Monthly Archives: July 2013

Book: “Light Between Oceans”

THE-LIGHT-BETWEEN-OCEANSI just finished “The Light Between Oceans,” by M.L. Stedman, easily the best book I’ve read this year. Beautifully written. I understand it’s an Oprah Book Club selection.

The book is set in Australia, mostly on Janus Rock, a remote island with a lighthouse–a captivating context. We learn all about lighthouses and how they work. The lighthouse keeper, Tom, is a former soldier in the Great War, a war hero. He meets a woman, Izzy, they marry, and they move to Janus Rock. Then one day a rowboat washes ashore carrying a baby girl. They decide to raise the child as their own…and things get complicated.

I went to the Espresso Gallery coffeeshop to read the last 75 pages. With 5 pages to go, the tears were welling up, and I knew it would only escalate. Being a guy of the old-school variety, I quickly closed my Nook and hustled out of the place. I decided it would be better to drive home and read the final few pages there. It was a good decision.

This is Stedman’s first book. I’ll be looking for future titles by her.

I was trying to think of other novels I’ve read that were set in Australia. I could think of only two: “The Thornbirds” and “On the Beach.” Add “The Light Between Oceans,” and you’ve got a pretty fabulous trio of books.

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Hollywood in a “Trash the White House” Frenzy

Olympus-has-fallen-vs-White-House-Down

This afternoon we saw “White House Down.” So I’m obviously comparing it to “Olympus has Fallen,” which we saw in May. Both involved trashing the White House and DC in general (a theme which apparently appeals to Hollywood shot-callers right now). Both were very good movies–lots of action, the whole “Die Hard in the White House” concept.

I think I liked Gerard Butler in the hero role better than Channing Tatum, but Tatum was good. Aaron Eckhart vs. Jamie Fox as president: definitely Fox. “Olympus” had the presidential Morgan Freeman, but WHD had James Woods. Overall, a better cast in “Olympus” I think. And yet….

Both flicks had a daughter to save. I generally despise “child in peril” plots, which force the hero to surrender lest a child be hurt. In Olympus, they dispensed with that idea very early, and I appreciated it. Not so in WHD, which played that card strong. And yet…the daughter was a really good part of the movie in WHD.

In both movies, the Secret Service were a bunch of incompetents, easily mowed down on their own turf, pure canon fodder. Somehow I think the real Secret Service would be more effective.

The motive for the mayhem was more straightforward in Olympus. Also, one of the last lines in White House Down was a silly “Peace will reign throughout the world” kind of thing. Totally unnecessary, and laughable.

So anyway–I recommend seeing both movies. I loved them both, and they each had their own merits. But yeah, if I had to choose one it would be “Olympus has Fallen.”

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Left Behind

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We rut-bound Christians tend to focus on the same details of every Bible story, without looking between the lines for other twists on the tale. So I always enjoy poking around where ministers, for whatever reason, don’t bother to tread.

After feeding the 5000, Jesus went off somewhere by himself. John 6:16 says the disciples climbed into their boat and set sail for Capernaum. That’s when the storm came, and Jesus did his water-walking thing.

But I’m wondering: Why did they take off without Jesus? I’m sure it wasn’t an oversight. The Bible says, “It was dark and Jesus had not yet joined them.” So, they just abandoned him?

Perhaps one of the disciples (probably John) argued, “I think we should wait for Jesus.” To which bullheaded Peter responded, “No, we’re leaving. He should be more conscious of time. We told him when we planned to head back to Capernaum but he hasn’t shown up, so tough. He can take a cab.”

When Jesus finally climbed into the boat after scurrying across the waves, I’m guessing his first words were, “Hey guys, what’s the deal? Why did you leave without me? What were you thinking, huh?”

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Confiscated Fish and Bread?

My Bible reading last night was about the feeding of the 5000 in John 6. We kind of idolize the boy who contributed his five barley loves and two fish. But I’m wondering–did he actually volunteer them?

Scripture says Andrew comes along and says, “He’s a boy with five loaves and two fish.” Did he just commandeer them? Did the boy give up his food willingly? Did they ask his parents? Where WERE his parents?

You know, inquiring minds and all.

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Why Don’t We Celebrate This?

canadaday

On this Canada Day, I want to honor my Canadian friends whose find country provided many indispensable inventions for the world. We’re talking more than Justin Bieber. And we’re talking more than obvious inventions like hockey, snowblowers, snowmobiles, and the hockey mask.

That’s only the beginning. Canadians have also furthered intergalactic civilization by giving us insulin, paint rollers, garbage bags, plexiglass, pagers, peanut butter, the Blackberry, Superman, the sport of basketball, AM radio, Smarties, foghorns, sonar, Trivial Pursuit, lacrosse, Easy Off oven cleaner, alkaline batteries, caulking guns, the wonderbra, and numerous comedians.

So a big thank you from your friends to the south. We promise not to annex you until we absolutely must have all of your oil.

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