Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bond, James Bond

Friday night I finally got to the theater to see the new James Bond movie. I have been a fan of the bond movies since the early 80's. With the risk of offending many older Bond fans, Roger Moore will always be the original Bond to me. My first movie was For Your Eyes Only and I remember running around my Grandparents house afterwards pretending to be James Bond.

To me there was always something suave and sophisticated about James Bond. He was an international spy who could date gorgeous women and save the world at the same time. But more importantly he was cool and confident which was such a contrast from my own experiences. As I got older I began to realize that the movies were far fetched but that wasn't the point. The point was I got to escape from the real world and live vicariously through this really cool spy. When your young and impressionable, that's about as good as it gets.

As for the new movie, it's above average but a definite departure from earlier bond movies. Gone is the refined, sophisticated Bond and in his place is a rough and tumble replacement. Daniel Craig is still cool but he has an uneven edge to his personality. I think the new Bond is closer to how Ian Fleming originally created him to be. I look forward to seeing how they develop his character in future films.

The plot of the Casino Royale is a little weak and under developed. Yes there are a couple twists and turns but most people in the audience will see them coming. But the biggest disappointment was that I thought the story is supposed to be about Bond in the early years. But the story takes place in modern times which is a little confusing. Plus, they try to take advantage of the latest poker craze by highlighting Texas hold'em poker. It doesn't really work. The real Bond wouldn't play something so pedestrian, he would play baccarat instead.

Despite the flaws, it was still an enjoyable movie. Replacing Pierce Brosnan with Craig works to jumpstart the series. Bronson had gotten a little stale and the change allows them to pursue some new angles to the series. It will interesting to see where they take the new James Bond. I am already anticipating the next movie.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What is she thinking?

I have been watching the incoming Democratic majority from a distance. My initial impression is that Speaker Pelosi is in a little over her head and she should thank her caucus for electing Heney Stoyer as a way of providing some checks and balances to her. If she had gotten her man Murtha elected into leadership it would have been an embarrassment to her party and to the country. Murtha is linked with corruption charges and has been a nominal back bench Congressman with little record of achievement. Yet this was her person to help run the House.

From her support of Murtha as Majority Leader to her pending selection of Rep. Alcee Hastings to chair the intelligence committee, one wonders if her poor judgment will not soon become her worst enemy. Rep. Hastings is a formerly impeached judge who was convicted of taking bribes in return for favorable rulings towards mobsters. He also has several million in debt which makes him the perfect target for corruption again. Why would she want to put him in charge of the nations most sensitive information in a time of war? Hopefully common sense will prevail but it appears common sense will have to be applied externally to deter her own poor decision making ability.

A lot has been made about Pelosi being the first woman speaker of the house but I wonder what happens if she is a colossal failure. If she does prove herself to be a feckless leader how will that effect Hillary Clinton's chances in 2008. Will she unfortunately taint the public's mind that women may not be up to the job of leading this country? I hope not because there are many capable women that are up to the task. It's too bad she isn't one of them.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Women and Coffee

I am not sure when I originally heard this phrase but it goes something like this: I like my women as I like my coffee... hot and black. It's a funny saying when you used in the right context. I can usually get a good laugh out of people.

That comparison between coffee and women has me thinking of other descriptions of coffee and how they might also apply to women. I trust that women will not consider this idea disparaging as coffee is one of my favorite indulgences. In fact it ranks only slightly behind women. Rather, coffee can be a poetic metaphor for all the wonderful attributes women have to offer.

The following are real descriptions of coffee taken from a major coffee seller. I hope you enjoy the comparison.

Sparkling brightness and a huge velvety body

A pure and delicate sweetness, is one of the finest in the world

Unassuming and cheering, starts sweetly and quietly, perfect for slow mornings or those days you have to rush to work

With smooth harmonious silkiness, underneath it all is a subtle yet delightful hint of melon

Possesses a moderate brightness and mellow body, a clean, tart finish, smooth taste makes it a favorite to enjoy every morning

A bold creamy texture reminiscent of a fine burgundy wine

Big-bodied, relaxed complexity and perfectly proportioned with universal appeal, delightful any time of the day or night

Creamy liveliness that is sweet, smooth, and sophisticated, with a powerful flavor that explodes in your mouth

Good for an evening curled up by a fire or with a touch of milk after dinner

Subdued with an aroma like autumn leaves and a taste reminiscent of butterscotch, herbs, and wild mushrooms

A spicy, bittersweet cup laced with hints of wild honey

Wraps you in fragrant aroma and lingers deliciously in your mouth

Blended mix of African and Indonesian from the darker end of our spectrum, wonderful for entertaining or enjoying as the weather begins to cool

Beautiful dark brown, with a smooth, heavy body - an utter indulgence, perfect for chilly mornings

I have to think that Dr. Freud would have a field day explaining the coffee writers sexual repression. But then again, sometimes a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Porn in Church?

Due to the campaign and then taking a trip out of town I hadn't been to my church in a couple weeks. Last night it was good to be back and catch up with everyone. At first I was hesitant to leave the U of M- Ohio St game at halftime but thankfully the church had a TV in the lobby to keep tabs on the game.

The message last night was on pornography and when I first heard it I was a little shocked and worried about how it would work handling that topic. I had never heard it explicitly preached on from the pulpit. Usually it is couched in terms of sexual purity or some other code word that tries to avoid making people uncomfortable. But Noah to his credit didn't pull any punches. He basically laid it out there that there. There are many people in our church that struggle with pornography and he wasn't going to sweep that subject under the rug.

His blunt approach was a little risky but proved to be the exact right course. Talking to a few people afterwards there was a strange sense that it was about time that this sin was brought out in the open. Even the new couple sitting with me told me that they were glad the church was so up front about things.

What I appreciated most about the sermon was that is done with a heavy does of grace. The emphasis was that we know this is a huge temptation for many men in the church but we don't think you're weird or sinful because of it. Instead the church wants to help people break out of that habit because it destroys the soul and robs people of meaningful intimacy. My gut tells me that true freedom from pornography will begin to take hold in our church because of last night's sermon.

After being away from barefoot for a couple weeks, I gained a sense of perspective on what I appreciate about the church. We are not perfect but I like being part of a body that doesn't mind taking risks. I also like that our church is committed to being more than just surface level religion. It's a bit scary practicing this idea of real life community. My natural inclination is to do what most people do with this type of topic by hiding it somewhere and hoping that it just goes away. I get the feeling that this church is going to hold me to a higher standard.

If you are interested I have link to Barefoot Lansing on the right and last night's sermon is available on-line.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Next President?

A few days before the election, Sen. Frist from Tennessee did a campaign stop in our district. He is a really likeable guy and I wish him well in his bid for President.

Waiting in Line

I have a funny job some days. The rules of the legislature allow for each incoming senator and representative to draft 10 bills for next year starting this morning. These bills are drafted by the Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) which is a non-partisan team of lawyers. The bills are drafted on a first come, first serve basis and each caucus likes to bundle their requests together.

I got a call yesterday afternoon asking if I would take a shift during the night to make sure that the Senate Republicans were the first in line to have our bills drafted. Since I live downtown, I didn't mind. We had staffers rotating on 90 minute shifts starting at 2:00 am outside the building. The LSB office opened up at 8 am this morning. I drew the 5 -6:30 shift which wasn't that bad. We were the first ones to arrive just beating the House Republicans who slept in until 4:00 a.m. The newspaper delivery person let us in the building around 5:30 so we didn't have to wait in the cold. A few minutes later the House Democrats came by and we decided to be nice and let them in the building as well. We sat in the hallway outside LSB just talking about the elections and who the next leadership would be in both the House and Senate. It was kind of fun. It reminded me of waiting in line for concert tickets.

Thankfully, I got relieved of my duties at 6:30 and went home to take a shower. I never did see any staff from Senate Democrats. Maybe they don't plan to introduce any new bills. Who knows? All I know is that Senate Republicans were first in line.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election update

I wanted to let everybody know that we won our race late last night with 50.6%. It was another long night as we did not get the vote totals until 3:00 in the morning. Four years ago we fell behind early and had to slowly climb back the rest of the night. This year we got out a decent size lead and held on due to the onslaught of inner city voters. While I do not like it being that close, I am pleased we did as well as we did considering the bloodbath the rest of the Republicans took across the state and nationwide. We lost the state house of reps but we held the state senate pending two recounts. It's weird to win by only 1428 votes and not be the closest race. We now have the nickname of landslide Vanwoerkom.