Every Dog has Its Day: Thoughts on Gluttony

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The 66lb hot dog sundae from Epic Meal Time includes chimichurri, donuts, caviar, bacon, chili, and pad Thai among other things. It is the most extreme example of the super-size-me, everything-included food culture we have become accustomed to over the past 10 to 20 years.

While I enjoy bizarre food combinations and strange cuisines (e.g. peanut butter on a cheeseburger, chicken and waffles, french fries and milkshakes, pickles with cake frosting, kimchi on chicken-fried steak etc.), I found myself disturbed (as well as disgusted) by Epic Meal’s compulsion to pour the contents of an entire grocery store on top of a frankfurter.

This got me thinking about the nature of gluttony, not only as an excess of food (both in quantity and quality), but also as the epitome of excess as an impulse across human experience.  Continue reading

On the Rightness of Exercising your Rights

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This weekend a Florida jury decided that George Zimmerman did not murder Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman exercised his right to defend himself with lethal force. My knowledge of this case is far from perfect, but the evidence seems to cast shadows of doubt every which way. The jury found that Zimmerman operated within the rights which Florida state-law granted him.

This case has once again caused me to ponder the relationship between “rights” and “rightness.” I believe that having the right to do something does not entail that the exercising of that right is always morally right. We equivocate easily. Shouldn’t a right always be right? I don’t think so.

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The Christian Imagery of DreamWorks’ Guardians

Though Easter 2013 has recently passed, I have just gotten around to watching one of the movies from Christmas 2012. This weekend my family watched DreamWorks’ The Rise of the Guardians. Even though it did not do terribly well at the box office, I decided to give it a try because the critics gave it positive reviews.

I knew the basic storyline before popping in the DVD. Santa Claus, Sandman, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy have to protect the world’s children from evil. Along the way they get some unlikely help from Jack Frost.

This movie twists up all the traditional imagery from America’s holiday traditions. Santa Claus, referred to as “North,” features prominently, but he wields two swords (in a jolly manner) as he protects the world’s children. The movie also depicts the Easter Bunny as a boomerang wielding Australian jackrabbit. I expected a fun adventure story for the kids, but I got more than I bargained for. I did not expect that the movie would contain so many obvious allusions to Christianity.

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Time for a New National Anthem?

I have to admit, I cry when I hear our national anthem played at the Olympics. Well, maybe not cry, but it does stir my emotions.  I love those few bright moments watching a young athlete take the podium, representing the best of their country.  I love it when they cry.  For Americans, our flag and anthem are outward and visible reminders of the promise of our nation – liberty, equality, the rule of law, and opportunity.      The symbols mean something.   I’m moved when others understand that something.

And while I love our flag,  I’m not a great fan of the national anthem.  The Star Spangled Banner was made our official anthem by President Hoover in 1931, largely at the request of John Phillips Sousa.  Written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, the Star Spangled Banner began as a poem in honor of the brave men of Fort McHenry who withstood British bombardment during the war of 1812. Keys was onboard a British ship effecting the release of some American prisoners when he witnessed the nighttime bombardment of the fort, rocket’s red glare and all.  When the dawn’s early light came, the American flag was still flying, giving proof that the fort had not surrendered.  So moved was keys by the sight that he sat down and wrote a poem entitled the Defense of Fort McHenry.  The poem was quickly set to the tune of an English drinking song (which may explain why it’s so difficult to sing) and became a popular anthem at patriotic events for over a century until it was made official.

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