Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Sunday, September 02, 2012
'I know it seems cliche, but ..." Not only does it seem cliche, but it also really seems cliche. Like, I mean, y'know? At what point did "cliche" become a freestanding modifier?
'Well' as a midsentence interjection, set off by commas or other "delaying question" to make the reader believe that the writer dimply stating the obvious. "The horse got hotter and hotter as the afternoon on the dusty tral grew longer because it was, well, hot."
"Back in the day"
'Gaffe' It's time to resurrect "mistake."
'Iconic' Iconic has a specific meaning that goes way beyond "well-known" or "locally famous" or even plain "famous." It has a metaphysical meaning. This sentence does not need "iconic": "There's a simple reason why she and her husband co-owner Tom Swadley decided to bring new life to the downtown site -- once the home of Bristol’s iconic Woolworth’s Co. store and luncheon counter."
Em dashes where commas to set off clauses work just fine. This sentence does not need an em dash: "There's a simple reason why she and her husband co-owner Tom Swadley decided to bring new life to the downtown site -- once the home of Bristol’s iconic Woolworth’s Co. store and luncheon counter."
Brackets -- these things: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] This sentence does not need brackets: "[The lights will be] a great visual and a great statement." Make it like this: The lights will be "a great visual and a great statement," or somesuch.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I sense a little naiveté about the [general good quality of the] current content of newspapers.
Newspapers [now] do just as good a job as [so-called] new media do in repurposing and multiplying the same content. The AP comes to mind as being one of the 1st to do this, but now it's worse, with local papers:
- Using crap -- and I mean crap -- from local TV.
- Local TV using local newspaper people as talking heads and as experts on various topics (as opposed to asking real experts, which are harder to track and are not the attention whores that media types can be).
- The very same local copy being used by a TV station as a script, and a web site and a newspaper for stories.
- So-called "citizen journalists" providing "content" for free.
- More "opinion journalism" stemming from newspapers running blogs and then mining them for "content."
- Commercial entities providing free content.
I used to have a much higher opinion of newspaper content and told myself, "There will always be a place for serious newsgatherers." Well guess what? Given a chance, struggling newspapers will suck from the same teat of mediocrity where other media outlets feed. (And by the way, real newsgatherers, people with professionalism and integrity, don't come free. Even at strip mines like [some newspapers I know] where even the best journalists are paid chicken feed they're the biggest business expense.)
Friday, March 09, 2012
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Disgruntled ex-pat returns to his home ground. Misunderstands locals and is misunderstood. Has the same noblesse-oblige toward the locals that he resents in others who've moved to the area and just want to "help." Hopeless liberal trapped in a very conservative backwater and having a hard time just chilling. Another axe-grinding Appalachia book? Yes, but it has made me curious about his region -- Green Bank, Franklin, such areas -- and he's a decent if muddled guy. He has a good wife, good kids, stability. The sad part: The author died a few years after writing this, and even more sadly he died at a hospice in Charleston (learned all this on WikiPedia), which is not the kind of place where he would have liked dying. This fellow really loved his native woods, and I appreciate that. Jack and I will plan a drive or two up there.
View all my reviews
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
The late afternoon temp was barely in the 30s and the wind was brutal; it was a good day for a free cup of coffee to take to work with me.
I stopped in at the Starbucks on Timberlake in Lynchburg with my empty coffee-bean bag. For that I get a free "tall" cup of coffee and I thought I'd go for Starbucks' new blonde roast. (It's mild but still robust and it doesn't taste burned; try it!) In fact, I thought I'd have two cups to go, paying for one. $1.78 for what's essentially a 24 oz. coffee is still a value.
That's the setup. Now the conversation.
Me: Can I get a free cup with this empty?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Ms. Littleton's 23 Things: Thing #7: I thought flickr was a really good website. I had already browsed it for thing 5 or thing 6, I believe, I can't remember which one. I think ...
Friday, February 10, 2012
What I tell my adulto-baptist friends: There ain't no water baptism, there ain't no paedo-baptism, there ain't no believer's baptism. There's only one baptism and the Scriptures call it -- guess what? -- baptism. Whether it's done to babies, kids or adults, it's all the same baptism. Oh, and to the prissy, fussy types I say there ain't no "christening," only baptism, in which we kill whoever's being baptized and raise him or her in Christ to new life. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's also glorious. . . .
Walt, what you described as christening I've heard called "dedication." I think it's interesting how adulto-baptist parents are eager to dedicate their child to God, but seem unwilling or unable to give, in faith, their child entirely to God in Holy Baptism. In my world, "christening" seems to be used pretty exclusively by higher-caste folk -- Episcopalians, Presbyterians, UCCers, some few RCs -- who, in my opinion, think the word and concept of baptism are too coarse for their darling little (screaming, squalling, self-centered) little baby and look instead on "christening" as a naming ceremony that coincidentally involves getting a wee bit wet and having to endure a few sin words: "What did you think of little Chauncey's christening, my dear? Wasn't it horrid that thing about sin parson threw in there? The bloodies were good and spicy, though."
From the stooppidd "dedication" link Pr. Snyder offered. Awful! Totally awful! Witness: "God honors their purity and until they understand the meaning of salvation and personal sin, water is not administered. Few argue the purity of a newborn child." I will argue it! "Purity," my you-know-what. A noted Anglican archbishop once said, "Show me two babies in a crib with one ball, and I'll show you original sin." A knowledgeable Anglican he.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Monday, February 06, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
A belated thank-you for 50,000 views on Jan. 14, 2012. Aerial of downtown Jacksonville, Fla., and the St. Johns River in July 2003. Jack and I engaged a pilot and a plane for a one-hour ride around North Florida way back when. Some day I'll afford to do it again.
Thank you for the thoughtful
response. And as I think I
stated, much of entertainment
is inherently conservative
-- nuclear families, cute kids,
etc. But you fleshed out the
point much better than I did.
I guess I should thank
Cal for classing
up my readership.
Click here for link to original article in Variety magazine Brian Lowry media columnist/
chief TV critic Variety Please note new email:
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I didn't see any spot available for comments on your Jan. 21 Variety column – "Passion play isn't easy: Religion takes the field" Click here for the link to the Variety magazine article – so I'm sending you an email. I read your column, and appreciated it, because of a reefer from Cal Thomas' Facebook post. I hope you'll indulge me.
Hollywood has been producing "Christian" movies for years without knowing it, though they've been tougher to come by in the past 20 years. I'm not talking about the DeMille extravaganzas, but quiet, excellent movies with "Christian" themes: movies like "Places in the Heart," "Tender Mercies," "To Kill a Mockingbird."
None of these was billed as a Christian movie, but all have sensibilities that draw Christian audiences – and all without the apparent Hollywood self-consciousness and embarrassment about making something that's treacly, mentions Jesus, extols virginity or chastity, or leans too heavily, or at least too plainly, on the other Cardinal Virtues. (Note that a couple of these screenplays were written or adapted by Horton Foote, and all have roots in the South. Let me also, just because it always has affected me, take some space to mention the Lord's Supper scene in "Places in the Heart" – a tableau that evokes the Communion of Saints as well as any I've seen and stirs me with all sorts of growing-up memories.)
Or consider perhaps the Coen movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" – a movie by Jews, based on a book by some old, blind Greek guy who lived 1,000 years before Jesus and on the other side of the Mediterranean. The T-Bone Burnett music was inspiring, the plot had biblical themes, and someone's view of baptismal regeneration (whether accidental of on purpose) was very, very pleasing to this Lutheran viewer.
And of course there are those movies, like "The Apostle," that had the money and clout of a very powerful, very respected, very rich and Christian-inspired actor, producer of director like Robert Duvall (who was in some of these Foote movies over the years).
Finally, while being not-Hollywood, there is the occasional excellent foreign film, like "Babette's Feast" (probably my favorite movie ever) that touches Christian hearts. Hollywood has been known to adapt these, sometimes well.
None of these movies beats viewers over their heads with warnings of hell and demands for conversion; not featured are people disappearing and empty cars careening on the freeways. What they do have is themes – sin (or "mistake-making"), judgment (or moments of truth and conviction) and redemption. They have experiences of grace, self-sacrifice. Some, like "O Brother," ooze metaphor. And they are complex and sometimes ambiguous in their conclusions (hey, guess what? – some Christians have brains).
And not all of them are G-rated. But not one of them smirks in the least at Christians, when they are portrayed, or ridicules their religion, their faith.
At bottom, Christians are just like moviegoers: They want to be entertained and they generally don't want to be ridiculed or thought of as stupid (and many of the cloddish "Christian" films – some Kirk Cameron vehicles – are as stupid as many Hollywood films, so it's not just institutional Hollywood). We're not looking necessarily, or even at all, for overt portrayals of Christians. We aren't always looking for heavy messages, or climactic separations of sheep and goats. No, we just want our ticket's-worth; we want to be satisfyingly entertained.
Thanks for your time,