A Filmmaker’s Journal

He killed her only son…

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My feature film Over-the-Rhine will have its West Coast Premiere at the Burbank International Film Festival on Saturday, September 9th, 2017. And I’ve just learned that we have been nominated for a major award! Categories will be announced along with winners at the Award Gala on Sunday, September 10th. I’ll be there. Will you?

An anonymous donor has purchased a block of tickets, so I’m able to offer a limited number of free tickets to friends who wish to attend!

Please let me know ASAP if you’d like to be added to the guest list!

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The Wishing Map 77

Have you ever stumbled upon a “pocket wonder,” a place so marvelous you couldn’t believe you’d never heard of it before?

Mitch Teemley

Wishing pix-Title-(framed)

Note: To read The Wishing Mapfrom the beginning, click here.

The Wishing Map

Chapter Seventeen: Naimian (Continued)

Previously: Zack was led by naims (gnomes) to a strange wooden elevator inside an immense tree.

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

He was crowded toward the center of the heartwood lift by a hundred naims. Bulgy, regaining his sense of importance, commanded, “Surwood!” To Zack’s amazement the entire three-tiered structure began moving downward. As it dropped, Zack saw two levels go by, each with multiple tunnels leading off under the ground. When they reached the lowest level, the lift stopped and the crowd began shoving like elementary school kids on a field trip. Zack was shuffled down a set of tiny steps to the lowest floor of Naimian. Tunnels ran in every direction, all lit by aromatic sap-lamps.

“Awesome!” he said, and was about to ask how the lift was powered when he saw…

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Bumper Sticker Madness!

Bumper stickers have been around forever, but they were at their peak in the 80’s and 90’s. Here are some of my favorites:

I you love somethingLike “Imagine whirled peas” this snarky little gem skewers a popular quote.

Jesus is coming back“Jesus is coming back” stickers were everywhere for a while. I snorted an entire venti latte the first time I saw this one.

Help, HelpDon’t know why I like this one, I just do. Uh-oh, gotta go, they’re here!

NakedI watched half a dozen truckers crane their necks to peer down into this car before I noticed the bumper sticker.

No one understandsI don’t know who came up with this one, but I’m pretty sure it was a parent.

Beam me up“Beam me up, Scotty!” stickers were ubiquitous in the 80’s, so my old comedy act Mitch & Allen came up with this phrase (from our sketch “Star Trek: The Wrath of God”). It was such a hit that within a few months dozens of other sticker makers were duplicating it. Ah, well, plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Even now, 30 years later, Googling the phrase produces over a million results.

What are some of your favorite bumper stickers?

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Don’t Love Yourself!

I’m re-posting this because it seems like an appropriate follow-up to my article from a few days ago Far From Home, and because many have not read it before. Blessings till it hurts! ~Mitch

Mitch Teemley

Watering hole - do you come here often

Alright, I admit my title is a ruse, and yet…I really am sick of seeing motivational posts telling us to love ourselves. Why? Because we don’t need to learn to love ourselves.

We need to learn to like ourselves. In a sense, people who commit suicide love themselves too much. They love themselves enough to be obsessed with their dreams, and crushed when those dreams fail to come true. They can accept your failure. Or mine. But not their own.

Love flows like mother’s milk. But like is a hard-shelled nut. It doesn’t crack for motivational slogans (“You’re great!” “Oh, shut up! I’ve accomplished nothing today!”). Antique CompassWe’re born with an inner compass that relentlessly points to true north, refusing to settle for happy-happy-sugar-candy faux-north.

I know a sweet-spirited woman, Michelle, who grew up during the peak of the self-esteem movement. He mother told her non-stop how “special” she was, praising…

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Love is Inconvenient

calm-before-storm-1“Love suffers long, it is kind and does not envy…it is not easily provoked and keeps no record of wrongs. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It never fails. Only three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”       ~1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is inconvenient.

Before it can be a noun

it must be a verb.

If you don’t love

when it’s inconvenient

you don’t love at all.

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Reach Out!

Dog and kitten

“Reach out” is the contemporary term for making contact. People don’t “get in touch with” others anymore, they “reach out” to them. There’s something both sweet and desperate about that phrase in this age of disconnection and intolerance. Agreement is good, but not always possible. Understanding is even better, and is always possible–if we’re willing to reach out. As my cat regularly reminds me, There are very few issues that can’t be resolved by touching noses.

“No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.” ~Plato

In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” ~Dalai Lama

“Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.” ~Victor Hugo

“Bear with one another and forgive those who have offended you. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Clothe yourself in love, which is the bond of perfect unity.”

~Colossians 3:13-14

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Far from Home

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I was an atheist, and insufferably superior about it. I considered myself more rational, more evolved than my naïve religious friends. But there was one thing I couldn’t explain: The Wallaces. The Wallaces were the unofficial den parents of our high school theatre group, and their home, in contrast to those of my other friends, exuded peace. On the way to a post-show party, I told a friend, “I don’t get it. The Wallace’s lives are based on a delusion [they were committed Christ-followers], and yet they’re the most together people I know. How can a fake foundation support such a strong house?”

It can’t.

Eight years later, I began rebuilding my life on that same foundation. But before I got there I test drove another worldview, incorporating the ideas of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I was particularly enamored with his theory that natural humans (“noble savages”) live an idyllic existence until corrupted by modern “civilization.”

Unlike Rousseau, however, I took a class in Anthropology.

The first two field studies I read supported my worldview. The next three blew it to nanobits. The one that ultimately liquidated my romantic view was a study of the Yanomamo, a tribe of “unspoiled” Amazonians whose key values were lying, thievery, and physical abuse—the more stolen goods a man owned and the more battered his wives and children were, the more he was admired. Life among the Yanomamo was, for all but a few violent sociopaths, a living hell.

The values that people live by matter. If they’re true, they flourish, if they’re false, it’s Yanomamo time. Charles Nordhoff, an agnostic 19th journalist, visited communal societies all over America. His conclusion? Cultures built around faith and selflessness were peaceful, happy, and flourishing. Those build around “progressive” ideas like atheism, pantheism, and open marriage were unequivocal disasters.

My generation has a lot to answer for. We were the ones who coined the phrase, “Never trust anyone over 30.” Our legacy? When asked in a poll during the early 90’s what worried them most, the next generation answered, “Values,” explaining that my generation had failed to show them what truths to base their lives on, or if there even were any truths.

My wife and I wrote a comedy sketch during the 90’s in which a group of young adults plan an office party. They decide to end the party with a contest to see who can commit the best suicide. It was dark humor. We never expected it to come true.

It has.

The Blue Whale Challenge, which began in Russia, was named for blue whales who lose their sense of direction and commit suicide by beaching themselves on stretches of sand far from home. Its founder, Philipp Budeikin, a failed psychology student, claims to have created the Challenge as a way to “cleanse” society of “biological waste.”

God feels differently: “When Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If only you had known this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.’” (Luke 19:41-42)

There has never been a time more like that of Jesus than ours.

Despair is epidemic. Suicide rates have doubled, and among children and young teens, tripled. Trust in traditional values, civil behavior, and faith are all spiraling downward (of the top ten suicide countries, nine also have the highest percentage of atheists). Sociologists blame the internet. But that’s shooting the messenger.

It’s the message that matters. And the heart of the one receiving it.

Truth isn’t window dressing. It’s a foundation. Without it, the building collapses. The Wallaces built their house on a Rock, and by their example taught me to do so as well.

Please, if you love those who are perishing…

Do the same.

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