Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Didn't Jesus blow up parliament?

I saw an interesting movie last week. While on our mini-vacation, the wife and I ditched the offspring and headed out for dinner and a movie. Since my wife went shopping earlier in the day I was allowed to choose the movie. And what should a self-respecting, red-blooded, American male choose? … V for Vendetta, of course.

The movie is based on a graphic novel, or glorified comic book if you will. It is about a “terrorist” who decides it is time to stand up against the oppressive government. I didn’t know much about the movie going in. I had just seen a few commercial trailers and thought the guy wearing the mask and black cape looked really cool wielding his vast array of cutlery.

On the way into the theatre, I took a quick peak at the movie poster on which was a picture of the anti-hero with the statement “People should not fear their government; governments should fear their people.” Interesting concept.

As the movie plays, it is made clear that V, the title character, is not a person, but an idea and as he says, “People die, but ideas never do,” or something along those lines. V is fighting against an oppressive British government of the future that strikingly resembles Hitler’s Nazi regime of the past.

Not to give too much away, but the movie ends with British Parliament being blown to pieces as V’s idea spreads throughout the masses. It is clear that V is not a person, but he is every person.

It was a great movie. I obviously don’t condone blowing up the government. That would just be stupid. But at some point we all have to take a stand for what we believe is right. If that means bucking the status quo, then so-be-it.

However, as I was channel surfing Monday evening I ran across a know-it-all politico who was lashing out against the movie. It was so pathetically obvious that he was a conservative, right-wing Republican spewing rhetoric concerning the liberal Hollywood media. He talked about how horrible the movie was and what kind of bad message it is sending to high school and college students everywhere. He admitted that he sat through it with his two boys … at which point I was thinking, ‘Idiot! Why did you take your boys? It’s obviously not a movie for children.’

Then this faux genius said something that just blew me away … “This movie says that blowing up Parliament is good and Christianity is bad.” I think my brain stopped working for a moment in an attempt to connect with this man on his level.

I couldn’t believe that those words actually fell out of his mouth. I was stunned that he could even begin to draw that conclusion from this movie. It had nothing to do with Christianity. The only thing obviously religious about the film was the fact that one of the people V was after was a church bishop who had apparently strayed from his religious vows. There was no discussion of Christianity in any way, shape, form or fashion. There are some religious overtones as far as martyrdom and sacrifice are concerned, but in no way does this movie portray Christianity in a negative light of any kind.

It is a story about a man who represents everyone, fighting against government leaders who are oppressive and wrong in the way they treat people. He spends his time fighting small battles while cultivating followers and telling them the truth in order to get them to understand until the final climax through which there is a rebirth of the vision and ideals for which he has sacrificed.

Huh … Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I wonder if mister religious right had read any of his Bible lately.

A golfing we shall go

Spring Break. You can always count on the weather to change around here during Spring Break. Last year, we got six inches of snow. This year we had to settle for rain. It was much-needed rain, however, so no one is really complaining.

My goal during Spring Break was to play a few rounds of golf. I originally had anticipated getting in three rounds, but windy, cold weather on Wednesday morning put a quick end to that.

On Thursday, we left for the in-laws. We headed out early in order to make good time. It is nearly a six hour drive and we needed to be there by noon. We stopped for breakfast about an hour down the road where we ran into Spooky and her crew. They were headed the opposite direction on I-40. After a quick bite to eat, it was back in the van and down the road.

We reached my in-laws in pretty good shape and immediately … before I even unloaded the van … my father-in-law, brother-in-law and myself grabbed our clubs and headed for the golf course. I knew it would be an interesting round because I had just spent six hours driving. There’s no real way to loosen up while buckled into a bucket seat, speeding down the highway.

I was right. My golf game started off blazing. I birdied the first hole and parred the second. After two holes, I was 1-under par and three strokes up on the pseudo dad who is generally a much better golfer than I am. That is when things changed. I suddenly remembered that I completely suck at golf. I triple bogied the next hole and things just went down hill from there.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I wasn’t alone. None of us were playing particularly well that day. In fact, I won a hole with a nine. My father-in-law scored a 10 after hitting two balls out of bounds and my brother-in-law quit the hole before finishing, forcing him to take one more stroke than the worst score … an 11. Golf can be an ugly game. I think some people wear funny looking pants and gaudy shirts just to take away from the fact that their golf game is so ugly.

The next day, my father-in-law and I played a different course. I didn’t have any pars or birdies, but all-in-all I played better. Most of my score card consisted of bogey or double-bogey. There were only three holes which were worse than that.

And while I didn’t win the game either day, nor did I come close to breaking 90, golf is a game that always gives you just enough to keep you coming back for more. After all, I was the only one to birdie a hole during the two days.

I wonder if I can sneak out to the course this weekend …

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Breaking the Spring

Aaaahhhh! Spring Break!
And what exactly does that mean? It means I sit here at my desk with little or nothing to do. The few miniscule jobs that I do have to accomplish can’t really get done because the people I need to talk to are not on campus. The students have disappeared as well, so things really get boring around here. Not to mention that basketball season has ended and the few weeks post basketball are always the most depressing time of the year for me.

However, I am only working two days this week. I decided to take the rest of the week off to spend some extra time with the family. My mini-vacation begins on Wednesday morning. I am getting up at the crack of dawn and heading out to the golf course where I expect to get my rear end waxed by a local math professor. He doesn’t have to work at all this week because the faculty gets spring break off. Faculty …. Thhhpppptt! Just wait until I start spreading rumors about him being into rear-end waxing.

After losing miserably to the Ph.D., I will load the family in the van and we will make the five and a half hour drive to Norman, Okla., to visit the in-laws, where I will no doubt get my hind quarters whipped again on the golf course by my father-in-law.

It’s tough being a golfer. Actually I don’t claim to be a golfer, I just tell people that I enjoy an occasional walk in the park. But, alas, I have taken up a hobby for which I am not well-suited.

It’s tough because I am an ultra-competitive person. I am not a sore loser and I am not a poor winner. I don’t run around and gloat (excessively) when I beat people at things, and I don’t sit in a corner and sulk when I perform poorly. However, I hate losing. I have learned to deal with it because I am a bad golfer.

The sad thing is, the only real competition you have on the golf course is yourself. It’s not like the other guys are playing defense. It’s just you, your club and some dimpled little ball that laughs maniacally as sails out of bounds. But what does it say when you are such a bad golfer that you can’t even beat yourself?

Well, I’ll have fun trying. I might be able to get in as many as three rounds of golf this week. I don’t think I’ve ever played three rounds in one week. I can’t afford it. The stupid game costs way too much. And then you have to buy all the special equipment: gloves, shoes, clubs, balls (because I always seem to lose mine), tees and whatever else you think might improve your game.

To be perfectly honest, however, I don’t wear golf shoes and I still play with the first set of clubs I ever bought. They cost me $75 used and I got them when I was in college so many years ago. I can’t bring myself to invest in the new technology which would supposedly improve my game. I tell people I’m not good enough to justify spending that much money on the sport. Of course, if I spent that much money, I might be a little bit better.

Oh well, I just try to swing easy, hit it straight and keep my goal simple: 90 … all I want to do is break 90. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How uncouth

You will sink in a mire. You like to think you're

normal, but deep down you really just want to

strip off your clothes and roll around in

chicken fat.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, March 06, 2006

Happy Birthday

“Daddy,” she said. In recent weeks, she has gone from calling her parents Mama and Da-da to mommy and daddy. “You have to say ‘Happy Birthday to me!’”

“Happy Birthday to me,” I replied.

Amidst the chaos that ensued as she tried to explain how I had misunderstood her statement, I managed to get a hug and wish the offspring Happy Birthday. My 5-year-old teenager turns 6 today.

We had her birthday party yesterday, but it has been made quite evident to us that today will likewise be a day of celebration. She has made a point to tell her teachers and anyone else at school that her birthday is on March 6. She is fully expecting to be wished “Happy Birthday!” during the morning announcements. Mommy is bringing cupcakes to the class later today, and tonight, it has been requested that we dine a Chili’s so she can have Kraft Macaroni and Cheese served in a fancier bowl than what we have at home. She also wants us to tell them that today is her birthday and she is expecting them to sing to her.

Six years seems like a long time, but the years have flown by. The offspring loves to reminisce about being born and how her toes were cute. She talks about being shown to mommy and being washed and cleaned by the doctors. She remembers that Mimi and Papa and Mamaw and Papaw were all there as well as aunts and uncles and other friends.

That’s quite a memory on the girl, but even her memory isn’t perfect. She still has questions about the day she was born. As we drove to a pizza joint after her party yesterday, the youngster piped up from the back seat …

“Daddy,” she asked, “did you like me when I was a baby?”