Friday, April 28, 2017

Notes Of A Fringe Television Watcher

I don't watch much television, partly because a decision made decades ago - that I wasn't particularly interested in doctors, lawyers or cops - has made it really easy to avoid so much of it.

But when I do find a show that I enjoy, I can become irrational in my devotion to it. Usually that engenders a type of loneliness because I keep falling in love with shows that no one, or almost no one, in my circles also enjoys.

It's been that way forever: if there was a club for 16-year-olds who enjoyed "The Prisoner" in 1968, I never knew about it.

So I don't know who that I know is going to care about this, but the New York Times thought it was worth reporting: one of my all-time favorite shows is is coming back. Kinda sorta.

The headline says it all - kinda sorta: "25 Years Later, David Lynch Returns to 'Twin Peaks'".

The 1990 premiere episode of "Twin Peaks" filled me with dread, then made me laugh, then perplexed me, then intensified the dread, all within the first 15 minutes - and the series kept doing those things in varying degrees for its two seasons.

Now David Lynch is back to give us more. And refusing to say, more of what:

Lynch himself will not answer questions pertaining to the plot of the new “Twin Peaks.” Additionally, he insists that the 18 individual installments of the series must be called parts, not episodes, offering a cogent auteur-like explanation: “This is a feature. An 18-hour feature, broken up into 18 parts.”

An 18-hour feature. Cuz he got it like that.

My thrill at learning this news was quickly dampened by the fact that the series - er, feature - will air on Showtime, which we don't have, because we've never paid for premium channels.

I might break down and subscribe to Showtime ala carte for a few months.

If you're a "Twin Peaks" fan, give a holler. Maybe we can have a watch party for the premiere. You do the coffee, I'll bring the pie.


The most recent example of shows that I love that most people I know ignore was "Bates Motel," which ended its fifth and final season Monday night. If you were a fan, I don't need to explain. If you weren't, I can't explain. Not fully, at least. But I'll say this - anyone who expected a cheap ripoff of "Psycho," or a gorefest, would have been surprised (and possibly disappointed). There were murders aplenty, but at its core, the Carlton Cuse-Kerry Ehrin-Anthony Cipriano imagining of the life of Norman Bates was classical tragedy, more Shakespearean than Hitchcockian.

The writing, the acting, and sometimes even the direction (something I tend to pay little attention to in television) of "Bates Motel" all reached heights that I considered brilliant.

If you were one of the multitudes (sigh) who never checked it out, go ahead, fire up your Netflix, and check out at least the first episode. If it doesn't grab your interest, you're out 45 minutes. But if it does, prepare yourself for a long, intense ride.

EDIT: HAH! I just discovered this in the Wikipedia entry for "Bates Motel"

Cuse has cited the drama series Twin Peaks as a key inspiration for Bates Motel, stating, "We pretty much ripped off Twin Peaks... If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes. I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry [Ehrin] and I thought we'd do the 70 that are missing."

Well, alrighty, then! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

PARAPHRASE: Matthew 16.23

Get thee behind me, Satan,
'cause I got shit to do.
Get way the hell behind me, Satan,
I ain't got time for you!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Unspoken Sermon: Riff On A Refrain

I have formed the habit of posting a message on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus each Sunday: "Your sins are forgiven. That is all. Spread the word!"

I intend to keep doing so until I no longer can.


There ain't no free lunch.

"Free" just means, "Paid for by somebody else."

I've experienced enough "free" to know that when something comes that way, the most appropriate single response is gratitude. And sometimes that's the ONLY appropriate response. Sometimes, "Thanks!" is all that needs to be said.

At other times, nothing needs to be said, but something needs to be done. Some demonstration of gratitude.

So today I will add, in keeping with the season, that the forgiveness of our sins is free for us because Jesus paid for it with his life.

From the minute we believe that, our lives should be suffused with gratitude towards both the Father and the Son, a gratitude that flows from the Spirit, and is bigger than every fear, bigger than every resentment, bigger than every sorrow.

If you aren't there yet, know that you can be, by growing your gratitude. Remember every day that your sins are forgiven, and thank both Father and Son every day for that fact. If you do nothing else on any given day, do that: speak gratitude.

Want to grow your gratitude further? Learn more about what God has done beyond forgiving your sins, like giving you (already, not in the future) every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (yes, the Bible actually says that. Want to have your mind blown completely? Read the first three chapters of Ephesians in one sitting.).

Then, if you do only one other thing every day, do this: act from gratitude. Having chosen to be grateful, let gratitude govern your other choices: "Because of what Jesus has done for me, I now choose to do x (rather than y or z - which I might have done if it were just about me)."

In short, as people who share the life of the resurrected Christ, let our expression of that life begin with gratitude for that life. At the very least, speaking gratitude and acting from gratitude will strengthen our bonds to God Himself, and make us less subject to the willy-nilly of our other emotions.

Beyond that, who knows? Maybe the people we care about who do not yet believe will find it much easier to do so, when every Christian they know shows gratitude for being forgiven.