Monthly Archives: September 2011

“Hot and Cold Affair” – Strange Ad Choice for Burger King Oman

This poster, located on the outside wall of the Mawaleh South Burger King drive-thru order window, has always intrigued me.  Has anyone seen this before?  Any immediate reactions to this poster?  I thought it was kind of seductive with a woman behind her veil, especially with the wordchoice of “hot and cold affair”.  When most people hear the word “affair”, the connection is usually made to adulterous affairs.  Doesn’t it seem that the wordchoice alongside the photo of a veiled woman is giving the impression of “forbidden delights” or something like that?  Try typing in “hot and cold affair” in any search engine and see what kind of results come back.  Am I out in left field here?

What do you think about this Burger King ad?

“People Filled With Genuine Praise”

Reverend Barry Dawson, the new RCA Pastor at PCO, spoke on Psalm 96 last Sunday evening in Ruwi Church.  The secondary reading was from Revelation 5:6-14.

Pastor Barry started his sermon mentioning how each sport has their loyal followers.  Stadiums seat up to 70,000 spectators and we all know who the spectators are and who are the players.  The same notion may incorrectly be applied to church when people mistakenly see the pastor, worship-leader, choir members and others on stage as “actors” while those seated in the pews are “spectators”.

In worship, it’s upside down.  We’re the actors and God is the audience.  As we are “acting out our love for God”, He is taking it in.  God is indeed the most important “audience”.  Worship is not for us-but God!  The focus should always be on God, not us.

In our consumer driven world, we think all things resolve around us.  We approach service with a consumer’s point of view than than a “producer’s”.

Was God pleased with my heart and mind during the singing and sermon?  We need to develop a God-centred attitude which would change our expectations drastically when we come.

Pastor Barry shared a story that Max Lucado wrote about during one of his experiences of being on an airplane.  People on a plane and people in a pew have a lot in common.  Both are on a journey and most are satisfied with a predictable flight.  “It was a nice flight.” “It was a nice worship service.”  A few, however, are not content with just “a nice predictable event” and long for more.  He compared it to an excited boy on a plane ride who got to see the pilot in the cockpit.  “Wow! I am so glad to be on this airplane!” No other faces showed such wonder as the boy on the flight.  Other passengers were content with an uneventful flight.  The same with those at services.  Few come with a childlike enthusiasm like the boy on the plane in wonder.

God protects and comforts but is also the One who causes us to tremble out of honor and reverence and who calms us by His mere presence.  We realize how small and insignificant and ungodlike we are.  We get a glimpse of the true reason we need to worship.  It is in God alone where there is mystery, beauty and truth.

God had the power to create the universe and He has the power to raise the dead!  Instinctively, we worship because we need to.  We need to bow down before Our Maker.  Jesus Christ is the Lamb who was Slain; worthy of all honor and praise as we read from Revelation 5:6-14.

There are moments, if our eyes and ears are open, known as “Halleluia moments” when the awesome holy nature of God has taken our breath away.  Moments like when a surgeon comes out of the operating room and says, “She’s going to be okay!” (AMEN! I remember that moment!  :-) )  At moments like these, what else can we do but worship God!?

All of the universe is worshipping and so are His saints.  When we encounter the magnificent wonders out there in the world where we live, all we can do is worship.  May these moments draw us into a deeper union with Christ.

“Fright Night” (2011) Compared with the 1985 Original

After watching a number of remakes lately that truly don’t do justice to the originals, I wonder why they do remakes at all.  There’s nothing wrong with sequels coming out decades later (like with Tron) but the remakes I’ve seen in the past few months (of classics!) just haven’t been worth viewing.  “Fright Night” is a reminder to me that vampire movies suck (pardon the pun!) as do remakes.

The original 1985 “Fright Night” even had a better poster!

The 2011 “Fright Night” poster.  Nothing really going on in the poster and no teeth…maybe that was a sign of things to come in the movie.

First of all, I’m not into horror movies as a rule.  I must confess that I have enjoyed at least a few vampire movies over the years, but the only ones worth mentioning are: Fright Night (1985), The Lost Boys, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Blade and Blade 2.  There was not even one moment in this entire movie where I felt anything even remotely close to the feeling of “fright” and every scene seemed extremely predictable.  Imagine that!  A “horror” movie without even one scary scene in it at all!  To make matters worse, the movie was full of profanity and what I thought were scenes degrading to women.  The special effects might not have cost as much in the 1985 version but the story was far better with better acting and more character development.  There weren’t that many 3D scenes in the 2011 movie and I wonder why so many movies are heading into this latest fad.  The only ones which warranted the 3D effects at all were the vampire-into-ashes scenes which were pretty cool in 3D with the sparks flying all about.  As a sidenote, it was my Omani friend’s first time seeing a movie in 3D and he thought it was awesome.

The only memorable line in the movie for me was was the main character saying to the Vincent Price character, “If you are what kind of man I am to be become like, then I don’t want to live to see tomorrow.” (or something like that)

Striking differences between the 1985 original and the 2011 remake:

  • In 1985, the girl tells her boyfriend “No” and tries to prevent him from going too far when kissing and only agrees to get into bed after much complaining by the main character while in 2011, the girl can’t seem to give her virginity away fast enough almost begging the boyfriend to get on with it.
  • Only one quick nudity scene but no profanity in 1985 – No nudity but TONS of profanity in 2011.
  • The vampire-assistant character which helped in making the 1985 original more plausible is missing in the 2011 version. ?!?!
  • Even though the remake had 26 years of advanced technology at its disposal, none of the vampire transformation scenes into bat or wolf (as in the original) are in the remake which suggests a kind of laziness not to use the available technology. ?!?!
  • As with all vampire classics, the power of the cross is central and is highlighted in the original.  As his friend says in the 1985 original (while holding a cross) in advising how to deal with vampires, “Start with this, but you must have total faith in it in order for it to work.”  The cross, when faith is displayed, kills and defeats all forces of evil. (AMEN! :-) )  In the 2011  remake, the cross is mocked and crushed and set ablaze.  Unlike the original, the true power of the cross is never displayed in this remake…I believe that this change was deliberate, at least spiritually.

 

  • Roddy McDowall is an outstanding actor as the TV-vampire killer, Peter Vincent, in the original and you cannot compare the “magician version” of his character in 2011 at all.  Roddy McDowall is simply one of the most memorable roles of any character in any vampire movie.  When I think of vampire movies, his role comes straight to mind.
  • The only interesting change to the remake is the reason why the TV actor, Peter Vincent, was supposedly interested in playing that role (which I won’t ruin by giving away here!).

Basically, this movie seemed like a dumbed-down version of the much better original.  If you’ve seen the 2011 Fright Night and have never seen the original 1985 version, I recommend trying to see it.

There is one scene which I’ll never forget while watching the 2011 remake in Al Shatti, Oman; so unique that the entire audience laughed and also cheered, receiving the biggest reaction out of the (mostly) Omani audience.  An otherwise normal scene which would go unnoticed anywhere else in the world is when the TV-star-turned-real-vampire-hunter opens up his trenchcoat to reveal all his vampire fighting objects and low and behold, there is a huge golden Omani Khanjar!!!  Priceless!!!  My Omani friend said later, “I learned something new tonight.  I learned that the Omani Khanjar is useful for slaying vampires“. :-)

2 final thoughts as I think back on the 1985 original:

  1. Boy, am I ever getting old! (That was 26 years ago!)
  2. My memory is not as bad as I sometimes think it is if I can remember so much from back then!  :-)

The Concept of “Following”

One of my facebook friends posted this as an example of “Christian humor”.  I thought it’s actually a deep thought on the lost concept of what it means to “follow” someone partially due to social media of the world.

The Inaugural Season of the Royal Opera House Muscat

I went to the Royal Opera House today to buy some tickets for upcoming concerts.  What a place! It’s gorgeous, inside and out, and bound to look even better as construction comes to a close and landscaping is completed.

The Royal Opera House will be the 1st Opera House in the Arabian Gulf and the 2nd in the Middle East! (The Cairo Opera House opened in 1988)  The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) will officially open on October 14th; just 16 days from now!  The establishment of the ROHM is a great move by HM Sultan Qaboos in a daring attempt to place Muscat on the map of International Performing Arts.  These are exciting days to be living in Muscat.

That’s the Opera Mall which is right next to the Opera House should be open by January 2012.

Construction still going on…or last minute touches?

The Opera House can accomodate an audience of 1,100 viewers and has 550 parking slots so unless there are hourdes of singles driving to the performances alone, parking should not be a problem.  Sweet!

Apparently there was a soft opening on September 7th in which there was a performance of the opera “Rigoletto“.  Check out this blogpost about one gentleman’s experience on that night.  I love his description of the interactive touch screens which are able to translate the opera being watched into a language of the audience members choice.  Can’t wait to experience it all.  Talk about high-tech!

The inside of the building is gorgeous but they are very strict about their “no photography” rule.  With the Royal Guards there to implement it, not even Andy in Oman was going to risk taking a shot, ha!ha!  Cameras, video cameras and even cellphones will not be allowed inside the building and they said that there will be metal detectors at all entrances to ensure this policy is followed.  For me, personally being threatened once with being fined 10,000 Omani rials and getting thrown 4 months in jail by the director of ROSO (Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra) if I did not remove videos and pictures from my youtube channel and blog is lesson enough for me…

When you go to the Box Office at the Royal Opera House, you can pick up one of these beautiful brochures showing the Inaugural Season’s performances.  The first 2 performances are sold out already! (“Opera Turandot” on Oct 14-15 and Placido Domingo sings to Oman on Oct 18)

Important info on the back of the brochure.  Time is of the essence so get online at the Royal Opera House official website, or get yourself over to the BoxOffice or at one of the listed hotels that sells tickets to get your tickets soon as they’re going fast!  My wife and I are really looking forward to seeing the American Ballet Theatre perform “Don Quixote”  on Oct 27, another ballet called Giselle on Nov 10, “Opera Carmen” on Dec 21 and the world famous ballet “Swan Lake ” on Dec 29.)  I was originally only going to buy tickets to 2 performances but the lady, Victoria, at the box-office convinced me to buy tickets to a total of 4 performances in order to avail myself of the 35% season privileged price.

Life in Muscat is definitely looking up! My hat’s off to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for his vision of bringing music and the performing arts to the Sultanate!  This is going to be a wonderful season in Muscat with some incredible evenings out with the wife!  :-)