Tuesday, September 25, 2012

nothing special

Hi all.

I think I am going to take a break from blogging (at least on this blog). Maybe it'll be for good, I don't know. I feel like this blog doesn't really have a solid purpose and all I do lately is rant about things I can't change. What's the point? Maybe I'll still write book reviews on my other blog, but hardly anyone reads those anyway so maybe not.

My writing sucks, so I won't subject anyone to it anymore. :-P

Thank you for your time and see you around the interwebs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Second Breakfast: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Hobbit

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

Many books stand the test of time, and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again is most certainly one of them. I remember my mom and my dad reading it to my younger sister and me when we were very little. I can't be too certain, but I think it was in the dead of winter. Not, unfortunately, by the light of a roaring fire. My imagination likes to supply that fact in my memory, but since the only fireplace we had was covered by drywall, it just sadly wasn't true.

I have read and re-read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings since then, as well as Tolkien's other works. Today marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. People around the world are marking this momentous occasion with a special Second Breakfast. It was, after all, the beginning of a much beloved tale.

Today, I celebrated by making lembas bread and having a mug of good English tea. The lembas bread is obvious Elvish, but since I unfortunately had to have a lonely second breakfast, I wanted something simple and quick. I found numerous recipes here, and the one I chose to use was the one titled Authentic Lembas Bread by Elanor G. I chose it because it was small and only took about 20 minutes to make.

Lembas Bread (makes 4 small wafers/cookies)

1/4 cup (rounded, not flattened off) of whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil (cold-pressed is recommended, but I just used what I had, which wasn't)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. honey

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl; you may want to use your fingers, but a spoon should also work just fine. It will probably be a really gooey mess (don't worry about that), and also not seem like a whole lot, but remember this is a small recipe.
Once everything is thoroughly mixed, add 1 Tbsp. VERY cold water (could even be ice water -- just don't add the ice to the mix!) and mix it up again. The mix should become a little bit more doughy and pastry-like. It'll still be sticky, but that's because of the honey and the olive oil.
Form the dough into wafers that are about 1/4 inch thick and about 2 inches wide; place these on a cookie sheet. The original recipe says 2-4 inches wide, but I just didn't have enough dough for that if I wanted four wafers! Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes. This should ensure that both sides are nicely golden brown.
And voila! You have a version of lembas bread!


The above recipe really only does make four small cookie sized wafers. That's fine if you're going to be alone or with only one other person. Unlike real lembas bread, one bite does NOT fill your stomach! But, it was pretty good. Not sweet, but certainly not bitter. Also delicious dunked in a steaming hot mug of PG Tips tea. And, since Pippin ate four, why can't I? ^_~

Tomorrow is both Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday, so maybe I'll have some sort of celebration for them, too!

(I had pictures to go with this post, but my iPod is being temperamental and won't connect to my computer. I really need to get it checked...)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pornography as Mainstream Entertainment: What is a Christian to do?

As a culture, we are completely and utterly over-sexed. Sex appeal sells just about anything nowadays. Just show a bit of cleavage and it's all good. Apparently. Of course, it's become waaaaay more than that in the years I've grown up. No longer is a bit of cleavage good enough. Just watch some of the commercials on television sometime. And then we have the tv shows themselves. How many primetime shows don't have at least one sex scene per episode? Perhaps there are a few. But it doesn't matter whether there is a scene; the characters talk about it. Incessantly. It's disgusting. And if you move into the cable channels, it's even worse. Nudity is all over television; sexual nudity. Like A Game of Thrones on HBO. I wrote a review of the first book on my book blog and basically it was a decent story, but it failed for me because of the amount of sex, very often incredibly perverse. The show, I've been told, is even worse. The human body has been turned into this carnal piece of work that everyone is told to lust after.

Movies are just as bad, too. For years, the movies I would call "pornography in disguise" have been targeted more at men and boys. Think American Pie, or Superbad. (I've not seen any of those, and don't plan to. Though I did make the mistake of watching part of the first American Pie movie at a friend's house once...ugh.) And now this year...the ladies got a treat. Magic Mike. Though if you enjoyed this movie, I'd hesitate to call you a lady. Nor would I label the movie a treat. It's full pornography, according to the review I read on pluggedinonline.com. Even the review was too much.

But even if you just want to watch a comedy or drama at the theater, you can't get away from sex. I feel like it must be a prerequisite now for Hollywood: at least one gratuitous sex scene. At least. I can't tell you how many movies I've seen at the theater/rented to watch at home that had a useless sex scene. You know something, Hollywood? Even if the characters must have sex, you don't have to show it. Good grief.

And then there's the sexual innuendo that is splattered ALL OVER conversation, whether in everyday talk or in the media. My question is simply this: WHY?

Then we have books. Sex scenes are all over books; every genre has them, some worse than others I think. I made a comment in my review of A Game of Thrones about how fantasy authors seem to think they have every right to throw in as many pointless sex scenes as they want simply because the book is in a fantasy setting. A few of my favorite books are still sullied by these scenes. Enter E.L. James, the author (dare I say plagiarizer?) of the super-hyped Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. I know I have made many wisecracks about judging people for reading these books, but I am honestly dead serious. First of all, these books started out as Twilight fanfiction, which should tell you a lot. Second, they are poorly written. And when I say poorly, I mean atrociously. I haven't read them, but just reading the reviews on Goodreads is enough for me to say they didn't deserve to be published. Third, they are basically porn packaged as a (poorly told) love story. Most of each book is sex. I'm sorry but no one, and I repeat no one should be reading this trash. Especially not Christian women. Why bring yourself down to that level? What is the point?


Sex is everywhere. And it's probably 99% of the time perverse. Pre-marital. Homosexual acts. (No, being gay is NOT OKAY. I don't know what Bible you're reading....) The list could easily go on. The human body is supposed to be a temple, people. Why can no one realize this?????? God created man and woman to be there for each other, and to have an incredibly intimate relationship within the bonds of marriage, to the point that they become one flesh.

I exhort you, Christian friends, to stand firm in the face of the perversions of the world. God created sex to be the means of a deep union between husband and wife, and to be the means by which children are created. It's a miracle and a mystery wrapped up together and it is sanctioned by God.

I could write about this particular topic forever. It saddens me to see young girls dressing and acting like total sluts because the media says it is okay. It saddens me to see young boys making crude jokes. And then they turn into men and women who think it's okay to allow abortion because then they can have sex with whomever they want with no restraints. Children are no longer cherished in our society. Just look at the absolutely ridiculous fight over birth control. Now, I condone the use of birth control for medical reasons, or within a marriage if that is what the couple wishes. I do not condone the use of pills like the "morning after" and others which induce an abortion right after conception. That is murder, plain and simple. (I also don't think anyone should be forced to pay for someone else's birth control. Yes, I'm talking about you, Sandra Fluke.)

We as Christians need to stand up for what is right and pure in our world. Don't be legalistic and shun everyone who thinks differently than you, but reach out in love. If a friend asks you to go see a certain movie with them, respectfully decline and explain why. Resist the temptation to read something like Fifty Shades simply because everyone else is. (If you ask me, when "everyone else is doing it" becomes the reason, I think that's a good time to steer clear.) Avoid listening to music that is completely about sex. Watch other television shows.

There is plenty of good, wholesome entertainment available. Many family movies, like Pixar. Tv shows like Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, and Downton Abbey. (Actually, much of what is offered on Masterpiece Theatre Classic on PBS is wholesome and well-written.) There are also plenty of other books to be reading. Plenty of decent music to be listened to. And if all else fails, you can very easily read your Bible.

I usually watch period dramas, listen to classical music, read old novels and classics, and watch old films because they are so much cleaner than much of what is mainstream today. And of course, I just prefer them, but that is pretty obvious. ^_^

I'll stop here, since if this gets too long, people probably won't read it. But please take the time to. And I know I directed this at Christians, but this goes for anyone else in the world, too.

Thank you for reading, and may God bless your entertainment choices.