Friday, June 02, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm still reading Gilead, which sees the narrator question the motives of his best friend's son whenever he brings up theological issues. The narrator speaks to every pastor's skepticism about questions that seem antagonistic or insincere in nature. He long ago gave up trying to 'prove' God or a specific concept of God to someone else, citing it as a futile exercise, especially to one who just wants to argue or prove you wrong to begin with. While the main focus of this story is the narrator's relationships to his family, his church, his friends, there is quite an amount of musings included about spirituality, human nature, and the role of pastor in community. And last week, I screwed up the time setting a little...this book spans the first part of the 20th Century. I'm sure that correction was very important to you.

I wrote this part of the Roundup last Sunday night, shortly after I saw
X-Men 3. If that doesn't certify me as a net geek, I don't know what does. I will begin by saying that I think that as far as the movie having too many characters to keep track of goes, reviewers are overreacting. Yes, there are many new mutants. But, like X2, only a few new characters are really explored with any depth. Most serve as henchmen or have bit roles. At the same time, a few more prominent characters from the previous others fill their spots. Comic book purists will be upset with how some characters are portrayed, nitpicking accents and how they'd REALLY react to different situations and whatnot. Some errors, however, are more glaring: Juggernaut, for instance, is not a mutant in the comic book but is portrayed as one in the movie. As far as the movie as a whole goes, here's how I'd put it: in the original Star Wars trilogy, you had A New Hope which established the main characters, then you had Empire Strikes Back which explored them in greater depth and added a few big developments, and then you had Return of the Jedi which was largely an action movie, albeit an above-average one. That's pretty much what the X-Men trilogy has turned out to be. A great movie, but definitely not the series' best. And be sure to stick around until the end of the credits.

My wife and I have a ritual on Wednesday evening. I come home from Bible study, she scrambles to get to a good stopping point on her homework, and then at 9:00 we watch Ghost Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel. This show follows the adventures of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) as they are asked to investigate alleged hauntings around the United States. Their approach is to try to debunk the claims and in the process may end up with something else. This past season a boom mic guy was taken off his feet by an unseen force and they caught some freaky footage of what looks like a ghostly woman at one of their stops. The season finale this past week saw them visiting the hotel that inspired The Shining. It's a great show.

I've been listening to a lot of Gov't Mule the past few weeks. I've actually seen these guys live once. I went to a Dave Matthews Band show back in 1999 and they opened. Unfortunately, I didn't pay much attention. All I remember was this big bearded guy singing 'John the Revelator.' At that point I was just so psyched to be at my first DMB show that they were all I wanted to see. A few years later I really started listening to Mule's music and realized what I've been missing out on. They're a blues-rock combo that takes some of its cues from the Allman Brothers (where guitarist Warren Haynes got his big break). I'd have to recommend their album Dose in particular.

Around the web, check out this Youtube clip where King of the Hill makes fun of megachurches.