Thursday, June 21, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

And while grand masterpieces may take time and patience, imagine sculpting a grain of sand or sugar. This man does. And it's incredible. Be sure to watch the video on the sidebar as well. Pictures of his work are found here. These sculptures fit inside the eye of a needle, or on top of a pin head. Absolutely incredible. Goes to show that even those with disabilities (he can't read or write) still have value, still have talent.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"What vain weathercocks we are!"

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, is not a book to read before you go to bed at night. In fact, it's one of those books that look nice on your shelf because it's a classic but has little value in helping you live a good, upright life. Vanity, love (or should I say lust), obsession, greed, self-centeredness, rivalry, and death: these are the themes of Wuthering Height - a most tragic "love story."

I do enjoy E.Bronte's style of writing, and how she goes about telling the story. It certainly keeps one turning the pages, but in horrid fascination. You must know what happens, but you fear to learn. I commented after I finished reading the book (with a huge smile on my face) that it is awful when one finishes reading a book and is that glad to have finished (for finishing the book was the reason for my smile). I had accomplished my goal. Oh yes, a depressing work indeed. Do not recommend it for young folk, and I am glad I did not read it sooner than I did.

The back cover describes Wuthering Heights in this way:
With its freedom from social convention and its unparalleled emotional intensity, Wuthering Heights is a highly original and deeply tragic work.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Bible Study

NOTE: This is not intended as a "bash"

Whatever happened to Bible studies? They seem to exist nominally to a large degree. We do book studies about things in the Bible. We do step programs to help us live better Biblical lives and we discuss and debate Piper and MacArthur (who are great don't get me wrong) but what happened to picking up the Bible and seeing what it actually says - instead of what so-and-so says it says?

original image source

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Night at the Museum {Movie Review}

Everything comes to life. Literally. Turns out, being a museum security guard isn't so boring after all.

Obviously, the premise of this movie is completely bogus, but fantasy is part of what makes this enjoyable. What would you do in Larry's (Ben Stiller's character) shoes? (I don't know about you, but I would flip out.) There are very blatant references to the "fact" that we evolved from monkeys. So make sure you sift that junk out, and if you watch this movie with your children make sure that they understand what parts they should not believe. There are one or two words that slip, but overall a very clean movie. It does, unfortunately, represent a dysfunctional family - what else is new from Hollywood? I did enjoy the movie, however, and do recommend that others see it as well.

Trailers found here.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

(I did find it odd that Owen Wilson was not found in any credits whatsoever on/in the movie. His character wasn't even listed in the cast. Why? I do not know.)

5-28-15 edit - so I finally heard (but don't have a source to back this up) that the reason Wilson isn't credited is because his character was supposed to be a cameo, but it tested so well with audiences that his roll was expanded ... and he didn't get credit because of some union issue.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007


I was out walking around the neighborhood the other day, trying to walk as far away from the road as possible so as to stay away from city sounds, and as I walked I reflected on several things.

I love the city with all of its conveniences, but moments of complete quiet are hard to find. In the country at least it's natural sounds you hear, the buzzing of insects, the twittering of birds, the mooing of cows ... even tractors once in awhile, but a tractor is much different than the roar of traffic on a highway in a city.

Americans are generally wealthy people. The poor are usually better off than the middle class in other countries. Our houses and status and what have you are far below that of the "poor" in Austen's day. Ever notice that the Bennett family was considered poor? Their house I would certainly not classify as such, though admittedly it fall short of the grandeur of both Bingley's and Darcy's house. The Bennett family still kept servants to cook and help around the house, though they did not have a large garden. They were the poor. I suppose the destitute would be what I would think of as "poor."

I grew up with the piano being played, though I never have mastered the skill myself. I take the talent for granted. As I was walking about the neighborhood I paused as I heard the scales being played in a house along the way. My mind immediately flew to a time when walking about it was probably not uncommon to hear such a thing. My mind flew back to the time of Austen. It was quiet refreshing. I am certain it was not a recording, as my brother inquired if it was or not.

The almost imperceptible hesitations on basic scales convinced me that an actually person was in that moment playing the sound I heard drifting from the open windows. I wanted to walk up to the house, find a window where I could observe the pianist and lean my head on my arms on the windowsill; I refrained and continued walking. I walked slowly until the music was out of hearing. I was glad some others still practiced the art of piano playing, and that the windows were open so passerbys could hear, though I doubt the pianist knew the joy brought to me as I walked by.

The train whistle was distinctly heard for most of my walk. I do enjoy listening to the train, but I would have much rather listened to nature itself, though I suppose the whistle did a fairly good job of blocking out the traffic noises. When the whistle was not blowing I did enjoy the birds singing, though there are far fewer birds in the city than in the country. The flowers were lovely and fragrant, though I dare not stop or go up to bush of roses or a garden of daffodils to enjoy for fear of trespassing. I was pleased that my allergies did not act up, that was a pleasant change.

Later on in my walk I passed another house. This time instead of soothing piano music I heard beat of a drumset with cymbals. While it was enjoyable in its own way it was a far cry from the piano I heard earlier, though the drummer sounded more experienced than the pianist. It was beat without much variation, no melody. Of course I realize that drums don't carry a melody, it isn't what they were designed to do. I would have enjoyed a band much better. At least some other instrumental accompaniment. Even had there been I would have longed for the piano. That moment that took be back centuries ago. I enjoyed hearing the drums, and slowed down to hear them as well. To me the two instruments I heard practiced that day contrasted the classical with the modern. The refinement of the piano, from the sounds of it in the living room, to the drumset in the garage. Each unique and beautiful in its own way. It set me to thinking.

The almost monotonous drums brought my mind to atonal music. Not that drums are atonal (though they could be used in that style of "music") but remember, at that moment drums represented the modern era to me - an era that embraces atonal "music." I started wondering why anyone would listen to atonal "music" and came to a conclusion that it takes more skill to deftly lie and say you actually enjoyed listening to it than it did to play it (for it could be played with headphones on to block the sounds). My soul is repulsed at this thing called atonal music, and I think that is why people embrace it.

Everyone is looking for something, and if focus can be shifted from the aching of your soul to something that causes your soul to ache it can numb your soul, to some degree or another. Just like a number of other things can numb your soul. Atonal ----- became popular in the 1920's, after "The World War" ended. People were hurting and saw no order in the world - why should music have order? I think it was a way to express the hurt and confusion inside. Why does it repulse our souls? We were made in the image of God. God is a God of order. Atonal ------ is rather disorderly and disturbing, as such it goes against the grain of how we were made.

Some dissonance now and then within the structure of an orderly piece can be appropriate and useful. Note that the dissonance largely represents disorder in the piece, as atonal ----- is complete disorder. Atonal ----- I think represents a search our culture at large is on.

So that day as I walked the neighborhood I noted several things. It was an enjoyable time, and a lovely day. I arrived home edified, and my favorite memory, while enjoying the whole walk, was hearing the piano as I strolled along.

original image source

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Thursday, June 7, 2007


This delightful book by Louisa May Alcott was not originally penned as a book but as a series in a magazine. Work: A Story of Experience follows the life of Christie through the various chapters found in life, or at least in the mind, of, I presume, most women. I felt as if I could have been reading about my own life. I wasn't, but I could have been. I laughed, mourned, dreamed, despaired, loved, and was moved to tears reading this work. I don't agree with some of the premises and movements Alcott presents and/or advocates in Work, but it was an enjoyable read.

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