Hankering for Another People Flying, Lovely Scenery Chinese Epic?

Did you like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (and I think the camps are pretty polarized on that one) and Hero? Well, courtesy of Jeffrey Overstreet’s blog, here is a trailer for a new movie in the genre which looks stunning. Some of the visuals in these movies make my heart ache with their beauty. Here’s the trailer.
While we are in the genre, here is a question. Is the ending of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon happy or sad? When I saw it, the friend who I was with and I were enjoying it tremendously until Li Mu Bai dies, and then, to seal the deal, Jen jumps off the cliff! Now there is another school of thought on this based on dialog earlier in the film, but I am am not buying. Thoughts?
Finally, here is a cool shot of the actual aforementioned cliff.

Pride comes before….

…well, among other things, before dragging furniture behind your truck on the Interstate. But more on that later.
This past Saturday, my day was consumed with what a surprising number of my Saturdays are consumed with, helping someone move. This was Saturday moving day number three in this young year, and this coming Saturday it will be number four. My friend Dave says that if you brush back the hair from my forehead, you can read in big block letters, “SUCKER!!!” I like to think that there are more altruistic motives in play, but he may be on to something (though Dave is every bit as likely to say “Yes” to requests for help).
This past Saturday, I helped an Indian couple (dots not feathers) who are friends of mine move from Edwadsville, IL, on the northeastern end of the St. Louis metropolitan area, to Valley Park, which, well, is on the southwestern end.
I think one reason I am called upon to move is that I once drove a pick-up truck and I forgot to get this bumper sticker:
Not a big fan of that one actually, funny though it be. However, seeing as my license plate tag for “4 Aslan” on the old S-10 was lapsed, we soon discovered that trying to rent a U-Haul at 11:00am on Saturday morning is really rather a pointless exercise. Thankfully, my good friend Dan very graciously loaned me his truck on oh so short notice.
The rest of the day involved learning/remembering lessons in cross-cultural expecatations, which really should not have suprised me so much as my friends’ culture is pretty much the culture of half of my blood. I was not really miffed, though, and settled in for the long haul (“hauls” to be more precise), and just dealt with discovering more tasks to be done than were intimated at the beginning of the day. It was helpful actually, because I do not think my friends deliberately dissembled, and it helped me understand my father better, who likes to do a job until it is done, no matter how late into the evening it might take. We have, together, worked through that one somewhat, but it was helpful to see that his motivation might be at least partially cultural.
At 8:30pm, after two trips to Valley Park, it was time to load the two couches, three chairs, and crib that my friends no longer wanted and which I was going to take to give to families in my church. I did not think it would be 9:30pm when I would be delivering them, but my friend Worku, who being from Ethiopia also understands eastern time schedules, thankfully, very kindly, agreed to meet me so I could deliver my load and free up the truck before Dan needed it back.
So, there I was on highway 70 very proud of myself for having worked hard all day and on my way to deliver couches for refugees. Moreover, I was so proud of my brilliant scheme of securing so much furniture on one truck. First, I laid down the cushions. Then the couches facing one another, so they made a wide bed, upon which I piled the three chairs and a crib, tying two chairs and the crib to the couches in the back of the truck. If you are playing along at home, you will notice that one chair remained untied. Surely it was heavy enough, wasn’t it? I think one can be forgiven a lapse in one’s knowledge about aerodynamics at 9:00pm on a Saturday night, after day’s hard work, no?
My prideful reverie was brought to a sudden halt, though, as looking into the rearview something was bouncing behind my truck. I quickly pulled over to discover, that my unsecured chair, having discovered the aerodynamics of going 60 miles an hour on an Interstate, was nowhere to be found. The other two chairs had been dragging and bouncing behind my truck ala Messala in the chariot race in Ben Hur.
Thankfully, the traffic was moving in a steady stream and, evidently (which I later confirmed), no debris was left on the Intersate. Pressed for time, I put one of the bruised chairs back on the couches (and tied it down!). The other chair and the crib were placed carefully on the other side of the guardrail.
After all, after the crouchiness subsided, I was reminded of this helpful verse from Scripture:
“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” Luke 17:7-10
Now, there’s a verse you don’t here quoted too often.

What a Piece of Work is Man…

Bill Shakespeare had nobler, less gendered attributes in mind as he continued this quote. Judging from other parts of his writing, though, he wouldn’t mind me borrowing it to preface a quote from a recent email from a good friend:
I understand in some ways why the bible says to remain single. But itís hard when I have God given testosterone and the need for intimacy. Darn the nuts and emotions.
Amen to that, brother. Piece of work, indeed!

Catapult Article-On the Seriousness of Being a Child

This article is a bit lighter than the previous ones. It was actually written for Advanced Composition in the Summer of 1994 for Dr. Betty Richardson’s class, where I first began to believe that I might be able to do this writing gig.
Thanks, Dr. Richardson.
Read Himalayan Idyll.
Many articles in the Wonder Years issue are excellent.
wonder years.jpg

Visions of Speed

The name of this blog actually comes through the agency of two friends. One, before I would come to know him as friend, thought my last name was Dassler. The other friend, who has a penchant for giving his friends nicknames, began to call me Dassler shortly after we met. The “effect” part came in a pick-up, mini soccer game at a L’Abri retreat. Though I am no soccer wunderkind, neither the “wunder” nor the “kind” part, I moved rather faster than my friend thought I would be able to and scored some quick goals, and so he added Effect to Dassler, ala the Doppler Effect. And, thinking that was rather cool, I made it the name of my blog.
Even though it snowed here yesterday, I feel at the end of a winter’s worth of hibernation, except this bear has not just been sleeping but “hibernating” Winnie-the-Pooh style i.e. with a well stocked cave. And we all know what happened when Pooh tried to leave Rabbit’s house that one time.
Yesterday, on a 5+ mile walk through Forest Park and to the grocery store, I began to have visions of speed, not, mind you, of blinding, competitive speed, but of simply being able to move easily, freely, quickly.
So, the plan is eating better, walking, and cycing indoors, for starters. Then, hopefully, some time in the not too distant future I will be able to do all the things in the blurry images above, and do them with ease. And the ultimate goal? That would be this Autumn, and several Autumns to come, to play full-back, or half-back if I really get fit, for Covenant Seminary against the Lutherans. That will be sweet.
p.s. Careful readers will detect a double goal in the last paragraph.

Even when my heart is breaking…

The tune can be heard here.
Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.
Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.
Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
[or Jesus! I do now adore Him,]
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

On the Future of the Flying P.L.A.T.E.S(S)

Dear regular blog readers, please pardon the interruption as I use this entry to have a bit of a discussion with some church folk. You are welcome to listen and chime in, of course, as it is sort of an open meeting. Consider this post a bit of practical theology.
Well, the Flying P.L.A.T.E.S(S) has been on a hiatus, principally because I have not done the work necessary to set things up for us to meet. However, I would like to use this break to have a discussion about the future of Plates. First a bit of history. If you know this already, feel free to skip to the proposals, etc.
As the second part of the its name (People Living Apart Together Eating Something Sundays) implies, this group more or less formed to allow people from New City (and most of them are single) a venue to eat together in an economic and relaxed manner. We have been meeting in people’s homes with a host bringing a main dish and other people bringing side items or desserts. I have been coordinating meeting location and host responsibilities and sending out Evites with scary-long guest lists. We meet, eat, and talk, talk, talk, then break to answer a ice-break question together, and then talk some more.
Well, we are somewhat a victim of our own success. Plates has become too large to host in one venue. From what I have heard from folk it is meeting a need, though. So, I think it would be great if it would continue. The question is how. Here are some proposals.
1) We should have at least two meeting sites for folk who are attending from 82nd street. If there is interest, South City folk, we could also have a meeting site for you which would exist within the Plates evite/organizational framework. Alternately, we could always have a third group that just meets a bit later.
2) The host should not provide a main dish. Let’s make this a true potluck (in as much as a Presbyterian can use that word) and have everyone just bring something and just deal with whatever comes, both in the amounts and types of food. Alternately we could coordinate a theme and people could still indicate what they are bringing.
3) Our monthly, joint 82nd St. and South City meetings should continue. We may need to meet at one or other of the worship sites (though I don’t know if there are such facilities in the Chapel of the Oh So Exceptional).
1) I would like to strongly encourage the bringing of guests and new folk i.e. honing in on them and inviting them. At some point, this might require a mention in the bulletin or an announcement, which might mean we get even larger.
2) This is something that is more a personal conviction, but it would be great if we could have all our dishes, etc. ready the day before, so that we don’t have to run to stores etc., but like I said that is up to each of you individually.
What We Need Next
1)Discussion. Do these proposals sound good? Please comment on this post or email me, if you are blog shy, and I will post your comment(s).
2) For 82nd street, I need at least 8 people to sign up as potential hosts. I need 12 people if we have three meeting sites. If we get these numbers, a host would only have to host once a month. And remember this would no longer require cooking vast quantities of food.
3) It would be nice to have two or three additional people to help with sending out the Evites and coordinating things. That will share the load a bit.
4) Please email me directly if you want to be on the host rotation or want to help with Evites. We particularly need the former.
The More Distant Future
I know I have mentioned some of the following ideas before. Perhaps it is the large number of people gathered together that makes the visionary/leader/dictator (take your pick) in me rub my hands together and cackle with delight. But seriously, I would like to think that a couple times a year we might do something charitable i.e. a fundraiser for one of the ministries of the church.
Also, we have had a skating night and a dismal winter picnic (thank you brave, kind souls for coming and not complaining), but the possibilites for other more or less organized outing are endless. Including one or more glorious, summer picnics in Forest and Tower Grove Parks.
Finally, thank you for reading. I hope you respond in some fashion. If this all works, the Flying P.L.A.T.E.S(S) will fly again on March 26. And, if you don’t like the name (you know who you are), yeah, bring that up too.
God bless.