Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Elm Street, Greensboro, NC

Looking up South Elm from 9th Floor of Guilford Building, Greensboro, NC. Check out my Flickr photostream here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Out on a .....Rock

Looking N NE into Virginia, as compared to the photo below which is looking SW. Note the garnet sweatshirt! (the other SC school I attended)

Check out my Flickr Photostream here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Greensboro as Seen from Hanging Rock

It's about 35 miles as the crow flies, well, if the crow flies straight! Can you make out the buildings? Taken with a Nikon 18-200mm lens.

To see Winston Salem from Hanging Rock, and other photos in my Flickr photostream, click here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Early Spring Red Maple Blossom

Early Spring in Greensboro.

Please explore my Flickr photostream.

No Country For Old Men - Wow

I saw No Country for Old Men last night. I had seen it once already over Thanksgiving holiday. I liked it then. I liked it better second time around, especially the cinematography and Tommy Lee Jones' character, Sheriff Bell. Jones just seems to get better and better as an actor the older he gets.

The story takes place in desolate places which are nonetheless beautiful. I have recently been preaching through the temptation narratives in Luke where Jesus is guided out into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. The wilderness is an empty and barren place despite its beauty. There is little there to support the human soul. The sparseness of the landscape in No Country seems a fitting place for this story about the emptiness of the human spirit and the corrupting influence of money and drugs, and never ending and oft times overwhelming badness of badness.

The film gets a lot of talk for its violence and for its really really bad guy. But there is way more to it. The dialogue is sparse but brilliant - witty, funny, sad, profound, and downright crazy. I don't want to give away the lines. You'll enjoy a lot of them the first time you see the movie and more the second. There are several cases of the same line being used in different situations ironically to mean a different thing.

The movie plot is at once simple and complex. Decent guy (Josh Brolin's character) is out hunting, stumbles across a drug deal gone bad (lots of dead bodies and one almost dead guy), finds money, takes it, has a fit of conscience, goes back to scene to give lone survivor water, gets chased away by yahoos, leaves truck behind, identity gets discovered by bad guys (on both sides) who want money back, and by sheriff, and then the chase is on. It is harrowing in parts. One is reminded a little of The Perfect Plan, not nearly as good a movie, but with a similar plot.

Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh is one of the most ruthless and persistent bad men in movie history, at times almost appearing freakish or Frankenstein-ish. But he has his principles.

I am not a movie reviewer by trade and don't have the verbal and descriptive tools in my kit. All I can say is that from the opening frames which are nothing short of utterly beautiful, and the opening monologue by Tommy Lee Jones character which is, well, pure art for me, beautiful words perfectly spoken, all the way through the unfolding plot to the non Hollywood ending, the movie just draws you into its brilliance as a movie.

For myself, well, it draws me into something else which I cannot put my finger on exactly. I don't want to cheapen my experience of the movie or the movie by throwing out cliche-like phrases to describe it. But as I watch No Country, I sense I am touching on something important, significant, metaphysical, touching on something "real."

Not exactly the kind of real as in Lord of the Rings where the whole story/movie seems in a way more real than real life itself. In the case of Lord of the Rings that seems the case for me, because, deep down, I believe Tolkien to be telling the "real" story of life, a story all but lost amidst the noise and murkiness of this world

"No Country" doesn't do all that, but it touches something close to real nonetheless, real as parable, real as metaphor. It is real only in part, in that it only tells (to me) part of the story. But it is a true part, a real part. The story rings true to the nature of life in this vale of tears, and in a typical American version of this vale of tears. Yes, this is an American fable after all, an American version of a universal story, so it must take place on American soil, in an American desert, with America (and Mexican) figures, not in Middle Earth, or New Zealand, with make believe figures.

I think in the end that that is what this movie is about, the desert. I think that's it. But I will have to go see again to be sure.

Simkins PAC For Dummies

The more I read about Project Homestead, Mitchell Johnson, David Wray, Robbie Perkins, Jim Melvin, The Pulpit Forum, and The Simkins PAC, the more the dots are seeming to connect. Yet, I find I just don't have enough of a bird's eye view for it to make sense or to to be able to make a really informed judgment. I would love to read a carefully crafted summation - maybe about two pages - just to provide the simple story in overview form. I realize that any such summation would have an angle and could not possibly be long enough to provide necessary footnotes and supporting documentation. There is enough of that stuff in the multitude of blogs all over the place. It might be useful to read such summations from more than one perspective. In order to protect oneself from slander and such, the summation could begin with, "As I understand things at this point..." Perhaps also such an overview could be put into PDF form for printing. Joe, David, Troublemaker, Anthony, any of you up for this? Anyone else? I think it would help us plebeians out here.


Greensboro Summer

Paul Potts

Well, everybody else in the world may have heard of him, but I first heard and saw his You Tube clip tonight, and found myself awed, and teraing up. It is amazing. Get inspired. Listen.