Saturday, December 31, 2011

Robert Osborne on Classic Films

This is a real treat for me to post, especially one paragraph in particular. To read the whole interview with Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies fame, you can click here.

To what paragraph am I referring though? This one . . . 

We hope that someone who never saw our channel will watch Lord of the Rings and come back and discover John Garfield. I was at an event the other night and Lauren Bacall was talking and she said, "If you've never seen Topaze starring John Barrymore from 1933, then to you that's not an old film - it's a new film." She's right. If you've never seen Casablanca, made in 1943*, then that's a new film. She was talking about Turner and what an adventure it is to have these new experiences if you've never seen these movies before.

As noted many times on The Seventh Sola, my movie tastes are firmly stuck in Hollywood's Golden Age. However, from time to time I have had the chance to have younger relatives (or adopted relatives) overnight from time to time, and I have showed some selected films to them. Black and white, and usually film noir, although now and then I'll show them an old comedy such as "The Man Who Came to Dinner" or "The Philadelphia Story" or "Bringing Up Baby." 

Almost without fail, they are engrossed in a short amount of time. They find the film noirs very gripping and well acted. The comedies they find uproarious, with (in their words) such witty dialogue. And best of all, I don't have to be worried about language, blatant sex or gratuitous violence. In discovering my beloved old films, they have discovered a whole new world. 

Lauren Bacall was right. It doesn't matter how "old" a film is. If you haven't seen it, it's a new film to you. And worth the watching!

*Sola's note: Actually, I am surprised Robert made the date error on "Casablanca." The film was actually filmed in 1942, but it was released to general audiences in 1943. Then again, I shouldn't charge the master with an error. The release date is probably from where he dates all films.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alistair Crowley and Anonymous?

I ran across something rather interesting today when doing an online search of the anti-sec group "Anonymous," which claims responsibility for the hacking troubles faced currently by Strategic Forecasting, otherwise known as Stratfor. I found it via Wikipedia which, of course, has had credibility issues through the years. However, this little clip below had the ring of truth. Look at the alleged quote from Trent Peacock, and then I'll make my point:

We [Anonymous] just happen to be a group of people on the internet who need — just kind of an outlet to do as we wish, that we wouldn't be able to do in regular society. ...That's more or less the point of it. Do as you wish. ... There's a common phrase: 'we are doing it for the lulz.'
—Trent Peacock. Search Engine: The face of Anonymous, February 7, 2008.[9]

Definitions tend to emphasize the fact that the concept, and by extension the collective of users, cannot be readily encompassed by a simple definition. Instead it is often defined by aphorisms describing perceived qualities.[2] One self-description is:
We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.[10]

Hmmm. "Do as you wish." What a phrase. If you look back in history, this is very similar to what notorious British occultist Alistair Crowley once said. His philosophy was pretty much, "do what thou wilt."

I also find the last bit interesting. "We are Legion." Biblically astute people will recognize this phrase as coming out of the demon-possessed man set free by the Lord Jesus. Alistair Crowley's philosophy, borne out of the demonic. And a plan of action using the words of demons - evil creatures all.

Somehow, it just makes sense. And like all devils, there is a final destination for them. It won't be pleasant. And they won't be allowed to "do what they will."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Margaret Thatcher: The Film

There has been lots of buzz about the new film, "The Iron Lady," starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. Even her friends and supporters are divided about the film's merits and fairness to Mrs. Thatcher's legacy.

Here is a link to Nick Robinson's view of the film. Nick is one of the BBC's political analysts who began covering Mrs. Thatcher toward the tail-end of her tenure at No. 10 Downing Street.

As many of my readers are aware, I'm generally not one who likes new films. I am firmly stuck in the Golden Age of Hollywood (1930-1955) and especially film noir. And it has to be black and white. However, this is one that I will be interested in seeing.

I have often wished we had an American Margaret Thatcher. We no longer have Ronald Reagan, and none of our current GOP offerings are Reagan. I think I'd take Margaret Thatcher — even with diminished mental faculties — over what our current offerings are on both sides of the political spectrum.

I know I'll have to pick someone to support eventually. But I'm sure not thrilled about the prospects.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

At Last! Someone With a Backbone!

I needed some post-Christmas cheer, and I have an Air Force Base commander to thank for giving it to me.

As you'll see from this Christian Post article, the commander in question basically told a group of militant atheists to go pound sand when they demanded he take down a Nativity scene erected at the base.

I'm glad, and three cheers to the Air Force. I agree with his assessment of the Constitution, and I would even go farther than him.

It never ceases to irritate me when I consider how the courts and modern politicians have distorted the so-called Establishment Clause beyond recognition. All this provision of the Constitution was intended to do was to prevent Congress from establishing a state religion, with the Church of England as a comparative example. Congress shall not "establish a religion, nor PREVENT THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF." That's all it means. No more, no less. It was never intended to ban Nativity scenes or anything of the sort. A Nativity scene is not establishing a state church.

If our Founding Fathers were still alive—men who might actually know a little something about the Constitution because they wrote it—they would be aghast at what today's courts and politicians have done. And someone would get quite the lecture.

As a final aside, I can't help but be amused a bit with militant atheists. They're so threatened by something in which they claim not to believe. Some atheists I know personally actually share my opinion, finding it amusing as well.

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Anonymous" Hacker Thugs

Once again, the computer hacker group "Anonymous" has struck. This 
time, the victims are the subscribers to the global security think tank 
"Stratfor," shorthand for Strategic Forecasting. 
Here is a link to Forbes Magazine's" article on the infuriating event, if 
you want the whole story. Below is the pertinent paragraph on what happened:

The hackers posted a list online that they say contains Stratfor’s confidential client list as well as credit card details, passwords and home addresses for some 4,000 Stratfor clients. The hackers also said they had details for more than 90,000 credit card accounts. Among the organizations listed as Stratfor clients: Bank of America, the Defense Department, Doctors Without Borders, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the United Nations.
The group also posted five receipts online that it said were of donations made with pilfered credit card details. One receipt showed a $180 donation from a United States Homeland Security employee, Edmund H. Tupay, to the American Red Cross. Another showed a $200 donation to the Red Cross from Allen Barr, a recently retired employee from the Texas Department of Banking. Neither responded to requests for comment.
Why the photograph of the old Stateville Prison electric chair in Illinois? Because it's what I think this group of morons deserves, although I wouldn't follow through on it in reality. I am only in favor of the death penalty for murder, which I think is biblical enough. However, this kind of stuff makes me mad enough to want to throw the switch. 
These clowns think they're somehow noble in lashing out at various firms and entities. But they don't seem to realize that the ones who are getting hurt are more often than not everyday folks who have families to feed and businesses to run — businesses that employ a whole lot of people. The person or persons behind this "Anonymous" group aren't noble. They aren't brave. They aren't striking a blow for humanity. They're criminals.

They deserve to be in jail, and I hope they will be soon. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21). 

The Seventh Sola wishes one and all a most blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Janet Boynes and Hope

For today's post, I am going to highlight a feature that I saw yesterday. It might seem strange to post an article dealing with coming out of the homosexual lifestyle right before Christmas, but I think the feature does deserve some attention. The coming of Jesus into the world provided hope to a lost world, and I can't think of a group more in need to hope than those trapped in the so-called "gay" lifestyle.

When you get a few minutes, read this linked article about Janet Boynes and her ministry. Janet herself is a former lesbian. Aside from her wonderful testimony about being set free by the power of the Gospel, the most telling thing to me about the article was the level of hate and vitriol she has endured since leaving the lifestyle. That goes against the approved narrative, you see.

But our God has the power to change anyone's life, no matter how deeply into sin the individual might be.

That's the hope of the Gospel and the love of Christ.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On a Christmas Day . . .

Actually, the photo on the right got me thinking of "California Dreamin," by the Mamas and the Papas. The song contains the line "I went for a walk on a winter's day."

That in turn led me to remember the Simon and Garfunkel song, "Hazy Shade of Winter." That song contains the lyrics . . .

"But look around,
leaves are brown now
And the sky
is a hazy shade of winter

Look around,
leaves are brown
There's a patch of snow on the ground."

Don't ask me why my mind works the way it does. I could blame it on my early years in radio, where I had to listen by force to song after song in all sorts of different genres. But it is what it is.

The photo was taken last winter while I was driving to work early one morning. It had been snowing overnight and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. Many people would find such a scene gloomy, and no doubt Paul Simon had the gloominess of winter on his mind when he wrote "Hazy Shade." But to me, every season has its beauty. I see a stark sort of beauty in that cold picture, with cold snow on the ground, a cold freeze in the air, yet the light of the sun managing somehow to break through the frost and shine its light.

Isn't that what happened on the first Christmas Day long ago? A light broke out into a cold, dark world with the promise of eternal hope. The child in that manger was actually God Incarnate, who grew to become a man, and our Savior. He gave His life on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead to justify all who would believe in Him as Savior and Lord.

That ought to warm our hearts even though the outside might be frightful. Our Savior is the greatest gift of all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And Then There's Reality . . .

There are times when I dread the end of the year. And it's not because of Christmas. Indeed, Christmas is a wonderful reminder that we serve a sovereign God who is in firm control of His creation.

No, my dread has more to do with the endless re-run of all the horrible stories from the previous year. We'll have to re-live the Japanese tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster, the death of Kim Jong Il, economic turmoil, political turmoil, scandals, and a host of other grim fare followed by hand-wringing and prognostication about what 2012 will bring. Many are expecting disaster, and are making plenty of money selling the idea and how to escape it unscathed. People get ready! It's coming!

Far be it from me to not recognize that we live in a perilous, fallen world. We do. Christians such as myself believe that things on the planet will indeed get much worse before they get better. In fact, the last seven years of this world order will be the worst ever experienced by mankind. We are told by the Lord that . . . For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days (Mark 13:19-20).

When we look at the world right now, it does seem like it's too much for anyone to solve. Europe is in a world of hurt with debt, and the United States seems bound and determined to jump off the same cliff like a herd of lemmings. Everyone wants cuts, except don't cut their piece of pie.

Thank the Lord that He knows the end from the beginning. And thank the Lord that He came to earth, took on the form of a man, died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead for my justification. And thank the Lord that He will return one day to receive His own.

That really is the Christmas message — the one true hope of fallen mankind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Bible and the Welfare State

The issue of caring for the poor has always been a concern in the Christian world. Jesus was concerned about it, and the Old Testament has plenty of passages dealing with being charitable.

However, in this day and age, the government has gotten involved in the picture and it's no longer the sole purview of the religious community to care for the needy. And the government, of course, handles things through confiscatory taxation. The far left confiscatory crowd loves this, of course. I often wonder if their concern is really for the poor, or if it's solely for perpetuating their political power. Give out money and get votes in return.

Thanks to Dan Phillips for pointing out this essay on the subject. I also posted this over on my Facebook page, and no doubt it will get plenty of comment.

I am getting tired of the Sojourners-types and Democrats saying that conservatives don't care about the poor. It's a canard and a wearisome one. We do care. We just have a different way of going about it than picking other people's pockets by force.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Looking for God?

Now and then a science story grabs my attention. It's usually because there is some theological angle attached to it, and this is no exception.

Fox News did a little piece on the so-called "god particle," or in its proper name, the "Higgs Boson." The original headline on Fox's home page said something like "God remains elusive."

I don't know whether to be sad or to chuckle. They're working so hard on finding the meaning of the universe, and they won't accept the real explanation. What is that, you might ask? Or better yet, Who?

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17).

Clue. He's not a "particle."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Israel: Newt and Joseph are Right!

It figures.

The one time I decide to sit out a Republican debate, there has to be a little donnybrook over Israel. And the fallout will be interesting to watch.

In case you missed it, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily recaps the story here, with a companion link to an article he had written some years earlier on the same subject.

Needless to say, the anti-Israel types (as well as the politically-correct types) are frothing at the mouth. Too bad. It's about time someone had the courage to point out the truth about Israel. Good for Newt and good for Joseph Farah. Let's hope the story gathers some steam.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Dirty, Dirty Business

I think most of us know that the upcoming presidential election in the United States will be one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history. I'm not looking forward to it at all. Looking at the cliff depicted in the photo on the right, it makes me wonder if we as a nation aren't about to careen right over it.

Have a gander at this article in American Thinker. It's a sobering read. While you're at the site, go to the home page and scroll down to the James Lewis article on "Why Newt Will Do."

I sympathize with much of what is said in both articles, especially the stakes of this election for the country. However, as a believer, I have serious misgivings about the "end justifies the means" position of the first article. Serious misgivings.

It's not that I don't agree with the writer that the left will play every conceivable dirty trick in the book on the Republican nominee. But if someone claims Christ as their Savior, that places one's actions on a totally different moral and ethical plane. Both Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich have professed Christ, at least with their mouths, and for quite some time. That doesn't seem to have stopped either of them from engaging in questionable conduct. And there is quite a double standard in the media about this sort of thing. It's okay for the left to engage in it, but since Republicans typically uphold a high standard in principle, they get bashed mercilessly when there is any deviation. The pecadillos of the liberal candidates get ignored or whitewashed.

In my view, just tell the truth. Loudly and articulately. The truth about Barack Obama is damaging enough all on its own. No need to lie or get in the gutter.

Unfortunately, many Republicans seem to shrink with distaste from even telling the truth about their liberal opponents. They see it as unseemly. The Lord only knows why.

Politics isn't country club fare. It's bare knuckle. But you don't have to abandon morals or ethics to engage. Case in point: if the media had done its job and due diligence on Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Liberation Theology and a host of other things, Mr. Obama never would have been elected president. Those issues are real and not manufactured. Full disclosure of them is not dirty politics.

Now, does it seem like I just contradicted my main point in this article about not getting in the gutter? Read what I've written carefully. I don't think so. My concern is over what was expressed in the first linked article. It all depends on what the writer means by being willing to get in the mud. If it means lying and making up things about your opponent, no way. If it means telling the truth, fine.

Of course, then we'll have to have an argument about what constitutes truth.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Leon, Stifle Yourself!

This weekend, I am disappointed - to put it mildly - with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. But I really shouldn't be surprised at his Israel comments given the Obama Administration's attitude toward the Jewish state.

Here is the offending article in question if you want to see it in context. In a nutshell, Panetta thinks Israel needs to do more to make peace in the region, the same old weary litany . . .

"For example, Israel can reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability -- countries like Turkey and Egypt, as well as Jordan," he said. "This is not impossible. If the gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are. And that is exactly why Israel should pursue them."

I really do get tired of this bovine effluent coming out of the mouths of our present government. Panetta's statement is either wildly naive or intentionally insulting and provocative. Israel has bent over backwards to make peace with her neighbors. Repeatedly. And instead of making genuine reciprocal actions, all we hear from the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim street is "more, more, more." You'd think they were singing disco with the late Andrea True.

The Islamic side of this equation has done precisely what Panetta references - rebuked the gestures Israel has made ad infinitum and ad nauseum. Unfortunately, the world does NOT see these rebuffs for what they are. Israel has her back against the wall, and now she can no longer count for certain on her greatest ally.

Let me rephrase that. Her greatest EARTHLY ally. She still has the God of the Bible who does not slumber or sleep. Mr. Panetta and the rest of his colleagues in our government would do well to remember that.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Stricken Joplin Still Gives

Here's a nice story to kick off December and the Christmas season.

As you can see from the memory-jogging photo, the city of Joplin, Missouri, has had a rough year and that's putting it mildly. A huge section of the city got buzzed to the ground by a killer tornado last spring. But that's not stopping the people of Joplin from showing their generous side.

According to this Christian Post article, a total of 12,000 shoeboxes for needy children have been given out of a city where many were already made homeless and possessionless after a terrible natural disaster. Wonderful.

Just what we need to see while much of the media is focused on the nasty side of humanity.

As an aside, I would like to take this opportunity to throw a plug in for the ministries of Slavic Gospel Association. If you check out their website, they're gearing up to help churches in Russia and the former Soviet nations reach out to needy children through SGA-sponsored Immanuel's Child and Orphans Reborn ministries. The former is a ministry geared to link North American churches with evangelical churches in Russia to reach needy children at Christmas with the Gospel. The latter — Orphans Reborn — is an SGA-sponsored ministry to orphan children year-round, but also includes a special outreach at Christmas.

You don't hear much about it in the news these days, but poverty remains horrendous in the former Soviet nations, even though some are doing well in the major cities. The rural villages are where life is the hardest, and the churches there have scarce resources.

Pray for these ministries, and indeed all evangelistic and humanitarian ministries in the days ahead. So many need the life-changing Gospel, as well as a helping hand.