Many in the auditorium cheered as the Navy SEAL team took down the final three pirates at the movie’s climax, yet I sat silent. I know I was supposed to cheer at the superiority of our military (of whom I am incredibly proud, because HOLY COW they are good!), yet the moment felt somehow different than a similar scene in Zero Dark Thirty when SEALs took down Osama Bin Laden. It wasn’t as if the United States was wrong to kill the Somali pirates holding Captain Phillips hostage. In fact, the young men were committing one of the oldest and most contemptible international crimes. Yet, while grateful for the U.S. military and our incredible Navy SEALs who keep innocents like Captain Phillips and ourselves safe and free every day, I simultaneously mourned for those slain pirates. Not particularly the moment of their death, but instead the tragic inevitability of their life that led them to that moment.
If you were to make a bet with me on who the best songwriter is right now, in terms of being a storyteller, I’d gladly give you the field and take Jason Isbell for myself. He’s that damn good. Unfortunately, his opening gig for Dawes at Minglewood Hall in Memphis was entirely too short. He played for about 30 minutes, maybe seven songs, and that was it. I don’t know what the contractual obligations were, but judging by how the crowd shrank a decent amount after the opener was done, I’d say it’s safe to say that the people wanted more Jason Isbell and less Dawes. I would be in that camp. Read more
[This post comes to us from friend of The Wise Guise, John Nesbitt. John Nesbitt is a rare guest contributor and team owner of a jungernaut Survivor Team. He just returned from a two week trip to India for work. He has previously written about his adventures in the Middle East.]
Shangri-La in India
The land of Maharajas and Mughals.
A land of people and trash.
A land of treasures and trash.
The juxtaposition is overwhelming
This juxtaposition makes the experience
When he’s good, he’s good. Jon Stewart has made two things clear during his long and hilarious run as host of The Daily Show:
(1) He leans left and is more sympathetic to liberal causes and the Democratic Party.
(2) He takes no prisoners and will call a spade a spade, hilariously attacking incompetence from politicians and policies across the political spectrum and from both parties.
Combined together, this means he often reserves some of his most scathing critiques for failures coming from liberals and the Democratic Party.
And the failed launch of the ObamaCare website is no exception. His takedown last night had me laughing until I cried. Enjoy!
Author’s Note: This post is excerpts of an essay I wrote for Fare Forward. I highly recommend you visit that site, like the publication on Facebook, and even become a subscriber. It’s a collection of people much smarter and much better at writing than me, discussing all topics you could imagine through a deeply intellectual Christian worldview. I’m humbled to have written for them previously and for them to have been kind enough to invite me back to write again. They’re far too kind to me. I’ve tricked them into thinking I’m a legitimate writer. Please don’t destroy this illusion. But do support Fare Forward. It’s amazing what they’re doing.
This post contains excerpts of my essay entitled, “Fantasy Worldviews: From Middle Earth to Westeros.” Whether you’re a fan of Tolkien’s Middle Earth or Martin’s Game of Thrones universe, I think you’ll enjoy my reflections on what Martin borrows from Tolkien and what each fantasy epic tells us about ourselves and our time.
I hope this letter finds you well. I began writing this after the second episode, but then I thought I was jumping the gun and being a bit too harsh. I thought that it wasn’t fair to judge a show so quickly that has such a strong history.
However, after watching episode three, I can’t hold back anymore.
Homeland… you know when you’re reading a book and you catch yourself zoning out? Then, you have to go back and find the part that you last remember? That happened THREE times to me during Homeland on Sunday. THREE TIMES! How many times have I had that happen during a TV show before? ZERO—and for what it’s worth, it’s not like I watch TV once a week. One time when I was rewinding the show, I realized that the last part I remembered was Carrie building a house out of popsicle sticks in the psych ward. Yes, THAT was a “memorable moment” of last night’s show. A show that once had its viewers squeezing the couch as the main character was escaping burning buildings now has this same character building miniature houses out of popsicle sticks.
Homeland, it’s as if no one told you that your show started three weeks ago. After three weeks, I feel like I’m watching the part of a show that happens in between seasons that isn’t supposed to be filmed or seen.
Warner Russell is one of the guys who taught me what true friendship is. Saying that seems strange at first; we barely knew each other throughout college until we were both months away from graduation. Truth be told, we’ve only seen each other in person a handful of times in recent years, at dinners, movies and weddings of mutual friends.
However, span of time is something overrated in assessing the impact one has had on another’s life. There are some people I’ve known for years that haven’t offered a positive word, while there have been others who have sent me thoughtful messages just days after meeting them.
I first met Warner when we were both working at “The Daily Mississippian.” I was Arts & Life Editor, and he was a writer for the opinion section. I started reading his stuff each week, a real rarity because I never browsed pieces outside of my section. I’d laugh frequently and get joy out of hearing his insights.
A few weeks later, a mutual friend of ours, Clint Rosenblatt, connected us, and the following week Warner started writing for my section. He’d continue to do such until graduation in May. During that time, the Arts section got some really great content – comical, engaging and even sometimes touching.
There’s something I learned from my experience with Warner, though. Up until that final few months, I had been pretty hard about dictating exactly what writers for my section should write. I was controlling and was quickly angered if one of my writers failed to comply with a suggestion.
Imagine my surprise when I e-mailed Warner a list of topics his first week on the job as suggestions of things to cover, and he did exactly zero of them. I scratched my head when I got his first article. In the cockiest of mental sayings, I thought to myself, “Does this guy not know who I am and what I want?”
When I began to read his work, all my dread melted away. What was left was a profound appreciation. From that week forward, I never told or even hinted at what Warner should write about; I let him make the decisions for topics. And, in those final few weeks, I employed the same tactic with my other writers.
Warner’s ignoring whatever I requested wasn’t an act of rebellion but an issue of trust. I had brought him in as a great writer, and I knew he thought I should trust in him to write words of wisdom for me. And that he did.
Years later, when I began to write for The Wise Guise, Warner and his friends returned the favor. They’ve given me complete freedom in what I choose to write about each week. And sure, we may throw ideas out to one another from time to time, but we don’t direct one another on the exact words or tone of a piece. We trust in each other to create good content, and it shows.
Independence is the absolute most difficult element of life to incorporate into a friendship, relationship or business setting. As humans, our default mode is to be controlling and needy, constantly expecting others to sacrifice their time and effort to fit our personal desires.
For years, I did this. Even throughout college, as I was “growing up,” I attempted to rotate my friends’ needs around my own because it was what was good for me. What you discover is when you don’t allow people to have independence in their actions, complain at them for not altering their schedule or appearance to your wants, and offer directives instead of letting free thought roam…well, you’re not really abiding by the rules of friendship. If you’re in a relationship, locking someone to you isn’t love. And if there’s no trust in business, then I doubt your operation is going to make it for long.
It’s the independence Warner and his friends have given me to write on this site that has helped get me through some hard personal and professional times. Writing is the best form of therapy, as it allows me to vent my feelings on a range of topics the same way a fighter would take to a punching bag.
And most important of all, it’s the constant enthusiasm and appreciation Warner has greeted my work with that makes me feel blessed to be a part of this team. I enjoy hearing from and chatting with him not out of some strange, invisible obligation from college to reach out every once and a while to an old friend, but rather because I genuinely enjoy hearing what perspective he brings to a conversation.
Why do I say all this? What’s with the Warner love fest? I could ramble on with explanations, but does there have to be one? We so often fail to communicate to people how important they are to us.
What you should know is The Wise Guise wouldn’t be the great blog it is without Warner Russell, and I wouldn’t be the somewhat-respectable guy I am today without the traits he taught me.
Warner, from all of us here at The Wise Guise, we just want to thank you for enriching our lives. You’ve been there for us, and we are proud to be there for you. Take care, my friend.