Sunday, January 29, 2006


Indeed, I am a redneck, or I will be one for several more days. Thanks to an anticipated half-day of volunteer roofing (which ended up being 11 1/2 hours of roofing-related activities without sunscreen), I have garnered myself quite the sunburn.

Click here to see a few photos of my scorched head posted on Katie's blog. The first photo doesn't do justice to the distinct red line across my forehead, but the neck picture shows it pretty well. However, I am happy to say it doesn't hurt much and I did have a hat/bandana on my head for the day so my scalp is nice and pearly white as usual (hence the silly looking distinct red forehead line).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Today in (African) History

January 24, 1971: Idi Amin Ousts Ugandan President in Coup

Click here to read a BBC summary (from its archives).

And click here to read a bio on Amin, one of Africa's most notorious dictators.

Friday, January 20, 2006

'Son of Man' at Sundance

From CNN:

Black Jesus Film Aims to Start Talk

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- Billed as the world's first black Jesus movie, "Son of Man" portrays Christ as a modern African revolutionary and aims to shatter the Western image of a placid savior with fair hair and blue eyes.

The South African film, which premieres on Sunday at the Sundance festival in Utah, transports the life and death of Christ from first century Palestine to a contemporary African state racked by war and poverty.

...Jesus [who in the film belongs to the Xhosa ethnicity] begins his public ministry after an encounter with Satan -- who appears cloaked in black leather -- during his traditional Xhosa circumcision rite.

He gathers followers from the factions of armed rebels across the country and demands they lay down their guns and confront their corrupt rulers with a vision of non-violent protest and solidarity.

Click here to read the whole article.

I really hope this film gets picked up for distribution, because I would love to see it. What a potentially powerful tool to expose people to Christianity as well as to make the teachings of Christ relevant to a current world situation (not to imply that they are not, otherwise). The filmmaker says he hopes that this movie can inspire hope for Africa in spite of the tragic state of much of the continent today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Opposite of Deja-Vu

Yesterday, I had a colonoscopy. It seems by now most folks have learned about this, and I think almost everyone who reads my blog knew about it, so there’s no shame in mentioning it. However, I will spare folks the boring details of the last few days and just say that everything went well and that except for a few minor issues I am A-OK in the gastrointestinal department. I am home today and not in class because I just can’t seem to get running on all cylinders. I was fairly weak anyway because, as many of you know, you can’t really eat anything for a full day before the procedure, only liquids. Not only that, but the colonoscopy prep-kit, which includes a liter of liquid to flush your system, made me really sick, and let’s just say I had a hard time keeping it down. OK- I actually didn’t keep a lot of it down, but I digress. Anyway, it just lent itself to making me feel even more tired and sick. Poor Katie has had a few days quite full of other people’s vomit. But I digress.

The thing that is most interesting to me are the things I can’t actually remember. Shortly before the procedure, I received a full shot of Demerol. I was to drift into what the nurse described as “twilight sleep” and that I would remain drowsy after the procedure but would begin to be somewhat lucid within the hour. Here’s where it gets interesting. No harm was done, but I was given a full dose of the drug because I am a “big guy”, ie, 6 feet tall. However, I think the average body weight for 6 foot guys is about 160 lbs. I, on the other hand, weigh almost 30 lbs less than that, so the Demerol hit me like a ton of bricks. Evidently the staff was surprised at how out of it I was and how long it was taking me to come back to lucidity.

Now, all of this is according to Katie, as I cannot remember any of it, but I was REALLY out of it, and it took a long while for me to even be able to talk and recognize anyone. There was a guy named Mike and a nurse named Sherry who were taking care of me, they put me in a wheel chair, I started to gag a bit and they made sure I was OK, I rode home with Katie fairly lucid and talking the whole time, and after sleeping a bit, I ate a big bowl of Jello, again talking to Katie the whole time- And I remember none of it. I remember nothing for hours after the procedure, even stuff that I was doing after I was up and walking around. I have little snippets of things here and there, like hearing Katie around the house or having a quick visitor (who seemed to be doing much better than the last time I saw her- Hi, friend!) Later that night I talked to my mom and I even had trouble remembering what I had eaten for dinner 30 minutes before. And I was evidently telling Katie the same stories over and over again, and every time I remembered something new to tell Katie and began to describe it to her, she just smiled and would finish the story for me. Really a freaky experience. I evidently told her about how bad my IV hurt at least ten times just on the ride home. What was the strangest aspect of it is that everytime I told the story, Katie would laugh and tell me that I had already told her. I would be surprised and express disbelief that I had already related the thought to her. And then I would promptly forget the whole exchange and start telling her the same thing again within a few minutes time, with no recollection that I had not only already told her, but that I had numerous times already been told that I had told her. (I'll probably find out later that I have already posted a blog entry about all this yesterday.) It is very strange to be somewhat functional but to have no recall of it. Katie and I were discussing that this may be what the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease is like. I knew my memory loss would eventually pass. I can’t imagine what it would be like to simply lose your own life in this manner.

So I am better now, and though very groggy, my system seems to be readjusting back to normal. I should up and rolling along OK by Thursday.

Monday, January 16, 2006


MLK Mural, Atlanta
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhwre. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hangin' in the ATL

Brunch with Bo and used items perused,
Caravan drive to the ATL,
Little 5 Points and the B & B,
Friends, Family, and the Aquarium Jesus
8 Months ago a Death in the john,
and I can't sleep to the soft red glow of the heat.

Sunday morning cruising with Canada,
Flurry of Commerce, flow of Commodity,
Passport Panties and the Bug Lady say hello,
No food on the Sabbath,
Broken Cobble-stone streets meets the feets,
Slap-dash condos stink up the view,
And our pleasant stroll ends with a silly hat.

Kiss Kiss2




B & B

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Shadow of the Sun (2001)

The Shadow of the Sun
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Just finished reading this book last night, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who would like a well-written and thoughtful account of Africa without having to slog through pages and pages of facts. The author, Ryszard Kapuscinski, was a foreign correspondent covering African affairs for four decades, and he has witnessed many of the continent’s major historical events, from Ghana’s first days of independence (late 50’s), Idi Amin’s reign of terror, and the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

First off, it is not a “macho” book full of the brave author’s adventures on the Dark Continent. Rather, it is an introspective book that shows the author’s deep respect for the people he encounters. Kapucinski is obviously amazed by these people, their difficult lives, and the amazing strength and hope to which they cling in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Also, the book is not depressing, though it does contain sadness. It would be easy to focus solely on all tragedy in Africa’s recent history, but rather than loading the book with facts and figures or gory details (though both are included at times), the author often writes more about the everyday details that surround him: the heat of the noon day sun, finding water, visiting with friends, the social importance of a shade tree, the small acts of generosity that make up the fabric of African life. In fact, though there is a wealth of historical information incorporated into the text, a good balance is struck between fact and narrative.

Often his stories are the aspects of a tale that other would choose to omit. Rather than tell us the details behind WHY he was in a certain town and WHY he had to get to another location, often he tells us only of the journey in between, starting with his departure and ending the chapter upon his arrival. This has the effect of really giving the reader insight into those daily details upon which other stories may not focus, such as descriptions of the other passengers, the potholes in the road, the smell of the air, the name of the bus driver, and so forth. To be sure, he doesn’t candy-coat anything, and there’s plenty of death and despair along with some hard scrutiny of the sad circumstances into which many of these nations have been plunged, but the book is overall a loving ode to a world of both beauty and pain, a world of extremes. I recommend it to those who love memoirs, history, or just a good, interesting read.


My sister sent this link to me. If you have Flash on your computer, click the link to see The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.

And perhaps not as funny to everyone as it will be to those of us who grew up on a steady diet of Dungeons an Dragons, but THIS ONE is awesome, too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

King Kong (2005)

Won't say much about this one since I've already blogged about the original, and it's all still pretty applicable: exploitation and the darker side of human nature abound. In sum, I enjoyed the heck out of the movie and thought it was very well done. Needless to say, the efects are top-notch. Naomi Watts is...really really pretty. I gotta say it. Yeah, she's the hot blonde Hollywood actress, but she really is pretty. And prettiness aside, she's good in the film, too. She does a fine job, as does everyone else (even Jack Black, though he's pretty much just playing himself yet again- but the pompous smarminess suits his character just fine). Katie and I especially enjoyed seeing Andy Serkis in human form as a crew menber of the ship (as well as the CGI Kong). Not that the Skull Island scenes weren't fun, I could have used a little less island and a little more NYC, but overall, I enjoyed it immensely. And if you HAVEN'T seen it and you have ANY inkling to see it at all, do yourself a favor and see it on the big-screen.

And for the record, I did not cry, though I did get a little misty at one point…

High and Low (1963)

High and Low
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Another quick review for you, dear readers. In light of my current urge return to my glory days and watch more foreign movies again, I hit the library for any movie by one of my favorite directors, Akira Kurosawa. So we ended up watching High and Low, a film I had not previously seen, and one of the few Kurosawa films I’ve watched not set in feudal Japan. Set in the modern day (read: 1960’s Japan), this is a very good movie, though not the movie I expected it to be. Starring the always dependable Toshiro Mifune, the story deals with a kidnapping gone wrong. When someone attempts to kidnap the son of a wealthy businessman (Mifune) but accidentally kidnaps the son of the man’s chauffeur, Mifune must decide whether to pay the ransom for the other man's child, though it will financially destroy his family to do so.

The first hour of the movie takes place almost entirely in one room of Mifune’s house. It’s very intense and a little claustrophobic. I assumed that this was to be he structure of the whole film- a tight little morality play about the value of a life. However, 45 minutes into it, when certain plot points seemed to be resolving themselves, I was baffled as to what the remaining 1 1/2 hours would be. Therein lies the surprise, as the film moves from Mifune’s home and completely shifts focus from his character to a team of detectives searching the city to crack the case and track down the kidnappers. It is a completely different film from this point, though the shift in tone didn’t strike me as forced at all. For those of you who like movies of manhunts, detective stories, and CSI-like shows, you’ll probably dig this movie, because that’s really what the rest of the film is about: people doing the grunt-work to solve a mystery. Good story, good acting, good direction. Check it out.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

And the Hits Just KEEP On Comin'...

Pat Robinson
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Holy Crap, this man is INSANE.

From CNN: Robertson Suggests God Smote Sharon

Man, I got RIPPED on this whole "God-thing." I got stuck with a All-Powerful Lord who rules all creation, including ME. Now Pat Robertson, on the other-hand, HE gets to have his OWN God, one that listens solely to Robertson's own ideas and who heeds old Pat's every beck and call. That's pretty SWEET. He must be a lucky, lucky man.

Let's see what else we can think of here...hmmm...

The miners in West Virginia died because they were looking for coal, which is associated with being bad, which is associated with Santa Claus, therefore God smote them because they hate Christmas.

Just give it a day. He'll say it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Nellie McKay is a Badass...I Think.

I've never heard that much by her, and I haven't even READ much about her, but what I have read makes me really like this girl. She's such a fun little anomoly. And in the last interview I read all she was talking about was how much she wanted to be let out of her record contract. And it seems she got her wish. Let's here it for artists refusing to compromise on their vision!

And in regards to her official comment about the split, isn't that the best statement you've ever read?

Moolaade (2004)

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
While I am on the topic of foreign films (see previous post), I thought I would say a bit about another film Katie and I saw about a year ago, but one which deserves some mention now that I have my blogosphere outlet available for your reading pleasure.

From the Rotten Tomatoes website:
"African cinema's founding father, 81-year-old Ousmane Sembene, continues to be its most fiery, provocative spirit. Extending the strong feminist consciousness that marked his previous triumph Faat Kiné …Moolaadé is a rousing polemic directed against the still common African practice of female circumcision. The action is set in a small African village, where four young girls facing ritual "purification" flee to the household of Collé Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own teenage daughter from mutilation.

Collé invokes the time-honored custom of moolaadé (sanctuary) to protect the fugitives, and tension mounts as the ensuing stand-off pits Collé against village traditionalists (both male and female) and endangers the prospective marriage of her daughter to the heir-apparent to the tribal throne."

Moolaade is ostensibly about female genital mutilation (AKA FGM or circumcision), but on a higher level it is also about tradition vs. progress. More than a simple story, it is a bold political statement in favor of modern ideas (especially in regards to the role of women in society). NOW, for those who would assume this is an intense, unsettling film- you’re only half right. Yes, the topic is very serious, there are aspects about the film that are disturbing, and it does include a few upsetting scenes, but overall this is a really enjoyable film to watch, with numerous likable characters (and some really hateful ones, too). It is full of vibrant images of village life, with the sights and sounds of children playing and friends chatting over the simple acts of daily life. It is an excellent film to expose the audience to both the joys and the problems faced in Africa today.

One aspect of the film that is difficult to understand from the Western point of view is that, within the film and in reality, it is occasionally women themselves that support the practice of FGM, as it is considered a major rite of womanhood. To NOT have this done is to be considered a child or an untouchable. Now, to be sure, this reasoning is entirely wrong. However, in the cultural context of some of these societies, it is seen as a necessary practice to allow a girl to become a woman. Now, this film features a cast of women who are rightfully rejecting this line of reasoning, which in the film is supposedly based on Islamic teaching (which, as the film points out, actually does NOT advocate the practice). But the female elders of the village, along with the men, are hard-line traditionalists on this subject and some of its most vocal advocates. Thus the film is a very interesting- and enjoyable- study in cultural clash.

Kitchen Stories (2003)

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
We found this strange little film from Norway in the "Previously Viewed" section of Blockbuster, and since I had heard good things about this film when it was released (and being that we had a gift certificate on-hand), we picked it up. This is an excerpt of a synopsis from

"A quaint story about the friendship between two aging men, KITCHEN STORIES is packaged as a comedy with a very strange premise. It is based on research conducted in Sweden in the 1950s when women were observed in the kitchen for a study to determine the best housework techniques. In the film, a fictional plotline concerns a team of Swedish scientists--all men--hired to observe bachelors living alone in Norway."

The film revolves around the breakdown of the subject-observer divide and the subtle little ways that people grow to be friends. Katie enjoyed it, but found thefilm’s description as a “comedy” to be dubious at best. I pointed out it is a FOREIGN comedy- so it really didn’t have to funny, per se. However, I did think it was pretty funny.
here to read snippets of various reviews.

On a related sidenote, this film reminded me about how much I love to watch foreign cinema, and how little I actually do so.