Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Burning Hell, Part Two

It's Sunday morning, and time for another visit to the video collection of New Albany Mississippi's Reverend Estus Pirkle.
Every weekend I'm posting a clip from "The Burning Hell", Reverend Pirkle's early 1970's masterpiece. The film depicts the eternal consequences of disagreeing with Brother Pirkle's theology.

But first, a review of last week's offering. This is from my college dorm mate, Scott M, who now lives in Memphis, Tennessee:

OMG, when I saw your link, I got so excited! I have told so many people about that movie, as an example of what is was like to grow up in a Baptist church in MS. I never thought to look on YouTube. My personal faves, that have always stuck with me, were the decapitated head from the motorcycle accident, and the worms gnawing at the faces. Like it did with you, this movie scared the holy crap out of me when I saw it at a lock-in. It is now the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life!

Scott, the best is yet to come. You don't remember the stuff toward the end of the film, where it looks like a Tupelo community theatre production of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" was dumped onto the set of a Clive Barker movie.

I followed the link to your rant on Hell -- loved it. I couldn't agree more. I never thought about the irony of Jesus becoming a sacrifice, when that's the very system he railed against.

(Please read that link before disagreeing with anything Scott says below.)

I have often thought of how it seems he really wanted to reform Judaism, and was a Jew himself, but now most Christians think the Jews are the enemy (they killed Jesus! Um, ok -- I guess the Romans didn't really have anything to do with that.).
Loved the Vonnegut/Tom Robbins reference. Sounds like we have had very similar journeys in the last twenty-five years. (Except for the political thing ;-)

Scott has left the nurturing bosom of The Libertarian Party, most likely as a result of becoming a thug for The Musicians' Union.

Thanks again for making my freakin' week! We so need to get together sometime. I'll see when the Red Sox are in Arlington, maybe then.

And one day soon, we will get together. It is now destined.

Last week's episode of The Burning Hell ended with some disobedient Israelites being swallowed by the desert because they disobeyed Santa Claus Moses. If you find my commentary helpful, it's below the YouTube clip.
(P.S. - No Jewish people were harmed in the production of this video. )
(P.S.S. - I don't think any Jewish people were involved in the production of this video.)

:15 Are we to believe that Brother Pirkle has been standing by indifferently while the yawning-earth fire pit swallows half the tribe of Israel?

:45 Pirkle's wife has allowed two hippies into the preacher's office. The one on the left is nervously clutching a blue book. The one on the right says "Like, man, we come to talk to ya 'bout Jeeee-sus". I think the background music is someone playing a melody on an autoharp, which is more difficult than it sounds, since they're designed for chords only. Mother Maybelle Carter (Johnny Cash's mother-in-law) could do it, and I once heard Mike Seeger, Pete Seeger's brother, play some autoharp melodies at a book/CD signing.
If you're wondering why I'm going on and on with this digression about the soundtrack instead of focusing on the dialogue, its because at this point the script is lame. The two hippies are setting up theological straw men for Estus Pirkle to kick over.

1:50 Tim explains that his blue book is by a Dr. Long, whose church teaches "a new thing, in keeping with the trends of today's world." Well, Tim, that's what happens when you allow preachers to get doctorates.

2:07 Pirkle rises from his chair to retrieve the only book that matters. "This Bible talks about a literal hell where sinners burn forever and forever". Tim responds that according to Dr. Long, "God would never condemn anyone to a burning hell."

2:30 This section doesn't portray any beheadings, fiery punishments, or Mississippians in the afterlife, but it's still one of my favorite moments in Pirkledom. Tim, who up to this point has been portrayed as a confused hippie seeking meaning, betrays some knowledge of Greek, the King James Bible, hermeneutics, and if pressed he could probably knock out a quick commentary on what Paul really meant in 2nd Corinthians.

2:55 Listen closely.... You'll hear a clock striking four times. But everything in the plot is structured around the hippies going into the preacher's study one morning immediately before the church services begin. Whoops.

3:20 This section lets you know Ken deserves what's coming to him.

4:30 I still own some of these clothes, but don't have as much of the hair.

4:45 You may have asked yourself how many people go to hell per hour, and sometime this morning I might post the question on Yahoo! Answers, just to see how many people get it wrong.
The Pirkle Principle Of Perishing Persons is as follows: The Bible says that more people are going to hell than heaven. Statistics prove that 6,000 people die every hour. That means that every hour over 3,000 people go to hell.
Let's see Disneyworld beat those numbers.

5:20 Foreshadowing. Pirkle says "at this precise minute, someone is headed to a burning hell."

Cut to Ken riding down the highway on his motorcyle, his helmet shaking around like he's a Bobble-Head doll. (Now that I've typed that sentence, the business with Ken's head bobbling around in the helmet is intentional, and acts as a sophisticated foreshadowing device.)

6:50 If internet discussion boards are to be trusted, a staggering number of children who saw this movie in church have remembered this scene for the rest of their lives. Tim rides over the hill to see that Ken has had an accident. Ken's body is off in the woods, the motorcyle is on its side with blood on the muffler, and Ken's head is about 10 feet away from his body. Inside the helmet.

7:00 Tim's friend has died. Does Tim go somewhere to call the police? Does he wait on the ambulance to show up and take Ken's body to the morgue? Or does he abandon Ken's corpse in the woods so he can have more discussions with Reverend Pirkle about the exegetical nuances between "hell" and "hades" in the original Greek?
The ending of this YouTube clip gives us a tantalizing hint, but no more than that.

Please come back next week for episode 3.

If you think I'm beating a dead horse with these weekly rants about a bad 1970's horror film, check out these quotes from a Christian message board.

It was a very good tool and helped win untold thousands and thousands to the Lord.

Can you imagine the agony of perpetually falling with molten hot flames roaring through every part of your body, excruciating agony with no relief, pain that horrible even our worst nightmares couldn't prepare us for, pain so bad you would weep for eternity, pain so gruesome that teeth would be gnashed in an agonising frenzy, consciously aware of those deeds we have done in the flesh those we have hurt, tormented by our WORST fears and more for all eternity

I think our churches are failing people by preaching all Love and don't get around to explain the consequences of Rejecting Jesus. Hell!I like you,know where i am going and am very thankfull to God for Sending his Son to take my place on that Cross,and shed his Blood for Me, so i will be in Heaven with the rest of you and will not be in everlasting torment.

Thanks for posting that. I enjoyed watching it.

The Burning Hell is a favorite and has been used in many evangelistic meetings since I was a child.

Don't Smile For The Camera

The topic for this weekend is the driver's license.

This is from NBC/Washington:

WASHINGTON -- As most people are generally bubbly and bursting with joy after waiting in line after line for hour after hour -- often on a second or third visit after forgetting their cable bills to prove their residences (to environmentalists' chagrin, the DMV stands firmly in the way of practical paperless billing) -- at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia is insisting that people refrain from smiling for their driver's license pictures.

My natural facial expression is usually somewhere betweeen pained and puzzled. I can cope.

A new policy requires a "neutral facial expression" for the photos in an effort to fight fraud. The policy comes in anticipation of facial recognition programs that would be able to recognize if someone already has gotten a license under a different name. Smiling makes that harder to determine.

For years my employers at Jukt Micronics have wanted to open a warehouse/distribution center in California, but California is turning into the next failed nation-state. So they decided that we're going to Virginia, and the lease has already been signed. Bummer.

Some drivers are all smiles despite the fact that the DMV is like the dentist minus the laughing gas. They argue that it's just a natural reaction to smile for the camera. But they won't be allowed to smile even a little bit because the DMV photographer will get a message rejecting the photo.

Which gets to my point....What the heck do they need with facial recognition software? Who, besides the Facial Recognition Software Lobby, thinks that the DMV and the VA Highway Patrol needs facial recognition software? Was this part of the porkulus package? (Here's a slightly related link to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram piece on the North Richland Hills and Bedford, TX police getting military style upgrades and armored vehicles as a porkulus perk. The better not to apprehend the thieves who've broken into my house.)

This has nothing to do with the controversy a few years back when some pranksters got their Virginia driver's license photos wearing disguises and making faces, DMV officials said.

Here's some greatness on the topic from Reason magazine.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mississippi - This is NOT what Charles Darwin had in mind

My home state of Mississippi has produced music legends like Albert King, BB King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Elvis Presley, Faith Hill, Jimmy Buffett, Hank Cochran, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rogers, Leontyne Price, Sam Cooke, Willie Dixon, etc etc etc. The complete list is much longer....

Mississippi has given the world more than its fair share of creative typists. William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote, Larry Brown, John Grisham, Greg Iles, Willie Morris, Tennessee Williams, Richard Wright, Richard Ford, and others came from the Magnolia State. It was once said that every woman in Greenville, MS slept with a thesaurus under her mattress.
Jim Henson and Thomas Harris (of Leland and Rich, MS, respectively) first imagined Kermit and Hannibal Lector within 45 miles of each other. In Mississippi.

Itta Bena, Mississippi, gave Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry, so that the city could have the government it deserves.

Archie Manning, former quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, is from my hometown of Drew, Mississippi. You may have heard of his sons - Cooper, Peyton, and Eli. Mississippi also birthed Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Cool Papa Bell, Steve McNair, and Clinton Portis.

Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles and Medgar Evers, James Meredith, and a lot of other brave civil rights activists you've never heard of are from Mississippi.

So is Jose Pacheco.

If seeing is believing, Jose Pacheco of Pearl, Mississippi, had his girlfriend pose with him for his fake driver's license.

Mississippi's winning streak ends here. This is NOT what Charles Darwin had in mind.

Thanks to the Mom O' The Sepulchre for the email.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Holy Cause

May I direct your attention to "The Holy Cause", a Christian libertarian blog run by a missionary named Greg.
Here's something from Greg's brief bio:

Around 2004, I began to think seriously about some of the political ideas I held, both from a market perspective and a Christian perspective. Slowly it began to dawn on me that I did not fit into the political camp I had aligned myself with. The teachings of scripture, the workings of the market, and the growing police state all convince me of the error of that way of thinking. Thus I became a libertarian, specifically a Christian libertarian.

There's a lot to recommend on Greg's site, but these posts are particularly notworthy. "Torture In The Church" is a must-read. It has some alarming statistics on church attendance and approval of torturing terror suspects.

This post on Frederic Bastiat has links to the PDF's of almost all the relevant F.B. output. (I have a dachshund named Fred, in honor of this brilliant French economist.) Read Bastiat, and you'll never see a broken window, or The Stimulus Plan, in the same way.

Then there's the Christian Libertarian Blog Carnival, a more focused equivalent to my Libertarian Blog Carnival. Greg graciously posted something from this site on his blog carnival, but then cast some doubt on my salvation experience. (Hit the link)
A couple of days later, Greg felt obliged to add a disclaimer to the carnival, stating that he didn't endorse the content of every site he had published. Dunno who that was about.

Greg spends a LOT of time finessing his list of Christian Libertarian blogs, and if he didn't nail it with this, I don't want to know about it.
Good site, with a good focus. Hope he keeps it up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Goode Family

I don't watch much TV, but I'll try to remember to get this on TIVO from now on.

Director Mike Judge’s new animated television series “The Goode Family” is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words “What would Al Gore do?” Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet’s dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid.

If you don't laugh out loud when Mike Judge explains the character of the teenaged son, you're taking yourself waaaaay too seriously.

The bumpersticker at the 2:00 mark would last about 2:00 minutes in Texas.

Looks goode. I mean, good.

A fresh coat of Whitening to Instapundit for the links.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2 charts, 300 Million Chumps, No Change, and a Challenge

Here's a chart recently published by The Washington Post. It shows the George W. Bush era budget deficits in gray. (Note to all Republicans: Please take note of the Clinton era surpluses.)
The Bush spending deficits were the worst thing to happen to us in recent memory, and they represent The Failed Economic Policies Of The Past Eight Years, as we often heard during last year's presidential campaign.

Unfortunately for us, the Bush deficits were merely a forerunner, a warmup band, a John The Baptist that came along before the real thing.
When the Bush deficits are making love, they sometimes like to fantasize that they hang down like the projected Obama deficits.

The pink lines on the chart are the White House guesstimates of how much they're going to spend that they don't have. The red lines are the Congressional budget office guesstimates. (They only differ by 100 BILLION in the first year.)

But according to The Teleprompter Jesus, no one with a household income of less than $250,000.00 pear year is going to see a tax increase.

How is this possible, you ask, without confiscating every penny earned by households bringing home more than $250K ??

Well, Obama now controls something invented by Gutenberg, developed by The Gideon Bible people, and perfected by The Watchtower Society.
Obama owns some printing presses.
This chart shows the number of dollars in circulation since 1910.

If you look closely you'll see that the thin blue line, representing the billions of dollars in circulation, goes into the stratosphere in 2009. Almost off the top of the chart. Why go through the political inconvenience of taxing voters if you can simply print more money to pay your expenses?

They're out there! ! Those new dollars are out there, and they're shrinking inside your wallet ! ! The funny money is now bailing out Chrysler and G.M. ! ! The Obamabucks are being passed along to Wall Street Fat Cats so they won't lose their summer homes ! ! They were handed out as AIG bonuses ! ! And they'll soon be coming to a make-work project for campaign donors in your town ! !

How will you recognize them ? How will you know if you have one of the new dollars?

You'll know you've got one when you see that it won't buy very much.

In his book "The Revolution: A Manifesto", Ron Paul defines inflation as "an increase in the money supply". Others have defined inflation as too much money chasing too few products.

Unfortunately, most voters will just think that prices are going up. According to the great Ludwig Von Mises, governments prefer for people to think that prices are going up, when the truth is that the money supply is increasing.

Let's create a little wager. It's about a Coke machine. (Actually a Pepsi machine, but calling it "Coke" is a North Texas sociological phenomenon best explained by this chart. Hit the link. It's worth it.)

This Coke machine is in one of the warehouses that I manage for Jukt Micronics. It's one of the few remaining machines on our planet that doesn't already take dollar bills. I have abolutely no influence over the price of the 12 oz. canned Cokes this machine dispenses. I have no inside knowledge about when prices will go up (or down. Like that's gonna happen.)

The Cokes now cost .50 cents.

The Jukt Micronics maintenance staff stocks the machine with drinks purchased at Sam's Club or Costco. They mark up the price just enough to cover the hassle of stocking the machines and setting aside some profit for our holiday parties.

I'm taking wagers on when the 12 oz canned drinks from this machine will cost one dollar. I'll get Dr. Ralph, Fembuttx, Marvel Variants, or some other trusted individual to swing by the warehouse and verify that the machine exists, and that the .50 current price I've shown is accurate.

The over/under date is May 26 of 2010. For those of you who don't suffer from a Compulsive Gambling Disorder, let me explain:

Taking the "Over" means you think the price will hit a dollar after that date. Taking the "Under" means you think the price will hit a dollar before that date. Every time the price mysteriously goes up by a nickel or a dime, believe me, I'll provide pictures.

In order to finance Obama's spending spree, I believe we're going to be paying twice as much for everything within two years. And those of us on salaries, hourly wages, or (God help you) fixed incomes won't see income increases keeping up with inflation.

But thank God no one is going to raise our taxes.

P.S. - If you saw the title of this post and didn't know who the 300 million chumps are, you might be one of them. Here's a hint: take the under.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Burning Hell, Part One

It's Sunday, so that means it's time to review the cinematic efforts of New Albany, Mississippi's Reverend Estus Pirkle. Last week's offering was well-received. It was a short film called "Does This Excite You?", which gave us a view of heaven from The Deep South/Total Immersion States.

I first saw the next Pirkle epic, The Burning Hell, during a Sunday night church service about 35 years ago. Our Mississippi church advertised it for weeks before screening it.

This thing scared the crap out of me.
To understand why, you have to understand that Hell was, and still is, a very real concept for a lot of people. It's not just a metaphor, and it's not merely a symbol for a life removed from God.
It's the place reserved for everyone who doesn't accept Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for their sins.
After a few years, you start to wonder what kind of Being would create things with an inclination towards disobedience so they could be tortured in fire forever. Click here for a rant on that topic. (Sorry for the digression, but don't disagree with me in the comment field unless you've read that link.)

Since a Pirkle film of this length is almost like too much candy, I'll be presenting this in eight parts over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, the first section is kinda like making that first defective pancake. It includes the preliminary throat-clearing and scene setting to introduce all the characters (Moses, Dathan, Mississippi preachers, etc.). If you find my commentary helpful, it's below the YouTube clip.

:05 - You might be the most devout Baptist that ever dunked a drunkard, but if you can see that "powered by" text underneath the satellite and not laugh, then you're taking this waaaay too seriously.

:45 - Harry Truman appears.

1:40 - Estus Pirkle appears for the first time, but his voice doesn't appear for another 10 seconds. The video and sound are out of sequence on this clip. Not that it matters.

3:15 - Three of Israel's most powerful leaders, dark semitic men of the desert, are portrayed by what look like Alabama deacons.

3:40 - If that isn't an off-the-shelf Santa Claus wig....

4:30 - You've heard that same accent in a lot of other movies, usually explaining to Yankee meddlers why we Southerners don't take well to no race-mixin'.

4:40 - I think the actors were told to look terrified, but most of the facial expressions are asking the eternal question "Who Farted?"

And the clip ends just when we were getting to the good part.

If anyone thinks I'm beating a dead horse here, this is from the IMDB comments on "The Burning Hell". Someone calling herself Charlottes Web 1952 writes:

I have watched this movie several times and I am very impressed with the way it was made. It really gives a person an idea of what hell will be like, although I know hell will be much worse than anyone can imagine. Mr. Pirkle has captured a small portion of what hell will be like. I know when I watch it that I want to do the will of God and I know in my heart that Jesus did die on that tree so that I wouldn't have to go to hell. This movie was made in the seventies I believe, and as far as the actors and actresses were concerned, I believe they did a wonderful job with their parts. I noticed someone was talking about the fake beards but most movies that someone has to have a beard is almost always fake. I can say I really enjoyed watching the movie and I want to be a better person by watching it. God bless.

The mind recoils.