Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie Night - Click

It's been a while since we've tried to do a movie night around here. We decided to crank it back up again. This is something we started a couple years ago. Since Sunday evening TV was fairly dull and it was usually a time when the whole family was home we made use of it. Dinner is finger foods, cheese, crackers, hummus and pita, veggies, whatever. And we use our Netflix movie subscription for the program. I really enjoy it and we've seen a wide variety of movies.

Tonight's selection was one I had reservations about but it seemed to get some decent reviews from people. The professional critics weren't so nice. The movie is "Click" starring Adam Sandler. My reservations begin and end right there. Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jack Black and Jim Carrey, "top" movie comics that do virtually nothing for me. But Ferrell's "Anchorman" wasn't bad, I like Carrey in "Liar, Liar" and "The Majestic", and I loved "School of Rock" with Black (heck he was even bearable in "King Kong"). Sandler didn't suck in "Spanglish" so I thought maybe I'd like this one.

I agree with the pros.

Actually I think they were too nice. Trapped deep in a dark dungeon, bound and gagged, chained to the floor of this movie is a good idea trying to escape. It never made it. Sandler sticks with his usual 12 year old boy humor and shows he has absolutely NO chops as a serious actor at all. Surrounded by a pretty fair supporting cast every time Sandler tries something serious he simply sucks. He's awful. Flat, unbelievable. He manages to do love scenes with Kate Beckinsale and look like he's kissing his sister.

Some of the funny stuff he carries off pretty well. When he gets out of the way of the concept of the movie it almost starts to roll. But then he Adam Sandlers it and it whimpers and collapses.

The concept of suddenly having "control" of your universe was much better done in "Bruce Almighty". I did connect with the idea that it's easy to just fast forward through our lives. To get so caught up in the "work" that you miss big swathes of the important stuff. I'm sorry to say that I did some of that in my own life.

It could have been such a good movie. But not with Adam Sandler. This would have been great for a young Tom Hanks maybe.

Too bad. It's not the worst movie I've ever seen. But it's closer to the bottom than the top.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Bad Evangelism

I don't know anything about Niko Gruber who appears in this video except that I think he does a great job with it. While done in a funny way each of these examples are EXACTLY the kind of nonsense that too often passes for evangelism. You'll notice most of them feed the ego of the "evangelist". That's always a good sign that you're doing it wrong.

Warning - while there is nothing in the way of bad words or anything the humor is decidedly sophomoric.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Farewell Porky

This blog entry is only of interest to you if you're:

A: Into the history of rock and roll radio in its earliest days, and/or
B: Into Pittsburgh radio of the same era.

At age 90 the "Platter Pushin' Poppa", the "Daddio of the Raddio", the "Bossman" Craig "Porky" Chedwick is leaving Pittsburgh.

Here's why this is important -

The Porkster is one of the great ORIGINAL rock and roll DJs. Never heard of him? Doesn't surprise me. The rock and roll historians tend to glide over the Pittsburgh native. You will find his name at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their display of the great early names of radio DJs. He's the only Pittsburgh DJ to make the cut. But if you ask the great acts and artists of those days THEY know Porky Chedwick. Porky was one of those daring young men who played black artists for white audiences. Put him right next to Alan Freed (if you don't know who Alan Freed is I'm going to have to ask you to leave this discussion right now. Go look him up. Only then will you be allowed back into polite rock history discussion society). Porky later was the father of Oldies radio as well.

His radio career isn't over yet despite the fact that he got started in the late 1940's. He's done over 7,000 record hops. Pittsburgh honored him two years in a row with his own "Porkfest" Oldies festival. He's been recognized for his history on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. His greatest years were with legendary Pittsburgh station WAMO.

And Porky was all about Pittsburgh. He's lived his entire life there. By the time I paid attention to the radio Porky was a "relic" but you still knew the name. He's as much a 'Burgh Thing as the Bucs, the Stillers or Iron City.

In August Porky and his wife will leave his hometown behind and head south to Florida. Not to retirement (as one commentator puts it "...Porky would never consider retirement because he can’t find a rhyme for it!") because he's got plans for doing his music thing down there too.

But it's the end of an era in my hometown and for the industry I loved and served for so many years. His "air chair" will never be filled.


It feels so good

Just to be "home". I discovered some interesting depth to that word today.

Today was my first day back in the office after EYE (which was great, more on that later). The office is a mess. All the stuff from Senior High conference was still all over the floor, then add in the stuff from EYE. Plus a backlog of camp registrations and other mail. I hacked my way through some of it for about three hours then I found myself getting up and walking away.

Down the stairs and out the front door. Across the courtyard and into the church.

And the first word in my head was "home". I didn't go in to pray or even to sit. I just needed to be in that space. The high vaulted ceiling of my English neo-gothic home parish. The Italian marble of the raredos and the brilliant colors of the stained glass. Just being there lifted my spirit and raised a weight from my shoulders.

If that's not home I don't know what is.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick word from EYE

Well I've got just a second to catch up. We had a small adventure at the airport (five of us without seats at first) but that was quickly resolved. The youth are doing very well and getting into the event.

The major event has been that I've lost about 90% of my voice! I can hear the laughter from here. Yes, I have to shut up for at least 24 hours to try and give it a rest. The downside is that I can't SING!!!! And the music has been great.

I'm taking lots of pictures and video so I should have plenty to share.

Keep us in your prayers.


Monday, July 07, 2008

entre acte

Well Senior High is over and it went well. There were tons of little nitsy problems to start the week which threw me out of my routine. Because of that my all conference workshop wasn't as polished as I prefer them to be. The reaction seemed very good so it was good enough.

No major blowups, just a couple of medium sized ones that seemed to work themselves out well enough. So mark it down as a good week.

Now two days off and then on to EYE (Episcopal Youth Event There will be regular updates on the website on what is going on so join us via Internet). Things have been going smoothly till today. Went to download boarding passes for our group and discovered not all of us have seats at the moment. In fact we're FIVE seats short. I hate this bullshit from the airlines. They've oversold the flight as business insurance for themselves. Is there ANY industry out there has made sticking it to their customers as much a part of the basic business model as the airlines have? Every move they make is aimed squarely at the convenience of their customers.

How soon can we restart regular rail passenger service? I actually checked the railroads for this trip. It would have taken almost two days to get from Buffalo to San Antonio because of an enormous layover in Chicago I think.

On the plus side I'm really not in the panic mode that was a common part of my life a decade ago. We show up at the airport, we check in, we see what can be done when we get there. That's all I can do at the moment. The other adults travelling with me have already been notified of the glitch.

What a pain.

I'm looking forward to seeing many friends and having a good time between tomorrow and Sunday. Forecast for SA is low to mid 90s. Looks like it'll be humid though.

Pray for us travellers.