Unfortunate Events: Quotable Quotes & Closing Credits

We watched “A Series of Unfortunate Events” this evening. I’m not going to recommend this one because if you’re the sort of person who likes a very gruesome, dark, macabre, junior Monty Python style of humour, then you are the kind of person who already knows that you like Lemony Snicket. If your sense of humour is more wholesome than ours, you will hate it, and would be shocked at how much we laughed. So please, I beg of you, if you haven’t read and laughed over at least one of the books, do not watch this dark and disturbing and cinematically luscious vehicle for Jim Carrey’s manic acting abilities.
Trust me.

One of the best parts of the DVD release is the commentary option featuring the director and the author. Permit me to share two delights:

Director: Mr. the Entertainer is bringing a touch of the urban flair to the film.

Lemony Snicket: I assume you’re using ‘urban’ in its recent transformation as being a euphemism for ‘black.’ I don’t know if that’s become a euphemism for black in all of its definitions, so that you would say, “My word, what a remarkable ebony letter opener. It’s simply urban in its color,” or whether it would just apply to African Americans. I’ve always been suspicious of that term as I tend to be an urban person myself and yet have tended to be caucasian for nearly all of my life.


Lemony Snicket: “There are enough words in the English language without using words that don’t exist at all. That’s how I feel about the word ‘synergistically.’


I loved the end credits. It’s a little strange for something as low-key as end credits to have such an impact, but these did. They weren’t that ‘low-key’ after all. They were very artistic, clever, and loaded with visual interest. They kind of reminded me of some kind of meld resulting from the unsual combination of shadow puppets from Indonesia, Edward Gorey’s dark and intelligent drawings for the credits of the PBS series Mystery! and the Addams Family. Maybe a sprinkling of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, very tongue in cheek, witty, melodrama in black and white and sepia tones. Think Penelope Pitstop meets Edward Gorey.

You can watch them here, but don’t try it if you’re easily creeped out. I prefer them on the television screen, and can’t help but wish I’d spent the money to see the movie in the theater just so I could watch the closing credits on the big screen.

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Phyllis McGinley, Part II

You can read more about Mrs. McGinley in our previous post, here.


Rock’-‘-Roll Session

For this the primal reed was cloven.
For this did Berlioz break his ease
And Schubert starve and deaf Beethoven
Bend silence into symphonies.

For this the little Mozart fiddled
Beyond his bedtime, Bach was born,
And Guido got the scale unriddled:
That, paced by an hysteric horn,

The pimpled heirs of Orpheus, beating
Damp palms, might sway (agape like fish)
To four notes endlessly repeating
Thirty-two bars of gibberish.


The Landscape of Love


Do not believe them. Do not believe what strangers
Or casual tourists, moored a night and day
In some snug, sunny, April-sheltering bay
(Along the coast and guarded from great dangers)
Tattle to friends when ignorant they return.
Love is no lotus-island endlessly
Washed by a summer ocean, no Capri;
But a huge landscape, perilous and stern–

More poplared than the nations to the north,
More bird-beguiled, stream-haunted. But the ground
Shakes underfoot. Incessant thunders sound,
Winds shake the trees, and tides run back and forth
And tempests winter there, and flood and frost
In which too many a voyager is lost.


None knows this country save the colonist,
His homestead planted. He alone has seen
The hidden groves unconquerably green,
The secret mountains steepling through the mist.
Each is his own discovery. No chart
Has pointed him past chasm, bog, quicksand,
Earthquake, mirage, into his chosen land–
Only the steadfast compass of the heart.

Turn a deaf ear, then, on the traveler who,
Speaking a foreign tongue, has never stood
Upon love’s hills or in a holy wood
Sung incantations; yet, having bought a few
Postcards and trinkets at some cheap bazaar,
Cries, “This and thus the God’s dominions are!”

I find the second of the above poems so satisfying that I am just going to close this post here. Savor it a bit, then tend your planted homestead.

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A nice moment shattered

So I was having a fantastic conversation with a classmate about music. He also likes to “escuchar musica classica” (he’s in Spanish class, can you tell?) and we were going through some of our favorite pieces together. I don’t get this at school often, so it was Very Nice Indeed. Then we ran into another classmate. She wanted to talk about going to the tanning bed.


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Managing From the Heart

Many writers have expounded on Managing from the Heart & I know somewhere I have a footnote, reference or something telling me who said it first. Charles Swindoll says that the key to originality it to hide your sources!
Managing from the Heart goes as follows:

Hear and understand me.

Even if you disagree please don’t make me wrong.

Acknowledge the greatness within me.

Remember to look for my good intentions.

Tell me the Truth with compassion.

First we will look at “Hear and understand me”.

Most leaders and managers tend to already know the answer before the one being instructed has even formed his or her question. They form the answer prior to the other person finishing their sentence. The leader has done it all, seen it all, and been all and therefore probably already knows where the conversation is going. However, common courtesy says that you hear the person out. People enjoy (and rightly so) being listened to. Jesus knew this. We know that he knew peoples hearts, but I don’t believe he ever interrupted Peter and said, “Hey Peter, I know what your going to ask, so let’s just save some time here and let me answer you”. He let others finish speaking and then he responded.

One should listen to understand and not to respond. Once the message has been fully understood the response will come naturally. In fact, leader should let him or her finish speaking and then respond by rephrasing the statement or question to ensure that he understood the communicator’s true intent. At this point, if he was really paying attention, the nonverbals could be taken into account, which is much more important than the verbal. The one being led will see that you care for them and their issues, from the heart. This will create enjoyable working relationships for all. Pleasant relationships create greater productivity and open hearts.

Next we will discuss Disagreements.


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I care, you care, we all care… but who cares more?

A goodly time ago the DHM stupidly got into a discussion about gun control with a homeschooler from another country. The other person told the DHM that her country had pretty much banned all guns, and she guessed this was because she and her compatriots just cared more about children than the DHM and her compatriots.

Now, you should know that the DHM is afraid of guns and will not handle them and does not like to see her children handling them. And you should also know that the HM likes guns and target shooting, and so does gentle JennyAnyDots (and she’s very good). Pipsqueak does not enjoy it as much, but she’s extremely competent with a .22. The three of them will occasionally plink away at targets outside.

Because of the DHM’s own phobias and fears of firearms, she is extremely sympathetic to those who prefer more gun control. On the other hand, we live in the country where people drop off their dogs, which then run in packs, mate with the coyotes, and pose a threat to the children. We live in the country, where various wild animals can also threaten our livestock. We live in the country where police response to the two legged predator would be extremely slow. Therefore, the DHM is also sympathetic to the HM’s desire to have a weapon available to protect his wife and children. In short, the DHM is conflicted on this issue.

She sees and sympathizes with both points of view. What she does not see is any reason for one side to demonize the other or to suppose that the opposing view is only held by those who are less compassionate than oneself. And that’s what happened in that gun control discussion. It is what happens in many discussions. Even if we are not so stupid as the DHM so we do not engage in fruitless discussions, it is what often happens in our heads. We dismiss those who disagree with us as people who are not as compassionate or as faith based as we ourselves are.

One side will say (or think) that they really care about something that matters- the children, the poor, the minorities, the disabled, faith, small puppies, growing green things, the family, baskets of kittens, etc. The clear implication is that those who stand on the opposing political side do not care about those things. I find that frustrating. I happen to think that it is possible to be utterly wrong in one’s ideas about what will work, what society needs, and what is best for children/the disabled/people of faith/etc, and still be compassionate and caring, or even be a Christian.

It’s possible to disagree (passionately) on how best to implement a solution grounded in that compassion. But what I see too often is that people in favour of government solutions refuse to acknowledge that anybody who doesn’t see things their way can actually be compassionate, and that people who are not in favour of government solutions think those who differ cannot really care about God.

I don’t believe government is often a very helpful or useful solution, except in those limited areas of protecting life and property. I believe in private, personal, one on one solutions to most problems. But I understand that those who favour more government intervention can be sincere people of faith.

Neither side, not those who prefer fixing government institutions and increasing thier size in response to problems, nor those who favor personal, individual, private solutions, has a monopoly on faith or compassion. Rather, we just have very different ideas about what works and about what is right.

We can differ dramatically on what the problems are and what the solutions should be. That does not necessarily mean we don’t care about matters of faith or the less fortunate or the innocent.

I think it’s a mistake to assume that only people who are ones political bedmates care about others, or care about God, the Bible, and issues of faith. People who aren’t ‘with’ you on your pet issues might have many other reasons than a lack of compassion. They may not like your solutions. They may feel your solutions cause more harm than good. They may believe your solutions are unconstitutional or unbiblical or just wrong. That doesn’t mean they lack faith or compassion.

I may think your political viewpoint is ineffective at best, harmful at worst, and certainly wrong or even unbiblical. You might think mine is ineffective, shortsighted, harmful, unbiblical, or just plain stupid. But we would both be wrong to make guesses about the faith or compassion underlying the political opinions of those who differ from us.

Compassion and faith will not automatically lead us to the same solutions, partly because we often bring our own starting assumptions to our faith. That doesn’t mean ‘we’ have more compassion than ‘they,’ or that ‘they’ have less or more or greater or better faith than ‘we.’ It simply means we have differing political viewpoints.

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