Monthly Archives: January 2014

College Students Are Stupid!

Let me just say that on the whole, college students in America must have collectively theuntitled lowest IQ possible in a living organism (and that includes ducks!) Now I’m not talking about Ivy League schools, but those cheap community colleges that accept you if you have a heartbeat, however faint, and a stench. For example, read some of these questions I have heard college students actually ask. And I kid you not…these really happened.

1: When was the war of 1812 fought?

2: The Mona Lisa was filmed in Vegas, right?

3: Did World War II happen before or after World War I?

4: Is Papa New Guinea on the right or left of Sweden?

5: It’s hard to believe that the Pilgrims lived without Facebook, but at least they had Twitter.

6: (With a dead serious face) “Hey guys! Two plus two equals four, right? But two times two also equals four! How is this possible?”

7: “In my history class they brought in a guy who said he was a veteran, but when I asked him how many animals he had saved, he just gave me a strange look. Some veteran.”

imagesF1IC6M94In addition to those intelligent sentences that now have you rubbing out your eyes, check out these Q&A’s that I’ve either seen or heard.

Question: Who freed the slaves?

College Student’s Answer: What slaves?

Question: Give the definition of ignorance.

CSA: If you tell me what it means, I could give you the definition.

Question: If today is the 26th of January, yesterday was?

CSA: Boring.

Question: What is the capital of the France.

CSA #1: The letter “F”.

CSA #2: Either Denmark or Louisiana.

Question: If a man on an airplane is traveling at 167 kph due south  from Chicago, and a woman is driving a speedboat up the Mississippi river at 80 mph, as well as a turtle on the freeway in Dallas doing six feet per hour, while at the same time children in Africa are starving, what color is the sky going to be?

CSA: …puppies! 🙂

Remember, these people breed…and vote!


Frozen Thaws the Cold-Hearted Reviewer

It seems that every major movie last year had some problem that kept it from being completely enjoyable. Star Trek Into Darkness: too dark. Iron Man 3: Too goofy and bad visuals. Man of Steel: no plot. Monsters University: too lighthearted…The list goes on. (Don’t get me started about The Desolation of Smaug!)frozen-scene

But one movie stands out as a film that does not disappoint, instead raising you up so that you instantly get the urge to dash back to the theater to see it again. I’m (obviously, if you read the title) talking about Disney’s Frozen.

So much praise has been heaped on this that, frankly I don’t have much to add to that. Voice acting spot was spot on, although at first I had something of a problem with the rustier voice of the Snow Queen, Elsa. However, once Idina Menzel starts singing, nothing bad could possibly be said.

Which quickly brings us to the songs. Needless to say, those that were fans of the grand sweeping scores of the Disney’s Golden Age films have been severely disappointed with the breezy, easily forgettable tunes that have appeared in Walt Disney Animation Studio’s film since then. Even Tangled, the self-flaunted 50th film from the studio, was less than one could’ve hoped for.

Two words. That…ends…here. Many of the songs still have the pop beat, (the Academy Award nominated “Let it Go” a prime example), but each and every song is instantly memorable, with those ‘epic’ moments popping up often enough that not even Beethoven could complain.

An excellent idea that someone genius had was to put practically all of the songs in the first half, leaving the second half for comedy and a spectacular ending. Even so, you didn’t images7UYAT79Qfeel at any time that you were missing something, the editing and screenplay being seemingly perfect.

Just below the music on the exalted staff of excellence are the characters. All three of the leads are lovable, understandable and noble in their own way, with each of their motivations clear. However, one tops them all. Olaf, the snowman just happens to be the king of comedy in this film.  WARNING: prepare to laugh out loud.

The animation is like nothing I’ve ever scene from this studio. Indeed, one shot of the FROZENhigh seas during a storm would put Pixar to shame. The beautiful, stunning imagery involving ice in every conceivable shape and form was nothing short of spectacular.

The story seems to be the only point contested among critics. Let me assure you, while not perhaps up to the near perfection of literally everything else, it is still engaging, well reasoned, and includes a tear jerking ending.

Honestly, all I can say about this film is GO! Even if you only go to see one movie a year, make this that one! This is the film that reminded me for the first time in three years of the reasons I love movies and go to see them in theatres. All ages will enjoy and be moved, from kids, to obstinate teenagers, to even the far too busy businessman with hardly a moment to spare for enjoyment. Frozen is truly the best film of 2013.

Ender’s Game: Manipulation and Perseverance

Every time I finish reading this book, one word echoes through my head. WOW! This is a story, now almost forgotten by book lovers, that at one time captivated all audiences that happened across it. Frankly, I can’t understand why it hasn’t been rediscovered yet, although a less-than-adequate film adaption isn’t doesn’t help at all.

enders_game_poster_leadStill, for all those who are wise enough to discern truth from falsehoods, and are smart enough to be wiling to learn more, all I can say is READ THIS BOOK! Parents looking for a summer reading job for their highschoolers should look no further. However, before pledging yourself to read such a profoundly thought provoking and exciting narrative, read through this review, told with a Christian perspective, to be sure it’s appropriate for you.

First, the positive stuff…

Ender’s older sister, Valentine, and Ender himself seem at times to be the only nice people in the book. Both look on lying as disgraceful and wrong, and they’re love for each other is the only thing able to motivate Ender to sacrifice himself for the human race. Cheating and bullying is consistently shown as wrong, and violence as a solution to problems is always a last resort. Also, Ender’s response to much of the hardship he is put through is to use it to become better. A better person and a better strategist.

Now for the not-so-positive-but-for-the-most-part-decidedly-necessary stuff…

The higher ups in the system, notably Colonel Graff, never cease in their lies and manipulation of Ender’s life and surroundings. It’s in reportedly a good cause, that being saving the human race, but the extent they take it to, is recognized as wrong even by the perpetrators. Certain examples standout amongst the multitude, such as deliberately allowing a certain rival a chance to kill Ender, without interfering, and using the one person Ender loves against him.

As far as sexual content (I feel dirty just writing those words) goes, practically none. However, one exception is the ‘acceptable’ practice in the Battle School of walking around naked, even in co-ed barracks (a practice that isn’t dwelt on, and doesn’t go anywhere. Remember, all the inmates are under the age of twelve.) Also, a raunchy older boy has a simulation of bouncing male genitals on his computer. Disgusting.

Swearing isn’t prevalent, but it isn’t rare either. Nothing strong, but it’s in there, often performed by small children, including Ender himself.

Ender is constantly bullied and sometimes even attacked by jealous, narrow-minded classmates. Surprisingly and somewhat realistically, this petty jealousy is assumed to be the base human condition, with love and compassion written almost completely out of the factor. Friends often turn into enemies, and the hardship and loneliness of leading is clearly represented.

However, for a book famous for military strategy, very little violence is actually present, although was does appear is brutal and hard to forget. Twice Ender is physically attacked, (spoilers) resulting in the other boy’s deaths each time, and once not only Ender bears the brunt of jealousy, but several others do as well. In a strange ‘video game’ graphically violent and ridiculously gory deaths are described.

The most disturbing incidence relating to violence, and frankly in the entire book, is when Peter, Ender’s older brother, beats Ender up and threatens to kill him, over and over again. Remember, this is a ten-year old talking to a six-year old.

Heavy Spoilers!

Enders-Game-VFX-8Easily the most violent occurrence is when Ender, who is being manipulated into thinking it is all a training exercise, destroys an entire civilization of alien, bug-like creatures, ordering several of his own pilots into a suicide bombing run in order to destroy their home planet. Yeah. It’s in there.

Speaking of manipulation, (a prevalent and soul searching theme) Peter uses Valentine, who is consciously obeying, to help him start a war, which is said to claim at the least several thousand lives, and then take over the world. All by writing on the internet. (THE POWER I WIELD!)

This may seem like a lot of negative things for a book, and it is. But there is so much more! This is a book that excites in a story for survival, one that intrigues with political coups, that inspires with military strategy and at the heart of all this, it is the story of one boy’s path to find himself. Deep philosophical questions abound, such as the right to sacrifice the individual for the people, the fickleness of humanity, and redemption of evil so seemingly great, it could never be cured.

This book may have its problems, but for mature teens and older, these shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Read it! You will not regret your choice. Because Ender’s Game is easily the greatest science fiction novel of all time.

Just a side note: The last chapter is mostly devoted to setting up this books sequel, basically creating a ‘religion’ of sorts. Not that it necessarily tries to discount Christianity at any time…it’s just very strange. P.S. Don’t read the sequel unless you want to have your mind bent and boggled. It’s not at all as good.

5 Things I Want to See in Star Wars Ep. 7

I know what you’re thinking…”You’re blogging about Ep. 7 already? What kind of a geek untitledare you?!”

But seriously (kind of) aren’t you looking forward to this event as well. I mean, this is STAR WARS we’re talking about. It hasn’t hit the big screen for nearly ten years, and for a long time it looked like it never would again.

But then the all-powerful Disney had to come in and purchase Lucas Arts. (I hear that they’re re-releasing the first six films as musicals. Click here to see the trailer!) And so once again we will be treated to this saga that so much potential, and I will finally be able to see one in theatres!

Enough talk. Here are some things that I would dearly love to see in the upcoming Star Wars Ep. 7!

untitled1. A Jedi throw a lightsaber and use the Force to bring it back.

It’s in practically every video game, the rotating lightsaber slashing off the heads of foes and then whirling back into the Jedi’s hand. But we’ve never seen it in a movie!

2. Han Solo.untitled

Okay, seriously, how could I not include him. I realize Harrison Ford isn’t quite as lively as he used to be, but a mere cameo appearance would suit me just fine.

untitled3. A Wookie tear the arm off of something.

This may sound a little violent, but the sheer power of Wookies is always taken pretty lightly, except during the attack on Kashyyyk. Honestly, I think it could be pretty awesome.

4. Qui-Gon Jin’s Force Ghost.

Qui-Gon Jin is easily my favorite character that Liam Neeson has played and the fact that he wasn’t able to make such a cameo appearance in Ep. 3 should as least put this rather bizarre request into at least the realm of possibility.

But most of all, I want to see…untitled

5. A Spectacular Movie!

A film worthy to raise its head among the greats. Visuals beautiful and terrifying, characters that are rich, lovable (and despicable), plots well enough written to put the prequel trilogy to shame, and that goofy charisma that made the original trilogy so much fun! I know I’m asking for a lot, but I think they can do it. If you haven’t figured it out yet, basically all I want is the greatest Star Wars movie yet!

The Adventures of Bob Dooshbagh, Private Eye

Ep. 1: Trouble in Marigold

It was about three o’clock in the afternoon on that fateful day of my career as a private eye.  I was sitting in my office in Wichita, having no case to work on at the moment, breathing in the musty air that permeated the surroundings and listening to the static of the radio and the sound of my secretary filing her nails.  I stood up and walked over to where the brown pot full of black coffee was standing.

After I poured myself a cup of the strong, stale stuff, which had a faintly green look about it, I raised it up to my mouth, feeling a burning sensation as the heat of the coffee and the occasional chunk of coffee beans tore down my throat.  Someone needed to teach my secretary how to make coffee.  It wouldn’t be so bad if she had other accomplishments, but as with many other ninety year olds, her skills were limited.

I was just running around to yell at my secretary when… Trouble came through the door.  Her eyes were like marigolds.  Perfume wafted up from her dress, as she stalked gracefully over to me and asked a me, in an melodious voice, a question that I will always remember…”This isn’t the ladies restroom, is it?”

Dazzled by the shimmer of her hair and the sparkle of her eyes, I thought about rejoining with a witty comment about chocolate frogs.  With this in mind, I calmly shook my head and jauntily mumbled, “Uhhhhnu”.  She appeared a bit startled at this ravenous display of eloquence, but she pulled herself together and graciously walked out the door and out of my life.  Still somewhat dazed, I sat down and took a sip of that wondrous coffee.  It’s always amazing what can happen in a period of about two minutes in the life of a private eye.

Disturbed: Chocolate Pizza and Christian Book Reviews

A friend of mine, Sven Hurtalots, and I were driving home from a church event when he said, “You know what this country needs; cheeseburger tacos.”country-road2560

Mind…blown. Frantically, I struggled to think of something that could possibly match the sheer brilliance just displayed by a definitely not-so-brilliant guy.

“Yeah, well, you know what else we need?” I asked.

“Chocolate pizza,” he said, unfazed.

Darn! He did it again! From a guy who’s based his life philosophy on the shapes of gum he finds under car seats, he came up with not one, but two genius ideas in one car ride! I had never been so outmatched.

Sweat began forming on my elbows, a hormone disorder I have never gotten used to. This was getting serious.

“What about Christian book reviews?” I blurted out.

books[1]Bingo. Once again I came from behind and felled my opponent. But seriously, has anyone else noticed the startling lack of Christian based book reviews? I know I have. As a youngster, I spent as much of my time as I could reading, no DEVOURING any and all books that came my way. Out of the Silent at five years old, The Lord of the Rings at eight, and far too many others to mention.

However, whenever I wanted to start a new book or series, my mother would always have to read through them for me. Considering that I read an estimated three thousand different books during my first ten years of life, imagine how much of her time was spent on that.

Why hasn’t there been a website devoted to Christian reviews of books before? We have PluggedIn (an excellent site, and no, I am not getting paid to say that) for movies and video games, not that reviews of either are hard to find, but none for books.

With this in mind, I am going to do my best to fill the vacancy via this blog. Having already a wide experience with reading thousands of mainstream books that youngsters will be wanting to read, I could pretty much tell you in person anything you might want to know, but since we can’t meet in person (alas, love lost before tis even found) this might be the next best thing.

Just to clarify, humor, life lessons and other things will still find they’re way here, so no need to worry about that, not that anyone was. However, in time, if traffic to this site picks up and most of that traffic seems centered on book reviews, I could see purposing the entire blog towards that one goal.

So go on, comment below and let me know what books you want to have reviewed. No guarantee on response time, but it should be less than two weeks (in the case I haven’t read it) and less than a week in the case that I have.

Why the Destination?

Every path we take, every goal we set has two distinct components, the journey (how we accomplish our goal) and the destination (the goal itself). With this in mind, let me ask you a question. Which is more important: the journey or the destination? Now most people would consider this a trick question (it is, kind of) and so, after thinking about it, would answer, “Why the journey of course.”


Now I’m going to ask you a different question.  Which is better to be focused on: the journey or getting  to destination? Not so obvious now, is it? Is there even a difference between the two choices?

Far too often, we focus on the journey, thinking that it in and of itself has meaning, and in a way it does. The journey shapes who we are, and the people we will be when we reach our goal. But remember this: THE JOURNEY WOULDN’T EXST IF THERE WAS NO DESTINATION.

During the holidays, the airports are packed like you wouldn’t believe. Hundreds of thousands of people traveling. Would they be traveling if they didn’t have a place to be, a family waiting for them with pumpkin pie and the most delicious drink in the world, sparkling cider? Of course not. The ONLY reason the travel is to reach hose people. Think about it. No one without a family travels at Thanksgiving.

The destination is the only thing that gives the journey purpose. Without it, life would simply be a purposeless and endless series of meaningless bumps. (See what I did there!)

For instance, have you ever been to a middle school sports basketball-rim1-226x300game? (Yes, they’re boring, I get it.) It’s a grand idea, allowing middle schoolers to practice teamwork, discipline and competition.

The destination; a good character and position as an adult. The journey; every practice, game and tournament. So if each middle school basketball game is only a means to an end, why is it that parents have the tendency to go nuts?

“Fred shoot the ball, slam it into his face!”

The trouble starts when people begin to think the journey is significant in and of itself. I’ve seen, you’ve seen, we’ve all seen the disastrous effects of putting too much emphasis on any game or tournament. Brawls erupt between friends, cruel, underhand shortcuts are taken in the game, and cheating can become rampant.  Do any of these things mentioned above help and/or assist the person involved in reaching his/her destination or goal? Not at all, and they cause trouble and possible torment for all parties.

We all make the same mistake at some point or another, to varying degrees. Teenagers focusing on trying to impress the opposite gender instead of preparing themselves to be a godly husband or wife. College students focusing on “living it up” and embroiling themselves in situations they will regret as adults, instead of using the time to prepare themselves better for their occupation.  Adults engrossing themselves too much in their job and missing out on time with family, simply because they forgot that the PURPOSE of the job was to SUPPORT their family.

On a personal level, one journey that has taken precedence over the destination in my life is this blog. Let me tell you why.


The reason I started this blog was two-fold: 1. Gain more writing experience, and 2. Get credentials and possibly an audience for my yet-to-be-published book. Therefore, I have devoted much of my time this last week to working on this blog, writing, polishing, and worrying about my lack of readers.

Now this may seem like a fine and good use of time and effort in and of itself. But remember, the point of this blog is to help my book. And by focusing too much on this blog, I have actually ignored working on my book completely. So now this blog, the journey, has hindered my book, the destination.

So why is it that we dwell on the journey, instead of the reaching the destination, so much. Perhaps because we’re in the journey right now.  Let’s face it: the past is safe, the present seems pressing, and the future is far away and frankly, pretty scary. Sometimes we’re afraid we’ll never reach our destination at all, and therefore we focus on what seems to be the only thing that we can control. We end up pouring all our energy and time into it, instead of using it to propel us forward.

As a Christian, I know that my ultimate destination is out of this world, Jack! And yet, I can’t help worrying about my journey getting there. What’s going to be my career, what do others think about me, what about the global economy…the list goes on.

Frankly, I don’t have to worry so much about all that. Not that I mean this life should be spent as a pushover, not caring what happens because it “doesn’t matter”. 1 Corinthians 9: 24-25 tells us that.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Use the journey as a means to end. Don’t get me wrong, the journey’s important. But don’t let it make you forget where your going.

Films Based on TV Shows: 4 That Worked, 4 That Didn’t

Seriously, would someone…hey you, yes you! Would you please tell those Hollywood idiots to stop trying to cash in on franchises. Let those old, worn out sleeping dogs lie (and lie, and lie, and occasionally tell the truth.) Besides actual films and books, probably the majority of movies that are not original fare are based off of television shows. Most of these adaptions are decidedly B-films, but of the others, check out which ones work, and which ones don’t!

Those that WORKED:

1: Mission Impossible-Smart, action packed and one of the world’s highest grossing franchises, turning this television success into a blockbuster franchise was a wise decision, benefitting both the viewers of film producers. Ghost Protocol is easily the best.

2: Get Smart!-I wouldn’t have thought that the crass jokes and outrageous gags that Get martcharacterize Steve Carell would fit into Maxwell’s character, this film kept me laughing from practically start to finish. Parents with small children might be wise to avoid it, (as we all know, that type of parents can be extremely sensitive), but for everyone else, it’s a blast! (Small children, don’t tell you’re over-sensitive parents I said that.)

3: The Muppets(2011)- The world, nay the universe, constantly dances on the line between ridiculous and brilliant, something these fun filled misfits seem to do with ease. For anyone  ready to lay down their troubles (which they constantly seem to be complaining to me about) for a while, this film is the one to do it with.

untitled4: Star Trek(2009)-Wow! For being based off easily one of the cheesiest TV shows of all time, this one turned out pretty well. Except for one unnecessary and gratuitous scene involving Kirk’s lady-killer side, this one is not to miss. Full of some the most exciting action I’ve ever seen, it is one of the few films that as soon as it was over, I wanted to go back to the beginning and watch it again. Post-post thought; I love a good CGI creature, and although this film didn’t need it, it seemed to throw two of them in there just for fun. That’s a good movie!

Those that DIDN’T:

1: The A-team-This film disappointed me to no end. the characters were off, the acting was lazy, the script was poor, the action ridiculous…I could go on, but who wants me to. Let me conclude that I loved the original series and hated this.

2: Transformers 2&3-UGH! Probably the biggest budgeted bilgewater to hit the big transformersscreen. some shots may be cool, but the characters are hair thin, the acting stinks, Megan Fox literally just irritates, and the plots are some of the worst ever commissioned. ‘Nuf said.

3: Alvin and the Chipmunks-While perhaps not as awful as its peers in this post, the semi-original idea of having cheesy animated figures alongside live action actors seemed in retrospect doomed from the start. Not that it failed (in my book) for those reasons. A word to the wise; mousy voices are only fun for about three minutes.imagesS3KB57PI

4: The Last Airbender-Awful, simply awful. Let me say that the trailers and tv spots looked pretty cool, having practically no story elements in them, choosing to focus on some cool visual effect shots (the only cool ones, as I found out later). Don’t watch it. It’s a waste of your time.

The Ancient, Mystical and POWERFUL Secrets of Writing Humor

BOOM!! Flash, BANG! ZIIIIIPPPPPPPP! Now that I fully have your attention, I will proceed in revealing the key secrets of writing a piece that is focused mainly on humor.  Be warned though! Failure to follow the steps outlined in this paper could result in the reader’s going to law school and becoming an attorney.

Believe it or not, writing a humorous essay is very similar to writing, say, an essay on how imagesYJIG3OIRto study wildlife. (Really, how boring is that, I mean just go out your front door, there’s wildlife everywhere, people! But I digress.) Like any other essay, the most important things in writing a humorous essay, are the creative process, actually putting it down on paper and editing.

Step 1: The Creative Process (The most relax-I mean, strenuous part)

Beginning as soon as your teacher hands you your assignment, the creative process is vital to the creation of a good essay. While a few jokes are in order, which you should use to spice up you’re story, the heart and soul of an essay is its theme.  The first part in constructing a workable theme is getting a large, comfortable easy chair.  Essentially, this relaxes your mind enough to focus on one thing at a time, so that you don’t have to resort to studying wildlife as a topic because you’re to busy to think of anything else.

untitledBefore you sit down,  go into you’re kitchen and grab as many cookies as you can find, the more peanut butter in them, the better for your cognitive process.  As soon as you have all of these items, go relax in your easy chair and do absolutely nothing for the next couple of hours.  This period of rest will sharpen your sense of humor, so that you will be able to focus in on and hone your theme to perfection.

To properly perform the task of creating a good theme, it will take several days of following the procedure above, which is of course set up for optimal performance, in order to work out all of the kinks, although in the sorry case that you have to work a moral into your theme, it could take quite a bit longer.

Step 2: Write it down (Otherwise, you’ll forget it!)

After you have worked out a proper theme, it is time to put that theme on paper.  At this time it is only a few days till you turn in your assignment, having spent several days in the lounge chair and you discover that you haven’t really worked out anything else besides the theme, due to falling asleep.  (Believe me, when my tummy’s full of cookies, I would do the same.)

But this is alright, after all, some of the best writing is done through improvisation, which works best when the mind is in a scramble.  Incidentally, the best way to improvise something for your paper is to stea-, I mean, borrow ideas from other’s work. Not that I condone plagiarism, that hideous bane of writers.  Find a way to borrow legally. (If someone is uncomfortable with, ahem, borrowing from other people, then they will not succeed in following the prescribed outline and when they apply for law school, they will likewise fail there.)

Once you have a working, borrowed idea, the next step is to elegantly dress it up with an exquisite makeover, involving numerous, fancy, unnecessary and tiresome words, just to make it look original.  Also, make sure to write any and all good, bad and ugly jokes that come to mind, so that you have them available to use.  The key component to remember if you are having a hard time with jokes, is one word…booger.  untitled

Merely substitute a word in the title of a movie of song with “booger”, such as I’m Dreaming of a White Booger or Revenge of the Booger.  (Be sure to use alternate versions of the same phrases, such as Booger of the Sith.  It makes it much more flavorful.)  Repeat this entire process for the entirety of your paper, until it is just long enough.

Step 3: Editing (Thin jokes, fat jokes, ‘Yo mama’ jokes galore)

Finally, you have completed the exhausting processes of creating and putting it all down on paper. Thanks to modern inventions, the process of editing is incredibly simpler than it use to be, which makes me wonder how anyone back then ever did any editing at all.

In the time frame of a few seconds, you can annihilate all of your bad, ugly and unnecessary jokes with ease, although if you’re like me, all of your jokes are extraordinarily bad, ugly and unnecessary, in which case you would have to figure out a different way of eliminating excess gags. (After all, it’s your paper, figure something out for yourself for a change!)

This is also the time to make sure all of your punctuation is correct. (Imagine’ *how dumb it would@look for a pa’p’er have a l?ot of ran**dom marks on ev/en a s{e}ntence.  People can be so dumb.)

Each of these steps are essential to creating a humorous piece of work, or in this case, art. Although as before mentioned, failure to complete even one of the steps could be potentially fatal, the worst one to possibly mess up on would be the creative process, because of its tailor-made ability to hone your mind to accomplish one task.  And no, that task is not getting lazy and fat, although these side effects tend to happen.  But one must make sacrifices if one is to explore the possibilities of how to humor.