Bweinh! Goes to the Movies: Bee Movie

02/29/2008, 2:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Inertia is a property of matter, married men, and the New York Jets. It keeps papers on your desk, does an excellent job of keeping your house exactly where you left it, and generally succeeds in keeping me seated in my apartment — where various corporations are kind enough to provide me with the means to entertain myself, in the event I’m unable to handle the job myself.

But there are forces, “outside forces,” more powerful than inertia. Chief among those forces is the woman, whose desire for such exotic fare as “leaving the house” and “going out” possesses no known bounds. But as the old axiom says, where there is no woman, there will probably be a 15-year-old boy. And that’s how I wound up at a matinee showing of Bee Movie last week, accompanied by my youngest brother, who seemed to want more out of life than a jigsaw puzzle and the Fox Soccer Channel.

I expected to dislike it going in. This wasn’t because the entire plot is based on the fantastic revelation that honeybees can speak — I can deal with unrealistic movies, as long as they maintain their complete lack of realism. It’s where a movie tries to live in that twilight land between fantasy and reality that trouble sets in. Choose your home: real or fake! I had a nagging feeling that Jerry Seinfeld, king of observational humor, would try to straddle that line — and straddling, I assure you, is usually unwise.

So what was the story here? Well, bees can talk! This is unrealistic fantasy, subject only to the rules of the imagination. Excellent! And when it stayed there, the movie was strongest: exploring the (beautiful) architecture and social structure of the beehive, imagining one bee’s struggle for individuality amidst an army of drones, worked, quite literally, to death.

But then our bee escapes the hive, treating us to the two most difficult and laborious settings in film: the love story and the courtroom. Suddenly, the world of fantasy, the talking bee, was opining on economic theory and legal analysis, on the unfairness of life — that is, when he wasn’t making (compound) moon eyes at a well-heeled florist with the nicest New York apartment I’ve ever seen. Fantasy and reality were smashed together in a uncomfortable, jittery mass, like Lutherans on a subway.

And besides, if I want to see a strange-looking creature spout proto-socialist dogma while accompanied by an attractive woman, I’m going with Dennis Kucinich every time.

The movie wasn’t committed enough to fantasy to be fun, yet never became real enough to be incongruously funny. Add Jerry Seinfeld’s trademark — the lilting, braying whine — and the result was a very well-drawn movie I would have preferred to watch in silence.

Inertia, my old friend! I’m sorry I ever left you!

I give this film a “Bwe” out of “Bweinh!” (3 out of 7).

Clash of the Titans LXXIII: City v Country

02/29/2008, 11:00 am -- by | 8 Comments

In this corner, living in the country, is Chloe!

And in this corner, residing in the city, is David!

Nowhere, New Mexico

It’s 6:15 in the morning, and I’m on my way to work. The sky has a mashed potatoes and golden butter look to it, and the sunrise’s fingers turn pink as they stretch further west. The sunflowers are blooming, yellow heads turned up to worship the sun. A few times on the mountain pass, I have to slow for the massive elk wandering across the road.

The cafe opens at 7, and like clockwork, Frank and Roy and Robert come in for their eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. I don’t ask how they want their eggs done, or what kind of bread they prefer. They’re here every morning; I already know.

Throughout the day, Anne and Mike, Sam and Elaine, Mark, Lisa, and Jacob will probably come in to chat and check out the special. Today will be busy, both with work and with catching up with everyone, passing on praises and prayer requests.

On the way home, I’ll wave at the people I pass on the mountain. Some I recognize, others I don’t. When I get home, Grandma and I will eat dinner on the porch and watch the thunderstorm march over the valley. We’ll take the dogs on a long walk before settling down with some hot chocolate and a good book by the time the storm breaks over us.

London, UK

Some friends and I have decided to go to a pub for dessert — a pub that we frequent at least once a week. It’s close to Guy Fawkes Day and there are fireworks going off everywhere, but we don’t linger. It’s after dark and this is a park; we should move as fast as we can.

We spend two hours at the pub, oblivious to the passing time and the Sunday drunks surrounding us. When we look up again, my purse is gone.

The gruff bartender promises that he’ll provide the police with CCTV and takes my name down, but won’t let me use his phone to call the police myself: “Don’t you have a mobile?”

“Well, I did. It’s in my purse.” Moron.

My friends and I leave the pub. I call the police from a friend’s phone while several sirens scream by me. They don’t answer. When I try again and they pick up, the Cockney operator tells me disdainfully to call the non-emergency number.

I run home down London’s dirty streets under the patches of dark clouds because I have to get rid of the nervous energy. I don’t stop shaking till morning.

I was raised in the city, that noted bastion of civilization, and although the country is a wonderful place to visit, I would not choose to live there full time, and the main reason is the lack of people.

I once lived on a farm for a summer, and I can assure you, it gets boring when your nearest neighbor is a mile or more away. What good is a chess set with no one to play? What good is a softball field if all you can do is bat rocks with a stick while playing an imaginary game in your mind? Any truly joyous activity requires the presence and participation of other human beings. And you can find them in the city.

Ever since the first rude barbarians realized that domesticating animals and cultivating crops was much easier than chasing your food down and killing it in the forest — while trusting serendipitous encounters with edible fruits and vegetables for roughage — cities have been generally acknowledged as the best mode of living upon this green earth. Indeed, the entire course of civilized history was one in which barbarians settled down to the good life, lost their wild lonesome ways, then patiently waited to be conquered by the next envious band of brutes who realized what they were missing in their rustic wanderings.

I believe that every person needs a good balance of quiet solitude and lively social intercourse. For me, the city provides the best opportunity for both. When I want to be left alone, I go into my library and close the door, or I watch TV with my wife in the living room. When I want to be with people, I go sit on my front porch, or we go out to eat.

And nothing equals a walk through our neighborhood, where the sidewalks are sheltered by ancient shade trees, bordering the twilight beauty of gentle homes twinkling with warm light — as evening settles on the distant spires of chapels, and various towers of commerce, that grace our small city.

Alexander the Great did the world a signal act of service, for which we should all feel gratitude, when he conquered the entire civilized world, establishing one common language and a culture that revered education and the building of public libraries and theaters. Where would we be without this grand impetus toward education and social intercourse, which was followed up and fortified so well by the laws and roads of Rome?

Never mind, I know where we would be — the Dark Ages. When libraries were burned, priceless art was destroyed forever, and the great cities were broken and all but abandoned.

Tribuo mihi urbs!


Joke of the Day, 2/29/08

02/29/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A cop was parked outside a bar at 2 am, waiting for drunk drivers. He watched a man stumble out the door, trip over the curb, try the doors to 25 cars before finding his own, then fall asleep in the front seat. One by one, the other drivers pull out of the parking lot, and finally the man wakes up, starts his car, and drives away.

Immediately, he is pulled over and the cop gives him a Breathalyzer test. It shows a 0.00 blood-alcohol level, and the cop is stunned. “How are you not drunk?,” he asks.

The man answers, “Tonight was my turn to be the decoy!”

Chick Tract Answer Time

02/29/2008, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

What’s going on in this tract??

If you picked “Armed kidnappers are being saved and arrested,” you’re a winner!!

Yes or no, Turkey?!

©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).

Does She Still Pray?

02/28/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | 2 Comments

I can’t remember her name — it was 10 years ago — but I still see her face clearly. She was terrified and shaking, chased by terrors in a way that I sometimes forget can happen to people on the outside of these massive walls with which God secures his Kingdom. She was on the outside, plagued by real demons — not metaphors — which ruled her desires, leaving her helpless, looking like she would bolt at any second if she had anywhere else to run. I only met her because I had to drop some paperwork off at a co-worker’s house. She was standing in his living room. My heart broke to see her; I could not leave without sharing the Gospel with her.

She was my co-worker’s mother, a lesbian caught in drugs, alcohol and a cycle of violence perpetrated by her truck-driving partner. She had been estranged from her son, but knew nowhere else to run, and so showed up on his doorstep that day seeking shelter. In the next few days, my wife and I talked with her a lot and led her to Jesus. The angels rejoiced with us at her deliverance and she was free. That Sunday, she came to church, along with her son and his family.

At the time we attended a large AG church that believed in having nationally-known speakers visit, and one was scheduled for that morning. After over 2 hours of “Pentecostal preaching,” they excused themselves and left before the service was over. I don’t know why, thinking back, we didn’t go with them to eat lunch and talk. It was the last time I ever saw her. I guess we still believed it was a sign of weakness to leave church before the service was over.

Looking back now, I feel like I was grasping for her hand as she was drowning, and I let her slip away. Her son told me she had plunged back into her old life, criss-crossing the country with her abusive partner.

It’s the kind of thing I think about when I can’t sleep, and the fiend (as Luther called him) haunts me with all my past failures, into the wee hours of the morning. It happened last night, and then an encouraging thought occurred to me — I wonder if she still prays?

I wonder if perhaps she is not lost, but a sheep gone astray.

I wonder if she hates her life as much as always, and is gathering the strength to come back to some altar, somewhere — to find that His promises are forever.

Ask Bweinh! Poll — Precipitation

02/28/2008, 10:30 am -- by | No Comments

Today’s Ask Bweinh! poll is brought to you by the GEM operating system — a wonderful graphical interface that you can still install today!

If something has to fall from the sky, here’s what we’d prefer.

Rank Precipitation Points
1. Snow 23
2. Rain 18
3. Hail 15
4-5 (tie) Mist; Sleet 7
6. “Cats and Dogs” 4
7-8 (tie) Drizzle; Freezing Rain 3
9-11 (tie) Wintry Mix; Fog; Hard Rain 2


Quote of the Day, 2/28/08

02/28/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“Life can’t be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years.” — William F. Buckley (1925-2008)

Battle of the Bands XLVII

02/27/2008, 1:30 pm -- by | No Comments

Here are the next batch of band names from Luke (Tetrarch and The Twelve move on!)


Bible Discussion — Luke 10

02/27/2008, 1:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This week, looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 10.

We also welcome a few visitors from David’s home Bible study — and work with a joint entry from Chloerin!

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

In this chapter, Jesus says some things that never make it into the world’s conception of the all-loving gentle teacher from Galilee, while sending his followers out to extend His power to the lost.

Even though Jesus sent the 72 out with instructions to preach, perform miracles, etc., they were surprised to find that they could drive out demons in Jesus’ name. What more (or less) did they expect, I wonder?

Rachel Clancy:
We always preach a balance in spiritual things, but Jesus seems to disagree when Martha asks for help from Mary. When Jesus is here, forget everything but Him!

I don’t ever remember reading verses 23 and 24. Jesus references men like Socrates, Job, and David, who had longed to know the fullness of reason and religion, to reason with God as a man speaks to a friend, and tells these fishermen and tax collectors from backwater Israel that they had been given the ultimate honor — to see the things so many had longed, and would long, to experience.

After the disciples are rejected, they are to tell the people, “Be ye sure of this, the kingdom of God has come near you!”

Ian Clancy: The Very Dust
Steve: Trample
Rachel: Two Pence (none the richer); Lambs Among Wolves
David: Babes
Erin/Chloe: twoBYtwo

Continued here!

Joke of the Day, 2/27/08

02/27/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A man walks into a bar and sits down next to a guy and his dog. He leans over to say hello to the dog, but hesitates.

“Hey man, does your dog bite?”

“Nope,” the guy responds.

So the man leans over and pets the dog, who promptly chomps down on his hand.

“Ow!!,” the man yells. “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!!”

The guy glances over and smiles.

“I lied!”

Who Will McCain Court Next?

02/26/2008, 6:00 pm -- by | 1 Comment

The Council’s Ruling — Most Valuable Sense

02/26/2008, 5:30 pm -- by | 5 Comments

This and every Monday, the Bweinh!tributors, having convened in secret for hours of reasoned debate and consideration, will issue a brief and binding ruling on an issue of great societal import.

This week’s question — Which sense is most valuable?

The Council was unable to reach a majority ruling on this issue.

Tom offers this opinion, joined by Josh, Chloe, and Steve:

Touch. One can imagine and briefly experience life without the other senses, but without tactile sensations, your world may as well be imaginary.


Djere offers this opinion, joined by MC-B:

Sight — I could live without anything else.


MC-B offers this opinion:

Vision. It keeps me from being run over by buses and lets me read.


Job offers this opinion:

I can’t possibly see a life without sight.


David offers this opinion:

Sight — everything I love about creation is perceived mainly through sight.


Erin offers this opinion, joined by Connie:

Hearing. The nuances of sounds, music, conversation — so much is lost if you can’t hear.


Connie offers this opinion:

Hearing. Music moves me like nothing else, bringing me to laughter or tears. And while I would certainly miss my family’s faces, I think I could hold them in my memory. I could not live without their voices.


Mike offers this opinion:

Hearing. I could handle not seeing things, but not hearing things would totally cut me off from music, speech, etc.


Next time: If you could only communicate in one way, what would it be?

Clash of the Titans LXXII: Toilet Paper

02/26/2008, 11:15 am -- by | 3 Comments

In this corner, rolling from the front, is Tawny!

And in this corner, winding up in the back, is Agnes!

TawnyI am a reasonable woman. I try to look for the good in other people, and I’m perfectly willing to listen to opposing points of view, because it’s only when we truly engage those with whom we disagree that we are able to learn anything about ourselves! Most disagreements, from parking spaces to peace in the Middle East, could be settled by nothing more than a steaming pot of coffee and a double dose of understanding.

But not this one.

Simply put, if you don’t hang your roll of toilet paper so it hangs down from the front, you’re a subhuman insect that I can and will crush like the Wicked Witch of the East. With the weight of my WHOLE. FREAKING. HOUSE.

I’ve tried to reason with you people. I’ve tried to show you that it’s obvious that if you set up the roll of toilet paper to hang from the front, it’s easier to reach, easier to tear, and easier on the eyes. After all that I’ve done for you, I guess I just don’t understand why you’re still so incredibly stupid! Why can’t you do anything right?

Don’t you understand how important this is??

Sometimes I’ll be visiting a friend’s house and I’ll politely excuse myself to use the bathroom. I usually don’t need to go — after all, my bladder is Hellga-strong — but I like to do spot checks, just to make sure my friends are toileting smart. Usually things check out just fine in the potty department, but last week, my yoga buddy Stacey failed the test big time. First thing I did was whip and flip, spin that bad boy right round so I could piddle proper, the way God intended, with that Quilted Northern rolling down before me like justice, or a clear mountain stream.

Second thing I did was stomp back out to the living room and smack Stacey down. Some women would have thought, Let it go, Tawny, or It’s not a big deal, or At least wait until after the baby shower, but not me! And what kind of woman hides behind a pregnant lady anyway?

See, when it comes to toilet paper, there’s one way, period. And if any of you ever try to bring those weak backwards ways into my bathroom, I’ll shiv you with the roller, wrap you up with Charmin King Tut-style, and drag you out to my trunk in the dead of night.

The police will never find your body.

I thank you for your time.

AgnesOh, it is so on.

You read that old biddy’s babbling? Goin’ on and on about “easy to tear” and “easy on the eyes” and all, like we’re too stupid to trust our own brains over the prejudices of a two-time felon?

That’s right, Tawny, I’m callin’ you out. Or should I call you “Psycho T”?

But let’s get to the point. If you roll your toilet paper from the front, like Tawny Nutjob over there, you’re an uncultured boob. Let me tell you why.

The bathroom — at least my bathroom — is a place of peace and rest, a getaway from the stress of my life as a full-time housewife and part-time Herbalife saleswoman (CALL NOW for a great deal on HOODIA!).

So when I go in for my afternoon constitutional, I want to be soothed. I crave beauty and grace in a world of harsh plainness. What I absolutely do not want to see is a nasty ol’ strip of toilet paper all up in my face, reminding me again of the unpleasantness of life, and the task that will so soon be behind me.

No, no, my friend. The paper belongs in the back. It’s prettier. It’s more elegant. It’s safer from the claws of my four cats (Muffin, Muffin II, Chatty Catty Kitty, and Muffy). It balances the energies in my bathroom and restores me to a state of inner peace.

And if you disagree with me, may God have mercy on your soul.

Tawny may have a point when she says it’s easier to tear from the front, I don’t know. I guess I don’t think of it much. But you know what would make it even harder to tear? HAVING NO HANDS!! Is that a risk you want to take? Because that’s how much this means to me! You come to my house, I’ll cut your hands off, Tawny! Let’s see what you think about toilet paper when all you’ve got are a couple of stumps at the end of your bony, wizened arms!!

Do not mess with me on this.

In conclusion, rolling the toilet paper toward the back provides a general increase in aesthetics, protection from the playful paws of silly kitties, and allows you to remain in possession of all your important extremities.

The choice is yours.


Quote of the Day, 2/26/08

02/26/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending.” — JRR Tolkien

Chick Tract Quiz Time

02/25/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | 2 Comments


©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).


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