Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Circle

The Circle

This is a movie that you won't see so I did,  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 16% and most of the reviews were bad. BUT I liked it.

The "Circle" is a mega company. Think Apple, FACEBOOK, Microsoft and Twitter as one company.
The campus depicted in the movie was in San Francisco area and the campus was patterned after the new Apple campus that is under construction.  Also Tom Hanks plays a cross between Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

They have developed a new system called "SEECHANGE" for a transparent society.  Everything we do, say, see, or write is recorded and in some cases shared with the world.   What could possibly go wrong?

While this sounds far-fetched, we know that the world is headed this way.  It is a very thought provoking story.

One scene shows Emma Watson, the new up and comer at the Circle who has decided to be the test person who puts everything  on the web "Live".  Her childhood friend who has avoided social media makes a light fixture out of antlers for her parents.  She shows it on her live feed and instantly her friend is accused of abusing animals and he gets hundreds of death threats.

It reminds me of an old Twilight Zone story.

This is where we are headed: For example when I use google for blog photos, no matter what I search for, if I scroll down far enough someone has posted porn photos.  Lets say in the future I get pulled over for speeding and the officer runs a scan of my life.  The read comes back that I have seen child porno on my computer and suddenly a traffic ticket becomes catching a pervert.

Far Fetched: Not at all.  The ideas presented are scarier than a Zombie Movie.

I think it got low ratings for being unsettling.

2017 Movie 18. I give it ***1/2 stars.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ber Rabbit and Ber Fox


As a kid, "Ber Rabbit and Ber Fox" was one of my favorite Disney Stories. The Rabbit was always being hunted by the Fox.  When the day came that he was caught, he pleaded with the Fox to do anything to him except, "Please Mr. Fox, Don't throw me into that Briar Patch!" "Anything but that."
As the story goes the Fox gladly tossed him into the patch only to learn that the "Briar Patch" was the Rabbit's home and place of safety.

Now in 2017 I became Ber Rabbit!

Having been in a protracted battle with my ex-employer who sued me for leaving his firm, sued my new firm, etc.  he sued for 300,000 dollars plus attorney's fees (another $200,000). It finally came down to one email that seemed to help Ber Fox. My attorney recommended filing for protection under current bankruptcy laws.  I first thought that all was lost but as the smoke cleared nothing happened. Everything in my firm and my personal life was protected except for one Briar Patch:

The Briar Patch: We owned and were about six months from paying off three "Time Share properties that we bought years ago. Two properties were paid and one in Florida was still fluid. Of course if you've ever bought such a property, you know that maintenance fees are forever and in our case about $200 a month.  We have been trying to get out of them ever since our daughter went to work for Hilton.  Through Hilton Friends and Family, we can stay at a Hilton property for less than at the timeshare!  BTW you can NEVER sell a timeshare for their worth.

Ber Fox however wanted to take something (anything) from me and so he settled for TAKING my timeshares.  He even had to pay $8,000 for the privilege and take up the maintenance payments.

"Please Mister Fox whatever you do, Don't take my timeshares!"

Ber Rabbit.

Catching up with the Movies

Haven't been posting lately. Life is getting in the way, but I am going to the movies.

Needed some escapism so tow movies come to mind:

One is "Going in Style" about three retired friends who worked together for years and now in retirement.  They find that they are cheated out of their pension and decide to rob the bank that ran their pension.  While there are meaningful discussion of retirement in these times and the heartless corporations, etc., it is a good comedy. When you have Morgan Freeman, Michael Cain and Alan Arkin you have the A team.  Enjoyed it and give it ***1/2 stars. 2017 Movie 14.


"Fate of the Furious" is a comedy action movie that while the story lacks in
 every way it is fun to watch this cast play with cars. It is the height of bad fiction when someone decides to "flip" a switch and take control of all the cars in New York City no matter that the are parked.  Ok Escapism and time with popcorn.  I give it **1/2 stars. 2017 Movie 15


"Gifted" is a thoughtful and thought provoking story of a gifted child and the battle for her future and to control her life. Great acting. Great writing. Great honesty. I highly recommend.
**** stars.  2017 Movie 16

"Guardians of the Galaxy 2" is why I go the the movies. It is a comedy Sci-Fi movie of "Old friends and their escapades."  The 80's soundtrack is great. There are great cameos of 80's stars.  It was simply a delight.  Stay through the credits because there are 5 additional scenes shown.
***** stars. 2017 Movie 17.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Scary Movies



As a rule I do watch Scary Movies. The slasher, or zombie or high body count teen thrillers are not for me.  There is some that appeal to me such as the last two movies that I viewed.

"Life" is the story of a group of astronauts on an International Space Station that receive a specimen from a Rover Robot that has come from Mars. It contains a microbe that is believed to be proof of LIFE on Mars. They will study it in Space and not risk bringing it to earth.  Ok so far?

All I need to say is: For what comes next, think of "Alien".  It gets wild, wooly and scary.

The end is a big surprise but getting there is half the fun.  Great popcorn movie.

I give it ***1/2 stars. 2017 movie 13



The next is "Get Out" a fil that gets great reviews but little attention. He have thought about this a long time before going.  (Nothing else good in our area).  Glad I did.  Let's take about three different stories: "Guess whose coming to Dinner?, Stepford Wives, and lets just say "Twilight Zone". Mix well and add some dark comedy.  Great Movie.   The horror and scary feeling is in your mind more than on the screen. It is well crafted and well acted.

I give it *****stars . 2017 movie 14

Saturday, March 25, 2017

God With Us or God for Us 1

I attend a church that was founded on a principle of  being a place of refuge  for those who were shoved aside by the Pharisees that live among us. This was not our central principle but because of the void that existed, it brought many into our midst that were shunned because of divorce, or disagreement with leadership, or family troubles, or personal demons that others found revolting.

We grew as a body and empowered many who had lost their hope in finding a family.

Then comes change. We gained many who looked for a home until we captured that market.

We then looked in our community and found a college nearby. We invited them in.  They came looking for a home away from home. We have tried to be that.  Strangers ask questions.

We don't always have the answers but we studied.

Through our study of the Bible we began to open worship to female participation.  A place of refuge for those shoved aside.

We have had some of our long time members leave recently.

I ask, "Do we believe in GOD WITH US or GOD FOR US?

I have watched closely those who leave and ask the questions, 

"Did they leave so that they could do a better work somewhere else? 

OR Did they leave so that they could be more comfortable? 
 
OR Did they leave so that they did not want to change?

GOD WITH US or GOD FOR US

What do you think?


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Experimental Theology: The Accidental Empire: Christian Resistance in the...

This is good stuff for thought:



Experimental Theology: The Accidental Empire: Christian Resistance in the...: What does Christian political resistance look like in the age of Trump? Mark Lilla in his book The Stillborn God describes Christendom ...

Catching Up at the Movies

Weird collection of movie:  An aging superhero, a monster from my youth and a Shack.




"Logan" is of course the "Wolverine" of the X-Men series. And as any animal, he is getting long in the tooth.  This is one of those stories of passing the torch to a younger version of him although a girl.  It is a fitting end for Logan. I had to see it through but lets face it Logan needs to rest.

2017 Movie #10   I give it ***stars.


"The Shack" is a movie that I dreaded like i dreaded the book. Having dealt with the death of a daughter (actually never finishing), it is not entertainment.  The movie in many ways is better than the book because it condenses without missing the point.  The gist of the story is the importance of our connection with God and our friends and family.  People debate the theology that is implied in the book, but the message is much simpler. Sometimes we have to get out of our way and our mind and open up to God and open up to see those who love us and need our love.  Hate and guilt and grudges keep us bottled up.  I loved this version of the story.

2017 Movie #11  I give it ****1/2 stars

Ok, "Kong, Skull Island" is a pleasure of my youth.  I loved King Kong as a kid. It was the first story of greed and men who just want to make money if it it risk people and things. King Kong was one of those Things.  This retelling is filled with Hollywood A-list actors and is great action fun.  not was what I needed to end the week.  AND I liked it in 3D.

2017 Movie #12  I give it **** stars

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Moonlight


I had seen seven of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture this year. I  only lacked: "Moonlight".  I thought I knew enough about the story But I DID NOT!

"Moonlight" is one of the best movies of the year.  Great acting and directing. Great Camera work.

The story introduces us to a small black boy (Little) in Florida and follows his life in three acts. child, high school and adult.  He is a frail son of a mother on drugs who is forced to figure out life on his own.
He is neglected at home, bullied at school and at play. The Big kids torment him and call him "Faggot", chase him and beat him.

In one opening scene he takes refuge in an  empty apartment and is found by the local drug dealer.
The dealer is very sensitive to the boy and he and his wife becomes the safety net for Little. He even teaches him to swim and offers protection.  The dealer is not the typical stereotype and they become friends.  The dealer even lectures his Mother.  All is well until Little realizes that the dealer sells to his mother.

He does have an encounter with a boy from school but the boy later is told by the Bullies to beat him up.

We watch him grow into a man without love or direction.

FYI: He becomes a dealer and a Big guy.  Great but sad story about misconceptions of people and their hearts.

It is *****star.  2017 movie #9

Lego Batman

Not much to say. Good Popcorn movie and very witty. I challenge you to watch it without thinking a Trump.  Can't be done.

Fun movie: 2017 movie #8   I give it ***  stars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Gold



"Gold" the movie is true tale of searching for Gold.  Matthew McConaughey stars and literally transforms himself into a totally different guy. He adds 50 pounds and a bald head to play a third generation prostector.  It is also a movie about greed, fraud, and being blinded bt GOLD.  It is like the Wall Street debacle and wall street even has a role in this.

Great story, action and ending.   It doesn't get good reviews but it is a movie goer's movie.

2017 movie #7    I give it ***1/2 stars

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Experimental Theology: Liturgies of Affection

Experimental Theology: Liturgies of Affection: In yesterday's post I talked about how we need liturgies of affection, habits and practices that help us to love others in the expansive...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

These Days

I haven't commented about the president 0r the state of civility in this country- or more to the point the state of my Republican friends that support the changes at hand on FACEBOOK.

To start at the beginning of the change: I suffered through George W Bush. He was our President during a difficult time after 911 and I tried to be a good citizen. I did make fun of him at times for some of the crazy things he said without thought.  But he was my President and the leader of the USA.

When Obama won and took office, I was pleased. He was the best available person for the job. But from the beginning the Republican  party openly said that they would fight against all of his ideas. And  they did!  I watched an 8 year ugly attack.  My friends said that he was not THEIR President because he was after their guns and their freedom.  It was stated freely that he was going to try to become an emperor and end democracy.  Many said that he was not legit since he was not born in the USA and they had Donald Trump to quote.  They said that he was not Christian and was Muslim.
The last 8 years of attacks were not based on facts.

Facts have become irrelevant in our new society. True is what I believe. Don't muddy it with facts.

I have 8 years of this.

Now to my great surprise Donald Trump is the President.  Funny thing is: Those that NEVER accepted Obama as President say well now we should all come together and support him. Anyone who does not is unpatriotic.  I am confused. I was taught by these people that facts don't matter and never mind that they did not support the president for eight years , its my job to do it.

Trump can joke about molesting women and I'm told "Boys will be boys" but my Facebook is filled today with photos that people are deriding President Clinton because they think he was gawking at Mrs. Trump?  Bad Guy!

Trump is my President. He Stole it fair and Square in the current "Facts". He didn't need help but if the Russians, the FBI director , and Wikileaks want to show themselves , OK.

He is my President but he has NOT earned my respect for him as a man or as a Christian.
I am frankly appalled at my Religious friends who believe that he was place their by GOD.

I know the scripture that says that God allows any ruler to govern.  He allowed Saul to be Kind even though David was his choice.  He told Samuel that the people wanting a King was there rejection of HIM- GOD.  He gave them what the wanted. The rest is History.

My point is that GOD doesn't see the world like you and I.  Donald Trump has proven his ignorance of scripture and shows no relationship with GOD.

Christians like him because he is against abortion and NOT supporting people on welfare. In their minds these items out weigh  Humble, Kind, Compassion, etc.

I enter this time with NO exceptions of a Government for the people. I hope that I am wrong, but so far I am not.

Yes, I would love to talk.



The Founder- Grinding it Out



In 1977 I read a book by Ray Kroc called "Grinding it Out" it was about the making of McDonalds.  I was amazed by it because of Kroc's ability to see an idea and look at the possibilities. Now a movie is out called "The Founder" telling the same story with additional items added.  The Movie matches the story in the book.  I would recommend these to anyone that owns a business or competes at a high level in business.

While I would never condone some of his actions, he was driven man. He was not someone you would contract with without a team of GOOD attorneys.  It does tell the story of how two brothers changed the fast food industry and how another man bought their idea and franchised it to the world.

The movie is well acted and well done.  Starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc (He's perfect for this) it has a great cast.

I give it **** 1/2 stars. 2017 Movie #6

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Live by Night

    


I read the series of book by Dennis Lehane about Joe Coughlin. The book was a great read and the movie followed it very close. Like "GodFather" this is a crime family movie with all the violence you would expect.  Ben Affleck directed, wrote the screen play and stars. I liked the book and the movie.

I give it ***stars. 2017 movie #5

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lion



Eagerly waited for "Lion" the rue story of a small boy lost in India who finds his mother 25 years later.  This is a tremendous story that is superbly told.  I was fortunate to see an interview with the actual people of the tale.  A five year year boy follows is brother to a train station where they searched under the seats of empty cars for loose change, etc. The boy falls asleep a wakes up 1,500 miles from home in a different country.  He next gets sent to Australia and as a 30 year old man decides to find is childhood home and family.

This is a great story of adoption and of life.  it is not lost on me that two of the first movies of the year dealt with the loss of a child only to be followed by a story of adoption.  My life.

Great movie and stay for the credits to see the real characters.

2017 Movie #4    It is ***** stars.

Showing Up 4

Think of the things that you and I need to show up for where words or deeds are extra.

Showing up when:

Our Kids or grandkids perform in sports, church or school

Our friends are in the hospital.

Our friends or family has a death.

We worship.

We vote.

Think of the many things were showing up is THE MAIN THING







Thursday, January 12, 2017

Showing Up 3

James Taylor says in The Secret of Life:  "The thing about time is that time isn't really real. It's all on your point of view. How does it feel for you?"

You and I say that we are so-o-o-o busy.  

I have a Christian brother who is a retired, emty-nest, no part time job guy who always says that he can't make meetings for his church family because he doesn't have time.

I hand out bulletins at our Church worship on Sunday.  I get there at 9:00am and worship begins at 9:30 am.  I have watched everyone's patterns (of current attenders). I quit passing out these programs at 9:45 am because about a third of our group gets there after 9:30!  The families that come late are consistently late at the same time each week.  They are NOT late! They attend when they want.
These include "leaders".

I went back and revisited Psalms 122 to verify that David did not say:

"Let us go up to the house of the LORD when we are good and damn ready!"

Psalms 121 "the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Showing Up, Part 2 Being There

Willie Nelson tells this story:

" I was in the Air Force a while and they had what they call "Policing the Area."  that's where you looked around and if there's anything wrong here, there or anywhere, you took care of your own area. And I think that's a pretty good thing to go by. If everyone just takes care of their own area then we won't have any problems.

BE HERE. BE PRESENT. WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE THERE.

And look around you and see what needs to be changed."

Showing Up Part 1

In the bog post that was republished below, Richard Beck makes this statement:

"The magic is found in simply showing up. Week after week, year after year.  It is hard and often tedious. You're frequently tired and have other things to do. It take discipline, commitment and sacrifice. It's a marathon, not a sprint. You just keep showing up. ..you show up and light a candle in the darkness. On the surface, the fidelity of simply showing up looks small and boring. But I've come to see it as powerful and revolutionary as mustard seed, to use Jesus' way of describing the kingdom of GOD."

For me this was heavy stuff.

In my local church we are always concerned about the lack of attendance for various events and classes that are created.  On Wednesday night's we even started preparing meals for those with kids  who are rushed to get to Bible classes.  We try to make things easy: so donuts and coffee on Sunday.

Mr Beck used the term Fidelity. I haven't used that word lately so to the dictionary I ran.

Yikes!  Fidelity is simply: "The quality of Faithfulness or Loyalty."

As a "progressive Christian" I remember almost laughing at my forefathers who considered a "Faithful Christian" one who attended all church services.  I was too enlightened for that because I thought to be faithful was much deeper.  I have been schooled.

The failure of our society that reflects in our church bodies is the absence of loyalty and faithfulness.

We are only loyal to self and when asked to participate we say, " WE will if we have time."  If I deem it important to me I will unless i find something I would like to do.

As Woody Allen once said,  "80% of success is  SHOWING UP"

I am embarking on a personal study of this subject because I need it.

Hillary Clinton said, "Showing up is not all of life but it accounts for a lot,"

Remember Moses at the Burning Bush. He had many reasons why he could not lead Israel. God basically said, YOU NEED TO SHOW UP. I WILL TEACH YOU WHAT TO SAY AND DO.

YOU AND I NEED TO SHOW UP 

Experimental Theology: Prison Diary: Our Friday Series for 2017

Experimental Theology: Prison Diary: Our Friday Series for 2017: Over the last couple years I've done briefer, thematic posts on Fridays. I've blogged through the Rule of St. Benedict. We've re...

Hidden Figures



"Hidden Figures is simply a great movie.  I remember that time well and saw it through the eyes of my "Weekly Reader" at school. I was into the Space Race between the USA and Russia and kept up with all the launches. It was dis-concerting when our rockets would blow up when launched and the Russian were so successful. (WE never heard when they failed!). What I believed was that out German scientists were competing with the Russian's German scientists. We knew that the Germans had the rockets and after the war everyone tried to get them.  What I did not know is this story about the Human computers.  

I grew up in a segregated world and would not have believed that "Colored women" played such a vital role and the news papers would not have carried the story. I is wild that it took over 50 years for the world to know.  It is sad what these women faced but that just makes their achievement even greater.

The movie has great acting and directing. You owe it to yourself to see it.

2017 movie #3  I give it *****stars. It is Oscar season.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Collateral Beauty



Here is a story for you:  A Man's six year old Daughter dies and he has trouble focusing on life or work . His mental state worries his partners at work because the business is suffering without his input.  

But enough about my life, "Collateral Beauty" had the same story line so it had my full attention. The this movie season there has been "Manchester by the Sea" where a father lives without purpose after his children die in a house fire for which he was responsible. Collateral follows a similar line but in this case his daughter dies of a rare disease.  In both of  these movies divorce followed. As Collateral points out, 80% of marriages fail when a child dies.  But where Manchester was just a slice of life at a given time and without closure or change, Collateral studies the father coming to grips with it all.  This is a very creative spin on life. AND I might add very real. There are stories within the story with a great cast (possibly the best assembled this year.)  

It questions things like: 

Something bad has happened but do you stop you life?

Why do we shut people out who do not understand?  Why do your friends shut YOU out at the same time?

Do we actually see the collateral beauty that is all around us during times like this?  Watch the movie and consider the collateral beauty.

Our collateral beauty was finding Lindsey and making her part of us.

2017 Movie #2  It is *****stars out of five.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sing in the New Year


SING

Started off the new movie year with "Sing" the animated movie with voices of great actors and singers. This was  an excellent use of talent, animation and music.  It was fun to guess the actors. The movie is about an ill-fated talent contest with several small stories developing with every character. Enjoyable for the whole family and great music

2017 M0vie #1  I give it ****stars.