Saturday, March 26, 2011

World Peace, Gay Marriage and Every Other Tough Issue

World Peace, Gay Marriage and Every Other Tough Issue

In a previous blog post, I promised that I would soon take a leap into controversy. And here I am. Not only am I making good on my promise but I’m diving right into a very volatile area of current affairs. This week, come with me while I begin to take a hard look at world peace, gay marriage, straight marriage and so much more.

The fact that I haven’t brought controversy to my past blog posts is not because I don’t feel strongly about things. I do feel very strongly about a great many issues. Religion, morality, ethnicity, sexuality, music and greed all sit more or less at the top of my list of most-opinionated-subjects.

If Davis Bigelow is anything, he is a man who’s not afraid to speak up. What I am afraid of is speaking up before I consider my words. My parents used to tell me, “Davis, first put mind into gear before putting mouth into motion!” Good advice! So in all fairness to my candid, open mouthed lifestyle, I should tell you that in the past I have offered several opinionated comments on the posts of a few others out there on the World Wide Web. I hope my past comments have not offended anyone. I hope that this blog post is equally inoffensive.

So let’s get right to it shall we? How do we have world peace?

I think that tolerating and even encouraging reasonable differences in others are the twin keys to world peace. Tolerance and respect seem to be absent from any war I have studied. I’ve never seem contention and tolerance together in peaceful coexistence. Have you? Now, as you may have already noted, there’s also the matter of reasonable differences that I think should be tolerated and even encouraged. Who, you may ask, defines what “differences are reasonable”? Well, I have an opinion on that too – and I’ll post my opinion next Saturday morning. I have spent the past 25 years or more using a failure proof test whereby any open minded adult in possession of their full faculties can determine, yes, determine the appropriateness of a particular behaviour. Any guesses as to what the simple test is? (You have a week to guess before I spill it – and the April 2nd post is already uploaded and scheduled.)

See you next weekend!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Movie Review - “True Grit” - Starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon

Movie Review - “True Grit”

John Wayne, or “The Duke” as he's known to us old guys, was a masterful cowboy actor. He could put on a brilliant performance of toughness and skill on a horse and with guns of all sizes. John Wayne’s performances left audiences breathless and other actors wanting.

And so, when I went to see the movie “True Grit” – the new version, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it. I was however, not even slightly disappointed. In truth, I was delighted. I was entertained. I laughed and I felt like I was along for the ride as I watched the drama play out. The acting was fantastic and the characters memorable. My only disappointment was the way the movie ended. In the middle of the movie, I picked up on what I thought was some foreshadowing – but it turned out not to be anything at all. Now it’s only fair that I tell you that it’s been decades since I saw the original John Wayne version of this story. Perhaps that movie ended in the same way – and if it did, then that would make my next comment a little mute. But for what it’s worth, the ending of this new version left me wanting. To me, the final minutes of this new movie just didn’t seem to match the rest of the story. In fact, the way the new “True Grit” ended made me feel like the story was a meaningless tragedy. I have a soft spot for happy endings, and I was disappointed. However, other than the disappointing ending, I thought the show was awesome.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Movie Review – “127 Hours”

Movie Review – “127 Hours”
This movie depicts a real-life extreme adventure where the main character is trapped in a life or death situation. In order for him to live, he has to amputate his own arm (which is graphically portrayed). This true story is set against the breathtaking scenery of mountains and canyons and the camera operators did a fantastic job of showing off the area. I found the acting to be very good. I liked the way the director made use of flashbacks to both tell the story and to endear the audience to the main character. There was also a ‘premonition’ scene where the main character accurately sees into his future, but that scene only made sense to me as the movie concluded with a visit with the real person whom the story was about (which was very cool by the way). As I watched this movie, I was transported into the pain this man experienced - into the depths of his feelings and into the deeply personal process of how he survived mentally. I mostly enjoyed the show. However, “127 Hours” would have been so much more enjoyable had there not been so much profanity. I don't understand why those who make movies think that they need profanity. Yes, the adventurer may have used profanity in the actual event, but there is no appropriate place for profanity in any movie anytime, anywhere! So... well done for the photography and well done for the attempt to portray an over-the-top, life altering event in the life of a very brave and determined man, but... two thumbs down for the infestation of foul language which, like a colony of aggressive fire ants under my theatre seat, spoiled an otherwise fantastic movie.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Something Profound This Way Comes

Something profound has happened in my soul. Perhaps my recent lack of outdoor adventure has made me long for a fresh connection to the miraculous world I live in. Perhaps I’m just getting sentimental in my old age (not that I’m all that old though)? Perhaps I’m just more sensitive than I used to be? Perhaps the recent disruption of my income has heightened my sense of the potential frailties and seemingly endless possibilities of life? Perhaps I’ve more fully noticed the finite certainty of mortality and the fact that my time here is limited? Perhaps I’m finally mature enough to honestly acknowledge that life is hard for everyone – even if I don’t know about the hardships and struggles of others. Perhaps it’s the fact that yesterday was the remembered birthday of my wife’s mother, now passed on? Perhaps I just haven’t encountered a really big miracle for a while? Or perhaps it’s that fact that I’m a day’s drive away from the most exciting bit of action in our family? Whatever the reasons however, I’ve spent the past 12 hours in emotional awe. In the past 12 hours, I’ve laughed and I’ve cried and I’ve earnestly prayed. I’ve been washed over by warm waves gratitude. Last night I even awoke from a sound sleep and found myself smiling at the fresh news. Truly, life is a gift! Life is precious! Life is a celebration! Life is a sweet miracle that I’ve taken for granted way too many times!

What has happened? Well I will tell you. After weeks of coping with a slow leak of amniotic fluid, after one lengthy air ambulance ride, after weeks of hospital bed rest, after plenty of prayers and worry and boredom, and finally, after 35hours and 45 minutes of actually trying to have a baby, last night, by caesarean section, my youngest daughter gave birth to her first daughter. A healthy, black- haired beauty, Airyanna Ellissa Marie immediately claimed her father’s heart and took over mine shortly thereafter (and I haven’t even seen her yet). Last night, as I awaited the news, I was reminded of my own delivery room vigil for each of my four children. I recalled my own overwhelming joy as my three daughters and one son drew their first breaths and claimed my heart and then claimed the hearts of the rest of the family. I remembered my own worry for the life of my sweet wife and the joy I felt when she was finally out of danger. I felt anew my sense of profound appreciation for my wife’s sacrifices in bring our children into this world. In years, now long past, it was my privilege to witness the miracle of birth, and last night it was my son-in-law’s turn. When he phoned to give us the news, I heard it in his voice – his life had been forever changed. He was a father. He had a healthy daughter and a recovering wife! He too had seen the miracle of birth. Life was great - even though it had been stressful and exhausting only minutes before!

And so I have one thing left to say... Welcome to our family little Airyanna! I can’t wait to meet you! Thank you for reminding me of how precious life really is!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

BOOK REVIEW - "The Stone Traveler" by Kathi Oram Peterson - Narrated by Jason Tatom

BOOK REVIEW - "The Stone Traveler" by Kathi Oram Peterson  - Narrated by Jason Tatom

It’s difficult to review a book that takes the reader to ancient America, in Book of Mormon times, without automatically comparing the writing to that of the “Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites” series (by Chris Heimerdinger). When I first began listening to the narration of “The Stone Traveler”, on the unabridged CDs, I worried that I wouldn't like it as much as I did the “Tennis Shoes” series. However, I was not disappointed in the least. As an audio connoisseur of books, I'm not often drawn into a story like I was into “The Stone Traveler”. Narrator Jason Tatom, did a brilliant job of rendering the saga. The plot began innocently enough, but soon became an all out roller coaster ride full of twists and turns, and delightful surprises that I certainly didn't see coming. I was definitely entertained. In my opinion, Kathi has created a true masterpiece of fiction blended with great actual history. It was a pleasure to begin the book and an even greater pleasure to complete it. Well done Kathi Oram Peterson! Any chance of a sequel?