I know this is contentious with some people. Hope this helps clarify things.!
I know this is contentious with some people. Hope this helps clarify things.!
Maybe it was the fact it has been a most stressful week, or maybe it was watching online on the smaller screen, but either way, the finale of 30 Rock just didn’t seem funny.
It reminded me somewhat of the last episode of Seinfeld, where the characters all end up on trial for violating a specific ordinance and yet equally on trial for the totality of their character. I remember watching that episode and thinking that for all the humorous situations and new phrases the series introduced into the language, basically these were not nice people.
A similar moment occurs in 30 Rock where Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) tells Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) that he is essentially “an alcoholic with a great voice.” The show just seemed sad. Egotistical hedonism and materialism are the religions of choice. A better ending might have been last week’s program, where Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) is named President of NBC. For that and other reasons, that episode had a better ‘ending’ feel to it.
So much of today’s popular television fare continues to strive to push the envelope. Laughter is a surprise reaction, so the more outrageous a character or plot development, the more potential success in terms of critics’ reviews and viewer ratings. If the story line and characters become predictable, the show’s edge is lost. Furthermore, most programs overstay their welcome and we would all be better served if North American networks followed the BBC model where shows have much more limited runs, but last longer in the public consciousness.
You can only exploit a premise so long and so far.
At the end of the day, shows like 30 Rock are more about the depravity of man than anything else. Tina Fey is a naturally funny actor and producer and I would certainly give any future projects she created a chance. But the best American television has to offer does not necessarily reflect the best to be found in individuals. The show doesn’t reflect well on U.S. culture; or then again, maybe it does, and that’s the center of the problem.
Subtitle: Not Your Grandma’s Prince of Peace
James Martin is a Catholic Priest and author of The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything.
The Smart Samaritan
1. Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 2. Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 3. And Jesus said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 4. But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
5. Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers. Fortunately, the man from Jerusalem was no fool and was carrying a big wooden club. So he beat the robbers senseless. Just then, a Samaritan came by to help him. 6. The man said to the Samaritan, “Don’t worry. They got what they deserved.” Later, though, the robbers’ friends waylaid the man. Together they had four clubs, so they beat up the man from Jerusalem. 7. Immediately the Samaritan, who had now learned a lesson, ran away, and sold his field, and with the money he purchased ten clubs. 8. The Samaritan armed his entire family, including his wives, his sons, his slaves and all his cattle and sheep. Among his heavily armed family was his elder son, who was angry at his father for not treating him as well his younger brother, who had spent all his money on loose living and had returned and was given a feast.” 9. “Lord, I’m getting confused,” said the lawyer. “Weren’t we talking about being a good neighbor?”
10. “Let me finish,” said Jesus. “The father knew that his son was angry, and potentially dangerous, so the father purchased an even bigger club that he hid under his bed. 11. That night, when father was asleep, the son came to father to apologize for being envious. The father, thinking it was a robber, hit him over the head. 12. Now which of these three, do you think, was a wise person?” said Jesus. 13. The lawyer said, “Actually, none of them. If the father hadn’t brought those weapons into his house, then no one would have gotten hurt.” Jesus was grieved at the lawyer’s blindness. 14. “You’re missing the point.” Jesus said. “It’s a violent world out there, and my advice is to purchase as many clubs as you can.” The lawyer was sad, for he was a peaceful man. 15. “Lord,” he said, “are you saying I should be like the Samaritan who has a houseful of weapons?” “Yes,” said Jesus. “Go and do likewise. And while you’re at it, buy me a club too.”
In 2013, I want to try to mine some classic, ancient posts from blogs that are still running. Suggestions are welcomed. With a new year approaching (admittedly not Jewish New Year), this seemed timely. This appeared EIGHT YEARS AGO — that’s 7,542 in blog years — at Blogotional.
The following is from a friend of mine that is quite experienced in the ways of sin. (Can’t you just hear Groucho Marx saying, “But then aren’t we all?!”)
The Definitive Tashlich Guide
On Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), there is a ceremony called Tashlich. Jews traditionally go to the ocean (or a stream or river), pray, and then throw bread crumbs onto the water, so that the fish can symbolically eat their sins. Some people have been known to ask what kind of bread crumbs should they throw.
Here is the definitive Tashlich Guide for the Complicated Modern Jew
For ordinary sins…………..White Bread
For exotic sins…………….French Bread
For particularly dark……….Pumpernickel
For complex sins……………Multi-Grain
For twisted sins……………Pretzels
For tasteless sins………….Rice Cakes
For sins of indecision………Waffles
For sins committed in haste….Matzo
For sins of chutzpah………..Fresh Bread
For the sin of substance abuse/marijuana…….Stoned Wheat
For the sin of substance abuse/heavy drugs…..Poppy Seed
For the sin of committing auto theft………..Caraway
For the sin of committing arson…………….Toast
For the sin of passiveness when action is warranted…..Milk Toast
For the sin of being ill-tempered/sulky……..Sourdough
For the sin of cheating customers…………..Shortbread
For the sin of risking one’s life unnecessarily………HeroBread
For the sin of excessive use of irony……….Rye Bread
For the sin of telling bad jokes……………Corn Bread
For the sin of being money hungry…………..Raw Dough
For the sin of war-mongering……………….Kaiser Rolls
For the sin of immodest dressing……………Tarts
For the sin of causing injury or damage to others…….Tortes
For the sin of promiscuity…………………Hot Buns
For the sin of promiscuity with gentiles…….Hot CrossBuns
For the sin of davening (praying) off tune…..FlatBread
For the sin of being holier than thou……….Bagels
For the sin of indecent photography…………Cheese Cake
For the sin of over-eating…………………Stuffing Bread
For the sin of gambling……………………Fortune Cookies
For sin of abrasiveness……………………Grits
For sins of pride……………………….. Puff Pastry
For the sin of cheating……….Baked Goods with Nutrasweet and Olestra
For sin of impetuousness………Quick Bread
For negligent slip-ups………..Banana Bread
For the sin of dropping in without warning…..Popovers
For the sin of perfectionism……………….Angel Food Cake
For the sin of being up-tight and irritable….High Fiber Bran Muffins
Remember, you don’t have to show your crumbs to anyone. For those who require a wide selection of crumbs, an attempt will be made to have pre-packaged Tashlich Mix available in three grades (Tashlich Lite, Regular, and Industrial Strength) at your local Jewish bookstore.
Can I borrow some cornbread? Please?
This will be completely lost on people who don’t follow popular music, but for those who do, it’s definitely worth a look. I’m normally dismissive of song parodies but this was a pleasant surprise…
Click through to YouTube for the lyrics.
One night I had a dream.
And I was snoring really loudly, and woke up my wife.
She heard a noise at the back door that didn’t sound like our son coming off his shift from his new job. She listened as someone came slowly up the stairs and went back down again; and then she woke me up.
“I think there’s someone in the living room and it’s not Tom;” she said.
I got up and stood listening at the door while she reached for her phone.
I saw a short figure in a dark coat opening the china cabinet.
And then suddenly, three sets of lights came on at once and Tom, an off-duty policeman, still in uniform, yelled, “Police! Freeze! Hands in the air.” He then radioed for backup.
“Damn!” said the robber; then he added, “Wait a minute, you can’t charge me with stealing unless I leave the house with something.”
“Oh, you’re thinking of department stores;” said my wife, now standing at the door in her dressing gown; “This would be break and enter.”
“But;” turning to the policeman, the robber asked, “How did you get here so quickly?”
“I’m their son;” he said, “I live downstairs and was watching Saturday Night Live when my mom sent me a text from her bed on her iPhone.”
“But I distinctly heard snoring;” said the man in the coat.
“Yes, but you only heard one set of snoreprints;” my wife replied; “You should have heard two sets of snoreprints.”
“Wait a minute;” I said, “That’s now how the poem works.”
“Sure it is,” she shot back; “We’re both snorers; you normally hear two sets of snoreprints, that’s why I married you.”
…And then we laughed and laughed. Things are a lot of funnier after midnight. But both our son and the robber had never heard of the Margaret Fishback Powers poem.
I guess you had to be there.
Found this in my recent overhaul of my files. It was printed in 1978 by Jesus Outreach Ministries in Fairmont, West Virginia. I don’t believe any sarcasm was intended, rather they were trying to make the Charismatic environment more user-friendly for visitors. I only deleted the bottom section because the person who gave it to me had written on it.