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Electric Angel

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About Electric Angel

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  • Interests
    Christian theology/philosophy, religion in general, magic, writing, ice hockey

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  • Favorite movies
    James Bond, Seven, Falling Down, Mississippi Burning, Passion of the Christ, Purple Rain, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Amelie
  • Favorite music
    Jaci Velasquez (who I wanted to marry once), Prince, classical
  • Favorite creative writing
    Mickey Spillane, CS Lewis, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Slade, Stephen King
  • Favorite visual art
    I like Malevich. Eight red rectangles is a slice
  1. They've got to get Tim Curry. He'd be the best Joker EVER!!! (Even better than Jack.) I bought the Batman DVD for one reason only. I'm a huge Prince fan. Wanted some of his videos in my collection.
  2. My tribute: One of my favourite writers, Mickey Spillane, has died. During his life, he graced us with some of the most gripping detective fiction ever produced. It started in 1947, when Spillane wrote the first of his Mike Hammer stories, I, THE JURY. Legend has it that it took barely two weeks to write and that most of it was hammered out on a typewriter in a tent where Spillane was living while his house was under construction. The novel immediately endeared itself to critics - most probably because of the high sex and violence content and especially because of the climax of the story where Mike Hammer, the hardboiled private eye, intentionally shoots the woman he loves in order to avenge the murder of a friend. That ending - so cynical, so sad, so perfect - goes, in part, like this: The critics hated him, but they never had the moxie to write that that ending has the stuff of immortality in it. So gripping it was that even the Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist David Halberstam replicated the ending in The Fifties, his book-length treatise on the decade that gave birth to rock and roll. I, THE JURY was followed by five more Mike Hammer stories in rapid succession, each of which was gobbled up by the public. Of course this did not endear him to the superstars of the literary world. Spillane even recalls being at a party somewhere when he was approached by some stuffy literary type who was incensed about how Spillane's work was affecting the public's reading habits. "I think it's disgraceful that of the 10 best-selling books of all time, seven were written by you," said the critics. Spillane's reply - which I'd like to think was delivered with a convival grin on his face - was this: "You're lucky I've only written seven books." That's Mickey for you. He had no sympathy for the writing snobs. "These bigshot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar," he said. "If the public likes you, you're good." Still, the neverending litany of bad reviews must have gotten to Spillane eventually. After publishing KISS ME, DEADLY in 1952, he didn't publish another Mike Hammer story until 1963's THE GIRL HUNTERS. Some readers have suggested that his conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses may have discouraged him from churning out any more of the sex and violence that came to signify his stories. Certainly, the later Mike Hammer novels are tamer than the earlier ones and they are very tame compared to what you'll read in popular fiction today. To younger generations, the name of Mike Hammer is more famous than that of Mickey Spillane just as the name of James Bond is more famous than that of Ian Fleming. In the 1980s there was a popular Mike Hammer show on TV starring Stacy Keach. The show was a little more campy than Spillane's novels, but the ultraconservative spirit and the politically incorrect universe was still there. All the women in the show were gorgeous, had huge breasts, and were forever trying to get in bed with Mike. In one episode, a buxom young beauty is walking her dogs down the street when she passes Mike walking the other way. "Excuse me," she says to him. "But what do you think of my puppies." "They're not bad," Mike says. "And your dogs are pretty cute too." Later on, Mike will have a beer, beat up some bad guys, sleep with three different women, and kill a murderer. Now what guy wouldn't want to be Mike Hammer? What I like best about Mickey Spillane is his humility. More than any other writer, I think I could approach him and tell him that I admire his work and not have to worry that I'd have to qualify my statements. I bet Mickey would smile and tell me some of his funny stories - like the time Ernest Hemingway went into a restaurant in Miami and saw his picture next to Spillane's picture behind the bar and demanded that his picture not be placed side by side with such a literary pariah. The bartender obliged by taking Hemingway's picture down and tossing it away. Good ole Mick. He doesn't even like being called an author. That word is too pretentious for him. Writer, is fine. Another Spillane quote: "You'll never find a guy with a mustache or a guy drinking cognac in my books," he says. "That's because those are two words I don't know how to spell." That's funny, but I think that Spillane is actually telling us something a little deeper here. "I write about things that interest me," he seems to be saying. "I write at my level and I write about what I want." If the public likes me, great. But at least I go to bed at night knowing that I didn't try to be someone else." Now those are some words we can all take to heart.
  3. For what it's worth, here's a part of an essay I published in the newspaper where I work: -- The Narnia Chronicles, for the uninitiated, take place in the eternal Kingdom of Narnia, which is a magical land populated by fairies and satyrs and a big ole lion named Aslan. Earth children can even visit there by means of a magical wardrobe. The Narnia Chronicles were written by CS Lewis, arguable the most influential Christian theologian of the 20th century. His books, The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity are considered classics of Christian literature and the Narnia books were written not only to enthrall generations of young readers but also to serve as allegories to Christian faith. Aslan, for example, is an obvious Christ figure who sacrifices himself for the well-being of others. JRR Tolkien, who wrote The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was a contemporary of Lewis's and was instrumental in the latter's journey to Christianity. I suppose that means that Tolkein is responsible for two series of fantasy novels. But despite reports that Tolkien's family remains antagonistic towards film adaptations of his work, the same can not be said of CS Lewis's descendants. One of the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe's co-producers is Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham, who was charged with ensuring that the film's message didn't stray too far from the spirit of the book. Not surprisingly, the film is being aggressively marketed towards evangelical Christians. Walt Disney Studios is surely hoping that the movie will prompt church youth groups around the world to include a trip to the theatre among their list of outings this Christmas season. And if you can't get enough of Aslan at the theatre - or at the book store - you surely won't be faced with an absence of Narnia kitsch. McDonalds restaurants will include Narnia toys in their happy meals, Nintendo has manufactured a Narnia video game, and bookstores are replete with Narnia stuff that was written long after CS Lewis died. A Field Guide to Narnia, the Companion Guide to Narnia, Finding God in the Land of Narnia, even CS Lewis and Narnia for Dummies are available alongside the original volumes. Truly, where there's a need, there's greed. Am I the only one wondering if CS Lewis is spinning in his grave? I'm a longtime admirer of CS Lewis, who died on Nov. 22, 1963, the same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. If I meet him in the afterlife, I'll thank him for his books and how they shaped my imagination as a boy and my faith as a man. I intend to see the Narnia movie but that will be the extent of the money I spend on anything Narnia related. For some reason, I think that would make Mr. Lewis proud.
  4. Prince at the Calgary Saddledome Weird Al at the Calgary Jubilee
  5. I'm trying to slug my way through Brian Moynahan's THE FAITH - a history of Christianity. Like everyone, I have so much to read.
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