Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Do I have to tell you what everything in the picture means? Can't you just experience it?"
--Stanley Kubrick

James Beaton just used this quote in his comment to one of my posts. I couldn't agree more with James' comment. Very well written. Additionally, I adore that Kubrick quote! Moreover, the Kubrick quote, in my mind, is related to a difference of opinion I often have with Chrisy as it relates to films. I'd like to paraphrase the Kubrick quote this way:

"Do I have to tell you what happens in this narrative after the picture ends? Can't you just connect your own dots?"
--Doah Lynd

Usually, when a film is over and the ending just "hangs there," I will tend to love the movie whereas Chrisy tends to be frustrated and feel cheated. She's not wrong; rather, we're just different in that way. I love movies that don't tell me what everything means or how everything turns out. For example, the great John Sayles film LIMBO is one of my many favorites. Many people (not just my wife) had an audible gasp or actually said, "Is that all there is?" when it ended. I loved it! I wanted to applaud. I'm sure you can think of other films that ended that way, they're kind of like the Beatles song, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" on Abbey Road in that they just seem to "cut-off" abruptly.

Similarly, as it would natrually follow, there are many times I could have enjoyed a film much more if they didn't keep going, and going, spoon feeding me every little detail. There are many examples, but the most obvious for me is the Robert Zemeckis picture, CAST AWAY. I loved that movie, until the last chunk, then I took off 2 stars from it's rating because it had to lay-out everything for me, tie it up with a nice cookie-cutter ending! There's a moment when Hanks is finally on raft and he's asleep and he is awaken by a big ship. Rescued! We know that "rescued" is the implication. That's where I would have rolled credits. That would have been a 5 star film to me.

At any rate, I think Kubrick was a genius filmmaker and I love that quote. It really got me thinking. I love to fill in the canvas in my mind. Movies that allow me to do that are often among my favorites.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Random Snapshot

James Beaton, Doah, Mike Esparza, Matt Jones
(from left to right; circa 1990)
San Francisco, California

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Mess Making Mouth: Bible/Song Meld, part 1

Two things really spoke to me this past week: the book of James, chapter 3, verses 2 through 12; and, "Tip Of My Tongue," a wonderful John Hiatt song. Not that my own actions or inability to control my mouth have anything to do with this. The Bible is in bold. The Hiatt is in italics. I end with a Proverb that I am working on mastering.

We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.

An empty house
Is the only thing standin'
Between our lives
And the speed of sound

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything--or destroy it!

Some words flew out
And made a crash landin'
No love survived
Not a trace could be found

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.

I walked away
And you stood there tremblin'
Like a leaf
In the autum chill

By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

I broke your heart
With the back of my mind
From the tip of my tongue
To the end of the line

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can't tame a tongue--it's never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.

Now this old house won't say, no
What I'm still rememberin'
Three angry words
And the love they killed

With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image.

You couldn't say how much it hurt you
And I couldn't see the damage I'd done
'Til I watched the greatest love I've known
All come down to the slip of the tongue

Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

Well, I'd take it back
But time won't let me
No, time just takes
You further away

My friends, this can't go on. A spring doesn't gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don't bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don't bear apples, do they? You're not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

I watched you pack
A house full of memories
Where did you go
Lord, what did I say

"The godly think before speaking."
--Proverbs 15:28 (New Living Translation)

James quotes from "The Message" by Eugene H. Peterson's. "Tip Of My Tongue" is found on John Hiatt's BRING THE FAMILY (A&M, 1987).

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

John 3:3

I ain't saying I beat the devil,
but I drank his beer for nothin'
--Kris Kristofferson


I felt it once from the ocean
A humbling so rare
as if maybe love was out there
floating in the air
I touched upon it once or twice
It slipped from my grasp
Like sand between my toes
Easy come, easy go
Forsaken by my own hate
and my unseen fears
I was drowned by my sorrow
Sunk in a bottle of beer
I searched and I found
My life changed around
Given to God
Given You

--Shenandoah Lynd

born again: 09/22/1991
photos: 11/10/1991

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Natalie Portman Rap

Okay, I'm sorry, but I think this is really funny! Check out the infamous Natalie Portman S.N.L. rap now at the NBC video website. WARNING: If "bad words" offend you, don't watch this; otherwise, click here to watch.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Best Living Songwriters

Paste Magazine is taking a poll so they can publish the TOP 100 LIVING SONGWRITERS. Well, I love lists and they've listed everybody. You can only vote for your top twenty. I just voted. In ABC order, here are my votes:

1. Jackson Browne
2. Bob Dylan
3. Donald Fagen/Walter Becker
4. Neil Finn
5. John Hiatt
6. Elton John/Bernie Taupin
7. Kris Kristofferson
8. Gary Louris/Mark Olson
9. Lyle Lovett
10. Paul McCartney
11. Maria McKee
12. Joni Mitchell
13. Van Morrison
14. Bruce Springsteen
15. Sting
16. Pete Townshend
17. U2 (Bono/Edge/Mullins/Clayton)
18. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)
19. Paul Westerberg
20. Neil Young

Let me know who you like and then VOTE!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Questions from Acts

The most often quoted passages from the book of Acts, at least at my church, is Acts 2:42-47. Man, I love that passage. It's a picture of harmony and it's something my church has desired from the beginning. Community.

Recently, however, I have been taken by and focused on a passage that tells of what Paul and Barnabas did for three of the eariliest churches. Acts 14:23 says: "Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust."

It blows my mind that these two guys returned to areas where they had faced serious dangers for the purpose of bolstering the faith of fellow believers. It says they went back to these places for the purposes of "strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith" (verse 22).

This little chunk of scripture is beautiful to me. For me it raises two questions that deserve to be asked: (1) Who's encouraging and strengthening you in your faith lately? (2) Who are you encouraging and strengthening in your faith lately?

The picture painted in Acts, chapter 2, is really appealing; however, I don't think we can get there if we don't have some genuine pauls and barnabases propping us up.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Not Ready To Make Nice

I just heard the new Dixie Chicks single for the first time. It's a response to all the flack Natalie got when she made one comment about the president. Here is a bit of the lyrics:

"It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach her Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger And how in the world can the words that I said Send somebody so over the edge That they'd write me a letter Sayin' that I better shut up and sing Or my life will be over"

The way I see it, it's really a cry for tollerance of viewpoints. I've read interviews about some of the hatemail they received. The song got me thinking about the folks who wrote those letters. They're country music fans, so there's a good chance they are Republicans. It follows many of them call themselves Christians. Chances are probably some of the folks that actually threatened her life consider themselves Christians. Sort of flies in the face of Jesus' teachings wouldn't you say?

The chorus says, "I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down, I'm still mad as hell and I don't have time to go round and round and round, It's too late to make it right, I probably wouldn't if I could . . . ."

I've always liked feisty women. I really like the song.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Joy in the Car. Wednesday Morning.

It hit me like a ton of bricks: I've got no reason NOT to be full of joy. It's not like I just discovered this, but I was listening to my God's House CD in my car and one of the tracks is a reading of Psalm 103. It's followed by the David Crowder song, "You're Everything" and I was totally affected by God's presence. In the car. On the 5 freeway. He was there. It was cool. A few lines from Psalm 103 really affected me. God satisfies my desires with good things, it says. He doesn't accuse me and he never holds a grudge against me. The Lord has ransomed me from hell. All of that and more in the Psalm. Then comes the song, "You're everything I could want, that I could need." I'm thinking do I believe that? Yes. Do I act like that? Sometimes? Never? Mostly not? Once in a while. The chorus lays me out:

raise me up from this grave
touch my tongue
and then I'll sing
heal my limbs
then joyfully I'll run to you

"My grave is my attitude," comes to mind. He's raised me from it. Again and again. And again. I confess, "If God has touched my tongue and he has, I wouldn't say much of the things I do." Yes, my limbs are healed and then "joyfully" catches me. It slams me. I think, "Philippians 4:4 dude."

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!"

Always be full of joy. Rejoice.

Now I'm thinking, Paul wrote those words. Easy for him. He saw Christ on the Road to Damascus! Me, I'm stressed. Work. Report cards. Family. Illnesses. Finances. Too many activities, too little time.

Paul didn't have those things! Oh, yea, he also wrote of his many reasons to be full of joy in 2 Corinthians, the eleventh chapter: hard work; put in jail often; whipped many times; faced death; received 39 lashes, five times; beaten with rods three times; stoned (not the kind like me); shipwrecked several times; floods; robbers; stormy seas; weariness; pain; sleepless nights; been cold and lacked warm clothes; maybe the worst, a daily burden of worrying about people he loved; and, just in case I can't relate, he caps it off saying he's burned with anger!

Yet, this same man writes: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." That secret? It's Jesus Christ! The Christ Paul met on the road to Damascus. The Christ I met in the same way on McFadden St. in Huntington Beach.

So, I dig down deep and guess what I find? Joy!

Tears come.

What a blessed life I have.

The song is ending now:

You're everything
I'm alive and I'll sing
I'm alive and I'm free

Indeed, I Am.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Narrative and Character

I recently read an article by Roger Ebert. He was discussing the five best picture nominations for tonight's Oscars. The big topic this year is the lack of "box office" generated by the best picture nominations. It's a far cry from TITANTIC or LORD OF THE RINGS. This year it's "artsy" films that nobody has seen. Here's the Ebert quote I like:

"Hammered by the idiocy of formula television and video games, a generation is forming that has no feeling for narrative and character. The Oscar nominees represent filmmaking at a high level, but who do you know who has gone to see more than two or three of them?"

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