Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: UP

Edward Asner • Jordan Nagai • Christopher Plummer • Bob Peterson • Delroy Lindo • Jerome Raft • John Ratzenberger

Disney/Pixar presents a film directed by Pete Docter. Written by Bob Peterson. Running time: 96 minutes. Rated PG (for some peril and action).

What a truly great movie! You know, ordinarily, I would have completely missed a movie like this, but for my blog I decided to try and get to an opening day, and wow, was I rewarded. Amazed too, for I have never been in a movie that seems made for kids where the place was packed with adults, and in the middle of the morning at that. I asked the woman next to me how all these adults could be here on a weekday, and she commented something about the unemployment rate. God help us!

Anyhow, Disney/Pixar has really hit this one out of the park as far as these types of animated projects go. I had seen Monsters vs Aliens a month or so ago, and found that one to be sort of regular as far as the genre goes, especially the elongated race at the end, which reminded me of sixty other TV shows and movies I have seen over my life time. I suppose that’s the point though, I am not 22 yrs old anymore. I have seen these things. Hollywood doesn’t like that fact. (sigh) But this movie UP is a rich and tightly written story which is a times poetic, at times touching and also fun. It CAN be done folks, and Disney proves it! We can have a movie without flesh peddling! We can have a movie without offending ANYONE and yet be entertaining!

Personally, I miss the 2-D Disney movies, a la Jungle Book, after all, I grew up with them. But with a creation like this one, so deftly and professionally laid out, I am willing to join the gravy train wholeheartedly. But, here is what really got me about the story: It’s actually quite deep in it’s meaning and the subtle lessons it passes along. If you are watching closely you’ll see them, you’ll perceive the inner voice of the narrative in much the same way as a great classic novel would reveal them. There is a great moment in the movie, which I DO have to mention that illustrates this moment perfectly. One of the major plot points has to do with a sentimental conscription that the main character has committed himself to for quite some time. When he was younger, he and his love had dreamed of achieving a goal together, but now, years later, as he is now alone, he has set his mind to achieve this goal on his own. And if you are watching closely, you’ll see a giant “okay, what now?” moment coming, along with a major bitter taste of disappointment. And, when it happens, he makes a fateful decision between holding on to the past and almost “worshiping” it, or throwing it all out in favor of the important things of today and tomorrow and moving on. How symbolic! How true to life is his answer at this moment. When the things you’ve held onto forever suddenly show the true banality of their reality, and how, in reality, they have held you back; and for no good reason.

I also have to give props to the voice over direction which is spot on. The young boy character in this movie has a young actor who is going to go a long way in the voice over industry for his ability to convey the most subtle of vocal meanings. He was so good I was quite taken by surprise as to his ability to illicit reactions from myself and those seated around me with just the slightest whispered inflection. Everyone here is great of course, and it was great to hear Lou Grant behind the main character, but don’t miss the performances for the visual side, which of course is also quite amazing.

Take your whole family to see this movie, whoever you are, whatever you believe and wherever you live. It’s a real delight to see a movie so sharp and expertly crafted. Spend the money this time, send Hollywood the message!

6/5 Stars (Really!)

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Ben Stiller • Amy Adams • Robin Williams • Owen Wilson • Bill Hader • Hank Azaria • Christopher Guest • Dick Van Dyke • Clint Howard • Steve Coogan • Eugene Levy

Twentieth Century-Fox presents a film directed by Shaun Levy. Written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated PG (for mild action and brief language).

Amy Adams. She’s Amelia Earheart in this movie. She does for this mess what the Fonze did for Happy Days. I want to see THAT movie. I want to see her as Amelia as she is here, because from the looks of this mess, it’s all there is to see.

I can’t say I have been to too many movies in my entire lifetime where a movie was rated #1 at the box office on opening weekend and yet I actually saw people get up and leave the theater after twenty minutes. Who can blame them? This is a big empty cup of fluff. Completely derivative of both itself and other sources. I got very tired of seeing this movie come crashing to a halt to suddenly have to sit through two characters do a Seinfeld bit, and they did this a whole handful of times ad nauseam. The movie also borrows from Monty Python and several of its’ imitators. I got tired of how many strung together gags there were which had very little to do with anything like a plot, although I suppose if you are planning on selling video games to youngsters, then this was perhaps the point. And what’s the deal with Robin Williams? Does anyone ever notice that when he doesn’t cry or do a dozen different funny voices in a movie, he seems to disappear and never wins those awards? And PLEASE, let’s forget making those groaner American Idol references! It’s not funny. It’s not cute. It’s just obvious and a waste of our money and time. Anything the kids can do for themselves in the school yard to make each other laugh is a tragic waste in a 150 million dollar movie. (Are you listening, Jim Carrey?)

Despite Amy Adams, I think this movie is, at best, a DVD rental. But maybe it’s not worth that either. Why is that, you ask? I think a sequel has to expand from it’s premise and do more with itself than just take what has come before and multiply it times two. You remember Rocky? I bet you do, but what you don’t remember is how Rocky II was really the same movie, just expanded out and with the opposite ending. It wasn’t until Rocky III that the franchise had something different to say, and that’s one of the reasons I remember it to this day over the sequel. Send Hollywood a message, don’t spend the money here. Go see Disney’s UP. You’ll thank me.

2/5 Stars (ugh!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Children and God

by: Francis Hirak

What is the key priority when it comes to children and God, and why are they so important and precious to Him? How should we go about raising our children according to God so as to give them true understanding and become wise and knowledgeable in God’s ways? What are God’s principles when it comes to children and how should we apply them? Jesus answers many of these questions in Mark 10 and shows us how precious children are to God.

As we examine Mark 10:13-15, we can see how precious our children are to Him though taking a close look at this passage. “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Let us take a little time and examine Ephesians 6:1-4 and see if we can find the key priority when it comes to children and God through this passage. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Now, let us see what Proverbs 22:6 has to offer. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

So, how do we raise our children and when do we start training them? We know that going to Church with our children and doing Bible study and spending quality time with them is our main priority and in turn is a great thing that is leading them to the Kingdom of Heaven. How do we get them to trust us and when do we start training them?

When it comes to training our children and gaining trust it all starts from the day they were born and the first time you held that precious little infant in your arms and close to your heart. When they felt the warmth of your body and saw the affection and kindness that came in abundance for them, they knew it was true love from the start. Then in turn they put their full trust in you with the knowledge that you would always be there and always be true.

When they take their first steps with those little wobbling legs not knowing what would happen, they began to experience their first faith knowing that you would be there. Every time they fell down you were there to give them the encouragement that they needed to get back up and continue on.

Now that they are walking big and strong, you’ll find that they have problems distinguishing right from wrong. They come to you with all their problems even though small, they know they can count on you to lead them straight to God’s law. They find His ways very attractive because now you are keeping God’s laws all so active.

As they continue to keep vigorously seeking God’s law, you get the privilege of watching them grow wise and tall. Because you took the time to put down what you were doing no matter if it was important if even at all, you knew it was up to you to teach them the law. You had the understanding that their foundation had to be strong so you worked on their character to help them along. Even though their problems were small, look what you accomplished through Gods law. Your children are now healthy and strong. Give thanks to God for helping you to lead them along.

Your children now have the understanding and were loved from the start, so you now know this world won’t get hold of their heart. They will love God with full strength and all their heart and from God’s word they will never depart. All that they learned from their youth down through they will keep it in their heart whenever it is due.

The moral of this article is, when it comes to children and God is that we are all Gods children and when it comes to raising our children we should stick to God’s principles. As long as we stick to God’s principles, we know that as true Christians you can’t go wrong.

Through us teaching our children Gods ways, when bad influences come upon them it will automatically set off an alarm sending them a signal that something is not right. They will say in their heart, “This does not correspond to what my mother and father taught me according to God’s ways.” And because you were always there for them who are they going to trust, you or the bad influence?

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: California Spins Out of Control

Our lives are pretty busy these days, so there’s a pretty good chance that you weren’t aware of a new California state bill which was passed a last year and took effect a while ago. Better sit down for this one, it’s a doozy! On October 12th, Govern-ator Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law California Senate Bill 777. That bill eliminates Education Code 212, which defines “sex” as “the biological condition or quality of being a male or female human being.”

In effect, the bill redefines the term “gender” for all schoolchildren by adding Educational Code 210.7, which will read: “’Gender’” means sex, and includes a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.” In other words, it is a redefinition of gender that says you are whatever you choose to be regardless of your anatomical makeup. It tells kids that just because you are born a little girl or little boy, it doesn’t mean that you are.

Public schools have been teaching cultural, social, and moral relativism for years. Now they’ll be promoting sexual relativism too. All lifestyles are equally wonderful. All sexual orientation is equally wonderful. If you’re a little boy, but you want to be like your sister – well, go for it. Dress like her. That’s okay.

The ridiculous law has effectively banned use of the terms “mom” and “dad” from California schools. The reason? Using those terms promotes a discriminatory bias against alternative lifestyle parents. I never thought I’d live to see the day when “mommy” and “daddy” would be considered bad words. All kinds of vulgarity and foul language are just fine in these modern, progressive times – but you better not say “mom” and “dad!” That’s wrong! What country am I living in anyway?

It’s important to understand that this stuff will be taught to all children in the public school system beginning in kindergarten! Various Christian grassroots organizations have now joined together in calling for an “exodus” from the California public school system. The coalition includes Eagle Forum, the Campaign for Children and Families, and Exodus Mandate, as well as ten others.

Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum, in an interview with Christian Newswire said the following: “Many of us have worked to reform public schools. Unfortunately, SB 777 and the related legislation represent a repudiation of 2,000 years of Christian moral teaching on human sexuality, marriage, and the family. The result is that California’s schools are now promoting behaviors and lifestyles that are physically and spiritually dangerous for children. Consequently, in California, parents must try to find alternatives to the public schools.”

Randy Thomasson, chief of the Campaign for Children and Families, is one of those who originally called for an abandonment of public schools. “First, the law allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality, and trans sexuality,” Thomasson said. “Then the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality, and trans sexuality to six million children in California’s government-controlled schools. To rescue their children, loving parents need to find an alternative to government schools, and every church needs to make it a priority to help parents be in charge of their children’s education again.”

Alternative lifestyle groups claim that all they want is the end of discriminatory bias. Officials with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the Trans gender Law Center already have outlined what they believe to be nondiscriminatory treatment in the school system. “If you want to use a restroom that matches your gender identity… you should be allowed to do so,” the groups advise. “Whenever students are divided up into boys and girls, you should be allowed to join the group or participate in the program that matches your gender identity as much as possible.”

Further, the groups advise, “If you change your name to one that better matches your gender identity, a school needs to use that name to refer to you.” Get it? Take your choice. Who do you feel like being today – Max or Maxine? The advocacy group also warns schools against bringing parents into any such discussion with students. Yeah, keep those parents out of this by all means. It takes a village, not parents.

This is not about having tolerance for others. This goes way beyond that. This is not just tolerating, or accepting those who may be different from us – this is about promoting alternative lifestyles and selling the idea to young impressionable children without parents having a say in it.

That’s the deal. So, if you desire a good, solid, sensible education for your kids without state indoctrination, you’d better think about getting them out of the California school system, and quick. And that, as Robert Blake used to say, is the name of that tune.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Soloist

The Soloist
Jamie Foxx • Robert Downey Jr. • Mary Catherine Keener • Tom Hollander • Lisa Gay Hamilton

Paramount Pictures presents a film directed by Joe Wright. Written by Susannah Grant, based on the book by Steve Lopez. Running time: 117 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements, some drug use and language).

We all live on the toilet. Oh, I could be nicer about that, I could say we all have to eat. But the truth is, we all like different foods. My filet mignon is probably your taco grande and so forth. But let’s face it, there comes a time (hopefully) when we all have to take a seat and spend a few private moments allowing our bodies to do away with the rejected elements of the days intake. For some of us our minds wander to the days events, or tomorrows’ cares or perhaps we take a moment to read the latest issue of Discover magazine (heh). You know that moment. I know that moment. Despite who and what we are, millionaire, movie star or poverty stricken street performer, we all know that moment.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez who is struggling to find a story that truly moves him. In a city with 90,000 homeless, many of which have their own tragic stories and lives left unfulfilled, Lopez finds a worthy story in Jamie Fox’s character Nathaniel Ayers Jr.; a one time promising cellist who suffers from mental illness and feels safer on the open streets than he does inside a closed building. To his credit, Lopez is a lot more brave in his quest to enter the world of the homeless than many people would be. I, myself, approach them when I can with a measure of caution and care when my inner mercy calls out to me to lend them a hand. I do this because I know that when you fall that far, it’s almost impossible to pick yourself up. There are those who have successfully done it though.

Lopez finds a story here, however; because he is impressed with the promise and talent he sees in Ayers as he plays a violin on the street. I think Lopez on some level sees himself in a fallen state in Ayers and this is what motivates him in his quest to have Nathaniel “saved” and restored to his lost potential. I say this because there are many scenes where Lopez has joined the homeless people of a mission in downtown Los Angeles, sitting on the steps with them, walking among them in obviously dangerous conditions and chatting with them as though they were other employees at the newspaper. But he doesn’t see a story in any of these people, just Nathan. So please understand, when he sees Nathan, he knows that moment.

This is a great movie. The actors are spot on and the production is very thoughtful. We even get an imaginary trip inside Nathan’s mind to see the colors of music as he listens to Beethoven. And how sweetly tragic that trip is. Especially when you realize that such fanciful ability qualifies him for nothing on an SAT test and is considered more a mental aberration that a useful part of his artistry. Many reviewers missed that minutiae of the main thrust of this film. They missed such revelations of not only lost and missed talent, and a life that could have gone in what we believe is a more conventional and successful direction; but also the extremely limited reality we live in that gives accountants and lawyers benefits denied to those of us who don’t fit into the square peg of our educational system.

Lopez recognizes this tragedy and he does his best to try and guide that lost non-academic genius into the light of day. The problem is, his attempts are flawed and he's misguided as to Nathaniel’s place in our universe. We all can’t be Yoyo Ma. Yoyo has his place, to bring us music and to make sure he doesn’t “bury his talent in the ground”. Nathaniel brings us music too, but he is a call to all of us about our own potential, our own place and weather or not this is OUR universe. Lopez learns this lesson toward the end of the movie. And indeed, though it may be an obvious point that we can’t change the world, the better point is that, talented or untalented, homeless, mentally challenged or brilliant business man; the opportunity for us to show mercy and friendship of mankind is there for us all in the Nathans of this world. If you come away with that realization, then you have connected with this movie in a spiritual way.

5/5 stars

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Social Insanity

Last fall, after 20 years of strident inaction, Congress finally passed a bill to increase the fuel efficiency of cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. There was a lot self-congratulation on Capitol Hill. The law seemed to mandate roughly a one-third increase in new-vehicle MPG by 2020 - enough to eliminate the oil the United States imports from the Persian Gulf. Sounds great! But I am hugely suspicious … [there is] a waiver provision that says that if the new standards prove too onerous, automakers can ask they be waived. That is a formula for what Washington specializes in: the appearance of dramatic action while nothing actually happens.” So what’s going on in Washington right now? Pleading poormouth, the big three automakers are already asking for a waiver from the 2015 interim standard, which requires roughly a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. That standard does not take effect for seven years, and already Detroit automakers are saying they can’t meet it.

Or perhaps, they don’t want to try. Lee Hyun-Soon, president of Hyundai, told the Wall Street Journal last week his company will meet the entire 2020 standard by 2015, and will do so entirely with conventional vehicles -- no complex plug-in hybrids, just sensible engineering using existing technology. Whenever Washington seems to get serious about oil waste, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Subaru put their engineers to work -- then build, at American factories staffed by American workers, vehicles that comply with MPG rules. Whenever Washington seems to get serious about oil waste, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors put their lobbyists at work to dilute or evade the standards. There are only 535 people in the United States so gullible they would believe Korean engineers can meet a technical standard, yet American engineers cannot. Unfortunately, those 535 people are the members of the United States Congress.

Has anyone from the mainstream media followed up on how last year’s seemingly strict MPG bill is being watered down? As Eric Patashnik of the University of Virginia details in his powerful and timely new book “Reforms at Risk,” reporters are often present when “dramatic” legislation passes, then treat the enactment as the end of the story -- paying no attention as lobbyists later water down a bill. As Thomas Friedman points out in his important new book “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” the refusal of Congress and the White House to take any real action against oil waste has had the effect of transferring hundreds of billions of dollars to Moscow, and to the oil sheiks who support anti-Western and anti-Israel terrorism. If MPG standards were higher, oil demand would fall. Instead, high demand holds up barrel prices, enriching Persian Gulf dictatorships and Vladimir Putin. Why, Friedman asks, is Russia suddenly confrontational? Because in the past two years, Russian elites have gotten super-rich, owing to rising oil prices brought on at least in part by U.S. stupidity regarding petroleum waste. If Congress grants Detroit the MPG waivers it seeks, the stupidity will march on.

Meanwhile, back at the federal budget: In 1976, the entire U.S. national debt was about $800 billion, converted to today’s dollars. Last summer, Congress without debate and with barely any notice added $800 billion to the national debt ceiling -- raising that ceiling by an amount equal to the entire debt a generation ago. With no debate! The U.S. national debt was $5 trillion in 1997, and has doubled to almost $10 trillion since. Why aren’t the young outraged? The old are acting irresponsibly -- spending like crazy but unwilling to tax themselves, then handing the bill to the young. If the young were spending borrowed money like crazy, the old would be lecturing them. How come in Washington, the old can get away with behavior that would be called reckless for the young?

At any rate, the moment another $800 billion worth of borrowing was authorized, supposedly for “emergency” purposes, lobbyists got to work trying to seize every penny now. The big three automakers are now asking Congress for $50 billion of that $800 billion, supposedly to retool to build the fuel-efficient vehicles they had no way -- just no way on Earth -- of knowing they would ever be required to build. As Paul Ingrassia pointed out in last week’s Wall Street Journal, when Congress bailed out Chrysler in 1980, the deal was structured so that if the company recovered, taxpayers got most of their money back. But what’s being asked for now is pure subsidy -- money taxpayers will never see again, and that will be used in part to fund the bonuses of overpaid auto executives who got their companies into trouble in the first place. (The Journal opposes the bailout, though the $50 billion would go to Corporate America.) Ingrassia further notes that when Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca tried to weasel out of the deal and keep the money that was promised back to taxpayers, Ronald Reagan stood firm and would not budge. Contrast Reagan’s sense of civic responsibility to the current Congress, both of which just cannot wait to give away other people’s money.

Now connect the dots! The automakers are asking for $50 billion in handouts to meet new fuel economy requirements -- at the very time they are also asking for waivers from those requirements. If the past is any guide, they will get both the subsidies and the waivers. The net will be zero progress, more billions of dollars for oil shipped to anti-American forces in the Persian Gulf, and more debt handed to everyone under the age of 30.

I want taxpayers to stop being taxed to subsidize wealthy people’s hobbies. But as long as you give the powers that be the ability to answer one constituency, they will answer any and all constituencies, starting first with those that finance their campaigns.

Throw the bums out. Start from scratch. Better yet, throw them out and then just do nothing. We’d all be better off. The consumer would shop for the most efficient car if he or she cares about fuel mileage. When you subsidize, the price goes up. Just like the price of a college education, the price of food (ag subsidies abound), and anything else the government “gives” us.

I also put the blame where it really lies... middle class greed. The cool thing to do these days is blame the government for not monitoring the lending industry when they were handing out outrageous loans to people who couldn’t afford them... yet no one blames the poor soul making $60,000 who signed off on the balloon mortgage for the $650,000 house because he felt like he “deserved it”?

I say that the government doesn’t need to create more regulatory departments and more divisions within it’s already insanely bloated structure which are responsible for protecting silly people from making silly decisions. What’s next, the government is going to stand in the produce section of every supermarket in America and tell consumers if the meat they’re buying is spoiled by the rotten smell? Let’s get real.

The problem isn’t just the rich exploiting the middle class, it’s the middle class having no restraint or personal accountability. People say that we’re teetering on the brink of a depression, but companies like Best Buy, which don’t sell one essential item that a person needs to live, are turning record profits.

Put the blame where it really lies... unabashed American greed. From the single mom using her child support money for new shoes instead of her kids education and essential items to the CEO of the gigantic corporation, greed is what is spinning the wheels that this country runs on, and that is the REAL problem.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Angels & Demons

Tom Hanks • Ewan McGregor • Ayelet Zurer • Stellan Skarsgard • Pierfrancesco Favino • Nikolaj Lie Kaas • Armin Mueller-Stahl

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Ron Howard. Written by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman, based on the novel by Dan Brown. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated PG-13 (some violence).

As is the usual with these reviews, I’m going to let the reader go elsewhere for the rundown of what the movie may be about as far as the run of events that take place, and the rather outlandish, “against all odds” plot progression that happens. I think the first thing that came to mind for me was an episode of MASH where the producers placed a clock in the corner of the screen as intense happenings unfolded during that weeks show. It hooked the viewer and made one feel they were a part of the action. Angels and Demons is built the same way, but without the clock. For much of the movie there is a nice, long and intense chase across the Vatican and certain parts of Rome. Seeing Rome and the churches visited, such as the Sistine Chapel, was a nice touch, even though most of it was probably a mix of CGI and reality.

During this chase there are all sorts of things that can be of concern to the Christian perspective on Hollywood movie making. There are lots of Cardinals, for one thing, and even an actor I have not seen since the sixties in an episode of Gilligan’s Island as one of those Cardinals. The Cardinals do what you would expect the Catholic Cardinals to do, they make statements about how the Catholic Church is the vessel through which the Holy Spirit speaks to the world. They make excuses for religion not being perfect because man is not perfect. They maintain a dogged persistence to continue their assignment of re-electing a new Pope despite that fact that their lives are very much in danger. And yet we see them pray and seek God in these decisions not at all. Now, that’s not their fault, it’s just typical Hollywood movie making.

Naturally, of course, Tom Hanks character is a kind of superman, who’s brains and reason are never shown to be irrationally committed. He makes mistakes, of course, but he is totally forgivable in a way that the Cardinals and Priests in this movie are not. He operates on his own strength and of course wins out in the end, but the so called “Holy” persons here are shown to be either in severe doubt as to even the existence of God or else they only see themselves as the focus of Holiness... oh, and each other of course. In one scene a priest must open the Popes coffin to check for evidence of poisoning and he actually kneels down and prays for forgiveness to the DECEASED POPE before he continues. I don’t want to reveal the twist that comes toward the end of the story, but the only reason it happens at all is because the “Holy” person who has secretly been the catalyst for the whole story has a dangerous undercurrent of atheism he is totally unaware of. If your kids see this movie, please make sure they understand how wrong headed and misunderstood Hollywood is about all this, despite the fact that a lot of Catholics will see not that much incorrect here. Oh, and there is a reference to “St. Teresa on Fire” which made me squirm in my seat at how outrageous and flawed the interpretation of this particular monument to adoration is.

There are some grisly death scenes, two burnings, several dead bodies with decay and even vermin. There is also a near drowning, the movie keeps a certain pace with this sort of thing. There is almost a fascination that makes all the Roman Gothic and historic reference move toward a semblance with the kind of thing seen in vampire movies, but thankfully those scenes were kept to a minimum. Producer/Director Ron Howard wisely kept any flesh peddling out of this one, as there simply is no time for anything remotely like that. We’re on the clock here people. But to close, if I were a member of the Illuminati viewing this movie, I would want equal time.

3/5 Stars

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Fear is in the Land

Organizations that apologize for Islamic terrorists on a regular basis, such as
the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR), are engaging in character assassination when they equate honest criticism of Islamic extremism with the charge that the person doing the criticizing is anti-Muslim or anti-Arab. The charge is as ridiculous and as dangerous as a claim that criticizing Nazism during World War II would've been anti-German or criticizing Communism during the Cold War would've been anti-Russian.

In case the apologists haven't noticed, the United States, the western democracies, and, for that matter, more moderate Muslim states and peoples around the world are defending themselves against an aggressive enemy. That enemy is the forces of Islamic terrorism. It should be obvious that criticizing those who are trying to kill us, and in fact have already killed many of us, because we refuse to submit ourselves to their control has nothing to do with the ethnic background of the killers but, rather, has everything to do with their actions. What these apologists are doing is no different than claiming that it would be anti-Italian to criticize the Mafia.

A case in point is an attempt by CAIR to seek damages from US Airways for ejecting a group of 6 bearded Imams who publically chanted "Allah Akbar" before boarding a passenger jet in Minneapolis last November. While this would be part of a prayer for moderate Muslims, for the Islamic terrorist, such an utterance would be the the equivalent of shouting "Heil Hitler" before gassing a group of Jews. After boarding the plane, the Imams, rather than sitting at their assigned seats, situated themselves at locations in the plane that were reminiscent of positions taken by the 9/11 hijackers. According to the police report, an Arabic speaking passenger spoke to one of the Imams who expressed radical views. Hijackers shouted "Allah Akbar" as they seized the passenger jets on September 11, 2001 turning them into missiles. Under the circumstances, people boarding American airplanes are right to be concerned.

Yet I saw the executive director of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership, Dr. Hussein Ibish, chortling and sneering the other night on Hannity and Colmes in response to concerns expressed by Stop the Madrassa Coalition representative Sara Springer over a planned opening of a public school in Brooklyn that would be dedicated to the teaching of Arab language and culture. I'm sure that such a school would be fine in more peaceful times but is it not reasonable and proper, in these less than peaceful times, to be concerned and vigilant?

We are struggling to survive as a nation and as a people and many have already lost the fight. How many children lost one or both of their parents on 9/11? The Department of Homeland Security is telling us to expect more mass murder in the coming months. Yet groups such as CAIR are shutting down our ability to identify the nature of the enemy by harassing and suing those to dare to speak of it. An example is talk show host Michael Graham, who resigned from his DC radio gig rather than apologize for remarks he made about Islamic terrorism. His station was threatened with a lawsuit by CAIR. Today, Michael Graham is back on the air in Boston but for how long? Indeed, the fear is in the room.

It's rather chilling to acknowledge that in the United Kingdom, extremists are telling the British people: "You're Next!". Recently I attended an anti-terrorism meeting with FBI agents who suggested that I Google "Domestic Terrorist Organizations" and take a look at the long list of terrorists right here in America.

There are many. A terrorist is someone who wants to change the government or society with the use of criminal acts. One of the ways that you and I can help the good guys out is by being vigilant. Today. Now. Report anything that makes you suspicious to the police immediately. For instance:

Individuals who do not fit the surrounding environment, dressed in bulky or inappropriate attire for the location or time of year.

Loiterers who hang around parking lots and other locations not generally open to the public.

Individuals making diagrams of buildings, taking pictures of non-tourist attraction locations, this can include videos. (and don't be fooled.... race and skin color have very little to do with terrorism anymore.)

Abandoned vehicles or vehicles left running for extended periods of time.

Any unattended boxes, backpacks etc., that are strangely out of place. For instance, if you find a backpack at the bottom of the trash can in the restroom of a public place.... RUN LIKE HELL!

One more thing, if you see neighbors who are living in an apartment, but only have computers and an army cot, or they are very thread bare, yet have a place to live and don't seem to have any means of support... this is a real tip off. So if Cosmo Kramer is your neighbor. Call the police. :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Star Trek

Star Trek
Christian perspective movie review
Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults, Family
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Drama, Adaptation, Sequel
Length: 2 hr. 6 min
Year of Release: 2009
USA Release: May 8, 2009 (wide—3,500 theaters)

Chris Pine (James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison, Rachel Nichols, Faran Tahir, Clifton Collins Jr., Antonio Elias, Sean Gerace, Randy Pausch, Tim Griffin, Freda Foh Shen, Katarzyna Kowalczyk, Jason Brooks, Sonita Henry, Kelvin Yu, Marta Martin, Tavarus Conley, Jeff Castle, Billy Brown, Jimmy Bennett, Greg Grunberg, Spencer Daniels, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Zoe Chernov, Max Chernov, Jacob Kogan, James Henrie, Colby Paul, Cody Klop, Akiva Goldsman, Anna Katarina, Douglas Tait, Tony Guma, Gerald W. Abrams, James McGrath, Jr., Jason Matthew Smith, Marcus Young, Bob Clendenin, Darlena Tejeiro, Reggie Lee, Jeffrey Byron, Jonathan Dixon, Tyler Perry, Ben Binswagner, Margot Farley, Paul McGillion, Lisa Vidal, Alex Nevil, Kimberly Arland, Sufe M. Bradshaw, Jeff Chase, Charlie Haugk, Nana Hill, Michael Saglimbeni, John Blackman, Jack Millard, Shaela Luter, Sabrina Morris, Michelle Parylak, Oz Perkins, Amanda Foreman, Michael Berry Jr., Lucia Rijker, Pasha Lychnikoff, Matthew Beisner, Neville Page, Jesper Inglis, Greg Ellis, Marlene Forte, Leonard O. Turner, Mark Bramhall, Ronald F. Hoiseck, Irene Roseen, Jeff O’Haco, Scottie Thompson, Deep Roy, Majel Barrett Roddenberry

Director: J.J. Abrams
Producer: Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jeffrey Chernov, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci, David Witz
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

I’ve long been a fan of the original series, one which I grew up with and made countless jokes about with buddies of mine who also shared a kind of love/gentle derision relationship with the show. And I must admit, when I saw that the villain was a Romulan, it was a bit of an offense to me. My favorite episode was always the battle between the Enterprise and the Romulan Vessel in the “Balance of Terror” episode. It’s big dramatic moment being the realization that Romulans, who had never been seen before, were related to Mr. Spock. Almost like they were distant cousins. But this movie re-writes all of history for a brand new age. I’m also a big Deep Space nine fan, and used to drive home 225 miles every week from a weekend excursion just to catch the next episode at 11pm at night. Now, none of that happened. I’m not a big fan of this idea. Comic books have lead the charge on this sort of thing, making it acceptable to re-write history for a new audience. What’s wrong with my money? Why do comics and movies need new money? Isn’t it enough that Iron Man (another fav of mine) now belongs to Afghanistan and no longer to Vietnam? Is this what we have to look forward to? Every 22 years those things we all grew up with, the “cannon” of our entertainment lives, will be thrown out for a new generation? I’m afraid so.

What makes my protest even more redundant is the fact that director J.J. Abrams has pulled off a real coup with this movie. How can you hate something that is so well done? Nothing was spared in making the writing and production so meticulous and top drawer that if I did, protest the changes to my boyhood Trek universe, then I would probably be the only “nut” outside the theater walking up and down with a sign. There are bigger and better things to protest against, things more meaningful and important. So the producers and writers WILL get away with this, and it’s not such a bad thing.

As far as the relatively mild sexual situations go, these can provide a moment of discussion, and probably should; especially in these days and times when sex before marriage is considered a part of the “third date” ritual. So James T. Kirk is a rake. So were many of the old movie heroes from the 30’s and 40’s, but you knew that was happening off screen. No body had to spell it out for you. In those days a movie could write and the audience would “get it” and you didn’t have to pontificate to your kids about the dangers of pre-marital sex to themselves and others.

Kirk is also displayed here as the brash rebel. I suppose the attraction to the one who breaks all the rules while still succeeding is a deeply ingrained trait in mankind. But it reminds me of that old adage from movies themselves about a ploy that is “so crazy it just might work”. As you and I know, the crazier a plan is, the less likely it is to work. So you see for Hollywood, heroes who follow the rules and win are just not interesting. Women love bad boys, right? And what trumps the bad boy? The good boy who can bring him down. But he can’t do that unless he goes against convention and authority.... right? I mean, if he followed the rules while the bad guy didn’t, then how could he win? Once again, something to discuss with your kids.

As an addition to this theme, Kirk passes Starfleet academy training by cheating a program designed to be a no-win situation. And toward the end of the movie, Old Spock uses something similar and smiles about it. I think we as Christians, need to ask ourselves and discuss with our kids ... just what, or whom... is it that these characters are cheating? Is cheating “power”?

Other sites can tell you all about what this movie is about and describe the sequence of events, so you can go and see them there. What i am here mostly to do is let the reader know about the things would be important if you were watch dogging Hollywood movies for yourself. And, really there isn’t a whole lot that is objectionable, it all depends on your own “line in the sand” as it were. There is some mild cursing, one G**D***, and some female flesh shown, also a few suggestive situations. But these situations don’t get gratuitous, unlike a recent superhero movie that definitely deserved an “R” rating, and should NEVER be allowed in a child’s home. Remember folks, there are some things that cannot be “unseen”... but I digress.

On a plus side, however; these days, perhaps even more than in the turbulent 60’s we need a grounded source as an example for moral and character building representations from show business. So many young people, today, more than any other time in the past, because information and entertainment is so prevalent, use entertainment figures as role models. No other films out to date this summer convey the positive aspects of honor, sacrifice,love, and the concept that revenge is a personal killer, that ultimate corruption corrupts ultimately. So there are those good points right along side the bad points, but that doesn’t mean we should overlook them. After all, what is the reality? It should be emphasized greatly that good behavior reaps good, and you can’t have your cake and eat it too in this life. We are not sitting a smorgasbord of life filled with choices of good and evil, and any mixture will do.

One thing you can say for Star Trek, is that it keeps Hope alive . A hope that in the world of our future, even in the face of adversity, there will be a final resting place for integrity, compassion,true justice. Where there is Hope, there is life... and fulfilled Hope is no Hope at all.

These beautiful concepts are only underscored by the Christian. Put into practice, Jesus’ commands to love thy neighbor, honor mother and father and those in authority, keep oneself pure until marriage, sacrifice for a friend, give to the poor and share with others no matter whom they may be, is the basic reason Christians are drawn to the Trek ‘verse. Although Trek, even as honorable as it’s motives have always been, is not perfect, it is a reassuring knowledge thatJesus was, and although his flesh and blood body is no longer with us, His spirit, The Spirit of God Himself, lives on in us. That He Lives.

If you haven’t already done so, I very much suggest you visit the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. So much of what Star Trek is based upon lends itself directly to the reality of Astrophysics. I recently went myself, and I was amazed and awed by the wrap around movie of the universe I saw. The guy next to me in the reclining seats fell asleep but I was sitting there tearing up at the representation of what is out there n the universe. Our God is an awesome God. And when you put aside the fantasy of things like time travel, and faster than light speed trips, and really take a look at the reality of what has been created, you come to see that Truth is more fantastic than anything created in the mind of man, even Star Trek. The vast depth of space and all it contains is indeed ALL God. The presenters will tell you about man’s discoveries with a footnote of: “We don’t know what that is... or we don’t know why that happens. But those of us who know Christ are very much aware and need to make sure that our kids understand that there is a reality to our universe that has God’s fingerprints all over it, not just Gene Roddenberry’s or J. J. Abrams’.

4/5 Stars

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Living the Dream

I am sure as the sun rose over America on November 5th, that for many all across America there was a very palpable feeling of relief and new beginnings for many who call themselves Americans. And indeed, they should feel so. What we’ve all been witness to, as many would have you believe, is a kind of unheard of miracle for the nation of America. A black man elected as president? Isn’t Obama half white? Does any of this really matter in today’s environment
of progression and enlightenment?
What is really being missed here is the proof of something I have written about before. Namely, America’s educational system. My now deceased mother once looked at Colin Powell and wondered aloud how he could have succeeded to such a position. But frankly, I reminded her, color makes absolutely no difference. Colin Powell is an educated man. Now today you have it again, Mr. Obama is one cool cat. He has the gravitas and educational back ground to meet , spar and hopefully find peace with some of the biggest minds in the world, and that’s what has been proven here this week. Education is everything.
What I am most pleased about this election is that now millions of little boys and girls growing up in our educational system, no matter what race they are, can now turn to the highest office in the land and see the barrier broken. A barrier that has seemed impenetrable for many generations.
And I don’t mean just the political and social barriers, I mean to say that the product of education has triumphed for anyone who feels unworthy. It has been shown to perhaps the whole world that our system is the greatest one on this planet. As Mr. Obama has said himself, nowhere else on the planet could his story have taken place. Amen brother.
Whether you agree with his positions or not, let’s face it, America and the ideals that our forefathers put forth many years ago have “reached across the isle” and proven to benefit a man and his family who is now in the most powerful position on the planet. No longer do any of us have to find solace in entertainers, athletes and the nuevo riche. It’s not just George
Jefferson who has moved on up, it’s the whole of America.
It is my sincerest hope that Mr. Obama finds much success in his new office. I believe that one of the worst things that could ever happen now, and trust me, I am cautious to mention it, is for him to fail spectacularly. At that moment we will have gone from: “Anybody can succeed here...” to “Anybody can fail here...”. I shudder to think of the zingiest that would be produced from such a quagmire of mixed messages. For hope deferred makes a heart sick.
We as Americans have had enough of the old dragging in the mud thinking ...the kind of thinking by the way which was drastically uncovered in the mess that was hurricane Katrina’s
aftermath. I’m originally from New Orleans, and I can tell you, the public mess that was flashed across the world’s TV screens was something well known to anyone who lived there. I pray Mr. Obama would have a much different result from such future disasters (may they never happen) merely from his presence in the White House and it’s effect on those who lived in that kind of daily life and also for those who “served them”.
Just look at a photo of his family, a man and his wife, his two little girls, sitting on the steps in front of perhaps his own home. Maybe it’s Sunday evening, the sun is setting and they have just had dinner, watched some football on the TV. Of course, someone left the light on in the room, he’ll have to pay for that energy usage.... hehe. But, he’s you and me. He’s our family. He came up through the system just like we all have. He’s not from Krypton. He’s our brother. Kudos to you Mr. Obama. Kudos to America.

Escape The Hezbollah