Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Plastic Part 2

Plastic is Forever

Sam Phillips

My t.v. doesn’t listen when I give it pieces of my mind
It keeps making everything the same size
Pain is pleasure when its televised

Plastic is forever

Artificial florists
Sell you flowers that will never die
They cut down the real forests
For paper petals engraved with borrowed lies

Monday, September 29, 2008

Plastic, Part 1

Big Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Dont it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
Put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Dont it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer
Put away that d.d.t. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 3000 hits club

Pete Rose 4256
Ty Cobb 4191
Hank Aaron 3,771
Stan Musial 3,630
Tris Speaker 3,514
Carl Yastrzemski 3,419
Cap Anson 3,418
Honus Wagner 3,415
Paul Molitor 3,319
Eddie Collins 3,315
Willie Mays 3,283
Eddie Murray 3,255
Nap Lajoie 3,242
Cal Ripken, Jr. 3,184
George Brett 3,154
Paul Waner 3,152
Robin Yount 3,142
Tony Gwynn 3,141
Dave Winfield 3,110
Craig Biggio 3,060
Rickey Henderson 3,055
Rod Carew 3,053
Lou Brock 3,023
Rafael Palmeiro 3,020
Wade Boggs 3,010
Al Kaline 3,007
Roberto Clemente 3,000

and the newest member...

Inside Out 3,000

That's right... Inside Out has 3000 hits. Can we become first ballot hall of famers?

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Cash Cow

I insert this today to remind myself, that in spite of the times, the pressures, the ideals, I must not be consumed.

Cash Cow

([Act One)
Move in closer...
Move in closer to the...
Move in closer to the middle of the frame
(Act Two)
It was a morning just like any other morning
In the Sinai desert, 1200 B.C.
It glistened, it glowed, it rose from the gold of the children of Israel
...and most of the adults
The cash cow!
The golden cash cow had a body like the great cows of ancient Egypt
And a face like the face of Robert Tilton
...without the horns
And through the centuries is has roamed the earth
Like a ravenous bovine
Seeking whom it may lick
Cash cow!
From the valley of the shadow of the outlet mall
To customized petwear boutique
From the trailer of the fry chef
To the palace of the sheik
The cash cow lurks
Who loves you, baby?
Who'll give you good credit?
Who says you'll regret it?
Who loves you, baby?
Who'll give you good credit?
Who says you'll regret it?
I was in love and I needed the money
And then I needed more money
I was filthy rich and all I wanted was love
...and a little more money
Woe to you, proud mortal
Secure in your modest digs
You think you're immune?
You, who couldn't finger said cow in a police line-up with the three little pigs!
Cash cow!
Master of disguises!
Who's gonna change shape at will?
Who's the eye on the pyramid on the back of the dollar bill?
Who loves power lunchin' from Spago to Sizzler?
Cash cow comin' to get ya
Cuz you think this is stupid, don't you?
The cash cow will not be mocked!
The cash cow's planning a coup!
The cash cow chews cud bigger than you!
Woe, woe, woe to you
Who blow off this warning
Perhaps you've already been licked
I, too, was hypnotized
By those big cow eyes
The last time I uttered those three little words
"I deserve better!"
(Act Three - instrumental)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Raging Bull

The story of Jake LaMotta. Jake seems to be obsessed with being the best boxer. He also becomes obsessed with Vicki, a young girl from his neighbourhood. Jake is married, though badly, and in spite of that he pursues Vicki, eventually marrying her. Even married, he remains obsessed. He must control her, he must know what she is doing, even when he’s not around. LaMotta follows these two obsessions through the movie.

Fittingly, he quotes from “On the Waterfront” in the closing moments, with a flat interpretation of Brando’s famous “I coulda been someone, I coulda been a contender” lines. This reminds us of the way LaMotta could have turned out if he had been willing to both work within the parameters of the boxing world, and also not thrown fights for his own personal gain.

I wasn’t sure when the movie was over what I was supposed to feel. There is never an attempt to make LaMotta likeable or honourable. Tough perhaps, but worthy of respect, no. I only felt bad that LaMotta turned out like he did, a washed up, almost was who is more famous for being depicted in this movie than for anything he actually accomplished in his life. Sadly, since this is based on his autobiography, (though some important details were changed for the movie) this is not just a movie but someone’s life. Perhaps that is what made it arrive on AFI’s top 100 list. As a work of fiction it wouldn’t work, as a biography, it makes it more dramatic.

This movie is way too gritty for my tastes. The language is over the top in its presentation of the 1940’s. Of course, the boxing world may have been that raw, but personally I felt the language made this movie painful to watch, not just gritty and honest.

This movie makes me now want to finish watching “On the Waterfront”. We own it, but the DVD has a flaw in it that makes it quit working about 2/3 of the way through. I want to see how that film plays out Brando’s comeback from a has-been boxer to life on the docks battling union corruption. That movie at least had some redemption available for the character.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I wrote this little monologue back a couple of years ago for a school Easter presentation. I don't know what made me think of Barrabas in the jail, its been a few years ago since I wrote it.

I was a good kid. I really was. Everyone thought I'd grow up to work in the temple. I was a really
good student too. Smart. That's the word everyone used. Teachers, parents, other kids. Smart.
Its good to be smart, but its hard too…

I remember when it changed though. I was in Grade 5 and Jonas moved to town. He was different. He always said stuff like, "I don't know why we have to keep doing this stuff. It hasn't worked for 600 years…"

I liked Jonas. He had a way with words that made people listen to him and I listened. I was getting tired of doing the right thing all the time. I wanted something exciting in my life. Jonas brought excitement. Sometimes we'd tip over market stalls just to hear the owners yell. Sometimes we'd scare people into thinking we had leprosy. Sometimes we'd just sit around and make up things to do, crazy things, things we'd never follow through on…

When we were all done school, Jonas and I decided we wanted out of our little town. We headed
north, far from the Roman headquarters. And we did what we wanted. Jonas had started to come up with his own ideas about the way people should be governed and it had nothing to do with Rome, priests, God…

We started out small in our law breaking, but then Jonas came up with his plan. The government was wasting money he said. He was going to take back what was stolen from him… I didn’t think that people would end up dead, though. I didn’t think this was where I was headed way back in Grade 5.

So far I’ve done a lot of blaming other people and my circumstances for why I’m here. I don’t want you to get me wrong. I’m guilty. I took a bunch of guys and got the job done. I knew it was illegal. I knew it was against everything I’d been taught and I did it anyway. That’s how I ended up in jail and how my story started to get out.

One day when I was sitting there, sitting there, like every other day in that damp wet filthy stone cell, I heard a noise like I’d never heard in my whole time in prison. There’d been crowds outside before, there was always something going on. This was different though. This was something huge. There was a lot of shouting. I wondered to myself if they’d finally taken Jonas, though he’d always sworn that they’d never take him alive. Suddenly I heard something that made my blood run cold. It was my name.


Well now, what do they want with me? Then it happened again, louder than before and this time it brought a chill to me because immediately after the chant I heard the words I’d dreaded since my trial…


So it had come to this. My life which was so full of potential was now going to end like this. At the hands of the people I’d come to hate, for doing something that every civilized nation everywhere declared was wrong. I was going to die and I deserved it…

The next few minutes were the longest ones of my life. Shouting from the end of the long dark hallway, keys rattling, soldiers laughing, all added up to one sad funeral song to me. I didn’t know what to do. I stood to my feet knowing that I could do nothing now. Mercy had passed me by. As I had let it pass by for those now dead in my past…

Dragged from the cell, shoved to the ground, prodded with the blunt end of spears by soldiers too eager to use the sharp end. Led to the end of that long hallway, out into the cool night air, only to hear the last words I’d ever expected… “GET OUT OF HERE.”

Get out of here? I staggered, nearly falling. I turned to look at my tormenters. There had to be some cruel joke coming next. I slowly backed away. The soldiers didn’t even watch me go, they hurried away, back to the party or whatever was going on in the meeting place where the crowd was.

I was stunned, more stunned than the day I’d been arrested, more stunned than the day the Roman governor Pilate had pronounced me guilty.
“Get out of here”… the words echoed around me. How could this be?

Who is being crucified then? How could it be? Why was my name called out?
I had to find out.
I hurried up to the crowd, I didn’t care that I didn’t smell very good. I didn’t care that I was covered in dirt and cobwebs. I asked the first person I saw what was going on.

“Where have you been?” he asked. I didn’t answer, just waited for a response.
“It’s Jesus,” he said. He’s going to be killed. I guess the priests have had enough of his teachings.
“Why were they yelling, ‘Barabbas’, then?” I asked.
“We wanted Pilate to let Barabbas go free,” he replied. Pilate said, ‘Jesus or Barabbas goes free,’ and we chose Barabbas.”
“What? You let Barabbas go free? Why? What has this Jesus done wrong?”
“Um… I don’t really know…I think he’s really bad though… I really don’t know, I know the priests want him dead.”

I wandered away in shock. Someone else was dying when it should have been me.
Why? Why not me.
This man’s death was giving me life. I was determined to use it for something good.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rear Window

In “Rear Window”, we have another matching of Jimmy Stewart with Alfred Hitchcock. They did four or five together. ( I just finished reading Jimmy Stewart’s biography last week and I don’t remember if there was a fifth one…Vertigo, Rope, Anatomy of a Murder, Rear Window and ? Someone feel free to remind me! Comments are always welcome.)

With Rear Window we have an interesting shooting style. The whole movie takes place through Stewart’s window, give or take a few clips when he goes out that same window at the end of the movie, or within his small apartment. Hitchcock gives an interview in the edition of the dvd we watched and he says that the idea was to basically look at Jimmy Stewart, then show what he is looking at, then shoot his reaction to that sight.

Without giving away plot details, the movie itself plays as a very modern tale. We’ve got people peering into the lives of others with very little intention of getting involved. One neighbour even cries out, in the middle of the movie, that the people living around their courtyard are not neighbours, because neighbours care about each other. It strikes me as having a lot to do with a tremendous book I read last summer called, “The Safest Place on Earth“, by Larry Crabb.(Larry Crabb wrote the book who’s title I borrowed for this blog.) In that book, Crabb describes our typical church life as being a bunch of people sitting so they can’t really interact with each other…at least he picks on that aspect of a traditional service as an example. From that position he says that we need to circle up, turn our chairs toward one another, find people who we can connect with and form spiritual bonds with each other. Risk, become vulnerable, be real, and enjoy other people’s humanness and God at work through them as well.

Suffice it to say, when Stewart and his friends in “Rear Window” attempt to interact, they do find real hurt, real pain, real humanness, and solve a crime in the mean time. When you do the same in your spiritual life, you find all of those things too, give or take the crime. You also find real joy, real community, real love, real honesty, real Christianity.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Funniest thing I've read in a while

Hand Soap bottle
Our bathroom

“Entice your senses with the aromatic blend of Jasmine and the delicately sweet, floral notes of Orange Blossom.
The creamy formula envelops your hands in a delightful bouquet while thoroughly cleansing your skin. Your hands are left feeling clean, soft and freshly scented.”

Great stuff. Which senses are we enticing when it is aromatic, because it seems there is more than one. Since smell and taste go together, I guess its taste!
Why are the words Jasmine and Orange Blossom capitalized? Are they song titles? People? Townships?

Why would I be “enticed” to buy soap that is delicately sweet, more than soap that is just orange- blossom scented?

Who talks about “floral notes”, let alone cares to be thinking about them when reading the back of a soap dispenser?

Who reads the back of a soap dispenser?

Notice that it is not the creamy soap, but the formula, which happens to be creamy, that envelops your hands.

This is what happens when you let the same person who writes for Hallmark write for your soap dispenser labels. “aromatic”, “entice”, “delicately sweet floral notes”, “creamy formula envelops”, “delightful bouquet”, “freshly scented”.

Notice that your hands feel - not smell, but feel freshly scented.

Why is it written like this? Is this a rarity? Is there more of this stuff out there?