Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 2-15-04
By Jeff Gill

Did you watch “Groundhog’s Day” early in February? That Bill Murray & Andie McDowell classic is one of those films that may not be one of the best crafted movies ever made, but just has a lasting impact on your psyche.
It’s one of those movies that becomes, I’d say, part of your “mental furniture,” with images and dialogue that keep cropping up in how we deal with everyday “real” life.
That’s part of the anticipatory excitement I feel for “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the movie based on a book based on a Vermeer painting.
Vermeer’s art has long fascinated me, and all the critical buzz has so far focused on how each shot in the movie looks like a Vermeer portrait. OK, stop right there. If I get to see live action versions of Vermeer paintings, with stark northern Dutch light angling into stern Delft interiors and enigmatic Netherlandish characters, I’m there. If the plot makes sense, that’s gravy.
Make no mistake about it, the visual images we take in, like “you are what you eat,” shape our view of the world. That’s what is the real story behind the Super Bowl halftime flap: not whether certain body parts shouldn’t seen on primetime broadcast TV (sure, you can guess my answer to that one), but how folks are reaching into our heads and rearranging the sofa and mantelpieces of our everyday imaginings that we never intended. I’m not as bothered by Justin’s immature self-promoting self-absorbtion as I am by MTV, CBS, and the NFL trying to pretend that they had no idea, couldn’t have known, had no intention, blah blah blah.
In the immortal (paraphrased) words of Judge Judy, don’t pour your coffee on my foot and then tell me it’s raining. All of those aforementioned corporate entities want to push our mental furniture and emotional boundaries to where it suits them, and over our heartfelt objections. So we either turn it off, or take control in any way we can, and picking our viewing carefully can sure help.
There are an assortment of “mental furniture” films that earn repeated showings in Chez Gill. These aren’t the finest movies we can name, but they do have lines or scenes that just etch themselves on our memory and have a way of interpreting everyday experience for us. In no particular order. . .
1. We know you’re all tired of hearing me go on about “Holiday Inn,” but from “a great big valise full / of books to read where it’s peaceful,” or “I’ll be big” to, well, every other line in the durn flick, we just find Bing’s or Fred’s dialogue universally applicable.
2. “Local Hero” has long had a strange hold on me, and I keep trying to make Joyce enjoy it too, especially the idea that every idyllic spot is also a place someone is desperately trying to escape from, and vice versa, and they may both be equally right.
3. “The Trip To Bountiful” tells us something about having a connection to a piece of land, no matter how unremarkable, and how that connection gives us meaning and makes us part of something larger than ourselves.
4. You expect a pastor to have a religious film on a list like this, and mine is “Jesus Christ Superstar,” especially the opening soliloquy by Judas and Jesus’ solo in Gethsemane. When Pilate sings softly “Who are you, Jesus Christ,” he asks a question that demands an answer, from us if not from the questioner himself.
5. If you haven’t seen “The Milagro Beanfield War,” you are no doubt in good company. Too, too tragically few ever saw this wonderful movie, which was what Robert Redford the director did after “Ordinary People,” his amazing rookie effort. You really can’t miss when filming northern New Mexico around Chimayo and Truchas, but Bob did even more than make it beautiful, he made it real by making it magical. That stretch of country has some special meaning to my wife and I, but this story adds to that narrative instead of just offering visuals.
6. “Broadcast News,” and the line “no, it’s awful. . .” if you don’t know what I mean, you need to watch the movie; just like
7. “State & Main;” “Go you Huskies.” Don’t ask, just go rent the film.
Or 8., “Roxanne,” and “let’s just stay up here for a while.” Along with counting how many jokes Steve Martin has to tell to get to twenty, and it’s more than 20.
9. “Casablanca” may be a movie more quoted than viewed; if you haven’t seen the story in full, give Bogie and Bergman a chance. This is a pop cultural gold mine, all the way to “this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
10. If you don’t get a lift from Errol Flynn’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and the Hans Zimmer score, you need a cardiologist to give you a thorough check up. Really.
11. “Leap of Faith” has one of the best endings of any movie I know from the last two decades, but for signature lines, let me just remind you: “aluminum siding.” If you start watching it and think in the first twenty minutes this isn’t your taste, give it another twenty, and you can’t turn it off.
12. While we’re singing the praises of one of today’s finest actors, I’ll list another Steve Martin movie. “Parenthood” is a flick that may be a bit trite in parts, but the whole hangs together as something rarely matched. And when Jason Robards tells us (through his “son” Steve) that parents “never get to cross the goal line and spike the ball and do a victory dance,” you know you’re hearing Wisdom with a capital W.
13. “A Man For All Seasons” with Paul Scofield and Orson Welles is the most visually ravishing and best acted versions you will ever see of Robert Bolt’s brilliant script.Bolt’s “The Mission” was amazing in its own right, and existentially searing, but so many scenes in the story of Thomas More come to mind in more everyday life’s challenges. Not yet “Saint” Thomas More, Scofield shows us the path of purification this ambitious man takes from the courts of power to solitary faithfulness.
14. “Nobody’s Fool” is Paul Newman at his best telling one of Richard Russo’s better tales. Read any book you can find by Russo, but catch this realization of friendship as soon as you can, with the most remarkable climactic scene I know of in all moviedom: a small boy carrying an artificial leg across a barroom floor. Yeah, I know what you’ll say, it’s been done. But not like this.
15. For no good reason, Joyce and I have become quite enamoured of “The Right Stuff.” It may be the scenes of Chuck Yeager, played by the incomparable Sam Shephard, asking to borrow a stick of Beeman’s Gum as he heads out to break the sound barrier, or it may be the taglines like “spam in a can,” “our rockets always blow up,” or even “the right stuff,” but right up to the final narration by Gordo Cooper himself, the story is made all the more stirring by being true.
What movies are part of your mental furniture? Let me know at disciple@voyager.net, or call 928-4066. And we’ll share your memorable selections next week at the Hebron Crossroads.

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Hebron Crossroads 2-08-04
By Jeff Gill

So much going on around the Hebron Crossroads this February, and so little time in this, the shortest month of the year! At least we get an extra day this leap year, and on a Sunday no less. We need it. . .let’s go:

As of this weekend, you can now go to the Licking County Coalition for Housing website at http://www.lcchousing.org to register online for their upcoming “Murder at Mardi Gras” fundraising event on February 27 at The Granville Inn.
With the help of the Licking County Players, your $50 ticket will welcome you to a mystery inside The Granville Inn that you might have a part in solving, while enjoying food thingys (I’ve never been able to spell that horse-over-doors French foodie word) and a cash bar. Beads will be provided, since it can’t be Mardi Gras without colorful trinkets, right? More importantly, proceeds help to support the work of this vital assistance agency in our county.
On the LCCH home page, click on "Coming Events", then go to “Murder at
Mardi Gras,” click, and it should take you to the online form hosted by
Sporg.com. Guests can send their checks to PO Box 613, Newark, OH
43058-0613 or call the Coalition office at 345-1970 to pay with VISA or MasterCard. The Granville Inn is taking and holding reservations as well, and response is already lively for this “deadly” event. So you need to mark your calendar and make reservations TODAY!

Are you ready to think about the Hartford Fair in August? A warming thought, isn’t it? This Sunday, Feb. 8, at 6 pm in the basement of Hebron Christian Church on West Main Street, Prime Producers 4-H Club will have their organizational meeting. All school age children, boys or girls, can find a place in this great organization, learning public speaking and presentation skills, working on projects from woodworking and welding to gardening or rabbit raising.
Also on Sun., Feb. 8 is the next preview service for New Life Community at Lakewood Middle School in the auditorium. Worship begins at 10:30 am with child care provided. Come join Brian Harkness and their praise team in some contemporary Christian music and a message for Christ-centered living. They will continue to worship monthly until their “launch” with weekly worship in the fall.
Going back to the Hebron Christian Church basement, next Sat., Feb. 14, the Feast of Saint Valentine (as some might call it), there’s going to be a Sweetheart Spaghetti Dinner serving from 5 to 7 pm. It is a donations-only affair, with contributions going to help us support the new construction at Camp Christian for increased summer camp attendance.
Don’t know where to take your date for Valentine’s Day? Where else can you find bad karaoke and the great Dean Martin, the pride of Steubenville, singing “That’s Amore”? Until the next baked steak dinner at Hebron United Methodist (coming soon!), stock up on yer healthy antioxidants in marinara sauce next Saturday. Atkins plan folks can just have a bowl of the meal sauce with a spoon, and I’ll eat your breadsticks for you. . .

Hebron PTO had a great response for their “Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration” at the school last December, with 50 volunteers from the community that included a great effort from Dow in the Industrial Park. They have also sponsored the “Grandparents Day” programs at Hebron Elementary. 3rd grade has had theirs, and 2nd grade grandparents are re-invited Feb. 11 at 2:30 after they had their own grandparental snow day. 1st grade will have Grandparent Day Feb. 19.
All the feedback so far has been very positive, with Dr. Geist, the principal, telling the PTO about folks saying they hadn’t been in the building since the 50’s or 60’s in some cases, and adding “I had no idea the building was this well maintained!”
Kudos to Tim Nauer, his staff, as well as all the teachers involved, for giving some of our area senior citizens a new look at Hebron High through the eyes of their Hebron Elementary grandkids.
Days out of school ahead include a Parent-Teacher conference day on Fri., Feb. 13, plus the following Monday for President’s Day Feb. 16, and then a two hour early release Wed., Feb. 18.

Recently, I got an e-mail from a personal fitness trainer in the area, Kelly Biemesderfer, CFT. (I’m going to bet that stands for “certified fitness trainer,” dontcha think?) She has a local business, Sound Body Personal Training, and works with a number of local women at “It’s A Girl Thing” in Buckeye Lake.
Kelly also is in that select group of people who, amazingly, read all the way to the end of the Hebron Crossorads for my not-quite-always serious sign-off. When I wrote recently on eight steps to keeping resolutions, Kelly’s was one of a number of appreciative messages I got, but she also noted my “request” for veggie omelet recipe to improve our breakfasts! And here it is. . .

Very Veggie Omelet
Submitted by: Taste of Home's Light & Tasty from http://allrecipes.com
This light and fluffy omelet is a new twist on breakfast. It's chock-full of garden goodness.
Servings: 2

1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine
1 small zucchini, chopped
3/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 egg whites
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided

1. In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Add the zucchini, tomato, oregano and pepper. Cook and stir for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid is nearly evaporated. Set aside and keep warm.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, water, cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks form. Place egg substitute in another bowl; fold in egg white mixture. Pour into a 10-in. ovenproof skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Spoon vegetable mixture over one side; sprinkle with half of the cheese. To fold, score middle of omelet with a sharp knife; fold omelet over filling. Transfer to a warm platter. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cut in half to serve.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (half an omelet) equals 197 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 21 mg cholesterol, 639 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 19 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 lean meat, 2 vegetable.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church but is ecumenical in where he eats spaghetti or baked steak; if you have a dinner or breakfast fundraiser to announce or local news to share, call 928-4066 or e-mail disciple@voyager.net. And next week, he may even have something to say about Justin and Janet, after he figures out what it is everyone’s talking about.