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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Brothers


Tommy : Jake Gyllenhaal
Grace : Natalie Portman
Sam : Tobey Maguire
Hank : Sam Shepard
Elsie : Mare Winningham

Lionsgate presents a film directed by Jim Sheridan. Screenplay by David Benioff, based on the m tion picture “Brothers,” written by Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen. Running time: 110 minutes. Rated R (for language and some disturbing violent content).

The little movie that could. This film was released on December 4th and I just got around to it this week. Amazingly, the theater was very full, even after all this time. That’s an unusual thing from what I have seen, and probably due to not only the wide selection that has been available as we traveled through the holiday season, but also the lagging economy and high unemployment that most people are trying to get away from for two or more hours.

You might think at first that this would be a “chick” flick or even something “soapy” in a movie format, but you would be mistaken. Badly mistaken. Here a family is transformed from its usual makeup by the father leaving for military service in Afghanistan, just at the same time his brother is released from prison.

Tobey Maguire is Captain Sam Cahill, the father afore mentioned who is married to lovely Grace, played by Natalie Portman, and they are parents of two sweetheart little girls named Isabelle and Maggie. The brother, Tommy, is Jake Gyllenhaal and he has just served time for armed robbery. They are, of course, the good son and the bad son. Their father (Sam Sheppard) makes no private matter of his love for one and disdain for the other.

It’s not a problem to reveal that the good son is reported killed in a chopper crash while serving. This is where you might think this was a soap opera played out on the screen, for the “bad” son does his best to help out his brother’s family while finding himself in the unenviable position of perhaps picking up with his brother’s wife where the “good” son left off. I am happy to report, melodrama does NOT ensue.

Natalie Portman’s Grace handles the crisis with heartfelt maturity and no flailing of arms and breaking of dishes, instead she quietly morns in her own way while focusing on the hurts and pains of her adorable daughters. When the moment does come for Grace and Tommy to perhaps explore budding feelings that have developed as they have been in close proximity while pulling the weight of family loss, her logic and self control nevertheless win out.

That’s not what this movie is about though. It’s about the return of Sam after a period of time spent in captivity by the Taliban, his mental and emotional scarring received from being put in a position of almost unimaginable torture and grief. During his captivity, he and another soldier, a private under his command are starved and tortured in the hopes of doing propaganda for the Taliban to send back to the states. Sam orders his private to tell them NOTHING. And indeed, even though he is burned and beaten, he follows orders. This leads the Taliban to decide that the private is of no use to them, only a drag on their resources. They then force Sam to come up with a solution to their problem, at gun point.

Sam returns home, wild eyed and haunted by things only he can see inside his own head. Despite his family’s joyus reaction to having him home and alive, he is not present, he cannot respond to them as he would seem more concerned with staring into space or out of windows at first. Eventually he begins to relax and then also begins to suspect that Tommy and Grace have been intimate. He doesn’t put it in those terms, but I have to say if you are going to use the F-bomb to great effect, this would be the time. (Are you listening Seth Rogen?) Unfortunately, in his state of scarred suspicion and guilt he can’t believe anyone’s denials and this escalates within him as he deeply resents the card that life has played him. It’s unfortunate because, with not real target to take it all out on, he “swings for the cheap seats” at his own loved ones.

Toby Maguire digs deep in his big emotional break down scene as the underpinnings of his character’s sanity finally begin to collapse. A brand new kitchenette freely built by Tommy for Grace is summarily destroyed in a fit of uncontrolled pique that leads to gun play, police, a stand off and a tense scene that follows that had the whole theater expecting the worst at any moment. Riveting stuff.

I don’t think I could be an actor, I couldn’t do what Maguire does to himself, to myself.

Mostly this movie is about unforgivable guilt, and the inability to “unsee” what you have seen. As Sam drowns in his own mental darkness, his brother seeks to find his Dad’s love and the acceptance of his family who has no doubt branded him as the bad one. Portman is not just another pretty face either, she shows heart and spine while caught in an untenable position.

An undeniably adult movie, that is it will be beyond the scope and breadth of a younger set, which doesn’t try for the cheap TV direction and mass appeal for ticket sales as do most. It’s somber, thoughtful and not a little too overstimulating at times, but that’s the hallmark of a well done piece. As the consistent box office over the last month is proving, people WILL pay to see excellence on a small scale.

4 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Sherlock Holmes


Holmes : Robert Downey Jr.
Watson : Jude Law
Lord Blackwood : Mark Strong
Irene Adler : Rachel McAdams
Mary : Kelly Reilly

Warner Bros. presents a film directed by Guy Ritchie. Written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg. Based on the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Running time: 128 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material).

Considering Sherlock Holmes, it might be best not to expect to see the classical version. In this incarnation, he and Watson are more Batman and Robin than the old school vision of intellectual genius and his nervous yet doting side kick. This is a much more physical oriented contrivance here filled with a few cartoon type characters and wild, comic book type moments of tense action peril. Today’s audience will love it. Those with a purist stance will not.

The usual “true to form” Holmes is a stickler for his “religious” routine. Bad guys and the convoluted case load comes and goes up the walk of 221 B Baker St., but within his tower of solitude, Holmes always remains the same. In this exterior of jolly old London, the city is grey and greenish like the advertising colors would suggest. London is dirty and bereft of aesthetic beauty, but this allows for all the more color to be displayed by Robert Downey Jr., as Holmes himself.

In this version Watson is no longer the nervous nelly who is fascinated with Holmes’ every move. He now is an “odd couple” roommate who has decided to marry a woman named Mary, much to Holmes’ shock and awe. After all, surely he himself, is more than enough to keep Watson from needing any other life except to stand by and watch his borderline “Rain man” operations. Well, that’s not entirely fair, Watson does more than simply stand by and watch, he too is more than capable of handling the fisticuffs and near death experiences that inevitably follow Holmes. In fact, he may be a little addicted to those experiences himself. The problem for Watson is that he doesn’t posses the wide open mental presence of Holmes, who seems aware of everything around him, even the odds of multiple futures for current events. A heady drug to witness and forget for sure.

Downey does a great job of presenting us with a Holmes who is borderline insane, but never goes over the edge; no doubt due to the immense power he has of handling his own hyper mind. A feat in itself. What, no Jackson Pollack paintings? He is also a great fighter, who can plan his next seven punches and kicks in his mind with lightning fast administration quickly followed with pinpoint accuracy a moment later in the real world. His ability to predict the eventual outcome of a recently imagined fight just before it happens, and then to pull it off without a hitch, is just plain otherworldly.

Satanist, Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong, is the bad guy here, and he is foiled by Holmes in a devil sacrifice in the opening of the film, with grand fashion. His character is sent to the gallows and hung, only to return in a sensationalized resurrection of sorts. The begins a series of events not unlike the old Batman series where Holmes must outwit Blackwood’s “peril setups” on the way to the final big scene. One of these scenes is so “Batman”, the old 60’s Batman that is, that it had me smiling and waiting for the echoed laughter of a far off Joker.

The heroine, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), is captured by Blackwood and hung by her wrists to a conveyor belt in a slaughter house. She can’t be removed for some reason, and before her are the subsequent skinned carcasses of pigs that are about to be sectioned in two by a long buzz saw at the end of the line. We watch in tense amazement-excitement as Holmes and Watson spring into action to stop the conveyor belt before it reaches our fetching heroine, who by the way is very very fetching. Naturally, of course, the tension is heightened as one by one the pig carcasses are sliced into two parts, first one then the next one and as they slice apart our hanging heroine is closer and closer to sure Hollywood horror film death. Will Holmes and Watson find a way to save her??? Will they do it just at the last second??? You tell me.

Many of the scenes are old school like this and they seem retreaded for the modern audience, sugar coated by Downey’s performance, who seems to know what kind of hero audiences are drawn to these days. There is even a final battle scene above the city on London bridge, which isn’t quite falling down yet but is in the middle of being built. Sword fights and Karate ensue, along with more and more peril. But Holmes is never quite moved by all of this, except perhaps by Adler herself, but then who could blame him?

I did find some of his mental configuring to be a bit of a stretch and the movie makers put him in an uncomfortable position at one point due to this stretching, which was a nice touch. I refer to the dinner scene with Watson’s betrothed. But when he sees Moriarity for the first time, he notices chalk on Moriarity’s lapel and deduces that he is indeed a professor. I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “Good thing he doesn’t play pool at the local billiards room.” I know when I play, I get chalk all over my hands, and this doesn’t make me a professor.

The Conan Doyle stories created a magical mental giant and Downey now gives us the same man with pecs and Jacki Chan fighting skills. In a time when everything is being re-created for a new audience, this is no big surprise, the pursuit of capital inevitably leads down this road, especially with proven concepts. Nothing is sacred anymore, as long as we can re-do it and make the subsequent financial gain. It’s in one sense a sad thing to see, but in another sense, when your core audience for almost all entertainment these days doesn’t go far beyond 22 years, it is logically a sign of the times.

4 out of 5 stars

Monday, December 28, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Avatar


(or Captain Kirk falls in love with Mirimani)

Jake Sully : Sam Worthington
Neytiri : Zoe Saldana
Grace : Sigourney Weaver
Col. Miles Quaritch : Stephen Lang
Trudy Chacon : Michelle Rodriguez
Parker Selfridge : Giovanni Ribisi
Norm Spellman : Joel David Moore
Moat : CCH Pounder
Eytukan : Wes Studi
Tsu’tey : Laz Alonso
Dr. Max Patel : Dileep Rao
Corporal Lyle Wainfleet : Matt Gerald

20th Century Fox presents film written and directed by James Cameron. Running time: 163 minutes. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking).

What are the inner workings of man such that we long for peace with our own natural surroundings? Watching this movie I was, myself, reminded of that natural pull back to a place where we as a people are more in tune with nature instead of having to sacrifice it in order to maintain progress. While the native planet of Pandora is no Garden of Eden, you can almost feel angelic breezes as they drift through the trees. What a peaceful place this would be to live. No credit card bills. No unemployment. Just like the Native American Indian, you live in sync with the “buffalo” who willingly give their lives for your sustenance, knowing full well they will return again to fulfill their destiny.

Anyone who wants to get a real feeling for the position of the native American Indian need only rent the cable series by Steven Spielberg called “In to the West”. The local natives on the far off planet of Pandora are huge blue skinned ectomorphs who live in much the same fashion in their native land. The land “knows” them and they know the land as well. They can leap from giant leaf to giant leaf without a thought of a lack of health insurance. They can “connect” by means of cords in their hair to giant flying lizards who soar in the skies like old west wild mustangs on the open plains.

It’s a very attractive idea, this being able to move about at will within your environment. Of course, it can also be rather perilous with all the quasi rhinos and panthers who are bigger than two story houses. They all seem very familiar in their attitudes also. Despite the Eden like surroundings, Pandora is no place to take the food chain lightly. One can end up as lunch quite easily, so I suppose the Lion and the Lamb aren’t quite ready to lie down together here either. The effects that bring all this to life are the best so far BAR NONE. I had become tired of the bad CGI that tried to create ordinary animals, such as wolves which looked exactly like computer generated wolves. To experience Avatar’s techno is well worth the price of a ticket. It’s plot, however, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

It’s the year 2154, and a mission by U. S. Armed Forces to the earth-sized moon, called Pandora, in orbit around a massive star, must find a way to extract a valuable resource metal from beneath a huge tree which houses a large number of the planets inhabitants. Watching Avatar, I had to wonder if William Shatner recognized parts of the plot line when he viewed the movie, if he did. I am sure he did.

Officer Jake Sully is a U.S. Marine who must take his brother’s place in a diplomatic experiment to infiltrate the locals, called Na’vi, whose “tree of life” sits over rich deposits of much needed metal that the military is there to take back with them one way or another. In one sequence, Jake avatar tells the Na’vi people that the “aliens”, that’s you and me, killed their mother, there is no more green where they come from. Okay, that’s a bit hard to believe for anyone who knows how the ecosystem works. For one thing, the Earth itself would never allow it, and as we sit in theaters watching this obvious political statement, the Earth is already fighting back. But I don’t want to anthropomorphize the planet. Just think about how much oxygen the green on earth produces to support the planet. Do you think any man made thing in existence could create this much oxygen on a regular basis? No oxygen, no military flying to far off planets.

But I digress.

Among the absolutely breathtaking scenery of the contrived planet Pandora takes place a love story. You and I have seen this love story. I specifically remember it from an old episode of Star Trek involving the American Indian types of a far off planet. I mention William Shatner for this reason, since he and Scully are practically in the same boat with only a few plot deviations. Once beyond those deviations the movie becomes “A Man Called Horse”.

But, you know what, a story is a story, and this one was not too bad. I especially liked the signalling between the leads which was magnified by the CGI effects. Zoe Saldana plays Neytiri, the yellow eyed heroine, daughter of the tribe chief, who is everything you want in a modern woman who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. She is the only one with the huge yellow eyes in the angular head, on purpose of course, since she will be signalling psychological attractiveness to all the males in the audience. Every other Na’vi seems to be reasonably proportioned with eyes. And just so you don’t lose your place, they all have thick lips like natives of another country except for the Avatar that is created from a tube for the hero Jake Sully. His thin lips are a dead giveaway.

They all fly around the planet like you wish you could have when you were a kid, providing everything you need to graze like cattle while battling giant beasts, never having to come in and have dinner because it’s getting too dark outside and you haven’t done your homework yet. Unfortunately, all this living by the seat of your pants with no progression is exactly the kind of thing that made the native Americans Indians sitting ducks for the higher advanced Europeans who took their land away. Without a concentration on furthering one’s education, you just float. Whether you are an individual or an entire nation of Polynesians living in the south sea pacific islands.

Advancement in education and a minimizing of concentration on the visceral qualities of our lives is what moves societies forward, unfortunately those societies become too big and move in to other areas, taking the land of those who do not progress. It’s just the way it happens. And conversely also, as advanced societies crumble, a major faction of the society heads toward a concentration of the visceral, even wanting government help to maintain something that could well be a cancer to their own existence. For without the practical, and the industrial, the arts and the visceral cannot survive. A colony of artists would starve to death without the surrounding industrial complex. Of course, competition plays a major role in this too.

But understand, if indeed the Earth people are as advanced as the military in Avatar and the Earth is indeed in DEEP dire straights, they will be back. This time though, there will be NO dialog. There will be no diplomatic attempts to work out a deal. They will simply hang in the air with their weapons of destruction helicopters from a mile away and bomb the natives out of existence. Try and shoot an arrow from a mile away this time, blue boy!

I also have to say that giving the military a short shrift in the movies is becoming a cliche’. Really, if the military doesn’t do it’s job, you and I are goose-stepping in kimonos today. Just watching the expressions of the actors who are the soldiers, I had to wonder if anyone walked off of the set refusing to smile and nod as they were instructed to destroy thousands of years of racial memory in the inhabitants. You think the military is really like this? Those are people too, and it would be more of an inner organizational struggle than one lone rouge chopper pilot who defects. (Believe me, in real life, the next move is invasion not just mineral extraction.)

Anyhow, I think Avatar is indeed a must see for the big screen, small DVD TV screens just won’t take you to Pandora the way an IMAX will, and since you WILL enjoy the time well spent during all of the events, even those that seem to be repeated a second time only on a grander scale, it’s by no means a loss to you as many movies are these days. I say that because there is more than enough story to go all the way to the end, instead of just quitting on the narration 3/4 ths of the way through and giving you action scenes for 45 minuets, like say, Transformers did.

Go See it! 4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Keeping Your Blood Right

Keeping Your Blood Right

Brainwashed is what we are. Brainwashed by years of being sold crap that is supposed to be food, taking the hard earned cash out of our pockets and giving us biological death. It’s about time we revolted. About time we had our own tea party as it were against the commercial supporters of our free market society who have been slowly killing us. I’m not talking about big tobacco, although there is much blame to be placed there, and I am also not talking about big pharm; which has us all drugged and dulled while they vacation in Bora Bora. I’m talking about the food producers and advertisers who have us all trained, mentally and physically, to be dead long before our time, with a sweet sugar smile on our faces. (Kinda like the Joker)

Not long ago a light came on in the morass of darkness by some great pioneering scientists which was overlooked by mainstream medicine who are so deep into their own myths, its amazing they can find the door to their own office. These days there is a new model of health to consider. After years of work, the pathways to better and more natural health have been discovered, and we can only hope the thought police don’t find out. You can now have access to the science that will help you to overcome many chronic illnesses, many often caused by the crap we all consume which alters our blood.

As I have said in this blog before, its all about balance. The yin and yang of our existence if you will. The physical world is full of this “opposites maintaining balance” thing and it directly applies to our bodies as they exist in this reality. Imbalance is easy to spot: disease (dis-ease), low energy, fatigue, poor digestion, excess weight, foggy thinking, aches and pains, as well as overflows of mucus. Balance is easy to spot also: energy, mental clarity, smooth operation of body systems, clear eyes and skin, and a lean body.

Imbalance is all around us, just look at the guy next to you in the store, restaurant or on the bus. They are fat, tired, look older than they really are. Chances are someone you know suffers from one of the three top killers in America: heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Half of all of us will die from heart disease or cancer, my own family now has a running story line with cancer that I am attempting to bring an end to. One third of Americans will die from diabetes. But Big Pharm and the FDA don’t mind as long as they can make the payments on their Bentleys.

We have been so brainwashed that the usual reply to these sort of facts is: “Well, you have to die from something.” No, its natural to die, but its also natural to live healthy! It is your birthright to live healthy, right up to the day you keel over. The answer is all around us, and it has nothing to do with complicated science or drugs or diet drinks. By the way, just to note: the word diet is really a misnomer, if you have to go on a diet, that implies there will be a return to regular eating once goals have been achieved. This is crap, since you will just return to the state you just worked so hard to get rid of. No, a real diet is a life long change from the way we do things, not just a recovery from the holidays.

Heart Disease, cancer and diabetes are all connected to your diet, the things you eat regularly. Eight of the top ten causes of death are all related to what we eat, not to mention the 60 % of overweight Americans all over the country. Eating real food and getting the best nutrients will help you avoid all that, along with the misery of a low quality life that leads to an early death.

Even mainstream medicine will tell you: “Foods contain the nutrients we need for the body to work properly and when problems arise, they are from imbalances in nutrient intake. What we eat means everything.”

How long have diet crazes been around? Has anything shown a permanent “cure” for the obese and the unhealthy? We Americans go from one crazy idea to another trying to lose the excess baggage we all carry around and yet we’re fatter than ever. We even now have a fat epidemic among kids.

What we eat is not only the key to being slimmer, overall health and wellbeing, it is also a major factor in our body chemistry. Most of those crazy and a few of those good sense diets actually create wild imbalances in our bodies. Losing pounds with these ideas does not necessarily promise you good health, and the results of that can leave you with less money in your bank account, and still feeling unhealthy. The whole cycle clicks in again. Out comes the pizza and ice cream to make you feel better and once again the imbalance gets worse. Then its back to the doctor, who is of course, happy to see you. (Just to be fair, I have discussed this sort of thing with my own doctor, and she told me I am correct, but people just won’t do anything about it, “Just give me the pill, Doc.” Is what she always hears. As I said, “Brainwashing.”)

Forget about the cholesterol count, calories and fat grams, blood pressure, blood sugar, hormone levels, or anything else you’ve learned at the doctor’s office. The PH level of your blood is the number one factor in your whole physical makeup. Keeping your blood right, the correct balance of Alkaline and Acidic levels is “God in the details” as it were. Different areas of the body have different correct PH levels, but your blood’s PH level is the big kahoona. Just like the body’s temperature must remain a certain degree, your blood has to remain in a certain “range” of measurement. Your body will try very hard to maintain that, even by destroying other systems and tissues in other places in the body.

Every cell in your body is effected by PH levels. Your metabolic process depends heavily on PH balance, mostly Alkaline. Having an acidic level for long periods of time will “rust” body tissue, and if ignored will interrupt all cellular activities and functions. Your heart won’t beat right, your brain won’t work right. Acidity interferes with your life itself. It is the root of all sickness and disease.

So how is this PH level balance achieved? Once again, the key is in what we eat. Some foods are Alkaline and some are Acid. Not all acids are bad, but they must be the minimum. 80% of your food must be real food, like green vegetables for instance. Most of what is in the grocery store is not food. You can eat it. It will fill you up. But its not really food. You can’t find Corn Flakes in nature, or Hamburger Helper. Meat and grains are acid foods and must be relegated to the 20% of daily food you intake. Real supplements can help you achieve this balance also. I know what you’re thinking, you want me to eat like a rabbit. No, the whole earth was created for you to eat from, right out of the ground, and that is human food. If cows and other meat animals weren’t so full of hormones and drugs and antibiotics, they would be a lot safer. You never see someone with a steady venison diet who is overweight, but you do see fat beef people and fat beef cows. Get the connection? Not only that, but we now have 11 year old girls with breasts. Growth hormones in the milk are probably to blame.

Author Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote: There will come a time when we sit down to the banquet of our consequences.”

There is a lot more to be said on this subject, and I’ll get to that at alter blog date, but for now I want you to do some home work.

Here are some links to go visit, and gain some knowledge that will help you to see your grand kids grow into adults.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Laughing at Prophecy Pt. 3: Will History Continue to Be Revealed?

Laughing at
Prophecy Pt. 3:

Will History Continue
to Be Revealed?

In addition to those hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled in the past, there are those that belong to a special class of prophecy belonging to the last days. In some cases they are related to in a general sense, a relative sense if you will, but they usually refer to the closing days of the age. The age generally referred to as the closing of the time of the Gentiles, and also the return of Christ to the Earth.

I am not really trying to study eschatology, as I have had some responses to this series that attempt to dissect minutia from scripture as though it were a history book and not something which is first and foremost a spiritual book. But, rather, I am trying to stress the spiritual influence of these scriptures, since many of them are being fulfilled right before our eyes in this day and age.

I have already discussed the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in its homeland, which is probably the most important of these prophecies. That a nation could be destroyed as an entity, as it was by Rome in 70 A.D., its people killed and scattered all over the Earth, its land occupied by foreigners for over 1900 years, and yet survive as a distinct nationality until it regained it’s homeland and its recognition of its authenticity as a nation, is freaking impossible. It’s never been done.

When Israel went into captivity, including Judah, in 588 B.C., the “times of the Gentiles” began. Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome were successive world empires and their domain included Israel. After Rome destroyed the city and the temple, a prophecy by Jesus Christ himself (Luke 19:41-44), the people of Israel were scattered, as prophesied in Deuteronomy, “among all the people, from one end of the Earth to the other.” (Deut 28:64)

In this context we come to an amazing Prophecy by Jesus himself, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be lead away captive to all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

The word “fulfilled” is the same word in Greek as “finished”, therefore when Israel is no longer under the control of the Gentiles, the time of the Gentiles is finished. But this can only be accomplished when Christ returns to banish the Gentiles from the land. (Remember, according to God, there are only two groups of people in all the Earth, the Jews and the Gentiles.) Thus the restoration of Jerusalem to the chosen people is necessarily accomplished by the Messiah’s return when he will set up his world kingdom to be ruled from Jerusalem. (Let’s not argue just yet over terms like “chosen people”, that’s not my point here, actually, the logic I am following leads to the Antichrist.)

The Jews began to return to Palestine in small numbers in the early part of the twentieth century, and then in much larger numbers after World War I. Jerusalem was still under British rule, however.

After World War II the nation declared its independence in 1
948 and was soon recognized by the United Nations. The new city of Jerusalem did indeed go back to the control of the Jews at this time. However, the old city, including the all important temple site of Mount Moriah, has remained under the control of the Jordanian Arabs.

In the 1967 Six Day War, which has an interesting inside story if you have never read it, Israel recaptured the old city and has sworn to never let it go again. Yet, the Lord has not returned, it would appear that the times of the Gentiles are still in full force. With one small exception of course. The Temple itself, at Mount Moriah.

It was Mount Moriah that God told David to purchase from Ornan the Jebusite and to set up the altar there. (I Chronicles 21:18). This was the spot where Abraham had set things up to sacrifice his son Issac. (Genesis 22:2). This is where Solomon built the temple that David had longed to build. This spot IS Jerusalem, and amazingly, this is the only spot left controlled by the Gentiles. The Arab Dome of the Rock is still sitting there today. The second most Holy place in the Muslim world. The Jews, for many reasons, have not yet chosen to expel the Arabs from this site, to raze it, and then rebuild the temple. What a mess that would be to have this happen and then have no follow up of prophecy, but that is exactly why the moment hangs in the balance. As much insanity as it seems to be, the Jews not seizing a mountain in their own land and tossing out seeming invaders after all this time, 42 years, can only point to higher purposes held up by God himself, for what sense does this make without God holding back the Jews from performing the obvious.

People often don’t believe me when I tell them that as Israel goes, so goes the world. Israel has a very unusual connection to all of history and it’s no fluke if you have studied the nation of the Jews along side the record of history. What amazes me is that many Jews themselves don’t know about this. For instance, there are several feast days, well many actually, that Jewish peoples celebrate every year and it has been so since the establishment of this people. So let’s take The Feast of the Tabernacles for instance. They celebrate this every year and it is a positive feast day, I believe it is a “returning” or victorious feast day. Now Israel has been in and out of wars and famines and such for hundreds of years and if they are at war, then the war, some of them hundreds of years apart will come to an end on the Feast of the Tabernacles. Or if there is a famine in the land, the famine will end on that feast day. So as an example, the year is 500 B.C., there is a famine in the land that has lasted for about 40 years, the famine comes to an end on the Feast of Tabernacles day. Or they are at war and the year is 1967 A. D., the war comes to an end on the Feast of Tabernacles.

The opposite happens also, if it is a bad feast day, they will go into captivity or lose a war or else famine will strike on that day sometimes hundreds of years apart. There is no other nation on Earth for which this happens. Israel is special indeed. There are those who say that America’s pressure on Israel to give up some of the land they have captured, back to the Palestinians, is the reason Hurricane Katrina happened. It’s something to think about. That’s all I have to say.

There are many other prophecies dealing with the alignment of nations in the last days. The emergency alliance of Eastern European nations and Muslim nations under the domination of Russia all in opposition to Israel and the Western Nations is prophesied in Ezekiel 38:1-16. The rise of a great oriental confederacy is prophesied in Revelation 16:12. The development of the European Union in a similarity to Rome is suggested in Daniel 7:19-24.

Jesus was asked, “What shall be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?” And he answered, “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows, or more accurately the beginning of birth pangs. The Hebrew idiom used conveys the idea of a world wide state war. Thus the prophetic sign includes a world war and great physical calamities as the first sign of the new birth.

The decade from 1914 to 1924 saw all of these things come to pass. The first World War was followed by the first great pestilence (1918 influenza epidemic), the first great famine (Russia and China which saw the starvation of hundreds of millions) and the greatest earthquakes in recorded history in China and Japan (1920 and 1923 respectively). The half century since that time has continued to see wars and rumors of wars and famines and pestilences all in World War II, the Cold War, the war on terror, the great depression, huge storms and earthquakes, some of those earthquakes in diverse places as never before, and also of course in the complete wiping from the map of Waveland, Mississippi.

As I have covered here in this blog, by studying the teachings of Freud, Darwin and Marx. There is a strain of thought that has defined our educational system since the late 1800’s or so, the school of evolutionary uniformitarianism. In this strain of thought all things, origin and development, are being attempted to be explained in the terms of the uniform operation of the same natural laws and processes which still continue today. In Peter 3:3,4; he prophesies, “In those days there will come scoffers, saying all things are as they have been from the beginning.”

In the area of science and education Daniel prophesied, “In those days, the time of the end, many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” The Hebrew words convey a vast increase in both frequency and speed of travel, as well as other forms of communication, along with great advances in science and technology.

James 5:1-6 prophecies great upheavals in the economic and social realms. For centuries, the poor have been exploited by the rich, the workers by the privileged classes. The uprising of the laborers leading to a “day of slaughter” (or a tea party) is also implied in Daniel and Revelation. (Daniel 2:41-43, Revelation 18:1-19) We’ve had the French revolution, the Russian revolution, the American revolution (only one so far, but let’s wait and see shall we) and many other uprisings around the globe.

Moral conditions of the last days are also prophesied to descend to the days of degradation like the times of Noah. (Luke 17:26) But the one that really gets me is the one about the Christian churches themselves, they will essentially be the same as the heathens in the old pagan world. That is, one could describe the sins of today’s church as being identical to the ancient godless rebels of Romans 1:28-31. And when I read things like “Adam and Eve had sex with Satan in the Garden of Eden” and Cain was half devil, which lead to Noah’s wife being Cain’s descendant, thus she had to have sex with her son Ham in order to birth Canaan... (sigh) so on and so forth,.... I worry worry worry.

Religious apostasy in the ranks of Christian leaders is also prophesied in other scriptures. Not only would false teachers deny the second coming of Christ (II Peter 3:3) they would even deny the Lord that bought them (II Peter 2:1). Not only would they despite much learning never come to a knowledge of the truth (II Timothy 3:7), but turn away from their knowledge of the truth and give way to the teaching of fables (II Timothy 4:4). These are all prophecies that are being fulfilled by the “Christian” world today, and only those who refuse to see will miss it.

A particularly ominous form of apostasy is the rapid rise of demonism in the last days, and I am not just referring to the necrophilia of something like the Twilight movies, although there is definitely something to think about there, “In latter days some shall depart the faith and give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” (I Timothy 4:1) “Seducing” being a pivotal word here. During the great tribulation, these trends will culminate in a world wide worship of Satan (Revelation 13:4,8) But first they shall worship demons and idols (Revelation 9:20) with an increase in pharmaceuticals. You know pharmaceuticals, those legalized drugs that almost everyone has, anyone who has a doctor, that is. You know the word “sorceries” is a Greek word from which we get the modern day word for pharmaceuticals, and means “magical incantations by the ritual use of drugs.” That an age of scientific enlightenment could be followed so quickly by a revival of occultism and paganism is truly amazing, but that is exactly what has happened and it was all predicted by the Bible.

Still think it was all just written by men? II Peter 1:21 says, For prophecy came not in old time by the will of men, but Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” And history backs this up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Laughing at Prophecy, Why We Have A Merry Christmas

Laughing at Prophecy:

Why We Have
A Merry Christmas

This is part two referring to those who like to mock and make light of Biblical Prophecy, so if you haven’t read the first part yet, you may want to.

There are literally hundreds of prophecies in the Bible pertaining to the coming of Christ, the Messiah and it is in fact the main reason we have a Christmas at all. The Old Testament has over 90 of these prophecies but I am only going to mention a handful of them here.

The Messiah was first prophesied to be of the human family, then through Shem, Abraham, Issac and Jacob, all the way to David.(Genesis 3:15, 9:26, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14, 49:10 & II Samuel 7:12-16) You may have questions as to how Genesis can be included in the Bible at all since it contains the out of the normal story of Adam and Eve, but it’s there for a very good reason, Genesis actually begins the story of the entire message to mankind, beginning with many references to the coming Messiah who would redeem mankind. And if that’s not Jesus, well then, who? Psalm 2:6-7 says the Messiah would also be uniquely the Son of God. (And that’s Yahweh, where the Jewish writers were concerned.)

The virgin birth was predicted in Isaiah 7:14, his birthplace was predicted in Micah 5:2 as Bethlehem. And you remember that Herod asked the wise men where the reported Messiah was to be born and they told him Bethlehem.

Not only that, but the ministry of his forerunner, John the Baptist was also predicted in Isaiah 40:3 and Micah 5:2. And John plays a major part in the early part of the story.

Yeshua Messiah’s triumphal entry as the promised King of Israel, riding upon an ass, was predicted in Zechariah 9:9,10, the rejection of his coming as such was predicted in Psalm 118:22-24. Now you might say, well Jesus knew the scriptures very well, and could argue with the best teachers of the day over the correctness of them. So, therefore, he knew he had to be on an ass as he rode into Jerusalem and sent the apostles to round one up in order to make the prophecy come true. But as we have said in part one, the reorganization of Jerusalem as a nation is one of the signs of his second coming, and today we have that since 1948. So... if there is another Jewish Messiah who is supposed to come, he better hurry the hell up!

Daniel’s seventy weeks clearly report on Jesus’ arrival and it’s official date. Daniel 9:24-26 says, “Seventy weeks (or seven year periods) are determined upon thy people and thy holy city...from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end wars and desolations are determined.”

The starting point of the prophecy is believed to be the date of the decree of Artaxerxes permitting the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8). Secular history records this date as 446 B.C.. The seventy weeks total 490 years (the number of times we are to forgive our brother, Haha). The first 49 year period concerned itself with rebuilding the city and finalizing Old Testament scriptures. (Malachi was written about 400 B.C.) Customary Jewish reckoning would make the seven years consisting of 360 days each (I had to look this up).

A 434 year period, added to the 49 years, gives 483 years or 360/365 x 483 = 476.383 years from the starting date to the coming of the messiah as Prince. Don’t feel too bad if all this math is losing you, I had to look it all up myself. This all brings us to about 30 A.D. Jesus was actually born in 4 B. C., so he was 33 1/2 years old in 30 A.D. Remember there is no year ZERO so 1 B.C. comes right before 1 A. D. (Agggh! Somebody shoot me!)

Although exact dates are tough to come by, the prophetic period ends right at the time Christ offers himself as the Prince of Peace. Instead of being crowned, however, he was crucified: “cut off, not of himself”.

Sometime later, aprx. 70 A.D., the city and the sanctuary were destroyed by the people of the prince that shall come, the Roman people, people of the Antichrist who is frequently mentioned in Daniel. This is the same book that outlined the great nations of the world in history long before they happened, so listen up!

Unto the end wars and desolations are determined. Ever since the world, both jew and gentile, rejected Christ it has never known true peace. (Just so you know, we really can blame no one for the crucifixion, Jesus gave himself up, he was never killed by anyone. Being a priest in the order of Machizedek, imbued with the power of an indestructible life.) Just this prophecy of the world never knowing peace is evidence itself of divine inspiration involved in the prophetic text. Think things would have happened this way anyhow? Go ahead, bring us peace, especially in the middle east. Good luck.

But prophecy concentrated quite specifically on the crucifixion in a special way. Minute details have been alliterated hundreds of years before hand and are woven through several books, books written by those who had never met, and had never known each other’s text. Zechariah predicted the piercing of his side. The Psalms predicted the unbroken bones and the gambling for his vestments among other things. The burial in a rich man’s grave was predicted by Isaiah as well as the proximity of death to the wicked. The resurrection was predicted by The Psalms, Isaiah and Hosea.

It’s tough to argue the veracity of scripture when you consider that the same story was written over something like 1500 years by people who never knew one another, and if the whole point was the spiritual redemption of all mankind, then how can anyone attribute chicanery to such a grand enterprise. Do grand cover ups and “fixes” truly survive for so long? The Watergate break in was a great conspiracy and all it took to topple the deck of cards was one person who talked. Just ask Tiger Woods if you can really keep big secrets when dealing with a large amount of people. Didn’t the New England Patriots get caught cheating sometime after they won the Super Bowl? Aren’t they paying for that now?

I’ll have more to say on prophecy and wether or not it’s something to laugh at next time, but for now, please be careful who and what you listen to... and remember: You be good!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Laughing at Prophecy

Laughing At Prophecy

Where American
Dad Went Wrong

The other day I happened to be alerted to an upcoming episode of the mediocre animated TV comedy “American Dad”. Which is produced by the same group of people who make “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show”, and they seem to have taken over the Sunday night spot on Fox television, for some reason I cannot clearly see. I’ve seen these comedies before, and as someone who once found Family Guy to be ahead of its time and now finds Robot Chicken to be the last vestige of truly great writing for this kind of genre, I have to say that they seem to have run out of gas doing what they once did rather well. The Sunday night on Fox is doomed. You heard it here first. The Simpsons is a hold over from another era which long ago lost its special magic and is really just waiting to catch the last train for the coast, but the rest of these shows have become rancid and are starting to stink up the room.

I say this because they seem overly concerned with dissing the Christian faith instead of concentrating on making a halfway decent program. Really, what is the deal with these guys now? They are so brave and cutting edge that they can’t make light of Muslims? They can’t make light of Buddhists? You go anywhere in the world and see a country where Christianity is not a major force and you get a society that treats women like less than human. You have less charitable work and organizations that are birthed inside the countries themselves. If we take away the restrictive religion and just concentrate on the love of Christ, which is the way it is supposed to be, how do you find “the diary of a madman” in the Bible, as they put it.

Let’s face it, they have given up the ghost and are going for the visceral pleasure derived from this sort of so called rebellion. And that should tell them something. It should tell them that there is a “satisfaction” gained from mocking Christianity that they just can’t get anywhere else. Why is that? They need to really stop and think about where the ideas for these plot lines are coming from. American Dad did a whole satirical take on the Rapture of Christianity just before the end of times and, of course, they made it look impossibly ridiculous. Not only that, but they got a lot of it wrong, some of it they got wrong because they wanted to be funny (which they weren’t) but other parts they got wrong because they really don’t know the subject matter, they just wanted to be populist, or so they must believe.

But is there something to be mocked here? Can we see the things like the predicted Rapture as evidence of abject silliness and insanity by a mass of society? Is it possible to make that kind of judgement from something that has been testified to by millions and millions of people all over the world for several thousands of years now? Wouldn’t something that’s “just nuts” have long ago disappeared with the onset of generations that always think they know better than the last generation? You bet it would. And yet, mockers come and go, but Christianity, the real thing, stands firm in its continuance.

Let’s take a look at one of the most mocked portions of Christianity, the fulfillment of prophetic scripture. Fulfilled prophecy is indeed one of the strongest evidences for the Bible. It is unique among books of the world in this respect. There are lots of vague forecasts out there, but nothing comes close to what scripture in the Bible has to say about what has, does and will happen.

Nostrodamus, Jean Dixon, Edgar Cayce and many others have made many predictions, but all too often they sound like horoscopes that are nebulous and could mean anything. A few things invariably do seem to have been fulfilled, but only in the most generalized way, the rest of it is a complete failure, and I suppose, not good fodder for sitcom mockery.

Anyone can be a predictor, of course, based upon individual experiences and attention to patterned details. Scientific forecasters can often make correct short term predictions, weather, stock market trends, and the like. Careful statistical analysis of data can bring about a correct short term prediction. Occultists will tell you they can contact the spirit world and even the demonic world, and some of them have made a few predictions correctly according to their available information. This points to another world though and they would perhaps be best not to prove one side of a coin since inevitably they prove the other side as well. But the information they receive can often be from entities who, although evil in Christian respects, are far from indolent and wouldn’t waste a minute trying to convince you that there is another way besides THE WAY.

But no man, sage, soothsayer, angel or demon can predict specific events and personages that will appear hundreds of years in the future. Only God can do this, and not coincidentally, the Bible is the ONLY place where you can find this kind of prophecy.

Let’s talk about nations that have come and gone. Egypt and Babylonia were two of the big dogs on the block in antiquity. Noph or Memphis, was the capitol of lower Egypt and (No) Thebes was the big capitol of all of Egypt. If you know anything about the archaeology of Egypt you know they were an amazing country, not unlike some of the biggest centers of commerce and industry we have today. Jeremiah 46:19 says, “Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.” Ezekiel 30:16 says, “No shall be broken up.” These prophecies were fulfilled centuries later. Ezekiel 29:15 said of Egypt, “It shall be the basest of kingdoms.” Egypt was a great and powerful nation for many centuries after this prophecy, but finally it became a shell of its former self and has remained so since. It was not predicted for extinction, however, as many others were, and in the Bible toward the end times Egypt is still a nation, as it is to this day.

Edom was a small powerful nation that descended from Esau, a Bible figure. Its center stronghold was Mt. Seir, and its capitol was Petra, the rock city. Petra was impregnable and deeply rich. Obadiah 18 says of Edom, “There shall not be any of the remaining of the house of Esau.” Today, the Edomites no longer exist. There isn’t a trace of them.

The same is true of the Philistines. You remember those guys? Philistia was still around about 1200 A.D., think about that, Robin Hood is set around 900 A.D. The nation of Vietnam was founded around 900 A.D. (by two women). Zephaniah says about Philistia, “The word of the Lord is against you, O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will destroy you and there shall be no inhabitant.” Where are they today?

What about big daddy Babylon? Herodotus, the greek historian, reported that Babylon was 15 miles square, surrounded by walls that were 350 feet high and 87 feet wide (thick). 87 feet???? It had avenues, parks and public buildings like downtown New York city. Jeremiah said of Babylon, “The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire.” Many people don’t know this, but Babylon was defeated by its enemy damming up the river that ran through the city from outside, and while the populace had a party, enemy soldiers entered the city through the then empty canal opening.

What about the Assyrian empire that came afterwards? It too was a mighty fortress, a teaming populace. I say this because many times old nations and armies were comparatively small to today’s standards. If you compared the army of the nation of China, over 200 million footmen I believe, to several sections of fans in a football stadium, you get an idea of what a lot of the armies of the day were like, I mean to say 12,000 men was a big army. Zephaniah says of Assyria, “ He will stretch out His hand against the north and destroy Assyria. Nineveh will be dry like a wilderness.” (desert)

The two great cities of the Phoenicians were Tyre and Sidon. Ezekiel says of Tyre, “They shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea.” Today, fisherman work their nets on the rocks where Tyre once stood. The site of ancient Tyre is still quite inhabitable, but the prophecy has now stood in place for over 2000 years. Ezekiel 26:14 says of Tyre, “Thou shalt be built no more.” To this day the site sits desolate with no inhabitants, despite its potential.

Just in case you think it is all a matter of entropy ruling the universe, Tyre’s sister city, Sidon was the target of a different type of prophecy. Ezekiel 28:23 says, “For I will send her into pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her with the sword on every side.” Sidon still exists today, she was not predicted for destruction, and she has suffered more war and bloodshed than any other nation on the planet. Sidon has been destroyed in the past and then rebuilt, many times over, but Tyre has never been rebuilt.

Just like Philistia, Ashkelon was another great city that was around in the year 1270 A.D. . Zephaniah says of Ashkelon, “Ashkelon shall be a desolation.” The same prophecy also includes two other cities, Ekron and Gaza. In both cases the prophecy was fulfilled. We can also include Bethel, Samaria, Jerico and in the New Testament, Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin (Matthew 11:20-23) in similar prophecies of desolation and they have ALL been written and fulfilled.

How about the remarkable fore view of world history from the book of Daniel? Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, an actual person documented by archeological science and historical study, has a dream that was interpreted by Daniel, a Jewish boy whom had been taken into exile when Israel was sacked by war. He saw a great statue of a man that represented all the empires of the world. Daniel interpreted the image as four influential dynasties in the coming world history. Babylon, with its gold head was the first empire. The breast and arms were the Meado-Persian Empire (silver), the guys who brought Babylon down. The mid-section was the Greek empire (brass), with Alexander the Great. And the fourth was the Roman empire represented by the iron legs.

The decrease in metal value is relative to the increase in metal strength, since gold is more valuable but also more pliable and lastly iron is less valuable but a lot stronger. The Romans were not only the strongest of the lot, but they existed the longest as do the legs of the whole body. It also split into two capitols at Rome and Constantinople, just like two legs. In fact Rome was still around in the late 1600’s or so in one form or another, just before the American revolution, and there are those who say it still exists as a system, political and religious, but with much less power, symbolized by the clay mix with iron in the feet of the statue.

The sequence of world history has been fulfilled directly and is now in the feet stage (a small stage comparatively) just before the “ten toes” take their form. Hmmm. Not a lot to laugh about there. I don’t need no Mayan calendar to figure out the next movement. While the prophecy given to Daniel is down right scary, there are many other smaller prophecies in the book that deal specifically with events pertaining to the Medo-Persian empire and the Greek empire as well as their respective dealings with Egypt, Syria and Israel. These prophecies are so specific that it makes the nay sayers convinced that the book MUST have been written sometime afterward and MUST be a complete fraud. Those who have studied this book and searched out its validity have come away confirming it, and now the only reason to doubt it is the desire to refute divine inspiration.

And now, I have to ask, What are you gonna do with the Jews??? The continued existence of the Jewish people both exiled and dispersed but still coherent, is a real sticking point against refuting prophecy. The restoration of the nation of Israel in our own time is a rather incredible example of prophecy coming true after hundreds of years of non fulfillment. You can’t just ignore this folks, considering what we have already covered in the fates of past nations that once stood side by side the Jewish nation in history. Genesis 12:2,3 says of Israel, “I will make you a great nation... I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you and because of you all the families of the world shall be blessed.” Under David and Solomon, Israel became a great nation, historical fact! Nations that have befriended the Jews have also been blessed, the United States, England and France and several others. Nations that have persecuted the Jews; Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Spain, Nazi Germany and others, including Russia whose communism is now fallen, have all gone down to ruin.

The Bible itself, written by Jewish hands for the most part, has indeed been a blessing to all families of the earth, just about anywhere you can find someone who has been blessed by it. God promised Israel great blessing and promise if they were faithful and also great defeat and shame if they turned from his care. Both of those promises have come true for Israel down through the ages. Jeremiah says of Israel, “And I will deliver them to be removed among all nations of the earth, for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in every place I will drive them.”

Despite all this, there is also a prophecy that Israel will not be exterminated. (Listen up Iraq!) Jeremiah also says, “Though I destroy all nations where I have scattered you, I will not bring an end to you.”

Even more impossible that a nation should retain it’s cohesiveness without a homeland is the miracle of it’s re-establishment hundreds of years later. Yet this is exactly what prophecy has predicted and it is also exactly what has happened.

Even many Bible believing Christians throught for hundreds of years that God was done with Israel, and I have still heard this spoken of today. Many wanted to relegate the involvement of Israel to a spiritual meaning, because they wandered throughout the nations of the earth for so long, but now they are re-assembled in their homeland practically overnight. Not only that, but if you look at current photos of the land of Israel today, you will no longer see a desert of desolation as was once the case for so long. Israel is becoming one of the major exporters of some of the best food stuffs on the planet, literally a rose has bloomed in the desert.

So there really is a great amount of folly in laughing at prophecy, as incredible as it may seem to the ordinary man of today, for one never knows where things may go and what may happen. I’ll talk more on this next time, for there is still much more to be said.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: According to Greta

According to Greta

Genre: Dramas
Starring: Hilary Duff, Ellen Burstyn,
Melissa Leo, Evan Ross
Director: Nancy Bardawil
Screenwriter: Michael Gilvary

Budding actress Hilary Duff is a disaffected teenager caught in the middle between what she once was and the world she is being dragged into with two tons of baggage hung over her shoulder for a travel companion. She plays snarky and “in over her head teen” Greta, a name she sarcastically refers to as a variation on the word GREAT, who has been in bad need of some tough love for quite sometime. Her mother, played by actress Melissa Leo, has been swimming in her own traumatized life, diving in and out of marriages since the death of her husband, Greta’s father, and has had little success putting the anchor on Greta and her own teetering ship of a life that is uncomfortably “three sheets to the wind” and heading for the rocks.

Greta’s mom ships her off to spend the summer with grandma, Ellen Burstyn and Grandpa, Michael Murphy, on the Jersey shore, and almost immediately she begins to spread her disruptive bile into the lives of her careful grandparents. Greta keeps a diary full of lists and drawings, and even ties the diary to her wrist when she goes about the town, once even dunking herself in the nearby ocean in a full prom dress (her grandma’s) while holding the diary high above her head. This scene is one of three, I think, that seemed to have an inner theme of baptism and rising from the waters, that for Greta, needed to be done more than once in order for her to find her grace to carry on with the rest of her life at this point.

The diary holds a special list of possible ways to commit suicide and she visits it often, sometimes even editing and correcting as she goes. When she unashamedly informs her grandparents that she plans on ending it all as soon as she is eighteen, just so she can stay young and pretty, she makes the audience and her grandparents squirm a bit with such talk. But one really can’t say just what Greta’s degree of commitment is to this plan, even though we all know it’s a movie that’s not geared to end in such “goth” type finality.

Surprisingly, Greta takes her grandma’s advice and gets a job at a local restaurant where she continues to berate everyone she meets, even the customers who seem to find her flat out disregard for their patronage to be a selling point for returning; kind of like a Don Rickles Vegas show. This soon takes it’s toll though, and the situation comes to a head, but not before she has befriended a young ex-con from juvie named Julie, Evan Ross, son of Diana Ross.

Evan does quite a good job of giving us the picture of a young man who has slammed on the breaks in his own life and turned straight, and in his words, “forever”. Julie and Greta find some mutual attraction, and they make a cute couple of kids struggling to make sense of the world they have been thrust into. Within time, we find that Julie and Greta share similar experiences of trauma but have chosen different paths and for a time this comes between them, but not for too long.

Greta soon begins to wear thin on everyone and Grandma is taken to the hospital for a mild heart attack after Greta ruins a fine day of boating by endangering her life (another underwater scene) and also Julie’s as he comes to her needy and yet unnecessary rescue. This brings Mom into town to gather Greta up in order to send her off to a military type camp for the summer so they can straighten her out. It’s at this point Grandpa has had enough of all this female drama and lowers the boom! His solution is so sound for these proceedings that even the new guy in mom’s life agrees and abandons her to the resolution. This is not something one would expect to see in a modern movie, and I was glad to see it. No kowtowing to the politically correct in spite of the logical resolution. Nice to see, since ANYONE in the cast can have the solution, and it doesn’t need to be solely who the audience wants to see.

And speaking of kowtowing, I was also quite pleased to see the interracial relationship simply played out as two kids who met and liked each other, and who could have been of any race. I see movies and TV these days that place racial characters in a story because it’s currently the “cool” thing to do, even despite the obvious reverse racism that becomes involved. If you want to see an example of this, just rent Harold and Kumar at Guantanamo Bay. A truly awful film anyway, but a prime example of politically correct pandering by the numbers, where all the bad guys are of a certain race and all the pretty girls, the only desirable ones by Hollywood’s measurement, are also of that same race. This kind of crap is happening all over the place in entertainment and needs to stop. If we truly agree that America is past racism, then we need more movies like According to Greta where ANYONE of ANY race could fill a role.

I can also say this about the writing here, too. I was quite pleased with the character study and the natural way events come to pass according to the characters in the film. This was not by any means a paint by numbers film. I didn’t feel I had seen this movie before or was able to point out thirty other movies with the same parts in them. That’s probably because of the refinement of the characters and the setting, which are all part of the development of the narrative. And that’s the way it SHOULD Be. If you would like a fine example of paint by the numbers writing, then rent the recent 2012 disaster movie, where you could pick out 20 cliche’s from other movies and TV shows from old Star Trek to the Posiedon Adventure and beyond. I had nothing to say about that movie beyond the amazing computer visuals, so I didn’t write a review. You don’t need to hear me bitching all the time.

The principles are all fine, and Miss Duff is quite the little up and coming actress. I found her quite believable and a little too familiar in her presentation of a troubled teen, but then again how far did she have to stretch with a little outside direction, she is, after all not much older than the character. Still, all things being equal, she did a fine job, and this really should catch some notice among the directors looking for new and credible talent. I say that with a lot of hope for her, but does anyone remember Shannon Sossaman from almost ten years ago? Where did she go? Good luck Hilary, keep up the good work no matter what.

If you are in the mood for some basic psychology study of young people in the throws of angst, I would say you could enjoy the story and the movie for it’s writing and acting. It’s not going to make a lot of money, but it’s not a waste of an hour and a half either. It’s a 3 out of 5, but a really good 3.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Reality, Duality and The Way We Be

Reality, Duality
and The Way We Be

We people, and I include myself, have an obsession with pigeonholing everything and everyone. We love sports because it defines strength and non-strength in very easy, productive terms. Teams that are strong and overcome, are our favorites, and those that are perennial underachievers suffer at the hands of our ruthless derision. But nature isn’t like this.

Everything in nature has a strong characteristic and also a soft spot. These strengths and weaknesses are blueprinted this way with internal information to exist perfectly within nature’s individual environment. If a situation changed, a solid strength can suddenly become a crippling weakness, and visa versa.

For instance, algae is a major source of food for many different types of sea life. It is also a major supplier of oxygen for the planet. But there are conditions in which algae, if given the proper combination of situations can produce toxic chemicals that will kill fish and the people who eat the fish as well.

When it comes to discernment you recognize the duality of our existence. You see that people are neither all good or all bad, in fact you can embrace each person for their uniqueness, in much the same way that the love of your life can be forgiven for those bad habits and odd ways you discover once you get them in a private living situation. Our love life should embrace everyone in this way, and this makes being judgemental extremely difficult.

But people don’t always think in those terms, loving their fellow man includes everyone, not just those within their reach. Keeping in mind for instance, that if you live in America, you have billions of brothers and sisters in the nation of China, and in fact, more so all over the world. Those starving Ethiopian children are your brothers and sisters, and I mean that physically, not just in a spiritual way, although that too is true. DNA has proven there is no such thing as race. And YOU, dear reader, ARE your brother’s keeper.

So anyway, getting back to my original point, what do those weaknesses that other people have mean to you? Do they present an opportunity? You bet they do. The trick is to make those strengths work for you by filling in the weakness gaps of one person with another person’s strength. By combining strength and weakness you make the whole greater. Differences serve to make us all stronger.

Matching a person’s strength to a weak spot is just good management. If you move a perfectionist into a position that requires meticulous attention to detail, then you have a successful combination. I know that sounds obvious, but hang with me here.

Most folks place a high priority on being buddies with those whom they feel most comfortable with. Bosses often look for those who will fit in and not cause a stir. In fact, managers will tell people who they don’t believe can perform a job that they just aren’t a “good fit”. More often than not, this is just rhetoric to keep them from being sued for wrongful dismissal, but it seems to make logical sense because it sounds right.

However, without a healthy mix of contending view points, you limit any situation to a narrow perception. Well meaning friends and coworkers actually help to keep each other from moving forward. Companies who have nothing but yes men tend to form a lemming mentality because they can’t perceive the entire picture.

Individuals and companies that have too many compatible people involved routinely self-sabotage themselves. In order to get a broader view of the world at large, it’s important to not limit yourself or your company and make it a directive to go outside of the usual complacent and agreeable friends and employees. Encourage those mavericks among you and you’ll get a better, more truthful view of the world around you.

Some people cover up a weakness by taking care of others, and some just take care of themselves and expect that everyone else will do the same. But neither of these directives can be maintained for any length of time. True harmony comes from loving yourself and also those around you.

This idea of independence, of taking care of yourself, comes from years of “Freudian therapy” thinking that focuses you on yourself in a most dangerous way. But we are not made that way, we are made to reach out to others. Just ask some of the medical studies that have been done lately of people who had chronic illnesses and then started to volunteer and give time and work to others. Amazingly, many of them began to get better or even had a complete remission of their conditions. Face it folks, everything is interconnected, even me and you. There is no denying that our complex reality of body and soul is also intrinsically interconnected.

There isn’t an employer you can find on this planet who isn’t interested in the successful interaction of their business with those they do business with. That’s not just a monetary concern, that’s a pre-programmed success model. Businesses are built on the model of a tree because the model works, whether you are an Ash tree or a multimillion dollar corporation. You will not find anyone who is a racist or bigot, who doesn’t somewhere and somehow have to get along and interact with those they have an offense against, unless you find them out in the woods living by themselves. Once again, there are no true rebels, no successful ones, only those organizations that are counter purposed. Even the mafia has to have hierarchy, without it, you have unorganized crime. Most of those people are the ones in prison.

Interdependence and organization are a part of who we are and they lead to alignment, completion and satisfaction. This happens because it’s the way reality was built, it’s the invisible inside information that proves a reality beyond our own. For how could a dead matter indicate a script for interpersonal relationships that would insure unseen benefit and success within the soul or spirit of a person? We know that an apple tree can produce apples, but can that physical thing of the tree do more than that? Can it show us the make up of the tree as something beyond itself? Can it show us that this is a physical representation of the unseen world that can benefit you? Or is that something we have perceived? If we have perceived it, and seen it work, logically that proves the existence of something beyond ourselves, some information created by intelligence.

A simple truth of the world we live in is that our own survival is in the hands of those around us. Before we can fulfill any desire of our own, we must somehow involve others. Whether that means getting someone to buy a product, so that you can make a profit, or getting someone to become social with you so that you don’t die old and alone. Sales is built on this idea. You must be able to get a person to see things your way, not their way, and if you have ever gone into a car dealership and tried to buy an automobile, you have been hit with this idea full in the face. For they make a living of trying to get you to see things their way, and that’s one reason I will never buy a car from a dealership. Experientially I became aware that they have a deep seeded opinion of the customer as stupid and weak and this supposedly excuses them for lying to you. But I digress. (Oh the blog I could write on this!!!)

I’ll tell you how to avoid the rancid view point of the car salesman. You must expect that the other person will have a VALID opposite point of view. That way it doesn’t become a battle of wills and then develops into a drama scene. If you begin with the assumption that both view points are correct, you respect the other person’s point of view. (Of course, that doesn’t help the car salesman if you think you SHOULDN’T buy a car today.) You accept their opposite point of view, acknowledge it and then validate it. This causes the other person to keep an open mind, and readies them to consider perhaps your own opinion on the subject. There is no other “game” that will work when dealing with people because other games don’t consider us to be connected, just at odds for the same piece of pie.

Again, therapists have told us for years that you can’t control others, just your own actions. But that’s only half true, and discerning our reality will help you to see this. Remember, that how a person deals with you is the direct result of how you communicate with him. How you do things always sets the stage for the reaction you get, it’s the other side of the coin. You and I are both cause and effect. Chickens are both the cause and the result of an egg and this is mirrored in the unseen invisible nature of interpersonal relationships. Again, it’s the invisible inside information. High tide follows low tide and it also gives way to low tide.

The person who sees the reality of this “script” realizes that anytime you get a confusing reaction to your action, it is in part your own fault in some way. Since people are not all good or all bad, as we have said, you don’t waste time trying to make yourself lily white innocent in any relationship gone bad. Instead it’s important to control your approach in order to receive the desired reaction. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow, it’s the inside information of reality.

Therapists have also told us to communicate with others openly and truthfully, so that those we love will never be left guessing as to our true motives. Empathetic listening can only go so far, however; and can be fraught with frustration. But, if we keep in mind the fallen nature of human beings, and also the heights to which they can also reach, we love them for who they are. We don’t judge and we know that often people don’t understand themselves either. But we have a creator who loves them anyway and when we just accept the double nature of people, and also love them anyway, we fulfill a portion of our own natural position of being created in the image of God.

(Just to clarify, I am not saying that God has a dual nature, our fallen nature is not of God, but our ability to love even in the face of tragic weakness... is. Nature has this duality as a constant, but it is not our true nature as God’s creation, to be so, is to be false to our original purpose as a creation and this is what makes us originally created higher than the physical world, well, one of the things anyway. Our fallen nature mirrors the weaknesses of the physical world, not its strengths and there’s a bit of PROOF in that for you to consider.)

Escape The Hezbollah