Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Car Wreck

As evening falls, I'm preparing to go see a play with my sister, about an hour's drive away, because we had free tickets thanks to a friend on the theater staff.

I'm rather proud of my sister's good looks as we set off, sampling music from her recent Christmas acquisition, one of the albums by the group Secret Garden.

Scarcely 15 minutes down the road, heading towards one town, we are approaching an overpass which spans a major highway in the area. If you were to travel in the opposite lane, away from town, and desired to turn onto the highway, you would turn LEFT, across the lane of oncoming traffic, to merge onto the highway.

It was one such driver who was preparing to make said turn that executed the endeavor at a very bad time, considering I was a scant few seconds away, traveling at the speed limit of about 55mph. The car turned into my lane, giving me very little reaction time, causing me to slam the front-left corner of the automobile into the other, whereupon we bounced up against the railing (those things are sturdier than they look) which, unscathed, bounced us back into the lane, neat as neat. (Except, of course, for the road debris and massive damage to the cars.)

This was the first traffic incident I had ever been involved in. Needless to say, it put a sad and hasty end to any theater plans!

It's amazing how quickly and suddenly the course of a day can change. Not only of a day, but of the next several months. The car is totaled, and will need to be replaced. The availability and time required to purchase a car is such that my college classes may be altered to carpool my way to the university.

You can’t beat that "oh my gosh this is really happening" feeling when you realize you won’t be able to avoid hitting that car ahead of you. You also can't anticipate how you'll react in a situation like that. I surprised myself by being totally calm and unjarred by the whole thing. Nevertheless, being a "rookie wreckie" there were a couple of details that escaped my notice, such as the reason why the car would not restart. (I turned it off as soon as the tires stopped rolling, and forgot to note that the car was still in Drive, which is why I could not get the keys out of the ignition, or start the thing back up.)

"No one is ever told what would have happened," C.S. Lewis's Aslan tells the children. But I still can't help but run over all of the different factors and wonder what may have changed if I had gotten in the car one second earlier or later. What would have happened if I had been going faster or slower, or stopped to change a CD, or if an animal ran out in front and caused me to slow. Would the accident have been better? Worse? Nonexistent?

At any rate, although I would not have expected to die in such a wreck, it is gratifying to have escaped with nothing more than tender biceps from intense steering-wheel gripping.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What A Difference A Gun Makes

Man dies six hours after being shot
Police were looking for two masked men who forced their way into a home on Seventh Street NE on Wednesday morning and shot a man who later died from the wounds. ... Keith was inside the home with his two sons. The intruders, both carrying handguns, robbed all three occupants, according to a police press release.

During the robbery, Keith tried to leave the house and was shot several times, police said. Police found Keith wounded on the ground outside his home, according to a police report. The suspects fled on foot.
Burglar comes face-to-face with gun-toting homeowner
A Plain Township man, who broke into a Canton home, was cornered by an armed homeowner and then chased away, Stark County Jail records said. ... Canton Police said he forced open the rear door to a home in the 1300 block of 22nd Street NE early Wednesday morning and was cornered by the homeowner. The homeowner, who had a gun, chased him out of the house.
One town. Two crimes. Two very different outcomes. Think about it.


Rodents of Unusual Size?

Giant rat found in 'lost world'
A giant rodent five times the size of a common rat has been discovered in the mountainous jungles of New Guinea.

The 1.4kg Mallomys giant rat is one of two species of mammal thought to be new to science documented on an expedition to an area described as a "lost world".

Conservationists also found a pygmy possum - one of the world's smallest marsupials - on the trip to the remote north of Papua province, Indonesia.

Both are currently being studied to establish whether they are new species.

Marketing Jesus

Talking Jesus doll sales are on the ascent
Jesus is selling out.

Out of Wal-Mart and Target, that is. The 12-inch, $20 Jesus Messenger of Faith talking action figure has become a holiday hit of biblical proportions. Online mega-retailers and are sold out.'s supply is likely to disappear within a few days.


Clothed in a simple off-white robe with a brown sash and rope belt, the Jesus doll has moveable outstretched hands, shaggy hair and a beard. Livingston said the company introduced the new Jesus doll to Wal-Mart and Target in August after a previous version failed to sell so miraculously.
There are two sides that can be taken on this. One is the protesting that this is making a "graven image." The other is that this is a great evangelism tool. I would incline more to the "graven image" section. I hate it when Christians try to capitalize on the market with silly gimmicks. Whether it's "Prayer of Jabez" coffee mugs, "Purpose-Driven Life" board games or "Left Behind" video games, there's something just a leeettle Matthew 21:12 about all this.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pullman's "Compass": Not So Golden

Not Quite a Golden Weekend
Even if the writers weren't on strike, it's doubtful Saturday Night Live's comics would be penning "Lazy Sunday" odes to The Golden Compass.

The $180 million fantasy epic was no Chronicles of Narnia at the weekend box office, debuting with a pedestrian $25.8 million, per final studio talles [sic] compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations.
And $2.7 million of that tally was just Michael Newdow's weekend marathon!

The questions "Is The Golden Compass based on a series of books with anti-religious themes?" and "Did Philip Pullman really admit that the His Dark Materials books are anti-religion, the antithesis of Narnia, and about killing God?" are one of few "frantic Christian forwards" that the internet myth-busting site Snopes has stamped true.

The Christian Post is reporting that religious boycotts are a main reason for the weak box office showing. I wouldn't count on it. MTV slammed the film in a very witty and clever review last week.

We should hope this will help New Line Cinema that you can't just grab some moderately best-selling books, throw in several A-list Hollywood actors and millions of dollars worth of special effects in and create box office magic. Perhaps the book(s) actually have to be good. Now there's a concept worth pondering. What if the secret to a good movie adaptation is a good book to adapt? Perhaps a substantive plot and timeless take-away values are critical to success.

It's sure to bother poor Mr. Pullman that his movies are being compared to Lord of the Rings and Narnia (the very works he wanted to avoid!) and that in a wistful, longing way. It must twist the knife that trailers for the second installment of the Chronicles of Narnia will be playing at the beginning of Golden Compass.

Monday, December 10, 2007

They LAUGH....

How to shoot a robber from the comfort of bed
Americans worried about late-night intruders can now reach for their weapon without leaving bed.

A company in the US is has started selling gun racks specifically designed to fit onto a double mattress.

Made from polymer plastic, the $45 rack claims to be the ultimate in home protection.

The "Back-Up" is designed to hold a shotgun, though is can be adjusted to fit other smaller weapons. Once installed, the weapon sits unobtrusively under a doona cover.

"It tends to be for people who don't have immediate access to a police service," said CEO John Peters.
For many, this item is actually a joke. It makes the rounds of morning radio shows, and humorist Dave Barry's gift-giving guide, but few see practical use any more than they would see in a golf-club warmer. Yet while they laugh and go about their lives, armed and would-be armed citizens are taking note.

Granted, a citizen might just as easily keep the firearm on their nightstand, or in a drawer, so this specific item may not be revolutionary. But the fact that people are chuckling over the concept of decreasing the reach between a citizen and his or her gun is worth noting.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Prince Caspian Trailer