Thursday, December 29, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Thank you for filling this beggar's cup.
God, I love you.
This is the prayer that's been rolling around in my head of late. I mean, for God to become a dying thing that he might infuse the dying with life? What a crazy deal. I get everything, and God gets me. What's crazy is that God's acting like he got the better end of the bargain (Hebrews 12:2, The Song of Solomon, Luke 15). Is this not enough to drive you into the ground with weeping and send you to the sky with rejoicing? Doesn't your heart soar with joy?
All those giddy psalms on giving thanks are starting to make a little more sense...
Friday, December 23, 2005
I am still waiting for song lists from six or seven people, however I expect these list to be late, and I see now how silly it is to hold this kind of vote at Christmas time, so I am extending the voting time all the way to Groundhog Day (February second); a much less busy time for me, and I trust for you as well.
Happy Christmas Adam, everybody! Enjoy the season! (Christmas Adam comes before Christmas Eve, for those who were wondering.)
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
You'd better be! You only have five days left! Quick, don't just stand there! Make a list!
Note: You can use this post for submitting a list if you want to, but please don't use it for ordinary comments. Thank you.
Oh yes, props once again to Soldout for a great picture.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Whoa! This is the coolest news I've heard all day; Sufjan on Vinyl! I got a chance to listen to Illinoise a couple of times at Eucharisto's house and I have to say that the only thing that could make my experience with the album more enjoyable would be if it was an actual album. And now it is! Woo hoo! This just got bumped to the top of my Christmas list. This is too good to be true!
Bono: Wow. Well it's an easy question to ask but... here's a thing. When I was 16, my head was exploding. I just felt my life was going nowhere. I didn't fit in. I couldn't get a job. I didn't know how I could do my exams and I wasn't even sure I could concentrate at college. In those days, I remember, a prayer came up inside me. I said "I don't know what I'm going to do with my life but if there's a God out there, and I believe there is, and You want me to do something, then I'm ready. I don't have any plans for myself and I'm available for work." Pretty much within a few months of that epiphany I had joined U2 and started going out with Ali. A pretty good two months! Now had my destiny been -- if the God in heaven had said I want you to become a fireman and run up very dangerous buildings and save people's pets, I'd like to hope I'd have gone at it with the same gusto. So -- I couldn't let go of my faith. But what's more interesting is that I don't think God will let go of me. I love it when people on bar stools rub their chins and say do you believe in God? That's so presumptuous. A much more important question is does God believe in us?
Q: That sounds like you believe you were chosen.
Bono: No, no, no, I don't believe that. I do think God gets a laugh out of using some very poor materials. I volunteered is what I'm telling you."
--Bono in Q Magazine
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I went through a stage in my life where I would start an essay, get about halfway, then tuck the miserable bit of writing away in a folder on my computer to edit later (read: never to be looked at again until my biographers are forced to sift through it to get a clue to my complex thought life).
Recently I accidentally happened upon these writings and thought it might be fun to share them with you (in several installments), since you wouldn't be reading this blog anyway if you weren't obsessed with my every thought. I warn you, though, time has not been good to these essays (written two to three years ago); they are clunky and self-conscience, more so than I remember. But I guess my writing hasn't changed much beyond that, has it?
Maybe I will try to make something coherent out of these one day, but for now let's just air the dirty laundry and see what happens. First up, some rambling writ to do with art. Shocking, no?
The Artistic Element is an element as real as flame or water or dust.
The Artistic Element is a gift, given by God.
It is a means by which we may glorify our Creator, what better way to honor the Creator than through creativity?
What is it about the film that knocks you over the head with its sentiment that appeals to so many people? Is this sort of storytelling bad storytelling? Is it ever right to indulge in bad storytelling for the sake of the point you’re trying to make? Let’s examine Christ’s Storytelling (if anybody had a point to make it was him) I think that Christ’s parables should be the ultimate example to us in storytelling (by storytelling I mean not only novels and the like but also; paintings, ballet, rap-songs, film, Poetry... (the list goes on) in short anything that relates a story), so I think it best if we examine one of our Masters own stories for the answers to these questions (along the way let us see how Jesus makes known the point of his own artwork) incidentally you may be offended by my calling Christ’s parables “Art”, if so than you should know that we are probably working with different definitions of the word Art. Art is not something to be enjoyed by the sophisticated elite only, who happen to have enough money to get into those stuffy museums, rather it is entirely relevant (albeit incomplete) way to communicate truth
The person who separates what the intended effect of a song you hear on the radio (that is, God’s intent) from the intended effect of The Parables of Jesus, has missed the point of art; in this case art has become something what even the smallest schoolboy dreads with a dread that takes years of education and training to overcome: A Museum Piece. Storytelling is to recall a historical event, even if that event has not yet taken place
The fact that I took a shower this morning after getting out of bed, is supposedly a historical event. I will allow that it is historical, but is it real? I think that if you asked Solomon he would say “No of course not!,  Don’t even think it!”
Odysseus’ journey home is more real to me than the historical event in question.
-vanity as history
-allegory less vain; it cuts through the manure spread across reality
-two sides, same cursed coin
-’Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.’
A real live parable:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Do you object to my usage of Parables as models of Art? So do I. In a way.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Friday, December 02, 2005
I Know That I Am Not the Salt of the Earth, But Ain't There No Way To Figure What My Intentions Are Worth?
Today is Answer Email Day for me, and I have a little under thirty to respond to. I won't be getting to all of them today but I'm going to make a noble effort. I have some emails from as far back as my birthday that I haven't had time read yet, much less respond to. (I'm feeling super-bad about this, in case you're wondering.)
See you later. And remember, floss daily and don't listen to Christmas songs on the radio!
The Foolish Knight (I put the "The" in there to bug you, Queen Mum)
Post Script: The title of this post is from a Mark Heard song, who can guess which one?
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Last year at about this time I asked you to submit a list of your twenty favorite songs, and, after running the lists you gave me through the Magical Counter of Foolishly Musical Voting-ness thingy that I keep in my garage, I published your ten favorite songs; a decent list overall, but sorely lacking in the variety department. Which is why I'm adding a new rule to the voting this year; a rule that is restrictive, but necessary. On the list you submit, no artist may be included more than twice. Otherwise, the voting process is the same as last year's:
Step #1. Come up with a list of your twenty favorite songs. (Remember, your favorite; not your friend's favorite, or your uncle's favorite, or your second cousin once removed's favorite, or even the favorite of your next door neighbor’s miniature poodle. The list had better be truly yours or the Magical Counter thingy won't except it. Also, please only include songs that are your favorites right now, this list is not to determine what songs you listened to when you were a kid, or the songs you enjoyed a couple of years ago; it's about what songs mean the most to you right now.)
Step #2. Order the list, placing your favorite at the top and the rest down from there. (Hard to do, yes. Like breaking up, only a lot more painful.)
Step #3. Get it to me. Via comment (on this post), e-mail, pony express, whatever; just get it to be by midnight on Christmas Day or your valued opinion will not be represented on the list. And that would be sad, wouldn't it? (Please keep in mind that I won't be accepting any lists posted by "Anonymous" commenters.)
Three steps. Simple enough, right? Enjoy making your list; I can't wait to see what comes of this.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Oh, by the way, I'll be running around like a chicken (or turkey, if you prefer) with it's head cut off till after Thanksgiving, so don't expect to see anything from me till then. (I'm putting off several things right now, as we speak.) For now, here's a passage that's becoming one of my favorites on the topic of Thanksgiving:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Romans 1: 20-23
Give thanks for God's sake! Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Yet, tragically, Christians often seem most inhibited and poverty-stricken in human expression and creativity. Part of this predicament comes from a false concept of what is true and good. The fear of contamination has led people to believe that only what someone else has clearly labeled Christian is safe. Truth is falsely made as narrow as any given sub-culture, not as large as God’s lavish gifts to men. Truth and excellence have a way of springing up all over the world, and our role as parents is to teach our children how to find and enjoy the riches of God and to reject what is mediocre and unworthy of Him.”
-Gladys Hunt, Honey For A Child’s Heart
Monday, November 14, 2005
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
Listen to the song "Born", if you want to get an idea of why I love this band so.
So we also, holding Art in our hands, confidently deem ourselves its masters; we boldly give it direction, bring it up to date, reform it, proclaim it, sell it for money, use it to please the powerful, divert it for amusement - all the way down to vaudeville songs and nightclub acts-or else adapt it (with a muzzle or stick, whatever is handy) toward transient political or limited social needs. But art remains undefiled by our endeavors and the stamp of its origin remains unaffected: each time and in every usage it bestows upon us a portion of its mysterious inner light.
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Nobel Lecture On Literature
Friday, October 21, 2005
Here on this blog you hear plenty about my love for books and movies, but drawing, which in many ways is my first love, gets not so much as a nod.
Well, all that has changed. To see how, take a look at my latest effort at community blogging:
My Old Sketchbook
Monday, October 17, 2005
Can anyone help us? Are these fine, upstanding weblogs really gone? And where have they gone to? Who in the world is Albert? (That last one is for you guys. I, of course, know who Albert is.) Why does the Queen of Endless Breads have such terrible luck with blogging? And just how many minds does Lukalos have, anyway?
Don't worry guys! This isn't the end! Not if Albert and I have anything to say about it, anyway!
OHIO SLIVERS, AWAY!
Fascinating Update: It looks like the Romanian Queen is back with us, but still we're still having no luck with our musical friend.
Even MORE Fascinating Update: Um, there wasn't anything wrong, I guess. Well, wasn't THAT embarrassing!
Friday, October 14, 2005
It’s been several months since my graduation and several months since you sent gifts. This is far to long of a time to go without making my gratitude known to you, so I hope you’ll accept my apologies. I really am sorry. Though I am, however, not entirely without excuse because for me the past couple of months or so, seem to have been more like a whirlwind than a summer. A very enjoyable and rewarding whirlwind, but a whirlwind none the less. I hope you don’t mind if I try to tell you a little about this thundering, bruising storm of a summer because it’s been one of the most meaningful and affirming of my life, besides, I think I owe it to you.
Where to start? Well, let me back up a bit to a couple of weeks before the graduation itself.
May 25 found my sister Midsummer and myself making our way down to Colorado for a couple of days to visit my friend Eucharisto and his family for Eucharisto’s graduation. We then proceeded to head back north with Eucharisto in tow in order that he could then attend my graduation which was to be later that week. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Waiting for us when we got home was the "Lewis" family; who were friends we had made in Tennessee shortly before moving. Well, needless to say, that time was a kind of whirlwind in and of itself, going from one favorite spot to another, trying to fit all of The Beautiful State of Oregon into a couple of days. The time climaxed then, of course, with the graduation itself.
The graduation is what show biz-types would call a “big production” you and I would call it “cool”. My Mom deserves big thanks here, because she really worked hard to bring the whole thing together. And it really came off well, what with the snazzy decorations and all. But the highlight for me was seeing people that I hadn’t seen in a long time, some I hadn’t seen since first grade. My only regret is that I didn’t say anything at the graduation, I just kind of sat there and smiled a lot. (I think I’m going to include another part to this letter of what I wished I had said at my graduation. Wow, a bonus! You lucky people!) But my Grandpa spoke and so did my Dad and my friends sang “Be Thou My Vision”. So I hope that people felt that they got their money’s worth.
Well, in short time after the graduation we packed up the "Lewis's" and Eucharisto and sent them on their respectively merry ways. That morning I took the SAT, which of course, was just a little too much fun for one week.
For the following three months (from June 17 to August 21) I spent six out of seven days a week as Counselor Hickory at Trout Creek Bible Camp, and that is when my summer really began.
I loved my time at Trout Creek, not just for the games, songs, people etc. I loved the time because it was exhausting, I loved the time because when I read things in passing like “I am already being poured out like a drink offering” in 2 Timothy, I understood what Paul meant; suddenly his words were more than the theological musings of an ancient saint, he was describing something that had become a practical part of every day at camp. Paul and I were brothers in arms. The idea of worshiping God by giving yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12) and the idea of walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5) went from the realm of the abstract to the concrete. Love was no longer a word, it was how I made it through the day.
Now I don’t want to give the impression that I lived up to these things all of the time, because I certainly didn’t. I’m just trying to say that because of what I was called on to do each day at camp Scripture came alive and it’s what comes to mind when I think about my time at camp.
Another highlight of the summer happened when that I took ten days off from camp (June 28 to July 7) to be part of Western Seminary’s TruthQuest. I didn’t know much about TruthQuest before going; besides the fact that it was described as a ten day long summer seminary, whatever that was supposed to mean.
As it turns out, TruthQuest was an affirming, restful time. The focus of the first half of the time was team building, which was good for me because, having just come from camp, I didn’t want to get to know another group of people. But through the rafting trip and other team building exercises I began to see those around me as people which is unusual for me because I have a tendency to see people around me as extras or something like that for a play about and starring me. I know that’s selfish, but it seemed to me to be a good play, one that you should see sometime.
Anyway, as I was saying, the whole play thing kind of went under because Brian, our guide on the rafting trip asked everyone in the raft to talk about a hard time they’d had recently that God had brought them through. And when the other people on the raft began to share, I suddenly saw these people as people, with their own lives and struggles. So after that I dropped my “play” attitude and began to get down to the business of trying to get to know people. And I ended up making some good friendships with some really wonderful people. That was the first half.
The second half took place on the campus of Corban college in Salem. All of us students had signed on to one of four tracks: Worship (Music), Missions, Leadership, or Video Communications; I (along with my friend "Juice") was on the Video Communications track. I was a little apprehensive about this track, after all what is one supposed to expect from something called “Video Communications”? I suspected that I was going to be trained in the ways of evangelical propaganda, shoving microphones in people’s faces asking questions about God. “Orson Welles was not a ‘video communicator.’” I felt like saying, “And neither was Alfred Hitchcock. I am a FILMMAKER, Sir! I’m here to learn the craft!”
As it turned out there was no need for such worry, Jon Pageant, the leader of our track, was talented and knowledgeable. He was also affirming for me because he verbalized a lot of what I had been thinking about on the subject of things like film and art. Under his guidance our track ended up making at least one movie each night for the student lead worship service, designed to complement the message of whoever was speaking.
So that’s a glimpse into some of the things that happened to me this summer. There were other things that happened this summer, other things like the death of my Great Grandfather. But I couldn’t write about that here, I’ve tried. It would take up more space than you have patience for anyway.
However, since this is supposed to be a thank you letter it would probably be good for me to let you know a little of what I intend to do with all that for which I’m saying Thank You in the first place. And why not make this into the what-I-wish-I-had-said-at-my-graduation part while I’m at it?
The What I Wish I Had Said At My Graduation Part
In January 2005, just after moving here I was reading my Bible at a worship retreat. I was just kind of flipping around and decided to read Psalm 40, mostly because U2 has a song based on it that I like. In this Psalm, David talks about how he was trapped in a muddy pit till God rescued him and brought him out of the mire and gave him a firm place to stand, after that God gives David a new song to sing. And it is apparently because of this song that people are able to see what God is like and when they see that they fear Him and decide to put their trust in Him.
Now this struck me as a beautiful thing and I don’t remember how it happened, but I remember getting the distinct impression that God had a kind of song for me to sing for his glory. I don’t remember if I asked Him or if He asked me what the song was, but I remember that the answer came from Him and that the answer was “Film”.
(Now I realize that some of you reading this letter don’t think much of God or may think of God as something like Santa Clause or The Effectiveness of Voting. That is, as something that’s OK to believe in in front of kids but something that you would never take seriously by yourself. That’s your prerogative. But you must understand that when I say “God” I’m talking about a real person, more real, in fact, then you or me.)
So here I had a mandate from the Almighty and here I am now almost a year later still sorting out what it means. For now I’m taking it to mean that I should, as one friend put it, “learn the craft” of filmmaking and I’m making plans to do that by taking the Digital Media Production program at the Art Institute of Portland next Fall, meanwhile sorting and arranging things to help that fall into place. No pun intended.
And now Beloved Reader, you have reached the end of this Thank You Card/autobiographical memoir and may God bless you if you’ve made it this far. And may God bless me because now you’ll think twice before getting me anything for Christmas, won’t you?
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro' endless summer days –
From inns of molten Blue –
When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove's door –
When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" –
I shall but drink the more!
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
- Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
this post, which has been carefully calculated to bring you your daily dose of (postmodern) randomness. Enjoy.
Sixpence None The Richer's '(Tension Is) A Passing Note';
Do I murder
When I forget you from afar,
Too drunk on the poison of endless roads
And the countless smokey bars?
But tension is to be loved
When it is like a passing note
To a beautiful, beautiful chord
Do I murder us
Putting pavement through my veins
Shooting in that special heroin
For the seeking and displaced?
But tension is to be loved
When it is like a passing note
To a beautiful, beautiful chord
Is Napoleon Dynamite America's new folk hero?
Midnitcafe's having some fond flashbacks.
READ THIS AND DIE! Uh, I mean READ THIS OR DIE!
I forget where this link leads...
==Magical Mystery Poem #1==
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
Monday, September 12, 2005
Tell me it's not true!
UPDATE: I took the world leaders test and am much more heartened by the results, take a look:
BlogPriest: But hold your rejoicing! For the Foolish Knight has shamefacedly admitted to me in the BlogConfessional that he sent only ONE letter from camp!
BlogPriest: He asks me to convey that he is very sorry for his inaction and holds those who have been slighted dearer than they can imagine.
BlogPriest: He asks that the offended parties extend their seemingly unending patience a wee bit longer for he has to write graduation Thank Yous.
BlogCongregation: Villain! Vile Wretch! Unloving, Pigsnouted, Putrid Mass!
BlogPriest (taken aback): Hang on now...
BlogCongregation: STONE HIM! OFF WITH HIS HEAD! BURRRN HIM!
The Foolish Knight (who has been hiding in the BlogConfessional, thinks quietly to himself): Hmm. Perhaps I'd better get writing...
Can the Foolish Knight convince his friends that he still loves them? Will he finish his various writing tasks in time? Will the BlogCongregation find the Foolish Knight? And if they do, will they have mercy or will they turn this into the Foolish Knight's LAST POST?
TO BE CONTINUED!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
- C. S. Lewis
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I'll try to let you know more about it when I'm done, but all I know for now is that this (Ms. Robinson's second novel) is the story of an ageing pastor who, in a letter to his seven year-old son, takes a long look back on his life. This first person narritive won this year's Pulitzer Prize and is so far quite beautiful and reflective.
Hey, why don't you see if you can't find yourself a copy and we'll read it together? (Sorry, slipped into Mr. Rogers mode there; it's late here. And I'm off to bed, uh, after I read Gilead of course.)
Friday, September 02, 2005
With the music of Sufjan Stevens. More specifically the songs "Chicago" and "Woman at the Well". "Chicago" is from the album pictured here; Illinoise. If you'd like to purchase the full album for me so that I could listen the WHOLE THING instead of just filling the gaps with tantalizing reviews then please, feel free to do so. Meanwhile I can of course link you to one or two of the aforementioned reviews. Enjoy!
Anyway I'm excited, because now the ideas and fancies that have been bubbling on the back burner of my mind can be brought out and developed more fully. Fearful, because stuff like that almost never happens; I find that all that I want to do most (like conveying the kinds of ideas that keep me up at night in excitement) I am powerless to do. More than once I've set out to change the world with a post of stunning brilliance but end up just placing one more well intentioned brick on the wall separating myself from the practical world.
I know that this minor fit of angst is by no means limited to my realm of personal experience (cf. Romans 7), but I just happen to be feeling it closely, now that I'm setting finger to keyboard once again in an effort to relate the details of the backyard odyssey mentioned in this blog's tagline.
However that wall (the one separating me from the practical world) is no longer here and I am, so we'll see what comes of this rebirth. And don't worry if it sounds like I'm forgoing all fun and frivolity in favor of furrowed brow and set jaw. That's not the case at all, I'm simply asking for your help (understanding?) as I take baby steps to become a better blogger.
Monday, June 06, 2005
"I leave you with a picture"
I'm officially checking out of the hotel that is Foolish Knight and won't be visiting again till the end of camp (late August). Also during this time I won't be visiting other people's blogs (aside from the unlikely but possible sporadic, random drop by) and I don't plan on doing any work on Mere Image, Select Variations On a Theme or Getaway Banjo Music (as if I ever did). My e-mail correspondence will be largely ignored (again, business as usual) and I intend to communicate only through smoke signals, carrier pigeons and morse code. Oh yeah, letters would be nice too.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I'm very excited about this!
And I'm simply BURSTING with joy because after the festivities there (is a graduation a festivity?), we'll be returning WITH EUCHARISTO to go to my graduation here and who should be awaiting our return but QUEEN MUM, THE QUEEN OF ARTS AND ENGLAND, LUKOLAS and the rest of their dear family! This the kind of thing I love - the opportunity to mix my friends on the Great Turntable Of Life. Needless to say I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks.
UPDATE: In other news, I just found out that I’ve been accepted to be a counselor at a summer-long Bible camp. Sooo... this might be my last blog post for a goodly long while - at least until the summer’s over. How’s that for sudden?
Friday, May 20, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I wish I wasn't influenced by other people so much... I don't know whether to look forward this darn movie or not. I guess I'll know on the other side... (the dark side?)...
My, what a messy post!
Saturday, May 14, 2005
THE TWO POETS OF SAFFRON PARK
THE suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and
ragged as a cloud of sunset. It was built of a bright brick throughout;
its sky-line was fantastic, and even its ground plan was wild.
It had been the outburst of a speculative builder, faintly tinged with art,
who called its architecture sometimes Elizabethan and sometimes Queen Anne,
apparently under the impression that the two sovereigns were identical.
It was described with some justice as an artistic colony,
though it never in any definable way produced any art. But although
its pretensions to be an intellectual centre were a little vague,
its pretensions to be a pleasant place were quite indisputable.
The stranger who looked for the first time at the quaint red houses
could only think how very oddly shaped the people must be who could
fit in to them. Nor when he met the people was he disappointed
in this respect. The place was not only pleasant, but perfect,
if once he could regard it not as a deception but rather as a dream.
Even if the people were not "artists," the whole was nevertheless artistic.
That young man with the long, auburn hair and the impudent face--
that young man was not really a poet; but surely he was a poem.
That old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild,
white hat--that venerable humbug was not really a philosopher;
but at least he was the cause of philosophy in others.
That scientific gentleman with the bald, egg-like head and the bare,
bird-like neck had no real right to the airs of science that he assumed.
He had not discovered anything new in biology; but what biological
creature could he have discovered more singular than himself?
Thus, and thus only, the whole place had properly to be regarded;
it had to be considered not so much as a workshop for artists,
but as a frail but finished work of art. A man who stepped into its
social atmosphere felt as if he had stepped into a written comedy.
More especially this attractive unreality fell upon it about nightfall,
when the extravagant roofs were dark against the afterglow and
the whole insane village seemed as separate as a drifting cloud.
This again was more strongly true of the many nights of local festivity,
when the little gardens were often illuminated, and the big Chinese lanterns
glowed in the dwarfish trees like some fierce and monstrous fruit.
And this was strongest of all on one particular evening, still vaguely
remembered in the locality, of which the auburn-haired poet was the hero.
It was not by any means the only evening of which he was the hero.
On many nights those passing by his little back garden might hear his high,
didactic voice laying down the law to men and particularly to women.
The attitude of women in such cases was indeed one of the paradoxes of
the place. Most of the women were of the kind vaguely called emancipated,
and professed some protest against male supremacy. Yet these new women
would always pay to a man the extravagant compliment which no ordinary
woman ever pays to him, that of listening while he is talking.
And Mr. Lucian Gregory, the red-haired poet, was really (in some sense)
a man worth listening to, even if one only laughed at the end of it.
He put the old cant of the lawlessness of art and the art of lawlessness
with a certain impudent freshness which gave at least a momentary pleasure.
He was helped in some degree by the arresting oddity of his appearance,
which he worked, as the phrase goes, for all it was worth.
His dark red hair parted in the middle was literally like a woman's,
and curved into the slow curls of a virgin in a pre-Raphaelite picture.
From within this almost saintly oval, however, his face projected suddenly
broad and brutal, the chin carried forward with a look of cockney contempt.
This combination at once tickled and terrified the nerves of a
neurotic population. He seemed like a walking blasphemy, a blend
of the angel and the ape.
This particular evening, if it is remembered for nothing else,
will be remembered in that place for its strange sunset.
It looked like the end of the world. All the heaven seemed covered
with a quite vivid and palpable plumage; you could only say that the sky
was full of feathers, and of feathers that almost brushed the face.
Across the great part of the dome they were grey, with the strangest tints
of violet and mauve and an unnatural pink or pale green; but towards
the west the whole grew past description, transparent and passionate,
and the last red-hot plumes of it covered up the sun like something too
good to be seen. The whole was so close about the earth, as to express
nothing but a violent secrecy. The very empyrean seemed to be a secret.
It expressed that splendid smallness which is the soul of local patriotism.
The very sky seemed small.
I say that there are some inhabitants who may remember the evening if only by
that oppressive sky. There are others who may remember it because it marked
the first appearance in the place of the second poet of Saffron Park. For a
long time the red-haired revolutionary had reigned without a rival;
it was upon the night of the sunset that his solitude suddenly ended.
The new poet, who introduced himself by the name of Gabriel Syme was a very
mild-looking mortal, with a fair, pointed beard and faint, yellow hair.
But an impression grew that he was less meek than he looked.
He signalised his entrance by differing with the established poet,
Gregory, upon the whole nature of poetry. He said that he (Syme) was poet
of law, a poet of order; nay, he said he was a poet of respectability.
So all the Saffron Parkers looked at him as if he had that moment fallen
out of that impossible sky.
In fact, Mr. Lucian Gregory, the anarchic poet, connected the two events.
"It may well be," he said, in his sudden lyrical manner, "it may
well be on such a night of clouds and cruel colours that there is
brought forth upon the earth such a portent as a respectable poet.
You say you are a poet of law; I say you are a contradiction in terms.
I only wonder there were not comets and earthquakes on the night you
appeared in this garden."
The man with the meek blue eyes and the pale, pointed beard
endured these thunders with a certain submissive solemnity.
The third party of the group, Gregory's sister Rosamond,
who had her brother's braids of red hair, but a kindlier face
underneath them, laughed with such mixture of admiration
and disapproval as she gave commonly to the family oracle.
Gregory resumed in high oratorical good humour.
"An artist is identical with an anarchist," he cried.
"You might transpose the words anywhere. An anarchist is an artist.
The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers
a great moment to everything. He sees how much more valuable
is one burst of blazing light, one peal of perfect thunder,
than the mere common bodies of a few shapeless policemen.
An artist disregards all governments, abolishes all conventions.
The poet delights in disorder only. If it were not so, the most
poetical thing in the world would be the Underground Railway."
"So it is," said Mr. Syme.
"Nonsense! " said Gregory, who was very rational when anyone
else attempted paradox. "Why do all the clerks and navvies in
the railway trains look so sad and tired, so very sad and tired?
I will tell you. It is because they know that the train is going right.
It is because they know that whatever place they have taken a ticket
for that place they will reach. It is because after they have passed
Sloane Square they know that the next station must be Victoria,
and nothing but Victoria. Oh, their wild rapture! oh, their eyes
like stars and their souls again in Eden, if the next station
were unaccountably Baker Street!"
"It is you who are unpoetical," replied the poet Syme. "If what you
say of clerks is true, they can only be as prosaic as your poetry.
The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross,
obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man
with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not also epical
when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station?
Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere,
to Baker Street or to Bagdad. But man is a magician,
and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria,
and lo! it is Victoria. No, take your books of mere poetry
and prose; let me read a time table, with tears of pride.
Take your Byron, who commemorates the defeats of man;
give me Bradshaw, who commemorates his victories.
Give me Bradshaw, I say!"
"Must you go?" inquired Gregory sarcastically.
"I tell you," went on Syme with passion, "that every time
a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries
of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos.
You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square
one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand
things instead, and that whenever I really come there I have
the sense of hairbreadth escape. And when I hear the guard
shout out the word 'Victoria,' it is not an unmeaning word.
It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest.
It is to me indeed 'Victoria'; it is the victory of Adam."
Gregory wagged his heavy, red head with a slow and sad smile.
"And even then," he said, "we poets always ask the question,
'And what is Victoria now that you have got there ?'
You think Victoria is like the New Jerusalem. We know that
the New Jerusalem will only be like Victoria. Yes, the poet
will be discontented even in the streets of heaven.
The poet is always in revolt."
"There again," said Syme irritably, "what is there poetical
about being in revolt ? You might as well say that it is poetical
to be sea-sick. Being sick is a revolt. Both being sick and being
rebellious may be the wholesome thing on certain desperate occasions;
but I'm hanged if I can see why they are poetical.
Revolt in the abstract is--revolting. It's mere vomiting."
The girl winced for a flash at the unpleasant word, but Syme
was too hot to heed her.
"It is things going right," he cried, "that is poetical
I Our digestions, for instance, going sacredly and silently right,
that is the foundation of all poetry. Yes, the most poetical thing,
more poetical than the flowers, more poetical than the stars--
the most poetical thing in the world is not being sick."
"Really," said Gregory superciliously, "the examples you choose--"
"I beg your pardon," said Syme grimly, "I forgot we had
abolished all conventions."
For the first time a red patch appeared on Gregory's forehead.
"You don't expect me," he said, "to revolutionise society on this lawn ?"
Syme looked straight into his eyes and smiled sweetly.
"No, I don't," he said; "but I suppose that if you were serious
about your anarchism, that is exactly what you would do."
Gregory's big bull's eyes blinked suddenly like those of an angry lion,
and one could almost fancy that his red mane rose.
"Don't you think, then," he said in a dangerous voice, "that I am
serious about my anarchism?"
"I beg your pardon ?" said Syme.
"Am I not serious about my anarchism ?" cried Gregory, with knotted fists.
"My dear fellow!" said Syme, and strolled away.
With surprise, but with a curious pleasure, he found Rosamond Gregory
still in his company.
"Mr. Syme," she said, "do the people who talk like you and my brother
often mean what they say ? Do you mean what you say now ?"
"Do you ?" he asked.
"What do you mean ?" asked the girl, with grave eyes.
"My dear Miss Gregory," said Syme gently, "there are many kinds
of sincerity and insincerity. When you say 'thank you' for the salt,
do you mean what you say ? No. When you say 'the world is round,'
do you mean what you say ? No. It is true, but you don't mean it.
Now, sometimes a man like your brother really finds a thing he does mean.
It may be only a half-truth, quarter-truth, tenth-truth; but then
he says more than he means--from sheer force of meaning it."
She was looking at him from under level brows; her face was grave
and open, and there had fallen upon it the shadow of that unreasoning
responsibility which is at the bottom of the most frivolous woman,
the maternal watch which is as old as the world.
"Is he really an anarchist, then?" she asked.
"Only in that sense I speak of," replied Syme; "or if you prefer it,
in that nonsense."
She drew her broad brows together and said abruptly--
"He wouldn't really use--bombs or that sort of thing?"
Syme broke into a great laugh, that seemed too large for his slight
and somewhat dandified figure.
"Good Lord, no!" he said, "that has to be done anonymously."
And at that the corners of her own mouth broke into a smile,
and she thought with a simultaneous pleasure of Gregory's
absurdity and of his safety.
Syme strolled with her to a seat in the corner of the garden,
and continued to pour out his opinions. For he was a
sincere man, and in spite of his superficial airs and graces,
at root a humble one. And it is always the humble man who
talks too much; the proud man watches himself too closely.
He defended respectability with violence and exaggeration.
He grew passionate in his praise of tidiness and propriety.
All the time there was a smell of lilac all round him.
Once he heard very faintly in some distant street a barrel-organ
begin to play, and it seemed to him that his heroic words
were moving to a tiny tune from under or beyond the world.
He stared and talked at the girl's red hair and amused face
for what seemed to be a few minutes; and then, feeling that
the groups in such a place should mix, rose to his feet.
To his astonishment, he discovered the whole garden empty.
Everyone had gone long ago, and he went himself with a
rather hurried apology. He left with a sense of champagne
in his head, which he could not afterwards explain.
In the wild events which were to follow this girl had no part
at all; he never saw her again until all his tale was over.
And yet, in some indescribable way, she kept recurring like
a motive in music through all his mad adventures afterwards,
and the glory of her strange hair ran like a red thread
through those dark and ill-drawn tapestries of the night.
For what followed was so improbable, that it might well have
been a dream.
When Syme went out into the starlit street, he found it
for the moment empty. Then he realised (in some odd way)
that the silence was rather a living silence than a dead one.
Directly outside the door stood a street lamp, whose gleam gilded
the leaves of the tree that bent out over the fence behind him.
About a foot from the lamp-post stood a figure almost as rigid
and motionless as the lamp-post itself. The tall hat and long
frock coat were black; the face, in an abrupt shadow, was almost
as dark. Only a fringe of fiery hair against the light,
and also something aggressive in the attitude, proclaimed that it
was the poet Gregory. He had something of the look of a masked
bravo waiting sword in hand for his foe.
He made a sort of doubtful salute, which Syme somewhat more formally returned.
"I was waiting for you," said Gregory. "Might I have
a moment's conversation?"
"Certainly. About what?" asked Syme in a sort of weak wonder.
Gregory struck out with his stick at the lamp-post, and then at the tree.
"About this and this," he cried; "about order and anarchy.
There is your precious order, that lean, iron lamp, ugly and barren;
and there is anarchy, rich, living, reproducing itself--there is anarchy,
splendid in green and gold."
"All the same," replied Syme patiently, "just at present
you only see the tree by the light of the lamp. I wonder
when you would ever see the lamp by the light of the tree."
Then after a pause he said, "But may I ask if you have been
standing out here in the dark only to resume our little argument?"
"No," cried out Gregory, in a voice that rang down the street,
"I did not stand here to resume our argument, but to end
it for ever."
The silence fell again, and Syme, though he understood nothing,
listened instinctively for something serious. Gregory began
in a smooth voice and with a rather bewildering smile.
"Mr. Syme," he said, "this evening you succeeded in doing something
rather remarkable. You did something to me that no man born of woman
has ever succeeded in doing before."
"Now I remember," resumed Gregory reflectively, "one other person succeeded
in doing it. The captain of a penny steamer (if I remember correctly)
at Southend. You have irritated me."
"I am very sorry," replied Syme with gravity.
"I am afraid my fury and your insult are too shocking to be wiped out even
with an apology," said Gregory very calmly. "No duel could wipe it out.
If I struck you dead I could not wipe it out. There is only one
way by which that insult can be erased, and that way I choose.
I am going, at the possible sacrifice of my life and honour, to prove
to you that you were wrong in what you said."
"In what I said?"
"You said I was not serious about being an anarchist."
"There are degrees of seriousness," replied Syme. "I have
never doubted that you were perfectly sincere in this sense,
that you thought what you said well worth saying, that you
thought a paradox might wake men up to a neglected truth."
Gregory stared at him steadily and painfully.
"And in no other sense," he asked, "you think me serious?
You think me a flaneur who lets fall occasional truths.
You do not think that in a deeper, a more deadly sense,
I am serious."
Syme struck his stick violently on the stones of the road.
"Serious! " he cried. "Good Lord! is this street serious?
Are these damned Chinese lanterns serious? Is the whole caboodle serious?
One comes here and talks a pack of bosh, and perhaps some sense as well,
but I should think very little of a man who didn't keep something in
the background of his life that was more serious than all this talking--
something more serious, whether it was religion or only drink."
"Very well," said Gregory, his face darkening, "you shall see
something more serious than either drink or religion."
Syme stood waiting with his usual air of mildness until Gregory
again opened his lips.
"You spoke just now of having a religion. Is it really true
that you have one?"
"Oh," said Syme with a beaming smile, "we are all Catholics now."
"Then may I ask you to swear by whatever gods or saints your religion
involves that you will not reveal what I am now going to tell you to any
son of Adam, and especially not to the police? Will you swear that!
If you will take upon yourself this awful abnegations if you will consent
to burden your soul with a vow that you should never make and a knowledge
you should never dream about, I will promise you in return--"
"You will promise me in return?" inquired Syme, as the other paused.
"I will promise you a very entertaining evening."
Syme suddenly took off his hat.
"Your offer," he said, "is far too idiotic to be declined.
You say that a poet is always an anarchist. I disagree;
but I hope at least that he is always a sportsman.
Permit me, here and now, to swear as a Christian, and promise
as a good comrade and a fellow-artist, that I will not
report anything of this, whatever it is, to the police.
And now, in the name of Colney Hatch, what is it?"
"I think," said Gregory, with placid irrelevancy, "that we will call a cab."
He gave two long whistles, and a hansom came rattling down the road.
The two got into it in silence. Gregory gave through the trap the
address of an obscure public-house on the Chiswick bank of the river.
The cab whisked itself away again, and in it these two fantastics
quitted their fantastic town.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
The Joshua Tree, U2
Sixpence None The Richer, Sixpence None The Richer
The Turning, Leslie Phillips
Mr. Buechner’s Dream, Daniel Amos
A Boot and a Shoe, Sam Phillips
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2
Slow Train Coming, Bob Dylan
O Brother Where Art Thou?, T Bone Burnett
Cold Mountain, T Bone Burnett
Only Visiting This Planet, Larry Norman
American IV: The Man Comes Around, Johnny Cash
All That You Can’t Leave Behind, U2
Rattle And Hum, U2
The Beautiful Letdown, Switchfoot
Free At Last, dc Talk
The Eleventh Hour, Jars of Clay
Who We Are Instead, Jars of Clay
Jesus Freak, dc Talk
Songs From Bright Avenue, Bob Bennett
Horrendous Disc, Daniel Amos
Me Died Blue, Steven Delopoulos
If I Left the Zoo, Jars of Clay
Stereotype Be, Kevin Max
Flap Your Wings, The Choir
Divine Discontent, Sixpence None The Richer
Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn
A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay
The Jesus Demos, Rich Mullins
A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band, Rich Mullins
Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay
New Way to Be Human, Switchfoot
My Mother’s Hymn Book, Johnny Cash
Love and Theft, Bob Dylan
Orange Blossom Special, Johnny Cash
Between the Fence and the Universe, Kevin Max
Thrive, The Newsboys
Supernatural, dc Talk
Much Afraid, Jars of Clay
John Wesley Harding, Bob Dylan
Roaring Lambs, Dave Palmer
Gift Horse, Lost Dogs
So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt?, Keith Green
Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison Krauss and Union Station
Big Blue Sky, Bebo Norman
A Fragile Stone, Michael Card
Deep Enough to Dream, Chris Rice
Stacie Orrico, Stacie Orrico
It’s Personal, Phil Keaggy
Find Me In The Fields, Phil Keaggy
Signs of Life, Steven Curtis Chapman
Speechless Steven Curtis Chapman
Nothing Left to Prove, Danny Orteli
===========Best Of and Tribute Albums=============
The Strong Hand Of Love
The Best of Peter, Paul and Mary: Ten Years Together
Have We Got A Show For You
Intermission: the Greatest Hits
Shine, the Hits
20 Essential Tracks From The Boxed Set: 1965-1990
Friday, May 06, 2005
Reply to those emails in the inbox, some of them have been sitting there for a while!
Talk about Eucharisto's demo songs that he sent, they sound great!
Relate 'The Story of the Weeping Computer'
Explain what'll be keeping you busy this week
Remember to tell your readers about the brake you took this week and why you haven't resently posted or responded to their comments.
Now that your brake is over respond to those comments and post something, anything, on 'Foolish Knight'!
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Saturday, April 23, 2005
I had a lot of fun reading it recently when I ran across it in my brother's Word files. Though we never made it past two parts (Eucharisto and I being the only contributors), I though it still might be fun for you guys to read.
So here it is; in all of it's unedited glory (for added enjoyment, see if you can spot where Eucharisto's narration leaves off and where my own uh, unique storytelling come to play):
Leaves fell silently around a great oak tree. Figures could be seen running to and fro, running to be out of range of the liquid that keeps us alive. The wind was stirring, as if waking from a deep sleep. For that is what the wind does, when summer is over, and harvest comes. It is at that time when the leaves on the trees begin to shine a shade of amber, and the sun visits the south for a while, and the time we call autumn comes to enjoy his rest.
It was a good time for the people in the small town. The people who ran the shops and restaurants on the square, the good folks who sat out on their porches to watch the sky in its glory as the star that lights our sky faded away from view. The people of Rugby liked it that way. And that was the way it had always been. But for one, it would be long before he could experience that joy.
Our story sadly takes us many miles away, to a place not enthralled in idyllic happiness, or stopped on the face of a watch, measuring time. We travel over mountains, through pines, and over rivers, to a place where nature begins to blend with industry, and then fades out all together. Time again is set in motion, and the people running are not escaping from a barrage of rain, but from a barrage of appointments, traps set by themselves as a means of survival.
The light begins to focus on one solitary figure, sitting silently by the door of a building, a building that would engulf the entire town of Rugby in one mouthful. It is in this building, where the man works. His face is looking at the cold hard pavement, which in turn offers him no comfort. A siren far off begins to whine. He slowly rises to his feet, and shuffles toward the place where he least wants to go, but where his common sense tells him is vital. Home.
I’ve always been a fool, why should I change now? As a matter of fact, I’m quite good at being a fool. It seems that I accomplish a lot more as a fool than I ever did as a sensible person. I’ve accomplished nothing and I am a lot closer to my goal to accomplish nothing as a fool, because I’m always going to accomplish nothing. I guess it’s nice being good at doing something, even if it’s nothing.
I only wish that Bobbie were with me now. He thought back to his childhood. He and Bobbie were friends, best friends. Bobbie was his goldfish. He came from Balmier’s Fish emporium. These thoughts are depressing; they make me sad. Foolish me, poor Bobbie.
The author is unsure how long this cycle of morbidity would have continued were it not for the fascinating introduction of a new character in this dreadfully realistic novel.
The person of whom I speak was (and still is as far as I know) a tall man. Now tall men are not uncommon, in fact the author is acquainted with several men of above average height but this particular man of above average height gave the impression of being quite uncommon. He had a broad rimmed hat and a long coat, rain streamed down his hair, which was long, and his beard, which was longer, he sat on a bench, presumably to wait for the bus, which stopped in front of that bench once a day every day usually at three o’clock in the afternoon though sometimes it came at three fifteen and once, our hero remembered, it arrived a full twenty-seven minutes early.
Our hero, having little else to do at work, had taken to staring out his widow all day. When the office closed he would sit on the ground in front of the building all day and watch the passers by, but he was unused to strangers watching him, which is what this man of above average height seemed bent on doing.
He stopped walking and returned the tall man’s gaze.
The man appeared, as I say, to be waiting for something, though, our hero notices, it could not have been the bus, for, the bus had come and gone and all the while that tall man has been sitting there on the bench.
As our hero watched this most fascinating man he began to do something that he often did; he began to digress.
Its funny, I didn’t know that I had noticed that, it must have been in my sub-conscience. I wonder if really is such thing as a sub-conscience. Is it really possible to think of two things at once? I don’t think so. Poor Bobbie.
While our hero followed these various trains of thought to there various train stations of thought and satisfied himself with the thought he had explored all his thoughts on the subject of thought, something somewhat more important to this frighteningly slow-paced novel happened: the tall man disappeared. (Now, I don’t expect you to take me literally, a literal use of the word disappear would imply a certain tendency towards fantasy, a tendency which of course is completely alien to the author. The actual meaning intended by the author is one closer to a hasty and/or unnoticed departure.)
“I don’t believe it!” exclaimed our hero, after taking a step or two closer to the bench and squinting at it as though the man might be in the same place but only significantly decreased in size, “He’s disappeared!”
At this our hero broke into a hard sprint in the general direction of his nose.
Friday, April 15, 2005
I was stunned by this drop dead gorgeous film about migratory birds. (If a bit disillusioned by the "Making Of" featurette.)
2001: A Space Odyssey
I like Stanley Kubrick. I like him because he had respect for his audience; he let them (and seemed to they could) think; he let them figure things out for themselves. He seemed to believed that the average moviegoer has an attention span longer than five minutes.
He was wrong of course, but that doesn't detract from his brilliance as a poet. Yes the film is demanding and (at times) confounding, but when was the last time Truth was served up on a silver platter?
Jeffrey Overstreet's favorite film of 2004 (though a actually from 2003) has "parable" written all over it; with such elements as father-son relationships, hidden money, a strange journey and the like. But it's something of a head-scratcher; if the goal of Art is to pose questions and explore (as opposed to making a statement or preaching) then this film's a triumph, if not, then this is merely beautiful film with strong acting all round.
I, of course, fall on the side of Art As Meditation; so I heartily recommend this film for group viewing and discussion. I think it would well worth your time.
The Year of Living Dangerously
A Man Escaped
The Story of the Weeping Camel
A Hard Day's Night
Four year old Victoire Thivisol gave a breathtaking performance as Ponette - a girl who has lost her mother to a car accident. And we, the audience are left to watch quietly as little Ponette grapples with this loss, as she brings her questions to her family, her friends and, in the end, God himself.
I don't quite know how to put into words how this film effected me; and maybe that's alright. I can say that this film broke my heart, and without the insulting manipulation that the filmmakers could easily could have used.
Oh dear, I'm doing a bad job at this: can I just link to Jeffrey Overstreet's review? Or would that be cheating?
Diary of a Country Priest
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Friday, April 01, 2005
Do you write poetry? Post some! Do you have a link to some great poetry? Post it!
Can't do any of those things? Then just get cozy with some great poetry and a nice comfy chair, do something poetic!
For my part I'm going to support a local (very local) poet; my brother Eriol. He's just posted a new poem and I think it happens to be one of his best.
Take a look.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Monday, March 28, 2005
I've never been able to do that, but it's a talent I could sure use right about now; there are so many things I want to share with you guys, so many things that have happened, that seem to me to be of inestimable importance, things which I want nothing more then to communicate to you. But things are moving very fast right now. Because of all of the activity in which we’ve been involved, we don’t even have all of our boxes unpacked.
Anyway, all this to say that things are going to be slow around here for a little while, you won't be hearing a whole lot from me (as if you ever did) and what you do hear might seem frivolous to you (talk about movies, links to articles you don’t want to read etc.), but I hope you'll stick with me through this dizzy spell. And hopefully things will get back to normal really soon.
Here we go:
1. Was it artfully done?
Yes. There were, of course, minor flaws but overall; the story was compelling and surprising, the lighting was darkly beautiful, the actors were genuine, playing characters that win our hearts, the music was simple, sparse and unobtrusive and the film's emotional resonance was pure.
2. Was it cast well?
Yes, I can't imagine anyone else in these roles, Eastwood, Swank and Freeman gave performances that were sometimes funny and at other times heart wrenching but always authentic. They're just wonderful to watch.
3. Was the plot original and well thought out?
Here's where we arrive at the films minor flaws (which I would not have noticed except that everyone felt the need to dissect this best picture nominee and publish their dissecting for me to read); These two phrases ("original", "well thought out") are, in one respect, probably not the two best to describe the plot; because of some stereo-typical characters and minor improbabilities here and there. But let me once again emphises that these things pale in comparison to the films many strengths (listed above).
4. Was it technically well done (cinematographically, FX, etc.)?
Yes. Though the technical elements of the film never dazzle but it's a smaller film so there's no reason why they should.
5. Was the movie ethical?
I won't say very much here so as not to spoil the film, but I would say that yes, because of my interpretation of the film, I do believe it honors values such as integrity and endurance.
6. Was it deserving of the best picture Oscar it garnered at the Academy awards?
I didn''t see all of the films up for best picture this year so I couldn't say. However, I can say this: Though the movie was good, it would not probably not displace The Incredibles or Spiderman 2 on a list of my favorite movies of the year.
7. Was it redeeming?
If this means "Was it worth what I paid for it?" (in money, time etc.), then I'd say yes.
8. Was it worth seeing?
For diserning viewers, yes.
9. Is it worth seeing twice?
Because I knew the ending going in to the movie and so had some of the benefits of a second viewing I can say that yes, it is worth it, though some parts might be harder to watch the second time around. (Though I don't know if it's the kind of movie I'd go out and buy, for the same reason I haven't bought a copy of The Passion of the Christ.)
Here are a handfull of much better reviews:
J. Robert Park's,
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I found it in a book. She will love me for it, no?
Brad Bird interview
Danny Bole interview
They're both worth reading, here are some highlights of the Danny Bole interview:
In spite of Damian, who's a God-fearing boy, a friend of the saints, and a help to the poor, Millions never becomes 'preachy.' Was that difficult to do?
You can go through the whole filmmaking experience being careful, saying, "I've got to make sure this isn't preachy." But you can't make a film like that. What you do instead is concentrate on the essentials, the positives: the character and the kid playing the character. You're saying that this is the way he sees the world.
If the movie works, it's because you realize that life absolutely is that simple, the way Damian sees it. It's not like we're preaching at people and saying, "Don't you see it's that simple? Why can't you do that? Come on, cough up the money!" We're actually saying that, "When you look back at what you were like [at Damian's age], it was that simple. And that's not a bad thing." That's still us, even though we've moved on into the venal world of survival and competition.
The power of those people with their money will always make sure that the industry delivers to them certain kinds of entertainment. But you have to be very careful that we don't turn the movies into opera, which is like, "They're good for you, they're a bit specialized, and they'll be a bit beyond some of you." Within that, you've got to be, like Scorsese says, "cunning." You've got to smuggle good ideas into something that attracts that person to the Friday or Saturday night film. That way they get a bigger kick out of it than they do from those films you're talking about. That's the job. It's not like you've got to ban the bad films... you've just got to make better films more entertaining.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
I’ve absorbed a lot of works of art in the past couple of months or so, some good, some not so good. Here's a scatter-shot sum up:
Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard,
George MacDonald speaks of two kinds of books; the kind you can’t wait to get to the end of (like a mystery story) and the kind (like something by Dickens) that you wish would never end. Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim At Tinker Creek is a book of this second kind. A rich and full examination of nature (which could be described as God's back), each visit will leave you radiant (and terrified), like Moses after his "face to back" encounter with God.
Napoleon Dynamite and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Chalk these up as prime viewings for a Sunday school lesson on God's grace as expressed in Hebrews chapter two, title it, "God Made Them a Little Lower Than Angels?"
Saint Maybe, Anne Tyler
Watership Down, Richard Adams
Hands down the best adventure/dystopian/pilgrim's-progress/folk-story/parable starring rabbits ever written!
Ikiru or To Live, is the story of a man who, after learning that he is fatally ill, begins searching for life's meaning. Call it a cross between Japanese existentialism and It's a Wonderful Life.
Divine Discontent, Sixpence None The Richer
Chariots of Fire,
Frankenstine, Mary Shelley
It by this book that I discovered my strong dislike for the typical writing style of the Romantic period.
Million Dollar Baby,
Thursday, March 10, 2005
1. Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
2. Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis
3. Brendan, Frederick Buechner
1. The Joshua Tree, U2
2. Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer
3. Mr. Buechner's Dream, Daniel Amos
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. Babette's Feast
Special thanks to midnitcafe for inspiring this post.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
The question is, did I accomplish the goals that I set forth at the beginning of February? Well, I have gotten readjusted school-wise am making progress. I have a routine now (loosely speaking) and a special nook in which I can do my school (very important). So that's good.
About the unpacking of boxes and settling in, we're certainly getting there but this has been an unusual moving experience. Usually when we first move somewhere (how many people can use that phrase?) we either don't know anyone or know very few people there. Here, on the other hand, we have both friends and family in abundance keeping us quite busy: the first week we were here we went on a weekend youth retreat, I have been to three family reunions (of sorts) in the past few weeks (a trip to the hospital, a memorial service and a birthday), also I helped spearhead a movie-making project for a special "Guys Honor Girls" event at the youth group here, we only had about a week to make this movie and not only did it have sound (!) but also turned out to be the longest movie I've ever made (clocking in at about seventeen minutes) so that was a stressful experience for me, though it paid off in the end, the girls being honored and all.
What's more is, because we live next door to the church here, we have about 500 neighbors on Sunday and half that many on Wednesday, so it seems like we always have a visitor or two popping in at the house.
All this to say that settling in somehow seems to gotten lost in the shuffle.
So what about the expanding of posts? I've time for little more than constructing the coolest sidebar in the world (please see above paragraph for explanation).
The verdict? The brake was much needed, though for unexpected reasons. So thanks for letting me take one.
I have also absorbed several significant works of art in the past month, but more on that later. Right now it's time for:
EARTH SHATTERING NEWS!
I present for the enjoyment and stimulation of the mind and heart, my PHOTOBLOG:
SELECT VARIATIONS ON A THEME!
Want to impress your friends? Download these magnificent pictures to your computer and put them as your wallpaper, when they ask where you got your rocking cool wallpaper tell 'em the pictures are yours! Will leave impression every time, I guarantee it!
Well, whatever you do, enjoy.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
You are, at this moment, I know, wondering what in the world provoked me to take this rather extreme step. So I tell you, I do this thing for three reasons mainly:
1. I have much fleshing out of posts to do (now, before you go into hysterics, notice that the careful phrasing of my opening sentence allows for as much bloomin' editing of earlier posts as I very well please, thank you).
2. I have much school-work to do and, for some reason, new posts always seem to take priority over this task, so it'll be nice to have this temptation out of the way.
3. Lastly; we've just started settling in our house here and there are A PLETHORA of jobs to do around the house so, once again, a temptation is being removed.
I have only a few parting words: READ THE ARCHIVES! They are meant to be read AND CRITICIZED over and over again. Tis true.
Well, see you there. Bye!