Friday, August 16, 2013

My Desire for Pork

Whenever a red cow enters intensely
Into the gloomy gloom-ridden inner town
Of my gloomiest, yes, gloomiest indeed, inward heart-
And, yes, the town inside my inward heart is real and it’s
called the Blood-Heart-Town-Inside-My-Heart Town-
I think thoughts that are so very… very… thoughtful…

Would you like to hear my thoughts?
Ah!  With such thoughtfulness they are fraught!

The cow symbolizes all of us, all of our lives,
Everyday, forever, and all of the things we do,
and do not do, with everyone, or without them,
And the color red evokes passion,
And the color green represents the green color of green
shamrocks that are, in essence, pink,
And the color pink means you stink,
And the color purple symbolizes all the other colors combined,
And when the cow stomps that just means he’s hungry.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NAU's 2013 -2014 Theatre Season

Dear Readers,

Well folks, it’s that time of year again when your friendly neighborhood busybody complains about the debauchery going on at the Northern Arizona University Theatre Department in Flagstaff, Arizona, as evidenced by this year's selection of plays. 

I complained about the 2010 -2011 season here.

I complained more about the 2011-2012 season here.

In the years 2012-2013, I kept complaining, here.

(Also, way back in 2009, I complained about one play in particular that I saw, Catholic School Girls, here. The play is an assault on Catholicism, God, and religion.  And yet, at the end of the play, when the lights faded, I was among those in the audience clapping. Everybody else around me was clapping, so I did it, too.  I like to think that my applause, though, was my small way of acknowledging the talents of my classmates, and not an endorsement of the play's immoral teachings. I instinctively knew at the time that I didn't like the play, but it's taken me a long time to articulate why.  And by "bad play", I don't mean that the writing or the story was bad.  In fact, I was spellbound by it.  Catholic School Girls was very well written and very well performed.  By "bad play", I mean that the overall theme and message of the play was bad.  It advances the work of Satan.)

And now we've arrived at the year of our Lord 2013, and the latest NAU theater season has been publicized.  Let's get to my most recent complaints.

On New Beginnings A comedy by Dr. Mac Groves

Well, this play in un-google-able, so I can't tell you anything about it.  All we have to go by is the one-sentence description of the play, which is as follows: "A discovery of the true nature of how friendship can overcome problems which, taken on individually, might prove insurmountable."  It could be about two rival dinosaurs who begrudgingly join forces to find a magic crystal that will stop a volcano from erupting, thus prolonging the day of their inevitable extinction.  If that's what it's about, then I would say the only reason it's about dinosaurs (instead of more Christian-themed animals, such as sheep or lions) is because dinosaurs are atheists favorite animal.  Why?  Because, "Don't you see," says the angry atheist, "dinosaurs bones prove evolution, and evolution disproves the existence of God."  Thus, with his nefarious selection of beast-characters, Dr. Groves is sucking the faith out of all who participate in and witness this play.

Ha ha ha.  Just kidding.  On New Beginnings will probably be uplifting, heartwarming, and smile-dispensing.

Spring Awakening book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, based on the play by Frank Wedekind

Trash trash trash trash trash trash!  It's about a bunch of teenagers who have a bunch of sex. In between sex romps, the teenagers wax philosophical and rebel against what they view as a sexually repressive and generally corrupt society.  And we're supposed to applaud that.  Copied and pasted from Wikipedia:

Amateur performances of Spring Awakening are now being licensed. Depending on the locale, there is often a higher age limit to participants to avoid infringement of child protection laws, as performances involving the underage could be considered child pornography.

So... you know it's gotta be bad.

But perhaps the most demented part of this production is its timing.  You'll notice that the play is about Spring, and yet it will be performed in the Fall.  How backwards can NAU drama get?  God made the seasons the way they are for a reason!  Let's honor God and his marvelous creations by doing plays about Spring in the Spring and plays about Fall in the Fall!   

Seriously, though, when NAU, or any state University, puts on a play like this, they cause unnecessary friction.  I imagine a young committed Christian student who wants to be an actor.  Her conscience precludes her participation in a play like this.  And yet, she wants to act.  She wants to go to college and be on stage and have people applaud.  That's a beautiful desire to have.  So, she has a difficult choice to make.  Does she go along with the other students, perform in the play, and otherwise keep herself as innocent as possible?  Or does she sit this one out?  Or does she transfer to a religious school?  I don't know. 

I wish the the professors would be more considerate to the conservative Christian students they are being paid to teach.  I wish they would pick plays that more people could be comfortable with.

A lot of parents come to these plays, too.  The parents are more likely to have conservative values than their college student children, majoring in drama.  A play like this pushes the parents away.  Well, some parents might like it.  But I, for one, am not going to send my children to NAU to study theater, not when the department insists on producing plays like this.

The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute

Instead of reviewing this play, I'm just going to assassinate the character of the author.  Neil LaBute is an angry ex-Mormon who has a dislike for humanity.  Granted, he is a talented artist and a smart guy and a passionate, hard worker, but... I think he's unhappy.  I don't see how a guy who writes such depressing plays about how everybody is so rotten could be happy.  Critics have rightly called LaBute a misanthrope. 

Probably one of the worst things LaBute did was his play The Mercy Seat, a play written in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack by Muslim extremists.  Instead of writing a play that shows us who the real enemies are, (Osama Bin Laden and other violent, radical Muslims) and who the real heroes are (President George W. Bush, the New York Fire Department, the U.S. military) LaBute writes a play about a guy who worked at the World Trade Center and who missed work on the day of the attacks to be with his mistress.  The guy thinks that his wife thinks he's dead, and thus the 9/11 attacks might be his opportunity to run away with his lady-friend. 

What?  This play misses the whole point of 9/11!  There is so much tragedy to write about, there is such a clash of cultures to deal with, and yet LaBute writes about his play about the guy who missed work that day to cheat on his wife?  This reminds me of a book I had to read in one of my college English classes, The Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury. It's a young adult novel about WW2 that makes Americans out to be the bad guys.  It focuses on the Japanese interment camps and such.  Really, I think kids ought to be reading books that show the truth about World War 2, which is that Americans stopped the Holocaust and saved the world from Nazi terror.  

Warning!  Spoiler Alert! The Shape of Things is about how a guy gets dumped by his girlfriend who was actually never really his girlfriend and really their relationship was all part of her twisted thesis for her MFA.  The play ends with the guy crying and alone.

I think I'll sum up The Shape of Things in two words: total bummer. 

Though, I might actually want to see the play.  It sounds kind of good.  I don't know why, but I like total bummer plays sometimes.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson

Well this one sounds like a good, tasteful play. Like Neil LaBute's works, though, it focuses on the darkness that lurks in the hearts of men.  But... uh... well... I would complain about the season's lack of... I don't know Christian morality or something... but I need to go to bed.  See you later.

Oh, one other thing.  I kind of miss theater, but I also like being a suburban, church-attending blue-collar worker with a wife and kids.  I really do have a peace and a rhythm in my life that I don't think I would have if I were still involved in theater.  I'm not saying that theater is bad.  On the contrary, I think theater is beautiful and wonderful.  But like all beautiful and wonderful things, it must be constrained by the bonds of pure religion.  Without the forces of revealed religion keeping theater in check, theater becomes our whimsical taskmaster; it becomes our idol.  It has the potential to distort one's priorities and sense of eternity.  And that is what theater has done to many of the good people at Northern Arizona University.

I'm not saying that you can't have a peaceful, spiritual life while at the same time being an actor or a Broadway producer.  I suppose that's possible.  But if it's Heaven you're after, considering becoming a fisherman or a shepherd.    



Monday, August 12, 2013

Love Abounds at American Discount Foods

Dear Readers,

I love American Discount Foods in Mesa, Arizona.  Today I went there and I bought a big hunk of cheese, a big jug of oil, a big bag of white flour, (and it’s the magic baker’s flour that rises really really high) and I bought five bags of sunflower seeds that are normally a dollar fifty or so at a gas station, but at American Discount Foods they were only fifty cents each!  Talk about savings! 

I plan on making a bunch of bread tomorrow so it’s a good thing I bought all that flour and oil.

And the people there are so nice.  And they wear bright red shirts that say, “Praise the Lord!” on them, and their website shows you how to get saved.  And they play Christian music throughout the store.  It’s just so refreshing to see a place of business be so outspoken about their beautiful faith.

The workers at American Discount Foods not only preach their faith through their music selection and T-Shirts; they live their faith.  They’re closed on Sundays!  I wish more stores were closed on Sundays.

Today, after I finished checking out, the cashier said, “God bless you.”  Ordinarily a cashier would say, “Thanks, come again.” Or “Thanks and have a nice day.” But instead this nice young woman said, “God bless you.” I could just feel that she was a wonderful young woman, and I felt blessed!



Sunday, August 4, 2013


I got my paper
I got my pen
I'm wearing a crooked sparkle hat
Now let the poems begin

Some Lady's Cosmic Dashboard

Dear Readers,

Remember how last time I wrote about secular drift?  Well, I just ran across this perfect example of multicultural feel-good spirituality and couldn't resist copying and pasting it.  Here is where I got it.  It's written by... I don't know what to call her... some lady who thinks really deep thoughts.

I am one of those mystical creatures. My true life, which is invisible to most, is my guide, my own little road to heaven. My rebel views on our experience on earth are the stepping stones to a deeply penetrating and wise world that brings me great joy and the freedom of inner flight. Inside my soul is a sort of cosmic dashboard that only I can access or operate.

Maybe she's happy.  How could she not be happy, if she's flying... on the inside... whatever that means... I don't know. 

Happy or not, it wasn't people like her that put a man on the moon, you know what I mean?  Of course, I'm not putting a man on the moon either.  I'm just sitting here complaining about all the other people out there who are staring at lava lamps rather than tinkering with spacecrafts.  

I think this mystical creature would fit in great with the Unitarian Universalists.  They let anybody in, except those who still cling to the antiquated idea of objective morality.

I don't want to make fun of her too much, though. I suppose that her cosmic dashboard is similar to my gift of the Holy Ghost.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

What do we do about secular drift?

Dear Readers,

Here are some frightening statistics about religious affiliation in America, taken from this great article written by some official person from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

[In America, the] number of those who claim no religious affiliation nearly doubled from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008.  Now that number has crept to nearly 20 percent. And among those under 30 years old, disaffiliation jumps to 32 percent.
I've seen this secular drift firsthand, among my family and friends.  Now, I don't want to be the old guy who sits on the porch and complains about everything, but... it does seem like movies and TV shows are getting more crass, vulgar and violent. 

Then there's marijuana and gay marriage.  Legalizing these things would have been unthinkable a few decades ago, but this past election showed that some states are much more "compassionate" and "open-minded" than they used to be.  I'm sure it was many of the growing number of religiously non-affiliated who voted to legalize these vices.

Another sign of secular drift is Arizona's election of Representative Krysten Sinema.  Sinema is an outspoken atheist and bi-sexual.  She spends most of her time in Congress persecuting religious groups. 

Then there's Ultimate Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts.  These violent sports remind me of the ancient Gladiators who would kill each other to entertain Roman citizens.  I guess boxing is okay.  I don't care for it myself, but at least they put on gloves.  But if you get a thrill out of seeing two guys fighting to the near death, choking each other and such, then you have a terrible taste in entertainment. You need the moral refinement that comes from Christianity.

So... is secular drift bad?  Yes, it's bad.  Very bad. 

Why?  Well, because it leads to Hell, that's why.  Hell in the afterlife, and Communism in this life.

What do we do about it?  We keep on praying and preaching and going to church and telling other people to go to church.  And we have a bunch of kids and raise them in the fear of God.  Christians might be losing the culture war in America for the moment, but we should keep fighting, even if we're losing, because it's the right thing to do.