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Friday, July 29, 2005

A Magical Trip to California....

This week I had the distinct privilege of getting to travel to California and speak/perform at the Magic Castle in Hollywood as a guest speaker for the Southern California chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.

For those who are not familiar with the Magic Castle, as stated on it's website,

The Magic Castle is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, a very special organization devoted to the advancement of the ancient art of magic. The purpose of The Academy is to encourage and promote public interest in the art of magic, with particular emphasis on preserving its history as an art form, entertainment medium, and hobby. Beginning with a charter membership of 150, the Academy has grown into a world-renowned fraternal organization with a membership of nearly 5,000.

The Magic Castle is known to magicians all over the world as the premier magic venue and the virtual center of the magician's universe. It is an authentic Victorian mansion, built in 1908 in the hills above Hollywood, and has been the "Magic Castle" for over thirty years. While I have been to the Castle many times as a guest of members, it was an extra special treat to be invited by FCM to perform and speak. (You must be a member or have an invitation from a member to get in. I have been invited to be a member but it is super expensive annually to join (!), and I only get out to California a few times a year, so I skip on the membership and get one of my member friends to get me in!)

This is Barney Kinard, the Kidhelper, who is the leader of this local chapter of FCM and who invited me to come speak. He has been doing Gospel magic for forty some years and was one of the magicians who inspired me as a kid when he did some Gospel magic tricks as part of the VBS program he did at my church when I was ten years old.

While I am mostly known for my children's programs and stage illusions (levitating, guilotine, sub trunk, etc.) my personal favorite is and always has been close up magic. My workshop was titled: Pocket Prestidigitation that Packs a Powerful Punch! (nice alliteration, huh?)

Like many college students, when I was in Bible college (at MBI), I found myself in need of money to pay my school bill! One day I saw a magician performing on Rush Street (at Clark) and saw he had a hat full of money. (!!!) Hmmmmm, I could do that! So I got myself the black fedora that I still wear when I perform, and headed down to Michigan Avenue.

The Neiman Marcus building on Michigan Avenue (at Chicago Ave, just South of Water Tower) became my stage. I would head down there around 9 p.m. and by midnight I had several hundred dollars in my hat! In fact, I had to open a bank account at the First Chicago Bank right across the street so I could deposit the money asap and not get mugged on the walk back to Moody. (That branch is now gone, but I am still at the same bank, changed from First Chicago to Bank One and now to Chase) Eventually, I was 'discovered' on Michigan Ave. and got an agent who began to book me for walk around magic at corporate parties and I became the 'house magician' at several downtown restaurants included the Rock n/ Roll McDonald's, D.B. Kaplin's (then in Water Tower), and Boogies Diner in the Bloomingdale's Building among others. Doing celebrity events, such as Chicago ball team parties and celebrity birthday parties were fun too. I actually miss the close up magic gigs, and eventually (when I am old) plan to return to being a house magician somewhere - that was my favorite type of magic going table to table, quickly accessing the type of people, humor, (and sometimes sobriety!) and then entertaining.

Back to the Castle, the place is like a magic museum, filled with displays, posters, props, and lots of fun stuff. It is not an entirely 'Christian' environment, but it is fascinating!

In a lower 'dungeon' passage way there was a magic mirror - so I took my picture in it. There is a lot of cool stuff, but I reallly don't want to put pictures of it all up - it would spoil it - you have to go there yourself and experience it.

This is Irma - the friendly ghost of the mansion. (You can't see her, but she is sitting at the piano) If you don't believe in ghosts, just ask her to play ANYTHING and it will myseriously start to play. Think it is just a player piano? She will even interact with you, playing funny notes to answer questions. And if you try to leave the room, she will stop. I was stepping in and out of the room and she was stopping and starting to play as soon as I entered or left - it was pretty funny.

One treat was that my good friend Pastor Ryan Frank from Indiana happened to be in California on vacation so I brought him as my guest. Bummer. Now he knows all my secrets!

The main point of my workshop was on how to use 'pocket magic' to get to know kids and entertain them. Magic interests everyone and is a great tool for meeting people and beyond the entertainment value is the relational value. These are two kids that I met on the plane on my way to California. I rarely get to sit by kids, so this was a treat for me as well as them - and they got a bigger on flight magic show than most kids, since I was loaded for this workshop. They even got to see me levitate a dollar right there on the plane! (You should have seen the looks on the faces of the people walking down the aisle!)

But, of course, the highlight of the trip wasn't speaking or performing at the Magic Castle - it was getting to see my awesome neice and nephew and hang with them for a few days. :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Addicted to Speed? The Cure has been discovered!

BOY I can't wait until my little brother is in town! (Yes, Jordan, that is a challenge!)

I just might have a new hobby! This is the coolest thing! WOW! WOW! WOW!

After Sports Camp finished up (final post on that coming soon!) a bunch of us all went out for some Chicago Pizza and it was there that I learned about an awesome sport - a sport that you must be 18 to play and have a driver's license - and yet, ironically, it was introduced to me by a friend who is 15 and doesn't have a driver's license! (he knows the guy who owns the place.... cool!)

So the next thing I know I am blowing off work... er, um... I mean, going on a pastoral visit to encourage our guest missionaries by treating them to an outing to thank them for all their hard work all week.... (yeah, that's better) and it was off to Chicago Indoor Racing!

The VCB Racing Team!
Rob, Tiffany, Steve, Tye and Me
(Tiff and Tye were our Uncharted Waters Coaches all week)

Team Ninja?

Here we are in our Ninja Pose since you have to wear a 'head sock' under your helmet unless, like Steve, you have your own racing flack jacket and helmet! We had to go through intense orientation and training and then sign away our lives and promise not to sue if we died out there racing.

Here's me in my Formula LM Race Car.
(LM = lawn mower)

It was a TON of fun... you race about twenty laps per race and everything is recorded by computer - lap times, best lap time, average, etc. At the end you get a print out that details your standing and graphs every lap of the race between all the drivers. All your info is saved so that you can work to beat your scores in future races. My first race placed me in 4th place on the team, and in the bottom 36% of all racers... but, hey, it was my first race! In my second race I was somehow able to beat my first race times while finishing last. Oh, well. Jesus said the last shall be first! So, yes, I got beat by two girls.... but I'll take them on in a unicycle race anyday!

See those blurs? Could you handle such velocities? Have you a NEED FOR SPEED? I'm thinking I need to plan an adult birthday party racing tournament in September.... Any challengers out there?

UP-DATE (not in e-mail notification): 4MB VIDEO OF TRACK

Monday, July 18, 2005

VCBkids Basketball / Cheerleading Camp DAY ONE

TODAY was the first day of the VCBkids Basketball/Cheerleading camp! Put on by Uncharted Waters, (and a ton of awesome VCB volunteers!) this five day community outreach is off to a great start!


(it is truly amazing what a Mac can crank out in no time!)
[Seems QuickTime 7 is Required, you might need to upgrade]

Here are some highlights of the day:

Showin' em how its done!
Best of all, these kids are leaning about God and how to BREAK FREE from the problems of this world! Check back each day for more pics, and be sure to watch the HIGHLIGHT VIDEO of DAY ONE!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Revenge of the Birthday Party!

Today, cleverly disguised as P4-K4 (An Empirial Bounty Droid), my twin brother arrived on the scene of a rebel birthday party of a princess named Olivia.

Forget the protocol and ettiquette - this droid ain't one to mess with! Trained in the ways of the Force, this mild mannered droid packs a powerful (and wet) punch!

After pledging his allegiance to Darth Vader (who, as you can see by the t-shirt, still loves his mom), to infiltrate and destroy this rebel outpost, he went on to Saber training.

Jedi Master Nakooki trained all those in attendance in the finer arts of light saber battling. So far his plan to infiltrate these rebel scum was going along fine...

They practiced their new skills sparring with each other...

Each Jedi-wanna-be honing his (or her) skills so that they would be prepared to fight the enemy... little did they know, the enemy was already in their midst!

Then it happened! One of the padawan learners, sensing a disturbance in the Force, struck out at the infiltrater while he was trying to refresh himself with a glass of water...

His response gave him away and so he lept down from the patio and it was all out war - showing himself to be a traitor of the Republic and loyal to the Empire, he took on the whole lot of them!

It was a fierce battle that took them all over the backyard! Though greatly outnumbered, P4-K4 found these short warriors to be a piece of (birthday) cake to defeat!

One by one they charged and retreated... no match for the wit and skill of this fierce droid...

He could feeeeeel their laughter... but would not give in... it would be a fight to the END!

It was almost getting embarassing... then forgetting one of the tips that Jedi Nakooki had given them all - to not leave your backside defenseless, a very short padawan struck p4-K4 down from behind and his older brother finished him off!

P4-K4 was defeated and was tossed in the recycle bin for next Thursday morning. Peace was restored to the galaxy (well, at least to the birthday party) when suddenly...

Darth Vader appeared and attacked with powerful Jets of Water!

But that was when I arrived, and with my proton super soaker, I finished him off!

What to do with Death Star Donut Holes? (besides eat them, of course?)

Stick them in your eyeballs!

"Use the Force, Luke. Try it again. Only this time, with these donut holes in your eyes."

The Galactic Birthday Family!

For a TON of more pictures from the party, click here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Taking the Whistle to New Heights!

As some of you are unfortunate enough to have experienced (and the rest of you blessed!) I picked up a new hobby while on sabbatical...

Yes, I bought myself a Penny Whistle (or Irish Whistle as they are often called) while on sabbatical, in Seattle if you really must know.

Audiences everywhere have been mesmerized by the beautiful music I can now produce. So far I can play the theme from Titanic and Lord of the Rings (Hobbit's Song) as well as several hymns such as "Hallelujah, What a Savior", "O For a Thousand Tongues", "This is my Father's World", "Amazing Grace" and "Jesus Loves Me." It is tricky to find songs that can be played within a range of only 8 notes, but it is a lot of fun. I have since ordered four more on ebay so that I can have different keys and tone quality. My goal is for Pastor Tim to let me play during the worship service during the offertory.

I have also discovered that a wonderful way to relax and de-stress is to play the Penny Whistle while riding on a 5 foot unicycle. It really calms your nerves... though it does tend to make your wife more nervous. I highly recommend unicycling and whistling... it could change your life! I have seen a great reduction in my migraines since I began Penny Whistling... and I think it just might be the whistle-therapy! If you would like to see your stress reduced and peace and tranquility enter your life and those around you, search ebay today for a Penny Whistle, and let the beautiful music begin.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Golfin' Campin' Partyin'

OK, OK, just to get my brother off my case, I'll blog already! I've been pretty busy!! It's been hard to find the time, plus I was UNPLUGGED from the Internet from last WED-SAT! What have I been up to??


Once again, it was time for another VCB STAFF MINI GOLF TOURNAMENT. Of course, who wins doesn't matter - it's all about the fellowship.
(since I didn't win)

Pastor Dave is still trying to repeat his amazing victory from 1999 when he was in second place (behind me) and won first place on a hole in one on the 18th hole!!! AND it was on a steep drop with NO way to aim. At best, anyone could get a two par, but after his lucky shot, I missed my two to tie him trying to tap in an amazing tee off (did I mention down a steep drop?), and ended up in a miserable second place. Pastor's Dave's victory was TOTAL LUCK and while I have completely forgotten about it and moved on and finished my counseling on it, I just thought I'd mention it.

Pastor John won our last time out, but this time the Force was not with him.

Pastor Jim is pretty good...

though his golf balls do seem to prefer water over grass...

Pastor Tim did the Canadians proud with a strong finish...

Even our office manager, Retta, proved that those from
Down Under can putt!

But the winner went to Dick, our business administrator, who I believe is a first time mini-golfer with us, though he is known to be out of the office on 'environmental studies' quite often that are rumored to take place on golf courses.


Next, I headed off to Camp Timber-lee where I have been a camp speaker for kids camps every year since 1997, often for two weeks. It is an AWESOME CAMP! Incredible activities for kids, great food (!), and a wonderful spiritual atmosphere. This year was a little different, in that, instead of being a daily camp speaker for one week, I did a magic show on Wednesday every week of camp for both kids camps and junior high. While I would prefer to be a camp speaker (I love the relationships, getting to know the kids, and not just teach, but play with them, getting to know them, etc.), I enjoyed a change of pace and got to see a lot of kids that remembered me from previous years. I was amazed at how many campers I still remembered their names (or nicknames). Getting to go to Junior High camp was awesome too - about half the campers knew me from kids' camp. Normally, I'm a little nervous to doing a magic show for junior highers (and usually would NOT do a puppet) but these junior highers would chant for Gus, so it was a good thing I had him along! I hope to be a camp speaker again next year, but this was a ton of fun!

Then it was off to a camp ground for our annual Kidology Staff / VCBkids Leadership Team camping trip. We combine the groups because, well, most of them are part of both in some way either as employees of Kidology, board members, volunteers at church, etc. It is a great time to play together, and get to know spouses and kids better.

The hammock is my favorite spot, 'cept when Max threw a football while I was asleep as a joke and hit me right in the nose!

My annual BB Gun range with my arsenal of .177 fire power is always a hit!

A trip to a local beach on a lake was a blast. It was in the low 90's - a bit hot for me - but everyone seemed to have a great time,
between black outs.

I did some doodlin' in Olivia's sketch book...
that is Half Dome and Mirror Lake...

and what is a children's ministry (or Kidology) related event without Speed Stacks? Here I am demonstrating Speed Stacks, and yes, my eyes are closed. Just one of many ways to try and make it fair if one handed or upside down cups doesn't help my poor opponents win. :)

But my favorite is and will always be the singing and sharing around the camp fire!


Then Sunday, it was the K.C. Krew year end party at Master Ron's house - Ron did Kids Church while I was on sabbatical... and his wife is Kidology's bookkeeper. Anyway, it was an awesome day at their house which is on a lake.

Ron did some juggling for the kids, like these flaming torches!

Then we went out on their pontoon boat.



Me practicing my Karate Kid Dive!


I decided to jump off and swim all the way back to the beach....

That didn't last too long, I made it half way, and then hitched a ride!

Ron let me drive the boat!

What a fun week this has been! I am so blessed with so many beautiful children in my life. Their smiles, laughter and energy are an inspiration. I may not have any kids of my own yet, but I sure am lucky to know so many terrific and wonderful kids!

Then it was time to head home. As you can see, I've been workin' out!
And yes, Sara was there with me the whole time, but she took most of the pics!

There, Jordan, is that a long enought blog for ya? :) SEE why I've not had time to blog? Been havin' too much fun! Now it is 2am and I am going to bed!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I Love America!

This is a great year as I get to go see fireworks two nights in a row! Here are some pics from tonight's show in my home town. Though it is exceedingly difficult to photograph fireworks, these are my attempts. I would also like to use this opportunity to talk about my Great Country, AMERICA.

This is an amazing country to live in. I have been to 14 different countries so far, and each and every time I am reminded that not only is America the best country on the planet to live in, there isn't even a second place - or third - or forth - or.... (you get the idea) The freedom we enjoy here, the beauty we have here, the opportunity we have here, is simply unmatched anywhere else in the world. Yes, there are beautiful places throughout the world, but no other country has the vast variety of natural beauty that we have AND the freedom to enjoy it and to travel around.

America is quite simply the greatest nation the world has ever known. Is it perfect? Of course not, we live in a fallen world and it is inhabited by fallen people, but nowhere else do people have the freedom and opportunity to succeed and prosper like you can in the United States of America. Our poor are rich by global standards, and our poor have the most opportunity via education and free market to change their situation if they are willing to work hard at it.

Unfortunately, one of the things WRONG with America, is the number of Americans who have NO CLUE how great our nation is, or how lucky they are to live here. Whenever I hear Americans riping on our country, I want to send them overseas - anywhere - for at least six weeks, and then they can complain. (though I think they would find their complaints much less!) People who think America is a bad country are either ignorant, lazy, or jealous. Ignorant because they have no idea how great it is here, lazy if they blame the government for their own problems, or jealous if they don't live here and think therefore we are a bad nation.

I am sick and tired of Americans all worked up about what other nations think of us. The irony is, other nations ENVY us because they KNOW our nation is awesome and they wish they could be us, or like us. Since they don't get what makes us Great, they see us as an enemy. Ironically, the people here, Americans, who tear down our country verbally from within side with our enemies and fuel their jealousy ignorant that in doing so they hurt the very cause they claim to be defending. They think that if somehow we were nicer or gentler (or weaker) everyone would like us better. What they don't get is that we aren't liked because we are Great. We would have to cease to be Great before everyone would like us, and then what would be the point of that? And what remaining would there be to like about us?

America has never taken over another country. And we could. We are Great because we don't use our power as so many super powers of the past did. Japan attacked us in the midst of our Christmas season, crippling our military and killing our people - what did we do? Defeated those in charge, then rebuilt their country into one of our greatest economic rivals. Germany rolled over Europe with its kiling machine, doing horrible things to those in their path, and killing millions of Jews - what did we do? Defeat their military, and then rebuild them into one of the strongest countries in Europe. We don't level our foes, we defeat evil, and then free the people, even when they don't always remember and back us in our times of need.

I don't get people who don't see that America is a Good nation. Even in our present war we don't treat our enemies as they treat us. They behead. We imprison. They drag bodies through the streets in shame. We resist shooting when they surrender, so much that when ONE soldier fired when a man surrounded (for good reason as the claim often isn't true) people didn't get the reason that made international news is NOT because that soldier was so bad, but because it was so UNLIKE an American soldier. Why don't people see the difference?

A few of our soldiers mistreat some prisoners. Again, it is international news. America allows its dirty laundry to be on the front page. We aren't perfect, but we show the good and the bad, and we deal with the bad, and punish our own when they mistreat prisoners. Have you ever heard of our enemies dealing with their own who behead journalists or drag soldiers through the streets or dangle their bodies from bridges? Where is the outrage? Why won't the media show the torture and human atrocities commited by Saddam, who we keep in a better prison than he would ever give any of our soldiers. And these complaints about the prison we keep terrorists in, where they get better food than our soldiers. Where we use torurue such as turning the thermostat up or down or play rap music too load. Please. Can't people see the irony, that we have lame methods of torture, because we have a hard time torturing? We need information, but try to respect our enemies as humans, even when they are withholding information that could mean death to our own? I get sick to my stomach hearing Americans picking around searching for any tidbit they can find to make us look bad, and ignore the overwhelming examples of our enemies atrocities. What side are these people on?

Our hearts ache for every young boy and woman who dies in the defense of our nation. But why doesn't our media and many Americans see that they die often striving to distinquish between combatant and civilian when our enemy doesn't even care if it kills its own people to take out one of ours? We could completely destroy and decimate Iraq - and strategically that might be better - our enemies would fear us - and terrorists would know not to 'mess with the US' - but what do we do? Strive to bring the same peace and freedom to our enemies that we enjoy while trying to route out those who oppress them. It would be far easier to treat all Iraqies as enemies - but instead we have to distinquish between the enemy and his people, who look the same to us. We take the high road, the honorable road, the difficult road, and while our enemy uses it against us, we press on, while at home fellow Americans tear down what we are doing encouraging our enemies to keep on fighting us.

I thank God every day that we have a President in office who understands that America is fragile. A President who understands that freedom is not free and that being nice to our enemies will not make them go away. I am so glad that those out of power keep losing more power because they keep showing that they have no clue what national defense is and that sending a memo to the enemy to please get along with us will not work. War is painful. War is ugly. War brings death to those we love. But war also protects a way of life, and a Good way of life. War is not selfish, it is selfless when fought as a last resort and with painstaking efforts to fight only the enemy and not everyone who shares that region or religion. Abraham Lincoln knew both the cost of war and the necessity, and we have a united nation as a result. From World War II and through the Cold War the leaders who did what was right and not what was popular saved our nation from exstinction. Our President is doing the same. Thank God we have a President who doesn't care about his popularity or his 'legacy' - he cares about what is right and what will preserve our Great Nation.

As you celebrate this July 4th holiday - don't forget what the fireworks are to remind us of. The fireworks that have lit our skies in battles past were not so spectacular - and they brought with them death, but they also brought freedom. We are now in the midst of another great battle. The media likes to say there is no connection between 911 and the war in Irag. Don't be fooled. There is a power struggle going on, and unfortunately, those out of power care so much about getting it back, that they don't mind endangering our troops or betraying our nation, or lying, or distorting the truth. The war in Iraq has everything to do with 911. Not because Saddam had a direct link in 911 (though there are connections the media ignores), but because of the LESSON of 911 - the war can and will come to our own soil if we are lazy and too afraid to confront our enemies on their own turf. Everyday when you go to work, you don't have to worry about attacks because we have taken the battle to our enemies and are fighting the Away Game so we won't have to play a home game.

I will never forget 911. People who accuse our President of 'politics of fear' have forgotten 911. They have forgotten the fires in the buildings, the passengers on those flights who had their lives stolen, the hopeless people jumping from windows. They have forgotten thinking their big city was next. They have forgotten that the fear was not drummed up by politicians, the fear was real. The attacks were real. The people who died and the families they left behind where real. The police and firemen who died running into collapsing buildings with no thought to themselves were real. The threat is real, and the war is real. More people died on 911 than in any other attack in our nations history, and they weren't soldiers. It wasn't a military base - it was men, woman, and children going about their normal day. 911 is YOUR WORLD under attack by people who don't want to be your friends - they want you dead and everything you believe destroyed. While we enjoy our hotdogs and hamburgers remember, our freedom is not free. It has been challenged before, is being challenged, and will be challenged again.

We have won in the past,
We will win this present battle
We will be ready the next time freedom is threatened.

God Bless America - not because it is my country, but because it is a Good country. Imagine any other country as the world's super power, and imagine what the world would then be like.

Ignore those who tear down our country, and be glad they aren't in power. Notice they have no ideas, only attacks. They can't win in the arena of ideas, or in the ballot box, so all they can do is attack and smear and tear down. In the end, they will be shown for who and what they are.

Thank God for those who are in power, and for those who do what is right, even when it isn't popular. The freedom you enjoy today was secured in the past by such leaders. The complainers and naysayers of those past eras have been long forgotten as will those of today.

Freedom will endure. It is too powerful to hold back. Happy 4th of July.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

War of the King Bat!

War of the King Bat? Curious? Well, actually I am just combining the names of three movies I want to comment on.


This movie was awesome. It is my favorite Batman movie so far. Even though I read a lot about how this movie had a lot at stake due to how bad the last one was, I liked the last one. It was corny, but I loved Arnold in it, and thought it captured the 'comic book' feeling of a cartoon comic with flambouyant characters and over the top action and corny one liners. I don't think it is fair to compare the last one with Batman Begins, because the entire premise is drastically different. This Batman is a modern batman - it takes place in our world, in our day. There is a lot of screen time devoted to how Bruce Wayne learns his non-supernatural powers for fighting. It made the story believeable.

Best part: When Batman actually summons bats to his aid - that gave me goosebumps. (Not a spoiler, its in the trailer) The batmobile is pretty cool too. I think I could drive one of those.

Downside? Katie Holmes is cute, but felt out of place in this movie - way too young to be a powerful downtown DA - and (like Padme in EP3) totally unbelievable in her declarations of love. Go back to Dawson's Creek girl, leave Gotham to the pros.

Best line: At one point in the movie Katie (forgot her character's name) sees her true love trying to act as a billionaire playboy. He has two 'babes' on his arms and is driving a fancy car and is only playing the part of rich spoiled son of a billionaire at Alfred's request (to remove any suspicion of him at maybe being the 'Bat') - she sees him and is hurt/disapproves. He wants to tell her this is all a front, but can't as they are in public. He tries to say, 'this, what you see, this isn't me' but she replies something to the effect: "Who you are on the inside isn't what makes you, it is the actions you take" unknowing of course, of the real actions he is taking at great personal risk. It is a good scene because you want her to know the truth - but her words cut in - it's not what you say that counts, its what you DO that counts. And that is a line worth taking home from the theater.


Just went to see War of the Worlds. In many ways I agree with my little bro's anaylsis:

...it is a lot more intense and more visually stunning than its 1950s version. Spielberg sure knows how to create an intense scene. Besides Morgan Freeman's narration -- one of the coolest movie voices out there, along with James Earl Jones -- there really is not a whole lot of explanation for anything....... there is a lack of a plot. That's fine, though, because the movie was really in the spirit of the Wells novel. The tripods really looked like all the old classic artwork you've seen -- not like the wimpy alien tripods constructed in the version 50 years ago..... the movie revolves around Cruise's family and his quest to keep them together and reunite them in the end while massive alien machines obliterate the planet. Why the aliens come, you never really know, and how they eventually are taken down, is only loosely explained. But those two parts consist of just a brief intro/conclusion. It's the middle part of the film where there is utter destruction and it's all very well done. I was leaning forward and biting my nails for a good chunk of the film -- especially in the scene that takes place in actor Tim Robbins' basement. You'll see what I'm talking about.....

Sara and I enjoyed it too, and I agree it is a Big Screen movie. There was some parts that were kinda gross, but the vast images of destruction were visually spectacular. It does bug me that in so many movies today, we root for the main characters, but seem numb or indifferent to those who die. (the ending narrative says that a billion people died.) Each of those billion had 'stories' too - people they loved, homes, hopes, dreams... but we only see them as vaporized victims or bodies floating down a river. The fact that the main characters survive somehow still leaves me unsatisfied that so many others perish. While I enjoyed the suspense and the action, I did feel the movie just moved along without really building, and there never was a climax. I love movies like True Lies where you think you are at the climax and it just keeps getting more intense, the and actors' situations keep getting more and more impossible, and yet you know somehow they will conquer this foe/challenge. Tom and family do nothing heroic, nothing daring, and in fact, make a lot of stupid decisions and should have died. The movie could have been titled "The Luckiest Family on Earth." They stayed in the worst locations running with the masses instead of employing any survival strategy. I couldn't find any reason to root for them, other than they were the only people in the movie we were introduced to. And the fact that he was a loser divorced dad really made me wonder why I was supposed to root for him over many other characters who were probably better people who were just wiped out. In the end, this movie was fun and thrilling but left me very unsatisfied. Independance Day may have been far fetched, but at least when it ended you had someting to cheer about.


OK, I know, this movie isn't even out, but it was the first trailer in a long time that people cheered and clapped after. It is AWESOME and not just because the main characters name is Karl. (DOWNLOAD HERE) I thought Lion the Witch and Wardrobe was the movie I was most looking forward to, but now I am very conflicted. King Kong looks to be a bit scary for kids, but looks to me like what Jurassic Park was supposed to be.

Let me know what you thought of Batman or War of the Worlds via COMMENTS.