Monday, March 31, 2008

2008 Washington Nationals

I wanted to post this before the season started, but I forgot, even though I typed it out at the end of last week. Now that the season is two games old and "we" are already 2-0, I don't want people thinking that any positivity in the following is based on those two wins. Of course, hope always springs eternal, and those of us who followed these fellas back when they were the Expos know not to give our hearts away to them so soon.

What I expect to see this year:
Surprising starting pitching.
Ryan Zimmerman is a year older and should be better.
Dmitri Young was good, but a healthy Nick Johnson is better. Plus trading Young should bring back some good player for the future.
The outfield is far better subtracting Ryan Church and adding Lastings Milledge.
The catching combination of Paul LoDuca and Johnny Estrada are way better than Schneider and Flores were last year.
The infield has lots of depth. The outfield has lots of potential, if not overpowering.
Of course pitching will be an issue this year, as for most teams. Depth wise, there just isn’t a lot there as far as stars or even potential stars. There should be serviceable guys to hold them in games, but won’t be too many days of shut outs and amazing stats at the end of the season. There seem to be good players on the horizon, as far as minor leaguers, but Nationals fans must be starting to feel like its time to start seeing the results of the rebuilding process. If we don’t, then its not rebuilding, it’s just fallen into ruins.

I expect 3rd place, likely 4th, but nearly a .500 team should be not just hoped for but expected.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Life Lessons from Unforgiven

Unforgiven was an Oscar winning movie when it came out 15 years ago or so. I finally saw it this weekend and found it quite thought provoking.

Among its issues were forgiveness (obviously), guns, duty and valour, law and the beauty of living in a world governed by it.

I don't like movies like this, in general, I mean, too much violence, too much senselessness, but... at the same time, there is a lot to be said for what is being presented here.

It was an interesting weekend, I sat in on a riding meeting for a certain political party. One of the issues raised was guns and the "right" to bare arms. To me it was as disturbing to hear the conversation go on (unargued, might I add) as it was to think of what would happen if they were wrong. I don't see the American system of gun ownership being particularly great, and yet here were people openly advocating that we go that way. Perhaps it is the joy of living in rural Ontario, as opposed to a little closer to Jane and Finch, (notorious gang hot spot in Toronto) as my school is.

The gun culture of Unforgiven makes a stark comparison. The only guy we see who is not carrying a weapon is often displayed as mercenary and weak. Those who carry guns though end up dead, all but two, and even then they claim to be either dead or dying.

Sanctity of human life was brought up at the political meeting. I sat wondering what that meant to them. Does that mean that human life is important, sacred even (whatever that means)? Or does it mean that God gives it and takes it on His terms? If its the last, I'm with them. Yet, at the same time, adopting a gun culture in which you're allowed to carry a concealed weapon or at least have one for self-defense does not extend the idea that human life is sacred. It simply says that my life is sacred, and the life of someone threatening me or my property is not. The idea that guns cure anything is pretty risky. I know guns don't kill people, people kill people. I know that the government has no right to ______ (fill in the blank yourself). Do we really know what we're asking for though?

Watch Unforgiven if you dare, and think carefully.

Feel free to comment below. I'd be interested in hearing a dissenting view.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Ten Commandments

We watched The Ten Commandments over Easter. Apparently its the Easter movie, according to tv... and since culture takes their direction from tv... that's the law! Anyway.

If this is what Easter is about, then we miss the message. Easter is not about the law, about freedom from slavery, about Moses. It blows past that and goes so much deeper.

The movie itself is a loose adaptation of the Biblical account. It takes some necessary licence with the story, filling in dialogue and plot points for instance. But it also takes unnecessary turns as well. Its one thing to assume things and skip over things for the sake of time, another to say that something happens that didn't.

Now you can say, its a movie, who really cares what they did. Go ahead, I'll give you a second to actually say that... time's up. But. If movies are modern literature, then we must be very careful that we don't let our movies that tell Bible stories become our Bible. (See VeggieTales!) We must turn to the Word itself, see what it says, see how the movie varies from the written account and not the other way around.

And, since we're talking interpretation here. This movie presents as its central theme that the story of Moses is about people bowing to God's laws and not man's. That no one has the right to take away our freedom. Is this a modern reading? An American reading? A satanic influence? We have to be careful that we don't take minor life lessons that can be learned and make them the story. We have to read the Moses account and see what God is doing, not a humanity thing. God rescued his people from slavery. He presents the law to them so that they can have freedom from death. He offers freedom and life to all who trust and obey. Blood sacrifice was the only way to avoid death in Egypt, and a blood sacrifice is the only hope for me today. Praise God for Easter and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Leadership and Integrity

I've been thinking about how hard it is for some of us to live up to the standard we place on others.

As a teacher its so hard to hold up your students to a standard that we wouldn't want to be held up against.

As a parent it hurts so badly when you are disciplining your child for something you know they've done in imitation of you.

As a citizen, I struggle with the loathing I have toward politicians when I am doing the same or worse at home.

I make fun of gluttony and gossiping in others and do it myself without a second thought.

I say one thing in one situation but in another I am either more honest or more polite.

I aim to please and try to do it with as little effort as possible.

I was struck by a line in a novel I was reading today, struck me between the eyes"Its refreshing to see someone who still takes pride in their work". (David Baldacci, Hour Game)

Where is the integrity of my generation? Cash deals. A wink and a nod. Familia. Instant millionaires. Insider trading. Hidden microphones. Keeping private property of our friends, in case we need it in court some day. Breaking contracts. Being surprised when others won't break theirs. I wonder at Mr Spitzer and his ilk, and then wonder at the darkness in my own heart. I wonder where I get to break out from this.

Is this why Christ died? That I can continue in sin? God forbid. How can I, who am dead to my sin, live any longer in it? That's supposed to be a rhetorical question, but sadly, I can answer it by saying.

"Just watch me."

Where Have all the Good People Gone?
Sam Roberts

Oh the Milky Way has gone a little sour
The leaves dried and the flower fell away
I’ve been sitting, I’ve been waiting for a sign
Inhuman beings taking up all of my time

Want to leave but I’ve got to stay
And I’m wondering more everyday
Montreal to Hong Kong
Where have all the good people gone?
Traffic jam but I’m on the shoulder
Took ten cops to pull me over
Bangkok to Babylon
Where have all the good people gone?

I haven’t met a friend in a long long while
They don’t shake my head but they check my style
The modern world is a cold cold world
And all I meet are cold cold girls

Wanna leave but I got to stay
And I’m wondering more every day
Montreal to Hong Kong
Where have all the good people gone?
Traffic jam but I’m on the shoulder
Took ten cops to pull me over
Bangkok to Babylon
Where have all the good people gone?

And it’s always the same
We all just turn away
We are stealing from ourselves
We are feeding off ourselves
But we were born in the flames
We need a cool breeze and a summer rain
We are stealing from ourselves
We are feeding off ourselves

In the middle of Easter, I want to break free and live free in light of what Christ has won for me. Can I? Dare I say it... "just watch me?"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Look what I got in my inbox on Friday!

Dear Mr. Easton (Registration number ######),

Your application for a licence to teach in Ontario has been accepted We are pleased to confirm that your qualifications meet our requirements for membership in the Ontario College of Teachers.

To complete the registration process, please pay the $### annual fee, which covers your membership until December 31st. Membership fees are not pro-rated and must be renewed annually on January 1st.

Our evaluation of your credentials is valid for two years from the date of this letter. If you have not paid your membership fee within two years, you will need to reapply for College membership. Please include your registration number, recorded above, in all future communications.

For more information, visit our web site or e-mail us at You can also call Client Services at 416-###-#### or toll-free in Ontario at 1-888-###-####. Please include your registration number in the e-mail subject line or have it ready when you call so that we can provide an accurate, personalized response.
????? ????? Manager of Membership Services

Friday, March 14, 2008

What happened today...

Slept in!
Swept and washed (as needed) the whole first floor of the house!
Had a nap.
Read the latest Sports Illustrated, lots of steroid reporting.
Played with the boys.
Drove to Barrie.
Decided not to buy from Giant Carpet today.
Decided End of the Roll might be an option.
Drove to Orillia.
Played outside with the boys.
Played ball inside with the boys.
Ate a delicious supper courtesy of my dear mother-in-law.
Talked a long time with my father-in-law about life, responsibility and mortgages.
Went for a long walk with my wife in Walmart and Home Depot.
Didn't win anything from Timmy's Roll up the Rim. (Yesterday, Sabrina and I both won on the same trip to Timmy's, I told her earlier that it would be thirty years before that ever happened.)
Got notification from the Ontario College of Teachers that my application had been accepted!
Surfed the internet looking at all kinds of things like the Ministry of Education, Facebook and Earth Hour.
Posted this and tried to get to bed before tomorrow.
See Brenda, not deep at all!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Looking at life through the eyes of Martian Child

What is at the heart of love? This deep question floats just below the cute, heart-wrenching movie that is Martian Child.

He lives in a world where people just, “disappear”. That’s why he’s afraid he’ll just float away and wears a weight belt to keep him earthbound. We all want to be well grounded, yet, we are also the Martian child, in the world but not of it, trying to rise above the common, and at the same time wondering why we don’t fit in?

Martian Child is the story of a grieving widower who decides he’s going to open up his heart and home to a very needy boy who claims to be from Mars. The movie does an admirable job of setting up the question of “Is he really from Mars?”, another K-Pax, this time with a child at the root of the question.

Here are a few thoughts raised by the movie:
a) Son: “Is it good to be like everyone else?”
Dad: “That’s a really good question,… that’s usually what adults say when they don’t know the answer.”
b) Publisher (to writer, Dad): “Why can’t you just be what we want you to be?”
c) Writer (Dad): Sometimes we forget that the children have only just arrived on the earth, they are a little bit like aliens, trying to fit in.
d) Little girl in group home: “He’s a weirdo, he doesn’t have any friends.”
No comment needed.

Here’s my favourite line though, deep in its irony. It is uttered by the same little girl as mentioned above, telling the literal physical position of the little Martian. “He’s in the box.” Is he really in the box, or is he way outside the box? Here’s a little one, struggling to understand the world, everyone he knows and has tried to care about has walked out on him. His adoptive dad calls those people, “the stupidest people in the universe.”

That part of the movie is touching enough, that we all struggle in some way to find our place on this planet. That theme though is pretty common, lots of people have told that story. The other, more pressing side of the movie, the part that strikes me closer to home has to do with adoption. Not many people talk about that.

“Nice talk.”
The Martian child utters these simple words to his new dad when the two share a non-verbal few moments, Dad trying to understand son by just being with and like him.
“Most people spend more time thinking about how to raise tomatoes than how to raise their own kids.” No comment.
“I understand not wanting to bring a child into the world, but what’s wrong with loving one that’s already here?” Wow, I’ve heard people say, “Why would you want to bring children into this world?” And sometimes I understand that question. But here, we have presented to us, an even more pressing question, since at its heart what we have here is a challenge not just to parenting and adoption, but selfishness. How can you answer that question without it sounding like an excuse?

Hey, you, “What’s wrong with loving one that’s already here?”

(said looking into mirror)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Cult of celebrity set in the 1800’s.

The phrase about Robert Ford being a coward strikes me as odd. Everyone in this movie is paranoid. I don’t know if that makes them cowards or not, but every shoulder is being looked over, every person is suspecting and suspected. Paranoia is the key word to the whole world portrayed here. Paranoia and obsession, though what the difference is between those two is hard to decipher. Paranoia is one part of the larger category of obsession. When I prop this movie up beside All About Eve, a classic we just watched last week, I can’t help but notice the fear that many are faced with, 'whether to keep their celebrity or to keep their life'. What do I cling to, to the point of paranoia? Is that only for those in high places?

This “true” story of the murder of Jesse James, tells us that society’s infatuation with crime and criminals is not new. The movie does not really portray Robert Ford to be a coward, I don’t think. He’s more portrayed as an obsessed fan, a glory hound who wants to be someone, anyone.

The word “assassination” is used in the title, and though the word is used to mean killing of a ranking person, here it’s used for the killing of a killer. This was not an accident as the public outcry is also demonstrated to be as though they mourned for a friend, not an uncommon robber and murderer. Robert Ford is not portrayed as much more honourable, but Jesse James turns his back, surrendering life like a coward and lets Ford take him out the “easy way”. Ford gets the label, James the glory.

I was reading in 2 Timothy this week, Paul’s last letter in the New Testament. He is not clinging to his position, he is not holding onto his power, his glory. He desperately wants others to carry the truth on of what he was saying, to the point of even getting Timothy ready for the end of his life to ensure that he was giving to other faithful people the message and ensuring that they all took its continuation as seriously as Paul himself did. And there’s the rub. Holding onto something bigger than “me” keep us from an unnatural fear of everyone is out to get us.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What's hidden deep in Pan's Labyrinth?

Pan’s Labyrinth tells the story of Ofelia, a young girl who's mother marries an unlovable (meaning: evil) man after the death of her father. She and her mother move to the front line, where her stepfather serves as an army leader, sorry, I forget the rank! But there is more to the story, it seems that Ofelia is not of this world!

She comes from:
-Land where there is no pain or lying.
-Comes to another world, where she does not fit in.
-She does not live with her real father.
-She communicates with the other world.
-She performs miracles (though not through her own power).

There is one use of Jesus’ name that normally we’d consider blasphemous, but I wonder if it wasn’t intentionally referring to Ofelia as Jesus...

Now Pan's Labyrinth is not a child's tale. This is not a nice easy fairy tale. You have to cringe at times as death is meted out to innocent victims. This is also not a straight allegory. Ofelia's father is the king of the underworld, a little backward from tradition! Pan, from Greek or was that Roman, mythology, was where we get our modern idea of Satan with horns and hooves, I believe.

A story is told within the movie of a rose on the mountain top which holds eternal life but the poison in the thorns were too dangerous for people to risk pursuing the flower. The movie puts it this way the people "always talked of their fear of pain and death but never of the promise of eternal life”

You may have heard this one before too..."Don’t eat the food"… she eats the fruit and an evil creature wakes up.

In the end, Ofelia dies because she won’t sacrifice an innocent baby, she dies for a helpless creature in other words. And, in the end, she is accepted as the king’s daughter, back in the underworld where she came from.

Some might say that the whole thing is just modern fairy tale... modern meaning set in 1940's Spain, but I think there is more to this thing. Perhaps there is a twisted version of the gospel here, Pan at times is portrayed as a very frightening creature, "not a tame lion" and certainly not Mr Tumnus! The Spanish title in the movie was The Labyrinth of the Faun, perhaps signifying that the original intent was more fairy tale then Greek Mythology or even Satanic sub-plot!

However, intentional or not, the good news is everywhere, an innocent died so we don't have to and today, He's accepted for us, Easter is coming, see if you don't hear the story of Pan's Labyrinth in the next couple of weeks.

Larry Norman

We lost a revolutionary member of the family a couple of weeks ago when Larry Norman passed away. He was 61. Like many of those with lots to say, he went too soon.

Heart ailments had severely slowed Larry Norman down over the past few years, but some would likely say that it may have been overused in the early days of his pioneering records, (those are big black cds, kids) which bridged Christ with the hippy culture of the late 1960's.

Love or just barely like him, Larry Norman did a lot for the sake of Christ, and like the rest of us, he did a lot to hurt it too.

He exposed our great propensity for kicking our wounded.

He exposed our hypocrisy.

He made bad business deals with fellow brothers and sisters.

He challenged many of us with his blunt lyrics.

Larry Norman was as human as Peter and as spiritual as Paul. For years, I was among his worst critics. I repent of that now. I truly believe that Larry was doing his best for the King and Kingdom, though health issues did not allow him to either follow through on promises made, or didn't let him remember things the way others did. Many of the people whom I took offense for (Randy Stonehill, Daniel Amos, Steve Scott...etc.) Have had the opportunity to forgive and forget with Larry. ( Its the least any of the rest can do with him too.

Which leads me on to something more than just Christian celebrity issues. Are we harboring? Have we let the ship of bitterness sail in and we've put it in dry dock? Well, spring is coming, get that thing back in the water and bid that frail ship, "Bon Voyage!" It may be too late soon. You might just log onto the internet some day soon and say, hey that Easton guy is dead! And then you'll just have to live with regret that we never got around to making things right. So make it right with me or whoever it is you need to do that with! I've got a short list myself to start dealing with, and no, I don't think they are reading this.

God bless.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ron Wyatt, the Chariot Wheel guy

This is a follow-up to yesterday's blog regarding Ron Wyatt and his archeological claims. You're going to find that some are very pro Ron Wyatt and others are very skeptical.
Ron Wyatt was an Seventh Day Adventist amateurarchaeologist who died in the past few years, after publishing many "discoveries". The veracity of these discoveries and his claims about them are up for public debate all over the internet. 169 000 hits were listed on Google when I put in his name.

The following articles are anti-Ron Wyatt.
-read before other tentmaker article
read this article after the first from tentmaker

This article says that an organization as big as is still researching to see whether his claims are true.
This article is a pro Ron Wyatt one, though the more I read, the less it made me believe him. is a site with some pointed questions for those who are pushing wyatt's discoveries.
Answers in Genesis is a pretty well respected organization I think. Ken Hamm is the leader. I think at one time they even worked with Ron Wyatt and later had to recant their belief in his work.
So my summary is that, a) I wish the things this guy claims to be true are true.
b) I don't trust him.
c) test all things.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hoax emails

Okay, so like, November 4th, 2003, Jim Valverdi of Sacramento, California, spontaneously combusted with a crowd of nearly 200 people standing near by. Look for the video on YouTube! This was the most witnesses ever for a spontaneous combustion, according to renowned scientific researcher, Dr. Sven Karlson of Cambridge University. Sacramento coroner Richard Windberg says that many of the people who witnessed the event have asked that no one contact them with regard to the event, as the trauma was too great to recall for the satisfaction of a few prying inquirers.

What we have here is my own, off the cuff, made up scenario to hopefully show a pattern. Anyone can make up stuff. Many people do. I teach Grade 7 and 8, I'm sure many of my students, if they thought about it, could come up with something far better than my feeble attempt at the top of this post and would have far more reason to, the chance to get their email sent around the word and laugh and giggle that they were able to deceive people.

I made up names, I made up a fantastic scenario, I added a little data to make it look it was based on facts. I added a suggestion to look up the video on YouTube, so people would think, "why would he say to look it up if it wasn't there."

I copied and pasted this from here and though I didn't research to see that this was a real interview, it makes a valid point!

(Rich) Buhler (founder of There's one of the ingredients of an e-rumor. An e-rumor always has what I call the Wow Factor. "Wow, this is interesting," "Wow, this is funny," "Wow, this is important," "Wow, this is just what I thought Bill and Hillary would do," or whatever the Wow is that I want. So even though that rumor is really ludicrous, you can see where somebody who has the Wow Factor as a vegetarian would want it to be true and would use it as something to spread to their non-vegetarian friends, "Hey lookee here!" That's one of the key ingredients of an e-rumor.

Just a couple of places to look if you're wondering.

And, you know the people who send you anything. I try to tell my students, just don't pass it on. Try to just avoid the fact that it says, if you don't do this within 22 seconds your computer will fail, your teeth will fall out and you will never get married. This is really hard for some people to do, but it is possible!

I'm doing some research right now on Ron Wyatt from the email I got today regarding Chariot Wheels in the Red Sea. He seems to be a bit of a fraud, but it doesn't mean the pictures or story is false, I'll keep looking!