Have a good day

I like outrageous stories and tall tales that have an exaggerated sense of life. So, here is a short tale of going to the coffee shop.

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On the way, have a good day said the cashier.

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Money was not on the cashier’s mind when she slipped in something special in his coffee that day.

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When he got home, he placed the cup on the sink.

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And about to drink, a bit spilled onto the sink. He took the cup into the lounge and heard a noise from behind. It was a growing noise from inside the kitchen.

As if something was getting bigger and bigger…

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It was that something special put in his coffee that had spilled on the sink.

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It was foamy and frothy and soon took over the house. A rather big bowl of coffee did the house become.

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And the man gladly drunk from a pool of coffee.

Controversy

I wrote this short review in 1997. I went into seeing The Crucible with an expectation it must a meaningful film as the book the film was based on dealt meaningfully with a serious subject. Here is this piece, on the anniversary of The Crucible. The film was released on November 27, 1996, twenty-five years ago to the day.

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After the ruins…

…Something will be planted in its place. “A place where vines will be planted”. In place of the ruins of sin, prosperity? In place of the wastelands of sin, life? In place of the lifelessness of sin, the Spirit? A whole country sinned and a whole city. So, the country is ruined. But something will be planted in its place. Based on Micah chapter 1 verses 5-7.

Shine

“Magnificent fingers”, says Cecil Parkes, as he shows adolescent David Helgoff Rachmaninov ‘s sculptured fingers, serving as inspiration for the piano-playing prodigy, in the movie Shine (Released November 22, 1996). Parkes assists Helgoff hit the right note on playing Rachmaninov No.3 while the young musical genius is on a scholarship at the Royal College in London. They say the No.3 is feared for its inherent challenges in perfecting, something Helgoff’s father Peter, a German Jewish immigrant in Australia, insists his son perfects. The pressure of life gets to Helgoff and he is taken to the psychiatric institution. His upbringing under the expectations of his father makes him need to please and, in the end, disappoints. But despite these darker moments of life, I observe that Helgoff seems to learn the “joy of living” for the first time in his life.

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Values

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The following church minister responded to anti civil unions protestors whom marched to the New Zealand parliament in 2004. Kevin Ward, a cultural researcher, wrote to me about the issue at the time after I requested an interview. The following article is a direct response to the actual rally itself.

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Changes (Circa 2004)

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One of the things I have noticed in the evangelical church in New Zealand is a willingness to transform the culture with the gospel. But it looked like the ‘others’ were winning the cultural wars.

Kevin Ward said the culture weren’t going along with the evangelicals and their transformative gospel. He said the church needed to adjust to this cultural reality and reach those outside in a more significant way.

Personally, I doubt the gospel is about transforming the culture. I read the gospel in the light of Jesus supporting and helping individuals who then go and live the gospel of love or try to in their daily lives. I think the gospel isn’t about trying to change the world but is lived daily and in being lived daily can do good in the world whether big or small.

But as far as transforming things I take with some suspicion and I treat with alarm those that attempt the aggressive take over in some way shape and form. I think the gospel has never been about cultural transformation but is about being a disciple of Jesus in our lives. But as far as the changing the world, we will continue to wait and see..

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Had enough

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On my odyssey through the New Zealand church my understanding grew about the issues the evangelicals were facing. As far as I see, the key concern the evangelicals (Bible believers) had with decriminalizing prostitution, granting civil unions to couples, and legalizing gay marriage was the message it sent to their children.

These conservative Christians intended on bringing their children up in the ways of the Lord God, which meant all of the social reforms the government of New Zealand were brining in could send the wrong message to their children, thus making prostitution and those others things open and acceptable. It could seduce their children into thinking that certain behaviors were okay and so send them off the path that leads to life, the way of the Lord. So, they fought against the reforms and I did a couple of articles on the issue, maybe more, although these issues weren’t my main focus at the time.

I may as well post these articles as I am writing about this. They should be posted over the next month or so. The first one is below. It features the most vocal opponents of the liberal reforms. Destiny Church organized a rally to protest the reforms and to oppose the government’s sending of a liberal message to the country and what it would do to their children.

These days, the Destiny head pastor is now fighting the Covid lockdown measures with protests aimed at restoring freedom.

Here’s the article about fighting the liberal reforms of New Zealand. I include comment from the other side as well. In terms of the writing of this article, it would have been better as two articles. One for comment on the issues, and the other on the actual rally. But I combined the two with focus on the issues and comment.

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Meditations

Although Jesus’ disciples were journeying with him, his disciples left him. But Jesus was not bitter. Although being abandoned is not sweet. Perhaps the experience of the disciples leaving him was, as we say, “bitter sweet”, as at the time of this trial Jesus was not alone because he had his heavenly Father for closeness and friendship. Jesus had his heavenly Father to bond with rather than giving up. If we go through trial, we also need the lifeline that sustains us. Jesus showed his humanity by needing the closeness and intimacy of his Father in heaven when all others abandoned him. Powerful, strong stuff. Jesus indeed can be our strength and sustainer when we go through trials of various sorts as he has been through trials as well and his Spirit can help us.

Meditation 2. The disciples needed courage on their journey with Jesus. Jesus tells them to be brave. They will have to journey more with him to learn the ways of being his disciple. This despite the disciples abandoning Jesus once. They would have to gain their courage and go forward with Jesus. Take courage, therefore, his disciples. He knows your weaknesses and identifies with them yet can help you become more like him in love and in action.

Smelly

Commercial intent, he said.

They said his nose was out of joint,

Because he smelt commercialization.

“You just hate anything commercial.”

But he grimaced at the candy smell in the foyer of a cinema

That was in the shop of a petrol station.

It was the smell that made him bark “Commercial intent”

And the manager was there to hear it.

The candy smell was smothering and moldy

No wonder he cried out

As life was choked out and inseminated with artificial popcorn, but

Could this be a matter of sour grapes?

As just the day before he had been given white bread for dinner.

Like the times he had been at the cinema he brought down curses on the place he was now standing.

In the shop of a petrol station.

There was such a mess.

Understanding “The Persian Rug”

How does one understand today’s poem “The Persian Rug”. Although it may sound like red carpet service for politicians despite their misdemeanors, it does not mean that at all. I can imagine a politician’s flaws being overlooked, though, and life goes on as normal, but this has nothing to do “The Persian Rug”. Quite simply the poem is spiritual. I am not using a strict religious metaphor from the Bible. I could have used another idea than the one I did, but I use “Persian rug” because it sounded like something exotic and transcendent which fitted in with my meaning. It is about how Jesus treats a person despite their flaws and sins. He died for sin but is not condemning someone for their sins. In a way he is treating the person in my poem like royalty even though he does not deserve it. This is God’s goodness to that person.

The Persian Rug

Persian rug for a sow,

Not fitting the soul,

Dark and dead,

With the sin that he did.

He said to himself, I am no good.

I’ve failed.

What will God say?

What will they think?

But they still laid out the Persian Rug.

Surprising as it seems.

After all.

Security

It is a powerless thing to truly understand that one is not qualified to judge when you do the same things you judge them on. But such a realization does not strip one fully of the need to judge. One still flirts with the idea.

Non-judgmentalism can feel disempowering and weak, but can one make something else in the place of judging others? Can one replace the need to judge with changing one’s mind? So, one is fair and consistent with the reality that one does the things one judges others on, but even goes further: in seeing the good rather than what’s flawed and wrong. Of course there will be flaws and wrongs, but love always believes the best.

I will

More than deluxe

And a tip of the hat

There’s a love transcending love

That I got to have

It’s more,

But I have a mountain to climb.

To get beyond the top,

Is a love so divine

I could cry

For this love to be mine,

And I need this now,

So I will climb

The mountain of my dreams.

Getting down

Personally, I cannot seem to accept (although I should) pictures of public figures ‘getting down’ by wearing the same uniforms as the people they are reaching, as if saying ‘I am one with you’, yet with a message in tow. I always feel it’s not genuine. I mean, who are you really? A public figure getting down? Or are you really down? Hardly. Politicians are always out of touch, somehow: they are just one rung above everyone else. They provide policies and guidance and are always bound to upset some. They do so from a distance, where all the thinking goes on, and the people on the ground get on with their lives, either influenced from the Ivory Towers for no good or by some stroke actually benefiting from the Ivory Towers. It sounds rather Medieval, the alternative reality we may be actually living in…

The horror

A general sphere of a break down of some sort is when one is manipulated to such a degree that one cannot see objectively. Therefore what the other says defines how you view yourself and your work, and they can make out your identity and work is flawed and needs to be improved their way. Just because they say so. Just because they want to take you down a track to fulfill their agenda.

Now, to you, they know better and do the thinking for you–and maybe you don’t even know it. Now, they have manipulated you to such a degree that you get to this point. One maybe aware of such manipulation but cannot do anything about it anymore. They have taken over your mind. However, you may even be automatic. And you may even be happy automatic. What a state to be in caused by manipulation. It happens in thrillers, the genre of entertainment that is, but to some similar degree it can happen anywhere. The horror. But, as in a thriller, there is the struggle to retain one’s sanity.

All I need to know

In moments, words were said,

Were they two divergent things expressed about the same thing?

One moment straight as an arrow that pierces the soul

Another moment as cheerful a schoolgirl chatting

Two divergent things expressed about the same thing? What’s the point, my friend?

She says one day coffee’s the killer

Next day asking if I’m getting a coffee — with a light touch of fun.

One day it’s one

One day it’s another

And the same

And the last day sinks the nail: you drink too much coffee.

Coffee is the cheerful killer she so wants to rid me of.

Dare I ask for more explanation, other than her innocent smile.

All conceived in love.

Fun

Follow up to 1996’s Space Jam, Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), features NBA basketballer LeBron James as the demanding father to a son. The son would rather make video games than play ball, but his father would like son’s eyes on the ball. Then, son goes missing….father can get back son if he faces off on a computerized ball court against a mean team. So, he has to get a team together — from Cartoonsville.

Cultural theme: Why do fathers and sons get on one another’s nerves? The son wants to be a video game programmer, the father wants the son to be a basketballer. Fathers can be demanding and expect a lot from their sons, but this film says it is the father who has to learn to be understanding towards his son.

The theme has a kind of Christian soul.

One may call the film overblown but the first forty or so minutes is pretty conventional as the story establishes itself and is quite entertaining. The rest of the film is visual effects, cartoons-ville aka Looney Tunes, gags aplenty, and a big basketball game between the Goons and the Looney Tunes. It is all a bit of good fun that should please homely audiences.

After

There’s nothing like a siesta on a Friday. It refreshes the brain with inspiration. At least that was in my case. I hope it is in yours when you have your siesta.

Friday is the end of the week. Everything slows down on Friday or in some place winds up, at least siestas still happen in some parts of a Covid world.

After my siesta I was thinking about film reviewing of course. Film reviewing is one my of my constant preoccupations. It’s always on my mind, but not quite, almost the case.

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Intent

The previous ‘poem’ I wrote, “The Friend”, was written out of more a matter of intent than designing something artistic. There is a debate that says one should always write or create something excellently or this does not matter as much as what one is saying. Well, “The Friend” is inclined to be in the latter camp. I had intent with my idea and the art was second on my mind. I don’t think this poem is really that artistic as there are uneven spots; sometimes it rhymes and then it sounds cheesy in a way. But I trust the intent gets through and that’s felt in the poem’s effect. I was wanting to show that Jesus respects women after hearing the song “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. Jesus never came with a iron fist, but was gentle. I was reminded that Christianity can be regarded as an oppressive religion but this isn’t so when you read how Jesus related to women in the gospel.

The friend

An oppressor they called him;

Two thousand years of oppression!

And women are down?

Blame it on the Apostle Paul (some would say)

Women got to be submissive in Paul’s day

So, what does this say

About the Lord?

A misreading others say, as

Jesus was good to women–

And they loved him back.

By the mere, more than mere, fact they responded to him,

Was their love for a man who revealed his pure heart

To their souls

Jesus included women,

He did not reject them,

Scold or deny them

He showed them respect.

Maybe a women felt she got no respect

But Jesus friended them as they were.

Guided them where he could;

With gentle loving wisdom,

Which was understood

And despite the wrongs that were done to them,

Jesus gave them the grace to rise above.

If they feared a ruler,

They get a true servant instead.

Who is respected back

For the love that he gives.

Upside

Upside means the sunny side up,

The bright side of life,

The brighter side.

But there’s the upside down,

The opposite of the sunny side up,

Where something is down,

Something is wrong.

But I believe the light side can be good

In getting us through the upside down.

For if there is an upside down in the places we meet,

There may be a sunny side up that makes it seem neat.

That’s because there is still an upside in ‘upside down’.

Out of the box

You know, I can’t find the Liquid Acrobat as Regards the Air and that The Marblehead Messenger but what fascinating titles.

– Pete’s quotes (on not finding those albums)

The case

Departmental assistance not required and unwanted

In the belly of the artist living off the love of the Lord

Found in him.

Assign a case manager to this poor soul so he will prosper they said

And earn his way in.

For he will belong when his stripes have been attained.

But he had remembered the Lord in his youth,

The case manager did not know Departmental assistance not required.

We do life a certain way, you’ll belong that way they said.

Where indeed you will, dear man…

But in the belly of an artist living off the Lord

Was found the deeper recesses of water

That had nourished his soul

If they hadn’t come

He might still be at peace

In the deeper recesses of his soul.

In the artist living off the Lord

The Lord was still here,

Abundant life had already fashioned

Departmental assistance was not required.

The artist’s spirit could not be broken.

Deeper waters already brooding.

Get real

The question I ask myself is why don’t I do just one version of a review and leave it at that. The thing is that I may dislike a film but see its worth in themes. The traditional way of dealing with this from a Christian perspective is to praise the themes and forget that you disliked the thing. But I don’t forget. I didn’t like the thing! I wouldn’t buy it. Really! But, since I am conscious of the God thing as well, I want to bring something of that out, too, such as in a theme.

The solution was simple: Don’t downplay the so-called God thing in some work I dislike, turn the ‘God-thing’ over in another format of writing.

Therefore: spirit of life category should provide the thematic stuff in movies and music only and related themes. Although some of my earlier film and music writings that are now posted in the spirit of life category do contain some reviewy elements. This reviewy stuff might have been a critique of a theme. My entertainment review category on this blog should provide straight reviews only.

Update: This information in regards to the structure of the blog is no longer relevant. But in terms of reviews I am keeping to subjective reviews in the music category and more or less in the film category.

Appearances

The Elephant Man was released October 10, 1980. My first encounter with the film The Elephant Man was a striking black and white photo in a hardback book. Because of the photo, and the interesting caption, I was drawn into the sense of the film. There must be more to this film that, as they say, is substance. And there is.

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Name change

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be posting more literary material, and that I have been doing, with straight reviews, reflections, and poetry. Unrelated to that I was inspired to change the name of this blog. I thought it was a good idea because it would reflect the more literary stuff I am publishing than before, so thought to re-christen it The Write Mix, which means the mix of writings I am presenting here.

At the office, he says…

I thought to explain some modifications on this blog, so here it goes. Longer reviews I have posted the last couple of months have been shifted to the ‘spirited’ category rather then keeping in the pop life category. These longer reviews are more in line with the ‘spirited’ category, anyhow. These reviews explore ideas and themes more than straight reviews and explore how the ‘spirit’ or ‘life’ of the movie or music got to me. I have more of these kind to post. But the entertainment reviews, which are shorter, are more about if I like something or not. Like I was in process of deciding to buy it or not. These reviews are more straightforward. So, these entertainment reviews are ones like I posted yesterday–the capsule reviews in other words. More coming up. Note: Spirited category has been transferred to the spirit of life category since this post. Update: The structuring as described here is no longer relevant.

Leisurely tale

Dolphin Tale is a warm, uplifting family tail tale. When a bottlenose dolphin washes ashore entangled in a fishing rope, she is vitally injured in her tail end. The injury may cause her to die as the tail is interconnected to the rest of her important organs. Christened Winter, she is looked after by the CMA (Clearwater Marine Aquarium) which is undergoing changes of its own…

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A moment with the Oscars

This is one of my early articles, more inclined to be a piece as it is short.

The article is about the Academy Awards. Pretty much I was religiously into the Academy Awards when I was a mid-teenager. The devotion grew less but I kept an eye out for them. In the mid-90’s I got back into the Oscars, without the religiosity that marked my mid-teens, but with a sense of interest in the proceedings. I wasn’t engrossed in them, but took an interest. But it was a strong interest as I was writing film stuff.

So, when the Oscars came around in 1997, I took note because I was writing about film and because I wanted to. I wrote an article that reflected that moment of my pop life. Here was that article, short and I would hope sweet. Nothing eloquent or literary, but quite ordinary, perhaps thoughtful to say the most.

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Day’s in

Uncomfortable he yelled deep down inside subtler than a scream but more telling of his distress than a deep down scream would say, he fell into the day with a stumble, getting breakfast, but falling asleep, he worked his way back into day from a disadvantage of a sleepy head, tumbling onto the street with a leap frog trying to keep up with the momentum the day set, and keep abreast well, entering through the door and the lady swiped the card and in he went, a one-sided chat indeed, she was alright, he was the center of attention for a change, and the test was done in a fashion of a bruise and hit around the head, leaving him wondering is she really was a nurse, indeed she was, and again he was in influx from the morning step out of bed falling down the side and getti8ng back up with one leg and two heads, unbeknown to him the right one wasn’t shining outside, too early, too fine, too lost. He felt good after the meeting.