Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Archive for August 2007

Comedic Pursuits

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Since I’m technically on vacation right now, I’ve taken some time to do a little free writing.  This morning, an idea that had started germinating in my head the other leapt onto the page and started to take shape.  I wanted to tell about someone struggling through college who does stand-up comedy on the side for money.  I used to work with a guy who did stand-up, and we used to talk about his appearances.  I figured that I could fake it well enough for the time being, at least to fulfill the needs of a first draft. 

The problem, however, was in coming up with a routine.  I like to think that I have a decent sense of humor.  I can crack a joke and know a little about timing.  But I wrote something today that sums up the struggle I’m facing… 

Funny is a gift.  Many people are funny by accident, and almost no one is funny by choice.  When you’re funny by choice, and you walk out on stage the first time, you know they’re going to eat you alive. 

Almost no one working in comedy today has the same genius as Robin Williams or Billy Crystal.  Stand-up, like any creative craft, requires knowledge of the form and study of the method.  It requires watching professionals ply their trade and, learning from them, and taking lots of notes. 

In short, I have in one afternoon made a lot of work for myself, because even though the writing I did this morning will not make you laugh, it’s become a dogged effort, like trying to hit all the lights green on the way to work.  And you know you won’t be happy until you do. 

Written by taj

August 31, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Posted in stories, Writing

Trailer Park

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I don’t make it to the theater as much as I’d like, so, we can consider this a kind of unfinished wish list. 

One Missed Call

The Brave One

Elizabeth – The Golden Age

The Spiderwick Chronicles

3:10 to Yuma

I would have posted a link to Stardust, which I will (hopefully) see this weekend, but I could not get the Quicktime trailer to load.  You can see a version of lesser quality here.

Written by taj

August 30, 2007 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Movies


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More than a year ago, I wrote out a story for a magazine called Standard—a weekly collection of short inspirational stories put out by the Nazarene Publishing House—and submitted it for publication. 

Whenever I mail out a manuscript (which doesn’t happen as often as it should), I am filled with excitement for about a week before I settle into this calm patience.  I didn’t hear anything for six months, so just I chalked it up to rejection.  Publishers are not required to send you a rejection letter when you’re just a freelancer peddling your own work. 

I stepped in the door last night, and my wife pointed to this wrapped parcel on the ottoman.  “Open it,” she said. 

I tore away the paper and saw that, whatever it was, it was framed.  Maybe my wife had blown up a picture of the baby, I wondered.  If so, it was going to be a big portrait.  I turned it over, and saw she had framed a letter. 

The first line delivered the news that the editors of Standard had accepted the piece.  14 months after it was written. I held the frame in my hand like an exited child for probably half an hour before I mustered the courage to put it back down. 

This is the first fictional piece anyone has ever accepted.  The story will appear in print next summer.

Written by taj

August 30, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Posted in stories, Writing

If they keep quiet…

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Just saw this on The Point

On Wednesday, Taliban militants released a total of 12 South Korean hostages, part of the group of 19 Christian aid workers who have been held for nearly six weeks [two had been executed and two released prior to this].

The kidnappers freed the 10 women and two men in three separate groups, a day after South Korea announced its team of negotiators in Afghanistan had reached a deal with them.


Under the terms of an agreement reached on Tuesday. . . Seoul promised to halt all Christian missionary work in Afghanistan.

Somewhere in Seoul, a stone has just learned how to speak. 

Written by taj

August 30, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Posted in Evangelism

Look – New Links!

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I’ve lurked around Triablogue long enough that I figured I ought to just put the link onto the sidebar and move on.  At least now it’ll be three clicks closer to viewing than it was before.  The writers of Triablogue devote themselves to a thorough knowledge of scripture aimed at apologetics.  And while they might not understand the concept of brevity, the material is always worth the read.  Even if some of them are reformed.  😉

Jeffery Overstreet writes movie reviews for Christianity Today (UPDATE – he’s even written a couple of books; I can’t believe I forgot to mention that).  And he has a blog, The Looking Closer Journal, which I just discovered Monday.  Overstreet writes from the perspective that, secular or no, excellence in film reflects the excellence of the Father of creativity.  I value his perspectives, hence, his placement on the distinguished Quadrivium blogroll.

Remember, earning you place on the distinguished Quadrivium blogroll means earning your way into…yeah, there just isn’t anywhere to go with this. 


Written by taj

August 29, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Posted in General

The Headache with Headers

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I think that I am done playing with the header now.  When you blog on the cheap, you have to make due with what’s available, and while WordPress does its best to make a good blog, they keep the available themes pretty slim. 

Therefore, you have to go for as many options as possible, and the header can do a lot for the look of a theme.  I still don’t think I really have this one nailed to what I saw in my head.  I’ll probably tweak it here and there.  But for now, it ought to stick. 

Written by taj

August 29, 2007 at 10:02 pm

Posted in General

Thoughts on Kid Nation

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This fall, unless critics get their way, CBS will air a new reality show called Kid Nation where 40 kids between the ages of eight and 15 are cordoned away without adult supervision to try and build a society on their own. 

Several have called for CBS to pull the plug and cancel the show due to various ethical and safety concerns. 

While there is a part of me that finds the concept intriguing, I understand and sympathize with the criticism.  Whether it ought to be aired or not, I don’t know.  I wasn’t going to watch it anyway.

Between the ages of eight and 15, there are not a lot of acquired social skills that can even contribute to a society, let alone build one.  Just look at your average middle school. 

I spoke with CalvinDude about this earlier, and he, like many other critics, highlighted the Lord of the Flies comparisons.  William Golding’s novel paints a brutal parable of animal youth that, when looked at through a theological lens, offers profound insights on the concept depravity.  Between the ages of eight and 15, kids are still figuring out their moral compasses.  And their experimentation tends to spiral into disaster without moral and temperate guidance.  Maybe you’re right, CalvinDude…maybe it is a stupid idea. 

My feeling remains, however, that if they pull the plug on this, they ought to pull the plug on half the middle schools in America too. 

Written by taj

August 29, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Books, Television