Chad Comello

Librarian, cinephile, et al

Author: Chad (page 46 of 53)

Everybody Know What Time It Is?

You know what’s a good show? Home Improvement.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have said such a thing. I thought the cheeseball factor rivaled that of Full House. But in the last year or two, I’ve been catching the re-runs on cable randomly during the day, and it has really grown on me.

The show was a ratings powerhouse in the 90s. I remember watching it back then, but sometimes what you watch as a kid doesn’t age as well as you do. Still, with nothing better on at 1 p.m. on weekdays, I’ve reentered the world of the Taylor family and their hilarious hijinks and found that it is genuinely funny, if still forced from time to time.

The standard “sitcom” jokes are there: Al’s mom is fat, Tim hits his head on the pipe in the basement, everyone has the perfect witty comeback in every conversation. But I’ve also come to appreciate how non-dysfunctional the family is. Conflicts arise amongst the boys in their own contrived sitcom-y way, but Tim and Jill are still models of good parenting. Tim grills Al incessantly, but he can still be a good and caring friend when needed. There is heart in everything–something a lot of sitcoms forget to remember.

I got the chance to meet the show’s executive producer David McFadzean when he spoke at my sister’s first school, Calvin College. He said the concept was to create a show where the family was functional and loving, an idea foreign to a lot of television shows. The concept worked, as the show’s success demonstrated.

And while Tim Allen’s comedy is largely limited to grunting and mock-stupidity, he’s still darn funny, especially when he can work off of the solid supporting characters like Al and Wilson.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. If you’re channel-surfing one day and happen upon another hilarious episode of “Tool Time”, don’t change the channel. Stay there and enjoy it.

Where Were You?

I was in 8th grade, climbing on to the school bus after an early morning swim class. The bus driver had the radio on. “A plane has hit the World Trade Center.”

Oh, I thought. How dumb do you have to be to crash into a big building like that?

That is the moment I will remember forever. The flashbulb memory. My generations Pearl Harbor, JFK assassination, Challenger explosion. The days after that are blurry. In every class we talked about what happened. Most of the discussion involved unsubstantiated or simply untrue rumors we heard on the news and passed along through the school.

I was too young to fully grasp the enormity and consequence of that day. I didn’t get why the terrorists targeted the symbols of American economy, executive, and military power. It wasn’t until this morning when I woke up and watched the day being replayed in real-time on cable when I realized how incredible those images were and how predictably passionate the response was.

The 21st century began with planes crashing and buildings collapsing on this day seven years ago. Memorials have been consecrated and wars have been started, yet there is still a gaping hole in the ground. Our wound has not been healed.

Happy First Win, Aaron – Here’s To Many More

I loved Brett, but he’s not the Packers’ quarterback any more.

Congrats, Aaron Rodgers. I know you’ll do well.

Forty-One

I’m watching the video tribute to George H. W. Bush at the Republican National Convention. It reminded me how great a person and American he is. World War II fighter pilot, Congressman, Ambassador to the U.N., envoy to China, Director of the CIA, Vice-President, and finally, President — there are few public servants with such a record.

Seeing him at the ripe age of 84, he reminded me of my grandpa Cliff, both by his appearance and by his resume. Grandpa Cliff served as a lieutenant in Patton’s Third Army, trudging through the Battle of the Bulge, then through decades of service in the FBI. Both men are decorated members of the Greatest Generation.

I watched the Bush Sr. episode of American Experience a while back and it explained that regardless of some of Bush Sr.’s decisions in office, he held true to his own code of honor and dignity. That code guided him through some tough times and hard decisions. Even when the decisions were unpopular. Perhaps we’ll be thinking the same things about 41’s son Dubya one day. Or not.

And So It Begins…

Barack Obama and Joe Biden versus John McCain and Sarah Palin. Now this is a race.

The first thing I thought when I heard the news of McCain’s VP choice was that it was brilliant on his part. Not only is he trying to siphon Hillary supporters away from Obama with the choice of a younger woman, but he announced it the day after Obama’s convention speech in order to neutralize his post-convention bump.

Then, as I read up on Palin and read a few opinions of the choice, I see a fascinating paradigm between the two tickets. First, there’s Obama and Biden. Obama, an unconventional and historic candidate with limited legislative and foreign policy experience, pairs with an old seasoned Washington insider who is an expert on foreign policy.

Now look at the McCain-Palin ticket. McCain, the old seasoned Washington insider who is a self-proclaimed expert on foreign policy, chooses Palin, an unconventional and historic candidate with limited legislative and foreign policy experience.

Within each ticket, the contrasts are stark. One is a young black man, the other is an old white guy. One is an old white guy, the other is a young white woman.

Clearly, McCain wanted in on the Change narrative of the election. If he had picked Romney or Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman, there would not have been anything special about the ticket. But now McCain has something to offer those who want to see some sort of change.

Time will show if the Hillary Hold-Outs will actually defect and vote for McCain simply because he will have a female vice president. But that also brings up another thought: with McCain’s health and age in question, America will have to wonder if they want the possiblility of having a female Commander in Chief. We’ve just assumed that question concerned Hillary Clinton. But not anymore.

Who is Sarah Palin? We’ll be finding out shortly. She’s going to have to debate Joe Biden, who’s foreign policy experience is deep and respected. But in an election that has quickly become a mandate on the economy more so than the wars or anything other pressing issue, both tickets will be fighting for supremacy.

There are approximately 67 days until the election. It’s going to be a long 67 days, that’s for sure.

The Dark Knight – Round 2

Just saw The Dark Knight for the second time. I tried to take in all the theories and analyses I read after seeing it the first time and look at the film with a discerning eye.

The big thing I noticed was that Bruce’s love for Rachel fuels a lot of his decisions and affects the course of events greatly. But for having so much influence on the plot, it wasn’t the strongest part of the movie. I found myself either not caring or not understanding the love (or lack thereof) between Bruce and Rachel. It just seemed like an arc that belonged in a soap opera.

Either way, I still liked it the second time. To see so much depth in a summer blockbuster is a good thing. If it doesn’t get any important Oscar nominations then something is wrong, not with the movie but with the voters.

Me, Myself, And An Ugly Sweater

I’m done with summer camp. It was my third summer at Lake Waubesa Bible Camp and definitely the most fun. Everyone on staff got along great. It was easy to have fun and joke around (a lot) but still be able to share the serious moments and enjoy God’s creation and his work all summer.

This summer I was the worship leader but I also counseled a few weeks of middle school and Day Camp. In the last three years of camp life, I’ve developed a deeper understanding of what servant leadership requires and how important humility and patience really are. Rolling around in old food and dirt and sweating constantly taught me to enjoy every second of what was given to me. Even when campers got so unbelieveably annoying sometimes, I could still find joy in them and in what they got out of camp.

We talked about character this summer and all the Godly characteristics it requires: humility, patience, loving-actions, unselfishness, a tamed tongue. The Book of James talks about all of these things quite concisely. My favorite one, again, is humility because if you really have it you’re being Christ-like. It’s as simple as that.

I also came to a place of brokenness literally and figuratively. I developed an inner and outer ear infection and, somehow, a ruptured ear drumback in June. The pain lasted about two weeks. In that time, aided by the constant rigors of summer camp life, I became completely broken and humbled. One day I was practicing “Blessed Be Your Name” for the evening meeting. As I sang through it casually, the lyrics hit me where I was:

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

I had understandably been a little Then there’s this verse:

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Right there I just broke down crying. The full-time staff guy was there and we talked for a while. I had been going through a period of drought and doubt and my ear problems became my rock-bottom, my total brokenness.

Looking back, and even at the time, I absolutely loved being broken down like that. To be nowhere but down and needing nothing but Jesus. I recommend it.

It was a great summer. To be able to be silly with kids and learn about Jesus and be outside all day every day and not in the stifling air-conditioned hell of Copps was a blessing. As far as next summer goes: who knows. I know I can go back there and have more fun and learn more about God, but I don’t know what he wants me to do. I need to be ready to hear that.

(P.S. If you have considered being a counselor but haven’t done it, DO IT. It’s the most rewarding, demanding, ridiculous, tiring, joyful, and painful thing you can do. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll have ridiculous stories to tell afterward.)

Doing Unspeakable Acts To E.T.

I stopped by Half-Price Books the other day hoping to get lucky. After perusing the record collection as usual, I ventured into the clearance section. I’m a bad book buyer because I’m so indecisive and there are so many classics I have yet to read that I eventually get overwhelmed and end up not buying anything. But this time I managed to cross the bridge and buy some books.

I picked up Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies and a collection of Langston Hughes poetry. I’ve been on the lookout for a cheap Hughes collection ever since I read him in an American Literature class and fell in love with him. But Lamott’s book was a surprise and a bit of an impulse buy for me because I rarely buy anything without researching it before hand to avoid being disappointed and regretting departing with my cash.

I’d heard of Anne Lamott before. I think she visited my school to speak but I couldn’t go. But I decided to take a chance on her 1999 memoir because I heard that she was a liberal Christian. You don’t hear from them often.

I loved Traveling Mercies. I cruised through it, and I don’t do that often. Even though I’m an English major I have to really try to finish books. Most of the time I don’t even finish the assigned readings for my lit classes unless they catch me. But I clung to Lamott’s humor and sincerity and no-bullshit view on life. I can only hope to see the good in every part of life she does in spite of (and because of) the suffering she’s endured.

I loved how she can be so freaking funny in moments of complete confusion or distress. She describes the feeling of hitting your child: “It’s so awful, attacking your child. It is the worst thing I know, to shout loudly at this fifty-pound being with his huge trusting brown eyes. It;s like bitch-slapping E.T.”

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading at camp, which is over this week. To make a big life lesson so very concise: I’ve learned a lot about humility and patience.

I’ve got the new Coldplay album on steady rotation. Check it out. Also the song “You’ll Always Be My Best Friend” by Relient K off their new EP/B-sides record The Bird and the Bee Sides.

On a less happy note, what’s the deal with Favre? Notice I blame him and not the Packers for this soap opera. I’m starting to wish he never retired, despite what I wrote shortly after he did so. Oh, well. Rodgers is our man. Get used to it Cheeseheads.

What’s Going On?

Haven’t been on much—camp is keeping me busy. It is nice, though, to be able to unplug from the world for a while and not be able to check your email and keep up on the news even if you want to. Here’s a few thoughts on random stuff:

—The Dark Knight was just amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

—In regards to the Favre-Packers debacle, the Packers organization I think has done right. Favre has lost all of the goodwill he earned throughout his career by continuing to flip-flop and run his mouth. I’ll always be a Favre fan, but I’m a Packers fan above all. He retired quite tearfully and emphatically. If he wants to come back he has to do it on the team’s terms.

—Ebert & Roeper at the Movies, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper’s weekly movie review show will no longer be. Ebert and Disney could not come to an agreement about the show’s direction after Ebert’s departure and so both Ebert and Roeper will be leaving the show. I really, really hope they find a way to get back on the air on their own terms because the intelligent and entertaining film criticism it provides week to week is one of a kind.

—The two movies I was most looking forward to this summer—The Dark Knight and Wall-E—did not let me down. I’m not sure what else is coming out this summer that will be worth watching, but I’ll have lots of time after camp to check them out.

Where Am I?

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’m now at summer camp getting sweaty and tired every day. It’s awesome.

I haven’t been catching up with current events that much, except to find out that Tim Russert died (which really, really, really sucks) and Tiger somehow won the U.S. Open. Nice.

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