The Kingsmen: The (Really) Secret Service – Take equal parts of James Bond, MI-6 and Austin Powers – Stir Slowly and Serve Straight Up for Fun!

Marty and I loved “The Kingsmen: The Secret Service.” It was like going to a party that you weren’t sure you were going to like and if you didn’t take the other guests too seriously you really enjoyed the evening. Kingsmen is a delightful blend of Fun – Action – Comedy – Well Choreographed Violence – Humor – Adventure – Clever Dialogue and an Explosive Ending. If my description of the film seems balanced between fun and adventure that’s because it was. There was never a steady diet of one or the other.

While there is a strong ensemble cast the three stars of note are Colin Firth – Samuel L Jackson and Michael Caine. If you are the kind of viewer who really pays attention try and pick out Mark Hamill. Hint – he isn’t carrying a Light Sabre.

The Screenwriter for Kingsmen should be nominated for all the big awards next year. His blend of almost self mocking humor – outstanding fighting sequences that left you feeling charged up – clever and subtle dialogue between Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson – a believable plot that allows you to develop empathy between the younger actors and a very strong and explosive ending made for an enjoyable evening.

I know it sounds odd to praise the fighting and violence but it was all so well technically produced and choreographed – with the good guys winning – it didn’t have any of the negative emotional feelings that violence can generate.

Marty and I think “The Kingsmen: The Secret Service” is a film you should see on the big screen. If you do – don’t get up out of your seat when the credits roll. We got almost out of the theater and the real ending began. In a James Bond flash back if you like well shaped pears you won’t want to miss it.


Every American sixteen and older should see American Sniper and it offers something for everyone.

Marty and I got to the theater for the 11:30am showing of American Sniper today (Saturday) at 10:55 and there was a line like I have never seen before. It snaked out into the walking areas of the Mall. Our theater was packed. I read later the film set a record for a Friday opening. If attendance means anything Clint and Brad have a real box office hit on their hands.

On the ride home Marty and I tried to verbalize our feelings about the film. Typically I have some strong emotional response to one part or another of a movie and its easy to write a review with catchy and memorable words. None came to mind. What is memorable is the whole movie – the entire body of work – from beginning to end.

American Sniper is significantly different from most of the movies we have seen about the wars in the Middle East. Yes, it has a lot of action scenes and coming from a Veteran I can tell you they were realistic, violent and not appropriate for children or people who are sensitive about hearing the sound of a bullet penetrating the human body. That said, the killing was not glorified and it was not puffed up with Hollywood style technology. In fact I felt the film underplayed the role of Military Technology and Fire Support. Under Clint’s steady hand they emphasized the role our young men play – putting their lives on the line daily – in this type of urban door to door warfare.

That said, the film and Bradley Cooper in particular – playing Chris Kyle – America’s most effective sniper – didn’t come across like an action adventure hero but a normal person with certain skills and human frailties. A large portion of the film delved into his life before the Military and after. Most important of all his wife – Taya Kyle – played by Sienna Miller – had a significant impact, disproportionate perhaps to the number of minutes she was on the screen. Marty related to the role she played as the woman who stands and worries and waits.

If you’ve read the book or seen reviews of the film you of course know how it ends and it left us with a heavy heart. There was no joy in the theater at the end of American Sniper but a feeling that somehow we got to know this man, his fellow soldiers, his wife and family and most important the horror of war and the significant impact it has on those young men and women who become the human instruments of defending our freedom.

Marty, Tony and I all highly recommend you see American Sniper. If you consider yourself a Patriot this is an absolute must see film on the big screen. I obviously don’t know what films we will see in 2015 but I am certain of this one thing – none of them will impact you and your feelings about our Soldiers – their families and these Wars than this one.


So where are all the protestors now?

Will someone please explain to President Obama, Eric Holder, The Very Not Right Reverends Sharpton and Jackson, The Moderate to Liberal Media and the African American’s and liberal whites who have filled our streets protesting of recent that when a Black Male with a rap sheet as long as an NBA Forward’s Arm aggressively approaches a Police Officer he is not coming to bring him a Christmas Card.

Whether the Officer be White, Oriental or Hispanic the Black Male is not coming to bring him a piece of home made pie or to thank the officer for working in the Black Male’s high crime neighborhood.

According to statistics from a study done by the Department of Justice from 1980 to 2008 53% of all offenders for violent crime are Black Males. The “offending rate” for Black Males is eight (8) times higher than Whites and the victim rate for Blacks is six times higher than Whites.

Please let that resonate with you. The odds are 8 to 1 that when someone is going to be victimized it is going to be by a Black Male and the odds are 6 to 1 that its going to be a Black on Black crime.

Yet Officers like the ones in Missouri, Chicago and the Oriental and Hispanic officers yesterday in NYC still go into high crime Black areas day and night to protect the poor minority in our nation that apparently doesn’t understand the problem nor are they thankful for the Police Officer’s Service.

Have you ever heard Obama, Holder, Pelosi, Sharpton, Jackson, the athletes that fill or sports teams, Black people who live in these areas and or the Media say: “It’s time for us to cut back on the Police Presence in our Black Neighborhoods!”

Or how about this one: Have you ever heard any of the above crowd suggest that only Black Officers be allowed to serve in these high crime areas? No you haven’t and you never will.

Yet when a questionable or even wrong incident by a Non Black Officer happens what do we see and hear? It’s all the White Man’s Fault.

I am White and I am proud to say that I have hard working and successful Black friends who are not a part of the problem. They are not living in the high crime areas because they take advantage of the opportunities in America to get an education and they work hard for what they have. They are thankful for the protection that our Nation’s Police Officers provide their homes and neighborhoods.

It’s my perception, therefore my reality, that the minority of Black Americans are those doing the crime and standing in the streets being whooped into a frenzy by the likes of our President, our Attorney General and rabble rousing Right Reverends who are always there when there is a camera and a microphone nearby. Mock them as I may we should never underestimate the effect this type of mob mentality will have on those who are prone to violence. If you want an example read the internet remarks of Ismaaiyl Brinsley who killed the two NYC Officers – that he vowed to do this to retaliate for Garner and Brown. These are his words not mine.

Sometimes I wonder if the time will ever come when the majority will rise up and say enough is enough! Then I also believe in Santa Claus and once thought that Obama was going to bring peaceful and constructive change in His Kingdom – make that America.

Exodus: Gods and Kings – Magnificent in Scale – Hugely Disappointing

Marty and I recently read the latest book by our friend John Maxwell and allow me to paraphrase one thought that really got my attention. God is never disappointed in us! Disappointment being the gap between expectation and reality – and since God knows all and sees all there is no gap from His perspective.

It is sadly a different analysis when Marty and I give you our opinion of Exodus: Gods and Kings! We could hardly wait to get to the theater to see it. We like the cast and the original screen play by God is fantastic. We had very high expectations! Needless to say we were very disappointed and do not recommend this movie for anyone.

I will comment on three aspects of the film: Scale – Pacing – Biblical Errancy.

The Scale of Exodus competes with anything we have seen in ten years. If you are into special effects and wide panoramic shots Exodus gets an A+.

The Pacing of the film is, however, a horse and chariot of another color. Exodus: Gods and Kings moved at the pace of an elderly Pachyderm with an ingrown toenail. I’ve seen less fits and starts when I was teaching Tony how to drive stick in my 1985 Targa. Several people left our showing and I would have taken a potty break but I was intent on seeing every minute.

Biblical Errancy. Exodus: Gods and Kings reminds me of a young script writer who rubs the brass lantern and ask the Genie for the perfect script. The Genie comes through and after reading the outstanding manuscript the young author decides to keep the overall theme of the book but rewrite the characters and scenes. Time and memory don’t allow me to list the numerous Scriptural inaccuracies which often led into the world of the unbelievable. Take for example the scene of the Burning Bush. As a young family man living in an oasis Moses is climbing the “Mountain of God” in defiance of the people’s view of God’s word and he is punished by being hit by a landslide and is buried in what looks like quick sand with only his face showing. The bush appears like an electric fire place in a condo and when Moses comes to he doesn’t see the Angel of God or hear God’s voice but has a conversation with an imaginary child.

Contrast this fictionary with Exodus 3: “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up. When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, Moses! Moses! And Moses said, Here I am. Do not come any closer, God said. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. Then He said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.”

I could go on for three more pages because I love to read what I have written because like any blogger I am foolish enough to think you give to toot about what I have to say. That said, I’ll say this. The general theme of the Exodus was presented – there was no cursing and no sexuality – we both thought the actors did a good job and while the plagues were not Biblicaly presented, they, along with the parting of the Red Sea were visually very impressive.


The Question of the Day on E Bible is: What does the Bible say about the end of The World?

What would you say if one of your kids or a good friend asked you tomorrow: What does the Bible say about the End of The World.

One of E Bible’s more thoughtful contributors took a stab at answering it and I thought he did a good job considering that a full and complete answer of all the Biblical texts on the topic would fill several books and even then contain a fair amount of opinion. That said here’s Michael Houddman’s answer with one insert from yours truly.

The event usually referred to as “the end of the world” is described in 2 Peter 3:10: “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” This is the culmination of a series of events called “the day of the Lord,” the time when God will intervene in human history for the purpose of judgment. At that time, all that God has created, “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), He will destroy.

The timing of this event, according to most Bible scholars, is at the end of the 1000-year period called the Millennium. During these 1000 years, Christ will reign on earth as King in Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33) and ruling in peace but with a “rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15).

Insert: Prior to the Millennial Kingdom the Bible teaches there will be two events here on the earth: The Tribulation and the Rapture. The Tribulation will be a time of suffering for all mankind as Evil rules the world. The later portion of The Tribulation will be particularly difficult on Christians as Satan will have placed himself on the Throne in the Temple in Jerusalem and will have free rule and reign on planet earth. Sometime – either before, during or after The Tribulation an event we call the Rapture will occur. Christ will appear and the dead in Christ will rise first to meet him in the air and then those of us who are alive and remain will go to be with them.

At the end of the 1000 years (The Millennium), Satan will be released, defeated again, and then cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10). Then, after a final judgment by God, the end of the world described in 2 Peter 3:10 occurs. The Bible tells us several things about this event.

First, it will be cataclysmic in scope. The “heavens” refers to the physical universe – the stars, planets, and galaxies-which will be consumed by some kind of tremendous explosion, possibly a nuclear or atomic reaction that will consume and obliterate all matter as we know it. All the elements that make up the universe will be melted in the “fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:12). This will also be a noisy event, described in different Bible versions as a “roar” (NIV), a “great noise” (KJV), a “loud noise” (CEV), and a “thunderous crash” (AMP). There will be no doubt as to what is happening. Everyone will see and hear it because we are also told that “the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”

Then God will create a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1), which will include the “New Jerusalem” (v. 2), the capital city of heaven, a place of perfect holiness, which will come down from heaven to the new earth. This is the city where the saints-those whose names were written in the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 13:8)-will live forever. Peter refers to this new creation as “the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

Perhaps the most important part of Peter’s description of that day is his question in verses 11-12: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” Christians know what is going to happen, and we should live in a way that reflects that understanding. This life is passing away, and our focus should be on the new heavens and earth to come. Our “holy and godly” lives should be a testimony to those who do not know the Savior, and we should tell others about Him so they can escape the terrible fate that awaits those who reject Him. We wait in eager anticipation for God’s “Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).



Strap own your Blaster Pistols and get your LightSabers Ready – Star Wars VII Is Coming

Star Wars Fans Everywhere Rejoice. In just twelve and a half months (December 18, 2105) it will be time to venture into that Galaxy far, far away. As you can see from watching the official trailer below it’s time for you to look in your attics and basements and dust off your Millennium Falcon – ready your LightSabers and Blaster Pistols – and prepare to see your very OLD friend Hans Solo make some new friends.

While we can’t be sure – it seems the Galactic Empire has survived the explosion of the Death Star and the Storm Troopers are once again in the sands of planet Naboo. Its time for good children everywhere to think positive thoughts – read the “Principles of Yoda” written by Obi-Wan Kenobi and to get busy out back working on your LandSpeeders and PodRacers.

Back on Tatooine good Foster Parents like Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru try to shield their adopted son Luke from his Destiny in the Rebel Alliance where some of his friends will become pilots flying their X-1 Starfighters into certain death against the EVIL Tie Fighters and onto the Death Star itself. Luke learns he has been gifted with an over shadowing of The Force and will become a Jedi Knight – who only think good thoughts about saving innocent virgin Princesses – spend long hours in a damp cave learning mind tricks from a furry midget with pointed ears and practice for endless hours training with their personal LightSabers for an honorable death or victory in one on one LightSaber Fighting with a member of their immediate family.

Why? Because everyone knows the EVIL Sith have formed the Galactic Empire and what could be worse that an EVIL Sith Galactic Empire? What proof do we have? Their Spiritual Leader “The Emperor” and his Number Two man Darth Vader all dress in black and read books by Ron Hubbard. Their Senior Military officers wear grey flannel uniforms that itch their crotches in battle conditions resulting in their continual scowling as they go about looking to pillage the planets of the Galaxy and capture innocent virgin Princesses and enslave small and cuddly Droids like R2-D2 and C-3PO.

While the children of Tatooine are having fun with their PodRacers the dull witted among the EVIL Sith are spending endless days working out so their bodies will become shaped and perfectly formed to wear an all white plastic uniform that they only get to take off and shower once a month. No wonder they are Evil – the smell alone could turn the purest heart to stone. The elite and even more EVIL Sith who were educated on an Eastern Planet will become pilots of the Tie Fighters – officers on the Imperial Star Destroyers – or Broadcasters for the EVIL Galactic News Network (GNN) – which in headquartered on a Southern Planet.

And what of the children who have good hearts but show selfish tendencies? They will of course become Blockade Runners and be trained by Hans Solo and his faithful companion Chewbacca.

Relax, breathe, lower your Force Field and prepare your Escape Pods and soon it will be December 18, 2015.

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.