Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Great Day in Church

I taught the word of wisdom in priesthood today. In case you know me and Mormon culture I will repeat: I taught the word of wisdom today! For those of you who do not know what that means … it means that I covered scripture that tells the biggest hunting/meat eating people on earth that they should not kill animals nor eat meat (except in extreme cases, e.g. “famine and excess of hunger”).

Actually, it was awesome. I told Cherie it was like my coming out (as a vegetarian) in church!

Here’s how it happened: I came to church having prepared lesson 30 (on “Charity”). But since we had covered that topic (twice) last month my EQ president said “Technically, we should be teaching lesson 29 because we skipped that one.” When I asked “What is lesson 29?” he answered: “The Word of Wisdom”. When I said, “I could teach that,” he responded “But you already prepared the other topic.” I said “No big deal,” but what I meant was “MWOOOHAHAHAHA!!!”

Cherie laughed nervously as we went home to collect stuff. My preparations just kept getting ‘worse’ (depending on your world view). Cherie was like “what are you doing?” as I grabbed The Food Revolution (the follow up to John Robbins’ Diet for a New America – aka hard-hitting veganism) and all kinds of vegetables, Tofurkey, and junk food for object lessons about what to/not to eat. Cherie was worried that teaching the word of wisdom this way would be contrary to my health! I believe her exact words were “I don’t want to have to scrape your battered and bruised body off the floor afterwards.”

But I said that I had sat through too many priesthood lessons where the parts of the word of wisdom about not eating animals were so readily dismissed that now was my chance (revenge?). She was won over.

I just covered the WOW verse by verse, and when we got to the animal stuff – I totally ‘went there’! I started by showing the poster from my “Should Mormons Eat Meat?” lecture last Thursday and “came out” – I said that I was not trying to be preachy, but I am a long-time vegetarian and just did a presentation about how the gospel is in favor of animal ethics (much more so than most realize) and that the WOW and other scriptures indicate only eating meat under extreme conditions (if you want to know more about this then follow my other blog: I had my slide show printed out and showed them all the relevant scriptures, including JST Gen 9 that reads “And surely their blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives, and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.”

Thanks to several sympathetic members of the quorum and thanks to several doses of humor, the tension level was low, and it was well received. There were, however, a couple comments that attempted to dismiss the seriousness of the topic. One guy said, for example, that the WOW “is really just telling us not to let anything get control over us, so as long as you don’t eat red meat all day long with no control then you’re fine – that’s all it’s trying to say.“

Well, I have heard such dismissive comments nearly every time I have heard the word of wisdom taught in church. But this time it was my lesson, so I didn’t let it sit. “From the clear and consistent message of all these scriptures,” I said, “it seems that we are also accountable for the effects that our diet choices have on animals and nature.” And the balance of people agreed. And wow (pun intended): Who has two (green) thumbs and just stood up for animals in the church? THIS GUY!!!

Why this is significant is that today I gave a voice not only for myself, but also for many other like-minded people who sit silently or who don’t go anymore, and also for animals, and for nature, and for the gospel. I just reclaimed a bit of ground for me. Cherie was so proud.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wings (1927)

A huge epic and a strange mix. On the one hand, it is full of all that bombastic bravado characteristic of many WWII propaganda films (you know, the ones with “VICTORY” in the title) … but under it all there is loss and devastation, covered up (as with cheap white paint) by people’s need for heroes and villains and cheering and parades.
But we see underneath the real personal devastation of knowing that there was so much more beneath the headlines - some black smudging that white and most likely some white smearing the black on the other side of this damned yin/yang war.

So there's the existential element to a film with enough flash to please the glorifiers and enough gloom to speak to those who actually endured it -- a victory story yet with an ultimately not-so-happy ending.

Overall, quite impressive! Amazing battle scenes (a couple of people actually died in the making of this film) mixed with tales of heartbreak and coming to home to a grateful nation that will never understand.

Interesting facts:
Wings is the only silent film ever to win Best Picture.
• The film was extremely popular in part due to the public’s fascination with Charles Lindberg’s recent (1927) transatlantic flight
• It is one of the first widely released films to have nudity. Specifically, lead actress Clara Bow’s breasts can be seen for the briefest of seconds while she is changing and is interrupted a bunch of soldiers. I can’t stress how shocking this was! Our very first Best Picture winner with nudity??? In 1927??

And the Award Goes To....

As Chris mentioned before, he had the idea while we were dating to watch all of the Best Pictures winners. We are about twenty films in (only 62 more to go!) and I’ve really enjoyed this project (although admittedly some of the movies have been a chore/bore to watch).

The first ever annual Academy Awards were held on May 16, 1929 and honored the movies made in 1927 and 1928. There was no Best Picture award. Instead, there were two separate awards given: Most Outstanding Picture and Most Artistic Quality of Production. The next year, the Academy instituted a Best Picture award (originally called Best Production) and decided that the Most Outstanding Picture Award, which had been given to the movie Wings, met the criteria closest to that of the Best Picture. Therefore Wings is credited as the first ever Best Picture. The movie Sunrise won Most Artistic Quality. Chris and I watched both.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Grand Movie Project!

Chris's original post

My first post to our original movie blog way back in December of 2009. I also did a couple quick movie reviews (Wings, All's Quiet on the Western Front, and Broadway Melody), and it stagnated FOREVER. It was hard enough to watch some of these doozies, but then to spend hours writing about them late into the night (for no one) was quite intimidating. But now that we're diving into it with a new 'together' vision, for historical importance, here is my original post (Dated December 14, 2009):

OK, Here we go.
Not being a blogger or an emailer or a facebooker (except for minor and ephemeral forays), I embark on what can only be called a 'project'.

This is a multi-layered affair, you see .... at the age of 40, I am finally married! When Cherie and I were engaged I suggested a fun thing. "We should watch every best picture winner together." Now that we're married (quite happily, mind you) it has begun.

And, by coincidence, just as we started our project "Julie and Julia" hit our dollar theater. Two and two came together, and "Let's blog about it" was almost too obvious to pass up. I hesitated, what with the obvious and now cliche' criticism that bloggers are the homo sapiens who have the audacity to think that every thought in their heads should be read by everyone.

Now I've decided to reject that criticism, telling myself that it is a fun way to practice writing. Whatever, I don't need you people!!

Anyway, world, here we go ...

Oh, and did I mention that I'm married! Therefore, the second layer is that this blog doubles as "a year in the life of the happiest newlyweds in the world!"

Another layer: subjectivity. Since it's impossible to agree on every sentence, and the attempt to do so would probably be the surest-fire method of getting the bloom off the rose, we'll write separately. So let's hear what reality is like from two people who most expect their experience to the the same (spooning our way through all these films and laughingly commentating all through dinner). We'll write separate comments and find out if there is such a thing as 'oneness' after all. That's my idea, anyway.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cherie pink eyes.

Chris had pink eye a few days ago. We have no idea where he got it, and I found it ironic because I spend every weekday surrounded by pink eye (in addition to strep throat, common colds, sinus infections…) and I have never had pink eye. Until yesterday. Today woke up with my eyes swollen, goopy, and red. I called in sick at work and sent Chris to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription for antibiotic eye drops. He came home with this:

The Ho-Ho’s and the Ding Dongs were at my request.

Before he left to go pick up my prescription, we had a conversation about Horror Films. Chris grew up watching 70’s horror flicks with his grandma. I had nightmares for months after watching Gremlins and Ghostbusters. Chris sometimes teases me about my childhood “horror flicks.” Chris told me he would pick up my prescription if I watched Jaws with him. He saw Jaws with his grandma when he was 5 yrs old and was afraid to take a bath afterward. We spent the afternoon eating Hostess delights and watching people getting eaten by sharks. A great day.


Warning: this is not our first time around the blog. Between the two of us there are about eight different blogspots already. The trouble is, we haven't done diddly-squat with them. We made this blog to consolidate them into one blog about our life together. THIS TIME FOR REALS so without further ado…..the re-advent of Chris and Cherie’s blog: Voyeurs enjoy!