Friday, 24 November 2006

Accepted DVD

Accepted
Steve Pink
Universal
ISBN 141706644X


The South Harmon Institute of Technology (SHIT) will become a campus you will wish to visit and revisit again and again and the following are the reasons why.

Occasionally when you go to review something you are taken completely by surprise. Accepted is one such movie. Both the movie and the features on the DVD will be completely unexpected. I was expecting a frat party film along the line of Animal House or The Revenge of the Nerds series, and ended up with something closer to With Honors. The movie actually deals with some great questions - questions about personal integrity, traditions, growth and values.

This DVD is packed full of special features with something for everyone, such as commentaries, deleted scenes, gag reel, music videos and more. The best part of the fun is the self-guided tour of the campus. The virtual tour of SHIT takes you through the main sets, with mini commentaries on parts of the film that took place on these sets.

Justin Long and Lewis Black lead an all-star comedic cast in a romp through University life, as if the students ran the show. The gag reel will have you on the floor laughing as the cast takes the jokes on and off screen to extremes.

The feature commentary with director Steve Pink, and stars Justin Long, Lewis Black, Jonah Hill and Adam Herschman is a barrel of laughs; they seemed to have as much fun commenting about the film as they did on screen during the actual movie. They spent time mocking commentaries on DVDs, critiquing scenes and joking with each other. Early on they say if you make it through the commentary you will need psychiatric help, and though that may be true for their characters and the actors themselves, the commentary is hilarious.

These and the other no-holds-barred bonus features push this DVD from being a renter to a purchase. This is a film you will watch over and over again. It will be great for impromptu movie nights and to put on when you want a laugh after a hard day in class, or after working on that paper that would just not be written. This film will help remind you why you are really in university and what is the real purpose and goal in life.

Pick up the DVD - it will bring you hours and hours of entertainment!

(First Published in Imprint 2006-11-24 as "Accepted Defintely passes!')

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Call Him Father by: Edward G. Maristany

Call Him Father
Edward G. Maristany
Scepter
ISBN 1889334332


Fr. Maristany has written another great book. My only regret is that this, and Loving the Holy Mass, are the only two books I can find by Fr. Maristany. Drawing heavily upon scriptures, The Catechism and St. Josemaria Escriva, we are shown the importance of the concept of 'divine filiation' or, in simpler terms, we are God's children. That is one of the most important things we can learn and take into our hearts. We must not just know it, we must experience it.

Fr. Maristany examines this subject from a number of different angles and perspectives. They are:

  • We are children of God
  • God's original plan
  • Baptism
  • The Good News
  • A Unique love
  • What the World needs now
  • Experiencing the reality
  • The role of parents
  • The role of the Holy Spirit
  • The role of Jesus
  • The role of Mary
  • Developing the habit of piety
  • Prayer
  • Trusting God in times of difficulty
  • In the mass
  • Awareness of the Father's presence
  • Becoming like a little child
  • Contrition
  • Working with a right intention
  • Two dangers

He states: "let me say it again: it is not enough to know that we are children of God. Millions of people know it and still live in darkness. Many who could give lectures on the subject have not made divine filiation the foundation of their spiritual lives. And as a result, their spiritual lives are shaky." p.19 It is stressed again and again, that this cannot be just head knowledge, we must come to experience it and live it or it really means nothing.

In the section on the Role of Parents, Maristany declares: "It is the role of a father to introduce each child to the love of our heavenly Father. In the decisions he makes as head of the family, in his way of answering a question, in his unselfish way of action, in the hugs and protection he gives his children, a good father becomes the natural reflection of the wisdom and love, the power and providence, the mercy and forgiveness of God." p.21 We have no greater role than to be the example of God's love to our children, and our friends and family. We can only do that if we know and experience that love firsthand ourselves.

In quoting St. Josemaria Escriva, we are told: "Presence of God, awareness of our divine filiation; everything else is a way of achieving this." p. 59 Then we are encouraged to put this into practice in our own lives and then to teach it to others. We could have no greater responsibility.

If you want to grow as a child of God, this book will help you understand and grow in that relationship.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Loving the Holy Mass by: Edward G. Maristany

Loving the Holy Mass
Edward G. Maristany
Scepter
ISBN 1594170428


Fr. Maristany packs a lot of punch in this little booklet. Right at the beginning he says: "And yet … how can I blame people who want to spend as little time as possible in church? I remember how, when I was a kid, we loved those midweek holidays when 'you don't have to go to school, and you don't have to go to Mass' Why did we cradle Catholics ever start going to Mass? Because we were told to. It was our duty. " p.7 Yet mass can be so much more than that, and Fr. Maristany helps us to see some of them.

He outline's some things we should consider if we find mass boring and shows us some of the benefits and attractions to attending mass.

1. Jesus' Plan
2. A Sacrifice
3. A Real Presence
4. A Meal (Holy Communion)
5. How to Live and Love the Mass

These are the chapters, and each of them is packed full of spiritual nourishment.

Fr. Maristany draws from many sources, J.R.R. Tolkien, the Catechism, the Summa Theologica, Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine and so many more. I have already read this book three times and plan on reading it again and again until I internalize the message.

This is a great little book for any Catholic to help them understand the importance and centrality of the Mass to their spiritual life.

I have only found one other book by Fr. Maristany Call Him Father which I reviewed also and recommend just as much as this one.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

The Reckoning by: James Bryon Huggins

The Reckoning
James Bryon Huggins

Harvest House
ISBN 1565071816


This is probably my all-time favorite Christian novel. Huggins, who is now retired from law enforcement, is also an award-winning journalist. This is the story of a man who sought redemption and tried to leave his old life behind. This book is action-packed, gripping and spellbinding. It will pierce you to your very soul.

Gage, our hero, is an exile in his own land, abandoned on a military mission by his own country. He is rescued by a priest and an archeologist, who smuggle him back into the states and who helps him see a different way of life. Then a secret society kills the priest and Gage must take up the guns that he had forsworn, to protect those most dear and near to him.

Can Gage come out of retirement and take on some of the best assassins in the world? Can he save his friends? Can he stop a great evil from taking place? You will have to read The Reckoning to find out.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Jacob the Baker by: Noah benShea

Jacob The Baker
Noah benShea
Ballantine Books: 1990

ISBN: 034536662X

This book, the first in a trilogy, is a great collection of stories,
thoughts, penses and ideas. It is a book in the great Jewish wisdom tradition. Jacob is a baker, and each day on his way to the bakery after his prayers he thinks and reflects on God and life. While the ovens are warming up, he jots down his thoughts. One day by accident, one of his scraps of thoughts gets baked into a loaf of bread. The lady who finds it is overwhelmed by its insight and wisdom. She asked the owner of the bakery if Jacob will share more of his ideas by baking one in each of some rolls for a dinner party for her. Reluctantly, Jacob agrees and his peaceful life is shattered.

Soon Jacob has no time for himself. When he goes home people are awaiting him, in
the morning they are on the path to work, and every day they are in the bakery, asking him questions, seeking advice and wisdom. They soon desire to make Jacob their Tzadik, their wise man. These stories will warm your heart, and open your eyes to the divine in yourself and in others. It will teach you to live with love and grace and mercy towards others.

(First Printed in part in Imprint 2005-05-20 as 'Books that will change your life.')

Jacob the Baker, Jacob's Journey and Jacob's Ladder.
Author Profile interview with Noah benShea.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Jacob's Journey by: Noah benShea

Jacob's Journey:
Wisdom to Find the Way, Strength to Carry On
Noah benShea
ISBN 0345377990


This is a great sequel to the original Jacob the Baker. Jacob has found that he cannot be himself in his hometown so he must go on a journey. He sets out alone and ends up meeting many along the road, some whom he helps and some who help him to understand himself.

This book is filled with just as much wisdom as the original, though not in the short
snippets found in the first book. This story has the wisdom woven into the narrative form. But no matter how far Jacob traveled, his wisdom was there with him and others would find it. "Late that night, stories of what the parents had asked and what Joseph's guest had answered were whispered from door to door. Rumors ran like the river that flowed through the village. Tales were told about the stranger named Jacob." p. 67 Eventually, the rumors of Jacob's wisdom get back to his hometown.

Samuel his good friend comes to find him, but will Jacob return home?

Jacob the Baker, Jacob's Journey and Jacob's Ladder.
Author Profile interview with Noah benShea.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Jacob's Ladder by: Noah benShea

Jacob's Ladder:
Wisdom for the Heart's Ascent
Noah benShea
ISBN 0345404386


This is a great final novel in the Jacob the Baker trilogy. Preceded by Jacob the Baker and Jacob's Journey, Jacob is back in his hometown. Jacob has received an unexpected gift and responsibility. Ezra, from the council of sages, has sent his
orphaned grandson, Johan, to learn wisdom from Jacob.

This is a new phase of life for Jacob, who was always content in the silences of his single life. Now there are the noises and disturbances of a young boy. Yet the boy does not come alone. The local schoolteacher comes to visit Jacob, and wants Jonah to go to school. Thus Ruth becomes friend to both Jacob and Jonah.

This is a great book in the tradition of the Jewish sages. Mr. benShea writes with a skill, power and conviction that will touch your heart.

Jacob the Baker, Jacob's Journey and Jacob's Ladder.
Author Profile interview with Noah benShea.

Friday, 10 November 2006

The Four Loves by: C.S. Lewis

The Four Loves
C.S. Lewis
Harper Collins
ISBN 0006280897
(Many Other Editions Available)

I have now read this book three times - twice for school courses and once for personal reading. With each reading I find that a deeper understanding of the subject is obtained. This book is a great examination of the human heart, the different types of loves and how they each interact. Lewis examines: Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity. In each of the first three categories he shows both good and bad examples of that form of love, or in other words, the love and the perversion of that love.


Lewis states: "Let us make no mistakes. Our Gift-loves are really God-Like, and among our Gift-loves those are most God-Like which are most boundless and unwearied in giving. All the things the poets say about them are true. Their joy, their energy, their patience, their readiness to forgive, their desire for the good of the beloved - all this is a real and all but adorable image of the Divine life." p.9 This is the ultimate in love; this is when our love comes closest to God's Love.

Lewis gives us a great study in love, what love is, what it means to truly love and some of the pitfalls of love gone askew. This book will help you live and love better.

Other Reviews of Lewis's Books.

A Grief Observed
The Four Loves
Out of the Silent Planet
Perelandra
That Hideous Strength
The Dark Tower and Other Stories

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Bike Etiquette

Bike Etiquette

I really want to rant about this subject, for a number of reasons. As someone who has been a student here at UW for 8 years now, I have to say that most bike riders in the University area are a menace to themselves and to others. I love riding my bike, and for most of my time here at UW had no access to a motor vehicle and thus rode my bike 8 to 10 months a year. But the cyclists around campus are most often obnoxious, dangerous and infuriating.

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN ONTARIO TO RIDE A BIKE ON A SIDEWALK!
From the Ministry of Transportation Ontario’s (MTO) website it states: “The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) defines the bicycle as a vehicle that belongs on the road. Riding on the road means mixing with other traffic. This is only safe when all traffic uses the same rules of the road. When everyone operates under these rules, actions become more predictable. Drivers can anticipate your moves and plan accordingly. Likewise, you too can anticipate and deal safely with the actions of others.” That means, if you are on 2 wheels, get off the sidewalk!

This is especially needed now that both University Ave. and Columbia St. have bike paths. I recently checked with a member of the RCMP and was informed that not only is it illegal to ride on the sidewalk, but also illegal to ride the wrong way on a bike path. So if you’re on a bike, obey the rules of the road.

I have a friend in town, who is a professor, who happens to walk with a cane. He has been hit by bikes on Columbia more than three times. He has been knocked down and often the cyclist does not even stop to see if he is okay. Who in the world is that ignorant!?

According to the HTA on the MTO’s website, a bike is legally responsible for:
HTA 144/136 -Traffic signals and signs - stop for red lights and stop signs and comply with all other signs.

HTA 153 – One-way streets - ride in the designated direction on one-way streets.

HTA 147 - Slow moving traffic - any vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic speed should drive in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right edge of the road except when preparing to turn left or when passing another vehicle. For cyclists, you must ride far enough out from the curb to maintain a straight line, clear of sewer grates, debris, potholes, and parked car doors. You may occupy any part of a lane when your safety warrants it. Never compromise your safety for the convenience of a motorist behind you.

HTA 142 - Signaling a turn - before turning, look behind you and signal your turn. Cyclists can use their right arm to signal a right turn.

HTA 140/144(29) - Crosswalks - stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and walk your bike when crossing at a crosswalk.

HTA 166 - Streetcars - stop two metres behind streetcar doors and wait until passengers have boarded or departed and reached the curb.

HTA 175 (12) - Stopped School Buses - stop for stopped school buses when the upper alternating red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out.

HTA 62 - Lights - a bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise.

HTA 62 (17) - Reflective tape - a bike must have white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on the rear forks.

HTA 75 (5) - Bell - a bike must have a bell or horn in good working order.

HTA 64 - Brakes - a bike must have at least one brake system on the rear wheel. When you put on the brakes, you should be able to skid on dry, level pavement.

HTA 218 - Identification - Cyclists must identify themselves when stopped by police for breaking traffic laws. The police officer will ask you for your correct name and address.

HTA 185 - Expressways - Bicycles are prohibited on expressway/ freeway highways such as the 400 series, the QEW, Ottawa Queensway and on roads where "No Bicycle" signs are posted.

HTA 178 - Passengers - Passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one person.

HTA 178 - Attaching to a vehicle - You are not permitted to attach yourself to the outside of another vehicle or streetcar for the purpose of "hitching a ride".

HTA 104 - Helmets - Every cyclist under the age of eighteen must wear an approved bicycle helmet. Parents or guardians shall not knowingly permit cyclists under sixteen to ride without a helmet.

Yes, some of these are not all that trendy, but neither is your hurting yourself, or putting someone else at risk. Use some common sense, be polite and be safe for yourself and for others!

I know that, as a cyclist, sometimes, maybe even often, cars do not yield when you have the right of way or may even put you as a cyclist at risk. But you as a cyclist have choices; you can choose to walk instead, you can choose to ride and obey the rules of the road being extra vigilant of cars, or you can do what most cycling students do and become a danger to others by your behaviour.

Sometimes the right decision is not the easy decision. A few years back I was hit on my bike on Columbia near Weber St. A classic Volkswagen Beetle drove up over my front wheel while making a right hand turn to cut through a parking lot, without even doing a shoulder or mirror check. My bike was toast; the guy had the wheel fixed but the forks were bent and it was never the same. However if I had been on the sidewalk and not the road, I would have been the person at fault.

I do want to acknowledge that there are many cyclists who do follow most of the traffic rules, and regulations. They are a credit to their mode of transport. Yet unfortunately, too many cyclists, especially around campus, have a flagrant disregard for the law and the safety of others, and they endanger all near them, and they need to be taken to task on their reckless behaviour. So I implore you do the right thing, and ride on the road not the sidewalks, please.

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/

(First Published in Imprint 2006-11-03 in the Features Etiquette Beyond Buckingham Palace, as ‘Cyclist may endanger many.’)

Friday, 3 November 2006

Threat Signal - Under Reprisal CD

Threat Signal
Under Reprisal
redink Music
CD

Sometimes you just have to pick up an album or a book and take a second look at it, this is such an album, the cover art grabbed my eyes and I had to see if the lyrics and music would be such a feast to the senses. This debut album exceeds all expectations.

Joh Howard produces an amazing range of vocals for a Metal album, the most incredible is his counter points on As I Destruct , here he sings counterpoint to each line, and you would swear you were listening to two vocalists.

The powerful guitar work of Kyle McKnight and Rich Howard draw you in and keep you entrapped as Jon Howards vocals coil around you like a Boa constricting you tighter and tighter. The music is intense, powerful and a stunning example of extreme metal.

It’s hard to believe but they even have an anti-violence song called One Last Breath, where they are critical of violence in society and how it will affect us all.

All the song’s are written by Kyle McKnigt, Jon Howard and occasionally with Rich Howard. The lyrics are to some extent what you would anticipate for a metal album.

The sound is reminiscent of Disturbed or even early Venom, yet even though it sounds familiar it does have it’s own unique undertones and over all it does set itself aside as a new sound in a genre that is typically overly anticipatable. The acoustical ending to Counterbalance reminds one of Creed or Nickleback on their softer pieces.


All in all I would have to say that this album is something new and intriguing in a genre that has become stale. This album will not disappoint any metal head in your circle of friends. So give it a try.

(First Published in Imprint 200-11-03 as “Sonic Snippets – Music Reviews”.)

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Author Profile Kathy Shaidle

Author Profile Kathy Shaidle

Kathy is one of those ‘not well known enough’ Canadian treasures She is a poet, author, and columnist. She has written extensively for the print media and online, especially here at her blog, “Relapsed Catholic ++ Where the religious rubber meets the pop culture road ++”, which is one of the top conservative or blogging Tories blog. Her blog has been up and running since 2000 and has won numerous awards. She has been a columnist here in Canada for The Catholic New Times and also The Catholic Register and currently writes for Our Sunday Visitor, both her prose and poetry.

gas station of the cross
Lowlife Publishing
1990
ISBN n/a

This is a great Indie book of poetry, with its cut-and-paste feel and custom, small press printing. It is wonderful to hold, feel and read. It is a collection of poems, some about dead people, and others that are spiritual, deep and moving - 25 pages of pure reading pleasure. Lead Down the Garden Path (Riverdale Un-soiled) is the only poem from this collection that is not in the larger collection Lobotomy Magnificat.

Round Up The Usual Suspects:
More poems about famous dead people
Lowlife Publishing
1992
ISBN n/s

At 14 pages this is definitely a small gem in Canadian poetry. Small but full of potency, this book will not disappoint. All of these poems are in Lobotomy Magnificat but without the artwork, graphics and funky layout of the poems.

Lobotomy Magnificat
Oberon Press
1997
ISBN 0778010716

This book was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. Lead Down the Garden Path (Riverdale Un-soiled) is the only poem from her first two books of poetry that did not make it into this collection. There are also 9 other poems in this collection. These poems come from over a dozen different sources. Each poem will spark something in you and draw you out of yourself and into the world in a new and greater way.

God Rides a Yamaha
Northstone Publishing
1998
ISBN 1896836240

God Rides a Yamaha is a must read for anyone struggling with illness, or who has journeyed with someone who has. This is a book composed of a series of columns that appeared after Kathy was diagnosed with Lupus. They are sometimes raw, visceral, and yet they never lose hope, and continue to persevere and move on. These columns won Catholic writing awards. This book reads much like C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed and any fan of that book will love this one.

A Seeker’s Dozen:
The 12 Steps for Everyone Else
Self-Published
2004
Product Number: 10267680

This is a book that is a collection of articles that originally appeared in the Catholic New Times. This book looks at the 12 steps of AA and the history of the movement. If you have ever known any one who struggles with an addiction, this book will help you understand the organization that has helped provide a way out for people all over the world.

A Catholic Alphabet:
The Faith from A to Z
Self-Published
2005
Product Number: 17385236

This is a collection of articles that originally appeared in The Catholic Register. She wanted to explain the catholic faith in a simple, clear, concise and precise way. She calls herself a GenX cradle Catholic, and this book is wonderful. With at least one entry for each letter, and some with many, this book can be read from beginning to end, or flipped open and read at random. It contains nearly 200 pages of questions, meditations and recollections to inform, educate and amuse. Well worth a read.

Kathy is an award-winning Toronto author, editor and writer for print & web. Check out her books - you will not be disappointed. I would go so far as to state that Kathy deserves the fame of Margaret Atwood, I would say that she is the Catholic Margaret Atwood of GenX.

(Just an aside: Lowlife Press can be reached through maggie@web.net or you can check out here or here if you want to track down the original books of poetry. The artwork and ‘Independent press look and feel’ make them small treasures.)

Books by Kathy Shaidle:
gas station of the cross (1990)
Round Up The Usual Suspects: More poems about famous dead people (1992)
Lobotomy Magnificat (1997)
God Rides a Yamaha (1998)
A Seeker's Dozen: The 12 Steps for Everyone Else (2004)
A Catholic Alphabet: The Faith from A to Z (2005)
Acoustic Ladyland: Kathy Shaidle Unplugged (2007)
The Tyranny of Nice (2009 with Pete Vere)

Author Profile Kathy Shidle Interview (2011)
Author Profile (2006)

Other Posts and Links:
Kathy Shaidle's Blog
More Books That Will Change Your Life

Some Old Stuff Some New
Trends: Female Authors
Meme Booked by 3 - December
Meme - A fun Book Meme