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Everything posted by TexasWill

  1. I find it interesting that even though I am a member of a church with a theologically-conservative perspective on the scriptures, our church seems to be what Rachel Evans is looking for. We affirm women in vocational an non-vocational ministry (ordained ministers, teachers, deacons, leaders, etc.), we deal with the hard questions in Sunday School and bible studies - I've actually been able to point out that King David was a user of women in a Bible study series I did where it seemed every week David was finding a new wife or concubine for his use without people getting bent out of shape about it. We deal with the rough edges of biblical characters as well as extend grace to those who come into our fellowship with history and baggage that is distinctly not approved by the evangelical subculture. We see people transformed by the gospel, but at their own pace and according to their convictions as we model what we believe to be a biblical lifestyle. At election time, our congregation gets strangely quiet about politics since we are about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. One thing we do agree on socially/politically is that the church needs to be active in helping the poor, the homeless, and the immigrants - and we have organized ministries to do that. And as we minister to the felt needs, we often earn the right to talk to those dear persons about the grace and mercy of God. On the other hand, I don't know of another church in our region who is theologically conservative but has the same church culture and concern for the things that I believe that God cares most about. I have no idea where I would go if our church changed or somehow closed its doors. I would probably end up trying to start one with like-minded believers. Strangely enough, our church was recently analyzed by a Southern Baptist expert and informed that we were "marginally unhealthy" as a church because we had a spectrum of theological and political views represented in the congregation. The "expert" believed that was a recipe for dissension. Strangely enough, it is actually a strength of the congregation since we don't rely on mutual affinities to keep us unified. We are unified by a common experience in Christ and our ability to respect our differences and learn from each other.
  2. I’m not sure it is so much about the Holocaust entire, but the damage of the Holocaust in human terms, particularly in the lives of those who were transformed by it. I think Kubrick was wrong about this since I don’t think it was really about the Holocaust - it was about surviving the Holocaust. I haven’t seen the film in years, but I remember the scene. The issue for the characters in the movie was the question of whether they were going to live or die horribly. They simply didn’t know. They didn’t know from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment whether they would live or die. What kept them going was hope. What kept them enslaved, to some degree, was also hope. If there was absolutely no hope, the people could rebel en masse and potentially win their freedom... however small the possibility. Hope kept the passengers relatively passive on the jets that hit the towers in New York City and the Pentegon on 9/11 because they had hope that the hijackers would negotiate for demands and they would eventually be released. But when the passengers on the fourth jet (Flight 93) learned the fate of the other three jets, they lost hope that they would survive by being relatively passive. There was absolutely nothing to lose at that point. It is no accident that the Nazis posted “Work makes you free” at the entrances to their camps. It provided hope and helped them maintain control. The scene in the shower room (or was it a gas chamber) was a vivid example of the way people lived. And for many who survived the Holocaust, there was intense survivor’s guilt and shame that they had somehow made it through that experience with their lives but not their dignity. It wouldn't matter if SCHINDLER'S LIST had not been hailed as the Great Chronicle of the Holocaust. Which, in part, is hype, and I suspect that's mostly what Kubrick is responding to.
  3. Now you've done it. Instead of going to bed early, I'm rewatching 500 Days of Summer!
  4. TexasWill


    From the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board: On May 5, 2011, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu charged the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Natural Gas Subcommittee to make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations. President Obama directed Secretary Chu to form the Natural Gas Subcommittee as part of the President’s "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" - a comprehensive plan to reduce America's oil dependence, save consumers money, and make our country the leader in clean energy industries. The Subcommittee's task is defined as: "The Subcommittee will work to identify, within 90 days, any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of fracking and to develop, within six months, consensus recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction to ensure the protection of public health and the environment." (Blueprint, page 13) The Natural Gas Subcommittee met for the first time on May 18, 2011. Subsequently, it has conducted public meetings on June 1-2, June 13, June 28, and July 13, to gather information and discuss issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Details on those meetings can be found in the Resources section of this website. As of July 15, 2011, the Department of Energy has received over 25,000 public comments. A summary of those comments is now available. The Natural Gas Subcommittee's initial report is expected on August 18, 2011, and its final report on November 18, 2011. The Draft 90-Day Report is Available For Review Here
  5. TexasWill


    Yes. He misrepresented what's going on around here. He was talking about benzene emissions at the well sites and showed a thermal video of gases escaping from a well unit. He made it seem as if the gases were benzene, but the gases are mostly warm air. There are indeed trace amounts of benzene released from well sites, but you probably get more benzene exposure at/near a gas station than you do at a well site. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) monitors and investigates gases released at drilling wells and they have determine levels are within acceptable parameters. Again, and dangit that I returned the DVD already -- maybe you can look this up for me if you've still got your recording tucked away somewhere -- but Fox relayed information that was given to him by a Fort Worth official of some kind. How is it that HE is misinterpreting the info? I would have to watch the scene closely again, but I believe the info came from within the Fort Worth system before Fox began narrating again.. The City of Fort Worth commissioned an independent study of air quality around wells throughout the city and determined that there were higher levels of pollution around five wells than anticipated, but there was no health risk to the public. The final report was released today. The science is coming in and it refutes the allegations of Gasland. It's absolutely no surprise to me, but then again, I knew Gasland was propaganda from the beginning. Gasland offered no science, relied on selective testimonies, relied on public ignorance of many aspects of the technology, and gains its limited credibility from the spectacle of people lighting well water from their taps, even though that is usually a result of natural pollution in a petroleum-rich region.
  6. TexasWill


    From the Wall Street Journal: Texas Cites EPA Error in Testing of Wells AUSTIN, Texas—In an ongoing bout between Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency over the safety of gas drilling, the Lone Star State claimed a victory Tuesday and took the opportunity to criticize the federal agency. Texas regulators said that extensive testing showed that flammable water wells west of Fort Worth were not contaminated by nearby gas drilling, as the EPA maintained. Instead, they said, evidence shows that the gas in a shallow water aquifer was migrating up from a rock formation directly underneath it. The gas had a different "geochemical fingerprint" from gas found and extracted a mile lower in the Barnett shale rock formation, Texas officials said. "This is an example of overreaching at its worst," said Michael Williams, one of three elected commissioners who oversee oil and gas drilling. The EPA "has a built-in bias against the fossil fuel energy industry." Tuesday's finding by Texas officials comes about three months after an EPA order to shut down the gas wells to prevent two houses from exploding. At the time, the EPA criticized the state agency that regulates drilling, the Texas Railroad Commission, for failing to address the situation. In a written statement, the EPA responded that it is standing by its belief that gas drilling contributed to the contamination and said it would not comply with Texas' request to rescind its earlier order. The state finding "is not supported by EPA's independent, scientific investigation," the agency wrote. That didn't stop Texas officials from alleging that the federal government peddled shoddy science. "Do your job based on facts," Jim Keffer, chairman of the Texas House of Representatives energy committee, said in an interview after speaking at the hearing. "Don't go out and yell fire in a crowded theater." Texas officials said the EPA used incomplete testing to determine that the gas found in the water wells was identical to gas found a mile below where Range Resources Corp. was cracking open shale rocks. Range, which has continued to operate the wells, is fighting the EPA in federal court to overturn the order that declared that its operations were endangering local residents and shut its wells. "We will continue to respect the legal process and expect the EPA to rescind their order now that there is definitive scientific evidence of the natural cause of this issue and safety of residents," said Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella. More here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216683622068802.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlines
  7. TexasWill


    FULL DISCLOSURE: - I work for an engineering and environmental services firm in Fort Worth that serves a major gas driller. - I directly serve both the Energy and Environmental Groups that work with drilling issues in the Barnett Shale and Eagle Ford Shale plays, although it is actually a rather small part of our business. - My firm also is heavily involved in water resources/conservation/treatment which is a big deal in the fracking controversy. I am regularly involved in discussions regarding these issues with experts. - I have lived in Fort Worth for 21 years and I have closely followed the fracking issues since 2005. - I have mineral rights for my residential lot here in Fort Worth (only 1/3 acre), so I am aware of issues involved by residents. (No, I haven't received any royalty checks because no wells have been drilled under my property.) - I grew up closely connected to the oil industry in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area of Texas. I have studied the history of my home region and have some understanding of what occurs naturally in an environment where large quantities of oil and gas are present. - I grew up in a very polluted region where the refineries polluted almost at will until the early 1970s. There was and is a much higher rate of cancer among many of my peers and previous generations, most likely because of industrial and environmental exposure to dangerous chemicals and carcinogens. I am very grateful for the creation of the EPA because I have been able to see the massive changes environmental legislation can make when it is well-written and properly applied. - My father worked at a major oil refinery and was a member of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) most of his career. He died of mesothelioma in 2005 and had previously fought through non-Hodgkins lymphoma which was likely brought about by massive benzene exposure (elbows deep in benzene every day to clean laboratory instruments). - On two occasions, I have personally retained the services of an oil and gas attorney to help with lease negotiations with a gas company that was playing hard-ball and assumed I wouldn't challenge them because I'm a "little guy." - Besides the two personal gas lease negotiations, I have helped family members with negotiations for leases in three other gas plays (Austin Chalk, Brookeland, and the Haynesville Shale). I monitor activity and issues in those plays and advise family members on how to deal with gas drilling issues. On one of the contracts, we negotiated for nearly a year to gain appropriate environmental protections for the property at the cost of potentially much higher signing bonus. - I live and work around drilling sites and active, productive gas wells. There are approximately 25 completed or permitted wells with 1 mile of my home, on three super pad sites, and work near two super pad sites within 1/4 mile of my office. As you can see, I have a lot of potential biases both ways and I'm heavily tied to these issues in numerous ways. It is part of my job to know and understand the industry and it is important for my personal life to understand issues of health and safety. I've also had to deal with alarmists and self-appointed agitators who spin half-truths into apocalyptic fantasies that actually undermine real and serious efforts to make positive and productive advances for the protection of public health and the environment. I'm not just some guy who read a pamphlet or watched a single documentary and is making judgments solely upon one or two sources. For what it's worth, the gas drilling companies don't have a spotless record. They are in business to maximize profits. However, they are not villains either. Employees of these firms live and work in the regions where they produce and they are highly motivated to protect the environment for personal, as well as business reasons. Bad publicity and disgruntled landowners/communities make it more expensive or impossible to do business. There have been mistakes and failures in a few instances, but the percentage of problems is remarkably low. I am always willing to listen to concerns people may have, but Gasland is not, in my opinion, a credible source of information. Of course. I wouldn't comment on it the way I did without seeing it. I recorded it off HBO about 5-6 months ago and watched it twice. Yes. He misrepresented what's going on around here. He was talking about benzene emissions at the well sites and showed a thermal video of gases escaping from a well unit. He made it seem as if the gases were benzene, but the gases are mostly warm air. There are indeed trace amounts of benzene released from well sites, but you probably get more benzene exposure at/near a gas station than you do at a well site. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) monitors and investigates gases released at drilling wells and they have determine levels are within acceptable parameters. It's not a simple matter of true or false. There are some small elements of truth in Gasland, but they are framed in such a way as to sell a particular conclusion at the expense of examining other information which may lead to different conclusions. Sure. And what people tend to forget in their often rightly-deserved bias against Big Business is that sometimes Big Business might actually be telling you the truth. Last time I checked, HBO is a very big business and documentary filmmaking (especially if you aspire to be a Michael Moore-type of populist filmmaker) can become quite profitable. There is a profit motive all the way around. We need to judge truth not according to our biases or who might profit, but according to fact. And that means absolutely nothing in regard to whether or not the information is true. if you only select those in litigation against a drilling company, then you're essentially only going to get one side of the story. I'm not saying they might not have a legitimate case, however, people have been lighting their well water for years according to some other sources not cited in the film. Furthermore, here in Texas, in certain places you can light well water even in areas where there has been no drilling. This is possible in places with large quantities of gas underground. Those are not the only two options. Unintended water pollution generally comes from three sources: 1.) There have been one or two incidents where the casing (the pipe that encases the hole created by the drill bit going into the earth) cracks, releasing high pressure gas into the water table as the gas travels up the well bore. This is very rare. The actual fracking is done thousands of feet (sometimes more than 18,000 feet) below the water table, so there is no direct contact. 2.) There has been several incidents with high pressure disposal wells where the tainted water from the fracking operation is injected underground into relatively shallow wells, although lower than the local water table. Fortunately, this method of disposal is gradually being phased out in favor of methods to purify and reuse water. 3.) The most common reason for water sources to get polluted is through leakage or damage to the temporary evaporation reservoirs used for the fracking operations. There have been cases where has company contractors have damaged the liners or levees containing the wastewater and the water has soaked into the ground and polluted the water supply. Of course this problem is relatively easy to solve (and gas drillers have enacted procedures to prevent this issue), but it doesn't sound as exciting as some sort of Cheney-conspiracy where mysterious people are out to destroy humankind because of greed. It doesn't make a compelling movie or move environmentally-concerned people to support a political agenda. I can't truly know anyone's motivations, but I'm wondering which specific credible sources you are referring to. I'm pretty sure about Michael Moore's... I used to like his films until I started checking his facts. In my opinion, that's more illusion than reality. Gasland vilifies landowners who want to produce their minerals as well as gas drillers who supply relatively clean, inexpensive and abundant energy. Neither should be broadly vilified. However, the director who produces a misleading film should be.
  8. TexasWill


    Do a bit of research on Gasland and you'll find that the director has made a propaganda film that doesn't worry too much about facts. It doesn't accurately quote the laws, nor deal with any evidence that doesn't support it's premise. I know a fair amount about fracking and the natural gas boom because I literally live on top of the Barnett Shale here in Fort Worth and I deal with the gas drilling companies on a regular basis, both professionally and personally. There have been some problems with a few wells, mostly salt-water disposal wells not the actually fracking of the formations, but Gasland is ridiculously dishonest about most of the "problems" it presents. People have been lighting well water for years in areas with large volumes of gas in the ground, long before there was ever any drilling. About 90 years ago, one could push a long piece of bamboo into the ground in High Island, Texas and light the other end to create a torch because there was so much methane seeping up through the ground. That's how the drilling companies knew to drilli in that area for oil and natural gas. In the same way, the oil industry in Pennslyvania began because oil was seeping into a creek and enterprising people started collecting it. It was only later than they got the idea to drill for oil. In Pennslyvanie, as well as many other places, cracks and faults in the earth release gas into the groundwater and even to the surface. Jumping to the conclusion that the drilling company MUST be responsible for gas seeping into well water, like Gasland repeatedly does, if a logically fallacy. Michael Moore has more integrity.
  9. ‘Spider-Man’ Takes Off, With Some Bumps By PATRICK HEALY Published: November 28, 2010 All $65 million of the new Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” took flight on Sunday night at its first preview performance, but not without bumps. The show stopped five times, mostly to fix technical problems, and Act I ended prematurely, with Spider-Man stuck dangling 10 feet above audience members, while Act II was marred by a nasty catcall during one of the midperformance pauses. Rarely is the very first public run-through of a new musical perfect, and indeed, the creators of this “Spider-Man” — the most expensive and technically ambitious production ever on Broadway — used news media interviews recently to lower expectations that work on the musical was anywhere near done. But after a two-week delay in performances already this month, which sucked up about $4 million, the producers decided that on Sunday night the show would go on. Costing more than twice as much as the previous record-holder for a big-budget show, “Shrek the Musical,” “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” took a bit of time revealing some of the reasons for its high expense. After beginning at 6:54 p.m. — 24 minutes late, mostly because of 1,900 people taking their seats — the show unfolded for 30 minutes with few of the special effects that have been the talk of Broadway this fall. At 7:23 p.m., an aerial scene began in Peter Parker’s bedroom to the delight of some audience members — yet it was halted two minutes later with the first of four pauses in Act I, apparently to free the lead actor, Reeve Carney (who plays Peter Parker and is one of those playing Spider-Man), from an aerial harness. Most of the night’s major flying sequences — which make up a relative fraction of the show — went off without a hitch, with children and some adults squealing in delight. And there were no signs of injuries, which had been a point of concern after two performers were hurt during an aerial sequence this fall. The fourth and final pause at the end of Act I was the worst glitch of the night by far. Spider-Man had just flown and landed onstage with the musical’s heroine, Mary Jane Watson (played by Jennifer Damiano), in his arms. He was then supposed to zoom off toward the balcony seating area, a few hundred feet away. Instead, a harness and cables lifted Spider-Man several yards up and over the audience, then stopped. A production stage manager, C. Randall White, called for a halt to the show over the sound system, apparently in hopes of fixing and re-doing the stunt. Crew members, standing on the stage, spent 45 seconds trying to grab Spider-Man by the foot, as the audience laughed and oohed. When they finally caught him, Mr. White announced intermission, and the house lights came on. The intermission began at 8:19 p.m.; it was still under way 34 minutes later when some in the audience began to clap in unison, as they passed their two-hour mark inside the theater. Mr. White, the production stage manager, then said over the microphone, “I know, guys, I know, I beg your patience,” and the clapping stopped. Act II began shortly after 9 p.m. and unfolded fairly smoothly until about 50 minutes later, when Mr. White called for a pause. After a few minutes, as some audience members were stretching, a woman in the audience suddenly shouted, “I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today — I feel like it’s a dress rehearsal.” She was met with a chorus of boos. The performance resumed a moment later; the show ended at 10:09 p.m. The musical has attracted outsized public and media attention by Broadway standards, in large part because of the money and talent involved: U2’s Bono and the Edge signed on to create the show nine years ago, and have written a full-length score, their first for Broadway, and helped recruit as the director Julie Taymor, a Tony Award winner for one of the last musical spectaculars to open on Broadway, “The Lion King.” The arrival of the first preview — it had originally been scheduled for January, then February, then Nov. 14 — brought out Spidey fans of all ages. Chris McAvey, a 24-year-old “fan of Spider-Man since the age of 5,” wore an old Spider-Man t-shirt that he picked up at a comic-book convention years ago. Asked about his expectations for the night, he noted that he had purchased tickets for one of the previews originally scheduled in February. “Let me put it this way,” he said, “For the time I’ve had to wait to see this, it better be good!” After the show, several audience members said in interviews that they would hold off on recommending the show to friends until improvements were made. Sherry Lawrence, a writer for a U2 fan Web site, said that even though she liked some of the songs, she planned to tell readers to wait for the creators to do more work during previews. But Marc Tumminelli, 30, who runs a Manhattan acting school for children, said he was concerned that the musical’s problems were too fundamental to be corrected quickly. “The story-telling is really unclear and I found it hard to understand exactly what was going on and why certain things were happening,” Mr. Tumminelli said. More delighted was the 6-year-old boy sitting a row ahead. “Parts of it were really exciting,” said the boy, Jack Soldano, whose parents brought him. “I’ve never seen people flying before.” Moments before the start of the performance, the lead producer of “Spider-Man,” Michael Cohl, took the stage to prepare the audience for what they were about to see. “I’m hellishly excited, and I can’t believe we’re actually here and it’s actually going to happen,” said Mr. Cohl, a prominent rock concert promoter who was recruited by Bono in 2009 to take over the show after the previous producers could not raise all of the money for it. Mr. Cohl said he hoped that the night would prove to be “one of the great Broadway and show experiences of your life,” but also warned that the performance might need to stop at points. Mr. Cohl has approved discounts for some of the tickets sold for preview performances. Many other audience members were still paying $140 or more on Sunday night. The complexity of “Spider-Man” – particularly its net-free flying sequences over the heads of audience members – has also stoked curiosity, as well as concern, after two actors were injured (one whose wrists were broken) performing aerial stunts this fall. And the show’s growing costs – it will likely cost more than $65 million in the end – has drawn attention given the lavish expense at a time of economic recession, and the difficulty and delays associated with raising money to mount the show. When Sunday’s performance did stop, the audience was warmly charitable for the most part. At one point in Act I, Mr. White asked for a round of applause for the actress Natalie Mendoza (who played the villainess Arachne) as she hung in mid-air during a six-minute pause. Later in the act, the actor Patrick Page (as the Green Goblin) improvised a bit by repeating some of the lyrics from his song “I’ll Take Manhattan.” “Spider-Man” is scheduled to open on Jan. 11, 2011.
  10. Sara and I were at a Styx/Boston oldies show a couple of years ago (actually quite good) and there was a stoned/drunk guy in front of us who kept screaming at the top of his lungs (even during the quiet ballads). Finally security removed him from our section in the cheap seats (yay!) and moved him to seats right up front where he suddenly calmed down (what?).
  11. What gets me with the latest round of video-capable cellphones is that now some concert-goers seem to think they are there to document the performance for all posterity. At the last show Sara and I most recently attended (current Barenaked Ladies tour), there were people filling the aisles holding their phones over their heads during hit songs to shoot video. As a result, the good seats at the front of the section I purchased since Sara often has trouble seeing over people at concerts (she's 4'11" or 150 cm), were nearly useless since neither one of us (I'm 6'05" or 196 cm) could actually see the stage anymore. ON TOPIC: I've been to lots of lame concerts, most of the lamest were "Christian" shows. However, a couple of notable exceptions: Sara and I saw a triple bill show a couple of years ago with The Stray Cats, The Pretenders, and Don Henley. The Stray Cats led off the evening with a blistering and exciting set of tunes, musicianship and stagecraft. It was thoroughly enjoyable even though rockabilly is not a favorite genre. I'll love to see them again. The Pretenders came on and had (as was previously mentioned) no charisma. I was bored and most of the audience seemed to use their set to hit the restrooms and buy mixed drinks. Toward the end of the set, Chrissie Hynde went off on a rant about how wrong it was to eat meat and how we probably don't care because we live in Texas. At that point I suddenly had a craving to rush out and get a hot dog and bring it back for the last song of their set. Then Don Henley came on... Boring as could be. I've enjoyed some of the man's music in the past and I was a fan way back in the day, but he (and all of the former/present Eagles, except for Walsh) have a bad habit of playing their songs note for note. On the rare occasions where he changed things up, things went horribly wrong. I didn't realize anyone would think to take all of energy out of "Boys of Summer" by doing it as a ponderous over-synthed ballad. At least he was a little better than The Pretenders. Also a couple of years ago, Sara and I went to see Stevie Wonder. We expected a fun evening of musicianship and good music (he has an amazing back catalog of music to draw from). What he got was about 90 minutes of rambling moralizing about the state of the world/politics/religion and about 75 minutes of music (about 15 minutes of it was a wrong-headed attempt to get the audience "into it" by endlessly repeating part of the chorus of "Ribbon in the Sky" -- seriously, that went on for about 15 minutes). Toward the end of the show, Stevie rushed through a number of his hits by performing pieces of them in what sounded like a carelessly improvised medley. He finished the evening by informing us that we shouldn't judge other people. Moreover, we should wish good things for others... and that he wants everyone who judges other people and doesn't know how to accept other people for the way they are "to die and go straight to hell." Maybe Stevie's on the dope.
  12. She's too conventionally pretty to do it, IMO. They would really have to do a lot of "Monster"-type work on her appearance to get Joplins's plain and acne-scarred look. Unless she's planning to permanently hoarsen her voice, I don't think it's going to be believable. But frankly, I'm more worried about whether or not she can pull off the Southeast Texas accent. I'm afraid she's just going to do a vague "movie Southern" accent, or worse, a J.R. Ewing accent. (Larry Hagman is from the DFW area of Texas, but the producers of Dallas didn't like his real Texas accent, so they had him do an exaggerated accent so that the non-Texan actors would sound more realistic.) I was born in Port Arthur and raised nearby in Nederland, so when I hear Janis Joplin in archival interviews, she sounds just like the people I grew up with. It's not a mainstream Texas accent (most Texans don't think I sound that Texan) and it's not a full-blown Cajun accent either. Essentially, the 250,000 people who live in the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange area have their own accent because of their relative isolation. FWIW, I'm also not looking forward to the high probability of having my home region portrayed as a bunch of redneck racists. I've read some of the books written about Joplin, and the authors tend to paint Joplin as a poor repressed soul until she breaks free of Southeast Texas and goes off to California to live her dream. Certainly there were a fair number of redneck racists in Port Arthur (a couple of my schoolmates parents were members of the Klan), but they were not very well-regarded by the mainstream of local society. Also, a surprising number of my friends parents went to school with Joplin and were both sympathetic and irritated with her. Like many other people, she took a lot of flak in Junior High and had a disfiguring acne problem, but at the same time, she could be intensely hostile toward others and created a lot of her own trouble. Oh well. I will be very pleased if they do a more interesting character portrait that deals with her talent and self-destructive nature in equal measure. --- A few minutes ago I found the interview from the Port Arthur media when she returned for her high school reunion. Shortly before she traveled to Port Arthur, she she was returning to Port Arthur for her high school reunion. She portrayed herself as someone who was laughed out of town, but implied she was going to flaunt her success. But when she returned, she seemed to find herself more alienated than ever. The interviewer took what she had been saying previously regarding her time in Port Arthur, and set up an opportunity for her to repeat how unpopular she perceived herself to be. Except this time, surrounded by her home town and people she grew up with, it was humiliating. It's a very difficult interview to watch.
  13. Sara and I just watched this tonight. We loved it. Well they did establish a very strong connection between Summer and Elaine Robinson, even showing a clip of the closing bus scene from The Graduate. Summer cried at The Graduate's ending (a strange reaction in my book). There were also a couple of other Graduate parallels throughout the movie, one of them transposing the two leads meeting on a bus in Berkeley (The Graduate) to the two leads meeting on an Amtrak train.
  14. Hmmm... Sara and I are going to see Muse open for U2 tonight and I'm looking forward to it. I know next to nothing about Muse, but I listened to some clips on iTunes and watched a couple of minutes of various live video on YouTube, and I'm a little jazzed about seeing them tonight.
  15. I'm reading it now... Very intriguing, since he's dealing with things very close to my heart and mind: the elements of story, how movies are examples of cultural and personal stories, and how one can live a life worthy of the calling of Christ for each one of us.
  16. I've subscribed also. Is there a way to access the site yet or is she going to send an e-mail?
  17. What song is this? I'm thinking and thinking but can't come up with it. I think it musn't be on an actual release, cuz I thought I knew all the songs on actual release... It's technically not a straight U2 song, it's on the Passengers album.
  18. Wow. I wish I could say that this is an exception to the Christian leader advises parents and teens about rock music genre. However it's more of the same. Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, preachers at my home church started using books by Bob Larson, Jacob Aranza, and the Peters Brothers to convince teens and parents to get rid of evil music. As teens, we started getting pressure from the youth leaders to get rid of our music based on these books, so I went to the local college library to gather evidence from all of the sources that were allegedly cites by the authors of these books to demonstrate that they only took portions of quotes (out of any helpful context) that supported their unsubstantiated thesis that certain performers music was evil. The more I did this research, I realized that these authors had to work very hard to cherry-pick incriminating quotes, so it wasn't accidental at all. They were purposely spinning falsehoods, allegedly for the work of God. However, the leaders at my church didn't really care about the photocopied interviews I brought back that demonstrated that the author of the book was a liar. A man with a published book had credibility... a teen with indisputable evidence that totally demolished the argument in a published book did not. If I had not had an extraordinary religious awakening in 1985-1986, I doubt I would be involved in church life today.
  19. For what it's worth, here's my 10 top films of 1999 in no particular order: Toy Story 2 An outstanding film which builds upon and enhances the original. The Insider An intriguing and disturbing film that shows the shadow side of corporate culture and the weaknesses of scandal television (60 Minutes). Being John Malkovich A wildly inventive and disarming tale of identity borrowed. When Sara and I first saw this film in the theater, about 2/3 of the way through, the film broke and melted on the screen... we weren
  20. Sure, I knew. I've enjoyed Guaraldi's music for years. An interesting tidbit about Guaraldi: He composed a jazz mass for Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (Bishop Pike's congregation) that was captured in a live recording entitled, The Grace Cathedral Concert. It sounds like the Peanuts gang went to church. While the recording sounds just like was it is, a poorly recorded church service, there is some amazing, worshipful stuff here including "Theme to Grace" (later covered by George Winston in his tribute to Guaraldi) and "Holy Communion Blues". It's well worth a listen.
  21. TexasWill


    Sara and I have just returned from seeing this movie... Amazing. I now have a new favorite Pixar movie. We found the film to be both beautiful and moving. If was clear that most of the adults in the movie were crying at several points in the film, including the two of us. I'll need to process it more before making significant comments to the thread, but this is an exceptional film.
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