of All Time! Here's how:

1. Compile your list of your ten favorite songs. Think good and hard; scratch your head, chew your pencil. Do whatever helps you think, then

2. Get it to me! Run across country (or across the ocean), or just do it the easy way and “comment” your list.

I’ll tally the votes according to my own special system, remember the polls close on Christmas Day! Have fun, think hard!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

It's here.

The extended version of The Return of the King is in stores.

Here are some links to articles written while it was still in theaters.

Those who are fanatical about the film should read this one (just don't stone me after you read it)

and for those who want an in-depth review I recommend the one found here.

Enjoy and, as always, let me know what you think.

Update! Jeffery Overstreet's magnificent article on what we have lost because of the films


his interviews with The Lord of the Rings cast & crew.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My Favorite Films (Slight Update)

This is what my favorite movie list currently looks like. It will look very different by the time I'm done but I thought you (my "well watched" readers) might find it interesting. If you have any questions about any films on the list or disagreements with any film placements the list let me know!

The Lord of the Rings
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Babettes Gaetebud
Yi Yi (A One and a Two)
Citizen Kane
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Master and Commander, On the Far Side of the World
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
To Kill a Mocking Bird
It’s a Wonderful Life
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea
Lawrence of Arabia
La Passion De Jeanne D’arc
Fuori Dal Mondo
Sense and Sensibility
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
The Many Adventures of Winne the Pooh
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The Passion of the Christ
The Man Without a Past
A Man for All Seasons
Fantasia and Fantasia 2000
It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Tokyo Monogotari
On The Waterfront
Fiddler on the Roof
A Tale of Two Cites
It Happened One Night
Rebel Without a Cause
The African Queen
The Truman Show
The Princess Bride
Cyrano de Bergirac
Driving Miss Daisy
Singin’ in the Rain
Chariots of Fire
Groundhog Day
Searching for Bobbie Fisher
The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Arsenic and Old Lace
The Emperors New Groove
The Rescuers Down Under
The Magnificent Seven
Goodbye Mr. Chips
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Miracle on 34th Street
Remember the Titans
Shichinin no samurai (The Seven Samurai)
The Third Man
The Wizard of Oz
Maltese Falcon
Finding Nemo
Mary Poppins
Star Wars
12 Angry Men
His Girl Friday
Spiderman 2
Toy Story 2
What’s Up Doc?
The Quiet Man
Nicoholas Nickleby
The Sound of Music
The Great Escape
The Prince of Egypt
The Jungle Book
Field of Dreams
Roman Holiday
Le Fils
Tender Mercies
The Bicycle Thief
Rear Window
Moby Dick
The Incredibles
Father Goose
Chicken Run
The Ladykillers
Toy Story
Henry V
The Searchers
El Dorado
Little Women
Ben Hur
Sleeping Beauty
The Music Man
Spider Man
Hamlet (L. Oliver)
The Russian Ark
My Fair Lady
Monster’s Inc.
West Side Story
The Rookie
Mrs. Brown
October Sky
A Bug’s Life
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Hamlet (Mel Gibson)
Apollo 13

Friday, December 10, 2004

Installment Thirteen...

“You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

-G. K. Chesterton

All-Time Favorite Blog

Sorry guys, this a failed experiment. I should have deleted it.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I'm looking forward to only one movie this year...

... you guessed it!


What's that you say? You didn't guess Primer?

You don't even know I'm talking about, you say?

Well then, let me educate you. Wait, on second thought I'll just let Jeffery Overstreet do it. (Be sure to follow the link)

There's also a full review here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Smells like... List-O-Matic!

Speaking of Bob Dylan; guess who's song was picked by Rolling Stone magazine as the best song of all time on their list of The 500 Best Songs Ever. Good guess.

If that list isn't big enough then maybe this one of The New York Times 1000 Best Movies Of All Time will satisfy you.

Overwhelmed by the large numbers? How about a list with just one hundred selections on it?

If it's movies you want then The Arts & Faith Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films list is probably the one for you

If books, then look no further than Image Journal's similarly themed list of 100 books.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Continuing the search for my Favorite Film

As I look back over the archives of my blog I see that I once promised to share my thoughts on every film I’ve ever rented through Netflix.

What was I thinking?

That’s 16 movies!

But I must let my “yes be yes” as t'were. And (who knows?) maybe I’ll find my favorite movie through all of this.

You must bear with me though. For, though I will try to fulfill my pledge, I shall do so in baby steps (since I am a recovering procrastinator) about three films at a time, I think.

I’ll try to do it in chronological order which means the first three will be:

Tokyo Story,
The Passion of Joan of Arc

Let me stress that these are not reviews and certainly not Plugged In style reviews (if a film sounds intriguing but you want to know if you can watch it with a six-year-old just leave a comment asking for specifics, I’ll try to oblige) these are simply thoughts and impressions on a odd little group of movies.

Tokyo Story

If you're looking for a film to put the aforementioned six-year-old to sleep; look no further! This movie has it all: black & white cinematography, meticulous pacing, and a grand total of two camera movements in the entire film! Plus the whole thing's in Japanese. No, this is not a film to watch when your tired.

That being said, you should know that this film also happens to be (at least, according to Roger Ebert) one of the five greatest movies of all time. Don't ask me what the other four are, I really don't know.

Tokyo's story is very simple: a couple of empty nesters living in post world war two Japanese suburbia decide to visit there kids in the big city. When they come it's clear that children view them as a burden. So after an unpleasant stay the parents go back home.

Like I told you: simple story. But for those who are willing to invest themselves in it, it can have powerful results. There's MUCH more to say about this movie but I've done such a bad job already. I think it's time to move on to

La Passion De Jeanne D’arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc)

According to the history books this is one of the first movies, if not the first, to show that films could be ART. But this is far more than just another museum piece. It's still a powerfully told (and surprisingly intense) story about a young women's devotion.

But devotion to what? Why did this maiden go to war? Did she really hear the voice of God?

How you answer these questions ultimately will effect how you ultimately view this work of art and whether you accept or reject its message.

But regardless of the conclusions you draw after watching this movie, I think you'll agree that The Passion of Joan of Arc is at least worthy of one viewing and discussing time. As with any great work of it's kind.


This is probably my least favorite of this particular batch. Don't get me wrong; you could do worse than to watch Sir Lawrence Oliver speak the words of William Shakespeare, but this is not my favorite of Mr. Shakespeare's plays. And the fact that Hamlet beat out The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for Best Picture at the Oscars doesn't help. However my mind has been know to change before and if anyone knows of some good study of Hamlet I'd love to read it.

Well, there they are; three shoddy pieces written on three excellent films. I hope my lack of eloquence will not steer you away from any of these masterpieces. Please enjoy, think about and share each one.

Onto the next batch...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bob Dylan speaks!

For those who are interested, 60 Minutes has interviewed one of the centuries' greatest (and most reclusive) songsmiths. Here’s the transcript.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

What's in a name?

I thought I'd explain a little of the meaning behind my name. And I intend to do it in true Foolish Knight fashion: by using a series of quotes.

Here they are:

No. 1

‘ “Well, what is the song, then?” said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.
“I was coming to that,” the Knight said. “The song really is ‘A-sitting On A Gate’: and the tune’s my own invention.”
So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its neck: then, slowly beating time with one hand, and with a faint smile lighting up his gentle foolish face, as if he enjoyed the music of his song, he began.
Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through The Looking-Glass, this was the one that she always remembered most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene back again, as if it had been only yesterday--the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight--the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her--the horse quietly moving about, with the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her feet--and the black shadows of the forest behind--all this she took in like a picture, as, with one hand shading her eyes, she leant against a tree watching the strange pair, and listening, in a half-dream, to the melancholy music of the song. ’

-Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

No. 2

“I’m a ridiculous man. Now they call me a madman. That would be a promotion if I weren’t just as ridiculous as before in their eyes. But it no longer makes me angry. I find them all nice now, even when they laugh at me--indeed, if they do, they’re somehow particularly dear to me. I’d even laugh with them-- not really at myself but out of sheer love for them--if looking at them didn’t make me so sad. Sad, because they don’t know the truth, while I do. Ah, it’s so hard to be the only one to know the truth! But they won’t understand it. No, they won’t.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

No. 3

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully—the life you save may be your own—and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get, and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

-Frederick Buechner, The Faces of Jesus

No. 4

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the
the intelligence of the intelligent I
will frustrate.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks. Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger then man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

First Corinthians

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Citizen Kane is no longer my favorite movie.

Isn't it funny how a sentence or two in passing can have a revolutionary effect on one's thinking? The worst part about the whole thing is that I don't even know which movie to replace Citizen Kane with. Any suggestions?

The sentence or two in question can be found here in an article on the Devil at the movies.

For those of you who liked that piece
here's one I like better by the same author.

Enjoy, but proceed with caution; you may find you come out with your thoughts a bit shaken; as I did.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

To you

To all my wonderful, faithful, patient, loyal, well read, well watched, and highly intelligent readers: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Why are you reading this post?

Why aren't you reading a book? Is it because you think you've read every good book ever written? Have you read these?


1. Telling the Truth; the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale (Frederick Buechner)
2. Orthodoxy (G. K. Chesterton)
3. Soul Survivor (Philip Yancey)
4. Addicted to Mediocrity (Franky Schaeffer)
5. The Ragamuffin Gospel (Brennan Manning)

1. Till We Have Faces (C. S. Lewis)
2. Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)
3. Short Stories (Flannery O’Connor)
4. The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien)
5. The Death of Ivan Ilych (Leo Tolstoy)

I don’t mean to sound snooty, I just thought that (maybe) if you had enough time you’d be better off spending it reading one of these books than my blog.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Installment Eleven...

"We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate."


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What did I learn?

What did I learn on my month without film? That's a good hard question (asked by only two people!). I learned two things mainly:

First: that when you do something out of the norm people are inclined to raise their eyebrows; "Why?" is the way most people responded when I told them my plans for a film free month, my heart goes out to all you vegetarians out there.

Second: this realization surprise me a bit more (OK, a lot more), I had been using films as something merely to fill time; any time I wanted to turn off my brain I'd say "Let's watch a movie!". I knew that this is how many people view movies; as something to snack on, but not I! Surely not I! But alas it was so.

Suffice it to say that I think much more carefully about popping in a DVD now. And the next time I do something like this (which may be soon) I shall try to have a good answer to the question Why?

Spiritually Significant Books

I recently ran across a list of 100 books from the Twentieth Century that each grapple with spiritual themes. It appears to be a very thorough and scholarly list and I almost cheered when I saw the entries. Well, at least the five or six that I'd read (and the two or three I'm reading now).

Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes,

Frederic Buechner's Godric (I did not cheer when I found this book on the list as I had not read it yet!),

G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday,

Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (I've not read this all the way through yet, but I'm almost done!),

Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time,

C. S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces,

Flannery O'Connor's Short Stories (Of which I have read some but not all), and

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings,

Please comment! Have you read any of the 100 listed? Are there any books that you feel should be on the list but aren't? (I can think of at least one, Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Installment Ten...

“I have always been more inclined to believe the ruck of hard-working people than to believe that special and troublesome literary class to which I belong. I prefer even the fancies and prejudices of the people who see life from the inside to the clearest demonstrations of the people who see life from the outside. I would always trust the old wives’ fables against the old maid’s facts. As long as wit is mother wit it can be as wild as it pleases.”

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Moses and I

I was browsing through the Psalms late one night when, though I was not especially comprehending what was I was reading, a particular verse caught my eye. A prayer really. Of Moses:

"May the favor of the Lord our God
rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for
yes, establish the work of our

This prayer seemed to say what was on my mind and heart. It seemed that a prayer, which my heart was groaning out, had been translated to page by the Holy Spirit Himself. A prayer of the relation between Art and God and of myself, caught somewhere in the middle.

Maybe it showed me that God really does care about what I make with my hands and that maybe God is willing to "establish" it. Maybe that's why it caught my eye - even at 12:00 at night.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

An unusual post inspired by my friend Nathan.

"There's fairies around us", an oldish man whispered to me, his whiskers tickling my ears, "sometimes you can see them - a glimpse of 'em here and there, out of the corner of your eye - while other times", he said pausing, "you can hear them... you can hear them laugh. In a waterfall or in the tinkling of silverware and plates at dinner; a laugh that all at once makes you feel that you are either the wisest man on the face of the earth or the greatest fool to set foot on it, sometimes both at once.”
“But mostly" he went on kind of squinting his eyes and twisting his mouth a little (making a face that did not remind one of fairies), "you feel them"
"You feel their little feet dancing on your back - if you lie very still, not a dance of chaos mind you but of order - or you feel their breath blowing your hair, you feel them in a loved one's embrace, you feel them in your teeth (yes your teeth!) when thunder rattles the windows."
"Yes - the shabby man said to me, "better you learn young to keep eye and ear out for the little ones."
His beard was no longer in my ear at this point and I could see him quite well and I noticed something I thought strange. Although his mouth stayed open after he said all this (as if he were going to add one thing more) he got up (with a sound that reminded me of the floorboards in the old house where I grew up) walked off rather slowly - his mouth was still open - I don’t know, he might have said something more but I didn’t hear it if he did.
That was years ago, I'm much older now. And I still don't know if I believe what he said though I think of it every now and again; when I think I see something that isn't there or when I think I hear more than babbling in a brook's playing.
But mostly I think of the old man when I feel something different in a friends embrace -or when thunder rattles my windows at night.

This is an experiment

Originally uploaded by Foolishknight.

Installment Nine...

“The man that does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

-Mark Twain

A personal note.

Yesterday was my birthday.

A day (as it turned out) that grace came up and stared me right in the face; I had people for whom I'd never done a good turn coming out of nowhere to recognize and celebrate me!

Yes little ol' prideful, selfish me! I was stunned.

The experience was joyous and humbling at the same time. What's more is that when I experienced these acts of grace, it made me want to do something gracious for someone else.

I guess this whole grace thing is contagious.

Thank God.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Let's talk about literature

The following is an essay I wrote resently on The Old Man and the Sea.


There comes a point when we are thrown up against ourselves; when we meet ourselves face to face for the first time. A point when we are forced to come to grips with ourselves, with life, the meaning of life and the question of whether it has meaning at all. This point will often come in an extreme circumstance and it will not leave us unchanged.
Jonah was thrown headlong against himself in the belly of a fish and began to preach repentance. Moses was thrown up against himself in the middle of the desert in the presence of a burning bush then went to confront Pharaoh. Jacob was confronted with himself during a wrestling match in the middle of the wilderness and was changed to Israel. Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by three spirits in the middle of a dream and became “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”. And an old man named Santiago whom we’ll be examining in this paper met himself on a boat in the middle of the ocean and concluded that life is meaningless. He is a fictional character from a story by Ernest Hemingway; The Old Man and the Sea. It is a small classic about the old fisherman’s struggle with nature and ultimately with God. Hemingway explores questions of the meaning of life, the nature of God and the universe in general through a very simple story. Santiago, his main character, is having a streak of bad luck; his luck is so bad that people say he is salao which is the worst form of unlucky. For even though he goes out to sea every day he has not caught anything for eighty-four days. He now lives only by the charity of a young man whom he trained as a fisherman years ago and who now works with the old man, or would if his parents did not insist that he not work for a man so unlucky as Santiago.
However the old man is not discouraged by his misfortune. He knows the sea will sometimes treat a man like this and tomorrow will be the eighty-fifth day since his bad luck began and he knows eighty-five is a lucky number.
The reader of The Old Man and the Sea will feel subtly disturbed by the old man’s complacency, he seems content with whatever life throws his way and not just content but negatively complacent. What motivates this old fisherman to such a stagnant view of life?
His relationship with the ocean is key to understanding the meaning of the story and the motivations of the old man. Listen to this quote from the book,
“He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had motorboats, bought when the shark livers had brought much money, spoke of her as el mar which is masculine. They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.”

We must keep in mind that the ocean is the representative of the universe to Santiago; it is where he has been put to lead his life and scratch out a living. So if, as we see, Santiago views the ocean as temperamental and unstable--even somewhat chaotic--he must view the universe in the same way. It seems nothing he does will have any effect on this strange woman called Meaning. He is only to get along with her as best he can. So he heads off to sea once more, trusting only to his skills, equipment and a lucky number, for what else can be trusted in a world such as his? He leaves with the other fishermen but goes farther out then they hoping to find a big fish among the schools of bonito and albacore. Hemingway, who was always praised for his simple but compelling prose, builds the tension wonderfully, as can be seen in this passage from the book;
The sun was hot now and the old man felt it on the back of his neck and felt the sweat trickle down his back as he rowed.
I could just drift, he thought, and sleep and put a bight of line around my toe to wake me. But today is eighty-five days and I should fish the day well.
Just then, watching his lines, he saw one of the projecting green sticks dip sharply.
“Yes.” he said. “Yes,” and shipped his oars without bumping the boat. He reached out for the line and held it softly between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. He felt no strain nor weight and he held the line lightly. Then it came again. This time it was a tentative pull, not solid nor heavy, and he knew exactly what it was. One hundred fathoms down a marlin was eating the sardines that covered the point and the shank of the hook where the hand-forged hook projected from the head of the small tuna.
The old man held the line delicately, and softly, with his left hand, unleashed it from the stick. Now he could let it run through his fingers without the fish feeling any tension.
This far out, he must be huge in this month, he thought. Eat them, fish. Eat them. Please eat them.

The marlin eats them. He takes the bait and runs with it and a sequence is born that is a combination of both Iliad and Odyssey; of epic conflict and wandering as Santiago struggles to hold fast to the fish that is pulling him on a journey across miles and miles of ocean. He must endure despite the cord cutting into his back, his hunger and lack of sleep.
The sun sets and it rises and it sets and it rises and still the fish pulls. The old man admires the fish greatly for his enormous strength and endurance and one gets the feeling that Santiago the great fisherman is drawing some of his strength and endurance from this fish whom he calls brother.
Much of the story is concerned with what takes place right here; in the days and nights spent holding onto the line that the fish is pulling. Much of the old man’s character is seen here also; his strength, stamina and patience. Unfortunately a lot of what happens here is not relevant to this paper so I’m forced to leave out many wonderful and rich details. An example of such a detail would be his thoughts on his hunting of the fish; He says it is lucky that man does not have to get up each day and try to hunt the stars. This thought does not seem to bring much comfort to him because it seems that to hunt and kill this fish does not seem much than better hunting and killing a star. But he must kill the fish, he knows it he just hopes it happens soon.
On the sunrise of his third day at sea the fish, finally drained of his energy, begins to swim out in all directions making circles around the boat. Santiago knew these circlings were coming and he knows what to do; if he can draw the line in a little bit each time the fish circles he will eventually bring the fish in close enough to kill him. Everything has been building up to this point. The days and nights he has spent waiting for the fish to become exhausted; the cuts across his back where he positioned the line; his raw hands and his blurred vision from lack of sleep have all served to bring the fish to this point where he will be close enough and tired enough to kill. But the old man is faint and in the two nights at sea he has had only a few hours of sleep altogether. “I am tireder then I have ever been” he says.
For the first few turns the fish can’t be seen, Hemingway describes what happens on the third turn:
He saw him first as a dark shadow that took so long to pass under the boat that he could not believe its length.
“No,” he said. “he can’t be that big.”
But he was that big and at the end of this circle he came to the surface only thirty yards away and the man saw his tail out of water. It was higher than a big scythe blade and a very pale lavender above the dark blue water. It raked back and as the fish swam just below the surface the old man could see his huge bulk and the purple stripes that banded him. His dorsal fin was down and his huge pectorals were spread wide.

It is many more turns before the fish is close enough to spear with his harpoon and the old man is desperate and light headed, wearied by each pass the fish makes just out of his reach. To do justice to the passage containing the actual death of the fish it must be included in it’s entirety, we find the fisherman summing up all he has as the fish passes for the last time;
He took all his pain and what was left of his strength and his long gone pride and he put it against the fish’s agony and the fish came over onto his side and swam gently on his side, his bill almost touching the planking of the skiff and started to pass the boat, long, deep, wide, silver and barred with purple and interminable in the water.
The old man dropped the line and put his foot on it and lifted the harpoon as high as he could and drove it down with all his strength, and more strength he had just summoned, into the fish’s side just behind the great chest fin that rose high in the air to the altitude of the man’s chest. He felt the iron go in and he leaned on it and drove it further and then pushed all his weight after it.
Then the fish came alive, with his death in him, and rose high out of the water showing all his great length and width and all his power and his beauty. He seemed to hang in the air above the old man in the skiff. Then he fell into the water with a crash that sent spray over the old man and over all of the skiff.
The old man felt faint and sick an he could not see well. But he cleared the harpoon line and let it run slowly through his raw hands and, when he could see, he saw the fish was on his back with his silver belly up. The shaft of the harpoon was projecting at an angle from the fish’s shoulder and the sea was discolouring with the red of the blood from his heart. First it was dark as a shoal in the blue water that was more than a mile deep. Then it spread like a cloud. The fish was silvery and still and floated with the waves.

So now the fish is dead. The fisherman has triumphed over his brother and he wonders if the man who he admires most, the great DiMaggio, would be proud of him. Due to the fish’s size it is impossible to take it back to land in the boat and the old man must strap it along side.
So far this has been a story of endurance and the struggles that humans face. We can sympathize with Santiago in his pursuit of the fish because we have all pursued something, some (like Santiago) even to the point of death. As sad as we are to see the marlin die we are more heartened to see that his struggle was not in vain. But now the world of hard work rewarded and justice falls apart around Santiago when the sharks come.
First one, then two, then three sharks come. The old man fights them off as best he can but eventually his weapons all brake or are lost in the ocean and he comes home with only the fish’s skeleton, utterly confounded by that strange, strange woman; la mar.

What can we say in conclusion? Santiago’s pursuit of the fish is allegorical; it is the pursuit of the meaning of life, or to put it better; it is the pursuit of “that-which-gives-life-meaning”. Santiago grasped that meaning for an instant and had it taken away from him in a clumsy and mindless way. The ocean/universe/God only teased him with the thought that he could find meaning for himself. Santiago learned that he went out to far, he will not try to fish in that deep again; he will not try to delve that deep into the mind of the universe again. But I don’t think it can be said that Santiago has truly been dramaticly altered by these events
Santiago has known all along this thing about life and now he has only had it confirmed. So when he gets back to land he takes care of his equipment as best he can and falls asleep. He will go out again (not as far) when he has recovered.
So we see that it is really the storyteller (Hemingway) who has been thrown up against himself, met himself face to face for the first time and come to this dreadful conclusion. The danger of this story is that it is so dreadfully close to the truth. The story is skillfully and beautifully spun but spun none the less. Hemingway way has thrown his artistic dart and it has landed so very close to the bulls eye of the target that anyone who didn’t take a good look at it couldn’t help but think that he had hit upon Truth itself.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Installment Eight...

“And I walked forward over that holy turf with a good and glad heart. But all the golden rams came at me. They drew closer to one another as their onrush brought them closer to me, till it was a solid wall of living gold. And with terrible force their curled horns struck me and knocked me flat and their hoofs trampled me. They were not doing it in anger. They rushed over me in their joy--perhaps they did not see me--certainly I was nothing in their minds. I understood it well. They butted and trampled me because their gladness led them on; the Divine Nature wounds and perhaps destroys us merely by being what it is. We call it the wrath of the gods; as if the great cataract in Phars were angry with every fly it sweeps down in its green thunder.”

-C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Friday, November 05, 2004

Professional Help

A real review of The Incredibles can be found here.

The Incredibles

Well, I'm no film reviewer but I promised to let you know what I thought of Pixar's latest outing after I saw it. So what did I think of it?

Need you ask?

I thought it was Excellent! Superb! And of course; lots of fun! Writer/Director Brad Bird shows both the enthusiasm of a fan boy and the restraint and skill of an experienced filmmaker. His movie firmly establishes itself as one of Pixar’s best. Now the big debate will be about which Pixar film is the best.

(For posterity my answer to that question is Finding Nemo. Though The Incredibles puts up a furious fight. Maybe my mind will change--it has before--we'll see)

I know this is a messy post but it's only getting sloppier the more I edit it. So I'll tell you all you need to know about the movie right now: for goodness sakes you should go out and see it!

I’m off to see The Incredibles!

This ends my Month Without Film!

I did it!

I will let you know what I think!



Monday, October 25, 2004

Installment Seven...

It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence.

-George MacDonald

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A Treat

I’ve recently had the treat of reading a novel by Frederick Buechner.

You don’t have to be a longtime patron of Foolish Knight to know that I am something of a Buechner (pronounced beek-ner) aficionado and since I don’t often get the opportunity to read his stories I’m grateful for every chance I do get. The particular yarn I’ve just finished, which is possibly Frederick Buechner’s most recommendable, is the delightful fairy tale, On the Road With the Archangel. It is a first-person narrative based upon the Apocryphal Book of Tobit.

At least I call it a fairy tale. The reason being that its elements; a blind man, cunning animals, a journey for treasure, angels, a courageous hero, ill fated bridegrooms and a peculiarly large and hungry fish remind me of the folk tales and brothers Grimm stories I have read. This is certainly woven from the same stuff those craftsmen used.

The man from whom the ancient book derives its title is a Jew who (along with a good many other Jews) has been taken captive by the Assyrians to their capital city of Nineveh (yes that Nineveh). The story follows the many deeds and misdeeds of Tobit and his son Tobias as told by the archangel Raphael.

It's Raphael's charge to bring into the presence of the Almighty the praises and petitions of “all who pray and of those who don’t even know that they’re praying”. Two prayers in particular catch his attention; one of Tobit and another of a young girl both wanting to die to be released from there shame. When the prayers are received Raphael is sent to earth to “set things right”. I won’t say any more than that for fear of spoiling what there is of this little story to spoil.

I will only say that Frederick Buechner continues to show that when it comes to storytellers he is one of the most thoughtful--and entertaining--around.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Installment Six...

“When they brought Jesus to the place where his dead friend lay, Jesus wept. It is very easy to sentimentalize the scene and very tempting because to sentimentalize something is to look only at the emotion in it and at the emotion it stirs in us rather than at at the reality of it, which we are always tempted not to look at because reality, truth, silence are all what we are not much good at and avoid when we can. To sentimentalize something is to savor rather than to suffer the sadness of it, is to sigh over the prettiness of it rather than to tremble at the beauty of it, which may make fearsome demands of us or pose fearsome threats. Not just as preachers but as christians in general we are particularly given to sentimentalizing our faith as much of Christian art and Christian preaching bear witness--the sermon as tearjerker, the Gospel an urn of long-stemmed roses and baby’s breath to brighten up the front of the church, Jesus as Gregory Peck.”

-Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth, the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale

Friday, October 15, 2004


I tend to hold books and movies to different standards from each other. This is understandable for they are, after all, different mediums.

Still... it seems to me that, when boiled down, the elements of story are the same.


So why should I throw a fit if a film asks me to invest in it? Why should I not tolerate a film that leaves me with more questions than answers? G. K. Chesterton, Frederic Buechner, J. R. R. Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, C. S. Lewis and Alan Paton--some of my favorite authors--all have written books which do just that. They allow for multiple visits and multiple interpretations of their minor themes while there major themes are simply made clearer with each visit.

What I’m saying is why not view films with this same attitude of exploration?


Singer / Songwriters are a fascinating breed, quiet, reflective and insightful. How would you like to spend a little time conversing with some? Here are some interviews with the likes of

Steven Delopoulos

Sam Phillips


Steve Taylor (which, thankfully, gives the lie to the bit about always being quiet and reflective)

Thursday, October 14, 2004


In an effort to not be derivative I am posting something that I, myself wrote.

It is a poem

and it is in free verse.

Here it goes:

doc (Hickory and Dickory)

my clock is not working, it is boasting of it’s brokeness
by not ticking at me, I need the tick and I need the tock
I needs the hickory of my clock. no my watch will not
do, it is as silent as you are my dear. it is nice to have
my clock now even though it is still a noiseless tick
and a soundless clock, I know, your point is taken
well, it did me no great good but I did love it for the
small favors; the shining in the light, the tick, tick, ticking
through my night. my boasting clock, my boasting
clock, my rooster of my desk, you are now more than
dead you are useless, see my dear how my hand
moves to stroke then my mind moves to cut my hand?
now see my new hand throw my tick and my tock, my
soundless clock through the glass, watch my dear,
watch the window break and my clock stay solid,
does that not prove it’s worth? watch now my dear
watch how my dear, it falls to the street, to cars
creeping by, to dogs and children and jump-ropes, to
hot dogs, weeds, and hot, hot pavement to hot for my
working clock but not hot enough for my boastful,
useless, tickless, tockless,

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A Month Without Film?

You might call me a film enthusiast, though, I am not entirely comfortable with that particular phrase (or word more precisely).

Enthusiasm that is.

It is a fascinating word; as I understand it what it literally means is “the god within you”.

Recently I’ve been asking myself a series of questions; what is the god within me? What is it that drives me? What is it that will catch my ear or my eye faster then anything else?

The only answer I could come up with (beside God Himself) is Film.

So I decided to initiate a sort of test: Call it a dare to myself. I’m going attempt to go a month without watching a single feature-length theatrical release, starting on the Fourth of October, ending on the Fourth of November.

We'll see how it goes.

I now present The Best Thing I've Ever Posted (Vol 1):

Of David. A psalm.

The earth is the LORD’S and
everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a
pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an
or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the
and vindication from God his
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of
Jacob. Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty.
the LORD mighty battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
Lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come
Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty-
he is the King of glory. Selah

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Insallment Five...

“...the essence of a myth being that it should have no taint of allegory to the maker and yet should suggest incipient allegories to the reader."

-C. S. Lewis, from a letter to his friend, J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Installment Four...

“...I am, as it were, a spy in the service of the highest. The police also use spies. They do not always pick out men whose lives have been the purest and best, quite the contrary: they are cunning, crafty offenders, whose cunning the police use, while they coerce them through the consciousness of their vita ante acta. Alas, thus does God use sinners.”

-Søren Kierkegaard

News & Rumors

Stars Wars fans take note! Superman fans take note!

Friday, October 01, 2004


What we already knew about Fahrenheit 9/11 is being confirmed by some of the people toward which it was directed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Stay Tuned

Netflix has revolutionized my "Top 100 Films" list. Stay tuned to Foolish Knight for my thoughts on these films:

Tokyo Monogotari (Tokyo Story)
La Passion De Jeanne D’arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc)
A Man For a Seasons
Fuori Dal Mondo (Not of This World)
Moby Dick
Mies vailla menneisyyttä (A Man Without a Past)
Yi Yi (Yi Yi: A One and a Two)
(Seven Samurai)
Around the World in Eighty Days
The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer
Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief)
(The Russian Arc)
Henry V
Le Fils (The Son)

Installment Three...

"If you but love God you may do as you incline"


Monday, September 27, 2004

Perhaps you don't understand...

I would love it if my readers would comment on the different quotes and links I post. I want to know who's out there and I want to know what there thinking!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Installment Two...

"Theology is the study of God and his ways. For all we know, dung beetles may study man and his ways and call it humanology. If so, we would probably be more touched and amused than irritated. One hopes that God feels likewise."

-Frederick Buechner

Installment One...

"Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?"

-G. K. Chesterton

Consider this...

I realize that I haven't done much to live up to my goal of creating "A Haven for the thinker" so I'm going to be posting a collection of some of my favorate quotes, from a variety of thinkers past and present on which I want your thoughts. Hopfuly this will help get the grey matter moving!


Things aren't looking good for a film adaptation of The Hobbit. (Sniff) And poor Mr. Bilbo worked so hard on it too.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Tantalizing Information

If your at all curious about U2's new album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, click here.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Bono and O' Reilly!

Here's the link.

I was not impressed with Mr. O' Reilly in this interview. Tell me what you thought.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Good Site Radar

I stumbled across a website recently and I found it to be fascinating and thought provoking. The resource page is unfortunately bare but what's there is great (as far as I know), the FAQ page is downright inspiring and they always have links to facinating articles. Check it out it's

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The End Is Near?

Alright folks, I know this is only my second post but I feel the need to say that I just don't think I'm ready to blog, I mean I don't think I have anything really to say. It seems to me that there is a certin amount of eloquence required for this sort of thing which I'm sure that I lack. I'm going to keep this blog up for a little while, but don't be suprised if I bow out soon.

Friday, August 13, 2004


I'm trying somthing new here, we'll see how it works. (How's that for exciting?)