Friday, February 27, 2004

Friday's Questions

Friday 7.37


1. If you were your own youth pastor would you like you?
Hmmm ... tough to answer this one. I didn't have a YP growing up and would have killed to have someone invest the time in me. My answer is tainted a little because of that background. I would say yes. Still, I know there are so many weaknesses and I am not the best YP I can be all the time. I guess if I were a kid I wouldn't realize the inconsistency in my YP as much as I realize them in myself so ... hmmm ... yes? I guess. I would definitely like me. I am a great guy!

2. Passion; too much hype or worth it?
Worth it. Though there was a lot of hype.

3. When was your last illness?
Flat on my back for nearly three weeks in January.

4. Should their be government standards?
Sure. Whatever.

5. What was the last trip you took?
Last November to St. Louis for the National Youth Workers Convention.

6. What is your favourite Bible verse?
Jeremiah 29:11 (I really pound this one so much that almost every senior higher in my group could tell you that!)

7. What is one thing you collect or do as a hobby?
My wife would say I collect EVERYTHING. But I do collect Pez Dispensers, Flintosne meorabillia, Classic Star Wars Trilogy toys, and toys in general.

Bonus

A. What is one thing or saying that sticks out to you?
Cancel my subscription --- I don't need your issues.

B. What is one thing about this past week that ticks you off?
The Worship Committee at my church. Too many cooks in the kitchen and important things get swept under the rug and stupid things get drug out ALL THE TIME.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Oscar Is Coming

The Nominations Speak:

BEST PICTURE
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
LOST IN TRANSLATION
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
MYSTIC RIVER
SEABISCUIT

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Johnny Depp - PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
Ben Kingsley - HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
Jude Law - COLD MOUNTAIN
Bill Murray - LOST IN TRANSLATION
Sean Penn - MYSTIC RIVER

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Alec Baldwin - THE COOLER
Benicio Del Toro - 21 GRAMS
Djimon Hounsou - IN AMERICA
Tim Robbins - MYSTIC RIVER
Ken Watanabe - THE LAST SAMURAI

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Keisha Castle-Hughes - WHALE RIDER
Diane Keaton - SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE
Samantha Morton - IN AMERICA
Charlize Theron - MONSTER
Naomi Watts - 21 GRAMS

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Shohreh Aghdashloo - HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
Patricia Clarkson - PIECES OF APRIL
Marcia Gay Harden - MYSTIC RIVER
Holly Hunter - THIRTEEN
Renée Zellweger - COLD MOUNTAIN

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
BROTHER BEAR
FINDING NEMO
THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE

ART DIRECTION
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
THE LAST SAMURAI
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
SEABISCUIT

CINEMATOGRAPHY
CITY OF GOD
COLD MOUNTAIN
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
SEABISCUIT

COSTUME DESIGN
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
THE LAST SAMURAI
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
SEABISCUIT

DIRECTING
CITY OF GOD
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
LOST IN TRANSLATION
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
MYSTIC RIVER

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
BALSEROS
CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS
THE FOG OF WAR
MY ARCHITECT
THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
ASYLUM
CHERNOBYL HEART
FERRY TALES

FILM EDITING
CITY OF GOD
COLD MOUNTAIN
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
SEABISCUIT

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS
EVIL
THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI
TWIN SISTERS
ŽELARY

MAKEUP
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL

MUSIC (SCORE)
BIG FISH
COLD MOUNTAIN
FINDING NEMO
HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

MUSIC (SONG)
"Belleville Rendez-vous" - THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE
"Into the West" - THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
"A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" - A MIGHTY WIND
"Scarlet Tide" - COLD MOUNTAIN
"You Will Be My Ain True Love" - COLD MOUNTAIN

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
BOUNDIN'
DESTINO
GONE NUTTY
HARVIE KRUMPET
NIBBLES

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
DIE ROTE JACKE (The Red Jacket)
MOST (The Bridge)
SQUASH
(A) TORZIJA ([A] Torsion)
TWO SOLDIERS

SOUND EDITING
FINDING NEMO
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL

SOUND MIXING
THE LAST SAMURAI
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
SEABISCUIT

VISUAL EFFECTS
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
AMERICAN SPLENDOR
CITY OF GOD
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
MYSTIC RIVER
SEABISCUIT

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS
FINDING NEMO
IN AMERICA
LOST IN TRANSLATION

Jasper Speaks:
Best Picture
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (CORRECT!!!)

Actor in a Leading Role
Sean Penn in MYSTIC RIVER (correct)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Tim Robbins in MYSTIC RIVER (correct)

Actress in a Leading Role
Charlize Theron in MONSTER (correct)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Renée Zellweger in COLD MOUNTAIN (correct)

Animated Feature Film
FINDING NEMO (correct)

Art Direction
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (wrong)

Cinematography
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD (correct)

Costume Design
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (wrong)

Directing
Peter Jackson for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Documentary Feature
CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS (wrong)

Documentary Short Subject
CHERNOBYL HEART (correct)

Film Editing
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Foreign Language Film
THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI (wrong)

Makeup
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Music (Score)
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Music (Song)
"Into The West" from THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Short Film
Animated NIBBLES (wrong)

Short Film
Live Action Two Soldiers (correct)

Sound Mixing
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Sound Editing
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (wrong)

Visual Effects
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (correct)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
MYSTIC RIVER (wrong)

Writing (Original Screenplay)
LOST IN TRANSLATION (correct) [But WHAT THE HECK????? I HATE HOLLYWOOD SOMETIMES THIS MOVIE SUCKED AIR!]

As many of you know I am a movie freak! These are not necessarily my favorites but they are the ones I think will win. We'll see how good I am on Sunday! Go LOTR!



Monday, February 23, 2004

Jesus Is Not Nuetral

The Press Speaks:
Jesus Scholars Find Fault in Gibson's 'Passion'
Reuters


By Megan Goldin

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Mel Gibson (news)'s portrayal of the final 12 hours of Jesus in his film "The Passion of the Christ" has been hailed as the gospel truth by some believers, but many scholars complain that it is riddled with historical errors.

Their complaints range from inaccuracies about hairstyles and clothes to a lack of gospel context in the film which has raised a furor among Jewish groups who fear its graphic depiction of the crucifixion will fan anti-Jewish violence.

Gibson, who has denied the film is anti-Semitic, has said he consulted scholars, theologians, priests and spiritual writers before scripting the film with the aim of making Jesus's agony during the crucifixion appear as realistic as possible.

Many Christians see the film as bringing them closer to their religion. Evangelical preacher Billy Graham called the film "a lifetime of sermons in one movie."

Gibson, a traditionalist Catholic, was so determined to make the $25 million film which he funded himself that he had his characters speak in Latin and Aramaic.

Experts say this was his first mistake as Greek was the language spoken in Jerusalem during Jesus's time, along with Aramaic and some Hebrew spoken by Jews.

"Jesus talking to (Pontius) Pilate and Pilate to Jesus in Latin!" exclaimed John Dominic Crossan, a professor of religious studies at the Chicago-based Roman Catholic De Paul University. "I mean in your dreams. It would have been Greek."

Latin was reserved for official decrees or used by the elite. Most Roman centurions in the Holy Land spoke Greek rather than Latin, historians and archaeologists told Reuters.

The mistakes, experts say, didn't stop with the wrong language, which Crossan -- who speaks Latin -- said was so badly pronounced in the film that it was almost incomprehensible.

"He has a long-haired Jesus...Jesus didn't have long hair," said physical anthropologist Joe Zias, who has studied hundreds of skeletons found in archaeological digs in Jerusalem. "Jewish men back in antiquity did not have long hair."

"The Jewish texts ridiculed long hair as something Roman or Greek," said New York University's Lawrence Schiffman.

Along with extensive writings from the period, experts also point to a frieze on Rome's Arch of Titus, erected after Jerusalem was captured in AD 70 to celebrate the victory, which shows Jewish men with short hair taken into captivity.

Erroneous depictions of Jesus in Western art have often misled film makers in their portrayal of Jesus, experts said.

JEWISH GROUPS VS GIBSON

For some scholars the errors go beyond language or hairstyles.

They say the heart of the problem is the film's script which interweaves the literal interpretation of four sometimes contradictory gospel accounts of Jesus' last 12 hours with the visions of a controversial 19th century nun.

"This is my version of what happened, according to the gospels and what I wanted to show," Gibson told the U.S. television network ABC this month.

But Crossan complained that the lack of historical context was the movie's "basic flaw."

The film begins not when Jesus enters Jerusalem to the exuberant welcome of thousands of Jews but rather at night in a garden on the eve of the crucifixion when he is arrested by the Romans after being betrayed by Judas.

"Why did they need a traitor? Why did they need the night? Why didn't they grab him in the daytime?" Crossan asked.

"Because they did not want a riot," he said, explaining that Jesus was immensely popular among his fellow Jews, which is why the high priests and Romans felt threatened by him.

Those details, Crossan said, were absent in the film.

"The lack of context is the most devastating thing for anyone who says it (the film) is faithful to the gospels because the gospels have the context," he told Reuters.

One of the most controversial aspects of the film is its portrayal of Pilate reluctantly sentencing Jesus to crucifixion under pressure from a bullying mob and conniving Jewish priests.

Scholars acknowledge the scene is faithful to the gospels, but some experts say a historical perspective is imperative.

"It is important to see the historical context. Not only for the sake of being true to history but for the sake of being true to the gospel passages themselves," said Father Michael McGarry, rector of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem.

The gospels, he said, were written many years after the crucifixion at a time when the early Christians felt it would be politically wise to "soften Pontius Pilate as a way of placating" the Romans who ruled over them.

"Pontius Pilate was a very cruel and brutal man. And he wouldn't care two winks about executing another Jew. He had killed so many before him," said McGarry, who said he had not seen the film and was commenting only on the history of the time.

CRUCIFIXION WAS "STATE TERROR"

Crucifixion was a common punishment meted out by the Romans to rebellious Jews during Jesus's time. The Romans crucified so many Jews, said Zias, that "eventually they ran out of crosses and they ran out of space."

The depiction of the crucifixion was the part of the film most riddled with errors for Zias, who studied the skeleton of a crucified Jewish man from Jesus's time -- the only remains ever found of a crucified victim from antiquity.

Zias said Jesus would not have carried the entire cross to the crucifixion as vertical beams were kept permanently in place by the ever efficient Romans.

"Nobody was physically able to carry the thing (the entire cross).It weighed about 350 pounds," Zias said. "He (Jesus) carried the cross-beam, maximum."

Nor would Jesus have worn a loin-cloth in the crucifixion as did actor James Caviezel who portrayed him in the film.

"Crucifixion was a form of state terror. They humiliated the crucified victim. Everybody was naked. Men, women and children," Zias said.

Jesus, he added, would have been tied or nailed to the cross through the wrists, not the hands as shown in the film.

"You cannot crucify a person through the hands because there is nothing there but skin and muscle. It will tear."

Brushing off criticism of inaccuracies, Gibson has said he found contradictory opinions among the experts he consulted.

"Since the experts canceled each other out, I was thrown back on my own resources to weigh the different arguments and decide for myself," Gibson said in one interview.

Jasper Speaks:
Today I went to Cinemagic in Saco, ME and purchased my advanced tickets to Mel Gibson's "The Passion Of The Christ". It made me realize again why I have difficulty living in a state who's state line welcome signs should read, "Welcome To Maine --- Turn back Your Clocks 15 Years". It was nearly impossible to get tickets for this movie online. Only one place within a reasonable distance of our home had them available. The time that the movie was showing didn't work for us so I called CInemagic and asked them if I could come in and buy an advanced ticket. I told them the day and time I wanted. They said sure. Now of course they don't participate in internet ordering of any type (see the above welcome slogan), so I went in person today to pick then up.

When I arrived I told the manager of the theater that I wanted to purchase tickets to the Wednesday at 4:00PM showing. He looked on his screen and replied, "I haven't put that showtime in just yet could you come back in a half an hour or so?" Again, see the previous welcome slogan. So I decided to give him some time and I purchased a ticket to see Welcome To Mooseport. It ended up being a benign hour and a half that was not so hard to sit through. It is set in Maine but obviously the writers had at the most only visited here. There were several inconsistencies like no Maine accents, no one complaining that the "president" was "from away", and a black person actually living in a small northern Maine community.

Anyway, when I went to get the tickets the girl behind the counter informed me for sure that not only was the 4: show on Wednesday not in the computer but that the internet site where I found my information was not one they have anything to do with maintaining. See the slogan again if you don't get it yet.

In the end (and yes I do plan on getting to the rebuttal to the press) I got tickets to the 7:00PM show. I will go and see for myself what the movie is really all about.

Tonight on local news they interviewed some "religious leaders" who had just seen a preview of the movie (at Cinemagic no less). Funny how the only people they could get to speak to them were those who found the film offensive. It was a Rabbi who said, "It was just too brutal. I don't know why Christians want us to believe that a loving God would do this to His 'only begotten son'." The Rabbi was quite sarcastic in nature. The other guy they interview was a United Church of Christ minister who said he thought it was too graphic. Hello??? Crucifixion is pretty brutal!

But my response to the press article above is one of not shock but overwhelming distaste for how some of the press is handling this. They are quoting scholars froma slanted viewpoint. Sure they mention Billy Graham (I guess to get some "Heavenly brownie points" just in case they are wrong and there is a Heaven). But the other scholars they found were only people who diagree witht he history surrounding the film. I find it interesting that there was a lack of any scholar who believes that the film could be correct. Does there seem to be a slant against the film?

I will admit there were a couple of aspects (like the fact that they drove the nails in his hands and not his wrists) that are valids. However, the heart of this article has nothing to do with historical inaccuracies. It is just another in the long line of articles that prove one unifying point. Jesus is controversial.

We as a society can embrace God but not His son. We can be "touched by an angel" or can watch a teenage get assignments from a grey non-threatening God every Friday night. But try and bring in Jesus and it is another story. Why? To quote Solomon there is nothing new under the sun. Jesus was controversial at the time He lived. Duh --- that is why He was killed. But what the world cannot seem to get is that Christ's death was truly the crowing moment of God's display of love for all mankind. It took a horrible, painful moment for God's grace to be presented to us. It took something bad to give us the ultimate good.

Jesus claimed to be God Himself in human form. I have chosen to believe that claim. If you believe those words, then you must believe that all He said was true. He is the only way to Heaven. He is the promised redeemer of first the Jewish nation and second all mankind. Watering down the gospel detail by saying things like the writers were trying to pacify the Roman rulers of the day is ludicrous. Where is there any true support to that allegation? Did Reuters ask their "experts" to show this proof of the inaccuracies that they claim exist in this movie? No. Why not? Well it wasn't to save space on the internet. It was because the "evidence" does not exist. It is fabricated to soothe a sinful world's heart. If Jesus is not who He claims to be, then we do not have to answer to His other claims. The world wants to find their own happiness and their own "path" to Heaven. Jesus offers one way and one way alone. Through Him. This article does not reflect true scholarship but does reflect the sin nature of man. This nature of self first is as old as humanity itself. There is nothing new under the sun. The current controversy over this man, Jesus, is the same ole controversy people have been imbralled in since time began. But you won't see that fact appear in Rueters. That is why you should always come hear Jasper speak.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

How Freaky!

The Press Speaks:
Idol Fans Hung Up on Hung
Fri Feb 20, 4:45 PM ET E! Online


By Joal Ryan

William Hung is forever. For however long that lasts these days.

"I think his 15 [minutes] can be 24," cable TV executive Marc Juris said.

Betting that Hung, this season's biggest American Idol loser, has a few more media cycles in him, Juris' Fuse network joined with Koch Entertainment this week to offer the 20-year-old college student a $25,000 recording-slash-music video contract.

If all goes according to plan, Hung will sign by next week; the album--more like a five- or six-song mini-album--will be on sale three weeks after that.

Said Juris: "The kid is a true phenomenon."

The Fuse president's hype is also the truth. In the past month, Hung has been parodied by Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live, invited to croon on Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show and anointed a halftime performer at his hometown University of California, Berkeley campus.

An online fan club sports nearly 600 members. An online petition calling on American Idol producers to return him to the competition boasts more than 85,000 virtual signatures. A March 1 Idol special, "Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented," promotes itself in the very image of the dancing, singing Hung (although Fox won't yet say what his involvement in the show may or may not be).

"Obviously, all you need to do [to get famous] is a really bad version of 'She Bangs,'" said Melissa De La Cruz, coauthor of the 2003 self-explanatory tome How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less.

Hung, of course, didn't need two weeks to become a media star. He barely needed two minutes.

As featured on the Jan. 27 Idol, the Hong Kong-born Hung "performed," if you'll pardon the expression, Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" during the show's open-call audition round in San Francisco.

"You can't sing. You can't dance. So what do you want me to say?" judge Simon Cowell asked--once he'd stopped rolling his eyes.

To Hung's ever-growing legion of supporters, Cowell's assessment was beside the point.

He was "so sweet and humble about the whole thing that he just touched a nerve with people who had no professional training, but just did their best and had no regrets," says Juris. (The statement consciously echoes Hung's now-immortal Idol words: "I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all.")

Perky Idol judge Paula Abdul (news) liked Hung's attitude. So did Rebecca Daley and Andrea Michaelian, who identify themselves as the 15-year-old Webmasters of the William Hung Fan Club (williamhung.reallyrules.com/).

"You don't have to have incredible vocal skills to be an entertainer, you just have to make people smile, laugh, cry...and that's just what he did," Daley and Michaelian say in an email interview. (They said they were too busy with homework to talk on the phone.)

Jasper Speaks:

HUH? This has got to be one of the strangest things I have ever heard. My wife Kendra will tell you that I am a huge American Idol fan. I don't know what it is but there is something about the fresh young faced competition and my ability to influence the winner that really attracts me to this program. It is my favorite show. Last year I nearly drove my fingers to be bloody nubs voting for Kimberley Locke as my personal favorite idol. (I still think she should have won by the way). So I must say that I do love this show.

One of the best things about it is the first few episodes where we get to see the really bad people who try out. There were almost too many days (six I think) of watching mostly bad audition after bad audition this season. There was "Screech Girl" who was the one that made me laugh the hardest. She did a rousing scat rendition of "Route 66". A classic television moment. There were long lines of just simply bad singers who made you shake your head and wonder why their mothers didn't love them enough to stop them from making a fool of themselves on national television.

There was Wiiliam Huang. I laughed at him. He was bad. He was not Ricky Martin. He was plain bad. As you have heard the press speak above, he still started a phenomenon of sorts. I think this speaks to the true downfall of America. I have no doubt that Sir William is not a good hearted young man. I am sure he has dreams and aspirations. I wish him all the best in life.

BUT A RECORDING CONTRACT??? WHAT THE HECK??? What happened to the standard of excellence we usually hold artist to? What about the AI contestants of the present and past who had decent voices but fell from the top two and have been heard little from since. (Ah, Tamyra Grey we hardly knew ye!) Have we really sunk to this level? No talent is okay? Painfully lacking ability will still get you places as long as you appear to be "nice"?

I have decided that I have got to get in on some of this frenzy. I am going to get a fake ID. Not one like I had when I was 17 that added eight years to my age, but one that does the opposite. I want to be 22 again! That way I can go to next season's Idol auditions. I will belt out my best version of Enrique Iglesias' HERO. I will sing proud and strong and maybe even throw in some signature Jasper moves to wow the judges with my dancing abilities. When I am done I will be torn. What do I want them to say, "you're going to Hollywood?" No thanks. Then I still only have a 1 in 200 chance of fulfilling my career goals. I will hope for a hearty, "Dawg, you know Dawg, I don't thik I can give you any props for that joint" from Randy. I want to hear a, "Well you look good in green. I love that shirt," from Paula. I LONG for a "I must say that performance was abysmal. My ears are bleeding. You have absolutely no talent at all," from Simon.

You see that will be the very moment when I look deep into the camera. I will let a single tear roll down my right cheek (that's my good side you know). Then I will quietly say, "Thank you so much for you constructive criticism. I know I have given this my all. You were very kind to hear me today. By the way I only have 21 hours of college music credits. I realize those were a waste and I learned nothing. I just thought you might like to know."

Then I will walk proudly out and hug Ryan Seacrest. Heck, I might even tousle his hair a bit (who would notice?). Then I will calmly go home and wait. I will sit by the phone patiently waiting for the calls and offers to come in as soon as my audition airs. You see I am a nice guy. People say that I am a good person with a great heart. That seems to be all it takes to be successful in the entertainment industry. Who would have thought that hard work and knowing people would all pale in comparison to just being sweet and a little bit on the dorky side?

I would urge you to email me and request a personal autograph now. I want to get a head start on the rush. I am sure that you will get thousands for it on eBay right after my audition airs.