Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Review of Beauty and the Beast

The wife and I went to see the reincarnation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

It was okay.

The main story was still good. The movie was successful in that it conveyed the story. I laughed, I cried, etc.

But it was annoying in some aspects. I had known about the changes to LeFou, and I’m not going to discuss that aspect much – only to say that it was more of a distraction that anything else. I’ll liken deciding to watch this movie to what I heard a number of people say about voting for Trump. They did it in spite of his issues, not because of it, because it’s better than the alternative. Except in this case there were many alternatives and none of them was Hillary, so maybe the analogy breaks down there.

I had 3 main complaints about how the movie was inconsistent. Not necessarily inconsistent with the original movie, but rather inconsistent with itself.

  • Claims of Live Action : The big selling point of this movie is that it was a live-action version of the animated classic. Come see the movie you love, but with people doing the acting – it’s not animated! They might not have said those words directly, but that was the feeling that was portrayed.


    The Beast was computer-animated, Lumiere and Cogworth were computer-animated, Mrs. Potts and Chip were computer animated, as were the wardrobe lady and the piano guy and the footstool dog and so on.

    It’s hard to accept that a movie is live action when so many of its main characters are not.

    And I didn’t like the CGI, especially with Lumiere. And the Be Our Guest song. And the Beast’s gait. You get the idea – it was distracting.

  • Setting and Accents : Was this set in England or France or America? The story says it’s in France, and part of it takes place in Paris. There are some French phrases thrown in for good measure. But only Lumiere attempts to have a French accent. Belle has a decidedly British accent, and the other main characters sound American. Of course, the best choice would be to have everyone with a French accent. But it wouldn’t have bothered me if everyone had a British accent, or American accent. If the movie is consistent, I wouldn’t notice it. But when the acecnts are all over the place, it is a distraction.
  • Progressive and Oppresive Villagers : I think I understand the director’s/producer’s intention behind casting people of different races, but again it was inconsistent with the story and was more of a distraction. It was inconsistent because those villagers must have been very progressive not only to allow different races to have prominent roles but also to accept mixed-race marriages. (Although the races were only combinations of blacks and whites – didn’t see many Asians in there.) Since the setting is 18th-century France, it was anachronistic. But let’s give the director the benefit of the doubt and assume he was just trying to promote racial harmony and was using this movie as the vehicle to do so. But then we see these same villagers oppress Belle because she dares to teach a girl to read.

    In the original movie, the “provincial” villagers seemed rather indifferent – they thought Belle was odd but didn’t think much of it, and certainly didn’t teach her a lesson for going against the village’s unwritten rules. But this new adaptation of the movie makes the villagers both more progressive and less progressive. Why couldn’t the director have the villagers be supportive of girls’ education? If this movie was to be the means by which equality and tolerance are promoted, why only with the subject of race and not with gender? Again, inconsistent.

One more thing that bothered me was the choice of fuzzy camera focus during pans. Things went extra fuzzy/blurry when the camera was moving. I assume this was the director’s choice, as I haven’t noticed it in other movies I’ve seen. I disagree with that choice, since it happened a few times and each time it took my mind out of the story because my mind was trying to figure out what went wrong with my eyes. Again, a distraction.

The movie wasn’t bad, overall. It just had a number of things wrong with it. See it if you want. But if you want your kids to see a good movie, just show them the original animated version.

Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

Daniel 4:33

Botanical Gardens Early Spring

We had a nice spring day last weekend, so we took the family to the local botanical gardens. They are not a scenic as they would be during the summer when more things are in bloom, but it was still good for the kids to get out and about.

Here are photos of the various paths, ranked from best to worst for walking with kids.

image of river at botanical gardens


Back Off, Home Depot

I thought I was safe.

I got the Home Depot credit card so I would be left alone. When the cashiers would ask if I would be paying with a Home Depot credit card, I could answer “Yes” and then I wouldn’t be asked if I would like to get one.

I also have a good answer for when one of their specialists is standing in the main aisle and asks me about my furnace. I don’t have a furnace, so I don’t need it tuned/replaced/fixed/updated/serviced or anything. The house is heated via a combination of hot water and electric baseboard and burning corn. But that’s another topic.

Last week I was buying some routine items from Home Depot and the cashier asked me if I would be paying with a Home Depot credit card. “Yes,” I answered, secure in my immunity from further questioning.

“Would you like to add another authorized user?” she continued.

What is this? Are they never happy?!?!

“No thanks.”

Maybe the Pro Desk cashier doesn’t have to ask upselling-type questions. I’ll try that check-out and see. If they do, then I’ll have to stick to the self check-out lanes.

I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

Luke 11:8

Last Snow

Today’s post is going to be several thousand words long, assuming I get to convert each photo into the standard word count.

We had our last big snowfall of the season this last weekend, so we took some photographs as it was picturesque.

Our backyard.

image of snow-covered trees in our back yard


Parenting Vs. Babysitting

This is not a discussion about how some people say thy are “babysitting” their kids whenever they have to stay home with them for some reason.

Rather, today I am asking the question “What is the difference between parenting and babysitting?”

I was thinking about it the other day, and the answer I came up with is purpose.

Other people may say things like love or pay or familial relationship, but those I think are incidental to the question.

The question is not “how do you tell the difference?” or “what are things that one done versus the other?” It’s hard to explain the question, so I’ll continue explaining the answer.

Some parents just babysit their kids, they don’t actually raise them because they as parents don’t have a purpose for their kids. Babysitters usually have a purpose, and that purpose is to keep the kids physically safe. That’s all anyone expects of babysitters. And that’s all some parents do. Which is better than nothing, I suppose. But let me encourage parents to aim higher than that.

As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. Unless you don’t pull the trigger. Plus how do you hit nothing? But I digress…

What is your aim for your kids? Maybe it’s college, maybe it’s starting pitcher, maybe it’s just to be happy.

If you don’t have a goal, a purpose, in raising your kids, then who knows how they’ll turn out? I say a parent should have goals. Plural. You’ll notice the examples I gave ranged from academic to physical to emotional. Think of those aspects, plus spiritual. Because if your kids are following God, the other things will be easier.

What if the kids don’t like your goals? Then discuss with them what they want as an alternative goal. Maybe start with vague goals and refine them as the kids grow. I think this is one of those areas where just about anything is better than nothing.

Pray for them. Pray for your children. And pray for yourself, to set the right goals and push your kids in the right direction.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

Deli Dilemma

Here is how it usually goes whenever I do the grocery shopping and getting some meat or cheese from the deli counter is on the list.

Deli Lady: How would you like that cut?
Me: Thin please.
(Deli Lady turns a dial to a random setting, cuts a sample slice, and holds it out for me to see.)
Deli Lady: How is that?
Me: That’s fine.

I don’t know if everyone’s definition of “thin slice” is different, or if she’s testing me, or if she doesn’t care about anything, but there seems to be no correlation between what I say and what I get.

And it doesn’t matter anyway, because no matter what she shows me, I’m going to say it’s fine. Because I don’t feel like interacting any more than necessary.

Which is also why I will accept her offer to eat the sample. Not because I actually want to, but because I know if I decline, there will be another round of interaction – something along the lines of “Are you sure?”

When he had cut the ram into its pieces, Moses offered up the head and the pieces and the suet in smoke.

Leviticus 8:20

A Plague on our House

At night, there are usually a number of moths and other bugs fluttering against the screens. And one of the windows might have a frog too.

photo of a frog climbing a window screen

For some reason, the frogs like climbing our windows. That photo was taken from the kitchen, which is on the ground level. But I have also seen them on the windows upstairs, which is fascinating.

photo of a frog climbing a window screen

I don’t know why they like to climb our house. I should look at the outside of our house at night to see if the frogs concentrate on the windows or if the windows are but a subset of the frogs climbing all over our house.

The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls.

Exodus 8:3