Monthly Archives: March 2015

Matinee Monday: Cartoons

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One of the facts of life of going to the movies in the 30’s and 40’s was the cartoons. Yes, there were the double features, the newsreels, the trailers and shorts (a future post), but one staple of the experience: the cartoons.

In keeping with the fact that I’m an old coot and curmudgeon, I’m going to give a short rant about cartoons today.

WHAT CRAP!!

Today’s cartoons are technical inferior; ‘toons for kids are mind-numbingly vapid; the characters are all either closet rock stars or closet superheroes. If there are cartoons aimed for adults, their only claim to humor is raunch, kind of like BBC comedies that get their humor from old ladies swearing, etc. There, rant over.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I got to see old cartoons on afternoon TV. If you’re my age, you can remember some local kids’ show, with its “peanut gallery”, hosted by a local personality. I can remember, in Portland, OR, that we had two of note: one station had Addie Bobkins (Bob Adkins) and another had Paul Bunyan, Jr., his his puppet sidekick, Babe, Jr. And there were the cartoons.

The cartoons of the Classic Era reached everyone; it’s safe to say that the Bugs Bunnys, Popeyes, Donald Ducks, Droopys, etc., of that era were entertaining for the kids in the audience. But they also reached and entertained on an adult level because they had many jokes and situations that actually went over the heads of the kids. For example, one well-known Tex Avery ‘toon had “The Big Bad Wolf” going to a nightclub and ogling a cabaret dancer, Red Ridinghood.

As well, the cartoons of the 40’s joined in the promotion of patriotism in both serious and humorous ways. Disney did a serious 10-minute cartoon entitled Education for Death, showing how a German child could be raised to be a Nazi supporter. It is pure propaganda, effective and chilling.

In a lighter vein, Disney did a Donald Duck cartoon that supported the American war effort, no less propagandizing than Education for Death, but with ‘toon buffoonery. Donald has a nightmare about being a worker in “Naziland” and features a popular song by the Spike Jones Orchestra. The cartoon shares the name of the song, Der Fuehrer’s Face. Yes, the cartoon contains imagery that, today, would be considered offensive, but, well, I don’t care. Here is Der Fuehrer’s Face:

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“Please Lead” (But Do It My Way), part 1

(This is the first of a two-part series; here are the links to part 2.)

In an earlier post, I spoke about the temptation to play Holy Spirit, and help your spouse to “improve”. One unique concern that I often read in different blogs and frequently hear discussed on podcasts is both Christian-specific, and husband-specific. This is not a concern in non-Christian marriage. The problem? “My husband isn’t acting as the spiritual leader of our family.”

help lord

In conservative Christian churches, it is commonly taught that the husband is to be the spiritual leader in the home. This is a teaching that I think is correct, but, as we have done with so many teachings, we have over-spiritualized our interpretations and ideals to the point where we are in danger of emulating the Pharisees, whom Jesus accused of binding burdens on the backs of men, but refusing to help carry them. Continue reading

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Matinee Monday: Laurel and Hardy

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There are many great comics and comedians from the Classic Era of cinema, and many great comedy teams, but the best team of all, the creme´ de la creme´, was Laurel and Hardy. While both worked separately in films, in the silent era and early talkies, it was movie magic when Hal Roach paired the two together, creating the most beloved movie team ever.

In their movies, they were never anything other than themselves, two harmless naifs bumbling the world at their own pace. Oliver Hardy, big and pompous, was the self-anointed brains of the outfit, and Stanley Laurel was his best friend, a semi-conscious, bewildered tag-along who needed superintending, and often, simple needed tending. Saying that Oliver was the brains of the outfit is not saying that either had a brain; just that Oliver was satisfied in his smug self-assurance that he knew best.

Most of their films were about the two just trying to live normal lives, but somehow, life overtook them and even over-powered them. Whether it was trying to fool their wives about going to a lodge convention, trying to install a radio antenna, trying to sleep in an upper berth, trying to refurbish a boat, or deliver a piano, life always proved too much for them.

In 1932, they made the 28-minute short, The Music Box, in which they attempt to deliver a spinet piano up this flight of steps:

That little gray box at the top of the photo? That's the top of the steps!

That little gray box at the top of the photo? That’s the top of the steps!

The Music Box received an Oscar for Best American Short Film that year, and selected by the Library of Congress for preservation as culturally and aesthetically significant. I don’t know who got ambitious, but whoever it was, they uploaded the entire short. When you have a free half hour, click on this link and enjoy one of the finest comedy films every made.

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Candles, #4

candle

Well, what do you know? There are some good badasses in the world. More power to them.

http://theabolitionistsmovie.com

If interested, go to their website at OUR Rescue.

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The Apostle’s Creed, part 12

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;

  the third day he rose from the dead;

As I write this, we are in the middle of Lent, fast approaching the Easter celebration. Before I was a Christian, the biggest day of the year for me was Christmas. Peace On Earth, presents, Santa, Love and Joy, Scrooge and Crachit, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, etc. I loved the Christmas holiday. However, when I became a Christian, the focal point of the my faith, my raison d’être, became Easter. Yes, Christmas is supposed to celebrate Christ’s Incarnation, but it does get lost in the shuffle. The baby in the manger came to Earth to die on the Cross.

All those things I love about Christmas, you won’t find in the Bible, (well, “peace on earth”, yes). But the truth is that mankind is a fallen race; we are rebels, estranged and alienated from God. (Not exactly a holiday message, is it?) But Jesus died on the cross as our sacrificial Lamb, providing atonement for all who will come to Him in faith. And, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, He not only died, but He defeated death, rising triumphant from the grave.

Christ’s resurrection says so many things to the heart of a Christian that to attempt to encapsulate the Resurrection message in a single post is impossible. But let me leave you with this. For two millennia, it has been a custom that when Christians meet, they pass this greeting:

“He is risen” “He is risen, indeed.”

That exchange between Christians affirms our sure faith in Christ’s work on Earth, and His triumph over evil, sin and death. And we confess that our hope is in His Resurrection.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Cor. 15: 3-4)

And so, my brothers and sisters, I say to you,

“He is risen”

. . . .

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“Marriage Doesn’t Convey Consent” ~ Again?

Last year, one of my favorite marriage bloggers ran a gauntlet of attacks from feminists, faux-Christians and other loons over a post on the ills of sexual gatekeeping. Knowing that she was a nice person and incapable of giving these eejits the welcome they required, I felt she needed someone on her blog who wasn’t nice (a niche I nicely fill), and went in with guns blazing. Ah, such larks. *sigh*

Well, this month I am having my own little discussion with a blogger who is, apparently of the same house. Now that I am a blogger myself, I do understand the peril of coming across as an internet troll, so our limited exchanges have been civil, and I am withdrawing from discussion while no blood has been spilled, but something that she wrote has triggered today’s post. Continue reading

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Matinee Monday: You’ve Got Mail

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about remakes. I first presented Gary Cooper’s Ball Of Fire, which was transformed into Danny Kaye’s A Song Is Born. Then I discussed Jimmy Stewart’s Shop Around The Corner, which was made into Judy Garland’s In The Good Old Summertime. Now, I’m going to be stepping forward in time to almost modern films, and present a third version of this classic story.

Nora Ephron took that 1930’s play, Parfumerie, that was the basis for Shop Around The Corner and In The Good Old Summertime and reworked it to create another sparkling iteration of the sweet story, giving us You’ve Got Mail. In the play and in the first two movies, the antagonists/lovers were coworkers in a shop. Ephron took a real life situation that actually happened in the upper West side of Manhattan and told the story with the antagonists being business competitors.

Casting Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the leads was genius, seeking to re-capture the chemistry and magic that they had in Sleepless In Seattle. Jimmy Stewart, in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, had an Everyman quality about him. He just seemed to be a normal, down-to-earth guy that everyone could relate to. In the 90s, Tom Hanks was our Everyman.

Ephron’s twist in having Hanks and Ryan be competitors in business gave the story a new energy, opened it up to interesting possibilities and newer characters. In the first two tellings of the story, you had the same characters surrounding the two leads, the co-workers in the shop. In You’ve Got Mail, you have Ryan’s fiancé and other business partners, plus Hanks’ dysfunctional family. As well, Ephron pitches that out-dated penpal concept, and instead incorporates that new phenomenon, the Internet chat room. Hanks and Ryan meet online and become anonymous email correspondents.

In this delightful scene, the two email correspondents are supposed to meet; however, when Hanks has a coworker look into the restaurant to see if his date is ugly, he learns that his email friend is actually his business enemy. He decides to meet her anyway, not as the date she is expecting, but rather as her hated business rival. Enjoy.

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Hard Things To Hear, #7: The End of the Matter

(This is the seventh of a seven-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6.)

Hopefully, this concluding post for the Hard Things To Hear series won’t be that hard to hear, as I’ve pretty much done my ranting ahead of time. To summarize:

In Hard Things #5, I told the husbands, “It’s Not About You, Dude!”
In Hard Things #6, I told the wives, “Lady, It’s Not About You!”

“Well, then,” someone might respond, “who is it about, then?” If I were a truly Spiritual Christian Blogger™, I would cast my eyes toward Heaven and piously intone, “It’s about God.”  Continue reading

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Candles #3

candle

I love it when someone is able to make me think it’s possible to brake the descent. Blessings on these three young men:

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Hard Things to Hear #6: Lady, It’s Not About You!

(This is the sixth of a seven-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 7.)

In John 6:60, some objected to what Jesus was saying: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”. While I’m not Jesus, there are some who will attest that I provoke the same reaction. Might be what I’m saying, but it’s possible it might be my manner. Be that as it may, I’m going to pull rank and lay some things on the line in the next few posts. I’m going to present some things that might be hard to hear, but trust me; forty-three years of marriage is coming at ya!

Last week, I laid into clueless, selfish husbands who refused to learn how to be lovers to their wives. I have read so many anti-testimonies from wives whose husbands have been clueless gits and treated sex as if it was simply a guy thing. You don’t know how good it felt to say some of the things I said in my last post. Unfortunately, too many guys get their ideas about sex from other bell-ends like themselves, and so know nothing about their obligations in marriage. Continue reading

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