Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Soccer Dive Ever!

Movie: E.T. Part 2


(Don't worry, it's fake,but it's a very well done fake).

Also, I should note, for the record, that I have never ever seen the original.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Thor Trailer

If it's not clear that I'm looking forward to this movie, my fawning over this trailer should make it abundantly so.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Prodigal Son

Please, subscribe to RZIM's daily email, Slice of Infinity:

Today's slice:

The Father Who Runs
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Jill Carattini

The massive Rembrandt measures over eight and a half feet tall and six and a half feet wide, compelling viewers with a larger than life scene. "The Return of the Prodigal Son" hangs on the walls of the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum depicting Christian mercy, according to one curator, as if it were Rembrandt's last "spiritual testament to the world." Fittingly, it is one of the last paintings the artist ever completed and remains one of his most loved works.

The painting portrays the reunion of the wayward son and the waiting father as told in the Gospel of Luke. The elderly father is shown leaning in an embrace of his kneeling son in ragged shoes and torn clothes. With his back toward us, the son faces the father, his head bowed in regret. Clearly, it is the father Rembrandt wants us most to see. The aged man reaches out with both hands, his eyes on the son, his entire body inclining toward him.

It is understandable that viewers have spent hours looking at this solemn reflection of mercy and homecoming. The artist slows unstill minds to a scene where the parable's characters are powerfully still. The kneeling son leans silently toward the father; the father calmly and tenderly leans toward the son. All is at rest. But in fact, this is far from the scene Jesus portrays in the parable itself.

The parable of the prodigal son is a long way from restful, and the father within it is anything but solemn and docile in his embrace of the wayward son. In the story Jesus tells, while the son was "still a long way off," the father saw him and "was filled with compassion for him" (Luke 15:20). This father was literally moved by his compassion. The Greek word conveys an inward movement of concern and mercy, but this man was also clearly moved outwardly. The text is full of dramatic action. The father runs to the son, embraces him (literally, "falls upon his neck"), and kisses him. Unlike the depiction of Rembrandt, Jesus describes a scene far more abrupt and shocking. It is not the son who we find kneeling in this picture, but the father. The characters are not at rest but in radical motion. The father who runs to his wayward son runs without any assurance of repentance; he runs without any promise that the son is even home to stay.

There is a line in Jewish tradition that would likely have entered the minds of the first hearers of this parable. According to ancient thought, the manner of a man's walk "shows what he is."(1) Dignified men in this ancient culture simply did not run. In order to do so, long robes would have had to be lifted up, exposing the legs, which was inherently shameful. And yet, this father runs to the son who blatantly disrespected him, and hurriedly embraces the one who once disowned him. This man's "walk" shows a substance that is nothing less than staggering. All measures of decorum, all levels of expectation, all rules of honor and shame are simply shattered by this father's love. It would no doubt have been a disruptive picture for the audience who first heard the parable; it remains a disruptive picture today.

The portrait Jesus offers of the Father is one of action and immediacy. The image of any father running to meet the child who had made a mess of her life is compelling. But that it was so outlandish in this ancient context makes this depiction of his love all the more stirring. It brings to the forefront an image of God as one who is willing to embrace shame on our account. It brings to mind the image of a Son who endured the cross, scorning its shame, that we would not grow weary and lose heart.

God is moving toward us with a walk that thoroughly counters any thought of a distant and absent Father and boldly confronts any move away from Him. In his radical approach of our hearts, the Father reveals who He is. However far we wander, the God who laments even one lost soul is waiting and ready for our return. More than this, He is the Father who runs to close the distance.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Arland Hultgren, The Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2000), 78.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who is Esperenza Spalding?

Who is this woman that came out of nowhere to win the Artist of the Year Grammy. Who is this woman that angered Beiberites so much that they trashed her wiki page?

I dunno. But I'm still trying to find out. Via this guy, who called her the artist of the year in December, here's a couple videos of her work.

So far, me likey.


In May of 2009, she performed at the White House:

NPR Concert:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Koala Bear Rocks the Air Guitar

These Guys Should Have Done Superbowl Halftime!

Quote of the day:
"If Mubarak was smart he would have used the Black Eyed Peas to empty out Tahir Square 2 weeks ago."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Greytown - My Life as an Office Clerk

Saw this band at Camp Mini-Yo-We in 1991. Wow. that's almost 20 years ago. I still have their 4 song demo cassette.

This song either won or was a finalist in the Q107.9 (Toronto) Homegrown contest.

Love this song.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Masterpiece

From today's RZIM's Slice of Infinity (well worth subscribing to, if you haven't already).

In Multi-Dimension
By Jill Carratini
Friday, February 4, 2011

An important manuscript long thought lost was rediscovered hiding in a Pennsylvania seminary on a forgotten archival shelf. The recovered manuscript was a working score for a piano version of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Grosse Fuge," or grand fugue. Apparently, grand is an understatement. The work is known as a monument of classical music and described by historians as a "symphonic poem" or a "leviathan"—an achievement on the scale of the finale of his Ninth Symphony. The work is one of the last pieces Beethoven composed, during the period when he was completely deaf. The markings throughout the manuscript are in the composer's own hand.

In fact, such markings are a particular trademark of Beethoven, who was known for near obsessive editing. Unlike Mozart, who typically produced large scores in nearly finished form, Beethoven's mind was so full of ideas that it was never made up. Never satisfied, he honed his ideas brutally.

And a look at the recovered score portrays exactly that. Groups of measures throughout the 80-page manuscript are furiously canceled out with cross-marks. Remnants of red sealing wax, used to adhere long corrections to an already scuffed up page, remain like scars. There are smudges where he rubbed away ink while it was still wet and abrasions where he erased notes with a needle. Dated changes and omissions are scattered throughout the score, many of these markings dating to the final months before his death in 1827.

I find there is something inspiring about the labored work of a genius. Beethoven wrestled notes onto the page. For him composing music was a messy, physical process. Ink was splattered, wax burned, erasers wore holes in the paper. What started as a clean page became a muddled, textured mess of a masterpiece ever in progress.

At times when I consider the Christian notion of myself as a creation I am jarred by the finality of it: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." Upon calling on Christ as Lord, the Christian holds that she has been made into something new. Before we have even tried to live well, before we have even labored as disciples, the marred and muddied scene of our hearts has been shaped into something else. The Father sees the masterpiece of the Son.

Though I stand amazed at this grace, it is also easy for me to stumble at the thought of it. I imagine God handing me a clean paper and asking me to hold it in a world full of ink and dirt. And I immediately wish I would have been more careful. I picture the white page given to me and think of all of the smudges and eraser marks I've added to it, some of them from lessons learned the hard way, others merely from bumping into life as I walk along.

If truth be told, life is far messier than we would like it to be. People get angry and depressed and sick. We struggle with remaining hopeful in the dark and seeing through bouts of self-deception. Our lives don't turn out how we planned them, and the roads we choose aren't as straight as we would like them to be. Even so, the Christian claims God is faithful through the mess. More than this, the Christian claims the mess to be the masterpiece. "For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

To an unknowing eye, Beethoven's scores would appear muddled disasters. But mindful observers have called his masterpieces works of "three-dimensional" art. There is a texture and a character to his manuscripts that display an artist who went beyond merely writing the notes, but compelled himself upon the page, in order to make a symphony. All the more, a life in Christ is fleshed out of us. Scuffs and blotches are wrought with the work of one who descends into the mess of life to shape us. Like a composer willing to labor over his pages, the potter's hands are not afraid to get dirty. Our lives, in multi-dimensional beauty, are marked with the signs of the master ever at work.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Guns N' Roses Covers

Check out my post on the Northern Review, showcasing an electropop cover of Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction Album

Thursday, February 3, 2011