Another thing…

…to keep in mind is:

In order to win the ACC tournament, the Virginia Tech Hokies will have to beat:

1. Georgia Tech on Thursday, which is eminently doable.

2. Florida State on Friday. (Tough.)

3. Duke on Saturday. (Been done!)

4. UNC on Sunday.

If Tech makes it to the final, I will root with the Blacksburghers. Otherwise, go Tar Heels!

…May I make one other observation?

If you are like me, you have watched “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy more times than you care to remember. The movies are now a decade old.*

When the movies were first released, I was livid because they departed so shamelessly from the books. But I soon persuaded myself to go easy. After all, film is a different genre, and some concessions must be made.

Does it make sense for Aragorn to be felled in a skirmish with Uruk scouts, only to be revived by a kissy-kissy from Liv Tyler? No, it makes no sense. But this is a movie.

Does Viggo Mortensen ‘own’ the role of Aragorn, as Peter Jackson put it? Um…Does Pierce Brosnan ‘own’ James Bond? Does Vivien Leigh ‘own’ Anna Karenina? Does Jim Caviezel ‘own’ our Lord Jesus Christ? NOT. No. Not at all. Good yeoman efforts, yes. But ‘own?’ Please. (By the by, in my opinion, George C. Scott does in fact own Rochester, so you can forget about this new Jane Eyre movie.)

However: I can live with Viggo Mortensen.

Should poor John Rhys-Davies, an accomplished Shakespearean, and poor Gimli son of Gloin, who could kick any of our butts before you can say the word ‘midget’–should the Dwarf warrior be reduced to silly comic relief? No. But…We will let it go.

So I have had a decade of peaceful coexistence with these movies. But two particular things still rankle. They both concern the final film, and they have helped me to realize exactly what these movies are.

1. How is it possible that the script-writers thought it was plausible for Elrond to demand that Aragorn “forget the Ranger,” and become the man he was meant to be? Makes NO sense. The Rangers are the Dunedain, the remnants of the most excellent men, the Numenoreans. Even if we leave that aside, Aragorn’s majesty derives precisely from his humble, hardscrabble Ranger resourcefulness. If he were no Ranger, he would be no king.

2. In the greatest betrayal of all time, how could Peter Jackson possibly have thought that it was alright to remove the most important part of the whole plot? The climax of the book is NOT the destruction of the Ring or victory over Sauron’s armies. The climax of the book is when the Hobbits return to the Shire and clear Saruman’s petty dictators out of it.

Oh–you didn’t know that Saruman went north into the Shire after Isengard was reduced to ruins by the Ents? You didn’t know that the evil wizard engineered a sinister take-over of the the Hobbits’ homeland by wastrels he found wandering the roads around Bree? You didn’t know that Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin had to show the punks who was boss when the heroes returned home from Gondor?

Well, that’s because you wouldn’t know it, based on the dagblame movie. Since the movie pretends that such things never even happened!

So, what are Peter Jackson’s movies? They are an extremely good comic-book version of the “The Lord of the Rings.” It is hard to imagine a better comic-book version.

___________
*This is the beginning of a LONG series of ‘Reflections on the Oughts Decade.’

Jimmer!

This morning I found myself in a church where I had been precisely once before–in 1994. Back then I was a 24-year-old nitwit, as opposed to the 40-year-old nitwit I am now.

Being back in this place, I realized: By the grace of God, I managed to spend most of my twenties praying. Then I realized: Dude, you pretty much spent your thirties praying, too.

So I may be a nitwit. But at least I have this going for me.

AND I know God loves me, because: Last year the Hoyas beat Duke. This year the Hoyas don’t even play Duke (except maybe in the NCAA tournament). But this year, the Hokies beat Duke!

Tech beating the little blueys was not the victory of the day yesterday, however. The victory of the day was Brigham Young marching into southern California, confronting an arena full of losers dressed-up as Mormon missionaries in mockery, and proceeding to whup San Diego State’s butt.

…Listen, I don’t mean to pester you. But we really have to deal with the metaphysics of morality. We have not begun to scratch the surface.

So far we have: the existence of God and religion. There is a moral law revealed by God, the Ten Commandments. We will face judgment and will either be punished or pitied. Faith is the foundation of morals.

But this is clearly not the whole story. There are non-believers with impeccable morals. Also, the Ten Commandments do not apply themselves to particular cases. One person may have a duty to act in one way, and another person in a different way, under identical circumstances.

And there is more: Don’t we perceive our options according to our habits? The question of whether or not to spend $2.50 for a cup of coffee is an altogether different question for someone who does so regularly versus someone who does not.

If we are going to be judged–and we are–then what are we going to be judged ON? Understanding how the Olympic judges score gymnastic routines is hard enough. What exactly are their criteria? But what about the all-knowing divine Judge? What are HIS?

Chime in, people.