Friday, December 19, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

Still reading The Fidelity of Betrayal, which is now on the concept of God. Rollins spends some time examining various views on knowing or speaking God's name. A commonality among the pieces that he shares is that knowing God's name bestows a level of power over God. He first tells the Lilith myth (Adam's first wife, who refuses to be subservient and tricks God into sharing God's name so she can use the bestowed power to escape Eden). He moves onto the Egyptian sun god Ra, who endures a similar situation, and before we know it we're at the burning bush with Moses, where God shares God's name with him when asked. The meaning in Exodus, Rollins suggests, is that God willingly shares the name because God is not so easily controlled or manipulated. At the same time, he suggests, God does allow a certain level of understanding. He then deconstructs Decartes' theory about God being the greatest thing that we can think of, but winds up retaining the concept of God as a "being." This is something I've been thinking about lately, and thus where Rollins ends up is still a little dubious for me.

When the movie
Click first came out, I saw it as a single joke stretched out for two hours or so and decided to skip it. It is that, but it ends up having a lot of heart as well. Adam Sandler stars as an architect feeling overwhelmed by career and family - he basically wants to concentrate on his job so that his family can have the life that he didn't have growing up. In a moment of frustration, he heads off to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy a universal remote. He finds a door to the "Beyond" section (ha), and meets a guy named Morty (Christopher Walken) who gives him a very special remote that he can use to control his life. Here's where we explore the single joke for a while: he turns down the volume on the barking dog, he fast-forwards through fights with his wife, he hits "pause" so that he can hit his boss. He actually loves the fast-forward option, and uses it more often so he doesn't have to endure illness, sit in traffic, sit through dinner with his family...and after a while the remote starts fast-forwarding on its own (Morty explains that the remote has memorized the owner's preferences), and before he knows it he's skipping huge chunks of his life. Along the way he learns what happens when he constantly chooses his career over his family. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie's depth, and the single joke is still really funny at times.

I watched my first episode of
Testees last night, which is a show about two guys who get paid to have various products tested on them. I'd seen ads for it before, but avoided it because I thought it looked stupid. In this episode, they have a paranoia gas tested on them...they aren't told what it is, though. So they spend the drive home trying to figure out what might happen, and it becomes obvious that it's already working: they freak out about their skin drying up, then the possibility of cancer, then they think they're shrinking, then they're lying the floor covered in tinfoil, then one thinks the other has an alien inside of him. It sounds stupid, but the execution was actually pretty funny (they prepare for their shrinking by setting out two thumbtacks that they can use as weapons). This is one of those shows where, if it happens to be on, I'll watch. Otherwise, I'm sure there's something else I could be doing.

The other day on Facebook, I noticed that a friend had become a fan of a musician named
Patrice Pike. I'd never heard of her before, so I wandered over to her website. Pike is a Texas-based artist striving for diversity in her sound. She's traveled with Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, and Widespread Panic, so as far as I'm concerned that already makes her good people. And she has a huge freaking tattoo on her arm and shoulder. Awesome.

Around the web, Rain at
Street Prophets has a call to action regarding the United States' use of torture.

And now, a special announcement...

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves.

Coming next Friday, it's the event you've been waiting for all year long.

Oh yes, the Year-End Pop Culture Roundup. It's coming.

Can you handle it? I don't think you can.