Archive for May, 2009

May14Simpsons McBain


Actor’s Devotional


“There is no class of people so hard to manage in a state, as those whose intentions are honest, but whose consciences are bewitched.” –Napoleon Bonaparte


Before he was the Governor of California, and before he the Terminator (an actual bankable commodity, Arnold Schwarzenegger was “Conan the Barbarian”.  The surprising thing about the (then) big budget film, it cost approximately 20 million dollars to make, was not that it cost so much as it was that there were no real stars in the film.  Of course it didn’t hurt to have character actors James Earl Jones, and Mako playing small but integral parts in the film, but by and large this was a movie cast that had very little experience.  The story is the prototypical hero’s tale.  Conan, as a little boy, sees his father and mother murdered by the evil wizard Thulsa Doom.  He is then shipped off to a labor camp where he is made to turn the “wheel of doom” that powers one of the wizard’s power plants.  When Conan turns 33, he escapes his bonds by being made a gladiator.  In this way he learns the art of war, and how to survive.  Armed with this new knowledge, Conan sets off to wreak revenge on Thulsa Doom.  Along the way he picks up 2 companions, Valeria and Subotai.  After they make a little headway into the kingdom of Doom, they are waylaid by a king who is the father of a princess that Thulsa Doom has under his thrall.  The king makes Conan and his companions promise to free his daughter in return for their freedom and his support.  But Conan’s companions, after they are freed, feel no compunction to go after Thulsa Doom, and so the barbarian goes after him on his own.  It is here in the story that Conan meets Akiro, who has been narrating throughout.  He is a wizard of the people, earthy in his wisdom, and fair in his judgments.  He tells Conan how to sneak into the temple of Thulsa, and Conan following his directions does so, only to be caught, mocked and sent into the desert to be crucified.  When he is almost dead Valeria and Subotai find him.  They bring him to Akiro, who nurses him back to health.  When he is better, the three companions again go to free the princess.  In this exchange Valeria (Conan’s woman) is killed, and he is understandably more vengeful than ever now toward Thulsa Doom.  In the end it comes down to Conan and Thulsa in one on one combat and just as Doom is going to finish off Conan, Valeria’s sword shines down from heaven, fulfilling the promise she made Conan that she will fight by his side even if she must come back from the grave to do so.  Thulsa is thwarted but not finished and he renews his attack on Conan, but Conan is infused with the power of those who have fallen before him, and he cuts the sword of Thulsa in half, stabs him mortally and finally decapitates Doom and throws his head into the flaming pit below.  There have been thousands of Dooms followers watching this showdown by torchlight, and when Doom dies, instead of rushing Conan, they seem to come to their right senses, throw down their torches, and walk off into the nigh… back to their homes from all over the country… wherever they might be.  It was on this day in 1982 that “Conan the Barbarian” premiered in American theaters.


How come this movie with no name actors was so popular?  I believe it was because of a principal we’ve spoken of before.  And that is the element of the story behind the story.  Conan works as a slave and becomes Sampson-like in physique, he is prepared for his position for 33 years, he is crucified in the desert, and he defeats the serpent-king.  These are all thrilling because they are portrayed so powerfully.  But the last parallel theme we see is that of the people themselves.  They had been enthralled for a lifetime by Thulsa Doom, but the moment his final defeat is made manifest, the people become clear headed again.  We see this same theme in the book of Galatians in Scripture.  Paul wants to know why, after they have all struggled so mightily and given up so much to prove that the gospel is true, why they would then give in to some new teaching now.  The Truth that they would’ve died for, that all sins are forgiven once and for all time by the sacrifice of Christ to those who believe he is real and call him Lord, has somehow become not as important.  The answer to the riddle is simple really… its control.  We want to believe that once we’re saved that now it is up to us to get ourselves to heaven.  But the writer of Hebrew makes clear, that if this is what we believe then we have no need of the Savior, and that there is no sacrifice left for sin. In other words, if we think we can deliver ourselves then he will leave us to it.  And Paul comes in like Conan brandishing the Sword of Truth to remind the Galatians.  God forgave us once and for all, and it worth dying for to preserve the integrity if that Truth… that doctrine. It is worth living a life of holiness and obedience for such a gift as well, not because it is commanded or compulsory, but simply to say… thank you God for loving me enough to forgive me in my blindness and for being mighty enough to finish what you’ve started. 


Galatians3:1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?


GroverActor’s Devotional

November 10th

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a month — get married. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.  Chinese Proverb

If it is true that everything we ever needed to know we learned in kindergarten (share your toys, don’t lie, be kind, etc.) then it is fitting that our collective Christian American psyche would be expressed by a children’s TV show. Perhaps the clearest picture of our ideas about equality and reconciliation, Sesame Street debuted on Public Television on this day in 1969.

The TV show’s original format called for people to be intermixed with the segments of animation, live action shorts and Muppets. These segments were fashioned like commercials- swift, beguiling and memorable, and made the educational experience a great deal more enjoyable. This arrangement became a benchmark for what we know today as edutainment based television programming.

Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) aired the program for test groups to establish if the radical new format was apt to do well. Results showed that test viewers were spellbound when the advertisement like segments aired, in particular those with the jovial Muppets, but were actually surprisingly much less engrossed in the street scenes. Psychologists warned CTW against a combination of fantasy and realism elements, but the producers soon decided to mix the elements. A simple measure of cartoon like characters let the humans convey messages without causing viewers to lose attention.  Sesame Street, along with quite a few other Sesame Workshop produced shows (such as The Electric Company, which was produced when Sesame Workshop was still CTW) are all recorded in New York City.



Sesame Street is recognized for its multicultural ingredient and is complete in its casting, incorporating roles for disabled people, young and old, Hispanic actors, Black actors, and others. While a number of the puppets look like people, others are animals or “monster” puppets of diverse sizes and colors. This encourages kids to consider that people come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and that no particular type is any better than another.

Harmoniously with its multiculturalist perspective, the television show pioneered the concept of sporadically inserting very basic Spanish words and phrases to help young children become familiar with the conception of a foreign language, Sesame Street was doing this almost thirty years before Dora the Explorer made her debut.

Each of the puppet characters has been planned to symbolize a particular stage or constituent of early childhood, and the scripts are written such that the character reflects the progress level of children of that age. This means the show addresses not only the learning objectives of a variety of age groups, but also the concerns, worries, and interests of children of differing ages.


Perhaps the most endearing legacy Sesame Street will leave is it is the place where Kermit the frog and the Muppets were first introduced and nurtured to maturity for an American pop culture. Kermit the Frog hosted the section Sesame Street News Flash. In other segments, Kermit would play straight man to the madcap frolics of other Muppets. Big Bird is an eight foot two inches tall yellow canary that lives in a large nest on a deserted lot located behind 123 Sesame Street’s garbage heap. Big Bird is often seen with his friend Aloysius Snuffleupagus who is a large, brown woolly elephant like creature who is known more commonly by his nickname “Snuffy”. Various other Snuffleupaguses have appeared on the show, most notably Snuffy’s little sister Alice and his unnamed mother. Initially, Snuffy showed up when no one but Big Bird was around, leaving the rest of the neighborhood thinking he was imaginary.

Other American icon of muppetry are Oscar the Grouch, who loves trash, lives with his pet elephant Fluffy, and a worm Slimey in a garbage can in the heap. Bert and Ernie, two of the most-recognized Muppets, are friends who live together in the basement apartment of 123 Sesame Street, and frequently engage in comic routines, which showcase their odd-couple personalities. Ernie’s flowerbox was once a hotspot for Twiddlebugs, a family of multi-colored insects.  The Bear family, which resemble the bears of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, also live in Sesame Street. Papa Bear and Mama Bear, welcomed their second child Curly Bear, and Baby Bear and became a good friend of the monsters Telly and Zoe, and everyone’s favorite furry red character Elmo. Elmo has his own section near the end of each show, in which the viewers discover topics in Elmo’s World, an imaginary version of his house.  Grover has had several noteworthy roles over the years, often as a waiter or a superhero (Super-Grover). Cookie Monster fights with his conscience daily during Letter of the Day, as he tries to be in take charge and overcome his addiction… his urge to eat the letters (always made of cookies).

So what is it about this uncomplicated show that enamors us so much?  Well, it displays kindness, sincerity, child likeness, and helpfulness, just to name a few.  It also teaches life lessons on being a good friend, not being rude or arrogant, as well as demonstrating good manners and politeness.  Sesame Street led the way in things like racial reconciliation and social awareness, demonstrating lower income folk not only as people that we need not fear, but who also have things to contribute; something to say.  Isn’t that how God loves us?  Isn’t that what he actually expects of us?  Isn’t the great over riding theme of his being His love?  The world says that people should stay with their kind (racism & prejudice).  Others offer a way that seems right that says that if we can all just get together, then magically we will all get along (romanticism).  But there is a third way to see it.  A set of ideals that demand we act in love because we have been so loved; held together by a set of Truths, that have always been true and so give our actions, our lives and our laws meaning; because they are from outside of ourselves.  That’s why we love Sesame Street.  It has helped us for over 40 years to be what we long to be… loving and loved.  We love it because it loves the way God loves, and asks us to do the same.

I Timothy

 5:10 [We should be known for] good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.



Actor’s Devotional


“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr Seuss


Evangeline and Sidney were a happy Canadian couple.  They had been married for only a few years when their first son Jim came along.  Then in 1950 they were blessed with a second bundle of joy; they named him John.  Their families had always tended to be on the large side, so it was with great sorrow but not much shock when Sidney died of a heart attack a the age of 35.  John was just 5 years old.  Not being one to flout family tradition, John also became a fairly large person himself.  So big in fact that he was playing football on his high school football team as a freshman. This was in the days when the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL) dominated Toronto’s sport scene. Major league baseball had yet to arrive in Toronto and most red-blooded Canadian boys who didn’t dream of playing for the NHL dreamt of playing for the CFL. Being just such a young man, sports dominated a lot of John’s early life. When a severe knee injury put an end to his plans to tryout for the CFL, and, oddly, the military, he set his sights on becoming a sportswriter. To this end he enrolled at Centennial College in 1968, electing to major in journalism.


Once at Centennial he found his call, as he signed up for a drama course and was immediately bitten by the acting bug.  Another thing happened immediately too… he found out he was good. John liked comedy… he was funny guy.  He decided after only 2 years of college to go out and chase his dream.  So he was off on an odyssey that would place him in over 60 television and movie productions over the next 24 years. 


It was a very forgettable start.  John was a bit player in a movie called “Hercules in New York”, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (credited as Arnold Strong) that was a predictable dud at the box office.  But John persevered and it wasn’t long before he started landing more important roles.  Probably the most significant of those was his joining of The Second City Company, a troupe of young comedians based out of Chicago that had recently opened a Toronto branch.  When they took their act from the club to the small screen for SCTV, John was chosen to be one of the comedians to be on the show.  He bloomed.  So much so that soon Hollywood was calling for him to come join them on the big screen.  John had arrived.


His first big role was in the cult classic 1941, directed by Stephen Spielberg.  Soon after he made friends from some of the cast of the wildly popular American TV show Saturday Night Live.  When Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi made their 70’s classic The Blues Brothers, they immediately thought of John and had him brought in as a character actor.  A string of hit comedies followed that read like a Who’s Who of 20th century comedy.  Stripes, Splash, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Brewster’s Millions, Sesame Street’s Follow That Bird, Little Shop of Horrors, Planes Trains and Automobiles, She’s Having a Baby, Spaceballs, Home Alone, were all films that partook of John’s growing comic genius.  And that was only the 1980’s.  In the 1990’s he even took on some more serious roles such as the small town Southern lawyer in Oliver Stone’s JFK.  But his primary love remained comedy, and in that field John was huge… literally.


John’s bigness was beginning to catch up with him.  By all accounts he was an obese man, well over 300 pounds.  That was quite surprising seeing as how he had been tapped, by a popular men’s magazine, in a yearly poll as one of the world’s sexiest men.  Family and friends begged John to consider losing weight and being healthier in general.  John though was always too busy.  However, after a health scare in the early nineties he actually decided to give it a try.  John lost 75 pounds, quit smoking and started eating more healthy.  He had just finished another surprise box office hit, Cool Runnings, and was excited to begin work on a new comedy called Wagons East!  The film was never finished.  Having put off the advice of family and friends, knowing that his family had had a history of heart problems, John’s new lifestyle was just too little too late.  It was on this day in 1994 that a prince of North American comedy died in his sleep of a massive heart attack.  His autopsy showed he had final stage heart disease, as well as atherosclerosis.  John Candy was only 43 years old.


What is it in us that always drives us to do things that are not only not in our best interest, but also are often in it’s worse interest.  We know we should handle certain problems (physical and emotional), but we always think we have more time.  The Truth is we aren’t promised anything… not in terms of life expectancy.  We are here for a moment and then we are gone.  Think about that today.  What is God asking, impressing upon you to do.  Don’t put it off.  It could all end in an instant.  Ask yourself if you want to be another statistic, or do you want your life to count… right here, right now… and for how long?  There is an immeasurable difference between late and too late.



Psalms 95:6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts…

Is so very proud of Jasmine and the job she did this weekend as Yente in<br /> Fiddler on the Roof.  Woohoo, you go girly!
Is so very proud of Jasmine and the job she did this weekend as Yente in
Fiddler on the Roof. Woohoo, you go girly!

Jasmine’s acting debut is is in its last night @ Franklin Classicalfiddler-poster-3-copy2

Samson Society Info

Posted: May 6, 2009 in Notices

David pirate63is hanging with Nate