“I Have Faith” – A quote by James Brown

I found the following quote on my Starbucks cup years ago and liked it so much that I copied it down on a little note paper.  The other day, while cleaning out junk in the garage, I found the little piece of paper and decided to share the quote.

I have faith.  Faith in our wondrous capacity for hope and good, love and trust, healing and forgiveness.  Faith in the blessings of our infinite ability to wonder, question, pray, feel, think and learn.  I have faith.  Faith in the infinite possibilities of the human spirit.  -James Brown, sportscaster

I think it’s interesting that I came across this quote again during the Olympics, a world-wide sporting event that brings together nations and their athletes to showcase not just the athletic prowess of the individuals and teams, but also the ability of people who may not get along to behave in a civil manner toward each other, to live and compete respectfully, humanely, for a couple of weeks every four years.

Sporting events provide great insight into the human spirit.  They provide a look at the level of dedication it takes to train, grueling hours spent practicing, perfecting.  They provide a look at perseverance, pushing forward when there is almost no chance of winning, when the first instinct is to quit…yet we continue on with a never say die attitude.  Sports also show us that two or more people can struggle against each other for extended periods, sometimes pounding on one another to try to knock each other out, yet embrace once the final bell rings or whistle blows in mutual respect for each other.

Sometimes we see those who go against the spirit of competition and respect, willfully trying to injure or ridicule others, before, during or after the event.  Frequently, those individuals are called out by others in their sport, sometimes on their team, and told that such behavior is not acceptable.  Unfortunately, in this day and age, as long as the bad behavior makes the event exciting, there are too many fans who turn a blind eye or who cheer the player on, allowing them to continue to feel good about themselves when they really need admonishment.

I too have faith, James Brown.  Faith that the majority of humans still have most of their humanity left.  Faith that we will get through the difficult times facing the world.  Faith that, one day, mankind will decide we are, collectively, more interested in helping our fellow man than we are in advancing our own cause.

Okay…that last one may have been pushing it a little, but you get my point….here’s Get Together by The Youngbloods

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Review: Prometheus

So this is billed as a sort of prequel to Alien.  Not a direct prequel.  It isn’t the events that immediately precede the first movie from 1979, but is sets up another installment or two of prequels that could take us to Alien.

Prometheus really tries to pit evolution vs. creation, science vs. belief and, to a degree, it succeeds.  It tries to force the creationists to answer the question, “If you were shown that you were a science experiment, where you really evolved from, would you still believe in God?”  Based solely on this movie, you’d have to give this round to (spoiler alert) the science-minded, except that (another spoiler) the only survivor is the True Believer.

The first preview I recall seeing showed a love scene, and I thought, “What the Hell?  Really?  Do we need to porn up every movie now?  Crap!”  Luckily, it didn’t figure prominently in later trailers, nor in the movie.  I was happy.  If it’s integral to the plot, fine, let’s see some T&A, but to just throw it in as a tease to get young folks into a movie is ridiculous.  Let them surf porn if they need to see it that badly.

While the movie had some slick visuals, I found myself thinking, “I know our technology has improved so we can make things looks much more slick than we could back in the late 70’s, but this ship looks much more advanced than the ones in the movies that are supposed to later.”  Maybe it would cost more to make ships and special effects look like they are from the “time period” they should based on a movie-based timeline or maybe they don’t care because they only care about pleasing the new generations who may not have seen the original movie(s) anyway.

Bottom line:  Prometheus is a good base movie for (I’m guessing) another one or two “prequels” to Alien.  It moves along at a good pace, has decent acting, decent action scenes, and poses more questions than it answers.  Finally, I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my money or two hours of my life when I left the theater.  If you like sci-fi, especially if you’re an Alien fan, you should catch it in the theater, maybe during a matinee to save a couple bucks.

Prometheus – Second Trailer

“May the Force be with you” …as long as you’ve got enough germs

“May the Force be with you.”

Growing up, these words were akin to Vaya con Dios, Godspeed, and, on a not-quite-Divine level, “Live long and prosper”.  They were a blessing to be wished on friends at parting in hopes that “the Force” would guide and protect them until next you met.

Aside from making it difficult to explain which movie you’re talking about without having to give episode number (which may or may not help) and episode title, George Lucas destroyed the whole Force mythos.  He changed what had been, for me and millions of other Star Wars fans, a mystical, magical, faith-based spiritual essence that could be tapped into by a relatively small number of beings into a simple energy source available to whoever has enough “germs/bugs”.

R. A. Salvatore, in his introduction to Philip Athans’ The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, expressed a similar view:

“And then there is the magic.  Magic is faith, and faith is magic.  Why did we feel betrayed in Star Wars Episode 1:  The Phantom Menace, when Lucasfilm introduced the word midiochlorian to explain the force?  Because it demystified the Force, that’s why.  Because it took the Divine and made it mundane.”

Betrayed is a good word to describe the feeling I felt after the initial “WTH???” moment.  I couldn’t believe it.  Jar Jar was completely annoying, but I could tolerate him as a silly, cartoony character thrown in to make kids smile.  More than ten years later, I can’t forgive Lucas for ruining the Force.  I own “Star Wars”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, and “The Return of the Jedi” –yes, I called what is now known as episode 4:  A New Hope, Star Wars.  That was its title back in 1977 when it was released.  I will never spend my hard-earned money on episodes 1, 2, and 3.  I will watch the three I have and pretend I never heard the word midiochlorians.

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