god’s kids

disclaimer: so this post is going to have some top quality christian propaganda in it; in my opinion that makes it all the better, but you can feel as you will

hola (that’s “hello” for all you french-speakers out there).  so i was in church last week (on friday, september 14th, to be rather precise), and it just so happened to be the feast day for the exaltation of the holy cross.  while not a holy day of obligation, it was still kind of a big deal.  you could tell this because instead of the normal reading – psalm – gospel order that daily masses normally partake in, this mass was more sunday-esque with the reading – psalm – reading – gospel lineup.  i don’t mean to degrade the first three members of that group (which happened to come out of numbers 21:4-9, psalms 78: 1-2 and 34-38, and philippians 2:6-11, respectively), but the reason i bring up my ecumenical outing is due to the gospel reading.  this reading came straight out of the book of john, chapter 3, verses 13-17.  now if you’re in any way biblically literate (and i can say this solely because i consider myself extremely biblically illiterate and still know a bit of this reading), you might have already picked up on the fact that this biblical slice just so happens to include one of the more (and/or most) well-known bible passages in today’s lovely world.  that passage is john 3:16 which reads (in the new american translation), “for god so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”  a lovely passage indeed.  it’s hard to deny that.  but at the same time, it got me thinking.  and honestly, this idea had been floating around in my head for a while.  but when it was read in church, that was it for me.  it made me think.  and when i think, i blog.  and when i blog, you have to suffer the consequences.  sorry.

my thinking, getting back on track, was about the dandy little phrase “his only son”.  this, if you didn’t know, is in reference to jesus of nazareth (who christians consider to be the christ, messiah, and savior of all).  now it’s only three little words (comprising of only twelve measly characters in a microsoft word spelling and grammar check), but those three words (in my mind at least) pack a wallop (which urbandictionary.com defines as a “pseudo-violently high-powered action performed abruptly”, so it’s quite a thing).  it’s not that i have a problem with the phrase, but i do have kind of a big problem with that phrase.  well, less of a problem and more of a confusion.  a bewilderment, if you will.  for if you’ve ever been to church on a (pseudo-)regular basis, you’ve probably heard at least once (or maybe even twice) that you are a “child of god”.  this, of course, makes the group around you in the religious community “children of god”, as the phrase is often put.  and this is where the problem comes in.  god is the father (…and the son, and the holy spirit.  but the internet doesn’t have enough space to even begin to try and figure out the holy trinity, so we’re not going to go there at the moment).  and we’re (all, if you choose to be at least.  though, i guess in my opinion we’re all his children, and people who don’t want to believe that are just kind of like the rebellious kids who don’t like their parents [whether warranted or not.  and in this case i’d go with the not] and disassociate themselves from their families as much as possible) his kids.  so english language-ly speaking, we are also his sons and daughters.  this being another term that you (the [pseudo-]regular churchgoer) may have encountered.  but… hmm.  going back to john (who i’m assuming was a lovely man back in his day), we see that jesus was the only son of god.  but according to popular linguistics, i (and you, if you happen to be a male) am a son of god.  i can assure you right here and now that i am not jesus (thank goodness.  i don’t think i could take the pressure).  so how does that work?  my best answer is as follows:  not really sure.

 what i am really sure about is that the internet is quite an intellectual resource.  so i did a bit of searching to quench the thirst of my quandary.   in the “son of god” page on the wonderful wikipedia(.com), we find this line right in the opening paragraph: “in christian traditions [son of god] refers to the relationship between jesus and god, as well as a relationship achievable by believing christians”.  so yeah, no help.  they covered both bases to be safe.  interestly, however, it does bring up a good point a bit further down the page about chapter 1 (verse 12) in the book of john.  this verse states “but to those who did accept [jesus] he gave power to become children of god…”  so jesus, the only son of god only a few pages later, gave us the power to also be sons of god.  interesting.

 a quick google search of the term “‘his only son’ god” brought me back to my roots.  sadly, wikipedia is not the end-all be-all source of information (shocking, i know), and so i ventured forward, this time straight into the catechism of the catholic church to see what it had to say.  thank goodness for the internet, because just looking through my copy of the catechism might have taken a while, but instead my online searching lead me straight to part one (the profession of faith), section two (the profession of the christian faith), chapter two (i believe in jesus christ, the only son of god), article ii (“and in jesus christ, his only son, our lord”), paragraph iii (the only son of god).  the most relevant statements, i thought at least, were numbers 441 and 444. number 441 states, “in the old testament, ‘son of god’ is a title given to the angels, the chosen people, the children of israel, and their kings. it signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between god and his creature. when the promised messiah-king is called ‘son of god’, it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. those who called jesus ‘son of god’, as the messiah of israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.” personally, i found the “adoptive sonship” line to be most interesting. number 444 then follows with “the gospels report that at two solemn moments, the baptism and the transfiguration of christ, the voice of the father designates jesus his ‘beloved son’. jesus calls himself the ‘only son of god’, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence. he asks for faith in ‘the name of the only son of god’. in the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified christ, ‘truly this man was the son of god’, that christian confession is already heard. only in the paschal mystery can the believer give the title ‘son of god’ its full meaning.”  because i know you want to know, the jesus calling himself the “only son of god” part of that is footnoted with a reference to john 3:16.  darn, no help there.  but, the “he asks for faith…” part two sentences later references john 3:18 (which was conveniently [or not so conveniently] just beyond the extent of the church reading), which states, “whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only son of god”.  there it is again, that same crazy phrase.  still without explanation (but thankfully, my notes in my bible pointed out to me the root of the greek word for condemn.  yeah, helpful).

further searching sent me to an interesting blog called “the monroe doctrine” and specifically a post on it entitled “jesus christ, his only son, our lord“.  it seems to be part of a series of posts about the apostle’s creed and has a whole section about the whole “only son” situation.  it reads, “the phrase ‘god’s only son’ focuses on relationships within the trinity.  god the son is not inferior to the father, but has submitted to the father in order to accomplish the godhead’s eternal purposes.  the terms father and son reveal the eternal and perfect familial love within the godhead”.  personally, i found that pretty interesting, though not particularly helpful.  for some reason, it seems that people are extremely willing to call jesus the “only son of god” while at the same time calling themselves “children of god” even if they might happen to contradict a tad bit (with “a tad bit”, of course, meaning completely).

the only real concept that has brought about any inkling of “okay, maybe that has something to do with it…”, in my mind at least, was in number 441 of the catechism.  the whole adoption thing got me thinking.  maybe jesus is god’s real kid.  and the rest of us are all just kind of step-kids.   yeah, i know.  it doesn’t really make any sense, but i’m working on it.  it’s tough when you don’t have much to go on.  i came across a sermon on the national presbyterian church website entitled “jesus christ, his only son, our lord“, and i had some high hopes for it.  but once again, this explanation falls short. here is the relevant section to read if you so desire: “so much for the relevance of his name. think with me now about his relation to the father as expressed in the words, ‘his only son.’ we in the west can be excused for thinking of biological childbirth when we recite that phrase in the creed. we may even fall to wondering at what point in eternity past god the father gave birth to the son. but that is not the meaning of the phrase, ‘his only son.’ in the hebrew mind, to be a son of someone has far more to do with common ideals than with common ancestry. even in our culture, when someone says, ‘he is a son to me’ they are not talking about matching blood types but about kindred spirits. winston churchill had a son, randolph, but the two never got along very well… but in parliament, churchill had an admiring young colleague named brendon bracken. bracken followed churchill through thick and thin, even to the point of bailing churchill out of financial difficulty just before the second world war… it could be said that bracken was more a son to churchill than randolph, because churchill and bracken were cut from the same cloth. we christians confess that jesus christ is god’s only son in precisely that sense. not that the son is the physical descendent of god the father, for they are co-eternal members of the trinity; but that jesus alone reflects with perfect clarity the glory of the father, and performs with absolute faithfulness the father’s will.”

what i find rather interesting is that the whole “only son of god” thing seems to have been pretty well established by the time jesus was around.  the concept was there.  it wouldn’t really be until a bit later that the church would decide that he actually did fit the bill like he said, but the concept was there.  and if that had stayed it’s course things would have been fine and dandy.  unfortunately (for the sake of this concept but not for christianity in general), paul came around.  and he decided to write about how we are all children of god (see romans 8:14-15 and 2 corinthians 6:17-18 [among others] for more information).  that changed things up a bit.  threw a wrench in the works, i guess you could say.  of course, it’s a beautiful thing to be a child of god, and that “title” (for lack of a better term) truly does emphasize the concept that god loves you unconditionally.  in that regard, it makes perfect sense.  in the logical sense, it’s all there.

 but logical is not really my field.  not at the moment, at least.  not when i (and maybe only i) can see the great debate of “son of god vs. children of god” ravaging forth across the land (yeah, i went for the big time dramatic effect on that one).  is there an answer?  well, maybe.  but not a concrete one from what i know and have read.  maybe we’re step-kids.  maybe we kids in sense of “he is a son to me”.  maybe we’ve just gotten so used to using both terms that they’re both right (or both wrong), and it’s just easier to keep them both going.  i don’t know.  when i started researching this topic, i had very honestly hoped that i would figure this out.  that there would be a simple, straight-forward answer.  but i guess there just isn’t.  i guess it’s just one of those read about it, think about it, pray about it, and then believe what you believe about it kind of things.  darn christianity.  always so full of derstandable things (derstandable, of course, being the opposite of understandable.  you can’t say “not understandable”.  it’s a double negative.  so just drop the “un”.  makes sense to me at least).

 so as i’ve come accustomed to often doing, i’ll leave you with something.  this time it will be a website.  and another version of the answer.  for me, i couldn’t decide whether it was the most helpful or least helpful answer i found.  it’s weird.  kind of risque and out there.  in fact, it’s supposedly from jesus himself (such excitement, i know).  it’s from the answer to the question “was jesus christ the only son of god?” on a website simply called “ask the real jesus”.  i’ll only quote one portion below, but the whole thing is an interesting read.  this section, though, really caught my eye.  it’s quite innovative (and apparently, by the editor’s note-like comment in parentheses at the end, jesus wasn’t so sure about it either).  so good luck on your search for the answer about whether or not you’re really god’s kid (and also your answers to all life’s question, i suppose).  it really is a tough one.  here’s how jesus puts it: “from god’s viewpoint, a lost soul is still one of his sons or daughters. yet, if you go inside the box of the soul, inside the soul’s sense of identity, that soul does not see itself as a son or daughter of god. therefore, in the here and now, the soul is not acting as a son or daughter of god. if a soul does not accept its divine origin, it cannot express its divine potential. if a soul does not accept its potential to be the christ, then the soul cannot be the christ in action. when i appeared on earth 2,000 years ago, only a few people had come to a full realization of their christhood. therefore, one might say that i appeared at a time when there was no other son or daughter of god on earth. i had realized the fullness of my sonship, and therefore i was and i acted as a son of god. in other words, when you look at this situation from a specific viewpoint, it is possible to say that jesus christ was indeed the only son of god who appeared in that particular place at that particular time. therefore, i can understand that some christians have strong feelings for this idea (i am not saying that i share those feelings).”


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return of the tooth squand

well… believe it or not, summer is long gone.  long gone-ish, i guess.  i’ve been at the lovely university for a week worth of class now and was here for a week of band camp (yup, this one time… well, i’m sure you already know the drill) before that, so to me personally, summer’s been done for a while.  and i’ll just put it out there (i don’t like making big speeches.  i’m a straight shooter.  i call them like i see them. what you see is what you get.  ain’t nobody gonna break my stride.  ain’t nobody gonna slow me down. [that’s from the ever-chuckle-inducing “not another teen movie”, by the way]).  i like summer.  a bunch.  i like being at home and not having a million (and a half) things to worry about every moment of my day.  so the end of summer, for me, is a bit of a sad time.but anyway.  the start of school does have it’s perks.  one such perk just so happens to be the purchasing of a brand new, shiny (or not so shiny) tube of toothpaste.  i scoured the shelves of walmart for the best paste possible and ended up going back to the old favorite, crest pro health.  but!  it now comes in several delicious flavors.  so i’m now the lucky owner of cinnamon flavored tooth squand, instead of the obsolete minty tooth squand.  such excitement, i know.thankfully for you, however, today’s words will be about more than just tooth squand (though trust me, i could go on and on about it).  today’s wonderful focus will instead be on rules.  yes, rules.  specifically, how they are dumb.  now, not all rules are dumb.  take the “you can’t call timeout as you’re falling out of bounds” rule that was recently instated in the game of college basketball.  that’s a solid rule.  you can’t be diving for a ball, have little or no control of your body, and also claim to have enough possession to call a timeout.  it just makes no sense.  so yes, definitely a good rule.the problem is that many rules aren’t as logical as that one.  so many times, “the man” (as we will hereby refer to anyone deserving such recognition) will formulate rules for ease of control and administration that are downright silly. and believe it or not, the reason i’m bringing up this regulatory topic is that i have recently found such a rule. an unjust and unnecessary rule that the man has tossed into my path (not to mention the paths of so many others) for no reason but to scoff at me (and/or us). this rule is about candles. it is found in section 18, paragraph g of the university of connecticut housing contract and reads as such: “the burning of candles and/or incense is prohibited in all university-owned housing. candles and/or incense are prohibited in all university-owned housing. residents found responsible for burning candles and/or incense may be removed from university-owned housing.” ridiculous, i know. now to make sure that i’m not hiding any true feelings or biases about the issue, i’ll come clean right here from the get go. i would like to have and burn a candle in my dorm room. it would be nice. otherwise, it’s going to have no chance but to smell like dirty laundry, sweat, shoes, and other not-so-pleasant things. the only real smell-producers are bad ones. so a good smell to counteract those would be fabulous. especially if it was something like a fruit smoothie scented candle (which i may or may not have purchased at the beginning of the year before being informed of the newfound regulations). it’s not like i’m asking for the world. just a decent smell to live in.but no. i can only live in filth. this is what the university students pay for. living in filth. of course, i do understand the initial reasoning behind this new rule (and by the way, the whole rule isn’t new. you were never allowed to light candles [or anything else for that matter] in your room before. but they added the complete candle ban this year). if there are no candles then there are no lit candles. if there are no lit candles then there are no burning candle wicks. if there are no burning candle wicks then the fire safety issue (for candles, at least) disappears. it is a bit understandable. but then again, it just goes back to the man trying to make it easier on himself. i have never had a candle burning in my dorm room. and that unlit candle has thusly never caused a fire. so why should i be punished for doing what i was told? seems a little sketchy to me.and since we’re on the topic of lovely section 18, paragraph g, i’d like to take a step back and look at it a little more closely. it first prohibits burning candles and incense in your housing. alright. and toward the end, it states the punishment, that having a candle in your room can get you kicked out of your housing. sure. but how about the middle line. “candles and/or incense are prohibited in all university-owned housing.” um… wait a second. if you can’t have a candle, how are you supposed to burn one? seems like with line two there, line one becomes a wee bit redundant. yeah. oops for sure. kind of. for you see, this is from the 2007-2008 housing contract. a quick look at the 2006-2007 housing contract (which is substantially less stylish than its descendant) shows us where our little problem comes from. the older version states only as follows (in what was at that point section 15, paragraph g): “the burning of candles and/or incense is prohibited in all university-owned housing. residents found responsible for burning candles could be removed from the residence halls. possession of previously burned candles is prohibited.” you see, they only had the burned (or “burnt” depending on your grammatical preference) candle bit. they had to add the sweeping candle ban line because of the new sweeping candle ban rule. so they did. of course, they could have been intelligent students of writing and removed the unnecessary line afterward. but why? that would make too much sense. what do you think this place is for? smart people?while we’re here, i think it would be helpful for us to take a peek at section 18, paragraph t. it’s a doozy. within this portion, there is a small bit found within parentheses. as anyone who has read any post on this blog knows, such parenthetical use is found mostly (if not always) in unneeded times of overkill and repetitiveness. so for your sake, i will leave that part out. with that addendum, it reads as follows: “any activity which could cause personal injury or cause damage to property is prohibited within university-owned housing. snow ball throwing and/or fights is prohibited in or around residential facilities.” if you happen to disregard the snow ball portion (which seems really strange and random, considering that it is the only activity mentioned on its own), you are left with quite a statement. “any activity which could cause personal injury or cause damage to property is prohibited within university-owned housing.” wow… so we had a “welcome back” floor meeting the other day, and the hall director told us to be careful in the shower because someone had cut his hand somehow while in one of them. now i’m thinking that slicing open my hand sounds a bit like personal injury to me, so according to the rule, showering is now prohibited (thank goodness i’m already living in filth anyways or i might have been a bit upset). just thinking about it for a moment, i’d have to say that basically anything “could cause personal injury”. it probably won’t. but it could. and that’s what the rule says. oh man.so unfortunately, i cannot continue our lovely sharing time. apparently, staring at a computer screen for too long isn’t really very good for your eyes. i hope nobody finds out i’ve been looking at it. i’m not sure where i’d go if i got kicked out. though, on the bright side, i could probably bring my candle. and that would be nice. regardless, i leave you now with this line of inspiration by the fabulous jack black from his performance in the cinematic classic “school of rock”: “give up, just quit, because in this life, you can’t win. yeah, you can try, but in the end you’re just gonna lose, big time, because the world is run by the man. the man, oh, you don’t know the man? he’s everywhere. in the white house… down the hall… ms. mullins, she’s the man. and the man ruined the ozone, he’s burning down the amazon, and he kidnapped shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! and there used to be a way to stick it to the man. it was called rock ‘n roll, but guess what, oh no, the man ruined that, too, with a little thing called mtv! so don’t waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome ’cause the man is just gonna call you a fat washed up loser and crush your soul. so do yourselves a favor and just give up!”true story. ish.

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so apparently the hallows are deathly now

and finally it has arrived. for anyone that has been living in a wifi-less cave since 1997, that “it” refers to the seventh and final installment of the heavily-acclaimed harry potter series (which just so happens to be called “harry potter and the deathly hallows” [and by the way, our great friends at yourdictionary.com define a “hallow” as… well, they don’t. and neither does any other online dictionary. apparently, it’s not a real noun. intriguing? i’d sure say so]). now, while the novel has been out for a great number of minutes (not even counting the many more minutes that online bootleg copies were available prior to the novel’s actual release), i do not yet have it. i did not go and wait in line at midnight to pick it up. apparently, i’m not a good fan. sorry. in fact (to be quite honest with you), i’m still in the middle of reading the sixth book (also know as “harry potter and the half-blood prince”), so at the moment, a copy of the new one wouldn’t do me so much good. but considering my reading and all the frenzy surrounding the new movie and book has put me in a bit of a harry potter mode (and/or mood), i will use my potter expertise to make a prediction.

so here you go: at some point during the course of the novel, harry is going to die. or if not, lord v-ster is going to die. and if neither of those happen, then both will live.

yup. that’s it. my prediction. oh and by the way, i’ve been thinking about it, and from a personal, emotional standpoint, i think i’ll be able to handle the situation if harry lives or dies. as long as j.k. writes it well, it’ll be fine with me. but if this story ends with harry becoming the “messiah” and sacrificing himself and dying so that the world can be rid of evil and become a better place, i’m going to be rather mad. if she really wrote seven hugely successful books and then ends it like that, it’ll be a huge cop out. like the end of the third matrix movie. yeah, that was a huge cop out. not that it wasn’t good the first time, but honestly, you can’t write a better story than the first one (cough, cough, the greatest story ever told, cough). so you really shouldn’t bother trying. please miss rowling. don’t do it.

oh and by the way (again), if you read the book and find out what happens, congratulations. you did it. awesome for you. but don’t let me know. i really don’t want to know until i read it. thanks. so go, read, and enjoy. it’s the end of an era, you know.

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disclaimer: so this post is going to have some top quality christian propaganda in it; in my opinion that makes it all the better, but you can feel as you willif you’ve ever read my words before, you might notice that it’s been quite a while since that disclaimer has made an appearance. haven’t used it since february, in fact. why? not sure. i guess i’ve been preoccupied with other thoughts and ideas. now, it’s not such a bad thing to move in different directions for a while. it can be a good change of pace to keep things fresh and real. what counts, i believe, is that no matter where you’ve come from and where you might end up, you always come back to what really matters along the way.for me, what really matters isn’t harry potter. it’s not movie music or spelling bees either. it’s not even college basketball. while all those things can seem like the most important thing in the world at this point or another, i promise you they’re not.”so what could really be all that important if it’s not harry potter?”, you may be asking. to put anything that big into words, to be completely honest, is way past me. i’m into the trivial and the contrite. that’s more my line of thought and work. so instead of trying, i’ll pass the torch.the following is a journal entry (one of many incredible ones) written by one of my favorite people in the entire world. she happens to me one of the most loving and wonderful people i’ve ever met and am sure will ever meet. she took a little summertime detour into mexico for a month or so, and to hold over all those people at home going on with their boring lives, she and the rest of her group wrote, from time to time, about their experiences. you can click here to see the “original” version (and definitely check out the rest of the website to see all of the other amazing things it holds), but as i don’t know how long that will be up, i’ll put it below as well. this is a glimpse of what life is all about:our neighbors shoesthey say the best way to empathize with someone is to walk a mile in their shoes. since we’ve been in mexico, we have lived in villages where migrants leave, we have met with migrants and heard their stories. but today we walked in their shoes.we set off with nothing but our packs filled with water on our backs. we walked along a long, dusty road for a while. we were sweating with the sun beating down on us and heat surrounds us. as we walked, a trucked packed with mexicans drove by us. they were heading for the border, their faces with hope and fear. throughout our trek, my thoughts often came back to those men. i wonder how far they’ve gotten now i would think. did they reach the land where they believe their dreams will come true? were they caught, and if so, was the border patrol good or did they mistreat them? did they survive the dangers of the desert?we continued along, crossing through barbed wire, escaping some dogs, trying to move onward through the desert. looking around for miles all you could see was desert. i can’t even imagine the desperation that would cause someone to come to such a desolate place to seek a better life.after walking for a while, we finally found what we were looking for-the border. we knew we were getting close by the helicopter patrolling from the air above. as i looked toward my homeland, i didn’t know whether i should feel happy or sad, comfortable or ashamed. to see this huge rusted wall in the middle of it all was like a slap in the face. this destruction was placed in the middle of god’s creation to separate neighbors, to draw a line between those who have been given a lot and the least of these.we are asked in our xtracting sessions where have seen god. that question is hard for me today. i know where i did not him and that’s at the wall.before we turned around to cross back through the desert, we left all the water we had carried with us. hopefully the next group of migrants who will cross will be able to survive a little longer and see a bit of kindness in a place where it is hard to find.we’ve xperienced a number of xtremes today; we’ve xpanded our mind, xamined our values and xtended our hands, but perhaps the greatest thing we did was walked a mile (or more) in our neighbors shoes.

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harry potter is a pansy

that’s right.  i said it.  harry potter is a pansy (which, by the way, is defined as “any of various plants of the genera achimenes or viola, having flowers with velvety petals of various colors”.  though, i’m actually more referring to the slang definition, which is given on urbandictionary.com as “someone very pathetic and wimpy, generally used as an insult against both sexes” [with a dramatic visual representation offered here]).

now please don’t misunderstand what i’m saying. kicking the v-man’s butt over and over is pretty sweet.  finding the sorcerer’s stone (or philosopher’s stone, if you’re feeling worldly), chamber of secrets, and everything else that’s been found isn’t particularly shabby either.  i could go on.  but there’s no need.  we’ll just leave it at the fact that when it comes to doing impressive things with a british accent, harry potter’s right up there on the list (notice that i didn’t say he was first on the list.  in my eyes that spot is still held by the one and only hugh laurie. though in all actuality i’m not sure if all his impressive deeds as dr. house [of the acclaimed medical drama “house, m.d.”] count because he has to fake an american accent in order to do them. so that debate is up in the air, but anyway).  between what he’s done and how he talks, it’s safe to say that he’s a pretty cool cat.  and in order to be utterly truthful, i’ll have to admit that i did spend the past week reading “harry potter and the order of the phoenix” (book review:  buy the book.  rip out the first 400 pages of the book. burn [or destroy in whatever way you feel suitable] the first 400 pages of the book. the remainder is now a good book) in preparation for the cinematic release of the aptly titled “harry potter and the order of the phoenix” movie on the 11th of july (which happens to be this coming wednesday). so when i throw around a word like “pansy” it’s not out of disrespect.  just out of… a slight bit of chutzpah, if you will.

because, you see, in this potter-ridden world (which will officially become super-crazy-harry-potter-mania-land once the new movie and new book have both been released), it takes such a slight bit of gall to make that kind of floral remark (pun noted).  and i stand by it.  but why, you ask. why must i say such blasphemous things about “the boy who lived”?

the answer lies within a blog post that i just so happened to write last year (that would be 2006, for all the laymen and women out there).  on the 27th of september.  it happens to be entitled “hoboken, new jersey“.  click the link. read it.  then come back and we’ll talk.

 good, you’re back.  now, of course, you understand my issue with mr. potter (though if your first thought was just “but what does ‘pizza’ have to do with anything?”, please click the back button on your browser and try reading it again). one of the most intriguing (or at least heavily written about) situations thus far in the series of extremely long novellas (and no, there is no possible way to make a case for any of j.k. rowling’s magical books being called novellas, but i like the word. so i’ll use it) is harry’s head.  more specifically his forehead.  and even more specifically the scar upon it.

we could talk about what people think of the scar or how the scar got there or how dashing the scar looks when harry throws back his hair in the wind, but we’ll leave those for another day. today’s issue is how the scar feels. and most of the time for harry, it hurts (well, moreso the older he gets and as things progress, but this isn’t a spoiler. it’s a botanic discussion [pun noted, again]). basically, the more and more you read out of these books, the more and more excuses, reasons, and explanations you are given about why this pain occurs. for brevity’s sake we’ll skip those and simply move ahead to the real explanation (which also happens to be my explanation).  two words: migraine headaches.

yes. it is that simple. harry is no more special than the rest of us (leaving the whole being a wizard and saving the world repeatedly thing aside). he simply suffers from a not-so-rare condition of aching head known commonly as a migraine. but where’s the proof, you say. well, right here. unfortunately, all that can be viewed without paying lots of cash is the abstract.  but apparently, this article was kind of a big deal a week or two ago (it even made an appearance on cbsnews.com).

before we proceed any further, i would like to make a statement of thanks to doug.  he was my psychology lab t.a. last semester, and i didn’t really like him all that much.  i think that i more didn’t like having to go to a pointless psychology lab once a week, but i vented that frustration onto doug. but thanks to him, i now know how to use all of the scholarly databases that the wonderful university of connecticut pays for and thus was able to obtain a copy of the full article “harry potter and the curse of the headache”.  so thanks doug. you’re a good guy.

anyway, i can’t post the full article because i might get sued and/or arrested. and in my opinion, getting sued by the people at a journal called “headache” would be too ironic to even live through. you’d probably just spontaneously combust. so to avoid that, i’ll just recap the important points (and just so you know, this article is fantastic. it’s wonderful to see that a bit of humor and fun-poking still exists in the “real world”, as can be seen in this portion from the extended version of the abstract referring to the pain from [or in] harry’s scar: “the major and perhaps only trigger is proximity, either physical of legilimental, of harry’s arch enemy, he who must not be named. [well, we shall be brave … lord voldemort!! there, we said it.]”

the “research” was basically one of the dudes wanting an excuse to re-read the harry potter books again.  out of the many times that harry is dumbstruck with scar pain, nine instances that offer the most vivid and discernable descriptions of the situation are chosen. thankfully, right off the bat the researchers make sure to rebuke the claim that the headaches (and just so you know, the terms “headache” and “scar pain” are pretty much interchangable from this point on) are simply caused by post-traumatic drama from the attack on baby harry.  this can’t be the case, however, since the first recorded headache (which is assumed to be the first experienced headache) does not occur until eleven years later. if the headache from trauma-induced from that occurence, they would have begun to occur much earlier in harry’s life. this, instead, leaves the door open for alternate explanations, and with established symptoms such as extended periods of pain, nausea and vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, unilateral location, and severe pain intensity, the most logical explanation becomes a migraine.

some nay-sayers have made the claim that this is untrue. many say that harry’s ability to feel the sharp pain one moment and then lose it a moment later is an indication of something other than a migraine.  i, however, disagree.  i think that such a situation never actually occurs. when harry’s pain recedes, it does not go away.  it simply backs off.  especially in his later years when he has been experiencing such pain for a long time, he has learned to deal with it.  the sharp pains do come and cause excessive debilitation, but in between, the pain still remains, be it at an “manageable” level.

basically, i read the “phoenix” book and (just like all the rest of you who have read it) had to deal with harry’s whining for several hundred pages.  and whenever his scar hurt, he complained about it.  he often tried to be “manly” and act like it was no big deal, but he always made a point of getting it out there. now if this mysterious pain from his scar was really some incredible thing that linked him with the voldster, i might pay attention.  but in my opinion, it has nothing to do with that.  the kid stays up half the night doing homework, gets himself tons of detentions, and is, overall, a giant ball of exploding stress.  and he wonders why he has migraines?  when you really think about it, the whole thing is kind of ridiculous. why keep writing about it? it’s just a headache. and if you want to push it all a step further, you could make the claim that it gets worse when he’s around ‘morty simply due to a subconscious psychological reaction caused by his brain’s recognition of his one-time attacker.  all in all, it’s quite simple.

so the next time you’re sitting there thinking that harry potter is all that and a bag of potato chips, you might want to rethink.  i’ll admit that he might be all that.  but the chips?  not so much.  luckily, i still have both “harry potter and the half-blood prince” and the oh-so-close-to-being-released “harry potter and the deathly hollows” left to read. my hope is that being a good and upstanding member of british society, j.k. rowling will at some point in one of these books come clean with the issue and admit that harry simply suffers from migraines. and when that moment does finally come, you’ll all be able to join me in a rousing rendition of “harry potter is a pansy”.  or he could just stop whining about everything. that would work too.

until then, i simply leave you with this.

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peeves, of the pet variety

peeves are unfortunate. pet peeves especially. actually, i don’t know if there are really any non-pet peeves. according to the ubiquitous scholars at thefreedictionary.com, a “peeve” (referring to the noun-esque version of the word) can be simply defined as a “vexation”, “grievance”, or “resentful mood.” a “pet peeve” on the other hand is an informal noun defined as “something about which one frequently complains” or a “particular personal vexation”. so i suppose that they are slightly different in theory. but personally, i’ve never heard someone talk about a “peeve” without using the word “pet” directly before it. by the way, our friends at wikipedia refer to a “pet peeve” alternately as a “pet hate” (just so you know. and i know you were wondering [i always know]). so lo and behold, peeve or pet peeve, it doesn’t really matter. i’m not a fan either way.

you may be wondering why i bring this up. and rightfully so. it was a bit of a random point (not that i ever do that). and well, the short version is that i witnessed a pet peeve of mine and thusly (ladies and gentleman, i present this week’s lesson in grammar: the word “thusly” was introduced in the nineteenth century as an alternative to “thus” in sentences such as “hold it thus” or “he put it thus”. it appears to have first been used by humorists, who may have been echoing the speech of poorly educated people straining to sound stylish. the word has subsequently gained some currency in educated usage, but it is still often regarded as incorrect. a large majority of the usage panel [a scholastic panel sponsored by “the american heritage dictionary” that pursues the task of deciding which terms and phrases shall be considered correct and usable and which should not] found it unacceptable in an earlier survey. in formal writing “thus” can still be used in certain situations, but in some other styles “this way”, “like this”, and other such expressions are more natural) thought it over.

the pet peeve that i happen to be referring to is music. not just any old music, though. in fact, i rather enjoy music. one could even venture to say that i spend far too much time around music. i find it to be a neat little thing. the peeve (you see what i did there. i left the “pet” part out. wouldn’t want to get caught in old habits) that we’re talking about is music in movies. well, i actually like that too. the instrumental movie soundtrack/score happens to be one of my favorite (if not my favorite) musical genres. so we’ll move things along here and be a bit more specific. the problem at hand is as follows: when actors or actresses play roles in movies that require a scene (or scenes) in which their character sings or plays an instrument and what the viewer sees and hears is a perfectly studio mixed audio track (often from someone other than the actor or actress) on top of a cinematic fake job. yeah, that’s it.

what brought about my thoughts on this subject was the dandy little cartoon network (which happens to be the home of a neat little cartoon that i like called “foster’s home for imaginary friends”). on this very evening, the cartoon network played the very awesome movie “school of rock” (which isn’t a cartoon, but hey, it’s a good movie [and for those wondering, my favorite explanation for why they were showing a non-cartoon movie on the cartoon network, which i found on this forum, was this: “communism”]). i like music, and i like teaching. so a movie about jack black teaching music is a pretty sweet combination. the thing that really pushes this particular film up into a whole new echelon, though, is that it’s legit. it’s a movie showing a class of prep school kids turning into a sweet rock band that plays a sweet rock song, and they actually did it. they acted. they sang. they played. the stuff you see and hear is what was actually happening in front of the camera. this is all pretty incredible considering that the kids were all between the ages of 10 and 13 when the movie was made and considering that they’re all awesome musicians. but i mean, that’s how it should be. if you’re going to make a movie about turning a random bunch of rich kids into pint-sized rock stars, you should definitely be obliged to find kids that can play the part (in all meanings of the phrase).

most movie makers, however, don’t go this far. they just don’t bother. they get some big name stars that will sell tickets and make money, regardless of how silly their musical fake jobs look and sound. this concept, not to be overshadowed by the discussion above, was most recently demonstrated to my mind by the lovely and talented hilary duff in her classic (or not so classic) film “raise your voice”. it’s a nice little teenage film about responsibility and letting go. these adorable themes are formed around a musical storyline that involves miss duff going to a top-notch music school for the summer. she’s basically the worst singer in the school, but that’s okay because she’s the main character. and the main character always wins.

i’d like to remind you, the reader, that hilary duff is not only an acclaimed actress but an acclaimed vocalist as well (not to mention the fact that she has her own clothing line ingeniously called “stuff by hilary duff” [or so wikipedia says]). in fact, all three of hilary’s albums have gone platinum (meaning they’ve each sold at least one million copies) under the standards of the riaa. with this in mind, one might think that a movie about hilary duff’s character going to a music school would involve lots of hilary singing on camera. and you would be logically reasonable to believe this. unfortunately however, you would be mighty wrong. to give her some credit, it is her voice that we hear when her character sings, and that is better than many movies can claim. but that’s where the legitimacy ends. her singing, especially in the dramatic, climatic ending song, is so studio-ized that it created (for me, at least) a great deal of frustration. apparently, the girl can sing. and apparently, she can act. so why not let her sing and act in the front of the camera at the same time? maybe then it would look and sound natural and not ruin the scene. but goodness, why would we want a good scene? a few of those might lead to a good movie. and that would be no good.

but trust me, hilary duff is not the only one committing this cinematic crime. take a look at mandy moore’s rather poor fake job in the ending wedding scene in “because i said so” if you don’t believe me. i have to admit, though, it is a step in the right direction. at least they’re singing their own parts. many (if not most) times, even that doesn’t happen. michael j. fox will certainly prove that to you in the enchantment under the sea dance scene in the original “back to the future” (which by the way is one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies. but it’s obviously not him singing or playing the song) when he’s rocking around the stage tearing up chuck berry’s classic tune “johnny b. goode” (and all you chuck berry [and/or michael j. fox] fans out there will be glad to know that in addition to being placed at number 42 in “q” magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitar tracks, “johnny b. goode” was ranked by rolling stone as the seventh greatest song ever on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time). so miss duff and miss moore do get a little bit of credit. either way though, it’s a serious pet peeve of mine. directors and producers and all those important people in hollywood spend millions and millions of dollars to make big, realistic, cgi-laden blockbuster films. and then they add cheesy fake singing. does that make any sense to you? yeah, me neither. but what can you do? if people go to see movies with fake singing and playing, they’ll keep making movies with fake singing and playing. alas.

well, i’m glad at least that we got that out in the open. just couldn’t keep that one pent up inside any longer. pet peeves. yeah, they’re just dandy. but now back to life, the world, and everything. though, if you’re ever bored or even better aren’t bored but need something interesting to check out, go take a look and a listen into joey gaydos, jr. and his band. mr. gaydos played the guitar player and songwriter zack mooneyham (yes, mooneyham) in school of rock and now has both a solo and group album out in stores. if you want to rock, give him a listen. he certainly lives by the incredible credo that we should all strive toward (as sung by mr. black in the one and only school of rock): “you’re not hardcore, unless you live hardcore (but the legend of the rent was way hardcore).”

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news, news, news (with more of evan o’dorney)

first off, i’d like to mention to you all that this blog has reached a bit of a “celebrity” status in the world of internet writing. it seems that due to the previous extensive and intellectual post about spelling bee champion evan o’dorney, we’ve (and by “we”, i clearly mean “it”) been picked up as the official website of the prestigious “evan o’dorney fan club”. i know, it’s darn exciting (but please don’t let anyone know that the “fan club” is actually more of a facebook group [located here] than a legitimate organization. oh, and also don’t mention that said group currently consists of only two members). so i’d like to thank “fan club” president herchenrother for bestowing such an honor on “green cherries on the beach”.

moving on to the important matter of the day (though i’m sure many, if not most, will claim that the previous information was pretty darn important in it’s own right). a while back i made a bit of a promise that i’d be coming out with a biblically linguistical type of post sometime in the near future. and well, i was planning on it. but unfortunately it seems that such a post has escaped the realm of possibility. sorry about that. in it’s place, however, i offer you some good news. the reason that such a post will not be coming out is simply that i decided such a format would not do it justice. instead, i have created a separate blog solely for the purpose of the topic that the post was going to cover. this new and exhilerating blog is called “the words of the lord project” and can be found at http://wordsofthelord.wordpress.com. make sure to check it out. it’s dandy as candy.

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