Archive for May, 2010

Good luck…

May 31, 2010

shopgoodwill.org is a great place to look for Star Wars randomness. I had my eye on a Don Post Vader mask (the same one I own), but it went over my budget (but still cheaper than Ebay). I’m diggin’ this kite!

Wish they’d included a picture of the kid holding the kite (you can see his feet). I’m guessing it’s just the crappy thin plastic kind…like this classic costume

Lots of the usual action figures, and the movies on VHS. I’d like to turn this into a coffee table

It’d complement the accent light perfectly…

WBC and me

May 28, 2010

I don’t remember how I first heard of Westboro Baptist. It’s been a while…they’re sort of hip to hate, right now. It was either from a funerary aspect (they were picketing soldier funerals, and I was reading an article about bikers getting together to form a wall around the mourners, and how steps were being taken to enact a new law about how close protesters can get to things like funerals – the law passed). Or, it was because of the over-the-top “god hates fags” webshows Fred used to do.

I’ve been following them for years, now  – for me, the theology is interesting…or not (reminder: if I’m talking about the New Covenant take me home).  What a lot of anti-WBC people don’t know or get is just how many “normal” or “average” Americans agree with Freddie boy, and secretly cheer his anti-homo efforts.

I last wrote about them in 2007, in my old blog:

Friday, April 06, 2007

 

A nightmare.

Like the worst sensationalist Dateline story, or a Lifetime movie from hell, the background of Westboro Baptist Church is pretty much exactly as I’d supposed: chock full of physical and emotional abuse.Rev. Phelps, as I suspected, and his wife, both come from abusive backgrounds.

“It turns out Mrs. Phelps was herself an abused child, according to her sons. “The only thing she ever told us about her dad was that he was a drunkard who beat them.”

Rev. Phelps had no mother (explaining the misogyny) and a bullying father. Though there’s never really any clear reason (as opposed to say, had he been beaten by his father or mother) for his…well, him.

“Fred Phelps had as normal and beautiful a home life as anyone ever wanted,” commented a relative who didn’t want their name used. “His childhood was very good,” says Hudson. “There was nothing in his family out of the ordinary.” “All I know is it’s a tragedy, and it stems from within Fred Phelps,” adds the anonymous relative, referring to the homosexual picketing. “It has nothing to do with his upbringing.”

Something happened, somewhere.

The normalcy I viewed in the BBC documentary,and my thinking that, picketing antics aside, they’re not that different from your average family, was evidenced:

“The pastor’s first-born, Fred, Jr., and his wife, Betty, were guests at the Clinton inauguration. The former northeast Kansas campaign manager for Al Gore in 1988 has a stack of VIP photos, such as the one of him, Betty, Al and Tipper, and even soon-to- be Kansas governor Joan Finney smiling and yucking it up at the Phelps’ place just a few years ago.”

I feel icky, now, and sad. Earlier I wondered how someone like that could be allowed to live freely…the violence detailed in the article exceeded my imagination (which, albeit, didn’t go very far. It was just obvious to me, from the first story I read about them a year or two ago, there was something very, very wrong). It’s mind-boggling how he was allowed to get away with, at times literal, murder.

Some excerpts:

“The stark contrast of the two masks-decent and repulsive, hateful and considerate, forthright and devious, stupid and clever-creates a polarity that begins to weigh on the observer. Contrasts frequently are the visible edge of contradiction. And contradictions sometimes arise from very deep and secret undercurrents. Currents of pain.”

“These reports contained allegations of persistent and poisonous child abuse, wife-beating, drug addiction, kidnapping, terrorism, wholesale tax fraud, and business fraud. In addition, Nate {one of four children – of 13 total- who left -nay, escaped} described the cult-like disassembly of young adult identities into shadow-souls, using physical and emotional coercion- coercion which may have been a leading factor in the suicide of an emotionally troubled teenage girl.”

Interestingly (?) he attended Bob Jones University for time:

“Phelps returned that autumn to Bob Jones, but left after a year without graduating. Later he would say he did so because the school was racist. In 1983, the IRS revoked the tax exemption of Bob Jones, accusing it of practicing racial discrimination.”

I just added that bit for the BJU slam.

“When a man in Fred’s new congregation came to him for marital counseling, the pastor recommended a good beating for the wife. The man followed his spiritual guide’s advice.

Later, he called the pastor to ask for bail: apparently separation of church and state didn’t apply to assault and battery. Phelps paid the confused Christian’s bail, but stuck to his guns: a former members of the early Westboro community remembers the following Sunday Pastor Fred was fiery in his message that a good left hook makes for a right fine wife: “Brethren,” preached Phelps, “they can lock us up, but we’ll still do what the Bible tells us to do. Either our wives are going to obey, or we’re going to beat them!”‘

I’m not even going to list the various abuses and punishments his children suffered. I could barely stomach reading it – and at times just let my eyes skim the accounts.

It also goes into all the lawsuits he’s filed – that’s how they afford their nice cars and big houses, and travel expenses and such. Since the 50s, he’s been sueing everybody, for every reason, under the sun.

Here’s a letter

, from the aforementioned son who left.

That article today did me in, my questions have been answered, my curiousity sated.

Now I just need a hot, hot shower to wash it all away, and some kitten snuggling.

I’m watching Fall From Grace, an excellent documentary WBC. It includes interviews with the Phelps, theologians*, family members of soldiers WBC picketed – and my favourite, the bikers who decided to show up and counter-protest with the noise of their Harleys, drowning out the hateful venom the picketers spew.

It is, of course, biased.  A movie could just show nothing but footage of WBC, and it’d be biased (towards intelligence and compassion) just on that, the rhetoric of the Phelps family is just so…outlandish. Absurd. Downright, abjectly hateful and angry. Sometimes it’s hard to watch and listen, to the stomach-churning ire…I appreciate the quiet narrative the filmmakers use, simply allowing the WBC footage to speak for itself, and the intelligent, well-thought counterpoints they provide from the aforementioned theologians, other Christians, etc.

Don’t fight hate with hate. Fight hate and ignorance with knowledge. I also appreciated a pastor saying it is fear, “the opposite of love is fear, and fear will always become an expression of hate, sooner or later.” The two children who left talk about how terrified they were of God (and their abusive father).  The pastor talks about how we cannot let fear keep us from loving someone.

Fear, abuse…so much of it making the world a bad, bad place.

I’ve just taken the time to read this very long article

, chronicling the rise of Rev. Phelps.

– I don’t even –

May 28, 2010

100 Things You Didn’t Know About The Empire Strikes Back

This “article” is chock-full of awesome. I don’t even know how to pick one or two blurbs, to entice you, as they are all awesome.

The scene in which a swamp creature grabs R2-D2 was filmed in George Lucas’ unfinished swimming pool.

While the uninitiated may disagree, The Empire Strikes Back did not introduce everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett, to the mainstream masses. The character actually appeared two years prior, albeit in an animated form, in the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special.

During the filming of the Bacta Tank sequence, where Luke is being treated for his post-wampa injuries, a massive light above the tank cracked, sending huge pieces of glass stabbing down into the water – moments before Mark Hamill was set to enter the tank for filming.

There’s only two reason to get married

May 21, 2010

This cake

and putting these on the registry

Those Ewok cupcakes are PRECIOUS. And that is not a word I like to use.

Holy moly

May 21, 2010

I’m not much one for leather, but Dark Dreams Leather is prrrrrrreeeetttty.

Go look at some of their costumes.

Worf: usurped

May 20, 2010

My favourite  Klingon pushed outta #1 by Wicket.

Ghosts Don’t Disappear

May 19, 2010

Unless Jennifer Love-Hewitt tells them to.

Ghosts Don’t Disappear, an EP from Jonah Knight, aka “Jonah of the Sea.” Singer-songwriter? Noooo! Wait, “singer-songfighter?” Ok. I’ll listen.

I downloaded Ghosts Don’t Disappear (but you should buy it! Do the $13 steal of a 3 CD deal and let me know what the mystery CD was…) – unbeknownst to me I listened to the tracks out of order. So, Jonah, if you’re reading this, mild apologies if you find that upsetting. Instead of writing review paragraphs that are 80% about me and other bands then mentioning the album towards the end, I’m going to go song-by-song and offer my thoughts, as I listened.

Elizabeth Feels Differently

Brings to mind Dan Bern and Mike Ill. A guy with a guitar and something to say, not necessarily a “singer-songwriter.” Jonah has made the wise choice to flesh out this song with backing instruments (lovely violin, in this song) and female vocals (strong and straightforward, complementing his rather than underpowering or overshadowing).

The lyrics make me think I know Elizabeth, too.

It’s reminding me of a lead singer from a punk band going acoustic and solo. It lacks the vocal…polish, let’s say, of a seasoned singer-songwriter but that’s also part of his charm.

 Far

Reminiscent of Rusty Belle  (a must-see band) and Damian Rice

“The songs on Ghosts Don’t Disappear cover subjects from post-apocalyptic love to being haunted by ghosts of departed girlfriends.”

 

Rhythm

Reminiscent of: Nashvillain Family Band

“Singer/Songfighter” – that’s cute. Nothing particularly “anti” or “fighty” in any of the songs on this EP, though.

“…Ghosts Don’t Disappear, is a collection of songs about being haunted, a subject that runs close to home. “My grandmother was a fortune teller,” said Knight…”

Not perky and uptempo a la that dude in the stairwell at college, making the girls swoon. Wistful and nostalgic and quietly pretty.

Someday We’ll All Be Ghosts

Reminiscent of: Avett Brothers

I will probably go download some more. I can’t say I’d listen to it on any sort of regular basis, but I’m curious to hear more, and I certainly know some s/s lovers who might dig it.

The Problem with Math

Least favourite song. First of all, it’s about MATH. Ew. Ok, fine, the mathy lyrics are clever enough, but I don’t feel they fit the timbre of the song, and he of crams a lot of words in at once – switching up the tempo and tone of the song would fit the lyrics and mood of the song better and give us a break from the Ryan Adamsesque wistful guitar pickin’. Which, assuredly, is good but I’d like to hear what else he can do. He admits from the get-go in this song that he’s not a poet so, in that sense, it’s a fun song as the non-poet sings a love song.

 Red House Painters! THAT’S who I’ve been trying to think of. If I had to pick one band, for comparison purposes, I think I’d go with Red House Painters.

If you like these famouser bands, you’ll like Jonah Knight:

Tallest Man on Earth

Lucero

Deer Tick

Drive-By Truckers

Lucinda Williams

Brandi Carlile

Poke around his website – you can listen to the album as you do (ie, stream and not download anything before you get to hear it – also nice: it doesn’t just start playing. That’s annoying.) When you move around the site, the player stays constant so you don’t lose the song you’re listening to. Very  nice feature. I signed up for the email list – the description reminded me of Adam Brodsky’s missives. You get six free songs, when you sign up (if you get others to sign up you get FORTY songs). Musicians wanting to just get their music out there is always refreshing. Shows us they care about the MUSIC, man!

He’s also written and directed a short film, “Shocks.”

Though flawed*, it’s worth a watch.

*Main flaw is the dialogue-less soundtrack. The music is great (though similar to his own music, and the bands I’ve mentioned) but inconsistent. I ain’t  reviewing the movie, though!

I’m reviewing the CD and I already told you to go buy it, and listen to it as you poke around his website, so GET TO IT!

the Vader Project dos

May 19, 2010

Mod Mischief to the rescue again, linking me to all of the Vader Project pieces. The ones they feature on the site were def highlights. I like how

elicited one simple comment on Flickr:

“fucking hippies”

The Vader Project

May 13, 2010

Mostly, I’m just jealous of all the helmets they found to redo! Here’s my favourites:

Well, one favourite. I thought I could see all 100 of them.

Waaaaaant!

May 13, 2010

The eyes light up! “C-3PO comes with all appendages and can be easily assembled into a complete droid over 3 feet tall”