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Hey Apple–I Have Questions

I’m a pretty loyal consumer of Apple products. I get Apple. I understand the equipment. Perhaps it is because the first computers I remember are those old Macintoshes we had in high school. I can work a Windows machine fairly well, but I prefer Macintosh and Apple iPhones. The one exception is iTunes. I have invested a lot of money in iTunes music, and now I find that I can barely run the program and usually opt for Spotify or Amazon Music–which is what I’m listening to right now–some Allman Brothers on this Tuesday evening.¬†apple_iphone_2017_20170912_11670.0

But I digress.

Today was the big reveal in Cupertino of the new iPhone X on the ten year anniversary of the first iPhone. I didn’t watch the event live. I had work to do. But I have been following the news release, and I have some questions.


1. What did nine do wrong? In fact, I’ll throw this out to Windows too. I was running a Dell last year and remember when the OS went from 8 to 10, and skipped nine altogether. Now iPhone has done the same thing. If I understand it right, they are releasing an iPhone 8 which is really just an updated 7, but there is no nine. Just like there was no Windows 9. The conspiracy theorists wants to know why? Is it a symbol? Does it have a secret only the Illuminati cipher? Is nine just too Trinitarian? Is nine not cool enough of a digit? Is it that nine is gone, because seven ate (eight?) nine?

2. Are you really doing something as lame as renaming the Apple Store “Town Squares” ? The word on the street is they are renaming the Apple Store to “Town Squares” Because they want them to be ‘meeting places’ for people. Man, that sounds terribly presumptuous and confusing. I think this will bomb. No one will call it Town Square. It will always be the Apple Store, just like no one calls it the Genius Bar, no matter how hard you try.

3. Can you give me a good reason to buy an Apple Watch? I wanted one, I really did. I wanted one when I thought it would replace my iPhone. I don’t want one if it has to be in close proximity to my iPhone to have full functionality. In other words, I want an Apple Watch that actually works independent, that is not just a bluetooth display of the iPhone.

4. Is face recognition a good idea? I mean, I watched the movie “The Circle” and it kinda of scared me because in my lifetime I’ve already observed the erosion of individual liberty and freedom for the sake of comfort as companies gather more and more analytics about us. Now you want my face? I mean, this sounds like a very bad idea. Can you give me some reassurances here?

5. If you get rid of the “Home” button on the iPhone, how will E.T. know where to go? How will he phone home? Okay, that was a bad joke, but I couldn’t resist. On a positive note, I like the look of the new iPhone X because it looks like the iPhone 3, which to me was the most beautiful of all the iPhones. It was smaller, true, but it fit in the pocket, and the hand, and looked amazing. I’m not a big fan of the square, and this new model looks like a throw back to that earlier design, and that is something I applaud.

6. Will “Augmented Reality” help me find better words for the letter V in Words With Friends? I’m asking for a friend.

7. Why does your promo shot of the iPhone X look so much like the poster for Star Trek the Motion Picture?

8. Can I trade in the drawer filled with the iPod, iPod shuffle, iPod mini, iPhone, iPhone 3, 4, 5, 5S, 6, iPad, iPad 2, and iPad Nano for a bit of a discount on the $999 price tag of one of your sleek new phones? Maybe a kidney? A toe, I mean I’ve got ten toes and I probably only need like seven?

These are some of the questions I have about the new iPhone. I’m sure more will arise in the coming days.

Fire and Fury

I’m not certain I should write this blog post, because I am still processing in my mind what I am hearing our President say. And yes, whether you like him or not, he is our duly elected president. What I think I heard him say was that if North Korea threatened the United States they would be met with, “Fire and fury such as the world has never seen.” Then, I heard him say today that perhaps that wasn’t a tough enough statement.

I’m just working to put my mind around what that might mean. It sounds like he threatened thermonuclear war. That is what it sounded like–our President threatened another country with nuclear weapons. We, The United States, is engaging in brinkmanship of the ultimate kind. He threatened to drop a nuclear bomb on civilians oppressed under a brutal military dictatorship. He threatened to begin what would no doubt be a chain reaction of bombs across the Korean Peninsula, Asia, and no doubt the world. Our President threatened to intentionally deploy the weapons of a kind of armageddon. He used the specter of nuclear holocaust the way a playground bully would use a punch in the nose, or a petty businessman might use a lawsuit. He opened the vault of the past, where we’ve kept the fear of nuclear winter and the Doomsday Clock, and made us smell the rotting mold of genocide. He, that is we, because he is our president and he speaks for us, moved us in the most dangerous direction possible, on purpose.

HELP! Greenbean Needs Your Opinion

I need to pick a new picture of me for our church newsletter. Of course, we go low budget around here, so any picture we use will likely be one taken on my iPhone. All my iPhone pics are on Facebook. I scrounged Facebook and found these pictures that I think could work. The problem is no picture of me is very good (not much to work with there) so it really boils down to picking the best of the worst. So here they are–register your vote at the end, and come back later to check and see who is winning. For the record, I do not promise to abide by the electoral decision.


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Game Time Jamie
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Theologian Pastor Jamie
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Bucees Big Drink Jamie
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Happy Church Camp Jamie
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Beard Stroking Jamie
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Not Happy Church Camp Jamie
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Jazz Hands Jamie
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Magnum P.I. Jamie

After you click your choice, be certain to click on “VOTE” to record your selection.

 

 

 

 

The Dark Tower Movie

Is it possible to enjoy something and be disappointed by it at the same time?

The answer to that question must be yes, because that is exactly how I feel about my experience last night watching the Dark Tower.

WARNING: There are some spoilers below. Nothing major that would ruin it for you, but if you’re a purist you might want to stop and come back after you’ve seen it.


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I enjoyed the movie. I really did, and people who criticize it too harshly are either elitists who refuse to have a good time or who decided they didn’t want to like it before they ever sat down. The Dark Tower movie was far better than the Guardians sequel, yet another Spider Man movie, or anything else out there. I haven’t seen Dunkirk, but that is probably not a fair comparison, either. Dunkirk is Oscar bait. The Dark Tower movie is a fun summer film.

I enjoyed the movie because Idris Elba was amazing. Except for a single moment in the very end when he smiled too much, I was buying him as Roland. I never bought the story arc they told in the story for Roland, but I bought him, the actor, as Roland.

I enjoyed the kid playing Jake Chambers. The Dark Tower in the novels is not about Jake, but in movie he is the star, he is the protagonist and he is phenomenal.

I enjoyed Matthew McConaughey’s sleazy lizard lounge Man in Black. Sure, they put too much of him in the movie, but that was okay because I thought he captured the cheap sorcery and flippant caprice of the literary character pretty well.

I enjoyed the gunfights. I wish I could have seen more of those epic guns themselves, like a close up or a still shot or something, but nevertheless I loved those scenes.

I enjoyed that the movie didn’t answer all the plot elements of the breakers, and I enjoyed that they changed up the way they operated inside Algul Sient.

I enjoyed Jake making fun of Walter’s name.

I enjoyed the theme park.

I enjoyed hearing Roland say, “You have forgotten the face of your father.” Thank you big big.

I enjoyed all the homages to King’s other works, which are likewise part of the Dark Tower Universe, such as The Shining, Cujo, Salem’s Lot, and It.

I really enjoyed the opening screen that included the Ka-Tet Corporation with the turtle emblem as a maker of the movie. Way cool.


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But I was also disappointed. My perception is that a tinge of sorrow accompanied most people who loved the books as they watched the film play out, because the film was not the same epic story we’d fallen in love with. It is hard to even put into words, because its more about the feel of the movie than anything specific.

I was disappointed that they tried to distill several characters into Jake. I missed very much Eddie and Susannah and Father Callahan. And Oy. I really missed Oy. For those of you who haven’t read the novels, leaving out these characters would be like going to watch the Harry Potter movies and discovering that all the Weasleys had been written out, as well as Neville ¬†Longbottom and they were all added to Hermione’s character. Or you went to watch the Lord of the Rings and discover Frodo was the only Hobbit around and that Sam, Merry, and Pippin were added to Frodo’s character. It is that disappointing.

I am disappointed that Roland’s motive was changed. Roland is all about the Dark Tower, not revenge on Walter. Walter is in his way and is his enemy, but all Roland cares about is the Dark Tower.

I am disappointed in the beginning. They start the film in New York. The story should have started with King’s epic first line. I really wanted the movie to open with Roland on horseback chasing Walter in the desert.

I am disappointed in the lack of musical allusion. If it was there, I didn’t catch it. For me, in reading the novels, the first hint that there is a connection to this weird world the Gunslinger inhabits and ours is when he hears the song Hey Jude in the bar in Tull. TDT has a soundtrack of wonderful songs–from Someone Saved My Life Tonight to Velcro Fly to Crazy Train. Zip, Zilch, Zero on that in the movie. If you’re interested, there is an awesome Spotify playlist for the Dark Tower songs.

I am disappointed in the ending. It felt like Back To The Future, and it was too much of a happy ending. There is never a happy ending for the Dark Tower. Never. It is a sad, tragic tale.

I am disappointed in the lack of connection to other works of literature–Asimov, Rowling, Browning, etc . . .

I am disappointed in the idea of Roland as a fallen gunslinger. He is not. He deals in lead.

I am disappointed I never got to see if Roland was drinking a Nozz-A-La on the bus.

I am disappointed the movie was only an hour and a half. Really? There is a bazillion pages of source material here, and we get an hour and a half? Come on, man!

I am disappointed that the Dixie Pig shootout was moved to the front, instead of the back where it should be. Not to mention that Roland wasn’t even at the Dixie Pig shootout in the novels, unless you count his todash type appearance.

I am disappointed that all the mysticism in the novels is encapsulated with the one element of “the Shine”, which it is not. The touch (as it is called in the novels) is only part of this mystical universe.


However, I do have hope. Perhaps a new director, better screenwriting, and a revamped approach can redeem the franchise for a second installment. Just think of the difference between Star Trek The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan. But for now I am content with the knowledge that the books are still there, and they are the kind of story that gets into your blood, and the characters become people you know, and the language, say thankee-sai, even worms its way into your head.