Archives for the month of: August, 2014

                                          westboro Baptist church

The Westboro Baptist Church is in the news again.  This time their hate mongering is actually being used for good.  In their threat to picket the funeral of Robin Williams, they made another comedian really mad. The comedian parlayed his anger into a fundraising effort for St. Judes’s hospital and raised nearly $100,000 for the charity. Initially, he had offered to send the WBC to protest a real threat to Christianity-the group  ISIS .  When the State department discouraged this effort, he decided to host a crowd funding instead for the hospital.

I am amazed that the Westboro Baptist Church gets the funding it does to travel around the U. S. with their message of hate and repentance.  As a Christian, they have always been a source of embarrassment to me.  Embarrassment is too mild a term. They are revolting to me.  I am reluctant to even call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yesterday I read one of the verses that WBC and other churches who preach the gospel of hate use as fuel for their fire.  As I read it, it made me question the salvation of these groups.

Galatians 5:19-21New Living Translation (NLT)


19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that about half of the sins listed apply to WBC.

Maybe they don’t know Jesus the way that they say that they do.

Maybe they are some of the false prophets that Jesus warned about.

Matthew 7:15-23New International Version (NIV)


True and False Prophets


15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The Apostle Paul goes on to describe the fruits of the Holy Spirit of a true follower of Jesus Christ after delineating the fruits of sin.

Galatians 5:22-26New International Version (NIV)


22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The result of living a life void of the fruits of the Spirit is an eternity separated from God.

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Maybe WBC will take their own advice and repent and become true followers of the one true God and live a life full of the fruits of the Spirit.  Then, maybe, they will truly be able to lead others to know Him as well.


Flags American Danish copy

I just read a blog entitled What it’s Like To Grow Up In A Country That Doesn’t Hate Sex.

 It is about how families in Denmark are more accepting of teen promiscuity than American families.

The point of the article is that the Danish have a healthier view of sex and therefore lead happier lives because of this.

I would argue that when you really love something you don’t throw it around like a cheap shoe.  When you love something you protect it, guard it, you cherish it, and value it.

The so called “puritanical “values of the majority of Americans consider adolescent sex to be taboo.  Unlike their European counterparts they do not look favorably on their teenage daughter bringing home her boyfriend to spend the night. The blogger of this article sees this as a bad thing.  But is it?

Is there anything hateful about wanting our children to participate in an adult activity when they are an adult and both emotionally and financially capable of bearing the consequences of that behavior.  I am reminded of the parents who tell their children,”If you want to drink or smoke pot I will allow you to in my home.”  Encouraging risky behavior is not good parenting.

I realize that we no longer live in a society where chastity is a highly guarded virtue. Statistically 70 percent of young adults have had sex by age 20.  The U.S. has a higher rate of teen pregnancies but the way teen pregnancies are treated and the way they are recorded in Europe makes that suspect . The same article details how abstinence education helped reduce teen pregnancies in the U. S. The MTV show 16 and Pregnant has also had an impact in the reduction of teen pregnancies.

 Statistically, teens in the U.S. and Europe are equally sexually active. Apparently parental approval is not a determining factor in teen sexual behavior.

The assertion that a country that is more accepting of sexual promiscuity among teens is a happier place to live may not be accurate. From Wikipedia:


Denmark is often known as the country with the happiest people, but according to the WHO, both the female and male suicide rates are significantly higher than that of the US. Out of 80 countries polled and investigated in, the female suicide rate for Denmark is 11.3 suicides per 100,000 women (ranked 13th). The male suicide rate is twice as high at 24.1 suicides per 100,000 men (ranked 23rd).

The US, however, are ranked much lower on the list of 80. The female rate of suicide in the US is 4.4 suicides per 100,000 women (ranked 40th). And the male rate of suicide is 19.8 suicides per 100,000 men (ranked 30th).

Maybe hating sex makes for a happier society after all.


Rand Paul told Sean Hannity in an interview  on July 1, 2014, “One of the reason’s they’re (ISIS – Islamic terrorists) stronger is that we have been allied with them in Syria. We’ve been funding Islamic rebels who kill Christians. We’d be funding Islamic rebels to fight against Iranian proxies in Syria, but now, on the other side of the world, we’d be siding with the Iranian Guard. If we actually put troops in there we’d be siding with the Iranian Guard.”

One month later, the terror of ISIS has escalated to horrific proportions. Men, women and children are being murdered –some are beheaded and the heads of murdered children are put on display  as a symbol of the victorious Jihad in Iraq.

Thousands are fleeing for their lives to the surrounding mountains and some are starving in the mountains due to lack of provisions.

As this tragedy unfolds, I am reminded of the prophesy of the Great Tribulation that was foretold by Christ:

Mark 13:14 (NIV)

14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

My Spirit grieves over these events.  I am sickened by the fact that America has culpability in them, as Senator Rand explained.  I am even more sickened by the fact that our involvement in the Iraqi Freedom military action from 2003 set the stage for the current regime in Iraq.  I am sickened by the loss of American lives for a senseless war over non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction that were the reason for our involvement and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

We left the country worse than before Iraqi Freedom.  Saddam Hussein in all his evil ways was not nearly the menace as is the group ISIS that has developed in the wake of the American involvement.  At least, Saddam Hussein left the Christians alone.

Evil has begotten evil as our government in its lust for power has created a greater evil than the one it sought to destroy.

I have not been too happy with much of President Obama’s activities during his reign, but was relieved when airstrikes were ordered on ISIS and aid delivered to the fleeing Christian refugees.

As a member of the Christian Church-the body of Christ- I pray for the suffering of my brothers and sisters and the souls of their enemies.

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Colin Firth


Day 2 of Comic Con 2014  began my turn at #lineacon.  Due to a bit of a late start, I had to wait three hours in line missing The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels in Hall H.  The Hall did empty out thankfully after GOT and as we made it into the Hall, Everly with Selma Hayek was being presented.  After locating my seat I made a dash for some grub.

Coming back to my seat, I was faced with another great surprise-Daniel Radcliffe on the stage promoting his new movie Horns.  With all those Harry Potter movies, it was hard to believe that this was Daniel’s first appearance at Comic Con. (I later saw video of him wandering around the Expo in a Spiderman costume.) While I was getting my subpar, nearly warm pizza from the concessions stand, I missed the opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to Mr. Radcliffe who turned 25 a few days before.

Daniel was self-deprecating and funny in a gentle, gracious way.  The boy we all watched grow up on the silver screen was no longer the nerdy-looking kid, but an attractive young man to rival that other handsome Brit-Robert Pattinson.  It was a treat to see him in person.

The next panel was 20th Century Fox with a parade of films and actors. Book of Life was the first movie and Channing Tatum was my fan fav of the panel.  He was darling and sweet and gave us a dance when Biz Markie came on the stage with a rendition of   “You Say He’s Just A Friend”- one of the retro songs in this animated film.

The next film was Hitman with an appearance by Zachary Quinto whose diverse repertoire of work includes Spock in the new Star Trek films and his role on American Horror Story. He is very classy and  handsome.

Next was what looks to be a pretty funny movie-Let’s Be Cops with Damon Wayans Jr. and Nina Dobrev there to promote it.  CC attendees also were given the opportunity to be the first to see the movie that night at a local theater.

I am sure my heart stopped a little when out walked one of my favorite actors of all, (Mark Darcy, Mr. Darcy and King George) Mr. Colin Firth with a side of Samuel L. Jackson promoting their British spy movie spoof Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Colin is not an action hero actor, so his role as a fist pounding secret agent looks very intriguing. Samuel L. Jackson plays an evil villain with a lisp and an aversion to blood.

I left after the Kingsman panel and headed to The Manchester Hyatt to claim my swag from the previous day’s panels.  It is pretty crazy the way the mass of attendees is herded about and crowd controlled with lines –even at the swag ballroom. We wound round and round in a snaking line.  After all the circuitous movement, it was a little disappointing to receive some posters and a pair of sunglasses.  I took too much time for dinner and missed my train, so spent some time in Old Town listening to some Latin tunes and enjoying one of the massive margarita’s that are the staple of this tourist destination.

Finally the 11:15 Coaster train arrived and after the hour long ride and a short drive my  day ended.

I tried to get to Hall H early Saturday morning, but the wristbands for the first panel had been given out at 10pm the night before, and unlike the previous days, there were very few attendees exiting the Hall.

In reflection, I can’t believe I spent 10 hours waiting under the shade of the awnings reserved for the Hall H line.  I just kept believing more people would leave the Hall sometime throughout the day.  The problem was-Marvel (which is probably the most popular panel) was scheduled for 5:30 and apparently those attendees that had been willing to camp out in line all night, were going to stay until the very end.

I did escape the line a few times and did a walk through the Expo with the reward of seeing the Walking Dead actors signing autographs at the huge AMC display complete with a full-size train boxcar labeled   “Terminus”.       I got a few pics of them and even got a smile and acknowledgment from one of the actors.

The next treat was seeing the True Blood actors at the HBO display.  I could see them on the large screens over the exhibit, but the crowd was so thick I couldn’t get near them for a pic or even a clear view of them.  I could only see Anna Pacquin’s new superhero blue hair.  Wow what a fan frenzy!

Back in lineacon the line had not moved an inch.  I did meet some great fans and we had some great conversation about our fav movies and TV shows.  There was even love in bloom in line, as a young lady from Italy and a guy from Australia met and fell in love during the long wait in line. As the Marvel panel began, those of us in line watched the Twitter feed on our phones to see what actors were there and what they were doing.

Finally the Marvel Panel ended and there was a mass Exodus from Hall H.  This meant we would at least get in the Hall for the Warner Bros TV shows, including a first look at the pilot for Gotham-the new Batman TV show.

We got a cool swag bag, which was a tote bag filled with popcorn and bottle of water, lanyard, t-shirt, posters and a button for the Warner Brothers TV shows.  I had already seen the pilot for the Flash so watched it again waiting to see Gotham.  Gotham is the story of batman’s childhood and the young incarnation of the Batman villains like the Penguin, Cat Woman, The Joker etc.  It is a slick rendition of the tale with a sort of Roger Rabbit meets Sin City vibe and looks to be a fascinating series.

I couldn’t sit through Constantine again, having seen most of it on Preview Night and the long day having taken its toll on me, so headed back to North County and bed.

I had to make a 4am airport run for a friend and had planned on heading to Hall H one more time for day four to see The Following and Sons of Anarchy but alas my spirit was willing, but my body weak, and I just had run out of steam.

As I drove back north, I made a stop at my favorite donut shop- VG’s in Cardiff-the destination of many midnight donut runs during my years at UCSD.  I ordered my favorites-an apple fritter, giant cinnamon roll and of course the best ever raspberry jelly filled with an extra pink frosted donut for good measure and a cup of coffee.  I went to the local state beach and watched the surfers as the sun rose behind me.

As I reflect on the frantic adventure that is Comic Con,I wonder-what is the draw?  The answer comes from a saying I have heard from my business in sales-We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves so we can lose ourselves and ultimately find ourselves. The Comic Book genre continues to be strong because we long for a world where good overcomes evil.  We see some of it in the world today, but more often it seems that evil is winning.  The good news is the final chapter has already been written and our wish will ultimately come true. The One True Hero will win the battle and His name is not Thor, or Captain America or even the Hulk-but Jesus. Those guys with the big Yellow and black signs hanging around the Con-may not have the best method but their message is really what the crowd is longing for in their world of Fantasy.

Lord willing I will return for more adventures at Comic Con 2015.

sdcc 2014

It has been one week since I experienced the assault on the senses that is San Diego Comic Con International.  It was my second time at this amazing event.  Entering Comic Con is like stepping from the black and white world of Kansas to the Technicolor world of Oz.

There is color everywhere- Bright banners with the Comic Con logo, brightly colored registration packets with a tote back big enough to make you feel like a lillipution- covered with a bright illustration depicting one of the many TV shows or movies put on display at the convention. There are the costumed attendees in their garish attire passing you by like flipping through the pages of a comic book. There are not just a few attendees but thousands about 130,000 to be exact-about a fifth of the population of San Diego in 1970 when Comic Con was founded.  It is a city unto itself now, 44 years later.

Ballroom 20 was my first destination.  There are large screens hanging from the ceiling with the Comic Con logo framing each screen and the sight and sound of it bright and loud like a movie theater. The capacity is about 2500.   I watched pilots of new TV shows that will be airing in the fall-two sci-fi fantasy thrillers-Constantine and The Flash.

It seemed over before it began and it was time to journey back to where I would stay during the convention for a good night’s rest before the official first day of Comic con.

Following my agenda from the previous year, the next morning, I attended Masters of the Web a panel sponsored by AMC.  The most notable member of the panel for me was Manu Bennett star of the Hobbit, and Arrow who actually waxed poetic about making the world a better place.  Can we- the band of geeks and nerds take the battle of good and evil from our favorite stories and place it in the real world as we know it and fight for good over evil?

Like the superheroes in KickAss 2 who defeat the evil villains-can we defeat the villains of poverty, violence, injustice and hatred?(My expansion of this thought-not Manu’s)

I took a brief stroll through The EXPO with its explosion of sights and sounds and smells as every fantasy and sci-fi comic book, movie and TV show you could ever imagine are displayed in various forms.  A brilliant world that expands the mile long length of the convention center with thousands of displays from a simple table with an artist signing comic books to a huge multi-media creation as big as a city block and a hundred feet tall with screens showing movie clips and large counters filled with actors.

Then it was on to Hall H.  Hall H- the hallowed hall where the biggest movies with the biggest stars have their panels and previews and movie clips. SDCC attendees fight for one of the 6500 seats in this sanctuary of the screen. There are even larger screens than the ones in Ballroom 20 and a more sophisticated sound system to give you the true movie theater experience.

The first day there was no line because the featured production house was Dreamworks Animation-not a favorite of Comic Con attendees.  I was there for the panel to follow which was The Giver a new movie based on a dystopic novel that was the forerunner of the current craze such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner.

Imagine my surprise as the Dreamworks panel was finishing to see John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch promoting of all things Escape from Madagascar 4 to which they are lending their formidable voices.

That is the beauty of Comic Con-the unexpected gifts!  It is like Christmas morning with every panel filled with unexpected surprises! The schedule gives you the name of the Movie Studio and sometimes the movie being promoted but you never really know what movies will be shown and what actors will be there.

The unexpected bonus for me of The Giver was the presence of Jeff Bridges AKA “the dude” as he was referred to by nearly every audience member who queried him (from his role in The Big Lebowski). It was interesting to learn that he was the visionary behind bringing this novel to the big screen.  This process took over 20 years because there are some questionable storylines in the tale that were difficult to get past the censors.  (Side note: changes were made to these scenes to get the movie made).  I was not aware that this book was so controversial that it was banned from schools and libraries. Mr.  Bridges believed in this story and persisted and finally his vision is a reality. I enjoyed hearing from the author Lois Lowry who is arguably a forerunner in libertarian thought and the current popularity of the dystopic genre of literature.  According to Lois, her books are not designed to tell young people what to think but to challenge them to make their own conclusions.

The next panel was Paramount Pictures which treated us to a preview of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a little history behind the saga.  My takeaway from the panel is that the Turtles- like today’s police force needed to be militarized to survive in today’s world. Apparently, being a Ninja is not enough in 2014.  My other takeaway- Megan Fox does not appear as plastic surgery deformed off screen.  They must botox her up for filming or something.  She is naturally luminous in the real world.

Next up was Hercules himself AKA Dwayne Johnson who surprised the crowd with a stroll through the audience before offering them a chance to be the first to see his new movie at the Gaslamp Regal Theater a few blocks from the convention center at 6 pm that evening.  Wow his muscles are definitely not CGed!!!!

OK then there was another mind blowing fan moment for me- Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey and Director Christopher Nolan of The Dark Knight Fame made their first appearance at The Con.  Wow- but thank you large security guard who got in Every one of my pics!!! Loved seeing the audience members tease Matthew and Mr. Nolan was soft spoken and articulate in his cool British way-not what you would imagine for such an iconic action film maker.

I meandered over to the Indigo Ballroom at the Bayside Hilton for an Unofficial Look at the Final Middle Earth Film to learn some film facts and get excited about the final installment of The Hobbit-Battle of the Five Armies.

I watched the sunset over beautiful San Diego as I left OZ  on the Coaster Commuter train to end day one of SD Comic Con 2014. More in my next blog….