If you want to attract an honorable lady, be an honorable man.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finding Nemo: Review

This is a bit of a throwback for all you Pixar fans. I just saw it the other day, and let me tell you right now.......
Oh whoops, getting a bit ahead of myself. First, the plot.
Nemo is a slightly rebellious clownfish, the only son of Marlin the clownfish. Having his wife and all his other kids wiped out by a Barracuda, Marlin is very protective of Nemo, who of course, hates it. Through being disobedient, Nemo is captured by divers and carried away, and Marlin has to conquer his fear of the open ocean to go in search for him.
 After many adventures with sharks, minefields, whales, turtles, anglerfish and more, he arrives with the help of a friendly pelican where Nemo is being held, only to find him dead - or so he thinks. Heartbroken, Marlin heads home, only to be stopped by his son who meets him, not dead, and escaped through the sacrifice of a friend. After one last escapade escaping fishers off the coast, they make it safely home.
The worldview:
They didn't even try to hide the message of this movie. It was so blatant, sometimes it seems they could have used more tact to get their point across. Marlin is way too protective of Nemo, which is what makes him rebellious, ( or that's what they want you to believe) and that protectiveness is shown to be bad in every one of them. This stems from the fact that Marlin is just plain scared of anything he doesn't know to be safe. He doesn't want to go into the big ocean, because its dangerous. He doesn't want to ask fish that look unsafe for directions. He doesn't want to go to the party with the shark because he thinks its not safe (don't blame him there). He doesn't swim into the dark chasm because he is scared. He doesn't want to hop into the pelicans mouth who is trying to save him because he thinks its dumb.

The list goes on, and Marlin is shown over and over again to be scared of the big ocean, and over and over again he is shown to be wrong.
Then there is Dori.
Dori, the ding-bat fish who can't remember what she just said. The fish who can read English and talk whale. She, on the other hand, isn't scared of anything, but its because she is so naive and plain not-smart. She want's to go to the party with the sharks, and makes Marlin go. She wants to ask fish for directions along the way and makes Marlin do it. She wants to let go from hanging on in the whales mouth, and convinces Marlin to do so. She isn't scared of the dark chasm and drags Marlin along anyway.
The message is plain, and is spelled out over and over again. Parents are too protective of their kids and need to let them do their own thing. They need to "let go, even though they don't know if something bad will happen". Girls, even if they are dumb, are braver than boys, even though the boys are played up to be a little more logical, even though they are wrong. Either that or they are just plain obsessed with how cool they are. Kids are smarter than their parents, and if the parents had listened before, would have let them do what they want and everything would have been ok. The parents need to just believe in their kids ability to do right and make good decisions for themselves.
Crummy message, and its right in your face.
That's the part I was going to say before when I got ahead of myself. I am NOT impressed with the message in this movie.
The Good:
There is a very good overall theme that runs through the whole movie of sacrificing your own wishes and safety for the good or lives of others. Marlin overcomes his fear of everything along the way, all to rescue his beloved son. An incredible demonstration of self sacrifice for those you love. All along the way, Marlin meets everything he swore he would never meet, and is forced to deal with it and move on.
One of the fish Nemo gets stuck in a tank with is an old fish who wants desperately to get back to the open ocean, but when things go wrong, he is willing to put his dreams aside to keep Nemo out of danger.
 He even sacrifices himself to save Nemo from the evil little girl who would kill him, which would have ended in his death, if the Dentist hadn't come along and put him back in the tank. It is shown on clear ways how a hero sacrifices himself to do what needs to be done, despite the consequences to himself.
Nemo, even though he is scared to death after the escape plan was botched, tries again later on his own to help save the rest of the fish in the tank.
A nice theme overall that is rare in movies.
The graphics are INCREDIBLE. This movie came out in 2003, and is easily on par with most modern Disney and DreamWorks Films. But from what I hear, all Pixar's are like that. :)
The Bad:
A few moments of crude humor, and the absolutely horrible worldview .Marlin, after the whole adventure is over, sends Nemo BACK to school, where all the trouble originally started. Seems to me that's the last thing I would want to do.
The sharks in the movie are trying to overcome the bad habit of eating fish, and gather together in meetings to help each-other overcome this awful trait. A bit of a vegetarian anti-eat-meat twist there, which is obviously baloney.
The reason I don't think much of the movie is because the message is so obvious, you get watch the movie and ignore that part. It's so integrated with the movie, you can't watch it without a bad taste in your mouth of the message afterwards.
The message is so overwhelming, its hard to watch the movie and just ignore it. Some movies you can ignore the bad stuff and get good out of the rest, but in this movie the theme is so obvious its hard to get around, making it less enjoyable.
Overall rating: 2.5 stars. It would have been higher if the message was a little more ignorable.         

Bolt: Review

Ok, this is one of my favorite movies, and we borrowed it from a friend to watch and review it. Mom isn't as crazy about it as I am due to the sarcasm of the cat, but she does admit it does have lots of good to it. With no further ado, let's get down to reviewin.
The Plot:
Bolt is a super dog, plain and simple. With heat vision that can vaporize metal, a super bark that cause an earthquake, a head strong enough to smash a moving car, Bolt is as tough as they come. He and his "person", Penny, are on a mission to save Penny's father from the evil Doctor Calico, who has captured him to get him to release his scientific data that he has discovered.
Bolt defies every attempt of the evil doctor to capture Penny so he can use her as a tool to get her father to "spill his guts" as he puts it. Bolt is dedicated to protecting his precious Penny from harm.

There's only one problem.
Bolt isn't a super dog. He's actually a normal dog playing in a TV show, where the entire story of Calico, Penny, and the scientist, are all parts of the show, and Bolt is the super hero. The problem lies in that he doesn't know it. He thinks the whole story is real. Everything in the show is arranged around the fact that he thinks he is super and his Penny is in danger, so everything and everybody jimmys the set so it seems like his powers are real. If he knew for a moment his Penny wasn't in danger, he wouldn't act as well, so the entire crew is doing back-flips to keep him from knowing.
So, after a twist in the show where Penny is captured, Bolt makes a break out of the trailer where he lives, in an attempt to find and rescue Penny, he is accidentally shipped clear across the country when he knocks himself out trying to jump through a window, and falls into a packing box.
So, Bolt is tearing around in New York City trying to find his beloved girl.

Part of the story on the TV show was that there was an evil cat with evil Doctor Calico, so Bolt is convinced all cats are evil. He captures a cat and forces her to show him the way to Penny, since of course, as a cat, she is in league with the dark side and knows where Penny is. The poor cat, in an attempt to get the crazy dog off her back, picks up a clue from his collar tag which says "Hollywood, Ca." and tells Bolt he has to get back to California to get home and find Penny. Bolt changes the the poor alley cat's life forever by forcing her to show him the way. The poor cat is drug along across the country, where they join up with a gung-ho Hamster who is the #1 fan of Bolt, and is convinced that he is a super hero as well.

As he travels across the country Bolt finally realizes that he isn't super, and has to learn and enjoy the dog life. Eventually he makes it back home, saves Penny in real life from a studio fire, and he, Rhino, Mittens the cat, and Penny and her Mom, retire from the movie carrier and settle down to a home life.
The Good:
Bolt is a Hero, and in terms of humans, is a true man. He selflessly defends his Girl, is brave in all odds, does not back down when confronted with evil. He is true to his girl, even after the cat tries to convince him that humans really don't love their pets and everything they say about loyalty to their pets is fake. Truly a hero who sticks to his convictions. He accepts who he is in life, and embraces his role. Also, even after finding out he isn't super, he is still willing to do brave deeds to save the cat from the animal catchers.
Rhino is an excellent example of being excited in the adventure of life. Granted, he's excited because he thinks it's another adventure like the ones he sees on TV, but he still is gung-ho all the way on everything he does. A great example of doing everything we do with everything we got.
The cat, who is burned about her past with humans, eventually forgives the past and lives with Bolt and his human family.
The worldview is surprisingly good. There is a pivotal scene in the movie, that makes the entire thrust. Bolt has now realized he is no longer super, and asks the cat the question we all ask at one point or another.
"If I don't chase bad guys.... What am I?"
He is asking the ultimate question of identity. He is like everybody in the world, who on realizing they are living a life that doesn't work, and everything they knew as real, isn't real, has to face the reality of who they are and who God is. He then goes on to learn how to play fetch, bury bones, play with other dogs, stick his head out the window of a moving car with his tongue out etc. The best part about it is, he loves it! It may not be the exciting, hear-breadth escape life he lived before, but he is a dog, and lives the life he is designed to live, and enjoys his God given slot in life. He accepts what he is, what is supposed to be, and enjoys every bit of it.
The Whole thrust to the movie is two-fold. First, you don't have to something special to be somebody's hero. Second, be happy with who you are, and enjoy your life doing what you were meant to do. This has incredible Biblical truth behind it. God never used the biggest and strongest guys to work his will, but used the small things to confound the wise. He also wants us to not be discontent with who we want to be, and settle for who he made us as. Granted, we are never to be content with sin, but our personality is uniquely given us by God, and we are to recognize that, and enjoy where God has us in life and enjoy what he has given us in life.   
The animation is great. While I hear its not up to Pixar's standards, its still the best animated movie I have ever seen.
The Bad: Some of the humor is slapstick, the cat is sarcastic for most of the movie, and Rhino is so Gung-ho it sometimes is over-dramatic (but hey, that's Rhino).
One slightly crude scene.
The biggest downside to this movie is the amount of humor. I know for our family, we have to be careful of humor, because we tend to repeat the funny lines for a while, laughing about every twist in the movie.
So, if your family can handle the humor, I heartily recommend this movie.
Overall, I rate it at 4 stars. The one star out is because the amount of humor can be a turnoff for some families.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Genius at Work

Ok, this is brag-on-little-brother time. Recently, my little brother, Noah, came up with the idea of taking a can-opener, and turning it sideways and opening a can of soup. At first when he showed me, he was opening a can of soup for me when I was sick, and listening to him tell me how he opened a can was the last thing I wanted to hear in that condition. Today, when Noah and Mom were feeling down, I helped make Mom and Noah dinner. Well, I cracked out the soup cans and the can-opener, and was preparing to clamp away and grind off the lid (anybody else had that happen with those hand crank openers?) when I remembered Noah's fancy technique. What he does, is he tips it over, so he is no longer cutting up and down, through the thick lid, but sideways, through the thin sidewall of the can. I decided to try, and let me tell you, it works! Its about 5 times easier, and the can lid has no sharp edges, and there is almost no sharp edges on the can itself.    

There is the lid of the first can, with the only sharp part on it - which isn't sharp at all.

As you can see, the edge is rounded over - perfectly safe for all you out there who cut yourself on these beasts.

The only sharp edge on the first can

Cutting away, sideways, just below the edge of the lid.

Cranking away - much easier than before.

The finished product - two cans with basically no razor sharp spikes to get cut on.
So go and try it for yourself! crack open a can of something or other just for the occasion. Or, just merely remember it next time.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Life is Good

It is isn't it? No matter how hard things get, no matter how bumpy the road, at the end of the day, when we sit still and think through things, we still realize that God is so good to us, and we have nothing to complain about.
God says whatever you did to the least of our brethren, you did it unto him. The least mind you. Just makes the point that bigger and more important isn't always better. I find true happiness is doing what God has given you to do, and enjoying the little things along the way. It isn't where you live, how much money you have, or how much dough that pistol on your hip cost. Its talking over heart matters with a dear friend. Its carrying a small child on your back through the zoo. Its the seeing of a sunset on a desert plain, light streaking through the clouds, talking to God.......
and shooting birds.
Oh yes, life is good. :)
Bird season in open again, and it took me two weeks to get out and hunt. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. I had my best day ever, and my brother has his best day ever, and my friend and my Dad got some as well. Noah got 9, Dad got 1, my friend got 5, and I got the limit of ten. It was my personal best, considering I fired only 27 rounds - just over one box of ammo. That's one bird every 2.7 shots. Not exactly professional, but much better than my average of roughly one bird every 5 or 6 shots - if that. So all in all, a fabulous day. Thank God for his wonderful provision and letting us use his creation for our benefit and enjoyment. 

Dad actually shot two more, but we couldn't find them

 Brennan - The Tactical hunter - with his tactical thigh rig and home-defense shotgun to boot

Noah, with his bag, who developed a strategy of wandering around a tree and waiting for a bird to land. 

Yours truly - The Redneck Hunter - displaying the fruits of a good days work

Saturday, December 10, 2011

For all Fishermen and Basketball Players

Yes folks, fishing and basketball do occasionally mix. Not very common, but they do.


I came across this video on the Field and Stream website, and this is my conclusion. Fishermen can play basketball. Basketballmen can't fish. 
It turns out that the Harlem Globetrotters had a challenge to see if anybody could do a basket ball trick that they couldn't. Well, I guess the hadn't planned on redneck fishermen joining the game. :) 
Long live fishermen.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

True Grit: Review

I saw this a while back at a friend's birthday party - the new one that is. I saw the old one a long time ago. This is going to be a short post, since I have already reviewed the main theme and plot in the old one. Overall, I like it.

It has a slightly different twist to it than the original, but it is handled well, and makes for a good overall film. As for the new characters, I must say most of them were a breath of fresh air compared to the old ones. Maddie Ross is less feministic,  more of a Bible-believing girl, and even quotes the Bible on occasion.

Cogburn is a bit of a tossup, but he is the only one.

It all depends what type of character you are looking for in ole' Rooster. If you are looking for an overall decent hero, with a few quirks, I would take the Wayne version. If you are looking for a rough, tough, gritty, and quintessential western marshal, I would take Bridges. Both actors have aspects I like about them, and both have things I dislike. Overall, I would have to say I would pick Bridges over Wayne, for overall acting.
La-Beef. Oh yes, here's where the new True Grit shines.
The new La-beef, played by Matt Damon, is not perfect, but is MUCH more of a gentleman and hero than the old one. La-beef from the Wayne version is rather annoying and stuck up. While the new La-beef isn't exactly a role model, he shows some great character qualities I can admire him for.
As for the sideline characters, They were done well. Ned Pepper, the famous outlaw, is played by the same man who plays Joe Galloway in We Were Soldiers - Barry Pepper.

Don't mind the boom mike. :)
He does a good job, and I would rate him on par with the job done by Robert Duvall in the previous version.
Tom Cheney is miles better than before. In the old one he was sort of whiny, and a bit of a wimp, whom you had a hard time not pitting instead of looking down on him as the murderer. The new one is plumb evil, and that's the way I like bad guys to be.
They changed the ending, making it more feministic and I think personally it takes away from the story the original had, but that and the use of language are probably my only complaints.
Overall, 3.5 stars. Recommended if you have seen the first one, because that one has a little more story to it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Holidays - We take them for granted now, don't we? We just automatically know that early in the year there is Easter, and later in the year you have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, with loads of smaller and less popular holidays dotting the calendar from January to December. So what is the big deal about Holidays? Why do them at all? Is there a biblical reason for them? Should Christians do them? If so, what holidays are kosher and what are contraband?
I never even considered this massive debate until recently, when some friends of ours went out of state and discovered some friends of theirs didn't celebrate Christmas. Then, I found another friend of mine didn't celebrate Christmas. Another doesn't open presents until after New Years so as not to associate Christmas with materialism for their kids. Others, like me, celebrate Christmas, but with much less typical decorations than most, no trees, with lots of nativity scenes and greenery. Some, do tree, presents, greenery and the whole sheebang, but are no less Christians for doing so. So where's the line? Or is there a line at all?
I had to do some long, hard thinking about this topic to even found my own beliefs in anything more than tradition and "just cause". I will lay out, or try to, the arguments from both sides of this spectrum, show where I draw the line, and let you make the decision on your own celebration yourself.
So far, the best, and most sound argument against Christmas (which is the only holiday that people argue about,  I will talk about that later) is that celebrating Christmas is syncretism.  Anyway, the argument goes like this, and let me tell you, its a good one, and takes some serious thinking to wade through.
Christmas is
#1. Not mandated in scripture.
#2. Totally centered (in the world) around materialism.
Also, if you say this is a day we set aside so remember Christ's birth, why aren't you remembering him just as much on other days? Why one in particular to remember him and then forget about him till Easter? (If you get past the bunny and eggs and remember what it's really about.)
Also, since Christmas started out as a pagan holiday, and you participate in it with a "Christianized" flavor, you are being sycretistic.
That, as far as I can tell, is the basic argument. There may be more points or angles I am not aware of, but that is the gist.
I will address those arguments point by point.
#1. Not mandated in scripture.
True, but saying something isn't mandated in scripture and therefore not doing it has problems. Now, before I get into this, let me make this clear. JUST BECAUSE IT IS NOT MANDATED OR FORBIDDEN IN SCRIPTURE, DOESN'T JUSTIFY YOU DOING WHATEVER YOU PLEASE. I AM NEVER MAKING THAT CASE.
Now that we are clear on that, we can move on. ;)
That being said, if you are making the argument that what ever is not mandated or mentioned in scripture is not allowed, then you can't have cars, iPods, guns, or fried chicken, or anythings else for that matter, that is not SPECIFICALLY mentioned in scripture. But hold on, before you take that and run with it, let me state again. JUST BECAUSE IT IS NOT FORBIDDEN IN SCRIPTURE DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU PLEASE BECAUSE THE BIBLE DOESN'T TALK ABOUT IT.
Are we clear?
What it does mean, is that you must exercise extreme caution in anything that isn't mentioned one way or the other in scripture, but just saying that it isn't mentioned or commanded by scripture and therefore we shouldn't, doesn't hold up.
That being said, let's move on.  
#2. Totally centered around materialism.
VERY good point. The argument goes like this. Since is centered around materialism, if you celebrate it, you are being materialistic, and not celebrating what you say it's for anyway.
Not bad, but let's analyse that even more. They are saying that if you do something, for good reasons, that somebody else does for definite bad reasons, you are being like them and shouldn't do it.
That argument falls apart as well. How many things can we do for good, biblical reasons, that other people do for bad reasons? Let's take something utterly Christian, and make the point. Going to Church. Going to Church is mandated by scripture, and therefore "good" Christians go to church. Well, how many people do you know that go to church just because it makes them feel good, or just to hang out with friends, or to appease their guilty conscience by making them feel like they are doing their duty towards God? Or lets use preaching. Expositing the word to the saved and unsaved alike. But again, how many stories have you heard of PASTORS who have been PREACHING THE WORD for YEARS and aren't even saved. So again, that argument falls apart, because if you can't do anything that bad people do for bad reasons, you can't even exist. You can't live, because people live for wrong reasons. You can't even die, because people do that for bad reasons as well.
So, that arguments out.
How about the next one.
"If you set aside one day to remember something then you aren't remembering that thing as much the rest of the year."
Ok, not bad, but this one has problems as well. If you take this to its logical ending, you would never celebrate anything for any reason, ever.  If you are going to make the case, that Biblically, we shouldn't celebrate anything, then you are saying that the feasts and days of celebrations and partying in the Old Testament are unbiblical. That's what it comes down to. Obviously, we can't make that statement. God commanded us to set aside certain days to celebrate certain things. For instance, Passover. That was a feast and holiday mandated by God for them to celebrate Gods redeeming grace, saving them from the Egyptians.
What is Christmas but celebrating Gods redeeming grace, saving us from our sin?
Anyway, that argument fell apart at the seams.         
Next, is that by celebrating and participating in a pagan holiday with a Christian flavor, is syncretistic, and therefore not allowed.
Again, not bad on the surface, but lets dig deeper. This argument is saying that you can never use, participate in, or do anything that wasn't started for distinctly Christian purposes. This falls apart in two ways. One, isn't really an argument, but is merely a point back at the person saying it. If you want to say that you can never participate in anything that wasn't started for Christian purposes, then you must grow your own food, make your own clothes, and make your own cars, electronics, etc. The reason that isn't an argument, is because if you use it as one, you are being pragmatic. So therefore, I don't use it as one, just merely saying that if you want to go down that path, you have to take it to the end.
The real argument is that Paul himself said it was OK to eat meat sacrificed to idols! In 1st Corinthians 8, Paul makes it clear that it is OK to eat meat sacrificed to idols, since we know there is only one God and idols are baloney. Now granted, it also says that if a brother stumbles at it, he would rather not do it and help him than exercise his right and make him stumble. So, if one wants to make the case that they do not do it as to not make anyone stumble, that might be a legit argument.
So, after all that theorizing, I had to come down to why we do what we do.
A. Since we know it is OK, under certain times and for certain reasons, to celebrate, we do.
B. Since a tree meant materialism for us, we ditched it, and now nativity's take the lead role as decorations.
For us growing up, we didn't know any better, and we had the trees and Santa on top of the tree, and stockings, etc, and celebrated Christ alongside. When we realized what it meant to us, and what it should mean to us, we ditched it and made a different set of traditions and decoration that pointed us to Christ, not Santa and Christmas Trees. Now, I am not making the statement that trees are bad, I am merely saying it was bad for us. If you can have a tree and have a right heart before God, after diligent prayer and study, more power to you. Get more while your at it and plant a forest in your backyard.
C. We do give presents, as a sign of the Wise-men's gift, and Christs gift to us, but we do it on Christmas eve, not Christmas day. That day is set apart of Worshiping Christ and what he did for us.
So. I've put a lot on your mental plate, I can be sure of that. Take some time, chew it up, and examine your own beliefs and practices, and see what doesn't line up.
As for me, I'm gonna celebrate, and enjoy it. :)    

Scribble Fest

Howdy bloggers. Since people who are bloggers have to write to be a blogger, I thought this would interest you. A friend of mine and fellow blogger is putting on a "Scribble Fest" where you write as much as you can in ten minutes, and submit it for everybody's enjoyment. I participated ( I was the second entry) and here is the link to my short.
I encourage all you fellas to get involved and enjoy yourselves and you would be surprised what you can whip up! All the details are on the main Home page, with everything you need to get your short on the way!
Enjoy, and I look forward to seeing your story!  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Jesus' Name

In Jesus' name. Such a simple phrase, so short, so to the point. How often have you stopped to think about this short, three word phrase that sums up the entirety of our faith? It caught me upside the head not too long back. I do that a lot, just think about the simple things we take for granted. The beauty in the small things we overlook. A small girl running through the grass under the trees, dog running loyally alongside. The moon coming up through the clouds and lighting up the entire valley. A hummingbird sitting and twittering on a branch  in the bright sun.....
Sorry, I digress. :)
Back to the point.
In Jesus' name. We say it mostly after a prayer, a sort of postage stamp of piety that shows that we recognize that there was a guy named Jesus and we really like Him, so it makes us sound really pious saying it and we feel real good about it and dig into the food we are eagerly eyeing. (Amen, anybody?)
Anyways, we just tend to throw that term around with very little understanding or realization of that little phrase that we all take for granted. Let's look at that phrase.
In Jesus' name. We live in Jesus' name. We carry Jesus' name because He came and died for us so we could be called by His name and be Sons of God. We do everything we do in Jesus' name. Its so simple, yet so profound. Such a small phrase we take for granted that about sums up our entire life, for as long as we live. He's the reason and the power behind everything we do, and we don't have any reason or power without Him.
If we would remember that every time we say it, we might live differently.
Just thought I would share that. It was a refresher for me, and I hope it does the same for you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Artwork page

Well, I have decided to post some of my artwork on my blog here. I have dedicated a whole page to my works. (check out the tab next to the other pages)  I don't know who would be interested in them, but hey, some folks like them. :)
 I will hire out for drawings of photo's if someone wishes a piece done - maybe. I reserve the ultimate right to refuse or postpone any project based on time or content. I am really busy, (ridiculously busy) So I can't promise any quick turn-arounds. If anybody is interested, just throw me a comment with your email (don't worry, I wont post it publicly) and I will get back to you as soon as I can with quotes and info.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Swordfighters of the Desert

Well, my swordfighting skills have been put to the test recently. I had some SERIOUS competition at a friends birthday party last week . Behold my antagonist. 

Joel could barely heft the thing let alone swing it. 

The battle rages...

He gets the upper hand....

.....And slays the dragon. :)

Actually, I can fight better than that, but of course you have to let him win. :) 
He sure had fun, and I did to, but then I moved on to something a little more strenuous. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

We Were Soldiers: Review

Wow, this movie is one of the best movies of all time, and I rank it right up there next to Courageous. This is the last movie I saw on the Manassass trip, I saw it on the bus ride home, hunkered over dads laptop with the earbuds in at the max volume. But with no further ado, lets get down to the review.
The Story
  This is based on a true story. There is a infamous valley in Vietnam, that every unit that has gone into was absolutely shredded and killed to a man. Nobody has been able to ever take this valley. Gibson and his air cavalry unit get the unwanted job of taking this valley. They air drop in, and almost as soon as they are all in, all hell breaks loose. They are surrounded, out-numbered and out-gunned, less than 400 to roughly 2000. After three ghastly days of fighting, they charge the enemies lines and take the field. They pressed so close the Vietnamese evacuated their headquarters, located up the hill from the valley. An incredible story of manhood, endurance, leadership, and making sure every man, dead or alive, is off the field.
The Good 
  This movie stunned me in many ways. The hero is not a rough, roguish, lone-wolf commando who bosses everybody around and by sheer boss-power wins the day. He is a family man, with a faith in God (he's Catholic, I won't divulge my opinion here) walking alongside his kids and loving his wife. He is a fabulous leader, who men love to follow, who cares about his troops. He has his famous line he says once in the movie that about summaries' his whole war philosophy.
"I am the first one to set foot on the field, and the last one to leave it. And dead or alive, all my men will come home."
   He sticks to this phrase, and indeed does get off the chopper first into the valley; dead or alive, all of his men leave; and he is the last one, after taking one last look around, to set foot on the chopper out.  An incredible leader with incredible courage.
  I said it once, but this part surprised me so much I must repeat it. He is  FAMILY MAN. Not perfect, by any means, but a man who cares for and takes care of his family, and makes sure his soldiers love and take care of their families. Several scenes make this very clear through it. One, a soldier who is a brand new dad, was wearing a bracelet that had his new daughters name on it. When Gibson walks into the empty church where the soldier was sitting, the soldier apologizes for it and goes to take it off. Gibson tells his not to apologize and ORDERS him to leave it on. The soldier, a bit confused, obeys. Later in the movie, he dies still wearing it. Super sad scene.

  He has a faith in God. Very odd twist here. He is Catholic, so he says the Catholic prayers with his kids, but still believes you can come straight to God to pray. Very odd, but very nice touch. There are some cute scenes when he's praying with his kids, that also show how he handles his wife. He is tucking the kids in, and they are saying their scripted prayers, but one little girl doesn't. He asks why. She says, "I wanna be a nethidist like mamma so I can pray whatever I want" said in typical four-year-old voice. One of the older boys replies that that is sin, to which the dad says that God just made her hard-headed, and isn't a sin. He then lets her pray for safety the family while they say their regular prayers.

     After the kids are in their room, his wife is laying in bed, giggling. He asks whats up. She says,
"Does it ever occur to you that any of your kids faults come from you?"
 She says it lovingly and kindly, with no malice intended. He pretends to get mad and dogpiles on the bed and grabs her, and gives her a big hug. He says,
"When I pray whatever I want, I thank God for you."

Touching, touching scene, with a loving husband wife relationship very rare in movies.

   He also believes that we can come to God when we wish and pray, an odd touch for a "Catholic". After he orders that one soldier to keep his bracelet on, the soldier expresses that he is scared about the upcoming deployment and fight. Gibson says something to the effect of "well, lets go talk to God about it", and getting up, walks to the altar at the front of the church and prays for safety and protection for himself and his troops.
   The message that is meant to be portrayed is one of respect and honor for those who fought and died, who little or no respect for what they did and who they are is ever shown. I never knew the level of respect due to them till I saw this movie, and considering I had just met a Vietnam Vet in Mannassas, it was even more flooring.
The Bad
    Cussing, and lots of it. In one scene even the wife of Gibson cusses at the mailman who gives her a scare. I was very annoyed by that. I mean, for a war movie, the soldiers cussing is sorta expected, but the girl doing it ticked me off.
   Gibson is a little bit unaversalist. In his prayer with his soldier, he mentions that all soldiers, the Viets and the Americans, will all be coming to God, calling Him different names, to ask for protection and victory, before the upcoming battle. He asks for protection and asks that God ignores the Viets prayers and lets the Americans send them straight to hell. Crummy theology.
   EXTREME graphic violence. The only reason I rate this in the BAD section, is because then it is not a whole family movie. For anyone who can stomach it, and I believe every young man should be able to stomach serious violence, it is stunning and well worth it. If you can't, don't even think of watching this movie. You will be sick as soon as the movie starts. The opening scene is with a french unit getting slaughtered in the same valley years before.

   Also, one interesting fact, I watched the special features, and learned that almost none of the blood, explosions and dirt and dust, were CG'ed. They were all filmed, scripted and done with precision timing, and  dummy blood, being able to get the scene(s) in one or two takes. Interesting side note.
The Rest
   Some humor. There is a hysterical and foul-mouthed sergeant played by Sam Elliot, named Sgt. Plumley, with the typical cranky sergeant attitude, who is rough, tough, and pessimistic, but it is handled in a hysterical way.

   Over all Rating. 4.95 stars. The .05 out is because of the cussing, but I don't overrate it because its a war movie, so I give it some grace. Heartily recommended for anyone who can stomach violence and language.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Family Camp!

Oh yes, its that time of year, where all of the families in church go hang out in the cool woods of Prescott for almost two days, and enjoy ourselves to death. I fished, hung out, threw a football in and around trees, fished, talked, shot spiders in the bathroom with my airsoft pistol, fished, shot my slingshot at random objects, had goofy camera-shot wars, fished, sword-fought, tried not to fall asleep during sermons, fished, ate (a LOT, you'd be surprised at how much your appetite increases in the woods), ran around a meadow under the stars at high speeds late at night, fished, laughed till I cried, fished...... you got the point. Yes, I fished a lot, but it wasn't in vain. I always look forward to Family Camp, and this year was no disappointment. Here are the best of the best pics.
The lake - in all its beauty 
Teacher and apprentices 

First fish

Noah caught this beaut on a piece of wild apple - no joke. 

Colin F. very proudly displays his catch

Mr. M with his good sized bass
The waters beckon me......

Noah's second catch, a nice 2 pounder
....And my glorious catch, a lovely 2  1/2 pounds
Jake M. 

The Two Amigos

The Three Amigos

The KA-BAR, at home in the environment

Nice macro shot I did to keep myself awake during service. (Wow, I never knew my camera could do macro that nice.) 

"I lift mine eyes...."

Another nice Macro shot

Camera wars...
Luke (far left) demonstrating his bottle rocket (from a safe distance) 

Liftoff (it easily went 100+ feet in the air)

The meadow where the games take place

Young and enjoying it

The crafty warrior

Ok, ok, I was told to pose, what else was I supposed to do??

The battle rages

The carnage of Matt 

While the others play field games, Tanner plays mind games
Monkeying around

.....and of course.  After all, what's camping without a fire?