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“There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being.  This much we know.”

– President Barak Obama, National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2009

Amen, Mr. President.

I flag this in order to mention two different reflections of my own.

The first is that, after long supporting it, I grow increasingly uneasy with the concept of capital punishment, primarily out of my growing concern about the mistaken execution of the not guilty.  I don’t know exactly what my position is anymore, but I do know that it is shifting.

The second is to point out that in His refusal to condone the taking of innocent human life, God did not add the addendum, “Except, of course, the life that does not manage to get out of the womb first.”  You evidently forgot about this in repealing the Mexico City order, Mr. President.  I hope you don’t forget again if and when FOCA ever makes it to your desk.

I can’t remember where, exactly, but Peej O’Rourke once remarked that although a principled Christian might oppose both abortion and capital punishment and a pragmatist might find reasons to support both, it takes a pretty screwed up psyche to oppose capital punishment but support abortion.

A glass of wine with K-Lo in the Corner.

UPDATE: The one that almost got away.  Don’t click the link if you’re eating your lunch because you’ll probably lose it.

dancemusictime Last evening I finished off the fourth and last DVD of the 1997 screen adaptation of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time.

The first thing that has to be said is that ADTTMOT is a cycle of twelve novels.  The screenplay is, all told, about eight hours.  You do the math.  At best, this is really a dramatization of a Cliffnotes version of the books.

To that end, a great deal is left out, including some fairly major characters and plot complications, while the chronology of some other things gets muddled.  I was particularly disappointed that one of the most moving visual scenes in the whole cycle, in which Nick Jenkins watches the dragon-like buzz bombs coming up the Thames at night, was cut.  (Although, as I mentioned to Mom, I suppose this was as much a matter of cost as anything else.) Also, why eliminate the occult Dr. Trewlawney from the earlier episodes?  He dovetails very nicely, after all, with the appearance of “Scorp” Murtlock in the last section.

And for all the time constraints, the film does seem to dwell a good deal on dramatizing some events (most notably the deaths of Stringham, Templer and Erridge) that occurred off stage, so to speak, in the books.

Nonetheless, in the end I decided that I liked the series, most particularly because I thought the casting was absolutely spot-on (with the single exception of  James Callis – of BSG fame – trying and failing to fake an American accent as Prof. Gwinnett). The Widmerpools – Kenneth and Pam – in particular were quite good.

My advice would be this:  Don’t bother with the DVD if you haven’t read the books or don’t intend to.  Taken on their own, they’re probably too confusing and certainly too thin to be of any real value.  However, in conjunction with the books, I think they make a very good visual reference: the next time I read the cycle, I think I’ll have a much better grasp on things for having had, ah, the word made celluloid.


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February 2009