Peeking Through the Lens

We have been the lucky recipients of a lot of “Documentary Channel” fare. Our satellite company gives us a lot of free time on it because we are “long and favored customers.”

It’s turned out to be on of the best channels around. While there is plenty of junk, there are great finds as well, often letting us peek into the lives of people who live far far different lives than we. Often we learn about people we have never heard of, but who have made significant contributions to the communities in which they live. We saw, for instance, a wonderful one on the late Oscar Brown Jr., songwriter and easily the “father of rap.” His song about the slave auctioneer selling women on the block is breathtaking in it’s showing of the real state of human slavery.

We have seen the crazy world of Donkey Kong champions and the egos that drive young men to fight and cheat their way to the top. We’ve see, as we mentioned some months ago, the lives of Mongolians on the Russian steppes and their camels.

Some are lousy of course, as with any genre of entertainment. Others are riveting, such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. What is absolutely true is that the title is not the standard by which to judge. We currently have one in the can about a brothel and the owners who are a man and his quadriplegic wife. We haven’t yet sampled that one.

The other night we saw one about the extension of human life. It was idiotically filmed, which was too bad, since the folks who were interviewed had some really important things to say. It was not your typical “state of the art” of life extension at all, but a provocative look at the issues that may arise should we succeed in dramatically extending the span of a human life.

For instance, philosophically, some argue that we are what we are mostly because of our recognition that our lives are finite. In other words, given our short lives, we develop the need to find meaning, and to make some mark upon the earth. If our lives were significantly longer, we might lose this urge. Other’s disclaim such a notion with nary a thought.

Others suggest that we might lose our willingness to take risks, and this has been a driving force in discovery and growth in knowledge. If the only real way to die is through accident, then we might become fearful and paranoid. We might stay home, and remain safe and sound, rather than subject ourselves to the proverbial “getting hit by a truck crossing the street.”

One complaint was unusual. It came from a physicist working at CERN. He said that he, and others like him, were able to think of and plan out experiments they would like to conduct. However, in some cases the lag time before the monies, equipment, and pre-requisite testing had been done, exceeded an individual lifetime. Now that was something I did not think of.

Of course there were the silly folks as well.

One group gathers around the limited scientific evidence that suggests that severe caloric reduction leads to longer life. Some years ago, in an experiment involving some other issue, it was noted that rats fed a restricted diet, lived quite a bit longer than their normal counterparts.

Armed with this finding a scientist or two did similar experiments on other animals and found the results to be similar. From that was born the “Society” of those who decide to restrict their intake of food.

A representative claimed that the results were that “you are really really skinny”, and that you have “lots of energy” but that, on the other hand, you were “hungry all the time” except for members who placed all their calories for the day in one meal. These folks were only hungry 21 hours a day, and not 24.

I guess nobody is old enough yet to know whether their lifestyle has had any effect on longevity.

So you get An Inconvenient Truth, The March of the Penguins, and short vignettes into the lives of interesting and unsung heroes in our world, and you get the quadriplegic and her hubby starting a brothel, or a full-of-himself Sheriff in North Carolina, who calls a middle-aged woman  “possibly armed and dangerous” for operating a tiny “video poker” game in her parlor.  

You get it all, but frankly, more than most of it is actually quite good. So if you have that option with your cable company, do take a look.

**I have not been paid for this endorsement. :p

Whose Reality You Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis?

Saturday night was Depp night in the Peyton household. A fairly old (1995)romp with Faye Dunaway and Brando was a perfect end to the day. I don’t think the movie ever got much acclaim, but I sure liked it. It was amusing, and beautiful eye candy to boot.

Brando plays an aging and retiring psychiatrist who is drawn to help Depp, a young man functioning under the dilusion that he is Don Juan. In the end, we find that Brando is the one who is “cured” and Depp lives on in his fantasy.

It raises the very interesting question of “whose reality is it?” Depp’s character seems fairly sane and functional, and no one can deny he is having a great time pleasuring women who cannot stop smiling following their encounter with him.

The clearly sane psychiatrist learns that there is more to life than literal reality. Love, Depp teaches him, is what makes life worth living. Without it, life is but a series of events.

In the end, we are never quite sure whether Don Juan is the real deal or not, and frankly it doesn’t matter. Brando terms the ending scene “our fable” suggesting of course that Don Juan is really John Arnold DeMarco. Yet he is also making a statement that it’s not necessarily a mental illness to operate under a thoroughly erroneous reality. It may in part be dictated by whether deep down the person knows of their “delusion.” Perhaps, we learn, it may be an effective and appropriate treatment plan.

So next time you find yourself daydreaming in some fantastical dream life (mine involves a multimillion dollar estate on the beach in Oahu, with the Contrarian I might add), don’t feel that tinge of guilt that you are being silly or worse. You might just be doing what needs be done to retain your mental health.

I wonder if the average American, who I don’t esteem as being all that bright when you get right down to it, will figure out why the economy is stalled.

I suspect, given all the reading I’ve done, that mostly it’s due to Republican intransigence. We no longer duke it out and then congratulate the winner, getting on then with the business of governing. No. We no longer do that.

We whine and snivel about why we lost, about the dirty tricks and underhanded lies of the opposition and we convince ourselves that all hell will descend if we don’t retrieve the golden ring of control the next go around.

Republicans are geniuses at this. They simply dig in, complain that all that is wrong is due to the other party, and then refuse to budge one millimeter on any issue, even those that they had previously supported.

This is largely what is behind the recent breakdown in negotiations led by Vice-President Biden on the debt and budgetary issues. While Democrats have agreed to lots and lots (trillions) of spending cuts, the GOP walked away from the table again declaring that under no circumstances will they even discuss revenue issues. Even when we are talking about removing some tax breaks for those making over half a mil, they balk.

Worse, they are now refusing to even consider something many of them once championed: the removal of a tax loophole (an accounting mechanism) that saves billions each year for industry, mostly big oil and gas interests. This particular loophole called LIFO (last in first out), is disallowed internationally, but the GOP refuses to even consider removing it now.

This economy must fail for them to have a chance in 2012 and they know it. They rant on with their idiotic rhetoric that somehow debt reduction by increased revenues is no good, while cutting the hearts out of the working class in every way known to humanity is, all the while protecting at all costs big business in their continuing rape of America.

We caught part of the interview on CBS Sunday morning with Scheiffer and Bachmann. She was asked a few hard questions, mostly of her own bizarre and outlandish statements. She avoided answering them all, saying that the issues were about Obama and his utter incompetence and lack of any understanding about economic issues.

While amusing, the Contrarian pointed out that one Sharron Engle deflected questions about her nutzy remarks over and over again, by claiming the election was all about Harry Reid and his horrid ability to do the job.

What these two morons miss is that in the end, it is about them. Do we stay with the one we already know, or do we trade in for a new model. Most new buyers want to test drive the new car before they buy it. If Bachmann thinks she can win while dodging why she claimed the Lion King was gay-subversion, among many of her more famous weirdisms,  she has another thing coming her way than a win in 2012.

Our Collective Responsibility

Last night the Contrarian and I watched the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. No, we are not going to discuss the relative merits of this version versus the 1935 version (actually there were two others that preceded them both), nor who was better, Gable or Brando.

It raises an interesting point. At why point in time are we compelled to step forward and address wrongs before we become co-responsible for the harms being done?

In the movie, Fletcher Christian is faced with example after example of  Bligh’s unfair treatment of the sailors in his keeping. He is harsh and unrelenting in his desire to achieve results–often exhibiting a clear willingness to sacrifice his crew in order to gain approval of his naval superiors back home.

Several men are viciously treated and more than one dies, before Christian is moved to step in, thereby sacrificing his own career and possible life to stop Bligh’s excesses. Perhaps Christian was slowed by his realization that indeed he would have to give up  his life in England. It is undoubtedly true that had the consequences to himself been less, he most likely would have acted sooner.

Is this a moral standard however or only a practical one? Can we justify our delay because of the relative cost to ourselves? Surely, at least in the movie, others were calling for Christian to step in sooner than he did. They all, perhaps had less to lose, it is not certain. All faced hanging if convicted of mutiny, which they surely were guilty of. Some of the men went with Bligh, on the excuse that they had family at home–the stakes were too high in their estimation for them to act morally here.

I raise the issue, because we are faced with a calamity of unprecedented proportions in the Gulf.

Our anger is unbounded at this point, unless of course you are a Republican, being bankrolled by big oil. Then of course you listen to Rush Limbaugh who tells us that the ocean will clean itself. No biggie.

The rest of us, as I said, are appalled. We are sickened to death of pictures of birds coated with oil so thick the cannot even walk. We turn away in disgust and heartbreak. We shake our fist at the CEO Tony Hayward at his insipid remarks about “wanting his life back” and then spending millions to do another “don’t hate BP because we make millions,” commercial.

Yet, I wonder, is part of our horror, part of our revulsion, part of our pain, the realization that we bear responsibility here? We all talk a great game, we all nod about the rape of the environment, we all agree that we need cleaner energy, but we are all too reluctant to give up much to achieve it.

Perhaps I speak for myself, but I think not. If it were only my selfish “forgetting”  my reusable cotton shopping bags, if it were only my sometimes use of too much plastic in my life, then we wouldn’t be talking about a Gulf catastrophe. No, sadly, I am not alone.

I do my bit, but it’s small to be sure. We burn trash, we don’t use bottled water, we try to remember to take the shopping bags with us. We try to avoid prepackaged nonsense. We try to cut down on driving and other energy expenditures, but we only do it half-assed most of the time. It’s just time consuming and annoying a lot of the time, and it’s often–oops, I’ll do better next time.

And this is where it has gotten us. We have, a goodly number of us, railed at offshore drilling, but we’ve not made it a battle to engage in. I suppose we can’t be totally condemned. After all, there are a thousand causes from Alzheimer’s to zoological extinctions that we can put our time and money into. No one can address but a small handful at best.

But, saying all that, we cannot absolve ourselves from the responsibility. It is still ours. We knowingly allowed these greedy bastards to continue, because we had other concerns both public and private. That is why we cringe at the pictures so violently. That is why our eyes water and we turn our gaze away from the creatures whose lives have for no reason they can discern turned upside down. Life is mean and short, and the innocent very often get the worst of it.

That perhaps is our greatest anger. That the first tier of guilty will suffer not one whit. Tony Hayward and all the rest of them, will simply move their summer tropical paradises to some other part of the globe untainted by oil sludge. They can afford to.

Those whose livelihoods, limited as they were, focused on the Gulf, are done for perhaps decades to come. The animals and birds and fish who die, well, they were unknown, unnamed, and will pass mostly unnoticed. Like the huge epic extinctions of bygone times, they will mark a time only. A time  reflected in history books (unless Texas manages to vacuum this story as well).

I have no answers. But you are so used to that. How to organize and stop all this wretched excess bought at the cost of the poor, the working poor, the environment? I’d love an answer. I can only feed the birds that live in the meadow, and pet my dogs and caress my cats, and try to be especially kind to them, knowing they are the lucky few.

What say you?

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Don’t Open that Door!!!

I knew you couldn’t resist, so you might as well come on in, sit down, and make yourself comfortable. A cup of java?

There are times I think that I might be slightly bi-polar. Today is one of them, as I have a rare indeed experience of being energetic and wanting to get things done. This is nearly enough to send me to bed, fearful that I’m coming down with some disease, but then here we are.

It is just a bit after 11 am and thus far I have, gotten up, dressed, made coffee, downed a significant portion of it, fixed breakfast, washed dishes three times, done a load of wash, dried, folded and put it away, put new bedding on said bed, made a Mexican casserole for dinner, all ready for warming, and have a apple crisp in the oven cooking as we speak. Oh, and I fed Brandy, let out numerous cats, let in some of them, and a dog or two. Whew!

Feeling really lazy are you and racked with guilt? I surely hope so. I don’t do this just for the fun of it you know.

Anyway, I realized that certain statements just refuse to leave my cluttered mind, and I got to wondering why. You know what I mean. Certain events, certain words of wisdom, whatever, stick to the synaptic byways of various memory locations within said brain, and seem to travel through time, coming forth here and there over the years. Some, I heard just a couple of days ago. Go figure.

So here they are, in no particular order. If you expect some logical progression, sorry, but we aren’t into that today. My brain is in its untamed, “JUST WRITE IT DOWN!” mode.

I can’t give you a link, so you will just have to trust me, but I read the other day, about the Sarah thingie–you recall her statement about getting health care in Canada? Well, along with that she announced that they had to do that because health care premiums were beyond their ability until “we got us some good UNION JOBS.” Presumably with good health care. SARAH DEAR–check with the GOP powers that be, but ummm, I’m thinking that the GOP is not fond of that statement. Unions are ummm, how do I put this– A DEMOCRATIC THING! you ignorant woman.

Last night we watched last Sunday’s installment of Amazing Race. We do have our standards of course, but we generally like this show. This season, there are a couple of young guys, who are both authentic cowboys. Not sure what state they are from, but they look, act the part–proven by actual roping skills demonstrated in Argentina at one point.

Anyway, last night, they were in Germany, having just consumed their first beer ever (and it was a HUGE amount) to complete a task in the game. They were then off to a small club in the red light district of Hamburg to the “pit stop.” As they walked down the byways of said district, admiring all the lights, ladies of the evening, and various strip joints, one cowboy exclaimed to the other:

Cord, I don’t think we are in the bible belt any more!”

Indeed not. They are a delightful pair, smart as whips (why whips are smart I have no clue), affable, and so far one of the best teams. We hope they win.

Henry David Thoreau is a dear favorite of mine. Two remarks have stuck in my cranium for years. I have no idea why, but certain truths seem to emanate forth.

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately.

I am not sure what Thoreau meant by this, but I found it on a paper weight, and bought it for the Contrarian many years ago. I like the sound of it, but as I said, I’m not sure what is more deliberate about living in the woods than otherwise. Authentic perhaps? I’m not at all sure how that translates to the 21st century. It’s a ponderful thing.

I’m a big fan of Tennessee Williams. Loved a ton of his plays. Streetcar Named Desire, Sweet Bird of Youth, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (wherein I first learned of the word mendacity!). Night of the Iguana. Oh the list is long. All dark, deep thoughtful things. I think the “method” actors like Newman and Brando loved his stuff.

Williams was gay, and his sister was mentally ill. She was lobotomized at an early age, and never recovered. Williams feared insanity all his life, as well as no doubt how to be a gay man in a very ungay world. His plays reflect the dark underside of  the human mind. Some say Blanche DuBois was a reflection of his sister. Some say Brick was Williams.

I heard the other day, that he said this:

From our birth we are condemned to a life sentence of solitary confinement within our flesh.

True enough. Sad, frightening, depressing, but oh so true. Most of us, at some point in life, reach this conclusion though we may not state it so eloquently. We realize that there are no words, no actions, no way to touch, sing, or otherwise convey the depth, breadth, and color of our emotional life. No matter how close we are, you can’t “get me” as I truly am, and I cannot get you. Fact. Move on. Or angst about it forever as Williams appeared to have.

Thoreau said it succinctly and matter-of-factly:

Most men live lives of quiet desperation.

Also true, depressing, sad and all that rot. Fact, move on. We do because there is nothing much else to do. Even if we have faith, we pretty much are still stuck in that.

I’m in a good mood, so these are not dark musings. Just ideas that never leave. They are the boundaries of life. Factual true. Can’t change them, accept them, shrug and move on. Still one sometimes longs to dwell in the mind of a less thinking mind. Easier, yes. But not nearly as enriched.

Have yourself a very merry day. I DID warn you!

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The Thin Line of Reality

LiebermanI mean, really. Joe does sort of make one feel that the world is upside down. Was it only less than a decade ago that we welcomed him as the Democratic candidate for VP? How can this be?

Either this man has turned as about faced as any one could, or we were duped badly. And that may well be the case, since one must allow that a few folks were duped into actually thinking Dubya had a brain, and we know he was the tin man. Or was that a heart? I can’t remember which.

Joe, clearly a person who thinks of himself as the patriarchal leader of his Connecticut flock rather than the spokesman for said flock, has claimed he will “not allow a public option health care reform bill on the floor of the Senate.” Goodness and mercy me, when did Joe become so powerful? He and he alone controls this power?

Doubly hard since Jon Stewart parodies him so well in that stuffed nose doggy style, making Joey sound like a pathetic minion more akin to the bumbling sidekick to any comedy team you can think of. Who the freakin’ f**k does this buffoon think he is after all? Hate monger and war touter who seems unconcerned with killing folks (long as he is safely at home), has the unmitigated gall to act in direct opposition to the majority of his constituency in making this claim that he will deride any health care bill that doesn’t pass Lieberman cheese muster. A pox on his house!

tmwsag_160xOkay, that seems to lead inexorably to this next story. Namely that there is a new movie out called as you may have guessed, “The Men who Stare at Goats. ” Note first that it says MEN who stare at goats. Women are just way smarter than men it seems.

Okay, so I figured, George Clooney, sexy George, oh yeah, I can watch this. Somehow it will be good. He’s a fine comedic type after all beyond his allure. Yeah, I can do this. Although how they can make anything rational out of such a concept would be hard. Hard. Right.

IT’S BASED ON A FREAKIN TRUE STORY! I know, I know, but now you see why it said “men” and not women. Some freakin’ brain dead military types actually smelled a bit too much of the gun powder and came up with this idea that you can and should try to think a goat to death. I have no idea why they picked goats. I have no idea why anyone with what appeared to be a loaded brain case would ever in their wildest imaginations consider this possible.

I live in a crazy country, and perhaps in a crazy world. That is my only explanation. This means that it really is true, that with God all things are indeed possible. Man has concluded that everything under the sun, moon, stars, nebula, black holes, quasars, pulsars, dark matter, can and might be true or can happen. End of story.

star-trek-enterpriseCome here. Just a little closer. . . . Can we talk? Me and you, Mr. TV producer type? We need to get something straight here.

I’m all aware of how you guys like to be lazy. I mean genre, genre right? A few ago it was reality shows, and now we are all pitching our sorta abnormal, sciencey fiction type stuff? Right? I get that.

But, it is unfair, not copacetic, not within the rules to start ’em and then leave us hangin’, twisting in the wind as it were. Ya just can’t cancel shows without resolving them!

You create these mysteries and then, slam bam, you’re onto something new, and all the while I’m still left in the Everglades with some kinda pods that are erupting there. And there was another thing about some kinda monster along the west coast, swimming around. Never resolved that one either. You claim you will with LOST. Not sure what your intentions are regarding HEROES, but it’s seeming rather disjointed these days. You just kinda slobbered all over GALACTICA didn’t ya?

Time to shape up. And hey, while you are at it, lets put just a tad more thought into all this. You resurrected “V“. Now I understand that that was an old series (my point actually is that you’re being rather lazy doncha think?), and so it’s been clearly established that the Visitors are bad guys. So this just becomes another Law and Order in the old west, individual style? Not exactly inventive would you say?

Why are all aliens out and about to do us in? I mean isn’t this a rather old and pedantic and WORN OUT mantra? How’s about a thoughtful drama about what it means to really try to work with another civilization which is vastly superior? The frustrations and amusements of trying to have meaningful exchanges between what must be akin to chimps and humans? I mean that could cause some real interest couldn’t it? Rather than the old cowboys and Indians type sludge?

Inquiring minds want to know. I’m not holding out a lot of hope for “V” frankly. I mean they wasted zero time in making them enemies. So now its just a lot of spy infiltration, shooting, and killing, and the ending each week is 7 down, and 3,423,756 to go. Not very appealing.

Just sayin’.

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Now That’s Some Good Entertainment

SciFi1I’ve never kept it hidden that the Contrarian and myself are television watchers. But I have also pointed out, that a good deal of what we watch is “high brow.” I drop “Bill Moyer” and PBS around quite frequently just to make sure you are suitably impressed.

But I have a confession to make, actually two, . . . .well make that four. Only two for myself, but I’m confessing for the Contrarian as well. We are sorta, kinda, addicted to (oh the embarrassment!) old sci-fi movies.

The older the better too. The best are near 1950, that seminal year of my birth (key the trumpets please). The reason is quite simple: special effects were in their infancy and so the “special effects” are really special in that they look so darn funny.

scifi2With a few obvious exceptions such as “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” most were done on low budgets, perhaps out at the edge of Hollywood where the local dumps were located.

The directors, if you can call them that, were probably second year students at UCLA school of film, and were those least likely to succeed. The scripts were worse.

The acting was even worse, if that is possible, although there was a notable exception here and there, usually by someone getting their first break.

The subject matter of said genre can be just about anything. It can be mutant creatures that are generated here on good ole earth via “atomic” testing or through violent inner earth disturbances. Often, they result from alien invasion and can take the form of most any creature and often take human form.

Depending on just how short the budget was, (under $100?) you often didn’t get a very good look at the “creature” at all. Creatures have been known to be composed of parts of “suits” from King Kong and left over garage sale items.

scifi3My all time favorite in this genre is “The Killer Shrews.”  It was the lowest of the low budgets, and one never got much of a look at the killer creature. Most of the “attacks” were at night so that such things as “costuming” were kept to a minimum as a concern.

Generally speaking, there are a few requirements for all such movies. There must be at least one woman, fair and unsuitably dressed in high heels who of course then has to run like the dickens to escape the monster.

Next, a leading man, of no particular occupation who ends up being the savior of said girl.

Also the girl must have the ability to scream really long and loud. In fact that may be the only qualification for the job.

Occasionally there is a mad scientist who either “caused” the creature to arise out of it’s hidey hole, or knows how to kill it. He may or may not die before the end, but never before imparting the means of getting rid of the creature. All other “actors” (should you really wish to call them that) are fodder for the creature and are killed off along the way.

scifi4My other confessional is a deep addiction to “disaster movies.”

Here, you don’t go for the old stuff. Here good special effects matter, so look for the latest. Even the low budget stuff can afford to hire a “special effects” guru who can whip up some fine footage that is designed to please the palate of the most discerning of disaster movieophiles.

Here, plot is the key. They are all the same. First, you must have a scientist who is brilliant but for some reason has lost his/her job and is carrying on research as a loner. This person is often considered a misfit, not a team player, whistle blower type, or simply has off the wall claims.

This person “discovers” the impending disaster. At first nobody listens, and the first hour is spent trying to convince others (often with a “cried wolf” flavor).

There will always be one family. Part of the family could be the scientist, but doesn’t have to be. It can be a first responder, or other “good” person. There is a man and woman and one child. Never two. They will be separated during the disaster and will miraculously, in the midst of miles of rubble and chaos manage to find each other. All will be safe, the family often reunites after being separated by family disputes of the past.

There  must be a naysayer. This person is the “keep the beaches open” person from “Jaws” fame. He poo poos the warnings, for either personal gain or just because he’s trying to keep the “business” going whether as Mayor, or corporate bigwig, or governmental toady. He usually gets his in the end, for which you wait to cheer.

In the end, the scientist is believed, and the most catastrophic disaster averted, though there should be sufficient destruction of the mini disaster genre  to engender lots of wows and OOhs.

Disaster can be just about anything. Tornadoes, comets, meteors, atomic fallout, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanche, flood, etc. Anything will do, but it must have lots and lots of buildings falling down, and cars flying through the air. Bridges should collapse, houses be swept away, and so forth. One of the better volcanic eruptions broke off a part of California and had it an island.

scifi5Why does such a person as myself watch this stuff? For the sheer joy of watching really really bad acting, cheap sets, finding all the flaws in logic, and a myriad of other reasons. Just great great fun. A bowl of popcorn, suspension of belief, and you are there!

Take it from me, this stuff doesn’t scare the pants off you like the typical horror movie, and isn’t filled with blood and gore. It’s just good clean fun, and we love it. We are always on the lookout for “Planet X” and oh my favorite, the original “Flash Gordon.” Now that was some fun with Ming the Merciless!


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Who Knows?

jesusI’m not big on conspiracy theories, or other “out” there stuff.

I don’t deny the possibility that we have been visited by an alien race from afar, but I don’t think that near space is crawling with alien spies all gathering up random humans to probe and poke them.

I watched the Divinci Code, but didn’t read the book. I thought it was an okay movie, never got it confused with reality, and still have no clue what all the hoopla was about. All I know is that certain religious groups sure helped make it a cinematic success by all their boycotting and wringing of hands. I would say that I have bothered to look around a little bit to find out about Opus Dei, and well, frankly, I find them a bit creepy, but certainly not masterminds of some conspiracy.

So, anyway, I ran across this report about a new movie coming out I guess soon. It’s called Jesus in India, and purports to explain the “hidden years” of Jesus’ life, those between the years of 12-30. It purports to be a well researched documentation of Jesus travels to India and what happened while he was there.

This is not new to me. I’ve read of this before, oddly enough in my foray into “New Thought” spirituality commonly referred to wrongly as “New Age.” Some NT philosophies believe that Jesus was not divine, at least any more so that we all are, but that he had achieved an extraordinary oneness with God, and that as such, he is a prophet to be emulated.

I recall reading in some book or other that there was some evidence at least that suggested that he might have traveled East and resided for some time in a monastery of either Buddhist or Hindu origin. There are claims of writings in India that support this idea that a very wise man came from the Middle East during the appropriate time frame, and lived with them for a time.

This seems to be essentially along the same lines. I haven’t a clue how good the evidence is. But it has always been  a mystery, why none of the Gospels speaks to Jesus’ whereabouts all those years. It’s as if he dropped off the face of the earth, disappearing after being found at the Temple at  age 12, and then suddenly reappearing at the Jordon to be baptized by John at age 30.

For some reason, this raises the ire and of course fear in the hearts of the religious right. I have no clue why this would be so, but you can expect the usual renting of clothes and flinging of ashes when this movie hits the screen. Somehow the “secularists” will be trying to do something evil and grotesque, though what that will be will never quite be explained. Just be sure it is awful, mostly because it doesn’t come from them, or apparently the only reliable Hollywood type, Mel Gibson, that Jew hating but very loyal orthodox Christian.

I think that if Jesus were determined to have spent some time in the East, it might explain a few things. The lost time of course would be one. Why the Magi (all considered to be Eastern astrologers) came to the Middle East to see him, why some of the gnostic Gospels sound oh so Eastern in their viewpoints at times. Things like that.

Like I said, I haven’t a clue whether any of this is tenable or not. The Shroud of Turin seemed so for hundreds of years, yet now is mostly  considered to be something created centuries after Christ. If there turns up any actual writing, it too will be subjected to a plethora of scientific examinations to determine its age and authenticity. And of course, as science progresses in its capabilities to determine age and that sort of thing, no doubt the controversy would continue.

It remains an interesting theory, one that I can see generating a lot of discussion. Read the article and see what you think. And if you have heard of this before and have other information, please do tell!

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