Posted by: David | February 2, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Go see Slumdog Millionaire next weekend before it leaves a theater near you. Even though this film has been nominated for an Oscar for best picture, it is still a sweet, wholesome story. Bear in mind that when I say wholesome, I refer to the story, but there is plenty of grit spread throughout:  the movie opens with the hero being tortured and there are numerous flashbacks showing the hero’s rough upbringing, earning the movie its R rating.

[Spoilers!] Eighteen-year-old street kid Jamal has amazed the world by making it to the second to last question on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, but before the next show, the host turns him over to the police to “question” him about how he could possibly have known all the answers. As Jamal explains how he knew each question, the film flashes back to the incident in his childhood where he learned the answer. This serves as the framework for telling his story.

[Bigger spoilers!] After a mob of Hindus kill their mother in an attack on a Muslim neighborhood in Mumbai, India, Jamal and his older brother are forced to survive on their own as children in the poorest of neighborhoods. Against his brother’s wishes, Jamal allows Latika to join their band, and the three muskateers survive the best they can until they are taken in by a man who provides food and shelter to street orphans but uses them to rake in cash by begging. Salim and Jamal manage to escape, but Latika is left behind. Years later, Jamal drags his brother back to Mumbai and manages to track down Latika, but this time, Jamal loses Latika when his brother steals her away and joins a gang. Jamal refuses to give up his search for Latika, though, and eventually manages to win a spot on Millionaire in the hopes of getting his lost love’s attention. I won’t spoil the ending, but let me assure you, it’s worth you time and money.

Here are some clips from the movie:

Posted by: David | January 14, 2009

11 Movies For 2009

Among the many things that a new year brings are new movies, and after looking through 2009’s release schedule, I have found eleven films that I am initially interested in. No doubt more will catch my interest as I see their trailors, but for now, here are the films that have gotten my attention.

February 6: Coraline

There is a part of me that is attracted to cartoons with a dark twist, like The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The second of these films was directed by Henry Selick, the director of this movie based on the creepy children’s story by Neil Gaiman.

April 22: Earth

May 8:  Star Trek



Yes, I am a nerd, and yes, I know it.

May 22:  Terminator Salvation



Christian Bale seems to be in the business of reviving struggling series. I am sure he will do nicely as the new Connor kid, but can you really have a Terminator movie without Arnold?

Jult 17:  Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince



Even though I didn’t appreciate the rescheduling of this movie from last December to this summer, this is one movie that I am hoping to see this year. I didn’t like Warner Brothers’ production of The Order of the Phoenix. Here’s hoping they do better with this one.

August 7:  G. I. Joe: Rise of Cobra



This has real potential to be a flop, but G. I. Joe was a favorite childhood toy and cartoon series. I will wait to see what the reviewers say.

September 9: 9

This may be a little too gloomy for my tastes. We’ll see.

November 6: Wolfman

My only reason for wanting to see more about this movie is that it stars Benicio D’el Toro and co-stars Hugo Weaving.

November 13: Sherlock Holmes

The British director Guy Ritchie is the man. I loved Switch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

November 20: New Moon

The books may be a little lame, but Guitta and I enjoyed the first movie. Maybe we will get someone to babysit so that we can sneak away for a movie date.

December 25: The Princess and the Frog

In 2009 the first black President takes office, and the first black princess takes a Disney cartoon. And it’s in New Orleans!

Posted by: David | December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means, ‘God with us.'”  Matthew 1:22-23

“And you, my child, [i.e., John] will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  Luke 1:76-79

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

May God grant you peace from its only Source this Christmas season.

Posted by: David | December 15, 2008

I feel really badly. I am literally pulling my hair out.

Both of those sentences are examples of bad English.  Whenever I hear someone say “I feel badly” or “I was literally jumping up and down” (when he wasn’t), I cringe. Yes, I know that I’m a nerd for even caring, but I can’t help it. That’s just the way I am. So, for the sake of my sanity, let’s go over this together.

Do you feel goodly? Coldly? Nicely? Grumpily? No? Then you don’t feel badly. You feel bad.  If you feel badly, it means that you are having trouble with your sense of touch, as in “I cannot read braille today because I am feeling badly. My fingertips were burned on my George Foreman grill.” The word “feel” is a linking verb like “am,” “smell,” or “taste.” So, for instance, you do not say things like “This tastes badly.” You say, “This tastes bad.” The same thing applies to “feel.”

Now let’s turn to the word “literal.” Webster defines it as “based on the actual words in their ordinary meaning; not figurative.” Was it literally a million degrees yesterday? No, unless you were inside the sun. Are you literally freezing this morning? If you are, I want to see some ice hanging from your nose. When people misuse the word “literal,” they are really just trying to add emphasis to what they are saying. That’s fine, but let’s not kill the word “literal.” Otherwise, you might kill me, speaking figuratively, of course.

Posted by: David | December 10, 2008

It’s a…

BOY! Guitta and I sat fascinated by the television screen above us, displaying the little ten-ounce Hogue boy squirming like crazy. We saw his spine, his head, his feet, his crossed legs, his heart, his booty, and then…his face! It was kind of spooky because we could see his face but also his skull. What an amazing little device the sonar is! What was previously hidden, the place where God knits us together, is now exposed for wonder and observation.

Since Guitta and I had been expecting a girl, we now have to get used to the idea of having a little boy. I thought I could handle a girl, but a boy is different. What am going to do with him? I don’t do the typical boy things like hunt, play sports, or watch football. It kinda makes me nervous, but I am open to trying new things. And I will teach him the things that I enjoy doing.

Our minds immediately went to work, planning out his life. We have already decided that he is going to marry Satomi, play soccer, learn Latin, read voraciously, play classical guitar, and write poetry.

Well, enough talking. Here are the pictures:

What a handsome profile!

What a handsome profile!

I think he looks like me.

I think he looks like me.

Thinking deep thoughts.

Thinking deep thoughts.

Definitely a boy.

Definitely a boy.

Posted by: David | December 8, 2008

It’s about time

I applaud my home state of Louisiana for finally getting rid of the indicted representative William Jefferson, the Democrat whose freezer contained $90,000 cash, and for electing the nation’s first Vietnamese-American, Joseph Cao, to Congress. Another step toward clearing our state’s image of political corruption. 





Posted by: David | November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Following my wife’s example, I would like to offer God thanks for the abundance of his blessings. Here goes.

Thank you, God, for…

1.  my wife. It is so much sweeter to go through life with her as my friend and my love (amica mea et amator). I love to hear her laugh and see how her smile makes her eyes crease. I appreciate how she helps me see myself in a new light, pointing out areas of improvement and encouraging me with words of praise or compliment. J’adore her spirited nature, her wit, and her interests. Guitta is smart, sensitive, and wise, and she has such good insight for me and others with questions about emotions or relationships. She is efficient and capable, and she is a great driver. I love her long, dark hair, her ivory neck, her nose, her curves, and yes, the little pooch that is making it more and more difficult for her to button her pants. I love just hanging out with her, watching girlie movies like Gilmore Girls or manly movies like Battlestar Gallactica. So here’s to God, who loved me enough to give me Guitta.

2.  our baby. Child, I loved hearing your little heart beat, I can’t wait to find out if you are a boy or a girl in two weeks, and I can’t wait to get to hold you.

3.  my dad. His legacy resides in his children, and every day I benefit from the things he did for us kids and for Mom. I try to read my Bible and pray daily because he insisted that we develop this discipline. I have an enduring picture of uncompromising integrity within me because he tried to live it in front of us. And I have a final picture of humility from someone who struggled with pride for much of his life. God sanctifies. Hallelujah!

4.  my mom.  She is a living example of integrity and sacrifice. Her whole life she has poured herself out for her family. I have only to ask, and I know that she’ll give if she can. I remember being so sick with fever and having her feeding me scraped apple with a spoon, chopped ice bits, Sprite, and Coke; she wiped my forehead with a cold cloth; and she placed packs of ice on my chest to bring down the fever. I could always go to her to talk comfortably about what was bothering me.

5.  my brothers and sisters. What a fun, affectionate bunch! They are a built-in support group, with lots of advice and encouragement to give.

6.  my parents-in-law. They have welcomed me into their home with open arms and poured out an abundance of love and gifts on Guitta and me. We have had so much fun with the two of them in Disneyworld and Florida, and it has been great to get to know them over the countless meals that they have treated us to. Mrs. Jane is so serving and giving. Mr. Joseph is so wise and interested in who my family and I are. I am thankful that both of them have given Guitta a stable home and a good upbringing.

7.  our dog. Cora is a big brown blessing of boundless energy, loyalty, and fun. May she live fifteen more years with us.

8.  my job. My school is a wonderful place to work. I have students who want to learn, kind and dedicated peers, supportive bosses, and sophisticated equipment. I have learned so much about managing a classroom, holding the interest of teenagers, teaching Latin effectively, and many more helpful things.

9. my house. What an improvement to have a kitchen big enough for two people and a dog to fit in comfortably. a fenced-in backyard, two bathrooms, a big tub, and a two-car garage.

10.  good books, movies, drinks, and food.

11.  my church. God’s kingdom has come and is still coming. I am thankful for our church’s unique vision to be multi-ethnic, to minister to the poor neighborhoods of our city, to preach the message of God’s grace in Jesus, to sing songs with “a joyful noise,” and to foster fellowship with small group meetings.

12.  everything that God is for me in Jesus. I am thankful that he is patient as I wrestle through things, that he loves me and wants me to get to know him. that he holds on to me in love even though I don’t think about him or his will much, and that his Spirit is busy purifying my sinfulness and developing holiness. O Father, keep holding on to me! Have mercy on me and my own!

Psalm 100

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Posted by: David | November 13, 2008

Every now and then

Every now and then the reality of having a child hits me. It happened one night as I was lying in bed when I realized with some panic that there would be a baby in our family soon, and it happened this morning in a very happy way when I had a vision of a little girl wanting to play with her Daddy. Between moments like these, there is a drawn-out period of life as usual, with a faint realization that a little life is growing inside of Guitta.

Posted by: David | October 31, 2008

Pity me. I’m sick.

Ugh. I’m sick. My sinuses are passing through their various cycles of evolution, from dripping to congesting to draining again. In this current stage, the Mucusoic Era, I’m coughing and hacking all the time and my back and head are aching. I bet I’ve lost three pounds because I haven’t been taking in much except fluids and soup.

My two girls, Guitta and Cora, have been very sweet. Guitta is constantly getting me ice water and other things, and today she picked up some decaf green tea and eight cans of soup from Kroger. I’ve been keeping my distance from her and baby just in case I’m contageous. We’re so pathetic; we’re in the same house and we still miss each other. There is nothing like physical touch. I think Cora senses that I’m under the weather. Accordingly, she sits with or near me much of the time, and she didn’t beg for a walk yesterday. I hope she doesn’t ask for one today either.

Only once did I have the motivation to get off the couch and check out our first ever trick-or-treaters last night. (Kids in our town trick-or-treated on Thursday this year.) Guitta was very excited and enthusiastically greeted kids and teenagers, constumed and non-costumed alike. I also missed costume day at school today. Some of the students and teachers really go all out. A few years ago this guy showed up:

School has been good but busy this year. I love the cycles of teaching, the chances to start over every year and do better. There is a perfectionistic part in me that wants to get everything in order NOW, but teaching has taught me to work on improving a few things at a time. Guitta has been a good coach for me in this area, too, reminding me often that I don’t have to get all my grading (or whatever) done in a single night, that it’s okay to put off some things and take time to rest. I love her.

We have started using new and improved textbooks this year. The Oxford Latin books just weren’t cutting it. They explained grammar poorly, left out interesting things, and introduced grammatical concepts in a weird order. For example, this year’s Latin 1 students learned about the future tense within the first few weeks, before my Latin 2 students were introduced to it a week or two later. Although the new textbooks are better, it does mean more work for me, preparing brand new quizzes, tests, and exercises. Also, unlike last year, when I had first period off to plan, this year I have to wait till 4th period to do my work, which means that I have to have my first three classes ready to go by the time the bell rings. That translates into getting to school around 7:30, which in turn has been cutting into my devotional time. If you remember, pray that I will have the discipline to keep up my prayers and Bible study.

I realize that I have done a poor job of giving personal updates on this blog, and I hope I have not lost readers because of it. I think a blog is a great way to keep everyone up to date (much better than personal conversation–just kidding), and I hope to do a better job of it.

Posted by: David | October 30, 2008

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Guitta and I have been watching the second season of 30 Rock and have been having a good laugh, though it’s not as funny as The Office. One of the characters on the show has an award for a really off the wall music video he did in the past. For some reason, this really tickles me. In celebration of Halloween, here it is for your enjoyment.


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