Article: HOLY SPIRIT vs. HOLY GHOST

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only ghost that lives hereOne of my many curious quirks involves the near-OCD preference of “Holy Spirit” when referring to the one part of the Godhead. I tend to get a bit twitchy whenever I hear someone use the alternate title “Holy Ghost”. And in the instances where I’m at a liturgical church service, I always substitute Holy Spirit for Holy Ghost when reciting. Which does mess up the rhythm of the oft-used “Praise God For Whom All Blessings Flow” Doxology, but it’s a small price to pay.

“What’s the big deal?” you may be asking yourself. I get it, same difference and all. And I’m pretty sure this is one of the most messed up reasons for my little quirk, but here it is:

Throughout most of the 1990s, I was involved with a local Pentecostal church. I don’t know if it’s ubiquitous with all Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and groups, but with this one, Holy Ghost was used almost ad nausium. Especially when Holy Ghost was used as an adjective of sorts, like inserting it before things would make it something much more spiritual. Like when a popular faith healer wishes he had a “Holy Ghost machine gun” to take down those who disagreed with him. Or his wife saying we needed a “Holy Ghost enema” right up the rear end. And these are the whimsical examples.

I’m afraid, like Pavlov’s dog, I tend to associate “Holy Ghost” with a dark time in my spiritual life. And no, I’m not going to go into details. That’s in my past, and I’ve forgiven and moved on. With this, though, some echoes from the past seem to still colour my present. I hold no grudges for anyone who prefer “Holy Ghost” over “Holy Spirit”. But, in case you ever had a question as to why I prefer one over the other when addressing that part of the Holy Trinity, there you go. A little bit of self-disclosure for you all. Cheers.

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Movie Review: BUTTERFLY EFFECT 3: Revelations

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Butterfly Effect 3Lionsgate
2009
R

“Brilliant. Yeah, okay. Thought you were gonna say sexy. But hey, that’s okay. No problem. Still gonna have a good day.”

Sam has an extraordinary talent: the ability to travel through time. He can use his gift to help the police solve cases. But he must never intervene with the past as it could alter the present in horrible ways. When a woman from Sam’s past begs him to help find her sister’s killer, Sam breaks his own rule…and all hell breaks loose.

So, I’ve reviewed the first Butterfly Effect, and now it seems I’m skipping over the second movie all together to the third in the so-called “trilogy”, making your brain throb trying to figure out the logic behind it. Or, worse, you’re desperately searching for the elusive “lost” review of Butterfly Effect 2, and finding it a fool’s errand. Don’t worry; I haven’t reviewed the second Butterfly Effect movie, and I have no plan on doing so in the immediate future. Or the far-off future, as a matter of fact. I never considered The Butterfly Effect to be a movie in need of a franchise; like The Matrix or Back To The Future, one-and-done would have suited me just find. So I never really bothered with the sequels…until it turned out the third in the series–Revelations–was included in the third instalment of the After Dark Horrorfest series in 2008. And since it’s been kind of a hobby of mine to watch all of the movies in the After Dark collection, I had to watch it. Not to say I haven’t tried to put it off for as long as I could, mind you.

So, this guy named Sam Reide seems to have the same ability that Ashton Kutcher had back in the first film, to whisk himself back in time during his own time line. Only, instead of using it to mess up his own time line, he goes back in time to merely observe crimes being committed, take notes, and bring these details back to the police to help them find perpetrators of the crime. He uses the extra cash to pay the rent on his reclusive sister’s apartment and buy her groceries. Everything’s fine…until he’s visited by the sister of his former girlfriend, who was murdered some time ago, to find the killer responsible for her slaying. He refuses at first, but because it would have been a very short movie, he decides to go ahead and find out. Only, things don’t go as planned, things changed, and next thing you know, his present time line starts to not resemble what it originally was. And of course, his attempts at fixing things makes things even worse. As it turns out, he’s not the only one who can jump, and it just may be that Sam had a hand in creating one of the more terrifying serial killers to stalk Detroit.

Again, I have to ask, why did they feel the need to shoehorn this movie with The Butterfly Effect? It’s not really taking the “jumping time travel” mechanics of the first one, just kind of laxing the rules to suit the story. I was, however, engaged with the storyline; despite being a bit derivative, it did try to give a different spin to it, adding in the aspect of having your good deeds creating the evil that you’re trying to fight against.

Overall, The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations didn’t suck as I expected, and it did try to be its own movie instead of rehashing the plot of the first movie. It’s worth a look, I would say. It could have been much, much worse.

Book Review: ANANSI BOYS (Neil Gaiman)

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anansi boysNeil Gaiman
William Morrow
2005

It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep – about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting…and a lot more dangerous.

The follow-up to his ambitious American Gods novel, Anansi Boys isn’t so much a sequel to that novel, as it is a companion piece of sorts. It takes place after the events of American Gods, but outside of the tie-in with Mr. Nancy, Anansi Boys is its own story. Meaning, you don’t have to read American Gods first to understand and enjoy Anansi Boys for itself.

If I were to choose between the two, though, I would have to concur that I found myself enjoying Anansi Boys a bit more than I did the previous novel. It’s a rather engaging comedy of errors; we find our main protagonist, Charlie Nancy, an unambitious Londoner who’s resigned himself to his rut of a life, engaged to marry an uptight lady and working for a talent agency whose boss is embezzling the clients. After flying to America to attend his father’s funeral, he learns that his father was actually the incarnation of the West African spider god, Anansi, and while Charlie didn’t inherit any of the powers that come with being a god, he learns–for the first time–that he has a brother that did receive these powers. And he could summon him by way of sending a spider-gram. Which he does, one night whilst drunk. And when his long-lost brother–Spider–shows up for an impromptu family reunion…well, do I even need to say “wackiness ensues”? Well, it does. In spades. You’ll have to read it for yourselves.

It took a while for me to read Anansi Boys after reading American Gods. It wasn’t because I wasn’t able to acquire it–it was included with American Gods in an omnibus edition that I bought from Barnes & Noble a few years ago–it’s just that I find Neil Gaiman to be one of those writers that I have to take in individual doses. This is due to his style of writing that effortlessly blurs together fantasy and reality, into kind of a whimsical fever dream of sorts. It makes my head swim at times, even if it’s one of his more accessible pieces. This is very much a good thing, but too much of it back-to-back, and…well, I’m afraid to think what it will do to my brain, either short-term or long-term.

But, otherwise, if you’re looking for something that’s a good blend of humor, fantasy, and explores some of the more obscure mythologies of various cultures, then you should check out Anansi Boys. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, myself.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Session 3.15

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NSR LOGO

It’s time once again for some more of the patent-pending Brutal Music Therapy you all crave (I know you do, don’t try and deny it)! This time featuring cuts from:


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Dale Huffman Tribute Special

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EpisodeDALE-620x326

Just a quick synopsis, Dale Huffman is a fellow \,,/METAL\,,/ slinger with Metal Pulse Radio, who recently is going through a tough fight with cancer. And thus, another one of the Brotherhood of Metal Podcasting–David Garrison of The Master’s Metal–got ahold of a bunch of us to contribute some bits for a special tribute to the man. It’s a special MM show, and by clicking the link you’ll get to listen to it, as well as be able to contribute to the fund set up to help him and his family with the medical bills. I’m passing this on here, because Uncle NecRo cares.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

CONTRIBUTE TO THE MEDICAL FUND HERE

Movie Review: The BUTTERFLY EFFECT

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butterfly_effect_ver2New Line Cinema
2004
R

“If anyone finds this, it means my plan didn’t work and I’m already dead. But if I can somehow go back to the beginning of all this, I might be able to save her.”

Evan Treborn has lost track of time. From an early age, crucial moments of his life have disappeared into a black hole of forgetting. His boyhood marred by a series of terrifying events he can’t remember. What remains is the ghost of memory and the broken lives of his childhood friends, Kayleigh, Lenny and Tommy. Throughout his childhood, Evan was under the care of a psychologist who encouraged him to keep a journal, detailing the events of his day-to-day life. Now in college, Evan reads from one of those journals and finds himself thrust inexplicably back in time. Even comes to realize the notebooks he keeps under his bed are a vehicle, a way to return to the past to reclaim his memories. But these recollections only leave Evan feeling responsible for the damaged lives of his friends, especially Kayleigh, the childhood sweetheart he still loves. Determined to do something now that he was incapable of doing then, Evan purposely travels back in time, his present day mind occupying his childhood body, in an attempt to re-write history and spare his friends and loved ones these traumatic experiences. By altering the events of the past, Evan hopes to transform the present. But every time Evan changes something in the past, he returns to the present to find his actions have unexpected and disastrous consequences. Try as he might, he can’t seem to create a reality that allows he and Kayleigh to live “happily ever after”.

I first watched The Butterfly Effect when it was out in theaters, on a larf with my then partner in movie watchin’ crime Nex. I then wrote a rather favorable review of it on the message board I was frequenting back then, the late-and-lamented XianGoth.Net. Since then, that original review got lost in the cyber-shuffle (does anyone use the prefix “cyber” anymore?), and so now I’m writting up a replacement review of this movie. Hate when that happens.

Viewing it back then, I found The Butterfly Effect to be a rather enjoyable and engaging psychological sci-fi drama that made me not only chew on the movie long after we left the theater, but also forced me to reconsider dismissing Ashton Kutcher as just another chowder-headed comedy actor. Re-watching it now, the movie still holds up quite a bit.

In case you skipped over the novel that was written on the back of the DVD case that I included up there, The Butterfly Effect’s story involves one Evan Treborn, who had a condition growing up where part of his memory blanks out, and he can’t remember anything from the few minutes between the parts he could remember. If that makes any sense. Usually this precedes something bad happening, and he comes to with the aftermath of whatever traumatizing event made his brain decide to tuck that memory away. So, he keeps journals for years, and after a bit discovers them again as a college student, when he discovers he has the ability to jump back to his younger self in the era he’s reading about to experience those blackout times, and why they were banished into the void to begin with. And there’s good reason, let me tell you. I’m not going to go into detail, here; let’s just say “very bad things”, and leave it to you to watch for yourself to fill in the blanks. Pun unintentional. The problem is, every time he tries to fix the past, his present becomes something different, and it’s never good. Oh, and he can still remember what the present was previously. After several botched attempts to make things right for everyone he loves, it finally does irreparable damage to his brain, and he comes across the final solution to make sure everyone turns out safe and happy, even if it means never getting to be with the one he loves. And, depending on if you’re watching the theatrical cut or the director’s cut, this movie ends on a hopeful note or a massively depressing note. The end.

As I mentioned previously, as a movie, The Butterfly Effect works well and still holds up after all this time. It’s a good sci-fi flick that still manages to make you chew over the story after the end-credits have rolled. It’s not perfect, and there are some noticeable plot holes that you can find easily if you want to nit-pick, but overall it’s an engaging movie that I enjoyed then and still enjoy every now and again to this day. I’m just flabbergasted that I have to re-write the review for this. But, here it is. If you haven’t checked it out, you should do so at least once.

Article: STOP SINNING!

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stop sinningSin, sin, sin, sin.  We act as if we are always pure, and sin itself is an outside agent that will contaminate ourselves if we let it in, or expose ourselves to it.  If we would just avoid sin, we’d be holy and acceptable to God.

What a twisted way to think.  We ourselves are full of sin, not because of some exposure to it.  I am sinful, indeed full of sin, because I was full of sin from the beginning.  The Scriptures state with no uncertain terms that we were born into sin, and reside with our fallen selves until that appointed time when we all stand before God.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23

Nothing in the Scriptures say we are innocent angels, who were victims of contamination.  No, we are guilty of sin from day one.  I’ve heard all the pious state, “I avoid sin.” Tell me how you do that, when sin and death are ingrained within our very DNA?

We cannot make ourselves “righteous” by “avoiding sin”, because we cannot avoid ourselves.

Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. – Romans 3:20

I can try to – and I have tried to – make myself righteous, even after making Jesus my Lord and Saviour, by trying to “avoid sin”.  This legalistic yoke was too easy to slip on, but very heavy and constrictive, and harder to get off than it looked.  I forgot that, just as my redemption wasn’t paid for by anything I did but what Jesus did on the cross, my righteousness and sanctification is from God and God alone, through Christ Jesus and His Holy Spirit.

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. – Romans 4:4-5

It is the Holy Spirit that imparts inside us the desire to seek after Him, to be holy and not sin. But the trick is to not forget that we have to allow the Holy Spirit to continue the sanctification process within us. Our righteousness is like filthy rags compared to the righteousness that is freely given to us by Jesus Christ. It’s a lesson I have to keep learning every day.

Just “stop sinning”? Good luck with that. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

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