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Ok, I’m not a huge James Bond fan.  I haven’t read any of the books.  Most of the movies, I haven’t watched.  I don’t have any opinion about which Bond was the best Bond, or the worst.  I enjoy ridiculous story lines and And when someone says “Sebastian Faulks is the Daniel Craig of Bond authors”, my only question is who the heck is Daniel Craig.

For some people, it’s their whole life.  Some people also sniff paint, but typically not the same people.  So that’s something, at least.  For the Bond fanatics however, the crazy little island is pulling out all the stops.  For the 100th anniversary of the original writer’s birth, they’ve got navy boats, skimpily dressed models, and lots of publicity, all part of what you’d expect from the Bond name.  Whether or not I see the next movie or read the anniversary or any other Bond novel, I still appreciate the panache.

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How much freedom?

While I am a Christian, I am one of those who also believes in religious tolerance.  I believe in setting a good and faithful example, yes, but I am not a proselytizer.  If you are curious, I will share my faith with you.  If you have a faith of your own, I am eager to discuss where we might agree or have differences.  While I plan on raising my children in my own faith, I don’t expect that they will maintain that belief as adults.  Even my own children should eventually have the right to choose.  I am probably among the minority in this expectation, but I think it’s a good minority to belong to.

Elsewhere the same kind of tolerances have been coming under fire.  A book burning that may have happened accidentally highlights the tensions and restrictions on religious action in modern day Israel.  Though the original initiative was simply to collect Messianic and Christian literature distributed in the area, it ultimately included a large number of New Testaments that were burned.  But the question comes as to why these documents were collected in the first place.  Should Christianity have no place in a mostly Jewish community?  Were the local people simply trying to protect their own faith, with results that spiralled out of hand?

It is one thing to protect your children and your home from influences you don’t want.  It is another to bar these same influences from a community.  Raising a child means educating them to the extent that they can make wise decisions for themselves.  It does not mean sheltering them with the idea of protecting them their entire lives.  In some cases, the protection might be necessary for awhile, but should ultimately be eliminated.  Take China for example, and the government’s laws against proselytizing.  When I’m accosted on the train by someone handing out leaflets who sees my cross and wants to talks, I wish we had a similar law.  I wonder if that’s childish of me, and whether I by now should simply be able to deal with people on my own, or at what point my right to privacy and my right not to listen should outweigh another’s right to speak or advocate for what they believe.

Why I’m not your next pop *STAR*

One of the things I like to do is try new things.  I like a wide variety, which is what led me to strange foods, new places, and whole worlds of fun.  I’ve tried the usual trendy sports – snowboarding, rock climbing, white water rafting – as well as more traditional pastimes – knitting, carpentry, gardening.  Heck, I even tried to learn to play viola, despite my fumble fingers.  And I haven’t broken anything yet.

Part of that drive is why I started my photoblog.  I can take pictures!  I can…write stuff!  It’ll be grrreat!  Unfortunately I’ve been neglecting it recently with all the other stuff I’ve been doing, and I have about 50 pictures I want to upload and wax poetic about.  Alas, it has suffered from the second part of most of my new activities – a dying off of interest.  Like so many things – the computer game I started making in China for my sisters, the still life I was doing to learn how to paint with oils, the novel/ screenplay/ autobiography/ terrifying monster of wonderfulness I was going to write with Gina – it has fallen out of my range of vision.  But I will get back to them all – someday.

My new project of ridiculousness is all Gina’s fault.  We were in the car, and she responded to my dumbness about something-or-other with “you should write a song about that”.  Bad Idea.  Now I’m off on the Gina Song Project, and I will not be deterred.  I will have lyrics, I will have music that actually sounds good, and I will have a video to include (but not limited to: a) unicorns b) dragon books (not actual dragons, just dragon BOOKS, mind you).  I’ve already thought about how to include the unicorns, and I think my book will be called Dragon Heads, because that’s not a real book that I know of and it sounds funny.  I think the video will also need to include a bathroom stall.  And with that, I’ll stop giving away all my good ideas.

So far, I’ve produced the basic structure of the song, but I need some serious work on building up the lyrics with instrumentals.  But I’m learning, along the way.  What I’ve learned so far is that contorting your body like a monkey knot to be closer to the built-in microphone does not improve your singing ability.  I’ve also found that such contortions put odd pressures on your lungs and make it much more difficult to sing in key.  Finally, I’ve learned that however much you love them, steel drums do not go with every song.  The Gina Song Project is going to have to take a step back from the islands and rethink.

Is that karma?

Sharon Stone is getting a bunch of flack for a comment she made regarding the earthquake in China recently.  She raised the question as to whether or not the earthquake might be punishment for the Chinese ‘not being nice’ to Tibet.  While it’s a little unclear exactly what she’s talking about (not being nice?  are we in preschool?), I still think there have been overreactions.  Ng See-Yuen of UME for example, is now talking of banning her movies from his theaters.  So let’s ban the legitimate work of countless actors and filmmakers for one person’s possibly disparaging remarks?  Especially when Stone’s comments were possibly meant to be forgiving?  You can decide for yourself – the interview clip is below.

While I myself take offense with the way Stone talks down to the interviewer, there’s a positive spin on the whole thing.  She’s trying to say ‘we should all learn from the Tibetans, and forgive, and unite to help each other when things get tough’.  She’s trying to say her initial reaction to the disaster was negative, but that she reconsidered and eventually felt sympathy for those in need.  She’s trying to continue to garner support for the cause of Tibet’s independence at a time with China’s disaster is pulling attention away from a cause she values.  We can all see and understand that, even while we wish she had done so in a more sympathetic fashion.

Finally friends, if such a disaster really were just punishment for civil rights abuses in Tibet, it wouldn’t have been centered in the western provinces.  It wouldn’t have been centered where a variety of minority groups without real political power would suffer.  It wouldn’t have destroyed a landscape that is beautiful and remote and arouses sympathy around the world.  Sichuan and the other provinces affected are not responsible for Tibet.  Just as I do not always agree with my own government, I continue to love and respect the Chinese people while not reserving the same respect for all the actions of their government.