Interstellar – It’s best not seen as a movie but enjoyed as an Experience!

Interstellar is in the genre of “Science Fiction” – that’s as in Science and Fiction. Marty and I believe you will really enjoy this film in the theater if you consider that while it has a scientific perspective it is also fiction – which can stretch our imagination and touch our emotions.

The Producer/Director Christopher Nolan has done another masterful piece of work in creating a film that will be enjoyed by many for decades and is best seen in the theater. Matthew McConaughey is outstanding as Cooper the Farmer/Astronaut and will definitely be nominated for the big awards. Anne Hathaway does a good job but for our money Jessica Chastain carries the female interest as Cooper’s daughter Murphy.

If you buy a ticket and begin watching Interstellar as I do from a critical and OCD perspective you will be taking a bathroom break about 45 minutes in – as I did – in a two hours and forty five minute film. As I was watching it I thought the first part of the movie was slow but when it was over and I took it all in perspective the beginning of this film was necessary to build the plot and the character development and interaction.

Interstellar gives us the hope and aspirations of “2001 A Space Odyssey” and in the second half fills the screen with spectacular space and planetary scenes comparable to Sandy and George in “Gravity” – but with a better and more uplifting ending.

Marty and I both highly recommend you see Interstellar on the Big Screen!

When we got up to walk out Marty was limping. I asked her if she was all right and she said the movie was so riveting that she sat still and did not move or cross her legs for 2:45 and it was difficult to get up and walk. We were both really into it.


A sincere look into my heart and God’s Word on a Sensitive Topic

Last Friday the 10 Point Question of the Day is: What does it mean that Tim Cook – the CEO of Apple – is Gay? When I was 35 I knew the answer to every question ever asked. Now that I’m 69 I know there is a lot I don’t know. I like the WSJ .com question of the day because it gives me pause to read the article a second time and decide if I have anything worthwhile to contribute. Here’s the response I sent to my Internet Friend Gabby who works on the 10 Point at the WSJ. This will never be printed or excerpted because it is far too long and this is the WSJ not the Christian Science Monitor we are talking about.

I grew up in “the south” in the forties and fifties and all my relatives and neighbors were a combination of Southern Baptist and Racist. Over the decades my 93 year old Father has matured from racist to just being prejudiced. I dare say the only thing less respected than a “Black person” during that time was a “Homosexual ” – though I had never met one. When AIDS became a news topic my culture seriously saw that as a penalty from God for their choice to disobey Biblical teaching.

I moved to Chicago in the early sixties as a racist and homophobic – quite a combination. Because I lived downtown I was forced to interact with folks of different color and sexual preference. I ate out a lot and if you can’t get comfortable with Blacks and Gays in an urban environment it makes for strange living conditions. In 1968 I was drafted for Vietnam and because many “Whites” got deferments there was a large percentage of Blacks that I trained and served with as a Combat Infantryman. Years later in the nineties, when Tony went to College Marty and I moved to Lake Point Tower in Chicago and we had many friends in the restaurant industry, some of whom were a different sexual orientation than us. We found as a group they were friendly, considerate and were not interested in changing me – so we enjoyed their friendship.

Living now in Palm Beach County – the land of the grey hairs – we don’t’ meet as many Gays but do have a few good friends – who are church going Christians – who are Gay. They too are friendly, considerate and people we enjoy being with. For the most part they keep their sexual preference quiet – not hidden but not advertised.

With one exception I consider my personal growth in the areas of showing respect and developing friendships with Gays to be comfortable and successful. It certainly is an attitude that is a long way from my days as a kid in Georgia in the forties and fifties. Therefore I can say with a certainty that as a person who owns an iMac, iPhone, iPad and three iPods it does not matter to me in the least that Mr. Cook, the CEO of Apple is Gay. In fact, it is probably an advantage for Apple because its also been my experience they my Gay friends are more creative than straights.

So what is the exception? As a Bible believing Christian it’s where the rubber meets the road of how I publicly and privately articulate my personal position as a believer on the topic of homosexuality. Thus I am taking the risk of putting my private views out in a public venue.

The good news and the easy thing to say is that my years in Chicago helps me to treat Gays socially the way I think Christ would treat them if He were walking the earth today. He would love them. He would treat them with respect. He would welcome them to come to His Church and to his home if He had one.

However, the hardest and far less popular thing to articulate is what does the Bible say about Homosexuality and what would Christ would have said to them if he met them personally.

My perception, therefore my reality, is that the Bible – both Old and New Testament – clearly and without ambiguity defines Homosexuality as falling short of God’s glorious standard – a standard that in the Bible is called Sin. That is a hard thing to put in print and it must be an awful thing for my Gay friends to read and or hear. However, it’s not the end of the story – it’s only one of the many human conditions and practices that God lists in the Bible as sin – some of which I possess and sadly practice – as do all of the people in my Church. In fact the Bible says over and over that all – 100% – of all people sin and fall short of God’s standard. What again is sin? It’s simply anything that falls short of the standard that God sets for Himself – absolute perfection. Both the Old and New Testament tell us that “in God there is no sin.”

Another perception I have is that it only takes one sin to be a sinner. When I read Romans and Corinthians I see several aspects of my life are sins – thus I am a sinner and I am thankful that Christ died for me. To state what I hope is the obvious there is no fundamental difference between sinners. Some of my sins are a result of my childhood experience – some are in my DNA – some are the result of the life experiences I have had – not all of which have been good and kind and loving. When I think of my Gay friends I don’t think of myself as being better or worse than them. I think of them as being just like me for the most part – with the one obvious difference being that somewhere along life’s way they went a different direction on sexual orientation.

One day on the Mount of Olives Jesus was teaching and the Religious Leaders brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They said to Christ the Law of Moses says we should stone her, what do you say? Jesus bent down and wrote something on the ground. Then He stood up and said – if any of you is without sin then be the first to throw a stone at her – and again He wrote something on the ground. One by one, starting with the oldest they all walked away. Christ stood and looked at the woman and said has no one condemned you? She replied no sir and Jesus said then neither do I. Go now and leave your life of sin. Wouldn’t you like to know what Christ wrote on the ground? I sure would!

The Apostle Paul – who wrote more books in the Bible than anyone else – went on to say that there is not one of us who has not sinned – not a single one and that the wages of sin is spiritual death – but the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ! If I sin am I cast out? Is my lot in life hopeless? Does God stop loving me? Should I be ostracized from the Church?

Again St. Paul wrote that while the law is spiritual he was unspiritual and there were things about human nature that he did not fully comprehend. For example he said I do the things I know I do not want to do and I fail to do the things I know I should. Yet when I fail it is not me who fails but the sin living in me. This statement from St. Paul defines the human condition. None of us meets God’s glorious standard and in His wisdom God had Christ die to pay the penalty for every time I fall short of perfection – if I have confessed Him as my Savior. The Bible tells us that God loves each and every one of us so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross, to enter the gates of hell and to rise again for one purpose – so that our sin may be forgiven.

As you know and can see this is a complex topic for me and perhaps you as well. The Christ I believe in is loving, merciful and forgiving – yet at the same time he and God the Father are one and He has very high standards.

Let me close with a story and two resolutions I have on this topic:

A good friend of mine told me that one day in Heaven at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb a very strict conservative Christian was seated at the table assigned him by the Lord. To his amazement he looked across the table to see his Gay neighbor sitting there. The man blurted out “how did you get into heaven?” His Gay neighbor looked at him and with love in his heart said “the same way you did – through the Pearly Gates and The Cross.”

1. I am not going to make a spiritual judgement about others for things I perceive to be sin. In Matthew 7 Christ warned his followers about judging others – for by the measure you judge others that same measure will be used to judge you. Jesus went on to say that we should be careful about picking the splinter out of someone else’s eye while ignoring the beam that is in their own eye. I believe that we should welcome all people without judgement to our Churches to hear the Good News!

2. When it comes to choosing friends, deciding whom I respect and admire and who I want to spend time with I will not look at any one single aspect of their lives. Rather I will use my discernment and draw a conclusion about the summation and balance of all the areas of their lives. As I write this my mind continually focuses on one younger lady who has been a wonderful friend and help mate to me personally through several medical procedures and a good friend to Marty. She is a Lesbian and she and her significant other are a wonderful couple and loving people who have among other things adopted a child out of an environment of great poverty and are investing into his life with their time, emotions and finances. They are better parents than many of the straight people I know.

Mercifully that’s it. You may or may not agree and that’s OK because this is a difficult area to write about and view in balance from all angles.


John Wick – How much Violence is too much? How much Cash is too much?

Marty and I enjoyed John Wick starring Keanu Reeves and almost nobody else we have ever heard of. John Wick is the most violent non military movie we have ever seen. The killing scenes with various weapons were frequent, bloody and most of them point blank. The hand to hand combat scenes were well choreographed and almost always ended in Keanu stabbing, choking or breaking the limbs of his “evil opponent.”

How then can I say that Marty and I enjoyed it? There is a historical part of me that identifies very closely with anger, violence and killing and in 45 years of living with me poor Saint Marty has been corrupted. If you can simply tolerate violence because of the good plot this movie is NOT for you. It is violence for violence sake and the plot could have been scripted by a seven year old boy with anger issues.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that you enjoy well done and realistic killing and violence. Should you pay $20 for tickets and $16 for a large popcorn and a large diet Coke? No – even you should wait for home viewing.


Fury – An Outstanding Film Depiction of the Perseverance and Commitment of The Men from “America’s Greatest Generation”

I would be a fool and a hypocrite if I sat here tonight in the comfort of my home and tried to rate a classic effort by Brad Pitt and many other men and women who set out to tell a story that reflects the heart and soul of the Sacrifice from the Men of the Greatest Generation who went in “for the duration” to defeat the most egregious villain the World had known in the deadliest military conflict in history.

What I can say is that Marty and I 100% recommend you experience this film in the theater. When it was over we sat while the credits rolled and said nothing – not reading them but reflecting on what we had just seen and thinking of the almost half a million Americans who paid the ultimate price in The Big One. What greater gift can a man give except to lay down his own life?

I said almost nothing on the ride home as I tried to parse my feelings to share with you. The closest thing that comes to mind compares to how I have felt on very few occasions at a Spirit filled Memorial Service that touched my heart and caused me to look inside myself and wonder if I could have been one of those men.

I’ll close with this. Words don’t capture the feeling of appreciation this film engenders for the Men of the Greatest Generation and their sacrifice. If I had my way viewing Fury would be mandatory for those of us Americans who have benefited so greatly from the resolve and commitment of the men and women who paid the ultimate price on the biggest stage the world has ever known.

Gone Girl – Like Elvis Marty and I are no longer in the building!

If you are a big reader and you read the book then don’t bother with this review. On the other hand if you are like Marty and I and you simply like to see entertaining movies this flick may not be for you and it was definitely not for us. For a moment forget about the gratuitous and graphic sex – after an hour and forty five minutes I was so worked up by the back and forth and to and fro and unsettled semi-conclusions that I experienced a combination of boredom and anxiety that I took a bathroom and walk around break. I came out of the bathroom to see Marty standing in the lobby waiting to go home. Let me help you understand this – not even Saint Marty could take what she described as exasperation with this film.

I can only describe this as a special interest film for a select audience with higher intelligence and far more understanding and patience than Marty and I possess. I seldom send along another site in our reviews of a film but if you want to know more open the site below about the ending from the Washington Post. Since I left with forty five minutes left I was curious how it ended. After reading this and other sites I am so glad that left when we did.


“Dracula” – I Wish it was “The Untold Story”

Have you ever had a friend call and say I would really like you to come over so that I could tell you something that has been “untold” until now. On arrival it seems to you that he/she has had at least one afternoon cocktail and at the end of what seems like forever you go home thinking to yourself – man, I wish I had not wasted my time hearing that “Untold Story!”

That’s pretty much our view of Dracula – The Untold Story. Marty and I give it a C and a D for theater viewing and maybe a joint C+ for home viewing when you can take some bathroom breaks to relieve yourself of the far too often slower than slow scenes.

Some of you will never want to see this movie because of the violence and blood. Some of you will never want to see this movie because your personal spiritual concerns about the whole Dracula/undead thing.

Personally I have seen almost every Dracula movie ever made – going back to the 1931 original with Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney in Son of Dracula. Then the excellent portrayals by Christopher Lee beginning in 1958 – Frances Ford Copula’s Dracula with Gary Oldman in 1992 and the excellent Interview with a Vampire with Tom and Brad. Then who could forget Blackula and the ever enjoyable comedy of Mel Brooks and Leslie Nelson in Dead and Loving it and my personal favorite Love at First Bite with George Hamilton. Should I go on? Maybe not!

Here’s the bottom line. Don’t waste your time and money seeing “The Untold Story” in the theater. Maybe if you are a Dracula Buff you rent it at home or maybe even wait for the free showing on cable/DTV.

The Equalizer – Excellent – Except? We still give it an A

Denzel (Robert) is The Equalizer in more ways than one. This movie doesn’t get made without him and he does not disappoint. I have always felt it is a far more difficult acting job to play the “good guy” and to carry the mantle through the entire film and leave the viewer empathizing with him and really believing in the character.

An actor I never heard of – Marton Scokas plays Teddy – the really bad guy. He had all the earmarks: Russian, Sharp suits and slicked back hair, Paid Killer, Scars, Tattoos all over his body and right away he chokes a lovely young Russian woman to death – in spite of her telling him the truth. Needless to say when the movie really gets going its all about Robert versus Teddy and his gang of evil henchmen. The plot is not going to be too quick for you to keep up.

Speaking of the movie getting going I almost gave up on the film about 25 minutes in. I’ve seen grass grow faster than the opening of The Equalizer. Also, if I wanted to be critical I might make a comment about Denzel killing five or six bad guys at a time and only once did he bring a gun to the fight. However, Marty and I are Southerners and we always love to see the good guy kill lots of bad guys – no matter how gory or unrealistic it might be. We still hold onto those Southern feelings from the War Between the North and the South – and I assume there is no need for me to tell you who the bad guys were.

All that said if you like Denzel and violence and killing and the good guy winning and winning you will love this movie. You just won’t like the first twenty minutes or so but don’t give up on Denzel – he comes through for you.


Have you ever been “Sheep Dipped?”

Have you ever been “Sheep Dipped?” As it turns out I was “Sheep Dipped” in early April of 1970 in Vietnam and I didn’t even know it. Before I tell you the “rest of the story” take a moment and read this comment on recent events in Syria/Iraq and in particular the definition of “Sheep Dipping.”

“After 2 days of intense pressure from CNN reporters and analysts about the need for U.S. air strikes in support of Kurdish troops in contact with ISIS fighters near Gobani AKA Ain in northern Syria on the border with Turkey, yesterday, U.S. fighter bombers rolled in an hit the ISIS positions and vehicles. All of the commentators on CNN agreed that air strikes of this kind could not be carried out without the assistance of forward air controllers. They were not wrong. I would respectfully suggest to you that there were U.S. personnel across the fence in Syria. These may have been Special Operations Forces operating with orders that POTUS needed plausible deniability about their presence in Syria or they may have been U.S. military personnel who had gone through sheep dipping. Sheep dipping occurs when a military member enters a room where a military personnel officer and a civilian personnel officer are present. When the military member leaves the room , he or she is no longer on Active Duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and is an employee or contract employee of a civilian U. S. Government agency. The cover agency is often the U.S. Agency for International Development. The person who has gone through sheep dipping is then placed across the fence into an area where POTUS wishes to say that there are no U.S. boots on the ground. This was often done in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.”

In 1969 and 1970 Richard Nixon was President and friend or foe Hanoi Jane was shouting at the top of her lungs that we had soldiers in Cambodia – to which Mr. Nixon replied “We do not have troops in Cambodia.” I’d take Nixon a thousand times over Obama but he was not afraid of cursing or lying.

At the time I was in the Fourth Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of RVN – just East of Cambodia. I had been awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star as a Staff Sergeant acting as an Infantry Platoon Leader ever since our Lieutenant had his head severed by a Huey blade in a hot CA months before.

One day in very early April of 1970 when the re-supply bird came out to bring us food and ammo an Officer got off and met me with orders to report to the Fourth Infantry Division’s Headquarter’s Band in Pleiku. You can imagine my surprise and delight at being taken out of the field doing S&D for an assignment in the “Band” – even though I did not play an instrument – a fact I kept to myself. The bird dropped me at HQ and I was assigned an air conditioned room with a shower, toilet and two bunks with a Corporal who was a communications specialist. We were given full privileges for the night in the Senior NCO mess hall and club – privileges the Corporal and I took full advantage of. We were allowed to sleep in and told to report to some Full Bird at eleven hundred hours the next day.

Imagine my shock when we met a Command Sergeant Major who told us we were being reassigned and going on a Top Secret LRP to Cambodia with monitoring equipment to gather information about troop and supply movements from NVN – through Cambodia on the Ho Chi Min Trail and then back into RVN. Of course we were armed – me with an M-16 and Colt 45 and the Corporal with a sight mounted M-14. However, our orders were not to engage anyone going down The Trail – just to record and report the activity we saw.

You’ve probably already heard me tell about how that worked out but it’s not the point of this e mail. After my brief stay in Cambodia I was transferred to the Americal Division, 27th Infantry – where I was on the first wave of the “official Cambodian Invasion” on April 30th, 1970 – which was publicly announced by President Nixon.

Months later when I DEROSED back to Seattle I was handed my official US Army records – which of course contained all my awards and medals – and the list of where I was assigned during my time in RVN. You guessed it – they read: US Army – Fourth Infantry Division; US Army Headquarters Band; US Army Americal Infantry Division. Not one word about the time in Cambodia.

From that day in 1970 until today – 9/29/2014 – I always wondered why my time in Cambodia never appeared in my record. Now I know – some time in early April of 1970 I was Sheep Dipped.

Barbara Streisand’s Newest Musical Release – Partners – We give it an A

If you are a fan of Barbara Streisand you will love her new release of generally well known songs with equally well known and talented partners. If you download your music from Apple we strongly recommend you buy the entire album for $7.99 rather than paying $1.29 per single. there isn’t a “barker” on the list. Some are more enjoyable than others but they are all good.

Marty likes Barbara better than Shrimp and Grits – which is saying something for a gal from SC. One of the highlights of her life was meeting me – NO – it was taking her Sister Nancy to see Barbara live! It was the best money I’ve spent. Naturally she loves the album.

As for me I would not say I am a fan of Barbara but no one can deny she has one of the best voices in musical history and tremendous range. I enjoy many genres of music and this album is a pleasure to listen to – good driving music. Time may have soured her politics but her voice and song selection is still really good. If you are interested in reading more I have put the album’s website below.


The more things change the more they stay the same!

I may be the last person to learn this but America’s much beloved President Thomas Jefferson, a man of peace, went to war against what he and Adams described as the Muslim Pirates off the Libyan (Barbary) Coast in the late 1700′s. These two well researched sites reveal that which you probably already suspicion – Muslim Terrorist, Jihadists, Pirates or what ever you want to call them have been kidnapping and killing hostages since at least the 1700′s. More over they use the Koran to justify these actions against the Infidels – see the research in the first site below “city journal.”

Now instead of Jefferson and Adams we have Obama and Kerry. Read that line again will you? Now instead of Jefferson and Adams we have Obama and Kerry. Doesn’t it just cause your heart to flutter with confidence or maybe what I’m feeling is more like stroke symptoms knowing that with Obama and Kerry we will be lied to – sided against and to use the common if not course vernacular – screwed.

I’m not encouraging you to pass this on to anyone because why would I want them to be as depressed about our leaders as I am. Just hit the delete button and pretend that feeling in the pit of your stomach is too many capers on your sauteed Wahoo and not the result of what you know to be true. We be screwed!


PS Marty and I had lunch at Three Doors Up and Krista sautéed us a great piece of Wahoo in butter, lemon, wine, olives and artichoke hearts. It was absolutely fantastic. The best lunch place anywhere near this place. She asked if we wanted capers but I told her my worries about Obama and Kerry and she made sure I knew where the bathrooms were.