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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Life versus religion

A thought I've been contemplating the past few weeks...

Christ did not come to establish any religion.

Christ came so that we could have life, and life abundantly.

Religion and having pride in it is the destroyer of life.  It chokes life, keeps life from taking root and thriving.

Christ came to give us life, not patterns of worship.  He came to fulfill the law, not to replace the law with unduly onerous more law.

If you want to find where the kingdom of God exists on this earth, look for the joy and not the constraints. Look for the laughter, and not the pride.

Look for the life, not the religion.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Classic SESAME STREET: Weather report

Gadzooks it had been an awful long time since I've posted anything from Sesame Street!  I need to get on the ball about that.

Well, it's a new year and since this blog just turned a couple of milestones with being ten years old and hitting 5,000 posts, maybe it's time to start some stuff fresh.  So here's a great clip to get us back on track.  I think this is from the early Eighties, 'cuz that's the first I ever saw this.  Witness poor Kermit the Frog try to keep a newscast on track despite a very wacky weatherman (or two):

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

David Lynch is shooting new TWIN PEAKS material. For real.

"Diane, 11:30 AM, February 24th. Entering the town of Twin Peaks. It's 5 miles south of the Canadian border, 12 miles west of the state line. Never seen so many trees in my life. As W.C. Fields would say, 'I'd rather be here than Philadelphia.'"

-- F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper

Looks like we may yet be going back to the Double R Diner for that cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee...
"Twenty-Five Years Later..."
twin peaks, the red room, little man from another place, dale cooper

".ria eht ni cisum syawla s’ereht dna gnos ytterp a gnis sdirb eht, morf er’ew erehW"

This is something I thought would be more unlikely to happen than new Star Wars movies.  Still trying to wrap my brain around the idea... not that I ever got my brain wrapped around it in the first place but anyway...

David Lynch is producing and directing new footage for Twin Peaks.

In retrospect it is very difficult to argue with the impact that this series had, however brief it lasted.  Had there been no Twin Peaks, there would have been no Lost.  There probably would have never been a revived Battlestar Galactica.  A lot of series would never have been conceived much less taken root had Twin Peaks not broken the ground first.

Premiering on ABC in April of 1990, Twin Peaks was something that television had never seen before and nearly a quarter century later is still trying to figure out.  Part murder mystery, part soap opera... and all surreal as only the mind of David Lynch could evoke.  The death of Laura Palmer was just the beginning, as Special Agent Dale Cooper - and the rest of us - descended into the logging town of Twin Peaks, Washington: a place where nothing was ordinary.  A place where everyone had a secret.  A place where... "the owls are not what they seem".

I used to own every bit of Twin Peaks merchandise there was.  I even still have the soundtrack CD here somewhere.  Angelo Badalamenti's score alone made this show haunting like nothing before or since.

The chronology of the series took place in 1989.  The Little Man from Another Place told Cooper that he would see him again "in twenty-five years".  That would be this year: 2014.  Maybe it will wrap up some of the lingering mysteries left from the show's final episode.

I wonder if we'll at last get to see Diane...

(Hat tip to friend of this blog Paul Elledge for coming across this great bit of news!)

Through the dark of future past the magician longs to see
One chants out between two worlds. Fire, walk with me.

Abigail Sailors: Cracker Barrel waitress's prayers answered with customer's tip

I'm going to confess to something, dear readers.  I admit that things in my personal life lately have been more than a little rough.

I'm also going to admit that I'm now greatly ashamed at how I've looked more to what I've lost instead of to what God has... and what God is still... given me.

The low temperature this morning was 4 degrees Fahrenheit.  As of this writing it hasn't got much warmer.  But at least I can say that I am staying warm.  That I've got food to eat.  People who care for me.  A career that is beginning to take off beyond my wildest dreams (and that in itself was a huge answered prayer).

I have fretted over things lost and things ruined because of a condition I was born with and too much I let those define the parameters of my happiness when instead I had every reason to be happy with what God has bestowed upon me.  Because to be absolutely honest: I don't deserve any measure of happiness at all.

abigail sailors
Things could be worse.  Things could be a lot worse.  And when I read the story of Abigail Sailors, well... this young lady's faith cuts right through the shallowness of my own.  It's something God needed me to read, especially right now.

Sailors is 18 years old.  She's a waitress at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Until recently she had been a student at Trinity Bible College, and had just finished her first semester studying psychology and youth ministry.  She had to leave before the spring semester so that she could work a job to take care of her family and be able to save money for a return to school next fall.

And then a few days ago two men stopped by her restaurant and asked for "the grumpiest server" the Cracker Barrel had.  Instead they got who the manager thought was the happiest: Abigail Sailors.

As she waited on them and served their food, the two men pried Abigail's story out of her.  They thought it was amazing that someone with so much going against her was so upbeat and cheerful.  But Abigail told them that things could be worse, that "I’m just thankful. Everything we went through, my attitude is: God blessed me with a lot of things. I’m doing good. That’s all that matters to me."

Long story short: the two men left her with a tip she'll never forget.  They departed the table leaving behind $6,000: one thousand to spend on her own needs and a $5,000 check made out to Trinity Bible College for her tuition.  They also left $100 to split between Abigail and another waitress.

Click here to read more about Abigail Sailors' terrific tale at JournalStar.com.

There is still good in this world.  God hears our prayers.  And God does answer our prayers.  It's stuff like this that makes me keep believing that.

Peter Capaldi's first full day as the Doctor...

More than any other Doctor previous, it seems like there was no initial "sinking-in" period when Peter Capaldi made the transition from Matt Smith during "The Time of the Doctor" almost two weeks ago.  Maybe it had to do with how the Twelfth Doctor flashed into existence instantaneously before our eyes, rather than have a lengthy regeneration sequence.  One moment I was on the verge of tears watching Smith's beautiful departure, and then WHAM!! without warning it's Capaldi ranting about his kidneys and screaming "DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW HOW TO FLY THIS THING?!?"

It's not a pic of him yet after he picks what will become his signature look (in fact he's still wearing the clothes that Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor was wearing) but the BBC has released a photo of Capaldi (along with Jenna Coleman) on his first day on the set for a Doctor Who story of his very own!

doctor who, peter capaldi, jenna coleman, doctor, clara, bbc, television

That must be the proverbially happiest kid on the planet right now.  Coleman is looking pretty excited too :-)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

"Winter is coming"

Actually, scratch that... because winter is here, bay-bee!!!!

Freezing records getting shattered all over the country today.  Here in North Carolina we're set to have a morning temperature of 4 Fahrenheit two days from now.  Even so, we're much warmer than our friends in the north.

Let's hope the Wall hasn't been breached.

'Cuz if you thought illegals coming in from the South has been bad, it's nothing compared to the White Walkers!

Speaking of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, I've developed a theory. Despite everything George R. R. Martin insists, I think the world of Westeros may be our own Earth, thousands of years from now.  There have been what could be deemed a few hints that such is the case (in the books, not so much the HBO television series).  Whatever it was that threw the seasons so wildly out of whack is a catastrophe that is yet to come in our world's future and the characters are going to find... well, something that will substantiate that during the next two books.  Even if I'm wrong, it's still an awesome series (and one that I'm re-reading now :-)

Friday, January 03, 2014

William Overstreet Jr. passes away at the age of 92

This is a photo of William Overstreet Jr. of Roanoke, Virginia, taken in recent years:

william overstreet jr., world war ii, roanoke, virginia
Photo Credit: The Roanoke Times

Mr. Overstreet passed away this past Sunday afternoon.  He was 92, and one of the most decorated airmen of World War II.

This is a photo of Bill Overstreet when he served in the Army Air Force during the war:

william overstreet jr, world war ii

And this is the maneuver that forever put Overstreet in the history books:

william overstreet jr, bill overstreet, eiffel tower, paris, france, world war ii, messerschmitt
This dude engaged in a dogfight with a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G over Nazi-occupied Paris.  And Overstreet, flying his P-51C, chased the Messerschmitt by flying through the arches of the Eiffel Tower!!  Overstreet soon after blasted the Nazi plane out of the sky.  It was a move that sent the morale of the French freedom fighters soaring.

Now... that is seriously hardcore.

Overstreet, a pilot in the357th squadron, was the recipient of hundreds of medals during his time of service.  In 2009 he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor during a ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.

Now he is gone, but not to be forgotten.

Rest well, noble hero.  Your generation really was the greatest... and you were one of the best of them.

Read more about the extraordinary life and achievements of William Overstreet Jr. at The Roanoke Times website.

North Carolina town councilman tenders resignation... in Klingon

Gowron, not David Waddell
(but Gowron should have
resigned too, when you
think about it...)
That does it: if I ever run for office again and win, I'm going to give my acceptance speech in High-Elvish Sindarin!

Indian Trail is a nice town near Charlotte here in North Carolina.  And one of its city councilmmembers - one David Waddell - had decided that "enough was enough" about the way the officials of Indian Trail were handling what he considers to be development run amok, among other things.  Exasperated by it all, David Waddell decided to resign his seat.

Except that he did it using the Klingon language: the tongue spoken by the proud warrior race from the Star Trek franchise.

Here's the story from The Charlotte Observer:

An Indian Trail councilman decided to boldly go where no politician has gone before – and tendered his resignation this week in the Klingon language.
Apparently David Waddell no longer wanted to live long and prosper on the board.
In an interview Thursday, Waddell said his resignation letter to Mayor Michael Alvarez was written in Klingon, the language of a proud warrior race in the “Star Trek” TV shows and movies, as an inside joke. But in case the mayor wasn’t up to speed with his Klingon, Waddell included a translation using Bing.com.
“Folks don’t know what to think of me half the time,” said Waddell, so “I might as well have one last laugh” on the board.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/02/4582880/indian-trail-councilman-resigns.html#.UscUbs4uf5m#storylinAndAnd here's the text (and English translation) of Waddell's letter:
And here's the letter that Waddell submitted, in both Klingon with English translation:

"Perhaps today is a good day to resign"!  Good play, David.  You may have left a Klingon, but it sure sounds like you tried to bring the logical mind of a Vulcan to city politics.  May you live long and prosper!

(Tip o' the hat to friends of this blog Eric Wilson and Joshua Phoebus for passing this story along.)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

It's The Knight Shift's 10th Anniversary!! AND it's Post #5,000!!

In the beginning...

Friday, January 02, 2004

Here we go, fast and furious...

I made an attempt to start a blog in March of last year. And it woulda been a fun thing to have done last year, had real-life situations not taken precedence. In a nutshell, 2003 was one major fiasco after another. But God brought us through, none the worse for wear and maybe a little more wiser for all of it. 2004 is starting out with things looking far more on the upside for my lovely lil' spousal overunit and myself.

Anyhoo, my name is Christopher Knight and this is my blog. I'm 29 years old, presently living in north-central North Carolina with my bride of a little more than a year... At the moment I do payroll and computer work for a retailer here in town, although that will soon be changing as I've begun " taking some things on faith" as it were, and trying to step out into the larger world a bit more boldly than life allowed for this past year. So maybe it's a good thing that I'm starting this blog now: 2003 was a lot of rotten things all come together. Perhaps I tried taking control of things more on my own. In 2004, I'm going to give it all over to God, and let Him make of it as He will. I've no doubt that if I can do that, that this is going to be a great new year.

So this blog will (hopefully) chronicle that in a timely fashion, along with other things. It'll also be a sounding board for some of my musings. Politically I could be considered a strong conservative, although I detest what the Republican party is fast becoming and loathe what the Democrat one long ago became. I'm a huge fan of Star Wars and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (and may write at length on Return Of The King after seeing it for the third time hopefully this weekend), enjoy a number of computer games both online and off, and generally will try anything for fun so long as it's not immoral, illegal or causing cancer.
 That was 3,653 days ago.  Ten years later and... I think The Knight Shift has remained pretty faithful to that mission.  It's been a place to share my thoughts and experiences.  To write about the world around me from my own perspective.  To talk about things that I find interesting and share those with others.

But... wow, has it been a wild ride or what?

This blog has gone from writing about politics, to documenting my own stab at running for office.  It has reviewed everything from movies and video games to restaurants and museums.  It's chronicled my attempts at filmmaking (something I'm feeling compelled to pick up again soon) and it saw one of my videos go viral worldwide.  This blog has wound up taking on corrupt politicians, evil cult leaders and a multi-billion dollar corporation or two (or three).  It has been a place for malcontents and moonshiners (and sometimes both at once).  It has even made national headlines a time or two.  I have written on this blog everywhere from film festivals to the Columbia River in Oregon to another country.  As the Man in Black said, "I've been ev-ah-ree-where, man!"

The Knight Shift has been a place where I have written about my successes, as well as my failures.  I realized a long time ago that "unto thy self be true", as the Bard put it.  On this blog I've written about disappointments and let-downs and more than a few abject failures.  Sometimes I wonder if I held back too much (the heartbreak of divorce being chief among them).  But I also like to believe that the good has far outweighed the bad.  And here, ten years later, this blog has taken on another role: sharing my experiences about having a mental illness.  The illness itself is pretty lousy... but I'm determined to make this a triumph instead.  This morning during my daily devotional time it hit me: if I did not have bipolar and have everything associated with it happen to me, God wouldn't have had the space to work in my life and accomplish some seriously amazing things!  Without bipolar, there would not have been that testimony I could have of what God has done and is still doing.  Do I wish that my mind wasn't turning against me like it does at times?  Absolutely.  But if I had to choose between being "normal" and witnessing God at work in my life, I would pick God every time, no matter what happens to me.

This is also Post #5,000 on The Knight Shift!  Seriously: I had not planned on the two milestones coinciding with each other.  It just happened all its own.  I knew the five thousandth post was coming up all the way back in September and I had... well, different plans for it.  Those did not come to pass, but maybe that's providential as well.  I mean, ten years of blogging and 5,000 posts are each a hefty achievement.  To have them together is almost a cosmic wink.

When I read that first post again, I can't help but feel like I'm back at square one.  2003 was a very difficult year toward its end, and the final months of 2013 had me in the deepest depression that I've ever had to endure.  Far more now than I did then, I have at last been able to be content with whatever my situation may be, because I do know that God is going to bring me through it.  He has brought me through so much already (and I've chronicled a lot of it on this site) and I've no reason to believe He won't do it.  Again and again and again.

Wow.  Don't really know what else to say.  The more I think about it, the more stunned I am that this blog really did get this far.  That it's still going and Lord willing, will keep being a place that I can share stuff with this site's readers for many more years to come.  And speaking of that...

There are two people I owe the longevity of The Knight Shift and whatever success it might have had.  The first is God.  The second... is this site's readership.  And there are a lot of you.  A lot of regular readers.  From all over the world!  On any given day this blog gets visitors from all over the United States (including several in the United States Congress, gotta wonder why) and a whole bunch of other countries (a long-coming "greetings" to my friends in Moscow!).

I would have probably given up a long time ago were it not for this blog's devoted readership.  And to be honest, I don't know where I would be personally without the encouragements and prayers that many of y'all have given me in all this time.

From the bottom of my heart, and more than I could possibly convey with words, to each of The Knight Shift's readers, I say this:

Thank you.

So... where do we go from here?

A few things are on my plate at the moment, and I'll get to them as work permits (yes, contrary to what some have claimed I do have an active career, as a freelance writer.  And I may be diversifying very soon, parse that as you will).  More films are definitely coming.  I don't know if I'll run for office ever again but if that happens, I'm certainly going to document that journey as well.  In fact, were I to run I've some ideas for campaign commercials that will make that Star Wars-inspired school board ad downright tame in comparison!

We'll see how it goes.  "Always in motion, is the future," Yoda observed.

Anyhoo, for ten years and five thousand posts, The Knight Shift and its eclectic proprietor thanks you and yours and... I'm looking forward to seeing where the next ten years and another five thousand posts will bring us! :-)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Just finished watching the new SHERLOCK!

It's "The Empty Hearse", and it's the first new episode in almost two years.

And it is bloody, gob-smackingly brilliant!!

This is television of the highest calibre. Better than most big-budget films at the cinema, definitely.

Okay, I'm gonna watch it again. After the work I pulled off today, I've earned the respite :-)

(And maybe soon I'll afford myself time to finally watch this season of The Walking Dead.)

Well done, Moffat and Gatiss and Cumberbatch and Freeman. Well done indeed.

Yay, I did it!

I got all the way to the end of 2013 without getting a single speeding ticket!!

It's a record I shall try to maintain in 2014 :-)