Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blue Bird Happiness

My hubby calls me "Jane Hathaway" and says I'm a member of the Biddle Birdwatching Society. He enjoys teasing me about my nerdy tendencies.That's okay with me! My nerdy tendencies give me an abundance of simple pleasures, some quite unexpected, such as looking out my back door and seeing an Indigo Bunting feeding on the ground below my feeders:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

TCA Class of 2007

On Friday, May 25, the Trinity Christian Academy Class of 2007 had their graduation ceremonies. Bobby and I had just returned with this class from their senior trip and for my husband the evening was bittersweet. He was very excited about the future of these graduates, but also very sad to see his daily contact with them end.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Cortez A. Cooper, Jr., spoke about the postmodern world into which these graduates are stepping. He challenged them to change the culture or even create a new culture. What Dr. Cooper may not have known is this class had largely done just that - they had created a new culture in many ways.

This class had been derided as the Golden Class, the Perfect Class, the Overachievers who only underachieved at mischief and wrongdoing. Good for them! This was a decidedly ‘Christian’ class who created a culture where students received support and encouragement from their classmates, a culture where excellence was expected in all aspects of their lives.

They were still ordinary teenagers, but their accomplishments were extraordinary. The 19 seniors received over 20 scholarships. Among these 19 were a National Merit Scholar, a National Merit Finalist, and a student who received commendation from the National Merit program after missing finalist status by just a point.

But they weren’t just academicians. There were accomplished pianists, guitarists, and singers in the group. There were artists, athletes, linguists and writers.

“. . . but the greatest of these is love.” That’s what I will always remember about the Class of 2007. Beyond their academic resumes, these were a group of seniors who displayed Christian character and love. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to know them.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Internet Myths, Legends and Hoaxes

Did you hear about the woman who was robbed when a man hid under her car in a Wal-Mart parking lot and slashed her ankles when she was opening her car door? If you did - you've been had! Go here for "the rest of the story."

Cyberspace has increased the number of urban legends going around and the speed with which they spread. One of my favorite sites is (formerly Urban Legends). It checks out internet stories - the funny, scary, silly, serious, etc., and reports on their veracity. Whenever someone sends me a "have you heard about" story, the first place I go is Snopes. It has a lot of fun stories, especially about celebrities, and some are even true!

You can do your own research by going here.


So... how good are your senses? Wanna test them? Go here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Casino Royale: A Review

“Casino Royale is the best Bond movie ever!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this since the movie’s release. We finally got around to watching it over the last couple of evenings. It’s a good movie. It is, quite surprisingly, a relatively clean movie. The “best Bond” ever? I dunno.

I should admit my bias. For me, “Bond. James Bond. ” is a tall, dark and handsome man (Clive Owen!) with a glint in his eye representing both sardonic wit and a reflection off the steel blade he has hidden in his tuxedo inner pocket. He’s cool, aloof and unflappable. James Bond is a literary character in the fullest sense – he goes beyond the realm of real human beings. That's where Casino Royale threw me a curve - this Bond is all too human.

The opening scenes of the latest Bond caper, filmed in black and white, use lighting and camera angles which pay homage to the Sean Connery era of Bond films. It was a very nice touch. Also nicely done were the opening credits. Here the strolling Bond stopping to shoot a villain was replaced with playing card motifs striking down bad guys who shatter into cascades of colorful drops. Also missing is “Q” with his plethora of gadgets. No Moneypenny (although a clever bit of dialogue gives a tip of the hat to this character).

Gone are the light touch and comedic elements of the Moore and Brosnan movies. While I loved Pierce Brosnan as 007, his films had the sense of being almost a parody of the Bond legend.

In this latest incarnation, James has just received his “OO” status and he acknowledges to “M” that double O’s “have a short life expectancy. M chastises him for being a blunt instrument when finesse is required. As one reviewer put it, this Bond is “more raw and less refined than other [Bonds], as I guess you would expect for someone who's new to being a double O…”

Daniel Craig is a more masculine, edgy and even more intelligent Bond than previous incarnations (Sean Connery being the obvious exception). He is detached and unquestionably possesses the ability to put a bullet between someone’s eyes and return to his card game unfazed. He also is a Bond who actually bleeds and shows battle scars. This Bond is more special forces soldier than dapper spy.

The climatic buildup centers around a high-stakes poker game. Purists will scoff at Bond playing something other than his usual baccarat, but as my hubby pointed out, this positioned the film nicely within the current poker mania.

Daniel Craig is not classically handsome, but he has a sculpted physique which the film is all too eager to show off. There's a sense of Everyman about him and perhaps this is more in keeping with what a spy should be.

Casino Royale’s plot was a little too convoluted. Its characters a little underdeveloped. The first chase scene a little far-fetched for a film that wanted to put believability back into the action. The Bond girl was more intelligent than stunningly beautiful, although beautiful she was.

This Bond was a wholly different creation from previous Bonds. As long as I could resist comparing apples to oranges, I enjoyed it.

And the last line? Classic.