December 2, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 6.4.11

Our rambler-in-chief is visiting his family in Ohio this week, so Saturday Ramblings duties have fallen to me, Adam Palmer. Four months ago I was curled up by the fire while two feet of snow fell outside. Today I am curling up from the fiery heat while, uh… putting my two feet into snow… cones? I kinda lost the handle on that bit of wordplay, probably because my hands are full of some flotsam and jetsam I collected on the internet this week. Shall we ramble?

This time one week ago, the ultra-vulgar comedy The Hangover Part II was on its way to an $86 million weekend at the American box office, landing at #2 on the all-time list of weekends for R-rated movies. The irony here is that the previous holder of that record was… The Passion of the Christ. Surely this means something? I’ll leave it to you to sort that out.

Who knew altruism could be logical? I’ll tell you who: Yasuteru Yamada, that’s who. This 72-year-old retired Japanese engineer thought it through and realized that he and his fellow senior citizens should be the ones cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear plant. He says, “I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live… Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer.”

Speaking of retirees, NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth this week, ending its 19-year stint of service. Fun fact: according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the shuttle astronauts’ time in orbit propelled them one two-thousandths of a second into the future.

Here’s one to discuss down below: convicted murderer Anthony Hayes won the right this week to “wage a court fight to receive hate-filled white supremacist material in a Tennessee prison because he claims it’s part of his religion.” On the one hand, we should hope freedom of religion exists in prison. On the other hand, we should want to stamp out hateful theology. For or against? Sound off.

One thing we can all agree on: the fabled food pyramid was flawed from the start. I remember as a youngster hearing about the four food groups in school and concluding that the perfect combination of grains, dairy, vegetables, and meats… is pizza. The government has finally wised up and revised its dietary recommendations. “Proteins.” That’s quite the catch-all.

Before I list the notable birthdays this week, I should probably tell you of a notable death day, that of Jack Kevorkian, the man who assisted over 100 people in ending their lives. And now, this week’s birthdays include: Morgan Freeman; Marilyn Monroe; Saturday Night Live’s greatest impressionist Dana Carvey; Ian Fleming; John F. Kennedy; Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman from 2001: A Space Odyssey, still a great movie); ‘Broadway Joe’ Namath; G.K. Chesterton (Martha of Ireland will, no doubt, share some of her favorite Chesterton quotes); and (couldn’t resist)… Jerry Mathers, as ‘The Beaver’.

This week’s video is a little different from usual. I keep hearing about this new film called The Tree of Life and that it tackles spirituality in ways no film has before. Some have even called it a form of prayer. I haven’t seen it yet, but based on the track record of those involved, I can say that it should at least be interesting, even it isn’t very good. Check out the trailer and tell us what you think.

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  1. I plan to see The Tree of Life the day it opens here in Indy. CT has a great review. Can’t wait.

    • I plan to see it sometime next year on Netflix, since there may be a better chance of me getting hit by a meteorite than of this film coming to Stockton, CA. Great town for fishing, boating and ethnic diversity; lousy if you like art films. Alas.

  2. I look forward to the daily quotes from the G.K. Chesterton Facebook page.

    Particularly relevant with the recent discussions on radical Christianity:

    “The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.” ~GKC: “Orthodoxy”, Chap. III, ‘The Suicide of Thought.’

    And this, for evangelicals married to the spirit of the age:

    “The pure modernist is merely a snob; he cannot bear to be a month behind the fashion.” ~GKC: ‘The Case for the Ephemeral.’

    • “The heretic (who is also the fanatic) is not a man who loves truth too much; no man can love truth too much. The heretic is a man who loves his truth more than truth itself. He prefers the half-truth that he has found to the whole truth which humanity has found. He does not like to see his own precious little paradox merely bound up with twenty truisms into the bundle of the wisdom of the world.” ~ ‘The Common Man.’

    • That first quote is very profound.

  3. I’m so touched by Mr Yamada & his volunteers stepping up. I know there’s logic involved, & it’s good logic, but his protective instincts towards his countrymen are really moving. He really is laying down his life for his friends.

  4. Adam wrote, “I remember as a youngster hearing about the four food groups in school and concluding that the perfect combination of grains, dairy, vegetables, and meats… is pizza.”

    Me too, Adam!

  5. I may go to see The Tree of Life just to listen to “The Moldau” on the soundtrack….

    • How many people, do you think, will buy the soundtrack thinking that “The Moldau” was written for the movie, only to discover it is part of a much larger classical work written by a composer named Smetana?

      I think I’ll pop the two CDs in the player and listen a while…

    • Sounds like I will want to see it. I love Smetana’s Ma Vlast tone poem series. The Moldau was the one that introduced me to them. I still remember shushing college friends while listening to it.

  6. The Tree of Life video was intriguing! I’ve just been discussing movie theme music with a blogging friend of mine and the music played on this video is beautiful! I love Sean Penn!

    Am I the only one who thought the original Hangover movie was hilarious? Wait……don’t answer that.

    I suppose anyone could call anything their “religion”. There was a man in the news recently that was busted on possession of marijana and he said it was his “religious” right to have it and smoke it. See what I mean?

  7. Love that the pyramid is gone (not the one we had when we were kids. The one that came out in the late 90″s. It didn’t make sense.

    • Oops. Note to self: don’t watch TV and type – even if it is on mute. The first sentence should end with an “).”

  8. So Speaking of Hangover 2 I wonder if it highlights one of the proplems with ‘Christian’ art and entertainment. I have been reading Pantagruel by Christian Humanist writer Francois Rabelais, and I can assure you it is far more bawdy, and gross humor than anything the Hangover movies can do. Also, as any good English teacher worth their salt, should have pointed out some of the very bawdy jokes in Shakespeare.

    I guess my question is, when did bawdy humor become something Christians shouldn’t enjoy? Why has ‘prudishness’ become some sort of virtue?

    I used to think there was a Catholic/Protestant divide on this issue, with the Catholics being a bit more willing to laugh at the foibles and messiness of human existence. But after getting to know a few more ‘good’ catholics now I am not so sure.

    I guess I am trying to ask, tough-in-cheek, will I make baby Jesus cry if I laugh at a fart joke? 😉

    • Probably not. But there is Ephesians 4:29 — “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I guess it depends on one’s definition of “unwholesome”?

      • I’m sure unwholesome can be used just like a lot of other things in the Bible. Christian’s may use that verse in Ephesians to ensure that people are pure or “prudish” as topher said, but we will gossip, experience road rage and judge those we know nothing about (and those we know something about).

        But yeah, I guess it depends on one’s defenition of wholesome.

        • So what does wholesome mean? I guess the comparison to The Passion above is what gets me. I know plenty of Christians who will claim to have watched only 2 rated ‘R’ movies, The Passion, and Braveheart or The Patriot. Now I don’t really care for movie violence, but I like adult comedies. I’m an adult and I like to laugh. Yet, that is viewed as ‘unwholesome.’ Whereas, a guy hacking off the heads of his enemies with a gigantic sword, (no euphemism here folks, move along) is considered perfectly fine.

          Sorry, this is a bit of a rant, but I don’t get why the success of Hangover 2 is viewed as a bad thing. I mean, some movie was going to overtake The Passion eventually, why is H2 such a bad thing, (I say this as someone who has not seen it yet so I don’t know if it is really that good or not).

          • I don’t rightly know topher! I wasn’t sure what to think of that comment either. “Bragging” about only seeing 2 rated R movies seems a little childish to me.

            Who said adult comedies are unwholesome? There was just comments on here a few days ago on the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, some people would think that was unwholesome. I’m going to say that it’s a personal perogative kind of thing. But, no doubt someone will give me (or you) a Bible verse as to why it’s not.

            Some people think movies in and of themselves are unwholesome and wrong, others think just rated R movies are unwholesome, while there are still some that think rated R movies are okay as long as no one uses the name of the Lord in vain or has any explicit sex scenes. I say the conviction of the Holy Spirit is not well placed in a box, and the same all the time for every individual.

            You just continue enjoying your fart jokes and have a nice evening!

          • I like comedic movies. I did NOT like The Passion. I felt there was too much, too long, too detailed torture of Jesus, especially during the whipping scene. I felt dirty after watching that movie and the woman watching it with me felt the same way. I know the reality is that Jesus was brutalized. but it seems to me that Mel Gibson really focused on that above everything else.

          • Adam Palmer says


            When I was writing this week’s Saturday Ramblings, the irony of “The Passion” getting bumped by something like “The Hangover Part II” that is so clearly its opposite was too much for me to ignore. On the one hand, you have a dark, torturous story about a horrendous night and its bloody aftermath the following day, and on the other hand you have “The Passion of the Christ.”

            I went out of my way to avoid saying that one film is better than the other, specifically because I think those are judgment calls that boil down to individual taste and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you run into Christians who say they’ve only watched two R-rated movies, well, perhaps those are the only two that they need to watch.

            The point is, when it comes to media consumption (or most other things, really), it is a mistake to legislate right and wrong for other adults. That’s why we have the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to provide guidance, and that’s why God gave us a brain to discern what those things mean for us (and to seek out wisdom from those who have more life experience than we do). Your choices are your choices, not mine, not anyone else’s. You’re the one who has to stand by them, as I have to stand by mine.

            One caveat: we do have a biblical mandate to be wary about causing others to “stumble” in their walk with Jesus. Maybe you’ll love “The Hangover Part II” and think it’s totally great, but you probably shouldn’t recommend it to someone who, say, struggles with pornography. You get the idea.

            Thanks for the thoughts. They are always appreciated.


  9. Maybe another poem? 🙂

    The New Freethinker

    John Grubby, who was short and stout
    And troubled with religious doubt,
    Refused about the age of three
    To sit upon the curate’s knee;
    (For so the eternal strife must rage
    Between the spirit of the age
    And Dogma, which, as is well known.
    Does simply hate to be outgrown).
    Grubby, the young idea that shoots,
    Outgrew the ages like old boots;
    While still, to all appearance, small,
    Would have no Miracles at all;
    And just before the age of ten
    Firmly refused Free Will to men.
    The altars reeled, the heavens shook,
    Just as he read of in the book;
    Flung from his house went forth the youth
    Alone with tempests and the Truth,
    Up to the distant city and dim
    Where his papa had bought for him
    A partnership in Chepe and Deer
    Worth, say, twelve hundred pounds a year.
    But he was resolute. Lord Brute
    Had found him useful; and Lord Loot,
    With whom few other men would act,
    Valued his promptitude and tact;
    Never did even philanthropy
    Enrich a man more rapidly:
    Twas he that stopped the Strike in Coal,
    For hungry children racked his soul;
    To end their misery there and then
    He filled the mines with Chinamen–
    Sat in that House that broke the Kings,
    And voted for all sorts of things–
    And rose from Under-Sec. to Sec.
    Some grumbled. Growlers who gave less
    Than generous worship to success,
    The little printers in Dundee
    Who got ten years for blasphemy,
    (Although he let them off with seven)
    Respect him rather less than heaven.
    No matter. This can still be said:
    Never to supernatural dread,
    Never to unseen deity,
    Did Sir John Grubby bend the knee;
    Never did dream of hell or wrath
    Turn Viscount Grubby from his path;
    Nor was he bribed by fabled bliss
    To kneel to any world but this.
    The curate lives in Camden Town,
    His lap still empty of renown,
    And still across the waste of years
    John Grubby, in the House of Peers,
    Faces that curate, proud and free,
    And never sits upon his knee.

  10. I see so few movies so I had not yet heard of this one. Thanks for alerting me to it. It’s on my list of To Sees now.