Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Prince Caspian (No Spoilers)

I took the family to watch Prince Caspian on Sunday. It's been about ten years since I read the book, so I didn't have a distinct recollection of the story. But that turned out alright. I liked the movie about as much as I liked the book. Lots of windup for, at best, a two-base hit. I don't find Prince Caspian all that interesting of a character, and the children don't grow all that much either. So, for me, Prince Caspian was the somewhat diverting book that I read in between LWW and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The latter is my favorite book of the series. I'm looking forward to the release of that movie (I "think" next summer), but I'm also a bit concerned: the narrator has some of the best lines in the book vis-a-vis Eustace. The movies, so far, have not used any voice over (that I recall). So I don't know how, or if, the movie will deliver those lines. And the book wouldn't be half as good without those lines.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

1999 Harry Potter Cast Preview

We watched PBS's 1999 version of "David Copperfield" last weekend. The producers in the Harry Potter movies seemed to borrow heavily from the cast in this production.

Daniel Radcliffe played the young Copperfield. Maggie Smith, Prof. McGonagall in the movies, played Copperfield's aunt, Betsey Trotwood. Imelda Staunton, Dolores Umbridge in the movies, played Mrs. Micawber. And Zoë Wanamaker, Madame Hooch in the Harry Potter movies, palyed Miss Murdstone in Copperfield.

I initially thought that the actor who played Argus Filch in the Potter films was also in this production. But I mistook Karl Johnson, from Copperfield, for David Bradley, who portrays Filch in the movies. Still, the two look pretty similar to me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Megan Qualifies for the State Swim Meet

This last weekend Megan qualified for the state long-course swim meet in the 200 meter butterfly. She went to state last year in the 50 meter and 100 meter butterfly. But there's a big jump between ten- and eleven- year old qualification times. So she wasn't sure she could repeat.

I'm trying to find a decent picture of Megan swimming. But swimming isn't quite as photogenic a sport as gymnastics is. I have a bunch of pictures with Megan wearing goggles and a swim cap -- but you can hardly tell who she is. Let alone pictures of her in the water. Last weekend I tried to get a good picture of her diving into the water at the beginning of a race. If any of turned out o.k., I'll post it.

Jack also set five new team records at the meet, and qualified in several events for the regional swim meet. But he was pretty envious of Megan's achievement.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Two Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks Visit the Feeder

I saw two of these birds for the first time yesterday. The picture on the left doesn't do justice to the brilliant beauty of these birds. The name says "rose-breasted," but the two male birds I saw yesterday had bright red splashes on their breasts. Much redder and brighter than the bird in the picture.
The first time I saw it yesterday, I caught only a flash of red, white, and black out of the side of my eye as I passed the window. We've been having a woodpecker show up at the bird feeder, and so I thought that's what it it was.
An hour or so later, we were eating dinner, and the bird returned. So we oohed and awed. Then a few minutes later, a second male showed up at the feeder as well.
So that was a real treat, especially since I'd never seen that type of bird before.
Some other cool birds I've seen recently (besides the regular visitors at the feeder): A few weeks ago, a turkey buzzard perched on our back fence. I caught that out of the side of my eye and at first thought it must be a cat or something. It surprised me to see such a large bird perched on our fence. We also used to have a couple of owls who would sit on our fence at night. But I haven't seen them for at least a year. We also often have hawks perching on the fence. One day last year I watched a hawk on the fence from the bedroom window. So it was maybe 20 feet away. I was peeking through the blinds, so the hawk didn't see me (or didn't mind me watching if it did see me). All of a sudden it jumped down on the other side of the fence and then immediately flew back up facing me -- with a field mouse in its beak. One swallow and the mouse was halfway down the hawk's throat, its tail hanging out of the hawk's beak like a strand of spaghetti. Another swallow and the tail disappeared down the hawk's throat. I imagined I could almost hear the slurping.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Luther and Calvin on the Supper as "Sign"

Phillip Cary has an illuminating discussion here of the difference of how Calvin and Luther differently conceived the Supper as a "sign."

Both understood the Supper to be a sign, but differed on what the sign itself actually is. As Cary writes, "The difference between Luther and Calvin on this point is that Luther thinks of the body of Christ as the sacramental sign, not just the thing signified (see for instance his Babylonian Captivity, in Luther's Works 36:44)."

This difference -- seemingly so slight in expression -- has significant implications. Cary writes:

"Thus in Luther's reckoning when unbelievers receive the sacrament but not the thing it signifies, this means that they receive no grace or spiritual benefit in the sacrament, but they do receive Christ's body. For unbelief separates signum from res, but it cannot prevent the sacrament from being the sign that it is. So long as the sacrament is present, the sign is present, which includes Christ’s body. Thus even in receiving a “mere sign” the unworthy eat Christ’s body, whether they believe it or not. They are partaking of the body to their own harm. (There is no paradox in this, for Christ's bodily presence has always been an occasion not just of blessing and grace but of scandal and unbelief. It was, after all, quite possible to receive Christ's body and nail it to a tree.) "

HT: Confessing Evangelical.

Also, Cary has a great paper here comparing sola fide in Calvin v. Luther. Definitely worth a read no matter which side you're on.