Sunday, December 31, 2006

We Are Marshall

I have some fun New Year's posts that I want to do tomorrow and later this week but first I had to post about this AWESOME movie I saw today. I cannot say enough good things about it. We Are Marshall is based on a true story and is incredibly moving.

A small college town in West Virginia loses almost their entire football team and many other members of their town in a plane crash. This picture is of the real football team in 1970.

Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox star in it and they both did an incredible job. It cracked me up because I'm used to seeing McConaughey as the good-looking bachelor in most of his movies and he played such a different character this time. He had this horrible 70's hairstyle and wore these wretched plaid suits and yet he did such a good job as the coach that he was playing. I cried through most of the movie because it was so moving and inspirational.

It was also neat because it takes place in West Virginia in the 70's and I actually lived in a small town in West Virginia in the 70's so that was kind of cool.

At the end of the movie they showed a lot of pictures of the real people that the movie was about. I always love it when they do that and this is a picture of Fox & McConaughey with their real life counterparts.

Matthew Fox talking about his thoughts about doing the movie and getting to know the real life Coach Red Dawson that he plays in the movie.

LMC gives the movie two thumbs up and I highly recommend you see it. It is also rated PG so it is a great family friendly movie.

Wonderful review by Michael McBride

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Butcher of Baghdad has been executed

This is an important day in history!! A mass murderer who had no qualms even killing people in his own family has met his Maker. Justice has been served.

Father and child gassed in Halabja
Photo Hat tip:
Mike's America

Lest we forget the horrors he inflicted upon thousands and thousands of innocent men, women and children this picture is just a small reminder. This evil man's reign of terror would have continued with his even more pathological sons, Uday and Qusay had it not been for President Bush and our brave U.S. troops.

I watched several A&E biographies on Saddam Hussein and his sons and I was horrified at what I saw. When his sons were very young they were forced to watch the torture and murder of fellow human beings and even ordered to commit murder or be killed themselves. Uday breeded terror among the women at the University of Baghdad where he would pick out the most beautiful women, rape them and then kill them. Qusay was just as brutal and Saddam had succeeded in turning his sons into monsters. Here is an excerpt from a short piece on Saddam's sons:
"The stories told about Saddam’s sons, related to NEWSWEEK by several Iraqi exiles, seem almost too grotesque to be true. Some are probably exaggerated, but not by much, according to a senior administration official who has access to CIA files on Saddam’s sons. More is known about Uday, but only because he was outlandish in his depravity. Qusay is “in the shadows,” says this source. “We don’t know much.” But U.S. intelligence believes that Qusay is Saddam’s true heir apparent, for the simple reason that he controls the security that keeps his father in power and alive. Given their family history, it is remarkable that his two sons have not killed each other (though they may have tried).

Both men (Uday is 38, Qusay 36) were born and bred to violence of the most lurid kind. As infants, they were supposedly given disarmed grenades as toys. More reliably, they were said to accompany their father on outings to the torture chamber. What did they see? The methods used by the ruling Baath Party have never been subtle. When the Army briefly drove out the Baathists in the early 1960s, it discovered a chamber of horrors where Saddam worked as an officer. In the cellars of Qasr-al—Nihayyah (“the Palace of the End,” so-called because King Faisal II was murdered there in 1958), the Army found “electric wires with pincers, pointed iron stakes on which prisoners were made to sit, and a machine which still bore traces of chopped-off fingers,” according to one account based on official sources.

Saddam has always believed in the symbolic power of mutilation. “Under torture, the high and mighty are quite literally exposed as being made of the same stuff as everyone else,” writes Kanan Makiya in his study of Saddam’s Iraq, “Republic of Fear.” As Iraqi ruler, Saddam delivered the broken bodies of his victims to their families. He was aiming at the creation of “a new man” in Iraq, just as Hitler and Stalin had tried to do in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. He may well have made his sons into psychopaths."

Not only did Saddam torture and murder thousands of his fellow muslims but he had many ties to terrororism around the world.

Toon Hat Tip: Flopping Aces

It must be mentioned that had it been up to the Liberal Democrats and the Cindy Sheehans of the world Saddam Hussein and his sons would still be alive to continue their reign of terror. Thank God for President Bush and our U.S. troops who have protected the lives of countless innocent men, women and children. Even though we are still unearthing mass graves in Iraq no new ones are being created. Saddam's reign of terror is over!!

Others blogging:
Mike's excellent post: Saddam is executed!
Report: Saddam hanged; Update: Last word — “Muqtada”
Suddam Hussein 'Swinging from a Rope' Execution
"I die a martyr"
Justice Served
Swinging Saddam Watch
Together, at Last
Swinging Saddam-Live Thread
Saddam Will Be Dead By Sunday
Butcher of Baghdad is Dead
Saddam is a Done Deal! Yay!
Answering for the wicked he done
Sister Toldjah
No New Year for You-Know-Who

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday to Harley & My Little Brother

My daughter Harley actually turned 9 on the 12th but today is her Birthday party. We are having an American Girls' Christmas Party at my house and then I am taking Harley and 4 of her friends to Build a Bear. My baby brother also turned 30 this month on the 14th. So I'm wishing him a belated Happy Birthday as well.

I apologize for not posting or visiting much lately. I've been busy making these Christmas wreaths and Peanut Butter cookies with Hershey kisses in them. I've also been trying to get Christmas cards out and make my house look presentable and get laundry done. Right now I have an hour before everyone arrives at my house and I have laundry all over my house and my house looks scary so I've got to get my act together. I hope everyone is enjoying the craziness of Holiday preparations as well :-)!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flawed Heroes

I used to be extremely idealistic and perfectionistic and in some ways I still am. But realizing people's imperfections and humanness can be a breath of fresh air. It doesn't have to be a cause to become negative and bitter because no one is perfect besides God himself. We don't have to give up on heroes just because none of them live up to our expectations 100% of the time.

When I used to strive for perfection I was too hard on myself and others and Daniel was my Biblical hero. You read the book of Daniel and I don't think there is a record of anything he did wrong. He obviously sinned but for whatever reason none of them ever got recorded. Oh, that the rest of us could be so lucky :-). Yet, as I worked through my own imperfections and learned how to give myself and others a break my Biblical hero changed. I found myself identifying more with David or perhaps Rahab or another person who had faith and was praised by God but had obvious flaws. You don't condone the sin but you are also realistic about the fact that we are all just human.

I say all of this to explain my admiration for different people who have imperfections but also have done a lot of good that can't be overlooked because of their humanness. The first time I came to terms with this was with Michael Landon. I have seen almost every episode of Little House on the Prairie too many times to count. There is so much about this show that I love and it amplifies everything that is good about family, faith, life and it does it with heart and humor. Anytime life gets difficult I put in an episode of LHOP and everything is right with the world. My mom watched hours of it with me when I was in the beginning stages of labor with one of my sons :-).

Anyway, Landon's character embodies what it looks like to be a wonderful father and husband. Because of this I had a great admiration for him and even though he was acting you could often see his true heart come through in what he said and did. I also saw him in real life interviews and a biography of him showed how he would go to a camp for kids with cancer. Most celebrities would come for a day and get their photo-ops but Landon would go and actually spend the whole week interacting with the kids the entire time. There was something about him that gave you the impression that he was genuine and sincere.

So, it was very difficult when I found out that even though in real life he believed in family and faith he hadn't done a very good job of living it out. I was stunned when I learned that he had been married 3 times. But it was then that I realized that it didn't discount all the good he did. If I had known about the 3 marriages first it may have colored my view of him but I knew about the good first.

As some of you may have suspected this is leading up to my thoughts about Mel Gibson. I see the same qualities in Gibson's movies as I saw in LHOP and I see the same sincerity and heart in Gibson in real life as I saw in Michael Landon. Braveheart and The Patriot portray so much of where my heart is when it comes to passion, fighting for what you believe in, loyalty and never giving up. Gibson poured his heart into Braveheart like Landon did with LHOP and it shows.

I watched Sean Hannity's interview with Gibson last night and saw so much transparency in him and all the qualities that have garnered my respect and admiration for him. He had a sense of humor and seemed very genuine and real. He talked about faith and grace and you saw it in him. He talked about how we all have to be humiliated at times and that it leads to humility. It helps you keep perspective about your small place in this world. We are all human beings and we need a tap on the shoulder when we are getting out of line. He talked about how it is important to turn a negative into something good.

Does the drunken, anti-semitic speech bother me? Am I disappointed that he doesn't like Bush and is against the Iraq War? Yes, to all of those but it doesn't discount the tremendous good he has done with the Passion and all his other endeavors. He is a flawed hero of mine.

My last example would be Rush. This man has done more good for the conservative cause than anyone I know aside from Reagan. I adore the fact that he speaks his mind and doesn't care what anyone thinks or says. He is real and honest and believes in many of the same ideals that we all believe in.

Am I disappointed that he's had 3 failed marriages? Did the drug addiction disappoint me? Yes, but once again his flaws can't possibly discount all the good he's done.

The True Measure of a Man/Woman

All of this causes me to reflect on what is the true measure of a person. It is not whether they lived a perfect life because Jesus Christ is the only one who did that. It is whether they took the good and the bad, the strengths and the weaknesses and grew as a person. It is whether their faith in God has enabled them to bring good out of bad situations. It is whether they lived life with grace and faith and tried to make their corner of the world a little better.

(Sidenote: Many of you may disagree with me on this. You are free to do that and for some it may be because you knew the negatives about these people before the good. There are probably some people that had I known their strengths before their weaknesses I might view them differently. Such is life. But this post reflects my heart and is sincere and genuine.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Movie Stuff

There are a couple of movies that have come out this year that I want to see but haven't gotten a chance to yet. I admit that even though I am a big Gibson fan it was hard to think about going to see one of his movies since his incident. But Sean Hannity got to see his newest movie Apocalypto and said it was very good and very moving. That describes a lot of Gibson's movies so I wasn't surprised. It made me want to go and see it especially since its about the Maya Kingdom which is an intriguing subject for me. Also, I know this is a little corny but O'Reilly has this body language expert on occasionally who analyzes people's body language. O'Reilly had her observe Gibson on Leno's show and she said that his body language conveyed a real remorse about what had happened.

I also wanted to see Flags of our Fathers awhile back but never made it to the movie theater. Another one that is out right now that looks good is Bobby which is about Robert F. Kennedy. I'm in desperate need of a movie night but no time right now.

I watched End of the Spear last night and was pretty impressed. I am actually pretty familiar with this story about the 5 missionaries that were killed by tribal people but never knew the details. Elisabeth Elliott is a famous speaker and writer and she was one of the widows of the missionaries. I'm not a big fan of hers since she is a little on the legalistic side but never understood how some of the widows and children went back in to minister to the very people who killed their husbands. When you watch the movie it all makes sense. It is still pretty remarkable and it is a true picture of Christians showing the unconditional love of Christ to the lost. It is a movie well worth seeing.

Joia reminded me that I forgot to mention Clueless in my movie reviews. She lent it to me so I forgot since it wasn't on my Netflix list. This is a total gem of a movie. I was always turned off by it because it just seemed like an airhead, teenage movie to me but its actually very fun. First of all it is a modern version of Jane Austen's book Emma so that makes it neat. Also, I was so excited to see the name of one of the main characters. Alicia Silverstone is the main character whose name is Cher but her best friend is Dionne and they are both named after has been singers. This was so awesome to me because I have literally never seen a movie with a character in it with my name but also for her to be named after the same singer was very cool.

DVD Warning:

Just to save some people some stress I felt I needed to issue this warning. The two big DVD renters that send movies through the mail for a monthly fee are Netflix and Blockbuster. These are awesome services because you get unlimited movies for one low price. My warning comes in that there is a big difference in the customer service of Netflix versus Blockbuster. I started out with Blockbuster and had numerous problems. A friend and I both got frustrated and switched to Netflix. I have used Netflix for about 8 months and have never had any problems. Recently Blockbuster is trying to lure people to them with their option of enabling you to return DVDs that you get through the mail at the store and immediately get a new movie. I thought this would be a nice feature and so decided to give them another try. After going through the hassle of switching back to them I immediately encountered problems. Within one day I had 3 different issues with them. I decided it wasn't worth it and switched back to Netflix immediately. Bottom line, go with Netflix and save yourself a lot of stress.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rumsfeld & Hannity Visit Iraq

Two of my favorite men visited the troops in Iraq this past weekend. Take the time to watch both of the videos I link to below.

Rumsfeld's Farewell Tour

Talkin' with the Troops

Movie Reviews

Patrick had a great idea where he looked at all the movies he had gotten through Netflix this past year and gave mini-reviews on what he thought of all of them. I thought that sounded like a fun idea so I'm doing the same although I'm categorizing them a little differently and I'm not listing every single movie. Of the ones I can remember I'll list the movies I saw in the theater.

Netflix Movies

These are the movies/TV series that I loved:

LOST--Seasons 1 & 2--shocking to all of you I'm sure

The Outsider--I loved this movie, bought it and have watched it several times

Iron Jawed Angels--I did a whole post on this

The Inheritance--based on Louisa May Alcott's book

Reality Bites--I had seen this before but I liked it much better the 2nd time.

American Outlaws--my favorite Colin Farrell movie

Dreamer--inspirational movie with Kurt Russell & Elisabeth Shue

Tears of the Sun

Movies I liked:

She's the Man

Save the Last Dance 2--This wasn't bad but wasn't near as good as the first one which I love.

Drive Me Crazy

Last Holiday

Eyes of a Stranger

Just Like Heaven--Reese Witherspoon

Cinderella Man--I liked this more than I expected too

Miss Congeniality 2--Not as good as the 1st one but cute

These movies I thought I would really like but they were a big disappointment:

Young Guns 1 & 2--Kiefer Sutherland is awful in these. I don't think I ever liked him in anything until 24. Its almost like he's a different person in 24. He is one of those actors like George Clooney who looks and acts better in his 40's than he did in his 20's.

The Sentinel--A recent Kiefer Sutherland movie that I thought would be good but was just kind of a flop.

The New World--Huge Disappointment

La Femme Nikita (the series)--I was told this was similar to Alias. I love Alias but Nikita is nothing like Alias in terms of its appeal. They have similar story lines but I love Alias and despised Nikita.

Tristan & Isolde


Movies I just didn't like:


The Recruit

Hart's War--This had Bruce Willis & Colin Farrell in it and was a war movie but it still didn't cut it for me.


To end all Wars

Rumor has it

Movies I saw at the Theater that I loved:

World Trade Center

United 93


Failure to Launch

Movies I saw with my kids at the Theater:

Superman Returns--I got to see it in 3D with my boys. A friend had told me it was really good so I had high expectations and ended up not even liking it.

The Devil Wears Prada--I saw this with my girls and it was pretty good.

Santa Clause 3--I saw this with all my kids. It was good but not as good as 1 & 2.

Yours, Mine and Ours--Cute movie

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Iraq Surrender Group

"Consensus is the absence of leadership. To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies. So it's something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."--Margaret Thatcher

President Bush's response to a BBC reporter's question regarding the Iraq Study (aka surrender) group:
"Make no mistake about it. I understand how tough it is, sir. I understand there's sectarian violence. I also understand that we're hunting down Al-Qaeda on a regular basis, and we're bringing 'em to justice. I understand how hard our troops are working. I know how brave the men and women who wear the uniform are and therefore they'll have the full support of this government. I understand what long deployments mean to wives and husbands and mothers and fathers, particularly as we come into a holiday season. I understand. And I have made it abundantly clear how tough it is. I also believe we're going to succeed, not only do I know how important it is to prevail, I believe we will prevail. I also want the American people to understand that if we were to fail -- and one way to assure failure is just to quit, is not to adjust and say it's just not worth it. If we were to fail, that failed policy will come to hurt generations of Americans in the future.

I believe when an ideological struggle between forces that are reasonable and want to live in peace and radicals and extremists, and when you throw into the mix a radical Shi'a and radical Sunni trying to gain power and topple modern governments with energy which they could use to blackmail Great Britain or America or anybody else who doesn't kowtow to them, and a nuclear weapon in the hands of a government that would be using that nuclear weapon to blackmail to achieve political objectives, historians will look back and say, "How come Bush and Blair couldn't see the threat?" That's what they'll be asking. And I want to tell you, I see the threat. And September the 11th should be a wake-up call for the American people to understand what happens if there is violence and safe havens in a part of the world. And what happens is, people can die here at home."

What Senator Joe Lieberman had to say about talking with Iran & Syria:
"I believe that America is a mighty enough nation that we should never fear to talk to anyone. But anyone who believes that Iran and Syria really want to help us to succeed in Iraq, I just is missing the reality. Asking Iran and Syria to help us succeed in Iraq is like your local fire department asking a couple of arsonists to help put out the fire. These people are flaming the fire. They are the extremists. They are supporting terrorists in Iraq, in Lebanon and of course in the Palestinian areas."

It sounds similar to my analogy:
"Its like asking a pimp to help you with the prostitute problem on Portland street. Iran is a huge part of the problem so asking them for help is ludicrous."

Jeff Jacoby had this to say in his column ‘Conversations’ with the enemy:
"As things stand now, however, negotiating with Iran and Syria over the future of Iraq is about as promising a strategy for preventing more bloodshed as negotiating with Adolf Hitler over the future of Czechoslovakia was in 1938. There were eminent "realists" then too, many of whom were gung-ho for cutting a deal with the Fuehrer. As Neville Chamberlain set off on the diplomatic mission that would culminate in Munich, William Shirer recorded in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," Britain's poet laureate, John Masefield, composed a paean in his honor . When the negotiations were done and Czechoslovakia had been dismembered, the prime minister was hailed as a national hero. The Nobel Committee received not one, not two, but 10 nominations proposing Chamberlain for the 1939 peace prize.

Chamberlain and his admirers had been certain that Munich would bring "peace in our time." Instead it helped pave the way for war.

How many times does the lesson have to be relearned? There is no appeasing the unappeasable. When democracies engage with fanatical tyrants, the world becomes not less dangerous but more so."

In conclusion my only hope is that Bush will continue to stand strong in his stand against the enemy and ignore this insane advice. In reading Jacoby's column it amazed me to learn that King Appeaser Neville Chamberlain received 10 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. I guess things haven't changed all that much. Peace prizes are still given to appeasers like Carter who not only don't bring peace but put our country and the world in further danger. I pray that the American people wake up soon to the real threat we face so we don't wake up to another 9/11 attack or something even worse. Have you forgotten?

Other Sources:
Hat tip for the title, Thatcher quote & the President's quotes: Rush
Bush: 'Tough Assessment' refers to Iraq Report
Anger, Tears and Fears(A Must Read by Robin)
December 7th 1941 A Tragedy That Could Have Been Avoided(An excellent post by Mike on the lessons from Pearl Harbor)
America Wake Up