Monday, November 29, 2004


Oliver Stone's $150 million movie Alexander tanked at the box office in its opening weekend:
"Alexander", director Oliver Stone's three-hour epic starring Irishman Colin Farrell as the youthful Macedonian warrior, opened at No. 6 with ticket sales of just $13.5 million (7.1 million pounds) for the three days beginning Friday.

Since opening on Wednesday to get a jump-start on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the film has earned $21.6 million from cinemas in the United States and Canada -- short of the $25 million hoped for by the film's financier, Intermedia Films.

The Brits think its because we're 'homophobes' (whatever that is). Or maybe Americans are tired of poorly made agenda movies and being told its entertainment.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Joshua Clayborn reports on a white sepulchre at the Crystal Cathedral:
Yesterday I watched "Episode 108" [of MTV's Laguna Beach] and for the first time realized that one of the show's characters, Christina, is actually the granddaughter of famed minister Dr. Robert H. Schuller and daughter to Dr. Robert H. Schuller II, also a well known minister. The two are ministers at Crystal Cathedral, which has a congregation of over 10,000 members and plays host to the internationally televised "Hour of Power." None of this would seem like a big deal if it weren't for Christina's antics and behavior, both with friends and in relation to the church.

In episode 108, Christina must stay behind from camping with her friends because of a singing engagement at her father's church. But on her way there she listens to rap music filled with profanity and, prior to walking on stage, she mercilessly mocks her father's sermon and delivery style to her sister nearby. But after a heartfelt introduction from her father, Christina walks on stage to sing an angelic, gospel song as her father and grandfather look on in admiration and prayer. The next frame cuts to Christina walking out, eager to leave and exclaiming "Thank God that's over." (You can watch part of the scene on MTV's website.) In other episodes she discusses hooking up, her desire for more sex, and other such things.

With the Schullers' continuing watering down of the Bible message are we really surprised?

One time head of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition Ralph Reed has reached a low even for him: liquor lobbyist. Reed, he of the perpetually boyish features (are he and John Edwards long lost brothers?), used the trust of millions of sincere religious people to launch a career of political enrichment, which is seemingly void of principle and character. Nice hire, Pat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


In a bit of a disappointing move, actor Tom Hanks has signed for the lead role in the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie:
Superstar actor Tom Hanks has signed on to play the lead role in The Da Vinci Code. Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer landed the actor they wanted to star in their adaptation of Dan Brown's controversial best-selling novel.

Hanks will play Robert Langdon, the professor who follows the clues into a mystery that uncovers shocking "revelations"—that Jesus was not divine after all, that he married Mary Magdalene and had a bunch of unusual children, and that The Last Supper is a painting with a bunch of scandalous secrets painted into it.

The adaptation will be written by Akiva Goldsman, who wrote Lost in Space, Batman Forever, and A Beautiful Mind.

I think we need to be ready for a full assault on Jesus and the Bible when the movie comes out. This is Hollywood's answer to Mel Gibson's The Passion.

Of course with Tom Hanks' recent track record (Polar Express, The Ladykillers) and the movies Goldsman has written (Lost in Space, Batman Forever) we may not have a lot to worry about...

Monday, November 22, 2004


Regardless of whether they voted for 'values' in the Presidential election or not, Americans whether red or blue are still The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising >watching bad tv:
In interviews, representatives of the four big broadcast networks as well as Hollywood production studios said the nightly television ratings bore little relation to the message apparently sent by a significant percentage of voters.

The choices of viewers, whether in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City, New York or Birmingham, Ala., are remarkably similar. And that means the election will have little impact on which shows they decide to put on television, these executives say.

It is possible that some secondary characters on new television shows will exhibit strong religious beliefs, and an occasional plotline may examine the impact of faith on some characters' lives. But with "Desperate Housewives" and "C.S.I." leading the ratings, television shows are far more likely to keep pumping from the deep well of murder, mayhem and sexual transgression than seek diversion along the straight and narrow path.

For some reason, people are a lot more willing to vote for their (self-perceived) values in the voting booth than the television. If the red states really want to have an impact they'll start changing the channel--or even (*gasp*) turning the television off.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Mentioned below is our local NBC affiliate's series on 'How Do You Get to Heaven?' done by anchor Mike Royer. Royer spoke to (in order) a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim and a Baptist. The website is updated to include all four story write-ups and also video clips if anyone is interested in watching them.

The Muslim and the Baptist both affirmed the necessity of their faiths, while the Catholic and Jew were wishy-washy about it all. The only one really to focus on the grace of Christ was the Baptist theologian from Samford, who clearly did the best job of the four. He was also the only one not to emphasize works salvation. The fact is, without the grace that comes from Jesus Christ all we have is earning it. And I think most of realize how good we are at that.

NOTE: At the time of this posting the page wasn't updated with the correct stories, but I emailed the station webstaff to alert them to it. It likely will be fixed soon.

Oliver Stone's upcoming movie 'Alexander' has infuriated Greeks who deny the conqueror was bisexual:
A group of Greek lawyers are threatening to sue Warner Bros film studios and Oliver Stone, director of the widely anticipated film "Alexander," for suggesting Alexander the Great was bisexual.

The lawyers have already sent an extrajudicial note to the studio and director demanding they include a reference in the title credits saying his movie is a fictional tale and not based on official documents of the life of the Macedonian ruler.

"We are not saying that we are against gays but we are saying that the production company should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander," Yannis Varnakos, who spearheads the campaign by 25 lawyers, told Reuters on Friday.

The lawyers say they have a right os keep the movie's potential audience properly informed:
Varnakaos said as Stone has the right to freely express himself, the audience should have the right to know.

"We cannot come out and say that (former U.S.) President John F. Kennedy was a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and so Warner cannot come out and say Alexander was gay," Varnakos said.

Are they trying to suggest there might be a pro-homosexual agenda in Hollywood?

Thursday, November 18, 2004


One of those movies I had some thoughts of seeing has been marked off the list. Oliver Stone's movie 'Alexander' (surname, 'the Great') puts heavy focus on Alexander and homosexuality:
As Alexander the Great, [actor Colin] Farrell speaks softly and sports a blond pageboy and mini-toga, looking a bit like something out of Queer Eye for the Macedonian Guy.

In scenes that may raise eyebrows with some action-movie fans, the Irish actor kisses two men - a Macedonian soldier and a hunky topless Persian castrato named Bogoas, who becomes his lover - full on the mouth.

While Farrell has a steamy sex scene with an unclothed Rosario Dawson as Alexander's wife, Roxane, the film leaves little doubt that the true love of the conqueror's life is his boyhood friend turned fellow warrior, Hephaistion, portrayed by Jared Leto.

How pleasant. I will enjoy seeing it bomb.

An Australian brewery is offering a swap of beer for a stolen Jesus:
Six cases of beer for a stolen baby Jesus: that's the deal an Australian brewing company is offering.

Someone swiped the infant Christ figure from a nativity scene this week.

Now, the South Australian Brewing Company in Adelaide is offering a reward in brewskis for the return of the baby Jesus. The nativity display is an annual tradition at the brewery.

Officials say security footage showed a man climbing a fence and lifting the baby Jesus from his manger.

I suppose the fellow can partake of some holiday spirits...

In one of those stories that would probably only fly in Alabama, our local NBC affiliate has been doing a four part series on "How Do You Get To Heaven". He's asking representatives of four faiths: a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim and a Southern Baptist (lots of those around here). You can read the Catholic answer and the Jewish version. I'll post links to the Muslim and Baptist answers as they become available.

What has struck me in the segments is the focus on what is essentially works salvation. Yes, I too believe God will judge us on our earthly deeds. But I can tell you, if that's all I've got to go on then I'm in big trouble.

I will say, I was at least pleased the Muslim was willing to stand up for the uniqueness of his faith. So far everyone else has peddled some version of the "God's got a place for everyone" line.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


After John Kerry's election defeat, Democrats are trying to figure out how to get some of the religious vote for themselves:
Bested by a Republican campaign emphasizing Christian faith, some Democrats are scrambling to shake off their secular image, stepping up efforts to organize the "religious left" and debating changes to how they approach the cultural flashpoints of same-sex marriage and abortion.

Some call the election a warning. "You can't have everybody who goes to church vote Republican; you just can't," Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, said last week at a forum on the election.

Religious traditionalists including Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and Jim Wallis of the liberal evangelical group Sojourners say Democratic officials are calling them for advice on reaching conservative Christians. And they and some other theologically orthodox supporters of Mr. Bush say it may not take much for Democrats to make inroads among their constituency, if the party demonstrates a greater friendliness to religious beliefs and even modestly softens its support for abortion rights.

But many--including Democrats--see difficulties ahead:
"It would not be hard," said the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the journal First Things and a conservative Catholic who has advised Mr. Bush on how to handle the issue of abortion.

But Democrats disagree about how to establish the party's spiritual credentials. Some play down the need for changes, saying poorly framed surveys of voters leaving polls are overstating the impact of conservative Christian voters. Others argue that Democrats need to rephrase their positions in more moral and religious language. And an emboldened group of Democratic partisans and sympathetic religious leaders warn that Mr. Bush has beaten Democrats to the middle on social issues like abortion that resonate with religious traditionalists, arguing that the party should publicly welcome opponents of abortion into its ranks and perhaps even bend in its opposition to certain abortion restrictions.

In an interview, Mr. From pointed out that Republicans invited officials who disagreed with the party's position on abortion rights, like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, to speak at their national convention. Democrats should do likewise, he argued.

"I want to win some people who are pro-life, because they probably agree with us on a lot of other things," Mr. From said.

Even that, however, would shock some Democrats. No prominent opponent of abortion has come anywhere near the podium of a Democratic convention since 1992, when abortion rights groups blocked a speech on the subject by Robert P. Casey, the governor of Pennsylvania and an observant Catholic.

"Our platform and the grass-roots strength of the party is pro-choice," said Elizabeth Cavendish, interim president of Naral Pro-Choice America. The party needs more religious language, Ms. Cavendish said, but not new positions.

The last quote is telling, and really is all we're likely to see from them. Dropping by the pulpit on the way to the abortion clinic isn't going to win them any points. The Democrats have become a party dominated by practical atheists and are awash in secularism. Don't look for the religious erosion on the Left to stop any time soon.

Monday, November 15, 2004


We may know pretty soon as scientists subject the mummy to X-ray tests:
The mummy of King Tutankhamun is to be X-rayed in an attempt to solve the mystery of how the teenage Pharaoh died at age 17, Egypt’s chief archaeologist said Sunday.

Zahi Hawass said that this month the mummy will be taken from King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, outside the southern city of Luxor, and flown to Cairo, where it will be X-rayed in the Egyptian Museum. It would be the first time in 82 years that Tutankhamun’s remains left the tomb.

“The question of whether he was murdered or not will be answered completely,” Hawass told The Associated Press.

To put Tut in Biblical perspective, he reigned (briefly) around the time of Joshua leading into the Old Testament Judges. It will be interesting to see what we find.

Yet another claim has surfaced (haha) as to the location of lost Atlantis:
Robert Sarmast says a Mediterranean basin was flooded in a deluge around 9000 B.C., which submerged a rectangular land mass he believes was Atlantis, lying a mile (1.5 kilometers) beneath sea level between Cyprus and Syria.

“We have definitely found it,” said Sarmast, who led a team of explorers 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the southeast coast of Cyprus earlier this month.

Deep-water sonar scanning had indicated human-made structures on a submerged hill, including a 2-mile-long (3-kilometer-long) wall, a walled hill summit and deep trenches, he said. But further explorations were needed, he added.

“We cannot yet provide tangible proof in the form of bricks and mortar, as the artifacts are still buried under several meters of sediment, but the circumstantial and other evidence is irrefutable,” he claimed.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out. Of course, you can always rely on theosebes for your breaking Atlantis updates.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Well, he was last Sunday anyway. If you missed seeing it you can read it. It's well worth it.

One of the big issues that most Republican types hammered leading up to the election was the necessity of re-electing Bush in order to secure a "conservative" Supreme Court that will perform such duties as overturning Roe v. Wade. Not wishing to spoil the party, but how many Supreme Court Justices currently on the court were appointed by Republican Presidents? And somehow another couple of appointments is going to fix it? At any rate, Jeffrey Rosen raises the question of whether Bush can deliver a conservative Supreme Court?:
Mr. Bush repeated the pledge he made in the presidential debates: "I would pick people who would be strict constructionists."

Liberals fear that "strict constructionists" - those who believe the Constitution should be read literally - would ban affirmative action, resurrect school prayer, dismantle the regulatory state and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Now I suppose if a "strict constructionist" reads the Constitution "literally" the liberal would read it figuratively? It raises the interesting question of exactly what the framers or modern legislators need to do in order to get courts to recognize their intent. Of course, "intent" simply is a fallacious "strict constructionist" assumption, now isn't it?

But Rosen exposes the dirty secret that has was alluded to above (and on theosebes in the past):
By promising to appoint strict constructionists, Mr. Bush has embraced the mantra of every Republican president since Richard Nixon, who first made that promise in his 1968 campaign. Yet Republican presidents have largely failed in their efforts.

In the last 36 years, four Republican presidents have appointed all but two of the current nine justices.

But on the most contested social issues - abortion, affirmative action, school prayer and gay rights - the court has sided with liberals, while only modestly advancing the deregulatory agenda of the Republicans.

"If the goal of Republican presidents was to build a court that exercised its own power with greater restraint or adhered strictly to the original constitutional text, then they have clearly failed," said Thomas Keck, a political science professor at Syracuse University and author of "The Most Activist Supreme Court in History."

I think we have a winner.

Why do we think that Bush II is going to succeed where others have failed (assuming they legitimately had the goals we ascribe to them)? I think we need to recognize the courts hold little promise for those seeking to preserve Biblical and Constitutional principles in our society.

Friday, November 05, 2004


Christopher Howse ponders the question of those troubling "hobbits" found in Flores:
But don’t these new creatures in Flores, so gratingly christened hobbits, prove that the Bible is rubbish, Darwin is right and everything can be explained by evolution? Well, for so-called fundamentalists, the difficulties of keeping to the sentence-by-sentence literal truth of the biblical account of the Creation should not be much greater than they already are, even if a delegation of Flores hobbits arrived in Downing Street demanding equal rights and bus passes.

For mainstream Christians, Darwin was never much of a problem anyway. He was only thought to be so by those who presumed he had somehow either: 1) proved the Bible wasn’t true, or 2) proved that men had no immortal souls. He had proved neither.

One might not agree with all of his conclusions, but it's an interesting discussion.

[Link via LRC]

Jane Smiley, author of the novel Moo, offers a veritable parody of elitist thinking that points to why Kerry lost. Oh, it's called The unteachable ignorance of the red states:
Here is how ignorance works: First, they put the fear of God into you—if you don't believe in the literal word of the Bible, you will burn in hell. Of course, the literal word of the Bible is tremendously contradictory, and so you must abdicate all critical thinking, and accept a simple but logical system of belief that is dangerous to question. A corollary to this point is that they make sure you understand that Satan resides in the toils and snares of complex thought and so it is best not try it.

I pulled out the part of most interest to theosebes readers. The greatest pleasure I have from the Bush victory is watching the squirming of those it upsets the most. Reading the story makes it clear who is the one who gave up on complex thought.

[Link via Power Line]

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Ted Olsen at Christianity Today has a nice rundown from left:
He's not one of "us," says James Ridgeway in The Village Voice. With the deck, "Bush gets mandate for theocracy," Ridgeway gets apocalyptic. "The dream of a secular, liberal democracy is lost: Christians are stronger than ever, and whether it's true or not, the spin will be that they played a key role in building the Bush base. The visceral, cutting edge of the Bush mandate is the attack on same-sex marriage, led by the Christian Right."
and right
"Evangelicals voted in force in this year's election, securing the presidency for George W. Bush, granting parents in Florida the right to be notified before their minor daughter's abortion, and passing marriage protections laws in every state they were offered — even liberal Oregon," writes [Concerned Women for America] senior policy director Wendy Wright. "President Bush knows his strongest base, who they are and what drives them. Perhaps this is because, as many evangelicals and conservative Catholics can relate, he is one of us."
on the effect of values and evangelicals in the election. Olsen points out the problems, too.

Perhaps remembering the fate of Roman Christians or the danger that Daniel faced, a man in Taiwan has tried to convert lions to Christianity:
Chen Chung-ho jumped into the lions' ensclosure at the Taipei City Zoo in Mucha, reports the China Post.

Raising his hands above his head, he shouted: "Jesus will save you!" and "Come bite me!" at the two African lions.

At first the big cats, lounging under a tree, paid no attention to the man but finally they attacked him, injuring his arms and legs.

The two lions pulled back after the 46-year old man put his hands in front of his chest to pray.

After a standoff that lasted for about 30 minutes, zoo staff used water cannons to chase the lions away and calmed the animals with tranquilizer guns.

The rescued man was rushed to the nearby Wan Fang Hospital for treatment.

Zoo officials claimed Chen would have been more seriously hurt had the lions not been fed earlier in the day.

I wonder what he had in mind had they listened...

(The link actually has pictures of the guy and the lions.)

Finally, the post I tried to write on Wednesday morning when Blogger wouldn't let me (post-election blogging overload, one suspects). Much has now been made of the fact that eleven of eleven states passed marriage definition measures:
In a pointed vote against same-sex marriage, voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly supported amendments to their constitutions that would define marriage as between only a man and a woman.

Voters in 10 of the 11 states with such initiatives on their ballots supported the amendments by wide margins.

Gay-rights groups had expected to lose their battle at the ballot box and said the results were not surprising.

"We knew that we were underdogs in every state when we started out," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Putting a basic right up for a popular vote is always wrong and always extraordinarily difficult to win."

Social conservatives were expectedly pleased, though they were preparing for the possibility that gay-rights groups could pull off a lone victory here in Oregon. "I think it is a real warning shot across the bow of politicians, but also a warning shot across the bow to activist judges," said Gary Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, a political action committee that supported the constitutional amendments.

Of course, it passed in Oregon (a solidly Kerry state), too.

One Kerry sympathizer even blamed the Massachusett's Supreme Court for Bush winning:
Since George Bush ended up winning, the "most important event" title ought to be something that helped him, not something that helped John Kerry.

With that in mind, I'll plump for the Massachusett's Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage. The result was nearly a dozen initiatives across the country to ban gay marriage and a perfect wedge issue for Republicans. (Link via Instapundit)

Amusing, but likely some truth to it.

The polls show that Bush rode the 'moral issues' issue to victory:
Moral values topped the list of issues voters were most concerned about when they went to the polls on Election Day, with Catholics, evangelicals, blacks and Hispanics joining an ad hoc coalition that re-elected President Bush by 3.5 million votes.
A national exit poll of 13,531 voters found 22 percent cited moral values as the "most important issue," with the economy and jobs second at 20 percent and terrorism at 19 percent, according to a joint survey by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. Iraq came in fourth at 15 percent.

This, of course, is a rude awakening for the elites on the two coasts. But for Red State America it's a very real concern. People are tired of the amorality of the dominant culture being shoved down their throat and being told they're racist, homophobic, etc. [insert condescending insult here] unless they like it.

Now, will all of those evangelicals and religiously minded Bush voters be rewarded for their loyalty? I keep being told that a Republican had to be elected so we can overturn Roe v. Wade. Well, it's been 32 years and counting and after five Republican Presidents since the ruling it still stands. How many current Justices were appointed by Republicans? How many GOP appointed Justices sat on the court in 1972? You do the math.

After that reality sets in, lets see which happens first: Roe v. Wade is overturned, or the Supreme Court finds a Constitutionally protected right for homosexual marriage and all those state initiatives passed on Tuesday suddenly become little more than wasted ink. I know which one I'd be more likely to pick.*

*Note that GOP Senator Arlen Specter already is warning Bush not to send nominees to the Senate who might overturn Roe v. Wade.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004


In the first step toward designing your own baby (maybe one day with a little polo pony on the chest) Britain has okayed embryo choice:
PEOPLE with inherited forms of cancer have won the right to select embryos free from genes that might trigger the disease in future generations, The Times has learnt.
Four couples affected by a genetic form of bowel cancer will start the procedure by the end of the year, after the Government’s fertility watchdog allowed a London clinic to screen IVF embryos for the disorder.

One of the patients, a 35-year-old accountant from Bristol, said: “We are overjoyed to have been given this chance, not only to do as much as possible to make sure our children don’t have this gene, but to stop them from passing it on.”

The ruling by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority deepens the controversy over designer babies. It sets a precedent that will allow doctors to “cherry-pick” embryos for a much wider range of traits than at present. Applications to extend the procedure are expected within months.

Such tests can potentially eradicate some disorders, enabling parents to be certain of having healthy children. But critics said that the decision will push Britain farther towards “designer babies” chosen for social reasons.

Of course, this is simply the next step after the widespread acceptance of abortion. I really don't see a happy end for this, certainly not for the embryos that don't measure up.