25 March 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me

Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you don't believe in God, and/or you find Christianity and spirituality to be lame or annoying, then don't waste your time. This book has 'God' written all over it. :) If I'd read this book a year ago, well, I wouldn't have made it very far. It would have annoyed me (possibly pissed me off), and I would have stopped reading. My life has recently changed, and I believe in God -- and I loved almost everything about this book. I haven't cried that much while reading a book since when I read Wiesel's "Night" back in 7th grade. The story touched my heart, but I can understand the negative reviews that I have seen here. It isn't for everyone, but it really got to me in a good way.

View all my reviews.

23 March 2009

The Onion keeps it real

This article cracked me up because it reminded me of the horror I felt when I went to see Cats on broadway many years ago and the cats climbed up to the mezzanine and got in our faces.

Oh No, Performers Coming Into Audience
from The Onion

March 21, 2009 | Issue 45•12

PITTSBURGH—Audience members at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts are reporting that, oh God, no, approximately 20 extremely enthusiastic actors are approaching the edge of the stage and appear determined to continue their current musical number in the main seating area.
Enlarge Image Audience

Attendees were oh, for the love of—they're going to make everyone sing along.

"Oh, man, are they? Shit," one audience member was overheard saying as the energetic ensemble began filing down previously unseen stairs and past the front row. "Shit, shit, shit."

Increasingly uncomfortable audience sources have also confirmed that the performers are proceeding down the aisle with crisp, larger-than-normal steps timed perfectly to the music. Even more shocking, some appear intent on interacting with non–cast members.

"Their smiles are so big," a female theatergoer said while pretending to look for something in her purse. "Why does that one have a cordless microphone? Is he going to try to talk to us?"

"I have to go to the restroom," she added.

While it remains unclear how long this horrifying breach of the fourth wall will last, or why the actors worked so hard to create a fictional distance between themselves and the audience if they had no intention of maintaining it, past productions suggest there are still five minutes left in the current number. Some predict the cast will return to the stage before the song's conclusion, but others fear they may stay in the aisles, making unnerving eye contact and blocking all available exits.

Thus far, the actors have ignored audience members' squirms and anxious expressions, opting instead to clap in an effort to get everyone to clap along with them.

Oh, no, more singing and dancing performers have just entered the balcony.

"Their makeup looks way scarier under normal lighting," one theater patron whispered. "Especially that one kid playing the old man."

Audience members have given no indication that the actors' increased proximity has enhanced their experience, or given them a sense of involvement in the production. Some have questioned, however, whether or not it is out-of-character for the play's antagonist to be doing the twist with the show's protagonist, especially before the conflict between the two has been resolved.

While most theatergoers have avoided meeting the actors' gaze by smiling awkwardly and staring straight ahead, the roughly 76 people seated on the aisles have been less fortunate. Performers are currently removing them from their seats and are apparently forcing them to participate in some kind of humiliating choreographed dance.

Jesus Christ, one actor just did a jumping toe-touch from the stage into the audience, pumped his fist, and high-fived a fellow performer, prompting those in the first several rows to jerk back in their seats and shield their heads.

"Why can't we just watch the play?" a female audience member asked a man who is possibly her husband. "When I saw this with Diane in New York, I swear, David, I swear they didn't do this."

Although the exodus into the seating area was not announced, there have been several indications that the actors could be capable of ruining the invisible boundary between them and the paying public. During the previous song, the ensemble sang the words, "For all of us," and gestured not only to themselves, but also to the audience. A second, more ominous sign was the sudden raising of the houselights during the song's chorus—a slight change in mood that caused some worried attendees to look around and ask, "What's going on?"

And, just before the upbeat percussive section that unleashed the thespians, a male lead turned his head sharply to the audience and said, "Here we go."

By then, however, it was too late.

Witnesses say one actor has now perched himself on the back of a seat and started singing directly to a small child. The boy has responded by clinging to his mother and burying his face into her chest.

"They're bringing that fat guy back onstage with them," an audience member said. "Oh, Christ, what are they going to make him do? Why—why don't they just leave us alone?"

A little delayed on this one

Everyone was filling out those 25 Random Things things on Facebook not long ago, and I found this at http://homebrewedchristianity.com/2009/02/08/25-random-things-by-jesus-of-nazareth/

I thought it was funny.

25 Random Things by Jesus of Nazareth
By Chad Crawford • Feb 8th, 2009 • Category: engaging

This is my take on the “25 random things” Jesus would come up with if there were a 1st century version of Facebook. I’m not going to formally “tag” anyone to try this exercise as Jesus of Nazareth, but hopefully someone will take a shot at it.

1. My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is have a glass of wine with a few close friends.

2. You would probably never guess but I’m actually slightly introverted. I’m very social and love spending as much time as I can with others, but I need to slip away every now and then to reenergize through contemplation and prayer. Once I actually went into the wilderness for 40 long days, but that was more of a test than a retreat!

3. I have this funny little habit of doodling in the dirt. I think it relaxes me and helps me process my thoughts.

4. I love children but don’t have any of my own.

5. Sometimes I don’t think even my closest friends understand me, which can be frustrating! But they mean well and I love them anyway.

6. I’m not a revolutionary. At least not the kind who carries a sword. Using a sword for peace is like using sex to accomplish virginity! I believe we can have justice through love and transformed hearts.

7. My mother is an incredible woman. She’s a real saint.

8. I’m against capital punishment. My cousin was a victim of its misuse.

9. People think I keep pretty bad company. They might be rough around the edges but if you get to know them, they’re good salt-of-the-earth type people.

10. Mom has a special song she sings to me:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.

11. I love a good joke. My friends and I have this little ongoing banter with the Pharisees and Herodians, whenever they try to get me to contradict myself. It’s good-natured for the most part, but they sure don’t like to look bad.

12. My friends and I love to get together for great big meals. The more people the better. Even though we come from modest backgrounds, there always seems to be leftovers. Everyone should have some fishermen in their inner circle!

13. I think the wealthy could learn a lot from the poor, if they would spend some time with them.

14. Every time I take friends to my hometown, the people I grew up with tell embarrassing stories about me.

15. My name means “the Lord is salvation.”

16. When I wanted my cousin to baptize me, he at first refused!

17. You can always tell a Galileean by our accents.

18. My favorite Scripture passage is…wow that’s a tough one…the one I try to live by is from Isaiah the Prophet:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

And any thing from the Tehillim, the songs of David.

19. I’ve never eaten pork, but I’d like to try it.

20. Ok, that 70 times 7 thing…I don’t even know how much that is! Ha! I mean, I could figure it out but it would take me a while. I just know it’s a big number! [edit: Ok I got it: 490]

21. My favorite snack food: fresh figs.

22. I can’t get used to being called “good teacher.”

23. I get a kick out of people parading their religiosity ostentatiously in public. Do they think they get a special reward for it?

24. 25 is a lot of random things!

25. Besides curing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, and proclaiming a new era of justice, I enjoy woodwork and winemaking.