Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jingle all the Way: My Movie Review

It's that time of year again and one of my favorite things to blog about: Christmas movies. Here is my review on a relatively obscure Christmas Film called Jingle all the Way:

"Always keep your promises, if you want to keep your friends." ---Turbo Man

It is very rare to see an action packed Christmas film and one that is actually pretty good, but Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers a yuletide knockout in Jingle all the Way.

Arnold plays Howard Langston, a dad who works alot and has trouble fulfilling his promises to his son Jamie. Howard tends to either be late or all together miss his son's karate class and other activities. When he misses Jamie's latest karate competition, Howard loses the trust of his wife and his son. His promises of being there have turned to dust. So Howard decides he has one last chance to make it up to his son and ask's Jamie what he wants for Christmas. His answer: only the hottest Christmas toy ever, the Turbo Man action figure.

Howard sets out on Christmas Eve morning to search for the hot new toy every kid wants. He also finds himself in stiff competition:

1.Competition from Ted, the single-dad neighbor, who thinks he could be a better husband and father to Howard's family.

2. And a duel with a mailman, played by Sinbad, who's searching for the same toy to fulfill his own son's wish.
Before Howard leaves to begin his great quest, Jamie ask's his father if he'll be home in time for them to go to the Holiday Parade. And of course, Howard's famous last words were, "I promise!"

Howard's adventure starts out with the discovery that Turbo Man is such a hot Christmas toy that it's sold out in almost every store. Howard and the manic depressive mailman duke it out on several occassions when receiving tips on where to get one:

1. Mall of America has a minimum supply of the toy and has a lottery drawing. Howard and the postman vie for the same lottery ball which bounces away from them and is retrieved by a little girl. Howard chases her down only to get beat up by a large number of angry moms.

2. A store front Santa and his elf lead Howard to a warehouse full of toys, promising him a Turbo Man for only $300. Turns out the Turbo Man is a Spanish speaking model and all of the Santa's there are con-men, then the Swat team comes charging in.

3.Howard and the mailman make a mad dash down the street to a radio station where a contest is being held for a Turbo Man. They find out all the winner gets is a gift certificate for a free one, whenever they are back on store shelves.

Howard finally gives up and retreats back to his home. He remembers Ted commenting that he had a Turbo Man sitting under his Christmas tree for his son. Howard decides to steal it, he not only gets caught red handed, but gets chased through the house by a live reindeer.

With his wife and son disappointed, they leave ahead of Howard for the Holiday Parade. When Howard wonders off to the parade, he gets mistaken for the man who is to play Turbo Man in the parade. He is rushed into costume and into the parade. Howard becomes Turbo Man, and in turn becomes his son and wife's hero.

What I love about this movie is the determination by the father to fulfill his son's Christmas wish. And he was willing to go to great lengths to accomplish his promise to his son.

In a somewhat similar fashion, we also have a Heavenly Father who desires to fulfill His promises and give us good gifts. In fact, there are over 800 promises in His Word.

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11)

May our gracious Heavenly Father fulfill your desires this Christmas and in the upcoming New Year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Like This!

1. A local Chicagoland man who owns a restoration company, went back home to New Jersey to lend a helping hand to Hurricane Sandy victims. During his stay there he thought he would try his luck with a lottery scratch off ticket. To his dismay he won
$100,000.  Some of his winnings he is donating to his church and to help a family in need.

Giving to others has it's rewards, and in some cases those rewards are not necessarily a financial gain but something even more valuable:

2. A local Chicago radio station has started a Friday campaign called Make A Drive-Thru Difference Day. A campaign where you go through a fast food drive-thru and pay for the order of the car behind you. You also leave a card with the cashier to give to the one you just blessed. On the card along with a message of blessing is the phone number to the radio station. Almost all of the calls that have come into the station are from people who were struggling:

One woman had lost her husband a month before on that same day and was struggling emotionally. She came away feeling blessed as her spirits were lifted up. Just knowing that there are generous people out there who still care made a difference.

Another woman called to say she was just coming from the hospital visiting her sick child, and was blessed beyond measure.
She felt loved!

When you give out of love, expecting nothing in return, that love that you have shown to others is always rewarded.
As we approach the holidays be aware of your surroundings and those around you. There are too many people struggling and hurting for us to ignore.

 Blessing others has it's rewards. Don't do it hastily expecting a reward, just do it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Family Matters 2

Imagine your sitting at a football game with 80,000 other fans. Your name gets called on the PA system and the 80,000 other fans flinch and become silent in fear, as some begin to stare you down. This happens to Elaine and her boyfriend in one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, as she is dating someone who shares the same name as serial killer Joel Rifkin. Elaine goes to great lengths to get him to choose a new name.

"Hello, my name is Gerry Sandusky. That's Gerry with a G."

Unfotunately this is how Gerry Sandusky has to introduce himself when doing radio play-by-play for the Baltimore Ravens, and when he steps out to do public speaking affairs. Though he only shares the same name and is no way related to the former Penn State coach who was recently outed as a child sex offender, Gerry still gets the abuse wherever he goes whether it's at the airport or on his
twitter account.

When asked about whether or not he considered changing his name, his reply was simple:

"The name Sandusky honors my late parents."

In last week's post I wrote about carrying on the legacy of your name. A few days later I thought about this and asked myself,

"What if you came from a broken home and your  parents did not set a worthy example for you or society?"

My answer was a simple one:

"Create a new legacy with your name."

Mark Twain once said, "Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often."

May your actions reflect the character of your name sake. Live a legacy. Create a legacy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Family Matters

There are two different kinds of family matters: one where your family plays an important role in your life, and then another where you have to call 911 on your own siblings for harassment, which would then be called a  family issue.

When it comes to athletes, it's their increase in wealth which can either bring a family closer together or tear them apart. In the NBA there are basketball superstars such as Derek Rose and Kevin Garnett who grew up in the projects of Chicago, succeeded, and used their wealth to get their families out of the crime ridden neighborhoods. To them, family matters. And for Rose in particular, his family has actually grown closer together, which speaks volumes about the standards his mom has set before them as a family.

To NFL football player Tyron Smith, his family mattered to him until they took advantage of his high profile salary, gorged him out of
$1 million dollars, and harassed him for even more money to where he had to get the police involved.

You can tell alot about an individual's upbringing by how they present themselves to their friends, co-workers, and those they meet out on the streets. I remember hearing about how Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, after signing a huge contract, went to the movies one day and nonchalantly grabbed a homeless guy from outside the theater to join him.

The way we present ourselves out in the public is not only a reflection of who we are as a person, but it represents our family name.

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield once joked,

"I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap!"

Even if you felt like you were the sap within your family, do your family proud, wear your name proud.
Character means everything.

to be continued