Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary Mary

Thanks to Chris for reminding me of this Halloween treat.

Occupy Wittenberg

pictured: Martin Luther at Castle Church in Wittenberg

Translation of above:

I was raised by a copper miner and a hardworking mother.

I put myself through University, which I considered a beerhouse and whorehouse.

I dropped out of law school to study theology.

I protest the way the rich buy indulgences that the poor can’t afford.

I also believe things like justification by faith and that sort of stuff.

I am the 95.

Theses, that is.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The It's All Right But I've Seen Better Corral

This week in history:

Oct 26, 1881: Earps and Claytons shoot it out at the OK Corral in Tombstone.  
Little known fact: The OK Corral originally was called the "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious Corral," but too few head of cattle survived the branding process, so the name was changed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Christology of Who: Father's Day Part One

A look at “Father’s Day,” written by Paul Cornell, from Series One.

SPOILER ALERT:  As we look at the Doctor Who episode, I wanted to give my warning again: I will be giving away the end of the episode.

Episode summary:
Rose has never met her father (Pete) – he died when she was a baby; but her mother (Jackie) always told Rose what a wonderful, perfect man he was. Rose convinces the Doctor to take her back to the day of Pete’s death, so she can be with him and therefore he won’t die alone.

Instead of just being with him, Rose impulsively saves her father from the hit-and-run. Good for him, bad for the world as this action upsets the balance of time, and Reapers come out to kill everyone in the world and thus erase the damage.

Rose, Jackie, Pete and Baby Rose hide with the Doctor inside a church for a while, until a Reaper gets in and kills the Doctor. Pete, realizing that this is all because he wasn’t supposed to live, sacrifices himself by jumping in front of the hit-and-run car – which has been reappearing in front of the church the whole time they’ve been hiding there.

Time is restored, the Doctor is back, everyone forgets what just happened, and Rose is able to be with her dad as he lay on the street dying.

And now for a look at a few of the themes:

Humanity Matters

A running premise of the entire series is that people matter. And not just the Churchills and Victorias and Einsteins and Shakespeares – but the ordinary, every day person is important.

This notion is underscored twice in the episode, first when Rose can’t understand why the Doctor is ticked at her for saving her daddy. After all, he is just a regular person, so she can’t have changed much.
Rose - there's a man alive in the world who wasn't alive before. An ordinary man, that's the most important thing in creation. The whole world's different because he's alive. 

Later, when the Doctor is talking to the bride and groom during a lull in the attack, he gets them to tell of how they met. But as the reality of the situation kicks in, they both protest that they aren’t important.

The Doctor disagrees:
I've traveled to all sorts of places. Done things you couldn't even imagine. But, you two: Street corner. Two in the morning. Getting a taxi home. I've never had a life like that. Yes.
I'll try and save you. 
Humanity matters, and not just the ones we think of as important – but all of them are worth fighting and dying for.

“For G-d so loved the world…”

To be continued... 

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Final Parody Trailer

Today in History

October 27, 1904: New York Subway opens.  Which was a relief to sandwich shops all around the city, who to this point were called, “Horse and Carriages on a Crowded Dung Filled Street Sandwich Shoppes.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christology of Who

Something that will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me: I am a huge fan of Doctor Who – more specifically, of the recent re-launch of the past seven years.

There are many, many things to like about the series, including the marvelous writing and the performances that rise above (and dig deeper) than standard television acting (David Tennant, I’m talking to you).

Another aspect of the show that has caught my fancy is it’s exploration of things spiritual – specifically (in my mind) the probing of G-d and the tenets of Christ’s teaching.

In viewing the series first go around, I was continually amazed by the way in which key aspects of my faith were being played out in the action – grace, faith, forgiveness, justice, and mercy to name a few.

I want to be clear here – I am in no way claiming that showrunner Russell T Davies and company set out to make a defense or proselytizing vehicle for the Church. In fact, Russell (I feel that I may call him Russell as we have met – I was about fifty-three rows back from the stage when he appeared at ComicCon) is an avowed atheist.

But he is a writer, and one with talent and a willingness to let the work speak; and he is in the sci-fi world. With those two aspects in the mix, it is only natural that the big themes would end up being explored.

And among the big themes of humanity are those oft left to the theologians and philosophers.

So I see G-d at every turn in the Doctor’s adventures.

I have recently started working my way through the series again, starting with “Rose” – with the intention of joyfully riding on through and into the eleventh Doctor’s exploits.

As I go, I plan on sharing the insights on faith and theology that I garner from the journey.

Before I do that, three more disclaimers:

Again out of respect for the creator’s beliefs, I am not pretending that Russell T Davies and his writing staff would agree with my conclusions – I am just saying that this is what the show says to me.

I imagine, like most works of art, there are things within it that are knowingly being said by the writers – such as the emptiness of the Holy Spirit and religion as seen in “Gridlock”; and also there are things that speak beyond the knowledge and intentions of the writers – such as the example of the power of the Holy Spirit and religion seen in “Gridlock.”

(There is a marvelous bit in the behind-the-scenes “Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale” where Davies dishes on his swipe at the church in that episode, as well as his surprise at what he put into that show.)

I also want to make clear that I am not advocating that the Doctor is a “Christ figure.” I can already hear the arguments of why the Doctor would be flawed in that function.  I do not see the series as being that clean in its symbolism – nor wanting to be.

Rather, the big themes that are explored are an experiment episode to episode. Yes, there are chapters where the Doctor stands in for Christ (such as “Family of Blood”); just as there are times where the Doctor is just someone in search of the Way and the Truth (“Boomtown”).

The episodes that strike the deepest to me are those where Davies puts the Doctor to the test: what would it look like if someone tried to actually live by those teachings of the Nazarene – live by loving one’s enemy, and forgiveness, and justice and truth.

Okay, last caveat: I will be giving out spoilers like nobody’s business. You can’t see the full Christology of “Family of Blood” without knowing the ending – the shocking twist of that episode is to theme what the twist in “The Sixth Sense” is to plot.

So I will give you a warning a day or two (or six) before I write about an episode, in case you want to get caught up with me.

Sometime in the next week: I am going to skim along Series One by hitting on the notions of sacrifice and predestination in “Father’s Day.”

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shut Out

Dove says, “Shut out the world for just a moment.”

My preferred method is closing my eyes, putting my fingers in my ears, and shouting “Nyaah nyaaah nyaaah nyaaah” at the top of my lungs for five minutes.

Not only does this shut out the world for a moment, it also guarantees that no one else on the airplane will bother me for the rest of the flight.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Biblical Musings

Over at Experimental Theology , Richard Beck wonders what "Biblical" means.

When I've heard the term used, it generally seem to align with what Dr. Beck is suggesting.

Occasionally, and only occasionally, have I seen someone open a Bible while trying to determine "the Biblical view" on an issue.

Jeffrey Overstreet reacted to the notion of certain authors having a "Biblical worldview" with this little rant:
I do not write "from a Biblical Worldview." Just, you know... for the record.

I'm not even sure what a "Biblical Worldview" is.

"Many of the people I know who would say that they have a "Biblical Worldview" disagree with one another on many fundamental points.

I also know many writers who say they have a "Biblical Worldview" who are terrible writers, and many who would deny that they have a "Biblical Worldview" who write things that bless and inspire me.

So, yes, I have faith in Christ. But I would be reluctant to call my ever-changing, ever-evolving understanding a "Biblical Worldview." Even in the Bible itself, heroes of the faith demonstrate some very different "worldviews."
He later added:
"What concerns me is the tendency to say "These authors are okay because they have a Biblical Worldview" ... because the influence of the Bible on my worldview does not have any bearing on whether my books are worth reading. And I think the category suggests that authors with "Biblical Worldviews" are somehow safe, or similar."

So what Jeff is reacting against is the same kind of usage that Richard Beck ponders over - employing "Biblical" as code for something other than "as in the Bible."
I myself have bandied about the term "Biblical worldview" over the years, typically in trying to define a point of view that defers from, say, Philip Pullman. As I age, I'm liking the idea that I've always meant what Beck says the word would actually mean: 

"The point being, a conversation seeking to find a "biblical" view isn't heading for a fixed destination. Rather, such a conversation will be airing a diversity of views that share a family resemblance."

I think I can live with "family resemblance" more than I need to live with "fixed destination."

Madeleine L'Engle, another dodger of being put in a box, would show (feign, perhaps?) surprise when asked by young writers about how to be a "Christian writer." Her answer was, basically, to be a Christian and to be a writer. 

If then you write truth, no matter what you write, you have succeeded.

Just my thoughts, 


Friday, October 21, 2011

Head Music

Our lives do have private soundtracks – you know, the music that invades your head at random times.

Float in any body of water – pool, ocean, bathtub – long enough, and the mind will start in with a slow, “da..duhm.  Da…..duhm. Da duh da duh da duh da duh!!”

If you are of a certain age, you can’t walk anywhere carrying a paint can without starting to strut; the Bee Gees voices taking over your body rhythm.

(I’ve never even seen that movie, and my mind goes there.)

At least those connections make sense. But every now and then a disconnected connector gets thrust into my brain.

Like every time the rock musical that my studio is involved with is mentioned.

The show, a tribute to Journey, Whitesnake, Styx and the like, is called, “Rock of Ages.”

That title is meant to evoke Def Leppard.

But for me, the full title is anything but. So around the office you might here me say, “Hey, we’ve got a new draft of ‘Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, Let Me Hide Myself in Thee’ in. I printed a copy for the project shelf.”

The latest “got that in my head even though it doesn’t really fit” comes courtesy of Reader’s Digest.

They did an article on “Cold & Flu Fighters.” I glanced at it, didn’t see the ampersand, and my brain realized it scanned with “Kung Fu Fighters.”

So now every time I see an ad for Nyquil, my brain sings,

“Everybody is Cold Flu Fighting! (da da dink dink dink dink dink dink dee) Fast as lightning!”

Thanks, RD. I need that like I need another song stuck in my head.

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taking Things Siri ously

Toying with the idea of getting an i-phone now that my Blackberry is nearing expiration.

Why the i-phone? Mostly because if the phone is geeky enough to have this conversation, I want in:

(The quotes are the questions asked by the user; the responses are Siri's answers. Found at Happy Place.)

If I get one, I'm going to ask Siri, "your money or your life?" and see if the magical voice tells me it's thinking, it's thinking.

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Random Thought: Math

My junior high soccer coach told us to give 150%. My admiration for his inspirational skills conflicted with my horror that this numbers genius was also our substitute math teacher.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Literally Blown Away

Recently overheard in a speech:

“And when they heard the band, they were literally blown away.”

Possible explanations:

1) A tornado touched down at the exact moment the band started playing.

2) The band had super amps set way loud, like Marty McFly did in the opening of “Back to the Future.”

3) Dynamite was attached to the audience’s seats, and the band played slower than 50 mph.

4) The speaker does not know what the word “literally” means.

Your suggestions?

Just my thoughts,


Friday, October 14, 2011

Today's History Lesson: Battle of Hastings

Oct 14, 1066: King Harold defeated by William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings. 

Harold made two fatal strategic errors: he fought a dude called “the Conqueror” and he went into battle armed with only a purple crayon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A short doc I had the privilege of co-directing with editor Nicole Baer; shot by Mark Baer.

Written to illustrate a point from the verse at the end; hence the verse at the end.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just My Thoughts For This Day

Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.
- Plautus

Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened.
- Cora Harvey Armstrong

Age is a high price to pay for maturity.
- Tom Stoppard

What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.
- Voltaire

Every man over forty is a scoundrel.
- George Bernard Shaw

Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
- Jack Benny

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
- Franz Kafka

Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair. 
-Sam Ewing

Youth is a wonderful thing.  What a crime to waste it on children. 
-George Bernard Shaw

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were? 
-Satchel Paige

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened.  It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it. 
-Mark Twain

Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle. 
-Bob Hope

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now. 
-Author Unknown

Old age is fifteen years older than I am. 
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

I recently had my annual physical examination, which I get once every seven years, and when the nurse weighed me, I was shocked to discover how much stronger the Earth's gravitational pull has become since 1990. 
-Dave Barry

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been. 
-Madeleine L'Engle

I don't do alcohol anymore - I get the same effect just standing up fast. 
-Author Unknown

Middle age is when your classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald they don't recognize you 
-Bennett Cerf

Grow old with me!  The best is yet to be. 
-Robert Browning

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh, Yea!

Today’s Glimmer of Gloom: History as a Tool

In the midst of the political elbowing for space on a ticket, we are hearing a lot of references to history. Mostly about how the founding fathers would support a particular politician’s current policy.

And often the view of what happened back then comes off a bit skewed, or twisted, or, uhm… wrong.

But it isn’t the wrongness or potential not rightness that is the big problem.

Take for example a moment from the past year with the former governor of Alaska. Upon leaving an exhibit about Paul Revere, she was questioned by the press about what she learned inside.

The primary thing she learned was that Paul’s midnight ride was for the purpose of going out there and warning the British that they can’t defy our second Amendment right to bear arms.

There was much brouhaha at the time about the level of accuracy in Ms. Palin’s statements; but the depressing part of this story has nothing to do with what Paul was or was not doing galloping around in the night.

The glimmer of gloom comes from how history is being viewed.

You see, Sarah Palin did not walk into that exhibit wondering,

“What can I learn from this piece of history? How can this founding revolutionary impact my view on life, the world, politics, etc?”

Instead, knowing full well that reporters would be awaiting her exit, she walked into that exhibit wondering,

“What can I get from this that supports my current views? How can I use this moment to garner some political points for my existing stance?”

A lot of us in the Christian faith have the same approach to our Holy texts. We approach the Bible saying,

“I believe in such-n-stuff. What can I find in the Bible that shows that my view is correct?”

We could, instead, approach the Bible saying, “I wonder what I can learn from this Holy book today?”

One approach opens us up to wisdom; the other just promotes the stagnation of the wisdom we currently hold.

What would it be like, I wonder, if we all approached history with the desire to learn and grow from it, rather than just using it as a weapon in our arsenal of being right?

What if the lives of our patriarchs, whether patriots or saints, were tools to challenge us, to question us, to expand our thinking, our believing, our living?

But then again, there are no political points to be had in improving who we are, only in bolstering who we once were.

So maybe not.

Just my thoughts,


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Say Yes to Noe - Fellowship!

I have a dear friend fighting the good fight, and my wife is producing a benefit comedy show this Sunday to help her out.

Here's a bootleg of the cast of Fellowship! the Musical Parody in action:

Hope to see you at the show!

Just my thoughts,


Friday, October 07, 2011

Say Yes to Noe - Michael Rayner

I have a dear friend fighting the good fight, and my wife is producing a benefit comedy show this Sunday to help her out.

Here's the host for Sunday:

Hope to see you at the show!

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Say Yes to Noe - Robert G. Lee

I have a dear friend fighting the good fight, and my wife is producing a benefit comedy show this Sunday to help her out.

Here's another talent that will be featured on Sunday:

Hope to see you at the show!

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Say Yes to Noe - Cory Edwards

For purposes of this blog, this is comedy week.

It is also anti-cancer week. Which is good, because if it were pro-cancer week AND comedy week, I would be faced with conflicting themes.

I have a dear friend fighting the good fight, and my wife is producing a benefit comedy show this Sunday to help her out. The show includes some of my favorite comedians, including this guy:

Hope to see you at the show!

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Say NO to Cancer! Say YES to Noe!

Our friend, Ruth Noe

was diagnosed with endometrial stromal sarcoma in October 2010.  Since that time, she has undergone 10 rounds of chemo, and just last Tuesday, an exploratory surgery to remove abdominal lumps.

Here is our chance to directly help someone with cancer.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by talented and generous friends who ALL want to help Ruth (and her husband, Mike) with the massive bills that still remain (beyond their insurance coverage).
So...I'm producing a

Comedy Show & Live Auction

This Sunday:
October 9th

5:00 - 6:30pm

Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank

with amazing headliner comics:
Michael Rayner,
Cory Edwards
Robert G. Lee

Along with Musical and Improvisational Guests: cast members from Fellowship! The Musical.

Sean & I will be there.
We truly hope you can join us!

Tickets are only $20
& are available HERE!

I know!  That much fun for only $20 bucks!
(Oh, there is a 2 item minimum also.  The food is amazing!  Have dinner AND a show.)

You can also purchase tickets by calling 818-845-9721

And that's not all ... you'll also have a chance to bid on Auction Items such as:
- A framed Warner Bros original animation cel of Bugs & Daffy
- Tickets for 2 to "Dancing with the Stars" or "American Idol" PLUS Brunch for 2 at the Four Seasons LA
- A Body & Soul package of 3 one-hour private fitness training sessions PLUS 3 one-hour life coaching sessions
- A professional photo shoot
- "Lifetime of Laughs" pass to both Flappers Comedy Clubs - 2 tickets to all regular shows ... for life!  (and it's transferrable)

Can't attend - but still want to Say NO to Cancer?

We've set up an ONLINE DONATION SITE for out-of-town friends and family to give.

Ruth with her Grover Hat & Mobile Chemo Pack
Ruth, with her mobile chemo pack and her ever-present sense of humor and Grover hat.