Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I know it has been a while

I've been busy packing and have not had time to blog. In the meantime this is funny: A telemarketer's nightmare (325k mpeg).

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hidden Movie Gems: ‘Engagement Encounter’ Edition

This weekend, Lynda and I will be experiencing/enduring the wedding prep ‘Engagement Encounter’ retreat, which I am approaching as a mixed blessing:

The Good: I’m glad we can take a break from fretting about all the wedding stuff and actually take some time to prepare for our marriage.

The Not-So-Good: Most likely, a lot of time will be spent talking about our “feelings” and the “relationship”, exploring ways to “communicate” more “deeply”, and to “deal” with “issues” in an “enriching way”; The thought of doing this for 16 some-odd hours this weekend makes “me” want to “throw” myself in “front” of a “freight train”.

Oh, well. I’ll get in the spirit of things by devoting this edition of Hidden Movie Gems to a couple of movies that deal with “feelings” and “relationships” and.....all that girly crap. That’s right, I’m actually recommending two 'Chick Flicks'….or as I call them:

Two 'Chick Flicks' That Did Not Make Me Want To Claw My Own Eyes Out, But That I Actually Enjoyed:

The Joy Luck Club (1993)

Synopsis: Through a series of flashbacks, four young Chinese women born in America and their respective mothers born in feudal China explore their past, and each character’s story helps explain the respective pairs’ difficult mother/daughter relationship.

My Take: A layered tale about the clash of generations, I recommend this movie for anyone who likes movies with real people in them. It alternates the often traumatic experiences of the mothers as female chattel in China with the present-day problems of their Americanized daughters. It works these eight strands into a single tapestry, and I was surprised by how much I liked it.

One caveat, though – the male characters. In ‘Chick Flicks’, male characters rarely fall outside one of four one-dimensional roles: Monster, Wimp, Wallpaper, or Mr. Wonderful**. In this movie, they only come in two flavors: Monster and Wallpaper. The male characters that aren’t busy making a woman’s life a living hell have virtually no lines at all. However, since women in most movies aimed at men usually fall into one of three roles (Horny Cheerleader/Sorority Gal, District Attorney, or Mom), I suppose granting a little latitude is in order....

** - In a piece I wrote last March entitled “Things I’ve Learned From The Movies”, I wrote this about such ‘Mr. Wonderful’ characters:

“If you are a single woman in your late 20’s/early 30’s who has been unlucky in love, your building handyman/gardener/plumber will be a well-built (though he never goes to the gym) Renaissance man. He will play classical piano, cook gourmet meals, practice some form of non-dogmatic, non-threatening, one-with-the-cosmos spirituality, never raise his voice, and continue to make himself available to you despite your constant condescension and interest in other men.”

Mystic Pizza (1988)

Synopsis: Three teenage girls come of age while working at a pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. Sisters Kat (Annabeth Gish) and Daisy (Julia Roberts, a year and a half before she did ‘Pretty Woman’ and became an A-lister) work along with Jojo (Lili Taylor) at the pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. Kat, shortly off to Yale, finds herself drawn to a local architect she is babysitting for, while her more wild sister starts dating a guy from the money side of the tracks. Jojo leaves her man at the altar; she loves him but shies away from commitment. Meanwhile the fame of the pizza continues to spread; it seems to contain something almost .....mystic.

My Take: This is now seen as a ‘Julia Roberts movie’, but she hadn’t yet become a star, and her character’s story shares equal time with the other two gals (on the DVD cover, Roberts is featured prominently, whereas on the original movie poster, she is part of an ensemble). The three actresses all pull their weight, and a couple of the guy characters, Daisy’s romantic interest and Jojo’s fiancé (Vincent D’Onofrio, who has arguably the best scene in the movie) are actually written with enough sympathy and depth to seem like real people instead of caricatures. Almost everyone in this movie is likeable to some degree, and the three stars are utterly charming.

Happy ‘Hidden Movie Gems’ viewing!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Virtue is a habit

From the email transom:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'Wolves' inside us all.

"One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, inferiority, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, truth, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Everyday Faith

Diane, my good friend and religion reporter at the Shreveport Times, has a new blog called Everyday Faith. She muses about people, places and spiritual things that she encounters during her reporting. Her welcome message encourages readers to share their stories, experiences and questions of faith. So check it out and become part of the discussion. Maybe she will reveal the meaning of each of those symbols under the title.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Celebrating Bonnie Gragson

We just celebrated my grandmother's funeral. I was very blessed to have my grandma in my life growing up. She was an amazing woman. Her obituary chronicles the long laundry list of her accomplishments, including her countless hours of volunteer work and her serving as first lady of Las Vegas for sixteen years. Grandma was energetic and full of life into her later years. She loved visting with family and friends and always lifted the spirits of those around her. She loved the LORD with all her heart and taught Bible school for 29 years at First Baptist Church. She loved her grand kids and great grand kids, and filled them with a zest for life. Grandma's favorite Bible verse was John 3:16. Jesus promises eternal life to those who believe in Him. May the host of angels welcome her into heaven. Bonnie Gragson, requiem in pacem.

My uncle built a nice webpage honoring grandma including a video memorial (Real Video) of her life.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sugar Bowl Preview

Jerry's Sugar Bowl Preview (176k Word doc) is published. Enjoy and go IRISH!


Not coming to Lifetime Network For Women anytime soon...

While dog-sitting for Lynda (who remained in El Paso a few extra days for wedding stuff), I was forced to accommodate her rather meager cable channel selection. Whereas I have a bunch of movie channels, 3 ESPN channels, and a host of others, Lynda has only a handful of basic cable stations. The Horror!!!

For a few hours each night, I pretty much only had two choices: reruns of the fourth or fifth spin-off of Law and Order ("Law and Order: Parking Violations Division", I believe) or the Lifetime Network for women, where women are always in dire straits (and often victims), all the time. After enduring the third or so "The Woman Who Killed Her Husband In Cold Blood But He Really, Really, Really Deserved It"-style movie, I began to think of some movies I could pitch to the network, although judging from their current lineup's content, they would be the exact opposite of what's on now. Here are some of my movie titles I plan to pitch, to offer Lifetime a little variety:

"The Divorced Mom Who's New Husband Loved Her Teenage Daughter, But In A Completely Appropriate Way"

"My Daughter Has A Healthy Appetite And Body Image!!!"

"The Husband And Wife Who Divorced Amicably"

"The Man Who Was as Nice as He Initially Appeared to Be"

"The Successful Surgery That Really Improved A Woman's Quality Of Life"

"The Man Who Exhibited Traditional Masculine Traits But Was Neither A Lout Nor A Sociopath"

"The Woman Who Cheated On Her Husband, But This Is Not A 'Great Romantic Story', She's Just A Sleazebag"

"The Woman Who Was Completely Responsible For Whatever Felony She Committed"

"The Great Guy Who I Was Rude To, Condescended To, And Talked About Other Men To Finally Gave Up On Me And Married A Beautiful, Successful Woman"

"The Frat Guys Who Acted Like Complete Gentlemen To The Naive College Freshman Girl "

A little variety is good for a network, right?

One more good reason for a college football playoff...

Fiesta Bowl:

(13W-0L) Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42 OT