Let the Right One In

photosThe Twilight franchise has considerably numbed us to the horror that is called a vampire.  Thankfully, directors like Tomas Alfredson can still take a well written plot and turn it into something chilling, original, and memorable.  His film, Let the Right One In, based on a book by the same title by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, provides a nuance to the vampire genre that is fresh and haunting.  The film has received critical acclaim, rating 98% positive from the popular film critic website, Rottentomatoes.  Rather than remaking a vampire film like those based on Brahm Stoker’s book Dracula, or copying what is in many popular vampire films like Vampyr, Interview with a Vampire, or Blade, Let the Right One In is wholly original in its choice of setting, plot, and characters.  


The plot centers around protagonist Oskar, a twelve year old boy who has no friends.  His parents are both emotionally unavailable, and he is bullied at school.  “Bullied” is really a misnomer, as the group at one point draws blood while whipping Oskar with a switch.  Oskar notices some new tenants move in to the apartment next to him, who turn out to be Eli, a girl appearing to be the same age as himself, and an older man.  We discover  Eli to be a child vampire as the older man calmly ventures out into the night to not only murder, but to harvest the victim’s blood for his companion.   Oskar is caught one night in a violent fantasy of stabbing his “enemy” or light post by Eli, and from there they begin developing a friendship.  Meanwhile, the older man living with Eli begins to realize his usefulness isn’t what it once was, yet he continues provide what he can like a devoted partner.  

The film takes a turn when Eli’s older companion messes up a kill in a high school gym, and ends up pouring acid on his face to protect her identity.  She finds him, and he offers his blood as a final token of his love.  From there, she continues to befriend Oskar and tells him that he must begin fighting back against the bullies at his school.  Oskar doesn’t want to remain an outkast, and latches on to Eli with a childlike fervor.  He protects Eli with a much more brutal nature than a twelve year old, evidenced by the incident at Eli’s apartment when one of the political activists comes to seek revenge for his lover’s death.  His strength and courage grow to dark proportions under Eli’s tutelage, and we see that his life of solitude has left no real compassion for those whom he has no love.  

The cinematography accentuates the thematic aloneness of the film.  The shots and color both mimmick the experience the main characters, which I will discuss.  I will also briefly analyze certain aspects of the film’s editing and acting.



Many of the shots in the film are extreme long shots, which heighten the emotional distance between the audience and the characters.  At one point, Eli lures a man under a bridge and brutally attacks him, and we view it from far off.  As she satisfies her thirst, she slumps over the dead corpse pitifully, suggesting a sadness in killing him.  She is alive, but again she is alone.  Murder is an act that permanently separates the killer from the rest of society, not to mention the finality of their victim’s death.  That distance is felt through the film’s extreme long shots of the actions in the film.  In another scene between the old man and a pedestrian victim, the distance suggests that the victim could be anyone.  We never see the victim’s face; he walks onto the screen and is lured in by the old man’s innocent question.  In the next scene he hangs from a tree as his throat is cut and blood siphons over his forehead into a plastic basin.  What if some murderer took us off into the woods?  The distance only heightens the sense of randomness in the killings, depleting any passionate motive for killing other than necessity.  It scares us all the same.  

Much of the framing in the film focuses on the objects that the characters handle and interact with.  These scenes are meant to tell us about the characters subtly, without having to resort to dialogue and overt explanation.  In one scene, Eli’s protector packs several items into a case.  The shots are all closeup shots of siphons, hoses, and a halothane inhaler.  Later, all of the objects are seen when the man hangs his victim up to collect his blood for Eli.  The previous shots pointed out the relevance of the several articles, and we learn that they are all tools of a well prepared, meticulous killer.  This type of shot choice is also evident with Oskar.  Several shots focus on Oskar’s pocket knife which he carries around with him.  In one scene, we see Oskar’s coat, and he slowly pulls out his knife before pretending to stand up to his bullies, stabbing the tree repeatedly in doing so.  In another scene, we see several newspaper clippings of murders and violent news articles which are glued into a scrapbook.  A hand slowly turns the pages, and we realize it is Oskar.  The objects which are portrayed through several important closeup shots tell us much about the characters, and are an important part of the film. 

The colors of the film are also suggestive.  Many times Oskar and Eli are surrounded in darkness.  Many shots have a black background and a white foreground, since the wintery town is covered in snow and ice.  This allusion may be suggestive of the black and white morality that is unattainable in the film’s plot.  Oskar and Eli are only children; yet they murder and even relish in their actions at times.  Eli must kill to survive, and Oskar must protect Eli.  For this to happen, throats must be slit, so is it totally wrong?  Animals kill other animals to survive, and we surely do not argue the ethics of a Cheetah killing a gazelle.  Is it any different for a vampire who must drink the blood of a human victim?  

The pale skin tone of the characters is another form of color usage.  Naturally, Oskar and Eli’s skin tones are due both to the ethnicity of their ethnicity, as well as the geographic location of Sweden, being near the North Pole.  The paleness however also represents the emptiness and lovelessness that both Oskar and Eli feel.  Neither of the two have family or friends that really care about them, so they must resort to befriending eachother.  Their pale skin tone is extemporaneous, but also represents the internal cold, emptiness they feel.  The only time either of them feel truly alive is when they hurt or kill those around them.  When Oskar takes his revenge on the school bully and crushes his ear with a stick, he subtly smiles at the sight of pain and blood he has caused.  In the scene where Eli attacks and kills her attacker in the bathroom, she emerges with blood all over her face.  She hugs Oskar, one of the view times in the film she expresses real human emotion for another person.  The blood is therefore not only what gives the physical body life, but it’s appearance in the movie tells the viewer of heightened emotional moments with the main characters as well.  


Shrewd editing in Let the Right One In was tactfully achieved.  Almost the entire film is edited so the dialogue occurs where the viewer watches the reaction of the character listening, rather than the one speaking.  For example, when Eli is enraged that her protector came home empty-handed after his killing was botched by a dog, we never see Eli except for a shadow moving in front of the man.  Instead, we see the man’s eyes has he nervously watches her pace back and forth.  He reacts to her words by flinching, and we see that even though he is slightly scared, he actually does regret failing to bring her food.  In another scene, as Eli and Oskar discuss the Rubik’s cube, many of the scene breaks show the character that is listening, not speaking.  This is almost backwards of what takes place in most mainstream movies, where the scene cuts to over the shoulder shots of each character as they converse.  In Let the Right One In, we are able to see how each character reacts to the other’s dialogue thanks to the reverse type editing of the dialogue.  


The acting in the film is mostly done by two child actors, Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson.  Neither of the actors have large speaking roles, and there aren’t any dramatic speaking scenes that might be expected from child actors like Dakota Fanning.  Instead, the children act much like real children.  They are quiet, they speak softly, and much of their acting in the film is psychological, expressed through slight facial expressions or movements.  For example, when Oskar reminds Eli that he has been at the apartment complex longer than she, he smiles slightly, proud that he stood up for himself for once.  In another example, we see the pain and hunger in Eli’s eyes as she has gone days without feeding.  The sadness and longing we feel could only be achieved through a child vampire, because it muddles the morality around killing to keep a child alive.  

Personal Response

photosLet the Right One In could be described as a film about love, but I would say it’s much more animalistic.  Oskar and Eli have important needs that must be fulfilled, and many times that occurs through instinct alone.  Eli doesn’t really love Oskar.  Love, even sexuality, died long ago for the old vampire.  Eli must survive, and she can’t do it alone.  She is nocturnal and requires a protector during the day.  Being stuck in a twelve year old body, it makes it very difficult for her to function.  When her older companion demonstrates his growing inability to provide and protect her, she sees Oskar as the predecessor to that role.  She cares for Oskar, but not in any Romantic idea of love.   

Let The Right One In is definitely one of the better horror films.  It’s success could be attritubed to its brilliant use of cinematography, editing, and acting.  The choice of shots and color, as well as scene editing and splicing lead to an incredible psychological thriller.  The choice of child actors and their subtle movements also add to the film’s haunting success. 

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On and Again


 I wrote this while listening to Arvo Part’s Spiegel Im Spiegel.  It’s a beautiful minimalist piece, one of many that the Polish composer has written.  Part has composed many religious chorals and symphonies that are all incredibly beautiful.  I recommend reading about him here.  I don’t claim to be  a great poet, but I felt something when I wrote this.  




[audio:mirrors.mp3 | titles= spiegel im spiegel | artists=arvo part]



I carry you

Whe’er I go

Footsteps remain

In my soul
two hearts beat
But silence yet

Perfect notes
Make us feel
much more than this

It will pass
A soft breath
A flutt’ring breeze

On again
But for now
On and again.

We say words
Others said
Before them, too.

Our hands cupped
give us more
surely for us.

Changing keys
like seconds
On and again.

No legacy,
Only Footprints.

Watch me go
I am gone
there. I am gone.

Two hearts beat
and then one
On and again.

One heart beats
Then it’s gone.
On and again.

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Mis en Scene' for Ostrov (The Island)

5a132a41487bae52931cd8db8bb745eaPavel Lungin directs a moving and provoking film in Ostrov.  I was left truly touched, like how beautiful music resonates within you.  Ostrov is about making one’s way through the murky swamp of pain, regret, and sin to find God.  At the beginning the movie starts during World War II.  Anatoly, the russian maniacal teenager, is forced to shoot his commanding officer and comrade or die himself by the hand of the nazis.  Left for dead, he is rescued by a group of ascetic Eastern Orthodox Monks who take him in.  Eventually we discover the last thirty years of his life have been lived on a small group of islands where he has toiled away with a wheelbarrow and coal.  He appears quite mad from his behavior and words.  His fellow ascetics tolerate his antics, but only barely.  Mostly they grow agitated at the reputation he’s earned from the surrounding towns and villages as a Holy Man, with people flocking to him for his advice and blessing.  With each encounter his promises and instructions are bizarre, and only at the end of the film do we see the implied rationality of Anatoly’s irrationality.  

But enough of a synopsis; let me focus now on the Mis en Scene’.  This term pronounced in your best french accent accounts for the entire compilation of visual elements found in the film.  Color, lighting, scenery, costume, and character movement all are accounted for in the Mis en Scene’.  First, Anatoly is trampled upon by the Nazi soldiers.  One soldier steps on his neck.  Later, a frame sequence focuses on Anatoly’s face buried in the mud of the White Sea.  He is basically prostrate before the world, dirtied with his sins, almost despicable.  From there, he is carried by the monks to shore, representing the beginning of his spiritual journey.  He is found in the water, which may also represent a type of baptism or new beginning.  

766871Father Anatoly is surrounded by the sea.  Several scenes frame the islands as a tiny spec lost in a great expanse.  Many times Anatoly will pray, but he will look outward towards the sea.  The vastness of the water signifies the all powerful God, and Anatoly recognizes this.  Thus when he is accused of facing the wrong direction during communion, to him he understands it is not to materials and idols he turns his attention, but beyond.  Towards the great and eternal God.  In many scenes Father Anatoly’s eyes raise above the horizon as he looks beyond the events and struggles of this life to the greater meaning and purpose.  To everyone else this seems absurd, but to Anatoly it is the only way.  

The island itself symbolizes a separation from God.  Like the fall of Adam, who was cast down after his sin, the monks cast themselves away from the world.  Father Anatoly is the farthest away from the actual continent, requiring an additional walk across a wooden bridge to reach his coal hut.  And like Moses, Jesus, and other prophets, Father Anatoly takes himself even farther away from the world to commune personally with God.  With other prophets who went up to the mountains, we see Anatoly boat himself out to a grouping of rocks where he wrestles with God over his sins.  

In one scene, the group of rocks to which Father Anatoly travels to is covered in moss.  The moss grows even in the most inhospitable places, which Anatoly notices in one scene.  He even tastes the moss, whose existence on the rocks mimics the power of God to give life even to places seemingly impossible.  Like this, Anatoly hopes that eternal life can be given to him who has sinned so grievously against god.  

20071016_the-island-pic-1Even the ascending placement of Anatoly’s character in the film is important.  As stated before, Anatoly starts the film with his face in the mud.  Later, the camera looks upwards when he sits on a wooden bell tower and casts down a burnt log at his father superior.  It represents is heightened spirituality and closeness with god.  As well, his appearance is not one of a well kept clergy but of the savior himself, who dwelt with the lowest of the low as a poor carpenter.  His face is always chafed and soiled, his clothes ripped, his dwelling is not on a bed but on coals.  While his spirituality is great, his humility is that of a true ascetic.  We know this even by his appearance alone.  Conversely, in one scene the father superior plucks an egg from a hand woven basket.  The walls of his home are bright, and he has tables and chairs.  We almost believe he is about to cook the egg to eat.  Who would wait for an egg to be laid with such anticipation except one of hunger?  Instead, we see the yolk land onto a plate and the yolk is dabbed to remove a dusted stain from a painting.  Where Anatoly’s dwelling is the dirtiest and lowest, father superior’s is the greatest.  

ostrovThe weather proceeds to winter as the film comes to a close.  Winter, as always, represents the twilight of life, and foreshadows the end of Father Anatoly.   But not before an incredible and fitting climax to the film.  We end saddened but uplifted.  The film can only strengthen a christian believer’s faith, no matter how predictable or unpredictable the movie seemed.  

I can only add that as I walked away from the film, I knew I may never have a faith like Anatoly’s, but my entire life I have tried to search out God’s mysteries diligently.  If it were to all end, at least this could be said of me.

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On Rap: The dumbing down of music

6a010536846743970c0120a50a3de4970b-800wiI have a love/hate relationship with rap music.  I’ve guiltily enjoyed Eminem and Dre tracks since high school, much to even my own chagrin.  Recently I sat myself down for a little one on one chat and came to the conclusion that not only is rap arbitrarily aggressive as Mr. Mike Birbiglia has said, but lyrically it is mostly a big fat pile of conceited stinky crap.  

Now I think we all knew this deep down, but those of us who enjoy a hip hop beat now and again let it slide for the most part.  Unfortunately this makes us inconsistent logically and hypocritical, because I don’t suppose most of us would like, agree, or even tolerate the things being said by popular rap douche bags today.  “Drake”, a rapper I put in quotations to hedge up the douche-baggery from spilling forth, just laid down a new track entitled, “Forever”.  The beginning of it starts:

It may not mean nothing t’yall

But understand nothin’ was done for me

So I don’t plan on stopping at all

I want this shit forever man

Not only does “Drake” go on to rap about making it in the music industry all by his little self, but he purposefully mispronounces words to express his individuality.  Instead of saying, “man” during the chorus, he says, “maien”.  That’s right, “maien.”  God he’s such a tool.  On top of this, the lyrics of one of his guest rappers, Kanye West, raps about exactly opposite of what Drake is trying to say.  Namely, that once he’s made it, he’ll never stop.  Kanye on the other hand raps about having sex with life and the world (his imagery, not mine), but now that he’s become the Voice of a Generation, he’d give it all back.  He, unlike Drake, doesn’t need the rap game anymore.  He also told Jay Leno about the same thing when he announced a break from the music scene.  

But it doesn’t stop there.  Drake is only one example of the rap pollution.  Kanye, Jay-Z, Eminem, and, well, every single other rapper in existence today, are all hazardous to society.  Think about it.  Rap is about three things:  Hustling (drugs and ho’s), haters, and hawesomeness (that’s a trick Jay-Z uses when something doesn’t fall into one of his rhyming patterns.  He just adds words, sounds, letters, etc. until they rhyme.).  Most rappers start out first as drug dealers.  For instance, Gucci Mane reminisces “I was trippin’ like a bitch.  Sellin’ lots a bricks”.  Jay-Z recounts in the song 99 Problems, “It’s ’94 and my truck is raw (he is carrying drugs), in my rearview mirror is the mother bleeping law”.  Z goes onto complain about the cops picking on him because he’s black.  His logic is flawed though because he actually was breaking the law, so the cop was right in being suspicious.  Really, there’s about 99 problems with Jay-Z’s lyrics.  If rappers want to be more respected, they should stop selling drugs.  Now I’ve seen some of the shit hole projects certain ethnic groups can grow up in.  I worked in Jersey and the Burrows of New York, and I wouldn’t be in those places after dark.  But come on, guys.  You have more opportunities then a white dude can shake a fist at.  Straight C’s can get a person of color into an Ivy League school with all of the Affirmative Action out there, so you really can’t say you have no alternatives to drugs.  Plus, you propagate your position by selling drugs and trying to make it as a rapper.  

kanye-westMany rappers spit about drugs.  All rappers spit about taking over the universe.  Maybe there is a rapper gene which causes the ego to inflate like a big hot air balloon.  I truly am dumbfounded by the words and actions of Kanye West.  He actually said, “I realize that my place and position in history is that I will go down as the voice of this generation, of this decade, I will be the loudest voice. It’s me settling into that position of just really accepting that it’s one thing to say you want to do it and it’s another thing to really end up being like Michael Jordan.”  Later, in another interview, he said, “I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go… I’m like a machine. I’m a robot. You cannot offend a robot… I’m going down as a legend, whether or not you like me or not. I am the new Jim Morrison. I amthe new Kurt Cobain… They feel like, yo, you know ‘he’s got a God complex, because he said if they wrote the Bible again that he would be in it’. Duh, yeah, I would be in it. I feel like I’m one of the more important people in pop culture right now… The Bible had 20, 30, 40, 50 characters in it. You don’t think that I would be one of the characters of today’s modern Bible? And people have their own forms of bibles now. It’s a new day and age….”  I honestly can’t express my disdain for this man.  I can only re-watch Fishsticks again.  For more Kanye quackery, click here.  

Kanye’s not the only dome.  Lil’ Wayne says of himself, “I just do this shit for my click like I’m Adam Sandler, I control hip hop and Ima keep it on my channel.  Bitch, watch me.  Bitch, watch me.”  Mike Jones uses examples to show how talented he is.  He argues, “Back then hoes didn’t want me.  Now I’m hot hoes all on me.”  He repeats this line seventeen or eighteen times in a single song to hit the hoe on the head so to speak.  Jay-Z raps:  


You can call me Cesar
In a dark Czar
Please follow the lea-der
So Eric B. we are
Microphone fiend
It’s the return of thee God

jay-zVery nice comparison, Jay.  Caesar and God in the same stanza.  Jay-Z also says he is the next Sinatra.  Maybe, but more likely not.  I could go on.  Thus, the ego’s of rap are unprecedented.  Included under the category of hawesomeness is the plethora of made up terms to describe money.  Stacks, bills, papers, G’s, greens, etc.  Also, wealth is represented for rappers by cribs, rims, and expensive liquors.  Popular brands include Baccardi, Hennessey, and Grey Goose.  

Rappers think they have apotheosized by their own merits.  I have never heard so many songs about how every single person that surrounded said rapper was there to “holmedahwn” (from Kanye’).  

“Drake’s lyrics sum it up:    

Last name ever 
First name greatest 
Like a sprained ankle boy I aint nothing to play with 
Started off local but thanks to all the haters 
I know G4 pilots on a first name basis 

Good for you, douche.  But the fact is nobody gets anywhere by themselves.  Everyone has the cards against them.  The majority of people in the world, even in America, aren’t wealthy.  We work our asses off to make a living, and most of us do it legally.  Unfortunately pop culture has an oral fixation with rappers right now.  I predict though that rap will die in the next few years like the fad it is, and new forms of music will take it’s place.  Already the older rappers are upset with the way the “game” has changed, and pretty soon it will be different altogether.

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High Noon

high-noon-DVDcoverHigh Noon is an old western film, but it actually is an incredible piece of cinematography and social commentary.  First showing in 1952 and directed by Fred Zinnemann, the film starts with the wedding of Will Kane to a Quaker, Amy.  The joyful audience presses for his badge as the town marshall, but right as he is about to set off into the sunset a telegram comes to him warning of the release of outlaw and killer Frank Miller.  Miller, in fact, was aboard a passenger coach coming into town at high noon.  At first, Will leaves at their bequest, but then returns quickly to uphold his self-projected duty to intercept Miller and any brouhaha that might be stirring.  Expecting to find support to uphold the law, he spends the entire movie looking for supporters and being betrayed by their cowardice, greed, and even misplaced ideologies, including his own bride.  Thus, he faces Miller and his three gunmen alone.  

The film was heavily criticized in it’s time as a critique of the second Red Scare and its blacklisting of individuals believed to be communist supporters [3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_noon].  John Wayne, who actively supported black-listing, dubbed it, “the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.” [1. Manfred Weidhorn. “High Noon.” Bright Lights Film Journal. February 2005. Accessed 12 February 2008.]  The main parallel is that all of the townspeople, deputies, and friends of the Marshall are afraid to offer their help in staving off the outlaws.  In the case of Will’s former deputy, Harvey Pell, it was a matter of pride, since he wasn’t offered the marshall position because of his immaturity.  For the congregation of old friends in the church who knew the merits of Will and even went so far as to praise his actions in the past, were too afraid to stand up and help now.  His old friend and mentor said he had worked hard and long to defend justice, and for what?  “What does a man with broken knuckles get but arthritis?”  He said[2. High Noon, 1952].  His new wife even deserted him, saying her father and brother were once killed defending others, and violence was never the answer.  All the while the outlaws wait at the train station.  

I wanted to focus on certain tools of the film that were effective.  First, Zinnemann used suspense effectively right from the beginning of the film.  As soon as we learn of Miller’s acquittal, we know he will be returning to Hadleyville at High Noon on the train, and from then on it is a race against the clock.  Will frequently checks the time as each one of his pleas for help fails.   This reminder keeps the impending doom fresh and urgent.  The outlaws continually stare down the disappearing railroad, waiting for the first glimpse of their leader.  The camera shot shows the tracks disappear on the horizon, but we realize the train has nowhere to go but there.  The most dramatic sequence plays out at the end of the film when the clock actually does strike twelve.  Several pans to each of the betrayers, Will, the outlaws, the ticking clock, and the train’s whistle blow, set to a steady musical buildup  string our nerves taught.  I could only compare the suspense to that of the musical sequence in Jaws foreshadowing the shark’s attack.  This sequence was the first of its type that so deliberately and effectively aligned the movie’s score to its events and editing.  

While the acting was overly dramatic at times like many spaghetti westerns were, there was still a great feeling of betrayal and disgust portrayed by Gary Cooper (Will Kane).  Every time Will is turned down, his face drops and his eyes 


reveal his thoughts.  Then, he quietly thanks the man who knowingly is sending him to his grave and walks away.

High Noon does an excellent job of building a compelling back story with the town’s store and saloon owner, Helen Ramirez.  A former lover of Will’s, something between the two went awry and they separated.  When he comes to tell her the news she knows already, she is visibly still angry at him.  Later, we realize it is still a passion for him seated in a deep respect.  When she and Amy are discussing their escape from the town, Helen questions Amy’s commitment saying, “I would never leave my man.”  She seems sad that Will is no longer hers.  

Lastly, the ending was extremely satisfying to me.  Instead of being killed, Will succeeds in shooting down all four of the other outlaws one at a time in a great western battle around the empty town.  Amy even comes back in the nick of time to redeem herself and save Will from one of the outlaws.  All of the townspeople emerge after the fight to thank and congratulate Will, but he pulls the silver star from his chest and throws it to the dirt.  Then he is gone.  It is the perfect gesture to such a ungrateful town.  

High Noon is a courageous film all around.  Is it about Communism?  Maybe that was a driving force behind making the film, and today we would certainly balk at any political black listing to such a degree as that of McCarthyism and the 50’s.  But today the film is still politically relevant.  I think of the bi-partisanship going on, where many of the people in my life may call themselves a democrat or republican, but identify with neither.  Many of us want something different for our government and country, but honestly don’t have the power to stand against it.  Why bother?  Let me answer with a reference to a similar film in context, The Mission.  At the end of The Mission, the religious leader discovers that his own orders have led to the annhilation of an entire tribe of people half a world away.  One of the men dining with him tries to placate his guilt saying, “The world is thus.”  He pauses to let the heaviness of his actions wobble within him, and he says,    Thus have we made the world.  Thus have I made it.”[4. The Mission, 1986]

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In conversation with my girlfriend today, I realized a very important truth.  I’ve come across some very interesting truths lately, and this is one that needs to be discussed.  That is, that it always is comforting to be assured.  Is it not so?  There is a great warmth that fills us when our worries and fears are put to rest, whatever they may be.  I think this is one of the great attractions of religion in all its forms.  Another is a security fostered by a steady job.  These things provide an absolute that we can hold onto in a world of uncertainty.  It is the awning to duck under on a rainy day, the opinion to fall back on in a heated debate, the quiet, listening silence that hears us in the night.  Assuring us and putting some worry to bed.  Even the very discussion of our troubles brings us some comfort, but it is a certainty that we seek that makes things alright.

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A taste of things to come…

PhilosophyI have returned to the blogosphere with a great many things to discuss, debate, and ridicule.  I hope you will join me each week to talk about current political sideshows and offer your opinions on symphonies, books, and movies.  I am even looking forward to writing a bit of prose about different important stories from my life and the meanings I have given to them.  I hope to increase the quality of my writing while still maintaining the immediacy of sharing daily ideas and insights, and look forward to your criticism.  See you soon…

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