Monday, January 25, 2010

The Sanctity of Human Life and . . . No Country for Old Men

Some of you may have seen the movie No Country for Old Men. It is based on a book by Cormac McCarthy, which I just finished reading. I want to share an interesting passage from the book.
If you have seen the movie, you know that it is a haunting (and violent) story of an aging sheriff growing more and more disillusioned because of the violence of humanity against one another. Here is a brief section from the sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones in the movie). It is interesting to see McCarthy's observation here (emphasis is all mine):

I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they’d been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. S they got one of them forms that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old. That it’s one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that can’t tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I’ve got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it ain’t too late.

Here a year or two back me and Loretta went to a conference in Corpus Christi and I got set next to this woman, she was the wife of somebody or other. And she kept talkin about the right wing this and the right wing that. I ain’t even sure what she meant by it. The people I know are mostly just common people. Common as dirt, as the sayin goes. I told her that and she looked at me funny. She thought I was sayin somethin bad about em, but of course that’s a high compliment in my part of the world. She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I don’t like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I don’t think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I don’t have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin to say that not only will be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

So. . .sorry, but I have to weigh in about the upcoming season of Survivor. I am a little embarrassed, but I still really enjoy the show.
The cast has been announced. I will comment on each of the players.

Who I am really glad to see:
Colby (Australia): You can't have heroes without Colby. He is the best. I really would love to see him win it all this time around. I also really think he can win. There are other targets, and he is really likable.
Rupert (Pearl Islands): Along with Colby, Rupert is the one male hero that was an absolute must. I still am not convinced that he is a great player, but he is a great guy and a great survivor. Maybe he can get carried to the end. If he does, he would be hard to beat.
Boston Rob (Marquesas): I think he could really win this time around. He is a great player, and super-competitive.
Stephanie (Palau): She is the female Rupert (but a better player). I am really glad she is on. If she can make the merge, she could be really dangerous.
Cirie (Panama)
: I am really glad she is back. Probably my favorite female player of all time. Like Steph, if she can make the merge, she may make it all the way. I would love to see her finally make it to the end. If she does, I don't think anyone could outdo her in the Final Tribal.
Russell (Samoa)
: Great choice. What an unbelievable and unique player. I think his chances of winning are actually pretty decent.
Coach (Tochantins): Coach is ridiculous and that is why they needed to have him on the show. I think he has absolutely ZERO chance of winning, but he is going to be entertaining. Hopefully he can stay in long enough for that.

Who I am relatively glad to see:
Tom (Palau): Tom is great, but I am not crazy about bringing back winners. I just think it is going to be too easy to vote him off.
Parvati (Cook Islands): Had to bring her back, but the same applies to her as applies to Tom. She won. She won't win again.
JT (Tochantins): See Tom.
Sandra (Pearl Islands): See Tom. But she won quite a while ago. I don't get why she is a villain. I don't really think she was a very impressive winner last time, so I don't know how big a target she will be. But she also isn't great in challenges, so she might be out early.
Tyson (Tochantins): He is really good in challenges. At the beginning of his season, I liked him and thought he was hysterical. As the season went on, I came to believe that he was just mean. I don't know. He will be good, but I am not a big fan.

Who I am lukewarm about seeing:
James (China): Everyone loves James (me too). James is big and strong, and he is a great guy. Not a great player, though. It is fun to watch him because he is such a beast in challenges. I don't think he will win, though.
Amanda (China): I get why they asked her. She is good, and she made it to the end both times she played (and then choked horribly both times at the Final Tribal). I am a little tired of her, though. She needs to be voted off this time. I don't think the others will let her get to the end for the 3rd time.
Courtney (China)
: She was funny and did better than expected, but I thought she was completely carried to the end by Todd (my pick in that season). I don't know why she is on this season. She is in serious danger of being voted off early because she is really not good in challenges.

Who I don't get:
Candice (Cook Islands): This just baffles me as to why she was picked. I don't get why she is on the show. And I don't get why she is a hero. She was sent to exile island like 4 times in a row after her mutiny. She finished 8th in her season. She may fly under the radar this season because she was not terribly impressive before.
Sugar (Gabon): Another choice that I am not crazy about. I get her a little more than Candice (at least Sugar made it to the end in her season). Oh well. Maybe she will help to get the bad people off.
Randy (Gabon)
: I kind of get this pick because he was a riot, but I think they could have done better.
Danielle (Panama): I guess it get it because she finished 2nd, but I thought she was really forgettable.
Jerri (Australia): I don't get why they keep bringing her back. She is not that good. I just think it is probably because she and Colby clashed. They want to play off that again.

Who I wish was on:
Overall, I think that cast is really good. I think it will be a great season. But there are a few players that I would have loved to see again:
Terry (Panama): He so dominated the challenges that season, and then Danielle betrayed him and never gave him the chance to win it all. I wish they would bring him back.
Rafe (Guatemala): He was great he first time, winning challenges and running things in the tribe.
P.G. (China): I actually would rather see her than Amanda or Courtney (or Sugar or Candice). She played with gusto and lasted a long time.
Tina (Australia): I know this goes against not wanting winners, but she was a great winner, and a great person.
Erik (Fans vs. Favorites): For the guy who gave up immunity and then got voted off, how could he not get another invite. Classic!

Should be fun.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Pictures from Maui

So, we had the wonderful privilege of getting to spend our Christmas and New Year's in Maui this year. I thought I would just post a bunch of pictures in no particular order to give a little taste of the trip. I may try to do a more orderly post sometime later.

Here is Matt trying out the snorkel. He didn't enjoy going into the water, but that doesn't mean that he can't enjoy the gear.

Here is Jack with Popsy.

Here are Matt and Jack with their cousins Jake and Ty.

Here are Matt and Jake. They are wearing their makeshift eye-patches. Also, you may observe that Matt is wearing his Tim Tebow jersey. We all watched Tebow's last college game (as he shredded Cincy).

As I said, Matt wasn't crazy about the water, but we still hit the beach, and he enjoyed some sand games.

It was really warm (even in late December and early January), so we got outside and played. Matt continues to love to play baseball.

He got a pass to a really great aquarium. The boys really enjoyed looking at all the fish. Some of the favorites were the hammerhead sharks and the jellyfish.

Here's Jack and me looking out at the beautiful ocean.

There's that smile, as we enjoyed some lunch out.

Jack enjoyed time in the pool.

Here is Matt, enjoying some time on the beach with Karina.

And here is Jack enjoying his lunch with Karina.

Jack liked swimming in the pool and the ocean also.

Here's one picture we got of all four of us.