Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now I know why the Mob would crush people's knees...

I just read a blog post from a person I had never even heard of until today.  Ashleigh Burroughs was one of the people shot in Arizona alongside Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords a few months ago.  It was a sad and senseless tragedy, and her life will forever be different because of it.  She wrote about how something that used to be a mindless task - sitting down - now requires so much more energy and body mechanics that she could ever have imagined.  Her issue is with her hip.  Mine is with my knees.  Although my patellas are structurally 'healed' (they grew back together at the point of fracture), my knees and legs no longer work correctly.  They only bend about halfway, and they constantly hurt.  This affects every movement I make. This is not likely to improve any more.

I think that is why I appreciated her post so much.  I am not the only one facing life 'as it is now, and not how it used to be', and for some reason just being reminded of that makes my day a little brighter.

You can read Ashleigh's post entitled  "Sitting Through Jared Loughner's Competency Hearing"  here.

(I just read another of her posts that captures the essence of going through rehab.  I think I really like this Ashleigh Burroughs).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Reluctant Queen - Did Esther REALLY love the King?

'You've read it as a Biblical tale of courage.  Experience it anew as a heart-stirring love story."

This is the tag line on the back cover of A Reluctant Queen (The Love Story of Esther), written by Joan Wolf. I signed on to review this book as part of a blog tour mainly because I really like the Biblical story of Esther.  I did a Beth Moore study on Esther a couple of years ago, and it was the most enjoyable and informative study that I have done in a while.  I love how Beth Moore brings out the details and background in her studies, as well as how she acknowledges how it is obvious that men wrote the Bible, because there are so many details that a woman would include that men would never even think of.  She posed many such questions about backstory in her study that I had never really considered before in regards to Esther, and I was intrigued to see how Wolf would address the story of Esther from a fictional standpoint.

The Reluctant Queen

I have to admit--I was somewhat leery, because any time you take a given set of facts and turn them into a full-fledged story, there is so much room for compromise and error.  And, to be honest, I was skeptical that it could be pulled off in a convincing manner.  However, I found that it was very easy for me to become involved and invested in the characters very early on. Wolf did a great job of creating a history and a setting and a story for the character of Esther, as well as Mordecai, Haman, and the King.  I had no problem separating her story from the Biblical story, which was good because MANY of the basic facts were changed or deleted, including character motivations and personalities, and many more details were created or speculated about. I think this will probably be problematic for readers who only want to read a strict retelling, because that is not what this book is intended to be.  I came away being even more intrigued with the actual story of Esther, because so many of her feelings and motivations are just not included.  How did she first hear about the beauty contest for potential candidates for Queen?  Was she excited, or nervous, or repulsed when she was chosen?  What were the feelings of the eunichs assigned to guard the King's harem?  Was Esther jealous of the other women?  I still don't know the answers to these questions, but I after reading this book I have more of an appreciation of the fact that regardless of the answers, these were issues that Esther would have had to experience in one way or another.

Esther is an intriguing, important Jewish historical figure.  A Reluctant Queen provides the reader with one writer's attempt to take that figure and create a love story for her.  Was Esther in love with her husband?  Did she respect him?  I don't know.  But in this book she did, and Wolf conveyed a love story in an interesting and thought-provoking manner. A reading group discussion guide included at the end of the book provided some of the best discussion questions that I have seen with regards to the book of Esther, and bring back the focus to how important her story is for believers across time and cultures.

You can read more about A Reluctant Queen and Joan Wolf here, including the first few chapters of the book.  You can also read what others in the blog tour thought about the book, as well as enter for a chance to win a Kindle.  I am sure that are many strong opinions being expressed from all sides.

Disclaimer:  I received a complementary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of participating in the blog tour.  No other compensation was received.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Not so "Super 8"

When I was a little girl in the 70's, I only heard three people use dirty words.  Three people.  One was my Uncle Brown.  He was grouchy and said 'what the hell?' a lot, but cooked the best catfish I had/have ever eaten, so it kind of balanced out.  The other two cussers were Jeff and Huffy, two brothers that lived down the road from me.  Their dirty vocabulary was more diverse.  They also looked at dirty magazines in the woods, and I never ever saw their parents, so I guess it was just kind of expected and accepted.  But that was it.  No movies or TV shows were allowed where folks talked bad.  It wasn't as much of a religious thing as it was a cultural thing.  When the TV put up a warning at 8:00 that the following show was not appropriate for young children, well, the young children had to go to bed.  Rated R meant no one under 17.  Period.

This started to change during the 80's, but for the most part was limited to movies.  VCRs were in the early stages, so I was not inundated with the stuff.  None of my friends cussed and no one in my family did, either.  Call me naive, but I miss that.  Now that mess is literally everywhere, and try as much as I like, I can't keep my children from it.  What makes me even more angry is how aggressively this is being marketed to my kids.  Case in point--the latest 'must see' movie of the week that is pushed on the kids - Super 8.

I didn't know much about Super 8 before reading the reviews.  I knew it had mostly a kid cast, with some big name adult players.  Another version of it was made several years ago by Steven Spielberg.  Critics weren't giving it much praise.  Of course, my teenager wanted to go, since many of his friends were going to see it.  So, as usual, I read the review from Plugged In Online.  As PG-13 movies go, this one was looking more promising than many others lately.  No suggestive sex stuff.  Then, I came to the language section:

One f-word and over 30 s-words lead the profanity pack, but barely. God's and Jesus' names are misused nearly 30 times. And there are over a dozen uses of "h‑‑‑." "A‑‑" and "d‑‑n" are spit out a handful of times each. We also hear "b‑‑ch," and "p‑‑‑y," "d‑‑k" and "douche" are used as put-downs.

Why?  Really, why?  It is bad enough when adults use this langauge, but in this movie it is mainly the kids.  Total desensitization.  No censoring by adults.  It just makes me sad.  I know I will go to my class of 11 year old girls in the morning who have seen the movie over the weekend.  They will probably be talking about how good it was, not even giving the language a second thought.

And that just makes me sad.

However, on a happier movie note, we did go see Kung Fu Panda 2 last week.  I give it two paws up.  It was tame, with a good message, and I wasn't slumping in my seat counting the minutes until it was over.  Looking forward now to Cars 2 in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully it will be as much fun as the first one.

You can read the entirePlugged In review of Super 8 here.