Monday, April 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye

US Navy 020620-N-1110A-503 Father hugs daughter goodbye before deploymentArguably, my favorite installment of the classic Muppet movies is 1984’s The Muppets Take Manhattan. In this movie, Kermit and the gang are portrayed as recent college graduates who have finished a successful run of their college play (“Manhattan Melodies”). Upon the suggestion of an audience member, they attempt to take this play to Broadway. After a series of doors slammed in their faces (despite considerably more effort than displayed in the original The Muppet Movie, where a single incident of allergy-inducing animal strong-arming got Kermit and his friends past secretary Cloris Leachman, and into the office of producer Orson Wells, who promptly agrees to prepare “the standard ‘rich and famous’ contract.”), the gang decides that they must part ways while Kermit attempts to continue trying to get the play off of the ground on his own. This leads to my second-favorite song in the movie (my favorite being the dream sequence that first introduced the world to the Muppet Babies concept): “Saying Goodbye.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Transformers Feature: Transformers Collectors' Club Runamuck and Over-Run (aka Runabout)

I just got Runamuck, the 2012 Transformers Collectors' Club membership incentive figure (and, according to the Tech Specs card, the 100th Fun Publications-created figure), in the mail yesterday. I got Over-Run/Runabout about a month and a half ago. My usual rule for Transformers blog features is to portray toys in the units in which they were originally sold. That is to say, groups are generally featured together only if you could actually buy the toys as a packaged group. But Runabout and Runamuck were never very good about following rules, were they?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Transformers Feature: Reveal the Shield Turbo Tracks

This will be the third Reveal the Shield toy I've featured in a row. That's not especially intentional, but with BotCon 2012 is just around the corner, I wanted to highlight the convention by talking about one of the molds that will be used for an exclusive to be released in this year's box set.

The BotCon 2012 set is a bit of a mish-mash, with six toys (up from the usual normal of five): 2 "Classics" characters, 2 "Shattered Glass" Decepticons, and 2 "Shattered Glass" Autobots. One of these from that last category will be a Shattered Glass Tracks, using this mold.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reflections on the Passing of Chuck Colson

It was in the middle of the week, perhaps a day or two after Dick Clark's passing, that I first learned that Chuck Colson — well-known for his participation in the Watergate scandals, and then for his conversion to Christianity and subsequent founding of Prison Fellowship and continuing political activism — was in such failing health that he, too, would pass away soon. While Clark's death filled me with sadness at the loss of a personality I had come to admire greatly over the years, Colson's passing this afternoon leaves me with a much more ambivalent feeling, and I'm not entirely sure how to respond.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Secret Parking Space

Those of us who have been connected to Fuller for any length of time know that parking has been a perennial problem. It's not terribly uncommon to come to campus, find there isn't any space in the first lot you arrive at, and while attempting to leave to try one of the other lots, pass by at least one or two other cars about to make the same discovery.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the parking situation is an easy target for jokes and parodies. I shared one some time back that was performed at a "Fuller Follies" event, and the parody I'm sharing today was originally written at about that same time, with the help of my wife.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Video Game 30th Anniversary of the Month - Dig Dug

For most of the video games I'll be covering, I really haven't been able to lock down a firm date of release. Most of the time, all that I can find is a verification that the release was, in fact, in 1982. Dig Dug is the exception. According to Wikipedia, Dig Dug was released on April 19, 1982. Thus we have our first real 30th Anniversary celebration!* (Tosses confetti and blows on kazoo)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Your Pastor Wasn't At Church Yesterday

At worship yesterday morning, our Youth Director filled in for the pastor while giving the welcome to the congregation, saying that he was out of town that day, so it would be "The Staff and Intern Show" that morning.

I wasn't the least bit surprised.

While it's reasonably well-understood that Easter is the most important holiday (read: "holy day") of the Christian faith, I don't know how many Christians grasp just how intense that day—and the week or more leading up to it—can be on the leaders of a local congregation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

BotCon 2012 - Request for Help

BotCon 2012 is now less than two weeks away. Even though I won't be able to attend this year, this means that I need to start making plans to update The Unofficial Transformers Club and Convention Exclusive Data Sheet. Having struggled to get some of the information I need in the past, I'm trying to be proactive this time around, and am asking for help.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BotCon Box Sets, Popularity, and Personal Taste

I don't think it's any secret that 2012 has not been kind to Fun Publications so far. I'm not going to get into whose fault each aspect was—there have been enough arguments on that to last most of us a lifetime! But between their recent security issues and overloaded servers, all happening right at the same time as BotCon 2012 pre-registration was underway and the 2012 club exclusives were being made available for sale, the folks who run the official Transformers Collectors Club have been keeping very busy.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Remembering The Painter of Light

I hadn't planned on talking about death again so soon after my reflections on the subject for Good Friday, but the sudden passing of artist Thomas Kinkade, who had styled himself as the "Painter of Light," on Friday night changed those plans.

I think I first became aware of Kinkade's work when I was in college. Although I have always thought his work quite beautiful, he sparked my interest for a rather different reason: he grew up in my parents' hometown of Placerville, CA. In fact, I understand that he was in the same high school graduating class as one of my aunts (a couple of years younger than my own parents), and we've been particularly interested in the occasional painting he would create depicting a Placerville locale of one type or another. My favorite work of Kinkade's, The Mountain Chapel (seen in the plaque to the left, but here's a better look), uncannily reminds me of Montreat, even though Montreat clearly was in no way the inspiration for this piece.

Friday, April 06, 2012

When Death Loses Its Sting

We all know the story by now. The hero won the victory, but at the ultimate personal cost. As his friends stand weeping around the operating table, Optimus Prime dies.

What? You thought I'd be talking about Jesus Christ on Good Friday? Patience, my friend...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Distrusting Science

Awash in Green and RedScot McKnight shared a release from the American Sociological Association this morning. The ASA has determined that there is a growing "distrust of science" among people who self-identify as conservative and among those who frequently attend church (obviously there is a significant overlap between these groups, but that's not to say they're identical). As McKnight says, this is "deeply troubling."

Monday, April 02, 2012

On Religion, Relationships, and Stories

Love - Engagement"It's not a religion. It's a relationship."

I don't know about you, but I've heard this particular evangelical talking-point more times than I can count. It "preaches" well (perhaps not least because of the convenient "rel-" alliteration), and on at least one important level, I think it's intended to highlight the central place that Christians, perhaps Evangelical Christians in particular, put on having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (I almost put that in quotes, too, as those words are used in precisely that way so often). I agree with the essential need for knowing Christ in such a personal way. Something that goes deeper than mere assent to a list of facts about who or what Christ is. Without that relationship, our faith is indeed empty.

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