Location: Forest Town, California, United States

Many people ask where Helga and I (Vinnie) met. It was at a Jesus Freak festival in the days of my squandered youth. Some brownies were going around that tasted funny and the next thing I know, I'm married to a hippie. But she was cute, and I wouldn't serve a church that hired a divorced pastor, so we are still together till Judgement Day, when I assume we will go our seperate ways. Let me (Helga) add, that it seems the Universe brought Vinnie and I together, who am I to argue. He does have a judgmental nature though, which I find unforgivable.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tarzan: from the archives

Vinnie here. Please forgive our tardiness in posting. But fortunately, Helga and I have been able to abstain from Hollywood's lastest feeble blasphemous offerings. But if you have missed my wisdom and Helga's.. um.. perspective, here is another review from our archives circa 1999.


Many of the non-elect may think of Disney's new animated film, Tarzan, as harmless children's fun. They are not thinking through the complex moral delimas that confront one, as to even to view the film.

For instance, should I do my duty as a moral vanguard who views, then denouces Hollywood's lastest drudge and drivel when the Baptists have urged a boycott of Disney products? It goes without saying that Southern Baptists tend to have a lefty slant on things, and I fear buying a ticket may be viewed as support for the Homosexual Agenda and may lead some observers to think I am more liberal than a Southern Baptists! Meganota (for the non-Greek students, "May it never be!")

(I found a simple resolution to this situation, so as not to let down any of my dear, faithful readers. I purchased a ticket to another children's animated film, something titled, South Park, and then went to the theater showing Tarzan. I hope to present my thesis on the morality of theater switching at a later date.)

Unfortunately, my wife, Helga, was unable to attend the film with me, as she was attending a meeting a protest of fish sticks with PASA (People Acknowledging the Superiority of Animals) at a local grocery store. Even more unfortunately, many children were in attendance (what are those so-called parents thinking?) This film featuring a scantly clad man living with animals who eventually "shacks up" (to use the vulgar terms of the day) with a woman apparently without a proper church ceremony. I know what you're thinking, "That sounds more like the plot of an early 80's soft core porn flick featuring Bo Derek" and yet the ratings board had the gall to slap a so-called General Audience rating on this film.

The shocking communal, Bohemian lifestyle presented in the film is bad enough, but I have a sneaking suspecion the whole project is meant to indoctrinate young minds into Darwinism. And as for all the scences of a man and woman swinging on a vine, well you don't have to subscribe to all of Dr. Sigmund Fraud's theories to wonder about the whole enterprise.

So I urge you to skip this film (and all other films) because a good sermon is all the fun you need.

I was unable to attend this film with Vinton (the co-habitating yang to my yin) but I knew he condemned it. Some of the other members of PASA thought it would be a lark (such a lovely bird!) to see the Tarzan film. Naturally, I had my qualms about seeing a Disney film (Disney being a part of the cartel along with Ford and Microsoft that runs the US Military Industrial Complex), but little did I suspect the depths of racism, sexism and speciesism to which this film would sink.

First, the racism. Many Tarzan films of the past have presented Native Africans as inferior to European Whites. This film does not even show an Native African People, obviously because if they had, they were afraid they would be condemned for their presentation of them. So, we can safely assume, we can condemn the people of Disney for the way they would have presented Native Africans, if they had.

Next, the sexism. Jane meets Tarzan, as she is pursued my Orangutans, he, of course, rescues her. The obvious message is that men can handle like in the "jungle" (read "business world") and women can not.

Finally, the speciesism. After a long discussion over many carrot/soy milk lattes, the otherr members of PASA finally agreed with me about the prejudice inherent in making Tarzan, "Lord of the Apes". All would readily admit the world would be a better place if instead of giving another man the feudal or theological title of "Lord", we would instead make the peace loving Gorilla, Koko, President of the United States. (I doubt she even has signs for "Let's bomb Serbia".)

So I urge you not to see this picture. And until Hollywood starts to pay animal actors union scale, you can keep your stinking aisle seat.

Yours with LOve, Peace and Bioharmony, Helga

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

From the archives: The Poseidon Adventure
Vinnie here. Apparently, in a rare show of good sense, most of the American public joined me in keeping Hollywood's dirty hands off our wallets as Poseidon premiered. (Helga here: they've fixed the lock on the back door at the Strand Theater downtown.) But I am sure many are looking for my counsel on this issue. Although I can't report on this release, I can report on the original, The Poseidon Adventure.

At the time of that film's release, Helga and I were not writing film critism. But it just so happens that I did write about this film, as I discovered while going through my sermon notes.

You see, I had a wild streak when I was young, and I often preached topically rather than expositionally. (We all have our dark secrets.) And the following is excerpted from a sermon of that time:

"Brothers and Sisters, I have a confession at this time. Last night, I attended a motion picture show. Now I am at a point of spiritual maturity in my life, that I can risk such moral contamination, a point that most of you have not achieved. I was there because of wayward bride, Helga. I just didn't feel right about her being alone at night, so when she insisted she wanted to see this new disaster picture, The Poseidon Adventure, I felt compelled to go along.

"Now most of the picture is as vile as any other piece of Hollywood tripe, but it was not wholly without artistic merit. Leslie Nielson, a stalwart actor, plays the captain of a large ocean liner. That man always brings a touch of gravitas to his roles, and when he is on the screen, you know serious films are involved. Roddy McDowell has a small role, but he brings his English charms. Let me just say, that if I was a woman, I would find that fellow irresistable. (I'm sure he has to beat the women off with a stick.) That is why you young ladies should not see this film. You young men should not see this film because of Carol Lynley in hot pants.

"But the worst thing about the film, what should keep anyone from seeing this film again, is the secular humanistic perspective of the fighting young priest played by Gene Hackman. He urges relying on one's self rather than God, a sure method for avoiding eternal air conditioning.

"But through all the dreck, I was able to find one pearl of spiritual wisdom, that I will share with you this morning. For the Poseidon is a ship that is turned upside down by a giant wave. And the only way of escape, is to go up, which to all appearance is down.

"Isn't the world a lot like this? Everything the world tells you is up, is really down, what is right is wrong, what is vanilla is really chocolate. But you don't need to see the film to learn this, because I'm telling you here myself. Because a good sermon is all the fun you need."

Helga here. I also found a way to share with you my feelings on this film. I looked in my old diary my opinion of this film at that time:

"Dear Diary,
Groovy to be with you, sis. So, like, Vinnie and I went to see the lastest piece of propaganda put out by the man to oppress the people, and it was, of course, a total bummer, except there for some cute outfits and a dreamy new song.

It was, like, about this big boat run by these big oil consuming engines (my dream is that all boats may someday be run by solar power. Or by wind power, is that possible?)

"But then, like, the boat is turned upside down by,like, a big wave (which I am sure Mother Nature had a good reason for sending), so, like, the people in the ship have to move, like, from the bottom of the boat to the top of the boat which was really from the top of the boat to the bottom of the boat, it was so trippy.

"So, like, I was rooting for Pamela Sue Martin because she had just an adorable outfit. And Gene Hackman and Arthur O'Connell were priests in the oppressive Catholic church, but they seemed nice, so I didn't really want them to die (but that didn't mean they were safe, though I don't want to spoil the film for you, Diary [Tee-Hee]).

"But then they had this pig played by Ernest Borgnine as one of the survivors. Like, how am I supposed to root for the fuzz? And his wife, played by Stella Stevens, plays a former prostitute. I mean, I'm fine with a woman doing whatever she wants with her own body, but YUCK! Any way, she ends up just wearing a man's shirt for a lot of the film, and there are a lot of camera shots of her from below, enough to make me think that perhaps the makers of the film were, in fact, treating her as a sex object!

"But I did come out with one hero in the film, Shelly Winters! Though not fitting society's ideal of beauty or size, she still proves to be the film's savior. She's one of the only people over 30 I would ever trust.

"Finally, the best thing about the film. Because, you know, 'There has got to be a morning after, If we can hold on thru the night, We have a chance to find the sunshine, Let's keep on looking for the light'. That is so GROOVY! So DEEP! So TRUE!
I don't make predictions very often, but I think this song will win an Academy Award. And a Grammy. And very probably, the Nobel. I look forward to hearing it on the radio again, and again and again."

I was perhaps a little too open at the time, too positive and submissive to corporate America's media beast. But kids will be kids. Till then, good vibrations to all. Helga

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mission Impossible III: Two Views


My wife, Helga, has been urging me to look at things more positively. Now I don't normally go in for that Norman Vincent Peale gibberish, but my doctor has said a more positive outlook may lower my blood pressure, so I will make an attempt to find something positive in the new Hollywood schlockbuster, Mission Impossible III.
Now first of all, let me alleviate any concerns of those in my congregation who think their offering plate donations went to line the coffers of Paramount Studios. It just so happens that Helga and I have a favorite picnic spot that is next to the local drive-in theater. With one thing and another, we weren't able to get to our picnic till evening when the show was about to begin. And we happened to bring along a radio. We couldn't get a clear signal on either my Gospel station or Helga's Air America. The only signal that came in was the movie soundtrack.
There are some that will avoid this film solely on the basis of gossip they have heard about the film's star Tom Cruise. People seem to be disturbed about Mr. Cruise's relationship with Katie Holmes which is reasonable. She was found with child before they were in a matramonial state, but I expect that from the morally absentee Hollywood crowd. But Cruise's character, Ethan Hunt, is just as morally bankrupt as the actor. Hunt lives with his fiancee before their marriage.
People also seem bothered by Tom Cruise's lifesytle choice, apparently he is some kind of scientist. I myself have nothing against scientists per se. Mr. Newton believed in God, and yet also invented gravity, which has proved very useful. But if Mr. Cruise is one of these scientists advocating evolution, then I can understand why people don't like him. There is an interesting parallel again, as Hunt also seems to be some kind of scientist-inventor with a new gadget for every occasion.
But onto reviewing the film proper. It is your usual Hollywood stew of sex and violence. Woman driving sleek cars and wearing skimpy little things and hanky-panky in hospital supply closets and machine guns firing left and right and fine machinery blowing up. These are things one has come to expect from Hollywood, and is reason enough to skip this film
The plot is something about the search for a weapons system known as the "rabbit's foot". Now they are never too specific about what this weapon does, but the name refers to a luck charm, so obviously it has something to do with the occult. Another reason to avoid this film.
But if you need one more reason to avoid the film, you should know that the villian of the piece is played by Seymore Phillip Hoffman, who just this year received an academy award for playing a well-known homosexual author. Do you want to support a film that has an actor that shared a platform (literally and metaphorically) with the makers of Brokeback Mountain?
But I said I would find one good thing to say about the film, and I did find something. The main character, Ethan Hunt, is a covert spy, but he says he works for the Department of Transportation. This is the one thing in the film that really makes sense.
Have you every wondered why there seems to be so many road workers, but so little road work gets done? That the Department of Transportation is really a front for a spy agency makes as much sense as anything coming out of Hollywood.
So skip this film, and remember, a good sermon is all the fun you need.


As Vinnie said, we are making an effort to make positive affirmations, so I will make a positive affirmation about viewing Mission Impossible III: the stars in the sky above the screen were lovely and there was a wonderful breeze and I enjoyed the soft grass beneath my skin.
The movie itself was severely challanged ethically. But I did find myself torn morally about certain things.
For instance, I abhor violence in all its forms. I especially abhor gun violence. But I also want to see woman portrayed as strong and able to take care of themselves. So, you can see, I am torn when I there are scenes in the film of women capably using weapons and blowing stuff up.
Which leads me to another moral tension. There are a number of sports cars, helicopters and trucks in the film that of course pollute our Mother Earth. And I would not be truthful if I didn't admit I enjoyed seeing these vehicles crashed, demolished and obliterated.
There is one moral evil in the film that I certainly my speak out against. There is a machine in the film that manufacters masks that can make any person look like any one they wish. Can there be any doubt that certain Beverly Hills plastic surgeons are working on such machines right now? Soon these machines will be used to make every woman look like Carma Electra and every man look like Tom Cruise. And when that happens, I'm going to miss Vinnie's ugly puss.
Alright, I will say one good thing about this film which is itself a source of karmatic dissonance. It does show the need for more difibullators. At crucial times in this film, life and death depends on the presense of a difibullator.
It is no mere coincidence that this film comes out just as PASA (People Affirming the Superiority of Animals) is conducting a fund raising drive to buy solar powered difibullators for animals. I hate to think of all the times during our rescue raids, in an attempt to save sister and brother lab rats and mice from research labs, the poor beings have suffering cardiac failure due to the excitement.
If only we could shave those little furry chests and apply the paddles, bringing forth their life forces. You can do your part. Give generously to the Rodent Heart Fund through your local chapter of PASA.
So till the Universe brings us together again - Smell the Flowers, not the Films.