Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thanks B.J. for Introducing Me to Cary

Happy 25th OETA Movie Club

It's possible Cary Grant is the love of my life. He died when I was nine, but I don't think death should have any bearing on true love.

 Cary and I met when I was a teenager. It was a Saturday night. I was home; he walked in. After a few moments with his flirtatious dimples and sarcastic mumblings, I was smitten. And he didn't even buy me dinner.

That's how all great love affairs begin, with a lonely girl, a bag of popcorn, and a classic. Or at least in my world they do.

B.J. Wexler did that for me. He introduced me to Cary and Jimmy, William and John. Saturday nights were OETA Move Club night. This was in the age of VCRs and that crumpled, creased, crazed ribbon era of the VHS tape. It was simply too risky to set the VCR and go out. So, unless a boy could entertain me with something more witty than fart jokes, I spent my Saturday nights laying on my parent's living room floor, chin in hand, popcorn reachable, Cary for company.

It couldn't have been easy to bring the classics to public television. At least not in that age. It was 1988 when the OETA Movie Club premiered, a time when men teased their hair more than women. Then the 90s hit and the highest mark a woman could get was that she was "tough" and could act like a man.

We've been confused ever since.

What the classics taught me was the delicacy between the sexes. The charm of a feminine female. The attraction of a strong male lead. Men like Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart weren't the clueless male characters of today. You would never have caught William Powell in a role where he was the punch line.

Instead, they were like gales of strength, overcoming obstacles with boldness, tenacity, bravery, and, yes, a healthy dose of sexy confidence. When they failed, they apologized. Then they went back to work and got it right in the end.

Recently, I was talking to a young girl in her early 20s about movies. She mentioned to me how black and white movies seem boring. I think I died a little inside.

"Have you ever seen a movie with Cary Grant?"
She shook her head no.
"I would recommend it," I told her. "You need to watch a classic so you know what the word 'entertainer' really means."

Sadly, she probably thinks George Clooney is debonair and Matt Damon is manly. I'd cross myself right now if I was Catholic.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

7 things you should NOT do after being a jerk to God

1. Hide in a closet.
 If all it takes for a 2 x 4 to barge into your hidey-hole is a wind speed of 200 mph or less, then God isn't going to have any problems finding you in there. Try the basement. Good luck.

2. Challenge Him to smite you.
He hasn't done much spontaneous smiting in the last few thousand years, but do you really want to play the law of averages?

3. List all the ways you are right.
Arguing with a well-versed and practiced attorney is tough. Take that and times it by...oh...gazillion.  

Now, the intermission.

I jumped right into my list because, let's be honest, who wants to read about how we're all jerks at times, especially to God, and we should quit. I don't want to read that. Heck, I don't want to write that. But it probably should be said, so...we're all jerks at times, especially to God, and we should quit.

Recently, while talking to a fellow writer, I met my jerkiness head on. We were talking about recent transitions in life and I mentioned mine, i.e. moving away from everyone I know, living in an unfamiliar city, taking an unfamiliar job, not being able to touch my familiar toes. And that's only for starters. In the middle of my long laundry list, he says, "I bet you keep looking around at your life and asking God, 'Why am I here? Why are you doing this?'"

Umm......yeah. A few times a day. Last hour, in fact. Okay, right now, actually.

No answers come, of course. It's not as if God is feeling a great amount of pressure to hop right to it and clear the air. He's God. He can do what He wants and He's justified in doing it. Because, ahem, He's God. 

What it reminded me of was Job, a truly God-fearing man who had a few bones to pick with God. And so, after much suffering, he picked. So God answered. And, ps, woe to those, okay me, who stomp our foot and demand God speak. Grab a tree root and hold on.

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?"

And...back to the list.

4. Go on the offense.
Just no. What can I say? Never a good idea to go up against your Creator. Although it might give Him a good laugh or you a head of white hair. Talk to Moses about that.

5. Give the silent treatment.
Since God listens to the heart, not the mind or mouth, deciding you don't want to converse with Him anymore is like wishing your heart to stop beating. Don't wish your heart to stop beating.

6. Punishing Him by punishing yourself.
This can be done with food, liquids, synthetics, behavior, or layers and layers of knitted guilt. Nice and heavy. Twisted and knotted. Lasts forever. That kind of guilt. You aren't perfect and God knew that before you did.

Coffee Break.

When my prayers go unanswered, when trials go on without end, when I feel as if God has forgotten me or I'm just not important enough to Him to get any attention, then I lash out like a spoiled child. What I really want to do is treat Him like a jerk because it feels as if He's treated me that way.
I'm wrong, of course. But stop a spoiled child in the middle of a tantrum and tell them they're wrong. Works every time, right?

Instead, God lets me wrestle it out. To rant until I'm hoarse. To scream until I'm spent. To cry until I'm exhausted. And He waits for the moment when I'm finally ready to listen. But then I'm usually too ashamed to want to hear it.

Hello face. I shall cut off my nose to spite you.

Once, many years ago, a minister friend of mine called me at work just to check in. He asked me how I was doing and, since he's a minister, I gave him brutal honesty.

"Well, I yelled at God last night and I don't know how to feel about that." He gave me a great piece of advice, "Go ahead. Give it to Him. He can take it. David did. An angry prayer is still a prayer."

So if you are experiencing this, or ever have, or ever will again, I hope you take this last "not" tip to heart.

7. Go it alone.
You don't have to, though many of us think we do. God never leaves us, even when we think He should. It's just not in His nature. He stays. He sticks. He gives us the freedom to act like a jerk and the forgiveness to do better next time. And then He walks us through the silence until understanding comes, no matter how long that takes.
Maybe, after all my questions, that's the answer He's been giving me all along.

The Super Bowl Commercial zone

You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of commercial imagination. You are about to enter...the Super Bowl Commercial zone.

It's a world where creativity is currency, imagination is the obnoxious federal government, brands are celebrities, and commercials entertain more than the fourth-quarter of the actual game. Or, they completely bomb. The description of this commercial (which will not be revealed until game day, of course) struck me as particularly entertaining.

It's Wheat Thins. And you'll fight off Himalayan Yeti's to protect them.

It is nighttime, and as (a man) puts a contraption on his head, his wife, also in pajamas, enters the kitchen and asks what he is doing.
“Using night-vision goggles to keep an eye on my Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins and make sure nobody touches them,” he says.
“Who’s going to take your Wheat Thins?” she says.
“Um, I don’t know,” he says, “an intruder, the dog, Bigfoot, Ted from next door.”
She turns off the light and the screen goes dark. There is the sound of a struggle in the kitchen and she turns on the light to reveal her husband clinging to the shoulders of an abominable snowman.
“Honey, I was close, it’s a yeti!” he shouts, as their neighbor runs into the kitchen and steals the Wheat Thins.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A real life, surefire, all gussied up speaker's bio

Last night, I asked for a clean font. This morning, my designer extraordinaire Kortney Korthanke of Kortney K Design sent me this. It was everything I never knew I always wanted in a bio. She even hunted down, killed and skinned a photo in the forests of Facebook, since I didn't provide one. This is what I shall now refer to as my heavenly body bio, the bio I'll be reunited with after the resurrection.

Kortney K, you put the "K" in "Kool" and there's not even a "K" in there.