Monthly Archives: September 2015

Netflix Gold: The Best of Men


This past week, we watched a film we had never heard of before, and loved it. Entitled The Best of Men, it tells the story of Dr. Ludwig Guttman, a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany, who was instrumental in changing the treatment of patients with spinal injuries. Brisk and brusque, Dr. Guttman, when finally assigned to serve at a military hospital dealing with paraplegic soldiers, clashes with just about everyone: the nurses, fellow doctors, military higher-ups at the hospital. You name it, he clashed with it.

BUT he got results.

What drew us to this British film was the man playing the lead, Eddie Marsan. Admittedly, Marsan is not a household name, but he is one of our favorite actors. Confession time: we of the CSL household are serious Anglophiles; we love British programming. Whether it be the comedy of QI, the period dramatizations of Dickens, Austen and Thackeray, or even a few British crime dramas, like Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Poirot or Sherlock Holmes (either Cumberbatch or Brett is just fine, thank you.) We love them all.

We first came across Eddie Marsan as the snorting, irascible rent-collector Pancks, in the BBC production of Little Dorritt, and then were delighted when he turned up as Inspector Lestrade in Robert Downey’s Sherlock Holmes films.  Finding that he was the star of The Best of Men was all I needed to put the film in our queue.

And was I glad I did. As I said, it tells the story Dr. Guttman, who transformed care for spinal injuries. The film showed how the soldiers were delivered to the hospital in coffins! They were not expected to survive, but merely waste away until the coffin was needed. Guttman began treating them as patients with a future, against the conventional wisdom of the time, and eventually gave the men a purpose for living. I did not realize this, but Dr. Guttman was the driving force behind the creation of the Paralympics, and was knighted in 1966 for his achievements.

All in all, The Best of Men, while not a well-known film, is a worthwhile film. Put it in your queue and enjoy.


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“A Wife’s Heart”: Colloquy’s End


It’s been quite the ride, hasn’t it, discussing Chris Taylor’s (of Forgiven Wife) guest post, “A Wife’s Heart”. Last week, we put up our final segment, discussing the last part of her post. (Here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7, btw.) And, per usual, I exhibited my happy talent for pushing buttons and asking questions at the most inopportune times.

However, in an uncharacteristic fit of sportsmanship, I offered Chris the chance to turn the tables on me and ask questions of me. And in a display of impolite behavior, she took me up on it! Humpf! Doesn’t she know that when someone offers you the last donut or waffle, you are supposed to politely demur, saying, “No, thank you. I’ve had enough.” Well, having opened my big mouth, I’m stuck.

At the end of Colloquy #7, Chris asked three questions that she would like me to answer, so here I go:  Continue reading


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Love and Respect: A Two-Way Street

good teaching

In the last of my Bad Teaching series, I did a number on the fallacious idea that tells husbands that they MUST love their wives with unconditional love, just because…, erm, well,… just because! And I enjoyed playing Devil’s Advocate, twitting those same teachers for their hypocrisy in not teaching that wives MUST respect their husbands with unconditional respect, for the same reason. (My eldest daughter says that I get too much satisfaction in being an internet troll, but what does she know? 🙂 )

But at the end of that post, I did say that I would write a post that would give my views on the proper Christian view of love and respect, and so, here I go. Continue reading


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Great Minds, Golden Rule edition

Apparently, the Bible has an exception for spouses. I’ve not found it yet, but based on how some husbands and wives treat each other it seems clear the Bible tells us all those commands about how to treat other people do NOT apply to our spouses.

Paul Byerly, Generous Husband, 9/6/2015

Whereas the Golden Rule is ubiquitous, being taught in churches and in public schools,
it can be safely assumed that people demonstrate how they want you to treat them by the way in which they treat you.

The Curmudgeonly Librarian’s Corollary to the Golden Rule

(Just a preview of something in tomorrow’s post.)


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Matinee Monday: Ninotchka (1939)

The next film from 1939 makes me smile just thinking about it: Ninotchka. It starred the great dramatic actress, Greta Garbo, in a surprising new role: comedic! Just to show you how surprising this was to the movie-going public, here is the poster for that film:


Note the tag-line: “Garbo Laughs!” Garbo was so-well known as a dramatic actress that it was a complete surprise to everyone to find out that she was an accomplished comedienne. After all, Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle, in Miracle on 34th Street) is supposed to have said on his death bed, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

In Ninotchka, three Russian commissars are sent by Moscow to Paris to sell jewelry confiscated from Russian aristocrats, but are corrupted by Count  d’Algout (male lead Melvin Douglas.) Concerned about these three, Moscow sends a special envoy (Garbo) to straighten the commissars out and take charge of the sale. Garbo plays the role of the stern and cheerless envoy with a deft touch, and as she blossoms in the Paris summer, she comes to see that there are delights in the world.

Ninortcha was very successful, and even spawned a Cole Porter musical remake, Silk Stockings, with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. The dialogue is witty, with many digs at Stalinist Russia. One scene has Ninotchka reporting to the three commissars, “The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians”.

Here is the scene that surprised America:


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“A Wife’s Heart”: Colloquy #7


This is the seventh in a series of posts in which Chris Taylor (of Forgiven Wife) and I dialogue about ideas and issues brought up in her post, A Wife’s Heart. (Here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, and part 8.) Chris and I have chosen colors to help with reading clarity in trying to incorporate our comments into her original text; my comments are in blue and Chris’s in purple.

In her original post, A Wife’s Heart, Chris shared eight recommendations for helping a wife in the process of healing her heart. In our last colloquy, we discussed Chris’s seventh suggestion; this post, Chris and I will discuss her eighth and last suggestion from her original post.

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Bad Teaching: “Unconditional Love” Marries LYWACLTC

bad teaching

I began this series of posts on bad teaching with a re-examination of the ubiquitous “God’s Unconditional Love” statement. Since that first post, I’ve been deconstruction the malpractice version of “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church”, demonstrating that much of it is a load of, erm, hooey. I’m pretty sure that there have been a few readers waiting for the other shoe to drop.

After all, when you juxtapose my posts on LYWACLTC with my post on God’s Unconditional Love, you just have to believe that I would eventually arrive at the point where these two bad teachings intersect, right? Well, that day is here, as I want to look at the mess that is … Continue reading


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Matinee Monday: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)


Continuing with the films of 1939, I now come to another classic (as if any of the entire Academy 10 isn’t a classic), Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. This film is a sterling example of Hollywood’s ability to believe in true morality and goodness. It doesn’t hurt that the director is Frank Capra, who believed in old-fashioned goodness, and tried to present it in all of his films.

Simply told, Mr. Smith is the story of a small-town naif known for his good deeds who is appointed as interim senator by a corrupt political machine that needs to have an easy-to-control placeholder who doesn’t know how things are done in DC, in order to complete a massive scheme of political graft. A complication is that the congressional aide is a cynical politico who knows how things are done. Let’s see if I’ve checked off the boxes:

Small-town rube
Corrupt big-city sharpies
Cynical female operative
Cynical female operative falls for naif
Sharpies steamroll the rube

I’m not sure if I’m describing Mr. Deeds Goes To Town or Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Throw in a daft angel or an absent-minded mother who uses kittens as paperweights, and I could be describing It’s A Wonderful Life or You Can’t Take It With You, all fine examples of the genre known as Capra-Corn.

This iteration of Capra’s vision of American goodness starred America’s “Everyman”, the inimitable Jimmy Stewart as the naive Jefferson Smith, head of a national boys’ organization. The female lead is one of my favorite actresses, the reclusive Jean Arthur, who starred in another Capra-Corn movie I’ve written about, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town. Together they have to overcome a nefarious political cabal, led by suave and urban Claude Rain and perennial tough guy Edward Arnold.

As always in a Capra movie, good ultimately triumphs over evil, but not before a climactic struggle in which Goliath nearly destroys David. In this scene, Stewart presents what Capra believed in:

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Wife’s Guest Review @ The Forgiven Wife

Last year, I wrote a series entitled The Why and How Of My Now, which included some of the story of how Wife and I reinvigorated our marriage a few years back. Because of our many talks, Wife became intrigued by a book that she came across in our local public library, checked it out and read it. In conversation with me, Wife told me that the book helped her to understand what I had been saying to her.

When I started blogging last year, Wife and I discussed what I wanted to do with my blogging, and one of the things that I said was that I would like to put up was her review of that book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, that had made such an impression on her. Well, this summer, I gently prodded her into taking the time to write a review and I worked with her in editing the piece.

This summer has also been the “Summer of Colloquy”, as Chris Taylor (of Forgiven Wife) and I have been discussing a guest post she did for me. In the course of our writing, I told Chris how Wife was writing her review of the book, and Chris immediately realized that Wife’s review would be more useful on her website than on mine, given our audiences. When she suggested that Wife’s article be posted on Forgiven Wife, Wife and I saw the wisdom of that, and so….

Hie thee over to Forgiven Wife to read Wife’s maiden voyage in blogging, as she reviews Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.


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Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt. 4

bad teaching

Under the heading of Bad Teachings, I’ve been addressing the truly stinkin’ way in which Christian writers and teachers distort the phrase “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church” (herein referred to as LYWACLTC) into unbiblical shapes, all of which, for some reason, seem to resemble clubs with which to beat up husbands. Christian teachers are funny that way, huh?

Anyway, in a previous post, I shared the time that I asked some readers of a Christian marriage forum to give me ideas on just what LYWACLTC did not mean, and we forged a list of ten ideas. In my last post, I discussed the first item on the list, LYWACLTC does NOT mean you become a servant/slave to your wife. In this post, I want to discuss two of the ideas which are very closely related.

LYWACLTC does NOT mean:
3 – allowing her stay in sin just because she is comfortable.
5 – avoiding correction to keep the peace.

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